|posted on 8-Sep-2001 12:48:43 AM|
|Disclaimer- I own nothing, no characters, not Roswell, no songs or movies, or plays or anythign I might make reference to. I make no money from this fic, and don't want to because I probably wouldn't anyways!|
Summary- Max was a fat, ugly loser in highschool and comes back to his ten year highschool reunion to find an overweight Liz! Needless to say things have changed. A relationship is pursued and secrets revealed...
Please, please, please leave feedback. It's my first fic so I'd really appreciate criticism. I need to know what to change and where you'd like me to go!!!!!!
Three Years Ago:
Liz "Ms. Popularity" Parker strutted down the halls of West Roswell High, wit a fake smile plastered on her pretty face. She finally reached her locker and sighed loudly dropping her books inside.
"Ughh, my jaw muscles ache from keeping this sugary sweet smile on all the time. It's seven thirty in the morning, I didn't get enough sleep, my shower was cold and we ran out of Pops for breakfast!"she complained. "I don't feel like being happy and I DEFINITELY don't feel like smiling," she continued. Quickly her best friend Maria interjected into Liz's mini ranting session, "I know hun, I know how it is. But you gotta do it if you don't want to be known as a bitch," she smirked a little knowing Liz already had a full blown reputation as the school bitch, but decided to keep it to herself. "I mean ask our little friend Pammy over there and you'll see what I mean." Maria Deluca was short and super skinny with long, stick straight platinum blond hair, rosy cheeks and huge green eyes. She also sported a mouthful of metal that she harped on constantly. "I know, I know Maria. It just makes me so angry that I have to be so friendly and all little Ms. Perfect 24/7. Sometimes I wish people would just treat me like a normal human being for a change." "Hun, hold up, you are way too gorgeous to ever be normal!" smirked Maria, turning green thinking about all the boys at school and how they were mesmerized by Liz's long, silky honey colored hair, big brown eyes, lush lashes, high cheekbones on a bronzed clear complexion with straight white teeth inside of perfectly pink heartshaped lips. Not too mention her full bust and tiny little waist, presently residing in an expensive pink cardigan at least two sizes too small, showing off her toned tummy. "Why does everyone say that? I'm really not all that special. Well, actually maybe I am..." she added with a grin. Without second thoughts Maria smacked her upside of the head. "Now don't get too full of yourself there Lizzie. You may be the hottest girl at West Roswell High for now, but as soon as these braces come off I'm gonna give you a run for your money!" "As if!" said Liz in mock horror, using her best Cher from Clueless voice. As the warning bell rang signaling five minutes before their first period Liz slammed her locker door shut walked off to class in a fit of giggles with Maria by her side.
Liz and Maria were the last ones to enter Mr. Jones's History class. As usual they made an entrance, taking their unofficially reserved seats in the back of the room. No one dare sit in their seats, and the few times that people actually attempted to disrupt the unwritten system they were presented with one of Liz's patented "death stares," putting the fear of the lord in even the most strong-willed of the rebels. The girls never really paid attention during class. Liz was a brain and didn't need to try. Hell she could sleep through class and still ace her tests, which she often did. And yes, that's right ladies and gentleman, Liz was smart AND beautiful. People usually didn't take her seriously because she dressed nice, wore makeup and actually had friends. People were quick to stereotype the school's smart kids as the ones with the thick glasses, baggy sweaters and frizzy hair. But not Liz. She had surprised many a teacher with her creative writing, sharp math skills and incredible memory. She was proud of her intelligence, and she let everybody know just that. When other smart girls put on the ditz act either to win a guy or impress the other popular girls Liz quickly shot them down, and they got the point very quickly. Maria on the otherhand just wasn't the brightest crayon in the box, so to say, and that was fine with Liz. It was okay with her if you actually were dumb. So, while Maria and Liz chatted busily, ignoring their professor's sleep inducing lecture once again, two boys stared intently at them from across the room.
The two boys were best friends, and their names were Michael Guerin and Max Evans. Max and Michael were the school's "outcasts" so to speak. Michael was poor and wasn't able to afford the nice clothes needed to fit in at the school. He had long, greasy hair, tattered clothes and smelled pretty gruesome most of the time. His best friend Max also lacked in the looks department. He had stringy hair, a face full of acne, big glasses, and to top it all of he was overweight. And not just a little overweight. Everyday he was teased and taunted for being bigger than all of the other kids, and rarely did a day go by that he didn't come home from school with a "Wide Load" sign stuck to his back. The two boys didn't really mind their social status, except when the subject of Liz Parker was opened up. Max Evans had an unrequited love for the beautiful Ms. Parker. She didn't even know he existed.
