posted on 10-Sep-2001 8:06:55 PM
Author: Kapone224
Email: scoobie224⊕
Category: M/L/Z
Summary: Liz is faced with a life altering decision and will have to make a crucial choice that without a doubt will affect all her personal relationships.
Disclaimer: I own nothing.

Part 1

December 2004

Never in a million years or my wildest dreams did I think this could happen to me. Not once did I ever think that I would be in this situation. But then again I guess no one did. I would laugh if I weren’t ready to cry. If only my old classmates from West Roswell High could see me now. I mean, no one would ever expect me to be in a situation like this: I was the class valedictorian, senior class Homecoming Queen, voted most likely to succeed, voted friendliest, and Max and I were voted best couple. Max. He wouldn’t believe what’s going on with me either. Such is life, I guess. I honestly don’t know what happened. All I wanted to do was love and be loved by the one man who possessed my mind, heart, and soul. Was I wrong for wanting to show him the physical manifestation of the way I felt about him? I didn’t think so, but obviously the fates thought otherwise.

As my eyes dart from the potted plants to the fish tank, back across the room to the receptionist’s station, my mind won’t let me forget the events that led me here.

*October 7, 2004
Maria and I had just come back from playing racquetball at the University’s rec. center. She was screeching (as usual) about how she and Michael had finally come to a resolution about their “relationship” and had finally decided to exclusively date each other. I remember just smiling and nodding in the appropriate places (she wouldn’t have let me get a word in edgewise anyway), but mentally I was somewhere else. Sure the sun was shining and it was a beautifully crisp East Coast October day, but I felt as if loneliness and despair had cloaked me like a heavy winter coat. It suddenly dawned on me that I hadn’t seen or heard from Max in 2 days, which for us is odd since we are practically joined at the hip for all intents and purposes. I hadn’t even noticed that I had stopped walking or had tears coursing down my face until I heard Maria’s voice.

“Liz, what wrong? Chica, talk to me.” I shook my head saying everything was okay, but of course Maria wouldn’t let it slide. “Liz, don’t even try it. I know something is wrong unless those are tears of happiness that you are crying for me and Spaceboy, and I seriously doubt that. Whatever it is, you can tell me, “ she said rubbing my arm.

“On Maria,” I sighed, feeling a fresh wave of tears beginning to leak from my eyes. “I just don’t know. Me and Max….I don’t know…”

She linked arms with me and carefully steered me off the path we were walking on towards a bench. As we sat down, I glanced at some people running by and then focused my eyes on the ground as I took a deep breath and began. “Well, two days ago…”

**October 5, 2004
Max came over at 7 on the dot, like he usually did. We were laying on the couch in my living room watching “Here on Earth.” I was actually falling asleep in Max’s warm, protective arms when I felt featherweight kisses being placed along the side of my face and neck. I smiled at the TV screen, feeling his arm wrap tighter around my waist and his well-defined chest come closer to my back. Sliding his hand underneath my shirt to draw invisible pattern on my stomach, he whispered “You are the most perfect woman in the world and I love you so much.”

At hearing his words, I turned over to face him and nearly fell of the couch in the process. His handsome face hadn’t even creased to laugh. “Is there something I can do for you Mr. Evans?” I asked giggling. His hands were actually massaging my back now, and I could feel my body heating up under his touch.

“Actually there is” he replied, moving a piece of hair out of my face and behind my ear.
“And that would be?” I asked coyly running my fingertips over his smooth eyebrows.
“Never stop loving me.”
“Awwwwwww….” and I pressed my lips to his.

What started out as just an innocent kiss quickly escalated into something so primal, so passionate that I couldn’t even begin to explain it. I could feel his hands in my hair, on my face, caressing my breasts lovingly, sliding down my hips, and finally in between my legs.

“Max,” I moaned “don’t tease me.” My hands were threaded through his hair while he continued to assault my neck and face with his lips. “I want you inside of me, I want to feel all of you. Max, make love to me.”

And that’s when it happened.

Max sat up, fixed his clothes, stood up, and proceeded to look at me as if I had told him that the moon was made of green cheese.

“Liz, where did that come from? I mean, what were you thinking?” Now it was my turn to be confused.
“Uh, to be honest I was hoping you and I could….well you know….”
“No.” Now I’m angry.
“No? What the hell do you mean no?”
“It’s not gonna happen, Liz.”
“And why the hell not?” I am now standing on the couch so I can look him square in the eyes with my hands on my hips.
“It’s not safe, Liz!! Do you know how many diseases there are out there? I mean, come on Liz, be rational for a minute. I don’t just want to start having casual sex with just anyone!”

That did it. I don’t know if my hormones got the best of me, but I was mad as hell. I could feel the veil come down over me and the anger just took over.

“How dare you!! Who the hell do you think you are Maxwell Evans to give me this type of shit? I’m so fucking tired of hearing this lecture on disease and us being together not being safe! Last time I checked, we were both still virgins and I’m pretty sure that’s as safe as it gets. Have you ever stopped to think about what I want and what it takes for me to be happy? I mean have you? Or is it when my wants and needs step out of Max Evans safe and rational little bubble that you don’t even care? Let me tell you something, Maxwell Phillip Evans, I am sick and tired of being rational and walking through life not being able to feel and experience anything! I’m tired of living vicariously through Maria and Alex’s love lives and being numb. Max, I want to feel,” I said almost breaking down into tears. My hands were still on my hips, but my body was shaking; I’m not sure whether this was due to anger or fear of what might come out of my mouth next. Max wasn’t even looking at me, he was looking at my patterned Oriental rug.

“Liz, I didn’t mean it like that. I just don’t want to go into this suddenly or casually or…”
“What the hell are you talking about, suddenly or casually? We’ve been together since or sophomore year of high school and we’re now juniors in college, how is that sudden? And what makes you think this is something casual? Do you think that this is something I’ve casually thought about for the past damn near 5 years or that I’ve been casually in love with you for this long? God, Max.”

I hop off the couch and walk to the kitchen, leaving Max in a daze. I am so furious with him, this whole conversation that I don’t know what to do. But I’m not done.

“You know what, Max? It’s fine if you don’t want to make love to me, but don’t fool yourself by trying to blame it on disease or being irrational. This is about you being scared and not wanting to take a chance.” I walked from the kitchen and stood in front of him. “Why can’t you see how much I love you and how happy this would make both of us?” I ask as I stroke his jaw.

“I’m sorry, Liz. I just ca…”
“Get out.”
“But Liz…”
“There are no buts here, but yours walking out the door. Now get out!!!”

Max picked up his jacket…**

“…and he left Maria. He left,” I sobbed into my hands. I felt my best friend’s arms wrap around my shoulders and pull me closer to her.

“I’m sorry, chica. I’ve been babbling on and on about me and Michael that I didn’t even notice how much pain you were in.” Maria thought for a second. “There has to be some explanation for this, though. I mean, all guys want to do it, that’s like the definition of being a guy,” she said and I began to giggle. Leave it to Maria to make me laugh at a time like this. “But seriously,” she began after we had quieted down, “do you want me to have Michael talk to him and find out what the deal is?”

“No,” I said shaking my head fiercely. “I think we both just need some time to cool off. I think I’ll head back to the dorm now, it’s getting kinda late.” I stand up and hug her. “Thanks for listening,” I whisper.
“Anytime, chica. Anytime,” she whispers back….

I remember walking back to the dorm, petrified. What if the man I had loved for the past 5 years of my life left me? What if I had crossed the line with my little speech? Regret is a bitch sometimes. Memories of us in high school, at the beach, at amusement parks, snuggled up on my couch. They all flooded my mind as I approached my front door. Sighing I took out my keys, unlocked the door, and opened it. I turned on the lights to find Max sitting on my sofa. I screamed bloody murder, and jumped into the wall, nearly giving myself a concussion.

“What are you doing here?” He wouldn’t answer me, he would only stare at the blank TV screen. “Max?” Nothing. “After almost scaring me to death, the least you could do is talk to me.”

“You were right.” He looked up at me. “You were right when you said I was scared. Liz, you are the best thing that has ever happened to me, and I would die if anything ever happened to you. You have to understand that my life’s joy is making you happing, and that I would do anything for you.”

“If that’s the case then why are you so opposed to us making love?” I asked. He motioned for me to sit down.

“It’s not that I’m opposed to us having sex, it’s just that I’m afraid. You are so perfect to me and I would never want to do anything to hurt you. The first time we make love, I want it to be special, perfect. I guess I’m just afraid that I would be inadequate and that you wouldn’t be happy wi…”

He never finished his statement, because I wouldn’t let him. Yes, little Liz Parker attacked big strong max Evans. He didn’t know it, but by just showing up he had proved that he was about my happiness and that he truly loved me. He didn’t have to say another word. We barely made it to the bedroom when we lost all control. Clothes were flying in every direction, and by the time we go t the bed I was ready to explode.

“I love you, Liz Parker,” he said in between kisses. “You belong to me just as I belong to you and nothing will ever change that. I’m not scared anymore, because I know that as long as we love each other, there is nothing we can’t overcome, handle or fix. I love you so much…” And with that we became one.*

“Miss Parker?” the receptionist called out. I was snapped out of my trance at the sound of my name.

“Yes?” I replied as I made my way from my seat to her desk.
“I take it that you have already spoken to Dr. Wright?”

I nod affirmatively.

“Okay, so do I need to get him so he can write you a prescription for the prenatal vitamins?” she inquired.

“Um, no. We set up an appointment to terminate the pregnancy next week,” I whispered with tears in my eyes……

Part 2

I can’t let Max find out about this, I just can’t. See I know him so well by now that I know what he’ll say before the words even come out of his mouth. “Liz, it’ll be okay. We can do this as long as we’re together. I love you, and I want you to be the mother of my kids, whether it’s now or in the future.” I think about this as I walk down the busy New York street that’s leading me back to my dorm. Don’t get me wrong, I love Max with all my heart and I am blessed beyond belief to have him in my life. However, I have to face reality, and at this point reality states that I am a 21 year old woman living of the full scholarship my financial aid provides with just enough money for a Top Ramen dinner every other night. Is this sufficient means to raise a child by? I think not. I remember the struggles my parents had raising me, and they were two married adults with jobs.

Ahh, my parents. I can just feel and see the disappointment in their eyes. What parent wants to hear that their only child who is unmarried and still in school is now pregnant? Oh yeah, did I mention that I’m the only child in my entire family who has ever made it to a four-year college and actually had a shot at graduating? Oh yeah, my life is stress free.

As I walk up the steps to my dorm, I can’t help but to think that there is something I have forgotten to do. I pause in front of my door trying to remember, but when it doesn’t come to me I move to unlock the door. Pushing my way through the door, I’m assaulted by an enticing aroma when I walk into the living room. Max is here, and he’s cooking. Damn. Let the show begin.

“Hi Max,” I say casually as I make my way into the kitchen. I kiss him and move back quickly before he tries to deepen the kiss or I begin to cry whichever comes first. I turn around and head to the bedroom to change my clothes.

“How was your day?” he calls.
“Fine,” I answer.
“So what did you do today? Anything interesting or important?”

Oh shit. What’s that supposed to mean? I put on some sweat pants and look for a shirt as I think of something to say.

“Uh, I had some errands to run, no biggie,” I say, all the while thinking, “I actually was determining the fate of the unborn child I’m carrying.” Where the hell are my socks?

“You should have told me,” he whispered suddenly coming up behind me. “I would have come with you.”
“Max, you scared me half to death! I swear, you must get a kick out of giving me premature grays,” I say socking him in the chest.

I don’t dare look into his eyes, knowing that I’ll be pulled in and confess where I had been earlier this afternoon. Instead, I turn back around and continue on the hunt for my socks. I begin to walk to the dresser when I feel Max pull me backwards into his chest. His hands linger on my waist.

“You know I love you, right?” Where is this coming from?
“Yes, Max,” I say still staring straight ahead.
“And you know I would never hurt you?” At this point his hands slide down across my stomach and remain there. Shit, he knows. I don’t know how, but he does. I don’t trust myself to speak so I just nod. “Liz, you are my heart’s desire. I know we don’t have the perfect relationship and things happen, but I want you to know that through the good and the bad, the planned and the unexpected, I will stand by you and love you.” He then pressed a kiss to my right temple and let go of my stomach. “Dinner’s ready,” he added, and with that walked out my bedroom.

A tear slipped down my face. Then another. Then two. ‘Stop crying,’ I think to myself, but it doesn’t work. I run to the bathroom and turn the water in the sink on, hoping the sound will drown out some of my sobs. I’m so hysterical that I’m almost in a rage. I want to kick the tub and tear down the shower curtain, but instead I just rinse my face and blow my nose. I’m about to throw my tissue in the wastebasket and then I notice something: my once full wastebasket is now empty. If I didn’t empty it, and I know I didn’t since that’s what I forgot to do today, that could only mean… “Oh my God.”

I walk out the bathroom to find Max sitting on the couch with the TV on. As I approach him from behind, I notice that he really isn’t watching TV, but rather seems to be fascinated with something on the coffee table. As I come around the couch, he begins to speak.

“Dr. Wright’s office called ad said they had to move your appointment back another week, but your pre procedure consultation is still in three days.”

Whatever had been resting on the coffee table in now resting in his hands.

“You want to tell me what’s going on, Liz?” he asks softly, his amber eyes now staring intently at me

Then I see what he’s holding in his hands: it’s my positive pregnancy test. Oh shit…

Part 3

‘He knows.’ My mind can’t comprehend anything else except for that one thought. ‘Max knows I’m pregnant, oh my God. Say something, Liz.’

“You know I peed on that stick you’re holding, right?” I say trying to lighten the mood.

He looked up and just stared at me. Okay, maybe not.

“So you’re pregnant, Liz?” I don’t look up, I don’t speak. If I acknowledge that I am pregnant then that means I’m going to have to face reality, and my reality includes Max knowing I’m pregnant. “Were you ever gonna tell me?” Silence. “Damn it, Liz, answer me!” he screamed.

Max never yells at me, never. Usually, I’m the emotional one. The one who curses and breaks things and cries hysterically. Max is the rock of the relationship, the strong calm one. I’ve never seen him this way, and knowing that I’m the one who has provoked him to anger scares the crap out of me.

“What do you want me to say, Max? Huh? Just tell me and I’ll say it,” I reply quietly, glancing up at him. “Do you want me to tell you I’m pregnant? Fine, Max, I’m pregnant. I’m pregnant and I’m scared to death! Anything else you want to know?”

“Why are you so scared? We will take care of this situation and I will take care of all of us. I love you, Liz and I am not going to walk away from you during a time like this. Why are you so worried?”

“How could you ask why I am worried? Let me see. We are both 21, and still in college. We have no real source of income, and we’re living in New York City, one of the most expensive places to live in the United States. We have no car, no house, and no real assets. In short, we have nothing, Max,” I end.

“Yes we do, Liz. We have something that you haven’t even thought about?”
“And what’s that?”

The look on his face is so sincere that I want to cry, and I do. My face is in my hands, and Max is kneeling in front of me. He’s trying to pull my hands from my face so I can look at him, and finally I let down my guard.

“Liz, do you remember what I told you right before the first time we made love?” I nod affirmatively. “I meant every word then and I still do. As long as we love each other, there is nothing that we can’t handle or overcome. You need to know something else.” He pulls me off the couch and onto the floor and in his lap. “I have always wanted you to be the mother of my children, you and no one else. Sure, this pregnancy may have come at an inopportune time, but ultimately this is what I have always wanted. I’ve always wanted to marry and have kids with you. Always,” he said as he gently stroked my back trying to calm me down. “I’ve always known we’d have a family together. It’s our destiny.”

He almost had me, I swear he did. I have to be rational, it’s the only way I’ll stick with my decision.

“No Max,” I say crawling from his lap and standing up. “My destiny is to become a molecular biologist, which is why I’m at this university. My destiny is to have a successful career and be happy, not someone’s unwed single mother. I have a plan, Max and I need to stick to it, just like you need to stick to yours. We made a mistake, but we can fix it. Just let me ----“

“Are you going to kill our baby?” He said it so quietly that I almost didn’t hear him. I can’t even speak. He shocked me into silence.

With tears in his eyes, he crawled to me on his hands and knees and then sat up on his knees. He wrapped his arms around my waist, buried his face into my stomach, and began to speak.

“Please, Liz, don’t do this. We’ll work it out, I swear. I’ll do whatever it takes to keep us happy, just please don’t do this…”

“Max…” The tears in my eyes that have been threatening to spill over just did.

“Please don’t kill our child. Please don’t kill our child…” He is sobbing now and repeating these five words as his own personal mantra. ‘What am I doing to this man?’ I think as tears continue to slide down my cheeks and my body shakes with sobs.


“Please don’t kill my baby, Liz. Just please don’t kill my baby…”

“Max.” He finally looks up from my stomach, wrapping his arms around my waist even tighter. I feel so broken as I look at the tears streaming down his face. I know that what I say next is going to be the death of him, but I have to do it.

“Max, I don’t know if this baby is your child…”

Part 4

I have just killed the man I love. The pain and confusion that is etched across his face…I can’t even put into words what I see. I want to yell “See, that’s why I didn’t want to tell you”, but I don’t. I may be crazy, but not that crazy. He loosens his arms from around my waist, but doesn’t completely let me go.

“Liz, what are you talking about?” Why is he doing this, why is he torturing himself and me?

“I’m not sure this baby is yours,” I whisper feeling like scum.

Max completely releases his hold on me, and stands up. He moves to sit on the couch, but when he sees my positive pregnancy test he suddenly turns and heads towards the love seat that is against the wall. The silence is deafening, until he finally speaks.

“Liz, you don’t have to do this.”
“Do what?”
“Lie to me. I know you inside and out, and I know that you would never sleep with another man, I know you’re scared, hell I’m scared too, but please don’t lie to me.”

I can’t do this anymore, I can’t stand here and let him believe the lie that is the perfect little Liz Parker. I cannot keep up this charade any longer, it’s a wonder that I have for the past tow months. I have to tell him the truth now before I lose my nerve.

“Max, there’s something I need to tell you. Something you’re not gonna like.”
“Please Max, just let me explain.” I look out the window, and see it’s snowing. I sigh and move to the couch to sit down. I’m about to begin when Max interrupts me.

“Whatever you have to say, just say it. I promise I won’t love you any less.” That remains to be seen.

I’m beginning to lose my nerve again so I try to begin. The thing is there is no real way to start with what I have to tell him.

“Okay, Max. Just know that I love you. I always have and I always will.” Not the best beginning, but it will have to do. He nods and I see some vigor and life come back into his eyes, maybe even a little hope. “You remember the last Girls Night Out Isabel, Maria, and I had?” Max nodded again and a faint smile graced his lips. “Well it actually never happened…”

*October 9, 2004
Isabel, Maria, and I were supposed to be going out since none of us had really had time to hang out since school started. It was 2 days after Max and I had made love (quite a few times, actually) and I was ready to celebrate my new non-virginal status with some good old-fashioned girl talk. Max had gone to Boston to visit a friend for some Future Lawyers of America meeting, and decided to stay over until the next day. I was all set to go out with my girls when the phone rang. It was Isabel.

“Liz, don’t hate me, but I gotta cancel tonight. Alex just called and said he was flying in tonight. I’m going to pick up and then…”
“It’s okay, Iz. Just tell him I said hey, and we’ll do something tomorrow.”
“Thanks Liz, you’re the best,” and with that she hung up.

I couldn’t even be mad at Isabel, because I know if Max would’ve called saying he was coming back, I would have cancelled too. Besides, I was still going out with Maria, right?

“Chica, I can’t go out tonight,” Maria said crying. Wrong.
“What’s the matter, Ria? Why are you crying?”
“Me and Spaceboy had a fight. I mean, it’s only been 2 days. You would think that there would be nothing to fight about. I hate his ass so much sometimes,” she sobbed.
“Well do you want me to come over? Or do you want to come over here?” I offered.
“No, it’s okay. I think I’ll just stay here and mourn.”
“You sure?”
“Okay, well I’ll call you in the morning. Bye.”

Damn it. While I felt sorry for Maria, I felt sorry for myself too. There I was, all dressed up and ready to celebrate my non-virginity, and no one could come out and play. After pacing around my living room for about 5 minutes, I quickly made a decision. Grabbed my coat and keys, and walked out the door. The night was mine for the taking and I was going to celebrate like my life depended on it.

I made my way to Club Indigo, the newest and hottest hip hop/salsa/dance club in the city. I hadn’t even gotten in yet, but I could feel the bass running through my body. Once in, I made a quick stop at the bar to get my customary rum and coke, and headed to the dance floor. I don’t even remember what song was playing, all I know is that everyone on the dance floor had picked up the song’s vibe and soon I was grooving along with them. Sometimes I was dancing by myself, sometimes I was dancing within a little group of people. T didn’t matter, because I was having the time of my life.

I was coming away from the bar with my second rum and coke after having taken 3 tequila shots (hey, they were free at midnight) when suddenly I felt it. There was this presence that just seemed to draw me to the dance floor. It’s like I could almost hear this presence saying “Liz, come to me. Babe, I’m standing here waiting for you, just like you’ve been waiting for me.” I shook my head to clear my thoughts and continued to walk to the dance floor. The DJ had just went into an old school mix and I heard Missy’s “One Minute Man” coming through the speakers. Raising both my hands in recognition, I began to sway my hips to the beat, and bounce along with the bass line.
“One minute, two minutes, three minutes. Hell naw, to please me you got to sleep in it,” I sang along.

“Is that right?” a male voice whispered into my ear. It was him, it was the presence.

I turned around to say something smart, but suddenly I froze. Standing in front of me was a real life Adonis. Now I love Max with all me heart, but I am not blind. The man standing in front of me was beautiful in every sense of the word. He was handsome in a street-smart type of way with crazy hair and a lop sided grin. He had smooth skin that was peppered with sparse facial hair, and a body that any woman would want to lick. But I think the part of him that left me speechless was his eyes. Any other person would have just seen plain brown eyes, but not me. I saw cocoa pools with flecks of gold, framed by beautiful long lashes. I didn’t want to do anything, couldn’t do anything but drink the sight of this man up and drown in his eyes.

We stood there in silence staring at each other for minutes, but it felt like hours. Finally he pulled me into his well-defined arms, and we began to dance. I don’t remember how long I was on that dance floor, I only remember being in ecstasy. His hands traveled down my arms, up my thighs, through my hair, across my middle, on my face. Anywhere he could feel bare skin, he touched. I wanted to stop him, but I couldn’t. I didn’t want to. His touch was so damn familiar, yet it wasn’t. It was like my body and heart knew him, but my mind did not. Suddenly my mind began to register that the lights were on, people were walking out, and it was time to go.

“Come on. Let’s go get your coat so I can take you home,” he said.

Still caught up in my liquor haze, I did as I was told and was ushered out the club. He tucked me under his arm, and we moved through the city streets quickly. All the while we walked, we never spoke, just glanced at each other and smiled. It wasn’t until we were standing in front of my dorm that my tongue finally began to work.

“How did you know where I live?” I may have been drunk, but not that drunk.
“Lucky guess,” he smirked, pointing towards my right wrist. Attached to my wrist was the small see through plastic pouch that contained my keys, money and ID. Yeah, I’m a dork.

I threw my head back and opened my mouth to laugh, but nothing came out, because before I knew it my mouth had been covered by his. I remember the way his tongue massaged my own, and the feel of his lips. I remember him running his fingers through my hair and gently pulling on my lower lip with his teeth. I remember feeling loved and wanted and special and desired by this man. I remember wanting to have an orgasm on the spot.

After he broke the kiss, I breathlessly asked, ”You want to come up for a while?” He raise his right eyebrow (did I just see something shine up there in the moonlight?), licked his lips, and nodded affirmatively. We walked to my room with purpose, unlocked the door, and let ourselves inside. I let my coat fall to the floor and kicked off my shoes, as I stared at him while he sat down. Then I heard it, that voice. ‘What would Max think about this?’ I hurried to the kitchen to calm myself down. In all the time I had been dancing, singing and kissing this man, I hadn’t thought about Max once. ‘But wait, all I did was dance with him and he’s the one that kissed me,’ I rationalized. I had done nothing wrong, and would do nothing wrong. I was in control of the situation.

“You want something to drink? I’ve got water, soda, milk ju---“

He kissed away my good hostess routine; damn, I hadn’t even heard him walk into the kitchen.

“No thanks, I got all I need right here,” he whispered into my mouth. He had me pinned up against the refrigerator, and had lifted me off the floor. My legs involuntarily wrapped around his waist and my arms around his neck. He began to slide the spaghetti straps of my tank top down and kissed a path from my left ear lobe, down my neck, and onto my chest.

‘I need to stop this,’ I think. ‘This is so wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong…’ Then I feel his right hand sliding up my thigh, higher and even higher still…

“Oh shit,” I whisper into his hair as I feel the gentle massage he’s began against the special bunch of nerves under my skirt. I know I should stop him, but I can’t. More importantly, I don’t want to. I just want to feel everything he has to offer. I want to live, breathe, and feel this man. This man.

“Who are you?” I moan as he plays with and caresses my nipple with his tongue and teeth.
“I’m the man that you’ve wanted, needed and been waiting for, but have denied for so long,” and with that he carried me to my bedroom…*

I haven’t looked at Max since I started talking, I’m scared of what I might find. There is nothing but silence filling the room. I dare to look up at his face. No longer are there tears in Max’s eyes, only anger and recognition. Anger because I cheated on him; recognition because he knows I’m telling the truth. His fists are balled up at his sides, and his mouth is a tight straight line. His nostrils keep flaring, and I honestly believe I see steam rising from his ears. For the first time in my life, I’m scared of Max Evans. I would’ve laughed at that thought if the situation hadn’t been so serious.

“So I see you got to celebrate after all.” A tear coursed down his face, an angry one.
“Max, it wasn’t even like th---“
“I don’t wanna hear shit you have to say so save it!!” he yelled.

I can’t even be mad at him for yelling at me. I deserve to have him yell at me and curse me out. Hell I deserve to have him pick me up and throw me down a flight of stairs. I’m a bitch, plain and simple. An ungrateful, selfish, inconsiderate---
“So does this mystery man have a name, or did you even care?” he spat at me.
“His name is Zan,” I whispered. Bitch, oh yeah, that’s what I am.

Part 5

Max has lost his mind. After I told him that Zan was the one I made love to, he took one look at me and laughed until he cried. This situation was getting harder and harder to deal with by the moment.

“Did I miss something here? What the hell is so funny, Max?”

He takes one look at me, and starts laughing again. Remember when I said I was scared before? I have now moved into the land of petrified. At this very moment my heart is beating so hard in my chest I think it’s going to explode. Anger, yelling, and tears I can take. Laughter, oh hell no.

“Zan, as in my dupe?” I nod. “Liz, he’s dead. He’s been dead for a long time now,” he says wiping his eyes.
“Are you calling me a liar? Damn it, Max, if I told you I made love to Zan, then I did. I don’t have to make shit like this up!” I yell.
“Made love to Zan?” he questions. The anger is back and in full force, I can see it in his eyes. “You think one night of anonymous sex with some strange man qualifies as making love? No, no, no. Sweetheart, let me tell you what you had. You had a quick, cheap fuck; nothing more, nothing less. You gave yourself to a second rate version of me in a heated moment of passion, and now you don’t know who your baby’s father is.” He’s now standing right in front of me, looking me dead in the eyes. “You’re no better than the whores I see on Jerry Springer.”

I stand face to face with Max, and let everything he has just said sink in. First, he called me a liar by saying that I never slept with Zan. Why would I lie about that? I mean, does he really think that I need this type of complication in my life? It’s bad enough to be in my reality and be pregnant; does he think I would add another man in the equation just for kicks? Next, he basically calls me a whore to my face. I look at the man I’ve been in love with for five years, and take in all his features. I memorize his dark brown hair, his darker brown eyes, and his cute little nose. I stare at his out of this world ears and his kissable mouth. I think about the intimacies we’ve shared, the words of love expressed, and the love we’ve made over he past two months. I think about all the time that we’ve spent together, whether it was in high school, the Crashdown, his jeep, or my dorm. And then I do the only thing I know to do.

I knock the shit out of him with my right fist, and watch him fall to the floor.

“Who the hell do you think you are, Max Evans?” I scream.
“Liz, I think you broke my---“
“First of all, don’t you ever in your earthly life think about disrespecting me again. I swear if that if you do I will kill you and tell God you died,” I say menacingly. “Second, don’t you ever call me a liar again. If I said that Zan and I made love, then that’s what we did. Don’t ever think about comparing the poking and prodding that you did to Zan’s skill. He is hardly second rate, in fact I’m beginning to believe that he’s the true king of Antar.”

I want to stop, but my tongue won’t let me, it has a mind of it’s own. Contrary to what I’ve just said, Max is a fabulous lover, but he has pissed me off so bad that I think his ego needs to suffer. I take a look at him and see that my plan is working. He begins to get up and move towards the door.

“I know I was out of line for what I said earlier, and I’m sorry,” he whispered with his head down. “I love you with all my heart and gave you all I could, but right now I just…I don’t know. I can’t do this right now, Liz. I just can’t.” He opened the door and stood at the doorway. He’s looking at me as if he wants to say something, but no words come out; there is so much sadness in his eyes. After staring at me like he would never see me again, Max closed the door, and I heard his footsteps fade as he walked down the hall.

I’ve been sitting here for the past 20 minutes, just staring out the window; it’s still snowing. How did things get so messed up? I’m 21 years old and pregnant. At this point in time, both of the baby’s possible fathers are not speaking to me, wither by choice or by circumstance. I honestly don’t think that this situation could get anymore complicated. I get up from the couch, put Max’s untouched dinner in the fridge, and go to my room. I don’t even take a shower, I just take off my sweat pants and fall in the bed. I can’t cry anymore, my tears are all gone at this point. I don’t even want to think anymore, I just close my eyes and fall asleep…

Who the hell is this knocking on my door so damn early? I look over at the clock on my bed table and see it’s…1:00pm? Have I been asleep that long? I hear the knock on my door again. Getting out the bed, I stumble over the sweat pants I was wearing the night before as I make my way to the door.

“Just a minute,” I call out. I wipe the sleep out of my eyes and fling open the door.

“Morning, babe.” Zan.

Good morning, complication.

Part 6

Zan is standing at my door, and it looks like he brought food. Zan is standing at my door, looking good as all outdoors. He’s wearing a white button down dress shirt with three of the buttons open, and black Calvin Klein slacks. I look further down and see that he’s wearing…Kenneth Cole loafers? His once unruly hair is now pulled back into a ponytail Tom Cruise “Magnolia” style, and his facial hair is perfectly trimmed. Wait a second, this isn’t Zan at my door; it’s a male model for Gucci.

“So are you gonna let me in or are we gonna stare at each other for the rest of the day?” he smirks, awakening me from my daze.

“Um, yeah. Uh, come in,” I murmur. I step aside so he can walk in.
“I didn’t know whether you had eaten or not so I bought you a croissant and some hot chocolate,” he says as he takes a seat at my kitchen table.

I’m still standing at the door, just staring at this man who has already made himself at home. ‘How is this possible? How is this all happening?’ I think to myself. I thought I would never see him again, and here he is in my kitchen. Shock won’t even cover what I’m feeling right now.

“Why don’t you come in here, and take a load off,” he says looking at me. Zan is staring at me like I’m his last meal, and his gaze is pulling me in like a tractor beam. I don’t even remember walking, but I sit down and continue to stare at him intently. To say that this man mesmerizes me would be an understatement. He breaks his gaze and looks down at the table while folding and unfolding his hands.

“I know you probably thought the night we shared would be the only one of it’s kind,” he says in a low husky voice. He’s fiddling with the silver rings on his fingers. “But I can’t lie, babe. What we shared that night was more than I could have ever asked for in life. I remember seeing you in the club dancing, and I knew that I wanted you. I can’t explain it, but I had to have you, and not just sexually. There was something that made me want to own and possess all of you. Wasn’t no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Then later that night when you let me walk you home, and I kissed you…it was like I knew you already. My body knew you, and so did my soul and heart. And when we made love…” I see a blush creep over his cheeks and the tips of his ears. “I ain’t never felt more complete in my life. For the first time in my life, I felt whole. The sky could have fallen, or a taxi could have hit my ass later that day, but all would have still been right with the world. You did that for me, babe.”

For the tenth time in the past 2 days, I cried, but not from sadness. His words were like a catalyst; with each word he spoke, it’s like something started to wake up inside of me in a place I never knew existed. My tears this time around are like a release.

“Babe, the way I feel about you I have never felt for another woman. The past two months have been like hell, I’ve missed you so much. I know you probably think I’m shitting you, but I’m not. For the past two months I’ve felt like a part of me was dying from not being able to see you. I even went back to the club every night over these past two months just to look for you so I could tell you how I felt. I know that showing up here was unexpected and sudden, but I couldn’t help it. I can’t hold in what I feel for you any longer. Liz, I’m in love with you, babe.” He takes a chance, and looks up from the table. Even though I’m crying, he must see the happiness in my eyes because he continues. “I know that what I said must come as a shock to you and this is sudden, but I can’t lie to myself any longer and pretend that I don’t feel anything at the mere thought of you. I don’t know if you feel anything for me or what the future may have in store for us. I do know that I want a chance to show you everything that’s in my heart and prove to you that my words and actions are sincere.” Zan stands up and walks in front of me. He then holds out his hand to me. “Will you give me the chance to love you, babe?”

I do the only thing, the only rational and logical thing I know how to do.

“Yes, Zan. I’ll give you a chance.” I take his hand and stand up, but just as soon as we had clasped hands, he drops mine and proceeds to stare at me in awe.

“You’re pregnant with my son.”

Now this may sound odd, but in the 5 to 10 minutes that he had been talking, I actually hadn’t even thought about being pregnant. It’s like that reality had ceased to exist. Suddenly, I’m very afraid. ‘Is this pregnancy going to make him want to retract everything he just said?’ I think. ‘Is he going to react like Max?’

A slow but steady smile begins to emerge. “Babe, you’re pregnant with my son.” Zan begins to laugh, and pulls me into his arms for one of the most loving kisses that I’ve ever experienced. After I broke the kiss I could only stare at him. Zan, the man who came into my life and turned it upside down. Zan the man.

“Your son? It’s a little early to know that isn’t it?”
“He damn sure ain’t Max’s kid.”
“Max? How the hell do you know---“
“Hey, hey, hey! Watch your tongue, my kid doesn’t need to hear all that,” he says placing his left index finger over my mouth and smiling. “I know about Max the same way I know about you, I saw everything when we made love that night.”
“Yes, babe, everything.” He smiles when he sees the look of terror on my face. “Just chill, it’s cool. All that stuff happened before me.”
“But how do you know the baby is yours?” Damn it, I’m crying again.
“Because he told me he was mine,” he says simply. “When I touched you, the baby made his presence known. It’s like we can sense each other.” Zan just shrugged and smiled.
“When Max touched me, he didn’t say anything about the baby…”
“The baby don’t know him, he knows me. I’m his father,” Zan speaks proudly. “Let me show you something, babe.” He sinks down to his knees and puts his hand on my stomach. He then begins to speak. “Hey you, it’s your old man. I can’t wait to see you. You been a good boy for mommy, huh? Why don’t you say hi for us?”

Then the most incredible thing happened. I felt my unborn child respond to his father. I’m not talking about kicking; it was more like bubbles floating around in my lower abdomen. Now any other time I would have dismissed this as gas or indigestion, I couldn’t this time. The energy behind the moving in my stomach was unreal.

