posted on 14-Aug-2002 2:05:51 AM
Here are my stories, completed ones of course. The rest are circulation on the board somewhere. Check them out when you get the chance!

Title: Burning
Author: Annie
E-mail: Anniepoo98⊕hotmail.com
Category: AU-historical fic, M/L
Rating: PG
Summary: Set during the Salem Witch Trials. The aliens are still aliens. Max, Michael, and Tess are only children, Liz and Alex are siblings, Maria (Mary) and Isabel are cousins (Isabel was adopted.) Read to find out how the mayhem unfolds….

Part One… Late January, 1692

"Alexander and Elizabeth, get in the house this moment," Joseph Whitman called out to his children in the kitchen. "You know that we are paying a visit to the Hardings. They are new in town, and we wish to make a good impression."
Elizabeth finished covering the pie she had just baked. "We are always suppose to make a good impression. I have to be sweet and demure, saying please and thank you to everyone. I can never say what I really feel."
"I do believe that your tongue must be swollen from your biting it so often," Alexander tormented his sister.
"You are wicked," Elizabeth retorted.
"Elizabeth, that is not new information. Come on. We best get ready before Father thinks we are trying to disobey."
"Alexander, why do we always have to visit new people in town?"
"You know that Father wishes to drum up business for the store. If we make a good impression, people will come to us for the things they need. Besides, why do you dislike doing this so much?"
Elizabeth placed the pie into her basket. "These gatherings are always so dull. Many times initial meetings are awkward and uncomfortable. Not to mention, people who are new in town always seem to hide something."
"Well, aren’t we suspicious," Alexander laughed. "You think that of everyone, even Maxwell Evans. When you first met him, you vowed he had a foreign power."
Elizabeth looked at her brother crossly. "I still do, for I know he healed the twisted ankle I received when I tripped chasing you both."
"I just believe you fancy him. There was no twisted ankle. You wished to be a damsel-in-distress."
"Take that back, Alexander," Elizabeth said as she swatted at her brother. "Or else I will be forced to reveal your feelings towards Isabel McCormick. Mary Deluca already has her suspicions, but I could confirm them."
Alexander started to get a little mad. "You will do nothing of the sort. That is my business only."
"Yet, you do not deny it," Elizabeth teased.
Alexander opened his mouth to speak, but they heard their Father yell again. "We need to be leaving, children. Do not keep me waiting any longer."
Elizabeth called out to her father, "We are coming at this very moment."
"Very well," Joseph sighed. "Elizabeth, you will be very pleased to know that the Hardings have a daughter your age. I believe her name is Theresa."
Elizabeth nodded as she put on her cloak. She hoped her father was right about being pleased, but her intuition was telling her that Theresa Harding would not be a welcomed acquaintance.

Part Two:

As the sleigh pulled up to the Hardings house, Elizabeth took notice of the other sleigh settled in front of it. Alexander leaned over and whispered in his sister’s ear. "It looks as though the Evans are paying a visit to the Hardings as well. Shall I tell Maxwell of your suspicions."
Elizabeth put on a fake smile. "Not if you wish to admire Isabel in secret."
Alexander laughed. "We are a pair, are we not sister."
"We are indeed," Elizabeth said, as her smile became genuine.
The sleigh stopped and Joseph Whitman eased himself down to the ground. He then offered his hand to Elizabeth, who took it even though she didn’t need help off of a sleigh. Alexander fended for himself. And there the three stood for a few seconds, before Joseph knocked on the door.
Edward Harding answered the door a moment later. He was a tall man with a thin frame. Something about him struck Elizabeth as being cold. However, she had plastered a smile on her face and there it stayed.
"Good morning, Mr. Whitman," Edward Harding greeted them.
"Good morning, Mr. Harding," Joseph replied. "I would like to introduce you to my children. This is my eldest, Alexander," he said, as he looked at Alexander. "And this is Elizabeth."
Elizabeth took a step forward and made a little curtsy. "Sweet and demure," she repeated over and over again in her head.
Edward nodded at them, then motioned for them to follow him into the parlor. As they entered, Elizabeth’s eyes immediately fell on Maxwell Evans. He returned her gaze the second she entered the room. It was like a connection had formed between them.
While she would never admit it to her brother, Elizabeth adored Maxwell. He was unlike any other man she knew. Maxwell was kind and gentle in a way she could never understand, but she could read it all in his warm, amber eyes.
Maxwell and the other stood up as the Whitman’s entered the room. Mr. Harding walked over to where two women were standing. Both were of medium height, one with graying-light brown hair and the other with tight blond curls. "This is my wife, Emma Harding, and my daughter, Theresa."
Both ladies curtsied. Elizabeth did as well, before she presented Mrs. Harding with the pie she had baked earlier. "This looks wonderful, my dear," Mrs. Harding said. "Would you like to help Theresa take it to the kitchen."
Elizabeth nodded. "Yes Mrs. Harding."
Theresa took the pie and motioned for Elizabeth to follow her. As soon as they were out of earshot, Theresa began to talk. "So what age are you, Elizabeth?"
"Sixteen," Elizabeth answered.
"So am I," she added. "Do people always call you Elizabeth?"
Elizabeth turned her head to the side as she pondered this question. "Yes, of course. Why do you ask?"
Theresa smiled. "No reason really, it just sounds like you are putting on airs. Most people call me Tess."
Elizabeth was taken back by Theresa’s forwardness. "I am not putting on airs," she thought to herself. "How dare she accuse me of that when she does not even know me." She could feel her face getting redder by the second.
Obviously, Theresa could see that what she had said effect Elizabeth. "Did I offend you," she asked, sweetly.
"No," Elizabeth bit her tongue. "Not at all. I was just not expecting that question. So what is your opinion of Salem so far?"
"I do not know yet," she replied. "We have only been in town a week. The people here do seem very nice. I particularly like Mr. Maxwell Evans. He is quite handsome. Has he formed any attachments that you know of?"
Again, the abruptness of Theresa Harding shocked Elizabeth. "How can she ask me such questions when she hardly knows Maxwell or I," Elizabeth thought.
"Did you hear my question," Theresa asked.
"I am sorry, Theresa…," Elizabeth began, but was cut off.
"Please, it is Tess."
"Tess," she continued. "I do not think it is proper to gossip about other people’s affairs."
Theresa lost the smile on her face. "You have never gossiped?"
Elizabeth shook her head. "Never in my life."
"Pity," Theresa rebuked.
Just then, Alexander and Maxwell entered the room. "Elizabeth, Father wishes to stay here to discuss business with Mr. Harding and Mr. Evans," Alexander informed her. "However, I know that we have chores at home, and Maxwell has been kind enough to offer us a ride."
Elizabeth turned to Maxwell. "That is very kind of you, Maxwell. Are we to go now?"
"Yes," Maxwell answered softly. "If that it fine with you?"
Elizabeth smiled. "Perfectly fine." She turned her attention back to Theresa. "It was very nice to meet you, Theresa. I hope to see you around Salem."
Theresa curtsied. "Good day to you all."

Part Three…

The sleigh ride home was a pleasant one. Elizabeth listened to her brother and Maxwell discussed the happenings in the parlor after she left. Elizabeth wasn’t as interested in the business aspect of the conversation as she was in hearing Maxwell’s voice. She felt as though she could listen to the deep, rich tones that escaped his throat every second of the day. However, Alexander snapped her out of her daydream.
"So what is your opinion of Theresa Harding?"
"She is very talkative," Elizabeth said, trying not to sound harsh.
"Is that a good or bad characteristic," Alexander pried.
"In her situation, I believe it does her more harm than good," Maxwell added to the conversation.
Both Alexander and Elizabeth were shocked at his words. Elizabeth had never heard him speak against anyone, but secretly she was glad that he shared her opinion on Theresa Harding. "What do you mean, Maxwell," Alexander asked.
"Well, before you arrived, Theresa Harding had engaged in a conversation with me. Many of the subjects boarded on gossiping, and I have no tolerance for gossiping. I believe no good can come of it."
Elizabeth smiled widely in spite of herself. She was truly glad to hear those words coming out of Maxwell’s mouth. Mouth…her thoughts lingered a little to long on pondering what those lips must feel like. She was soon jolted from her reverie by the sleigh stopping in front of her house.
Before Alexander could get down, Maxwell was on the ground and helping Elizabeth out. She smiled as he took her hand. "Thank you, Maxwell. It was very good of you to offer us a ride home."
"The pleasure was mine, Elizabeth. Good day." With that, he had climbed back up and was on his way.
"If you have no feelings for Maxwell Evans, why do you blush when he address you," Alexander teased.
"Torment me all you like, Alexander. I am just glad that Maxwell and I share an opinion on one thing."
"And that would be what, dear sister?"
"Theresa Harding. Her conversation with me was quite unconventional and uncouth. She implied that I was putting on airs with my name."
Alexander raised an eyebrow. "Really? Do you think she meant it?"
"I have no doubt," Elizabeth replied.

Part Four…

After sermon the next day, Elizabeth caught up with her two closest friends in the whole of Salem, Mary Deluca and Isabel McCormick. Mary and Isabel were cousins. Often times, outsiders mistook them for sisters.
"I hear that you have met the Hardings," Mary announced.
"I have," Elizabeth announced.
"Well, I hear they have a daughter of our age. Did you make her acquaintance?"
Elizabeth nodded. "I did."
Mary began to pry. "And what was your opinion of her?"
"Patience is a virtue, Mary," Isabel scolded. "You often border on gossip when you talk."
"This is not gossip, simply a quest for knowledge," Mary retorted. "Will you not tell us what you thought of her?"
Elizabeth smiled. "All I can say is that I want for no other friends than you both, especially when it comes to the likes of Theresa Harding."
"Then, obviously your opinion of her is not high," Isabel pointed out.
"Not truly," Elizabeth admitted. "However, do not let my words effect your judgment of her. I might be wrong, and if I influence you in anyway, I would be very wicked indeed."
"You could never be wicked," a voice said from behind them.
All three girls turned around. Standing behind them was Maxwell, Alexander, and Michael Guerin. Maxwell smiled as he looked at Elizabeth. She returned his gaze as her cheeks flushed. "Alexander would surely scold me if he witnessed that," Elizabeth thought. "However, he is paying attention to Isabel more than any other creature."
"Good day, Isabel," Alexander said.
"Good day, Alexander," she replied.
"How are you enjoying the weather," he asked.
"It is very cold this time of year," Isabel told him, trying to keep from smiling.
"Do all of your conversations consist of this simple chatter," Michael interrupted.
Mary grew ridged. Elizabeth knew the only person who could provoke Mary’s temper was Michael Guerin. He had since they attended school.
"Where do they teach manners like yours, Mr. Guerin," Mary vexed. "In a barn."
Michael’s smile grew slightly. "No milady. They teach them right here in Salem town square."
Mary’s frown grew more profound. "If it wasn’t unchristian to say the words, I would tell you right now where you could put those manners."
Michael went to provoke her further, but Maxwell stopped him. "So did you enjoy the sermon today?"
"Yes," Elizabeth replied. "Reverend Parris makes very good sermons. However, I hear that his daughter is still not feeling well."
"It is true for they say she is very ill in spirit," Maxwell added.
"But I do believe I saw her in the church today," Mary informed them.
Isabel collaborated what Mary said. "I saw her being introduced to the Hardings. Reverend Parris surely invited them to dinner. He does with most new families."
"They say that Abigail Williams is showing signs of the sickness too," Alexander told them.
"I believe that they should be in our prayers," Michael voiced, quite to the surprise of the others.
Mary saw her chance to get back at him for earlier. "Do you even know how to pray?"

Part Five… Mid-February, 1962

As January came to a close, and February began, more trouble seemed to fall on Salem. Many other girls fell ill, including Ann Putnam and Mary Wolcott. Elizabeth, Mary and Isabel often found themselves discussing the strange illness of the other girls.
"I have heard they cry out in pain," Mary exclaimed, as the three of the sat in Elizabeth’s parlor one day.
"I heard that Reverend Parris and his wife are besides themselves with worry," Isabel added.
"Well, that is natural," Elizabeth said calmly.
Mary looked at her. "Are you not worried?"
"No," Elizabeth.
"And why not," Isabel asked. "Is there something you are keeping from us."
Elizabeth smiled. "I have kept nothing from you two. You are my best friends and I would never keep secrets from you. I was just thinking about the girl’s predicament. We all know that Ann Putnam and Mary Wolcott are much older than Betty and Abigail."
Isabel looked confused. "Yes, but what does that mean?"
"I’m just saying that the girls rarely had interaction, so how could they all have the same sickness?"
"What are you implying, Elizabeth," Mary asked.
"Only that I feel the girls are all pretending to be sick," Elizabeth stated. "It brings them attention."
Mary began to laugh. "Alexander was right. You are always suspicious. I remember the time you accused Maxwell Evans of having a strange power."
Isabel grew very pale. "Could we talk about something else? All of this talk on illness and powers upsets me. It is almost unchristian."
Elizabeth looked at Isabel with concern. "That is fine with me. Are you feeling all right, Isabel?"
"I’m fine," Isabel said, trying to shrug off her earlier reaction.
"Are you sure," Mary inquired. "You grew awfully pale, cousin."
"You know how the cold weather affects me," Isabel replied. "I just hope the weather warms up a bit."
Alexander picked this moment to walk in. "Did I hear the you are cold, Isabel? Would you like a wrap?"
Isabel bit her lip to try to keep from laughing. She knew he liked her. She could tell that by his dreams, but she could not let anyone know she knew. "That would be very nice, Alexander. How kind of you."
Alexander rushed out of the room to find a wrap. As soon as he left, the three girls burst out into giggles.

Part Six…

Isabel could not get what Elizabeth and Mary had said earlier out of her head. She remembered the first time Elizabeth had mentioned her suspicions about Maxwell. Isabel nearly passed out. She had always known she was different, but she never thought there were others like her.
The McCormick’s found Isabel when she was less than a month old. Her parents had abandoned her in a little shack on the edge of the McCormick’s property. They had no children, so they took Isabel in and raised her as their own child. She was six when she realized she had powers. She kept her difference a secret from everyone, including Mary and Elizabeth.
However, Maxwell was different too. He had powers similar to hers. So did Michael Guerin. As far as any of them could figure out, their parents had these powers and they had passed it on to them. In fact, Isabel considered Maxwell and Michael to be like her brothers. For the past five years, they would meet in secret to share any news they found or changes in their powers.
With all that was going on, Isabel was truly happy that they were meeting tonight. She waited until the McCormick’s were asleep, then slipped out the back door. With her cloak raised, she headed to the same shack where she was left. That was where they always met. By the time she arrived, Maxwell and Michael were waiting.
"What took you so long, Isabel," Michael asked.
"Mr. and Mrs. McCormick were awhile talking in the parlor," Isabel answered as she shook some snow off her cloak. "I am sorry it took me so long."
"That is no problem," Maxwell told her. "We were just a bit worried."
Isabel smiled at him. She knew that Maxwell was very protective, but it still amazed her how much he worried. "You should not worry so. I fear it will do you harm."
Michael snorted. "Maxwell lives to worry, whether it be about you or a certain Elizabeth Whitman."
"Hold your tongue," Maxwell snapped. "She has nothing to do with our meetings."
Isabel decided to speak up. "Actually, tonight she does. She once again mentioned you healing her ankle. Well, in truth, Mary brought it up, but she does not believe a word of it."
Michael’s ears perked up at the mentioning of Mary’s name. Maxwell smiled when he saw that, but he turned his attentions back to the matter at hand. "It has been over five years since that incident. I thought she had forgot about it."
"Well, it is apparent that she did not," Michael voiced. "Why did you have to heal her in the first place. It was just a sprained ankle. It was not as if her life depended on your healing her. Our rules clearly say that we cannot use our powers in front of anyone. It is too dangerous."
Maxwell glared at Michael. "I healed her before those rules were made. But I would do it again if it would keep her from pain. Someday, people will find out about us."
When he heard this, Michael looked as if he were ready to fight Maxwell. However, Isabel stepped in. She could vow that she heard noises from outside the little shack. "I beg of you both to be quiet. I know I heard something moving outside."
Just then, the door to the shack swung open. Before them stood Theresa Harding. Isabel did not know what to do first. She was caught in an awkward predicament. She was alone with two men in a shack during the middle of the night. Her reputation would be ruined.
Theresa just stood there, grinning. Michael decided to break the silence. "Theresa, what are you doing out wandering at this time of the night?"
"I could ask the same thing of you three," Theresa said slyly.
This angered Michael, not that it took much to do that. He walked over to her and pulled the door shut. "What is it that you want, Theresa," he demanded.
"Only to reveal myself to others of my kind."
Maxwell was confused. Did she know their secret? "What are you referring to?"
"We are different from other people. I know you have noticed. The three of you possess alien powers like mine."
Isabel managed to focus on one word. "Alien?"
Theresa nodded her head. "Yes, we are not from around here." Then, she pointed up. "The stars housed our true home."
Maxwell could not believe the words that where falling upon his ears. "We are not human," he stated dryly, as though all the moisture in his throat evaporated. "But you refer to our actual home in the past tense. Why is that?"
Theresa grew silent. "It is no longer there, that is why were are here."
Michael did not believe anything he was hearing. He looked at Maxwell and Isabel, who seemed to accept what Theresa was saying. "How do we know this is fact," he asked them.
Theresa looked at him harshly. "My father and mother were part of the group to bring us here. They have told me everything. The four of us are meant to carry on our breed. That is our purpose. We shall marry each other…"
Maxwell cut her off. "That is not possible. Isabel is like my own sister. Besides, I could never marry anyone that I did not love."
Isabel decided to chime in. "Maxwell is right. We can have different lives than what was planned for us."
"I agree," Michael added.
"I know of whom you three are thinking of," Theresa said, her words seething with anger. "What do you think Alexander, Mary, and Elizabeth will think of you after finding out your secret. Do you think that they will love you in return?"
Maxwell was quite past the point of listening to Theresa. "Please leave us," he asked as nicely as he could.
However, Theresa was not fooled. She focused her gaze directly at Maxwell. "We are meant for each other. You will do well to remember that." Having said that, she turned and made her way into the night.
Michael, Isabel, and Maxwell watched her leave, trying to work through the numbness her news had brought them.

Part Seven…

Alexander sat in a chair, pondering Isabel’s strange actions as of late. Elizabeth mentioned Isabel growing pale the day before, and just that morning, she pretended not to see him when he waved to her. He was sure that she could not have missed him, and it was more like she was refusing to wave back. That was not like Isabel at all.
As he sat there, Elizabeth and Mary walked in. Mary looked like she had been crying a great deal. Alexander stood up and walked over to them. "Good heavens, Mary. What ever is the matter?"
Mary stifled a sob, and looked at him. "Isabel and I had a disagreement."
"Over what," Alexander inquired.
Elizabeth guided Mary over to the sofa, and Alexander took his seat back in the chair. Mary took a deep breath, then began her story.
"I went over to the McCormick’s this morning for Isabel and I wanted to look at something in the store. However, when I arrived, Isabel was nowhere to be found. Mrs. McCormick said that she left earlier and had not been back since."
Alexander nodded. "Yes, I saw her walking in town this morning, but she would not wave to me."
"So you think she has been acting oddly too," Elizabeth asked.
"I am sure of it," Alexander agreed. "I just wonder what is the matter with her."
Mary cleared her throat, turning Elizabeth and Alexander’s attention back to her. "Like I was saying, Isabel was not at her house, so I went off to find her. Finally, I saw her on the street, and you will never guess with whom she was speaking."
Elizabeth thought for a moment, and decided she had no answer. "To whom was she speaking?"
"Maxwell Evans and Michael Guerin. Well, I walked over to them, intending fully on finding out what was going on. However, the second I reached them, Isabel told me to leave them be. Of course, my temper got the better of me and I was cross with her. I belittled her for forgetting to meet me. That is when Theresa Harding came over to us. The second Isabel saw her, she walked away." Mary paused for a second. "Coming to think of it, Maxwell and Michael bid farewell fairly quickly too. Theresa didn’t seem pleased."
Elizabeth let out a little breath of relief. She could not even imagine Maxwell associating himself with Theresa Harding, especially after their first meeting. Yet, when Mary mentioned that Theresa approached them, Elizabeth felt a sharp pang. She wanted to scold herself for being jealous, but she could not bring herself to do it. Something deep inside her soul told her she was meant to be with Maxwell Evans, and she prayed to God that it was true.
Alexander, on the other hand, was clearly very jealous and had absolutely no intention of hiding it. The second Mary finished her telling of that day’s events, Alexander began to riddle her with questions.
"Did it seem like she was intimate with one of them?"
Mary shook her head. "No. It looked more like they were discussing a problem."
"Well, was there any indication of what that problem was," he inquired.
"Not that I could tell," Mary said softly. "I was quite upset after all."
"Are you sure there is nothing more to tell."
Mary looked at Elizabeth, then to Alexander, and back to Elizabeth. She could feel her bottom lip begin to quiver uncontrollably. Soon her sobs had returned. Elizabeth gave Alexander a quick harsh look before turning her attention to her crying friend.
Alexander immediately felt bad for upsetting Mary further. "I am sorry Mary. I did not mean to make you cry. I am just worried for them, for Isabel. Her behavior has been so strange lately."
"I am her cousin," Mary said between her sobs. "Do you think that I have not noticed her actions. I am just as worried as you."
Just then, there was a knock at the front door. Elizabeth reluctantly left the room to answer it. Moments later, she returned with Maxwell following close behind her. Both Alexander and Mary quickly stood up, surprised at his visit.
"What is the matter," Elizabeth asked, as soon as they were in the room.
Maxwell took a second to catch his breath. "Doctor Griggs has examined the girls who claim to be ill."
"What is the diagnosis," Alexander pried.
Maxwell looked at each one of their faces, lingering the longest on Elizabeth’s. "He believes that the girls are bewitched, tormented by specters sent from the devil."
Mary dropped to the sofa and Elizabeth slowly sat down next to her. Alexander just stood still in shock. "What are they intending to do," he finally asked.
Maxwell looked down. "To find the ones conjuring the spirits. A witch hunt."
But that was not all there was to it, and Elizabeth knew it. She had been looking in his eyes the entire time he spoke. Those deep pools of amber could not hide the fact that there was something else troubling him. "You have more to say, Maxwell."
This came out more as a statement than a question. Maxwell returned Elizabeth’s intense gaze. "Theresa Harding says that she is being tormented as well."

posted on 14-Aug-2002 2:07:53 AM
Part Eight…

Isabel paced the length of her room for the fifth time that minute. Her nerves were shot, and she just did not know what to do with herself. She came right home after her argument with Mary and encounter with Theresa. An hour and a half later, Michael knock on the door. Isabel was quite shocked to see him, for he had never visited her home before.
Immediately, she could tell that Michael was upset. She led him to the parlor, but he refused to sit down. Then, he told her about doctor’s diagnosis. Isabel could have passed away from shock right there. Michael further explained that Theresa was now claiming to be ill. She had begun to cry out in Salem Square as soon as Mary had left her.
It did not require a lot of thought to figure out what Theresa’s plan was. As Isabel figured, Maxwell’s first thought was to find Elizabeth. He had left Michael the second he heard the news. Michael went to her house.
However, Isabel was now alone. Alone with this life altering news. She knew that they all were in danger, but how. Theresa was new, and she did not hold much status in the community. Yet, deep down she had a bad feeling, and she was praying they would be safe.
A knock answered her prayers. Isabel walked to the threshold and opened the door. Standing before her was Alexander.
"May I enter," he asked.
Isabel nodded and moved so he could pass. As soon as the door was shut, Alexander started to scold her. "Do you know that Mary was in tears over the way you treated her. She was very distraught after the quarrel. How could you do that to her? She is your cousin, your kin, your blood."
Isabel just stood there. She had never seen Alexander so upset, especially not at her. She could not take that right now. The tears began to flow.
Alexander saw that she was crying about what he said to her. He felt like he could not have been more hurt than if someone had plunged a dagger into his heart. "I am sorry for being so cross, Isabel. I am just worried about you."
Isabel looked into his eyes. Before either of them knew what was happening, Isabel flung her arms around Alexander. She held on to him like her life depended on it. For all she knew, at that moment it did.
Alexander wrapped his arms around her and held her tight. Softly, he whispered in her ear, "Everything will be fine, my love." Then he paused. He could not believe those words came out of his mouth. They were true, but he could not believe he said them. There might be a chance she did not hear them.
He had no such luck. Isabel slowly drew away, focusing her eyes intently on his. "My love," she said, quite unsure. She not only heard the words, but felt them as well. Isabel knew Alexander was telling the truth, and she felt the same way about him.
Alexander read that in her eyes. The boldness of his next action surprised him. He brought his hand to her face and gently brushed away a tear with his thumb. Allowing the hand to linger there, he caressed her cheek. Then, he leaned in and lightly brushed his lips against her. Isabel let out a soft sigh, enticing him to do it again.
A moment later, Isabel pulled away. Laying her head against his chest, Isabel closed her eyes and uttered the words she had always wanted to say. "I love you, Alexander."
"I love you too, Isabel," he whispered back.

Part Nine…

Upon hearing Maxwell’s news, Alexander ran off to find Isabel. Mary also left. Elizabeth suspected that she wanted to be alone. Mary and Isabel had never argued before. Mary most likely needed time to sort out her feelings. This left Elizabeth alone in the parlor with Maxwell.
"I was good of you to tell us the news," Elizabeth said as she assessed her situation. She knew it was not prudent to be with Maxwell without a chaperon, but it felt so right to her.
"I had to know that you were okay," Maxwell said, half-scared and half-angry.
The tone in this voice was unlike anything Elizabeth had heard from him. "Maxwell, what is the matter? The tone of your voice scares me. What are you hiding?"
Maxwell looked at her. "What makes you think I am hiding anything?"
"I can see it in your eyes," Elizabeth said, simply.
Maxwell found himself being drawn closer to Elizabeth by the second. He knew that every moment he spent with her only brought her closer to danger. However, he could never imagine his life without her. "I am far to selfish," he whispered.
Elizabeth was taken back. She had no idea where Maxwell would have gotten an idea like that. She took a step closer to him, reached out, and touched his cheek. She felt him shudder slightly at her touch. "You could never be selfish, Maxwell."
"Elizabeth, you have no idea how selfish I am. Just by being here, I have put you in danger. Yet, I have no want to leave."
Elizabeth closed the distance between them. Before she thought twice, her arms were around Maxwell. He pulled her closer, into a fierce hug, resting his head in the crook of her neck. The contact between them was enough to start the connection. He cut it off quickly, but he knew she felt it.
"What was that," Elizabeth asked, timidly.
Maxwell did not know what to do. He hated keeping a secret from Elizabeth and he could never lie to her, so he decided to leave. Maxwell picked up his hat, but before he made his way to the door, Elizabeth grabbed his arm. "Please do not keep secrets from me," she pleaded.
He despised himself for causing that tone in her voice. She should never be made to feel that way. Yet, he had no choice. Maxwell could not even look her in the eyes. "I do not wish to have this secret, Elizabeth. But I cannot tell you. You mean too much to me." With that, he left.
Elizabeth stood at the door. She wished to rush out after him, but she was not wearing a cloak. So she watched him walk away. "I will not leave it like this," she vowed to the winter wind that howled at her.

Part Ten…

After hearing what Maxwell said, Mary desperately needed to be alone. She left Elizabeth’s house and began to wander the streets of Salem alone. The cold February wind blew around her. Mary’s tears were practically freezing to her face, but she didn’t notice.
In fact, all Mary was thinking about was the events of that day. Isabel’s strange behavior and the announcement that girls were becoming bewitched. Mary had a feeling deep down within her soul that the two were connect, but she did not know how. Mary cried even harder because she could not find an answer to the question. She cried because she longed to help Isabel, yet did not know how.
The tears forming in her eyes made it almost impossible for her to see. She could not see the person walking towards her, not until it was to late. They ran straight into one another, knocking Mary on to the snow-covered street.
"Do you not look where you are going," a gruff voice mumbled.
Mary’s ears identified the voice right away. It was Michael Guerin. "I should have known it was you," she said, attempting to hide her sobs.
"Mary," Michael questioned. "Is that you?"
Softly, Mary spoke. "Yes." She could not believe the day she was having. This was completely the last straw. Her body began to shake uncontrollably. She could not tell whether it was from the cold or her emotions.
Michael noticed that Mary was shaking. He was starting to worry about her. "Mary, are you all right?"
"No," Mary said between convulsions. She could not stop her shaking. She tried to get up, but it was no use. Actually, it made her lightheaded. Before she fell back to the ground, Michael caught her.
"I have you," he whispered as he held her in his arms. "I need to get you home."
Mary nodded for she could no longer form words. She had known Michael Guerin most of her life, yet she had never seen this side to him. It was like warmth was coming from him, warmth that actually seemed to take away the cold.
He knew it was a bad idea, but she was freezing to the touch, so Michael used a little of his power to warm her. After a minute or two, some color came back to her paled cheeks. "Are you feeling better," he asked as they were nearing her house.
"Yes," Mary said as she gave him a small smile. "Thank you. You did not have to help me."
"Well, what was suppose to do…let you freeze," he teased.
"I would not have put it past you," she said, then she paused. "At least, before."
"Never," he said, realizing how nice it was to have her in his arms. "If anything happened to you, who would I torment?"
Mary gave a little laugh. It was then that she noticed that they were close to her house. However, Mary did not want to be separated from Michael so soon. The warmth of his arms was so amazing, she shuddered at the thought of being with out it. "Where did that come from," she asked herself. "You have to stop this. It is imprudent to think this way. Besides, you have more important matters to think about."
Mary pulled away, walked a step ahead, and then turned around. "It was very good of you to help me, Michael. I won’t forget it."
Michael shook slightly when she left his side. It was like he was cold without her. "It was no problem, Mary. I hope that you feel better by the morning."
Mary sighed as she reached her door. "I hope so too."

Part Eleven… February 29, 1692

The new snow crunched under her feet as Elizabeth made her way to the cemetery. This day depressed her above all others. She searched throughout the markers and monuments until she found the one she was looking for. Lovingly, she reached out and traced the letters etched into the cold stone.

Norah Ann Whitman
1658-1686
Wife and Mother

It was on this day, six years ago, that Elizabeth lost her mother. She was only ten and Alexander was almost twelve. Ever since, Elizabeth visited her marker to show that she remembered what a wonderful person her mother was.
After spending a few quiet moments, Elizabeth left the cemetery and headed in towards town. It wasn’t long before she could see the crowd that had gathered in the town square. Elizabeth managed to find someone she recognized, Mary Deluca.
"What is all the commotion about," Elizabeth asked as she pulled Mary aside.
Mary shook her head in disapproval. "They have issued warrants to arrest Sarah Good, Sarah Osborne, and Tituba the slave."
Elizabeth covered her mouth with her hand. "On what charges," she gasped.
"Witchcraft. The afflicted girls are saying that it is these women that are hexing them."
"What evidence do they have that this is true," Elizabeth asked.
Mary looked down at the snow. "Only the word of the girls."
Elizabeth wanted to run, shout, or fight. Just anything but standing there. Mary seemed to sense this. "Would you accompany me to my house? We can talk along the way."
Elizabeth nodded, for she did not trust her ability to form the right words at the time. Mary decided she would start the conversation. "So, have you talked to Maxwell since he informed us of the diagnosis?"
"No," Elizabeth whispered. "He has been avoiding me. It always seems like wants to talk to me, but when I start to approach him, he moves away."
"Well, it seems to be just the opposite between Michael and I," Mary said, grinning slightly. "He has taken it upon himself to escort me home a few times now. We manage to begin the usual banter just before we arrive at my house."
"And I know that you enjoy every moment, Mary," Elizabeth teased. "Otherwise, you would not smile so."
"I have to admit I do, for I could never lie to you."
"Since we are on the subject, have you spoken any further with Isabel," Elizabeth asked. Lately, the only time she had seen her friend or heard of her was through Alexander.
Mary’s smile faded at the question. "Not really. She apologized to me about our argument, but she seldom comes around to visit. Whenever I go to see her, she is either too busy or not there at all."
Elizabeth felt bad for her friend. "I am sorry to hear it. We all suspect that she and Alexander have an attachment, maybe that could have something to do with her behavior."
Mary looked sideways at Elizabeth. "You do not believe that anymore than I do. I have my theories, but I do not have any way of proving or disproving them."
"We will discuss them and I will help you, for I am worried about them too."
"Them," Mary asked with one of her eyebrows raised.
"Isabel and Maxwell, maybe even Michael. Their behavior has been odd lately," Elizabeth explained.
"I think that your main concern is with Maxwell," Mary teased. "I know you feel affection towards him."
Elizabeth smiled at her friend. "I shall not deny it. I have feelings for him, but his secretive manner as of late frustrates me to no end. I pray that he will confide in me or that I may stumble upon what he is hiding."
"How do you know that his secret is not something could diminish your affections towards him."
Elizabeth smiled. "I know."
The two girls continued on, until they reached Mary’s home. However, they did not notice the curly-haired blond that had followed them for most of their trip. "I will not allow any of you humans to find out our secret," Theresa mumbled under her breath. "It would be better for you to mind your own business and leave us be. In fact, it would be best for everyone."