As the boys sat staring across the room they talked in hushed tones. "Wow," whispered Max, "Liz looks really beautiful today, I wonder what she'd do if I said hi to her in the hall. Hey Mikey, do you think she'd say hi back?" Max continued dreamily. Michael was too busy staring at the giggling Maria to hear anything that had come out of his friends mouth. Exasperatedly Max continued to pester Michael. "Mikey! Hey, Mikey. Michael Guerin, are you listening to me," he whined. All of a sudden Michael's head whipped around and he stared at Max like he'd just sprouted a third eye. "Well sorry to interrupt your little fantasy sequence there Mikey, but before I was so rudely ignored by your little daydream about metal mouth Maria over there I was just asking if you think that Liz would, you know, say hi back if I talked to her in the hall?" "Umm...Yah sure man, whatever you want," huffed Michael. Michael knew that the only way snotty Liz Parker would talk to Maxy boy here was if hell spontaneously froze over. And even then the chance of it happening was slim. "Do you really think so?" asked Max excitedly, optimistic with Michael's response. "Nah man, I was only joking with you. That girl's untouchable for guys like us, hell we shouldn't even be dirtying "her" air the way she sees it. Besides, she's hopelessly in love with that lunkhead Kyle, you don't have a chance." Max sighed heavily, a despondent look crossing his face. "I know, I do, I was just trying to be optimistic." Noticing the sudden gloomy demeanor that took over his best friend he quickly tried to rectify the situation. "Don't worry so much Max. Find another girl to obsess over. Little Lizzie's not that great, I mean I think she's ugly...." "WHAT!" snapped Max. "That is the most beautiful girl you've ever seen in your life, and you know it!" The whole class turned abruptly at Max's outburst, and stared intently at the two boys sitting in the corner of the room. They both looked around sheepishly as the proffessor eyed each of them angrily. "Well boys, care to share with the class why you decided to interrupt my enthralling lecture on the history of our world?" Max took a big gulp and looked defeatedly as an evil glare settled upon the face of his teacher. "No, I'm sorry it won't happen again sir, I promise. I really was paying attention, I don't know...I guess I just got a little emotional or something...."he mumbled. Uh oh thought Max, that sounded really dumb. He quickly turned to see if Liz had heard what he said. He had just made the biggest fool of himself right in front of the most popular girl in the whole sophomore class at West Roswell High. It was just his luck that Liz had seen and heard the entire disturbance Max and Michael had created. Max thought that Shse was probably sitting there right now thinking what a dope that "Max Evans" kid was. "Well boys, continued Mr. Jones, "since you don't seem to want to share the juicy details of your little outburst, and you have made me lose multiple minutes of precious teaching time to deal with you, I'm issuing you two both detentions. I'll see you both here at 3:30 sharp. Got it boys?" "Don't try and pull anything with me, and don't be late!" Both boys nodded and hastily returned their gazes to the floor while Mr. Jones resumed his lecture.
As the bell rang signalling the end of first period Liz and Maria dashed from their seats. Once out in the hall they began to gossip excitedly about the event that had just occured in Mr. Jones's class. Details of the drama that had played out in History class would soon make their way throughout the entire school. No one interrupted Mr. Jones's class, and that was a fact.
Max and Michael waited patiently for the classroom to empty and then made their way stealthily through the crowded hallways. They dodged in and out of the crowds until they reached their adjacent lockers and grabbed their books for the remaining periods before lunch. As they walked taunts of "Hey Fatty" and "Watch it, wide load coming through," followed by fits of giggles reached Max's ears. Luckily he had learned long ago to ignore their cruel taunts. Yet, still sometimes he did let it get to him, and this was one of those times. Sometimes he just wished so bad that he had been born goodlooking. Life would be so different. Max knew that if he were good looking Liz Parker would give him the time of day. Maybe if he looked like the football captain, Kyle Valenti she would at least acknowledge his planetary existence. He had to admit Kyle was handsome with his square jaw and bulging muscles. Yet once you got behind the brawny exterior there was little else. Max wondered how girls as wonderful as Liz could like a guy like that, but still, he knew he'd give anythign to be Kyle. What Max wouldn't give to look like that and warrant the attention of girls like Liz Parker.
Just then Max saw none other than the infamous Liz Parker walking towards him. Wait, no it couldn't be he thought. Nervously he scanned the corridor looking for Kyle or Maria, even Isabel or Tess would do. To his surprise he saw that the only people in the deserted hallway were Michael, Liz and himself. Most of the other students had already started off for their next class. He began to rub his eyes furiously while repeating in his head: 'This is a dream, it's all a dream. Liz Parker is not walking towards me. Repeat: Liz Parker is not walking towards my fat, ugly, acne faced self.' But, when he opened his eyes there she was...standing right in front of him. She was so beautiful, even more beautiful up close, he opened his mouth to speak but before he could get a word out she had begun talking. "As you know I'm Liz Parker and...."
Although he'd waited for months for this day, the fact that his ten year high school reunion was merely hours was only just beginning to register in Max Evan's mind.
He couldn't believe the day was finally here. After high school he'd gone on to Stanford and gotten a degree in management and a minor in marketing. For a few years he'd amassed a small fortune as the youngest ever CEO of PXWT Television, and had recently returned to his first love: exercise. He was currently a personal trainer at the hip New York City Splazza Gym, and had trained the likes of Julia Roberts, Mel Gibson and Tom Cruise.
Still there wasn't a day that went by that his desolate high school memories didn't resurface tohaunt him, and it had been happening even more lately as the day of the reunion drew closer.
High school had been hell for Max Evans. He'd been an outcast. He had few friends since his appearance had scared most people away. The only person to ever befriend him had been ugly himself, and their relationship had began as one of mutual pity. Max had been blessed with a head of greasy, stringy hair, acne, glasses, and not just a few extra pounds. Over the years, though, he'd taken up exercising, his acne had cleared up and his horomones had settled down.
Just last month he'd appeared on the cover of Muscle Man magazine under the heading "Sexy young CEO turned fittness guru tells all."
He still couldn't believe the way his life had turned out. He'd always used to dream what'd it would be like to be one of the "beautiful" people, and now, oddly enough,he was one.
The happiness and fulfillment he'd thought the good looks would bring still hadn't shown up. For some reason he'd found that his new good looks didn't make him nearly as happy as he'd thought they would. Yes, he'd begun to get girls flocking to him by the dozen. Yes, people gave him the time of day. Yes, People gave him respect, and yes, he had friends. But something was still missing. Although he had dated often the past few years he'd never found that special someone. All the girls he'd met had wanted him for his money or his looks. No one had actually dated him for the man he really was.
And none of the girls he dated had been Liz Parker.
It was funny how after all these years she still managed to weasel her way into his thoughts. All those years ago he had admired her from afar. She was the most beautiful girl he'd ever seen, and she wouldn't give him the time of day because he was an ugly, fat, loser. It was exciting to think how that in just a few hours time he would be seeing her again, and this time he wouldn't be ignored.
He would get the attention of Liz Parker, no matter what.
Max shaved carefully and then finished up with a little pat of aftershave. He gelled his hair and set out to chose the perfect outfit.
He ranscaked his closet in an attempt to find a semblance of an outfit suitable for such an occasion. He finally settled upon a pair of jeans and was still fumbling futiley through his closet when he heard the doorbell ring.
Knowing that the only person it could possibly be was his life long buddy Michael Guerin Max raced to the door of his small apartment and quickly let him in.
