posted on 7-Sep-2001 4:48:47 AM
TITLE: Loving a Prince
E-MAIL: lieselvw⊕
RATING: NC-17 in some parts
CATEGORY: M/S (M/L and their kids)
DISCLAIMER: Nothing in the Roswell universe is mine.
SUMMARY: (Fourth Story in my Experiment series. I suggest you read the first 3 stories before reading this one!) This fic is about Liz and Max’s children from my Experiment universe. Matthew is in love and as always with the Evans men, things don’t go too smoothly! I just LOVE Max and Liz too, so they will feature a lot.

NOTE: All my fics (and in the right chronological sequence) are on Faith Evans’ site I Shall Believe at this link:

The Experiment series:
1. The Experiment
2. Finding Our Normal
3. The Way You Love Me
4. Loving a Prince

Max&Liz Evans – Gee, who could THEY be?
Matthew and Belle-Mari Evans – their children (18 and 16)
Michael&Maria Guerin
Mia – their daughter (14)
Nick, Grace and Madelaine - Max’s Antarian Advisor, his wife and daughter.
James and Shilla Mulder – Liz’s Antarian guard and former Dendarian servant girl respectively
Saskia Mulder – their daughter and Matt’s love (17)
Eric and Sarah Alexander – King of Tresar (the nation that wanted to annihilate Antar) and his human wife
Luca Alexander – their son (18 )
Veshna – Luca’s lifelong friend (18 )
Shing – Current King of Dendar
Aran – Son of the King of Dendar (23)
Dak’or – Former military leader of Tresar, overthrown by Eric and incarcerated for life on Dendar.

Antar – Max’s world (destroyed by Tresar)
Tresar – Former enemies of Antar
Dendar – Neutral planet where Max negotiated peace for the galaxy
Oron – Fourth planet
Karek – Fifth planet



A smile touched her face as the Jeep came to halt in the driveway. It brought back such sweet memories of Max driving another old Jeep and arriving home. Liz leaned on the counter underneath the kitchen window to see her eldest, Matthew, now 18, opening the door for the girl sitting in the back seat while the passenger door flew open and his sister Belle-Mari tumbled out. She was the exact opposite of her quiet brother.

As Liz watched, Matt waited for Saskia to get out and they stared at each other for a moment before looking away shyly after she had exited the car. He let her precede him into the house, trying, and failing, not to obviously stare at her butt. Sas was the daughter of James and Shilla, who basically moved in with Max and Liz when they moved to the huge house on the hill. James was still Liz’s most loyal bodyguard and Shilla was involved in one of Maria’s shops.

Another younger girl joined Belle and Sas from the car. It was Michael and Maria’s only daughter, Mia. She was 14, while Belle was 16 and Saskia 17. The four were together a lot as a result of their unique parentage situations. Not that the house wasn’t filled with other kids too, these four were just the most closely knit.

Liz wondered for the umpteenth time what was going on between her son and Saskia. There were clear signs that her son was interested in his life-long playmate as a girl. But they acted skittish around each other.

Sighing, Liz thought she had to talk to Max about this. He had given his son the obligatory sex talk a long time ago and Liz would NEVER forget how uncomfortable Matt had been around them for a while afterwards. When she had asked him why, he just mumbled that he had preferred NOT knowing what his parents were up to when they closed their bedroom door. It was a rule in the Evans house, don’t bother Mom and Dad when their door was closed unless it was a life and death situation.

They were a demonstrative family. Lots of hugs and kisses were always being exchanged and this included their close friends. So Matt and Sas used to be quite comfortable with each other. Many nights, Liz had woken up to hear the two of them whispering in Matt’s room and Sas had fallen asleep there a lot. After talking about it with Max and Sas’ parents, they decided to not say anything about the situation until the kids got older. However, the sleeping over had stopped naturally after Matt turned 16 for some reason. Liz had wanted to ask them about it, but the shy way the two started acting around each other told her not to probe.

It was weird to observe the slow mating dance of her son from a mother’s perspective. For the first time, she really understood her parents’ panic about Max. They had had to cope with their 16 year-old daughter getting really intense with a guy and probably had many sleepless nights worrying that she would have sex and get pregnant too soon and ruin her life.

She was praying that their son was just like Max. Things had gotten very out of control for them a few times when they were young, but Max had always managed to stop their lovemaking at a reasonable point until he was more or less married to her. And after they started being intimate, he had always made sure they took precautions of some kind. A dreamy smile crossed her face. After all these years, Max still made her feel tingly.

“Dreaming about Dad again, Mom?” Belle’s voice interrupted her musings and she turned around to receive a kiss from all four.

“Well, he IS a dreamboat, isn’t he?” she joked with her daughter. Both of them enjoyed annoying Max about how handsome he was.

“We’re going to go study in my room. Without you, Matt!” Belle yelled over her shoulder as the girls followed her out. Liz observed the way Matt and Saskia glanced at each other just before she departed the room.

“Are you hungry?” she asked him.

A blush crept over his cheeks as he swung his head back to meet her eyes, knowing she had caught that look. Matt knew his mother. He knew she was very perceptive about people and that there was no way he could hide his attraction to Saskia from her. “Uhm, no thanks, but I’ll get us something to drink.”

Seating herself at the table, Liz marveled again at how much Matt looked like his father. He was just as tall and had the same raven hair and amazing amber eyes. But more than that, he has inherited Max’s gentle soul.

Putting the soda in front of Liz, Matt sat down opposite her, nervously fiddling with his drink. “So, when is Dad coming home tonight?”

Liz let him talk about whatever he wanted to. He was just as good as Max at saying how he felt and pushing him would not make him tell her faster if he didn’t want to. “He said around seven. They are working on that project and he needs to meet some financiers.”

“Ooh,” Matt whistled, “he is going to be in a bad mood when he gets back then. He hates trying to sound like the lab needs money when he has all he needs already. Keeping up appearances is hard on him.”

“Yeah, I know. He had to keep secrets his whole life, Matt. He gets sick of it sometimes.”

Matt nodded and looked at his drink again. He really wanted to talk to Liz about Saskia and all the feelings he had for her, but he didn’t know how to start. And then there was the little problem that Sas apparently didn’t want to be with him. Maybe his mother could help him understand. Surely Sas couldn’t still be mad at him for his stupid actions of a year-and-a-half ago? He sighed. But she had every right to, he had treated her like a—

“So, I thought we could all go visit Eric and Sarah on Tresar for a few months as soon as your Dad and my work allows it. Would you like to go?”

Looking at Liz in surprise, Matt wondered what had brought this on. His Mom and Dad still went to the other planets in his dad’s old galaxy a lot, but mostly he and Belle were left behind. They had been to Dendar with their parents, the planet where Sas’ mom came from, but he could only vaguely remember Tresar. Eric, the current King of Tresar, and his wife Sarah were more or less heroes in the Evans household since they had helped save his mom and dad a few times when they were young. They had come to earth to visit a couple of times when he was a lot younger. They had a son around his age too, but he didn’t really know the guy. In fact, he hadn’t seen him since they were eight.

His next thought told him in just how much trouble he really was with Sas. He felt ill thinking that he would have to leave her here and go away for months. Even if she wasn’t interested in him. “Uhm, I-I—”

“We would have to take James and Shilla too, of course,” Liz added. “ And I’m sure they would want to take Saskia.” Her knowing gaze locked with her son’s relieved one.

“Thanks, Mom,” he said quietly and dropped his gaze back to the tabletop. Gee, I wonder why Dad is so crazy about Mom? She really is the best, he thought. “She… I think… I really like her,” he finally blurted out.

Looking up at Liz, he could see her smile. “She is a wonderful person, Matt.”

“Yeah.” His eyes were starting to shine. “She is really smart, Mom. Did you know that? And—”

The phone interrupted his speech and they heard footsteps running down the stairs. “I’ll get it!” Belle cried and the ringing stopped.

Liz was just turning back to Matt when she saw his attention being focussed over her shoulder. She knew Saskia had entered the kitchen without even looking.

“I’m just getting us some sodas if that’s okay, Mrs. Evans?” Saskia was already opening the fridge.


“Matt!” Belle called from the entrance hall. “It’s that Becky again. The one who keeps hanging all over you. She claims she needs your Chem notes and wants to come over.”

Saskia’s eyes had clouded over as soon as she heard Becky’s name and Matt got to his feet with a muffled curse. “Sas…” he stopped not knowing what to say to her. They weren’t together or anything, so he didn’t know how to handle this situation. He didn’t want her to think he was interested in the other girl. Even if she didn’t want him to be interested in herself…

The emotions in the room were thick and Liz desperately wanted to help these two. They would have to find their own way towards each other, but she could at least help Matt get rid of another annoying girl falling all over herself to be with him. She had been doing that for years now. Just like his father, Matt was seen as a hottie and was constantly being called by girls. “Why don’t you tell her you will type up the notes and e-mail them to her tonight?”

The appreciation in Matt’s eyes made it all worthwhile. He looked over at Saskia again. “I think I’ll go do that. Thanks, Mom.”

Saskia hightailed it out of the room after Matt, running down the hall desperately into the bathroom. She felt like hyperventilating. Matt was interested in her! She could finally admit that now. She could admit that he had been giving her these looks that made her toes curl and her heart, that has belonged to him for as long as she could remember, ache.

But… he was the son of a King. And she was, well, for all intents and purposes the daughter of servants. This could never happen. She sank to the floor, burying her face in her hands. She had to be strong. Her parents had taught her well about the importance of Max and his son and she had been witness to the deferential way in which James and Shilla still treated their Royal Family.

Growing up on earth in the presence of Max and Liz, who barely ever acted like the Royalty they were, has not dimmed her awe of their position. They treated her like an equal, but getting involved with the Crown Prince would be something completely different. Her parents would never allow it.

So she would stay his friend and hope he finds someone to love him as he should be loved. Tears seeped from her eyelids at the thought of him with someone else. He had never dated or anything before, so her heart had been safe. But Matt was a young man who had grown up in a house where the love between his parents threatened to blind one sometimes, and he would want that too. And he needed to find it with someone that was his equal.

But oh, she loved him!

She remembered all the nights that she had fallen asleep in his bed, surrounded by his scent. He would sleep on the floor on a mattress that he had started keeping there for such occasions. And most mornings she would wake before him to watch him sleep for a few uninterrupted minutes before sneaking off to her parent’s apartment at the back of the house.

Until that fateful night when they were 16…

Their summer vacation had just started and Matt was supposed to go away with his Dad on a hiking trip the next day. They had talked until late and afterwards watched a video. And then she had fallen asleep with her head against his shoulder…

When she had woken up, Matt was sleeping too. She had been lying basically on top of him, snuggled under his arm with her leg thrown over his hips. She had been too afraid to move at first, freezing with her face pressed into his chest.

Until she felt his hand on her butt.

She nearly bolted up straight in the bed right then. His hand had been large and warm and… possessive. She had tried to roll away from him slowly, hoping he wouldn’t wake up, but he had made a sound in the back of his throat and rolled with her. She had ended up lying on her back with Matt on his side, his thigh over hers. The position had felt unbearable intimate to her. Each heated inch of him had been pressed to her, even… even THAT part of him.

One deep breath later, she had contemplated her next move. She had to get out of this bed before—

Matt had snuggled closer, muttering something again… and had moved his hand from her stomach to cup her breast.

Saskia could not have stopped the wild gasp from escaping her to save her life. Never before had she been touched this intimately.

As she lay tensely beneath him, her body had responded to his hand and she had been powerless to stop it. This was one of her guilty dreams come true.

The fluttering of his long eyelashes against the sensitive skin at the crook of her neck had been the first sign that Matthew had woken up. She had closed her eyes in mortification that he would find her like this. And also because she hadn’t wanted to see the very visible signs of her own arousal either.

Matt had obviously been stunned because it had taken him a few moments to move. When he did, he had jerked his hand away from her breast as if it burnt him while his head had shot up to look at her. She had kept her eyes squeezed shut, praying that he would think she was asleep and just leave her alone, but she had not been that lucky.


She had never heard his voice sound like that before. It was hoarse, deep, and it had skittered across her senses to make her gasp again.

Her eyes had flown open to find him staring down at her with a glittering dark gaze. A deep flush had crept over his cheeks, just before his eyes had dropped to her mouth.

And made her realize she was in deep trouble.

His lips had covered hers before she even had a chance to blink and the kiss had been so much more than she had ever expected. His hands had cupped her face, angling it until he could deepen the kiss. Electricity had raced through her as he plundered her mouth. This had been her first kiss, but it had felt familiar. Like they had done it millions of times before.

His tongue had tangled with hers as his body had pressed her into the bed. Stars had swirled through her head as she felt his urgency and passion. Finally, the need for oxygen had become too immediate and he had torn his mouth away from hers to kiss a wet path over her jaw line.


This time, her name had been a sigh.

And it had brought her abruptly out of the fog his caresses had enveloped her with. This was the crown prince of Antar! And he was not meant for her…

She had scrambled away from him with such speed that he had stared at her in shock. “No, Matt!” she had told him. “This is a mistake.”

She had turned away from him and sat on the edge of the bed, shaking like a leaf. He had been quiet for a long time, but she had fought the impulse to turn around to see his reaction.

When he finally spoke, his soft words had pierced her heart. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have… It won’t happen again.”

She had fled the room and had only burst into tears when she reached the safety of her own bed. She had never stayed in his room again.

When Matthew returned to the kitchen he found his mother sitting alone at the table with no sign of Saskia. That hand that squeezed his heart whenever it seemed that she was trying to get away from him returned.

Liz waited until he had settled in his chair again. “So Becky, huh?” she teased him.

He grimaced. “She doesn’t take a hint. She’s everywhere I am. I don’t want her, I want—” He stopped abruptly.

“Saskia?” Liz provided softly.

He didn’t respond at first, staring at the glass filled with soda as if it was the most interesting thing in the world. Then, “yeah.”

His eyes were filled with anguish when it met hers. “But I screwed up, Mama.” He used his childhood name for her. “She doesn’t want to be with me now…”


Saskia finally got control over herself and left the downstairs bathroom with the rapidly warming sodas still clutched in her hands. She arrived at the door of Belle’s room and waved her hand over the cans, cooling them down enough so that her friends won’t wonder what she had done with them. The tail end of the conversation between Belle and Mia caught her attention when she went in.

“…is really annoying poor Matt! How can a girl be that desperate?”

“It’s sad really,” Mia answered. She also had a little crush on Matt. Which girl apart from his sister didn’t?

“I think I will have to tell her in less polite terms than Matt that she should move on. He has tried, but she keeps coming back.” Belle looked at Saskia and continued. “I think it is time for me and Saskia to go sort out that girl!”

“No!” Saskia cried loudly. “Uhm, no,” she amended more quietly when both Belle and Mia looked at her in alarm. “I don’t think Matt would appreciate us interfering in his life.”

“You’re kidding me, right?” Belle asked. “This is the same Matt that threatened Billy Sweany with death if he bothered you again last year! He interferes in our lives all the time!”

But Sas had only heard the first part. Matt had threatened Billy? She hadn’t even known that! Billy had tried a few times to grope her and she had told him to back off and he suddenly had. Now it made sense. A warmth that she was afraid to identify too closely rushed through her.

“Sas!” Belle yelled. “We are still talking to you, you know!”

“Sorry,” she smiled at Matt’s beautiful sister. “But I still don’t think it’s a good idea…”


Liz’s motherly instincts had kicked in immediately after that statement by Matthew. How could any girl in their right mind not want to be with her wonderful son? Then she homed in on the other thing he had said. “What do you mean you screwed up?”

Matt was kicking himself by now. He didn’t want to tell his mother that he had practically mauled poor Sas one night. No way did he want to see the disappointment in his mom’s eyes. “I just… I did something stupid,” he ended lamely.

Waiting for him to expand, Liz gave up after a few silent minutes. “You know, your father also thought we shouldn’t be together for a long time,” she told him.

“He did?” Matt was incredulous. Was this the same father that still couldn’t keep his hands off his mom after so many years of marriage? He very distinctly remembered coming home with some friends one night a couple of years ago after the movie they had wanted to see was sold out, to find his parents making out heavily on the couch in the TV room. He still blushed about where he thought his father’s hands had been, but his mom and dad had been unapologetic. They always have been about their displays of affection. They loved each other, they were married and they made love. To them, it was as simple as that. But to him, trying to explain the whole thing to his friends, some of whose parents barely talk to each other, had been highly embarrassing.

“Yes. He thought it would be safer for me if he stayed away.” Liz smiled a secret smile. “But I didn’t give up. I stayed friends with him and helped him. He finally gave in.”

“THAT’s pretty obvious,” Matt muttered under his breath, missing his mom’s grin. “I don’t think it’s that easy with me and…”

“It’s never easy, honey. Just don’t give up until you tried.”


Rubbing her eyes tiredly, Liz peeked at the clock next to the TV. It was really late and Max was not back yet. The house was quiet, but she wanted to stay awake to see Max, knowing he would need some pampering after the day he had probably had. She had been watching some lame comedy on television, but the plastic jokes and emotions had just gone right over her head.

“Hey beautiful”. Said suddenly in her ear by a warm voice. She nearly jumped out of her skin.

“Max! You scared the crap out of me!” She was wide-awake immediately. “Were you blocking me?” She was referring to the fact that she had not sensed him coming closer through their connection.

“Yeah,” he sounded tired as he joined her on the couch. “I didn’t want you to go through all my irritation with me.”

Putting her arms around him, she pulled him tightly against her. “Well, I’ll just have to help you unwind then.”

“Hmmm,” the vibration of his voice tingled against her neck. “That sounds promising.”

“You know the rules, though,” she whispered in his ear.

He nodded before lifting his head and giving her a sweet, soft kiss. “Hi, my gorgeous wife,” he told her against her lips, making her smile.

“You’re bending the rules again.”

“No, just showing some initiative. The rules just say we always have to kiss each other hello properly. They don’t say I’m not allowed to add some comments of my own to the hello.”

She chuckled and hugged him closer again. “You’re right. So maybe we should add an addendum to the “proper kiss hello” rule.” She kissed his tired eyes.

“What is that?”

“That you should always find a new compliment to give me with it.” Her voice was light and teasing as she rubbed her hand over his chest.

He was leaning against her. “I don’t think that rules you make while distracting me should count.” He caught her hand and got up. “Let’s go upstairs.”

Up in their room, Liz slipped into her sleepwear while Max had a quick shower. She sat waiting on their bed for him when he appeared with a towel wrapped around his waist.

“Hey, you’re wearing clothes,” he told her with a smile.

“The unwinding I’m planning does not need me naked, sorry!” She told him smugly and patted the bed. “On your stomach.”

Max lay down obediently and sighed when Liz straddled him to start massaging away at his shoulders and neck.

“So,” Liz said after a few minutes. “Your son is in love.”

“Hmmm,” Max sounded sleepy. “I know.”

That earned him a painful nip on his shoulder blade. “You KNEW and you didn’t tell me?”

“Sweetie, he didn’t even know or admit it himself! I just saw the way he was around her and I knew,” he said over his shoulder. “Did he tell you something?”

Rolling to the side so she was snuggled up beside him, Liz answered. “He sort of admitted he had feelings for her, but he said he did something to make her not want to date him. I don’t know what,” she added quickly when she saw Max’s questioning frown.

He watched her. He knew her so well. She was drawing little patterns on his shoulder and her eyes were rooted on what she was doing. But he could hear her mind race a-mile-a-minute. “You have to let him sort it out himself, love.” He spoke gently and Liz’s guilty look confirmed that he had guessed correctly. Being her son’s biggest champion, Liz had wanted to ride in and save him from this painful period in his life.

“Can’t I just… I don’t know, talk to her and find out how she feels?”

She looked at him with her big doe eyes and Max nearly caved. She knew exactly how to push his buttons. He rolled onto his side and pulled her against his chest, smoothing her hair with his hand. “I think Matthew has the best mom in the universe. But I also think that Matt is 18 now and needs to do this himself.” He kissed the top of her head to soothe her like he has a million times before. “We found each other, didn’t we? In spite of everything.”

She nodded against his warm skin. “But Max we had so much heartbreak to deal with before everything was sorted out and… and I don’t want my baby to suffer like that.”

Max hid his smile in her hair. “I’m not sure Matthew would appreciate hearing you still think of him as your baby!” Tangling his fingers in her hair, he tugged her head back until he could look in her eyes. “We’ll watch him, I promise,” he told her huskily. “And if things start looking like he can’t handle it we can help him, okay?”

“Okay.” Staring up at him, Liz lifted her hand and traced the outline of his lips with her finger. “I love you.”

“Show me,” he said.

And she did.


Slamming his locker closed just before lunch, Matt sighed. He just had to turn down another invitation by Becky and to top it all, Saskia is showing some new guy around school. Some new HOT guy if the rumor mills are anything to go by. He hadn’t seen either of them all morning and his mind was starting to make up all sorts of horrible scenarios. All of which included Saskia falling madly in love with some other guy at first sight.

Walking to the cafeteria, he pondered his situation. His mom had a point. He couldn’t just give up. Maybe if he talked to Sas about what happened between them that night they could sort it out. He could tell her how sorry he was. They had never mentioned the incident again and he never knew if she managed to forgive him for it. They had just been very awkward with each other for a while until one day they had played basketball in the yard and they started being friends again. Friends that talked about a lot of stuff, but not about what went on in their hearts.

He guessed she told his sister whenever she was interested in some guy and to some extent he was relieved. He wasn’t sure what he would do if she told him she had a crush on another guy.

His gaze found her immediately. She was sitting at a table in the corner laughing with a blonde jock type. Must be the new guy. She caught his stare and gave him a small smile before returning her attention to the jock.

He hated the guy already.

Matt was unlike his dad in some ways, he played basketball for the school. He wasn’t exactly part of the jock crowd, he was not into parties and cheerleaders enough for that, but they knew him and liked him. Growing up in a small community of people that knew who and what he was, made him less afraid of not blending in. His parents and Saskia’s parents made home life interesting and normal, while the frequent visits of Maria and Michael, who lived close by, added to his security.

The only part of their extended family that lived far away was Isabel and Alex. They lived near Silicon Valley where Alex worked. They had finally gotten married and now had a small daughter that Matt saw a few times a year.

He grabbed some stuff to eat and found a few of his friends congregated at a table near Sas’. Great.

“Hey Evans!” It was Tom. “Where is your sister?”

“Don’t make me hurt you, Tom,” he threw back. Tom had a huge crush on Belle and was constantly trying to get past Matt to date her. Matt liked Tom as a friend, but not as a date for his little sister. He suspected that he would have trouble liking any guy as a date for Belle.

“Yeah, Matt, where are all the lovely ladies that you normally bring to our humble table?” His other friend Irwin was a quiet guy, but with a wicked sense of humor.

“I don’t know where my sister and her friends are and Sas is…” He gestured over his shoulder with his thumb. He really didn’t want to look over there right now.

“Gee, Sas looks like she really likes him.” Tom turned to Matt. “I didn’t know she liked jock types, you should have told me!”

He clenched his hands into fists under the table. Why was everyone torturing him about Saskia lately? “I didn’t know that either,” he finally said tersely. “But Sas is seventeen, I guess she can like whatever she wants to.”

Only then did he realize that both Tom and Irwin were staring over his shoulder.

His heart plummeted to his feet as he slowly turned around to find Saskia standing right behind him. Her vivid green eyes were filled with hurt as she stared at him.

“Sas,” he croaked past the lump in his throat.

“I wanted to…” she seemed unable to finish the sentence. Giving him one last look that pierced his heart, she whirled away and walked off with the jock beside her. Matt suddenly understood what his father meant when he said that Liz could sometimes bring him to his knees with just one look.

He jumped up, torn between running after her to explain why he had sounded like he had about her and running away to go kick himself for being the stupidest man in the world.

His urge changed to a completely different one a few seconds later. As Sas and the jock left the cafeteria, the guy put his arm around her shoulders. A flood of such emotion filled him that he had to sit down again.

Either that or go rip the man off her and fry his brains out.


posted on 7-Sep-2001 4:56:53 AM

Saskia wanted to cry her eyes out. Matt is many things, but he has never been mean. She didn’t even notice Gordon putting his arm around her as she hurried away. Things between her and Matt were starting to spiral downwards rapidly and she felt faint with the gaping hole he was leaving in her life.

“Are you okay?” Gordon, the new guy, asked concernedly.

“I just… I need to be alone for a few minutes if you don’t mind?” She didn’t even look at him, just walked away without waiting for an answer. Her mind was whirling. What should she do now? Should she just pretend that she didn’t care that he had been so harsh about her?

As she sat down in an empty stall of the girls’ bathroom, she shook her head. She has never backed down with Matt and she wasn’t going to do it now. He should never see how much he hurt her, so she will just show him how angry he made her. Alien prince or not, she was going to kick his butt!

After she has finished crying…


Matt was completely miserable the rest of the afternoon. And so you should be, a little voice inside his head told him. He knew which classes Saskia had, but she was a year behind him and there was no way she would forgive him barging into one of her classrooms as well.

So when the bell rang for the end of the day, Matt fairly ran to his secondhand Cherokee, a present from his parents for his eighteenth birthday. He had to fight his way through throngs of people also rushing outside, eager to start their weekends.

Next to the Jeep was a very pissed of little sister, waiting for him with her foot tapping.

“What is wrong with you?” she laid into him as soon as he was within hearing distance. “Gloria told me what you said about Sas at lunch.” She was glaring at him in a manner eerily reminiscent of the way their mother looked when she was angry.

“I was just…” Well, what exactly could he say? I was just insanely jealous of some new guy? I’ve suddenly realized I want Saskia to be more than my friend and she hates me and it’s scaring me spitless that she might never be mine? Hmmm, yep, his sister would love to know THAT! “Did she say anything to you?”

Belle looked at her brother more closely. He looked… distraught. “No, she didn’t. I haven’t seen her yet.”

“Okay,” he seemed relieved.

“But you have a fine way of belittling your friends. I just want you to know that.” Belle slammed into the car.

His relief only lasted until the topic of their discussion came strolling out of the school towards the car, Mr. Blonde Jock in tow. Matt was mad again immediately. He watched their progress like a hawk, trying to see if there were any signs that Sas was interested in the guy.

“You’re going to make him burst into flames if you don’t watch out,” Belle informed him through the window. He hardly even heard her, let alone noticed the slight narrowing of her eyes as she looked between him and the focus of his stare.

Reaching the Jeep, Saskia introduced Gordon to Matt and Belle and was amazed that her voice didn’t tremble. She had been fully aware of Matt’s scrutiny of her and Gordon, but she had been unprepared for the fire in his eyes. He seemed angry with her.

She straightened her spine and threw him a withering glance. What was HE angry for? He was the one being nasty about HER! She waited until Gordon walked off before jumping into the Jeep and ignoring Matt.

The ride home was quiet. Normally they would talk and laugh, but today the atmosphere was tense. Matt kept looking at her in the rearview mirror and she kept ignoring him.

He was in hell.

Not waiting for Matt to open her door like he usually did, Saskia was out the car and on her way to her parents’ apartment before Matt could make a move. But he wasn’t going to take this any longer. He ran after her and yelled at his sister to lock the car.

Catching up to her as she exited the back of the house, Matt grabbed Sas’ arm and pulled her back. “Wait, please.”

She halted but did not look at him.

“Could you talk to me? Please?” Matt was desperate. Something had gone horribly wrong between them and he needed to fix it before it became irreparable.

“You acted like an ass today,” she informed him tersely. “I’m not sure I want to talk to you if this is who you’re turning into.”

The silence behind her told her he had not expected an attack. She felt mildly better. Just don’t look in his eyes, she told herself.

Still recovering from her statement, which he had no doubt were true, Matt cast around for something to say. “I-I’m sorry,” he mumbled. “I just… I saw…” I saw you with him and I freaked. Be mine, please.

She waited for him to continue, but he seemed dumbstruck.

Then: “Could you look at me?” It was said very softly.

Biting her lip, she turned towards him while her mind yelled at her not to. Not to get too close to him and not to look into those mesmerizing eyes. For she will surely forget all the reasons this was wrong if she did.

He stepped closer to her when she finally stood facing him. His hand was warm as it slid from her elbow to grip hers tightly, but she still wouldn’t meet his gaze.

“I’m so sorry, Sas. I-I had a bad day,” he finally said, knowing it would sound like the lie it was.

She didn’t react.

“Do you like him?” He hated sounding so afraid. “The new guy, Gordon?”

Finally, some response. She was looking up at him in confusion. “I guess. Why?”

Something flickered in his eyes, something she couldn’t place.

He changed the subject. “I need to ask you something.” His voice had a tentative note in it.

Panic raced through her. She couldn’t have this discussion with him right now. Not after today and how vulnerable he had made her feel. Not after she truly realized what it would be like without him as the biggest part of her life. She tugged her hand from his grasp. Her voice was wary when she finally responded. “I’m not up to having any kind of serious discussion with you right now.” Hearing his intake of breath, she felt pain ripple through her heart. “I’m not sure why you said what you did today, but I can only guess it’s because—”

“I was jealous, okay!” he blurted out.

A shocked silence enveloped them.

Run! Saskia’s mind screamed at her. Run before it’s too late and you two get in too deep. But she was rooted to the spot. His words echoed through her, filling her heart until it felt like she would burst with happiness.

On the other hand, Matt was dying a thousand deaths after his unplanned confession. What had he been thinking? She basically told him she wasn’t interested that night so long ago and here he was telling her he was jealous of another guy. He watched her fearfully, wondering what her reaction was going to be. She was staring at the ground, the only movement was her hands slowly clenching into fists at her sides.

Finally he couldn’t take the silence anymore. “Have I screwed up so much that you will never give me a chance?”

The quiet words cut right through her heart. “We are friends, Matt,” she replied before slowly starting to walk away. She had to or she would crumble right before his eyes.

“Sas!” he called after her. “Don’t…”

His plea halted her and her heart finally won a round over her head. She spun around and ran to him, falling into his arms as she hugged him tightly.

He crushed her against him with such force she had trouble breathing.

“We will always be friends, but that is all,” she whispered, staying in his embrace a few seconds longer than she should before pulling away from him and running off.

Matt was floored. Floored and devastated.


Max and Liz looked at each other over the dinner table. Belle was out with friends and Matt was locked in his room. He had been there since before they came home from work and had politely told his mom he didn’t want dinner.

Liz had gone into panic mode immediately and as usual, she looked to her husband to fix things. “Max, please!” Said for the hundredth time that night.

Giving her one of his you-know-what-my-answer-to-that-is looks, Max grabbed her hand and caressed it with his thumb. “It’ll be okay.”

Realizing that nagging wasn’t working, Liz decided to try another angle. She stood up from her chair and slid onto Max’s lap, nuzzling his face.

“It’s not going to work, witch,” he growled in her ear. “He will ask us if he needs help.” His hands had found her hips and pulled her closer to him.

“Did you ever ask YOUR parents for help?” she countered, slowly licking the outside of his ear.

“Liz…” he groaned, jerking his head reflexively.

“Well? Did you?” she breathed against the moist trail her tongue had left, making him shiver.

“No,” he admitted. “But that was different. My parents…” he faltered when she started sucking his earlobe. Clearing his throat, he tried again. “My parents knew next to nothing about me…”

Kissing a trail from his ear to his chin, she pleaded again. “Just ask him, Max. I know he is upset.”

He cupped her face in his hands and held her away from him a little, seeing the concern for their son in her eyes. Damn, she was good. “Okay,” he gave in. “But I’m not pushing—”

Her lips covered his, giving him a breath-stealing kiss. Thank you, thank you, thank you! she told him silently.


He found Matt lying on his stomach on his bed, his face pressed into the bedspread and for a fleeting moment, Max feared his son was crying. In spite of all his protestations to his wife, he hated standing by and watching Matt suffer.

“Hey Matt. Can I sit?”

“Yeah.” A muffled sound from the bed.

Max sat down, but said nothing. Matt finally rolled over and put his hands beneath his head. “Mom sent you, right?”

It wasn’t a question.

Chuckling, Max ruefully thought that they should remember they had a clever son. “You know she has me right where she wants me.”

“Yeah,” Matt sounded defeated. He sat up suddenly, startling Max. “She confuses me, Dad!”

Max knew he wasn’t talking about his mother.

“She tells me we can only be friends, but… but sometimes she looks at me like…” He was rambling now. “And she never dates other guys! That I know of, at least. What is up with that? She couldn’t still be mad at me for kissing her! I know it was sort of… out of the blue, but…” He paused, losing steam. “She showed this new guy around school today and I just… I wanted to beat the crap out of him for touching her. Why won’t she give us a chance?”

“Have you told her any of this?” Max asked when Matt fell silent.

“Not really. I guess… I guess I sort of told her I was jealous today. She told me we would always be friends.” It obviously pained him to repeat this.

“That’s what I kept telling your mom for a long time.” He gained Matt’s immediate and undivided attention. “I never thought I’d ever be with her, so when she started loving me back, it scared me. I wanted her, but I wanted her safe more. Things were… bad for us then.” He met Matt’s gaze. “The point is, I had a reason for pushing her away. Maybe Sas has one too.”

Matt looked dubious and relieved at the same time. “But… what if she really just sees me as a friend?”

I highly doubt that, Max thought. “Either way, you need to find out. But you need to be sure of your own feelings before you start dissecting hers.”

“I am, Dad,” Matt stated seriously. “I-I’m in love with her,” he finally admitted aloud for the first time. He saw his Dad nod solemnly and a rush of love for his father washed over him. During all the times in his life when he had needed someone, his father had been there. Mending scraped knees, dishing out hugs when his hamster died, building tree houses in the backyard of their old house. He truly was lucky to have his parents. However strange their heritage was.

As he watched his dad’s departing back, he resolved that he was going to take Sas somewhere tomorrow and he was not going to let her leave until they have sorted out everything that is going on between them!

The decision made, he realized he was hungry and made his way to the kitchen. A soft sigh halted him in the door. His parents were kissing again. His dad had his mom pressed against the counter and she was holding her wet, soapy hands in the air, apparently trying not to get them both wet.

“Son in the kitchen,” he announced loudly and walked over to the fridge. Yep, in this house, even washing the dishes can turn into something else.


There had to be a rut in the floor by now, he was sure of it. Of all the mornings for his parents to be sleeping late or… whatever, it had to be THIS Saturday morning. He glanced at the firmly closed door again. He needed his mother’s help desperately.

Frustration made him spin around and he nearly tripped over Belle, who had been watching his panicky pacing for a while. “Belle!” His mind was racing, he had to get this show on the road before Saskia decides on something else to do with her Saturday morning.

“Yes, big brother?” she asked innocently. Matt had turned into a different person the last few weeks and his actions yesterday after school had finally convinced Belle that it had everything to do with the raven-haired girl that lived in the apartment attached to their house.

“I-I need your help.” He looked at her anxiously. “But… I really need you to not make a big deal of this, okay?”

“Sure,” Belle nodded. She would not make his life hell now, but she definitely will when he and Sas finally got together!



“Ma-ax.” A soft murmur in his ear followed by a lick.

He didn’t even stir.

“Oh, Maaa-aax.” Her hand trailed lower over his flat stomach.

“Barbara?” Her shocked gasp was all he wanted to hear and he started grinning.

“You big jerk!”

He waited for the slap or verbal abuse that normally followed one of his lame attempts to tease her, but none came. His eyes flew open, just in time to see Liz disappear into the bathroom in a huff. Damn, maybe she was hormonal. He blearily tried to remember what time of the month it was as he staggered into the bathroom after her. “Liz! Honey…”

Inside, she was nowhere to be seen. Only her clothes lay scattered from the door to the shower, providing a trail towards her. The spray in the shower came on, misting up the cubicle in no time. Max scratched his head, wondering if she was really mad.

“Liz?” he asked tentatively, flattening his hand against the glass door.

“Yeah?” It sounded muffled through the water and he couldn’t make out what her frame of mind was. And she was blocking him too. Damn.

“Is something wrong?”


This definitely did not sound good.

“What is it?”

“You are OUTSIDE of the shower and not INSIDE with me,” she replied, turning around and moving closer to the misty door. He could see her outline now. The outline of the body in which he had wrapped all his dreams for all these years. She was sensual and breathtaking. It was so easy to want her.

He slid open the shower door slowly, revealing her glistening body to his gaze. All thoughts of teasing left his mind… actually all thought left his mind, period.

Pulling him inside with her, Liz ran her hands up his arms and stepped closer, pressing every inch of herself against him. How could they still be this much in lust after so many years? It might be an alien thing, but she suspected it was because Max became more handsome and sexy to her with every passing day. He has matured well, but together with that, she had gotten to know every wonderful and annoying thing there is to know about him. And it made her love him more.

His arm around her waist lifted her to the tips of her toes, until her mouth was a mere breath from his. “You drive me insane, do you know that?”

It was a rhetorical question.

The mist swirled around them as they stared into each other’s eyes. Max’s hair was starting to cling to his forehead and little beads of moisture were making their way down their bodies where they weren’t plastered to each other.

They stood like that for long moments, almost kissing as their bodies reacted, readied themselves for what was coming. Liz could hear her own breathing get heavier, could feel Max’s chest heave against her and the sensations were so overwhelming, her eyes fluttered closed and her neck arched.

Earlier, she had woken up after a wonderful dream about her and Max, needing him to make love to her. His silly joke had spoiled her mood momentarily, but she had quickly decided to get him back.

She wanted him and she would have him.

A soft gasp escaped her as his tongue traced a line from her chin to the hollow of her throat. His hand tangled in her wet hair as he held her immobile to continue the slow trace of his lips over her chest, staying carefully away from the swell of her breasts.

Another frustrated groan tumbled from her. Her hands found his face and pushed him back. Looking straight into his eyes, she gave an order. “Don’t be slow and gentle, Max.”

His sharp inhalation could be heard even above the sound of the water.

“Please…” The order had turned into a plea.

The next moment she was off her feet and he was kissing her breasts, his hands urging her legs around his hips. The fire that had always been present between them had sprung to roaring life, blazing away the preliminaries and urging them ever closer to the edge of oblivion.

Maxmaxmaxmaxmaxmaxmaxmax… It was a long ragged chant in her mind.

Cool tiles pressed against her back unexpectedly and resulted in a hitch in her breath. Max wanted to tell her he was sorry, but that would entail removing his mouth from her skin and he definitely couldn’t do that now.

“Oh please!”

That tone in her voice still speared him straight in the gut, kicking his desire for her into the stratosphere. It moved him from ‘I want her’ to ‘I want her NOW’ in no time flat.

Years of familiarity still didn’t dull the rush of entering her in one hard thrust. Neither did it diminish the satisfaction of hearing her soft moan of pleasure.

Liz attacked his lips with her own. She had trouble breathing and kissing him all at once, but right now, air was a secondary priority.

It was hungry and fast and desperate. Exactly what Liz had wanted. He filled her until she couldn’t tell where she ended and he began. And while his body was making love to hers, his mind made love to her too. He flooded her with his love and desire, his hunger and need.

And in return, she sent him all she felt for him. His body shuddered when her emotions entered his mind and heart. She sent him her soul…

Their release came quickly and washed over them in great racking tremors. They kissed desperately throughout, catching each other’s involuntary sounds. Loudness was only not an issue when the kids weren’t at home.

They clung to each other until even the minute aftershocks died down. Max had his face buried in her neck, alternately sucking and kissing her soft skin, while Liz had her hands fisted in his hair, her head thrown back against the shower wall.

Max finally lifted his head after long moments. “Please do that to me more often!”

“I promise,” she grinned at him and then hugged him tightly. “I love you so much.” She wriggled against him, causing him to groan. “Every lovely inch of you.”


Apparently the kitchen had been turned into a war zone overnight. Liz came in to find her two children busily preparing all sorts of sandwiches and snacks and leaving devastation in their wake.

“What is going on here?” Ask first, get mad later.

Belle glanced at her. “Matt is putting Operation Saskia in place.”

A dark blush streaked over her son’s cheekbones, making Liz’s heart melt. He was the spitting image of the Max she had fallen in love with in high school.

“Let me help then,” she said firmly and grabbed the knife from Belle. She was already busy carving up some cold meat when she felt Matt hug her from behind. “I love you, Mom,” he whispered in her ear. “Almost as much as Dad does.”

Liz smiled at him over her shoulder. “I love you too.”

Half an hour later, the picnic basket was packed and Matt’s nervousness had increased to panic proportions. Now he had to get Sas to agree to go with him.

Kissing his cheek, Liz told him: “Go get her.”

Belle offered to go put the basket in the back of the Jeep while Matt went off in search of the object of the whole exercise. He saw her immediately as he walked over to her parents’ apartment. She was wearing white shorts and a white tank top and all the air just left his lungs.

He had never allowed himself to consciously think about her body during all those nights she slept so innocently in his bed. The only thing he had never been able to control was his dreams. In his dreams those shapely legs had been wrapped around him and her pouty lips had been crushed beneath his. And her wonderful clear green eyes had been staring at him filled with love.

Focus! he told himself sternly.

Saskia was shivering even before he reached her. She was watering some flowers for her mother just outside their front door and had immediately spied Matt coming towards her. The few minutes it took her to look away were enough to register the way his eyes had traveled over her body. She cursed herself for her weakness when it came to the heir to the Antar throne. His gaze did wicked things to her insides, especially when he looked at her like… Like he wants you, that pesky little inner voice informed her. She had a wild urge to run inside the house and go put on less revealing clothes.

She had lain awake for most of the night, his pleas echoing in her head and his distressed eyes haunting her. She was hurting them both and she knew it. Matt was clueless as to why she was acting so strange, but she knew he would just ignore her position on him needing a mate of his own standing, so she had to do the thinking for both of them.

Turning towards him when he halted a few feet from her, she felt fear race across her nerve-endings. Thinking was something she did not do well when he looked at her with those eyes.

“Hi.” Her voice sounded husky and strained.

“Hey,” he answered, still staring at her as if he wanted to see inside her head.

After a small pause, Matt remembered that he was here for a reason. “Uhm… I thought we could go to the woods and… have a picnic.” He could see her starting to object and quickly continued. “Seeing as we’re friends and all.” She still looked dubious, so he lied blatantly. “There’s a whole group of us going.”

Spending a day close to Matt, even if they were part of a group sounded wonderful to Saskia. She was hopelessly afraid that her stubborn refusal to get involved with him would lose her his friendship altogether. Biting her lip, she weighed her options. She could stay home and make Matt even madder at her, or she could go and watch him from afar and pretend that they were friends. At least then Matt would not be any wiser and more hurt.

“Okay,” she nodded, not seeing the wild flare of joy cross his face. “I’ll just go get a bag and a sweater.”

“I’ll come with you,” he informed her determinedly. No way was he allowing her to change her mind.

Lounging against her doorframe while she organized her things, Matt had to force his eyes away from her to look at something else. He knew her room well. He was here often. So there was nothing that held any real mystery to him. Nothing but her underwear drawer, that is. He had to stifle a groan at the stray thought. He was gaining more understanding for his parents every second!

Saskia had a whole bunch of photos stuck to her mirror. And he was in the majority of them. They were pictures taken on holidays, camping trips, school events. Looking at them made it sink in just how much a part of his life she already was. He straightened, he was more determined than ever to win her over.

Because life without her seemed completely empty.


The drive to the woods outside the town was quiet and tense. Saskia felt like her whole body was as taut as a spring. Matt kept throwing glances at her like he was making sure she hadn’t disappeared when he wasn’t looking. A dark sense of foreboding was taking hold of her. She couldn’t decide whether his strange actions were the result of the strain between them following the events of Friday, or because he was up to something. She had a sinking feeling that it was the latter.

He was wearing denim shorts and a white T-shirt that made her mouth go dry. She had often wondered what exactly it was that made Matt so irresistible for the opposite sex. There were many handsome guys around, but he had something that set him apart. She had finally decided that it was that air of mystery and a certain intensity.

And the longer the drive to the picnic spot took, the more he affected her. She feared that she was going to start hyperventilating soon and stretched forward to switch on the radio. The music only lightened the atmosphere temporarily. By the time Matt brought the Jeep to a halt in a deserted hollow in the woods, her heart was hammering in her breast.

There was not another soul in sight.

It took all of two seconds for Sas to put two and two together and she slammed out of the car to meet Matt who had rounded the hood to her side. “You lied to me!” she accused him hotly.

“Yes,” he admitted, not looking contrite. “I’m sorry, but you wouldn’t have—”

“No! I wouldn’t have!” she stormed at him. Attack was her best defense now. “Take me back.”


“What is happening to you? I asked you not to bug me about… about…” Tears were starting to fill her eyes.

“About us?” he asked softly.

She looked away from him, afraid to let him see the truth on her face. “There is no ‘us’.”

“And I want to know why!” He gripped her upper arms and lowered his voice. “Why are you pushing me away?”

“I told you we could just be friends, nothing more.” She tried to sound firm, but the words came out tremulously.

There was a long pause. “I don’t believe that’s how you really feel.” His hand found her chin and tugged until she faced him. “And I’m not letting you leave until we’ve sorted this out.”


posted on 7-Sep-2001 5:03:13 AM

Meeting his gaze was a huge mistake. For in Matt’s eyes, she saw many things. She saw determination, hurt, hope, fear and… caring. Tearing herself from his grasp, she swung around to face away from him. This was too much for her. She felt faint with all the emotions crashing around inside her.

She wanted so much to just fall into his arms and never come out again. But loving him meant wanting the best for him, even if he was too blinded by his hormones to see it himself.

His body-heat behind her alerted her to the fact that he had moved closer. She could smell him around her and fresh tears sprang to her eyes as she reflected momentarily how FAMILIAR he smelled. Like Matt. Like no one else in the world.


Oh lord, this was going to be hard! His voice carried so much emotion.

Matt lifted his hand to gently catch one of her black locks between his fingers. She was a little taller than his mother and she wore her hair shoulder-length with a cute little flip at the ends. If the sun caught it in a certain way, her hair had a bluish-black sheen to. He took a deep breath. Time to face the demons. “Is this about… Are you still mad because I-I forced… that night… that-that I kissed you?”

FORCED her? Saskia stiffened when it finally hit her. He thought she didn’t want to date him because he had forced himself on her that night so long ago! It made her feel even more horrible.

“No Matt!” She had turned around to look imploringly into his eyes. “I wasn’t mad. I was just…”

“Just what?”

“Nothing. We just shouldn’t have kissed, that’s all.”

Eyes narrowing, Matt zoomed in on the one word that gave him a little more hope. ‘We’. ‘WE just shouldn’t have kissed’. He had played that night over in his mind so many times and he still had trouble being clear on what exactly her response had been. All he remembered was how the taste of her had gone straight to his head, making him drunk with her essence. And how terrible he had felt afterwards. He had never really kissed a girl like that before, so he had no idea if she had enjoyed it or not. That is why he feared the worst when she bolted from his room and acted strange around him for weeks afterwards. “So you hated me kissing you?” He was setting her a trap.

One she walked right into.

“No! That’s not… I mean…” The triumph in his eyes made her panic. “Matt, don’t do this to me,” she pleaded. “We cannot…”

He was starting to feel sorry for her, she was obviously in a state about this. “Are you… Is there someone else?”

The ground seemed really interesting to Sas right now. She stared at it as if it might save her from the mess she was talking herself into. Maybe she could lie to him about it, she thought, but as she risked a peek at him through her eyelashes and saw the muted fear on his face, she knew she couldn’t do it to him. “No,” she whispered quietly.

A feather-soft caress on her bare upper-arm made her shiver.

“So, you didn’t mind me kissing you and… you’re not interested in anyone else… Why—”

But helpless tears had started flowing down her cheeks, unbalancing Matt completely. His Sas was not a whiny, crying girl, she was feisty and in control. With a muffled oath, he drew her into his arms. “I’m sorry.”

She clung to him, curling her hands into the material of his shirt, feeling the warm and gentle strokes of his hands over her back and her hair.

“I’m sorry,” he whispered again, wondering what had her so upset. Was the thought of being with him so awful? Yet she was snuggling closer even while the thought crossed his mind. No, he definitely didn’t repulse her. Matt was more lost than ever as to why she was so determined that they not become more than friends.

They stood like that for endless moments, neither of them ready to be the first one to step away from the embrace.

It was paradise. Even more wonderful than she remembered. His chest was warm against her cheek and the rhythmic stroking of his hands was fast lulling her into blissful languor. The tears had stopped almost as quickly as they had begun and now the only thing occupying her mind was how amazing it felt being held by him. How his muscles bunched and loosened as he moved, the steady sound of his heartbeat in her ear.

A shiver ran the length of her body as recognition hit her of just how deeply in love she was with Matt. Jealousy ripped through her at the thought that anyone else could be in his arms like this and experience this feeling of supreme contentment overlaying a deeper more basic need for more intimate contact.

Desire was rapidly starting to blot out sympathy inside Matt. He was suddenly very aware of just how perfectly she fit against him. Of the softness of the skin he was caressing. Of her curves pressed against his. Her scent, something vaguely flowery, in his nose. The silky stroke of her hair against his neck. Of how temptingly close the bare skin of her shoulder was to his mouth. His body’s reaction was fast and automatic, causing Matt to step away from her hurriedly.

His hands still rested on her shoulders, as he ducked his head to try and see her downcast eyes. “Are you okay now?”

She flashed him an unexpected brilliant smile that he saw through immediately. “I’m fine. Sorry for the outburst. I’m just tired from studying for finals.”

More lies. Matt felt like exploding. She STILL hadn’t told him what was standing between them. He needed to know so that he could get rid of whatever the obstacle was. He HAD to, because these precious few moments with her so close to him had increased his craving for her. He wanted her in his arms forever.

But right now he needed to get himself under control and she needed time to recover. He moved to the back of the Jeep, lifting out the picnic basket and blanket.

Saskia helped him put the stuff out silently, relieved that he had let the issue drop for now. However, she was under no illusion that he was finished with her.


The supermarket was bustling and Liz had to maneuver the shopping cart through throngs of people and running children. Shilla trailed behind her, but there was no sign of Max. She sighed. She always dragged him with her when buying groceries, but he always managed to get lost somewhere and come back with something expensive they didn't need. Throwing some cereals into the cart, she looked at Shilla who was busy ticking things off her own grocery list.

“How are things with Saskia?” Liz asked innocently.

Shilla smiled at her, again struck by how nice her Queen could be. “She had a rough time with finals, but other than that, she seems fine,” she told Liz quietly. Not after all the years Shilla has been with Max and Liz, did she stop treating them like they were her superiors and no amount of pleading from Liz's side had put an end to this.

“I see she and Matt spend a lot of time together,” Liz probed cautiously. She had no idea if Shilla and James were aware of what was starting to happen between their children. Matt and Sas spent most of their time in the Evans house, away from the eyes of her parents.

“I’m sorry!” Shilla cried in alarm, startling Liz. “I’ll tell her not to bother—”

Liz held up her hands. “No, no, Shilla. That's not what I meant! She is a wonderful girl and I'm so glad Matt has someone like her in his life.”

Relief etched Shilla’s features, but Liz couldn't help feeling she had made a blunder by alerting Shilla to the fact that the close relationship between Matthew and Sas have gained her and Max’s attention.

Luckily Max arrived just then, carrying a box and causing a whole lot of stares from the housewives in the store. Liz sighed and gave him an exasperated look. He flashed her a killer smile and plunked the box into their cart.

