posted on 1-Oct-2002 4:20:03 PM
TITLE: CHANGES
ATTENTION: DREAMERS AND CANDY KIDS BEWARE INTIALLY THIS FIC CONTAINS SOME Michael and Liz moments
DISCLAIMER: I don't own anything,it all belongs to Katims and Co
AN: This fic will have a little of every one including A/I and T/K. I wanted to try something different and I've always thought that if Max and Liz weren't together, then Max and Maria would make the best couple. So I decided to try and do a fic with unconventional couples/convential couples this is the first fic I've done which isn't planned ahead so I too will be interested to know where this fic is going, will it end with Max and Maria being together or will it return back to dreamer status? who knows*happy* so check it out and feedback is soo welcome.
DESCRIPTION: Maria has been betrayed by her best friend, Max, Isabel and Tess are the new kids in town. This fic is a journery of friendship, love and whatever else I decide to put in.

Chapter 1

Journal Entry 45
I'm Liz Parker, a while back I wished for a little excitement in my life, something to break the routine and now that I have that wish I almost want to take it back. What I didn't realise was that excitement, the routine breaking comes with a price. For me, it was my friendship, my sisterhood with Maria, I still can't believe we are no longer friends but I can't blame her. I'm not the type to do things like this, especially to one of the people I love most in the world…but when I'm with him I don't seem to care about doing what's right. I hadn't planned on any of this, on finding out that Michael was alien, on kissing him, on kissing him again even when I knew he was my best friend's boyfriend. A line never to be crossed and I crossed it and paid the price-

A knock on her door jolted Liz back to the present. "Just a minute!" she shouted as she placed her journal back into its hiding place in the wall. She opened the door to find Michael dressed in his uniform ready to dish out food to the hungry Crashdown customers.
"Hi," she smiled. He leaned in for a long soft kiss, "Hi," he replied.
"Is she down there?" she asked nervously. Ever since Maria had found them on Michael's sofa over two months ago, she completely ignored their existence talking to them only when necessary.
"Yep," he replied sadly.
Liz knew that they deserved that, she'd betrayed her best friend, but it still hurt every time she looked into those former friendly eyes to see a stone cold wall, she missed her laugh, her ramblings, her cedar oil.
That's the price you paid, she told herself, so live with it. Besides, she added as hand in hand, they descended down the stairs, Michael is worth it, right?…Right.
The moment they reached the backroom, they separated. They peered through the window searching for Maria; she was busy in one of the corner tables with a customer.
"Ready?" he asked as if preparing for battle.
"Ready," she replied as she took in a deep breath and pushed the door open.

Maria turned just in time to see Liz emerged from the back room and Michael slip into the kitchen.
"Great," she muttered as she took the order up to the kitchen, "another night of hell." Without looking at him, she pinned the order onto the revolving stand and went back to another table. The key was to keep busy. If she did that, then sometimes she forgot that her best friend in the whole world had cheated on her with her boyfriend, but sometimes wasn't often enough. Maria just wanted to forget, but the pain in her heart and the image indelibly printed in her mind of Liz and Michael making out on his couch wouldn't let her forget. She generally avoided them in school and the schedules had been changed so she didn't work with Liz unless it was absolutely necessary, like tonight. The door to the Crashdown Café opened; Maria turned to see Kyle and Alex looking around for her. She rolled her eyes in amusement as they waved and sat in a booth in her section.
These guys are too much, she thought as she approached their table. Ever since the break-up whenever Maria was working with "the betrayers" Kyle and Alex came in to make sure she was okay. At first she agreed that she needed to see that friendly face to keep her eyes from welling up and from sticking something very sharp through both of them.
"Really guys," she said, "there's no reason for you to be here, I'm fine." She really was fine. In the beginning, she had been hurt and angry…a lot angry but like water crashing over a sand-castle though, it had abated, she was hurt yes but she couldn't live the rest of her life depressed and angry, that wasn't what living life was about. Hating took too much energy and after a while was self-destructive.
"Who said anything about you," joked Alex, "we came here to eat."
Maria smiled both of them. They had been caught in the middle, Alex especially since the three of them had been as close as loving siblings. He had managed to maintain both friendships though but Maria could tell that it was still hard on him. Kyle on the other hand had swiftly stepped into the protective step-brotherly role by smashing his fist into Michael's nose. Maria still couldn't believe her hippie mum and the town's sheriff had actually hooked up and tied the knot but stranger things had happened and they made an okay family.
"Right," she replied incredulous, "what can I get you?"
"The usual," replied Alex.
"But with a large coke and an extra large hamburger," added Kyle.
Maria rolled her eyes, it still surprised her how much Kyle could pile into his mouth, watching him eat at home was just freakishly mesmerising, "without the onion rings?" she asked.
"Yee-helloo," he replied.
Maria looked at him, where did that come from? she wondered. Both him and Alex were looking beyond her with their jaws hanging open. She turned to see the object of their stares and nodded with understanding as to why they and the rest of the male population of the Crashdown had their eyes transfixed at the door. The two girls looked like they had just stepped off a catwalk. Maria could almost see the rays of appreciative glances travelling from the bottom of their stylish shoes to their pretty blonde heads. Ignorant of the stares, Maria watched with interest as the two girls slid into one of the booths in her section.
She turned to see Kyle and Alex's gazes fixed onto their booth, "Jaws up boys," she said," I don't want to have to wipe your drool off the tables," she added as she went to place their order.
After serving the guys, Maria made her way over to the girls' booth. They were obviously either just visiting or new to Roswell as they were with amusement reading off the alien themed menu.
"Hey, what can I get you?" she asked. The tall one with long blonde hair looked up at her, "Um…we'll have four Men In Black burgers and two cokes and a large cherry coke and um..what else did Max want Tess?" she asked the curly haired blue eyed blonde.
Ah, thought Maria, so there's three of you.
"Saturn rings," added Tess.
"Right," said brown-eyed one, "and could we have them to go please?"
"Sure," she replied, "so that's four Men in Blacks, two cokes, a large cherry coke and some Saturn rings" she verified.
"Right," replied the brown-eyed one.
"Okay," replied Maria.

At the counter Kyle and Alex ambushed her.
"So?" asked Alex expectantly
"So what?" she asked.
"So are they visiting, new, single?" asked Kyle.
"And by taking their order you assume that I would have all this information how?" she replied.
"It might come up in conversation," shrugged Alex.
Maria laughed, "okay from what I gather which isn't much, they could be passing through or new. That's all I know…plus the tall one has nice boots," she added.
"Thanks," Kyle replied sarcastically. His eyes wide as the door the Crashdown opened," Look, they're leaving," he said.
"Well there goes my chance," said Alex, "Not like I had one anyway," he added.
"If you're so curious about them, why don't you go and talk to them, they're parked up front"
Kyle and Alex exchanged a look.
"We would," said Kyle slowly, "but probably their beefed up boyfriends would probably have issues with us talking to their girls."
Maria shook her head with amusement, "Whatever you have to tell yourselves," she replied. Her order came up and again without looking at him, she picked it up and delivered it to the customers. The place was busy and by the time the two blondes' order was up, Maria was swamped.
"I got it," offered Liz.
"Thanks," she replied, "they're out in the jeep out front."

"You seriously have got to check out the Café Max," enthused Tess, "It's really cool in a tacky sort of way, all the food is named after aliens or alien related stuff."
"I'll check it out after work tomorrow" he shouted over the loud music blaring from the jeep stereo.
Tess rolled her eyes, "Remind me again why you are working at the UFO centre?"
"Because he's nuts," supplied Isabel. She could see Max smile in the rear view mirror, "Guilty indulgence," he replied. Tess laughed, whatever makes you happy, she thought. Looking up at the stars she sighed happily, Roswell wasn't as bad as she'd expected it to be, sure the shopping was nothing compared to L.A. but it would do and they could always drive to something bigger. As long as she was with Isabel and Max anywhere could be home.
"How long is this going to take?" he asked impatiently.
"Relax," said Isabel, "it was pretty busy when we went in, seems like it's the place to be," she added.
Tess glanced across and watched as a brunette waitress looking around her in confusion then noticing their jeep was making her way towards them with their orders.
"Here it comes," she shouted, "Turn down the music".

Liz took a deep breath as the cool night air washed over her. Tonight had definitely been hectic and working with Maria had as usual been awkward because usually on a night like this they would play tag team with their customers, now they just kept to their sections. Liz looked around for the jeep Maria told her was out front. There was one parked across the street with music blaring and the two blonde heads bopping to it, the same blondes she realised as she approached the jeep, who had caused the café to come to a standstill. By the time she got there, the music had been turned down.
"Hey," she said as she presented the blue eyed blonde in the back with the packages, "I've to four Men In Blacks, two cokes, one large cherry coke and Saturn rings."

Tess grabbed the food from the distracted waitress who looked about their age and passed it up front to Isabel and Max.
"Is there anything else I can get you guys?" she asked.
"Is, Max, anything?" she asked.
"No" replied Isabel.
"No thanks," replied Max. Tess could see him already hungrily unwrapping his Saturn rings.
Turning to the waitress she replied, "We're okay thanks."
"Okay," she smiled and walked back to the café.

Liz sighed as she re-entered the Crashdown, behind her, the jeep revved up and drove off, another hour and it would thankfully be over for the day.


[ edited 5 time(s), last at 8-Oct-2002 4:02:08 AM ]
posted on 2-Oct-2002 6:34:08 AM
quote:
Ella1022 originally wrote:
Shitty thing to have your boyfriend stolen by your best friend although what kind of friend would steal your boyfriend though.

best friends do make mistakes, okay so this one is major mistake, I'll explore more of how they got together later.

quote:
I just wanted to mention that you might want to put in the title UC/CC or just UC if its going to be a Mi/L or Ma/Ma that gets confusing and may upset some readers. I wouldn't want you to get flamed or anything. Because I thought too for a moment that it is CC and it looks to be UC and although I'm not to much of a Mi/L fan I am a Ma/Ma fan too which is something I'm looking forward to.

thanks for the head's up, I've changed it to UC/CC.
Thanks for the feeback*happy*

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 2-Oct-2002 6:36:24 AM ]
posted on 3-Oct-2002 3:54:46 AM
AN: thanks for the feeback, I just finished this last night, so it's hot off the presses*happy*

CHAPTER TWO

Max looked at his watch and sighed anxiously, whoever was supposed to show them around school was very late, and classes were starting soon.
Turning to Isabel he asked, "What's her name again?"
Isabel glanced at the sheet of paper the principal had given them, "Maria Deluca" she replied. Max glanced at his watch again, granted he was new but he still didn't want to be late for the first class of the year.
Suddenly the door flew open and before Max could even register what was happening, a blonde girl, blue eyes bright, cheeks flushed whirled into the room dragging behind her two guys. One wore the telltale sign of a letterman jacket and the other dressed like a skater, however different they dressed, they both had the same expression as they stood in the waiting room. Max inwardly laughed as their jaws practically dropped to the floor. Tess and Isabel seemed to have that effect on boys their age and sometimes older…and they knew it.
"I soo sorry I'm late," she began breathlessly then stopped and looked at the trio.
"Hey," said Isabel, "I know you, you're the waitress who served us at the Crashdown last night."
Maria eyes bright with recognition, nodded, her blond curls bouncing with her, "and you're the girls with the stylish boots," she replied.
"Thanks," replied a flattered Tess.
Maria smiled back, "No prob" she replied. She glanced at her watch and looked up with a smile, "Okay, since classes start in five minutes, quick intro. I'm Maria Deluca and this," she said pointing to the guy with the letterman jacket, "is my step-brother Kyle and," she pointed to the guy on her right, "my best friend Alex. The sole reasons why I'm late by the way."
"Hey, I'm not the one who kept running back to the house because I forgot my work," objected Kyle.
Maria waved her hand ignoring him; "anyway, too late for a school tour so we can do that at lunch. Meanwhile, depending on your schedules, Kyle, Alex and I will show you around," she finished with a smiled.
Max was stunned, Maria was like a colourful energetic whirlwind and he was just catching up. He looked over to Isabel and Tess who were both as stunned as he was.
"Right," he slowly began, "well Tess and I have bio in room 218 and Isabel has English with Mr Stevens."
"No prob." nodded Maria, "Max and Tess can come with me 'cause I have bio too and Isabel can go with Alex."
After making arrangements for a tour at lunch, Max and Tess followed as Maria expertly navigated her way through the hallway.

They made it to their class five minutes late. Their grey haired biology teacher Mr Whitmore was not pleased, but Max watched in amazement as Maria apologised for their lateness even managing to extract a small smile from their humourless teacher. Maria went a step further to suggest that she work with him and Tess with Liz Parker so that they could become more familiar with the work. Mr Whitmore agreed and so Max found himself sharing a workbench with Maria dissecting pig babies.
"They're embryos," he corrected her.
"Whatever," she replied as her knife sliced through the skin.
Max held open the sides with his knife so that she could get a better view.
"So Max Evans," she began, "What brings you to Roswell?"
Max tensed slightly; this was the part he hated, the inquisition. Being new not only meant a new school and making new friends, but it also meant that people wanted to know everything about you, that was a problem but one he, Isabel and Tess had grown used to handling. Max intended to just sketch out the details, but something about Maria, her openness, her spark, loosened his tongue.
"Actually, we used to live here but my Dad got a job so we moved to L.A. when Isabel, Tess and I were eight. A branch of my Dad's firm opened here, my parents wanted us to see where we were raised plus they got tired of city life so we moved back here."
They swapped duties,so that Maria was pushing back the skin and Max dissecting, "So how do you like it so far?" she asked.
Max considered his words carefully, "It's…different," he replied.
"That's one way to put," she smiled.
Max bit held back a laugh as they cleared up their work table. The dissection over, they sat down and answered the questions assigned by Mr Whitmore.
Max could hear Maria scribbling and pause, scribble and pause, then felt her lean over, "Max" she said her voice low. He looked around the class, Mr Whitmore seemed to be marking some papers, while everyone else was busy working.
He leaned, lowering his voice he asked, "What".
"By lunch, and this is a fact, I'll be hounded by almost every girl in the student body so to keep you from answering the same questions and me from not knowing the answers when asked, I'm going to ask you a few questions."

Max looked at her doubtfully, his amber eyes clouding. Maria spotted the look, she knew that look. It was one of caution, of mistrust. Great Deluca, he probably thinks you're this gossipmonger or something. But she was telling him the truth. Max was well…hot, not that she was attracted to him or anything but she had spotted the appreciative looks the girls had given him in the hallway and well, he didn't seem the type to want to be hounded by his own set of worshippers. He was the quiet type so most girls probably wouldn’t hound him, but Maria knew those who would and they were the wrong kind of girls for Max.
"You can choose whether or not to the answer them," she added. " Deal?"
The clouds dispersed, Max nodded, "Okay," he replied.
"Okay. So, Isabel's your sister and Tess is…"
"A family friend. Her father was a family friend, he died, so my Dad got Tess emancipated and when we moved back here, she moved with us."
Maria raised an eyebrow
"We've known her our whole lives," he expanded, "she's like family."
Maria nodded. "Are you single, going it long term, what?"
"Single" he replied.
"Single and looking?", she persisted.
"Is this really necessary?" he asked shyly.
Maria smiled, Max obviously didn't understand data collection, "Well, it would make my job easier if you were taken,"
Max laughed, "Single and not looking," he replied.

Tess glanced towards Max and Maria's table and was surprised to hear Max laughing, he and Maria were leaning in whispering conspiratorially to each other.
"Max seems to be having a good time," she commented to herself. Her lab partner, Liz Parker, who Tess remembered, was the waitress who had delivered their food to the jeep; and who she was finding to be quite dull, glanced towards their table and said, "Well, he's with Maria."
Tess noted her fond tone, "Are you two friends?" she asked
"Use to be" replied Liz simply. Tess turned her attention back to Liz, Maria seemed slightly unhinged in a spunky kind of way, she seemed like she'd be a good friend.
She was probably the spice in their friendship she thought. Liz was so dull, no wonder Maria had dumped her.
"What happened?",she asked curiously.
"I cheated on her with her boyfriend."
Tess slowly nodded with surprise, whoa; she certainly has something under that goody goody act afterall she mused.
"Not really a thing to do," she said.
"I wouldn't recommend it" replied Liz.
This is just too much, quite little Miss Parker, stabs her best friend in the back. My my, the world is full of even more surprises than I thought
Intrigued she asked, "Was he any good?"
Liz looked up at her eyes swimming with confusion, then widening as realisation dawned on her, "Oh no, we didn't sleep together," she protested, "we just…"
"I get the picture," replied Tess. Heavy make-out sessions, she added silently.
"So was he worth it?" she asked.
Liz looked up at her and nodded, "Yes, I guess he was", she replied.

Liz went back down to answering her questions. That was the second time, that question had been asked in the last two days and like an automated response she'd said yes. She'd stopped questioning it or thinking about it, it was just the answer to give. The answer that made sense. Liz looked back to Maria's table, her gaze travelled from her former friend to the guy sat next to her, Max. Liz watched as Maria said something to him that made him smile again. He has a nice smile, she noted.

Max glanced across the room to Tess's table; she looked up and smiled reassuringly at him.
"Tess seems to be doing okay," he commented.
"She's with Liz, if she missed anything, she'll have her caught up in no time," she replied knowingly.
"Are you two friends?" he asked.
Maria sighed, she could a] not tell Max but he would find out in the gossip mills anyway so she only had one true option b] and it would be better coming from her.
Besides, he's told me his story, I might as well tell him mine
"Ex-friends," she replied.
Max nodded. She waited for a question that never came.
"Don't you wanna know why?" she asked.
"Do you want to tell me?" he asked.
Maria shook her head, he really was a strange one, "She cheated on me with my boyfriend."

"I'm sorry," he replied. He didn't know what to say. He couldn't imagine the pain and hurt that she felt.
Her eyes clouding, she replied sadly,"Me too."
Max looked back at the doe-eyed brunette, "She doesn't seem-"
"-Like the type to stab her best in the back?" she finished. Max nodded, she certainly had a very blunt way of putting things.
"What I've learnt Max," she said as the bell rang, "is that appearances are always deceiving." Her eyes suddenly brightened up, "but life goes on".
Max looked at her, beneath the bright, spunky exterior, was a girl who had been hurt…a lot and for her to still have that spark, well that took a certain type of person and though Max was a little overwhelmed, he was glad that he'd met Maria Deluca.

"Hey," said Liz, "if you need any help with the work-"
"-Thanks," replied Tess, "but I've got Max who like breathes science."
"Okay. Do you need me to show you to any of your classes?" she offered.
"Thanks, but Maria has already arranged for an escort," she replied.
"Okay, see you around," waved Liz. Tess looked after her, she was nice, which made her question how someone like her could betray Maria like that, she seemed like the loyal type… but these days, she thought pessimistically, you never know.

Outside the classroom, Kyle stood ready waiting to walk Tess to English. The school was already buzzing with news of the newcomers and guys were already preparing to take their shot at the two blondes. Well, good luck thought Kyle. For once he was glad Maria had been late, otherwise he would never have had the first attempt to try his luck with Tess. Isabel was gorgeous, but Tess was the one who'd caught his eye, there was something about her curly hair, blue eyes and her well all around nice bod that attracted her to him…plus there was that glimmer in her eye of danger, excitement, adventure. He quickly dried his palms as Tess, Maria and Max filtered out of the classroom.
"Hey," he greeted her coolly.
"Hey," she replied her blue eyes travelling down and up his body. Kyle felt his cheeks heating up at the appraisal. No way was he blushing at being checked out!
Luckily Maria and Max were soo busy talking that they managed quick hi before heading over to class headed over leaving him with Tess.
"Ready to go?" he asked.
"Lead the way," she replied brightly. He led her down the corridor to their class. He felt great as guys looked at him enviously until that is someone shouted, "Get in there Valenti!" causing Kyle to groan. Great, Tess would think he was just some pin head guy who wanted to get her laid or something, which wasn't necessarily false but he wasn't some pin head guy.
"Sorry about that," he replied as they entered the classroom.
"Don't worry about it," she replied, her eyes twinkling, "I got daggers of death from the girls, so we'll call it even."
Kyle laughed in relief, "Right," he replied. This girl was definitely very interesting.



[ edited 1 time(s), last at 7-Feb-2003 8:43:35 AM ]
posted on 8-Oct-2002 3:53:16 AM
AN: thanks for the feeback*happy* I had a really fun time writing this next part, enjoy P.S I have no idea why the other half switches to italics, it was not intended.

Isabel and Alex were the last to arrive at the lunch table. Since their class had been cancelled, Alex had "volunteered his services" to give her a quick tour around the school. Isabel amused had accepted and she'd nodded while Alex showed her the classrooms, the library and sweetly tried to make jokes. He liked her, she could tell but what she hadn't counted on was him asking questions, realquestions about her. Usually, guys just wanted to impress her and she let them and didn't want to get too deep…which was fine with her too but Alex; Alex asked questions and waited for a reply. Even when she'd used what Tess called her ice queen technique, he didn't seem to get the hint and kept asking her to explain her sometimes one-word answers. Now he had more information than a guy who she'd dated for a month or two would. He wasn't her type though, she usually went for guys with…well more muscle and more handsome, not that Alex was ugly…it was just he wasn't her type.
She slid in between Alex and Max. "Hey, where have you guys been?" asked Tess. Isabel caught her suggestive tone and her slightly raised eyebrow and she rolled her eyes.
"Alex was just giving me a tour," she replied.
"Anything interesting?" asked Tess.
"The usual," she shrugged as she opened her lunch, "apart from the eraser room."
Maria's eyes grew wide, "You showed her the eraser room on her first day, Alex!", she scolded him. Before Alex could protest and tell her that he's intentions were noble, Max asked, "What's the eraser room?".
Removing her glare from Alex, she turned to Max, "The eraser room is basically this actual eraser room, where people make out," she replied.
"And was your stay in the eraser room long?" asked Tess suggestively.
Isabel saw Alex's cheeks colour,"No," she replied shooting a warning look at her," it was just a tour."
Tess nodded her head her eyes laughing. Isabel rolled her eyes and held back a smile, Alex's cheeks were officially red. That's so sweet, she thought.
"Hey, Kyle," said Maria, "I think I have your heavily meat filled seven foot sandwich."
Kyle unwrapped his and looked at it with distaste, "Yeah," he replied as he handed it back to her, "and I have you're heavily veggified sandwich."
"At least my arteries won't be clogged by the time I'm forty," replied Maria.
"I guess I'll enjoy it while I have it," he said. As the banter continued, Isabel reached for the tabasco sauce as Max passed it to her, she used it and passed it automatically to Tess. It wasn't until she held it in-front of her mouth that she realised that the table had grown silent and that all eyes were on her, Max, Tess and their tabasco drenched food, with strange expressions which she could only guess the meaning of.
Opposite her, Tess' panicked eyes mirrored hers, beside her she felt Max tense. They should have been more careful about things like this, back in L.A. they were less obvious about it but here around Maria and her friends they'd let their guards down.
"Tabasco fettish?" asked Alex finally.
"Yeah," replied Tess casually. Untrained eyes wouldn't have noticed that she was mentally kicking herself, but Isabel did because she was too.
"We like to mix sweet things with hot stuff or sweet and spicy", she added. Which was the truth. Isabel pretended to be as relaxed as possible, which was easy considering the practice they'd had, "Weird huh?". She glanced at Alex but both him and Kyle seemed to have turned their attention to Maria who was still looking at the tabasco sauce bottle as if waiting for a cue from her.
This is strange, mused Isabel. Usually people had an instant reaction of staring at them as if they were strangers from space or really weird instead… instead these guys are just staring at Marai
Glancing up to meet her eyes, Maria shrugged and replied, "Not really, I've seen weirder."
Kyle smiled, Alex exhaled, "Yeah," he said, "like your ketchup phase."
Maria closed her eyes and visibly cringed, "Oh, I was so possessed," she said.
"The ketchup phase?" she asked.
Alex turned to his eyes laughing, "Yeah, Maria went through this period for like a year where she had to have ketchup on everything. It was truly bizarre. She had it till-"
"-Okay could we close the book of Maria's demented faux pas?", she moaned covering her eyes with embarrassment.
"Oh no," replied Max joining in with the fun, "I'm really interested in this ketchup phase,"
"Well-"
"Alex!" she warned.
"Maria," he told her innocently, "inquiring minds want to know and it is my duty as a West Roswell High student to give the people what they want."
"And it is your duty as a best friend which overrides your student responsibilities, to respect their wishes and if not expect retaliation."
"Okay," he held up his hands in defeat, "sorry folks but she's got me."
Isabel laughed, this trio were strange. Not only did they shrug off an incredibly strange event as if it was something they saw everyday, they seemed even more bizarre than them. She liked that, she liked them.
"The welcome committee's here," said Alex. Isabel followed his gaze past Maria, Tess and Kyle to see a blond girl strutting towards their table. Everyone turned. Isabel's first thought was, no way were those things real. "Who's that?" asked Tess as she noted the illegally long slit on both sides of her skirt and the arrogant confidence she walked with.
"That" explained Maria with distaste," is Kyle's Monday night, otherwise known as Pam Troy one of the witches of West Roswell," she summarised.
Before Isabel had a chance to ask for more information, Pam Troy was standing smiling before them.
"Hey Kyle," she smiled down at him with her hand placed on his shoulder.
"Hey Pam," he replied.
She looked at him expectantly, "aren't you going to introduce me?"
"As what?" quipped Maria.
Isabel held back a smile, she watched as Pam narrowed her eyes and shot daggers of blue ice at her. Maria returned the greeting by rolling her eyes. Kyle felt the tension; it was no secret that Pam and Maria were not friends not even acquaintances ever since Pam had stolen Richard Aikens from Maria freshman year.
"Um, Pam," he said, trying to diffuse the situation, "meet Max, Isabel and Tess. Guys this Pam Troy."
Max smiled back politely, while Isabel and Tess plastered their faces with fake smiles. Isabel knew girls like Pam in fact she was surprised this little showdown hadn't happened earlier.
"So how do you like it so far?" she asked, her tone and smile friendly but Isabel could practically see her cold blue eyes sizing her up from her shoes under the table to how her hair was styled. She glanced at Tess, their eyes met and a look of understanding passing between them. They were expecting the usual, girls like Pam only wanted one thing. To warn them away from their boyfriends and to size them up as competition.
"It's been pretty good," replied Tess.
"Well if you need anyone to show you around-"
"-thanks", she interrupted, " but Maria, Kyle and Alex have got us settled in okay".
Inwardly she smiled as Pam's eyes flared at being rejected.
"I heard that you were cheerleaders at your old school in L.A.," she began.
"Yeah," replied Isabel. How did she know? she wondered, they hadn't told Maria or Alex or Kyle about cheerleading, the only way she could have that kind of information would be if she had looked at their transfer files. Isabel looked back at the smiling face and realised that yes she probably had done that, Pam seemed like the type.
"We used to, but we don't anymore," added Tess.
"Aww, that's a shame," she replied her voice dripping with sympathy.
All fake, Isabel realised as she saw the twinkle in her eyes.
"I'm head cheerleader…"
surprise, surprise
"…and we're holding tryouts next week…you girls can tryout if you want to, we'd love to have you on board".
Yeah, thought Isabel, so that you can keep an eye on us and make sure we're not a threat.
This girl was definitely good.
"I don't think so," replied Tess.
"Well, the offer's still open," she said.
Isabel saw Maria frown and roll her eyes, she certainly didn't hide her feelings about Pam, Isabel liked that too.
"Thanks anyway," she replied.
"Okay," Pam said as she glanced back down at Kyle, "are we still on for tonight?"
"Um yeah," he nodded uncomfortably.
"Good," she said gently squeezing his shoulder," because I can't wait,". She glanced at Max, "Max, Isabel," she paused as her eyes settled on Tess sending a silent message, "Tess, it was nice meeting you," and with that she turned and slowly strutted back to her table.
She was good, subtle and good, thought Isabel, the hand on Kyle was a nice touch; sending the clear signal that he was hers. That one was aimed for Tess because of the rumours that had already been going around about her and Kyle getting chummy in English.
The table was silent.
"She seemed nice," said Max finally.
"Oh yeah, she's a regular peach," said Maria sarcastically.
Isabel laughed, "yep."
"I take it the rumour mills been working at full pace," said Tess.
"You have no idea," confirmed Maria.
"Not like I don't appreciate celebrating the aftermath of a chick show-down," said Alex, "but I gotta go,"
"Okay, see ya," waved Maria. Alex was gone before Isabel could ask him where he was going.
"Speaking of which," said Kyle, "coach wants see me, so I'll catch you guys later."
After they waved Kyle off, she asked, "Where did Alex go?".
"Oh," said Maria, "He's a like a kid whose parents are divorced and has to alternate living with them."
Isabel had no clue what she was talking about. Maria picking up on that elaborated, "He spends half of lunch with me and the other with Michael and Liz."
"Oh," she nodded, she was going to ask why Alex had to do this but was stopped by Tess who shook her head slightly to signal that this was not the time or the topic and by Max who tactfully pressed on her foot under the table.
I hope he didn't leave a mark on them, they cost me $100. she thought anxiously, then mentally shook herself, What am I thinking, I can easily get rid of a mark
"Okay" clapped Maria. She had a habit of doing that Isabel noticed, whenever she reached a decision about something. "Since we have a good half an hour before class, I'll take is as an opportunity to explain without any bias of course, the cliques around you," she said.
Isabel shook her head smiling this girl is certainly something . She wasn't quite sure what, but she didn't mind waiting to find out.
"See that table in the far corner where Pam came from?" she asked pointing to the table crowded with jocks, cheerleaders and Isabel guessed the followers.
Everyone nodded as they slid over to fill the spaces Alex and Kyle had left.
"Well, those as you can guess are the so called popular people, who think they are the only students worth knowing and forget that there are a whole bunch of us around them."
"Shallow?", asked Isabel
"Yep" she replied.
"Scheming?" inquired Tess
"Yep. Pam, Jamie the red head and Claire the one with the see-through top are the leaders, the rest of them are lemmings. Jocks want to in your pants, granted Kyle is a member of that group but he's one of the good ones. The rest who by the way I can count on one hand."
Isabel laughed, life with Maria was definitely not going to be boring.
"Okay, opposite them are the wannabes defined by their clonish ensembles. Most of them are good people if only they would shed their whole, I-want-to-be-popular drama", she continued.
Isabel listened intently watching the animated blonde before her, Maria didn't know it but she was pretty popular too. Everyone knew who she was and seemed to like her.

"Try it," said Liz.
Michael eyed with white blob wearily, shaking his head he replied "Uh uh".
Liz was trying to get him to taste one of her favourite things, vanilla yoghurt.
Real appealing stuff.
"It tastes good, you'll like it," she insisted.
"I doubt that," he replied.
"How can you know if you'll like it if you haven't tried it?" she insisted bringing the spoon up to his mouth.
Michael gave her a small smile, why oh why had he agreed to her whole -we-need-spend-time-doing-things-we-like-together-and-eating-things-we-like together-trip. So far he had been subjected to watching Pretty Woman three times and reading poetry by some rambling love sick loser and now there's this[I/] he sighed.
Okay so if he ate what she liked, she would have to do the same, Michael concluded an idea formulating in his mind.
"Okay," he relented, "as long as you taste mine after."
Surprised at his sudden change she eyed him suspiciously, Michael stared back at her making sure his expression was unreadable.
"Fine," she replied.
Michael granted entry to the spoon into his mouth and swallowed the yoghurt.
"Well?" she asked expectantly.
"A bit too bland for me," he replied.
"Really?" she asked.
"Really," he replied, "so you ready to try mine?"
"Ready," she replied.
"Okay," taking another scoop of yoghurt, he picked up his bottle of tabasco sauce and poured it on top. He smiled as Liz's eyes widened.
"No," she protested shaking her head. "I am not putting that in my mouth."
"Liz you're the one who said we should both try out what each other likes and this is one of my favourite foods," he replied smiling.
"But mine doesn't burn your mouth."
"Different species," he replied, " now I am willing to let this go if the activities you subject me to are negotiable," he continued, "as in no Pretty Woman, ever and no more poetry. Deal?"
She looked from the tabasco yoghurt and then back to him and sighed, "deal."
"Good," he replied.
She leaned across the table a playful smile appearing on her lips, "So what do we shake it on it?".
Michael leaned in until their noses we touching," I have a better idea," he replied as their lips met.
Sometimes Michael wondered why he had done what he had done, if it was all worth it but when he was with her, touching her, staring into her welcoming eyes all the doubt was washed away. He could talk to her about things he never thought he would be able to tell anyone and when he was with her he felt something he couldn't describe, but it felt good.
"Hey! break up the love fest," interrupted a voice. Michael and Liz broke apart to find Alex sitting on their table.
With the heat of Liz's kisses still lingering on his lips, Michael asked, "When did you get here?".
"A while ago," he replied with amusement, "but you two were just too…um busy to notice," he added.