Michael gave him an odd look, and Max quickly realized he still wasn't wearing a shirt. Blushing, he tried to explain the situation,
"Oh, hey Michael. Sorry about this, I was just looking through my closet trying to find a shirt and...." he trailed off.
"Yah, yah I get it man," said Michael cutting Max off midsentence. He understood that this reunion was really important to Max. He'd been anticipating this day for months, and in all truth so had Michael. Both of them had really changed since high school, and he was eager to see the changes that had taken place over the years in everyone else. Especially a *cough* Maria Deluca *cough*.
Michael started off to Max's bedroom to help him with his little "fashion emergency," and Max followed obediently behind him.
"Here, put this on," said Michael tossing a black t-shirt at Max. After weighing his options for a second Max pulled the shirt over his head, and then the two guys grabbed their coats and headed for the door. Within minutes both guys were in the parking lot loading into Max's ancient green jeep. As they drove towards West Roswell High both boys were silent. Getting this close to the school was beginning to drudge up bad memories for both boys.
"Moo, moooooo! cow boy"
"Lard boy, how ya doing lardy lard larrrdyyy?"
Max blinked hard holding back the tears that had started accumulating in his eyes.
And then he saw it: West Roswell High, the school that had produced all those awful memories from ten years ago. His stomach fell to the ground, but he knew he had nothign to worry about. I mean he was one of the "beautiful" people now, right? Still he couldn't push back the memories, and with each passing minute he grew more nervous and unsure of the whole idea.
Finally Michael interrupted Max's little trip down memory lane.
"Maxwell, wake up, we're here. Let's go. There's nothign to be worried about. We're just going to go in, say hi, schmooze, and leave, no big deal." Max gave Michael a pleading look, as if to say 'how about we forget the whole thing?' but Michael wasn't letting Max go anywhere. They'd waited way to long for this.
Michael grabbed Max by the arm and led him into the building and into the line behind the registration desk where a perky blonde stood greeting everyone.
They reached the front of the line and the bubbly voice began to chirp non stop,
"Welcome to the West Roswell High Class of '91 ten year reunion. My name is Maria Deluca and your names are?" She stopped for a second to get their names.
Michael could only stand there in awe. Right in front of him stood Maria Deluca, the Maria Deluca he'd worshipped throughout high school. And she was actually looking at him like he was normal.
Agitated Maria Deluca tried again.
"And your names are....."
Michael was shocked, she really didn't know who he was. Not like he had known who she was at first either. Her long platinum blond hair was a darker blonde and shoulder lenghth and where a mouthful of braces had once been resided a full set of big, straight white teeth. Other than that she looked the same. She was extremely skinny in a short hot pink mini skirt and tight black tee shirt, and her green eyes were big as ever. She was even prettier than he remembered.
Realizing that Maria was becoming very agitated, and that Michael was staring like a dope, Max quickly tried to fix the situation before it got out of hand.
"This here is Michael Guerin, and my name is Max Evans," he replied.
"Michael Guerin? Max Evans? Oh my God!!!! I didn't recognize you one bit. Oh wow! Liz come here, you have to see this..." she shrieked.
At those words Max could have sworn his heart stopped. This is what he had been waiting for, to see Liz Parker, and any minute she would be within his line of vision. He waited patiently for her arrival, grinning like an idiot for some unknown reason ;), and then there she was.
Her golden brown hair shimmered under the harsh fluorescent lighting and her tawny skin glowed. Her big brown eyes shown from under a crown of thick, dark lashes and her full lips spread into a smile when she saw him. His eyes traveled down from her pretty eyes to her gorgeous hair and then down further. That's when he saw it.
Liz Parker was fat.
"Yes Maria I'm here, I'm here what is it this time. I was just in the middle of such a nice conversation with Kyle Valenti here....." She stopped as her gaze settled upon HIM.
"Ohhh, I see," she said, "and who are these two young gentleman. It's funny but I don't see to remember either of you."
"This here is Mikey Guerin, and this, this is none other than Max Evans." said Maria happily.
Liz gasped as what Maria had just said sunk in. The gorgeous man standing in front of her was the one boy she had felt the need to be nice to in high school.
Maria and Liz had just left Mr. Jones's history class where loser Max Evans had just made a fool of himself in front of everyone. Everyone was talking about the disruption he'd caused, and at first it had been pretty funny. Now, though, Liz was having second thoughts. Wow, ms. bitch Parker actually thinking about someone besides herself. Now this was a first. But she couldn't help it. For some strange reason she felt bad for the kid. She did daily jeer at him about his weight, his pizza face, his "Einstein" glasses. But this was different, and he didn't deserve anymore crap than was already regularly thrown at him. Praying to God that her reputation wouldn't take a nose dive for the stunt she was about to pull she leaned against the lockers and waited for the between class commotion to calm down.
When the halls were pretty much cleared out she scanned the halls for a sign of lard boy. Oh wait she didn't just think that. There's no use, she did think that, and she felt bad.
Then she saw him out of the corner of her eye and began walking steadily towards him. She saw him look at her, blink, rub his eyes and then look at her again. She smiled realizing he must think he's imagining seeing me.
Confidently she went right up to him and began talking, while his loser friend Michael looked on in shocked silence.
"As you know I'm Liz Parker, and I know I've never really talked to you before, but I just wanted to let you know that that little stunt you just pulled in Jone's class was pretty admirable. No one interrupts that class. You're probably gonna get some crap about it from the other kids, but don't worry, it happens to even the best of his," she said grinning, pointing to herself, "So if people make fun of you or whatever just tell them to take it up with me. And for the record Jones's detentions aren't that bad. Just whatever you do don't fall asleep, or you'll be sorry," she winked, "I learned the hard way."
With that she turned around and walked away as Max just gawked, an expression of complete shock on his face. Michael's face looked pretty much the same. Had Liz Parker just spoken to him? She knew he existed? She was being nice to him? And all he could do was stand there, until well after the bell signalling the start of second period had rung.
