|posted on 31-Aug-2001 5:03:28 PM|
|Author: Glowing Everywhere|
Liz Parker walked into West Roswell High School a different person today. She was changed. That’s what Ava had called it--changed. Liz was still reeling from what had happened when she dream walked Max. She could see him so clearly standing there on the curb of that street in New York. She remembered the confusion written on his face as he stepped into the street. Was this newfound power of hers really because he had healed her? And what about Kyle? Would he develop this ability, too? How confused she was!
So much had happened in the few weeks since the fall semester had begun. She had been so determined to keep away from Max, to keep away from anything alien, but her determination had failed her. The new job with Congresswoman Whitaker should have kept her away from the Crashdown and Max, but it didn’t. The Congresswoman ended up being a skin and Max’s enemy. Changing two of her classes on the first day of school should have kept her away from Max, but it didn’t. His advisor had switched some of Max’s classes at the last minute, and now Max was in four of Liz’s classes instead of just two. Not having the same lunch period with Maria should have slowed down Maria’s torturous talks about Max and Michael and romance, but it didn’t. Now Maria simply talked about the aliens nonstop at the Crashdown, and since Liz was working at the Crashdown again, she was with Maria nearly every day after school.
Liz sighed as she slowly walked toward her locker. The last couple of weeks had been particularly grueling. The disappearance of all the humans in Roswell had been the last straw. She had needed to talk to Max so much. She had been at the breaking point, ready to tell him about future Max when he had slipped through her window and announced that he and Tess were leaving for New York.
Liz needed Max’s arms around her, his sexy smile, his soft voice telling her that everything would be okay. God, she loved the way his eyes could look into hers and calm her so quickly. She nearly teared up at the thought that she would never have that feeling again. Stopping in front of her locker, she stared at it for a moment. She sighed in disgust as she realized that she couldn’t remember the combination. Liz shuffled her feet and glanced around self-consciously. As she turned her head, she noticed that Tess was walking up to her with Kyle following closely.
When Max came home to Roswell from New York, Liz had been so relieved that he was safe and that he had returned. She had wanted to rush to his parents’ home to talk to him, but instead she had waited for news of him from Maria.
Max had come to see Liz the day after he returned. He had thanked her for saving him, and he had told her how much he missed their friendship. That’s what he had called it—friendship. How could we ever be just friends, she had thought. He had asked her point blank if she had slept with Kyle. She had started to nod “yes,” but then hesitated. Apparently he had interpreted her reaction to his question as a look of guilt. He had smiled, but she knew the heartbroken look in his eyes. She felt the heartbreak as well.
So here she was. The day after. And now what? How do you go from loving someone to just being friends? How do you turn that intense desire for his touch into a casual “Hi, how’s it going?” kind of friendship. Liz had pondered these questions as she lay awake nightly, fighting for sleep’s respite. It almost would be better never to see him again. Almost. Oh, who was she kidding? Even a friendship was better than nothing.
“Hey,” Tess forced a plastic smile at Liz. Liz jumped as her thoughts returned to Tess and the errant locker.
“Hi, Tess,” Liz looked at her nervously. She wasn’t sure why Tess made her so nervous, but she just couldn’t help it. Tess had been so conniving last spring, although she had tried valiantly to fit in and be accepted since the podsters’ destiny had been revealed in the pod chamber. She had used her powers to save everyone when the skins came to Roswell. Yet even now, after the fiery destruction of the skins, Liz could not bring herself to trust Max’s destined bride. She silently wished that Ava had stayed in Roswell and that Tess had stayed in New York. Liz turned her eyes to Kyle and smiled at him. “Hey, Kyle, how’s your dad?”
“Oh, he’s fine. Fine. I guess everybody’s fine now. You know, good Thanksgiving, no odd side effects from our little disappearing act,” he replied forcing a smile. Kyle was very uncomfortable whenever Tess and Liz were in close proximity. Liz wondered if he thought that she and Tess would argue or perhaps even fight over Max. The idea was absurd, and she pushed it from her thoughts and her mind raced to find words to fill the awkward silence.
“I keep hoping we’ve seen the end of all this stuff.” Liz glanced at Tess with a questioning look.
“We all do, but we can’t let our guard down. We know if the four of us stick together we have enough power to fight them off. I guess we learned that New York. You know, they’re not all that powerful. They just want Max back so they can have peace.”
“Yeah, well, I’m just glad everyone is back in their right places,” Liz stared at her locker. Suddenly her composure was back, and she remembered the combination. Turning the lock, she pulled open the locker door and began to sort through her books.
“Well, um, I’ve gotta get to class. See ya later.” Kyle hurried down the crowded hallway, leaving Tess alone with Liz. He could feel the friction between Liz and Tess. His heart went out to Liz. He didn’t know why he had let her talk him into that fiasco in her bedroom a few weeks ago, but he would never forget the look on Evans’ face. No guy deserved that kind of treatment. He regretted that he had been a part of it. He even considered telling Max, but he had promised Liz that he would not. He just hoped that she would come to her senses soon and clear up this mess before one of the many cold stares that Max was giving him nowadays turned him into stone.
Tess watched as Liz nervously went through the items in her locker. “Liz,” she said calmly in her stilted speech pattern. “Look, I don’t know how you did it, but I’m glad you helped Max when we were in New York. He could have been killed. I don’t know what Lonnie and Zan were trying to do exactly, but I know they’re dangerous. I’m glad you came through for us. I know it’s hard for you not to be with him anymore, but it could never work out. I’m glad you understand that. I mean, I know you have some powers now, but Max and I were created for each other, destined, and…”
“It’s okay, Tess. Max and I will never be any more than friends. So I have this minor ability now. It’s no big deal, really.” Liz interrupted Tess, trying to sound convincing even thought her heart was breaking.
“I just…well, I know he went to see you yesterday…”
“He just thanked me for saving him. That’s all. Now we’re even. He saved me; I saved him. We’re just friends.”
Liz noticed Tess’ eyes. They weren’t quite as heavily made up today. In fact, they were bloodshot, tired, defeated. “What’s wrong, Tess? You look…tired. You know, in Arizona, I can’t thank you enough for what you did. I mean, without you and Max, I don’t what would have happened. Your power added to Max’s…you know, that kept us safe just long enough. I know Courtney destroyed the power source in the Harvest chamber, but without you, Max wouldn’t have been able to hold them off as long. You’re right,” Liz nodded. “You were made to be together--all of you. When you went to New York with him, that just proved it, you know, that you’re made to be together. You’re a team…” Liz realized that she was babbling, but she couldn’t seem to make herself stop. She tried to sound pleasant, even encouraging,
Tess smiled, knowing how difficult it was for Liz to say what she had just said. “You’re right. We’re a team, the four of us. It’s our destiny. I think Max is beginning to understand. I guess you were right about that. I just needed to be patient and give him some time.” Tess wrinkled her nose. “I just hate Steinbeck, though. I hate reading all that boring crap,” she said referring to Liz’s suggestion a few weeks earlier that Tess tell Max that her favorite author was John Steinbeck. “But I guess it’s worth it to get my man back.” With that comment, Tess turned and walked away.
“Yeah…I guess,” Liz mumbled more to herself than to Tess. You didn’t get him back, she thought angrily. You never had him to begin with, and you don’t have him now, she thought. She wiped a tear from her eye and headed for the stairs to her first class—a class without Max. That would be good this morning, she told herself. She needed some time to herself without aliens. After all, the next four class periods would be with Max. She sighed deeply as she took her seat and listened to Mrs. Simpson begin a lecture on the sermons of Jonathan Edwards and his impact on early American literature. Liz reached for a clip from her purse and pulled her hair back out of the way as she leaned down over her lecture notes. As she reached back to clip her hair, she realized which clip was in her hand. Of course, she rolled her eyes, and frowned to herself. It was the tortoise shell clip that Max had given her last spring. This was definitely something that she needed to replace. No need to keep all these things around that reminded her of Max. I’ll stop at the drugstore on the way home today and buy another one, she thought to herself.
The break between first and second periods came quickly. Liz slowly walked into her trigonometry class. Max wasn’t there yet. She took a deep breath and sat down at her desk. Outside in the hallway, she could hear Kyle’s voice and another, softer male voice—an all too familiar voice.
“I took care of her. That’s what you wanted, wasn’t it?” Kyle’s voice was full of determination and resentment.
Liz hurried into the hallway. She knew he had to be talking to Max. God, what had she done involving Kyle in this mess? She should have thought of another way to break up with Max. Future Max had told her it wouldn’t work.
“I would never be jealous of Kyle,” he had said, and his eyes had sparked with anger.
“Hi, Kyle,” she smiled up at him. She glanced at an angry Max whose penetrating gaze went from Kyle to Liz, and then he just shook his head as if disgusted. “Max, wait,” Liz tried to grab his arm, but he had already turned to walk into the classroom. “What happened, Kyle? What was that about?” Her large brown eyes showed concern.
“Evans. He’s just a basket case about you, that’s all. He doesn’t think I protected you well enough when all his little peeling friends showed up in town.” Kyle glared at her with an air of impatience. He let out a long sigh, shaking his head and rolling his eyes. “You two need therapy.” He shook his head again and continued down the hallway, pounding on a couple of lockers as he walked.
Liz stared after him with a lump in her throat. How many lives can I screw up, she wondered. It was crushing to think what she had done to Max. Now Kyle was aggravated with her as well. Why had she involved him in her plan? Future Max was right. It had not worked completely. Oh, she had succeeded in pushing Max away, but she had damaged her delicate friendship with Kyle. He was beginning to think she was crazy. On the other hand, Kyle had told her in the car when they were driving out to the edge of town that fateful Saturday that Max knew the truth about her and Kyle, just because he was Max. But that could not be true. Surely he wouldn’t simply be pretending to hate her. Or could he? Isn’t that what she had been doing to him until their friendship talk yesterday?
At lunch that day, Liz feigned cramps and went to the nurse’s office to lie down. It felt good to be alone in a cubicle of semidarkness. She needed to be away from everyone for a while. She needed some time to digest all that had happened in the last few days. The nurse had been sympathetic and called Liz’s mother to ask permission for Liz to take some Tylenol. Nancy Parker had agreed, of course. So Liz had taken the unnecessary medication and had lain down to rest.
Maria sat down in the cafeteria across from Alex. “What’s up, girlfriend?” he asked in his breezy manner. Maria’s eyebrows shot up in disbelief.
“What’s up? Is that all you can say? You know what’s been going on. Courtney’s dead, Michael’s gone into one of his deep blue funks again, Max is a zombie, Isabel and Tess are, well, Isabel and Tess, and our Liz cries every day after school, not to mention that all of us humans took a little unexpected trip to an alternate time/space something-or-other a couple weeks ago, not that you remember. And all you can say is ‘What’s up?’”
“Sorry. I don’t handle this kind of stress very well, ” Alex smiled sheepishly while fingering his new CD. “I guess I don’t know what else to say. Is it possible we’re stuck in a really strange nightmare? Maybe Isabel’s dream walking us, and we’ll all wake up and find out that it’s August and school is just starting.” His voice sounded ridiculously hopeful.
“Don’t say that. I can’t bear the thought of repeating the last two months.” Maria rolled her pretty green eyes and shook her head. She reached up to push an errant strand of hair back into place. Her face puckered into a frown as she saw Michael ambling over to a table where Max was seated. “He’s gonna tell me we can’t be together. I just know it.” She sighed wistfully. “He’ll say that it’s too dangerous, that there are more skins out there, that he has to be a stone wall, and that he can’t do that with me around, blah, blah, blah.” Maria’s eyes became fiery as she attached her milk carton with fury. “Shoot, why can’t they make these things open up right?” she exclaimed as milk spurted out of the top that she finally had torn open.
Alex smiled as he reached out to squeeze Maria’s hand. “Okay, enough milk carton wrestling” he said as he saw watched her face pinch into another frown. “On a lighter note, you want to hear my new CD? The guys and I worked really hard on it.”
“Yeah, maybe we can put it on at the Crashdown,” Maria replied as she stared at Michael’s back across the cafeteria. “I could use a little pick-me-up. Please tell me it’s not all that depressing alternative stuff. I mean, come on, minor keys are fine, but not for every song!”
Alex smiled back at Maria as she continued to rave about the disadvantages of being an alternative band. He knew that she was really raving about Michael and her life in general since the whole destiny thing had been dumped into their laps last May. He had no words of assurance for her. He faced a similar predicament with Isabel, and he simply had no quips, no wise words, to give. Even the fortune teller believed that he would have no more than a friendship with Isabel. His frustration and grief were just as real as Maria’s. The two friends finished their lunch in frustrated silence.
It was Saturday, a week since Max and Tess had returned to Roswell from New York. The sun shone brightly through Liz’s window on this crisp December day. She slowly awakened as the light teased her eyes into focusing. She smiled and stretched lazily. No school today, Liz thought with a look of contentment on her face. No people to face, no stress, no pretend friendship. Maybe I’ll just spend the day in my room, she thought. “It could use a good cleaning.”