“What is—”

But Max wrapped his arm around her waist and kissed the rest of her question off her lips, causing a lot of amused looks and some gasps from the rest of the shoppers.

Needless to say, the box, with yet another fancy cappuccino machine, went home with them.


The sun was making patterns on the ground through the thick ceiling of leaves above their heads, and Sas lay with her eyes half-closed on the blanket, watching the dots of light. Matt had gone to put the leftovers and the basket in the Jeep and she was ready to fall asleep. It amazed her that after that intense beginning, they had managed to revert back to their comfortable friendship to eat and talk for close to an hour.

Actually, to be honest, an undercurrent of something had zinged between them the whole time. It resulted from her sometimes catching his gaze on her, dark and hungry. And speculating.

He dropped onto the blanket next to her, grunting. “Okay, I ate too much,” he admitted grumpily. “Why didn't you stop me? You know I turn into a pig around food.”

She smiled lazily, not even opening her eyes. “You are a big boy. You can look after yourself.” Feeling him move, she opened her eyes to slits and nearly had a heart attack.

He was leaning over her, his eyes solemn. “And what if I don't want to?” His voice was low and husky. “What if I want YOU to look after me?”

“Matt…” It was a warning.

“Tell me you feel nothing for me and I'll stop.” He waited for her answer with baited breath.

Her mouth opened. And closed again. And her eyes fluttered away from his. The joy that filled him nearly did him in.

“Sas,” he breathed her name, bending closer to lightly touch her lips with his own. A small helpless sound in her throat spurred him on. He pulled back slightly, his breath rushing in and out of his lungs. “Please…” he begged her softly and bent his head again. He kissed her tenderly as if he was trying to gentle her, not touching her anywhere intimate, just sliding his mouth over hers until he felt her open to him with a small sigh.

Oh lord this is heaven! He tasted her. Over and over his tongue swept over her moist lips, teasing the corners of her mouth and finally sliding deeper. It was like flipping a switch inside Sas, she came alive against him, reaching up to grab his hair and pull him down on her harder. Her tongue snaked out to tangle with his, causing him to groan in response.

His arm slid between her shoulders and the blanket, arching her closer to him. The kiss was rapidly turning urgent and hungry. They kissed deeply, not getting enough of each other, desperately trying to make up for years of wanting this and not experiencing it.

Matt had never felt so warm in his life. He vaguely wondered if getting an actual fever was some alien side effect of arousal. His dad never mentioned it. He just knew he shouldn’t scare Sas with the full effect of what she was doing to him now. He wanted her to stay in his arms, not run away.

She was drowning. Drowning beneath the waves of sensations he was creating in her. His lips and tongue were driving her wild and she felt like clawing him even closer still. She needed… she needed… she needed him as close as possible. Inside her if possible. His hands on her back felt right, like they SHOULD be shaping the indentation of her spine and in the process press her against his firm chest. Nothing had prepared her for the riot of desire the slow slide of their chests against each other caused in her body. For the piercing ache that was increasing in intensity low in her stomach with each passing minute.

Eventually the need for air forced them apart and they stared at each other in silence, panting for breath and hopelessly enthralled with the results of their shared passion on each other. Red and puffy lips, heated flushed cheeks, dark and hungry eyes… they had never seen such a look before.

“Wow,” Matt finally managed.

Regret and guilt were rapidly overtaking Saskia. What had she done? She struggled out of his hold, moving away from his distracting proximity. “We shouldn’t have done this.”

Matt reigned in his anger. Why did she keep on claiming that they were a mistake? “Why?” he tried to sound calm.

“Because…” She pulled her knees up to her chest and hugged them.

He moved over until he was kneeling before her. “Because what?”

“Because I’m not-not good enough for you, okay!” she burst out. “Because this can only lead nowhere and—”

“Hold up!” he cried. “Not good enough? That is SUCH crap, Sas! You are—”

She jumped up before he could grab her hands. “Well, it’s true and I’d like you to take me home now.”

Staring up at her, he noticed the stiff set of her shoulders and wondered what on earth he could say to make her see how ridiculous her statement was. He was at a complete loss.

“Please Matt?” her voice was small.

He gathered up the blanket and threw it in the back of the Jeep in silence. All the while on the way home, as he took in her determined stare out of the passenger window, he tried to come up with ways to change her mind. He was completely stunned by what she said. In all the years he had known her, he had never suspected she saw herself as inferior to him.

He grabbed her arm as he brought the Jeep to a halt in front of his house, he had noticed she was waiting to flee from the car as soon as the wheels had stopped turning.

She froze.

“Please look at me?” he begged quietly and waited for long moments until she finally met his eyes.

“You are the most perfect girl I know,” he told her firmly, emotion making his voice hoarse. “You are so beautiful and smart and amazing and-and I don’t deserve you.”

“Matt—” she started objecting.

“I don’t care what lie you believe about yourself.” Pausing, he squared his shoulders before continuing. “I’m telling you now… I’m not giving up until you give us a chance.” His hand dropped from her arm, allowing her her freedom.

She stared at him with wide eyes, before climbing out of the car and slowly making her way to her apartment.

Matt watched her leave with his heart in his throat. He prayed she would give in eventually.


Lying on her bed on Saturday afternoon, Saskia mulled the morning’s events over in her mind. That kiss had been… explosive. It had made her feel things she didn’t recognize. But most of all she remembered the pleading on Matthew’s face as he spoke to her. Pleading and determination.

Why won’t he just give up on her? He might be infatuated with her now, but surely he must see all the other gorgeous girls falling all over themselves to be with him? Biting her lip, she rolled over to stare at a picture of the two of them that was taken last summer stuck into her mirror. She was smiling at the camera, but he had been smiling at her. The merciless tickling had started as soon as the picture had been taken. He had kept it up until she couldn’t breathe from all the screaming and giggling.

Matt could be a real clown when he felt like it.

She had totally caved this morning and it told her one thing. She was not going to be able to withstand Matt’s determined efforts to get them together. He had an uncanny way of homing in on her weaknesses and turning her into putty. School was nearly over for the semester and she wondered if maybe she shouldn’t go away for the summer. Perhaps that will give Matt time to get over his obsession with her and find someone new.

Her heart constricted painfully at the thought.

A splash from outside drew her attention. Desperately trying to escape from her morbid and depressing thoughts, she wandered over to her window. Outside, the Evans’ pool sparkled in the sun and she could see Mr. Evans swimming laps, while Matt’s mom (how DID she stay so tiny?) sat on the edge with her legs dangling in the water watching her husband.

Sometimes when Sas watched the two of them, her heart ached in her chest. They radiated such an intense love that everyone else’s paled by comparison. Her parents were in love, but they were no match for Max and Liz Evans.

“Max!” she heard Mrs. Evans cry out, reclaiming her attention. He was standing in front of Liz, busy lifting her into the pool with him. “Did I SAY I wanted to be IN the pool?” She heard the laughter in Mrs. Evans’ voice.

Kissing his wife’s forehead, Mr. Evans waded deeper into the pool until the water touched his shoulders. She could see Liz clinging to his neck, still scolding him, but the contented smiles on their faces were all Sas took note of.

What did it feel like to love and be loved so completely?

She knew from her parents that Max and Liz had gone through so much to finally be together. Maybe continual life-threatening situations made an already special love affair even more intense. It was as if they knew that each moment counted and they were thankful for them all. And they LIVED them all.

Even though there had been no threats against them in the past years, Mr. Evans remained fiercely protective of his wife and children. Apart from her father, who had strict instructions to be with Liz whenever Max wasn’t around, the kids all had people looking out for them. Max had relented about his kids having bodyguards all the time after many years of peace, but for some reason, James had never been asked to stop guarding Liz. Sas wasn’t sure if it was the result of just not bothering to change an existing situation. But then again, she had seen Max in full flight one night when he got home and no one knew where Liz was, and the complete panic that induced in the household. The raw emotion that had poured off him as soon as she appeared made Sas suspect that he had decided to keep a guard for Liz deliberately. People thought the rich Evans’ were eccentric for always having their servants with them and there once was a rumor around school that Mrs. Evans was having an affair with Sas’ father. Sas had panicked and had told Matt about it worriedly. Matt had laughed until there were tears in his eyes. He had thought it was the funniest thing he had ever heard and had promptly told her to invite the gossips to come visit his home. “I bet they would walk in on my parents in a clinch!” he had quipped at Sas with twinkling eyes.

Her eyes returned to the couple in the pool. They were talking to each other softly, the conversation interspersed with smiles and closer hugs. The ache in her chest grew sharper. Oh, to be held like that and listened to like that!

You could be. If you would only allow Matt in, a traitorous little voice reminded her. One she tried valiantly to squelch.

Her attention was still on the affectionate and playful couple in the pool when Matt came out to join his parents. He wore red swimming trunks and the sight of all that naked skin caused a rush of heat inside Saskia.

It’s not like she hasn’t seen him in swimming trunks before, but knowing how that chest feels pressed against hers and how warm his skin was, added potency to the mere acknowledgement of his beauty.

“Mom, Aunt Maria is on the phone.” He waved a cordless phone in the air and waited for his father to bring Liz closer to the edge so she could get out. They shared a few quick hard kisses before Matt pulled his mom out of the pool by her hand and she went off with the phone while Matt joined his father in the cool water.

She couldn’t tear herself away. She stared at them until they eventually got out and sat side-by-side at the side of the pool. What were they talking about, she wondered. They looked serious. Two identical dark heads were bent together and she could see that Max was listening to something his son was telling him.

It was about her. She knew it.

A deep sigh next to him had prompted Max to ask Matt about his morning. They all knew he had taken Sas on a picnic to try and talk things out, but he hadn’t said anything when he got back, so they had all assumed the worst.

“She is stubborn, but I’m not giving up, Dad,” were the first words out of his mouth, making Max smile.

A shy glance at his father revealed that his Dad was listening as if he was the only person in the world and it gave him courage to continue. “She… I think she likes me,” he said hesitantly. “There is no one else and she’s not mad at me for… you know…” he waved his hand vaguely.

As Max watched his son, he thanked providence that allowed him to be there for him. While Max had grown up, he had had to face so many things alone, guarding his secret, keeping his sister and friend safe, loving Liz and not knowing how to handle it. It hadn’t been his parents’ fault, he had kept so much from them in fear of what they would do if they knew they were raising aliens. He had promised himself the day Matt was born that his son would be able to talk to him about anything.

A worried note had crept into Matt’s voice. “But… she still doesn’t believe we could be together.”

“So, what now?”

“I don’t know. I need to make her see she is wrong, but… I’m not sure how.” He locked gazes with his father. “What do I do?”

Taking a deep breath, Max wondered what advise to give to his son. “Well, be yourself, for one. And…” a small smile lifted the corners of his mouth, “follow your heart.”

Matt sighed. “I will. But I need a battle plan.” He met Max’s eyes. “Spill, Dad. What do you do to get Mom to do what you want her to?”

A hearty chuckle broke from Max’s lips. “Are you trying to get me killed?”

“No,” Matt laughed too. “I just know you two play one another like pro’s and I’d like to know if there is a secret I should know. About women, I mean.”

“No, they’re all different,” Max informed him. “I just know what your Mom’s weaknesses are. I use them.”

“Like chocolate?”

Max laughed outright at this. “Sort of, but not quite!”

“Like what then?”

Casting a wary glance at Matt, Max wondered how much of this he could reveal without scarring his son for life. “Sci-fi novels, I can always bribe her with that. And,” a small pause, “and being kissed in this one spot in her neck…”

That shut Matt up and he made a production of staring at his feet, still hanging in the water.

“Sorry, did I embarrass you?”

“Uh… a little. She’s my mom, you know!”

“I’m sorry. It’s hard for me to think of her as anything but my perfect partner sometimes,” Max admitted.

The sun was still beating down on them harshly from the New Mexican sky.

“We kissed.” The statement hung in the still air.

Max kept quiet, waiting for Matt to go on.

“Lord, Dad, it was… awesome! I’ve NEVER felt like that before. Like she belonged with me.” He looked at Max to see if he understood. Matt mentally kicked himself. Of course his Dad understood! He was one half of a very famous intergalactic soul mate team.

“So, how did she feel about the kiss?”

“I think it freaked her out afterwards. But…” he cast around for the right words. “She liked it.” Another pause. “A lot,” he ended softly.

Looking down on his son’s bent head, Max suddenly knew how to help his son. It had taken him a while, but he had eventually learned what exactly made Liz melt in a puddle. Not in the normal romance and making love kind of way, but in the she-is-so-dazed-she-would-do-anything kind of way. Among other things, it was from kissing her. They kissed a lot and all the kisses were unique, but Liz was a sucker for his desperate kisses. The ones that said he couldn’t live another minute without kissing her.

A secret smile curved his lips. “So kiss her more.” As Matt’s head snapped up, he continued. “I’m not saying force her, I’m just saying keep reminding her what she is missing… And above all, keep telling her how you feel. Make sure you are a big part of her life. Help her with stuff. Drive her places. Talk to her.” Max chuckled again. “And if the opportunity arises, kiss her.”

More kissing with Sas? Hell yeah, he could do that! “That sounds like a good idea…”

“Just… Matt, you be careful with her, okay? Knowing someone’s weakness does not give you the right to abuse that person with the knowledge. Use it cautiously. Treat her like you would want someone to treat Belle.”

Matt grimaced. “I don’t know Dad. I don’t want anyone’s hands on my sister!”

Slapping him on the shoulder affectionately, Max reminded him. “Just remember that Saskia’s father is a bodyguard whenever you think about putting your hands on his daughter then! He probably feels the same way about her.”

Matt paled visibly. James was huge. He didn’t think he wanted the man ticked off at him. He glared at his father. Great, now he will live with the image of a vengeful James in his head every time he gets near Sas. “Thanks Dad,” he said sarcastically. And then more sincerely, “Thanks Dad.”

“Sure,” Max told him. “Now excuse me, your Mom has been waving at me frantically from the window for a few minutes and I have a suspicion it might be a Guerin emergency.”

“Good luck,” he called after his father before looking over at Sas’ window. She was in there, he knew it. Hiding from him.

He had no idea what made her doubt herself like that, but he was going to prove to her that she was the one for him. He would woo her and kiss her and she would be left in NO uncertainty as to exactly how much power she held over him.

Speaking of which, he slid into the cool water of the pool again. Damn, he was definitely experiencing some weaknesses himself!

Tonight he will do some planning, and tomorrow he will start breaking down Sas’ resolve.

He had to. He needed her.


posted on 7-Sep-2001 5:10:48 AM

A lovely aroma woke Saskia up the next morning. Her eyes opened lazily to see a bunch of flowers lying on her nightstand. Hastily sitting up, she noticed the drapes from her window fluttering slightly in the early morning breeze. Only two people ever climbed through her window at odd hours of the night and somehow she didn’t think Belle had left her the flowers.

Three yellow daffodils and three white tulips. Her favorites. Damn the man.

Much to the annoyance of his sister, who was still trying to sleep, Matt was practically hanging out of her second story window so he could see what was going on in Sas’ room. Belle’s was the only room with a view over the pool and the apartment. Just a section of her room was visible, but he still hoped he could maybe see what her reaction to the flowers was. He could see them lying on the edge of her nightstand. Was she awake yet, he wondered?

“You owe me coffee in bed for this intrusion, big brother,” Belle mumbled sleepily from underneath her covers. “Can you even see anything?”

“Not yet. And you’re right, I owe you big for now and for yesterday,” he said over his shoulder. Right now, he was prepared to owe things to a lot of people if only it would help him win Sas over.

Then… a slim hand reached for the flowers, picking them up and lifting them from his line of vision. He craned his neck, but to no avail. Just as he was cursing under his breath, she appeared in front of the window, the flowers pressed to her face. Matt nearly fell on his butt as he scrambled to get out of sight before she looked up. He ignored the small giggle coming from his sister’s bed and cautiously edged closer to the window again.

It looked like she had been given the best gift of her life. She was handling the flowers reverently, her fingers lightly touching the petals on each one. But most of all, he noticed the wistful smile on her face. Like she knew something precious was never going to be hers.

He wanted to run downstairs to surround her with his embrace and hold her until that smile turned into a happy one full of hope for the future.

Climbing through her window earlier, he had again been struck by her beauty. Her face had looked so sweet with its flushed cheeks and gently parted lips. It was all he could do to keep himself from kissing her awake. Her one thigh had been flung over the covers and he had allowed himself a minute to memorize every sleek line. But touching her would make her even more wary of him, so he had settled for whispering softly: “You are so beautiful,” before scrambling out of the window again.

After she had disappeared from the window, he sat quietly for a few minutes, wondering how it had happened that she had taken over his heart so completely. He hadn’t really noticed it at first. She had just always been there, part of his life. It was only after he kissed her so long ago and she started withdrawing from him, that he realized he didn’t want her to be gone from his life. He wanted her to BE his life.

“Coffee, Matt Evans,” Belle grumbled from the bed. “The peep show is over.”

He kissed Belle on the top of her head before going downstairs to make coffee. Yet another fancy new machine graced the counter top, making Matt grin widely. His parents could be so funny sometimes!

A little later, he went back upstairs with four cups of coffee. Depositing one on Belle’s nightstand, he hovered uncertainly beside her bed. “Belle, you won’t…”

“Tell Saskia you are plotting against her?” a sleepy voice came from beneath her pillow. “No, you’re secret is safe with me.”

“Thanks, sis.” She got another kiss, this time on her cheek. “I love you.”

“I love you too, but you are trying my patience with the incessant waking me up thing…”

“I’m gone,” he chuckled, walking off to his parents’ room.

The door was open for a change.

Inside, his mom was reading the paper in bed, leaning against the headboard, while his dad slept on his stomach, his arm thrown over his mom’s hips.

“Mom?” he called softly.

She looked up at him and held her finger to her mouth, mouthing ‘shhh’. “Dad was up late talking with Nick. There was some problem with one of our flights to Dendar.”

Nodding, Matt put their coffees next to their bed. He looked at his mother hesitantly. “Could I ask you a favor?”

Liz nodded, her hand finding Max’s and their fingers entwined automatically as Max pulled her closer to him in his sleep. In spite of the fact that his parents were obviously enjoying a great physical relationship, this is what Matt admired about them the most. The way they were always the uppermost in each other’s minds. It was evident in little things. Like finding his mom asleep on his dad’s lap in the TV room late at night, or the fact that his mom would sit and read in his dad’s study if he was there working late. The fact that his dad still gets upset if his mom is ill or that his mom kept making this weird pie thing for dessert that nobody but his dad liked. That they still held hands whenever they walked together and that his dad knew exactly what to do when his mom cried. And that his mom was the only person who could calm down his dad when things got intense. That they talked to each other and listened to each other.

They loved each other to distraction and they showed it.

And he wanted it too. With Sas.

“Well, uhm, I was wondering if we could… if YOU could invite Sas and her parents for lunch today?” he practically whispered. Both from fear that he would wake his father and from feeling vulnerable for asking.

“Of course!” Liz smiled at him, then glanced ruefully at Max. “Luckily I managed to actually buy some food yesterday, in spite of your father.”

Matt grinned. He had asked her once why she kept on taking his dad to the store with her if he was actually mostly in the way, and she had told him that she would rather have him in her way, than not see him. Their work kept them very busy and mostly apart, so they were jealous about the time they got to spend together.

He gave his mom a kiss on the cheek too. “Thank you.”

Max waited until Matt had left the room before pressing his lips to the bare skin where Liz’s drawstring pants had ridden low on her hips. Her startled gasp amused him.

“Sorry, honey, did we wake you?”

Nuzzling her hip, he smiled against her skin. “Not really, I was just being lazy.”

“Matt brought coffee.”

Sitting up to take the coffee from her, Max kissed her softly. “I can see he’s in love. He’s even getting up early!” He pulled Liz between his thighs so that she could lean back against his chest. “But then, we slept in the desert just to be alone!”

This caused a chuckle from Liz. “Yeah, we did.” She rubbed her hand over his thigh. “Are you feeling better about the ship thing?”

“Not really.” He was suddenly tense underneath her. “People died so needlessly.” His hand flattened over her stomach, thinking of that time 19 years ago when he and Liz had also been on a Dendarian ship and she had been pregnant with Matt. “I’m going to have to talk with the Dendarians, though. Before this turns into a diplomatic mess.”

She twisted around in his hold so she could meet his gaze. “Tell me what to do.”

Taking her coffee cup from her hand and placing it carefully next to the bed, he pulled her higher against his chest. “You can help me talk to the partners of those that died later today.” He kissed her nose lightly. “But let’s not talk about this anymore.” His mouth feathered over hers, teasing and tantalizing it.

“The door, Max,” Liz managed to whisper against his lips. He held out his hand towards it without breaking the kiss and it slammed shut resoundingly. His tongue-tip probed her lips, silently asking for her to open her mouth, but she teased him a little by keeping it closed. Changing tactics, he stroked his tongue over her lips, tracing their soft curves, over and over again, until Liz could hear herself moan softly. But still she kept her lips pressed together.

His mouth moved tantalizingly over her throat and then her jaw, covering every inch of her face but her lips, and Liz found herself moaning again, this time with longing. Unable to endure any more of his delicious torment, she put her hand against his face and turned his mouth to hers, exhaling in a soft swoon of relief as she finally tasted the hard warmth she had been aching for.

“Max…” She could hear herself whispering his name as she slid her fingers into his hair and clasped his head, probing the hard outline of his lips with small, darting thrusts of her tongue.

A shudder of pleasure went through both of them as they finally parted their lips and deepened the kiss. They poured their love into each other, sharing their deepest feelings and making each other complete.

Nothing could compare to this.


Matt was a mess by the time they all sat down to lunch around the huge table on the patio. He had insisted on helping his mother with the preparations and it had helped keep him busy, but now he had to woo Sas with her father just across the table from him. He was afraid he would have a nervous breakdown.

Saskia was in just as much of a state. She had freaked over what to wear and had finally managed to calm down somewhat, but the first thing she saw when she arrived at the table was the bunch of tulips and daffodils sitting as a centerpiece. Her eyes had flown to Matt and he had given her a small smile in acknowledgement. A bright blush over her cheeks had given her pleasure away, even after she looked away from him hastily.

Max and James were busy talking about the fire on board of the ship that killed some of their people, while Liz and Shilla talked about planning a party for all the kids after school got out for the summer. Belle and Sas were discussing a movie, but Matt merely watched Sas with dark eyes.

“What are your plans for summer, Saskia?” Liz asked later.

Not for all the money in the world could Sas stop her glance at Matt before she answered. “I-I thought I would go to camp in Canada…” She refused to look at Matt again, even though she could feel the weight of his stare.

“C-Canada?” Matt sounded shocked. Did she want to get away from him THAT badly?

Liz had seen her son pale and she also saw the worried glances Shilla kept aiming and Sas and Matt.

“I’m still deciding,” Sas muttered while continuing to stare at her plate.

“When would you have to leave?” It was like everyone but Matt and Sas had disappeared from the table.

“I don’t know, maybe two weeks,” she said softly.

His heart felt like it was going to jump out of his chest. He only had two weeks! “Sas, please—”

“We might be going to Tresar,” Liz interrupted him, causing his head to swing towards her. She made big eyes at him and looked pointedly at Shilla. Shilla, who had her whole attention on the interchange between Matt and Sas.

“We want you to come along if you can,” Liz spoke to James now.

“Of course we will come along!” he assured her immediately. “Just tell us when.”

Liz laughed. “Well, Sas has to get Matt through graduation first! I don’t know what we would’ve done if he didn’t have her to help him.” This caused a happy glow on Shilla’s face. “You all are great friends to us,” Liz said and squeezed Shilla’s hand, praying that she was helping her son.

Matt was miserable. Again. He had had it all planned out. He was going to be charming and flirt with Sas subtly all through lunch, but she has cut him to his knees with one sentence. This was becoming a test of determination. His to be with her, and hers to get away from him. And now he has managed to make her mother suspicious too. Great.

“Why don’t you three go get the dessert?” Liz asked Belle.

Belle bounded out of her seat immediately. “Come on you two!” She breezed into the house, a reluctant Sas and a muted Matt following. Just out of sight of the parents, she turned around. “Could you guys go along? I need to go get some aspirin in my room.” And she bailed, leaving Matt and Sass alone.

Keep walking, Sas told herself and managed to make it to the kitchen.

“Would you stop this, please?” Matt said urgently as soon as they halted.


“This… running away from me. From us.” His voice was firm now. She inhaled sharply as he stepped closer to her, taking her hand.

“Don’t, Matt…” she sounded weak, even to herself. “We can’t…”

He was even closer now. “No, YOU won’t let us,” he countered quietly.

She backed away, bumping into the counter. He followed her. “Please give me a chance,” he urged her. “I won’t ever hurt you, I promise.” He touched her face tenderly, skimming his fingertips lightly over her cheekbone, watching as her eyes fluttered closed.

“Please don’t go to Canada. I will… miss you too much.” His breath feathered over her lips, making her shudder. She couldn’t think when he was so near. His warm scent overwhelmed her, making her crave to be in his arms. She remembered how it felt to be kissed by him and felt light-headed with desire to experience it again.

Then she was.

He touched his mouth to hers gently, giving her time to pull away, but she stood frozen, allowing him to continue. It was a heartbreakingly gentle kiss. His arms wrapped around her, bringing her tightly against him as his mouth moved over hers tenderly.

A small sound in her throat signaled her surrender just before she started kissing him back. The kiss got deeper, but stayed gentle. A long, slow mating of their mouths.

It was Matt that finally broke away, breathing heavily as he stared down at her. “Please don’t leave,” he said again.

Belle arrived amid much noise, allowing them to step away from each other. Sas didn’t even notice that Belle didn’t seem surprised that nothing had been done about the dessert yet, she was too busy reeling from that kiss.

She could have handled passion and lust. But she was powerless against tenderness and caring.

Love, her little voice whispered again. He kissed you as if he loved you.

Shut up!


“I-I think we need to talk.” Hovering in her daughter’s doorway, Shilla wondered how to approach this. The room spoke of the closeness between Saskia and Matthew. Between Saskia and all the Evans’. Living on earth had been a real revelation to Shilla, but she was still confused as to how to handle her status with Max and Liz. And how to let her daughter handle it…

She knew what was coming. Sas sat on her bed, waiting breathlessly for her mother to start speaking. She could hear her own heart beat loudly in her chest. She was TRYING to stay away from Matt, couldn’t they see that? And couldn’t they see how hard it was for her?

Her mother was from the old school. She was nice and sweet, but she believed in staying in her place. Even though a lot of things have changed while they lived on earth and in America, she remained at heart, a servant girl from Dendar.

“What is going on between you and Matthew?” Shilla eventually asked after she had settled herself next to Sas on the bed.

“I…” She had no idea what to say to her mother. “We…”

Shilla rubbed her daughter’s leg comfortingly. “I don’t want you to get hurt later, sweetie. He is a very important young man.”

“I’m in love with him.” It just tumbled out. She was too afraid to look at her mother, fearing her reaction.

Sighing heavily, Shilla fought the panic of having her worst fear confirmed. “I can understand that, but… One day, he…” She fell silent. One day he will what? He will be the King of a planet that doesn’t exist anymore? He is going to have to marry someone from one of the other planets in a political match? Somehow she didn’t see Matthew’s parents asking that of him. All she knew was, she had to protect her daughter from a situation that could only end badly for her.

“I’m trying not to get involved with him, Mom, but he won’t leave me alone. He has decided that he wants to be with me and… and I don’t know how to make him stop.” And I don’t want him to stop.

“Is that why you want to go to Canada for camp?”

A defeated nod. “I don’t know what else to do,” Sas murmured.

“Then I will help you to go. We can’t do this, Saskia. Matthew needs to be free to get involved with someone… who is right for him.”

“Yeah.” Sas was starting to shiver now, but that small spark of rebellion inside that WANTED Matt and didn’t want to just give up on a chance with him, wouldn’t be silenced so easily. “But I don’t understand!” she blurted out. “Mrs. Evans was not someone important before she married Mr. Evans?”

“It’s complicated, Sas. This planet does not have a real servant class like we do. Not one into which you are born and for which you are marked for life,” she ended, showing Saskia the faded tattoo on her right wrist. “I’m so sorry for being… who I am,” she told her daughter fervently. “I’m sorry for causing you this heartache.”

“It’s not you, Mom. I don’t blame you.” Sas hugged her mother. “This situation is just horrible for a lot of people…” Pulling away, she looked met her mother’s gaze. “I’m hurting him, and… and it’s horrible for me to do that.”

Shilla’s eyes had widened at that comment. She wasn’t sure what was worse, the daughter of a servant getting involved with the Crown Prince, or the daughter of a servant upsetting the Crown Prince and, by implication, the whole royal family.

“We’ll make a plan, sweetheart, don’t worry,” she assured Sas, hugging her again. But inside, Shilla was quaking.


Moonlight shimmered silver on the water of the pool as Liz sat quietly in one of the deck chairs, writing in her journal. She still kept one, but now she wrote in it only once in a while. Most of what would usually have made it into the pages of this book, now made it to the ears of her ever patient husband.

Tonight though, she needed to get some of the heartache of the afternoon out of her system without adding to that of Max. She could feel him struggling to cope with the deaths of his people. There were only a small group of Antarians left and he cared about them all. The malfunction on the ship to Dendar was a stupid way to die for members of a group of people that survived a planetary holocaust.

Wiping away a tear, she heard soft footsteps and raised her head to see Sas walking towards the pool. She was wearing a demure one-piece and carried a towel in her hand, obviously unaware of anyone else’s presence.

“Hi Saskia,” Liz called softly, not wanting to frighten the girl.

Sas jerked around with a soft gasp. “Oh! Mrs. Evans! I’m sorry, I didn’t see you there. I’ll go, I don’t want to—”

“Don’t be silly! Stay.” Liz waved her hand at the pool.

Instead Saskia walked over to Liz. “Is everything alright?”

“I’m just… sad because of the accident.” She indicated a chair next to her and Sas sat down cautiously. “It makes you think, you know?” Liz continued. “Life is so precious. And it can be taken away so quickly.” Her gaze pinned Sas. “You have to make the most of every opportunity, grasp what life offers you.”

Sas nodded mutely. Liz obviously knew about Matt’s thing for her too.

Liz took her hand and squeezed it tightly. “Don’t let fear keep you from being happy. I nearly did that a long time ago and,” a shadow flitted across her face, “I wouldn’t have had the love of the most wonderful person I have ever known.”

Bending her head, Sas spoke tremulously. “I know I’m hurting Matt…”

“Yes, you are,” Liz confirmed. “But you are hurting yourself too.” She waited until Sas looked up, meeting her gaze. “Are you sure you have a valid reason for doing it?”

“The best reason,” Sas answered immediately. “I’m doing it for Matt.”

This silenced Liz momentarily. She leaned back in her chair, staring up at the stars. “Did you know I left Max once?”

Sas could not even fathom either of the Evans’ without each other. They were like a unit and she had just assumed it had always been like that. “No.”

“I thought I was the worst thing he could have in his life. There… was someone else that I thought he should rather be with. I made both of us really miserable.” She threaded her fingers through her dark hair. “But you know what? It turned out she would have been terrible for him.” Looking over, she noticed that Sas was listening with rapt attention. “The point I’m trying to make is, sometimes you don’t KNOW what is best and you can only follow your heart and let the future take care of itself. Max and I did, and I haven’t been sorry for one second of my life.”

Not knowing what to say, Saskia stared at the reflections of the stars on the water until Max came out of the house. He looked tired as he walked over to where Liz and Sas sat. She saw the way the two of them looked at each other and, not for the first time, she felt like throwing away all her wonderful plans for Matt and allow herself to love him fully.

“Hi Saskia,” Max greeted her kindly, bending over to scoop Liz up in his arms. “Sorry, I’m abducting Liz.” He stopped to allow Liz to pick up her journal, before pressing his lips against her temple. “I need you,” he whispered into his wife’s hair as he carried her away, causing tears to well into Sas’ eyes.

Such a simple statement. ‘I need you.’ But coming from such a strong man, it carried a powerful message. How she longed to be needed like that! How she longed to be able to tell someone she needed them.

Slipping into the water silently, she contemplated all that Liz had said to her. She was even more confused now. She would have to be a special kind of dense not to see that none of the Evans’ would mind her having a relationship with Matt. In fact, they all seemed to be upset with her for not giving in to him. Her mind whirled with contradicting thoughts as she swam from one end of the pool to the other. Over and over again, as if trying to outswim her demons.

Finally giving up, she floated lazily on her back, looking up at the same stars that Liz had stared up to a few minutes ago. And as she watched them, they started tumbling down towards her, floating softly on the night breeze, creating shimmering little paths against the dark night sky…


Matt had waited until his Dad took his Mom away before moving closer to the pool. He had planned to go see Sas in her room, but instead, he had found her sitting at the poolside with his mom. He couldn’t hear what they were talking about, but he had decided to give them some privacy.

Her swimming had eventually stopped and Matt knew he needed to make his move.

It took Sas a while to realize she was not hallucinating and she struggled upright in the water, her frantic gaze finally settling on Matt. He was standing on the edge of the pool, his hand held out over the water, causing a rain of sparkles over her. Her own private magic show.

He was not playing fair.

Letting his hand drop, he joined Sas in the water, swimming closer until he stood in front of her. The sparkles were glistening over the bare skin of her shoulders and chest, twinkling over the swell of her breasts.

She was struck dumb. Her breath had lodged in her throat and her heart was beating crazily in her chest. He was everything she ever dreamed of and more. And when he looked at her like he did now, she couldn’t even remember her own name.

“You take my breath away,” he told her softly, running a wet finger over her cheek and making her shiver.

“Matt…” She sounded so weak.

“Have you decided to give me a chance yet?” The intense look in his eyes belied the light tone of his voice.

“You’re not making it easy to fight you,” she admitted.

“That’s the idea,” he smiled at her crookedly. He stepped closer, until their bodies nearly brushed against each other. “I need you too much to just let you leave.”

‘I need you.’ With three words he made a little more of the wall around her crumble. She watched his face through spiky-wet eyelashes, silently begging herself to grasp the chance at paradise he was holding out to her.

He was waiting for her to make a move. To step away… or to step closer. It was up to her.

Many voices in her head cried for her attention all at once. Her mother’s: ‘we can’t do this, Sas’. Liz’s: ‘follow your heart and let the future take care of itself’. Her own: ‘I’m in love with him’. But loudest of all was Matt’s: ‘I need you’.

His breath hitched in his throat when she raised her head and met his gaze full on. He looked like he was steeling himself for another rejection.

Her hand trembled violently when she lifted it to touch his face. A soft helpless sound escaped him when her fingertips caressed the straight line of his jaw hesitantly. A shudder racked his body and she marveled that she had such an effect on him. He was standing rigidly, holding himself in check and allowing her the freedom to do whatever she wanted.

What DID she want, she wondered. What was she doing? This was not at all what she had planned to do, but it felt like her mind had detached itself from her body and her heart was ruling all her actions.

She flattened her palm against his face, cupping the side and rubbing her thumb over his skin. His eyes fluttered closed until those ridiculously long eyelashes rested against his cheeks.

“Sas…” he sighed her name.

Lifting her other hand, she splayed her fingers over his chest, feeling her body clench as his heat invaded her skin. She moved her hand experimentally, trailing it over him, amazed at his reaction. His breath rushed out of him, and he started to tremble.

“What do you want, Sas?” His eyes had opened and she hadn’t even noticed. But now they burned into hers, filled with hopes and fears and questions.

“Kiss me, please.” It was out and now she couldn’t recall it.

His eyes darkened even more. “And after I kissed you?”

“I… I don’t know,” she whispered.

He leaned closer, until his mouth was a breath away from hers. Until she could feel his heat envelop her. “You need to make up your mind then.” He pulled back a little, and she sighed in disappointment.

“Please Matt…” An edge crept into her voice. Desperation. Need. Want.

“You can kiss me too, you know.” His eyes were warm. He knew what he was asking of her. To take a huge leap of faith.

“My parents don’t want…”

“But what do YOU want?” It was so silent that it seemed as if the whole world was holding its breath for her answer. The whole world… and Matt.

Closing her eyes, she admitted it. Finally. “You. I want you.”


posted on 7-Sep-2001 5:19:09 AM

For a moment, Matt feared that his heart would leap out of his chest. Her words nearly made his knees give out. You. I want you. There were no sweeter words in any language. He took a long, deep, shuddering breath, closing his eyes in an effort to stem the avalanche of emotion those few words had caused inside him.

When his eyes opened again, they were black with hunger and need and love. They blazed into hers until she whimpered softly in response.

It didn’t matter who initiated the kiss. Only that they were in each other’s arms. Sas molded herself to Matt, clinging to his shoulders as he kissed her breathless.

This is where she belonged.

Every brush of their lips confirmed it. His sure hands on her back, arching her closer to him, the perfect fit of his body against hers, they all sang one resounding message to her already overloaded senses. You cannot live without this man.

Matt was dizzy with relief and joy. She wanted him! She wanted to BE with him! No matter what happened to them in future, he would always have this moment in his heart. He tried to tell her with his kiss how wonderful she was to him. How incredibly lucky he felt that she was in his arms like this.

Throwing her whole heart into the kiss, Sas lifted herself to tiptoes so she could get closer to him, deepening the kiss even more. Her tongue tangled with his, dancing in time with his. She has never kissed anyone like this before, but it just came naturally.


Gently lying Liz down on their bed, Max followed her, cradling her against him almost urgently. He felt like he wanted to lose himself inside her, to forget all the sadness that he has seen today. But he was afraid that he would hurt her, his control was very tenuous tonight.

“I love you so much, Max Evans,” Liz told him softly. His anguish was making itself felt through their connection and Liz knew he needed to hear something positive. Something life-giving. “More every day.” She caressed his face and kissed his closed eyelids tenderly.

“Thank you.” His voice was strained. He was trying to hold everything back again.

Pushing him until he was sprawled on his back, Liz crawled over him until she was stretched out over his entire length. His hands came up to grip her hips tightly, but other than that, he lay still. She kissed him everywhere she could reach, running the tip of her tongue over his tense jaw-line, pressing soft kisses over his cheeks and chin. All the while murmuring sweet words of love to him. To the man that had saved her life when she was 16 and had saved it so many times since. To the man that had stayed by her side through so many ups and downs. The man that had loved her with all that he was through two lifetimes. The father of her children. Her only lover for endless years.

He held her to him tightly, but he was not making any moves to make love to her and Liz knew he was holding a tight reign over himself. It would be up to her to get him to release all that pent-up emotion.

His eyes popped open as she wriggled from his hold and she stood next to the bed, lifting her hands to the fastening of her dress, letting it pool to the floor.

Max’s heart pounded in his chest and his blood rushed through his veins like liquid fire. The fragile grip over his desire to lose himself in her body slipped a little more. Breathing became impossible.

“Liz?” Her name escaped on a tight croak. Did she know what she was about to unleash?

“I know. You need this. You need me.” She joined him on the bed again.

All doubts fled the minute her hands landed on his chest and smoothed aside the open vee of his shirt until it tightened around his biceps. He attempted to reach for her and heard the rip of material as he stretched his arms.

He caught the gleam of satisfaction in her eyes before she leaned into him, nuzzling her mouth against his neck. He groaned, his body trembling as her tongue tasted and her teeth scraped along his throat. Her palms were cool against his heated flesh, shaping his chest and then skimming along the taut flesh of his belly. The buttons on his shirt hindered her exploration, and she let out a frustrated sound. Then, to his dazed amazement, she grabbed the sides of his shirt and yanked, sending the buttons flying across the room.

“Liz, Shani…” He was unable to force more coherent words.

She gently pushed him backward, until his shoulders pressed against the headboard. Before he could say anything, her mouth covered his and she gave him an incredible, searing kiss. Denying his need for her became a distant thought.

Shrugging out of his shirt, he pulled her body tight against his and ran his hands over whatever bare, warm flesh he could find. He came up against the barrier of her panties and growled impatiently, sliding his fingers under the elastic band.

Liz broke their kiss and pushed away his hands, her breathing ragged. “Not yet, love. I’m not through with you.”

“Not through?” The question was choked.

She shook her head and smiled. “I want you to think of nothing but me for a while… Let me love you.”

She placed lingering kisses along his shoulder and lower, her tongue tracing patterns over his chest.

His breath left him in a rush when she shimmied lower on the bed, pressing her mouth to the taut muscles rippling in his belly. Tossing her head back, she held his gaze while she worked his belt loose and proceeded to undress him completely.

Her hands skimmed up his tense thighs and over his hips, then she proceeded to drive him crazy with her touch and her mouth.

Closing his eyes, he tangled his fingers in her silky hair, groaning at the pleasure consuming him. Until he had to pull her back up the length of him or lose it completely. Framing her face in his hands, he kissed her while he rolled her underneath him. It took only a few moments to remove her last garment.

Settling himself over her, he locked their hands at the side of her head. “You are the best thing that ever happened to me,” he said feelingly, his body quaking with need.

She curled her legs around the back of his thighs and urged him forward, to where she was hot and wet and ready for him. “Love me, Max,” she whispered.

His body shuddered in relief. Staring into her dark, chocolate eyes, he slowly entered her. They shared a mutual groan of pleasure, and she arched with a sharp gasp and raised her knees around his waist, taking him deeper.

Despite of how many times he has made love with her, he suddenly couldn’t get enough of her, couldn’t get deep enough inside. They were alive and together and the universe has gifted them with more time to glory in their one-of-a-kind love.

The knots inside him unraveled and were replaced with feelings of awe and love so powerful his body trembled. He moved faster, triggering a breathless cry from Liz as they both reached the peak and tumbled over the edge together.

When he regained a normal breathing pattern he moved off Liz and pulled her close to his side, cradling her in his arms. She buried her face in his neck and let out a long, content sigh.

“I love you,” he murmured.


The cold had finally forced them from the water and Matt had wrapped a big towel around both him and Sas, after sitting down on one of the loungers next to the pool and easing her onto his lap. They couldn’t stop kissing. And Sas was clinging to him as if she was afraid he would disappear if she let him go.

Eventually, they needed oxygen and he eased back slightly, warmed by her disappointed little whimper. Pressing his cheek against hers, he heard himself breathing hard, like he had run a marathon. In a lot of respects, chasing this girl had been one. One that he hoped was over now.

“No more running from now on, okay? Promise me.” He felt her shiver against him as his words feathered over her ear. A small smile curved his mouth. “Unless it’s TOWARDS me.”

“I-I promise…”

It made his heart soar, even if it sounded hesitant. Pulling back he searched her worried eyes. “What?”

“My parents… They don’t think…” Seeing the concern in his gaze made it easier somehow. This was Matt. He wouldn’t dump her at some future date for someone else because of who she was… would he? It all tumbled out of her in one long rush of words. Her parents were servants, both here and on Dendar and they felt she was not meant for him. That he was meant for higher things that would one day exclude her. That she’s seen all the rich girls going to school with them trip all over themselves to impress him.

It stunned him into a shocked silence and, while he loved her parents like family, he couldn’t help being angry with them for doing this to Sas. Matt took his alien heritage seriously and he would always be ready to do his duty for his people. But one more thing that elevated his father to hero status in his own eyes, was the fact that Max had openly defied a pre-determined path towards a mate. Instead, he had chosen with his heart and the consequences of that were visible all around him. Max’s people loved Liz. And she had turned a stranger on this planet into the human being he was today, as well as the alien king he needed to be. She challenged him and complimented him and loved him until he was free to reach his full potential.

“I’ll talk to them,” he finally said firmly.

“No!” Sas sounded panicked. “I… I feel like I am going against them, Matt. For the first time in my life. And I don’t like it. I—”

“You’re not going to…” He was too afraid to even say it.

She touched his face. “I just need time to think of a way to handle this.” Looking at him pleadingly, her hand tightened in the towel. “Please, I just need a little time.”

“Time away from me too?” he asked worriedly.

“No…” she blushed and bent her head. How could she tell him that being more than two steps away from him from now on was going to kill her? “Just… time while my parents don’t know about us.”

His frown cleared up. “You want us to keep this a secret?” He smoothed his hand over her wet hair, drying it in the process. “I have to tell you, I would rather just tell your parents and face the consequences. And besides, my family has an incredible knack of weaseling secrets out of each other.”

She was quiet, obviously thinking about what he said.

“I could always just… order your parents to let us be together.” But as soon as he said it, he cringed. It would just make it look like he was lording it over servants anyway. “No wait, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean…” Sighing, he hugged her tighter. “Could you maybe talk to my mom? She might be able to help us.”

The cold night air was making her shiver again. “Okay. But Matt, please let me deal with this in my own way. All I ask is that we wait a little before telling the whole world.”

Standing up, he pulled her into his body. “As long as you understand that I don’t intend allowing you to stay away from me. And that I can’t let this secrecy thing go on too long.” He kissed her forehead gently.

“Okay.” She nestled against him, feeling protected and cared for on a level she has never experienced before.

“Besides, how can you deck Becky for harassing me if she doesn’t know I belong to you?” he teased.

“Matt!” she chuckled, but the glow in her heart got brighter at his words.

Tangling his fingers in her hair, he tugged her head back. “Do you think… you could stay with me tonight?” Her eyes widened and he hastened to add. “No, I don’t mean… I’ve missed you sleeping in my room. In my bed.” He kissed her nose. “And I don’t want this night to end.”

“Me either.” Her voice was husky.

They went up to his room silently, holding hands until he had closed the door behind them. He scrounged up one of his shirts and a pair of sweatpants for her that she put on in his bathroom and he pulled on sweats as well while he waited for her. No need to tempt themselves with too much bared skin.

He sat down on the edge of his bed, pulling her into his lap again. “Did I scare you, that night, when I…?”

Smiling at him, she shook her head. “No. My own reactions scared me.”

He seemed awed by that. “Really?”

Sliding a hand around to cup his jaw, she urged his mouth up to hers. Her lips were warm and soft upon first contact, her mouth sweet when it opened to meet the glide of his tongue. The kiss was slow and lazy, but before long the tenor changed, growing more hungry and urgent.

The kiss went on and on, lifting them both to new heights of desire and longing. Mouths still fused, she twisted and turned in his lap, and he helped her, guiding her with his hands until she faced him and her legs straddled his hips. By then, they were both breathing hard.

Tumbling back onto the bed, Matt fought to keep himself from going too fast. He had dreamed of her, wanted her for so long, that this was pure torture. She kept frustrating his efforts to keep her lower body away from his arousal by squirming closer. Finally, he gave up and crushed her into him, from mouth to calf, hearing her make a purring sound in her throat.

Frantically, he tore his mouth from hers, trying to catch his breath and speak at the same time. “Please… we have to stop.” She seemed a little dazed, so he caught her roving hands in his own. “Please,” he begged.

Eventually, she nodded, her eyes moving shyly away from his. Kissing the tip of her nose again, he strove to reassure her. “I’m trying not to lose my head here, sweetheart. But you are one hell of a temptation.” He smiled crookedly. “You don’t know what it means to me to know you feel this way about me.” Catching her chin, he forced her to meet his eyes. “That you want me too.”

She gasped in embarrassment, streaks of heat creeping over her cheeks.

He groaned. “Let me get the sleeping bag—”

Grabbing his hand, she kept him from getting up. “Could you… stay with me?”

He hesitated only a second. “Yes.” Lying back down, he spooned their bodies together, slipping his arms around her waist and holding her tightly. “I’ll make sure we wake up in time.” He pressed a kiss against her shoulder. “Sweet dreams, Sas.”

She entwined her fingers with his on her stomach. “Goodnight.” My Prince.


“Wake up, big brother!”

Belle’s cheery greeting was met with a groan. Matt was lying sideways on his bed, the way he had fallen into it after walking Sas home before sunrise. He had woken up with her still curled into his body and he had allowed himself a few moments to bask in how wonderful that felt. She had seemed so peaceful that he had hated waking her. Instead, he had opted for pressing light kisses all over the side of her face until she rolled over and threw her arms around his neck. Lord, how he loved kissing her!

The memory of those dawn kisses was threatening to have a severe effect on his body and he sat up abruptly, rubbing his hands through his hair while squinting at his sister.

She was grinning like a Cheshire cat.

“What?” he asked her, but he had a suspicion playing innocent was futile.

“You DO know I have a perfect view of the pool area, don’t you?” She was laughing at him now. “My brother the Romeo!”

“Belle,” he said threateningly.

Scooting closer, she hugged him. “I’m glad you two worked it out.”

He hugged her back, loving his little sister for being so nice. She didn’t just look like their mother, she WAS like her too. Kind and lively. And an incurable romantic.

“Okay,” Belle said, pulling away, “now that you two are together, I can start making your lives miserable!” She rubbed her hands together gleefully, her dark eyes sparkling with mirth.

Matt groaned again. “Not yet, please!” He caught Belle’s hands in his. “Listen to me…” He told her about the mess with Sas’ parents and that they wanted to keep their relationship secret for a while.

It was actually comical to see Belle’s face fall with disappointment. “That is so weird,” she said. “How can they think that?”

Matt sighed. “I don’t know. But keep this to yourself for now, we have to give her space, okay?”

Her twinkling eyes warned him she was up to something as she bounced off his bed and went to the door. “I don’t think space is going to be MY problem with her! YOU were the one trying to inhale her last night!” She fled just as Matt’s pillow hit the wall next to her, her tinkling laugh echoing through the house.

Later, at the breakfast table, the whole family seemed in good spirits. Belle was chattering about a movie she’s seen and Matt couldn’t get the grin off his face. His mother had given him a few questioning looks, but hadn’t said anything. It didn’t bother him too much, there was no way he would manage to keep his joy and the reason for it secret from her for long anyway.

His Dad seemed more tired than before he had gone to bed. Matt wondered briefly what THAT was all about, until he noticed the looks his parents were giving each other. Ohh-kay! Scrap that! He did NOT want to know why his Dad looked worn out this Monday morning!

Another horrible thought crossed his mind. What if Sas had started panicking again after he left her this morning? What if she had suddenly decided that she needed space from him too so she could sort out stuff with her parents? He jumped up, startling his family into silence. “We need to go, Belle! We’ll, uh… we’ll be late for school.”

His sister frowned at him, but got up dutifully, grabbing her backpack. They kissed their parents on their cheeks and Matt fairly raced out the door towards his Jeep.

Max and Liz looked at each other and Max sighed. “So, should I talk to him about sleepovers now?”

Smiling, Liz patted his hand. “Yes, you should.”

Outside, Sas was nowhere in sight, increasing Matt’s agitation. He didn’t even notice Belle climbing into the backseat, silently giving up her place of honor next to Matt in the Jeep.

When Sas finally came around the corner of the house, Matt had to curb his wild urge to run over to her to make sure she hadn’t had a change of heart. He watched her progress towards him, and his heart lifted with happiness when she met his gaze and gave him a small, shy smile. He felt his body relax, and the icy fingers that had gripped his chest slide away. He waited so he could open her door for her, something his Dad was still doing for his Mom after all these years, and rubbed his hand down her back as she moved past him into the car.

That’s when he noticed that the seating arrangement had changed and jerked his gaze towards his smiling sister. Impulsively, he leaned into the back window, giving Belle a smacking kiss on her cheek.

Belle waited until Matt was rounding the hood of the Jeep, before leaning forward and hugging her friend from behind. “I’m so happy for you,” she told Sas softly.

