TITLE: HOLLOW
RATING: R
DISCLAIMER: Not mine. Just living vicariously through them.
SUMMARY: M/L,Liz's POV. AU Liz, Maria and Alex are all friends they don't even know the pod squad, but they do meet under some pretty interesting circumstances.
FEEDBACK: I live for feedback so please, make this little girl happy.
DISTRIBUTION: Ask first and I'm gold.


Prologue

If someone had told me three weeks ago that I would be friends with Max Evans I would have smiled and patted them on the head. If someone had told me three weeks ago that I would be dating Max Evans I would have laughed openly in their face. For a very long time. And if someone would have said to me that I would be in love with Max Evans I would have smacked them smartly upside their head and given them the number to a good doctor.

I am you know, in love with him...desperately. But I don't know that yet. At the moment I don't even know who he is.

I sit in my AP Lit Comp class, like I do everyday. My mind wanders, obviously not intrigued at the current happenings of the class around me. I search the room, glancing at the vacant faces of my peers around me. Even the teacher seems somewhat bored at whatever he seems to be droning on about at the moment. I wonder what they're thinking. What exactly could be going on in the deepest recesses of their minds, in that spot no one else can reach. Are they thinking about school? Or maybe clothes, boys and girls, that new Britney Spears CD they just have to have. Are they as shallow inside as they appear to be out here? Could Pam Troy actually have a soul? The possibilities seem endless.

"Pssst."

I choose to ignore whoever is trying to disturb my reverie. Taking another glance at my peers I concur my decision was the right one, I could have a better conversation with a doughnut than with anyone in here.

"Pssst. Liz? Hey Liz." Unfortunately no one seems to get the clue. I turn my head to see Kyle Valenti waving a note precariously in front of my face, as if it held the meaning of life. And perhaps, to him, it did. I quickly discarded the thought. Kyle Valenti was a popular jock, but he also was the named 'religious guru' of West Roswell. In three weeks time I would be calling Kyle my best friend. But I don't know that yet. Right now I just think he's an idiot.

I sigh in exasperation and reach for the note. He gives me a look telling me I'm obviously not being inconspicuous enough and points vaguely in the teacher's direction. I take the note and take a glimpse towards the chalkboard. Mr. Sortenni seemed too wrapped up in himself and his lesson to care what the rest of the class was doing. I slowly open the note, almost cringing at what I saw written there.

Max Evans is staring at you!

A few thoughts cross my mind. 1) So? 2) Who the hell is Max Evans?

I choose to be more discreet in my response and simply write "And?" I slide the note back over to Kyle and I assume he hands it back to whomever thought this piece of information was important enough to share with me. I look back to the front of the classroom and soon become annoyed with Sortenni's ramblings. I take a quick peek behind me, trying to decipher who in fact had written the note. I quickly find the culprit. Mandy Whitmore, a girl from one of my Advanced Chemistry classes. She opened the note in haste and gasped at it's contents, almost in shock that such an answer was even possible. I laughed slightly, careful not to draw attention to myself. Shaking my head I decide it was imperative to find out who the hell was Max Evans and why in God's name he was staring at me. Not that I really cared. Just for entertainment purposes...of course.


**1**

Have you ever felt hollow? Like no matter what you do to fill that gaping void inside of you, the hole just keeps getting deeper? When your name no longer holds any meaning and simple pleasures are something you remember but can never reach again. That's what Roswell does to you. It sucks you in until you feel so claustrophobic, so trapped, and to afraid to leave at the same time.

After my interesting little interlude in fourth period with Miss Whitmore, I head towards the caf in search of the only two people in the world I can stand to be with. They're like me: sarcastic, cynical, and slightly delusional. As you can imagine we are one big basket of sunshine.

I see Maria sitting where we always sit... the farthest away from everyone else. She sits happily munching away on her sandwich, oblivious to the world. I sit across from her and I doubt she even notices my presence.

"Maria." It's more a statement than a question. You know just in case she ever forgets her name or something. She jumps slightly, and her eyes bug out a little. You would think she would get use to me. This happens nearly every day.

"Oh. It's you." she says, then immediately takes another bite. We don't do pleasantries and that's exactly why I decide to skip the crap and get to the point.

"Who's Max Evans?" Maria falters slightly, then begins choking on her sandwich, coughing uncontrollably. After a few moments of this, she decides to swallow and calms down a bit. I choose that moment to wipe off the bit of turkey from my forehead her previous coughing fit placed there. Eww.

"Max Evans?!? You... you don't know who..." her eyes get all bugged out again. "Max Evans is only the most popular, must lusted after guy in school. You've got to be kidding me."

I shake my head negative. Apparently I broke some unspoken rule because she gasps almost dramatically.
"Well you must have heard someone at least talking about him before." she says. I shake my head again. She of all people should know that I don't listen to people outside of our little group. Sometimes I don't even listen to them. People are so overrated.

"I thought you just had a class with him, Liz." Oh yeah... oops.

"I still have no idea who he is. I've never even heard of him until today."

Maria eyes me carefully, never a good sign. "Well, what made you hear of him today? And why are you so interested?" I smile sheepishly... busted. Maria is one of those people who see right through your bullshit. Sometimes I hate that about her.

"Well, I'm not really interested or anything...it's just... apparently he was like... staring at me or something..." I mumble the last part, almost embarrassed. Why should I care if some jock was checking out my ass? I never have before.

But Maria's not even looking at me. her eyes are glued to the crowd. I follow her line of vision, she's staring at a group of people I've never even seen before, and I begin to wonder, where the hell have I been?

"You mean like he is now." Wait, what? My eyes, now trained on the table across the quad as well, meet a pair of rich hazel eyes. As soon as we make eye contact, his eyes lower to the table immediatley... almost shyly. THAT was Max Evans? THAT was staring at ME? THAT was shy?

"He is so not staring at me." I lie, I know he was, but I couldn't let it get to me. I glance back in his direction and see a blonde girl openly flaunting herself around him. I cringe the minute I see her. Wait, why do I care? He's just some jock loser like the rest of them. Okay, so he's built like a Greek God, but really so was David and you don't see me running down to Italy and jumping him now do you? Alright, so I admit this situation is slightly different, but I don't care, I don't. He was probably thinking about football and just happened to be looking in my direction. Twice. Today. Okay so it seems unlikely but I'm sure that's all it is. And even if it wasn't I don't care, I'm anti-relationship girl.

I look back to Maria and her eyebrows are raised suggestively. I know she doesn't believe me. That makes me edgy.

"Well, if you like him so much why don't you date him?" I ask. I hate myself as soon as I say it. When did we time travel back to the third grade?

"Me and Max Evans?" Maria asks incredulously. "Me and Max Evans are just... we're just two very un-meshy things." Did I mention how insightful Maria is?


**2**

"So what do you think about Michael Guerin?" Maria asks. I think: who?

"Who?"

"Michael Guerin." I think: which one is Michael Guerin?

