|posted on 19-Aug-2002 12:17:34 AM|
|RESERVING THIS PAGE TO MAKE A LIST OF CONTENTS|
PAGE 1- The Things We Leave Behind, 1 parter
PAGE 1- You Were Mine, 1 parter
PAGE 1- A Story for the Ages, 1 parter
PAGE 1- Life Happened, 1 parter
PG. 1 PG. 2-Crimes of Passion 12 chapters, Compl.
PAGE 2- The Dance, 1 parter
[ edited 3 time(s), last at 2-Sep-2002 6:14:09 PM ]
|posted on 19-Aug-2002 12:18:58 AM|
|TITLE: The Things We Leave Behind|
CATEGORY: Future fic, AU. Part 1 of 1
SUMMARY: I can't give it away! You have to read it.
DISCLAIMER: Sadly, I own nothing but the words you are about to read.
THE THINGS WE LEAVE BEHIND
Worn, trembling hands picked up the journal and traced the embossed letters on the front cover.
Elizabeth Parker Evans
Saying the name out loud still brought a smile to the lips that hadn't smiled in years. She had waited so long to add the last part of that name. It had been a dream of both of them since that day in the Crashdown all those years ago. When two lives became forever intertwined. The tired, aching hands picked up the pen as the words came flowing onto the paper like the waterfall of emotions that had been kept at bay for the last 5 years.
It's kind of funny. The way life throws you a curveball that you just never manage to throw back. It's like a soap opera.. You know how the writers can never leave a couple happy for like, more than 5 episodes? Which is like, two weeks, soap opera time. At least that's Maria used to say. Well, whoever writes my life has a sorry sense of humor. Because we didn't even have 5 days.
We had only just begun to love our lives. I had waited my whole life to be married. When we left Roswell, my dream came true. And that was the most precious thing I had. My love, my heart, the other half of my soul. Joined to me forever.
The day we were married, was like a holiday. We took the day off. No fighting aliens. No running from the FBI. No worrying about the people who might see us. That's what we needed. A break. A release. We had just left everything we had ever known behind us. Our homes. Our families. Our lives.
We started out with nothing. Some superpowers, a few hundred bucks, and an old blue van. It was a meager start, to say the least, but I wouldn't change it for the world. I'd do it over and over again, if given the choice. Because that was the last time I saw them. Any of them. The five people who had become my family. But now, it's just me. I'm the last one. The only one. Everyone I love is gone. And I know that I can never go home.
It happened in a matter of minutes. Minutes that seemed like days. Minutes that will forever be burned into my memory. We had talked about it, just before we left Roswell. The night we got engaged. About how we may only have 12 days to live, but if that was the case that we would have lived 12 lifetimes. I wonder if we would have done things differently had we known. If we would have gone another direction. If we would have said something different. If we would have taken more time.
We were sitting in a diner. An old little place where the waitresses still wore lace trimmed aprons and the tables still had their own jukeboxes. And there wasn't another soul around. Isabel was the first. She had forgotten something in the van and had gone outside to get it.
We were sitting there, talking and laughing, and remembering, when the door was thrown open and she came running inside. I don't know how she did it. She was hurt so bad already. But she had somehow managed to make it inside. She had to warn us. Wanted us to run. Wanted us to run because they had found us. She didn't live long enough to see that it was already too late. Before they even came in the door, she had dropped to the floor. And she was gone. That quick. No chance to heal her. No chance to bring her back.
Kyle was next. He and Isabel had been each other's consolation when we left Roswell. It was Michael and Maria, and Liz and Max. Naturally, it became Kyle and Isabel.
When he saw her crumble, he snapped. His powers hadn't developed yet, so all he had was what he knew. And he actually took one of them out with him. He went flying across the room in a tackle he had learned playing football. They crashed through the glass and landed outside, the special unit agent shot by his own gun, Kyle having landed on the small brick wall, breaking his neck. He too died instantly. Getting revenge for Isabel's death.
Tired from writing, the worn fingers reached up to wipe a tear from the already tear-streaked face. The hands had seen many fights. And had finally come to rest. He picked up the pen once more and began to write.
We scattered in different directions. Our first instinct was to run, but it didn't work. They were everywhere. They had us surrounded. Somehow, Michael and I ended up running in the same direction. We could only hope that the others had run too. Maria and Liz. Because we knew Kyle and Isabel were already gone. We hadn't even gotten outside yet when we heard her scream. We couldn't leave her. We turned in the other direction, and they had her by her hair. She was screaming, but it wasn't a scream of fear. It wasn't one of pain. It was one of anger. And she was screaming at us to get out. Her eyes locked with Michael's, and I heard an awful noise. A sound I wish to never hear again. Then her eyes went wide, and her body limp. They had snapped Maria's neck, and she too was gone.
I tried to grab Michael, but couldn't. He lifted his hand and ran towards them, ready to give his life if that's what it took. I always knew he'd die for her if he had to. And he did. His blast hit the very agent that had killed his soulmate, and another agent shot him. He screamed in pain, then was gone. Just like that. The moment he died, I think he actually smiled. Because he knew he had gotten the man that had killed his Maria.
What happened next is something I will never understand. Something that plays itself over and over in my mind with every passing day.
Once more, he stopped, and put the pen down. He put his face in his hands and wept. For the first time in five years. Wept for the future's they never had. The life the never got to live. The dreams they had never gotten to fulfill He wept for the lives of the people who had meant the most to him. All taken from him, leaving him alone to avenge their deaths. Shaking, he cried all the tears that would come, then picked up the pen once more.
I saw Liz standing just a few feet from me. She was crying, and she kept turning from me to the agents to the door. It was just behind her, and I can't help but wonder if she would have gotten away had she run. The next seconds play back in slow motion. Like you play a scene over and over in your VCR trying to see what really happened, because it went by so fast. I was looking straight at her, when she turned her head to the side. She turned back around to face me, and he eyes were wide with fear. I heard her scream, and she jumped at me. That's when I heard the shot go off. And I felt her land on the floor just below at my feet, the blood already pooling on her shirt.
I can't explain what happened next. I've only done it that one time, and as far as I know, I can't do it again. I felt her die. I felt her life leave her body, and it was the worst pain I have ever felt in my life. At that moment, the anger I felt towards every single one of those men in that room overcame me. They had just killed my family. And I can't remember what I did. I fell to the ground and took her lifeless body in my arms, and raised my head to face them. I focused on the anger I felt. And raised my hands in the air. I was going to take at least one of them with me. I closed my eyes, and screamed, waiting to feel the blast of the gun tearing into my skin. But it never came.
I opened my eyes, and I couldn't believe it. Every single one of the agents was dead. Lying on the floor. Dead. I don't know what happened. I had emitted some kind of force that not only took the one I had aimed for. It took them all. And I was the only one left standing. I cried for hours, holding Liz in my arms.
My sweet, precious, beautiful Liz. She had saved my life. Given the ultimate sacrifice. I had always told her that I would die for her. But I didn't get the chance. She died for me. And I hae spent the last five years getting vengeance for her.
After hours, I kissed her forhead and smoothed back her hair. Her face was still perfect. No blood, no cuts, no bruises. She was still flawless. And I could still smell the strawberries. I took off my jacket and covered her body with it. I went to Isabel, and laid her next to Liz. Next, I took Maria, her hair still clasped in the hands of the man who had taken her life. I took her and laid her next to Liz, then picked up Michael and put him next to Maria. I went outside and picked up Kyle, and put him next to Isabel. I gave them my last goodbye, and went outside. Under an old oak tree, in Sedona, Arizona, behind what is now the ruins of an old diner, lay the bodies of the five people I should have died with. And that's where I'll be.
I found some papers in one of the Special Unit vehicles. It had the name and address of every single Special Unit agent on the force. It had all the information I needed. So I went after them. I destroyed each and every one of them, not only because I knew that they would eventually find me. But because I knew they were the reason I was all alone.
Today, the last one is gone. It took me five years to track him down, because after all the others, he had run from me. But I found him, and now he's gone. The special unit won't ever take anything from me again. And all of you can live your lives in peace.
In this box is what is left of the children you once knew. Before I buried them, I took something from each one. Isabel's wedding rings. Kyle's letterman's jacket. Michaels' watch. Maria's necklace. And Liz's wedding rings. I am enclosing mine as well. I know they would want you all to have these things. They are the only thing's we'll leave behind.
I won't live long enough to see you again. I wanted you to know what happened. It's been five years since you've heard from us, and I know you are all worried. I couldn't bring myself to contact you until now. I found Liz's journal, the one I gave her as a wedding gift in the van. This is it's first and last entry.