Shocked at first, Sas wondered if she should scold Matt for blabbing to his sister, but then she decided that Belle had probably found out by herself. Her cheeks started to flame. Had Belle seen them, or even worse, HEARD them out by the pool last night?

“I saw you two last night,” Belle answered her unspoken question. “And only threats of death from my brother is keeping me from making a big public fuss about it.” Sas had to stifle a giggle at this.

Matt was getting into the driver seat and he noticed that he had missed something. “What is going on?” he glared at his sister. He was sure she had something to do with whatever was going on.

“Nothing!” Both girls said at the same time, increasing his trepidation. What was he in for between Belle and Sas now that they both know what his weakness was?

They were early for school.

Luckily, Belle was an overachiever who immediately rushed off to find one of her study partners to discuss something. This left Matt and Sas standing awkwardly next to the Jeep.

“I’m not sure how to act around you suddenly,” Sas admitted with a slight blush. Good grief, she had spent the best part of last night in this man’s arms, either making out or sleeping!

“Well,” Matt reached for her hand only to check himself and shove it in his pocket, “follow me and I’ll show you.” He began walking off and Sas hastened to keep up with his long strides. She was even more confused when he led her into the gym and held his hand over the lock before turning to her and taking her hand.

“What are you doing?” she asked incredulously as he pulled her after him towards one end of the basketball court. He brought them to a halt underneath the net and slid his arm around her, curving her closer to his body. “I remember last year, we were goofing off before practice one afternoon and you body checked me right here, making me fall on my butt before half of my teammates.”

She remembered it alright. It had been the first time she noticed Matt being careful about not hurting her while they played basketball.

He touched a forefinger to her nose. “I wanted to kiss you so badly that day.”

Her breath lodged in her throat.

“So I thought I could make that fantasy come true right now.” He bent closer to her, his eyes on her lips. “Do you mind?” he breathed.

Was he insane? “No.”

She slipped her arms around his neck as he finally claimed her mouth, kissing her tenderly while gathering her even closer to him. His lips were warm and his tongue made little trails inside her mouth, exploring every inch of her. Where did he learn to kiss that way? She sighed blissfully, teasing him back with her tongue until he groaned and deepened the kiss. A small thrill of feminine power surged through her at his immediate reaction, his hungry response to such a tiny action from her.

The insistent ringing of the first bell brought them out of their passionate little world. Matt gave her a final kiss before unlocking the door and pushing her out first. This was going to be a long day…

It was. Matt hardly saw Sas and the one time he did, some girl that he hardly knew was trying to give him her phone number. Needless to say, sparks flew from Sas’ eyes when she saw that!

Oh, and the new guy Gordon? He was still hanging around Sas. Matt resolved again that this secret would not be allowed to stay one for long. He wanted the right to be obnoxious to guys that are interested in Sas.

The drive home, after the interminable day, was quiet. Matt had just been reminded by Irwin and Tom that they had made plans weeks ago to go out to shoot some pool that night. He couldn’t very well ditch his friends just because it felt weird to spend the night without Sas. They were clueless about his new relationship and Sas would probably not appreciate him hanging out in her room all night while she was still thinking about how to approach things with her parents. He sighed deeply. Not exactly the night he had hoped for.

His parents weren’t home yet by the time he had showered and dressed, so he was a bit surprised when there was a soft knock at his door. Opening it, he found Sas standing nervously on the other side. “I just came to say good night,” she admitted. “You will probably be home late…”

He pulled her into his room and kicked the door shut. “Sas, I’m sorry, I organized this a long time ago…”

“I know. It’s not a problem. You should enjoy yourself!” She gave him a hug. He looked utterly delectable in a dark sweater.

“Are you upset about something?” he asked. She seemed out of sorts.

Perching on the edge of his bed, she bit her lip. “No, my mother just said that we should talk to my Dad about me going to Canada tonight…”

A momentary panic flooded him and he sat down beside her. “What will you do?”

“I don’t know!” She grabbed his hand, clinging to it. “I… I guess I’ll have to tell them I changed my mind.”

“Do you want me to stay? So I can be here after you talked to them?”

She took a deep breath. “No, I’ll be fine.” She got up reluctantly. “You have to go or you’ll be late.”

“Yeah.” But he felt like staying.

They kissed a little desperately before Matt opened his door for her, still holding her hand tightly.

And came face-to-face with his mother.

Liz took it all in with one sweeping glance. The hurried way in which Matt dropped Sas’ hand, the puffiness of Sas’ mouth, Matt’s mussed hair. She hid a smile. “Hi Sas, are you guys going out tonight?”

An innocent question, the two of them went out all the time as friends, but this time they froze like deer in headlights.

“Uhm, no,” Matt eventually stuttered. “I’m going out with the guys.”

“Oh, okay, well enjoy it!” Liz breezed down the hallway, leaving two shaken teens in her wake.


Staring at her hand lying on the table, the same one that Matt had held so tightly only a couple of hours ago, Sas wondered if the earth might not just swallow her whole and save her from this uncomfortable discussion. Her mother had explained to her father that she wanted to go to Canada, but didn’t mention the Matt angle at first.

Her father had been stunned. “But we are going to Tresar with the Evans’!” He looked over at his darling daughter. “Would you really want to be away from us for so long?” He sounded a little hurt.

“No, Daddy!” Now was as good a time as any. “Maybe I was a bit… hasty… I could go to camp another time.”

Her mother had looked first confused, then aghast, then suspicious. “You really wanted to go last night,” she reminded Saskia.

“I-I know.” Sas didn’t know what to say to her mother.

“Well, Shill, if she’s changed her mind, let her come with us,” James said with a relieved note in his voice. He would feel weird letting his daughter out of his sight for so long. Many years spent guarding Liz Evans had taught him a lot about all the craziness that existed in this universe.

That was when Shilla spilled everything about the Matt angle. James was quiet as he listened to the story. A long silence stretched between all of them as they waited for his reaction.

“So, Matthew is interested in you?” he finally asked.

“Yes, Daddy.”

He paused, his brows furrowed in thought. “And you?”

Sas clenched her hands into fists. “I’m in love with him too.” She held her breath after her brazen declaration.

The pregnant pauses were becoming disconcerting.

“Why don’t you let me and your mother talk about it?” James said eventually.

“Please, Daddy! Would it really be so wrong for us to be—”

James patted her hands. “We’ll talk later, okay?”

It had left her no other option but to walk slowly outside. She sank down on the same chair where Matt had kissed her so passionately last night. What a place to wait for a decision that might break your heart. The same stars were twinkling in the sky… And yet everything was different…


posted on 7-Sep-2001 5:26:59 AM

It was eleven by the time Matt got home. He had annoyed his friends the whole time they were playing pool because he was worrying about what Sas’ parents were going to say to her and wasn’t concentrating on their game. So he ended up coming home earlier. Running into the house, he found his sister, curled up on a couch in front of the TV, fast asleep.

Sighing, he picked her up and carried her up to her room.

“Matt?” Belle’s sleepy voice halted him when he was on his way out her door.


She sat up suddenly, looking at him with concern. “You better go see, Sas.”

A hand of fear clutched at his heart. “Why?”

“I found her by the pool earlier, she seemed upset, something about her Dad wanting to talk to Dad.”

He had to force himself not to run from the room. “Okay. Thanks, sis.”

Outside, he bumped into Max, coming back from the kitchen with some tea. An idea popped into his head. “Dad, could I talk to you?”

Max looked a little surprised. “Uhm, yeah sure. Just let me get this to your mom.” They walked into the master bedroom together, finding Liz asleep, sprawled on her stomach over some papers. Max chuckled and put the tea down on the bedside table before gently extracting the papers from underneath her. He brushed her hair from her face and bent down to kiss her temple. “Goodnight, sleeping beauty.”

Turning around, he looked at Matt. “Let’s go sit in the kitchen.”

Downstairs, they faced each other across the kitchen table, each with some Tabasco laced hot chocolate that Matt had prepared quickly.

“It’s about Sas,” Matt stated. “Actually, it’s about me and Sas.”

“Okay,” was all Max said. His Dad was the calmest person around. How, Matt never knew, since the weirdest things keep happening to their family.

“So,” Matt looked away from his father’s penetrating gaze, “we’ve kind of worked out our problems and we’re… together now. Sort of.” Well, THAT sounded lame.

Again, the only reaction from Max was a nod and Matt wondered if he would ever be able to surprise his parents.

“But she… Her parents believe they are our servants and she’s not good enough for me or something. Can you believe that?” Okay, so he HAD managed to surprise his Dad with something.

“Her father will probably want to talk to you…” From Max’s surprise, Matt surmised that James had not been over yet. This was the best time to be pro-active about warning his father what was coming. “Could you please tell him he is wrong?”

Max rubbed his face, a sure sign that he was thinking things over. Then he pinned Matt with his gaze again. “Let’s talk about something else first.”

Shifting uneasily on his chair, Matt decided that this sounded ominous.

“Are you sure about you and Sas?” Max asked, holding up his hand when Matt wanted to interrupt. “You know how much we love you and we want you to be happy. And Sas means a lot to your Mom and I too and we don’t want either of you to get hurt. So if this is just hormones or a crush or something, I want you to think twice about getting her into trouble with her parents.”

Matt took a deep breath. “Dad, I want to marry her some day.”

“Okay then.” Max accepted his word for it immediately, sitting back in his chair. “You have to understand that the class system on Dendar is still very much present,” he explained, “however weird it might be for us that grew up on earth. And you have to respect how hard it is going to be, especially for Shilla, to get used to you and Sas being together.”

“I know that, Dad, but could you at least assure them that it’s not a problem for us… for you and Mom.”

“I can do that, but I’m guessing Shilla isn’t as worried about us as she is about what the reaction on Dendar is going to be when the heir to the Antar throne pitches up with someone they deem a servant on his arm. She might just be trying to spare her daughter all the gossip.”

This silenced Matt, he had never thought of it that way. “But what was so different about you and Mom?”

“Again, it might be an artificial difference to us, but to the people on Dendar, your mother did not come from a group of servants according to THEIR class system. There is a difference for them.”

“But Sas is half-Antarian, won’t that make a difference?”

“It might. We won’t know until we see the reaction on Dendar.” Max was still watching his son carefully. “So, let’s talk about how you are going to handle this relationship.”

This brought Matt’s head up with a jerk, his eyes widening. “Uhm, you HAVE given me THE TALK already, Dad,” he reminded.

“I know I told you what sex was, now I’m going to tell you how a relationship should work. Or,” he paused, “at least how I think it should work.”

Oh, crap, Matt thought. “I haven’t had sex with her if that’s what’s bothering you.”

Max actually grinned. “No, it wasn’t bothering me.” He ran his fingers through his hair. “In the light of the very unusual circumstances between your mother and I when we were your age, I’m not really sure how to handle this,” he admitted. “I know you and Sas have known each other your whole lives, so it doesn’t seem like you are starting a new relationship now, but trust me, you are. Being friends with someone and dating them are two different things altogether.”

Matt just nodded, at a loss as to how to respond to this.

“So, what I’m trying to say is, don’t rush into sex. There are a LOT of things you two can explore before you take that step. You also need to respect her decision and timing on this too, it’s not just up to you and your, uhm, hormones. I just… It should to be special.”

“It will be,” Matt assured him.

“You need to make sure she knows you have made a real commitment to her. Don’t let her feel like this is just—”

“She’ll know, trust me!”

“Okay, then, the last thing I’ll ask is that you respect her parents in this issue. She’s not eighteen yet and however technical that point might be to you, this is their only daughter we are talking about.”

Matt had a brief flash of a livid James and swallowed, causing Max to grin. “Yeah, I know how you feel. Your mom’s parents scared the crap out of me in the beginning! They viewed me with serious mistrust. Never mind their reaction when they found out I wasn’t exactly human.” Max turned serious and a look of remorse flashed in his eyes. “At least you won’t be willfully putting Sas in danger like I did your mother. I couldn’t really blame your grandparents for getting upset with me.”

Looking at his father, Matt realized for the first time that his parents had had an even rougher ride than he knew about. Of course he and Belle had heard the wonderful tale of his father living two lives and loving his mother in both. And that they had been in mortal danger a number of times when they were younger. But he had never really considered the intense heartache that must have been part of that earlier period of their relationship. Observing them now, you wouldn’t think they could ever bear to be apart and yet it had happened a few times in their lives.

In a world where most people went through romantic partners like paper towels, his parents stood out like sore thumbs. His Dad had never dated anyone else and he seems to think that he didn’t miss out on anything. And the way his mom wilted whenever his Dad was away for too long made it clear that there would be no one else for her ever again either. In a world of cheap love and even cheaper sex, they were an enigma.

Blinking, Max came out of his reverie to see his son staring at him speculatively. “Okay, so I don’t think sleepovers is a good idea for now,” he diverted the conversation back to Matt.

“We’re not DOING anything—”

“Yeah well, let me just say that I know about sleepovers and what they can lead to, and until you and Sas have the full blessing of her parents for whatever you are doing, I can’t let you flout their rules in our house. Okay?” Matt’s disappointed face made him temper his statement a little. “I had to lie to a lot of people my entire life, I don’t want you to make a habit out of it too. So, sort out things with Sas’ parents and then we’ll talk about sleeping arrangements.”

Max got up from the table. “I’m going to bed, your mother is whining in my ears because I’m missing.”

Matt just shook his head. His parents’ freaky connection still amazed him sometimes.


She was lying on her side, facing away from him when he crept up to her window. Indecisive, Matt faltered outside. He didn’t want to wake her up, but he also desperately wanted to know if she was okay. Maybe he could just sneak inside and look at her for a few moments…

When he rounded the bed, he saw that she was awake, staring off into space. Her eyes widened in shock when he appeared next to her suddenly.


“Hey, sweetheart.” The endearment slipped out unplanned, catching them both unawares. Covering his embarrassment about the term, Matt sat down on the side of her bed, rubbing a hand down her arm. “How are you? What did your parents say?”

Sighing, Sas pushed herself upright and leaned her head against Matt’s shoulder. “I don’t know what to think. All my Dad said was that he wanted to talk to your father too before making a decision about us. This is SO unfair!” she whispered fiercely. “I don’t like them all discussing us like we don’t have a say in this.”

Matt smiled and kissed the top of her head. Good, she was showing some spunk. “I spoke to my Dad just now, so he is prepared for your parents. I don’t think we have to worry anymore.”

She looked up at him hopefully. “You think? I couldn’t read my parents, but…”

He touched his forefinger to her nose in a gesture that was becoming so familiar to her. “Don’t worry, okay? It’ll work out.”

“I hope so. My Dad looked sort of forbidding when he said he will talk to your Dad…” Sas still looked doubtful.

Thinking to divert her attention, Matt nuzzled her hair. “What? I’m out all night and I don’t even get a kiss?”

This earned him a small smile and Sas leaned forward with a blush creeping over her cheeks. The kiss was feather-soft, barely touching his lips and only succeeded in making him want more.

Twisting around, Matt pulled her closer to him and covered her mouth with his. Kissing Sas was fast becoming an addiction to him. She tasted sweet and warm and like all his tomorrows wrapped up in one incredible package.

They ended up lying on the bed again, with Matt on his side next to Sas, his right hand fisted in her hair holding her still for the invasion of his tongue. He gloried in each soft sound he wrung from her, in every little sigh of pleasure and in each restless movement of her hands on his body.

So many emotions overwhelmed her when he was holding her like this. Need and desire were among them, but most of all she felt such love that it threatened to bring tears to her eyes. She pulled away from Matt’s drugging kiss and looked up into his eyes. “Matt, I…” I love you. But she couldn’t say that. Not yet. “Thank you. For choosing me.”

He seemed humbled by her words. “You are so special, how could I not?” he returned. Looking deep into her eyes, he bit his lip and then spoke. “Sas, I—”

“Hello, Matt.”

It was James. Standing in his daughter’s doorway with folded arms.



Kicking himself mentally, Matt sat up slowly, trying to look like he wasn’t embarrassed as hell being caught making out with Sas on her bed. At least his hands hadn’t been any place indecent. But it still wasn’t how he wanted to face her father about dating her for the first time.

“Hi James,” he finally managed. He couldn’t make out a thing from James’ unreadable expression and he was getting more nervous by the minute.

“Isn’t it a bit late for visits to my daughter’s room?” James asked, his eyes boring into Matt.

“Daddy!” Sas was scrabbling to get into a less embarrassing position.

Feeling at a distinct disadvantage, Matt got up, smoothing his hands down the legs of his pants. “Yeah, I’m really sorry, but I just wanted to see if Sas was okay…”

James’ eyes narrowed. “Why wouldn’t she be?”

Shut up, Matt cautioned himself. All his words were achieving was digging him into an ever-deepening hole. He felt Sas slipping her hand into his as she got off the bed to stand next to him. Matt had a vivid flash of the tank top she was wearing and he swallowed nervously. Not a good idea to let her father see how little she had been wearing when he was all but ravishing her just now. But he gave her hand a reassuring squeeze anyway.

“Daddy, Matt was just saying good night,” Sas tried to help the situation.

“At one in the morning?” James asked dryly. “Why don’t you go home, Matt. I’ll come over tomorrow morning to speak to you and your father.”

Crap. Again.

His father was going to kick his ass for this. Immediately after he promised his Dad that he would respect Sas’ parents, her father finds him practically on top of her on her bed. Nice going, Matt Evans!

What could he do? He nodded, before turning to Sas and running a gentle finger down the slope of her nose. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“’Night,” she answered softly, clinging to his hand for a few seconds before letting him go.

He walked to the front door with James quietly, stopping only when James had swung it open. “I apologize for handling this badly,” he told the big man. “I really care for Sas and I wasn’t trying to… I just needed to know that she was okay.”

James nodded. He knew Matt long enough to at least know he wasn’t a playboy or something. “I know. But we still need to talk about a few things before I let you near my daughter again.”

Matt stared at him. That had sounded promising. Not like he intended to tell them they could never see each other again. “Okay. I’ll do anything to be with her,” he vowed to James.

“We’ll see,” was all James replied.


Of course he overslept totally. Matt awoke with a start, complete panic overtaking him as he bounded out of bed, desperately hoping that he hasn’t missed his Dad’s talk with James. He yanked on a pair of pants and rushed downstairs, skidding to a halt in the door of the kitchen.

His father and James looked up at him, half-filled cups of coffee in front of them. The frown on Max’s face didn’t bode well. Matt glanced at James, he really was screwing up in front of Sas’ father all over the place. He mumbled good morning and moved towards a chair.

“We’re glad you’re up,” Max said. “We’re just waiting for Sas and then we can all talk.”

His father’s voice was quiet, but Matt could very clearly see that Max was upset with him. That was bad enough, but it also meant that he couldn’t get an indication from Max about how the talk with James had gone.

Sas arrived minutes later, and Matt jumped up to pull out her chair. He took her hand under the table, giving it a comforting squeeze. She had thrown him a questioning look, but he had been unable to provide her with answers. So they sat close together and looked at their respective fathers with some trepidation.

Max nodded at James, telling him silently to do the talking.

“Right, we have agreed that you two can see each other—”

“Thank you, Daddy!” Sas cried immediately.

“BUT…” James continued, “ we want you two to take it slow. I know it seems strange to you two, but this relationship is about more than just the two of you. Eyes are going to be on you from various planets and… None of us parents want either of you to get hurt. We also want you to have time to make sure of this relationship.”

Putting his arm around Sas, Matt felt euphoric. He would do whatever it took to convince Sas’ father he wanted only her.

“So, I… WE, want you to date like a normal couple,” James continued. “No more late night visits to each other’s rooms. Sas will stick to her curfew. And… and I would appreciate it if you, uhm… abstain from sex for a while.” James was staring at his coffee now, not wanting to look at his daughter while talking about sex.

Blushing furiously, Sas murmured a soft agreement after looking at Matt and seeing his approval.

James turned his gaze to Matt, who also nodded eagerly. Whatever they asked, he would do.

“Right, you two should get ready for school then,” James announced, pushing his chair back from the table.

Matt gave Sas’ hand a final squeeze, smiling into her eyes. Relief was making him giddy and he had to forcibly keep himself from swinging her up into his arms and twirling her around.

Reading all the emotions flashing through Matt’s eyes, Sas couldn’t believe how wonderful things were turning out. She had been so sure that her parents would never allow her to date the Crown Prince of Antar. It had seemed like a far-off dream to her. But here she was, ready to embark on a journey with a guy that seemed too good to be true.

This thought gave her pause. Maybe taking things slow was a good idea. What if Matt decided at some stage that she wasn’t what he really wanted. Taking things slow would give them a chance to figure that out… Before she got in too deep with him.

They rushed around to get ready for school. Matt mostly because he didn’t want to face his father right now, and also because school was the only place he could be alone with Sas for the moment.

Belle was already waiting in the Jeep when he arrived. He bounced around on his feet next to the car, too wired to get in and sit down. When Sas appeared around the house, Matt ran over, embracing her tightly for a few seconds and then lifting her up, twirling her around like he had wanted to do all morning. He was so incredibly happy and the rich sound of her laughter made him even more ecstatic.

“Put me down, you big lug!” Sas cried.

Still grinning, he let her slide down his body and covered her smiling mouth with his. It was a long, sweet, gentle kiss.

That was broken by Belle yelling from the car. “I would like to get to school sometime TODAY if you two don’t mind!”

Matt grimaced as he pulled away from Sas. Now that things were in the open, Belle was going to give them hell.

Driving to school, both Matt and Sas were hatching plans. Unbeknownst to each other, these plans took on more or less the same theme. Today, I’m showing the world we are together!

He parked the Jeep in the school’s parking lot and everyone got out. Belle threw her backpack over her shoulder and gave Matt a look. “You won’t forget that I should also be in the car when you drive home this afternoon, would you? I can see you are very distracted and all…” She giggled when Matt glared at her. “Just checking,” she yelled over her shoulder and danced off towards the entrance of the school.

Sas was nervous. She had been plotting a way to get Matt to hold her hand while they entered the school, but she still wasn’t sure how to accomplish that. Matt had rounded the front of the Jeep by now and was standing in front of her, looking at her carefully. Her breath caught in her throat as he touched her hair tenderly.

“Can I walk you inside?”

The tentative question made her feel infinitely better. They were both nervous about how to handle things now. As she looked up into his bright amber eyes, she gave him a sunny smile. Somehow, knowing the wonderful and important Matt Evans was as unsure as her lifted her spirits. “Yes, please,” she told him flirtingly.

Wasting no time, Matt grabbed her hand and laced their fingers together. Finally, his mind sighed in satisfaction. He had been in the process of telling her he loved her last night when her father had interrupted them. Risking a glance in her direction, he found her staring back at him and blushing when he caught her at it. He was still dying to tell her, but he wanted to make it special, not just blurt it out in the middle of the school hallway.

A hush fell over the students loitering around their lockers as the new couple passed them. Sas wasn’t sure what she wanted to do more, laugh at the envious expressions on the faces of a lot of the girls, or get mad about the speculative way a few of the other girls were looking at Matt and her, probably wondering what it would take to break them up.

Matt was oblivious. All he could register was the way Sas’ hand fit into his and the natural way she moved with him. Stopping at her locker, he waited while she pulled out some books that still needed to be handed in. Behind them, a rush of whispers had started up.

“So, I’ll see you at lunch?” Matt asked.

Swallowing, Sas just nodded. When he looked at her like that, she just melted. She vaguely wondered if she looked as star-struck as she felt.

“Good,” he told her. “I’ll meet you in the quad.”

“Okay,” she finally managed, giving him a last longing look before turning away. She had only gone a few steps when a hand on her arm halted her.

“Wait, please.” It was Matt, sounding hesitant again.

She held her breath as he stared down at her.

“Would-would you go out with me? Tonight? On a date?” The words were rushed, as if he was afraid he would lose his nerve.

Joy speared through her, touching every part of her body and she could feel the resulting blinding smile creep over her face. “Yes!” This was not a time to play hard to get or any other kind of game.

“Great!” Matt was beaming. He caught her hands in his and pulled her forward, kissing her in full view of half the students of Albuquerque North High School. “I’ll pick you up at six,” he mumbled against her mouth, still kissing her lightly.

“Six?” she teased him. “Isn’t that a bit early?”

“Not if we want to have enough time together before your curfew,” he shot back, not in the least worried about her knowing how desperately he wanted to spend time with her.

He kissed her again, a hard possessive kiss that left her lips tingling. “I’ll see you later,” he promised before giving her a little push in the direction of her first class.

Now he only had to think up a suitably romantic thing to do with her tonight!


posted on 7-Sep-2001 5:36:36 AM

On the way home, Sas reflected on the incredible day she had. First, being asked on a date by Matt. Then being kissed by him in front of the entire school, and then having Matt act all possessive when he found Gordon with her at lunch time, kissing her again, just before glaring at poor Gordon. It was really silly of her, but his slight jealousy gave her a secret thrill. Of course, she had to stare down some girls who were following Matt around too.

By the end of the day, there had been no one left that didn’t know she was dating Matt Evans.

Belle was complaining from the back seat. “I’m just warning you, if one more person asks me anything about your relationship, I’m telling them you got Sas pregnant by just looking at her, being an alien and all, and—”

“Belle!” Matt cried in exasperation. “Give it a rest, won’t you?”

A small silence ensued from the back. “No.” This was said with a giggle. “You two owe me big, so I can rag on you as much as I like!”

Matt sighed. “Whatever.” But he gave Sas a cocky smile. “Just know, what goes around, comes around.”

Leaning forward between the seats, Belle’s words were halted momentarily when she saw Matt and Sas were holding hands. She had to stop herself from going ‘aaaaw’. “Well, YOU better hope Dad isn’t home, dear brother, you are in big trouble!”

“Don’t remind me!” he threw over his shoulder as he turned the Jeep into their driveway.

Luckily, the only person home was his mother, who was running around the house frantically.

“What’s up, Mom?” Belle asked.

“You are sleeping over at Maria and Michael’s tonight, aren’t you?” Liz wanted to know.

“Yep, girls night with Mia. Why?”

“And Matt, what are you doing tonight?”

He blushed. “Uhm, going on a date with Sas.”

“Great,” Liz announced and took off towards the back of the house.

Looking at each other in confusion, Matt and Belle followed her. “Mom!” Belle yelled. “What is going on?”

“Oh, sorry!” Liz stopped and wiped her hands on her trousers. “It’s our 25th anniversary tomorrow and I’m surprising your Dad tonight.”

“Ohh!” Matt and Belle said. Well, this explains everything. Every year it was a race about who gets to make this date the most magical. Their parents were such dopes. Sweet, lovable and still-in-love-after-so-many-years dopes.

“What time are you coming home, Matt?” Liz was in full planning mode, making her kids smile. She was still Mrs. Liz-gotta-have-a-plan Evans.

“Uh… I guess, around 11? Sas has a curfew.” That I intend to keep, he told himself.

“Well, James and Shilla had to go to Roswell for the night. Nick needed them there for something.” Liz caught the speculative look on Matt’s face. “But I would still tread lightly if I were you. Your father is not impressed with what you did last night. And neither am I. So, bring her back on time like you promised her father.”

“Yes, Ma’am,” Matt muttered.

“Right, now get going so I can finish all this before your Dad gets home.” Liz waved them off. “Oh, and take warm clothes, it looks like rain.”

Sas had been surprised when she got home and found the note from her parents saying they would be back tomorrow. But she also took careful note of the double underlining of the words Be good!

Now it was half-past-five and she was a nervous wreck. What was she going to wear? She hunted through her clothes and finally made a panicked decision. She phoned Belle.

It took only five minutes for Matt’s sister to arrive in Saskia’s room.

“I don’t know what to wear!” Sas cried as soon as she saw Belle.

This made Belle’s eyes widen in shock. How weird was it that her BROTHER drove a normally levelheaded girl to such a state! On the other hand, Matt has been pacing in his room for 10 minutes now. This was actually hilarious, but she bit her lip not to laugh out loud, sure that Sas wouldn’t appreciate it.

Watching as Belle sifted through her closet, Sas wrung her hands. Should she wear her hair up or down? She went over to the mirror, trying all sorts of styles.

“Trust me, wear it down,” Belle said over her shoulder. “He’s just going to ruin any fancy style anyway.”

This caused a rush of heat on Sas’ cheeks, but she said nothing and let her hair down again.

“Here,” Belle announced, holding out a short black skirt and a soft cream-colored see-through blouse. “He loves this shirt.”

Taking the items from the other girl, Sas looked amazed. “He does?”

“Yeah, he nearly fell into the pool last time you came out of the apartment with this shirt on,” Belle informed her with an impish grin.

They heard Liz yell for Belle outside and she gave Sas a quick hug. “Have fun! Erm, but not too much…”

“Bye!” Sas waved as Belle sprinted off. “Thanks!”

She wore a tight cream-colored tank top under the blouse and she blew Matt away. He had gone to the apartment door and knocked like a normal date. “Wow,” was all he managed to say after she opened the door. What a heady feeling to know she had dressed up for him!

Sas was fighting a case of hyperventilation herself. He was wearing black pants and a black button-down shirt. “Yeah,” was all she could get out in return.

Leaning forward, Matt kissed her softly. “Hi,” he finally said, smiling down into her dazed eyes.

“Hi yourself.”

They stood staring at each other before Matt remembered he brought her something. “Uhm, here.” He brought the tulip from behind his back, touching her nose with it.

Clutching the flower to her chest, Sas stood on tiptoe and kissed him again. This time, the kiss got heated and the poor tulip nearly got squished between their bodies.

Drawing back endless moments later, Matt cleared his throat. “Maybe we should go…”

They walked to the Jeep, waving to Liz who was standing in the kitchen and Matt couldn’t help being relieved that he had missed his father yet again.


Matt took her to dinner at a little restaurant in the park. Because of the weather, the tables had been moved into a large gazebo that had glass walls all around, allowing them to still see the gardens. Lights were strung up in trees around the place, making it seem like a magical island among the stars.

“It’s only the beginning,” he told her softly as he held out her chair for her.

Yep, he intended for the night to get even more magical…


Max eventually got home at seven, finding the house quiet and only a few lights on. It wasn’t completely dark out yet, but the dusk was creeping over the city.

“Liz?” he called. He could feel her nearby and he wondered what she was up to. Throwing his keys down on the table in the kitchen, he found a note.

Go to our room, it read.

Smiling, he took the stairs two at a time, feeling Liz’s happiness seeping through their connection, even while she was trying to block him.

In the room, he found a pair of beige chinos and a white shirt lying on the bed. He donned the clothes after a quick shower, sending her the message that he was ready for whatever she was planning. She had left him barefoot.

Come downstairs, her voice whispered in his mind. He followed her instructions, finally reaching the back of the house and seeing her silhouette through the glass doors next to the pool.

The side of the pool closest to the house was more or less sheltered from the worst of the threatening storm. She turned around when he came outside, her wispy white dress fluttering in the faint breeze. Standing next to a table that was set with fine silverware, she seemed to float.

“Happy Anniversary, Max,” she whispered to him and stared at him as he came closer. He was still all her dreams wrapped up in one person. The man that had made her his so very long ago with a touch to her stomach. A healing touch that had turned into a mark of possession.

He touched her hair, like he has done so many times through the past few years. “You are amazing,” he told her huskily.

“I love you,” was all she said back.

They ate the food that Liz had prepared and drank wine until it got too dark to really see. Liz got up then, turning on a stereo, letting soft music flow over them. She moved back to the table noiselessly on her bare feet and pulled Max up from his chair. “Could you light some candles for us?”

Nodding, he snapped his fingers and the whole pool seemed to light up. Candles were floating over most of the surface of the water and Max looked at it in amazement before turning back to Liz.

She looked ethereal in the candlelight. More beautiful than the day they got married. Taking her into his arms, he marveled again at how tiny she was. In bare feet, her head fitted under his chin.

They swayed together like that until the storm finally broke, rain falling lightly from the sky and whipping at them.

“Let’s go inside,” Max told her, but she shook her head, holding him more tightly.

It wasn’t really cold, so Max relented, pulling her closer into his body and knowing that soon, he would make love to his wife. Maybe even out here in the rain…


After dinner, Matt had taken her to the planetarium. Sas had been amused at first, until he hugged her close to his body as they looked up at the infinite number of stars depicted in the show.

There weren’t a lot of people there, so they could sit fairly privately away from everyone else. They could make out the galaxy where their parents came from at one stage, and Matt tightened his hold on her.



“I love you.”

It shocked her into immobility and it took a while before she could tear her eyes away from the spectacle above them to meet his gaze. He was staring at her with such intensity it nearly took her breath away.

“Those stars up there? They are important to me, but… but not as important as having you with me,” he told her seriously, the underlying message not going unnoticed. He cupped her face in his hands. “I love you,” he whispered again, touching his lips to hers and opening a connection with her.

The stars she saw then, were very much real.


“No one’s here, Max,” she had told him quietly a few minutes ago and they had undressed each other unhurriedly. Their skins were damp from the rain and their hands glided over each other’s bodies easily.

Max faced her towards the warm summer rain and stood behind her, his arms wrapped lovingly around her tummy and his strong thighs pressed against hers. His head dipped down and he licked the rainwater from her shoulder.

Liz closed her eyes and leaned back into his chest. His warmth surrounded her at the same time his love enveloped her through their connection.

Lightening flashed, but Liz only saw the glow against the insides of her eyelids. The sensation of rain pelting against her naked skin from the front and Max nestling against her with his heat from behind was too wonderful to stop. In moments, his hands wandered, one to the swell of her breasts, one to the juncture of her thighs. Soon she was gasping for breath in the same wild rhythm as the storm.

“Max…” she sighed in satisfaction.

He twirled her around and pressed his full hard length against her. They kissed deeply, drinking from each other’s mouths as their tongues dueled and danced. Max lifted her up and walked a few steps to a chair, sinking down on it and pulling her onto his lap.

Liz threw her head back so the rain bathed her face and breasts. Exhilaration poured through her together with unadulterated desire for Max. Her mate.

Max combed her hair back then braced his hands on her shoulder blades, balancing her position so he could lap rivulets of water from her skin.

Not looking down, Liz didn’t move for what seemed like forever. She held herself still and enjoyed each sensation from his warm mouth and his hardness pressing into her.

He nuzzled her neck, growling his need to her before leaning back and looking at her with eyes dark with passion.

She drew herself up and ravaged his mouth as she positioned herself over him. She couldn’t wait any longer. Her need to have him inside her was more powerful than the storm raging above them. “Be inside me, Max. Please.”

He agreed with a kiss, joining them slowly, allowing her to set the pace. She moaned again, this time with an air of surrender, causing Max to groan in answer.

He grasped her hips, noting again how perfectly his hands fit on her body, how perfectly he fit inside her.

She cried out his name.

“Let me see your eyes, love.”

They were moving together in a gentle rhythm, and Liz locked her arms around his neck, drawing herself up so their noses touched.

They didn’t kiss. They hardly breathed. They just moved. Together. In sync. Eyes locked. The sensations building and building, reducing her breath to short pants, unleashing helpless sounds from her throat that urged Max on.

He kept his eyes open, but the normally brilliant amber of his irises were completely swallowed up by black desire.

Liz couldn’t speak, certain she would scream if she opened her mouth for anything but to breathe. Or to kiss him. So she did, hard and demanding, grasping his cheeks as if he were her lifeline. Her anchor in a surge of crashing pleasure.

With one last move, Max held her tight as their bodies quaked with the ultimate release. Their kiss froze them in time, locking them together completely as sensations hot and intense poured from him to her and back again. Slowly, their mouths melted into a soothing play of tongues that brought them back to earth amid the dying storm.

“I love you.”

“For the next 25 years too.”


“I love you.” It was whispered between kisses in the Jeep. Matt had parked the Jeep at a lookout point after they had emerged from the planetarium. Although she had told him she loved him too when he had broken their connection earlier, he still glowed from hearing it again.

By this time, he practically had her in his lap, kissing her as if there was no tomorrow. Sas had smiled secretly at Matt threading his hands through her hair all the time when they took a break, looking outside at the lightening playing across the horizon. Belle was right, a fancy style would just have been ruined.

“It’s my parents’ 25th anniversary tomorrow,” Matt said, sounding slightly awed.


“Yeah.” He lifted her chin. “So, do you think you would be able to be with me for that long?” There was a serious tone in his voice even as he teased her with a smile.

Finding his hand, she gripped it tightly, giving him her answer in a vow. “Yes, Matt Evans, I do.”


Many kisses later, Matt walked Sas to her door a few minutes before eleven. The storm was gone and in its wake, everything sparkled with tiny raindrops, looking clean and fresh. Glancing around the pool, he could see the table where his parents must have had dinner still outside, the tablecloth sodden from the rain, and dozens of unlit candles drifted in the pool. A small smile curved his lips, no wonder he freaked out about making his first date with Sas special, he had his parents to blame for being a hopeless romantic.

Sas opened the door and turned to him, smiling up at him sweetly. “This was an amazing evening. Thank you.”

Stepping closer, he pulled her against him. “Well, I was hoping—”

The insistent ring of the telephone halted his words.

They grinned at each other, already knowing who was calling.

Sas picked up the phone, sticking her tongue out at Matt. “Hey Dad… Yes, I’m home… We went to dinner and the planetarium… He was just saying good-bye now… Okay, I’ll see you tomorrow… Bye.”

Sas stood with a bent head after putting the phone down softly.

“Hey, what’s wrong?” Matt was behind her immediately, folding his arms around her waist and pulling her back against his chest.

“My mom isn’t taking this… us, very well. She’s crying all the time and we… haven’t really spoken…”

Nuzzling her hair, he tried to reassure her. “She’s worried about what being with me will mean for you, sweetheart. That her people might be awful to you. I don’t think she means for you to be unhappy.”

“I know,” she sighed, snuggling closer to him.

“When you come with me to Tresar, we will probably stop over on Dendar and we will end all this uncertainty. I promise.” He kissed her temple tenderly, inhaling her wonderful scent and glorying in her nearness fleetingly. Stepping away, he took her hand. “Come outside with me for a few seconds.”

She looked at him curiously, but followed him out the door to the pool.

“Close your eyes,” he instructed her, waiting until she obliged before snapping his fingers. “Okay, open them.” Holding her tightly, he pressed their cheeks together, both of their faces turned towards the pool.

A soft gasp was her only reaction. He had lighted all the candles that the rain had doused earlier, bathing the pool in a rich amber light.

“I love you,” she pre-empted him, feeling the slight tremble that went through his body at her words.

“We can, and WILL, do this,” he told her, turning his head so he could press open-mouthed little kisses over her cheek and jaw-line. By the time he reached the sensitive skin under her ear, both of them were shaking with a need to be closer.

“Go home, please,” he groaned in her ear. “Before I break every last promise I made to our parents.”

Kissing him quickly on the lips, Sas backed away, watching him watch her. She faltered halfway until his soft, ‘go, Sas’ spurred her on again.

He waited until she had disappeared into her apartment, before turning around and waving his hand over the candles in the pool. Darkness enveloped him almost immediately.

He missed her already.


Tracing patterns on Max’s chest, Liz sighed deeply in contentment. They had come in from the rain earlier, carrying their wet clothes in their hands, and shared a shower to get warm again.

Now she was basking in Max’s embrace as she lay next to him in bed, her head resting on his shoulder in the hollow that was created just for her. They weren’t talking or sleeping, they were just being together. Listening to each other breathe, feeling the slide of their skins against each other, enjoying leisurely caresses, touching and tasting… just being Max and Liz.

Even though Matt closed his door softly, the click still signaled to his parents that he was home. Liz peeked at the clock, it was 11:05.

Max sighed as he trailed his hand over Liz’s hip and thigh. He really should get up and talk to Matt about last night, but right now, he felt more like staying here forever with Liz’s essence all around him.

“At least he stuck to his promise tonight,” Liz said softly.

“I know. But I still have to…”

Liz moved higher on the bed, until she could kiss the side of his face. “I know you hate this. But, if you get it over with, I’ll be waiting…”

The promise hidden in her words and eyes had him rolling over until they lay side-by-side. “Yeah?”

“Yes.” She gave him one of her blinding smiles, making his heart soar as always.

He practically leapt off the bed, making Liz laugh. “I’ll be right back!”


Matt was just coming out of the shower when his father knocked on his door. Squaring his shoulders, he prepared to face the music.

“Hi Dad.”

“Hey Matt.” Max shoved his fingers through his hair, sinking down on a chair next to Matt’s bed.

“Dad, before you say ANYTHING, I know I shouldn’t have gone over to Sas’ last night. I was just so worried about—”

Max held up his hand, silencing his son immediately.

“I understand why you did it, but I still need to remind you of the promises you made to me just the night before. You can imagine my surprise when James arrived here this morning, telling me that my son was making out with his daughter in her room at one in the morning.”

This was more horrible than he had imagined. Matt bent his head to get away from his father’s penetrating eyes. “It was a mistake, I’m sorry.”

A few moments of silence reverberated through the room. “You know Matt, I’ve thought a lot about mistakes, since I’ve made quite a few in own my life. And here’s what I think, the kind of mistakes a person makes, says a lot about who that person really is. I know this sounds harsh, but you asked me to help you and Sas, and in return, you promised me you would not do anything that would jeopardize your future relationship.”

“I know,” Matt said quietly. Wow, how was that for going from the heights of ecstasy to the depths of depression in a few short minutes!

“And needless to say, James was very worried about how intimate you and Sas were being, seeing that he was clueless you two were getting involved until shortly before and the next thing, he finds you on his daughter’s bed.”

By now, Matt didn’t know what to say anymore.

“But, saying all that, I’m really glad and proud that you stuck to your promises tonight.” Max paused. “So, let’s put this behind us, okay?”

“Yeah. Sorry Dad,” Matt mumbled.

They sat in silence, Max trying to recover from scolding his son and Matt wondering if it would be bad form to ask his dad about the talk with James now.

“Uhm, Dad?”


“So, uhm… did you have to convince James about Sas and I?”

“Not really,” Max replied. “He told me Shilla was very worried about what her people would say about you two, but that he felt it was something you had to work out yourselves. However, he is very worried that you will corrupt his daughter,” Max added a smile. “I think he fears you are too much like me. Unfortunately, James has been with your Mom and I long enough to know that I’ve had trouble keeping my hands off her since forever.”

“Yeah, but you two had a thing in like two life-times. Sas and I are just starting now.”

This made Max smile. “But you are still a teenage guy, with hormones. That would scare ANY father!”

“But I respect Sas!” Matt cried worriedly.

“You have to SHOW her father that you respect her. While I would venture to guess that he would cut you more slack because he knows you better than any other guy, finding you the way he did last night have probably brought your stakes down a few notches.”

“It won’t happen again.”

“Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Just promise me you will show her parents that you are serious about Sas and that you will respect whatever rules they lay down for you. You two are in love, of course you will be kissing and… whatever else. But at least keep the heavy stuff away from the eyes of the older people around here.”

This caused a grin from Matt. “What? Like you and Mom keep that away from us? Sheesh!”

“Hey, I married your mother three times and got through many life and death situations to be with her. I love her and I love showing her I love her. Deal with it.” This reminded Max of Liz waiting for him in their room. He got up. “I have to go. Sleep well.”

“You too, Dad.”


Liz was up making breakfast when Matt stumbled downstairs the next morning. “Hey Mom.”

“Sooo, how was the date last night?” she teased him.

“Great!” he said immediately. “We had dinner in the park and then I took her to the planetarium.”

“Smooth move.” More teasing. “I’m sure that earned you a kiss?”

“MOM!” Matt cried, flushing. “It earned me an ‘I love you’,” he admitted after a short pause.

“Matt! That’s wonderful.” Liz hugged him tightly. “Erm, you DID admit that you loved her too, right?”

“Yes, Mother.” He sounded exasperated. “How did you and Dad’s celebration go last night? I saw the candles in the pool, nice touch.”

Liz had her back to him, so he couldn’t see the secret smile that crept over her face. “It went wonderfully, thank you very much,” was all she said.

“Yes, it did,” Max concurred from the doorway, walking in to wrap his arms around Liz. “Happy anniversary… Shani,” he whispered in her ear, kissing her temple before twirling Liz around in his arms and kissing her properly.

This led to some loud groaning from Matt and a deep sigh from Belle who had just wandered into the kitchen.

Max pulled away from Liz, shooting his children a glare. “So, Liz, you have the day off,” he informed her.

“I do?”

“Yes.” He brought her closer again. “We are going for a long drive.”

Liz eyed him suspiciously. “What are you up to, Max Evans?”

“You’ll see.” He looked over at Matt and Belle. “We will either be very late tonight or will return tomorrow. Don’t wreck the house, the neighborhood or the planet while we’re gone.”

“Uh, sure Dad.”

“Right then, we’ll see you when we see you,” he said as he marched Liz out of the kitchen, her back pressed against his chest and their steps moving in sync.

One unforgettable 25th anniversary coming up!


posted on 7-Sep-2001 5:44:01 AM

Threading his fingers through Liz’s hair, Max smiled. She was sleeping with her head on his thigh as she had done so many times before on their long drives to wherever. He had asked her once if it wasn’t uncomfortable and she had told him that it would be even worse to sleep without touching him.

Earlier, Liz had been surprised when he had turned into a gas station after a couple of hours. “This is not the way to Roswell!”

He had just grinned at her secretively. No, this road trip was to someplace else.

Of course Liz had turned on all her feminine charm to try and pry their destination out of him, but he had held fast. Barely. He also had had to keep blocking her from his mind, knowing she would totally use their connection if all her other avenues failed.

She had teased him mercilessly, trailing her fingers over his thigh, rubbing herself against his shoulder, until he had finally just pulled off the road and pulled her face to his. He had kissed her more roughly than he had planned, plunging his tongue into her mouth while he lifted her closer to his body.

Flashes had bombarded him. Flashes of him with an injured shoulder, of him staggering back with a pale face, calling her “Shani” for the first time. Lying with his ear pressed against Liz’s pregnant stomach. Of him walking around in the garden with a child on each arm. Staring at Liz with a hungry look in his eyes.

Liz saw the Max version of their lives. Flashes of her, dancing around the Crashdown with her antennae bobbing on her head. Looking up at him, all flushed and sated from the floor of the pod chamber, riding in the Jeep with her hair flying around her face. “I’m pregnant, Max.” Sitting in the shade of a tree, her hands on her protruding belly, talking to their unborn baby. Sharing an ice cream cone with a three-year old Matt. Lying asleep naked among tousled sheets, her hair in wild abandon over the pillow. “I love you, Max.” Laughing crazily at something, her eyes big and sparkling. In the throes of an orgasm, her head thrown back as his name tumbled from her lips.

Max had softened the kiss, reigning in his passion as he smoothed gentle hands over her body. When he had finally broken away from her, he had rested his forehead against hers. “I can’t believe you still make me act like a horny teenager after all these years,” he had stated ruefully.

She had slapped his arm playfully. “Well, I fell in love with that horny teenager, so it’s nice to have him back every now and again.”

“What? You mean all my efforts to be romantic were for nothing? You saw right through me?”

Kissing his ear, she had whispered conspiratorially. “Oh, I saw the real you that day in the back of the Crashdown. Did you know my Dad found one of the strawberries still lying on the floor of the kitchen later that night? He didn’t know why I nearly overheated when he picked it up!”

Years ago, this would have made him embarrassed. “So, you got ‘overheated’ thinking about me even then?” he had teased. Good thing, he hadn’t known the extent of Liz’s reaction to him then, they would’ve been in bigger trouble even sooner!

And now she was sleeping with her head on his thigh, looking for all the world like an innocent angel, not the woman that had tried to seduce him a couple of hours ago. They were getting close to the destination he had in mind, and he was driving carefully over the desert terrain after having turned off the road that eventually led to Las Cruces a long while ago. Luckily he was driving a much better Jeep this time around, and Liz barely stirred with the rocking motion of the car.

He touched her hair again, reflecting for a moment on how differently his life could have turned out. And on how thankful he was that it hadn’t. Being here today, in this car, with this woman, with his two beautiful children at home, this is what he had dreamed of so many nights alone in his room back in Roswell. Back when he had watched Liz from afar.

A small moan escaped her mouth. “Max…” He was caressing her clothes off her body almost reverently, his fingers tracing heated trails over her skin, finding all the places that he knew would drive her insane with desire.

Max had jerked his eyes towards Liz as soon as he heard his name. She was still blissfully asleep, but her fingers were starting to dig into the muscles of his thigh as she moved restlessly, trying to get closer to him.

“Max!” This time her voice had that little hitch in it, the one that told him she was getting desperately aroused.

Good lord, she was having an erotic dream about him! It took all he had not to stomp on the breaks and start making her dream a reality.

It was pure torture. He tried to keep an eye on the little trail he was following with the Jeep, while at the same time trying to watch Liz. She arched her body suddenly with another small gasp, nearly sending him over the edge.

That was it.

He brought the car to a stop, but didn’t touch her. He stopped breathing as he focused all of his attention on her. This was almost as exiting as actually making love to her. Almost.

Gently laying his hand on her hip, he opened their connection.

And fell headlong into her dream.

It was like watching a video of them making love.

She was panting his name, over and over, while he watched himself moving inside her. They were both very obviously near the end. Tremors ran through their bodies, starting out lightly and increasing in intensity until they spiraled out of control and into a climax.

Max forced his eyes open, wanting to see and touch the real Liz. He grabbed her closer, holding her as her release pulsed through her body. She looked absolutely breathtaking. Her head was thrown back over his arm, her hands were clutching his shirt convulsively, her face painted with ecstasy while she kept gasping his name.

He felt like a king.

A very aroused, very frustrated king.

Her eyes opened suddenly and she looked confused for a moment.

And then she blushed.

A deep, very embarrassed blush just before she hid her face in his shoulder. “Oh my god!”

Wanting to tease her, but not make her feel stupid, Max dragged her against his arousal. “I see you started without me.”

She was mumbling something into his shirt that he couldn’t make out, so he just rubbed his hand down her back soothingly. “You are NOT making things easy for me today!” He had to pry her away from him so he could meet her gaze. “See, I have this elaborate plan for today. And there are one or two things that should happen first before we get to the making love part.” He breathed deeply, willing his body back under control. “But right now, I feel like chucking all that out of the window…”

“Sorry…” she muttered, still looking mortified.

He brushed her hair behind her ear. “Don’t be. That was one of THE most incredible things I have ever experienced in my life.” He gave her a short hug and a kiss on her forehead before lifting her back into her seat and gunning the engine. This show better get on the road quickly, or he was going to spontaneously combust today…


It took her a while to figure out where they were. But when she did, tears pooled in her eyes.

She didn’t get out when the Jeep was finally parked and Max rounded the front to open her door. She was staring at the spot in the desert right in front of them, biting her lip.

“Liz?” He was getting worried.

“This is the most wonderful thing you have ever done,” she told him tearfully, turning to him and flinging her arms around his neck, nearly choking him with the strength of her embrace.

It was the place of their first bonding, deep in the New Mexican desert. The place where they had gotten married for the first time. When they had only been 17 years old.

Holding her hands, he tugged her out of the Jeep, walking the few steps with her until they stood on what was to them, hallowed ground.


“Shhh,” he put a finger on her lips. Sliding his hands into her hair, he held her face tenderly. “Look into my eyes…”

The connection was instantaneous. And with it came a reaffirmation of Max’s commitment to her. His love and his renewed vows.

And she answered each one of them.

