|posted on 20-Sep-2001 9:01:30 PM|
SUMMARY: M/L AU Max's POV, this is a companion piece to "HOLLOW" it's pretty much Max's view on all the goings on of that story. If you haven't read it yet, I suggest you read HOLLOW first.
DISCLAIMER: Let's sue that one high school student who lives in the middle of nowhere that owns absoulutely nothing...yeah, I didn't think so.
FEEDBACK: Feedback is my life. It's sad I know, but please, make my day, it'll make you feel better.
Have you ever wished your life wasn't so complex? Now, close your eyes and think of every single problem that's ever plagued you. Now, add in the fact that you're an alien. Yup, that's me, Max Evans the alien. Kinda puts your problems into perspective huh? And if that wasn't enough to make my life a living hell, I have to be in love with someone who doesn't even know I exist.
In three weeks I'll have her. Everything I've ever wanted will be mine, and for the first time in my life I'll know what happiness is. But I don't know that yet. Right now, I'm in agony.
I'm doing it again. After all the little talks I've had with myself I'm still doing it. I sit in AP Lit class, oblivious to the world, that is I'm oblivious to everything that isn't Liz Parker. I really need to stop doing this to myself, I'm thinkin it's not all to healthy. I look around, desperate for anything to get my mind off her. My eyes catch Mandy Whitmore's and she winks at me suggestively. I'm not that desperate. I'm about to turn away when I see her pass a note to Kyle Valenti. Usually I wouldn't have cared but he passed it to her. Why would Kyle be giving her a note? Why do I want to punch him to oblivion more than anything right about now?
I place my attention back on Liz. She opens the note slowly and I see her back go ridged. What does that God damn note say? The note is passed back to it's original owner and I can't help but notice how Mandy's eyes get wide, and the way her mouth makes a little 'oh.' Apparently Mandy didn't find Liz's answer acceptable. Liz must have noticed too, because she's now snickering slightly with a gleam of determination in her eye I've never seen before. And as soon as I saw it, I couldn't help but be afraid of whatever she was thinking.
I walk into the quad and sit next to my best friend Michael Guerin. He doesn't even look at me, he's too busy staring off into the distance. I look over in the same direction, curious as to what gained his full attention. Now this just can't be right. Why in God's name would Michael be staring at Liz Parker? I thought it was common knowledge that that was my job. I feel a jab in my side and there sits Michael, smirking at me. I really hate him right now.
"Staring at Liz Parker again I see." What?? He was the one just looking at her. And why is it any of his business? God, why can't I suffer my anguish in peace?
So I shrug, I'm not one for confrontations.
"I think they're talking about you." WHAT??!! They're only on the other side of the quad, Michael. Since when has enhanced hearing been one of our powers?
"You're delusional Michael, you do know that, right?" I can't help but be a little excited at the prospect though. I look back over to her. Wait, something's not right. Why is she looking back at me, that's not supposed to happen. I look down at the table in haste. Since when has she known I'm alive? Why have I not been informed? My little world is getting way too complex.
After a few moments of silent torture, I decide to look up and see what Liz's verdict seems to be. My efforts are fruitless though, because all I can see when I lift my head are breasts. Yes, you heard correctly, breasts. I look to the left: breast. Right: breast. Yes, it's all around breasts for Max Evans. I must look pretty ridiculous right about now. Scared out of my mind by a pair of unidentified breasts. The cleavage's owner, noticing my discomfort, mover down so that her face is now eye level. What I see now is not much better. The culprit: none other than Tess Harding: slut of all universes. She smiles at me like I'm her next conquest. No thanks. I look away and look towards Michael for refuge. He just laughs. Did I mention I really hate him right now? He looks towards Liz and I follow his gaze. She's leaving.
"I gotta help you out here man." Michael says. What the hell was he gonna do? Go up to her and say 'Hey Liz, my friend here has the hots for you, but it's ok cuz he's an alien. You'd be surprised how handy he can be around the house.' Yeah, my ass you're gonna help me Michael.
Before I can object, Michael gets up adn begins to walk awa. I turn in my seat to discover where in fact he thinks he's going. Splat. That's the sound of my stomach dropping to the floor. He was following Liz into the gym. God knows what he's up to.
"Does my brother look like a fruit basket to you?" So far I’m not liking where this conversation is headed.
Tess giggles and throws back her hair. "Uh..noooo." She looks down at me and smiles. I wish she would stop doing that.
"Then back off with the melons." Am I losing my hearing? There is no way in hell Isabel just said that. Tess just stands there frozen, her eyes as big as saucers. I guess she did say that. God I wish I had a camera.
Have you ever noticed that whenever you don’t want to do something it just…happens? Like when you just don’t want to cry the floodgates open. Well right now I don’t want to laugh. I guess you can all figure what I’m doing right about now. Laughing? You say. Wow, you’re good.
"Max?" Isabel says. I know by the tone of her voice she wants to talk about something important. But try as I might I can’t stop laughing. It’s gotten so bad I’m starting to make this weird hiccuping/wheezing sound.
"What do you think about Alex Whitman?" I think I just found the cure to uncontrollable laughter. Cure: little sister who wants to discuss her love life.
"Alex Whitman?" Truth be told, all I know about him is that he’s Liz’s friend. That gives him the a-okay in my book.
"Yeah. Because, because there’s tolo in two weeks… and you know girls are supposed to ask and… well, what do you think?" She seems flustered. Now that’s a first. Isabel could have any guy in school, and believe me, it makes my skin crawl just thinking about that one.
"Oh, he’s cool." I hope this guy actually is cool, and not just some loser. Speaking of losers, where the hell is Michael?
"I’m gonna go get Michael, class is gonna start soon." I start to get up but Isabel’s hand on my arm stops me.
"Michael’s a big boy, besides, he’s been late so many times I don’t even think the teacher’s count them anymore."
"But…" I need to get Liz. I need to save what little dignity I have. I have to
"Max…" Oh oh. Somebody’s in trouble.
I walk into Chemistry, just barely making the tardy bell. I scan the room, but there’s no Liz. Liz is never late. When you’re obsessed with someone for eleven years, you pick up helpful little pieces of information like this. I sit down next to Isabel with a scowl. What is Michael doing to her?