Liz threw the covers back and bounced out of bed with renewed energy. She needed this day, and this time, to get her balance back. She smiled when she remembered what Max had once said about needing his balance. That had been months ago, or was it years? So much had happened since then. “No, stop it,” she muttered to herself. “Stop obsessing.”
“What, honey?” Nancy Parker’s voice came from the hallway of the apartment. “I couldn’t hear you.” She appeared in the doorway holding a laundry basket full of clothes. Liz could hear Elvis Costello playing. Nancy smiled at her beautiful daughter, noticing that Liz appeared happier this morning than she had been in quite some time. Nancy knew that Liz had broken up with Max Evans before school was out last spring, and she had been relieved. She knew their relationship had become intense too quickly. But this aftermath of grief and mourning was beginning to scare Nancy. She had hoped the summer trip to Florida would be just the remedy that Liz needed, but her once-happy daughter had come home just as depressed as when she had left. She had even considered sending Liz to a counselor, but Liz’s father, Jeff, had discouraged the idea.
“She’ll be all right,” he had assured his wife in his gentle tone. “It’ll just take some time. She was very fond of him. Max was her first love. She’ll meet someone else soon.”
Liz turned to look at her mother who was standing in the doorway. “Oh, hi, mom. I didn’t say anything. I was just singing,” Liz smiled to cover her embarrassment. “You know what?” she continued quickly, “since I don’t work today, I’m gonna clean my room, top to bottom. Scrub the bathroom, scrub the bricks, clean off the balcony, you know all those candles? It looks like a church out there…”
“That’s nice, honey. Well, I’m just starting the laundry. Bring me your sheets when you get them off your bed.” Nancy turned and walked toward the laundry room. She smiled as she thought again about Liz’s sudden cheerfulness. Maybe Jeff was right. Time. Liz had just needed time.
Liz scrubbed and cleaned all morning. There were a few melancholy moments as she stumbled upon reminders of Max. There was a strip of pictures they had taken together in one of those photo booths at the drugstore down the street. She remembered Future Max’s studying the pictures and how she had told him that they were personal. The ever-present hair clip, the bubble bath, the white roses, the pocket knife…too many things that meant too much to her. And, of course, there were the notes that he had written to her. She unfolded one and read it. It was a note that brought back so many fond memories: “Eraser room? 6th period?” was all that it said. She smiled at the memory of his fingers touching hers as he had slid her the note across the lab table in chemistry class. She remembered the silly thing she had done next: dropping her pencil so that he could crawl under the table to retrieve it for her. He had caressed her hand as he leaned down to pick up the pencil, and that moment had caused such an explosion of pleasure in her mind and body that she had moaned aloud in class. Max had stood up, sheepishly, holding the pencil and had tried to explain to the teacher that he was just retrieving her pencil. She remembered how her heart had pounded and the wet feeling she had had in her most feminine region after that incident. That was the day she began to understand the full effect that Max could have on her. Now she wondered if that was the day that she began to change.
An empty shoebox caught Liz’s eye as she was trying to decide where to put all her “Max treasures.” She placed the notes and pictures in the box and set it on the top shelf of her closet. She carefully trimmed the roses, making the stems much shorter. Then she pressed them into Grandma Claudia’s book. She would move them to the shoebox in a few weeks after they were fully dried. Hesitating for a moment, she then decided to leave the clip on her dresser, next to her collection of scrunchies, rather than store it in the box. She had not purchased another clip yet. For some reason, she couldn’t bring herself to replace the one that Max had given to her. This is silly, she told herself. I don’t need to waste money buying another clip. This one is perfectly fine. It doesn’t matter who gave it to me, she convinced herself.
Next Liz tackled the brick wall. She wet an old towel and wiped down the wall. The towel turned black, and she was disgusted with how much dust had been on the bricks. As she continued to wipe down the wall, she brushed against the loose brick that hid her journal. She gently pulled out the brick and retrieved the journal. She hadn’t written in it since last spring. It seemed that after Topolsky had come back and Tess had arrived in Roswell, that the journal just didn’t seem important anymore. Sitting down to write about her schoolgirl fantasies seemed like such a childish thing to do. She had placed the journal in the wall one last time and hadn’t really thought about it since then. Liz dusted off the journal and stared at it for a moment, then she decided to read a few pages before continuing with her cleaning. Sitting down on her bed, she began reading. She smiled as she remembered those first few days after Max had saved her life the year before. Blushing at the thought that Michael had read all of these private thoughts that she had written, she sighed and glanced around to see where her mother was. It wouldn’t do for anyone else to see her journal. She really should destroy it, but somehow she knew that she would not be able to destroy it. It was her link to Max—an object that could take her back and help her remember how it felt to be touched by her soul mate, the love of her life.
Liz was about to turn to page three when she heard her mother. “Liz, honey, can you come downstairs? I need you to run an errand for me.” Quickly Liz jumped up from the bed and spun around. She was grateful that her mother was still a few steps down the hallway. Hastily she crammed the journal into her nightstand drawer.
“What’s up, mom?” Liz smiled as her mother appeared in the doorway.
“I have a couple of deliveries. This is Mr. Anderson’s lunch, you know, down at the drugstore,” Nancy held up a take-out sack from the café. “And this,” she nodded to the larger sack in her other hand, “is for the guy at the UFO Center.”
“Oh, okay…” Liz hesitated. She knew that Max once again was working at the UFO Center. She hoped that he wouldn’t be there today. “I’ll take Mr. Anderson’s first. I know how grouchy he can be when his fries are cold.” Liz’s mother smiled her acknowledgement of Liz’s last statement and then walked back down the hallway to the laundry room
After the half-block walk to the drugstore and a $2.00 tip from Mr. Anderson, Liz turned and crossed the street to the UFO Center. Calm down, she told herself. Just deliver the sack, get the money, and leave. Although he had said he wanted to be friends, Liz knew that Max was still angry and confused. She knew that he was finding being friends very difficult. His accusing and reproachful looks all through the last week at school had nearly had been her undoing. He always smiled when she spoke to him, and she knew that he was grateful that she had saved his life in New York, but she could feel his emotions under the smiles—grateful that she had saved his life, yet heartbroken, hurt, and angry. Liz’s heart was thumping wildly in her chest. She didn’t want to see Max. It was just too hard!
Liz opened the door to the Center and entered the newly redecorated building. It was lighter than it had been. The eerie music had been replaced by easy-listening Kenny G-type jazz. The information desk had been moved closer to the door. She saw the new owner, Brody, bent over at the desk. “Hello? I’m just bringing this from the Crashdown.”
“Oh, hello,” Brody looked up at her. “I can’t seem to get the hang of this thing,” he muttered in his lofty accent as he attempted to adjust the cash register. Spying the brown paper sack in Liz’s hand he smiled at her. “Oh, that’s for Evans. Growing boy, you know. Needs lots of protein. He’s in the back storeroom working on a computer.” Brody pointed toward a back corner of the building. “Would you mind taking it to him? I’ve got my hands full right now.”
“Sure, no problem,” Liz lied. She stepped over an extension cord and an empty box. Walking carefully to the back of the building, Liz sidestepped crates, cords, and other yet to be installed paraphernalia from the building’s remodeling.
“Dammit,” she heard a low, soft voice exclaim. It was Max. God, even when he was swearing he sounded sexy. She wondered why he was frustrated, but then her heart started pounding again. She hadn’t intended to see him. She was just going to leave the lunch at the front counter. Now, here she was—about to see him, talk to him, with no one else around. She took a deep breath and stepped through the doorway.
Max was seated at a computer with his back to the door, but the moment Liz appeared in the doorway, she knew that he felt her. He stiffened suddenly. “Hello, Liz,” he manage to croak. He ran his fingers through his hair and cleared his throat.
“Hi, Max…Yeah, I just have your lunch. It’s $5.25. Um…my mom was busy, so she asked me to bring it, and Maria’s not working today…” Liz felt awkward. He hadn’t even turned around to face her. So much for friendship, Liz thought. Her hands started to shake, and she clutched the bag with both hands, fearful that she might drop it.
Max stood and turned around in one motion. He saw the bag in her hands and smiled, but kept his eyes down rather than look into her beautiful eyes. Fumbling for his wallet, he pulled out six dollars. “Thanks for bringing it. We’re kind of busy here, you know, setting up new displays and everything.”
“Yeah, it seems like a whole different place. I guess that’s good…change. Change is good…” Liz could not believe her command of coherent English suddenly had disappeared. “Well, see you around.” Liz turned to walk away, then turned back. She took another deep breath. She couldn’t leave things like this. “Max, I want you to know that I’m really sorry about what happened. I never meant to hurt you. It’s just that…you know, we just can’t be together, and Kyle has always been a good friend, and…”
“Yeah.” Max looked up at Liz as she stood gazing at him, her large brown eyes imploring him to understand. “Sure, I understand. You have the right to sleep with anybody you want. We’re not together, so it doesn’t matter. I told you I wouldn’t ever ask about it again. It’s history--just like us. “
Liz’s eyes begin to fill with tears. Her lower lip trembled, as she backed out of the doorway hastily. Max’s face was stricken, and she was the cause. If only her so-called power was one that could heal his broken heart. “Well, um, I’ve got to go. Bye,” she managed to blurt out as she quickly made her way across the center’s main exhibit room, wiping the tears away from her eyes as she went.
Max quickly stepped to the doorway and watched as Liz retreated. God, how could he have said that to her? What was he thinking? She was trying so hard to make him understand something—he wasn’t sure what, and he had cut her off with an ugly remark. He had told her he wanted to be friends, but when she tried to talk to him, he lashed out at her. Max leaned against the doorframe and closed his eyes, willing himself to calm down and be rational. He should go after her, apologize, ask her to forgive his stupid remark. But no. Maybe it was better this way. How could they ever be friends when he was still in love with her? She was still his Liz, and she was beautiful. He loved her tiny body and how her lovely hips swayed when she walked. He could smell her perfume in the air, surrounding him. Her hair was shiny and held in place with the clip he had given her. He wondered why she was still using that clip. Did it mean something, anything? Did she still care about him? Yeah, right, Max, he told himself. She still loves you. That’s why she wears the clip instead of being with you. He shook his head in dismay at his foolish thoughts as he turned back to his work at the computer. Sitting down at the computer, he attacked the zip drive with renewed vigor. Anything to keep his mind off Liz!
Nicholas stood up from behind the information desk and studied Liz as she darted out the Center’s doors. He hated mind warping, but with so little help around since Tess had wiped out most of the skins, he had no choice. He would play Brody for a few days. He couldn’t believe his good fortune when Brody had left town yesterday. It was only by luck that he had found out that Brody was leaving before Brody had told Max. Nicholas had managed to manipulate Brody’s mind so that Brody had thought he had left Roswell and the Center in good hands with Max and a couple of other employees. In truth, Nicholas would use Brody’s time away to become Brody and get closer to Max. It was grueling, and it took an incredible amount of energy, but maybe somehow he could gain Max’s trust and find a clue to the location of the granolith.
Nicholas remembered the vain attempts he and the skins had tried in their quest to locate the granolith. His first effort to force Max’s hand in Copper Summit had proved futile. Previous attempts with Isabel had been unsuccessful—to the point that Isabel had killed Vanessa Whitaker, one of Nicholas’ favorites.
So now, Nicholas was thinking of going after Max’s girlfriend, Tess. The summit in New York had been a fiasco. Those moron duplicates from the sewer nearly had ruined everything, and they had almost killed Tess while they were at it. He knew that Max had human feelings and sentiments. He figured that with all those emotions, it might be easier to threaten someone about whom Max felt strongly. But he had to get her alone. Together, Tess and Max would probably be too strong for him. The other skins had agreed, but Max had mystified everyone. His feelings for Tess had not been apparent at all at Vanessa Whitaker’s funeral, nor had he acted particularly romantic toward her at the summit in New York, but his feelings for this human girl, Liz Parker, had washed over everyone there. Nicholas needed to know what was going on with this boy-king, and he needed to know quickly. Perhaps Tess was not the person to threaten after all.
“So how’s it going in here with the computer?” Nicholas stepped into the back room.
Startled, Max turned around and smiled at what appeared to be Brody. “Fine. I think it’s gonna work now. After lunch I’ll start printing all those documents you wanted.”
Nicholas nodded and picked up the empty bag that had held Max’s lunch. Just as he was about to toss it in the trash, a flash of images dashed through his mind. He coughed to cover his sudden gasp and then quickly dropped the bag in the trash. Where had that bolt of energy come from? He hadn’t felt anything like that since Zan had been on the throne. His thoughts wandered back through time for a moment as he struggled to sort out the images.
“What?” Max looked back up at Brody’s image.
“Oh, nothing. Just shuddering under the weight of all my lofty plans for this place,” Nicholas waved his hand, gesturing at the Center’s walls.
“Oh,” Max smiled politely and turned back to the computer.
