TITLE: Stuck (1/1)
AUTHOR: Rebecca Parker
EMAIL: NumfarGal⊕aol.com
PAIRING: Michael/Liz
SUMMARY: Liz comes back from her summer away with a new attitude.
SPOILERS: Up to "Destiny," but everything after that is changed.
FEEDBACK: I do the dance of joy upon receipt of feedback.
DISCLAIMER: Jason Katims owns all. I think!
DEDICATION: To XG, who reminded me that I was a Polarist, yet one who had yet to write a Polarist fic! Eek! How did that happen?

It's hard, after seeing the world, to come back home and realize that- despite the fact that there is so much out there for you- you're pretty much stuck where you are.

So when I spent the summer in Florida with my aunt, I saw that there was actually more out there for me than running from cops, aliens, and men trying to break my heart.

Ok, I say men like it's plural. Kyle never broke my heart- I broke his. And who did I break it for? Max Evans. The man in question.

So during this summer away, I did a lot of thinking- most of it in my journal. I just feel like you put that pen and paper in front of me, and everything I feel, everything that I know to be true, comes out. There are even some things that make their way into those pages that I didn't think would come- that I didn't think existed within me.

Like the ability to give up on Max. I didn't think I ever would, but there the words were in front of me:

//August 11, 2000.

I've come to the conclusion that Max and I will never be together. I just have to accept it, and move on.//

I wrote those two sentences and then I just kind of stopped as I realized what I wrote.

You see, for a year, I thought that Max and I were special- that we were soulmates and destined to be together. And then you know what? I found out that destiny tends to suck. I found out that destiny isn't something you make happen- it's something that happens to you.

So Max and Tess will live happily ever after having little alien babies and ruling over Antar and probably whatever's in the galaxy or two next to it. And Maria and I will just be sitting in the Crashdown 20 years from now, serving burgers and smoking cigarettes like two jaded old hags that once had it good, only to have it all taken away.

Yeah, I know. I was never this pessimistic before. Well, a summer away in a much better place can do that to you because you realize- there are three other seasons where you have to stay where you don't want to be. And as much as I always loved Roswell, I don't anymore. It's just a place where I'm stuck for another two years until I can get the hell out and go to college pretty much anywhere else. Hell, I'd settle for two towns over- as long as it's not Roswell- as long as I don't have memories of Max around every corner.

So I've felt this way for almost a month now, and I've been avoiding Max for just as long. I found out his schedule through Maria, who seems to have buddied up to him over the summer, and I make sure that wherever he is- I'm not. Whenever he catches me at the Crashdown, I claim I'm too busy and hurry off to help the next customer. It's really been affecting my tip money- I'm never as attentive to my customers as when he's around.

So I've been able to avoid "the talk" with Max, and thank God. There's several different reasons I'm happy about this.

First of all, I've had enough of the drama. Come on, we have the ghostly message from his mother, the clingy bride-to-be, and a teary goodbye on the cliffs. If it gets any more angtsy, I may go right back up to those cliffs and jump off them.

Secondly, there's still a part of me that knows that if he asks me back, I might just take him. I'm not going to sit here and tell you that I feel nothing for Max- I don't think you ever fully get rid of your feelings, no matter how bad you want to- and believe me, I've tried. Hell, I still feel a little warm and fuzzy whenever I see Kyle smile, and it's been a long time since I've had those feelings.

And last, but oh so certainly not least, there's this little secret I've been keeping this last month- and that secret is that Michael and I have been sleeping together. Oh, I'm so sure Max would just *love* to find that out.

See, I know what you're thinking. This isn't like the Liz Parker you know. Liz Parker wouldn't be so pessimistic. Liz Parker wouldn't give up on Max Evans. Liz Parker wouldn't be fucking around with her best friend's ex boyfriend.

Well, what can I say? I've changed, and I'm not so certain it's for the better. I'm not exactly proud of what I'm doing with Michael. Hell, I know if Maria or Max ever finds out, it'll kill them. No one expects me to be doing something like this. No one expects me to be having sex, period. I'm sweet, virginal Liz, right?

Well, not so much anymore. And I mean, I was never really that beforehand, I should add. Maybe with Max, I was- but only because I had the feeling that we had something more than just gropes in the eraser room or a quickie in the backseat like it was with Kyle. I could tell that with Max, he wanted me to play that part.

I saw it in his eyes when he reversed the connection that first time- he saw me as sweet, and demure. He saw me as little Lizzy Parker, studying for her bio exam and picking petals off a daisy, wishing for Prince Charming to come and rescue me from evil West Roswell High.

So I acted like the girl he wanted, because I wanted him back. And maybe he's not really the shy, poetic Max Evans I thought he was- maybe right now, he's between Tess' legs tasting her and thinking how much better a wild woman is than a prude like me.

When I think of that- that's when I wish Max knew about Michael and I. That's when I wish he knew that he had a big part in our getting together.

See, I may have changed over the summer from the nice girl to the not so perfect one, but even I know that being with Michael is kind of fucked up. I'm not delusional, and I'm not going to sit here and try to tell you I'm right in doing it. But I will say this; the reason I'm with him is because of a gift that Max gave me- 5 more minutes with Grandma Claudia.