I am going to her now. My wife. My other half. I feel it. All I have to do is wish it, and it will come. My release. And I can join my family.
Please know that we all loved you. You all gave us life, and we relished every moment of it. You were forever present in our minds.
Shaking, he signed his name to the letter, then on second thought added five more.
Love always, your children.
Liz Parker Evans,
and Michael Guerin.
He addressed the box to Phillip and Diane Evans in Roswell, New Mexico, knowing they would know what to do with it. He left it at the Post Office, and drove back to the collapsing building. He got out, and walked behind it, stopping underneath the old oak tree. He laid down on the ground, and reached out to feel her. Like he hadn't in five years. And when he did, he was overjoyed. Once again, he could feel her. Then he closed his eyes, and let the darkness claim him.
|posted on 19-Aug-2002 12:22:04 AM|
Title:You Were Mine~~Part 1/1
Disclaimer:You and I both know I don't own a thing. The idea comes from the song, "You Were Mine" by the Dixie Chicks. Lyrics posted below.
Summary:It's in the future, and that's all I'm gonna say. You can figure out who it is on your own.
I Can't Find A Reason To Let Go
Even Though You've Found A New Love
And She's What Your Dreams Are Made Of
I Can Find A Reason To Hang On
What Went Wrong Can Be Forgiven
Without You, It Ain't Worth Livin' Alone
Sometimes I Wake Up Crying At Night
And Sometimes I Scream Out Your Name
What Right Does She Have To Take You Away
When For So Long, You Were Mine
I Took Out All The Pictures Of Our Wedding Day
It Was A Time Of Love And Laughter
Happy Ever After
But Even Those Old Pictures Have Begun To Fade
Please Tell Me She's Not Real
And That You're Really Coming Home To Stay
I Can Give You Two Good Reasons
To Show You Love's Not Blind
He's Two And She's Four, And You Know They Adore You
So How Can I Tell Them You've Changed Your Mind
I Remember When You Were Mine
I saw you once. Years ago. In passing. A chance meeting. And you saw me. She stepped back while you greeted me like an old friend. While you shook my hand like I was just someone you used to know. And then it was my turn. To step back and watch while you went back to her. While you clasped her hand like a lifeline, much like you had once held mine. And I felt my heart break yet again as I watched her walk away with the life she stole from me firmly within her grasp.
I remember what it was like before. And sometimes, I wonder how you could have forgotten.
The two years we spent on the run were the years we spent building our own little family. Just the six of us. Remember how we used to sit in the dark, all of us staring at the sky? How we'd count the stars and hang our dreams on them thinking they'd be safe there. That we could look up and pull them down whenever we wanted.
I remember how we'd all sit up and pass the darkest hours just before dawn keeping ourselves grounded with just the strength we were able to draw from just being together. How we kept ourselves sane with just each other's company.
And I remember how we became one. A unit. A family. Not based on physical ties. Our family wasn't based on bloodlines or genealogy. No, our family was based on something much more powerful. Much bigger. Something we thought was much, much stronger. Our family was based on the bonds of the heart.
How young and naive we all were then. To think that true love lasted forever, or even that there was such a thing. To think that happily ever after did exist. To think that the bonds between us all would keep us always close.
I remember how you'd catch my crying late at night. After I'd spent the day watching over everyone else. Keeping us all from going mad with the fear, the anxiety, the running. You'd hold me in your arms and sooth away my exhaustion. Drown out my uneasiness. Kiss away my tears. And then, I would foolishly believe that everything would be okay.
I remember the night little Jenna was created. How you whispered your sweet words of love over and over in my ear as we gave ourselves to each other. How my skin burned with your gentle caresses. How my lips ached with your passionate kisses. And I remember how we couldn't bear to close our eyes because we wanted to watch the emotions play across the face of the one person we loved more than life itself. Do you remember how we celebrated the next day? How we were so happy because somehow, we knew we were going to have a baby? You held my hand to tightly that day, not letting go of it even once. Not even when we told our friends and they took us out to celebrate.
And oh, how I've cherished that day. The one when we realized we could go back. Home. To Roswell. Back to everything we had ever know. Our parents, our memories, our homes. We even were excited to go back to the Crashdown. Where all our lives had crossed paths. I remember how you picked me up and twirled me in the air, laughing and crying and rejoicing. We were like two little kids that day. The day we finally went back.
I remember again how happy we were when we found out about our baby. When we found out that our family was going to grow yet again. I remember how you cried when you held little Jacob for the first time. And how you couldn't take your eyes off him. I can still hear your voice when you whispered to him about how much you loved me. I can still see the sparkle in your eyes when you told our baby boy how much your loved his mother.
Two years. Seven hundred and thirty days. That's how long we had. That's how long we were a family. The four of us. You, me, Jenna, and Jacob. And those were the most precious two years of my life. Even now. After everything.
Jacob's first birthday. And how you laughed and I cried when he fell asleep in his birthday cake.
Jenna's first day of preschool. And how we cried because we couldn't bear to watch her go.
Our first family photo. When Jenna wouldn't smile and Jacob wouldn't stop screaming. But those moments are the ones dearest to my heart. The moments when family came first. The moments our love and devotion to our children overcame all else.
But then she came. She came breezing into our lives one day, and just as suddenly, you were gone with her.
I remember the day you left. To start your life with her. It was much too bright and sunny a day to be filled with so much sadness and despair. You said you didn't love me anymore. That the life we'd made together no longer fulfilled your needs. You just...changed your mind. And like a snowflake on a hot summer's day, you disappeared. I felt my world crumble at my feet. All the pain and heartache I'd ever had to endure couldn't have compared to that day.
You let her come in shake up our world so badly that the pieces would never again fall into place. You let her destroy not only us, but the lives of everyone around us. You let her destroy the people we loved most.
Michael left when you did. Unable to deal with the fact that the one person in the world he looked up to the most had abandoned us all. He never came back.
And Maria? She just went crazy. She's been in an institution since Michael left. Sits for hours on end and rocks in front of the window, Alex's music CD playing in the background. No doubtedly thinking of the life that never was.
Kyle became an alcoholic. He used the high that alcohol gave him to forget the pain his friends were going through. He blamed himself for putting so much faith and respect in you. He blamed himself for believing in you. He had come to think of you as his King. And you let him down. He was drunk the day he died. Alone.
Isabel? Your sister was perhaps the worst. She used men to try and erase her troubles. Night after night, she sought freedom. Acceptance. Love. In the arms of a different man. She's spent her whole life trying to fill the void you left in her soul with every man that's ever crossed her path. And she's paid with it with her health. Her beauty. Her pride. She's been beaten by many of them. And with all her capabilities, she just let them hurt her.
And me? I've spent my life raising the two precious gems the love we once shared gave us. How could you do it, Max? How could you walk out on our babies? How could you abandon the two little children who mimicked your every move and hung on your every word? They worshiped the ground you walked on. And you ripped it right out from under their feet.
Little Jenna Elizabeth grew into a beautiful woman. She's much like Isabel once was. She's smart and successful, and....happy. She's married now, and has a family of her own. Four children. All boys. The youngest one named Max. After the father she never stopped hoping for, and the grandfather he's never met.
And Jacob Maxwell? He's grown into strong, healthy man. He's just like me. He loves Science. He's a molecular biologist. And a father. Of three beautiful children.
You're a grandfather, you know. And you've never even bothered to meet them.
I sometimes wonder if you ever stopped to think of us. F you ever stopped to wonder how your kids were doing. If they were safe. Healthy. Happy.
And I wonder if it was worth it for you. If she made you happy the way I and our children could not. I wonder if she loved you unconditionally the way I did. The way I never stopped. I tried. To stop loving you. But I couldn't. It was impossible for me to stop loving someone who I'd given my heart and soul to.
Fate has a funny way of working, though. Because when you were old and tired and your body was failing, it wasn't her that you asked for. When you felt your life slipping away, it wasn't her that you wanted by your side. It was me. And without question, I came.
And it was me who cried with you when you took your last breath. It was me who watched your eyes flutter closed for the last time. It was my hand that felt your fingers go limp in my own when the energy finally left your body.
It's been only a day since then, and I am tiring too. The connection that once bound us together so closely once, the one I thought disappeared the same day you did is taking me. I feel it with ever fiber of my being. When you died, our connection felt it. Without you it can't survive, and without it, I can't survive. All this time, I thought when I thought we had lost each other forever, I realize that we were just as deeply connected as ever.
We bury you tomorrow, and I am putting this journal with you. This letter I write now will be its last entry. I started keeping this the day you left. It has my whole life in it. I want my life to be buried with you.
