posted on 21-Sep-2001 2:12:27 PM
“Jungle Love”
Author: Carenicole
Rating: Hmmm I’m not sure, I suppose I might include some nookie. I don’t know. Well I guess since the title does make it sound like porn.......
Category: AU M/L
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters or Roswell or any of the songs used.
Summary: Max Evans is college senior in desperate need of a sluff class to fill his elective requirements for graduation. The answer to his dilemma comes in the form of a free trip to Costa Rica with an Ecology class over Spring Break. He’ll get his credits and get to spend two weeks in paradise. What more could he ask for? Well...maybe there’s one thing.
Liz Parker, lover of all things scientific is looking for adventure outside of the lab. When her advisor tells her about the Spring ecology trip to Costa Rica she jumps at the chance. She’ll get to use her inquiring mind to explore the wonder that is the rain forest up close and personal. And it won’t hurt to come back with a killer tan right? There’s just one thing or shall we say person that she’s not quite counting on.


Chapter 1

“Okay, class, quiet down! We’ve got lots to cover and very little time to do it in,” Dr. Seligman shouted over the social group of students gathered around his living room floor.

The voices quieted and fifteen pairs of eyes turned toward Dr. Seligman.

“First things first. This is Ecology 351, The Ecology and Natural History of Costa Rica. So if you’re not here to study about Costa Rica you can leave.” His voice was serious but his eyes were full of mirth. The students always thought that this class was a cake walk. Truthfully, it was a lot of work that resulted in a lot of fun. The fun part was up to you.

“I know most of you are here because you want to spend spring break in the sun of Central America. While we will be doing this, it’s not all about being a typical college students on break. This trip is the opportunity of a life time for you to study some truly incredible parts of nature. As part of that there will be some requirements for this course. First, we’ll be meeting weekly. At each of our weekly sessions there will be assigned readings which we will discuss as well as species quizzes. These are going to be important because not only are they part of your grade but they’re going to give you a good idea of what we’ll be seeing in the forests. And you’ll be better suited if you can identify these things without having to look things up all of the time.........”

Max Evans sighed as he continued to listen to the Professor talk. This wasn’t exactly what he’d signed up for. He hadn’t been expecting to have to do actual work. Both he and Michael had been hoping for a “cake walk” as Dr. Seligman had put it. That was obviously not so. And as Seligman continued to drone on Max bit back a groan. He was talking about making them journal. They had to journal about everything they saw once they were down there. To make it worse. It had to be scientific. Well, he wasn’t bad at stuff like that. He could make scientific observations. Michael though, he was pretty much screwed. He was an art major. That was a long shot . At least there didn’t seem to be any correlation.

Max refocused on Dr. Seligman.

“Now I’d like to introduce you to a very important person. She’s going to be a great resource to you all when it comes to writing your journals. Liz, why don’t you come on up here.” Max watched petite, dark head girl make her way to stand in front of the group. She stood up straight and tucked her long hair behind her ear nervously. This trip was suddenly looking a hell of a lot better.

“Liz is an expert of scientific journals. This is her last year here at the University. She’s been involved in a lot of research projects in her years here. I guess I’ll let her explain.” Dr. Seligman turned his gaze on Liz as did everyone else in the room.

“Well, as Dr. Seligman already said, my name is Liz Parker. Uhm...I’m a Biology Major here with a concentration in Cell and Molecular Biology. I’ve worked on numerous research projects in the past and I’ve always kept a scientific journal. Like we’ll be doing for the trip. So you can always come to me and ask for help or guidance when you’re writing because it can be tricky following the specific guidelines for the journal.” She flushed slightly as she finished and Max bit his lip to keep from smiling. He was definitely going to enjoy asking her for help.

Liz sat down and Dr. Seligman introduced the next person. “We also managed to snag Miss Maria Deluca. She’s going to come along as our Spanish interpreter. So if your smart you’ll befriend her.”
Everyone laughed as Maria stood up and took a dramatic bow.

Michael let out a wolf whistle which promptly earned a glare from both Dr. Seligman and Maria. Maria’s was enough to send a man to his early grave. She sat back down and Seligman started passing out the syllabus as well as a list of other trip information.

“All right. That’s everything for tonight. Don’t forget to start working on getting your passports if you don’t already have one. Next week we’ll go over the first reading and I’ll give you the first list of species you need to know. Now get out of here. My wife we’ll be home soon and she’ll have a fit if I don’t get things cleaned up before then.”

The students began to exit. Max hung back a little bit hoping to get a chance to talk to Liz Parker. But she walked right past him, not even acknowledging that he was there. That was interesting. It was something that rarely happened to him. Girls always noticed him.

He sighed again. He didn’t know what he was getting himself into but he was sure that it was going to be worth it.

********

Liz left Dr. Seligman's’ with Maria hot on her trail. “So we have to go shopping for this ASAP. There is no way that I’m going to be ready in time otherwise. Oh and tanning. We need to start tanning...”

Liz rolled her eyes at her new friend. They had just met the week before when Dr. Seligman had called them both in for a meeting to arrange things with them. Maria was great. Liz had a feeling she’d be helpful when it came to having some fun. But there was more to this trip than just plain fun. It was important to Liz that she get a lot out of it.

“I probably won’t tan Maria and as for shopping. We could probably wait a couple of weeks for that. It’s only January and the trip isn’t until the second week of March.”

“Yeah, I know. But you can never be too prepared. Oh, I better go. I have to get back to my room. My mom’s going to call. She’s all paranoid about this. She thinks that I’m going to catch some kind of disease down there. She’s already talking shots and vaccinations.” Maria shivered and made a face.

Liz couldn’t help but laugh.

Her laugh stuck in her throat when her eyes caught on a figure walking away in the dark. Max Evans.

She willed her body not to respond to just the thought of him. The man was a god. A virtual Adonis by anyone’s standards. When she’d found out he was going on the trip she’d almost backed out. She’s secretly had a crush on him since they’d shared the same Freshman Seminar class senior year. There was just something about him. He was smart and sexy and .....he knew it. That was her biggest reason for staying clear of him. He was heartbreak waiting to happen. It was something she didn’t have time for to be honest. She was well on her way to doing exactly what she’d always planned. She’s been accepted at several grad schools already. The next few months she would continue interviewing for them. By the time she got back, she should be ready to make some concrete decisions about her future. She certainly didn’t need to have those decisions complicated by throwing romance into the equation.

She shook her head and focused back on Maria. As Maria kept talking her gaze shifted back toward the direction Max had gone. Her breath caught in her throat. It was almost like he was looking right at her. She shivered.

*Get a grip, Parker* she told herself. Taking a deep breath she
walked back to the dorms with Maria.

*********

Dr. Seligman stared at the class roster in front of him. There were fifteen students going on this trip. He wanted it to be special for each of them. He wanted the students to get to know each other and be able to interact. It was an important part of making the trip successful.

He’d been taking this trip for ten years now. He decided it was time to try something new. Taking a pen he started working through the list. He had an idea to get them to interact with each other.

*********

“Welcome to class number two. I trust you all did the reading and
our now ready and willing to discuss Costa Rican culture. But before we do that I’m going to assign you all partners. You’ll keep these partners even when we’re down in Costa Rica. For tonight though your just going to get to know your partner. Then later on you’re going to present your partner to the group. How does that sound?” The response to this was a chorus of groans. Dr. Seligman ignored them and began to read off the list.

“Kyle Klepacki and Kevin Loontjer, Sarah Huber and Jason Hartshorn, Kyle Valenti and Tess Harding, Alex Whitman and Isabel Evans, Liz Parker and Max Evans, Maria Deluca and Michael Guerin, Amanda Heyen and Jennifer Vineyard, and Joy Fluette. Joy you’re lucky
enough to get me for a partner. Now everyone split up.”

Everyone began shuffling around to get to their partners. Maria was being vocal about her partner. “Couldn’t I please have a different partner?” she asked loudly casting a withering glance in Michael’s direction. He just grinned at her.

Max was ecstatic. This was perfect. He couldn’t be happier about his partner. He looked over at Liz. She wasn’t making any attempt to move towards him.

Liz was silently cursing Dr. Seligman. She knew this trip was going to be a bad idea. Partnering with Max Evans was not what she’d had in mind when she’d signed up for this. He was going to distract her. No. She could handle it. She would just have to pretend that the very mention of his name didn’t make her quiver with desire.

She felt a warm body sitting next to her. “Hi Max,” she said softly without looking up at him. She stared intently at the notebook sitting precariously on her knees.

“Liz,” he paused. “So I guess we should get started huh?” Max wanted to hit himself. He sounded like an idiot. It was like he lost all ability to function properly in Liz’s presence. He had to get a grip. Fast.

“Yes. Why don’t you start. Just tell me a little about yourself and then tell my why you’re going on this trip. That should be enough for the class.” Max watched as she looked everywhere but him. She was avoiding him it seemed. For a moment he wondered if maybe she disliked him. He didn’t really understand. They’d gotten along well enough in other classes they’d had together. Sure they weren’t really what you’d call friends but still, he’d been under the impression that she at least thought he was decent.

He finally responded. “Okay, So it’s my last year here. I’m getting a degree in English Literature. My sister Isabel is going on this trip too. We generally try to pretend that we don’t know each other. You know, different social circles and all. Uhm let’s see, I’m taking this course because I need the elective credit.” He finished his little bio. Still no eye contact from Liz.

“You’re turn,” he told her.

“Oh, uhm. Well, you know most of the that stuff about me. I’m taking the trip to see what studying in the field is like. I’ve done lab work. Plenty of it. I want to see if actually being in the wild is more exciting. It’s going to help me decide where I’m going to focus my energies in grad school.” Liz cautioned a glance at Max as she spoke. Did he? Was it possible? Was he actually interested in what she was saying? When they’re eyes locked briefly she suddenly forgot what they were even supposed to be talking about.
**********

“Kyle likes football and the uniforms that the cheerleaders wear. He’s also very involved in his Fraternity. He’s going on the trip because he thinks that the Costa Rican women might be hot,” Tess Harding finished her speech and rolled her eyes as she look over at Kyle.

Kyle looked at Tess and smiled broadly. “Tess is a sophomore this year and she’s a cheerleader here. She’s majoring in commercial art and thinks that she’ll be able to see lots of interesting things in the jungle that she could maybe use in her work.”

They sat down and Dr. Seligman called up Alex and Isabel. “Isabel’s past times include looking at fashion magazines, gossiping with her girlfriends and filing her nails. When she’s not doing that she’s giving out fashion advice to the peons on campus. She’s going on this trip because her parents want her to get some culture. She’s a junior this year so we only have to put up with her presence on campus one more year before she’s gone where she’ll be pursuing a career as a high priced call girl...” the room erupted in a fit of laughter as Isabel’s perfectly made up face turned three shades of red. Her nostrils started to flare and if looks could kill Alex would have been six feet under.

“Alex Whitman here is a Junior this year. He would be a senior except he cant seem to pass any of the class that don’t require geek speak. He’s a computer science major and he hopes to become the next Bill Gates. After all it gets expensive buying women to be with you. He’s going on this trip because Costa Rican women aren’t at all particular.” With a pointed glare Isabel took her seat. Alex was the one left standing up front, red as stop sign. No one could help the laughter.

“I’m almost afraid to call the next two up,” Dr. Seligman said. “Michael and Maria, let’s see if you can be serious. Please.”

His request fell on deaf ears.

“Michael Guerin is an asshole, I mean art history major. He’s going on this trip so that he can .....Why are you going on this trip again?” Maria asked suddenly turning told Michael.

“ I told you. I just am. No reason,” Michael said with a shrug.

“Fine whatever. You can see that he doesn’t want to be talk. He’s like Mr. Anti-social, not to mention a complete Neanderthal,” Maria told everyone. There were a few snickers around the room. They stopped when Michael gave everyone a look.

“This is Maria, Psycho, Deluca. She’s a Psych major, go figure. She knows everything. So don’t even bother arguing with her. And if I were Costa Rican I would rather not understand us than try to listen to her translate. Her voice is so damn annoying and she doesn’t know when to shut up.”

Everyone just sort of stared up at the two.

Maria broke the silence. “OH MY GOD! You can string together more than two sentences. There’s hope for you after all!” With that she flounced back to her spot on the floor next to Liz.

Liz looked over at Dr. Seligman. The poor man. His plans appeared to have back fired. Looking from Max back to Dr. Seligman, she decided that she’d try to help him fix the situation later this week. She had a plan that just might work.

Max and Liz went next. Max went through Liz’s bio quickly since everyone had pretty much already heard all about her. “Oh, she’s scared of spiders,” he added at the end. Liz looked over at Max surprised. He must have remember that from Freshman Seminar. There had been a spider on the floor of the classroom and she’d refused to get down from the top of the table until it had been disposed of. Max had been the one to finally save the day and help her down.

Liz offered Max a partial smile and started introducing him. “In case you weren’t already aware of him, this is Max Evans. He’s in his last year here and is pursuing a degree in English Literature. His favor author is Steinbeck and he likes to analyze Langston Hughes poems when no one is looking. He’s a fan of all types of music but he only sings the Backstreet Boys Kareoke. You should know now that his sister is Isabel and we’re to keep them apart at all times to prevent blood shed.” There was a collective chuckle. Even Isabel laughed along with Max who was grinning like an idiot over the fact that Liz knew and remembered all of this stuff about him “He’s going on this trip because he needs the elective credit,” Liz finished.

Dr. Seligman gave her an appreciative look for setting an example for the other students. “Okay, all of you get out. You’ve given me a headache and we’ve only been together for an hour. Imagine what the two weeks will be like?” he joked.

Once again Max held back a little to wait for Liz but she left quickly with that Sarah girl and they were heading in the opposite direction as he was. As he started to walk away though he was pretty sure he caught her looking back his way. He smiled. Yes indeed. This trip was going to be worth all of the work after all.





posted on 21-Sep-2001 2:18:41 PM
Chapter 2

(The next class session)

Max wasn’t sure who he was more upset with. Dr. Seligman for pulling a fast one and switching the partners for the trip, or Liz for giving him the idea. He wasn’t certain that it had been Liz’s idea but Dr. Seligman's’ speech “It has been brought to my attention that the partnering was engineered rather poorly. So we’re going to remedy the situation...” Max was pretty sure that was Liz inspired. He just wondered why she did it. After the way she’d presented him to everyone he’d been almost positive that she felt the same spark that he did.

Now he was sitting on the couch at Dr. Seligman’s house watching the slide show presentation. He had to figure out a way to make sure that he and Liz were together as much as possible on the trip.

Everyone was seated next to their new partner. Dr. Seligman had decided that from now on the quizzes would be a dual effort. Max wasn’t too bad off. He was with Alex Whitman now. Alex was a pretty decent guy. He did what he could and he liked to tease the hell out of Isabel. Which was funny, to say the very least. Max and Alex got along well enough. And since Alex and Isabel were no longer partners, that meant that someone else was stuck with the ice princess. That someone was Maria Deluca. Maria was of course unaffected by Isabel’s perpetual bitchiness. But Isabel could hardly stand Maria’s........Marianess. Now that Maria and Michael were no longer paired together Michael had been put with.....Liz. The lucky bastard. He had it good and he didn’t even realize it. Not only was Liz beautiful but she was smart and creative.......and if Max didn’t start focusing he wasn’t going to pass next week’s species quiz. He managed to concentrate on the slide show once again.

Liz kept looking out of the corner of her eye in Max’s direction. She was feeling extremely guilty about having Dr. Seligman switch the partners. She’s convinced herself that she’d done it to save Dr. Seligman some headaches when it came to Alex, Isabel, Michael and Maria. It had nothing to do with the fact that being near Max Evans made her want to rip his clothes off. No. That wasn’t a factor at all. Of course she’d done herself a huge disservice in all this. She was now paired with Michael. Michael who did absolutely no work and couldn’t give a rats that what he did was going to affect Liz’s grade for this. He was sitting there now, not paying attention as usual, just doodling in that damn notebook of his. And what was he drawing........ a caricature of none other than Maria. Liz bit her lip and tried not to laugh. It was really quite good. He had Maria sitting against the couch and she was yawning widely. The funny part was that he’d drawn her mouth insanely huge. And the bubble of words were perfect. “If I’m not talking, I’m not happy,” the words read.

Liz shook her head and refocused on the slide show. There were six weeks left. She wasn’t sure if she was excited or not yet. Maybe once the trip got closer she would start to get more enthused. Glancing back at Max she bit her lip. Who knew what could happen
between now and then.

*******
(Two Weeks before Take off)

“Okay, so my mom said that we need to be sure to take plenty of clean underwear. And socks. Lots of socks. I’m sure our feet will probably get wet. Oh and Dr. Seligman said we should get irrigation boots. Do you know what those are? I’ve never heard of them before. I think he said it was a farmer thing or something. Anyway....do you have your list? I’ve got mine and.....”

Liz was doing her best not to strangle Maria. They’d left twenty minutes ago to shop for essentials for the trip. Maria had yet to stop talking once. And as much as Liz loved Maria.....she could really see where Michael was coming from sometimes.

Only two weeks to go and they would be on their way to sunny Costa Rica. Liz had decided that being excited for the trip was okay at this point. She was really starting to look forward to everything they were going to see.

“Okay what’s the first thing on your list?” Liz asked Maria after they’d parked the car. They were at SuperTarget. There was a pretty good chance they’d find everything they needed here.

“Uh first I need to get........let me see. Here. I’ll just read off everything I haven’t gotten yet and then we can decide where to start.” She pulled a list from her purse and started reading it.

“Bug spray, flashlight, socks, underwear, bathing suit, sandals, irrigation boots, beach towel, rain poncho, shampoo, toothpaste, batteries, camera, film.....” her list went on and on and Liz began to tune her out.

“We’ll just start and pick things up as we go,” Liz finally suggested. Maria agreed and they began their journey through the store.

******

“Tell me again, why we’re here?” Michael Guerin whined as he, Max, Alex and Kyle walked through the doors of SuperTarget.

“To get stuff for the trip. We should do it now that way we don’t have to throw everything together at the last minute,” Max told him. Truthfully though he was hoping to catch Maria and Liz. He’d overheard Maria telling his sister about their little trip today. And this wasn’t spying per say but it was a good excuse to run into Liz. He was going to wear her down if it was the last thing he did. He could tell it was starting to work. He’d caught her staring at him many times these past few weeks.

“Why don’t we split up. We’ve probably each have different things we need to get,” Max suggested. The other three nodded.

“We’re heading over to the sporting goods. I want to see if they got any good bug spray. I’m like once of those bug lights. The bugs just seem to gravitate to me. I don’t need to be scratching the whole time I’m down there,” Alex said, dragging Kyle off with him.

Max and Michael wandered around the store for awhile just sort of looking for whatever it was they needed and grabbing things as they went. They got over to the pharmacy and Max went to look for a first aid kit. When he came back, he found their cart and Michael standing there looking innocent.

“What did you do?” Max eyed him wearily.

Michael shrugged and then grinned. “Nothing. I just found something we might need.”

“What?”

Michael nodded in the direction of the cart. There were about eight boxes of condoms in there now.

“Michael, what the hell? Why do we need those?” Even as he asked a picture of Liz came to mind. He was very actively having sex with her in a secluded area of the rain forest. There was dense brush all over and palm trees and.......He shook the image from his mind.

“Come on Maxwell, don’t tell me you haven’t thought about getting laid when we’re down there,” Michael said, his eyebrows raised.

“I haven’t,” Max lied.

“Whatever. I bet the Costa Rican women are hot. If not, there’s always some of the girls on the trip. I bet if we got drunk enough we could forget who they were long enough to...”

“Michael that’s disgusting,” Max said interrupting him.

“Hey, I’m just saying. It’s not going to hurt to be prepared. Besides. I’ve seen the way you look at Lizzy Parker. You’ll be working it down there. I know you. And you know, given the right environment you just might actually have a snowball’s chance in hell. So why not?”

Max didn’t say anything. But he didn’t make an attempt to put the condoms back either. A small part of him was hoping.....

******
(Ten minutes earlier)

“Maria, no,” Liz said adamantly.

“Come on Liz, babe, you totally need to learn how to cut loose. And this trip is the perfect way. And babe, you’re hot, the Costa Rican guys won’t be able to get enough of you. They’re going to love you. Therefore, it’s better to be safe than sorry. ”

Liz eyed the package of condoms in Maria’s hands.

“If the Costa Rican’s don’t trip your trigger,” Maria continued, “ Maybe a certain some one else in the group will do it for you. I can see it now. We’re at that waterfall at Monteverde and Max Evans has you pinned up against a rock and he’s ravishing you....”

“Maria!”

“What? You know you want him. Besides you are totally his eye candy. I’ve seen the looks he gives you in class. It’s gonna happen whether you want it to or not,” Maria informed her.

“Maria, this isn’t what this trip is about for me. I’m going to study. Not get laid. This isn’t going to be a party for me....”

“Liz, for god’s sake. Lighten up. Just get them. You don’t actually have to use them.” Maria had thrown them in the cart and stormed off.

Now Liz was wandering around the store looking for Maria. She’d yet to put the condoms back because one, she was embarrassed and two, she wasn’t sure where Maria had gotten them.

Liz decided that while she was trying to look for Maria she could at least get the rest of the things on her list. She headed off toward the pharmacy section to find a small first aid kit. Before she found the first aid kit, she found where Maria had gotten the condoms. She was on her way to put them back when she ran right into someone else’s cart.

Looking up, she apologized quickly. “I’m so sorry, I wasn’t paying attention.....Max. Hey,” she said softly.

“Hey Liz,” came Max’s reply.

“What are you doing here?” Oh, yeah. Way to make conversation Liz.

“Shopping for the trip,” he said quickly. “I’m here with Alex and Kyle and Michael. They went off somewhere. What about you?”

“Same. I came with Maria. We got into a little argument and she stalked off.” Liz noticed that Max was no longer looking at her but
rather what she had in her hand. She felt her face flush.

“These are what we were fighting about. She...she seems to think that we’re going to need them on the trip. I disagree. I mean really. That’s not what the trip is about for me you know. I guess I think that anyone who’s going to see if they can get lucky is going for the wrong reasons and.....” As Liz kept talking Max’s face turned three shades of red.

Please don’t let her look in our cart. Please don’t let her look into the cart. Please. God. I’ll do anything. Just don’t let her look in the cart, Max prayed silently.

Too late. She was looking and her face was growing pink with embarrassment.

“Sorry,” she said quickly. “Uhm just ignore everything I said. I uhm.....look I better go find Maria. Uhm, here,” she said shoving the box in her hand at Max. “Could you ....uh put these back for me. I.....yeah. Bye Max.” She had to get out of there. At the moment an image of herself, Max, a waterfall and a rock were wreaking havoc on her senses.

Liz took off quickly, leaving an embarrassed Max standing there with his jaw hanging open and a box of condoms in his hands. For some reason his mind kept replaying the fact that Liz had put condoms in his hands. He just wished it had been for a reason that wasn’t due to her extreme embarrassment.

Max groaned out loud. Then he made a decision. Reaching into the cart he took out all of the condoms and put them back. He was about to turn away from the aisle and move on when he stopped himself. That image of Liz and he in the forest was still planted in his brain. Quickly he stepped back and grabbed one box and threw it into the cart. Just in case. Here’s for hoping, he thought.

********

(A week later. The last class session before they leave.)

“Okay, well, are there any questions?” Dr. Seligman asked. No one raised their hand so he went on.

“I’m just going to talk a little bit about what I’m going to expect from you, behavior wise when we get to our destination. First, you are all adults. I’ve gotten to know you each these last few weeks and I’m glad to see that we’re all getting along. Now because you are adults, I can’t make your decisions for you. I’m not your baby sitter. You are in charge of yourself and this trip will be what you make of it. I want to warn you that going into a different culture like this can be somewhat of a shock for those of you who have never really traveled before. I just want you all to look out for each other. I don’t want to have to make any midnight trips to the emergency room because someone was careless and drank too much. Now, I won’t say anything else, just that we are all representing this University and I want us to make a good impression.” He paused. “One more thing. This is more for the ladies than any one else. You need to be especially careful when it comes to interacting with the Costa Rican men. They have different views of women and their roles in society. They don’t have the same values. They’re very charming. I’m sorry to say that I’ve had several girls get taken advantage of because they weren’t careful....”

Liz gave Maria a pointed look. She was going to have to keep a close eye on Maria. She knew that Maria was going to do her best to have fun. And she didn’t care how she did it. Liz was making a point now to take responsibility for Maria and her behavior to make sure she didn’t get too out of hand.

Max automatically thought of Liz. He was going to make sure that no one took advantage of her. He leaned over to Alex. “Alex, I say we make a deal now to keep an eye on Liz and Maria. I have a feeling that they might need our help when we get down there. I want to make sure that they’re both okay.”

Alex nodded his agreement. “Sure thing. Besides, Maria’s fun. I could handle hanging with her.”

“What are you talking about?” Michael interrupted.

“Liz and Maria. We’re going to keep an eye on them. Make sure they don’t get themselves into any trouble,” Alex explained.

Michael chuckled. “I don’t think you need to worry. Hurricane Deluca can take care of herself. Besides she’d scare them all off with that mouth of hers before anything could happen. Although, helpless hapless, Liz.......well she might need your help Maxwell. You better make sure you stay close to her.” Michael winked at Max.

Four more days. That’s all they had left. Four days and then they’d be there. Max couldn’t wait.

Chapter 3

(Dr. Seligman’s house, loading up the vans to the airport)

Liz glanced around nervously. It was six am. They were all supposed to meeting in Dr. Seligman’s driveway to load up for the hour drive to the airport. Their flight was leaving at 10 am. That gave them plenty of time to get there and get everything checked in. So far though, she was the only one here. Dr. Seligman’s wife was inside the house. They’d gotten donuts and juice for everyone for the ride to the airport. She was getting it all ready while Dr. Seligman went to get the vans.

Ten minutes later only four of the others had shown up. There was still no sign of Maria.

“So Liz, are you excited?” Tess asked. For six in the morning the girl was being entirely too perky.

Liz just nodded her response. She wasn’t such a fan of Tess. Ever since she’d transferred into Freshman Seminar, mid semester, she’d made a point of trying to one up Liz. Liz remembered the first time Tess had come to class. Tess had been sitting in the seat she always sat in, next to Max. Of course the instructor hadn’t done anything about it and Liz had had to find a new place to sit which was subsequently in the back of the room, away from everyone else. Ever since, Liz hadn’t like Tess. Especially after Tess had practically thrown herself at Max. At that point she’d lost any interest she may or may not have had in Max.

Now here she was, almost three years later, still holding a grudge over it. She decided that now was as good of time an any to let the past go. Maybe Tess would turn out to be nice. Liz turned toward Tess to ask her a question only to find that Tess had apparently found someone better to talk to now. That someone being Isabel Evans.

Liz shrugged and continued to sit there, waiting for the rest of the group to arrive. Once everyone was there, they could take off.

“Liz, Oh My God. I’m so glad you’re here. I’m having a crisis. I forgot to pack my cyprus oil. What am I going to do? I don’t have time to go back and get it and ...” Maria was standing in front of Liz, looking like she was going to have a panic attack. No, she already was having a panic attack.

“Maria. It’s okay. Just calm down. It’s going to be all right. Do you have your purse with you?” Maria nodded. “Okay, now remember when you called me this morning at four am? You know just to talk when you should have been sleeping? You told me that you put your cyprus oil in the side pocket of your purse so that you wouldn’t forget it. Now, can you look in your purse and make sure it’s there.” Maria nodded again and began going through the pockets of her purse. A moment later she let out an exaggerated sigh of relief.

Liz was glad that mini-crisis was over. She wondered what Maria would do once they got to Costa Rica. She knew there were going to be other things happening that might bring on more panic attacks than a forgotten bottle of sniffing oil.

Dr. Seligman pulled up in one of the vans just then , followed by the other one, which Max was driving, much to Liz’s surprise. It looked like Alex, Kyle and Michael were in there with him.

“Load up everyone, then go grab yourself a donut and some juice,” Dr Seligman told everyone. There was a mad dash to start getting the luggage loaded into the vans. Liz stood there waiting patiently for her turn. She wanted to ride with Dr. Seligman. She had lots of questions to ask him. She wanted to be sure that she didn’t forget.

A hand on her shoulder caused her to jump a little. She turned around and was met with the smiling face of Max Evans. “Need some help?” he asked.

“Sure, uhm....” her voice trailed off as he picked up her very large, very heavy suitcase and took it over to the van he’d been driving. She was about to protest that she was going to ride with Dr. Seligman, when she changed her mind. There would be plenty of time to ask questions at the airport. It didn’t have to happen right away.

“Geez, Liz, what do you have in here? Bricks?” Max joked as he lifted the suitcase into the back.

Liz chuckled and shook her head. “No, not bricks, books. I brought along a bunch of identification books to help with the journals. I suppose they are kind of heavy, but they’re going to be so useful......”

As she spoke Max’s whole world shifted into slow motion. Did Liz realize just how attractive she was? He could listen to her talk for hours, not to mention watching her. She was incredible to watch. And right now he was mesmerized by the movement of her full red lips and the way her eyes were all lit up with excitement.

“.....don’t you think Max? I mean, I know it seems kind of silly but....Max? Are you okay?” Max finally registered that Liz was saying his name and giving him a funny look.

“Oh, Yeah, I mean I completely agree,” Max told her nodding earnestly. He had no idea was he was agreeing with but if saying that he did made her smile that way, he’d have to agree more.

Unfortunately their little moment was short lived.

“Maaaaxxxx,” a voice whined. “I need your help. My suitcase is so heavy, do you think that you could carry it for me?” Tess.

Great! Just great! Max thought. He didn’t need to have Tess hounding him already. The trip had barely started. He’d done a pretty good job keeping her at bay ever since they’d met, Freshman year. But the girl just couldn’t take a hint.

Glancing apologetically at Liz, he grabbed Tess’s bag and carried
it over to the other van. Dr. Seligman’s van.

“Wait, Max, I’m riding in the other....” Tess tried to tell him, but he didn’t listen, he just threw it in. Now maybe she’d have to ride with the other van.

Maria had calmed down enough by now to round up her things and take them over to by where Liz was standing. She looked in the same direction that Liz was. “Ah, watching him work his muscles huh?” Maria asked with a twinkle in her eye. Yup, Liz was a goner over Max Evans. It was really quite funny. When Liz didn’t respond, Maria started to load her stuff. She was having trouble with her last suitcase. Try as she might she couldn’t lift it high enough to get it into the van.

Max had returned to Liz and they were now standing there, mooning over each other, pretending to have a conversation that made sense when in truth it was just a bunch of random remarks. It didn’t matter, they were too busy staring at each other to notice that neither one of them was saying anything remotely interesting.

Maria stopped momentarily, huffing and puffing from her effort. That’s when she noticed Michael standing off to her right. He was watching her struggle while he ate a donut. “You know, you could help me,” she told him.

He shrugged, “ I could. But I’m not gonna.”

“Ooh, you are just the biggest....” her words were cut off when Kyle Valenti came over and picked up her suitcase and threw it in.

“It’s too early in the morning to listen to you two fight,” Kyle told her.

Maria wasn’t about to let it go though. She was going to teach Michael Guerin some manners on this trip if it killed her.

******

The trip to the airport was uneventful. They were running a little behind schedule because they’d had to repack things a little. It seemed that Isabel’s luggage took up quite a bit of room. So some rearranging had been necessary. Alex had of course taken it upon himself to make sure that Isabel wouldn’t live that down.

When they’d been unpacking the vans later he’d been pulling the luggage out handing it off to Kyle who then passed it off to it’s owner. “Now, Kyle be careful with this next one,” Alex told him. “It’s got all of Isabel’s nail polish in it.” Isabel stood there impatiently as she waited for them to hand over her things. “Oh, and this big one right here, that’s her makeup. Let’s try not to mess that one up. I’d hate to see Isabel looking less than her best.”

“Alex, just shut up and hand over my things. I don’t have all day to stand here and listen to you trying to be funny,” Isabel finally yelled at him.

Once everyone had gotten checked in, they all made their way to their gate. Where they deposited their things to wait. By this time it was only eight am. They still had about two hours before their flight was scheduled to leave.

“Liz, chica, I think I saw a Krispy Kreme over yonder, shall we go check it out?” Maria asked, pulling Liz up from the chair she’d just made herself comfortable in.

Max watched as Maria pulled Liz away. He was tempted to head in the same direction. He’d always been fond of Krispy Kreme donuts. But he didn’t get the chance when Alex sat down next to him and started complaining to Max about his sister. Truthfully, Alex wanted advice on how to handle Isabel.

“Stop teasing the hell out of her. She can be nice when she’s not on the defensive all the time,” Max told him.

Alex appeared to consider this for a moment. “Hey I think I saw a magazine with Katherine Heigel on the cover. I’m gonna go check it out. You wanna come?” Max was about to when he saw that everyone had taken off and left their things. He was the only one around to watch them. Normally he wouldn’t care but Liz’s stuff was sitting a couple of chairs down and he didn’t want her to lose anything.

“I’ll just stay here and wait for everyone to get back,” Max told him. Even Michael had taken off for god knows where.

Maria and Liz were now seated inside the little shop that sold the donuts. “See I told you they had the Krispy Kreme. It’s not just a ploy,” Maria told Liz happily as she polished off her first donut. Liz nibbled on her own donut and watched other people coming in and out of the little eating area.

Tess and Isabel wandered in. They stood at the counter to pay for their food and then came over to Liz and Maria. “Do you care if we join you?” Isabel asked nicely.

Liz noticed that Isabel had as many donuts as Maria did. Maybe Isabel wasn’t such a princess after all. Any one who could put away
food like that couldn’t be as prissy as everyone thought.

“Sure, pull up a chair. Your just in time to join us for a new round of The Game,” Maria said with a smile.

“What’s the game?” Tess asked curiously.

Even Liz was a little curious about this. She had no idea what Maria was talking about. She had a feeling she would know soon enough.

The Game, my dear friends is as such; we each take turns giving people options. You have to say whichever one you prefer. For example, if I say, black or white? you answer the first thing you think of. I’ll start.” She paused for a moment and then grinned broadly. “Okay, tall or short?”

Isabel went first. “Tall.”

Liz “Tall.”

Tess “ Uhm, well, what are we talking about here, height of a person, a book shelf, what? I’m a little confused.”

“No, see you have to pick one or the other. That’s the beauty of The Game. And you interpret the choices given as you will. It’s all about what comes to mind first,” Maria explained. “Let’s try another.”

“I’ll go,” Isabel said with a smile. “Chocolate or vanilla?”

“Oooh, chocolate,” Maria said taking another bite of her donut.

“Vanilla,” came Liz’s response.

“What if you don’t like either? I’m more of a strawberry person. And are we talking about ice cream or....”

“Tess, you get one more chance and then you’re out. You can no longer play. We have a two strikes rule in this game. If you can’t play right, then you can’t play at all,” Maria said interrupting.

“Come on Tess, you just pick between the two options. You’re making this harder than it needs to be,” Isabel said to her friend.

“Okay, it’s my turn now,” Liz told the girls. “Boxers or briefs?”

“Boxers!” the girls replied in unison, causing them to burst into a fit of giggles.

Twenty minutes later they were still sitting around the table laughing over some of their choices. Tess had gotten herself thrown out of the game when she hadn’t been able to answer the “Bra or no bra?” question.

They decided to head back to the group when Liz noticed that Max was sitting there by himself. She remembered that she’d just sort of left her things sitting there. Everyone else had probably done the same thing. And of course Max would sit there and play guard. Feeling a little guilty she went back into the shop and emerged moments later, heading directly for Max.

Standing in front of him, she handed him a donut. “Thanks for watching my things,” she told him.

“Thanks,” he said his eyes lighting up at her offering.

“I think you mentioned liking these before,” Liz said as if to explain.

Max nodded. “Yeah. They’re my favorite. Really though, you didn’t have to....”

Isabel and Maria watched the exchange between Max and Liz with more than a little amusement. “How cute are they?” Maria said absently. “ I give it four days before they’re all over each other.”

Isabel shook her head. “Knowing my brother it will probably take him the whole trip just to admit to her that he likes her. He’s such a dork.”

Maria’s eyes lit up mischievously. “Care to make a little wager about that?”

“What did you have in mind?” Isabel asked.

Before they could work it out, Alex and Michael walked up to them. “What are you ladies up to? You look like your plotting something,” Alex commented.

“As a matter of fact we are. We’re making a bet on Max and Liz over there,” Maria filled them in. “Want to get in on it?”

“Hell yeah,” Michael said. “I give ‘em two days before they’re having wild monkey sex.”

“Eeeew, Michael that’s gross. He’s my brother,” Isabel whined. Michael just shrugged.

“Okay fine, you think two days before they do it. I’m saying it
takes him four to kiss her. Isabel?” Maria was really getting in to this.

“I’m gonna say it’ll take the whole two weeks before he kisses her,” Isabel said.

“Alex?”

“I’m gonna go with Michael on this. Two days until crazy animal sex ensues,” Alex voiced.

“Okay. Fine. Let’s talk terms here. If Isabel or I win, you have two have to........”

******

“What do you suppose those four are up to?” Liz asked suddenly looking over at the tight little circle that Maria, Isabel, Alex and Michael had suddenly formed.

“I don’t know. Should we be worried, though? I’m not hearing arguing or name calling. This could be bad,” Max joked. Liz laughed and Max felt like he’d just won a million dollars. He was breaking her down. By the end of the flight today, he was going to have her won over.

Liz wasn’t sure why but she suddenly wanted to take a chance with Max. Maybe it was sitting here, watching him eat that donut. Who knew that eating could be sexy? She wished she was that donut right now. And the way he was licking his lips. She wondered briefly what it would feel like for his tongue to .......Giving up on caution she thought what could it hurt? They were both adults. They could handle whatever it was they were getting themselves into. She definitely wanted to get into something with Max Evans.

“Max, would you excuse me for a minute? There’s something I forgot to get. I’m just gonna go......” Grabbing her bag quickly Liz took off in the direction of the shops around the airport. She veered off at the last minute. The bathrooms. They would have what she was looking for. Maybe. Damn, she should have just taken Maria’s advice.
****

“Where’s Liz running off to?” Michael asked Max as he took the seat next to him.