The object of my musings decides to make their entrance at that very moment. Both of them actually. I see Liz move to take her seat next to Maria and he follows. What the… Since when have you been on a leash Mikey?
"Today we choose lab partners." Oh great, I’ll probably be stuck with Isabel or something. After this little announcement the class’s once gentle murmur of conversation turns into an uproar. "That is I’ll be choosing lab partners." And back to the silence, then followed by a heartfelt moan. This could be my chance. Come on Ms. Hardy. Max Evans and Liz Parker, Max Evans and Liz Parker, Max Evans and Liz Parker, Max Evans and
"Max Evans and Mandy Whitmore." Damn. Mandy makes her way over to me, and takes a seat close to me. A seat much to close to me. Being the gentleman that I am I look over to her and smile. She looks like she’s about to have a heart attack. Great.
Okay, so this could still work.
"Alex Whitman and Maria DeLuca."
Just put Liz with Isabel. That would be perfect. She’d still have to come to my house and I could just happen to be around…all the time… and…
"Liz Parker and Tess Harding."
What?!?!? Okay, none of this is is gonna fit in my agenda. Can I have a re-count?
"So when do you wanna get together?" Mandy asks. I hope to God she’s talking about our Chemistry assignment.
"Oh, I dunno…when are you free?"
"mmmmm" Wait…what? I look over to Mandy but she looks just as perplexed as I feel.
"Oh, uh… how bout Tuesday after school?" Her eyebrows are knitted together in confusion. What was that?
"mmmmm" Okay, what the hell. I look around the room and find Liz Parker looking just a little too dreamy. Well at least I know the paranoid schizophrenia isn’t kicking in just yet. What is she thinking? Is she…is she like having a fantasy…or something? NO..no, definitely not. I mean no… She is, isn’t she. She’s having a fantasy. Oh my God, that means… that means she… that she’s fantasizing about someone. Who? Kyle? I am so gonna kick Kyle’s ass. Wait, she was just with Michael wasn’t she. That bastard, like hell he’s gonna help me. Okay think Max, there has to be some rational way to get this figured out. I search the room for any means to help my situation. Okay teacher, no. Maybe I could just throw a stapler at her or something. No, too much damage control. How bout a pencil. No serious injury risks, and it could just happen to slip from my fingers and fling towards her head. Hmmm… and that’s when I see her. Isabel. Isabel, who has been teaching me dreamwalking abilities. Isabel, I salute you.
Okay, so deep calming breaths.
Okay, so deep calming breaths: check. Next is… think about dreamer, so in other words, think about Liz. Okay so there’s not too much trouble in that department.
Liz on the swings in elementary school.
Liz and Maria playing hop scotch.
Liz crying on Alex’s shoulder when she skinned her knee.
Liz comforting Abigail Menford when Tommy Mula broke her heart.
And I’m in.
I stumble for a few moments, slightly disoriented. Liz’s dream. I’m in Liz’s fantasy. Okay, I’m getting a little off topic. Now, where’s Liz?
I walk around, not really knowing where to go. Wherever I am has no boundaries, no restraints. It’s simply a gray mist that seems to last forever. I begin to see an outline. Then two. Obviously my assumption that this was in fact a fantasy was very much true. Damn. I step closer in trepidation. What if I see her all over Michael. That can’t be good for my blood pressure. Oh….my….god….. that’s me…that’s...that’s me with handcuffs?
She has to come down sooner or later. I sit here in the Crashdown Café. Why, you ask? I have no clue, all I know is I have to see Liz and somehow explain. God, I feel like such a slimeball, just walking into her dream, invading her privacy like that. But God do I feel great. She wants me. Not just that, she wants me…with handcuffs. Man, life is good.
"Whatcha doin man?"
"Oh, uh nothing. Just thinking." Michael shrugs and sits across from me, and I immediately forget about him. Hmmm fantasy or Michael? Wow, wonder which one’s gonna win.
"You’re not gonna pull a Liz Parker on me are you?" Oh god. How much does he know? There’s no way he would do that. No possible way…
"You did it, didn’t you?" He bites on his lip and tries to look inconspicuous while looking around the room and whistling. Nice try Michael. When he looks back at me this is what he sees. Me: glare. If we weren’t in a crowded restaurant I’d probably be making some "grr" noises too.
"Okay, okay. So I admit I took a little peek. But so did you!!! Anyway, it was good news right? The chick wants in your pants." Sometimes I think Michael should take up poetry.
"That’s lovely Michael."
"Whatever, look there she is." I turn my head and there she is, adorned with antennae. Have I ever told you how much I love that uniform. Oh my. Sometimes I just wish I carried handcuffs around with me. Okay, I need a plan. What can I say to her. For the first time in your life she’s interested. Come on Max…. I got nothing. Wait just a goddamn minute, who’s that she’s talking to? Why in hell is she talking to Kyle Valenti? That’s it, I’m going up there.
I walk towards the counter, eager to hear their conversation. I stand behind Liz, careful so neither party notices my presence.
"I’m just tired. It’s no big deal I just dozed off for a sec." Yeah, tell it to the judge officer Parker. Shouldn’t you be making a citizen’s arrest right about now?
"It’s just…you were making these weird breathy noises…like you were moaning or something" Hey, buddy. Back off. And why are you so concerned anyway? Hound.
"Snore." What the?
"I snore. It’s weird, every time I go to sleep it’s like the neighbor’s are getting free porno." My ass you were snoring.
"Oh." Please Valenti, if you buy that one not even Buddha’s gonna love you.
"Yup." I can’t help it. She looks so cute, I have to play with her. I tap her on the shoulder innocently and she must think I’m one of her friends because she seems completely calm. That is, until she realizes it’s me.
"So is that true?" I wonder what she has to say for herself now.
Have you ever just known that today is going to be one of the greatest days of your life? Just a small humming sensation in the middle of your chest, subtlety letting you know something amazing is about to come your way. Well, that day is today. Here I am flirting mercilessly with Liz Parker. Liz Parker, who before today had no idea who I was. Liz Parker, the girl I’ve been in love with my entire life, the girl who less than an hour ago permanently etched me into her fantasy file. Accompanied with handcuffs.