"Sorry," smiled Liz sheepishly. That was the problem with being with Michael, everyone else seemed to disappear and all she could concentrate on was him.
"No problem," he replied, "So what are you crazy kids up to?".
"Nothing much," she replied, "lunch, the usual, you?"
"Oh you know," he shrugged," liking a girl I can't have, the usual."
"Who's the girl?" she asked curiously.
"Isabel Evans", he replied.
"She's the one with the straight hair right?," she asked.
"Yep, smart beautiful and way out of my league", he replied.
"Alex, don't sell yourself short, I mean you just met her" she replied.
"I'm not," he replied, "I'm just being practical-though we did have a good conversation when I was giving her the tour."
"That's a start," she said enthusiastically.
Alex nodded, Liz smiled at her best friend. Alex really did underestimate himself sometimes, granted he wasn't what most girls went for physically but he was attractive and if they looked hard enough they would see what a great guy he was, she didn't know Isabel but she hoped that she would.
Well she's hanging around with Maria so she's probably nice
"So how's Maria?" she asked. Even though they weren't speaking, she still cared about her and wanted to how she was doing and dealing with the whole thing.
"She's okay," replied Alex, "better than she was a month ago. Today she's great, she's hitting it off really well with Max, Isabel and Tess".
"That's…good," she replied. Sadness and envy washed over her as she glanced over at Maria laughing with her new friends. She was glad that she was okay, that she was happy but she missed her and that would never change.
That's the price I paid she thought sadly.
"So are the rumours true?" she asked. Thinking about Maria and the whole thing wasn't going to help.
"What rumours?" asked Alex.
"About Tess and Kyle," she replied.
"I have has heard of no such rumours," he replied.
Maybe that is because all you've had on your mind all day has been Isabel Evans he told himself.
"You know that they hit it off so well in English that they found their way to the eraser room," she supplied.
Alex nodded, a look of understanding passing over him, "Ohh, that explains the whole Pam showdown. Word must have got back to her about it."
"So it's true?" she asked.
"You gotta hand it to the guy, he doesn't waste any time," said Michael.
Alex shook his head, "sorry to disappoint but it's just a rumour and as far as I know Tess has not yet stepped into the eraser room…but news sure travels fast."
"Yeah" she nodded.
"Are you guys still coming tonight?" he asked.
"Yeah," nodded Michael.
Liz smiled, "Of course I wouldn't miss your first ever professional gig for anything," she replied enthusiastically.
"Even though Maria's going to be there?" he asked. Maria was the lead singer of Alex's band, The Whits, so obviously she was going to be there. Liz's smile faded, for a second she had forgotten that she and Maria were no longer friends, the gig had been planned months ago before she had fallen for Michael and betrayed her.
Liz nodded, "Alex you're my best friend and even though Maria and I aren't friends anymore, we'll be there for the both of you."
"Okay" he replied.
"Nervous?" she asked.
"Oh yeah," he nodded, "but in a good way."

After Alex left a smile spread across Michael's face. It wasn't that he didn't like the guy, it was just that he preferred to be doing something else. Something involving the beautiful brunette across the table and her soft lips. He leaned across the table, "now," he said suggestively" where were we?"
Liz leaned across the table but maintained a distance between them, "here?" she asked playfully.
Shaking his head he replied, "Uh uh."
She moved in closer until their noses touched, in a low voice she asked,
"Here?"
"A little closer," he said huskily.
"He-", Her reply was drowned out by his lips. Minutes later, he groaned as she reluctantly pulled away.
"About tonight," she began,"I think it would be better if I go it alone."
"Because of Maria?" he asked.
She nodded, "I know we shouldn't hide and she's seen us together a few times but tonight's a big night for her and Alex and-"
"You think that us being there together might upset Maria and screw up the whole thing," he summarised.
"Yep," she nodded.
"Okay," he agreed, she did have a point and he still cared about Maria and didn't want to do anything to mess this up for her, "on one condition," he added.
"What?" she asked him suspiciously.
"That for the next ten minutes, we'll do something we both like."
"Really," she said as her lips inched towards his," and what would that be?"
"Let me demonstrate," he replied as their lips met once more.

Isabel was on her way to her last class of the day, history…and she was totally lost. The tour had helped but she still was still fuzzy as to where exactly everything was.
and now I'm walking down this hallway again. The rooms went in numerical order but the stopped at 123, her class was in room 124. The next door she came to, she would enter and ask for directions, she decided.
The first door she came to was open, cautiously walking in, she took in the easels, paintings and pottery around the room.
"Art," she said appreciatively. All the easels were unoccupied apart from the one up front. There, a guy stood painting whilst nodding to the music he was listening to on his walkman.
Isabel curious to see what he was working on, quietly walked up and stood behind him. Glancing over his shoulder she gasped. It was beautiful. The painting was of the desert rock faces at sunset; she could practically feel the passion leaping off the canvas.

The last song on the CD faded into silence. Michael placed the brush between his teeth and looked at his painting. It wasn't bad, he concluded, except the brown tones of the rock face weren't right. He lifted his hand to replace it with the colour he saw in his mind when behind him he heard a gasp. He turned to find Isabel Evans standing very close behind him.
Taking a step back she smiled apologetically," Sorry to sneak up on you like that, I didn't want to disturb you and I was curious to see what your painting was," she explained.
Michael removed the headphones from his ears.
That was a close one, he thought to himself, If I'd noticed her one second later, I could have been screwed.
"No problem," he replied staring at her expectantly.
She offered her hand, "I'm Isabel Evans."
He took it,"Michael Guerin." Michael glanced back to her face and felt his heart jump. Her eyes, her smile, contact, it all seemed familiar…like maybe in another time, in another life-
She let go of his hand, "Have we met before?" she asked.
"I was going to ask you the same thing," he replied.
I know you he thought, but where from?. The answer was dangling in front of him but he couldn't quite make it out.
She stared at him for a second longer as if trying to place him somewhere in her memory, "Um, I was wondering if you could tell me where room 124 is," she asked, "I can't seem to find it anywhere."
"That's because it's on the second floor, go all the way down the corridor up the stairs, through the double doors and it's the first door on your right."
"Thanks," she replied.
He shrugged.
At the door she turned and smiled, "I'll see you around."
"You too," he replied. He stood there for a few minutes staring at the doorway.
let it go Guerin he told himself, you probably saw her walking in the streets or something he rationalised. Yeah, he convinced himself, that was probably it.



[ edited 3 time(s), last at 8-Oct-2002 3:59:14 AM ]
posted on 16-Oct-2002 3:52:26 AM
CHAPTER THREE

A.N. : thanks for the feed back, I loved hearing what you guys thought of the fic and I am really enjoying writing it.
P.S. earlier I wrote Maria as having blue eyes, when really she has green ones, so I changed them back to green. This next part I had to spend a while writing it because I was having soo much fun with it. For those of you who have been waiting for more Ma/Ma interaction, I hope you enjoy this next bit… and also lyrics belong to P.O.D and The Counting Crowings

The moment Max entered the UFO centre, he knew something was wrong. For starters everything, the aliens in the exhibition window, the makeshift space ship, everything was gone.
"Milton?" he called out. When no reply came, Max cautiously made his way to the back room. He placed his hand on the door ready to push it open when a sound coming from the top of the stairs stopped him.
"Hey you, what do you think you're doing!"
Max turned his head sharply to the direction of the voice. At the top of the stairs stood a young blond man with spiky hair, a silver earring dangling from his ear.
"Evans, is that you?"
Max looked at the man in confusion, how does he know me?
"I'm sorry," began as he watched the man descend down the stairs towards him, "I don't-"
"It's me Brody," he replied.
The British accent, of course, Brody!" Wait a minute-
"What are you-"
"Doing in Roswell, when the last time you saw me I was at a hospital in L.A.?"
Max nodded his head.
"It's a long story," he replied.
"Where's Milton?" he asked.
"Gone."
"Where?"
"I don't know, but as of today, I'm the new owner of the UFO centre"
Suspicion surfaced from the corner his mind, Milton selling? That doesn't make any sense
"Milton wouldn't sell this place, it's his life"
"Well he was willing to sell it for the right price," replied Brody, " and there are going to be a few changes around here."
"Such as?"
"Well, I was just about to fire you but since it's you you're still hired."
"Thanks" he replied dryly.
"You still want to know what I'm doing here right?"
"Yeah," he replied.
Max stared at the now familiar features, the man standing before him was a long way from the Brody he had met last year at Christmas. His mother had had appendicitis and was taken into hospital. It was late, Christmas Eve and Max had wandered the halls and got lost. He had spotted this man sat on the floor, his head against the wall and his face in his hands.
"Excuse me," he had asked, "are you okay?"
The man looked tired, sapped of strength, he was pale and his eyes bloodshot from tears.
"Do I look fine?" he replied, not angry, or irritated, just tired.
Max had turned to go, "I'm sorry", he had muttered.
"Wait, I'm sorry," he'd apologised, " it's just it's Christmas eve and my daughter's in here".
Max turned and joined him on the cold floor, "My mum too."
"Leukemia?" he'd asked.
"No….nothing that serious," he'd replied.
"That's what my baby has and the doctors can't do anything for her", he broke. Max nodded, he couldn't imagine how it must feel to see someone you love slowly die and knowing that you didn't have the power to save them.
After a moment of silence he'd finally asked,"How is she doing?"
Brody had smiled sadly as his eyes filled up, "She's hanging in there, she's a fighter."
Max glanced at him, he too was hanging in there, he'd realised, fighting to keep hope and smile for her.
"You looked exhausted," he had said, "let's get something to eat."
They had grabbed something from the cafeteria and walked, Brody talked about his daughter, his life, what she liked to eat, what made her laugh until they reached the parking lot, then Brody threw his coffee and kicked the cars until all the anger had drained away from him. That's when he broke and told Max the whole story. That previously he was some English whizz-kid who helped take an internet company public and became a dot-com millionaire bought off by his company because he claimed to have seen aliens. That one night he had been driving down the Massachusetts Turnpike and then two days later he was back in his car, remembering nothing; the only clue he'd had was when he had a check up and the doctors told him that the terminal cancer had disappeared, vanished.
"And now…"
"And now I want them to do the same for my daughter, I've tried everything I can think of to make contact, hired a team…" he sighed, "nothing".
"And if you made contact?"
"Then I would tell them, ask, beg, give myself over as their eternal toy in exchange for giving my baby a second chance…"
"So", Brody's voice broke through Max's memories," after the aliens healed my daughter I just got this feeling, like I had this mission"
"mission?" he asked.
"yeah, to find them," he said his eyes intense with excitement, "make contact".
"So you came to Roswell and bought the UFO centre", he guessed a knot forming in his stomach.
"what better place to go than to where it all started and Milton has the best alien related information."
"Oh," Max nodded.
"That's what I like about you Evans ",Brody smiled as he slapped him on the back, " you don't react the way everyone else I've told the story to has"
"Thanks"
"What about you, what are you doing here?"
Max shrugged nonchalantly and said," My parents wanted to get away from the city so my Dad took a job offer here."
"That's great!" said Brody," I need someone I can trust to work with me and you Max are my guy."
"Okay," he nodded.
"Listen," he began, "I won't be needing you for today. Come back tomorrow the movers will deliver some computer stuff I ordered and some stuff for the centre that I'll need help with."
"Okay, I'll see you tomorrow," he replied as he made his way to the door.
"You too…" he waved, "and Max, if anyone asks-"
Max turned and smiled," You're just a new guy who bought the UFO centre".
"Thanks," he replied.

Liz placed the order for a plate of two large fries and four cokes, two diet on the table.
"There you go," she said, "can I get you anything else?"
"We're fine thanks," replied Tess curtly.
Alex smiled at her apologetically. Liz smiled back, it was okay, they were Maria's friends, she didn't expect them to be nice to her. Still it felt very alienating to have conversation and laughter die as she approached the table.
"Okay," she replied and went back to the kitchen to grab the next order. Tonight was a busy night for a Thursday, everyone seemed to want to eat at the Crashdown like there was no other place to go. Which though good for business was not good for her feet, it also meant that Maria was working tonight, which is probably why they're here, she thought, to make sure that she's okay . Liz watched enviously as Maria walked over to the table and started talking to them. Liz smiled sadly as she saw her best friend smile and laugh with Isabel, Alex, Kyle and Tess and I'm not part of it.
"Hey," came a voice from behind her. Michael.
"Hey," she replied her gaze still on Maria and her friends.
"She's doing okay," he said.
"I know…its great," she replied. The door to the Crashdown opened, Liz glanced up to see Max Evans standing in the doorway. He looked over at their table and made a motion with his fingers calling someone over to him. She watched as Isabel and Tess slid out of the booth and followed him outside.
I wonder what that's about

"I tried ringing you, but you didn't pick up," said Max.
"Sorry," Isabel shrugged," I put it on vibrate and it was in my purse."
"What's the big emergency?" asked Tess
"Remember Brody?"
Brody, Brody, why does that name sound familiar? Finally it hit her.
"The guy in L.A.?"
"Yeah, only he's here" replied Max as if it was the end of the world.
"What does that have to do with us?" she asked.
"He bought the UFO centre from Milton…to use as a base to try to make contact with aliens."
Oh
"Does he know anything?" she asked. This was not what they needed.
"No, but he trusts me, I'll keep an eye on him, just be-"
"-be careful," they said in unison, "we know."
He glanced at Alex and Kyle in the both who were curiously looking at them realising that they'd been spotted quickly looked away.
"about them too," he added.
Isabel rolled her eyes, a habit she'd learnt from Maria, "You should talk," she said.
"What are you talking about?" asked Max.
He was totally clueless, "You and Maria"
"What about us?" he asked.
"Dinner at her house, dinner at our house, you two are spending a lot of time together," she said.
"We're just friends" he replied.
"Right, like me and Alex".
"and me and Kyle" added Tess.
Max opened his mouth but closed it again. Isabel smiled, she knew that she'd won this round, Max was wayy to serious about things, he needed to loosen up and in the past month he had lessened the nagging about needing to be careful. She figured it was Maria's influence and thanked her for it.
"Just remember-"
"the rules, we know" they replied.
"I'm glad we had this talk Max but I have places to be, are we done?" asked Tess.
"Yeah," he replied as he opened the door and let them through.

Alex quickly glanced down to study the interesting plate of fries as Isabel, Tess and Max came back to the table.
"So you ready to go?" asked Isabel.
"Yeah," he replied as he got up, "is everything okay?"
"Fine," she replied.
They waved to the others and as Alex walked out into the night air with the beautiful Isabel Evans by his side, he couldn't help but feel that this was the best night of his life.

"I guess we better be heading out too, if we want to get some work done," suggested Kyle.
"Right," said Tess as they slid out off the booth.
"See you later Max," they waved.
Max smiled as they disappeared out of the door.
Studying, yeah right.Both Tess and Isabel had spent two hours getting ready for their non-dates and they were lecturing him about spending time with Maria?
Of course he hadn't planned on spending that much time with her at all, it had all started when she'd asked him to help her out with some bio stuff she didn't quite understand as bio wasn't a subject that, as she put it, "moved her furniture". He'd invited her over to his house to study and she'd ended up staying for dinner, to return the favour she'd invited him over to her house and he'd ended up staying for dinner. While he was there, Kyle had invited him over to play on his Playstation 2, Alex had come over and all of a sudden Max had found himself, playing a video-game and having fun. Max didn't know how it had happened but suddenly he'd found himself with friends. He'd never had friends before, he usually kept to himself, just blended in, tried to be part of the crowd…spending time with Maria, Kyle and Alex had shown him what he had been missing.
He glanced down at the two plates of fries on the table.
guess these are for me.
"Oh no!, tell me they didn't,"
Max looked up at her his face a picture of innocence and confusion.
"Didn't what?" he asked innocently.
Maria put her hands on her hips and fixed him with an I-know-so-don't even-pretend look, "Didn't recruit you to join the lets-baby-sit-Maria-club," she replied, "it's sweet and I love you guys for it but really I'm fine, I'm not going to have some big mental breakdown, they're together, I'm dealing. The end."
Max shook his head "I have no idea what you're talking about".
Maria raised a disbelieving eyebrow.
"Really," he insisted, " I just came here to eat."
She cracked a smile, "Did Alex teach you that excuse too?"
Max grinned back, she was too good.
"What'll it be?" she asked.
"The usual," he replied
"burger, fries, saturn rings and a cherry coke right?"
"right" he replied.
He watched as Maria walked away in her heels and shook his head. She truly was one of a kind. She'd been complaining one day about her feet being sore, so he'd asked her why she wore heels waitressing and she'd replied that they made her legs look longer and gave her calves she'd have to work years at the gym to get. Max's eyes travelled up from her legs to her skirt they look pretty good to mehe thought and then caught himself before his thoughts could go any further, Oh no, Maria and I are just friends, I'm not even going down that alley
He sat in the booth eating and watching Maria handle the incoming customer traffic. He switched sides so that he was facing the kitchen where according to Alex, the Maria, Liz and Michael interaction took place. After a while, Max grabbed his chemistry book from his bag, he'd come prepared, while he was waiting for Maria he could freshen up with some chem.
When the Crashdown gets busy, it really gets busyhe thought, Maria was tired he could tell, he watched as she handled a string of impatient and picky customers without killing them, but the worst at least for him came when she was taking a group of biker's orders. Max had been keeping an eye on them as soon as they'd walked into the Crashdown. They were loud and somewhat drunk which always meant trouble for someone. As she turned to leave, one of them leaning dangerously on the back two chair-legs, raised his hand and slapped her butt. Max saw her stop and tense. Her green eyes flared with that anger that was individual only to Maria and for an instant Max thought she was going to turn around and do something but instead she gritted her teeth and exhaled. Anger flowed through him as his glare returned to the leering chuckling biker.
how dare he touch Maria like that, like she's a piece of meat

Calm down, let it go,she coached herself.
Thud!!!
Maria glanced behind her to find the scum biker on the floor, he'd fallen back from his chair. Maria smiled,now I can let it go.
She turned back and found Max staring at her, he looked over to the embarrassed biker trying to get up and then back at her.
He saw the whole thingshe thought, noticing his expression she made her way over to him and slid into the booth.
"Are you okay?" he asked his amber eyes clouded with quiet anger and concern.
Time for some damage control, She knew what kind of guy he was and she didn't need him getting into a bar fight trying to protect her honour. Besides, I can handle them on my turf . "I'm fine," she reassured him. "I can handle guys like him."
He looked at her dubiously. She leaned in conspiratorially and in a low voice said, "It just so happens that when I bring orders, I sometimes get a little clumsy," she broke into a grin," last time that happened, I happened to have a large coke in my hands," she winked.
He smiled back the worry evaporating from his eyes.
She looked over at the clock it was 9:00pm.
Okay enough is enough, I don't need to be babysat or for Max to give up his time for something I can handleshe decided, "Seriously Max, it's getting late and I'm fine. To tell you the truth I'm too busy working to think about them."
"I don't mind sitting here, really," he replied, "I don't have anything else to do."
"You can…I don't know" she shrugged, "watch t.v., sleep, it's what I'd like to do about now," she replied.
"I choose to do this instead," he replied stubbornly.
Too tired to argue, she held up her hands in defeat, "Fine," she said as she slid from the booth, "I'll catch you later".
"later," he replied.

Later Maria slid into his booth and sighed.
Max glanced up at her from his book, "What's wrong" he asked.
She looked at him with tired eyes, "That was Mr Evans on the phone, I just found out that he didn't finish ordering up all the stock for tomorrow and he's in Alberquerqe right now getting here late. So as well as cleaning up, we have to finish ordering up the stock and we're short staffed."
"I could help," he volunteered.
"Really?," she said her eyes suddenly lighting up, "that would be great." Before Max had a chance to pack up his books she was already pulling him out of the booth," come on, I'll show you the store room."
Marvelling at her sudden burst of energy Max followed as Maria led him into the back.

Liz was on her way back from her break, when the store room door opened and a hand pulled her in.
Her fear melted away its owner turned out to be Michael.
"Hey," he said and before she could reply he was kissing her. Liz sighed blissfully surrendered to the kiss, her five minute break could not compare to the restorative power his lips possessed. He was exactly what she needed. "Hey" she replied breathlessly.
"Busy night," he said as his lips trailed down her neck.
Liz sighed with pleasure, "uh huh," hungry for his lips, she took his face in between her palms and guided him from her neck, back to her lips.
Breaking the kiss she said, "I'm on a break".
He grinned at her as his fingers caressed her cheek, "Me too," he replied.
"Yours just started," she smiled as his mouth moved to her ear, "I gotta get back,"
"In a minute," he insisted and as his lips came crashing back on to hers, she didn't have the desire to argue

"Thanks soo much for doing this Max," she said as she led him to a door.
"No problem" he replied.
With her hand on the door knob she turned to him and smiled, "I owe you one".
They stepped in and froze.
There against the shelves were Michael and Liz entwined in each others arms. Realising that they had an audience, they quickly disentangled themselves from each other. The room was silent as they all nervously awaited her reaction. Max was speechless, this was not what he had been expecting to find in the store room neither did Mariahe thought miserably as he glanced at her. She looked up at him.
"Well" she said calmly," this is the store room," and then she turned and left.

The store room remained silent as Michael and Liz both processed what had just happened.
Michael ran his fingers through his hair and sighed, "That was not good."
Why was it that after everything, he was still finding ways to hurt Maria?
"I know," replied Liz unhappily.
"What do we do now?" he asked.
Maria had seen them together and she seemed like she was getting used to it but…the last time she saw us like this, was when she found me and Liz on my couchhe thought guiltly. Way to go Guerinhe cheered miserably.
Liz sighed, "There's nothing we can do, I mean we can't apologise, she won't accept it or…care. We just have to make sure something like this never happens again".

Max followed her out into the cool night. She stood with her back to him.
"I'll be okay," she said, before he asked.
She turned to him, smiled sadly, eyes filled with hurt and tears.
"I mean they're a couple and that's what couples do…I'm not usually like this, I got used to it you know seeing them together…tonight believe it or not I'd actually forgotten that they were together. But finding them there, like that…I just wasn't prepared for it tonight."
Max looked at the bleeding girl before him, the laughter vanished from her eyes and felt his throat constrict. She was in pain and she didn't deserve to be, Maria was this rainbow, this light and to see her in pain made his heart ache. "I don't think you can prepare for something like that," he said softly.
She ran her palms across her face and through her hair and sighed in frustration, "It's just I'm so sickof it Max, the pain, the hurt, the anger, sometimes it goes away and then sometimes bamm! it just comes like this hailstorm and I know that's part of dealing but I just want it to stop."
Max pulled her into his arms and held her as she cried into his chest.
"It will, someday" he said softly stroking her hair.
"but I want it to stop now," came the muffled answer.
"One step at a time," he said sympathetically.
Resting her head on his chest she said softly, "Stepping is too slow,"
"Then walk," he replied smiling.
"I don't want to walk, I want to run," she said.
Max chuckled, felt her relax and sighed with relief, she was still Maria and she was going to be okay. She looked up at him and smiled, "thanks." She broke from the hug, straightened her uniform and flashed him a Maria I'm-okay-smile.
"Ready to go back in?" he asked.
"Yep," she nodded, "just need to make a pit stop by the ladies, I'm pretty sure this mascara is not waterproof".
Max laughed as he held the door open for her, the words came out before he could even think about them, "You're beautiful anyway."
"Aww shucks Evans," she grinned, "you're making me blush."

By10:00pm the Crashdown was empty of the noise and chatter which had filled its walls hours earlier.
Max stood in the middle of the floor and waited as Maria flipped over the open sign to closed. He really admired this girl. After "the incident", she'd walked back in and calmly told Liz about the problem of her father's lateness, they'd arranged for her and Michael to do the stock while he and Maria would do the cleaning up.
"Finally," she said as she leaned against the door.
Max smiled as she kicked off her heels and massaged her feet. Her eyes met his amused I-told-you-so eyes, "I know, I know," she said, "I shouldn't have worn them, at least on a busy night."
"So what do we do now?" he asked.
She walked over to the stereo and put in a c.d.,"now comes the fun part."
Max looked at her incredulous, "Cleaning up is fun?"
"If you do it the Maria way," she replied as she started putting up the chairs.
He followed suite, "and what way is that?"
"with music," she replied as she pressed play and music filled the Crashdown.
Max smiled,Of course.

"Alien ballons," said Michael tiredly.
"check," replied Liz.
"How long is the list?" he asked. He was now officially tired and his bed was calling to him.
"About ten and then we're good to go," replied Liz.
She looked towards the door as music filtered through, "Looks like Maria and Max have already started," she said. The music was another reminder of what she couldn't do with Maria anymore. Closing was the best bit because she and Maria would turn up the music and dance while they worked, it used to be great. Again used to be being the key word.

Recognising the words and tune he said, "Hey, the Counting Crows, I didn't know you liked them."
"I didn't intially, but after finding out about ''them'' I went through, Pink, Kelis, Alanis and then Ifound this album and I gotta say it rocks."
"They're my favourite band," he replied.
"I know," she said, seeing his surprised look she added, "I checked out your c.d. collection."
"Oh," he replied and smiled, I wonder what else she looked through, my sock drawer?Although he wouldn't put it past Maria, the girl was very curious.
Once the chairs had been placed on top of the tables, Maria threw Max a broom while she wiped the table tops. Just then, American Girls, came on and Maria squealed with joy, " I love this song". Max laughed and went back to sweeping shaking his head as Maria danced and wiped to the song.
Leaning against the broom he watched with interest as she slid from table to table shaking her hips, her curly hair bouncing energetically around her, she looked up, caught him watching her and smiled.
"Come on," she said, "we've gotta set up the glasses and plates and then we're good to go."
Max sat on the stool while Maria went around the other end, together they systematically set up the glasses and plates. Max couldn't help but get caught up in the music and energy that was Maria and he too started singing along to the songs. In what seemed like minutes, everything was done ready for the morning.
"Looks like we're done," he said.
"Yeah, just one more thing," she said.
He looked at her questioningly as she stopped the music mid-song and the melody of "American Girls" filled the room again.
She comes out on Fridays every time
Stands out in a line
I could have been anyone she'd seen
She waits another week to fall apart
She couldn't make another day
I could have been anyone you see
She had something breakable just under her skin
He sat captivated by her as she shook her head from side to side, a flicker of mischief flashed in her eyes as she danced towards him.
"Uh uh," he said shaking his head.
American girls are weather and noise
Playing the changes for all of the boys
Holding a candle right up to my hands
Making me feel so incredible

"Oh yes," she said nodded. She was not taking no for an answer, Max was a nice guy, a great friend, a little on the quiet side but that was okay. No the thing about Max Evans that worried Maria was that he walked around like he had the fate of the world on his shoulders, he kept himself in this shell which kept him from having fun, letting lose and I'm going to do something about that, she thought as she pulled him up "Dance with me Evans."
She comes out of closets every night
But then she locks herself away
Where she could keep everything from me
I could have been anyone you see
She's nothing but porcelain underneath her skin
Max followed as she dragged him into the middle of the floor, "if you'd actually try it Max, you'd find out that you'd actually have fun" she paused for effect, "…unless of course you can't dance," she challenged him.
"Can't dance?" he repeated with raised eyebrows.
"Uh huh," she nodded grinning.
American girls are weather and noise
Playing the changes for all of the boys
Holding a candle right up to my hand
Making me feel so incredible

Max grinned accepting her challenge, took her hand spun her around and dipped her and pulled her back up.
"I'm impressed," she replied, he laughed, how did she make him do things like this?

"How many times has she played that song now?" asked Michael.
"Four, she must like it" replied Liz.
"Well we're done here", he said Finally", we better get going," he added, "my bed is calling to me."
"Yeah me too," replied Liz. As they made their way to the front of the cafe loud almost drunken voices filtered through. Liz looked up at Michael puzzled, quietly they pushed open the back room door to be bombarded with Maria and Max's loud voices.
Liz raised her eyes in surprise to see Max and Maria dancing and singing along to the music like drunken friends.
"Little shiver shaking me everyday," they sang," But I could get this same thing anywhere, So if she goes away, Well, it's alright and I'm ok "
Only drunk with laughter and joy "That is sweet," she smiled.
"Yeah," replied Michael as a bitter feeling rose from within him. He unconsciously clenched his jaw as his eyes fixed on Max's hands on Maria's waist, did he have to have them there?
His gaze returned to Maria, she was smiling, her eyes were shining, like the old Maria. Max is doing that to her,he thought jealousy flowing through him. Right then and there, he wanted to use his powers to do to Max what he'd done to the scumbag who had been harassing Maria tonight. Only Max isn't leaning swinging back and forth on a chair and he isn't harassing her, he's making her smile
Hey, she said come back again tonight
And I said, I might, I might, I might
She said, well that's alright
If it's alright, it's alright with you
If it's alright, if it's alright with me
He watched as she singing along to the words walked backwards drawing enticing Max to her with her finger he followed as if pulled by an invisible string and vice versa.
I waited for an hour last Friday night
She never came around
She took almost everything from me
I'm going through my closets
Trying on her clothes, almost everyday
I could have been anyone you see
I wish it was anyone but me
Nothing but pills and ashes under my skin.
She seemed really happy and he was glad after all he was with Liz she deserved to have someone too.
Right,he thought as they leaned in foreheads almost touching singing out the chorus to each other,
American girls, oh
American girls
American girls
Oh, oh, oh, oh

American girls, oh
American girls
American girls
Oh, oh, oh, oh

You made me cry
You made me cry
You made me cry
Yeah, you made me cry
You made me cry
Hey, Miss American Girl
Oh, oh, oh, yeah
Max twirled her around, dipped her and brought her back up again as the last notes of the song died down. He watched as she looked up smiling at him and for every time he blinked he felt something sharp pierce his heart. The next time he opened his eyes to meet her bright, wide-eyed ones. Realising that she had an audience, Maria released her hands from Max and vice versa.
"Oh, so are you guys finished?" her cheeks were flushed and she was smiling,
beautifulMichael thought.
"Um yep," replied Liz.
Turning to Max she said, "I guess we better get going too,".
"Do you want me to walk you home?" he asked.
Michael stood watching the interaction, it's like we're invisible or something
"Max, Roswell isn't exactly a hot bed of criminal activity," she replied as she grabbed her bag from behind the counter. "Anyway I've got the jetta tonight and since Isabel has the jeep, I think I should be the one offering you a ride home since Isabel has the jeep tonight."
"And I accept," he replied grabbing his backpack.
"See you guys tomorrow," she waved as they left.
Michael was taken aback, that was the first time since this whole thing had happened that Maria had actually truly, for lack of a better word been positive to them.
Equally stunned Liz asked, "Did she just say goodnight and wave?".
"Uh huh," he nodded.
"Wow, I guess Max is really good for her," she replied.
"I guess he is," he replied.
He should be happy, Maria was happy but for some reason all he wanted was to beat up Max Evans.