It was like another bonding…


After sharing endless emotional kisses, Max had helped her back into the Jeep, again refusing to tell her what he was up to now. This time, she stayed awake, keeping an eye on the passing scenery.

And it didn’t take her long to figure out where they were going.

It was like being seventeen all over again.


The little motel in Carlsbad was still there. Max had checked before coming out here. As he led her into the room where they had made love for the first time, he felt just as emotional as she did.

The room looked different and the same. The décor had changed, but the lay-out was the same. And the air in the room was thick with memories…

“Liz?” Asking her silently if this was still what she wanted.

“Yes, Max… yes.”

She undid him with three small words. Increasing his desire for her until it felt as if he’d die if he didn’t have her. But he kept himself in check. This was Liz. This was her first time too. He needed to be gentle.

Holding her gaze with his, Max completed his possession of Liz with a smooth and careful stroke. She cried out and he held her until she grew accustomed to his body. He was trembling with the effort of keeping still, but he waited until she looked into his eyes and moved against him experimentally.

Max gave in then, moving inside her until they shared in the wild, mysterious, shattering joy of each other’s bodies. Liz clung to him afterwards, thankful for his weight pressing her into the mattress. She was afraid that her body was going to scatter into little bits following the explosion of pleasure she had just experienced. This was where she belonged. In Max’s arms. She knew she would never be able to live without this feeling again.

Max finally lifted his head from her shoulder. His breathing still ragged. “Are you okay? Did I… did I hurt you?”

He saw her answer in her dazzling smile. Cupping her cheek, he kissed her again. “Liz Parker, will you marry me?”

They smiled at each other, gripping their hands more tightly. What a long way they’ve come!

“Yes.” Soft and definite.

Max’s eyes widened for a moment and then filled with tears. Happy tears. Relieved tears. Tears that showed Liz how much he had wanted that to be her answer. And confirmed once again that she would never find anyone to take Max’s place in her heart, in this galaxy or any other.

Max crushed her against him, his face pressed in her neck. His aching lungs were reminding him to breathe, but he could care less about air now. How does that compare with Liz Parker saying she’ll marry him? He felt like he was floating on a cloud. Giddy and dizzy and indescribably happy.

Liz ran her hands over his back, trying to comfort him. He seemed really overcome with emotion and she marveled at the fact that she had such power over him. It was an ego-boosting realization, but one she must never misuse. Besides, he had the same power over her…

Max rolled to his side, pulling Liz with him. He caressed her face as they lay staring at each other with their faces inches apart on the same pillow. “Wow. We just… wow!”

Liz grinned against his fingers that were now tracing her lips. “It took you long enough to notice that I am now officially ruined, Mr. Evans!”

Max’s half-smile had a devastating effect on her as always. “Hey, if that means nobody but me gets to do this with you for the rest of your life, that’s fine by me!” He became serious again. “Are you okay? Nothing… uhm weird going on?”

Liz shook her head, still smiling. Max would never change! She suddenly yawned.

Max tucked her hair behind her ear. “Go to sleep, love.”

“What about you? Aren’t you tired too?” Her eyes were already closing. Max was safely back in her arms and all was well in her little world.

“Yeah. But not too tired to watch you sleep for a little while.” He kissed her forehead and whispered. “I have dreamt of this moment for as long as I can remember… I love you, Liz Parker.”

“Love you too… Thank you for making this so special…” Her words were mumbled against his chest. She fell asleep with Max’s heartbeat in her ear.

“Happy anniversary, Liz,” Max whispered, still slightly emotional at the vivid memories.

“Oh Max! I loved you then, but I love you even more today. And I will still love you when forever is over.” She carried that promise on her lips to his and Max’s heart seemed to pump liquid fire through him as they kissed, and kissed, and kissed, hungry for the giving of each other, the knowing, the certainty of a once in a million love…

He was so beautiful. So intoxicatingly beautiful. The feel of him, the smell of him, the sight of him. Liz felt as though her whole body was effervescing with happiness, her skin tingling like champagne.

Her man. Her mate in every sense there was. And when they moved to the bed it was together. Together in all the ways that mattered, the giving and taking so excitingly, blissfully mutual, the sheer ecstasy of loving and feeling herself loved, but also of knowing how deeply it went, the wonderful, awesome flow of becoming one again, one in heart and mind and soul.

It was so incredibly special, this way that they completely filled each other’s empty spaces, that they answered each other’s needs and desires and hopes and dreams.

And when he entered her, slowly, both of them treasuring the sensation of ultimate intimacy, his face hovering above hers, their eyes mirroring the rapture they shared… that was heaven too. She heard it in his voice as he murmured, “My Shani, always…” and tasted it in his mouth as he kissed her, making the melding complete, and in her mind and through their connection beat one beautiful word: Max… Max… Max.

It was goodness and light and joy and it moved into a rhythm that celebrated the life they’ve had together. Liz wrapped her legs around him in exultant possession and lifted herself to him, urging the feast of sharing that would always be theirs. The feast of love.

Then there was no thought, only feeling. Powerful waves of feeling, obliterating everything but the sense of their oneness, peaking into a sublime climax, a pulsating flow that lingered on and on.

“Thank you,” Max whispered, his voice furred with deep emotion. “Thank you for being you and loving me.”

“It was meant to be,” she murmured, affirming the deep, unalterable truth. “We are only half alive without each other.”

He kissed her, long and lovingly, wondering where they would be in another 25 years. He didn’t know that now, but he did know one thing.

They would be together.


Matt was in big trouble. With every passing day it was getting harder to keep his hands to himself around Sas. They have only been an official couple for a week-and-a-half and he had taken her on normal dates, like to the movies, but through it all, he wanted her so much he ached.

Several things kept him from taking things with her further than kissing and some innocuous over the clothes petting. She was such an innocent in a lot of respects and he didn’t want to cheat her out of experiencing everything that goes with dating for the first time. And, then there was the fact that he had promised both their fathers to take it slow for now…

But none of that took into account that Sas was getting bolder with him by the day. She teased him mercilessly and his inability to hide his response from her just seemed to spur her on.

It helped that they were very rarely alone, though. When they had gotten home from school on his parents’ anniversary, James and Shilla had already returned from Roswell. The approval on James’ face, the result of the fact that Matt had kept his promise about Sas’ curfew, made Matt feel like a heel. For he had very definitely been planning some serious making out with Sas if none of the parents had been home yet. But that face, the I-trust-you-with-my-only-daughter face, had stayed with Matt ever since.

It was killing him, though. He watched his parents with new eyes, seeing an intimacy in their touches that he had never noticed before. Suddenly he envied his father the freedom he had to touch and love the woman of his heart. Because Matt didn’t have the same freedom yet…

Coming back to him being in big trouble, the senior prom was taking place in a couple of days. He had made a whole production of asking Sas to go with him, all the while having a moment of slight panic about whether he will still be in her life next year when her own senior prom arrived. She had said yes, and now all the women in their group were in full swing.

He had never seen such a fuss in his life. His mother and Maria were taking Sas and Shilla shopping for a prom dress. It was his mother’s idea and he loved her for it, but he wondered if he hadn’t thrown Saskia to the wolves.

Just before they left, Maria had pinched his cheeks and told him how adorable he was. Probably because he had clung to Sas’ hand and told his mom to be careful with her. And to make sure that Sas buys something she wants, not something she can afford.

“He is JUST like Max!” he had heard Maria exclaim while she clambered into the Jeep where Max was already waiting. Liz didn’t want James tagging along and making Shilla and Sas nervous, and Max didn’t want Liz off on her own, so he was going with them. Maria had mumbled something about Max being in overprotective mode again and proceeded to tell Max and Liz loudly that she would leave at the first sign that they were making out in changing rooms.

For her part, Sas was overwhelmed. Firstly, because it was Max and Liz taking her shopping for a dress for a prom date with their son and secondly because it was clear they intended to pay for everything. Her mother seemed just as amazed by the whole thing.

Shopping for the dress was a weird and wonderful experience to Sas. She decided that Max must be THE most patient man in the world. He held his wife’s hand while being dragged all over the shopping mall by Liz and Maria. He gave his opinion on dresses when asked and made sure that Sas and Shilla didn’t get left behind by the two shopping whirlwinds they were following.

It gave Sas a tantalizing glimpse of what life with Matt might be like. She observed Max and Liz intently, seeing not only the normal things like how much they loved each other, but also new things. Like how Liz’s breath would catch when Max rubbed his hand low over her stomach, and how Max’s eyes would darken when Liz licked her bottom-lip.

She kept sneaking glances at her mother, wondering if Shilla saw all this too. And if maybe this might make her a bit more susceptible about Sas’ relationship with Matt. Her parents loved each other too, but there was something mystical about whatever was between Max and Liz. Sas enjoyed hearing Max’s voice go soft when he talked to Liz. They called it his ‘Liz voice’ among their little group. And she loved seeing Liz look at Max like he was just this side of a deity.

As she followed the group around various stores and dutifully tried on everything Maria waved at her, she became more and more nervous. Matt was in love with her right now, that much she knew, but what if this all changed in the future? What if—

“Stop whatever you’re thinking,” Liz said suddenly from right next to her. Sas had been staring at her reflection in one of the shop mirrors with a frown on her face.

Frantically looking around to see if the ever-present Max was near, and silently breathing in relief when she saw him over on the other side of the shop with Maria, she wondered what to say to Matt’s all too perceptive mom. “I wasn’t…”

“You ARE good enough for him,” Liz told her quietly. “All you need to do is allow yourself to love him back as much as you possibly can.”

A bubble of hysteria rose up in her throat. “But what if he finds some other girl next year when he goes to college and I’m still in school? What if—” She hated sounding so whiny and pathetic.

“What if Matt worries about the same thing?” Liz countered. She took Sas’ hand gently and led her over to a changing room, casting a look over her shoulder at a concerned Max that stopped him in his tracks and sent him to intercept Maria who was coming over with another dress.

Inside the stall, Liz pulled Sas in front of a mirror and stood next to her. “I used to look at myself and wonder what on earth Max saw in me. All I saw was a smart but mousy girl with long brown hair and brown eyes.” She grinned crookedly. “Not to mention, no real cleavage to speak of.”

“Mrs. Evans!” Sas cried in shock, but Liz waved a hand to silence her.

“He used to tell me how beautiful I was to him, but I thought that one day he would wake up and see the truth after the initial rush of being in love passed…” Liz smoothed her hand over her hair as Sas looked on in stunned silence. “All I could see was this glorious man, who had girls falling all over themselves around him, who could heal with a touch, was the King of another planet, had a beautiful wife already picked out for him and who couldn’t possible remain blind to my ordinariness for too long.” Her gaze met Sas’ in the mirror. “And on our wedding night, I finally realized that what I saw in the mirror, was less important than what he sees when he looks at me.”

Catching sight of Max hovering in the door of the stall from the corner of her eye, Sas at first missed the telltale little silence from Liz, indicating that she too knew Max was near. However, she did notice their eyes meeting in the mirror. The way they were looking at each other brought tears to Sas’ eyes. “What does he see?” she asked in a hushed voice.

The answer came from Max. “How much she loves me.” He came closer, running a hand down Liz’s hair and back up again, tunneling under the silken tresses. Liz looked like a cat being stroked.

“But more than that, I saw how his love made me look…” Liz didn’t have to add anything, because Sas could see the way she started glowing as soon as Max touched her. It was awe-inspiring.

Finding her voice again, Liz tried to explain more to Sas. “Love is what people bring out in each other.” She snuggled closer to Max. “Matt loves you, but it is up to you as to what you allow that love to bring out in you. And what you allow yourself to give back to him.”

The interlude had made Sas think hard about the way she had been around Matt. Seeing how amazing his parents were together made her long to throw herself into loving him heart and soul. And she resolved to start with the prom.

The next dress she tried on made Max’s eyebrows rise. Maria thought this was a good sign while Liz and Max, who pitied their son already, shook their heads. Shilla had just compressed her lips and turned away, her displeasure obvious.

“Come on!” Maria whined. “Allow the boy some excitement!”

Everyone turned to Sas. She looked at herself in the mirror and asked one question: would Liz wear this in public? The answer was a resounding no, so she shook her head too. Wearing this dress might get Matt’s motor running, but it would not make him proud to have her as his prom date.

It was late by the time they went into one of Liz’s favorite boutiques. And found the perfect dress. One that made Liz clap her hands together in glee and made Maria grin widely. Even Shilla looked happy.

“You look beautiful, Sas,” Max told her seriously.

And that clinched it.


It was a tired little group that finally got home that afternoon. Armed with all sorts of packages, Sas managed to make it to her room without running into Matt. She was under strict instructions from Maria to keep her prom clothes a surprise for her date, and also to make sure that the normal stuff that happens after proms, happens to her and Matt too. At Sas’ shocked gasp, she cried that she was just kidding and busted up laughing.

This made Sas wonder, though. What was Matt expecting from their prom night? And what was she ready to give? She had been shamelessly leading him on lately, knowing that he wouldn’t really take things further. It was fun to test her feminine wiles on him and to see him react so satisfactorily. But all her teasing had led to were a few occasions of wild and passionate kissing. As for the rest, Matt had been acting like a real gentleman.

And Sas wasn’t sure how she felt about it.

Was it that easy to resist her? She wasn’t blind to the fact she excited Matt, but why did he not look like he had more trouble not doing anything about it? She wanted the unbridled passion she saw between Max and Liz. She wanted Matt to want her so much he couldn’t see straight.

Well, maybe prom night was the time to do something about this…


posted on 7-Sep-2001 5:52:39 AM

Incredibly handsome. That was the only thought Liz had as she watched Matthew try on his tux for the prom. Max had taken him shopping the previous day and now he wanted his mother’s approval for their choice too.

Looking at him now, the spitting image of his father at that age, Liz felt emotional tears forming in her eyes, causing her to miss the anxious look on her son’s face. “Mom?”

But Liz was seeing Max at 18, waiting for her in her parents’ lounge, looking so amazing in his dark tuxedo. They had laughed at their own efforts to hide what they would be wearing from each other, because they had been living together for so long by the time their senior prom had rolled around. Max had dressed in their little apartment, and Liz had used her old bedroom in the apartment above the Crashdown for one last time. The night had been magical for her, Max had held her close during the function and had afterwards made sweet, slow love to her the whole night.


Matt’s worried voice made her snap back to the present and she jumped up from his bed and hugged him tightly, hoping that his prom would also lead to wonderful memories he could cherish for the rest of his life. “You look so wonderful,” she told him as he embraced her back.

“Err, thank you,” he replied as he held her, wondering about the tears he had seen. “Are you okay?”

Sniffling, Liz stepped back and smiled up at him crookedly. “Yeah, just… I remembered my own senior prom. And… I can’t believe how much you look like Max did that night…”

“Oh please tell me I’m not wearing the same tux he was! That was like… 25 years ago!” But he was grinning as he teased her.

Liz smacked his arm. “Well, you have the same lame sense of humor as your father, that’s for sure!” She sat down on the edge of his bed again, sighing blissfully. “It was such a magical night for me.”

Matt grimaced as he joined Liz on the bed. Damn, his father was such a hard act to follow. “So, tell me about it?”

Watching his mother glow as she talked animatedly about her prom night, Matt was again struck with wonder about his parents’ unique love story. His father dreaming of a girl he had never met while still living on Antar, loving her even then, only to die and finally meet her in this life here on earth. A human girl, born to love him for all that he was.

“…it was so late by the time we got home! We weren’t really tired…” Liz trailed off, suddenly realizing that what happened next was not necessarily something her son would be comfortable hearing. And it also made her worry about Matt’s expectations for the part AFTER his own prom.

Meeting her son’s knowing gaze, she knew he wasn’t fooled about what she and Max had been up to that night. Wow, this was weird!

“You and Dad were bonded for a long time before that, right?” Matt asked. “Didn’t it take some of the excitement away? I mean, you were married for all intents and purposes by then.”

Tilting her head to the side, Liz contemplated this for a moment. “You know, I think we were more excited because we were doing something normal together for a change. By then, Max had been tortured by the FBI, we’d been hunted and kidnapped by crazy people from Tresar, bonded twice and moved in together in plain sight of our parents and the whole world! For one night, we could just be teenagers, going to a school thing.” They smiled at each other with understanding. Then Liz took a deep breath. “Honey…” she twisted around so she could meet his gaze while she talked, “what are you… I mean, after the prom…”

A heated flush crept over his face. Matt knew exactly what she was asking. “I’m not sure, Mom,” he told her honestly. “I’m not PLANNING anything… specific, if that’s what you’re asking.”

Taking his hand, Liz enfolded it in both of hers. “It’s just… you HAVE to plan, Matt. Be careful…”

“I know, but this is all too…” He rubbed his face. “I don’t like feeling that I HAVE to do anything with Sas after the prom. It’s so… I want… I want whatever happens between us to be special one day, not the result of it being the ‘done thing’ for the night of the prom.”

How much more proud could she be of this son of hers? “You should do whatever your heart tells you to do. And in this case, your heart AND your head… I mean, your mind!” Liz ended in a fluster before blushing profusely.

They burst out laughing together.

Only when they calmed down, did Matt blurt out the truth. “I want to wait, Mom. To give us time to get used to being a couple first.”

Liz patted his hand. “Well then, that’s what you should do.”

“But…” Getting up, he started pacing the room. “But what if that’s not what Sas wants? And what if I can’t keep my hands off her tomorrow night? I really want—” he cut himself off, realizing he was going too far. “She’s really beautiful, Mom, and I-I have trouble sometimes…” He was beet-red by now.

“Matt, you and Sas need to talk about this. How will you ever know what she wants and expects if you don’t ask her?” Liz smiled at him, one of her brilliant, lighting up a room smiles. “As for, uhm, the rest, you will have to ask your Dad. He used to drive me insane with his control.”

A shadow had passed over her face at that last part and Matt frowned. “He did? Why?”

Liz was biting her lip when she answered. “Well, we… had a few things to deal with in those days. First we thought your Dad was, uhm, kind of… married to someone else…”

“Yeah, I remember,” he said quickly, not wanting to upset his mom further.

“And then we were trying to avoid getting flashes of his past life. He thought he was helping me by making sure I didn’t see anything distressing about his first marriage.”

“Wow, that must’ve been…”

“Yes, it was.” Liz got up and moved to the door. “Talk to your father, okay?”


The prom was being held at a local hotel and since the school catered for the affluent community in Albuquerque, it promised to be a swanky affair. Matt had been dressed for a long time and now he pestered his family because he was so nervous.

Max, Liz and Bella-Mari were all congregated in the TV room, waiting to take pictures of the happy couple. And Belle was taking the chance to irritate her already panicking brother.

“And don’t step on her toes when you dance with her, girls HATE that! Also, the punch is usually spiked, do you have enough money to rather buy stuff to drink?”

“Belle!” Matt moaned, “Are you trying to give me a heart-attack?”

“Yes,” she replied promptly. “And another thing, don’t look at any other girls while you’re with her, that’s really bad taste.”

“Well, at least there’s ONE thing I don’t have to worry about,” he mumbled as he jumped up from the couch for the umpteenth time. Geesh, how long could a half-an-hour be?

“Belle, would you give your brother a break?” Liz scolded her daughter.

“Heck no! He owes me big!”

Matt whirled towards her. “Can I not just owe you some more so you can leave me alone right now?” he begged. His feverish thoughts were driving him crazy. What if she hated the corsage he got her? What if the car breaks down? (Not that it would, it was his parents’ expensive Mercedes that he was borrowing for the night.)

Relief poured through him when a commotion at the door took the attention away from him. That lasted only a few minutes, though, because the whole Guerin family had arrived, clearly there to enjoy this moment with the oldest Evans.

“Sorry pal,” Michael muttered, “I was outvoted by the women.”

Mia and Maria were already ooh’ing and ah’ing about Matt’s tux, making him throw up his hands in despair.

“Oh sweetie, I’m so proud,” Maria hugged him. “It feels like yesterday when I was baby-sitting you, and now look!” She leaned in closer and dropped her voice. “Have you got condoms? Cause I can—”

“Aunt Maria!” he cried, flushing hotly.

“What?” she asked innocently. “It’s just, I know what your date is wearing, and let me just say—”

“Whoa!” Max said in a loud voice. “Enough already, everyone!”

If he weren’t eighteen, he would have kissed his father. Matt shoved his hands in his pockets after checking the time. Again. Crap, only five minutes have passed since he checked last.

Maria was unperturbed, she never quite understood why everyone lived in perpetual fear of Max. According to her, he was a lamb. “Come on, Lizzie, let’s go see the date’s dress!”

They left with Belle and Mia in tow, leaving blessed silence in their wake.

And giving Michael the time to give Matt the ‘mud’ speech he had given Max so long ago…


Her hands wouldn’t stop shaking. Sas smoothed them over the silk of her dress one more time, hoping to calm down a little. Her mother was fussing with her hair, trying to get it perfect. And all Sas wanted to do was to go over to Matt’s room, take his hand, look into his eyes and know that everything will be fine.

“Oh wow!” Maria’s cry from her doorway had both Sas and her mom turning around. “Matt’s going to DIE!” she stated, clasping her hands together in front of her. “Get up, let us look at you.”

Sas felt awkward as she got up and moved away from the chair at her vanity table.

“You look stunning,” Belle told her in awe. “Matt better not spill something on that dress. You know what a pig he is around food.”

This broke the intensity of the moment as they all chuckled. And Sas silently thanked her friend for making Matt seem a little less daunting.

“Are you ready?” Liz asked her. “Because Matt is wearing a groove in our floor with anticipation.”

“He is?” Joy speared her heart at hearing this.

“Ohhh, yeah!” Belle confirmed. “I have to thank you for tying my brother into knots like this, it really is fun to watch.”

“Belle!” Liz scolded again. “Okay, we’re going back to our house now. Please come over before you leave so we can embarrass you by taking a whole bunch of pictures.” She took hold of Maria’s arm, propelling her friend out the door.


The moment was finally here. Matt tugged his tux in place and knocked on the apartment’s door. He felt like he was twelve, hyperventilating because he was going to kiss a girl for the first time!

James opened the door, smiling at Matt’s obvious anxiety. “Come in, she’ll be right out.”

“Okay.” Matt took another deep breath, noticing James was observing him with amusement. He grinned at him crookedly. “Uhm, what time should we be home?”

A short silence greeted this question as James’ regard turned serious. “Whenever you are through having fun is fine. We’re… not going to wait up for you.”

Matt’s mouth dropped open in surprise. If the Easter bunny suddenly came through the door he would be less shocked. “Thank you. I’ll… look after her well…” was all he could manage to stammer in response.

“I know you will,” James replied, hammering another nail into Matt’s coffin of responsibility. Like he would be able to do ANYTHING remotely intimate to Sas after all this trust her father put into him. He closed his eyes in an effort to stem the renewed panic that flooded through him. This was either going to be the best night of his life, or the worst…

It will probably be the worst.

As his eyes opened, they fell on the vision that had stepped into the room, looking at him shyly through her eyelashes. The power of speech left him completely as he could only stare at her, the girl he had known all his life, but hadn’t really known at all. This night was going to kill him.

Her dress was the color of mature red wine, a long sheath with a high neckline that skimmed over her curves from breast to ankle. What made the dress so alluring was the single slit ending above her knee that allowed glimpses of her right leg when she moved and the low-cut that bared her back. The dress was made of mandarin silk, that shimmered only slightly, and the color offset Saskia’s raven hair perfectly.

“I…” He swallowed and tried again. “You look…” But there were no words to say how beautiful she was to him right then. Nothing that wouldn’t sound silly. “Perfect.”

Barely breathing, Sas stared into his eyes, seeing all the things that he didn’t know how to say right. “Thank you,” she whispered. Her love for this alien prince grew another degree.

After that, things got blurry, he put her corsage on and kissed her on the cheek before her parents took pictures and they managed to escape.

Only to run into the lion’s den at the Evans’. More pictures were taken and gushing done about how cute they looked and after a while, Matt was longing for a cosmic miracle to save him and Sas from his parents and the Guerin’s.

Once again, his father ended his ordeal, ordering an end to the photos and telling Matt and Sas to enjoy themselves. “We’ll see you when we see you.”

Matt breathed a sigh in relief when he had delivered Sas into the passenger seat of the Mercedes and slid into the driver’s seat himself. He looked over at her and chuckled. “If we lived through that, we could live through anything this prom might throw at us!”

Her smile warmed his heart.

When he didn’t start the car immediately, she looked at him enquiringly.

“Do you have make-up in that ridiculously small handbag of yours?” he asked her.

“Yes, why?”

Leaning closer, he brushed the back of his hand over her cheek tenderly. “Because I’ve been dying to kiss you and show you how amazing you look tonight and… how that makes me feel.” He paused. “Can I do that? Please?”

Nodding at him speechless, Sas watched him get closer as if in a dream. His hands cupped her face gently just before he kissed her. Softly, sweetly as he opened a connection between them.

His feelings slammed into her like an avalanche, forcing a choked little gasp from her. She felt his love and his awe, his desire and his amazement.

Matt felt her pride and love and her shy need of him, and it knocked more air from his lungs. They stared at each other in a daze when he pulled back.

This was going to be a night they would always remember. One way or another.


The hotel was decked in lights, causing the place to look magical and playful at once. Matt had opted to park the car in the hotel’s parking garage, so he and Sas went up with the lift that took them to the lobby. He held her hand tightly, not realizing how he was beaming with happiness about being with her. He also couldn’t stop looking at her. She looked incredible and he just knew she was going to knock everyone’s socks off tonight.

Sas stood as close to Matt as she could without actually being in his arms. Her heart was hammering in a crazy beat with anticipation and nerves. Most of the people here will be a year her senior, but at least she knew Matt’s friends, Tom and Irwin, very well by now.

The lobby was filled with chattering students standing around in little groups. The girls were checking out each other’s dresses enviously and the guys could mostly care less about what the other guys were wearing.

Leading her out into the crowd, Matt couldn’t help noticing that Sas drew some interested looks from around the room. He pulled her closer to him unconsciously, making sure there was no mistake who she was with tonight.

“Hey Evans!” It was Tom, pulling his date towards them. “Hey Saskia, looking good!”

Grinning at him, Sas felt more comfortable already. Matt’s friends had taken his deeper relationship with his life-long friend very well. Tom had told her he was relieved to find out that there had been a reason for Matt’s weird actions lately, while Irwin had just said that it was about time the two of them “came out of the closet”.

A few minutes later they were joined by Irwin and his date, Chrissie. Chrissie and Tina, Tom’s date, were two fun girls and Sas liked them both. In spite of the fact that Tina sometimes cast longing glances in Matt’s direction.

Dinner was served inside the hotel’s huge ballroom by uniformed waiters. The group at Matt and Sas’ table joked around and in general enjoyed themselves since the food was superb.

“Let’s take a wager that this hotel’s rooms are all booked for later tonight,” Tom said with a glint in his eyes. “I mean look over there, table six is already empty!”

This made Sas glance at Matt shyly, but he just smiled at her and kissed her cheek. What did that mean, she wondered?

“So, what are you guys planning for summer break?” Irwin asked. Sas really liked him. He was soft-spoken and polite.

“We’re… going away with my parents to Africa again,” Matt answered easily. That had always been their standard answer to hide the fact that they disappeared off the planet sometimes. Africa was far enough away and had places where no one could find you.

“You should really tell your parents to cut out the lovey-dovey stuff in public,” Tom teased Matt. “My mom saw them in the supermarket the other day and they made all the frustrated house-wives envious.”

“They should be glad they don’t live in my house then,” Matt mumbled, lacing his fingers with Sas’.

“What on earth are you lot doing in Africa every time?” This from Tina.

“My parents feel that to get away, they REALLY need to get away. So they have this little place in Kenya in the middle of nowhere. We just watch game and relax.”

“Isn’t it strange, being so cut off from everything?” Tina was looking at Sas now. “And what about bugs and weird animals?”

“No, it’s very beautiful. And peaceful.”

“It’s family time for us. Getting back to our roots,” Matt added, giving Sas a secret smile that made her heart trip over itself.

Speeches ensued after the dinner was over, and the principal had almost everyone asleep by the time he ended his long-winded oration. Then it was time to announce the winners to Prom King and Queen and all the other categories. The whole thing bored Matt to tears, so he started playing with Sas’ hair that were piled in curls on top of her head, watching them spring back as he tugged at them.

“Matt!” Sas hissed. This was very distracting. His long fingers kept brushing the sensitive skin of her neck and she couldn’t decide if it was deliberate or not.

When she leaned forward to get away from his wandering hands, it gave him a tantalizing view of her bare back. This was just too much of a temptation and he rested his elbow on the back of her seat, leaving all that soft skin in easy reach of his fingers.

A shiver racked her at the first tentative caress on her shoulder blade. A low hum started deep in her body, keeping her transfixed even as her brain tried to get her to move away from the danger zone. He traced little patterns on her back, moving closer towards her spine and inexorably lower all the time. The others at the table had turned towards the stage to watch the festivities so they were quite oblivious to what was happening between Matt and Sas.

He was torturing himself and he knew it, but for the life of him, Matt couldn’t stop touching Sas. She was leaning over the table, her chin resting on her upturned palm, staring to the front as if it was the most interesting thing she had ever seen. But he could see the agitated rise and fall of her breasts and the involuntary licks at her bottom-lip. She was loving this too.

And it was turning her on.

Just like him.

Lord, was the dancing never going to start?

He finally had to remove his elbow from the back of her chair to be able to slide his hand down to her lower back. All pretense that he was doing this absently had been thrown away by now. His eyes followed the path of his hand hungrily, his mind painting pictures of his lips following the same route.

Feeling him flatten his hand over the small of her back, just above the edge of her dress, Sas trembled beneath the heat of his touch. She could feel the weight of his stare, but the thundering of her heartbeat drowned out all sound. She had no idea who won which category. Nor did she care. All she cared about was that he wouldn’t stop those maddeningly arousing caresses over her skin.

His fingers traced the edge of her dress and she held her breath, wondering… fearing, that he would move them even lower. She heard him shift in his seat before he trailed his hand up her spine slowly.

She nearly lost the fight to stop herself from arching her back at that possessive touch. The rhythm of his breathing had changed by now, becoming faster and it gave her a little thrill.

So intent was Matt on his seduction of Sas, that he entirely missed hearing them call his name.

“Evans!” Tom’s cry snapped him out of his trance. “You won ‘Guy Every Girl Wanted to Date’ category. Go get your cheesy trophy.”

Everyone was smiling at him brightly, but they all looked fuzzy to him. Only Sas was in sharp focus.

“Go Matt,” she told him, looking flushed and gorgeous… and so sexy.

Taking deep breaths as he made his way to the stage, Matt willed his body back under control. What a time to have to get up in front of the whole senior class!

The trophy was handed to him by a giggling girl who wore a crown; he supposed she was the Prom Queen. She insisted on giving him a kiss and Matt smiled vaguely in her direction and turned to leave.

“Wait!” she shrieked. “You have to say something!”

He turned back reluctantly. “Uhm, thank you?”

“Not so fast! Please tell all those girls that voted for you: are you available for dating now?”

Looking at her like she’s lost her mind, he said very clearly: “No.”

“Already taken, huh?”

“Very much so,” he replied and found Sas’ gaze in the crowd to smile at her before finally escaping back to the table. He felt weird about the stupid award and was afraid that it would scare Sas. Reaching his seat, he hauled her against him, holding her tightly and kissing her temple. “I love you.”

She snuggled against him. “I’m SO proud of you,” she said in a gushing voice.

“Hey, cut it out!” he told her sternly.

“Nice going, Evans!” Tom couldn’t let this one pass without a comment. “I guess you could’ve won ‘Most Likely to Repeat Senior Year’ or something.”

Irwin just shook his head. “Women are vultures,” he mused with a grin.

Just then, he was announced as ‘Most Likely to Succeed in Business’ causing his friends to turn their teasing to him. Irwin just shrugged. “You all are going to beg me for work one day!”

After this, the dancing finally started. Matt pulled Sas to the floor gratefully, wanting nothing more than to have her in his arms right then. She smelled wonderful and she fit against him just right. Sighing with satisfaction, he kissed her forehead.

Sas rested her cheek against his chest, feeling the movement of his muscles beneath his clothes. She had so many contradicting sensations in his embrace. Peace and restlessness. Safety and anticipation. Desire and tenderness. Belonging. She inhaled deeply, relishing the scent that was so uniquely Matt.

Interspersed with some controlled kissing, they ended up dancing the night away. Other people wanted to dance with the two of them too, but Matt firmly refused any such offer. There was no way he would allow any other hands than his own on Sas’ bare back tonight! Or anyone else to experience the way her hips moved. Or to see how her eyes sparkled.

He was such a goner.

“Do you want to go?” he asked her much later. It was after midnight and the crowd had dwindled somewhat. Not really sure what to expect, he looked at her closely to see her reaction to his question. She stiffened momentarily and then smiled up at him.


Taking her hand, he laced their fingers together and they collected their stuff before silently making their way down to the garage. He had no idea where to take her now. The only thing he knew was that he wanted to be alone with her for a little while longer. And maybe kiss her for a whole hour as well.

She snuggled against him as soon as he was in his seat. “Where are we going?”

Clenching his hands on the steering wheel, he took a deep breath. “I don’t know. I haven’t…” Deciding to tell her the truth, he turned so he could meet her eyes. “I haven’t made any plans for… now. I thought we should talk about - about what you want first.”

“I want to be with you,” she answered immediately.

Swallowing, he tried to sound calm. “Be with me or… BE with me?”

Sas was blushing profusely by now. “I… What do you want?”

“I want us to just be with each other some more. Not to—”

“Okay, I understand.” She looked away from him quickly, trying to hide her disappointment. He was not even going to TRY to make love to her tonight!

“No, you don’t,” he said after a small silence. “We really need to talk… Is it okay if I drive us somewhere?”

“Sure.” She had no idea what was going on.

He took them to the lookout point where they went on their first date. The place was quiet at that late hour of the night. Getting out, Matt rounded the hood and opened Sas’ door to help her alight. She was avoiding his gaze as she leaned against the side of the car. He hoped the moonlight was enough for him to see her eyes while they talked.

“You still don’t believe how much I love you, do you?” he questioned softly.

“Yes, I—”

“I mean, love you in the sense of loving ALL of you,” he interrupted her. “Including wanting you so much it hurts.” This earned him a startled look. “Because I do.”

Touching his finger to her nose, he continued. “But I wanted us to be a real couple first, before we… make love. I want that to happen when everything is right for us, not because it’s prom night and we can go home for breakfast if we want to.” His voice dropped a few octaves, turning tentative. “Do you understand? This is not about me not wanting to be with you, it’s about me wanting that to be special more.”

He was so sweet, Sas decided. And she really did understand. But a small part of her still felt slightly cheated that he was able to be such a gentleman around her.

“How do you feel about this?” He was sounding more worried by the second, alerting Sas to the fact that she hadn’t really given him a response earlier. “Do you want to… I mean what do you want from me right now?”

To rip my clothes off and make mad passionate love to me? She bit her lip. “I… I’m not sure I’m ready for making love yet.”

“Okay,” he sounded relieved, “but I have to admit that I could’ve forced myself if you really wanted to tonight…”

Their chuckles lifted the tension somewhat. Matt hugged her close. “I love you so much!”

“I love you too,” she murmured against his neck. “But Matt?”


She created havoc with six short words.

“I need more than kissing tonight…”


posted on 7-Sep-2001 6:01:17 AM

I need more than kissing tonight…

The words seem to echo in the silence.

It felt like everything inside him had been kicked into overdrive. With one whispered sentence, she brought his world to a grinding halt. “More?” his voice sounded as strained as another part of him was suddenly feeling.

Her head stayed buried in his neck. “I don’t mean… I just really want you to-to touch me… more.”

Suddenly, the skin of her back burned his hands and the fire spread quickly throughout the rest of his body.


She sounded so nervous, that a rush of love joined the lust that was already humming in his veins. How strange that she could make him want to make love to her right here on the ground and want to protect her even from himself at the same time.

“Let’s just start with kissing,” he told her quietly.

His lips touched her, and in that instant, Sas was even more certain that she wanted more tonight. Maybe not making love, but something in between.

Her velvet lips welcomed him so completely that he drew back, his heart racing. Damn, this was going to kill him. He had already decided how far this was going to go tonight, but now he realized how hard it was going to be for him in the process.

“Matt?” she whispered. “Is something—”

With a groan he returned to her full mouth, committing himself to the kiss, to what would follow the kiss. To hell with what it might cost him.

Her mouth was a perfect fit to his. He didn’t have to think about kissing Sas, it happened as effortlessly as breathing. She opened to him as she’d been doing ever since they started dating and his body pounded with excitement. Her invitation to pleasure seemed natural, almost expected, and he accepted without hesitation, tasting her richness, probing her heat, shifting the angle so he could deepen the kiss.

Joy surged within him as she responded, pressing closer, moaning softly as he made love to her mouth. He thought of all the wasted years when she’d been there, only a touch away. But she was here now, so alive and warm in his arms, so ready.

Very ready. As she molded herself to him, he could feel her breasts, tight and aroused, pressing against his chest. His own hardness answered this. If he didn’t slow down, he’d violate the limits they had put on themselves and make love to her here in the car. That couldn’t happen, first of all because he believed what he’d said about not rushing their relationship, and secondly because he had no birth control with him.

With great regret, he drew back, breathing hard. The starlight didn’t allow him to see her expression very well. He wished he could, but maybe it was for the best. Tonight promised to be intense enough without being able to see the desire written all over her face.

“Let’s go,” he told her roughly.

“Where?” Her breathing was as ragged as his.

“Somewhere more private.” He helped her back into her seat and practically ran to get behind the wheel. Just don’t look at her, he instructed himself. He was close to the edge as it is.

They ended up in the woods at the spot Matt had first kissed her. Only the sounds of the night disturbed the silence when he switched off the engine and got out. He found a blanket in the back and opened it on the ground, while Sas stood watching him.

She sat down cross-legged, tugging up her dress to allow her more freedom to move and waited for Matt to join her. The night was still very warm, but she felt shivery with delight. Something was going to happen to her tonight. Something wonderful. Maybe it was partly the blanket, reminding her of the tents she and Matt used to make from blankets in the garden of the Evans’ house. They’d hauled comic books and snacks into their hide-away, and there had been nothing sexual about the cozy intimacy of being stretched out beside him in that tent.

Or maybe there had been, and she’d been too innocent to realize it.

“Let’s lie on our backs and look at the stars, like we used to.” His voice was hoarse, choked, belying the casualness of his words.

“Okay.” She was so hungry for him.

She pulled the skirt of her dress down underneath her as she settled back on the blanket and looked upward.

Matt took off the jacket of his tux, throwing it on the hood of the car, before lying down beside her, his arm touching hers, his thigh against hers.

Sas could almost imagine they’d gone back in time… until Matt reached for her hand, lacing his fingers through hers. Memories of childhood faded. They definitely weren’t kids anymore, and the emotions coursing through her at the barest touch of his hand weren’t the least bit childish.

But the basis of those feelings had been there all along, she thought. What was happening between them now had been simmering within her for years, waiting for a touch, a word, a gesture, to make passion flare to life. Waiting for her to allow herself to feel all that passion. He rubbed his thumb along hers, and although it might have been an unconscious movement, she didn’t think so. He had to realize that what they’d taken for childhood play had been more sensual than they’d ever admitted to each other, or themselves.

“I’ve dreamed about this so many times.” His quiet voice made her shiver. He clutched her hand a little more tightly and cleared his throat. “About being allowed to… really touch you.”

Sas wasn’t sure who was holding on tighter, her or Matt, but they both had a death grip. “Me too.”

“Will you trust me tonight? I want to touch you… all of you.” He stressed the last words, still not looking at her.

She wonder what he’d think if he knew how her body was throbbing this very minute. She loosened her grip when she realized she might already be digging her nails into his hand. “Yes.”

He released her hand and turned on his side to face her. “I don’t want you to be scared.”

She turned on her side too, pillowing her head on her arm. “I’m not. Just… nervous that you… will be disappointed.”

He sucked in his breath. “That’s impossible. I want you just this side of madness already, and I think it’s just going to get worse.”

She gasped. “It is?”

He lifted a hand to her cheek, and as he caressed her, his hand trembled. “I want to rip that beautiful dress away and take you now, right now. But I won’t. We need more time.”

“We do?”

His laugh sounded strained. “Yes, we do.”

The edgy tone in his voice was more exciting than the tenderest of murmurs. She almost wished he would be that reckless, but of course, he wouldn’t, which was why she loved him so much. She trusted him.

“I love you.” He slid his hand to the nape of her neck, massaging gently. “And I hope I can do this right,” he murmured. His lips found hers and his kiss soon brought her to a fever pitch.

She didn’t realize he’d begun pushing the dress from her shoulders until the material loosened over her breasts and he drew back slightly, ending the kiss. She opened her eyes. His face was in shadow, but she could see the rapid rise and fall of his chest as he eased the dress lower.

“Stop me whenever you want,” he said in a husky voice.

“I don’t want to stop you.” Her heart pounded as the dress dropped from her shoulder.

“Just know that you can.” He carefully brought the bodice of the dress down, gradually exposing her breast. His breath caught. “Oh Sas.” He eased her to her back and drew the dress down to her waist. Then he groaned.

“What are you thinking?” she asked apprehensively.

“That you’re even more beautiful than I’d dreamed. And that you’ve been right there, all along…”

Her mouth moistened with desire. “Aren’t you going to… touch me?”

“I’m still looking.” But at last he traced the tip of a breast, causing it to tighten even more. Then he cupped her so tenderly, so carefully, that she felt like precious china. She loved being cherished, but she wanted more. So she showed him, arching her back, she pressed forward, filling his cupped palm.

“Ah, Sas.” Taking a shaky breath, he dipped his head and brought her tight aching breast into his mouth.

Yes. She cupped the back of his head and lifted into his caress. This was the touch she’d been waiting for – the swirl of his tongue, the nip of his teeth, the sweet pressure as he sucked, nursing the flames that licked at the tender spot between her thighs.

As she twisted on the soft blanket, her skirt rode up. Or maybe he pushed it up. He slipped his hand between her thighs, pressing against the damp silk of her panties with a groan of raw need. The heel of his hand found the spot that ached, and pushed down. She trembled.

He kissed his way back to her mouth, then lifted a fraction away from her lips. “Do you want to stop?”

“No,” she said, panting. “But I don’t… I’ve never…”

He paused, breathing heavily too. “You’ve never…” He leaned his forehead against hers. “Not even… on your own?”

“No, I… read about it.”

“Not the same.”

“I know but… I didn’t want to be alone when it happened.”

“Oh god, Sas!” This had rocked him to his core.

He tenderly kissed her forehead, her nose, her cheeks, and finally her lips. “You’re not alone now,” he whispered between kisses.

And sometime in the midst of those bewitching kisses, he eased his hand beneath the waistband of her panties. When she felt his fingers slip into her warm heat, she gasped.

His hand stilled and he lifted his mouth away from hers. “Should I stop?”

She began to quiver and fought the urge to press her thighs together. His hand resting there felt wonderful, but frightening too. “No…”

He eased his hand down and began a slow massage.

Breathing became more difficult as her body responded to that rhythmic stroke. She felt as if he was transforming her into a liquid, flowing state. She gasped again as his finger found the center of her sensations.

“Oh Matt!”

She felt like she was slowly becoming more and more tense, like something was looming, waiting to push her over an unknown edge.

He leaned down and feathered a kiss against her lips. “Let go, sweetheart.”

“I don’t know how.”

He pressed down a little harder.

She moaned as the pressure became unbearable and her body arched and quivered beneath him.

He leaned over and whispered in her ear as he deepened the caress. “One day, I’m going to love you with more than my fingers…”

She cried out as the convulsions swept through her, wave upon wave of glorious release. And all through it, she held onto Matt, the man that loved her so well and made this magic happen to her. And he held on to her equally tight, covering her face with kisses and whispering his love.

Matt held Sas and listened with pride to her sighs of satisfaction as she nestled in his arms. He was tense with unfulfilled need, but he ignored his body’s insistent demands.

“So, was it…” He had never touched someone like that before either.

“I love you. Thank you.” Her voice was lazy and sweet, an after-the-loving voice that he now heard for the first time. It speared him in the gut.

Even while he knew she was a virgin, he had never dreamed that she’d never experienced what he’d just given her. Knowing that he’d introduced her to her first orgasm made him feel like a king. Of all the accomplishments in his life, this might be the one he was most proud of.

On the downside, he was in real agony. His body was strummed excruciatingly tight and he was very close to being in real trouble.

“Uh… so, you’ve… er, done this on your own?” She wasn’t looking at him, but was drawing patterns on his shirt-covered chest.

Luckily, because he flushed darkly at her words. “Yeah…” He cleared his throat.

She didn’t say anything and he started wondering if he’d frightened her off now.

This time, it was another six short words that nearly caused him heart failure.

“Can I… do it for you?”


Can I do it for you? Was she kidding? Right now, she probably won’t even need her hands! “Uhm…”

But he couldn’t expect her to do that for him, considering her lack of experience. Could he?

Then he felt her fingers working at his belt buckle.

“Sas? What are you doing?”

She fumbled her way through the fastenings of his tuxedo pants, obviously unfamiliar with what she was doing.

Suddenly he felt very protective of her. “Please don’t think I expect you to—”

“Do you want me to stop?” She sounded vulnerable. “It’s just that in the dark, I feel… braver. And I want to, Matt. I really want to.”

She’d nearly released him from the confines of the pants, which left only the cotton of his boxers between him and paradise. Consideration warred with urgent need. “Uh…”

“I’ve… read what to do.” Even with the uncertainty in it, her tone was sexy as hell.

The combination of sex and innocence was mind-blowing. He hardened even more, thinking of her untutored hands on him, practicing.

She rubbed him through the cotton, wringing a helpless groan from him. “Please?”

“Uhm… okay…” What the hell was he bringing over himself?

“Help me get your clothes out of the way then.”

He was in such a daze that he just followed her instructions, lifting his hips so she could shove his boxers and suit pants down.

“Oh my…” She sounded intimidated. He wasn’t sure whether to laugh or explode.

“Do you still—”

“Yes! Just… lie back and give me some time.” She was biting her lip in a very endearing way, and he was just contemplating kissing her again, when she finally circled him with one warm hand. He squeezed his eyes shut and gritted his teeth. He would not explode this very minute. He would not. But just the thought of Sas holding on to him like that was enough to nearly make him climax. The reality was so stimulating that he wondered how long he’d survive her attentions.

Before he realized what she was up to, she’d leaned down and started using her tongue.

“Sas!” His breath was burning his lungs as he tried to maintain control, lifting her mouth away from him. “Don’t do that! Not now, I’ll not make it…”

He groaned as she settled her hands into a rhythm that was uncannily good for someone who had never engaged in this activity. She must have read some good books.

“Why can’t I?”

He clenched his jaw and fought the urge to erupt as she explored his tip with fluttering fingers. “Because I’ve wanted you for so long—”

Ignoring him, she leaned down and flicked her tongue back and forth against the spot she’d been caressing with her fingers.

He worked so hard to hold back his climax that he thought he might pass out. “Where… did you learn that?”

“A book.” She blew on the damp spot.

He gripped the blanket in both fists and stared blindly up at the canopy of trees. He’d never experienced anything like this.

She shifted her hands and he moaned softly. She held him snugly at the base with one hand, pushing down slightly, and took the tip in her mouth.

The effect was unbelievable. Intense pleasure poured through him from the action of her mouth, but her firm grip kept his release at bay. He groaned.

Then she released her grip, took him completely in her mouth and his control shattered. He tried to pull away from her, sure this wasn’t what she meant to do, but she wouldn’t let him. His world came apart as he surrendered to the most cataclysmic orgasm of his life.

As his spinning universe slowly came back into focus, he drew her up and gathered her close to kiss her, tasting himself on her lips.

“Wow.” He felt as if he’d been pole-axed.

Sas had never seen Matt so still. He was usually brimming with energy, yet he lay slumped against her like an unconscious person, his eyes closed.

“I… didn’t hurt you, did I?”

His mouth curved in a crooked smile. “Nope.”

She stroked his hair back from his forehead. “You’re very quiet.”

“I think I’ve blown a fuse,” he mumbled against her.

“Was it that good?” She blushed as she asked this. She hardly recognized this new Sas.


She smiled in relief. “I was wondering if I did everything right.”

“Extremely right.”

“Good.” She was grinning by now. They haven’t exactly made love, but they had very definitely moved their relationship up a gear. And she was very pleased that she had managed to contribute to this night. “Is it okay if I kiss you again?”

His eyes drifted open. “Where?”

“On your mouth. Where did you think?”

“I wasn’t sure. For a virgin, you have some amazing ideas.”

She brushed her lips against his with a smile. “Thank you for letting me do that.”

She settled her mouth over his, coaxing his tongue into a slow love-play with hers. At first his response was lazy, but gradually the tempo of his breathing picked up. As the temperature of his kiss changed from warm to sizzling, he cupped her breast, kneading it with sure fingers. Her body throbbed with new knowledge, and she whimpered and moved closer to his heat.

He moved his mouth back a little. “Oh Sas, we have to stop. I don’t trust myself if we get started again.”

Her body tightened in anticipation.

He reached for her dress. “Let’s put this back on.”

He was right, she knew it, but she still felt… frustrated as he started pulling the bodice back up over her dress. “What now?”

He trembled and bunched the material in his fist. “Now I take you back home, to your own bed.” He got control of himself and helped her re-arrange the dress. “Even if it kills me.”

Thanking providence that it was dark, he yanked his own clothes back in place before turning back to her. She was standing stiffly next to the car, not meeting his eyes. Apprehension slammed through him and he went over to take her hands. “Are you okay?”

She nodded. “I’m just… I can’t believe what I just did to you!” she blurted out suddenly. “How am I going to look you in the eyes tomorrow?”

How am I going to look your FATHER in the eyes tomorrow, he added silently. “Would it help to know that I love you even more after tonight? After everything you let me share with you?”

Moving into his embrace, she mumbled: “A little.”

He chuckled at that. “Well, how about this, I’m probably going to be just as embarrassed as you when I see you tomorrow morning!”

“You will?”

“Oh yeah. And then I’m going to wonder when I can get you alone again.” He could feel her smile against his chest.

Love for this sweet man overwhelmed her. “I really love you, Matt. So much.” She pressed closer. “And this night was even better than I dreamed it would be.”

“I know,” was all he said.

Both their houses were quiet when they got home. Matt walked Sas to her door, wondering how on earth he was going to live through saying goodnight now.

Turning towards him in front of her apartment, Sas could feel the tension in the air. “Would you let me take you out to breakfast tomorrow morning?”

“Sure,” he smiled at her, but his hand was still gripping hers tightly, his eyes burning into hers. “I better go.”


But neither of them moved. It felt so wrong to just go their separate ways after all they had shared tonight.

“Thank you for coming to my prom with me. And for being the most beautiful girl there,” he finally whispered.

Personally, Sas thought the prom itself sort of paled in comparison to what happened afterwards. Matt had made her fly, made her see the stars from up close and made her feel more loved than she had ever dreamed she would feel.

He was pulling her closer, sliding his hands over the bare skin of her back to arch her into his body. “I wish…” his voice was so soft that she barely heard him.