Part Twelve… March 1, 1692

The Salem courthouse was packed with spectators wishing to see the accused witches being questioned. Theresa Harding sat with the group of afflicted girls toward the front of the room. Maxwell glared at her from his standing point on the left of the room. Michael stood by Maxwell, but he was watching Mary more than anyone else. Isabel, Alexander, Elizabeth, and Mary had managed to find a place to sit near the front of the room. Everyone was waiting in anticipation for the questioning to begin.
When Magistrates John Hawthorne and Jonathan Corwin entered the room, an unnerving hush fell over the crowd. "Bring in the accused," Magistrate Hawthorne ordered.
Sarah Osborne, Sarah Goode, and Tituba were all led into the room. Magistrate Corwin first recognized Tituba. "You have confessed to the crime of witchcraft, have you not?"
Tituba raised her voice enough for everyone in the room to hear. "Yes sir. I hava been practice’n the dark arts, buta de devil made me."
The word laced with the thick accent fell on Elizabeth’s ears. She cringed when she heard the confession. It pained her to hear people giving so much credit to the lies of girls.
Maxwell noticed how pale Elizabeth grew. He wanted to go to her desperately, gather her in his arms, and take her away from all of this. But the would be foolishness. He, Michael, and Isabel could do nothing to draw attention to themselves or they might risk getting accused. Especially with Theresa being among the accusers. He knew she had only evil motives behind her plans.
The second person to be questioned was Sarah Osborne. The second she claimed her innocence, all the afflicted girls cried out like they were in pain. "She pinches me," Theresa cried. "She wants me to sign the Devil’s book."
"You probably have already," Michael mumbled under his breath. He agreed with Maxwell. Theresa was up to no good. She had even threaten Mary, Elizabeth, and Alexander. He would never let any harm fall upon Mary. He did not know what it was about her, but he knew could not be without her.
After more than an hour of roundabout questioning, the Magistrates declared that Sarah Osborne was working with the Devil against the afflicted girls. The girls looked satisfied at their triumph. Elizabeth just stood up. She could not hear anymore of the lies. Both Theresa and Maxwell looked directly at her.
Theresa smiled wickedly. Elizabeth was playing into her plans very nicely. The more and more Elizabeth showed her discontent for the situation in Salem, the easier target she would be.
However, Theresa’s happiness was short live because she saw Maxwell follow Elizabeth out of the courtroom. Elizabeth ran directly outside without caring if anyone noticed her actions. The sharp cold wind stung her face as she pulled her cloak tightly around her. She could no longer be apart of what was going on inside the courthouse. They had decided to try an innocent woman and forced another to confess.
Maxwell saw her draw her cloak tight around her body. "Elizabeth, are you feeling well," he asked softly.
Elizabeth turned around to face him, strands of her hair blowing out of her bonnet. Maxwell felt his breath catch in his throat. She was just so beautiful.
"What concern is it of yours," Elizabeth asked angrily. She was still hurt that he would not confide in her. "You keep secrets from me."
"I do not want to have secrets from you, Elizabeth," Maxwell said, nearly crying. "I never wanted to hurt you, just protect you."
Elizabeth walked closer to him. "What is there to protect me from," she asked.
"My past," Maxwell told her, as he glanced at his shoes. The tears that had formed in his eyes began to roll down his cheeks. "My secrets could put you in harm’s way. You might despise me for them."
Elizabeth reached out and wiped away some of his tears. "I could never despise you, Maxwell. I care about you too much. I just despise that your secrets cause you pain and I am powerless to stop it. Please confide in me."
Maxwell turned his head and kissed her palm. The simple touch of his lips sent shivers down her spine. Maxwell knew that he could not keep his secret much longer. He did not want to. "Soon," he whispered with his lips still grazing her palm. "I promise."

Part Thirteen… March 8, 1692

Theresa glanced around the room at the other girls. The Magistrates had called them to the courthouse that day to name their other tormentors. They all knew that the Magistrates thought the madness would end when the first three named were brought to "justice," but the girls had other plans. They were not ready to stop. Neither was Theresa. They were having too much fun with their newfound power.
However, so of the younger girls were having second thoughts. Theresa decided to use her alien power to convince them not to back out. Yes, having the ability to make people see what was not there could be very useful sometimes.
Now, the girls were having a hard time thinking of whom to name next. Pamela Troy wished to name Martha Cory and Ann Putnam wished to name Martha’s husband, Giles. Theresa had other wishes.
"We need to pronounce a name that will strike fear into the hearts of all Salem townsfolk. A name that is usually associated with goodness and reverence, but who is truly wicked in her soul," Theresa announced to the group.
"And whom would that be," Ann asked bitterly. Until Theresa cried out, Ann had held much of the power within the group. Now, Ann seemed to be against anything Theresa said.
"I believe that we should name Elizabeth Whitman," Theresa pronounced.
Mercy Lewis jumped out of her seat. "We cannot do that Theresa. Her father is well known in this town. She, herself, is held in high regard with many people. If we name her, there will surely be an uprising against it."
"I believe Mercy is right. People will never believe that Elizabeth Whitman is a witch. We have to discuss the ramifications of naming someone of the high a social standing," Ann agreed.
Theresa glared at them all in anger. "She walked out of the courtroom during the examination. Tell me that is not strange."
Theresa then turned to Betty Parris. Her mind tricks seemed to work best on her. Seeing as how she was the start of the whole situation, if Theresa convinced Betty, the other girls would fall in line soon enough. "Betty, I know you have been tormented by a specter with long, dark brown hair and dark evil eyes. Have you not."
Betty shivered as Theresa addressed her. "Y-yes," she stuttered meekly.
Ann listened to this, but decided to put her foot down. She stared directly at Theresa. "We will wait on accusing Elizabeth Whitman. If she continues to act strangely, she will have brought it down upon herself. However, until then, we will wait."
Theresa met Ann’s gaze. She realized it would be ridiculous to argue the point now. Yet, it would not be long before the other girls saw Elizabeth as evil. She would make sure of that. With Elizabeth accused, Maxwell would have to agree to marry Theresa and Michael would marry Isabel, especially if they did not want any harm to come to the others. "Soon," Theresa thought to herself. "Very soon indeed."

Part Fourteen… Later that day

Elizabeth rushed down the streets of Salem towards Isabel’s house. She was in high spirits that day. The sun was out and snow was beginning to melt. She was on her way to see one of her closest friends in the world, which she had not spent much time with in the past few weeks. But the thing that was making Elizabeth the happiest was Maxwell Evans was no longer avoiding her.
Speaking of Maxwell Evans, Elizabeth spotted him directly in front of her. "Good morning Maxwell," she called out to him.
Maxwell stopped, turned around, and smiled when he saw her. "Good morning to you to Elizabeth. Where are you off to this morning," he asked.
"To the McCormick’s. Isabel asked me to pay her a visit," Elizabeth replied.
"How strange," Maxwell said. "For that is where I am going as well." He was trying not to give away the fact that he knew why Isabel had asked Elizabeth to go to her house. He, Michael, and Isabel decided it was time to reveal their secret. Well, Isabel and Maxwell thought it was time, Michael had just given up fighting against them.
Maxwell remembered their last meeting. It was the night after the first examinations. Isabel confided in them that Alexander had asked for her hand in marriage. She desperately wanted to say yes, but she could not do that without telling their secret. Maxwell agreed with Isabel. They could not keep their secret forever. He wanted to tell Elizabeth.
Yet, Michael was reluctant to agree. He brought up what might happen if the told people about what they were. Maxwell and Isabel argued that Alexander, Elizabeth, and even Mary were different from other people. Isabel wanted to set things right with Mary. Their friendship had been on rocky ground since the argument, and this was the main reason why. Michael lightened up on the idea when Mary’s name was mentioned. They knew how much he liked her.
Maxwell reached out for Elizabeth’s hand. Elizabeth blushed as she took his. Together, they continued on towards Isabel’s house. When they passed the courthouse, they bumped into Ann Putnam.
Ann eyed Elizabeth intently before she spoke. "Good morning Elizabeth, Maxwell."
"Good morning," they replied in unison. "How are you feeling," Elizabeth asked, plastering a smile on her face.
"I am feeling as well as could be expected," Ann told her without looking away. "Elizabeth, may I speak with you for a moment."
Elizabeth was reluctant to say yes, but she felt Maxwell giving her hand a reassuring squeeze. She smiled at him before letting go of his hand and walking towards Ann. Ann could not help but notice how close Elizabeth and Maxwell were getting.
"What is it that you wish to speak to me about," Elizabeth asked. She had always felt uncomfortable around Ann Putnam, especially since the accusations.
"I wanted to warn you," Ann said. Elizabeth looked shocked, but Ann continued. "There are people looking to accuse you of witchcraft. If I were you, I would watch how I behaved for awhile. You would not want to bring down an accusation upon yourself."
Elizabeth just stood there trying to process what Ann was telling her. She could not believe that someone wanted to accuse her of witchcraft. In fact, she was so deep in thought that she barely registered Ann excusing herself and walking away.
Maxwell saw Ann Putnam walk away, but Elizabeth had yet to move. He walked up behind her and placed a hand on her shoulder. Elizabeth jumped a bit before turning to face him. "You startled me," she said when she realized it was him.
"Are you okay," he asked, concerned. "You have been standing here for some time. What did she say to you?"
Elizabeth didn’t answer. Instead she wrapped her arms around his waist, giving him a big hug. Maxwell held her in an embrace until she wanted him to let go. "Are you sure that you are all right," he asked when she pulled away.
Elizabeth nodded. "Let us go to Isabel’s," she said softly. She really wanted to stay in Maxwell’s arms, but she remembered Ann’s warning. "Who would want to accuse me," she pondered as the walked on towards the McCormick’s.

Part Fifteen…

Maxwell and Elizabeth spent the remainder of the walk in silence. Maxwell had made an attempt to reach out and hold Elizabeth’s hand, but she pulled it out of his reach. This reaction to him made Maxwell more nervous than anything ever had. "How is she going to react to my secret," he pondered.
Elizabeth did not want to pull away from Maxwell. It was just her fears getting the better of her. As the days in Salem passed, the finger pointing was becoming more apparent. And now someone was trying to point a finger at her. What would happen then? Would they accuse everyone she loved, accuse Maxwell?
Deep down she knew he was different. She did not fear him because of it. In fact, she loved him more. But it did scare her that he could get hurt. That is why she pulled away.
When they reached the McCormick’s, Maxwell knocked on the door. Isabel answered it not more than a second later. He could tell that she was just as nervous as he was. There was also a bit of dread written across her face.
"Come in, come in," she said as she ushered them into the threshold. "Everyone else is in the parlor. Let me get your cloaks."
"Isabel," Elizabeth said, trying not to laugh. "What is the important news?"
Isabel grew a bit ridged. "Who says I have news?"
"Well, it was two things actually," Elizabeth teased. "First of all, you said that ‘everybody’ was in the parlor. When there are many people called together that usually means an important announcement. And secondly, you are acting as if you were ready to jump out of your own skin. Please do be calm, Isabel. I am sure your news is wonderful."
Isabel gave Elizabeth a small smile before walking them into the parlor. Mary and Michael were sitting next to each other on the sofa. Of course, they were bickering like crazy. Alexander was sitting calmly on chair. Isabel immediately walked over to him, and took his hand. Maxwell and Elizabeth managed to make themselves comfortable on the other smaller sofa.
"I guess that everyone has figured out by now, that I have some very important news," Isabel stated when everyone looked settled.
Mary shot Elizabeth a knowing glance. Elizabeth had to admit, she entirely thought that Isabel was going to say that she was accepting Alexander’s proposal. In fact, nothing could have prepared Elizabeth for the next words out of Isabel’s mouth.
"I don’t know if I can accept Alexander’s proposal of marriage," she said softly, staring at her shoes. "I want to, but I don’t know if I can."
Elizabeth had never seen her brother looked more crushed in his life. Alexander immediately stood up and looked Isabel in the eye. "Why not? Your father does not disapprove of me. He gave me his blessing in asking for your hand. Did I do something wrong? Do you not love me?"
Isabel was crying freely now. "I love you so much Alexander Whitman. There are not enough words to tell you how much you mean to me. But by accepting your proposal, I will put you in danger. My secret will put you in danger."
Elizabeth recalled the similar words Maxwell had spoken to her about a week ago. Slowly, her mind began to add the pieces together. However, not before Maxwell got up to speak.
He hated to see Isabel in this kind of pain. She was like a sister to him. He also thought she was going to accept Alexander’s proposal, but he knew she was still thinking about it. Yet, she was willing to give up her only love for him and Michael. Maxwell was not going to let that happen.
"It is not just your secret Isabel," he said. "It is mine too."
Michael stood up beside Mary. "And mine."
Alexander, Elizabeth, and Mary exchanged glances. Now, they were really confused. They rarely saw Michael, Isabel, and Maxwell associate with one another, so how could they share a dangerous secret. That is until the last piece of the puzzle fell into place for Elizabeth. "You three are different," she said softly.
Isabel could only nod her head. Michael just stared at Elizabeth as Maxwell sat down next to her. "How did you know," he asked, looking into her eyes.
"I just knew. I always have. Ever since you healed my ankle," she confessed. It was like there was a connection, a bond, between them and that was how she knew.
Maxwell laughed at the memory of that day. It was the first time he had met her and Alexander. Alexander was dragging him off to check out something in the barn and Elizabeth was determined not to be left behind. So she ran to catch up to them. She didn’t see the rock until she tripped over it. Maxwell had heard her cry out in pain and was by her side a moment later. Alexander ran off to find help.
Maxwell remembered the look on her face as he touched her ankle. She winced in pain, but bit her lip to keep from crying out in pain. What Maxwell had never told anyone was that the bone was actually broken. If he didn’t heal it, Elizabeth would probably have to limp for the rest of her life. Maxwell couldn’t let anything slow down Elizabeth. So he risked his identity to save her from further pain. He should have known that she would have never forgotten about it.
Elizabeth looked at him sitting next to her on the couch. He returned her stare and opened his mouth to speak. "We have powers."
Mary let out a small gasp from the other sofa. "What kind of powers," she asked softly, still in a bit of shock.
Michael gently took her hand. Mary’s eyes shot up, but she didn’t pull away. Michael smiled, relaxing a bit. "Isabel can see peoples dreams. I can… well… make small things blow up. And Maxwell can…"
Elizabeth cut him off without taking her eyes off of Maxwell. "He can heal people. Like you healed me."
Maxwell just nodded. Alexander grew a bit pale, but he still stood in his place. "I always thought that was something you made up, Elizabeth, because you didn’t want to admit how much you liked Maxwell."
Elizabeth turned to look at her brother and blushed a bit. "I was telling you the truth."
Mary spoke up. "I have to admit, my friend, I thought the same thing."
Elizabeth threw up her hands. "Of course." That is when she felt Maxwell tensing next to her. She turned her attention back to him. "Is something the matter?"
A tear slipped from his eye. "You are not scared of me. None of you are scared of us. You know that we are different, but you have not run away."
Elizabeth reached out and wiped the tear from his cheek. "I told you that there was nothing you couldn’t tell me. I will always be here for you."
Alexander hated to interrupt this moment, but there was something he had to know. "Where did you get your powers from?"
Isabel sat down in the nearest chair. "From our parents," she replied softly. "They were not from around here."
Alexander knelt down in front of her. "What do you mean?"
Maxwell took it upon himself to answer this question. "We just found out that they were from another planet."
Elizabeth drew back out of shock, not disgust. "How did you find out," she asked.
"From Theresa Harding," Michael growled. "She is one of use. She revealed herself when she arrived in town. That is why you all are in danger. She wants it to be only us, and I believe she claiming to be afflicted to gain power so she can accuse any of you."
Isabel began to cry all over again. "That is why I cannot marry you, Alexander. I do not want you to be accused."
Alexander rubbed her arms in an attempt to calm her down. "I love you Isabel. I do not care what Theresa Harding wants. It only matters what you want. I do not care what she will try to do, nothing can stop me from loving you."
Isabel smiled. "I love you to, Alexander." She leaned forward and placed a light kiss on his lips.
Maxwell felt relief for Isabel. Alexander did not care that she was different. He still wanted to be with her. However, that is when he noticed that Elizabeth had grown quiet.
"Is something wrong," he asked, his voice full of concern.
Elizabeth nodded her head. "Ann Putnam told me to watch my actions today. Someone is trying to accuse me of witchcraft."
Maxwell felt his anger rise from the pit of his stomach. "Theresa."

posted on 14-Aug-2002 2:08:59 AM
Part Sixteen….

Silence fell upon the group. Theresa was actually trying to accuse Elizabeth. It was one thing to threaten, but she was now trying to take action on those threats. Maxwell had never known such hatred for a person until that moment.
That is when he felt Elizabeth grasp tightly to his hand. "Maxwell, look at me," she pleaded. "What are you thinking?"
Slowly, Maxwell looked up. "I will not let her hurt you," his said, his voice seething with anger.
Elizabeth held tighter to his hand. "Then do nothing. If she knows you suspect her or are displeased with her, what is to stop her from trying to harm you, or Isabel, or Michael. I will not let that happen because of me."
With those words, Michael’s opinion of Elizabeth Whitman grew tenfold. She remained rational when she should fear for her safety. Yet, she was more concerned about them than herself. "It is true, Maxwell," he chimed in. "If we act strangely, who knows who Theresa will lash out at. It could be anyone of us. However, I do think that we should come up with an plan in case something does happen."
Mary nodded. "Michael is right. If this situation gets out of hand, we should not be caught unaware.


For two weeks, the group managed to stay away from each other. It was all part of the plan. If Theresa had no reason to expect that their relationships were progressing, she would have no reason to accuse anyone.
And for those two weeks, the plan worked. That is until Maxwell accidentally bumped into Elizabeth after sermon. After exchanging quick glances across the meeting room, Elizabeth thought it would be best for her to leave as soon as sermon was done. She knew that if she got close to Maxwell, her resolve to stick to the plan would crumble. If she heard his voice, she would be undone.
When Reverend Parris finished speaking, Elizabeth rose and left the building. Unfortunately, Maxwell had the same idea. They ran into each other, just outside the door. "Elizabeth," Maxwell exclaimed in surprise.
The first thing that came to Elizabeth’s mind was to run. So she turned on her heal and made her way as fast as she could to her house. Maxwell took off after her, finally reaching her just before the gateway to her home. "Please stop," he begged breathlessly, reaching out to take ahold of her arm.
Elizabeth stopped in her tracks. "We cannot do this," she told him, without turning around. "We risk everyone’s life if we do."
"I was just concerned," he said. "You ran from me as if I were the devil himself. I was afraid that you might now be scared of me since I have put your life in danger," he admitted his fears to her.
Elizabeth turned to face him. His glowing amber eyes were darkened with sadness. He truly thought she was afraid of him. "Maxwell, I could never be scared of you," she told him. And for his confession, she added on of her own. "I fear myself when I am with you."
Maxwell gave her a confused look. "What do you mean?"
"When I am with you, all I can think about is you. You become my entire focus, and that is not what we need right now. I would never be able to forgive myself if my bad judgment caused anyone to get hurt. I am not rational when you are near," she told him quietly.
She looked up at him as she finished her speech and saw nothing but love beaming from his eyes. "Please don’t look at me like that, Maxwell. I will have no defenses."
"You have all ready taken all of mine away," he said, his voice growing husky. "It is your turn."
Elizabeth smiled up at him. She could not help herself. Maxwell took a step towards her, reaching out with one hand, cupping her cheek with it. She leaned into him and he used his thumb to tilt her chin upwards. Slowly, he bent down and lightly brushed his lips on hers.
Elizabeth let out a sigh. Everything felt so right. His arm came around her waist, pulling her closer as she wrapped her arms around his neck. Maxwell recaptured her lips for a second kiss. He couldn’t believe how soft her mouth was. Better than he had ever imagined.
That is when the flashes began. Liz saw Max as a little baby emerging from an egg shaped object. Isabel and Michael were besides them. Even thought they could not speak a word, because they were infants, they could understand each other. She then saw Maxwell heal her ankle, and how he risked his identity becoming known for her. She could feel how much he loved her.
"I love you," she whispered breathlessly as they broke apart. She rested her head on his chest, waiting for her breathing to become regular.
"I love you too," he said, running his hands through the ends of her hair. "I always will."
"I knew it," a voice shrieked from the street.
Max and Elizabeth turned quickly, only to see Theresa Harding staring at them. "My instincts told me that all of you had concocted some sort of plan, but I have caught you," she accused them. "You will burn for this, Elizabeth Whitman. I was right when I said you put on airs. You have taken what does not belong to you." With that, she began to run back towards the townsquare.
Maxwell and Elizabeth took off after her. They knew what she was going to do and they had to stop her before it was too late. However, it was already too late. Theresa reached the square and began shrieking like the devil himself was after her. "She does try to kill me," Theresa proclaimed to the masses. "Elizabeth Whitman’s specter does haunt me. She does the devil’s work."
Before Elizabeth had a chance to respond, two men grabbed ahold of her arms. Maxwell looked as if he could take a life with his own hands. She knew he was going to try and stop them. "Don’t," she pleaded him. "She has no proof. I am a good Christian woman," she told him, trying to calm him down. Then, Elizabeth turned her attention to the crowd. "I have no pact with the devil, and everyone knows that."
The men began to drag her towards the jail. Maxwell began to move towards her, but Michael, who had seen the whole thing, stopped him. "It will not help," he told Maxwell, holding him firmly. "We still have the second part of our plan. Nothing will happen to her."
Maxwell stiffened, but he no longer tried to go after Elizabeth. "We will not allow her to say there long," he said to Theresa. "You are the devil come to Salem, and soon all will know it."

Part Seventeen… March 24, 1692

Elizabeth sat on some straw in the corner of a cell at the Salem courthouse. She knew that they would be coming for her soon, to take her to a jail cell. It was to become her new home, at least until they decided to hang her or the others came to her rescue. Elizabeth just sat there, recalling the scene that had just played out in the courthouse over and over again in her mind.
That was all that she could think of to call it… a scene. Like it had been acted out for someone’s twisted merriment. "It was," Elizabeth told herself, quietly. "Theresa Harding could be nothing but pleased with herself. I will go to trial, just like she wanted."

***Earlier that day ***

The courtroom was crowded. Both Elizabeth and the good Rebecca Nurse were being brought before the Magistrates for examination. Elizabeth could not believe that Rebecca had been accused. She was the most pious person in the whole village. In fact, Rebecca was the midwife that delivered both Elizabeth and Alexander.
Elizabeth was sure that her shock was apparent for she could not hide it. But then her eyes fell upon Maxwell. He looked as though he had not slept these past couple of days. Alexander sat next to him on his right, and Michael was on his left. Yet, Elizabeth did not see Isabel or Mary by them. For a quick second, Elizabeth tore her eyes away from Maxwell. She scanned the rest of the room, finally spotting Isabel and Mary sitting on the other side of the room.
"Good," she thought to herself. "They are still keeping to the plan. That is probably the best way to keep safe for the time being." Then her eyes fell back on Maxwell’s face. He was looking directly at her, meeting her gaze intensely. It was like he could see in her, could read her thoughts or sense her fear. "I will not let anything happen to you," he slowly mouthed to her.
Elizabeth trembled as she saw him forming the words with his mouth. Her focus was so intent on his lips, the lips that had blazed against hers not more than two days before. Why was she being punished for something that felt so right? She was a good Christian woman, yet her peers are punishing her for the only thing that could make her happy. To be with Maxwell was all she wanted, to be his wife. Elizabeth could feel a tear slipping from her eye at the cruelty of it all.
Rebecca reached over and gently patted Elizabeth’s arm. "Things will work out, child. Have faith."
Elizabeth turned to Rebecca and smile. "Thank you," she said softly. "I do have faith that this situation will be righted. I just hate to see pain on the face of the people I care about."
"I see that you both have admitted your feelings for one another," Rebecca teased, raising one eyebrow a bit.
"How did you know," Elizabeth asked, quite shocked.
Rebecca smiled at her. "I have known you from the day you were born, Elizabeth. To see the way that you look at Maxwell Evans is enough to show anyone your feelings for him. It could only be matched by they way he looks at you. I feel that God fashioned you both for each other."
Elizabeth wanted to hug Rebecca for her words of hope, but the Magistrates walked into the room at that moment. "We will first examine Elizabeth Whitman," Magistrate Corwin stated as he sat down.
Elizabeth moved to stand before both men. "Are you a witch," Magistrate Hawthorne asked first.
"No sir," Elizabeth answered him, looked him in the eye.
"Then why do these children see you specter tormenting them," Corwin asked quickly.
Elizabeth turned her head slightly. "I do not think that they see my specter, you honor, for I have no pact with the devil."
Hawthorne thought for a second. "Then how did you know a pact with the devil allowed a person to send out their specter?"
"Well, that is the charge against me, is it not," Elizabeth said boldly.
"Do not get indignant, child," Hawthorne ordered her, getting a bit mad at her reply. "This is a very serious charge. The devil has sent minions to torment these girls and they say that you are among them."
Elizabeth tried to look unaffected. "It is a falsehood."
That is when she heard Theresa call out in pain. "She comes to me in the night saying that she wishes to take my soul to the fiery depths of Hell, unless I sign the devil’s book. She pinches me even now because I won’t."
The other girls began to cry out after that statement. They all accused Elizabeth of evil things ranging from pinching them to attempting to murder them while they slept. Elizabeth stood tall, but she felt like she would be sick after hearing everything that was being said about her. To think that anyone could believe she would perform such actions was terrifying.
"I demand that you stop your torments," Corwin yelled at Elizabeth.
Elizabeth looked at him. "I cannot stop an action that I am not performing."
"Then how come they are in such pain," Hawthorne asked her. "Why do they see your spirit causing these afflictions?"
"What proof do they have that it is me doing this," Elizabeth replied. "Do they have solid evidence?"
Corwin raised his hand to silence her. "Their pain is enough. It is all the evidence of what you are causing that we need. I can practically see the wounds you are inflicting on them right now."
Elizabeth turned to face where the girls were standing. She could see red marks rising on the skin of some of the girls, yet she knew it was not her doing. "How is it possible," she thought to herself. Then, the image in front of her flickered once. A minute later, it did it again. Each time, Elizabeth saw Theresa standing there with her eyes closed, like she was pouring all her energy into something. The red marks on the other girls arms and legs disappeared for these moments as well. It dawned on Elizabeth in that instant that it was Theresa causing the apparitions.

***************************

But now she was trapped in her cell, unable to do anything. She had originally thought that all the afflicted girls were just acting. However, what she had seen today day proved that some of them were seeing things, but Theresa Harding was the cause. She was an alien after all, who knows what powers she possessed.
Elizabeth felt her fear begin to rise even more. "Maxwell and the others have know idea what Theresa can do. I have to get word to them. This changes all of our plans." She begin pacing back and forth in her cell, trying to figure out a way to inform them of Theresa’s powers. But it was useless. She was trapped.
A noise broke Elizabeth’s thoughts. It sounded like rock hitting the outer wall of the courthouse. Elizabeth rushed to the little window, hoping that it was Maxwell.
It was Ann Putnam. "Ann," Elizabeth gasped, half shocked and half disappointed. "What brings you here?"
"I told you to be careful," Ann said harshly. "You did not listen to me and now look where you are."
"Did you come here just to scold me," Elizabeth asked, getting a bit angry. "For I have no patience to hear it at this moment."
Ann sighed. "No, I did not come her just to scold you. I need you to tell me why Theresa Harding despises you so."
Elizabeth was confused. "Why?"
"She is gaining popularity in the group," Ann explained. "Her influence is growing, and so is the damage she can do with that power."
"So it is about power," Elizabeth stated, shying away from the window a bit.
A wicked smile grew upon Ann’s face. "What else would be worth all of this?"
"Do you not care about the lives you are destroying," Elizabeth asked in shock.
"That is the trouble with power," Ann continued. " Some people always get hurt in the quest to acquire it. That is what makes this whole situation possible. The Magistrates and others with power are so scared that it is being lost to the devil that they do not see that mere girls are the ones thieving it away."
"You are evil," Elizabeth said softly.
"You are not in a place to judge me," Ann informed her. "Yet help me to put Theresa in her place, and I will help you out of here."
Elizabeth could not believe all that she was hearing. "No. I will not become part of your plot."
Ann laughed. "One way or another, you already are. Right now, you can choose how you are involved."
Elizabeth thought for a second. She would not help Ann to hurt others, but she could use her to get word to Maxwell, maybe even stop Theresa in the process. "Find Maxwell Evans," she told Ann softly. "Tell him what I am about to tell you. And, in the next court session, you can use it to silence Theresa."
Ann’s smile grew wider. "He is the reason she despises you, is it not."
Elizabeth nodded. "That it is. Now you will have to do what I say, otherwise the information I tell you will land you in this same cell."
The smile on Ann’s face disappeared. "Agreed."
Elizabeth told her about Theresa’s power, leaving out the alien status of course. She knew it was a risky thing to do, but it was her only hope. She prayed to God that it would worked.