I think: this is getting old.
Maria looks at me expectantly, I guess she figures I have to at least know somebody that goes to this school. Still not really knowing which one he is I say "He’s cool." Her eyes are all squinty, like she’s thinking about something really important. I hope this, what’s his name, actually is cool. "He hangs out with Max you know." So?
"So?" I guess that means a great deal to everybody that is not me. "I dunno, I was just thinking we could double or something." She smiles innocently at me and I’m surprised milk isn’t coming out of my nose right now. What is she thinking? This entire school has gone nuts. "Me and Max? No, we’re whatever you call it, we’re non datey type people who are not meshy or whatever." I hate it that I can’t even get out one sentence that remotely makes sense. Alex walks up and looks down at us in confusion. This is what he sees: Maria in heaps of laughter, and me looking mortified with milk rushing out of my mouth.
"So… whatcha talkin about?" he asks. I take that as my cue to leave.
***********

I walk into the gym and head directly to the bleachers. Sometimes, like today, the jocks like to come in and show off their "manliness." I look towards them and wonder how the can be described as people, let alone men. The word ape comes to mind.
"Hey." Someone sits down next to me. If I told you I knew who they were, you know I would be lying. He obviously takes my silence as an invitation and makes himself comfortable by leaning back, resting his elbows on the seats behind us. I glance at him, he’s dressed in black and his hair is sticking in every direction under the sun. Oddly, it works for him. He looks over to me and smiles slightly. Do I know you? What do you want? Is this like ‘bug Liz Parker week’? Did I not get the memo? Go away.
I say, "hey." Okay, so not the best comeback, but I think it gets my point across don’t you?
"Michael." I guess that’s supposed to be his name. Wait… this sounds familiar. Ohhhhh.
"Liz." Take that. I can be mysterious too. He smiles again. I’m beginning to think that’s creepy. "You have Chem now don’t you?" I look over to the clock, class started three minutes ago, woops. "Yeah, I guess I do." I, Liz Parker, being the rebel that I am, have never, and I mean never, been late to class. I hear the collective gasp already…
Michael and I walk into Chem together. Gasp. Told ya. I look over to Maria and I notice her eyes are all bugged out again. I can’t help but thinking that I’ve been doing that to her a lot lately. I move to sit next to her, and Michael follows. Are we lost little boy? I take my seat next to her, careful that I take the chair near the isle, that way he won’t be able to sit next to me. He sits down on the other side of Maria. Good puppy.
"Today we choose lab partners." Says the teacher, after this news, the entire class turns into a verbal frenzy. Oh let’s be partners. Hey wanna be partners. "That is I’ll be choosing lab partners." Ms. Hardy reiterates. The class shuts up at this comment, then immediately groans together in annoyance. Now, you’re probably thinking, oh, this is one of those ‘boy meets girl’ stories, where they get partnered up and fall in love while discussing the periodic table and other romantic shit like that. Uh, no. Not happening here. "Max Evans and Mandy Whitmore." See told ya. I bet poor Mandy’s having a coronary right about now. "Alex Whitman and Maria DeLuca." Okay, that’s not fair. I’m gonna be stuck with some freak again. "Liz Parker and Tess Harding." Wow, look at that, right again.


**3**

Lips. Soft and warm.

"Liz."

Hands. Strong and gentle. Caressing…soothing my back. Running through my hair.
"Liz."
Eyes. Those eyes.
"Liz?"
You know that old pick up line, ‘it should be against the law to look that good’? Yeah, well this is a citizen’s arrest Max Evans.
"LIZ?"
Now where did I put those handcuffs? Handcuffs? Handcuffs.
"LIZ PARKER?!!"
"Hmm?" Was that sickenly dreamy, lovelorn voice really mine?
"Could you please take your place next to Miss Harding. If it isn’t too much trouble." It’s Ms. Hardy, and I am in the middle of class. This is what I see. Right: Maria, trying, and not succeeding mind you,to stop laughing hysterically. Left: Hundreds of eyes staring at me, gaping at me openly, and snickering. So far not so good. Front: Ms. Hardy looking at my disapprovingly, obviously waiting for me to get my ass up and move already. I grab my books and walk towards Tess, head cast down. I don’t even bother to look behind me. He’s back there. I glance at my new lab partner and she looks back at me with a mixture of amusement and disgust. My plan of action: do and say nothing. You’re probably thinking wuss, or something in that general line of thought. My response, screw you, that was humiliating. I just know this is gonna be one of those defining moments in life. The moments you think about when your 88 and on your deathbed. My last word: handcuffs.
*****************

I close my door and flop down onto my bed thankfully. That place is hell, I know it, it’s hell disguised as a high school. That devil, he is one evil genius. I peek at my clock, the neon numbers read 2:56. Great, I’m supposed to meet Maria in four minutes, I’m sure she will just love to rip out every single last shred of dignity I have. Oh, well. I was gonna loose it sooner or later anyway, might as well be by a friend. I walk down the stairs, and on my way to the door I see my mother, sitting in the kitchen reading her newspaper intently.
"I’m going over to Maria’s before work. Okay?"
"Yeah sure. Bye honey." She doesn’t even look up. Sometimes I don’t get mothers. One minute they have to know every single thing happening in your life, the next they barely know you exist. As long as there are no boys. I’ve learned this, It’s scientifically proven. You could say ‘I’m goin to Mildred’s.’ No problem there, it doesn’t matter who Mildred is, just as long as she’s female. Now say ‘I’m goin to Max’s.’ No, scratch that. ‘I’m goin to Bill’s.’ Beep beep. That’s the mom radar going off. Now all of a sudden they need to know exactly where you're going, when you’ll be back, and every activity that is to be done while you’re gone. See, Mildred=good. Bill=bad. Go on try it. Just as long as there’s no boys it’s just fine. ‘Hey mom, I’m gonna go commit suicide, k?’ Response: ‘Oh okay honey, just do it in the bathroom I don’t want blood on the good carpet. Oh and there aren’t going to be any boys are there?’ Makes you think.

I walk down the path leading to Maria’s door, like I’ve been doing for years. I know Maria’s house like the back of my hand. Front door: blue adorned with sign saying ‘Aliens do exist, check the personals.’ How that ever got on anyone’s door is beyond me. I knock, because that’s the standardary response when faced with a door. Ms. DeLuca opens it looking a little worried.
"Oh hi Liz, I’m sorry Maria’s not here. She just got picked up by some boy." Uh-oh. Doesn’t Ms. DeLuca know the motherly anti-boy rules? She must have missed that memo too.
"Oh… well that’s okay. I better get back then. Bye." I turn around, confused. Maria never misses our girl chats. Especially on days like today. I’m kinda sad that I won’t be able to tell her what happened in Chem. Oh, who am I kidding, this is great. I now love boys. Okay, so that’s not true either, but hey if one decides to save me from further humiliation I say more power to him.
************************

When my shift begins, the Crashdown is in full swing hysteria. Yay. Did you catch the sarcasm in that? Here it is again. Yay. I go to the back because that’s where my uniform is. Did I mention I hate my uniform , even more than Full House, and that’s saying a lot. Whoever came up with this crap needs to be shot. They gave me antennae for Christ’s sake.