Max shrugged. “I don’t know. We were just sitting her talking and she just jumped up and said she had to go get something. What about you? Where have you been for the last half hour?”

Michael smiled. “Oh, I thought I’d start off spring break right. There’s a little lounge on the other side of that book store. I had a beer. Well, two of them. And I got three phone numbers. We’re not the only one’s on spring break you know.” His smile became a smirk. “I told the girls I had a good looking friend. What do you say Maxwell, care to go get acquainted with them?”

Max shook his head. “No, I should probably wait for Liz, just in case. I’m sure she’ll be right back....”

“Whatever, look, maybe Alex’ll come with me.” With that Michael was up, making his way over to where Alex stood talking to Maria and Isabel. Something was definitely up. They’d just spent the past two months hating each other and now they were all buddy buddy? Something was going on. His gaze landed on Isabel who gave him a fake smile before turning toward Maria.

Max shook his head. He’d have to be careful. They were up to something.

Liz finally found what she was looking for. Damn. They were sort of expensive. Hastily, she dug into her bag for her money and made her purchase quickly before she could change her mind. As she stared at the foil packet in her hand she began to wonder just what the hell she thought she was doing? Max was a really nice guy. What if he wasn't interested in her in that way? Her thoughts drifted to Tess. She was probably more the type of girl Max was used to. Fun, cute, no hassles.

Of course that was sort of a waste, as far as Liz was concerned. Max was really smart. He needed someone who could challenge him, make him work harder. Tess was probably not that girl. She couldn’t even understand the concept of The Game, how could she possibly spur any creativity in Max Evans?

Liz shoved the condom into her bag and walked determinedly out of the restroom and back toward their gate. Of course, the closer she got, the less confident she felt. Eventually she came to the conclusion that she would just see what happened. She wouldn’t close herself off to new possibilities. That meant that anything could happen. She just hoped that Max would be a part of that anything.




posted on 21-Sep-2001 2:33:46 PM
Chapter 4

It was a group of travel weary students that finally made their way through the Airport in San Jose, Costa Rica. It was after midnight. Their flight had made it into San Jose sometime after ten pm. But they’d had to wait to get through customs before they could actually go find their tour bus. Standing in line they’d had to drag their luggage with them. Liz was having a little bit of trouble. She shouldn’t have brought so many books. She realized that now. But she felt much better when she saw Tess struggling. No one was helping her either. Everyone else was too tired to care about anyone but themselves.

The whole flight had been draining. Liz always hated flying. Today had been no exception. She’d been stuck next to this old man who kept leering at her from behind his newspaper. And of course, when she’d looked to see who everyone else was sitting by, she’d found Max and Michael in the back, sandwiched between a bunch of giggly girls. Maria and Isabel had gotten to sit together and Alex had a whole set of seats to himself. It really wasn’t fair.

When that first flight had ended they’d had a two hour layover in Houston. Max had found her and asked if she wanted to go grab something to eat with him. She’d been about to accept when those girls from the flight had pounced. They were all “Max,” this and “Max,” that, dragging him away from her. Michael followed closely behind. Max had looked back at her apologetically. Liz had been stuck then,sitting there by herself while everyone else went off to explore. Dr. Seligman was nowhere to be found. The only two people around were Tess and Kyle, who seemed awfully chummy all of the sudden.

That chumminess had been explained on the actual flight to San Jose. Liz had been towards the back of the plane this time. She was lucky enough to have a seat to herself. She was flipping idly through a magazine when she heard this noise coming from the bathroom. It sounded like moaning. Some people were apparently joining the mile high club. She’d nearly lost it when she’d seen Tess and Kyle emerging from the bathroom a moment later. It was just too funny.

Maria had promised that she and Liz would be together the whole trip. They would just do everything together. But Liz hadn’t really seen or talked to Maria since that morning in the airport, having donuts. She was starting to feel a little like she shouldn’t have come on this. She was just tired. Once they got to Puerto Viejo to the La Selva Research Station, she would feel better. Much better.

They were on the bus now. Max sitting in the seat across from Liz. But she hadn’t even noticed. In a way that was good. He could watch her now. She was sleeping. Her head against the window. The city lights highlighted her face as they rushed by. Once they got to outside the city, the moon bathed Liz in it’s light. Max couldn’t help but admire her. She was beautiful. It was the kind of beautiful you noticed after you got to know her. Because it wasn’t just about her pretty face. It was everything about her. How smart she was and kind and caring.....how she hated spiders but refused to kill them.

The whole bus was quiet now. Everyone was tired, they wanted to sleep. Maria was up front, trying to translate for Dr. Seligman who was telling her that she had to okay everything she said with him first. She obviously wasn’t listening though, because she and the bus driver were having a private conversation. Both were laughing. Dr. Seligman just sort of gave up.

Liz didn’t wake up until she felt someone shaking her shoulder gently. “Liz, were here,” Max whispered to her. He’d moved over to the seat right next to hers to wake her. When he’d first tried to touch her she’d turned away from the window and curled up next to him. Not that that didn’t make him sublimely happy, but the timing was a little off considering they were supposed to be getting off of the bus now.

Everyone else was unloading their luggage and getting let into their cabin.

They were all sharing one big cabin. It had five separate rooms. The girls got the first three. The one had it’s own bathroom. The other two had to share. Everything was sort of out in the open though. Maria grabbed a room, dragging Isabel in with her and telling Tess that the other bed was saved for Liz.

“Where is Liz?” Maria asked suddenly.

Michael came up behind her. “She’s still on the bus with Max,” he told her. He was rewarded when Maria jumped and then turned on him.

“Don’t sneak up on me like that,” she yelled.

“Jesus, Be QUIET Deluca! It’s one thirty in the morning. We’ve got to get up in four and half hours. Let the rest of us go to sleep.” Kyle’s voice yelled out.

“What do you mean Liz is on the bus with Max? What are they doing?” Isabel asked.

Michael grinned and shrugged only to receive a smack from Maria.

“Geez, he’s just trying to wake her up. Although from what I saw, she didn’t want to. She was wrapping herself around him......”

Maria looked panicked. “Isabel, go separate them! They can’t do anything yet or we’ll lose our bet!” Maria exclaimed.

On the bus, Max was still having a hard time getting Liz to wake up. She was now practically in his lap. “Liz....come on, you need to wake up,” he told her. Her hand moved then, slipping into his lap, only inches away from his rapidly increasing arousal. “Max,” she said with a sigh.

Oh god, he was going to lose it, right here on the bus.

Liz’s hand moved again, coming in direct contact with the bulge in his jeans. And that’s the exact moment she chose to wake up. Her eyes opened. She looked up at him, confusion all over her face. The she looked down at her hand. She sort of did a double take before jerking her entire body away from Max.

“What’s going on?” she asked as she tried to wake herself up fully. She was mortified. She’d obviously been groping Max in her sleep. This was terrible.

“We’re at La Selva. I’ve been trying to get you to wake up. We’re all set up, we need to go get our cabin assignment,” Max explained. His voice croaked just a little as he tried to get his body under control.
Liz followed Max out of the bus and he helped her take her luggage
over to the cabin. They were immediately pounced on by Maria and Isabel.

“You’re with us Liz,” Maria said excitedly, dragging Liz and her things into the room. Michael came out of the room next door and motioned for Max to join him in there. Inside Alex was claiming a bed, as was Kyle. They didn’t say much, just sort of nodded, grunted and pointed as they got themselves ready for bed.

“So, Liz, what was going on on the bus?” Maria voice could be heard through the wall. Actually, the walls didn’t extend all the way up to the ceilings. They were open on the top to let air pass through.

Michael groaned out loud. “Deluca. SHUT UP! Your at a ten right now. You need to be at a two. Some of us would like to sleep.”

“Thank you Mr. Guerin,” Dr. Seligman’s voice said from the room
over on the other side.

Maria was apparently ignoring them. “Let’s play The Game,” she said to Isabel and Liz who had already made themselves as comfortable as possible in their beds.

“Fine, you go first,” Isabel told her.

The fan in the room was going full blast. They still had the light on because Maria wasn’t ready for bed yet. “Okay, so bra or no bra?” she asked.

“You already did that one,” Liz informed her.

“I know, I’m just trying to make a decision. You can see right through this shirt and I’m trying to decide if I care whether or not the boys see my tits,”

“Oh, GOD, MARIA! Too much information!” Alex’s voice said from next door.

Liz and Isabel immediately burst into laughter.

“No Bra!” They said.

There was more giggling. It kept up even when the generator went out shutting off the light and the fan.

Maria crawled up into her bed. “Okay, I got another one. Bikini or one piece?”

“Oh, definitely bikini,” Isabel responded.

“Liz?”

“Uhm, well, I guess.....”

“Liz, babe, please do not pull a Tess on this,” Maria said with a giggle.

“I heard that,” Tess’ voice came from the room on the other side of the bathroom. You really could hear everything.

“Okay, bikini. But only because that’s what I brought along,” Liz finally answered.

“Ooh, what color is it?” Isabel asked.

“Oh, well it’s dark pink with white flowers on it,” Liz told her. “It’s one of those tan through ones.”

Max groaned out loud when he heard this.

“Max, buddy, as euphoric as I know that answer just made you, please refrain from getting happy with us in the room,” Alex told him.

This was followed by giggles from the girls next door.

“We heard that,” Maria’s voice floated over the top of the wall.

“I’ve got one,” Isabel said. “Boxers or briefs?”

“Commando,” came Maria’s response.

This resulted in more giggling. “Okay, Tess,” they teased her. “I thought we had to stick to the choices.”

“I am sticking to the choices. Isabel just forgot to mention that one. Now Lizzy, tell us what you like,” Maria commanded.

Max held his breath waiting for her response.

“Well, I know that I like going commando....” her voice said. Max couldn’t even listen to the rest of her words. He was up and out of his bed heading into the bathroom. He quickly stripped off his shorts and jumped into the shower. Cold. It was very cold.

The girls heard the slamming door from the boys room and quickly
quieted down, afraid that one of them was coming over to their room.

“Maybe I should put a bra on?” Maria asked which only prompted more giggles.

They were so tired. The kind of tired where you couldn’t possibly sleep and everything seemed funny.

The could hear the shower coming from the bathroom the guys were sharing.

“Which one of you couldn’t handle the heat?” Maria asked.

“Who do you think?” Michael asked.

“It was Max. He got a little hot and bothered by all that commando talk coming from Liz’s mouth,” Alex informed them.

This immediately stopped Liz’s giggles. An image of Max standing under a stream of water filled her mind. The scene changed from a shower to a waterfall, a rock and Max taking her on the rock. Now she needed the cold shower.

She drifted off to sleep then, listening to Maria and Michael
bicker through the walls.

(Day one)

The sounds of the rain forest animals woke the group sometime after five am. The sun was coming up. The girls tried to get themselves to move. After awhile they were semi-successful. They fought over who got the first shower. Liz won and snuck into the bathroom. She quickly examined the shower stall checking for bugs and any other crawling creatures. She didn’t find anything like that but she did find a switch that turned on the hot water. Once she finished her shower she quickly brushed her teeth and washed her face. Wrapping her towel around her body, she left the bathroom and headed back to the room. Five steps. It was just five steps between the bathroom and the room. But in those five steps she managed to get caught.

“Hey Liz,” Max said as he passed. He was on his way over to the dining hall for breakfast. He did a double take. Liz. She was standing there. In a towel. Nothing else.

“Hey Max,” she said quickly. She sort of paused before she practically ran back into her room.

Max shook his head. He’d taken two cold showers already and they’d only been in Costa Rica a total of about eight hours. Those showers had absolutely nothing to do with the heat either.

Everyone managed to make it to breakfast on time and they sat around talking
quietly.

"So how'd everyone sleep last night?" Maria asked with a mouth
full of rice.

"Oh, well, I guess pretty good considering there were three babbling girls in
the room next door," Alex said. Maria just laughed. "You can take a nap later. Don't worry."


Dr. Seligman joined them then and started to explain their agenda for the day."We've hired several guides to come and give us an initial tour of a couple of the trails just to introduce the forest to you. This will seem a little less overwhelming. The guides have agreed to meet us at 7:30am. We'll be out with them until about noon. When we get back we'll eat lunch and then you're all on your own. Remember, don't split up. You need to stay with your partners."

Michael rolled his eyes. That was great. He was going to have to spend all his time with little Miss Scientist. That probably meant they'd be out in the jungle forever analyzing each little bug that crawled by.

Liz knew what Michael was probably thinking. She was looking forward to being stuck with him about as much as she looked forward to Organic Chemistry tests. But she had an idea. Hopefully he'd think it was as good of an idea as she did. This afternoon she'd explain it to him and they'd explore their options then.

Their little guided tour of the rain forest was actually pretty fascinating. The groups had split up. The first guide, Gerado, was his name, took Maria and Isabel, Michael and Liz, Max and Alex, Kyle and Tess. The others went with the other guide. Dr. Seligman had been reluctant to let the group go without a chaperone of sorts. But Gerado had assured him that he would watch them all carefully. The group was surprised at just how much he knew about the forest. They were amazed by everything that he was able to point out. Things they would have never thought to look for. Liz took lots of notes in her field notebook. Isabel took lots of pictures and Michael made a lot of quick sketches in his own notebook. Maria and the guide became pretty fast friends. For some reason this agitated Michael.

"What the hell does she think she's doing. I mean, the guys named after one of those talk show hosts for god's sake," Michael said to Max as they began their way back to the main station.

Max laughed. "His name is Gerado (Heh -rah- doh), not Heraldo," he informed his friend.

"Whatever. He's married. He shouldn't be leading Maria on like that. And she….she should know better than to throw herself at a stranger like that. He's got to be a least six years older than she is."

"Michael, it's okay. Really. Just keep an eye on things. Maria's a big girl. She knows better than to let it get too out of hand," Alex jumped in.

"Oh My God! What the hell is this?" Maria yelled from up ahead. All three guys scrambled forward to see what was going on.

Isabel, Tess, Maria and Liz were standing in front of this tree. From back behind you couldn't really see anything. So the guys didn't understand what the big deal was. But they wanted to know what was so fascinating about it.

"Care to guess what this is called?" Gerado asked them.

Isabel was snapping pictures from every angle, Liz was writing furiously. Tess kept looking from the tree to Kyle. Maria was laughing. " I don't know if I can say it out loud," she told him.

"Do you know the word in Spanish?" Gerado asked. She shook her head no.

"It’s a palma pene," he told her. " A type of walking palm tree."

Liz was now pulling out her plant and tree identification books. Flipping through the pages quickly, she found what she was looking for. Blushing a bright red, she closed the book and started to move on.

"Liz, wait! Did you find it's name?" Isabel asked.

That's when the guys finally got a look at what the girls had been gaping at.

Alex let out a whistle. "Wow!"

"No kidding wow," Kyle mumbled under his breath. Max could feel himself blushing before he actually started to laugh along with Michael.

"So Liz, what's it called?" Michael asked running to catch up with her. She mumbled something. "What was that? I didn't quite catch what you said."

She stopped walking. "I said it's called a Penis Palm." She started walking again as the whole group burst into laughter. It really was funny. And leave it to Maria to be the one to spot it.

"So, The Game," Maria said going to catch up with Liz. Isabel and Tess werequick to follow with the guys close behind. "Length or Girth?"

The girls looked at each other with big smiles. "Both!" They yelled out in unison.
**********

After lunch, Liz dragged Michael off to the research station's Library where she convinced him to help her make their journals truly impressive, thus insuring both of them an A. When Dr. Seligman had put them in partners he'd combined half of their journal assignment making it a joint effort. Liz made a suggestion that Michael liked and so they spent the afternoon working on it.

Max and Alex had decided to venture out into the forest again while Maria and Isabel took naps. Kyle and Tess disappeared into Tess' empty room. That meant that Isabel and Maria didn't end up getting a whole lot of sleep.

Max had just finished his third cold shower of the day when he spotted Michael and Liz as they were getting back.

"Hey, where have you guys been?" he asked.

Michael shrugged. "We were working on our journals. You?"

"Alex and I went on a forest walk this afternoon. We met this researcher on the trails. He said he would talk to us about his project if we wanted. That's where I'm heading next. Over to his cabin. Alex might be there already." As Max talked Liz's whole face lit up.

"Oh, can I come? Please? I was really hoping to get a chance to talk to someone about their work and…."

Max nodded. "Sure. The more the merrier."

"I think I'll pass. I'd rather go bug Maria and Isabel," Michael told them.

"Oh, they're up at the gift shop talking to some guy named Carlos. He's another one of the guides here, " Max said, waiting for Michael to react. He wasn't surprised when Michael immediately headed off in their direction.

Liz raised her eyebrows questioningly at this. "He's become Maria's personal protector," Max explained.

"Oh. Um. Okay. Do I have time to take a shower before we go talk to thisguy?" she asked.

"Sure. I'll wait for you. Just come and get me in my room."

Liz took off to shower and Max went to work on his journal. Anything to keepfrom thinking of Liz, naked and water.

Their talk with the researcher was really quite fascinating. Liz asked him all sort of questions and he ended up asking her if she’d like to help him the next day. Max too. During dinner that night they had to convince Dr. Seligman to let them switch partners just for the day. He’d been reluctant at first, not wanting this research to really be just an excuse for some Spring Break fling. He wasn’t as dumb as the students thought. He knew the kinds of things that were likely going on behind his back. He just chose not to acknowledge them. But it was Liz. She was responsible. She was actually on this trip to learn, unlike most of the others. Max seemed to be fairly interested too. Although his interest seemed to be more in Liz than anything. In the end he reluctantly agreed after talking to the researcher to make sure it wasn’t an inconvenience.

******

“We’re in serious trouble here, Isabel,” Maria told her new friend as they sprawled out on their beds. Liz was in the dining hall, working overtime on her journal. So they had a free moment to discuss things about her and Max. “They’re going to be spending a whole day together. Apart from the rest of the group. Who knows what’s going to happen?”

“You’re right. This is bad. Very bad. I mean, I really don’t want to have to follow through on the bet if we’re going to lose. Why couldn’t we have just bet money?” Isabel whined.

“Because this made it more interesting. Besides, if the guys lose, we get everything paid for, the rest of the trip. I know Michael’s got a credit card. That’s a definite good thing.”

“I know, but Maria, whatever possessed you to bet our bikini tops. And giving them to the guys on the last day? When we’re supposed to be at the beach?” Isabel knew she should have just stayed out of this.

“Relax. We just need to put the fear of God is Liz later tonight. We’ve just got to get her to hold out for a few more days.”

Meanwhile, Michael and Alex were plotting against the girls. Michael set off to set things in motion with Liz. He had to put Max in her thoughts. Alex’s job was Max. He definitely had the easier job. Max’s thoughts were always closely related to Liz.

******

Liz stared at the journal in front of her somewhat blankly. Michael had just left and now she was sitting there, contemplating everything he’d just told her about Max. What was she going to about all of this now? Was she supposed to act on this? or should she just pretend that Michael hadn’t said anything? She definitely knew that their attraction was mutual now. Liz shook her head, trying to shake away the thoughts that were screaming through her head. Thoughts telling her to find Max and ravish him right then and there.

Max watched Liz from outside. Now that the sun had set, the temperature had dropped and the night air was cool. But it was still fairly humid out. He’d just finished having an interesting talk with Alex about taking chances. Liz’s name had come up quite a few times. And he had a sinking suspicion that this all revolved around the conversation he’d overheard between Maria and Isabel. A bet. About he and Liz. He knew that much. And he knew that the stakes of that bet were probably fairly......creative. It probably didn’t matter what happened between he and Liz either. This bet probably encompassed everything so that someone would have to win.

He’d seen Michael leave the dining hall and now Liz looked contemplative. It made Max wonder if Michael and Alex had planned their speeches together. There was only one way to find out. Max went inside and sat down at Liz’s table. She looked up, startled to see him. Neither one of them spoke for a moment.

Liz found her voice first. “Something’s going on,” she said. “Michael just spent the last twenty minutes in here talking you up to me. Telling me that I needed to take a chance and that you were the perfect person to do that with. Then he told me to uh...take that chance tomorrow. He’s up to something.”

Max smiled. That’s what he loved about Liz. She was smart. She picked up on lots of things. “You’re right. I just got the same sort of talk from Alex. And I sort of overheard Isabel and Maria talking about a bet.”

“Well, then I think we need to put our heads together and come up with a plan. We can’t let them get away with this,” Liz said.

“ I agree. Maybe we need to put some time into finding out just what the bet entails,” Max suggested.

“We can work on it tomorrow.”

“Yeah, tomorrow.”

The bet was soon forgotten though because they started talking about their day and the things they’d seen. Max loved watching Liz talk. Her whole face just lit up with excitement. And she was suddenly more beautiful than before. Liz couldn’t get over the way Max listened and smiled, looking genuinely interested in everything she had to say. He’d always been so great. But she’d pulled away after that first class they’d had together, thinking that she wasn’t something he’d want. Michael had assured her that she was wrong though, that Max did want her. Liz hoped that this trip was going to be a catalyst for something with Max. And right now, looking at his beautiful amber eyes as they sat there talking, she would take whatever he wanted to offer.



Chapter 5 (anyone for some nookie?)

Day Two

“So, Carlos, you know the really hot guide I was talking to at dinner last night? He says there’s going to be a big fiesta tonight and,” Maria wagged her eyebrows, “he wants us to come.” She was telling everyone this news over breakfast.

“A party?” Alex asked. “I’m there. I’ve had enough roughing it. I need to get some human interaction.”

“Alex, we’ve only been here a day. Don’t be such a weenie,” Isabel said as she picked at the eggs with peppers and onions on her plate.

“Shut up, Isabel. I hear you whining this morning about how your nails wouldn’t dry because of the humidity. And I know that’s roughing it for you, no nail polish. I bet the world’s about to end because of it too.”

“Hey now, let’s save the insults for later when we’ve all got a few drinks in us to make them really interesting,” Michael cut in.

Liz and Max kept silent for the most part as details for the evening were discussed. They were waiting to see if any of the others would slip up and mention the bet. So far though they’d all stuck to other topics.

“Tell us more about the party,” Isabel said.

“Well, it’s at this hotel disco bar place. He says it’s the best place in town. Everyone that works at the station is going to be there,” Maria said. She was talking and eating her pancakes with rice and beans smeared over the top. Michael watched her eat with morbid fascination. She certainly didn’t care what anyone else thought. He had to give her that much. Although watching her eat that crap was a little bit nauseating.

“The researchers too?” Liz asked.

“Oh, I don’t think so. Just the Costa Ricans. Carlos says he’s going to get us all shit faced so they can take advantage of us,” Maria said laughing. When no one laughed with her she was surprised. “You guys, it was a joke. Ha Ha funny? Never mind.”

“Maybe it’s not such a good idea, Maria. I mean, we don’t know these people and we’re in a strange country and I’m not so sure Dr. Seligman would...” Liz was interrupted by Michael.

“Liz, I thought we had a talk about taking chances last night. This would be the time to start. We’ll all go. It’ll be like a get to know your trip companions exercise.”

Liz was still leery about the whole thing. She glanced at Max. She would have to ask him what he thought about going when they were alone later.

“Max, are you ready to go?” Liz asked. “Dr. Weising said he’d be out at the research site early.” They were supposed to meet him at the trail SOR marker 560 and from there he’d take them into the forest off of the trails for the research.

“Yeah, let’s go,” Max got up and followed Liz to put their breakfast trays away. The other’s watched them intently.

“Wow, they aren’t even together and he’s already being led around by his.....energy source,” Alex commented. Isabel groaned at the comment and threw a piece of bread at Alex’s head. He ducked and it missed. He smiled only to have her throw a pancake at his face. This time her aim was right on.

Maria’s attention was elsewhere. Once Max and Liz were out of earshot she started in on Michael. “What the hell were you doing talking to Liz last night? You wouldn’t have been trying to put ideas into her head to help you win the bet would you?”

“No of course not, Maria. Liz and I were just talking about our journals and we had a really interesting conversation about taking a few risks while we’re on this trio. That’s all.” He gave her his most innocent smile. But Maria wasn’t buying it for a second.

“Don’t give me that..” she started.

“No. You’re one to talk. I heard you and Isabel last night.” Michael’s voice took on a high pitch, “ ‘oh Liz, you should really be careful. As much as you might like Max, it would make things awkward to jump into something on the trip.’ Please, like that wasn’t a lame attempt to help your self. It’s gonna happen. And you’re scared because Baby, by the end of this trip you will be tanning topless on the beach.”

With an indignant “hmpf” Maria gathered her tray from the table and left. Michael Guerin was such a cocky SOB. She’s just have to do something to take care of that.

******

The research adventure that Max and Liz went on proved to be very.....educational. They were able to learn a lot about the forest and even actively participate in Dr. Weising’s research. When it got to be lunch time, Dr. Weising left them to watch the project while he went to lunch. “Behave yourselves,” he teased. “I’ll be back in an hour to relieve you.”

So they sat there, eating their own sack lunches and recording their observations. Occasionally they would talk quietly to each other. Being in the forest was an odd experience. Everything around them was so alive. They were both sort of in awe of it. Whispering when they spoke so as not to disturb the beauty of all their surroundings. They were so engrossed in what they were doing that they didn’t notice the White-lipped peccary that had cautiously approached them. It was Liz who noticed first. “Max,” she whispered, her voice urgent.

“What?” he asked, looking up. His eyes took in her wide eyed expression. He followed her gaze and immediately his whole body stiffened. Whole meaning everything. Including something he wished wouldn’t have. He tried to tell himself that it had nothing to do with the way Liz had grabbed onto his thigh in her excitement over the peccary. He focused on the situation at hand, silently praying Liz would loosen her grip soon. “Isn’t that.....?” he asked softly.

She nodded. “A peccary. Do you remember that National Geographic article Dr. Seligman had us read? You know about the guy that died from being attacked by them....” her voice trailed off with a gasp. The peccary hadn’t come alone. It had been followed.

“Oh, God! Max we’re going to die!” Liz exclaimed in a whisper.

“No we won’t. If we don’t provoke it we’ll be just...” he stopped talking when Liz clamped her hand over his mouth, her other hand clutching at his leg a little more tightly. A Puma (mountain lion) was steadily making it’s way toward them. Max knew that his own eyes were probably wide with fright, excitement....you name it. Instinctively Max moved slowly, placing his body in front of Liz as if to protect her. Liz’s own heart was racing. Aside from being out of her mind with fright, she was overcome with this outrageous adrenaline rush not to mention completely thrilled.

They sat there, both completely still, silently agreeing not to make another move to attract attention to themselves. It seemed like hours passed as they watched the puma traveling in a circle around them. It was hunting......probably looking for the peccary, which had disappeared into the shrubbery. Now it was just Max, Liz and the Puma. Suddenly a human voice could be heard. It was Dr. Weising.

“What the fuck?” the biologist exclaimed loudly as he came upon the scene. His exclamated question was effective in doing two things. First it scared away the Puma, second it scared the hell out of Max and Liz.

“Holy God! How long has the Puma been around?”Dr. Weising asked approaching the two. Liz was still clinging to Max as she answered. “At least five minutes. Oh my god! That was so incredible! No one is ever going to believe us.”

“Oh. I’ll make sure they do,” Weising assured them. “I saw it too. That’s the first one I’ve seen since I’ve been here. That’s just un-fucking-believeable!” Both Max and Liz were a little surprised at Dr. Weising’s language. He seemed to swear a lot. It was sort of funny. Dr. Weising stopped pacing in front of them and looked over, taking in the excitement and relief passing over the faces of his two companions He smiled briefly at the protective attitude Max seemed to have toward the girl. He thought briefly of teasing them about what they’d been doing to pass the time.

In the excitement of their siting they were unable to focus on Dr. Weising’s research any longer and he encouraged them to go back to the station to share the experience with their fellow students. He was going to go look for the Puma. Liz clutched Max’s hand the whole hike back, talking excitedly. Max was grinning from ear to ear by the time they reached the station. They were unaware of a group of shocked friends watching them from inside the dining hall.

“SCORE!” Michael grinned broadly. “I knew it! I knew they’d take our advice, Alex,” he said to his partner in crime.

Maria narrowed her eyes and glared at Michael.

“We Won!” he exclaimed.

They were no longer watching Max and Liz but were arguing with each other.

“Please, you can’t be sure,” Isabel said.

“As much as I hate to agree with Queeny over there, she’s right. I mean, we probably can’t just assume...” Alex started.

“Please, did you see them? Liz was clinging to Max. And did you see the big goofy grins on their faces? They did it. I’m positive. There is no way they spent all that time together and nothing happened. Especially looking like they did,” Michael insisted.

Max and Liz, standing outside just to the side of the screened windows, were no longer smiling. And Liz was no longer holding Max’s hand. They were looking everywhere but at each other, both obviously embarrassed.

“I’m sorry,” Max finally said.

Liz shook her head. “No. This isn’t your fault. I’m absolutely certain this was all Maria’s doing.” They listened to the argument coming from inside. “What should we do?” Liz asked.

Max shrugged. “I don’t know. I mean at least we know what the bet’s about now. And even if something had.....happened, there’s no guarantee that they would have known about it. We could lie to them...”

Liz interrupted Max. “I think we should go along with Michael on this. We don’t have to come right out and say it but.....I mean whatever Maria loses, she deserves it. So...what do you say? Should we play along?”

Max looked down at his feet still somewhat embarrassed. For god’s sake. He was 22 yrs old. He shouldn’t be this nervous. “Sure. I mean, it’s okay with me if it doesn’t make you uncomfortable.”

Liz shook her head, “No I’m okay with it. What should we do first?”

Max thought for a moment. “Let’s just go in there and tell them what we were going to originally. We’ll hold hands and....” leaning in, he captured her lips with his own, kissing her hard. After a moment he pulled away.

“What was that for?” Liz asked, a little dazed, her lips tingling from the kiss.

“That was to make it look real,” Max answered as his face turned a slight shade of pink.

“Oh.” Before she could even think about what she was doing she
reached up taking his face between her hands, kissing him. She ran her fingers through his hair. This time they were both active participants in the kiss and were breathing hard at the end of this kiss.

“It needed to be more realistic,” Liz told him. He nodded and grabbed her hand and they walked into the dining hall toward their respective friends.

Maria’s mouth dropped open as she took in Liz’s flushed look and her kiss swollen lips. Then Max’s messed hair and the goofy love sick grin on his face and Damn! Michael was right. ‘Topless beach here I come,’ she thought to herself.

“So....uh....what have you two been up to?” Alex asked trying to keep from laughing. You’d have to be stupid to not know what they’d just been doing.

Liz sighed. “The most amazing thing happened....” she started.

“Uhm Liz, we really don’t need to know,” Isabel said making a face.

“No, it was just so amazing that I have to share it with everyone,” Liz gushed excitedly. “Max was...”

Maria groaned out loud. Oh God! She so did not need a lesson on Max’s performance in the wild.

“......my hero!” Liz stated looking up at him adoringly.

Max blushed, his ears turning red. “Liz...” he started to say.

“No, Max, you practically saved my life,” she insisted. She
turned her attention to everyone else. “There was a Puma and he came right up to us and Max put himself in front of me to protect me.”

“Oh wow, are guys both okay?” Isabel asked.

“We’re both fine. Dr. Weising scared the Puma off...but it was such a rush to actually be there watching it. Pure adrenaline,” Max told them.

“Almost as big of a rush as later on,” Liz said, smiling seductively up at Max. He swallowed hard. He knew what she was doing, that still didn’t dampen the effect it had on him. Her words were whispered, meant for his ears only, but said loud enough for the others to hear as well. Once again Max blushed. He and Liz locked gazes and stared into each other’s eyes.

Michael couldn’t help but smirk. Oh yeah. He’d definitely won the bet.

Max and Liz stayed to talk with the others about their research for awhile before Liz pulled on Max’s hand to leave. “We should probably go take a shower huh?” she said looking up at him again. Max had to bite back a laugh at the laughter clearly visible in her own eyes. She was having fun playing this little game.

“Uh...yeah...a shower would be good. Really good,” he stammered a little. His voice came out a little huskier than he’d intended as he was trying to convey ....oh hell he didn’t even have to try. Just the thoughts of Liz and water were more than enough to stir up a reaction in him. They left the other’s behind and headed off in the direction of the cabin.

“I hope they were talking about separate showers,” Maria voiced loudly.

When Max and Liz heard this they ran back the rest of the way and immediately burst into laughter as they collapsed, side by side, on the bed in Liz’s room.

“Oh god, did you see Maria’s face?” Liz asked, tears of laughter streaming down her face. The bed was shaking from the force of their laughter as they lay there.

“I know and did you see how Michael just kept grinning because he thinks he won?” Max’s voice trailed off as Liz turned her head to the side to look at him. The laughter died in their throats and very slowly their faces inched closer. Both were thinking about their kisses from earlier. Liz had been possessed before, needing to feel his lips on hers again after their first all too brief kiss. She was feeling possessed again.

Her lips were like a magnet, Max thought absently. He couldn’t help but be drawn to them, pulled in. He could feel the warm air passing from her lips, caressing his. Her breaths were getting shallow. They were so close....he could kiss her the way he really wanted to. Just one more millimeter.

The door to the room burst open and they jerked apart quickly, embarrassed by the intrusion on the intimate moment.

“Hey horndogs,” Maria said not even pretending to be oblivious to what she was interrupting. “We’re going to go for a swim down the river. You interested? We’re all going. We even got Tess and Kyle to ease up on their nookie marathon to come along. “

“Yeah, sounds great,” Max told her. He was secretly upset that they’d just been interrupted. His voice was still a little husky.

Why does he have to be so sexy? Liz thought to herself. “Of course. It sounds like fun. When are we going?”

“Is fifteen minutes enough time for you two to change? The rest of us have been ready since after lunch,” she explained.

“Sure. Fifteen minutes. No problem. We’ll be ready,” Max told her, speaking for the both of them.

“Whatever. We’ll meet you at the dining hall. Don’t get distracted.” With that said she turned around and left.

Liz chuckled. “Someone’s not very happy.”

“I wonder what the terms of the bet are?” Max mused.

Liz shrugged. “It’ll be interesting to find out.”
*****

Fifteen minutes later.

Max and Liz emerged from their rooms and met to discuss their plans for the afternoon before joining the others. They had to be on the same page if they wanted their little charade to work.

Of course the mere sight of Liz in her bikini left Max speechless. He couldn’t form a single coherent thought other than they would be in the water together and she would be wearing that. That being a red bikini with little white flowers on that covered enough to let ones imagination run rampant. Max didn’t have a shirt on. That’s all Liz could think of at the moment. The brief thought that she was glad she had her back pack with her crossed her mind. Then she scolded herself.

“So.....uhm....how are we going to do this?” she asked as she stepped forward toward him.

“We’ll just kind of see what happens. I guess....I mean I don’t
want you to be uncomfortable,” Max told her truthfully.

“I’ll let you know. But I trust you so I’m not worried. Come on let’s go, it looks like the others are getting antsy.”

So Liz grabbed Max’s hand and led him to the others. “Finally,” Alex said. “We thought maybe you’d strapped yourselves to a bed or something.” This of course earned him an elbow in the ribs from Isabel who didn’t want these sorts of picture of her brother put into her head.

They started off and with the aid of Carlos the guide found themselves burrowing through the forest toward the river bank.

Everyone set there stuff down and made there way into the water. Max jumped right in, grateful for the relief of the cool water. He’d been walking behind Liz, with his towel carefully positioned in front of his erection. Being behind Liz hadn’t helped one bit. She had on this sarong that was practically see through and he could see more and more of her thigh with each step that she took.

They were all anxious to be in the water because they were sticky and sweaty and in some desperate need of fun.

Liz dropped her sarong and back pack on the pile with everyone elses things. She watched as Michael and Maria immediately began a water fight. Maria’s squeals were only drowned out by Isabel’s when Alex decided he wanted to get on the fight. Liz was so busy laughing at her friends that she didn’t notice Max until she felt herself being picked up by two very strong arms and being carried down to the water’s edge.

“Is the water cold?” she asked trying to make light of the situation when really she wanted nothing more than to be able to drink in the sight of Max’s wet naked skin.

“Guess you’ll have to find out huh?” Max said with a sexy grin. Then he promptly walked out into the water taking Liz under with him. She came up sputtering for air and clinging to Max.

“Hey you two, get over here,” Maria hollered out. “Carlos said if we find the right current we can just float right down the river back to the research station. Wanna try it out with us?” Max went to join the rest of the group, still maintaining his hold on Liz.

“You know I could probably handle myself, Max. You don’t have to carry me,” she told him even as she wrapped her arms around his neck.

He smiled. “I know. I’m just playing along. Besides, you’re too short and the water’s sort of deep. You’d have to swim.”

“Let me at least get on your back then. I feel silly having you carry me,” she told him. Max agreed and Liz maneuvered herself so that she had her arms around Max’s shoulders and her legs wrapped around his waist. Max nearly groaned out loud when he felt her breast pressing against his back. This was gonna kill him. He did groan when he felt Liz settle her bottom more firmly against him. “What’s wrong? Am I too heavy?” she asked.

“No,” Max quickly said. “I just stubbed my toe on something.”

“Okay, then onward Mister. We’re falling behind,” she teased.

They moved to catch up to the others and spent the next hour or so enjoying the river. After awhile, Michael and Maria were caught up in watching a school of fish swimming near the shore line between some rocks. Alex was trying to talk Isabel into catching tad poles with him. And Max was content to watch Liz as she swam around, taking everything in. Alex caught his attention for a moment. “Dude, you’ve got to see these. They look like giant black sperm. I shit you not,” Alex told Max. Max just shook his head and then laughed at the disgusted look on Isabel’s face because she was actually holding them in her hand. He turned his attention back to Liz and found that she had disappeared. He quickly swam off in the direction that he had last seen her. Coming upon a grouping of rocks, he stopped his swimming when he heard giggling. He turned toward the giggling and found Liz hiding back between several of the rocks.

“Hey,” she said with a bright smile.

“Hey. What are you doing?” Max asked swimming over to her.

“I just wanted to get away from the group a little. See what I could find on my own,” Liz explained.

“Oh, well, I’ll leave you alone then...”

“No! I mean...stay. I wasn’t talking about getting away from you,” as she said this she turned her head away pretending the rock next to her was completely fascinating. Max smiled. She was so beautiful to him.

“Okay,” he said. He was close now. Standing in the water right next to her.

“So did you find anything?” he asked.