“Daddy loves you so much.” He plants a kiss on my stomach. “Don’t you ever forget it,” he whispers taking his hand off my stomach. And just as soon as the motion had started, it stopped. “Max can’t do that, only me,” he says standing up. Is that fatherly pride I see in his eyes?

“Why don’t you go get dressed so I can take you out to something to eat?” he suggests while dusting off his pants.
“But I have so many things I want to a---“
“I promise that if you go get dressed and get some food with me that I will answer every question you have to ask.”

I nod and he kisses me on my forehead. I’m walking towards my room when I stop to look back at him. He standing in the exact same spot that I left him in and he’s staring at me.

“It’s okay, babe. I’ll be here when you’re done. I promise. I’ll never leave you alone again unless you want me to.”

Part 7

This is all a dream, it has to be. Zan has just professed his love for me and my unborn child. Our unborn child. I don't know what to do anymore. I was so sure that terminating this pregnancy was the right thing to do for everyone, but now I’m not so sure. I rinse the shampoo from my hair, and turn off the shower. With a towel wrapped around my body, I make my way back to my bedroom and put on some clothes. I keep my makeup as natural as possible, and then walk into the living room. Zan is sitting on the couch attentively waiting for me to come back. He stands when I enter the room.

“Ready, gorgeous?” he asks. I blush, and nod. “Aight, let’s go.” We leave my room, and he leads me to a 2001 Honda Accord Coupe. It’s beautiful to say the least.

“This you?” I ask with raised eyebrows.
“I’m jealous,” I say when he opens the door. The smell of leather hits my nose before I even sit down.
“Don’t be. I pay the note and insurance every month.” I laugh and he closes my door.
“So where are we going?”
“You like Thai food?”
“Love it.”
“Well I guess that’s where we’re going huh?” He grins wickedly. I just roll my eyes and laugh.

As we drive to the restaurant, I can’t help but to stare at Zan. He just looks so much like Max, but at the same time he was so different. Max. Once again I’ve been so caught up in my Zan haze that I hadn’t even thought about him until now. Even though he acted like an ass, I can’t help but to wonder what he’s doing right now, and I shiver at the thought.

“Babe, you cold? Want me to turn the heater up?” It stopped snowing earlier, but it’s still cold as hell. The concern in his eyes moves me. He reaches for my hand and gently strokes the back of my knuckles with the pad of his thumb.

“I’m fine, Zan. I’m actually just wondering what’s up with your clothes. When I met you, I thought you were a long lost member of the Sex Pistols. Now you look like you’re about to strut down the catwalk for Gucci or Armani. A little drastic don’t you think?”

He laughs, and it’s the most beautiful sight and sound that I’ve ever taken in. His whole face lights up, and the sound itself is far more beautiful than any music I have ever heard played.

“Let me ask you something, Liz. Which look did you like better?”
“I like both,” I say shyly. I start to blush.
“Fine, then. I can compromise.” With that statement, he gently touches his hand to his eyebrow, labret, and both ears. Where there was once nothing now contains hoops, rings, and studs of all shapes and sizes. “Better?”
“How did you---“
“One of the perks of not being from around here,” he replies winking at me. We stop at a red light. “Come here, I wanna show you something.” He leans in close and just when I think he’s gonna kiss me, he licks my bottom lip instead, revealing his tongue ring. I must have moaned unconsciously, because when I open my eyes he’s smiling at me. “I knew you’d like that” he smirks and takes off as the light turns green.

“So you never did answer my question about the clothes” I begin. My hormones are on fire, and I’m trying to calm myself. This man is going to be the death of me.

“These are my work clothes,” he replies. “They suck, but I gotta wear them. My job isn’t too fond of my accessories, so I dim them everyday before I go to work.”
“You, work?”
“Morgan Stanley Dean Witter.”
“You’re shitting me.”
“I shit you not. Come on, we’re here.”

Zan opens my car door and leads me inside. After taking our seats in the most private corner of the restaurant, I begin my interrogation.

“How’s that, Max is only 21.”
“Our pods were sent 3 years earlier.”
“Oh, okay. Why aren’t you dead?” I don’t mean to blurt it out like that, but that’s the way it comes out. I look down at the table, embarrassed.

“Babe, it’s okay, you were going to find out sooner than later. After Rath and Lonnie pushed me out in front of that truck and it hit me, I was supposed to have died. They never counted on me being able to heal myself, though.” Anger is in his eyes, and venom is in his voice. “During the process of healing myself, I was found by a couple who took me home and led me to a speedy recovery. They found out that I had no family, and since I was only 16 at the time they adopted me. Now keep in mind that these people don’t know me from jack, but they fed me, clothed me, helped me graduate from high school on time. I mean, they loved me and took care of me. They even gave me their name.” His voice had softened a couple notches.

“And what name would that be?” I ask. Where is our damn server? We’ve been sitting here for 20 minutes and no one has even walked past our table. Do I need to start jumping up and down screaming “Feed me I’m pregnant”?

“Well then they initially found me and tried to get my information, I could only tell them my name was Zan. From that came the name Alexander, and I took their last name which is Evans.” I gasp and stare at him.

“What’s wrong, sweets?”
“Max’s last name is Evans,” I whisper. He takes my hands in his and kisses them.
“Well I guess you were destined to be Mrs. Evans, huh?” He smiles at me and I melt. Right then our server chooses to show up.

After our orders are taken, we continue to talk. As it turns out, Zan attended and graduated from NYU 2 years ago, and has been working at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter ever since. I tell him of my ambitions of becoming a molecular biologist, and my fears of not doing so. When I mention this, Zan laughs and says “Babe, if I have to be Mr. Mom so you can finish school, then so be it.” And then we talk about Max. I should be more guarded, more careful about what I say, but what’s the point? Zan has seen everything already. One thing I notice about Zan while we talk about Max is that he never verbally judges or chastises him. He may smile, grunt, or draw his mouth into a tight line, but he never says anything negative.

Soon our meal is over and Zan is taking me home. When we get to my dorm, he walks me to my room.

“You want to come in?” I ask.
“No.” I frown.
“Okay, well thanks for lunch.” I turn to open the door but Zan stops me.
“It’s not that I don’t want to come in. Let’s just say I can’t. I meant what I said earlier. I want to do right by you, and right now the honorable and sincere thing for me to do is not to come inside,” he says and smiles that lop sided smile at me.

Before I can respond, I’m being kissed and it’s the most natural feeling in the world between the two of us. He breaks away and places a hand on my stomach.

“Bye baby. Daddy will be back soon, I love you.” The bubbles are back, but when he takes his hand away they’re gone again. “I’ll call you later, okay?” I nod and he kisses me again. “Bye babe.”

I watch him as he walks down the hall, and when I can’t see him anymore, I hurry into my room. I pick up the phone and begin dialing. It’s about 4:00.

“Uh, yes. This is Liz Parker, and I had an appointment with Dr. Wright for not this week, but next week. I want to cancel…”

Part 8

It’s been a couple of days since Zan and I had lunch. True to his word, he called me later on that night, and then he came to see me two days straight after he got off work. We’ve been getting to know each other, and I can honestly say that the more I find out, the more I like. It’s not like we’ve gone anywhere or done anything ultra spectacular, but I must admit that just being with him is spectacular in and of itself. As I lay here across my bed, I ponder lots of things concerning me and the baby’s futures. A lot of things haven’t been totally worked out yet, but I know 2 things for sure: 1. Zan loves me and our child; and 2. I’m going to be a mommy.

I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the sound of that. I’m going to be somebody’s mother. There are no words to even express how that makes me feel. I wonder if this is the way my mother felt when she found out she was pregnant with me. My mother. Oh God, I still need to tell me mother, my father too for that matter. I haven’t even told my best friends yet. Might as well start with the lesser of the two evils, and gain momentum from there. I pick up the phone and call Maria, but get her answering machine. I decide to leave a message.

“Hey, Ria it’s Liz. It’s about 2:45. Uh, when you get a chance, call me back, because I need to talk to you about something very important. Better yet, just come over at 6:00. Oh, and bring Isabel with you. Don’t forget, it’s muy importante. All right, bye.”

I hang up the phone, and then look for something to do. Classes are officially over so that means one thing: I am bored out my mind. I don’t have any packing to do since I won’t be going back to Roswell for vacation; my parents are in Hawaii for the holidays. I would clean my room, but it’s already immaculate; who would have ever thought that Zan is a neat freak? I would cook, but I’m really not hungry. There’s nothing on TV at this time of day, and I would call Zan, but he’s at work. I look around the room and spot my exercise clothes in the corner. Exercise, now that’s an idea. Sure, I’ll be big as a house in a couple of months, but I might as well try to stay slim for as long as possible. I throw on my gym clothes, grab my water bottle, and run to the university’s rec. center.

Where did all this energy come from? I’ve been working out for almost 2 1/2 hours straight, and I’m still not tired. Let’s see, I’ve done cardio, the treadmill, weights, abs, and a step class. All I have to do is my cool down and then I can head back to my dorm so I can meet up with Maria and Isabel. I’m walking over to the cool down mats when suddenly I feel a sharp pain in my stomach. I stop, take a couple deep breaths, and the pain stops. ‘Must be from my ab work,’ I think and proceed to cool down. After I finish, I jog back to the dorm and take a shower. Just as I finish getting dressed, I hear a knock on the door. When I open it, there stand Isabel and Maria.

“Hey chica, what’s up,” Maria greets me as she walks in. Isabel files in behind her and takes a seat on my couch.

“What’s up, Liz? What’s the emergency? You know Alex is here and we were supposed to be going out tonight,” Isabel says twirling a piece of her long blonde hair around her finger.

“Okay. Well see, the thing is…um, how can I say this,” I babble. This is harder than I imagined.
“Just spit it out, chica. Beating around the bush is not very becoming on you,” Maria says.

I close my eyes and take a deep breath. Here we go. “You guys, I’m pregnant.”

I am met by silence, complete and total silence. I didn’t expect this to be easy, but I didn’t expect it o be this hard either. I stare at them, and in return they stare back at me. They look at each other, and Maria speaks first.

“Liz, are you sure you’re pregnant? Maybe this is just some kind of fluke or something. I mean maybe you’re just a couple of days that. Just because you’re late doesn’t necessarily mean you’re pregnant,” she babbles.
“I’ve taken 2 tests, and they both came out positive. I’m really pregnant,” I say. I smile at her, and she calms down a little.
“Well you’re taking this well,” Isabel replies. “What are you going to do?”
“I’m going to keep the baby.”
“Isabel, what are you thinking? Of course she and Max are going to keep the baby. If it’s a girl, her name will be Lizzie Jr., and if it’s a boy, he’ll be named Max Jr.,” Maria says smiling. Oh boy.

“Have you talked this over with my brother yet? I mean, I know this is your body and ultimately the decision is yours, but you need to understand that what you do affects Max, too,” Isabel shrieks. Stay calm, Liz, just stay calm. “You need to take some time and think about this. You can’t ruin his life because you made a mistake!”

“Wait a second, Isabel. Last time I checked, it took two people to create a baby, unless there have been some new developments in procreation that I missed out on,” Maria replies coming to my defense. “This mistake is both of theirs, not just Liz’s.”

“Oh, I beg to differ. Max told me all about how Liz was so anxious to have sex with him, and how she pretty much tricked him into the bed. He didn’t even want to do it, but Little Miss Hot in the Ass just had to rob him of his virginity!” Isabel yells while pointing at me.

“Now you wait just a damn minute, Isabel. I did not trick your brother into doing anything. If he didn’t want to make love to me, then he shouldn’t have been sitting here on my couch when I came home that day, talking about how I was so right about the direction our physical relationship needed to take! He shouldn’t have undressed me and gotten his ass in the bed if he wasn’t ready for that type of commitment! I didn’t force him to do shit!” I yell at Isabel, pointing my finger in her face. I am so angry, and I can feel my stomach muscles contracting. What’s going on with my stomach today?

“Guys, chill out. Especially you, Liz,” Maria warns.
“So you mean to tell me that you’re going to make my brother suffer and forfeit his future, because you don’t know how to practice safe sex? Why are you trying to play God, and force my brother to shoulder this responsibility?”
“I’m not trying to make him do anything, Isabel. Oh, and don’t worry about him shouldering this ‘responsibility’ because the baby isn’t his!” I scream.

It’s out. The truth is out. Once again I am met by silence. I see Maria sink down into the couch, and her head falls into her hands. She’s speechless, and that’s scary because Maria always has something to say.

“Oh my God…” I hear Maria murmur from the couch.
“Do you mean to tell me that this child isn’t even Max’s?” Isabel stares at me coldly.
“That’s exactly what I’m telling you,” I say and stare right back at her.
“You fucking slut!” she yells as she tackles me to the floor.

Now Isabel is about 6 inches taller than me and outweighs me by about 20 pounds, but make no mistake, I can give her a run for her money. As we roll across my living room floor, I distantly hear Maria screaming for us to stop and something about my pregnancy. Isabel now has me pinned to the floor, and is slapping and hitting me. I am desperately trying to flip her off me. I don’t know how long this went on, but suddenly I feel her weight being lifted off my body. When I look up from the floor, I see Maria standing by an open door and Zan holding Isabel against the wall. When did he get here? After she shook herself free from Zan’s grasp, Isabel walked back over to where I was sprawled out.

“You stay the hell away from me and my brother. You are nothing but a two-bit whore, and I curse the day we ever met you! Stay the hell away from my family!” she yells and with that she storms out of my dorm room.

I’m lying on the ground crying, not only because of the pain I feel in my body, but also because of the pain in my heart. I never expected Isabel to take the news lightly, but I also never saw this coming. I’ve just lost someone I thought was my friend.

“Baby, it’s okay. It’s gonna be alright, I promise,” Zan whispers as he cradles me in his arms. He picks me up and keeps me cradled against his chest.

“Are you gonna put her in the bed?” Maria asks Zan. When he nods, I begin to protest.
“No, I’m okay. Really, I’m---“
“Shh,” Zan says putting his finger over my lips. “You’re going to lay down and rest.”
“Maria, tell him---“
“He’s right, chica. You need to rest. I’m gonna make you some tea, and then you and me…” She points at Zan. “…Are gonna talk. You understand me, buddy?” she asks nodding at Zan. He nods back and smiles.

He carries me to my bed and gently lays me down. After tucking me under the covers, he gently strokes my face.

“It’s gonna be okay, babe. I’m here now, and I’m not gonna let anything happen to you. I’m just going to be in the living room with Maria, but if you need anything you just holler. I love you, and I promise I’ll make everything work out. I promise,” he whispered and kisses me on my forehead. As I drift into oblivion, the last thing I remember is the pain…

Part 9

I wake up and my room is pitch black. I have no idea how long I’ve been asleep, and it’s totally quiet. That is, until I hear Maria shriek and burst into giggles. Soon after I hear Zan laugh. I get out of bed and make my way into the living room. The sight in front of me is so absurd, so insane, so hilarious that I can’t help but to laugh.

Somehow Maria has convinced Zan to play dress up. Before I went to sleep she was blonde; now her hair is jet black with purple, blue, and red streaks. She has about 7 earrings in each ear, a lip ring, 2 nose rings, and a hoop hanging from her eyebrow. She’s looking into a hand mirror. I need a camera, because this is truly a Kodak moment.

“Hey, is it my turn now?” I ask from the entrance way laughing.
“Chica, you’re up! How are you feeling?” she says and smiles.
“Better actually.” I walk over to them and sit down. “What’s all this?” I ask pointing to Maria.
“What? You don’t like it?” she asks pretending to be offended. The look on her face is priceless.
“”Maria was just asking about what the chicks I used to go out with looked like,” Zan replies. He smiles. “I decided to show her rather than tell her.” He then touched his hand to all the piercings, and then her hair. “Better?” he asks me. She normal again.
“Much,” I reply and kiss him on the cheek.
“I will have you know that I am a goddess no matter what I look like,” Maria says standing up.

Zan moved closer to me and pulls me into his arms. “You okay, babe?”
“Yeah, that nap is just what I needed.”
“You sure you okay?” Worry and concern fill Zan’s eyes.
“Yes. Why do you ask?”
“I just feel…I don’t know, like something is wrong. If you say you’re okay, then you’re okay and I’ll leave it at that.”
“Thank you,” I say and kiss him full on the lips.
“For what?”
“For being concerned. For being here. For loving us.”
“No prob, babe,” he says and grins. I see the worry leave his eyes for a moment.
“Liz, can I talk to you for a second?” Maria asks suddenly.

Damn, I had forgotten that she was even there. Before I can answer, she untangles me from Zan’s embrace and stands me up. She’s leading me to my bedroom when there’s a knock on the door.

“I’ll get it,” Zan replies standing up and heading to the door. “It’s probably the pizza.” Maria nods and we continue walking until we reach the bedroom. We sit down on my bed.

“So me and Zan talked,” she begins. I just nod. “I know I just met him, but he loves you Liz. I can see it in his eyes when he talks about you. It’s like everything else in the world stops when you’re the topic of conversation. I had to wave my hand in front of his face a couple of times to make sure he remembered I was sitting there,” she says and giggles. I have to laugh at that. I can just see Zan sitting there zoned out with that goofy grin on his face, and Maria trying to snap him back into reality.

“He connected with me, Liz. He showed me how much he loves and cares about you and the baby too. That’s more than I can say for Max.” I open my mouth to protest but she stops me. “Max talked all this shit about loving you so much and you being his soul mate, but where is he now? No where to be found. When all was said and done he ran from you, unlike Zan. Oh, and don’t worry, I’m going to kick Isabel’s ass the next time I see her.” I smile at my friend. Wait a minute, did she just say that she and Zan had connected? Oh my God, tell me she didn’t see…

“Don’t worry, Liz. I didn’t see everything, hell I didn’t want to,” she says laughing again. “Look, Liz, the reason I brought you back here is to tell you that you don’t have to be scared during this time in your life, because everything is going to work out just fine. Zan is not going anywhere, he loves you and your child too much to abandon you. He just want to love the both of you guys and be a good daddy,” she says with tears in her eyes and a smile on her face. I smile back at her. “And you can always depend on me for anything you need, whether it’s to be a bridesmaid or babysitter, or just to talk. You can always depend on me.”

“Oh Maria,” I whisper and pull her into a hug. I never doubted Maria, because she’s always proved herself to be a loyal friend. We’ve been through some sticky situations, this one definitely being the stickiest, but never has she left me to go through something by myself. Thank God for Maria; our friendship is tried and true.

“Let me ask you something,” I say pulling away from our hug. “What did you say to Zan?”
“I just told him that if he ever did wrong by you or caused you pain that I would hunt him down like the dog he was and make sure that I made every remaining moment of his life a living hell.” I laugh; that’s my buddy. Just then the pain in my stomach returns and I wince.

“Chica, what’s wrong?” Worry fills Maria’s eyes.
“Nothing, I’ve just been having pains in my stomach on and off all day,” I answer.
“You call that nothing?” she shrieks. “I’m going to get Zan.”

Just then we hear a loud voice yell, “You don’t know what the hell you’re talking about!” It’s Max. Even though I’m still in pain, I jump off the bed and run into the living room with Maria right behind me.

“I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about? We’ll gee, let me see if I’ve got all the facts straight. The woman you supposedly love tells you that she’s pregnant, and that the child might not be yours. Instead of standing by her while she made a decision and trying to comfort her, you call her a whore and walk out on her? Yeah I was right the first time, you’re a bitch!” Zan yells at Max.

“Who the hell are you to judge me? You don’t know shit about me, Zan, so save it. You haven’t been here for Liz for the past 5 years, but I have!”
“That don’t mean shit cuz you walked out on her when she needed you the most!”
“Guys, calm down!” Maria shouts walking in between them.
“This isn’t your fight, Maria. Move!” Max yells and pushes her hard enough to make her fall on the ground.

“Hold the fuck up! Where do you get off putting your hands on her? That ain’t your place,” Zan bellows shoving Max into the wall.
“Oh so you’re Mr. Perfect, huh Zan?” Max responds snidely. He breaks out of Zan’s hold. “You’re so perfect that you can just judge us all huh? Tell me something. How would you have felt if the woman you’ve loved damn near forever told you that she was pregnant and there was a possibility that the child wasn’t yours? Don’t give me all this high and mighty shit, because deep down you know that you would have been scared just like I was and did that same thing.”

“I could never be like you, Max. I would have stayed by her side and loved her and her child unconditionally. See, that’s what makes me the man she needs and wants while you’re just a little boy,” Zan answers.

I’m leaning against the wall and tears are streaming freely down my face. There’s just too much going on right now; pandemonium and chaos are running amuck in my house. Max and Zan are about to kill each other, and Maria is sitting on the floor rubbing her arm.

“I understand now why Rath and Lonnie tried to kill you,” Max spits at Zan.

Just as Max says this, I happen to look down, and immediately slide to the floor. Oh my God. I can see Zan raising his glowing hand towards Max’s face when I call his name.

“Zan!” I scream and he turns around. Then darkness.

I remember both Zan and Max kneeling around me, and calling my name. I remember somebody trying to connect with me, but not being able to because I couldn’t stay conscious for long enough periods of time. I remember Maria’s hysterical crying and screams. I remember blinding white pain coursing through my body, and the sticky wetness between my legs. Then I remember nothing…

When I wake up there is a person wearing a mask standing over me. Where am I?

“Miss Parker?”
“Where I am? What’s wrong?” Where’s Maria? Where’s Zan?
“You’re at New York General Hospital, Ms. Parker. I am afraid I have some bad news.” No, this isn’t happening to me. No! “I’m sorry but you lost the baby…” The figure continues to talk, but I can’t hear it. I’m crying and screaming too loud.

“Nooooo! He’s not dead, you’re lying! Noo! Zan, Zaaaaaaaan! Oh my God!”

I don’t even see the nurse with the needle.

“No, he can’t be dead, not my little boy, you’re lying! Nooooo…” I fade into oblivion.

Part 10

It’s funny the way life works out sometimes. I am so numb, but this all stemmed from me telling Max that I wanted to feel. I found out I was pregnant and was going to kill my child, but when I decided to keep him, I ended up having a miscarriage and he died anyway. Life has a funny sense of humor sometimes, doesn’t it?

I haven’t made a sound since I woke up from my drug induced sleep, I just keep my eyes on the ceiling. Zan and Maria walk in and stand by my bed, but my eyes are still on the ceiling. I know Maria’s been crying even though I haven’t looked at her, because I can hear her sniffling.

“Liz? Chica?” No response from me.
“Baby? Liz?” Still no response from me. “Babe, I need you to look at me, please. If you can do that, then blink and let me know you hear and understand us.” I blink once.

“Liz, I talked to the doctor,” Maria began. Zan takes one of my hands and kisses it. He continues to stroke it as Maria speaks. “He said that you were fine physically, but he wants you to take it easy for the next couple of days. You understand?” she asks softly. Blink. I see Maria look at Zan out the corner of my eye, and he nods before lowering his head. The grasp on my hand gets tighter.

“The doctor said that the reason the miscarriage occurred is due to over exertion of a physical, emotional, or mental nature,” she says wiping the tears from her eyes. “He said you were perfectly healthy so you should have no trouble…”

I think about my 3-hour stint at the gym. My fight with Max. My fight with Isabel. The fight between Zan and Max. The stomach pains I had been feeling all day, but did nothing about. This happened all because of me.

‘I did this,’ I think. “I’m the reason my child died.’

I’m still staring at the ceiling, but tears are sliding down the sides of my face.

“I want to go home.” I’m still focusing on the ceiling.
“Maria and I talked about that, and we both think it would be for the best if you came home with me for a while,” Zan practically whispered. “We didn’t think you would want to go back for a while after what happened tonight.”

He’s right, I don’t want to go back. Ever.

“Okay,” I say in a small voice.
“I’m going to go by your place and get some things for you,” Maria says nodding at Zan. “I’ll drop it by Zan’s apartment tomorrow morning.”
“I’m just going to notify the doctor that you’re leaving tonight,” Zan says. He kisses my forehead and then the hand he’s been holding. “I love you,” he whispers and walks out the room.

“Come on, girl. Let’s get you dressed,” Maria says gently.

We’re both very quiet while she dresses me in the scrubs that are lying across the foot of my bed. I don’t notice that Zan has come back into the room with a wheelchair and has carefully placed me in it. I don’t notice that we’ve signed all the paperwork and are now riding along in Zan’s car back to the dorm to drop Maria off. The only thing I notice is the reoccurring thought that stays planted in my mind: I killed my child, I let him die.

When we pull up to the dorm, Maria says something to Zan, but I’m preoccupied with my thoughts. I’m still preoccupied with them when she runs back to the car.

“I packed some stuff just for tonight so she would be more comfortable,” Maria tells Zan while handing him an overnight bag. “I’ll bring the rest tomorrow.”
“Thank you, Maria. Thank you so much for everything,” Zan replies. He hops out the car and hugs her. The only reason I know this is because I feel the cold winter air come through his open door. “You have the address, right?”
“Okay. See you tomorrow.” He gets back into the car, and watches until Maria gets into the dorm. When she does, we drive off.

There is silence the whole drive to his apartment. Zan gently strokes my knuckles with the pad of his thumb, and kisses my temple when we stop at red lights. There is nothing to say, the silence is communicating for us. We reach his apartment, and Zan gets out the car. I don’t even attempt to move; I continue to sit in the car and mentally call myself a killer. He opens the door and looks at me.

“Liz?” No response.

He scoops me up out the car, balances me and the overnight bag against his chest, and carries me to the elevator. Once inside, he doesn’t put me down; he just holds me as we ride to his 24th floor penthouse apartment. We get off and using his powers, he opens the front door. We enter and after he kicks the door closed, Zan proceeds to carry me to the bedroom. He gently places me on the bed, and drops my bag to the floor.

“Careful, I keep my fine china in there,” I whisper. This is the first time I’ve spoken in almost an hour. Zan gives me a relieved smile, kisses me on my forehead, takes my bag, and walks out the room. After a moment, I hear water running. He comes back in the room and collects me in his arms. After leading me to the bathroom, Zan faces me and moves some hair from my face.

“Now Liz, I’m gonna need you to help me out here. I’m going to turn my back, and then I need you to get undressed and get in the tub. Can you do that for me?” He takes my staring as a yes, and turns around. I face the tub and begin to disrobe. Zan has filled his Roman styled tub almost to the brim with water and the chamomile bubble bath Maria packed in my bag. The bathroom’s light is being provided by the few vanilla scented candles Zan has lit. Nothing erotic or sensual, only soothing. I step into the tub and 15 seconds later Zan turns around. He approaches the tub and kneels beside it.

“Thank you,” he says stroking my face.

He proceeds to bathe me with a gentleness that I never knew a man could possess, particularly this man. Make no mistake though; Zan may be sensitive, but he is no bitch. Next he washes me hair, making sure to use conditioner and later comb out all the tangles in my hair. This whole time I have been in a catatonic state.

“I’m going to go stand outside the door now so you can dry off and get dressed,” Zan says in a soothing tone. He puts a towel next to the tub, kisses my cheek, and leaves me to dress. I do as I am told methodically, and open the door to find Zan turning down the covers on the bed. He’s already dressed in his nightclothes, which consist of nothing but boxers. I walk over to him, and just stand there. I’m still somewhat catatonic.

“Babe, I need you to look at me,” he says as he tilts my head up so he can look into my eyes. His hands are on both sides of my face. “No matter what you think, you are not a killer, Liz. You are not to blame for this. Things occurred to make this happen, but those things are not your fault. I don’t want you to feel guilty or ashamed.” Those beautiful eyes are boring deep into my own. “I love you, you understand that? You are going to be okay; WE are going to be okay. Just know that this is not your fault. You are not a killer, you did not let our son die.”

Tears are running down my face, and I begin to sob. Hard. He pulls me into his arms and strokes my hair. I can hear him whispering into my hair that it’s not my fault. I’m still crying as he puts me in the bed, and gets in with me. He pulls me into his embrace.

“It’s going to be alright, I swear. This isn’t your fault,” he whispers while rubbing my back. “I’m here for you babe, it’s okay. This isn’t your fault, you are not to blame…” I eventually fall asleep with his words ringing in my ears…

Zan is not in bed when I roll over. I miss his warmth so I wake up. It’s still pretty dark so I know it’s not morning yet. Glancing at the digital clock on his nightstand I see it’s 2:15 in the morning. I get out the bed and begin my search in the dark. Then I hear his voice.

“Hi this is Alexander Evans, and I’m calling to let you know I won’t be in for the next couple of days. I have a family emergency I need to care of. I will call over the next few days to check on the status of the office, but other than that I will be unattainable. We’ll talk later, bye.” Click.

I stand in the doorway and look at Zan as he sits on the couch, he doesn’t see me. I watch as he lowers his head into his hands, and rubs his eyes. Then it happens. He begins to cry. He must think I’m still sleeping, because he tries to muffle his sobs with his hands. I walk over to wear he’s sitting and stand in front of him.

“I couldn’t save him, babe. I tried, but I just couldn’t,” he sobs. He pulls me closer and cries into my stomach.
“I know you did. I know.” I stroke his head.
“I tried my hardest, and it still didn’t work,” he continues. “Our little boy is dead, because I couldn’t save him.” And then he started to wail.
“Shh. It’s gonna be all right, you did your best, I know you did,” I say through my own tears.
“But it still didn’t work, and now our son is dead. I failed him and I failed you!” he screams.
“This is neither of our fault, we’ve got to accept that, Zan. We’ve got to try,” I say and wipe his face. “You are not to blame.”
“I loved him so much, Liz. I loved our baby with all my heart,” he says looking at me.
“I know, because I loved him too.” I pull him up and we walk back into his bedroom, leaning on each other for support.

We get into the bed, and this time I draw him into my arms. He lays his head on my chest, and together we mourn. We just lay there together and cry. We cry for the life he never had, and we cry to express our love for the son we had barely begun to know. Most of all, we cry because it gives us comfort; we may not be able to bring him back, but just knowing that we are in the same place emotionally brings us a special kind of comfort that only we can understand.

“It’s gonna be okay.” I whisper into his hair as we both fall asleep. “I promise it will be…"

Edited by - Kapone224 on 09/28/2001 00:02:14
posted on 26-Sep-2001 10:22:06 PM
Part 11

December 17, 2004

As I promised Zan, things have gotten better. It’s been about a week and a half since the miscarriage, and though we have both had our fair share of nightmares and crying spells, things are starting to return to normal. Whatever normal is. Zan took a week off from work to stay home with me…I just referred to Zan’s apartment as home. Now that I think about it, I’m in complete shock that I think about him in that sense. Never have I considered Max’s apartment home, and our relationship lasted 5 years. I want to tell myself that I haven’t known Zan long enough to think of him this capacity, but truth be told, there is no way that I can think otherwise. In the past week and a half, Zan has cooked for me, cleaned up behind me, bathed me, dressed me when I needed it, comforted me, and just been there for me in every way imaginable. I could not ask for more from this man.

After a lot of coaxing and promises that I would call him if I needed anything, Zan finally went back to work this week. I want to surprise him and cook dinner tonight to show him how much I appreciate him for everything he’s done, but my plans are cancelled when I reach the refrigerator. On the door is a note: “Don’t worry about dinner, we’re going out tonight. Z” I sigh and walk to the living room. Just as I’m about to turn on the TV, the phone rings.

“Hey Chica, what’s up?”
“Maria! I’m doing good, how are you? How was your flight?” Maria had flown back to Roswell a couple of days ago for Christmas, but would be back before New Year’s Eve so we could celebrate together. “My flight was cool. Before you ask, everything is fine here, and just the same as if we had never left it. That’s not what I called to talk about though.”
“What’s up then?”
“Isabel is back in Roswell, and let’s just say she isn’t the lovely teen queen we all know and love,” Maria laughs through the phone.
“Maria, you didn’t!” Have I mentioned I love my best friend?
“I certainly did,” she says while still laughing.
“Well what happened?”
“I kicked her ass up and down Roswell is what happened! I was in the shopping center downtown looking for my mom’s Christmas present when all of a sudden I see Ms. Thing strolling down the street like she was God’s gift to humans. I was trying to talk to her, but then she put her hand in my face and started talking about how she didn’t associate with poor white trash. I was not having it, Liz.”
“Two black eyes, a broken nose, and scratches all over her face,” she says proudly. “I even managed to pull out a plug of hair.” See why I love her? “But wait I haven’t told you the best part.”
“There’s more?!?” I can only shake my head at this point.
“Yes! When I kicked her ass, I think the whole town saw which means she won’t be able to use her Samantha genie powers to fix her face. She’ll have to remain horribly disfigured for the rest of her vacation!” Maria shrieks.

By this time, I am laughing so hard to the point of tears. That’s one thing about Maria: she always keeps her word. I bet Isabel never saw it coming. After we both calm down and our laughs reduce to giggles, we resume our conversation.

“So how are you and Zan doing?” she asks in between giggles.
“Good. Maria, he is just so perfect that I don’t know what to do with myself sometimes.”
“What do you mean?”
“He won’t let me do anything. Like, I wanted to cooker dinner tonight, but as soon as I got to the fridge, I found a note saying we were going out. He cooks, he cleans, he does the laundry. Anytime I even try to lift a finger he makes me sit down,” I say exasperated. “He even draws my baths and gives me massages at night.”
“Um, Liz, how is this a problem? I want you to think about everything you just said for a second. I know you aren’t complaining about being pampered and taken care of. If you are, tell Zan to save his skills for when I get back to NY.” She was practically yelling at me.

I think about everything I just said, and we begin to laugh hysterically. I am complaining about being loved and taken cared of. How psycho am I?

“But, Maria, it’s different with Zan,” I say between laughs. “With Max, I knew he was doing it because he loved me and cared about me. With Zan…I know he cares about me, but I’m not really sure if a lot of his actions are coming from guilt over what happened to the baby,” I end in a whisper.

“Liz, he loves you so much! I know there’s nothing I can do or say to show you that he does, but I need you to trust me on this. Believe me when I say you are his heart’s desire and that he loves you more than anything on this earth. Do you love him, Liz?” she asks carefully.

“This is going to sound crazy, Maria, but I don’t know,” I reply shakily. “The way I feel about him is so different from the way I felt about Max. I always knew that I loved Max from the moment I saw him, and even after we made love me feelings for him remained the same. With Zan things are different. Every since the moment I met him, there has been this explosive connection between us. Where me and Max’s love was static and unchanging, my feelings for Zan grow stronger everyday,” I tell her.

“So what you’re telling me is that you love him?” Maria asks excitedly.
“I don’t know what I’m telling you, Maria. I just know that I don’t want to confuse love and lust. I don’t want to tell him I love him, when in truth all it really is is infatuation and me being appreciative of the fact that he was there for me during my time of need. I want to be 100% sure of how I feel before I act. I don’t want to tell him I love him, and later on regret what I said.”
“Why don’t you try telling him everything you just told me,” she suggests hopefully.
“I can’t. I’m scared.”
“Scared of what, Liz? In all the time that you’ve known him has he given you a reason to be scared?”
“See that’s just it, Maria. I’ve only known him for about 2 weeks. Don’t you think it’s a little soon for me to be feeling this way?”
“Love has no set time table, Liz. We both know that. Just be honest, Liz, with Zan and yourself. That’s all you can do right now. Don’t let the time factor cheat you out of experiencing true love.” She has a point. I glance at the clock…shit, Zan will be here in 30 minutes.