I don't blame you, Max. I don't blame one thing on you. In a way, I wonder if I should blame myself. If I am the reason she took you away from me. My actions all those years ago changed the events of my life and yours. Somehow, I can't help but wonder if I caused all this pain.
Because she was my friend. Once. But not this time. No, this time, Serena wasn't my friend at all. This time, she was yours.
|posted on 19-Aug-2002 12:23:20 AM|
|DISCLAIMER: again, I own nothing.|
A STORY FOR THE AGES
They were so young. So innocent. So carefree. Except for his cautious presence, they had not a care in the world.
She went about her normal existence. Her everyday life, being a normal, everyday girl.
He went about his everyday life. Watching her every move. Hanging on her every word. Lingering on her every glance.
They were two roads moving in the same direction. Until destiny intervened and forged them into one.
That day changed her life. His life. The life of everyone they loved.
In that day, he risked everything he was. Everything he wasn't. Everything he had ever hoped to be. To save her from a fate that was never meant to be hers in the first place. And in that precise moment, they formed a connection. One so strong, so powerful, so rare, that nothing like it would ever be born again. And from that connection would spring a love so deep, so passionate, that it would transcend time itself.
They would be so much each other's that it would leave people around them mesmerized. Gaping in at two souls so perfectly intertwined, that it was impossible to tell where one stopped and the other began.
Their love would bring them over hurdles and through battles that were fought with a courage far beyond their years.
Their relationship would come to be tested time and time again by matters not of this world. With a select few trusted individuals by their sides, they were able to overcome anything that life threw in their path. A close circle of friends would be their only solace outside of each other.
When he was taken against his will, it was her love and his friends that came to his rescue. They risked their lives, without question, to save his own. From people bent on destroying him for who he was. For what he was. Even the horror of that pain couldn't weaken what they shared.
Their love would face its greatest challenge after she received a visitor from another life. A visitor wh in truth, was the very essence of the man she loved. A visitor who would ask her to sacrifice everything she had fought so hard to keep, for a greater good. To save the lives of everyone she knew, and of countless more she would never know. She destroyed the one thing in the world she had that was good. She would sever the unique ties that bound their love and that had been the driving force in her life for so long. And in doing so, everyone around her became unknowingly indebted to her forever. Because they owed her life itself.
It was even a battle for her to sever what they shared. A battle she fought alone, for the first time in her life. She did it the only way she knew how. With a betrayal. Only to his mind. Never to her heart. She shattered the dreams that they had built together to save the world from a harsh ending.
It would take time. There would be questions. There would be numerous tears. More heartache. But eventually, they were able to be back on the road to rebuilding what it was they had lost. Only to have it shattered again.
With the death of a loved one, they were thrown back into the harsh realities of an unrelenting world. They were forced to question everything they felt in order to find an answer. Closure. Anything to lessen the pain and ease their minds. Try as they might, the answers were hard to come by. The rift between them seemed to flare up and become irrepairable.
But once again, there would be a betrayal. This time to both of them. To all of them. But this betrayal would not tear them apart. It would only provide the answers that they had all been searching for. It would be the stepping stone needed to make right everything that had been done wrong.
Once again, they were able to live life as they dreamed it. With each other. Never knowing where each day would take them, or what each new corner would turn up, they went in headfirst. Because they had each other. They would yet again fight endless battles. To save who they were. Their path was constantly rocky, but drawing strength from each other and their friends, they were all able to live as normal a life as possible. Despite who they were. What they were. Because they were together, they would overcome even more deaths, betrayals, and tricks. But in the end, they would win.
And all this....simply because a boy named Max loved a girl named Liz.
|posted on 19-Aug-2002 12:24:54 AM|
Author:ISLANDGIRL5 aka Christian
Disclaimer: I don't own the song. I don't own the characters. I don't even own this computer I'm typing on.....Man am I sad.
Category: Au, M/L
Author's Note: This fic takes place in a matter of about five minutes. When someone askes Max a question, it causes him to think back to his past for the answer.
When I first heard the song "Life Happened" by Tammy Cochran, I thought ‘What a great idea for a fic!' So I started writing, and this is what came out. Lyrics are posted below.
I know this is cheesy. But what can I say? I was in the mood for a little fluff. And take this while you get it. Fluff is so unlike me!
A big, fat thanks to Meagzie for your suggestions and opinion. Smoochies to you, girlie!
From the time she was thirteen Julie Thompson had a dream
That someday she would see her name in lights
And after every high school play
The grown-ups all would say That Julie's future sure was looking bright
Well I saw her selling videos At a store in Eastland Mall
I said why aren't you in Hollywood Taking casting calls
And she handed me my change And started laughing
And said...Life Happened
Me and Bobby Chaplain fell in love
Daddy passed away and the babies came
And drama school was just too much
Now there's little league and mouths to feed
And I directed the kindergarten Christmas pageant
Curtis had an old Chevelle
The cops knew that car well
He never lost a race on Windy Hollow road
By the time he turned eighteen
He was a Georgia dirt track king
Proudly sponsored by the local Texaco
I bumped into him at Murphy's bar
And he ordered us a round
I said why aren't you in Rockingham Chasing Gordon down
He killed his drink And tore the corners off his napkin
And said...Life happened
I was driving home from Athens Late one night
A trucker fell asleep and swamped paint with me
Said I rolled that bed at least five times
Now I thank my stars and I sell used cars
And I teach drivers education at St. Catherine's
Yeah life happened
I saw the rest of my old friends
At a union at the Holiday Inn
And it seemed like it was only yesterday
Standing in the gym in our cap and gown
Full of wonderlust and glory bound
We set out to chase our dreams on wings of passion
But somewhere along the way we got distracted
Our clothes went out of fashion with our songs
We started families and bought SUV's
Became step dads and soccer moms
I finally realized we turned alright
And we spent the night just catching up and dancing
And life happened
Gatherings filled with people who only want to catch up to their old friends and brag about where there lives have taken them aren't my thing. So when I got the envelope, and opened it, I wasn't sure whether to sign up or not. It was an invitation to my ten year high school renunion. So I sat there, with the sheet in front of me, the RSVP line blatanly blank and staring back at me. Did I really want to do this? Did I really want to see the people that had spent four years putting me up on a pedestal, thinking I was some kind of star? Did I really want to go back and see how my life hadn't stacked up the way it was supposed to? Was I ready to face the shock and amusement on their faces when they found out where my life had really gone?
I could already see it. Every single person who ever crossed my path. Asking me why I was there. Why I hadn't followed through with my plans. Why my life hadn't turned out the way everyone thought it would. Why my life hadn't turned out the way I had thought it would.
But as a small shaky voice startled me out of my own thoughts, a smile played across my lips. My life hadn't taken the path I thought it would. It had taken a path that had been as much a surprise to me as it had been to everyone I knew. But it had led me to something a heck of a lot better than I'd ever imagined.
Nodding triumphantly at the paper, I headed down the hallway to calm my little boy's nightmares. The RSVP line on the return application now marked with my name and phone number.
Sooner than I expected, we arrived into town, and before doing anything else had to make a stop at the mall. Perfectly okay with me. It would give me another couple hours to prepare for the onslaught of old high school friends. But as I heard the sharp click, click of high heels approach me from behind, I knew I was wrong. So I turned around to face my past.
"Max Evans, what on earth are you doing here? I always thought you'd be famous, and forget about all us little people!!"
Whoa. I definitely didn't expect to see her there.
As I stare at her, standing in the middle of a mall, she didn't mean a thing by it. It was a purely innocent question. Tess Harding never beat around the bush. Why should she start now? She was one of my best friends in high school. I suspected that the rumors were true, that she'd always had a crush on me, but I'd never paid notice. And when high school finished, I never saw her again. She moved California and las I heard, she'd become some bigwig behind the scenes in the movie industry. Staring at her right now, I can only imagine she's back for the reunion. And last thing she knew, I was going to be famous.
"Max Evans, you are my ticket to fame!" Coach Heath said proudly as I walked into the locker room.
As soon as I get in, I'm hoisted to the ceiling, and someone points a can of cherry coke at me, that has obviously been shaken forever. I put my hands up, but they do nothing to block the spray of coke headed my way.
After minutes of making my way around the locker room on the shoulders of my teammates, they finally let me down.
At my locker, I open it up, only to be blasted by a shower of confetti that shoots itself out the minute I open the door.
Then, from the door to my left, the cheerleading squad walks in, and one by one proceeds to come by and kiss me on the cheek. One of them even grabbed my butt. Behind me, everyone once again erupts into catcalls.
I laugh out loud, enjoying the moment.
That night, the celebrating lasted until morning. When I left the locker room, Kyle, Tess, Michael, Isabel, and Maria were there to take me out.