"Hey, Liz."
"Hey, Kyle." Did I mention how much I love Kyle? I didn’t? Good, because I don’t.
"Could I get a Chili Rocket Dog, to go please?"
"Sure, just a sec." I wonder why people even ask. I’m a waitress. That means it’s my job to bring you greasy alien theme food.
"So how…how are you?" I guess Kyle got that memo too. Has every jock in Roswell been contaminated? I can’t take this crap.
"Fine… you?" what else am I gonna say. ‘Well Kyle, I don’t know, how bout I tell you my deepest darkest secrets, because you know, I don’t even know you or anything.’
"I’m good. It’s just that you kinda of got weird in Chem. I got worried." Awww. Now where’s that barf bag I keep handy for occasions like this?
"I’m just tired. It’s no big deal I just dozed off for a sec." Now shut up because I don’t want to be reminded of today anymore.
"It’s just…you were making these weird breathy noises…like you were moaning or something."
"Snore."
"What?"
"I snore. It’s weird, every time I go to sleep it’s like the neighbor’s are getting free porno."
"Oh."
"Yup."
I feel a tap on my shoulder. It’s about time, Maria. You got some serious explaining to do, bailing on me like that. I turn around and oh my freakin Buddha.
"So is that true?"
It’s mother freaking Maxwell Evans. My dying words: Handcuffs and free porno.


**4**

Have you ever just woken up and thought, "Man, I just know today’s gonna be great." You have? Really? What’s that like, because I have no clue. Today is just proof. I know you’re all wondering, "Gee, how’s Liz gonna get herself out of this one." Well, this isn’t ‘Leave it to Beaver’ and I have no freakin clue. I know, I know, you all think I must have some witty remark for everything, but today… let’s just say today’s my off day.

"So is that true?" he says, like it’s no big deal I’ve made a complete ass of myself, in front of an entire restaurant no less.

I bet you’re all on the edge of your seats right now, just waiting for that next brilliant remark to come out of my mouth. Well try this on for size. ‘Gah?’ Yeah, that’s all I got right about now.

"True?" Maybe I can distract him, get his mind off the fact I’m a complete and utter idiot.

"Yeah, about the moaning thing."

"Moaning?" Gee Liz, you’re really on role of stating the obvious. Think, think. There HAS to be a way out of this one.

"Mmmhmmm." He smiles and leans toward me over the counter. Why does he have to be so God damn cute? If only he were ugly, my life would be so much easier right now.

"Well, I have been known to moan on a number of occasions, perhaps you’d like to jog my memory…" Oh…my…God… Was that me? I don’t even know how to flirt.

"Really, well how bout we start with what you were dreaming about."

Man, he’s good. I bet you he knows, he knows, exactly what I was dreaming about. Wait, what is wrong with me. This is some jock, just an ordinary jock, trying to get in my pants. It’s time to put him in his place. That dream… it was just a fluke, just an ordinary fluke, about an ordinary guy. Well not again mister, nu uh, no one messes with anti-relationship girl.

"Well, it started with you… on this counter." I lean toward him seductively. "Then I come out through that door.." I point vaguely toward the back entrance, keeping my eyes on his. He’s smirking now and I love myself. This is so good. I begin to play with his shirt buttons. His eyes follow my movements, almost entranced. "Then…" I move my mouth directly over his ear, making sure I’m just barely touching him. "Then…" I smile to myself, "Then I say, ‘not if you were the last man on earth.’ The end." I lick his ear gently, just so he can barely feel it, and walk away. God, I love me.
*********************************


I bet you’re all disappointed right now, am I right? You either expected something amazing to come out of my mouth, or some big ole lovey dovey type crap. But you weren’t there. YOU weren’t discussing porn with some guy you just met. YOU didn’t have to figure out an explanation for moaning in class in 3.5 seconds. And YOU did not see Max Evan’s face when I walked away, because let me just tell ya, that was priceless.

I walk into my room and begin searching my bookshelf. I know I’m supposed to be working right now, how could I forget? These damn antennae keep knocking me on the head. But I can’t go back down there, not just yet. I find my sophomore year book and begin flipping through the pages. Now who was at that table? I am now a woman on a mission. I am determined to One: figure the hell out who these people are Two: Find anyway I can to destroy Max Evans and Three: find out who that slut was who was all over Max so I can kick her ass. Wait, scratch that.

Okay, Aldis, Algrove, Almend, Billmont, Boyer, Clivedale, Crestent, Dorince, DeLuca, Demillin, Evans, Evans, Everent,…Wait, there are two Evans? Isabel, there’s an Isabel Evans? I wonder if they’re related. Hmm, okay, Forest, Filmont, Guerin… Guerin, Guerin, that sounds familiar. Oh yeah, that’d be Spikey. I wonder what the hell he wanted. Anyway, Gurman, Harding, Helton. Wait, hold the phone, this Harding chick looks familiar. Oh yeah, lab partner.

"LIZ!!!!!!!!!!!" it’s Maria. Like she has any right to be mad I’m late. I trudge down the stairs leading to the back room. I so do not want to go back there. Man, why am I being such a baby? Get over yourself Parker.

"Hey Maria." I’m not even looking at her. She’s not getting anything out of me, she was out with some boy.

"Don’t hey Maria me. What the hell is going on? First you get all Skinemax on me in Chemistry, now people are asking for you outside."

Huh? "Huh? Who’s asking for me?"

"Oh, I dunno, Max Evans and the Max Evans posse. They’re getting really weird." She’s eyeing me carefully again, I think I mentioned that that’s never a good thing. "What did you do?"

I seduced Max Evans then left him high and dry, so sue me. "Nothing." Do you think that’s believable?

"My ass nothing." Guess not.

"Liz? Liz, are you hiding back there?" it’s Max, I just know it’s Max. Doesn’t he know stalking is illegal in all fifty states? Apparently not, because he’s coming in anyway. I bet you anything my eyes are about to come out of my head. Did you ever watch those cartoons, where the coyote’s eyes get all huge and pop out of their heads? Well, woof woof.

"There you are. I think we need a moment alone, don’t you? Great… let’s go." He’s taking me into the bathroom, why am I not doing anything? Say something Liz, say something. I could be fighting... I could just say ‘screw you meathead’ kick him in the groin and be out of here. But I don’t. I don’t do anything and I find myself locked into a bathroom with Max Evans. Alone. And that hollow feeling? It just got a little deeper.



**5**

So here I am, locked into a bathroom with the supposed "hottest guy" in school. And all I can think is: How the hell am I getting myself into these situations? In a couple of weeks I’m gonna think back on today with a smile, even have a good laugh about it. But not right now, right now I’m scared shitless. Which is kind of ironic really, considering I’m in a bathroom.

"Listen Liz, I think we need to talk." Talk? There are phones for these kinds of things psycho. You just don’t go around pulling people into bathrooms. So what do I do? I nod.

