|posted on 1-Oct-2001 5:19:24 PM|
Disclaimer: Characters belong to Metz, Katims and UPN. No infringement intended.
Warnings: Character death.
Note: The series never happened because Max didn’t save Liz.
Oscillate – 1 a : to swing backward and forward like a pendulum b : to move or travel back and forth between two points 2 : to vary between opposing beliefs, feelings, or theories. 3 : to vary above and below a mean value
Sean looked out at the desert landscape from the driver’s seat of the beat up old Volkswagen Beetle that he had gotten for the $400 that he borrowed from a buddy. The car was several different shades of green with orange in the back. It was hideous but it ran and it was the only car at the police auction that he could get for the money. Lucky for him, he had at least two years to find the money to pay his cellmate back before the guy got out.
Two miles outside Roswell and he had to make the decision quick. There were so few options but they were definitely there. The first would be to plead with Aunt Amy for temporary shelter. The second would be to find a cheap apartment but a job would be a problem. There were too many establishments willing to hire a guy straight out of juvvy. Of course it didn’t matter, the rumors and stares would still be there. Aunt Amy’s it was. Then he’d go see his parole officer with an address and phone number.
Unfortunately, Sean’s memory of Roswell was perfect and little had changed since he had been charged into state custody. The police station looked exactly the way he remembered. As did West Roswell and East Roswell High, from what he could see while keeping to his 1,000-foot restriction, some things just never changed. Then of course there was the strip where Aunt Amy’s shop sat.
Aliens. That described the whole strip. Any and every variation of little green men decorated nearly every inch of the strip. What he wouldn’t give to be able to leave it all behind. That would have to wait until after his probation period or until he got the money to leave, whichever came first.
Shaking his head, he pulled in front of the small shop. He had to take several deep breaths to gain the courage to get out of the car. Bracing himself, he managed to walk the short distance to the store and ignore all the stares and whispers at his presence. ’That’s Sean DeLuca, isn’t it?’ ‘He’s out of juvvy already?’ ‘I wonder what he’s going to do now.’
The bell rang over his head when he stepped through the door. She saw him immediately. Unlike anyone else, she didn’t stand there and stare. Aunt Amy rushed right over to him and enveloped him in a tight hug. “Sean. Oh my god. It’s good to see you.”
“Hey Aunt Amy.” Sean managed a smile and let her lead him around the counter to sit.
“So, when did you get out?” She swatted his arm lightly. The question stung all the same, didn’t matter that it was meant well. It was just another reminder of where he was coming form.
“This morning.” Sean answered with a slight nod. At least she didn’t ask why he was out so soon. That would have really hurt. Aunt Amy had been his hero growing up. She was the cool aunt. The aunt that knew about partying and jail cells. They had always had a good bond and he was pleased that there was still some residual love there. “I just got into town. I, uh. I need to ask you something.”
“What’s that?” She reached out and straightened the front of his mock leather jacket.
“I… I need a place to stay for awhile… until I can get on my feet and all.” Sean was careful to keep himself from babbling but luckily she cut him off.
“You’ll stay with us. I can’t promise you a room but the couch pulls out. You know you’re always welcome. Maria and I would love to have you.” She pulled him into another tight hug. “I cannot believe how much you grew up since I last saw you. Look at you. You’re a man now.”
“It’s only been a few years.” He shrugged her off and searched to find another subject. “Where is Maria these days? What is she 15 now?”
“17.” Amy corrected. “She’s great…”
“That’s good.” He nodded and let his gaze settle on a framed picture behind the counter. Maria had sure grown up. He noted her green uniform and antennae. “Oh no. She’s working at the Crashdown?”
“Well, yes she is.” She gave him a look. “She happens to be a very good waitress.”
“I don’t know. Are you sure the customers get their food on the table and not in their laps?” He let out a laugh as he raised the picture to see better. His breath left his lungs. It couldn’t be. Standing right next to his cousin in the picture was quite possibly one of the most beguiling creatures ever to walk the earth. Even in the green uniform and antennae she had that thing about her that he had begun to notice before being sent to juvenile hall.