Max breathed in the cool night air and chuckled to himself.
"What?" asked Maria as she unlocked her car.
Shaking his head he replied, "nothing. It's just I never thought being Isabel's practice dummy would come in handy?"
Strapping in her seat belt she demanded, "Explain"
Max smiled, "When we were kids, Isabel went to dance classes, everything from ballet to ballroom and for ballroom she used to always make me practice with her at home." As soon as the words left his mouth, Max reprimanded himself. There you go again, telling her more information about yourself. He didn't know how it happened but when he was with Maria his mouth and brain suddenly seemed to lose contact, she asked a question and instead of doing what he always did which was lie or give a vague reply, he went into detail and told her everything.
Starting the engine she said," A guy who can dance is definitely a plus."
"So are your nights always like tonight?" he asked.
"You mean, Liz and Michael wise or busy wise"
"Both" he replied.
"No for a] and yes for b] busy nights are always like this but believe it or not cleaning up makes up for it."
Max had to agree on that, never in his life had helping someone clean up been more fun. I'll have to use that when it's my turn to do the dishes and when cleaning up my room the normal way
Maria leaned over to turn on the radio, that was when Max become aware of her aroma, a mixture of strawberries and cedar oil. He inhaled. It was a strange mixture of scents, pleasing, unique, Maria.
Swept away by her scent, Maria's shout jolted Max back to reality. "Oh yes!",
"What?" he asked.
She turned up turned the knob on the radio till the loud rock music filled the car.
"Alive by P.O.D, another of my favourite songs,"
Pleasantly surprised he grinned, "Me too."
"Is this my night or what," she said.
Max shook his head in amusement as she nodded her head to the song and sang along.
Everyday is a new day
I’m thankful for every breath I take
Turning to him she said, "don't act like you don't want to." Max laughed as he started singing the lyrics," So I learn from my mistakes, It’s beyond my control, sometimes it’s best to let go, Whatever happens in this lifetime, So I trust in love, You have given me peace of mind…."

Isabel closed the door behind her, leaned against it and sighed.
"Isabel is that you?" came a call from the living room.
"Yes," she replied as she walked in to say goodnight to her parents. They had a habit of staying up late waiting for them to get home if they went out.
"Did you have a good time?" asked her mother.
Isabel smiled brightly, "Yeah, I did." Kissing them on the cheek she said, "I'm beat though so I'm gonna go up to bed."
"Goodnight," they sang happily.
"Good night" she replied as she trudged up the stairs.
Closing her bedroom door she kicked off her shoes and dropped dejectedly onto the bed. "Tonight was not a good night," she said aloud.
"Why what happened?" asked a voice.
Startled Isabel jumped to find Tess leaning against the door which led to the bathroom holding a tooth brush. Exhaling slowly, she followed Tess into the bathroom. Isabel loved Tess living with them, back in L.A. after Nasedo died she had lived on her own; but when they moved to Roswell, they figured that since she spent so much time there as if she already lived there, it would be better if she stayed with them and made it permanent. The bathroom separated their rooms and linked them together. This was primarily due to the fact that when moving, Max had put in a special request for them to have a house with two bathrooms so that he could take a long hot shower in the morning, something which with three women in the house…was sometimes not possible.
She grabbed some facial cleansing tissue and wiped her face, "It was great," she said.
Tess raised an incredulous eyebrow.
"It really was. We drove out to Fraizer Woods and sat on the jeep's bonnet, talking and staring at the stars. Seriously of all four dates I've been on this past month this was the best one I've had". At the word date Tess's eyebrows peaked with interest, Isabel caught herself,"… if we were to call it a date, which it wasn't."
Tess rinsed her mouth and placed her toothbrush in its holder.
"Okay," she said following Isabel back to her room," so what ruined this perfect non-date".
Whilst changing into her pyjamas, Isabel told her the news "he asked me out…on an official date."
"And you said…"
"No."
"Really? I thought you liked Alex."
"I do," she replied as she tied her hair into a pony tail, " he's a really sweet, fun and good looking guy in that unobvious way, but I only think of him as a friend, a really good friend."
I wish I felt that way about him, but I don't
"He likes you," stated Tess.
"I know".
"a lot"
Frustrated she replied, "I know that Tess!," She dropped herself on her bed next to her, "I just hope things won't be too awkward between us"
"Well, I could always mind warp him for you. Make him forget that he asked you out, or", noting the twinkle in her eyes, Isabel braced herself , " you could do a little dream walking magic and change his mind about you," she suggested.
Isabel shook her head smiling, that was Tess' answer to everything, "Um, no thanks"
it wouldn't change his heart anyway
"Well the offers always open."
"I think I'll pass. Anyway how was your night?"
"Great, we got some work done and then just kinda chilled."
Isabel scrutinised her face.
"You really like him don't you?" she asked.
Tess blushed as she nodded, "Yeah,"
"So what are you waiting for, date him"
"I can't" her smile vanishing.
"Why?"
"The rule"
"Oh."
The rule. It was simple date but don't get attached, don't get too close, don't let anyone in, because getting attached to people was like giving them the kiss of death.
"So you don't just like him like him," she said.
Tess shook her head, "It's different with Kyle you know. Sure he's good looking and has a great body but if I got into something with him, I don't think I'd want it to last just a week or two. He's not the kind of guy I want to use up and throw away, I wanna keep him around."
Isabel sighed, "the rule sucks."
"yep," agreed Tess.
"So what are you going to do?"
"Summon every ounce of self control I have when I'm near him," she replied.
Isabel smiled empathetically, "Sounds like a plan,"
Tess nodded, "Anyway," she said leaping off her bed, "I better hit the sack, school tomorrow."
"yeah goodnight".
"night".
Isabel turned off her lights and crawled into bed. Minutes later the sound of a car pulling up to the drive woke her up. Peering from behind her curtains, she saw Max turn and say something to Maria, her reply made him smile.
a wide smile at that noted Isabel with interest. He got out and watched her drive off, then strolled humming as he walked towards the house.
Isabel leaned back with surprise, Max humming?
She shook her head with pleasant disbelief, Well at least one of us had a great night

After saying goodnight to his parents, Max made his way to his bedroom. As he passed Isabel's room her door swung open.
"Hey, had a good night?" she hinted suggestively.
Max smiled and walked past her, "Good night Iz."
Max went to bed humming, as he closed his eyes the chorus played in his head
I feel so alive for the very first time
I can’t deny you
I feel so alive
I feel so alive for the very first time
And I think I can fly
He realised pleasantly as the power of sleep disguised as an aroma of strawberry and cedar oil over took him, that for the first time in his life he truly felt alive.



[ edited 3 time(s), last at 7-Feb-2003 8:44:44 AM ]
posted on 27-Oct-2002 2:25:02 PM
thanks for the bumpage guys *happy*
quote:
BelevnDreamsToo , as a "Diehard-Max-and-Liz-MUST-end-up-together-madly-passionately-only-in-love-with-each-other-DREAMER continue to read this story??? You have me VERY worried!!!

If I told you that, it would give away well...not the end because I'm not sure how this fic is going to end, it's my first unprepared fic so I keep surprising myself with what happens. I can advise you to read this next part and make up your own mind*wink*
Anyway enough of my rambling*happy* here's the next part, enjoy*happy*

CHAPTER FOUR

"Isabel, Tess come on!" he yelled. This was ridiculous, he was not going to be late just because they couldn't decide on what clothes to wear. He had a feeling that it had to do with Alex and Kyle, Isabel had mumbled something about choosing her friend outfit whatever that was but right now he didn't care, he just wanted them dressed and ready to go.
"Isab-"
"-Alright," she said as they descended down the stairs, "we're coming, calm down."
"What's the hurry?" asked Tess innocently.
Max looked up to the sky and shook his head with fond exasperation.
"Never mind," he muttered as they ushered into the jeep.
"So, I hear you had a great night with Maria," said Tess casually.
He glanced over at Isabel who was holding back a smile. "We had a good time," he replied evenly. He was not going to let them make this into some big thing when it wasn't. He'd spent time with Maria and they'd had fun together, that was it.
Changing the subject he asked, "Speaking of nights how did your non-dates go?"
"Mine went fine, but Isabel broke poor Alex's heart," replied Tess.
Max nodded, hence the pink cardigan. It was her let's-just-be-friends sweater, she wore soft colours when she felt sad or somehow vulnerable or when she wanted what she called the-girl-next-door look.
Max glanced at her, she was busy staring straight ahead, "You could go out with him you know," he began, "just-"
"I know, I know. The rule. Look…" she turned to him and glanced at Tess, " if I wanted to date him I would, but I don't. He's a sweet guy but I only think of him as a friend. Okay?"
"Fine," he replied suppressing a smile but I think the lady doth protest too much

"Maria! Five more minutes and then I'm leaving!" yelled Kyle. No way was he going to be late. Again. The jetta was in the garage and the Mustang was back from the garage, so he had to give her a ride to school. I can't wait till it gets back he thought, maybe then I can make it to school on time. It had all started okay, she'd spent her usual Maria overtime in the bathroom but he'd counted on that and he'd woken up earlier, eaten breakfast and was ready to go. Maria was still in her room agonising not on what to wear, he'd already been subjected to a parade, but how to wear her hair. Kyle figured it had something to do with the way she came in last night with a small smile humming to herself, but right now he really didn't care.
"Maria!"
"I'm coming," she replied as she bounced cheerfully down the stairs. "Well," she looked at him expectantly, "we better get going or we'll be really late."
Kyle clenched his jaw turned and got into the car.
"Can't you choose your clothes and hair the night before or something?" he asked grouchily.
"What's with you? did your date with Tess not go according to plan?" she asked.
He started the car, "It wasn't a date," he replied, "we were working on a project together."
"Right," she said incredulous, "that's why you actually cleared up your room and hid your playboys wayyy under the bed?"
Kyle blushed, "I told you not to go in my room!"
"Whatever," she replied, "so anyway, how did the non-date go? Get a goodnight kiss?"
"Actually yes," he replied.
"really?" her green eyes lit up with interest, " When, where, spill it" she demanded.
Recalling the feeling of her soft lips on his cheek he smiled, " In the car when I drove her home, she kissed me on the cheek."
"Progress," she said.
"not fast enough," he said. Ever since she'd walked into his life, all he'd wanted to do was be more than friends with her. She was all he could think about in his dreams and in reality.
"have you tried asking her out?".
"I'm not that confident yet," he replied. If Tess rejected him, he didn't know if he could recover from that, besides, " I wanna take it slow," he added.
"Kyle Valenti taking it slow" she marvelled, " You must really like her."

Someone slumped against the locker next to her, "Tell me the truth Liz, am I un-dateable?"
Liz grabbed her books for French and closed her locker, "I take it last night didn’t go too well?".
His hand made a motion of a flying plane falling to the ground, "Crashed and burned," he replied miserably.
Taking in his body language she smiled sympathetically, "That bad huh?".
He turned to her, his eyes pained, "she said she just wanted to be friends,"
"Oh."
"Yep, she said that she didn't see me in that way."
"I'm really sorry Alex," she said.
"Story of my life," he sighed sadly.
The bell for class sounded.
"Talk later?" she asked.
"Yep," he waved sadly.

The two cars pulled into the car park at the same time and screeched to a halt next to each other. Kyle and Maria rushed out of the Mustang while Tess, Isabel and Max hurriedly exited the jeep. Seeing the look on Max's face as they entered the building, Kyle said, "Took too long getting ready for school huh?"
Max nodded.
"Same here," he said. He looked at them busy chatting away and shook his head, "Women."
"I think it's just our women," said Max.
"Hey Max, headed over to Civics?" called Maria.
"Yep" he replied.
"See you guys later," she waved as she and Max ran down the corridor. Isabel headed to her History class leaving Kyle with Tess, he stood there awkwardly. Unsure of what to say he said the first thing that came into his mouth -" you look nice today."- and immediately regretted it.
You look nice? What kind of dumb ass remark is that?
She gave him this strange look, "Um thanks, but don't you think we better be heading to English?"
"Right," he replied as he followed behind her.
what a way to start the day

Max had just rounded a corner when Maria screeched to a halt and muttered something along the lines of "Oh crap!".
What the-
She grabbed a hold of his arm and pulled him back around the corner.
"Maria what are you doing?"
He stood puzzled as she flung open a door and pulled him inside.
"Maria-"
"shush!," she whispered.
Max watch mystified as she listened intently as the footsteps came closer and closer, stopped and then walked past them. Maria waited until the footsteps had faded to talk.
Slowly exhaling she straightened up and looked up to him and smiled, "Mrs Merton, I owe her an essay due, I was supposed to hand it in today but I forgot it on my desk."
That was all because of an essay? , "Why don't you hand it in tomorrow?" he asked whispering.
"because" she replied sheepishly, " it was due four weeks ago, at lunch I'll need to go back home and get it. Mrs Merton is not one lady I'd like to tangle with."
"You do know that we are now officially late for class," he said.
"At least I don't get slaughtered by Mrs Merton and you finally got to see the eraser room," she said optimistically.
The what? Max looked around him. They were in a small room with shelves and a bench and…erasers.
"This is the eraser room" he said slowly as his mind processed the full implications.
the eraser room where people make-out. And you're in here with Maria Suddenly Max was finding it difficult to breathe and when he did, all he could smell was that intoxicating Maria scent, that's when he realised that he was still holding onto her hand but he didn't let go.

"Yes," she confirmed. Her heart stopped, her mouth went dry.
I'm in the eraser room with Max Evans
Why was it all of a sudden she felt like she couldn't breathe?
Okay Deluca, breathe she coached herself. Her eyes slowly travelled from his chest to his chin it's just Max, the guy you hang out with, a friend - to his nose- the guy you had fun with last night - the bridge of his nose… - the guy with mysterious amber eyes so deep that you could drown yourself in them.
Why is my heart beating faster? she thought faintly as her gaze remained fixed on his eyes, and why do I have the sudden desire to see what kissing him would feel lik- Oh no! no way, I am not going down this road! Look away!! she ordered herself, but her eyes wouldn't move and Max had let go of her hand and was moving closer towards her filling in the space between them.
"Um I guess we should be getting to class," she blurted out. The spell broken he said, "Um yeah, I guess we should."
Maria sighed with relief great save . A romantic relationship was not what she needed right now, make that ever.

Max put his hand to turn the door handle when Maria's hand covered his stopping him.
"Wait," she said.
"What?".
"We have to make sure no-one's in the hallway," With her hand still on top of his, crouching down, she slowly pushed down the handle and pushed the door slightly open. She glanced from side to side and turned back to him. She gave him the thumbs up, "All clear."
He gave her a mock salute ,"Roger agent Deluca"
She giggled,"shut up"
He grinned, "How are we going to explain being late for class?".
Pushing the door open further she turned to him and replied, " I don't kno-" Before she could finish, the door was pulled open bright light filling the room. Max stepped back as Maria stood up from her crouched position. His heart sank when he saw Mr Reynolds standing in front of them with a bewildered then unimpressed expression on his face.
"Ms Deluca, Mr Evans, Principal's office now!".

Alex looked up as Isabel breathless and radiant entered the classroom.
"Sorry, I'm late," Ms Blenkinsop she breathed.
"That's alright Isabel, just don't make a habit of it," she said smiling.
This was it, he prepared himself, the post-Alex-making-a-fool-of-himself meeting.
This he thought nervously as she made her way towards him, would be a good time for the ground to open up and swallow me
She gave him an doubtful smile as she slid into the seat next to him, "Hi,"
Despite the fact that his heart was pounding against his chest, he managed what he hoped was a casual, "Hey."
He turned his attention back to the board and blindly started writing down what was on it, all the while aware of the goddess sitting next to him, her breathing, her perfume and the awkward silence existing between them.
I should say something. he thought as she too began copying from the board. He opened his mouth but nothing came out Okay, so she won't go out with me, so what? It was a long shot anyway. I shouldn't jepordize our friendship because of it
He turned to her at the same time as she did to him.
"Listen, about last night," they said in unison.
"You go first," he said quickly, that way he could figure out what to say next.
She leaned in and lowered her voice, "It's just, I don't things to be awkward between us-what I mean is I don't want anything to change…I mean we are okay right?"
"Right," he replied with a smile.
"Great," she sighed with relief.
She turned back to the board. Alex stared at her for a moment before doing the same. He would take what he could get and if friendship was all she could offer then that was fine with him.

Maria sat in the chair next to Max in front of the Principal Roney's desk. They had spent all of first period sat outside his office while he was in a meeting with Maria apologising to Max about…well everything. She figured he was the kind of guy who never got sent to the principals office, she wasn't exactly a veteran but she'd been once or twice.
"I understand you two were caught um, in the eraser room when you were supposed to be in class," he began, "now I'm going to ask you once, is there any other reason other than the expected as to why you were in there?"
Maria drew in her breath, "Actually-"
"-No" interrupted Max. Maria turned to him in surprise, what was he doing? She was trying to get him out of trouble. He met her gaze and held it while he finished, "There's no other reason why we were in there."
"Maria?"
She turned her attention back to Principal Roney, "huh?"
"Is that true?"
"Um, yeah what he said," she replied.
"Okay," he picked up the phone and dialled a number, "I'm calling your parents but you two have earned yourself after school detention."
While he was talking to Max's parents on the phone Maria turned and mouthed an apology to him. He shrugged, smiled and mouthed "It's okay". Maria didn't feel that it was okay though. She'd landed both her and Max in detention, because she'd dragged him into her mess. Granted he had implicitly refused the option of an out when he'd covered for her, but still… he in essence protected her from being massacred both by Mr Roney and Mrs Merton and once again, she owed him one.
The principal passed the phone to Max because his mother wanted to talk to him. Maria watched he listened intently to what she was saying and nodded his head and finally said, "Okay" and handed the phone back to him. He caught her looking and smiled comfortingly.
"Maria," said Principal Roney, "you're mother wants to talk to you."
Maria took the phone and placed it against her ear, she was not looking forward to this.

Max watched as Maria talked to her mother, having met Amy Deluca he was glad Maria was the one having the conversation.
"Mum, I know," she replied to whatever her mother was saying.
"Of course I know-"
"Mum, mum! I'm handing you back to the principal now, we'll talk later."
He watched as she sighed with relief, she caught him looking and smiled back. This was the first time he had ever been sent to the Principal's office for discipline and it would figure that it would be with Maria he mused.
Principal Roney wrote them a note explaining their lateness to biology and excused them from his office.
Once they were out Maria her inquisitive green eyes on him, "Why did you lie? I was perfectly okay with telling the truth, sure it would have got me into trouble but I deserved it. You didn't."
"I know I didn't have to," he replied, "but I wanted to."
He hadn't even know what he was going to say but when Principal Roney asked the question, it seemed the most natural thing to do.
She shook her head, her pony tail swinging like a pendulum, "You are too much, Max Evans," she said.
"Is that a good thing?" he asked.
"Yeah," she grinned, "it's definitely a good thing."
On their way to biology, Maria opened the note Principal Roney had written and stopped in her tracks.
"What's wrong?" he asked.
Reading it out loud she said, "Evans and Deluca late because they were caught in the eraser room. They have detention with you tonight."
"So?" he asked.
"So, Mr Whitmore is the kind of guy who takes pleasures in notes like this."
"What do you mean?" he asked.
"You'll see," she replied mysteriously as she pushed open the door to their class.

Tess looked up as Maria and Max entered the classroom. She watched along with the rest of the class with interest as Maria handed Mr Whitmore a note, he read it and nodded to them to take their seats.
"Oh and in future I'd recommend that you make your trips to the eraser room before school and during your free periods."
Tess' eyes grew wide, Max and Maria in the eraser room? She glanced over at Max and saw him blush as he whispered something to Maria. She in turn nodded and smiled.
Envy rose up from within her but it quickly passed. She met Max's gaze and raised an enquiring eyebrow. He replied with a smile and mouthed "later".
You can bet on that she thought to herself. Isabel had told her about his night with Maria but she didn't think that they'd got to that stage yet.
"Go figure," she said aloud.
"It's great isn't it," said Liz beside her. Tess followed her gaze to Max and Maria, "Why is it so great?" she asked.
"That Maria's got somebody," she replied.
Tess nodded understanding, "So you're thinking that it will take the pain off you and Michael and maybe you two could become friends again?" she asked.
Her eyes widened.
that's all the confirmation I need
"It's great that you're happy for her," she said, " but I doubt that she'll welcome you with open arms".
Hurt flickered in her eyes but Tess didn't care, did she truly expect everything to be okay just because Maria and Max were looking like they were a couple?
Well at least on us of is having fun she thought ruefully. English with Kyle had been awful. Sitting next to him, smelling him and knowing what she wanted to do with him had distracted her all throughout English.
Self-control Tess, you can do it

As the bell for lunch rang, Liz picked up her test paper with dread, her eyes travelled to the top right hand corner to see her grade. There in bright red marker was her grade, D.
A D?! she thought dismayed. This was the lowest grade she'd ever got and the fact that it was in Advanced Chemistry didn't help. Looking around the class she spotted Mr Kenrick disappearing out of the door. Grabbing her bag she ran after him.
"Mr Kenrick!" she shouted as she dodged the swarms of students making their way to lunch. He stopped, turned and waited for her to catch up and then began walking again.
"What is it Ms Parker I'm running late."
Struggling to keep up with him she said, "It's about my grade Sir"
"What about it?"
"Well, it's a D and I was wondering if by any chance I could retake the test or do some extra credit which could bring it up?" she asked hopefully.
He stopped in his tracks and turned to her, "Ms Parker, I don't give retakes plus there are many other students in the class who not only passed but in fact got As and Bs. Now if you're finding the class too difficult then feel free to leave-"
"No!" she exclaimed, softening her voice she continued," it's just that I'm having a little trouble understanding some concepts that's all and was wondering if maybe you could go over them with me?"
"I've gone over them numerous times in class Ms Parker and it seems to me that most students have grasped the concepts, so I see no reason to waste my time going through them again…"
Liz's heart sank with disappointment. She could not fail that class.
"…However" he continued- hope rose within-"… I do advocate students helping each other and so would recommend that you ask one of your class mates to tutor you."
Liz was about to ask if he had anyone in mind when he added, " I'd in particular suggest Max Evans." As quickly as it had come, her hope was dashed. Oblivious to the change in her emotions Mr Kenrick continued, "Granted he is new but he seems to have a strong grasp of the concepts, he's a strong student. He also tutored Krista Thomas and her grade improved from a C to an A- within two weeks."
Great, he's that good., "Um anyone else?"
Clearly surprised by her lack of enthusiasm, he fixed her with a I-know-best-look, "My recommendation would be Max Evans but if you're not too serious about improving then Scott Jenson or Lisa Ryan. Now if you'll excuse me I have a meeting to attend."
Liz stood in the hallway speechless, staring after his disappearing body.
Great, my only hope of making it through Chem is my ex-best friend's new boyfriend.

Tess slumped down next to Isabel and sighed.
"What's up?" she asked.
They were the first two at the table.
"Just overheard Pam Troy and her lemmings in the bathroom talking about how she's going to take Kyle away from me…as if I have him."
"You do," replied Isabel.
"Yeah, but if I don't do anything about it, he might go find it elsewhere and Pam's all ready to take up the place."
"First of all, that silicone has nothing on you and second of all, there is no way Kyle is going to choose Pam Troy over you even if you two aren't dating yet, the guy can't take his eyes off you." She added deviously," Besides I can always dream walk her and keep her away"
Tess smiled faintly, "I guess you're right." Besides if Kyle was going to be taken in by a girl like Pam Troy then he probably wasn't worth it. She hoped he was. " How's it going with Alex?"
"Weird at first but I think we'll make it."
Minutes later Kyle joined them on the table, "Okay is it true or not?" he asked.
"Is what true?" she asked.
"The rumour going around that Maria and Max got caught making out in the eraser room together?"
"What?!" exclaimed Isabel, "when did this happen?"
"This morning apparently," he turned his gaze back to her, "so is it true?"
"I don't know," she replied, she saw Max and Maria headed towards them, "but we're about to find out."

Maria could feel the curious stares and evil glares, in particular she caught an evil glare from Cindy Davies who soo wanted Max and smirked, "The rumour mill is really having fun with this one," she said.
"Does it matter?" he asked grinning.
"Not really," she replied as they reached their table. Who would mind a rumour going about them making out with Max Evans? Besides it wasn't like it was true anyway.
They sat down to three pairs of curious expectant eyes.
"What?" she asked innocently.
"Don't give us that," replied Isabel, "we've heard the rumours,"
"-and the note," added Tess
"so what's the story?" finished Kyle.
Maria glanced at Max and grinned. Turning to them she began, "Okay, we were caught in the eraser room."
She noticed Isabel's eyes grow wide and quickly added, "but we weren't there for obvious reasons…" She looked up at Max a signal for him to continue.
"…Maria was hiding out from Mrs Merton"
"…and I dragged Max with me as an accomplish. We were sneaking back out, when Mr Reynolds caught us and assumed we were making out."
Tess was somewhat relieved. She had let Max go, but needed to get used to the idea of seeing him with someone else, "Why didn't you guys tell the truth?"
Kyle looked at her in disbelief, "You've never had Mrs Merton have you? She's a lady you don't want to be on the bad side of."

"Kyle's right," said Maria, " So anyway, Max covered for me and we earned ourselves a spot in detention."
"Max Evans in detention?" said Isabel, "well this is a first."
"It was worth it," he replied as playfully nudged her shoulders.
She nudged him back, "thanks." Looking around the table she realised that she was missing a set of hazel eyes, "Where's Alex?"
"Hanging with Michael and Liz," replied Tess.
"Oh right," she said as she rifled through her bag for her lunch.
She began the food exchange, which happened on their table every day, "Hey Isabel can I swap my yoghurt for your mousse?". Of course she could have packed her own mousse but it had turned into some sort of lunch time tradition where each of them swapped something.
"Sure," she replied.
"I don't get it," said Tess, "if they know kids go in there, why not lock it?"
"Because they get out of busting in us," replied Kyle
"Something to do to pass the time…" she added.
And as usual the tobasco sauce was passed automatically along the table, from Max to Isabel to Tess.

Liz dropped her bag onto the table, the loud thud disrupting Michael and Alex's conversation about what was better to watch tonight, the hockey game, or WWF Insurrection. Michael was making his point about the more aggressive tactics of hockey when Liz's dejected expression caught his attention.
"What's wrong?" he asked.
Running her fingers through her hair in frustration she replied, "Oh nothing, just the destruction of my academic career."
"What happened?" asked Alex.
"I got a D in my advanced Chem paper," she replied miserably.
Michael was about to ask what the big deal was when he caught himself. To him it wasn't a big deal but to Liz, Miss A-B C-is-stretching it student, it was a very big deal.
Trying to be the supportive boyfriend he asked, "Can't you take a retest?"
She shook her head.
When that didn't work, he went for his usual advice, "Just drop the class and join us normal chemistry students," he suggested.
"I can't," she replied, "only a few people get selected to do Advanced Chem, it'll look good on my college applications plus it's not like I don't like it or get it, it's just a few topics I need to get clear."
"So ask for extra tutoring,"
She looked at him as if he'd sprouted alien antenna, "What?" he asked.
"I have Mr Kenrick" she stated as if that explained it all.
"Ohhh," cringed Alex sympathetically.
"What's the big deal?" he asked.
"Mr Kenrick is the type of guy who shouldn't be a teacher. Had him for computers once, goes through something once or twice and if you don't get it, get out of the class."
"Oh".
"Yep," agreed Liz.
"So why don't you ask someone who gets it?"
She looked at them hopefully, "Does anyone know anything about Nucleophillic reactions, Electrophillic reactions and Atomic Spectrascopy?"
"Wayy too sciencey words for me," replied Michael.
"I'm better at computer lingo," said Alex," When I meant someone, I meant someone in your class."
At that, Liz groaned, "that's a last resort."
"Why?"
"Because the only person who Mr Kenrick recommends to help me is Max Evans."
At the mention of his name, Michael unconsciously clenched his jaw.
Relax, this isn't about you or Maria, it's about Liz
"Why do you say it like it's the end of the world?" asked Alex.
"Because Isabel and Tess don't talk to me and when they do it's not anything nice and after last night and the whole eraser room thing today, I doubt Max is going to help me," she replied.
"I'm sure-wait what eraser room incident?" he asked.
"Oh," she waved her arm vaguely," um they got caught making out in the eraser room during first period,"
"Really?" said Alex, "how come I didn't hear this?"
"I don't know…can we get back to my problem please? I mean Michael would you help someone who did what we did to Maria?"
He remained silent.
He made her point, "See," she said, "I'm doomed."
"Well Max isn't the only one who can help you."
"I know but Mr Kenrick recommended him and so implied that he was the best person to help me."
"So ask him," said Alex. Liz gave him an incredulous look, "really," he insisted, "Max is good guy, I don't think he'd say no to someone who needed help."
"Okay, I'll give it a shot," she replied.
"Good," he said.
"Isn't it time you were going to Maria's table anyway?" she asked.
He adopted a hurt offended look, "What? Can't I spend a little more time with my friends?".
"Yeah right," said Liz, "you just want to avoid Isabel," she teased.
"Well I- I…"
Michael zoned out as they began talking about Alex and Isabel and the future of their relationship. His mind was still replaying the news of Max and Maria in the eraser room. Last night he'd gone to sleep seething with jealousy and hurt, the image of Maria laughing, dancing with Max and his hand of her waist played repetitiously in his mind. He'd realised that what he'd felt in that moment was a just a fraction of the pain that Maria had felt when she'd found him and Liz together. Even though they weren't together, he'd been still thinking of her as his only she's not mine anymore, he thought sadly she's with Max. She was happy and he should be happy that she was happy but he couldn't help feel jealous and hurt that she was with Max. What made it worse was the Max seemed to be an okay guy, Alex liked him and didn't have anything bad to say about him. It would've been better if maybe he was a jerk, that way he could have a reason to hate him and not envy him instead. Seeing her with someone else was just something he hadn't prepared for and now that it was happening, he'd have to deal with it.
"Go!". Liz's insistent tone brought him back to reality just in time to see Alex leave and make his way towards Maria's table.
"Aren't you going too?" he asked.
She looked at him puzzled, "to ask Max to help you out," he clarified.
"Oh right" she said, " I'll do that later, when he's alone, I think I have a lesson with him after lunch. That way there's less chance of him publicly humiliating me."

Isabel's laughter faded as she saw Alex approaching their table. She met his eyes and smiled shyly. She was happy but yet strangely disappointed that the awkwardness had passed between them, mainly because they both pretended that last night hadn't happened but seeing him walking towards them brought that uncertainty, whether everything was okay between them, back. As he stood before her about to sit down, a thought suddenly crossed her mind. Alex usually sat opposite or next to her so if he doesn't, that means that we're not okay she thought panicking. Something in the back of her mind told her that she was being ridiculous but she didn't pay attention to it. She held her breath as he dropped his bag under the table and sat…next to Maria but opposite her.
Phew she beamed him a smile, we're okay.
"Alex, you're just in time," said Maria.
"Video night tomorrow and we were just debating on the last pick."
"Okay hit me," he said. Isabel noted how his eyes sparkled with amused interest as Maria told him their video choices.
"…so the Fast and The Furious with eye candy for us girls and cars for the guys and now the horror flick."
"We're stuck between Friday 13th, Halloween H20 or cult classic Scream. I'm all for Scream because it's less scary and I love Neve Campbell, Kyle and Tess are on Friday the 13th, Max is on for Scream, While Isabel has Halloween H20, so you my friend are the tie-breaker."
"Oh pressure, um…I myself are am a classic guy so I'm gonna have to go…"
Kyle drummed the table for effect, "…for Friday 13th"
"Oh yes!" he shouted.
Isabel laughed as him and Tess slapped a high five. She quickly did an assessment of the table, Tess was doing a really great job on self-restraint, while Max and Maria were-she watched as Maria shared some of Max's coke- and smiled…they were developing. And her and Alex were… just friends she thought and she was happy with that because she didn't in anyway see him as other than a friend.

Maria met Max after school they were five minutes late for detention.
"I'm sorry I'm late," she breathed, "trying to get into school when everyone is getting out is not an easy task."
"No problem," he replied as he automatically took her books and carried them for her. They reached the classroom at the same time as Mr Whitmore.
"Ah if it isn't my favourite detentees," he greeted them, "you'll be pleased to know that you aren't alone. Another couple was caught in the eraser room during class time."
"Oh, lucky us," she muttered as he swung open the door.
At the sight of the busted couple sitting on the desk, Maria's smile dropped from her face. A dry laugh escaped her while next to her Max let out a troubled sigh, this is just perfect As if seeing them at work and at school wasn't enough, she even had to see them in detention.
"Are you okay?" asked Max in a low voice as they entered the classroom.
"Great, just great," she muttered. She was going to have to spend an entire detention in the same room with her ex-friend and her ex-boyfriend.
This outta be fun.