And she was happy she had been nice to him.
Then she remembered she was fat, and now that he was no longer ugly (big understatement) why should he be kind to her? She knew she couldn't expect it, I mean she had joined in with the cruel "Moby Dick" taunts in high school on more than one occasion, so why would he have any reason to be nice to her now. Her face fell as she looked at Max staring at her with a confused expression on his face, and then her heart fell, too. She guessed this was the way people look at you when you're fat.
Max and Liz:
Max continued to stare at Liz until Michael gave him a hard nudge on the shoulder. He quickly got the picture and turned around to shake Liz's hand.
"Hi, I'm Max Evans as you already know, and you're Liz....Parker am I right?"
"Yep, I'm still Parker, haven't found that special someone. So tell me about yourself Max. Are you the same Max Evans I remember from way back then? Because if so you've changed a lot."
"Yep, it's still me. I guess it's hard to tell without the acne and glasses, and I lost a few pounds. Unlike you, you haven't changed at all...." he said trying to be polite.
"Yah, yah you're too nice Max. So what have you done since high school?"
"Well I majored in management at Stanford and then became the CEO of PXWT Television. It got boring so I returned to the job I had during college, personal trainer. Except now I do it full time and have even trained a few celebs if I must say so myself. What about you?" It took all his effort not to offer his personal training services to the lovely Liz. He feared she'd take offense, although he only meant to be helpful. Still, it was very awkward for him seeing Ms. Perfect overweight.
In the back of his head a little voice screamed that this is what she deserved, it was her "just desserts," but he still felt bad and wanted to help. But he knew he couldn't just offer his help if she didn't want it.
It took Liz a minute to answer Max's question, since her eyes were focused on the rippling muscles straining against his tight tee-shirt. Taking a deep breath she continued,
"Well, after I graduated I majored in journalism at NYU and now I'm a free lance journalist. Right now I'm working on an undercover report for Harvard's Psychiatry Unit."
"Oh, exciting. What is your undercover report about?" he asked, her comment having piqued his curiosity.
"If I told you, then I'd have to kill you..." she said with a wink.
Max couldn't believe it. He was here having a totally normal conversation with the girl he'd been obsessed with since grade school. It was almost surreal....
Michael and Maria:
"Heyy Mikey...what's been happening since high school. You know you look really great. I mean in high school you were all smelly and greasy but the years have been good to you. I mean yah I know you're only 28 and all...wait you're 28 right? Yah you're 28. But what I'm trying to say is that now that you've taken a shower, gotten a little haircut and put on some normal clothes you're not too bad. I always knew under that dirty exterior you were a good looking guy, and your friend Max there isn't too hard on the eyes either..."
Maria babbled on at a mile a minute while Michael looked on in a daze. He saw her lips move, but what she was saying wasn't registering. Then it hit him, she was complimenting him. Had he heard correctly? Did she just say that he was good looking? Wow, rewind that.
"Did you just say I was good looking?" he asked interrupting Maria's blue streak.
"Umm yah a few minutes ago silly! Now I'm talking about me. You know I'm an actress right? Well see after high school ..."
Michael looked at her in complete awe.
Realizing that he was not hearing a word she was saying Maria stopped talking and began laughing hysterically.
"Mikey Guerin have you heard one word I've said! Men! They're so impossible," she said with a smile.
"Yah I was listening Maria. So finish what were you saying after the part about you being an actress?"
"Wow, you were listening. Most people can't keep up with me. The only person who really can is Liz, but that's a whole other story and I don't feel like getting into it right now. Well so as I was saying, after high school I hitched a ride to LA and started auditioning for little parts and such to build up an acting portfolio. I was going to go to college, I really was, there just wasn't enought time. So, then one day I was auditioning for a role in this new Spielberg movie, and for the audition I had to sing. Well, I didn't get the part but after the audition a man came up to me and asked if I'd like to audition for this broadway play he was doing up in NYC. So I auditioned, got the part and moved to New York where I've lived for the past few years."
"Wow, I've only been to the city a few times but I've never seen any broadway shows, I mean I'd like to and all I just don't have the cash..."
"Well next time you're in the area give me a buzz and I'll get you free tickets. The show I'm in is Aida, ever heard of it? Well you will if you come to NYC. But for now tell me about yourself and what you did after high school?"
"Well, the college scene wasn't really for me. So I joined the military, served in the airforce for a few years and now I'm just a lowly starving artist. Technically a free lance portrait painter, but same thing. Life's been pretty good," and then Michael hesitated before asking the one question he had wanted to ask since Maria had opened her mouth. Oh hell he thought, what did he have to lose. "So, are you seeing anyone right now?" he asked timidly.
A smile lit up Maria's face as she saw Michael's face scrunch up as he asked the question. "Nope, no one serious right now. I've dated for years and it just gets boring and all. Right now I'm in my clubhopping phase. I go to clubs, meet guys, have a little fun and move on. I'm not ready to settle down yet if you get my drift....What about you?"
His confidence restored, Michael plunged easily into the question he had known was coming.
"I'm single, always have been. I've only dated a few girls, but nothing serious. I've always been looking for that special someone." Michael blushed, realizing how dorky he must have sounded. Why didn't he just make something up? Say he'd slept with lots of girls? Oh well, it was too late now. He'd just have to hope for the best.
"Oh Michael that's so sweet," cried Maria, giving him a big hug and leaving a confused expression on Michael's face. "Well I'm going to get back to the registration desk now, they probably wondered where I went to. She quickly jotted her number on a napkin and placed it firmly in Michael's hand. "Call me sometime, will you?" and she smiled before turning and walking back to the registration desk.
Meanwhile- back with Max and Liz:
"Alright," said Liz sighing deeply. "I've got to finish making the rounds, doing the 'meet and greet' you know. But, hey do you have a pen? Wait, let me check, maybe I do." She fumbled through her purse for a few minutes before pulling a chewed up pen from the bottom of her bag.
"Ah, here it is. I knew I'd have one, a reporter can never travel without her trusty pen," she said flashing a bright smile at Max. She grabbed his hand and quickly jotted her number on his open palm.