Nicholas climbed the steps to the second-floor office with a sneer on his face. He couldn’t wait to tell Khivar what he had just seen. He knew what had happened. The bag. Liz Parker had been holding it. Those images had come from her mind. They were strong images of love, passion, fear, and longing. He wasn’t sure why she had so much energy flowing from her, but he was sure of one thing: she was no ordinary human being. And such images! The images were of Liz…and Max Evans. At last he had found Max’s weakness! He would go after Liz Parker. This was perfect. Even with her apparent energy, she was still human and weak, so he would not need to worry about her powers getting in his way. These humans were pitiful. Certainly he could handle anything that she could dole out. Besides, in Copper Summit, she had hidden behind Max and Tess. Maybe she had no powers at all except a few psychic abilities. Yes, that was it. She was simply one of those super sensitive human psychic types.
Nicholas smiled to himself. He would bring Evans to his knees, this hybrid human boy who would ruin everything and keep him from the granolith. He would kill him and everyone like him, just as soon as Max told him where the granolith was hidden. Nicholas was sure that he was right about using one of Max’s loved ones. These human emotions that Max had would be his undoing.
Liz left the UFO Center wiping tears from her eyes. As she half-walked, half-ran back to the Crashdown, she tried to compose herself. The look in Max’s eyes had just about killed her. She had hurt him so badly. “Why did you make me do it?” she mumbled to a no-longer-in-existence Future Max. “Why did you come back? There must have been another way. How could you give up on me, on us, so easily?” she asked. She walked past the entrance to the café and around the corner. She stared at the fire escape ladder and then slowly began to climb up the metal rungs. She could not face going to the apartment through the café, and she did not want to go through the apartment’s front door, either. Liz simply wanted to curl up on her lounge, read her journal, perhaps write a few thoughts down, and dream of happier days.
When she reached the top of the balcony, Liz could see her mother setting folded sheets on her bed. “Hey, honey. What are you doing coming up that way? Don’t we have a front door?” Nancy smiled and shook her head at her daughter.
“Yeah, I was just feeling energetic, I guess.” Liz replied, thinking to herself that that was the lamest excuse she had ever given her mother for anything she had ever done. She crawled through the open window and took the sheets from her mother.
“Well, here are your sheets. Your room looks nice, smells nice, too. What’s that scent?”
“It’s a candle—you know, one of those vanilla scents. Nice, huh?” Liz sighed, remembering when Max had given it to her last spring. That was another item she had decided not to put in her treasure box.
“Yes, it’s making my stomach rumble. Well, keep up the good work.” Nancy smiled and left the room but not before glancing at the pink package on Liz’s nightstand. It was a package of birth control pills. Nancy remembered the telephone conversation that she had had with her sister, Kathy, last July. Liz had stayed with Kathy in Florida all summer, and Nancy had missed her little girl. No mother could have been more shocked when Kathy had called requesting permission to take Liz to a gynecologist.
“Her cycles are all messed up. Remember? I used to get like that when I was her age. They’ll probably just give her some hormones or something. At least she won’t have such awful cramps and bleeding.” Kathy had convinced Nancy that Liz’s menstrual problems were genetic and that the appointment would be routine. Nancy had relented and Liz had come back to Roswell with birth control pills. Although Nancy was uncomfortable with her baby being on the pill, there was a part of her that was relieved. After Liz’s intense romance with Max Evans last spring, Nancy had been fearful that Max and Liz would become intimate. Liz was protected from pregnancy, but who would protect her heart? Nancy shook her head at her dark thoughts. “Goodness,” she mumbled to herself and headed into the laundry room where her thoughts returned to her chores.
Natures first green is gold
Her hardest hue to hold
Her early leaf's a flower
But only so an hour
Then leaf subsides to leaf
So Eden sank to grief
So Dawn goes down to day
Nothing Gold can stay
|posted on 31-Aug-2001 5:06:14 PM|
Later that evening, Liz’s phone rang. “Lizzie, I haven’t heard from you today. What’s going on, my virginal friend?” Maria sounded chipper and more than a little energetic.
“Oh, nothing much,” Liz sighed, smiling to herself at Maria’s reference to Liz’s confession about Kyle. She didn’t know who was happier that Liz had not had relations with Kyle—Maria or herself! “I just stayed home today and cleaned my room. You know, domestic stuff. So what’s going on with you?”
“Well, I went to the thrift shop and found this really cute top. I wanna wear it someplace. It is like so-o-o me. What do you think—wanna go to the movies or something?” Maria was speaking in her quick, clipped pace--a pace that Liz knew well. Maria was always excited when she had found a great bargain.
“Sure. What do you want to see? Please…nothing sad or romantic.”
“How about ‘Charlie’s Angels?’” Maria suggested. “You know, strong women and everything. We could both use some cheering up.”
“Um…yeah. That sounds fine. Come get me?”
“Yeah, I’ll be there about 7:00. Movie starts at 7:30.”
Liz hung up the phone and breathed deeply. A silly chick movie might be just the thing to cheer her up. She certainly didn’t want to see anything with a science fiction theme or any movie with mysterious, dark-haired men from exotic places. She opened her closet to see what looked interesting to wear. She noticed the red sweater that Max liked so much. “No, I’m definitely not wearing the red sweater,” she smiled as she remembered the last time she had worn that sweater and the glowing arm that had resulted from her contact with Max. Her thoughts then turned to another beautiful moment with Max. She touched the silver collar of the Crashdown uniform that was hanging next to the sweater. She closed her eyes, running her hands down her chest, remembering that night. She had gone out with Max; they had told Maria, Isabel, and Michael that they were going to a movie.
They had left the Crashdown after Liz had begged Maria to cover for her. Max had been standing at the counter waiting for her. He was staring at her with those gorgeous eyes--eyes that would melt her if she got lost in them. She had left with him in a hurry, so much so that she hadn’t changed out of her silver and aqua uniform. They had been so eager to be alone that they hadn’t even offered Isabel a ride home. But they didn’t go to the movies. Instead, they drove to Buckley Point—that wonderful, private place where they could be alone.
They had ridden in silence, just glancing at one another occasionally as the jeep hummed along the highway. After they arrived at their favorite spot, they had climbed into the small backseat and held each other. “Liz, I’m sorry we don’t have a better place to go,” Max apologized as he brushed a strand of her silky hair away from her face.
She had looked up into his hazel brown eyes with her own soulful ones. “Any place is wonderful if I’m with you, Max,” she had replied smiling, tracing his jaw with her fingers. She loved the feel of his face, even with the day’s stubble on his cheek. He was such a work of art: his beautiful dark hair, his eyes that could read her like a book, his firm, muscular body. And she loved the feel of his chest. He felt so strong and safe. She never wanted to leave his arms.
He had bent his head to capture her lips with his. She had eagerly kissed him back, opening her mouth to let him explore her fully, his tongue mimicking the act that they both wanted so much. She felt his tongue rake across hers and moaned as he awakened her senses. He had trailed hot kisses down her throat to the neckline of her dress. Sliding his hand up her side he reached to release the top snap of her dress. He hesitated for a moment, waiting to see if she would protest. Then his mouth pushed down further until his lips were between her breasts, at the lacy edge of her bra. “God, Liz, you are so soft, so beautiful,” he murmured between kisses. He moved a hand to cup her breast through the thin fabric of the dress. Liz gasped at his touch. He had never done this before! It was wonderful, exciting, frightening! “So warm,” he sighed. He shifted his weight to bring her closer, and then moved his hand away from her breast to her thigh, slowly sliding it under the hem of her dress. Liz pulled back from him, gasping, frightened by her body’s response to Max’s slow, loving touch. She had mumbled something about the movie that they were supposed to be viewing. He had replied that it got bad reviews and then continued his exploration of her body.
Liz’s heart was pounding as Max assaulted her senses with his hands and lips. She knew they couldn’t go farther. It wasn’t right. It was impossible. But how could she not let him do what he wanted, what she wanted? She was burning inside. She wanted him, needed him, just as badly as he needed her. She loved him too much to stop their lovemaking. They had never gone this far before, but it felt so right. Suddenly it had happened: a flashlight shining into the jeep’s interior. Topolsky. She was breathless and warning them to act as if they were normal kids.
Liz’s thoughts came back to the present, and she shook her head a moment trying to gain her composure. Breathe for heaven’s sake, she told herself. That was months ago. It’s over. We had an impossible relationship, and now it’s over. She couldn’t believe how real that daydream had felt. It was as if she were really back in the jeep with Max. What was happening to her? Was this more of her powers coming out? She sat down on the edge of the bed and bent her head over between her legs. The dizzy feeling slowly faded. “Normal,” she whispered to herself. “I need a normal life now. No more aliens.”
A tap on her bedroom door caused Liz to sit up. She glanced at her clock. It was 7:00. “Hey, Chica. Ready to stomp the bad guys?”
“Yeah,” Liz grinned, taking a deep breath, trying to get her heart rate back to normal after her erotic daydream. She reached for the nearest top from her closet and slipped it on. “Let’s go watch the strong women win and gorge on popcorn.”
“Well, all right,” Maria nodded with a smile. The girls dashed down the stairs, arm in arm, waving at Liz’s parents.
“Bye, Mom. Bye, Dad. I’ll be home before midnight,” Liz called out as they hurried out of the café. “We’re gonna go learn how to be strong women!”
Jeff Parker smiled as he looked up from his ledger and waved as the girls skipped by. “Have fun, you two. And be careful. Lock the car doors.”
Isabel was standing in front of her mirror assessing her current fashion crisis. The new leather pants she had purchased this afternoon just didn’t fit right. She had tried to adjust them with her powers, but still they did not hang straight on her well-endowed body. She tore them off quickly and tossed them onto her bed. Shaking her head in disgust, she rifled through her closet, searching for just the right look. She and Tess were going out to eat this evening. Isabel wasn’t interested in impressing Tess with her fashion sense, but she knew that there might be a cute boy around. It always paid to be ready. She might even see Grant again. Besides, she was curious about what Max and Tess had done in New York, and Max wasn’t saying much. Surely she could get some answers out of Tess.
The doorbell rang, and Isabel heard her mother answer it. That would be Tess, Isabel thought. She started down the hallway to the front door. As she passed Max’s room, she heard a Counting Crows CD through his closed door. She shook her head and sighed deeply. She definitely needed to have another talk with Max about his obsession with Liz. It was obvious that Liz had moved on despite her love for Max. Why couldn’t he?
Of course, she knew he was still off balance about the whole Vilandra secret, even if he had forgiven her, but she could not do much about that now. She knew he was being more cautious around her the last few days since returning from New York, but he had come home to Roswell rather than leave Earth without her and Michael. He just continued those soulful, distracted looks—the kind that made her feel guilty and uncomfortable. Now with the whole Liz being changed thing, Max was more confused than ever. Isabel almost felt angry with him. He should be happy. The skins and the dupes were gone, at least for now, and the granolith was safe. True, he and Liz were seeing each other only as so-called friends, but Tess was available—very available. Why couldn’t he snap out of it? she wondered.
“Hey Tess,” Isabel smiled at her friend. “Cute top,” she said glancing at the too tight, too low-cut top. It was obvious that Tess had worn it hoping to see Max.
“Thanks,” Tess returned the smile, glancing around as if she were looking for something, or someone. “Ready to go?”
“Sure.” Isabel picked up her purse from the table in the foyer. “We won’t be out late, Mom. We’ll probably just do a little Christmas shopping and get something to eat,” she said as she gave her mom a peck on the cheek.
“Okay, honey. You girls have a good time,” Diane Evans smiled at her gorgeous daughter.
Max was lying on his bed listening to the Counting Crows. He had been there since he had come home from work two hours earlier. He kept playing the CD over and over, trying to drown out his conversation with Liz from earlier in the day.
A sudden jolt of energy hit Max’s mind, causing him to sit up quickly. Waves of warmth spread through his arms and legs and up his neck to his face, his heart began to pound, and his breathing became ragged. He could feel the very core of his manhood begin to swell as his thoughts became erotic. He could feel Liz’s arms around his neck again as she ran her fingers through his hair. They were in the jeep, his lips were pressed against her soft, warm breasts, his fingers were fumbling with the top snap of her uniform. Then there was a light in their eyes. Topolsky’s voice was telling them to act as if they were normal kids. He could hear his own voice replying that they were normal kids.
Just as suddenly as it had begun, the vision ended. Max flopped back onto the pillow. What just happened? What caused that? It was not merely recalling something from the past. It was as though he had been living it all over again. This felt similar to the vision he had had in New York when Liz had warned him of the falling scaffolding. His heart and breathing were labored as he fought to gain control. He took slow, deep breaths to calm himself.
“Dammit,” Max muttered as he rose from the bed and headed to the bathroom for a cold shower. Glancing at the clock, he noticed that it was 7:00.
Liz and Maria enjoyed the movie and ate their fill of popcorn. “Okay, so what exactly is changed about you?” Maria looked skeptical as they were leaving the theatre. “I don’t get it. You’re not an alien. Isabel’s the alien. Probably she just sent Max your image, you know.”