Part Eighteen… Later that day:

"We cannot leave her there any longer," Maxwell yelled in frustration as he paced back and forth in the Whitman's parlor. Seeing the Magistrates openly attack Elizabeth like they did during her examination was enough to make his blood boil. Never before had he felt such anger. Now the thought of her spending another night in the cold jail broke his heart.
"I agree with Maxwell," Alexander informed them. "We need to get her out now," he insisted.
"But how," Michael asked them. "It is not like the jail is easy to break into."
"So we let her stay there," Maxwell said, walking over to stand in front of Michael. "For us."
Michael stood up from his chair and everyone could see a standoff about to begin. Mary got up from the loveseat and place herself between them. "That is enough," she scolded. "Do either of you believe this bickering is going to help any of us, or Elizabeth."
Maxwell and Michael each paused for a second, then took a couple of steps back. "Sorry," Michael mumbled first.
"Sorry," Maxwell whispered soon after.
"Very well," Mary said, straightening her self a bit. "Now we need to come up with ideas that will not only keep us safe, but get Elizabeth out of jail as soon as possible."
Everyone nodded silently, then Maxwell opened his mouth to speak, but there was a knock on the door instead. Quickly, everyone returned to their seats as Isabel rose from hers to answer the door. Standing before her was Ann Putnam. "Good day," Isabel said softly, not moving aside to let Ann in.
"Good day, Isabel," Ann replied sweetly. "Are Alexander and the rest of your acquaintances here?"
"Yes," Isabel answered, gritting her teeth slightly. "My friends and I are paying Alexander a visit. He has been quiet distraught about his sister's wrongful accusation."
Ann's smile grew bigger. "I do not doubt that. If I may, I would like to give you information that might help you to free Elizabeth."
Isabel's eyes widened as she slowly moved out of Ann's way, allowing her access into the house. Alexander appeared in the doorway to the parlor a second later. "Is everything okay," he began to ask until he saw Ann standing there. "What brings you here Ann," He asked, sounding less than pleased to see her.
"I was just telling Isabel," Ann started her spiel again. "I may have information which you could use to free your sister."
Maxwell, who was straining to hear what was being said in the threshold, jumped out of his seat when he heard something about Elizabeth being free. "What information," he inquired as he rushed to where they were standing, Mary and Michael at his heels.
Ann looked Maxwell over, frowning for a second, then regaining a wicked grin. "The two are fighting over you? How pleased you must be with yourself."
Maxwell grew ridged. "Ann," he said, doing his best to remain civil. "As of late, I seem to have very little patience. Therefore, if you have information that will help us, I will be grateful. If you do not, please let us be, for I have no intention of discussing matters of my heart with you."
"And now I see why you choose Elizabeth over Theresa," Ann continued. "You two are of the same mind and temper."
"Did you not say you had news," Mary interrupted.
Ann made her way past them and took a seat in the parlor. Everyone followed her, but they wished to remain standing. "Elizabeth is convinced, and has convinced me, it is Theresa Harding causing all of the apparitions that torment all the girls. She informed me that by pure accident she found out Theresa had the ability to make people see objects that were not there." Ann looked over at Maxwell. "Does any of this sound familiar to you?"
He could hear Isabel gasp slightly, but Maxwell remained steadfast, looking straight at Ann. He knew that if he flinched, Ann's suspicions would be confirmed, whatever those suspicions were. "And Elizabeth told you this," he asked.
"Yes," Ann told him. "She knew that Theresa's fixation on you was why she was accused, and having these abilities were what allowed Theresa the power to make the accusations believable."
"Thank you," Alexander finally spoke up. He moved towards Ann, gesturing for her to get out of the chair. "I hope this information will help to free my sister."
Ann stood up, but made no inclination to move. Isabel reached for her arm, but Ann jerked it out of the way. "You have to take action quickly," she insisted. "Theresa is gaining power among the girls. Soon, she will have them all convinced that Elizabeth needs to be convicted."
"You think that we do not know that," Michael yelled. "We are not completely absent of thought."
"She will burn," Ann shrieked, moving towards Maxwell. "Is she is convicted, Theresa is going demand that Elizabeth be burned at the stake."
"She cannot do that," Maxwell gasped. "That is not the penalty for witchcraft."
"Theresa will make it so," Ann stated, regaining composure. "Help me rid her of her power in the group and the threat will be gone."
Maxwell stood there thinking for a second, fearing for Elizabeth's fate if things remained on the same course. Images of the flames scorching her beautiful skin caused a tear to form in his eye. Maxwell knew he had to do something. "What is your plan," he asked.
Ann moved towards the door. Accuse Theresa. I will support your claim. Do it soon, before it is to late." With that, Ann left the house.
The group stood in the parlor, doing their best to access the situation at hand. Maxwell collapsed on the nearest chair, not able to control his tears any longer. Isabel walked over to comfort him. Placing her hand over his, she spoke softly to reassure him. "Elizabeth will be fine, I promise you that."
"How do you know that," he asked, barely removing his head from his hands. "Theresa wants to burn her."
"I have a plan," Isabel told them, sounding more sure about anything than she ever had.
"What," Alexander asked as he approached her.
Isabel turned and smiled at him. "We will simply do as Ann said," she informed them. "We will accuse Theresa of witchcraft."
Mary gasped in shock at what her cousin was saying. "Isabel, that is deplorable. We cannot side with Ann. She has nothing but evil intentions in telling us this information."
"I know that," Isabel snapped slightly. "I have no wish to help Ann in any way or form. But her idea will bring Elizabeth back to us. Think of the upper hand we have now that we know what Theresa's powers are."
Maxwell slowly lifted his head from his hands. "Power," he said softly, as though a divine thought had come upon him. "That is what we will do," he stated even louder. "We will use our powers."
Michael looked at Maxwell like he was crazy. "Are you mad? We cannot use out powers. It will expose us all."
Maxwell shook his head. "Not if we use them carefully. First of all, Alexander, do you have any friends in towns down the coast?"
Alexander nodded. "My father’s store has forced me to visit a few about a day’s ride from here. I have made a few friends in these places. Why?"
"You need to contact them. If there is a place where you can stay, make arrangements to do so. Tell them that you will be joined by friends who need to break their journey there for a few days."
"Okay," Alexander answered, unsure of what Maxwell’s plan was.
But Maxwell was thinking so fast that he could not stop to answer questions. Next, he turned his attention to Michael. "Michael, I need you to gather supplies for everyone, only the necessities. We will also need your father’s wagon."
"Maxwell, what are you getting at," Isabel asked. "What is your plan?"
Maxwell took a deep breath. "We are leaving Salem."
"What," Michael exclaimed. "How can we? This is the only place we have ever known as home."
"It is the only way to be safe," Maxwell pointed out. "We have to be prepared to break into the jail three days from now to free Elizabeth. That will give us enough time to arrange everything. Then, we will go to this acquaintance of Alexander’s, if they will have us, and stay for a few days. From there, we will go where no one can find us."
"What about Theresa, Ann, and the other girls," Mary asked. "Are we going to reveal them."
"Yes," Maxwell told her, turning to look at Isabel. "And that will be Isabel’s part."

posted on 14-Aug-2002 2:11:33 AM
Part Nineteen… March 27, 1692

"Tonight you will be free," Maxwell thought to himself as he passed the jail on his way to the courthouse. He had been counting down the hours and minutes until the group could put their plan into action. Things had been going well in that matter. Alexander made arrangements for them to stay with a son of a merchant who lived about a day away from Salem. This man was familiar with the witchcraft trials, and was shocked that someone like Elizabeth had been accused.
Michael had managed to gather and hide all of the groups’ necessities that they would need for the trip. He also stole away the older wagon from his father. As far as Mr. Guerin was concerned, thieves living in the forest had taken his wagon.
Even Mary had done her part. She managed to get objects that belonged to Magistrate Corwin and a few of the girls. The only time Maxwell had laughed in the past few days was over Michael’s reaction when Mary brought her findings to them. It was just as funny looking back on it now.
"You did well," Isabel told Mary, as she looked over some of the personal items Mary brought.
Mary smiled proudly. "It was nothing."
Michael just looked at her. "Now, how was it you came across all of these objects?"
"Well, I simply," Mary started. "You see… it was like…"
Michael laughed. "You picked their pockets, didn’t you Mary."
Mary nodded and Isabel looked over at her cousin in shock. "You stole these," she gasped.
Mary shrugged her shoulder. "What can I say? Forgive me God, I knew exactly what I was doing and I will repent for it later."
Michael could control his laughter any longer. He actually began laughing so hard that he nearly fell over. Finally, when he was able to speak, he walked over to Mary and whispered in her ear, "You know that you are probably going to Hell for that."
"I know," she replied, with a coy smile on her face. "So I will see you there."
A smile grew on Maxwell’s face just thinking about that, but it was not long lived. In truth, he was almost sick with worry about Elizabeth. Ever since they had kissed, he seemed to have a much deeper connection to her. He was now having flashes over her emotions, which would flood his sense with her feelings. When she was first taken, the emotions had been ones of hope and love for him that he could never imagine. Yet, in the past 24 hours, those had been replaced by ones of fear and pain. Maxwell did not know what was happening, but he was desperate to get to Elizabeth to make sure that she was okay.
Maxwell looked ahead and saw Alexander, Isabel, and Mary waiting for him in front of the courthouse, just as they agreed. Isabel looked exhausted. It had been months since the last time she had used her power to dreamwalk, and for the past two days she had been doing it several times. Her part of the plan was to go into the dreams of the Magistrates and some of the girls in order to manipulate what their thoughts of Theresa were. She made them see Theresa practicing witchcraft, signing the Devil’s book, and cursing others with various inflictions. In other words, these people were dreaming that Theresa was the Devil incarnate.
However, today the group was going to see just how well their idea worked. The four entered the courtroom together and went to sit next to Michael, who had been saving seats for them. Just before court was scheduled to start, Isabel rose from her seat and approached Theresa.
Theresa looked at Isabel, noting how tire she seemed, and figured that she had come to discuss the aliens’ destiny. Theresa could not have been more wrong. Just as Isabel reached her, she began to scream. "Theresa, I beg of you. No longer inflict my dreams. I cannot sign the Devil’s book. I have no wish to be condemned to Hell." A second later, Isabel dropped to the floor as though she were dead.
Alexander rushed to her side, half to keep up his part in this act and half to see if Isabel was truly okay. He gathered her in his arms and placed her on a nearby bench. The Magistrates hurried into the courtroom after hearing all the commotion. Isabel did such a convincing job that someone even sent for Doctor Griggs.
"What is the meaning of this," Magistrate Hawthorne demanded when he entered the room. "What has happened to this poor child?"
"She has been inflicted," Mary informed him as she moved towards Isabel.
"You are her cousin, are you not," Magistrate Corwin asked Mary.
"Yes sir, that I am," she replied. "My dear cousin has been up many nights because of terrible dreams."
Hawthorne turned to face Theresa. "Do you know why she accuses you girl?"
Theresa, still in a bit of shock, shook her head slowly, not moving her eyes from Isabel’s form. "No sir, I have done nothing to her, for I visit no one in their dreams."
"Yes you have," Mary Warren said, rushing towards both the Magistrates. "I have seen her specter the past couple of nights tormenting me in the attempt to make me love the Devil."
"And I," Abigail Williams cried.
"I have seen her as well," Ann informed them.
Corwin thought for a moment, for her too was remembering the dreams he had of Theresa. "Why would they tell falsehoods against you, Theresa," he asked her.
"They know that I am doing good deeds by helping you discover the evil in Salem," Theresa told him, thinking quickly on her feet. "They will stop at nothing to end that."
"Do we not also do good," Ann asked both Magistrates. "Everyday we put our life on the line to help this community. Believe me when I say that she is responsible for the evil in Salem."
Hawthorne made a motion and seconds later two men grabbed ahold of Theresa’s arms. "No," she cried out as they dragged her out of the courtroom.
Maxwell chose this opportunity to step forward. "Since you have reason to believe Theresa is in league with the Devil, are you going to free all of those whom she has accused?"
Corwin thought for a second. "No," he replied swiftly. "We examined them and found that there was evidence enough to suspect they were guilty of witchcraft. All the accused will stand trial."
Maxwell stood in bewilderment for a moment at the Magistrate’s ignorance. Then, he turned to look at Ann. She just looked at him and smiled. "I agree with you, sir," she told Corwin. "For you are all wise and pious men."
Maxwell went to charge forward, but Michael and Alexander stopped him. By this time, Isabel pretended to be awake. She stood alongside Mary, and both paled at Ann’s words. "How can that be," Mary whispered to Isabel. "How can she allow then to keep Elizabeth in jail?"
"Because she got what she wanted," Maxwell hissed. "She knew what we would do and used it to her own advantage."
"What are we going to do about it," Michael asked.
"Free Elizabeth," Maxwell told him, turning on his heel and heading out of the courtroom.
Just as the group reached the outside, Maxwell fell to his knees, doubling over in pain. Isabel knelt down beside him a second later. "What is the matter?"
Maxwell gritted his teeth as another lash of pain went thought his body. "It feels like I am being whipped."
"But who is whipping you," Alexander inquired. "No one else is around."
Michael helped Maxwell stand. "It’s not me," he told them. "It is Elizabeth."

Part Twenty:

"What do you mean," Alexander demanded to know. How could Maxwell know that Elizabeth was being harmed? What was happening to his sister?
"We have a connection," Maxwell explained, still gasping for air. He could not believe the amount of pain and fear that had just consumed his body, and he was desperately hoping that Elizabeth had never been in that kind of pain. Deep down, however, he knew he was wrong. Elizabeth had sent him those feelings, not on purpose, but she had certainly felt them.
"What are we going to do," Mary asked frantically. "She cannot stay there any longer and it is obvious that Ann will be of no help."
Maxwell began to stand up with the help of Michael and Isabel. "We are not waiting," he told them. "We are freeing her now."
"But," Michael began.
"But what," Maxwell said, glaring at him. "She is in that place because of us, suffering because of us. And she does not deserve it, any of it."
Michael nodded his head in agreement. "I agree completely," he reassured everyone. He knew that Maxwell was going crazy without Elizabeth there. Lord, he knew that would be how he would act if it had been Mary instead. "I was just wondering how we were going to get her out, with it being day time and all."
Maxwell lowered his head, thinking. However, it was Alexander who spoke next. "Well, we distracted them once. I say we do it again."
"How," Mary asked.
Alexander looked over at the statue in front of the courthouse. It was of Magistrate Corwin. "Michael, you and Mary go get the wagon. Drive it to the other side of the jailhouse and wait." Then, Alexander turned to Isabel. "Isabel, darling. I know that you are tired, but I need you to mess with the statue somehow. Make it look different or destroy it in some way. Then, go back into the courtroom screaming, saying that right before you eyes something had happened to the statue."
"What will that do," Michael asked, still a bit confused as to what the plan was.
"It will be a distraction," Maxwell told him, catching on to what Alexander was saying. "They will be so preoccupied with the statue that they will not notice anything else."
Alexander smiled. "Exactly. However, we have to hurry before the court adjourns. It will be to late then."
Isabel reached out and grabbed Alexander’s arm. "What are you going to do," she asked, fear laced behind each word.
"I am going to help Maxwell get Elizabeth out," he sighed. "I have to help her. I have to get my little sister back."
Isabel leaned over and gave him a little kiss on the lips. "And I love you for that," she whispered into his ear as she hugged him. "You care about everyone else so much. Just promise me that you will be careful. Please," she pleaded.
Alexander turned to face her. He brought on hand up to her cheek, caressing it gently. "I promise," he whispered back. "But only if you promise to be careful too. If things seem to get out of control, then get out of there. Wait for us over by the courthouse, just do put yourself in danger."
Isabel looked into his eyes. "I promise."
Alexander brought his lips to hers, pressing against them gently. "I love you," he said before walking away.
"I love you too, she replied softly.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Alexander and Maxwell made their way to the jailhouse quickly, parting ways with Michael and Mary along the way. Isabel stayed behind, to create a distraction. The jailhouse was seemingly open, but Maxwell and Alexander were still very cautious. If anything went wrong now, it might mean the gallows for them all.
"So what is the plan," Alexander asked as they crept along the wall.
Maxwell smirked. "I thought that you were the one with all the ideas," he joked a bit. Alexander threw him a look, and Maxwell quickly recanted. "I need your help to knock out the guards. Then, we will sneak into the back and find Elizabeth’s cell."
"But what if she is hurt," Alexander questioned. "What if she is," his voice trailed off because he couldn’t even bare the thought.
"She is not dead," Maxwell said defiantly. "I would know if she is. I would feel it."
"Okay," Alexander said, not quite sure about what to believe.
Maxwell tugged on the arm of his coat. "Are you ready to go?"
"Yeah," he said, following closely behind Maxwell, as he entered the jailhouse.
In the main hallway, the two of them only saw on guard. Once he was taken care of, meaning that he was unconscious and tied up, they made their way towards the cells. Suddenly, they heard a voice, a woman’s voice, weeping loudly. So loudly, in fact, that it could be heard above the others.
"Who is that," Maxwell asked, hoping Alexander would know.
Alexander listened closely for a moment, then turned back to Maxwell. "It is Rebecca Nurse," he whispered as he recognized the voice of the woman who helped him into the world.
"She was tried with Elizabeth," Maxwell said when he heard name. "Maybe she knows where Elizabeth is being kept."
Alexander nodded and they rushed to where the noise was coming from. They saw Rebecca huddle in a corner, weeping over another person. "Elizabeth," Maxwell cried out, using his powers to undo the lock on the cell.
He ran over to Rebecca, Alexander not far behind him. "What happened," Maxwell asked.
Rebecca wiped a tear from her eye. "They beat her. One minute she was okay, then she began to panic, saying that something had gone wrong. The next thing I knew, the guard was opening the door to see what the commotion was about. Elizabeth tried to rush out. The guard grabbed her, shoving her back in, but she did not stop. So he hit her, and he just kept on going."
Maxwell could feel the bile rise in his throat. Rebecca put a hand on his shoulder. "She is still alive," she whispered to both Maxwell and Alexander. "I just could not believe that anyone would hurt her like he did."
Looking down, Maxwell saw for the first time the extent of Elizabeth’s injuries. She had a cut above her eye and on her lip. Most of the skin that he could see was bruising as they spoke. Little shivers racked her body as he explored the injuries, even though she was unconscious.
Maxwell did not even have to think about what he was going to do. Both Rebecca and Alexander watched as Maxwell brought his hand up to Elizabeth’s eye. Within a couple of seconds, the cut disappeared. "Who are you," Rebecca gasped at what she saw.
He ignored her, moving instead to heal the cut on Elizabeth’s lip. A moan escaped when he was finished, and slowly Elizabeth opened her eyes. "Maxwell," she whispered.
"Yes," he soothed her, bending down to kiss her forehead. "I am here. So is Alexander. We’ve come to set you free."
A faint smile crossed her face. "Is everyone okay," she asked softly, as she remembered the fear that had caused her panic earlier.
"Everyone is fine," Alexander reassured her. "But now we have to get you out of here."
Elizabeth bobbed her head slightly in agreement. Maxwell lifted her off the ground, feeling her wince at his touch. He knew that there were more injuries, but it was not the time or place to heal them. Weakly, he felt Elizabeth put her arms around his neck and snuggled as close to him as he could.
They made their way towards the opening in the cell, and then Maxwell turned around to Rebecca. "Come with us," he offered. "You should not be here in the first place."
Rebecca laughed at his kind gesture because it filled her heart with hope again. "I might not know who you are, Maxwell Evans, but I think that you are Elizabeth’s angel. And there is no way that I am going to risk all of you getting caught to be nice to an old lady. I have lived a good life, dear. If this is what God has planned for me, so be it. He has something else entirely plan for you, all of you. Now go, and may God be with you."
Maxwell nodded his head, silently thanking her. "Also with you," he said just before leaving the cell.

Part Twenty-one:

Alexander and Maxwell emerged from the cell, Elizabeth curled tightly against Maxwell’s chest. The gate swung shut behind them, clinging loudly. This seemed to jar the other prisoners. Quite a few peered through the bars, slightly wishing the trio luck. However, one tiny blond was still wishing to wrecking havoc in the lives of Salem.
"You are not going to escape," she cried out, catching their attention.
Maxwell whipped around, jerking Elizabeth with him. She whimpered in his arms. He glanced at her, to make sure she was okay, then he turned on Theresa. "Leave us be," he demanded. "The whole of Salem now knows who you are. You have signed so many death warrants by your false accusations. If you are the least bit human, you will let us leave."
Theresa glared at him. "I am not human," she bit out. "And neither are you."
"That is where you are wrong," he informed her, turning to leave.
Everything went downhill from there. Theresa ran to the window of her cell, which overlooked the Town Square. She noticed all the people crowding outside of the courthouse, panicking over Isabel’s little distraction. She cried out to them. "HELP. They are escaping. They have freed Elizabeth Whitman, hurry."
Her screams echoed across the village. The commotion in front of the courthouse quieted. They heard her plea, and quickly, several men and women broke away from the group to witness this newest development. Isabel was among them.
She ran ahead of the group and to the entrance of the jailhouse. Of course, she slammed right into Alexander as he, Maxwell, and Elizabeth were leaving. "They’re coming," Isabel told them. Then, she noticed Elizabeth’s broken body. "Oh my God," she gasped. "Is she okay?"
Alexander took Isabel’s hand. "She will be," he hoped outloud. "She will be."
"Yes," Maxwell reassured them, and himself. "She will be, but we have got to go… now."
They started to run, but shouting was heard not too far behind them. "There they go. Get them."
Some guards from the courthouse gathered, mounting horses to chase after them. Some set forth on foot. All had guns.
They ran as fast as their legs could carry them, but the guards were gaining on them fast. Maxwell’s legs burned and his arms ached. Elizabeth noticed this. She was going to be the reason they got caught. Elizabeth leaned in closer to Maxwell. "Leave me," she whispered to him. "I will slow you down."
He held her firmly. "Not a chance. Without you, I might as well burn too."
Tears began to fall from her eyes. She couldn’t argue anymore, it hurt too much.
The four of them kept going, Alexander and Isabel leading the way. "We could use a miracle," Alexander shouted in frustration.
God finally answered their prayers. As though he heard their pleas, the four saw Michael and Mary in the wagon, pulling up not to far ahead of them. Michael hopped off, rushing towards them. He gently took Elizabeth from Maxwell, carrying her over to the wagon. He laid her down in the back.
Isabel also got in the back with Alexander and Maxwell not too far behind her. The three were gasping for air when the wagon jerked forward. Michael was driving the horses as hard as he could, trying to put as much distance between them and the guards as possible.
Suddenly, gunshots rang out. Bullets went whizzing by. Everyone ducked except for Michael. He was too busy concentrating on getting away. That is until he heard Mary gasp.
"You’re bleeding," she exclaimed.
Michael looked down, and sure enough, a bullet had torn though his coat and cut his arm. He glanced over his shoulder at the guards that were hot on their heels. Letting his anger get the better of him, Michael raised his good arm up, aiming his hand at a thick tree branch. When they had passed underneath it, he let off an energy blast, which brought the branch crashing to the ground and barely missing some of the guards.
"That should slow them down," he said triumphantly. Michael turned to look at Mary, noticing that she had stiffened next to him. He gave her a weak smile, then glanced down at his arm. "It does not bad," he reassured her… and himself. "I’ll be fine."
However, Mary was already tugging at the hem of her dress, trying to rip the fabric. Michael just looked at her. "What are you doing," he asked.
"It will not do any good if you lose to much blood or get an infection, would it," she replied. "This will apply enough pressure to stop the bleeding."
Mary took the torn piece of her skirt and wrapped it tightly around Michael’s arm. "Thank you," he whispered, his eyes still focused on the road.
"What can I say, I work well under pressure," she teased.

The friends drove all night before finally reaching the acquaintance of Alexander’s. This man, Peter, quickly welcomed them into his home and made sure that the group got settled. "You can stay as long as you need to," Peter informed them.
Alexander reached out and shook his hand. "Thank you for everything."
Over the next few days, everyone rested, gathering their strength for the next leg of their journey. Elizabeth began to recover. Maxwell had healed most of her injuries, but she needed sleep above anything else. Maxwell never left her side.
Finally, after a week had past, it was decided that they needed to move on. Getting as far away from Salem was crucial and everyone knew it. So they loaded up the wagon once again, and set off for an unknown destination.

Part Twenty-two… March, 1706

Even after fourteen years, things still stuck them as familiar. The town had not changed much in physical appearance, but to the trained eye of someone who had lived though the trials, reminders were everywhere. And many were ones that the entire group had to live with everyday of their lives.
After they left Peter’s house, they group had kept running for almost six months. Finally, they settled down on the edge of a small town in the colony of Virginia. It had made them a happy home since then.
Most of that happiness rested in the company that they found themselves in. Maxwell and Elizabeth were the first couple to get married, followed shortly by Alexander and Isabel. About four months after Alexander and Isabel got married, Mary and Michael followed suit. Now, they all had children and homes of their own.
However, something was still missing. A chapter in their lives that they had not finished. That is why when Alexander heard about Ann Putnam’s apology, he knew that now was the time to go back to Salem.
They had received information about the trials after they left. They knew that the Magistrates had condemned hundreds more during those months, and nineteen had been put to death, including Rebecca Nurse. The trials were finally put to an end in October by Governor Phips. Everyone else was set free, but as the group saw, it had been hard for everyone to move on.
Maxwell and Elizabeth Evans entered the Salem courthouse on that fateful day in March. Alongside Maxwell was their ten year old son, Phillip. Not too far behind him was, Norah, their twelve year old daughter. Her little twin brother and sister, Prudence and Peter, clutched to Elizabeth’s skirts. They were only six.
"Are you sure you wish do this," Maxwell asked, looking to his wife with concern. "We could go and join the others at the cemetery.
"I am sure," Elizabeth reassured him. "We need to be able to put this behind us, close this door forever."
Maxwell looked at her with adoration, taking her hand in his own. "I love you, you know that."
Elizabeth smiled at him. "I love you too."
"Not as much," he teased.
"Is that true mommy," Prudence asked, tugging on Elizabeth’s skirts.
"No darling. Daddy is just having a little fun," Elizabeth explained, giving Maxwell a look.
He couldn’t help but laugh. That is until he could feel Phillip stiffen beside him. "Who is that," Phillip questioned, staring at the woman walking towards them.
"Ann Putnam," Elizabeth whispered. She could feel the blood pounding in her veins with anger.
"Elizabeth Whitman," Ann said reverently.
"Evans," Elizabeth corrected her. "It is Elizabeth Evans now."
Ann gave a smug laugh. "I should have guessed. Well, how have you two been faring since… well since…"
"Since you condemned her to death," Maxwell growled.
The children jumped at the sound of their father’s voice. They had never heard him speak in such a manner. Both Peter and Prudence clutched tighter to their mother, and Norah moved closer to her. Phillip stood his ground, but flinched at the tone of Maxwell’s voice.
Elizabeth gripped Maxwell’s hand even tighter. "It is not worth it," she implored him. "Please."
Maxwell eased up a bit, and Ann relaxed. "I am truly sorry for everything that happened then. I hope you can believe me. The Devil’s influence is stronger than any of us could ever know."
Maxwell couldn’t take it any longer. As soon as he heard the words out of Ann’s mouth, he turned and headed to the door of the courthouse. Elizabeth and the children followed him, but she turned just to ask a question of Ann. "Whatever happened to Theresa Harding?"
A wicked little grin crossed Ann’s face. "She escaped about a month after you left. Her parents too. No one has heard of her since."
Elizabeth simply nodded her head and continued out the door. Maxwell drew her into his arms as soon as the were outside. Elizabeth breathed a sigh of relief, letting Maxwell comfort her the way only he could. "Let us find the others," he whispered in her ear.
They all made their way to the graveyard, stopping along the way to pick flowers. By the time they joined everyone else, the girls had their arms full of blossoms. Alexander, Isabel, and their two boys, David and Joseph, were standing by Norah Whitman’s grave.
Elizabeth immediately made her way over to him, gasping when she saw the gravestone next to her mother’s.

Joseph Whitman
1658-1694
Good Husband and Father

"Did you know," Elizabeth asked, hugging her brother tightly, tears flowing from her eyes.
"No," Alexander managed to say. "I had tried to send a few letters, but I never got a reply to them."
"He never knew," she cried. "He never knew why we left, what happened to us."
Alexander pulled away a bit. "He knew, Elizabeth. I couldn’t leave without an explanation to him, so I left a note. I know that he understood. Father just wanted us to be happy, and we are."
Elizabeth hugged her brother again. "Thank you. Thank you so much." Just then a peep broke her away from Alexander. It was Peter. "Are you okay mommy," he asked, a tiny tear appearing in his eye.
She knelt down in front of him, pulling him to her. "Yes darling, I am okay. This man here was your grandfather, Joseph."
Peter’s little six year old mind made the association. "Just like my cousin Joseph?"
Maxwell walked up beside them. "Yes. He was a very good man."
Elizabeth looked up into his wonderful amber eyes. "Thank you," she mouthed, smiling thought her tears.
Just then, Isabella, one of Michael and Mary’s children called out to them. "Who is this," she asked to anyone who was listening.
Isabel walked over to her little namesake. "Rebecca Nurse," she read aloud. "She was a friend of ours, Isabella."
Bethany and John Guerin joined them. "Was she nice," John asked.
Mary rested a hand on her son’s shoulder. "A very nice lady. She helped just about everyone she ever knew."
"Then why did they think she was a witch," Norah wondered. She turned to her mother, looking for an answer.
Elizabeth let out a sigh. "People get scared easily," she started to explain. "When there is something that they do not understand, they tend to fear it. And for some, they do not understand kindness or love. Qualities that Rebecca had in abundance."
Norah nodded her head, showing that she knew what Elizabeth was telling her. Maxwell watched this, wondering to himself why God blessed him so. He had a wonderful wife and family that meant more to him than anything else in the world.
Suddenly, he had the urge to touch her, so he took Elizabeth in his arms. She smiled at him just before he swooped down to take her lips with this own. Moments later, Maxwell gently broke the kiss, resting his forehead to Elizabeth’s. "Let’s show the children the rest of Salem."
"Okay," she agreed, sighing with a new contentment.
So after taking a few minutes to scatter flowers on the graves of those who had changed their lives, the group set off. Making their way back to the town, each of the parents closed the door to the most trying period of their lives. However, watching their children play along the path, everyone realized tomorrow always brings something different. Now, they were looking forward to the next day’s difference, finally closing the door on yesterday’s.

posted on 14-Aug-2002 2:16:18 AM
More Than Anything
AU/CC ... challenge by Moonbaby19... and my really my first fic ever. Max and Michael are brothers who have moved to Roswell from Chicago. Under the guidence of their cousins, Isabel and Tess Harding.. they met new friends, fall in love, and find out what growing up is about.

I dont own them, you know that. Just borrowing them for a bit!

Part One… New in Town

Michael couldn’t believe his eyes. The situation was worse than he thought. His parents chose this place over Chicago. It was like some giant sandbox. Not to mention all the alien stuff. "Hey, Maxwell," he called out to his brother. "What do you think about this place?"
Max turned at looked at Michael from across the lawn in front of their new house. "It sure is different. Don’t judge it too quickly, it might not be that bad."
For being brothers, these two were as different as could be. Max tried to keep an open mind about things, while Michael formed his opinion and that was that. However, they were very close. The Evans’ adopted both when they were six years old. Michael came from a broken home and Max’s parents had died. This particularity is what made them so close. Each knew what the other was going through.
"So when are we going to see the possibilities that Roswell has to offer," Michael asked. "There has to be something other than sand."
"Isabel and Tess should be here soon," Max answered. Isabel and Tess Harding were their cousins. The Hardings had helped Mr. Evans to open his own law office in Roswell. That was why they moved out there in the first place.
Both Max and Michael were close to their cousins. Isabel was a senior in high school, like Max and Michael. Tess was a junior. They each had blond hair and blue eyes, but Tess was much shorter than Isabel was.
As Max and Michael started to get into another debate about the pros and cons of Roswell, the girls pulled up in their Jeep. "Hey are you guys ready for a tour of the town," Isabel yelled at them.
"What is there to see," Michael called back.
"Lots, you ninny. Just get in the Jeep," Tess replied.
Max quickly ran into the house to let his parents know they were going out. By the time he got back outside, Tess had managed to drag Michael into the car. Max hopped into the seat next to him, and they were off.

Part Two… The Crashdown.

"So where are you taking us," Michael asked.
"First to a little restaurant named the Crashdown," Isabel answered without taking her eyes off the road. "Tess and I haven’t eaten yet. How about you guys?"
"Starving," Max said as he took in the sights around him. "What do they have there?"
"Just a lot of burgers, sandwiches, and stuff, all with alien names." Tess knew that the whole alien tourist trap thing got to Michael. "It’s sort of a theme restaurant."
"Oh great. Will ET be serving us," Michael joked.
"You just have to wait and see."
Ten minutes later, Isabel pulled the Jeep in to the parking lot across the street from the Crashdown. The four of them headed right over to restaurant. When they entered, Isabel led the group to a booth toward the back. "This place is so cheesy," Michael complained.
"Do you ever stop your whining," Isabel asked him.
"Nope," Max answered for Michael.
Michael reached over and punched Max in the arm. "Thanks bro. A lot of help you are."
Just then, a petite blond wearing a light blue 50’s waitress uniform and alien antenna on her head interrupted them. "Hi Isabel and Tess. These must be the cousins you have been telling me about. Hi, my name is Maria."
Max gave a little wave. "Nice to meet you. I’m Max, and that is my brother Michael."
Michael gave a little wave.
"Isabel and Tess have been talking non-stop about you guys since they learned you were moving here," Maria continued. "How do you like Roswell so far?"
"It’s okay," Michael said, pretending to be more interested in the menu than Maria. "So, you three are friends."
"Yeah," Tess answered. "We have been since the third grade. Well, second grade for me. The four of us are inseparable."
"The four of you," Max asked.
"Isabel, Tess, me, and Liz," Maria chimed in.
"Who’s Liz," Michael asked, as he finally looked up from the menu.
Isabel pointed to the girl standing behind the counter, filling salt shakers. The girl was wearing the same uniform as Maria, but she had long, dark hair and dark eyes. "That’s Liz. Her parents own the restaurant."
Max turned his head to look at Liz. "She’s beautiful," he thought as she reached for another salt shaker. But that is when he heard Michael.
"Earth to Max," Michael said as he waved his hand in front of Max’s face. He turned to Isabel and Tess. "I think he approves of you choice in friends."
"Shut up, Michael," Max retorted.
"Make me."
Feeling that a bickering match was coming on, Tess decided to order. "You know Maria, I think we will order now. I’ll have a Will Smith burger."
Isabel agreed. "That sounds good. I will have one, too, without pickles.
"I think I want a Men in Black BLT," Michael said.
Max took one last look at the menu. "I’ll try the Will Smith burger."
"Okay. That’s three Smiths, one without pickle, and a MIB BLT," Maria answered as she wrote the order down. "What would you like to drink?"
Well, that question was easy. It was cokes all around. Maria picked up the menus and walked back behind the counter. She then started talking to Liz. "Who are those guys with Isabel and Tess," Liz asked.
"Those are the cousins they have been talking about?"
"Really? The dark-haired one is kinda cute."
"My, my, my, Liz Parker has her eye on a new kid."
"Quiet Maria, they might hear you."
"You worry too much. Besides, I saw him check you out."
"You’re kidding. Did he say anything?"
"No, but he was staring at you. Well, I have to take this order out to them."
"Okay."
Maria gathered the order together and walked back to her friend’s table. "Here, you go," she said as she laid the orders on the table. "Anything else?"
"Nah, I think we are good," Isabel answered. "When do you and Liz get off of work?"
"We get to close the restaurant tonight."
"That’s too bad. Isabel and I were going to take Max and Michael to the movies or maybe UFOnics," Tess said. "We really haven’t decided yet."
"Well, we will see you tomorrow in school." Maria turned to look at Max. "Well, it was nice to meet you, Max."
Max nodded his head. "See you tomorrow."
Maria smiled, then turned to look at Michael. "Bye, Michael."
"Bye."
As it turned out, they all went to a movie. Some action flick. Of course, that was after finishing the tour of Roswell, which included driving by the mall and the school. By the time Michael and Max got home, they were exhausted.
"See, it isn’t so bad," Max said as they walked into their house.
"Did you have a nice time," Mrs. Evans asked without looking up. She was determined to get everything unpacked by the end of the week.
"Yeah, Mom," Michael answered. "Tess and Isabel took us all around town. Then we went to a movie."
"That’s good. Well, the both of you better get ready for school tomorrow."
"All right," Max and Michael answered at the same time.
They both headed down the hall to their bedrooms. "So, what do you think about Isabel and Tess’s friends," Michael asked when they reached the door to his room.
"They seem nice."
"Just nice," Michael joked. "You were looking at that Liz girl a little too long for her to just be nice."
But Max had a quick comeback to that remark. "Well, what did you think about Maria?"
"She’s okay."
"I see. Is that why you couldn’t look at her the entire we were in the restaurant. Or maybe you couldn’t keep from blushing."
"That is it. Just wait until tomorrow."
"Why," Max asked, sounding a bit scared.
"You’ll see."

