posted on 12-Oct-2001 2:00:53 AM
Guys, I know it's been a while since the last time I posted, but I am back with a fresh fire and new zeal in my heart (wow, where did that come from?) Enjoy it as much as I did writing it. Kim

Part 32B

“You know it’s not too late for us to leave, sweets,” Zan whispers in my ear. We’ve been standing in the front of the Crashdown for about five minutes, but have made no attempts to find my parents.
“We’re here now,” I sigh. “Even if we did leave, we’d still have to come back here eventually. Might as well get this over with now.”

Noticing my despair, Zan pulls me into his embrace and kisses the crown of my head. He rubs my back gently as he whispers words of comfort and reassurance into my hair.

“It’s going to be okay, sweets. I think you’re making this out to be worse than it actually is. It can’t be that bad,” Zan whispers as he kisses my temple.

I take a couple of deep cleansing breaths to calm myself, and turn to face the counter. Let’s get this show on the road, shall we?

“Lizzie!” my mother screams as Zan and I walk towards her. She runs from behind the counter where she and my father are standing, and nearly knocks me over with her fierce embrace. My father only smiles at us.

“Hi, Mom,” I giggle as I return her hug. With the way she’s acting, an outsider would think we hadn’t seen each other in years instead of a few months. I pull away from her and resume my position next to Zan.

“Mom, this is Alexander Evans,” I say pointing at Zan. He extends his hand to my mom.
“It’s nice to finally meet you,” he smiles as he shakes my mother’s hand.
“Likewise,” she replies, but a puzzled expression slides over her face.

Her eyes take Zan in from head to toe: they start with his spiky hair, land on his eyebrow ring and earrings, continue down to his goatee, and then slide down the rest of his body, only to take the journey back up again. The scariest thing about my mother’s silent interrogation is that it only took about five seconds. The wheels are turning in my mother’s head, and suddenly I’m very afraid.

“Not quite what you were expecting, am I?” Zan whispers to my mother and begins to laugh.
“Definitely not,” she admits as she laughs along with him. I let out a sigh of relief and let down my guard a little. One down, one to go. I leave Zan with my mother and walk over to my father. This battle won’t be so easily won.

“Hi Daddy,” I smile as I walk around the counter and hug him.
“Lizzibeth!” he cries as he picks me up and spins me around. “How was your flight?”
“Interesting,” I smirk. If only he knew.
“Interesting good, or interesting bad?”
“Just interesting.” Zan and Maria’s antics flash across my mind and I begin to giggle. I wonder what Michael could do with those memories.

“So that’s him,” my father states. He is watching Zan as my mother drags him through the restaurant, blabbering on about only God knows what.
“Yep, that’s Zan.”
“Daddy, promise me you’ll be nice. I really like him. A lot,” I emphasize.
“And when haven’t I ever been nice?”
“You weren’t nice to Max.”
“Max was too quiet and you know what they say about the quiet ones,” he says and I sigh. “Besides, I know things about Max that you think I don’t.”
“Like what?” Please don’t say it.
“I know that he wasn’t good for you in any way, shape, or form. Don’t think I didn’t hear you crying all those nights in your room, either. I still have a good mind to find him and beat his---“
“Daddy!” I exclaim. I know my father was never really fond of Max, but I never really thought he harbored these types of feelings towards him. That was my mother’s job.

“Do you love Zan, Liz?” he asks seriously.
“Very much,” I nod and he sighs. He stares at me for a second.
“Fine. I’ll be nice,” he mumbles and I attack him with a bear hug. “Just know that when he steps out of line, his ass is mine. Come on, let’s go meet lover boy,” he sighs.

I place my hand in my father’s and drag him from around the counter. As we get closer, I can hear my mother babbling on about me as a child. I have no idea what they’re talking about, but I know I’m about to be embarrassed.

“For the longest time, Jeff and I weren’t sure if we’d ever be able to take her out in public. She just couldn’t seem to keep her clothes on,” my mother laughs.
“Oh really,” Zan smirks at me.
“Yes! It didn’t matter where we were- grocery store, mall, a friend’s house- if we left Lizzie alone for more than a couple of minutes, she would take her clothes off and run around naked. Sometimes we wouldn’t be able to find her clothes for hours!”
“Well it’s true,” she simply states and shrugs. Ah, my mother; you gotta love her. I turn to my father.

“Daddy, this is Alexander Evans,” I say pointing at Zan.
“Pleased to meet you, Mr. Parker,” Zan courteously states and extends his hand towards my father.
“Likewise,” my father nods and shakes his hand.

His eyes slide over Zan and I begin to panic again. This is so nerve wracking. His eyes are boring holes into Zan’s face, and it’s almost as if my father recognizes him. Uh oh.

“I trust you guys had a good flight,” my dad asks suddenly snapping out of his trance.
“It was pretty good, sir. There was a bit of turbulence, but I slept for the duration of the flight,” Zan answers politely, and before I know it I’m giggling. I can’t wait to tell Michael about this.

“Are you guys hungry?” my mom asks. “I could whip up something to eat.”
“Actually, Liz and I wanted to take you guys to dinner. That is, if you don’t mind,” Zan adds quickly and I nod in concurrence.

My parents share a look, and then my father speaks.

“That would be nice,” my father says and then he glances at his watch. “Would two hours be enough time to get settled in?” Zan and I nod, and we pick up our bags as we move towards the stairs that lead to the apartment. After depositing our bags in our respective rooms, I flop on the couch, pooped beyond belief.

“You tired, babe?” Zan inquires sitting down beside me. He stretches his legs lengthwise on the couch and pulls me flush against his body so I am laying completely on top of him.

“Yeah, I had to baby sit for a good portion of the flight,” I answer giggling. When he raises his eyebrow at me, I full out laugh at him. “I’ll tell you one day,” I yawn.
“Just rest,” he whispers as he strokes my hair. “Something tells me that we’re going to need all the strength and energy we can get…”

Two and a half-hours later, my parents, Zan, and I are sitting in The Silver Mine, a restaurant famous for having steaks almost an inch thick. So far we’ve entertained ourselves with polite conversation, but from the look on my father’s face I know that the big guns are about to be pulled out.

“So, Zan, how long have you been dating my little girl?” my father asks.
“We’ve been together for four months,” he answers and clasps my hand under the table.
“Four months? Lizzie, didn’t you tell me you guys met in October?” my mother interjects. Here we go.

“We met in October, but we actually didn’t start dating until December,” I state.
“And you’ve already met his parents? Don’t you think that you guys are moving a little fast?” my father inquires. His penetrating gaze is beginning to give me the creeps.
“Well, Dad, the only reason I met Zan’s parents so soon is because they invited me to their house for Christmas and I went,” I say defending myself.
“So you met his parents after not even being with him for a month? How is it that I just recently found out that he even existed?” Why is he talking about Zan like he isn’t at the table? I’m beginning to get pissed and Zan can tell, because he gently begins to stroke my hand.
“Now, Jeff, that’s not true. I told you about Zan almost two months ago when I found out about him,” my mother intercedes on my behalf. “Stop acting like you just found out about him yesterday.”

My father remains silent as our waiter places our food in front of us. It is not until the waiter leaves that he speaks again.

“So Nancy tells me that you are the Junior Vice president of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter,” my father states nodding at Zan.
“Yes sir.”
“Aren’t you a little young for that position?”
“Jeff!” “Daddy!” my mother and I both exclaim at the same time. He is really pushing it.
“What?” he asks, oblivious to his rudeness. “I’m just asking, because that’s a really high position for someone as young as Zan.”

“Well, Mr. Parker, I started working for Morgan Stanley when I was 22, right after I got out of college. I started as an assistant to the then vice president of the company, and after about two years of grunt work and many projects that went into the wee hours of the morning, my hard work was recognized and I was promoted to Junior Vice President,” he finishes. He’s still holding my hand and I squeeze it gently to reassure him that he’s doing fine. I glance over at my mother and she mouths the word “keeper.” After I smile at her, I turn my attention back to Zan.

“Hmm. They let you go to work with all those piercings?” my dad inquires and takes a bite of his steak. A thoughtful expression crosses my mother’s face as she peers at the four silver hoops hanging from his ears as well as the hoop in his eyebrow.
“They actually don’t look upon them too fondly, sir. I take them out before I go to work,” Zan answers looking my father in the eye.
“Did they hurt, Zan?” my mother asks timidly. Her fascination with Zan’s piercings amuses me; she looks like she wants to reach across the table and touch them.
“Not at all,” he smiles and takes a bite of his baked potato that is drenched in Tabasco.

“So what’s your relationship like with your parents? Nancy tells me that you’re adopted, what’s that like?”

What the hell is going on here? Who is this asshole that has taken over my father’s body? He is never like this, ever. Even as much as he hated Max, he was never this rude.

“Dad.” I scowl at him and then turn to Zan. “It’s okay, Zan. You don’t have to answer him if you don’t want to.”
“No, it’s okay, Liz. I don’t mind,” Zan reassures me patting my hand. He looks at my father. “My adoptive parents and I are quite close. I love them with all my heart and they love me with all theirs. We talk almost everyday, and we get along really well.”
“25 and you sill talk to them almost everyday?” my mother repeats and Zan nods. “Maybe you can teach Lizzie a thing or two about picking up the phone every now and then.” She smiles at us and I smile back at her. Thank you, Mom.

“If you don’t mind me asking, what do your parents do?” my father probes as he finishes his steak.
“Well my mom is a seamstress with her own shop, and my father works for Virgin Records as the head of advertising and merchandising department,” Zan responds.
“Hmm,” my father replies and continues with his meal.

I guess my father has gotten all the answers he needs, because he is silent for the rest of the evening. Zan, my mother, and I continue to pleasantly chat amongst ourselves for our remaining time in the restaurant as well as in the car on the way home. We are passing the park when I signal for my father to stop the car. He gives me a strange look, but he does pull the car over and let’s us out. I wait until the car pulls off, and then I turn to Zan.

“I’m so sorry about the way my father acted tonight, I have no idea what got into him,” I say to Zan. I’m holding his hand and leading him to the swing set. The moon is high and full, and the warm evening breeze is caressing our skin.

“Don’t worry about it, sweets. The way he acts doesn’t make me love you any less,” Zan responds as he sits down in a swing and pulls me into his lap.
“I know, but that still doesn’t excuse the way he acted. How would you have felt if one of your parents treated me the way my father treated you tonight?”
“Babe, he’s only acting like this because he’s scared.”
“Scared of what, Zan? What does that man have to be scared of?”
“Losing his little girl,” Zan answers softly. “The whole time we were sitting at the table I could feel the fear radiating off him in waves. He thinks I’m gonna steal you away from him.”
“But why would he think that?”
“I don’t know, babe. I guess it’s just a typical fatherly fear,” he murmurs into the back of my neck.

We sit in silence for a while, and I sigh as I let my body totally relax into his embrace.

“What’s wrong, sweets?” Zan inquires twisting a lock of my hair in his fingers.
“Nothing, I just don’t know how I’m going to sleep tonight without you by my side,” I whisper. His grasp around my middle tightens and he pulls me further into his chest.
“Personally, I don’t think it’s the actual sleeping with me you’re gonna miss,” Zan teases and I giggle. He does have a point.

After another 15 minutes of just talking and enjoying each other’s presence, we exit the park and walk back to the apartment hand in hand. I walk him to his room, but don’t immediately let go of his hand.

“If you need anything, I’ll be right down the hall,” I say pointing to my room.
“Actually, there is something I need, sweets.”

Zan pulls me towards him by my waist and gently kisses my lips. Simultaneously our lips part and what was once a simple good night kiss is quickly turning into a prelude for what could be an evening filled with passion and ecstasy.

“Zan, we have to…”
“Stop. Yeah, I know, babe,” he whispers before his lips become attached to my neck.
“Zaaaannnn,” I moan as I take a shaky step away from him.

As much as I want him, my parents are right down the hall and I don’t think they would look upon our actions too kindly. Zan places his hands on top of his head and laces his fingers together. He steps forward, places two chaste kisses on my lips, and then steps back. His hands are still on top of his head.

“Goodnight, sweets. I love you,” he says with his eyes still dazed with lust.
“Goodnight, Zan. I love you, too,” I reply and take a step towards him, but he inches away from me.
“Take another step towards me, and your pops is going to have a real reason to be scared,” Zan warns me. I giggle, but heed his warning and back away. After what seems like hours, Zan finally walks into his bedroom and closes the door, and I walk down the hallway to my room. I’m almost there when the sound of my parents’ voices stops me.

“Jeff, he’s a lovely young man. Why are you so resistant to giving him a chance?” my mother is asking.
“Simple, I don’t want another Max situation on my hands,” my father states. What?
“Jeff, he’s nothing like Max. He’s honest, hard working, dependable, and he loves Liz. What more do you want?”
“The boy is adopted, which means he has no real roots.”
“Negative. His roots are now with his adoptive parents.”
“Did you see all those piercings he has? He looks like he volunteered to be a pincushion! Maybe you missed it, but did you notice that your daughter has a piercing of her own?”
“Her tongue? Yes, I saw it, and I happen to think it’s cute, just like I think Zan’s eyebrow ring is adorable, too.”
“You can’t be serious, Nancy!”
“Oh, but I am. So what if he has piercings? So what? That has nothing to do with his character and the way he feels about our daughter. In case you had missed it, he is totally smitten with her. Did you see the look on his face when she went to the bathroom earlier tonight? I almost thought he was going to get up and follow her he was so entranced.”
“Whatever, Nancy. I’m going to bed.”
“No, you are not! I know Liz is your little girl, and she always will be, but you are going to have to let her go. She can’t stay little Lizzie all her life; you have to let her grow up and experience things for herself. That’s why she went to New York, remember?”
“I know, but it’s so hard sometimes. I look at her sometimes and still see the little girl that was begging me to take her to the park and push her on the swings. I don’t think I’m ready for the beautiful young woman that’s sleeping down the hall.”

“Well that’s too bad, Jeff, because whether you’re ready or not she’s here, and frankly I wouldn’t be surprised if she wasn’t speaking to you after the way you treated Zan tonight. It was rude, and you need to apologize to him.” What is this I’m hearing? Mom, it that really you?

“Yes, apologize.” I hear the covers rustling and I can only assume that they are settling in for the night. “We raised a wise young woman. We may not like some of the things she does, or some of the people she dates, but it’s her life, and we have to trust in the life skills we gave her that she will make the right decision. Not the decision we think is right, but the decision she thinks is right.”

My father doesn’t say anything for a moment, and I hear my mother sigh.

“I’m going to say one more thing, and then I’m going to hold my peace. You may not like Zan, because you think he’s trying to take your little girl away from you. I understand that totally. What you don’t seem to understand is that if you keep pushing away the man she loves, you’re gonna push her away too, and then you won’t have to worry about Zan stealing her, because she will walk away freely. Mark my words.”

Where did my mother find this knowledge? I am amazed at all the things that just came out of my mother’s mouth. It’s almost like she grew sensible overnight. I ponder this as I lay down in my bed. I just hope my father listens to her, because even though I hate to agree with her, my mother was right on the money with her assertion…

‘Morning, babe. How’s my favorite girl doing this morning?’

Zan’s voice in my head right when I wake up, yummy.

‘I am wonderful, but I missed you last night and this morning.’
‘Why don’t you get dressed and meet me downstairs in the restaurant so you can show me how much you missed me?’
‘I think I can do that.’

I smile inwardly as I jump out the bed and head into the bathroom. After quickly taking a shower and throwing on some shorts and a t-shirt, I run down the apartment steps and into the Crashdown. Zan is already sitting at the table with breakfast in front of him, and I slide into the booth next to him.

“Hey, Stranger. Long time, no see,” I smile and kiss him.
“Who you tellin’,” Zan responds and kisses my forehead. “How’d you sleep?”
“I missed you last night, but other than that I was okay.”
Just then my father comes over with a plate of pancakes, bacon, and eggs, and sets the plate in front of me. He smiles at Zan and me.

“Everything okay, Zan?” my father smiles.
“Perfect,” Zan answers and smiles back. A look passes between the both of them, and they nod at each other. Something has definitely changed since last night.
“Thank you, Daddy,” I say and he smiles at us once more before departing back into the kitchen. “Okay, what was that about? I obviously missed something here,” I direct at Zan.

“Just man stuff,” he smirks at me and kisses me once again on the forehead. I put my head on his shoulder, and just then the door chimes ring.

“Max, Isabel! It’s so nice to see you guys again,” my mother greets them. Oh shit.

[ edited 15time(s), last at 8-Jan-2002 3:28:36 AM ]
posted on 17-Oct-2001 1:41:02 AM
Here is the next installment to the story, hope you all enjoy. Kim

Part 32C

“Did your mother just say Max and Isabel as in…”
“The very Max and Isabel who have tortured us and made our lives a living hell ever since we got together, yes. They are one and the same,” I sigh as I let my head sink to the table. If it’s not one thing, then it’s the other.

“The way I see it, we have two options, babe. Now we could either try to sneak back up the steps into the apartment, or we could just sit here and face them. It’s your call, sweets,” Zan whispers pulling me into his embrace.

Now as much as I want to run up the stairs, jump into my bed, and pull the covers over my head, I can’t get up from my seat. Call it pride or call it stupidity, but I am not about to let the twin spawns of Satan run me out of my family’s café. I know that I should be thinking about the whole Max/Zan look a like issue, but if he isn’t worried about it, then neither am I. If I have to tell my parents about Zan’s true heritage, then so be it. We’ll be okay; I feel it in my heart.

“We will sit here,” I tell Zan. He kisses me on the forehead and then grins at me.
“Look at my little girl growing up,” he teases. “Good to know that Daddy didn’t raise no punk bitch.” Damn right he didn’t.
“Let’s just keep eating, maybe they won’t even come back here,” I say and to prove my point pick up my fork and begin shoveling pancakes into my mouth.

Soon Zan follows suit, and before we know it we’re pretty much done with our meal.

“See, we had nothing to worry about,” I smile while wiping my mouth.
“Glad to see you were right.”
“Sweetheart, I’m a woman, I’m always right,” I reply seriously and we both crack up laughing loudly. So loud in fact that my mother walks over to us.

“Zan, Liz! I didn’t even see you guys sitting over there! How are you guys doing this morning?” she asks giving each of us a hug and kiss on the cheek.
“Quite well, Mrs. Parker,” Zan answers. “Your daughter just sat here and made a pig of herself though. We might need a pulley so we can get her back upstairs.”
“Look who’s talking,” I retort nudging Zan in his side. “If I’m not mistaken, it seems that your plate is void of food also, and even more so than mine.”

We all begin to laugh when a voice interrupts us.

“Mrs. Parker, we need some more Tabasco at our---“ Max stops short when he sees Zan and me. It is here where all pandemonium breaks loose.

My mother has swung her head in Max’s direction and is calling to my father to bring out more Tabasco when she suddenly stops and looks back at Zan. She looks back at Max and a look of puzzlement slides over her face.
“Max, what is taking so long? It does not take that long to…” Isabel trails off when she sees the scene unfolding in front of her. She looks at me and Zan, then looks at her brother. At the recognition of our predicament, a devious smile slides over her lips and her eyes sparkle with ill will and malicious intent.

Michael and Maria walk into the Crashdown and head straight for us. Maria is about to greet me, but stops short as Max and Zan face each other. The color drains from her face as she tries to strangle a moan of despair. Michael’s eyes are bucking out of their sockets and are about to hit the floor. He’s running his hands through his already unruly hair trying to think of something to say, but nothing is coming. Just when I think the situation can’t get any worse, my father walks over to where we are standing, holding a bottle of Tabasco sauce, to complete the nightmare.

His reaction is much like my mother’s, but a little more extreme. He assumes his position next to my mother, and lets his head volley back and forth as if he were watching a ping pong match. The same light of recognition that was in his eyes yesterday when he initially met Zan is back. Suddenly he turns his gaze to me, and peers into my face. To say I am terrified is putting things lightly. Here I am standing in between my current boyfriend, my ex boyfriend, and my parents, and the restaurant has quieted down as if we were in the OK Corral and a showdown was about to take place. Could the situation get anymore complicated? Oh yeah that’s right, my ex and current man are identical aliens.