“No, Maria. I was in New York. I saw Max crossing the street. I don’t know how it happened, but I know I was doing it—sending the message. It’s so weird…”
“Why isn’t Kyle doing it, too?”
“I don’t know. I tried to get Ava to tell me more, but she told me it was best not to ‘go there,’ whatever that means. I’m so confused. Max doesn’t know what’s going on, either.”
“Okay, so when you’re in his head, does he give you messages, too? I mean, like, do you see things he does, or do you see him, like in the shower or anything? You know…”
“Maria, this is not about seeing people naked!” Liz giggled. “Be serious! I’m turning into this whole other person, you know, and I don’t know what it means, and you’re wondering if I can see Max in his boxers…”
“Okay, okay. I’m just curious--that’s all. Don’t you wonder what they look like? I mean, did Future Max give you any clue how the sex was?”
“Of course not! Well, he did keep staring at me—kind of like he knew more about me than I did. And he kind of acted funny when I asked him to turn around, you know…in the bathroom when I was getting undressed. It was really strange because I knew that he had been with me, I mean, future me and there I was, his wife, but not his wife…it was strange. “
“Oh, my gosh, Liz, he was in the bathroom with you? Did he touch you?”
“No, no, nothing happened. He turned around when I asked him to. That’s all. It was perfectly innocent.”
Liz smiled at her curious friend. Of course she was just as curious as Maria, but she was never going to learn the answers to the more intimate questions she had about Max. Intimacy was in the old time line, and the future, her future, had been changed. Now Max was just a casual friend at best, she reminded herself. “I guess I’m curious, too, but it’s over between Max and me. Like I told you before, he has to be with Tess for everyone’s sake.”
Maria frowned at the mention of Tess and decided to change the subject. “Hey, I have a terrible taste in my mouth," Maria complained as she attempted to remove a popcorn kernel from her teeth. I’m gonna stop and get some gum at the Quick Stop. Maria had a thing about gum. It had to be Big Red, and she swore that this store’s Big Red gum was better than the Big Red from other stores. “I swear it’s true,” Maria had tried to convince Liz on more than one occasion.
“Okay, go in and get some gum,” Liz laughed. “I’ll just wait here.”
Maria parked in front of the Quick Stop and hurried inside her favorite Big Red store. Liz smiled as she watched Maria digging through the gum display, searching for that perfect package of gum. Maria was such a trip. She was so glad that she had such a great friend.
A hand suddenly pulled on the handle of Liz’s door. She jumped and then looked up to see two men standing next to the car. As one of the men opened the door, Liz managed a startled greeting. “Oh, hello, again,” she tried to smile as her heart pounded from surprise.
“Hello, yourself. Liz, isn’t it?” Brody seemed different. He had a sinister look in his eyes, no friendliness there. Liz squirmed in her seat, glancing at the store window to see if Maria was about to return. “Look, I’ll be quick about this. You have to come with me. Now.” Brody’s voice was ominous.
“Wha…what are you talking about? I’m just here with a friend…getting gum.” Liz stammered, her eyes wide with fright.
“Now!” Brody replied roughly, pulling Liz out of the car.
“Ow! Stop it. What are you doing?” Liz cried out in alarm as Brody’s fingers dug into the soft flesh of her arm. Before she could say anything else, he placed his hand across her mouth. Bending down to her ear, he whispered deliberately. “Don’t make another sound, or I’ll kill your little blonde friend in there,” he nodded in Maria’s direction. “Understand?”
Liz could only nod her head. “Good girl. Now come with me, and don’t turn around, don’t speak, and everything will be just fine.”
Tess and Isabel had visited for a while at the pizzeria. Isabel was discovering more and more how little she and Tess had in common. Aside from their alien connection, they had little to share with each other. They spoke briefly about the trip to New York, but Tess’ point of view on the trip was solely based on her fantasies about Max, something that Isabel couldn’t care less about. After exhausting all the gossip about school that they could think of, they decided to go back to the Evans’ home to play Monopoly. They had managed to extricate Max from his room and the Crows, and the game began. At the table Tess seated herself next to Max. Each time someone made a funny remark, or Max managed to buy another property, she would lean against him and squeeze his arm. Noticing how uncomfortable Max looked, Isabel tried to make small talk about anything she could think of except Max and Tess’ relationship, but Tess kept bringing up their recent trip together to New York. “Max bought me this cute figurine of the Empire State Building. He’s so much fun to travel with. “ Tess reached over and rubbed Max’s shoulder. Max shifted away slightly from her touch and glanced at Isabel nervously. “And he was such a gentleman. You know, we couldn’t afford separate hotel rooms…” Tess rambled on trying to make her case that she and Max were somehow compatible because they had traveled to New York together. She seemed almost desperate to convince someone, anyone, that Max was hers now.
Isabel rolled her eyes and sighed. She was worried that her parents might come home too soon from their Saturday night date. They could not afford for their parents to find out that Max had not been camping over Thanksgiving. “Can we talk about something else? I really don’t like to think about Max nearly getting killed.”
Tess pulled her hand away from Max’s shoulder and tried to look nonchalant. Try as she may, she could not shake the feeling that Max was slipping away from her. She had been terribly upset when she found out that Max had visited Liz as soon as they had arrived back in Roswell. He had told her that he owed Liz his life and that he was going to Liz to thank her, but Tess knew the look in his eyes. All he had to do was see Liz, and his whole mood would change. She could not get over the fact that Max had done nothing more than touch her a few times during the trip—an occasional hand at her waist. He never tried to kiss her or in any way suggest that they should be more than friends. Tess was beginning to fear that her battle for Max’s heart had been lost. Shaking off her apprehension, she placed her hand back on Max’s back. Perhaps she could try reverse psychology. “We owe a lot to Liz and you, too, Isabel. We’d probably both be dead if you hadn’t warned us.”
Max tried to smile and be appreciative of Tess’ attention. He was trying to be nicer to her since the trip to New York. He really was grateful for her loyalty. She had been doing everything she could to help the three of them, and he knew they would probably all be dead if she were not with them. But still, he just didn’t feel anything for her but friendship and gratitude. She could never be Liz.
Isabel watched Tess out of the corner of her eye as Tess kept coming on to Max. It was disgusting how obvious the little blonde was. She began to wonder if something physical had happened between Max and Tess while they were in New York. Perhaps that was why Tess was climbing all over Max now. No, it just did not seem possible. Max was too much in love with Liz to look at another girl--especially one who had manipulated his mind with her erotic mind warps last May. Isabel picked up the dice and threw them. “Oh, no,” she exclaimed as she moved her token. “Not in jail again!”
“Want to buy my ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card?” Max asked with a grin on his face. “I’ll sell it to you for, let’s see…” he glanced over at her small pile of bills, “Six hundred dollars.”
“Six hundred dollars! You’ve got to be kidding. This is ridiculous!”
“Come on, Iz. You’re starting to sound like Michael. Just trying to help you out…”
“Forget it. I can’t make a move. Game’s over.” Isabel pouted.
“Well, it’s getting late, anyway. I think I’m gonna go home,” Tess stretched and leaned into Max. “Walk me to my car, Max?”
“Yeah, sure. I guess all the action’s finished for tonight.” Looking back at his frustrated sister, Max helped Tess with her coat and followed her out the front door.
Isabel folded up the Monopoly board and put the pieces in the box as Max and Tess headed outside. As she walked over to the closet in the family room to put the game away, the phone rang. Glancing at the clock in the foyer, she noticed that it was nearly midnight. “Who in the world is calling at this time of night?” she muttered, still feeling the sting of losing the game. She stepped into the kitchen to pick up the phone.
“Isabel, it’s Maria. Where’s Max? It’s Liz. She’s gone. They took her!”
“What? Maria? What are you talking about? He’s out front. Where’s Liz?”
“I was in this store getting gum, and I went back out, and she wasn’t in the car, and I looked up, and they were pushing her into another car, and there were two of them, and she’s gone. Oh, god,” Maria was gasping, trying not to cry as she related the details to Isabel.
Isabel’s eyes grew wide. “Wait a minute.” She heard the front door close as Max walked back into the house. “Max, come here. It’s Liz…she’s…”
Max crossed the kitchen and grabbed the phone from Isabel. “Liz, what’s wrong?”
“No, it’s Maria. They took Liz. Max, she’s gone. I saw them take her. Please hurry. She needs you. I need you.”
“Who has her?”
“I don’t know. Two men. It was dark. I couldn’t see their faces. They pushed her into a car and drove off. She’s been kidnapped. Oh god, Max. They’re gonna kill her!”
“Where are you, Maria?” Max tried to sound calm although a sense of darkness, dread, and panic was spreading quickly through his body.
“I’m at the Quick Stop. Please hurry!”
“We’re on our way. Don’t leave.”
Max hung up the phone and pushed the speed dial for the Crashdown. He knew Michael should be there, cleaning the kitchen. “Michael, someone has Liz. Maria just called from the Quick Stop. I’ll stop by and get you. Be outside.”
Max hung up the phone before Michael had a chance to respond. Michael shook his head as he pulled off his apron and bounded toward the front door. He had been afraid this would happen. He knew it was too good to be true that they had destroyed all the skins. Now after Max’s trip to New York, he knew there would be more trouble. Apparently a lot of people on several planets wanted to get their hands on the granolith. He wondered why no one would tell Max what the granolith was for. But he agreed with Max. If that many people wanted it, it was worth keeping its location a secret. Perhaps it was a weapon that could help conquer Earth. Whatever the cost, the granolith had to remain out of the others’ hands. But now it appeared that his and Max’s enemies were going after their friends. Maria. What about Maria? Was she safe? Please, God, let her be okay, he prayed silently as he waited at the curb.
Max pulled up to the Crashdown, barely bringing the jeep’s wheels to a halt. Michael jumped into the passenger seat, and they sped to the Quick Stop. “So what’s up? Who has Liz?”
“I don’t know for sure. Two men grabbed her in the parking lot. Maria just called. She was with Liz when it happened. It’s bound to be someone connected to the people at the summit. That one woman warned me I was making more enemies when I told them I wouldn’t give up the granolith. I should have known.”
“Should have known what? There’s no way to know what they would do. Max, they’re stronger, and they know a lot more than we do about all of this. How are we gonna find her?”
“I don’t know,” Max retorted angrily as the jeep stopped next to Maria’s car. A pale and shaken Maria climbed out of the car and ran into Max’s arms. Max pushed her back and his hazel eyes bored through her. “Tell me.”
“I was coming out,” Maria sobbed, “and I saw them dragging her away from the car. They pushed her into a black sedan, and then they just drove off. The one guy had his hand over her mouth. She was trying to get loose, but they just pulled her in and left. Oh, god, I’m so scared. Who were they, Max? Why do they want Liz?”
“They’re probably skins or some of the other aliens I met with last week in New York. They were really angry when I left without giving them the granolith. They warned me, but I wouldn’t listen. I don’t think they’ll hurt her. They’re just trying to get to me.” Max was trying to sound calm, but inside his emotions were reeling. His fear was being replaced rather quickly by anger—anger that would end in someone’s death if he could get his hands on them.
“What about the granolith, though? She knows where it is, doesn’t she?” Michael gave Max an accusing look. “If they mind rape her, they’ll find out where it is.”
“No, I never told her anything about it. I haven’t told anyone,” Max explained. “She can’t tell them anything.”
“Oh,” Maria slumped into Michael’s arms. “I’ll be next,” she began to cry. “And if they take me, they’ll find out everything.” Maria’s green eyes were swollen with tears.
“What do you mean?” Max asked with a confused look on his face. “You’ve seen the granolith?” He turned accusing eyes from Maria to Michael. “You told her where it is? What were you thinking?”
“Look, it’s a long story. We don’t have time. We have to figure out where they took her. They couldn’t be too far. Even if she doesn’t know anything about the granolith, she has been to the pod chamber. They might get that from her, and then it wouldn’t be too hard for them to figure out that’s where the granolith is. Not only would they find the granolith, but also once it’s found, they’ll probably kill Liz. They wouldn’t need her anymore.” Michael sighed and shook his head as he imagined the possibility of what could happen in the next few hours.
“Let’s go back to the house,” Max walked to the jeep to climb in. “We need Isabel. Maybe she can contact Liz. It worked with me in New York.”
“Yeah,” Michael agreed. “If Liz’s connection to you is half as strong as it was last week when you were in New York, you'll be able to contact her.”
Michael climbed into the driver’s seat of the Jetta and Maria settled in next to him. Max followed behind in the jeep as the two vehicles hurried back to the Evans’ home.