Part Three… The First Day of School

Isabel and Tess were at the house at 7:30 in the morning. Max and Michael were waiting for them at the end of the driveway. "So are you guys nervous about your first day of school at West Roswell High," Tess asked.
"Not really," Michael managed to answer as he was holding a yawn back.
"And you Max?"
"I’ll see how the day goes." Max was actually still wondering about what Michael meant the night before. He knew that Michael was plotting something.
They arrived at the school a few minutes later. As they pulled into a parking space, Tess hopped out of the car. She ran over to tall boy, with brown hair, who was wearing a letter jacket. When Tess reached him, he picked her up and swung her around. She leaned into him and gave him a kiss.
"Who is that," Michael asked Isabel as they got out of the Jeep.
"Oh, that is Tess’s boyfriend, Kyle."
"She never mentioned him before," Max said.
"Well, they only started dating a couple of weeks ago."
Michael watched as Kyle and Tess kept right on kissing. "Some hello he is getting."
Isabel reached over and slapped him on the shoulder. "She really likes him, so you be nice."
"Well, we can see she really likes him," Max chimed in again.
"Pigs. All guys are pigs," Isabel retorted, walking away from them.
"Well, I hope you don’t mean all guys, Is. Or I might be hurt."
Isabel turned around and saw her boyfriend, Alex. She walked over to him, and gave him a kiss. "Of course I don’t mean you. I was talking about these guys. Alex, these are my cousins Max and Michael."
Alex reached out his hand to shake theirs. "Nice to meet you."
Max shook his hand. "Nice to meet you too."
Michael shook his hand next. "Ditto."
"Well, I guess you both need a tour of the school," Alex said as he offered his arm to Isabel.
Michael leaned over to Max. "Do you feel a little left out of the relationship circle, Maxwell."
Max nodded his head. "Yeah. I guess they didn’t tell us everything that was going on with them."
As they entered the school, Liz and Maria walked up to them. "Hey guys," Maria called out.
Isabel waved, while Alex said hello. "I know that you met Maria yesterday, but this is one of our other friends, Liz." Isabel had to fight the urge to laugh. She had seen the way Max looked at Liz at the Crashdown the other day. Well, the same look appeared on his face today when she said Liz’s name. "Liz, these are my cousins, Max and Michael."
Michael waved to Liz, but he seemed more interested in Maria at the moment. Max, on the other hand, flashed a little half smile, then said, "Hello."
"Hi," was all Liz could say. Deep down, she couldn’t help thinking about how handsome he was.
"So what is your first class, Michael," Maria asked. She was hoping he would say English.
"Chemistry," Michael answered.
"Damn," she thought. "Well, I think that Alex has that class. Don’t you, Alex?"
Alex nodded his head. "Yeah. You can follow me through this maze we call high school. And here is a tip. Don’t sit in the front of class during chemistry. Mr. Weston loves to call on kids who sit in there."
"Thanks."
It was obvious that Michael wasn’t going to talk much beyond a one-word answer, so Maria turned her attention to Max. "What class to you have first, Max?"
"I think I have Government."
That answer made Liz’s ears perk up. "I have government, too. I can show you the way there, if you want."
Max’s smile got a little bigger. "Thanks. That would be great."
They walked off down the hall. The others just stood there watching. "I think someone has a crush," Maria joked.
Isabel gave a little laugh. "I think the feeling is mutual."
"What do you say we set them up," Michael said, half-mocking and half-serious. Everyone just turned to look at him. "What? I mean it. I think Max really likes her."
Maria looked confused. "I thought that guys hated doing the matchmaker thing."
"Listen, I know my brother. He has never asked a girl out. Right Isabel."
"Well, Max is really shy, but…"
"I say we do it," Maria interrupted her.
"What are we going to do," Tess asked. She had finally caught up to them.
"If you hadn’t been too busy making out…," Michael started to say.
"Shut up, Michael. I don’t want to hear it," Tess stopped him before he could finish the sentence. "So, what are we going to do?"
"Set up Max and Liz," Maria told her.
Tess approved. "That is such a good idea. They would be so cute together."
Just like that, a plan was born. The group managed to get most of the details worked out before the bell rang. Max and Liz never knew what hit them.

Part Four… The Plan

The plan was simple. Maria slipped a note into Max’s locker, pretending it was from Liz. Michael wrote a note, pretending to be Max, and slipped it into Liz’s locker. Both notes asked the addressee to meet that Friday at the Flying Pepperoni at 7 o’clock.
And it worked. Max arrived first. He sat in a booth close to the window. A few minutes later, he saw Liz walking into the restaurant. "God, she looks beautiful," he thought.
Liz looked around the restaurant. She spotted Max, went over to the booth, and sat down. "Hi Max."
"Hi. How are you," he asked.
"Fine, and you?"
"Fine."
They both sat there in an awkward silence for a few moments. Finally Liz spoke up. "So why did you want to see me, Max?"
Max got a puzzled look on his face. "I thought that you wanted to see me."
"Oh no," Liz thought. "They set us up." She looked at him sitting across the table from her. "You don’t want to be here do you?"
"No Liz. I didn’t say that. Its just I got this note…"
"I got one too, but you didn’t send it?"
"No."
Liz tried to hide her disappointment. She thought he liked her, but it seemed obvious that he wanted to just be friends or something. "I have to go, Max," Liz said, getting up from the table.
"No, wait a second Liz," he called after her.
Liz started to turn around, but as she did, she bumped into a waiter carrying a plate of spaghetti. The plate went into the air, and most of it contents landed on Liz’s head.
Liz just stood there. This had to be the most embarrassing moment of her life. However, she couldn’t freak out or run away. That would make matters worse. So, she just started laughing.
It was hard for Max to believe what had just happened. Here Liz was covered in spaghetti, and she was laughing. Max rushed over to her. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah," Liz answered, still laughing.
"What is so funny?" Max couldn’t stop himself from smiling. Liz’s laughter was so contagious, that is was hard not to laugh.
"I though this was the Flying Pepperoni, not the Flying Spaghetti." Liz knew it was a corny joke, but she just had to say it.
Max started laughing, inspite himself. He helped Liz pick some of the spaghetti out of her hair. "Come on, Liz. I’ll take you home."
"That would be nice."

Part Five… Goodnight

"Well, thanks for taking me home, Max. I would have died if I had to walk through town wearing spaghetti," Liz said as Max pulled up in front of the Crashdown.
"No problem. I am sorry about tonight," Max replied.
Just then their eyes met. Max wanted to kiss her more than anything. Liz wanted that too, so she leaned in to Max. As she did, a tomato sauce covered piece of spaghetti fell off of her head. Liz became painfully aware of how she looked at that moment. Talk about a mood breaker. She pulled away.
As Liz got out of the car, she turned to face Max. "Listen, I know that tonight was a disaster, but I would really like to be friends."
Max took a sharp breath. "That would be great, Liz," he said trying to sound as excited as possible. "She only wants to be friends, nothing else," he thought to himself.
"Goodnight, Max."
"Night, Liz. See you at school."

The second he got home, Max ran into Michael’s room. When Michael saw Max, a goofy grin appeared on his face. "Had such a good night that you couldn’t wait to thank me for setting you guys up, huh."
"I wouldn’t be holding my breath for gratitude right now," Max snapped. "So, it was you that set Liz and I up. I knew you were planning something."
Michael paused for a second, but he decided to take credit for the date against his better judgment. "Yeah, it was my idea. The others helped, a little."
Max continued on his rant. "Well, thanks bro. No, really, thank you…for the worst night of my young adult life."
Michael stood up. He didn’t know whether he should run or ask what happened. "Come on, it couldn’t have been that bad."
"Oh, what part wasn’t bad. The fact that Liz had no idea what was going on. Or, maybe the highlight of the date was when she bumped into the waiter and got covered with spaghetti. Then, the topper of the entire evening was when I wanted to kiss her, and she asked to be just friends."
Michael stood there with his mouth hanging open. He wanted to laugh, but he knew that wasn’t a good idea. Still, he could just picture Liz cover with spaghetti. "Maria assured me that Liz was into you. Give it another chance."
Max shook his head furiously. "So there can be a repeat performance of what happened tonight. No way."
Max headed for the door. Michael let out a breath of relief. "At least, I escaped with my life," he thought.
That’s when Max turned around. "By the way, I am kicking you ass tomorrow. I would do it now, but I am too tired." Max walked out of the room and down the hall to his room.
"So close," Michael said as soon as Max was out of hearing range.

As soon as she finished picking spaghetti out of her hair and had taken a shower, Liz called Maria. After three rings, Maria picked up the phone. "Hello," Maria asked.
"I was covered in spaghetti, Maria," Liz yelled into the phone.
"What? Who is this," Maria asked, now completely confused.
"This is your best friend. You know the one you set up a date for with the most gorgeous guy in the world. The one who ended up being covered with spaghetti."
"Oh my god, Liz. Are you okay?"
"Besides being embarrassed to death, I am fine. How could you do it, Maria?"
Maria judged her words carefully here. "I knew you liked him. I though it was a good idea. Everyone did."
"Everyone," Liz asked. "What do you mean everyone? Who else was in on this?"
Maria bit here tongue. She was sooo going to get the others in trouble now. "Isabel, Tess, Alex, and Michael." If Liz didn’t kill her first, the others would for squealing on them.
"Great. Thanks a lot," Liz sighed. She could even hide her disappointment at this point.
"You guys could try again. The next time would have to be better than tonight, right?"
"No way. I think Max just wants to be friends. That’s it."
Maria tried to interrupt her friend, but Liz stopped her. "Let’s just drop it, Maria. I will see you at work tomorrow. Bye."
"Bye, Liz."

Part Six… All Alone

Max wasn’t kidding when he said he would kick Michael’s ass. It was the first thing he did on Saturday morning. "At least, I knew it was coming," Michael thought. "That gave me time to prepare." But Michael was surprise that afterwards, Max didn’t talk to him. They always talked after they gotten a fight, whether it was verbal or physical. However, Max just locked himself up in his room for the rest of day. Michael was a little hurt that his brother chose to ignore him.
Sunday didn’t get any better. After breakfast, Max retreated back in to his room. At three, Michael thought he had better check on Max. Just as he was ready to go to Max’s room, the phone rang. Michael picked up after two rings. "Hello," he said into the receiver.
"Michael, it’s Maria."
"Oh my god," he thought. "She has my number. I can’t believe she has my number. Man, she has a really pretty voice." Michael realized that he must not have spoken for a couple of minutes because the next thing he heard was her voice again.
"Michael, are you there."
"Yeah. How did you get this number," he asked. Then he hit himself on the head. "Smooth Mikey E," he thought. "How not to sound like a jerk."
"Tess gave it to me," Maria answered. "So did you hear how the date went?"
"Yeah. Let me tell you, Max is not to happy with me right now."
Maria gave a little laugh. "I know the feeling. Liz hasn’t spoken to me since Friday night. I still can’t believe that she wound up wearing spaghetti."
They both let out a burst of laughter. "I know," Michael said after a minute. "However, I don’t think that bringing up that particular part of the evening is going to get us back into their good graces."
"I think your right," Maria said, when she had finished giggling. "So what are we going to do about them?"
"I don’t know," Michael told her. "But if they are still not talking to us tomorrow, do you want to eat lunch with me." Michael couldn’t believe he said that. Those words actually came out of his mouth. He held his breath waiting for her answer.
After a couple of seconds, Maria answered. "I would love to. See ya at school, chico."
Michael let out the breath he had been holding. "Bye Maria. See you tomorrow."


Maria couldn’t believe what had just happened. Michael wanted to spend time with her. When he first answered the phone, Maria thought that he wasn’t happy she called, but then he asked if she wanted to eat lunch with him. Maria wanted to scream "Hell yes, I do" into the phone. However, she decided that was a little over the top.
She was still excited anyway. "Who could I tell about this," Maria wondered out loud. "I can’t tell Liz because she isn’t talking to me. I could talk to Isabel or Tess, but they’re his cousins. That might be too weird. Alex would go totally into overprotective mode on me. And I don’t know Kyle well enough. Damn."
Maria ended up having to keep this news all to herself. She was a little bummed about it. However, now she had a reason to look forward to Monday, instead of dreading its very existence.

posted on 14-Aug-2002 2:19:07 AM
Part Seven… Monday, Monday

Liz didn’t know what to expect on Monday. That morning when she woke up, Liz thought about Max and all that happened that weekend. As she got dressed, Liz thought about what she would say to Max when she saw him. Then, when she made her lunch, Liz wondered what Max would say to her. "Damn. I am obsessed with this boy," she said out loud.
"Who are you obsessed with," Liz’s mother, Nancy, asked as she entered the kitchen.
Liz jumped a bit, then turned around to face her mother. "Just a boy, Mom."
"I figured that much," Nancy replied sarcastically. "So, does he have a name, or should I just call him boy."
"His named is Max." Liz couldn’t help but laugh a little. Her mother had the best sense of humor. Liz could always depend on her for cheering up.
"Ah, the new kid."
Liz gave her mother a sideways glance.
"What! Maria told me when she called Saturday. Well, actually it was during the third time she called. You do realize that she is sorry about what happened."
"I know, but I am still bit mad at her," Liz said with a sigh. "I really like him, Mom, but he just wants to be friends."
"Nah, I don’t believe it," Nancy said, giving Liz a little hug. "I mean, did you give him one of your killer smiles."
Liz blushed a little. "Mom. He saw me wearing spaghetti."
"Well, some guys like that kind of thing," Nancy said with a devilish smile. "Not the kind that I would let you out with, but some do."
Liz just looked at her Mom and started laughing. She was joined by Nancy a couple of seconds later. After they had nearly laugh themselves to tears, Nancy grabbed Liz’s backpack and handed it to her. "You better get going or you will be late for school."
Liz took the backpack, then hugged her Mom. "Thanks, Mom."
"Have a good day at school, sweetie."
****************************************************************

Max dreaded going to first period on Monday. He had government with Liz. In fact, he sat next to her. What if she wanted to talk about what happened? In the car ride to school, Isabel made an attempt to cheer him up. "It was just one date that went astray slightly," she said trying to sound cheerful.
Max looked at her with one eyebrow raised. "Slightly?"
Tess decided to chime in. "I could have been worse."
"How could it have been worse?" Isabel started to laugh silently, but Max saw her shoulders raise up and down. "What are you laughing at?"
"It could have been fettchine alfredo instead of spaghetti," Isabel said as she burst into laughter.
Tess started to giggle, too. Michael couldn’t hold his tongue any longer. "No, girls," he said in his best girly tone. "I hear tomato stains are the true bitch to get out. Much worse than alfredo."
The three of them lost it then. Even Max had to laugh a little, but he was still really mad. They pulled into the school parking lot a few moments later, and Max was the first to get out of the car. As he walked toward the front doors of the school, Max looked back at the Jeep. Isabel, Tess, and Michael were still laughing hysterically. Max just shook his head and walk in the door.

Maria got to school early on Monday to wait for Liz by her locker. When Liz got there, she tried to ignore Maria, but Maria won out in the end. "You can’t hate me forever, Liz. You’re my bestest friend in the whole wide world. I’m so sorry. Pleeeeeaaaase forgive me."
Liz gave up. "Okay, okay. I forgive you, Maria. Stop whining please."
Maria perked up. "You got it, chica. Now, I have a favor."
Liz looked at her friend. "What’s the favor. If it has anything to do with Max, the answer is no."
"It has nothing to do with Max. I just need you to pretend that we aren’t speaking to each other until after lunch."
Now Liz was thoroughly confused. "Why?"
"Because I want to have lunch with an Evans of my own. He said that if we weren’t speaking, he was going to have lunch with me."
Liz just stood there dumbfounded. However, before she could say anything, Maria gave her a little hug. "Thank you."
"Maria, I didn’t say anything."
"I know. I am taking you silence to mean that you will ignore me until after lunch." Maria started to run off down the hall. She turned around for a second and yelled back to Liz. "I promise that I will explain later."
Liz shook her head. "I will never understand that girl." Just then the bell rang, and Liz knew she had to get to class. "I guess that I will have to get this over with sooner or later." She headed down the hall to her class. Government class, with Max Evans sitting right next to her.


Max and Liz did not speak during government class, but she did catch him looking at her a few times. After that, she didn’t see him until lunch. When she walk out to the quad, Liz saw Max sitting by himself. The rest of the group was sitting under a tree a few feet to the left of him. "Man, he looks so lonely," she thought. "Well, I have nothing to loose at this point. I might as well sit with him, and embarrass myself further."
Max looked up when she reached him. "Hi," Liz said as she took a seat next to him.
"Hi Liz," Max replied with a surprised look on his face. "She is actually speaking to me," he thought.
"I saw you sitting here by yourself. Thought that you might like some company."
"That would be great."
Just then, they both heard a high pitch voice. "Well, Liz, I see that you decided to trade the pasta look in for something more contemporary."
Liz looked up. It was Pam Troy. While Pam though quite highly of herself, nobody Liz knew agreed. In fact, Pam was Liz’s least favorite person. "I should have known that Pam would bring up the Flying Pepperoni. However, before Liz could say the witty comeback she had formed, Max spoke up.
"Your Pam, right?"
Pam looked at Max, with the biggest smile on her face. "Yeah, that’s right. My fame has preceded me I see."
" Yeah, that’s not obvious language for I want to jump you," Liz thought.
"Well, Pam. From what I heard, your fame isn’t something you should be proud of," Max answered Pam.
The smile disappeared. "What is that suppose to mean?"
Max started to answer her question. "Well, the football team, and the baseball team, and the debate team…"
That’s where Pam cut him off. "Shut up, Evans." With that she turned and walked over to a group of her friends on the other side of the quad.
Liz looked a Max and smiled. "Thanks for defending me, Max. I really appreciate it."
Max returned Liz’s gaze. "No problem. We’re suppose to be friends after all. Besides, I think that she is just jealous."
Liz gave Max a puzzled look. "What do you mean?"
"Well, no one could have looked better than you while wearing spaghetti," Max told her.
Liz started to laugh. "Smart ass," she said as she reached over and slapped him on the shoulder.
"Well, it’s better than being a dumbass."
Liz laughed again. "Very true. Speaking of dumbasses, how are we going to pay our friends back for their little prank."
"It will have to be something very cruel."
"Agreed."
The two of them spent the rest of the lunch period planning their revenge. And it was very cruel indeed.

Part Eight… Sweet Revenge

"This is going to be great," Liz told Max as put they finishing touches on their plan of revenge. The plan contained all the embarrassing elements necessary, food and crowd of people. Maybe even a tantrum, if they were lucky.
Max left lunch feeling much better about the situation with Liz. They could at least be friends, if nothing else. Now, Max had to worry about his role in the revenge plan that would take place that night. When school was over, he met Tess, Michael, and Isabel by the Jeep. As they were driving home, Max finally decided to speak to them. "You guys, I am really sorry about the way I have been acting."
The other three just gasped and turn to Max with shocked looks on their faces. They all thought that he was never going to speak to them again. After a few moments, Tess spoke up. "You want us to forgive you, when we were the ones that set you two up."
Max plastered the sweetest smile he could muster on his face. "Yeah. You guys didn’t know how the date would turn out. I realize now that you were just trying to help."
Michael jumped up a little in his seat. "Yeah, that’s right. We were just helping you out. Talk about lack of gratitude for all the work we put into that little date."
Tess and Isabel thought that Michael went a little far with that statement, but Max just swallowed hard and kept the smile on his face. "I know," he said. "That is why I want to make it up to you guys. How about dinner at the Crashdown on me. I’ll even ask Mom and Dad if I can drive the car, so we can have a decent radio to listen to on the way there. And if you guys want to invite Alex and Kyle, that would be fine. The more the merrier.
Isabel and Tess were a bit hesitant, but Michael would never turn down free food. "Sounds good to me. When do you want to go?
"Is seven okay with everyone," Max asked.
They all nodded. Max spent the rest of the ride home trying not to give away what was instore for them when they got to the restaurant. Now it was up to Liz to arrange her end of the plan.

After listening to Maria talk about her little lunch get-together with Michael for over an hour and a half, any reservations Liz had about their little scheme were gone.
"Did I tell you how nice he was to me," Maria asked for about the fiftieth time.
"Yes, you did Maria," Liz answered her. "You two talked about Chicago and Roswell. He even offered you a Twizzler, which you turned down, of course, because you don’t eat junk food. But he offered it anyway, and that was really sweet. Did I leave anything out?"
"Well…," Maria started to say, but Liz cut her off.
"Maria, we have to work at some point tonight."
Maria gave a little pout. "I know, but I’m obsessed."
Liz looked out the front window of the restaurant and saw the green Honda Civic Max said he would be driving. "Time for operation GOT YA to swing into full gear," she thought. Liz rushed behind the counter and started to load up a tray full of food. It really didn’t matter what was on it, as long as it was messy. Then she rushed over to Maria with the tray. "Maria, could you take this tray of food to one of the tables outside? Pretty please. I will be your best friend."
"Liz, you are already my best friend," Maria told her.
"Please, Maria," Liz begged. "I am getting behind on my tables in here."
"Okay," Maria sighed. "I’ll do it."

Max led his group of friends over toward the Crashdown. He had picked up Tess, Isabel, and Michael, while Alex and Kyle agreed to meet them there. When they reached the entrance to the restaurant, Max told the others to take a seat outside. "It is such a nice night, I thought we could eat outside." Everyone just looked at him. "I mean it. I’ll even go get the menus for us."
As Max entered the restaurant, Maria was exiting with the tray of food. Max looked at Liz, and she gave him a little wink. That was when Max accidentally bumped Maria’s tray in such a way that all of its contents landed on the rest of the group.
Maria watched in horror as the chili, milkshakes, and cheese fries spilled over her friends, especially Michael. In that moment, the group knew they had been set up. But before they could reach Max or Liz to strangle them, Max had rushed into the restaurant and Liz locked the door behind them.
Max and Liz watched their friends’ faces turn what seemed to be every color in the rainbow. The people in the restaurant and the ones that passed couldn’t help but laugh at the scene infront of them. "I think the tantrum is coming next," Liz leaned over and whispered in Max’s ear.
Sure enough, she was right. From what they could make out without actually hearing the words, Isabel was going on about how her outfit was ruined. That was when Alex started laughing. Everyone just looked at him. "Alex, I demand that you tell me what is so funny," Isabel snapped at him.
"Nothing much really. But if you think about it, they must have planned this from the very beginning. We fell for it. Hook, line, and sinker."
Michael started laughing too. "Just think about all that time they spent planning this, when the last time, Liz was perfectly capable of doing it on her own in a split second."
After a couple of seconds, the rest of them joined in on the laughter. When Max and Liz saw this, they knew that they were not going to be killed. So Liz opened the door. From that moment on, no one mentioned the Flying Pepperoni incident to Liz or Max.



Part Nine A… An Unexpected Night

Even though the prank worked better than either of them had expected, it also seemed to cement Max and Liz’s relationship at the friendship status. However, after a few months time, they were the best of friends. In fact, they were almost inseparable.
The others were a bit disappointed that their matchmaking attempt had failed, but most of them got over it, especially after the incident at the Crashdown. Michael, on the other hand, was still convinced that Max and Liz would make a great couple. However, after the ass kicking Max gave him about the initial set up, Michael thought it was best not to push his luck. He also had better things to worry about, like a certain blond waitress. Michael finally asked Maria out on an official date to take place that Friday.
On that Friday night, almost four months after their little revenge, Max found himself alone in his house. Michael was out on his date with Maria, and their parents were out of town because of a big case. Max was actually quite bored and he thought he might give Liz a call to see what she was up to. Just when he reached for the phone, he heard a tap at his bedroom window. Liz was standing outside holding a video in one hand. Max walked over to the window and opened it. "Hi Max," Liz said.
"Hi Liz. What are you doing here?"
"I was bored, and I thought that you might like to watch a movie. Can I come in?"
Max nodded his head. Then he took Liz’s hand and helped her in the window. It was amazing how in tune they were with each other. Even though they had decided to just be friends, Max was always thinking about Liz. How beautiful she was and how much they had in common. He especially wondered what would have happened if the date at the Flying Pepperoni had been different. But that was all in the past. "So, what movie did you bring," Max asked her.
"Empire Records," Liz answered. She realized then that she had been staring at him. "God, he is perfect," she thought. "Stop it, Parker. You guys are best friends, remember."
Max put the video in the VCR, as Liz took a seat on his bed. He sat down on the floor, leaning his back up against the bed. The two of them sat there in silence watching the movie, which was strange. Usually, they would spend the whole time talking about school, their friends, or the making fun of the movie. However, tonight was different.
Liz couldn’t help but watch Max more than the movie. Usually, she could keep herself in check. But it was like there was something in the air that night. Maybe it was his scent. His intoxicating scent. Liz found herself surrounded by it while she laid on his bed. Eventually, she closed her eyes, so she could focus on the sensations his scent gave her. However, this led to thinking about Max, which always led to dreaming about Max. Soon enough, Liz was asleep.
When Liv Tyler’s character started to flip out in the movie, Max looked back to see how Liz was. She was asleep. He got off the floor, turned off the movie, and walked back over to the bed. He debated on whether or not to wake her, but thought it was best to let her sleep. She looked so peaceful.
After watching her sleep for a minute, Max pulled the covers over her. What he did next surprised even him. Max leaned over and kissed Liz softly on the lips. She slowly opened her eyes after becoming aware that he was so close to her. "Max," she moaned when their lips parted.
Realizing what he had just done, Max started to pull way, but Liz wrapped her arms around his neck. She drew him in closer, placing her lips back on his. Max could not believe that Liz was kissing him. His heart was pounding as he got caught up in the kiss. Max ran on hand through her long, dark hair and placed the other along the small of her back. It was like she couldn’t be close enough to satisfy him.
Liz didn’t know what had come over her. All she did know was that she needed Max more than she had needed anything in her life. With each of his kisses, she seemed to melt deeper into him. She wanted to touch him, to feel his skin next to her’s. "Max…Please," she moaned as he traced her jawline and went down to her neck with his lips placing light kisses everywhere. It was then that they both lost control.

Part Nine B…An Unexpected Night…(NC-17)

When Max heard her speak his name with such desire, he could no longer control the feelings that he had been repressing for months. His lips left her neck, and he brought his head up until he could look Liz in the eyes. He saw the desire in her eyes that he had heard in her voice. With that, he crushed his lips back down on hers. They were soft, like velvet.
The urgency in this kiss surprised Liz. The hunger she had seen in his eyes caused her to want him more, if that was even possible. She opened her lips, allowing him access to her mouth, which he gladly accepted.
As the kiss continued, Liz began to explore Max with her hands. She moved them under his shirt rubbing his back, then stomach, and then across his chest. She heard a gasp escape his lips as she grazed his nipple with her finger. But Liz found that Max’s shirt didn’t allow her enough access to him. She broke their kiss long enough to pull his shirt off over his head.
Max returned to her lips, but now he wanted to explore her, the way she was exploring him. Slowly, he made his way down her neck. He continued down, until he reached the top button of her shirt. He stopped for a second and looked up to see if Liz wanted him to stop.
Liz was getting lost in the sensations Max was causing her. Each kissed he placed on her skin added fuel to her need for him. She couldn’t even hold back a moan, which escaped her lips when he stopped right above the top button of her shirt. Whatever questions he had, the moan seemed to answer them because her continued to kiss her. After a couple more seconds, Max undid the first button and kissed the flesh that lay behind it. He did that with each button, slowly making his way down between her breasts as he unclasped her bra, and along her stomach.
Liz arched her back slightly, allowing her shirt part more, which revealed her breasts fully. Max held he breath at the this sight. "Here is the most beautiful girl I have ever seen," he thought. "Could she really feel same for me as I feel for her?" Max didn’t want to push Liz or frighten her in any way. He pulled away slightly and looked into her eyes. "Are you sure you want this," he asked her.
Liz nodded her head as she drew him closer. "More than anything," she whispered into his ear.
Max let go of all his fear at that point. He brought a hand up to her left breast and started to play with the nipple. Then he brought his mouth down on the other one. His tongue circled the outer edge before he covered it with his mouth completely.
All of the nerves in Liz body started to come alive. She could tell this was getting to him as much as it was getting to her. She glided her hands, which had come to rest on Max’s shoulders, down the front of his chest and along his hips. Then, as her hands worked their way back up, she brushed his erection, noting to herself how hard he was getting.
Max didn’t know how much longer he could wait. He wanted to be connect with Liz, to be inside her, more than anything he had wanted in his whole life. When her hands brushed his erection, he could feel himself get harder.
He tore away from her one breast, and covered the other one with his mouth. As he did this, Liz undid the button of his jeans and unzipped them. Her hands grazed his hips, then his butt as she glided the jeans down.
Max broke away from Liz again, but this time it was to free himself of his jeans. As he kicked them aside, Max reached out and undid the button of Liz jeans, the unzipped them. Liz arched to allow him to pull the pants off.
They both paused for a second to look each other over. Then, Max kissed Liz with all the passion he was feeling at that moment. He was getting harder by the second. Liz noticed this too, because soon she was tugging on his boxers. Max reached down to help her. Then, started to kiss her stomach as he pulled Liz’s panties off. Liz looked into Max’s eyes, pleading with him to claim her. "Please…Max…Please," she whispered.
Max positioned himself between Liz’s legs. She opened them, inviting him to take her. He entered her slowly, supporting most of his weight on his arms.
Liz shuttered and gasped with pain as he gently broke her barrier. "Oh God, Liz. I’m sorry," he said realizing how much pain he had caused her.
She wrapped her legs around him and arched against him, pushing him into her more. "Don’t stop, Max," she told him.
Slowly, Max moved in and out of her. As she adjusted to him, she allowed him to go deeper, matching each one of this thrusts. His pace increased, and soon he was ready to climax. But he wanted to wait until Liz was there with him. He slowed down, but Liz wrapped her legs around him tighter and thrusted upward with all her might causing them both to reach their peak. Max looked into Liz’s eyes as he felt her body shudder beneath him. He brought his lips to hers, and kissed her with all the completion he now felt in his soul.

Part Ten… The Morning After

Liz woke up the next morning when the first ray of sun broke into Max’s room. She felt so completed and content, just like her sleep had been the night before. She could feel Max next to her. Liz turned her head to look at his face. He looked so happy lying there. But then a thought crept into her head. "What if Max wakes up and regrets that we made love?"
This thought scared Liz more than anything ever had. After all, they had decided that they were just going to be friends. This was going to change their entire relationship. Liz wanted Max to be more than her friend, but he might not feel the same. Last night she had given Max her heart and soul. However, he might not want it. If he rejected her, Liz didn’t know what she would do.
Liz got out of Max’s bed, being careful not to wake him. She dressed quietly and left through the window. She had to find a friend she could talk to. Liz decided to go to Maria’s house.
Max woke up a few minutes after Liz left. He had felt cold without her warmth next to him. When he found she wasn’t in bed, Max sat up, looked around, and saw that Liz was gone. "Why did she leave so early," Max wondered. "What if she wanted to be gone before I woke. Last night was the most incredible night of my life, but maybe she wished it had never happened."
Max felt a shot of pain rip through his heart when he thought that. He had to find Liz to see if she was all right. A few minutes later, he was dressed and out the window.

Liz arrived at Maria’s house about five minutes after she left Max’s. They only lived a block apart. Liz tapped on Maria’s bedroom window. A moment later, Maria appeared at the window. Of course, she had been asleep. Liz hated that she woke up her friend, but she really needed to talk. "What the hell are you doing here, chica," Maria asked as she rubbed the sleep from her eyes.
A tear slipped from Liz’s eye. "I needed to talk to someone," she said, trying to fight back the other tears that were forming.
"Sure, come on it."
Liz climbed through the window. She sat down on Maria’s bed. Maria sat next to her. "What is the matter, Liz? I have never seen you like this."
Liz’s could feel the tears coming faster. "Max and I…we…we made love."
Maria was shocked. She thought that they were just friends. She could only think of one question to ask. "Did he make you…"
Liz cut her off. "No, Maria. Oh my god."
"Well, you showed up here crying. I don’t know what to think or say." Maria paused for a moment. "So, why are you so upset?"
"What if he hates me?"
Now Maria was confused. "He is not going to hate you. What is making you think that? Max cares about you, a lot. We all know that."
Liz couldn’t fight her tears anymore. She started to cry uncontrollably. "There might be hope," she thought.
Maria had never seen her friend so torn apart. All she could think of to do was give Liz a hug. "It will be okay, Liz. I promise."

Max walked toward Maria’s house. "She lives the closest. Maybe Liz went there," he thought.
When he got to her house, Max noticed that a light was on in Maria’s bedroom. Max walked toward the light. When he looked in the window, he saw Liz crying and Maria trying to comfort her. Max was crushed. "She hates me," he thought. "She hated what happened last night. Max turned around and walked away, not caring to wipe the tears that came trickling from his eyes.