“Mom, Dad, let me explain,” I begin. Not the best beginning, but I had to start somewhere. “I think you should sit down.” My parents exchange wary glances, but they do as they are told. I slide into the booth with them as Zan, Maria, Michael, Isabel, and Max surround our table. The silence is deafening. I’m about to open my mouth and speak when Max’s voice beats me.

“Alexander, is that really you?” he asks in an amazed voice. Huh? Zan raises his pierced eyebrow and gives Max a funny look. “Oh my God, it is you! You have no idea how long I have prayed for this moment to happen!” Max then cuts across Michael, Maria, and Isabel, and snatches Zan into a bear hug.

What the hell is going on here? We all must be thinking the same thing, because identical masks of confusion slide over our faces. What the hell is wrong with Max?

“Max, what is wrong with you?” Isabel finally asks.
“Don’t you recognize him, Is? It’s Alexander, our brother!” Max cries and pulls Zan back into another hug. He has his head quite close to the side of Zan’s head, and if my eyes aren’t fooling me, I can see Max whispering something into Zan’s ear.

“Okay, what the hell is going on? I mean for real, I feel like I’m trapped in a bad episode of the Twilight Zone,” Maria states with her hands on her hips.
“Please, let’s all sit down,” Max exclaims while he continues to hold his “brother” in a one armed hug. When we are all seated he begins.

“Well you guys all know that Isabel and I are adopted, and that our parents found us wandering naked on the highway. We were content to just live with our adoptive parents and try our hardest to assume normal lives. As it turns out, I found out that Is and I had an older brother, but he was somewhere on the East Coast. I always hoped and prayed that we would find a him some day, and here he is!” Max smiles brightly.

“Pardon me, but why didn’t I know about this?” Isabel asks Max. She is eyeing him suspiciously and the look on her face is telling me that if she doesn’t get the right answer she is going to blow like Mount Saint Helen. When Max draws a blank, I jump right in.

“Max didn’t want to get your hopes up, Isabel,” I quickly lie. “He told me that there was a possibility that you guys could actually have an older brother, but he didn’t want to say anything prematurely in case it wasn’t so. That was part of the reason he decided to go to school back east. He really didn’t know how to search for him since the only thing he knew was that his first name was Alexander, but he thought that living on the east coast for a while might give him some sort of advantage.” I turn and look at Zan with pleading in my eyes. “I can’t believe you’re the man we’ve been searching for all along and you’ve been right under our noses!” I grab him and pull him close as I hug him.

‘Baby, I know you hate Max, but if you want your secret to be safe, I need you to play along.’

Zan pulls away from me with a stoic expression on his face. He looks into my eyes and then moves a piece of stray hair behind my ears. Then he looks at Max.

“You mean to tell me that I’ve had a brother and a sister all this time, and I didn’t know?” he asks producing the most realistic version of a choked up voice I have ever heard. I look at my parents and they just stare back at me dumbfounded. “Max?”

“Brother!” Max exclaims and I duck quickly to avoid being crushed in another one of their bear hugs. I crawl along the floor, and soon am sitting next to Maria and Michael.

“This is so unreal,” she whispers in my ear. “Next thing you know, we’ll all be holding hands singing Cumbaya.”

“Isabel?” Zan whispers with…wait a second. Are those tears in he and Max’s eyes? I don’t believe this. Zan is staring at Isabel hopefully and Max is motioning for her to come closer with his fingers. Isabel is looking like she has no idea what to do. The wheels in her mind are turning over, and finally she speaks.

“I don’t think---“
“It’s okay, we understand,” Max cuts her off as he pulls her into his and Zan’s embrace. “I know it’s a lot to take in at once, but it’s okay, we’ll adjust. We are all a family now,” he coos into her hair. All the time Zan just smiles and strokes her arm.
“I’ve always wanted a sister,” Zan whispers emotionally as he beams at Isabel and strokes her arm. He smiles at her as “happy tears” slide down his face.
Michael takes this opportunity to walk away from us to the bathroom, and seconds later after the door closes, loud guffaws can be heard through the whole restaurant. Now granted, the situation is funny as hell, but this is neither the time nor the place for the laughter. We are on a mission to fool my parents, the laughter can wait.

“Michael really isn’t too good with his emotions in front of a lot of people,” Maria whispers to my parents who are looking awfully confused. “You know, he’s adopted and everything so….I’m just gonna go check on him.” And with that Maria runs to the bathroom.

“Well, I must say that this must come as quite a shock to all three of you,” my father says. It’s the first time he’s spoken since he’s joined our group.
“It is, Mr. Parker, but a welcome one nonetheless,” Max replies with a smile on his face. “I can always have the big brother I dreamed about and can finally learn about my birth family.”

“Isabel, you alright over there?” my father asks. She opens her mouth to speak, but my mother cuts her off before she even begins.
“Of course, she’s alright! She’s just overwhelmed, Jeff. Wouldn’t you be if you found out you had another sibling that you had never met?” my mother replies.
“I know I would,” I murmur under my breath. Whew, I think they bought it.
“Come on, Jeff. Let’s give them some privacy,” my mom states as she pushes my father out the booth.

Once they are gone and out of earshot, Max and Zan release their grip on Isabel and each other. Michael and Maria rejoin our table with tear stained faces, Isabel is the first one to speak.

“What the hell was that all about, Max? Zan is our brother now?” Isabel asks snidely.
“In case you haven’t noticed, Zan and I have the same face. Now it was either make up a story, or blow our cover to two more people,” Max replies just as snidely.
“If it’s any consolation, I wasn’t too happy about being your brother. I already got a sister who’s a bitch, I don’t need another one,” Zan says lowly.
“And what makes you think I’m going to go along with this? You can’t run my life, Max, I don’t give a damn if you are a king or not! I have a good mind to go tell the Parkers the truth,” she whispers menacingly.
“Do it, and I’ll call Alex and tell him that you aborted his baby not once, but twice,” Max quietly replies.

Silence looms over our table. Isabel was pregnant? Twice? Maria and I look at each other with twin masks of shock on our faces. How could she do this to Alex? Everyone knows how much he loves children and how his heart’s desire was to have his own brood someday. Just when I thought I couldn’t hate Isabel anymore, I found it in my heart to do so.

“You wouldn’t do it, Max. You don’t have the heart,” Isabel whispers with a trembling voice.
“Try me,” Max says with a stony expression on his face. He and Isabel stare at each other heatedly and finally Isabel cracks.
“I hate you, Max. You are so pussy whipped that there are some days that I wish you weren’t my brother,” she scoffs.
“Trust me, the feeling is mutual, sister dear,” he replies. With a huff, Isabel jumps from her seat and walks briskly to the door.

Max takes one long glance at all of us, and then stands to follow her. As he is walking to the door, my mother stops him to and says something to him. After he minute, he smiles, responds, and continues to walk out the door. My mother goes back into the kitchen, and all the inhabitants at my table let out a sigh of relief.

“Let’s go before your parents come back,” Michael whispers. “I don’t think our young protagonist has another performance in him,” he says pointing at Zan, and Maria and I giggle.
“Come on, the Jetta is outside,” Maria adds and we all make our way to the front door. The coast is almost clear when my mother suddenly calls my name and all of us turn around. Shit.

“Thought you guys might like this,” she says running up to us with a picnic basket in her hand. She kisses me on the cheek and whispers in my ear, “We’ll talk later.” She winks and turns away quickly. What was that about?

I have no time to think about my mother’s odd behavior, because before I know it I am being drug to the Jetta, laughing and smiling all the way there.

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 17-Oct-2001 1:43:47 AM ]
posted on 30-Oct-2001 12:58:57 PM
Guys, I want to thank you so much for reading and appreciating my story. I love you guys so much and you are truly the inspiration behind these parts.

With that being said, I'm happy to report that the next part of the story is ready, however I am not able to post it on this or Jenn's old board due to the screwie kablooies on this system. If you would like instant gratification here's where to go:

All the parts of the story thus far are there incluing the new part, which is under the Roswell Unconventional Couples section. I encourage you guys to go there and look around too.

If you can't get into the site or just want to have the parts sent to you, then email me (scoobie224⊕ and I will do my best to keep you up to date. Love you guys so much, Kim *happy*
posted on 1-Nov-2001 12:07:53 AM
The board actually liked me and decided to let me post. Please enjoy this, if it's not up to par, I apologize in advance.

Part 32D

“And exactly where are we going?” I inquire of Zan as we drive along the highway. We’re in the Jetta, but Michael and Maria aren’t with us. Something about washing sheets.

“That would be a surprise,” he responds with that patented smirk on his face. I roll my eyes at him and look out the window as the scenery zooms by. Suddenly the car pulls onto the shoulder and we come to a complete stop. Zan leans over towards me with a blindfold in his hands.

“You trust me, sweets?” he quietly asks. His amber eyes are glowing and boring into my own.
“With my life.” Zan then ties the blindfold on me, and when he’s sure it’s secure, gently kisses my lips. Within seconds the car is moving again, and we are on our way to the clandestine destination Zan has prepared for us.

As the silence surrounds us, I let my mind wander back to this morning’s events. I’m still in shock over Isabel and her two abortions, but more than that, I’m totally in shock over how Max stepped up to the plate and covered for us all. I don’t want to believe that he still loves and cares for me, but I can’t help but to think that he actually does. Though he deserves every single shred of hell that I have brought him over the past few months, I actually feel sorry for him for having to see me and Zan and our love so blatantly. This thought disturbs me, so much in fact that Zan’s hand begins to caress my cheek. His hand then slides down my neck and begins a gentle massage.

“Let it go,” he murmurs while he performs his gentle ministrations. “Just let it go, babe.”

A few minutes later the car stops and I hear Zan’s door open and close. Seconds later the back door of the Jetta opens and Zan grunts as he carries the picnic basket and blanket to their destination. I’m about to remove the blindfold and go find him when that familiar tingling sensation appears in my head.

‘Don’t even think about it, Liz,’ he warns. Well, there goes that idea. After what seems like an eternity of waiting, my door suddenly opens and I am being lifted out of the passenger seat.

“Zan?” I whisper clutching onto him. The door slams behind us.
“You expecting someone else, sweets?” he whispers in my ear. I giggle as I bury my face into the crook of his neck, and he kisses the top of my head as he walks us to the picnic site. Several minutes later he stops and my feet touch the ground. Zan pulls me back into his chest and wraps one arm possessively around my waist while his other hand undoes my blindfold.

“Surprise,” he murmurs into my hair as he lets the blindfold drop to the ground, and I gasp at the site in front of me.

For as far as the eye can see, an orchard of trees decorated with pale pink apple blossoms stretch across the field. The scent of the apple blossoms floats through the air and blends with the sweet smelling grass, clovers, and daisies. A crystal blue lake is 20 feet from where we stand. White butterflies flutter through the air as robins, blue jays, and orioles sing their respective songs of love and tranquility.

“It’s beautiful,” I say in awe. If I speak too loudly, I’m afraid I might disturb the balance nature has created.
“I can think of something more beautiful,” Zan states as he kisses my temple and leads me to the blanket.
“How did you find this place?” I ask once we are seated. We have yet to take out any of the food from the basket since we just ate breakfast not too long ago.
“I have my ways,” Zan replies as he pulls me close to him and places my head in his lap so he can gently massage my head. I raise my eyebrow at him.
“Michael,” he smiles at me and I nod at him.

We sit in silence for what seems like hours, and enjoy the beauty that nature is providing us. I feel so at peace just lying here with Zan, so peaceful in fact that I’m about ready to fall asleep. His fingers are combing through my hair and the tips of his fingers are caressing my scalp. My eyes are closed and the sun is beaming down on us while the cool breeze kisses our skin. I’m in heaven and everything is perfect.

Well, almost perfect.

“Yeah, babe?”
“You ever think about our son?” The gentle stroking briefly stops and I feel his body tense slightly. “Zan?”

After the night of the miscarriage, Zan and I never really talked about the baby we lost; we just accepted it and tried our best to move on. I have no idea why I’m bringing this up now, but I do know it’s something that needs to be discussed.

“Everyday, sweets. Everyday,” he states quietly and resumes stroking my hair.
“I never really wanted kids, not even after I initially found out I was pregnant,” I tell Zan.
“Seriously. I remember all my friends having baby dolls and strollers, and playing house. Not me, I had a microscope and slides that allowed me to perform mad experiments,” I smile at the memory.
“What about as you got older, Liz? You can’t tell me you didn’t dream about the house with the white picket fence, the 2.5 kids, the dog, the minivan, and the perfect husband to match. All women want that shit at some point, even Ava and crazy ass Lonnie did,” Zan states and I shrug at him.

“I thought about it, but never really saw it happening for me, especially after I met Max. We had the whole human/alien thing going on, and though I did want to marry him, we were never sure if we could have kids or not. At that point, kids weren’t even a reality for me anymore. I kinda just promised myself that I would be a really good auntie to Maria’s kids when the time came to compensate for not having kids of my own.”

The whole time I’ve been speaking, my eyes have been focused on the lake. When I dare to look at Zan’s face, I see tears in his eyes. I quickly sit up and place my hands on the sides of his face.

“Baby, what’s wrong?”
“You didn’t want our son, did you, Liz? You never wanted our child,” Zan replies in a cold tone. His skin has paled and his eyes are dim.
“That’s not true, Zan. I did want him, I wanted him more that you’ll ever know. I still want him,” I whisper with tears in my eyes.
“But you just said that you didn’t want him even after you initially found out you were pregnant,” Zan responds confused and I sigh.
“When I initially found out I was pregnant, I was so terrified. I didn’t even think of it as a baby, just as this thing that was complicating my life. I didn’t know if it was Max’s or yours, if it was human or alien. I had no way of supporting the baby, and I was just scared. Even if I could keep the baby, I wasn’t sure if I was going to even be able to carry it to term. But then something happened that made me love and want the baby more than I’ve ever wanted anything in my whole life.”
“I met you and found out the baby was yours,” I answer softly as I stroke his face. A look of puzzlement slides over his face so I continue.

“The night Max found out I was pregnant, I felt so alone and I had no idea what I was going to do or how I was going to make it out of this situation with my sanity intact. You showed up at my dorm room the next morning and totally restored my faith in myself that I would be able to have this baby and continue on with my life. You were like this knight in shining armor, and even though I was still terrified beyond belief I knew that everything was going to be okay. I didn’t know much about you, but I did know that you loved me and more importantly you loved our child, and that made things so much better. And then I started to think that if you were that kind, loving, caring and wonderful, how much more would our child be?” I finish.

I run my fingers through Zan’s unruly hair as he sits in quiet contemplation. I want to ask him if he’s okay, need to ask him really, but instead I just remain silent and let him sort out his thoughts for himself. After a couple of minutes, he finally speaks.

“I’ve always wanted to have kids,” Zan whispers. “Even after the shitty upbringing I had, I’ve always wanted someone to share myself and my legacy with, whatever that may be.”
“Well you can share yourself with me,” I smile trying to lighten the mood, but he just shakes his head.

“I know I can, babe, but it’s not the same.” Zan sighs and continues. “All I’ve ever wanted in this life, all I’ve ever really needed to make me feel like I’ve accomplished something while I was in this planet is a family. Ever since I learned what that damn word meant, I’ve wanted it.”
“What about Lonnie…”
“Lonnie ain’t family, Liz. She wouldn’t know how to be family if I gave her a fucking step by step manual with pictures,” he states and rolls his eyes. He takes a minute before beginning again. “When I first saw you that night at the club, it was like a dream come true. I was digging you so much, but the trippy thing about it was you was digging me just as much. When I found out you were pregnant, it was like icing on the cake, because I knew from the moment I met you that I wanted you to be the one I started my family with. The fact that we were having a little boy was an even bigger bonus, because I was going to have this little version of me that I could teach how to do all these cool things like shave and play baseball and watch the games with.” He lowers his head, but I can see the tears running down his cheeks.

“Zan,” I say gently as I wipe the tears from his face.
“When you lost him, it was like a part of me died. I felt so fucking robbed, because I had just found out about him, but I never got a chance to really know him and show him how much I loved him, ya know? Here I am working with all these bastards who complain about having to spend time with their kids, but I would do anything just to have some of time they complain about so I could spend it with my son.”

I never thought that a man could be so emotional about something like this. I always assumed that the woman was the one who cared solely about the kids and their welfare, but looking at Zan’s broken face, I see that I am wrong. It is quite rare to see a man who truly loves his kids, but as I look at Zan I see that he is the definition of that man. More than ever, I’m severely sorry that we lost the baby.

“Baby, when the time comes, you are going to be a wonderful father. You already were wonderful and trust me when I say that our son knew you loved him.”
“But how could he know? He was here such a short time, and even then he wasn’t really” he gestures in the air “here.”
“He knew because everyday that he was here after I found you, I told him so,” I smile. “He knew that his mommy and daddy loved him lots and were happy that he was coming.” We are silent for a moment as a look of contemplation slides over Zan’s face.

“Yes, Zan?”
“You still resisting the kids thing?” I smile at him.
“Not at all. Just gotta find the right man,” I tease. The signature smirk slides over Zan’s face and he tackles me onto the blanket, all the while my giggles fill the air…

Hours later after our skinny-dipping adventure and a nap, Zan and I are lying down after having completed our lunch, compliments of my mother. I’m in the safe confines of Zan’s arms, and our lower extremities our tangled together. His breath is gently caressing my neck and his hand is rubbing small circles on my abdomen.

“Yeah, sweets?”
“Whatcha doin’?” I ask patting his hand.
“Helping you digest your food,” he states naturally as if I was automatically supposed to know that. I giggle and let my hand traipse up his thigh. There is a halt in Zan’s breathing as my hand climbs higher and reaches its intended destination.

“Babe, we can’t,” he moans reluctantly.
“Why not?”
“I promised your pops I wouldn’t touch you while we were in Roswell.”
“You did what?” I ask sitting up and turning to face him. When did this occur?
“We had a long talk, and let’s just say that the daddy’s little girl image is long gone,” he answers rolling on his back to face me.
“Wait, you told my father we were sleeping together?”
“Who do I look like? Hell no, I didn’t tell him. He pretty much told me that he knew you loved me and he was cool with it, but pretty much when we are in his house we must abide by his rules, which me no physical stuff other than kissing….”
“Are you serious?”
“Dead serious,” he says closing his eyes and yawning. A thought occurs to me.
“But Zan, we aren’t in my father’s house. We are in the middle of wide open space where the closest people to us are at least five or ten miles away.”
“Must keep the snake in the cage,” he whispers quoting “Meet the Parents.”
“But I don’t want the snake in the cage, I want it to come out and play with me,” I whine. Zan just laughs at me.

“Babe, you are not about to get me in trouble with your pops. The man has shotguns and he told me he has a shovel too. I love you, but I’m cool.”
“Zaaaannnn,” I pout. My nympho tendencies are really starting to show. Zan sits up and kisses my forehead.
“Babe, we are only here for tonight and tomorrow morning. We will be back in New York by tomorrow night at the latest. As much as I want you, we need to wait. Your father’s approval is important to me.” He lifts my chin and looks into my eyes. “Come on, let’s start packing up so we can go back.” Zan stands and extends his hand to me. I take it and reluctantly stand.

As I move away from the blanket and let Zan pack our things, a thought crosses my mind: I am an only child therefore I get what I want when I want it, all the time. Why should this be an exception now? Zan is bending and stretching, and my eyes keep following his every move. The taut muscles under his tank top are calling me, taunting me even. He will be mine, oh yes he will be mine.

Zan didn’t even know what hit him. He was bending down the pick up the blanket and fold it when I blindsided him and knocked him flat on his back. Before he could fully comprehend what was going, I had managed to get his tank top and shoes off, and his pants are the next to go.

“Liiiizzzz,” he moans as his zipper slides down and I yank his pants and boxers off.
“Yes, darling?” I drawl.
“What are you doing?”
“Getting what I want,” I smile and then attach my lips to his left nipple. I gently tease him by tugging on his nipple ring with my teeth. My fingernails are scratching his chest and stomach, and to my delight he’s beginning to squirm.

“Of course,” I say as I nip my way down his chest to his navel, “I could always stop if you really want me to.”
“Sweets,” Zan groans. The pleasure I’m inflicting on him is pure torture. The wheels in his mind are turning and I know what his choices are: be an honorable guy for Liz’s father or make Liz, and myself, extremely happy? Choices, choices, decisions, decisions.