Liz shook her head. “Just a hiding place.” Her eyes met Max’s and she was momentarily startled by the way they had darkened in color. They were dark with....desire she realized. Did he see the same thing in her own? she wondered.

“Max,” she whispered her hand moving up to his cheek of it’s own accord. Before either of them spoke another word their lips met, clashing furiously. Hands began to explore the wide expanses of naked wet skin at their fingertips. Liz gasped as Max’s mouth moved from her own to kiss and suck on her neck. Nothing had ever felt this good before. She always knew that things with Max would be explosive. This was just so much more than she had ever imagined. Maybe it was because she wanted him so much.

She wrapped her arms around his neck pulling his head in for another passionate kiss. His hands moved down her back, caressing the silky skin until they rested on her bottom. He pulled her closer to him, not caring if she felt how much he wanted her. At the action Liz moved and wrapped her legs around Max’s waist even as he moved and held her up against the rock. He kissed everywhere his lips would reach wanting to taste all of her. As his hips held her in place against the rock, his hands moved to undo the ties on her bikini top. It came undone easily and he pushed it aside quickly moving his lips down to the smooth globes of her breasts.

His name on her lips was probably one of the sweetest things he’d ever heard. His sole mission was now to hear that as much as possible. In an attempt to hear her voice again his lips licked and suckled at the flesh of her breast, pulling a hard nipple into his mouth, making her moan loudly and her fingers dig into his shoulders. Liz was swimming in a sea(or a river as it may be) of sensation. All she could comprehend was the way it felt to have Max’s lips on her, devouring her. It was better than she’d hoped. But she wanted more. She began to move her hips in a rhythm, rubbing her heated core against his straining arousal. His groans were muffled against her skin as he continued to taste her.

“Liz...” he finally breathed out between kisses, “How far are we going to take this?” His question hung in the air for a moment as they continued to kiss hungrily.

“I ....how far do you want to take it?” Liz asked finally not wanting the way he was making her feel to end.

“I don’t have anything with me here......but at the cabin....” his voice trailed off as their lips met again.

“I do....in my bag,” she told him.

They pulled away then, looking at each other.

“Race you,” Max said his eyes were dark with passion and still full of mischief.

They started to move when Liz stopped suddenly.

“Max?” Her voice sounded a little frantic.

“What?”

“My bikini top......where is it?”

Max really looked at Liz then. She was standing in water up to her waist, her chest bare with only her hands to cover herself. He pulled his gaze away trying not to think about how sexy she looked just then. Quickly, he scanned the water and the rocks for her top. He thought he’d set it on a rock.....

“I don’t see it.....Liz, I’m sorry,” he said guiltily. He felt guilty for two reasons. One, he really didn’t feel all that bad about Liz having to be topless and two because now they’d have to explain to their friends that Liz’s bikini top was missing and that would put off their attempt to make it to her back pack and probably knock the edge off of their earlier display of complete abandon. Of course his body wouldn’t recognize that, it would only register that Liz’s breasts were bare and that just moments ago, he’d had said breasts in his mouth....oh God! This was going to kill him. If he’d just held onto the damn top, they could be doing more than just kissing by now.

Liz, in an attempt to cover herself, came up behind Max. “Let me on your back again. At least then I can keep myself sort of hidden as we go back,” she explained. That didn’t sound too desperate. She just really wanted to touch him some more.

Max almost groaned out loud. This was making things worse. If it didn’t stop he was going to have to take her right there in the water and he wouldn’t give a damn about who was around to see.

******

“Hey you guys, did you see where Max and Liz went off too?” Alex asked after awhile. They’d managed to find a section of river that wasn’t too deep and wasn’t too shallow. They’d been playing chicken for awhile when they noticed that part of their group were missing.

“I can give you a guess,” Maria said and held something up in her hand.

“What the hell is that?” Michael asked, grabbing it from Maria’s hand. It was dark pink with little white flowers on it. That was familiar. Realizing what it was, Michael quickly dropped it into the water.

“What?” Isabel asked.

“It’s Liz’s bikini top,” Maria stated.

Isabel’s eyes got big. “Do you think they’re.....? Here? In the river? That’s kind of gross.”

Alex was laughing. “Woohoo! Way to go Maxwell,” he said.

“Hey maybe if we’re quiet we’ll be able to hear where they’re at,” Michael said.

“Michael, that’s gross!” Maria exclaimed. Regardless they were all silent, listening. “Was that a moan?” Maria whispered.

Alex shook his head. “No. I think it was a grunt.”

“ A grunt?” Isabel asked. “Oh god! This is just so disgusting. I really don’t want to know...”

“Wait, I hear it again. It was definitely a grunt,” Alex told them all. “It’s not coming from the water though. It’s coming from the bank.”

They all scanned the water and listened for more grunting.

“It’s coming from over by our stuff,” Michael announced.

They all swam back over to the bank closest to their things.

“What is that? It looks like a pig,” Maria said softly.

“Well, if you would have paid attention in classes you would know it’s a peccary,” Michael pointed out. Maria just rolled her eyes. They all watched in fascination as the peccary grunted and waddled it’s way around the bank and then toward the water.

“This is kind of cool,” Maria admitted. She was actually learning a lot despite her protests against learning on Spring Break. You couldn’t help but be fascinated by the nature that surrounded them.

“What are you guys doing?” Max voice hollered out. They all turned to find he and Liz coming toward them. Liz was getting a piggy back ride and trying to hide herself behind Max.

“We just saw a peccary,” Michael told him. Max nodded.

“Uhm, yeah, you guys didn’t happen to see a swim suit top float by did you?” Max asked. As he spoke his cheeks turned pink along with the tips of his ears.

“You mean this?” Alex asked holding up Liz’s top.

“Yes,” came Liz’s little voice from behind Max. Alex laughed.

“You’ll have to come and get it,” Alex teased. They all jumped out of the water at this point and ran up to the bank, peccary forgotten.

“No, Alex! Please!” Liz begged.

Alex tossed the bikini top to Michael who in turn shot it like a sling shot back to Alex. In the process Alex tripped over a rock and the top fell on the ground right in front of the peccary. Who must have thought to himself ‘oh, what pretty flowers. That looks good enough to eat.’ So Liz watched in horror as the pig like animal proceeded to take her bikini top and ......eat it.

“Oh my god!” she wailed loudly.

Max forced himself not to laugh. Then he remembered the position he was in at the moment and he had to force himself not to groan. Her bare chest was pressed against his back still and now she had her head buried in his neck, groaning her disbelief at what had just happened.

Liz finally looked up at Alex with a glare.

He stopped laughing long enough to mumble out “I’m so sorry,Liz,” before losing it again, along with the rest of them.



posted on 21-Sep-2001 3:02:21 PM
Chapter 6

“I can’t wear this Maria,” Liz to said as she stood in front of the small mirror in their room. “It’s just so.....not me.”

“Puh-lease, you’ve been looking for a chance to get down with your bad self since we got here. Here it is, now take it. Besides you’ll have Max drooling and following you around like a puppy all night. You’ll thank me, he’ll thank me. It’s all good,” she said with a bright smile.

Liz still wasn’t sure. She was borrowing an outfit from Maria for this little fiesta tonight. She hadn’t exactly brought any partying clothes along, thinking that this would be strictly an educational trip. So now she was wearing this little denim skirt that showed off more of her thighs than she was comfortable with and one of those backless tops. Of course with the weather being the way it was this was actually a lot more comfortable than a t-shirt and shorts.

Liz felt herself flush though at the thought of Max and what he would think. They had been so close to .....just cutting loose and oh god, what had she been thinking? She was going to have sex with him right there in the water. If it hadn’t been for her bikini top she’d have been.......a really satisfied girl right about now.

“So what did Dr. Seligman say when you asked him about tonight? Anything?”Liz asked, deciding to focus on other things.

Maria shrugged. “He mumbled some shit about being responsible young adults and making sure we were back here by tomorrow morning because he didn’t want to have to come looking for us. I pretty much told him to relax that we were all good little boys and girls and that we just wanted to soak up a little more Costa Rican culture. And that was the end of the conversation.”

Isabel breezed into the room then just back from her shower. “So ladies what do you think? Would leather be too much?” she asked going to her suitcase.

Liz rolled her eyes. What was Isabel’s deal with leather. Was it all she owned? If so she really needed to invest in some other clothing because honestly it didn’t look all that great on her. “You might get a little overheated,” Liz told her.

“True. I suppose that means I’ll have to go with something else....what about this?” She held up a sundress with bright red flowers all over it. She’d certainly stand out.

“Yeah, that’s good. Go for that,” Maria told her.

“What about you, Maria what are you wearing?” Isabel asked.

Maria smiles. “Well, I’m not really worried about that. I don’t plan on wearing it for too long. I mean.....Carlos got us a room at the hotel,” she started giggling. “He is so hot. I can’t wait to add
him to my list.”

“Maria!”

“You can’t possibly be thinking of actually doing anything with him?” Liz asked.

“Please, Liz you’re one to talk. I’ve known Carlos about as long as you’ve known Max and we all know that...”

“That is completely difference. Max and I have been semi-friends since Freshman year. This is just some random guy who just wants to use you,” Liz pointed out. Maria just shrugged.

“He can use me all he wants. I don’t care. Besides, I plan on being too drunk to really remember.” With that said Maria flounced out of the room toward the bathroom. Liz stared after her for a moment before turning back to Isabel who merely shrugged and went to finish getting ready.

They were going to get into so much trouble tonight.

******

“Are you guys sure this is such a good idea?” Max asked as he, Alex and Michael got ready for their little evening on the town.

“Yeah, I mean why wouldn’t it be?” Michael asked. He was contemplating his hair. After a moment he gave up. Who cared?

“I don’t know. It’s just.....I think we should be careful. We’re tourists, in a strange town in a strange country. Things could get out of hand and I don’t want anyone to get into any trouble,” Max told them.

“Max, pal, just enjoy your free evening with Liz. Think of the beauty of it. We get there, the music’s pulsing, pumping, the drinks are flowing.....your girl is happy and probably dancing maybe even grinding to the music. It’s all good,” Alex wagged his eyebrows and smiled big. “Just relax and let the good times roll.”

“How many drinks have you already had?” Max asked Alex wearily.

Alex cocked an eyebrow and grinned. “Two. I bought them off of Clarita in the gift shop. The Imperial stuff they have is pretty good.”

“Really?” Michael asked. “I’ll have to try some of that tomorrow. Tonight I’m all about the hard stuff.”

Max rolled his eyes and decided he’d had quite enough of Michael and Alex for now. “Look since we’re gonna be gone tonight, I’m gonna go do my laundry. I talked that Sarah girl into checking on it for me later,” Max said, grabbing his dirty clothes. “Do you guys have anything you want washed?”

“Nah, we’ll do it later,” Alex said.

Max left then, a bag of laundry in his arms. It really wasn’t all that much. Not even a full load. On a whim he knocked on the door to the girl’s room. Maybe his sister needed something washed.

Liz opened the door, her face lighting up at the sight of him. “Max!”

“Hey, Liz!” he paused for a second taking in her smile. “Uhm, I’m gonna do some laundry. Do you guys have anything you need washed? To make a full load?”

“Oh, that’s a good idea,” Liz told him. “Let me get mine.” She turned around and walked toward her bed. Max just about dropped his load....of laundry when he saw what Liz was wearing. Oh my god, her whole back was bare and.....that skirt, it showed off her legs. His thoughts drifted to earlier when those legs had been wrapped around him. So okay, tonight was looking a little more promising.

Maria and Isabel were looking at Max with big grins on their faces. He shifted uncomfortably on his feet and drew the bag of dirty clothes directly in front of him to hide his reaction to Liz’s attire. He silently cursed himself for acting like a teenaged boy.

Liz came back over. “I’ll go with you,” she said. “I’m all ready for tonight anyway.”

Max wasn’t sure what to say to Liz. Dear God, he was going to lose control tonight if she came any nearer to him. He was already half way gone.

Liz chatted casually as they walked toward the laundry hut. “I think we should try a night walk tomorrow. I bet we could see lots of interesting things. Dr. Seligman says night is really good for amphibians....” As Liz talked things seemed to slip into slow motion for Max. He was mesmerized by the movement of her glossy pink lips and the way her eyes sparkled with excitement.

“Max?”

Max shook his head and blinked. “Hm...what?” he said trying to focus.

“I asked if you had the detergent or if I needed to go get mine.” Liz eyed Max carefully. He looked a little dazed. Maybe the heat and humidity was catching up with him. “Max are you okay?”

Max felt his cheeks grow warm at her question. What should he say? Uhm yeah Liz I was just thinking about your lips and how I’d really like to have them on my.... “Yeah, I’m fine. As for your other question, here.” He handed her a plastic baggy full of Tide.

Liz smiled and sort of took over then. She took Max’s clothes from him. Then she found an empty washing machine and started it up, putting in some of the soap and then throwing in Max’s clothes. Liz paused briefly as it registered that she had a pair of Max’s boxers in her hand. She quickly threw them into the machine and then reached for her own clothes.

Max was leaning against the machine next to her watching as she started their laundry. THEIR laundry. That just sounded right. Like she should always be doing their laundry. Washing their clothes together. Or him. He could wash their clothes. Liz wouldn’t have to do it. But for some reason he was thinking about .....maybe washing clothes together for the rest of their lives. Where were these thoughts coming from? His eyes continued to watch Liz as she went about putting in her clothes. A small piece of clothing dropped from the bundle Liz had in her arms. Max was about to say something when he noticed what exactly it was. A thong. Liz’s thong. His eyes drifted to her cute rear end. What did she have on now?

Liz adjusted the setting on the washing machine and closed the lid. The pink object on the floor caught her eye. Damn. Her underwear. She bent over to pick it up quickly hoping Max hadn’t noticed. She opened up the lid and threw it in with the rest of the clothes.

Max swallowed hard as Liz turned away from him and bent over to pick up the thong. A tantalizing amount of her backside was revealed to him as she did this. He swallowed hard. Yup. Another thong.

*****

“The bus is here! The bus is here!” Maria exclaimed causing everyone to come out of their cabins. Their whole little group stood by the cabin and waited. The bus driver came to a stop. Miguel, their bus driver had agreed to drive them into town to the bar to meet the rest of the group from the station.

“Awe, Miguel, your my favorite bus driver!” Maria gushed as she took her place in the front passenger seat next to him. She repeated the words in Spanish for him and then gave him directions. They were meeting Clarita, the girl from the gift shop, and she would go with them into town then.

Max took a seat next to Liz on the bus.

She was looking out the window as they drove.

“It’s so dark out here,” she said softly. “I can’t believe how different it is here than back home ya know.”

“Yeah. It’s certainly less hectic, I think. Everyone seems pretty easy going,” Max agreed. He paused. “Uhm, I didn’t say anything earlier but you...you look really great.” If the bus wouldn’t have been so dark Max would have been delighted by the sight of Liz’s deep blush and her shy smile.

“Thanks. You look really good too,” Liz told him. He really did to. He had on a pair of khaki shorts and a dark green button down shirt that did absolutely nothing to hide the muscles that she knew were there. Liz felt herself shiver.

“Are you cold?” Max asked.

“No....I just had one of those spine tingle things. You know where your whole spine just sort of tingles for no reason,” Liz said.

“Oh yeah.” There was silence. Any tingling Max had done so far on this trip had been a direct result of Liz.

Their conversation was interrupted by the sound of Michael and
Maria bickering. “I can’t believe you!” Michael exclaimed.

“What? It was the only way she would come. And Dr. Seligman said
we had to have someone go with us so...”

“Maria, I don’t even know this girl. I refuse to be subjected to this!” Michael demanded.

“Listen Michael, it’s not a big deal. So Clarita has a little crush on you. All you have to do is smile at her and play nice. She doesn’t speak much English anyway....it’ll be good. Don’t worry about it okay?”

Michael was not convinced. But they didn’t have time to argue anymore because Miguel was stopping the bus to pick up Clarita.

“This should be interesting,” Max said to Liz. She laughed and nodded. “I can’t wait to see how this turns out.”


(At the Disco Bar and Hotel) Two Hours Later

Maria was having the time of her life. She’d been drinking since she walked in the door and she was feeling no pain. She and Carlos were living it up out on the dance floor and Michael, who was just as drunk as Maria, was dancing with Clarita.

“I didn’t realize Michael could dance,” Isabel commented. She was sitting at their table with Max, Liz and Alex as they watched everyone around them. The other’s from the research center were there but there was this whole language barrier thing and so they pretty much were ignoring each other. “I actually don’t think that qualifies as dancing,” Alex replied making them all laugh at Michael’s poor attempt to swing his hips around.

Liz felt just a little buzzed. She’d had maybe two drinks since they’d gotten there. Not enough to get drunk. She wanted to stay in control. Max was the same. They were just having a good time sitting there and talking. Max was being a good bodyguard too. Some of the Costa Rican men at the bar had tried to pick up Liz and Isabel. The one looked like the Taco Bell dog and he just kept saying things to her in Spanish and all she could do was shake her head at him because she had no clue what he was saying. Then Max had wrapped his arm around her and looked at the guy and said “Mine,” to him. He’d gotten the hint after that.

Maria suddenly made her way back to the table, laughing. “Hey guys! Did you see me? I was learning how to salsa. I’m so good too! Okay, will one of you get me another drink. I really want another drink. Something stronger this time,” she told them. Then she went back out on the dance floor. No one moved to get her a drink. She’d had more than enough.

A few minutes later they started playing American music and so the four decided to get up and dance. “I promise not to step on your toes too much,” Alex told Isabel. She merely rolled her eyes. She was letting herself enjoy Alex’s company. Now that she’d had a little bit to drink his jokes seemed so much funnier.

Max had been looking for an excuse to touch Liz all night and while there had been an odd moment here and there, dancing was definitely going to mean more direct contact. It was a slow song. They talked a little and laughed as they danced.

Liz liked being in Max’s arms. He made her feel safe and warm and wanted and.....she could get used to feeling that way. She really could. She moved closer to Max wrapping her arms more securely around his neck and resting her head on his chest. In response his hands tightened their hold on her waist. They were lost in each other. Just being together. Of course Maria would interrupt them. Hadn’t she been doing it the whole trip?

“Hey the DJ is going to take requests now,” she told them. Her speech was starting to get a little slurred.

“Maybe we should tell Michael to start keeping an eye on her. She told me that Carlos got them a room for tonight. But I really don’t think that’s a good idea,” Liz told Max.

“Yeah, you’re right. Let me go find him.” So Max went off and found Michael back at the table and explained the situation. Michael immediately jumped up and headed off in Maria’s direction . By the time Max made his way back to Liz the slow song was just ending. Damn his luck, Max thought.

Suddenly Alex’s voice could be heard over the speakers. “This little song goes out to Isabel because she knows I could give it to her. Maybe this will melt the ice a little huh princess?” Alex said. He was obviously drunk, Liz thought.

Pretty soon the strain’s of an older song could be heard and Liz felt herself responding immediately. Oh God, it was that song. The one that always seemed to make her....horny. This could be bad. She was out here on the dance floor with Max and this song just always made her so crazy and ......before she could stop herself, she felt her hips moving to the rhythm and she dropped her hands to Max’s hips to make him move with her.

You say it's been too long
Since you had some
Just say I turn you on
Like a fire that's burning inside
You think that I'm the one
You see in your dreams
I know what you mean

It's creepin' around in your head
Me holdin' you down in my bed
You don't have to say a word
I'm convinced you want this


Oh, god, Max was not going to make it through this dance. The way she was moving against him, touching him. Her hands were everywhere, on his chest, rubbing his arms. And this song.....this song was saying things he’d always thought about doing with her.


Baby you know I can give it to you
I can't deny I'd do it right
Just let me know and I'll give it to you
Show me where I'll taste you there


Liz was going crazy, just the thought of Max....tasting her was driving her to the point of insanity. She wanted to be naked with him. She wanted to touch him everywhere and have him do the same. And she wanted it bad. She could feel herself getting wet from the meager contact that they currently had.


Baby you know and I'll give it to you
Your body needs a man like me
Anything goes when I give it to you
Without a doubt I'll turn you out
The feeling is fine giving you everything of mine

I'm the place to be and soon you'll see
I don't care who leads as long as we move
Horizontally
Anyone can make you sweat, but I can keep you wet

It's creeping around in my head
Me holding you down in my bed
I can't wait to give you some
I'm convinced you need it


She needed it. She wanted it bad. His hands had long since been idle. At some point during a chorus they’d slipped up and underneath the hem of her skirt. She’d automatically moved closer and parted her legs allowing him access. She wanted him to know just what he did to her.

Max wasn’t sure what had come over he and Liz but at this moment he didn’t care. She was so ready. He was so ready. He knew he couldn’t hold out. He wanted her alone in a bed. Naked. Beneath him.

Somehow they made it off the dance floor and Max had an idea. Carlos was sitting at a table looking drunk and defeated. Probably because somehow Maria had ended up in the corner of the bar making out with Michael, go figure. Pushing that aside Max went over to Carlos. The key to the hotel room was sitting right there on the table. Max didn’t even asked, he just grabbed it and pulled Liz after him.

She didn’t protest she just told him to hurry. And hurry he did. It took them a moment to find the room but as soon as they did Max shakily opened the door and practically shoved Liz inside.

There were no preliminaries. There wasn’t time for anything else. They just attacked each other. He ate at her mouth, pulling her lower lip into his mouth, sucking on it and then releasing it and shoving his tongue into her mouth. She eagerly accepted it, sucking on it and then pulling away. She tugged on his shirt, almost ripping the buttons from it in her haste to take it off him. Then she moved for his pants but his hands stopped her.

“You first,” he whispered hoarsely he was still trying to catch his breath. And his heart was pounding so loudly that any noise that was made was completely drowned out. “I’ve wanted to do this all night,” he told her as he reached his hands around to the ties of the little shirt effectively allowing the entire top to just fall away right to the floor. He watched in hungry fascination as her chest heaved and her breasts moved with each breath she took. Her rosy nipples hardened under his intense gaze and he couldn’t wait any longer. He leaned forward and pushed her backward onto the bed and took her into his mouth. Sucking on one beautiful breast while she moaned in pleasure.

“Max, oh god! I’ve wanted this so much!” Liz told him as he continued to lave attention on her bare skin. She herself was not idle. Her hands were wandering the planes of his chest, touching each curve and contour.

Max pulled away from his current task long enough to whisper “Me too,” before returning his mouth to her skin. He had to kiss her everywhere, to taste her everywhere. His hands moved from where they’d been resting on the bed to her hips, bunching up the fabric of her skirt, moving it upward. He then moved them tracing her leg until he reached her inner thigh. Gently nudging her thighs apart Max’s right hand moved upward, caressing the soft skin he found there until he reached the barrier of her panties. She was so wet already. He almost lost control in that instant but he called on hidden reserves of will power and his fingers moved, tracing the outline of the material before slipping underneath, causing Liz to gasp out loudly.

“Max....hurry,” Liz breathed out. Somehow they managed to remove the rest of their clothing and once they were naked things slipped into slow motion again for Max. He couldn’t stop looking at her. She was so beautiful and tiny and he wanted to completely ravish her and cherish her at the same time. He couldn’t decide which.

His decision was made for him when Liz’s hand reached out to fondle his erection. He couldn’t help the groan that escaped his lips. He was burning alive just from her touch. For a few blissful moments he let her continue before moving her hand away and leaning down to find his shorts on the floor. He had to find his wallet.

He immediately panicked. It wasn’t there. He’d had it in the back pocket of his shorts and it was gone. “Fuck!”

“What’s wrong?” Liz asked. She still looked dazed and her skin was flushed, her lips swollen from their fierce kisses.

“My wallet.....I had....a condom and...I can’t,” he didn’t finish what he was saying.

Liz pulled her jeans skirt off of the floor quickly. “I didn’t think I’d need this but Maria said that .....it might come in handy.” Liz was turning the skirt inside out and there was a little tiny pocket there. She pulled out the contents and placed it in Max’s hands. Opening the foil packet hastily, Max put it on and then quickly rejoined Liz.

“Are you sure?” he asked. “I mean I don’t want this to be just some thing you do because you’ve had a couple of drinks,” he told her.

Liz shook her head. “I’m sure. I mean, I wasn’t drinking when I was in the river earlier was I? I would have.....we could have....there and I wouldn’t have said no,” she admitted. At that Max took her mouth again, tasting her, reveling in the way her tongue slid against his. He settled himself between Liz’s thighs and slid into her welcoming heat, groaning at the sensation. Pulling back he thrust forward again, sheathing himself more completely into her tight passage. “Oh, God,” he groaned out, “You feel so good.....so good!”

He started a slow rhythm and Liz soon joined him, meeting him thrust for thrust, moan for moan. He could feel himself getting closer to his climax and wanted to prolong this for Liz. He didn’t want to cum without her. The room was sweltering now, with the heat of their bodies moving together and from the humidity outside. There was a screened window, letting in the sounds of the night. But all that could be heard was the heavy breathing and sighs coming from the bed.

Max knew he couldn’t last much longer and Liz, while she was still enjoying this, needed more. But he couldn’t focus, he couldn’t decide what to do. He could only feel Liz as her body continued to accept him fully and the way her inner muscles were squeezing him and......he almost came when quite suddenly their position was reversed and Liz had herself positioned above him. Her hair flying around and settling wildly over her shoulders. Max looked up at her under hooded eyes and took in the sight of her. She was breathing hard and for a moment she just looked at him. Their eyes locked and then Liz leaned down taking Max’s mouth with her. She began to rock her hips against him. The placement of her hips and the way her body slid against his was driving her insane. It wasn’t enough though, not nearly enough.

Max reveled in Liz’s movement. The way her breasts slid against his own chest and how their sweat mingled as they touched. His hands moved to cradle her hips between his hands, helping her now frantic movements. “Oh, Max......oh god...yes...yes.....I’m so close....I’m so......” a strangled moan escaped her lips suddenly and she threw her head back her body tightening as her orgasm washed over her. Her inner walls clenched and began to pulse causing Max to orgasm. He came with a deep groan and one last thrust up into her body. Liz collapsed on top of Max, her breathing erratic. His fingers reached up, tangling in her hair as one hand stroked her back.

After a moment, as they began to come down from their high, Liz spoke. “That was amazing!” she said with no small amount of awe in her voice. Max nodded. “We should have done that a long time ago.” It was Liz’s turn to nod. Then she smiled. Then she laughed.

“Oh, god, I wonder what everyone thinks? We practically attacked each other out there and then we stole Carlos’ key.... We are so bad!” she said. Max smiled.

“I don’t think Carlos noticed. He was pretty upset. I wonder how the Michael and Maria thing happened?” Liz contemplated this for a moment. “Who cares? I’d rather think about you right now,” she leaned up and kissed Max.

“I think I can handle that,” Max said returning the kiss. “You up for round two?”

Liz was a little surprised to feel Max’s flesh harden. “I guess you certainly are.”

******

“How did this happen? I don’t even like you,” Maria told Michael between kisses.

“I know. This is so weird. I pretty much hate you,” Michael admitted before attacking Maria’s mouth again. Somehow during the course of a song, they’d decided that it didn’t matter if they liked each other or not. And they’d found themselves making out in the corner of the bar.

“You’ve got really great breasts,” Michael told Maria as he slipped his hands up into her shirt.

“Thanks. I’ve always thought the girls were impressive,” she replied. Michael smiled against her lips. Why did they always fight again? He couldn’t remember. More kissing. More touching. His hands were about to slip up the inside of Maria shorts when a shriek from the dance floor interrupted them. Michael tore his lips away from Maria’s and looked in the direction of the commotion.

Isabel was standing there, looking completely mortified as Alex bent over throwing up. “My dress....” Isabel moaned.

Reluctantly Michael and Maria abandoned their current activities to go check out the situation.

“Alex just got sick,” Isabel informed them as they approached.

“I can see that,” Michael responded dryly.

He leaned over and helped take Alex from the dance floor over to the tables.

“Hey buddy, you gonna be okay?” he asked.

Alex nodded. “Just drank too much too fast,” Alex answered. “Too bad too, Isabel was starting to warm up a little,” he joked.

Michael smiled. “Okay, tell you what, we’ll call the cabs and get out of here.” He turned toward Maria. “Go find Clarita and have her call the cabs for us.” Maria hurried off to do as he said.

“Where are Max and Liz?” Isabel asked.

Michael shrugged. “I thought they were dancing by you and Alex.”

“I haven’t seen them for awhile. Not since Alex dedicated that song to me.”

“Go check outside for them. If they aren’t there we’ll have to look for them somewhere else. Maybe the bathrooms or something,” Michael said with a frown. This was great. Alex was sick and Liz and Max were probably having wild monkey sex somewhere around there.

Michael sat next to Alex and waited for the others to return. Maria came back first. “The cabs are on their way,” she informed him. Then she sat down next to Alex and rubbed his back for him. Carlos came over to the table then. He was mumbling something. “You guys are fucked up!” he said loudly.

“Get lost!” Michael told him.

“No....you stole my woman!” Carlos exclaimed. “That’s fucked up!”

Michael looked over at Maria. She shrugged. “They learn the curse words first when they learn English,” was all she had to say.

“Look, we just want to get the hell out of here. Our friend is sick and we need to get back to the research station. I don’t want to start anything with you,” Michael told him.

Carlos seemed to back off then. “Hey have you seen my key? I ....it was on the table. I had it earlier. It’s gone.”

“The key to what?” Maria asked.

“The room, where I would have made mad passionate love to you all night and then passed out in your arms as the sun came up,” Carlos said seriously. He sounded a little dejected.

“Oh, you Latin Americans say the nicest things,” Maria told him. She paused then looked at Michael. “You don’t suppose?” she asked with a raised eyebrow.

“Max and Liz,” Michael said quickly. “Hey Carlos what was the room number?”

“Ah....it was 117. The room with the complimentary condoms. I requested it specifically...”

“Shit!” Michael exclaimed. He got up and instructed Maria to stay with Alex and wait for Isabel. Then he gave her some money and told her to take the first Taxi back to the station. Steeling himself for what he was about to walk in on he made his way to room 117.



posted on 21-Sep-2001 3:13:20 PM
Chapter 7

Michael approached the room cautiously, afraid of what he might be walking in on. He had several options. He could A) Burst into the room and risk being traumatized for life. B) Knock and interrupt. or C) Stand outside the door and wait for them to come out or finish. Waiting had never really been Michael’s specialty. He was more of an act first, think later kind of guy. In this case he was going to make an exception. He decided against option A effectively leaving option B. He would knock.

Only he didn’t quite get the opportunity. He could hear voices from inside the room.

“What are you doing?” Liz’s voice asked.

“I thought you said to put it away?” Max asked, sounding confused. Michael snickered.

“Just come here.” There was a pause. “Now look down there,” Liz commanded.

Damn but the girl was demanding, Michael though. At least she wasn’t afraid to let Max know exactly what she wanted. It was always the shy, quiet, cute one that shocked the hell out of you with their sexual prowess. Maybe that’s why Michael didn’t make any attempt to knock just yet. He’d wait and see where Liz was taking this. Yes, he was a pervert. He’d admit it openly right now because he was still a little drunk.

“Dear God!” Max exclaimed. “The mother load.” His voice sounded a little awed.

Okay, now Michael was getting a little grossed out.

“Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” Liz asked.

“Uh, huh. Snatch as many of those up as possible.”

Huh? What the hell was Max talking about? Did he get stupid when he encountered pussy or something?

By now Michael was leaning against the door trying to hear what they were saying a little better. Their voices got muffled and he pushed his ear against the door. Nothing. Now what were they doing? Before he could figure it out the door came open and he felt himself falling through the air, landing with a thud on the floor in the room’s doorway. After a moment he opened his eyes and found himself staring at a pair of clunky men’s doc Martens sandals and to the left of those were a pair of sandals with ten daintily painted toenails sticking out.

“Something we can help you with Mike?” Max asked reaching down to help his friend up.

Michael had the grace to blush. “I was coming to get you two. Maria and Isabel are taking Alex home. He had too much to drink and got sick all over Izzy. Needless to say she’s not very happy and Alex, well he’s a really bad drunk and Maria.......well that’s a whole other story.

“You’re kidding? Liz asked. She wasn’t sure whether to laugh or feel bad. She bit her lip deciding that laughing at the picture that Michael had painted for them ran through her mind.

“Nope, not kidding,” Michael paused. “Uhm....So what were you two doing here? There’s a very pissed, drunk Costa Rican out there looking for his room key.” Michael raised his eyebrows expectantly as he waited for the answer.

“Liz had to go to the bathroom,” Max started.

“And I didn’t want to use the public restrooms,” Liz continued.

“So I took the room key off of Carlos’ table. I figured we could have it back to him before he came out of his Maria induced stupor.” Michael looked back and forth between the two of them as Max finished their story. They were finishing each other’s sentences now. What was next....cutting each other’s food? Maybe they could even chew for each other. No....that would be gross. Even this was nauseating.

The story was a good one though. Believable too. And they honestly didn’t look like they’d been participating in wild kinky sex or anything of the sort. Aside from their sweat. That was a given though because the whole damn place was really hot. Like a sauna.

“Can I ask what ‘The mother load’ is?” The question was out of his mouth before he’d even fully thought it.

Max blushed a little but answered. “We found like a whole year’s supply of condoms. Actually Liz found them. I was putting back the free shampoo they have in the bathroom.” Max looked at Liz with a small pout. She just shrugged. “You don’t need to steal all the hotel room’s shampoo,” she told him.

“But it’s okay for you to steal condoms?” Max asked pointedly.

Now Liz flushed. “They aren’t as bulky as shampoo bottles. Besides, you took your fair share of them....”

Michael intervened before they could start fighting. He hadn’t meant to start anything. “Are there any left?” he asked.

“Sure, they’re in the bottom drawer there,” Liz said pointing in the direction of the night stand.

Michael went into the room. He returned momentarily with his pockets full.

“Might at well,” he said with a shrug. “Let’s go. I want to make sure Maria and the others got back okay.”

Max and Liz both nodded. They followed Michael down the hallway of the hotel and out into the bar toward where a cab waited for them.

The gate to the research station was locked up when they got there. Maria, Isabel and Alex were all sitting there leaning against it. Alex was passed out on the ground. Isabel was crying about her dress and Maria was twirling a blonde curl on her finger.

“It’s about damn time!” she exclaimed as they emerged from the cab. “What the hell were you two doing?” Maria was a little more blunt than Michael.

“I had to go to the bathroom. I didn’t want to use the public rest rooms, “ Liz said with a weak smile. Maria raised an eyebrow. Did Liz think she was stupid?

“Whatever. We’re locked out. The only way to get in is to walk around the gate and fence. That means walking through the forest up to the back of our cabins. There’s no way we’ll make it. Especially with Alex like this. He can barely walk,” Maria informed them.

“Well, what do you want to do, sleep out here?” Michael asked. He was looking around the gate area trying to see if Maria’s assessment of things was accurate.

“I think there’s an easier way. If we crawl through the gate we can take the path back to the station. This is the main road. We won’t have to sleep out here and we can avoid being attacked by wild animals.”

For a moment Maria looked like she was about to protest. She didn’t, but she did give her input. “I thought of that already. I don’t think we can fit through.”

“Just suck in,” Michael told her.

If looks could kill.

Max and Liz weren’t saying a while lot. Liz didn’t actually want to go back. She liked standing here, holding Max’s hand. When they got back they’d have to go to their separate rooms and separate beds. She wanted to stay with Max as much as possible.

Max was feeling the same way. Despite their earlier show for Michael he’d been completely possessive of Liz since they’d left the room. After their first climactic experience they’d been working their way through round two when some old drunk guy had come into the room, effectively killing the mood. Max had sort of deflated after the guy had made some gesture and his dentures had fallen out. Liz understood and so they’d gotten dressed. They’d been joking about the hotel shampoo when Liz had found the condoms. Of course they’d grabbed some. He didn’t want to be stuck in the same situation as before, not being able to find one....

Suddenly he remembered why he’d been frantically searching through his clothes before. His wallet.

“Liz did you ever see my wallet?” he asked her. They were still standing by the gate. Michael and Maria were trying to shove Alex through the bars.

“No. We should have looked at the table. I wasn’t even thinking about it. I’m sorry,” Liz looked up at him.

“It’s okay,” Max told. It really was. It was an old wallet. He’d only brought it to carry money in. And he hadn’t actually had that much with him at the bar. His id’s were still in his back pack. So the wallet wasn’t that big of a loss if you didn’t count the condom. The ones in his pocket more than made up for that though.

“ I still feel bad....” Liz started to say.

“Don’t worry. All of my money is back at the station anyway. There was only enough in it for the cab ride back. Which Michael paid for anyway so it’s okay.”

Liz nodded and she suddenly had the urge to hug him. So she wrapped her arms around him, burying her face in his chest. After a moment she pulled away and looked up at him smiling. “You smell like sex,” she whispered. Max smiled back down at her. He leaned his face down to kiss her. Before their lips could even touch they were interrupted by a loud clearing of someone’s throat. Maria.

“Enough with the smooch fest. Some of us would like to go to bed,” she said from the other side of the gate.

“God, Maria. You’re a mean drunk,” Isabel told her.

“Shut up, at least I didn’t get puked on,” Maria snipped back.

Isabel looked near tears again.

“Come on. Let’s just get back,” Max said. “Alex looks like he’s pretty much done for, for the rest of the trip.”

They walked the fourth of a mile back to their cabins and Michael went about getting Alex put to bed. Isabel and Maria had a heated whispered argument over who got to shower first and Max and Liz stood outside and took about thirty minutes to say good night. Of course no actual words were said even though their mouths were doing all the work.

*******

It was a group of tired friends that convened around the breakfast table that morning only a few hours after their return from town.

“So did you all have fun last night?” A loud voice asked from the table next to them. Michael looked up and glared at the owner of the voice. It was Joy. Her voice sounded like nails on a damn chalk board this early in the morning and if she said one more word he was going to smack the ‘Joy’ right out of her.

“Yes. And now we’re trying to let ourselves come down from the high,” Maria said softly. “So could you please....SHUT THE HELL UP!” Maria said as her voice raised.