[ edited 3 time(s), last at 7-Feb-2003 8:45:50 AM ]
posted on 14-Nov-2002 6:17:01 PM
sorry guys,**looks around her** are you still there? I haven't lost you have I?
I've been reallly busy with school but I am currently working on the next part and just to make it juicy and long, I'll post it next week sometime. I'll post later with the exact date *happy*
posted on 20-Nov-2002 4:59:28 PM
here it is, the next part to my fic I have been working with every spare minute on this baby and I am just really loving writing this. hope you like it *happy*
P.S. lyrics belong to Save Ferris' Let Me In and I have no idea why the second half suddenly switches to italics.


CHAPTER THREE

Great thought Michael, just what I need, an hour of watching Maria and Max holding hands and probably making goo goo eyes. Max squeezed her hand gently and smiled, she looked and at him and gave him a soft smile. Michael sighed and looked down at his desk, haven't I already paid my dues by losing my best friend, do I have to be subjected to this torture? .
He held his heart leapt in the air and in a breath came crushing down with disappointment as Maria walked past him and sat on the desk behind him…with Max. He felt a gentle kick under the table and turned to Liz's caring eyes that's what I gave up Maria for, Liz. They chose this and were in it together.

Unaware of the awkward tension culminating in the chemistry lab, Alan Whitmore proceeded to inform his detentees about their punishment.
"See those boxes in the corner?" he asked.
All eyes turned to the corner of the room where thirty boxes filled with past papers and other information the Chemistry department had collected over three years.
"Don't tell me you want us to carry them," said Maria with disbelief.
"Not all of you. Just Mr Evans and Guerin if you will." He watched as both of their shoulders slumped you should have thought of that before taking a trip to the eraser room he thought with amusement.
The two boys rose from their seats.
"Where do we have to take them?" asked Max.
"Into the storage room down the corridor," he replied, as Max and Michael went to the corner to inspect their task he turned to the two remaining victims.
"As for you two," he pointed to the back room where beakers from the last experiment of the day sat waiting to be cleaned.
"You're kidding," said Maria.
"I kid you not Maria. I want those beakers clean and dry by the time I come back."
Punishment sometimes was a guilty pleasure especially to the normal kids in the school who took with moaning and complaining.

Michael looked at the boxes and looked at his partner by his side. Having to work with Max Evans. Why.
Max cleared his throat, "I guess it would be easier if we line them up outside the stock room and put them in"
"Fine with me," he replied. In silence, the two boys started shifting the boxes one by one into the corridor.

"This is just cruel and unusual punishment," complained Maria. They had been srubbing out the beakers for half an hour now and it was just too much," what happened to the days of sitting in silence while doing your homework and what is this gunk, sticky mutated slime?"
"I was going for tar," said Liz.
Maria shrugged, "that would be one useful thing you'd take away from Chem., seriously it looks worse than what me and Kyle did in our remedial chem." She joked.
"It's not a remedial class, Maria."
"It's not advanced chem," she replied, "not that I care anyway," she added,"I'd rather flip through my Cosmo than even open those heavy books they have you lugging around"
"At least chem is useful," she said good-naturedly.
"And Cosmo's not?. Liz, Cosmo is like the guide to relationships, not to mention hair and makeup"
Beside her Liz laughed and so did Maria. As soon as the laughter left her lips reality hit her. For a moment she had forgotten that Liz had cheated on her with her boyfriend, for a moment it was just her talking to her best friend.
but that moment's passed and when Liz's laughter died down, she knew what was coming next.
"Look Maria-"
She turned to her, "Liz, let's not." Ignoring the crestfallen expression on her face Maria continued, "I know we had a moment here, but we're not friends." Without waiting for a reply she took the now clean beaker and walked over to put it into the cabinet. The room was once again, void of human voices, just the sound of scrubbing brushes echoing down the hallway.

Michael sighed as Max slid the last box into the shelf.
"That's done."
"Give the man a prize," he muttered.
"Do you have some kind of problem with me?" he asked.
Was he for real? Michael checked again and yes the blank puzzled look was still there on Max's face.
He rolled his eyes and sighed with exasperation, "Look Maxwell, I know what Liz and I did to Maria sucked but getting back at her by refusing to help her out for chem blows"
.
Max felt incredibly out of place, first off ever since they'd moved to the store room he'd felt this kind of resentment or something coming from Michael towards him and he had no idea why and now he was raving about Liz and-
"You called me Maxwell" he said.
"So?".
"So nobody calls me by that name, it's not even on the register. How did you know my full name?"
"I don't it just kind of flowed," he replied.
Like we've been here, not having the same conversation, but the same situation before thought Max. It wasn't just that, all the way through Michael's outburst, Max had been struck by the familiarity of the anger in his eyes, his stubborn impulsive air and the strange thing was he wasn't shocked. He'd expected it from Michael, he had no idea why but somehow he knew that it was typically him.
"Could we get back to Liz" he interuppted.
Right Liz, "I have no idea what you're talking about," he replied.
"You not helping Liz in chem because she's Maria's best friend" he said.
"Liz needs help in chemistry?"
"You really didn't know?"
"No"
"She didn't ask you?"
"No"
"Well I'm asking you now," he said his eyes challenging, "will you tutor Liz in advanced chem or not?".
Max parted his lips, unsure of what to say, luckily he was saved by Mr Whitmore.
"Ah, you're done," he glanced at his watch, "and just in time." He ushuered them out of the store room and locking it behind him they followed him back to the classroom where Liz was packing away the second to last beaker.

Maria was struggling with the last one. Maybe Liz was right this could be tar.
"I see you're still at it," said an amused voice behind her. Maria turned to find Mr Whitmore with a bemused expression on his face, Michael looking at Max expectantly and Max with an uncomfortable look on his face.
I wonder what's going on here she thought.
She blew a whisp of hair which had fallen onto her face, "This last one is like glue," she said.
"Let me try," offered Max. Maria gladly handed it over to him.
Her eyes grew wide with surprise as the black tar like mixture came off without difficulty. "How did you do that?" she asked.
He shrugged casually as he handed the beaker back to her, "You must have lossened it, it just needed a fresh new pair of hands".
"thanks." She rinsed and dried the beaker.
"Done," she said.
"You're dismissed," replied Mr Whitmore. Walking in the opposite direction to her ex's, Maria sighed with relief. The awkward hour was over and she was ready to go home and lay in a nice warm strawberry scented bubble bath.
"Want to go for a drive?" asked Max. Kyle had driven Isabel and Tess home so Max could drive her home in the jeep, Maria considered her options, she could go home and soak up or she go for a drive wind blowing in her hair, music blaring from the stereo and Max by her side.
"Sure," she replied as they walked towards the car park.

As she put on his motorcycle helmet, Liz asked, "How did it go with Max?" She'd seen Michael grow tense and caught his clenched jaw as Max squeezed Maria's hand. She had been hurt but got over it because it was understandable, he still cared for Maria.
"Fine. You didn't ask him about tutoring you did you?"
Liz stood there guiltly. She had meant to, she really had but when she'd seen him in History she couldn't quite make herself walk over to him and ask. Her palms grew sweaty, her heart raced and her mouth went dry so there was no way she could say anything. "No." Then a thought hit her, "why?"
"I thought he'd said no, so I-"
"what did you do Michael?"
"Nothing, I just asked him why he wouldn't help you."
"he didn't know"
"he knew when I told him."
"so what did he say?"
Michael shrugged, "Whitmore came in before he could say anything."
"You think he'll help me?"
"He strikes me as the type who would…but-"
"Maria."
"Yep."
Removing her helmet, Liz gave him a small kiss on the lips, "thanks for trying."

Alex was headed into the Crashdown but never went into the door. He stopped in front of the window instead just to prepare himself. Isabel, Tess and Kyle had decided to hang at the Crashdown and had called him to come and join the fun. He found their both, the usual one in Maria's section. Tess and Kyle were sat opposite each other pretending not to want to jump each other's bones when it was clearly obvious to everyone else, while Isabel was looking so beautiful and radiant especially when she smiled that once again it left Alex in awe. Kyle got up to go talk to his football buddies, meanwhile Tess and Isabel leaned in, not in an obvious way but Alex had seen Maria and Liz do it so often that he knew what it meant. Gossip.
I wonder who that's geared to he wondered. He followed Tess' quick sly glance to the order counter, to the guy who when Alex focused on him, was glancing towards their table. He knew that guy code, that guy was checking them out, but who Isabel or Tess?

"He is totally checking you out Iz and I gotta say he's not bad," said Tess.
Isabel's interest was peaked, "Okay," her eyes travelled to the guy, scratch that man who was currently flicking through the paper. Isabel took it as an opportunity to size him up and she liked what she saw. Rough, rugged and looked to be in his 20s. At the moment she finished her inspection, he met her eyes. She held his gaze, not long enough for him to think she was a psycho but just enough to signal that she saw him and he interested her.
She turned to Tess, "Nice,"
Tess laughed, "Told you-Oh heads up he's coming over."

Alex watched as the guy, approached their table, with his eyes devouring, taking in every detail of Isabel. He flashed her a smile.
"Oh please," he muttered. Sure he sported that whole manly rough and rugged look but she wouldn't go for that would she?

"Hi, I'm Grant Sorenson"
Isabel flashed him a smile, he was even more goodlooking up close. Definitely. "Isabel", she said, "this is Tess."
"Mind if I join you ladies?"
Isabel pretended to look for Tess' approval, "no, take a seat."

Leave his mind commanded him you don't need to see this but he stood there and watched as he slid in opposite them and started talking.
Well, what did he expect, that the day after he'd put himself on the line and been brutally rejected that she'd not go out with the next handsome guy who asked her out?
you're her friend and as her friend you should go check this guy out he made a move towards the door but another thought stopped him from entering yeah and you're also madly and deeply in love it may be pathetic to dream but you're not a sucker for punishment. Decided, he hid behind the Crashdown peering into the window as she picked up.
"Hi Alex, what's up" came her cheerful voice.
"Hi, I'm caught up doing some stuff so I won't be able to meet you guys."
"No problem," she replied.
"So I'll see you tomorrow?"
"Tomorrow?"
"The Whits are performing at the Place, you are still coming right?"
"Oh right, yeah I'll be there."
"Okay,"
"bye"
"bye"
Alex took one more look at Isabel and her potential beau and sighed.
At least she'll be there tomorrow. He'd planned a surprise for her, he knew Save Ferris' song Let Me In was her favourite song so he and the rest of the band had prepared it as the end number. Even though he knew his chances with Isabel were one in a trillion, he had to at least try.

Max pulled up to her house just after six. The drive had been fun, just as she'd imagined, loud music singing along with Max the cool desert air caressing her face. It was better than any bubble bath she'd ever have…there was just one thing.
"Okay Max come out with it," she said.
"Come out with what?" he asked.
She took off her seatbelt and turned to face him,"with whatever it is that has been working in your mind since we left school"
He looked at her with surprise, "Come on, your pensive look isn't really hard to miss."
He smiled that adorable smile of his.
Maria focus she ordered herself, now is not the time to start going off on a hormonal trip
"Um well in the store room with Michael-"
"what did he do?" she asked.
"nothing."
She gave him an incredulous look.
"Okay," he relented, "he lost it with me"
"why?"
He opened his mouth and closed it again, "Max"
"Liz is flunking chem and wants me to tutor her," he said.
Oh
"Michael thought she'd already asked me and that I'd refused-"
"so he gave you a piece of his mind," she finished.
He nodded.
"So Liz, our Liz is flunking chem? How did that happen?"
"I don't know", he shrugged
"So did you give him answer?"
"I was waiting to talk to you first," he replied, "since…you know".
"yeah, I know."
"If you weren't my friend you would help her right?"
"yeah it's just that after what she did to you…"
Loyalty, that's what she loved about her friends, they weren't friends with Liz, they were good like that.
"Thanks". It would be easy to tell him not to, payback, revenge…but it wasn't right.
"Granted what she did to me was wrong, but before that Liz was my best friend and whether I admitt or not I stlll about her. So if it's my blessing you want, you have it."

Max marvelled at the mercy and love that Maria had, if it had been Tess, she would have wanted him to just leave Liz in the lurch but not Maria. He'd been afraid that she would be mad or upset that he wanted to help her, but no.
"She lost a good friend," he said.
"Yeah," she covered her hand over his, "and I made some good ones". Her touch was warm and friendly and vibrant, what Max wasn't prepared for was the warmth travelling from his hand to the rest of his body, his heart beast doubled. The moment turned into something, on a boundary which if he crossed-
"I'd better getting going," he said.
Maria pulled back and along with her went her warm hand leaving Max feeling cold and empty.
"Right," she said as she hopped out, "thanks for the ride."
"no problem"
"See you tomorrow?"
"Your performance? I won't miss it for the world" he replied. It was the first time he was going to hear Maria and The Whits perform, they had been such a big hit that they'd landed a monthly gig at The Place, which they hoped would turn into something more frequent. He'd heard that Maria could sing, but he'd never had the honour of hearing a performance.
"Night Max," she waved.
"night Maria" he replied. He waited until she'd entered the door and then drove off.

Liz stared at the questions in front of her and clenched her teeth with aggravation.
Why can't I get this? she wondered. I got everything else, why not this?. However much she tried reading books and re-reading notes, it all seemed like some bizarre foreign language. Running her fingers through her hair she slowly exhaled, she dropped her pen decisively onto the text book. There was no way she was getting this tonight, I guess I'll have to ask Scott or Lisa to tutor me she sighed with disappointment. Granted she hadn't asked Max but Michael had and he would have probably have said no anyway.
There was a knock on her door, "Lizzie?"
"Yeah Dad?!" she shouted.
"Someone's here to see you," he replied.
What now? she thought with irritation as she swung open her door and made her way to the living room.
Who-
"Max!" she exclaimed surprised. There in her apartment on top of the alien-themed restaurant stood Max Evans.
"Hi," he responded shyly.
Thoughts ran through Liz's mind but the most important one was why exactly was Max Evans standing in her living room?
She smiled to her dad, their signal that he could leave.
"I'll see you kids later," he said as he headed back down stairs to the restaurant.
"Umm, what are doing here?" she asked.
"Michael said you needed some help with chem. So I'm volunteering my services."
Did I just he just say what I think he said?
"You want to tutor me?".
"If you want me to."
"Umm yeah of course", she glanced at the kitchen table, which was covered with her dad's paperwork. "Maybe it'll be better if we go up to my room and use my desk."
"Okay," he replied as he followed her lead. Along the way, Liz did a mental check of her room, her bras and underwear were in their drawers, her bed was neat, it was okay-relax, she told herself, it's just Max.
She led him into her room and watched as he stood at the door surveying it.
"It's nice," he said finally.
"Thanks".
"We should get started," he said.
"Right," she said. They sat at her desk and for the next half an hour Max helped Liz understand electrophillic and nucleophillic reactions.
"I get it," she said, the sun finally shining beneath the clouds.
"You do?"
"Yeah, I mean, it's really simple I just didn't understand the priniciples, shells, atomic structures…I mean, it just makes sense" she replied and Max had helped her to do that. He had taken her through it all, step by step and had in no way sounded patronising or condescending.
"I'm glad I could help," he said.
Liz turned to him and was held by his eyes, she had never really looked at Max up close. He had the most intense amber eyes she had ever seen, they were deep, alluring, Liz found herself drowning in them and in turn, they seemed to look into her soul, knowing her.
Wait, what am I doing? Am I seriously checking out another guy, Maria's boyfriend?
"Um, what do you think about taking a break from all this chem," she suggested quickly," Grab a snack and do some exercises after?"
"That would be great," he replied.
"Okay."
Liz left her room and dashed to the kitchen.
What was that? She had actually been checking out Max! But what was soo wrong about that? he was an attractive guy and she was just appreciating that, that was all it was. She grabbed two drinks from the fridge, some junk food and dashed downstairs to grab a plate of Saturn rings from the kitchen.
"Hey," said Michael, "I saw Evans coming up. How's everything going?"
"Um, great,"
Yeah, I just was just drowning in his eyes she added silently," we're just taking a break. I'll see you later,"
He kissed her on her cheek, "later".

Liz rushed back upstairs to find Max in the process of opening her window.
At her entrance he turned abruptly as if caught with his hand in the cookie jar.
"Curious about my balcony?" she asked.
He blushed. "I was just-,".
Liz smiled, "It's okay" she replied as she set the food down, "I was going to suggest that we out there, it's much cooler."
"Sure," he said. He climbed out onto the balcony while Liz passed him the food. She was about to climb out herself when he offered her a gentlemanly hand. She took it, "than-" her feet reached the ground but she somehow ended up stumbling over herself headed for the ground, instead, Liz found herself in Max's strong arms. He held onto her until she was steady, "you okay?"
Liz blushed with embarrassment, "I'm fine thanks," she replied as she straightened her top.
Oh great impression Liz, show him how much of a klutz you are
He sat in one of the fold out chairs she'd set up and she sat next to him.
"Cherry Coke," he said, "my favourite."
"I know," she replied unconsciously.
He gave her a questioning look.
"You order it every-time you come here," she explained forgetting the fact that it was usually Maria who took their orders.
"Right," he nodded.
They sat eating in companionable silence for a while.
"Max," she asked suddenly, the question had been eating at her ever since she'd met him in her living room.
"hmm?"
"Why are you doing this?"
"Doing what?" he asked.
"Helping me, after you know,"
"Maria," he replied.
"Oh."
"What you did," he continued," it wasn't right and I don't know you that well but Maria, she said that before that, that you are a good person."
"She talks about me?" she asked surprised.
"Sometimes," he replied.
She nodded and looked up at the stars
That was good to know, at least she hadn't totally wiped her from her conversations.
"Beautiful aren't they," he said.
She nodded, "yeah"
"Can I look into your telescope?"
"Yeah, go ahead," she replied.
She watched as he directed the telescope towards a certain part of the sky. He probably thought of them as just stars, she mused, not knowing that one of those bright stars was an alien planet.
"Do you stargaze a lot?" she asked.
"In a L.A. there really weren't a lot of places to but there was this cliff that we used to go to, here in Roswell you can just look up and there they are."
"Benefits of living out here," she said. "It's strange you know, to think that those are planets and galaxies, new possibilities…"
"…new life," he added. Then as if catching himself saying something he shouldn't he looked at her.
"Yeah," she replied once again caught in his eyes. "Um we better get back to work".

The next two hours passed by in a blur and by the end of it, Liz was positive that her academic life was not spiralling downhill.
"I better get going," said Max as he packed up his books. Liz found herself strangely disappointed, "Right."
"So when do you want to meet up next week to go over atomic spectrascopy?" he asked.
She went over to her notice board and glanced at her schedule, "Well, I'm pretty busy helping out till about eight Monday to Wednesday," she replied.
"That's great," he said.
She looked at him, confused at his reaction.
"I mean, I'm working too," he explained.
"Right, at the UFO centre," how did she know these little details about him? her mind wondered.
"Yeah, so I'll come by around half eight"
"that's okay and you could have dinner here if you want," she offered.
"That'll be great thanks," he replied as he headed for the door.
"Um Max?"
He turned.
"I think it'll be easier if you just go via my balcony."
"Right," he nodded. Liz followed him out and watched him climb down the metal ladder which led to the alleyway.
Once down he looked up at her with those eyes.
"I'll see you in school," he said.
"Sure and Max, thank you"
He smiled softly, "my pleasure."
Liz kept her eyes on him until he was out of sight, and for minutes after her eyes were still fixed on the spot where he had disappeared with a smile on her face. The cool breeze whispered that it was time to go inside and as she did, Liz felt strangely elated and happy. She accounted it to the success of her learning session. And Max, he was a great guy and Maria was lucky to have him. The thought of Maria and Max together accompanied a bittersweet feeling which Liz did not want to analyze. Someone knocked on her door, she opened and found Michael standing there dressed in normal clothes. His shift must have ended.

When Liz had opened the door, Michael had known instantly that the session had been a success. She was, well glowing, "Hi," he said giving her a quick kiss on the lips as she let him in.
"Hi," she replied as she closed the door behind her.
"So how'd it go?"
"Great"
"So you're not screwed"
"No," she replied still smiling, "I'm not screwed. Max was really helpful he'll be tutoring me all week after school next week."
"That's great," he replied as he eyed her curiously. If he hadn't known her better, he'd have pegged her for being high. Her eyes were bright and shining, she had this smile on her face and kept sighing every now and then.
"You okay?" he asked.
"Yeah, why?"
"No reason," he replied. This was Liz, she was just jazzed because she could go back to her usual A's he reasoned. Minutes passed in silence with Liz smiling and looking into empty space as if it possessed something interesting.
"Do you mind going now, I want to go over the stuff we did to make sure it stays there," she said suddenly.
"Sure," he replied, "I need to crash anyway." He pulled her to him and gave her a slow deep kiss.
"What was that for?" she asked.
"You'll be busy next week, just something to remember me by," he replied
She pulled him down to her and kissed him deeply, "Same here," she replied.
Michael was headed for her balcony when she held him back.
"What?"
"You walked past my Dad in the living room, I suggest you leave that way. Remember I'm not allowed to have boys up here for long," she said.
"Max was here," he said defensively.
She opened the door, "he's not my boyfriend."
He bent down and gave her a kiss, "Good night,"
"Goodnight," she replied.
Michael stood outside her door dazed, there had to be something more to this, she couldn't be that buzzing over her work but then again, this was Liz Parker he was talking about, education was very important to her.

Liz was drowning, drowning in the sweet penetration of his eyes.
"Liz", he cupped her face gently between his palms and held her his, "I love you. From the moment I first saw you I knew you were the one for me, you're my destiny."
"I love you too Max," she breathed as his lips met hers in a long, spine tingling explosive yet gentle kiss. Liz sighed with pleasure as their tongues danced with a passionate fury. He felt and tasted ooh so good, she wanted more of him. Her hands obeyed her heart's wish as the travelled under his top running along his back, playing with the little hairs on the back on his neck. His hands were warm, everywhere they touched made her feel like she was on fire.
"Liz," he breathed.
"Max," she moaned.
Something was ringing, Liz's mind fought it with everything she had but the incessant ringing pulled her back to a half awake state. She picked up the phone, the fire still on her skin, his taste and still assailing her senses.
"Liz,"
"Max?"
"No, it's Alex"
Liz's eyes flew open Alex?
"Hello you there?"
Liz shook her head, the images faded away, "Um yeah, you just woke me up."
"Woke you up? Liz it's twelve in the afternoon, what are you still doing in bed?"
Liz looked at her clock amazed, usually she woke up around ten, but that dream, "I was catching up on some beauty sleep," she replied.
"Okay, look Isabel just called"
"And?"
"She called to tell me she couldn't make it tonight, she has a date with some geologist,"
"Alex, I'm sorry," she said sympathetically. He had told her of his plan for The Whits to perform Let Me In by Save Ferris, her favourite song with his solo guitar performance in the middle.
"My fault for trying for something that obviously isn't there," he sighed, "Ah well, are you coming?"
"Can't, working tonight."
"Okay, I'll tell you how it went okay?"
"Okay and I'm sorry about Isabel, you deserve someone who likes you for you," she replied.
"Yep and I guess it won't be Isabel Evans-by the way how was last night?"
"Last night?"
"With Max,"
"Max," she said as the image of him kissing her came to her mind.
"Yeah,"
"It went okay, he was really…", another image flashed before her of his hands running along her back, she gulped, "…um good."
"That's good," he replied, "Listen I gotta go, the guys are coming to practice, see you later."
"bye," she replied and placed the phone back on it's cradle.
Sinking back onto her bed, she stared at the ceiling, to collect her thoughts.
Okay so I had a dream about Max, the image of them returned to her mind accompanied by the feelings, a really hot dream about Max. A slow grin spread across her face, she couldn't lie, it was the best dream she'd had overtaking the nobel peace prize dream but why did I dream about him and me? It's not as if I've got a thing for him or anything, last night was the first time I've spoken to him properly and then I dream about him? Oh and don't forget the fact that he's Maria's boyfriend and that I have a boyfriend. Michael.
She conjured up an image of him to replace the one of her and Max, but his face, his taste kept interfering. Finally giving up, Liz got out of bed and went to find something to do that would keep her mind off the dream.

Max knocked and entered after loud "Come in" from Isabel.
Oh my
The room looked like a fashion bomb had exploded, there was clothes, makeup and shoes strewn everywhere. He had witnessed some frantic dressing before but this had to take the cake.
"Isabel," he called as he tried to avoid stepping on any of the clothes.
"We're in here," she called.
Max found them both in the bathroom wearing dresses on top of their shorts and tank tops.
"It's only seven, they aren't on till half eight," he said.
The two girls looked at him as if he was mad, "that doesn't give us a lot of time," panicked Isabel. Turning to the mirror she waved her hand over her face and instantly transformed her lips to a soft glittered pink and her eyes to dark and smoky.
"What do you think?" she asked turning to Tess.
Tess waved her hand over her face, "lessen up on the shadow,"
Isabel turned back to the mirror and smiled, "that's good thanks."
Max watched this with amusement. The only way they went this crazy was if it involved guys. He was getting a little worried about this situation, if they got involved with Kyle or Alex it wouldn't be like before, he could tell. Neither Tess or Isabel would want to keep them at arms length and sooner or later they were going to get hurt.
What about you and Maria?
What about me and Maria?
He was fine, this thing with Maria was under control, they were just good friends and if there was something more, he had put a handle on it.
"Okay Max, what do you want?" asked Isabel.
"Oh, I need to use your printer," he replied
"Go for it," she said as she picked up a red dress, "I'll go change in Tess' room."
Max shook his head with amusement and turned on the computer to print out his homework. He was looking forward to tonight, Maria had called in the afternoon to make sure he was coming. She had sounded really excited and nervous, she was normal Maria amplified, which was something he hadn't thought was possible.
A few minutes later, Isabel and Tess came in for her shoes.
"You look nice," he commented as he took in their outfits.
"Thanks," they replied as they raided her closet.
Max watched with interest as they debated over which shoes, strapless or stilettos to wear.
"Grant is going to freak over you," said Tess.
"Who's Grant?" he asked.
"The guy Isabel's going out with tonight," said Tess.
"Wait a minute, you're not coming to Alex's performance?"
"No" she replied.
"Iz you know how important this is for him, did you at least call him?"
"Yep and he was fine with it, besides they play there every month now, I'll go see him next time," she replied.
"Where did you meet him?" he asked.
"At the Crashdown yesterday, we're meeting there tonight at eight so if you guys could drop me off on your way to the gig," she said.
"Fine," he replied as he exited the room. Sometimes Isabel's behaviour was too much for him to process, choosing a date over her friend, talk about wrong priorities.

They arrived late, at the last minute, Isabel had decided that she didn't quite like the dress and Tess decided to wear trousers instead. The Place was packed but luckily Kyle had secured a table for them. The Whits were already on stage playing one of their own songs.
"Hey," Max shouted above the music, "they're really good".
Kyle nodded his head," yep, the crowd loves them," his eyes were focused on Tess.
As usual Max shook his head and took in the scene. It looked like the place to hang out, the warm lighting created a warm welcoming yet intimate atmosphere. The dance floor was right next to the stage and was already filled with couples dancing. Max's gaze returned to the stage. Maria was breathtakingly beautiful, it wasn't just her outfit, it was something else. Her eyes were brighter than he had ever seen them, she was swaying to the music as if unaware that she was on the stage. She was a natural.

"You look great," said Kyle.
Tess blushed, "thanks," she replied. She knew she did, it was just nice that Kyle noticed especially since she had him in mind when choosing her outfit. He looked back onto the stage and the dancing couples, Tess took it as an opportunity to study him in more detail.
He looked good tonight, he was wearing a simple blue shirt and jeans but wow!
Calm it Tess she chided herself. She turned her gaze to the dance floor, she didn't know how much longer she could do this, pretend she felt nothing for him, pretend that she didn't want to be more than friends that she didn't want him to know her. But that was the problem, he couldn't know her, because really knowing her would hurt him and her.
"Wanna dance?" he asked suddenly.
Rationale told her to say no, to just sit and talk because dancing meant two bodies moving closely together, meant smelling his scent, his arms around her…
She turned to get a reaction from Max but his attention was fixed on the stage.
"Yeah," she replied and smiled as he led her onto the dance floor.

"She's a natural isn't she?" asked someone beside him. Max turned to find Brody sitting next to him.
Where are Kyle and Tess?
"Brody, what are you doing here?"
"Well, Maria mentioned that she's performing tonight so I thought I'd drop by"
"How do you know Maria?"
"She delivers my orders from the Crashdown,"
"Oh," he replied.
"She's amazing isn't she?" he said his eyes fixed on the stage.
Max followed his gaze, "yes," he replied, " yes she is,"

Tess was having a good time, so far the music had been fast, songs to dance to and Kyle was an okay dancer. As the band launched into the beginning tune of a slow song, the atmosphere changed to one of closeness, contact, of some magnetic force which seemed to draw all the couples around her together and one which Tess, when Kyle pulled her into him gave in to without thought or protest. As Maria's sultry voice launched into the opening line, Tess' eyes widened with recognition.

I've been watching you and all you do
For quite some time

She looked into Kyle's dark eyes, "This is Let Me In by Save Ferris"

Knowing all the ins and outs of you
I should've known what was on your mind

"Are you a fan?" he asked.
"No, but Isabel is," she said. She played the song at least five times a week depending on her mood.

But all the world is spinning round and round
Inside my head tonight

"Isabel". She looked up at him his now dark eyes staring into her, Tess tried to focus on what she was saying, "That's why Alex wanted her to come tonight wasn't it, because it's her favourite song,"
"Yeah," he nodded.
"She would have loved it," she said.
"Her loss," replied Kyle and Tess had to agree, this was the sweetest thing anyone had ever done and she wasn't here to see it.

I will fall into the darkness
And I fear I will never see the light

"So what do you want to do after high school?" he asked.
"College, I was thinking majoring in psychology," she replied. The night had been great, Grant had picked her up looking handsome in a suit and had taken her out to dinner. Conversation had been good, they'd talked about his family, her family. She felt comfortable with him, but every now and then a wave of guilt would overcome her, but it wasn't like he minded or anything, she told herself, he was her friend, he would want her to have fun and to pass up an opportunity of a guy like Grant Sorenson, smart, attractive and probably a good kisser was just not an option.
"Sounds good,"
"So how long are you in Roswell for?" she asked as he led her to the dance floor.
"I planned on leaving on Monday but right now I'm not so sure,"
"Really," she smiled.
"Really," he replied.

So let me in
All that I wanted from you

Kyle looked down into the eyes of the pretty blonde in his arms and once again thanked his lucky stars that Tess Harding had walked into his life. He could say now that he'd never felt for anyone the way he felt about Tess, she was the only girl he wanted, which was saying something.
The only problem is

Was something you'd never do

If she wants me too, because I don't know
He looked into her blue eyes and silently spoke to them.
Dancing here, holding her in my arms is something I want to do with you for a long time coming.

So let me in
Oh please tonight
Don't let this end
Tonight
I'll Fall

Max was amazed. He knew that Alex could play the guitar but he didn't know that he was that good. His solo in the middle of the song was really good. When the song had started, he knew why he and Maria had wanted Isabel to come. It was her favourite song and she wasn't here to hear it or see how good Alex was, to do a thing like that for her, he must really care about her…while her priorities are elsewhere
"Woah!" shouted Brody beside, "that guy can play,"
"Yeah," he replied. He was still surprised that Brody had come all the way to hear Maria but then again after hearing her, he wasn't at all surprised. Her voice had power, it had life and as she opened her mouth and the magic came out Max once again was speechless.

Through no light the darkness seems to be
So very strong

He watched mesmerised, her eyes were closed and she was swaying to the music oblivious to where she was. And it wasn't just her voice.

How does one alone against the world
Find the strength to carry on?

It was the way she sang the song, as if she was singing it to herself and someone else. As if she was reliving some pain. Alex had said before that that was how Maria worked through her pain, that if she didn't sing then there was a problem but if she did then she was healing.