Liz sat on a broken down couch in the UFO center’s store room. She was not sure which store room it was, but she knew that it was definitely part of the center. There were dusty shelves full of old alien mannequins. Nicholas and the other man had dragged her into the building through a back door from the alley. They had kept her blindfolded until they threw her on the couch. She immediately pulled off the blindfold and glared at her captors. Instead of Brody standing before her, she now saw Nicholas. Nicholas. She was horrified as he cleared her mind so that she could see that he was her kidnapper. He had looked like Brody when he grabbed her in the parking lot at the Quick Stop. “So, Liz. I understand you and Max have a little thing going on. What about our genocidal Tess? How does she feel about you and Max? No, wait. She must not know.” He paused as he mused over the situation. “Surely she would have killed you by now if she knew about your little indiscretions. But never mind that. You’ve been invited here to our Roswell headquarters,” Nicholas smirked and gestured to the dusty, darkness of the storeroom. “We have issued this special invitation so that we could talk to you about a special…project. My project, actually.” Nicholas leaned over Liz and whispered huskily. “The granolith, Liz. We need the granolith.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Liz turned her head away from Nicholas with a defiant spark in her eyes.
“Now, now, Liz. I can get what I want from you the hard way. I was hoping that you’d want to help me so I won’t have to hurt you.”
“Let me go. I can’t help you. I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Liz’s voice was shaking with fear, but she glared into Nicholas’ eyes with determination. “None of us know about this stuff. Max and the others were raised human. They didn’t get the information they were supposed to receive when they were growing up. You’re just wasting your time. Just leave Roswell and go back to your planet. Just leave us alone.”
Nicholas smiled and shook his head. “The perfect mistress. Always trying to protect her man. Tell me, Liz. Is he as good in this life as he was in the last? He had quite a reputation with the ladies before…”
“Shut up. You’re disgusting.” Liz rose from the couch and started to push her way past Nicholas. The other man reached out and grabbed her hair, pulling her back to the couch. Liz shrieked in pain and tried to strike out at her assailant, but to no avail. His enormous frame and bulk made her a rag doll in his arms.
“Show her how to behave. I’ll try the mind warp on her in a little while. She just needs to be softened up a little.” Nicholas sauntered away until Liz could no longer see him in the darkness of the building. Before she could reply to his latest threat, a fist crashed into her face. As she sank into unconsciousness, Liz could see Max’s face. He had tears in his eyes, and she had put them there.
Isabel lay on her bed clutching Liz’s journal. Next to her on the nightstand were the drugstore pictures of Max and Liz. Alex was rubbing her head, holding her gently as she tried to relax and go into a dream state. After Max, Michael, and Maria had arrived at the Evans’, Isabel had tried to reach Liz by holding Max’s hands as she had done with Liz when Max was in danger in New York. They had concentrated so hard, but neither Isabel nor Max could reach her. Not knowing what to try next, Isabel finally decided to try a complete dream walk. She had called Alex and asked him to stop by Liz’s apartment to get some of Liz’s personal belongings. “Just get a few items that she might use when she’s in an emotional state,” she had told him.
Alex had climbed the fire escape and silently crept into Liz’s room. Then he had quietly rummaged around her room until he spied her hair clip and the pictures. As he started to climb out the window, he thought about her journal. Surely that would be something that would reflect Liz’s feelings during an emotional time. He knew it was where she wrote down all her deepest thoughts. Where is it, he thought. What would she do with it? He spied the drawer to her nightstand. No, it would not be there. She would keep it hidden. Shrugging his shoulders, he stepped over to the nightstand and opened its single, narrow drawer. On top of pens and pencils and a teen romance novel lay the leather-bound journal. Alex smiled to himself as he pocketed the journal. He quickly climbed through Liz’s window and back down the fire escape. He prayed that these items would be enough to bring Isabel’s powers to find Liz into focus.
Isabel continued to stare at the pictures of Max and Liz while rubbing her hand over the journal’s cover and the hair clip. As her dream state began, her breathing slowed and her hands relaxed on the items she was holding.
Nodding silently to Alex, Max crept into the room and took the journal from Isabel’s hands. He knew how much the journal meant to Liz, and he didn’t want anyone else to read it. He remembered how desperately he and Liz had searched for it the year before when they thought Kyle had stolen it. Liz would not allow Max to read it then. Max was curious about what she wrote in her journal, but more importantly, he wanted it put away so no one could find out the aliens’ secret. As Max quietly walked back to his bedroom to wait for Isabel’s dream walk to end, he had a sudden urge to lie down on his bed and read the journal. You jerk, he told himself. This is her business. Leave it alone.
Max’s heart began pounding as he lay on his bed. He was worried to death about Liz. Who had kidnapped her? Was it Nicholas? Or were there other aliens around who were trying to flush him out. Who knew what they would do to Liz? They might beat her or torture her. She could be lying somewhere, bleeding to death, and he was powerless to help her. Max closed his eyes and willed his thoughts to turn away from such tortured thinking.
The journal began to slide off his lap as he shifted positions on the bed. Grabbing the black volume before it slid to the floor, temptation finally got the best of him, and he opened the mysterious book. I’ll just read a few pages to get my mind off things, he thought. Max flipped the pages toward the end of the journal and began to read.
“I haven’t written in this journal in months. I have nothing to say except that my life with Max is over. I love him so much, but I can’t be with him. Strange and awful things have been happening—Tess showed up, Max found out who he really is, Future Max told me about the granolith, we stopped the end of the world, rah, rah…”
Max’s frowned as he tried to make sense of the entry. His heart was warmed to read Liz’s profession of love. But who was Future Max? What did Liz know about the granolith? He remembered that she had warned him before he left for New York. She was so sure that he mustn’t tell anyone where the granolith was. She had said that it was very powerful. How did she know? And what ‘end of the world’ was she talking about?
A flash of light entered Isabel’s head. She could see a shadowy figure in the darkness after the light had dissipated. She walked slowly through the darkness until she was standing next to the figure. It was Liz, lying on what appeared to be a concrete floor. “Liz, wake up. It’s Isabel. We’re trying to find you. Where are you?”
“What? Isabel? I’m here on the floor. I’m at the UFO center in a store room, I think. They’re after the granolith. They’re going to kill all of us…don’t look for me. Just run—get out of Roswell.” As Liz looked up at her, Isabel could see the swollen cheek and the cut lip. They had hurt Liz, hit her, probably trying to make her divulge what she knew about Max and the rest of them. Maybe they thought she knew something about the granolith.
“No, Liz. We won’t let them kill anyone. Think. Where are they now? Can you see them? How many are there?”
“I didn’t want to hurt him. Tell him I love him. I didn’t sleep with Kyle. I was trying to save everyone.” Liz began to sob. “I love him—tell him. He means everything to me. I would never betray him. I had to do it to save all of us.”
“Liz, I’ll tell him.” Isabel had no idea what Liz was talking about, but she knew she had to keep Liz talking in order to see what was taking place in the UFO Center. “Now just let me see where you are. Show me which store room, Liz. Show me anything you can remember. Where are the people who took you? Are they still there?” An image of the main exhibit hall suddenly flashed through Isabel’s mind. She could see Nicholas and another man, large and muscular. They appeared to be talking. Then there were more visions, this time of Future Max dancing with Liz on the balcony. “Liz, what is this about? Liz? Who are you dancing with?”
“The Elvis Chapel…” Liz mumbled.
As Max continued to ponder the strange journal entries, he felt a rush of warmth engulf his body. He could hear organ music, a wedding march. He closed his eyes, trying to blot out the sound, but his mind began to whirl with images. He could see Liz in a wedding dress. A man in a tuxedo was kissing her. Then he heard Liz’s voice: “Max, Tess is here.” Then he heard Michael calling him softly from the hallway. “Max, Tess is here. I think Isabel’s waking up.”
Max jumped off his bed and hurried to his sister’s bedroom. Isabel was sitting on the edge of her bed with tears in her eyes. Michael and Maria were standing at the foot of the bed, arms around each other, casting worried glances at Isabel and Max.
‘Max,” Alex began. “She’s alive. Isabel talked to her.”
“She’s so scared, and they hurt her. I could see bruises all over her face and arms,” Isabel began to weep.
“Isabel, tell me everything. Where is she? We have to find her.” Max grabbed Isabel arms and shook her gently. “Please…calm down and tell me.”
“It’s Nicholas, Max, ” Isabel sobbed. “She’s at the UFO Center. They’re holding her, trying to get information out of her, or maybe holding her hostage so we’ll tell them where the granolith is. They’ll kill her if we don’t tell them what they want to know. God, will this never end?” Isabel looked up at her brother to find more anguish in his eyes than she had ever seen.
A moment later, Max’s anguish had subsided. In that moment, the indecisive boy-king became a true leader. A grim look of determination crossed his face. “Come on,” he mumbled to Michael, Isabel, and Tess. “We end this tonight.”
“Max, what about the sheriff?” Maria asked, her green eyes swollen with tears.
“I’m not going to endanger anyone else. He’s human. He can’t help us with this. The four of us can handle the skins if we work together. That’s what they’re afraid of. That’s why they took Liz. They know she can’t fight back.”
“Be safe,” Maria whispered as she wrapped her arms around Michael’s neck.
“ I will,” Michael tried to reassure Maria. He looked down at her pretty, tear-stained face and leaned down to touch her lips with his. Their kiss was long and searching. The others stepped out of the room for a moment as Michael and Maria said their goodbye. Michael broke off the kiss suddenly. “Gotta go. Stay here. Do not follow us. Understand?”
Maria nodded, “Bring her back.”
“We will,” Michael replied as he followed the others down the hallway.
Max stopped the jeep a few blocks from the UFO Center. “We walk from here.”
“Max, what do we do?” Tess’ blue eyes were large with fright.
Max turned to Tess and placed his hands on her shoulders. “Tess, we need you. We need a mind warp so we can get in and carry her out. Do you think you can do it? It’ll be like at the cyclotron at the university.”
Tess breathed deeply and looked back into Max’s eyes. “I’ll do whatever it takes, Max. I just can’t hold it for long. You know that,” she warned.
“We won’t need long. Isabel, you keep watch for Tess.” Isabel nodded and then reached out to hug her brother. “Be careful, Max.”
“I will.” Max looked at Michael. “Come on. You get Liz. Nicholas is mine.”
Max and Michael quietly opened the back door to the Center. Just inside, a man in dark clothing appeared to be standing watch. Max and Michael walked past him quickly as Tess’ warp befuddled the man’s mind. They could hear voices coming from an office in the corner. As they drew closer to the office door, they recognized Nicholas’ adolescent twang.
“You can’t keep this up, Liz. You’re not that strong. I will find out what I want to know,” Nicholas pounded a wall as he drove home his point.
“No, I don’t know what you’re talking about…”
Max felt his fists clench at the very thought that Nicholas was threatening Liz. He started to pull on the door’s handle, but Michael’s hand stopped him. Signaling to Max that he would enter first, Michael pulled the door open and walked in. As Michael and Max stepped into the office, they could see a nearly lifeless Liz lying on the floor. Her face bruised and swollen, she lifted her head defiantly as she continued to deny Nicholas’ greatest desire. “Go to hell, you little monster,” she moaned through her pain. At that moment, Liz felt strong arms lifting her. Thinking the other skin was about to beat her again, she let out a small gasp. Glancing back at Nicholas, she realized that he was still busy trying to get information from her, but this time he was talking to the floor where she had been lying.
Abruptly the mind warp broke and Nicholas looked up to see Michael rushing with Liz in his arms out of the office and through the back door. “No!” Nicholas lifted his arm to bring his power to bear on Michael. Before he could render his damage, Max stepped from the office interior, raised his hand, and hit Nicholas with a tremendous bolt of energy. Nicholas screamed as he was hit with more power than he had ever experienced. “No,” he cried as he fell to his knees. “You’re human. You can’t do this!”
“Correction. I’m a hybrid, you peeling little insect.” Max’s eyes blazed with anger and authority as he spat out the words. “And lately, I’ve been getting in touch with my alien side. You know what they say: practice makes perfect.” With that last statement, Max unleashed all the pent up energy that he could muster. All the frustrations from a lifetime of fear and hiding came through the next bolt of energy. Nicholas screamed and writhed in pain as the heat from the energy bolt burned through his husk. When at last Max halted the bolt, Nicholas lay on the floor nearly unconscious. Max walked over to him, his head held high. With an almost regal bearing, Max leaned over him, his expression unreadable.
Nicholas looked up at Max who was towering over him and for the first time Nicholas realized what he had unleashed in Max. Max was no longer a confused teenaged boy. He was a king, and he was defending what was his. “Max, it’s ok. We can make a deal.” Nicholas’ eyes were wide with fear, his heart was beating wildly as he fought to remain conscious through the terrible searing pain as his husk slowly began to fall apart.
“Tsk. Tsk. It’s ‘your majesty’ to you. Didn’t you learn any manners in the palace back home?” Max nudged Nicholas onto his stomach with his foot. “I can’t stand rudeness.” With that, Max kicked Nicholas in the lower back with all his might. As he hit the husk’s connection, Nicholas screamed one last time, and then he was gone. Max stood alone looking at the flakes of tissue as they floated down to the floor.
A yell from Michael brought Max’s attention to the situation outside. Max hurried outside, stepping through another shower of flakes. Isabel must have killed the guard, he thought as he hurried to Michael. Isabel and Tess were standing over Michael, who was kneeling on the concrete with Liz in his arms. “Max, hurry,” he yelled. “This is bad, really bad.”