He wished so many things. He wished he didn’t have to let her go now. He wished she were his already in all the ways there is. He wished…

All she answered was, “Me too.”

Their kiss was long and deep… and so not enough. Matt had to fight to keep his hands on her back and in her hair. They seemed to have a will of their own now, and their will was to find those glorious curves they had shaped earlier again.

He was making her drown in sensation again. Kissing her like she was an extension of himself, like she was part of him… already part of him even if they hadn’t made love yet.

It felt like hours before she would see him again.

And both of them understood Matt’s parents’ loathing to be away from each other for too long just a little better.

“I have to go,” he muttered against her lips. And again he didn’t let her go.

“Matt…” she sighed into the still night air. Wishing she could tell him to come inside to her room. To stay and hold her for the rest of this already magical night.

Tracing her bottom-lip with his tongue, he pulled back, realizing just how puffy her mouth was. He had been abusing these beautiful lips all night! Gently rubbing his thumb over her mouth, he tried sending healing through his finger.

The next moment, Sas’ head tipped back and she moaned softly, causing Matt to jerk his hand away from her face. “Sorry,” he mumbled. “I didn’t mean to…”

Surprising him, she slid her hands under his tux jacket, pressing closer to him and trailing her lips over his throat. He was in big trouble from now on, Sas now has a few new weapons in her armory to use against him. Not least of which was his complete lust for her…


Hauling Liz back against him, Max kissed the top of her head and smoothed his hand over her stomach. She had been rolling around for hours, listening for when Matt would get home. They both had been.

Only now that they’ve heard the car enter the garage and the sound of the garage doors closing, did Liz become less stiff against him.

“He’s home now, sweetness, and he’s okay,” he whispered into her ear. “We’d have known if he wasn’t.”

Nothing horrible had ever happened to their children, but no number of years of good things could erase from Liz’s memory Max being tortured for who he was, or the extremes some of his enemies had gone to to try and get rid of him. And sometimes, like tonight, those demons would come back to haunt her.

The clock on their bedside table read 02:37.

It was quiet in the house for a long time. Liz lay sheltered in the arms of her husband, feeling him tenderly caress the skin of her stomach with his fingers, the only movement that gave away that he was awake with her.

She remembered a time when Matt was about five when she found Max teaching him to shave. Not really of course, but he had let Matt watch him do it, and had lifted him up on the bathroom counter afterwards, letting Matt lather himself with shaving cream before giving him a razor without a blade so he could emulate his dad’s example. She still has that moment on video somewhere. The two most important males in her life, one a miniature version of the other, two identical dark heads both peering into the mirror with equal seriousness, it was a memory she would treasure for the rest of her life.

And now that little boy, her son, was downstairs saying goodbye to the girl he was probably going to marry. He was eighteen and all grown up. Soon, she will have to let him go completely.

“He’ll always be our son.” Max was hearing her thoughts through their connection again. But she could feel his own emotion too. Matt was the apple of his mother’s eye, but he had a link to his father that only the two of them understood.

Matt’s door closed on a soft click and Liz glanced at the clock again. 03:06. In spite of her moment of motherly emotion, she still had to grin that it had taken him that long to say goodnight to Sas. “He is just like you,” she told Max quietly. “I could never get you off that balcony…”

“Hey, I remember some clinging from your side too,” his voice had a smile in it.

“You don’t think they’ve…” They HAVE been out very late, Liz thought.

“I have no idea,” Max whispered ruefully. “We can just hope that whatever happened, he was responsible about it.”


Matt plopped onto his bed, not even bothering to undress. Sas was wearing his jacket anyway, it had gotten cold outside while he was having trouble unplastering himself from her.

Closing his eyes, he allowed himself to remember Sas in the throes of her first orgasm. Nothing could have prepared him for the sight and for hearing her moan his name in that final moment of unguarded sensation. It was a powerful experience.

One he could get addicted to.

Oh, who was he kidding?

He was addicted already.


posted on 7-Sep-2001 6:11:40 AM

Sas’ father was in their kitchen!

Matt had stumbled downstairs at 09:00 after a short shower, having finally woken up from dreams filled with Sas, Sas and more Sas. With how Sas had looked underneath him last night. How she had sighed and moaned his name. How she had so trustingly let him touch her. How she had made him reach the stars with her uninhibited response.

He was even more in love than ever.

But seeing her father a scant few hours after giving Sas her first orgasm was not exactly what he had in mind. Just breathe, he told himself. Try not to look like you’ve seen his daughter nearly naked not very long ago. But he was close to a panic attack. He just hoped it wasn’t too obvious.

James was sitting at the kitchen table with Liz and Max, chatting about their upcoming trip to Tresar. Liz was the first to notice Matt, pausing in the doorway and looking warily at James. Her heart lurched, what had Matt done to warrant that look he aimed at Sas’ father?

“Morning, everyone.” Matt’s voice was surprisingly normal as he entered the room.

After a chorus of greetings, James jumped in first. “So, how was the prom? Sas was still sleeping when I came here so I couldn’t grill her.”

His voice was light, so Matt relaxed somewhat. “It was great. We had fun. We danced ‘till late.” A glance at his mother convinced him she wasn’t fooled, she was watching him intensely, as if trying to see inside his head to his memories of last night. He fled to the fridge, opening the door and staring at its contents in an effort to escape her regard.

“By the way, there are no new dents in the car,” Matt added. Trying to keep the banter away from his very late night with Sas. She’s still a virgin… she’s still a virgin… he kept repeating in his head, hoping the mantra would keep him from looking like he had stolen the innocence of the daughter of the very big man sitting across the table from his parents.

“Well, that’s a relief,” Max said amusedly. “Seeing that you denting the car was our biggest fear.”

Still keeping his head in the fridge, Matt ignored his father’s comment. He REALLY didn’t want to talk about paternal fears for prom night.

“Don’t mind these men, honey,” Liz said. “While they are pretending to be disappointed that you didn’t get trashed and create a public scandal, I for one, am glad you got home safe.”

Finally emerging from the relative cover of the fridge door, Matt smiled at his mom. “Yeah well, nothing out of the ordinary happened. Just dinner, dancing, stupid awards, more dancing and talking.” And some serious making out…

“Well, there goes the Evans reputation,” Max aimed this at his wife with a smirk.

“At least this Evans also had the most beautiful girl at the prom on his arm,” Matt gave his mom a hug from behind. “So I did continue one tradition.”

“Son,” Max said jokingly, “I am so proud.”

Matt joined the group at the table with a glass of orange juice.

“Isn’t it a bit early for all of you to be this goofy?” Liz asked. “I have not heard this much nonsense in a long time.” She turned to James. “So are we all set for Dendar and Tresar?”

“Yes,” he had finally torn his eyes away from Matt, who breathed in silent relief. “The group that will go along is ready and we can leave the day after school lets out for summer.”

“Right, so that gives us until next Thursday. I have SO much packing to do,” Liz lamented. She looked back at Matt. “Aren’t you having breakfast?”

“No, I… Sas and I are going out for breakfast.” He smiled ruefully. “If she wakes up before dinner, that is...” Great, he told himself, remind her father that you only brought her home in the early hours of the morning.

But, apart from a slight narrowing of his eyes, James said nothing.

James left a few minutes later and Liz focussed her attention on Matt after a short glance at Max. “So, how was the prom really?”

Matt stared at his glass. He knew exactly where this was going. “It really WAS great. Food was good, music was good, the awards were silly, but we had fun.”

“Uhm…” Liz toyed with her fork until Max caught her hand in his. “And-and after?”

No matter how hard he tried to stop it, a blush tinged his cheeks, causing his parents’ eyes to widen.

“Matt…” Liz sounded worried.

“Mom!” he cried, mortified. How do you tell your mother you didn’t technically have sex, but that what you did was intimate enough? That technically your girlfriend was still a virgin, but…

Liz was as mortified as her son, but she couldn’t let this go. “Just—”

“Liz,” Max interrupted her, squeezing her hand to shut her up.

“I’m going to go find Sas so we can leave,” Matt announced and jumped up. His mother was getting pissed at his dad for one, and secondly, he really didn’t want to stick around for the third degree.

“We’ll see you later,” Max spoke over Liz’s attempt to call him back.

Her eyes were sparkling with anger when Matt had disappeared from the room. “Why did you do that?”

“Liz, sweetheart, you were going to interrogate our eighteen-year old son about his sexual activities,” Max answered mildly.

“What is your point?” Liz was mad and showing it. “I need to know if something happened that we should worry about.”

Belle had arrived in the kitchen just in time to hear her mother’s last words. Darting a glance between her parents, she backtracked out of the room. Hearing her parents argue was not a regular occurrence, but she and Matt had learned to just disappear when it happened. Finding the phone, she called one of her friends to meet her for breakfast at a little coffee shop close to their school. Spotting Matt going out to his Jeep, she ran after him to beg a lift.

“Honey, he’s a big boy by now—”

“Who may have slept with a GIRL,” Liz retorted. “Someone’s DAUGHTER.”

Matt sighed. “He knows all he should about this, what would you do with this knowledge?” Wow, she looked glorious when she was angry! he noticed absently. In addition to her sparkling eyes, her face was flushed and her breathing was getting shorter. It reminded him a little of what she looked like when she was aroused…

“I want to know if he was careful! I want to tell him how to handle things from now on!” Liz cried. “I don’t know!” She suddenly noticed that Max was staring at her mouth with dark eyes. “How can you be so blasé about this?”

“I just am.” His gaze had dropped to the swell of her breasts now.

Liz wasn’t sure if she should be aroused or even angrier. Her line of arguing was clearly losing his interest. “Well, how about this? Belle asked me not to tell you, but I found her with a guy the other night. His hands were up her shirt—”

“WHAT!” This got his attention back, BIG time. Max was on his feet in a rage. “Who was this guy? When did this happen?”

Folding her arms, Liz leaned back in her chair and just looked at him. “So, how did THAT feel?”

It took him a while to realize she had played him. There had been no guy. No one with his paws all over his beautiful little girl. He stared at her in shock.

“Exactly! I just feel that Matt’s sex life is as much my business as Belle’s is going to be.” She got up too. “You apparently are more worried about your daughter.”

“Liz…” He was pissed because she tricked him, he felt guilty for having a double standard… but mostly he was abruptly on fire for his wife.

Tilting her chin, she gave him a look that rocked him to his toes. A look filled with angry lust.

And then she walked away…

He was momentarily rooted to the spot as he watched her leave, hearing a roaring in his ears that got louder and louder. It was a mix of anger at himself, anger at Liz, out-of-control desire for her and possessiveness.

She was walking away from him! He didn’t think so!

With a growl, he set off after her, catching up with her halfway down the hallway. Circling her waist with his arm, he yanked her against him, lifting her off her feet and into his body, her back aligned to his front.

She flung her head back against his shoulder with a gasp, arching in his fierce hold. Max was panting in her ear as he carried her into the TV room with long strides. Excitement was thrilling through her veins, making her heart race in her chest.

Through their connection she heard his thoughts clearly. You walked away from me! You’re mine. Don’t ever walk away from me…

Disorientated for a moment, she struggled to reconcile what she was hearing with the argument they’d just had. He was spinning her around in his arms, still not letting her feet slide to the floor. The emotions crashing around inside him were overwhelming her. He was sorry for his reaction to her reaction to Matt. He was mad at her for the tactics she had used to get her point across. He wanted her just this side of violence. He hated seeing her walk away from him in anger…

There was something she needed to figure out here, but it was very difficult when he looked at her like he did just before kissing her.

His kiss was a brand. He was trying to mark her as his. She fought him back, her tongue dueling with his as she gripped fistfuls of his hair, increasing the pressure of the kiss. She ripped his shirt from his pants, raking her nails across the bare skin of his back, reveling in his resulting shudder and moan.

“God, Liz!” It was said against her throat as his hands gripped her bottom tighter, dragging her even closer to him.

Don’t ever walk away from me.

There it was again. Dizzily, Liz wondered what made him fixate on the fact that she had walked out.

Finally letting her drop to the floor, he grabbed hold of the bottom of her shirt, yanking it off her in a swift move. He practically ripped her shorts and underwear off her too, leaving her naked in front of him. His mouth crashed back onto hers immediately in another hard, passionate kiss.

Adrenaline was rushing through Liz, making her light-headed. Max was as out of control as she had only seen him a few rare times in her life. It was arousing her beyond belief, causing a rush of moistness between her thighs. She didn’t want him to slow down. She wanted him to take her like this.

His mouth was trailing fire over her skin, branding her wherever it touched. She dimly heard the sounds she was making, urgent little whimpers that did nothing to abate the storm.

They tumbled onto the carpet together, Liz scrabbling to get him out of his clothes too. When they were gone, her fingers dug into his upper arms as she writhed beneath him.

“Max!” Take me! It tumbled into his mind, urging him on.

He lifted her knees, opening her up to him… and then he was inside her. In one powerful movement, he made them one. He stilled for just a moment as realization hit him that he hadn’t even tried to make sure she was ready. But then she wrapped her legs around his hips, allowing a deeper penetration, and the haze overtook his mind again.

The flash was fleeting, but shocking. Max watching her walk away from him at the pod chamber the day he had learned of his destiny, feeling like someone was ripping his chest open and crushing his heart with a huge iron fist.

It was lost almost immediately among other flashes, ones she could remember and those that clearly came from Max’s imagination and dreams. Of happy times and sexy times. Flashes filled with passion and desire and lust.

She was the main topic in all of them.

“Liz…” Her name spilled from his lips as he increased the rhythm, driving into her almost desperately. She met him thrust for thrust, her heels digging into the carpet.

I love you. It was a shared thought.

He started climaxing before she did and Liz forced her eyes, drugged with pleasure, open so she could watch him. As she felt him start to shake violently underneath her hands, he threw his head back, gasping.

“Ah… god… Liz!”

It was enough to push her over the edge too. The tremors originating at the place where they were joined spiraled outwards until they encompassed her whole body. She shuddered helplessly, her movements falling into the rhythm that he had wrung from her. The friction between their bodies lengthened her release and it was only after she started coming down to earth that she realized Max had gathered her in closely, holding her almost convulsively against him as he watched her.

“Seeing you like this is enough to make me come again…” His voice was thick and hoarse, alerting already sensitive nerve-endings.

Brushing her hair from her face, he leaned forward and gave her a heart-stoppingly tender kiss. “I’m sorry.” For everything.

“Me too.” She stared up into his eyes. Eyes that still held the embers of the fire she had just experienced. Lifting up her hands was a mammoth task, but she brought them up to cup his face. “About that flash—”


“Never again… remember?” she reminded him fervently, silencing him.

He could have told her that he KNEW she wouldn’t. That she had spent the last 27 years proving she wouldn’t and he really believed it. That he had no idea why he had the panicked urge just now to prove to them both that the times of walking away was behind them.

But he didn’t.

He just nodded, knowing that she would understand.

“Let’s go upstairs,” he whispered. “I still need more of you.”

“Only…” she groaned as he got up, managing to do it without breaking their connection.

“Only?” he arched his brow at her.

“Only if you stay inside me all the way,” she sighed, her eyes closing in bliss as he did just that.


“I cannot believe we just did that!” Liz told Max as he pulled her against him. He had just returned from going downstairs to pick up their clothes since neither of them knew when their children would be returning from their outings. It was only after they had made love a second time that they realized they had acted as if no one else lived in the house with them. And breathed a sigh of relief that their kids had gone missing before they lost it like they had.

Max just smiled against her hair. He could feel that she still had a lot of things weighing heavily on her mind. For that matter, so did he.



It was silent for a long time before Liz pushed herself upright, sitting next to him cross-legged. Their hands reached for each other instinctively, their fingers lacing together as if they knew they would need the contact for this discussion. Max pushed himself higher until his back rested against the headboard.

Her eyes were huge, staring into his with so much emotion he caught his breath.

“I would never leave you… You DO know that, don’t you?” Her grip on his hand tightened.

“Yes, I do,” he answered immediately.

“Then why—”

“I’m not sure,” he admitted ruefully. “I knew you weren’t leaving me, but seeing you walk away from me while things were… bad between us, just suddenly brought back that day.” He paused, rubbing his thumb over the back of her hand. “It made me remember that I let you walk away once without… without trying to fix things. I guess I… I completely overreacted.” His free hand trailed a gentle caress down her soft cheek. “I know you’re here to stay.”

“Max…” She wasn’t sure what to say to him. She HAD left him in two lifetimes. First, when he had bonded to Ava in his previous life and she had stopped coming to him in his dreams, and then that day at the cliffs, when she had thought she was doing the right thing, leaving him free to follow his destiny. She had told him over and over again after his painful memories of his Shani disappearing returned that she would NEVER leave him again, but she still felt like she hadn’t apologized enough. “I’m so sorry that you will always remember that.”

“No, sweetie! What I will always remember is that I let you go. I let you walk away without trying to make sure you knew we belonged together no matter what.”

They stared at each other with tears in their eyes.

“We both made mistakes,” Max said quietly.

“I love you. I cannot breathe without you. I am NEVER leaving,” Liz reiterated.

Another quiet moment later, Liz bent her head. “Can I tell you why I got so angry?”

“Because I didn’t mind our son having sex, but would mind our daughter doing the same?”

A small smile touched her lips. “No, that’s just a small part of it.”

A frown creased Max’s forehead. “Then why?”

“Because you just overruled me wanting to talk to my son about the consequences of whatever happened without giving my opinion one thought.” She held up her hand when he tried to speak. “I admit that I am not really comfortable with Matt having sex yet and that it was part of the reason I got upset. But I was more worried about how he was handling the ‘after’ part. And whether he was responsible and will keep being responsible in the future. You didn’t give me a chance to worry about that.” She finally met his eyes. “And I’m his mother! Of course I’m going to worry about that!”

Max was speechless.

“You didn’t have to agree with me… or my methods, but you made me feel like my worries were not important.” She tucked her hair behind her ear. “Though I did overreact and I’m sorry about that.”

“Liz, I’m sorry too. I felt that Matt having sex was his own decision and I still do. But I guess I could have listened to what you were trying to say first.” He tugged her back into his arms. “You have done such a great job in raising him, now you have to trust him to do the right thing.”

“I know,” Liz mumbled against his chest. “But can I at least ask him if he remembered to use protection?”

“No!” Max chuckled.

“Are you going to be this reasonable when Belle starts having sex?”

“No,” he said more seriously.

“Max Evans!”

“I’m sorry, but she’s staying my little girl for the rest of our lives.”

Liz pushed herself up until she could meet his eyes. “So we still disagree about how to handle the sex lives of our children?”

“I guess so…”

“But we’ll give each other room to be wrong about it?”

“Yeah.” Max threaded his fingers through her hair lovingly.

“Okay.” It was a resigned sigh. “That just means I’ll have to find another reason for you to get angry enough at me to make love on the TV room floor!”

He sighed. “Maybe we should encourage our kids to get hitched as young as we did. Then we’ll have the whole house to make love in again like we used to before they came along…”

“You, my husband, are a clever man.”


Matt had just been on his way to find Sas when Belle had accosted him, begging a ride to the coffee shop. “Mom and Dad are arguing,” was all she said. In their house, arguing led to slammed doors and missing parents and things kids didn’t need to know about. Suffice to say, their parents always made up after an argument as spectacularly as they reunited after an absence.

While he really wanted his first meeting with Sas after their almost sex last night to be when they were alone, he couldn’t very well leave his sister stranded, so he agreed and watched as she hopped into the back of the Jeep. When he turned around, Sas was walking towards him wearing a cute flowery sundress that showed just enough leg to kick his pulse rate into overdrive.

Their eyes met and skittered away and blushes tinged their cheeks. But their hearts sang as they drew closer together. Memories of last night were still fresh in their minds and caused their moment of shyness. It disappeared surprisingly quickly, though.

A new awareness of herself and her own femininity pervaded Sas. And with it, came knowledge of the effect it had on one Matt Evans.

She kept walking until she was pressed against him, lifting her face for his kiss. “Hi Matt.”

He felt that low greeting all the way to his toes. Slipping his arms around her waist, he brushed his lips over hers, enjoying the slight hitch in her breath when their mouths met. A soft groan escaped his lips unbidden, the soft kiss not nearly enough.

“Morning.” Was that his voice sounding so hoarse?

Standing to tiptoe, Sas wrapped her arms around his neck, her mouth hovering a breath away from his. “How are you this morning?”

His eyes burned into hers. “Hungry.”

“You are?” Each little syllable feathered across his mouth, making him want her more.

“Oh yes!” He bent his head, only to have her pull back so she stayed just out of reach. “Sas!” he growled impatiently. He wanted… no, he NEEDED to kiss her properly.

“Will some pancakes do for the hunger?” Her eyes were dancing with mischief as she licked her bottom-lip slowly and deliberately.

“Hell no,” he replied and snaked his hand into her hair, halting any further retreat so he could finally claim her lips.

Both of them sighed into the kiss.

Sas opened her mouth after Matt asked for entrance with little flicks of his tongue against the seam of her lips. The thrust of his tongue made her feel dizzy and lightheaded, reminding her that she may win some battles, but Matt still held the upper hand sexually speaking and will definitely win the war.

His other hand had moved down to her bottom arching her into the cradle of his thighs. It was pointless now to try and keep her away from the evidence of how much he desired her. After last night, they had very little secrets left.

“Hello!” Belle’s voice from the car cut through their daze. “This is the driveway to our parents’ house, Matt Evans! Not to mention that Sas’ father also lives here and wouldn’t need a gun to get rid of you.”

Matt leaned his forehead against Sas’. “Damn,” he muttered with feeling. But Belle was right. There had been enough suspicion around the breakfast table this morning already, he shouldn’t be groping Sas in plain view and making things worse.

Sighing, he nuzzled Sas’ face.

“Do I have to use ice to pry you two apart?” Belle yelled again.

“I’m going to turn her hair purple,” he told Sas in a low voice before pecking her cheek and taking her hand to help her into the Jeep.

“Finally,” Belle grumbled. She hated admitting this, but she was having twinges of jealousy for not being the most important person in Matt’s life anymore. She loved Sas like a sister, which made it easier, but seeing Matt zone out to anything but the existence of the girl in his arms made her feel a little… left out.

And lonely.

Unlike Matt, she HAD gone on a few dates. Innocent ones to the movies and so on, but she hadn’t met anyone that intrigued her. That made her feel something other than friendship. Wasn’t she supposed to be overrun by handsome friends of Matt’s? Why did he not have tons of guys coming over to the house to hang out that she could meet? Why did she have to have the brother with two close male friends and a fixation with his only female friend?

She sighed dramatically. She really loved Matt and she wanted him to be happy, but was it too much to ask that she be happy too?

“Sorry,” Sas was saying from the front, her face red with embarrassment.

“It’s okay,” Belle hastened to assure her. She didn’t want her friend to think that she didn’t want her to be happy. “So, did you guys have fun at the prom?”

Sas’ blush deepened. “Yes, we did.”

Hmmm, Belle thought, this was interesting. And SO not something she wanted to think about relating to her brother!

So she changed the topic. “Tell me, did Sally McDonald wear something awful?”

This made Sas laugh. Sally viewed herself as the school’s unofficial fashion queen, but mostly she wore ridiculous outfits.

Matt smiled to himself as he drove to the coffee place where Belle wanted to be. It warmed his heart that his sister and his girlfriend got along so well. He didn’t know what he would have done if Belle had hated the girl he loved. Risking a glance over at Sas, he saw that she was turned around in her seat, animatedly talking to Belle behind her. Her one leg was bent onto her seat, and he slid his hand over her bare knee, secretly thrilled when she swallowed and paused during her description of someone’s dress.

They dropped Belle off at her destination, and Matt turned to Sas. They just gazed at each other for a silent minute.

“So, where are you taking me for breakfast?”

She gave him a brilliant smile. “Take the route to Las Cruces. I’ll navigate.”

“Okay.” Like he really cared where they were going!

When the Jeep was out on the road again, Sas shifted closer, leaning her head on Matt’s shoulder. “I’ve never been this happy in my life,” she admitted softly.

Matt leaned his head against hers, silently resolving to make sure that she always stayed this happy. “So I guess your dad didn’t say anything about how late we were last night?”

“No,” Sas said with some surprise. “He just asked if I enjoyed myself. And if you were a gentleman…”

Matt jerked the steering wheel in shock. “He did?” he asked after he had the car back under control.

“Yes.” Sas was grinning now. “I told him I had been in good hands.”

Swearing under his breath, Matt tried to shove the images of Sas arching beneath his hand out of his mind. “Are you trying to kill me?”

This time she giggled. “No.”

He cast her a disbelieving glare.

“Turn right up ahead,” she said blithely, too happy to worry about death stares from handsome alien crown princes.


The little diner was next to the old highway. It looked like a reject from many years ago, filled with Native American artifacts. Matt was amazed. “Where did you find this place?”

“I heard someone at school talk about it. Do you like it?” she was looking at him somewhat anxiously.

“It looks wonderful,” he assured her.

They found a booth and sat down across from each other. Sas wasn’t sure if she liked the arrangement since it meant she was just too far away from Matt to touch him properly, but she didn’t want to look too clingy.

They ordered breakfast, both of them taking the blueberry pancakes that the waitress had assured them were very good.

Matt waited until their coffee had arrived before leaning over the table and grasping Sas’ hand. “So, we’re leaving next Thursday.”

“I heard,” she nodded, looking away from him. She didn’t want him to know, but she was terrified of going to Dendar with him. On Dendar she was a nobody, while he would be hailed as the son of King Zan. She was so afraid of what the few days on her mother’s home planet would mean to their relationship. Taking a deep breath, she pushed the bad thoughts away and looked up to find Matt’s eyes on her, filled with worry.

“Are you okay?”

“Yes! I’m fine,” she lied, taking more deep breaths and gripping Matt’s hand harder. Seeing that he didn’t believe her, she told him half of the truth. “It’s just going to be weird, you know? Going there as a couple this time…”

He watched her silently for a beat. “It would be even weirder not going as a couple.”

“You’re right,” she smiled at him before sobering. “It’s kind of scary, Matt. How quickly it started to feel wrong to be away from you.”

A crooked smile tugged at the corner of his mouth. “It feels wrong to be away from me?” He sounded as if he had heard something that was too good to be true.

She blushed. “Yes.”

“That’s good, because I feel the same way.”

They were still staring in each other’s eyes when the steaming pancakes arrived.

“Aren’t you two sweet!” the waitress told them indulgently, causing them to laugh.

Watching Matt digging into his breakfast caused a funny twist in Sas’ stomach. It felt so RIGHT that they should be sharing breakfast. “I love you, Matt,” she blurted out, seeing him freeze and look up at her in surprise.

“Thank you,” he finally said, a light of joy in his eyes. “For allowing us to be.”

The reply made her blink.

“Do you think you can come eat the rest of your pancakes on this side of the table?” He held out his hand.

Taking it, she slid out of the booth and joined him on his side. He hugged her to his side, resting his forehead against her temple for a few seconds. “Okay, let’s finish this breakfast so I can go kiss you somewhere where we won’t have an audience or get interrupted.”

Her breath caught. Lord, she wanted to be alone with him so badly!

To her surprise, Matt let her pay for the breakfast without making a fuss. Even though she had told him SHE was taking HIM out, she had half expected him to try and wrestle the bill from her. She liked that he didn’t.

Afterwards, he practically hauled her to the Jeep and took off in the opposite direction from town. A couple of miles later, he drove them into the mountains, finding a place to pull off the road and out of sight.

She tumbled into his arms as soon as the engine was cut, pressing a wet trail of kisses all over his face. He let her be while fumbling to find the lever and push the seat back as far as it would go, allowing him to pull her onto his lap.

While Matt pushed the skirt of her dress higher, she straddled him, settling onto his thighs while maintaining eye contact. There were fires in his eyes, leaping flames that made her short of breath and warm from the inside.

She initiated the kiss, leaning forward slowly until she could touch her tongue to his lips. He sat beneath her rigidly, letting her tease him while his fingers dug into her bare thighs. He was breathing heavily when she finally pulled back, watching her with hooded, almost black eyes.

“Can I?” She lifted her hands to the top button of his shirt.

He nodded mutely. It was her turn to explore.

One button after the other came undone beneath her shaking fingers, revealing more and more of his skin. She hesitated for a moment when reaching the last button, just above the waistband of his jeans. He helped her by tugging the shirt from his pants and she finished her little task before spreading the flaps of his shirt wide.

Unexpectedly, instead of caressing him, she slid her hands around his waist and pressed herself against his bare skin, her ear over his heart. Her cheek rubbed against the heat of his chest as she listened to his heart speed up. It took only a moment before his arms came around her, hugging her close.

And she suddenly knew, this place had been made for her head. She was where she was supposed to be.

This was home.


posted on 7-Sep-2001 6:19:29 AM

He was a saint.

It was nearly a week after his breakfast with Sas and Matt had managed to more or less keep his hands off her until now. They had kissed and cuddled, but nothing more than that since that day. It was driving him crazy.

The Thursday of their departure had finally rolled around. His father had left two days ago to prepare the group of Antarians that would be traveling with them, while he and James had been left in charge of Liz, Shilla, Belle and Sas. All in all, not a bad job, but then again, that hadn’t taken into account that he had had the girl who consumed his every waking thought and all of his dreams, suddenly living under the same roof as him.

After Max had left, James and his family had moved into the main house, and Sas had ended up sharing Belle’s room. Just across the hall from his own. How much temptation did these adults think he could withstand?

His mother had not asked him anything about that night after the prom again and he couldn’t help but wonder why. But hey, he was not looking a gift horse in the mouth. The last few days of school had been boring as heck, so he had ended up spending a lot of time with Sas in between classes and during lunch. However, at home was a different story. Everyone had been preparing for the trip to Dendar and Tresar, and he had only had a few alone moments with Sas. Mostly they had ended up cuddling in one of the deck chairs next to the pool late at night. Not exactly the best place to make out with your girlfriend…

There had been no repeat of third base yet.

He really WAS a saint.

Not for the first time, Matt worried about Sas. She’d been having these quiet moments these last few days, but she told him she was tired whenever he asked her if something was wrong. He didn’t buy that for a minute. He wished he had a mental connection with her like his parents had. Surely his dad had an advantage when trying to make his mom feel better as a result of this. He, on the other hand, had to guess and he was not doing well with it.

After loading their stuff into the mini-van that would take them to the woods near Roswell, they locked the house and all of them piled in. Matt had offered to drive the first stretch and Sas sat up front with him. Liz and Belle took the back seat, with James and Shilla in the middle. Just before pulling out of their driveway, Matt glanced at his mom in the rearview mirror. She was staring out of the window absently. She always got quiet whenever his dad was away for longer than a night. It was only after he got to high school and old enough to notice, that he saw that other people’s parents did not kiss each other goodbye like they couldn’t bear to leave before an absence. Or that very few people told each other ‘I love you’ quite as often as the phrase was heard in his house.

But while he HAD noticed before that his parents were different, he now knew how they felt. He had observed from an upstairs window how tightly his dad had held his mom before he left a few days ago. And how reluctantly they had let go of each other’s hands just before he drove off.

His eyes automatically found Sas next. I would feel the same way if I had to go someplace without her now, he realized.

It was a long and silent drive. James eventually took over the driving and Matt moved to the back, taking a seat next to Shilla. He and Sas were still being careful with their relationship around their parents and kept their physical contact to hugging and handholding. Matt had seen James in action a few times, among others once when some poor idiot tried to mug his mother, and he did not intend courting death so soon in his life.

Looking around the car, Matt pondered their little group. Belle was sleeping like a baby, she always does on long trips. He still remembered how she used to sleep on their dad’s lap when she was little. His mother was obviously anticipating seeing his dad again, she had that far-off look she sometimes got when she went into her ‘Max world’. And Shilla and Sas were both quiet and introspective. This was a far cry from previous trips. Normally, everyone was chattering, looking forward to doing something very few other people from earth will ever get to experience.

But this time, something was different.


It was turning dark by the time they arrived in Frazier Woods. Max was waiting for them and hauled Liz out of the van and into his arms while smiling hello to his kids. Belle rubbed the sleep from her eyes and waited for her turn with her dad patiently. She always got hugged next, she was her daddy’s little girl after all.

Matt and James unpacked the luggage in the meantime, after which they all congregated at the large tables set out by Nick and the guards that will be going along for the trip.

Matt decided it was time for everyone to know about the change in Sas’ status, so he walked up to her and gave her a hug and a kiss on her forehead.

Utter silence descended on the group of Antarians watching them.

Taking a deep breath, he grabbed her hand and turned towards their audience. He caught Nick’s eye first. Nick, his wife Grace and their daughter Madelaine, had been a part of his life since the beginning. Grace had helped deliver him and Nick was his father’s most important advisor.

He was smiling.

A scatter of applause started and soon turned into a crescendo, completely surprising Matt. He looked down at Sas, seeing the unshed tears in her eyes, and wrapped his arms around her, squeezing her comfortingly.

“It’s about bloody time!” someone yelled from the group as Nick came over.

“We thought you two would NEVER get together,” Nick told them with a grin as he hugged them both.

This surprised Matt and Sas even more. Everyone had been EXPECTING them to fall in love? Wow!

His parents were watching them and he suddenly remembered that among these people, he was a prince. And that he should act like one. “Thank you, everybody,” he said with a smile, still hugging Sas. “It means a lot to us to know we have your support.” This earned him a proud look from his father and more applause from the men gathered around them.

Liz was looking at Shilla throughout this whole exchange. She had a small smile on her face, but her eyes still looked haunted. Liz could guess what she was thinking without even talking to her. Shilla was thinking that Max’s people were not the problem since they’ve already coped with a King that defied tradition and chose a bride out of love. But that Sas and Matt will have real problems when they arrived on Dendar, a planet where the class system was still very much in place. It almost made Liz wish that Max didn’t have to attend that Council meeting on Dendar and that they could just go to Tresar directly. All this would spare her son and the girl he loved some heartache.

On the other hand, it was probably better to get the whole mess out of the way as soon as possible.

It was like he had announced an engagement, Matt thought dizzily a few minutes later. Everyone wanted to congratulate him and Sas and it made him glad that he didn’t have to subject someone he hardly knew to this much fuss. The only indication that Sas was nervous was the fact that she was digging her fingernails into his palm. But he wasn’t complaining, the sooner everyone understood that she belonged with him, the better.


As always, the ship arrived with little fuss, silently settling in the clearing in the woods. The group knew the drill by now, so they all trooped on board silently after the Dendarian captain made the usual profuse welcoming gestures to the royalty he was going to transport.

Max and Liz got the Royal Suite they traveled in the first time they went to Dendar, while Matt and Belle each got their own rooms. Sas normally shared a room with Belle, while her parents and the rest of the group were housed further along the passage.

Having decreed that no work would be done until the next day, Max disappeared with Liz into their rooms and Matt, Sas and Belle took this chance to chat in the girls’ room. It was getting easy to be close with his girlfriend in front of his little sister, so Matt made himself comfortable on one of the beds, sitting with his back against the wall so he could pull Sas to sit in between his legs.

“I wonder if Luca is going to be home this time?” Belle asked no one in particular. “I don’t think we’ve seen him since he was 13!”

“I know,” Sas answered, snuggling closer to Matt. “He was always off studying somewhere. Eric and Sarah sure took his education seriously.”

“I hope it helped him, he was really annoying the last time I saw him,” Belle announced with a pout, making her brother laugh.


“You did your best to annoy him back if I remember correctly!” Matt reminded her.

“Hmmpf,” was all the response he got.

Much later, Belle had thrown Matt out of the room to take a shower and change for bed, so he dragged Sas with him to his room. It was glorious to be able to kiss her again, it felt like ages since their last kiss.

She sighed into his mouth. He was starting to crave that little sound. He was starting to crave a lot of things about Sas. The way she looked into his eyes, the way she smelled, how soft and warm she felt when he held her, the little sounds she made when they kissed. It was all just magical to him.

Sas felt humbled by the gentle way he was caressing her. They had been alone so rarely the last few days that she had expected an explosion of passion for their first moments on their own. Instead, he was kissing her sweetly and softly, his hands cupping her face tenderly.

“I love you,” he told her huskily when he finally lifted his mouth from hers. Then he spun her around in his arms and gave her a little push towards his door. “Now go to bed before I get into trouble…”

She was so amazed by the abrupt dismissal that she had reached the door before she turned around to look at him. Incredible longing painted his features. He was watching her go and hating it.

“Matt!” she cried and ran back into his arms.

This time the kiss was wild and deep, like he was trying to prove his possession of her. She dimly heard him groan against her mouth, but none of that mattered as much as the fact that he was pressing her close to him… like he never wanted to let her go again.

“Please, Sas,” he eventually begged, “you are making this very hard for me.”

Nodding against his chest, she gathered her strength to be able to leave. “I know. I’m sorry.”

They were leaning against each other, breathing hard.

“Sweet dreams, princess,” he whispered.

“You too…”


So that plan didn’t work.

Matt had rolled around for hours, trying to keep his mind off the fact that Sas was sleeping just across the hallway. As a result, he had heard immediately when his door had slid open softly, revealing Sas in all her glory.

She had tiptoed to his bed, pulling up short when he sat up. “Is something wrong?” he had asked.

“I… I wanted to… Can I sleep here with you? Just for a little while,” she had pleaded when it looked like he was going to object.

He was an idiot, so he said yes.

And now she was sleeping, curled up in his arms with her hair fanning over his chest and pillow. Her gentle breathing made him feel peaceful and overheated all at the same time; he could see her breasts rising and falling rhythmically and the sight practically made him salivate.

He really WAS a saint.

Worry about what lay ahead for the two of them on Dendar kept him from really enjoying this moment, though. He felt mildly better now that he had his own people behind his relationship, but who knew what those weird Dendarians would think. Unconsciously, he held Sas closer, hearing the little sound she made as she adjusted to the new position.

He could face whatever was coming, but he didn’t want it to break Sas’ spirit. No, he would fight to his last breath to make sure that her own people didn’t make Sas feel inferior again.

Even if he had to marry her…


Waking up in Matt’s arms was glorious. He was curved around her, holding her as if he was trying to protect her from something. His warm breath stirred the wisps of hair behind her ear, and now that she was awake, it made her shiver. She wondered what time it was, she had removed her watch last night for her shower, and she couldn’t see the one around Matt’s wrist since his arm rested just beneath her breasts.

“Mmm, Sas…” He stretched against her lazily, rubbing their bodies together before flipping her over onto her back so he could see her face.

Was there anything as sexy as a sleep-tousled man? One with warm skin and lips, heavy-lidded eyes and caressing hands.

“Morning,” her voice was still husky from sleep.

In answer, he just smiled and nuzzled her face, breathing in her warm, sleepy scent. It was incredibly intoxicating. “You even wake up beautiful,” he murmured in her ear, smoothing his hands over her stomach and thighs.

Momentarily she was tempted to tease him about all the romantic things he kept spouting, but she didn’t. He was a sweet guy period. Instead she turned her head, sharing a pillow with his, and met his eyes. “Thank you.”

They looked at each other for a long breathless moment, basking in the glory of being able to wake up together. Their hands moved in slow caresses, familiarizing themselves with each other’s forms.

Sas eventually broke the silence. “What time is it?”

Just about to answer, Matt was stopped short when his door opened, revealing his sister, still in her sleepwear.

“I THOUGHT so,” Belle quipped, planting her hands on her hips and giving them the evil eye. “You better move back to your own bed, missy,” she stabbed a finger at Sas. “My Dad already came to our room and wondered where you were.” She made a dismissing motion with her hand. “Don’t worry, I told him you were in the shower, but—”

“Oh my goodness!” Sas cried in alarm and started struggling to get out of Matt’s hold. He let her go reluctantly.

Belle hung around to make sure Sas didn’t get distracted on her way to their room and Matt caught her arm just as she turned to follow Sas across the hallway. “Wait, sis.”

Then Matt did something he hadn’t done in a long time, he wrapped his arms around his little sister and lifted her off her feet as he squeezed her until she begged for air. It was an old childhood game. Only setting her down when she pleaded for mercy, he kissed her forehead. “Thank you for looking out for us.”

She kissed his cheek. “Don’t mention it. I’m just racking up brownie points for when my time to sneak around arrives. Remember that!” She was giggling as she traipsed out of the room.

This was going to come back to haunt him, he just knew it. Belle was going to expect him to help her whenever she falls in love, and he feared he would have the same reaction as his father: to chase the guy as far away from his sister as possible.

Apart from Max giving Matt a penetrating look when he joined his parents for breakfast in their suite, Matt and Sas got off scot-free.

Which was actually a bad thing.

Because now Sas ended up in his bed every night.


A few days later, Shilla couldn’t stop grinning when she exited the “royal suite”. She felt like she had traveled back in time to the first time she served Max and Liz on this ship. Max had been in meetings during the morning, but had returned for lunch, making it clear that he wanted to be alone with Liz.

And to think that, years ago, the ship’s captain nearly made the mistake of offering Max some “female entertainment”!

A contented sigh escaped Liz as she burrowed closer to Max. There was nothing like making love in the middle of the day, so she always enjoyed these trips on the ship immensely. Max was not office bound and that meant she saw him a lot during what would usually be office hours. It was a pity their life on earth couldn’t be like this.

Her thoughts drifted to her son. After seeing him with Sas the day after the prom, she had come to the conclusion that he had not had sex with his girlfriend. The two of them were still too cagey about intimate touches with each other. She could see that SOMETHING had happened, but that whatever it was had not amounted to actual lovemaking.

However, the past few days on the ship were another story.


“Hmmm?” He sounded sleepy and sated, a very stimulating combination.

“What if James catches them?”

She felt Max sigh. “Then he has to face the music.”

After a quiet moment, Max answered Liz’s question before she even opened her mouth. “No, I’m not going to run interference with James for Matt. He knows the risks he is taking and if James gets mad, Matt will have to sort this out himself.” He chuckled. “But if you ask me nicely, I will stop James if he tries to kill our son.”

Liz rubbed her bare legs against Max’s, feeling like a pampered cat. “’Kay.”

“Has she been in there every night?”

Liz smiled. “I guess she has the same trouble with the Evans attraction that I do.”

“So… they’re not, you know… SLEEPING together, huh?”

“Not yet,” Liz replied, wondering when she got so calm about this. Maybe seeing Matt and Sas together all day every day for the past few days had shown her how serious this was. The signs were all there – the looks, the touches, the kisses, the soft words. If Matt was at all like his father, there would be no one else in his life, ever again.

Flattening his hand over Liz’s stomach, Max reflected on how magical it had been when she was pregnant, seeing the glow of his child inside her reacting to his touch. They had gone through so much on this ship while Liz was pregnant with Matthew. Like the time he first remembered his “Shani” and the pain that had accompanied the initial tear of the thick curtain between his past and present lives.

He still couldn’t take his eyes of Liz. Liz who was wearing his royal seal. Max’s vision was starting to blur and it felt like his head was being split open with pain. “Shani,” he said again, grabbing his head and squeezing his eyes shut. Who the hell was Shani? And why did he remember seeing Liz in the royal garb before? “Liz?” he pleaded, trying to get up and go to her, but the pain in his head forced him back in his chair with a groan.

“Oh God,” Max moaned, clutching his head in his hands. “What is happening to me?” It was a hoarse whisper. “Liz… Liz, please?” he begged again.

Liz rushed forward to drop to her knees in front of him. “I’m here!” she cried softly, running her hands through his hair and raining little kisses on his bent head, over his hair and his forehead.

Max was starting to shake, images of Liz wearing that white and green royal outfit and laughing gaily were still spinning through his head. He saw her in a garden, in a huge ballroom among many people wearing similar clothes, looking up at him with wide eyes and a moist mouth. He groaned again. And throughout the visions, he kept hearing himself say ‘Shani’ over and over again.

He wrapped one arm around her, pressing her against him and muttering hoarsely: “Don’t leave me again, please… my Shani…”

“Max,” Liz said urgently. “It’s not Shani, it’s Liz.” She hugged him closer.

“I think you have remembered something from your past,” Nick said carefully. “Although I am not sure how what you’ve seen is possible.”

Max looked at Liz’s downcast head. “I saw YOU, my love,” he informed her huskily. “You wearing these clothes in places we have never been.”

Liz felt her breath hitch in her throat. “That can’t be.”

Nick stared at them. “Yeah, uhm… ‘Shani’ is an Antarian word. It’s an endearment. It means ‘love’ or ‘beloved’…”

He fell onto his back heavily, his eyes still on Liz. He could see how valiantly she was trying not to cry. “Liz…”

She ignored his weak plea, helping him into bed and managing to drag the blanket from underneath him and cover him with it. Only then did she meet his gaze, her eyes bright with unshed tears. “Max Evans, no one will ever love you like I do,” she whispered. “Please don’t ever forget that.”

Ever since that first time, the memories had been coming with less pain each time, but he still didn’t remember all of his previous life. The most intense things he remembered the best – dreaming of Liz, despair at losing her when he had to marry Ava, dying…

Liz’s pregnancy with Bella-Mari had been much less dramatic.

“I love you,” he told Liz again. This tiny woman nestling so perfectly in his arms had gone through so much to give him the life he had dreamed of. In fact, she had given him so much more.

She had made his life perfect.


Finding Matt’s room empty when she went over that night, Sas stood around for a few moments, unsure of what she should do now. Spotting one of his sweaters, she grabbed it, pulled it on and set of in search of him.

He was standing in front of one of the large windows in the games room, his hands shoved deep into his pockets.

Sliding her arms around him from behind, she hugged him tightly, feeling the tension in his muscles. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah.” He even sounded tense.

“You are lying to me,” she reprimanded him softly.

“I just…” he paused, searching for words, “I just don’t know how to tell you this without making it sound bad.”

She walked around him, looking up into his face apprehensively. “That statement is bad enough.”

“No!” He grabbed her hands in his. “It’s not bad, it might just SOUND bad.”

“And the difference would be?”

He bit his lip, then plunged ahead. “I can’t sleep with you anymore, because-because… It’s too hard, Sas!” As soon as the words were out of his mouth, he blushed profusely. “I don’t mean…” Actually, he had inadvertently stated the exact problem. Sort of.

“I understand,” she replied, smiling slightly.

“Do you really?” he asked. “Do you really understand just how hard it is for me not to just give in? How much I want you?” He gripped her hands tighter. “Which reminds me, how the hell can you just sleep like a baby every night when I lie awake wanting you?”

Sas knew not to grin about his last outburst. “You make me feel safe.”

“Well, you shouldn’t!” he fairly cried. “All I do is lie there thinking of ways to…” he cut himself off. “Please, have mercy on me, sweetheart. I love you. I WANT to love you. This is too hard for me.”

“Then why are you doing this to yourself? This was YOUR decision, not mine. I just went along with it.”

He was staring at her in disbelief. “You mean you want to…”

“Yes, I do.”

“But we’ve only been dating a few weeks, this is too soon.”

This time, it was three words that made his world spin off its axis.

“Not for me.


posted on 7-Sep-2001 6:30:49 AM

He didn’t drag her off to his room immediately and he was really proud of himself for that. No, instead he stood there like a drooling idiot just gaping at her. She had just given him permission to make love to her. And to do it right now. He could not manage to get his vocal chords to work to save his life.

The problem was, it never had been about getting her permission. It had been about him wanting to give her time to make sure of her feelings. And to get used to being his girlfriend. He wanted both of them to be comfortable with taking the next step.

Pulling her closer, he let her feel what her words had done to him. He just held her, pressing her face into his throat where she could taste the thunder of his pulse. She smelled of himself too, his sweater enveloping her like he wanted to. “I love you,” he told her fervently. “I love you and I’m going to marry you one day.”

Sas’ eyes were filling with tears. How could she have denied herself this for so long? Just because her mother’s planet had some weird idea of the lowly station of a servant? She still couldn’t quite believe that this wonderful man, holding her so tightly, was hers.

But she wished he would stop trying to be so noble about making love to her. He had given her a taste of heaven the night of the prom and have been withholding it ever since. And it didn’t feel right to experience a climax without him now.

She needed him to do it again.

“Matt…” she was whispering against his skin, heating his blood further. Her fingers dug into his back urgently. “Please.”

The word ricocheted through his soul. Burning images of that night after the prom starting racing through his head, confusing him further. “Let’s go.” His voice was hoarse, hinting at the struggle inside him. He had no idea what he was going to do, but he had to do SOMETHING…

The silence in the games room was disturbed again minutes after they left when a tall figure unfolded himself from a chair in one dark corner. James was stunned. Not only had he heard every word, but he had seen a side of his daughter he hadn’t known about.

He had no clue what he was feeling. He was proud of Matt for not having sex with Sas yet, even though she’s apparently spent a lot of time in his bed. He was shocked at Sas’ blatant invitation to Matt that he has just witnessed. He had an urge to run down the corridor and stop whatever is going to happen in Matt’s room right now. He was jealous about losing his little girl. But most of all, he had a sense of inevitability about this relationship between Matt and Sas - it was here to stay and the sooner he accepted it the better.

For a while now he had been wondering whether they really HAVE waited to have sex as he had requested them. It was heartening to know that Matt had kept his promise. That still didn’t mean James was going to sleep a wink tonight. How strange that sex does not seem such a big deal until it is your own daughter involved.

What was he going to do?


Matt didn’t remember the walk to his room. All he could concentrate on was the girl walking next to him, pressed into his body, clinging to him. He was painfully aware of every little breath she took, every minute muscle movement she made. He felt every slide of her thigh against his and every inch of her breast where it pressed against his side.

How he wished he could just throw all his dreams away and just give in to the moment. But he wanted it to be really special…

Saskia could hardly breathe with all the excitement pouring through her veins. A humming had started low in her body and it felt like she was ready to jump out of her skin if Matt didn’t release the pressure inside her somehow.

The door slid shut behind them with a soft hiss.

Matt held his hand over the sensor and the door locked silently. Not that he would have heard anything if the lock mechanism DID make a sound, the blood was roaring in his ears too loudly.

His hands shook as he lifted them to cup her face and he suddenly knew there was no way he could make love to her right away, he was so on edge it would be impossible to do it slowly. They needed to relieve the pressure first.

Something he knew just how to do.

Something he had been dreaming about for a long time.

But now he needed to kiss her. Covering her mouth with his and sliding his tongue into her warm, sweet depths, he experienced a paradox. The desire in his body increased and let go a little at the same time. He had her in his arms… but he needed more.

Sas was trying desperately to get closer, squirming against him, needing his embrace. He seemed to sense her need because he slid one hand from her hair and cupped her bottom, lifting her into the hardness of his lower body.

She was on sensory overload. Tasting him in her mouth, feeling his arousal rubbing against her, hearing his soft groans… it was incredible.

But she still needed more.

Wrapping her arms around his neck, she pulled herself closer to his mouth and he helped eagerly, his hands urging her thighs around his hips. This time, a groan was torn from both of them at the sudden deeper contact.

And the kissing went on. He kissed every part of her he could reach, her nose, her closed eyes, her cheeks, her ears… Sucking at the skin of her neck, he enjoyed seeing the small marks he left on her.


His hunger for her overwhelmed her. He had been just as desperate for more of her, but he had hidden it well. It gave her a small sense of triumph to know what she did to him, but as his mouth found the sensitive spot just underneath her ear, all thought flew from her head.

Matt sat down on the edge of the bed carefully, making sure her legs stayed around his waist. Between them, they managed to rid Sas of Matt’s sweater and her tank top and divest Matt of his shirt without too much interruption to the drugging kisses they were still sharing.