"So is that true?" I ask. I already know it’s not but she looks so damn cute, teasing her is my only option.
"True?" Good tactic, Parker. Trying to get off subject. Not gonna work, but I give you a five for effort.
"Yeah, about the moaning thing." Remember? It was right about the time we were making out in your fantasy.
"Moaning?" Did I break her? Is she only capable of one word answers now?
"Mmmmhmmm." I smile and lean forward over the counter. Why does she have to be so goddamn cute? If she wasn’t so cute I could be having a real conversation, but instead I have to control the urge to just jump her.
"Well, I have been known to moan on a number of occasions, perhaps you’d like to jog my memory…" oh…my…god…am I breathing. I think I need to breathe now. Did she...did she just…oh dear lord please let me jog your memory. NO, must get back to matter at hand.
"Really." Breathe. "Well how bout we start with what you were dreaming about." Good, now maybe if we start talking about the dream I can somehow explain what’s going on. Wait. Should I…should I tell her. You know, tell her… everything? Maybe I should have brought Michael… I am so lost.
I look back up to Liz, and she has that same determined look in her eye that I saw this morning.
"Well, it started with you…on this counter." Swallow…must not drool…wait…that didn’t happen…did it? Damn it, did I miss the good stuff? "Then I come out through that door…" She points to the back entrance. She’s lying. I smirk at her, I know she’s lying, but then again she doesn’t know I know. Might as well play along.
Wait a freaking minute. Now she’s playing with my shirt buttons. I look down at her hands, watching every movement. How am I supposed to keep my cool when she’s making me so hot?
"Then…" she’s moving closer and my pulse is now off the charts. Her mouth hovers dangerously over my ear, "Then…" I can feel her smiling, I can already tell that humming feeling in my chest go away, "Then I say, ‘not if you were the last man on earth.’ The end." She licks my ear just barely, but I can definitely feel it. Than she walks away, most pleased with herself I imagine. But I know what was in that dream, and I’m not even close to being discouraged.
I walk back to my table where I find Michael and Isabel clapping unceremoniously. I love how supportive they are sometimes.
"Gee Max, I mean I knew you were good, but damn." Ha ha ha. I give him one of my patented dirty looks, I am one mean mother.
"No, Max he’s right." Isabel says. "Come on Michael, say it with me, Who’s the man?"
"Max the man." They say together. Sometimes I wish I was a hermit with no siblings.
"So Isabel, talked to Alex lately?" That shut her up. One down, one to go.
"Oh and Michael, didn’t you come here with Maria?" He nods slowly. "Really, that’s weird because she’s been giving you the dirtiest looks I’ve ever seen the whole afternoon…weird." Yeah, Max IS the man.
"Whatever, I’m gonna talk to Alex as soon as he comes in."
"Is, he’s been sitting in that booth for over fifteen minutes." Michael says. Isabel’s face contorts a little and she opens her mouth to retort then immediately closes again. Isabel without a comeback that’s a first. I can’t help the small bit of laughter from erupting.
"Like you should talk, King Max. You’re the peeping tom of the group." Oh, great Is knows too? I look towards Michael and he’s doing that whistling thing again.
"Well let’s not forget about peeping Michael over here." I point towards Michael and he plasters on his "who me" expression and just shrugs nonchalantly.
"I can not believe you guys!!!! I am surrounded by pervs." Isabel says this just as Maria walks up to our table. Isabel says this just a little to loudly for my comfort.
Maria reaches for her order pad and asks us for our drink orders.
"Oh, I’ll have a blood of alien smoothie." Isabel says.
"And for the pervs?" Oh great, you know that whole best day of my life bit? Yeah, scratch that.
"We’ll have cherry cokes." Michael says. "Oh and one more thing, where’s Liz?" Way to be covert Michael. You’d think hiding a secret for ten years would get you used to being all sneaky.
"Hey, have you seen Liz?" It’s Kyle. Why does Kyle want to know where Liz is? That guy really gets on my nerves.
"Hey guys!!!!!" Oh great, Tess too? "Hey Max…" I smile slightly and look down. "Have any of you seen Liz?" WHAT?? "We never decided when to do our chemistry thing." Yeah, a likely story.
Everyone is quiet and then five pairs of eyes turn to Maria.
"WHAT?? I don’t know!!!" She begins to walk off towards the back and mumbles "I’m moving to Czechoslovakia and changing my name to Liz." Okay…is Czechoslovakia even a country anymore?
I turn back to the table and now everyone is staring at me.
"What?" I ask. But unfortunately for me no one seems to be very forthcoming.
"What?" Why am I so interesting all of a sudden?
"Don’t you have some unfinished business to attend to?" What? Ohhhhh.
"Oh, uh… yeah, that’s right Michael, I’ll just uh…I’m gonna…bye." I walk towards the back and stop at the door. What should I do? Okay, just go in there and grab her. That way she’ll have to talk to you.
"Liz? Liz are you hiding back there?" I hear some shuffling and a little gasp. I guess that answers that question. I walk in and her eyes look like their about to pop out of her head.
"There you are. I think we need as moment alone, don’t you? Great…let’s go." I grab her arm and look around for a private place to talk. All there is is the bathroom, oh well…bathroom it is. I expected her to fight or call me a myriad of dirty names. But she’s just following me peacefully, almost in a daze. Hmmm, maybe today isn’t so bad after all.
So here I am, locked into a bathroom with the girl of my dreams. And all I can think is: what the hell am I gonna do now? In a couple of weeks I’ll be able to tease her ruthlessly about this while holding her hand and kissing her. But right now I’m just afraid she’s gonna explode.
"Listen Liz, I think we need to talk." Way to go big guy. What are you gonna say ‘hey Liz I’m an alien and I went inside your head and saw your fantasy about me. But don’t worry because I’m in love with you.’ Yeah, that should go over real well.
She just nods.
I wish she would say something. She looks so frightened.