“So what’s it going to be, Zan?” I whisper sweetly as my hand come into contact with ever increasingly hardening member. My strokes are slow and deliberate, my intention is to drive him out of his mind. “Take your time, love. I got all day.”

The decision is made as Zan flips us over and snatches my shorts from my body. He doesn’t even bother to take my t-shirt off, he just works with the already unclothed areas. Before I know it, we are both riding the waves of pleasure and crashing back down to earth. After several moments of panting and trying to catch our breath, Zan turns to look at me and begins to speak.

“I’m telling your father that I was taken advantage of,” he says with a sly grin on his face.
“Go ahead, I don’t care.”
“You are so bad,” he chuckles and kisses my temple.
“But you like it,” I respond and kiss him full on the lips.

Daddy’s little girl is a temptress now. Heehee.
posted on 4-Nov-2001 2:17:25 AM
Here's the next part for you guys. Feedback: Love it, need it, gotta have it! Kim

Part 32E

“Hi mom,” I say as Zan and I walk into the apartment. Zan is carrying the picnic basket to the kitchen table, and I’m about to sit down on the couch when my mother stops me.

“You guys might want to go take your showers before your father gets here, Liz,” my mother suggests. “I want to talk to you guys before he gets home.” Zan and I just look at each other.

‘You think she knows?’
‘I don’t know, sweets, but I’m sticking to my story: you attacked me.’

Zan smiles at me when I stick my tongue out at him. We’re turning to go to our respective bathrooms when my mother calls to us.

“And you guys might want to wash your hair while you’re at it,” she adds giggling. I run my hand through my hair and when I remove it, I am holding a handful of clovers and grass. My mother continues to giggle as Zan and I exchange sheepish glances and move towards the bathrooms.

Twenty minutes later, Zan and I reemerge refreshed and clean. My mother is waiting for us on the couch and when she sees us, she extends her hand to us, offering us seats on the couch facing her. I have no idea what she could possibly want to say to us, but I take my seat and wait for the horror to begin.

“You guys put on quite a show for us earlier today,” my mother begins smiling at us.
“What do you mean, mom?” I innocently ask. I’m not admitting anything I don’t have to.
“Elizabeth Nicole Parker, you know exactly what I’m talking about. That whole display with Max and Isabel, please. I have pulled some fast ones in my day, too. I’m not as old or naïve as I look.”
“Oh that.” Damn it, I knew it was too good to be true.
“I’m just gonna be straight to the point, because we don’t have that much time before your father gets home. Zan, are you an alien?”

Zan has been staring at his hands since the conversation with my mother began, but at the mention of his name, his head has shot up like a rocket and he is now staring at my mother like a fish out of water. Anxiety and fear are radiating off him, and he is carefully calculating his response.

“Um, I’m not sure I know I exactly what you are talking about, Mrs. Parker,” he carefully states, trying not to let the fear permeate his speech.
“Mom, what are you talking about? What is all this alien talk about?” I add. I am truly terrified at this point.
“Elizabeth, hush. I don’t think I’m speaking a foreign language, I just want to know if Zan is not of this world,” she states simply and continues to look at Zan.

Zan and I look at each other as we silently communicate with our eyes. After a couple of moments of silence, Zan turns back to my mother and takes a deep breath.

“Yes, I’m an alien,” he replies quietly.
“Oh, okay. So you’re going to need some Tabasco sauce for dinner then, right?” she asks Zan. Errrr?
“Liz, you guys aren’t as slick as you would like to believe,” my mother says to me.
“Well then how did you know?” This should be good. My mother sighs and rubs her eyes before she begins.

“Let’s just say that you and Max weren’t as discreet as you thought you were. All those nights talking on the balcony, did you guys ever consider that the vent in the wall might not have been closed? You do remember your father and I telling you that the vent goes straight into our bedroom and we keep it open, because it gets hot in our room at night, right?” she asks. When I stare at her with wide eyes and an open mouth she continues. “All the times you snuck out with Max or he came over here in the wee hours of the morning, I knew. Every conversation that you had on that balcony, whether it was with Max, Maria, Michael, or whoever, I knew because I could here you loud and clear.”
“Does daddy know about Max being an alien?”
“Yes,” she answers nodding. I chance a look at Zan and when I do I see that he is pale as a ghost.
“Why didn’t you ever say anything, mom? I know you must have wanted to say something about the situation in all that time,” I tell her. My mother just sighs.

“During that time, you and I really weren’t on the best of terms, Liz. I wanted to say something to you, but I was so afraid that me confronting you about it would pretty much push you away for good. I was hoping that eventually you would come to me with it, but you never did so I never said anything about it. I didn’t want to, but I had to trust you to make the right decision since there was nothing else that I could do. Up until that point you had never given me any reason not to trust you or doubt your judgement, and though you were in danger and I hate to admit this, Max was doing a hell of a job in keeping you safe,” my mother finishes. She looks at the twin masks of awe on Zan’s and my face, and then reaches across the table to take my hand in hers. “Liz, I want you to know that you can trust me and you can talk to me whenever you need to. I know that sometimes I’m overbearing and a little bossy, but you need to know that I love you and I only want what’s best for you. If being with an alien makes you happy, then who am I to stand in the way of your happiness?” My mother then turns and looks at Zan. “And Zan, you need to know that as long as I live, your secret will be safe with me. I only ask that you love my daughter and keep her safe from all the dangers that may come your way. Keep her happy and provide for her the same way that my husband and I have for the past 21 years of her life. As long as you can do that then you will always be welcome in this house. Can you do those things, Zan?”

“I can and I will, Mrs. Parker. You have my word and my word is my bond,” he states nodding his head at my mother. My mother smiles at him upon his promise.
“Good, because I want you to know that if my little girl calls me once with even the faintest trace of unhappiness in her voice, you’re going to have to answer to me. My husband isn’t the only one that knows how to operate a shotgun,” she says gravely.
“Yes ma’am,” Zan whispers and looks down at his hands once again. My mother then moves from her spot on the couch and heads towards the kitchen to prepare dinner.

“Mom?” I call and she turns around. “How did you know that Zan was an alien?”
“Did you really think you were going to be able to bring someone in here that is pretty much identical to Max and think it was going to slide? Come on, Liz, give me some credit. Even with all the piercings and the facial hair, he still looks like Max. Not to mention, I do remember you and Maria having a conversation about the dupes from New York,” she giggles. “I was born at night, just not last night, Liz.”

Upon hearing this statement, Zan bursts out laughing, so hard to the point the tears fill his eyes. I just sit there in a stupor. If anyone is wearing the loser symbol on his or her forehead, it’s me. I can’t believe that my mother knew all this time and never said anything. More than that, I can’t believe that I actually thought I could sneak around all this time and my parents would not know anything about it. God, I’m such an idiot, but all’s well that ends well right?

‘You okay, sweets?’ Zan is gently massaging my neck.
‘Yeah, just shocked as hell. I can’t believe…’
‘I know what you mean.’ I kiss Zan on the cheek and hand him the remote to the television.

“See if anything’s on. I’m going to help my mom in the kitchen,” I tell him and then walk to the entranceway of the kitchen. “Need some help?”
“That would be nice,” she says without even turning around. I walk over to the refrigerator and pull out some veggies to make a salad with. We are quiet for a few moments and then I speak.

“Hey mom?”
“Yes sweetie?”
“Are you going to tell daddy about Zan? Being an alien, I mean?” She’s quiet for a moment.
“He already knows.” Silence. “Liz, you okay?”
“How does daddy know that Zan’s an alien?” I whisper in shock. This is just too much.
“The same way I knew you and Zan made love today,” she answers laughing and my cheeks flush at the mention of this afternoon’s activities. “Just chalk it up to parental intuition.”
“Are you disappointed in me, mom? I mean, out of all the choices that I’ve made concerning the whole human/alien thing?”

My mother stops what she is doing and turns to look at me. She then takes my hand in hers and walks me to the kitchen table where we both take a seat. After placing a stray strand of hair behind my ear, she smiles at me.
“I could never be disappointed in you, ever. Every time I look at you, I see an intelligent, strong, confident young woman who is currently making all her dreams come true, whether it be in love or in everyday life. Sometimes I’m so jealous of you that I can hardly breathe, Liz. You got out of this small town and you are truly making something of yourself. Not too mention, you have this gorgeous man that absolutely adores you. Never in my life have I been prouder than at this point to have you as my daughter. You may have not chosen the most conventional path, but since when is conventional always a good thing? Let me ask you something, Liz: does Zan make you happy?”
“Yes, mom. I love him more than life,” I answer with tears in my eyes.
“Then I’m happy for you,” she smiles and then kisses my forehead. She gets up and goes back to fixing dinner.

I can’t even move right now for fear that this is a dream. Who is this woman and what has she done with my mother? Since when is Nancy Parker this understanding and compassionate? My mother has pretty much just given me her blessing to love and possibly be with an alien for the rest of my life. If I hadn’t been through all that I had in the past 5 years, I would say that my mother had been abducted by aliens and had been replaced by a body snatcher. After a couple more minutes of idleness, I shake myself out of the fog and finish making the salad.

“Need anymore help, mom?” I offer, but she just shakes her head.
“Nope. I’m pretty much done here, so all you need to do is wash your hands and tell Zan to do the same,” she says. I nod at her and begin walking to the living room. When I get to the door, I pause and turn to face my mother.
“I love you, mom.”
“I love you too, sweetheart.” I smile and continue my journey to the living room.

“Do you see this idiot, Zan? What the hell is he doing?” my father asks heatedly. My father? When did he get home? I peek around the corner and see my father and Zan sitting on the couch watching what appears to be the Knicks and the 76ers on television. Oh this should be interesting.

“I don’t know. Obviously the buffoon has no concept of the word defense,” Zan adds. There is silence for a moment and then suddenly, both of them grunt unappreciatively. “Did you just see that?!? He pretty much just stepped out the way and let him make that lay up!”
“See, I thought I was the only one that saw that! I swear, he must be wearing the wrong uniform or something.”
“Wait, the ref just called a foul. Thank you, it’s about time somebody started doing their job,” Zan states clapping at the screen. “You and Mrs. Parker should come to New York to visit, I could get tickets to go to a game or something.”
“I would like that, Zan. Do you go to the games often, Zan?” my father asks.
“Nah. I used to all the time, but then with work and all, I couldn’t find the time. Then I had tickets to see the Knicks and the Celtics about a month ago, but I didn’t think Liz would want to go so I gave them to someone in my office. Floor seats,” Zan adds and my father lets out a low whistle.
“You gave away floor seats at Madison Square Garden? You must really love my daughter,” my father comments chuckling.
“With all my heart,” is all Zan says and they exchange small smiles.

There is silence for a couple of seconds and then the shouting and complaining of blind refs and stupid players continues. I just smile and continue walking to the bathroom to wash my hands. This is all gonna work out just fine….

“I can’t believe you guys are leaving so soon,” my mother cries. We are standing in the middle of the Albuquerque airport and good-byes are being exchanged. Maria and Michael have already boarded the plane, and are waiting for us.
“I know mom, but we gotta go. I have to start studying for finals and I have a project due on Monday that I still need to work on,” I tell her.
“We understand, Lizzie. We just wish that you guys didn’t have to leave so soon,” my father says.
“I know, I wish we could stay for a couple more days, too,” I tell him and snuggle into his embrace. “I’m going to miss you guys.”
“We’re going to miss you too,” my mother sobs as she grabs me for a bear hug. When she’s done with me, she grabs onto Zan. “You take care of my little girl, you hear? And remember you are more than welcome to come back whenever you want to. You have a home in Roswell now,” she smiles at him.
“I’ll remember that,” Zan smiles back at her and then steps back to shake my father’s hand.
“It was nice to meet you, Zan,” my father tells Zan and extends his hand to him.
“Likewise, Mr. Parker,” Zan replies and shakes his hand. “Remember what I said about visiting.”
“Will do,” he smiles.

Just then, the last call for our flight is announced and I look at my parents.

“Well, that’s us,” I say. I briefly hug each of my parents again and nod at Zan. “I love you guys.”
“Love you too, Lizzibeth,” my father smiles. “Call us when you get in to let us know you made it alright.”
“Okay,” I answer. We walk to the ticket taker, give her our tickets, and before stepping out of sight, wave at my parents one last time.

“What took you guys so long?” Michael asks as we situate ourselves on the plane.
“I know. I thought I was gonna have to come back and get you guys,” Maria adds.
“You know how they get when it’s time for me to go back,” I respond and Maria shakes her head. I adjust my seatbelt and turn to look at Zan.

“Yes sweets?” Zan asks looking into my eyes.
“I love you,” I say and smile at him.
“Not as much as I love you,” he replies and kisses me gently on the lips.
“Thank you for coming with me to Roswell.”
“No problem, told you it wouldn’t be that bad.”
“Speaking of bad, I have some ideas for some activities we can pursue when we get home.”
“Is that right, sweets?” Zan smirks.
“Uh huh,” I whisper huskily and simultaneously we lean in for another kiss. Our kiss never materializes, because suddenly there is an older lady standing next to Zan’s aisle seat tapping on his shoulder.

“Yes, is there something I can help you with?” Zan asks politely yet confused.
“You were on the flight coming here on Thursday, weren’t you?” the woman asks Zan.
“Yes, I was,” he answers looking at Maria, Michael, and I.
“Oh okay, I thought it was you. I was just wondering if you were going to put on a show for this flight too, and if you are could you possibly move a little closer to the front this time? My eyesight isn’t what it used to be,” she finishes.

Michael and I look at each other, and the floodgates that contain our laughter are demolished. I’m laughing so hard that I’m about to pee on myself.

“Babe, what was that woman talking about?” Zan asks warily. After I contain my laughter somewhat, I begin to retell the tale of his and Maria’s drunken striptease.

“Well Zan, on the flight out here, let’s just say you showed the passengers what you were working with….”

posted on 7-Nov-2001 3:49:12 AM
Part 33

May 6, 2005

“Whatcha doin’, babe?”
“Sitting here missing you.”
“Aww, sweets…”
“It’s true, Zan. I miss you so much,” I whine into the phone.

It’s been about two weeks since Zan and I made love. Hell, we haven’t even seen each other for a week and a half since my last attempt at “studying” at his apartment.

“Why don’t you come over tonight and I’ll cook dinner for you?” Zan suggests. “You still need to eat, besides you can study here.”
“You remember what happened the last time I tried to study over there?” My question is met with a chuckle. “Exactly. Studying at the apartment is equivalent to no studying at all.”
“Please, Liz?” I can see the puppy dog eyes through the phone.
“Baby, I can’t. I have four finals to study for, not to mention this project I have to work on for bone structure with Max. I have so much work to do that it’s not even funny, and not enough time to do it.” I pause and sigh. “I miss you so much and I want to see you more than anything, but I can’t, Zan. I just have too much studying to do,” I finish.
“Sweets, I know you got work to do, and I understand where you’re coming from. Just know that it ain’t no cake walk over my way either. I miss you so much, babe. Our bed misses you, too.” Aww, my sweet man.
“And what exactly do you miss, Mr. Evans?” I inquire in a teasing tone.
“You really wanna know, Liz?”
“Yeah.” This should be good.

“I miss the way your scent mixes with the peach soap you use after you get out the shower. I miss the way you chew on your bottom lip when you’re concentrating on something. I miss the sound of your laughter, and the sight of your smile. I miss the crazy stories you tell about you and Maria and school. I miss your big brown eyes, cute little nose, and pretty lips. I miss being able to hold you at night and stroking your hair until you fall asleep. I miss waking up with you in my arms every morning and the way you stroke and kiss my chest to let me know you’re awake. But most of all, I miss the way I feel when I’m with you, the completeness I feel when we’re together,” he finishes.

Damn school, damn these finals, and damn this project. Damn it, damn it, damn it to all to hell! The whole time Zan's been talking, my body’s temperature has been creeping higher and higher with every single word that has been said. My breathing is quite shallow and my nerves are on fire. There is massive itching in my hands and a familiar throbbing in between my legs. All this, and he’s not even here with me.

“Sweets, you still there?” Zan suddenly asks.
“Huh? Yeah, I’m here,” I reply somewhat disoriented.
“Okay, well I’mma let you go now so you can study.”
“No, Zan. We can talk a little longer. Just five more minutes,” I beg.
“I hate to let you go, but I gotta. The sooner I let you go, the sooner you can study and be done, and our bed can be warm again,” he rationalizes.
“But, Zan…”
“I love you, Liz. With all my heart,” he cuts me off.
“I love you, too, Zan.” Ladies and gentlemen, he has won yet again.
“I’ll talk to you later, babe.”
“Fine, but if I get an A in Calculus, I want you to know that it’s going to be all your fault,” I tease. Zan just laughs.
“That’s something I’d take the blame for any day. Now go study.”
“Love you.”
“Love you, too.”

I hang up the phone and sigh. I want to call Zan back and talk some more, or better yet take a nap, but both my Physiology and Calculus books are calling me. God, I miss him.

A knock on my door causes me to look up from my work and glance at the clock. How did it get to be 8:30 that quick? It seems like I was just on the phone with Zan 20 minutes ago rather than three hours ago. I walk to the door and fling it open.

“Hey, Max. Come on in,” I say stepping out of the doorway so he can enter my room. He’s carrying an armful of materials for our project, and he looks like he’s about to topple over if I even breathe on him. “Need some help?”
“No, I got it,” he smiles at me. When he successfully sets the stuff down on my couch, he turns to me and stretches. “Ready to begin?”
“Ready as I’ll ever be,” I sigh as I sit down and begin to work…

“Where is the fibula at?”
“By your arm,” Max says pointing. “The clavicle is by your foot.”

Max’s helpfulness is met by a groan. We have been working on this freaking project for the past three and a half-hours, and I swear, it seems like nothing has been accomplished. My neck, back, and head are all throbbing, and more than anything I just want to curl up in my bed and go to sleep. I’m about to ask Max if he can just use his secret genie powers to finish the project when all of a sudden I feel hands massaging the back of my neck and shoulders.

“Feeling any better?” Max asks softly. His fingers are kneading deeper and deeper into my muscle tissue, and I’m beginning to fade fast.
“Keep it up and I’ll be asleep soon,” I answer hazily.
“Maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad thing. When’s the last time you slept?”
“Honestly? Maybe three days ago.”
“I know, but I’ve just got so much crap to do. There isn’t enough time in the day, Max,” I yawn. My eyes are drooping and I think I just put my head on the table. Maybe on my arm, I don’t know.

“Liz, you need to rest. You can’t just run yourself ragged like that. You’re going to end up killing yourself if you do.”
“Mm hmm.”
“I’m serious, Liz. I bet you haven’t even eaten today, have you? I swear…”

I can no longer hear Max, because Zan is standing in front of me looking good enough to eat. He’s sans shirt, wearing only a pair of khakis that are hanging loosely from his hips. It appears as if someone has put a metallic type glitter on his tattoos, because they are shimmering and shining with each and every movement he makes. The piercings that grace his eyebrow and ears are winking at me, perhaps even daring to come closer to him. I look around and suddenly we are standing in the blackness of space with only the shining stars providing light.

“Sweets, why are you standing so far away? I’m beginning to doubt that you missed me,” Zan teases.
“I’ve missed you so much. You can’t possibly understand how much I’ve missed you,” I tell him.
“Come here then,” he replies as he sits on a cloud. A shooting star flies over his head and I sit down with him.
“So soft,” I murmur as I touch the cloud with both my hands. The cloud is soft as cotton and smooth as silk.
“Not as soft as you, babe,” Zan whispers as he touches my cheek. I moan and lean into his caress.
“I love you so much. I can’t even explain how I feel when I’m with you.” I climb into Zan’s lap. Just then a unicorn runs by.
“I know, Liz, because I feel the same way about you.” He then lifts his wrist and looks at his watch. “Babe, I gotta go,” he sadly says as he tries to lift me from his lap.
“No, don’t leave me! Please don’t ever leave me again,” I plead as I bury my face into his neck and claw at him so I can stay as close as possible. Zan plants a kiss on the crown of my head and holds me close. “Can I have a kiss?” I timidly ask.
“Anything for you, sweets,” Zan whispers in my ear and begins to tilt my face up towards his.