Part Eleven… Confusion

At school on Monday, Max avoided Liz, thinking it would be easier or her. However, it wasn't. She nearly cried almost every time she saw him. Entire group noticed the change in their friends. Only Maria knew what was actually going on, but she knew it wasn't her place to tell anyone.
Tuesday passed in the same fashion, as did Wednesday. The only things that seemed to change was how awful Max and Liz looked, and how concerned their friends were about them. However, when one of them approached Max or Liz about their behavior, they would deny that anything had happened.
By the time Thursday rolled around, Michael decided to confront Max about what taken place between him and Liz. That night, at home, Michael went into Max's room. He really had no idea what was going on, but he knew something was. "Hey Max. I think we really need to talk," Michael said, his voice full of concern.
"There is nothing to talk about," Max told him without looking up from the book he was reading. Now, Michael was angry. "That's a damn lie, and you know it." Michael walked over to where Max was sitting, and tore the book from his hands. "You know, I can't remember a time when you have actually lied to me."
Max grew ridged. "Well, when was it decided that you needed to know everything about my life. If you could keep your nose out of my business, then maybe I wouldn't have to lie."
"That is not what this is about, and you know it," Michael said, practically shouting. "I know that something happened between you and Liz. We all do. You two haven't talked to each other for almost a week. You don't seem to care that we worry about you and Liz."
"But…," Max started to say, but Michael cut him off.
"No buts, Maxwell. You are going to listen. If you don't care about how much Isabel, Tess, Maria, Alex, and I worry about you, then you should at least worry about how this is all effecting Liz. Have you truly looked at her at all this week? She looks like death warmed over."
Max felt a sharp pain in his heart. To know that he caused Liz to suffer like that hurt him in a way he never knew was possible. Michael noticed that Max flinched when he mentioned how bad Liz looked, but he kept going. "We know that you care about her. You have to talk to her. Maria, Isabel, and Tess say that Liz hasn't been eating. And judging by the dark circles under her eyes, she hasn't been sleeping much either. I know you haven't. Look, Max. I can handle it if you don't talk to me about this, but you have to talk to her."
Michael started to walk out of Max's room, but Max stopped him. He had gotten up from the bed, and grabbed Michael by the arm. "It isn't that simple, Michael."
"Yeah. And the way you two have been acting is easier," Michael said he stopped just short of the door.
"No," Max answered him, looking down at his shoes. "You see, Liz and I made love."
Michael was at a complete loss for words. A tiny part of him wanted to jump up and down, doing the I-told-you-so dance. However, he knew that now was not the time for it. "Well, what's the problem? You guys have finally admitted how you feel about each other. You two should be happy and telling everyone, possibly singing, the fact that you're a couple now."
"Trust me, Michael. I would if I could." Max walked back over to the bed and sat down. "But, she left."
"What do you mean 'she left'."
"The morning after. When I woke, up she was gone. I assumed that she went to a friend's house, and since Maria lives that closest…"
"I get the drift. You went over to Maria's house. And???"
"She was crying."
"Liz was crying?"
"Yeah. I assumed that she resented what had happened."
"Did she actually say that?"
"No."
Michael looked at his brother. He could tell that thinking he had hurt Liz was killing Max. "I think you assumed to much. Liz never said she regretting being with you, so how do you know she does."
"I saw her crying, Michael."
"I know. You said that. But you don't know what she was crying about."
Max just looked at his brother with amazement. "What else could it have been?"
"Well, you two took a pretty big step," Michael said. "You guys went from being friends, to being, you know, more than friends, in one night. She might have been confused. Maybe she thought you would regret the whole thing."
"Do you think that's true," Max asked, trying to sound hopeful.
"Well, you will won't know until you talk to her."
Max shook his head. "Your right."
Michael's ears perked up. "Aren't I always," he said jokingly.
Max gave a little laugh. "Yes, Michael. You are. I promise that I will talk to her tomorrow."
Michael's smile increased. "Good."

Part Twelve… Talking it Out

On Friday, Max decided to talk to Liz before first period. He saw her standing at her locker, so he walked up to her and tapped her on her shoulder. Liz turned around, but when she saw it was Max, she shut her locker door, and ran off.
Maria saw Liz run off, so she followed her. "Hey Liz, wait up," Maria called out to her friend.
Liz stopped and turned to face Maria. "Hi Maria," she said, trying not to sound upset.
But Maria wasn’t fooled. "Don’t try to sound like nothing is bothering you. I know you too well. Not to mention, I saw was just happened. Man, you ran away from Max like he was the plague."
Liz could feel the tears in her eyes, but she wasn’t going to cry. "I don’t know what to say to him, Maria. Should I just walk up to him and say ‘Hi, Max. Do you remember how I ran off the night after we made love? Well, it had nothing to do with you. I was just really confused. So, what are your thoughts on the subject?’"
"Yes."
"Maria!"
Maria shrugged her shoulders. "Okay. Maybe not those exact words, but you need to say something to him. I mean you are in love with him. That is obvious."
Liz looked at her friend with a puzzled expression on her face. "Really?"
"Oh yeah," Maria said as she nodded her head. "Everyone knows your crazy for him."
Liz gave a little smile. "I guess your right."
"You guess," Maria joked. "You only guess that I’m right. Chica, you know that I am always right."
Liz laughed. "Yes, I know."
"Good. Now that we have gotten past your first lesson of the day, lets move on to the second. You are going to have to talk to Max. It is the only way things are going to get better."
"Do you think I can handle it," Liz asked.
"Liz, you are one of the strongest people I know. Plus, I happen to think that Max is just as in love with you as you are with him."
"Do you think so?"
"Judging by his expression when you walked away just a couple of minutes ago, I have no doubt."
"Okay, I will talk to him."
"Good."

Liz knew she was going to have to talk to Max. But every time she tried, something came up. She wanted to talk to him after first period, but the teacher asked her to stay after to talk about her government presentation. At lunch, she looked all around for Max, but couldn’t find him anywhere. Finally, she saw him after school and decided to run after him. "Max," she called out to him from across the parking lot.
Max turned around. When he saw Liz running toward him, he didn’t know what to do. After what had happened before school, he wasn’t to eager to try to talk to her during lunch. "I don’t want to make her sick to her stomach," he thought to himself. Max could have been more disgusted with him about the situation. But now, Liz was actually approaching him.
"Max, I am glad I caught you before you left," she said as she reached him.
He looked at her, into her eyes. He could see the dark circles around them. "Hi Liz," he said.
"We have to talk, Max. We have to talk about what happened."
"Liz, I don’t know what to say. I am so sorry about I hurt you," he told her
Liz looked at him, puzzled. "What are you sorry about? I should apologize. I was confused when I woke up that morning. I thought that you would resent what happened, and I just couldn’t have taken that."
"You mean you don’t hate me," Max asked her.
"No, never. I thought you would hate me."
"Michael was right," he thought. Max looked into Liz’s eyes, her beautiful dark eyes. "So, you did want to be with me."
"Yes," Liz sighed.
Max took a step closer to Liz, closing the gap between them. He reached his arm out and ran his hand through her hair. She wrapped her arms around his waist and hugged him. He ran the hand that was in her hair down her cheek, and under her chin. Liz lifted her chin up, and looked at Max straight in the eyes. "I love you," she told him.
Liz realized at that moment how true those words were. She had never known anyone like Max before. It was more that just attraction. He had completed her.
"I love you, too. More than anything, Liz." With that, he brought his mouth down upon hers, in a deep passionate kiss.

posted on 14-Aug-2002 2:21:06 AM
Part Thirteen…It’s About Time

"It’s about time," Alex commented on the sight that unfolded in front of him.
"I think your right," Isabel said as she took Alex’s hand.
"It does seem safe to assume they made up," Tess agreed as she joined them, with Kyle in tow. The four of them stood by the Jeep and watched as Max and Liz announced their coupleness to the school. "I only wish I could see Pam Troy’s face when news hits her," Tess said, trying to stifle her laugh.
Kyle was a bit confused, however. "When did they stop being friends and decided to be a couple," he asked.
Tess turned to him. "I’d have to say just now."
Kyle shook his head. "Oh."
Tess reached up and wrapped her arms around Kyle’s neck. Kyle looked into to her eyes as she drew him in for a kiss.
"Great," Isabel exclaimed. "Two of my relatives are making out right in front of me, and another is MIA." She gave a quick look to Tess and Kyle, then to Max and Liz. "I think I will be scarred for life," she said as she buried her head into Alex’s shoulder.
"Well, we could be mean and scar them instead," Alex told her, getting a devilish look on his face.
Isabel flashed him a smile. "What did you have in mind?"
Alex cupped her face in his hands. "Maybe this." He leaned into to her and covered her mouth with his.
"Way to go Whitman," Kyle shouted.
Tess punched him playfully in the stomach. Alex and Isabel broke their kiss, and both glared at Kyle.
"What," Kyle asked when he saw the look they gave him. "He used a situation to his advantage. You have to give a guy credit for that."
Tess punched him again, only a little harder this time. Kyle decided that it was time to change the subject. "So, where are Michael and Maria. I was suppose to give Maria a ride home today."
"Why," Alex asked. "Are Jim and Amy going out on another date tonight."
"Yeah," Kyle answered. "I really don’t understand. They should just get married and get it over with. I mean they have been dating ever since Maria and I were twelve years old. She is already like my little sister, so I don’t see why our parents won’t make it official."
"They will some day," Tess told Kyle. She knew how much he cared about Amy and Maria, and how much he wanted to be a real family. "Just wait and see, baby."
"Well, we better go look for Michael and Maria," Isabel chimed in. "They are probably around here somewhere."

Part Fourteen…Busted

"Michael, I think that was the last bell," Maria said breathlessly. She still couldn’t believe that she had agreed to skip last period to come to the eraser room with Michael Evans. But then again, it was Michael Evans. This guy had an effect on her that no other guy had ever had. Not even Jessie Norton, the guy she dated last year and thought was the love of her life.
"Just a couple more minutes," Michael said with his lips barely touching her neck. It was like he couldn’t get enough of Maria. She was unlike any other girl he had ever met. Sure, sometimes she annoyed him, but he was actually crazy about her.
Michael withdrew his lips from her neck, and brought his eyes up until they met with hers. "God, she has the most beautiful blue eyes I have ever seen," he thought to himself.
Maria returned his gazed and waited for his lips to attack hers. She didn’t have to wait long. Michael greedily claimed her mouth with his. Maria parted her lips and Michael took the opportunity to explore her mouth with his tongue. They finally broke apart, when they needed some air. Michael thought this would be a chance to cool down, before things went too far. "So, have you talked to Liz," he asked.
Maria stood there stunned for a second. "Yeah, I talked to her this morning."
"So, you know what happened?"
"Yeah. She and Max slept together. Was Max trying to talk to her this morning about what was going on," Maria asked.
"I hope he was," Michael replied. "He better of talked to her."
"Why do you say that?"
"Because, we got into a bit of a fight last night. Afterwards, he promised he was going to talk to her."
"Oh, well I told Liz that she had to talk to him. If she doesn’t, I will have to kick her butt. And I can too, you better believe it."
But Michael wasn’t listening. He was paying too much attention to the way Maria’s mouth moved when she talked. To the way her lips curled into a smile when she said something funny. Then, Michael was jolted out of his little reverie.
"Michael, are you listening to me?"
"Sure," he answered her.
"Right. Okay, what was I saying," Maria asked him. She didn’t believe for one second that he was listen to her.
"You said that you think I am the hottest boy in school, and that you were so lucky to have caught me." Michael smiled at her, and hoped that she wouldn’t be too mad that he wasn’t listening.
Maria opened up her mouth to speak, but before she had the chance, Michael was kissing her again.
And that was how they found them. Michael and Maria didn’t even hear the door to the eraser room open. However, they did hear Tess and Isabel’s laughter at the sight before their eyes. "I should have known," Tess said in between giggles.
"Well, it seems like everyone is successful paired off," Isabel added.
Maria ears perked up. "Does that mean…"
Tess cut her off. "Yep, it does."
A huge smile lit Maria’s face. "Great. That’s wonderful. I’m so happy."
Michael looked back and forth between Tess and Maria. "Excuse me," he butted in. "You are going to have to explain in full sentences, because I do not speak girlish squeals."
"Max and Liz got back together," Maria explained as she turned to look at he.
"Yes. That’s great."
"Not so great as the torment I am going to put two through about this little situation," Tess chimed in again.
"Please, Tess, don’t tell Kyle," Maria begged.
Michael looked at her, a little jealous. "Why can’t she tell Kyle? Why would he care?"
Maria noticed the look on Michael’s face. "It’s not what you’re thinking. Kyle’s dad and my mom have been dating for years. Kyle is like my brother."
"That still doesn’t explain why Tess…"
Maria pressed her finger to his lips. "Think about it. Kyle is like my brother. My very protective, football playing brother."
Michael nodded, and kissed Maria’s finger before she pulled it away. Tess and Isabel watched this tender scene. "I think I am going to be sick," Isabel commented to Tess.
"Hey," Michael exclaimed. "I don’t say anything about you two and your boyfriends."
Isabel and Tess just looked at him.
"Okay, I don’t say anything much," he added.
Isabel and Tess just shook their heads.
Michael reached out for Maria’s hand. She gave it to him, and they walked out of the eraser room. "Are you guys coming," Michael asked, looking back at Tess and Isabel.
"Yeah," Isabel called out to him. Then, she looked at Tess. "What do you think he meant by back together? Max and Liz were never a couple before."
Tess looked at her sister. "I don’t know. But we’ll get to the bottom of it sooner of later."

Part Fifteen… The Second Date

Neither Max or Liz had any idea how long they had been standing there kissing because they were too wrapped up in each other to care. However, judging by the few cars there were in the parking lot, they guessed it had been awhile.
"I guess I’d better get home," Liz said finally. "I don’t want my parents to worry."
"Yeah," Max agreed, as he rested he forehead against hers. "By the way, what are you doing tonight?"
"Nothing. Why?"
"Well, I know that our first date was a disaster, but I thought that maybe we could try it again."
Liz looked into his eyes and smiled. "That would be wonderful. Besides, this time we know that the other one wants to be there. What time do you want to pick me up?"
"How about seven?"
"Great."
Max pulled Liz into him for another kiss. This one was soft and tender. Liz let out a little sigh when Max pulled away. "I will see you at seven," Max told her before he walked over to the Jeep.


And he was there at seven o’clock on the dot. Liz was running a little late, because she had just gotten off the phone with Maria. Maria was more than ecstatic for her friend. At 7:05, Liz ran out the door to where Max was waiting for her. "God, you look great," he told her as soon as he saw her. And she did. Liz was wearing a black dress that hit just below her knees. Her hair was pulled back, with little curls framing her face.
"Thanks," she said as she gave him a little kiss hello. Then, she noticed how good he looked. He was wearing khaki pants and a black, v-necked shirt, which didn’t do much to hide the muscular chest underneath. Liz felt her breath catch in her throat. After a couple of seconds, she was able to speak. "So, where are we going tonight," she asked.
Max smiled. He saw the way that she looked at him and he wondered how he could ever elicit such feelings from a beautiful creature as Liz Parker. "I thought that we could have dinner at Senor Chows."
"That would be great. I’m starved."
Max opened the car door for her, and helped her inside. When they go to the restaurant, Max and Liz took a seat in the booth toward the back. Liz tried to focus on the menu, but it was hard with Max sitting right across from her. "Just don’t order anything with noodles," she told him.
Max started to laugh. "I promise, I won’t."
They both sat there for a couple more seconds without saying anything. "Why is this so hard," Max thought to himself. "I could tell her anything a couple of weeks ago, and now I’m having a hard time constructing a complete sentence."
Well, Liz finally broke the silence. "I think we need to talk about last Friday."
"Yeah," Max answered. While he knew that she didn’t regret it, they still hadn’t talked everything out.
"It was a little too soon, Max," she whispered softly.
"I know. I didn’t want to push you, but…"
Liz leaned over the table a little bit. "I wanted you, too. But I think that we should be a little more careful."
Max cupped her face with his hands and gave her a kiss filled with understanding. "We will wait as long as you need to," he said as he broke the kiss.
Liz smiled at him, reached up, and covered one of his hands with her own. "Thank you, Max."
"There is no need to thank me Liz. I love you, and I will wait forever if I have too."
Liz gave him a coy smile. "You won’t have to wait forever, just a little while."
Max threaded his fingers though the hand she had placed on his. "May I have this dance."
Liz nodded and they got up. As he pulled her in closer, Liz took a breath and let her senses become filled with Max’s scent. As she laid her head against his chest, the scent became stronger. "You won’t have to wait long," she thought.


Part Sixteen… Finally

Saturday morning rolled around in the same fashion as other Saturdays did. Maria spent most of her morning shift at the Crashdown complaining to Liz about Amy and Jim. "I mean she didn’t even call to say that she was staying over there," Maria complained for the tenth time.
"She probably just forgot," Liz told her, trying to get Maria calmed down enough to tell her about the date last night. "Anyway, Max took me to…"
"Forgot," Maria interrupted her. "I’m her daughter. She should remember to tell me these things."
"I give up," Liz sighed as she threw her hands up.
"I sorry, Liz. I’ll stop. My attention is now completely focused on you. Tell me about your date."
"Why don’t you tell all of us," Isabel said as she, Alex, and Tess walked over to them.
Maria jumped up a little bit. "Isabel you scared me. I didn’t even see you guys come in."
"You were too busy complaining," Alex told her. Maria swatted at him playfully. "I just wanted my daily dose of girlish gossip," Alex said, trying to mock Maria.
Tess took the cue and gave Alex another playful smack. "Enough of that. This is boy abuse."
Liz and Isabel covered their mouths to keep from laughing too loudly. Just then, Kyle burst through the doors of the restaurant. Tess rushed over to him. "Kyle, what is the matter," Tess asked, concerned.
Kyle just grabbed her hand and dragged her back to the rest of the group. When they reached the other, Kyle gave Tess a quick kiss. Tess just looked at him. "Kyle, what is this all about," she asked again.
Kyle took a second to catch his breath. "My dad finally did it."
Maria looked Kyle in the eyes. "He finally did what?"
"He asked your mom to marry him, and she said yes."
Maria let out a scream and hugged Kyle. Kyle swung her around once, before putting her down. Then, he gave a Tess a long kiss. Tess seemed to be shocked. Everyone did. They all thought that Jim and Amy would always date. It had been five years since they had started dating.
Maria paused her little happy dance. "Kyle. Are you sure?"
"Yeah. Trust me. I found the two of them making out in the kitchen this morning. That’s when I saw the ring. I asked about it, and my father told me that they were going to get married. Jim and Amy were going to take us out to dinner this evening to tell us.
Maria took a step forward and hugged Kyle again. "We finally going to be a family."
Kyle wrapped his arms around Maria. "A family," he sighed.


Part Seventeen… Congratulations

Maria rushed home after her shift and called Michael. He answered the phone after a few rings. "Michael, you will never guess what happened."
Michael chuckled into the phone. "Maria. Do you ever say ‘Hello’ when a person answers the phone?"
"No. It wastes time. Besides, I have life-altering news to tell you."
Most news was life-altering to Maria, but Michael was curious. "What is the news?"
"My mom and Jim are going to get married."
"Wow," Michael. This was big news. He also knew how much Maria wanted her mom and the sheriff to get married. "Congratulations to you…your mom…hell, everyone. This is great news."
"I know," Maria sighed. "I so happy."
"I glad."
"You won’t be in a second," Maria told him.
"Why?"
"I have to break our date tonight. My mom and Jim want to take Kyle and I out to dinner."
"That’s okay, Maria. I understand." Michael paused for a couple of seconds.
"Michael. Are you still there," Maria asked him.
"Yeah," Michael answered. "But I was thinking. The sheriff is going to be your dad, and you are going to have a brother that plays football."
"Yes, so what?"
"I am so screwed."

Part Eighteen… Oh No!

At dinner that night, Amy and Jim decided on a July wedding. Actually, Amy decided and Jim just went along with her. "It will make life easier," she told them. "That way we will have time after the kids graduate to get everything set up."
For the first time in months, everything seemed right with the world. The halls of West Roswell High were peaceful, with the occasional exception of Pam Troy’s annoying taunts at the four happily pair off couples. However, none of them cared about what she thought.
Max and Liz were the happiest of them all. It seemed like they spent every free moment with each other. The others teased them relentlessly, but Michael was by far the worst.
One day about six weeks later, Liz and Maria were working the morning shift at the restaurant. However, Liz didn’t feel so well. After barely managing to serve an omelet to a customer at the counter, Liz rushed to the bathroom in the back. Maria quickly followed her. "Liz, are you okay," Maria asked, as she knocked on the bathroom door.
Maria just heard the door unlock, and she took a step inside. She saw Liz sitting on the floor, laying her head on the edge of the toilet. "Oh God, Liz what is the matter?"
Liz turned her head to face her friend. "I just feel so sick, Maria."
Maria knelt down next to Liz and pushed a piece of hair out of Liz’s eyes. "Could it be the flu?"
Liz shook her head. "I don’t think so, Maria."
"Why not?"
Liz managed to utter the two words that had been haunting her for a week now. "I’m late."
Maria gasped. "Come on, Liz. That’s impossible. You guys only…you know…once."
"I know, Maria. But I am a week late. What am I going to do?"
Maria gave Liz a hug. "Don’t worry, Liz. We will figure out something."
Liz began to cry. Maria tried to comfort her, but Liz just kept crying. Maria gave Liz some paper towel, which she used to wipe the tears from her eyes. "Are you going to tell Max," Maria asked.
"I don’t know."

Part Ninteen… To Know the Truth

Liz sat in her favorite chair on her balcony with her knees tucked up underneath her chin. It was a week after she had told Maria about her suspicions. She had made an appointment at the clinic earlier that week. "I now know the truth," she told herself. The clinic had just called about the results of her pregnancy test.
That’s when she heard someone climbing up the fire escape. She knew it was Max. Liz didn’t know what to do. She closed her eyes and hoped she was wrong. But she could feel that it was Max. Soon, she felt a light kiss being placed on her lips. "Max," she said as she exhaled the breath that she had been holding.
"Open you eyes, Liz," Max asked her. Maria had told him that Liz wasn’t feeling too well. She had even gone to the doctor earlier that week. He suspected that was why she had canceled their date for that evening. So, Max had decided to surprise her with flowers. White roses, her favorite.
Liz opened her eyes. When she saw the roses, Liz began to cry. Max knelt down beside her. "Oh God Liz, what is wrong? Did I do something wrong?"
Liz shook her head, reached out, and held Max close to her. Max wrapped his arms around her, running his hands through her hair. "Liz, just tell me what is wrong? What every it is will work it out?"
"Yeah, but you don’t know what it is Max," Liz said between her sobs.
"Are you sick? Did the doctor find something wrong?"
Liz shook her head. "Max, do you love me?"
Now Max was scared. What if the doctor had found something wrong? He would go crazy if something happened to Liz. Even in the short time they had known each other, she had become his everything. His heart. "Of course I love you, Liz. I love you more than anything in this world."
Liz smiled. Maybe he wouldn’t be mad. Maybe they could handle this. Liz took one of Max’s hands in her own. She looked into his eyes. They were so filled with worry. "I’m pregnant."
Max exhaled loudly. Liz was pregnant, pregnant with his child. "Are you sure," he asked, even though he knew she was.
"Yes," Liz answered quietly. Then she began to cry again. "He know the truth now," she thought. "Will he hate me?"
It was like Max could read her thoughts. "I don’t hate you, Liz. I could never hate you. I’m just shocked. We will find out a way to handle this. I promise."
Max lifted Liz slightly and brought her to rest on his lap. He cradled her in his arms. "I promise, Liz."
Liz wrapped her arms around his neck, and gave him a tender kiss.


Part Twenty… Our Little Secret

On Monday, Max and Liz decided to tell their friends about their little secret. The group all met for lunch by their usual tree. "Hey everyone, we have something to tell you," Max said as he sat on the ground.
Liz sat down next to him. Maria looked at Liz to confirm her suspicions. Liz just nodded her head. However, the rest of the gang had no idea what to expect. "As you all know, Max and I have been going out for a little over a month now," Liz said.
"What is this about," Isabel asked, getting impatient. "We all know that you two are crazy about each other. It is a common fact."
"But what you don’t know is that we were together before we were a couple," Liz continued.
"Together as in… overshare, Liz. That’s my cousin," Tess said in shock. Then she turned to Isabel. "I’ll bet that’s what they meant as in back together."
Isabel and Tess turned their attention to Maria and Michael. "You guys knew about this and didn’t tell us." Isabel reached over and slapped Michael across the arm.
Finally, Alex spoke up. He knew that there was more serious to discuss. "Stop that. I have a feeling that this is not the important part of the announcement that Max and Liz have."
Tess and Isabel stopped beating up on Michael, and turned their attention to back to the task at hand. "So what is the big announcement," Tess asked.
Liz suddenly lost her voice. It was hard enough to admit to herself that she was in her condition, but to tell everyone else was even harder. Max leaned over ad whispered in Liz’s ear. "Do you want me to tell them?"
Liz felt the hot tears sting her eyes. She shook her head. "Everyone," she whispered softly. "I’m pregnant."
Everyone, accept Maria, gasped loudly. The shock was clearly written on their faces. Kyle took it upon himself to break the silence. "This kid is calling me Uncle, right? I get a nephew or niece, a mom, and a sister all in the same year. Someone catch me, I think I’m going to faint."
Liz began to laugh and cry at the same time. She crawled over to Kyle and gave him a big hug. Michael chimed in next. "But I get to be the favorite Uncle, of course."
Alex jumped to his feet and took a fighting stance. "Nah uh. That’s my job. I’ll fight you for it."
Michael met the challenge, and they started to mock fight. Isabel was a little less than amused. "I hate to break it to you three, but there are more important things to deal with here." She turned to Max. "Have you even though about what your parents or Liz’s parents are going to say? How are you going to support the baby? Where are you guys going to live?"
Isabel looked around and saw the others looking at her. She didn’t mean to break everyone’s joy at the news, but these were going to be problems. Then she saw Alex’s face. It was a mixture of anger and disappointment. Isabel then heard Liz’s sobs become more predominate. She had to lighten the mood. "Besides Uncles don’t get to be the favorites, Aunts do. That gets to be my role."
"Mine too," Tess added.
"Me too, I mean me three," Maria said, joining the chorus.
Liz resumed her seat next to Max. He took ahold of her hand, and placed a light kiss on it. It was then, for the first time, Liz knew everything was going to work out somehow. She didn’t know how, but it was going to.
What they all didn’t know was that some had over heard everything. Their secret wasn’t going to remain a secret for long.

posted on 14-Aug-2002 2:22:42 AM
Part Twenty one… Blabber mouth

Pam couldn’t believe the juicy bit of news she had just overheard, standing on the opposite of the tree. "The goody-goody Liz Parker is knocked up by the jerky Max Evens. Damn. What I could do with this news."
Pam didn’t know who to tell first. Certainly to her little circle of friends, who would then pass it on to their friends. By the end of the day, the entire school could know. It was definitely a possibility, but Pam Troy wanted to get back at Liz with something better. "Her parents," Pam thought out loud. "I bet they don’t know about the little one in the oven."
Pam smiled as a wicked little plan formed her head.



That afternoon, Liz had to fill-in for Gladys, so the gang decided to eat dinner at the Crashdown. In fact, they were all trying to come up with ideas to help Max and Liz break the news to their parents. Liz took her break at six and joined the group for a few minutes.
"Any ideas yet," she asked as she pulled over a chair.
Maria shook her head. "Nope, nothing. I hate to break it to ya chica, but your parents are going to flip." Maria turned her head to Max. "And, buddy, Mr. Parker will probably just kill you at first sight."
Isabel sighed loudly. "Maria, you’re not helping. Positive thoughts only, okay." Isabel had decided to remain on the positive side of the group. She couldn’t forget the look that Alex had given her earlier. She wasn’t going to be the doubting person anymore.
Tess brought Isabel out of her little thoughts by tapping her on the shoulder. Pam Troy and her friends had just walked in. Most people thought that Liz disliked Pam the most, but they were wrong. Tess absolutely hated her. Ever since the sixth grade, when Pam told the boy Tess liked at the time that she a crush on him. The guy ended up laughing at Tess. She had never been so embarrassed in her life.
Tess could tell that Pam was up to no good now. There was just something in the expression on her face. Tess sure was going to get to the bottom of whatever it was. "I think that she is up to something," Tess told Isabel.
"Getting food," Isabel teased. "Come on, Tess. We all know that you hate Pam, but she is not always up to something. Even backstabbers have to eat and sleep."
"Mock me all you like. I know she is up to no good."
Tess excused herself from the table and walked to the end of the counter where Pam and her group had seated themselves. She stood far enough away to pretend like she was waiting to order something, but close enough to hear what Pam was saying.
However, she was not the only one who could hear Pam. Nancy Parker was kneeling on the floor under the counter looking for something. Pam knew this because she had seen Nancy kneel down, but Tess didn’t know.
"You guys will never guess what I heard," Pam pronounced happily.
"What," Heather, one of Pam’s friends, asked.
"Liz Parker is pregnant."
The three other girls gasped, and Tess grew very pale. Pam was going to tell everyone in the whole school. That’s when Tess saw Nancy Parker jump up from behind the counter. She had figured out Pam’s scheme too late.
Nancy couldn’t believe what she had just heard. "My baby is pregnant," she thought. She then spotted Liz sitting with her friends. She practically ran over there, grabbed Liz’s arm, and dragged her to the backroom.
Tess was not more than two steps behind Nancy as she raced for the table. After Nancy dragged Liz away, Max looked at Tess, confused. "What the hell was that about?"
"Pam Troy somehow knows that Liz is pregnant. She managed to tell her friends just loud enough for Mrs. Parker to overhear."
Max didn’t even think twice. He got up and ran toward the backroom where Liz and Nancy had disappeared. "Next time, keep it in your pants, Evans," Pam said as he passed.
Tess was fuming. So was everyone else. Pam saw the looks they were giving her and decided it was high time to get out of the Crashdown. But she didn’t get that far. Tess ran out of the restaurant after Pam, and caught up with her one the corner. "Who the hell do you think you are," she yelled at Pam.
Pam turned around. "Just thought that Mrs. Parker needed to know the truth about her precious little girl."
That is when Pam felt the crack come across her face. Tess had reached back and slapped Pam with all her might. Pam stood there, clutching the side of her face. Tess reached back to do it again, but Kyle grabbed her hand.
"Kyle, why don’t you control your harpy of a girlfriend," Pam yelled at him.
Kyle just scowled at her. "Why don’t you keep your mouth shut, Pam? You have hurt two of my friends tonight. If you do not get out of here now, I will let Tess go."
Pam turned around and walked away, her band of friends following her.
"You should have let me kick her ass, Kyle," Tess told him half-joking, half-serious.
"That is not what Max and Liz need right now, even though it is a good thought. Pam can be pretty evil when she wants to be, and she has important information on Max and Liz that they might not want the whole school to know."
"If Pam knows, the school will know in a matter of days anyway," Tess retorted.
Kyle looked down at her, trying hard to keep the smile off his face. Tess nodded her head in agreement. She leaned forward and gave him a lingering kiss. "How did I get so lucky to have the nicest guy in the world for a boyfriend."
"By being you."
Tess kissed him again. Kyle took her hand, and led her back to the restaurant. "We better see how things are going in there."
"Okay."

Part Twenty-two…Facing the Consequences

Nancy rushed her daughter to the backroom of the restaurant and up the steps to the apartment. Max was only a few steps behind them. "Mrs. Parker, please wait."
Nancy stopped at the top of the stairs. "So, it is true."
Max nodded his head and Liz began to cry. She didn’t know how her mom knew, but it was obvious that she did.
Nancy took a second to think about her next move. "Max, go home. I will call your parents later, so we can talk. I suggest that you tell them before that."
The edge in Mrs. Parker’s voice told Max not to mess with her. But Max was not going to let Liz face her parents alone. "With all due respect, Mrs. Parker, Liz and I are in this together. I want to go with her."
"Go home Max," Nancy asserted. "I am going to talk with my daughter alone."
Liz finally spoke up. "Mom, I want Max to come. It is his child too."
To hear her say that made the tears swell up in Nancy’s eyes. Her baby was pregnant with a baby. What was she going to do?
"Allow Max to stay with Liz," Nancy thought. "At least his isn’t leaving my daughter to deal with this alone." Nancy opened the door to the apartment and urged Liz through. Then, she turned to Max. "Are you coming in?"
Max nodded to Nancy and followed Liz into the apartment.
Liz took a seat on the couch, and Max sat next to her. He grabbed ahold of her hand, holding it reassuringly. Nancy just paced back and forth between the living room and the kitchen.
"So how long have you two been together in that way," Nancy asked. It was so hard to find the words to ask, but she had to know.
Liz looked at her mom in shock. However, Nancy did not care. Finally, Liz decided to tell her mom. "Two months ago, Mom. But it was only once."
"And you two didn’t think of using protection?"
Max and Liz both looked at their shoes. "No," they said in unison.
"I thought you both were smarter than that. Well, I also thought you were smart enough to wait until you were older, but look at how wrong I was."
Liz stood up from the couch, letting go of Max’s hand. "I sorry. It was a mistake. They happen. Remember, you had me when you were nineteen."
Nancy started to get angry. "You can not get out of this that easy. I wanted something different for you. This is a life-changing situation. You understand that, right?"
"I know, Mom. But we will handle it, somehow."
Nancy turned her attention to Max, who had been sitting quietly until then. "Do you love her Max?"
Max stood up from the couch. "Yes. More than anything, Mrs. Parker."
Nancy let out the breath she had been holding. "Okay." She walked over to where Liz was standing. "We will figure something out," Nancy told her as she gave Liz a hug. "The biggest problem right now is how to tell your dad." Then, she looked at Max. "And your parents, who I assume have no idea. Don’t worry. We will figure something out."