I'd just led my High School baseball team to their first ever state championship. With an undefeated season. Thanks to their star pitcher. I'd pitched 7 perfect games that year. And set a nation wide record. It's what got me noticed.
From then on, life was different for me. Everyone treated me like I was already famous. I was a hometown hero. Everybody knew me. Everybody loved me. And people I didn't even know wanted to know me.
"Max, there's gonna be scouts out there tonight watching you."
"But I'm only a Junior. They only come to watch the graduating seniors."
"Not when there's a junior that's had 7 perfect no hitters in one season."
"I don't even know which college I want to go to yet!"
"Well, that's why there's 7 of them out there. From the University of North Carolina to Florida State. They all want you, son. You're a pretty hot commodity."
Little did I know then that hot commodity was an understatement. That year, I received calls from colleges from 36 states. All wanting to get confirmation by word of mouth that Max Evans was coming to their college to play ball. It wasn't a hard choice. I was born with blue blood running through my veins.
"Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce to you the newest member of the University of North Carolina's baseball team. The one and only Max Evans."
I wince from the applause, and have to blink momentarily to keep my eyes from going blind because of all the flashes.
The next two years, we made it to the state championships. And lost. The first year, we got slaughtered. 12 to 2. And I had the only two errors in the whole game. The next year, it wasn't as bad. We lost in the tenth inning by one run.
My Junior year was going to be it. MLB scouts were already asking about me, and had shown up at several pre-season practices just to watch. I guess they were my lucky charm. That year, we made it all the way. And I pitched a perfect game at the state championship.
"You've done it, Max," my best friend, Michael said.
"Done what, Michael?"
"Secured your place in Major League Baseball history. There was a scout from the Braves out there today. One from the Dodgers. The Dodgers! From all the way out in California."
"I still have another year of school left, Michael."
"But you'll play after school, right?"
"Of course I will. That's not even a question."
It was my intention. To play professionally. It had been my dream since my hands were big enough to hold a baseball without dropping it. I'm pretty sure being a baseball player was the first thing I ever wanted.
Little did I know that year something would happen that would shape the rest of my life forever. Into something I never expected, or had never dreamed of.
"You have to come with me, Michael."
"I'm not going anywhere with you. I know how Isabel gets when she tries to introduce you to one of her friends that you end up not liking. It's not very fun when she gets mad at you."
"Maria's coming with her."
"What time do we leave?"
My sister had made it her mission in life to make mine miserable.
She had a crazy idea that I couldn't be a professional ball player without a wife at home. She said I couldn't be a successfully famous professional baseball player without a stable family life. So she set me up with every single girl she had ever known. Nine times out of ten it ended up disastrous.
Once I ended up at the Police Station. After the girl I was with let a waitress have it. Over the head with a glass plate. For smiling at me. Another time I ended up in the hospital. Because my dated suddenly thought it would be fun to go swimming in 30 degree weather. I jumped in to pull her out and got hypothermia. And I won't even start on the time I got caught in a very compromising position. In the Dean's office.
It was the tenth time that was the charm.
"Max!" I braced myself as Isabel ran over to me and threw herself in my arms. I hugged her back.
"Isabel, how was your flight?"
"Awful. The stewardesses were rude, the food was horrible, and the fat bald guy behind us didn't stop snoring the whole time."
"You haven't changed a bit," I say, smiling, as I take her bag from her.
"Max, you know Maria," she says, pulling Maria in front of her. I give her a slight hug, and she lets me go so she can attack Michael. They've had this on again off again long distance thing going on for a while. It was off, but apparently, it's back on.
"And I want you to meet Liz Parker. Liz, this is my brother. Max."
As I see her feet, I think. Eh. Normal. But then my eyes skim upwards. Okay. Nice legs. Even farther up. I see her belly button peeking out underneath her red camisole. Great skin. Then even farther up, and suddenly, my heart clenches in my chest, and all time stands still. I don't even notice the mobs of people walking around us. Or the fact that my sister is still talking to me.
Her eyes. Big brown, doe eyes that speak with an innocence you don't see very often. Soft, pink lips that are just screaming out for me to kiss them. Flawless features. And chocolate hair that I can barley restrain myself from reaching out to run my fingers through.
I was a goner. One look, and Liz Parker held my heart in her hands. I, Max Evans, who hadn't had a serious relationship ever, mainly because I focused all my attention on baseball, fell head over heels in love at first sight. And all I knew at the time was her name and that she went to school with my sister.
I had never been affected like that before. For the entire visit, Liz Parker occupied my every waking thought. And my every sleeping thought, for that matter. Before she left, I told her I loved her. And I just about died when she said it back. Three months later, my future was sealed.
"I don't want to leave, Max."
"I don't want you to leave, either, Liz.
"We're just getting started. Now I have to leave!"
As the tears started to form in her eyes, I reached up to brush them away.
"What are we going to do, Max?"
"Marry me, Liz."
"What?" I'd never seen her so surprised or in shock.
"I know it's sudden. But it feels right. And I know you feel it too. Marry me. Today. Tomorrow. I don't care. But let's do it soon. Then I'll transfer schools. And we don't have to ever be apart again."
That night ended my baseball career. She said yes, and within the month, we were married, and I had transferred halfway across the country to be with my wife. It had never crossed my mind asking her to transfer. She was right in the middle of medical school, and was going to the same college her mother, father, and grandmother had gone to. I'd gladly given up anything to be with her. And you can imagine all the flack I got for just letting things go. I was on my way to the top. And they couldn't understand why I'd given it up.
And I told them about this movie I'd seen once. Where the man had let his money get in the way of his relationship with the girl he loved. At the end of the movie, he threw every dollar he had into a fire and told her that all the money in the world wouldn't have meant a thing to him....unless he'd had the right person to share it with. And she had been that person. For me, I had given up my chances at being possible the best ball player Major League Baseball had ever seen. But in return, I had gotten Elizabeth Parker. The woman who made my life more than I had ever thought possible. And for me, the money and fame that a career in baseball would have provided seemed like a small sacrifice.
"Max, are you still with us? I said what brings you back here? I thought that by now, people would be wearing a baseball jersey with your name and number on it to Atlanta Braves games. Why aren't you out there giving Roger Clemens and Pedro Martinez a run for their money?"
Shaking my head out of my memories, I see Tess waving her hand in front of my face, her face etched with curiosity. And as I reached down to pluck the three year old clinging to my leg up into my arms, a smile breaks out across my face. And I realize that I am right where I want to be. Fame or not, I wouldn't ask life for anything more. And I'd be proud to tell that to anyone who asks me.
"What can I say?" I tell her, shrugging my shoulders and hoisting my son up over my head so he can wave to his mother, my wife, the love of my life approaching us from the opposite direction....
Oh, and what a life it is!
[ edited 1 time(s), last at 19-Aug-2002 12:25:41 AM ]
|posted on 2-Sep-2002 11:36:38 AM|
|This was my first fanfic...Thank goodness my writing has gotten lots better.....|
Title: Crimes Of Passion
Summary: Max and Michael are cops, but then one of them ends up on the other side of the law.
Disclaimer: I own nothing except this story.
"Evans, Guerin, in my office, NOW!"
Max Evans looked at Michael Guerin, his best friend and partner of the last three years.
"What did you do now?"
Michael threw his hands up in self defense. "Not me this time, Maxwell," He said.
All eyes were on the two officers as they made their way to Chief Valenti's office. Despite the fact that they were the best two officers the department had ever had, and everyone knew it, they were also the most trouble making officers the department had, and everyone knew that also. Sometimes they just went about things that in a different way, a way that usually landed them right back into the two hard wood chairs sitting across from the Chief's desk.
"Can someone tell me the meaning of this?" the Chief asked.
"Sir," Max said, "It's an incident report. On the robbery we took last night."
"I know it's an incident report, Evans, what I want to know is why you two half-wits took that call without waiting for back up?", the chief asked angrily.
"Sir, we had to get the place before the guy ran. We couldn't wait for anyone to respond. It was just instinct, that's all. We saw someone in trouble and acted on it."
"I don't care what you saw. Do you two not realize how much trouble you could have gotten into? You and Evans could have lost your jobs last night, had anything happened. Officers Whitman and Deluca were just around the corner, en-route to your location. You should have waited."
Michael started to speak again, but the Chief cut him off. "What would you have done if there were more than one man in there? What would you have done if you two had been ambushed?", he asked them. He looked from Michael to Max. Just as usual, they had nothing to say in their own defense.
The Chief's voice lightened and he spoke to them. "You guys are the best two officer on the force. After last year, I can't afford to lose any more."
"You know," Michael said to Max later on that day. "I saw the phantom-O again today."