“Well, you know her temper, but she’s gotten a lot better in the past year or so. She’s such a great girl. She’s working, she’s singing in the choir, she has such a beautiful voice, she’s working on the year book.” Amy went on and on about how great Maria was doing but Sean had tuned her out long before.
Liz Parker had him entranced. She had just begun to grow up the last time he saw her and even then she had something about her. Now, though, she was a knockout. All grow up and even more intriguing. Sean remembered her fairly well. She was a decent person and all he could do was pick on her about how smart she was. All he could do was stare at her picture. She had definitely grown up in the past few years.
Liz had a beautiful smile that she shared with absolutely everybody. She had long thick brown hair that made him just want to run his hands through it. Her uniform did nothing to hide the curves she had developed in his absence. Then of course were those eyes. Those big beautiful brown eyes that seemed to reach into his soul and make off with his heart.
“Sean, I’m so glad you’re back.” Amy hugged him yet again and then turned to help a customer. “You know, I could use some help in the shop. Maria’s so busy now.”
“If you’re offering a job, I’d be grateful.” Sean set the picture back down on the counter and stood.
“That’s good. That’s really good.” She put her hand on her hip. “Why don’t you go say hi to Maria and I’ll swing by the house and open it up for you?”
“Sounds like a plan. I just have to swing by my parole officer’s and I’ll be over.” Sean scooted around the corner, careful not to knock anything off the walls or counter.
“Alright then. I’ll see you at home.” She smiled after him.
Sean did as he was supposed to. He stopped by his parole officer to leave him with his home address and work address. He endured the drill on his restrictions and about notifying his employer about his recent incarceration. The whole time he was itching to stop by the Crashdown. He just wanted to see for himself the beauty in the picture.
The familiar UFO still hung upon its top as a beacon to every alien fascinated freak in the area. The place was decently packed for a school afternoon and he spotted Maria the second he walked through the doors. Her hair was several feet longer than it had been in the picture he had seen. She scoffed the moment she saw him. “When did you get out?”
“This morning.” He shrugged.
“What’d you do? Escape?” Ouch, that hurt.
“Let me out early, for good behavior.” Sean let his eyes wander the restaurant in hopes of seeing the brunette beauty but didn’t find a trace.
“I’m sure.” Maria glared at him. “I hope you don’t think you’re staying with us.”
“Actually, Aunt Amy already said I could.” He couldn’t help but smirk at her glares.
“She is such a soft touch isn’t she.” Maria crossed her arms and waited for more but it never came. He walked over to the counter and sat down. He could afford a coke or two until Liz eventually showed up. “What are you doing?”
“I’m thirsty. I thought that seeing as many other good folk in this establishment had beverages that I might be able to obtain one as well.” How he loved irking his cousin.
“Fine. One drink and then you’re gone.” Maria huffed and rounded the counter to get it herself. “What’ll it be?”
“Just a coke.”
“Great.” She tilted her head at the soda fountain.
“So… the Parkers still own this joint, right?” Sean casually asked in order to get a feel for the current situation of things. He had to be certain that Liz would be around at all.
“Yeah… yeah they do.” Maria’s voice came out very soft as she slid the drink in front of her cousin.
“Didn’t you used to be friends with their daughter?” Sean watched her face crumble and then immediately fix itself.
“Yeah.” Maria answered at last.
Weird. So he took a sip of his drink and noted that she hadn’t expounded on the subject, probably meaning that one of them stole a boyfriend from the other one and they were no longer friends or something silly like that. “So what? You stole her boyfriend or something?”
“I did not.” Maria almost shouted before excusing herself to the break room.
All Sean could do was sit there and stare at the spot that she had just vacated. What in the world had he said to set her off like that? He sat there debating that and waiting for Liz to appear when two men sat at the counter near him. Straightening, he recognized the Sheriff and his son.
“Sean DeLuca, that you?” Jim Valenti stood and clapped the younger man on the back. “How have you been son? Keeping out of trouble?”
“Gonna try to.” Sean nodded and turned to shake his hand. “Doing good since this morning.”