Electricity jolted through them as their bare upper bodies came in contact.

“Oh god…” Matt muttered, moving his hands until his thumbs just brushed the sides of her breasts. Her answering arch nearly made him overheat. Damn, how on earth had he managed not to do this for so long? Then he remembered why and spanned her rib cage with his hands, tugging her back slightly so he could look into her eyes.

“Wait,” he whispered when she moved towards him again.

Looking at her made his heart hammer in his chest. Her face was flushed, her hair a tangled disarray, her lips moist, puffy and pink. She wore all the signs of his lovemaking. She had been kissed long and hard, touched, nipped, stroked… AROUSED. He could feel the agitated movements of her breasts against his chest and her moist warmth nestling against his hardness – it nearly diverted him from his planned speech.

“Matt?” Lord, she sounded so… hungry.

“Yeah.” He couldn’t stop staring at her. At her lovely face and her inviting mouth and her glorious curves. Impulsively his hands inched higher, softly grazing the undersides of her breasts.

“Matt!” A shiver went through her.

He was thoroughly sidetracked now, staring in fascination at the reaction of her body to his light touches. Little tremors followed his fingers and the hard tips of her breasts begged for more from him.

He was supposed to say something, but what was it again?

Jerking his hands away, trying not to cave after her disappointed moan, he swallowed and cleared his throat. “Sas… I need to say a few things first.”

She just nodded, her heavy eyes focussed on his mouth. This was not helping!

“I…” He licked his lips, noticing her mimicking his actions. “Don’t…” Boy, he was having trouble being coherent. “I mean, I wanted you to know… that – that you are the only girl I ever want to be with like this. I… want you to know that I’m committed to you… completely.”

She had gone still in his arms and was watching him through a sheen of tears. This halted him momentarily. “Don’t cry,” he instructed her gruffly while touching his forefinger to her nose.

“Go on,” she smiled tremulously.

“I guess I’m trying to say that… that this is it for me, Saskia Mulder. YOU are it for me. No matter what… happens in the future.” He was staring into her eyes intently as he spoke as if trying to underline his words with his looks. “Do you understand?”

“Yes.” She had trouble forming more than that one syllable.

His eyes skittered away from hers as his hands tightened on her hips. “Do you… How do you—?”

“Feel about what you said?” she supplied in a voice thick with tears.

“No.” He glanced at her and quickly looked away again. “How do you feel about me? I mean, I know you’re in love with me, but…”

She gave him an unexpected, crushing hug. Hearing his slight uncertainty about how deep her feelings went just increased her love for him. Even though he had ample reason to be, he was neither cocky nor arrogant. “Yes, I love you more than I can ever say.”

He was holding her convulsively. “I don’t want you to feel… obligated… to stay with me if you change your—”

“Are you crazy?” She reared back from him, staring at him in shock. “I haven’t changed my mind in 17 years, why would I change it now?”

“I just meant…”

Her heart softened at his concerned look. “I know what you meant and… thank you. But I intend to stay with you too. Until you grow tired of me.”

“Never,” he told her fervently.

“Forever then,” she promised him back.

It was a reverent moment for both of them, making this life-long commitment to each other. Matt sealed it by placing his hands on her face and connecting with her, sending her his love and desire. Sas sent hers back, their feelings intermingling, amplifying them.

Gently lifting her up off his lap, Matt held her gaze as he unfastened her pants, letting them drop to the floor. Tenderness flowed through him as he saw her blush. Last time they had not really done the undressing part so deliberately. It felt strange and exhilarating all at once. “Get in bed,” he instructed her softly, seeing her increasing distress at being so exposed in front of him.

He helped her into the bed before undressing himself, leaving only his boxers. She wriggled closer to him as soon as he slid in next to her and he sucked in his breath when he felt her nakedness gliding against him. All she still had on was a tiny pair of white panties and he itched to take them off her too. All in good time, he promised himself.

Their mouths found each other again, their kisses instantly urgent as their tongues dueled and danced. Hands explored bare skin unencumbered by clothes and Matt gloried in each little gasp he teased from Sas.

Her fingers drifted over his abdomen, causing a kick of need in his gut. If he let her keep this up, he would be in real trouble way too soon so he caught her hands in his, pinning them next to her hips and started kissing little trails over her chest.

Arching beneath him helplessly, her movements just incited him further. He wanted to prolong her enjoyment, but the lure of her breasts proved too much.

Sas cried out at the first touch of his tongue, finally experiencing the ecstasy of his moist mouth on the hardened peak of her breast. She had woken up so many nights from restless dreams in which he did this until she was mindless with want. Until she couldn’t take anymore.

Eventually, he had to let her hands go to reach beneath her to lift her even closer to his caressing lips. The sounds of her small moans mingled with that of his harsh breathing.

“P-please!” she begged shamelessly for release. Begged him to make her fly again like he did that other night. “Oh please…”

Matt heard. Still not letting up on the magic he was weaving on her breasts, he flattened one hand low on her belly. He could feel the tiny muscle spasms beneath her skin and he nearly cried out with the need to be inside her and experience them in the most intimate way.

She was going crazy by the time his hand, moving excruciatingly slowly, finally rested between her thighs. Clutching the sheet with one hand and his hair with the other, she tried to hang onto the only constant thing in her rapidly disintegrating world – Matt.

She heard him groan something as his hand encountered her heat. Gently nudging her legs further apart with his thigh, he started to caress her rhythmically. It didn’t take long for her to take up the rhythm, rubbing herself against his hand in a desperate effort to find release.

He was kissing a line from the valley of her breasts to her bellybutton now, distracting her fleetingly from the touch of his hand.

“Noo…” she moaned in panic when he suddenly sat up, removing his mouth and fingers from her body.

“Easy, love,” he gentled her while hooking his fingers in the elastic of her panties and dragging them down her thighs. With her eager assistance, the article went flying to the floor in no time. “Close your eyes,” he instructed her.

Her eyes flew open as soon as they were closed, because his mouth was suddenly caressing her moist heat. She was shocked for a moment, but then sensation took over, ripping a cry from her throat.

Her climax came too soon, but he had primed her so well that it took only a few strokes of his tongue before she turned into a quivering mass, riding the waves of release.

She was still shuddering when he hauled her back into his arms, holding her close until she quieted down.

Much later, he whispered her name, feathering light kisses over the side of her face, waiting for her to come back to him.

“Please Matt,” she begged him hoarsely. Why was he still torturing them both? She could feel the tension in his body as he kept himself away from the edge deliberately. And she knew she wanted more.

He sounded anguished when he finally answered her. “We can’t!”

She blinked up at him in confusion. What on earth did he mean?


“We can’t,” he repeated, looking like he was ready to cry.

Sas alternated between anger and worry. Anger because he might just be saying no again due to some silly idea he had in his head that she still wasn’t sure she wanted to spend forever with him, and worry that he has now found a new and very real reason for stopping them. “W-what do you mean?”

His hands shook with tension as he cupped her cheek, gently brushing away the tendrils of hair that had fallen across her face during her climax. “We… I’m not prepared. I don’t have… I don’t want you to get pregnant.” He was blushing furiously by the end of his stammered sentence, his breathing still erratic from what he had just shared with her. And from the fact that his body was screaming for release.

Wow, she hadn’t even thought of that! No protection! Her mind frantically sifted through several options. Her mother? No way. Mrs. Evans? Yeah right! ‘See Mrs. Evans, here’s the thing, your son and I need to make love and we don’t have protection, could you loan us some?’ Maybe she could ask someone else on the ship…

“Why don’t you have protection with you? Were you planning on never making love to me?” she burst out, sounding pretty annoyed with him.

“Sas—” Obviously his effort to stay a gentleman was not appreciated here.

“Don’t Sas me! What were you thinking? Please enlighten me.”

The situation was beyond weird. She was lying in his arms, naked, still flushed from an orgasm, and she was having a fit because he felt strange keeping condoms around in case he got lucky with her. “Uh…” There wasn’t really anything he could say that wouldn’t get her madder. Besides, he was having trouble thinking clearly right now, his blood having left his head and all.

“N-not NEVER. Just…” He faltered, feeling like an idiot. A very aroused and frustrated idiot. “Just not on this trip yet.”

Her eyes darkened, causing him more worry. “You planned to just kiss me the whole summer? While we are together on another planet?”

“Uhm…” His guilty face gave him away. “I had sort of thought that we would just be building this relationship further…”

She stared up at him for a long time, and Matt tried to move his hand from very low on her stomach to a safer location, like her hip, without attracting her attention. He had been trying to lessen the temptation by not packing a bunch of condoms since he really believed he should give her more time. Now he was kicking himself. What more was left to prove by the both of them? They had basically promised that they were going to stay together and the issue of marriage had already come up.

She was right, he was an idiot.

After calming down some, Sas rubbed her hand over Matt’s arm. “We’ll make a plan… right?”

“Yeah.” He had no clue HOW they were going to fix this, but he hoped they could before he self-combusted.

The rubbing alerted her to the stiffness with which Matt was keeping himself away from her.

His body had had no release. The thought slammed through her and she looked up at him with renewed respect that he could ignore his baser instincts in order to talk to her. She should really help him out.

Matt was surprised when she pushed him onto his back, so he didn’t offer much resistance. His surprise increased dramatically when she attacked his mouth with hers, kissing the very breath from his body while rubbing herself against his chest. He moaned against her lips. Was she trying to kill him?

Sas was determined to help Matt. Snaking her hand down, she encountered the waistband of his boxers, but this only deterred her fleetingly. Her questing fingers moved lower and found him hard as steel and soft as velvet. Sliding her hand over his arousal gave her a huge thrill. Knowing she was the first girl ever to be allowed this intimacy made it so much more special.

Arching against her hand helplessly, Matt fought to breathe. And he forgot to be blasé. His fingers uncurled from the bed sheets long enough to desperately shove his boxers down his thighs. More, Sas, please… but the words didn’t leave his lips.

With his boxers out of the way, Sas was free to really explore and caress him. She broke the kiss, wanting to look at him and at what she was doing too. Far too aroused to be bashful, she drank in the sight of him, hard and throbbing in her hands. Seeing him in all his naked glory was awesome, and the feeling was intensified by the fact that SHE had brought him to this state.

His breathing sounded harsh and loud in the room, spurring her into faster movements.

Matt was lost. Lost in the magic she was weaving over his body and over his mind. He could hear himself panting frantically for air, could feel himself tremble violently against her body. He was so close…

So close, it only took one touch from her soft lips against his hardness for him to tumble wildly over the edge into a pulsing release. Her name spilled from his throat harshly while his fingers tangled in her hair.

As soon as he was able, he lifted her back up, kissing her deeply, tasting himself on her tongue. He molded their bodies together, wanting to have her naked against his skin for the rest of time. Her breasts pressed against his chest and her slim legs tangled with his, and nothing had ever felt this right to Matt in his life.

He would never let anyone else experience this with her if he could help it.

My princess.

Sas was smiling when the kiss ended. “So, I guess I can stay?”

His own smile was embarrassed. “It will probably mean the death of me, but you’re not sleeping anywhere but here from now on.”

Hearing those beautiful words, made her sassy. “What did I do wrong this time?”

Matt was confused. “No, you didn’t… What do you mean?”

“You didn’t nearly pass out all over me, I was wondering what I did wrong?” She was giggling by now, causing Matt to frown at her sternly.

“I’ll teach you,” he told her naughtily after a small pause.

Her eyes grew round. “You will?”

Not wanting to get himself into serious trouble, Matt backtracked quickly. “One day. Not now, I don’t want my head to explode before I can really make love to you.”

His chest felt so warm and comfortable. “We’re going to have to wait until we get to Dendar, Matt.” She was slightly embarrassed at how pathetic she sounded about it. Matt had really made her shameless in trying to get into his pants.

“Yeah,” he sounded worried. “Wait, why on Dendar?”

“I could go see a healer there… You know, to see if they could help us… me.”

“I’ll go with you,” he said immediately.

“You will?” She sounded so incredulous he lifted his head to meet her gaze. “You DO know it might be like a visit to the gynecologist, don’t you?”

“Uh…” Actually he HADN’T known that, but he still didn’t want her to go do this alone. It was for both of them after all. “I’ll still go. I’ll just hold your hand and not look.”

This made Sas laugh out loud. “We’ll see,” was all she said, knowing full well Matt would probably have cardiac arrest if he ever saw what a gynecologist really did to a woman.

“We should get some sleep, love,” he said, even as he started to kiss her again. Deep, sweet, languid kisses rejoicing in their love. His hands traversed her body, for the first time truly able to caress every inch of her without the barrier of clothes.

“Yeah, sleep…” she mumbled against his mouth, moving even closer to him, her tongue starting to dance with his. Would she ever get enough of his kisses? His touches?

He wanted to kiss every inch of her. His mouth trailed over her neck and shoulders before skimming over her arms until gooseflesh raised her skin. He spent endless moments learning the exact shape and curves of her breasts and then moved lower, finding her bellybutton and the soft swell of her hips. Sas gasped when he rolled her over gently, only to start charting her back and bottom with his tongue.

He was driving her mindless. Until the only sounds she could make were cries of need. She wanted to touch him back, to see him feel the same way she does right now, but he wouldn’t let her. He kept her hands pinned next to her until she was begging him to let her find release.

A small hitch in her breathing started the chain reaction. Matt slid his fingers inside her and held her through her orgasm, breathing nearly as hard as she was. Feeling her body contract around his fingers rhythmically almost did him in.

Afterwards she shivered uncontrollably in his embrace and he rained tiny, soothing kisses all over her face, gentling her. “I love you,” he told her for the umpteenth time. “I love seeing you like this.” I am in so much trouble. I need to be inside you so much I can taste it, and it’s only going to get worse…

Breathing deeply, he taught himself a new mantra: I won’t get Sas pregnant, I won’t get Sas pregnant…Please don’t let me make Sas pregnant!


James paced in his room furiously, glancing at his sleeping wife occasionally. How could she sleep so peacefully when their only daughter was losing her virginity not far down the corridor at this very moment? It was driving him insane. Visions of what must be going on in Matt’s room were racing through his mind until he wanted to scream.

He needed to calm down, he told himself. This would have happened eventually. In fact, he was amazed it hadn’t already. He had seen Max look at Liz with the same hungry expression that Matt wore whenever Sas was near and he knew exactly what that meant. It meant an Evans had spied his mate.

Sas seemed so happy with Matt. James had to admit that if Max’s son were at all like him, Sas would never be unhappy with Matt. So he just had to grit his teeth and get through this night.

Not to mention tomorrow morning when he will look into the eyes of his little girl and know she now belonged to another man in every respect. And look into the eyes of the guy that had sex with his daughter. That should be fun.

James growled in frustration. Would this night never end?


Would this night never end, Matt asked himself as he readjusted Sas’ sated body against his frustrated one. He had worn her out and had urged her to sleep when she wanted to “help him out”. What had he been thinking?

Now she was curled against him so trustingly while he was going insane.

He thought of going off to a cold shower, but he knew he would be exactly where he was before he took one as soon as he got back into this bed with Sas. Gloriously naked and stunningly sexy Sas.

Ideas on how they were going to explain the new sleeping arrangements were not coming. For right now, he supposed they should try to keep it to themselves.

And he should keep his hands to himself better.

Yeah right, THAT’S going to happen!


posted on 7-Sep-2001 6:42:22 AM

By the time breakfast rolled around, Matt had a spring in his step. Sas had found him in the shower this morning and had more than made up for all the discomfort he had suffered throughout the night. He sighed blissfully, wondering if he would ever get used to being loved by Sas’ hands and mouth. Or having her naked skin next to his. Or being allowed to touch and kiss her in the most intimate way.

Damn, why did he not bring protection?

Only two more nights until they reached Dendar. Surely he could make it!

Swinging into his parents’ suite, he found most of their group congregated around the breakfast table. He tried hastily to wipe the stupid grin from his face, but his eyes collided with James’ and he knew he was too late. James glared at him in such a frightening fashion that a shiver went down Matt’s spine. What was going on? Did Sas’ father suspect where she had spent last night? Suddenly Matt felt like every little thing he had done to Sas was written in huge neon letters across his forehead.

“Morning, sweetie,” his mom said cheerfully, thankfully giving him a reason to look away from James.

“Hi Mom,” he mumbled, glancing at her quickly and taking a seat as far away from James as he could get. Silence reigned at the table as most everyone turned their attention to an increasingly nervous Matt.

“So… where are the girls? Not up yet?” Shilla’s innocent question caused all the heads to swing back to Matt again, increasing his blush. What should he tell them? ‘Last time I saw Sas she was very much awake and trying her level best to make my head explode?’

“I… uh—”

“Morning everyone,” Belle’s cheery voice saved Matt from answering as she entered the suite with Sas in tow. This took all of the attention away from a briefly relieved Matt. Everyone but James was now greeting the latest arrivals. Matt swallowed, he had no clue what was going on, but he realized that acting nervous wasn’t helping. Squaring his shoulders, he met James’ gaze head-on, not saying anything. I love your daughter. I will never intentionally harm her.

James seemed slightly taken aback at first at Matt’s courageous look. Matt blinked when the older man’s eyes took on a sad look before he slumped back in his chair, looking defeated. He thinks I’ve taken Sas away from him! Matt realized with a pang. This made him feel horrible, sure that he would feel the same one day if he ever had a daughter. A daughter with Sas.

Watching the whole exchange from the sidelines, Liz felt her heart contract for both these two men. For James because he was mourning the loss of a daughter and for her son because he was just trying to love a girl. She did, however, wonder what had prompted James’ emotional display. Had something happened that she wasn’t aware of? Sas was sliding into a chair next to Matt and they glanced at each other with shy smiles before turning away abruptly.

Max took her hand underneath the table, gaining her attention. He had obviously been privy to all her thoughts and was silently asking if he should intervene. Shaking her head, she gave him a small smile. Matt seemed to have handled the situation calmly and for a change it was Liz that believed they should let this be between the two men in Sas’ life.

After breakfast, Max took Matt off to one of his meetings, wanting his son to start learning about the affairs of Antar and the Whirlwind Alliance Council. This was actually a relief to Matt, who had had visions of trying to stay away from Sas throughout the day.

On the other hand, Sas had decided to investigate the possibility of finding birth control on the ship and she went off in search of some of the ladies involved in the “entertainment” of dignitaries on board. Finally managing to locate the quarters of these “entertainers”, she was immediately noticed by an old man who was standing in the corridor. “Can we help you, Miss? Do you need someone?”

Sas was very relieved that she didn’t have to go knock on various doors. “Oh! Yes, please! I was—”

“Let me see who is available right now.” The old man looked back at her. “Or do you have a specific preference?”

“P-preference? No, if I could just—”

But by then he had a hold of her arm and was propelling her into one of the rooms, clearly very exited that at least ONE of the members of the Antarian Royal Entourage was finally going to make use of their services.

“No, please! You don’t—” Sas was panicking. It’s not that she was thinking that someone would force themselves on her, it’s just that she wasn’t sure what on earth she would see before she managed to straighten out this misconception.

The room was medium-sized and it housed a guy lounging on a big bed. A guy without a shirt and wearing what looked like really tiny briefs. Sas felt herself flush in embarrassment and she hastily turned away from the bed. “No, please, I was looking for one of your… uhm… ladies.”

This statement caused the old man to get completely flustered. “Oh, I’m so sorry! Let’s go. I’ll show you to another room.”

Sas was pulled in another direction, leaving the man on the bed gaping after them in fascination.

All the rooms where the “ladies” usually were, were empty. Sas assured the old man she would wait, and ended up in a room where a servant was cleaning. She noticed the tattoo her own mother carried on the girl’s wrist immediately. And, just for a moment, she let panic take over again about going to Dendar at the side of Matt Evans. The cleaning girl hardly looked at her and Sas’ heart ached for what her mother must have gone through when she lived on Dendar. No wonder Shilla had been so eager to join the Antarian Royal couple – they were as unconventional as it got.


Observing his father in action during the holo-conference with dignitaries on Dendar, Matt’s respect for Max climbed another few notches. At the moment, most of the talks were about creating an agenda for the Council Meeting and Max was obviously trying to keep the time he would have to spend with the other leaders to a minimum. As a result, everything that could be handled in advance, was handled.

Dendar had a new King by now, a man a few years older than Max by the name of Shing that seemed okay to Matt. He had a son that was around 23 who was also sitting in for the holo-conference. Aran and Matt were introduced to each other and they silently sized each other up over the light years that still separated them. The future kings of two very different nations.

Aran reminded Matt a little of Shilla. They had the same dark complexion, but since the guy was sitting down in the holo-room on Dendar, Matt could not see if he was as short as the Dendarians normally were.

It quickly became clear that Aran was really running the show on Dendar. Shing mostly sat quietly, listening to his son, and Matt wondered what his dad thought about this. Max was being his stoic self so it was difficult to hazard a guess. Not that Aran was doing anything specifically annoying, Matt just got the impression that he would have trouble being friends with the guy on any scale.


After waiting for an hour, Sas decided to give up. She approached the servant girl and politely asked her to relay a message to the lady of the room. Could this lady please give her some advice on birth control? Leaving her name and room details, she finally took her leave. Maybe she could convince Belle to join her in the games room…


The holo-conference drew to a close near lunchtime. Matt could see that his father was getting antsy and had to hide a grin. Max wanted to go back to his wife and he was trying very hard to hide his impatience. All went well until Shing finally made a statement of his own.

“We shall be happy to host you and your lovely mate here on Dendar again, King Zan. She truly is a treasure,” he was grinning at Max now. “I remember how feisty she is too. It must not be a hardship—”

But Max had heard enough. “Yes,” Max rose from his seat. “We thank you for having us, but we will only be staying for a few days.”

Women did not really feature in the Dendarian culture and Max had been annoyed on previous occasions with the attitude of the men towards Liz. He guessed if a marriage was for convenience instead of love, a man would not mind too much to hear how other men were coveting her, but he felt way too possessive about his Liz to listen to such talk.

Matt was completely stunned. How could the man talk about his mother like that? And whoa, he could see his father was not impressed either. At least the man hadn’t said anything about Belle too, that would truly put a damper on relations!

Striding out of the room with barely controlled fury, Max waited until they were out of the earshot of anyone else before glancing at Matt. “Let that be a lesson to you, son. Idiots come in all shapes and sizes and species. Just like good people.”


Sas had eventually tracked down Belle in their room, where she was having a girl talk moment with Liz. They invited her to join and soon they were swapping stories about school and guys.

Both girls always enjoyed hearing about when Max and Liz were still in school in Roswell. And about their whole group including Maria, Alex, Michael and Isabel. And about the annoying Pam Troy who never wanted to give up on Max and kept chasing after him even though he had been very much off the market.

“…she was RELENTLESS,” Liz was saying as a soft knock was heard from the door.

“I’ll get it,” Sas announced, bouncing off the bed to open the door, hoping it was Matt coming back for lunch. She needed to kiss him again. Badly.

Instead, a strange woman stood outside, wearing some kind of uniform. “I need to see Miss Saskia Mulder?” And in a blinding flash, Sas knew she would be busted. “About the birth control?”

The deafening silence behind her did nothing to calm Sas’ suddenly racing heart. The woman had spoken quite clearly, there was no way Matt’s mom had NOT heard her. “Uhm…” she nodded vigorously, trying to look as if this wasn’t something horribly embarrassing to her. “Just-just give me a minute.”

Liz was staring at her when she turned around and Belle’s mouth hung open in shock. “I-I need to go…” She gestured over her shoulder, trying to avoid Liz’s eyes. “I’m sorry. I’ll… I’ll be back later…” With this, she whirled around, wanting nothing more than to escape the room and the vicinity of the mother of the man she intended to make love with.

“Sas, wait,” Liz’s voice was soft but firm, freezing Sas in her tracks.

Damn, she was in big trouble now!


Still stewing over the stupid comments of the Dendarian King regarding his mother, Matt didn’t notice the muffled sobbing from inside his room until he practically stumbled over Sas’ shoes in the middle of his floor. He went into complete panic mode immediately, rushing over to drop to his knees next to the bed. “Sweetheart?”

The sobbing got louder, but at least she squirmed closer to him.

“What is wrong?” Alarmed now, he stroked her hair tenderly.

Since she mumbled her answer into the pillow, all he could make out was ‘mother’ and ‘slut’. “Sas, sweetness…” He gently rolled her over and lowered himself on the bed next to her, scooped her against his side and tried to tug her chin up so he could see her face. She resisted this and buried her head in his shoulder, but she gradually calmed down until all he could hear was the occasional sniffle. Caressing the side of her face with his fingertips, he pleaded again. “Tell me.”

“I-I made a huge mistake,” she finally whispered, her fingers fisting in his shirt.

What could be so bad, he wondered? “I’m sure it’s okay,” he soothed. “What happened? Did your mom upset you?”


He waited impatiently for her to elaborate, but she now seemed struck dumb, just clenching his shirt tighter by the second. Matt was quietly starting to freak about this. Sliding his hands under her arms, he lifted her higher on the bed until their heads shared a pillow and he could see her face. “You are making me crazy here, sweetheart, plea—”

“Your mom thinks I’m a slut,” she interrupted in a rush, her eyes still downcast. He could see tears pooling in the corners of her eyes again.

“She thinks WHAT?!” he practically yelled, making Sas jump in fright. This SO did not make sense. He didn’t think his mom had ever used the word ‘slut’ in her life. “She SAID that?” he asked incredulously.

Sas’ bottom-lip was quivering again and she bit down on it in an attempt to stay in control. She couldn’t remember feeling this horrible in a long time. “She… she heard me… I went to… and then-then, the woman came…” Losing the battle for control, tears started coursing down her cheeks again.

Matt was speechless. Her tears tore at his heart. Nothing she said made any sense to him and he still couldn’t believe his amazing mother would say such a thing to the girl he loved. Catching Sas’ face between his hands, he kissed her wet cheeks and her closed eyelids, while murmuring soft words of comfort. He had to get her calmed down first before he could get to the bottom of this mess. “Shh, honey, we’ll work this out, I promise.” His thumbs wiped at the moisture on her face as he kept on kissing her softly. “I love you,” he promised her again. “So much.”

It took him about 15 minutes before he judged Sas to be okay to talk. “Now tell me, please.”

Swallowing around the lump in her throat, Sas plunged in, telling Matt about trying to find out about birth control from the ship’s ‘entertainers’ and how one of them had found her with his mom and Belle. “Your Mom wanted to talk to me about it… Matt she looked so… disappointed in me.”

Wow, that was a lot to take in! Sas had been finding them birth control? His Mom now knows they are contemplating having sex? Even worse, his SISTER now knows about his almost sex life? Sas had gone to the seedier part of the ship… ALONE? “What did my mom say?”

“She… said I shouldn’t have… gone to the – the ship’s prostitutes for this…”

“And?” he asked worriedly when she fell silent.

Biting her lip again, Sas looked away from him. “I… sort of didn’t let her continue. I just… I told her that I didn’t want you to be disappointed in me when we… you know, when one day we…” She was waving her right hand around agitatedly. “Anyway, so I needed to get some advice and… experience and—”

“What!” Matt cried. “You told her you went to these people for ‘experience’? Why?”

He was staring at her with an expression eerily reminiscent of the one his mother had worn when she made the stupid statement earlier. “I panicked!” She grabbed his shirt again in distress, willing him to understand and not walk out on her or something. “Matt, it sounded like she was mad about us planning to have… I didn’t want her to think you were breaking your promises to her, so I… made up that story.” Sas fought fresh tears. “She looked at me like I was… She thinks I’m a s-slut now.” Flinging her arms around his neck, she begged shamelessly. “Please! I am SO sorry. I didn’t mean for this to happen. Please don’t be angry. I love you.”

Matt wasn’t sure if he should laugh or cry after hearing this weird tale, so he kept quiet. The only solution that occurred to him was to go talk to his parents about the whole debacle. And boy, he had really hoped he would never have to actually face his parents about planning to sleep with his girlfriend!


Not having located Liz in their suite, Max had gone in search of her only to find her on her way to a part of the ship they had never needed to go before. “Liz!”

Her name called in what Liz termed Max’s Royal Voice stopped her in her tracks. She was on her way to tell the ship’s sex workers to stay away from anyone of the Antarian kids on board, and Max was breaking her speed. She arched her brow at her husband, hoping he wasn’t going to delay her too long.

“Liz, what are you doing?” Max’s voice was quiet and soft, telling her he was still deciding whether he should get upset or not.

“I’m going to—”

“I can see where you’re going,” he cut her short. “Are you crazy? Who knows what could happen to you here? You know I don’t want you going off alone!” He sounded pissed. “And where is James?”

“Since this is about his daughter, I didn’t want him along, so I slipped out,” she informed him, turning away again. “Let me just—”

“Whoa! Wait a minute!” He rounded her with a few steps, blocking her path. “You deliberately left James behind?”

Liz folded her arms and sighed. Trust Max to home in on the fact that she was off alone, instead of the REASON for her actions. “Yes, I did. Now, can we talk about this later, I really need—”

“Hell no! We can’t talk about this later, this is serious.” He took hold of her shoulders, twirling her around until she faced the way she had come. “Get your cute behind back to our room so we can sort this out.”

“Max!” Liz was getting irritated now. Sometimes his over-protectiveness just drove her insane. “Let me go, I really need to do this.” She was struggling in his hold.

All he did in response was to pick her up and throw her over his shoulder. “And I really need to talk to you.” He walked back to their rooms with long strides, ignoring Liz’s scandalized complaints.

On the way they drew some very interested stares, and a few hysterical giggles.

Arriving at their suite, Max slid Liz down to the ground and caught her mouth with his to stop the torrent of words he could see was waiting to tumble from her lips. He kissed her hard and deep, teasing her tongue with his until he could feel her giving in. Her arms crept around his neck slowly and he finally opened their door, walking her inside backwards, still not ending the passionate kiss they were now engaged in.

Neither of them noticed the two nervous and uncomfortable teenagers waiting in their lounge.

Matt had decided that they should talk to his parents, and specifically his mom, to clear up the confusion of this morning. Unfortunately this meant telling his parents about his sex life, but he could see no way around it. Not if he EVER wanted to make love to Sas, who now believed his parents would have a cow if he stayed with her. So they had been waiting for his mom and dad to return from wherever they had gone and he had gripped Sas’ hand tightly, making sure she couldn’t bolt from the room. He had been sure that his parents would at least be mildly upset and not in a good mood. He had certainly NOT been expecting his parents to literally come falling through the door in a clinch, practically devouring each other.

“Max…” Liz sighed as he kissed a trail from her mouth to her throat, his hands tangling in her hair to arch her neck for better access.

“Dad!” Matt knew from experience that his mere presence wouldn’t register and put an end to any physical activities by his parents. If it hadn’t been his own parents, he would have found the flurry with which they pulled apart quite amusing.

“Matt,” his father acknowledged him in a voice that managed to also convey how inconvenient his appearance was.

“Yeah…” He looked at his mom, who still seemed a bit dazed. “I’m sorry for barging in like this, but we… need to talk to you.”

Liz was still clutching Max’s arm, keeping herself upright, but the worry on the faces of her son and his girlfriend was penetrating the fog Max’s caresses had put her in. Looking at Sas, who was not meeting her eyes, Liz knew what this was about immediately. “I think we should sit down, Max.”

Max was clueless. He could see something had upset his wife, his son and Sas, but he had no idea what. Maybe he should have paid more attention when Liz was trying to talk to him earlier…

Waiting until his parents were seated, Matt cleared his throat, not sure where to start. “Mom, I think we need to clear up a misconception that might have… arisen this morning.” He waited, but Liz just nodded while his father started frowning. “Sas wasn’t going to these… prostitutes for—”

“I know that, honey.” Liz surprised them. “I know she was just trying to find, er, protection.”

“Then you know I wasn’t serious when I said I wanted, uhm… experience from them?” Sas sounded slightly relieved. “Because I wasn’t!” She rushed ahead, not giving Liz a chance to react. “I would never do that to Matt. I was just trying to protect him and—”

“Calm down, honey,” Liz told her with a half-smile.

“What on earth is everyone talking about?” Max was looking between them with confusion.

“Sas had asked one of the ship’s ‘entertainers’ to help her find protection—”

“Mom!” Matt cried. “Can we stick to the point that you maybe misunderstood Sas?” He was blushing furiously and avoided his father’s gaze at all costs.

“There was no misunderstanding, Matt,” Liz assured him. “I just didn’t want you two to go to these… people for assistance. You should have come to your father and I. I really didn’t like that Sas had gone to these people who know nothing about love-making and everything about sex.”

“Uhm…” Matt was at a loss. He loved his mom, but did she seriously think he was going to come tell her he wanted to have sex and could she provide him with birth control?

Max, on the other hand, was amazed. Was this the same wife and mother he had had to drag off to make sure she didn’t interrogate their son a couple of weeks before? Now she was offering to HELP him with his sex life? “So, this was what you were on your way doing just now?”

“Yes.” Liz gave Max a glare that told him she was still going to make him suffer later for dragging her away from her mission.

Sharing a look with Sas, Matt looked at his mom and gathered all his courage. “C-can you help us then?” He could barely get the words out, his cheeks flushed with embarrassment. Sas’ fingernails were digging into his palms.

Now it was Liz’s turn to look uncomfortable. “Well, actually I can’t…”

Well, this was just getting worse by the minute, Matt thought silently. After all the badgering he finally asks his parents for help and now they say ‘no’? He was beginning to think he was going to die a virgin.


posted on 7-Sep-2001 6:57:02 AM

As he stood gripping Sas’ hand and watching Dendar come closer in the huge window of the shuttle ferrying them from the ship to the planet, Matt marveled again that he had managed to live through these last two days. They had been the most weird and wonderful of his life.

On the one hand, he had gotten even closer to his parents after what was probably the most embarrassing talk they’ve ever had. On the other hand, Sas was now a permanent fixture in his bed, even though they haven’t actually made love yet. But most of all, James had let him know that he knew about the new sleeping arrangements, and, although it is very hard for him, he accepted them. Matt had surmised that James had somehow come to the conclusion that he and Sas were having sex, and, while that was very awkward for Matt, he decided not to say anything to the contrary.

The worst obstacle was lying ahead though. Sas was wrapped around his arm while clinging to his hand and he could see the fear in her eyes as she stared down at her mother’s birth planet. Casting a glance over his shoulder, Matt could see Shilla was as white as a sheet too. Gritting his teeth, he vowed to make sure their arrival on Dendar was as painless as possible. If he had learned one thing in these few days on this ship, it was that there was no limit to how much he could love someone. To how much he could love Sas. And if someone upsets her down on Dendar, he would hurt them.

Folding his arm around his trembling girlfriend, Matt contemplated the talk they had had with his parents. He now knew SO much more about their love life than he had ever wanted to. They didn’t use condoms, never had since his mom’s birth control pills started working. His mom had been on the pill until they had found out about a reversible and painless alien procedure that made sure a woman couldn’t get pregnant unplanned. No wonder they are all over each other all the time – no reason to worry about consequences!

Liz had offered to go with Sas to a healer to get this done and Matt had again insisted that he would go along. His father had given him an enigmatic look, saying only that Matt should maybe leave this to the women. He wondered about that, but he still felt that he should not let Sas go through this alone as she was doing it for both of them.

Of course, this had meant two more sleepless nights for him. Kissing the top of Sas’ head, he smiled slightly. They were getting pretty good at all the other stuff two lovers can do when they couldn’t have sex. He didn’t think he would ever get tired of the little sounds Sas made when he loved her. Or hearing her say she loved him. Or touching her soft skin and kissing her sweet mouth.

If only he could manage to wait a little after the famous procedure was done! Not only wasn’t he too keen on having everyone in their group know exactly WHEN he and Sas would finally consummate their relationship, but he also wanted it to be special. So, that would take some planning and a whole lot of self-control.

The ship docked with a soft bump, and everyone waited for his parents, clad in the Royal Colors of Antar, to take the lead. Matt and Belle were the only other people wearing the colors, while the rest of the group wore plain robes befitting an entourage.

Sas felt like she was going to hyperventilate any second now. Matt was holding her firmly to his side and she loved him for it, but the look of pure dread in her mother’s eyes was causing her own panic levels to spike.

A warm hand, taking her free one, jerked her back from the brink and she blinked to find Belle on her other side, smiling up at her encouragingly. Tears pooled in her eyes at the wonderful gesture from her friend. She was now surrounded protectively by the Evans family. “Thank you,” she whispered to Belle before turning to Matt who promptly wiped a lone tear from her cheek with his thumb.

“We love you... I love you,” he told her seriously. “We’re doing this as a family. Okay?” He waited for her nod, and then she noticed that Max and Liz were waiting for them too. She smiled at them in gratitude and took a deep breath to steady her nerves.

“Let’s go,” Max sighed, not sounding like a King who was going to be received with pomp and ceremony, but rather like a man who was being led to some horrible form of torture. He, too, gripped the hand of the woman next to him. Only his gesture was possessive, intent on making it clear to everyone that Liz was an extension of him and should be treated as such.

The reception hall was filled as it usually was for these occasions. Shing and Aran stood in front, wearing the rich clothes of Dendarian royalty. Shing’s three wives stood a few paces back, leaving the limelight to their husband and first-born son. Not for the first time, Max missed the old King who had been in power when he first came here – Shing’s father. The man who had finally put the issue of his “destined mate” to rest.

The greetings were formal, according to tradition and everything went fine until the Dendar King spied Sas. A huge silence suddenly filled the room as he stared at her in shock.

Quickly taking action, Max introduced Sas to Shing and Aran as Matt and Belle’s friend, his tone of voice making it clear that she better not be snubbed.

Both Shing and Aran floundered after this. They had never had to deal with a situation like this before. They ended up giving Sas curt nods. Complicating matters was the fact that Sas did not really have an official position yet. There was no such thing as a “girlfriend” on these planets, only bonded mates and concubines.

“Thank you for sharing your hospitality with us again,” Liz said with a formal smile, trying to divert the attention away from Sas, who was now more or less under Matt’s shoulder, her cheeks flushed with shame. This made Liz really mad and Max caressed the back of her hand with his thumb, soothing her.

Shing turned a sickly sweet smile on Liz and stepped forward to offer her his arm. “Always a pleasure, my lady!” Liz had no option but to take up his offer, but she held on to Max’s hand and ended up walking between the two men – one whose touch she never tired of, and another whose touch made her cringe.

When they finally made it to their suite in the palace, after being invited to dinner by Shing, Sas managed to hold herself together until she made it into Matt’s room. There she collapsed onto the bed in tears of relief. The first test is finally over!

Matt was arguing with Max outside. She couldn’t hear what they were talking about and she didn’t particularly care. Right now, all she wanted to do was sleep for hours and forget about the ordeal of being stared at like she was a bug.

A soft stroking of her hair woke her up a few minutes later. Matt was perched on the bed next to her, looking distressed.

“Are you okay?” he asked her worriedly.

“Yeah, thanks. I was just… overwhelmed. I’m better now that it’s over.”

Guilt flashed in his eyes momentarily before he looked away from her.

“What’s wrong?” Now SHE was concerned.

He sighed. “Tonight’s dinner. You were… not…”


“Yeah.” His hand moved in her hair agitatedly. “I’m sorry. I talked to my dad, but he feels we should just leave it for now…” He didn’t mention that Max said that until Sas was an official member of the family, he couldn’t very well make a big deal out of getting her invited to a stupid official dinner.

“Matt, I SO don’t care about this dinner. In fact, I cannot tell you how relieved I am about not having to go.” She sat up, wrapping her arms around his neck. “Thank you for trying, but I guess I’ll just have to stay here and warm the bed…”

This teased a smile from him and got her a kiss. A warm, loving kiss that reminded her that this current mess was only a small hitch in an otherwise perfect life.

The kiss quickly turned into a heated make-out session and neither of them saw Belle halt in the door, before going out and quietly closing the door behind her.

Seeing her brother so happy made her feel lonelier and she wandered outside to the balcony, deep in thought.

“Hey baby.” Her father’s voice startled her and she swung around to see him lounging on a bench.

“Hey Daddy. Where’s Mom?”

“Talking to Aunt Maria over the communicator.” He patted the seat next to him. “So I have time to talk. Come tell me why you look so sad?”

She hesitated only a moment before rushing over and falling against her father’s chest. Being wrapped in his safe, comforting arms was one of her earliest memories and he held her close again now as she fought the tears that threatened to spill down her cheeks.

Pain constricted Max’s throat. He hated seeing his little girl like this. “What is it, baby?”

“I’m a horrible person, Daddy,” she informed him forlornly.

This made him chuckle. “No, you’re not. You are a sweet, loving, beautiful girl – just like your mother.” He squeezed her tightly. “I was proud to see you helping Saskia today.” He held her away from him so he could see her face. “Now tell me.”

“It’s just… seeing Matt and Sas… I…” she trailed off, biting her lip.

“You feel alone?”

Nodding, she leaned against Max’s shoulder. “Matt used to be just mine. And… why did I not fall in love with any of the boys that liked me Daddy?”

“Maybe because it was never the right boy?”

“I know.”

Max put his arm around her, letting her rest her cheek against his chest. “For some people it takes longer than others to meet their mate. I don’t know why. But I do know that your brother loves you very much. And so does Sas.” He kissed the top of her head lovingly. “You are special to us all.”

“I know.”

“Meanwhile, please have some mercy on me. I’m not sure I’m ready for you to fall in love and leave me.” He had a smile in his voice, but he meant every word. The thought of Belle with another man made him ill.


They grinned at each other and Max caught his breath at how much Belle looked like Liz that year when he healed her from the bullet wound in her stomach. The Liz that had first started loving him back. “I love you,” he whispered to her.

“I know,” she smiled at him. “Almost as much as you love Mommy.” It was a childhood game.

“Right.” They grinned again, enjoying the quiet moment they could share. Father and daughter. Her hero and the apple of his eye.

The rest of the afternoon was spent quietly by everyone. Liz napped, while Max had a session with Nick, strategizing for the next day’s meetings. Matt and Sas had fallen asleep in his room, holding each other tightly. James was holding Shilla too, hoping she would start to feel better soon. She was so worried about their daughter and kept blaming herself for the position Sas was in.

Belle had stayed outside, staring over the expansive gardens of the palace until dusk crept over the city. Turning her eyes up to the three moons that orbited Dendar, she wondered if maybe someone was out there looking at the stars and hoping to meet her one day. If maybe… no, HE wouldn’t be thinking of her, that’s for sure!

But he was.

Far away, a pair of piercing blue eyes stared up at the night sky too, remembering the warmest pair of chocolate-brown eyes he had ever seen in his life. Wondering if he would ever find his soulmate… And if maybe that soulmate would have eyes like Belle’s…


Dinner was a sad affair. Shing’s whole family, wives included, irritated the hell out of Max. Both Shing and Aran took to fawning over Liz and Belle, while the women were all giggling idiots, trying very hard to get Matt to give them some attention.

“You are going on to Tresar from here, are you not?” Aran asked Matt while the last course was being served.

“Yeah.” Matt didn’t much feel like talking to the arrogant Crown Prince of Dendar.

“You should know that there have been rumors of a rebellion against the royals there.”

This brought all the attention to Aran.

“A rebellion?” Max looked at the young man with narrowed eyes, trying to figure out if he was telling the truth or stirring trouble.

“Yes. Some of Dak’or’s people have resurfaced it seems. They are not impressed with what happened to their leader 18 years ago.”

Matt glanced at his father, seeing him clench his jaw. “I’ll speak to Eric when he arrives tomorrow,” was all Max said on the issue.

After dinner, Shing held Max back while looking at Liz with a gleam in his eye. “We can offer you some… alternative partners for tonight if you like…”

It was all he could do not to throw the man across the chamber. “As I’ve said before, no thank you. I’m extremely satisfied with my mate.” Max’s voice was tight with anger, but Shing was oblivious.

“I can see that you would be. I was just hoping you would share—”

This time Max couldn’t help himself and he grabbed Shing by the front of his robe. “Let me make this clear then. No one touches Liz but me. Don’t even think about her, she is way off limits. Unless you want a diplomatic mess on your hands, stay away.” He let the shocked man go. “And that goes for anyone in my party.”

Belle and Matt glanced at each other as their father came up from behind to catch their mom against his chest. Neither of them needed to ask what was going on. It was clear that Shing had made another comment about Liz and that Max had lost his temper. So they walked in silence back to their part of the palace while Max continued to walk behind Liz holding her tightly.

Matt was just as eager to get back to his room and Sas. Politics was beginning to sicken him. If being King meant having to deal with idiots like the Dendarian Royal Family all the time, he wasn’t sure he wanted the job.


When daylight filtered through the windows the next morning, Sas had trouble getting her eyes to open. She was still dead tired from all the tension of the previous day as well as from waiting up for Matt to return from dinner. And, of course, from everything she and Matt had gotten up to after his return.

Shivering as she recollected the previous night’s passion, Sas suddenly realized that she would probably go to the healer today. This caused a sharp contraction low in her stomach. Matt would be able to really make love to her tonight! By now, he had shown her so many ways to find fulfillment without being inside her, that she found it hard to imagine there being anything better. She could hardly wait to experience it all. Her boyfriend had magic hands and a magic mouth, and his eyes could do things to her equilibrium that should be outlawed, but she craved for him to fill that empty ache he creates deep in her body. She craved to be filled by him until they were one.

Matt slept like a log next to her, his arm slung over her bare stomach. Sas was hungry, though, so she inched from beneath him, wincing when he mumbled his dissatisfaction about her absence as soon as she stood next to the bed. A quick shower later, she dressed in her plain robe and hurried outside, wanting to find both breakfast and Liz.

Food was served out on the patio, but there was no sign of any of the other members of the Antarian group. Fighting disappointment, Sas ate some of the strange fruits of the planet, all of which tasted familiar to her even though she hadn’t grown up here, and decided to go for a quick walk to get rid of her nervousness about the appointment with the healer later.

The gardens were huge and Sas made sure that she kept the palace in sight while she strolled around. It wouldn’t do to get lost on this momentous day in her life. Clasping her arms around herself, she had to restrain herself forcible from dancing through the flowers in abandon. She had so many reasons to be happy. Matt loved her. There had been no real backlash about her relationship with him yet. Matt loved her. She was now allowed to share his bed. Matt loved her…

A giggle escaped her lips and she allowed herself one swift twirl that sent her robes flying around her. “Matt loves me…” she whispered.

“You seem happy this morning,” the unfamiliar voice caused her to stop her antics. She recognized him immediately as the Crown Prince of Dendar even though his name escaped her for the moment.

“I am,” she answered cautiously.

He walked around her, looking his fill. “Do you know who I am?”

“Y-yes, you’re the Prince of Dendar.” Sas’ heart was starting to beat furiously, she didn’t like the Prince’s attitude. “I remember meeting you yesterday.” Subtly, trying to remind him she belonged with the Antarian Royal Family.

“And I remember you clinging to the young Antarian Prince’s arm.” He grinned at her speculatively. “I must say he has good taste. I assume you serve him well?”

For a moment, all Sas’ fears and insecurities came roaring back, reminding her she was the daughter of a servant and not an official member of the Antarian Royal Family yet. It reminded her that this man in front of her was so much more powerful than she was and that he could order her death with a flick of his wrist.

But then she got angry. He had no right to treat her like she was a thing for his amusement. She was a person in her own right. “I don’t serve Matt,” she said firmly, hiding her fear.

He only raised an eyebrow. “You don’t? These Antarians have strange customs. You are not his mate or his whore then?”

A soft gasp escaped her before she could tame it. “I am his…” But she had no idea what to say.

He was towering closer now, hemming her into a bush. “What you are, is a servant. Now and always. And since you are in MY city and in MY palace, you will serve me if I so command it.”

The last vestiges of fear were rapidly being erased by a fury the likes of which Sas had never experienced before. “I am nothing of yours and I will only follow the instructions of my parents or my real King,” she responded heatedly.

“Do you want me to order your mother to instruct you to keep me happy?”

Clenching her fists at her sides, she fired back. “Do you want me to ask King Zan to take up your conduct with your father?” His cocky smile made her even madder.

“So, you keep King Zan happy too then, that he would do this for you?”

This was the last straw.

Her fist connected with his nose in a move so unexpected it sent Aran staggering back a few paces.

Sas was speechless. And shocked. What had she done?

Aran whirled around in a rage. “You—”

“Don’t even think about it!” Matt’s voice came from the side as he rushed over towards Sas. “Keep you hands and your mouth off her!” And then he was there, stepping in between Aran and Sas, shielding her with his body.

“She hit me!” Aran sounded like he was going to burst a blood vessel.

“She had a reason,” Matt said more calmly now. He had no idea what had been going on here, but he knew that Sas wouldn’t have hit the man without being provoked. He felt like hitting the guy himself.

“This breaks protocol—”

“No, what broke protocol is your conduct towards my intended mate,” Matt interrupted him. “I would appreciate it if you could apologize to her right now.”

Sas inched around Matt and stood at his side, silently watching Aran. Only when Matt took her hand, did Aran finally mumble that he was sorry about the ‘misunderstanding’.

Tempted to say so much more, Matt held his tongue and walked away. They were only here for two more days, and he could certainly ignore the irritating Prince if he needed to. He was more worried about Sas. “Are you okay? Did he… try anything?”

She smiled up at him with such adoration it nearly blinded him.

“No, I hit him before he could touch me. He was just being a… jerk.”

Stopping, Matt hugged her close. “I am so relieved you are alright,” he said into her hair.

Then he burst out laughing. “You should have seen his face after you punched him! He was flummoxed!”

Sas was more worried though. “I’m sorry I got so out of control. Will it cause problems for your father?”

“I don’t know.” Matt was still grinning. “We can go tell him what happened so he can be prepared.” He slung his arm around her shoulders and urged her forward, back to their suite.

He chuckled all the way.

The walk was long and torturous for Sas. Now that the initial adrenaline rush had passed, she was panicking about her rash actions and the implications they would have for her King. Because she had suddenly realized that was exactly what Max was. Her King. She was not a servant girl belonging to a planet she never really knew. She was the product of a marriage of love that made her a part of the Antarian race.

They found Max having breakfast, but he was clearly waiting for them. Matt wondered if his father’s famed connection with his family had alerted him to his son’s anger just now. He opened his mouth to speak to his dad, but Sas rushed into speech, cutting him off.

“Oh, Mr. Evans!” she cried. “I’m so sorry, but I sort of… punched the Dendar Prince in the nose…”

Max’s eyes widened for a second and then he grinned. “You punched Aran?”

“Yes,” she answered uncertainly. “He was being mean and he wanted me to…”

“So he deserved this punch?” Max asked with a twinkle in his eyes.


“Then what is the problem?”

Matt stared at his father open-mouthed. Clearly Shing’s antics regarding Liz had made Max annoyed enough with the Dendarian Royal Family not to care about a diplomatic incident. “We were just worried that you might be in a difficult position about this,” he informed his father.

“I don’t think so.” Max rubbed his hand through his hair. “I told the King last night that I did not want anyone near any of you. If his son broke that rule, it was his mistake, not yours, Sas.” He gave her a stern glare. “But don’t go off on your own again in this city. These people have no regard for women and I don’t want any of you to get hurt.”

“Yes, Sir,” Sas answered with a smile.

“And always come and tell me if someone is treating you badly. You are part of our family now.”