"A…about what happened today…" My voice is shaky I’m so nervous. Is she afraid of me? If she is, I can only imagine what would happen when she finds out I’m a little spaceman. I look at her and I find myself drawn to her beauty. I want to tell her I love her, that I’ve always loved her. But she looks so uneasy still. I take a step closer in an effort to comfort her. She takes a step back. I’m too lost now to just give up. I progress forward until Liz finds herself pinned against a wall. She looks so damn sexy…I’m gonna break.
"I know Liz, I know." I know everything. I know that our connection is mutual. I know…
"Wha…" I don’t let her finish her thought. I swoop down and take her lips in mine. She’s so soft and warm. This is what I’ve been waiting for. I’ve never kissed a girl before, and I’m surprised I know what to do.
She tenses up slightly, and all I want to do is comfort her. Let her know I would never hurt her. I swipe my tongue across her bottom lip, asking for entrance. After a few moments she complies and OH MY GOD!!!!! She’s kissing me back!!!! This kissing thing is so much better when both parties are involved.
Oh my god, no wonder people are always making out at school, at the movies, at the mall, this is amazing………
Her skin seems to beckon me and my hand finds it’s way up her top. Her skin…ohhhh….it’s so…..ahhhhhh……soft…..yessssss…….
"mmmmmmm" oh mother….she’s moaning….for real reasons…..because of me…..god life is good…..
I resist the urge to yell at the patron who decided they had to pee at this very moment. Yelling would mean I would have to stop kissing Liz, and that’s something I’m not willing to do.
"Liz honey are you in there?" Is that who I think it is?
"Uh, hi mom." Guess so. Liz breaks our kiss in alarm, but I’m too lost in her feel to fully break contact. I nuzzle her neck lovingly. Who knows when she’ll let me do this again. Then again, she doesn’t seem to be one for complaining.
"Are you okay Lizzie?" Oh yes, little Lizzie is more than fine. Bye bye now.
"Oh, yeah I’m fine mom." Her eyes are wide in panic, obviously trying to come up with a valid excuse. "I’m just having some…uh…womanly problems…you know." I snicker slightly I can’t help it, womanly problems? That’s just too perfect.
"Oh, it sounds really bad, why don’t you skip work today, okay sweetie." Bad Mrs. Parker, now how am I gonna look at her for the rest of the day?
"Yeah, that sounds good. I’ll be out in a sec." Now go away, you’re ruining the moment.
"Alright, I’ll just go tell Maria." Liz waits until her mother walks away and that’s when she turns on me. Gulp. She starts smacking my chest...and ow…that kinda hurts…okay ow…stop…ow
"TALK MY ASS MAX!!!!!!!!!" I hold up my hands in protest. Okay so maybe she’s a little angry now, but a couple of minutes ago she was more than fine with it…ow…god, now I really do wish I had those handcuffs.
"Okay, okay, I’m sorry….stop." And she’s not stopping, now she’s hitting harder. She looks angry. I wish I could help, but right now I just need her to stop causing me pain. I grab her hands, I mean I am bigger. She freezes and I find myself lost in her eyes. How is it possible to be this much in love? Especially when we’re only sixteen?
"I gotta go." I want to stop her but she’s long gone before I can even process that she’s leaving.
I walk back out to the Crashdown, dejected, again. Michael and Isabel still sit where they were previously situated. Do they ever go away?
"Oh my god, Max!! Did someone beat you up?" Isabel cries. I look down at myself, my shirt is half way undone and my chest is red from Liz’s previous smacking fit. I can only imagine what the rest of me looks like.
"Well, by the looks of all that lip gloss on him, I would say he got disheveled in a much more pleasant way." Michael responds. Damn them and their perceptive ways.
"I’m just gonna go home." I say. I am in no mood to get teased the rest of the evening. I need to figure out what the hell is going on first.
"Hey can I spend the night?" Michael asks me. "I need to use your computer for this…uh school thing."
School thing? Since when does Michael do anything related to school? "School thing?"
"Oh, um yeah, if I don’t do this one history project I fail, and I’m thinkin I shouldn’t do that…you know the whole failing thing…yeah."
"Okay…." Great, now I have Michael and Isabel in my house to torture me. This keeps getting better and better.
"Turn to page 157." Being the great brother that I am, I comply without question.
"100 Ways to Please a Woman." This is me: ????????????????
"You know…just in case…" I think you should take a picture, because there is no way my chin hasn’t hit the floor.
"NO!! I don’t want to hear anything!! Just read." I am now thoroughly confused. I just kinda stare at the page, not really comprehending anything it says.
"Yo." It’s Michael, back from his fifteen minute bathroom break. I don’t ask, because I don’t really want to know. He sits at my computer and clicks the little AOL icon. He’s been on and off the Internet every five minutes. What is he looking for? Is this that infamous "school thing?" I look towards the clock, it’s nearly 3:30 a.m. I’m about to ask him about it, but he beats me to it.
"What are you reading?" Uh oh.
"Oh, um…just this article about…uh…Tool." Yeah, Tool is a guy band. It makes sense.
"In Mademoiselle?" I repeat: Uh oh.
"Oh, well…you see…" Michael looks back to the computer, obviously whatever he’s looking for is not there just yet. He walks over to me, and grabs the magazine.
"100 Ways to Please a Woman?" WHAT? Like you don’t want to know. He just stares at me, one eyebrow raised in amusement.
"What? Isabel gave it to me." I defend myself.
"You want to please Isabel?" WHAT?????????????? Isn’t that like against the law anyway?
"Then why are you reading that?" You would think it was obvious, then again this IS Michael. Well, if he doesn’t know, I’m not about to tell him.
"No, I want to know, why you reading that? Huh, Max?" Michael makes some weird noises. Noises that could only be described as "kissy noises." Much to my chagrin. He cups his hands under his chin, giving his most feminine pose and flutters his eyelashes.
"Drop it Michael."
"Awwww. Maxie Waxie, don’t get all angry bangry." Oh look, there goes my glare again. By the way things are going, I may have to give it an early retirement.
"D R O P I T."
"Just tell Michael why you were reading the big, bad girly magazine."
"Why were you in the bathroom so long?"