Part Twenty-three… Now You Know

Nancy arranged for the Evans’ to eat dinner with them the next night at six. Jeff was a little frustrated at the news that the Evans’ were coming. "Tell me again why they are coming to dinner," he asked his wife for the third time that day.
"Liz and Max have something to tell us all. Now stop your whining."
"But what could the news be, Nancy. I don’t like all of this secrecy."
"Patience is a virtue, honey. Please try some. You will find out in a few hours. Now, go down to the restaurant and make yourself useful. I have to get things ready for tonight."


Max and Liz didn’t know what to expect that evening. Liz couldn’t stop shaking all day. Max did his best to ease her nerves, but he was just as scared as she was. At least he would be there with Liz, and Michael could add comic relief if it was needed.
Six o’clock came and so did the Evans. Philip and Diane were surprised by the invitation, but they figured why not. It would be nice to meet the parents of the girl who had drawn so much attention from their son.
Dinner started out quietly, but Jeff couldn’t hide his curiosity anymore. He turned his head to face Liz. "Sweetie, could you please tell us what this is all about. Come one, we are all here now."
Philip and Diane were confused. "There is news," Philip asked. "I didn’t know we were having a meeting," he joked.
Nancy saw the looks on Max and Liz’s faces. She could see how terrified they were. "There is something the kids would like to discuss with us."
"Well, what is it," Diane asked.
Max knew it was now or never. He took a deep breath. "Mom, Dad, Mr. Parker… Liz is pregnant."
Jeff immediately stood up and walked away from the table. Liz quickly excused herself and went after him. Philip and Diane were just silent with shock. Finally, Philip managed to speak. "How far along is she?"
"Eight months," Max whispered.
Philip nodded his head. "Have you two discussed your options?"
Michael, who had been quiet until then, couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He knew his dad was in shock, but that had gone to far. "God Dad. Why would you even say that?"
"Michael is right," Diane added. "That is our grandchild, Philip."
"But they are only eighteen. They have their whole lives ahead of them."
Max stood up. He had heard enough. "Dad, the only option u have is to be with Liz and our baby. I love her. They are the only life I need or want."
Philip stood up and met Max’s gaze. "How will you take care of them? What about college?"
"I can get a job. Not to mention, there is always community college. I am smart enough to receive a scholarship."
Philip couldn’t think of anything else to say. The look in Max’s eyes showed his determination. No matter how much he didn’t like this situation, Philip had to admire his son. It was obvious that Liz meant a great deal to him. "It will take time for me to adjust to this situation, Max."
"I understand, but nothing is going to change."
Philip sat back down in his seat. "I know."


Part Twenty-four… Daddy’s Little Girl

Liz followed her father out to her balcony. Jeff heard her climb out the window. "Your pregnant," he asked, practically begging for it not to be true.
"Yes," Liz whispered. She hated to disappoint her father.
"Is he the only one you…" Jeff couldn’t finish the sentence. This whole thing seemed like a nightmare.
"Of course," Liz said sternly. "He is the only one, and will be the only one."
Jeff turned to face her. "What is that suppose to mean?"
"I love him Dad," Liz replied. "I love him with all my heart. And he loves me."
Jeff could feel his frustration rising. "You are only eighteen years old. How can you know what love is?"
"How did you know you loved Mom?"
"This is different."
Liz walked closer to her father and put her hand on his shoulder. "How is this any different? You and Mom got married when you were eighteen, and I was born four months later. This is the same thing. I love Max and I want to have this baby."
Jeff’s frustration was turning to anger. "I could severely hurt that boy for doing this to you," he said through gritted teeth.
"This is not just his fault. I wanted to be with him, too. He is the father of my baby, and whether or not you like it, you will have to get use to him."
Jeff faced his little girl, but she didn’t look so little to him anymore. She was growing up too fast. "How are you going to make a living, support the baby. A baby is a giant responsibility. This isn’t like playing house."
"Do you think I am that naïve?"
"You’re pregnant, aren’t you. You were naïve enough to get yourself into this mess."
Liz turned away from her father. "I messed up. I’m not even trying to deny that. But do not be a hypocrite, Daddy. I love Max as much as you love Mom. No matter what happens we will be there for each other. We will work our way though this, with or without your help."
Jeff felt hot tears sting his eyes. Liz was right. He had been in the same situation she and Max were in now. If he was too harsh, he could risk losing her and his grandchild forever.
"I am sorry Liz. This is just not what I imagined for your life."
Liz began to cry when she heard those words. She turned and hugged her father. "I know."
"So, I guess you’re not my little girl anymore."
Liz wiped a tear from her eye. "I will always be your little girl. No matter what happens."
Jeff smiled and hugged Liz again. "So, I don’t get to kill Max, do I," he joked.
Liz punched her father playfully in the arm. "Nope. He is part of our family now."

Part Twenty-five A…Girls Night Out

News can travel fast in high school, and West Roswell High was no different. Pam seemed to make is her life’s mission to tell everyone that Liz was pregnant. By Friday morning, everyone knew.
Most people were shocked and some didn’t believe it was true. Then there were the ones who did believe the gossip. These people were more than willing to help Pam spread the news about Max and Liz.
The worse part was Liz knew it. She could hear people whispering about her when she passed them in the halls. Isabel, Maria, and Tess did their best to cheer Liz up.
"You should have seen the look on Pam’s face when I slapped her," Tess boasted. Tess was very proud of hitting Pam.
"Tess, you shouldn’t have done that," Liz attempted to say seriously. But the truth was Liz was kinda happy she did.
"I wish there was a better way to put Pam in her place," Maria lamented. "We need to think of a good way to get her back."
Liz decided it was time to put her foot down. "No. She is not worth it. She will get hers someday."
Isabel agreed. "Let’s talk about something else."
Tess just looked at Isabel. "Well, what do you want to talk about?"
"The current and most popular subject in school, not to mention my personal favorite, the baby," Isabel replied.
However, Liz was tired of talking about the baby. She seemed to do nothing else. "We still have seven months to talk about the baby. What do you say we do something fun tonight."
Maria got a devilish grin on her face. "Do you mean what I think you mean?"
"What," Tess asked, confused.
"Girls night out," Maria squealed. It had been so long since the four of then did something together that Maria couldn’t contain her excitement. "Do you guys have plans for tonight?"
Liz shook her head. "Well, you know I’m free. Max and Michael were going job hunting tonight."
Isabel thought for a second. "Alex has a band rehearsal tonight, so I can go."
"And Kyle has some sort of game that he wanted to watch with his buddies. And there is no way I am planning to be there for all the testosterone driven antics of the football team," Tess added.
"You’ve seen it too, huh," Maria sympathized. "I was forced to sit in on one of those last year, and I will never to that again. Too much scratching and hollering at the TV for my taste."
Tess laughed. "You tell us, sister," she joked.
Maria just smiled. "Great. At least we are all free. I thinking mall, food, and movie."
Liz tried to contain her laughter. "I like it. How about we meet at the Crashdown at four."
"Sounds good to me," Isabel confirmed. "We will embark on our adventure today at four."


Part Twenty-five B… Girls Night Out

At four o’clock, the girls were piling into the Jeep, with Isabel driving. "Where is our first stop," Isabel asked.
Maria acted shocked. "The mall, of course. Did you even need to ask?"
Isabel pretended to be ashamed. "Woe is me," she mocked. "I am so out of practice on the ritual of a girls night out."
Tess reached over from the passenger seat and patted Isabel on the head. "Pitiful, isn’t it. But I promise that tonight we will reacquaint you with fun, right?"
Liz and Maria nodded. "Yep. That is our mission. To have fun," Maria proclaimed.
Liz marveled at how wonderful her friends were. They dropped everything to cheer her up with this impromptu trip out. She knew that Isabel wanted to see Alex practice. She always did. Isabel was the Whits number one fan. And Tess loved spending time with Kyle. It usually didn’t matter what they were doing. Plus, Maria could have always waited until later to see Michael. He and Max would have been done job hunting at a reasonable hour. But her friends decided to put their plans aside to spend time with her.
Liz tried to hold back her tears, but she couldn’t. Maria saw the teardrops coming from Liz’s eyes. "Oh god, Liz. What is the matter? Is something wrong?"
Isabel found the quickest parking space at the mall and stopped the car. "Are you hurt," she asked, looking worried.
"Is it the baby," Tess said at the same time.
Liz waved her hand. "No, I’m fine."
"So why are you crying," Maria pressed.
"It is just… I know you all had plans for tonight, but you dropped them for me. You are the best friends a girl could have."
Maria, Isabel, and Tess looked at each other. They all let out a breath of relief at the same time. "It is no big deal, Liz," Tess told her.
"Yeah," Isabel added. "The guys are always there. But a best friend comes first."
"Just like the pact we made freshman year, remember," Maria said. "We promised to always be there for each other, because guys come and go. But we will be friends forever."
Liz nodded her head. She did remember that pact. It was just nice that everyone else did too. "I think it is time for a group hug," she said, in an attempt to lighten the mood.
They did the best group hug they could manage, realizing afterwards that they were still in the car. "So, are we going shopping or not," Tess asked.
The other three looked at each other and yelled out, "Shopping."

When they reached the mall, Liz decided that she needed to eat first, so they all headed to the food court. Isabel, Tess, and Maria all ordered salads and sandwiches. On the other hand, Liz was really hungry. She got a burger, fries, and sandwich.
Liz joined the others at the table. Just as she was putting her tray down, Pam Troy walked over to the table. "So, I see that the rumors are true, Liz. You’ll be showing in no time if you keep eating like that."
Tess attempted to stand up, but Isabel held her down. "You can’t fight her in the middle of the mall," she whispered.
However, Liz did stand back up from her seat. "Well, you should know about the rumors, Pam. You were the one to spread them."
Pam smiled. "I just thought I would let everyone know that you are not as innocent as you seem."
Liz glanced down toward her shoes, but noticed that she was holding the package of French dressing that came with her salad in her hands. Liz opened the packet a little, aimed it Pam, and squeezed. The dressing shot out and landed all over Pam’s white blouse. "Oops. I am so sorry, Pam. It must be my swollen, pregnant, clumsy fingers. I am such a klutz."
Maria knew what Liz was going to do, and she decided she had to be in on it too. When Pam was beginning to flip out because of the dressing on her shirt, she had turn around to face her friends. Maria took the que, and "accidentally" spilled her soda down the back of Pam’s pants. "It must be contagious," Maria said, turning to Liz.
Tess and Isabel burst out laughing as Pam went running towards the nearest door. "Be thankful it wasn’t spaghetti. Those stains take forever to get out," Liz yelled out after her.

Part Twenty-six… Only you

Liz found that she couldn’t stop smiling. The girls’ night out turned out to be a success. She had a hard time deciding what was the best part of the evening. "It has to be Pam Troy’s face when I shot the dressing at her," Liz thought out loud. But the rest of the night was just as fun.
After eating, the four of them went through store after store trying on clothes. Liz even looked at some maturity stuff. Then, they all went to the movies. Thinking about it all brought a wide smile to Liz’s face.
That’s when she heard someone climbing up the fire escape. Liz went out onto her balcony and over to the railing. It was Max.
"Hey Max, what are you doing here," she asked, surprised to see him.
"Do I need a reason to see you," Max replied as he reached balcony.
Liz hugged him. "No."
"So did you have fun tonight?"
Liz nodded her head against Max’s chest. She just loved being so close to him. "I looked at maturity stuff."
Max’s smile got wider. This pregnancy might not have been planned, but Max was certainly in awe of the fact that Liz was going to have his child. It was amazing enough that she loved him, but the thought of their child growing inside her just did things to him. Max removed on of his hands from her back and placed it on her tummy.
Liz took a step back, kind of shocked at the gesture. It was the first time he had ever done that. "What are you doing," she asked him.
Max looked into her eyes. "Seeing if I can feel the baby."
Liz giggled. "I think it’s too soon. My mom says that the first time she felt me kick was after four months."
Max pulled her closer. "Never hurts to check."
Liz wrapped her arms around his neck. Her fingers started playing with the hairs at the base of his neck. Max leaned down and started kissing Liz’s neck. He placed light kisses on the ridge of her shoulder, then made a trail up to her mouth. He loved the way Liz’s breath got caught in her throat when he did this.
Liz let out a little moan as Max took her lips in a hungry kiss. She open her mouth to allow him access to her tongue. Max accepted the invitation, allow his tongue to explore her mouth, teasing hers with each stroke.
The kiss broke when they both need air. Liz looked into Max’s eyes and saw the same desire that she had seen on the night they made love. She wanted him too, but now was not the time to act on those feelings. As Max went back to attacking her neck with his kisses, Liz let out a sigh. "We can’t Max. Not tonight. My parents are inside."
Max pulled himself way from her neck. "I know."
Liz smiled as she hugged him again. "Don’t worry, soon. I love you."
Max rested his head in her hair. "I love you too. Only you." Then, Max got down on his knees. He placed a couple of light kiss on Liz’s stomach. "I love you too baby," he whispered.

posted on 14-Aug-2002 2:25:00 AM
Part Twenty-seven… A Dance

By the end of April, it seemed like everyone in Roswell knew about Max, Liz and the baby. Max had managed to get a job at the UFO Center. It was minimum wage, but Max’s boss, Brody, had been a teenage father as well, so he gave him all the hours he could handle. Liz was still working at the Crashdown, but her hours were growing fewer as she was getting bigger.
Yep, Liz’s tummy was getting rounder. She had only gained about ten pounds, but seemed to be much more than that on her tiny frame. Also, with being about eighteen weeks along, she was getting hormonal too.
However, that was not all that the beginning of May promised. Prom was only a week away. Everyone was planning on going. At least, until Liz tried on her prom dress.
Max climbed up Liz’s balcony the Sunday before prom, just like he did on every one of his breaks. Only this time he found Liz sitting on the floor of her room, crying into what looked like a burgundy blob of fabric. Max quickly climbed through her window and sat down beside her. "Liz, honey, what is the matter?"
Liz pulled away from him. "I’m fat and horrid and this dress is hideous." With that Liz’s eyes filled with fresh tears and she began cry even harder.
A small smile crept across his face. He had suspected that Liz’s hormones were acting up when she dropped a pencil in the restaurant and cried because she was "to big" to pick it up. Now he knew they were. "Liz you are not fat, you’re beautiful."
Liz didn’t even look up. "No, I’m not. And I am not going to the Prom."
"Liz, you have to go to the Prom. Otherwise you will regret it. Come on, we’re all going."
"I will not go to the Prom looking like a big, grape tent. This dress is hideous."
Max ran a finger along Liz’s jaw line and tilted her chin so she was looking at him. "Liz, you could never look hideous. You’ re the most beautiful woman in the world and I love you more than anything."
A small smile spread across Liz’s face. Max took that as his cue to kiss her. He leaned in and placed a light kiss tenderly on Liz’s lips. She then opened her mouth slightly to allow the kiss to deepen. While they kissed, Max grabbed ahold of the dress and pried it out of Liz’s hands. "Let me take care of this," he whispered when the kiss broke.
Liz just nodded her head. She couldn’t believe how wonderful Max was. He placed another kiss on her lips before he had to go. As he climbed back out the window, Max turned to Liz. "On Saturday I am planning to dance with the most wonderful woman in the world, so don’t break my plans." With that, he turned and left.

Part Twenty-eight… The Dress

Right after Max got off work that night he called Maria. The phone rang three times before an out of breath Michael answered. "Who is this?"
"Michael," Max asked. That is when he heard Maria in the background. "It’s my Mom and the Sheriff. I told you not to answer the phone."
"Tell Maria she’s safe. It just me…Max. You know, your brother." Max couldn’t help but smiling. He had apparently caught them at a bad time.
"Max," Michael sighed into the phone, half-relieved and half-mad. "What is it? Is something wrong?"
"No. I was calling to ask Maria a favor."
There was a pause for a second on the other end of the phone before Maria finally spoke. "Hey Max. I sooo glad that it was you calling. What is it?"
Max tried to help himself, but he couldn’t. "So what were you two doing?"
Maria quickly answered. "Nothing. Okay, we were kissing…that’s it. I swear."
Then he heard Michael in the background. "You don’t have to tell him that. Max it is none of your business."
Max began to chuckle. "Tell my brother not to worry. No one has to know that you two were making out."
"Thanks," Maria whispered into the phone. "So what did you have to ask me?"
"I was wondering if you could help me out with Liz. She is so upset that she has been gaining weight. She even threatened not to go to Prom. Could you fix her dress? It really is awful, but don’t tell her I said that."
Maria smiled. She loved to sew and make clothes. "Not a problem, chico. Can you give it to me tomorrow at school?"
Max nodded he head. "Sure. Thanks Maria. Liz has just had so much on her plate, and the pregnancy hormones haven’t been helping."
"Don’t thank me. I love doing this kind of stuff. Not to mention, she is my best friend. I’ll even get Isabel to help me with a design for it."
"Great," Max said. "I’ll see you tomorrow. And don’t keep my brother out too late."
Suddenly, Michael voice came booming into the phone. "I heard that Max."

The next day, Max gave Maria the dress. She had to agree that it was not Liz’s style at all. Isabel seemed to be as happy as Maria to be working on the dress. "This is going to be so much fun," she squealed when she heard the idea. "I love designing clothes."
Tess just rolled her eyes. She could only remember the last time Maria and Isabel worked on a project together. It was in ninth grade and they had to make paper mache masks for drama class. With Maria and Isabel being as opinionated as they were, it was lucky that they made it out alive. Tess recalled it took them a week before they spoke to each other again. "Yep," Tess sighed. "This is going to be a load of fun."
And she was right. By Wednesday night, Isabel and Maria were at each others throats. Tess tried to be comic relief, but she was getting fed up. Finally, after hearing an argument about the appropriate color thread for the dress, she stood up in the middle of Maria’s room and let out a stress-filled scream. "Enough," she cried. "You two are friends and we are trying to help Liz. Work together for God’s sake."
Both Maria and Isabel fell silent. They looked at each other, then back to Tess. "We’re sorry," Maria whispered."
"We’ll be good," Isabel followed up.
For the next hour and a half, they worked together. When they were finished, the three stood back and admired their work.
"Liz is going to love it," Tess said with a smile.
"No doubt," Isabel added. "You can really sew, Maria."
"Thanks, but the design is just as awesome."
Tess began to laugh uncontrollably. Soon, the other two joined in. "I think that we should drop by the mall tomorrow and pick up some accessories," Isabel suggested, between fits of laughter.
Tess and Maria looked at each other, nodded, and began to laugh all over again.

Part Twenty-nine A… The Prom

With the accessories and the dress, Liz was bound to look gorgeous. Everyone agreed on that, but Liz. She still wasn’t convinced that she should go to the Prom. So, on the Saturday of the Prom, Maria, Isabel, and Tess showed up at noon to force Liz to get ready. "Today is going to be perfect," Isabel vowed. "Or else."
Maria tried her hardest not to laugh, but it didn’t work. She began to chuckle, which worked its way into a belly laugh, then a silent one where her whole body shook.
Isabel just looked at her. "What did I say that was so funny?"
Maria struggled to get her breath. "It’s the return of the Planning Nazi," she managed to squeeze out between giggles.
"At least you don’t have to live with her at Christmas time," Tess added.
"Hey," Isabel responded to the attacks on her strive for perfection. "There are just some occasions where anything less than perfection is unacceptable. For instance, Christmas, birthdays, your wedding…"
Maria leaned over and whispered to Liz. "Run Liz, before she gets to the P-word."
"And prom," Isabel finished her rant.
Liz smiled. "Too late."

The four friends spent the rest of the day getting ready for the big night, with Nancy’s help. At 6:30, the doorbell to the apartment rang, signaling the end to their primping time. Jeff answered the door and nearly fell over laughing at the four nervous guys, looking very uncomfortable, at his door.
"Ladies," Jeff yelled toward the back of the apartment. "Your knights in shining armor have arrived."
"Just a couple more minutes," Nancy yelled back at him.
Max, Alex, Michael, and Kyle shuffled into the apartment. Max seemed especially nervous. This was the first time he had encountered Liz’s dad since they announced she was pregnant. Jeff could sense Max’s anxiety, and decided to have a little fun with him. "Maxwell, could I have a word with you in the kitchen."
Max swallowed hard. "Sure Mr. Parker," he replied as he followed Jeff into the other room.
When they reached the kitchen, Jeff turned to face Max. "You do realize how lucky you are to still be alive," Jeff said in a harsh voice.
Max nodded his head.
"I mean you got my only daughter, my baby, pregnant, and I have allowed you back into my home to see her." Jeff was starting to lay it on thick.
"Sir," Max began to speak, but Jeff cut him off.
"I don’t want to hear excuses," he said, giving Max the evil eye. "I just want you to promise me one thing."
Max swallowed hard again. He could swear that Mr. Parker was going to have some awful chore for him to do. But if it meant somehow impressing Liz’s father so that he could be with Liz, he would do it. "Anything," Max told him with a shaky voice.
Jeff could see the wheels turn in Max’s head. When he said ‘anything’ Jeff knew that Max was in love with Liz. Jeff walked over to Max and placed a hand on his shoulder. "Make this a night my daughter will never forget."
Max let out the breath he had been holding. "Of course," Max stammered.
Jeff let loose with a roaring laugh. He had his fun, now it was time to let Max off the hook… a little. "I know that you do care about Liz, Max. No one else would have subjected themselves to the will of an angry father without knowing what he was going to have them do first."
A small smile crept across Max’s face. Just then, the heard Nancy yell from the living room. "Jeff, Max get out here so the ladies can make their grand entrance."
As they entered the living room, the other guys looked at Max. Max gave a slight smile as he took a place next to Michael.
"Drumroll please," Nancy announced.
The four guys tried their best, but the sound they made was pitiful.
Nancy gave a little laugh. "Okay, nevermind." She turned to face down the hallway. "Ladies, the drumroll was a bust, so come on out."
Isabel was the first to emerge. She was wearing a low cut, sapphire-colored dress with spaghetti straps. Her haw was pulled back into a simple French twist with a few stray pieces of hair cascading down.
Alex’s grin got considerably bigger as he took Isabel’s arm. She was the most beautiful woman he had ever scene. And she was going to the prom with him.
Next, Tess walked out of Liz’s room. Her dress was a silver-grayish color that had little rhinestones scattered across the bodice. Tess’s curly hair was pulled back on each side with matching rhinestone clip, which allow the rest of her hair to hang down her exposed back.
Kyle couldn’t speak. She was a vision. Tess smiled nervously, waiting for Kyle to respond. Finally, Max elbowed Kyle in the ribs. He stumbled forward and offered Tess his arm. "Wow Tess, wow," was all he managed to say.
"Thanks Kyle," Tess said, trying not to laugh at his reaction. She took his arm and the walked over towards the door.
The third person to emerge from Liz’s room was Maria. Her simple, pale-pink dress was made from layers of thin material, which framed her form quite nicely. Her hair was in a loose French braid with flowers woven into the tresses.
Michael had the same reaction Max did to Liz’s father wanting to talk to him. He swallowed hard and the look on his face was one of pure fear. Maria noticed this. She snapped her fingers in front of Michael’s face. "Aren’t you going to say something, space cadet?"
Michael nodded, but said nothing. He just kept thinking about how wonderful Maria looked. Maria tossed her hands up and walked over to Michael. She took his arm and linked it with hers. Everyone else in the room just started to laugh.
"What’s so funny," a voice asked from the other side of the room.
Max turned and saw Liz standing at the edge of the hall. She took his breath away. Maria and Isabel had completely redone the dress. Now, the burgundy material was formed into an empire waist dress that gracefully hung over Liz’s protruding belly. Her hair was curled and gathered into a pearl clip on one side. Max walked over to Liz, and took her hand in his own. "You look amazing," he told her.
Liz blushed a little and smiled happily at him. "Thanks, you look great too. But what was so funny?"
"Michael’s reaction to Maria when she walked out here," Max replied.
Michael pretended to look insulted. "Hey bro. It was the same look you had on your face when Liz’s dad wanted to talk to you."
Liz turned to look at her dad. "Daddy, you had a talk with Max," she asked, slightly mad.
Jeff looked into Liz’s eyes. "Yes I did, and that is my right. A father has to talk to any guy who wants to take his beautiful daughter to prom."
"Besides," Michael added because he was getting a little impatient. "He lived, now let’s go."
Maria swatted at him playfully. "Damnit Michael. Patience is a virtue."
However, Alex agreed with Michael. "Not right now it isn’t. We have a surprise for you ladies."
Liz turned back to Max. "A surprise," she asked.
Max’s grin got even wider. "Yep," he said, as he offered Liz his arm.
Liz took it and the four couples headed out of the apartment.

Part Twenty-nine B… The Prom

Max, Michael, Alex, and Kyle led their dates down the steps of the apartment, to the back of the restaurant. "Ladies, close your eyes," Alex announced before they entered the Crashdown. The girls did as they were told, closing their eyes tight.
As soon as they entered the restaurant, the guys yelled out, "Surprise." Isabel, Tess, Maria, and Liz opened their eyes to find the Crashdown completely decorated with the Prom theme, Tonight and the Rest of My Life. Dark blue and silver streamers hung everywhere. The ceiling was covered with dangling stars and balloons. Each girl held their breath for a moment taking in their wonderful surprise.
"When did you find time to do this," an amazed Liz asked in awe.
Max gripped her hand tightly. "While you four were getting ready, we were decorating."
Maria looked at Michael with a wicked grin on her face. "You decorated," she laughed. "How very Martha Steward of you."
"No," Michael said defensively. "I did manly, ladder-climbing, hanging things. Alex came up with the decor."
Isabel turned around with delight to face Alex. Alex briefly stopped his chuckling and glared at Michael. Then, he began laughing all over again. "What can I say. I got in touch with my feminine side. But hardly as much as Kyle did."
Tess, who had held her laughter until that point, lost it at the mention of Kyle being feminine. "So what did you do," she teased.
Kyle shook his head. "I’m not telling."
"Oh yes you are," Tess told him. Then, she reached over and began tickling his sides. Kyle squirmed, but it didn’t work. Tess just started tickling him harder. Soon, Kyle gave in.
"I thought the streamers should be in the class colors. That’s all, I swear."
By this time, everyone was cracking up. Michael quietly whispered, "sissy" before Maria jabbed him in the side.
Alex was laughing the hardest out of all of them. "I thought a lady never revealed her secrets, Mr. Color Coordinator."
With that, everyone began laughing again. That is, until Max tried to get their attention. "Hey everyone," he called out. "There is still more to this surprise, you know."
Liz looked at him. "More? How could there be more? You guys did so much already."
Max smiled at her. "I know, but I always thought that prom night included dinner and dancing."
Maria, Isabel, and Tess quickly caught on. "Dinner," they said in unison.
Max nodded. "Yep, dinner. I cooked."
This was just too much for Liz. Her wonderful boyfriend, the father of her child, had not only got her dress fixed, but decorated a restaurant and cooked dinner. She tried to stop the tears, yet it was too late.
Max saw the tears forming and started to worry about what he had done. "Oh God Liz, I’m sorry. Did you want to go out? We could still eat out. I won’t make you eat my cooking."
Liz began to giggle and cry at the same time. "Max, I’m not crying because I am sad. I’m crying because this is all so wonderful." Liz walked closer to Max and placed a tender kiss on his lips. "You’re amazing, you know that."
Max took the hint, returning her kiss with another, deeper one. "I love you," he whispered as the press his forehead against hers.
Michael cleared his throat. "I’m hungry. So let’s eat."
Maria threw up her hands. "Sweetie, that was a tender moment, and you ruined it."
Michael played dumb for a moment before he grabbed Maria’s hand, spun her around, and placed a kiss on her lips. "Now, that’s better," she told him as she regained her footing.
Everyone just laughed. As far as Liz was concerned, the night couldn’t get any better. But she was wrong. The group finally settled down around the table set up in the middle of the restaurant. Max had made a wonderful dinner, including Chicken Kiev, which was Liz’s favorite. It all was perfect. However, it was just the beginning to their evening.