At this point, things begin to move in slow motion. Zan’s hands slide to the sides of my face and his thumbs gently stroke my cheeks. Slowly my eyes drift closed and after what seems like an eternity, Zan’s lips descend upon mine and we kiss. Except when we kiss, I get flashes of Max, not Zan.

And this is where my dream stopped and the nightmare began.

Something hits the floor and at the loud thud that sounds, I open my eyes to find myself in my bed and in Max's embrace. He is raining soft, delicate kisses all along my lips, face and neck, and his hands are kneading my lower back. Wait a second…I’m in Max’s embrace, not Zan’s. I quickly push him off me and draw the covers up around me, even though I am still fully clothed. My gaze falls on a shadow in the doorway, and I see him.

“Zan?” I whisper.
“I thought you might be hungry since you been studying so hard. I guess you already got a meal to handle though,” he says to no one in particular.

I call his name again, but the look on his face tells me that he can’t hear me. His eyes are permeated with anger, horror, fear and sadness, and his frame is shaking like a leaf. Zan is grinding his teeth and the color has drained from his face. Not a word is coming from the tight line that’s his mouth, and then I see it: Zan’s eyes have clouded over and the tears that were threatening to spillover are now coursing down his face. Our eyes lock and suddenly he turns and walks away.

I struggle to get out the bed, but I end up getting twisted in the damn sheets and fall to the floor. Max is looking at me somewhat confused, but I don’t care. What the hell is he doing in my bed anyway? I run from the bed to the doorway.

“Zan, wait!” I yell, but my shout is met by the front door slamming shut. I hop over the Thai food Zan dropped, run to the door, fling it open, and scan the hallway. I spot him walking to the steps.

“Zan, please wait!” He continues to walk as if he never heard me.

Now I don’t have any shoes on, but I‘ll be damned if I let the love of my life walk out of my life that easily. I run down the hallway in my bare feet, jump down a full flight of stairs, and finally catch him outside my building.

“Zan, please,” I say as I put my hand on his arm, but he shakes it off as if he’s been burned.
“What do you want?” His tone is cold and hateful.
“Just let me…”
“Let you what, Liz? Explain?”

At his words, I stand there and let the silence take over. The truth is I don’t know how to explain, because I don’t know what I’m explaining. I know something isn’t quite right, I’m just not too sure how to tell Zan that.

“I don’t need you to explain shit, because I saw everything I needed to see with my own eyes. If you didn’t want me then you should have just said so. How could you do this to me, how could you do this to us?”
“I don’t know…” I trail off with tears in my eyes.
“You don’t know? What the hell do you mean you don’t know?” he bellows. His nostrils are flaring and he looks like he could kill me.
“Zan, I….”
“I don’t want to hear anything you have to say. I want you to forget that you ever even met me, because that’s damn sure what I’m gonna with you. Stay the fuck away from me and stay the fuck out of my life!” he yells at me and promptly turns on his heels, walking away from me.
“Zan! Zaaaaaaaannnnnnnn!” I scream after him, but it’s no use because he has already gotten in his car and is driving away, leaving me standing in front of my building shaking and sobbing hysterically.

Just then Maria and Michael run up to me and grab me by the shoulders. Concern is etched in both of their faces.

“Chica, what’s wrong? Please calm down,” Maria pleads with me.
“He’s gone, Maria! He left me,” I sob and the last thing I remember is hitting the asphalt and succumbing to the darkness.

posted on 10-Nov-2001 7:06:06 PM
Let the craziness continue!

Part 34

“Liz?” No answer. “Chica, come on. I know you’re not sleep,” Maria says to my back.

It’s been almost two weeks since the night Zan found Max and I in my bed. Somehow I managed to make it to all my finals and actually pass them. However, after my last final I only had enough strength to walk back to my dorm room, take off my clothes, and pass out in the bed. That was a week ago.

“Leave me alone,” I bitterly reply.
“Liz, you’ve been laying in the bed for a week now. You’ve got to get up.”
“Get up and do what?”
“Take a shower. Eat something. Go burn down Zan’s apartment building. I don’t know, just do something other than lay here in the darkness with the blinds pulled and be pitiful.’
“Thanks, but no thanks,” I say and close my eyes.
“Have you tried to talk to him?” Maria asks quietly.

Have I tried to talk to Zan? Have I tried to talk to Zan? I swear if Maria weren’t my best friend, I would pick up my clock radio and bash her head in for asking me such a stupid question. The truth is, I’ve had more communication with Lisa and his voicemail than anyone else over the past two weeks. Even if I did get a chance to talk to him, I don’t think I would know what to do or say to convince him to give me another chance. Hell, I’m still not sure what even happened between Max and me. I’ve sent cards and letters to is office and apartment. I even left a 35-minute message on his answering machine, crying and begging him to pick up the phone. Still haven’t received a phone call yet.

“There has got to be a reasonable explanation for all this. I mean, you and Zan are in love. People who are as in love as you guys just don’t act like this. Maybe it has something to do with…”

I tune Maria out and turn on my radio. At recognition of the song, I crank up the volume as high as it can and let the tears that have been threatening to spill over flow from my eyes.

I gave you all the love I got
I gave you more than I could give
I gave you love
I gave you all that I have inside
And you took my love
You took my love

Didn't I tell you
What I believe
Did somebody say that
A love like that won't last
Didn't I give you
All that I've got to give baby

I keep crying
I keep trying for you
There's nothing like you and I baby

This is no ordinary love
No ordinary love
This is no ordinary love
No ordinary love

No ordinary love, the perfect title for the feelings that Zan and I share. Or at the least the feelings we used to share. We don’t share shit anymore since he left me. Maria doesn’t understand since she has Michael, but Sade does.

When you came my way
You brightened every day
With your sweet smile

Didn't I tell you
What I believe
Did somebody say that
A love like that won't last
Didn't I give you
All that I've got to give baby

This is no ordinary love
No ordinary love
This is no ordinary love
No ordinary love

I keep crying
I keep trying for you
There's nothing like you and I baby

This is no ordinary love
No ordinary love
This is no ordinary love
No ordinary love

Keep trying for you
Keep crying for you
Keep flying for you
Keep flying I'm falling
I'm falling

Keep trying for you
Keep crying for you
Keep flying for you
Keep flying I'm falling
I'm falling

I just lay there and sob. There really is nothing else I can do at this point. The pain and hurt that I feel has taken over every cell in my body, and I’m not sure I can shake it this time around.

“Liz.” Maria shuts off my radio and sits on my bed facing me. “You can’t just stay in this room, it’s not healthy.”
“I don’t care.”
“When’s the last time you ate?”
“I don’t know, I’m not hungry.” It’s been about five days since my meal of chicken noodle soup and saltines.
“It doesn’t matter you have to eat,” she says standing to her feet. She then walks over to the blinds, twists them open, and then opens the window to my room. Sunshine and the warm summer air are floating through my window, but I am still cold and all I feel is death.

“Now see isn’t that better?” Maria chirps. No answer. She sighs and stares out the window for a moment before turning back to me. “I talked to Zan and he told me what he saw.” At her announcement, I roll over and face her. “Maybe we should talk about what happened that night.”

I knew this day would eventually come, but I’m still not ready for it. The night that I passed out in front of my building, Michael and Maria carried me back to my room and put me to bed. I woke up to Michael’s angry ranting of how he was going to beat Zan’s ass, but Maria promptly calmed him down and reminded him that they hadn’t heard my side of the story yet. They gave me my space these past two weeks, but I guess they’re tired of waiting for me to tell them on my own.

“I don’t want to talk about it,” I whisper.
“How am I supposed to help you and Zan get back together if I don’t know both sides of the story? I know thinking about that night is painful, but please, you have got to give me something to go on. I’m just trying to help,” Maria pleads. Once again she is met by silence, and I hear her sigh. “Fine, Liz. Would you at least get up and take a shower? Please?”
“If I do will you leave me alone?”
“Fine.” I push the covers back and stand up. Make that try to stand up. As soon as I put my feet on the ground, the room begins to sway back and forth.
“Chica, you okay?” Maria asks worried as she rushes to my side.
“I’m fine,” I grit out. I’m about to stand again when I feel Maria place her arm around my waist and pull my arm across her shoulders. Tears begin to run down my face as I look at her gratefully. “Thank you, Maria.”
“Hey, what are best friends for?” she smiles and together we stand.

We walk to the bathroom and she starts the shower for me. After gathering towels, soap, and a few other knick-knacks, she walks to the doorway and stands there for a moment before speaking.

“Take you time. I’ll be in the living room if you need anything,” she says and then closes the door, leaving me to undress.

I stand in the middle of the bathroom for a minute and pretty much just let my mind wander to and fro. Slowly I begin to undress and when I’m done, I notice my reflection in the mirror. Oily matted hair, dark circles under my eyes, dried up mucus around my nose. Oh yeah, I’m a dish. My arms and legs are comparable to a toothpick, and my lack of nourishment has caused my ribs to protrude and my stomach to cave in. My stomach. The tattoo that Zan so lovingly placed on my stomach is still there, serving as a reminder of the love we once had, but is now gone. I look at my right hand and see the promise ring. I look at my left wrist and see the bracelet. I can’t do this anymore, I just can’t. It’s all very clear what I need to do to make this pain, this torture stop and I fully intend on doing it.

Before stepping into the shower, I pick up the soap and razor that Maria has left for me to perform my hygienic duties. The water is scorching my skin and the steam is blinding me, but I don’t care. In a minute, the arduous task of feeling will be over and the peace I so desperately need will come to me and consume me like a warm blanket. I look at the tool in my hand and am almost tempted to giggle. The razor is Zan’s. Funny how he opened my eyes, loved me and gave me life, but now he is about to be the author of my death. The razor is a mere millimeter from my left wrist when I hear it. Actually I feel it first.


No. I’m imagining this. Zan doesn’t love me anymore, he doesn’t care. He made that painfully obvious the night he told me to stay the fuck out of his life. If I can’t be with Zan and love him, then I don’t want to exist. Period. The razor comes closer to my skin and then I hear it again.

‘Liz.’ The voice sounds more frightened this time around. ‘Why are you doing this?’

Because I’m in love, and the man I’m in love with abandoned me. The man who promised he’d never leave me unless I wanted him just up and ran off without a second thought. I’m doing this, because I don’t know what else to do, and I’m at the end of my rope. I’m doing this, because every day that passes and every person that exists in this world will eventually come to serve as a constant reminder of what I had with Zan and will never be able to get back. I’m doing this because I have no other choice.

‘What about me? Maria? Michael? Alex? Your parents? Hell, even Max?’ This is a new voice, a voice I’m not familiar with.

They don’t care. They all have someone, and even if they don’t they’ll eventually get over it. I’m just another girl with boring brown hair and brown eyes. There are millions like me, someone will eventually take my place.

‘You are wrong. There will never be another Elizabeth Parker,’ the voice says.

I can’t come up with an answer for that, maybe I’m not supposed to. The razor has fallen from my fingers, and though I am standing under the hot spray of water, suddenly I am very cold. That’s when the first tear slides down my face. Then the second. Now a third. I am no longer crying for the loss of mine and Zan’s love, but for the realization of what I was about to do to myself. Wrapping my arms around my body, I slide down the tiled shower wall and weep as I rock back and forth. I was going to kill myself. The thought passes through my mind several times, hundreds as the seconds pass. What have I become? Who have I become?

After 20 more minutes of deliberation and cleansing, I finally step from the shower and dress in the clothes that Maria has left for me. Interesting how a shower can restore some of your sanity if you stand in it long enough. Does wonders for your appearance too. The five or so pounds I lost over this past week haven’t been restored, but I do feel a little stronger, and I can honestly say that I feel better. I think I had an epiphany while I was in there.

“Maria,” I call as I step into the hallway braiding my hair. I take a couple steps further into the hall and that’s when I see them.

Maria is sitting on the couch between Michael and…Max.

“Liz, we need to talk,” Max says quietly and I nod my head. Indeed we do.

posted on 14-Nov-2001 3:26:29 AM
From Part 34

“Maria,” I call as I step into the hallway braiding my hair. I take a couple steps further into the hall and that’s when I see them.

Maria is sitting on the couch between Michael and…Max.

“Liz, we need to talk,” Max says quietly and I nod my head. Indeed we do.

Part 35

But before we talk, there’s some other business that needs to be handled first.

“You did this!” I scream as I lunge at Max. Maria and Michael move out the way just in time as I land on Max and begin to punch him in the face. “You made him leave me, you piece of shit! I hate you, I hate you!”

“Liz,” Max manages to choke out. He’s trying to restrain me, but I’m too quick for him.
“Why won’t you let us be happy? Why?” I continue to scream.

Suddenly I’m being lifted off Max. My limbs are still flailing around in the air as Michael holds me in the air as if I was a newborn baby.

“Now Liz, if I put you down are you going to calm down?” Michael asks me, but I don’t hear him.
“You fucking whore! I’ll kill you for destroying my relationship, do you hear me? Put me down, Michael!”
“Liz.” He raises me higher in the air and stands still, waiting for me to calm down. After about 30 seconds my movements cease and I am limp.
“You ready to come down now, Chica?” Maria asks from across the room. I nod at her, and in turn she nods at Michael.
“Alright, Liz, here’s the thing. I’m going to put you down and then we are all going to sit down and talk. The minute you start acting up again, it’s to the moon with you. Understood?”
“I’m serious, Liz.” I sigh.
“Yes, I promise to behave.”

After giving me the evil eye, Michael places me on the floor and relinquishes his hold on me. Maria quickly grabs me by my elbow and steers me to a spot on the couch away from Max.

“Thanks, Michael,” Max rasps as he rubs the already developing bruises and welts on his face, neck, and chest.
“Don’t be so quick to thank me, Maxwell. You better start talking before I turn her loose on you again,” Michael warns.
“Guys!” Maria calls. She is now standing with her hands on her hips. “This is not a pissing contest. We’re here to talk and find out what happened between these two,” she says pointing and Max and I. “The sooner we start, the sooner we finish. The sooner we finish, the more likely I won’t have to kill someone. Let’s just get this over with, okay? Now Chica, what do you remember?”

It’s more like what have I been trying to forget for these past two weeks. Though my attempts have been futile, I have desperately tried to block out the feel of Max’s caress, the taste of his kisses, the sound of Zan’s soul shattering at the sight of Max and I in my bed. I can’t escape the feeling of love, loss, and dread when I think of that night or facing Zan again. Funny how that same feeling has crept into the pit of stomach now that I am facing Max. I take a deep breath and begin.

“We were sitting here working on the project for bone structure, and I remember being tired and stiff as hell. Max started massaging my neck and shoulders, and then he asked me when the last time I slept or ate was. He started fussing at me about it, and the next thing I know we’re in my bed and Max is kissing me. That’s when I looked up and saw Zan standing in the doorway…” I trail off as I look at my hands. A lone tear slips from my left eye and I try to wipe it away before anyone sees it. Maria must have caught my action, because she pulls me into her embrace and gives me a hug.

“It’s going to be okay, Liz. We’ll figure this out,” she consoles. She then shoots daggers at Max. “Get to talking, buddy.”

“Well we were doing the project and I did give Liz a massage like she said. While I was giving her the massage I did start to fuss at her for not eating and sleeping. I mean, she hadn’t eaten or slept in three days, for Pete’s sake!” he cries with his voice full of exasperation and emotion.
“I can understand your concern, Maxwell. Continue,” Michael replies as he crosses his arms over his chest, and Max nods.
“She didn’t say anything for a couple of minutes, so I just figured exhaustion had finally caught up with her and she fell asleep. I picked her up and was carrying her to her room when all of a sudden she says, ‘I’ve missed you so much. You can’t possibly understand how much I’ve missed you.’”

I want to stand up and yell at Max at the top of my lungs, but I can’t because for some strange reason, his statement has struck a familiar chord inside of me. As much as I want to call Max a liar and beat him bloody and senseless, I can’t because there is a chance that he might be telling the truth.

“After she told me how much she missed me, I asked her what she said, but she just buried her face into my chest and didn’t say anything else. I got her to the bed and she murmured something so softly that I couldn’t hear it. I just sat there on her bed for a minute and held her. Her face was still buried in my chest, but I heard the next thing she said loud and clear.”
“And what was that, Max?” Maria inquires. Max leans forward and stares at the floor while a blush settles over the tips or his ears and his cheeks.
“She said, ‘I love you so much. I can’t even explain how I feel when I’m with you,’” he states quietly still looking at the floor.

This is so familiar. I can’t exactly put my finger on it, but it’s almost as if I’m having déjà vu.

“Liz?” Maria’s voice snaps me from my reverie.
“I don’t know, ‘Ria. It sounds familiar, but I don’t know,” I answer uncertainly shaking my head. Maria nods at me reassuringly and motions for Max to continue.

“When she said that, I just kinda froze up. It was like she said everything I had been waiting to hear for the past five months. It was like…”
“A dream come true,” Michael supplies and Max looks up at him. They share a glance and a mutual nod. “What did you do after that, Maxwell?”
“I sat there for a minute in shock, and just kept holding her. I wanted to kiss her and almost did, but then I thought about…Zan. At that point, I was putting her in the bed and about to leave when she said…”
“No, don’t leave me. Please don’t ever leave me again,” I whisper as both my hands slide over my mouth. Max’s eyes are flooded with relief at my remembrance, but the emotion is quickly replaced with apprehension for what it could mean.

“Liz?” Max questions. He slides from his place on the couch and kneels in front of me.
“Oh my God, Max, I remember. I was dreaming about Zan and I, but I remember saying everything you said I did. In the dream, I was talking to Zan.” He nods sadly.
“Do you remember what happened next?”
“I…I asked you to kiss me,” I say and Max lowers his head. “Oh my God, Max! I am so sorry, I didn’t mean to make you think…”

I slide to the floor and pull him into my arms. Though Max drug me through hell and back, I could never in this lifetime do the same to him. I would never, could never play with someone’s emotions in that fashion, it’s just wrong. I feel like an even bigger ass for attacking Max now since I realize that I am as much at fault as he is. Here I was, here we all were, thinking that this whole thing was his fault. And Zan. Oh my God, Zan.

“I’m so sorry, Max. I’m so sorry,” I apologize in his ear.
“It’s okay, Liz. I know you didn’t mean to do it, it’s okay,” he reassures. We separate and just stare at each other.

“So that was intense,” Maria states breaking the silence that had descended upon us. “Okay, so what do we do now?”
“I’ll go talk to Zan,” Michael says standing up. “He may not be ready to talk to Liz, but he will talk to me.”

He walks over to Maria, places a chaste kiss on her lips, and then heads to the door. Just as he’s about to walk out, he stops short.

“Maxwell.” Max looks up at him. “Call me, maybe we could go play basketball sometime.” In typical Michael fashion, he smirks at Max and then leaves.

“I think I’m gonna leave now. I think I’ve caused enough trouble,” Max says quietly.
“Liz, it’s okay. I know you don’t think I did anything, but I played my part. More than once,” he adds. He grabs my hand and holds it for a second. “You’re in love with Zan, and I’m okay with that. It still hurts, but I’m okay. I just thought that night that you and I…” Max gently lets go of my hand and tucks a piece of stray hair behind my ear. “I just want you to be happy, Liz. That’s all I’ve ever wanted for you. If Zan is going to be the one that makes you happy…” He shrugs is shoulders and a sad smile crosses his lips. He then kisses me on my cheek and quietly leaves my dorm. I’m left standing in the middle of my living room, flabbergasted.

“Yeah, Maria?”
“You okay?”
“I will be,” I quickly state and run to the phone. My fingers fly over the keypad and I am anxiously waiting for someone to pick up in the other end.

“Alexander Evans office,” Lisa politely answers. Damn it.
“Hey Lisa, it’s Liz. Is Alexander around by any chance?” Pause.
“Uh, no. Liz, could you hold on a second?” she whispers.
“Okay, but why are you whispering?”
“Yes, Mr. Evans. I’ll go check for it in your office, just hold on a second,” she says rather loudly and then I’m put on hold. What the hell? Ten seconds later the phone clicks and Lisa is back.