Max knelt beside Michael and caressed Liz’s face. “Liz, look at me, Liz…” Max experienced a sick feeling in his stomach as he realized the extent of Liz’s injuries. They were not merely superficial cuts and bruises. She was barely breathing. The skins would have beaten her to death if he and the others had not arrived when they did. “Lay her down, Michael. I need to see how badly she’s hurt.”
Michael gently laid Liz on the concrete and moved away to allow Max more space. Max knelt over his love and placed both hands on her abdomen, silently praying to the god he didn’t believe in, hoping he would have enough power to heal her. “Liz, keep looking at me, please…” Liz struggled to stay conscious. She wanted to tell Max how much she loved him. He had to know. She could sense that her life was draining from her. It was just a matter of time. She felt Max pulling up her top and placing his warm hands on her ribs. A rush of warmth and comfort engulfed her as he concentrated on healing her internal injuries.
Minutes passed as Max continued to examine Liz and heal bones, internal organs, and broken blood vessels. Flashes of Liz’s childhood dashed through his mind as he mended her broken body. He saw her with her grandmother, he saw her shopping with Maria, and then he saw her with himself. Only it wasn’t himself. He was older. What the hell was this? At last Max let out a groan and fell back on the concrete. “I can’t do it!” he moaned. “I can’t finish. I used too much power on Nicholas.”
“It’s ok, Max. She’s all right. I can do the rest.” Isabel leaned over her brother and touched his shoulder. Isabel then touched Liz’s face and arms, and the bruises and swelling were erased. “See? It’s all better.”
Max looked with concern at Liz who was now fully conscious. As he helped her to sit up, she glanced around nervously. Her breathing was becoming more regular. “They’re dead. They can’t hurt you anymore,” Max promised her.
“I want to go home, Max,” Liz began weeping uncontrollably. “Please take me home.” Max picked up Liz in his strong arms and carried her to the jeep. Isabel, Tess, and Michael followed, their emotions numbed at what had just occurred.
The next two weeks were fairly routine for the teens. Liz had slept for a day after the rescue, pretending that she had a sore throat so that her mother would leave her in bed. The others had called her and asked about her, but they were careful not to seem too concerned. They did not want to raise suspicions with Liz's parents.
Max and Liz spoke a few times at school. Max had even returned Liz’s journal. When he handed it to her after school one afternoon, she drew her breath in and cast a worried look at Max. “It's all right. Isabel just held it the night we were trying to find you. Nobody looked at it,” he lied. Max dearly wanted to question Liz about the unusual entries in her journal and the strange images he had seen when he healed her. But Liz had remained aloof. She was very grateful to him and had thanked him several times for saving her life a second time, but he could sense that she didn't want to talk to him. So Max waited and wondered. How could he win back his love?
Brody returned to Roswell to find the UFO Center in fine shape. He had complimented Max on the good job he had done in managing things. Max had sheepishly accepted Brody's praise.
Everyone took their final exams at school and looked forward to the Christmas season and time off from school.
Max's Christmas vacation had begun with the trauma of not healing the dying father of two young children. Liz had watched him suffer with his guilt at not having taken action. He had even begun to have visions about the man, to be haunted by him as if he were a ghost. He had come to Liz for advice, and she had directed him to Brody's daughter who was suffering from terminal cancer. Upon learning that the little girl had been taken to a hospital in Phoenix for emergency treatment, he drove to Phoenix with Michael riding shotgun.
It was a difficult trip. Max was determined to assuage his guilt. He would not allow this innocent child to die—not when he could heal her. As Michael guarded the hospital room’s door, Max healed little Sydney of her deadly disease, and then he continued to heal several other children as well. In the end, Max's powers were exhausted, and Michael had to drag him through the room’s window to escape hospital officials.
Liz had been horrified when she learned that Max had healed all those children in the hospital. She knew that he could not continue this kind of behavior. It was reckless, dangerous. A twinge of guilt had crossed her mind as she realized that Max had healed her as well. When he had spoken with her after he returned, she reminded him that he was not God and that he must not endanger himself and the others by healing anyone else. Exposure would be imminent if any more healings occurred.
It was the morning of New Year's Eve. Liz lay on her bed watching as the shadows played against the brick wall of her balcony. Her mind was a confused jumble of emotions and thoughts. It was a week ago that she had sat at the midnight service listening to the choir sing about peace on earth. The service had been lovely, and she had been heartened to see Maria and Michael sitting closely together, cuddling, looking so much like a real couple.
Liz closed her right hand and clutched the quilt on her bed remembering Christmas Eve and the church service she had attended. Max had sat down next to her at the service. Tess had been there, but he had walked over to Liz and had sat down. And then he had done the most amazing thing: he had taken her small hand in his two large ones and gazed into her eyes the way that only Max could. He had smiled as only a lover can do when he’s smiling at his beloved. Liz had broken the silence. “I thought you didn't believe in God,” she had said.
“I believe in you.” Max had replied squeezing her hand. There had been silence between them for several minutes as Max had continued to hold Liz's hand. Liz had felt herself falling into that dreamy state that always accompanied her when she was with Max. “We need to talk, but I'm leaving right after the service. We’re driving to Albuquerque tonight to have Christmas at our aunt’s house tomorrow. We’ll be back on New Year's Eve,” he had spoken softly as the choir continued to sing. He had continued gazing at Liz until she felt uncomfortable and had turned her attention back to the choir.
Max had continued to hold Liz’s hand through the service. Liz had never felt so loved and so confused. What was he doing? They had sat that way through the rest of the service. Max's eyes had never left her face. Liz kept glancing up at his beautiful, soulful eyes. She had grown uneasy as Max continued watching her.
After the service they had walked toward the street together. Max reluctantly had released Liz’s hand. Placing his hands on her shoulders, he had gently turned her toward him. With one finger under her chin, he had tilted her face up to hers. “I love you, Liz.“ He bent down to touch his forehead to hers. Liz's heart began to pound. What if Tess saw them? She knew Tess was at the service. She had seen the Valentis and Tess sitting only a few rows in front of them. She knew she should pull away. She couldn’t let their relationship escalate again. Suddenly Max kissed her forehead lightly. “See you on New Year's Eve.” With that, Max had turned and walked away, leaving Liz to catch her breath as the worshipers stepped around her as they were leaving the park.
As Tess and Kyle had walked past her, Liz had caught a glance of them. They were holding hands. What did that mean? Liz had shaken her head and had turned to walk toward the parking lot and Maria’s Jetta. What was going on?
“Honey, are you awake? There’s someone here to see you.” Liz’s mind jumped from Christmas Eve and back into the present as she heard her mother’s voice at her bedroom door. Was it Max? Oh, my god, she thought. It’s New Year’s Eve. He must be back from Albuquerque. Surely he wouldn’t be here so early, she thought. She remembered that he had said he wanted to talk to her and that he would be returning from Albuquerque on New Year’s Eve. A glance at her clock showed that it was only 8:30. The door opened, and Tess walked in.
“Tess! Hi!” Liz looked up at Tess in surprise.
“Hi, Liz.” Tess looked around uncomfortably. “I’m sorry to just barge in like this. I just couldn’t wait any longer. Look, Liz, it’s about Max…”
“Is he all right?” Liz’s eyes were wide with worry.
“Yes, I’m sure he’s fine. I haven’t heard from him since they went to Albuquerque.” Tess had a frustrated and somewhat hurt expression on her face. “They’re supposed to be back today. Look, the point is it’s hopeless—this thing with Max and me, and besides, Kyle and I….I should have known it from the first. Max has loved you since the first time he saw you. Nothing’s going to change that.”
“Tess, no…you’re wrong. We’re just friends.” Liz stumbled over her words, trying to make sense of the emotions that were swirling through her.
“No, I’m not wrong. He loves you more than life itself. He would give up our planet, give up everything for you. I don’t know why it took me so long to see it.” Tess shook her head. “Last spring I told you sometimes people can’t see things right in front of them. I really thought you should step aside, and you did. But I was the one that was blind, not you.”
Tess continued, “If there’s any hope of our planet being freed, then Max will need to be his strongest. He’s nothing without you. It’s like his soul is missing or something. The whole time we were in New York, he was in a daze. He couldn’t decide what to do. He was miserable. Then you came to him in that vision, and he totally changed. It was so obvious how much he loved you, Liz. It’s like he was waiting for you.”
“Ava said Zan was waiting…” Liz began softly, thinking back to her conversation with Ava the night that she had dream walked Max. “No, you four have to be together. You can’t fight off your enemies otherwise.” Liz’s brows furrowed as her thoughts came into focus.
“We’ll be together, all of us.” Tess nodded at Liz. “I know what my role is now. I was sent to earth with Max to fight with him and the others, not to be his mate. His real source of strength is you, Liz. It’s always been you. I think you’re sort of like the fifth element. Maybe if you had been with him on our home planet, he wouldn’t have lost his throne. There’s just no balance without you.”
Liz’s eyes began to fill with tears as she thought about what Tess was saying. “Tess, I know you mean well, but I don’t think it could ever work out for Max and me. I mean, he wants to be friends, but he’ll never really trust me again. Not completely. Not after how I’ve lied to him.”
Tess reached for the doorknob. “You don’t give him enough credit, Liz. It’ll work out. You’ll see.” Tess smiled at Liz. “I’ve gotta get going. Kyle and I are going to a New Year’s Eve party tonight, and Isabel’s gonna help me shop for a dress.”
Tess closed the door behind her, and Liz fell back onto her pillows. She began crying softly as all the events of the past few weeks crashed into her bruised emotions.. No matter what Tess told her, Liz knew the truth. And the truth was that she and Max could never be together. If nothing else, she would be a distraction to him. He needed to be strong. He needed his own kind to support him, not some silly human girl who would endanger his life.
Natures first green is gold
Her hardest hue to hold
Her early leaf's a flower
But only so an hour
Then leaf subsides to leaf
So Eden sank to grief
So Dawn goes down to day
Nothing Gold can stay
|posted on 31-Aug-2001 5:09:43 PM|
Max’s family arrived back in Roswell at noon on New Year’s Eve. Isabel and Mrs. Evans began to make immediate plans to go shopping. Isabel had mentioned that Tess wanted to do some shopping, also, so they had left to pick up Tess at the Valenti’s.
Max’s father settled into his recliner to watch a bowl game. “Aren’t you going to watch?” he asked his son.
Max declined and went to his room to think. He was wondering about Liz and how to proceed. He knew he needed to talk to Liz, but even if he could convince her that being with him wouldn’t ruin his destiny, would she still want him? Yes, she had saved his life in New York. She had been friendly and sweet to him since he had returned from New York. She listened to him as he rambled on about the ghost—never questioning his sanity, simply listening and being supportive. No, that wasn’t right. Tess was supportive. Liz was so much more. Liz didn’t simply whine and agree with him. She challenged him, helped him find answers, loved him enough to tell him when he was wrong. And she had been right about the healings. He couldn’t heal everyone. He knew it, and she knew it, too. It would endanger everyone he loved. Liz was brave enough to tell him to stop playing God to rid himself of his misplaced guilt. Liz was the one who connected with his soul and challenged him to be his best. No one else could heal his soul the way that she could.
Max frowned to himself. He needed Liz so badly in his life, and not just as a friend. He missed his soul mate. When he had kissed her forehead last week, he had gotten a rush of feelings from her. They were confused feelings: fear, embarrassment, and love, all rolled into one
After Isabel and Mrs. Evans returned from shopping, the ladies began to make plans for the family’s New Year’s Eve. “Okay, I’ll get the videos, Mom,” Isabel called down the hall as her mother entered the living room. Isabel started rummaging through the hall closet for the box of family videos. Each New Year’s Eve, the family huddled around the VCR to watch old family videos of past Christmas celebrations. As the family’s official Christmas Nazi, Isabel insisted that everyone watch. Isabel loved the videos. Max merely tolerated them.
“Philip, we really need to go see Mrs. Samuels next door. She’ll think we’ve forgotten her.” Mr. Evans finally looked up from his football game, sighed, and agreed to make the visit to their aging neighbor. With a quick goodbye, the parents walked next door.
Max stayed behind, once again listening to the Crows, hoping to find some inspiration in how to proceed with Liz. Isabel was rearranging the videos in the hall closet when she heard Max start the CD again. She had been thinking all day about the visions she had received from Liz when she had dream walked her. She couldn’t believe what Liz had done to protect Max and the rest of them. How she must be suffering, knowing that Max believed that she had betrayed him. It was true they seemed to be friends again, and they had even sat next to each other last week at the midnight service, but Isabel knew things still were not right between Max and Liz. Isabel had struggled with the knowledge she had gleaned from Liz’s mind. Until now, she had kept quiet, thinking that it was best for Max and Liz to be apart. After all, Max had a destiny to fulfill. But then her thoughts would return to Vilandra. Vilandra had betrayed Zan on their home planet. She had lied, cheated, done something to cause everyone such terrible misery. “No,” Isabel sighed to herself. “In this life, we don’t hold anything back. He deserves to know what happened. I won’t lie to him again.” Isabel could keep quiet no longer. It was time for Max to know the truth.