“Maria, I gotta go. Zan will be home in 30 minutes, and I haven’t even started getting ready for dinner. We’ll talk later.”
“Alright Chica. Have a good time tonight and remember what I told you.”
“Will do. Bye.”

From the moment I hang up the phone, I start to run around the apartment like a chicken with its head cut off. Zan didn’t specify where we were going, or if we were going anywhere afterwards, so I have no idea how to dress. While in the shower, I mentally go over my options. Jeans, no. Cocktail dress, no. Black leather pants, now that’s a thought. I finish showering quickly and run to the closet where Zan has hung my clothes. ‘Please God, let Maria have packed my pants,’ I think as I thumb through the hangers. I spot them and do a little happy dance when I find that she’s packed my red v-neck cashmere sweater, black leather ankle boots, and black half-length leather jacket. I let my hair air dry so it will be wavy as I put on some makeup and wait for Zan to arrive. I glance at the clock again; he’ll be here in about 5 minutes. I put the finishing touches on my outfit and look at myself in the mirror. ‘Not bad, not bad at all,’ I think as I smile at my reflection. ‘Pretty damn foxy if I must say so myself.’

“Liz? Babe, I’m here,” Zan calls as he walks to the bedroom. “Are you re---“ He looks at me and stops dead in his tracks. He won’t say anything, he’s just staring.

“Zan? Are you okay?” I look down at my clothes. “Am I dressed okay?”
“You are so beautiful,” he whispers as he walks towards me. He kisses me on my forehead and then on my cheeks. I know I’m blushing by now. “Let me just get out this monkey suit, and then we can shake outta here.” He waves his hand over his body, and now he is wearing baggy leather pants, a wife beater, combat boots, and a leather jacket. His whole outfit is black, and the piercings are back. God, I want to jump his bones. “You ready?” he asks. When I nod, he grabs my hand and pulls me out the door.

Traffic is thick. I can hear Zan cursing under his breath, sometimes in foreign languages, as he navigates us through traffic. I start to giggle. He raises his pierced eyebrow at me, and I laugh even harder.

“And what are you laughing at?” he asks trying to sound mean, but failing miserably. I just look at him and he finally smiles. “Hey Liz?”
“I was kinda wondering…um, I’m supposed to go to my parents house for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I was kinda hoping that you would go with me. They live upstate, but if you already had plans then---“
“Yes, Zan. I’ll go with you.” I had to put my fingers over his mouth so I could speak. Just as I’m about to pull them away he sucks my index and middle fingers into his mouth and gently starts to suck on them. I feel the smooth ball of his tongue ring slide over my fingers. He takes my fingers out his mouth and kisses them.

“Thank you, Liz,” he smiles at me. He just doesn’t know what he does to me.

After about twenty more minutes of trudging through traffic, we finally reach El Sombrero Grande, New York’s premiere premiere Mexican food restaurant. I have been dying to come here since I first got to New York, but one way or another it just never worked out for me. There is a line stretching from the front of the restaurant down the street. Zan grabs my hand, and we walk to the front of the line.

“Excuse me, I have a reservation for 2 under the name Evans for 7:00pm,” Zan says to the man at the door. He must notice my hand is freezing, because he stuffs it in his jacket pocket. He’s still holding my hand.

“Evans, Evans, oh here you are. I’m sorry, but we just gave your table away, we didn’t think you were going to show up,” the man said glaring at us.
“My reservation was for 7:00, it’s now 7:03. You mean to tell me you gave my table away after 3 minutes? I made that reservation a week ago,” Zan says getting angry.
“I’m sorry, but that’s really not my problem,” the man says snidely to Zan.

Zan is gently stroking my fingers in his pocket, and still arguing with the idiot man about our table. After a couple of minutes, I feel Zan pulling me down the street as we walk back to the car, but my mind is totally elsewhere. My mind is on Zan, the man who made love to me like there was no tomorrow and made me feel like a goddess. The man who didn’t waste any time denying his feelings for me, and sought me out at my dorm after two months of looking for me nightly at a club. The man who found out I was pregnant, and was overjoyed that I was the one having his child. The man who loved me unconditionally and supported me during and after the miscarriage. The man who cared about me enough to make reservations a week in advance for Mexican food just because it would make me happy. I don’t love this man like I love Max, I love him more and in many more ways.

That’s when it happened. I don’t even think, I just stop walking. He turns and looks at me.

“Baby, I’m sorry, I really tried to get us in, but that asshole---“
“I love you.”

A mixture of emotions ran through his eyes, so fast that I can’t read any of them. Zan closes his eyes and let’s a small smile spread across his lips. He pulls me closer to him by my waist.

“I’m sorry, Miss Parker, but you’re going to have to repeat that. I don’t think I heard what you said,” he whispers peeking out of one eye. He’s smiling.

“I love you, Zan,” I say and I smile back at him.

I’m in love.

Part 12

I’m so giddy right now that I can barely think. The man I’m in love with is in love with me. I know that I’m standing here grinning like an idiot, but it’s okay because he’s grinning right back at me and sometimes these are the things that being in love is about. At this exact moment, I’m experiencing perfection and nothing could make this moment more complete or special.

And then tiny flakes of snow began to fall all around us. I grab Zan by the hand and begin to jump up and down.

“Oh my God! It’s snowing, Zan! Look, how pretty!” Now I’ve been in New York for 3 years so yes I have seen snow, but there is something so magical about being in the snow when it first begins to fall. I laugh and he laughs with me. Maybe I should say at me.

“You are such a cornball,” he says laughing. We’re standing about 3 feet away from his car. “Hold on a second.” He runs to his car, rolls down all the windows, and turns up the radio. All of a sudden I hear “Lady in Red” by Chris Deburgh playing, and I feel tears spring into my eyes.

“May I have this dance?” he asks extending his hand to me. I take his hand, and he pulls me as close as he possibly can. We are slow dancing in the middle of the street in the falling snow, and at this moment all is right with the world.

I've never seen you looking so lovely as you did tonight
I've never seen you shine so bright
I've never seen so many men ask you if you wanted to dance
They're looking for a little romance
Given half a chance
And I've never seen that dress you're wearing
Or that highlights in your hair
That catch your eyes
I have been blind

The lady in red is dancing with me
Cheek to cheek
There's nobody here
It's just you and me
It's where I wanna be
But I hardly know this beauty by my side
I'll never forget the way you look tonight

“I love you so much, Liz. You have to know that if you don’t know anything else,” Zan whispers into my hair as we dance. “You are all I want, and all I’ll ever need. I would do anything for you.”

I look into his eyes, and all I can see is love. In that instant I know that this is the man that I was meant to be with, him and no one else. Anything that I’ll ever need or want, I will find in this man. I won’t ever have to look any further than Zan, he is my destiny.

I've never seen you looking so gorgeous as you did tonight
I've never seen you shine so bright you were amazing
I've never seen so many people want to be there by your side
And when you turned to me and smiled it took my breath away
And I have never had such a feeling such a feeling
Of complete and utter love, as I do tonight

The lady in red is dancing with me
Cheek to cheek
There's nobody here
It's just you and me
It's where I wanna be
But I hardly know this beauty by my side
I'll never forget the way you look tonight

I never will forget the way you look tonight
The lady in red
My lady in red

We continue to embrace even after the song is over.

“Yeah sweets?”
“Did you mean what you said about doing anything for me?”
“Yes. Why?”
“I’m famished. Can we get something to eat?” I look into his eyes and burst out laughing.
“Cornball,” he calls me and then he leans down and kisses me.

My hands slide down his neck and rub his chest. I play with his nipple rings as he weaves his hands through my hair. Zan is kissing me with such intensity that I can barely breathe, but I want more. I want him. I want to feel his skin against mine, in between the black satin sheets on his bed. I need to feel him inside me, completing me and making me whole. I want him so badly that I would mind if he took me in the middle of the street.

“You sure you wanna eat now?” he asks me in between kisses. “We could always go back to the house, and then come back out later.” His hands are no longer in my hair; they are now under my coat travelling up and down my back, occasionally grazing my behind. He’s kissing down the side of my neck, and his head is steadily moving towards the skin my v-neck is revealing. I’m just about to tell him to take me home, and then my stomach growls.

“I guess we need to get something to eat first,” Zan says laughing at my stomach.
“But Zan---“
“Babe, we’ve got all the time in the world.” He kisses my forehead, and leads me to the car.

We head to the closest place we can find, which just happens to be a burger joint near campus. As soon as we walk in, women start coming out the woodwork to check Zan out. I’m not worried about his eyes straying, but best believe I will open up a can of whup ass if need be. Zan’s hand slides down to the small of my back and he guides me to a table towards the back of the restaurant. As soon as we sit down, I lean over the table and kiss him. When I’m done with him, I notice the dreamy expression on his face and smile.

“And exactly what was that for?” he asks smiling.
“Just because.” I giggle and lick my lips. Love is so wonderful.

Just then our waitress comes to take our orders. She takes mine first and then proceeds to take Zan’s and throw her chest in his face at the same time. Watch it, sister.

“Is that all you’ll have today?” she practically whispers in his ear. I swear….
“Actually no,” he comments never taking his eyes off me.
“Well what else can I do for you,” she asks moving closer to Zan. If she moves any closer, she’ll be in his lap. Where is Maria when I need her?
“I need you to judge something for me,” Zan tells her. He then gets out his seat, grabs me from my chair, and pulls me in for one of the most mind blowing kisses that I have ever experienced. People are hooting and hollering all over the restaurant. I could have sworn I just heard someone yell something about bringing out a bucket of cold water. He continues to hold me and stare into my eyes after he’s done.

“Now from that kiss did it look like we were in love?” he asks without taking his eyes off me.
“Yes,” she scoffs.
“Keep that in mind next time you come to our table, okay?” he tells her. I can’t help but to laugh at the expression on her face as she scurries back to the kitchen.
“You are so bad,” I say laughing..
“But you like it,” he grins wickedly.

He grabs my hand over the table and begins to stroke it.

“Nobody but you, Liz. Nobody,” he whispers.
“And nobody but you for me, Zan,” I smile and simultaneously we lean in for another kiss. I feel his tongue and tongue ring massage my tongue, and I swear I am about to die and go to heaven. I need to have this man consume and possess me totally, right now. I need---

“Excuse me. Liz, I think we need to talk.” I look up and see Max standing at the table, glaring at us. Oh boy.

Part 13

As Max looks between us, I can see the disgust in his eyes. Zan isn’t too happy about the situation, either. His grasp on my hand is tightening at an alarming rate, and I can see a nerve in his jaw furiously twitching. Then, as if to break the silence, Zan begins to run his tongue ring along the back of his teeth. Any other time I would equate his tongue ring to things of a sexual nature, but given the situation, I’m actually worrying about Zan jumping up from the table and beating the crap out of Max. The mood Zan and I had created is long gone, and I’m pretty sure that things can’t get any worse.

“Hey, Maxwell, our food is…Liz?” It’s Michael.

I spoke too soon.

“Who is this, Liz?” Michael asks me. His eyes dart between Zan, Max, and me.
“Michael, Zan. Zan, Michael,” I say.
“Zan as in…”
“Live and in the flesh,” Zan replies staring at Michael.
“But aren’t you supposed to be…”
“Like I said, live and in the flesh,” he repeats. His grip on my hand hasn’t loosened up.
“Michael, why aren’t you in Roswell with Maria?” I ask trying to change the subject. For some strange reason, I get the impression that Michael isn’t aware of what’s been going on for the past two weeks. If I can just get Max alone, maybe I can diffuse this impending time bomb.
“I decided to stay here instead and work on my art.” He just shrugs. “So why are you here with Zan? What’s going on, Liz?”


“Liz, can I talk to you outside for a second?” Max asks again. I nod and stand up to leave with Max when I feel an urgent tug on my hand. I look down and find Zan staring at me intently.

“Liz.” It’s the only word he says, but it speaks volumes. In simply saying my name, Zan has asked me if I’ll be okay to go with Max by myself, or if he should come with me. He has also asked my permission to connect with Michael and clue him in on the past two weeks. I nod affirmatively, Zan releases my hand, and I move away from the table. As I walk away with Max, I hear Zan tell Michael, “You might wanna sit down for a minute…”

Max and I are standing right outside the entrance, and he is looking like he’s having trouble formulating what he wants to say.

“Liz, I’m sorry for the past two weeks. They have been my fault, and I’m…I don’t even know what to say at this point to make things right.” He sighs and looks away from me.
“I know you’re sorry, Max, but at this point sorry isn’t good enough,” I say.
“What do you mean, Liz? We’ve been through so much together; we have a history that no one else will ever understand. Are you willing to throw all that away so quickly over Zan?” His tone is growing in anger, but his sad eyes are pleading with me.

“Max, this isn’t about Zan, it’s about you and me.”
“This is about Zan, Liz, and you know it! If you never would have slept with him, then we wouldn’t be going through this right now,” he yells at me.
“How long are you going to chastise me for sleeping with Zan, Max! How many more times do you need to say it? I made a mistake, Max! A mistake! I can’t erase it, and even if I could I wouldn’t!” I yell back.
“It’s a mistake that you never should have made!” he counters. People are looking at us as they walk by, but we’re too angry to pay attention to them.

“Who are you to talk about not making mistakes? You slept with Tess, remember?!? You broke my heart, but because I loved you I made a conscious effort to forget all about it and we moved on with our lives. Is the situation so different this time around?”
“How did you know about Tess?” he asks quietly. Surprise, surprise Max.
“I’ve known for a while now, but I didn’t say anything in hopes that you would be a man and just tell me about it. Why didn’t you?” I am absolutely livid and shaking with anger. When he doesn’t say anything I continue.

”You know what max, you have some nerve trying to lecture and crucify me about something you did yourself. At least I had the decency to tell you that I slept with Zan, and that the baby might not be yours; you, on the other hand, hid the truth from me and let me think you were still a virgin. You are nothing but a damn hypocrite!” I vent.

“When I slept with Tess she tricked me. We were in high school and we weren’t even together, Liz,” he tries to explain.
“Is that supposed to make the situation better?” I ask putting my hands on my hips. I begin to pace back and forth.

“No, Liz, it’s not. We just have to try---“
“---to work things out.”
“What do you mean no?”
“Max, there isn’t anything to work out. Zan loves me and cares about m, and I can’t give that up. I won’t give that up.”
“I love you, Liz. I do.”
“The only person you love is your damn self, Max. If you truly loved me, you wouldn’t have called me a whore when you found out I was pregnant, or walked away from me when I needed you most. You didn’t even come to the hospital when I had the miscarriage to see if I was okay.”
“Zan and Maria were there.”
“What does that have to do with anything? If you truly loved me, like you claim you do, then that wouldn’t have stopped you,” I counter. “I’m sorry, Max, but I can’t go back to you, I just can’t. I love Zan, and you’re going to have to accept that.”
“But Liz, we belong together.”
“No you don’t,” Michael replies.

Max and I turn around and see Zan and Michael staring at us. Michael walks towards us and stands in front of Max. He looks pale.

“Liz, I need you to clear your mind and open up to me,” Michael says facing me.
“Why Michael? What’s going on?” I look to Zan for some clarification, but he only nods to give consent to Michael’s request.

“I’ve been jerked around a lot, and sometimes it’s hard to distinguish fact from fiction. Please, Liz, do this for me,” he asks.

I nod and clear my mind. He touches my arm, and we stare into each other’s eyes. Thirty seconds later the connection is broken and he steps away from me. Michael then turns around, looks at Max for a second, and quicker than I can blink, connects his fist to Max’s nose and then his jaw. The next thing I see is Max falling to the ground with blood shooting from his nose.

“Get your sorry ass up!” he yells at Max while dragging him to his feet. He hails a cab and throws Max in, headfirst. “We’re going to Roswell, and you will apologize to Maria as soon as you get off the plane, am I clear?” Michael yells as the cab speeds off. Even as the car drives down the street, I can see Michael smack the back of Max's head through the rear window.

I turn and walk towards Zan. He’s standing by the door with his arms crossed over his chest, and I can’t read the expression on his face.

“You okay?” he asks me. I nod. “Come here.” He grabs me and pulls me into his arms for a hug. “You sure you’re okay?” he asks when he releases me.
“Yeah Zan, I’m sure.”
“Come on.” He kisses my forehead and we walk back into the restaurant.

We manage to finish our meal with no other distractions and we head home. Once we arrive at the apartment, I head into the bathroom to get ready for bed. I’m almost done when I catch Zan’s reflection in the mirror.

Zan has stripped down to nothing, but his black boxer briefs. All I can see is tattoos and piercings, and the taut muscles that they decorate. Shoulders and chest and abs, oh my. I can’t even stand up anymore, I have to sit on the edge of the tub now. He turns around to turn down the sheets on the bed, and I’m assaulted by the view of his back, his behind, and his muscular thighs. I put my hand over my mouth to keep from gasping out loud. Oh what a night this will be.
I get into the bed and Zan follows me. He pulls me close to his body and kisses my forehead, then my nose, and then my lips. I try to deepen the kiss, but he pulls his mouth away too fast. Damn it.

“I need to ask you something.”
“Were you really going to have an abortion?” What the hell…

Part 14

I feel like someone just stepped from the shadows with a bucket of cold water, and threw it in the bed. I so don’t want to be having this conversation right now. It’s not like I’ll have a hard time talking about this due to hurt and anxiety; if anything it’s more like the shame and embarrassment that I don’t want to deal with. I am so glad that it’s dark in the room, because I don’t think I would be able to handle Zan searching my face for the answers to his question. I pull out of his embrace and scoot to the far edge of the bed. He scoots right to the edge of the bed with me.

“Liz?” I can’t even respond to him. “Baby, don’t do this. Don’t shut yourself off from me. Whatever it is you tell me, I’ll understand.” He wraps his arm around my waist and pulls me backward into his chest. “No matter what you say I’ll still love you.”

“Yes, Zan. I was going to have an abortion.” Maybe he’ll leave me alone now.
“Why Liz?” Maybe not. I turn over and face him.
“I was scared, Zan. I’m only 21 and I’m still in school. I can barely take care of myself, let alone another person. Not to mention that I wasn’t sure who my child’s father was. I couldn’t raise a child to have it ask me one day who its father was, and not have an answer. I could have easily lied to Max and told him the child was his, but I would never do that. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself.”
“What about me, Liz? Would you have told me?”
“I didn’t know where to find you, Zan. The truth of the situation is that we met at a club one night, I brought you home, and we had wild, fantastic sex. I woke up the next morning with a hang over and you were gone. It’s not like you left a number to contact you by, and even if you had I don’t think you would have responded too politely to a woman calling you two months later saying she was pregnant, an there was a possibility that the baby was yours,” I finish. Tears are streaming down my eyes, and Zan is silent. I wonder what he’s thinking.

“Liz, the reason I left you that morning was because I had to go to work. Before I left, I did leave my card on the night table and even left my home number on the back of it,” Zan says. He’s wiping the tears from my eyes and stroking my face. “I thought you didn’t call, because you didn’t want to have anything to do with me after that night.”

“I’m not calling you a liar, Zan but I never saw any---“ I stop mid sentence. Oh my God.
“Liz, what’s wrong?” Even in the dark, I can see the concern etched in Zan’s handsome face.
“The next morning, Max came home from his trip…”

*October 10, 2004

I’m laying in the bed with the biggest hang over in the history of hangovers. My head is spinning, and I think I’m about to throw up. I try to focus on the ceiling so the spinning will stop, and it does. No, wait the spinning is back. I hear a knock on the door. Oh my God, who is at my door this early in the morning, and why is the knocking so loud? I fall out the bed and crawl across the floor. I’ll never drink again, I sweat I won’t. I open the door.

“Miss me?” Max smiles down at me.
“Maaaaaaaaxxx,” I slur. Oh this is getting worse by the moment.

I think Max knows I’m hung over, because he just laughs and picks me up as if I weigh nothing. He carries me to the bathroom and deposits me on the floor. He runs the water in my shower, and then turns back around to face me.

“You going to be okay, Liz? Are you okay to take a shower by yourself?” he asks quietly. I shake my head vigorously, oh bad move. There are now 6 Maxes instead of 1.

I grab my head and look at Max; he just chuckles as he leaves me in the bathroom by myself. Shakily, I stand up and begin to undress. I look in the mirror and almost scream. My eye makeup is smeared beyond belief, and the lipstick I was wearing is streaked down my cheeks and chin. My hair is matted and…is that a bite mark on my arm? Lord, what happened to me last night? I step in the shower and as soon as the water hits my skin, my answers bombard me. Oh…. My….God.

“Zan,” I whisper. “Oh my God,” I whisper again as I remember everything we did the night before. No wonder my body is so sore. I wash my hair, and quickly finish my shower. I open the door and find Max looking at something.

“Hey,” I call to Max and he nearly jumps a mile.
“You feeling better?” he asks as he tucks something in his wallet.
“Yep. What were you just looking at?”
“Oh nothing. I just found a business card in my pocket from the trip…”*

Zan and I lay in silence for a couple of minutes. Finally he moves away from me, and gets out the bed. He doesn’t say anything; he just leaves the room. I would cry, but I don’t think I have anymore tears left. I am so hurt right now, I have no words. Maybe Max was right, maybe I am a whore. I mean, I did sleep with a man after only knowing him for not even a whole night, and then got pregnant and didn’t know who my child’s father was. I pushed Max away, and now I’ve lost Zan. I have no one.

I flip my legs over the side of the bed, grab my robe, and make my way to the living room. I’ll just sleep on the couch tonight, and then I’ll pack my things and go back to the dorms tomorrow. I lay down on the cold leather couch an close my eyes, all the while feeling tears seep through my eye lids…

“Liz?” Someone is shaking me. I open my eyes and see Zan staring at me confused. “Baby, why are you sleeping on the couch?” I just look at him.
“I thought you were upset with me….” I trail off.

Zan doesn’t say anything, he just scoops me off the couch and carries me to the bathroom. Once inside, he closes the door behind us and snaps his fingers. A candle in each corner of the room lights up and I see the most beautiful sight. Zan has drawn me a bath, and inside the tub are red and white rose petals. On the side of the tub is a platter containing three bowls: one contains strawberries, another melted chocolate, and the last whipped cream. There is moonlight streaming through the bathroom window, and I see rose petals sprinkled throughout the bathroom. I’m about to cry, but Zan won’t allow it.

“You’ve cried too much already. No more tears,” he says and he slowly begins to undress me. When he gets done with me, he undresses himself and puts us both in the tub. Bubbles, rose petals, and Zan’s arms surround me. Perfection.

“That was my bad for not telling you where I was going,” Zan begins. “You didn’t do anything wrong, I just wanted to show you what you mean to me. You’re not a whore, you’re a queen and you should be treated as such.” He kisses me on my right temple and pulls me closer to his chest, if that’s possible.

“What did I do to deserve you?” I whisper.
“No, the real question is what did I do to deserve you,” he whispers back. He feeds me a strawberry dipped in chocolate, and then takes one dipped in whipped cream for himself.
“Where did you find the strawberries in the middle of winter, Zan?” I ask licking the chocolate off my lips.
“I have my sources,” he says laughing. He then picks up a loofah, soaps it, and begins to wash my body.

Zan’s touch is so gentle that it could put you to sleep, but at this point I am anything but sleepy. I feel the loofah slide gently across my back, and then across my shoulders. Zan then begins to wash my stomach, and then lets his hand slide over each one if my breasts. I am anything but relaxed; I am so aroused that I can’t keep my eyes open. Then I feel him drop the loofah and let his hand slide farther south.

“It’s all for you, babe. All for you,” he says kissing my neck.

All my senses have shut down except for my sense of feeling. Fiery reds, sun yellows, majestic greens, royal purples, and electric blues are over powering me. The way I feel is so unreal, I’ve never felt like this before. I’m headed towards sensory overload, it’s like he has magic in his fingers. Just when I think it can’t get any better, Zan whispers in my ear.

“You love me, Liz?” I can’t talk so I just nod furiously. I am so close, he just doesn’t know. “Show me how much you love me, sweets,” he whispers and then I feel his tongue ring slide down the outer shell of my ear. That’s all it took; I’ve fallen over the edge of pleasure and am now spiraling into the abyss of ecstasy. I can’t move or speak or even think, all I can do is feel.

“Zan,” I eventually say.
“Shh. I love you, Liz,” he whispers. Zan gets out the tub and wraps a towel around his waist. He then stands me up, wraps a towel around my body, picks me up, and carries me to the bed.

“How do you feel?” he asks as he lays me down across the black satin sheets.
“Like a million dollars,” I breathe. I look into his eyes and see the unspoken question that lies within them. I nod and he moves to discard of our towels. He opens the drawer in his nightstand and pulls out a foil packet. He looks at me again.

“You sure? We don’t have to do this if you don’t want to. If it’s too soon, we can stop,” he says looking into my eyes.
“I want to, Zan. Please.”

Not another word is spoken. The only thing that can be heard are our mutual cries of pleasure and satisfaction as we give ourselves to each other way into the wee hours of the morning…

I may be love's bitch, but at least I'm man enough to admit it-Spike, BtVS
*redface* *Dreamer*Candygirl*Truckstopper*TessHater*Roswell Lover*Kapone224
posted on 26-Sep-2001 10:50:11 PM
Part 15

I wake up in Zan’s strong arms. I’m lying on my back, and Zan is lying on top of me with his face buried in the crook of my neck. The goose down pillows and comforter keep us warm, as we lay naked in the bed. I don’t know if it’s possible, but I think I’m more in love with Zan this morning than I was the night before. I can’t even formulate thoughts to express the way I love this man. Never have I felt as complete as I do at this very moment. As I lightly stroke Zan’s bare back while he sleeps, I think of everything that transpired the night before. The doubts I had about him truly loving me, all one now. I know nothing of fear or anxiety or confusion; I only know of love, peace, and happiness.

Suddenly I feel butterfly kisses being placed on my earlobe and trailing down the side of my neck. Zan’s kissing my collarbone and moving lower towards my left breast. His hands are rubbing my sides and occasionally kneading the small of my back. He then begins to plant kisses on my right breast, and then lowers his head to my stomach. My light strokes have now turned into digging and scratching. My breathing is erratic, but by no means do I want him to stop. Zan continues his descent until he reaches the toes on my left foot and then begins the journey back up my right leg. He reaches the juncture in between my legs, and his kisses stop. What the hell is going on here?

And then I feel it. Zan isn’t even touching me, he’s just gently blowing in between my legs and I’m about to lose my mind.

‘Why is he teasing me?’ I ask myself.
‘I wouldn’t dream of teasing you, sweets,’ he mentally responds.

I don’t know what to be more amazed by: the fact that we can mentally speak to each other or the pleasure that his tongue ring is giving me. It’s like I’m his last meal, and he’s going to lick every last drop of me up, literally. My hands are threaded through his untamed hair, and my moans and cries are getting louder with each lick. Before I know it, I’m rising off the bed and my body is spasming. As my body calming down, Zan rejoins me at the top of the bed.

“Good morning, beautiful,” he whispers in my ear while possessively wrapping his arm around my waist. My voice is not working yet so I just close my eyes, and smile. I’m not getting out this bed ever again.

‘You taste so good, babe,’ I hear him mentally say to me. He kisses me on my temple.
‘How are you doing this? Since when is this possible?’ I think back.
“Since last night when you fully opened up to me,” he whispers in my ear.
“So are you telling me that you can hear all my thoughts now,” I ask amazed.
“Not all of them, just the ones that overwhelm you at times, and the ones you don’t block from me. We can send thoughts to each other, but I’ll be able to pick up on your emotions better than anything,” he says stroking my stomach.

Zan sits up in the bed and takes my hand in his. He’s gazing into my eyes, and I’m gazing into his.

‘Mine, mine, mine, mine, mine,’ he thinks as he kisses each one of my fingers.
‘A little possessive, don’t you think?’ I smile up at him. He kisses my hand again.
‘You are so beautiful when you come for me, you know that?’ He crooks his head to the side and grins at me.
“Zan!” I shriek and cover my face. He just keeps that impish grin on his face and watches me blush from head to toe. I move to get out the bed, but he stops me.

He presses me into the bed and lies on top of me. He kisses me long and slow. Just when I think my body is going to explode, Zan breaks away. He doesn’t move off me, he just stares into my eyes and plays with my hair. We don’t speak, we don’t transfer thoughts; we just lay there together and exist. No words need to be said, everything we need to say is in each other’s eyes. I’ve died and gone to heaven.

Zan begins to kiss me again when the phone rings. He pecks me again, and moves off me to answer the phone. I miss him already, I am so pathetic.

“Hello? Yes. The Johnson account?” He pauses and puts his hands over his eyes. “Where is Baker, that’s his deal…okay, fine. Yeah, bye.”

Zan hangs up the phone and faces me.

“Baby, I gotta go to work for a couple of hours.”
“Nooo. It’s Saturday, Zan,” I pout. I am really pathetic. “I share you all week long, why do I have to share you today too?” Maybe my whining will convince him to stay.
“Who’s being possessive now?” Zan teases playing with my hair.
“Please Zan?” I straddle him and begin to move suggestively on his lap. “I can make it worth your while.”
“Sweets, I have to go.” I sigh and move off him.
“If you must, then you must,” I say. I get out the bed and turn on the stereo. Some old disco song is playing and I begin to wiggle and gyrate to the music, naked. What can I say, I’m in a good mood.

“Liiiz…” The tone of his voice is full of wanting and agony.
“Nope, you have to go to work, remember?” I say. Suffer, Zan, suffer.

Before I know it, Zan is out of the bed and chasing me around the apartment, naked. Two thoughts occur to me at this point: one, I wonder if the neighbors can see us; and two, why the hell am I running from this man? If anything I should be running to him. I giggle as I barely make it into the bathroom and shut the door. I’m still giggling as I face the mirror, but suddenly I stop. On my stomach, around my navel in a circle are two words: Zan’s Girl. The words are written so small that the phrase has been completed 3 times. I smile inwardly and then I hear him.

‘You like it, babe?’ he thinks. I walk to the bathroom door and open it, only to find him leaning against the doorframe with that impish grin on his face. And he is still naked.
‘I love it, but not as much as I love you,’ I think back and smile.
He kisses me, and then I feel my body being lifted off the ground. It’s not until I feel my back against the bathroom wall and his stiffening member against my thigh that I fully comprehend what’s going on.

“Zan, you have to go to work,” I say in between kisses. He just grunts at me. “The sooner you go, the sooner you come back.”
“You want me to leave, Liz?” he asks as he gently nips at my breast. His hands are everywhere and I can feel the familiar haze of lust settling over my brain. Please don’t ever leave me, Zan.

“No, but you told them you were coming. Besides, I have to buy presents today,” I moan. He feels so good.
“Presents?” he whispers and all activity stops. Zan’s eyes light up like a child’s and a small grin spreads across his face. “You’re going to buy presents?”
“Not if you don’t put me down, I’m not,” I reply and laugh at him. He moans, and I feel my feet touch the floor. Zan moves to the shower and turns it on.

“So what are you getting me?” he inquires while rubbing his hands together, a smile lighting his eyes.
“I don’t think you’ll be getting anything, you’ve been so naughty, particularly last night,” I say. A look of pure shock crosses his face; it’s almost enough to make me burst out laughing, but I maintain my composure.

“But babe, isn’t being naughty a good thing?” I hear him call as I walk out the bathroom.

Once I get to the bedroom I dissolve into a fit of giggles. It’s like I’ve got a grown man and a little boy all wrapped in one. It doesn’t get much better than this. I hear the door to the bathroom open and Zan steps out almost fully dressed. White dress shirt with navy blue pin stripes, first four buttons open. Matching navy blue dress pants, and navy blue Kenneth Cole’s. His hair is still wet, and he’s glowing. Damn, he’s gorgeous. Zan is walking to the bed, and then I notice something on his chest. On his left pec, right above his heart are two words: Liz’s Man. I gently touch the tattoo with my lips, and look into his eyes.

“Just like you’re my girl, I’m your man. That’s the way it is, and that’s the way it’s gonna always be,” he replies stroking my stomach lightly. He bends down and captures my lips with his. Have I mentioned how wonderful it is to be in love?

“I gotta go,” he says pulling away from me. “Give me a couple of hours, and the rest of the day is yours.”
“And what if I want more than the rest of the day?” I tease.
“Then you can have the rest of my life,” he replies kissing me again. He strokes my face and then begins to move towards the door. “Bye, babe,” he calls.

‘I love you, Liz.’
‘Love you, too, Zan,’ I think back and smile.

As soon as I’m certain he’s gone, I race to the bathroom and take a quick shower. I dry off, throw on some clothes, grab my coat, and dash out the door. Luckily, Zan’s apartment is by all the good stores so I don’t have to far to go. Today should be an easy shopping day since I’ve taken care of everyone’s presents except for Zan’s. All I have to do is return Max and Isabel’s presents, look for Zan’s, and then I can evacuate this madness called Christmas shopping. First stop: Tiffany and Co. jewelry store. I walk in and flag down the first sales person I see.

“Hi, I have an order of gold cuff links on reserve and I wanted to take them off hold today,” I say to the gentleman in front of me. His name tag reads “Steve.”
“Okay, follow me and we can get them all wrapped up and ready to go,” Steve answers as we walk to the counter. “What name is it under?”
“My name is Elizabeth Parker, and I don’t need you to wrap them up. I’m actually here to cancel my purchase of the cuff links as well as the pearl earrings,” I reply handing Steve my receipt.
“Just one moment and I’ll be back with your refund,” Steve says and quickly walks to the back of the store.

After a couple of minutes, he returns with a cashier’s check for the amount of the refund and a new receipt. I’m about to walk out when an object in the corner of the store catches my eye. I have found Zan’s present.

“Steve,” I call and I beckon him to follow me with my fingers.
“Yes, Miss Parker?’
“I want to use my refund and get these instead. Is that possible?”
“But of course. We offer complimentary engraving also. Would you like that as well?”
“Follow me, please.”

Twenty minutes later, I exit Tiffany’s with one of Zan’s gifts. I hurry to my next stop: Kaybee Toy Store. There are children running and screaming everywhere, but that’s not the worst part. The parents of these children are in the aisles fighting over toys, and cursing at each other. I even see one man running from a lady with a plaid dress, carrying a box over his head. Please God, just let me make it out of here alive and in one piece. I find what I need, and lift the box over my head, carefully maneuvering my way down the aisle. I pay for Zan’s second present, and literally run out the store. I hop on the subway and take it back to my dorm so I can hide the presents. While there I pack another bag of clothes, and then leave. I finally make it back to Zan’s apartment after spending 35 minutes in a cab with a man who didn’t open his mouth to speak except when cursing out other drivers, and that was in Chinese. To say I’m exhausted is an understatement.

“Zan,” I call as I walk through the front door. I wonder if he’s home yet.
‘In the bedroom,’ he mentally replies. Damn, this comes in handy. It's better than walkie talkies.

I walk into the bedroom and find Zan sprawled out across the bed, naked except for his boxers. Maybe I should burn all his clothes so he’ll be naked all the time.

“Hey, I heard that!” he laughs. I walk over to the bed and kiss him on his forehead. “Where are the presents, Liz?”
“What presents?” I ask nonchalantly. I block our connection so he won’t have the slightest inkling of where I’ve been this afternoon.
“Liz…” Zan is walking towards me now.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about!” I squeal as he tackles me to the bed. With a wave of his hand my clothes are gone, and he’s caressing my body with his hands and mouth.