Sometimes, I’m just ruthless.

"A… about what happened today…" Why does he sound so nervous? And why in Buddha’s name is he staring at me like that. Last time I checked I wasn’t on the menu. He takes a step closer, and I take a step back. What is he doing? Who does he think he is? He keeps getting closer and closer, and I find myself pressed against the wall. You can just imagine what I look like right about now. Antennae flapping around, hands clenched into the sides of my uniform, and to top it off, the infamous ‘dear caught in headlights’ look. Oh yes. I must be looking pretty damn sexy right about now.

"I know Liz, I know." He knows? He knows? What the hell does he know? The meaning of life? How to make spaghetti? What?

"Wha.." I can’t even finish the thought because he’s kissing me. Oh my freakin God he’s kissing me. What am I gonna do? Should I be kissing him back? Should I… oh wait… oh my God, that’s his tongue. Tongue…in my mouth. Wait, tongue is a distraction…

ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmyyyyyyyyyyyyyyggggggggoooooooodddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd……………………………..

Stop…can’t….kiss….back….must….be….strong. Okay, I am now kissing him back. I didn’t even know I could kiss. How is he doing that? Kissing can’t be this good. Damn, I wonder how he is in b…

OH DEAR LORDY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That would be his hand. Hand has now gone under shirt. Hand is niiiicccceee. NO!!!!! Bad Liz. Bad, bad Liz. You have to stop this madness. You have to stop it now… but…but… screw it.

"mmmmm" yup that’s me. That’s me with an actual reason to moan.


KNOCK KNOCK

I know I can hear it. I know I can. But for the love of all things holy find somewhere else to pee.

"Liz honey are you in there?" Oh…my…God.

"Uh, hi mom." I break the kiss in panic, but Max doesn’t seem at all bothered by the fact my mother is standing right outside the door. I know this because starts smothering my neck with long loving strokes of his mouth and tongue. And I, for one, am not one for complaining.

"Are you okay Lizzie?" Geez, why is everyone asking me that? Probably because everyone seems to be catching me in these compromising positions.

"Oh, yeah I’m fine mom." Shit. Shit shit shit shit shit shit shit. "I’m just having some…uh.. womanly problems, you know…" Oh, this is just great. Max snickers slightly, the bastard.

"Oh, it sounds really bad, why don’t you skip work today, okay sweetie." Thank you mommy.

"Yeah, that sounds good. I’ll be out in a sec." Go away, please just go away.

"Alright, I’ll just go tell Maria." Thank you Jesus. I wait until I can’t hear her footsteps anymore, and that’s when I turn on Max. I start smacking him anywhere I can. In other words, I start smacking his chest because I’m so god damn short.

"TALK MY ASS MAX!!!!!!!!" I hate him. I hate him because he lied to me. I hate him because he dragged me into a bathroom and got away with it. I hate him because he’s so damn cute, and I hate him because I want him to do whatever it is that he did again. Repeatedly.

"Okay, okay I’m sorry… stop." He holds up his hands in protest, but I’m so damn angry with myself I keep on hitting him. Finally realizing he’s got 50 pounds on me, he grabs my hands and I immediately freeze. I look up at him, and he’s still looking at me like that. You know, like that. How is that even possible? I’ve made a complete ass of myself yet again, and he still… he still…

"I gotta go." So what do I do? I bolt. Nothing like this has ever happened to me. Ever. I’m miss virginal USA. And now all of a sudden… this is too much.

I run out the door and I don’t stop until I’m safely locked into the haven that is my room. I have a feeling I won’t be getting any sleep tonight.
********************************

Have you ever read a book? No, I know you’ve read books before, I’m not finished. Have you ever read a book where an entire paragraph or more is dedicated to just random detail? How can someone just go on and on about how grass is green? Why do they even bother? The golden mists of heaven shined down on me in unearthly shades of blue. Translation: The sky is blue. Big deal.

It’s about 3 a.m. right about now, and I’m not even close to sleep. I turn on my light and groggily stumble to my computer. I click on the little AOL icon and wait to be connected. I love going into chatrooms in the middle of the night. There are never many people there, but the ones who are, are completely nuts. These are the kind of people who will talk about kangaroos for hours, debating on whether they go ‘hoppity hop’ or ‘bouncy bounce.’ Absolute kooks. But I’m not trying to get down on them. These are my people.

I was right. There are only twelve members on, but the current line of discussion is absolutely ingenious. Line of discussion: Capes. I’m not talking about of Cape of Good Hope. I’m talkin about Batman. Spiderman. The Classics. I guess today wasn’t a complete waste after all.





**6**


Have you ever watched a show and just hated it because of the utter ridiculousness of it? Now, do you still watch that show? I bet half of you do. And I'll tell you why. When you watch this show, all your energy is focused on the hate you have for this stupid, insignificant thing. And for a few precious moments, the hollow feeling dissipates. That's why I'm sitting here at three o'clock in the morning, discussing capes with absolute strangers. Strangers who just happen to be completely insane.

Blip.

"Spacehero47 wishes to send you an instant message. Do you accept?" asks the little computer man. I click 'ok.' It's probably just some psycho who wishes to further our riveting discussion on the best color for capes. No harm there.

Spacehero47: Hey Liz.

Wait... huh? I don't give out my real name. Never. When I do give a name, it's usually something elegant or exotic. Like Antoinette, or Loretta, but never Liz.

Adore17: hey...

Way to speak your mind Lizzie. Who is this anyway? I don't recall knowing any spaceheros in my day.

Spacehero47: This is Michael.

Michael? What the hell do you want? Just because I let you sit by me, it doesn't mean we're best friends now freak.

Adore17: Oh. Hey Michael.

Spacehero47: I'm sorry, it's just that... It's Max. I think he's in trouble.

Max? In trouble? Great. This is just great, I've been making out with an ex-convict.

Adore17: Trouble?

Spacehero47: Yeah, with his grades.

Oh, even better, now I'm involved with a stupid ex-convict.

Adore17: What does this have to do with me?

He couldn't possible want me to... no... he wouldn't...

Spacehero47: I was wondering if maybe you could tutor him..?

He would. He did.

Adore17: Tutor?

Spacehero47: Yeah, just a couple times a week Whenever you're not busy.

Adore17: What does he need help with?

Spacehero47: Oh...uh...English.

English? How do you need help with English. Is he like dyslexic or something?

Adore: Well, what do you need me to do?

Why am I so goddamn nice? I could just say screw you, get a dictionary, but nooooo.

Spacehero47: Well he has this paper due on Monday. Could you go to his house tomorrow?

Yeah, like I really want to spend my Saturday with some jock doing his English assignment.

Adore17: Sure, how about around 2:00?

Spacehero: Yeah, okay. I'll tell him tomorrow. Thanx Liz.
***************************************

So here I am, standing in front of Max Evans's house. Why am I so scared? Get yourself together Parker, this is just business. Just something to put on your college apps. Breathe.