She tried the knob on his bedroom door, but it was locked. Glancing around to make sure her parents weren’t still in the house, Isabel quickly pushed the lock aside with her mind and turned the handle. “I thought I locked that,” Max’s voice was resentful as his sister walked into the darkened room. She snapped her fingers and his bedside lamp turned on.
“Get up, Max.”
Max put his hand up to shield his eyes from the light. “Quit, would you? What do you want?”
“Okay, so you’re the great healer now. Brody’s little girl is fine. The kids in Phoenix are healed. That’s great. But you’re not the only one who can heal, Max.“
“What are you talking about?”
“Healing. I’m talking about healing you, Max. The truth is the only thing that will heal you,” Isabel spoke determinedly as she stepped to the window and opened the curtains. “God, it’s like a tomb in here. No wonder you’re so depressed.” Isabel looked down at Max and shook her head in amazement. Last week, he was so alive, ready to do anything to save Brody’s daughter. And when he had they had rescued Liz, Isabel had seen a side of Max that she didn’t know existed. He had killed their enemy without remorse and took charge of the situation as though he really were a king. Today, everything was back to the way it had been before—hesitant, unsure. “All right. I’ve had enough of this.”
“What are you talking about,” Max looked up at Isabel with a puzzled expression. “The Vilandra thing?”
“We’ll save that for another day,” Isabel waved her hand as if to erase Max’s thoughts of Vilandra. There’s something more important you need to know. Look at me, Max. I’m serious. All this depression isn’t necessary. She didn’t betray you.”
“What are you talking about?
“I’m talking about Liz. She didn’t do it.”
“ I know she didn’t sleep with Kyle, if that’s what you mean. But that doesn’t change the fact she doesn’t want me. I mean, she went to all that trouble to chase me away.”
“Max, when I dream walked Liz that night, I saw more than just her location in the Center. She was very emotional, and I picked up on something that happened to her a couple of weeks before, something that happened to both of you.”
Max sat up and stared intently at Isabel. “What?” he demanded.
As Isabel began to relate the flashes she had seen in Liz’s mind, Max nodded and understanding began to creep into his countenance. Of course, he thought. That’s what was missing. That’s what the journal entry had been about. Now the flash of Liz in the bridal gown made sense. The man who was kissing her at that wedding had been another version of himself. He knew in his heart that she still loved him. He had not been able to figure out why she had tried to make him believe what was against everything he knew to be true about her. Finally, the pieces began to fit together.
Abruptly Max bounded off the bed to his closet. “I have to leave now,” he said hastily as he reached for a clean shirt. “Where are my shoes?”
“Over there,” Isabel pointed to a shoe sticking out from under the bed. Max retrieved his shoes and began putting them on. “What are you going to do?” she asked with a smile.
“Destiny,” he said determinedly. “I’m going to create my own destiny, just like I’ve told Liz a dozen times.”
“Create your destiny or hers?”
“Ours,” he looked at Isabel with assurance in his eyes as he worked the buttons of his shirt. “Where’s the phone? I need the phone,” Max dashed around the room, picking up pillows and piles of clothes, searching for the cordless phone.
“Here, your majesty. Get it over with,” Isabel smiled, handing it to him after she spied its antenna poking out from beneath a pair of dirty socks on the floor. She turned and sauntered out of the room with a satisfied smile on her face.
“What?” Max glanced up at Isabel as she walked out of the room. He wasn’t sure what she had said. He hit the speed dial for Liz’s apartment and took a deep breath. The phone rang repeatedly, but there was no answer. Then he remembered. Liz and her mother were probably shopping. Isn’t that what all women did on these holiday weekends? So he sat on his bed, waiting. Suddenly the Crows were annoying. He turned off the CD player and lay back down to think. What would he say? How could he make her see what she meant to him? And how could he ever make her know how sorry he was for doubting her. She had done everything to protect him, even tarnish her reputation. He loved her even more now. He couldn’t wait for her to get home. Not now. He would go to her apartment. If she weren’t there, he would wait on the balcony. At least he would be there as soon as she arrived.
After Tess’ visit that day, Liz was not sure how to proceed. A part of her wanted to believe Tess, but still, she knew that Max needed Tess. The four of them were a team, and Liz would only be in the way. That was the design from Max’s planet. How could she, little Liz Parker, from Roswell, New Mexico, possibly change the fate of a world that was awaiting rescue from its beloved leader?
After lying in bed another hour after Tess left, Liz decided to go shopping to get her mind off Max. She had convinced her mother that they should look for post-holiday bargains. Liz’s father was at a friend’s house watching a football game. Michael and Maria were working downstairs in the Crashdown.
After Liz and her mother finished their shopping, Liz went to her room to try on her bargains. The two had had a wonderful time, finding lots of sale items to tempt them. Liz loved the new sweater that her mother had purchased for her. It was another red sweater—a beautiful brick red with a narrow brass zipper down the front. She tried it on with a stretchy, black skirt she had purchased. As she surveyed herself in the mirror, she found that the young woman looking back at her was simply gorgeous. She brushed her long, dark hair until it was silky and then pulled it back with the tortoise shell clip. Then she spun around to see how she looked in the mirror from all angles. Slipping on a pair of shoes, she was about to go show her mother how she looked when she heard her father’s voice.
“Lizzie, mom and I are going over to Senor Chow’s for dinner. Wanna come?”
“I thought you were watching football,” Liz called back down the hallway.
“I was, but you know your mother. It’s Sunday afternoon…”
“Um, no I’m okay,” Liz replied. “I’ll just wait for Maria to get off work. We’ll probably do something later.”
“We might catch a movie after we eat. You sure you’re okay?”
“Yeah, Dad. I’m fine. Have a good time,” Liz smiled as she heard concern in her father’s voice. She knew he wanted to be alone with her mother tonight, but he did not want Liz to feel that she was being left out. Little did he know that his daughter wanted a break from the crowds, including her parents, after her shopping trip.
A tap at her window broke into Liz’s thoughts. Looking back at the window, she froze. It was Max, and he had that little smile on his lips. That smile that meant he knew what she was thinking. How long had he been standing there, she wondered with embarrassment. Did he see me dressing? Liz blushed as she made her way to the window.
“Hi,” Max spoke softly as Liz opened the window.
“Max? Hi. Um, when did you get back?”
“About noon. Is this a good time? You know, I wanted to talk to you last week…”
Yeah…um…I guess. It was really sweet of you to come to the service last week. It meant a lot…I mean, to your family.”
“Yeah, my mom was glad. But that’s not what I wanted to talk about. Do you think we could go somewhere—just for a few minutes.”
“Sure,” Liz was confused. She knew that she owed Max and the others her life, and she wanted to thank them all again, but Max’s wanting to see her seemed strange.
Max took a deep breath. He had to make this work. He knew Liz’s parents were gone this afternoon. They spent nearly every Sunday afternoon away from the Crashdown. It was their time to be alone as a couple. Liz had told him that they usually drove up to Buckley Point or went out to eat, just the two of them.
“Look, I need to check on something,” Liz looked into Max’s eyes with determination. “Why don’t you have a seat in the living room? I’ll be there in a minute.”
Max glanced at Liz’s bed and smiled to himself. She was obviously uncomfortable with his being in her bedroom. “Okay. This isn’t a bad time, is it?”
“No, no. I just need to check on something for the café,” Liz lied.
After Max left her bedroom, Liz dashed into her bathroom and closed the door. “Oh, my god,” she whispered to herself. “I can’t talk to him. Yes, I can—I have to…this is ridiculous, Liz, get a grip,” she scolded her reflection. “Okay, let’s go,” she told herself. Liz opened the door cautiously and walked reluctantly into the living room.
Max looked up at the sight of the beautiful girl standing in the doorway. “Hi,” he smiled at her. “Come sit down. Your parents are gone?”
“Yeah. Their usual…you know, Sunday afternoon date…”
“My parents do that a lot on Friday nights.”
“Michael’s here?” Max asked.
“Yeah. He’s working today. My dad is giving him overtime for today and tomorrow. He said he would need it to pay Isabel back for Maria’s earrings.” Liz smiled as she thought about Michael and his Christmas “present” to Maria.
Max sat back down on the couch as Liz took her seat in a chair that was facing him. She nervously fingered the torn upholstery on the chair. It was an old chair from her grandmother. Her father had given it to Michael a few weeks ago, but he hadn’t had a chance to move it to his apartment.
Neither Liz nor Max spoke for a few awkward seconds. Finally, Max broke the ice. “I guess you’re wondering why I wanted to talk to you,” he began.
“Yeah…I guess you want to know everything Nicholas told me…at least everything I can remember. We really didn’t get to talk after you found me.”
“Yeah, we need to know what we’re facing in the future. But I also wanted to know about the granolith.”
“Oh, well, um…they didn’t say much. They just wanted it really badly. It’s really powerful. Nothing like it on earth.”
“They said that?”
“No, not exactly. I just guessed. I mean, why else would they want it?”
“So, you just think it’s really powerful, but nobody told you that?”
“Um…yeah. You know, it’s big, and it pulses, right? I think Maria told me it pulses. It must use a lot of energy or put out a lot of energy or something,” Liz began to feel uneasy under Max’s stare. There was a look in his eyes that she could not read. His voice had a tone in it as if he were talking to a small child.
“They didn’t mention why they wanted it…like if it’s for transport or anything…”
“No, they just kept trying to do this mind stuff. They were sure I had seen it. They were really mad when they couldn’t see its location in my mind. You know, they could see in my mind that you and I had talked about how it was modified in the future…” Suddenly Liz’s eyes grew wider as she realized her mistake. It wasn’t Max with whom she had spoken about the granolith’s modification. It was Future Max! Her mind reeled as she realized the horrible mistake she had just made. She nearly had slipped up before when she had told Max not to let anyone have control of the granolith. He had questioned her then about how she knew so much. She had asked him to trust her. Now she had messed up again. It just wasn’t possible to be friends with Max. The minute she was with him, she kept slipping up and forgetting what she could and could not say. She never should have agreed to this talk. Oh, how could she have been so foolish?
“I know, Liz,” Max’s eyes softened as he looked deeply into her large brown ones. “I know what you did.” He could sense her fear and desperation.
“Max, I already told you when we were in Arizona. It was a mistake with Kyle, but I can’t take it back. I mean, it had to happen sometime. You know, a normal boy and everything. I’m not perfect.” Liz had mistakenly thought that Max had changed subjects to her betrayal of him with Kyle. She babbled on about Kyle, hoping that Max would forget about the granolith.
“It won’t work, Liz,” Max interrupted. “You can’t change the subject to Kyle and that…little drama in your bedroom,” Max’s eyes were serious, but gentle as he leaned toward her. “You know we’ve been connected ever since I healed you—in a way, even before that really. You know I believe in you. I told you that last week. You don’t really think you can hide this stuff from me anymore, do you?”
Max stood up and walked to her chair, standing so closely that Liz could nearly feel his heart beating. “When Isabel dream walked you, she found out a lot more than where Nicholas had taken you. She told me what she saw, Liz, and everything I know about you finally started making sense again.” Max’s smile of compassion nearly melted Liz’s heart. She stared at him, her brown eyes filling with tears. “I hear that in a few years I’m gonna let my hair grow…and my beard. In fact, it looks like we’re getting married, too. Nineteen…my beautiful little a cradle robber!”
Liz gasped as she realized the implication of what Max was saying. This was awful, terrible. He couldn’t know. Oh, god. This would ruin everything. Everyone would die now. “No, Max. What are you talking about? You can’t grow a beard. You know, the dress code at school--no facial hair. Probably Isabel’s thoughts just got mixed up with mine. You know, she’s always looking at bride’s magazines. Even Isabel says dream walking isn’t a hard science. It’s all just random thoughts...”
“Enough!” Max roared as he bent down to pull her out of the chair. “No more lies to protect me or anyone else. You and I belong together. We’ll find a way to handle Tess. And no more Kyle in his boxers, do you understand? I don’t share my wife with anyone, even if it is to save the world.” Max gripped Liz’s arms firmly, eyes blazing with impatience.
“Wife?” Liz whispered staring up into his eyes, disbelief coursing through her mind. “What do you mean?”
Max shook his head as if disgusted with Liz’s sudden density. His arms suddenly wrapped around her and his lips devoured hers hungrily. Liz could feel the heat rising between them as his mouth pressed against hers and his tongue sought out the depths of her mouth. She closed her eyes and melted into his arms. His arms! This wonderful place of peace and joy called Max’s arms. It was where she belonged. But no! She could not do this. She had to save Max and the others. She pressed her hands against his chest and pushed him away.
“No, Max, we can’t do this. It’s wrong. It’s selfish. Please, you have to understand!”