"Dropping it." Good choice Michael. We certainly wouldn’t want Maria to get her hands on this information now would we? Michael heads back to the computer, obviously not wanting to get into that subject further.
click click click click click click click click
click click click click click click click click
"Who are you talking to?"
"Who me?" Yes, Michael you. I can see how you got confused, seeing as you’re the only other person in this room.
"Really? Cuz it sounds to me that you’re iming someone." Yes, aren’t my observation skills amazing?
"Oh. Yeah. Yup, you caught me man. It’s…MARIA!!! I mean, yeah I’m talking to Maria." Okay…the boy is already whipped.
"Well, I’m goin to sleep." Michael hops away from the computer and into his sleeping bag in record time. He shuts off the light and turns away from me. Apparently he had a very interesting conversation with Maria.
"You’re wearing that?" Since when has Michael been so fashion conscience?
"Uh, yeah. I guess so." It’s Saturday afternoon, and Michael does not seem too pleased with my current assemble. How do I know this? You ask. Well, the fact that he’s rummaging through my closet looking for some "suitable Saturday wear" was my first clue.
"I can’t do anything with this. I’ll be right back. We need to bring in the big guns." Michael walks out my door and less than a minute later he comes back with Isabel, whispering intensely. They start going through every piece of clothing I’ve ever owned before finally turning to face me. The product? Black slacks accompanied with black long-sleeved shirt.
"Very classic chic." Isabel says. Michael just nods in satisfaction. Isabel throws the outfit at me and then proceeds to shoo me into the bathroom. I guess I’m supposed to change now.
I’m almost done buttoning my shirt when I hear a knock on the door.
"Did you finish that essay for English?" It’s Michael. I open the door in my new clothes. Michael gives me a thumbs up. I wonder when Michael turned into Fonzie.
"Yeah, I did." I walk to my book bag and retrieve my freshly typed essay. This has to be the best thing I’ve written all year. Michael scans over it, though I doubt he’s even reading it.
"Not bad." I smile sarcastically and reach for the paper, but Michael moves it out of my grasp.
"But it needs work. I’m thinking you’ll need some professional help to rectify this situation." What the hell is he talking about?
"I got you an English tutor." Huh?
"Huh? Michael, I’m an A student."
"Are you complaining?"
"Yes. Now give me my paper back." He looks down at the essay in his hands and begins to rip it up. I can feel my eyes bulge out.
"WHAT THE HELL MICHAEL!!!!" I reach for the shreds that were once my beautiful essay, but he stuffs the remains in his pocket. He knows I could just put it back together. Alien powers are handy that way.
"I don’t see why you’re complaining.." I open my mouth to protest but he holds up his hand, effectively shutting me up. "considering the fact that Liz Parker will now be coming to your house three times a week helping you with your little English problem." What? Who? Huh? What? Gah?
"Liz..Li" I swallow the lump in my throat. "Liz Parker?" I can’t even talk. My words are coming out as a weird squeak. Michael looks over to the clock, 2:00.
"Oh look, there she is, right on time too." Michael smiles, pats me on the back and hops back out the window. Oh…my…god….
Have you ever just wondered what the hell is going on? Well this is the stupor I currently find myself in. I don’t know if I should beat the crap out of Michael or start a one man cult in honor of him.
Everything makes so much more sense now. The "schoolwork" Michael had to do at my house. Our little miniature version of a fashion show this morning. The pieces of the puzzle are slowly falling into place. And do you know what I find there?
Ignorance is bliss.
You never really know what that means until you experience it. And the ironic thing is, once you experience it, you know just how true that statement is. I miss being ignorant.
That’s when it really hits me. That this is actually happening. That it’s not just another one of my fevered day dreams. I can’t decide if that’s a good thing or not.
I walk slowly to the front of the house and stop in front of the door. The final barrier. I hope your catching the symbolism in all of this. I hear retreating footsteps and hurriedly open the door, throwing all my trepidation to the wind. I can’t let her leave now.
She turns around, and my breath catches in my throat. I guess that wind with all my trepidation in it came back to haunt me. She stands there awkwardly. I’m thinking maybe I should say something.
"Hey Liz." Okay, so not very original but I think it gets my point across.
"Uh, hey." We stand in silence, neither of us really knowing what to do. Is she as nervous as I am? I doubt it.
"Do you…do you wanna come in?" My voice is so strained. If I weren’t seventeen I would swear I was going through puberty.
"Oh. Yeah, sure." I usher her inside and that’s when I allow myself my first real look at her. She looks amazingly beautiful. I just want to grab her and…NO. Stop. Must find new thoughts. Clean thoughts.
"Do you want anything? Something to eat…or or drink maybe?" Yes. This is a safe topic. Now I can go in the kitchen and have a little talk with myself. She shakes her head no. I should have figured she wouldn’t make this easy on me. But God, she looks so…
"What?" Oh God. Am I drooling?
I knew it I AM drooling. This is just great.
"Nothing." She says. Somehow I don’t believe her but I decide to leave it alone. I mean if I were drooling she would tell me right? Right? That’s what I thought.
"My room’s this way." I can’t help but be giddy. I’m all alone with Liz Parker in my bedroom. How many of my of my fantasies started out this way? Too many. Okay so maybe just about all of them. I turn and close the door behind her. She looks nervous. I smile. I meant for it to be comforting but I doubt that’s how it turned out. I’m probably grinning like a love-lorn fool. It makes sense if you really think about it.
"So what do you need help with exactly?" Oh yeah. She’s supposed to be tutoring me. Now what did Michael say? English right?
"Oh, umm, that essay for Sortenni’s class on Monday."
"Well do you have like a rough draft or something that I could look at?" Wow. She’s good at this. I walk over to my back pack and shuffle around for my essay, and that’s when I realize it. My essay, or should I say the remainder of my essay is still resting peacefully in Michael’s coat pocket.
"My essay is no longer with us."
"Oh." Her brow crunches up in confusion, but as you can imagine I don’t want to exactly get into where my essay actually is. And more importantly why it got there.
"How bout I just write one now, and you can just…hang out."