"Aww, c'mon Mike, don't start that crooked cop mess with me again today!" Max pleaded.
"Max, I am serious, something is going on at the department, and it goes a whole lot higher than the criminals in the jail cells. Someone down there is up to no good. And it has something to do with the death of that Officer Harding last year, and that phantom officer I keep seeing in the shadows of the evidence room. I can't explain it, and I can't tell you what the connection is, but there is one. And one of these days, I will get proof. I am so close, Maxwell. So close. I can feel it."
"Listen, you are going to get both of us in trouble talking like that. This is the LAPD we are talkin about here. One of the most prestigious law enforcement agencies in the country. You can't just go around accusing some of its members of being crooked cops."
"Look, Maxwell, I am not going to say anything until I do have proof. But when I do, I am bringing them all down. And that's a promise."
Max had to smile. If there was one thing his partner was, it was determined. Max knew from experience that once Michael set his mind to something, he usually got it.
"All right, sherlock," Max said. "Right now, let's just go get some eats. I'm starved."
"Max," Micheal said, "I really am close. Someone left me a note to stay out of it. If anything happens to me, I want you to promise that you will pick up where I left off. There are some things going on, and some unanswered questions-"
"Michael, don't be ridiculous. Nothing is going to happen to you. What would ever make you say that?"
"I don't know. I just have this terrible feeling."
Suddenly, a noise across the street caused both officers to look across the street, and both men placed their hands at their hips an the holsters that held their guns, ready to draw and aim if necessary. A cat jumped from the shadows and took off running down the street. Max and Michael looked at each other and chuckled.
"Way to go, Evans," Max said to himself. "You almost shot a harmless cat."
Max and Michael got into the car and headed off down the street.
Neither one of them saw the mysterious figure that was watching them. An evil smile etched on the otherwise emotionless face.
Max and Michael headed off to Fat Daddy's, the sports bar where the officers would go after their shift to wind down before heading home.
On the way there, Michael got very serious.
"You know," he said, " I found something today." "Mike, I thought you were gonna drop it. Don't be ridiculous."
"Max, this could be big. Remember when Officer Harding got shot last year? Well, I have seen the evidence sign out sheets. Someone keeps signing out her file. Officer number 1-9-4-7. But you wanna know something else? We don't even have an Officer 1-9-4-7."
"So, maybe someone is just accidentally writing down the wrong number. Or maybe you just keep reading it wrong. There has to be a rational explanation."
"Max, the file has been altered. The report has been changed, some of the evidence is missing, even the witnesses names were changed. Someone is trying to hide something that was in that file. Even the crime scene pictures are missing."
"How do you know that Michael? You didn't even work that case," Max said.
"Because, I made a copy of the file. And the pictures. Scanned them to a disk. Then I hid it."
"What in the world made yo do that?" Max asked, a bit of frustration evident in his voice.
"I told you, I have this feeling. Whoever the Phantom O is has something to do with this. Tess was my friend, Max. When she died, no ne wanted to answer my questions. It was like people are trying to cover something up. I have got to find out what that is. Tess knew something, and it got her killed. I have to find out what that was. You have got to help me. I need someone else to help."
"Michael, Tess was killed in a robbery gone bad. That's all."
"No, Max, did you know that the victims of this so called robbery can't be found? And that there was never any suspect information released? It's got to be in that file. I just have to get a chance to read it all."
Max looked at Michael. In the last three years, every single time Michael had gotten one of his feelings, they had usually been right. It was like he had ESP or something. But this time he just wasn't sure. It was all so absurd, officers and people in higher positions covering up the death of one of LA's finest?? But, Michael was his friend. . .
"Okay, Mike," Max said reluctantly. "But if we get caught . . ."
"I knew you would help. And thanks, man. Thanks."
When they got to Fat Daddy's, they were talking about women.
Michael had said he was just going to give up on them forever. After being turned down numerous times, by Officer Maria DeLuca, Michael's pride was deeply wounded. They had dated briefly, last summer, but had broken up, and Michael never got over her. Max knew better though. Women had always been one of Michael's strong suits.
"Uh-Oh," Max said walking in the door. "Don't look now, but temptation at 12 ‘o clock."
Michael looked across the room and felt his heart catch in his throat. There she was. Maria DeLuca.
"Okay, changed my mind. I give up on all women except that one," he said, as he began to make his way over to her.
"Hey, you," Max heard a familiar female voice say. "Do I have to get arrested around here in order to see my brother??"
"Isabel!" Max exclaimed. He gave his sister a hug. "How have you been?"
"Good, School is killing me though, now I know why lawyers get paid so much. They deserve it just for making all the way through law school."
Max laughed, then turned as Maria waved to someone walking in the door. Max turned around and saw Kyle Valenti and Alex Whitman walk in the door. Max, Isabel, Kyle and Alex had known each other since Middle school. They had all been best friends, and had been together ever since, until the boys headed for Law Enforcement Training, and Isabel headed for Law School.
The four had dinner, and played some pool, catching up on each other lives. Michael soon joined the group, once again turned down by Maria. After a couple hours, they all headed to their homes.
Michael and Max were room mates, and when they got home, Michael noticed a shadow move across the window in their apartment.
"Max, someone's in there!" he whispered.
They both pulled out their guns and went inside, but found that whoever had been there had let themselves out of a window in the back.
When they turned on the lights, Michael and Max gasped in horror. Someone had wrecked both of their computers, and there were computer discs everywhere. They were still standing there when the phone rang.
Michael picked it up. "Hello."
"Quit asking questions about Officer Harding. Or you might end up just like she did. And don't think I won't find out if you do. You have no idea who you are messing with."
The line went dead. Michael's face went pale.
"Max," he said, "We have just been threatened to stay away from Tess's file and to stop asking questions. Says they'll kill us too."
"I guess that means we're done. You have to back off now, before we get in over our heads."
"No," Michael said, suddenly angry. "That means that now, I am more determined than ever to get to the bottom of this."
|posted on 2-Sep-2002 11:38:48 AM|
Max and Michael spent most of the next day at the police department, even though it was their day off.
Max headed to the evidence room to make copies of all the evidence sign out sheets that had anything to do with the file on Tess, and the evidence from the case, while Michael headed to the records room. He was going to look at all the case files handled by Tess right before she died. Neither one of them knew what they were looking for, but they were going to put everything together and hope they could find something that would help them out.
They had to sneak in, and Max almost got caught with Tess's file. Detective Matthews, from burglary surprised him by walking around the corner just as he was taking the file off the shelf. She looked almost as surprised as Max. Max quickly moved his hand over to the next file and took it off the shelf instead.
"Oh!"Det. Matthews exclaimed. "I'm sorry, Officer Evans, I didn't know anyone was in here."
Max thought he noticed her eyes glance to the space behind him where Tess's file was.
"Yeah, I just had some case notes to add to this file for a follow -up." Max said.
"Well, then, I will just come back." The detective said. "That's all I wanted to do myself, was some follow up on one of my cases."
Max couldn't help but feel that the detective was a little more than surprised to see him there. She almost acted nervous. As soon as she had left, Max put back the file he had in his hands, and took down Tess's. It had only been an hour, when Max heard a noise in the room. He stopped for a minute, and could hear very faint footsteps. He realized he couldn't be caught with the file out. He swept the stuff into a pile, slid it underneath the filing shelf, and hid behind a cabinet standing against the wall.
"Max," the voice said. "I know you are in here. And I can't let you continue with this little investigation of yours. So why don't you just show yourself?"
Max was breathing heavily, and the sweat was dripping down his face. He tried to place the voice, but couldn't. He spotted the door across the room from him, and in a split second made a dash for it. It wasn't until he was on his way home that he realized he had taken his gun off and laid it on the chair next to him in the evidence room. He turned his car around to go back, but when he got there, the chair was empty, and Tess's file that he had hidden under the shelf was missing also.
Max got into the car and headed home. He made a mental note to tell the Chief in the morning that he had left his gun in the evidence room and that he needed to check the vault to see if it had been turned in. On the way home he stopped to pick up some groceries. He was on his way into the store when his cell phone rang.
"Hello?" "Maxwell," Michael said, in an excited and out of breath voice. "Where are you?"
"I'm at the store. Getting some frozen pizzas for us."
"Well, don't. Get over here now. I'm at home. You have got to see this. I found something, Max. Looks like I was right. There is something going on at that department. But it goes a whole lot deeper than I thought."
"Micheal, calm down, what is it?"
"Max, I can't tell you now. . You have to see it."
"Okay, Guerin, but this better be good"
Max got into his car, and drove the next few blocks to his house.