“Liz, you there?”
“Yeah, Lisa.”
“Okay. I transferred the call into Alexander’s office so nobody else could hear our conversation,” she explains. “I know it’s none of my business, but could you please tell me what is going on with Evans?”
“What do you mean?” I ask trying my hardest to sound innocent.
“Liz, he hasn’t been in the office for the past two weeks.”


“What do you mean he hasn’t been in for the past two weeks?” I calmly ask though a hurricane has taken over my insides. She sighs at my inquiry.
“The last day that I actually saw him in the office was May 5th.” Oh shit. “When I came in the next morning I had a message on my voicemail saying that he wouldn’t be in for the next couple of days. I just assumed that you two had taken some kind of lovers’ holiday and didn’t think too much of it.”
“But Lisa, didn’t you think something was off when I started calling the office looking for him?”
“At that point I kinda thought something screwy was going on, but I didn’t want to say anything. To be honest, I thought that you guys were just having some kind of argument and I didn’t think it would be a good idea for me to get involved. I actually didn’t start freaking out until this morning, Liz.”
“What happened, Lisa?” Icicles are forming in my stomach now.
“His mother called looking for him. She said she hadn’t spoken to him in close to two weeks.”

If my heart and soul weren’t already troubled, they would be at the news I have just received. Zan and Kristine talk almost five times a week at the least, the very least I might add. I know she’s freaking out, because I’m about ready to start pulling plugs of my hair out.

“What about Alexander’s boss? What has he said about him not being at work for the past two weeks?” I ask. Just stay calm, Liz. It’s going to be okay.
“I told Mr. Fox that he had mono and wouldn’t be in for a while.” I let out a sigh of relief. “Liz, is Alexander okay?”
“He will be, Lisa. He will be.” Tears are running down my face now.
“Is there anything I can do?”
“Just call me if you hear from him, Lisa. You have my number right?”
“Yeah, it’s right here in his Rolodex.”
“Okay. Thank you, Lisa.”
“No problem. You just make sure that boss man is okay.” I smile at her concern.
“Will do. Bye, Lisa.”
“Bye, Liz.” I hang up the phone and face Maria.

“Liz, what’s wrong?” she asks when she sees my face.
“Zan hasn’t been to work in two weeks and no one has heard from him, not even his parents,” I whisper. I run my hands over my hair and am about to break down when the phone rings. I snatch the receiver off the hook and begin to yell.

“Hello! Zan, is that you? Hello?”
“Liz, it’s Michael. I’m at Zan’s apartment and I have an emergency.”
“What, Michael? What’s wrong?” I’m pacing now, back and forth, back and forth.
“It’s Zan.”

posted on 27-Nov-2001 1:48:50 AM
Thank you guys so much for your feedback and patience. School and real life have had me locked down for a while, but here is the next part! Let me know what you think, enjoy! Kim

Part 36

“What’s wrong with him? Where is he?” I shriek as I run to where Michael is standing.

Taxis are streaming by us as we stand on the street, and the humidity is thick enough to kill someone. Perspiration is running down the back of my neck as well as causing random strands of hair to cling to the sides of my face and forehead. My legs and arms are burning due to the inspired 12 block run I have taken from my dorm room, and my lungs are screaming at me, because I have neglected to breathe the whole time I was running.

“He’s upstairs, Liz.” He pauses and casts his gaze to the ground. His hands are in his pockets and there is massive fidgeting going on. Immediately my level of panic raises about seven notches.

“What is it, Michael? What’s wrong with him?” I yell.
“Liz, he’s…he’s not…”

I sprint past Michael and head to the elevator. I love Michael, but now is not the time for beating around the bush and stumbling over words. The ride to the penthouse is torturously slow, but I use the time to psyche myself up for the challenge that awaits me. A thought suddenly occurs to me, and I am struck with an overwhelming sense of guilt that is beyond belief. In all the time that I was going through my own personal hell, it never occurred to me that Zan might be going through a hell of his own. I never once thought that Zan might have been torn up by our separation just as much as me, if not more. The elevator bell snaps me out of my reverie, and I step off the elevator warily. It isn’t until I’m standing right outside the apartment that both my stomach and heart hit the floor.

The door to Zan’s apartment is wide open and tilted slightly, hanging of one of its hinges. As I look inside, I see that the black leather couch that we snuggled and made love on so many times before has been flipped over and the cushions are in shreds. The pictures that were once on the mantle of the fireplace have been thrown to different corners of the room, and the glass that was once apart of the frames now litters the ground. When I finally gain my composure and actually step inside the apartment, I realize that the destruction did not stop at the living room, but indeed has spread through the whole house. The now three-legged dining room table is lying on its side and the plush chairs that used to sit around it are in ruin. The plates and glasses that we once dined on have been shattered, and their fragments have been carelessly spread throughout the kitchen and dining room. Silverware has been contorted into the oddest f shapes and lies on the kitchen floor. Tears are running down my face as I look to the wall where the beautiful living portrait that Michael created hangs, only to see that it no longer resides there. Instead, the picture is lying in the fireplace, though it seems as if the flames have not touched it.

“Zan,” I call as I walk through the apartment. No answer.

I make my way to the bedroom and am assaulted once again by chaos and destruction. Feathers from the goose down comforter that used to grace Zan’s bed now lay in scattered piles around the room. The dresser drawers have been pulled from their original resting place, and splintered wood as well as random articles of clothing litter the bedroom floor. Both mattresses have been dragged from the bed and split open, and the bed’s brass frame has been contorted into a shape similar to one of the forks I saw in the kitchen. All of our clothes have been pulled from the closet and strewn around the room. It’s almost as if a tornado came in, picked up the room, and then threw everything back down. I glance down the hallway into the bathroom and immediately notice a heap lying by the tub.

“Zan?” I whisper as I walk to the bathroom. No, this can’t be.

Zan is leaning against the tub with his knees pulled into his bare chest, and it looks like he'’ wearing the same clothes that he had on the night he found Max and I together. Usually I take comfort in the sight of Zan and aroma of his scent, but at this given point in time I am truly horrified. Zan’s normally clean spiky hair is now matted and greasy with pieces of feather clinging onto it. His normally well-kept facial hair has grown awry with patches of hair clinging to his face like dirt. The face that I love to caress and kiss is oily yet dry, and the trail of tears that have coursed down his face over these past two weeks is all too apparent. The eyes that normally burn with passion and fire are now clouded, dull, and caked with mucus, much like his nose and the sides of his mouth. His eyelids are beyond swollen and skin under his eyes has retreated to the recesses his eye sockets. The pale and weak frame that has replaced the proud 6’2” 185 pounds that Zan used to be sits in front of me, and serves to make my heart beat in terror instead of the usual anticipation and want that Zan once inspired. He has easily lost 20 or 30 pounds; any fool could see that from his thin flabby arms, protruded ribs and nonexistent stomach. The six-pack I used to fondle is now gone, as are the pecs I used to caress. I’m almost positive that if he stood up, Zan’s pants would fall to the floor due to the weight he’s lost. Zan is fiddling with something in his hands, and he’s mumbling incoherently.

“Baby, it’s me, Liz,” I say as I walk closer to him. It is when I get close to him that I see he’s holding my heart in his hands and I realize that he’s not murmuring incoherently, he’s actually singing. I recognize the fragments of the song immediately and my heart breaks even further.

It was love at first sight
I know from the way she looked at me
Her eyes said it all
Long days and nights, we spent
Until she dropped the bomb on me
When she said that she
Was unhappily married with children

And I wish I never met her at all
Even though I love her so
She got love from me
But she still belongs to someone else

“Baby, no! I don’t belong to anyone else, only you,” I protest with tears running down my face. He must not hear me, because he continues to sing.

It hurts so bad, for sure
Because she wants to be with me
But she cannot be with me
She chose to stay, at home
So they could be a family
For the children
But what about me?

And I wish I never met her at all
Even though I love her so
She got love from me
But she still belongs to someone else

Maybe in another life
Things could be the way we both desired
It's a catch-22
Either way it went
Someone had to lose

I wish I wish I never met her at all
I wouldn't hurt so much inside
Oh I wouldn't feel this pain
If I never met her at all, at all, at all
Wish I never, wish I never

“Zan, please look at me,” I plead while the sobs take over my body. I place my hands on both sides of his face and gently turn it towards my own. His eyes stare blankly into my own. “There is nothing going on between Max and I. I know what you think you thought you saw, but it wasn’t what it seemed.” Blankness. “I love you so much, Zan. There is nothing in this world that I value more than our relationship, more than us.” More blank staring. “Please, come back to me! Please!” I yell, but to no avail. Zan is gone.

I don’t know what to do. Zan is sitting on the bathroom floor in a catatonic state, and I don’t know what to do to snap him out of it. I can’t leave him here on the floor, I can’t drag him to the bed, I can’t do anything. Bitter tears spiral down my face at record speed as I sit in front of Zan. He’s still rubbing the heart as if it’s a talisman of some sort, and he has started to sing once again. Suddenly, an idea pops into my head. I’m not sure it will work, but I have to try something. I quickly snatch my t-shirt off and my bra soon follows. After kicking off my sweats and panties, I crawl over to Zan and gently take the heart from his hands. He whimpers at the loss of the cool glass, but remains in his trance.

“Zan,” I say as I unfold his arms and let them hang down at his sides. I push down his knees so his legs are prostrate in front of him and climb into his lap. “I’m not going to let you do this. You can’t leave me here all by myself, I love you too much to let you do it,” I tell him as I wrap my arms around his neck and my legs around his waist. I hug him close to my body as I continue. “I can’t let you leave me, Zan. Not now, not ever. We have been through so much, more than any couple should ever have to go through, Zan. But you stood by me, Zan. You stood by me through thick and thin, and I’m going to do the same for you. When Max left me pregnant and alone, you were there. When I had the miscarriage, it was you that stood by me and took care of me. When I thought I was going to get kicked out of school for beating Isabel’s ass, you were right there. When Shannon started coming on to you and throwing her fake breasts in your face every chance she got, you stayed with me and continued to love me. Even if I wanted to, I could never leave you, you’ve done too much for me to ever be anywhere but here in your arms. But more than that, Zan, I love you. Do you hear me?”

I ease my grip on him and look into his eyes. They’re still hazy, but I’m determined. I close the distance between us, and begin to rock him in my arms.

“We have so far to go, Zan, so much to do. We still have to get married, Zan. We’ve already dedicated our lives to each other, but we still need to do it formally. We still have babies to make, beautiful little dark haired children that will run around the house and terrorize us every waking moment of the day, but we’ll love them anyway. And after we raise our children and they grow up and have their own, we will still have each other. We will still have our love and it will be more beautiful and strong and wonderful with everyday that passes and we are together. Know why, Zan? Because I love you. Baby, I love you so much.”

Tears are running down my face and onto his shoulders, chest, and back, but I don’t care. I love this man, would die for him if I had to. Would die if anything ever happened to him. I’m still murmuring how much I love him into his ear and rocking fervently. I don’t know what I am expecting to happen, but then it did.

Zan’s arms have wrapped themselves around my waist and are now fragily holding on to me. His face finds the crook of my neck and buries itself there. I just close my eyes and sob while still murmuring my mantra.

“I love you, Zan, I love you so much. It will only be you, no one else other than you. I love you…”

I’m still murmuring when I feel Zan’s tears hitting my bare skin. Ever so slightly, his body begins to shake with sorrow and the emotion that he has been holding in for far too long is released. His sobs and screams echo throughout the bathroom as his grasp on me tightens almost to the point where I can’t breathe. It doesn’t matter to me though, I’m just happy that Zan is back in the land of the living. I continue to rock him as he calms down.

“I thought you were dead,” Zan finally says.
“I almost was,” I reply.
“How did you get here?”
“I ran.”
“I love you, Liz…”
“I love you, too, Zan.”
“…But right now I can’t be with you.”

Come again? Of all the things I was expecting Zan to say, this was definitely not one of them.

“Zan?” I question.
“I can’t be with you right now, Liz. I need to sort some things out for myself, and though they do involve you, I have to make some decisions by myself. I need to be alone.”
“Please, Liz.” The look in his eyes says it all. I nod and move off him. Swiping my clothes and undergarments from the floor I move towards the door.
“I’ll just leave you then,” I say staring at the floor. He nods and then turns his back to me.

‘What just happened,’ I think to myself as I start the long trek home. I know that Zan is going to be okay, but I’m seriously wondering if our relationship is going to make it. I’m scared to even think about the possibility that Zan and I won’t be together, but I can only wait to see what his decisions are going to be. If all else fails, I will at least have the knowledge of knowing that I didn’t quit on him, I tried to salvage the relationship.

I’m still pondering these things when I walk through my dorm door. Glancing at my clock I see that it is almost seven o’clock. I walk into the kitchen and begin to fix dinner since I need to eat, though I’m really not hungry. I finish dinner rather quickly and clean my kitchen. I’m feeling kind of restless so I put on “Carrie”, but halfway through the movie I’m up and pacing through my living room. I walk to my window and open it, letting the warm New York summer breeze in. My mind wanders across town, and my fingers begin to twitch with a type of anxiousness that can only be attributed to my wanting to call Zan. I look at the clock again. 9:30.

“Maybe I should just go take a nice hot bath. I mean, that could possibly make me unwind,” I rationalize with myself. After an hour and a half of soaking, I reemerge into the living room and my pacing resumes.

“This is so pointless,” I say to myself and at this point I am forced to giggle. I mean think about it, I’m pacing around my living room holding a conversation with myself. I’m surprised I haven’t been committed yet. I walk into my bedroom and settle in the bed for a night of well-deserved sleep. Yeah, right. As if that’s really gonna happen.

After about 20 minutes of tossing and turning, I’m actually beginning to doze off when I feel it. It’s strong and tangible and it causes my breath to catch in my throat.

“Zan?” I question the darkness.
“Yeah, babe?” I’m about to turn on the light when he quickly stops me. “Naw, sweets. Leave it off.” He walks to my bed and sits down.
“I thought you had decisions to make, Zan. Decisions that concern me and you,” I say with my voice shaking.
“They’ve been made” is all he says. Two dull thuds of shoes hitting the floor sound through my room.
“You mean everything you said earlier today, sweets?”
“Every word.”
“You really love me that much?”
“With all my heart.”
“You really want them bad ass kids you was talking about?” I smile.
“Very much so.” There is a slight pause.
“You really want me that much, Liz?”
“More than anything I’ve ever wanted in my life, Zan.”

The weight of the bed alters as Zan stands up. Panic fills me as the thought of Zan leaving me crosses through my mind. I’m about to sit up in the bed and turn on the lights when I feel the covers lift and Zan’s warm body slides in the bed with me. Though his body has changed in these past two weeks, I still find the comfort of home in his arms.

“Yeah, sweets?”

I pause as the words I so desperately need to say seem to dissipate into thin air. Zan is holding my body close to his own, and his face is buried into the crook of my neck.

“I know, Liz. I know,” Zan speaks and then his lips capture my own. I groan into his mouth and allow him to roll my body under his own. His hands are reacquainting themselves with the curves and planes of my body, and my own hands are doing some exploring of their own. As much as I don’t want to, I force myself to stop kissing Zan when I feel a gentle tugging at my undergarments.

“Zan, we don’t have to do this right now. We can wait if you’re not ready,” I tell him. All activity stops and he looks me dead in my eyes.
“My decisions have been made, sweets. I want you, can’t function without you, Liz. Nothing will ever come between us again, that I can promise. I know what I want out of this life, and it’s you, babe. You complete me. Besides, if we’re gonna have that house full of kids like you want, we need to practice,” he finishes smiling at me.
“I’m sorry about the whole thing. Let me show you what happened so you can…”
“Liz, who’s in this bed with you now?” I raise my eyebrow at his question.
“You are, Zan.”
“Exactly. That’s all I’m concerned with. I told you, I’ve made my decision concerning us, and pretty much what it comes down to is I want you. I love you and I trust you, if you say that nothing happened between you and Max, then nothing happened.”
“But Zan there is so much you need to…”

Zan’s lips cut me off, and I have forgotten what I was talking about. His kisses are intense, long and slow. They are filled with love and want, and anticipation of what is to come.

“I missed you so much,” I moan as I cling to Zan.
“Not nearly as much as I missed you,” he murmurs into my neck.
“Yeah, babe?”
“I don’t feel like talking anymore tonight.”
“Whatcha feel like doing?”
“Practicing,” I smile up at him and he smiles back.
posted on 29-Nov-2001 2:33:54 AM
Keep in mind that I love you guys when you read this part. (Hiding in corner) Enjoy it, K *happy*

Part 37

*The Next Morning*

His eyes are fluttering open as the light of dawn drifts through my window. I’ve been staring at Zan’s sleeping frame for the past hour and a half, wondering if I should just let him sleep or actually wake him. So many thoughts are shooting through my head that I don’t even realize that he’s woken up and is now staring at me.

“Sweets, you okay?” he yawns.
“I’m fine,” I quietly answer. Zan tries to pull me into his embrace, but I move back towards the edge of the bed when his fingers graze my arm.
“Liz, what’s wrong?” he inquires in a serious tone.
“We need to talk, Zan.”
“ ‘Bout what?”
“About last night.” To my statement, Zan sighs. “Zan?”
“What do you want to talk about, Liz?”
“Let’s see, why don’t we start with why you wouldn’t connect with me to find out what really happened between Max and I, or when we made love last night?”

Instead of answering my question, Zan flips the covers off him and gets out the bed. He walks to the bathroom and shuts the door. What the hell? I snatch on my T-shirt and walk to the bathroom with purpose. I don’t even bother to knock, I just fling the door open and walk in.

“What the hell, Liz?”
“I asked you a question and you just walk away? What kind of shit is that?”
“I’m taking a piss!”
“I don’t care! Since when do you just walk away from me, or anybody for that matter, without saying anything?”
“Since now,” he snaps at me. Zan tucks himself into his boxers, flushes the toilet and washes his hands. When he starts towards the bathroom door, I jump in the entranceway and block it.

“Move, Liz.”
“Not until you answer my question.”
“Get outta my way.”

Now I’m pretty sure Zan could really move me if he wanted to, but instead we just stand in our respective spots with our eyes locked. I position my arms on both sides of the doorframe and set my lower body in such a way that it cannot be moved.

“You might as well talk, Zan, because you’re not getting out this bathroom until you do,” I say, my voice laced with steel.
“Why are you doing this, Liz?” he asks heatedly.
“Doing what?”
“Trying to make me suffer!” he yells at me.
“What are you talking about, Zan? All I did was ask you a question and then you started freaking out!”
“Why can’t you just drop it, Liz? You said nothing happened between you and Max, and I believe you. Why won’t you just let it rest?”
“Why are you acting like this?”
“Why are you trying to make me relive that night?” he bellows.

At the volume and tone of his voice, I flinch and my arms fall to my sides. Hearing opportunity knock, Zan takes advantage of the situation and rushes by me into the bedroom. I recover from my shock and chase after him. When I reach him, I see that he’s already put his pants on and is now working on his shirt.

“Where do you think you’re going, Zan?” I ask with venom in my voice.
“Away from you! I love you, but fuck this, I gotta be out.” He steps into his boots.
“Why do you keep running from me, Zan? Why can’t you just do this for my piece of mind?”
“Your piece of mind? Your piece of mind, Liz? You want me to relive that night just so you can feel better about yourself? That is the most selfish shit I’ve ever heard! Pretty much what you’re saying is fuck Zan and his feelings as long as I get what I want. Do I have that right, Liz?” he spits at me. Zan has walked across the room and is now standing dead in front of me. His breath is coming out in angry puffs and his eyes are wild.

“Who are you?” I ask quietly shaking my head. “You aren’t my Zan. Why are you doing this?” I try to soothe him by stroking his cheek, but right before my hand touches him he jumps back.
“I’m the Zan that saw my woman in the bed with another man,” he answers coldly.

Suddenly I’m very angry.

“How many times do I have to tell you that nothing happened? I’m starting to feel like a broken record, Zan! You obviously have doubts so why don’t you just connect with me so we can get this over and done with once and for all?” I yell in an exasperated tone as I raise my arms in the air.

“You know what, Liz? Fine,” he shouts and grabs me by my head. He pulls me close to him and roughly begins to kiss me. Immediately the flashes begin.