"Call me sometime, alright?" All he could do was give a pathetic nod. She smiled and gave him a big hug before walking over towards a bored looking Maria who had returned to her post behind the registration desk.
The rest of the reunion passed uneventfully for Max. People who would never have given him a second look ten years ago were chatting him up, sharing pictures, stories and hugs. He knew it should have felt really good to show these people up, these people who had made his high school years a living hell, but for some odd reason Max didn't feel good at all.
The whole time he kept a fake smile plastered on his face, making polite conversation with people he really didn't care to talk to.
All he could think about was Liz. That's when he realized the only reason he could have loved Liz all this time was for her beauty. It nagged at him that his life long love was so superficial.
What else could his love be. She had never talked to him throughout their entire high school careers, well unless you count when she would join in with the other kids and tease him, or that one time thirteen years ago when she had said a few kind words to him after their mutual History class.
Seeing Liz again had stirred up old feelings. But they weren't the same ones he'd had in high school. These feelings were twinged with guilt and sadness, Liz should still be the same beautiful Liz she had always been. But she was not.
Granted her face was still gorgeous as ever, if not more, but wouldn't people look at him strangely, him being a personal trainer and all, if his girlfriend was more than a little overweight? Wait, he was getting ahead of himself. He'd talked to Liz once and he was thinking of her as a girlfriend? He still hadn't conquered the weight issue.
He mentally slapped himself, berating himself for falling into the same trap so many others fall prey to. He was going to look beyond Liz's physical faults unlike the cruel teenagers who had taunted him years ago. How could he forget that he had been fat once too. He remembered how it felt, and Liz shouldn't have to feel the same pain as he had. She deserved better.
"Easier said than done," he sighed.
"Lizzzziiiieeee that was so much fun. And can you believe dorky Mikey and Max? They are such hotties!" screeched Maria, pushing into the hotel room and jumping onto Liz's big bed.
"Easy for you to say! You're not the one who had to wear a 50 pound "fat suit" to their ten year high school reunion (ps. you guys are too smart for your own good ). I swear that was the most embarassing day of my life, watching Max Evans look at me like I was some kind of freak." spat Liz angrily, removing her tiny body from the enormous suit.
"Wait, can you believe I actually care what he thinks of me?" This thought had been rolling around in Liz's head all day. She wasn't sure why she actually cared what he thought. I mean she did care, for her report of course, but this was something else. She tried to tell herself that he had become quite handsome, with his chiseled features and soulful brown eyes, but she knew he would never like a girl like her; a fat girl. She sighed quietly as words begin to fly from Maria's mouth.
"That's because somebody has a crush on little Maxy Evans. But I don't blame you girl he sure is hot. Now that I think about it I remember seeing him on the cover of one of those muscle magazines a while back. The name sounded familiar but I didn't think anything of it. But if I remember correctly, that boy is one helluva hunk!" blabbered Maria.
Liz's best friend Maria was the only one allowed to know her secret. For her special undercover report Liz was analyzing America's bias against fat people. For her task she had to wear a 50 pound fatsuit whenever she left her home or came in contact with people, except Maria.
She'd already worn it for three weeks, and her back was killing her, along with her confidence. She had begged the editors to let her take it off for at least her high school reunion, but the answer had been a resounding no.
"This is terrible! The whole West Roswell High class of 1991 thinks their Ms. Perfect Parker is a fat slob."
"Isn't that the point?" asked Maria dubiously.
"Well, yes, and no. I mean they're definitley supposed to think I'm fat. The whole experiment wouldn't work if they knew it was a suit. But I'm supposed to record their reactions to me in the suit, even the subtle things, for later analysis in my report."
"Ohh," said Maria, pretending to understand.
"It's complicated. But we're not back here in Roswell, NM to talk about my report. Let's have fun and pretend to be teenagers again," said Liz cheerily.
"Sounds good to me!" said Maria, a big grin spreading from ear to ear.
Both girls slipped into their comfy pajamas and dialed room service for a night of girl talk and pigging out.
Meanwhile: Down the hall in Max and Michael's hotel room
After the reunion had ended, and Max and Michael had exchanged numbers with most of their fellow clasmsmates, they hopped in Max's jeep and headed back to the hotel where they were staying.
It was a cute little alien themed hotel, reserved by West Roswell High for out of state members of the class of 1991.
It had been a long day, and Max and Michael barely made it through the door of the small room they were sharing before crashing on the bed.
"Wow," was all that Max could say as he put his arms behind his head and stared up at the ceiling.
"So what you thinking Maxxie boy?" asked Michael, interrupting Max's reverie.
Before he could say anything Michael had begun talking.
"Well you remember Maria Deluca? She's pretty hot now that she's older and got rid of that metal mouth. And did you know she's on broadway? Well she is..." he stopped seeing the sullen look crossing Max's face.
"I'm sorry about Liz, man. I mean it's not that bad though, right? She's just packing a couple of extra pounds, no biggie," said Michael, making a futile attempt at sympathy. Truth was he felt bad for Maxwell. His whole life he'd had a crush on this beautiful girl, and when he finally has a chance with her she's no longer beautiful. Well, you can't win them all, I mean Maria looked as good as ever.
"Yah you're right Michael, I mean she's still pretty, just a little overweight. I can deal," he said, forcing optimism into his voice. "You know what, I think I'll give her a call right now."
"Hey Max, I like the enthusiasm and all, but she's not home yet, so you're not going to reach her at that number she gave you anytime soon," (Max and Michael had exchanged stories about their number swapping on the way home) "You know what, I bet she and Maria are staying in this very hotel. It's booked for our reunion, and they both live out of state. If they're here, they're probably sharing a room. Why don't you call down to the front desk and see if they're here."
Max obeyed and pressed the button on the phone, immediately connecting him to the front desk.
"Hello, how may I help you this evening?" answered the cheery voice on the other end.
"Umm....Hi, I'm Maxwell Evans in room 234 and I was wondering if I could have the room of an Elizabeth Parker. P-a-r-k-e-r.