Ding Dong


**7**
Let’s take a moment here to be brutally honest. You up for it? That was a rhetorical question. See, whether you care or not this is now honesty time.

I’m scared out of my mind.

How’s that for honest? This is one of those times where you just can’t keep still. You have to keep moving or the anticipation is likely to kill you. I look down at my feet, making sure I haven’t started to do ‘The Electric Slide’ or something as equally as embarrassing. This may interest you, and it may not. Either way this is really happening. I’m really here, and I really really don’t know what to do. And that makes me bitter. Or couldn’t you tell?

KNOCK KNOCK

I wonder if it really is taking him this long to open the door if it’s just my imagination. Like waiting for the proverbial water to boil…. Okay not even the water takes this long. HELLO??

Maybe I should just leave, I mean he’s a big boy. A jock boy at that. He can just get his sports scholarship and be on his merry way. Why am I even here? I’m leaving.

"Hey Liz."

Sure, now you come.

"Uh, hey." Insert awkward silence here. Check.

"Do you….do you wanna come in?" No, I was thinkin you could just yell out the window whenever you need help.

"Oh. Yeah, sure." Max ushers me in and I take a look around. It’s nice.

"Do you want anything? Something to eat…or or drink maybe?" I shake my head no. I find it hard not to picture Max in a little hostess outfit adorned with a frilly apron. Before I can stop myself I giggle.

"What?" Nothing Mrs. Evans, you have a lovely home. Damn it, I giggle again.

"Nothing." Since when do I giggle. This is great, now Max thinks I’m some psychopathic giggler on the loose.

His eyebrows knit in confusion, and what is that…amusement? "My room’s this way." He starts walking down the hall, obviously thinking I’m going to follow him. Waaaiiiiitttt a minute. I know what happened the last time you got me behind closed doors. Nu uh.

"Okay." And I am now following him into his bedroom. How am I always doing this to myself. I look back towards Max as he closes the door. I eye him carefully, wondering if he’s gonna lock it. Nope, he just turns around at smiles at me. SCHOOL. I’m here about school.

"So what do you need help with exactly." Might as well get this over with.

"Oh, umm, that essay for Sortenni’s class on Monday."

"Well do you have like a rough draft or something that I could look at." Max walks over to his bookbag, but then all of a sudden he stops, as if realizing something.

"My essay is no longer with us." What the hell is that supposed to mean?

"Oh." I really need to work on my comebacks.

"How bout I just write one now, and you can just…hang out." Hang out? In some stranger’s bedroom. A stranger who is a guy’s bedroom. Sure, no problem.

I walk over to the bed to sit down, but decide against it. I take a seat on the floor and open my bag. I take out ‘Franny and Zooey’ by J.D. Salinger one of my very favorite authors. It’s kind of nice really. No, not the book. This. Me and Max, here, just together in a companionable silence, only the sound of the gentle taps of the keyboard permeating the air. I actually feel safe here. Like I belong. But of course all that changes.

BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGGGGGG

Max looks towards the phone, almost annoyed. You and me brother. He grudgingly gets up and picks up the receiver.

"Hello." His face drops, and it looses a large amount of color. Who is that?

"I can’t. No. I have company. Ye.. Li…no…I can’t….don’…no…T….DON’T…sto…T….bye?"

That has to be the weirdest conversation I’ve ever eavesdropped. And believe me, there’s been quite a few.

Max looks over to me, and I’m sure my face is all scrunched up in my confused curiosity.

"That was Tess." He doesn’t seem to excited by the fact. Why am I happy about this?

"What are you thinking?" He asks. What is this? You’re the one with the cryptic phone conversations not me. I feel like I’m under some weird interrogation.

DID YOU OR DID YOU NOT HAVE SEXUAL RELATIONS WITH THAT MAN!!!

"YES!!!" Wait…I didn’t just say that out loud…did I?

"Yes what?" Well I guess that answers that question.

"Yes, I was having not so nice thoughts about my lovely lab partner. That’s what you were thinking, right?" Actually I have no clue what the hell he was thinking about. I just can’t let him know what I was thinking about.

"Yeah, actually, I kinda was." Really? Score.

"So you don’t like her?" I ask, just a little too hopefully for my taste.

"One could say I hate her with the fiery passion of a thousand suns." Oh, well…that’s…blunt.

I smile, a little too happy with this new information. "Ditto."

He smiles and sits back at the computer, where the gentle click of the keyboard quickly follows. I smile too, and refocus on my book. And I feel safe again.
************************************

I sit in my AP Lit Comp class, like I do everyday. And my mind wanders, still not intrigues by the current happenings of the class around me. That is, until I hear our new assignment.

"Now that we’re done with ‘Lord of the Flies.’" AKA the worst book known to man. "We’re going to be starting a completely new project, something I just know you’ll love just as much." Groan. Something as fun as a month of ‘The Lord of the Flies?’ So now we’re gonna be sticking needles in our eyes? What?

"I’m going to be grouping you in pairs and…" I shut the rest out. Pairs? As in two people? Working together? Didn’t I just go through this torment last week? I breathe a sigh of release, at least Tess isn’t in this class.

"Okay, Max Evans and…" Wait, put me with Max. Wait what am I thinking? Don’t put me with Max, oh god, I’m only sixteen and already I’m suffering from a nervous breakdown. "and Alex Whitman." Well I guess that solves that problem. "Mandy Whitmore and Rose Perkins, Amy Altright and Chris Millens, Liz Parker and Kyle Valenti, Joe…" Wait me and Kyle? I look behind me and he’s waving me over enthusiastically. The guy is way to nice. It’s sick.

"Hey Kyle."

"Hey Liz. So what Shakespeare play do you want to do, because I’ve never really read.."

"Twelfth Night." I say. "It’s really good, it’s got comedy and romance and drama." I look back at Kyle and he’s looking back at me like I’ve grown another head.

"What? I’m not a dork." He just snickers and shakes his head.

"What?" I ask, a little more firm than I intended.

"Do you even know what dork means?" I just look at him puzzled. He slips his hand under his desk and retrieves a new red Webster’s Dictionary and plops it in front of me.

Okay…flip flip flip…Dork…Ohhhhh

"Oh. Well, then I’m definitely not a dork."

"Oh really?" he says "Why not?"

"Because you’ve already filled that position." He just looks at me stunned for a moment and then we both break down in laughter.

"Ms. Parker, Mr. Valenti." Mr. Sortenni is hunched over us disapprovingly. "Do we have a problem?"

"That’s just the thing Mr. Sortenni." I say. "We don’t."