When he got to his apartment, the door was cracked, and there was no answer from Michael inside
Max instinctively reached for his gun, forgetting he didn't have it. When he opened the door, what he saw made him scream. Michael was in the floor in a pool of blood. Max ran in and knelt at Michael's side. Michael was breathing, and he was alive, but barely conscious.
"Michael, what happened? Who did this?"
"It was. . .They said . . . said we were getting to close." Michael said, with a lot of effort.
"Who, Michael, Who??" Max was saying.
"Max, whatever happens, keep the picture of us. . . The four of us." Michael eyes glanced in the direction of the picture hanging lopsided on the wall. "Just keep it and don't ever forget the story behind it."
It was taking all the effort Michael could muster to talk. Finally he just closed his eyes and his body went limp.
"No! Michael! Wake up!" Max said, shaking him. Max grabbed the radio on his belt and put it to his mouth "LA Base-this is Officer 122-I have an officer down-Unconscious-1404 Ramirez Ave-1404 Ramirez Ave-need Ambulance and additional units to this 20." Max hollered frantically into the radio.
Something in the corner of his eye caught Max's attention. The gun laying in the floor. Oh no! It couldn't be, Max thought. Max moved over and looked closer. It was. The gun that had shot Micheal Guerin was the one that Max had left in the evidence room. Without thinking, Max picked the gun up. He still had it in his hands when Chief Valenti walked in the room.
"Put the gun down, son," He said. "You've done enough for tonight" He was pointing his gun at Max.
Max realized how the situation looked. "I didn't . . .I mean, I just found him here," Max stuttered.
"Okay, boys, cuff him."
Two rookie cops, nervous about being on their first major call, came shyly from behind the chief and put Max in handcuffs.
"No," Max said. "I didn't to it."
"We'll talk downtown, Evans," Chief Valenti said. "You've really done it this time, " he added.
Max knew that he couldn't let those officers take him downtown. He realized that whoever shot Michael was probably a member of the police force, and that he had to find out who it was before they got him too.
When the officers led him outside, there was a squad car waiting. It was Alex and Maria's.
The officer put Max in the car and were starting to write an arrest report.
"What are you two doing?" Maria asked.
"Writing our arrest report, ma'am," one of them said.
"Well, silly, this is your first major crime case. Don't you want to go inside? You'll miss all the action. You can write the arrest report later," Maria said.
The two officers looked at each other and hesitated.
"We can watch him. We have done this before,"Alex said.
The two officers turned around and practically ran into the building. The new ones are always in a hurry, Maria thought.
Maria reached into the patrol car and unlocked Max's handcuffs. Alex caught Max's surprised inspection.
"Now, Max, You know I have to hold you here. You are a suspect in a shooting of a law enforcement officer. So I can't release you. However, if I were to accidentally drop these reports in my hand, and my partner and I were to try to pick them up, I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to see you if you happened to slip out of the car behind us."
Max was surprised. "Why are you doing this?" he asked.
"Believe it or not, I care for Michael. Somewhere deep down, I do. He trusted you Max, even with his life. I know you wouldn't do something like this," She paused and looked down at the ground, then back up at Max. "Michael called us about an hour ago. Said he thought someone was outside of his window watching him. Told us what he was doing. We thought he was being paranoid. Guess he wasn't," she said, her voice breaking.
Alex handed Max a small slip of paper. It's my family's. A cabin on the outskirts of the city. Go there and stay until morning. We'll come then and figure out what to do next."
At that, Alex promptly dropped the stack of papers in his hand, and he and Maria bent to pick them up.
Max made his move. He took off running towards the address that Alex had written down. He found a bicycle leaning up against a convenience store, and he took it. He rode for what seemed like hours until he reached the cabin. He let himself in, and looked around. It was small, but secluded enough to hide in for a while. He laid down on the couch, and before he knew it, was sound asleep.
Somehing startled Max. A noise. His eyes flew open. It was morning. Then he looked at the door way. There was someone there. A woman. Long dark hair. Big brown eyes. Max's first thought was that she was absolutely gorgeous. What she said made his heart stop.
"Elizabeth Parker." She stated, pulling out a badge and showing it to him. "FBI"
Max felt his heart stop. His first thought was that they had found him. This was it. He was finished.
His eyes darted around the room, looking for more agents, and if possible, a place where he could run out of the room.
"Relax, Officer, I am here as a friend. Not an enemy," Agent Parker said.
"Who sent you?" Max asked.
"No one sent me. I am doing a favor for a friend. Helping out one of her friends."
"And your friend is . . .?" Max asked, still not sure about the agent.
"Maria Deluca. We grew up together in New Mexico. Best Friends. I owed her a favor, she called me yesterday, so here I am. She told me she had a friend who was in trouble, but that he was innocent." But she sure didn't tell me what you looked like, thought Elizabeth.
Max looked at the woman in front of him for very intently. She looked okay. She didn't look like someone who was lying. She looked trustworthy. But he still wasn't sure.
"How do I know I can trust you? How do I know that you aren't here to take me in? Do you know what kind of trouble I am in? How do I know that you really are here to help me?"
Elizabeth Parker got up from her chair and started to put her coat back on.
"Officer Evans, I am not here to convince you that you need me. I am here as a favor to a friend. If you don't want to trust me, then there is nothing I can do for you."
She started to walk towards the door.
"Agent Parker--" Max said, before she got to it. "Okay. Please don't go. I need your help. Just tell me what you need from me."
Elizabeth sat back down. She pulled her coat off and hung it across the back of the chair. She smiled at him, and Max felt his pulse start racing. He couldn't help but stare straight into her beautiful brown eyes.
"Start at the beginning," she said. "Tell me everything."
Max told her everything there was to tell. He started at the beginning, with all the unanswered questions and all the suspicious activity that arose after Tess's death. He told her everything, and ended up with him finding Michael on the floor, in a puddle of blood.
"He was just lying there. Barely breathing. I just. . .I . . .I should have been there. What if I had been there? What if I had listened to him about all this stuff, then maybe. . then maybe none of this would have, maybe things would be-" Max's voice trailed off as he felt the tears roll down his cheeks. Embarrassed, he wiped them away and looked back at Elizabeth.
She cut him off. "Liz"
"Okay," Max said hesitantly. "Liz, Michael knows who did this. If he ever wakes up from this coma, then maybe he can tell us. And by the way. Call me Max."
"Is there anything else you remember about the night Michael was shot? Anything out of the ordinary? Did he try to tell you anything?"
Max racked his brain. There was something that he should remember, but he couldn't put his finger on it. He got Michael's call. He had found something. Went home, found Michael. He remembered telling Michael to hang on. Help was on the way. Remembered calling for backup. Remembered Michael telling him not to forget about the picture. The one of the four of them on a weekend trip.
"Wait! That's it!" Max said so suddenly that it made Liz jump. "The picture! Michael always hated that picture. Said it made him look funny. When I found him, he kept saying something about the picture. So I glanced at it for a second. It was hanging on the wall crooked.!"
Liz looked lost. "What does that have to do with anything?"
"Michael was a neat freak. One of his biggest pet peeves was crooked pictures on the wall or fingerprints on the pictures. First thing Michael would do when he noticed a crooked picture was to straighten it. Liz, I have got to get that picture!"
Max and Liz both realized that he was not going to be able to go back to the apartment. He was a fugitive now, and they would certainly be watching his apartment. It was a crime scene now.
"I'll go." Liz stated.
Max was a bit surprised. "Why Liz? Why do you trust me?" he asked her.
"I trust Maria," she said. "And Maria trusts you."
Max gave Liz directions to his apartment. She changed clothes and put on some black pants and a black jacket with FBI written in yellow on the back. She double checked with Max exactly which picture it was he needed. Then she headed out the door.
When Liz got to the apartment, there were still officers there moving in and out. Since it was procedure for the FBI or SBI to investigate every time an officer of the law was attacked, all she had to do was flash her badge. The officers at the door just assumed she was one of the Agents on the Case.
When Liz entered the apartment, she was surprised to see Maria standing there with another officer and a man who obviously had to be the Chief of Police. Looked like he was angry with them.
Liz caught Maria's eye, and went into the kitchen. In a minute, Maria walked in after her.
"Lizzie!! What are you doing here?" Maria whispered, hugging her friend.
"Max needed something from here. I had to come get it. How are you?"
"Fine. Alex and I just got our third lecture on how we are in the fault for letting Max get away. Liz, thanks so much for doing this for me. I really needed you."
Liz smiled. "It's okay. I owed you one, remember. Now I have to go before someone realizes I am not supposed to be here." Liz gave Maria another quick hug. And started to leave the kitchen.
"I'll be at the cabin tonight to bring some food. See ya then, Liz," Maria said.