What happened to the way
we used to love
It seemed as though life
had just begun

And there was only one major hurt in her life.
Michael. With that realisation, Max watched with opened-eyes and could see it all, through singing she put herself out there and opened herself to the world. He could feel it in every note she sang.

But now that love has come
and gone to fade away
Like the setting sun

Her pain, her tears, her sadness

Cuz' you won't let me in.
All that I wanted from you
Was something you'd never do

Tess was moved. She knew Maria could sing but not like this, with passion and they way she sang it, it was honest, real.

So let me in
Oh please tonight

As she looked into Kyle's eyes she wanted to do just that, to let him in and as he gently stroked her cheek and leaned in, that's all she wanted, to tell him all the things she could never say.

Don't let this end
Tonight

As his lips came closer she closed her eyes, anticipating the moment they would meet with hers.

Cuz' I'm starting to fall
So let me in

She felt his warm breath on her lips, she edged closer but their lips never touched. She felt him drawing away from her.
What? She opened her eyes and looked up at him.

It was all that I wanted from you

He smiled softly and stroked her cheek with his hand.
What was wrong didn't he want her? Of course he did, the clues were there.
So what's wrong?
Tess inwardly sighed with regret at the missed opportunity.
He knows, that I won't, I can't let him in.

It was something you never knew

A tear travelled down Maria's cheek as she slowly came to an end.
"To let me in
But not tonight
For this is the end
Tonight
I fall"

In the corner of the club, a pair of wet brown eyes, tears refusing to fall down their cheeks, were fixed on Maria. Michael watched as she finished off the song and before she could open those eyes he knew would be wet with tears, he turned and left.

As she the last note faded she opened her eyes, the sound of the clapping and wolf whistling reaching her before her vision cleared.
Grinning, she gestured to Alex and the rest of the band, the applause getting louder.
"Thank you, we're The Whits and have a goodnight," she said.
"You were great Alex," she said as he took off his guitar.
"Thanks," he replied, "So were you, especially with that last song."
"Thanks," she replied, the words had brought back memories, Michael memories but she'd dealt with it. That was the beauty of music for her, as well as to entertain but also to release, to feel, to deal.
"I'm sorry Isabel missed it," she continued as they walked off the stage. That girl needed to take another look at what kind of guy Alex was.
"Yeah well, it was a long shot anyway" he paused to say thank you to some people congratulating their performance, "This was my sign to just let it go and move on," he finished.
"That's the spirit," she replied.
The crowd parted to let Max through, before Maria could even say hi he grabbed her in a bear hug and spun her around.
"You were amazing," he said.
Maria laughed, Max's mere smile and opinion making her glow, "Thanks."
"Um hello solo guitarist over here," joked Alex.
Max turned to him, "You were good too,"
"Thank you," he replied good-naturedly.
They made their way to the table, Maria was surprised to find Brody there talking to Kyle.
"Hi," she said.
He looked up and smiled making room for her next to him, "Hi. I decided to take you up on your offer and stopped by."
"Thanks, so what did you think?"
"Blew me away, you sing like an angel."
Maria blushed, compliments everywhere, what was a girl to do?
"Thank you," she replied.
Brody was a strange guy but in a good way, liked pepper-jacks on his order and was a multi-billonaire who had been bought off because he was abducted by aliens. Did she buy it? Not really but his story about his daughter was definitely a miracle. Who knew maybe there were aliens walking among them.
Conversation continued but every now and then Maria would occasionally look up at Max and meet his eyes. They possessed a dark richness, intense, powerful, which made Maria's heart beat faster. Then he would smile and look away, leaving Maria very flushed.

"Alex, four o'clock that chick is checking you out !" whispered Maria.
"Right," he replied incredulously.
"I'm not kidding," she said.
Alex glanced over in the four o'clock direction and found a pretty brunette staring at him, she smiled and then turned back to the bar.
"See," squealed Maria, " she has been clocking you for like ten minutes now."
"Really?" he asked.
Maria nodded.
"Way to Alex," cheered Kyle.
"Well what do I do?"
What about Isabel? Isabel isn't interested in me in that way, it is about time I moved on to someone who likes me back
"Go talk to her silly" she told him.
"Yeah for it," said Tess.
"What do I say?" he asked, this wasn't the sort of thing he did often. How about never.
"Ask to buy her a drink, anything, go!,"
"Okay, Okay," he replied. Getting up and taking a deep breath he approached the brunette at the bar.
You are a cool, just relax
He turned to see the whole table watching him.
Can you say pressure?
He smiled nervously as he stood in front of her.
"Hi, my friend over there thinks that you have some mild interest in me so I was wondering if I could buy you a drink?"
She broke into a smile, "Yeah sure,"
"Really?". This was too unbelievable, him Alex Charles Whitman had just asked to buy a girl a drink and she'd accepted.
"Yeah and your friend was right by the way, I do have some mild interest in you."
Was this a dream?
"That's good to know," he smiled as he sat down next to her. "What'll you have?"
"Just a coke thanks."
Alex ordered two cokes.
He held out his hand, "I'm Alex by the way,"
She shook it warmly, "I'm Wendy. I saw you up there, you pretty good."
"Thanks."
"So Alex, tell what else do you do apart from being a guitar player?"
"Well," he shrugged, there was no point in lying," I'm just your average computer loving guitar playing guy."
"Well then I guess I'm just your average girl who is interested in computer loving guitar playing guys."
Alex smiled, this was turning out to be his lucky night.

Isabel was the last to arrive home. She as usual said goodnight to her parents and stopped by to say goodnight to Max.
"Did you have a good time?" she asked.
"Yep, Maria was great and so was Alex, you should have been there Iz," he said in that tone.
"Next time," she replied, "goodnight,"
"Night."
She found Tess wiping makeup from her face in the bathroom.
"So how'd it go?"
"We danced" she replied.
"And"
"Nearly kissed," said Tess as she followed her into her room.
Isabel turned, "What?"
Tess sank onto her bed, "Yup but he stopped just before our lips met, I think he thinks that I'm not interested. This thing is really driving me insane."
"I know but-"
"it's for his and our own safety, I know. Let's get off my angst ridden love life and move onto to you, how was the date?"
"Good, he took me to a restaurant, we talked and danced"
"Kissed?"
"On the cheek, we're going out again on Tuesday."
"So overall rating?"
"Um seven out of ten"
"Have you ever given a ten?" she joked.
Isabel laughed, she had of course, it had been her non-date with Alex so that didn't count. After a while Tess went to bed leaving Isabel alone. She sighed as she crawled into bed, the reason Grant only got a seven was because she kept comparing her non-date with Alex with him and would probably do it on their next date too. It wasn't like their non-date had been anything special, they had just gone stargazing and just sat there and talked.
As sleep over took her she failed to grasp onto the fading thought, So if it's not that special why do I keep thinking about it?

Isabel kicked off her blanket in frustration, she had been drifting in and out of sleep and couldn't get to sleep. It was three am in the morning and she was in no mood to stay awake. During nights like this there was only one thing which sent her to sleep. Dreamwalking.
But whose dream can I walk through? she wondered, not Tess, or Max, they'd know she was there plus their dreams didn't really interest her. Kyle? Nah, he's probably dreaming about Tess again. Oh maybe Pam Troy, I can turn hers into a nightmare. Nah, not worth it.
Her mind finally settled on her choice. Alex. She'd never visited his dreams before, it would be interesting to see just what was working in his mind.
Turning on her lamp she took the group picture Maria had had someone take of them and placed her finger on Alex's head. She concentrated on his face until she could see it in her mind. She was in in a second.
In where? she wondered as she took in her surroundings. She was in what looked like a really expensive candle lit restaurant, it was empty apart from the table in the corner occupied by Alex dressed in a black suit holding out his hand…to her.
Alex is dreaming about me,
Isabel created a table behind her and sat to watch.
Alex looked surprisingly handsome in his suit and she was dressed in a red dress with spaghetti straps, like the one she was going to wear tonight with her hair in curls.
Wow, I'm look good, she thought impressed.

I've been watching you and all you do
For quite some time

The lyrics filtered through from nowhere as Alex and dream Isabel reached the dance floor. Isabel smiled with pleasant surprise, my favourite song, how did he know?

Knowing all the ins and outs of you
I should've known what was on your mind

Isabel's heart melted as he tenderly held her in his arms and led her in the slow dance.

But all the world is spinning round and round
Inside my head tonight
I will fall into the darkness
And I fear I will never see the light

Dream Isabel smiled, "This is my favourite song,"
"I know," replied Alex as she spun and pulled her back in, "you couldn't make it to see us perform it tonight so I thought I'd bring it to you."

Isabel opened her mouth in shock, he had done that for her? No wonder Tess and Max said she should have come, it explained everything, his disappointed tone, Max and Tess' reactions after. I missed it, she thought sadly, missed this.


So let me in
All that I wanted from you
Was something you'd never do

"Isabel, I know I'm not the type of guy you usually go for but I want you to know that you're not like the other girls I've met,"
"No" said Dream Isabel
"No. You're beautiful and smart and beneath that icy exterior you try to fool everyone at school with is this girl who's hiding, who's kind and caring and very special"

So let me in
Oh please tonight
Don't let this end
Tonight
I'll Fall

Isabel was speechless, this was the most romantic thing anyone had ever done for her and his words, the way he saw her it was something no other guy she'd ever dated had ever seen or said to her.

Through no light the darkness seems to be
So very strong

"Alex," said Dream Isabel, "you are special to me too."
Isabel's vision blurred and she quickly wiped her eyes not wanting to miss anything.
"I am?"
"Yes."

How does one alone against the world
Find the strength to carry on?
What happened to the way
we used to love
It seemed as though life
had just begun
But now that love has come
and gone to fade away
Like the setting sun
Cuz' you won't let me in.

All that I wanted from you
Was something you'd never do
So let me in
Oh please tonight
Don't let this end
Tonight
Cuz' I'm starting to fall
So let me in

Isabel was swept away in the words of the chorus as Dream Isabel and Alex danced looking deeply into each others' eyes with such love that it made her throat constrict and her heart yearn for that look.
Suddenly, Dream Isabel stopped dancing
"What' s wrong?"
"I can't"
"Why?"
"This us we can't be together, I like you alex, you're special to me but we just can't. You need to move on"
"Move on?"
"Move on to who?"

Isabel watched intrigued as Dream Isabel pulled Alex into a soft deep kiss. His hands pulled her into him while her arms encircled around his neck.

It was all that I wanted from you
It was something you never knew

As they broke apart for air, Isabel was shocked to see that Dream Isabel had morphed into a brunette with curly hair and brown eyes.

What the-

"You need to move on to me Alex," she said.
A soft loving smile spread across his face.

Isabel was confused and angry, What are you doing?! what is going on, who is she? this is so not how it's supposed to happen.

To let me in
But not tonight

Isabel watched, her joy turning to pain as Alex leant in to kiss the brunette again.

For this is the end
Tonight

"Wendy," he breathed.

I fall

Isabel jerked back to her room breathing heavily.
"Who the heck is Wendy!" she exclaimed aloud.

Tess yawned loudly as Isabel paced in front of her. It was 3:45 in the morning and Isabel had come into her room shaking her out of bed as if it was an emergency. Instead she had come to find that it was about some brunette in Alex's dream.
"So let me get this straight, Alex had a dream about you"
"Yes and then this this! curly haired brunette just waltzed in! and took over my kiss, I mean how dare she! And what kind of name is Wendy anyway, it sounds like a fairy tale fairy," she fumed.
Tess yawned again, she was tired and needed her beauty sleep so tact was out of the question.
"Isabel"
"What?"
"You're mad because Alex dreamt about you and then replaced you with someone else, yes?"
"More or less,"
"And if it was any else but alex would you care?"
"no"
"I'm just going to cut to the chase here Iz, you are freaking out for one reason only, because you like Alex, you want him to dream about you only and dance to your song only, not with some girl who he met tonight."
"So she's real? He met her tonight?"
"Yeah,"
"What happened?"
"Sorry to say Iz but it's looking pretty good."
Isabel sank onto the bed next to her.
"I'm too late. He's already moved on, I mean before I had a chance but after tonight me missing his performance for me and the dream…it's over."
Tess sighed, it was too early for this, "You don't know that yet."
"Tess he met someone else, how clear can that be?"
"You went with someone else tonight does that mean you don't like him anymore?"
"What am I supposed to do now?"
Tess nodded, "There's nothing else you can do apart from figure out what's what first and then make your move."
"Right, thanks. We'll talk tactics tomorrow"
She rose to go back to her room.
"No prob but Iz,"
"what?"
"If you don't leave now"
"I gotcha, night tess"
"you mean good morning"
"right," Isabel smiled sheepishly," Sorry."
"it's okay," she replied as another yawn escaped her.
Sleep, sweet sleep is what she needed, at least for a few more hours, the Isabel-Alex thing could be dealt with tomorrow.



[ edited 4 time(s), last at 7-Feb-2003 8:47:36 AM ]
posted on 31-Dec-2002 6:57:27 AM
Hi guys *waves*, thanks soo much for the bumpage.

Okay reason behind my lack of postage?
I was juggling this fic and my other fic THE RETURN viewthread?forum=dreamer-fanfiction&id=225876.. I realllllly wanted to finish it so that I could concentrate on this one. Plus THE RETURN was reaching its climax and so needed my undivided attention (for the past few weeks) BUT it is totally done and totally finished, my first ever finished roswell fic!!*happy* yay.

QUES: Great that you've finished your fic and all but when are we getting postage for thisssss fic? lol

ans: I will update this fic probably in about two weeks, I want to make it a nice, long treat for you who have waited so patiently *happy*

Sternbetrachter: thanks for the extreme bumpage

and Gamma Rho Girl I'm glad you like the fic *happy*



[ edited 2 time(s), last at 31-Dec-2002 7:03:59 AM ]
posted on 10-Jan-2003 6:27:43 PM
hey guys, here's the next part hot of the presses. For some reason, I thought I should give it a title:

TITLE: The night after the day before
It seemed somehow fitting. Thank you soo much for the bumpage, it feels good to know u guys love the fic.

P.S. I changed the paragraphing because a friend of mine pointed out that it was easier to read, tell me what u think ok?

Well enough of me, here it is*happy*

"Want a refill?" asked Alex as he poured himself another coke.

Liz shook her head,"No thanks".

"Okay," he shrugged and went back to happily strumming his guitar.

Liz took the moment to once again try and deduce the reason for the mood change. Yesterday on the phone he had sounded heartbroken and depressed hence the reason she was here, to cheer him up.

But he doesn't seem to need it anymore, she mused.

With speculation getting her nowhere, Liz decided to take the more direct approach. Placing the drink firmly on his desk she fixed him with a steady gaze. "Okay Alex 'fess up," she demanded. "What happened last night to put you in soo good of a mood? Did Isabel blow off her date and show up?" she supplied.

He shook his head avoiding eye contact. "No", he replied causally.
The small smile pulling at his lips told Liz that he was definitely holding out on her, on purpose to create suspense and make her squirm.

And it was definitely working.

Finally cracking, she demanded,"Then what?! What could possibly..." she trailed off as a thought occurred to her.

Of course!

"You met someone," she accused.

The smile grew wider.

"You did! didn't you," she smiled, "who?"

All nonchalance pushed aside with his guitar, Alex broke into a wide grin and started talking excitedly.

"Her name's Wendy Carsons"

Wendy Carsons, she thought. The name didn't sound familiar.

"Does she go to West Roswell?" she asked.

"No she goes to Pine Hill."

"How did you meet?"

"Well." He settled himself into a more comfortable position. " Maria convinced that she was checking me out, announced to the whole table, who then forced me to risk humiliation and ask to buy her a drink"

She laughed. Of course it was a total Maria thing to do.

I wish I'd been there, she thought wistfully. Her focus returned to Alex whose hazel eyes were shining with the bright hope and excitement of a new relationship of reciprocal liking.

And it's about time too.

"I take it things went well?" she asked.

"Things went very well, we're going out Tuesday night," he replied

"Alex that's soo great!," she exclaimed and it really was. He was a great guy and finally someone had woken up to that fact.

But what about Isabel? He really liked her and for his feelings to just disappear like that? Can't happen.

"So what about Isabel?" she asked gently.

The light dimmed at the mention of her name. The name came out as a sigh as Alex stared off into empty space, "Isabel."

She nodded. "Yeah,Isabel." she emphasised, capturing his attention with her eyes. "You know, the girl you've been pining after for months?"

He looked at her with sad eyes. "She doesn't want me and I won't hang around watching her date other people and following her around like a puppy dog living on wishes which she's already said will never happen." He smiled sadly and in a implicit attempt to change the conversation he added, "I've gotta get myself a life Parker".

Getting the point, Liz smiled. "So you really like her huh?" she asked.

"She's...great, pretty, funny, smart into computer geeks-"

"-Alex you are not a geek," she objected. He was always beating himself about it. Sure he wasn't a jock and she was thankful that he wasn't but that in now way put him in the geek category to her. To the shallow social climbing hierarchy at school maybe, but not to her or anyone who knew him.

"Anyway, that's my Saturday night. How was yours?" he asked.

"Oh. Um, okay," she shrugged causally.

Okay? It had been great. She wasn't going to flunk Chem and after her Max dream, all day long she felt like she was floating on air. Even serving customers during the rush had been pleasurable,the dream had been like a drug. It felt good but it was bad for her because it was starting to make her think and thinking made things complicated. So had been both thankful and disappointed that this morning had been Max-dreamless. She had considered it logically and come to the conclusion that it was just a one-off thing, something totally unpredictable without having any foundation. She had no romantic feelings for Max Evans, she didn't even know him well enough to have feelings for him. It was just a dream.

Wanting to think about something else other than the dream, she glanced at his bedside clock. It was 7pm!

Michael! I almost forgot

"Um would you mind dropping me off at Michael's? I said I'd stop by."
He had been working yesterday but she hadn't had time to talk to him. Mainly because talking to him caused gravity to pull her back down the ground when she would have much preferred floating on her Max dream. It was a drug which mixed up her priorities. That wasn't right, Michael was her boyfriend and she should not have been daydreaming or smiling about kissing someone else. If she was honest with herself, it was true that she was going to see him because she wanted to spend time with him, but mainly because she felt guilty about the dream and its after effects.

"Sure," he said as he rose from the bed. "I'm on my way out anyway."

"Really, where are you going?" she asked. She had to stop thinking about Max and the dream. It was just one random dream, just like the one she'd had about Antonio Sabato Junior. Just an ordinary dream.

"Oh..." he began as he locked the front door, "um movie night at the Evans''.

"Oh," she nodded enviously glad that he was too distracted to notice her tone.

Another thing she missed out on, hanging with her friends, the three muskeeters plus Michael and Kyle watching videos. If this thing with Michael hadn't happened then she would be going to movie night too.

Ah well, it's never going to happen now. So there's no point in thinking about it and wishing. But then again, that's all I can do.

"Wasn't that like yesterday?" she asked lightly.

Alex was about to reply when his cell phone rang.


"Hi Max," he said. He was too busy listening intently to Max that he missed Liz's head jerk up at the sound of his name. He was also busy focusing on the background sound of Isabel talking to Tess. He had woken up this morning feeling great. He had found someone who so far he liked and who liked him. No more was he wasting his time with Isabel, he really was going to be just friends with her. But then, the sound of her voice melted away the resolution he had retold to Liz.

I've moved on. I'm not going to go all sweaty and nervous, I'm not going to keep staring at her like a love sick puppy all the time-

He broke off from his Get-Over-Isabel-Mantra to respond to Max. "Yeah, I'm on my way, I'm just dropping Liz off. Uh huh."

He turned to Liz who was standing in front of the passenger door waiting for him to unlock the car. " Max say's hi,"

She smiled, the darkness covered her blush. "Tell him hi back"

"Liz says hi too".

Isabel's voice receded. Max must have moved into the living room, he concluded. At least now he could focus on what he was saying instead of Isabel.

"Okay," he nodded signing off," cool see you in a few".

He put the cell in his pocket and unlocked the car door. He mentally shook himself of the Isabel thoughts and images. He would have to be some kind of stupid to continue pining for her.

"Sorry" he said as Liz slid into the passenger seat," what did you ask? oh yeah movie night. Well it was planned for after the show yesterday, but we got to talking, I got lucky, so we postponed it for today."

Slipping on her seatbelt, Liz nodded. "What movies are you watching?"

"Fast and the Furious and Friday 13th," he replied.

"Ah a balance," she said teased.

"By democratic selection," he enthused.

She laughed as he turned on the ignition, wishing once again that she could be part of the fun too and was once again saddened at the thought that her wish would only remain as that. A wish of a wistful friend.

What the-

Startled by the warm hand on his shoulder, Michael whirled around to find a slightly surprised Liz standing before him.

Oh, he thought. Somehow and for some reason, he had wished that she was someone else. A girl with blonde hair and flaring green eyes.

Get over it Guerin, never gonna happen, he told himself.

"Hi," he said. He took off his head phones. He had forgotten that she was coming over. Well, he hadn't till while cleaning up his apartment for her arrival he had found pictures of him and Maria in the strangest places. In the couch, under a stack of magazines, under his bed and in his sock drawer. She just wouldn't leave him alone. So instead of finishing up cleaning, he had spent time looking at each photograph. Smiling at last years' Christmas photo were Maria had forced him to dress up as Santa and she as his little elf for the Santa show; laughing at the time she tried eating some of his tobasco sauce and choked, luckily Alex had the camera at the time. Memories of Maria haunted him all day till he decided to do one thing that would make him forget her because it was the only other important thing in his mind. Paint the damn image of the rock face from the desert. Another thing that kept popping up every other day. He couldn't shake it, from the moment he had driven past it, he had been drawn towards it. He had walked all the way around it, no entrance. So now he was painting it!

"Hi". She greeted him with a soft kiss on the lips which he received with a mixture of duty, will and disappointment. She pointed to his painting, "still thinking about it?"

That was the best thing about being in a relationship with Liz. He could talk about the alien stuff he never could with Maria mainly because she accidentally found out, but after a while she got over it and helped him research any angle he had missed on the crash, any clue to finding out if there were others like him, driving out in the desert, trying to find something.

"Can't stop thinking about it," he replied.

Of course that wasn't the only thing he liked about her. She was great and he liked being around her but finding those pictures with Maria....granted she drove him crazy what with her yapping, stubborness and her other annoying tendencies...

He inwardly sighed.

That was just what he was missing. With him and Maria, there had been this passion, fire, she was argumentative and loud and he loved that, it annoyed him, he missed that.

But I have Liz now, who is great. End of story.

The thought didn't help. Nope what he needed was time to talk himself out of this stroll down memory lane. It was over with Maria, he should just get over it and move on. It's what he did with everything. So why couldn't he do it now?.

"Listen would you mind, missing me for a few minutes" he said. "I just wanna finish this," he lied.

"Um not all" she said.

"Thanks," he smiled kissing her on the cheek, "there's food in the fridge by the way". He grinned at her look of surprised, she was always complaining that there was never any real food in his fridge." I restocked."

"I'll go grab something and veg out for a while," she said as she walked out of the room.

"Okay," he shouted. When he heard the fridge door open, he launched into his whispering lecture to himself.

Liz surveyed the contents of the fridge. He really had restocked. Not only did it contain the usual microwave dinners he was soo fond of but they had healthy food like orange juice and whoa yes ladies and gentlemen. Green vegetables. Broccoli and salad to be exact. Liz grabbed a bottle of water and instead went for something in the bowl of fruit on the table next to the fridge. She stopped mid bite into her apple when she noticed a couple of pictures concealed by a tabasco sauce bottle. Curious, she lifted up the bottle placed it on the side and picked up the pictures. She slowly placed the bitten apple onto the table when she realised what that they weren't just ordinary pictures. They were photographs of Maria and Michael. Her earlier guilt forgotten, Liz stepped into the role of the jealous, hurt girlfriend.

Why is Michael looking at these pictures? She thought. She glanced back to his room to make sure he was still there before returning her attention to the photos in her hand. Him and Maria broke up months ago, why would he have them out now, does he still have feelings for her?. Liz shook her head and sighed, what was she doing? Michael had probably found the pictures while tidying up, she still had her pictures of Maria even though they were no longer friends. Maria and Michael had also been friends before they become lovers, she concluded, why shouldn't he have and keep the pictures of the two of them?

Liz flicked through them and stopped at the one of Maria the Christmas elf sitting on Santa-Michael's lap. Last Christmas, they had had a great time caught up in the shopping madness, Maria demanding a meaningful present from Michael, Michael worrying about what to buy her, their post-Christmas party, the laughter and smiles, Maria's singing. All that wasn't going to happen this Christmas, Liz realised sadly. The Christmas songs were starting to play, the decorations were being put up but this year, she didn't feel in the Christmas spirit. This Christmas she wouldn't be spending a single joyful moment with her best friend and it was all because she had chosen Michael. Liz sighed, she cared about him a great deal, she had sacrificed her friendship with Maria over him but sometimes in moments like this she regretted it.

In his room, Michael had finished the lecture and was ready to move on with his life once again. He grabbed the blank canvas he was going to work on and took it into his art wardrobe.

Yes, he thought as he stood it in the corner beneath three more paintings.

The bottom painting was of a girl with curled long blonde hair and green eyes he had been working on a month ago.

He was just going through a lapse of doubt....

The second painting was of a girl with full pink strawberry tasting lips of which he had had the privilege to kiss. He had worked on that a few weeks ago.

Considering how much he had lost by going with Liz, it was expected.

The first painting behind the blank canvas was a finished painting of Maria, eyes closed, singing into a microphone. He had worked on that all last night and after finding the pictures.

But he was fine now. He was completely over Maria.


"Iz, Tess come on! They'll be here soon!" Max yelled at the bottom of the stairs.

"Coming!" came the loud reply which was followed by quick urgent footsteps.

He assessed their outfits with a secret amused smile, "You look...nice".

Now I wonder what this is all about? He thought sarcastically.

Isabel and Tess, oblivious to her brother's thoughts, accepted the compliment, "Thanks"

Max couldn't suppress it any longer, he broke out into a wide grin.

"Don't give me that, Max" said Isabel as they walked into the kitchen.

"What?" he asked innocently.

"Is it a crime for me, for us to dress nicely, to feel good?" she asked.

He opened his mouth to reply but stopped by Tess' input.

"Of course not," she nodded decisively," we like to dress well for our friends."

"I'm in complete agreement," said Isabel.

Max leaned back on the counter and listened to their alternating justifications for their dress.

"Yes," he nodded,with mock sincerity, "I completely agree."
For his next comment, he made sure he was safely covering his face with the microwave door. "It has nothing to do with the fact that Alex and Kyle are coming over, or the fact that you and Tess had a massive strategy meeting this morning, never mind the fact that you've spent almost two hours choosing your outfits". He paused for effect. "For a movie night"

"Shut up" said Isabel and with that came a sharp smack at the back of his head which told him to drop it if he valued his health.

The door bell rang.

"I'll get," he volunteered, glad to get out of the line of fire. Even though he was teasing, he really would have to have a talk with Isabel and Tess before this thing got out of hand.

Outside, Kyle was focusing on his strategy. "So you remember the plan?" he asked nervously at the door step.

"Yes my cowardly brother," replied Maria.

"Hey I'm not a coward!" he replied defensively," I'm just watching my back".

It wasn't cowardly, sure Tess had wanted him to kiss her last night but it wouldn't have been right if he had. When ever he was around her, especially last night dancing, he had the feeling that she kept people at a distance. They could know her, but not that much and he wasn't interested in being held at arms length. So he'd salvage their friendship and try to be strictly platonic, so his plan was to slowly work that in by staying away from her as much as possible, because he knew that contact would start him that slippery slope which would end in him picking up the pieces of his broken heart.

"What plan?" asked Alex. They had both arrived at the same time. For once, thought Kyle. Usually if he was with Maria, he was always "fashionably late."

"For fear of rejection, he's staying away from Tess" explained Maria.

"Fear of rejection is a good thing" he retorted.

Folding her arms across her chest, Maria turned to him with an incredulous look on her face, "Really, how so? 'Cause I pretty sure she likes you and you could tell her the way you feel..." she hinted.

"Well you thought Isabel liked Alex and look how wrong you were" he said. "Granted there were signs but she still shot him down-"

"Oh thanks," said Alex.

"No offense Alex, it's just from your experience, these Evans women seem to be players. They give you the signs and then break your heart. So I'm going to do the smart thing and back off. Cutting out the awkward conversation where she tells me that she's not ready or wants to be just friends" he finished cynically.

And to do that, I need to work through my plan.

"Now let's over the plan again" he insisted.

Maria sighed and recited his instructions. "You'll sit next to someone other than Tess and I'll sit next to you to keep her away from you."

"Good," he nodded.

This thing was going to be rocky at the beginning but he would manage.

"Whatever," she said as she rang the bell again.

This time, the door opened instantly.

Wow instant service, thought Kyle as Max welcomed them in.

"We brought the movies," he said as they went into the living room," you brought the food?".

Despite his relationship issues, he always ready for some extreme munching.

"Yep," replied Max, "all the movie classics: popcorn sweet and salted, goobers, doritos and drinks".

"Cool," he said as he did a quick survey of the living room arrangement.

"Isabel, Tess they're here!" shouted Max.

"Coming," came the reply from the kitchen.

Okay Valenti, time to put the plan into action.

There was a big sofa right next to a love seat and two arm chairs arranged in a semi circle around the t.v.

The best way to keep away from Tess would be to rule out any possibility of his plan going wrong. So...

"So wanna take the sofa?" asked Maria.

"Change of plans" he whispered, "I'll take the armchair"

"Suit yourself," she shrugged as she dropped herself on the sofa.

Kyle noted that Alex took the arm chair too.
Looks like I'm not the only one trying to avoid an Evans girl.

"So remember the plan," coached Tess as she picked up a bowl of popcorn.

"Be cool, be casual, bring up yesterday in conversation and Wendy, look for clues to how roped in he is with her," said Isabel.

"Hey what are you two doing in there!" shouted Kyle.

"Well if you'd get in here and help us carry the food, we'd get there faster!" yelled Tess with a smile.

In a minute, all the food had been transferred onto the living room table and everyone sat down for the movie.

Isabel was disappointed when she saw Alex sat in the arm chair. There was no way she could casually sit next to him there.

Ah well, the night's not over yet.

"Well now that we're done with setting the table," said Kyle, "lets get this show on the road,"

He was trying to be as casual as possible and as loud as normal but he couldn't help notice how cute Tess looked in her pink top.

No. Follow the plan, he coached himself. Back off, give her time to decide, let her come to you.

"Patience," she smiled as she flopped on the sofa and tossed him a pack of goobers.

Tell me about it, he thought silently.

"Who are we going for?" asked Maria, her eyes glued on the screen, "Vin Diesel or Paul Walker?."

"Pass the popcorn please?" asked Tess.

Maria passed it to Max, who passed it to Isabel, who passed it to Tess.

"Hard to say," replied Tess, "Paul is hot in that jacket but Diesel has that voice thing going on!"

"Diesel," said Isabel.

"Diesel," said Maria.

"Both," said Tess.

The screen paused. All eyes turned to the remote keeper, Alex, who wasn't looking too impressed with the girls.

"Sorry to interrupt the hot boy candy fest," he said, "but could you please-"

"shut up so we can watch the rest of the freakin movie!" finished Kyle.

The girls looked at each other and smiled sheepishly. With soo much candy to look at how could they not comment?

"Um sorry," they muttered apologetically.

"Thank you," exhaled Alex.

Maria, Isabel and Tess each suppressed a grin as their attentions were captured by the screen once again.

The credits rolled. The food had finished. It was time for a break and a refill.

"I'll do it," volunteered Alex. Without waiting for a reply, he grabbed the empty popcorn bowls and headed over to the kitchen.

Isabel waited for five seconds and then went after him, "I'll come help."

At the same time Kyle rose from his seat,"I'm gonna go empty my bladder."

Tess waited ten seconds before she followed him upstairs, "I'm just gonna go freshen up".

Maria and Max were the only ones left in the quiet living room.