Me and Max working on our project.

Max putting me in my bed.

Zan and I talking in my dream as the unicorn runs by.

Me telling Zan how much I love him and not to ever leave me.

Awakening in confusion and Max’s embrace.

Zan and I arguing in the street.

Zan sobbing and socking the steering wheel as he drives home.

Zan’s surprise at finding Shannon at his front door.

Zan and Shannon kissing as they walk to his bedroom.

Zan and Shannon in the bed, having sex.

At this point, I gather all the strength that I can muster and push Zan away from me, so hard in fact that he falls on his butt.

“Get out,” I whisper to Zan. “Now.”
“Sweets, I…”
“Get the hell out my house right now!” I yell. He’s not moving fast enough so I pick up a glass off my dresser and hurl it at him. He starts moving then.
“I didn’t know what…”
“How could you, Zan? How could you sex that whore in our bed?” I scream as I advance toward him. “I thought you loved me! You told me you would never…”
“Baby, calm down,” Zan states in an evenly measured voice.
“Don’ tell me to calm down! How could you do this to me?” A thought suddenly occurs to me. “Shannon’s the reason you wouldn’t connect with me when we made love last night, isn’t she? How could you even sleep with me after sleeping with her and not tell me about it! How could you!”
“Because I love you, Liz.”

Zan loves…me? Oh, haha. Hahahahahaha. This has got to be the funniest thing I’ve ever heard so what do I do? Laugh my behind off. Soon I’m laughing so hard that tears are running down my eyes and I can’t breathe. But then my laughter evolves. It becomes more and more high pitched until I’m screaming blood curdling banshee screams that manage to shatter the glass I threw at Zan as well as crack the mirror hanging on the back of my door.

“Liz!” Zan calls and he begins to shake me.
“Don’t you touch me, you bastard!” I shriek as I begin to swing at him. My hands are balled into fists, and one of them connects with his right eye. He falls to the ground and I fall with him as I continue to swing. “I hate you! I hate you! You were supposed to love me, Zan! Me, not that bitch Shannon! How could you do this to us?” I sob.

Somehow Zan has managed to roll us over and pin me to the floor. He’s crying right along with me and our tears mingle as they fall onto my face.

“I love you, Liz. I love you so much…”
“Why did you do this to us, Zan? Why? I loved you…”

When he’s pretty sure that I’m calm, he rolls off me and just lays beside me. I can only lay on this floor and be numb. This is the second time the man I love has betrayed me with another woman. I just…I just don’t know.

“Liz, I love you, I honestly do.”
“Just leave, Zan. Leave and never come back,” I say and my voice cracks.

Zan sits up and stares at me. He’s raising his hand to touch my cheek, but I turn my head and tears fall out my eyes.

“Please, you owe me this much. Just go.”

He then stands up and walks to the door. His mouth opens as if he’s about to say something, but then he closes it quickly. Shame and despair are present in his eyes, but there is no remedy for them. Hanging his head in disgrace, he turns and walks out the door. When I hear the door slam and I’m sure he’s gone, the bitter tears that I have repressed come flowing forward freely. True heartbreak and bone crushing sorrow fill my entire being, and I succumb to their poisons. Zan is truly gone.

After 45 minutes of anguish filled weeping, I get up off the floor and take a shower. I dress quickly and grab my keys off the table as I run through the door. I have a plan, a mission even that I need to succeed at, desperately. When I arrive at my destination, I knock on the door quickly and wait for someone to answer. For the feat I’m about to pursue, I should have legions of butterflies floating all through my body, but instead I am equipped with nerves of iron and steel. Suddenly the door flies open and I put on my happy face.

“Hey Max, can I come in?” I smile.
posted on 8-Dec-2001 1:07:29 AM
I am so sorry that it's taking me so long to pump out a new part, but I am currently preparing for finals that I have to take next week. I swear to you that as soon as I'm done (hell maybe even before then) that I will come back and post a nice lengthy part. I have not forgotten about you guys, I promise that I haven't. All I ask is that you guys be patient for a little while longer and have a little faith in me, please. *happy* Kim
posted on 12-Dec-2001 5:14:05 AM
Because procrastination is my friend, I have decided to post a new part. Let me know what you think! Kim *happy*

Part 38

“Liz?” Max asks sleepily. His hair is sticking up in 20 different directions and he’s rubbing the sleep out his eyes.
“Live and in the flesh,” I continue to smile. “So can I come in?”
“Yeah, sure,” he replies as he steps from the doorway. I stroll in slowly, switching my behind for all I’m worth. Max closes the door as I sit on the couch, and then stands in front of me.

“So what’s up, Liz? To what do I owe the honor of this visit?” he asks as he scratches his bare chest.
“What? I can’t just drop by to say hello to a friend? I can’t just be social?” I reply as I bat my eyes and lick my lips. I know what I’m doing is wrong, but I don’t care. If I want to regain some semblance of my life I have to do this.
“Liz.” He crosses his arms over his chest and raises his left eyebrow at me.
“Yes, Max?”
“Why are you here? Tell me the truth.” Here we go.

“I’m here because I still love you, Max. The truth is I never stopped,” I lie. Nausea is rolling through my body in waves and the tears I so desperately want to keep a secret are threatening to make their presence known, but I continue. “I’m not in love with Zan, I don’t think I ever was.”
‘You’re a liar, Liz.’ I ignore my conscience and walk to where Max is standing. His arms are still crossed over his chest and his expression is blank.

“The only thing I felt for Zan is lust, Max. It’s with you that I experienced true love, real love. It took me some time to realize this, but it’s not Zan I want, it’s you.”
‘Who are you trying to fool, Liz?’
“I was wrong to sleep with Zan.”
‘You don’t love Max, why are you doing this?’
“I’m sorry, Max. I just want to go back to the way things were before all these complications.”
‘You really think you can stop loving Zan that easy, Liz?’
“My life hasn’t been right without you in it. I just want things to be normal again.”
‘Being with max won’t make things normal again, and you know it.’

The merry-go-round that is my mind is causing me to grow more ill by the second. At the thought of the vile words that have just spewed from my lips, I want to throw myself in a ditch and let the crows pick at my flesh until nothing remains but my bones. But I must continue. Zan needs to understand how much he hurt me, and this is the only way I can show him the extent of the damage he’s done. I touch Max’s arm.

“What do you really want from me, Liz?”
“I told you, I want us to get back together.”
“Because I…I love you.”
‘Liar.’ The bile has risen from my stomach to my throat.
“I miss you, Max. I miss all the time we spent together…”
“I miss all the times we made love…” Tears are coursing down my face as I clutch on to Max’s arm for dear life.
“I just…I just miss…”

I don’t even finish my lie. Instead I fall to the floor and sob at Max’s feet. All the pain, anguish, and despair I thought I had left at my dorm room has found me once again and overtaken me like a tidal wave. How did things get so screwed up? All I wanted to do was love Zan and have him love me in return, was I wrong to want that? I am furious at the fact that I no longer have any control over my life; instead, life is controlling me. When did this change occur, this change that restricts me to being a helpless crybaby that weeps at her ex lover’s feet instead of a woman who holds the reigns of life firmly in her hands? Why must I allow Max, or any other man for that matter, to hold me, console me at a time like this? What is this element in my soul that cripples me and makes me perpetually weak?

“What happened, Liz?” Max whispers in my ear after he’s carried me from the floor back to the couch.
“He cheated on me,” I sob. “With that hoe from his job.”

Max is silent, not that I blame him. I mean, he really can’t say anything since he slept with Tess when we were together. What could he say? “Oh Liz, these things just happen. Roll with the punches, I’m sure he didn’t mean to do it.” Yeah, okay.

“I just don’t understand why this keeps happening. Why is it that every man I fall in love with cheats on me? Why?!?” I scream at Max. I want to swing at him, but the hold Max has on my arms plus the fatigue I’m experiencing won’t let me.
“I don’t know, Liz. I don’t know,” he responds quietly.
“I loved him, Max. Just like I loved you. More, actually.”
“You still love him.” It’s a statement, not a question.
“I can’t, it’s not possible.”
“If you didn’t love him, then why are you here, trying so hard to get back at him?”
“That’s not…”
“Think about it, Liz. Would you really be trying to resurrect our relationship if you knew it wouldn’t torture Zan in some way? Would you really be here if you didn’t want him still?”

At Max’s words, a fresh batch of tears spring to my eyes and my sobbing is renewed. He doesn’t even try to ameliorate the situation by quieting my outburst, he just lets me cry. Eventually my tears subside and hiccups replace my sobs.

“Feeling any better?” Max asks to which I shake my head.
“Not really,” I admit to him. My face is buried in his shoulder, and he’s stroking my hair gently. We sit in quiet contemplation for a couple of moments.
“I think you should talk to him and find out what happened,” Max finally says and I sit up to look at him.
“For what, Max? I saw everything I needed to see via the flashes. I don’t think I could handle him telling me all the sordid details,” I tell him. We’re quiet for a couple of moments and then he speaks again.

“Liz, why didn’t you ever ask me about what happened that night between me and Tess?”
“What?” I ask bewildered.
“Why didn’t you ever confront me, Liz?”
“I…I don’t know, Max.”
“I think you do, Liz,” he insists. “I want you to think about it for a second, Liz. What reason would you have for not asking me about something like that?”
“I was afraid,” I respond after a moment of contemplation.
“Afraid of what?”
“Afraid that you were gonna tell me that you didn’t love me anymore, that you didn’t want to be with me,” I whisper, my bottom lip trembling.
“Could this possibly be the reason why you don’t want to talk to Zan? Do you honestly believe that he doesn’t love you or care about you anymore?”
“I don’t know,” I whisper quietly as I close my eyes and try to stop the tears from falling.

This may sound extremely pathetic, but if Zan stopped loving me I don’t know what I would do with myself. I wouldn’t kill myself or do anything that drastic (again), but I do know that something inside of me would cease living, a part of me would surely die. Sure, Zan did me dirty by sleeping with another woman, but I love him nonetheless, I can’t help but to love him. Infidelity is something that I could eventually get over; the absence of Zan’s love and affection is another story.

“There are some days that I wish you would have called me on my bullshit, Liz,” Max murmurs into my hair.
“And why’s that?”
“Maybe we would still be together if you would have.”

At his statement, I am forced to sit up and look at him, and when I say look at him, I mean really look at him.

“Max, what are you talking about?”
“Liz, you stayed with me three additional years even after I cheated on you. Instead of clearing up the situation or even just honestly talking about what happened, we both buried the issue and let it fester. Maybe if we would have talked about it our relationship would have grown stronger instead of weakening. Maybe if we would have confronted the issue, I wouldn’t have turned into the selfish, arrogant asshole that I am and we’d still be together. Maybe you’d actually be happy at this point in your life. I don’t know, Liz,” he finishes.
“Do you honestly believe that we’d still be together, Max?”
“I don’t know, maybe, maybe not. It’s too late to change the past, we can only…”
“Live in the present,” I finish as I smile sadly at Max.

“I’m not saying take him back, I’m just saying that you should talk to him. Even though you won’t admit it, I know you still love him, Liz. Maybe things will work out between the two of you, maybe they won’t, but you owe it to yourself to at least try.”
“Since when did you get so wise and knowledgeable?” I smile.
“What can I say? Experience is usually the best teacher,” Max smiles back.

I ponder Max’s words as I walk back to my dorm. As much as I don’t want to hear the details from that night, I know that I must if Zan and I are going to…be. I hate to admit it, particularly since the words came from Max’s mouth, but I can’t live my life in the rearview mirror. If Zan and I stay together, fine, but even if we don’t I’ve got to progress from this particular stage of my life. Now if I could just work up the nerve to talk to Zan. I’m still contemplating how I’m going to initiate the conversation as I’m walking to my dorm when I run into something. Or should I say somebody.

“I’m sorry, I should have been watching where I…”

I never finish my apology, because suddenly I find myself drowning in the golden brown pools that are Zan’s eyes. I take a step back, but my gaze never falters.

“I just came from your dorm. When I saw you weren’t home, I left a note on the door. A letter, actually,” he quietly explains and I nod.
“You wanna go somewhere and talk?” I hesitantly ask and he nods affirmatively.

The walk to Central Park is long and quiet, as we are both consumed with our respective thoughts. The sun is beaming down on us from a cloud free sky and the warm summer wind caresses our skin as we walk. Traffic is screeching all around us, and people are milling about as far as the eye can see. The smell of hot dogs and freshly baked pizza as well as the sounds of irate city dwellers yelling in Spanish, Chinese, and Haitian French fill the air. New York City is alive and well, too bad I can’t say the same for myself.

“Is this okay?” Zan asks pointing to a bench in the middle of the park. When I nod, we both sit and the silence consumes us.

“I’m really sorry for the way things turned out, Liz,” Zan finally states. “I…I just…”
I know you’re sorry, Zan, but that’s not going to change the fact that you slept with Shannon. It’s certainly not gonna take away the pain I feel, or erase the confusion and torment you caused me.”
“I know, Liz. I know.”
“Not that it would make the situation better if it was someone else, but why Shannon? Out of all the women in the world, why did you choose to sleep with her?”
“You make it sound as if I had this planned, Liz. If you want to know the truth, I really don’t remember too mush of what happened that night. All I know is after I found you and Max in bed together and we fought outside your dorm, I was so hurt and something inside me just shut down. I just couldn’t get past the fact that you and Max were…together.”
“But we weren’t, Zan! Did you not notice that when I jumped out the bed I was fully clothed except for my shoes?”
“Do you really think I was in my right mind after what I saw? All I could go on was what was playing out in front of my eyes, Liz. I drove home in a haze, and when I finally got there, Shannon was waiting for me at my front door. We went inside and…”
“And then you slept with her,” I finish for him. Zan says nothing, only props his elbows on his knees and places his head in his hands. “So was it good, Zan?”
“No, Zan. Was it good, was it everything you imagined it would be? Was it worth our relationship? I need to know!”
“No, Liz, it wasn’t,” he answers with sadness permeating his speech.
“How could you sleep with her Zan? How could you sleep with her and then sleep with me without telling me about it? Like nothing was wrong and things were going like business as usual?”
“I don’t know…”
“Do you know anything?” I scream at him and cast my gaze to the ground.

The pain I feel in my heart is unbearable, and I can barely breathe. I suppose that I’m still in shock somewhat over the fact that the act actually occurred. It’s like I’ve been robbed of the security and live I once knew with this sole instance of infidelity and I…

“Sweets, talk to me, please,” Zan’s voice cuts into my thoughts.
“What do you want me to say, Zan? I really have nothing to say to you, except I’m really hurt and angry, but I’m pretty sure you already know that,” I say.
“You still love me, babe? Because I know for a fact that I still love you, I never stopped.” His eyes are probing my face, almost looking into my soul. He stands up, then crouches down in front of where I’m sitting. I try to avoid his gaze by turning my head even further away from him, but he won’t allow it. When his fingers gently guide my chin back towards him, I find myself staring into his eyes.

“It doesn’t matter if I love you or not, Zan. What matters is you were unfaithful and I don’t know if I can ever trust you again. The bond of trust we once had is gone, and I’m not sure if we’ll ever be able to get it back.” He’s silent for a moment and then he speaks.

“I don’t expect you to trust me, because I know I don’t deserve your trust. I’ll never be able to fully show or express how sorry I am, but you need to know that I am sorry. I fucked up big time, and there’s no way around that, Liz, but you need to know that I need you in my life. You have to understand that I’m not worth shit without you and if you leave me…” His voice fades and he looks at the ground. When he looks back up, tears are flowing down his cheeks. “I can’t live without you, babe. I can’t live without your love, without you by my side strengthening me and making me complete. I know I don’t deserve you or your love, but please…give me another chance. Let me at least try to make things up to you.”
“How am I supposed to do that, Zan?” I question with my own tears in my eyes. “How am I supposed to give you another chance knowing that you slept with someone else? How am I even supposed to look at you without having flashbacks of you and Shannon having sex?”

“Do you still love me?” He comes closer and places a hand on each side of my face.
“I already told you that it doesn’t matter if I…”
“Because if you don’t love me, then I’ll leave and never bother you again. I’ll die in the process of staying away from you, but if it makes you happy then I’ll leave you alone for all eternity, babe. I need you to say it though, if you really don’t love me then I’m going to need you to tell me.”

My bottom lip is trembling and the tears that have been threatening to spill over are now coursing down my face. Zan’s fingers are stroking my cheeks gently and his face is moving closer to my own.

“If you don’t love me anymore, then just say it. You can’t, can you sweets? Because you still love me, don’t you? I can feel it, you’re hurt as hell, but you ain’t stopped loving me. You need and want me just as much as I need and want you, I know you do.”

I’m sobbing uncontrollably and my tears have blinded me to the point where Zan’s face is a mere blur. Never in my life have I wanted to black out more than I do at this moment so I can escape reality and the truth of his words. The love I feel for Zan and the anguish I feel over his betrayal are both strangling me at a consistent rate, and I have no idea what to do.

“All you have to do is say the word and I’m ghost, Liz. If you don’t, then I’mma be here with you. So what’s it gonna be, sweets? You still love me?” he whispers as his eyes continue to caress my face.
“I…I…yes,” I finally manage to croak out and I fall forward off the bench into Zan’s arms. Our respective sobs are the only thing that can be heard in the heart of Central Park as Zan rocks us back and forth. We’re sitting on the ground and the passers by must think that we’ve lost our minds, but we’re oblivious to the world’s stares and strange looks.

“What are we gonna do?” I finally ask after my sobs subside. We’re still sitting on the ground in front of the bench.
“The way I see it, we got two options, sweets. We can either put this behind us and try to move on with our lives or call it quits,” Zan murmurs into my hair.
“I love you, Zan, I really do, but I just don’t know if I can be around you right now.”
“Maybe I should just leave you alone, then.”
“Is that what you really want?”
“Hell no! But if that’s gonna give you back your peace of mind and help you sort through this mess I’ve created then I’ll do it. I’d do anything for you,” he whispers as he smiles sadly at me.
“I think that might be best for right now,” I whisper back and he nods at me.

Eventually we stand up and walk out the park back into the streets of NYC. Zan hails a cab and we both hop in. All too soon we’re pulling up in front of Zan’s apartment building, and he’s giving the cabby directions to my dorm.

“Zan!” I suddenly call when he starts walking towards his building. He turns to look at me. “Can I come up for a second? I…” I don’t finish my statement, but Zan nods nonetheless. After Zan has paid the cab driver, we make our way to the elevator, and then ride to the penthouse in silence. We walk to the door and just as Zan is about to open it, he stops short.

“What is it? What’s wrong?” I ask warily.
“I just got this vibe like…I don’t know.” He shrugs his shoulders and gives me a small smile. “Just being crazy I guess.”

Zan swings the door open, and we are both greeted with the shock of a lifetime.

“Wassup, bro? Long time, no hear from,” Lonnie calls to Zan. A cold smile slides across her lips when she sees me. “And look who we got here, it’s the little woman. ‘Sup, Liz?”
“How the hell did you get in here? What are you doing here?” Zan’s voice is filled with venom. Lonnie takes a step towards us, and Zan throws up an emerald green shield to protect us.
“Relax, bro. I was just gonna give you a hug. I mean, come on. Is this really anyway to treat your sister?” she asks innocently.

Just then something to my left moves and I turn my head. Shit.

“’Sup, duke?” Rath says as he walks from the kitchen. He stands a couple of feet away from Lonnie and surveys the still demolished apartment. “Love what you’ve done with the place. It’s got the bourgeoisie upper class feel with little reminders of our home underground. Miss us?”

“Hell no,” Zan spits at Rath, not once taking his eyes off Lonnie. He grabs me by my waist and pushes me behind him.
“Aww, come on, Zan. Now was that necessary?” Rath asks Zan. He then looks at me. “I don’t bite, unless you want me to.” He wins at me and then licks his lips.
“Go to hell!” I yell at him.
“Temper, temper,” Lonnie states shaking he head at me. “I’dda thought you’d have her in check by now, Zan.”
“She’s feisty. You know how I feel about them feisty bitches,” Rath retorts as he licks his lips and advances towards me.
“Bitch? Who do you think you’re calling a bitch?” I screech and am about to step outside Zan’s shield so I can open a can of whoop ass on Rath. Zan stops me and pulls me back behind him. While maintaining the shield with his left hand, Zan uses his right to pick Rath up and pin him to the ceiling. He then turns back to Lonnie.