**8**
Have you ever tried to read the future? No, I’m not talking about crystal balls here, I’m talking about the real thing, about trying to figure out your fate before it bites you in the ass. It could be as inconsequential as wondering what you’ll have for dinner, or something huge, like what college will accept you, or a dramatic career change. Now every time you wonder what the future holds, somehow the past always comes out. Think about it. Hmmm, what to have for dinner? Well, I had Chinese yesterday. See, what I mean. And then there are those life altering decisions that you just wish you could see the outcome of. Something so big your palms get sweaty just thinking about it. That’s where I am. Standing at some unknown precipice screaming for answers to this dilemma I currently find myself in. My dilemma?
Should I ask Max to Tolo?
I hope you see the severity of the situation at hand.
"Liz, work?" It’s Maria. What is she thinking? How can I work at a time like this?
I shrug in defeat and begin wiping the counter. The great thing about wiping the counter is that it’s work, yet there’s no real work involved. It’s ingenious really.
"When I said work, I didn’t mean an all expense paid trip to La La Land. Now get table 5." Damn. Maria and her knowing ways. I need to get some stupider friends.
I walk over to the table and am surprised to see Michael there. You would’ve thought Maria would want this table.
"Hey Liz." He looks up from his menu and looks mischievously towards me. I really wish Maria would take this table.
"Hey Michael, what can I get you?" Now order your damn burger so I can hide in a corner and pity myself.
"Actually I think I’m gonna wait." What? That’s not gonna work for me.
"Wait?"
"Yeah, I should be getting some company soon." Oh holy crap. He doesn’t mean…
"Where the hell is Max anyway?" Damn it. Why is Michael always doing this to me? The bastard.
I nod and begin to walk away. The corner is looking more and more appealing every passing minute.
"Hey Liz." Grrrrrr. "If you’re not busy why don’t you sit with me a while." What? Hey buddy, we are not friends. Okay? First you sit by me out of nowhere, then you start harassing me over the Internet, now I’m supposed to keep you company? What next? Are we gonna be shopping partners? What? So, being the risk taker that I am I smile shyly and sit across from him. Go Liz.
"So are you gonna go to Tolo?" And suddenly I have no air. Where’d the air go? It’s now official, I hate Michael. He’s out to get me, I just know it.
"Oh, I don’t know, I gotta ask Maria and…"
"You’re gonna go with Maria?" Michael asks incredulously. Boys just don’t get it. If we all have to go to the bathroom together, don’t you think the same rules apply for dances?
"No, it’s just with girls… we have to stick together… nevermind."
"Gladly. So…who are you gonna ask?"
God. Why is he so nosy all of a sudden? I hear the all too familiar jingle of the front door and nearly gasp in surprise to see who it is. The object of my obsession. I knew he was coming but still I tremble in his presence. He smiles at me and begins his descent towards our table. Before he can reach us though, he is intercepted by a blonde.
"Hey!!!! Max!!!!" Tess giggles and latches herself onto her arm. "Can you come her for a sec, I gotta ask you a question." She drags him to the other side of the restaurant and I begin to have a panic attack. There’s no way in hell I can tell Michael the truth now. Not when I know Max is going with Barbie from hell.
"Kyle. I was thinking of asking Kyle." Michael frowns slightly. What? Was that the wrong answer or something? Are there Q-cards I’m supposed to be reading around here?
"Oh." Oh? OH? What is that supposed to mean? In the corner of my eye I see Max making his way back towards the booth.
"I gotta get back to work…bye now." I get up and scurry behind the counter and immediately begin wiping the counter. I look up at the clock on the far wall, twenty five minutes to go. I guess Maria’s gonna have to take that table after all.
************************************************

BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGGGG
"Hello?"
"What the hell is wrong with you?" It’s Maria. I love it when we can be so subtle with each other.
"Ummm….?" There are so many things wrong with me, I need her to clarify which problem specifically before we can fully start the conversation.
"Your taking Kyle to tolo?" Boy, do I love small towns.

"It’s a long story." In other words I don’t want to talk about it so leave me alone.

"Well it’s a good thing I got time then, huh?" Damn.

"Well, see, I took Michael’s table like you told me too and…"

"Oh Yeah!! Did he ask about me? What did he say." Oh. No. Uhhh. My tactic: avoid questioning.

"So I asked him for his order but he said he wanted to wait for Max and…"

"Uh huh." In Maria land this means, skip the crap.

"So he asked me who I was going to tolo with and I was gonna say Max but then I saw him with Tess and then Kyle just popped out there." Yes, ladies and gentleman I got all that out in one breath. Much skill needed.

"Uh huh." Okay, I skipped the crap, now what do you want from me? "I think you’re gonna need some cedar oil." Maria’s really big with the aroma therapy bit. Usually I humor her, but right now my nerves are in a bundle so big you could call it Rhode Island and no one would know the difference.

"Maria, you’re damn aroma therapy isn’t gonna do shit for me right now, so could you just give me some advice so I can curl up in a ball and die already?"

"Ooookkkkkaaaaayyyyyy. Now I’m starting to think what you really need is some Pamprin."

"Muh Ree Ah."

"Okay okay fine. See what you need to do is make Maxie Boy jealous."

"Jealous?"

"Yeah. Being you and all, you probably haven’t noticed, but every girl in school wants him. Therefore you have to seem just as desirable to really get his attention."

"And just how am I supposed to do that?" I sound incredulous, but I’m actually intrigued. Make Max jealous. Insert evil cackle here.

"You have to go with someone that would make Max go ballistic. Someone even better than Kyle."

"Who?" I know she already has someone picked out, I can tell.

"Michael."

"Michael?"

"Yes." The girl has completely lost it.

"I thought you liked Michael."

"Please. By the end of the night you’ll be all wrapped up in Max’s good loving. I’ll just go solo, and then I’ll take Michael off your hands. It’s a win win situation. Ever one’s happy… that is except Tess. But I mean really, her feelings are expendable." I gotta hand it to her, it’s a good plan, but…

"I dunno Maria…"

"Liz." UH OH.

"Okay. Fine."
*****************************************
Be on be on be on be on be on be on be on be on be on be on be on be on be on be on.

Welcome. You’ve got mail.

Okay, find a member online. Spacehero47.

Blip.

Spacehero47 is online and able to receive instant messages. Yes.

Adore17: Hey.

Spacehero47: Hey.

Adore17: You know how we were talking about Tolo?

Spacehero47: Oh. Uh. Yeah.

Adore17: Well, I lied. I really want to go with someone else.

Spacehero47: Really? Who?

Adore17: You.

Insert long pause here.

Adore17: Meet me at the Crash at 8:00. I’m opening.

Spacehero47: Ok.

Adore17: Bye.
**9**

How is it possible to hate someone you don’t even know? Everyone does. You hate that one actress because she has that body to die for, or she’s dating the man of your dreams. Someone you know you’d never be able to touch. You hate anyone and everyone around you, because everyone, no matter how small, has something you want but can never achieve. Jealousy is a powerful thing. And I’m harnessing that power right now, and I’m focusing all that energy on none other than Max Evans.

Show him what he doesn’t have.

Of course if you asked me, outloud I would say it’s because of Maria. Because she persuaded me that this is what’s best. But that’s not true. I’m doing this because I’m so full of love and hate.

I don’t know what to do with myself.

I love Max Evans.

What do I do with that? Do I even know what that is?