“Thank you,” Sas whispered. Her earlier urge to dance for joy was returning rapidly.

“We need to find Mom,” Matt announced.

“She’s on her way,” Max told him, not noticing how blasé he was about the fact that he knew his wife’s location all the time.

Sas’ nervousness returned in full force.

Liz came out on the patio looking fresh and happy. “Morning, you two! I’m glad we found you, I was getting worried that you had chickened out,” she teased them.

“No way!” Matt said under his breath. Unfortunately everyone heard him and they burst into chuckles, causing him to blush.

“Are you taking James with you?” Max asked.

At Sas’ panicked look, Liz shook her head firmly. “Would you want to be there when Belle gets this done?”

Horror showed on Max’s face, making Liz laugh. “Didn’t think so. No one but us four knows about this, and I would like to keep it that way. Could you spare me someone else?”

“I guess you could take David?” Max caught Liz’s hand. “But James is going to wonder why you are going somewhere without him.”

Putting on her best beguiling smile, Liz wrapped her arms around Max’s neck from behind and pressed her cheek against his ear. “That’s why I was hoping you could go with us? Please?”

Sighing, Max caught Matt’s grin. “Can we do it early then? I have to be in meetings in a couple of hours.”

“We certainly can!” Liz gave him a smacking kiss on his temple. “You are so wonderful.”

“That I am,” he joked back.

Liz straightened and looked at her son and the girl he loved. “Shall we go then? We don’t want to be late for MY appointment with the healer.”

Nodding, Sas followed Max and Liz into the suite, trying not to think about the fact that she was on her way to get ‘fixed’ so she could start a sexual relationship. She marveled at the way Liz had been helping her. She had made an appointment in her own name, trying to keep the knowledge of Sas’ procedure away from any gossips. But it was still weird, being taken to a healer by the parents of the boy you are going to have sex with.

Matt’s warm hand enfolded hers and he gave her a nervous smile. It made her feel better that Matt wasn’t being cool about the whole thing. And knowing that he was going to get his first taste of a gynecologist visit made the corners of her mouth turn upward. This should be interesting!

This would be a new era in their lives, but, like everything else, they would do it together.


posted on 7-Sep-2001 7:08:29 AM

Let it not be said that Aran was cowed easily.

Max had told James that he would be accompanying Liz into the capitol city for a few hours in the morning and would James please look after Belle. Apparently Belle was still sleeping, so James had taken to playing cards with himself in the living area of the suite. He was interrupted by a commotion at the door of the Royal Suite – the Crown Prince of Dendar was angrily demanding to be let into the Suite.

Hurrying over to help David, who was guarding the door, he found the two men at a standoff. “Can I help you, Your Highness?”

Aran sighed dramatically. “I was trying to get inside so I could ask the young Princess to go for a walk with me, but this arrogant guard is refusing me entry.”

“What’s going on, James?” A sleepy Belle was trudging down the stairs, woken by the commotion.

The look that came into the eyes of the Prince at her appearance caused James to bristle. Lustful gazes should not be sent the way of his daughter, or the girl that was practically his daughter, so James stepped up to Aran, blocking his view of Belle. “My King gave express orders that his daughter is not to leave this Suite until he is back,” he informed the young man in front of him firmly.

Aran did not like being dismissed like that. “And if I command you—”

“I only follow commands of King Zan,” James interrupted him rudely. “If you have a problem with his orders, I respectfully request that you take it up with him.” James knew full well that Aran would never do that. The Prince was another of those men in power that was all bluster and no action. Aran functioned well with people who are cowed and awed by his position and did not think to go against his wishes.

“I’ll be back later then,” he announced and strode away.

Belle was smiling at James when he turned back to her. “Thank goodness! I don’t want to be anywhere near that arrogant jerk!” She threaded her fingers through her hair, looking around with a frown. “Why is it so quiet? Where are my parents and Matt and Sas?”

Actually, that was a good question, James thought.


The healer’s rooms have been cleared for the arrival of the Antarian Queen, and Sas thanked her lucky stars again that she had gotten involved with an Evans. However strange it was to have Max and Liz trailing along for this procedure, she was still very relieved for their assistance.

And if she weren’t so nervous, the way that Matt was clinging to her hand would have been amusing. Max was also looking a little uncomfortable, clearly aware of what his son was in for.

“Do you want me to come in with you?” Liz asked softly, rubbing her hand comfortingly up and down Sas’ arm.

“I’ll go,” Matt said firmly.

“Matt, I don’t think—” Sas was trying to not have him see her trussed up for the doctor like that.

“I need to go,” he replied. “I need to be there for you.”

Liz was smiling at her son sympathetically. “It doesn’t hurt or anything. Remember, the healer just need to temporarily change a few things inside her.” Matt’s eyes were growing larger as she spoke. “He will do an examination first and then do the procedure. It’s not painful, just… weird. So Sas would be okay, I could go with her.”

“No.” Matt was looking greener by the minute, but he stayed determined. “I’ll go.” He looked at Sas. “If that’s alright with you?”

Well, this was a quandary! Sas wasn’t sure who would be better. Liz, who had been through this and could be a gentle, calming female presence, or Matt who wanted so much to support her in this. As Matt squeezed her hand tighter, she realized what she needed right now was for Matt to not let go of her hand ever. “Thank you, Mrs. Evans, but I think Matt and I would be fine alone.”

Nodding, Liz impulsively gave her a hug and pulled Max into the waiting area. “We’ll be here when you get out.”

The healer, a wizened old man, showed little emotion when they arrived in his ‘office’. Dendarians were not known for being overly emotional people and he treated his patients almost dispassionately. A far cry from the way things are done on earth.

Swallowing convulsively, Sas started praying that this will all pass quickly.

“Take off your robes,” the healer instructed her and she heard Matt gasp next to her. This caused her to grin fleetingly before she complied. The healer didn’t leave the room, but ignored Sas as she undressed.

Matt, on the other hand, was trying not to freak out. He felt a compelling urge to rush over and shield Sas’ appearing nakedness from the eyes of the man who was going to examine her in a few minutes. He didn’t want any other man to see her like this, so he watched the healer for any sign of an interested glance.

After disrobing, Sas perched on the table, pulling a light blanket over herself. Her and Matt might have been naked together a lot the last few days, but she still felt self-conscious to be sitting around without a stitch on.

As soon as the healer moved towards Sas, Matt hurried to her side and took her hand, unconsciously glaring at the healer who was blinking confusedly at Sas’ attempt to cover herself. Apparently modesty was not too much of a problem on Dendar.

Sas was made to lie down and she smiled up at Matt to calm him down. He was gripping her hand so tightly that her fingers were turning white. She wriggled them to alert him to that fact and the dazed expression on his face cleared for a few seconds.

“Oh crap, sorry, sweetness!” he whispered fervently and loosened his hold slightly.

The healer jerked the blanket away from Sas’ lower body and moved his hands over her without touching her. Matt bit the inside of his cheek in an effort to keep still. He concentrated on tracing Sas’ features with his eyes so he could ignore what was happening below her waist.

He sighed with relief when the old man stopped what he was doing. Only to have a near heart-attack when the man started with an internal examination. “Why are you doing that?” he blurted out, staring at the surprised healer in anger.

“Because we have found that our senses sometimes deceive us about the finer details of what is going on inside a person.” The man turned his attention back to his task, clearly put out that he was being interrupted.

Matt feared that he was going to either pass out or explode in anger. He hated that the man had his hands where Matt thought only his would ever go. Not to mention the intense way in which the guy was studying Sas between her thighs. A slight wince from Sas brought him back to reality. He immediately opened his mouth to yell at the healer, but Sas gave him an imploring look.

“Could you turn your back please? Before you squeeze my fingers off?” Sas asked him with a grin.

But he couldn’t tear his gaze away from the healer. He was afraid that if he stopped watching the man, he would get up to… well, something he shouldn’t be up to.

The examination seemed interminable to Sas. She kept her eyes on Matt, seeing his concern and jealousy and tightly controlled anger. “Hey,” she called him, managing to get his attention so she could smile at him soothingly.

He let out a long sigh and leaned forward until his forehead was pressed to her temple. “If I knew you would have to go through this, I would have tried harder to curb my urges,” he groaned hoarsely.

“You wouldn’t have had a chance,” she teased him.

He pulled back with a rueful look. “No, probably not.” He smoothed her hair from her face. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah, it just feels strange.”

Leaning in again, he gently kissed her forehead. “I think I’m going to be a wreck if you give birth one day! Maybe we shouldn’t have kids, I don’t think I can handle a lot of these types of situations.”

Sas had held her breath throughout his little speech. He was talking about THEIR kids so casually that it was clear that in his mind it was an accepted fact that he would marry her and have children with her. A wave of giddiness swept through her. “I love you,” she whispered passionately.

He seemed a bit confused as to why she felt the urge to blurt that fact out right then, but he answered her anyway. “Me too.”
The healer suddenly straightened, startling them. “Let’s do the procedure.”


Outside, Max was rhythmically threading his fingers through Liz’s hair as they waited for Matt and Sas. He had already told Liz how Sas had decked Aran earlier and now he was just enjoying having a quiet moment with her.

Resting her cheek against Max’s chest, Liz listened contentedly to the steady sound of his heart. It was the beat according to which she lived, the beat that underscored her happiness.

“Liz?” His voice rumbled in his chest beneath her ear, making her shiver.


“Are you okay with Matt… you know, becoming sexually active now?”

She pushed herself up so she could meet his gaze. “It’s with the girl he’s going to be with for the rest of his life, Max. I realized that this is not a teenage hormonal thing that will blow over, so I adjusted my thinking.”

Max was smiling at her when she stopped. “Just like us, heh?”

“Not quite,” she returned. “We were written in the stars. We are soulmates.”

He looked at her for long moments. Then he bent his head and brushed his lips over her mouth. Once. Twice. Three times. Until she made a small pleading sound.

“Ask me,” he breathed, his mouth hovering over hers.

“Kiss me,” she sighed, parting her lips in invitation.

Their mouths met and melded, breathing mingled and tongues touched. Max poured all his love into the kiss. His hands angled her face so he could deepen the contact. Her arms crept around his neck, urging him even closer. Her reaction heated his blood and increased his heart rate. Her caresses reaffirmed the indelible truth that he was hers. Heart, mind, body and soul.

He kissed her harder still. And you are mine too, Liz Evans.


Matt finally turned away from where the healer was working on Sas, his fingers fluttering in the air low over her stomach. Weird lights had danced on her skin and a sick feeling had settled in his gut when he saw the tremors in her body. She had assured him it was only tingling, not hurting, but he panicked again. What if this man screwed up and they could never have kids?

Matt cursed himself, his eyes tightly closed. Just because he had trouble keeping his hands to himself he could have doomed them to a childless existence—

“What are you thinking?” Sas asked softly, worrying about the fierce frown creasing his brow.

His eyes snapped open. “N-nothing much,” he mumbled. “I just wish this is over.”

“Soon,” she promised him.

“I’m done,” the healer announced. “You can dress and leave.”

Sas dressed quietly, suddenly very shy. Whatever had happened here had changed things for her and Matt. Excitement and fear were intermingling in her bloodstream.

They caught each other’s gazes and looked away again. They could have sex now. They WOULD have sex now. They wanted to be with each other so much.

But would it be all they dreamed it would be? And how would it change their relationship? And would they not disappoint each other?

Frantic and similar thoughts raced through both their minds as Matt held her robe for her to slide her arms into. He impulsively hugged her from behind. “Don’t worry.”

Sas just nodded, too overwhelmed to speak.

“We’ll be fine,” he added.

She nodded again jerkily.

“Please don’t worry, this doesn’t mean I’m going to… We don’t have to rush things, okay?” Matt swung her around, ignoring the hovering healer. “I promise I’m not going to drag you off to my room right now. Let’s just get used to the idea first.”

“Okay.” He was being so sweet! And by taking the pressure off, he made her want him more.

“I love you.”

“I love you too.”

He held out his arm with a flourish. “Shall we go have sex then?”

Giggling, she smacked his arm for being a clown. “Maybe later.”

Definitely later, she promised herself as they walked out. Loving by this man was way too good to pass up.


“We’re done,” Matt announced when they emerged from the healer’s rooms to find his Mom half-asleep on his Dad’s lap in the waiting area. He hugged Sas tightly to his side, not willing to let her out of his sight until he was sure there were no adverse side effects to the procedure that was just done. He felt light-headed now that the adrenaline rush of watching Sas being subjected to the healer was over.

“How are you feeling, Sas,” Max asked her with concern while lifting Liz up and placing her on her feet.

“Fine, I guess,” she replied. “My belly feels a little… warm, but it doesn’t hurt.”

“Warm!” Matt said with alarm. “Is that normal?” he asked his mother.

“Uhm…” Truthfully, Liz couldn’t really even remember her own experience anymore. It had been done for the last time after Belle was born, and that was 16 years ago.

Max gave her an exasperated look. She could probably describe in exact detail each of the times when something had been wrong with either him or their kids, but her own health did not feature among her priorities. “Yes, it is normal. Liz had that too. It lasted about a day or so.”

By now Matt was rubbing his hand over Sas’ stomach. “Can I heal it?”

Max shook his head. “It’s not something wrong, just her body adapting.”

Not looking happy about this new development at all, Matt pulled Sas in tighter.

“I have to go be in boring meetings,” Max announced. “Let’s go back.”

Matt and Sas followed his parents out of the rooms. After being quiet for a way, Sas took her eyes from the hand-holding couple in front of them to speak to Matt. “I think you should go with your Dad to the meeting.”

“No way,” Matt responded immediately. “I’m not leaving you alone while you are burning up!”

“I’m not burning up,” she exclaimed exasperatedly. “And I’m just going to be lying on a bed sleeping for the rest of the day, in any case.”

“I don’t care. I can watch over you and—”

“Matt, please, I…” She bit her lip. “I need to talk to your Mom and… my Mom before we…”

Her blush told him everything her words didn’t. He stopped and turned her fully into his arms. “Honey, I told you we are not going to make love right away. You don’t have to worry.”

“It’s not that.” She ducked her head. “Not exactly. I just… I need my mom, Matt. I know you love me a lot and that you want to be there for me in everything, but… you’re not a woman, Matt. And right now, I need one.”

Taken aback at first by the fact that she was basically telling him to get lost for a while, he recovered quickly. He had a sister after all and was very much aware that things went on with females that he or his Dad could not always fix. “Okay,” he said softly, running his fingers tenderly down her cheek. “But you have to promise me that you will come find me if you need me.”

“I promise.”

Feeling a compelling urge to show her how much he cared, Matt leaned down and touched her lips with his tenderly. It was a sweet kiss that didn’t last long enough to really carry all the emotion that was swirling between them. Matt kissed her nose and her forehead too and then pulled away.

They turned to walk again and noticed that Max and Liz had halted to wait for them. The two parents had the sappiest looks on their faces, reminding Matt of the night of his senior prom. There were no doubts that his Mom and Dad were happy with his choice of girlfriend and he could not even begin to describe how much that meant to him. His parents and sister were the most important people in his life. Or used to be.

Now they share that honor with the girl walking by his side.


Meanwhile, back at the Antarian Royal Suite…

Belle had finished brunch, but stayed outside to stare over the gardens and contemplate her life. She had a great life. She had the best parents ever, even though they regularly embarrassed her with their sappiness. She had a wonderful brother that would walk through fire for her. She got good grades. She had nice friends, even though most of them had no clue she was ‘different’. Guys seemed to think she was cute…

So why did she suddenly feel this hollowness in a corner of her heart?

Blinking at the stupid tears that unexpectedly gathered in her eyes, she jutted out her chin. This was ridiculous! These were modern times. She did not need someone else in her life, she could be very happy on her own. She nodded fiercely to herself. Yes, she could…

He had been watching her for a few minutes now. First, to recover from the shock of seeing her so grown up and beautiful, and then because he was mesmerized by the various emotions chasing each other over her face. Even though she was half-turned away from him, he saw how sad she was at first. And how that changed into determination a little later. By the time she nodded to herself he was grinning.

Belle turned around to go back inside and her gazed clashed with eyes so blue she had never quite managed to forget them. The sight knocked the breath from her body momentarily and she grabbed onto the back of the nearest chair to keep her balance.

Five years had elapsed since she saw him last. Boy, had he grown up! He was just as tall as Matt was now, with the same raven hair, but he was more solidly built than Matt was. Licking her lips, Belle’s gaze returned to his slowly after her inspection of him.

He was still grinning at her.

And her hackles rose immediately. He has always made her feel vulnerable and she did not like it one bit. “Well, hello LUCAS,” she drawled. She preferred to think he was laughing at her and to ignore the warmth that had been in his eyes as he observed her.

His smile disappeared immediately and it gave her supreme satisfaction to see.

“I see you are still a prickly little princess.” He sounded condescending, like he was talking to a child.

This was the Luca she remembered. “And I see YOU are still a jerk.”

They stared at each other silently, trying to come to terms with seeing each other after all this time when both of them had changed so much. And so little too.

Belle felt bad. The poor guy had not really deserved her overreaction, but there was no way she would admit that to him. What would she tell him? I’ve always had a crush on you and now you are even more handsome? You scare me because I sense you could come too close if I allow you to? The way you just looked at me awoke something in my body that I don’t understand? Yeah, right.

Luca watched her chew her lip, the small action doing something to his gut that he didn’t want to inspect too closely. The pigtails she had had when she was younger were gone, and in their place her dark hair lay like a rich waterfall down her back. His fingers itched to feel if it still felt like silk, like it used to when he pulled those pigtails to annoy her.

She had been a spunky kid. He couldn’t remember her ever running to her parents when he had made her mad. And that had happened a lot. When he was a kid, he never really questioned why she didn’t, he just accepted it with relief. Max Evans was not a man he wanted to be on the wrong side of, and he sensed that one sure way to get on that wrong side was to hurt the man’s little girl. Not that he had ever hurt her, in fact, he had gone out of his way to make sure nothing bad ever happened to her. He had just always made her mad. It was their way. He teased her and she got mad.

Becoming uncomfortable with the long silence, Belle folded her arms protectively. She was not going to back down!

The gesture rocked Luca to his toes as his gaze landed on the material now pulled taut over her breasts. His mouth went dry. The girl he used to know had turned into a very desirable young woman.

Her whole body flushed when she realized he was staring at her chest. She uncrossed her arms quickly. What was wrong with the man? She was wearing a T-shirt that had a high neckline and could not be described as provocative by any stretch of the imagination. She opened her mouth to tell him off, but then their eyes met.

And his were filled with such heat it stunned her back into silence and sent her heart rate into orbit.

Oh no! No! No, no, no, no. This could not happen. Not with this guy who had made it his business to anger her when they were younger.

And who lived on a world that was light years from her home.


The group that arrived from the healer found James pacing in the entrance hall and as soon as Max stepped inside, he hurried over. “I need to talk to you,” he said to Max, his gaze straying to Sas that was trailing behind Matt. “Oh, and Luca Alexander arrived. He’s outside with Belle.”

“He arrived alone?” Max enquired with a frown.

James nodded. “He said he would explain everything to you when you got here.”

Liz squeezed Max’s hand. “I’ll go say hi. You talk to James.”

“Okay.” Max brushed his lips over her forehead and followed James into the lounge while Liz, Matt and Sas went to the balcony.

“Luca!” Liz exclaimed when she saw him. “Wow, you’ve grown up!”

Her arrival had ended the glaring/staring contest between Luca and Belle-Mari abruptly as he whirled towards Liz and Belle bent her head to stare at the ground.

“Hi, Mrs. Evans,” Luca said, smiling at Liz warmly. He hadn’t seen her in two years, the last time she and Max had come to Tresar without Matt and Belle.

Matt had cast a look at his sister and was amazed to see a light blush on her cheeks as she continued to study her feet intently. He moved his regard back to Luca, wondering what had been going on here. As he shook Luca’s hand, he looked at him intently, but the other Prince met his gaze steadily. “You remember Sas?” Matt asked him and put his arm around her.

The move made Luca smile. Typical Evans reaction: This is my girl, keep your hands off her. “Yes, I do. Although she’s changed a lot.” But what hasn’t changed is that she is at your side. “Hi Sas, nice to see you again.”

“Uhm, Mom? I’m just going to take Sas upstairs if that’s okay?” Matt was still worried over the effects of the procedure on Sas. And she looked pretty tired to him.

“Sure, Matt. Let me know if you two need anything.”

After Matt and Sas left, Liz ordered drinks and gathered everyone around the table to wait for Max so she could grill Luca about Eric and Sarah. Were the problems on Tresar so bad that they couldn’t come to Dendar for the Galaxy Council meeting? Luca’s voice interrupted her thoughts.

“So I see Matt and Sas got together?”

Liz had assumed Luca was talking to Belle and she looked over at her daughter. But Belle was staring off into the distance, completely ignoring the young Prince. What on earth was wrong with Belle? “Yes, they finally admitted they were in love. They’ve been dating… what, a month or so, Belle?” Her attempt to draw Belle into the conversation was not too successful.

“I guess.”

Never having seen her daughter act like this before, Liz was quite shocked. Belle was being pretty rude. She caught Belle’s eye and frowned at her, resulting in Belle blushing and looking down. Liz was going to say more when a wave of anger from Max caused her to nearly choke.

The next instant he came striding out to the balcony to pull Belle to her feet and hug her fiercely. “If that bastard even talks to you again, you come and tell me. Okay, baby?”

“What is going on?” Liz stared at her normally placid husband in confusion.

“Aran was here while we were gone,” Max answered over Belle’s head. “He wanted to take Belle out.” It was clear that Max was furious over this.

Liz was mad herself too. “Don’t go anywhere without one of us or one of the guards, sweetie,” she told Belle before turning her attention to Luca to try and explain what was going on.

But Luca was staring at Belle, his eyes dark and stormy.

Max finally let Belle go and also turned to Luca. “Let’s go talk inside.”

Nodding, Luca rose and waited for Max and Liz to precede him. When Belle passed he grabbed her elbow. “Listen to your parents. Don’t be alone with Aran,” he instructed her firmly.

His tone did not go down well with Belle. “Don’t tell me what to do! It’s not like you care or anything,” she replied hotly.

“I…” he faltered. I DO care. “I don’t want you near him.”

This made her snort. “You sound like a father and I already have one, thank you very much. You can mind your own business.” She flounced inside, leaving him standing where he was. But he had NOT sounded like a father, he had sounded like a possessive boyfriend and it gave her a secret thrill.

And then it scared her all over again.

The faster the Crown Prince of Tresar went back to his own planet, the better for Belle-Mari Evans!


posted on 7-Sep-2001 7:19:25 AM

The meeting had been going on for an hour and still Luca was getting grief from the Dendar and Karek Kings. “I speak for my father,” he repeated firmly, this time while on his feet. “Trading onyx for workers amounts to people trade. We do not approve of this proposal at all.” He shot a determined glare at the two delegations that handed in the proposal. “And we never will.”

“And I support the Prince of Tresar, so this proposal cannot be approved,” Max spoke up from next to Luca. “Can we move on to the next issue?”

There were grumbling from across the table, but no one opposed moving forward with the agenda.

Max was amazed. Luca had informed them this morning that his parents had opted to stay on Tresar because of the problems with the renewed uprising of the militant Dak’or’s followers. They now have a new underground movement going that did not like the pacifist ideas of the current King. The movement seemed small at the moment, but his parents hadn’t wanted to take chances. So Luca was here to represent his planet.

And he was doing it well.

Luca was 18 too, a few months younger than Matt, but unlike Matt he had grown up as an only child. Most of his life had been spent in training to take over from his father, so the only times when the Evans’ had had time to get to know him was when they visited for long periods when their kids were younger. That all ended five years ago when Belle and Matt had gotten busy with their own lives and spent summers doing their own thing. From then on, visits between the Royal Houses of Tresar and Antar had been short and mostly included only the parents. Max felt a little sad about this, he had always wanted Matt and Luca to get closer. They were in the same position and it would be of great help if they could be friends by the time they had to rule their planets. A strong alliance on the Galaxy Council was needed to keep the strange actions of some of the other Kings in check.

Sighing, Luca sat down, very annoyed at being treated like he was some gatecrasher at the meeting. Aran was sitting smugly next to Shing and Luca felt a powerful urge to go punch his cocky grin off his face. They had attended a few courses together at a military academy on Tresar and had never gotten along. The guy was a jerk, pure and simple. This, like most other thoughts he had today, led him to thinking about Belle. Ever since his run-in with the beautiful Miss Evans this morning, he has been unsettled and he cursed silently for the millionth time. He shouldn’t let her get to him like this. She was headstrong and obviously spoilt rotten by her doting father, and he did not need complications in his life right now.

He glanced at Aran again. The thought of that bastard near Belle made him feel sick. Shaking his head slightly, he tried to rid himself of an image of the two of them. She had a very capable brother and a very protective father, he should not become obsessed with her safety himself.

Not with a threat hanging over the future of his family.


Sas had spoken with Liz for a long time during the morning. She needed to know stuff about sex and she wanted to ask Liz. It was one of the most uncomfortable conversations of her life, but she stuck it out. Of course she had known the basics, but she had other questions, like how much would it hurt the first time? Could it hurt again in future? Was it better to take it slow or not for their first time?

Liz had explained everything patiently, quietly wondering why Sas did not talk to her own mother about this. The discussion told her a lot about how far her son and his girlfriend had already gone and she was surprised that they had abstained from the final act for so long. They talked about feelings and Liz told her that it was even more important to SAY ‘I love you’ than to hear it. Women always complained about their men not saying it enough, but sometimes they forgot that men needed to hear it just as much. And to be shown they are loved. “And talk to each other about sex,” Liz told her. “Ask him how he feels about things, what he likes… And tell him what you enjoy. Or connect with each other to share these things. Communication only makes it better,” she ended with a smile. “At least in the beginning, later on you will know each other so well that you can read him like a book.”

This made Sas grin. Obviously Max and Liz have the reading-like-a-book thing down pat.

“And making love is a two-way thing,” Liz continued. “Sometimes, you should make it all about him. Too many women have the idea that they should be made love to by the guy. You should make love to each other.” Coming over to sit next to Sas on the bed, Liz hugged her tightly. “Oh sweetie, there is nothing in this universe like sharing something so intimate with the person you love. Sometimes it’s just so perfect that you will feel like you are flying. It’s the most amazing thing two people can share.” She leaned away. “And you are doubly lucky because being Antarian means you can share it on a much deeper level. When you can feel everything he feels, when you share that wonderful connection … remember that only a handful of other people on earth know what that feels like. It is a rare gift.”

After Liz had gone, Sas had taken a nap, trying to gain courage for the talk with her mother.

And it started out as horribly as she had expected. Shilla had burst into tears when she heard that Sas had gone to a healer without telling her and Sas had felt terrible. “I was afraid you would try to stop me, Mom,” she finally admitted.

Shilla was staring at her hands, neatly folded in her lap.

“Mom, he wants to marry me one day,” she tried again.

This led to a long sigh. “It has never been about whether or not Matt is serious about you, honey, we know he is. I just wanted to spare you from what happened yesterday. You will never be accepted on this planet, not while we have a Royal Family that perpetuates the class system for their own gain.”

“But Mom, how much time am I going to spend here anyway? Maybe a few weeks every year? I can handle that,” she replied. “I WILL handle that if it is the price I have to pay to be with Matt.”

Another silent moment passed between them. “I don’t understand you,” Shilla said finally. “You grew up so differently from me. I cannot comprehend going against Dendarian customs—”

“But you HAVE, Mom! Don’t you see that? You married an Antarian and you left this planet for one that you knew nothing about.”

“I did it for your father.”

“And I’m doing this because I love Matt.”

They looked at each other in quiet understanding.

“We thought you two have already…” Shilla waved her hand vaguely.

A deep blush suffused Sas’ features. “No, but we will. Soon.”

Shilla merely nodded. In both the Antarian and Dendarian societies, bondings were conducted during the teen years. “Are you two going through a bonding ceremony then?”

Sas went pale at this. “N-no. Matt hasn’t said anything…”

Shilla said nothing in reply, but her dissatisfaction was clear. While she was being more tolerant than any human parent would probably have been, she was still a mother that didn’t want to see her daughter being treated with anything less than the utmost respect.

On the other hand, Sas was quite happy with things as they were. After all, Matt had practically told her he wanted to marry her and have kids with her. That promise for the future was enough for her right now.


Dinner that night was a strained affair, leaving Max and Liz perplexed. Undercurrents were flowing between most of the people around the table, but very little of it made sense to them.

James, Shilla, Nick and Grace were out to dinner. They all remembered being on Dendar before and wanted to sample some of the sights of the city. This left Max and Liz with their two kids and Luca and Saskia around the table.

Matt and Saskia kept glancing at each other when they thought the other one wasn’t looking. Liz had had to explain in detail how Sas was doing after Matt had returned with Max from the meeting and he still seemed worried that she was not okay and hiding it from him. The looks from Sas were easier to read. They were filled with adoration and love, all melded with a silent joy that he was with her again.

Tired lines creased Luca’s eyes, the day having taken a definite toll on him. He had admitted to Liz earlier that he worried about his parents at home under such uncertain circumstances. He also stared broodingly at his plate most of the time and only chatted with Matt every few minutes.

Belle was even quieter than Luca – unusually so. Liz wondered again what was wrong with her daughter. Most of Belle’s time at the table had been spent pushing her food around on her plate. By now, this had gained Max’s attention and he watched his little girl with growing concern. Leaning over, Liz scraped her nails over Max’s thigh, smiling at him warningly not to make a big scene about Belle at the table.

He frowned at her darkly, but clenched his jaw to stop himself from talking to Belle. Horrible scenarios had been flying through his mind – did Aran come back? No, Belle would have told him. His eyes moved back to her, just in time to see her peek in Luca’s direction and look away again. A weird feeling washed over him fleetingly. No, it can’t be. It’s too soon! He cleared his suddenly tight throat and found that all eyes around the table had swung to him.

“Luca, do you mind if we just talk about the rest of our trip quickly? You don’t have to leave, I just need to hear some opinions.”

“Sure, Mr. Evans.” Belle was glaring at him when he turned away from her father. What was up with this girl? He wasn’t sure if he wanted to kiss her or spank her.

“Okay, you all know that things are a bit… strained on Tresar now and I was thinking that maybe we shouldn’t go there. I don’t want to put any of you in danger.” Max looked at each of them separately.

“I agree, Dad,” Matt responded immediately, taking Sas’ hand. He didn’t want her near where trouble could be brewing.

“Why don’t we just go there for a week?” Liz asked as Max found her hand with his under the table. “We just won’t spend the whole summer there like we planned, but I’m dying to see Eric and Sarah again.”

Max looked dubious. “Belle?”

She kept her gaze carefully on her plate. “I-I guess we could go for a week or so…” Now, WHERE did that come from? She had fully intended grasping this opportunity of getting away from the irking presence of the Crown Prince of Tresar with both hands. Looking up, she found Luca’s eyes on her, his face set in an unreadable expression.

“Is it safe enough for us to go visit your parents, Luca?” Max needed to know for sure, otherwise he would just overrule any possibility of going there out of hand.

“I think things are relatively okay at the moment, Sir. My parents have a lot of people working on trying to find this underground movement and so far there haven’t been any incidents.” He glanced at Belle for a moment. “But I would suggest that you only go there for a short visit and keep a shuttle on stand-by to leave quickly if necessary.”

Max turned his attention back to his family. “I think we should all take some time to think about this. We can talk at breakfast. I need to know then whether you want to go home tomorrow or go to Tresar for a few days.”

Everyone prepared to leave the table, busy with their own thoughts. Liz dragged Max out of the room by his hand, while Belle and Luca followed them, still avoiding eye contact and unaware that they were both worried about the same thing – would they see each other again after tomorrow?

Matt and Sas followed them at a more leisurely pace, nervous about being alone in their room tonight. Who could concentrate on whether they should go to some other planet tomorrow when tonight loomed ahead of them like Mount Everest. Could this finally be the night they have been dreaming about for so long?


Only intermittent rumblings from the sky above the Dendar Palace broke the silence in the room. Sas stared out the window from where she lay spooned against Matt’s chest, fighting her disappointment. They had taken a shower together earlier, with Matt making sure that her stomach wasn’t so warm anymore, but he had quietly slipped on his boxers afterwards and gotten into bed. So she had kept on her tank top and panties and climbed in next to him.

He was worried about her, he had explained, so they could wait a little longer. She should try to get some sleep tonight. His kisses had belied his calm words, though. They were laced with need and want and silent desperation. But her attempts to get him to give in had led nowhere.

She knew he wasn’t sleeping yet either, his body was tense against hers. Outside the storm got progressively worse, but inside the room was absolute stillness. As if they both knew that one wrong move would lead to an explosion.

When she woke up hours later, it was dark outside and the storm had grown into a constant roar.

“Hey,” Matt whispered in her ear. “Storm wake you up?”

“No,” was all she said. It wasn’t the storm, it was the ache in her body getting worse. Dreaming about his hands on her had only compounded the problem. Sighing, she pressed back against him and found him aroused.

They stilled.

“Sas…” He sounded strangled.

“I don’t want to wait anymore, Matt.”

He sighed. “Me either.” His hand slipped beneath the edge of her tank top, his fingers moving against the soft skin of her belly. “I want to make love to you NOW... here, in the middle of the night.” He flattened his hand over her womb, where the healer had worked that morning. “But only if you’re ready.”


“I planned to seduce you one night with candles and everything,” he admitted ruefully as he continued his lazy caresses on her stomach.

“I don’t need that. I need you.” She shivered against his fingers, feeling his capitulation even though he said nothing. “I have a million butterflies inside there.”

“You do?”

“Yes. Even though we’ve… done… other things, this is different, Matt.”

“Yes, it is.” And he was humbled as he thought about what a gift she was giving him. Getting up, he turned on a soft light and took off his boxers, very aware of her watching every move he made.

He’s undressing because he is going to make love to me. The thought washed over her like a caress, moistening her with need. The sight of his aroused body brought a quiet moan from her lips. Her desire had a shape now, as instinct made her aware of a hollowness that ached for what could provide. More than release, she wanted to be filled.

Pushing herself upright, she slowly pulled her tank top over her head and saw his gaze darken as he sucked in a breath.

He came to the edge of the bed. “God, you are so incredibly beautiful.” His voice was husky as he put a knee on the sheet and helped her pull off her last piece of clothing before placing his hand carefully over her breast.

They both moaned with the contact.

He had been dreaming about this moment for what seems like most of his life. And tonight, in that place between slumber and wakefulness, he had dreamed again. To taste and caress her breasts was heaven. As the tempo of her breathing quickened, he lightened his touch, not wanting to bring her to the brink too fast. They had hours to enjoy each other. And besides, he knew where he wanted to be when she climaxed this time.

“You are so beautiful,” he murmured again.

“You too.” She ran her hands over his chest, brushing across the hills and valleys created by his muscles. She reached lower.

“Not yet.” He drew back, knowing he couldn’t tolerate her hands on him until he was more in control. He teased her flesh with his fingers and tongue, causing her to flush even pinker. Moving back up, he found her lips with his and toyed with her tongue in a blatantly suggestive way. He was so hungry for her.

With one last flick of his tongue in her mouth, he pulled away. “Do you know what I want now?” he whispered against the skin between her breasts.

“I… I think I do, but…”

“I want you to be ready for me.” That was all he said until her soft ‘okay’ ended his tense anticipation and he moved lower. He touched her gently with one finger and she gasped. He kept his caresses subtle as he planted lingering kisses along her inner thighs. Desire was surging through him hotly.

At last he kissed her dark curls and she moaned. She started writhing when his tongue touched her too. The taste of her made him groan with delight. As her cries of pleasure filled the room, he immersed himself in sensory overload, relishing the sight, sound and scent of her, and most of all, the passionate girl coming apart in his arms.

Her release came quickly, too quickly for him. She lifted her hips and he took all she offered, but as she sank back, quivering and gasping, he settled in for a more leisurely exploration.

And he used all he had learned about her in the past few weeks – the touch that made her whimper, the stroke that pushed her closer, the teasing flick that drove her wild. As he coaxed her towards the precipice a second time, a fierce possessiveness took over. Rational thought played no part as he claimed her, drawing from her the most intimate of sounds as she gave herself up to wave upon wave of shattering convulsions.

He brought her gently back to earth with feathery touches and light kisses over her thighs and curls. At last he drew up slowly beside her and brushed the hair back from her flushed face.

She gazed up at him, her green eyes filled with dazed wonder and adoration. Her lips parted, but no sound came out.

He smiled. He was gratified that he’d created that expression in her eyes. He trailed a finger down the curve of her throat and over her breastbone to her bellybutton.

Her gaze grew smoky and she ran her tongue over her lips.

“How do you feel?” he asked tenderly, his love for this girl threatened to overwhelm him.

Her voice was low and throaty. “Utterly loved. How do you feel?”

“Like the luckiest man alive.” He brushed his finger against her lower lip and his eyes turned serious. “Are you… ready for…?”

Her smile was pure seduction. “Yes.”

Just one word and he felt like exploding already.

He moved his body over hers and they gasped at the new sensation of being naked in this position together for the first time. Sas was gazing up at him, her breath shallow and her lips parted in anticipation. He was so overcome with the picture she made, lying there beneath him he could hardly speak. He lifted his gaze to hers and swallowed. “You’re perfect,” he said in a tight voice. “I love you more than I thought possible.”

“And I love you.”

He stroked her breast, loving the softness beneath his palm as he cradled the supple weight. “I’ll be careful.”

“I know you will.” She closed her eyes and arched into his caress. “Oh, Matt, I am addicted to having you touch me like that.”

He paused momentarily, floored by her sexy words. Then he leaned down and covered her breast with his mouth.

She sighed and lifted upward, encouraging him to take more.

“Are you still… sure this is… what you want?” he asked against her skin as he slid a hand down to the moistness between her thighs.

“Y-yes!” She drew in a quick breath as he touched her intimately. “Oh, yes!”

Caressing her now took on a different meaning, because now, at last, he would know the wonder of being inside her. His blood sang in his veins as he stroked her, preparing her for that sweet invasion. And he would be the first. Lord help him, he was filled with joy at that thought.

Sas sensed the change in Matt’s touch, as if the promise of completion gave new urgency to every caress. If anyone but Matt had been caressing her, arousing her, she would have leapt from the bed, unsure if she truly wanted this change after all.

But Matt was there, loving her, making her ache, making her long for the firm thrust of him, deep inside her. She no longer cared about the pain that would be part of it. If only he’d finally claim her, complete her in ways she’d only dreamed of until this moment.

He lifted his head, watching her as he slipped a finger deep inside.

It was the penetration she longed for, but not nearly enough. A sudden shyness overtook her, causing her to close her eyes before she asked for what she wanted. “More,” she whispered.

He eased two fingers in, placing soft kisses on her mouth. “Are you still okay?”

“Yes.” Her breath caught as he moved his fingers gently back and forth. “Matt, please!”

His kiss was soft and lingering, but still she felt the barely leashed power of him as he moved between her thighs and propped his arms on either side of her head. Quivering with excitement, she wrapped both arms around his back and felt his muscles flex. She couldn’t tell for sure because of her own trembling, but she thought he was shaking too. His breathing was affected as he started pressing inside her.

“Keep your eyes open,” he instructed softly, tightly. “I want to see how you’re doing.” He eased slowly forward and his eyes darkened.

She noticed the flicker of uncontrolled desire in his eyes before she became totally absorbed in sensation when he entered her. She registered warmth and size. He withdrew and eased in again, and she moaned in pleasure at the friction that was unlike anything he’d provided before.


“That was… a… happy moan,” she murmured, looking into his eyes. There was that flicker of primitive need again. She found it thrilling that he was having to fight to stay so in control.

His breathing was labored, but he kept his movements slow.

Everything else, she began to realize, no matter how delicious, was only a lead-in to this, the ultimate connection. Nothing in her world had ever felt so right as opening her body to this man and being filled by him.

He slid forward, and met resistance. He stopped immediately and looked into her eyes. “Ready?”

Her heart thudded wildly as she nodded her head. One movement and her life would be forever changed. One movement and she could welcome the whole length of him and know the wonder of joining intimately with another person. And not just any person. Matt. The guy she had loved her whole life.

She slipped her hands down to his buttocks and gripped firmly. “Please, Matt. Now.”

As he pushed gently forward, she rose to meet him, determined to share in the moment. The sharp pain brought a cry to her lips.

“Damn.” He stopped, his gaze troubled.

“It’s… okay.” She trembled against him. “It’s going… away. Please… please love me.”

With a groan, he pushed deep, locking their bodies together, his hips cradled between hers. And the fierceness she’d expected to see earlier flared in the depths of his eyes as he gazed down on her.

As she met that gaze, she felt an answering intensity rise within her. She did not just love this man, she WANTED him with her whole being. And he needed her just as much.

Her world shifted, for she knew that the connection they were making would last forever.

Perfect, Matt thought. He’d never been anywhere in the world that felt so absolutely right as being here, as close as he’d ever been to Sas. It seemed as if their entire lives had been leading to this moment. Linked in spirit since they were children, they had finally created the ultimate link, and a sense of destiny washed over him.

Mindful of her tender condition, he moved carefully, but still he moved, needing the friction it created desperately. “Okay, sweetness?” he questioned softly.

“Very… okay.” Her eyes shone.

He eased back and edged forward again. Yes. And again. Oh, Sas, his mind sighed into hers.

“Matt… Matt…”

The wonder in her eyes and the richness she poured into his name told him all he needed to know. She was with him. He cupped a hand beneath her bottom, steadying her as he found a new, more urgent rhythm. She caught on quickly, rising to meet his thrusts. Her movements drove him wild.

Very wild.

He changed the angle, brushing the tips of her breasts with his body, pressing against that place between her thighs that would bring her with him.

Her breathing grew shallow and experience from their nights together told him he had found the spot. This first time, he wanted to give her the gift of knowing how good it could be, how much higher she could climb when he was deep within her, coaxing a response that would vibrate down to her toes.

Her eyes widened and her breathing quickened. He played to that response, urging her on. So good. He’d never dreamed making love could be like this. Her body rose to meet his thrusts, tightening around him. The moment built in the depths of her eyes and echoed in his body.

“Oh Matt!” She arched against him. “I’m—”

“Yes.” His voice was hoarse with need. Mine now. With one final thrust he brought heaven raining down on them.


posted on 7-Sep-2001 7:29:05 AM

The bed was cold when Liz woke up. Rolling over, she found Max bathed in the pale light of the rising suns, sitting in a chair next to the bed. He was only wearing boxers, his long legs stretched out in front of him. It was clear that he had been watching her sleep for a long time. A faint smile lifted one corner of his mouth when their gazes met, but his eyes were troubled.

His feelings washed over her, a mixture of concern, melancholy and love. Snuggling into her pillow, she smiled at him gently. “What’s wrong, sweetheart?”

After a long silence in which his eyes stayed on her, filled with emotion, he sighed. “Our kids are growing up, Liz.”

“Yes, they are,” she replied, understanding immediately what he was thinking about. She knew so well how he felt. It made her incredibly sad to know that she would not have Matt or Belle with her for much longer.

“I love them so much,” he murmured, raking a hand through his hair.

“They know that.”

“Besides you they were all I’ve always wanted.” His amber eyes pleaded with her to understand. To help him feel better.

“And you were the best father they could have asked for.” She sat up, clutching the sheet to her breasts, not wanting to disturb the moment with her nudity. “You ARE the best father. They will always be ours… wherever they are. And they’re not leaving yet, sweet.”

“I know.” He tore his eyes away from her and glanced out of the window where the signs of the violent storm were still noticeable. “It just kind of…”

“Hit you suddenly?”

His gaze came back to her. Like it always does. “Yeah.” He gave her another half-smile for understanding him so well.

“Could you come over here so I can make you feel better?” Her voice was seductively husky as she dropped the sheet.

Dropping his eyes to her breasts, he feigned a pathetically sad look. “I’m not sure I will cheer up easily.” But the amber in his gaze had darkened with heat. “I don’t want you to be disappointed later if it doesn’t work.”

Liz lay back down on the bed, lifting her arms above her head as she arched her back invitingly. “I’ll just have to keep trying until I succeed then, won’t I?”

He was already moving towards her, his eyes drinking in the inviting sight she made sprawled over the pillows in naked abandon, her slumberous eyes causing his blood to boil.

“I’m going to need you to take those off first.” She stared pointedly at his boxers, halting his advance.

Max fought to keep his delighted grin off his face. He was a lucky, lucky man that his wife still did her best to excite and surprise him after all these years. The boxers were yanked off hastily and he caught Liz looking at him when he straightened. The expression on her face raised his blood pressure further.

“Oh Max, you are so gorgeous!” She sounded awed.

This time he couldn’t contain his smile as he knelt over her, his knees resting on the bed on each side of her sheet-covered hips. “You’ve seen me like this millions of times,” he reminded her indulgently, leaning over and lacing his fingers through hers above her head.

“I… know.” There was that wonderful hitch in her voice he loved so much. “But…” Another shallow breath as she watched his mouth move closer.

“But what?” he teased her.

“Uhm…” Her eyelids were flickering closed.

“Open your eyes,” he urged her, suddenly desperately wanting to be able to look into those eyes when he kissed her. He wanted to see his future there.

Liz was drowning in need. How had he taken the initiative from her so effortlessly? She had been all ready to seduce him into mind-blowing sex to take his mind of his children, but here he was kneeling over her, his lips a breath away from touching hers, and all she could do was beg him to kiss her. A small sound escaped her mouth, and he licked his lips in reaction.

Then he licked hers.

Slowly, from one corner to the other, ignoring her efforts to deepen the contact. Only his hands and his tongue touched her.

“Maaaax.” It was a low, deep, shuddering moan and he finally let her take back control.

He was on his back in seconds and this time Liz was crouching over him. She slid her warm fingers over the hard, heated skin of his abdomen before kissing him softly just below his navel. Max sucked in his stomach on a startled breath.

She circled his hardness with her hands and nuzzled his arousal against her cheek.

“Liz,” he groaned. “Honey, you’re killing me.”

Her mouth trailed over him. “I love how you smell, Max.”

In a strangled tone, he asked, “How do I smell?”

“Warm and musky. Sexy. Very male.” Leaning forward, she drew him deep into her mouth.

Max groaned and for one instant, his hand tangled almost painfully in her hair. She smiled fleetingly and slid her mouth slowly down the length of him until she couldn’t take any more. Max’s only reaction was a broken moan.

After all this time, she knew exactly what it took to drive him insane. And it was only a few minutes before his entire body started to tremble in taut expectation, causing him to pull away from her and sit up abruptly.


“Not like that,” he groaned. “Not this time.” He knelt down in front of her, his hands hard as they grabbed her around the waist and lifted her onto his lap. He drove into her with one smooth, powerful thrust, and came almost simultaneously. Liz was so excited herself, knowing she had driven him to such a degree of desire, she only had to continue to move on him a short time before she too found release, then slumped against his chest.

We’ll always have each other, my husband. Always. The whisper drifted through his sated mind gently, reminding him that he still held what he had always wanted most in life, right here in his arms.


Unaware of her father’s distress about her, Belle had been fighting her own demons throughout the night. Even though she didn’t want to be, she was very aware that Luca was sleeping in a room somewhere down the hallway from hers. What had possessed her to say she wanted to go to his planet?

She rolled onto her other side for yet another time and punched her pillow in irritation. He had been high and mighty when they were younger and he was just as bad now. She didn’t like the way he made her feel. Out of control. Yearning. Angry. Confused.

Her life was planned out nicely. She would go to college, get a teaching degree and only help Matt when he needed her with his “otherworldly duties”. She would fall in love with a nice normal guy who had a nine-to-five job and who did not have to chase all over the universe like her father had. One who was safe. And boring. She squashed that thought ruthlessly. Her whole life she had watched the light go out of her mother every time her dad was away, and there was no way she was going to fall that hard for someone. Especially not a guy who lived on the other side of the universe from her parents and brother. On a world where she would be an alien.

But his intense blue eyes still haunted her.


Sas had woken to a soft humming in her body, and found herself on her side facing a sleeping Matt. The events of a few hours earlier had rushed back, causing her to shiver slightly. Her life had changed so much with one intimate act.

Matt held her hand in his, pressed against his chest and for a moment, she had felt faint under the weight of her love for him. He had been so incredibly gentle and loving with her. He slept soundly, allowing her to observe him undisturbed. His ridiculously long eyelashes fanned his cheeks and his mouth was parted slightly, his breathing even. His heart beat steadily against the back of her hand and the slight vibration reminded her of the humming she could still feel. Frowning, she wondered what it was.

Rolling over so she could see out the window, she became aware of the slight tenderness between her thighs. Matt better not find out about THAT, she mused silently.

“Find out about what?” his voice was still furry with sleep, but it startled her nonetheless.

“I didn’t say anything,” she told him, frowning again.

“I heard you…” He faltered. “You didn’t?”

She shook her head and they stared at each other silently, wondering what was going on.

“I love you,” he said suddenly, surprising her. He let go of her hand he had still been clutching and brought his fingers to her cheek. Sas noted absently that the hum died down until he touched her again. “Last night was…”

“Amazing,” she finished. “Wonderful.” Her big green eyes shone with emotion. “I’m so happy it was you.”

“Me too.” He was still stroking her face. “If we… WHEN we bond, would you… where would you want that to happen?” He seemed endearingly nervous while he voiced the question.

“I don’t mind.” And she didn’t. The thought of being bonded to him was way too wonderful on its own to care about where it happens.

“No, tell me where,” he insisted.

Sighing, she could see this meant a lot to him for some reason. “I guess… here on Dendar then.”

“Why?” Watching her intently as he cupped her cheek.

The images and feelings flooded her without warning. All of them from Matt. He was planning their bonding ceremony. And he wanted to have it as soon as possible! Tears pooled in her eyes. “Matt…”

Realization dawned on him and he jerked his hand away from her with a curse. “You shouldn’t have seen…” He was genuinely upset.

The hum was gone again.

“I’m sorry,” she said, not sorry at all. He threw her an exasperated glance and they burst out laughing. Reaching out, he brought her close against his chest again and they quieted down to experience the connection that now sprang up between them as soon as they touched.

“Wow.” Matt’s awed voice echoed her own feelings. Until now, he had had to deliberately open a connection between them. He held her like that for a long time. “Well, that ruins my surprise.”

“I love you for trying,” she smiled against his throat. “I love you.”

“I know,” he answered, wonder in his voice, for he could feel everything she was feeling.

“Is this like your connection with your parents and Belle?”

“Not really. We have to actively focus on connecting with each other.” Ever since his parents had learned that their kids could connect with them, they had trained Matt and Belle in how to shut off that connection and only use it when needed. After finding out just how much of his parents’ time went into intimate things when he was a teenager, he was eternally grateful to them for doing it.

“So, this is going to… just happen now?”

“Looks like it.” He pulled away from her, looking at her anxiously. “Does it bother you?”

“No!” She giggled. “There isn’t much about me you don’t know already.”

Giving her an evil look, he rolled her beneath him. “How about some fantasies?”

This made her eyes widen in shock. “No, Matt! You wouldn’t!”

“You don’t want me making your fantasies reality?” He slowly slid his body over hers, causing her to gasp.

“Would you want me seeing those times you… you were alone and… thinking about me?”