“What. Do. You. Want,” Zan asks through clenched teeth. The nerve in his jaw is twitching fiercely and his anger is almost tangible.
“Put me own, yo! This shit ain’t cool!” Rath yells from the ceiling.
“We need to talk, brother,” Lonnie smiles at Zan.
“You ain’t got a brother, remember? You pushed him in front of a truck and killed him, remember?” Zan seethes.
“What can I say? We all make mistakes,” she shrugs and moves closer to us.
“Take another step closer, and I’ll kill you,” he warns.
“I don’t think so, duke.”
“Try me.”
“Let me down from here, yo! I ain’t playing!”

Without warning, Rath falls to the floor. He rolls over and stands up, all the while cursing Zan to the high heavens. He finally looks at me.

“What is it about you girl that’s got both the duke wrapped around your little finger? You must got some bomb ass pussy,” he smirks at me.
“Yo Rath, shut that shit up!” Lonnie barks at him.
“What can I say? I must be true unless…maybe it’s the other way around. Maybe our girl got a jones for alien dick.”
“Enough!” Zan shouts. His face is beet red and he looks as if he’s going to kill someone. Soon.

“I’m just saying, why else would she still be with duke after he cheated on her with that big titty chick from his office? Maybe she just gotta have it alien style.”
“Shut your trap now, Rath!” Lonnie yells at him. Rath just rolls his eyes and continues.
“So whatcha say, Liz? How about a little tit for tat? How about I put it on you for Zan cheating on you? How does that sound? Think about it, I mean if Zan can do Shannon…”

I don’t even hear Rath anymore, because my mind is too busy putting all the pieces of the puzzle together. Exactly how did he know that Zan cheated on me and that Shannon is the one he cheated with? He couldn’t have known unless…

“It was you,” I whisper as I advance towards Rath. “You did this.” Zan is trying to keep me within the shield, but I’m too fast for him.
“Actually brainiac, it was me,” Lonnie states amused. When I look at her, I see her eyes are twinkling with devilish delight. “You’d be surprised how easy it is to sneak in and out of places undetected, especially peoples jobs. And to think, all I had to do is wait for the right opportunity. I knew I couldn’t physically kill Zan, so I went to the next best thing, his pathetic emotions. I set up the mind warp to make it look like Zan slept with Shannon, it was only a matter of time until he would come back to you and start flashing and shit.”

At her words, Zan loses all control. The hand that’s holding up the shield begins to glow as well as his other hand. His already spiky hair is standing on end as the static electricity and alien related energy crackle in the air. Within a matter of seconds, Zan has crossed the room and wrapped his glowing hand around Rath’s neck. Mere milliseconds later it is as if Rath never was, with the only reminder of his existence being the switchblade he had been playing with while Lonnie was talking. Seeing Zan quickly advance towards her, Lonnie grabs me and uses my body as a shield. Zan’s steps falter, but his hands never cease glowing.

“Let her go,” Zan commands.
“’Fraid I can’t do that, brother,” Lonnie replies with he voice shaking. Her grip on my throat and waist are tightening with every passing second and soon I can’t breathe.
“Zan,” I manage to choke out. The world is going dim quick.

At the sound of my voice, Zan turns his attention to me, and the glowing stops. Lonnie doesn’t loosen her grasp, but instead lets out a laugh.

“So this is what you’ve been reduced to, Zan? You could’ve been a king, but instead you’re content to pretend to be a human when we all know you’re not. You’re a damn fool!”
“Let Liz go, Lonnie!”
“You may be happy on this God forsaken planet, but I’m not!” she shouts oblivious to Zan. She’s in her own world now. “This is not what I’m destined for, to be a commoner on this pathetic planet full of humans. I’m a princes damn it, and I should be treated like one! We could have been living in the lap of luxury, but no, you wouldn’t go to the damn summit! So what do I have now, huh Zan? Nothing, I have nothing!”
“Zan,” I moan.
“Shut up, bitch! I watched you, Zan, everyday I watched you go to your pathetic subservient job and play the role. I watched you come home to this trashy human and play house like everything was rainbows and unicorns. I watched and I hated you! You’re no king, Zan. You’re just a pussy whipped alien in a human’s body!” she yells.

And with that, Lonnie throws me to the floor and tries to run to the door. Zan catches her by the arm, and at once his hands begin glowing again.

“I hate you with all I am,” she spits at him. His hand clasps around her throat and seconds later, she’s gone.

“I’m lying on the floor in the same spot Lonnie threw when Zan comes back and scoops me up in his arms. Pain is shooting through all four of my limbs and my head feels like it’s going to explode.

“Sweets, don’t talk. I got you, I’m here,” he whispers as he carries me to the bedroom. “I’ll always be here for you.”

posted on 24-Dec-2001 3:37:16 PM
Hey guys! Just wanted to leave a note to let you know that I hadn't desserted you. It seems as if my mother has turned into the christmas Nazi and I have been helping her cook up a storm for all the relatives that are coming over tomorrow. I will say this though: Check your stockigs later on tonight, Santa might have something for you guys! ;) Love ya, Kim
posted on 25-Dec-2001 1:21:05 AM
Here is the next part for your reaing pleasure! May God bless and keep you through this holiday season and I hope everyone gets what they want! Love you guys, love the fb. Kim *happy*

Part 39

“So let me get this straight, Liz. Zan never slept with Shannon, it was all just a mind warp?” Maria inquires. We’re on the phone.
“Uh huh.”
“And then when you showed up at his apartment, Lonnie and Rath were waiting for you guys, but Zan killed them?”
“Chica, you have way too much drama going on in your life,” she giggles. “So how are things going between you and Zan?”
“They’re going, I guess.”
“What do you mean you guess?”
“We’re not together anymore.” Silence.
“Wait a second, since when are you not together?”
“Since I don’t fully trust him anymore.”
“And why don’t you trust him?”
“Maria, he didn’t even have the decency to tell me that he had slept with Shannon before he slept with me. He had no plans of telling me either.”
“But the whole thing was a mind warp, Liz,” she replies confused.
“That’s besides the point! Think about how you would feel if Michael slept with someone else, and then slept with you without saying anything about it. Put yourself in my shoes for a second.”
“I see your point.”
“It’s not that I don’t love Zan anymore, it’s just that I’m having a really hard time trusting him,” I say exasperated.
“As you should,” Maria sympathizes and I have to let out a sigh of relief. For a second I thought she was going to try to side with Zan.

“So how are things going between you and Michael?” I ask changing the subject.
“Things are good. I mean, he’s still a cheesehead and there are days when I’m seriously convinced that he’s been smoking crack, but I love him nonetheless.”
“That’s good, I’m really happy for you guys,” I tell her sincerely. At the moment I’m jealous as hell but I am happy for her. Just then I glance at the clock and see it’s 6:53. Shit.

“Maria, I gotta go.”
“What? I haven’t talked to you, let alone seen you, in almost two weeks and now you want to cut our conversation short? Nuh uh, I’m not having it.”
“But Maria, we’ve been on the phone for close to five hours.”
“And whose fault is that? If you wouldn’t have neglected me for so long then we wouldn’t have had to have this lengthy conversation!”
“Please, Maria,” I whine to which she just sighs.
“Fine, but just know that you have some major making up to do for this,” she warns. “And what is so important that you just have to get off the phone with you best friend?”
“I have a date,” I practically whisper. 5,4,3,2….

“Date? What do you mean you have a date? How could you keep something like this from me?” she explodes.
“It’s no big deal, Maria. People date all the time.”
“No big deal? No big deal!” she shouts so loud I that I have to take the receiver away from my ear. “Number one, it is a big deal, because a date means that there is a possible romantic undercurrent flowing between two people, and you happen to be one of those said people. Number two, you never date, Liz. Ever,” she continues to shout.
“Maria, please calm down. I’m just going out with someone, it’s nothing.”
“So who’s this hot date with?”
“Is this really necessary?”
“Avoiding the question, must be someone you got it bad for. Who is he, Liz?”
“Zan,” I answer meekly. Once again, silence.
“You are so calling me as soon as you walk through the door,” she shrieks. “Don’t you even think about going to the bathroom before calling me and giving me all the details!”
“Bye, Maria.”
“Have fun, girlfriend,” she laughs.

I hang up the phone and sigh. I should have told Maria about the whole Zan situation, but I’ve been too busy being confused about what’s been going on in my love life. The whole dating thing is stranger than one could possibly imagine, but if Zan and I are going to be together, then it is a necessary step that we must take. If you take a second to think about it, the whole thing makes sense in a round about way seeing that our relationship never really included dating. To be honest, we did things very backwards now that I’ve had time to think about it. I love Zan, but regression is what I need right now. Maybe if we can just slow things down a little bit, we’ll end up just where we need to be.

A sudden knock at the door shakes me from my thoughts. Knowing who is on the other side, I fling the door open and step out of his way so he can enter.

“Hi, Zan,” I call as he walks through the door carrying a couple of videos and Mexican takeout. I grab the food from his hands and sit it on the table.
“Hey yourself,” he responds as he laces his arms around my waist from behind and kisses my right temple. “You look nice and comfy.”
“Yeah, sorry about that,” I say as I step out of his grasp and turn to face him. After glancing over my ensemble of a tank top, jean cutoff shorts and bare feet, I look up apologetically. “I know we were supposed to go out tonight, but when I got home, my body just kinda pooped out.”
“Not a problem, sweets. I was kinda hoping we could stay in tonight anyway.”
“Oh yeah? And exactly what did you have in mind, Mr. Evans?”
“I don’t know,” he replies as takes a couple of steps towards me. His hands have found my waist and pulled me flush against his body. “A little bit of this, a little bit of that.”

Zan and I entangled in the sheets on my bed. Slight moans coming from the both of us, sweat glistening on our skin.

“Hmm, and what might that include?” I ask letting my arms snake around his neck. I have no idea where that flash came from, I’m going to go with my own subconscious mind, but my body has proven to have a mind of its own. I find myself pressing closer to Zan, and wanting things that I shouldn’t, namely to go fulfill the flash.

“Why, eating and watching these movies, of course. What else would we be doing?” A teasing smile lights his eyes.
“Nothing, I just….” There’s no need to go further because he knows as well as I do what I was thinking.
“Ooooooh, somebody’s mind was in the gutter,” Zan smiles.
“It was not!” Yes, it was. I’ve gone weeks without so much as a kiss, I think I’m allowed to have a dirty thought or two if I want. Zan just chuckles as he releases his hold on me and moves through my kitchen gathering plates and silverware. Instantly my body begins to mourn the loss of his touch and a revelation suddenly occurs to me: dating Zan is going to be hell. At least I can take joy in the knowledge that I’m not the only one affected by the void of our physical intimacies, seeing that Zan’s need was quite apparent through his baggy cargo pants.

“Babe, you ready to eat?” Zan calls to me from the dining room.
“Yeah, I’m coming!” I holler and quickly seat myself at the table. After saying grace we begin our meal.

“So how are things at the lab?” Zan asks after taking a forkful of refried beans and rice into his mouth. We’re about halfway through our meal.
“Things are actually quite different than I thought they would be,” I say speaking of my summer internship. “I mean, we learn all this stuff in school, but when you try to apply it to real life situations it doesn’t work. I’m actually beginning to wonder what the hell I’m going to school for.” Zan just nods.
“It’s usually like that, but hang in there. You’ve only got a year left, and then you have that little slip of paper that pretty much guarantees that you can do whatever the hell you want, sweets.” We consume our food in silence for a moment and then I speak.
“So how’s work, Zan?” He rolls his eyes and I giggle.
“Work is work. It’s there when I go in, and it’s there when I leave. The same ole, same ole.”
“How’s Lisa doing? I mean, how’s she working out as your secretary?”
“Real good, actually. She knows her shit, and she’s a hell of a lot more efficient than…”

Zan suddenly cuts his sentence short and lowers his eyes to the table. Silence looms over the table. It’s almost as if the mention of Shannon’s name will bring about some ominous fortune if spoken. The very mention of her is enough to resurrect the pain and suffering from two weeks ago, but I don’t dwell on it. I can’t afford to if I’m going to move on with my life and be happy.

“That’s good to hear, I’m glad things are working out with her,” I reply and smile.
“I’m sorry, Liz.”
“Sorry about what? Having a good secretary?”
“Sorry about this whole situation. If I would have just been man enough to come to you with the situation, we wouldn’t have to sit here and tiptoe around each other with this polite conversation bullshit.”
“Look, I know you’re sorry for what happened, but that’s not going to change what happened one bit. All we can do is try to put this behind us and move on.”

I grab his hand from across the table and immediately a wave of guilt and sadness hits me, and shakes me to the core. I knew he was sorry, but I had no idea of the magnitude of his emotions. His eyes are still downcast so I tighten my grip on his hand.

“Honey, look at me,” I say. He lifts his eyes, and I see the pain and suffering. “It’s going to be okay, we are going to be okay.” I smile at him and drop his hand. “Come on, let’s go watch the movies you brought.”

Twenty minutes later, we’re both seated on my couch watching one of my all time favorite movies, Legend. The only problem is I keep dozing off and my head keeps hitting the side of the couch.

“Babe, you wanna just go to bed?” Zan asks from his side of the couch.
“No, no,” I yawn. “I’m okay, I’m just a little tired.”
“You sure?”
“Positive,” I smile and prop my head on my arm. Twenty seconds later, my head hits the couch once again.
“Come here, sweets,” Zan coaxes and grabs my hand. He pulls me to his end of the couch and stretches me out so my back is lying against his chest.
“Zan, I’m okay. Really.”
“Liz, if you hit your head up against the couch one more time, you were going to give yourself a concussion,” he chuckles.
“I was not, Zan. I was just trying to get comfortable for the movie.”
“And are you comfortable now, babe?” he whispers in my ear. His arm wraps protectively around my waist and pulls me closer.

God, yes I’m comfortable. I never want to leave the confines of his arms again. It’s not until this very moment that I realize how much I’ve missed him and the simple things such as just lying next to him and watching a movie. It’s not the sex that I miss; it’s the simple physical intimacy that I’ve been feening for. To think that I could find ecstasy fully clothed with our limbs entangled watching a movie. The scent that could only be Zan is attacking my senses and his fingers are gently stroking my tummy. Now usually this is the part where I would roll over and attack him, but instead I just lay here in his arms and let the pleasures of Zan’s caress lull me to oblivion…

“Zan,” I call. It’s dark and I’m no longer on the couch.
“Yeah, babe?” He’s standing in the doorway.
“What’s going on? Why am I in my bed?”
“You fell asleep as soon as you stretched out.”
“I did not!”
“Okay, Miss Smarty Pants. What’s the last thing you saw on the screen?”
“There were two unicorns and that girl was trying to touch one.”
“You do realize that occurs within the first 30 minutes of the movie, right?”
“Oh.” I guess I was tired.

Zan walks over to the bed and kisses me on my forehead. Just as he’s about to pull away, the golden key falls from beneath his wife beater. I sit back just far enough to finger it.

“You still wear it, I see.”
“Why wouldn’t I?”
“Well I just thought that after everything that happened you wouldn’t….” He shushes me with his fingers.
“I’ll always wear it, because I’ll always love you.”

He’s looking dead into my eyes, and I can’t break the trance that they are pulling me into. Without thought, I lean forward to meet his lips but just as I’m about to kiss him, he pulls away. A moan of frustration slips from my lips, and Zan bows his head.

“I think I’m just going to let you rest,” he says as he backs away from the bed. “I’ll call you tomorrow.” He’s almost to the door when I call to him.
“What are you going to do now?” I ask him. I know I’m not ready to escalate things to the next level, but I sure as hell don’t want him to leave me alone right now.
“I’mma go home and just kick it for a while.”
“Stay here with me tonight. Don’t leave me, Zan.” Silence hangs over the bedroom as Zan thinks for a moment.
“What are you saying, Liz? I thought we were taking things slow.” He never moves, just remains posted at my bedroom door.
“I do want us to take things slow, Zan, but I can’t be without you right now. I just…I don’t want you to leave. I want you to stay with me tonight.” I don’t realize that I’ve been chewing on my lower lip until suddenly the coppery taste of my blood hits my tongue. Anxiousness is taking over slowly but surely, and my hands are beginning to wring the sheets. “Zan?”
“Are you sure about this, Liz?”

Zan crosses the room and stops right as he’s about to come to my bed. Hesitantly as if he’s giving me a chance to change my mind, he creeps to my bed and lifts the covers. He’s about to get in, but I stop him. Zan drops the sheets as if they are on fire.

“You change your mind? It’s okay, I can just go home,” he states backing away.
“No, that’s not it. I was just going to tell you that you could…um, you could…um, take off your clothes if you want to get more comfortable. It is summertime in New York, you know,” I whisper shyly. I wiggle out of my shorts under the covers and throw them against the wall to make my point.
“Liz.” He raises his eyebrow at me in a questioning way.
“No, you don’t have to if you don’t want to! I’m not trying to imply anything, I just want you to be comfortable. You can keep everything on if you want to,” I assure him.

For a moment, neither one of us says anything and I begin to think that Zan’s about to leave. I’m about to reassure him that wearing clothes is perfectly all right with me once more when he begins to unbutton his cargo pants and lets them slide down his hips. Zan then takes off his tank top and lets that fall to the ground with his pants. God, he’s beautiful. Standing before me with nothing but his boxer briefs on, I notice that he has gained back all the weight he lost and is perfectly built and toned to his original state. If only I could…

“Liz, you alright?” he asks and I am snapped back from my thoughts. “You sure this is okay with you?”

I can’t speak so I just nod as he lifts the covers and slides into the bed. As soon as he is settled, my body gravitates to his and I position myself on top of him. It’s not until I’m comfortable that I realize he is lying under me stiff as a board. I sit up quickly and move away from him.

“Zan, you alright?”
“Yeah, babe. I was just trying to…to uh, get used to sleeping with you again,” he states nervously.
“Oh. If you don’t want me to touch you, then I can just lay here on this side and uh…”

Zan doesn’t even reply, he just pulls me into his arms and positions me the way I was before I moved.

“That’s not what I meant. I just didn’t want to overstep my bounds, you know? If you want to take things slow then I’m going to respect that. I just didn’t want you to think that I was trying to make you go faster than you wanted to, ya know?”
“Zan, I’m the one that asked you to stay with me,” I giggle. “You haven’t overstepped anything, we’re okay.”

Zan lets out a sigh of relief and begins to stroke my hair. I wrap my arm around his waist and close my eyes. Our breathing has evened out and his heart is lulling me to sleep when I hear him in my mind.

‘I love you, sweetheart, so much that you’ll never know the full extent of my love. If I have to spend every waking moment proving to you how sorry am I and how much I love you then so be it, because I don’t ever want to be anywhere but here in your arms. This is the only perfection I want to know, and the only love that I’ll ever need. I’ll fix this, babe; I’ll die trying if I have to. Everyday that I live, I want it to be for your love…’

posted on 1-Jan-2002 8:13:38 PM
Here is the next part, and if it is not up to par I apologize. Let me know what you think and have a Happy New Year! *happy* Kim

Part 40
*July 29, 2005*

I awake to fingers gently combing through my hair and stroking my cheeks. When my eyes finally open, the first thing I see is Zan’s gorgeous face. He’s wearing a dreamy expression, and he’s smiling slightly.

“Hey,” I croak and blush with embarrassment at the sound if my voice cracking.
“Good morning to you, too,” he grins at me. “Sorry if I woke you.”
“Don’t worry about it, I think the heat beat you to it.”

Though the blinds are closed and Zan’s bedroom is a picture of darkness, New York’s sweltering summer heat has managed to finagle its way into the bedroom. The thin cotton sheets that grace the bed are now clinging to us like a second skin, and perspiration beads our arms and legs.

“Want me to turn on the air conditioner, sweets?”
“No, I’m okay.” Silence. “Is everything okay, Zan?”
“Yeah, babe. Just admiring the view,” he smiles and kisses my forehead.