“I missed you today,” he whispers between kisses.
“How much, Zan?” I moan.

And then he showed me, and now I’m walking on the clouds. It should be a crime to make someone feel this good.

Part 16A

December 24, 2004

Clothes, check. Toiletries, check. Present, check and a smile. I’m standing in the bedroom with my hands on top of my head, hoping that I’ve packed everything. I check my purse: wallet, checkbook, and birth control pills. Better to be safe than sorry. Everything I need is there.

“Liz, you ready?” Zan calls from the living room.
“Yeah, I just need you to come in here and help me carry these bags,” I say.

Zan walks into the room, and I can see the frustration in his eyes. His eyes keep darting from the bags on the floor and bed, then back at me.

“Why do you have 5 bags? We’re only gonna be there for a day and a half,” he says.
“I know, but what if your parents have plans for us to go somewhere and I don’t have the right kind of clothes?”
“We’ll buy you a new outfit then.”
“But see, we don’t have to do that. If we just take these bags…”

It’s obvious that Zan isn’t listening to me anymore, he’s laughing too hard. He sits down on the bed, and pulls me into his lap.

“You nervous about meeting my folks, Liz?” he asks while rubbing my back.
“Of course not, don’t be silly.” Zan just raises his pierced eyebrow. “Okay Zan, yes I’m nervous. What if they don’t like me? What if your mom looks at me and decides at first glance that I’m not good enough for you? What if---“ He silences me with a kiss.
“They will love you, because I love you. Even if they don’t, and trust me they will, it won’t matter because my opinion is the only one that counts, okay?”

I nod and he lifts me off his lap. He looks around the room.

“I’ll make you a deal. I will load all these bags in the car, but you can only bring two in the house; the rest stay in the car. Deal?”
“Deal,” I say and smile. I can hear Zan sighing as he carts all my bags into the hallway. We lock up the apartment, load up the elevator, take the bags to the car, and set off to his parents’ house.

As we drive along the road, I can feel the panic beginning to consume my body. Despite what Zan has said, I am terrified beyond belief. It’s not so much his parents that scare me, it’s parents in general. I mean, your first impression is the most important, isn’t it? I just don’t want to start off on the wrong foot with these people. What if I break something or accidentally insult his mother’s cooking? What if she thinks I’m a little slut or a small town hick? What if I--- Oh God. I think I’m going to throw up. I should not have agreed to go, I should’ve gone to Roswell with Maria. Maybe it’s not too late, maybe I can---

My mental rambling has just been silenced by Zan’s hand creeping under my sweater and the gentle stroking that is taking place against my breast.

“I thought I told you to calm down back at the house,” Zan murmurs. He never takes his hand off the steering wheel or his eyes off the road.
“I can’t help it, Zan. I’m just scared that she won’t like me,” I whine. He removes his hand from underneath my sweater. Suddenly a thought occurs to me.

“Do your parents know about you, Zan? I mean, do they know that you’re not from around here?” I ask looking at his face.
“They know,” he says while staring at the road. It has just begun to snow. “I told them the summer after I turned 18, right after mom found me practicing my powers on her roses,” he laughs. A smile reaches his eyes.
“What happened?”
“The summer after I graduated from high school, I was in the backyard, bored to death when I decided I was going to entertain myself with my powers. She caught me changing the colors and sizes of her roses. But that’s not all,” he says chuckling.
“What else did you do?” I ask.
“You remember those flowers that used to sing and dance in the mall? Well when she caught me, her precious flowers were singing “You are my Sunshine” and dancing back and forth. I turned around and she was just staring at me. I thought she was going to kick me out or call the police, but instead she wrapped her arm around my waist and steered me into the living room so I could fix on of her lamps.” He’s smiling at the memory. “My parents and I have no secrets, they know about you, too,” Zan says looking at me. I feel the fear and panic rise once again.

“Exactly what do they know, Zan? You didn’t tell them about how we first met or about the…” I gesture with my hands hoping he gets my drift.
“My parents know that you are a beautiful and intelligent young woman with elegance and class. They also know that the moment I saw you, I fell in love with you. They know that I adore you, and that’s all they need to know.” Zan strokes my face. “Feel better now?’
“One hundred percent.”
“Good, because we’re here.”

The house we have pulled up in front of is absolutely gorgeous. It appears to be a Victorian, white with tan and cream trim. Even though it’s the dead of winter, I can see the perfectly manicured lawn that lies under the blanker of snow. If this is any sign or forewarning of the people inside, I am in trouble. I look down at my black leather coat, navy blue cable knit sweater, dark blue jeans, and black leather boots, and sigh as Zan opens my door and helps me out.

‘If you don’t stop acting up, I’m going to spank you,’ he thinks.
‘Promise?’ I think back and he bursts out laughing. He pulls me into his arms and we begin to kiss. Not even 30 seconds later, we are interrupted by someone yelling.

“Zannie!” a woman screams and runs from the front door to the car.
“Mama!” Zan yells back as he runs towards the woman with open arms.

I watch with a smile on my face as Zan picks his mom up and twirls her around in the driveway. From where I’m standing, she is nothing like the perception that I had of her. She appears to be a little taller than me, and has long jet-black hair that almost touches her waist. Her olive complexion sets of her brilliant green eyes and her perfectly white teeth. If it weren’t for the hint of wrinkles around her eyes and mouth I would have sworn that she was Zan’s younger sister. She’s wearing black jeans and a green cardigan sweater. I’m pretty sure their laughter and giggles can be heard all down the street, but they don’t care. When I see them heading towards me, I straighten my clothes and wipe the sides of my mouth. Here we go.

“Mom, I want you to meet my girlfriend, Liz Parker. Liz, this is my mom, Kristine,” Zan introduces.
“It’s nice to meet you, Mrs. Evans,” I smile and stick out my hand so I can shake her hand. She just stares at me and then looks back at Zan. Oh my God, my worst nightmare is coming true.
“Zan is this---“
“Yep,” he answers smiling and nodding his head.

Before I know it, I’m being pulled into a massive bear hug, and I feel myself relax. Mrs. Evans steps back and takes a look at me.

“It is so nice to finally meet you! Zan has already told me so much about you that I feel like I already know you. Zan, why didn’t you tell me she was so pretty,” she gushes. Zan and I just look at each other and turn red. Only a mother has this kind of power to make two grown adults blush. “Oh my gosh, where are my manners? You guys come inside, I’ll send Robert out to get your bags in a second.”

Kristine runs back towards the house, her jet black hair coursing down her back and swinging in the wind. “Robert, they’re here!” I hear her yell. For a woman in her fifties, she sure does have a set of lungs and a lot of energy.

“I told you she’d like you,” Zan’s breath tickles my ear as we walk to the house. He intertwines his fingers in mine. He kisses the crown of my head. We walk into the house and close the door.

I am greeted by so many new sights and smells that I think I’m about to go into sensory overload. In the entranceway of the house, there are onyx marble floors and the walls are adorned with pictures as far as the eye can see. As we move into the living room, more pictures, a big screen TV, a fireplace, and three tan leather sofas come into view. The plush cream carpet underneath our feet perfectly matches the shade of paint on the walls, and the room is immaculate. The Christmas tree in the corner and the aroma of tomorrow’s Christmas dinner are assaulting my nostrils, and I can’t help but to lick my lips and moan.

“I know,” a voice says coming up behind Zan and me. “Wait until you taste it.”
“Pops, how are you?” Zan cries and smiles as he hugs his father. He steps back and faces me. “Dad, this is Liz Parker, my girlfriend. Liz, this is my father, Robert.”

Zan’s father is gorgeous for his age, I know Mrs. Evans must have an invisible leash around his neck. He could be Al Pacino’s twin.

“Nice to meet you, Mr. Evans,” I say. Before I get a chance to try and shake his hand, he envelops me in a bear hug and kisses me on the cheek.
“Nice to meet you too, Liz, but please call me Robert. I put your bags in your old room, Zan.”
‘Thanks, Dad,” Zan says. Mr. Evans shoots a knowing glance between Zan and I, and winks at Zan. He then retreats to the living room to watch the football game that’s playing on the big screen.

‘What was that about?’ I think when his father leaves us alone.
‘Man stuff,’ he thinks back and smiles at me.

We walk into the kitchen and find Mrs. Evans in the midst of at least 10 different cooking projects. However, the kitchen is spotless, and her hands and clothes are immaculate. To say that I’m in awe is putting things lightly.

“Mrs. Evans, would you like some help?” I offer.
“Sure, but only on one condition: you are to never call me Mrs. Evans again. Call me Kristine, because Mrs. Evans is an old woman with a rocking chair and nine cats,” she says with a laugh. I giggle and Zan smiles at us.
“I’m going to go catch up with Dad,” he tells us. He kisses us both on our cheeks before he walks back into the living room.

Kristine and I are working in a companionable silence; she is kneading dough and I’m chopping vegetables.

“You know, Zan really loves you, Liz,” she says finally. “I’ve never seen him act this way with anyone.” I look up and stop my chopping as she continues. “When Robert and I found Zan, it was like a dream come true for us, because we were finally allowed to have a child of our own after years of wishing and praying. It was so hard for us to get him to open up to us initially, but he finally did and we were so grateful for his faith in us. He has changed so much in these past 8 years, but I’d have to say the biggest change occurred in him two months ago when he found you.”

Kristine looks up from her dough finally, and when she does look at me I see the unshed tears in her eyes.

“Alexander loves you so much, and it’s his love for you that has made him a better man. I can see it, and my husband can see it, too. He is a special boy, my baby, and he deserves to be loved and taken care of accordingly. I just need to hear you say it: do you love him as much as he loves you?”

“I love him as much if not more,” I reply and tears begin to course down my face. “Your son is my everything.” She only nods.
“I figured as much. I don’t know what you guys have planned for the future, but please, just love him for a long as you know how, and I promise he’ll love you in return equally, if not more.” Kristine wipes her eyes and I wipe my own as well. “One more thing, Liz: welcome to the family.” A brilliant smile lights up her face and we embrace. Relief floods through my body.

We finish our tasks in the kitchen and about an hour later call the men in our lives to the kitchen for Christmas Eve dinner. Soon after, the four of us move into the living room for coffee, pastries, and plain old silly conversation. After about two hours, Mr. Evans clears his throat.

“I think we should get to bed if Santa is going to do his job,” he says with a smile.
“And Zan, stay out the kitchen and away from the tree. I mean it, mister,” she laughs. She winks at me.

I smile back and stand up. I lift my hands over my head and stretch for all I’m worth, only to be greeted by laughter from Zan’s parents.

“So he got you too, I see,” Kristine laughs. I look down and see that my sweater has risen up, revealing the tattoo on my tummy. I look at Zan for support, but he only smiles at me sheepishly. I wonder how fast I can run to the bathroom, and die of embarrassment.

“Don’t worry about it, Liz, he got us too,” Robert says chuckling. He lifts up his sleeve to reveal "Zan’s Dad” tattooed on his shoulder, and Mrs. Evans lifts up her pants leg to reveal “Zan’s Mom” on her ankle. Pretty soon we’re all laughing and beating Zan with couch cushions. We all say our goodnights and head to our respective rooms.

“You sure they don’t mind me---“ I’ve been silenced by lips once again.
“You worry too much, sweets,” Zan says in between kisses. He’s undressing me with lightning quick speed, and I can feel my body heating up under his touch. “Time for me to open one of my presents.”
“Zan, we can’t, not in your parents house,” I moan. My body has been craving his touch all day long.
“Please Liz. We can be quiet.” We both look at the full sized bed that Zan slept on as a child. I am so weak when it comes to this man. He resumes kissing me and undresses me. He then undresses himself and climbs into the bed with me.

‘I love you more than life itself,’ Zan thinks. His hands are gently stroking the insides of my thighs, and I’m losing a grasp on reality quickly.

I close my eyes and let Zan consume my mind, body, and soul. Merry Christmas to me.

Part 16B

I’m calculating a way to move out of Zan’s embrace so I can go to the car and get his present. Zan has me tucked safely into his chest, and his breathing is steady. Any other morning I would have snuggled further into his chest and went back to sleep, but not this morning. I’m a woman on a mission. I gently move his arms and carefully roll over. Zan’s breathing falters for just a second, but quickly returns to normal. I breathe a sigh of relief. Throw on some sweats, grab the car keys, and tiptoe out the room. I’m running down the hallway to the front door when I see his mother coming around the corner.

“Merry Christmas, Kristine,” I whisper and smile. She smiles back.
“Merry Christmas, Liz. Why are we whispering?” she asks coming closer and I giggle.
“Zan is asleep. I was going to get his present out the car before he woke up,” I explain.
“Oooh, spy mission involving presents,” she says with her emerald eyes twinkling. “Come on, we have to hurry.”

We make a mad dash to the car, and retrieve his present. We hurry back in the house and are greeted by silence.

“Mission accomplished,” Kristine whispers and gives me a thumbs up sign. “Hurry back before Zan notices you are gone, I’ll take the present and put it under the tree. Robert and I will be waiting in the living room for you guys.”

I nod and run back to the room. Quietly closing the door, I strip off my sweats and carefully climb into the bed. I resume my spot on his chest and close my eyes. So far, so good.

“Next time you and my mother decide to play outside on Christmas morning, let me know.” I look up and see Zan smiling down at me. Damn him.

“Merry Christmas, Liz,” he whispers and kisses the crown of my head.
“Merry Christmas to you, too, Zan.” I sit up and stretch. “Come on, your parents are waiting for us in the living room.” I move to get out the bed, but he places his hand on my arm.

“Wait a second, I want to give you your first present. Come here.” Zan pulls me into his lap, and gently kisses me. His tongue is gently massaging my own, and he brings both of his hands to the sides of my face. I feel a current of electricity touch my tongue, and suddenly he pulls away.

“You like it?” Zan asks kissing me once more.
“I love it, Zan. Thank you,” I reply shyly and hug him.

I let my tongue run against the back of my teeth, and take pleasure at hearing the smooth metal ball make a clicking sound in response. I have always wanted a tongue ring, but Max had always protested saying that only nasty girls mutilated their bodies in that fashion. That, and I was always too afraid of the pain. I guess both of my problems have been taken care of so to speak.

After I kiss Zan again, I get out the bed and put on my sweats once more. I wait for Zan, and we he is dressed, we walk into the living room, hand in hand.

“Well look who finally decided to join us,” Robert says upon our appearance. “I thought I was going to have to call the SWAT team in to get you guys out that room.”

As we settle on the couch, I notice that several presents have already been opened. Wrapping paper is everywhere, and new clothes and presents litter the floor and sofas.

“We couldn’t wait,” Kristine whispers in my ear. I see where Zan gets his enthusiasm for presents from now. Now that Zan and I are here, the rest of the presents are distributed, but Zan and I save ours for last. I hand him the present I picked out for him.

“Go ahead and open it,” I say as I smile. He looks at me with wonder in his eyes, and proceeds to tear of the wrapping paper. His eyes light up, and he begins to jump up and down.

“Playstation Four!” Zan shrieks while laughing. He’s clapping his hands and doing a little happy dance. I just laugh at him; he’s such a little boy. His parents are laughing, too. “How did you know, Liz?”

“Well I know that you really weren’t allowed to have a childhood and do all the things most kids got to do, so I thought that I might be able to restore a little bit of your childhood with this,” I explain.
“You even bought me the combat collection games that go with it,” he smiles while sifting through the box.
“You like it?” I ask biting my lower lip. Zan reaches out and places me on his lap. He kisses me softly.
“I love it, Liz. Thank you,” he whispers and kisses me again. Then he pulls a small rectangular box from the side of the sofa. “Your turn, Liz.”

I take the box from him, and tear off the wrapping paper. I open the black velvet box in my hands and gasp at what I find inside. Hanging from a delicate gold chain is a heart shaped amethyst and diamond encrusted pendant. There are also matching heart shaped earrings. I feel the tears well up in my eyes as the beauty of my present assaults my eyes.

“Oh my gosh, Zan!”
“You like it, babe?” he whispers in my ear.
“I love it! Thank you,” I say as I hug him. I sit up and look into his eyes. “Help me put it on, please.” He nods and takes the jewelry out the box.
“Liz, I’m absolutely jealous!” Kristine squeals. I forgot his parents were even in the room with us. “Your necklace and earrings are simply beautiful.” I smile and nod. “Come on, Robert. Let’s go start breakfast,” she says and with that they leave for the kitchen.

I’m still sitting in Zan’s lap, and I notice that he is gazing at me intently.

“Yes, Zan?” I ask shyly and dip my head to hide from his gaze.
“You are so beautiful, Liz. Sometimes I still can’t believe you’re with me,” Zan says caressing my cheek. He kisses my neck. “I love you so much that it hurts sometimes.”

God, I love this man. It’s not the jewelry, or his car, or the way he looks, or the attention that he’s showered on me for the past couple of weeks. It’s just him that I love. Zan has the purest heart and soul. I am so content to love this man and just be in his presence that I don’t know what to do with myself. I gently stroke his face and kiss his forehead.

“Come on, let’s go eat,” he says and before I can get off his lap he flips me over his shoulder and carries me to the kitchen…

The rest of the day passed pretty quickly, and before I knew it, it was time to go home. Zan, Kristine, and I are walking to the car with our arms wrapped around each other’s waists while Robert is already at the car loading our bags and presents.

“I want you to call me when you get home so I know you guys made it back okay,” Kristine say looking at both of us. “Don’t be strangers, either. Robert and I are going to miss you,” she goes on.
“Kristine, leave those kids alone,” Robert calls as he walks towards us. “They are going to be just fine.” We all smile at each other.

“Well I guess we should get going before it gets too late,” Zan says glancing at me and I nod.
“Thank you guys so much or having me,” I say as I hug Robert and then Kristine.
“No problem, just remember you’re welcome anytime,” Kristine replies. She pulls me closer and whispers in my ear, “Thank you for being the light in my Alexander’s eyes.”

We step back from each other and smile with unshed tears in our eyes. Zan opens my car door, and soon we are both inside, heading back towards the city.

“What are you thinking about?” Zan inquires, breaking the silence. We are about halfway back.
“Oh nothing much. I need to call Maria, Alex, and my parents when we get home,” I answer.
“Are you tired?” He’s rubbing my hand with the pad of his thumb.
“No, why?”
“We have more presents to open when we get home,” he replies and winks at me. Oh, this should be good.

Twenty minutes later, we walk into the apartment and are greeted by a gust of freezing cold air. It’s a miracle that I can’t see my breath. “I’ll go start a fire,” Zan says and walks into the living room. I nod and walk into the bedroom.

I have just taken Zan’s other presents of the top shelf in the close, and am about to venture into the living room when I notice the red light on the answering machine blinking. I press the play button.


“Alexander, it’s mom. Just reminding you to call. Okay, bye.”
“Zan, call your mom!” I yell.
“Already on the phone with her!” he yells back.


“Hey Liz, hey Zan, it’s Maria. Just calling to wish you guys a Merry Christmas.” There’s a pause. “I’m coming, Michael, hush your yapping! Anyway, just wanted to thank you guys for the extra Christmas present (giggle) and can’t wait to see you in a couple of days. Call me, Liz. Later.”


“Um, this message is for Liz. It’s mom. I tried to call you at your dorm room, but I guess you’re having your messages forwarded. Just wanted to say Merry Christmas and that your father and I love you. Call us when you can. Bye.”

Beep. “End of final message.”

“Coming, Zan.” I pick up the 2 boxes on the bed and go to the living room.

Zan never ceases to amaze me. In front of the fireplace he has spread out a picnic blanket, and there are two bowls of vanilla ice cream (One vanilla, one vanilla with Tabasco) on it. By each bowl is a flute of sparkling cider. Zan is sitting in the middle if the blanket gazing up at me, his eyes are blazing brighter than the fire. I walk over to the blanket and sit down beside him.

“What is this?” I ask looking around me.
“What are these?” he counters pointing at the boxes in my hands. He pulls me in between his legs and hands me my bowl of ice cream. I sit the boxes down and take the bowl from him. He eats his ice cream, and then wraps his arms around my waist.
“Are those for me?” Zan whispers in my ear. I finish my ice cream and set the bowl down. I hand him the first box, the smaller of the two.
“I want you to open this one first,” I say leaning back into his chest. He unwraps the box, opens it, and takes out the contents inside.
Hanging from a gold chain is a 14-karat gold key. “Alexander Evans” is printed on one side, and “Zan, All My Love, Liz” is on the other.

“This is beautiful, Liz, but what does the key go to?” Zan asks. I hand him the other box. When he takes out the contents this time, I hear a small gasp escape his lips.

“Baby.” It’s all he can say.

In his hands is a medium sized heart made of lead crystal and trimmed in gold. In the middle sits a golden lock. “Turn it over,” I tell him. He does as he is told, and when he sees the engraving he begins to read out loud.

“On this day, December 25th, 2004, I give you my heart. It is to be loved, cherished, beheld, and taken care of. I love you more than words could ever express. You are the key to my existence, and I will forever place my heart in your hands. ~Elizabeth Nicole Parker.”

I look over my shoulder and into his eyes. “I love you with my mind, my soul, and all my heart, Zan. I’m yours,” I whisper.

Zan pulls me into fierce embrace and whispers words of love into my hair. When he lets me go, he walks out the living room and into the bedroom. Within seconds he is back and sitting behind me. He wraps his hands around my waist once again and begins to whisper in my ear.

“I promise you that I will love you, and do whatever it takes for you to be happy for all eternity. I would follow you to the ends of the earth if it meant I could be with you.”

He picks up my right hand and kisses it.

“I promise that I will stand by you through the thick and the thin, the good times and the bad times. I will never be quick to judge, only quick to comfort and support you.”

He places my hand next to his leg and put his own on top of mine.

“I promise that I will hold your hand when you need it, and kiss away any fears, doubts, or pain that comes your way.”

He slides something on my ring finger.

“I promise to love you for all the things that you are, as well as all the thing you aren’t. I promise to love you today, tomorrow, and until the end of time if you let me. Will you accept all the promises made and my promise ring?”

Zan holds up my hand so I can see it, and this time I’m the one to gasp. On my right ring finger, Zan has placed an amethyst and diamond cluster promise ring that matches my earrings and pendant. Tears of joy are running down my face, and I can barely speak.

“I will love you for all eternity, Liz. I promise,” he whispers and then he turns me around to face him. He wipes the tears from my eyes and gently kisses me. I let my arms close around his neck and bury my face into his chest. This has got to be the happiest moment of my life.

“Just hold me, Zan.”

And he does. The last thing I remember is Zan rocking me back and forth and kissing the crown of my head before I drift into sleep…

Part 17

December 31, 2004

“Baby, you up?” It’s morning, and we’re lying comfortably in the bed. It’s about 8:30.
“Liiiz, it’s early,” Zan whines. He tightens his grip around my waist and pulls me back into his chest. “Give me about 45 minutes to an hour, and then I’ll get up, I promise.”

Promise. I look down at my right hand, and can’t help but to smile. My ring is sparkling in the early morning sunlight, and I’m getting giddy at just the sight of it. Well, giddy and something else actually. I roll over and face Zan.

“Zaaaan,” I say in a sing song voice. I begin to stroke his eyebrows with my fingers, and gently kiss his eyes. I let my fingers trace the outline of his cheek and jaw, and then kiss his chin.

“Keep it up, Liz, and you’re going to be in trouble,” he says with his eyes still closed. A faint smile is crossing his face.

‘Maybe that’s what I want,’ I think and let my fingers drag down the middle of his chest.
‘You are asking for it, Liz.’ My fingers are sliding across his stomach and occasionally grazing his belly button.
‘Asking for what, Zan?’ My hand is now inside his boxer briefs and massaging his increasingly hardening member. His eyes shoot open and he’s looking at me with wide eyes. The way he’s gasping you would think he’s a fish out of water.

“Shit, that feels good,” he murmurs.
“You awake now, Zan?” I whisper into his ear as I tighten my hold on him and increase the speed of my stroke.
“Hell yeah,” he whispers back. His eyes close and his moans get louder.
“Good,” I reply and stop. I kiss his cheek. “Come on, we have to go pick up Maria and Michael from the airport,” I say and hop out the bed before he has time to grab me. Running into the bathroom with a smile on my face I hear him call, “I can’t believe you would leave me like this! You are so wrong, Liz. Shit!”

I hop in the shower and think about the past few days that Zan and I have spent together. Words can’t even describe the happiness that I’ve been experiencing. I’m beginning to wonder what I ever saw in Max. Sure, he may have the same physical makeup as Zan, but that is where all the similarities stop. Could it be that I was so preoccupied with my safety and the truth leaking out about Max that I mistook general concern for love? Whatever I felt for him does not, can not compare to the feelings I have for Zan. Nothing will ever compare to the way I feel about Zan.

I finish my shower and wrap a towel around my body. I’m walking into the bedroom when suddenly out of nowhere Zan grabs me by my waist and pins me to the wall. He rips off my towel and begins to devour me whole.

“You thought that was funny, leaving me the way you did, huh?” he asks as he attacks the side of my neck. He picks me up, wraps my legs around his waist, and kneads my breasts with both his hands. Oh my God.

“Answer me, Liz,” he growls in my ear and then he kisses me. He begins to walk to the bed with me still clinging to him and lays me down in the black satin sheets. He positions himself in between my legs before he continues.

“You are such a bad girl for leaving me out here all hot and bothered,” Zan whispers. He dips his head down and rubs the tip of his nose against my clit.

“Zan,” I moan and close my eyes. My body is itching, burning even with desire. I’m to the point where all he has to do is touch me again, and I might go into sensory overload. Suddenly I don’t feel anything. I sit up and open my eyes. Zan has moved away completely from the bed, and is standing by the doorway with a smirk on his face.

“Payback is a bitch, ain’t it?” he grins and starts to laugh. He walks into the bathroom and closes the door.

I’m about to cry, I swear I am. How could he….I mean, I was….Damn it. After about five minutes of trying to get my body and mind back under restraint, I walk to the dresser, pick out some underwear, and put it on. Next I move to the closet and pick out some jeans and a sweatshirt. I’m putting the shirt over my head when I hear the door open and Zan steps out the bathroom wearing only a towel wrapped around his waist. I have a good mind to go over there and…

“How you feeling, babe?” Zan asks as he sits on the bed. He’s laughing at me, I can see it in his eyes.
“I’m doing well, thank you,” I say trying not to sound too flustered. “You are so evil.”
“Me? You’re the one who started it!”
“I was just playing, but you took it too far! You had me out here, about to let loose and then you left me here to suffer all alone. That wasn’t right,” I whine. Maybe if I keep whining, I can get him to pick up where he left off.
“Now you know what I felt like,” he says moving towards me. He kisses my forehead. “I bet you won’t do that shit again, though, will you?” Zan laughs and walks back into the bathroom to finish getting dressed. Damn straight, I won’t….

“So what do you and Maria have planned for the rest of the day?” Zan asks as we drive to the airport. He’s dressed in a cream Polo turtleneck sweater and black jeans, black leather coat and matching black leather boots. Silver rings sparkle on his fingers and silver hoops shine from his ears and eyebrow. It’s not visible, but the gold key is hanging from his neck, lying safely next to his heart.

“I don’t know. We usually don’t do anything during New Year’s Eve day, but get ready for the night,” I tell him. “Every year we go to Times Square and count down the year with the rest of the crazies in the city, and then we come home.”
“Did Max or Michael ever come with you guys?” Zan asks quietly. He’s trying to maneuver through the streets, but there are people everywhere.
“Please. Max is somewhat of a claustrophobe, and would prefer to lay in the bed and watch the countdown on TV,” I answer.
“Shit, if you were my woman, I wouldn’t mind laying in the bed all day and night,” he replies and smiles at me. He’s so cute. I smile back.
“But Zan, you have to understand that I’m from Roswell, the official small town capital of the United States. Why would I watch the countdown from home when I can just go down the street and join in on the fun? Why not partake in New York life if I have a chance to do so? Besides, Max had this thing about being safe all the time, and that just isn’t me.”
“Point taken. So what about Michael?”
“Michael is Michael. I think he’s contrary with Maria just so they can argue and he can piss her off. She tried to get him to go out the first year we got here, and they ended up fighting so bad that they didn’t speak to each other for about 3 months. From that point on, we just went by ourselves because it wasn’t worth arguing over with either one of them,” I explain.
“I see.”

We pull into the airport parking lot and make our way hand in hand through the throngs of people to Maria’s gate. I’ve only been here for three minutes and already my feet have been stepped on almost 12 times. Children are crying, and complaints of missing luggage are ringing to the high heavens. I will never volunteer to come pick Maria up from the airport during the holiday season ever again. Mark my words. I’m about to ask Zan for the keys to the car so I can sit down when I hear my best friend’s voice.

“Chica!!” I turn around and see Maria flying towards me with Michael in tow.
“Maria!” I let go of Zan’s hand and run towards my best friend. We hug and then step back. “Hey Michael,” I say and then hug him. “How was your flight?”
“Shitty,” Michael replies. Typical Michael for you.
“It was not! Stop exaggerating, Michael. It was actually pretty good,” she says.
“That’s because you slept on my arm the whole way here,” Michael complains. I laugh.
“Come on, Zan is waiting for us over here,” I say and we begin to walk back towards him. When we get to him, we see he has a new friend.

“So mommy bought me a puppy for Christmas, and I was really happy because I have always wanted a puppy. I named him Blue,” a little boy with dark brown hair tells Zan.
“Really?” Zan says sounding interested. He sees us approaching and winks at me.
“Yeah! He has one blue eye and the other one is brown. My sister is jealous, because she didn’t get a puppy, but it’s okay because I’m going to let her play with Blue, but only when I’m around. Did you ever have a puppy when you were my age?”
“No,” Zan says shaking his head. “I wasn’t lucky enough to have a puppy when I was your age. But I was lucky enough to get a Playstation 4 this year.” He looks at Michael, Maria, and I. “I want you to meet somebody. Guys, this is Jonah. Jonah, these are the people I was telling you about.”

Jonah looks at all of us, and smiles. He is so adorable with his big brown eyes and rosy cheeks, and can’t be more than six years old.

“Hi my name is Jonah,” he says and he holds his hand out for me to shake.
“My name is Liz, it’s very nice to meet you,” I say taking his hand. “These are my friends Maria and Michael.”
“Hi!” he says waving and smiling at them.
“Hey, kiddo. Where’s your mommy?” Maria asks. She scans the crowd.
“Oh, mommy went to use the potty. She told me to stand right here and she would come back,” he reports. “Little boys aren’t supposed to go in the girls bathroom.”
“Smart kid,” Michael says and holds out his hand. “Give me five.”

Jonah does as he’s told and just then a frazzled looking woman runs up to us.

“Thank you so much for watching him,” she says to Zan. “I really appreciate it.”
“No problem,” he replies and smiles at the woman. He then turns to Jonah. “You make sure to take care of your puppy and give him a good home,” he says.
“I will, mommy says I’m a responsible boy. I can do it, Zan,” he says and smiles. “Bye Zan! Bye Liz, Maria, and Michael!” Jonah waves and then walks off with his mother.

“Come on, Liz, we still have to get our bags,” Maria says and she and Michael start towards the luggage claim. I nod and trail behind them.

Jonah, with his dark hair and those big brown eyes. Would me and Zan’s child have looked like that? Suddenly tears are running down my face and I’m thinking about the child I lost almost a month ago. Just seeing Zan with Jonah was enough to bring on the way I feel. He was so loving with that child, so concerned about what he had to say. I can only imagine how he would respond to children of his own. Oh God. Zan’s hands creep around my waist and stop me from walking.

“I know, sweets. I know,” he whispers in my ear. “We’ll have our chance again, babe, I promise. It’s gonna all work out, I swear.”

I turn around and notice that his expression mirrors my own, haunted, hurt and broken. He pulls me into his arms and the rest of the world melts away. For that time, it’s just me and him and we are the world. I step back from him and wipe the tears from my eyes just before Maria and Michael walk back with their bags.

“We’re ready,” she says, oblivious to what has just transpired. “Lead us to the car, because my dogs are barking.”

Michael rolls his eyes, and Zan and I exchange a look. Suddenly we are all laughing, and we begin our walk to the car. We settle in and soon we are zooming back to the apartment.

I may be love's bitch, but at least I'm man enough to admit it-Spike, BtVS
*redface* *Dreamer*Candygirl*Truckstopper*TessHater*Roswell Lover*Kapone224
posted on 26-Sep-2001 11:18:05 PM
Part 18A

“So this is where you stay,” Michael said as the four walked through the door of Zan’s penthouse suite. He lets out a low whistle
“Oh my gosh, this is some place! Look at all the crystal and china, it’s like a museum in here! You don’t sell drugs, do you? I’ll have you know that I’ve seen ‘King of New York’,” Maria informs Zan.

Liz giggles as Zan looks somewhat bewildered.
‘Are all your friends this crazy, sweets?’ he asks mentally.
‘Yep, so you better get used to it,’ she replies and smiles at Zan.

They walk into the living room, and come face to face with the big screen TV and the Playstation Four that Liz has purchased for Zan.

“Is this the Playstation Four that you were telling Jonah about?” Michael asks Zan, and he nods.
“Yeah, Liz got it for me for Christmas. It’s pretty tight,” Zan remarks. “She bought the combat games that go with it, too.”

Michael looks at Maria. “Maria, did you hear what Zan just said?”
“Yeah, he said that Liz got him the Playstation Four and some games.”
“You should start taking notes from Liz, Maria,” he says and sits down on the black leather couch.

Maria just rolls her eyes and takes it all in stride. “So you mean to tell me that you didn’t like what I got you for Christmas?”
“Maria, it was more for you than for me! You bought some white getup from Victoria’s Secret and paraded around my apartment,” Michael said showing no emotion.
“Well you weren’t complaining when you were taking it off me, now were you?” she said getting in his face.

A shrill whistle pierced the air. When Michael and Maria turn around they find Zan and Liz standing at the entranceway of the kitchen. Zan is standing with his arms crossed over his chest with a curious smirk on his face, and Liz’s mouth is hanging open.

“Too much information, just too much,” Liz says shaking her head. “Maria, kitchen. Now. Let Michael and Zan play the video games, I need you in here with me.” She looks at Zan and then pushes him towards the living room. “Go, and be nice.”
“I’m always nice, babe,” he says leaning down to kiss her forehead.
Maria brushes past Zan as he walks to the living room. Before she enters the kitchen with Liz she calls to Zan, “You guys be good, I don’t want to have to come in there and play alien referee.”

Liz rolls her eyes and beckons Maria to come into the kitchen. When she arrives they sit at the kitchen table, and begin to dish.

“So what’s up? We still going to Times Square, or will you be too busy laying up under Zan to come with me?” Maria asks grinning devilishly.
“Maria, I have no idea what you are talking about,” Liz tries to state nonchalantly, but a blush has already crept over her face and hands.
“Yeah, and my name is Bo Peep. It’s written all over your face, Chica, and you have got it bad,” Maria says still smiling. “What’s up with you guys?”
“Oh, Maria. He is just so wonderful, I can’t even put into words how great Zan is. It’s like one of those good ass dreams I keep expecting to wake up from, but so far every morning I’ve woken up in his arms and the dream continues.”
“So I see little Lizzie has recovered from her bout of temporary insanity. I swear, I still can’t believe that you were complaining about how he cooks and pampers you. I wanted to just jump through the phone and slap you.”
“I know. I look at our conversation now and just laugh at myself. Zan has been so good to me, he’s like my own personal angel that takes care of me and loves me. I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve him, but I am so thankful to have him in my life,” Liz says. She gets up and goes to the fridge to get something to drink. “You want?”