I walk to my desk and immediately begin my essay. I remember most of it. Should I mess it up a little? That way she’ll have a reason to be here? Or at least think she has a reason to be here. I can’t help it. I know I’m supposed to be writing an essay, but my mind wanders back to that day in Chem. Back to that fantasy. About me. The way she thought about…
I hate Alexander Graham Bell. I get up and reach for the receiver. None to enthusiastically mind you.
"Hey Max." Oh holy Mother. If that’s not a bucket of ice water then I don’t know what is.
"I was thinking maybe you needed some company…?" She sounds a little too hopeful there. Does the girl not take a hint? Isn’t there like a book for this? And if that doesn’t work, maybe I could just throw it at her or something.
"I can’t." I bet you can tell just how disappointed I am by that fact.
"Why? Aren’t you lonely?" I hate it when she pouts.
"No. I have company."
"Company??" Uh oh. Now she’s mad. "Like female company?"
"Is it some freaky groupie? Do you want me to get rid of her?"
"Just go out with me. There’s this great new club. It’s called UFOnics."
"No, I can’t."
"Well fine, then I’m coming over there."
"I’m leaving now."
"Don’t worry Max, all I gotta do is get my purse."
"Oh. Wait a minute."
"Yeah. Okay nevermind. See you later, baby."
Okay that has to be the weirdest conversation I’ve had in my life. I look over to Liz and she is so adorably confused.
"That was Tess." I explain. I don’t even try to hide the disdain in my voice. A small smile tugs at her lips and I have to know what’s goin on in that head of hers.
"What are you thinking?" She looks almost scared of the question. What? Is she the real uni-bomber and she’s thinking about her devious escape? What?
"YES!!!" yes she is the uni-bomber? Wow, didn’t see that one coming.
"Yes, I was having not so nice thoughts about my lovely lab partner. That’s what you were thinking, right?" Actually that thought never occurred to me. Now I think it should. It sounds highly logical.
"Yeah, actually, I kinda was." That or I was thinking you were the uni-bomber. But really, who’s keeping track?
"So you don’t like her?" She sounds so hopeful. Is she…no…is Liz…. jealous? You would think me sitting around the Crashdown all day everyday would give her some kind of clue.
"One could say I hate her with the fiery passion of a thousand suns." I hope that’s blunt enough. We don’t need anymore of those nasty little insecurities flying around in that little head of hers.
She smiles, I take that as a good sign. "Ditto."
I smile, happy with this new slice of information and sit back and refocus on the computer. I start typing, the gentle hum of the keys soothing me. But I can assure you, what I’m writing is the last thing on my mind…
I sit in my AP Lit class, once again oblivious to the world. That is except for…you know what, I’m not even gonna say it. It’s not like it’s some great shocker anymore.
"Now that we’re done with ‘Lord of the Flies.’" Man, I really hated that book. "We’re going to be starting a completely new project, something I just know you’ll love just as much." Oh great, so far this doesn’t sound too good.
"I’m going to be grouping you in pairs and…" and all of a sudden things are looking up. This is it, I know it. I’m gonna be paired up with Liz. This is my chance, it’s fate… I’m going to be with… "Max Evans and Alex Whitman." Alex Whitman? Did I mention I never believed in fate.
Alex saunters over to me and sits down. I look over to him and he nods. In guy language this means ‘hey.’ I repeat the gesture. Well, that was fun.
"Mandy Whitmore and Rose Perkins, Amy Altright and Chris Millens, Liz Parker and Kyle Valenti, Joe…" Oh great. Not Kyle. I hate Mr. Sortenni. Did I mention he’s my least favorite teacher? If I didn’t he is now.
"So how bout King Lear." Huh?
"For our project. So far this is the manliest one I can find. Are they sure Shakespeare wasn’t really a chick?" You know what, I’m looking at this all wrong, Alex is Liz’s best friend. I can get serious trash from him. That and Isabel will totally flip when he comes over, just another added bonus. Maybe Mr. Sortenni isn’t so bad after all.
Laughter catches my attention and I see Liz chatting with Kyle jovially. Mr. Sortenni hovers over them disapprovingly. You tell them teach.
"Ms. Parker, Mr. Valenti. Do we have a problem?"
"That’s just the thing Mr. Sortenni." Liz says. "We don’t."
Sortenni is an idiot. And did I mention that I hate the bastard?
Do you ever wish you could read someone’s thoughts? I mean what good are alien super powers if I can’t even do that.
What good are they if I don’t even know whether or not Liz Parker wants to go to tolo with me?
"Max? Max? Earth to Max." Hey pal, that’s already been done.
"Oh yeah, sorry. What did you say?"
He chuckles and shakes his head, "I said I gotta go to practice. Hey my band is playing tomorrow at UFOnics, you should come." Alex pauses for a beat then adds, "You know Liz is gonna be there…" Oh God, am I really that obvious?
"I umm…I uh, I don’t know what…. Uh, okay." Well. That came out better than expected.
"Mmmmhmmm… well, you know she’s working right now…"
"Oh, well know that you mention it, I am kinda hungry."
"Yeah, I thought you might be." Alex grabs his bag and heads toward the door. Just as he’s about to turn the handle, he turns back to me, as if just coming to a decision about something. "You know, she digs you too man." He smiles and clicks his tongue twice suggestively while pointing his index finger at me.
I wonder when Alex became one of Charlie’s Angels.
I guess that’s a good thing.
I walk into the Crashdown, breathing deeply. I scan the crowded restaurant and find Liz sitting in a corner booth with Michael. Recalling every embarrassing moment of my life no doubt. Michael’s really good at that.
And no, that’s not a compliment.
I walk towards their table, eager to stop the conversation. I’m halfway there when all of a sudden I find myself being hauled across the diner.
"Hey!!! Max!!!" Yay, it’s Tess. "Can you come here for a sec, I gotta ask you a question." I wonder why she even asked, she’s obviously not going to be inconvenienced enough to actually stop for an answer.
"So… I was wondering about tolo." Okay, right conversation, wrong girl.
"Uh, tolo?" Way to let her down easy man.
"Yeah, do you prefer green or blue? Because I have two dresses on hold, and you know I got two vests for your tux that would just match perfectly… I mean the blue really makes my eyes stand out but the green…" giggle "the green is really curvy." Okay, this has to stop…NOW.