Well this is nice, thought Max, lets just turn up the tension levels shall we?

Beside him, Maria rose to her feet. Clearing her throat she said, "I'm gonna go outside, stretch my legs, get fresh air."

Without giving it a second thought Max said, "I'll join you".

Once outside, they looked at each other and burst out laughing.

"Wow," said Maria, "looks like you and I are the only ones who aren't bound by tension, sexual or otherwise." Sure the movie was good but not good enough to make her ignore it all, the averted eyes, sly glances, tense nervous body language. It was pure energy and she was so glad that she and Max weren't that way. That they could totally relax and just be normal friends.

"Yeah looks like it" he agreed.

Standing closely together they looked up at the sky. It was a nice cool night, the sky was filtered with stars. Maybe that was why she felt so breathless. Yep, it had to be the beauty, it had nothing to do with Max at all. Her last relationship had ended disastrously, she wasn't ready to date, never mind get involved in a relationship with anyone let alone Max. He was her friend, her good friend and regardless of what she felt, she wasn't ready and they were going to stay just that. Friends. It was the safest status.

Her eyes still fixed to the sky, she said, "Oh I forgot to ask you, how did the session go with Liz?".

"Okay," he replied,"she just needed to understand the basics, after that she was okay. We're meeting up Monday to Wednesday to finish up."

"Oh. That's good" she commented causally. Meanwhile curiosity was digging away at her. She wouldn't admit it but she missed talking to Liz, wanting to know what was up in her life. Three months of separation couldn't erase years of girl talk.

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw him shift and turn to her, she could feel his eyes looking at her. "She misses you," he said finally.

"Oh" she said. Unable to avoid his eyes she sighed and turned to him, " Well that's not really my fault now is it?"

Three months of separation couldn't erase years of girl talk but stabbing her in the back by creeping with her ex-boyfriend sure helped things along.

"Maria-"

"Look can we not talk about them right now? I don't want to waste my time or my thoughts".

He held her gaze with an expression Maria couldn't decode. "Sure," he said finally. A smile spread across his face instantly making her forget about the betrayal. "So what do you wanna talk about?" he asked.

"Oh I don't know..." she replied. She sat down on the porch steps. Max settled beside her, "stars, planets, aliens, heck whatever"

"Okay, aliens it is then," he said.

Maria laughed, "Well we do live in Roswell so we were bound to have this conversation sometime". She turned to him, her eyes alight, "so do you believe in aliens?".

"I think it's a possibility" he replied. "You?"

"Hmm little green men watching the earth, coming in peace and abducting us lowly humans?". She shook her head," Nah not really".

"Not little green men necessarily" he said.

"Oh Max " she groaned, "you're not one of those aliens-are-among us people are you?"

He shrugged, "That's more believable than little green men"

"True", she agreed. " I'm sorry it's just I've lived around this all my life and sure there could be life out there and maybe even aliens among us, but seriously if you were alien why would you come and live in Roswell? I mean that's like returning to the scene of the crime. It's just not done."

"Yeah I guess," he said. Maria studied him as he nodded thoughtfully. Woah, he is giving this a some thought, probably an alien fan or something.

"I sorry did I just ruin you're alien bubble or something?" she asked as memories of debunking Alex's misconception about the tooth fairy played in her mind. It hadn't been a happy week for him, she recalled.

"Oh no," he shook his head and smiled, "I just find the topic interesting."

"Oh it is," she agreed, "if you haven't lived around it all of your life."

He opened his mouth about to say something but closed it again. "Yeah I could see that happening," he said instead.

Whatever he wanted to say, he's not going to now, thought Maria. So might as well change the subject to something else.

"So now that's out of the way, pick another topic" she said.

"Okay..."

Isabel jumped, slightly startled as the microwave timer sounded. She had been too absorbed in slyly studying Alex as he refilled the bowls with doritos.

It's amazing how things can change in day, she mused as she poured the salted popcorn into a bowl. Well for him it was a week but for me a day. Now I'm the wanting him and he's just...moved on. But how moved on is moved on? She thought. Well it was about time she found out.

Studying his every move under her lashes, she said, "I'm sorry I missed your gig last night". He put the bowl on the table with decided thud. He looked up at her and shrugged. "No biggie, you can check us out again next month".

His body language communicated that he didn't care but his hazel eyes told Isabel that he did. So he does care, she thought hopefully. Well of course he does, it was his last attempt at getting my attention, granted he had moved on but who wouldn't be hurt about that? She thought her hope fading.

Slapping a fake smile across her lips, she said, "Okay".

Without saying a word, he moved past her to get to the cupboard. Not one to give up too quickly Isabel carried on with her plan.

"I heard you had a good time anyway," she ventured.

"Yeah," he said. With his head in the cupboard, he added, "I met someone".

"Really" she said with mock enthusiasm. "Who is she, do I know her?"

He removed his head from the cupboard and faced her, "No, she goes to Pine Hill. Her name's Wendy Carson."

"Well Alex Whitman finally scored, congratulations," she said brightly concealing the envy and sadness she felt inside.

"Yeah well thank the rowdy Deluca and co at table three who just wouldn't let it go," he smiled. "How was your date with Sorenson?".

"It was good," she nodded, turning away pretending to look for something in the fridge; missing the roll of his eyes. Her date with Grant had been good, but today morning she had called him and told him she didn't want to see him again. That she was with someone else and that she suggested he re-evaluate his plans to stay. She turned to face him, "We went to a restaurant and talked".

"Great," he said. "Seeing him again?"

"Um no, he was just passing through so I don't think it'll last," she said studying his response.

It was a casual "Oh" followed by, "Well there are other fish in the sea".

Yeah but I only want you, she thought silently.

She was frustrated, he was just being normal, like they were friends. Which was what she told him that they should be, but...he didn't even care! No more puppy dog expression, he was just being nonchalant.

They were done refilling and were ready to go back into the living room. Isabel tried her again. "So, I was wondering if you wanted to go out to Fraiser Woods and stargaze again on Tuesday night? We had a great time last time," she asked as causally as possible. Inwardly her heart was pounding wildly against her rib-cage.

"I'd love to Iz but I've got a date with Wendy," he replied.

There was one painful thump on her rib-cage, then disappointment.

"Oh, okay."

"But we can go out on Wednesday," he offered.

"Yeah, sure," she accepted with a smile. She walked past him carrying her bowls, "that would be great."

Just great.

Tess heard him open the bathroom door, waited a few seconds and opened her bedroom door and walked into the hallway.

"Hey," she greeted him with a smile.

"Hi," he said.

They met at the top of the stairs, Tess wondering what to say and Kyle looking everywhere but at her . Tess studied him thoughtfully, he was acting like the almost kiss didn't happen. Like they were just Tess and Kyle hanging together. True that's what she wanted him to think and that's how he'd behaved after the dance last night but this was a step further, it was like he was avoiding her. His body language was totally readable. His eyes finally landed on her. He smiled and with a wave of his arm presented the stairs "Ladies first," he said.

"Thank you," she accepted. Descending down them, she paused halfway. She turned and looked up at him. "Kyle?"

"Yeah?"

"Are we okay?"

"Yeah," he nodded, "why wouldn't we be?".

"I don't know, it seems like you're kind of avoiding me" she said trying to capture his focus.

"No," he replied not meeting her eyes, "everything's fine".

"Oh, good," she said sarcastically, "'cause I was thinking that-"

"-hey guys quit the chatter and let's start a watchin," called Alex.

Kyle seemed relieved at the interruption.

"Coming!" he yelled looking at her expectantly.

There's always tomorrow, she sighed as she finished her descent and walked into the living room. She wanted to talk to him about the almost kiss. To straighten things out because she did not want lose what they had together.

As the night drew on, the friends moved closer until they were all settled on the sofa adjoined to the love seat. Every now and then, Tess glanced over at Kyle who was sat at the other end next to Maria. When she turned her attention back to the screen, Kyle chanced a glance at her. Tess was sat in between Alex and Isabel. When Tess was glancing at Kyle, Alex was glancing at Isabel. When Kyle chanced a glance at Tess, Isabel full of regret chanced a glance at Alex. In between the dance of glances sat Max and Maria, their knees leaning against each other, content being in each other's presence.

"Well, I'm not driving home alone tonight," declared Alex as they cleared up.

"It was a movie Alex," laughed Tess.

"Laugh all you want," he smiled, "but you're not the one driving home alone tonight. I'm totally secure in my manhood to admit fear."

Maria playfully hugged him, "Relax Alex, don't worry, we'll drive the scared wittle baby home" she teased.

"I," he began in a serious tone, "am totally secure in my manhood to admit fear."

Max, Isabel and Tess waved goodnight to their friends at the door.

"See you guys tomorrow!" he shouted.

"Yep," waved Alex," and don't forget to bring my car."

"No problem," Isabel laughed.

It had been agreed that Maria and Kyle were going to drive him home and she would drive his car to school in the morning.

Max closed the door behind him. Thankful that his parents were away on a getaway with friends, he waited till bedtime to tackle Isabel and Tess. He knocked on the door and entered.

Two green faces looked at him expectantly.

"Can we talk?" he asked.

"Sure," said Tess.

"What's up?" asked Isabel.

"It's about Alex and Kyle" he said. At that, their faces clouded over. This was not going to be fun, he realised.

"What about them?" asked Tess.

"I don't need to remind you that our lives and theirs are at stake" he began.

"Max what are you talking about?" asked Isabel.

Their face masks were incredibly ridiculous but Max had to focus on the task at hand. To remind them of their priorities.

"It took you two hours to get ready, you were plotting to get information about Wendy from Alex," he stated the evidence.

"I'm talking about your feelings for them. I know that sometimes we forget who we are, what we can and can't do. We're different and You can't -we can't be like that, they're close enough as it is, we can't get too....involved like that"

Isabel rose from the bed fuming. How dare he come into her room and start lecturing her on involvement?!
Especially after her disappointing night in the Alex department, Isabel was in no mood for one of Max's lectures.

"So what it's okay for you and not for us?" she demanded.

"What are you talking about?" he asked.

Isabel snorted, looked at Tess and they both rolled their eyes. Could he really be that dense or in denial?

"You and Maria" she stated.

"What about me and Maria?" he asked.

Could he really be that dense or that deep in denial?

"Oh please" she shared a look with Tess. Did he need a list? His clueless expression told them he did.

"You spend a lot of time together..." began Tess.

"...You finish each other's sentences" she added.

"...You check each other out when you think neither one is looking" continued Tess.

"And don't get me started about the touching and eye contact" she said.

"Okay fine!" he held up his hands in defeat." I have feelings for her".

Isabel smiled, finally he had admitted what she and Tess had been talking about all along. "But that's all they're going to stay as. Feelings. Maria doesn't want to get into a relationship especially after Michael..."

Yeah right, did he not know anything about relationships or denial or oh and also the fear of going into another relationship after your previous one was a train wreck?

Obviously not, she thought dryly as he continued telling him the reasons why him and Maria weren't going to happen.

"...And no matter what I feel for her, I'm not going to act on it. Neither of us are going to act on it. I like her but I can restrain myself"

"Are you saying that we can't?" challenged Tess.

"No!" he said frustrated. This thing was turning out to be more hassle than he'd prepared himself for. Certainly the Maria admission had been a shock to him too. He slowly exhaled, getting angry at them wasn't going to help any of them. " I'm saying" began gently," you have to be careful, that's all"

"Ditto" said Isabel levelly.

Max sighed. He had said what he had come to say. He knew they were angry and he didn't blame them. There was nothing they could do about it. It was the way it had to be. "I'm going to bed," he said, " goodnight"

He closed the door and slumped against it and exhaled tiredly. He jumped slightly as he heard a thud against it. Isabel must be using her power to throw things, he guessed. Good thing I'm out of the way, he smiled wryly as he crawled into bed.
Yep he and Maria were going to stay just friends. He had the whole situation under control.

"I hate this," said Isabel as she roughly dried her face with a face towel.

"which bit, Max coming in preaching or-"

"I mean I hate the fact that he's right". She rinsed out the towel and placed it where it belonged. Sighing she turned to said and said "we were kidding ourselves if we thought that we could have a normal long term relationship with them Tess. Not when there are alien enemies trying to kill us and government agencies wanting to dissect us. It just-"

"Sucks" she finished.

"Yeah" she agreed dejectedly.

"So me and Kyle are just going to have to stay friends. No talk about the almost kiss, just buddies" sighed Tess sadly.

"And me and Alex? Well he's moved on already and me, I'm doomed to stay in shallow short term relationships while missing out on something deeper" she said bitterly.

"Being alien royalty sucks" said Tess.

"Uh huh" she agreed.

Isabel went to sleep with one thought in her mind.
Normal, all I want is for just once to be normal.

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 10-Jan-2003 6:29:18 PM ]
posted on 4-Feb-2003 5:02:05 PM
awww you guys sure know how to make a girl feel appreciated *happy*

thanks for all the bumpage.

What's happening with the fic? well my plan was to have it up by next week but I'm currently working on the next episode of www.roswellreaderschoice.com ROSWELL READERS CHOICE (plug plug plug lol, it's a really great site though really. We write episodes based on ideas submitted by the fans and polls, it's roswell the way you want it, so check it out !)

Anyway back to the fic, it should be up in the next two weeks, I'll post with a definite week later *happy*
thanks for the support guys;)

[ edited 3 time(s), last at 4-Feb-2003 5:20:05 PM ]
posted on 18-Feb-2003 5:58:15 AM
AN The wait is over, the next part (with extra length as compensation for the long wait;) so I will post it in two posts ) is here! Lol
Dedicated to:
Sternbetrachter, BelevnDreamsToo, Gamma Rho Girl, Tabi, akasha15,
sweetygurl, roswellianfreak2006, baby_bre, Shama
thank you for the continuous fb and bumpage guys, I hope this next part will leave you wanting more*happy*

I have had extra fun with this next part, I just keep having more and more fun with this fic!. Anyway, the "extra" is for various reasons, which you'll realise as you read, but mainly because it contains two of my many fav dreamer moments: loved the pencil scene in Sexual Healing and of course Max and Liz's first kiss in Heatwave. So when the idea came to me, I thought, how could I not?. I'm kinda nervous to see what you guys think about it, so pls tell me*happy* .

At this point I'd like to re-emphasise that I own nothing except my imagination. Lyrics belong to Gomez: We haven't turned around and Vertical Horizon: Everything you want (I felt this song just fit the scenes at the party to a tee, if I was editing the scene for a real ep, the song would be playing in the background, it was when I was typing it*happy* )

Polars, I have bad news, after this next part, no more polar romance, just polar friendship. But Gzs, this doesn't mean I've reverted to CC, they haven't even got together yet! *happy*.
Lamptrimmers and Stargazers: What about our couples? they haven't either yet

Ah, but that's what this next part is for SPOILER ALERT ! MISS THIS NEXT PART IF YOU DON'T WANT A CLUE!!!!!!!!!!!....there's a party, there's dancing, there's kissing and then something happens.
Enjoy......

CHAPTER FOUR

Liz looked up as the door to the biology classroom opened. A smile she couldn't control escaped her as the familiar brown headed boy walked shyly and apologetically to his seat. Right next to her.

She studied him luxuriously with her eyes as he sat down. She mouthed a soft hi, which he returned with his irresistible shy smile. His mere presence next to her, made it very hard for Liz to concentrate on what Mr Whitmore was saying. Max slid a paper over to her, she took it and enjoying the way their fingers touched, she let them linger there wanting them there forever.

Feeling incredibly brave, Max always made her feel like that, Liz bit her lip and "accidentally" dropped her pencil. She glanced over at Max and directed him with her eyes. Understanding her message, he grinned. Anticipating his touch she tucked her hair behind her ears, she could feel him under the table next to her, breathing. Then his touch, gentle, warm, sent shivers from the tip of her fingertips to the rest of her body. She closed her eyes as he stroked her fingers, her hand and slowly licked her fingers, one by one by one. Liz was swept away with pleasure. She'd had no idea how much enjoyment could be had out of interactions with fingers and his mouth. His warm, gentle mouth and tongue as they worked their magic. It was ecstasy.

Liz sighed as images swept through her mind, awesome breathtaking images of space, stars, whisking her away into a state of pure bliss. She gasped as a ripple of pleasure surged through her, a moan escaped her, another and another until pretty soon they were as loud as the bell....Wait what bell?

Liz's eyes flew open, she was awake, and the loud noise was her alarm clock. She exhaled slowly as the sensations travelled through her body leaving her feeling very empty and sad. She lifted her fingers, still tingling from the memory, to her face. Sighing she stared at the ceiling, not wanting to get out of bed but knowing that she had to.

Another dream about Max, she thought.The mere thought of his name brought an uncontrollable smile to her face.

But why?

Liz refused to consider the answer to that question and delve into rationale, it was just a dream, it had nothing to do with real life whatsoever, so she could just enjoy the feeling it gave her. It was as simple as that. Liz threw off her bed covers, planted her feet on the ground, stood up and then promptly sank to the ground. She stopped herself falling by holding onto her bed. Okay, so maybe some part of the dream transferred to real life, like the weak feeling in her knees, but that was it. In the shower, Liz hummed and smiled. With her eyes closed, she let the water run all over her, relieving every moment of the dream: the warmth, excitement, passion and wanting.

She floated her way to breakfast. The way Max made her feel, his work on her fingers and the visions it gave her were just amazing...and felt explosively good. Beaming, she greeted her parents with a smile and proceeded to pass her Dad the Max.
"Mayonnaise," she quickly corrected herself blushing.
Oh, I better get a hold of myself now. I cannot do that in school.
Rising up she excused herself and went into the bathroom.

"Okay" she told her reflection, " for one it was just a dream and two, I have to stop thinking about it, otherwise I might say his name again at an inappropriate time, with Michael or...it just has to stop", she ordered herself.

Liz did was successful in avoiding thinking about either of her Max dreams until she walked into the biology classroom and realised as if for the first time that he was in her biology class.

Okay, she took a nervous breath as she sat down next to Tess, I'll be fine. Just focus on the work and everything will be fine.

Her statement of resolve dissolved the moment Max entered the classroom...with Maria laughing by his side. Liz was surprised to find herself disappointed that he wasn't alone and even more so when he passed by their table greeted her and Tess with a smile and sat down next to Maria.

That's why it's called a dream, she told herself, it's not real. For one insane instant you thought you and Max were together or that there was something there-that's just plain wrong.

As the lesson continued, the memories of the morning's dream continuously pushed the new information she was learning out of the way, making it very hard for her to concentrate. Liz found herself turning slightly and glancing at Max.
"What's so interesting?" asked Tess, jolting Liz from her Max glance.

"Um nothing," she replied, silently panicked, "I was just-"

"Looking over at Maria" she finished.

"Yeah," she nodded. It was better than the alternative.

"Miss her?" she asked.

"Yeah" she replied. She missed Maria more and more everyday.

"Hmm well you should have thought of that before you made a play for her boyfriend" she said with malice.

Liz nodded, she had forgotten for a moment that Tess and Maria were friends and once again the reason for it, was Max. She returned back to work, but every now and then of they're own accord, her eyes drifted to Max. He caught her once and smiled, blushing she had smiled back and quickly looked away.
Liz left biology thinking she had a serious problem, Max Evans was invading her brain.

It had all been going perfectly until Advanced Chem. She had walked in, sat on the table she shared with Naomi ready to focus on work. Then Naomi asked if she didn't mind her sitting with Kevin since they were in the flirting stage of their relationship. Of course she had agreed, it a simple request and she was fine with it. Until she had realised too little too late when everyone was settled and class had began and he came and sat next to her, that Max was Kevin's desk mate. And now he was sitting next to her, mouthing a hi to her, just like in her dream.

"Hi," she mouthed back before pretending to focus her attention on the board.

"I have a serious problem" she whispered to herself. Just sitting there next to him brought back memories of her early morning dream, except that had been in bio, this was in Chem and-

Oh no!

In her surge of nervousness she had just dropped her pencil on the floor. Her heart stopped. This is too much of a deja vu, she realised as it began pounding wildly against her chest. She lifted her eyes and met Max's who had noticed that the pencil had dropped. She quickly moved to get it but wasn't fast enough to stop him from bending down under the table to get it.
Liz sat up straight, her body as rigid as a tree trunk, breathing shallow as she sensed him moving underneath the table next to her. She held her breath as, like in the dream, she waited for his sweet, electrifying touch-

"Miss Parker!"

The stern voice jolted her from her anticipation. She focused on Mr Reynolds who was looking at her expectantly.

"Do you have anything to add?"

Sure, if I had any idea what you have been talking about, she thought silently.

She pressed her lips together as felt a blush creep to her cheeks.

Well this just kept getting better and better. "Um no"

At the same time Max rose from under that table.

"Mr Evans?" asked Mr Reynolds with surprise.

Giggles and snickers rippled through the class. Max stood up and held out the pencil sheepishly, "I dropped my pencil".

Liz was trying to keep a straight face but was finding it very difficult.

This is soo embarrassing.

"I'm sure," he replied sceptically, " I hope you make a habit of it".

When the class had returned to normal, Liz chanced a glance at Max at the same time that he chanced a glance at her. She noted the hints of pink on his cheek, "Sorry," she whispered. The guy tutored her and now she had just embarrassed him but of her stupid fantasies.

He grinned as he handed her the pencil, "It's okay."

For the rest of the lesson, Liz focused on taking notes, but Max kept distracting her, that and the dream. If she was like this now, how would she react to her and Max alone in her room tonight?. At the end of the lesson, she slammed her chemistry book decisively, I have got to get a grip.

Max knocked on the door and greeted Liz with a smile.

"Hi," she said brightly as she led him into the living room.

"Hey," he replied.

She stood there looking at him, just staring. "Um, should we get started?" he asked.

"Oh, yeah," she said, "I've got us step up in the kitchen this time, bigger table...um I'll be back in one second," she said backing out of the room. "Make yourself at home" she managed before disappearing.

"Right," nodded Max. He took off his jacket, hung it up and set his books down on the living room table. He sat down and flicked through the t.v. channels. Finding nothing interesting, he decided to study the photographs around the room. He started with the ones on the mantel. They were pictures of a young Liz on her birthday, teenage Liz laughing with her mother and father, Liz with Maria, Alex and Michael. Max stared at the picture, sad at the thought that their friendship had been destroyed. He was studying a picture of Liz and someone he concluded must have been her grandmother when her voice startled him.

"Hi"

He spun around to face her, still holding the picture in his hand. "Hi"

She gestured to the photo frame in his hand. "Looking at my family photos huh?"

"Yeah," he said.

"Is this your grandmother?" he asked.

She nodded," Grandma Claudia, she was really great"

"She died?" he asked gently.

"A year ago, came to visit us for a few days and then suffered from a stroke and died. I never got to really say goodbye you know."

He turned and placed the picture back onto the mantel piece. Not quite sure what to say, he said the only thing people said in situations like this. "I'm sorry"
"It's okay," she said turning to him, "it's weird but I go to her grave site and talk to her, tell her what I'm up to, my life and somehow that makes me feel like she's not really gone." She stopped as if realizing that she had said too much. "That must really sound out there" she said shyly.

"No no, I get it," he reassured her.

She looked up at him for a moment and then shook her head signaling the end of the conversation, "we better get started on this".

"Right," he nodded and followed as she led him to the kitchen.

They settled down and started the session. Max went through atomic spectroscopy from the beginning, once the foundations were laid, they figured out that her problem had been understanding what they were linking to, and the relationships of the gaining of energy and return to stability. Every once in a while, Max would find her staring at him and then when she realised he'd caught her, she would look away. She was acting really strange, almost tense. Then again it had been a tense day for him, so why not her?

Lunch especially had been initially awkward, a lot of silences and glances but somehow, maybe it was after Maria and Isabel had started talking about Pam Troy, the ice broke and the relaxed atmosphere returned but with each of them keeping in the rule in mind, knowing what they couldn't do and couldn't think. That was their life.
"Max" said Liz.

Max was drawn back to reality by her soft brown eyes, "Sorry, I just zoned"

"It's okay, we've been at this for an hour now, how about a break?"

"yeah, sure" he agreed.

Liz headed for the fridge, "um we have coke, water..."

"water thanks," he said. Her tone was too bright he caught the tension beneath it,"Liz are you okay?"

"Yeah," she replied brightly," why?"

"No reason," he said slowly," you just seem a bit...nervous".

Nervous is an understatement, she thought silently.
"No, I've just been busy with homework and over this chem thing, I don't want to get a D on Monday"

"I don't think you will, you were just a little confused but-"

A phone rang. Max's cell phone.

"Excuse me," he said apologetically as he accepted the call. "Isabel," he said.

Liz took this as an opportunity to study Max and get it over and done with. He had a lean frame, his loose grey top couldn't hide that fact that he worked out. And his hair and eyes? All through the session she had wanted more than ever to run her fingers through it and to feel his lips on hers like the dream.

Okay, done, he's very good looking. I'm done.

But somehow that wasn't true, her fast heartbeat and nervousness just wouldn't go away. Liz took a deep breath. What is going on here? I hardly know Max and all this because of a dream? And what was that back there? opening my mouth and telling him about Grandma Claudia?

It was strange, she had only known, really spoken with Max a few times but she felt somehow safe and free, like she could tell him anything and he would understand. It was his eyes, being near him was a truth serum, like she had to tell him. Liz shook off the feeling that was developing within her. She was infatuated with Max, he was good-looking and nice. She was attracted to him just like every other girl at West Roswell and after a while she would get over him and go on with her life. Liz turned her attention back to his cell conversation.

"Yes Isabel, I know, Friday afternoon you need the jeep, yep, I'll hitch a ride with Maria"

He was also taken, she remembered. Another reason to end this thing she had for him.

"See you when I get home, bye". He hung up the phone and caught her looking at him.

He smiled and shrugged, "Isabel, just wanted to make sure I'd picked up the Christmas hampers for the Christmas drive".

"Oh, she's helping out?" she asked.

With a private smile he replied, "You could say that."

Catching her questioned look he explained, "Iz kind of gets a little crazy around Christmas, she's helping out with pageant, the food drive, Santa's grotto. She takes it really seriously."

"Oh," she smiled. She could feel herself being swept away by the attractive force of Max Evans.

Food!

The idea shuttled her into action.

"Um, how about some food?".

"Yeah, sure," he replied.

Liz fixed them some food and they settled down on the living room sofa for a break.

"You must really miss L.A. Your friends especially at Christmas," she said.

He paused to think,"no, not really". He turned to face her, "It's weird, I lived in L.A. practically my whole life and sure I miss the routine, but the friends I've made here in just a few months, I'd miss them more." He shook his head and smiled to himself, "That's really strange."

"Yeah but not surprising, Alex and Kyle are great, funny, loyal and Maria is...well Maria" she said fondly.

"Yeah," his smile grew wider at the mention of her name.

Liz felt a pang but ignored it. As the conversation continued she knew her plan had failed. Convincing herself that once she had gotten to him, the draw she felt towards him would fade had been a bad idea because it had the opposite effect.

Maria breezed through the busy Crashdown, glad that she had been working an early shift tonight. It was 9pm and the place was busy.

"Hi Maria," said Joyce one of the waitresses.

"Hi, J, busy night."

"You know it," she said. "Hey do me a favour?"

"No can do my shift is over and I'm homework bound," she said. No way was she getting stuck feeding the hungry, plus she really had homework to do.

"Relax," said Joyce, " I just need you to take that box to the storeroom or else we'll trip on it. It's been so busy no one has had time to move it."

"Sure thing," said Maria. She picked it up and headed towards the store room. Opening the door, she walked in and looked for somewhere to put it.

Michael gladly ripped off his apron. He was done for the night.
"See you later Jose," he called.

"Later Michael" he replied.

Michael was hot and tired, all he wanted was to hit the sack. He was on his way out to do just that, when he spotted the storeroom door opened and its light on. He sighed, someone had obviously forgotten to close it and turn off the light. Feeling charitable despite his tiredness, Michael walked in nudging the door behind him.
He stopped in his tracks when he saw Maria in the corner placing a box on the shelf.
Behind him, the door closed.

Maria turned at the sound of the closing door and was surprised to find Michael standing there staring at her.
"Mich-"

She broke off as the meaning of the closed door sank into. Her eyes widened, "You closed the door" she accused him.

"Yeah so?" he shrugged.

Maria rolled her eyes, this couldn't be happening. "So" she said through gritted teeth, she strode over and pushed him aside. She turned the knob and pushed herself against the door. It did exactly as she she expected, nothing.

"The door won't open we're locked in, didn't you read the memo that said that to put it succinctly, don't-close-the-store-room-door-with-you-in-it-because-you'd-get-locked-in!" she shouted.

"A memo?" he said vaguely.

Maria collapsed against the door and sighed, "obviously not."

Praying for a miracle, she tried it again but it still wouldn't open. She glanced back at Michael who stood there just watching her. No way was she staying here with him.
She turned and started pounding on the door. "Help!" she shouted.

"It won't do any good, they're all pretty busy and it's noisy I doubt they'll hear you" he said calmly.

She stopped and through gritted teeth turned to face him.
"Shut up" she said.

This was not happening. She turned to the door and pounded again. After a few more attempts she sighed and turned to face him. He was leaning against the shelves watching at her. It was annoying.
"What" she demanded coldly.

"Nothing".

She shook her head in disbelief. "I can't believe I'm stuck here with you!"

"Why are you here anyway?" he asked.

"Not that it's any of your business but, I forgot my history book I need for homework in my locker and came to pick it up," she replied,

"Oh," he said.

"Oh," she mimicked and rolled her eyes. She folded her arms and settled in a corner.

"What's your problem?" he asked.

Maria laughed in angry disbelief. He didn't know what her problem was !?

Gathering herself up from the floor, she stood up to explain her problem. "Problem I have no problem apart from the fact that I'm stuck here with you" she began, "Who is just standing there! Doing nothing. Why don't you do something guyish and try to break the door down?"

"Is my life in danger?" he asked.

"Not yet," she replied venomously.

She turned away from him and ran frustrated fingers through her hair. Okay breath, she coached herself. It's going to be fine. It's nine o clock so Max must still be up stairs tutoring Liz, he's leaving at ten so worst case scenario is spending an hour in here.

She reached into her back pocket and pulled out her phone, only to groan when she realised that it was low on batteries. She had been in the process of recharging it when she had remembered that she had left her book at the Crashdown.
With her back to him, she asked, "I don't suppose you have your cell on you?"

"In my locker" he replied.

"Of course," she said. Even that was too much to hope for.

Michael suppressed a smile as her eyes flared at him. She was annoying and irritating, he had missed that and however screwed up it was, he was glad that he was stuck in here with her hating his guts. At least it was interaction.

"What!?" she asked, "what are you staring at? it can't be me because you chose to shack up with Liz instead," she added coldly.

He was speechless, he couldn't argue that, he couldn't say that he still had feelings for her. That was unfair to Liz and her. Not that she cared, she was with Max.

After half an hour of silence, Maria began to hum, softly at first until the hum turned into a song. It was beautiful but he couldn't tell her that, instead he opted for, "Will you shut up?"

She stopped and fixed him a defiant glare, "No." and went back to humming.

She was impossible and right now he wanted to lift her up from the floor and kiss her with enough passion to leave her for once, speechless like he had done the first time he'd kissed her during a heated argument. Instead, he sat and pretended to be annoyed when in all honesty this was the first time he had felt alive in a long time.

"Right, that's it".

"What?" he asked as she rose to her feet.

"I've been in here with you for like an hour, I don't intend to spend the night here".

He suppressed a grin, for him that wouldn't be so bad. "So what to do plan to do?"

"Scream the house down" she replied and with that she let out an ear piercing scream

Michael covered his ears, "Will you shut up!"

"No," she retorted and opened her mouth to scream again.

"Maria" he warned.

"Make me" she challenged. She screamed again.

"So, see you tomorrow same time?" asked Liz as they descended down the stairs.

"Sure," he replied.

A piercing scream broke off their conversation.

"The back room," Liz said and rushed towards the sound with Max following behind her.

He was tired and wanted to go to bed, at another time he would have done things differently but in his mind, it was all Maria and his body just responded. In an instant he was beside her and before he could think, he pulled her towards him and covered her mouth with his hand. He was staring into her wide surprised and now flaring green eyes, he was annoyed and it felt good.