“Yeah, sure. What you did to deserve Zan is date Max Evans, I still can’t believe what an ass he turned out to be! He and his sister, I have no words for them when they get back to school. God.” Maria lets an exasperated sigh. “Speaking of Mr. Bastard, let me tell you what happened about what happened when they got back to Roswell.” Maria erupts in giggles.
“I was wondering about that! Spill it, girl.” Liz is still at the fridge looking for something to drink. ‘Snapple or soda? Hmm.’
“First of all, I get this call from Michael talking about meet him at the airport because he and Max are coming back home. I’m just thinking that they need a ride back so I tell them to take a taxi. Michael then just tells me to meet him at the airport at 12:30 and hangs up the phone. I’m like, what the hell is going on? So I go down there, and lo and behold I see Michael dragging Max through the airport, and when I say dragging, Liz I mean dragging.”
“Shut up, ‘Ria! Are you serious?” Liz asks as she takes two Snapple Peach ice teas from the fridge and moves to the cabinet to get some glasses.

“As a heart attack, Liz. When they finally get close enough, I see that Max’s face is all bruised and he has blood crusting by his nose and lips. Now Liz, you know how I get right, so the first thing that came to my mind is ‘Oh my God, the Skins have found Max and beat the living daylights out of him.’ Then Michael let go of him, and I swear Max hit the floor like a ton of bricks…

*December 17, 2004

“Oh my God, Michael! What happened, are the Skins here?” Maria whispered fiercely to Michael. Max is pooled at Maria’s feet and people are walking around them, confusion and intrigue plastered on their faces.
“Nope. Let’s just say that Maxwell made a mistake. Isn’t that right, Maxwell?” Michael says as he smacks Max in the back of his head. Max groans in response.
“Michael, what the hell is going on? Why is Max so beat up?” Maria is beginning to wonder just what is going on.
“Like I said, Maxwell made a mistake that he’ll never make again, am I right, Max?” Michael replies and hits Max in the back of his head again. Max once again grunts.
“Michael…” Maria begins.
“Max has something he wants to say to you, don’t you Max?” Michael then yanks Max up from the floor so he can face Maria. He then whispers in Max’s ear, “You remember what we rehearsed on the plane? I want you to say it NOW, and you better say it like you mean it.”

Maria is now the one to look on in confusion. She knows that Michael is a little hasty in some of his actions, but what could have possibly happened between him and Max that involved her? Then she hears Max begin to speak.

“I’m sorr---, I’m sorry, Maria,” Max says and his voice cracks.
“I don’t think I heard you. I think you should repeat yourself, and recite what we rehearsed,” Michael whispers with anger in his eyes. “Do it now and do it right, Max, or I swear to God…”
“I’m sorry, Maria for being such an ass to you before I left,” Max says with a stronger and louder voice. “I had no right to put my hands on you, and people like that, people like me, deserve to be put in jail and made into somebody’s bitch for that type of behavior. Though I do not deserve your kindness or mercy, I am willing to do whatever it takes to gain it and your trust each and everyday that I am on this planet. Thank you, Michael for showing me the errors of my ways,” Max finishes and bows his head.

Maria is about to burst she wants to laugh so hard. Michael has turned Max into his own personal stooge right in the middle of the Roswell Airport. If she could have peed on herself, she would have. Suddenly, Michael lets go of Max and he falls back to his original spot on the floor.

“Let’s go,” Michael says.
“But Michael, we can’t leave him here in the airport! We can at least drop him off at his house or something,” Maria whispers.
“His ass deserves to stay here, he doesn’t deserve to get in your car. He can walk or call Isabel.”
“I’m not going to leave him here, Michael, so just save it. He did apologize, so I’m just going to consider that his admission home.” Maria slides closer to Michael and runs her hand over his chest. She then stands on tip toes and kisses his cheek. “Please?” she asks batting her eyes.
“Fine, we’ll take him home, but we are not stopping the car. You will drive as close to the house as you can get, and I will promptly throw his ass on the lawn…”*

Maria and Liz have both dissolved into fits of laughter that are conducive to tears. Maria is slouched over the table guffawing, while Liz has slid to the floor in a fit of giggles. When she recovers, Liz stands back up and they continue.

“So what happened, Maria?” Liz asks wiping the tears from her eyes.
“Exactly what Michael said was going to happen, I drove by as slow as I possibly could without stopping and then Michael used his Samantha genie powers to throw him in front of his house.”
“Hey, don’t Maria me! I at least got him to throw Max on the grass instead of the sidewalk,” Maria says. They look at each other and burst into giggles again.

“So what happened next?” Liz inquired.
“Oh, we went back to his apartment and he told me what had happened earlier that night. Then we had hot monkey love. You know, the usual.”

Liz moves from the counter with the glasses and hands on to Maria with her right hand. Maria begins to scream.

“Oh my God, Liz! Your ring is so beautiful! Where did this come from?”
“Zan,” she says and a slight blush spreads across her face. Just then she hears Zan in her mind.

‘Is everything okay in there, babe?’ Zan questions.
‘Maria just saw my ring,’ Liz explains.

“Earth to Liz, hellooo? Liz, come back,” Maria says to Liz. She is frantically waving her hands in front of Liz’s face.
“Huh? Sorry Maria.”
“Chica, where were you just now?”
“Zan asked me something, and I was just---“
“Wait a hot minute. You mean to tell me that you can talk to Zan in your head?”
“Alien love, it never ceases to amaze me. So girlfriend, tell me all about this ring!”

Liz tells Maria of her trip to Zan’s parents’ house for Christmas, and all the presents she had received, including her tattoo, her tongue ring, the necklace and earrings, and the promise ring. She also tells Maria of all the promises that came along with her ring, and the heart that she gave Zan.

“That is so beautiful, Liz. I swear, I’m about to cry,” Maria says fanning her face with her hands. “So wait, let me get something straight. His parents know that he isn’t from here and fully accept it?”
“Yep. They love him so much, Maria, it’s not even funny. Zan is their little boy, and if I didn’t know that he was adopted, you would never be able to tell when he’s around them. They didn’t even freak out when they found out. In fact, his mother made him fix one of their lamps,” Liz says smiling.
“Not to be a downer or anything, but what about your parents? Have they met Zan yet, do you have any plans of letting them meet him?” Maria asks and then takes a sip of her drink.
“I don’t know, Maria. I want to bring him home so bad, but then what am I going to tell my parents? He looks just like Max, and there is just no getting around that. Even with the accent, spiky hair and the piercings, he could still pass for Max’s twin.” Maria nods at this statement. “I don’t want to force Zan to be all preppy just for me, because I love him just the way he is, even though I know he would do it if I asked him to. Even if he did change his appearance, he would still look like Max, and my parents would probably confuse him with Max. Not to mention what if the Evans’ saw Zan? They still don’t know about Max and Isabel not being from around here, remember?”
“Well you could always pass it off as coincidence. I mean, isn’t it said that everyone has a twin?” Maria suggests.
“Come on, Maria, we both know that it wouldn’t work. You do realize that in essence they are the same person, and that him coming to Roswell would just arouse some kind of suspicion. I know my parents would be suspicious if I brought home somebody that looked just like Max, but wasn’t him.”

They both sit in quiet contemplation, trying to think of a solution for Liz’s problem. After a couple of minutes, Maria breaks the silence.

“I guess this is what they mean by you can’t have your cake and eat it, too,” she says trying to shake off the rather heavy mood that has descended upon the kitchen.
“I always did hate that fucking saying,” Liz murmurs.
“So what’s going on with Max?” Maria asks changing subjects. She gets up to put her glass in the sink and returns to the table.
“I haven’t seen Max since Michael drug his ass out of here,” she says and begins to giggle.
“So what are you planning on doing? I mean, we start school in like 4 days, so it’s pretty inevitable that you will have to see him again, both of them actually.”
“I’m not worried about them, if you want to know the truth. I could care less what either one of them do with themselves at this point. As far as Max goes, I will try to be civil when I see him, but pretty much that will be the extent of it. Isabel better not even waste for breath trying to talk to me. I still can’t believe that bitch jumped on me while I was pregnant.”
“Once a bitch, always a bitch I say,” Maria replies. She stands from the table and stretches. She then checks her watch and notices that it’s almost 3:00 p.m.

“Oh shit! I gotta go and start getting ready!” she shrieks.
“But Maria, it’s only---“ Liz cranes her neck and looks at the clock on the kitchen wall. “- 3:00 p.m. We have plenty of time.”
“Perfection takes time, dear, and I plan on being as perfect as possible tonight,” Maria states. “You never know, I might meet my husband tonight.” She winks at Liz.

Liz just rolls her eyes at the comment. Michael is the only man she’ll ever be with, and everyone knows that.

“Come on, let’s go see what Zan and Michael are up to,” Liz states and moves towards the doorway. Maria steps in front of Liz, blocking her way. Liz gives Maria a questioning look.

“I just need to know one thing, Liz. With all the things that have happened in the past month, are you happy? I mean, are you happy with Zan, the way life is going for you now, everything?”

Liz takes a second to think about everything that has happened within the past month. The pregnancy, Max leaving her, Zan’s reappearance, the miscarriage, everything. After a moment of deep consideration, she is only able to come up with one answer.

“I’ve never been happier in all my life, Maria.”
“Don’t lie.”
“I swear, Maria.”
“That’s what I like to hear,” Maria says smiling and pulls Liz into a hug. “My offer still stands though. I will have no hesitation to kick Zan’s ass if he steps out of line.”

Liz laughs and they walk into the living room, where Zan and Michael are seemingly engrossed in the video game.

“Spaceboy, let’s go. I need to get dressed for tonight,” Maria says.
“But I just got to the 4th level…” Michael whines. Zan and Liz look at each other and smile.
“Michael, if I have to walk over to that couch, what follows is not going to be pretty,” Maria warns.
“Fine, Maria, let’s go.” Michael grumbles and murmurs as he picks up his coat. He walks over to Maria.
“Hold on, Spaceboy. I wanna show you something,” Maria says and pulls Liz closer to the two of them. She holds up Liz’s right hand and shoves it in Michael’s face. “You see this ring, Michael? Start taking notes from Zan.” She drops Liz’s hand, and begins to pull Michael towards the door. “See you later, Liz. Bye, Zan.”

And with that, they are out the door. No sooner than the door is closed, arguments can be heard.

“Are they always like that?” Zan asks raising his pierced eyebrow.
“Always,” Liz says and smiles. She walks closer to Zan.
“Aww, how cute. Maybe we can be like that one day,” he teases as he wraps his arms around her waist.
“No thank you, I wouldn’t trade the way we are now for the world” she whispers and they share a kiss.

Part 18B

The girls have just gone into the kitchen, and Zan is now heading towards the couch to take a seat next to Michael. He turns on the Playstation Four and offers Michael one of the controllers.

“Wanna play?” Zan inquires.
“Yeah, okay,” Michael answers and takes the controller from Zan. They begin the game, and after five minutes, both have worked up a sweat. There is no talking, only grunts and moans of frustration as well as success as they go from one level to the next. After another 10 minutes of shooting the enemy, Michael puts his controller down and begins to speak.

“I never got a chance to thank you for what you did for Maria that night,” he says looking at Zan.
“What do you mean?” Zan responds putting his controller down also. He turns to face Michael.
“Uh, the night that Liz--- you know. The night Max pushed her down and you helped her,” Michael says gesturing hoping that Zan got the picture.
“That fucker shouldn’t have put his hands on her,” Zan replies. “He was wrong and he needed to be checked.” Michael nods.
“You mind if I ask you something?” he asks leaning over and rubbing his hands together. His arms are now resting on his knees. “How’s Liz doing? I mean with everything that’s happened how is she holding up?”

Zan sighs and props his feet up on the coffee table. “Well considering all the shit she’s been through, I’d have to say that she’s doing considerably well. She has her moments, but so do I so I really can’t judge her.”

Michael nods and looks away. “I want you to know that Liz is good people. She trusted me without a doubt from the moment she met me even though I am what I am, and I think of her as a sister, you understand?”
“Okay then since you understand you won’t mind me asking what your intentions are with her?”
“Excuse me?” Of all the roles that Zan had conjured for Michael, this surely wasn’t one of them. Hard ass, yes. Big brother or father figure, definitely not.
“Why are you with Liz, Zan? I mean what do you plan on doing with her?”
“I plan on doing the same thing that I’ve done with her since day one, love and take care of her. Where the hell is all this coming from, Michael?”
“I think humans call it concern. Look, all I know about you is what the other Dupes told me. You are supposed to be dead, but sure as I’m from another planet you are sitting in front of me just as alive as you want to be. I don’t know shit about you accept you are here after five years of being ‘dead’, and your own crew tried to kill you. How do I know that you aren’t with Liz because you are trying to get to Max or trying to catch a ride home?” Michael finishes standing up. He begins to pace the living room floor.
“First of all, don’t ever refer to that bunch of assholes as my crew ever again. Bitch ass Lonnie and Rath tried to kill me by pushing me out in front of a damn semi truck. That in no way, shape, or form constitutes friendship on this or any other planet,” Zan states in a low, menacing tone of voice. “I never had a beef with Ava, and still don’t, but since she isn’t around, she dead to me just like the rest of them. Second of all, you will never have to question my devotion or love for Liz, or think that I’m just using her to go back to Antar, because there is no way in hell that I’ll ever try to go back. The only home I’ve ever known has been Earth and this is the only home I want to know, Michael. I gave up on that dream the first time I heard it.”

“So you’ve never once tried to get back home?” Michael asks sitting back down. Lord knows that one of Michael’s main reasons for getting up in the morning was trying to get back to Antar.
“For what? So I can play the role of king only to be killed again? So I can have my bitch of a sister betray me for a second time in this life? Hell no. Here I got a family, I got a bomb ass job where I run shit and people respect me, and I got a beautiful ass woman sitting in my kitchen that I love to death and she loves me in return. What the hell would I leave for?”
“You almost sound like Max,” Michael remarks. He takes a closer look at Zan, and for the first time truly realizes how much he and Max look alike. If it weren’t for the piercings and wild hair, he would’ve thought he was talking to Max.

“Please, spare me that bullshit. As far as Max and I go, the similarities stop at our physical makeup. I have never in my life met a bigger bitch than him. What kind of man leaves a woman when she’s pregnant and doesn’t even show up to the hospital to see if she’s alright after she’s had a miscarriage? His scary ass wouldn’t even go out with Liz for New Year’s Eve, because he thought he was gonna get caught. That ain’t living, that’s killing yourself slowly day by day. He ain’t a man, he’s a scared little boy.” Zan pauses for a second and then looks at Michael. “You have some nerve questioning me. How do I know that you aren’t Rath and you aren’t using Maria to get to me and Liz?”
“What kind a shit is that? Rath, please. Not even on my worse day could I be like him.” Michael scoffs and rolls his eyes.
“How am I supposed to know that? How do I know that I can trust you?”
“You don’t, I guess that’s a chance you’re going to have to take, isn’t it?”
“Just like you’re going to have to take a chance in believing that I love Liz with all my heart and soul.” Zan counters.

Just then they both hear Maria screech from the kitchen. Zan cocks his head to the side, and begins a mental conversation with Liz. When he finds out everything is okay, he turns back to face an amused Michael.

“What was all that with the space cadet look?” Michael inquires.
“Talking to Liz,” Zan answers.
“You’re connected?”
“I’m in love with her, she’s in love with me,” Zan shrugs. It was pretty simple if you really thought about it.
“Well Michael, you’ve had your turn with the questions so now it’s my turn if you don’t mind,” Zan replies. His legs are still propped up on the coffee table and his hands are behind his head. When Michael doesn’t say anything, Zan begins.
“You love Maria, Michael? Because I know for a fact that she’s got it bad for you.”
“Yeah, I love her. She’s my little spitfire pixie,” Michael says smugly, but his eyes soften a tad.
“You think she would do anything for you if you asked her?”
“Yeah. She’s done things for me and I didn’t even have to ask, on more than one occasion.” Michael examines his hands.
“You sure you love her?”
“Then why do you let her go out on the streets of New York City on New Year’s Eve alone every year?”
“What are you talking about? Did Maria tell you to mention this to me or something?” Michael answers, his voice getting louder.
“I suggest you lower your tone, ain’t no children in here,” Zan says matching his tone to Michael’s. “Liz told me about how you and Max let them go to Times Square every year since they been here alone.”
“It’s just not my deal, and Maria knows it. I don’t dance so we don’t go to clubs. I don’t like being around throngs of screaming idiot ass people so she doesn’t force me to go, particularly after it horribly backfired on her one year,” he says getting up once again. He walks over to a crystal figurine and examines it.
“Now I’m not Dr. Ruth, but I do know that if you keep pushing her away and alienating her she will leave your ass. Don’t be fooled, Maria is not your average dumb ass blonde. She is smart, most definitely beautiful, and she’s a fun person in that feisty spitfire kind of way. If you don’t start acting right, don’t think she won’t leave your ass and find a man that can compensate in all the ways that you can’t, or better yet won’t.”
“Now you hold on a damn second! You don’t know shit about me and Maria’s relationship. I mean, we have our problems, but what couple doesn’t?” Michael states as he walks over to Zan. “Maria accepts me for who I am, just like I accept all her little quirks.”
“I’m not saying she doesn’t accept you, I know what I saw though.”
“What the hell do you mean what you saw?”
“The night that Liz had her miscarriage, I connected with her…”

*December 10, 2004

Zan walks back into the living room after he put Liz down for her nap to find Maria sitting on the couch waiting for him so they could talk.

“She alright?” Maria asks concerned.
“Yeah, she’s sleep now. She went under a couple of minutes after I laid her down,” Zan responds rubbing his eyes.
“Okay. Um, who are you? I mean, I assume that you are the baby’s father, but who are you? Your name, where you met Liz, etc etc” Maria wastes no time cutting to the chase.
“My name is Alexander, but you would probably know me better as Zan.”
“Zan? Oh my God, you mean Zan as in…” Maria points to the ceiling. When Zan nods, her hand goes to her mouth. “This is so…I mean…Oh my God. Aren’t you supposed to be dead?”
“Yeah, but obviously Lonnie and Rath didn’t do too good of a job, now did they?”
“Do they know you’re still alive? Do you know if they’re alive? What have you been doing in the city? How did you find Liz?” Maria fires her questions at Zan like a machine gun.
“If they knew I think they would have come back to try and finish the job. As for them, I could give a rat’s ass, to be honest.”
“I know the feeling. When they came to Roswell, I swear it was like attack of the unpleasant people. They were strange as hell, and Rath was always trying to get into wither mine or Liz’s pants.” It is then that Maria notices the look on Zan’s face. He is livid. She quickly continues. “Not that it worked or anything. I swear, I felt like I was in the Halloween Twilight Zone, and Michael had dressed up as poor white city trash.”
“Yeah, Rath’s Dupe and my sometimey boyfriend. Sometimes I want to yell at him ‘Get a clue’ because he is so dense sometimes when it comes to us and our relationship. I should just leave him but when you’re in love, you do some stupid shit, like stay around with someone who acts like they aren’t interested in you in hopes that they will one day let the stone wall crumble and let you in,” Maria rambles. Her hands are waving frantically in the air and her words are coming out a mile a minute. Zan can only stare at her amused.
“So what are you going to do about Liz?” Maria says finishing her rant.
“What do you mean, what am I going to do with her?”
“What are your plans? I mean are you going to try and have a relationship with her, or is this just a hit and run? Are you in it just for the sex? These are crucial decisions that need to be made, you know,” Maria tells Zan while twirling one of her curls around her finger.
“I love her.”
“What do you mean you love her? You can’t possibly have known her for that long, how can you say that you love her? I love Liz, Alex loves Liz, Max loves Liz, her parents love her. How can you say you love her and you haven’t even known her for that long? I swear, this is something Spaceboy would say.”
“Spaceboy?” Zan questions. ‘This chick is so strange, she should be the one from a different planet,’ Zan thinks to himself.
“Michael, silly. God, keep up will ya?”
“I can’t really explain it to you, but trust me when I say I love Liz with my whole heart and our baby too.”
“That sounds really nice, but I’m going to need some proof that you mean what you say.”
“Proof?” ‘I swear, she’s getting crazier by the moment.’
“Yes, proof. Something tangible that I can go by.” Maria is now sitting with one leg dangling off the couch and her arms crossed over her chest. Zan is wondering what he can do to make Maria understand the depths of his love for Liz, and is about to give up when a thought hits him.
“In order for me to do that, I’m going to need to connect to you,” Zan says moving closer. “Is that okay?”
“Fine, just don’t try to add or take away anything that wasn’t already in there,” she says pointing to her head.

They both clear their minds and before they knew, images of different shapes, hues, and densities were passing between them. Maria saw and felt the desire that Zan initially felt upon seeing Liz, and the passion and love that grew for her everyday after even though they had no further communication for the next two months. She felt the love and affection that he felt for not only Liz, but their unborn son as well. For that instant, she saw all the silent promises he made to himself concerning Liz and their child, and the promise to be the best father/lover/soulmate/friend he could be as long as breath entered his body.

Zan in turn felt Maria’s unconditional love for Michael, and the desires that she had for the both of them. He felt the compassion that she directed towards Michael; it radiated off her in brilliant orange, red, and yellow waves. He felt her concern for his well being, as well as her desire for him to open up to her fully and love her. But he also felt the pain in her heart that Michael and Michael alone had caused. Loneliness and misery overtook him like a tidal wave as he experienced Maria’s many sleepless night and days void of Michael’s love. He experienced the exchange of cross words and arguments that left Maria broken on more than one occasion. He also felt Maria’s anxiety of possibly having to leave Michael if things did not eventually get better.

And just like that, the connection was over before it had even truly begun.

“So now you know,” Zan whispers.
“And now you know,” Maria whispers back. They exchange smiles…*

“Sometimes loving someone means doing shit that you necessarily might not want to do.” Zan says quietly. They stare at each other for a minute. “Just think about it.”

“So you mean to tell me that if Liz asked you to go somewhere or do something that you didn’t want to do that you would do it?” Michael still couldn’t believe what he had just heard come from Zan’s lips, but he knew he wasn’t lying. He knew his pixie too well.
“In a heartbeat.”
“You are so whipped.”
“Nah, I’m in love.”

Michael takes a seat on the couch next to Zan, and picks up his video game controller. He motions to Zan to do the same.

“Prepare to get your ass whooped, Zan.”
“It’s on.”

Zan picks up his controller and shoots Michael a glance.
“Your ass is mine, Michael.” They look at each other and something miraculous happens. They smile.

Part 18C

“Maria, move your butt! We are going to be late and someone is going to take our spots!” I yell from Maria’s living room. I’m sitting in her favorite moss green velvet chair.
“Hold your horses, Liz, I’m coming! I told you perfection takes time,” she yells at me from the bathroom. I swear, if there was an award for the slowest woman getting dressed, Maria would win hands down.

“Well, what do you think?” she asks as she finally comes out the bathroom.
“Twirl for me, girlfriend,” I tell her and she does. Maria has on black leather boots, black leather pants, and a black leather halter top with rhinestones. She looks fabulous, but I’m really curious as to where she thinks she’s going. “You look great, but you do realize that it’s winter time in New York, right?”
“Of course, silly. Did you really think I was going out in just this?” She walks to the closet and pulls out her black leather coat and gloves, as well as a hat.
“You are so going to freeze,” I tell her and laugh.
“Maybe. Maybe not. If the right man comes along, I may be able to get hot real quick, if you know what I mean,” Maria replies and winks at me. I just roll my eyes.
“Who are you trying to fool, Maria? This is Liz, remember? I know that you’re all talk, you won’t even hug a man other than Michael, let alone take you home.”
“Well maybe the times are changing. This is the New Year, you know, out with the old, in with the new?”
“Yeah, okay.” I’m not buying it.
“You do realize that you’ve said this every year since we’ve been here right?”
“I’m serious this time, Liz! I have had it with his antics!”
“You can lie to yourself, but don’t try to lie to me, Maria,” I say and smile. “Let’s go, we’re going to miss all the fun if you don’t hurry up.”

We race out the door, and head down the street. The energy in the city is amazing. It’s almost like people all across the board have decided to be nice just for this one night. People are blowing their car horns and whistles, and some are even ringing cowbells. To an outsider, it would seem as if the city was caught up in pure pandemonium, but us insiders knew the truth: we were happy and having the time of our lives.

“I don’t understand how anybody could stay home on a night like tonight,” Maria says as we make our way through the crowd. “I mean, just look around you. Who would want to miss something like this?” As if to prove her point, a man only dressed in body paint and a rainbow wig ran past us with the cops following close behind. I just giggle.

“Yeah, Maria, I see what you mean,” I say and laugh. I look at my watch and see that it’s only 10:30. Still another hour and a half to go.
“You think we’ll ever get seen on TV? I know my mom would have a fit if she saw us in the same place as Dick Clark. She swears he’s an alien,” Maria replies and giggles.
“Hmm, I don’t know.” Dick Clark, an alien? Now that’s a thought. The man has been around longer than the hills and still manages to look like he’s 40 years old. I’ll have to ask Zan about that.

“So will I see you in the dorms this semester?” Maria asks with a devilish glean in her eyes.
“What do you mean? Of course I’ll be in the dorms, I live there remember?” I put the loser symbol on my forehead and begin to gawk stupidly at Maria.
“You could have fooled me,” she says laughing. “You’ve been at Zan’s for so long that I wasn’t sure if you had any intentions of coming back to the hall.”
“That’s not true!”
“And exactly how long have you been staying with Mr. Evans?”
“Almost a month now,” I whisper as I turn red. Okay, maybe she has a point.
“Exactly what I thought.”
“Hey, who are you to talk? You practically live at Michael’s apartment your damn self!”
“Ah, this is correct, but I come home. I do sleep in my own bed occasionally, thank you very much, which is more than I can say for you.”
“Can you really blame me though, Maria? For the past 3 weeks I have been living with a man that loves me and treats me like a queen. Why should I go back if I don’t have to? Better yet, give me a reason that I should come back to the dorms when I can live with the man I love in our beautiful apartment.”
“Our apartment, Liz? Since when does the apartment belong to both of you guys?” Maria asks raising her eyebrow. People are swarming around us with signs and all kinds of other contraptions. I just saw a man selling snakes a second ago.

“Zan has made it clear that everything that is his is mine, too. Anything I want that he has is mine, so I guess that includes the apartment too. He knows that everything I own is his, too. Besides, I haven’t heard him complain about me being there.”
“I swear, some people have all the luck. If I stay at Michael’s for more than two days, he starts freaking out. What is it you’re dong to get these men to grovel at your feet like this? Are you teaching a class, can I take some lessons from you?” Maria asks a frown settling over her face.
“Just give him time, Maria. He’ll come around,” I whisper softly and pull her into a hug.
“I just don’t know sometimes, Liz. I mean, sometimes I know he loves me, like really loves me, but other times he’s just so cold and distant. I don’t know how much longer I can live like this, Liz,” she whispers back, her voice getting caught in her throat.
“Sometimes loves just comes easier for some than others, Maria. It’ll all work out for the best, though. You have to believe that,” I say comforting my friend.

Maria steps back from me and wipes her eyes. I glance down at my watch. 11:25, we’re almost there.

“Hey, have you talked to Alex lately?” I ask changing the subject.
“Oh my God, I forgot to tell you! At this point, Alex is no longer speaking to me,” she replies. She has pulled out her compact, and is fixing her eye makeup and adjusting her hair.
“What do you mean he isn’t speaking to you? How did this happen?”
“Well apparently, Miss Thing told him about me kicking her ass up and down Roswell and when I was through she ran to him and cried. She totally knows that she is his weakness, and used that to play our boy to the fullest,” Maria says putting her compact back in her purse.
“Okay so what happened?” When I get my hands on that wench….
“Basically, he came into the Crashdown one day and asked if he could speak to me alone. I thought something was really wrong, so I took my break and we went into the back room. Next thing I know, he’s yelling at me, talking about I had no right to lay hands on Isabel and this, that, and the other.”
“Wait, does he know what happened?”
“That’s the thing, Liz. He was going off on me so hard that I didn’t even get to tell him what happened. I’m guessing no since he ran to her defense like it was the thing to do. He pretty much told me that he would have never expected me to act like this, and he was really disappointed in me. Right before Alex walked out, he told me wasn’t speaking to me until future notice, and pretty much that was that,” she finishes.

I am so freaking angry right now that I could spit. How dare Isabel do this, exactly who the hell does she think she is? Oh, I can’t wait for her to drag her sorry ass back to school. She’ll wish she never hatched from that damned pod. And Alex. I can’t believe how he’s taking this. He’s known Maria and me practically forever, and for him to take Isabel’s side at the drop of a hat really disturbs me. Maria would never just randomly attack anyone, let alone someone who was supposed to be our friend. Alex knows this. Oh just wait until she gets back, I’ll have something for her all right.

“Earth to Liz! Come back, Chica!” Maria is waving her hand in front of my face.
“Huh? Oh sorry, Maria, I just spaced out for a minute,” I say looking up at the ball that only has about 15 minutes until it drops and brings in the New Year.
“Yeah, I noticed that. I’ve also noticed that you and Zan do that quite frequently. Speaking of Prince Charming, where is he now? Why isn’t he out with us having a good time and playing ultimate protector?” Maria asks. She happens to look to her left and sees a cute guy checking her out. “Hello, Mr. Man,” she yells and whistles.
“Maria! Stop it, you are drawing unnecessary attention to us!” I whisper fiercely. I duck just in case the guy Maria is yelling at has a friend.
“Hey, you may be taken but I’m not,” she says all the while winking at the guy. “You never did answer my question, where is Zan?”

“I told Zan earlier today about our New Year’s Eve ritual, and I thought he was going to come, but when I started getting dressed he told me he had some errands to run,” I tell her shrugging my shoulders.
“Errands? What kind of errands, Liz? It’s New Year’s Eve, everything is closed.”
“You know what, you’re right,” I say thinking. I hadn’t even thought about that.
“Ah, so we have found the first flaw. I told you Zan was too good to be true, no man is that perfect, Liz,” Maria says shaking her head sadly.

I’m just about to refute her statement when I hear all kinds of wild cheering start up. People are ringing their bells, and the confetti has already begun to fly. I look at my watch. 11:57.

“Maria, we have three minutes before the New Year. Aren’t you excited?” I yell above the noise.
“Yeah, peachy keen,” she says sarcastically and turns back to the countdown clock.

Damn you, Michael. I can see it in her eyes. She always gets like this right before the ball falls. Just once, for my friend’s sake, I wish he would just do right by her and not be so selfish. It can’t be that hard, really it can’t. Without warning, all of New York City seems to quiet down and silence takes over.

“I’m not really good with words, so I’m going to make this as brief as I possibly can,” I hear someone say over the massive PA system that has been set up. Wait a minute, I know that voice. It’s Michael. I look up towards the sky, and sure enough I see his face plastered on the jumbo tron in Times Square. Michael is decked out in an all black tuxedo, much like the one he wore to Prom, and surprisingly his hair is combed. To say he looks wonderful is an understatement. In his hand he is holding what looks like a bouquet of wild flowers. I nudge Maria to look up, but when I look at her I see her eyes are already glued to the screen.

“I’m in love with the most wonderful woman in the world, and more times than not, I don’t show her exactly what she means to me. I know that it’s New Year’s Eve, and you guys are ready to complete the countdown, but I could not go into this coming year without telling this woman how much she means to me. Maria DeLuca, you are the most wonderfully beautiful, intelligent, and gifted woman that I know, and I love you with all my heart. I know I’m an ass but if you let me be, I’ll be your ass forever.”

I look over at Maria and see that she has tears streaming down her face. She is so happy, I’ve never seen her this happy before, not even when Michael showed up to Prom.

“You are my pixie and my sunshine. I need you, and won’t make it without you. What do you say, Blondie?”

The silence is deafening. I swear, it’s like I can hear all one hundred thousand of us breathing, no I take that back. Not breathing, but collectively holding our breaths, waiting for Maria’s answer. I know I sure as hell am. We didn’t have to wait long.

“Miiiiiiiiiiiiiccccccchhhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaeeeeeeeeeellllllllllll!” she bellows and I promise everybody in the city turned around and looked at her.
“Go,” I whisper in her ear. She doesn’t need to be told twice. Soon, Maria is pushing through the crowd to get to the stage. As if at once realizing who she is, the crowd parts like the Red Sea and I can see her leather clad figure on the jumbo screen running to the man who has captured her heart once and for all. I then see Michael jump off the platform and start running towards her. They meet halfway and engulf each other in a long awaited embrace. Where there once was deafening silence, there is now a roar rolling over new York City in celebration of Michael and Maria’s love. They kiss and the hoots and cheers only get louder. I just holler along with the crowd. I am so dizzy with happiness for my friend that I don’t know what to do with myself. If anyone in the world deserves this, it’s Maria. The only thing that would have made this moment complete was if Zan was here.

“People, we are now at 20 seconds,” I hear the announcer shout. I look all around me and see people getting more and more excited as the time winds down, if that is even possible. Couples are moving closer together, and people are already beginning to sing “Auld Lang Syne.” I have lost sight of Maria and Michael in the sea of people.

“13, 12, 11, 10…”

I have made it through this year. These past few months were tough as hell, but I came out alive.

“9, 8, 7, 6, 5….”

I am not little Liz Parker anymore; I am a grown woman who has looked life and death in the face and overcome both. The world is mine if I want it, and it is right now at this point with all these people that I realize I do. I want the world and everything in it.

“4, 3…”

Especially Zan.

“2, 1. Happy New Year!”

‘Happy New Year, Zan,’ I think.
“Happy New Year to you, too, sweets,” someone whispers in my ear. I turn around to face the man standing behind me. It’s Zan. He pulls me as close as he can to his body, and kisses me soundly.

“I thought you had….” I murmur looking into his eyes.
“I did, and being here with you was one of them. You think Maria liked my surprise?” Zan asks stroking my face.
“Just a little bit, you have to try harder next time,” I say smiling. Oh, this man.
“I love you, Elizabeth Nicole Parker, and I would rather be nowhere than standing here with you,” he replies before capturing my lips.

‘I love you so much, Zan,’ I think.
‘I adore you.’
‘You feel like celebrating tonight?’
‘But of course. And how would you like to celebrate, Ms. Parker?’
‘I have a couple ideas, Mr. Evans.’
‘Such as?’ I break the kiss, and look into his face, my eyes beaming with happiness. A devilish grin slides over my face. The night awaits us.

The world is definitely mine.

Part 19

January 4, 2005

I want to go home right now. As much as I love school, I would rather be sleeping soundly in the arms of the man I love instead of listening to this old fart lecture about bone density. In some aspects, this really freaks me out, because I love science and I love school, but I guess I have become the average student over the years. The room is packed; maybe it’s all the body heat in here that’s making me sleepy. Hmm, body heat. Zan lying in the bed wearing those boxer briefs I adore. Black satin sheets, skin to skin, hands roaming----

“Ms. Parker?” Professor Grady calls and awakens me from fantasyland. Damn it.
“Yes, Professor Grady?”
“The seating for this class seems to be awfully tight, is that seat next to you open or are you saving it for someone?”
“No, sir, the seat is open,” I say as I move my bag.
“Okay. Evans, I want you to take the seat next to Miss Parker.” Wait, did he just say Evans? What are the odds? “And Miss Parker?”
“Yes sir?”
“Please try to stay within the conscious realm with us for now, alright?”
“Yes sir,” I whisper as my face blushes and I dip my head. When I hear the chair next to me creak, I look up.
“Good morning, Liz,” Max Evans says to me and he turns to listen to the lecture.