"Uh, Tess? Don’t you think you shoulda, oh I don’t know… asked me first?"
"Oh, well I thought it was just obvious we would go together."
"Really? Well I guess you were wrong, because I already have a date…sorry." Yeah, so I’m not really sorry, and I don’t really have a date yet, but hey, no one really needs to know that, right?
"Oh. Well, that’s okay but you aren’t… you aren’t talking about Liz Parker are you?" Okay, that’s creepy.
"Well, it seems like little Lizzie has her eyes on another prize…" She points vaguely to Michael’s table. Okay one: don’t call her Lizzie, and two: Michael doesn’t go well with handcuffs. Not that I know…I mean…well you know what I mean…Damn. Now I’m fighting with my subconscious. Very bad sign.
I give Tess my best "sympathetic" look and walk back towards Liz’s booth. She looks in my direction, and her eyes are just a little wider than normal.
"I gotta get back to work…bye now." I watch her as she jumps up and hurries back to behind the counter.
Another bad sign.
"What’s that about?" I motion toward Liz with my head as discreetly as possible. He just shrugs and looks away uncomfortably. After a few moments, he rests his gaze back on me and asks
"So what did Tess want?" So now it’s my turn to be uncomfortable.
"She just a…she just wanted to a…."
"Get in your pants?" Good guess.
"Something like that."
"Did she ask about tolo?" And Michael is on a roll.
"Yeah." Can you tell this isn’t my favorite topic of discussion?
"Well…what did you say?"
"I uh… I said I wanted to go with someone else…" Michael shakes his head in exasperation.
"And…she asked if it was Liz… and she said uhh, she said Liz might not be interested…" Just saying that leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.
"Why wouldn’t she be interested? Do you have like alien herpes now?"
"No, no, she just said that she might be interested in someone else….someone like you else."
"WHAT?? That’s just crazy."
"Yeah." And don’t I just sound convinced. "Well why are you here anyway?"
"I was waiting for you." Wait…what?
"Well how did you know I was gonna be here?" Can he like pick up brain waves or something? Cuz that could really come in handy.
"Well Liz is working today…isn’t she?"
"Max honey!!! Are you coming?"
"Yeah mom… I’m just gonna check my mail real quick."
"Okay. Izzy and I will be in the car."
Welcome. You’ve got mail.
Hey, who’s Suzie Q?
OH GOD!! DID NOT NEED TO SEE THAT!!!
Don’t you just love porn sites?
Okay, if this is porn, I’m gonna…I’m gonna…well I’m not gonna be happy about it.
Adore17: You know how we were talking about Tolo?
Spacehero47: Oh. Uh. Yeah.
Adore17: Well, I lied. I really want to go with someone else.
Spacehero47: Really? Who?
Cuz I’ll be more than happy to hook you up with anyone that is not me.
Wait…huh? I thought…okay, I have no comment for that.
Adore17: Meet me at the Crash at 8:00. I’m opening.
Okay, what the hell. Tess doesn’t work at the Crash…
Okay, time to bring in the reinforcements.
"Michael? The weirdest thing just happened to me."
"Some chick just imed me about tolo."
"No, I don’t think so. She said she changed her mind about wanting to go with someone else and really wanted to go with me. I’m supposed to meet her at the Crashdown tomorrow."
"Well who was it?"
"I have no idea."
"What’s her sn?"
"Oh my god. I knew she liked you." My life could not get any worse.
"Okay, so tell me again. What did she say?"
"She said…she said that she wanted to go with me, but by me she meant you. Bastard."
"What? It’s not like I can help being irresistible."
"Michael…not helping." Isabel warns.
After my little internet escapade, I called an emergency meeting. Okay, so yeah…it’s not exactly ‘oh my god, an alien hunter’s after us’ news, but still…it’s up there.
"So you’re sure it was Liz?" I ask one more time, silently begging the answer to be different this time. Okay so maybe not so silently, I mean you hear me right?
"Unfortunately… I am." Hey!! What’s that supposed to mean?
"I’m sure she’s just going through a stage Max." Isabel soothes. "Like some warped ‘bad boy’ rampage. She’ll get over it."
"You know she’s probably right Maxwell, I am pretty bad." As in personality?
"What, I can be bad."
"Please." Michael snorts. "You have to face the facts Max, you’re a certifiable geek."
"WHAT?" I look to Isabel for back up but she just avoids my gaze.
Oh great, now everyone’s against me.
"Don’t blame me, you did this to yourself man."
You know what? Fine. I can do the bad boy thing. I can. Just watch.
I wave my hand over my current outfit and it warps instantly into bad ass leather.
See! I’m cool. Very James Dean.
"You…umm…you give a whole new meaning to ‘rebel without a cause.’"
See. Told ya.
"Yeah, like rebel without a clue."
I wave my hand again, returning to my original clothing.
"So what do I do now?" I ask. God I’m desperate.
"Just be yourself Max."
"Michael?" He just looks around and shrugs. Very helpful.
"Oh crap. I gotta meet Liz." Michael jumps up and heads for the door.
"I’m going with you."
"What? Max, no."
"Oh yeah, like I’m gonna leave you alone with Liz. You and your messy hair and black jeans. Nu uh. I’m going." Did I mention how desperate I was?
Being in love has setbacks like these.
"Oh my god. Fine. Like it’s my fault I was hatched with devilishly good looks."
If I didn’t know he could kill me with a flick of his wrist, I would totally kick his ass right now.
Sometimes I wish I was the only one with super alien powers.
Then I would definitely kick his ass.
Michael opens the door to the Crashdown…slowly. Would the guy hurry up and do this already? God, I swear he’s just loving this.
Liz just stands there looking at the ground. I don’t know if that’s a good sign or not. She looks up and our eyes lock. So guess what happens then? She starts having a coughing attack.
Now I definitely don’t know if that’s a good sign or not.
I rush over and begin to pat her back soothingly. I didn’t even realize I moved. Being in love makes you do things like this. She brushes my hand away.
Now that was a bad sign. Man, I knew I shoulda kept the jacket on.
