I'd just like to apologize profusely to everyone who read this and liked it. I had no idea people were actually going to *read* my story, and I kind of gave up on it way back in December.
Now that life has calmed down a bit, I've gone back to writing and hopefully I'll actually finish this story. Thanks for all the feedback so far, keep it coming!
And now, without further ado, here's part 1a. It's kind of short, so I'll be following with part 2 tonight or tomorrow. Disclaimers and part one can be found viewthread?forum=dreamer-fanfiction&id=33841&sr1=#post33841>here. Enjoy!

Things Fall Apart - Part 1a

“You just want to fuck everything, don’t you, Parker,” I said to her back, wagging my eyebrows at her.

She mumbled something and kept walking. I raised one eyebrow and stood there a moment, fighting myself. Finally, I gave in and rushed up behind her. I grabbed her elbow and threw her angrily against a locker.

Yeah, so I’m not the gentlest guy ever to exist. But she was so fucking blind, and I couldn’t handle it anymore. Max had come to me earlier that day, asking for advice because he’d been fucking around on Liz and didn’t know how to tell her. In case you were wondering, I’d slugged the fucker who I’d known had been screwing my girlfriend, and told him that he didn’t deserve a girl like Liz. Maria he could have, but not Liz. I’d see to that. And against my better judgment, here I was.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” she asked, anger sharpening her features and setting fire to her dark eyes. I closed my eyes a moment and fought the urge to kiss her. When it passed, I spoke.

“Would you just shut up a minute and listen to me?” Oh, God, she was trembling. She was so close… it would only take a few inches… I couldn’t help but stare at her.

“What do you want, Michael?” she asked, snapping me out of my trance.

“Jesus. You’re so goddamned high and mighty that you don’t even see what’s going on right in front of your face. You think that nobody close to you could ever do a thing to mess you up. Well start looking just a little bit past your nose, Parker, because that’s so obviously not true.”

Had I just said that? Shit. I hadn’t meant to tell her all that… I braced myself for the kick in the balls I knew I deserved.

“What are you telling me, Michael?” she asked. Her voice was shaking. She was afraid. I’d scared her. Shit.

“You’ve been betrayed before, Liz,” I told her reluctantly, softening my voice. “Don’t be surprised if it happens again. That’s all I’m saying.” I dropped her arms, and she immediately crossed them over her chest.

“Max,” she said, closing her eyes and beginning
to understand.

I nodded, but she kept her eyes shut tightly. I shook my head and turned around the corner, leaving her standing there looking like she was in such pain. I clenched my jaws and shoved my hands in my pocket, forcing one foot in front of the other. I headed slowly toward my English classroom. When I reached the doorway, I stopped. “Fuck it,” I said. I was not in the mood for English. I turned on my heel and headed home.

I decided to take the long way home, the way that would take me past the Crashdown. I knew Liz wouldn’t be there yet – she’d never skipped a class – but I thought I’d walk past there all the same. When I did stroll casually past, I was surprised to see Liz walking in the doors of the nearly empty café. I hid my face in my hand as she looked out the window, speeding up my pace.

I quickly finished the walk home, sinking onto my couch and clicking on the fan and the TV as soon as I stepped inside my small apartment. I flipped idly through the channels, hoping for something at least mildly interesting. Hell, it didn’t even have to be interesting; it just had to take my mind off of Liz Parker. I settled on an episode of that ridiculous 80’s cop show, Hunter, and closed my eyes against the cool air of the fan as I tried to listen to the aimless dialogue of the two permed-out women on the screen.

There was a bang. A very, very loud bang. I opened my eyes to see Maria standing over me, and closed my eyes again.

“You hit Max Evans?” she asked angrily, turning off my television.

“Yeah,” I said, leaving my eyes closed. I wouldn’t look at Maria if I didn’t have to.

“Why in the hell did you do that?” she shouted.

“I think you know why, DeLuca,” I told her, finally opening my eyes.

“No, actually, I don’t,” she said, crossing her arms defensively in front of her.

“Don’t pull the act, Maria,” I told her. “You’re a terrible liar. Everybody but Liz knows that you two have been fucking around since April. Honestly, I don’t even care anymore. Just go and make it right with Liz,” I told her.

She stood in openmouthed silence.

“You can see yourself out,” I told her, reaching for the remote and turning the television back on.

Maria left in a huff.