“Good to hear. Good to hear.” Sheriff Valenti returned to his seat. “Hate to see any of the DeLuca family in trouble.”
“Dad.” Kyle groaned and turned to Sean. “Long time no see, Sean. You seen Maria around?”
“She’s in the back.” Sean could feel the scrutiny upon him already. Everyone wanted to know when he’d screw up next. He could expect all conversations to last shorter than five minutes.
Kyle was out of his seat and in the break room in seconds. Jim shook his head and turned to Sean. “I don’t know if you know but Kyle and Maria are dating.”
“Ah.” Sean didn’t know what to say. He didn’t know Kyle all that well. He cast another glance around and was again disappointed not to see Liz. “You know the Parkers, right?”
“Yeah. Good folk. Good folk.” Jim nodded, his expression grave.
“How’s Liz doing? I’ll bet she’s on her way to Valedictorian now, huh. Probably breaking hearts all over Roswell.” Sean had an awkward moment when the Sheriff bowed his head.
“I guess no one told you.” A voice drifted over from down the counter from a dangerous looking guy.
“Mr. Evans.” Valenti’s tone took on a stern warning.
“Told me what?” Sean shook his head and turned to the stranger.
“Liz Parker died over a year and a half ago. September ’99, a man pulled a gun and it went off, the shot went wild. She never had a chance.” The stranger raised his head. “There wasn’t a thing anyone could do to save her life… She died right over there.” He pointed towards the back booth.
“Mr. Evans, I believe you were told never to come back into this establishment.” Valenti rose from his seat to stand next to the dangerous character.
“I was just going to get something to eat.” The guy didn’t budge.
“Listen, Max…” The Sheriff sighed. “Your parents are good folk. Your sister is a wonderful girl. Why don’t you stop giving them so much grief and stay out of trouble? Mr. Parker had asked you repeatedly to never come back in here and I’m going to have to reinforce his wishes in his absence.” Valenti waited for a response but received none. Finally, though, Max rose from his seat and exited the Crashdown, but not before knocking down a rack of alien paraphernalia by the counter.
“What was that all about?” Sean asked when the Sheriff sat down. A couple of waitresses had gone to tend to the merchandise on the floor.
“Max Evans.” Valenti shook his head gravely. “He used to be a good kid, kinda quiet… then one day he just snapped. Makes the kids I put in juvenile hall look like mama’s boys. I can never catch him doing any of it either. One day he was a good kid and the next he was every mother’s worst nightmare. Stay clear of him, Sean. Stick to your probation and do good things. Amy’s a good friend of mine.”
“I’ll do that, Sheriff.” Sean nodded. He sat a moment before asking what had been on his mind since Max had brought it up. “Is it true? About Liz?”
“Unfortunately, yes. I took Max’s statement myself that day. Sad day, sad day. Kyle took it real hard. They were dating at the time. Good thing that he and Maria had each other to lean on.” Valenti stood when Kyle returned with two boxes of food. “Nice talking to you, son. Remember what I told you.”
“Yeah, yeah. I will, thank you Sheriff.” Sean nodded and turned back to his coke, not really surprised to see Maria back at work behind the counter. It made sense now. Kyle had been dating Liz and Maria was her best friend, Liz died, they mourned and then got together. “Hey M.”
“M?” Maria turned to him, her eyes red from crying. “M? Who talks like that?”
“Look. I’m sorry. I didn’t know.” Sean leaned over to look at her. “Hey, I was out of the loop. I really didn’t know.”
“It’s okay.” Maria wiped at her eyes with a napkin. “It’s just so stupid. It’s been like forever and I can’t even hear her name without going into hysterics.” She flipped her hair back over her shoulder. Staring at her cousin, she could tell there was something on his mind. “Who told you?”
“Some guy a while ago. Max Evans? I asked the Sheriff how she was doing and that guy just started talking…” Sean shook his head. Three people and now he knew Liz was dead but it just didn’t seem possible. Like maybe it was joke and she’d pop out of a corner and smack everyone around for messing with him.