Liz stopped and turned to look at Maria. "Oh Yeah, Maria . . ." she said. "About that Max Evans-"
Maria smiled and cut Liz off. "He's a real looker, huh?"
Liz smiled back and walked into the living room. That he is, she thought. She looked around, stopped to look at pieces of marked evidence around the room. Knelt to look at the blood in the floor. The whole time, she was trying to look like she was working, but she kept glancing at the walls looking for the picture Max had described. Then she saw it. It was right in the middle of the wall behind the blood stain in the floor. A picture of four guys, one of them Max, one of them Alex, Maria's partner, whom she had met a couple times before, and two of them she had never seen before.
She got up and went to look closer. Sure enough, every single picture on the wall was immaculately clean and sickeningly straight. Except for that one. It had fingerprints on the glass, and was hanging slightly to one side. Liz stood looking at the pictures for a long time. She finally looked around the room, and made sure no one was looking at her. She reached up and grabbed the picture from the wall and stuck it in the pocket on the inside of her jacket.
She turned towards the door, and headed out. She was almost at the door when she noticed Chief Valenti headed toward her. And he did not look happy. Liz almost panicked, knowing she would have no supervisors name to give him, or case report, if he asked for it.
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Maria rushing up to him.
"Chief Valenti, I need to talk to you," she said, grabbing his arm.
"Not now, Deluca, I need to talk to someone else first," he said to her.
"But, I really think you need to see this, Chief."
Chief Valenti stopped and looked at his officer. Then he turned and gave Liz a look that almost said ‘you got lucky this time'. Then he turned to go in the direction Maria was pointing. She looked at Liz and winked. Liz mouthed ‘Thank You' and walked out the door.
When she got back to the cabin, Max was outside. He was doing pull ups from a bar that had been wedged between two trees. Liz looked at him for a second before he noticed she had drove up. She couldn't help but stare. He sure was easy on the ways. From the muscles on his arms bulging every time he lifted his chin up over the top of the bar right down the muscles in his leg that contracted every time he moved them. And those eyes! He had the Deepest brown eyes she had ever seen. Stop it! Liz thought. You can not let yourself think about this guy that way. He may be in to trouble, and he may be way in over his head. Get those thoughts away from your mind before you lose it. . .and your heart.
Max saw Liz out of the corner of his eye. It kind of made him excited to think that she was watching him. Mad him nervous, too. Who is this girl?? Max thought. I know nothing about her. Nothing! Only that she is the most beautiful girl I have ever seen. . .Stop it Max Evans! He thought. You can not get into anything. Not right now. And definitely not with her.
Liz got out of the car. She walked over to Max as he jumped down from the bar. She reached into her jacket and pulled out the picture. Max took it and sat down on the porch. Liz followed him.
Max looked at the picture and smiled. It was taken the first time he, Michael, Alex and Kyle went on one of their weekend outings. They had become sort of a tradition, with one being planned at least every other month.
Max smiled. "We didn't have anyone to take the picture. And we all wanted one together. So Alex rigged up something on a tree branch and set the camera on it. But he forgot to set the timer. So Kyle ran and did it, and on the way back, he slipped and busted his butt. We all laughed at him, and the picture was of the three of us laughing at Kyle on the ground. So the second time, Michael set the timer. Then ran over and this is the picture that came out. That was almost two years ago. We are all so close now."
Liz felt bad for Max. She could hear the sadness in her voice. She wanted to reach out to him, grab his hand, touch his shoulder. But she was afraid of what might happen if she did touch him.
Max was holding the picture when he went to wipe the fingerprints off of it with a rag that was on the porch. That's when he felt the back of the picture was loose. He turned it over to straighten it and saw something sticking out. He pulled off the back and saw a folded up piece of paper behind the cardboard.
"Max, what is that?" Liz asked questioningly.
"I don't know. It wasn't there before. I framed this picture. This must be what Michael wanted me to have."
Max reached out and unfolded the paper. He couldn't believe his eyes.
"Impossible," Max whispered, shocked at what he was looking at.
"What is?" Liz asked him.
"It's a surveillance photo. Of Tess Harding," Max said. Then he looked straight at Liz. "It was taken two days after her death."
|posted on 2-Sep-2002 11:40:26 AM|
"I can't believe it!" Max said in disbelief. "Michael was right. There is something big going on down at the department. And it does have something to do with Tess. She isn't dead. I don't understand."
Liz was looking at the picture, and she suddenly realized that Max was in grave danger. Not only were the police after him for something that he didn't do, but there were going to be some pretty angry crooked cops after him too. For what he was holding in his hand.
"Max," Liz said quietly. "This is what got Michael shot. He found out too much, and someone was trying to stop him from telling anyone else. Now you know just as much as he did. That means that whoever did that to Michael will be after you."
"I know. But we are safe here for now. No one know's about this place."
Max and Liz were both startled by a sudden pounding on the door. Both of them instinctively ducked below window level out of sight. On his hands and knees, Max made his way to the window to see if he could see out. Nothing was there except for Liz's car and the bicycle he had ridden to the Cabin. He looked across the room at Liz. She was crouched against the wall next to the door, her gun drawn. She looked at Max and for a moment, he thought he saw fear in her eyes.
She looked at him and nodded her head. He positioned himself on one side of the door, her on the other.
Thump, Thump, Thump!!
There it was again. Someone wanted in that door. Liz and Max knew that they had to open the door. Whoever it was knew they were in there. Liz looked at Max.
Be Careful! Max mouthed to Liz.
Max grabbed the doorknob, as Liz was positioned to jump in front of the door. Max threw open the doorknob and Liz jumped out.
Maria could have screamed when she found herself staring down the barrel of a 9mm pistol.
Liz breathed a sigh of relief and put the gun down. Max did the same.
"Maria, don't ever do that again!"
"Whoa, chica! We told Max that we would be her in the morning, so here we are. And we brought breakfast. And what are you doing with that thing pointed at me? It ‘s one thing to carry one, but it's another thing to have one pushed down your throat. It's gives you this awful feeling, like the one that I got when We went to see that movie in the 7th grade. You know, the one that we had to sneak into because-"
"Maria," Liz said. "You are babbling. Calm down. It was a mistake. I am sorry. You just surprised me. "
Maria was still breathing hard. She reached into her purse and took out a bottle of cypress oil. She closed her eyes and breathed in, causing Liz to smile. Still the same old Maria, Liz thought.
"Hey Alex," Liz said, looking past Maria.
"Hey Liz. Max" Alex replied.
Max smiled and gave Alex a handshake. "Man, I don't know how to thank you two. You will never guess what we found. Well, actually Liz got it."
Alex and Maria came in to sit down. Max handed Alex the picture, and Alex and Maria looked at for a minute. "Yeah, so, it's a surveillance picture of Tess. What's so big about this."
"Look at the date," Liz said.
Alex and Maria looked at the bottom portion of the page.
"Oh Mi Gosh!!" Alex exclaimed.
Maria grabbed the picture from Alex.
"This is it. This is why Michael got shot. This is what he was looking for. He knew something wasn't right. And he tried to tell me. But I wouldn't listen." Maria started to choke up, and Liz knew she was going to cry. She went to her friend's side and gave her a supporting hug. It was a small token of support, but it made Maria raise her head.
"Whatever is going on down there, it has to do with Tess. We need to see her file. Any kind of paperwork that we can get on her. Something there has to be what we are looking for. I'm sure we will be able to find something that will at least give us hint as to what's going on. Or who else is in on this," Liz said. "One thing I have learned is that even the most careful and most intelligent and clever criminals slip up. All we have to do is catch it."
"I am going to get these creeps," Maria said. "I am going to find who did this to Michael."
"Yeah, we all are," Alex said.
Alex and Maria had brought Liz and Max some food and necessities, and they left them there when they went home that night. Alex and Maria had a shift to work, then they had four days off. They were going to work to see if they could hear anything or see anything suspicious. Alex and Maria were planning to steal the evidence seized from Max and Michael's apartment, and this is what Liz and Max would look through to see what they could find. They hoped that something in it would help them. Then they were coming back in the morning to figure out a plan.
After Alex and Maria left, Max and Liz sat down to eat dinner. Max realized he hadn't eaten in almost over 24 hours. The last time he had eaten was breakfast yesterday. That was before everything had happened. It was already past dinnertime, and he was starving. They sat across from each other, both wanting to talk to each other, but neither wanting to make the first move.
"So, how did you get into the FBI?" Max asked, after an awkward silence.
"Well, I used to want to be a scientist. When I was growing up, I had this microscope set that I got for Christmas when I was about 8 or 9. I used to play with that thing all the time. Maria would play like the cop who needed lab work done. I would do her tests, and we'd always end up catching the bad guy."