"Please hold while I check that out for you Mr. Evans."
"Ok, the room you want is number 240, it should be right down the hall from your own. Is that all sir?"
"Yes, that will be all, thank you very much." said Max putting down the phone. Michael looked at him expectantly.
Max took a deep breath and choked out the conversation.
"Wow, right down the hall, let's go visit!" said Michael with a glint in his eye.
"Wait, slow down shouldn't we call first?" countered Max.
"Nah, let's just go...come on I'll race ya..."
She and Maria had rented a couple of movies at the local Blockbuster and were currently on their third and final one. It was another sappy chick flick, but they loved it anyways.
"If Diane doesn't kiss Jake right now I'm going to get in that tv and smack their heads together!" pouted Maria as the two onscreen characters flirted playfully.
Liz burst into a fit of giggles. It was so funny how Maria got so into these superficial movies. It was obvious the girl was going to get the guy. Playfully she chucked her pillow at Maria, who, when hit, looked at Liz in mock horror. Within minutes a full scale pillow war was underway.
Max and Michael walked slowly down the hall and stopped when they reached room 240. From inside they heard giggles and bed springs creaking. Timidly Max knocked on the door. He waited a few minutes and knocked again. Nothing. After a few more minutes of politely knocking at intervals Max gave up.
"Michael, it's alright, I bet they're too busy to come to the door right now. Let's just go back to our room and call them in the morning,"
"Woah there partner, we aren't going anywhere," declared Michael, stepping in front of Max and banging hard on the wooden door.
Maria fell off the bed, startled, when she heard the loud banging on the door. Liz had an expression on her face of a deer caught in headlights. Simultaneously the girls threw down their pillows and raced to the door.
"Umm, who is it?" asked Maria haltingly.
"It's me Michael," came the gruff voice from behind the door, "And Max's here with me. Can we come in?"
Liz immediately grabbed the fatsuit and slid into the bathroom, mouthing to Maria to stall.
"Yah, one minute, Liz is just finishing taking a bath," claimed Maria, hoping they'd buy the pathetic excuse she'd just provided.
They didn't, but kept quiet.
With lightning speed Liz ripped off her pajamas, zipped up the fat suit and pulled a brightly colored muu muu over her head. She smoothed the wrinkles out of her "stomach" and went to join Maria at the door.
The door opened slowly and there stood Maria and Liz side by side. Funny, Max thought. Liz's hair was completely dry.
Wait, he bliinked hard. Was Liz wearing a muu muu? No, this couldn't be. He rubbed at his eyes and took another look. Liz Parker was wearing a muu muu. He was horrified.
Michael immediately noticed the look on his friends face, seeing a round Liz in a huge, bright colored dress. It took everything Michael had to suppress the laughter rising in his throat.
Unfortunately Liz had seen the look to, and a sad look crossed her face. Head down, she greeted the two men.
"Max, Michael, nice seeing you here. May I ask to what I owe this pleasure?"
Michael cut in before Max had a chance, "Oh, the pleasure is all mine, my lady. Max and I thought that you might be staying here and called the front desk to get your room number. We were bored and missed your lovely faces. We thought we might venture to pay you a visit," he said with a grin.
"Well," Maria chimed in, "we're kind of in the middle of watching a movie right now, but why don't we all have breakfast or something together tomorrow. It will give us a chance to catch up on old times and get to know each other better. I know both Liz and I are in Roswell for another week and really have no plans yet..."
"I'm sorry, I'd love to," answered Max, "but I have to be to work bright and early, I'm leading a few special classes at the Roswell Gym while I'm in town..."
"I KNOW!" cried Maria, "Why don't we all go to the Roswell Gym with Max? Maybe we can get some "private" lessons! And it would be great fun." Three heads nodded in unison.
To Max it seemed like a good idea. He'd wanted to suggest the idea to Liz, but couldn't think of a way to do it that would be sure not to offend her. Lucky for him Maria had done the dirty work for him.
Playing it off, Max addressed the nodding heads.
"Well I guess that would be okay, I'll have to check with the manager though," said Max, "So I'll see you all at 7 AM, in my room, capice?" Another set of nods. Max sighed with relief.
Not one for small chat, and having the plans figured out Michael was ready to go back to his room and get some much needed shut-eye.
"Well, now that that's settled, Good night ladies! See you in the morning" said Michael with a wink.
"Night Michael, night Max" came Maria and Liz's voices, closing the door behind them.
The door slammed shut and a giddy Michael and Max skipped their way down the hall.
And that was that.
The dotted lines (----) are here to reduce confusion. I'm sorry for not explaining them earlier. They help me to break up different scenes, settings or points of view. There are going to be a lot in this part because it darts quickly between places and people. So please bear with me and enjoy this part!!!! Luv always <3 Senorita
The Next Morning:
It was 7 AM and Liz wasn't all that excited about meeting Max in a half hour to do gymnastics in the damn fat suit (wink, wink choc79). She'd found it hard enough so far just walking in the thing, and now she had to run, dance, roll and sweat in it?
Lazily she punched the alarm and got up to take a nice, steamy shower. Five minutes later, having cleaned up and feeling quite refreshed, Liz set about the often perilous task of waking Maria from her deep sleep.
"Ria hun, Ria. Rise and shine. We have to meet Max and Michael in twenty minutes, and you know how long it takes you to get up in the morning. Ria, Ria. Get up!" She cooed while lightly tapping Maria on the shoulder, expecting any second for Maria to twitch and smack her in the eye with a wayward elbow. (Maybe this thought came from some previous experience? ;)) After a few more seconds of prodding Maria grudgingly opened her eyes.
"Oh God Liz what are you doing," she exclaimed staring at the alarm clock. "How dare you wake me at such an un-Godly hour. I'm going back to...."
"MARIA! GET YOUR GOD DAMN SELF UP AND GET YOUR LAZY ASS IN THE SHOWER RIGHT THIS INSTANT!" she screamed, she quickly became quiet again and finished her threat with an innocent, "or else."