Part Twenty-nine C…The Prom

After dinner was finished, the four couples headed to their separate vehicles. About fifteen minutes later, they all met up again at the high school and went into the dance together. The gym was wonderfully decorated, with blue and silver colored balloons and streamers everywhere.
Tess playfully leaned over to Kyle and whispered in his ear, "Were you on the prom committee too?"
Kyle jumped back a bit, pretending to be angry, just before he reached over and placed a sound kiss on Tess’s lips. The kiss broke apart with a small sigh from the both of them, and Kyle knew he had managed to succeed in his goal. Tess didn’t mention decorating for the rest of the evening.
The group quickly found an empty table to put their things on, and everyone went off to dance. Everyone except Max and Liz. Max got up, but Liz shook her head. "I am too big to go out on the dance floor."
Max couldn’t tell if this was her hormones talking or whether she really felt like she was too fat to dance. Rather than risk seeing her cry again, Max returned to his seat behind her and lovingly wrapped his arms around her. So, for the few dances, they watched their friends having the time of their lives.
That was until the theme song for the prom began to play. Tonight and the Rest of My Life. Max didn’t know the song that well, but the title fit how he felt about Liz perfectly. She was it for him; there would be no one else. Slowly, he reached for her hand, which had found its resting-place on her stomach. He gently intertwined his fingers with hers before pulling her to a standing position. Liz opened her mouth to protest, but Max cut her off.
"I told you that I had plans of dancing with the most beautiful woman in the world tonight. Please, don’t ruin my plans."
Liz just looked into his eyes. His deep, amber pools were darkening with desire. She could hear it in his voice too. Those words had come out in a low, husky tone. One was enough to break her reserve against dancing that night, but both completely made her melt. "Okay," she whispered, as he led her to the dance floor.
The soft melody fell upon their ears as Max pulled Liz into an embrace. Slowly, they began to sway back and forth in rhythm to the music. There were not enough words to describe how it felt to have Liz in his arms. He couldn’t help the low sigh that escaped his lips.
Liz’s contentment at the moment was only increased when she felt Max’s warm breath against her ear. She knew that he was just as happy as she was.
Suddenly, she felt a sharp little jab in stomach. Two seconds later, another followed it. Liz pulled away from Max to look him in the eyes. "I think the baby just kicked."
"What," Max gasped.
Liz giggled. "I think that our baby just gave me a little kick."
Max’s eyes lit up immediately with wonder. He timidly placed his hand on her stomach as the baby kicked again. "Wow, I just felt our baby."
"I know," Liz said, grinning even wider. "It’s just remarkable, isn’t it?"
"Remarkable," Max said as he knelt down in front of her. "It’s miraculous, wonderful, amazing…there aren’t enough words to describe it." Max lightly kissed Liz’s belly, then placed his ear where his lips had been.
Liz knew people were looking at them, but she didn’t care. All that mattered was Max and their baby. That moment confirmed that they were all she would ever need. If it was even possible, she fell more in love with Max as he rested his head against her belly.
From that point on, Max and Liz did not leave the dance floor. Liz had completely forgotten about her size and danced the night away in Max’s arms. However, when the last song finished playing, the couples once again parted ways.
Alex took Isabel to a remote place in the park. It was like their special spot. In fact, it was the place where he first asked her out.
She had run off after a little fight with Tess. Somehow, she wound up in the park. Alex was there, looking through his telescope at the constellations. They spent the rest of the night talking and looking at the stars. Just like they planned to do that night after the prom.
Kyle and Tess made their way back to his house. He had rented her favorite movie, Breakfast at Tiffany’s. He had vowed to never watch it when they first started dating. But over the past few months, he had grown closer to her than anyone else he knew. Therefore, if it was her favorite movie, he was willing to suffer through it, at least once.
Michael and Maria seemed to have the same idea in mind. However, instead of watching Maria’s favorite movie, they were watching Michael’s. Maria swore that he had seen Braveheart over thirty times, but Michael complained about wanting to get an accurate body count. Finally, she gave in. The truth was, it really didn’t matter what they watched, Maria just loved spending time with Michael.
Max and Liz managed to wind up back on her balcony. With the radio playing quietly in the background, they began dancing and talking about the baby. It was like feeling their baby for the first time made it all the more real.
All of a sudden, I Shall Believe by Sheryl Crow began to play. "I love this song," Liz whispered into Max’s ear.
"I love you," he whispered back.
"I love you too."
Max eased away a step or two. "Liz, do you ever think about what will happen after the baby comes."
Liz nodded her head. "Of course I do. Do you?"
"All the time," he replied. "I know that I want to us both to go to college and to get the jobs we want. I want our baby to be happy."
Liz looked down at her feet. "Is that all?"
"I want to be with you, for the rest of my life."
A small tear made its way out of Liz’s eye. "Really?"
"Liz, I love you more than anything else in this world, you and our baby. Since they day I met you, my heart has belonged to you. I know that was meant to spend my life with you. I guess what I am trying to say is…will you marry me?"
That solitary tear was soon met with others as Liz heard the words coming out of Max’s mouth. This had to be one of the most amazing nights of her life. Liz could feel Max gently wipe away the tears that had fallen on her cheek. She turned her head and placed a light kiss on the palm of his hand. "Yes," she said quietly, as soon as she could form words.
Max brought up his other hand to her face and began to caress her cheek. Then, he placed a heart-searing kiss on her lips. When they pulled away, Max pulled out a ring from his pocket. He slowly slid the thin silver band onto her finger as he leaned in for another kiss. This kiss was filled with the joy he had in his heart by the knowledge that she wanted to be with him forever.
Liz didn’t want this night to end. Deep down, she had this nagging feeling that things were almost too perfect. Like something unexpected was going to happen. Something that wasn’t for the better. However, she pushed the thought out of her head as she settled herself in Max’s arms. Liz felt like those arms could protect her from anything. Yet, she wasn’t the one who needed protecting.

posted on 14-Aug-2002 2:28:21 AM
Part Thirty… Broken

The day after prom the group met at the Crashdown for a late lunch. Everyone gathered around the usual booth and began talking about what they did after the dance.
"He actually rented Breakfast at Tiffany’s," Tess exclaimed to the group.
Kyle blushed as he sat down next to her.
"You watched a girlie movie," Michael laughed.
Kyle gave Michael a slight threatening look. "What did you and Maria do after the prom," he asked.
Michael swallowed hard as Maria answered the question. "We watched Braveheart."
Max turned to look at his brother. "Again? You must have seen that movie at least 100 times by now."
"No," Michael denied. "I’ve only seen it about 32 times. Besides, I still have to get an accurate body count."
Alex snorted in his corner of the booth. "Only 32 times," he teased. "You’ve gotta have the movie memorized by now."
"Well, what did you and Isabel do after the dance," Michael asked, trying to change the subject."
Isabel laced her fingers with Alex’s. "We spent the night looking at the stars," she answered, giving Alex a wide smile.
Alex grinned back at her. Isabel began to wonder if they were being too obvious. She glanced at Liz, who was giving her a strange look. Isabel thought it was time to change the subject again. "So Liz, what did you and Max do?"
Liz glanced sideways at Max, who nodded to give his okay. She took a deep breath and closed her eyes for a moment before she answered. "Max asked me to marry him, and I said yes."
The entire group seemed to jump up, shout, or both. Maria managed to give Liz a bear hug. "Wow Liz," she sighed. "I’m so happy for you."
Michael just slapped Max on the back. "You didn’t tell me about this," he teased his brother.
Max just grinned. "I thought I had better ask Liz first."
Michael nodded his head. "Oh sure. I see how you are."
Everyone began to laugh. Just then, Jeff Parker walked over to the booth. "Hey Liz," he said as he reached the table. "Do you think that you could grab your order from the back?"
Liz looked at her father. "Sure Dad. What’s the matter?"
"Nothing much," Jeff told her. "We’re just a little short handed right now. And I think that I better have a talk with those fellas over there," he said as he pointed to a booth across the room. "They have been sitting there for about two hours and they have only order coffee."
Liz looked in the direction her father was pointing. She had noticed those guys before. This was the third time they had been in that week. In fact, they never seemed to order much, but would sit in the restaurant for hours. Liz was glad her father was going to talk to them. Just looking at them made Liz feel sick to her stomach.
"That’s fine, Dad. I can get the food," she answered.
Max slid over to allow Liz out of the booth. Isabel also began to slide over. "I’ll give you a hand," she said as she stood up.
Liz turned around and smiled. "Thanks Isabel."
The two girls headed toward the counter. Suddenly, there was a loud crash. Everyone turned to look at the booth where the two guys had been sitting. One of them was standing behind Jeff, holding a gun to his head. The other had just pulled out a gun and was rushing toward the counter.
"Open the drawer," he ordered Liz. "Put the money in a sack and give it to me."
Liz’s heart was beating about a mile a minute and her eyes were wide with fear. But somehow she managed to move over to the cash register.
Isabel just stood right where she was. She could see Liz fill the bag with money. She then turned her eyes to look back at the booth.
Max looked like he was in pure agony. Isabel could actually see him shaking. Maria looked like she was going to faint at any second. Michael had his arm around her, trying to give her support. Kyle was attempting to hide Tess behind him as much as possible.
And Alex… Alex was staring straight at her. She could see the fear in his eyes. His face was as white as snow.
Isabel gave him the biggest smile she could muster. She then turned to face where Liz was standing.
Liz had finished filling the bag and was handing it to the man at the counter. He grabbed it just as the other guy shoved Jeff to the ground. However, the guy with the money wasn’t paying attention to where he was running and he stumbled over Jeff’s leg. His gun went off and the sound of the shot echoed through the restaurant. Not more than a second later, there was a shriek of pain as Isabel fell to the floor.

Part Thirty-one… Waiting

"Everyone into the Jetta," Maria hollered.
The sirens of the ambulance were roaring down the street as the group stood outside, watching. It was amazing how quickly their happiness could be shattered. When the gun went off, for a split second they all though things would be okay, but Isabel fell to the floor a moment later. The bullet had pierced her side.
Alex scrambled across the top of the table and reached her first, followed closely by Tess. Isabel was breathing shallowly. Alex took off his shirt and placed it over her wound, gently applying pressure. "You will be okay," he whispered over and over to her.
Liz called the ambulance, which arrived no more than three minutes later. Yet, those three minutes felt like an eternity. Tess took Isabel’s hand as the paramedics rushed her out. Alex demanded to ride in the ambulance. The paramedics agreed. They knew there wasn’t the time to argue. Everyone else just watched the ambulance pull away from the restaurant. Maria had brought them back to their senses.
They all piled into her car and she quickly sped them toward the hospital. "She has to be all right," Michael kept repeating.
"She will be," Maria said, looking straight ahead. "She has to be."
Max and Liz were quite. Tears were rolling down both of their eyes, but neither bothered to wipe them away. Max did, however, lay his hand on Liz’s stomach in an attempt to protect his baby the way he failed to protect his cousin.
Kyle, on the other hand, couldn’t say a word. He didn’t know what to say. Over the past few months, Isabel had grown to be one of his best friends. She was always helping out when he screwed up with Tess, or wanted to surprise her. "Oh god, Tess," he thought. What must this be like for her? She was Isabel’s sister and best friend. He could even imagine what he would do if Maria had been the one hit. They couldn’t get to the hospital fast enough.


Alex paced the bright white hallway. He kept looking at his hands, which were speckled with her blood. "How could this happen," he asked himself. "Why now, after last night?"
Last night had been the most wonderful night of his life. He finally managed to tell Isabel that he loved her. She felt the same way. They made love under the stars in their secluded part of the park. It had been magical. Today broke that magical spell.
Tess sat on a bench close by. She was crying openly. Tears of sorrow, ones of worry, and some of anger. She couldn’t lose her sister. She wasn’t going to allow that to happen.
After a minute of pacing, Alex heard Tess’s sobs. He looked over at her and immediately belittled himself for being selfish. "I’m not the only one worried sick over Isabel," he thought. Tess needed help with this too.
He walked over to Tess and sat down next to her. He placed a hand lightly on her shoulder. "She will be fine, Tess. I promise you."
Tess looked at Alex and gave him a small smile. "Thank you," she whispered.
Just then, the others came rushing in. Kyle immediately ran to Tess, knelt before her, and gave her the biggest hug he could. Tess buried her head in his neck and began to cry harder.
"Have the doctors said anything," Max asked softly. He actually dreaded the answer. He had heard the shot, seen her fall, and watched the blood flow out of her body. Max shook his head, trying to be rid of that image.
"No," Alex said, looking up at his friends. "I hope we find out something soon."
Maria looked down at her shoes. "All we can do now is wait."
And wait they did. A half of an hour passed, but there was still no word. The Hardings and Evans’ had arrived. Mr. and Mrs. Harding had disappeared behind the emergency room doors shortly after. There had been no sign of them since.
Alex resumed his pacing. Kyle cradled Tess’s head in his lap, gently running his fingers through her blond curls. Tess had cried all the tears she had. Now she was blankly staring at the wall.
Maria tried her best to keep busy. She ran and got tissues for everyone, called Mr. Parker at the restaurant to give him an update, and even got coffee for the Evans’. Yet, there was nothing left for her to do. So, she sat on the floor, leaning against the wall.
Michael sat down next to her. She rested her head on his shoulder, trying her best not to cry. Michael seemed to sense this. "It’s okay to cry," he whispered to her. With those words, Maria began to sob softly. Michael reached into his pocket and handed her at tissue she gave him earlier.
Max and Liz had been waiting with everyone else, but they were now held up in the restroom. Liz kept replaying the scene in her head. The tension grew, and soon Liz found herself getting sick. Max followed her to the restroom and was now doing his best to soothe her by rubbing her back. After another ten minutes, they rejoined the group.
Just in time, too. A minute later, the doctor walked out to the waiting room. Tess sat straight up. Michael and Maria got up off the floor. Alex stopped his pacing.
"How is she," Alex asked impatiently.
"She is in stable condition. The bullet didn’t do major damage, but she lost quite a bit of blood. The next 24 hours are critical."

Part Thirty-two… Please Open Your Eyes

Alex quietly opened the door and looked inside. The nurse told them that no one but family could see Isabel right now, but Tess has other plans. After spending a few minutes with Isabel, she knew that Alex had to see her.
It had been five hours since the doctor told everyone of her condition. Alex dropped to his knees and started crying. Tess immediately demanded to give blood because she was the same blood type as Isabel. Maria fell back against the wall and slid to the floor. Michael dropped down next to her. Liz practically fainted. A nurse rushed her off to another room to get checked out and Max follow behind, after he gave Tess a hug of reassurance. Kyle just sat frozen where he was.
Tess finally got permission to see Isabel. Her parents left the room so Tess could have some alone time. Seeing Isabel lying there, so pale and helpless, drove Tess to tears again. Each tear burned her eyes more than the one before it.
Tess took Isabel’s hand in both of hers. "You are going to be fine, Isabel. I know it. Everyone knows it. You just have to open your eyes."
Tess sat there, waiting for a response. But as each minute passed, she realized that Isabel wasn’t going to open her eyes.
"I bet I know what you would tell me," Tess said, trying to break the eerie silence. You would tell me to stop worrying so much. Not to mention how terrible I look when I cry. It makes my eyes all poofy and red."
Tess giggled nervously at the thought of Isabel saying that right now. "What is that Isabel," Tess asked, pretending that she was speaking. She leaned in closer. "You want Alex. You want to see him right now." Tess sat back up. "I think that can be arranged."
Tess seemed to know the Isabel needed to see Alex. She knew how much in love they were. Hell, she would have not being able to see Kyle at a moment like this. When she really needed him.
Tess got up, walked quietly out to the waiting room, and got Alex. They made sure the coast was clear and snuck back to the room. Alex quietly opened the door.
He walked over to the bed, stopping when he bumped into the foot of it. Gently, he placed one hand on her foot, almost as if he were afraid to touch her. "Isabel," he said softly. "Please, you have to wake up. I need you to. We all do."
Alex slowly crept around the side of the bed. His hand left her foot and he took a hold of her hand. "I meant everything I said last night. I love you, more than anything else in this world. Please open your eyes. I promise if you do, I will spend the rest of my life making you happy. I want to… I want to be with you forever. I know that sounds corny, but when it comes to you, I’m a hopeless romantic. So please open your eyes, say something, just give me a sign that you will be all right."
Alex started crying as he spoke these words, and his emotions got the better of him. He couldn’t speak anymore. So he just stood there and cried. Tess heard his sobs. She opened the door to look in on him. But as she did, the most beautiful sound filled the room.
"Alex," Isabel softly spoke, her throat dry. "Alex, what is the matter?"
Alex immediately stopped crying and kissed her hand that he was holding. He then turned as he heard Tess enter the room. "She spoke," he said through tears of happiness now.
"Alex," Isabel cried again.
"I’m here Isabel. Everything is going to be okay. I promise. Tess is here too."
Isabel carefully opened her eyes. She blinked a couple of times to adjust to the darkness in the room. "Tess," she whispered, as her eyes fell on her sister.
Tess walked over to the other side of the bed. "I’m here too," she said. "The others are in the waiting room."
"What happened," Isabel asked, registering the ever-sharpening pain in her side.
"It’s okay," Alex said, trying to soothe her. "Everything will be okay now. I will explain it all when you feel better. Right now, I think I better get you a nurse."
"Don’t leave," Isabel cried out, louder than her previous statements. "Don’t leave me Alex."
Tess nodded knowingly. "I’ll find someone." With that she turned and left the room.
Alex turned his attention back to Isabel. He soothed the hair on her forehead with his eyes never leaving hers. She was going to be fine.

Part Thirty-three…. May Showers

"I can’t do this," Maria yelled out in frustration. Michael looked up at her from the couch in his living room. Maria had come over an hour ago and had been emerged in notebooks every since. When he realized that he was going to be neglected, Michael sat on the couch and began to read his English assignment.
"What are you complaining about," Michael said trying to start an argument with her. Arguing seemed to turn both of them on. One minute they would be bickering, the next they were making out. Michael was determined that he had been neglected for too long.
Maria rolled her eyes at him. "If this is a ploy to start a fight with me that will lead to sucking face, you better think again. There will be no kissing until I figure out what to do with both of these showers."
Michael got a puzzled look on his face. "Showers," he asked.
"Yes Michael, showers. I have to plan both a baby shower and a wedding shower. These past two weeks have been crazy with Isabel getting shot and the prom. I just forgot about the showers, but time is running out. These puppies aren’t going to plan themselves."
"Why do you have to plan them," Michael asked, still not grasping what Maria was talking about.
"Because Mikey E, I am the maid of honor in my mother’s wedding. The maid of honor has to throw a shower for the bride. That is the rule. My mother deserves the best shower I can give her."
"You also said you had to plan a baby shower. Whose baby shower?"
Maria shook her head. "Who do we know that is pregnant, Michael?"
Michael looked at his shoes, realizing the question he just asked was stupid. She was talking about Liz’s baby shower. "I got it, I got it. I’m sorry. But why do you have to plan Liz’s baby shower too."
Maria plopped herself down on the couch. "Isabel can’t plan one right now. She just got out of the hospital. And Tess is to busy taking care of Isabel. Who else is going to plan one?"
Michael thought for a second. "You could combine the showers together. That way you only really have to plan one."
A second later, Maria hopped into his lap and planted a big kiss on his lips. When she pulled back, she started laughing at the surprised look on his face.
"What was that for," he asked.
"Because I have the best boyfriend in the world. You are so smart," she teased.
Michael got a look of self-satisfaction on his face. He leaned in for another kiss, but Maria hopped of his lap and sat back down in front of her notebooks. The look on his face turned to disappointment real quick. "If I am such a wonderful boyfriend, why do I feel completely ignored," he mumbled under his breath.

Within two weeks everyone but Liz and Amy knew about the showers. The guys agreed to help set up everything, then scram when the shower started. The theme of the showers was simple, flowers. Hell, the entire Crashdown looked like it had been turned into a botanical garden.
Each table had a vase filled with an assortment of wild flowers. The paper plates had pictures of roses and daisy tied with bows on them. Even the cake was covered from top to bottom in candy flowers.
"This looks great," Nancy exclaimed when she entered the restaurant. "Your mom and Liz are going to flip out when they see this."
Maria looked around the room. "They better. Especially after hearing Michael bragging about being the genius behind the whole thing."
"And you let him," Isabel asked, with a raised eyebrow as she entered the room. Tess followed closely behind.
"Nancy turned her attention to Isabel. "How are you feeling?"
"A lot better. I still get a little sore, but I am much better."
Nancy smiled in contentment. Tess just started laughing.
"What is so funny," Isabel asked.
"I was just thinking about what Maria said earlier," Tess replied. "You know, about Michael being the genius behind the whole shower. His Martha Steward side is rearing its head again."
Everyone else began to laugh right along with Tess. "I will have to remind him of that," Maria said in-between fits of laughter.
The shower was a success. Both Amy and Liz were flabbergasted at the lengths everyone went to in order to give them this party. Liz, who was getting rounder by the day, cried when Maria made her toast. Amy just glowed with pride and happiness. It was nice to see things finally coming together.
Before everyone began to leave, Amy stood up, wishing to make a toast. "I know the past few of weeks, hell months, have been full of changes and surprises. But today, I can see that it was all worthwhile, because everything is going to be as it should be. Happiness will ensue in this group."
Maria walked around the table and gave her mom a hug. "Thank you," Amy whispered in her daughter’s ear. "Thank you my wonderful little girl."

Part Thirty-four… Graduation

The showers seemed to mark a turning point for everyone. Things were coming to a close and new beginnings were opening up everywhere. This included the biggest one of all, Graduation.
For everyone, except Tess, was graduating. Liz seemed to welcome the change most of all. Ever since Pam Troy had spread the rumors about the pregnancy, Liz had become the center of the West Roswell High gossip mill. And she hated it with a passion. Even her funny, like she had done something so horrible.
Yet, Liz knew deep in her heart that there was nothing wrong with have a child with the man you love, even if she was so young. Still, Liz was happy that after tomorrow, she wouldn’t have to deal with many of those people again.
On Sunday morning, Nancy crept into Liz’s room bright and early. She made her way over to the bed, then gently shook Liz’s shoulder. "Morning, sunshine. It’s time to get up."
Liz groaned as she turned over. Liz slowly opened her eyes, looked at the clock, and turned to her mother. "Mom, it’s eight o’clock. I don’t have to be up for at least two more hours."
Nancy laughed as she motioned to the tray of food resting on Liz’s desk. "Well, if that happens, you breakfast will be really cold."
Liz sat straight up in bed. "Mom, you brought me breakfast in bed?"
"I sure did," Nancy told her. "Why not make my baby’s day as special as can be." As those words escaped Nancy’s lips, a sad look crept into her eye.
Liz noticed the look. She reached out and pulled on her mother’s arm until Nancy sat down on the bed with her. "What’s the matter," Liz asked.
Nancy wiped a tear from her eye. "It’s nothing really. It’s just you’re not my baby any more. In fact, you’re having a baby. I guess that I am just not ready for you to be all grown up."
Liz wrapped her arms around her mother in a big hug. "I will always need you, mommy. It’s not like Max or I have any idea what we are doing. I know that things will work out okay, but I am going to need your help."
Nancy gave Liz a reassuring squeeze. "I will always help you, whenever I can. The same goes for your dad. I know he can be a little stubborn sometimes, but he loves you so much. Hell, I think he is even starting to warm up to Max."
Liz drew back a bit. "You’re kidding. I know talked to Max before the prom, and he didn’t kill him, which I am very thankful for. But you say he is actually starting to like Max."
"Like might be to strong of a word to use just yet," Nancy said with a wicked grin on her face.
Liz just started laughing. "Well, I am just starving, but I don’t think I can eat all of this," she said looking at all the food on the tray. "Do you want to help me?"
Nancy gave Liz’s hand a little pat. "Honey, you’re pregnant. You will be surprise how much you can eat, even when you are not that hungry."
Liz put on a fake pout. "Please? I don’t want to gain all my required weight in one day."
"I’ll tell you what," Nancy said getting up from the bed. "I will make myself a plate and join you in here."
Liz nodded as Nancy made her way towards the door. "Thanks Mom," Liz called as Nancy reached the door.
Nancy turned around. "You’re welcome."


The group met up at the high school around two o’clock, all dress up in their caps and gowns. Except for Tess, who seemed to catch camera fever. She was constantly snapping pictures of the entire group, then the couples, one of all the girls, and one of all the guys.
Finally, Kyle managed to wrestle the camera away from her. Tess tried with all her might to get it back, but Kyle held it out of reach above his head. "Kyle, give that back," she huffed in-between jumps.
Kyle just laughed. "I just wanted to make sure that there would be enough film left in the world for all the other people who wanted to take a picture."
"I agree," Isabel chimed in. "Afterall, I want to be able to see my diploma when I get it."
"Very funny," Tess said, sticking her tongue out at Isabel. "I just wanted to capture this wonderful day for you all, but fine, go ahead and mock me."
"I think that is what they did," Michael told her.
Tess flashed him a mildly angry look. "Zip it, Martha Steward."
Michael threw his hands up into the air. "Is anyone going to let that go?"
Maria wrapped her arms around Michael’s neck. "Not in this lifetime," she said before placing a light kiss on his lips.
"So are we ready to graduate," Max asked, hold his hand out for Liz.
Liz took it with a smile. "I know that I sure am."
They all began to walk off towards the auditorium, but Max pulled Liz aside just before the reached the door. Liz gave him a concerned look. "Is something the matter, Max?"
"I just wanted to talk to you for a minute," he said drawing her closer.
Liz gave Max a curious look. "Talk to me about what?"
Max took a deep breath. "I know that these past few weeks haven’t been easy on you. The past few weeks have been really crazy. Not to mention, I have heard a lot of talk about the baby, and us and none of it was very flattering. I just wanted to make sure that you were okay."
Liz smiled. She loved how much Max was concerned about her and the baby. "Max, I’m fine. Granted, I haven’t loved everyone talking about us, but if they have a problem with us, they just have to deal with it. I am never going to regret anything that happens with you Max. Most of all, this baby."
Max looked gazed into her eyes, lovingly. "I thought it was impossible."
"What," Liz asked.
"I thought it was impossible for me to love you more, but right now, I do."
Liz leaned forward and placed her lips on his. This kiss was desperate, needy. She wanted to show him how much he meant to her. Max pulled away first, his chest rising up and down. "Graduation now, kissing later."
Liz began to pout, but Max stopped it with a brief kiss. "Later," he whispered against her lips.
"Okay," Liz agreed. "But it better not be to much later." With that, she turned and walked into the auditorium.
Max stood there for a second, trying to gain control. "It will be soon, I promise," he thought.

The rest of graduation went by in a blur. All the girls cried, especially Isabel. Alex did his best to comfort her, but without any Kleenex, his robe proved to be the next best thing. "Thanks Isabel," he joked.
Isabel flashed him a smile through her tears. "That is what you’re here for, didn’t you know that."
Alex raised his hand triumphantly about his head. "Yes. I am now the official human Kleenex."
Isabel giggled a little before giving Alex a quick kiss on the lips.
After the ceremony, everyone went to the Evans’ for a party. The entire house was decked out it the school colors and "CONGRATS GRADS" banners. Out in the backyard, there was anything anyone could ever want to eat. Including a gigantic sheet cake.
But by six o’clock, Liz was worn out. She said goodbye to everyone and gave Max a quick kiss before heading home with her parents. After taking a quick shower and putting on her nightgown, Liz climbed out to the balcony determined to relax. Not more than ten minutes later, Liz heard the familiar sounds of someone climbing the latter.
Max swung his leg over the edge of her balcony. Liz gasped with shock to see him standing there. "Max, what are you doing here," she asked, her voice full of surprise.
Max closed the distance between them with a few long strides. He knelt down next to lounge chair and reached out to touch her face. Liz could see that his usually amber eyes were now almost black with desire. "It’s later," he finally said, just before he claimed her mouth.

posted on 14-Aug-2002 2:31:10 AM
Part Thirty-five… Feeling – rated R

Liz melted as Max claimed her mouth. He leaned her all the way back on the lounge chair until she was lying with his upper torso pinning her down. The kiss broke when they both needed air. "Max," Liz said breathlessly. "What has gotten into you?"
"I promised to kiss you later, and I am here to keep that promise," he said in a low, husky tone.
Liz opened her mouth to say something, but Max cut her off with another kiss. His tongue wandered though her mouth, like he was drinking her down. He couldn’t get enough of how wonderful her lips felt. Their tongues began to duel for control, only to be separated again when air became a necessity.
"What about my parents," Liz asked, leaning her forehead against his. The truth was she really didn’t care. Feelings were pending up inside her and she felt like she would burst if she didn’t touch him soon.
Max was feeling the same thing. He tore himself away from Liz, getting up and taking a few steps towards the window. Quietly, he lowered the pane of glass. "Shhhh," he whispers, pressing his forefinger against his lips. "If you are quiet no one will know."
With long, graceful strides, Max crossed the space between them and kneeled back down next to Liz. The look in his eyes was thick with desire, clouding his usually light eyes. Liz reached out and wrapped her arms around his neck. Max placed a light kiss on her lips before he began working his way down her jaw, to her neck. He raised up on of his hands and covered one of her breasts with it, kneading the flesh through the material of her nightgown.
Liz let out a soft moan, relishing in just how wonderful he made her feel. It was like her whole body hummed with excitement. The baby must have felt it to because it began to kick. "Ouch," she said as a dull little pain twanged in her stomach.
Max sat up quickly, removing his hand from her breast. "Oh God Liz, I’m sorry if I got carried away."
Liz began to giggle. "It’s not you," she told him. "The baby just gave me a little kick."
Max’s eyes lit up right away. "Really," he asked, looking almost giddy.
Liz nodded as she grabbed the hand that had previously assaulted her breast. Gently, she laid it to where she was feeling the baby kick. "Do you feel that?"
Max closed his eyes. A second later, there was a little tap against his fingertips. "Wow," he marveled. The baby kicked again. "This kid is going to play soccer or something," Max wondered aloud. "He just keeps kicking."
Liz raised her eyebrow. "And how do you know that it’s a he, not a she?"
Max opened his eyes and looked at her beautiful face. "I just have a feeling."
"Well, we will just see about that," she teased. "If the baby is a boy, I hope that he has your ears," she told him, touching a tip of one of his ears.
Max shook his head. "I hope not. I got teased all the time about me ears. Michael was particularly relentless."
"I bet," she agreed, imagining Max and Michael as kids. But then her thoughts wandered to the serious side. She let out a sigh as she pondered them.
Max noticed her sudden change of mood. "Is everything okay Liz?"
Liz looked into his eyes. She felt a little tear slip from her eye. "Do you think that we will make good parents," she asked him softly.
Max reached out and wiped the tear away with his thumb. "I know that we are young, but we are going to be great parents. This baby is going to have an entire group of family and friends at his bidding. Not to mention, a wonderful mother."
Liz eased herself out of the lounge chair until she was practically sitting in Max’s lap. Max put one arm around her waist and started to run his fingers through her hair. Liz snuggled closer to him. "You did it again?"
"Did what?"
A wicked smile grew on her face. "Called the baby a he."
Max kissed the top of her head. "What can I say, I just have a feeling."

Part Thirty- six… Delivery

That night Max fell asleep in Liz’s bed, holding her in his arms. The next morning, Jeff discovered them. He was none to pleased to have Max spending the night at his house. It was just a step too far. Nancy did her best to calm him down, but Max and Liz spent the next month walking on eggshells around him.
This brought the entire gang into the month of July. Amy and Jim were married in a small ceremony at the end of June. Maria spent most of July adjusting to living with two guys. She just couldn’t get use to watching sports all the time, especially on Sunday. Michael was also having a hard time adjusting. Now, he not only had to avoid Kyle catching him with Maria, but the sheriff as well.
Isabel and Alex had grown even closer after the shooting. They decided to attend the same university, Las Cruces. Alex wanted to study computers, and Isabel was hoping to become a fashion designer. Everyone was just excited that they chose to go to a place that was pretty close to Roswell.
By the third week of August, everyone was getting ready for fall term of school to begin. Everyone except for Liz. She was about 38 weeks along and huge in her opinion. She had managed to gain about 20 pounds. Her stomach was now round and her favorite walk became the waddle. She could no longer work at the Crashdown, but Maria was happy to pick up the extra shifts. With her, Michael, Kyle, and Max all attending the local branch of the State College, she could certainly handle working them.
Tess began her senior year in high school. She stopped by the Crashdown nearly everyday to check on Liz and to hang out. One day, Tess dropped by as usual, but she noticed that Liz was waiting in the normal booth. In fact, Liz was no where to be seen. Tess walked to the backroom where she ran into Jeff. "Hi Mr. Parker," she said, moving out of his way.
Jeff shifted the boxes he was carrying in his arms. "Hi Tess. How was school?"
"Fine. Do you know where Liz is," she asked. "She isn’t in the usual booth."
Jeff thought for a second. "The last I saw her she was lying down. I think that all the heat has been getting to her."
Tess nodded. "Well thanks. I’ll just head upstairs to check on her." Tess walked up the stairs to the front door of the apartment. She knocked lightly, but didn’t hear any reply, so she opened the door. Tess made her way to Liz’s room.
The door to the room was open. That is when Tess noticed Liz lying on the bed in the fetal position, taking shallow breaths. "Liz, what is the matter," she said, rushing over to the side of the bed.
Liz let out a breath. "I think that I’m in labor."
Tess jumped back a bit. "Are you sure? Isn’t this a little early? Are you sure it’s not just indigestion?"
Liz rolled back a bit. "I’m sure," she hissed lowly. "Is anyone around that can take me to the hospital?"
"Your dad is in the restaurant. I’ll go get him."
Liz suck in some air as another contraction hit. "Hurry."

Part Thirty-six B… Delivery

Tess rushed down the stairs, but she was knocked back as she ran right into Max. Max completely lost his footing and fell on his butt with a thud. "Where’s the fire Tess," he joked.
Tess blinked a couple of times trying to focus on who was talking to her. "Liz… baby… labor," she managed to say as she caught her breath.
Max was back on his feet in a matter of seconds. "What??? Liz is in labor," he asked.
Clasping her hand to her chest, Tess nodded. Max rushed right past her to the steps of the apartment. Taking them two and three at the time, he had reached the door in an instant. Without bothering to knock, he went into the apartment and rushed to Liz’s room.
Liz looked up at Max when he entered the room. "Max," she whispered when another contraction racked her body.
Max sat gently down on the bed, doing his best not to move Liz from the fetal position she had curled into. "It’s okay, baby. I’m here," he reassured her, running his fingers through her hair.
She gave him a weak smile. "Labor sucks," she tried to joke.
"Are you sure you’re labor," Max asked her. "It could be indigestion."
Liz clutched her stomach. "Trust me, there is a definite difference. The baby is coming and soon. The contractions are getting closer."
Max stood up, fully understanding what Liz was saying. He bent over, put his arms under Liz, and lifted her up. Liz wrapped her arms around him, and he moved with her to the door.
Tess had just re-entered the apartment with Jeff, Michael, Maria, and Kyle in tow. Liz looked at her family, worried expressions adorning their faces. "I just need to get to the hospital," she told them.
Jeff grabbed the keys from his pocket. "Well, let’s get there then."
Max followed him to the car, Liz still in his arms. He placed her gently in the backseat, then sat down next to her. Jeff got into the driver’s seat and started the car. The only sounds that could be heard in the car on the way to the hospital were Liz’s attempts to breathe as a contraction hit and Max comforting her. Jeff just concentrated on getting them their in one piece.
Once they reached the emergency room, Max hopped out of the car, taking Liz with him. "We need a doctor, she’s in labor," he told the first nurse he saw.
The nurse couldn’t help her chuckle when she saw the look on Max’s face. "First time parents," she stated more than asked.
Max could only nod. "It will be okay," she told him, leading them to the admitting desk. "So how far along are you, sweetie," she asked, turning her attention to Liz.
Liz looked at the nurse. "About 38 weeks."
"Well, you are a little early, but that shouldn’t be a big problem. Most first time pregnancies either are early or late."
Liz let out a sigh of relief. They got checked in, and an orderly came around with a wheelchair to take Liz to the back. Max was right behind them until the orderly told him to have a seat in the maternity waiting room. Max didn’t want to leave Liz, but he knew that he didn’t have a choice in the matter. "I will be back to see you as soon as I can," he whispering into Liz’s ear.
A tear slipped from Liz’s eye. This was one of those times where she really needed Max. The last thing she wanted to do was to deliver this baby without him. However, she knew that he wanted to be there with her and would be one way or another. "Okay," she whispered back to him as she was rolled away.
The next fifteen minutes were some of the longest in Max’s life. Maybe even longer than the wait to hear about Isabel after she was shot. By that time, Jeff had caught up to him after parking the car. Michael, Maria, Tess, and Kyle had also arrived. "Man," Michael began to complain after sitting in silence for three minutes. "How long do they expect you to wait?"
Max looked at his brother. "I guess that they are just getting her ready. I hope that it doesn’t take much longer. Just sitting here is killing me," he said, throwing his head back and running his fingers through his hair.
"Just think, there is going to be a baby when today is over," Kyle added. He turned to Michael. "And you, me, and Alex are going to be uncles."
Michael bobbed his head. "Yeah, very cool."
"Damnit," Tess cursed to herself. "We forgot to call Alex and Isabel. They are going to kill us."
Maria winced. "You’re right. We better go call them now."
Maria and Tess both got up and made their way to the pay phones. Max looked around the waiting room, seeing Jeff sitting quietly in a chair a few feet away from him. "Are you okay," he asked, knowing that he was barely on Jeff’s good side.
Jeff looked over at Max. "Yeah," he said, letting at sigh go at the same time. "I was just thinking."
Max gave him a confused look. "About what?"
Jeff’s lips curled into a strange smile. "That my baby is having a baby as we speak. Part of me is so excited to be a grandfather, and the other is scared for her. For the both of you, actually."
Max nodded. "I am going to take care of her, Mr. Parker. I promise you that. I hope you know how much I love her."
"I do," Jeff admitted. "I can see that every time that I see you looking at her. It reminds me of the way I feel about Nancy. But I am still a father. I think that it is just hard for me to let her go."
"I understand," Max sighed.
Jeff snickered. "Not yet, but you will. Just think, by the end of today, you are going to be a father."
Max smiled to himself. "Yeah," he sighed. "Wow."
Both men sat in silence for the next few moments. Max finally spoke up again. "So did you get ahold of Nancy?"
Jeff nodded his head. "She could be here in about twenty minutes. She was running errands in Hondo."
Max opened his mouth to speak, but a doctor appeared in front of them. Max stood up and went straight over to him. "Can I go into to see her," were the first words out of his mouth.
The doctor smiled widely. "Well, first of all, I am Dr. Gilbert. I will take you back to see Liz in a moment. Her labor is progressing nicely. In fact, she should be ready to deliver in an hour or so."
Everyone let out a gasp to find out how soon the baby was coming. "Can I be with her in the delivery room," Max asked.
"Sure," Dr. Gilbert told him. "I’ll take you back to see her now."
Max followed him beyond the double doors to the ward. Five rooms down the hall, he saw Liz lying on a bed, holding a Styrofoam cup. Max rushed over to her. "How are you feeling," he asked, grasping her hand.
"Like I am in labor," she joked. "God, I am so happy you’re here Max. I was worried that they wouldn’t let you back here."
Max smoothed her hair. "Nothing would have kept me away. I told you that."
Liz turned her head and kissed his hand. "I know. Thank you for that."
Max placed a kiss on her forehead. "For what?"
"For being you," Liz sighed. "You are the best thing to ever happen to me. I would never be this happy with anyone else or being anywhere else. I wouldn’t change a thing."
"Me either," Max admitted. "You are what makes me special, you and the baby."
"I love you," Liz said.
"I love you too."