D r. Seligman chose that particular moment to walk into the dining hall. He immediately made his way over to the table of friends. “I see that you all managed to make it back from your ‘cultural experience’ okay.” He paused looking each one of them over carefully. His eyes fell on Alex who was slumped over in his chair only half awake. He looked a little green around the gills still. Dr. Seligman’s shifted his gaze to Liz. “I trust you all conducted yourselves in a manner that was appropriate and represented the University well.” Liz nodded her head slowly at this. She didn’t dare look at Max and opted to stare at her less than appetizing scrambled eggs. Their conduct the evening before had been representative of just plain horniness and had been far from appropriate. Liz could feel her cheeks burning from the memory of what had happened on the dance floor and then what had gone on in the hotel room. Max squeezed Liz’s hand under the table and she offered him a small smile.

She found some comfort in the fact that Max hadn’t pulled away from her this morning. In fact he seemed to need to touch her in some way. At the moment their legs rested against each other under the table.

“Seligman, we were all angels,” Maria said sweetly. “Now what’s on the agenda for today?”

Dr. Seligman looked thoughtful for a moment before speaking. “Consider yourselves lucky. We’ve got a boat ride this morning at ten am. They’re sending lunch with us. The boat will take us out to a little island in the middle of an estuary. You’ll need to pair up and work with your partners on getting some scientific observations about the island. We’ll come back later this afternoon. Then our whole group is going to get together and talk about what’s going to be expected of you when we leave for the next place.”

With that Dr. Seligman went off to get his own breakfast. The little group shot up from the table. It was almost seven am. They could all go back to sleep for a couple of hours.

Max dragged Liz into her room and they made themselves comfortable on her bed. He’d been without her for too long. He just needed to hold her. This was of course not something Maria wanted to be a part of so she went in and slept in Max’s bed. Kyle’s bed was empty so Isabel took that and Michael and Alex passed out on their own beds.

For some reason it seemed like they slept for hours when Liz woke up a little later. Max’s eyes were still closed and his breathing was deep and even. Liz smiled at him. He looked so cute. Glancing at the alarm clock she groaned. It was only 7:30am. Why couldn’t she get any decent sleep? It seemed like she was always waking up and then trying to go back to sleep. Maybe it was the climate. Everything just seemed to be in slow motion. Resting her head on Max’s chest she closed her eyes and drifted off again.

They awoke later to pounding on the door.

“WAKE UP!” Isabel hollered. “We’re leaving in half an hour. I want to put my bathing suit on.”

Max and Liz both sat up, wiping the sleep from their eyes. At the mention of bathing suit, Liz’s eyes clouded over. She couldn’t wear hers. All she had were the bottoms.

Isabel couldn’t wait any longer and burst into the room, throwing Max out quickly. After he was gone, Liz just sort of sat on her bed staring at the pillow. She leaned her nose into it. It still smelled like him. Oh god, she was such a sap.

“Isabel, do you have a tank top or something that I could borrow?” Liz finally asked. She watched as Isabel dug around in one of her suitcases and pulled out a tiny white tank top.

“Will this work?” she asked.

Liz nodded and changed. Checking herself over she realized that she might as well have been wearing a bikini top for all that the tank top covered. She marveled at how it seemed to accentuate what little there actually was of her bust. Maybe Isabel would let her buy the top from her. Pulling on some shorts and grabbing her backpack, Liz checked to make sure she had everything. Her camera? check. Sunglasses? check. Her field notebook? check. An extra pen? check. Sunscreen? check. Condom? check. As an after thought she grabbed another one from the little purse she’d put them into after last night. One could never be too prepared, she thought to herself. Her thoughts turned to Max and possibly finishing what they’d started in the water the other day.

Miguel took the whole group to the tourist boat rides place and left them off. They all piled into the covered boat and Maria immediately began chatting with the new guide. Unfortunately for everyone else he gave her the little intercom mic and her voice could be heard over all the speakers on the boat.

“To the left we have a.......bird. It has black wings and a brown breast.....Wait, Seligman how can birds have breasts?” Maria’s voice asked loudly over the system.

Dr. Seligman rolled his eyes.

“They’re bigger than yours, that must mean something,” Alex shouted out.

Michael smirked. “Believe me Whitman, she hides a lot under those t-shirts of hers.”

“I don’t know how that’s possible. If those shirts were any tighter we’d be able to see her spine from the front,” Alex joked. This got him a smack from Isabel.

They were quiet for awhile and Maria, who was insulted, was sitting up front ignoring everyone but the guide. Isabel spotted Max and Liz up two seats from the rest of them. Liz was leaning against Max and he had his arm around her shoulder. They’re faces were turned toward each other, each of them smiling as they talked about something. They shifted their gaze out over the water as Dr. Seligman pointed out some type of bird or another. Liz then made a diligent effort to write down as many details as possible. Max took a picture. It was like a pattern.

Isabel thought it was cute. She nudged Alex. “Look at them,” she whispered.

Alex must have misunderstood her intentions because he immediately sat up.

“We should just ask them already. I want to know if I’m going to be seeing any tit before the trip is over,” he said. Isabel’s mouth hung open in shock. Did Alex Whitman just say ‘tit’? Isabel wasn’t the only one who heard him. He’d actually been a little louder than he’d intended and most of the others had heard him.

“Mr. Whitman,” Dr. Seligman started, “I’ll thank you to refrain from saying anything else like that. That’s quite inappropriate.”

Alex’s ears turned a dark shade of red and Isabel had to cover her mouth with her hand to keep herself from laughing out loud. Michael however had no qualms about this and was all out guffawing.

“What’s so damn funny?” Maria asked over the speakers.

“Alex said tit,” Kyle hollered out. Again the whole boat burst into laughter.

Dr. Seligman was suddenly pretending to be deaf.

“Shit Whitman, didn’t know you had it in you,” Maria said with a smile. The sound of her voice seemed to echo off the water.

Liz shook her head. She normally would have felt bad for Alex’s embarrassment. But somehow knowing that it had to do with her and Max, she couldn’t. “So we know what part of the bet is now,” Liz said.

Max nodded. “Yeah, and I have to say that I probably could have lived with out ever hearing about those terms.” Liz laughed.

“So what are we going to do? Are we still trying to get them
back?” Liz asked.

Max shrugged. “I think that as long as they don’t ever actually catch us in the act we’ll be okay. They won’t be able to prove anything. Plus it drives them crazy. Like Michael. I’m sure he probably thought he had us you know and it turned out he uh, fell, into nothing. At least he can’t prove it was otherwise.”

“You’re so smart,” Liz said with a slight amount of adoring exaggeration.

“I try,” he told her, flashing her a smile.

Liz couldn’t resist. A smile from Max was like an aphrodisiac. That alone had the power to drive her crazy. She had a feeling that before the day was through, they’d get themselves in deep in some way or another. She was hoping for one way in particular.

*******
7b
Once the boat reached the small island Dr. Seligman gave out instructions for everyone. Liz and Max reluctantly released their grip on one another and joined their respective partners. Michael realized quickly the Liz was a woman on a mission. The sooner they finished, the sooner she could get back to Max and maybe enjoy a little of the island together.

Michael was having similar thoughts in regards to Maria. They hadn’t really had a chance to talk since the bar. And even then they hadn’t been doing a whole lot of talking. He had to smile at the thought. Oh yeah. That had definitely been worth the trip to the bar.

Maria and Isabel started walking around. They were looking for a spot that was sunny and away from Dr. Seligman. That way they could lay out, soak up some sun and not worry about scientific observations that didn’t revolve around getting a tan.

“So I haven’t talked to Michael yet today. Have you?” Maria asked. They’d found their spot and were laying out their towels. Truthfully Maria had been avoiding Michael. She wasn’t sure what to think of the night before. Plus, she was a little unsure as to what had happened. There were quite a few fuzzy moments for her. Well, more than a few. She did remember making out with Michael though. Her thoughts were interrupted by Isabel.

“No. I haven’t talked to him either. He’s not exactly on my list of people to talk to. I don’t know how to communicate when insults and grunting are involved. And he’s been with Alex who is not my favorite person right now and who will be paying for the dress he managed to ruin,” Isabel said as she adjusted her sunglasses.

Maria nodded. “I’m just curious about where he found Max and Liz last night. I’m thinking that there’s a big possibility that Max has yet to thread Liz’s needle.”

Isabel let out an unladylike snort at this particular euphemism. Leave it to Maria to come up with something like that.

Maria went on. “That could be why Michael hasn’t said anything about last night yet. If he would have caught them then he definitely would have let us know. If that’s the case, then he and Alex have lost their end of the bet. So as long as Max and Liz can hold out a couple more days, you and I are good to go. As of now though, Michael and Alex owe us because according to our original agreement, they’ve lost,” Maria explained.

“I love how your mind works Maria,” Isabel told her with a smile.

And with that they settled in to catch some rays.
*****

As Max and Alex wandered around the little island they kept their eyes open and jotted down some quick notes. Both wanted to finish their little assignment quickly. Max could see Liz and Michael wading in the water down aways. She was crouched down in the water examining something closely. Every once in a while she would straighten a little and her face would light up as she started to gesture wildly and talk to Michael about something. The big surprise was that Michael actually looked somewhat interested in what she was saying.

“Alex, buddy. I need you help,” Max said as he watched Liz bend over. Her denim shorts riding dangerously high on the back of her thighs. Alex grinned when he saw where Max’s gaze was directed.

“Sure anything. As long as there’s no alcohol involved,” he told him.

Max chuckled at this and tore his eyes away from Liz’s form.

“No. It’s nothing like that. I just.....I want to spend some time alone with Liz tonight. I was wondering if you could help me get Michael out of the room for awhile. And maybe make sure that Isabel and Maria leave us alone?”

Alex smirked. “Why? Do you have some big plans for her?”

Max shrugged, trying not to let his embarrassment show. “I just want to have her to myself for awhile,” he admitted. “I like spending time with her and talking with her and...”

“Hey no problem,” Alex interrupted. “I’ll help you out anyway I can. But I gotta ask you a question first.”

Max nodded. He was relieved that Alex had agreed.

“Did you and Liz have sex out in the forest yesterday?”
*****

“Michael watch the movement of those tad poles. See how they kind of group together?”

Michael’s response was less than enthusiastic. “This shit is boring, Liz. Look around you. Everyone else finished awhile ago. Even Dr. Seligman is relaxing. We have enough stuff. Let’s just take a break okay? I want to go find Alex so we can go bug the hell out of Maria and Isabel,” Michael told her.

Liz sighed. “Fine go. I’ll stay here and take more notes.”

“Suit yourself.” Michael took off in Alex’s direction. Liz went back to studying the tadpoles. Michael was right though. They weren’t that interesting. Still she tried to focus. She had to because she knew that as soon as Max was around she would lose any and all concentration.

A moment later, as if to prove her point, she was interrupted in her observations when strong arms lifted her out of the water. She started to squirm but stopped when she felt warm breath against her neck. Then the mouth pressed against her skin moved up by her ear. “If you promise to be really quiet, I found a secluded spot.”

Liz nodded and turned her face and found herself staring into Max’s warm amber eyes. The anticipation was palpable for both of them. “Lead on,” Liz told him softly, resisting the urge to kiss him right
there out in the open.

Max didn’t release his grasp on her and carried her off away from the prying gazes of their classmates.

“How far is it?” Liz asked.

“Far enough away so that we won’t be found unless you’re really loud. Close enough for me to maintain some control and keep from ravishing you before we get there.” Max’s voice was low and sexy and Liz felt herself shiver at the excitement it sent coursing through her.

Another moment and they were there, in amongst a grouping of trees. There was a small spot that was cleared away and fairly flat. Max had laid out his beach towel as well as Liz’s. He must have gotten it when she wasn’t’ looking.

Liz smiled up at him as he released his hold on her, letting her slide down his body so that her feet were once again touching the ground. He took the opportunity to kiss her then. It started out sweetly. His lips brushing ever so slightly against her own. After a moment he pressed his mouth to hers a little more firmly. Then his mouth opened and his tongue gently licked the lower edge of Liz’s bottom lip, requesting entrance, which she gave allowing him to plunder her mouth.

Hungry kisses were exchanged. Liz pressed her body up against Max’s, wrapping her arms around his waist, letting her hands explore the muscles of his back. Max’s own hands were busy with their own exploration of Liz’s curves. They slid from her hips to her cute bottom.. Her rubbed his fingers over the rough denim of her shorts before cupping her and pushing her more firmly into his ever increasing arousal. His fingers trailed down from her rear to the hem of her shorts and moved up and underneath the material where he encountered the seam of her bikini bottoms. He caressed the smooth skin he found there, eliciting a moan from Liz.

Their lips pulled apart. “Let’s just lie down,” Liz said, her voice a little breathless. Max gave a jerky nod at this request and without releasing her from his grasp moved them both over to their beach towels. He settled himself over her, resting most of his weight on his forearms as he leaned in to capture her mouth again.

*****

Michael and Alex were hiding behind a large buttress tree watching Isabel and Maria as they laid there, sunning themselves.

“You know this is kind of boring,” Alex said. They’d been sitting there for almost ten minutes. Not really doing anything.

“Just be patient Alex. It’ll be worth it. I promise. Just give me a few more minutes and then we’ll go scare the shit out of them,” Michael told him.

“The only way this will be worth it is if they start going at it with each other. Damn would I like to see that,” Alex said with a grin.

“That’s nasty Alex.”

“Come on. Don’t tell me you’ve never had secret fantasies about watching two women getting it on. This is as good as an opportunity as any. And Maria and Isabel.....shit man, they’re fucking hot. Just look at ‘em.” Alex paused. “But seriously, just sitting here is getting on my nerves.”

Michael looked at Alex carefully. “Are you still drunk?”
“I don’t think so,” Alex responded looking somewhat confused. “Why?”

“Cause the crazy shit coming out of your mouth makes me think that you’ve been drinking again,” Michael said.

Alex just shrugged his shoulders.

“Fine, we’ll go. Just be sure you’re quiet.” Michael motioned for Alex to follow him. They were starting to move when Maria sat up.

“Hey Isabel, will you put some suntan lotion on my back for me?” Maria asked.

Isabel sat up and said, “Sure. Just lie down on your stomach.”

“Hold on, let me take my bikini top of first,” Maria told her.

Alex and Michael watched with wide eyes as Maria began to untie her swim suit. Michael tried to move so that he could see Maria more clearly. All he could see was the curve of her breast as she started to lay back down on her stomach. Alex’s mouth dropped open as Isabel leaned over Maria and began spreading suntan lotion on Maria’s back. He watched mesmerized. He’d been kidding before about watching them be....together like that, but this was pretty damn close. Especially when Isabel leaned all the way across Maria, her breasts practically falling out of her swim suit top.

“Alex, your drooling,” Michael said. Before Alex had time to wipe his chin Michael was making his way over to the girls.

“Need another hand?” he asked causing both girls to jump. Maria jumped up forgetting that she was topless at the moment. Michael smirked down at Maria.

“The ‘girls’ look at nice as they felt last night,” he told her. Maria felt herself blush about three shades of red. She quickly readjusted herself and put her bikini top back on.

“What do you want?” she finally asked.

“Well, Alex is over there, hiding in the bushes, waiting to see you two make out. I on the other hand am here to discuss the Max and Liz situation,” Michael explained. That hadn’t been his original intention but the sight of Maria’s breasts had thrown him for a loop. He’d actually been jealous of Isabel for a moment.

“Good. I want to talk about that too,” Maria told him.

Alex decided to join their little group only to receive a dirty
glare from Isabel.

“Look, it’s the drunk pervert,” she said.

“Look its the ice princess,” Alex retorted.

“Good comeback, geek,” Isabel rolled her eyes.

“Good comeback, geek,” Alex mimicked. “I’m just saying you must be cold. Look at the way your nipping out. The only way that could happen in this damn heat is if your made of ice. It’s either that or my very presence is arousing to you.”

Isabel opened her mouth to protest but was stopped by Maria.

“We have more important things to discuss than Isabel’s icy demeanor,” Maria said. “Let’s get down to business. Does anybody have any info on Max and Liz? Michael? What about last night?”

Michael shook his head. “ I didn’t see anything, thank god. Max borrowed Carlos’ room key so Liz could use that restroom instead of the bar’s public one.”

Maria nodded, trying not to gloat as she looked over at Isabel.

“And I uh, I talked to Max earlier and he said that they didn’t have sex in the forest. The whole puma story was true. So I guess that means that Michael and I uh....we lose the bet.” Michael glared at Alex.

“WOOHOO! We Won!” Maria said jumping up and dancing around.

“Hold on there Deluca. You haven’t won anything yet. I believe you said that it would take four days before they kissed. That means you and Isabel have lost. Just like we did. They’ve definitely kissed,” Michael told her.

Maria stopped her dance. “We haven’t actually seen them do anything now have we? I mean, yeah, they hold hands but I have not actually seen lips touching. Until then, you can’t convince me otherwise.”

“I think we should end this now. Let’s just go find them and ask. We can ask them if they’ve kissed. That’s not nearly as embarrassing as asking them if they’ve had sex,” Isabel said.

“Which wasn’t all that embarrassing,” Alex added. Isabel just
rolled her eyes at him.

“Whatever. Let’s just take care of this.”

So the four picked up their things and made their way around the little island looking for Max and Liz. On their little journey they saw several interesting things and got a little sidetracked. For one, Dr. Seligman was laying out on the beach, fast asleep. There was a little dribble of drool coming out of his mouth and he was snoring. They’d fought hard to control their laughter until they were far enough away not to wake him. Of course Alex had been sure to capture the moment of film. After that they ran into some other students who were trying to catch an iguana and were falling all over themselves. After watching momentarily they were off again. This time heading off in the direction of some of the taller and more dense tree growth on the island.

They’d been walking for a short time all trying their best to be quiet. Hoping to sneak up on Max and Liz.

“Do you hear that?” Isabel asked, stopping suddenly. Of course Alex wasn’t paying attention and ran right into her almost knocking her off her feet. “Watch what you’re doing nerd boy!” she barked out at him.

Alex was about to bark right back when Michael stopped them. “Shut up! Both of you! I hear it too.”

Everyone got quiet then as they tried to listen for what Michael and Isabel had heard.

“It sounds like Max and Liz,” Alex whispered.

*****

“Maaax, can I touch it?” Liz asked. The teasing tone of her voice caused Max to smile. He quickly tried to cover it up and turned serious.

“I don’t know....” he started to say.
“Please!” Liz begged then she grinned wickedly. “It looks harmless enough.”

She watched as Max’s eyes turned dark and took on their own mischievous glint. “If you touch it, it might not stay so harmless. Appearances can be deceiving,” he told her with a chuckle.

Liz raked her eyes over Max. “I think I’ll take my chances,” she said as her hands began to move.

“Okay, but I did warn you.”

“Noted.”

*****

“Okay, so I vote we don’t go any further,” Alex said. They’d heard part of what Max and Liz were saying but couldn’t be sure of the implications of the conversation. It could have been interpreted in many ways.

“Don’t be such a pussy Alex,” Maria told him. “It’s Max and Liz for god’s sake. They’re probably out here observing more so they can suck up to Seligman. I mean really. They wouldn't start anything in a forest. They’re way to conservative. You know, straight arrows. Forest sex would be too kinky.”

“Maria’s probably right. We can’t leave just because of what they were saying. Those two have some pretty weird conversations and it always turns out to be innocent. They probably just found a snake or something. That’s all. It might sound messed up but they’re just both too innocent and goody two shoes.”

Regardless the group moved forward with caution. Maria was first, followed by Michael and then Isabel and Alex.

“I think I see something...” Maria said.

They heard a giggle and then Maria clapped a hand over mouth quickly to keep herself from screaming out loud.

She turned around and looked at the rest with wide eyes.

“Go. Get out of here now! You do not want to see what I just saw. Oh my God! Isabel don’t come any closer unless you want to be traumatized for life.” Maria whispered. Michael didn’t listen he stepped forward moving Maria out of the way. After a moment he two turned away, his face bright red with embarrassment.

“Uhm....I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all lost our little bet. Now let’s get the hell out of here,” Michael said. He grabbed onto Maria and began to drag her away and back to the beach. Alex and Isabel were close behind them.

“What? What did you see?” Alex asked.

After they were a safe distance away Michael stopped. “Let’s just say that Liz wasn’t playing with just any snake back there.”

Isabel eyes got wide. “You mean? They were.....”
Maria nodded. “Your brother aught to be one happy guy by the end of the day.”

Isabel groaned and Alex started laughing. She glared at him and he shrugged. “Guess you don’t know him as well as you thought huh Izzy?” Alex said.

“I think we all underestimated Max and Liz,” Maria said.

Michael shook his head. “Nope not me. I may have been off about when it happened. But I was right. Wild Monkey Sex.”

“We should send someone else out there to catch them,” Alex said.

“No. I don’t want to embarrass them. I think they really like each other. We should just leave them be. We’ll warn them though if Seligman starts asking questions.” Isabel, despite her great disgust, was happy for her brother. Liz was a nice girl and he deserved to have a nice girl. They were good together.

*****

“Oh god! Liz....you have to stop....” he groaned out even as he pushed her head closer to his throbbing arousal.

“Maybe I don’t want to,” Liz said looking up at him. Her lips parted in a smile before she ran her tongue down his length again.

He was about to give in when he felt her shift causing him to open his eyes.

“What are you doing?” he asked as he watched Liz move away from him.

She smiled at him as she pulled out a foil packet from her book bag. “Always be prepared,” she told him. He grinned and pulled her back over to him. Liz tore open the packet, rolling it onto his length quickly. Then she moved over him again.

“Was this what you had in mind when you brought me out here?” she asked, her voice little more than a breathy whisper as she lowered herself onto him. He moaned as her body took him in, sheathing him completely in her warmth. She felt so good. He knew then that he would never get enough of this. Never get enough of her.

“I just wanted to be with you,” he told her truthfully. She smiled down at him, leaning in to kiss him deeply even as she began to move, rocking against him. Liz loved the way Max made her feel. He looked at her like she was some sort of goddess. And it made her wild. It made her think and do things she’d been too embarrassed to even imagine before. It was different though. Max made her want to be that way. He made her want him. She knew that it would never be any better than this.

Max’s hands moved from where they’d rested on the beach towel to cup Liz’s breasts. Leaning up slightly he took a taut rosy nipple into his mouth. His left hand slid down to her hip, as he continued his assault. Several sweaty moments later Liz’s pace became more frantic and Max used his hands to help her as his hips thrust upward, pushing him deeper into her. Liz was panting and moaning, her head tossed back in ecstasy.

She couldn’t stop. She didn’t want to. Liz rode the waves of her climax as Max’s own washed over him. She collapsed on top of his chest breathing hard. He wrapped his arms around her, holding her tightly against him.

“Liz.....” Max started.

“Hmm?” She didn’t think she’d be able to form a coherent sentence for awhile.

“What would you say if I told you that I thought.........that maybe I was....was falling in love with you?”

Liz looked up and met Max’s gaze. She felt her eyes fill up with tears. No one had ever said anything like that to her before. She’d never really been with anyone that she’d wanted to hear say it. But with Max it was different. She felt it too.

“I’d say that I think that maybe I’m falling too,” she told him softly.

“Then maybe we could......fall together,” Max said with a hopeful smile.

“Yeah.....I think maybe I’d like that.” Liz leaned down and kissed him. Then she pulled back and made herself comfortable, resting her head on his chest, with her ear pressed to her heart. She could get used to this. Not the making love in the middle of the jungle thing but the making love and being in Max’s arm thing. That was something she definitely wanted to happen for a long time to come.




posted on 21-Sep-2001 3:30:33 PM
Chapter 8

“Hey guys, what have you been up to?” Liz asked as she and Max approached their friends.

“Not as much as you two,” Alex said dryly which promptly earned him an elbow in the gut from Isabel. “I mean we haven’t been doing much. Just soaking up some sun,” he restated.

Max nodded. “We found some interesting tree growth and went to, uh, investigate it,” he told them.

Maria bit her lip to keep from saying anything. Interesting tree growth her ass. She noticed that Michael was having a hard time keeping a straight face as well.

“What kind of tree growth?” Alex asked.

Liz immediately turned bright red but to the surprise of everyone, was able to tell them exactly what kind of tree. “It was a grouping of underdeveloped Cecropia. There was a forest gap about fifty feet away from the grouping. There was even a whole trail of leaf-cutter ants.”

Maria raised her eyebrows at Liz. Damn but she was a quick thinker. That story probably just came off the top of her head. Max was nodding earnestly agreeing with Liz.

No one said another word. They couldn’t believe how easily the lie just came right out of Liz’s mouth. That got Michael thinking about the night before. Maybe he and Alex had won after all. The bathroom story could have been just that. A story. He briefly thought about bringing this to the other three’s attention but decided against it. He didn’t want to drive a wedge in the group. They still had a whole week of togetherness to get through.

So they let it go. Hoping to forget.

“I’ll probably have nightmares for a month,” Maria grumbled as she settled herself back into the boat to go back to the station.

The rest of the afternoon was fairly uneventful. Some students took advantage of it and went out into the forest. Others stayed behind to nap or work on their journals. Max and Liz went over to the research library to look up some things while the rest of the group went to the dining hall to work and discuss Max and Liz.

“So now what?” Isabel asked once they’d made themselves comfortable.

Michael shrugged. “I don’t know. The bet’s over and we all have to pay up.”

“See now, I don’t quite think this is fair,” Alex said. “We have to pay everything for the girls the rest of the trip right?”

Isabel and Maria both nodded and erupted into big smiles. “That’s hardly equal to giving us your bikini tops,” Alex finished. The girls faces dropped immediately at the reminder of their end of things.

“I think that’s plenty fair,” Isabel informed him. “We’re going to have to endure a whole afternoon on the beach without them. The embarrassment more than makes up for the differences.”

“Now see, that’s where you’re wrong. I have a feeling that you two will bleed us dry just because you can. Now either we add something to your end of things or we set a limit on our payment to you,” Alex suggested.

“I like the sound of that,” Michael said, slapping Alex on the back in approval.

“Fine. We’ll set a limit. I can only handle so much embarrassment,” Maria agreed.

Isabel nodded reluctantly, thinking of all the things she could have made them buy her. “What’s the limit?”

Alex looked thoughtful. “Let’s say $100. It’s enough to put the pinch on me and Michael, but it’ll be cheaper than leaving you with free reign. And I’d say it’s about equal to taking off your top.”

“Sounds good to me,” Michael said.

“Wait. Are we talking a hundred between us or a hundred bucks
each?” Isabel asked. She wasn’t going to be taken for a fool on this deal. Especially when there was money at stake.

“Each. A hundred dollars each,” Michael finally said.

“Good, now that that’s all taken care of, maybe we can get some of our journal done,” Maria said.

Later that Night

“Why are we doing this again?” Maria asked. She was tromping through the forest behind Isabel, Michael and Alex once again. It was way past dark and they were taking a night hike.

“Because Max asked me to preoccupy you all so he and Liz could ‘be alone.’ I’m sure that all they need is about an hour. Then they’ll be spent and we can have our rooms back,” Alex told them. He was in front of everyone and had a big spot light out, scanning the trees for animals. They probably didn’t really even need the light. The moon was fairly bright even though it wasn’t quite full.

“Yuck!” Isabel said. “That’s just so disgusting. Please tell me that they’re at least in your guys’ room and not ours.”

“Yeah, I think they’re in our room. Don’t worry though. They’d stick to Liz’s bed if they weren’t,” Alex said to reassure her. It didn’t work.

“It’s just all so weird. I mean if you really think about it. They’ve known each other what....two months since class started? And now all of the sudden they’re getting it on? It just doesn’t seem like something either of them would do,” Maria said.

“Well, it’s a different country. Rules don’t apply anymore. Not like they do back at school,” Michael told her. “Do you think they’ll stay together once we get back?”

It was Isabel’s turn to insert her input. “I don’t know. Max seems pretty smitten. I think he was even before the trip. I remember when he came home Freshman year over Christmas. He talked about Liz a lot then. How she was in his Freshman seminar class and how she was really smart and nice....it was enough to make a person yack. So I guess maybe things could work out for them. Do you think that Liz likes him as much as he likes her?”

“It seems like it. Though Liz isn’t too up front with her feelings. I think this is the most open I’ve ever seen her with anyone. So that’s definitely a good sign. Whether or not that means it will last is anybody’s guess,” Maria concluded.

They were all silent as they continued to walk. “Are you guys excited about tomorrow?” Alex asked to break up the silence.

“Oh I’d say definitely to that,” Isabel said. “Tabacon Hot Springs. That’s my idea of spring break. I can’t wait to get to the resort.” They were taking a little side trip on their way to their next stop. The side trip was to a tourist resort called Tabacon Springs. It was situated fairly close to Mount Arenol, the volcano. The springs were a bunch of pools that were heated to different temperatures. Plus the resorts garden areas were supposed to be beautiful. And there was a pool bar.

“ I can’t wait to get there either,” Maria said, her voice full of excitement. “You can get all sorts of drinks there. At least that’s what Carlos was telling me.”

“Wait a second. When did you talk with Carlos?” Michael asked. He stopped dead in his tracks and turned to face Maria.

“Uhm....after dinner when everyone went back to their cabins,” she said.

“I thought you weren’t gonna mess around with him anymore.” Michael was sounding very much like a jealous boyfriend at that moment.

“I wasn’t. I just asked him what he knew about the hot springs. We didn’t talk for very long. In fact....he said , and I quote ‘I am done playing games with you, Pixie. You have taken my heart and stomped on it.’ The poor guy was very upset. I told him he needed to go home to his wife.” Maria snorted at this. She didn’t think she’d ever met men so casual about their relationships. It was really quite funny.

“Well as long as he didn’t try anything,” Michael said as he started to walk again. Maria just rolled her eyes at his back. He was so annoying and he just pissed her off. He hadn’t even tried to talk to her about what had happened between them at the bar. That was just fine. She’d corner him sometime. When he wasn’t expecting it.
******

Liz sighed into Max’s chest. They were laying on his bed, completely spent after a very heated session of love making. Somehow Max had gotten them some alone time and she was more than grateful.

His right hand sifted through her hair while the other drew lazy circles on her back. Her sigh of contentment expressed everything he was feeling. “ I like this,” he said softly. “ I like having you in my arms.”

Liz nodded. “I know me too. I don’t like thinking about having to be in separate beds for the rest of the trip,” she admitted.

“We’ll work something out. I think our friends will understand,” Max told her, leaning down to kiss her forehead.

“Maybe we can sit in the back of the bus,” Liz said looking up at him with a wicked smile. “I’m sure if we’re really quiet no one will even give us a second glance.” Max marveled at how different things had become. Before, he and Liz could barely look at each other without blushing. Now they were both actively pursuing each other and even willing to risk getting caught in compromising situations to be together.

“Tomorrow should be fun,” Max said absently. “I’ve never been to hot springs before. Have you?”

Liz shook her head. “Maria says its great. I guess we’ll just have to see.” Liz planted a light kiss on Max’s chest.

He glanced over at the little alarm clock. If Alex was doing his job right, that meant that he and Liz still had a good forty-five minutes to themselves. He intended to make very good use of it.

*****

“So let’s play The Game,” Maria suggested. They had timed their hike to that they walked an hour into the forest and then an hour back. They were on their way back now.

“Aahh, let’s not,” Michael responded.

“You don’t have to play, but that doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t,” she told him. “Now who wants to go first?” When no one said anything she went on. “Okay, so me. Bats or balls?”

Isabel snickered. “I’m gonna go with balls on that one.”

“Alex?” Maria asked.

“Uhm I think that I’m a bat boy,” he told them.

“Well I’m definitely a bat girl,” Maria said. “Nothing like feeling the smooth shaft of the wood....or metal in your hands. Who’s turn is it?”

Isabel spoke up. “Dave Matthews Band or Matchbox 20?”

“Dave Matthews,” Maria offered quickly. “Those songs get me randy.”

“Good to know,” Michael muttered under his breath.

“I’m gonna say neither,” Alex said.

“No, now see, Alex....that’s a strike. You get another one and your out. We’ll have to start calling you Tess because only someone as stupid as she is incapable of playing the game correctly. If you don’t want to take a strike than pick the one that you hate the least,” Maria ranted. She couldn’t believe how people could be so indecisive.

“Fine....Dave Matthews but only because he plays a good guitar,” he finally said.

“As opposed to an evil guitar?” Isabel quipped.

“Har har. It’s my turn now. Being stranded on a deserted island with Isabel or being stranded on a desert island with the aliens that landed in Roswell in ‘47?”

“Alex....that’s so dumb,” Isabel said.

“She’s right. I think that counts as a strike. Stupid questions are not permissible,” Maria told him.

“Are you just making these rules up as we go?” Alex asked.

“Shut up! It’s my game. I can do whatever the hell I want! Now you just forfeited you question. It’s my turn. “

Michael rolled his eyes. The Game was so stupid. But even he had to admit that it was sort of funny and oddly addictive.

“Costa Rican fling or a long-term relationship?”

“Fling me baby,” Alex practically shouted.

“You wish,” Isabel told him with a laugh. “Long-term for me thank you very much.”

“I gotta say fling,” came Maria’s response.

“My turn,” Alex chimed in. “Coke or Pepsi?”

It was here that Michael forgot himself and decided to join in. If he was smarter he would have just kept his mouth shut. “Aren’t they the same thing?” he asked.

“Michael, your out before your even in,” Maria told him.

“What? I just started playing. You can’t throw me out!” he exclaimed.

“I can too. It’s my game,” Maria insisted.

Somehow or another they ended up standing there face to face, nose to nose, both staring each other down.
Alex whistled as he stood there next to Isabel. “Damn, you could cut the sexual tension there with a knife.”

Isabel chuckled. “I give ‘em ten seconds before they kiss.”

“Ten....nine....eight....seven.....”

“And you’re wrong,” Alex declared as Maria launched herself into Michael’s arms and practically attacked his mouth. Michael grabbed onto Maria hosting her up, maneuvering her legs around his waist. He’d have to fight with her more often if this was the result.

*******

“Oh my God!” Dr. Seligman’s voice declared as he entered into the room.

Two very startled naked people sat up in the bed.

“Dr. Seligman, we can explain....”

“No! Both you, get dressed. I want to talk to you outside.” And with that he turned and left the room.

*******

Max and Liz heard Dr. Seligman’s outburst from two doors down and scrambled up and out of Max’s bed quickly. Both pulling on clothes as fast as they could.

“Max, what do you suppose is going on?” Liz whispered as she pulled her shirt over head.

Max finished zipping up his pants and shrugged. When they were both presentable they went over to the door and opened it quietly, hoping to sneak out. No such luck. Seligman was standing out there pacing back and forth. The door to one of the rooms opened and out walked Kyle and Tess. Liz had to bite her lip to hold in her laughter.

“Care to explain?” Dr. Seligman asked as he turned to face a very
nervous and embarrassed Kyle and Tess.

Kyle spoke up. “Tess had a tension headache, I was just....” his voice trailed off.

“Trying to relieve her tension?” Dr. Seligman filled in.

Kyle nodded.

“That’s very considerate of you Kyle,” he said sarcastically. “Did it work?”

“Oh yeah,” Tess replied. Dr. Seligman shot her a look and began to pace again.

“What am I supposed to do about this? I’m responsible for everyone and anything that happens on this trip. I realize that you are adults but I can’t very well just let this slide can I? If I did then this whole trip would become nothing but a big excuse for a drunken orgy. I refuse to let that happen!” he ranted. “When we get back both of you will get written up by the dean of students for inappropriate conduct . And I’ll be dropping your final grade for the class a whole letter grade.”

“Sir,” Kyle said.

“No. Mr. Valenti. That’s my final decision and if any of your peers get caught like you have, they will meet with the same punishment.”

Max and Liz pulled back and shut the door. For a moment they just sort of looked at each other with wide eyes before bursting into laughter.

“I guess we better not get caught then, huh?” Max said with a smile.

*******

The next morning the whole group was in upheaval. Seating arrangements had been changed, people were fighting and whispering. Dr. Seligman kept glaring at Kyle and Tess. An added part of their punishment was that they had to spend the rest of the trip with him. Wherever he went, they had to follow.

Max and Liz had managed to claim the back seat of the bus. It was fairly room and could have probably fit four people. But they spread out their stuff and stretched themselves out so they could have it to themselves. It had been mutually agreed upon not to be too publicly affectionate. That meant keeping their hands in appropriate places at all times. Isabel and Alex were sitting in the two seats ahead of them and Michael had opted to sit up front by Maria to keep her company.

Four hours into the bus ride, Miguel pulled over at a grocery store and everyone clamored out to use the restrooms and buy themselves some lunch. Liz told Max what to find for her and went to stand in line for the bathroom. When she came back he was walking away from Dr. Seligman and had a silly green on his face and a bottle of Lizano Salsa. At first she’d mistaken it for Tabasco sauce. The bottle looked the same, but the color of the salsa was a green.

“What is that?” she asked.

“Something for later,” Max told her. Her eyes snapped up to his when she registered the suggestive tone of his voice and she almost gasped out loud. Whatever Max had in mind.......dear god... it would probably be the death of her. Oh, but what a way to go.

*******
TABACON SPRINGS

The group enjoyed the hot springs tremendously. Michael, Alex and Maria all got drunk at the pool bar. Which prompted another Michael and Maria lip lock. Max and Liz found their own little secluded pool, leaving Isabel to her own devices. Dr. Seligman walked around outside the springs with Tess and Kyle trailing unhappily behind him.

Sometime around four pm, Max and Liz reluctantly separated as the girls went off to shower and change. They were in the locker room listening to Maria giggle and try to sing when Isabel suddenly screamed.

Liz rushed over to her side as Maria stumbled over closely behind her. “What’s wrong?”

Isabel was practically in tears. “Look at me. I’m some kind of freak!” she exclaimed. She turned around and Liz had to cover her mouth to prevent herself from laughing at what she saw. Somehow or another Isabel had managed to sunburn exactly half of her face and her left arm.

“Oh my God! You look so funny!” Maria told her, too uninhibited to care about hurting Isabel’s feelings.

Liz tried to comfort Isabel as best she could without giving in to her own need to laugh. She suspected that it had happened the first part of the bus ride. Isabel had been dozing with the window open and had rested her arm on the side. That’s how she’d gotten the sunburn. It was really quite hilarious.

*******

They arrived at Palo Verde just after sunset. Isabel was refusing to talk to anyone. She was too upset. Of course even though the situation was just begging for some kind of comment, Alex wisely kept his mouth shut.