Another morning of waking up in Zan’s arms, heaven on earth is what this is. We’ve been “dating” for about two months now and though we are pretty much inseparable, we have yet to become intimate again. The extent of our physical intimacies only go as far as held hands, forehead kisses, and shared beds. It’s not that I don’t want the physical pleasures that Zan has to offer, God knows I do. It’s just that…it’s just that there’s a part of me that’s afraid to let him all the way in again. I know without a shadow of a doubt that that I love Zan with all that I am and that we are meant to be, but there are lots of things I’m not sure of. I can’t predict the future, and who’s to say that Zan won’t withhold information concerning our relationship from me again. Though he is by far the most wonderful man I’ve ever met, he is just that: a man. Fear seizes my heart every time I think about opening myself up to him, but I would be a liar if I said I didn’t yearn to do so. I may be scared to love him, but I am terrified at the prospect of letting our love slip through my fingers. At this given stage of my life, nothing is more important to me than reclaiming the intensity and passion we once shared.

Zan is getting out the bed when I touch his arm and signal for him to stop.

“What’s up, sweets?” He looks at me with curious eyes. I don’t say anything, only sit up in the bed and kiss his forehead, eyes, nose, and cheeks. We stare at each other for a moment before he speaks again. “Talk to me, babe. What’s on your mind?”
“I…I love you, Zan.”
“I love you, too, Liz,” he whispers back while smoothing down my hair.
“I want our relationship back. I want us to be the way we were,” I say in a shaky voice.
“What are you saying, sweets? I thought we were going to just take things slow and see where they led us,” he replies while stroking my hair. His eyes are searching my face as if he is trying to fully comprehend what I am saying.
“We’ve taken things slow for the past two months, Zan. I don’t want to take things slow anymore, I want you.”

The air is filled with silent tension as Zan ponders my words. He has stopped stroking my hair and is now staring at me with the oddest expression on his face. For some reason, I can’t look at him so I stare at my hands. Maybe I should have kept my mouth shut and just continued to go with the flow of things. Maybe Zan isn’t ready to move forward and is comfortable where we are right now. Maybe he isn’t interested in escalating things to the next level. I’m about to retract my statement when Zan speaks up.

“You got me, Liz.”
“I know, but I want all of you.”
“All of me, huh?” A slight smirk slides across his mouth. “You sure about that?”

Not another word is uttered as Zan slides back into the bed and lays me down with him. His fingertips are lightly grazing my arms and legs, and his lips are gently placing butterfly kisses to my face. He has positioned himself in such a way that he is lying on top of me, but not crushing me. I have waited for this so long, wanted it to happen for so long, but now that the time is finally here I find myself praying for solitude and a release from Zan’s embrace. My eyes have closed on their own accord and my body is reveling in the pleasure that is Zan’s touch, but my mind is tormented by the remembrance of his infidelity and tears are seeping from my closed lids.

“Baby, what is it? What’s wrong?” All of Zan’s gentle ministrations have stopped and his voice is betraying the fear and anxiety he is feeling.
“Nothing, I’m fine,” I lie while trying to wipe the tears from my eyes.
“Liz, come on now. You know I know you better than that. What’s going on? I’m here for you sweets, I’m not going anywhere.” He leans down and kisses my forehead, but that only makes the tears come harder and faster.
“I want you so much, Zan. I do.”
“I want you, too, babe.”
“But this is so hard,” I sob. My body is trembling fiercely beneath Zan’s and he is trying to calm me down, much to no avail. “It just hurts so bad.”
“What hurts, Liz? Baby, let me help you,” he coaxes.
“My heart. It’s like my mind, my heart, and my body are all playing tug of war and I’m about to snap. I want you so bad, I want what we had, and I want this to happen, but I just don’t know how to…”
“How to what, sweets?”
“Let you back in,” I whisper and look fearfully into his eyes. “Every time I get close to letting you in it’s like my mind conjures up those images of you and Shannon, and I don’t know how to shake them. I love you, but I just don’t know what to do.”

Zan doesn’t say anything, only gathers me closer to his bare chest and holds me. At this action, I sob even harder and cling to him as if he was a rock in the middle of a storm. Why does this have to be so hard? Minutes later, Zan tilts my chin upward so I can look into his eyes.

“Do you love me, Liz?” I can’t speak so I nod instead. “Do you believe that I love you?” Again I nod. “We don’t have to rush this, we’ve got all the time in the world.”
“But I want to do this, Zan. I want us to be…”

Zan’s lips have covered mine and for a second, I swear I forgot who I was, where I was, or how I had even gotten here. The minute his lips touched mine it was like the prodigal son coming home. All the anxiety and fear I had been feeling have vanished, and the only things I can feel are love, desire, and wanting. It’s almost as if Zan’s kisses are a magical balm that are soothing and healing all my inner wounds. I never want to be without him again, never want to be void of his love or his touch.

“Is this okay, babe?” he asks in between kisses. How can he ask me something like this?
“Yes, Zan. It’s more than okay,” I moan.
“I missed you so much. I thought I was going to die being without you. I can’t ever lose you again. Ever.” He has moved his lips from my face and is now trailing kisses down my neck.

That familiar warmth that never fails to surface when Zan is around has just made it’s presence known within my core, and it’s slowly beginning to drive me crazy in that wonderful kind of way. Electric blue energy is coursing through my veins and my need to have Zan, to fully possess him is growing stronger by the second. I have wanted this for so long and now it’s finally gonna happen…or so I thought, because now I’m pushing Zan away. Damn it.

“What’s wrong? Did I do something wrong, Liz?” Zan asks confused. His hands are holding on to the hem of my tank top as if he were about to lift it over my head. The electric blue energy that was sweeping across my body like a forest fire has now become a minor hum in the background of my mind.
“I don’t know,” I whisper back and my confusion mirrors his own.

I don’t understand this. How is it that I can want Zan with such an intensity one minute, and then seconds later I’m pushing him away? I mean, what is wrong with me? Why am I really doing this? It makes no sense for me to be as attracted to Zan as I am, and then no results follow. My eyes are watering up with tears and I’m about to start crying when Zan places his hands on both sides of my face and kisses me gently on my lips.

“It’s going to be okay, babe. I swear it is, so wipe them tears out your eyes,” he smiles at me. He gently lays me flat on my back and continues to kiss and soothe me.

“I know you wanna do this, because I can feel the want radiating off you. We’re going to work this out and just take things slow, because I want you just as much, if not more.” He pauses and kisses my neck and shoulders. “We don’t have to rush, because we got all the time in the world, and if time is what you need to make this happen, then so be it.”
“I just don’t want to hurt anymore, Zan.” My tank top has been raised and he is kissing a path from my tummy to my breasts.
“You won’t ever hurt again, babe. I promise.” He gently takes my left nipple in his mouth and begins to nip and suckle.
“I just couldn’t stand for you to…oh, Zan, that feels so…oooohhh,” I moan.

My thoughts are becoming hazy and with every lick and touch of his tongue, the pain and fear I feel evaporate a little more. A thought suddenly occurs to me, and I am shaken to my core at the realization I am having: I have nothing to be afraid of anymore. I can’t fight the fear and animosity I feel for Zan anymore, because there is nothing left to fight. I have loved this man for what seems like an eternity, and am gaining absolutely nothing from shutting him out and refusing to let him love me. It’s like what Max was telling me the day I found about Zan and Shannon: I can’t live in the past, I can only move on with the future and take each day as it comes. Well, the day to let Zan in is here and I’m not going to deny him any longer.

“Please, Zan.”
“What, sweets? What do you want me to do?” By this time he has managed to totally remove my tank top and panties. His hands are still roaming and exploring my body, but he has brought his face level to mine and is now staring into my eyes with such intensity that I can barely breathe.
“Love me.” Not another word is spoken as Zan removes his own underclothes, and our two incomplete souls become one….

posted on 8-Jan-2002 3:26:58 AM
Here is the next part, hope you guys enjoy. Let me know what you think. Kim *happy*

Part 41

*August 16, 2005*

“So when does Zan get back?” Maria asks while filing my nails.
“Tomorrow night,” I sigh and let my head fall backwards onto the bed.

Zan has been in California for about two weeks now on a business trip. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter needed some people from the New York office to go set up a new office in Los Angeles, and Zan was one of the lucky individuals that got to go. He wanted me to come with him, but school started early this year so I couldn’t go. To say that I miss him is an understatement.

“You are so pathetic,” Maria laughs at me.
“I am not!”
“You are so! You don’t see me acting like someone stole my puppy when Michael goes out of town.”
“That’s because he never goes out of town, Maria,” I counter. She opens her mouth like she’s going to say something, but then halts. “Yeah, exactly. That’s what I thought,” I giggle.
“Shut up!” she shrieks, giggling uncontrollably. She picks up a pillow and swats me upside my head. Silence.
“You are so gonna get it!” I yell and lunge at her with a pillow of my own.

Before I know, we have feathers flying everywhere. Maria and I are so busy laughing and having a good time with our pillow fight that we don’t notice another person has entered the room. A throat clears and suddenly we stop all movement.

“Um, am I interrupting something?” Lisa asks as she stands in my doorway. Feathers are still floating around in the air and one lands on the top of her head.
“Lisa!” I giggle and run towards her. “How are you? What are you doing here?”
“Well I was just in the neighborhood and I thought I would stop by. I knocked, but no one answered.”
“Sorry, we were just kinda…” I glance sheepishly at Maria and as if on cue, we start giggling again. “Lisa, this is my best friend Maria. Maria, this is Lisa, Zan’s secretary.”
“Nice to meet you,” Lisa says extending her hand. Maria shakes it and smiles.
“Nice to meet you, too.”
“So what’s up? I haven’t talked to you in a while,” I say to Lisa.
“Nothing much. I just…” Lisa pauses for a second and an unmistakable look of sadness slides across her face. Her lip has begun to tremble and the tears are about to overflow any minute now.
“Lisa, you okay?” I ask even though I know what the answer is.
“No,” she whispers as a tear slides down her face.
“You want to talk about it? Sometimes talking helps,” Maria states gently.

A box of tissue and a gallon of rocky road ice cream later, Maria, Lisa and I are hashing over David, the tragic piece of trash masquerading as a man and the breaker of Lisa’s heart. As it turns out, David broke up with Lisa earlier today and the slime had the nerve to ask if they could remain friends. Men.

“So let me get this straight, Lisa. David called you and broke up with you while you were at work?” Maria asks incredulously. Her spoon is punctuating her every word with quick jabs in the air.
“No,” she sniffles. “He called me and asked me to go to lunch with him. I said yes, of course, and met him at the restaurant, our restaurant.” She pauses and sighs. “I should have known something was wrong when I saw the bastard wearing an Armani suit.”
“What’s so wrong with an Armani suit?” I ask confused.
“He’s a construction worker, Liz. Suits aren’t his thing,” she explains and I nod.
“I bet he’s got a nice butt,” Maria states offhandedly.
“Maria!” I shoot death rays at her and then look at Lisa. “Sorry.”
“Don’t be. That was one of the reasons I hooked up with him,” she giggles. “Anyway, I get to the restaurant and he’s just sitting there looking like someone died. I asked him what was wrong and then he just…he just told me that we couldn’t be together anymore,” she finishes looking down at her hands.
“Wait. He didn’t even have the decency to feed you before he broke up with you? Oh hell no. Not only does he owe you an apology, but he owes you a meal, too!” Maria exclaims.
“It’s true, Liz! Who the hell does he think he is messing up someone’s lunch like that? It’s not right, and I have a good mind to search every construction site I come across until I find him so I can kick his ass!”

I’m about to smack Maria when the sound of Lisa’s giggles stops me. When I look over at her, I see that she has rolled over on her side and is holding her stomach she’s laughing so hard. I glance at Maria and see that she’s holding her hand to her mouth as she chuckles. Pretty soon we’re all laughing and for a moment the pain in Lisa’s blue eyes disappears.

“I just don’t understand what happened,” Lisa states after our giggles have quieted. “I mean one minute I’m with someone I really care about and am having fun with, the next I’m alone.”
“Did he say why he wanted out?” I inquire.
“He said the commitment was too much to handle.” Maria and I shake our heads. “It’s not like I was pushing him to marry me or do something impossible like buy me a unicorn. All I wanted him to do was treat me right and respect me, is that so wrong?” She runs her fingers through her hair and grunts in agitation.
“Not at all, that what men should do to begin with,” Maria replies and I nod. Lisa just sighs again.
“I don’t know. Sometimes I just think…” She glances around the room and then suddenly stands. “Maybe I should just leave. You guys looked like you were having a good time before I showed up, and I’m sorry if I ruined that.” Lisa is walking to the door with her purse in hand when I stop her.
“You didn’t ruin anything and you don’t have to leave. We were just having girls night, and you are more than welcome to stay,” I tell her.
“Besides, you’ve already partaken in three of the four rituals so you might as well stay,” Maria adds.
“Rituals?” Lisa asks with her right eyebrow raised.
“Yeah. Ice cream consumption, crying, and guy talk,” I smile.
“Dare I ask what the fourth ritual is?” she asks with a smile of her own. I look at Maria and grin.
“Makeovers!” we shout simultaneously and Lisa bursts out laughing as I pull her from the door and back towards the bedroom…

After two hours of beautifying ourselves, Lisa, Maria, and I are lying on my living room floor in pajamas having the time of our lives. As it turns out, Lisa is 25 and graduated from Syracuse University a couple of years ago. She wants to go to film school, but is currently working at Morgan Stanley to pay of some school loans. When David broke up with her earlier today she really didn’t have anyone to turn to so she took a chance and went through Zan’s Rolodex to find my address. I bet she had no idea that she would be spending this Friday night with me and my best friend discussing the one subject that seems to be most important in every woman’s life: men.

“So Lisa, what’s your Prince Charming like?” Maria asks. She’s lying on her stomach licking the cream out of an Oreo.
“Prince Charming?” she mumbles while munching on her own cookie.
“Prince Charming is like the perfect guy. If you could create a man, that’s who Prince Charming would be,” I explain.
“For example, my Prince Charming is about 6’2”, nice body. He’s a rebel, but he’s a sweetie underneath the rough exterior. My prince is family oriented, loving, and wildly passionate. I can argue with him and he’ll let me get my way, and basically he just loves me for who I am,” Maria finishes and pops the remainder of the cookie in her mouth.

“Okay, I get it. Let me see,” Lisa replies and takes a moment to think. Prince Charming has definitely got to have a good sense of humor and a definite plan for what he wants to do with his life. He has to be intelligent, caring, and basically able to put up with my womanly moods. I guess I’m looking for a guy who knows how to have a good time, but can be serious when the situation calls for it.”
“What about looks, Lisa?” I question.
“Well as far as looks go I’m really not all that particular. As long as he’s cute in some sort of way, I’m happy. I must admit, I do have a thing for tall thin guys,” she adds thoughtfully. “So how about you, Liz? What’s your Prince Charming like?”

“I think my prince is pretty much beautiful both inside and out. He’s intelligent, compassionate, considerate of me and my feelings, very romantic, and has a wonderful sense of humor. He’ll be accepting of my perfections and faults, and very patient. Um, he’ll have kinda spiky brown hair, beautiful brown eyes, a little facial hair, and will be about 6’2” or 6’3”. He’ll have piercings and tattoos, and the most gorgeous smile you’ve ever seen. He’ll have a wonderful body and…”

I would finish telling Maria and Lisa about my prince, but their wild giggles have silenced me. Lisa has her face buried in her hands and Maria is wiping stray tears from her eyes.

“What is it? What did I say?” I ask curiously.
“You do realize that you just described Zan to a tee, right?” Lisa asks me.

A blush creeps over my cheeks and they begin to laugh at me again. So Zan is my Prince Charming, what’s so wrong with that? I know without a doubt that if Zan was their man, they would think he was Prince Charming, too.

“We don’t mean to laugh, but the look on your face just took the cake,” Maria says giggling.
“What do you mean the look on my face?”
“Liz, you weren’t even here with us. The moment you started talking your eyes glazed over and you went to lala land. For a second, I wasn’t sure if you realized that Maria and I were still in the room,” Lisa finishes laughing.
“Oh,” I say sheepishly and soon I join their laughter. What else can I do? It is kinda funny if you think about it.

“If it makes you feel any better, Alexander does the same thing when he talks about you,” Lisa smiles at me.
“Are you serious?” Maria shrieks.
“As a heart attack. One day, I was coming back from lunch and I just happened to ask him how Liz was doing and I swear as soon as I said her name it was almost like he started salivating or something. He had this dopey little grin on his face, and after about 45 seconds of staring off into space not saying a single word he finally looks at me and goes, ‘My girl is doing fine. She just keeps getting prettier and prettier everyday’ and then just walked into his office smiling,” she chuckles.
“You are such a liar!” I exclaim.
“Not at all! When’s the last time you went to his office, Liz?”
“Not for a while, why?” Lisa looks at Maria and I and laughs.
“Girlfriend, his desk is like a shrine dedicated to you. I kid you not, he has at least 15 pictures of you on that desk, and when he doesn’t think anyone is looking, he kisses them. If I weren’t such a romantic I would call him pathetic. Believe me when I say he’s got it bad for you.”
“Aww Chica, Zan’s got the hots for you,” Maria teases and we all begin to shriek and laugh.

‘I miss you, sweets.’ I gasp at the sound of Zan’s voice in my head and both Lisa and Maria look at me expectantly.

“Be right back,” I say quickly as I run to my room and shut the door. After I collapse on my bed, I open my mind and begin to talk to the love of my life.

‘I miss you, too. Can’t you come any sooner than tomorrow night?’ He chuckles.
‘Afraid not, babe. Just know that I’ll be home as soon as I can.’
‘I can’t believe it’s only been two weeks instead of the year it feels like. If there is a next time, I’m coming with you. Damn school.’ Again he chuckles.
‘I know. I rolled over last night and went to hold you but you weren’t there. I almost bawled like a bitch.’
‘Aww. If it’s any consolation, know that I’m not having an easy time over here either. I was doing laundry last night and came across one of your shirts. Let’s just say that it didn’t get washed.’ I finger that t-shirt and bring it to my nose so I can smell it.
‘Babe, all this will be over tomorrow night, I swear it. When I get home…’
‘What’s gonna happen, huh? Whatcha gonna do when you get home?’ I tease.
‘Let me put it to you like this: Don’t plan on leaving the house for the next four or five days once I get back.’
‘Don’t make threats you don’t intend to keep.’
‘It’s not a threat, it’s a promise.’ God, I love this man.

“Liz, get your butt out here! Don’t make us have to come back there!” Maria shouts from the living room. Damn her.

‘Baby, I gotta go.’
‘But why?’ The mental image of Zan whining just gave me the chills for some reason. I wish he was here now.
‘Maria, Lisa, and I are having Girls Night.’
‘Wait, Lisa as in my secretary Lisa?’
‘The one and only.’
‘How did that happen?’
‘Long story, I’ll tell you when you get home.’
‘Okay. I guess I’ll let you go now.’
‘I love you, Zan. With all my heart. I can’t wait for you to come home.’
‘I can’t wait to come home. Just know that I love you, too, and remember the promise.’
‘I could never forget it. Bye baby, I love you and I’ll see you tomorrow.’
‘I love you, too.’

The connection fades and I make my way back to the living room. Maria and Lisa are sitting together with straight faces, but I can tell they’ve been plotting and laughing about something.

“Hey, Liz, how much longer until Zan gets home?” Maria asks innocently.
“What time is it?”
“Seven hours, twenty five minutes, and about 15 seconds if the plane lands on time.”
“What did I tell you? She’s pathetic and whipped!” Maria yells and Lisa bursts into giggles once again.
“I am not!”
“You are, too!”
“Lisa, what do you think?” She sits up and puts her finger to her chin as if in deep thought.
“I think you are seriously in love with Zan…”
“Thank you,” I say sticking out my tongue at Maria.
“…and that you are definitely whipped,” she smiles. Oh, she’s gonna get it….

“Hey, Liz?” Lisa calls in the darkness. It’s almost 3 in the morning and Maria is sound asleep.
“Thank you for tonight. It’s been a while since I’ve had a girls night.”
“No problem, stop by any time you feel like it,” I smile to the darkness and then close my eyes as I fade into sleep.