This has got to be some kind of cruel joke that the fates are playing on me. At any other given point of my life, I would have loved for Max to sit next to me during a class. Hell, we even used to switch seats so we could do so in the past. Now, Max sitting next to me is pure torture. Maybe I can talk to someone and switch seats. Or better yet, I’ll just ignore him for today and make sure to get a different seat on the other side of the room tomorrow. Yeah, that’ll work.

After 20 more minutes of drudging through bone structure, Professor Grady finally calls the class to a close. I’m gathering up my stuff and about to sprint out the room when the professor decides to make an announcement.

“I hope you guys found pleasure in where you were sitting today, because these will be your seats for the rest of the semester.” He can’t be serious. “Also, the person sitting to your right will be your lab partner for the rest of the year. I will see you on Thursday,” he says and walks out the room. I look to my right, and see Max Evans staring at me. Oh, the fates are just yucking it up now I bet. I walk out the room without saying a word to Max and don’t look back.

I’m crossing the main quad when I see a whirlwind otherwise known as Hurricane DeLuca running up to me. Her blonde hair is flying behind her, and her arms are flailing. She looks quite crazy now that I think about it.
“Liz, we need to talk right now,” she says trying to catch her breath. Her cheeks are rosy from running in the cold wind, and I can’t read the expression on her face.
“What’s up, Maria? What happened? Are you alright?” I ask. She is still gasping for air.
“Do you have time to talk?” she finally asks me. She’s attempting to readjust her plaid skirt and black tights. She straightens out her cashmere sweater under her coat. I glance at my watch.
“Yeah, I have about an hour and a half until my next class. What’s going on?”
“Walk with me.”

Maria links her arm through mine as we walk down the corridor. She then addresses me in a hushed tone.

“Have you seen Isabel today?” she asks quietly.
“No, but oh my God! Why is Max my lab partner for my bone structure class?” I exclaim. “I think this is all some sort of setup to make me have a nervous breakdown, really I do.” Maria waves her hand to quiet me.
“So you don’t know then?”
“Know what?”

We walk into the commons area and sit at the table closest to the back. I’m taking off my coat when Maria drops the bomb on me.

“Isabel is telling people about your miscarriage,” she says quietly.
“What!” I yell and everyone in the commons looks at me like I’m crazy. Maria motions for me to sit. “What do you mean she’s telling people about the miscarriage?”
”Exactly what I said. I was in the bathroom, and I saw her and some of her friends walking in. I dipped into a stall so she couldn’t see me, and that’s when I heard her. Everybody was talking about what they did over break and then she just started telling all the random people in the bathroom how you had a miscarriage over winter break and how at a point in time you didn’t know who your child’s father was. She basically called you a slut and put your business out in the street,” Maria concludes. She is fiddling with the silver bracelets on her arms.

“Okay, are you sure it was her?” I am barely breathing here. I can’t even think.
“Positive, I would know her voice anywhere.”
“How many people were in the bathroom approximately?” Maybe I can do damage control.
“I would say maybe 25 to 30 and that’s not counting the people inside the stalls.” Shit.
“Do you think they believed her?”
“Well at first they didn’t. I know Brianna Walters was questioning her, because she knew how tight we were, but Isabel told her that when she found out that you had cheated on her brother, she had to draw the line because blood is thicker than water,” Maria finishes. Her eyes are darting around quickly to see if anyone is watching us.

I am livid. She is going to have to die for this. Words, thought patterns, images can’t even describe the way that I feel at this moment. Isabel has crossed a line that she can never cross over again. I need a plan to handle this situation.

“Lucy Bridges and Joan Crosby were in the bathroom when Isabel was telling her story,” Maria says snapping me from my thoughts. Okay so now the two biggest gossips were in the bathroom while my personal business was being spread around. I can just see those two jackals eating up the information like lions with new meat. Oh my day is just getting better and better as the time passes.

“How many people do you think know at this point, Maria?”
“Well the whole bathroom incident happened at about 10 this morning and it’s almost 1:30 now. Honestly, I’d say maybe about three or four hundred people minimum.”

I exhale slowly. Okay, 300 to 400 hundred people know my business. Maybe this won’t be so bad, I go to a school that accommodates 25,000. I’m strong. I can deal with this.

“Okay, I’m just going to go to my 3:00 class and then I’m going home. At this point the damage is done, and there’s really nothing that I can do about it. It will eventually die down, and I really don’t think that some people will even buy into it since Lucy and Joan are the ones spreading it around. Things should be okay,” I tell Maria.

“Liz, are you sure? You know Lucy and Isabel are on the school newspaper together, and I don’t put it past either one of them to write about this in the paper,” Maria says worried. She’s still fiddling with her bracelets and is now starting in on her silver hoop earrings.

“If they do, I’ll sue them for libel,” I reply coolly even though I am burning up on the inside. “I’ll be okay,” I say and pat her hand reassuringly.
“Okay. How many more classes do you have today?”
“Just the next one at three, how about you?”
“I’m done for the day. Hey, why don’t you ditch and hang out with me? We can go to the East Village and go shopping,” she says as her eyes brighten at the suggestion.
“Maria, it is the first day of school. I can’t ditch,” I tell her shaking my head.
“Why not? All the professor is going to do is pass out the syllabus and dismiss you anyway,” she answers shrugging.
“Just because your professors do that doesn’t mean mine do. I have already taken notes in all three of my classes today.”
“Sucks for you.”
“I know. If you’re bored you could come to class with me and then we could go shopping,” I offer.

Now ordinarily, Maria would have declined my offer with “Thanks but no thanks”, but she knows the extremity of the situation. Not that I need her protection or anything, Maria is just like that sometimes. She is unwilling to leave me alone during my time of trauma and will probably stay with me for the rest of the day until I make it back safely to my dorm room. She’s my buddy, and if she were in a similar situation I would do the same for her. We remain in the commons until it is time for me to go to my next class, and then we put on our coats and begin our journey to the math building. Advanced Calculus, here we come.

Upon entering the room, Maria and I are greeted by whispers and awkward stares. Maybe this won’t be as easy as I previously thought. I am taking a seat towards the front when I hear someone in the back yell out, “Hey, I didn’t know they were letting sluts take this class now.” I stare at the chalkboard in the room as everyone around me sans Maria laughs at the joke made at my expense. Isabel’s ass is mine when I find her.

‘Babe, you okay?’ Zan calls to me in my mind.
‘Not really.’
‘What’s wrong? Do you need me to come to the school?’ He is so worried; I can feel it coursing like electric energy through my brain.
‘No. We’ll talk later, okay?’
‘Love you, sweets. Remember that.’
‘Love you back.’ And just as soon as he came, he’s gone.

I look over and find Maria staring at me.
“Zan,” I say and she nods, making the connection.

After about an hour of boring lecture and random snickers across the room, it is finally time to go. Maria and I jet out of the room, and run down the halls. I barely made it through that hour without crying, but I did make. Those assholes will never have the satisfaction of seeing me cry.

“You okay?” Maria asks softly as we walk past the cafeteria. It’s packed, but my eyes zoom in on one face in particular. Before I know what’s going on, I have entered the cafeteria and am standing in front of the table. I drop my bag on the floor, and the room falls silent.

“You fucking bitch,” I say to Isabel and she looks up from her lunch, clearly shocked to see me.
“My, my, my. If it isn’t Little Miss Miscarriage 2004, what can I help you with today dear?” Isabel asks and bats her eyes at me. I hock a loogie and spit in her food. Groans can be heard all around.
“What the hell is your problem, Isabel? Why are you such a bitch, why are you doing this to me?” I ask trying to keep my tone lowered.
“Do what?” she asks innocently still batting her eyes at me. “Why, whatever do you mean?”
“You know what I mean. First you beat me up for no apparent reason in my home, then you lie to Alex. Now you are letting all kinds of garbage fly out your mouth, what the hell is your problem?”
“Well the public has a right to know about the whores who pose as good girls at our school. I mean, it is school news,” Isabel says and smiles sweetly at me.
I turn and see Maria standing a couple of steps behind me. She’s wearing a stony expression on her face and she’s about to step up next to me when I slightly raise my hand. This is my battle.

“Now if you don’t mind, I would like to finish my lunch without being harassed by white trash,” she replies and turns away from me. The cafeteria ooohs at her remark.
“By all means, please finish eating, bitch,” I say and then I slam her head into her lunch tray.

I am no longer aware of who or where I am. My name is not important, and I don’t know what day of the week it is. The only thing I know is that I have Isabel’s hair wrapped around my hand and I am using the grasp on her head to repeatedly slam her face into the table. With her hair still in my hand I yank her from her seat, and push her to the floor. I jump on top of her and begin to beat her face with my fists the best way I know how. I am not at all aware of the people gathering around to watch me beat her senseless, or the shock and dismay in the eyes of those who see me take out my aggressions on her. I am not aware of the fact that I am cursing like a sailor, and socking her repeatedly in her mouth to the point where I can’t tell where her blood begins and mine ends. I am not aware that I am pulling out plugs of her hair and trying to strangle her with them. I’m not aware of the people around me screaming for me to stop. The only thing I am truly aware of is that I am beating Isabel Evans’ ass and she deserves everything I do to her.

When I finally stand up, I look down to see a pitiful Isabel rolling on the cafeteria floor with blood bubbles coming from her mouth, nose and forehead. Blood is in her hair, on the floor, and on her clothes. I pick up a napkin from the table she was sitting at and wipe my hands. Next I pick up my backpack and proceed to walk away, but Maria calls me.

“Liz, I think you forgot something,” she says rather loudly and hands me Isabel’s plastic lunch tray. I take it from her.
“Keep my name out your mouth, bitch, and we won’t have any more problems, do you understand me?” I scream at her.

I don’t even wait for her to respond. I take the tray, bash her over the head, and drop the tray to the floor. Maria walks out behind me, and the room explodes in chatter and whispers.

We don’t talk for a long time as we walk to the dorms. I distantly hear the paramedics’ siren as we turn the corner. After opening the main door to our dorm we race up the stairs and into my room. I’ve had more school than I can stand for the day. I walk into my room and begin packing clothes so I can stay at Zan’s for the night.

“Maria,” I call. “Do me a favor and call Zan at work. Tell him to come pick me up from your room when he gets off work. The number should be by the phone.”

“Okay,” she responds. A couple seconds later I hear her talking to Zan. “Hey Zan, this is Maria. No, everything is fine; Liz just wants you to come pick her up from my room when you get off work. Well, I think I’m going to let Liz tell you about that….Oh?” I hear Maria laugh. “No. Yeah, okay. See you in a few, bye.” She hangs up the phone, and walks into the room.

“He’s coming now,” she tells me laughing.
“What’s so funny?” I ask her. She’s about to double over and hit the floor she’s laughing so hard.
“He told me he could feel your anger all the way uptown, and he wanted to know if it was due to PMS or if you had joined the fight club,” she replies and collapses onto my bed in giggles.

I think about the situation myself and join her laughter. Poor Zan, he must be terrified to see me now. What a way to start the semester.

I may be love's bitch, but at least I'm man enough to admit it-Spike, BtVS
*redface* *Dreamer*Candygirl*Truckstopper*TessHater*Roswell Lover*Kapone224
posted on 26-Sep-2001 11:25:08 PM
Part 20

I just beat the stuffing out of Isabel. I’m pacing around Maria’s dorm room trying to actually comprehend the fact that I put my fists to Isabel’s face and left her disfigured, but the realization is not sinking in yet. Step, step, step, turn. Step, step, step, turn.

“Chica, sit down, you’re making me dizzy,” Maria says finally while holding her head.
“I’m sorry, I guess I’m just a little wound up,” I tell her and sit down on her bed.
“Gee, you think?” she replies sarcastically. She looks at me and then starts laughing.
“Liz Parker, street fighter extraordinaire. Who would have ever thought?” she says and cracks up.
“She had it coming, Maria.”
“And in front of the entire junior class, too.”

The whole junior class. I beat the hell out of Little Miss Teen Queen in front of everybody. I should be proud of myself for standing up to her, but instead I’m beginning to feel a little apprehensive and fearful. I think realization has just set in.

“What do you think she’s going to do, Maria?” I ask as I jump up and resume my pacing.
“What do you mean?”
“Well, you see how fast she ran to Alex when you beat her down. I pretty much just humiliated her in front of a good portion of our school’s student body.”
“You think she would press charges against you?”
“Come on, Maria, this is Isabel we’re talking about. In a word, yes. I’m just not sure if she’s going to or not.”

Maria sits at her desk in quiet contemplation. She’s chewing on her right pinky, and twirling hair around her finger in her other hand. I can’t really read the expression on her face.

“I don’t know, Liz,” she answers finally. “If I had just had a whooping that fierce put on me I would run for the hills and not look back. I wouldn’t try to mess with you again, but that’s just me. Isabel is a drama queen, and she will do anything in her power to make her look like the good guy, hence her effect on Alex. I don’t know.”
“You think I was wrong to fight her?”
“Oh hell no! You did the right thing. My shoe was about to come off my foot, but you seemed to have everything under control,” she says giggling.
“I did beat her down pretty bad, huh?” I reply not able to hold in my own giggles.

Just then there is a knock on the door. Zan. A smile lights up my face in anticipation to see my heart. At this moment I realize exactly how much I’ve missed him in our short time apart, and how much I do want and need him. Maria, noticing my Zan induced stupor, moves from her chair to answer the door.

“I’ll get it, Liz. You seem to be a little preoccupied,” she says winking at me. She opens the door.

It’s not Zan.

“Is Elizabeth Parker here?” I hear a voice ask. I look around the corner and see campus police. Shit. Before she has a chance to answer, the officer calls out, “Miss Parker, I know you’re here, some of the young women in the dorm reported seeing you come in here with Miss DeLuca not too long ago. You would be doing yourself a favor by just coming out here, and talking with me.” Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.

I walk into the living room and the two campus policemen are standing in the entranceway. The dorm door is still open, and I can see the other residents beginning to filter into the halls to see what is going on. Just great, more people in my business. I look at Maria, and she shoots me a glance that can only be interpreted as “Sorry, babe.” I nod at her and she nods back sadly.

“Is there something I can do for you gentlemen?” I ask trying to keep my tone even.
“Yes. I’m Officer Green and this is my partner Officer Johansen,” the rather tall officer says pointing to his short and stocky partner. “Maybe you should have a seat, Miss Parker.” I do as I’m told.

“What is this about?” Maria cuts in. “You can’t just come in my dorm room looking for people and questioning them. That is called harassment. Do you have a warrant?”
“Miss DeLuca, just calm down,” Officer Johansen starts.
“Don’t tell me to calm down! How do I even know you two are the campus police? I want to see badges and I want to see them NOW!” She crosses her arms over her chest. “You better show me something, or I’m calling the real cops.” You gotta love her.
“Maria, why don’t you go into the kitchen and make me some tea?” I say trying to change the subject and divert her. The last thing I need now is angry police.
“But Liz---“
“Maria, make me some Mint Medley, please.” Please don’t challenge me.
“Okay.” She gives me a funny look, to which I just nod, and then gives the officers a once over one last time before retreating into the kitchen. I look at the officers and see the relief spread across their faces.

“Sorry about that,” I smile. They smile back. “Now what did you need to talk to me about?”
“Miss Parker, we are here about an incident that occurred about an hour ago involving one Isabel Evans.”
“We got reports that a fight broke out and that when all was said and done, she was pretty banged up.”
“That’s really too bad.” Maybe I can just pretend like it didn’t happen and I wasn’t involved.
“About 100 people have identified you as the transgressor,” Officer Green continues. I look down at my bruised knuckles and fingers. Okay, scratch that plan.
“Miss Parker, we are not her to arrest you. We are here to serve you with a restraining order that states you must stay at least 100 feet away from Miss Evans at all times,” Officer Johansen says pulling the restraining order out of his jacket pocket. I take it from him and look it over.

“Just a restraining order?” I inquire calmly when the truth is I want to jump out this chair and dance. If I would have known that this was all the punishment I was going to receive, I would have beat Isabel’s behind at the noon hour so everybody could have seen it.
“Not quite, Miss Parker,” Officer Johansen replies. “We also have a subpoena demanding your presence in Dean Salinger’s office next Monday for a probationary hearing.”
“Excuse me?” This is so not happening to me.
“Well, it seems that you have violated some laws regarding physical limitations and behavior, and the dean is going to have to make a judgement on them. If you choose not to show up to this hearing, you will automatically be suspended for the rest of the semester, and may be kicked out of school,” he finishes.

I just nod, and stare at the floor. Probationary hearing? I don’t believe this. I did nothing wrong, she deserved what she got. If anybody should be going for a hearing, it should be Isabel for running her damn mouth.

“Is that all, officers?” I ask. When they nod affirmatively I stand up and walk to the door. They look at each other as I open it, and I look back at them. They stand from the couch, file out, and I shut the door.

“What am I going to do, Maria?” I ask as she enters the room. “I can’t get kicked out of school, I can’t go back to Roswell and tell my parents that my life’s dream has gone down the tubes because of some fight I had with a girl who used to be my friend. What I am going to do?” I slide down the door and sit on the floor.

“You’re going to handle it, plain and simple. You’re going to roll with the punches and you are going to do what you have to do. What else can you possible do in a situation like this?” she replies sliding down to the floor to sit with me. She draws me closer into a hug and I begin to cry on her shoulder. “Don’t worry, Liz. We’ve been through much rougher, and it’s going to be okay. I swear.”
“Pinky swear?” I whisper through my tears. She just smiles and holds out her pinky.
“Swear.” I link my finger with hers and we shake, and in that second I knew that things were going to be okay. We smile and get off the floor.

I’m walking back to Maria’s bedroom when I hear a knock on the door. I look at her and she nods, moving to answer the door. This time when she opens it, Zan is standing there wearing a worried expression on his handsome face. He nods at Maria, and walks over to where I am standing.

“Let me just grab my bag and we can go,” I cut him off.

I can see the pain as well as confusion in his eyes. As I’m walking out the room, I see him look at Maria with questions in his eyes. She just shrugs and sits on the couch. I grab my bag quickly and return to the room. Zan is standing exactly where I left him wearing the same expression on his face.

“Let’s go,” I tell him and he nods. “Bye Maria,” and with that I walk out the door.

“So I leave you alone one day, and you get into a scuffle. Bad girl, Liz,” Zan teases me as we drive back to his apartment. I know he’s only trying to make me laugh, but right now I’m not in the mood.
“Ha ha, Zan. You are so damn funny,” I murmur in a low tone.
“It was a joke, babe,” he says placing his hand over mine. I shake it off.
“Maybe you need to work on some new material then because that shit wasn’t funny,” I say coldly. We pull into the parking lot and he parks the car.
“What’s wrong, Liz? What happened?” he sighs. He’s staring at me intently.
“Nothing, Zan just forget it,” I reply jumping out the car before he has a chance to open my door. I run to the elevator and furiously begin to push the button. He walks up behind me, and wraps his arm around my waist.
“You pushing it like that isn’t going to make it come any sooner,” he whispers in my ear.
“Whatever, Zan,” I retort as I step out of his grasp and into the elevator.

I can’t even look at Zan right now. True, he hasn’t done anything to me and he’s only trying to be helpful, but I’m just not in the mood for him right now. I’m so aggravated with him, the world, my damn self that all I can do is lash out at him. It’s not right, but I can’t help it at this point. We reach the penthouse and I walk out the elevator without saying a word to him. I stand by the door and wait for him to open it. He just stares at me.

“What Zan?” I testily ask. Oh, he is trying my nerves now.
“Nothing.” He opens the door and lets me in.

I drop my bag on the living room floor, and pick up the remote for the TV. I need to be numb for a while. No thinking, no conversation, just numbness.

“Exactly what happened today, Liz?” Zan inquires turning off the television, and sitting down beside me on the leather couch. He is killing me.
“Does it matter, Zan?” I cross my arms over my chest.
“I asked didn’t I? Why are you acting like this, why won’t you just tell me what happened?”
“You want to know what happened, Zan?” I scream jumping off the couch. “Fine, this is what happened. I get back to school today to find out that my new lab partner is the one and only Max Evans, but wait it gets better. Come to find out, his bitch ass sister has pretty much told the whole damn school about my miscarriage and how I didn’t know who the baby’s father was for a while. So what do I do? I find out where she is, and beat the bloody hell out of her in one of the most public places on campus. My day actually started going better after that, but then what happens? The damn campus police show up at Maria’s dorm room and serve me with not only a restraining order to stay away from Max’s sister, but also a subpoena for a disciplinary probation meeting that I have to attend next Monday!” I yell at Zan.

“Liz, you need to calm the hell down. Now I’m sorry that you had a shitty day, but I’m not to blame for what went down. It’s going to be all right,” he says standing up in front of me. “We just need to---“
“What the hell do you mean ‘we’ Zan? There is no we right now, only me Elizabeth Parker. You aren’t the one who might get kicked out of school for getting into a fight, you’re not the one that everyone is looking at funny and calling a slut. I am, Zan! Me! So don’t tell me to calm down or that everything is going to be okay, because it’s not!” I scream while pointing my finger in his chest. “Everything is not going to be okay for me!”

Zan is standing here looking at me with anger in his eyes. He just takes a couple steps back from me and sits back down on the couch. He flicks on the TV and stares blankly at the screen. Me, on the other hand, I am so far past emotional that a word doesn’t even exist to describe the state I’m in. My body is shaking, and my breathing is erratic. I look down at my palms and see that they are crimson and somewhat swollen. There are also crescent moons from where my fingernails have been digging into my palms. When my eyes focus on Zan’s figure, the only thing I feel is regret. Regret for yelling at him, regret for the things that have just come out my mouth, regret for letting him see me this angry, and regret for taking it out on him. I tentatively step towards the couch.

“Leave me be, Liz.”
“Obviously, this is your battle so I’m going to let you fight it. You have made it clear that this is about you and not us so I’ll let you handle your business.” He never takes his eyes from the TV.
“Zan, I’m---“
“Don’t say anything else to me right now, Liz. Don’t make me say something I might regret later on.”

I try to mentally speak with him, but he has cut off our connection. Yeah, when I mess up, I usually do it big time to compensate for all the little mess ups I could have cashed in on but didn’t. Defeated, I turn and walk to the bedroom. I shut the door and lay down on the bed. My shoes aren’t even off when I drift off to sleep…

I wake up sometime later to the smell of lasagna and garlic bread. My stomach alerts me of my hunger before my mind can. I walk out into the living room and look around. To my left is the kitchen and I see a baking dish full of lasagna and a basket containing garlic bread. On the table is a bowl of freshly tossed salad. I look to my right and see Zan still sitting where I last saw him, staring at the TV blankly. He’s not making a sound. I have really messed up.

“Food is on the stove. Go ahead and eat.” His tone is cold, he doesn’t even bother to look at me while he speaks.
“Okay, thank you.” I walk into the kitchen. “Are you going to eat?”
“I ate already.”

I fix my plate and sit at the table. Not once while I’m eating does Zan speak to me or even acknowledge my presence. I might as well be in Siberia right now. All my tears have dried up so I can’t even cry. I concentrate on eating, and when I finish I clear the table and wash the dishes. When the kitchen is clean, I stand in the doorway to the living room.

“Thank you for dinner, Zan. It was great.”
No response.

I sigh and go back into the bedroom. I wait for what seems like hours for Zan to come into the room, but it doesn’t happen. I take some reading for school out my bag and try to do something constructive, but that’s not working either. After I try to utilize our connection once again and find that it’s blocked, I head for the bathroom and take a shower. Maybe he’ll be in bed when I get out. Hurrying, I finish my shower and dress in my cami and matching drawstring pajama pants. I rush into the room to find…nothing. He’s not in the bed, and I can still hear the TV blaring in the other room. Nothing can explain the hurt that I feel right now. The pain in my chest is growing as the seconds pass by, and I don’t know what to do to alleviate the stress I’m feeling. Zan won’t let me apologize, he won’t let me in. He has shut me off completely, and I’m dying inside. I don’t even fool myself anymore; I just shut off the light on the bedside table and try to go to sleep.

Forty-five minutes later, I hear Zan come in the room and undress for bed. I hear the dresser drawers slide open, and Zan pulls out a pair of pajama pants. I didn’t even know the man owned a pair. He closes the drawer and slides into the bed, careful not to touch me. He turns his back to me and situates himself as far away from me as possible.

I can’t take it anymore. The hurt that is inside me is just too much to bear. Tears are sliding from the corners of my eyes, and I can feel the sobs rising in my throat. I try to bury my face into my pillow so he won’t hear as I let the sobs go.

‘I’m sorry, Zan,’ I think, not quite sure if he can hear me or not. ‘I didn’t mean to take it out on you. I’m so sorry.’
The tears slide down my face at a faster rate, and my face is buried so deep into the pillow that I can’t breathe. For once in my life, I don’t have the answers, I don’t know how to make things right. This may be the one time that I wish I did know everything.
I can’t even sleep in this bed, it’s like the love we shared is now long gone. This is torture.

I’m getting out the bed, but then Zan’s strong arms wrap around my waist and I feel him pulling me closer to him. He places his hand on my stomach and rolls me over to face him.

“Zan, I’m so sorry for---“
“Shhh. I know you’re sorry,” he whispers wiping the tears from my face. “Let me ask you something, how did it feel when I wouldn’t talk to you? Did you like it?”
“No, Zan,” I answer and shake my head.
“How about when I wouldn’t let you connect with me? How did you feel then?”
“I felt so empty, and I hurt. The pain in my heart was unreal, and I felt so lonely. I felt like I was just helpless and there was nothing I could do or say to make things right again,” I tell him. He nods at me.
“So now you know how I felt when you told me that this thing at school was about you and not us. Baby, I love you and anything that you go through, I’m going to be standing right there with you. For me, there is no you or me, only us. If I have a problem, then it’s our problem, and I want it to be the same with your problems too. If this is going to work, then you can’t just shut me out when that shit is convenient for you. We’re going to have to work shit out together if things are going to work out between us.”
“I know, Zan, but I’m just so scared. I don’t know what to do about anything, I feel so out of control…”
“When I gave you the promise ring, I meant every word that I said, sweets. I’m not in this just to sex you, I want to be with you and I want all of you, Liz. I am here for the good and the bad, and I’m going to see you through all the shit. Whether it’s school, or Isabel, or Max, I’m going to see you through all of it. I love you so much, Liz; I just need you to let me in.”
“I have, Zan. My heart belongs to you.”

He just shakes his head at me and lets his hand trail to my stomach.

“You gave me your heart, but you haven’t fully let me in yet. You proved that tonight. Now, I’m not telling you to make a decision right now, but baby, something is going to have to give. It’s gotta be all or nothing, I can’t settle for in between. I’m just waiting for you to let me be your everything. All I can do is wait for you to say yes.” I turn my head so he won’t see me cry, but he turns my head back by gently steering my chin to look at him. “But babe, I got all the time in the world.” He kisses my lips and pulls me on top of him.

“Just rest, sweets,” he whispers in my ear as he strokes my hair. I’m emotionally drained and he knows it. I can feel myself drifting into sleep as he gently caresses my hair, arms, and back. “I got all the time in the world…”

Part 21

It’s now morning, and I’m lying in bed, staring at the dresser where the heart I gave Zan is resting. Zan’s words from the previous night keep running through my head.

“You gave me your heart, but you haven’t fully let me in yet. You proved that tonight. Now, I’m not telling you to make a decision right now, but baby, something is going to have to give. It’s gotta be all or nothing, I can’t settle for in between. I’m just waiting for you to let me be your everything. All I can do is wait for you to say yes.”

I turn over and look at Zan’s still sleeping form. He is beautiful even when he’s sleeping. I don’t deserve him, and my behavior last night was totally uncalled for. All he wants to do is love me, and I won’t even let him do that. To say that I feel like scum is an understatement. I want to let him in all the way, but part of me keeps on holding out. I know why and I want to change, I just don’t know how to express this to Zan.

I’m still staring at Zan when his eyes begin to slowly flutter open. Blinking ever so slowly, his eyes begin to focus and when they finally do he’s staring directly into my eyes. I stroke his cheek with my thumb and bite on my lower lip. I know that we talked last night, but to assume that all is said and done is not a wise assumption. Even in the haziness of my early morning state, I know that there are still some things that need to be rectified between us. There are still some things that I need to do and say in order to make things right.

“Zan, can we talk?” I ask quietly.
“Yeah, babe,” he nods. We are both snuggled in the bed with the black goose down comforter pulled up almost over our heads. Underneath the covers, our limbs slightly graze each other, and I can feel his fingertips gently rubbing behind my knee.

“I know that I haven’t been completely open with you the way you would like me to be, and I just wanted to apologize to you for that. You have done nothing but be there for me and love me, but I’ve been really selfish and closed off with my affection towards you,” I tell him.
“I wouldn’t say that you’ve been completely closed off, Liz,” he says with a small smile on his lips.
“But Zan, I haven’t exactly been giving you everything you need either,” I counter. “We established that last night.” He nods.
“I wanted to let you know that while I am truly sorry about the way I’ve been not letting you in, you have to understand that there is a reason for the way I am, and it didn’t just take place overnight.”

I look away from Zan’s eyes and try to gather my thoughts. I need to tell him this. I want things to work out between us, and if it’s going to happen then I need to share myself with him. I look back into his eyes, and when I see that his gaze hasn’t faltered, I continue.

“I need you to understand that Max is the only man that I have ever loved in this lifetime aside from you. I did any and everything for Max, things that a normal girlfriend would not do, but since our relationship was anything but normal, I didn’t really think twice about it. I was in love, and I just kinda thought that being in love made you do things that you wouldn’t normally do. Pretty much, me and Max’s relationship was about him, and for the most part my personal needs and desires were sacrificed for him and his. I lied to my parents, ran from the FBI, faced down evil aliens, anything that would keep Max safe and make him happy. I even came to school out here just to be with him even though I wanted to go to a school closer to home. Even though I gave and gave, it was never reciprocated, because as long as Max was happy there was never a problem in his eyes.”

A pain I never even knew existed begins to fill my chest. Before I know it, I have tears sliding out the corners of my eyes and my nose is running. I go to wipe the tears away, but Zan's hand has already assumed the task and he is now caressing my face.

“We don’t have to do this now if you don’t want. I meant what I said last night, I got all the time in the world,” Zan tells me softly, but I shake my head.
“No, Zan, I want to tell you this. You were right, if we are going to have a relationship then it has to be all or nothing, and no in betweens. For us to work, I have to tell you this so we can move on together.”
“Just know that there is no pressure here, you can take your time,” he reiterates and brushes some hair out my eyes.

I nod and take a deep breath. Zan pulls me into his chest and wraps his arm around my waist. Slowly I begin my arduous task.

“Like I said before, the relationship was pretty much about Max getting his needs met, and mine were pretty much ignored. At some point though, I guess I wasn’t enough to fulfill all his needs and he pretty much…”
“Baby, it’s okay.”
“He turned to someone else instead of me…”

*April 2002

“Maria, what is taking them so long?” I inquire of my friend as I check my makeup for the 12th time in five minutes.
“Chica, sit down. I have no idea what the hold up is, but I do know that if I see you walk to the bathroom again to look at yourself I’m going to scream,” she says giving me the evil eye.

I giggle and sit down. Max, Michael, Maria, and I were supposed to be going to the movies, but if they didn’t hurry up the only thing we would be looking at is each other. It was 7:45 and the movie started at 8:00. Even if they were to come walking through the Crashdown doors at this very moment we still wouldn’t have enough to buy refreshments or even watch the previews, which was by far mine and Maria’s favorite part of the movie watching experience. I’m about to call Max when Michael comes strolling through the door.

“Took you long enough, Spaceboy. Why don’t you get a watch?” Maria scoffs at him.
“I’ll get a watch when you get a muzzle,” he retorts.
“Dork butt.”
“Cheese head.”
“Now children,” I say raising my hands in front of me and stepping in between them. I turn to Michael. “Is Max waiting outside in the jeep?” To this Michael gives me a funny look.
“I thought he was here with you guys,” he says looking confused. “I thought he was in the bathroom, or something.”
“Uh, no. We actually thought he was with you,” Maria replies shaking her head. “Weren’t you guys supposed to be coming together?”
“That’s what I thought, too. I went to Max’s a couple of hours ago, but when I got there Isabel told me that he had left about 30 minutes before I got there and he had to go out and do something. I waited for almost 2 hours, and then I just figured that he didn’t have time to come home so he just came straight here.”

We all look at each other in confusion. This was so unlike Max. He would never just disappear for hours at a time like this without letting someone know where he was going.

“Maybe he went to your house to wait for you,” I suggest trying to think the best rather than letting my imagination run wild. “Maybe he thought that you just stepped out for a second and would be right back or something,” I finish shrugging.
“Okay, then, well let’s just go to Michael’s then. He might still be sitting there waiting for him,” Maria says to us. “Besides, we already missed the movie anyway. If we get him in time, then we can just go do something else.”

Michael and I nod at Maria’s suggestion, and we head out to the Jetta. After five minutes of driving we pull up in front of Michael’s apartment, and sure enough the Max’s jeep is parked on the street.

“What did I tell you guys? I know my man,” I say smiling at both of them.
“Well, go get him then and hurry up, Liz. I’m just going to wait in the car,” Maria replies.

I hop out the car, and walk over to the jeep only to find that it’s empty. Now where could he be? I walk back to the Jetta and get back in.

“He’s not in the jeep,” I inform them.
“Well maybe he’s in the house,” Maria suggests.
“Why would Maxwell be in my house? He doesn’t even have a key,” Michael snorts.
“Maybe he got tired of waiting in the jeep for you to come back, and used his Samantha genie powers to get in. Maybe he had to take a leak, I don’t know, Michael,” Maria crossly answers. Sensing that an argument might begin, I speak up.
“It’s worth a shot, Michael. Come with me so you can unlock the door,” I ask him.
“Fine, whatever,” he answers.
“Just hurry up, okay?” Maria yells at us.

We get out the car and walk to the apartment door. Michael has his keys in his hand, but when we get close enough we see that the door is slightly ajar. We look at each other.

“Stay out here while I go check inside,” Michael orders but I shake my head.
“Hell no. If you go, I go,” I answer. I cross my arms over my chest and put my war face on.
“Fine, but stay behind me,” he says sighing.

The apartment is dark and completely silent when we enter. Maybe Max really is in the bathroom. Suddenly we hear a loud groaning come from the back of the apartment. We stop in our tracks. About 10 seconds later, we hear the groan again only louder this time.

“It’s coming from my bedroom,” Michael whispers to me. I nod at him as he puts his finger to his lips and we begin to creep forward. We get to the door of the bedroom, which is halfway open.

For the second time in my life, I died.

Max is lying on his back with Tess straddling him, and they are both naked. I can see his hands holding on to her behind as she rides him as if he were a thoroughbred stallion. The covers on Michael’s bed are strewn across the bed and the floor, and the essence of sex is so highly potent in the room that the scent wafts into the hallway. I can see the sheen on both their bodies, and just as I’m about to run in the room and beat both their asses, naked and all, Max sits up and wraps his arms around her back and grasps her shoulders with both hands.