The staff at the Palo Verde ushered the tired travelers to the kitchen facilities. This place was much smaller than the La Selva station. The eating area was about this size of a small classroom. It was a lot more homey. Everyone ate quickly and then listened to the station director, Nicole, as she explained the rules.

“Our number one request is that you conserve as much water as possible. This is the dry forest so we get less rain here than other parts of Costa Rica. Add to it that this is the dry season and we’re having a draught and you can understand where our concern stems from.” Nicole then directed them to their sleeping quarters.

The set up was much the same as La Selva except for the mosquito nets that were draped over the beds. “To keep out the scorpions,” Nicole told them. “Be careful with your things. Always zip up your bags. They’re sneaky little bastards and hurt like a sonofabitch when they bite.”

Liz cringed when she heard this.

They were all splitting of to into their rooms when Dr. Seligman pulled Max aside.

“Listen, Max. I hate to do this to you because I know that you don’t know the other guys on the trip very well, but would you mind if you and I switched rooms. I want to keep an eye on Kyle Valenti because right now I don’t trust the boy any further than I can throw him. And I have a bad back so throwing isn’t an option.”

“Uh...sir, I don’t think that I’d be comfortable with the other guys,” Max told him honestly. They were sort of weird.

“I understand. Nicole said that they made up an extra room. If you don’t mind bunking alone you can sleep in it,” Seligman offered.
Max bit his lip to keep from smiling and tried to temper his excitement. “Sure sir, that would be fine.” Max knew hen that this was definitely going to be his favorite place!

Liz had been standing just out of sight at the doorway to her room. She smiled as she went to join Isabel and Maria. This couldn’t have turned out more perfect than if she and Max had planned it. Her mind was whirling with the possibilities. First and foremost a certain possibility that dealt with conserving water. Yes that whole scenario had some definite potential.



posted on 21-Sep-2001 3:43:58 PM
Chapter 9

“Liz....where are you going?” Tess asked. Liz fought back the urge to groan out loud. Tess had decided that she wanted to bunk with them. Especially now that there would be no nookie for her and Kyle. Damn Dr. Seligman, thought Liz.

Liz turned around and plastered a smile on her face. “I’m gonna go talk to Max for a few minutes. Then I’m going to go take a shower. I’ll be back in a little bit.”

“Maybe I’ll go with you....to talk to Max. I haven’t really seen much of him on this trip,” Tess told her and started to get up.

“Oh....no. I’m really not going to be in there with him long. .Just to say good night real quick and find out what we’re going to do tomorrow. Max and Alex are going to pair up with me and Michael,” Liz lied.

“Well, alright then. Maybe I can go talk to Kyle. We should probably decide what we’re going to do too. Although it probably won’t matter because Dr. Seligman will be with us. He’s such an old fogey. I mean really. Does he not realize that these things happen? And I really did have a headache...”

Liz started to tune Tess out. She really didn’t give a rats ass about Tess’ random musings on how unjust Dr. Seligman’s punishment was. Yes it was harsh. But the guy was a professor and he was away from his wife and probably horny as hell and mad that he himself wasn’t getting any. Either that or he was a prude.

“Tess, I’m gonna go. I’ll be back,” Liz said and left quickly before Tess could say anything else.

She made her way over to Max’s room and knocked quietly on the door.

He answered it and grinned broadly.

“Well, Hello there Miss. Can I help you with something?”

Liz grinned back at him. “It seems that I’m lost, kind sir. I was wondering if you could help me to the showers. I’m not sure how to get there.”

Max raised an eyebrow. Just what did Liz have in mind? “I’m just about to head in that direction myself. Let me get my stuff.”

Liz tried to bite back her smile. Max was playing right into her hands. This was perfect.

They made there way over to the showers. The boys and girls showers were located almost back to back, although there was a separating wall. The girl’s side appeared to be quite busy.

“Hmm,” Liz said. “It sounds like all of those showers are taken. Do you think it’d be okay if I used one of the others on your side?”

Max nodded. “I don’t see why not.” That’s when he caught Liz’s look.

“You know,” he whispered. “Maybe we should share a shower because.....well we need to conserve water and all. I’d hate to waste
a whole other shower.”

“My thoughts exactly,” Liz told him and pulled him into nearest
shower stall.

“We have to be quiet,” Max warned her as he started to undress her. Liz nodded.

“I won’t say a word,” she whispered.

“No moaning either,” he said.

“Can I sigh?”

“No....nothing.”

“Can I at least bite you if it gets to be too much?” Max looked a little shocked at this question.

“Now, Liz...we’re just taking a shower, nothing else.”

Liz nodded and started to yank on the zipper of his shorts. Soon they were standing there both naked. Max turned on the water and tried to adjust the temperature. It was actually a little cold. Maybe they would be able to keep themselves under control then.

It started out playful enough. Both of them trying to stay quiet as they tickled and teased their way through getting clean. In truth they were probably wasting more water by showering together than they would have apart. It was inevitable that hands began to linger just a little bit longer. And kisses became just a little less teasing and a lot more passionate. The only thing that saved them from giving into their desires and taking each other in the shower stall was just how cold the water got quite suddenly.

They pulled apart quickly and made a dash for dry ground. Liz’s skin tingled with goose bumps and she stood there shivering while Max turned off the shower. They both dried off and dressed quickly.

“Go run out and sneak into my room. I’ll follow in a few seconds,” Max told Liz.

She nodded and looking around carefully made her way over to Max’s room. She just barely missed Tess. She watched from inside the room as Max wasn’t so lucky and had to stand there and talk to the little gerbil.

Max hadn’t been able to stifle the groan that escaped his lips when he’d heard Tess.

She started blathering on about something or another and he wasn’t really paying attention. He was standing there fidgeting as he waited to get back to his room and back to Liz.

“Everyone is going for a little night walk out into the woods. There’s a watering hole that animals like. We’re going to go look for snakes and things. Are you sure you don’t want to come?” she asked.

Max shook his head. “No. I’ve got lots of things to do tonight. I’m behind on my journal entries,” he explained. And none of this was actually a lie. He did have lots of things to accomplish tonight. One of those being seducing Liz. He couldn’t help but wonder if this was a set up. Everything was going too perfectly. He’d gotten his own room and now everyone was going to be leaving for awhile.

Tess was talking again and he refocused his attention.

“Have you seen Liz? She said she was coming to say good night to you and then she was going to take a shower. That was half an hour ago though. I hope nothing’s wrong,” Tess said. Of course Max couldn’t tell if it was genuine concern on Tess’ part or just meddling. She didn’t really look all that worried. And if he had to hazard a guess, Tess was just trying to piss Liz off by not leaving her alone. Too bad Seligman had to be such a hardass, because at least Kyle had been able to keep Tess occupied and away from everyone else.

“You know....I’m sure Liz is fine. I bet she went to go check out their research library. She said she was going to after her shower. So I bet that’s where she is,” Max said. He decided to start playing tired so he could tell her he was going to bed or something. Anything to get away from her.

“Well, if you see her again, tell her where we’re all at so she doesn’t get worried,” Tess said.

Max had never been so glad to see anyone go before in his entire life. He rushed over to the room and flung the door open. It was still dark in there. Even more so because all the shades on the screened windows had been drawn.

“Liz....” Max whispered in the darkness. “Liz, are you in here?”

“Turn on the light and see for yourself,” she replied.

The tone of her voice was enough to make Max start searching frantically to find the light. There were a few muffled curses before light flooded the room. Max blinked at the sudden brightness. He looked around the room and his eyes got large as they landed on the bed. Underneath the netting, sprawled out seductively, lay a naked Liz.

She shifted a little under his gaze, bring her arms to rest up above her head, causing her breasts to jut out ever so slightly. “Well are you going to stand there and stare all night or are you going to come to bed?”

Max couldn’t form any coherent words, so he quickly began to strip. He must be really flustered, Liz thought to herself, because he could barely even get his pants off. Max was fumbling around again as he quickly chucked his t-shirt aside. He was having trouble with his boxers, they seems to be stuck on his feet. He stumbled a little and Liz didn’t even bother to hold in her laugh.

“Max....are you nervous or something?” she asked him.

“No? Why do you say that?”


“Because you can’t even get your clothes off,” Liz pointed out.

“Just you wait. As soon as I manage to make it to the bed, you won’t be laughing anymore,” Max told her.

“Oooh is that a threat ?” Liz teased.

“No....a promise,” he replied as he finally found his way underneath the netting to get to her.

“Are we gonna do this with the lights on?”

“I’m game!”

“Maaaax!”

“Fine....I’ll get the lights,” Max said, more than a little frustrated. He’d finally gotten his damn clothes off and now this. He got up and made his way over and flicked off the light switch, immersing the room in complete darkness once again.

“Liz...how am I supposed to get back over to the bed?” He couldn’t even see his hand in front of his face. There was a little bit of light from the nearly full moon outside, that seeped in between the seems of the shades, but not enough to light Max’s way back to Liz.

“Your a talented guy, Max. Feel your way,” she told him. The come hither quality of her voice at the moment was enough to make Max try anything, so he began to slowly move in the direction of her voice. He tripped over his pants but made it to the bed and back underneath the netting.

“So now....” he said as he reached over and his hands met air.

“What the hell?”

“Max where are you?” Liz’s voice called out. She was not in the bed with him.

“I’m in bed. Where are you?”

“In bed.” There was some muttering heard from Liz’s direction and then light flooded the room. Liz was still very naked, only now she looked slightly agitated.

“Max.....you’re in the wrong bed!” And he was. He’d gotten a little turned around when he’d tripped on his pants before and had ended up reaching one of the other beds that had been made up in the room. Liz walked over to him, pulled him out of the bed and dragged him back to his intended bed. “Now stay here!” she commanded. “Do not move!”

And he didn’t. A moment after the light went out this time, he felt a warm body gliding into the bed next to his. “Now, maybe we can finish what we started in the shower,” Liz’s voice whispered. Her hands began to move over his warm skin. For a moment he just let himself enjoy it before his own instincts emerged and he had to touch her. Quickly taking control, Max moved Liz underneath him. He began placing kisses along her neck, alternately sucking and licking along the slender curve of her throat. His lips traced her jaw line and then swooped in to take her mouth in a demanding kiss.

She opened her mouth to him, welcoming the way his tongue seemed
to seek out every part of her mouth, tasting her. She suddenly wanted his mouth tasting other places. “Max...” she moaned out. “Please!”she begged him.

“Please what Liz?” Max said, lifting his mouth away from her.

“I want to feel your lips on me.....I want to feel your tongue against my skin,” she told him her breathing getting more labored as she spoke. Even thinking about it was increasing her state of arousal.

“Tell me where, Liz,” Max demanded softly his breath hitting her neck as he nuzzled his nose against her.

Liz found his hands and instead of telling him....showed him. He let her guide his movements. Her hand left one of his resting on her breast while she moved the other lower, between her legs. “ I need your mouth on me Max. It feels so good when your lips are touching me....”

Max didn’t waste another moment. He kissed the skin of her throat and let his lips trail down to where his hand currently rested. He moved his hand and replaced it with his open mouth eliciting another deep moan from Liz’s mouth.

“Is that what you want?” he asked even as he bent his head back down and sucked a hard rosy nipple into his mouth.

“God Yes!” she cried out. As Max brought Liz pleasure with his mouth, the hand that rested between her legs began to move. His fingers traced her wet folds until he slid two of them into her warmth. Liz arched her hips and they rocked involuntarily against his hand.

“Oh Max!” Liz’s moans were getting louder. But Max wasn’t aware of anything but the sweet way his name tumbled from her lips at the pleasure he was giving her. He continued his assault and when he removed his lips from her breast, she cried out at the loss of contact only to sigh as he left a trail of kisses down her stomach to the juncture of her thighs. Her breaths were raspy, almost pants. Her hands gripped the sheets in anticipation of Max’s next move.

His hands traced the soft skin of her inner thighs. Gently he nudged her legs further apart and lower his head, parting her folds with his tongue, taking one long lick.

“Uuuuuhhhh.....” Max smiled against her skin at the noises she was making.

He tortured her with little kisses all along her labia, enjoying the way her hips bucked erratically at times and the way she kept saying his name. Finally his mouth found what she’d been waiting for. Very slowly he tongue traced around the sensitive bundle of nerves. At this point Liz’s hand left the sheet and grabbed onto his hair, pushing his face into her.

“God Max....Please...just ...” Liz couldn’t even find the words.

Giving in Max sucked her clitoris into his mouth. He tongued it vigorously. And Liz cried out in ecstasy as his mouth brought her to orgasm. For a moment Max remained still as he felt the violent tremors of her body against his face. He took supreme pleasure in knowing that he had been the one to bring her to this point. He finally brought himself back up so that he was laying next to Liz. She was lying completely still. Her breathing still labored. Finally she sighed.

“Max.....thank you,” she said. He leaned over and kissed her.

As the kiss deepened Liz’s hand wandered down the chiseled muscles of his abdomen and grasped onto his arousal.

“What can I do for you?” she asked him.

There was silence for a moment. When Max spoke his mouth was right next to her ear. No more than a whisper. “Let me bury myself in you. I want to feel your tight walls around me as they contract with your orgasm. I want to make you come hard. Make you see stars. And then I want to lay, completely spent, in your arms until the sun rises.”

Liz moaned at his words. “Max.....I’ll do whatever you want....just take me now,” she told him.

“Oh...I plan to.”
******

“ I think we’re lost,” Alex told Isabel. They’d been traveling in the dark for about an hour after being separated from the group. All they had between them was one bottle of water and a flashlight with batteries that were running out of juice.

“We are not lost Alex! We’re just....not exactly sure where we’re at,” Isabel informed him.

“Whatever. I don’t think we’ll be finding our way out of here for awhile. We should just stay in one place and see if we can hear the others.” They stopped walking and Isabel was silent for all of about ten seconds. “Alex....give me your water. I’m thirsty.”

“No. We have to ration it. Ask again in half an hour,” he told her.

“Fine.” Isabel was more than a little unhappy. She was hot and sweat, not to mention thirsty now and stuck. All alone with Alex, Mr. I tell bad jokes and can’t hold my liquor Whitman.

“Don’t get mad at me princess. You’re the one that needed to stop and rest. Be glad I didn’t just leave you behind, because I could have,” Alex snapped. He turned away from Isabel, effectively taking away the little light that they did have. He was scanning the forest floor for a nice place to sit, when he spotted the watering hole. There was a nice big tree branch laying there that would make a good resting spot. “Why don’t we sit down. We’ve been walking for awhile. We can rest our feet and the flashlight,” Alex suggested. Isabel didn’t say anything, just clutched onto Alex’s shirt and followed him.

They’d been sitting there for what seemed like ever. Not making a sound. The forest was fairly quiet. All of the sudden, Isabel tensed up against Alex. “Did you hear that?” she whispered.

“Hear what?”

There was some rustling coming from behind them.

“That!”

******

“Alex! Isabel!” Maria’s voice hollered out through the darkness.

“This is stupid!” Michael muttered. “I can’t believe they just took off like that. How stupid are they?”

“Very. Now start hollering for them. I don’t want to get lost out here either,” Maria told him.

After Alex and Isabel had disappeared, Dr. Seligman had asked Michael and Maria to go look for them. “They couldn’t have gotten too far. It’s Alex and Isabel after all,” Michael had reasoned. He was wrong.

“Where the HELL are they?” Maria huffed out. She came to a complete stop, trying in vain to listen for them. “You know, this is just so unfair. Max and Liz are probably banging each other’s brains out back at the cabins and what are we doing? We’re stuck looking for dumbass Alex and Ice Princess Izzy,” she ranted.

Michael turned his flashlight in Maria’s direction and smiled. “Are you saying that you’d rather be doing what Max and Liz are doing? Cause that could be arranged.”

“I....I’m not even going to answer that.” There was a brief paused before she was talking again. “It’s just unfair that they get to enjoy themselves while we have to suffer,” she said.

“This could be a more pleasant experience. It’s all about what you make of it.” Michael took a step closer to Maria and grinned when she didn’t back away. “What do you say?”

“What exactly do you have in mind?” Maria asked.

Michael decided that it would be easier to show her than tell her.
*******

Liz couldn’t breathe. She’d lost the ability sometime after Max had whispered those heated words to her and even before his lips had sucked a rosy nipple into his warm mouth. She was out of her mind with pleasure. And he was like a man possessed, refusing to give in to his own needs and instead trying to divide and conquer Liz, over and over.

“Max....please,” Liz begged.

“Not yet my love,” he whispered against her damp skin before bringing his lips down over her other breast, laving it with attention. She threw her head back. She was going to go crazy. She wanted more than his mouth on her. She wanted more than his magnificent hands feeling every inch of her body. She wanted Max inside her. Thrusting in her. Touching her as deeply as he could. Branding her as his own.

Max was enjoying this thoroughly. He loved seeing Liz out of control. So completely unreserved. It was a side of herself that she never let surface. The side that was wild and passionate. Yet here he was seeing it, hell, he was the cause of it.

He finally relented and brought his mouth up to mate with her own. As their mouths devoured each other, Liz rubbed her hips against Max. She pulled away from the kiss, panting, she brought her mouth to his ear and her ragged, breathy voice whispered two words. Two words that effected him like nothing else. “Fuck Me!”

With a groan, Max pushed Liz’s thighs apart. He hesitated briefly before his eyes caught the feral gleam in her own. He entered her completely with one hard, swift thrust, the sensation making both of them cry out. With his hands he moved her legs until they rested on his shoulders. His movements were hard and quick as he drove into her deeply, spurred on by the guttural moans escaping her lips. Sweat from their bodies mingled as flesh noisily smacked against flesh.

“Oh God! Yes! Right there!” Liz cried out. Max was out of control. He couldn’t stop, he frantically tried to maintain the pace of his rapid thrusts. His muscles were screaming out in protest. But he was so close. He felt Liz’s inner muscles begin to contract in rhythm to his thrusts, He groaned. “Ah....Jesus! Liz!” he moaned out.

“Max.....I’m coming,” Liz rasped out. Her body tensed and then she cried out as her orgasm took over her body, flowing over her. It seemed to stimulate every nerve ending in her body. The place where she and Max were joined was pulsing and throbbing. As this happened Max finally felt his own release, pouring himself into Liz, saying her name over and over again.

Neither moved for awhile until Liz’s legs slipped from Max’s shoulders and landed with a soft thud against the mattress. Max pulled his head up from where it rested against her breast. They were both still breathing hard.

“Are you okay?” he asked.

Liz’s eyes were still closed as she tried to regain her sanity. Her left hand was tangled in her hair and she smiled. “I’ve never felt anything like that before in my life,” she breathed out.

Max smiled but still looked concerned. “ I didn’t hurt you then?”

Liz shook her head. “Hurt? No. Mind blowing, nerve tingling pleasure? Yes.” She was still tingling.

They lay there wrapped in each other’s arms and both fell asleep completely content.

Liz woke with the sunrise and smiled feeling Max’s arms wrapped around her. She turned in his embrace to face him. He pulled her closer to him. “ I wish we didn’t have to do anything today. I’d gladly stay in bed with you all day,” he whispered. Liz leaned up and kissed his lips lightly. “Me too.”

They lay together a little longer before Liz got up and left to go take a shower. As she stood under the spray of the cold water she knew that today was going to be wonderful. How could it not be after waking up in Max’s arms? And she had another fabulous night alone in Max’s room to look forward to.

Liz finished her shower and went back to the room, expecting to find the other girl’s all asleep still. But the room was empty. She glanced at the clock. The sun was barely up. Where could they have gone? She was still too tired to question it any further and because she still had an hour before breakfast she decided to lay down for awhile. At 6:30am she got up and went to retrieve Max from his room. He was just finishing getting things for the day ready. They were leaving for a morning hike right after breakfast.

When they got to the dining room, they were surprised to see everyone gathering to eat. Everyone except Isabel and Alex, Michael and Maria. Liz asked Dr. Seligman what the plans were for the day.

“The morning is up to you, but this afternoon we’re going crocodile hunting on the river,” he explained. Kyle and Tess were both sitting on opposite sides of Seligman. Neither looked very happy. In fact, Tess was shooting daggers in Liz’s direction.

“Liz where were you last night?” she asked.

Liz panicked. She started to say something but before she could answer the door to the dining room was flung open. In walked a very ragged and dirty Alex and Isabel. They looked like they hadn’t slept all night. Alex’s hair was standing on end and a sleeve of his shirt was literally hanging by only a thread. Isabel was half covered in mud and her usually perfect hair was falling out of her ponytail in clumps. There was also a large hole in the knee of her khaki pants.

“What the hell happened to you two?” Max asked.

Isabel opened her mouth to talk but all she could get out was “W-w.....we got...” Alex spoke up. His voice was hoarse. “We got lost and then we got chased through the forest by a pack of coati’s (they look like raccoons only they’re not even that friendly) In the process of running away we fell into a watering hole, well, Isabel did anyway. We lost our flashlight then and spent the night shaking like leaves on a log, hoping to God that nothing would get to us. This morning as soon as it started to get light we tried to find our way back.” Alex collapsed into one of the chairs around the tables. Isabel followed suit.

Dr. Seligman looked mortified. “What happened to Michael and Maria? I sent them to find you.”

“Does it look like that happened?” Isabel bit out. Teacher or not.....the guy was a moron.

Liz spoke up. “You sent Michael and Maria? Do you not remember what happened the first class? They hate each other. We’ll probably be
finding parts of their bodies all over the forest!”

“Don’t worry, Liz. I’ll be sure to take care of this myself this time. Kyle, Tess and I will personally go and seek out Michael and Maria,” Dr. Seligman said. Kyle and Tess groaned at this. Seligman turned to Alex and Isabel. “You two have my permission to rest as much as you want today. You won’t have to go on the boat crocodile hunting with us if you don’t want to. I’ll completely understand.”

Alex and Isabel left then to go catch some much needed sleep. In their exhaustion they barely made it back to the cabins before they were out. Max and Liz decided to wait around until there was news on Michael and Maria before venturing out into the forest. So they sat outside the cabins, both resting in the sun while they waited.

While they were waiting there they heard voices from inside the
classroom that was connected to the cabins. It sounded like a male and a female. Liz sat up and raised her eyebrows at Max. He motioned with his finger for her to stay quiet. They both just sat there and watched the door.



posted on 21-Sep-2001 3:53:29 PM
Chapter 10

The door to the classroom opened and a very disheveled Maria emerged. At first she was looking down, straightening up her clothes. When she managed to look up she quickly tried to hide the surprise on her face.

“Hey guys! What’s going on?” she asked, feigning innocence.

“ I don’t know. You tell us Maria,” Max said.

“Uhm....”

“Hey Maria, where’s my ......” Michael’s voice trailed off as he saw Liz and Max standing there in front of Maria. For a moment he contemplated going back into the classroom to hide.

Max looked amused but Liz looked pissed. Psycho pissed to be exact.

“Do you two realize that Dr. Seligman, Kyle and Tess are all out searching for you?” Liz asked.

“Uhm...well....”Maria continued to stutter.

“And just in case you’re wondering, despite your apparent lack of effort or concern, Alex and Isabel did find their way back this morning sometime during breakfast. I think that you owe them an apology!” Liz stated.

“Are you done with the lecture now MOM?” Michael asked sarcastically. Liz immediately tensed and her eyes growing dark with anger.

“I am just concerned about our group. I don’t want anyone to get hurt,” she replied. Max tried to put a hand on her back to calm her down but his attempt was thwarted when Liz moved forward.

Maria stepped forward as well. Her nostrils flaring with barely controlled rage. “How dare YOU go all self- righteous on us Liz! What were you and Max doing last night huh? Hmmm? Tell me if that shows concern for Alex and Isabel.”

“Well if we had known they were missing we would have been out there looking until we found them,” Liz practically shouted. They were standing nose to nose now, glaring at each other. Max decided now might be a good time to intervene. He stepped between them, wrapping an arm around Liz’s waist and pulling her back.

“Look,” he said, trying to be the voice of reason. “Alex and Izzy are fine. We found Michael and Maria. For all Dr. Seligman knows, he missed them out in the forest and they got back on their own. Now, let’s just calm down. Liz, you and are were getting ready to go check out the trails. So let’s just do that okay? I heard one of the researchers talking over breakfast. There’s a group of white capuchins moving around. Maybe we can catch up with them.” Max’s voice was somewhat calming and Liz’s stiff posture relaxed slightly.

She conceded, but not before tossing a final glare in Maria’s direction.

Spending this many days in a row with the same people was bound to result in some fighting and tension. Max just hoped there weren’t any more confrontations because the trip was only about half over.

By noon, Max and Liz had had enough of their forest exploration. Liz had gathered about fifteen samples of things from the forest to look up in the library later that night. When they got back to the research station they headed straight for the dining room for lunch. They were the first ones to show up and some of the researchers were setting food out on the tables. Liz got up and offered to help but they told her they had it covered. So Liz sat back down next to Max and they talked quietly about their plans for the evening.

“Are you coming over to the room tonight?” Max asked.

Liz raised her eyebrows. “Unless you don’t want me, but I had been planning on it.”

“Oh...I want you to, I definitely want you to. Believe me. I don’t know if I’ll be able to sleep if you aren’t there next to me,” Max assured her. Liz smiled at this and leaned in to kiss him. Their lips had barely touched when more of their classmates decided to wander into the dining room. Alex and Isabel came in looking clean and rested... a definite improvement from earlier that morning. When Michael and Maria came in Max was very surprised at how unaffected Liz was. It was like that whole little scene with Maria hadn’t even happened. It was the same with Maria. She and Liz were the best of friends again.

Women. He’d never understand them, Max thought to himself.

After lunch, Dr. Seligman announced that they’d be leaving for another boat ride down the Rio Tempesque to look for crocodile. About an hour later they were all loaded onto the bus and on their way. Once they arrived at the little dock, they were carefully escorted on the covered boat and Maria was once again in her position next to the guide, talking rapid Spanish with him and laughing.

As the boat set sail, everyone tried to relax and just enjoy the ride.

“This is completely disgusting,” Isabel voiced as the boat moved along the river. Okay...so not everyone was enjoying the boat ride.

“The water looks like Yoohoo,” Alex commented. The fact that Alex was even agreeing with Isabel was enough to stop everyone dead. Since when did Alex Whitman agree with Isabel Evans?

Max and Liz were up to the usual. Both mooning over each other interspersed with random observations. Despite Liz’s apparent preoccupation with Max, she did deserve a fair amount of credit for spotting the first crocodile. The guide steered the boat over about as close as he could. The whole group just about capsized the boat in their frantic efforts to snap pictures of the crocs. Dr. Seligman was barking at everyone to sit down, but they weren’t listening and he finally gave up. If they weren’t careful they were all going to be see more of the crocodiles than any of them had bargained for.

The boat ride ended about three o’clock. It was almost a hundred and ten degrees (F) out. That mean it was either time for a siesta or a soccer game. So while Dr. Seligman went off to explore the area around the research station (with Tess and Kyle tailing grumpily behind) the rest of the group gathered around for a game of soccer. Originally it was going to be the researchers versus the students. But the numbers were odd so they had to pick sides.

They were about to start the game when a deep husky voice, laced with an Irish accent, hollered out for them to wait. When the owner of the voice appeared, every single female student on the field stopped to drool. At least Isabel, Maria and Liz did. They whispered among themselves about where he’d been hiding himself because they hadn’t seen him before. The man was hot. How had they missed him?

Max, who was standing next to Liz was more than just a little jealous. Especially when he saw the way that Liz was looking at this other guy. Her facial expression was a mixture of awe and fascination. “Okay...Liz? Babies drool less than that,” Max finally said, trying to get her attention.

Liz turned to Max. “What are you talking about?”

“Please...Liz, I mean, I don’t care if you look, but geez, don’t be so obvious,” Max told her.

Liz wasn’t sure whether to be angry with Max or appreciate how cute he was being. He was jealous. She didn’t get to decide because the game started. The girls got into the swing of thing, no longer ogling the handsome Irishman. The game was fun and it ended up tied. They all ambled back from the field, laughing and tired from the afternoon exertions.

“Hey Juice, Baby! You and me.....later!” Maria called out to the tall tanned Minnesotan. They’d been attacking each other verbally practically the entire game. Juice ( not his real name) was from Minnesota and was there studying the scorpions of Palo Verde. He and Maria were having loads of fun trading insults in both Spanish and English. Michael however was on red alert as far as Maria was concerned. That’s how she seemed to reel men in. She insulted them until they had to kiss her to get her to shut up. Or at least that’s what he figured her pattern was.

Max had also noticed the way the Irish guy....Larken was his name, had kept himself close to Liz. He’d been watching her since the game had started. This wasn’t something that went over to well with Max. Someone else eying his woman. Although he had to at least give Liz some credit because after her initial appreciation, she hadn’t given this Larken guy a second look.

Dinner was a non-event. Afterwards, Seligman decided he wanted Max, Michael, Alex and Kyle to come with him to go find the abandoned truck he’d seen earlier. He wanted to see if they could take the license plate from it for his collection. Although it was with great reluctance they agreed to go.

This left the girls to their own devices.
*****

“So what are we going to do now?” Maria asked. She looked bored already.

“ I heard Nathan and Nicole talking earlier about a dart throwing contest in the dining room. We should check it out,” Isabel suggested. “Maybe ‘Juice’ and our Irishman will be there.”

“I actually have a lot of work to do,” Liz told them. “ I picked up a bunch of specimens from the forest when Max and I went out this morning and I need to go figure out what they are so I can list them in my journal.”

“Then you can come with us. All the researchers will be there and they can tell you all about it, or at least maybe give you some hints on things.” Maria told her. “Come on Liz. Come with us! It will be fun!” she insisted.

So they made their way back over to the dining hall. Liz took her journal, field guide and specimens with her. The dart game was in full swing when they arrived and Maria and Isabel switched into flirt mode.

Nathan, Nicole’s fiance, made introductions all around. “Ladies....while you’re familiar with some of us from todays soccer game, let me introduce everyone formally,” he said dramatically.

“First we have Trevor Johnson, affectionately know as ‘Juice’,” Juice stood up and took a bow. “Juice likes to play with bullet ants and scorpions. And he’s also the man to thank for your food. He makes it all.”

“Why do they call you ‘Juice’?” Maria asked.

“If I told you, I’d have to kill you,” he told her with a smirk.

Before another verbal war could break out, Nathan went on. “Next we have Martin Velasquez. Martin is our resident know it all. You have questions, you ask him.” Nathan continued. “They we have our favorite Irish friend Larken O’ Hanlan. I’ll let Larken here tell you all about himself.”

“Gee, thanks Nate,” Larken said with that husky, accented voice of his. Can you say swoon? Because that’s exactly what Maria and Isabel were doing. Liz was oblivious as she was trying to line up questions for Marcus in her head.

“So you’re from Ireland?” Maria found her voice to ask.

“Well, I was actually born in the states in Michigan. My parents moved us to Ireland. I came back to the states for college and got a degree in Forestry. Now I’m here working on a research project proposal,” he explained.

“Okay, Ladies...I believe it’s your turn now,” Nathan said.

Maria started first. “Maria Deluca. I’m a psych major and I came along on this trip to be an interpreter.” At that bit of information Juice started spouting off quickly in Spanish. He was teasing Maria again.

“Sorry....could you repeat that? All I got out of that was that you can’t get it up,” she told him with a shrug of her shoulders. Everyone in the room started laughing. When they settled down, Isabel went next, flashing her best smile, trying to wow them all. They were polite but nothing else. Inside she was fuming.

“All right, last one,” Nathan said, directing his attention at Liz. She was too busy talking to Martin, asking him questions.

Maria nudged her. “Hey brainiac, it’s your turn. Introduce yourself.”

“Oh, sorry,” Liz said, looking up and blushing as all eyes were directed on her.

“Uhm...my name is Liz Parker. I’m a biology major with a concentration in cell and molecular biology. I like doing any and all types of scientific research which is why I’m on this trip.” As soon as the words were out of her mouth, Larken was by her side asking her more questions about herself.

Juice turned to Maria. “So that’s Liz huh? She’s uh...got quite a set of lungs if last night is any indication.”

“What do you mean?” Maria asked, even though she had a pretty good idea what he was talking about.

“Well, our rooms are on the other side of your groups set of rooms. We can hear a lot of stuff. I was trying to sleep last night when I hear these moans and a bunch of ‘Oh Max...O Yes!’s coming from the other side. Throw in a few ‘Ah God Liz’s’ and they kept me up for a good hour,” he told her. Maria started laughing immediately.

“You better keep an eye on your friend,” Juice warned. “She seems nice. And I’d hate for her to get herself in trouble. Especially with the interest that Larken seems to have taken. He heard all that stuff last night too. So he might have an ulterior motive than just plain interest.”

“Noted,” Maria replied, vowing to get Liz alone to tell her to watch her back.

As the night and the dart contest went on Juice took to calling Maria ‘Mouth’ and the group played several rounds of the dart game. Larken was being especially attentive to Liz. He answered all her forestry questions and tried to question her about herself. She always managed to bring the conversation back around to something about the rain forest though.

Isabel eventually had enough of practically being ignored. Larken wanted Liz. Juice wanted Maria, Nathan was taken and Martin was old. So she decided to head back to the room and sulk.

Alex caught up with her on the way there. “Isabel wait up!” he called out.

She stopped momentarily so that their strides matched as they continued on. “Hey!” Alex said brightly. “So where’s Liz and Maria...” he barely got the sentence out before she cut him off.

“What is it with guys and Liz Parker? Does the girl have beer flavored nipples or something?” she practically screamed.

For a moment, Alex was stunned silent. “Well, I’ve never been a fan of beer personally,” he told her. “ So I wouldn’t know.”

At this Isabel started laughing. “Oh, Alex, “ And then she looked at him. It was like she was really seeing him for the first time. Bad jokes and teasing aside he was a really great guy. And why had she never noticed just how cute he was?

“Come on,” she said, grabbing his hand. “Let’s go see if we can figure out any of the constellations.”

*****

Max had been laying in bed, waiting for almost an hour and there was still no sign of Liz. She had promised to meet him in his room at eleven o’clock. So where was she?

*****
Liz was getting beyond frustrating. When Larken had told her he would help her find things in the library she had accepted hoping to finish earlier so she could join Max sooner. But now that they were in the research library, Larken was being less than helpful. All she wanted was the information on her and Max’s findings so she could finish her journal entry, but he had yet to stop pestering her.

“So do you have a boyfriend?” he asked as he scooted his chair another inch closer to her.

“Yes, “ Liz replied quickly and immediately moved her own chair away from him. In an attempt to distract him from his personal questions she picked up another of her samples. “Now what would you say the function of these hard bristles are for this particular flower?”

“Protection. Does your boyfriend have a name?”

“Max. What kind of protection? Is it from a particular species of insect?”

Completely ignoring her question Larken moved so that his arm was draped across the back of her chair. “Is this the same Max whose name you were.......calling out last night?”

Liz felt herself flush with embarrassment at this. She couldn’t believe someone had heard her and Max. She tried to move away from Larken but he wouldn’t let her and Liz’s embarrassment quickly turned into fear.

“Look, I don’t know what you’re thinking....but I’m not interested,” her voice came out forcefully even though her heart was pounding.

“Hey! Get your hands off her!” an angry male voice hollered out.

Liz turned toward the voice and relief washed over her.

“Max!”

Larken immediately released his grip on Liz and she bolted from the chair straight into Max’s arms.

Max glared at Larken over the top of Liz’s head. A silent battle raged. Both men’s blazing eyes dueled for dominance. “Why don’t I walk you back to the room?” Max finally asked Liz after Larken had looked away and backed down. Max helped Liz pick up her things, and keeping one hand on her back, steered her back to his room.

Liz was still shaking slightly as she thought about what might have happened had Max not shown up. Once they were in Max’s room she dropped her things and turned around in Max’s arms, clinging to him fiercely.

“I don’t know what happened,” she told him tearfully. “ I just wanted him to answer some questions about what we found today and he......”

“Shhh, baby, it’s okay. He won’t bother you anymore. We leave here right away tomorrow morning anyway. And I won’t leave you alone from now until then. Maybe not even after that,” Max told her. He leaned in and kissed her gently.

When they pulled apart, Liz gave him a small smile. “ I need to
take a shower. Are you going to guard me in there too?”

Max grinned. “It’s a dirty job....but somebody’s got to do it.

*******

Liz felt much better after her shower. Much much better. Max had made sure that every single inch of her was squeaky clean. Of course she’d had to bite her hand to keep from moaning. They didn’t need anyone hearing them again.

Now they were laying in Max’s bed, enjoying just being together. Max had his arm wrapped around Liz and his fingers were running through her still partially damp hair. Liz had never felt more content. She was safe and warm and happy in Max’s protective embrace.

“Max?” she whispered softly.

“Hmm?”

“I....do you remember what we said about...about falling together?”

“Yeah.”

“Well....I guess I think that it’s too late,” she admitted.

“What do you mean?” At his question Liz lifted her head from where it rested against his chest. She looked into his eyes and Max felt his breath catch in his throat at the emotions he saw.

“It’s too late because......I already fell,” she told him softly.

There was a small moment of silence as Max took in the meaning of her words.

He finally responded with a husky “ Me too,” before taking her lips with own and kissing her to show her just how much he meant it.

Their joining this time was slow.....unhurried. One of exploration and mutual appreciation for the new feelings they were giving themselves over to. I love you’s were whispered and it was a blissfully happy couple that fell asleep in each other’s arms.



posted on 21-Sep-2001 5:18:24 PM
Chapter 11

Max groaned loudly as he woke up .....alone again. It had been three days since they’d left Palo Verde. Three days of not being able to kiss and touch and make love to Liz the way he’d wanted to. They’d arrived at their new location and were now settled in for the duration of the research portion of their trip. The place was called Monte Verde and it was situated in the mountains.

The area itself was beautiful and the research station there was probably the most comfortable they’d been at. There was just one problem. A little thing called only having one room for all the guys to sleep and one room for all of the girls. Everyone was in a bunk bed, leaving little to no privacy for anyone. It was the equivalent of torture.

He knew that Liz felt the same way. Any moment they could possibly spare, they were together. They’d spent the entire bus ride next to each other. Michael had joked at some point that they seemed like an old married couple. They’d all laughed but the comment had gotten Max to really thinking. That’s exactly where he wanted this relationship with Liz to go. He wanted her as his wife. He was going to make it happen.