“What were you doing asking about Liz?” Blue eyes locked with blue eyes for a minute before she broke the gaze. “You are still… harboring this thing for her, aren’t you?”
“This thing. You were always picking on her and staring at her…” She stopped talking, not even sure what she was doing.
“Whatever.” Sean stood and lay down two dollars. “I’m out of here.”
He found himself walking around town, not really seeing anyone or anything, just walking. Liz Parker, dead. It didn’t seem possible and yet it was. It would figure that the one appealing thing left in the town would have been taken away before he could get back to it.
Sean was about to turn into an alley when he heard voices. “Dammit, Max! You have to stop this. You’re going to get yourself killed and believe or not, I don’t want that.”
“Would you get off my back already?”
“No! Mom and Dad are worried sick. I don’t know what’s wrong with you but one of these days, Max. You’re going to be alone. I haven’t seen Michael in months and I’m fairly certain that’s your fault.”
“Yeah, sure, everything’s my fault.” The dangerous looking Max Evans emerged from the alley and stormed down the street, people nearly leaping out of his way without expecting an apology.
Sean looked down the alley to see a beautiful blonde fighting to hold in tears. Curiosity got the best of him and he followed Max. The guy never turned around, never stopped. He knew exactly where he was going and that, Sean learned, was the Roswell Cemetery. It didn’t take long for him to figure out where Max was headed. Hanging back, Sean was able to hear without intruding unnecessarily.
“Looks, like I did it again, Liz.” Max ran a hand through his hair and then down over the stubble on his face. “Isabel blames me for Michael leaving. I didn’t make him leave, he made his own choice. It’s not my fault he wouldn’t fight back. His fault for letting Hank get away with it. I am not responsible for everybody. It’s not up to me to make sure everyone does what they’re supposed to. I am not the damn leader. No one listens to me anyway. I could have saved you but Michael wouldn’t let me. You didn’t have to die, Liz.
“You know what’s funny? All your life you never had more to say to me than pass the hydrochloric acid and I come here day after day, week after week, month after month to tell you about problems you never knew about and probably would never have cared to understand. I disappoint everyone. I cannot be who they want me to be. I can’t be the parent that Michael and Isabel are looking for and I can’t be the nice human boy that Mom and Dad want. I can’t help it if I lose my temper.. Without you… I don’t have a reason to be good. I don’t have a reason to stay. I should just go and never look back… but I can’t. You’re dead and it’s my fault and I can’t help but be angry at this town and all of its alien crap.”
Sean could do nothing but listen. When Max stood up, he knelt at a grave and let the guy pass. He couldn’t help it. The second Max was gone, Sean approached Liz’s grave. That’s when it all became real. She was gone, dead at 16 from what he could figure.
In the back of his mind he had always dreamed about her. Liz Parker had this way of melting his heart that no one else could duplicate. They were two totally different people and there was no way in any lifetime that would have ever returned any sort of feeling for him but he could dream. He had always thought there was something special about her, always watched her, and always wondered what would happen if he were to ask her out someday… like when it would be legal. Guess he’d never find out.
“What the hell are you doing here?” A voice growled. Sean didn’t even have to turn to know it was the guy that had just vacated that spot.
“Paying my respects to an old acquaintance. You?”
“She would have never talked to you. You’re not good enough for her.” Max narrowed his eyes.
“Look who’s talking.” Sean turned slightly. “I knew her. Did you?”
“No.” Max shook his head. He pulled a flower from his pocket and laid it on the headstone. “I was in love with her. She would have never gone for someone like me. Who knows… maybe she would have gone for someone like you instead. ”
Before Sean could say a word, Max was already halfway to the entrance. Sitting beside the headstone, he thought of Liz. If that day in the Crashdown had not happened, where would she be? Dating the dangerous Max? Dating Sean? He didn’t even allow himself to dwell on that question. There was no way to go back and undo it. There was no way to know what would have happened to Liz Parker had a stray bullet not shattered all the potential and absolute beauty she held. He sighed and shut his eyes. “Who knows.”
Edited by - DMartinez on 10/02/2001 17:49:46