“You feel so good, Tess. Shit, don’t stop baby, don’t ever stop,” I hear Max tell her. He groans as she continues to ride him.
“I have no intention of ever stopping, Max,” Tess giggles. Her blonde curls are bouncing up and down as she picks up the pace. “Ooh, that feels so good, sweetie. Hmmm…”

I’m standing in the shadows listening to the man I love screw the whore who gave our relationship so many problems so many times before. He was supposed to be mine, we were supposed to belong to each other for eternity, but now…I’m too shocked to cry, too shocked to feel. Even though I’m not the one to blame for this, I can’t help but to ask myself what I did to drive him away. What is it that I did to let our relationship come to this? I can’t even comprehend rational thought at this point; I’m just numb. My soulmate is fucking my archenemy in his best friend’s bed. Ain’t life grand? I’m sinking to the floor when I feel a pair of arms catch me. Michael, I forgot he was even there with me.

“Liz,” he says and looks into my eyes. He can see the damage and just shakes his head. “I am so sorry,” he whispers. Taking my hand, he leads me out the apartment and back to the Jetta where Maria is demanding to know what took us so long…*

“Michael, Maria, and I kept Max’s infidelity amongst ourselves, we never spoke of the incident after that day,” I whisper into Zan’s chest. “The next month we went to Prom, and we just kinda went on with life as usual. I came to New York with everyone, and I lived a lie for three more years until I met you.”

Zan’s grip has become considerably tighter around my waist, and I can feel me pressing me further into his body with his hand. Any closer and I’m going to disappear into him.

“Sweets, I’m so sorry, I had no idea,” he whispers into my hair. “I’m so sorry.”
“It’s not your fault, Zan. That was Max, not you,” I tell him. I wiggle out of his grasp so I can look into his eyes. “You need to know that I love you so much, Zan, I do with all my heart. Never in a million years do I think you would do anything even as remotely horrible to me as Max did, I know that in my heart. The problem is my mind doesn’t know it just yet,” I whisper.
“Okay,” Zan replies trying to comprehend what I’m trying to tell him.

“You need to know that it’s not just you that I would have a problem like this with, but any man, Zan. Max nearly destroyed me, he drove me to the brink. Never in my life did I want to die as much as that night. I tried to work things out with him and within myself and eventually I did, but he destroyed a part of me that I will never be able to get back. The reason why I haven’t opened myself all the way up to you is partly because I’m afraid and partly I don’t know how to anymore. When I found Max with Tess, part of me shut down and died. I know you love me, Zan, but I can’t help but to wonder what if we turn out the way my relationship with Max did. I couldn’t handle going through something like that again, Zan. I don’t think I could continue to live,” I finish.

“I would never do that, Liz. I love you too much,” Zan says probing my face with his eyes.
“I know you wouldn’t, really I do. It’s just kind of hard to let go of. It’s like I loved him with all my heart, and that still wasn’t good enough. I’m afraid that my love won’t be enough for you, Zan. Maybe you’ll need something one day down the line that I can’t give you, and you’ll leave me,” I say beginning to sob. “I don’t want to be dependent on a man like I was with Max, I just can’t let that happen again. It hurts too much.”

Please God, let Zan understand where I’m coming from. I love him with all my heart, but if he left me or wronged me in any way, I don’t know what I would do with myself. I couldn’t stand for him to do me wrong the way Max did. Sure, I fixed the situation last time with Max, but I don’t think, no I know, I don’t have the strength to do it again.

“Anything that I will ever need will come from you, Liz. If I can’t get it from you then I don’t need it, and I sure as hell don’t want it,” Zan says tilting my head so he can look me in the eyes. “I want you to trust me, but I know that this kind of trust does not come over night. If I have to work and earn your trust everyday, a little at a time for the rest of my life, then so be it. I am not going anywhere, Liz. You are it for me, only you and no one else. You complete me, sweets.” He draws me closer to him and kisses my forehead.

I want to drown in this man. I don’t understand why I can’t just give myself over to him. I want to so badly, but my fear keeps me bound. Damn you, Max. I’ve found the love of my life and you are standing in the way. You will not win, I won’t let you.

“You got class today, sweets?”
“No, only on Tuesdays and Thursdays,” I tell him. I’m still clinging on to Zan for dear life and he’s stroking my back.
“Hmm, okay.”

With his free hand, he reaches over to the bedside table and grabs the phone. He finishes punching in numbers, and puts it to his ear.

“Shannon, this is Mr. Evans. I need you to cancel and reschedule all my appointments for today. No, I’m not coming in; I have something rather important to deal with at home. Yes, everything is all right; I just need to get some things in order. I’ll be in tomorrow, though. Okay, bye.” He puts the phone back on the table, and looks at me.

“You belong to me, Liz, and I belong to you. Nothing will ever change that unless you want it to change. I’m not going anywhere, and if I do best believe that you will be right by my side. You are my world, babe,” he tells me and then kisses my lips.

I can only stare at him. How can this man have so much faith in me, so much faith in our love when it’s still so new and I have so many issues? Maybe this is another one of the things that being in love is about. I realize at this very moment that if I don’t have faith in myself, I can at least have faith in Zan. I can have faith in the fact that he isn’t Max, and that he never will be. He can only be Zan, and no one else.

“Zan, I need you to make me a promise,” I say. He looks into my eyes.
“Anything you need, babe.”
“It might be a while before I can give myself completely over to you, because this is something that I’m going to need to work on for myself. We might have some bumpy times ahead of us, but Zan please never stop loving me,” I request quietly.
“As long as you never stop loving me,” Zan replies with a smile on his face.

I sigh and bury my face into his chest. As we lay there together, I feel a peace come over me that I never experienced with Max. This man loves me, and he’s not going anywhere.

“Zan, what are we going to do today since you’re not going to work?” I ask slowly.
“I was thinking about us just staying in bed all day,” Zan answers and nibbles on my earlobe.
“So you just want to lie here all day long?” I inquire incredulously.
“Who said anything about just lying here?” he grins deviously at me and then pulls the covers over our heads…

Part 22A

January 10, 2005

I’m nervous as hell. Tomorrow is my probationary hearing, and I have no clue as to what’s going to happen. I’m not sorry for what I did, nor will I ever be, but I am beginning to believe that my actions may have been a little hasty. I should have beat her ass in some dark alley, and then all of this unnecessary drama could have been avoided. I sigh and fidget in the bed for about the hundredth time in five minutes.

“Babe, you wanna talk about it?” Zan murmurs from his side of the bed.
“I don’t know what to say, Zan. I’m just really anxious about tomorrow, I guess,” I tell him. “I don’t know what I’m going to do if I get kicked out of school. I’m not sure if my parents would let me live in their house after this type of thing.”
“If you get kicked out, you’ll just apply to another school and go there,” he says simply.
“It’s not that easy though, Zan. The only reason that I was really able to come out here is because of the financial aid package I have. The school is paying for everything, plus giving me money to live off each semester. I don’t think any other school would do that for me, particularly if I have something like this on my records.”

Zan is lying perfectly still, and is quiet. I can tell the wheels in his mind are turning, I just don’t know exactly what he’s thinking.

“If you had to pay for school, how much would it cost?” he asks turning on his side to face me.
“About $27,000 a year, and that doesn’t even cover books,” I tell him. Where is this going?
“And you only have one more year of school left, right?” he continues.
“Uh huh.”
“You have nothing to worry about then,” he states and kisses my forehead. Huh?
“Zan, what are you talking about?” Unless he means….
“If you had to go to another school, tuition wouldn’t be an issue. I have the money.”
“I couldn’t let you do that, Zan,” I say shaking my head. “That wouldn’t be fair to you; this is my education. I couldn’t just let you give me the money to go to school. We would have to establish some kind of payment plan for me to pay you back or something.”
“No Zan, I mean it. What about your bills? You can’t just give me money like that when you have bills to pay. I won’t let you,” I tell him still shaking my head. I love Zan, but I can’t let him do this. It’s not fair to have him pay for my schooling and I’m the one that messed up. I’m more than willing to work together when it concerns things that are in our relationship, but this is not one of those things. I’m putting my foot down on this issue.

“Well technically, since the money is in my possession, I can do whatever I want to do with it, and if I want to give it to you for school then that’s my business,” he replies yawning. “Something else you seem to have forgotten is that what’s mine is yours. If you need money to pay tuition then technically you would be using your money to pay it with.”
“But Zan---“
“I’m not saying you have to take the money, Liz,” Zan states putting his finger over my mouth to shush me. “I’m just letting you know that you have options, okay? We don’t even know what’s going to happen tomorrow; let’s just cross that bridge when we get to it, okay?” He pulls me into his arms and hugs me close to his bare chest. I finger the golden key that's hanging from his neck, and close my eyes.

“Everything is going to work out, babe. Just wait and see,” he soothes. His fingers are gently combing through my hair. “Everything is going to be just fine…” I hope he’s right.

I wake the next morning with a start and roll over to find Zan not in the bed. I throw on my robe and walk out the bedroom and in the kitchen to find Zan standing in front of the stove in his boxers cooking breakfast. The tattoos on his back are brilliant in the early morning sunlight, and his muscles are flexing as he reaches and stretches for different cooking utensils and ingredients. He’s lucky that my nerves are kinda frazzled, because if they weren’t his ass would be mine, and I mean that in a very literal sense.

‘Maybe I should unfrazzle your nerves then,’ Zan thinks without turning around. I know he’s got that impish grin on his face, I can feel it.
‘My, my. We certainly are cocky this morning aren’t we?’ I step behind him and wrap my arms around his waist. I begin to place tiny kisses on his back and shoulder blades.
‘Why shouldn’t I be? With the way you scream and moan for me, I have no doubts who the man is.’ I have no doubts that he’s smirking now.

I quickly unwrap my arms from his waist and turn towards the table so he won’t see me blushing. If he keeps this up, I might not make it to my hearing.

‘Nice ass,’ he thinks and suddenly gooses me before he sits down with our breakfast plates. He looks into my eyes and gives me a lopsided smile.

“You might wanna sit down and eat before it gets cold,” Zan says as he continues to smile. “You’re going to need your strength today.”
“I love you,” I reply and sit down. I pick up my fork and take a bite of the omelet Zan has heaped on my plate. “Oh, Zaaan,” I moan. Where did he learn how to cook like this? I am officially in love with this man now.

‘You realize that’s what you sound like when we make love, right?’ The impish grin is back. When I dip my head into my plate and blush furiously, he begins to laugh hysterically.

“Come on, babe. We need to hurry up so I can get you to school,” he finally states after laughing at me. I nod and quickly finish my food.

Zan is stroking my hand with his as he drives to Dean Salinger’s office. My stomach is churning, and the butterflies are alive and well. Traffic isn’t bad so we actually arrive about 20 minutes before the scheduled time of the meeting. I really don’t want to go in just yet, so we sit in the car in silence. It’s not until now that I realize exactly how petrified I am of what the outcome may be.

“Zan?” I call to him breaking the silence. He turns to look at me.
“Yeah sweets?”
“Is there any way that I could get you to stay with me during the hearing?” Originally, the plan had been for Zan to drop me off at my hearing, go to work, and then pick me up so we could discuss the results over lunch. Now that I think about it, I don’t think that’s such a good plan anymore. If I’m going to make it through this, then I’m going to need him in that room with me. I can’t do this alone.

“Did you really have to ask, sweets?” Zan questions me and then smiles. He leans across the seat and gently kisses my forehead, nose, and lips. “Feel better now?”
“Much, thank you,” I whisper into his mouth and kiss him again. I might just be able to get through this now. I end the kiss and he pulls out his cell phone.

“Shannon, this is Mr. Evans. Do I have any meetings today? No? Great, because I’m not coming in today. If anything comes up, just call my cell. If I don’t pick up then leave a message. Thank you, Shannon.” He hangs up and looks at me.

“You know, if you keep taking all these days off, they’re going to fire you,” I tease.
“Please, they love me. Besides, it’s kinda hard to fire the boss,” he says winking at me. “Are you ready to go in, Liz?” I take a deep breath and shake my head. Here goes nothing.

When Zan and I walk into the office’s lobby, we see Maria and Michael already waiting for us. Maria rushes from her chair to hug me while Michael stands and nods at Zan.

“Are you okay, Liz? I mean, are you ready? I will testify, if I have to, you can count on me, Chica,” Maria rambles. I smile at her and nod. It’s the only real thing a person can do when Maria starts rambling. “It’s just us here so far. Maybe Isabel decided not to come, or got hit by a car on her way over here. That could always happen right?”

I look at Zan and he smiles.
‘That’s your friend.’
‘Wouldn’t change it for the world,’ I think back and smile at him. I look at Michael, and begin to walk towards him.

“Thank you for coming,” I whisper in his ear as we embrace. “I really appreciate it.”
“No problem, Liz,” he whispers back. “Besides, I don’t think I really had a choice,” he says motioning to Maria. Michael smirks, and I laugh.

Just then the main office door opens, and a short brunette in her early thirties walks out to greet us.

“Are you all here for the disciplinary hearing?” she asks nodding at us.
“Yes, I’m Elizabeth Parker,” I tell her and extend my hand. She shakes it, and then motions for us to come into the office.

“Please have a seat,” she says motioning to the long legal table and the nine chairs that surround it. We all take a seat on one side of the table and wait quietly for something to happen. The woman who invited us into the office sits at the head of the table.

“How long do we have to wait before we can leave? Surely they can’t keep us sitting here all day just because they weren’t here on time,” Maria states. I shoot daggers at her with my eyes.

“Maria!” I hiss. I don’t need this right now, I really don’t.
“You must be Miss DeLuca,” the woman at the end of the table says smiling her way.
“Yes, I am,” she replies proudly and Michael snorts. Oh, this is going to be a long day.

Suddenly the door opens. I turn my head to see Isabel, Max, and…Alex? What’s he doing here? Why isn’t he at Berkeley going to class or something? I look at Maria and Michael to see that they are just as surprised as I am. Oh, this is going to be a long day indeed.

Part 22B

What is Alexander C. Whitman doing sitting at my disciplinary hearing? Why is he sitting up under Isabel like she is the mother hen and he is an egg that needs to be hatched? What is going on here? Surely, I have missed something.

“Alex, what are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be at Berkeley right now?” I ask in wonder.
“Where I should and shouldn’t be is none of your concern, Elizabeth.” Wait a second, Elizabeth? “Maybe you should tend to your affairs, and let me attend to mine,” Alex says snottily.
“Alex has every right to be here. If Zan, Michael, and Maria can be here, then Max and Alex can be here, too,” Isabel slurs at me. Max remains quiet and lets his focus fall on a picture on the office wall.
“I’m guessing that everyone is here, so let’s begin,” the woman at the head of the table states. “If you had not already guessed it, I am Dean Salinger and on this day of January 11th, 2005 we will be discussing the assault that took place between one Isabel Evans and one Elizabeth Parker.”

Here’s the thing: the whole time that Dean Salinger is talking, I’m paying attention to her, but I can’t help but to let my eyes fall on Isabel. The more I look at her, the more I feel proud of my accomplishment in beating her ass. Both of her eyes are black and swollen shut, and there is massive swelling across the bridge of her nose also. Her complexion has a sallow tone, and random purple and blue bruises mar her face. Isabel’s jaw is swollen and remnants of angry red scratches can be seen on her neck, cheeks, and forehead. Her head, though, has to be the worst part of her features. Though she managed to comb her hair so the missing plugs would not show, she failed in disguising the goose egg that appears to be growing out the side of her head. It almost looks as if someone took a waffle ice cream cone, glued it to her head, and then threw some hair over it to try to make things better. To say that Isabel looks fucked up is an understatement.

‘Remind me never to make you angry,’ Zan thinks as he picks up on my thoughts. ‘Isabel looks like she could be an extra in two or three creature features.’

I almost laugh out loud. Zan squeezes my hand and closes his eyes.

“What I would like everyone to do is state their name, relation to the people here, and reason for being here,” Dean Salinger continues. “After that, we can begin.”

“Michael Guerrin, boyfriend to Maria DeLuca who is a witness.”
“Maria DeLuca, witness to the incident and best friend of Elizabeth Parker.”
“Elizabeth Parker, accused transgressor of the incident.”
“Alexander Evans, boyfriend of the accused transgressor, here for moral support.” I see Alex’s eyebrow raise a couple notches as he looks at me stonily. I return his look and raise him a glare.
“Maxwell Evans, brother of the victim in this incident and Elizabeth’s ex boyfriend.”
“Isabel Evans, victim of the abuse administered by the transgressor.”
“Alexander C. Whitman, fiancée of the victim.”

Before I can open my mouth, Maria is out of her chair and leaning across the table, all the while yelling at Alex.

“Fiancée? What the hell do you mean fiancée? How could you even consider marrying this troll? She’s a psycho hose beast! Man, I feel sorry for your kids,” she screams while pointing her finger in his face.
“Maria, sit down,” Michael says grabbing her arm. He’s trying to pull her back in her seat, but Maria is not having it.
“Where do you get off calling someone a psycho hose beast, Maria? You’re the one who beat her up in the middle of downtown Roswell for no apparent reason. If anyone is psycho, then it’s you!” Alex bellows. He jumps out his chair and leans across the table.
“Now you hold on just a second! Who do you think you’re yelling at?” Maria replies putting her hands on her hips.

“Miss DeLuca, Mister Whitman. Both of you need to return to your seats this very moment!” Dean Salinger hollers. When they both sit down, she continues. “If either one of you, or any one of you for that matter, have another outburst like that, you will have to leave the room. Do I make myself clear?” she inquires looking at all of us. We nod, and so does she.

“Now I have some questions that I need to ask, and I’m going to need absolute silence from everyone except for the person I’m talking to.” She looks around the room and when she sees we understand, she turns and looks at me. “Miss Parker, can you please tell me to the best of your recollection what happened on January the fifth.”

Zan squeezes my hand once again and I take a deep breath.

“It was my first day of school for the week, and I was coming out of my third class of the day. The class was Bone Structure, taught by Professor Grady and Max can justify that I was there since he is my lab partner,” I tell her.
“Is this true, Mr. Evans?” the dean asks.
“Yes, ma’am, it is. She was there and we were assigned to be lab partners,” he says.
“Okay, continue Miss Parker.”
“I was walking across the campus when Maria runs up to me asking if I had seen or heard anything about Isabel all day long. I told her I hadn’t and then she told me that we needed to talk. We went into the commons area, and that’s when she told me that Isabel had told everyone in the women’s bathroom that I had a miscarriage over the winter break and that at a point in time during my pregnancy, I didn’t know who my child’s father was.”
“Did you tell her this, Miss DeLuca?”
“Yes, ma’am.”
“And at approximately what time did you witness this, Maria?”
“It was at about 10:30 that morning, Dean Salinger. When I finally caught up with Liz, it was about 1:00 in the afternoon,” Maria states.

“You’re lying, Maria! You weren’t even if the bathroom when I was! You’re going on hearsay!” Isabel yells at Maria. All the time she’s talking spit is flying out her mouth and onto the table. Somebody obviously does not know the phrase say it don’t spray it.

“Ms. Evans, one more outburst and you are out of here,” Dean Salinger warns.
“I’m sorry,” she whispers pitifully.
“Miss DeLuca, were you in the bathroom at the time this happened or are you going on hearsay as Ms. Evans claims?”
“I was in the bathroom. When I heard Isabel’s voice, I ducked into one of the stalls so she wouldn’t see me,” Maria explains. I see the color drain from Isabel’s face.
“Okay. Miss Parker, please continue.”

“After Maria told me this, I told her that it wasn’t a big deal, and that eventually it would blow over. That’s when she told me that our school’s two biggest gossips were in the bathroom at the time, and had already starting spreading the rumors about me,” I continue. “By the time Maria finished her story, it was time for me to go to my last class of the day which is Advanced Calculus.”
“Did you go alone?”
“No, Maria came with me. She didn’t want me to be alone.” Simultaneously, Maria and Zan squeeze both of my hands as if to let me know I was doing good.
“Maria, you accompanied Liz to class?”
“Did anything happen while you were there?’
“Yes. When we walked into the class and sat down, some guy in the back made a comment about how he didn’t know they were letting sluts into that class now,” she replies.

I look down at the table in memory of what happened. I want to cry I feel so bad, but this is not the time for tears. I have to keep my war face on for as long as I’m in this room. When I look back up, I see that Max is staring at me with his big amber eyes. He doesn’t even want to be here, I can see it. I can also see that he’s sorry Isabel’s putting me through all this grief. I almost feel sorry for Max for a moment, but then the moment passes.

“What happened next, Elizabeth?” Dean Salinger inquires of me.
“We waited until the lecture was over, and as soon as class was dismissed we left. We were planning on going shopping after class, but then we came to the cafeteria.” I pause and gather my nerves for this next part.
“What happened when you got to the cafeteria?”
“Well, I was walking by when I saw Isabel sitting at a table eating her lunch. I walked to her table, and started asking her why she was spreading lies about me.”
“Is this true, Ms. Evans?”
“What do you mean somewhat?” Dean Salinger sighs.
“Well she did come over to my table while I was eating lunch, but she was very rude and nasty towards me. She cursed at me, and disrespected me,” Isabel says trying to muster up some sympathy.
“Is this true, Miss Parker?”
“Yes,” I say in a low tone.
“So what happened next?” She pushes her chair from the table and stretches her legs.
“After she called me Little Miss Miscarriage 2004, I continued to ask her why she was saying these things about me, and then she told me she was doing her job reporting to the school the sluts disguised as good girls. She then called me white trash and told me she wanted to finish her lunch.”
“Miss DeLuca, were you present while all this happened?”
“Yes, Dean,” Maria answers.
“Can you please tell me what happened next then?” she asks Maria. Maria swallows hard and then looks at me. I nod giving her the go ahead to tell the truth.

“Liz grabbed Isabel by her hair, and started to ram her face into the lunch table,” she whispers.

I can hear Michael at the end of the table snickering, to whom Dean Salinger shoots him a look and he quickly quiets down. Isabel has begun to cry, and Alex has his arm around her. He is whispering in her ear trying to calm her down, but at the same time giving Maria and me dirty looks. Max is still looking at me with sorrow in his eyes, and Zan…Well Zan has been silent the whole time. However, his anger is radiating off him in waves. He can’t even send me completed thoughts; the only thing he is capable of sending me are colors and abstract patterns of dark red and black swirls.

“Is this true, Miss Parker?”
“Is that all?”
“No, Dean,” I answer her. “I drug her from the table and we fought.” At this statement, Isabel’s sobs grow louder and the tears fall faster. Oh Lord. “When I was finished I told her to keep my name out her mouth, hit her once more, and then Maria and I left,” I finish.

There is silence in the room. The only sounds that can be heard are Isabel’s sobs, and everyone’s breathing. The dean rubs her eyes, and then looks at Isabel.

“Are you up to talking now, Miss Evans?” she ask Isabel as her sobs quiet down. She nods. “Okay, do you agree that everything Miss Parker said is true?”
“Yes, except for the last time she hit me it was in my head with the plastic lunch tray,” she sniffles.
“So you are admitting that you did start and spread the rumor that Miss Parker had a miscarriage and she didn’t know who her child’s father was?”
“It’s not a rumor, Dean Salinger. Ask her and she’ll tell you herself,” she says coldly looking at me.
“Don’t worry about the questions I ask, you just answer the ones I ask you,” the dean replies just as coldly. “Did you or did you not spread the rumor?”
“Yes, I did.”

At this point the most amazing thing happens: Alex loosens his grip on Isabel, and sits up straight in his own chair. He is no longer touching her, and his face is expressionless. I look at Maria and she nods at me; she has just witnessed the same thing.

“What reason could you possibly have to do something like this, Miss Evans?” Dean Salinger crosses her arms over her chest and turns her chair towards Isabel.
“Because it’s true! While Liz was dating my brother last semester she got pregnant, but she didn’t know whether the child was my brother’s or if it was her current boyfriend’s,” she says icily staring at Zan. “Once she told me that, our friendship was over.”

“That’s not what happened, and you know it!” Maria yells. She’s about to jump out her chair again, but Michael and I grab a hold of her arms before she can do so. “Dean, ask Isabel tell you what happened that night when she found out! Isabel, why don’t you tell her how you jumped on her and fought her in the middle of her living room while she was pregnant! Why don’t you tell everyone here how you had Liz pinned to the ground while you socked and slapped her!” she continues to bellow.

“Miss DeLuca, that is enough!” Dean Salinger yells. She is breathing rather hard and is now standing up with both her palms flat on the table. She is looking between Maria and Isabel and shaking her head. Finally she looks at me.

“Miss Parker, is this true?”

I can’t even answer her right now. I’m back at that night, reliving the fight that Isabel and I had, as well as the fight Zan had with Max. All to clearly, my mind is pushing me back to that night when I slid down the wall with blood flowing from in between my legs. I’m back at the night when I lost my son. Mine and Zan’s son.

“It’s true, Dean Salinger,” I hear Zan say. I look up and see him looking into the dean’s eyes.
“She wasn’t talking to you, Zan,” Isabel says snidely.
“And he wasn’t talking to you, Quasimodo,” Maria fires back.
“Maria!” I hiss.

“Maria is telling you the truth, Dean Salinger. I know, because I came to Liz’s dorm room that night, and had to physically restrain Isabel from continuing to fight her,” Zan says raising his voice above everyone else’s. “I had to pick her up off of Liz and pin her to the wall.”
“You had to do what?” Alex asks incredulously. His eyes are darting between Zan, Maria, Isabel, and I in that order. “Michael?” he asks.

Michael just shakes his head confirming Alex’s nightmare. “It’s true. Isabel is just as bad as her brother,” he says shaking his head angrily.

“What the hell are you talking about, Michael?” Max asks sliding his chair closer to the table. Gone is the look of sadness; his eyes are now filled with apprehension. “This has nothing to do with me, this is about Liz and Isabel!”

“Oh but I beg to differ, Max!” Maria cries vehemently. Her eyes are filled with pure rage, and I can practically see the steam rising from her ears. “Maybe if you would have been a man and stuck by Liz, none of this would have ever happened. Maybe if you would have put your energies into Liz and the relationship we wouldn’t have to be at this hearing right now!”

“Why don’t you shut up and sit down somewhere, Maria?” Max yells. “I am getting tired of your shit!”
“Who the hell do you think you are, Max? Have you forgotten so quickly the episode at the airport or do you need to be taught again?” Michael glares at Max.
“Well maybe you should teach your girlfriend how to keep her mouth shut,” Isabel slurs at Michael.
“And maybe you should have taught Max how to keep his dick in his pants instead of fucking Tess in my bed our senior year!” Michael yells his face red.

Total and complete silence encompasses the room. Alex has just lost the little color that was in his face, and Max is slumping in his chair with his head down. Isabel looks from Michael to Max and back to Michael again with shock clearly written on her face. The air is thick with tension, and I think I’m going to explode. I am facing getting kicked out of school, and now I have the visual of Max and Tess in my head. It’s pretty safe to say things can’t get any worse.

“I want everyone to go out into the hallway now,” Dean Salinger says breaking the silence. “Elizabeth, you stay here, but I want the room cleared this very moment,” she says sternly.

One by one, they all file out with unreadable expressions on their faces. After everyone has left, Zan is still lingering by my chair with concern etched in his face. I just look at him and shake my head.

“It’s alright, Zan, you can go,” I tell him. I have tears in my eyes and they are about to spill over. He continues to linger.
“I can’t leave you in here like this,” he whispers in my ear as he strokes my hand. “I’m staying here with you.”
“Who’s going to be the referee for World War Three?” I ask pointing outside. “Just go, please. I’ll be out as soon as I’m done with Dean Salinger.” She nods when I mention her name.
“I’m going to go then, against my better judgement,” he states. Then he looks at the dean. “If anything happens, you call me. I’m right outside.” Dean Salinger nods and smiles wearily at him.
“She’s in good hands, don’t worry,” she tells him. Zan nods at her, kisses my hand and walks out the room closing the door behind him.

“He seems to care a great deal about you,” she begins walking towards me.
“I am so sorry about this, Dean Salinger,” I whisper as the tears fall from my eyes. “I never meant for this, for them to get out of control like that.”
“You can’t control what other people do, Elizabeth. Just like you couldn’t control Isabel spreading the rumor about you. You can only control what you do in this life,” she replies handing me some tissue. I wipe my eyes and blow my nose.
“I need to ask you some things and this is just between you and me.” I nod. “Were you really pregnant last semester?”
“Is it true that you didn’t know whether the baby belonged to Alexander or Maxwell?”
“At first I didn’t know, but I had found out by the time I told Maria and Isabel.”
“Did she really jump on you while you were pregnant?”
“Yes. That’s part of the reason that I lost the baby,” I whisper.
“I see.” She walks to the mahogany table behind us and pours two glasses of water. “Just one more question, and then I’m going to call them back in here.” I nod again. “How did you feel when you beat Isabel to a bloody pulp?” I look into her eyes and see the faintest smile crossing her lips.

“Uh, I don’t regret it if that’s what you mean. I have thought about it over and over again, but every time I try to find fault in what I did, I can’t. I didn’t plan on doing it, but when I saw her that day in the cafeteria it was like all the rage I had inside of me was begging to come out. I’m really sorry that I beat her up in the severity that I did, but I am not sorry that I hurt her. I feel that my reasoning behind it was justified. She deserved to have her ass, I mean her behind, beat,” I finish blushing.
“I see,” Dean Salinger says again with the same smile on her face. She hands me my glass of water and moves to open the door.

“Dean Salinger,” I call before she has a chance to open the door.
“If you were in my shoes, what would you have done?”
“The same thing you did except I would have made sure to do it in a private place and knock a couple teeth out,” she says smiling as she opens the door.

I breathe a sigh of relief and take a sip of my water. As I set my glass on the table I see Zan, Maria, Michael, Alex, Isabel, and Max file back into the room. The only difference this time is Alex is now standing behind me, and Isabel and Max are sitting about five feet apart.

“In reviewing this case, I checked the profile and academic status of the student at question and found that she is the perfect student as well as an excellent leader and role model for this campus. She is smart, strong, and determined. Therefore, I see no need to invoke expulsion or suspension of financial aid. However, Miss Parker’s actions are clearly in violation with school policy and she will receive the following punishment: for the next thirty days she will have to attend anger management therapy and at all times from this day forward she will not be allowed to come within 100 feet of Miss Isabel Evans. That is all, this case is adjourned.”

I can only breathe a sigh of relief. Zan is kissing my temple and rubbing my hand while Maria is chattering excitedly on my other side.

“But wait a second! After all she did to me, all she has to do is go to anger management and stay away from me? What kind of punishment is that?” Isabel slurs.
“Miss Evans, you should count yourself lucky that the injuries you received are superficial, such as yourself. I can think of at least one person who would have done worse to you,” Dean Salinger responds. She gives me one last knowing look and exits the room.

“Alex, let’s go,” Isabel calls. He is still standing behind me and saying nothing.
“Go where, Isabel?”
“It’s time to leave, now. I need to go to the pharmacy---“
“Goodbye Isabel.”
“You repulse me. I never understood what I saw in you. You are a cold, selfish, heartless bitch, and if you ever come near me again, your safety will not be promised,” he says coldly.
“But Alex, I love you.” Tears slide out of her black and blue eyes, but Alex is not moved.
“You don’t know how to love, Isabel. It's over.”
“Alex, please. Don’t do this to us. We can work this out.” Now where have I heard this before?
“Goodbye Isabel.” There is such finality in his tone of voice. It’s over. Isabel is just sitting at the table staring at Alex, and Max looks somewhat catatonic. No one is saying anything; we’re all just staring at each other.

“Don’t you need to go ring a church bell and scream ‘Sanctuary’ or something?” Maria innocently asks Isabel. She scowls at Maria and slaps Max in the back of his head.
“Let’s go, Max.”

They both stand up and walk out the room. I hope that’s the last time I see them for a while.

“Liz, I am so….”
“Apologize over lunch, Alex,” I smile at him. “Come on, let’s go.”

And with that the five of us walk out into the sunlight, ready to face the world.

Part 23

“This is like some sick dream you have after eating the wrong food before going to bed,” Alex says looking between Zan and me. We are sitting inside Jerry’s Deli, and the waitress has just left our table with our order.

“I’ll tell you what’s like some sick dream, the fact that you were engaged to Quasimodo Evans,” Maria says jabbing her straw into her glass of water. “I mean, really what were you thinking? You were just itching to be her permanent lap dog, weren’t you?”
“I thought I was in love,” he simply says shrugging his shoulders. “I don’t know any other way to explain it to you. It’s like she had this magical hold on me or something.”
“Maybe it was a voodoo doll, Alex,” Maria suggests and Zan starts laughing.
“How do you deal with her, man?” Zan asks Michael still laughing.
“One day at a time,” Michael answers and begins to laugh with Zan. I look at both of them, then look at Maria. She has this mortified look on her face, but I know she is secretly pleased on the inside. The two men we love are getting along, and in public. Wow.

“You think she’s crazy now? You should have seen her when she beat up Isabel,” Alex tells Zan and starts laughing too.
“Hey, wait a minute! You weren’t even there!” Maria cries over the laughter. “How did you find out?”
“Maria, you beat her up in the mall in broad daylight. My grandmother even saw you!” Alex declares and at this point we all crack up. “She was the second person to call me after Isabel.”

At the mention of her name, a hush falls over the table. Zan’s arm snakes around my shoulders and pulls me closer to him, as if to shield me from the evil Isabel’s name carries. Michael runs his hands through his hair, and Maria continues to fiddle with her straw. Alex clears his throat.

“I’m sorry, Maria. I’m sorry that I went off on you the way that I did, particularly when I didn’t have all the facts,” Alex practically whispers.
“I still can’t believe I would do something like that without justification, Alex. You know me, you’ve known for forever,” Maria answers him. “I thought we were better friends than that.”
“I should have known better, Maria, really I should have, but you have to remember that I had no idea what was going on in your lives at that point. Remember, the last time I talked to you, everything was cool between all of us, and nothing had changed. How was I to know that Max had borked the blue eyed alien whore or that Liz was pregnant and the child wasn’t Max’s? Through osmosis? We stopped communicating, Maria. I really didn’t know what was going on. Isabel got to me first and all I knew was what she told me,” Alex pleads.

“And exactly what did she tell you, Alex?” I ask. This should be interesting.
“That Maria beat her up for no reason. She was doing her Christmas shopping and Maria just walked up to her and starting attacking her.”
“You didn’t find anything wrong with that? You think I just randomly attack people?” Maria asks sadly.
“Well at first I thought she was playing around with me, but when I went to her house later on that night and saw the damage, the first and only thing I could feel was anger. I admit it, I should have come to you and asked you what happened instead of jumping all over you, but I couldn’t help it. I’m really sorry, Maria, really I am,” Alex replies honestly. He then turns and looks at me. “I’m sorry for jumping to conclusions in your case, too, Liz. The red light should have gone off when I found out that both you and Maria had fought Isabel, but I…I don’t know. All I can say is that I’m really sorry.”

We are all quiet for a while, letting what Alex has just said soak in. I feel bad for Alex, because as strange as it is, he really did love and care for Isabel. It’s a shame if you think about it. He had to fly all this way just to find out that his fiancée was a conniving bitch.

“Alex, you didn’t know. I forgive you,” I tell him as I reach over the table to grab his hand. We smile at each other, and then look over at Maria. She looks back at us with uncaring eyes. “Maria,” I hiss at her.
“Oh, alright. I forgive you, too, I guess. Next time you better have your facts straight, or you won’t be so lucky,” she says eventually smiling at Alex. Just then our food arrives.