Maria sat up with a start and obediently took herself into the bathroom to shower. Meanwhile Liz prepared the fat suit for the days activities. It would be so easy just to leave it there and put on a tight pair of spandex shorts. That would show Max. It still stung to remember the look that had appeared on his face last night. The image of Max looking at her in all of her robust glory, and then the look of disgust that covered his face was indelibly imprinted on her mind. Any self-confidence she'd retained since beginning her report was torn apart, almost like a hot knife through butter.
Liz had to keep reminding herself that this report was supposed to be painful and frustrating, etc. etc. etc. It was meant to make here realize how lucky she was that she wasn't actually overweight. And, thought Liz, if the rejection and cruelty she faced in her short time in the fat suit was enough to tear her usually strong willed self down, she wondered what it would be like to live her entire life overweight in this thin obsessed world, with no chance to take the "fat suit" off. Refocusing on the current time crunch she tried to steer her mind towards happier subjects, maybe it would ease the sinking feeling in her heart that was welling up inside; the feeling that always appeared as she slowly stepped into the enormous suit and zipped it up.
Liz had just finished tying up her new Nike sneakers when a towel clad Maria came bursting out of the bathroom. She pulled from her suitcase a cute matching black sports bra and spandex shorts and flew right back into the bathroom to change.
When she came back out the patented "death stare" was planted menacingly on Liz's face. Maria managed only to release a defeated yelp before hastily throwing on an oversized t-shirt.
"Much better," proclaimed Liz with a satisfied smile. It was bad enough she had to wear the damn fat suit and this embarassingly large sweat suit. There was no chance Maria was getting off in "that" skimpy get up. Nope, Liz wouldn't have it. Luckily Maria realized the err in her ways and had at least covered herself up a little.
Unfortunately Maria wasn't too happy with the change in plans, although she understood how Liz might feel a little, umm, jealous, with Maria's planned work out outfit.
Finally she muttered a, "Yah, yah," and returned to the bathroom toting an enormous make-up filled caboodle.
Fifteen minutes later Liz dragged Maria from the bathroom mid lipstick swipe.
"Lizzzzz, let me just finish this. I only need five more minutes. Five. I swear," she pleaded, using her best pouty face. Unfortunately for Maria Liz had become immune to Maria's puppy dog eyes and pouty lips ten years ago. Unaffected she continued pushing Maria towards the door, grabbing her and Maria's gym bags along the way.
"Maria we're already late," said Liz matter-of-factly. "Now let's GO!" And with that she yanked Maria through the door and down the narrow corridor.
"Ummm Liz?," said Maria shakily, not wanting to ignite Liz's short temper for a second time that morning. She knew from experience that wasn't a good idea, but she needed to remind Liz of a very important little detail that seemed to have escaped Liz's mind in the morning rush.
"We never got their room number," she muttered weakly.
Liz was on the verge of a hissy fit, due in part to her awful morning, and also in part to her lack of coffee, when luckily she caught sight of the two men standing in the hall a few doors down. She let out a visible sigh of relief and dragged Maria up to the two very impatient looking men.
Max led the little group into the modern little gym a few minutes after 8 AM. Due to Maria's incessant whining, and Michael's weak will power, the group had made an impromptu stop, and against Max's wishes, at the local McDonalds. He had stopped eating there years ago, just around the time he took up body building.
Now, finally at the gym, Max had only minutes before he had to teach his first class. He had desperately hoped to be able to talk to Liz first, too. He had seen the hurt expression on her face last night after he had looked at her the way he did. He felt horrible, and the look was totally unintentional. Just the thought of beautiful Liz Parker in a muu muu had been too much for him, and now he felt like the complete jack ass that he was.
Max quickly pulled himself out of his daze and addressed the group that stood gazing at him expectantly.
"Well, I'm teaching an air boxing class at 8:15. It's pretty intense," he said eyeing Liz, "but you're all welcome to join, if you can keep up that is," he added with a wink.
With that a determined Maria and Liz marched off to the locker room to deposit their things before class.
In the locker room Maria began gabbing incessantly once again.
"That Max thinks he's such hot shit. I mean, yah, he is one hell of a built guy, and probably one hell of an athlete. But come on? Do I look like chopped liver. I don't think so. Uh uh not at all! I mean come on Liz, look at these tight abs, these bulging biceps, these buns of steel..."
"Ok Maria I get it already. You are one buff babe. One tough chica. Max has no idea what he's talking about. Now let's go before we miss the damn class!" replied Liz robotically. She had learned long ago that when in a hurry, it was best to just smile and nod and say whatever Maria wanted to hear.
Maria smiled at Liz's comments and finished cramming her gym bag into one of the pitifully small lockers provided by the gym. She grabbed two towels, one for both her and Liz and darted for the door, Liz only a step behind.
Max was fiddling with the cd's when he turned around to see Liz and Maria enter the room.
While they had gone to the locker room to deposit there bags, Max had gone to meet with the gym owner. He had been glad to see him and showed him to the room where he would be teaching his classes for the week.
He gushed on about how almost the whole town had signed up for the classes of famous "personal trainer-to-the-stars" Max Evans. He said this was the first time in the history of the gym that there had been a waiting list for one of the classes.
The whole time Max couldn't keep from blushing, embarassed by the flattery that seemed to pour non stop from the owner's mouth. Max had needed to stop the owner after a few minutes, reminding him that he had a very packed class to teach and the class was probably getting antsy.
At this the man had let out a chuckle and said a hearty good bye to Max.
Now Max stood at the front of a very packed room, feeling the body heat already. He finally found the cd he was looking for and popped it in, motioning to a bored looking Michael to man the boom box. That was Michael's job for today.
Back home Max had assistants galore. Assistants to pass out towels, assistants to do the music and change the cd's, assistants to help individual clients during his group sessions, even assistants to fill water bottles and wipe the sweat from his rich clients' foreheads.
Here at the Roswell gym there was a marked shortness in the familiar perky, big busted assistants. He figured Michael would have to do. Not like he had anything else to do, right? Michael, not a fan of the whole exercise scene had happily agreed to the job of music boy. He felt it suited him.