Max pulled back from Liz and smiled at her. “Come on. I have something to show you,” he ignored her protestations and taking her hand in his, Max led Liz down the back stairs to the café. As they walked through the café and out the front door, Maria stood with her arms akimbo and with a grin on her face.
“Now that’s a real man, space boy,” she looked in Michael’s direction as he watched Max lead Liz out the door. “He knew who he wanted, and he came to get her.”
Max drove the jeep down the lonely highly toward the pod chamber. As Liz began to recognize their destination, she became more nervous. Her heart began to beat wildly. She was afraid to look at Max, so she tried thinking the periodic table of elements. She tried reciting the elements in her head in the correct order. It didn’t work. She squirmed in the seat, trying to find a comfortable way to fit. It didn’t work. Her body simply couldn’t be comfortable as long as her mind was in such anguish.
Max, on the other hand, was relaxed as he drove to the pod chamber. He knew exactly what was going to happen when they arrived. He would show Liz the granolith, he would keep her there until she gave in, and then he would kiss her and hold her in his arms for hours.
When they arrived at the chamber, Max stopped the jeep and turned off the engine. Stepping out of the jeep, he walked around its front all the while smiling at Liz. Liz looked down at her hands. What was he doing? She tried to breathe deeply to calm her nerves, but the breaths were jagged. Max reached across Liz’s lap to unbuckle her seat belt. Then he placed his hands around her waist and lifted her out of the vehicle and slowly eased her down until her feet felt the soft, desert sand. “Come on,” he said quietly. Taking her hand in his, he led her to the chamber. Placing his hand on the appropriate spot, a silver handprint appeared. The doorway slowly opened, and they stepped into the chamber.
“Max,” Liz finally found her voice, “…what are we doing here? It’s true what I said. You don’t understand. You have to be with Tess. You guys have to be together to fight your enemies. You know that.”
“You’re wrong, Liz. I do understand. You and I complete each other. I will never be able to really find my balance again, lead my people, anything, unless you’re there with me. Healing those kids was great, but it’s not enough. I have to have you. It’s as simple as that.” Max pulled her back against his chest and cupped her face in his hands. “Never turn away from me again, even if an older version of me asks you to,” his eyes were stern and serious. “One day, we will be married, and one day, all this fighting will be over.” Max lowered his mouth to Liz’s lips once more and sought her with an urgency she had not felt from him before.
He wrapped one arm around her back to hold her closely as his other hand moved up her stomach to cup a breast. Liz felt the heat of his touch on her breast, and her nipples hardened in response. As he teased her breast, Liz gave in to her feelings, running her fingers through his hair, loving the silky texture of it, loving the very feel of his body against hers. Max’s fingers reached for the brass ring on her zipper and slowly begin to lower the zipper. As the sweater fell open, he released her lips and looked down at her body where her black, lace bra covered her firm breasts. “Liz, I want to make love to you. You are everything to me. I want to feel all of you.”
Liz glanced down at her front self-consciously and then looked back at Max’s adoring eyes. “Max, I’m scared. I can’t be the cause of everyone dying. You know I love you.”
“And I love you. And that’s why we’ll make it work. We won’t make the same mistakes we did last time. And Tess will be a part of us. But, she will never be my mate or bride or lover. She’ll just be one of us, like Michael and Isabel.” Max paused and gazed into her eyes with such desire that Liz’s legs nearly went limp. “Now I’m going to make love to my wife,” he whispered huskily into her ear as he began a trail of hot kisses down her neck. “Please, Liz? It’s okay. I have protection.”
“Oh, that’s right. I forgot,” Liz looked up at Max sheepishly, remembering her heated denial to Future Max that she wasn’t protected the night of the Gomez concert. “Actually, you told me about that, or rather your older self did. Not that it matters. I’m on the pill—you know, my cycle got messed up when I was in Florida. Future you told me we made love the night of the Gomez concert.”
“The night of the Gomez concert? So we didn’t make it to the concert then, either?”
“No, not exactly. We sort of…”
“Yeah, that’s a good word for it,” Liz smiled against Max’s lips as she blushed, remembering what Future Max had told her about that night and their “cementing,” as he had called it.
“Well, there’s no concert tonight, but I think we can still work on the bonding part.” Max smiled down at her as he ran his hands through her soft hair. Then without further warning Max swung Liz into his arms and carried her the few feet to the opening behind one of the pods. “Just consider this a little practice for when I carry you over the threshold in a couple of years,” he grinned down at her. “Let’s climb through here. I want you to see the granolith.”
Max set Liz down and the two of them crawled through the narrow opening into the granolith chamber. As they stood up, Liz was amazed at what she saw. “Oh, goodness! I never dreamed it was so big. Maria’s description didn’t do it justice. Max, what does it do? Don’t you have any idea?” Liz’s scientific mind was racing she stepped over to the granolith and peered at it closely all the while clasping the edges of her sweater together. Glancing to the side, Liz noticed a small mattress on the floor of the chamber. It looked like the kind of mattress that was used on army cots. Next to it was a folded blanket. “What’s that?” Liz pointed to the mattress.
“Before I went to New York and found out how important the granolith was to Nicholas, I used to come out here and just sit and look at it sometimes. Somehow it’s kind of soothing. I brought the mattress to sit on.”
Liz nodded her understanding. There was something calming about the pulsating light. “Have you touched it? Does it give off energy if you touch it?”
“Shh…” Max whispered, placing his fingers on Liz’s lips. “We’ll talk about it later.” Then he gently pulled the sweater off her shoulders and dropped it onto the chamber’s floor. Dipping his head down to her chest, his lips sought out her breasts. With a wave of his hand, her bra clasp opened, and he slid the straps off her shoulders. As the bra fell from her body, Max stared at her breasts, and then looked into her eyes with a smile on his face. “Just the way I knew you would be—perfect,” he murmured.
Liz suddenly felt shy and. Max’s eyes were burning through her skin to her very soul. “I’m not sure about this, Max. I’m sort of…” she mumbled covering her chest with her arms.
“Embarrassed? No, Liz,” he smiled down at her. “We were made for each other. We aren’t complete unless we’re together. Nothing between us can ever be shameful because we love each other. Don’t hide yourself from me.”
Max gently pulled Liz’s arms apart and placed them on his shoulders. “There. My beautiful wife.”
Liz smiled into Max’s heated eyes. She did want this, but she was so frightened. Frightened of her future, Max’s future, frightened because she was a virgin and did not know anything about men and how to please them. Max pulled her close until their bodies were meshed against each other. She could feel his erection through his jeans. He was so hard. It fascinated her just a little to think about how he would look without his clothes. Max bent down to kiss her once again thrusting his tongue deep into her mouth. “So you’re curious about me, huh?” he whispered into her ear as he felt her thoughts race through his mind.
“Oh!” Liz’s eyes grew wide with embarrassment. Max smiled down at her and started to unbutton his shirt. “No, let me,” Liz smiled shyly into his eyes. As his shirt fell to the floor, Liz could only stare contentedly at Max’s magnificent physique. His chest and arms were strong and muscled—just like the last time she had seen him. That time, in his bedroom, she had insisted that he put on a shirt.
Max began to finger the button on Liz’s skirt. He slowly slid the zipper down, and it fell into a puddle at her feet. She stepped out of the skirt and stood before him in her black lace panties. “My god,” he breathed deeply. “How did I get so lucky?” he whispered as he left small kisses down her cheek and onto the soft bend of her throat. He picked Liz up slowly and laid her tenderly on the mattress, his lips never leaving her body. As he rested his weight upon her, he pulled back to gaze into her eyes. “Am I hurting you? Am I too heavy?”
“No,” she murmured, having difficulty speaking with her heart pounding so hard. Max then began a gentle exploration of Liz’s body--kissing and sucking on her breasts, igniting fires on Liz’s skin that could not be extinguished, placing a path of kisses down her body to her panties. Suddenly he stopped and stood up from the pallet. Quickly he pulled off his jeans and boxers.
Liz gasped at the sight of him—all of him. How could she possibly accommodate him? Max saw amazement and doubt crossing her pretty features. “It’s all right, Liz. I won’t hurt you.”
“I know,” she said nodding her head nervously. “It’s…You’re so…”
“Above average?” he grinned, lying back down next to her. “Nope, I’m just your normal, everyday guy. At least that’s what all the girls say.”
“Max,” Liz turned her eyes away from his manhood, her cheeks flushed with embarrassment.
“You know you’re the first, Liz…and only,” Max whispered huskily into her ear, nipping at her earlobe as he spoke. “You and me, Liz—it’s like we’re a matching pair. We’re made for each other and no one else.” His lips continued down her throat again and then down her chest as he explored her body at his leisure.
Liz’s senses were in flames as Max’s mouthed burned into her skin. She felt her core turning to liquid at his touch. Heat radiated between their bodies as they loved each other.
Curious but hesitant, Liz reached between their bodies for Max’s hardness, but she pulled her hand back before she touched him. What if this bothered him? She wasn’t sure what to do after she touched him. She’d heard the girls in the locker room at school talk, but this was different. This was Max, her Max. And she wanted everything to be perfect for him.
Max smiled at Liz’s hesitation. “It’s all right. You can touch me,” his voice was husky as he guided her hand to his throbbing member.
Liz’s eyes widened as she touched him in this most intimate way. He was hard and warm. She ran her small fingers up his shaft to the tip. Max sucked in his breath as she gently fingered him. “You’re so soft!” she whispered in amazement. “Hard and soft all at once, just like they said.”
“Been discussing this?” Max’s eyes widened as Liz began to stroke him gently. “Oh, god, I’m never going to survive this,” he groaned. Reaching between them, Max lifted his hips slightly off Liz so that he could remove her panties. He dropped them onto the floor and leaned back down against her. Furrowing his fingers into Liz’s dark, feminine curls, he found her wet, silky core. Cautiously inserting a finger into her center, he let out a deep breath. “I love you,” he moaned as his lips sought hers again. Max’s fingers continued to caress her soft, warm depths as his thumb moved up to find her clitoris. As he found her most sensitive spot, Liz’s body writhed beneath him.
“Oh!” Liz sucked in her breath as her body began to convulse in waves of pleasure. Max held her as she continued to come, wetting his fingers with her feminine liquid. When the waves had subsided somewhat, he gently spread her legs further apart and pressed his throbbing manhood against her opening.
“Are you sure?” he whispered.
“Yes,” she whispered back, not sure what she wanted, but she knew that only Max could quench her thirst. “I…I need you.”
Max slowly entered Liz, fearful of harming her. She was so small, so tight. Her walls enclosing him felt like nothing he could have imagined. She was warm, soft and wet, and he was the cause of all this. He was joining his body to the one person whom he loved most. He felt the barrier, and he hesitated for a moment, looking into her eyes. “It’s going to hurt,” he whispered against her neck.
“It’s okay, Max.”
“I can make it go away,” Max raised his head and searched Liz’s eyes for her consent.
“No, Max.,” Liz gasped. “I want to feel everything—even this.”
Max smiled back at her and closed his eyes as he took her mouth with his. Liz felt a tearing sensation and then pain as he plunged into her warm depths. He lay still for a few moments and continued the assault on her mouth until he was sure that her pain had subsided. Then Max pulled back only to plunge inside Liz’s body more deeply. The motion gave them their first experience of being completely connected. Max could feel Liz’s fear and panic disappear. Liz could feel Max’s relief at finally knowing the truth. Max continued moving inside her bringing them both a most exquisite pleasure. Their minds and bodies continued to connect sending out brilliant pulses of energy and love to each other. Their climaxes exploded in their minds as well as in their bodies. Max called out Liz’s name over and over. Liz’s eyes shed tears of joy as she finally understood how deep their connection was. This was Max making love to her. Only Max could bring her to this level. There would never be another.
They lay with their bodies joined long after their hearts had calmed. Max reached for the blanket and dragged it across them as their bodies began to cool. “Max, what’s happening to us?” Liz looked into his eyes with an amazed expression on her face.
“I’m not sure. Lonnie and Rath said alien sex was the best. But they don’t even love each other. They couldn’t possibly have what we have,” Max touched his lips to Liz’s briefly and then shifted his weight as he pulled out of Liz’s body, leaving them both feeling empty. “All those flashes and visions, I don’t know what they mean. I could feel everything you were feeling.”
“I know. I wasn’t sure where you ended and I began. Max, I think this might be part of the change in me. These shared thoughts are getting stronger.”
Max nodded his head in agreement. “My future version will just have to live with the fact that we’re connected in any time line. We’re cemented forever, Liz.”
Liz smiled and stretched her arms around her future husband’s neck as he nibbled at the curve of her neck. She was unsure about so many things in the future, but she knew that Max would be with her forever, and she would never leave him again. No greater love than theirs existed, and it would last through time and eternity. They had made their commitment to each other and at last had another chance at happiness.
Natures first green is gold
Her hardest hue to hold
Her early leaf's a flower
But only so an hour
Then leaf subsides to leaf
So Eden sank to grief
So Dawn goes down to day
Nothing Gold can stay