This snapped his head up. “Uhm, no.” A flush stained his cheeks. “Not yet, anyway.”

“Matt!” Goodness, there was just no way to win an argument with this guy.

His face turned serious. “Are you okay, love? After last night, I mean.”

“Yes.” Mostly.

“I heard that,” he told her in a threatening voice and she rolled her eyes. This connection thing is going to take some getting used to!


This was one of the most important moments of his life. Matt was seated across from James and Shilla in his parents’ small private lounge and he felt like nervously chewing his nails.

Even though he had feared breakfast, imagining that everyone would give him and Sas one look and know that things have forever changed between them, nothing had really happened. The discussion had centered on the possible trip to Tresar and had diverted the attention from his love life.

In the end it was decided that they would go to the other planet for three days and would be leaving late that night. No one really objected after Max stated that neither he nor Liz had had any bad premonitions about the trip and felt that it was probably safe to go for a short while. Of course, Max had threatened them all with severe consequences if they took off without guards while on Tresar and had given Liz a pertinent stern stare while he was saying this. Matt’s parents really amused him sometimes.

What hadn’t been amusing was the task hanging over his head of talking to Sas’ parents about the future. And the fact that Belle and Luca seemed extremely skittish around each other. In spite of being absorbed in his own problems, Matt had intercepted enough looks between the two of them to make him wonder.

But right now he had to ask a very large man if he could bond with his daughter.

Shilla was clinging to James’ hand. He was her rock in all times of uncertainty and this was one of those. She was about to lose her little girl.

“Uhm, James and Shilla, I…” Matt swallowed. “I know this seems soon, but I love Sas with all my heart and I want to make a commitment to her.” No reaction was forthcoming from the two adults listening to him. “I’m asking your permission to bond with her.”

This time James and Shilla shared a look.

“Please.” He was not above begging.

“You are right, Matt, you two ARE very young in earth terms. You realize that this bonding will not mean anything back home?” James spoke quietly.

“I realize that it won’t mean anything in a court of law, but it will mean everything to me… to us. We are making a forever commitment here.” He thrust his hand through his hair in a gesture reminiscent of his father. “I need to show Sas that I am married to her in my heart already. This will just make it official.”

“And when you go away to college next year?” Shilla asked.

“I’m not going far. Just to Phoenix. I’ll be home every weekend and as much as I can in between.”

“Matt, I appreciate you asking us, and I also appreciate you wanting to make this commitment to my daughter. But you must also understand what you are asking of Sas. You are going to be the King of an entire nation one day, and this will mean Sas would be the person your enemies could use to get to you.”

“I realize that, Sir,” Matt kept his voice reasonable. “But which enemies are you talking about? My parents had a bad start, I know that, but they have managed to put an end to all that and there hasn’t been any problems since Belle was born.” He took a deep breath and plunged ahead. “The point I’m trying to make is that while danger is an option, it isn’t a natural result from being with me. And I would protect her with my life.”

Shilla was wiping tears from her eyes.

“Why are you asking us now?”

“Sas wants to be bonded here on Dendar. Where her mother came from and where you two met.”

A long silence hung in the room and Matt’s mouth ran dry with fear that they would turn him down.


Only one word from James and relief crashed through Matt like a huge tidal wave. He suddenly remembered to breathe again. “Thank you. I promise I’ll be everything she needs.”

“You’d better.”


Luca flung the last of his clothes into the container and rolled his tense shoulders. He had just spoken to his parents on the communicator and felt reassured that nothing untoward had been going on at home. Eric and Sarah were overjoyed that the Evans family was on its way—even if they could only see them for a few days.

“I’m COMING, Matthew,” he heard Belle yell outside his door and sighed deeply. Little Miss Evans had been acting weirdly around him ever since he arrived yesterday and he didn’t like the fact that she was now doing her best to ignore him. For one thing, he wasn’t used to being ignored, and for another, well, he liked Miss Princess better when she got mad than when she was withdrawn. Her eyes sparkled and her cheeks flushed and her small hands waved in the air…

What the hell was wrong with him?

No girl has ever riled him like this one. Not his life-long friend Veshna, who everyone is assuming he will bond with eventually. Not any of the numbers of girls that hung around at functions for the royal family. None but Belle-Mari Evans. He grit his teeth. And now she was going to invade his home. Damn, he just knew she would get into trouble and he would have to bail her out. Just like when they were kids. Well, sort of like when they were kids. Then he hadn’t had this overpowering urge to kiss her into submission…


His next target was his own parents. Matt did not expect much resistance from them, but he felt he needed to tell them about his plans too. After all, he wanted them present at the function. And most of all, he wanted them to support him in this. Never mind how old he gets, he would always want his father’s approval for his life decisions.

His mom squealed in delight when he told them his plans. He got hugged breathless by her and then she shed a few tears on his dad’s shoulder. Max had to hold his emotional wife with one arm while talking to Matt. “I’m proud of you for being so mature about this relationship, Matt.”

Matt fairly glowed. Praise from his father was high indeed. “Thanks, Dad. I love her and I want her to feel secure about my commitment.”

“Have you talked about the future with each other?”

“Oh Max…” Liz sniffled from the side, pressing closer to him. That earned her a sweet kiss on her forehead.

“Well, uhm, I’m still going to college, if that’s what you mean.”

“Okay.” Max was being the great listener again while he rubbed a soothing hand rhythmically over Liz’s hair.

“And then when Sas comes to college, we could find a place to stay or something. I’ll stay in the dorm for the first year, I think.”

Max and Liz shared a look and a thought. This is going to be so hard for Belle. Leaning forward, Max brushed his lips over Liz’s, trying to calm them both. Liz responded by putting her arms around his neck and squeezing tightly. Her little boy was getting ‘married’ today!

“Uh, guys?” Matt attempted to get their attention back. Boy, did he remember this from when he was a kid. His parents would start staring into each other’s eyes and forget all about the rest of the world.

Ending the hug, Max turned to his son. “When are we doing this then?”

“This afternoon, if Nick agrees.” Matt was starting to get really exited. Sas would be his in a few hours. He could stop fretting about their sleeping arrangements. Sas would be his…

“Oh honey!” Liz gave him a teary smile from beneath Max’s chin. “This is so amazing.”

“Yeah.” Suddenly feeling a little emotional himself, Matt changed the subject. “Do you think you could find Sas one of the Royal robes to wear after the bonding ceremony?”

Nodding, Liz clutched at Max harder. “Sure. It would be an honor.”

“Thanks, Mom,” Matt muttered, meeting his father’s gaze worriedly. What was going on with his mom? Max gave him a small I’ll-take-care-of-it smile and waved him off.

Liz launched herself onto Max’s lap as soon as Matt was out of the room, curling her fists into his shirt. This was the only place she really felt safe, and the only place where she might find solace for the fact that her son was taking his first step towards leaving home for good.

As he experienced all that she felt, Max couldn’t help being a little amused. This morning, Liz had been the calm one while he freaked out about their kids growing up. But now, with the evidence of it staring them full in the face, Liz was breaking down. “I love you,” he murmured into her hair while tightening his hold on her. “I’ll always be here. Always.”

Lifting a wet face up to him, Liz smiled. “I know. I’m sorry for bawling all over you.” She bit her lip in that endearing way of hers.

“Love, you can do a LOT of things all over me, I don’t mind,” he teased her lightly.

This resulted in a small hiccupping laugh from her. “I just wasn’t… expecting this so soon.”

“Me either.” He traced her mouth with his finger. “But he isn’t getting married and starting a family yet. I guess that’s—”

“Kiss me, Max,” she interrupted him.

He blinked at her for a second. “Anytime.” He touched his mouth to hers tenderly. “Always,” he whispered against her lips.

She kissed him desperately, her hands coming up to grip his cheeks and pull him into her harder. More, her mind urged him. Sliding a hand under her hair, he spread his fingers to cup the back of her head, holding her still for his kiss. A small moan from Liz and a wider parting of her lips were his reward. He groaned and thrust his tongue deep, telling her with each movement that he loved her. Only her.

“Me too, Max…”

A discreet cough from the door broke them apart. As Max struggled to get his breathing back under control, he saw a flash of amusement in Nick’s eyes. “Yes?”

Nick ignored the abrupt tone his King was uncharacteristically using. “The King and Prince of Dendar are here to see you.”

Muttering a curse, Max looked at Liz. “Are you okay?”


He kissed the tear-tracks from her cheeks. “I won’t be gone long. Why don’t you go upstairs?” I’ll come finish this then.

Her eyes shone up at him. “Okay.”

After another kiss, Max followed Nick into the foyer. He was amazed to see Shing and Aran with an entourage of about 20 people milling around. A silence descended at his appearance.

“King Zan,” Shing greeted him formally.

Frowning, Max returned the greeting. “Can I help you with something?”

“We are here about the bonding ceremony your son is planning with a Dendarian servant girl.” Shing waited for that to sink in. “We have come to voice our official opposition to this move.”


posted on 7-Sep-2001 7:40:20 AM

“Excuse me?” Max was incredulous.

“Since Saskia is the daughter of a Dendarian servant, we have jurisdiction over her and we cannot allow someone of that class into a royal family,” Shing explained with a longsuffering expression.

“How did you know about the planned bonding?” Max demanded. “So help me if you spied on us…”

“No, no, dear King Zan.” Shing waved his hands. “Of course we would do no such thing!”

Narrowing his eyes, Max glared at the smug bastard. “Then how?”

“Your servant girl told her friends in the city just now. They found it necessary to inform us of this planned travesty. Of course we acted with all due haste.”

“Travesty?” Max feared his head was going to explode in anger. “Who my son bonds with is nobody’s business but his own. You know NOTHING about Saskia and she was never one of your subjects, so I fail to see why this development warrants a whole delegation.” He felt Liz slide into his side, obviously arriving to support him. As he put his arm around her, curling her into his body, he sent a glare at Aran for trying to talk to Belle yesterday.

Shaking his head sadly, Shing aimed a sympathetic grin at Liz, causing Max to tense up more. “You are wrong. Your servant still carries the sign of her servitude on her arm and that means she still swears allegiance to my family. As such, her daughter is very much my subject too.”

Vaguely remembering the tattoo that he had seen on Shilla’s wrist a couple of times, Max had a fleeting moment of concern. “Saskia is half-Antarian.”

“That she is, but it still does not remove the fact that she is half-Dendarian and thus under my rule too.”

A soft sob from the door to the lounge snagged Max’s attention. Shilla was clinging to the wall, as white as a sheet. “And if I allow this match?”

“Then your son and his mate would never be welcome here.”

This time Liz gasped. “You mean you would end the relations between our two nations because of this bonding?”

“Yes. This undermines our traditions here.” Shing kept his gaze on Liz as he continued. “And I’m sure your King would do the same if this issue pertained to you.”

Max ground his teeth. Shing was right, if the issue had been about Liz, he wouldn’t hesitate to end relations. But he could not allow this mess to get any worse. “Shilla?” he waved her closer.

It was all Shilla could do not to fall on her knees before Max. Silent tears were coursing down her cheeks and she stared at him pleadingly. Please help me. Help my daughter! Please, PLEASE don’t let her suffer because of who I am…

Liz was close to tears herself. What a horrible development! She had never seen Shilla as distraught as she looked now. Pressing closer to Max, she willed him to fix this.

Spying James in the doorway that Shilla had just vacated, Max was stunned to see the vulnerability on the face of the big bodyguard to whom he had entrusted Liz’s life on so many occasions and was quietly grateful that neither Sas nor Matt were around to witness this. Praying that it would bring a solution, Max gambled on Shilla’s love for her daughter. “Who is your King, Shilla?” he questioned softly.

Tradition warred with earned loyalty and respect inside Shilla until she shook with reaction. Her heart was screaming at her to say that Max was her king, but her mind had many years of programming dictating its decisions. So many eyes were on her, Shing and Aran’s mocking one’s, Liz’s tender one’s, Max’s earnest one’s… But in the end, she turned to the man for whom she ignored tradition 18 years ago. James. James who stood watching with trembling hands and distress in his eyes. James who would never interfere and who would abide by her decision. James who lived and died for the man she was facing.

Her eyes swung back to Max. The King and his mate who allowed her, a servant girl from a planet they knew nothing about, to bond into their inner group. Who had made her family so much a part of their lives that her daughter was going to bond with their son, a Prince in his own right. Because his parents had allowed him to choose with his heart.


Could she make such a big change? She glanced at James again and he gave her a small smile, nearly stopping her breath. She HAD made the change already, she realized. Many years ago when she followed her heart and it led her first into the arms of this Antarian guard, and then to earth. She had just never made it official.

Without saying a word, she squeezed her eyes closed and knelt before Max, her back to Shing. Nothing needed to be said.

The whole thing caused a rush of emotion in Max. This was the first time that someone that hadn’t been born into his nation had chosen to follow him. It was a profoundly humbling moment. “Give me your wrist,” he instructed as Shing and Aran sputtered in shock from behind her.

The arm she lifted to him was trembling violently and Max felt incredibly sorry for Shilla. She was taking a huge leap today. Liz clung to his other hand as he covered the mark on her wrist and slowly waved the tattoo into oblivion. Shilla stared at her empty wrist for a few seconds and a choked sob escaped her.

Stepping forward, Max helped her to her feet and smiled down at her, welcoming her as part of his people. As Liz rushed over to hug Shilla, Max turned to a fuming Shing. “This is an Antarian issue now. Was there anything else?”

Aran’s attempt to say something was squelched by a heated glare from Max. “Then let me say something. We are political allies, not friends. I don’t appreciate the fact that I cannot leave my mate or my children alone for fear of them being propositioned by you two. So, this is the last time I’m saying this. Stay away from Liz, Belle-Mari, Saskia, Shilla and any other woman in this group. They are not here for your pleasure.” Liz returned to his side, slipping under his arm. “I also expect the proper respect for my son and his mate from now on. You expect me to recognize your family members and I expect you to do the same for mine.”

This was such a turn-on, Liz thought irrelevantly as she watched her husband lay down the law. He gave her an exasperated look for distracting him with that thought and she had to stifle a giggle.

A deafening silence had descended after Max had stopped talking. Both Shing and Aran looked flabbergasted, while the members of their entourage all stared at the ground in fear.

“Do I have your word?” Max was sick of this crap.

Everyone waited for Shing to respond and he took his time about it, glancing uncertainly at his more dominant son. After a tight nod from Aran, Shing bowed his head to Max. “You have our word.”

The delegation left silently, leaving a scattered group of Antarians behind. Some were hovering in doorways leading off the foyer, some were hanging over the balustrade on the second floor, but all their eyes were on Max, Liz, James and Shilla standing in the middle of the entrance hall.

As soon as the door closed, a thunderous applause broke loose. Max looked up in surprise, seeing his daughter among the people watching from the second floor. Sas was running towards her mother with Matt in tow and Luca was standing near Nick, looking like he had been ready to step into the action.

“Thanks, Dad.” The two Evans men hugged, causing more tears from Liz and Matt left his emotional mom in the capable hands of his father for a second time that day.


The bonding ceremony took place in the garden of the Palace of Dendar that afternoon. The whole group of Antarians was there, but the inner circle surrounding Matt and Saskia were comprised of Max, Liz, James, Shilla and Belle, all holding hands. They wore the traditional white bonding robes and Nick presided over the ceremony, just as he had with Matt’s parents.

As always, the bonding was done in complete silence, the inner group being linked mentally to the two people being bonded. Liz and Shilla sniffled through the whole thing and Liz was eventually held to Max’s side in a break with tradition. They saw the flashes of their children. From playing in sand pit together in the old Evans house when they were toddlers, to the prom and the trip to Dendar.

As Matt and Sas stood staring into each other’s eyes, Liz was reminded of her own two bonding ceremonies with the man holding her so protectively. The man that had loved her through two lifetimes and had given her this beautiful son. Their first bonding had been for each other…

They faced one another, surrounded by a circle created by the linked hands of their friends. Nick was conducting the ceremony. No words were spoken. He put a hand on Liz and Max each, causing sensations and images to fly through their minds. They were not supposed to touch until the end, but Max couldn’t stop himself from taking Liz’s hands. It caused Nick to falter for a few seconds, thrown by the strong connection flowing between the two young lovers.

They stared in each other’s eyes, seeing images of their past together. Memories of shared kisses, shared pain and shared pleasure. Then they saw the promises for the future. Their hopes and dreams. Among them there were dark-haired children that made Liz gasp and Max grip her fingers more tightly.

Nick ended the ceremony by putting his hands on both their heads. ‘Now you are one.’

He stepped away, but Max and Liz didn’t even notice. Max raised his hand to press it over her heart and waited while Liz mimicked his gesture. “Liz, I love you. Always.”

“And I love you. Forever. My Max.”

And the second one for their families…

The sun was just setting over the horizon as the ceremony started. It was a strange and wonderful experience for the Parker’s and Evans’. Nick presided over the ceremony and he motioned the four friends and four parents closer to Max and Liz. They complied, linking hands to form a circle around the couple. This time Nick didn’t even blink when Max took Liz’s hands against tradition again. As before, he marveled at the strength of their connection. And it was even stronger now that they have been intimate…

The utter silence throughout puzzled the parents at first until they were also privy to the rush of images flowing through the group.

Max and Liz seeing each other across a playground for the first time when they were small children.

Max and Liz working together in the bio-lab, smiling at each other shyly.

Max healing Liz from the gunshot wound. “You’re all right now.”

Standing together at the Crash Festival. “It’s not safe.” “I don’t care.”

Liz falling into Max’s arms through his bedroom window and again standing close together before she left. “If anything weird happens… anything at all, you come back.” “I promise.”

Max and Liz’s many almost kisses.

Having fun together at the old soap factory.

Their first kiss.

Their first date. “This is the best night of your life.”

“Maybe that’s what we both need right now… to take a step back.” “I just wanted… to remember.”

Kissing each other breathless in the back of the Crashdown, images of Max’s planet rushing through Liz.

“Then tell me, Max… what’s my destiny?” “I only know the part I’m hoping for.”

“You’re the one, Liz. The only one.” “I’m in love with Max.”

“Get out of here!” “Not without you…”

Max’s anguish when he thought Pierce had killed Liz.

“You’re what kept me alive, Liz. The thought of you. The way your eyes look into mine. The touch of your skin. Your lips. Whether I die tomorrow or fifty years from now, my destiny’s the same. It’s you, Liz. I love you.” “I love you.”

“But you mean everything to me.” “Good bye, Max.”

Being in the camp the first time and their mutual distress over not being able to be together.

Liz being afraid to wake up one morning because Tess made her think she would cause Max’s death.

Their first bonding ceremony. “My Liz. Forever.” “Always. My Max.”

Max getting kidnapped and Liz finding him via their connection.

Making love for the first time. “Will you marry me, Liz Parker?” “Yes!”

The torture of being apart when they went back home.

Facing the gunman that threatened Liz at the Crashdown.

Going back to the camp and telling their parents everything.

Getting through the ordeal with Tim. “I never want to be so scared in my life, ever again!”

And through it all, the little group around Max and Liz could feel their emotions with every new development. Wonder. Awe. Happiness. Sadness. Fear. Relief. Despair. Joy. Need. But underlying all these emotions was the most overwhelming one of all. Love, so pure and encompassing that it threatened to blot out everything else.

As before, the images of future promises made Max and Liz gasp with wonder. This was the second time they saw the two dark-haired children, laughing and playing. ‘Mommy! Daddy! Come look!’

Max pulled Liz closer to him, not caring that he is breaking the rules somewhat. Nothing about him and Liz had ever followed the rules anyway. With Nick’s ‘now you are one’ ringing in his ears, he promised Liz: “I know that this will never be normal, but I will always love you. More every day.”

Leaning away from him, Liz smiled into his solemn eyes. “What’s so great about other people’s normal? This is OUR normal, Max.” She leant her forehead against his. “And I wouldn’t change it for the world. I love you.”

And here today, her son was experiencing the same wonderful fulfillment. Finding a mate, one that complemented you was a rare thing in this universe. Being allowed to share your life with that person was even more precious. Liz pressed closer to Max and sent up a little prayer of thanks for the life she had had. One in which her dreams had come true so spectacularly. And she wished the same for her son.

Belle was also wiping away the tears. Her big brother now had a mate of his own. The ceremony tugged at her heart, filling her with envy. Lifting her head, she found Luca’s eyes on her from outside the circle. His expression was soft, but she turned away quickly, refusing to acknowledge that she had a violent urge to run over to him so he could hold her.

“Now you are one.” Nick’s soft words echoed in the silence.

And started a whole new chapter in the lives of Saskia Mulder and Matthew Evans.


The mood in the Antarian suite was festive after the bonding ceremony was completed. Sas, now wearing the royal white and green robe given to her by Liz, didn’t budge from Matt’s side for anything as the whole group gathered to eat and drink in celebration of the newly bonded couple. She was tired though. Those few minutes waiting for her mother to make a decision about her allegiance had been some of the longest in Sas’ life. She had so clearly seen the intense struggle going on inside Shilla—it had felt horrible to be the reason for that struggle. The fleeting panic that she should end it all had been firmly halted by a squeeze from Matt’s hand and a quiet ‘don’t even think about it’ in her mind. So she had had to wait with baited breath for her mother to fight this one final demon in her life on her own.

That had been followed by the adrenaline rush of the bonding and now she was fighting drooping eyelids. Not having slept much the previous night did not help either.

“Want to go catch a quick nap before we leave for Tresar?” Matt inquired in her ear.

Flashing him a grateful smile, she nodded eagerly.

“Do you need me to come along? I wanted to talk to my Dad…”

“No, I’m fine. Just make sure the ship doesn’t leave without me.”

He chuckled and kissed her forehead. “Not a chance!”

On her way up to her room she was intercepted by her father. His serious expression made her nervous.

“Could we talk to you for a minute?”

Following him into her parents’ room, she found her mother already seated on the edge of the bed. James indicated a chair to his daughter and joined his mate. “We just wanted to tell you…” He swallowed. “That we want you to be happy.” Another swallow as Shilla swiped at her eyes. “And that you will always be our daughter… That you can always come to us if you need anything.”

All three of them had moist eyes by then.

“Thank you, Daddy.”

“We know Matt loves you very much and… and that he will take care of—”

Sas had jumped up and was hugging both her parents by then. “I have no words to thank you for all the sacrifices you have made for me!” she told them fervently. “I promise to make you proud of me.”

“We already are, honey,” Shilla whispered into her hair.

“And I’m not moving out or anything yet. I’ll still be under your feet all the time.”

They nodded at her, but all of them knew it would not really be like that anymore. She was Matt’s now.

She left her parents holding each other after a few more minutes and finally managed to make it to her room. She was dead to the world as soon as her head hit the pillow.


Slight chaos reigned while all the luggage of the Antarian group was being loaded into the waiting shuttle. A crowd was gathering with the aim of seeing off the foreign royalty, which now included the Crown Prince of Tresar and the new mate of the Prince of Antar. All the Evans’ were wearing the dark green robes of their station, a row of swirling white signs around the edges. Luca was wearing traditional clothes from his planet – a type of uniform – since his planet was basically the military center of the Whirlwind galaxy. The pants of the black uniform fit snugly and over it he wore an overcoat that came to mid-thigh with a dark red and cream emblem around the high collar.

To Belle he looked quite forbidding.

So she continued to avoid him.

King Shing and Prince Aran arrived with the usual pomp and ceremony to bid farewell to their visitors and Belle shivered when Aran’s eyes raked over her. She walked in another direction, but he kept on staring at her, mentally undressing her with his eyes. Just about to go over and smack him, a broad back suddenly obscured her view of the Dendarian Prince. And his of her.


Luca had stepped in between her and Aran.

Belle saw red. “I can look after myself, you know!”

His shoulders stiffened before he turned around to face her. As he did, she could see that Aran had moved his gaze away from them, probably cowed by a fierce glare from Luca. “What is your problem?” he asked her irritably.

“YOU are my problem, LUCAS,” she replied heatedly. “I don’t like your arrogant attitude.”

Anger suffused his face and she took a small step back in reaction. No wonder Aran was cowed so easily, he could look really frightening.

“Well, PRINCESS, you irritate ME with your incessant whining.”

She was still gasping in fury when he strode off, dismissing her.

Belle-Mari Evans was not used to being dismissed.

Shing’s farewell speech was sickeningly sweet as he wished them a good journey onwards and expressed the hope that Dendar would soon be graced again by the presence of the Antarian royalty.

He looked at everyone in the group but Sas when he said this and Matt bristled in anger at the slight to his mate. Only Sas’ hand, curled in his, stopped him from saying something he would have regretted later.

Everyone moved off to the shuttle, but a lagging Belle was snagged by Aran, his hand hard on her upper arm. “Don’t be a stranger now,” he told her silkily. “We didn’t have time to get to know one another well this time.”

Risking a glance over her shoulder, Belle saw that most of her group had already boarded the shuttle. “Let me go, Prince Aran,” she told him firmly. After her small rant at Luca about being able to look after herself, she was determined to prove it.

Instead of following her instruction, he stepped closer. “Don’t you think it would be a good thing if our families were united? You could become my first bonded mate.”

“I have no intention of being one of many mates to any man,” she threw back at him, tugging to get her arm out of his grip.

“I would provide well for you. And you would give me pleasure, I’m sure.”

“The answer is no, and let me go,” Belle repeated, itching to flatten her hand over the man’s chest and fry him a little.

He hauled her up against him. “Don’t cross me, that would be a mistake,” he hissed menacingly.

“The mistake is YOURS, Prince,” Luca’s voice from behind Belle made Aran’s head snap up. “Unless you want a scene in front of your subjects, let her go.”

Belle stumbled right into Luca as Aran practically shoved her away. Luca caught her around the waist with one arm to keep her on her feet, but kept his eyes on Aran. While she was relieved he had arrived yet again to end an uncomfortable situation, she was mad that she had looked like a weak damsel in distress in front of Luca one more time. His body is so hard and warm. The stray thought threw her and she missed Aran stalking off.

Then Luca’s eyes were on her. “Are you okay?” he asked tightly and she became aware of the tension vibrating through him and the heat in his gaze at the same instant. Her breath lodged in her throat.

“Y-yes.” No smart comeback this time.

He let her go, doing it so abruptly that she nearly lost her balance again.

“Get in the shuttle then. You got in trouble because you dawdled around aimlessly as usual.” His voice was hard and he was staring at a spot over her shoulder as he spoke.

For some stupid reason, his words stung and she whirled away, biting back silly tears as she practically ran into the shuttle. There was no way she would let this jerk of a Prince see that he’s upset her.

Luca followed more slowly, cursing himself for being an idiot. He had taken out his anger at himself—for his body’s reaction to her proximity—out on her. And he had made her cry.

For the first time since he’s known her, he had made her cry.

And he didn’t like the ache that settled in his heart as a result.

Matt watched his sister come tearing into the shuttle like the devil was on her heels. But it was only Luca. Luca who avoided his gaze and moved away from the group to stare out of one of the windows of the shuttle.

An enormous wave of protective anger crashed over Matt. He wanted to go over to Luca and find out what had happened to upset Belle. His little sister. And if Luca had done something to her, he would smash his face in.

“Aran was bothering me, Daddy.” His sister’s words stopped him in his tracks. “We chased him off.” Belle was against his Dad’s chest, being soothed by Max’s strong hands. Matt risked a glance in Luca’s direction, finding the other man’s eyes on him. A mirthless little smile tugged at Luca’s mouth, telling Matt he knew that Matt had planned to come deck him. It lasted only a moment, then Luca turned away again, his hands clenched to fists at his sides.

Why did the damn shuttle taking them to the ship have to be so small, Luca thought angrily. Now there was no way he could avoid being near Belle or hearing her sniffles and knowing that HE had started her tears, not that ass Aran. He couldn’t get away from his own impulses either, and right now, they told him to go yank Belle from Max’s arms so he could beg her forgiveness and hold her himself. No freaking way. He folded his arms across his chest and berated himself. I need to stay as far away from that girl as possible.


They arrived on Tresar mid-morning the next day, having traveled on the same ship they come with from earth. Their reception was in stark contrast to the stiff and cold one on Dendar. Instead, Sarah rushed over to hug her son first and her friend Liz next. Eric and Max shook hands (Eric having lived on earth for many years picked up a lot of human habits) and marveled again at how far they’ve come since their first meeting in Roswell when they had had to forget that Eric had been on earth to find and destroy Max because both their loves had been in trouble.

In the end it was laughably easy to find Eric. Max and Michael both saw him at the same time. He was sitting on the edge of the pavement across the street from the Crashdown and, ironically, right in front of the UFO Museum. The others stood back, watching as Max approached Eric. Michael kept a watch out for Eric’s men. Surely they couldn’t be far away…

Max halted a few feet away from Eric. He knew that he should hate him, but just like with Tess, he felt nothing. He remembered nothing. All he saw was a guy with sadness lining his face. Max saw the moment Eric became aware of his presence. His body tensed perceptibly and he slowly stood up.

The others watched, holding their breaths, as the leaders of two alien races faced each other on a street in front of a cheesy alien museum in a small town in New Mexico.

Eric looked at Max warily. “Who are you?” But he knew. Somehow he knew that this was the Max Evans he had heard so much about since he came to Roswell. ‘Was he coming to gloat over taking Sarah from me?’

“Max Evans. Some of your people have Sarah. And my Liz.” Max figured he would get straight to the point, hoping that it would circumvent any misunderstandings between them. He saw Eric’s eyes widen in shock.

Eric took a while to recover from Max’s unexpected news, but he held up his hand, halting the advance of his men immediately. “What are you talking about?”

Michael watched in concern as Max suddenly went pale. “Maxwell…”

“We have to find her, Michael! Now!” Max’s tone brooked no argument. They turned to Eric. “Where would Tim have kept them? Is there any place—”

“Yes.” Eric straightened. If only he had known earlier his own people had Sarah. His mind reeled with the fact that he had been betrayed like this.

“Let’s go!” Max had to force himself to partially block Liz’s distress from his mind. He needed to concentrate on finding her first.

Straightening and turning to Eric, he stood eyeing him from across the room. “I want this to end…”

Bowing his head, Eric said softly. “So do I.”

Nancy held Liz against her side as she watched Max and Eric look at each other. This felt a little surreal to her. Here in the middle of small Roswell, NM, she was watching the leaders of two different planets, both of them still young men, preparing to hold peace talks.

Max and Eric faced each other across the dining room table. There wasn’t much to say. Neither of them wanted to continue the war they had been intended to continue. In the case of Max, he had no planet to go back to. His only home was here, on earth, with Liz.

“I’m not going back to my planet. I hope they will assume that I’ve done my duty and leave us both alone from now on.” Eric sounded tired too. He had been living on the run for so long that it seemed quite amazing that he would never have to live like that again. His mind struggled to accept that he would be able to go live somewhere, with Sarah, permanently.

Max interrupted his thoughts. “I guarantee that my people will leave you alone.”

Eric nodded. “I…” He wondered if he could say the same. After all, it had been his soldiers that created this whole crisis. “Those of my men still with me will do the same for you.” He took a deep breath. ‘And may no-one from my planet come here one day to try and finish us both off.’

They got up and walked towards each other, shaking hands to seal their deal.

Eric swallowed. “I’m sorry. About Liz. Sarah says she is a courageous lady.”

A small smile slid over Max’s lips. “Yes. She is.” I’m so proud of her.

“I wish you both well.” Eric’s sincere statement surprised Max.

“You too. And Sarah.”

But Eric HAD come back to Tresar eventually and had taken back power from the dictator Dak’or and peace had reigned under his rule for many years. And the Royal Houses of Antar and Tresar, once mortal enemies, had become allies and friends. Max felt a little sad for Eric that he now faced renewed opposition. At least he has a very capable son to help him this time.

Shifting his gaze over to Eric’s son, he noticed Luca staring at Belle with a strange expression on his face. One that disconcerted Max. There were definitely vibes between Luca and Belle and his gut rebelled at the thought. He didn’t want any guy close to Belle. Not now. Not soon. Not ever.


posted on 7-Sep-2001 7:48:03 AM

“Congratulations you two!” Sarah was thrilled to hear that Matt and Saskia had bonded. “I wish Luca and Veshna could start moving in that direction too,” she told Liz, Belle, Matt and Sas confidentially. “They have been friends forever and we are all just waiting for them to see the light like you two have.”

“Mom, do you mind?” Luca had arrived without Sarah noticing and had overheard her last statement. Crap, he hadn’t even noticed that Veshna wasn’t here until now! “Where is Vesh?” he asked belatedly, avoiding Belle’s gaze.

“She’s gone to her grandfather. She said to give you her love when you got back and she’ll see you in two weeks.”

For some reason, Luca felt really uncomfortable talking about Veshna when Belle stood there listening. “Can I show everyone to their rooms?” he changed the topic.

“Thanks, honey, I’ll do it,” his mom stated and herded their guests towards their quarters. He watched them go, his eyes finding Belle even though he was doing his best NOT to look at her. Her head was bent as she walked away, those glorious chocolate tresses spilling down her back and hiding her face. He wondered what her reaction to the Veshna topic had been. He grit his teeth. What did he care? She probably had her own boyfriend at home.

But that thought didn’t sit well with him either.

Matt and Sas’ room was first and they waited impatiently to be alone. Both of them had been stewing with desire ever since they woke up this morning and their feelings had built to a fever pitch by now. Holding hands all the time meant they had been privy to each other’s needs… and fantasies. The combination was deadly to a couple that had made love only twice by now, but had wanted one another their whole lives.

“Sas…” Matt murmured unsteadily as soon as the door closed behind their hostess, his shimmering amber eyes hotly pinned on her.

Emboldened by the discovery that he could look helpless too, Sas smiled, all female. Up to now their unions had been gentle, but she was determined to unlock that urgency she had glimpsed in Matt a few times.

It wasn’t necessary to do anything though. He was hotter for her than she could have dreamed.

There was nothing gentle about the way he grabbed her, and there was nothing cool about the manner in which he kissed her breathless. He brought her down on the bed and she wound her arms around his neck, willing him through their connection not to be gentle and slow.

“You look incredibly beautiful in this robe,” he breathed, his gaze roaming intently over her as he came down on the bed beside her. My robe… my colors…

Sas drew him down to her, drowning in the glow of his eyes. Their mouths connected, clung, and she went weak, letting her head fall back. He followed her down, prying her lips apart with the tip of his tongue, ravishing the moist interior that she opened to him with a ragged groan.

They were both dizzy with need.

She pulled his robe off and as he fought his way out of his shirt, she let her palms smooth up over the warm, hard wall of his chest, her fingertips teasing the skin. With an earthy growl he brushed her hands away, thrust her top up and found her breasts.

Gentle, careful Matt was gone.

It was her turn to gasp and quiver as his fingers pushed up her bra and tugged at the hard peaks of her breasts. Her back arched in a blinding wave of excitement, spurring him on.

“Please tell me you’re not still sore. I can’t be… I want you so much,” he breathed, grazing her swollen lower lip with his teeth.

“I’m f-fine…”

His dark head swooped down and seized her breast, increasing her blood pressure. She dug her hands into his hair, driven nearly mindless with the hot, drugging pleasure he was creating. She went out of control without a murmur, her heart slamming against her ribcage, every nerve raw with sensation.

He ran a hand up the length of one slim thigh, wrenching her skirt out of his path. Their mouths met again in a torturously hungry mating, and she was shaking, trembling, her hips shifting upwards in a primitive rhythm, all consciousness centered and driven by the erotic brush of his fingers skating over the taut triangle of cloth still dividing her from him.

She burned and panted for breath as he tugged the panties away and discovered the damp, hot center of her desire. Suddenly he was pushing her back, shifting over her, unexpectedly stilling when she was poised with anticipation, every nerve-ending ready to scream with frustration.

“Don’t stop!” she gasped.

She could feel his worry about his rough treatment of her through their connection. “Sas—”

“Don’t stop,” she begged shamelessly.

She felt his hands impatient on her thighs, and then, with a suddenness that stole her breath away, he thrust into her hard and deeply. An ecstatic cry escaped her. She stretched up, kissing his throat, licking the salt from his skin, adoring him. But he pushed her back, arching over her, demanding absolute control, thrusting harder and faster, filling her again and again with a driving force he had never shown before. The tension exploded inside her and she shuddered under him, a wild excited cry torn from her as the waves of violent pleasure engulfed her. He followed her almost simultaneously, her name tumbling from his lips rawly.

Lying shattered and winded in the circle of his arms, listening to the ragged edge of his breathing, she was conscious of a surge of love so intense it hurt. She rubbed her cheek sensuously against his sweat-dampened shoulder, drenched in satisfaction.

“Lord… we didn’t even get our clothes off!” Matt sounded shocked.

“This is what I needed… WANTED, Matt.”

“Really?” He sounded both hopeful and doubtful.

“Can’t you feel it?”

A short pause. “Yeah.” A deep breath. “Wow.”

Wow indeed.

Not a bad way to pass the time before lunch.


After spending most of the afternoon and the early evening catching up on each other’s lives, Liz, Sarah, Belle, Sas and Matt went to bed, leaving Max, Eric and Luca up to discuss the possible threat against the Tresar royal family.

Max pondered idly about what a difference it made to be in a palace where he didn’t have to worry about having Liz and his daughter off alone. No, on Tresar, the threat was OUTSIDE the well-guarded palace, not inside, and this meant his family could roam around inside without their guards shadowing them.

“Well, we still haven’t managed to find the underground movement, but they haven’t made any attempts against us either,” Eric was saying. “So I think we are okay for now.” He paused. “I’m confident in my people, we’ll find them sooner or later.”

“That’s good,” Max replied, wondering if Eric was trying to paint a more rosy picture than was the truth, but opted to say nothing. Instead, he turned the discussion to the meetings they had had on Dendar.

It was very late when he made it back to their bedroom and silently slid in bed next to a soundly sleeping Liz. When he reached out his hand and touched her, it was the most natural thing in the world to slip his arm beneath her and draw her closer until she was pressed fully against him, her breath warm near his ear. When she sighed, desire moved through him in a warm stream. It was nothing like the hot, sharp twisting in his gut he sometimes experienced with her. Just a steadily growing pull that she still fanned without trying after all these years.

Liz was trapped in a dream—in that state somewhere between waking and sleeping. She was with Max. She could feel his heat. And his scent was seducing her—wrapping around her until she could not breathe without drawing it in.

Max took his hand on a leisurely journey along the delicate line of her throat, exploring the soft curve of her breast, the narrowness of her waist and the smooth length of her thigh. Slowly, he repeated the journey, savoring the contrast between cool silk and warm skin.

He felt his need grow, but he didn’t rush. He didn’t want to. And Liz was still asleep. He ran his fingers along the line of her jaw, felt the race of her pulse beneath her throat. The tug in his center grew stronger.

Liz had taught him so much about desire through the years. With her, learned that just the sound of a sigh could light the fire in his blood. The simple flutter of a pulse beneath his thumb could make that fire spread in a slow burn.

When he could no longer resist, no longer control his hunger, he used his thumb to tilt her chin upward, then brushed his lips against her, teasing, tasting, then teasing again. Even when the blood began to pound in his head, urging him to hurry, he took his time, using his tongue to trace her lips, re-learning their shape. They were so soft, so moist. When they parted, when her breath shuddered into him, filling him, he finally pressed his mouth fully against hers.

She was still dreaming, Liz thought as she poured herself into the kiss. Max was still downstairs somewhere and she was dreaming about him. But the body pressed against hers seemed so real. His mouth was as soft as always. She dipped her tongue in search of more and a thick pleasure seeped through her. She didn’t want to open her eyes and look. She didn’t want him to disappear.

What she wanted right now, more than anything, was for him to go on kissing her in this slow, deliberate way, as if he had all the time in the world and intended to take it. There was such hunger here. She could feel it in the nip of his teeth on her lower lip. In the press of his hand at the back of her neck. Her own hunger sprang up to match it.

Threading her fingers into his hair, she shifted herself on top of him, pressing herself closer, arching against him in invitation. Once again, he began to touch her, his hands moving over her thoroughly as if he was determined to memorize every inch of her anew—the firmness of her breast, the curve of her hip, the softness of her inner thigh. When his fingers lingered there, massaging, she felt her muscles melt.

Arching against him again, she urged him on. When his fingers found her and slipped into her wetness, the sensations streamed through her. He drove her higher and higher, until she felt herself explode into a thousand little pieces.

And still her dream continued…

He held her close against him, absorbing each tremor, until her heartbeat slowed and her breathing steadied. Then he whispered in her ear, “Touch me.”

She wasn’t sure he’d said the words, but she’d heard them. Music sang in her veins as she ran her hands over him. Charting familiar but still such exiting paths. She ran her fingers over his eyebrows, along his cheeks to the firm line of his jaw.

And his mouth. She had to taste him again. With her tongue, she traced his lips, drawing the pleasure out, letting the ache build again. She moved her mouth lower. The skin was damp at his throat, the taste as addictive as always. Her urgency increased and she touched him again, sliding her hands over him, pressing, possessing.

She could feel how much he wanted her in the way his muscles bunched beneath her palms, in the way his breath caught in his throat then shuddered out. A dream couldn’t possibly be this real, could it? But reality was that Max had not come to bed yet, and she needed him now. So she dreamed him.

In this dream world, their lovemaking was slow enough that she could relish in each separate sensation. The way his body trembled beneath hers. The race of his heart against her mouth. The hard press of his hands as he gripped her hips, shifted her beneath him.

For just a moment, she opened her eyes and watched as he rose above her. She saw herself trapped in the depths of those amber eyes and slid into the world of dreams again. Max Evans loved her thoroughly in her dreams too.

When he slipped inside her, his moan merged with hers. Mouth to mouth, flesh to flesh, they began to move as one. He could hear the sound of her breathing at his ear grow faster. He knew they were getting close. He knew HER. For a moment, he fought against the speed, trying to hold back, wanting the pleasure to go on. But it was too late.

“Max…” He felt her tighten convulsively around him, felt the shudders of pleasure shoot through her. Digging his fingers into her hips, he pushed one more time, hard, and lost himself in her.

She curled up against him almost immediately, and he realized for the first time that she hadn’t woken up completely as he had made love to her. A small smile curved his mouth as he remembered her sighing his name at the end. It still awed him that he filled her dreams too.

Opening his mouth to whisper ‘sweet dreams’, he stopped himself with a crooked grin. The words were redundant anyway…


As most of the inhabitants of the Palace slept peacefully, a small meeting was taking place in the mountains outside a small town a few hours from the capitol city. There were only four people there.

But they had big plans…


It finally felt like a holiday to all the Evans’ and their people. No worrying about meetings or obnoxious royals trying to accost the females, just visiting with friends, relaxing and having fun.

Matt and Sas felt like they were on their honeymoon and spent most of their time in their room or off alone somewhere. Thankfully everyone kept tactfully quiet about it.

The only real excitement had been Belle falling off a shenga, the Tresarian version of a horse, on the day before they left. She had gone riding with Sarah, Nick, James and Luca and the shenga got spooked by the sudden appearance of a small animal on the trail they’d been following. Luca had been kneeling next to her before she had time to register that she was winded.

“Are you okay?” he had looked uncharacteristically pale.

Not having her breath back yet, she had only nodded, trying to sit up. His hands had been gentle as he helped her.

“Are you sure?” He had brushed her hair from her face, studying her intently.

Her lungs had started functioning with a rush and she had coughed helplessly. By then, the rest of the group had been surrounding them.

His touch had evoked feelings in her that she didn’t want to experience and she had jerked away from him as soon as she could. His eyes had darkened with anger immediately and he had stood up, glaring down at her.

When she was on her feet too, he had snapped at her. “Stay behind me this time like I told you to.”

“Fine,” she had snapped back. Why don’t you go find your precious Veshna, she had wanted to add. She probably does everything you tell her.

They had lapsed into ignoring each other again after that. It was easier to do than to face the reason they had trouble keeping their eyes off each other. Or the reason Luca forgot about the existence of his best friend with Belle under his nose and Belle was sick to death about hearing about said best friend from his mother. Or why they both wondered what it would feel like to kiss. Or the reason they both lay awake at night…

The day of their departure broke sunny, but brought mixed feelings to everyone in the palace. Max and Liz, while worried about their friends, were glad to be going home. Glad that they would still be on holiday and could be with each other every minute like they wanted to. Belle told herself she wanted to go home too, but her heart ached at the thought. Matt and Sas fretted about what going home would mean for their living arrangements and Matt silently resolved to discuss the issue with their parents as soon as they were on their way.

The shuttle that would take them back to the ship had arrived while they were having breakfast. Max had noticed that Eric was very quiet throughout the meal, but he decided to let Eric come to him if he needed to talk about anything.

Sarah went with Liz after breakfast to help with the packing, but Eric held Max back, asking to talk to him. They retired to Eric’s study and Max sat down to watch his friend pace.

“Is something wrong?”

Eric swung around. “Actually, yes.” He started pacing again. “Things are coming to a head here. I think…” He paused. “I think those people trying to dethrone me are going to make a move soon. I haven’t told Sarah yet, I don’t want to worry her needlessly. Only Luca knows.”

Accepting this statement, Max stared at the floor between his feet silently, debating on how to help. “Is there anything I can do?”

“Yes, there is.” Eric had stopped his frantic movements and sat down on the edge of his desk. He seemed almost hesitant. “I’m not sure I have the right to ask you this…”

“You can ask me anything. I will say no if I can’t do it.” Max felt honesty was the best way to go right now.

“Okay then,” Eric sighed and relayed his request.

It was one Max could understand in the light of the situation. He felt a little uncomfortable about agreeing, but in the end, he had no choice.


The shuttle was uploaded before lunch, ready to take the Antarian group back to the ship and everyone was saying good-bye. Liz and Sarah got weepy while Max had no words to tell his friend he would be thinking of him during the obviously tough times that lay ahead of the Tresarian Royal House.

Belle stood at the window of the palace, looking out over the land she had come to enjoy again. Being here these few days reminded her how much she loved being on Tresar when she was younger. It was a wild planet, so different from earth, but it had a mesmerizing magic to it for a girl with a tendency to dream like she did.

Sarah was bawling all over Luca when Belle turned around. It only took her a few seconds to put the pieces together. He was going with them! A wild joy speared through her before she reminded herself that she did not want further entanglements with him.

Matt and Sas fairly bounded into the shuttle and the rest of them followed more sedately. Luca was incredibly tense. He had had a huge argument with his father about being sent away to earth when he should be here, helping his family. His father had pointed out that he needed one of them to stay alive and that it would seem less suspicious if Luca went off somewhere under the guise of further training. Eric hated having to keep Sarah here, but he needed her close and he didn’t want to tip off their enemies that they were on to them.

However, Luca had his own plans.

The ride in the shuttle was uncomfortable as Luca kept himself aloof from everyone else. He could feel Belle’s eyes on him and had to forcibly keep his thoughts away from the lure of following his father’s instructions and earning himself more time to be around her. He grit his teeth. Now was not the time to start thinking about a girl. Now was the time to keep his full attention focused on his family’s future.

He risked a glance at her anyway, meeting her wide doe eyes. Time stood still for a few seconds before he managed to tear his gaze away, cursing himself for letting her twist his insides in a knot without even trying. He purposely let his eyes drift over the rest of the passengers on the shuttle. Matt and Sas were seated closely together, talking to each other softly and looking very much in love. James and Shilla were together too, not as obvious about their affections, but still noticeably a couple. Then there were Max and Liz. Liz was napping with her head on Max’s shoulder, her small hand curled in one of his, his thumb caressing her lovingly. She looked incredibly content, like she was in the place where she wanted to be most in life. She probably was, Luca mused.

How amazing to have such a simple equation for true happiness. If they were together, Max and Liz’s worlds were perfect. He sighed deeply. He had never found that. Never found that someone that filled the spaces in his heart that had been empty for all of his life. Maybe because you haven’t allowed someone to fill them. The stray thought annoyed him. It was too late now anyway. He couldn’t allow someone into his life now that it meant danger.

Especially not the beautiful young miss sitting a few feet from him, watching him intently.

He would just have to ignore this craving to touch her, kiss her, until he was away from her and could find time to rid himself of this unbidden obsession.

Arriving at the ship a few hours later, everyone dispersed to their rooms, not really looking forward to the long journey home.

Belle had lagged behind as usual. This time because for some reason she was convinced Luca was up to something. He had acted strangely all through the shuttle ride. And how would you know what constitutes strange actions for that man? She refused to answer that for herself, not wanting to consciously admit how much time she had spent studying him the last few days.

So she noticed he did not leave the shuttle with them.

Instinctively she ran back into the dim interior of the shuttle that was waiting for the luggage to be offloaded before returning to Tresar.

Luca was still standing in front of the window.

“What are you doing?” Her voice came out sharper than she had meant.

He whirled around, staring at her. “Go back out,” he finally told her in a strained voice.

It dawned on her then. “You aren’t planning on coming with us?” He looked away, confirming her suspicions. “You can’t!” Horrible visions of war assailed her and she abruptly had an overpowering urge to keep him from harm. “It’s too dangerous. You HAVE to come with us!”

He looked at her for a long time. “It’s my family, Belle,” he said softly.

Her name on his lips caused a jolt in her body. “But…” She cast around wildly for something to say, wondering if she had enough time to go fetch her father before the shuttle left. “You can’t…” she whispered fiercely, walking closer to him.

“I have to.” But his eyes were filled with incredible longing as he looked at her.

“P-please don’t.”

Below their feet a humming started as the shuttle was activated.

With a succinct swear word, he dragged her close, taking her mouth with a wild, ravishing hunger that drove the breath from her lungs and left her aching for more. Every nerve-ending in her body went crazy in that powerful embrace. Plastered to every aroused line of his taut length, the scent of him and the taste of him and the feel of him went to her head with the potency of a mind-blowing narcotic.

Dragging his mouth from hers, he buried his face in her tumbled hair. The sharp shock of separation hurt. His heart was crashing against her crushed breasts. She could literally feel him fighting to get himself back under control. A long, shuddering breath ran through him. “Good-bye, Princess,” he forced out as he walked her backwards towards the door. This time his mocking nickname for her sounded like an endearment. “Be happy,” he told her softly and pushed her out the shuttle with unsteady hands, sliding the door closed in her face.

She was too stunned to do anything and could only watch in numb shock as the partition dividing the ship from the shuttle closed automatically. A soft hissing sound signaled the departure of the shuttle.

And the departure of Luca Alexander from her life for many years.


The trip back to earth was long. Even though Max had tried to get the shuttle to turn around, its operator was from Tresar and had refused to ignore the orders of his Prince.

Belle had never cried so much in her life. With that one kiss, Luca had torn down her barriers and her heart was breaking. She woke many nights to find her father sitting next to her bed, tenderly stroking her hair. No one could pry the reason for her sorrow from her, and if Max suspected something, he said nothing.

It was supremely ironic to Saskia. She had anguished about loving HER Prince for many years, always wondering if they would and could end up together. Now, the Prince of Antar was her official mate, practically married to her and very obviously in love with her. As she hugged her sad friend on the night before they would arrive back on earth, she silently thanked fate for letting HER story with her Prince end so beautifully.

On the other hand, Belle had never wanted a Prince. She had wanted a normal guy, someone as far away from royalty as she could possibly get.

Instead, she had fallen for another Prince. One that was currently in another galaxy. One she might never see again.

No one ever said loving a Prince was easy.