Max got up and went about getting ready for the day. Breakfast here was at eight instead of six thirty. It was sort of nice to sleep in. He found Liz already up in the main dining room, saving him a seat. She smiled brightly when she saw him. Once he was seated she reached for his hand and then leaned in to kiss him.

“Morning,” she said softly.

“A very good morning,” Max replied. “It would have been better if you would have been in my arms when I woke up....but this is the next best thing,” he told her leaning in for another kiss. A throat cleared behind them and they both turned their heads to see a somewhat amused Dr. Seligman. It had been inevitable that he’d find out about their relationship. They couldn’t keep their hands off each other. A person would have to be a special kind of stupid not to notice.

“Sorry to interrupt,” he said. “But I have a few announcements to make, so if I could have your attention.”

It was then that they noticed everyone’s eyes focused in their general direction. Both Max and Liz blushed but turned toward Dr. Seligman. Max was still holding Liz’s hand as Seligman started to talk.

“Okay folks.....we’ve got some decisions to make. Today we go up into the Monteverde trails. It’s a short hike, shouldn’t take too long. When you get up there you can pick a trail to take. It’s a little more touristy here than at the other places, but it’s got some spectacular sights. They’ve packed us lunches so we can stay up there as long as we like. Dinner is at 6pm tonight though, so you’ll need to be back by then. Tomorrow we’ve got the waterfall hike. That’s optional so you don’t have to feel obligated to go. Then you’ve got a free day. We leave the next morning for two days at Jaco Beach. We’ll be staying at a little resort there for a night before we head to San Jose where we’ll be overnight at a hotel.”

At the words resort and hotel the whole group burst into a chorus of Yeas and thanks gods.

“Okay....so have a good day today. Remember to stay with your partner and.....I think that’s it.” With that said he sat down.

The group finished breakfast and got ready for the hike up to the Monteverde forest. It was unspoken now that the six of them would be together. Max would go with Michael and Liz because he couldn’t stand to be away from Liz. And because Max was going that meant that Alex had to go as well. This also meant that Maria and Isabel would be joining them because for some odd reason that no one was aware of Isabel and Alex had bonded. Michael and Maria were another story. Michael was still upset with Maria because she’d been flirting with that Juice guy when they were in Palo Verde. So they pretty much just fought the whole time.

Two hours into the hike, they were stopped underneath the only shade they had yet to come across since they left.

“Short hike my ass,” Maria bit out.

It seemed that Dr. Seligman had been a little too optimistic when he’d told them that the hike wouldn’t take them more than say thirty minutes. Seven and a half miles uphill wasn’t exactly a cake walk. At least it was a semi-road they were walking. A road that seemed to be tilted at about a 90 degree angle. Even the guys were starting to feel the effects of the hike. The girls were past exhausted by now. They’d pushed themselves too hard too quickly when they’d first started. Michael was now lugging both his and Maria’s backpacks. Alex and Max were doing the same for Isabel and Liz.

“What the hell was Seligman thinking, making us walk this?” Isabel asked. Of the whole group she was the worst off. She’d actually threatened to throw herself off a cliff a short ways back. Alex had calmly talked her out of it promising to buy her some authentic Costa Rican jewelry or something.

As they sat there, resting their legs they heard the sound of a car.

“If they stopped to offer a ride, you girls take it and we’ll meet you up at the top,” Max told them quickly. They all stood up to see what the car would do.

All of their mouths dropped open when they saw just who the car’s passengers were. There sat Dr. Seligman, Kyle and Tess. All smiles and waving at them as they drove by.

“That rat bastard!” Liz yelled. She’d tried to keep her rage at the situation to herself. She didn’t need the others to know just how much she was hating this. But that was it. “I can’t believe him! He makes us walk and then gets himself a fucking ride? That is just unacceptable!”

Max looked at Liz in surprise. That’s when he noticed the unshed tears in her eyes. This was obviously harder on her than she was letting on. He had to admit that even running his five miles a day wasn’t helping make this any easier for him.

“I’m just going to sit here,” Liz declared. “I refuse to move. You guys can go on. I’ll just wait for you.”

Max went over to Liz. He would have pulled her into his arms, but he was all gross and sweaty and he knew that Liz probably didn’t need his body heat surrounding her at the moment. “Sweetheart, we’re not leaving you sit here. If I have to carry you the rest of the way I will, but you are coming with us.” He watched as Liz’s lower lip quivered slightly. Then he saw her resume control of her emotions.

“I’m sorry. I just....it makes me really mad that he did that,” she finally said.

“I know.”

Liz glanced at everyone else. They all looked worn out. It was almost eleven o’clock in the morning. If they kept going they could maybe make it to the forest entrance by noon.

It took lots of encouragement and another forty minutes before the group reached the flat part of the mountain. It led right up to forest entrance. They paid the park fee and went inside. They found a picnic table under some shade and collapsed on it’s benches to eat their lunches.

After they finished they continued to just sit there and watch the other tourists around the area.

“What now?” Michael asked.

“Now we go hike one of the trails,” Maria supplied.

“Let’s just find the shortest one please,” Liz requested. She was hunched over the table her head resting on her arms. Max was rubbing his hand on her back. She knew that he was the only reason she was still sane at that moment

They got up and headed to the marked trails, deciding to take their time and just enjoy what they were seeing. As they went on they were having more and more fun together. They all played a rousing version of the game that had them laughing until their sides hurt. And every time they saw something new and interesting they all stopped and took pictures and had their pictures taken. So it was a fairly happy group that made their way down the mountain later. They were even in a decent enough mood to shop at the gift shops for a little while.

Of course if uphill had been hard, down hill was just as bad. They were at least laughing this time as they slipped and slid along the rocks.

*****

That night Max and Liz finally managed a small amount of privacy. Not enough to really have anything happen. But Liz offered Max a back rub which he eagerly accepted.

She straddled his body, sitting herself on his butt as she began to rub the tired muscles of his back. She’d been looking for an excuse to touch him all day and this had been just perfect.

“So what’s up with Alex and your sister?” Liz asked as she worked a knot in Max’s right shoulder.

“ I don’t know. They seem to be getting along pretty well, though.” This was followed by a groan from Max as Liz’s hands continued to work their magic.

“What about Michael and Maria?” Max asked trying to sound like this massage of Liz’s wasn’t arousing him beyond belief.

“I think that Maria really likes Michael but she thinks that if she tells him he’ll get all weird. So she pretends that she just tolerates him when she really wants him,” Liz explained. Her hands moved lower from Max’s shoulders, gently tracing his spine on the way to his lower back. Liz sighed as she touched Max. He was so perfect. She wondered how she’d ever been lucky enough to catch his attention.

“That just made absolutely no sense, Liz,” Max told her. “I’ll never understand the way women’s minds work.”

“And you shouldn’t. We’re supposed to be mysterious. That’s what attracts you to us,” Liz responded. As she spoke, she lifted her hands from Max’s skin and shifted her body so that she was laying completely on top of him. She rested her hands on his side and moved her lips to kiss his neck. After a moment Max could take it no more and flipped her over so that he was on top. Their lips had just met when the door to the boy’s room opened and Alex peered in.

“Hey we’re gonna play cards. You guys wanna join us?” he asked. He didn’t seem to notice that he was interrupting something.

“Yeah, we’ll be out in a minute,” Liz told him.

Max gave her a look. “Why did you do that?”

Liz shrugged. “We need to be social, Max. We didn’t just come on this trip to have sex,” she pointed out.

Max conceded but not happily. Damn Alex.

******

When Liz woke up the next morning her muscles were sore and stiff. She lamented that she should have made Max give her a back rub. She opted out of the waterfall hike much to Max’s disappointment. He did understand though and promised to take picture for her. So Liz spent the morning being lazy. She worked to get all caught up in her journal and then decided to take a nap while she waited for the other’s to return. She woke up to gentle kisses pressed all over her face and neck. With a sigh of Max’s name on her lips, she opened her eyes to find him smiling at her.

“How was the waterfall?” she asked. She was a little regretful that she hadn’t gone. But honestly, one of the reasons she hadn’t gone was directly related to an unfulfilled fantasy of hers that involved she and Max. She knew that if she had actually been at the waterfall with Max that morning, nothing would have kept her from losing control and living that fantasy out. That wasn’t necessarily a bad thing if you didn’t mind having about a dozen other people there witness it. So in the end her aching muscles had helped her maintain her dignity.

Max shrugged at Liz’s question. “It was okay.”

“Okay? Just okay?” she hardly believed that any waterfall could be just ‘okay’.

Max smiled and shrugged. “How could it be anything more than that? You weren't there to enjoy it with me, so it was just okay,” he told her.

Liz smiled then and pulled Max’s face down to hers. He deserved at least a kiss for that.

A knock at the door jerked the couple apart, causing them both to curse at whomever had dared interrupt them yet again. It was Michael this time. The others were all ready to leave for their trip into the actual town of Monteverde. It was a tourist town full of different kinds of shops and several different attractions related to the rain forest. As a group they decided to call a cab to take them to the tourist town. By car it was a twenty minute drive over the same path they had hiked the day before. On foot it would have taken them close to two hours. Paying the money for the drive was completely worth it.

Once there the group took their time walking around the town. There was a cheese factory there that actually sold the best ice cream that any of them had ever tasted. Isabel and Maria took advantage of their winnings from the bet. So Alex and Michael got stuck with the bill from the shopping as well as having to carry all the purchases. By mid afternoon they’d taken in most of the sights of the town. They’d eaten lunch at an authentic Costa Rican restaurant and then spent about an hour walking through the butterfly gardens next to the restaurant. Max still had one more place he wanted to go. He left Liz with Maria and Isabel to wander through some pottery shop and dragged Michael and Alex practically across town to the small jewelry store he’d seen there.

By four o’clock they were all exhausted. They really had been to every spot in the town. They met up with the rest of their classmates outside the cheese factory and waited for Miguel to come and take them back down to the research station.

After dinner that night their group gathered once again for more card playing. Five point pitch to be exact. They were all fierce players. Liz and Max were actually playing as one person. Of course they were continually distracting each other. After awhile Maria yelled at them to go off on their own before they made the rest of them lose their dinner.

Max was more than happy to obey. He had a plan. He’d worked everything out, now all that was left was to convince Liz to come with him. That didn’t actually take a whole lot of convincing. He’d mentioned the words private, secluded and alone and she’d practically jumped at the idea. It was almost nine o’clock. The sun had set leaving the bright moon out to light their path as Max led them to their destination.

“What do you have planned Max?” Liz asked curiously. He had his back pack slung over his left shoulder and she was wondering just what he’d brought along with them.

Max grinned and he looked almost wicked in the moonlight Liz thought. “You’ll see,” was all Max said.

Ten minutes later and Max was leading Liz up some rocky terrain. “Max....where are we going?” she asked as her footing slipped yet again. He caught her with a smile and pulled her along.

“It’s a surprise,” he answered.

Another moment later and the sound of water could be heard.

“What is that noise Max? Is that rain? It sounds like it’s raining. Oh god, I don’t want to get caught out in the rain,” Liz spoke rapidly as she turned around trying to find the source of the noise.

Max grabbed her and began to carry her. She was being too slow and they were almost there. Just another twenty feet and they would be at the clearing. Once they reached it Max stood Liz on her own feet and turned her to face the direction of the noise.

There it was, sparkling in the moon light.

The waterfall.

Liz’s sharp intake of breath was drowned out by the sound of the rushing water in front of them. She tore her gaze away from the beauty before and looked at Max with love in her eyes.

“Max....I can’t believe you did this,” she said.

“I wanted you to see it and I knew that I would appreciate it a whole lot more if I could share it with you. So we’re going to have a little bit of a picnic here. And maybe swim a little bit if you want,” Max said.

And suddenly Liz’s fantasy reared it’s head. “Let’s swim first,” she told Max quickly. He agreed and set his bad down on the cleared path. The area was fairly touristy and therefore there wasn’t threat of any wild animals and such as they tended to steer clear of the disturbance. He’d gotten special permission to bring Liz up there.

Before he could say anything Liz began to strip herself of her clothes.

“I’ve always wanted to swim in a waterfall,” she told Max as she pulled her shirt off first. He watched her, mesmerized. She stepped out of her shorts quickly and stood before him completely naked. Max raised his eyebrows. He’d been with her all day and hadn’t even realized that she was naked underneath her clothes. He never would have been able to control himself if he’d known that.

Liz smiled. “I’m all out of clean clothes. I figured I could go without underwear for a few days.”

Max nodded and swallowed. Liz was beautiful. He’d never seen anything as stunning as her, standing there with the moonlight reflecting off all the curves of her body.

“Are you going to swim with me? Or do I have to be lonely?” Liz asked, biting her bottom lip. She was standing in front of him, completely naked and he wasn’t even moving.

At her words Max moved to action, quickly pulling at his clothes until they were piled with hers. She went into the water ahead of him, easing herself into it. It was fairly warm, probably heated from the sunlight. Liz was careful of the rocks as she stepped into the water. Waterfall fantasies probably weren’t all they were cracked up to be, especially when you remembered the little things like the fish in the water and the kind of things that lived in the sediment. Liz cringed momentarily until she felt a warm body come up behind her.

Max wrapped his arms around Liz’s waist, hugging her to him and kissing her exposed shoulders. Liz turned herself to face him and he leaned in to kiss her lips. As he did so his hands began to wander, caressing all of the bare flesh before him. He couldn’t stop touching her or kissing her. After several heated moments they pulled apart smiling at each other.

“Do you want to go over underneath the waterfall?” Max asked her still placing kisses on her throat. “There’s a little rock ledge behind it.”

Liz’s breathing quickened at the thought. “Max.....”

“Hmmm?” His lips moved slowly ever her shoulders, his tongue grazing her skin. Liz pulled herself closer to him, wrapping her arms around him so that their bodies were touching intimately.

“This is my fantasy,” she told him with her lips to his ear. “I’ve imagined being at a place like this with you for a long time. I want you to make love to me.....here.”

Max pulled back to look into her eyes. They spoke everything her words did. She wanted him. She wanted this. Placing his arms around her waist he lifted her up against him, urging her legs to warp around him. He moved quickly, making his way through the water over to where the waterfall was. He walked right through the wall of water, drenching them both. But their eyes never left each other. Settling her down on the ledge behind the water he quickly bent down to kiss her. His hands moved up, tangling through the wet strands of her hair, urging her closer to him.

When the kiss ended he quickly moved his mouth to taste other parts of her bare skin, lapping up the droplets of water as he went. Liz could hardly believe what was happening. Her fantasy was coming true. She was at a waterfall, naked, with Max Evans making love to her. Life would never be better than this.

Max’s lips trailed down her stomach as his hands massaged her breath. When his face came into contact with the apex of her legs, he smiled and nuzzled his nose against her, causing Liz to squirm. He couldn’t hear her saying his name because the sound of the water was too loud. Max’s total focus was on Liz. He parted her folds with his fingers and swiftly set about using his tongue to drive her crazy. He started with long, slow strokes, causing Liz to arch slightly against him. Soon though he began to flick his tongue against her bundle of nerves and Liz’s body went wild thrusting up against his face. Her hands unclenched from her sides and pulled at his hair, bring him up her body.

Their eyes locked and they were still for a moment, both panting and gasping for air. Liz’s hand snaked out and wrapped around Max’s arousal, causing him to suck in an even deeper breath. As she stroked him with her small warm hand he moved his mouth to the hard pebbled nipple of her breast and began to nip and suck at it. He felt Liz’s urgency when she began to move her hand faster. He tried to hold off and began to administer the same attention to her other breast as his hand reached down to stop hers. She immediately shifted her body, opening herself up to him. Inviting him in. Max gladly took the invitation and sank into her warm, wet depths.

As he began to move within her, Liz’s hands sought out his and she thread her fingers through his own, bringing their hands to rest above her head. His mouth kissed the skin of her neck and any other part of her he came into contact with as he continued to move into her. Their rhythm increased, their bodies working frantically toward their release. The excitement of their surroundings only spurred them on, making the feelings that much more intense. Their cries of ecstacy were drowned out by the sounds of the water. They could only lay there, panting and unmoving as their bodies began to calm down.

Liz wasn’t sure she’d be able to move. She felt so completely spent. Looking at Max and his contented smile, she knew he had to feel much the same way.

*****

It was almost one in the morning when they snuck back into their cabin rooms. Both were trying to be extremely quiet so as not to wake anyone else.

Liz lay there in the dark for awhile, her mind replaying the events at the waterfall. She missed Max. Those two nights they’d been at Palo Verde had been some of the best on the whole trip because she’d gotten to spend the whole night in his arms. She wanted to do that again. She didn’t like being without him.

Feeling restless she got up from her bed and made her way outside. She would just get some more fresh air. Then she would try to sleep again. They had more traveling time ahead of them tomorrow so she could certainly sleep then. The moon outside was still bright. Liz made herself comfortable in one of the chairs sitting outside on the cabin porch. She was there for a few minutes when the door to the boys cabin opened. To her great surprise there stood Max.

“Max....what are you doing up?” she asked softly. Even in the dark she could see him smile.

“I was having trouble sleeping,” he told her as he walked over to where she was sitting. Liz quickly stood up, offering Max the seat. He sat down and pulled her on to his lap. He placed a kiss on her forehead and she nestled against him, leaning her head against his chest. His fingers moved idly through her hair. He knew that he’d never get tired of having her in his arms.

“I don’t like sleeping without you,” Liz told him.

“Me either.”

There was more silence.

Liz spoke up first again. “What’s going to happen when we get back?”

“What do you mean?” Max asked, looking down into her face.

“I mean...what’s going to happen with us? Are things going to change? I know that I love you, Max. I want to be with you. But do you still want to continue this relationship when we get back to the states? So far this has all been some sort of wild fantasy for me. I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would get to share any of this with you.”

Max smiled at her. He loved her for so many reasons. He didn’t know if he’d ever be able to name them all. “ I think that when we get back.....we’ll just have to see where things take us. I want us to be together. I want to go back home and take you on real dates and I want to have you spend the nights with me and not worry about things like getting harassed by the others on the trip or caught by Dr. Seligman. I’m willing to take whatever you want to give me Liz.”

Content with the knowledge that Max was feeling the same way she was, Liz found herself getting tired. They both drifted off to sleep in each other’s arms.

They awoke the next morning to a frowning Dr. Seligman standing over them.




posted on 21-Sep-2001 5:26:56 PM
Chapter 12

“Okay....so who’s next?” Maria asked. They were all loaded onto the bus again and making their way toward Jaco Beach. Everyone was excited and the whole bus was a buzz of excitement. Maria, Michael, Alex and Isabel were all sitting up in the front seats, playing The Game again to pass the time. They’d had some pretty good ones. Like Alex’s ‘licking or sucking?’ question. Then there had been Isabel’s ‘Missionary or Doggy?’ question. Alex had promptly turned several interesting shades of red. The grin on Isabel’s face had stayed there after that. Now Maria was wondering when exactly they had started holding hands.

Michael was sitting next to her, trying desperately to pretend like he didn’t care. But he just kept getting drawn into the whole thing. Maria liked that about him. That he just couldn’t seem to resist. He was trying to be all casual but he’d been rubbing his black jean clad leg against hers every opportunity he could get. She was thinking that he might get a little lucky later on if he played his cards right.
Maria cautioned a glance in Max and Liz’s direction. They had fallen asleep. Liz with her head in Max’s lap, Max with his head pillowed by Liz’s jacket against the window. They just looked so natural together. She realized now that although it had started out as just plain physical attraction, that what Max and Liz had was more than that. She was happy that Liz had thrown caution to the wind and gone for it. Although Liz might have been a little regretful earlier that morning when Dr. Seligman had caught she and Max together.

It had been perfectly innocent really. They had just fallen asleep in the chair. But Dr. Seligman had immediately gotten all pissed. It had been sort of funny really. The other’s hadn’t known what was happening until Liz’s voice could be heard. She was actually chewing Dr. Seligman out. Telling him that while he was in charge of them, what she and Max did was none of his business because they were adults and that as long as they weren’t flaunting it in front of people than nothing he said could make them stay away from each other. There were just three days left and then it wouldn’t matter. It had been funny to witness Liz’s tirade. As a result, Dr. Seligman was pouting in the front of the bus. But Max and Liz were happy. And Kyle and Tess had been released from their bonds as well. No more following Seligman around. All in all the trip was winding down fairly nicely.

“So...girls, we never did decide this. Do you want to give us your bikini tops today or tomorrow? It makes me no difference. Just so you hand them over,” Michael said, breaking Maria out of her reverie.

“Shit!” Maria mumbled under her breath. She’d forgotten all about the bet. She and Isabel still had to pay up.

*****

When they got to the resort they were greeted by a very short man speaking rapid Spanish. Maria did her duty translating and they were all directed toward their rooms. Then they headed off for lunch and an afternoon on the beach. As they were getting ready to go get their suits on, Max pulled Maria aside.

“Listen, do you think maybe you could stick around here for a little while. I need some help with something. I need you to translate for me,” he told her.

“Sure no problem, what do you need?”

Max lowered his voice and told her. Maria eyes were wide with shock and then a grin spread across her face. “This is going to be so much fun,” she said excitedly.

Liz had already changed into her suit, or what was left of it and Isabel’s top. She was going to spend the afternoon on the beach with Michael as they finished off the rest of their journal project. In the end they had decided that he would draw out everything and Liz would do the writing. He was going to finalize the drawings once they got back to the states but so far things looked pretty good.

“So what’s up with Alex and Isabel?” Liz asked as she glanced out over the water. The couple in question was playing and splashing around in the ocean. Isabel’s icy demeanor was all but gone and Alex was chasing her around in the surf. They looked like they were having a good time.

“I guess they’re getting along,” is all Michael said.

“What’s the deal with you and Maria?” Liz knew that she was being nosy. But she figured that she wanted to spread the happiness she felt, around. Even if that meant meddling a little bit.

Michael just shrugged at the question. “There is no deal. She’s just Maria.”

“Yes. But do you like her? As in would you be interested in dating her when we get back to the states?”

Another shrug.

“Well either you do or you don’t. You would or you wouldn’t,” Liz insisted.

Michael let out a frustrated sigh. He really didn’t feel comfortable talking about feelings and shit with Liz. “It all depends on her, I guess. She can be hot and cold. So she’s got to be the one making the decision.”

“See, that wasn’t so hard. Now as soon as she comes back, I’ll make myself scarce or something and you can tell Maria what you told me only in nicer words.”

They got back to work then because Michael refused to answer any more of Liz’s questions.

After another half an hour, Liz decided she’d had enough.

“I think that we’re done for now Michael. I’m going to lay out for awhile. You can go do...whatever it was that you were going to do,” she told him. Without saying much, Michael got up and left then, leaving Liz all to herself.

She didn’t see that anyone was around so she very carefully positioned herself out of anyone’s range of sight and took off Isabel’s tank top. She wanted to get some sun on her back.

That’s how Max found her, spread out on her stomach, wearing nothing but her bikini bottoms. He sucked in a breath at the sight of all that naked skin. He looked around quickly, hoping that no one else had the pleasure of seeing what he was.

“You’re standing in my sun,” Liz told him without opening her eyes. She knew it was Max. She’d know since the second she’d heard a little gasp come from his throat. It sounded exactly the same as when he was ........Liz tried to pull her mind away from that particular direction. They were on a public beach. She knew that she had to keep herself in control.

Max mumbled a quick sorry to Liz and moved away so that his shadow no longer fell across her skin. “So do you think that you could do me a favor and put some of that suntan lotion on my back?” Liz asked. “I’d wait for my boyfriend but he’s just taking too long and I don’t want to get burned.”

Max smiled when he saw the teasing smile on Liz’s lips. Her eyes were still closed. But he was sure that she knew it was him. He laid out his towel down next to Liz’s and sat down. Then he leaned across her to reach the lotion. After putting a generous amount into the palms of his hands he leaned over her. Liz was waiting to feel the heat of his hands as he smoothed the lotion onto her back and was surprised when she felt his hands touch the calves of her legs. She let out a sigh as he began to massage the lotion into her legs. His hands worked carefully, moving upward at an agonizingly slow pace.

Max watched Liz carefully as his hands worked their way up her legs. Her eyes were still closed and she was laying completely still. The only sound he’d heard from her was a sigh. He looked towards his hands and moved them up further, paying special attention to the back of her knees. He heard her giggle slightly. She must be ticklish, he thought to himself. His hands’ skimmed over the sensitive skin he found there. His smile was wide as Liz’s soft giggles continued to escape from her lips. Finally she said his name in exasperation and he moved on. He’d have to remember the knee thing for later though. The back of her thighs were next. Max spread her legs ever so slightly as he continued to massage the muscles of her legs. The lotion was gone and he had to reach over to get more. He then began again where he’d left off.

Liz was trying her hardest not to squirm but she could feel herself getting aroused by Max’s touches. He was being so gentle and thorough. If he didn’t stop she was going to have to drag him back to her room, consequences be damned. Max watched in fascination as Liz’s bikini bottoms grew dark with the wetness of her arousal. He felt his own erection spring to life. He decided that for the sake of everyone on the beach he would hurry up and finish this lotion job. He moved up and began to rub Liz’s back. Trying to make quick work of it. He was doing good until his hand slipped down the side and grazed her bare breast. He groaned out loud.

Without any warning he picked Liz up off of the sand, towel and all, and flung her over his shoulder. Liz tried her best to cover herself as Max hurriedly walked them back toward the resort to one of their rooms. Many sets of eyes watched with interest as the couple practically sprinted past them. Some were amused by the impatience of young love, others were shocked and some were just plain jealous.

The door to Max’s room seemed to take forever to open but once it did, Max immediately entered. He tossed Liz onto the bed and quickly locked the door again before joining her.

Outside the room, muffled giggles could be heard. Soon though the giggles were replaced with moans and thuds as their passion increased causing the headboard to bang against the wall. A passerby laughed to himself at the thought of the bed springs giving out on the couple inside.

*****

After Maria joined Michael on the beach, the afternoon seemed to brighten. They decided to hang out with Alex and Isabel in the water for awhile. Maria let the other’s in on her little errand with Max earlier. “I probably wasn’t supposed to tell but I can’t keep something this good a secret,” she gushed.

Isabel pouted. “I can’t believe Max didn’t even say anything to me. I’m his sister after all.”

“Isabel, it’s probably nothing personal. I just had to translate for him. His Spanish really sucks,” Maria said ,trying to comfort her friend.

Some waves came in then and the four friends began to play tag along the shoreline. When they grew tired of their games, they all headed back up to the resort to relax by the bar. Michael and Alex started talking about their plans for when they got back home to the states. That left Isabel and Maria to talk about their plans for the next day.

“I think we should do some serious shopping,” Isabel stated. “I haven’t gotten my money’s worth out of Alex yet and I plan to before we get home.”

“Do you realize how bad that sounds, Isabel?” Maria asked with a laugh. “Like he’s some kind of male gigolo or something. Just what have you and Alex been up to?”

Isabel blushed and offered Maria a shy smile. “Let’s just say that underneath Alex’s somewhat nerdy exterior, the ...uh.....heart of tiger lies.”

Maria couldn’t hold in her laughter at this. Alex.....a tiger. More like a pussy cat. Then again....maybe he liked that too.

“What’s so funny?” Michael asked, suddenly tuning in to Maria and Isabel’s conversation.

“We’re discussing jungle animals,” Isabel quickly supplied. “I want to go shopping to find something with jungle animal prints on it. Alex still owes me,” she said turning to the boy she’d grown rather fond of the last few days.

“Wait....if I still owe you then....you’ve got to pay up. And if you’re going shopping tomorrow than we get to see the boobies today,” Alex said. Being that he’d had a couple of drinks, he was speaking kind of loudly.

“Alex....grow up. No one says boobies anymore,” Maria told him. “Besides it sounds like you’ve probably already seen all the ‘boobies’ you want.”

“I’ve just felt ‘em,” he admitted. “I haven’t seen ‘em yet.”

“Alex!” Isabel was completely mortified.

Michael snickered and Isabel turned on him. “Please.....you’re one to talk. When was the last time you got any? Hmmm?”

Michael quickly grew serious. He quirked an eyebrow at Maria. “Why don’t you ask Maria over here.” When Maria refused to even look at Michael he went on. “Let’s just say that as far as I’m concerned Maria has fulfilled her end of the bet. And then some.”

Maria’s nostrils flared at this. “That was not part of the bet!” she exclaimed loudly. “In fact, let’s just clear that whole bet thing up right now.” With that, Maria reached behind her back and swiftly undid her bikini top. It fell down onto the table and she sat there topless.

Alex’s jaw hit the table. Isabel looked over at him, giving a disapproving gaze. He quickly averted his eyes and said, “I only want to see your boobs, Isabel. I swear.”

Michael just stared at Maria. He was looking her directly in the eyes. “Okay...point taken,” he said. “Put your top back on. Before someone else comes along.”

“No.”

“Maria, come on. I get it. What we did wasn’t about the bet. I know that. Now please. I don’t want anyone else to see you like that.”

“Why not? Why do you care?” she demanded.

“Because. I want you to be my girlfriend. And that means that I’m the only one that gets to see your boobies!” Now it seemed that Michael had a little problem with volume control. Everyone over by the bar turned around to look. Maria quickly put her hands over her chest to hide herself. “See, was that so hard to admit,” she teased with a laugh. “I can’t believe you said boobies!”

Michael shook his head and groaned. What was he getting himself into? When he felt Maria making herself at home on his lap then and kissing the skin by his ear, he decided that he really didn’t care. It was totally worth it.

*****

When Max and Liz rejoined the group later they were both smiling idiotically and couldn’t seem to keep their hands off each other for even a second. It was nearly five pm by then and the group decided to head off and get ready for dinner. They were going to eat there at the resort’s dining room. Then take a walk on the beach.

You would have thought Max and Liz were saying goodbye like they were going to be apart forever instead of just under an hour. Maria finally had to step in and physically separate the two, dragging Liz off. She winked at Max and told him she’d take care of Liz.

Maria helped Liz get ready and even offered her a nice sundress to wear. Liz took a shower and spent a little bit of extra time getting ready. She knew she’d have to make do without a lot of makeup or anything like that but she still wanted to look nice for Max. So it was Liz that the girls were waiting on when their hour was up. After she was finally ready they all headed over to the dining room to meet the guys.

As soon at they saw them, each guy grabbed their respective girl and took them over to their table. It was like they’d planned it. Each pulling out the girl’s chair and helping her get settled in. They were all sitting together and they made small talk while they waited for the waiter to come over and take their drink order.

Liz was feeling good and decided to cut loose a little. Everyone was shocked when she ordered an actual alcoholic beverage. Max was actually too nervous and knew that drinking wouldn’t be the best idea at the moment. He wanted Liz to enjoy herself though. He liked seeing her smiling and happy. He wanted to make sure that she was always happy.

Everyone else at the table was enjoying themselves immensely as they sat there. They talked and reminisced over everything that happened on their trip. They were even able to laugh off some of the more embarrassing moments. Even Liz laughed when they talked about the peccary that ate her bikini. It was funny now.

Liz smiled at Max, knowing that he had helped make the trip as enjoyable as it was. She’d never expected to come and fall in love. But now that she had she couldn’t imagine having this trip happen any other way. And she would always treasure the memories that they had made together here.

After dinner, the group split off into pairs. Isabel and Alex went to go sit by the bar. Michael and Maria were going to go swim in the resort pool.

“Do you want to go walk on the beach?” Max asked. “We could maybe catch the last part of the sunset.”

Liz’s eyes lit up at the suggestion. She leaned up to kiss him. “I would love that,” she said smiling against his lips.

He took her small hand in his own larger one and led her down to the beach. They walked along the water in silence. It wasn’t uncomfortable. Rather it was almost comforting. At least to Liz anyway. She loved this. Having Max with her, in such a romantic setting. It was really incredible to her.

The water lapped at their feet as they continued to walk. “You’re being so quiet, Max,” Liz finally said after the silence had stretched out for too long. “Is there something wrong?”

“No...I ....” Max stopped walking and turned to face Liz. “There’s nothing wrong. Do you wanna pick up some sea shells? I promised my mom that I would bring some back for her. She’s sort of got a collection.”

Liz smiled. “Sure. It’ll be fun.”

So they set off to work, trying to gather interesting and unique shells that Max’s mother might like. After a short while Max bent over to pick a particular shell up. Without Liz seeing he quickly slipped something from his pocket and into his hand. Then he stood back up. He handed the shell in his hand to Liz. “It looks like there’s something stuck in it. You’ve got small fingers, see if you can get it out.” He said this and let go of her hand and bent over again to pick up another shell.

Liz looked at the shell in her hand and turned it over, looking inside. She gasped outloud. There was something inside the shell. “Oh...my....Max,” her voice was shaking as she spoke. Almost as much as her fingers were shaking as she tried to pull out the object nestled inside the shell. Max was standing now, facing her. Liz was successful and for a moment she could only stand there, staring at the ring in her hand. It was a beautiful silver band with a small but beautiful diamond displayed proudly in it’s center.

“I have something to ask you,” Max told her softly.

Liz looked up at his face, a face she had come to love very dearly in these last few months, especially these last two weeks. Her eyes sparkled with unshed tears as she stepped forward wrapping her arms around him, clinging to him.

“Yes!” she told him. “The answer’s yes.”

Max smiled. “You don’t even know the question.”

“ It doesn’t matter. The answer is yes!”

“Well.....I still want to ask.” With those words, he took Liz’s hands in his own and knelt down on one knee. Liz stared down at him, the tears that had been threatening to fall earlier were streaming down her face now at the event that was about to unfold.

“Liz Parker.....I think that I’ve been in love with you since the first day I met you in Freshman Seminar. And it may have taken us four years to really find each other but now that we have....I don’t want us to be apart. So I’m asking you.....will you marry me? Will you be my wife?” His voice was thick with emotion as he said the words that Liz would treasure forever.

Liz fell to her knees in the sand in front of him. “I already said Yes. But let me say it one more time. Yes....Max Evans, I will marry you.”

With that promise made , Max took the ring and slipped it into place on her finger, reverently kissing the ring where it rested. Then he turned to her and taking her face in his hands, kissed her. Sealing the happy moment.

They were able to bask in the joy of their life changing decision for a only a few minutes. Maria’s voice could be heard loud and clear over the distance.

“Did she say yes?” she hollered out. She was making her way towards Max and Liz with Michael, Alex and Isabel trailing closely behind her.

Max helped Liz to stand up and held her closely, kissing the top of her forehead and then turning to Maria, with a smile on his face. “She said yes,” he informed her happily.

Maria promptly squealed, jumping up and down in the sand. “Oh....I knew it! Yay!”

“Looks like we’re going to be planning a wedding when we get back,” Isabel said with a smile. It was her way of letting Liz know that she accepted the situation.

“Uhm...actually....that’s something that I still need to talk to Liz about yet,” Max told the others.

“What is it?” Liz asked.

“Well....you see, this is what Maria was helping me with this afternoon. There’s a man waiting up in the lounge of the resort who can marry us...here...tonight. If you want. I sort of figured that we could make this trip even more memorable. And I don’t want to be without you at all, not even a little bit, when we get back. So what
do you say?”

All eyes turned to Liz, waiting to see what she would say.



posted on 21-Sep-2001 5:34:12 PM
Chapter 13

“And do you Max, take Liz to be your lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold, in sickness and in health, for richer for poorer, until death do you part?” Maria’s voice rambled off in English. She was translating the whole wedding ceremony. Max and Liz were hardly even paying attention. They were too busy smiling sappily and staring into each other’s eyes. Max managed an “I Do” and then it was Liz’s turned. Her “I Do” was followed by the ring exchange. Max had already taken care of this as well and Michael produced two rings from the pocket of his shorts. The rings were placed on their fingers and then more rapid Spanish was heard. “I now pronounce you man and ...wait...what was that word?” she asked turning to the minister. Max and Liz both looked up at Maria then. Alex was doing his best to try not to laugh. Only Maria....

“Oh...sorry. He now pronounces you man and wife. You can kiss the bride, Max,” Maria informed him. But seeing as their lips were already molded together, those words had probably fallen on deaf ears.

When Max and Liz finally came up for air, there was a small round of applause as the other wedding guests cheered them on. Those in attendance were their other classmates as well as some of the resort’s other guests. Dr. Seligman was not there however. No one had seen him since they’d gotten to Jaco Beach. No one was too concerned though.

“So now what?” Michael asked as they approached the happy couple.

“My wife and I are going to go to bed,” Max told them with a grin.

Liz felt her face flush with a mixture of embarrassment and excitement.

“Where are you guys going to sleep tonight?” Isabel asked. She had no intention of giving up her bed just because Max and Liz wanted a room to themselves.

“ Maria helped me talk to the resort manager and he gave me a deal on a room for me and Liz for tonight and tomorrow night. I sort of put it on Dad’s credit card,” Max told her sheepishly.

“So I guess....Congrats and have fun!” Alex told them. Then he grabbed Isabel.

“You know what this means don’t you?” he asked her.

“What?”

“We’ve got a whole room to ourselves,” he explained. “That means that this tiger is ready to prowl.”

Isabel giggled and let herself be led away.

This left Michael and Maria standing there alone. Max and Liz had rushed off in the direction of their room to consummate their marriage. Lord knows they’d had plenty of practice at that these past few days. Michael again pondered the possibility that they were somehow related to rabbits.

Maria looked over at him. “So what are you up for?” she asked.

His response was a non committal shrug.

Maria smiled as an idea came to her head. “The pools open. Wanna go skinny dipping?”

“Sure.”

And they were off.

******

Back in the honeymoon suite Max was making quick work of removing Liz’s dress. His own clothes were removed just as swiftly and they pulled each other onto the bed. Max was kissing Liz with a passionate frenzy when he suddenly pulled back.

“You know what I just realized?” he asked.

“What?”

“That this doesn’t have to be so quick,” he told her. “We’ve got the rest of our lives. We should just enjoy this.”

Liz smiled and nodded her agreement. She had every intention of enjoying all the perks of her new husband.

They explored each other slowly and reveled in the knowledge that
they were now joined forever. Neither could believe how lucky they’d been to find each other. And they hoped they would always be as happy as they were right at that moment.