So Max began what he knew would be an excrutiatingly long class.
"Welcome class. As you probably know my name is Max Evans and I have trained some of the world's most famous people into their camera ready forms. One class with me and you'll see why they're so damn fit. Let me just warn you beforehand, those of you exercise novice's should leave now. You're gonna sweat. You're gonna burn. And most importantly you're gonna hurt. So leave now or tough it out!" When no one made a move Max took a deep sigh, thinking 'well, I warned them,' and motioned to Michael to begin the music.
Max had just finished his ominous warning,and Liz had to admit she was scared. There was only two weeks left on her report. Oh please God, she thought, don't let anything happen now.
With that an up tempo song blasted from the surround sound and Max began jumping every which way.
This was going to be harder than she had previously thought.
Liz tried her hardest to keep up with the gyrating Max. I mean the routine he was performing was hard enough for any fit person, but in a fifty pound fat suit it was a million times harder. Not to mention the fact that the fat suit kept riding up, exposing her tiny ankles. Every time they did she had to look around quickly, making sure no one noticed, and quickly readjusting the suit.
She also made sure to work on her report. She hadn't written yesterday, and when she got home she'd need to do a full updated report for the boss. She knew with the excercise class today and the reunion yesterday she'd have plenty of data to report to the psychiatric unit for compilation and analysis.
As she drifted off thinking of her report she completely forgot about the fact that her suit had ridden up exposing both ankles. This time it hadn't gone unnoticed by Max either. As he moved back and forth he looked at her confused. How could a person that big have ankles that tiny? That was too weird. He had just gotten a glimpse at Liz's ankles, and they were much to small for a person her size. Now that he began to think about he realized some other inconsistencies.
For example, Liz's gorgeous face was not fat. Either was her neck. That was very rare. Usually people carrying that much fat over the rest of their body had more fat in their faces and necks. He knew from the daily classes he taught. It was all becoming very strange to him. He made a mental note to talk to Liz after class, and continued shouting at the class and kicking left and right.
After an hour of pure hell the class finally ended. Max thanked the class for enduring the session with him and told them all to come back again for more. There was a mumbled chorus of "no thank you's" to which Max laughed heartily, knowingly thinking 'I told you so.'
Just as Liz was about to leave Max ran up to her. She had prayed he wouldn't ask about the ankles, she knew he had seen them from the funny looks he had given her during class. Still she knew it was bound to come up. Once she had come back to reality she had seen him staring at them, a contemplative look on his face. A million thoughts raced through her head, and seeing him here in front of her now she raced through a check list of possible excuses. None seeming even remotely believable.
"Hey Liz, what'd you think about my class?" he asked innocently enough.
Relieved Liz let out a deep breath and answered, hoping the ankle issue wouldn't come up, but the sinking feeling returned to her stomach, knowing it would sooner or later.
"Personally I thought it wasn't that bad. I'm pretty fit for a fat girl. But you sure did give those poor people a run for their money in there,"she replied sweetly.
Taken aback by her candidness Max deciced to query about just that. He also wanted to set the record straight about last night.
"Yah, you were pretty great out there. But the whole fat girl thing I just don't get it. I mean I saw you out there and when your sweat pants came up a bit I saw that you have really, really skinny ankles. And that got me thinking you know," Liz began to sweat. Uh oh she thought, "I mean your face isn't fat at all either and that's really odd. What's up with that?" Before Liz could respond, luckily for her he continued on. "And by the way Liz I'm really sorry about last night. I know we haven't talked much and all but I didn't mean to get that look on my face last night. I don't know what I was thinking. I didn't mean it at all, I was a jerk and shouldn't have looked at you that way. It's just I think you're really beautiful, I always have, and just seeing you like this I feel bad. I mean, not that I think the weight issue matters at all. Honestly, it's what the inside that counts, always remember that. It's what got me through all four years of junior high,"he finished with a chuckle, but quickly stopped to try and gage her reaction to what he had just said.
Liz bit her lip as a million emotions flooded through her head. His apology had been so sweet and sincere, and the way he talked about beauty coming from within was beautiful, too. But at that moment her cynical side had to come out. 'Stupid Liz. You know he's just saying that to get you in bed. Oh wait, nevermind. What's that again? Oh yah, YOU'RE FAT! Max would never want to take a fat girl to bed. He's just saying that to make himself feel better because he was a jerk to you last night. I mean he didn't even talk to you. What were you thinking, wanting to believe that everything he said was unplanned and sincere. He doesn't really mean what he says.' Liz mentally slapped herself, trying to quiet the commotion going on inside her head.
She tried to speak, but all that came out was a quick stammer of, "Thanks, I guess."
Max felt his heart drop, he knew he deserved this but it still felt bad seeing her look so apathetic with hurt and confusion plastered all over her pretty face. Then he remembered she still hadn't answered his question, so he tried again.
"Wait, so do you have a medical condition?"
Damn. That incorigible question. 'Think Parker' she said to herself.
"Umm, yah. I'm on a medication that makes my fat deposits uneven. Kind of like that thing that happens to people on those AIDS medications," she lied erratically. Oh lord she thought. She must have sounded so dumb, but once she started she had just wung it. It wasn't the best she could come up with but at least it wasn't too stupid sounding. Or was it? Liz just wanted to go hide and never come out. But then she remembered that Max was standing not two feet in front of her, and she quickly regained her composure.
"Oh, wow," said Max, a look of hurt and compassion engulfing his face, "I'm so sorry Liz, I had no idea." Awwww she thought he was too sweet. She gave him a small smile and his whole face lit up. Cute moment number two she thought. She took the sweaty towel from around her neck and playfully used it to "lasso" Max in.
"It's alright, I'm used to it. Well I'm gonna go take a quick shower and get my stuff together. Why don't I meet you and Michael at the registration desk in fifteen minutes?"
Max nodded fervently and watched Liz walk away. Then he realized he hadn't seen Michael since class ended. The room was now totally deserted. Where did that boy get off to now?