The silence is companionable as we eat. Occasionally someone will make an abstract comment about school or something that happened long ago in Roswell, but for the most part we are silent. If I know Alex, this won’t be the case for long. As if on cue, Alex begins to stare at Zan and me.

“What, Alex? Is there something hanging out of my nose?” I ask grabbing my napkin.
“No. I’m sorry, but have you noticed just how much Zan looks like Max?” he asks and everyone at the table bursts out laughing. “What? What did I say?” he asks Michael innocently, but soon he is laughing along with us.
“Trust me when I say that the only thing Max and I have in common is our looks, and I will go out on a limb to say that I am hands down the better looking one of us,” Zan replies pointing at us. We can only start laughing again.
“Leave it to Liz to hook up with another Czechoslovakian,” Alex comments wiping the tears from his eyes.
“Another king no less,” Maria chimes in.
“People I am from Roswell, blame it on the countless years of working at an alien themed restaurant and dating one for almost 5 years. I can’t help it if I have radar,” I defend myself shrugging.

“Excuse me, but if I do remember correctly, I’m the one that found you,” Zan counters and kisses me on my temple.
“Yeah, exactly how did you guys meet?” Alex inquires. Zan and I look at each other with smiles on our faces.
“She picked me up at a club, and took me home with her,” Zan smiles.
“No really. How did you guys meet?” Alex asks seriously.
“That is how we met, Alex,” I confirm. “I was dancing, he walked up to me and we danced, then we went back to my dorm.”
“So what was the conversation like?” Alex continues to prod. Once again, Zan and I just smile at each other. “Or do I even want to know?”

‘Shall I show him, sweets?’
‘Be my guest.’

“I would be honored to shake your hand, Alex,” Zan states and holds out his hand to him. I put my hand over my mouth and begin to giggle, and immediately Michael and Maria pick up on what Zan is doing. Soon they are snickering too in anticipation of Alex’s reaction. Poor Alex, he doesn’t even have a clue.

Alex looks at us all quizzically, and then takes Zan’s hand. As soon as his eyes meet Zan’s, the flashes begin and it appears that Alex has stopped breathing. About 10 seconds later, Zan releases his hand and Alex slumps in his chair. We all look at him expectantly. When he comes to, it is the funniest thing I have ever seen.

“I AM BLIND!” he screams at the top of his lungs. “Take it away, take these blasphemous images out of my mind!”

Alex then jumps up from the table and begins to harass the patrons of the deli. He runs from table to table, pleading with the patrons to help him get the images out of his mind. Tears are running down my eyes I’m laughing so hard. Finally he returns to the table and sits back down.

“Thanks to you, I’ll never be able to look at the refrigerator quite the same,” he says while pointing at me. “You are a nasty, nasty girl. Shame on you!” he whispers fiercely.
“What? What did I do?” I try to ask innocently, but then he gives me one of his patented Alex looks and I can’t help but to start giggling again.
“Guys, I think we better go,” Michael states and nods his head towards the front door where the manager is standing.
“Let me grab the bill,” Zan says standing up.
“It’s cool, Zan,” Alex replies standing up also. “After all the grief I put Liz and Maria through, lunch is on me.”
“Alright,” Zan nods. “I’ll just go get the car.” He kisses my forehead and steps out of the booth.
“I’ll go with you,” Michael quickly states and rushes after Zan. Soon it’s only Maria, Alex, and I sitting at the table.

“That was low down of you guys,” Alex informs us and we all start laughing again. “I must admit I never thought you had it in you, Liz.” I can only blush.
“Yeah, Alex. Apparently Liz has had a lot of things in her that we didn’t know about,” Maria agrees while grinning devilishly at me.
“I swear, I was sitting here and almost called Zan Max like five times. How freaky is that? Even with the facial hair and the piercings, it was almost like looking at Max,” Alex shudders. “I can say that I definitely like him better than Max though, particularly after today’s revelations.”

We sit in silence for a minute as the waitress walks over with our bill. Alex takes it without hesitation and then hands her a credit card.

“So when are you bringing him home to meet Jeff and Nancy, Lizzie?” he asks after the waitress is gone.
“I don’t know. The truth is I don’t know how. You’re right when you say he looks so much like Max, and I haven’t really found a way to explain Zan to them without mentioning Max or Czechoslovakia,” I explain.
“Do you love him?”
“Does he make you happy?”
“How long do you plan on staying with him, Liz?”
“Give it time then, you’ll find a way.” Got to love those little seeds of Whitman wisdom.

The waitress returns with his credit card and Alex signs the receipt. We then exit Jerry’s Deli and walk to the car. Zan and Michael are already in the car waiting for us. I wonder what they’ve been talking about while we were away.

“I gotta go, guys,” Alex says stepping away from us.
“What? No, you just got here. We haven’t had a chance to really hang out yet,” Maria whines.
“My flight leaves back for Berkeley in about two hours and I still have to go by Isabel’s to get my stuff,” Alex comments rolling his eyes. “I would just have you guys come with me, but because of Liz’s run in with the law…”
“Yeah, yeah. I know,” I say sighing. “I’m going to miss you, though,” I whisper and step into his embrace. Maria follows suit and soon we are crowding the sidewalk with our hugging.
“I’ll be back soon, I promise,” he whispers while we hug. “We WILL keep in touch this time around.” Maria and I nod in his chest. Finally, we step back and look at him.
“You call me as soon as you get in,” Maria demands.
“Yes ma’am,” he smiles.
“Love you, Alex,” I say as I step towards the car.
“Ditto, Liz,” he nods and then steps closer to hug me one last time. When he’s done, he looks into the car.
“Guerrin. Continue to take care of Ria.”
“Whitman,” Michael nods. A smirk then covers his face.

Alex then walks to Zan’s side of the car and whispers something into his ear. When he’s done, he points at Zan with his index finger. “I mean it, Zan,” he says.
“Don’t worry about it,” Zan smiles and Alex smiles back at him.

Alex then hails a cab, and when one stops he waves at all of us one last time, and then he disappears into the heavy New York afternoon traffic. Maria and I get into the car and soon we are leaving Jerry’s Deli. We are riding in silence when a thought comes to me about 10 minutes into the drive.

“Zan, what did Alex tell you before he left?” I inquire. A small smile spreads across his lips.
“He told me that I better treat you right, because alien or not he would kick my ass if I did his number one lady wrong,” Zan tells us. Laughter erupts from all of us.

You gotta love Alex. It feels good to have him back home with us where he belongs.

I may be love's bitch, but at least I'm man enough to admit it-Spike, BtVS
*redface* *Dreamer*Candygirl*Truckstopper*TessHater*Roswell Lover*Kapone224
posted on 26-Sep-2001 11:56:05 PM
Part 24

January 25, 2005

“I’ve decided that I’m not going to lecture today,” Professor Grady announces and the class begins to cheer in celebration. I, for one, am quite pleased. Any day that I don’t have to listen to that man drone about bone density is a good day for me.

“Instead,” he continues, “I have decided to let you work with your partners on the packet I am about to hand out. For the next hour and a half, you are to work together and once you are done, you may leave.” Groans can be heard all around the lecture hall. I look to my right and see Max expectantly looking at me. I let out a groan of my own.

I haven’t actually spoken to Max since the day of my probationary hearing, and even then we didn’t really speak to each other. I knew this day would come, and I really haven’t been looking forward to it. I really don’t have anything to say to Max, and to be honest I don’t think that he should have anything to say to me.

“So how’s everything going, Liz?” Max asks when comes back from Professor Grady’s desk with the packet of work.
“Fine.” Maybe if I keep my answers short and sweet he’ll get the hint and we can just stick to work.
“Do you understand what we’re doing?”
“For the most part.”
“Liz, I---“
“Let’s just work on the packet, Max, okay? We need to start if we’re going to finish on time,” I say cutting him off. A flash of sadness and despair crosses his eyes before he finally nods his head in agreement.

The silence that we are working in is anything but companionable. Every once in a while, he’ll give me some information that I need for a problem, or I’ll ask him something, but there is virtually no conversation going on between us. I can feel him staring at me every so often, but I never return his looks. There’s really no reason to do so. If I do speak to him about something other than the work we’re doing, it’ll probably be to curse him out for sleeping with that dirty skank, and damaging my emotions in the filthy process.

When we finally complete the packet, I pack up my things and leave the room as quickly as possible without actually running. I don’t want to talk to anyone; I just want to go somewhere quiet where I can gather my thoughts and rest.

“Liz! Hey Liz, wait up!” Max calls as he runs after me. This is just great. I want to turn back around and resume my speed walking, but Max has something in the hand that he is waving and it looks awfully familiar.
“You forgot this,” he says when he finally reaches me. He hands me my green notebook and then proceeds to bend over so he can catch his breath.
“Thanks,” I reply taking it from him and shoving it in my bag. I turn and begin to walk away, but then he starts talking.
“So how it going with the anger management classes, Liz?” Max asks walking closer to me.
“Just great,” I answer sarcastically. “I just learned this new technique where when something is really bothering you, you take five deep breaths and then proceed to ignore whatever the cause of your agitation is. Would you like for me to demonstrate?”

“What is it, Max? What do you want from me?”
“I just wanted to let you know that I am really sorry about the way things turned out between us, Liz, really sorry. I’m especially sorry about the whole probationary hearing thing, I tried to get Isabel to cancel it, but you know how she is. I know things will probably never go back to the way they were, but I need you to know that I never meant to hurt you. I love you.”
“And why should I believe you, Max? Huh? Why should I believe anything you have to say at this point? You continually tell me you love me, but then you went out and slept with that whore. You say that you didn’t mean to hurt me, but then you side with Isabel and drag Alex into the situation, knowing that your sister is wrong and that Alex is one of my best friends. What kind of shit is that, Max? For someone that never meant to hurt me, you sure as hell did a bang up job, because believe me, Max, you hurt me beyond repair,” I finish coldly. It’s about 40 degrees outside where we’re standing, but I am burning up.

Max stuffs his hands into his pockets and doesn’t say anything. He looks down at the icy ground, and is pretty much motionless. I turn and just as I’m about to walk away I hear him speak.

“I know that I will never have a chance with you again, but please, let me at least show you how sorry I am. I will never be able to forgive myself for what I did to you, but if you just give me the chance to try and make it up to you, then maybe I can get some of my peace of mind back,” he states looking into my eyes.

“So let me get this straight,” I start walking towards him. “You basically want me to forgive you so you can get your peace of mind back? Boy, you really don’t know how to keep your mouth or your legs shut, do you?” I scoff and turn to resume my walking.
“Fuck you, Max, and the spaceship you arrived on.” I keep walking and never once look back. Suddenly Max is standing right in front of me.

“Look, Liz I know I deserved that, but please, can I just try…”
“Let me take you to dinner, Liz. Please.”
“Please Liz. I owe you this much at the very least.”
“I don’t know, Max,” I tell him shaking my head. “I don’t think Zan---“
“I don’t care about Zan, Liz. I know I will never have a chance with you ever again on that level, but let me at least try to restore our friendship. Please.”

“And just what makes you think we could be friends ever again, Max? I don’t think you fully understand the pain that you put me through. I gave you everything a man, whether from this world or not, could ever want and you threw it all back in my face. Who’s to say that you won’t do it again with something as simple as a friendship, Max? I won’t let you screw me over again,” I say shaking my head.

“Liz, just think about it. You don’t have to give me an answer right now, I just want you to think about letting me take you to dinner. I realize that I have lost your respect, love, trust, and everything, but I have to gain it back. Let me start with dinner,” he suggests hopefully.
“Why is this so important to you, Max? If you want love and respect, why don’t you go talk to Isabel or go find Tess? I’m pretty sure they could help you out,” I say coldly.
“Because believe it or not, I still love you and your opinion of me means as much to me today as it did five years ago,” he answers. “Just think about it, Liz. Will you at least try and do that for me?”

Why the hell am I still standing here? Better yet, why haven’t I kicked him in his face with the high heel boots I’m wearing? God, I am so tired of this. The moment I think I have extricated Max from my life, here he comes again. He’s like a damn cockroach; he could probably survive a nuclear holocaust and come back to find me. I just don’t understand this. All I want to do is finish school, and be with Zan. Am I really being too irrational here?

“Please, Liz. If I have to get down on my knees and beg in the snow I am willing to do it,” Max supplies while dropping his backpack onto the snow covered grass.
“I have to go to my next class, Max,” I state and begin to back away. At my statement, Max falls to his knees and grabs me around my waist. If I fall down in the snow that surrounds me, best believe that I’m going to kick his ass something fierce.

“Liz, please.”
“If I fall in this snow, you are not going to be a happy camper,” I warn him and he lets go of my waist.
“Will you let me take you to dinner, Liz? Just one time, that’s all I ask.”
“Max.” I sigh. “I will think about it, okay? Don’t expect anything, but I will think about it.”

Max jumps from the ground with a smile on his face as wide as the Grand Canyon. The way he’s looking, you would think that someone just offered him a million dollars.

“Thank you, Liz. You won’t be sorry,” he cries as he grabs his bag, and then runs off.

I stand in the middle of the walkway and ask myself what just happened. I am such a damn pushover. Fuck.

After I finish the rest of my classes for the day, I walk back to my dorm and try to call Maria, but I get the machine. After I leave a brief message, I hang up and then try Zan at work. He picks up on the second ring.

“This is Alexander Evans, how may I help you?”
“Aww, look at you sounding all official,” I tease. I can practically hear him smiling through the phone.
“Sweets, whatcha doin’,” he drawls.
“Nothing, just got in from class.”
“And how was your day?”
“Fine, Daddy,” I giggle. I can just see him as a parent; the visual is so cute.
“Daddy huh? I’ll show you who daddy is once I get home,” Zan whispers huskily.
“Is that right, Zan?”
“Uh huh.” The devilish grin is plastered on his lips, I know it is.

Just then Max flashes across my mind and I sigh into the phone.

“What’s the matter, babe?”
“Max wants to take me to dinner so he can show me how sorry he is for everything that has happened between us. He wants us to be friends,” I sigh. I am met by silence. “Uh, hello?”
“Yeah, I’m still here.” More silence. “So what did you tell him?”
“I told him I would think about it.” This time Zan is the one who sighs. “What was that for, Zan?”
“Nothing, Liz. Nothing at all,” he replies. His tone has grown cold, and he’s sounding really distant now.
“Why are you lying, Zan? Just say whatever it is you have to say.”
“I have nothing to say about the situation, Liz. You know I want to beat his ass for everything he’s been putting us through. I just don’t understand how you could even consider going to dinner with him,” he states.
“Zan, it’s not like we’re going on a date or anything,” I try to explain, but he cuts me off.
“So you’ve already decided that you’re going?” Zan asks sharply.
“No, I have not. Why are you snapping at me, Zan? What is your problem?” I ask irritated. “All I did is tell you what happened, nothing more nothing less.”
“I really don’t want to talk about this right now while I’m at work, okay? We’ll just discuss it when I get home,” Zan whispers into the phone. By this point though, I’m kinda upset.

“Discuss? There really isn’t anything for us to discuss, Zan. This is my decision, I’m the one who has to make the decision of whether I go out with Max or not,” I angrily state.
“You know what, Liz, you’re right. It is your decision; you’re a big girl and you don’t need my opinion when making a choice. My mistake,” Zan replies in that same distant tone he previously used with me. “I have to go back to work now. Bye, Liz.”
“Liz, I have work to do. I’ll call you back later.”
“Fine,” I sigh into the phone. “Bye, Zan.”
“Bye.” Click.

No I love you, nothing. I lay my head on the back of the couch and close my eyes. The man I used to love is on me like white on rice, and I have somehow just pissed off the man I’m in love with. What a day.

Part 25

After waiting about 2 hours for Zan to call me back, I pick up the phone once again and begin to dial. After three rings the phone is answered.

There’s a pause. “Liz?”
“Yeah, it’s me.”
“It’s good to hear from you so soon,” Max says. I can tell he’s smiling. “What’s up?”
“I was actually thinking that we could do dinner tonight if that’s alright with you,” I answer. “I mean, if you aren’t busy or anything.”
“No, no, no,” he responds quickly. “I’m free. We can go anywhere you like.”
“How about Friday’s?” I suggest. It’s a nice little pub that has no romantic overtones whatsoever. It’s safe, and can serve as a neutral meeting ground.
“That sounds good. What time is good for you?” I look at my watch and see it’s 5:30.
“How about at 7?” I ask.
“Perfect. You need me to come over so we can go together?”
“No. I’ll be fine, I’ll just meet you there.”
“Fine,” I say as I prepare to hang up.
“Liz?” Max calls suddenly.
“Yeah, Max?”
“Thank you.” After about three seconds he hangs up the phone. I’m beginning to regret my decision already.

I move from my spot on the couch, and start walking to the bedroom when there is a knock on the door. When I open it, Zan is standing on my doorstep with a couple of take out bags. It’s Chinese if my nose isn’t deceiving me. Uh oh.

“Hey,” Zan greets me as he steps through the door.
“Hey. Uh, what’s all this?” I inquire pointing to the bags.
“Dinner.” Why did my head just start hurting all of a sudden?
“Zan you shouldn’t have,” I tell him closing my door.
“Consider this my way of apologizing for our phone conversation earlier,” he replies and beckons me to come to him. He’s sitting in a chair at my kitchen table, and I sit on his lap.

“I’m sorry for the way I acted earlier, it’s just that I got so mad when I thought about you going out with Max,” he begins.
“Zan, you have nothing to apologize for. Believe me, it’s not necessary.” Oh boy.
“No, Liz, I do need to apologize to you. I need to realize that Max is your ex, and that it’s about you and me now. When you told me about the dinner thing, I should have just trusted you to make the right decision and not blown up about it. I was jealous and scared, and I let it get the best of me,” he finishes.
“Why would you be jealous or scared, Zan? I don’t belong to Max, nor do I want to. I belong to you, and you know this,” I say tilting his head so he can look into my eyes.
“Whether you belong to me or not isn’t the issue. The issue is that you guys were together for five years, and there are memories there. Who’s to say that you guys might be going down memory lane or something, and one of you won’t catch a case of feelings, Liz? There is always that possibility and that’s what scares me,” he answers.

“Zan, it’s not possible because I don’t love Max. Everything that I ever felt for him is dead, and it has no chance of resurrecting itself. He put me through too much shit for me to love him again. I can’t and I won’t let it happen,” I assure him. “Everything that I feel in my heart, I feel for you.” I lean down and capture his lips with my own. They are so soft and sweet, and I would kiss him all day if I didn’t have to breathe. I pull back and peer into his face.

“What do you say we eat now?” Zan says softly. Iced butterflies float through my stomach, and I turn my gaze away from Zan. This is not about to be pretty.
“I can’t,” I say standing up and backing towards the couch.
“You not hungry?” he asks raising his eyebrow at me.
“Uh, not exactly. You didn’t call me back, so I made plans to go out to dinner tonight,” I try to explain.
“You and Maria?” he asks as he begins to take out the contents of the bag and set them carefully on the table. His back is turned to me.
“No. Me and Max.” Silence.

Zan doesn’t even turn around to look at me; he just props his arms up on the table and stares out the window. I see steam rising, but I can’t tell whether it is from the food or his body.

“I see you made your decision.” His tone is curt, and he cuts his words short.
“Zan, I didn’t know you were coming over with dinner. I can just call him back and cancel,” I offer. “I’ll just stay here with you, and we’ll eat and watch movies.”
“No, Liz. You already made your plans so go ahead and keep them. It’s my fault for not calling you back, I shouldn’t have just come over here unannounced and assumed that it would be cool.” He’s still looking out the window. I place my hand on his shoulder and he doesn’t even flinch.
“If you don’t want me to go, then I won’t, Zan. It’s not worth you being angry with me. It’s not worth our relationship,” I rationalize. Then he shocks the hell out of me.
“No, Liz, I want you to go. No matter what you say, there is still a part of you that’s holding on to Max, and if you’re going to be with me then you’re going to have to do something about it. I meant what I said, Liz; it’s either got to be all or nothing. I’m not going to live in that bitch’s shadow,” he dully replies.
“Zan, you don’t have to live in his shadow, because he’s not the one I want. Max can’t hold a candle to you, we both know that. I want you.”
“You wanting me or loving ain’t the issue here, sweets. You need closure, and that’s something that I can’t help you with. Only you can decide that, but that can only happen when you’re ready for it to happen.”

I don’t know what to say. It’s almost like I can feel him physically and mentally pushing me away so he won’t get hurt, and I’m amazed at that since never in my wildest dreams would I ever hurt Zan. My soul desire is to be with him, and no one else. Why can’t he understand that?

“I don’t know what to say.”
“Just go, Liz. Do this for me, hell do it for yourself. I don’t want you to have to live a life of what ifs, so I would rather have you just go and see what happens. If nothing happens between the two of you, great. If something does happen…”
“Nothing is going to happen, Zan. You have to understand that, I’m just going to dinner and coming right back here,” I plead with him. He still won’t look at me, but he does grab my hand from his shoulder and kiss it.
“Let’s not worry about this until after you come back, okay? Let’s just see what happens and then we can take it from there. I’ll be here when you get back,” Zan says and releases my hand. He then opens one of the cartons and begins to eat with his chopsticks.

I stand behind him for the longest time not saying anything. I don’t know what to say right now, and even if I did I wouldn’t even know how to say it. I feel like the world’s biggest ass right now, no I take that back. I am the world’s biggest ass. Perfection is sitting at my kitchen table, and I’m going to dinner with the Asshole of the Century. Once again I’m stuck in an unnecessary situation that I created and don’t know how to make it right. As stupid as I feel right now, maybe I do deserve to be with Max. There is no way in hell that I deserve to be with Zan; my actions over the past few weeks have shown that. Sighing, I leave the dining area and head to my bedroom so I can shower and get dressed….

“I should be back no later than two hours from now,” I tell Zan as I walk towards the door. I’m wearing a black turtleneck with an Indian print sweater over it, and dark blue jeans. I have on my lethal black high heel boots and am currently putting on my leather jacket. There will be no enticing going on tonight.

Zan is sitting on my couch staring at me. His face is void of expression, and I can’t help but to feel that his lack of animation is my fault.

“You need a ride?”
“No, it’s just right around the corner.”
“Okay.” He hesitates and then looks back up at me. “Have fun.”
‘I don’t plan on it.” I could kick myself right now. Silence surrounds us. When nothing is said, I’m about to open the door, but I turn back around and walk to where he is sitting.
“I love you with all my heart, Zan. Nothing will ever change that,” I whisper.
“I love you, too, Liz. More importantly, I trust you and I believe in us. Please remember that,” he whispers back and then he kisses me, but this isn’t any ordinary kiss. It’s almost as if he’s trying to memorize the curves of my face and the crevices of my mouth. It’s like he’s afraid that he’ll never see me again, like this is the end of what we have. I don’t realize how scared I am until now.

“Zan, I’ll be back,” I say breaking away from him. I mean it in every sense of the phrase.
“And I’ll be sitting here waiting for you, sweets. I promise,” he smiles sadly.

Zan kisses me once again and then releases me. I can feel his eyes following me as I head to the door, and I can still feel him inside me as I walk down the street. I turn the corner and the restaurant comes into view. Suddenly the tickle in my brain that is the connection that Zan and I share is turned off. I have just walked away from love. Fuck.

Part 26

“Thank you for coming,” Max begins as I sit down. “For a while I wasn’t sure if you were going to show up or not.”

I should have kept my ass at home. I have only been sitting here for about 10 seconds, but the feeling is raging through me like a wildfire. I should be at home with Zan; my sitting here with Max is such a mistake.

“Well I’m here, Max. I’m the one that called you, remember?” I quietly say. I pick up my menu, even though I already know what I’m going to have. Maybe the menu can work as a camouflage for Max’s probing gaze.

“So how is everyone doing, Liz? Maria, Michael, you know.” Max interrupts my silence.
“There doing okay, I guess. Why are you asking me? Why don’t you just call them and talk to them?”
“Because no one is speaking to me, Liz.”
“Oh.” I hold my menu up a little higher and hope that it shields my smile. Heehee.

Our waiter comes by and takes our order, and along with it he takes the protection that my menu was providing. I fix my gaze on the pictures that adorn the walls, the plants hanging from the ceiling, even the couple sitting next to us. Anything but Max, I don’t even want to look at him right now. I’m afraid of the consequences of my doing so.

“Have I grown that ugly in these past few weeks that you can’t even look at me anymore, Liz?” Max inquires with a small smile on his face.
“Yes, Max, you have,” I coldly answer him staring into his amber eyes.
“Okay, I had that coming, but you are still beautiful.” What the hell?
“Yeah, well I heard that being in love gives you that special kind of glow. What can I say, Zan just does it for me.”

It’s now Max’s turn to look at everything in the restaurant. After a couple of moments of silence, Max looks back at me with intent in his eyes.

“I want to apologize again for everything that’s been happening between us, all of us for that matter. It’s just that…” he trails off.
“Just that what? Just that you are an asshole who only cares about his own feelings and no one else’s?” I snap at him as the waiter sets down our drinks. He’s shaking his head as he walks away from our table.
“That’s not true, Liz. I do care about more than my own feelings,” he insists.
“How can you say that? You don’t even care about your own sister or best friend’s feelings. Don’t think I didn’t see the look on Isabel’s face when Michael put your business in the street. I saw the pain on her face, and it was enough to almost make me feel sorry for her.”
“I didn’t tell her, because I didn’t want to hurt her,” he whispers. “She never really liked Tess---“
“Well neither did I, but that didn’t stop you from fucking her until the cows came home, now did it?” I cut him off. “How do you think Michael felt seeing his so called best friend sleeping with that whore in his damn bed? How do you think I felt when I saw the man I was in love with, the man I would have done anything for being ridden like a stallion by the one woman I despised more than anything in this life? Why Tess, Max? You knew how I felt about her, you knew how she made me feel about myself, but you fucked her anyway. Why Max?” I demand.

“You saw us, Liz?” It’s the only thing he can say, and his eyes are popping out of his head.
“Yeah, Max. Both Michael and I saw you.”
“I….I don’t know what to say,” he stutters.
“What the hell do you mean you don’t know what to say? There is nothing that you can, Max. Don’t you understand that yet?” I yell as other patrons turn to look at us.
“Liz, please keep it down,” Max whispers to me.
“Don’t tell me what to do, Max,” I say but I do lower my tone significantly. “You gave up those rights a long time ago.” I sigh and look at him. “Why did you do it, Max? Why?”
“I don’t know, Liz. I honestly don’t know,” he replies sullenly shaking his head. “If I could turn back time, and fix things so we were together still, I would, but I can’t. I never loved Tess, I only loved you, you’ve got to believe me when I say that. I still love you.”
“How can you sit here and tell me that you still love me, Max? You’re not even making sense right now,” I tell him shaking my head.
“I know what I feel, Liz, and I’m telling you that I still love you with all my heart. I know I have no chance with you, but I can’t help what I feel in my heart. With everyday that passes, the hurt in my heart grows because we aren’t together anymore. It’s like I can’t breathe without you by my side, Liz,” he pleads with me.
“Well then you should be dying of suffocation soon, huh Max?” I cruelly spit at him.

Our waiter chooses this moment to bring us our food, and we are silent as we eat. About halfway through the meal, I look at Max and begin to speak.

“Max, you will never understand how much you’ve hurt me. There is nothing you can ever say or do to make me feel better, or make me forget what happened between you and Tess, or even what has happened over these past three months. It’s not like I’m going on rumors or hearsay about, either; I saw and experienced everything that happened on a first hand account. Those images will never fade from my mind and in a way, I don’t want them to. They show me who you really are, and what you are really about, Max. I can tell you that you aren’t about me, you aren’t about Tess; hell, you aren’t even about Michael and Isabel. You are only about your damn self,” I finish.

“Liz, why are you doing this to us? We belong together. I feel it, and I know you feel it too. Why are you trying so hard to deny the chemistry between us? I know everything about you, and I know that deep down you still love me just as much as I love you. We’ve been through too much together just to deny the way that we feel. Nobody will ever love you like I do, like I can, Liz. It will always be about us.”

“No, Max. It was never about us, nor will it ever be. It will always be about you in some way, shape, or form, and I can’t live like that anymore. Whether it’s about safety or someone finding out your secret or just your basic overall needs, it will always be about you, Max.” I sigh and put my napkin on the table.

“Tell me you don’t still love me. I need to hear you say, because I don’t honestly believe that you have stopped loving me after the five years we had. I know you still love me just as much as I love you. In my heart I know you do,” he says putting his hand to his chest.
“Say it, Liz. Say it, and I’ll never bother you again.”
“Max, a part of me will always love and belong to you, but as far as my conscious mind and heart are concerned I don’t love you anymore. You don’t even love me,” I whisper.
“How can you tell me how I’m feeling? How can you tell me that I don’t love you,” he questions with tears in his eyes.
“Because you don’t, Max. You love the thought of us, and the memories that we share. You don’t love me in the present, you love everything we had back in Roswell,” I tell him. I signal the waiter so he can bring our check. “Even if I did harbor some feelings for you, Max, I would never act on them and we could never get back together. Zan is who I belong with. Even if you would take me back after being with him, I couldn’t come back to you after being with him. It wouldn’t be fair to me, and it wouldn’t be fair to you.”

Max is quiet as he contemplates my last statement. The wheels are turning around in his head. Maybe some of what I said is finally getting through to him. The waiter returns with our check and Max quickly intercepts it.

“What are you doing?” I ask as he pulls out his credit card.
“Paying for dinner, it was my idea remember?” I smile at his comment. He’s an asshole, but he’s still a gentleman.

When the waiter returns with the receipt, Max quickly signs it and I start to put on my jacket. We stand up and walk away from the table when I feel Max’s hand on my arm. I turn and see him staring into my eyes.

“I just need to know one thing, Liz. Do you love him?” Max asks.
“More than I ever loved you, Max.” Sadness, frustration, and finally defeat shoot across his face. He eventually nods with acceptance and we walk out of Friday’s.

“So I guess this is it then,” I reply as we stand on the street.
“Not necessarily, we’re still lab partners, remember?” A small smile creeps across his face. “Are we okay enough to remain partners at least?” I think about it.
“Yeah, Max. I guess we are,” I say and smile back at him. We’ll never be together again, or even be friends but we will always share a connection that only those who have loved and lost can understand.

Max steps close to me and gently kisses my lips. He steps back and looks at me one last time. We both know it’s over, and will never again be.

“Goodbye, Liz.”
“Goodbye, Max.”

I walk home rather quickly. It’s late and I just want to get in the shower and let the water wash away the stress of the day. I want to get in the bed and just sleep for a million years. Who would have ever thought that dinner could be so damn exhausting? After about 3 minutes, I walk to my dorm room and open the door. I walk in and see Zan standing in the hallway. We say nothing, instead we let our eyes bore into each other’s beings.

“How was it?” Zan asks crossing his arms over his bare chest. A towel is wrapped around his waist and his hair appears to be wet. Water is sliding down his tattooed pecs.
“It’s over,” I reply taking in his nakedness. Lust is growing inside me at an alarming rate. The anticipation surging through my body is causing my fingertips to itch.

Zan walks over to where I am standing, and continues to stare at me. His eyes are unreadable as he moves a stray hair behind my ear. My head leans into his caress.

“You sure about that?” he asks never taking his eyes away from mine.
“Positive.” That’s all he needs to hear. He grabs my head and the last thing I remember is his lips descending on to mine. I’m fading fast when he pulls away.
“He kissed you.” Anger is brewing in his eyes.
“It was goodbye, Zan. He kissed me goodbye.” Please don’t let this be the cause for another argument. I don’t even have enough fight in me to argue with Zan. He walks away from me and sits on the couch.

“Why can’t he just leave us alone? Why?” he whispers angrily.
“He has left us alone,” I assure him. “He knows where my love and loyalties lie.”
“Max did that shit purposely, Liz. When he kissed you, he knew that I would get a flash the next time I touched you. Max knew that I would see him kissing you.” We sit in silence for a while. I swear, I can’t win for losing.

I’m about to get up and take my shower when Zan’s gaze stops me.

“Zan?” He doesn’t respond.

Instead, he continues to look at me with anger hazed eyes. I want to look somewhere else, but the way he’s peering into my eyes I can’t; it’s almost like he’s hypnotized me. Without warning, Zan leans over and pulls me into his towel-clad lap. He removes my coat and lets it fall to the floor. Before I know it, both my sweater and turtleneck are over my head and sitting in a pile with my coat.

“Zan,” I whisper again, but the look on his face tells me that he can’t hear me.

Ever so gently I feel his mouth trailing hot kisses down my breastbone and onto my stomach. He kisses my tattoo, and lets his tongue dip into my navel. Instinctively, I wrap my legs around his waist. My body bends forward, and I bury my face in his head while kneading his shoulders. He stands up and takes us to the bedroom. Zan deposits me on the bed lightly, but that’s where all gentleness stops. It’s almost as if something has snapped inside of him, and the Zan that I know has ceased to exist. The way he’s looking at me…it’s almost as if the devil himself has possessed Zan, and he’s going to eat me alive.

Within seconds my boots and pants are off and in a corner of the room. My bra and panties quickly follow. My fingers are swelling and about to explode from the desire that dwells in them as Zan lies on top of me and removes his towel. His hands are everywhere all at once, and so is his mouth. My nipples are rock hard, and my breathing erratic as his soft lips pass over my neck, shoulders, arms, hands, breasts, and stomach. Where there are usually words of love and tenderness being whispered now reside moans and grunts of pure lust and unadulterated passion.

“Who do you want, Liz?” he whispers in my ear. His hand has slid in between my legs and is creeping higher with every second that passes. He takes my left breast into his mouth, and begins to suckle and bite it. I moan in response. “Liz, who do you want?”
“You,” I continue to moan. “Nobody else, but you.” Without missing a beat, Zan quickly enters me and automatically my body clenches around him.

I am walking up a flight of dark stairs and I see a closed door. Sometimes I stumble over a step, but I never stop climbing to the top. My breathing is labored, and I can barely see, but my desire to see what’s at the top of the staircase and behind the door keeps me from slowing down. I’m almost at the top of the steps and I am closer than I’ve ever been before. Two more step and I’m there.

“Who do you love, Liz?” Zan raspily whispers into my ear. His hands are twined in my hair and his lips are planted at the base of my throat. I take another step.
“You,” I moan. My head is swimming in the scent of us, and I am drowning in him.
“Who do you belong to, Liz?” he continues to whisper as he slides deeper into me. I take another step and place my hand on the doorknob.
“You,” I cry in response. My heart is racing in my chest and I can barely breathe.
“Who do you need for eternity, Liz?” he growls in my ear. I step through the door and shoot into space like a comet.
“Zaaannn!” I respond as I fall over the edge, and let bliss consume me.

I have died and been reborn through the resurrection that is Zan. I am the sun, the moon, and the stars. I hold Venus in my right hand, Saturn in my left, and Neptune is my footrest. I can swim in the stars and drink from the Milky Way. I am everything, and everything is me; everything is in me. If I wanted to, I could get out this bed and fly.

“You are mine, Liz. All mine,” Zan whispers in my ear as I return from my own private space odyssey. He pulls me into his chest and kisses the crown of my head. “You belong to me, and only me, sweets.”

And who says jealousy and anger are bad things?

I may be love's bitch, but at least I'm man enough to admit it-Spike, BtVS
*redface* *Dreamer*Candygirl*Truckstopper*TessHater*Roswell Lover*Kapone224