*****

The next morning it was a tired but happy couple that emerged from the honeymoon suite. It was really almost afternoon by the time they joined their friends. They’d spent the whole night making love and had slept very little. When they had actually gotten up that morning they’d spent a good deal of time in the shower.

They found everyone as they were getting ready to sit down for lunch. Dr. Seligman was with them. He looked terrible. “What’s wrong?” Max asked after he helped Liz sit down. He immediately took a seat next to her and grabbed her hand.

Dr. Seligman let out a big sigh. “Well, yesterday I spent the whole day walking through town looking for a little gift shop for a present for my wife. I didn’t find her anything. Not anything she would appreciate anyway. So I came back to my room last night and .....I found out that I was right next to the honeymoon suite. I didn’t get hardly any sleep with all the racket going on in there.”

Max and Liz could feel their faces growing red with embarrassment as Dr. Seligman went on to explain in detail everything that had kept him up. The table was practically shaking as everyone else sat there trying to hold in their laughter. Maria was having the hardest time. She could hardly believe Max and Liz’s luck. It was just too funny. “So then at about three this morning they finally stopped. I figured either one of two things happened. Either they fell asleep or they broke the bed. Of course that wasn’t the case. I heard some kind of Tarzan call next. I was about ready to go up to the front desk and complain when they finally stopped.”

Michael couldn’t take it any longer. He was about to burst with all his pent up laughter. Alex was already a gonner. He was bent over at the waist with his head in his hands, practically shaking he was laughing so hard. Isabel made the mistake of looking at Max. The words Tarzan call echoed in her mind and she too lost it. Max and Liz looked on in mortification as there friends sat there, howling with amusement. Dr. Seligman looked confused.

Now what were they going to do? This certainly wouldn’t be the best time to tell him they’d gotten married the night before. What should they say? ‘Oh yeah, Seligman, we got married last night and it was us that you heard going at it like a bunch of wild monkey’s in the rain forest.’ Yeah. That would go over real well.

They were saved by their waiter luckily and everyone was able to muster up some control as they ordered their lunch.

“So what did you kids get up to last night?” Dr. Seligman asked absently as he took a bite of his sandwich.

Liz’s fork stopped half way to her mouth. She put it down and clearing her throat looked Dr. Seligman in the eye. “Actually Max and I have something we’d like to tell you. You see.....” she took Max’s hand in her own. As she did so the sun caught the diamond on her ring and Dr. Seligman’s attention was drawn to their hands. When he saw the ring on Liz’s finger he looked up surprised. “Max and I got married last night,” she finished. She flashed Max a happy smile that he returned. They both looked at Dr. Seligman expectantly.

The man looked about ready to have a heart attack. “You did what?”

“We got married last night,” Max repeated. “On the beach actually. Everyone from the trip was there except for you. We couldn’t find you.”

“And how exactly did this all come about?”

“Well you see....Max and Liz are in love. He asked, she accepted. It happened,” Maria told him simply. From the look on his face she new he wouldn’t be able to understand anything complex at the moment.

“ I get that, I just want to know what in the world possessed you to do this. How do you even know if it will be legal in the United States? And did you think about the consequences for when you get back? What will your parents think? And Liz....what about all your plans for grad school?”

For a second Liz felt sorry for him. He really was a good guy. It was rare to find a teacher that was concerned for their students welfare. And she knew that had they been back home he would have been just as concerned. Only maybe he would have felt a little less responsible.

“As for the legality of things.....if it turns out that it isn’t we’ll just do it all over again. We were thinking of having a big reception for our families anyway, we can just plan an actual wedding if we have to. As for our parents....they’ll just have to accept it. And we already talked about Liz’s plans. As far as that’s concerned nothing has changed. She’ll still decide where she wants to go. I can find a teaching job wherever we end up. So we’re not worried,” Max answered him. They really had talked those things through. All of those things were mentioned as concerns. But they figured they would just have to take things as they came. As long as they were together.

The conversation changed after that. Dr. Seligman knew that it was too late to protest now. And also, he really had no say in the matter. Max and Liz were both consenting adults. And they had always shown an exceptional amount of responsibility and sense. He had no reason to question them now. He just hoped that things turned out well for them.

The group spent the afternoon on the beach and then spent the evening at a night club nearby. Max and Liz were too busy with each other to really pay that much attention to anyone else. There ultimate goal was to get back to their room that night and not get caught by Dr. Seligman. Not that he could say anything but Max didn’t want him to know that the Tarzan yell had come from him. It was after midnight when he and Liz finally strayed back to the resort. The others were still out partying on what was to be one of their last nights in Costa Rica.

Max and Liz made it into their room with very little trouble. It was the getting past the entrance that was the problem. They couldn’t keep their hands off of each other. Max’s lips were all over the place, kissing Liz’s face, her eyes, her nose, her hair, her shoulders, anywhere he could reach he kissed.

“I love you,” he told her. His hands began to unbutton her shorts. As soon as that task was complete he moved to take off her tank top. As the shirt fell on the floor his mouth moved to feast on her breasts. Liz speared her fingers through his hair enjoying the sensations his warm mouth was evoking in her. She could feel her knees getting weak. Another moment and she wouldn’t be able to stand.

As if sensing what she was thinking Max moved his hands down to her thighs, coaxing them around his hips and pulling Liz’s legs up and around him. As Max continued with his onslaught of kisses, Liz regained the presence of mind to remove the rest of his clothing. His pants pooled around his ankles on the floor, allowing them to come skin to skin. Her hot center grazed the tip of his arousal as she settled herself more firmly against him. His arms tightened their hold around her as he blindly moved forward, pressing her against the wall. “ Max....” she moaned out his name, wanting him to finish this. She needed him. Wanted him with a reckless abandon that he never failed to stir in her. With Liz’s moans urging him on, Max gave up any of the control he hand left and thrust himself into her welcoming heat. She was so wet with her arousal that he was fully in her on his first thrust. Liz cried out and arched her back as Max held onto her even more tightly.

“Oh...god, Liz....” Max groaned as he began to move in her. He couldn’t hold back. He gave her everything he had with each thrust. She returned his passion with equal fervor and they pushed each other forward and over the edge. Max tried to cover their cries of pleasure with his lips on hers but it was no use. Liz came violently and her inner walls contracted around Max’s length as he continued to pump into her, triggering his own orgasm. He shuddered as he felt his release and once he had steadied himself, kissed her deeply. Then, still buried deep inside her, carried her over to the bed. They separated and then quickly came back together underneath the covers, just needing to feel the other next to them after the intensity of their love making.

As Liz snuggled up next to him, Max had never felt more content in his entire life. He was now completely and eternally tied to Liz. A bond that he was sure could never be broken. He hoped they would always feel this way.

*****

“What do you mean ‘Because you said so’? That is not a good reason, Max Evans!” Liz yelled at Max as they stood in their room trying to get ready for the day. They had been talking and packing their things for the rest of their trip. Liz had suggested that they call their parents and have them meet them at the airport. That way they could get their news out of the way immediately. Max was adamantly refusing. Liz wanted a good reason. Not just because he said so.

“Look, that’s not what I meant. I just don’t think that the best place to tell them would be in the airport when we first come off the plane. We should wait. I want to enjoy this for awhile before they start harping on us about the decision we made,” Max told her calmly. He didn’t know why Liz was jumping all over his back about this.

“Max we’re adults. It doesn’t really matter what they think in the end. We just need to tell them and get it out of the way. It will be quick....and then it will be over and we can get settled into our new life together. We’ve got a lot to take care of when we get back. I mean...moving me out and into your apartment. Finding Michael somewhere else to stay...”

“Who said anything about Michael moving?” Max interrupted her. Since when was Michael moving out of their apartment.

“We’re married now Max. He’s not going to want to live with us,” Liz said. Why wasn’t Max getting it through his thick skull that this was real. Their marriage was real. He seemed to be taking this all in like it was just some sort of fantasy that was all going to go away back in the states.

“Well, I think that’s Michael’s decision, Liz. I can’t just kick him out because we got married. I guess I didn’t think any of this through first.” Max said the last part more to himself. It was too bad that Liz heard because she immediately misinterpreted the meaning of his words.

“So what....are you saying that you regret what we did? Do you not want to be married all of the sudden? Because last night you thought being married was the best thing in the world!” Liz was near tears as she spoke. How could Max regret what they’d done. Even though things might be rough at first she had thought for sure it would all turn out because they’d be together. Now she wasn’t so sure.

“Liz....that’s not what I meant,” Max told her. God...she was taking everything and just twisting it. How could he explain.

“What did you mean then?”

“I just meant that when I was thinking about asking you I wasn’t thinking about all the consequences of getting married...” as soon as the words were out of his mouth, Max regretted them. He had just royally fucked up. He could tell by the expression on her face.

“CONSEQUENCES?!?!” Liz yelled. Since when did getting married end up being such a terrible thing. Something with consequences.

“Fine! If you don’t want to deal with all the ‘consequences’ of being married, we can just get it all fixed back in the states. I’m sure it won’t be hard to get this whole thing a-an-anulled,” Liz finished with a sob. Before Max could even begin to protest and beg forgiveness for being a bumbling fool and complete idiot, Liz was out the door. He tried to go after her but was thwarted when he ran directly into Dr. Seligman.

“Max...what are you doing over in this wing. I thought your rooms were over.....Oh god! It was you and Liz in the honeymoon suite wasn’t it?” He practically squeaked as he said the words. He looked behind Max and confirmed what he suspected. It was one thing to know that your students participated in sexual activity, it was another to have to hear it when you were trying to sleep at night.

“Sorry, sir, but I don’t have time to deal with this right now. I have to go find Liz.” That said Max took off running in the direction Liz had gone. He was able to catch up with her by the resort pool. He skidded to a stop next to her, taking a hold of her arm to keep her from walking away from him.

“Listen....I realize I was being stupid back there. Now....you can’t just walk away from me like that. We need to finish talking about this,” Max told her.

“I have nothing left to say to you,” Liz told him and tried to wriggle from his grasp.

“Then you’re going to stand there and listen to what I have to say,” Max said.

“No. I don’t have to do anything,” Liz retorted.

“Whether you like it or not right now, you are my wife. And as you pointed out to me. You were very happy to be so last night. Now I’m not even sure how this started but.....just because you’re pissed off at me doesn’t mean that I want to go and get our marriage annulled. I said until death do us part and I meant it.” Liz stared up at Max. She wanted to forgive him....but she was just so mad at him. For being so insensitive. But it wasn’t even that it was just the realization that even though she and Max knew each other....they still had a lot to learn about each other.

“You’re right,” Liz finally conceded. “But....I need some time to think okay. I just.....I need some space today.”

Max’s disappointment was palpable. The small amount of relief he’d felt when she said he was right was quickly overshadowed by the fact that something was still wrong. And Liz didn’t want him to help her make it better.

*******

Maria looked toward the back of the bus and was again met with a sad sight. Max was sitting alone in the back of the bus. He gaze still as unwavering as the first time Maria had looked back there. He was looking dejectedly at Liz as she sat up, midway in the bus. She was by herself as well., staring out the window, watching the scenery roll by. She seemed just as troubled as Max did. So why, Maria wondered, were they not together, trying to make each other feel better? Making a quick decision she made her way to the back of the bus, only after disentangling herself from a sleeping Michael, and sat herself down next to Max.

“So....trouble in paradise?” she asked.

She was surprised by the sharp look that Max sent her way. It was almost a warning, telling her not to even start.

She decided to try the whole gentle approach. Her usual bluntness might not be welcome. “What’s wrong? Why aren’t you and Liz together?” She asked gently.

Max sighed, his frustration very evident. “We had our first fight this morning. Liz misunderstood what I was trying to say and now......I don’t think she even wants to be married anymore. And this is killing me. She won’t even talk this out with me. She said, she just needed some time to herself to think. God, what am I going to do if she decides this was all a mistake? I really love her. I want to be with her.”

Maria smiled. “You should be telling Liz this Max. This is probably exactly what she needs to hear. I think that you know that. Because even though you guys moved fast, I think that you know Liz better than you think. Now....whatever you do, don’t just give up and let her decide. You’ve got to make it impossible to for her to let her scientifically logical mind get in the way of her heart.”

“Any ideas?” Max asked. He would do anything.

“Well, your in choir right?”

Max swallowed hard. Whatever Maria was about to suggest was going to embarrass the hell out of him. But it would be worth it. For Liz.

*******

Liz was absolutely miserable. She’d spent the whole bus ride trying to think everything through. She’d been trying to pinpoint the exact moment when things with her and Max had gone so horribly wrong. She couldn’t help but think that she’d been completely illogical the whole trip. And that wasn’t like her. She was usually so methodical. She usually made plans. Because plans were good. They didn’t put you into situations where you married the love of your life on the spur of the moment just because you happened to be in a romantic place. Of course being logical really had nothing to do with any of it. She hadn’t been thinking logically at all on this whole trip because she’d been doing something that she hadn’t for a long time. She’d been following her heart. The only problem was that real life had finally crept up on she and Max’s perfect little blissful bubble and she’d panicked. She’d tried to jump right back to logical. And left her heart behind. Now she was stuck....because she wanted to follow her heart again.

But her heart was across the room, seemingly ignoring her.

She knew it had been a mistake to let Maria talk to her into going with everyone else. They were all spending a night out on the town as Maria put it. She wanted to party on their last night of freedom. Liz didn’t feel like partying. She couldn’t even enjoy being in San Jose. Now they were at this club. This one was more American than the one at Puerto Viejo had been. It only reminded her of the first time she’d left behind all her logic. The results of that had started everything with Max.

She sat at the table, watching as the other’s all danced. Max was over in the corner talking to someone. Maria was helping him. She was gesturing wildly. Then the person they were talking to smiled. Maria smiled and then Max smiled.

Liz felt herself tear up. She hated this. She wanted to leave. She started to get up to go find Alex and Isabel or Michael or even Kyle and Tess. But the music stopped all of the sudden and the DJ started talking. He spoke first in Spanish. Then again in English.

“This next song is a special request from Max to his wife Liz. Kareoke is usually on Friday nights but we’re making an exception for Max. So here he goes.”

Liz turned around where she stood. And stared in Max’s direction. He looked nervous, standing there, in front of a club full of people, a microphone in his hand.

The song started and Liz really did start crying.

It’s a little bit funny this feeling inside
I’m not one of those who can easily hide
I don’t have much money but boy if I did
I’d buy a big house where we both could live

If I was a sculptor, but then again, no
Or a man who makes potions in a traveling show
I know it’s not much but it’s the best I can do
My gift is my song and this one’s for you.

And you can tell everybody this is your song
It may be quite simple but now that it’s done
I hope you don’t mind
I hope you don’t mind that I put down in words
How wonderful life is while you’re in the world


As Liz listened to the words he was singing, her heart found its way to the surface, reminding her just why loving Max Evans was worth everything and anything that they could go through. As Max sang he made his way towards Liz. He needed to be near her. To touch her again. He couldn’t take not having her in his arms any longer.

He stood in front of her, singing the last verse. Marveling at the truth that the song spoke. Even being near her, he forgot any and all reason and logic. He could barely think straight past the thought that he loved her.

So excuse me forgetting but these things I do
You see I’ve forgotten if they’re green or they’re blue
Anyway the thing is what I really mean
Yours are the sweetest eyes I’ve ever seen.

And you can tell everybody this is your song
It may be quite simple but now that it’s done
I hope you don’t mind
I hope you don’t mind that I put down in words
How wonderful life is while you’re in the world

The song ended to thunderous applause from everyone in the room. Even Michael, Isabel, Alex, Maria, Kyle and Tess had to give Max props for what he’d just done.

Liz looked up into Max eyes, tears shining brightly in her own.

“I’m so sorry,” she whispered as he pulled her into his arms.

“Me too,” he whispered into her neck.

And then they both started laughing.

Max because he was embarrassed now that what he’d done had actually sunk in. And Liz because she felt silly for the way their first fight had all come about. They pulled apart and looked at each other.

“So are we good?” Max asked, wiping the remaining wetness from Liz’s cheeks. She nodded, a smile falling into place.

“Yeah. I mean, we still need to talk. But I promise not to just jump down your throat right away. We can work this out. It will be good practice for us.”

Max’s eyes lit up at the word practice. “You know what else will be good practice?” he asked.

Liz laughed. “What?” she asked, already knowing the answer.

“Well, making up from fights. We need to be sure that we’re really good at it. So....well, maybe I should just show you what I mean instead of telling you.”

“That sounds like a very good idea, Mr. Evans.”

“Thank you Mrs. Evans.” Max said with a smile. It was the first time he’d actually said it outloud. Mrs. Liz Evans.

“ I sort of like the sound of that,” he told her honestly.

“Yeah, me too,” she replied. “Now....you owe me some making up practice I believe.”



posted on 21-Sep-2001 5:46:44 PM
Chapter 14

“Anything?” Liz asked, her voice tinged with desperation.

Max swallowed hard and shook his head. They had practically torn their luggage apart in a frantic search for just one more condom. But it was to no avail. The unthinkable had actually happened. They were all out. “SHIT!” he exclaimed. “How could we have run out? I mean, I swear that I grabbed two hands full back in Puerto Viejo. And I know that you took a bunch too.” The frustration over the situation was making itself very evident.

“ I don’t know. I did throw some of them out because they were just novelty ones that weren’t useful. And then I threw out the ones that weren’t big enough....that probably cut down what I had buy about two thirds. So I don’t know what you did with all of yours,” Liz told him.

For a moment Max’s ego reared it’s head long enough to enjoy the size comment Liz had made. But his ego wasn’t the only thing that was swelled at the moment. And to him that was a more pressing matter.

Max sunk down on the edge of the bed. “I’m sorry,” he said, resting his head in his hands. Liz sat down next to him and put her hand on his thigh, rubbing it in what she thought would be a soothing manner. Max quickly put a stop to the movement of her hand. “Honey....Sweetheart....I love you but that’s not going to help. It’s just going to make it worse,” he told her.

For a moment Liz looked hurt by his refusal of comfort but after taking a glance at the ever increasing bulge in his pants, she understood his dilemma. She quickly pulled her hand away a just sat there next to him, trying not to touch him even as her body willed it. Liz finally stood up and started pacing. “This is stupid. I mean, we’re too very smart people, Max.”

“What are you talking about?” Max asked, looking up at her. That move right there was probably a mistake because she was standing in front of him, her chest heaving slightly from her pacing, wearing very little as a result of their earlier foreplay. He was doomed. He tried not to groan out loud.

Max stood up quite abruptly then, practically knocking Liz over. After steadying her, he moved her towards the bed. “You stay here and wait......I’ll be back.” He kissed her quickly on the mouth and took off out of the room. He was a man on a mission.

*********

The insistent knocking on the door was really pissing Michael off.
He tried to ignore it and instead focused on Maria. He bent his head back down, his mouth touching hers again.

The knocking continued.

Maria pushed Michael up and off her. “Just answer the damn door already,” she told him. With a grunt of displeasure Michael got up and walked to the door. He flung it open. “This had better be damn good, “ he said to whoever was on the other side.

Michael was very annoyed to see both Alex and Max standing there. Both looking desperate.

“What do you want?” He growled.

Both started speaking at the same time.

“Hold up. One at a time,” Michael demanded.

Max went first. “Condom....I need a condom. Right now.”

Michael tried not to laugh at the situation. Max......going door
to door begging for rubbers. It was just too funny.

“What happened to all the ones you got at that hotel?”Michael asked.

“They weren’t all usable. The ones that were have mysteriously vanished,” Max answered.

Alex raised his eyebrow. “I don’t think it’s all that big a mystery Max,” he said with a smirk.

“Whatever. I’m desperate. I’ll even pay you for it. Just for god’s sake. Give me a condom!”
Michael decided to make Max sweat just a little. He turned to Alex. “What about you. Why are you interrupting my night?”

“Same reason. I didn’t get any for this trip and now the need has arisen, if you will,” Alex responded.

“Fine......give me a second,” Michael said and closed the door to the room in both their faces.

“What’s going on?” Maria asked as she sat up in the bed.

“Max and Alex both want me to give them condoms,” Michael told her as he walked over to his duffel bag. He reached into the side and pulled out a single foil package. He sat down on the bed for a minute.

“What are you doing?” Maria asked. She looked more than a little amused.

Michael shrugged and grinned. “Letting them sweat it out a little.”

Both Max and Alex watched the closed door carefully, willing it to open up. There was lots of awkwardness between the two. They couldn’t even bring themselves to talk. They were both there for a reason. That reason being the two women waiting for them in their respective rooms. What do you say..... ‘So...gonna have sex tonight?’ It didn’t exactly make for great conversation. It was all very weird to say the least.

So both men were relieved when Michael opened the door.

“Sorry guys...I only have one left,” Michael told them, holding it up for them to see.

“What do you mean you only have one?” Max practically shouted.

“It’s all that’s left. Sorry. Now look, the two of you can decide who gets it. I’ll stand here until you do. Then I’m going back to bed.”

“How are we supposed to decide?” Alex asked.

“Rock, paper, scissors?” Maria’s voice said from inside Michael’s room.

“You aren’t going to bed,” Max accused. “You’re gonna have sex. That means you’ve got more than one.”

“I’ve only got one to give away,” Michael clarified for them.

“Shit,” Max muttered under his breath.

Rock, paper, scissors got underway then. It was best two out of three. Max lost right away.

“Alex....please....don’t make me beg,” Max told him after Michael had told them to go away and shut the door.

“Sorry Max....you and Liz have used up your fair share of these babies already on this trip. This one is all mine. “

“Alex....come one, Liz is my wife. This is like our honeymoon. Not to mention....we just had a fight. Please don’t let me miss out on make-up sex. It’s supposed to be the best sex ever. And if you don’t give me that damn condom, I’ll never get to find out.” Max pleaded his case passionately.

“Sure you will Max. I have no doubt that you’ll piss Liz off again sometime soon,” Alex told him and started to walk away.

“How much?” Max asked, following him.

“What do you mean ‘how much’?” Alex was slightly intrigued.

“I’ll pay you for the condom.”

“Hmmm, that’s interesting. What are you gonna offer me?”

Max thought for a moment, “ I don’t have any money but when Liz and I have our first child, you can be his godfather. What do you say?”

“See.....Max, that sounds tempting but if I give you the condom I’ll just be decreasing the chance of you and Liz having that baby. Nice try, but no.” Alex really did start to walk away then. He smiled to himself at his win. He’d never won anything in his whole life. To think...he’d just won the key to his entire happiness in a game of rock, paper, scissors. Life was beautiful.

That is until a six foot crazed, big eared man, came and stole the condom right out of Alex’s hand. Alex watched, his mouth agape as Max ran away from him quickly, hollering out an apology and that he owed Alex one. His gaze shifted from Max to his now empty hands. Life sucked.

He’d get Max back for that.

Meanwhile, Maria and Michael had started to undress and Michael went back over to his duffel bag, retrieving a whole box of condoms and setting them on the bed stand. “I thought you only had two. One for us and the one you gave to Alex.” Maria said accusingly.

“I just said I had one to give them. Who knows, we might need the rest,” Michael explained.

Maria raised an eyebrow. “Optimistic aren’t we?”

“Fine,” Michael said getting up quickly, pulling his pants back on. He knew she wouldn’t let up until he’d amended the wickedness of his trick. He opened the door to the room and saw Alex standing there, looking lost. Max was no where in sight, but from the dejected look on Alex’s face, Michael could guess at what had happened.

Not saying a word he walked over to Alex and put another of the condoms into his hands. Then he walked back into his room to a smiling Maria. He was going to get rewarded greatly for his kind actions.

When Alex finally registered what was once again in his hands he
took off running for his and Isabel’s room. He knocked on the door... “Hey baby....look out, cause here comes your tiger,” he said as he burst into the room. Isabel immediately started giggling. This was going to be a good night.

******

When Max got back to the room, he was a little out of breath from running. But he made it in the door only to be met by the sound of light snoring. Liz was asleep.

He sighed deeply.

All that work for nothing.

For a moment he just stood there. Slightly disappointed. But he saw how peaceful Liz looked and decided that they really did need to rest. They had a whole life time of make up sex ahead of them. So he quickly shed his clothes and crawled onto the bed next to Liz, snuggling up to her as he pulled the covers up and over their bodies. Planting a kiss on her forehead, he whispered good night and I love you and drifted off to sleep.
********

The flight home was pretty uneventful. Actually. That’s untrue. The flight home was very eventful.

Everything seemed to be okay. Max and Liz were cuddled together towards the front of the plane, watching the in flight movie and sharing their breakfast meals. Alex and Isabel were a few rows behind them. Alex was laughing at the movie and Isabel was flipping through Magazines that she’d already read through at least three or four times. Dr. Seligman was attempting to sleep sitting next to a very large male who happened to be named Jade and happened to be wearing a dress. Jade was absolutely fascinated by Dr. Seligman’s reason for being in Costa Rica. Dr. Seligman was less than thrilled. After a while he decided it might be better to stay awake and be alert for the rest of the flight.

Kyle and Tess were.....well they were missing. As were Michael and Maria. There was also a line forming in the back by the restrooms. No one in their seats seemed to notice until the commotion by the back of the plane drew their attention. It seemed that the door to one of the bathrooms had come unlatched. Probably after a shift in the plane had caused a body to move against it. Or it could have been the humping the occurred next to the door. Either way, Kyle and Tess both fell out of the bathroom stall, both with their pants down.

Of course everyone had to turn around and see what was happening. Everyone except Max and Liz because they were too busy kissing and staring into each other’s eyes. Dr. Seligman was beyond embarrassed. He decided that he wasn’t going to claim any of the students. They were no longer his problem. See if he cared if they got arrested for lude behavior in public.

They were two hours outside of Houston when Liz finally pried herself away from Max’s lips to get up to use the restroom. She stood in line for five minutes before the other restroom came open. But another passenger slipped in before she did. She was gone so long that Max thought that something might have happened to her.

“Are you okay?” he asked, coming up to stand next to her in the back.

Liz nodded. “Yes, I just really have to go and whoever is in this one is taking forever.”

“You probably don’t want to go in there after whoever else gets done,” Max told her. Liz giggled and agreed with him. They stood back there waiting together, Max not wanting to leave her alone any more than he had to. Finally the other bathroom opened and Liz went in there. When she was finished she found Max waiting for her and they walked back to their seats. As they started walking they heard a noise.

“Michael....” came the somewhat muffled female moan from inside the other bathroom. Max raised his eyebrows. Then he put his finger to his lips. He motioned his head in the direction of the seats. Liz looked and sure enough.....Michael and Maria were missing. She nodded at Max.

Max raised his hand and pounded on the door.

They waited patiently for some kind of response. When they got nothing, they pounded again.

“Go away!” came the strained reply from inside. The voice was male this time and Liz had to fight with herself not to start laughing.

Max and Liz couldn’t really do anything to embarrass Michael and Maria from the back of the plane but.......they went back to their seats and got the attention of one of the flight attendants. They told her what was going on and how it was holding up the line for the bathroom.

“Can you hear the speaker in the bathroom?” Liz asked her.

The woman nodded. “Yes, why?”

Liz explained what she had in mind and the attendant quickly agreed and went to the front of the plane. A moment later the woman’s voice could be heard over the speakers.

“Ladies and gentleman....would you all please direct your attention to the back of the plane. It seems that some new members have been initiated into the mile-high club. Why don’t we give them a round of applause? Michael Guerin and Maria Deluca why don’t you come out and wave at everyone.”

The whole plane erupted in laughter as the door to the bathroom opened and a very red faced Maria appeared. She left, straightening her skirt and walked with her head held high to her seat. Michael emerged a moment after her. He took the laughter and applause with good nature. As soon as he was sitting next to Maria she smacked him.

“What did I do?” he asked, looking confused and rubbing his arm. “You’re the one that dragged me back there.”

“Well, you don’t have to look so damn smug and self satisfied,” she told.

Michael rolled his eyes. He had a feeling that he would never win an argument with Maria.

When the group finally made it to Houston, they all split off with their respective others to grab some lunch and shop around a little bit. Liz bought a new book to read and Max got a magazine. They took their food and sat by their gate, eating and leaning against each other.

Several people passed by and smiled at the couple. They were obviously very much in love. It was amazing how natural they were together. Like they had been together forever.

Liz couldn’t seem to stop smiling. Now that they were no longer in Costa Rica, she knew things between her and Max would be different, but she couldn’t help but be happy because she was Mrs. Max Evans. Something that she used to write all over her freshman seminar notes. Now it wasn’t just a fantasy but real life.

“So what are we going to do when we get home?” Max asked. They had finished eating and he was still flipping through his magazine.

Liz smiled. Home. They had a home together now. She really like the sound of that. “Well, we should probably do laundry don’t you think? I need to go to the dorm and pick up some stuff I’ll need for this week. I can get the rest this weekend when we move my other stuff.”

Max nodded. “Sounds good. Are you gonna do the laundry or do you want me to? I could probably start it while you go get your other things,” he suggested.

He had no more than gotten the words out when Liz grabbed him and kissed him hard. When they finally pulled apart Max couldn’t help the grin the spread across his face. “Not that I’m complaining or anything, but what was that for?” he asked her.

Liz smiled and kissed him again, softly this time. “For being the most considerate husband in the world. And for offering to do the laundry. I love you.”

Max smiled and kissed Liz again. “I love you too.”

“Awe....you guys are so cute,” Maria’s voice rang out. She and Michael had just gotten back from eating their lunch.

“You sure know how to ruin a moment, Maria,” Liz said with a sigh.

Maria laughed. “I try. So....what’s gonna happen when we get back? Are you gonna tell the ‘rents right away or wait awhile?”

Max took Liz’s hand in his. “We decided to wait until this weekend. We’re going to move all of Liz’s things into my apartment on Saturday and then Sunday, my parents are driving up for dinner to see Isabel and I. We’ll tell them then. Liz is going to call her parents and invite them to come as well. That way we can kill two birds with one stone.”

“Is the marriage even legal?” Michael asked.

“Of course it is. Why wouldn’t it be?” Liz asked defensively.

“Because it wasn’t even in English and Miss. Piggy here had to translate and who knows if she even said it right,” Michael told them. He was immediately attacked by a furious Maria.

“I told you not to call me that. It was just the one time. It’s not even funny,” she told him, still smacking him on the arm.

Michael was just laughing. He looked over at Max and Liz who looked out of the loop.

“We were....uh getting it on last night and Maria....” he started laughing, “She.....she snorted like a pig. It was about the funniest thing ever. It almost killed the mood. Almost.”

Max and Liz both tried not to laugh out loud but their snickers were not unnoticed by Maria. With nostrils flared she turned on them. “You , Tarzan and Jane, have no room to be laughing!” she declared. This only made them laugh all the more.

An hour later, they were all getting ready to board the final flight to home. Maria was still not talking to Michael, Liz or Max. She made a point to talk to everyone but them.

Dr. Seligman was also still ignoring all of his students. He vowed that this was the last trip to Costa Rica he’d ever be taking.

It was a weary group of travelers that found themselves loading up the school vans once they’d finally arrived back home. Most of the students were tired and therefore fairly silent as they made their way back to campus.

Liz’s mind was going a mile a minute, making a mental list of everything she needed to get from her dorm room. She also made a note to stop by the drug store on the way back to Max’s.

First though, Liz followed Max and Michael back to their apartment. Maria met them there and they all went inside. Max taking Liz back into his room and showing her where to put her things.

“We can clear out space when you get back from the dorm later,” he
told her.

She agreed. She gave him a kiss and then they started to work sorting their laundry. It was sort of a land mark moment. The first time they would do their laundry together....as a married couple.

Michael and Maria were watching a movie as Liz left for the dorm and walked Max down to the laundry room down the hall from the apartment. They kissed goodbye and she promised to hurry back.

Max had a lot of fun doing the laundry. For the most part it was just a matter of putting things into the washing machine. But he derived an odd sense of pleasure out of knowing that he now had permission to touch Liz’s underwear.

He went back to the apartment to wait for the wash cycle to get done. In the meantime he put his and Liz’s bathroom items away and then started to work on clearing out some closet space for Liz. Once the closet was rearranged he went to work on his dresser. That was a little harder but he was able to manage. They could work on finding a better solution later. He just wanted to be sure that Liz felt at home. What was his...was hers too.

After this was done he went to go check on the laundry and came back to finish watching the movie with Michael and Maria.

“So Max.....How long do I have to find myself a new place to live?” Michael asked as Max sat down.

Max shrugged. “It’s up to you. I mean.....as I told Liz, you and I were roommates before she and I decided to get married. I’m not going to kick you out because we made a spontaneous decision. I just hope that you and Liz can get along for awhile. Until school’s out at least.”

Michael nodded. “I’ll make myself scarce don’t worry. If I can find a place...cool. If not, I’ll deal until May.”

“Well, you can always stay with me,” Maria told him. “I live off campus by myself.”

“Why didn’t you say that before?” Michael asked.

Maria shrugged. “I don’t know, I just didn’t think. Plus, technically I’m not actually asking you to move in. I’m just saying that there are times when you can stay with me.”

Max rolled his eyes. This was certainly going to get interesting. That was for sure.

Liz, in the meantime, was trying to make quick work of gathering her things from her room. Her roommate wasn’t actually back yet and she was going to have to explain that she’d no longer be living there. It wasn’t that big of a deal really. She’d never much cared for her roommate anyway, but still.

After packing up everything she thought she’d need to get through the week, Liz started to head out the door. She had almost made it when the phone started ringing.

She dropped her stuff and answered it on the fourth ring.

“Hello?”

“Lizzie, honey, is that you?” Her mother’s voice rang out over the line.

Liz winced inwardly. She hadn’t been expected to hear from them this soon.

“Yeah mom....I just got in,” she told her.

“Well, tell me all about the trip, sweetheart. I want to hear everything. Don’t leave anything out,” her mother said.

Liz bit back a groan. She really wanted to tell her mother everything. She did. Because despite the spontaneity of her and Max’s decision to marry, she was really happy with how things had turned out.

“Actually, mom, I was sort of hoping that you and daddy would come up to visit this next weekend. I could tell you all about it then and .......then I have someone I’d like you to meet,” she told her mother.

“Oh really, who is it? Is it a he?”

“Yes....it’s a he mom. And his name is Max Evans. He went on the trip with the group and I....I guess you could say we really hit it off. So we want you to come and have dinner with us and his family this weekend. And then we can tell you all about the trip. Some of the other kids that went along will be coming as well.” Liz hoped she didn’t sound to nervous to her mother. She didn’t want anything to seem fishy.

“That’s sounds great Liz. I’ll let you go sweetheart. I’m sure
your tired from all that traveling. I just wanted to be sure you got back safely. I love you.”

“I love you too, mom. Tell daddy hi for me and I’ll see you this weekend.”

With their goodbyes said, Liz hung up the phone and took a deep breath. Well, that was one less phone call she had to make.

*******

Ten minutes later she was back at the apartment building, begging to be buzzed in. Max came outside to help her with her stuff. “We’ll have to get you a key,” he told her with a smile.

She nodded her agreement and followed him inside.

“Where are Michael and Maria?” she asked once they were in the apartment.

“The movie ended and they decided to go back to her place. Michael’s trying to see if maybe he can convince Maria to let him stay there.”

“Really?”

“Yeah, but I think he’s got his work cut out for him,” Max said with a grin.

Liz smiled back and then handed him a brown bag.

“What’s this?” he asked.

“This....is so we don’t have the same problem tonight that we had last night,” she told him.

“Well, as long as you don’t fall asleep on me, we’ll be okay,” he teased.

“You’ll just have to make sure I don’t fall asleep, now won’t you,” she teased back.

Aahh, being young and in love. It was great.

Without much further provocation they found themselves tangled up in a mass of limbs on top of Max’s bed.

Somehow or another they had managed to not have sex for more than twenty-four hours. And they were both feeling the strain that their lack of intimacy had caused on their bodies. Once they had shed their clothing, they took turns exploring and touching each other at will, each reveling in the way it felt to be together in these new settings. Max’s heart pounded rapidly with the pleasure he took from having Liz in his bed. It excited him beyond belief. Liz’s own excitement was multiplied by the idea that she was home here with Max. That her place was by his side now, as his wife, and they were starting their new life together.

They kissed passionately and reveled in the way their touches turned each other on. In the short time that they’d been lovers, they’d learned quickly how to please each other. And they did so tonight, seemingly sealing their promise to each other.

When they finally joined, they slowed themselves down, savoring the moment. Before long though, the urgency returned as they both worked toward giving the other their release. Max thrust himself into Liz’s tight body, claiming her as his own, with Liz matching his movements completely. They came together, both crying out the other’s name at the white hot energy that pulsed through their bodies upon release.

“Nothing else will ever feel this good,” Liz told Max. He kissed
her neck as his weight settled down over her briefly. Then he pulled away from her so as not to crush her. He immediately pulled her up against him.

“I know what you mean,” he told her, kissing her forehead. “I love you.”

“I love you too,” Liz responded. “Max?”

“Yeah sweetheart?”

“It’s good to be home,” Liz told him softly.

He smiled down at her, the implications of her words making him even happier than he thought was humanly possible

“Yeah...it is.”

With content smiles on both their faces they drifted off to sleep for their first night at home.




posted on 21-Sep-2001 6:02:52 PM
Chapter 15

Much to Max and Liz’s amazement their first week as a married couple went fairly smoothly. They fell back into their routines, only this time including each other. For the most part they only really got to see each other at night. They each had classes spread out through the whole day followed by their respective jobs. Liz finished work before Max and would come home to make them supper. Then they would both study until it was time for bed. Max’s only complaint was that it just didn’t seem like enough alone time together. Lucky for them, Michael had managed to keep himself scarce for the most part. He’d stayed over at Maria’s all but one night since they’d gotten back from Costa Rica.

They spent Friday night and Saturday moving Liz completely into the apartment. She got most of her things set up and put away, but there was still an air of disorder around the place. Despite the urge to fix the disorder,Saturday night Max and Liz opted to spend their evening together at home, alone, in bed. Neither said anything but both were worried about what the next day would bring them. Would their parents accept their news? They tried to forget their worries but Sunday morning still came all too soon.

Liz reluctantly got out of bed a little after 8am. She didn’t want to leave the warmth and comfort of Max’s arms but she was too nervous to sleep anymore. She knew that he was tired and she didn’t want to wake him. Very quietly she got up to shower and dress for the day. While she showered she made a mental list of everything that she wanted to accomplish for the day.