I always took her advice. That's what you have to know about me before I go any further. Grandma Claudia was like my own Dear Abby. If you ask Maria, she'll probably say the same thing, although even Grandma's approval of her hair didn't stop Maria from growing it out (and thank God!). So when Max gave me those 5 minutes with her before she died, believe me when I say- I was listening.

So what she said in those 5 minutes is kind of like Grandma Claudia's Holy Grail of advice. She made me promise her something, and I would never break a promise to her, of all people. She said "Promise me one thing, that you'll follow your heart wherever it takes you. Trust it."

So that's just what I did. I followed my heart, and it took me to Michael.

I hadn't been back from Florida for a day before I ran into him. I didn't feel like seeing anyone, or dealing with anything, so I went to the movies. I thought I could either enjoy the movie (well, it was the new Stallone, so I didn't have much hope for that) or just sit in the dark and think about things. It wound up I didn't get to do either, because, lo and behold, who came to sit down next to me? Yep, you got it. Mr. Michael Guerin.

Seems he followed me. How lovely. How very- stalkerish was my first impression. So he sat down next to me, took my popcorn, grabbed me by the arm and led me out of the theater.

He took me into the alley outside, and asked me what my problem was. He asked me why I had been ignoring everyone's calls and letters. He told me, in no uncertain terms, that even though I wasn't meant to be with Max, I was with them. He wasn't about to let someone who knew their secret just walk away.

You know, if I didn't know him so well, I might have been scared. But it was just like that time he stole my journal and tried to freak me out by holding a knife when he told me how stupid it was of me to keep it. He likes to talk big, but when it comes to action, he's a little pussycat.

Well, at least on some things. Explanation to come later.

I laughed at him. Honest to God, I did. I don't think he knew what to make of me- he certainly wasn't expecting that reaction. I told him that it wasn't nice that we were in a marriage of convenience and I didn't even get fucked on my wedding night.

Well. I must say. Pink is an interesting shade for Michael's complexion. I think he imagined I'd dance the cha-cha in a tutu with Deputy Hanson at Prom before I said something like that. I think he even asked me to say that again. And, of course, I did.

And then he laughed. I mean, what else could he have done? I started to walk away, and he came with me. I told him I'd cook him a burger at the Crashdown if he wanted me to, and he shook his head. Seems he'd been trying to avoid Maria like I'd been trying to avoid Max.

So he said he wanted to talk, and I said- yeah, whatever. I kind of sensed I wasn't getting rid of him anytime soon. And I kind of sensed that I didn't want to either. As much as I wanted to distance myself from the Royal Four, I still knew that, like Michael said, we were stuck with each other, whether we liked it or not.

We went to my room. Well, my balcony first. We talked out there for a while, and he told me about how Max had been Mr. Mope since I'd been gone, and how Maria was constantly trying to get him to talk to her, but how he had stayed away. He gave me some bullshit reason like "A soldier's gotta be alone" or something like that. Of course, I called him on it. We were always pretty good at cutting through the BS.

He told me that maybe it was more that he just didn't feel that way about Maria anymore. That, I could believe. Nothing against Maria, but I always got the feeling that Michael and her weren't going to last. Or maybe I just wanted that? Yeah, probably more of that.

But I was with Max, and I was, for the most part, happy. And Maria was too, for the most part. There's a lot of "for the most parts" in the last year of our lives, because, well- nothing was cut and dry.

So I told him I understood, and he nodded. I guess he sensed that it was the same for Max and me. Even Alex and Isabel were drifting apart. I guess that first excitement had worn off, and we were all left to pick up the pieces and find satisfaction where we could.

I found it with Michael.

We talked all night, and eventually went into my bedroom when the night became too cold. We talked some more there and, well- things became a little more heated.

It's not what you're thinking- we didn't actually have sex for a few more nights, but it was intense. It started with a kiss- that I initiated, of course. I mentioned before that Michael was all talk and no action, remember? Well, after the kiss, he tried to talk me out of it for about 10 minutes, but he eventually gave in. His arguments were all "I don't want to hurt anyone" which, yeah, are pretty good arguments. But mine, which he couldn't argue with, was "Trust your heart."

I always knew my Grandma Claudia was a genius.

So it's been a month now, and Michael and I are still secretly going at it every night. We've almost been caught a few times- Alex being the closest call. I've actually started to use the lock on my bedroom door, and I'm working on being quieter when Michael does- certain things to me. Like I said before, there are certain circumstances in which Michael is a man of action. And I'll leave it at that.

We've talked about going public, but we both know that we won't be having parties thrown in our honor once it does. Lately, it's become less about sex, and more about something more, and neither of us knows quite what to think about that.

We'd both done the heavy drama relationship before: Me with Max, Michael with Maria, and this had been a nice change of pace. It wasn't just empty sex- I hadn't changed THAT much, but it was something inbetween. But now- now it's become what we had both wanted to move away from- love? Possibly. The very scary thing is - that just might be what it is.

Even scarier? I'm not running from it, and neither is he.

We're just two walking contradictions. Two people who hate this town finding a reason to stay in it. Two people who wanted to get away from the drama creating some of their own.

So maybe I haven't changed as much as I thought I had. And maybe Michael will break my heart like Max did, but somehow- I don't think so. And maybe, just maybe- I like being stuck after all.

The End.

Edited by - Our Own Destiny on 10/01/2001 02:53:39