"Uh, Michael, can I…can I speak to you in the back for a minute?" Michael takes a worried glance towards me. Yeah, he better be worried. I just kinda shrug. What the hell am I supposed to do? Michael walks to the back with her, and Liz is careful that the door closes behind them.
I walk back and forth across the restaurant…many times. I wish I knew what the hell was going on back there. Michael comes out a few minutes later, looking for the most part majorly weirded out.
"What the hell happened?" I hiss. Michael just shrugs, looks around then motions me with his hand. He leads me outside, and refuses to speak to me until we reach the jeep.
"We’re going to tolo together." He blurts out.
"Michael." I feel scary right now. Screw his blasting powers. Somebody’s going down.
"What? The girl practically begged me." He finally meets his gaze, and he obviously doesn’t like what he sees because he quickly changes his story. "Okay so maybe that didn’t happen. Fine! I asked her, okay? But I’m not any happier about this than you are."
"Don’t worry, I’ll take care of it."
Yeah, like you’ve done such an amazing job so far.
"Look, you have to talk to me sometime… We still got tonight."
Oh yeah, Alex’s concert.
I hate my life.
God, I hate clubs. The creepiest people always seem to congregate here. I mean Michael comes here all the time, that’s like…scientific proof.
A blonde saunters towards me, and I look away awkwardly. God, do I like have a freaky blonde radar or something?
Hello creepy blonde lady.
"Uh..hey…gotta go." I make a mad dash to the table farthest away from her, and Michael and Isabel follow faithfully.
"What the hell is Maria doing?" My gaze falls over the crowd until I see Maria and Liz looking our way. Maria’s flailing her arms around while pointing at us…okay…
"That girl seriously creeps me out."
"Oh please Michael," Isabel laughs, "You totally like her."
"And you’re totally on crack."
"You know the only reason you came tonight is because you knew she’d be here." Isabel flips her hair back, obviously proud of herself.
"Yeah, and your presence has nothing to do with the fact Alex is playing tonight." Michael retorts.
"I’m just here supporting Max." She lays her arm over my shoulders, trying to prove her point.
"Yeah, supporting Max, while you oogle Alex’s goodies."
"Speaking of goodies, do you see what Maria’s wearing?" Michael’s head whips his head back to the two girls’ direction.
"Oh my god, I am so good."
I just kinda block them out after that. My attention is better served noticing someone else’s goodies…
Hurt by Love
I look up towards Alex, so comfortable on that stage.
Same song, new drug
Unfortunately I don’t find looking at guys all that appealing and my attention is quickly diverted.
And I don’t, no I don’t
Yeah, I don’t gotta be
Hurt by Love.
The band closes the song dramatically, and the crowd is obviously pleased by their performance. Ecstatic cheering and clapping quickly follows the hush of the now quiet band.
Isabel looks up towards Alex with a new sense of adoration clearly written on her face.
Michael just looks awestruck.
That is, until he quickly masks his expression when he catches me looking at him.
Alex begins his descent of the stage and Isabel turns back to us, coughing and shaking her head slightly, as if clearing her mind.
"They were good, didn’t you think they were good?"
"Oh, uh…yeah." Truth be told, I didn’t pay all that much attention to the performance.
Michael just grunts. No one really questions it. This is normal Michael behavior.
Isabel sighs, and sits back down from the upright position her loud approval placed her. I follow her gaze, and see Alex sitting down with Liz and Maria across the club.
"What?" Michael demands, angry that she made him look at Maria again.
The guy is so obvious.
Not that I can really talk.
"It’s just…Alex. I asked him to tolo." When did this happen. As her big brother I demand every single detail.
"Oh." Oh yeah, she’s scared into submission now.
"He said maybe…and that was like a week ago." Wait…someone didn’t say yes to Isabel? Did I miss the jump into a parallel universe?
"I’m sure he’s just… nervous or something." I’m not too great at the whole comforting thing.
"Hey, maybe he just likes bad girls." Michael offers. Then he laughs. Okay that’s it. I’m getting a new best friend cuz this one just sucks.
Oh great, now Isabel is laughing.
Now everyone is against me.
"Well? Are you gonna go over there or not?"
"Oh my god, Max. You’re in love with a girl. Said girl is sitting twenty feet away. What are YOU going to do about it?"
Sit here like a coward and look at her longingly?
Okay, so maybe not the best tactic, but it’s been working for me for the last ten years.
What’s another night.
"Get your ass up and go over there already." Says Michael.
Okay, I am walking towards the table. I am not going to fall. I am walking towards the table. I am not going to make an ass out of myself. I am at the table.
"Hey." When in doubt of any situation, a one word answer, ‘hey’ for example, is always the best way to go.
"Uh….hey." Okay, we’re talking. Talking is now initiated. Okay, now what. Suddenly, as if heaven sent, I hear a soft lull coming from the jukebox and I look towards it with a smile.
"I was wondering…"
"I would love to." Maria jumps up from her seat and takes my hand. How come I’m always stuck with the wrong girl? I just kinda look at our joined hands in confusion. "Really? You like my hair? That’s so sweet. You know I just got this new curling iron…it works wonders." Ummm…I didn’t say anything.
"Well, what are we waiting for?" Uh…Liz. Maria tugs at my hand and I find myself in the middle of the dance floor before I can even think of a response.
Fine. But god damn it, I’m not letting this evening go to waste.
"So….how’s Liz?" Maria sighs in annoyance.
Oh…yeah, SHE’S annoyed with this situation.
"What does Liz think of me?"
"Why is Liz taking Michael to tolo?"
"Does Liz like Michael?"
"Oh my god."
"What’s her favorite flower?"
"Do you think I’m not ‘bad’ enough?"
"What? What the hell are you talking about? You know what? Don’t answer that. I’m not like your little mecca for Liz info, Okay?"
That’s what she thinks.
"What does Liz…"
"Okay okay, God!!" She coughs lightly. "Fine, she thinks you’re hot, classified information, what do you think?, white roses, and I’m not even gonna answer that last one."
"Thanx." I reply with a smile.
"Are you gonna shut up now?"
Oh yeah…I’m bad.