First on the list was to finish her paper for Microbiology. All she needed to do was double check her sources and proofread it one more time. Then she’d be set. Maybe Max could even do some more editing for her. His English major had to be good for something after all. Once her paper was done, she needed to clean the bathroom and vacuum the living room. Then she’d work on getting things ready for dinner.

Even as she was finishing her shower though, she was changing her mind.

So when Max finally woke up sometime after nine am he was
surprised to find Liz gone and a note laying on the counter for him.

Max,
Went to the grocery store to get some things for later. I left a list of things I need you to do and if you have time could you please proofread my paper. Thanks honey.
Love you,
Liz

Underneath the note lay the chore list and Liz’s paper. Max groaned at the list.
Clean the bathroom
Dust the whole apartment
Vacuum the living room
Clean the kitchen
Make our bed and pick up all your clothes
Start the laundry

Good lord, how was he supposed to get all that done in one day. He was especially confused about the second chore on the list. How exactly did one go about ‘dusting’ the whole apartment?

Max decided to eat a bowl of cereal and read Liz’s paper first. That seemed like the easiest thing to do. He’d start with that.

At ten o’clock he was still reading when Michael stumbled out of his bedroom. he fumbled around in the kitchen and emerged with his own bowl of Lucky Charms. He then plopped himself down in the lazy boy and turned on he TV to watch cartoons while he ate.

So that’s how Liz found them upon her return from the store. Both just laying around. Max still in the sweatpants he worn to bed the night before. His hair was still messy from bed. And he wasn’t even awake anymore. Liz’s paper was perched loosely in his hands, like he’d fallen a sleep reading it. Both their empty bowls were sitting on the floor. Michael’s was tipped over and milk puddled out the side and on to the carpet.

Liz didn’t know whether to cry or yell.

Michael glanced away from the TV long enough to notice Liz standing there, grocery sacks in hand, looking majorly pissed.

“Oh shit,” he muttered under his breath as Liz stormed off. The kitchen cupboards could be heard banging as food was put away.

Michael glanced over at Max, afraid to move, only to find his friend still sleeping.

When the door to Max and Liz’s bedroom finally slammed shut, Max woke up abruptly. “What was that?” he asked, quickly shuffling the papers he’d been reading.

Michael raised an eyebrow. “Uh....that would be your very pissed off wife going into your bedroom.”

Max’s eyes grew wide. “Shit!” He looked at the VCR clock. It was almost 11 am. He hadn’t even started doing anything on Liz’s list. He shot up from his place on the couch and tried to go into his bedroom. The door was locked. He knocked on it. “Liz....sweetheart. Let me in please,” he said through the door.

He was met with silence.

“Liz? Come on baby, let me in. I need to get dressed.”

“No!” she hollered back through the door.

“Why not?”

Again, no answer.

“Is this about the list? Because I was just about to start on that. I read your paper first and I would have been done sooner but I fell back asleep.” As soon as he said the words he knew he’d made a mistake.

“Are you saying my paper put you to sleep?” Liz asked flinging the bedroom door wide open.

“NO...No...I didn’t mean that. Honestly. Your paper is really good. Hardly any mistakes or anything,” he told her.

Liz let Max in the room only to throw him out again five minutes later when he tried to distract her by kissing her. “Our parents are going to be here in less than seven hours Max. We don’t have time for this!” she exclaimed.

So while Liz sequestered herself in their room, Max got Michael up from his spectator position on the couch. “You’re helping me,” he commanded.

“Why the hell should I?” Michael asked. “She’s your wife and she gave you a list of things to do. Not me.”

“No...See you don’t understand. Our parents are coming to have dinner here this evening. A dinner that could very well effect the rest of our lives. My entire life’s happiness revolves around Liz, Michael. And the prospect of her being angry with me right now doesn’t exactly bode well. First impressions are important. I can’t let ours be that this marriage is already on the rocks. Because it’s not. Liz is just upset right now.”

Max’s impassioned speech did not fall on deaf ears.

“Fifty bucks,” Michael said.

“What?”

“If you want help cleaning, it’s gonna cost you $50. Maria wants me to take her to some fancy restaurant. I can’t afford it right now but I don’t want her pissed at me. So I need $50 and you need help. There in lies our solution,” Michael explained.

Max just stared at him for a moment. “Your logic scares me sometimes.”

Michael just shrugged.

“Fine. $50.”

So the two set to work. By two pm, the entire apartment was
spotless. They both sat back to admire their handiwork. After a moment of appreciation, Max went to knock on the bedroom door again. “Honey....everything on the list is done now. Except for making our bed and starting the laundry. If you open the door I can do that too,” Max said.

He heard Michael snorting in the background. He would never live this down. He’d be hearing whipped comments for months on end, he was sure.

When there was no response from Liz, he tried to open the door
again, not expecting it to open. But it did.

Liz had decided to relent after about an hour of hiding in the room. She was getting hungry anyway and her curiosity got the best of her when she heard all of the noise from outside the room. When she saw both Max and Michael diligently working on cleaning things, she though she was just imagining it. She didn’t let either of them know she was there. She decided that Max seemed to work better under pressure like that. So she closed the door to the room as quietly as possible. She must have been more tired than she thought because she fell asleep on the bed then, her arms wrapped around Max’s pillow.

That’s how Max found her when he opened the door, relaxed and sleeping peacefully. He didn’t have the heart to wake her so he quietly picked up all the laundry and went to get it started. He came back then and showered, getting ready for the impending dinner. He was just coming back with the first load of clean laundry when Liz woke up.

“Hey, how was your nap?” he asked carefully. He was hoping that her mood from this morning had drastically improved.

He was folding t-shirts while he waited for her response.

Instead of saying anything, Liz pulled Max down to her on the bed, practically on top of her. She kissed him hard. It took a moment to get past his shock before he kissed her back. When they pulled away, Max knew that he had to look confused. “What was that for?” he asked.

Liz smiled. “Because I love you and I didn’t get to do that this morning when I woke up and because your wonderful for putting up with me and cleaning the entire apartment.” Liz let out a big sigh.

“I’d do anything for you,” Max told her truthfully.

“I know. And I’m so sorry that I got so upset this morning. I swear, I’m not usually so prone to mood swings like this. I guess it must just be the stress of tonight’s dinner combined with PMS or something.”

Ahhh, Max though, PMS. Yeah. He’d have to watch out from now on. “Why don’t we just go out to dinner tonight,” Max suggested. “That could solve a lot of problems. First of all we wouldn’t have to get stressed about cooking and then there’s the added protection of being in a public place. That might be good. At least our parents will be less likely to make a scene then.”

“That’s why I love you,” Liz said, kissing the tip of Max’s nose. “Because you’re so smart.”

“Is that the only reason you love me?”Max asked. There was a hint of teasing in his voice.

Liz shook her head and bit her lower lip. “Nope, there are lots of other reasons too.”

“Really? Do share,” Max said with a smile as he began to plant kisses on Liz’s face and along the curve of her neck.

“Well, you are sort of cute. And you have pretty good manners. You aren’t completely terrible in bed or anything and....”

“Wait a second. What do you mean not ‘completely terrible in bed’? Are you not satisfied?”

Liz was only teasing but at the determined glint that appeared in Max’s eyes, she decided it might not hurt to get him a little worked up......to make him prove himself.

“Max, don’t be silly. You are fine in bed.” It wasn’t so much what she said, but the way she said it. With that, Max rolled Liz underneath him completely, causing her to let out a startled squeal at the suddenness of the shift in positions. Max looked almost predatory as Liz stared up into his eyes. It was exciting her beyond belief.

“I think that we’re going to have to work on changing ‘fine’ to another descriptive,” Max told her before attacking her mouth with urgent, demanding kisses. He was out to prove himself.

*******

And prove himself he did. Especially if Liz’s reaction was any indication.

“Oh God....Max....” she voiced hoarsely in the aftermath of their lovemaking. “That was incredible.”

Max couldn’t help the self-satisfied expression on his face. Liz wasn’t sure she was going to recover anytime soon. She felt completely undone. Every nerve cell in her body seemed to be singing from the release she’d just experienced. She didn’t think she’d ever cum so hard in her life.

“I think...that’s what you call really good make up sex,” Liz commented. Her voice was still hoarse but she sounded completely satisfied.

Max raised an eyebrow. “Just really good?” he teased as he pulled her into his arms more tightly.

Liz shook her head. “No.....it was out of this world, make me see stars good. I don’t think I’ll be able to walk for awhile.”

Max laughed. “Well, then I’ll just have to keep you in bed.” He leaned over to kiss her again. After a moment Liz reluctantly pulled away.

“As much as I would love to stay in this bed with you forever, our parents will be here soon. We can’t greet them straight from bed.”

Max knew she was right but he still didn’t want to get up just yet. “Just let me hold you for a few minutes longer. Then I promise we can get up and get ready.”

At 5:30 they both emerged from their bedroom, dressed and as ready as they could be for the evening in front of them.

Isabel had promised to show up early to help ease some of the tension. She was bringing Alex along with her because she thought it might distract her father if he could interrogate her newest boyfriend.

Maria was already there, trying to help Michael groom himself for the evening. The dinner reservation was for a moderately fancy restaurant. When she’d found that out she had promptly informed Michael that she would not be seen with him if he looked like a reject from a Metallica concert. Michael had come back saying that he wouldn’t be going anywhere if she made him look like a reject from the Backstreet Boys.

Max and Liz were sitting on the couch, nervously holding hands when Maria finally came out of the bedroom. “May I present to you.......Mr. Michael Guerin,” she announced with a dramatic flourish. As soon as Michael stepped out of the bathroom both Liz and Max burst into laughter, much to both his and Maria’s dismay.

“What is so damn funny?” Maria demanded. She was glaring furiously at the couple writhing on the couch with laughter. They had probably just ruined her only chance at keeping Michael dressed half way decently.

“You look.....” Liz started amidst her laughter.

Max continued the sentence for her. “.....like that that guy....” Max was still laughing as he tried to get the words out.

“....from the X-Files,” they both said simultaneously. For a second they grinned at each other in appreciation of the shared thought. Then they promptly burst into another fit of laughter.

At first Maria didn’t know what they were talking about, but after taking a step back and examining Michael again, she could see what they meant. He was wearing dark pants with button up shirt and a tie. And his hair was combed. “They’re right. In this light, you do bare a striking resemblance to David Duchovny.” At this Michael immediately tugged on the tie that was choking him.

“That’s it. I’m not going. Max, Liz, I’m sorry but you’ll have to suffer alone,” he told them and stormed off into his room. Maria was close on his heels, hell bent on fixing the damage that had been done, ruining all her hard work.

Michael’s words quickly sobered Max and Liz as they remembered just what they might be forced to face alone.

“It’s going to be all right,” Liz said unconvincingly. She wished she could believe it. But she had this horrible image in her mind of her father going after Max, chasing him around the restaurant in an attempt to wring his neck. At the thought Liz squeezed Max’s hand a little harder, not noticing the wince that crossed his features as she exerted more force on his poor defenseless hand.

“Liz......honey.....could you let go....of my hand? Your hurting me,” Max told her as he tried to extricate himself from her painful grasp.

“Sorry,” she said quickly. She kissed the injured hand and then leaned into Max’s arms, looking for some kind of comfort. Max wished there was something he could do to put Liz at ease, but he was entirely too nervous himself to really be of any comfort. Thoughts of his mother yelling at Liz, accusing her of stealing her baby boy, were echoing in her hand. Not to mention the idea that Liz’s father might come after him with a shot gun or something equally horrifying.

A few minutes later, the door buzzer sounded. Max quickly got up to go answer it. He pushed the intercom button. “Max?” came a tentative voice crackling over the speaker. “Come on up,” Max instructed, buzzing who he assumed to be Isabel and Alex in. There was a knock on the apartment door a moment later and Liz went to answer it while Max went to get a drink of water. His throat had grown dry all of the sudden.

Liz opened the door and was very surprised to see two people who were equally surprised.

“Hello,” Liz said, smiling not sure who these people were.

“I’m sorry,” the woman said. “We must have the wrong apartment.”

“Mom?” Max’s voice came from behind Liz. He hadn’t been expecting it to be his parents at the door. He realized now that he must have mistaken his mother’s voice for Isabel’s. He tried to hide the panic he was feeling at their early arrival.

“You guys made it. You’re even early,” he said with a smile. He saw Liz’s eyes widen with shock. He grabbed her hand and pulled her next to him while ushering his parents inside. Before anything could even be said, the door buzzed again. Not even bothering with the speaker Max just buzzed whoever it was up. He didn’t want to relinquish Liz to his parents for even a second.

Michael and Maria chose that moment to emerge from his room once again. Michael looked considerably more comfortable having gotten rid of the tie and untucked the shirt. He was still wearing the dark colored slacks and button down shirt, but his hair was now back to it’s normal disheveled state. While he greeted Mr and Mrs Evans, Max was answering the door.

Now it was his turn to be surprised. Mr. and Mrs. Parker.

They were looking at a sheet of paper that had Liz’s directions to
the apartment on it. “Is this the right place?” Nancy Parker was asking her husband as she stared at the young man in the door way. She caught sight of a flash of long brown hair and then Liz stepped in
front of Max.

“Mom, Dad!” Liz exclaimed. She quickly went over to her parents, hugging them both. “You guys are early!”

“Yes well, I drove fast. Your mother decided she had to go the bathroom,” Jeff Parker told his daughter with a somewhat teasing smile, directed at his wife. She gave him a look.

“Oh, let me show you where it is, Mrs. Parker,” Maria jumped in.

“Why don’t we sit down,” Michael suggested, stepping into the role of host, because it seemed like Max was completely out of it. “We might be waiting awhile for Isabel, so we might as well get comfortable.” Phillip and Diane Evans both chuckled at this. They could appreciate Michael’s comment because they’d spent years waiting on Isabel.

Michael tried to take over the conversation and direct it, giving Max and Liz a small reprieve. As it was their clinging to each other on the couch had not gone unnoticed by either set of parents. Jeff kept looking over at Liz, who was clutching the hands of the young man next to her. He knew that he must be Max. Nancy had mentioned something about meeting a Max. Liz certainly seemed attached to him. Diane was also noticing the way Max was acting with the very pretty girl that hadn’t left his side since everyone had arrived. Max had told her he wanted her to meet someone. Liz was what she thought she’d heard someone say.

There was a long awkward pause. Diane took the opportunity to look around the apartment. It was actually a lot more homey than the last time she’d visited. It looked less like the bachelor pad that it had once reminded her of.

“Boys,” she said addressing Max and Michael. “I have to say that I’m impressed but how great the apartment looks. Did you buy some new things to help decorate? I don’t recognize some of your things,” she commented.

Liz felt herself growing warm with embarrassment. She had completely forgotten that quite a few of her own possessions were now on display in the apartment. In fact, her father was sitting in the lazy boy recliner that they’d moved from her dorm room just yesterday. Max’s mother was right. The apartment looked a lot better than it had the first time she’d seen it. It looked less like a bachelor pad and more like the home of a couple just starting out. Even some of Liz’s pictures were decorating the walls. And her bookshelf was sitting against one of the walls because there hadn’t been anywhere else to put
it.

Before Max or Michael could respond to Diane, Jeff Parker spoke up. “If I didn’t know better, I’d say some of these things looked like your stuff, Lizzie,” he commented with a smile. Both Max and Liz stiffened and sat up straighter.

Three pairs of parental eyes were now glued to Max and Liz. The comment hadn’t been meant to rouse suspicion, but their reaction to it had, and their curiosity had been more than sparked.

“Is there something you want to tell us?” Phillip asked with a raised eyebrow.

Max swallowed....hard. This was it, the moment of truth. He opened his mouth to speak the words just wouldn’t come. He just kept seeing Jeff Parker coming at him with a gun.

Nancy chose that moment to return from the bathroom. When she caught sight of the nervous and solemn group of people sitting in the living room, she stopped in her tracks.

“Did I miss something? Is something wrong?” she asked, leaning against the side of her husbands chair. “Oh....Liz, don’t you have a chair like this?”

The door buzzer sounded just then. Max jumped up like his seat was on fire. Isabel and Alex had finally showed up. Instead of letting them in, he decided it was time to head to the restaurant with everyone else. They hurried out of the apartment with Max steering his parents off in one direction and Liz’s in another, all in an attempt to separate and distract them. In the meantime there were three parents whose anxiety and worry were increasing by the minute and another was just confused.

At the restaurant they were all situated quickly. Max and Liz were saved yet again by the task of ordering. With such a large group it took some time . After the waitress finally left with the order, Diane Evans spoke up. She and Phillip were sitting directly across from the Parkers.

“We didn’t have time for a proper introduction before,” she said. So the parents introduced themselves. The Evans’ talked about their law firm and the Parker’s talked about their restaurant. After their introductions their eyes landed on the others sitting at the table around them. “I think some other introductions are in order. I’m afraid that I don’t know most of you at the table,” Diane said with a smile.

“I’ll start,” Isabel said happily. “Mom, daddy, this is Alex Whitman. He’s a computer genius.” The pride in her voice was evident and Alex blushed profusely at the praise. Isabel went on before her parents could ask Alex any questions. She directed herself towards the Parkers. “I’m Isabel Evans. Friend to Liz and sister to Max.”

“It’s nice to meet you both,” Nancy said with a smile.

“Yes, Alex. Very nice to meet you. Now, what are your intentions regarding my daughter?” Phillip asked with a straight face.

Alex gulped. “Uhm....”

“Alex, relax. I”m just pulling your leg,” Phillip said with a chuckle. “Although I will say it’s good you’re into computers. You’ll need a high paying job like that to keep up with Isabel’s shopping habits.”

Alex gave him a weak smile and Isabel shot her father a glare. “Don’t try to scare him, daddy.” Then to Alex. “I really don’t shop all that much.”

Maria was squirming in her seat. She was feeling a little left out and wanted some attention. “Ooh, ooh. Me next. This stud next to me is Michael Guerin. He’s going to be a famous artist someday,” she gushed. “He might not look like much but....” A large hand clamped over Maria’s mouth, preventing her from finishing that sentence. “This is Maria ‘chatterbox’ Deluca. She talks more than all of the people I know put together. But that’s okay, ‘cause she’s pretty smart and gives decent advice. That’s why she’ll make a really good psychologist someday.”

Michael pulled away his hand and Maria immediately started talking. “Michael Guerin is just the sweetest man alive,” she said and the grabbed his face in her hands, kissing him soundly on the lips. Everyone at the table couldn’t help but chuckle at the surprised and pleased look on Michael’s face.

Then all eyes were focused on Max and Liz.

It was show time.

Max cleared his throat.

Then he cleared it again.

Then he took a drink of water.

He cleared his throat again only to have Liz kick him under the table.

She knew that he wasn’t going to start to she thought she’d better.

“Mom....Dad, this is Max Evans,” she said. “We’ve known each other since we were Freshman and we just got reacquainted when we had the Costa Rica class together.”

Liz’s mom broke into a smile. “He’s the one you’ve had a crush on
since Freshman year, isn’t he? Liz blushed furiously at this but nodded anyway.

Max couldn’t help but smile at that admission. Liz looked at him pointedly though. It was his turn.

He looked at his parents, then he glanced briefly at the Parkers. Both were eager to see how Max introduced the girl that obviously meant a lot to him. They also looked worried, as they rightfully should have.

“Mom, dad......this is Liz,” he paused to swallow again and gripped Liz’s hand underneath the table. “Liz Parker Evans.”

The silence at the table was almost deafening. The only sound that could be heard was the clinking of silverware on plates as two sets of parents stared, open mouthed, at their children. It was Jeff Parker that broke the silence by bursting into laughter.

“Oh....that’s funny you two. For a second , I thought you said that Liz’s last name was Evans.” He chuckled. “If that was true than you’d be mar......married?” His laughter faded at the thought and he looked at Liz questioningly.

“Uhm....that’s what this dinner is about, daddy,” Liz told her father softly. She held up her left hand and put her ring on display. “Max and I ARE married.”

Max held up his own left hand to show them his own ring. “We....uh...got married in Costa Rica,” he added.

There was another moment of silence.

Then all hell broke loose.

And it didn’t even matter that they were in a public place.

******

Max and Liz were huddled together on their bed, waiting while their parents talked out in the living room. They’d gone back to the apartment after Jeff had thrown a plate at Max and they’d gotten kicked out of the restaurant. As soon as they’d stepped in the door, Diane had told Max to go to his room. Max had stood there, a look of disbelief on his face. “You’ve got to be kidding me?” had been his response. The look she’d given him then had been enough to make him stay there for days. He’d quickly grabbed onto Liz and they’d been sitting there waiting ever since.

There was a knock on the door and it flew open before Max or Liz could respond. Nancy and Diane stood there in the doorway. They both surveyed the bedroom. It was quite obvious that Liz had moved in. There were girl like things everywhere.

Max and Liz both stood up, neither letting go of the other. It was time to face their parents and stand up for their decision to be together.

They followed their mothers out into the living room. Their fathers were both standing up, arms crossed, their faces expressionless. Max and Liz could only turn to each other for comfort in this moment.

They sat down on the couch and waited for their parents to do the same. When they all stayed standing Max was tempted to stand up himself. He didn’t like that they were making them feel like children,
incapable of making their own decisions.

“Look,” Max started. “I realize that you are all surprised and upset by our news. But I can assure you that Liz and I love each other and we did not just jump into this marriage blindly. We know what we’re getting ourselves into.”

“Do you?” Jeff asked. “Because I think you’re living in a little fantasy world. Just how do you plan to support my daughter, Max?”

Max tried not to smile. He knew the answer to this question. He’d been expecting this question to come up. “I graduate along with Liz in May. At that time I’ll have my teaching degree in English. I’ve already put in applications and have set up several interviews at different places. Liz and I are going to weigh the options with each place that I’m offered a job. Right now, our top choices are places that are close to where Liz has applied to grad school. By the end of May we should know exactly where we’ll be moving to. And if teaching doesn’t work out, then I’ve got a back up plan. I’m working on sending out applications for positions in publishing. I’ve gotten lots of recommendations from my professors and....”

“Max is a really good editor,” Liz interjected, feeling the need to support her husband. Max gave her a smile. “Thanks,honey.”

He cautioned a glance at the Parkers. They looked a little bit pacified. At least they knew Max had some sort of plan. His parents looked almost proud at all of the plans that Max had laid out.

Nancy Parker spoke next. “I just don’t understand why you couldn’t have waited just a couple of months. Graduation is coming up and we could have planned a small wedding for afterwards. I didn’t even get to be at my only child’s wedding,” Nancy said weepily. Jeff quickly went to console his wife.

Diane was thinking along the same lines as Nancy at the moment, but her own husband was not concerned with comforting her at the moment.
“Is it even legal? I mean.....how are you sure you’re even really married? I believe that Maria girl had to translate the entire wedding into English.” Phillip pointed out. Both Max and Liz sighed at this. They’d known this would come up as well.

“We signed the marriage license. And just to be sure we....uh....we went to a justice of the peace on Thursday. If it wasn’t legal in Costa Rica it’s certainly legal now,” Max explained.

At this Diane burst into tears along with Nancy.

Pretty soon Liz was crying. “I know you’re disappointed in us....but we just wanted to be together. I love Max so much and we just .....we wanted to start our life together right away. And besides.....we’ve spent almost four years being friends and ignoring each other to ignore the attraction. We just decided not to ignore it anymore,” she said tearfully. Max wrapped his arms around Liz in a comforting gesture. “I don’t regret any of this except that you all weren’t there to share it with us. We both feel bad about that, but we don’t feel bad about loving each other. Now we just want your .....well your blessings would probably be too much to ask for at this point, but your acceptance would be nice,” Liz finished. Max kissed her forehead, completely agreeing with everything she said.

The loving gesture was not lost on any of the parents. It was obvious that they loved each other. And as parents, they were acting out of their own hurt at not being included in any of the proceedings.

There was some silence punctuated by some strays sighs and deep breaths.

“Well, since we couldn’t be at the wedding maybe we could......we could throw you two a reception. To help celebrate,” Jeff suggested reluctantly. He wasn’t happy about the situation but he trusted Liz and her judgment. He only wanted her to be happy. He could tell that this Max fellow was doing his best in that department.

Max and Liz both sagged with relief. They eagerly agreed with Jeff’s suggestion. The women then started in on ideas and possible dates for the big event. Max was almost breathing easily again when his father and Liz’s both motioned for him to get up and join them. He followed them outside where Jeff proceeded to threaten him over Liz’s well being and his father drilled the idea of being cautious into him. Max didn’t register is father’s words. He was too busy trying not to run away because, the moment he’d heard Jeff Parker mutter the words ‘or else’, he’d conjured images of a shot gun up again.

It was a very pale faced Max that reentered the apartment ten minutes later. Those ten minutes had been the longest ten minutes of his life.

The parents all left sometime after eleven pm. Liz and Max both got ready for bed in relative silence. As they were laying there in the dark, Max couldn’t hold his question in any longer. “Liz.....does your father own a shot gun?”



posted on 23-Jan-2002 3:40:09 PM
Chapter 16

“Why are we here again?” Max asked Liz as he pulled their car into a parking space at Super Target.

“Because I need to run inside and get something. You can wait here, I’ll only be a minute,” Liz told him as she unstrapped her seat belt.

“Okay, but hurry. We’re supposed to pick up Michael and Maria for the movie in fifteen minutes.”

Liz nodded, kissed him quickly on the lips and took off for inside the store. Once inside she made a beeline straight for the pharmacy section. She was a woman on a mission.

In the meantime, Max sat outside in the car,idly tapping his fingers to the music on the radio. He was curious about what was so important that they couldn’t wait to get it later. The song on the radio switched, changing the direction of Max’s thoughts along with it. It was now the first weekend of May. Graduation was the following weekend. They had all decided that a night out was necessary before the stress of finals took over their lives. Max thought back on the last two months. A lot had happened that had dramatically changed his life. And it all revolved around Liz. He couldn’t deny that he was the happiest that he had ever been. Married life and really agreed with them for the most part. They still had their little fights but Max had a strong suspicion that Liz started them just so that they’d have to make up afterwards. Make up sex had proved to be far better than Max had anticipated. Especially when Liz was the one doing the apologizing. Oddly enough....they’d been having a lot of make up sex lately. Liz seemed to get upset over every little thing.

That reminded Max of something. He didn’t want her getting mad later and not be prepared for the apology.

As soon as Liz got back to the car, Max asked her what he’d been thinking. “Did you buy condoms? ‘Cause the box we had is almost out.”

Liz shook her head no.

“Well, do you want me to go get some more while we’re here?” he was already starting to get out of the car to go inside. He wasn’t worried about being late anymore. This was infinitely more important.

Liz stopped him with a word though. “No,” she said.

“No? You don’t want me to go buy any?” Max was confused. Did he do something to make her mad again? To make her not want to have sex anymore?

“Let’s just go Max,” Liz finally said. “We’re late as it is.” The word late seemed to catch in Liz’s throat. Max didn’t notice though, he was too busy worrying about why Liz didn't want to have sex with him anymore.

They picked up Michael and Maria and drove to the movie theater. Both Michael and Maria exchanged questioning glances at the other couple’s silence. It was sort of strange. Max and Liz weren’t even communicating non-verbally. Nothing was mentioned though and they all stood in line for their tickets. They were all chatting about random things when both Liz and Maria shivered.

“Are you cold?” Max asked, immediately aware of Liz’s discomfort.

“I forgot how cold they keep the theaters. I left my jacket in the car though,” Liz told him.

“I’ll go get it,” Max quickly offered. Anything to keep her happy and maybe put him back in her good graces. It wasn’t even about the sex anymore. He just wanted to be sure that nothing was wrong between them.

Maria looked pointedly at Michael.

“You didn’t bring a jacket,” he replied with a shrug.

Maria rolled her eyes. “You still could have asked.”

Liz laughed. “Maria you can wear my jacket. I’ll just use Max to keep me warm,” she said sending a teasing smile in Max’s direction. Max was even more confused by the suggestiveness of Liz’s comment. He couldn’t figure out was Liz was thinking.

“Here,” he said giving her some money. “Get the tickets and I’ll go get the jacket,” he told her. He kissed her on the cheek and went back to the car.

As he walked back he tried to figure out what was going on with Liz. Maybe the reason she hadn’t wanted to get condoms was because she had some other surprise for him. Or maybe it was her period. She hadn’t gotten it yet so maybe....

As he was getting Liz’s jacket from the floor of the front seat, the bag that had been wrapped up inside it, fell out and its contents spilled out. He picked up the box to shove it back in the bag and then stopped, his eyes widening. His line of thinking went something like this. First....he was relieved because he’s assumed it was a box of tampons and it wasn’t so he didn’t have to be embarrassed about it. Second....disappointment because it wasn’t a surprise for later. Finally....shock because the contents of the bag were actually a really big surprise. The kind of surprise he hadn’t been expecting for at least a couple of years yet.

Okay. So now he understood why Liz didn’t want him to buy condoms. Why buy them if it’s already too late?

Max put the pregnancy test back in the bag and put the bag on the floor. For a second he was just so stunned that he couldn’t move. But his faculties returned and he managed to make his was, somewhat determinedly, to Liz.

She was waiting outside with his ticket. “I thought maybe you got lost,” she said with a smile. She quickly came up to him and wrapped her arm around him. And when she looked up at him with those big doe eyes of hers and that smile....he almost forgot that he was upset with her.

Liz noticed the way Max’s demeanor had changed and grew worried. “What’s wrong?”

Max decided against saying anything right then. It wasn’t the time or the place to be having a serious discussion the likes of which they need to have. “Nothing’s wrong. Let’s go watch the movie. We can talk later.”

Max barely paid attention to the movie. How could he? He was too busy rethinking all of their carefully made plans, trying to factor a baby into the equation. Liz was also trying to focus on the screen in front of her. She found it to be virtually impossible. She was worried, very worried. She wasn’t sure how Max was going to react to her pregnancy concerns. If she did turn out to be pregnant than all their plans for the next year would have to change considerably.

After the movie they were supposed to head over to a small coffee shop close to campus, but Maria changed her mind. “I think we should go over to that dance club on 56th and vine. They’ve got some great drink specials in honor of finals week,” Maria suggested excitedly.

“No!” came the simultaneous response from Max and Liz. Whey they realized how odd their reactions seemed, both tried to come up with excuses. “I’m really tired,” Liz said as Max was saying, “I think I left the stove on at the apartment.”

Maria raised an eyebrow and laughed. “Okay horn dogs. Whatever. I get it. You wanna ditch us for some nookie. That’s find. Just take us back to my place. Michael and I will go ourselves.”

Michael groaned out loud. “Maybe I’d rather have a little nookie than go to some club. Did you ever think of that?”

“Oh...hush, Michael. You’ll have to get the nookie from yourself if you don’t come with me.”

After dropping off a still bickering Michael and Maria, Max drove he and Liz back to the apartment. He opened his mouth to talk several times but he couldn’t seem to find the words to say.

Liz went off to the bathroom right away when they got home. Max decided that he was going to wait for her to say something to him. Maybe there was a perfectly good explanation for everything. That test might not even be for her, which could be why she hadn’t said anything to him.

But Max knew better. All the signs had been staring him in the face. First.... her mood swings and the fact that she hadn’t been feeling well lately. She’d even missed a couple of her morning classes. And of course she hadn’t had her period since they’d been married. He should have noticed this sooner.

When Liz came out of the bathroom he followed her into their bedroom and watched as she got herself ready for bed. His eyes roamed over her body, noticing some very subtle changes. Liz could feel his eyes on her and stopped what she was doing. She turned her attention to Max. “Why are you just sitting there, staring at me?” she asked.

Max shrugged and looked down at his fidgeting hands. “No reason. Uhm....is there something that maybe you want to talk to me about? Anything you might want to mention?”

Liz stared at him and then promptly burst into tears. “Max....” she cried as she made her way over to him and crawled onto his lap and into his arms. “I.....I...t-think I might be pregnant.”

Max held Liz, gently rubbing her back as she cried into his chest. “It’s going to be okay, sweetheart,” he told her. “We’ll work things out. Don’t worry.”

Liz pulled back and looked up at him with tears still in her eyes. “You...you’re not mad?”

“Why would I be mad?” he asked.

“Because I didn’t tell you sooner?”

“Well, aside from that....no. I’m not mad,” he said gently.

Liz laid her head on his chest and he sat there stroking her hair as she calmed down. “I’m a little scared,” she admitted.

Max nodded. “Me too. But whatever the result, we’ll deal with it together,” he assured her. He kissed her tenderly on the mouth and hugged her protectively to him. “Come on. Let’s go to bed.”

Both were hard pressed to fall asleep and they clung to each other in the darkness. Liz broke the silence first.

“What if it’s positive?”

“I was thinking about this earlier and while having this baby does change things, it’s definitely workable. We should be okay financially because my salary from teaching should cover our expenses if we can find a small house to rent or don’t mind living in another apartment. And the University is giving you a stipend to get your PhD. So I don’t think we’ll have to worry about those things. What do you think the University will say if you’re pregnant?”

“I’m not sure. I doubt they’ll revoke their offer. I don’t think they can. But if they try then your dad can represent me when I sue them for discrimination.”

Max laughed at Liz and then groaned.

“What?” Liz asked, turning in his arms to try and look at his face in the dark.

“Our parents. They’re going to be so pissed. I mean...I’m still having nightmares from the responsibility lecture our dads gave me. What are they going to do when they find out it’s too late?” Max sounded almost scared.

Liz rubbed his arm comfortingly. “We’re both tired and starting to think outrageous things. Let’s try to get some sleep. We can worry about all these things when we know for sure.” They shifted positions of the bed. Max was laying on his side, his head resting next to Liz’s on the pillow, his arm draped around her waist to keep her close. They were silent for a little while. Liz’s hand took Max’s in her own and moved it so it rested over her womb.

“Max?” she whispered. “ I really want this baby,”
she admitted.

Max’s fingers gently touched Liz’s abdomen and he smiled. “Me too, Liz, me too.”

*******

It wasn’t quite six am when Liz woke the next morning. Max was sleeping soundly next to her, his arm thrown over her waist. Very carefully, she slipped out from beneath his grasp, trying not to wake him. She made her way into the bathroom. It was now or never, she thought to herself. She might as well go ahead and take the test. She grabbed the box out of her bathroom drawer and opened it carefully.

Max had woke up when he heard the sound of the bathroom door shutting. He realized then that Liz was no longer in bed. For a moment he just lay there contemplating the day ahead of him. He was thinking about Liz when she suddenly reappeared in the bedroom.

“Hey, your awake,” she said softly as her feet padded across the carpet on her trek back to the bed. She crawled in next to him, snuggling up as close as she could.

“Yeah.....I heard you get up,” he said, running his fingers through her hair. His left hand drifted over her arm and slid down her stomach, resting on her abdomen.

“I....took the test,” she told him.

His fingers stopped combing through her hair and he brought her face up to look at him. “And?”

“And....we have to wait three minutes before we’ll know,” she replied.

Max sighed.

He was silent for a minute before he sat up in bed. “Well, I’m going to go wait in the bathroom. I want to see the answer right now. I’m too nervous to just lay here in bed.” So he got up and Liz followed after him.

They were both standing in the doorway of the bathroom. “Do you wanna look first? or do you want me to look?” Max asked.

Liz could see he was anxious to learn the results. She wasn’t sure which one of them would be more disappointed if she wasn’t pregnant.

“Maybe we could.....look together?” Liz suggested.

Max nodded. Neither of them made an attempt to move though.

“Are you scared?” Liz asked, looking up at Max. His heart skipped a beat as he stared into her big brown eyes.

“Yeah......I’m scared that it’ll say we’re not.....that you’re not......,” he paused. “I’m scared that it won’t say yes....because I really want to have a baby with you Liz.”

She smiled then and leaned up to kiss him. “Whatever it says....we’re in this together.” He took her hand and they both walked over to the sink where the small test lay on the counter.

“What does it say?” Liz asked. She was almost afraid to look.

“ A plus sign,” Max said quietly. “Does that mean.....?”

Liz looked down at the test and sure enough, there it was. A plus sign, plain as day, right in front of her eyes. She felt tears start to form and she looked up at Max, offering him a watery smile.

She nodded and reached for him. “We’re gonna have a baby,” she whispered.

Max’s response took Liz by surprised. Pulling her into his arms, he walked her out of the bathroom, swinging her around.

“Woohoo! I’m gonna be a dad!” he hollered.

Liz laughed at his excitement.

She couldn’t believe how happy she was. She was going to have a baby with Max. They were going to be a family together. It just didn’t seem like it was even possible.

As they stood there, basking in the glow of their good news, the door to Michael’s bedroom flung open. Michael stood in the doorway, hair standing straight up, clothes rumpled.

“Could you keep it down a little bit? Some of us need our beauty sleep,” he said grumpily.

Max, who still held Liz tightly in his arms, swung her around toward Michael to face him. “Michael......Liz and I are going to have a baby!” he
told his best friend excitedly.

“Great! Good luck with that,” came Michael’s sleepy response. With that he turned around and went back into his room, shutting the door behind him. Max and Liz both looked at each other, slightly confused. The door to Michael’s room burst open again and it was a very awake Michael that now stood before them.

“You’re what?!?” he asked, the surprise on his face making both Max and Liz laugh.

“We’re pregnant. As in, gonna have a baby,” Max tried to explain.

“How did that happen?” Michael asked.

Liz raised her eyebrows in amusement. “Well, you see Michael, when a man and a woman love each other they...”

“Alright, that’s not what I meant,” Michael said, interrupting her. “I guess I’m just a little shocked here. You’ll have to excuse me.”

“Don’t worry, Michael. You’ve got seven months to get used to the idea,” Max informed him.

Michael nodded and appeared contemplative.

Max couldn’t help the grin that spread across his face. Each day spent with Liz gave him an edited definition of the word happy. It just kept getting better. He looked over at his wife and he could have sworn that she was glowing. She looked almost etheral. And the same happiness he was feeling was clearly written all over her face. He couldn’t stand next to the beauty that was her and not kiss her.

Their mouths met in a deep kiss. One full of love and celebration over the life they had created together. They broke apart only when they heard Michael’s loud groan.

“Oh god....seven months. That means that it happened in Costa Rica. I really did not need to know that.”

posted on 15-May-2002 5:49:59 PM
Just a friendly bump!