"Michael, sit down," Maria begged. "You are making me nervous."
"They have been back there for an eternity," Michael grumbled.
"It has only been an hour and a half. She is probably just having the baby," Isabel told him, trying to get him to calm down. She and Alex had only arrived about ten minutes ago. Nancy had already arrived and everyone was still waiting for word on Liz. "I know that," Michael mocked her. "But waiting sucks. All the anticipation and anxiousness. I just want to know if everything is all right."
Nancy smiled at him. "We all do Michael, but the best things in life are worth they wait. This baby included."
"I wondered if it will be a boy or girl," Tess thought outloud. "I know that Max thinks that it will be a boy."
"I hope that it’s a girl," Maria sighed. "We could dress her up and play with her hair."
"Yeah," Isabel voiced agreement. "That would be so cute. What do you think that they will name her?"
Alex laughed at the dreamy look Isabel was getting at the prospect of having a new person to dress up. "Liz and Max said that they were thinking about Kathryn if it’s a girl, and Daniel if it’s a boy."
"I like those names," Maria sighed. "Kathryn is so pretty."
"This poor kid better be a girl," Michael teased. "Who knows what torture you will think of if it’s a boy."
Maria got up to hit him, but they were interrupted by Max coming out of the double doors. They all rushed up to him. Max looked at them with a dumbfounded look on his face. "Is everything okay," Tess gasped at the expression on his face.
Max turned to look at her. "It’s a boy. We have a baby boy. I have a son."


posted on 14-Aug-2002 2:33:21 AM
Thirty-seven… Danny boy

Liz lay in her hospital bed, halfway between being asleep and awake. Then, she looked over at the bassinet that held her baby boy, her Daniel. "Max and I have a baby," she thought to herself. "Our baby is actually here."
Liz smiled as she remembered the event of the past couple of hours. After being separated from Max, Liz practically threw a fit, so the nurses gave her something to make her relax. But she still cried for Max. She was so scared and all she wanted was for him to be close to her.
When it looked like she would never get her wish, Liz heard the squealing of tennis shoes. She looked to the door and saw Max running towards her, wearing green scrubs. Liz reached out as far as the cords would let her. Max met her arms with a gentle embrace. Just then, another contraction hit. Liz grabbed ahold of Max’s arm, twisting it as the pain shot through her body. For the next five minutes, her room was a chorus of ow’s and ouch’s.
Now, that was only a prelude to the delivery. Max was reassuring during the down time and doubling over in pain during the contractions because Liz was clutching so hard to his hand. That is when they heard the cry of their baby.
Lying there in the hospital bed, Liz recalled the tears that streamed from her eyes as Max placed a tender kiss on her temple. "That’s our baby," he whispered in her ear.
Liz could hear the awe in his voice and desperately wished she could say something, but she was too amazed. All she could so was look at the baby as the nurses cleaned him up. After wrapping him in a blue blanket, one of the nurses brought Daniel over. Liz greedily scooped him into her arms. Finally finding her voice, she looked over at Max. "He’s perfect," she told him. "He’s our perfect little baby."
Max placed his arms on her shoulders, gently rubbing them. "Yeah," he said softly. "And look at his hair."
Liz laughed at Max’s comment, noticing the dark tuff of hair at the top of Daniel’s head. "It looks like Michael’s hair," she said, still chuckling. "But, he has your ears," she teased, reaching out with one hand to tweak Max’s left earlobe.
Max blushed, then began looking over the baby’s head. Letting out a sigh, Max leaned over a placed a light kiss on Daniel’s forehead. "Sorry about those," he apologized.
Upon hearing those words, Liz’s tears began to flow again. She leaned forward a bit and gave Max a quick kiss on the lips. "I think that your ears are sexy," she joked.
"Oh yeah," Liz thought, looking back on it all. "This is one of the best days of my life."
Just then there was a quiet knock on the door. "Come in," Liz called out, doing her best not to wake Daniel.
Maria peeked her head around the corner. "Hey Liz," she said, unsure. "How are you doing?"
Liz flashed her a bright smile. "Great." Then, she noticed the Maria wasn’t moving. "You can actually come in, you know."
Maria nodded and began slowly edging herself into the room. However, she wasn’t fast enough. Tess ran right into her as she came bounding into the room, sending Maria flying forward. Isabel was walking close behind Tess. "Ouch," Maria exclaimed as she bumped into Liz’s bed.
"Sorry," Tess said, flinching a bit. "I didn’t see you standing there."
Maria stood herself up. "Why were you running," she asked, looked at the tiny scrape on her knee.
Isabel started to laugh. "You know that whenever Tess gets excited, she starts running about a mile a minute."
Liz began to laugh too. The three other girls turned to face her. "So, how are you," Tess asked. "Is everything okay? Where is the baby?"
"I’m fine," Liz reassured them, still with a big smile on her face. "Why?" Don’t I look fine?"
Tess shook her head. "No, it’s not that. I mean, I saw you at the restaurant and …"
Liz raised her eyebrow. "And?"
Tess took a deep breath. "It just looked like you were in a lot of pain."
"I’m not going to lie," Liz answered, glancing at each of her friend’s faces. "It hurt." Then, Liz paused for a second. "A lot. But look at what is here now," she told them, pointing to the bassinet.
Maria, Isabel, and Tess crept over to where Daniel was sleeping. Almost in unison, the three girls said, "Awwww."
Isabel looked over her shoulder at Liz. "He’s so tiny," she said in awe.
"I know," Tess agreed. "And look at that hair."
Maria just kept looking at the baby. "This poor thing has Michael’s hair."
All of the girls burst out into fits of laughter, much louder than before. The sudden, close noise woke up little Daniel. He started crying. Maria turned to look at Liz, a bit of panic in her eyes. "What’s the matter," she asked. "Did we do something?"
Liz stopped laughing. "He was just woken up by our laughing. It will be okay, just hand him to me."
Maria looked at Isabel, Isabel looked at Tess, and Tess looked at Liz. "Which one of us do you want to pick him up," Isabel asked.
"You can," Liz told her.
Isabel took a step away from the bassinet. "Are you sure," she asked. "I don’t want to break him or something."
Liz laughed. "You won’t break him, Isabel. You act like you have never been around a baby before."
Isabel’s eyes grew wider. "I haven’t. I was only a year old when Tess was born and all of our baby cousins hate me."
Tess nodded. "That’s true. They practically scream when she goes to pick them up." Tess turned to Daniel. "Hey buddy, you fit right in."
Isabel smacked Tess’s arm. However, Daniel was still crying and Liz wanted someone to hand him to her. "Please," she asked. "Could someone hand him to me?"
"I’ll do it," Maria finally volunteered. She carefully reached down and picked Daniel up, trying her best to support his head. Quickly, she passed the baby to Liz.
Liz took the baby from Maria. Gently, she rocked him close to her, cooing slightly. After a moment or two, Daniel had quieted down. Isabel, Maria, and Tess watched intently, not wanted to make Daniel start crying again. "Wow," Isabel said, amazed. "He stopped crying."
"Yeah," Liz whispered, lovingly looking down at Daniel’s face. "He’s had a busy day. I bet he is all tuckered out. We better get Daddy back her to see you before they take you back to the nursery."
"Hum, Liz," Maria spoke up. "There might be a bit of a problem."
Liz looked at Maria. "Why, what is the matter? Is Max okay?"
Tess snickered a little bit. Isabel looked down at her shoes, but Liz knew she was laughing silently because her shoulders were shaking. Finally, Tess spoke up. "When Max came out to the lobby to tell us that you had the baby, he sort of … well…"
"He fainted," Isabel squeaked before resuming her laughing.
Liz grew a bit stiff. "He what?"
"Well," Maria started. "He came out to the lobby looking like a deer caught in the headlights. Then, he told us the baby was a boy. We all jumped out of our seats…"
"Because we were so excited," Tess added.
"Yeah," Isabel chimed in.
"That’s right," Maria said, continuing on. "And most of us were so busy congratulating him that we didn’t notice he was almost completely white."
"Michael was the first to notice," Isabel informed Liz, trying to help. "He asked Max if he was okay. Max just sort of looked up like he realized what had happened."
"And that sort of resembled him looking like he got hit with a ton of brick," Tess chimed in. "That’s when he passed."
"Is he okay," Liz asked, doing her best not to get upset.
"Yeah, he’s fine," the three girls chimed in unison. "His parents chose then of all times to come in," Maria explained. "They thought something had happened to you or the baby. I mean they had been driving back from Clovis when you went into labor, they got stuck in traffic, then to see Max pass out right as they walked in. Personally, I think that Mrs. Evans is still waiting for her heart to stop racing."
Liz eased a bit. "So what happened to Max? Where is he?"
"Right here," Max said as he opened the door.
All four girls jumped, causing Daniel to begin fussing all over again. Max strolled over to Liz and took the baby out of her arms. "Shhh," he whispered softly, rocking the baby gently back and forth.
Isabel, Tess, and Maria decided that it was time for them to let Liz and Max be alone for awhile. Quietly, they made their way over to the door. Then, Tess turned for a second. "Hey Max. Where are the guys? The last time we saw them, they were taking care of you."
A wicked smile grew on Max’s face. "They’re in the lobby, fighting over who is going to be the favorite Uncle."
Tess and Isabel rolled their eyes, but Maria just stood there looking between Max and the baby. "Michael’s hair, Max’s ears … poor kid," she teased, then turned to leave before Max or Liz could say anything.
Liz’s jaw dropped for a second, and then she looked over at Max. He stood in front of her, holding Daniel in his strong arms. "Hey," she whispered, almost afraid of breaking the moment. "I heard you fainted."
Max looked up at her. "It’s been a big day."
Liz smiled at him. "For all of us."
Max walked over to the bed and sat down next to Liz on the edge of it. "So are you okay," he asked, his eyes full of concern.
Liz sighed. "Why does everyone keep asking that? I am fine. Better actually. I’m great. Besides, I should be asking you how you’re feeling."
"I’m better now," he told her. "It’s just everything hit me all of a sudden, and it was kind of overwhelming."
"Is it overwhelming in a good way or a bad way," Liz asked, trying to study the expression on Max’s face. Fear that he was regretting his decision to stay with her began to enter her thoughts.
Max looked into her eyes, reading the definite look of panic in them. "The best kind of overwhelming," he said, reassuring her. "The kind that only comes when the most wonderful things in your life happen."
Liz jumped forward, wrapping her arms around Max’s neck. Daniel made a little noise because he was being squished between his two parents. Max and Liz both looked down at the baby. "They only thing I need, Liz, is you. You and Daniel," Max told her. Then, he leaned over the baby, capturing Liz’s lips with his own.
Liz sighed into his mouth as the kiss deepened. She ran her fingers thought his hair, and just relished the moment they were living. It was a short-lived moment. Alex came bounding into the room, Kyle and Michael at his heels. "I won," he announced. "Danny boy, I get to be your favorite Uncle because I kick the other two’s butts."
All Daniel could say to this, "Whhhaaannnn."


posted on 14-Aug-2002 2:38:08 AM
Thirty-eight: I Do

"What are you gurgling at little man," Liz cooed, leaning over Daniel’s crib. She wrapped a blanket around Daniel’s little body and lifted him out of the crib. "What are you gurgling at."
Max tried his hardest to hold in a laugh as he waited outside their bedroom door. "Their bedroom," he thought to himself. "How did I get this lucky?" It had been almost two months since Daniel was born. While both the Parkers and the Evans said that the couple could move into their homes, Max and Liz knew they needed a place of their own. With the help of entire group, they finally found an apartment that was perfect for their budget.
It was small, one bedroom, a kitchen, bathroom, living room, and a study. However, it was perfect for what Max and Liz needed at the moment. Just a little place of their own.
Max turned his attention back to Liz and Daniel’s little conversation. So far, it had consisted of what mommy should wear out tonight, where was daddy, and who was gurgling at who. At last, Max could resist the urge anymore. Imitating his best baby voice, he shouted, "At my pretty mommy."
Liz jumped a bit and turned towards the door. "Max," she sighed. "Don’t ever do that again. You scared the crap out of me."
Laughing even harder then he had been before, Max walked towards Liz and took Daniel out of her arms. "And who is the potty mouth," Max teased as he raised Daniel above his head.
Liz swatted at his arm. "You should talk. What is it that you were shouting at the fridge this morning?"
The tips of his ears turned pink as Max remember his first fight with a kitchen appliance that morning. "I didn’t know that the shelves moved," he replied, trying to shrug it off. "But I will have you know that the kitchen is now clean and that shelf is never going to move again."
"Why," Liz asked, raising her eyebrow.
"I super-glued it," Max told her, a very satisfied look on his face.
Liz fell back on the bed, half-laughing and half-shocked. "You did what," she said, laughing even harder.
Max started to feel like he might not have done the swiftest thing by gluing the shelf. He put Daniel back down in his crib and sat on the bed next to Liz. "Okay" he said, getting exasperated. "What is so funny?"
Liz looked into his eyes, biting her tongue to keep from laughing even more at the serious look on his face. "Baby, the shelves are suppose to move. That way you can take them out to clean them or move them to make room for stuff."
Max looked down at the floor. "Oh," he mumbled, ready to kick himself in the butt for being an idiot. However, he didn’t have long to knock himself down. Liz sat up, then moved until she was sitting in Max’s lap. She wrapped her arms around his neck and began placing light kisses around his face.
"You’re cute when you’re scolding yourself. Did you know that?"
Max opened his mouth to speak, but Liz took advantage of that and began to kiss him on the mouth. Her tongue started to tease his, not that it took much. Soon, they were fighting for control. Max shifted until Liz was laying back on the bed, Max on top of her. His hands started to move down her sides, grazing her breast softly each time they pasted them. Liz threw her head back and Max began to kiss down her neck. She let out another sigh, reveling in how good it felt to have Max touch her.
Then, panic swept through her. They had only made love once and that was over eleven months ago. A lot had changed since then, especially her body. Her breasts were bigger, which she really didn’t mind, but her hips were wider and she thought her butt was huge. "What if Max is expecting me to look like I did before," she thought. Liz shook her head and placed a hand on each side of Max’s face. "I don’t think that this is the best time to get carried away," she told him, trying not to look him in the eyes.
Max stopped immediately, noticing how uncomfortable Liz had grown. That seemed to happen anytime things got a little intense between them. He knew that Liz was a little more self-conscious since Daniel was born, but he wanted to show that the changes in her body only made her more attractive.
"Okay," he muttered, taking a sharp intake of air. "We have to get going soon, anyway. Don’t want to be late for "Las Vegas Night" at the Crashdown."
Liz did her best to hold back her tears that were forming in her eyes. "Are you mad," she asked timidly.
Max turned to look at her. "No, why would I be mad?"
"Because, I haven’t, I mean we haven’t done… you know… since Daniel," she tried to form the words.
Max leaned over and kissed Liz gently on the forehead. "Liz, I don’t want to push you into anything. And that includes making love. As far as I am concerned, I have the rest of my life to love you. Why rush a good thing," he told her, trying to lighten the mood and comfort her at the same time.
Liz nodded, giving a sigh of relief. "Thank you, Max," she whispered.
Max placed at light kiss on her lips. "Thank you, Liz. For loving me."
They stay like that for a few moments, foreheads resting against each other. That is until Daniel decided he needed some attention. A gentle whimper came from the crib, and Liz immediately got up and pick up Daniel.
Max watched quietly from the bed. "I think that we are getting better and better at this parenting thing," he joked.
Liz cradled Daniel against her chest. "Better and better," she repeated. "So are you ready to go?"
"Yeah," Max said, getting up from the bed. "Just let me grab something and I will meet you in the car."
Liz winked at him and walked to the front door of the apartment. Max waited until he was sure that she had left, then walked over to the dresser, pulled open a drawer, and pulled a little jewelry box out. "Tonight," he said to himself. "I will show you just how much you mean to me." With that, he placed the jewelry box in the pocket of his jacket and ran to join Liz and Daniel in the car.

"Las Vegas Night" was one of the biggest parties the Crashdown held every year. The whole restaurant was converted into a little casino with fake Elvis cutouts and neon signs everywhere. Maria couldn’t help but laugh at the decor. Every year it seemed like Mr. Parker went even crazier than the year before. At least she didn’t have to wear the usual uniform that night. But tonight was different than all the others. Max had one hell of a surprise for Liz when they got there.
"Where are they," Michael asked, getting a bit nervous. "I mean what if Judge Williams decides to leave before they get here?"
Isabel started to giggle. Michael turned to look at her. "What is so funny," he asked.
"Your acting like a typical mother of the bride," Tess teased him.
Michael opened his mouth to say some sort of snide comeback, but Alex waved his hands around, getting everyone’s attention. "Tess, you know that is not the problem. Michael is just sad that he didn’t come up with the wonderful decorations for tonight’s events. Mr. Parker is challenging him for the rights to be the next Martha Steward."
Michael’s eyes flames slightly, but Maria wrapped her arms around his neck, placing a kiss on his cheek. "Calm down, Michael. Everything is going to be great."
Taking a deep breath, Michael relaxed a bit. "So every night is pick-on-Michael night."
"Yes," the rest of the group said in unison.
"Quiet," Nancy shouted at them. "Max, Liz, and Daniel just pulled up. Kyle, go turn off the lights."
Kyle ran and flipped the switch. Two minutes later, the front door to the café opened. "Where is everyone," Liz asked, noting the darkness. "The lights were on just a second ago."
The lights went back on that very second, and everyone shouted, "SURPRISE!"
Liz jumped back a bit, Max caught her, and Daniel began to fuss. He wasn’t so impressed with the surprise. Diane rushed over to Liz and gathered the baby in her arms. "I guess Daniel doesn’t like surprises," she joked.
Liz gave a weak smile. "I guess not. But what is up with the surprise stuff anyway? Everyone in town knows that this is "Las Vegas Night."
Max reached around and wrapped his arms around her waist. "It’s not just that," he whispered in her ear. "Everyone’s here for the wedding."
Liz turned and gave Max a confused look. "Who’s wedding," she asked.
Maria couldn’t hold in the excitement any longer. "Yours," she shouted from across the room.
Her eyes grew wider than they had ever been, as her jaw dropped to the ground. "Ours," she gasped, looking to Max for a clue.
Jeff walked over to Liz and Max. "Well, Max had this idea. Now we all know that money is a little tight, and with school and the baby, you two really didn’t have much time to plan a wedding. He thought it could just be some little ceremony, with just friends and family, here at the restaurant."
"But Michael pointed out that if we planned something that big, you would surely find out," Maria butted in.
Max threw his brother a look, and Michael simply shrugged his shoulders. "Hey," he declared with pride. "I have my moments."
Isabel walked up beside him and patted him on the head. "Yes you do," she patronized him.
"Anyway," Max said, trying to get back to the point. "We decided to hide the wedding by letting you think that it was just ‘Las Vegas Night.’" Max looked down and noticed that tears were coming from Liz’s eyes. "Oh God Liz," he started to apologize when he saw her crying. "I didn’t mean to upset you. I just thought that we wanted to get married, but…"
"I love it," Liz told him, give him a quick kiss on the lips. "I just wasn’t expecting anything like this."
Max let out a sigh of relief. Kyle walked over to them and put an arm around each of their shoulders. "So are we ready to have a wedding or what?"
Liz wiped the tears from her eyes. "Ready," she pronounced.
"Ready," Max chimed in a second later. He looked into Liz’s eyes and saw nothing but love in them.
Judge Williams started the ceremony and silence fell upon the group. They watched in awe at the joining of two young adults who loved each other more than anything else in the world, except for their son. In fact, the only sound that could be heard was the occasional sniffle from either Maria, Tess, or Isabel. Even Alex teared up, though no one could ever get him to admit it.
"Do you, Elizabeth Lillian Parker, take Maxwell Philip Evans as your lawful wedded husband," Judge Williams voice echoed across the Crashdown. "Till death do you part…"
"I do," Liz said proudly, clutching to Max’s hand as tightly as she could.
"And do you, Maxwell Philip Evans, take Elizabeth Lillian Parker as your lawfully wedded wife. Till death do you part," he asked again.
"I do," Max said, never moving his eyes away from Liz’s.
Judge Williams smile grew. "I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride."
Max leaned over their joined hands and placed the most tender kiss on Liz’s lips. She sighed lightly when their lips parted. The kiss deepen slightly, but the couple was startled when loud shouts were uttered by Michael, Kyle, and Alex. Everyone started to clap, laugh, or both. Judge Williams choose to laugh. "Let me present for the first time Mr. and Mrs. Evans," he hollered over the crowd.

Part Thirty-nine… A Happy Ending - NC-17

It was perfect. Everything had finally fallen into place. Liz sighed with contentment looking around the restaurant at all her friends. Everyone was happy, healthy, and together. It was as it should be.
She watched from a stool at the counter as Michael startled Maria by picking her up and swinging her around. Alex started laughing uncontrollably, for which Isabel promptly gave him a little smack. However, as he started to protest, Isabel stopped him by placing a kiss on his lips.
Liz began to giggle at this sight, turning her head ever so slightly. She saw Kyle and Tess standing over by the radio, discussing what to play next. "More like arguing," Liz silently changed her mind when she saw Tess frown at Kyle. A second later, Tess leaned over, giving Kyle a little hug. "And it is obvious that she won," Liz said softly, giggling even harder.
The only person Liz couldn’t see from her vantage point was Max. He had disappeared about ten minutes ago with Daniel in tow. He had told her he was going to change the baby, but she knew it didn’t take ten minutes. "I think I better go check on them," she told herself.
Getting off the stool, Liz made her way to the backroom. Suddenly, two arms came around her waist, pulling her against a warm, hard body. "Max," she gasped.
"I better be," he joked, his breath tickling her ear. "I don’t want anyone else holding you like this."
Liz turned herself in his arms. Looking up into his warm amber eyes, Liz nearly gasped at all the emotion she saw in them. They were filled with love, playfulness, and most of all, desire. She could feel her stomach turn with both excitement and fear at his gaze.
"Liz," Max whispered, giving her a little kiss on the nose. "Are you okay?"
She smiled at him. "Yeah," she sighed. "I was just thinking about how you are the only person I’ll ever let hold me like this."
Max smiled, then brought his lips down to hers, capturing them in a kiss. He tugged slightly at her lower lip, asking for entrance. Liz opened up to him, allowing their tongues to come together.
Just then, Liz realized something. She broke away from his lips. "Max, where is the baby? Where is Daniel?"
Max laughed a little. "Don’t worry," he reassured her. "He is upstairs with your mother. Your parents offered to take him for the night, so we can have a night alone."
Liz backed away a bit. "I don’t know if I’m ready too…" she began, but was cut off by Max kissing her deeply.
"Liz," he whispered against her lips. "I love you. And I will wait, for as long as you need."
"Thank you," Liz sighed. "I love you too."

Love be still
Love be sweet
Don’t you dare
Change a thing
I want to photograph you with my mind
To feel how I feel all the time

The music from the radio filtered softly into the backroom. "Dance with me," Max asked Liz, taking both of her hands into his.
"Of course," Liz told him, following him out to the restaurant.

Say that you’ll stay
Forever this way
Forever and forever
That way we’ll never have to change

A few couples were dancing slowly to the song playing, mostly their friends. However, it really didn’t matter to Max or Liz. He maneuvered them to the middle of the room, pulling Liz close to him.

Don’t move
Don’t breathe
Don’t change
Don’t leave
And promise me
Say you’ll stay
We’ll stay
Forever this way

They began to move to the soft tones of the song as the rest of the world faded away. It was only them dancing in their own little world.

I get afraid
Don’t think ahead
Let’s just stay
This way in bed
Feels so good inside your arms
Home is everywhere that you are

Liz rested her head against Max’s chest. She loved the way his body felt next to hers. He was so warm and inviting.

Say that you’ll stay
Forever this way
Forever and forever
That way we’ll never have to change

They continued to sway with the music, dancing slowly. However, Liz could feel her body heat up with each movement they made. He was being so tender and patient with her. Now he was her husband and this was their wedding night. Every thought began to argue with the other as the song continued to play.

Promise me
We’ll always be
This kind, this sweet
This good to me
Promise me
We’ll always be
"This Way" ~Jewel

Just when the nervous side of her brain was about to win out, Max bent his head, placing a open-mouthed kiss on her shoulder. His tongue swept over her pulse point, sending a wave of desire through Liz’s body. She could deny it any longer.
When the song ended, Liz firmly gripped Max’s hand. "Let’s go home," she suggested silently.
Max was confused for a moment, but nodded his head in agreement when he saw the look in Liz’s eyes. Quickly, they said their good-byes to everyone, especially Daniel. Liz got a little teary at leaving him for the first time since he had been born, but Nancy reassured her that they were only a phone call away.
The car ride back to their apartment was painfully long. Liz spent most of the ride fiddling with the radio or fidgeting with the window. Anything to keep her hands busy and her mind off of what could happen when they got home.
Max was just as nervous, Doing his best to pay attention to the road, Max was gripping the steering wheel pretty hard. He didn’t want to force Liz into anything, but he also wanted to show her just how attractive he found her. He want to show her how much he loved her.
Liz made a beeline for the bedroom as soon as they reached the apartment. To say that she was scared was an understatement. Even though she knew that Max loved her, wanted to be with her, she had never thought of herself as sexy or enticing. And now that her body had gone through all these changes…. Scared was definitely an understatement.
"Liz," Max called out from the door. "Are you okay?"
Liz turned to face him, nodding her head slightly. It was then that she saw the same look in his eyes that she had caught at the restaurant. Max’s deep amber pools were almost black with passion. "Passion for me," Liz thought to herself.
He took a step towards her, than another. Liz watched each movement his body made, captivated by the graceful motions. Finally, Max was standing beside her. Liz could feel warmth coming off his body, luring her closer.
She moved closer. She felt his arms come around her back, one resting on her lower back and the other between her shoulder blades. Max drew her in, lowering his head to capture her lips. They were soft, like always. He loved the fact the now he could do this whenever he wanted to, the fact that she was his. And he was hers.
The tenderness of the kiss melted Liz’s remaining reservations. She opened her mouth to him, tentatively teasing him with her tongue. Max took the hint, mingling his tongue with hers.
Max couldn’t form a coherent thought as he enjoyed the sensations of kissing Liz like he wanted to, making love to her mouth with long, slow stokes of his tongue. However, they both needed more than just each other’s lips. They needed each other completely. Max brought a hand to massage one of Liz’s breast through her the top of her dress, tweaking her harden nipple. Everytime he did this, Liz let out a little moan, but never broke away from his mouth.
Finally, his tongue relinquished its hold on her mouth and began caressing her neck. His hands had began to wander her curves, along the sides of her breasts and down to her hips. She ran her hands down his back as he continued to kiss at base of her neck. She found the edge of his shirt and began to tug at it. He relinquished his ministrations for a moment, only to allow her to pull the shirt over her head.
Liz was on fire. Seeing the bare skin now exposed to her, she sighed and leaned forward to kiss his flesh. Max sighed loudly as Liz’s kisses left tingling sensations on his skin. He was loosing control fast, almost completely when Liz traced one of his nipples with her tongue.
Finally, Liz wasn’t able to take it anymore. She needed to feel his hands on her bare skin. She pulled away from Max, and quickly lowered a strap on her dress, the other one quickly following it. The dress slid down her body, and Liz kicked it away with her foot. She was left standing there in just a bra and panties.
Getting a little scared and self-conscious, Liz tried to cover her self up with her arms. Max reached out and stopped her.
"Please," he pleaded. "Your so beautiful. Please don’t hide from me."
Hearing that, Liz threw her arms around his neck, kissing him fully on the lips. Max’s hand reached between them, unhooking her bra. Her breasts fell free and he gasped to see this beauty before him.
"Beautiful," he sighed as he brought his mouth to envelope one of her nipples. She felt it grow tighter each time his tongue flicked across it. His hand was lavishing attention on the other breast. After a few minutes, Max switched teasing the other nipple with his tongue.
Liz needed more. Heat was pooling between her legs and she was aching for him to be inside her. She brought her hands down from his shoulders, where they had been resting, to the front of his waist. Even though her hands were shaking, she began to undo the snap of his pants.
Max inhaled sharply when her fingers grazed his erection, lowering the zipper on his pants. He pulled back for a second, taking his pants and boxers off completely and pushing them aside. He saw Liz standing in front of him, watching his movements with fascination. Desire burned in her eyes, and Max was astounded that she had chosen to be with him.
Quickly, he rushed to her, gathering her body in his arms and laying her in the center of the bed. Liz sighed when Max lower his body down on top of her, loving the feeling of have his weight pressing on her small frame. She shifted her leg slightly, coming in contact with his erection. Max hiss at the movement, growing harder by the second.
He started kissing his way down her body. Starting at her lips, he descended down her curves, between her breasts to her stomach. Liz moaned with every movement he made. Then, she remembered something.
"Max," she gasped as he dipped his tongue into her belly button. "We need protection."
Max stopped his exploration. He thought for a second, then reached over them to the nightstand and pulled out a little foil wrapper. "Let me," Liz said, taking it from him. She opened it and slowly rolled it down his swollen shaft. Max hissed a bit with pleasure as she did this.
Then, he resumed his wanderings. After a few more moments, Liz cried for him. "Please," she pleaded with him.
He stopped for a moment. He leaned down to kiss her as the tip of his penis came into contact with her heat. "Are you sure," he asked. He didn’t want to force her into this.
Liz nodded her head. "Yes Max. I am sure."
Slowly, he pushed into her as he kissed her lips, drinking in their sweetness. The kiss broke apart, both gasping as they completed each other. Gently, Max slid out of Liz and back in again. Their first time had been fast, impulsive. This time he wanted to take his time, learn what drove her wild.
Soon, Liz was moving her hips in time with each of his thrusts. She want him to go faster, feeling the desire growing even more. Max pushed deeper, still maintain a steady pace.
"Max," Liz moaned, going insane with the delight he was causing her body. Suddenly she felt him speed up a bit as he took on of her nipples into his mouth again. She cried out, coming close to the edge.
Liz wrapped her legs around Max’s taking him as deep as she could. Max began to move faster, losing all of his control. He felt Liz’s walls tighten around him, urging him towards their completion. With a sharp thrust, they both cried out to each other as their climax washed over them, and Max collapsed onto Liz.
With the last bit of his energy, Max rolled over onto his back, pulling Liz to him. The next few minutes were silent except for raspy breaths as both Max and Liz let their bodies calm down. Running his finger through her hair, Max guide her forehead to his lips, kissing it tenderly.
"Do you know how much I love you," he whispered.
Liz cuddled closer. "As much as I love you," she told him.
"And how much is that," he teased.
She looked into his eyes. "More than anything."
Max drew her in for a kiss. He placed his lips lightly against hers, grazing them gently. He did it again, teasing a bit. She opened to him, flicking her tongue against his mouth. Max wrapped his arms around her, pulling her as close as possible. The kiss deepen slowly, until they both needed air.
"More than anything," Max repeated. "Well Mrs. Evans," he said aloud, reveling in how it sounded. "I think we are going to get our happy ending."
Liz smiled, resting her forehead against his. "I think it is more like a happy beginning," she sighed, drifting off to sleep in Max’s warm arms.
"I like the sound of that," he agreed, lulling off to sleep.