I hate Tess Harding.

Before I thought my life goal was to be a world renowned scientist. Head of molecular biology at Harvard University. All that’s changed.

Funny how your entire life can change in just a few days.

I get up from the booth I’ve been sitting in for the last twenty minutes. I wander around the empty restaurant, not really knowing what I should be doing with myself. Am I even doing the right thing? Who even knows what that is? It’s too late now though. What’s done is done, it can’t be changed now. Especially since Michael is now making his way through the front doors.

I look down and take a deep breath. This is it. My gaze drifts upwards and I begin choking uncontrollably.

Why in God’s name is Max Evans here?

Max rushes over to me and begins to rub my back soothingly. Not good. I brush his hand away gently. He can’t be touching me. Not right now. This was not part of the plan.

Okay if this is gonna happen, I better start now.

"Uh, Michael, can I…can I speak to you in the back for a minute?" He worriedly takes a glance at Max and shrugs his approval. I lead him to the back and once we’re behind closed doors I can’t help but realize I don’t know what the hell I’m supposed to say.

"So..I…" Okay, that’s all I got.

"So you want to ask me to tolo." Wow, that was remarkably easy.

"Uh, yeah."

"Ok."

"Good."

"Good."

"Great."

"Yeah."

"Okay then."

"Bye."

"Oh..uh…yeah…bye."

Can we say Chemistry….
********************************

"So did you do it?"

"Maria, you act like I just lost my virginity or something."

"Yeah, uh huh, that’s great…so…did you do it?" I love it when we cooperate.

"Yeah Maria, I did it. And it was hard and fast just the way I like it. But you know the best part? I did it five times, in one night. Now there was some fun."

"That was just sick and wrong, Liz."

"Thank you." When you’re me, you learn to take a compliment whenever you can get it. It doesn’t even necessarily have to be a compliment. Just take it anyway.

"Oh hey, are you going to UFOnics tonight? You know Alex is playing." Oh shit. I am the scum of the earth. It’s now official. I can’t believe I forgot all about Alex’s big debut. So in order to make up for this horrendous mishap, I’ll do the only thing I can do….

"Of course!! I wouldn’t miss it." Play it off.

"Good. I’ll be there in twenty."

"Yeah, bye."
*******************************

I don’t know why, but I’ve always been sort of leery of clubs. The music the lighting, the infinite throngs of exuberant dancers, it seems so surreal. Like anything could happen, like you don’t know if anything really is happening or if you’re just imagining it. I don’t like that kind of mystery. I don’t like to be out of control.

And I don’t like the fact that someone can slop something in my drink at any given moment.

I look around suspiciously. Seeing more than one horrifyingly ugly face.

Shudder.

I look back to Maria, eager to have any sort of distraction from my current thoughts.

"What the hell are they doing here?" She points, none too discreetly, to a table in the corner. I presume you can guess who’d sitting there.

And these thoughts are not any better than the last ones. Bring on the ugly people.

"This is just ca razy." Maria cries, flailing her arms about, to accentuate her meaning no doubt. Hey…that rhymes.

Anyway, I can’t help but agree with her. Why is he always around? Is this like fate, trying to tell me something, or do I just have a sticker on my ass that says, "Attention Max Evans follow me please."

And there’s that hollow feeling again.


**10**

Hurt by Love.

I look up towards Alex, strumming away.

Same song, new drug.

He looks so natural, so at ease. It’s easy to envy him right about now.

And I don’t, no I don’t

Yeah, I don’t gotta be

Hurt by Love.

The lights dim, and a hush falls over the crowd, immediately followed by an uproar of applause and standing ovations. Everyone is entranced by their loud approval.

That is, except Maria and me.

Self pity can be distracting that way.

Maria sighs dramatically and plops her elbow on the table, resting her cheek in her upturned palm.

"I wish I was in a band." She whines.

"Yeah, me too. You know, it I had any musical talent whatsoever, I would totally rock." Who needs skill anyway?

"That’s what I’m sayin."

"Hey! At least you can sing." Some skill is better than no skill. Unfortunately I happen to be the latter version.

"Yeah…" She doesn’t seem too convinced. "Pizza Pan on Wednesday?"

"Oh yeah." Karaoke night, a night when skill isn’t necessarily necessary. Lucky for me too.

"Hey guys." Alex grabs a chair from a nearby table and plops himself down, looking adorable and sweaty. Stupid talented people.

"You know," Maria says, "Isabel has been checking you out all night." She has?

"Really? Look how vigorously I don’t care." Puuuuuhhhhhllllleeeeaaaaasssee

"Come on Alex, Isabel has to be the prettiest girl at our school."

"In Liz’s prudish little way," HEY! "She means Isabel is hot and on the prowl for some Alex lovin, that’s GOTTA get a reaction out of you."

Alex looks down at his lap in mock study and looks back up to us, smirk in tow.

"Nope, no reaction here."

"Ewww. That was so not necessary." Maria covers her mouth in shock, but I can tell she’s laughing.

"Hey." I look up in shock and see Max standing by our table. How is he always sneaking up on me like that?

"Uh…hey." This is when I realize it: My people skills are seriously lacking. The jukebox starts a new song, replacing the now resting band, and Max looks over towards it with a smile. Holy shit, he’s gonna ask me to dance. Not good. I look towards Maria in panic. She just nods.

"I was wondering…"

"I would love to." Maria jumps from her seat and takes his hand. What the…? Max just looks at their linked hands in confusion. "Really? You like my hair? That’s so sweet. You know I just got this new curling iron…it works wonders."

"I uhhh…"

"Well, what are we waiting for?" Maria tugs at his hand and he follows without complaint. Ha Ha. Now you know how it feels buddy.

"What was that about?" I ask.

"Don’t ask me, I am overflowing with the not knowing." Alex knows all about my little obsession, but when it comes to Maria…well, no one knows what the hell is going on.
*********************************

The next morning at school, I head straight for my locker. I open it, and begin the ten minute search for my Physics book. Being a pig has certain downfalls like these.

"You owe me big chica."

"Why is that?"

"Why? WHY? I had to dance with, ‘Max I’m obsessed with Liz Parker Evans.’"

He is NOT obsessed with me Maria."

"Oh really?" She coughs lightly. "So how’s Liz been? What does Liz think of me? Why is Liz taking Michael to tolo? Does Liz like Michael? What’s her favorite flower. Why does Liz…"

"Okay, okay I get it." Insert happy dance here.

"So, I repeat. You owe me BIG." This can’t be good.

"I want the scoop on Michael." Oh my freaking God.

"You’ve got to be kidding me Maria." Please God, let her be kidding.

"No, I’m not, and you know I’ve got too much dirt on you for you to refuse." Damn it.

"You’re evil."

"Well, we can’t all be as perfect as me." She walks off toward the gym, and I’m left to go searching for Michael.

**11**

Have you ever done something for your best friend? A favor that is so humiliating, so mortifying, you know there has to be some degree of blackmail for you to even consider doing it?