The scream had stopped but it was coming from the stock room.
Liz opened the door, her jaw dropped in surprise to find Maria and Michael standing there with Michael's hand over her mouth staring into each other's eyes. Before she could react, from behind her, Max shot forward.

Michael wasn't sure what happened, one minute he was shutting Maria up, feeling her hot breath on his hand and the next minute, the door had flung open, someone had grabbed his arm and pinned it forcefully behind his back. Now, after being shoved into one of the shelves, he was pinned.

What the heck! He struggled.

"No Max!" he heard Maria yell, "let him go."

Michael felt the grip loosen and turned to face his face which stared at him in confusion. He turned to Maria for an explanation. "I thought-"

"He wasn't trying to hurt me," she said. "Despite everything Michael would never hurt me physically, I'd kick his ass," she joked. "We got locked in here and I tried to get attention by screaming and Michael" she gestured to him, " tried to shut me up".

"Oh" said Max.

Michael rubbed his sore arm, the guy had some grip. "Yeah" he said in support of Maria's report.

"I'm sorry," he said.

"No problem," he shrugged. He would have probably thought the same thing in his position.

Liz settled beside him, "are you okay?" she asked.

"Yeah," he said looking into her caring eyes. "I'm fine".

"How did you guys get locked in here," she asked," didn't you read the memo?"

Michael shared and look with Maria and they both cracked a smile.

"Um yeah," said Maria laughing,"um I'm an hour late to do my homework, I better get going." Turning to Max, she asked, "You coming?"

"Yes" he replied following her out. Michael and Liz followed them out.

At the door, Max turned and said "See you tomorrow Liz" and his embarrassed eyes meeting Michael's, he apologized, "and um sorry again"

"No problem" he shrugged.

Outside Maria laughed with amusement.

"How embarrassing was that?" asked Max.

Maria looped her arm in his, "It soo wasn't. It was very manly of you protecting me like that. If I had been in danger you would have been my hero. Not that I really minded you shoving Michael into a shelf, that was pretty enjoyable to watch actually."

Max chuckled. "Glad to see I could be of some service."

They came to a stop at the front of the Crashdown.

"You're always of some service," she assured him.

Oh okay, this is crossing the boundary. They stood for a moment, staring at each other, each not wanting to move.

"Need a ride?" she finally asked.

"No I've got the jeep" he replied.

"Okay, see you tomorrow?" she asked.

"Night," he replied before turning and heading to the jeep across the road.

Maria made her way to her jetta and turned to wave before switching on the ignition. Tonight had been those unexpected unplanned nights, ones that you never dream can happen in real life: stuck in a storeroom with her ex-boyfriend who she harbored strong feelings of resentment, irritation and other things for and then there was Max and his sweet gesture of protection. All in all, it had been a good night, definitely worth losing out an hour of homework time.

Michael closed up his locker and felt warm arms encircle him.

"Long night?" asked Liz.

"You have no idea," he replied with a kiss. This was who he was with, who he needed to be thinking about and wanting to kiss not his ex-girlfriend.

The sound of the pins clattering onto the ally floor, mingled amongst the collective sounds of the bowling alley's, music, laughter and the beautiful sound of a strike.

"Yes!" yelled Alex. He turned and bowed to Wendy who clapped graciously.

"Thank you, thank you," he grinned.

"But" she began as she picked up her ball, "don't get too cocky, I've still got one go left"

"And you think you can beat me?" he asked with mock offense.

"Are you kidding I'm a bowling veteran" she replied.

"Don't talk," he ordered, "bowl".

Laughing she turned to take her turn. Alex sat down and watched her sighing with content. He still couldn't quite grasp what was happening, he was on a date with a good looking girl who wasn't Isabel and who was actually interested in him and he was actually having fun. They had gone to see a comedy as suggested by Maria, a great way to break the ice and have something to talk about after. Then Wendy had suggested going bowling which Alex had gone for, it was turning out to be one of his most memorable nights.

He was jolted back to reality by Wendy's yelp of victory. He loved that about her already, she had this energy and lust for life, it was contagious.

She turned to him her brown eyes sparkling and took a bow.

Alex clapped. "You won this time" he said.

She sat down opposite him, "up for a rematch sometime?"

"You're on," he replied playfully.

They ordered a pizza and drinks to split between them, all of which were almost finished by the time conversation turned to their past relationships.

"Actually you're the first guy I've gone out with in a long time," said Wendy.

Alex paused to process this. "Is that a good thing?" he asked tentatively.

"Incredibly" she replied, "See I had this thing for um one of my friends...he didn't feel the same way but I kept hoping you know?"

Alex nodded, he knew more than cared to express.

"Anyway, a couple of weeks ago my friends tackled me and sat me down, basically an intervention to wake me up and realise that I was stuck waiting for something that would never happen. So I decided to move on."

Oh, he had wondered when the fairytale would end and reality would bite him in the leg.
"And I'm the lucky rebound guy right?" he asked.

"Oh no, nothing like that. I've been free for weeks, it was like my Jason blinders had come off and there were all these other possibilities you know? and you were one very interesting possibility."

Relieved that all was not lost, he replied,"I'm flattered."

"What about you?" she asked.

"Strangely, same as you" he replied.

"You're kidding!"

"No, apart from the whole intervention thing. I went for it, asked her out and she just wanted to be friends, held on, moved on" he summarised.

"Lucky we hooked up then" she grinned.

"Yeah," he smiled, "Lucky we did".

Isabel stared at Tess' clock, it was 12am. She couldn't go to sleep knowing that Alex was on a date with another girl.

Wendy, she thought with distaste.

Alex's curfew was 11, so he must have been home by now and probably asleep.

"I'm gonna dream walk him," she said decisively.

"Isabel don't" objected Tess.

"Why not? I can't just sit here and mull over what went on. His dream will have his reaction to the date," she reasoned.

"You're hoping it's bad but say that it's good... you'll find out the details tomorrow Iz, it won't help you to see them.," she added gently.

Isabel dropped back onto her bed and sighed, "You're right. It'll make it worse. It's just-"
Tess pulled her into her arms as her eyes watered, "I know sweetie, I know."


We came, we came, we came again

Liz leaned over her balcony following the whispering call.
Their eyes bet. "Max," she beamed.

To stem the tide and point the blame

"Can I come up?" he asked.

Came back for more
Came back to see what you had in store

"Sure," she replied.
She moved back as he climbed up her ladder and hoped onto her balcony.

Everyone join the line, everyone
Yeah

"Impressive," she said of his climbing skills as well as his mere appearance.

"I try," he replied.

She pulled him into the wall away from her window, "You can't stay long, my parents-"

"That's okay, I just wanted to say...". he broke off leaving Liz hungry for his next words

So you wanna spin the world around?

"Say what?" she asked.

So you wanna spin the world around?
And anybody else, cut 'em down

"That I liked hanging with you" he finished.

So you wanna spin the world around?
And anybody else, cut 'em down

"Me too",she smiled.

So you wanna make catastrophe?
Won't you send it right over to me
I got some time
Everybody running high

His smile faded and was replaced with eyes clouded with concern. "And that I'm sorry".

"For what?" she asked.

"For how much knowing me has screwed up your life with Michael" he replied.

"No Max," she took both of his hands into hers," it's exactly the opposite. You being in my life it means more to me than I can express in words".

He held her gaze for a moment before replying. "Thank you for saying that".

The same, the same, the same again
To steal the time and haunt the graves

Her heart pounding wildly against her chest, she said,"It's the truth".

Just because it's there
Don't mean you see it anywhere

He squeezed her hands gently before releasing them back into their incomplete state. "Well I better get going"

Maybe it's a trick of the light
Maybe, yeah

She knew it was a dangerous question to ask but her heart felt compelled to ask it. "Why?".

So you wanna spin the world around?
So you wanna spin the world around?
And anybody else, cut 'em down

"Because if I don't go...". He moved closer to her filling the vacant air with his electrifying scent, "...things will change".

So you wanna make catastrophe?
Don't you send it right over to me

"Change how?" she asked. Another dangerous question, but it was whose answer she needed to know, to feel.

I got some time
Everybody come alive

He lifted his hand to her face. "I'm gonna have to touch your hair because it's so soft", his hand trailed slowly through her hair," and I have to tell you that whatever we go through, it's all worth it because I have you in my life. From the moment we first met, it was you Liz, it has always been you".

Melting at his touch, she breathed "and then?"

Yeah
So you wanna spin the world around?

"And then, I'd have to do this" he whispered. Liz closed her eyes as their lips met in a soft kiss which sent streams of pleasure through her, each one filling a part of her she had never known was empty, making her whole.

So you wanna spin the world around?
And anybody else, bring 'em down

In his eyes, the truth she already knew stared back at her with love, he was the one, he was everything, her destiny.

So you wanna make catastrophe?
Don't you send it right over to me
I got some time
Everybody running high

Liz lifted her arms and placed them around his neck as her body hummed in unison with his.

So you wanna spin the world around?
So you wanna spin the world around?
And anybody else, cut 'em down

A soft moan escaped her as, under her red top, she felt his hands stroking the lower part of her back.

So you say we haven't turned around?
So you say we haven't turned around?

His lips were a drug and as he wrapped his arms around her joining their bodies together, Liz wanted more. In her whole entire life, a kiss had never meant so much, fulfilling her entirely yet making her hungry for more.

Just everybody else is going wrong
Going wrong

They pulled apart for air and Liz opened her eyes...and was gut wrenchingly disappointed to see her desk, her wardrobe, herself in bed and not on her balcony kissing Max. Liz was surprised as tears almost infiltrated her eyes.
"It was just a dream," she whispered to herself as she headed for the shower. She sighed with regret, "just a dream."

Michael was on his way to homeroom when someone slipped in step with him. Liz looked up at him and smiled, "you're ten minutes before homeroom, what's the occasion?"

"Felt like I needed to get out of the house," he replied causally. The truth was he had so desperately needed to do something to stop thinking about Maria, to stop battling between his feelings for Liz and his ever present feelings for Maria and homeroom seemed like a good option. He would focus his attention to listening and working.
Liz stood in front of him stopping him in his tracks.

"Ten minutes," she mused, "great that gives us time".

"Time for what?".
He managed to get the question out before Liz dragged him to a familiar door and pulled him in.

They were in the eraser room.

"Liz" he began but was hushed by her soft lips, draining away all of his confusion. His divided heart merged into one definite feeling. Liz, she was the girl he had chosen to be with, the girl he must love. The kiss ended as abruptly as it had began.

"Sorry but I just needed to do that" she grinned.

"I should be early more often," he said wrapping his arms around her waist and pulling her towards him.
The first bell for class rang putting a stop to another further kissing. She removed his arms from her waist, holding onto his hand she push open the door, "the point about being early" she teased, "is not being late to class".

Michael willingly followed as she lead him out of the eraser room.
"Are you up for driving around the desert tonight?" he asked, "I want to check out that rock face again, there has to be something I'm missing, otherwise, why would I keep drawing it?"

"I'd love to Michael but I have my last session with Max tonight".

"Oh". Another reason why him and Maria were never going to happen. She was with Max. Saint Max.

"But I can join you tomorrow," she offered.

"Sure," he said.

The final bell signaling the commencement of the school day rang. They stopped in the middle of the crowded hallway. Michael stuck his thumb out and signaled behind him, "I'm that way."

Liz pointed in the opposite direction, "I'm headed that way."

He bent down and kissed her, "see you later".

"Later".

Michael turned joined the students slowly making their way to class. Just the distraction he needed.

Liz was in deep thought as she made her way to homeroom. The kiss with Michael had been good, the kiss with Max had been...explosive. After that kiss, everything else was just tame, normal. Had Max just ruined her kisses with Michael?

Liz dropped into her seat.

Wait, it was a dream, of course dream kisses can't rival reality, that's why they are dreams.

But Liz knew it didn't matter, her interest in Max was deeper than she had ever imagined. Her plan just wasn't working! Knowing him didn't make the feelings didn't fade away, in fact, they grew stronger. It was more than that though, she had realised that when she came to a screeching halt in front of the girl's bathroom mirror that morning and realised that, she was wearing the same clothes she had been wearing in her dream with Max. Her red vest top, her green khaki three quarter length trousers and her black leather sandals. Max Evans was infiltrating her mind and she'd have to do something to return to normal, hence pulling Michael into the eraser room and kissing him, to forget.

Only that had failed and she was going to have to spend two hours with Max, alone without acting weird.

Liz's head made contact with the table. "I have a real problem"

"Liz are you okay?" asked Mrs Winters.

She lifted her head from the table. No, I'm developing this deep attraction for someone who's not my boyfriend, someone I hardly know who is taken by my best friend, and someone who is affecting my sanity.
"I'm um fine, just tired"

Mrs Winters nodded her head. "Okay," and returned to giving out some announcements.

She was with Michael, she couldn't have Max. Why didn't her subconscious understand that?

Maria dumped her bag on the table and slid onto the lunch table with a satisfied smile.
Seated opposite her, Isabel inquired, "Had a good lesson?".

Maria nodded her head, "Drama and music are the key to the enjoyment of my school life," she said.

"I'm with her on the drama," grinned Tess.

Maria rummaged through her bag for her lunch, using up that much energy made her very hungry.

"So anyone seen Alex?"asked Isabel.

She smiled to herself as she noted the anxious tone in Isabel's question.
"Uh he sent a text message this morning, said he had a great time and would fill us in at lunch," she replied.

"Oh. I just wanted to know where he was, we're supposed to be going stargazing tonight and I just wanted to check out the details" she explained.

Maria nodded with mock belief, "Right, well additional information anyway" she smiled.

Isabel rolled her eyes and broke into a amused grin. She gestured behind them, "Um Eddie Connor headed our way."

Maria turned to see Eddie Connor passing out fliers as he made his way towards them. She turned back to Isabel rolling her eyes. "I wonder what he wants now".

"What he always wants," shrugged Tess," a date".

Maria laughed, it was true. Eddie Connor was rich, good-looking, smart, a good actor but also a great womaniser. As if to prove her point an arm slipped around her and Tess.

"Hello lovely ladies, Maria, Tess, Isabel".
Maria and Tess in unison, removed his arm from their shoulders and shared an amused smirk.

"Eddie," they sang.

"What can we do for you?" asked Isabel.

He looked at all three of them hopefully, "a date with either of you would be fine, all three of you would be my birthday present for life."

"Eddie," began Maria, "You're a great guy, good looking, talented, great personality, your only one flaw is...you're a player, a dog"

"A womaniser", added Isabel for clarification.

"You know you are the few girls among my very short list who can resist me" he grinned.

"Three cheers for us," said Tess.

Eddie shrugged, "well anyway despite the rejection," he handed each of them a flyer. Maria glanced at the flyer, it was for a "pre-Christmas bash?" she asked.

"Of course there are my usual Christmas and new year bashes but I felt I should do something pre-Christmas" he explained.

At that moment, Kyle and Alex joined them, "Hi guys, what's up?" asked Alex.

Each of the guys greeted each other with a slight nod,"Hey Eddie".

"Hey," he replied sliding out his seat. "I was just telling the girls about my party this Friday," he handed them a flyer, "are you guys in?"

"Yeah sure," Kyle replied, "see you there."

To the guys he signed off with a, "Catch you later," and to the girls, he bowed slightly and smiled, "Ladies."

Amused by his efforts, they rewarded him with a smile, "Eddie," they replied.

"Hope to see there," he added before continuing with his advertising.

Alex slid in beside her while Kyle sat next to Isabel.
"So a pre-Christmas bash huh?" said Alex studying the flyer. "Translation..."

"His parents are out of town and he's looking for an excuse to party," finished Maria.

"So what does this happen a lot?" asked Isabel.

"Pretty much," she replied, "Eddie is the last born of four kids, his parents are busy rich out of a town a lot. Eddie's motto is" while the parents are away, it's time to party". And I have to admit he has the best parties. Music, food, live bands. The pre-school bash had Ivy"

"You're kidding!" exclaimed Tess.

"No," said Maria, "We seriously have to go, you haven't become a teen Roswellian until you've been to Eddie's party."

"Whose party?" asked Max. Maria followed him with her eyes as he went around the table and sat next to Isabel. She bit her lip to restraint her wandering thoughts.
"Oh um Eddie's having a party this Friday," she handed him a flyer, "you in?"

Max was startled as Isabel ripped the flyer from him and said, "Don't bother, Max doesn't party"
He met Maria's questioning eyes. Great, she probably thought he was some loser who never ever went out and stayed in doors reading books and watching the discovery channel.
"What are you talking about?" he asked defensively," I party, I can party".

Both Isabel and Tess stared at him in disbelief. "Max, the last party that wasn't mine or Tess' birthday party that you went to was in the 9th grade," said Isabel.

"You're kidding" said Maria.

"Nope" said Tess.

"I can party, I just chose not to" he protested.

"Yeah uh huh," said Isabel.

"I can!" he protested.

Right then and there, he made the choice to go. He would go to this party and party.
Max blushed as he realised that all eyes were on him. He met Maria's eyes and found them alight with excitement. She had that look in her eyes, like he was her next project. "Great, so you're coming?," she asked.

"Definitely," he said.

"Good".

"Great," he echoed.

"Yeah," said Tess suppressing a grin, "great."

Max directed a stern look in her direction. It was met with a wider grin.

Isabel was about to make another joke about her brothers lack of social interaction at parties when Alex's eyes lit up.
He rose from his seat looking past her, "Wendy?" he called.
Wendy? She turned to follow his gaze. Her eyes landed on a girl dressed in jeans, a red top and jeans jacket. Hair was tied up in a pony tail, she wasn't a fashion disaster. Isabel hated her on sight.

Wendy's frown turned to a smile when she spotted Alex.
"Alex!" she called and waved making her way towards them.

Isabel turned and mimicked her call with a roll of her eyes. Tess suppressed a grin. Isabel turned her attention to Alex who had left the table to meet her a few feet away from them.

"Hi, what are you doing here?" she heard him ask.

Isabel watched as she shrugged off the coat, "I just wanted to return your jacket" she replied

Oh please, she thought cynically, what a lousy excuse.

"Oh, thanks," he said, "I forgot about it."

They stood there staring into each other's eyes, smiling every now and then. Isabel rolled hers as jealousy flared in her eyes.

Maria made a loud fake coughing sound which brought the eye gushing fest to an end.
"Oh um, sorry. Wendy these are my friends. Maria, Tess, Kyle, Max." His eyes finally landed on her," and Isabel."

"Hi," they all waved.

"Hi," she replied.

Oh please even her voice was perky, she noted with disgust.

"So do you wanna stay for a while?" he asked her.

No, thought Isabel.

"Sure," she replied.

Alex sat with her next to Kyle. Isabel clenched her jaw disappointed that they weren't sat opposite her so that she could get a good look at her.

I guess I'll have to do the side glances.

Max sensed Isabel tense and noted the silent messages passed between her and Tess. This was not good, she was preparing to go into ice princess mode. He reached under the table and squeezed her hand.

"Iz calm down" he whispered.

She turned to him and with her teeth still together, a skill which girls somehow seemed to possess, they could talk without looking like they were, said, "Max I'm fine".
He met Maria's arched eye brow and shrugged helplessly.

Well here it goes.

"So," began Isabel, "Candy-"

"Wendy"

"Sorry, Wendy, I was just curious about what caught your eye about our Alex here. Was it his soulful eyes or that fact that he played a guitar?" she asked.

"Um it was more about me than him, I...took off my Jason tinted glasses"

Alex grinned shaking his head.

"What's so funny?" she asked.

"Oh just a private joke," he said.

Isabel turned away and rolled her eyes. They had just had one date and they already had private jokes? she felt like throwing up.

Wendy proceeded to prove that she was nice, funny, smart, a good bowler and an all around good catch. Isabel really didn't like her. She picked up one of the flyers on the table. "A party?" she inquired.

"Oh yeah, we're going to this party on Friday..." Alex trailed off, "our date. I completely forgot"

Oh what a shame, thought Isabel.

"It's okay," said Wendy, "you could go to the party instead, We could go out on Saturday".

"Or why don't you come and have a loud party date?" asked Kyle.

Tess kicked him under that table. Isabel glared at him. All this did not go unnoticed by Wendy.

"Um yeah, if you want to," said Alex.

"Sure," she said, "I can kick your ass bowling on Saturday."

"You haven't won yet," teased Alex.

Isabel sighed with relief when Wendy said she needed to go. "It was nice meeting you guys"

Isabel replied to the comment with a tight smile.
Alex offered to walk her to the car, Isabel wanted to run her over with it instead.


The table was silent as everyone watched Alex and Wendy walk towards the parking lot.

"She was nice," said Kyle.

"I guess," shrugged Isabel.

Tess' foot on his toe prevented any further positive commentary. The subject was promptly changed to how everyone was going to get to the party.

"So we're finished" said Max.
It was the end of their last session, he had covered everything with her, and now, they were sitting on her fold out chairs on her balcony, staring at the stars.

"Yes," said Liz wistfully, "yes we are. Thanks for doing this"

He turned to face her and met her shinning brown eyes, "You're welcome," he said, "I hope it'll help".

"Oh definitely" she enthused," I totally understand everything now. It was really just the basics, I should ace Reynold's test on Monday."

He laughed at her energy and sat up, "I'm glad you're feeling confident about it".

"Well with a teacher like you, how could I not".

Max didn't know how to reply to that, he just smiled and said, "thank you. It was fun." And it had been, Liz was smart, sweet, honest, determined, she was funny too, he could really see why she and Maria had been friends. He liked talking to her and as he looked at her, he wondered why a person like her would do the what she did to Maria. She caught him looking.

"What?" she asked.

"It's just, I was wondering. You're not the kind of person to do what you did to Maria, I was just wondering, why. What about Michael made you give up your friendship?"

She seemed a bit taken aback by the question.

"If you don't want to talk about," he began.

"No, it's fine. Why Michael. I'd always kind of seen him as Michael, you know. Nothing too interesting and then...you know when you find out something about somebody, that you didn't know before and it changes the way you see them and feel about them?"

He nodded his head. He knew that more than most people.

"Well, that's how it was with Michael".

"You mean you love him".

Her head jerked at the word, "I umm, I guess I do. I mean why else would I do what I did?"

He nodded. "Well, I better get going. I'll see you around Liz". He grabbed his back pack and started descending down her ladder.

"Max wait!".

He looked up at her sharp call. "What?". Did I forget something, he wondered.

"I umm I've had fun hanging out with you the last couple of days."

"Me too".

"And I don't want it to stop...I was wondering if maybe you'd still want to hang out sometime, you know like friends do?" she asked hopefully.

Max smiled. Isabel and Tess would probably fry him for this, he figured Maria would be okay with it and he liked hanging out with her, so."Yeah, I'd like that".

"Great"

"Great" he echoed.

"So see you tomorrow?".

"Goodnight Liz" he smiled.

"Goodnight Max."

Journal entry 55
When Max said that I must have loved Michael, I agreed. But the more and more I think about it, the more and more I become disappointed in myself, because my heart is beginning to speak up and telling me to be honest. I have was half telling the truth when I told Max that finding out something about Michael changed everything, that that's why I chose to do that Maria. The real reason, was that he was something different, dangerous, exciting. All I wanted was something to break the routine of going to school, working and doing homework, and finding out that your friend's boyfriend is an alien from the 1947 crash is big news. And finding out that you are the only one who knows his secret, makes you feel special, bonds you together and helping him find out more about the crash or if there are others like him, that makes you connect and suddenly you find yourself falling, falling for the excitement, intrigue, danger and convincing yourself that it's love.
And now writing this down, I realise that that is all it is with Michael. I care about him deeply and was attracted to him, but it's purely chemical, I don't love him. I'm developing feelings for Max.
Max who is taken by Maria. Michael who was taken by Maria. Maybe this isn't about danger at all, maybe I'm some kind of person who goes around stealing her friend's boyfriends? Is that what I am, a horrible person?
Do I want Max just because Maria has him?
No that can't be it. It's different with Max than with Michael. Michael made my heart pound and I was attracted to him. Max makes my heart pound, I sweat, I get butterflies in my stomach but there's this other force. I see him everywhere, in my dreams, when I blink. I think about him all the time and when I'm near him along with butterflies is this feeling of comfort, of safety, that the whole world could be falling apart and I wouldn't be scared as long Max was there.
Am I in love with him? It doesn't matter anyway, nothing can happen between us.
But Michael, I have to tell him the truth, I have to stop lying to myself. The reason we are together is because we only have each other. He still has feelings for Maria, I can see it in his eyes, he always looks at her at lunch. Only this week I've been noticing it less because I'm staring at Max. No matter how things work out, I have to be honest with Michael. He deserves that much.


[ edited 2 time(s), last at 18-Feb-2003 6:29:00 AM ]
posted on 18-Feb-2003 5:59:18 AM
Maria slammed her locker shut and proceeded to maneuver herself through the crowded hallways. She was supposed to meet Isabel, Tess and Max by the jeep and she didn't want to be too late. They had to stop off at her house to pick up possible outfits and then they were going to Isabel's to dress for the party. Maria almost reached the exit when the familiar voice finally broke into her thoughts.
"Maria!".

She stopped and turned to see Kyle walking hurriedly towards her. She waited till he was a few feet from her and then resumed her exit. He caught up with her as she walked down the steps.
"What's up?"

"About tonight-"

"Don't forget, you're meeting us at Isabel's at 6:30pm and we're meeting Alex and Wendy at the party" she said.

"Change of plans," he said, "I'll meet you guys there"

"Why?" she asked. They were in the parking lot and Maria could see them all waiting by the jeep.

"I'm picking up Amy Stuart, she's my date for the party" he replied.

Maria turned to him sharply. "What?! Since when?"

"Since yesterday".

"Does Tess know?" she asked.

"I don't have to report everything to her, besides why would she care?"

Maria rolled her eyes, "Why do you have play these games with each other?"

"I'm not playing any games Maria. If Tess wanted me, she'd tell me, make a move at least".

"Well have you put yourself out there?".

"Alex did look where it got him" he replied.

"Different people" she objected.

"Same situation," he retorted. " Look can we just drop this?"

"Sure. I'm not the one taking some bimbo to make Tess jealous."

"That is not what I am doing. I'm just getting back in the saddle"

Maria rolled her eyes," whatever. I'll see you at the party" she waved as she headed towards the jeep.

"Late as usual," said Max.

"Not my fault. The masses just wanna escape at all costs, plus Kyle detoured me. Change of plans, we're meeting him at the party."

"Why?" asked Isabel.

Maria glanced at Tess and said apologetically, "He's um... got a date with Amy Stuart"

"Oh," said Tess simply, "she's um..."

"Soo not good enough for him," she finished.

Tess smiled, thankful for her support. She couldn't really blame Kyle for moving on. It's what she wanted him to do, what he needed to do because getting involved with her would be too...complicated.

Max glanced at his watch. It was 7:15pm. He shook his head in amusement. They had been up there for over three hours and still weren't ready. To any man who hadn't lived with females before it would have been puzzling. But Max knew how it worked. It wasn't so much the choosing of outfits, make up and hair that took up the time, but it was the dancing to music and chatting along the way.
"Isabel, Tess, Maria Come on!" he yelled.

"Are they still up there?" asked his Dad from the living room.

"Yep," he replied, "I'll give them five more minutes and then I'm dragging them down," he added.

"Good luck," called his mother from the living room.

"Isabel!" he yelled once more.
Finally he heard the door open along with the expected chatter as they descended down the stairs. Max was prepared for the beautiful sight of Isabel and Tess, what he wasn't prepared for was Maria.

Isabel descended first, followed by Tess, followed by Maria. Max was stunned. He knew that she was beautiful, but in her black suede trousers, bohemian top, her hair out in curls, she was breathtaking. What drew Max's attention the most, was her eyes. They were brighter than he had ever seen them, then his eyes drifted to her lips, shining, luscious, begging to be kissed.

"Max" said Isabel in a low voice.

"Yes?".

"Pick up your jaw from the floor".

He turned to see her grinning next to him. His eyes returned to Maria.

"You look...". Beautiful, spectacular, stunning. "..nice"

She smiled as she skipped the last step and jumped down in front of him, "Why thank you. You look...nice too".

They stood looking at each other until Isabel dragged him away from her and into the living room.

Tess turned to him at the door. "You know Max, you really don't have to go just because you think you have to prove something".

"Yeah, you can just stay at home and read your books," teased Isabel.

"Out," he ordered pointing to the jeep.

"We're going, we're going," they laughed.

Tess' jaw dropped as they drove into Eddie's house."I know his parents are loaded but I didn't think, Beverly Hills Mansion loaded," she said in awe.

"Loaded," said Maria as they parked and headed to the door. The music could be heard from outside, the party was well underway.

They walked up to the door and Tess stepped back blown away by the music the force of the music. She took in the marble floors and elegant staircase.
"Why Roswell?" she asked.

"His parents grew up here and so want the same for their son. Hence why he's going public and not private. They want him to interact with us ordinaries," said Maria as they strode in.

They all stopped when Eddie approached them with a tray of drinks, "Welcome to the party, you all want a drink?"

"Alcoholic?" asked Max.

"Is there any other?"

Tess rolled her eyes. She glanced at Isabel and Max, they all had the same expression. Alcohol and aliens really didn't mix.

"No thanks, we don't mix well with alcohol," and that was putting it mildly.

"That's cool" he turned to Maria, "how about you baby?"

"Um no thanks, the thought of killing over a thousand of my brain cells kinda makes it unappealing."

"Right, cool. Well, how can I be of service to you ladies?"

"Well you could give me a tour" she said. After all, she was here to have fun right?

"Sure," he held out his arm for her, "right this way."

She hooked on and waved to her friends, "See you later guys".

Maria watched her and shook her head. "Now I wonder what that was all about" she said sarcastically.
This whole I want to be with you but I'm just too scared thing was getting out of hand. Kyle was with Amy and Tess was with Eddie?
Angst all around she thought.

"Well, I'm gonna check out the party, see you guys later," said Isabel.

"Later," replied Maria. She stood there and looked up at Max who was looking increasingly uncomfortable as if he was going to bolt.

"Okay," she said dragging his hand.

"Maria-"

She stopped and turned to him, "You are not spending this party just standing in some dark corner Max. "

"I wasn't-"

"I know you've been out of the game for while so, I'm your buddy, your guide. First rule, have fun, talk and dance with people you don't know. You could make a new friend," she said before turning back and dragging him into the next room.

"Where are we going?!" he shouted above the music.

"Dancing," she shouted above the music grinning.

Isabel smiled pleasantly before abruptly turning away from whatever his name was. He was cute, sure, but arrogant. The last one had been cute, a nice guy, just what she needed, but somehow she hadn't made it past the first dance with any of them.

What has Alex done to me? She thought as her eyes drifted around the room. Past streams of people making out, dancing, drinking, talking. What she should be doing now instead of pining away for Alex Whitman. Isabel still couldn't figure out how that had happened, how someone sooo not her type had caught her attention, but then again her type was usually shallow enough to not get too attached. She rolled her eyes at the term. Her jaw dropped when she realised that the couple her eyes were currently fixed upon were Alex and Wendy, standing in the crowd laughing and talking. She watched them for a moment, envious. She wanted him to look at her the way he was looking at Wendy, to lightly touch her arms and lower his head to-

That's it, she decided putting the cup down. She would go over and say hello.

"Hi, guys". Alex jerked up his head in surprise to see Isabel standing before them, looking beautiful in a red dress, like the one in his dreams. His heart leapt into his throat, his palms sweating, butterflies fluttered in his stomach. Just when he thought he had moved on from her, she had this power to suck him back in.
It was only when he closed his jaw to say hi, that he realised that it had been open. "Isabel, hi! Um where are the others?"

"Around here somewhere" she replied.

"Oh".

"Great party huh?" she asked.

"Yeah," answered Wendy, "it's great."

"Well, um I'll see you guys later" she waved.

"See you later" waved Wendy.
It was only when she had brushed past him and Alex had turned to watch her figure disappear that he replied, "see you later." Completely unaware of the knowing look and hurt that passed across Wendy's face.
"Alex."

"Huh?"

"Do you think we can talk on the patio?" she asked.

"Sure."

On the patio, Alex was unprepared for her next question.
"Remember when we were talking about our past relationships?"

"Yeah"

"The girl, you had feelings for, it's Isabel isn't it?" she asked.

"How did you know?", he asked.

"Well, lets see" she began, "On Wednesday, the hateful looks, not mention the icy reception, the way she kept looking at you and assessing me". She saw his eyes grew wide at the last suggestion, "believe me us females know. Then to now, she said hi but was really coming to see you and you...I really like you Alex,..." she smiled sadly, "but you still have your Isabel tinted shades on".

"But-"

"And don't tell me that you don't because we both now it".

"So we're over?" he asked.

"I guess so." She kissed him softly and faintly on his lips, "It's been fun."

"Can I call you?" he asked.

"Not for while. I need time to get over this, tell you what I'll call you and we can set that rematch"

"You're on" he grinned.

He watched her leave but she turned at the door, "Alex?"

"Yeah?"

"I can't in good conscience let this go unsaid, because I think you need to hear it. As opposed to me and Jason, when it was just a one way thing. You and Isabel...it's a two way thing, so go for it".

"She doesn't want me" he shrugged.

"Sure she does, I think, I think she's just scared. Give her time"

"How long?" he asked.

"If she's worth waiting for, then as long as it takes, just let her know that. Promise me".

"I will" .

He watched her go before turning back to look at the late night sky. He had dated and been dumped all the in the space of a week and it wasn't all that bad.

The music was too loud, most people were heavily intoxicated, it was crowded, a total contrast to anything he had done pre-Maria but now Max was in the middle of the madness in the ballroom, dancing away with the beautiful pixie who awakened him with her magic. He watched captivated as she backed away from him swaying her hips inviting to follow, which he did with no hesitation.

"So," she said, "you having fun"

"Yes."

"Better than being at home watching the discovery channel?"

"hmmm" he answered playfully.

"Hmmm," she laughed.

She halt after bumping into someone. She turned around, her apology already left her mouth before she registered who she had bumped into. Michael and behind him Liz.
"No problem," he accepted her apology.

Maria fixed her eyes on his and then drifted down to Liz, behind her she felt Max close the space between them, his hand reach for hers and immediately she relaxed. She wasn't going to give a cutting remark or be hurt, the one good thing which had come out of their betrayal was Max, Isabel and Tess. So instead Maria smiled, "Enjoy the party".

"You okay?" asked Max as he led her away.

"I'm fine," she replied honestly.

Michael and Liz watched the couple as they made their way through the crowd. Michael's eyes were fixed on Maria, Liz on Max. Her heart swelled when he turned around and smiled apologetically, she returned his smile which faded as he disappeared into the crowd. They stood there for a moment, lost in their own thoughts, eyes fixed at the point where the couple had disappeared. Reluctantly they met each other's eyes, both unsure of what to say when their desires were leading them somewhere, away from each other.

"Want to get some air?" asked Michael.

Liz nodded, "I could with some fresh air".

Isabel was on her way to get a drink for her and Tess from the kitchen when she spotted Wendy walking towards her. She looked around frantically for a door to escape in, but it was too late, she was spotted and there was no door.
"Hi," she said.

"Relax, he's all yours" she smiled.

"Excuse me?" she asked.

"Alex, we just broke up".

Not sure how to react to the news, Isabel simply stood there silent.
"We decided to be friends...He still digs you and don't pretend that you don't like him otherwise you wouldn't be so hostile to me" she explained.

"I don't-"

"Now I don't know why you two aren't together, but I know that it's all on you. I want you to promise me something Isabel."

"What?"

"That whatever issues or fear you have, you get over it and get Alex because he is a really great guy and unfortunately for me he only has a heart for you. Do you think you can do that?"

Isabel was speechless. She did not have feelings for Alex- Oh stop already with the lying! she told herself. All the denial and lies were not right, the truth was simple and right and sure it was complicated but the most precious things usually were.

"'cause I really think you would be throwing away a really great thing. I'll see you around" she said.

"Wendy!" she called.

Wendy turned around. "I promise" she smiled.

Tess watched as Amy stroked Kyle's arm and flicked her bottled blonde hair flirtatiously . She frowned with envious displeasure. Where was Isabel?
Her tour with Eddie had been fun, he was funny, cute but not Kyle. She had danced, talked to other guys but Kyle and Amy had been in the corner of her mind. So she had recruited Isabel to...she shook her head in disbelief...watch them. And they looked like they were having fun. It was sickening and painful to watch Kyle with someone else.

Tess slammed her drink down decisively as Amy led him onto the dance floor. Enough was enough, she was not going to stand there any longer or play stupid games any more. They had escaped danger numerous times, had to hide, to lie, it was time for her to do something that was dangerous and maybe selfish but she didn't care anymore, she deserved a little happiness. She would just have to manage, Max and Isabel did it with their parents and they lived with them. It would take self control but she could do it, it was time to get her man.

Maria froze when she saw a brunette, wearing a skirt which might as well have been called a belt, talking to Max. Jealousy flared in her eyes as she saw him smile and lean down to say something in her ear. The girl lifted her hand and gently stroked his arm.

Okay, she decided, game is over. With her mission clear in her mind, she approached them. Max shifted his attention from the girl to her. "Hi,"
"Hi," she greeted him. Positioning herself next to him, she looked at him expectantly.

"Oh right, I'm sorry Maria this is Kelly, Kelly this is Maria".

"Hi," she said with a fake smile. She slipped her arm into Max's sending a silent, back off he's mine message. Kelly obviously understood it loud and clear because the next thing she did was say hi and give the "I've got to go, see you later," exit.

"Later," she waved with fake cheerfulness. Her smile dropped once she turned around and she faced Max.

"What?" he asked defensively, "You said I should talk to people make new friends".

"Yes but not those kind of friends".

"What?" he asked innocently.

"The slut wanted in your pants Max".

"How do you know that?" he asked.

"Trust me, I know these things I can tell girls like her a mile away or in this example from across the room."

He grinned, "Well as long as you weren't jealous"

"Jealous of you two?!" she exclaimed," Please we're not even like that...." she trailed off as the familiar tune finally reached her consciousness "wait, is this- Oh yes I love this song!"

"Let's dance," he said as he led her onto the floor.

Tess wove her way through the crowd and gently tapped Amy on the shoulder.
"May I cut in?" she asked innocently. She looked at Kyle and smiled, "Is that okay with you?"

Kyle looked at her, "Um yeah sure...if um it's okay with Amy".

Tess looked at her expectantly. She could see her seething underneath and she smiled with extra sweetness.

"Sure. I'll see you later Kyle."

"Yeah see you"

"Buh bye now," she muttered and then fixed her attention on Kyle.

Isabel scanned the dancing teens for any sign of Tess. She had been gone longer than expected, she spotted Tess and Kyle together and a rather miffed blonde walking away from them and smiled...but obviously long enough to make a decision about something's she thought admirably.

It was something she had to do now.

All she had to do was find him before the fear won out. There was a warm tap on her shoulder and when she turned to see Alex the fear grew.

I can't do this, she thought wildly. Sure he's broken up with Wendy but what if he doesn't want me? What if I'm just imagining what I feel? What if I just want him because she did?

Despite the inner turmoil, Isabel greeted him with a smile, "Hi"

"Hey," he said. He seemed nervously calm, an antithesis in behaviour, which made her heart pound hard against her chest.

"Is everything okay?" she asked.

"I need to talk to you, could we go somewhere private?".

Isabel paused and looked back at Tess and Kyle on the dance floor.
Well if she can do it, so can I.

"Sure," she replied and followed his lead.

Her breathing came in deliberately slow motions as she wrapped her arms around his neck and felt him place his hands gently on her waist. Tess bit her lip nervously, remaining silent would get her nowhere, it was time to admit the truth.

"Uh Kyle" she began.

"Yeah?".

"I have something to tell you. Remember at The Whit's performance?" she asked.

"I can't hear you that well" he said. He leaned down so she could speak into his ear. Tess felt her throat constrict and her voice quiver, she was shaking, if they were going to be this close, she couldn't do this.

He nodded in response to her question.

"Um do you think we could go somewhere quieter?" she asked.

"Yeah sure," he said and led her into the next room, it was almost empty, save for a couple in the corner, which Tess was grateful for.

"Um Tess?" he asked.

Oh right, it was time for her to talk.

"Oh, that night, we nearly kissed didn't we?".

"Look Tess-"

"Let me finish. We nearly kissed but you pulled away and I was hurt and disappointed..." she took and deep breath, the words came out in a rush,"because I wanted you to kiss me".

Kyle wasn't sure he was hearing right. This was a dream, it had to be.
"You did?" he asked.

"Yeah" she nodded. "I'm just going to be honest because I'm tired of denying and playing stupid games, so I'm just going to say it and if you don't feel the same anymore then that's just fine too. Kyle, I like you a lot and not just for a fling but something stable"

His heart stopped and the began a fast gallop to a mind and heart altering conclusion, she was saying everything he had wanted her to say, it felt unreal.

"Kyle? If you don't feel the same..."

Didn't feel the same was she nuts? Kyle did the only thing he wanted to do, words were sometimes too long, two lips meeting for a long deep kiss was sometimes the only way to communicate.

They were sitting on one of the benches in the beautiful garden. The music could be heard in the distance but they could talk. It was quiet and beautiful and Isabel was very very scared.

I have to do this, I can't keep wondering and being afraid, afraid to feel all the things I think I will feel, of letting go and have someone know me like that.
"Listen Alex-"

"Let me Isabel" he turned to face her, " I know before when I asked you out you said you didn't want to be more than friends and I was fine with that, but the thing is, I'm not. I want to be more than friends with you Iz and I get it from a pretty reliable source that you were pretty much lying to me. Am I right?" he asked.

Isabel opened her mouth to speak but the words wouldn't form themselves. That was all the answer Alex needed to continue.

"I like you Isabel and I think you like me too but I also think that you're afraid, you feel like you want to keep me away. I felt that about you from the time I met you, you have this wall, that you don't want people to see you, really see you. But I just want to tell you that you don't have to be afraid of that with me and whatever your secret is, you don't have to tell me, just don't keep me away."

"I..I can't I'm so sorry Alex I can't do this" a tear rolled down her cheek and she rose to leave, to run before she let go, before she let him in, but a warm firm hand held her back.

"That's okay" he said rising up to face her," I'm just going to do one thing and then you can go if you want to."

"Okay" she breathed.

"I'm going to kiss you."

Her eyes grew wide with fear and surprise, "What?"

"I'm going to kiss you" he confirmed ", you can stop me if you want to and I'll stop but I'm going to kiss you".

"When?" she asked dumbstruck.

"Now" he replied. He took her face in-between his palms and Isabel couldn't move, she didn't want to. Instead she closed her eyes and his lips met hers and when they did she felt more afraid than before because it was everything she had imagined and more.
She didn't know that Alex's lips would be so warm and soft, that a kiss from him would out class any of the kisses she had experienced in her life. That, as she placed her arms around his neck and felt his arms around her, she could feel so afraid, excited and joyously happy at the same time.

As he lifted Maria from a dip Max realised that they had an audience, a large one at that. The room was cleared out and people had made a circle for them.

"Maria," he said into her ear, "people are watching"

She drew back and rolled her eyes, "let them, just dance"

Max laughed, "Okay". She was the only one who could convince him that attention was a good thing. They had unconsciously worked out a routine for the song, they could anticipate each other's movements, it something he had never done with anyone even Isabel.

"I was impressed the first time, but this time you've wowed me Max," she said as he pulled her into his arms.

"Thanks to Isabel" he said.

"Yes, I really should thank her sometime," she said," and I'm talking with flowers".

They had settled into a slow dance, their arms moving from their necks and waist to intertwining together as he led her into a spin.

"You are really something Maria, you know that?"

"Thanks, I try," she replied.

"No really. You are this amazing girl, who took out a shy guy like me and convinced him to dance in front of people."

"Wasn't too hard," she quipped.

He tucked her hair behind her ear. Maria had stopped breathing, in fact they had stopped dancing, arms around each other, gazing into each other's eyes. She could read them, knew exactly what he was thinking, what he wanted because it's what she wanted to. But she couldn't, guys were a danger. She had to stay away. She could get hurt again, be really happy, then the pain would come, betrayal, the list went on.

"Max" she began.

"Huh?" he asked.

"I don't think this is such a good idea" she breathed.

"Me either" he said in a husky low voice.

"So I think we should stop" she said as her eyes closed.

"Yeah, I think so too", he whispered.

Their lips met in a slow, soft, tentative kiss.

Somewhere there's speaking
It's already coming in
Michael sighed impatiently, Liz had been gone for a while now, the worst part was that he was okay with her being gone because it allowed him to think about Maria.

Oh and it's rising at the back of your mind

That was bad, it was bad because he knew he couldn't have her and it was bad because he also cared about Liz. Restless, he decided to go seek her out, from the quiet patio, he walked into the loud crowded ballroom dance area.

You never could get it
Unless you were fed it

As he pushed past the standing dancers, a question nagged him at the back of his mind as to why they were talking, whispering, standing still instead of dancing. When Michael broke through to the front, he finally realised why.

But under skinned knees and the skid marks
Past the places where you used to learn

The crowd had made a circle around a couple, kissing.

You howl and listen
Listen and wait for the
Echoes of angels who won't return

The truth had just run up to him and smacked him in the face. There in the middle of the dance floor stood Maria with her arms around Max, his arms around her waist, pulling her towards him in a passionate kiss, oblivious to their audience.

He's everything you want
He's everything you need

Michael felt his heart shatter, he knew they were together, but seeing them kiss, seeing Maria's lips on somebody else's, seeing him touch and handle her in the way that only he was supposed to...at that point, all the confusion, torn feelings dissolved into one strong sounding fact.

He's everything inside of you
That you wish you could be

That Maria was the girl he should have chosen, she was the girl he wanted to be with,

He says all the right things
At exactly the right time

He loved her...and she was with someone else, how, how could he have made such a mistake?

But he means nothing to you
And you don't know why

Liz headed into the ballroom.

You're waiting for someone
To put you together

Finding an unoccupied bathroom even in this mansion had been a task, plus she had initially avoided one because she had spotted Maria entering it. She wanted to avoid a clash or any harsh words.

You're waiting for someone to push you away

She stopped as she looked around her, only a few people were dancing, the rest were talking excitedly, eyes fixed on something that was happening ahead. Curious, Liz forced her way to the front of the crowd and wished she hadn't.

There's always another wound to discover
There's always something more you wish he'd say

Opposite her, stood Michael, mouth slightly open, his eyes were fixed on something. Her eyes drifted to the couple kissing and her heart stopped.

He's everything you want
He's everything you need

Inside her, Liz felt something break and die. She wanted to leave, to go somewhere and look somewhere else but her eyes wouldn't allow it. She followed Max's arms around Maria's waist, his lips to hers and the images of all her dreams flashed before her and faded away.

He's everything inside of you
That you wish you could be

This wasn't a dream and it wasn't her Max was kissing. It was Maria, but with everything in her she wished it was her instead. At that moment Liz, knew, she knew that she had missed out of something powerfully deep and life changing and that realisation brought a tears to her eyes.

He says all the right things
At exactly the right time

With blurred vision her gaze returned to Michael and she could tell that he realised that too.

But he means nothing to you
And you don't know why

She could see the love and pain, something she had always known was there but had tried to ignore. He still loved Maria, he was in love with her and was probably always going to be.

Michael felt someone watching him and he followed his instinct to find, brown eyes filled with tears looking back at him. He felt naked because he knew she knew. It didn't matter how long she had been standing there watching him, she knew.

But you'll just sit tight
And watch it unwind

"Liz" he called softly making a move towards her.
She turned and started pushing her way through the crowd.
"Liz wait!" he called and crossed over the circle to chase after her.

It's only what you're asking for
And you'll be just fine
With all of your time
It's only what you're waiting for

Their lips finally came apart as their bodies finally gave in to the need for air. Maria opened her eyes and blissfully sighed. Her knees felt weak, her lips were tingling, an electric current was running through her.

Out of the island
Into the highway

Wow, she thought lightheaded, that was...wow. Max's expression reflected her thoughts. The uproar from the crowd and wolf whistles brought her back to reality. She was at Eddie's party, in the ballroom, surrounded by a cheering crowd who had just witnessed her kiss Max Evans.

Past the places where you might have turned
You never did notice

I just kissed Max Evans, she thought joyfully. The full impact of her action hit her as they both took embarrassed bows and hurried into the crowd.
Oh no! I just kissed Max Evans and it felt great.

But you still hide away
The anger of angels who won't return

In the corner of the room she stood before him awkwardly.

He's everything you want

"So" she said.

He's everything you need

"So" he said.

He's everything inside of you
That you wish you could be

"Um, I'm pretty tired, I'm gonna go home," she said.

"Right me too" he said.

He says all the right things
At exactly the right time

They nodded and turned walking in opposite directions.

"Wait," called Max, "You came with us".

But he means nothing to you
And you don't know why

"I'll just catch a ride with Kyle or someone" she babbled. He was within an arms reach of her, she took a shaky step back.

I am everything you want
I am everything you need

"Let me take you home" he offered.

I am everything inside of you
That you wish you could be

"Um no really I'll get a cab" she protested.

"Maria, I would like to drive you home make sure you're safe"

I say all the right things
At exactly the right time

He was too close to her now and she was losing herself in his eyes and his gentle touch on her arm, She knew she wasn't winning this one, Max had a stubborn streak to him too.

But I mean nothing to you and I don't know why

"What about Isabel and Tess?" she argued weakly.

And I don't know why

"They'll ride with Kyle and Alex, I'm sure they don't mind".

"Fine" she relented.

"Okay, I'll meet you by the front door okay?".

Why
I don't know

"Okay". She watched his lean body as he went off into the crowd. After making sure he was gone, she rested against the wall and sighed a smile playing on her face.

"Isabel!"
Isabel jumped at his voice. Fortunately, her and Alex had just been talking and not kissing, otherwise...well she didn't need to think about that now.
"Hi Max" she said brightly.

"I'm taking Maria home" he responded.

"Is she okay?", asked Alex.

"Yeah, she's fine. I was wondering if you could catch a ride with Alex, I mean I know-"

"That's fine" she said.

"Really?" he asked, surprised at how easy the task was.

"Yep" she replied.

"Great, um do you think Tess can catch a ride with you?"

"I think she'll catch a ride with Kyle, I'll tell her".

"Thanks"

"No problem" she waved and exhaled slowly. Not a problem at all.

She heard the footsteps coming towards her and then stop. She heard shuffling and smiled sadly as the tears rolled down her cheeks. She should have broken up with Michael on Thursday, she had rehearsed it and rehearsed but when she had actually seen him, she didn't want to hurt him. So she'd gone through the day, pretending, making sure that she was making the right decision. Then she had come to the party with him, having fun with him but not seeing him as her boyfriend. The way he looked at Maria and Max had confirmed her decision without a shadow of doubt.
"When you saw them together, did you wonder how you could have lived without her for so long?, that you don't know how it happened" she swiveled around on the bench to face him," but suddenly she means everything to you?"

Michael was speechless, he stood before her once again naked. He couldn't deny it, he had felt everything she had just described and they both knew what that meant.
"Liz, I'm sorry I didn't mean-"

"I know," she said.

He sat down beside her and sighed, "I mean, it's not like I don't care about you, I do"
"Me too".

"and the last thing I would to do is hurt you"

"Me either"

"But..."

She chuckled to herself.

"What?" he asked.

"You wanna know the really weird part? it's that when I saw your expression I was hurt, for like two seconds and then I just felt fine, like it was just an ordinary thing."

Michael was offended. Why wasn't she jealous?-Wait this is kind of a good thing. I think we're on the same page here.

"I guess I've always known that you love her, I know you care about me and I care about you too but you love Maria...and I think we kinda of got the connection we developed mixed up with love and they are two completely different things and I'm beginning to understand that."

She was right, he knew it. Liz was the first person he could talk to about his alien side, someone he didn't have to hide from and she was a great person too. So he needed companionship from her but he wondered what she needed from him?
"So what do we do now?" he asked.

"I guess we break up" she said.

"Okay". So that was it? Well this break up was a whole less hurtful than his first with Maria.

She nudged him playfully with her shoulders, "Friends?"

He nudged her back, "friends".

They sat in silence both processing their thoughts and their regrets.

"What about Maria?" she asked. "I really miss her. And Michael, what we did, it's not exactly something you can sweep under the rug. What if she never forgives us or takes us back?"

"I don't know," he replied," but we won't know until we try. It won't be easy, it'll be very difficult."

"Try bounding on impossible".

"but we have to try" he sighed.

She placed her hand in his and they drew strength from each other.

Michael didn't care if she was with Max or not, that he could deal with later. All he wanted was to be able to argue with her and talk to her, her flakiness, her big mouth, everything.
"We have to get her back".

Max pulled to a stop outside her house. The drive from the party had been quiet. A little small talk about the party and lots of quiet. He wondered what she was thinking. Not that it mattered because he knew what he had to do. Kissing her tonight had been one of the most indescribable experiences of his life, yet the bittersweet sentiments were not lost on him because he knew that they couldn't go down that road...it was too dangerous, he was too dangerous.

"Well, thanks for the ride," she said unbuckling her seat belt.

"You're welcome," he said.

They held each other's gaze for a while, she seemed to be waiting for him to do or say something. He couldn't seem to find any words at all, he couldn't even find his voice, so they just sat there until finally she stepped out of the car and closed the door.

Do it, do it now before a night goes by, before you can't.

He quickly unbuckled his seat belt and leaned over the passenger seat to the window, "Maria wait" he called.

She turned and walked back to the car and peered into the window, "did I forget something?" she asked.

Max could feel himself being pulled by eyes, they were inches apart. He shook his head to her answer and to jolt himself back to the task at hand, "About tonight, about the kiss-"

"Max, can we not ruin anything about tonight with rationalising and analysis? I mean, that's what tomorrow's for right?"

"Maria-"

Maria couldn't restrain herself any longer, she leaned in, pulled his head towards her and gave him a long deep kiss.
Pulling back, she grinned at this dazed expression. "Good night Max" she said before turning to walk to her house. At the door she stopped and turned to find him still staring at her with the same dazed expression but with an added smile.

Max waited till he saw her waving through the window to start his ignition. He shook his head bewildered. How had he managed to get involved with someone who made him completely lose all rational thought and like it?

Isabel and Tess sat nervously in the kitchen.
"We have to tell him now" said Isabel.
All morning they had been debating whether to tell Max or not. They had decided to tell him because he'd obviously find out and they couldn't explain to Kyle and Alex the need for a Romeo and Juliet thing. Now they were debating on when.

"Now?!" exclaimed Tess.

"Tess! We're meeting Alex and Kyle at the Crashdown and Max is coming, I'm pretty sure we can't hide it then!"

Tess ran her fingers through her hair in frustration. "Okay, we've gone halfway we might as well go the whole way. We'll tell Max that we've decided to pursue relationships with Kyle and Alex and that we can totally keep our secret at the same time and that's that. Sure he's the leader but he can't dictate who we go out with, besides we can handle it. That's the speech right?".

"Yeah" said Isabel.

They heard footsteps descending down the stairs. They stared wide eyed at each other panicked.
"Okay let's do this" said Isabel. She didn't know why they were so nervous, it was only Max.
Oh yeah, try that, that'll work, she thought dryly as her heart pounded against her chest as he entered.

"You guys ready to go?" he asked.

"Yeah," said Tess who looked at Isabel.

"but first there's something we need to tell you-"

"can we talk about this later?" he interrupted," I really need to go...talk to Maria about something, it's really important"

Well who are we to be in the way, she thought with relief. "Yeah sure, we can talk later" she said. Tess responded with a look of panicked disbelief.

"Great, let's go" he said.

Isabel followed behind him and Tess beside her.

"Isabel" she began.

"Relax, I've got a plan," she told her.

The knock on the door jolted Liz from her mirror practice. Placing the alien antenna onto her head she stared at her reflection.
"Would you take me back?" she asked herself and received a wry smile. She sighed and opened the door to find Michael standing there, his eyes clouded with anxiety.
"Hi."

"Hi. She's down there?"
"Yep, changing into her uniform," he replied, "So you ready?".

"No. I don't think you can be for something like this," she replied.

They had decided that Liz should start first, test the waters, it was safer that way and if Michael did, it would seem like he just wanted her back. Which he of course did. He held out his hand and she took it. Hand in hand they descended down the stairs, hearts pounding, hope growing. They separated at the bottom of the stairs.

"Good luck" he said.

Luck wasn't what she needed, she thought, forgiveness was what she needed.

Maria looked up as Liz walked into the room, she turned back to the mirror and finished fixing her antenna.

"Hi" she said

"Hi".

"The party was good wasn't it?" she asked.

"Yeah," she replied.

"A lot of things happened".

She slammed her locker shut. "Um hum" she agreed

"Michael and I broke up" she said simply.

Maria turned to face her. "I know, Alex told me this morning"

"Oh".

"And let me guess, now that you and Michael are over you're thinking that what we could go back to being friends?" she asked with dripping sarcasm.

Before Liz could reply, the door burst open and Liz's frantic father entered, "Maria Liz, it's lunch hour, it's hot and very busy we need you out there now!"

"Coming" she said. She really didn't want to get into a conversation with Liz, all she wanted to do was talk to Max. She figured he would come by the Crashdown with Isabel and Tess. Maria was still in shock about Alex and Isabel hooking up as well as Tess and Kyle. Last night, a lot of things had definitely happened.

Maria had little time to think about Max or Liz and Michael because from the moment she went through the door, she became a speed waitress. The masses were hot, irritable and hungry and they all had to be fed. She sighed as she went to the order pick up point and was joined by Liz. While they waited, Maria looked at anything but her.

"So you are you and Max together?" she asked casually.

"Not satisfied with plunging your man eating claws into Michael, you're planning to move onto Max too?" she asked coldly.

"That's not-"

The bell rang as the plates were delivered onto the table by, of all people Michael. Maria picked up the plate without looking at him and went to deliver. It became a game, Liz and Maria walking past each other as they delivered and picked up orders, Liz trying to talk to Maria, Maria ignoring her.

"Michael and I were a mistake" she continued.

"What is that supposed to make me feel better? 'cause you know what Liz it really doesn't. I won't lie, I felt a bit of satisfaction at hearing about your breakup because hey what wounded betrayed victim wouldn't? but then I got really sad because instead of throwing away our friendship on some long term possible love of your life male, you threw it away for a six month relationship. Our friendship was worth that much".

Liz was speechless. The next order was up, "excuse me" said Maria. She picked up the order and went back to work.

They met again when each were waiting for an order.

"Maria" she tried again.

"Look Liz, I don't want any apologies, I don't want anything from you."

"But I want something from you"

"What?" she asked.

"Forgiveness and our friendship...I know it's a lot to ask".

Maria nodded, "forgiveness I could work on, friendship go for impossible" she replied.

At that moment a bell rang, both Liz and Maria automatically reached for an order but found it empty. Realising it was the bell at the front of the Crashdown, they both turned to see Max walk in with Isabel and Tess behind them. Maria met his eyes, she knew why he had come and she also knew that he wasn't going to succeed.

Michael placed the plates for each girl, he paused when he realised that their attention was fixed on the door. He followed their gazes to Max Evans. He glanced from Maria and Liz and they both seemed transfixed by him.

What was it about that guy? He wondered with annoyance.

The bell rang sharply. Maria and Liz both turned to see Michael staring at them with a grim expression on his face, "Orders' up," he said dryly.
Max sat in the booth anxiously. The heat did nothing to calm him down, at least the Crashdown's air conditioning was better than most, it still wasn't helping. He had to talk to Maria, explain why they couldn't work before Isabel and Tess found out about last night. After giving them a lecture on restraint and the rule, he had lacked acknowledgment of both when he kissed Maria. He was too absorbed in his own thoughts to notice the nervous exchanges by Tess and Isabel or the kicking under the table, or the tension in Isabel's voice as she said, "Max we need to talk-"

His eyes were fixed on Maria, she had just finished serving someone and if there was a chance, this was it, "later Isabel," he answered.

Isabel looked after him as he left the booth and sighed. What was up with him? She wondered. He was heading towards Maria.
She rolled her eyes, more suppression of feelings. Maybe if he tried breaking the rules and following his heart, this could be a whole lot easier.

"Isabel, they'll be here in like 15 minutes" said Tess.

"I know, once he's done talking to Maria, we'll tell him. It's a public place so he can't freak, the guys will show up, we'll leave and give Max time to cool down".

Tess nodded impressed. "Nice"

"Thank you" she grinned.

"Maria". She turned at the sound of his voice.

"Hi, Max".

"Hi" he said. He stood there awkwardly with his hands in his pockets, it was positively endearing. Maria stood waiting for him to make the first move.

"Look about last night-"

"Excuse me miss..."

Maria ignored the customer.

"Miss?"

Finally she turned to him. Did he not see that she was busy. "What?"

"I ordered a chocolate milkshake like half an hour ago, is it coming any time soon?".

"Give it five minutes," she replied before turning back to Max. "What she needs is pure H2O not more calories to add to those hips," she muttered.

He his smile faded as he continued, "The kiss...Maria I really wish that it could be more between us, but it can't."

"Why?" she asked.

"Things are complicated" he replied.

"Does this have anything to do with whatever it is you, Isabel and Tess are hiding?"
She grinned at his surprised expression. "Come on Max, the secretive glances, weird unspoken exchanges and not to mention the whole wall thing you guys have going on, it's pretty hard not to notice".

"Maria-"

"Max. Now as I seem to recall, there were two people involved in the kiss, not one so I deserve a say in this, and this is obviously not the right time, but can we talk about this later?"

"Maria-"

"Excuse me miss, we've been waiting for half an hour for our order" wailed another customer.

"Be with you in five," she said. She turned back to Max, "look, I don't want to throw us away before we've actually given it a chance. So later"

"Maria-"

She squeezed his hand firmly "Later Max".

Liz placed the cup of lemonade on the table, "Can I get you guys anything?" she asked.

"No, get out of here," replied the heavy set man. Liz noticed the tension and just backed away. The heat was definitely getting to everyone. She turned and saw Maria and Max standing surrounded by people but seeming totally oblivious to it. She noticed the body language, the expression and Max's fixed gaze on Maria as she served a customer. The feeing of loss nearly brought tears to her eyes.

"Give me that money now!"
The shout brought the whole cafe's attention to the two men occupying one of the side booths.

"Heat and people's tempers, go figure" commented Isabel as she watched the two men argue.

Both her and Tess jumped as the man with the red cap swept the table clean off all it's contents onto the floor.

"Okay, that's out of control" said Tess.

They watched as Sheriff Valenti approached the men unaware that Max had slipped back into the booth and joined them.

"Wrong cafe to decide to get all violent in" cracked Tess.

The whole cafe watched as Jim Valenti attempted to restore the peace.
"Hey fellas, what's going on" he said gently. By now they had slipped out of their booth and were staring angrily at each other.
Without looking to see who addressed them, the heavy set trucker shoved him to the ground.
"Stay out of this!" he turned back to red cap, " Give me my money now!" he shouted.

On the ground Jim Valenti assessed the situation, his heart stopped as he saw the gun withdrawn from the man's trousers.


Liz's eyes grew wide at the sight of the gun. As the two men struggled for control she saw the fingers around the trigger, she followed the direction of the gun. The back room. Only Maria was obstructing it with her back to them.
"Maria!" she shouted.

Valenti saw the struggle for control of the gun. Knowing that he was powerless to stop from going off in time, he did the only thing he could.
"Everyone down!" he shouted.

Maria heard Liz shout her name and irritation boiled to the surface. She was hot, busting her ass feeding these people!, she did not need Liz and her groveling issues. With her note pad in front of her she whirled around. "What!" she shouted.

At that moment, the shout of "everyone down " resonated faintly in the back of her mind. She registered Liz's panic stricken expression.
She heard the shot.
Saw the gun.
Felt the bullet.
And hit the ground.

to be continued







































[ edited 2 time(s), last at 18-Feb-2003 6:08:14 AM ]