Best friends seem to be just a little too good at this sort of thing.

So, I've spent the last fifteen minutes searching for one Michael Guerin.

Nevermind that I'm spending my precious lunch time on this little escapade. I've searched the gym, cafeteria, office, I've even waited outside a few bathrooms.

I've been to every single "manly" place a school has to offer.

And guess which room I see him coming out of?

Home Ec.

Okay, now I'm pissed.

And he is walking away. What the hell? Get your ass back over here boy.

"Michael."

"Yeah?" Well, let's not get overly pleasant or anything.

"So...uh...I uh...how's it goin?"

"Good."

"Good."

"You?"

"Oh, I'm a...I'm great."

"Good."

"Yeah."

"So...I'm gonna go."

"Uhhh...yeah...bye."

"Bye."

And all I can say is: What the hell is Maria thinking?
****************

"He totally likes you."

After a good ten minutes of mindless wandering, I finally find Maria resting under a tree.

Don't we like...I dunno...have a class right about now?

Oh well, I'll catch the next one.

Man. I am turning into one badass.

Maria's eyes widen in surprise.

"Oh my god. Really?"

"Oh yeah."

"He said that?"

"Oh...yeah." Okay so technically he didn't say..well anything, but come on, it's SO obvious..isn't it?

"Oh my god, we have to go celebrate. You don't work tonight right?"

Tonight? Hmmm...tonight...what's tonight?

Ah crap.

"I can't." I sigh. Tonight's gonna suck.

"What are you doing tonight?" Maria asks, one eyebrow raised. Is she like surprised I actually have a life or something?

"Well first I gotta go do that Chem project with Tess." Okay, so maybe that doesn't constitute as a "life" per say, but at least I have plans, that's at least a start, right?

"Then I have to tutor Max." Oh yeah...that should be fun. That's sarcasm...you really need to catch up. Okay, so you probably have figured out that I'm looking forward to seeing him, but you gotta understand...I'm in this stage..

It's called denial.

"Tutoring Max?" Maria gasps. "Tutoring Max in what?"

"Oh. Um...English." I answer. She just gawks at me. What? Was that like the wrong answer or something?

"Liz, you are so freaking gullible. I mean really, have I taught you nothing?" What's that supposed to mean? "Max is like an A student. Where have you been?" Well excuse me for not remembering the entire school's individual GPA's. Who knew that would ever be relevent?

"Well...God. I'm sorry I don't keep up with the "popular" crowd." Maria narows her eyes at me then chuckles.

"What?" What kind of herbs is this girl taking?

"Liz... you're popular."

"Oh." When did that happen?

"so why exactly are you tutoring Max...huh? Are you sure ya aren't teaching him some anatomy? Huh, huh?" Maria winks and raises her eyebrows suggestively.

"Wow, you're funny. God, I can hardly stop laughing...ha ha." As you can imagine, there is no laughter here.

Maria slaps her hand over her mouth, trying to smother the next giggle that is so obviously ready to erupt. After a few deep breaths, she continues.

"Now really... why are yo tutoring Max?"

"I don't know, Michael said..."

"Michael?" Oh oh. We have a suspicious Maria on the loose.

"Yeah, he a..ohhh..do you think he's trying to hook me and Max up?"

"Either that or Max conned Michael to set this little love connection up. Man, that is so low."

"Huh. Wait..didn't you just con me into..."

"I have no idea what you're talking about." And I thought I couldn't lie.

"Riiiigggghhhhht."

"Anyway..." Maria brushes off the comment with a wave of her hand. "I'm thinking those two are in for some serious payback."

"God Maria, scheme much?"

"What? Come on, it makes life so much more interesting. Besides, you know they totally deserve it."

"Ugh, fine. What do we do?"
************************************

"Okay, 2 sulfur + 1 oxygen."

Chhhhh chhhh

"Disulfuric monoxyde."

Chhhh chhhh

"Tess?"

Chhhh chhhh

"Tess? Are you even paying attention?"


Chhhh chhhh

Okay, if she doesn't put that damned nail file down, there is gonna be hell to pay...really."

"Oh...yeah, sure...uh huh."

"Tess..."

What? Look at you, you're on a roll. I'll be over here. Just..just.." Tess waves her perfectly manicured hand over our assignments. " Do your thing brain girl."

Brain girl? BRAIN GIRL?

"Uh Tess? Hun?" Tess looks up from her hands and gives me an annoyed look. "Yeah, hi. See we're partners that means we work together."

"Neat." Uh, excuse me, hello? Was that sarcasm? Uh, no. I don't think so. That's my deal.

Chhh chhh

ARG.

The bitch is going down.

"Tess, I don't know you, but I already dislike you...immensly. So I don't know what that says about your social life or whatever, but what I do know is that I've been doing all the god damn work here Barbie girl. So what you're gonna do is, you're gonna do assingments four through eight and be done before tomorrow. And you better do it well or I'm kicking your made in China ass. Got it? Great. Buh bye."

And I will forever remember this day as the day I became a woman.

Or at least the day I grew a backbone.
********************************

BRRRRRRRRIIIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNNNGGGGGGG

"Hello?"

"Uh, hey Max...it's Liz."

"Oh!! Oh..hey. What's up?"

Man, this is gonna be hard.

"I jsut called because...because uhhh...I wont be able to make our tutoring session tonight."

"Oh." I never noticed how deep his voice was before. It's kinda nice.

"Yeah. I was kinda hoping I would have a date tonight..."

And there's the bait.

"Really? Do you maybe wanna..."

"Is Michael free tonight?"
********************************

Welcome.

You've Got Mail.

Find a member online: Spacehero47.

Wow, this seems familiar.

Blip.

Spacehero47 is online and able to recieve instant messages.

Well, that's handy.

Adore17: Hey, it's Liz again.

I guess Max was right. Michael is online right now...weird.

Spacehero47: Hey.

Adore17: I need to tell you something Michael.

Damn Maria.

Spacehero47: Oh yeah? What's that?

Adore17: I know I'm not supposed to have these feelings, but you're so...

Annoying? Disgusting? Putrid?

Adore17: sexy...

Spacehero47: I uh... thanx.

Adore17: Yeah.

Spacehero47: I gotta tell you something too Liz.

OH MY GOD

I know this can't be good.

I'm psychic that way.

Adore17: Uh what?

Spacehero47: This is Max.

no no no no no no no no

Holy shit.

Adore17: Uh..

????????????????????????????

Adore17: Bye.

Goodbye.
***********************************

beep

You've reached Liz. This is the part where you leave a message.

beep

"Come on Liz, I know you're there."

Am not.

"Liz...I've already left like 30 messages."

36.

"It's really not a big deal."

Yes it is!

"I know you're probably thinking 'yes it is'.."

Well that's creepy.

"But it's not. I understand. God, you're friends with Maria. I'm friends with Michael. Believe me, I understand.

He has a point...

This is too complicated.

"Liz...pick up. I'm running out of air space here. I..."

"I'm here, Max. I'm here."