Max smiled. "So, where does being an FBI agent come in?"
"When we were 15 years old, Maria entered a Junior Auxillary Police Program. She practically made me do it with her. She had gone to the State Science Fair with me the summer before, so I owed her one. I got hooked on Law Enforcement. We both did. Maria wanted to be where all the action was. I wanted to be more on the thinking side. What about you, Max. How did you get into Law Enforcement?"
Max took a deep breath. "Alex, my sister Isabel, our other friend Kyle, and myself used to play cops and robbers when we were little. Kyle's dad is the police chief here, and he has been for the last 15 years. We used to pretend like we were chasing bad guys around the playground."
Max looked down and smiled at the thought of them when they were younger. When everyone was carefree and oblivious to the real world. "We all promised each other that we would be friends forever. We were all gonna be cops. But as we got older, Isabel changed her mind. Wanted to be a lawyer. Says one of these days, we can catch em, and she can lock em up."
"When did Michael come into the picture?" Liz asked. She was immediately sorry she had asked that when the smile on Max's face was replaced by a grim expression. His jaws clenched in emotion, he was silent for a minute. Liz wanted to reach out to him and tell him that it was okay. But just the thought of touching him made her heart race and her knees weak. Why is this happening to me? She thought. How can this man that I have known all of 1 day make me feel this way? I know nothing about him. Liz was still being drawn in by Max's physical appearance. His golden bronze skin and piercing dark eyes. His muscles and broad shoulders that showed how much he worked out. The way that he barely even opened his mouth when he talked, but also the way that hearing him talk made her think that she could close her eyes and listen to him all day long. She even noticed the way his ears stuck out a little bit, but not too much. Just enough to give his features a boyish look. She realized that Max Evans was the sexiest man she had ever laid eyes on. And she was just now getting to know what was on the inside. She realized that if this thing wasn't over soon, and she didn't go back to New Mexico, then Max Evans was going to make in into her heart. And she wasn't sure she was ready for that.
Liz and Max talked for hours. They both let each other into their lives, their pasts, their friends. And they both made a new friend that night. They laughed, and talked about things they had never told anyone else. Both of them were surprised at how easy it was to open up to each other. It was like they had known each other all their lives. They also knew that tomorrow morning, Alex and Maria would be back with the evidence. Then they could get to the bottom of whatever it was going on. They would be able to catch whoever it was that shot Michael. . .If they didn't get caught first.
Sorry it took me so long. I have been extremely busy. Thanks for the feedback. I love hearing peoples reactions.
Max had slept on the couch and left the bed in the little one room cabin to Liz. He had laid awake most of the night, thinking about the events of the past two days. He knew that someone was after him, and they would go to any means to find him, just as they had Michael. He was almost sorry Liz had come to help him. If they would be willing to try to kill a police officer that was on their trail, then an FBI agent would certainly be a threat. He felt an urge protect Liz. He knew she could take care of herself but he couldn't help wanting to keep her safe. It wasn't until he turned over to go to sleep that he realized he had been watching her sleep.
"Hey," Liz said when she woke up.
"Good Morning," Max said.
Max couldn't help but watch as Liz got up out of bed and stretched her arms over her head. She was so beautiful, he thought. He pushed his thoughts aside as Liz was walking towards him.
"I'm starved," she said. "I am gonna see what I can find to eat. Want something?" she asked.
"Yeah. Anything you got."
Liz looked in the bags Alex and Maria had brought, and found a loaf of bread and some butter. It was better than nothing. She made them some toast, and found some jelly also.
Around lunch time, Maria and Alex got there. Alex had a huge box with papers in it in his arms, and Maria had brought them more food.
All four of them sat down to eat.
"So, how's Michael?" Max asked.
"Oh!" Maria exclaimed, " I can't believe I forgot to tell you. He woke up this morning. He's really weak, and in a lot of pain, but he's going to make it. He's got a long road ahead of him, but he's a tough guy. He'll be okay."
Max let out a sigh. Michael was going to make it. "Well, what did he say? Who shot him?"
"That's the thing. He doesn't remember anything about being shot. The last thing he remembers is finding Tess's picture and calling you."
"Well, then it's all up to us."
The four people finished their lunch, and then sat down to go through the box of paperwork. It had everything in it about Tess that Alex and Maria could scrounge up. It was Saturday afternoon, so on Friday night when they had worked their shift, hardly noone was around. It was the only reason they were able to gather so much stuff.
It had been nearly an hour, and they had all looked through almost half the box. Max found the file on Tess's ‘death'. He couldn't believe that so much was missing.
"Where is the rest of it?" He asked Maria and Alex.
"There was no more, I copied the whole thing," Alex said.
"But this is not the whole thing. The day I was in the file room. Looking at this file. There was more. I saw it. Someone must have-" Max stopped when he realized what had happened. "Someone was in there that day. Someone who took the file after I had it, along with my gun. There must have been something in there that I wasn't supposed to see. They took it out."
Max looked through Tess's file. There wasn't much left in it. Just a report of the ‘robbery' and a report of an officer down. There were no crime scene pictures, no assigned officers log, no evidence report sheets. Max did notice that there was a Detective assignment log stuck to the back of the robbery report. The assigned Detective was Det. Matthews. Max thought it was odd that a burglary detective had been assigned, but that no homicide detective had been given the case. Max put the three papers in front of him. There was something there. Something that he should be seeing, but he couldn't quite put his finger on it.
"Look at this," Liz said. She held a piece of paper out to Max. Maria and Alex both looked up.
Max took the paper from Liz. It was a record of all the cases Tess had taken in the last year before she died. All but the first two months cases had the same Detective assigned. Det. Matthews, from Burglary.
"That's it!" Max said, startling the room other 3 occupants.
"What's it?" Alex and Maria asked in unison.
"I was trying to figure out what it was about Tess's file, or what was left of it, anyways, that was bugging me. It's the detective. Matthews. She came into the evidence room the day Michael got shot. Almost caught me going through Tess's file."
"So," Liz said. "She is the detective assigned. She is able to pull the file anytime she needs it."
"Yeah, but she should never have been assigned to this case. She is a burglary detective. This case should have gone to Homicide. Or the FBI, seeing as to how an Officer was killed in the line of duty," Max said. He looked at Liz. "Shouldn't you guys have been notified?"
"I am sure we were. Maybe I can make a call and see about the report."
Liz got up and walked to the phone. She had just about made it, when all four people were startled by a noise outside the door. It sounded as if someone had stepped onto the porch. Liz, Maria, and Alex all four pulled their guns. Liz crouched behind the phone table. Max had ducked to the floor, just inches from the door. Alex and Maria were both behind the couch, weapons resting on the back of it, poised and ready to fire.
Max looked around overwhelmed. Here he was in the biggest mess of his life. And now three innocent people had gotten involved. In something he and Michael had started. Now they were all ready to shoot at whatever was on the other side of the door. For him, and for Michael.
Max stood up, and walked towards the door. If there was someone on the other side of it that wanted him, then he was willing to go. To protect His friends Alex and Maria. For everything they had done for him. But there was another reason. From somewhere, deep inside him, Max felt a fierce need to protect Liz Parker.
He saw Liz, Alex, and Maria all make a move to stop him from reaching to door. But he was closer, and he beat them to it.
Max reached out and grabbed the doorknob. He threw the door open, and for the millionth time in the last couple of days, his heart stopped.
He found himself looking into the barrel of 9mm handgun. Standard issue for L A Law Enforcement Agencies.
|posted on 2-Sep-2002 11:42:09 AM|
Max hestitated to lift his head, afraid to see who it was that had a bun pointed at his head. Reluctantly, he raised his eyes.
"Kyle!" Max exclaimed. "What are you doing here?" How did you find this place? And get that thing out of my face!"
Kyle lowered his gun, and everyone in the room let out a breath none of them realized they'd been holding. "I wasn't surer what to expect, man. Sorry." Kyle said.
Max moved aside, so that Kyle could step in. Kyle started fidgeting, looked at Max, but didn't say anything. Liz, Maria, and Alex walked up behind Max.
It flashed through Max's mind that Kyle was there to arrest him. "What?" he asked.
"Max," Kyle siad nervously, "there is someone with me. I don't want you to panic. Let me explain first." Kyle motioned for someone to step into Max's view.
There was a sharp intake of breath from everyone in the cabin. Tess Harding was standing right in front of them. She looked awful. Her face and hair was dirty, as were her clothes. Her eyes were red and swollen, and she looked like she hadn't eaten in days.
The group stood there, stunned, and noone said anything. They just stared at Tess standing in the doorway.
Suddenly, Maria flew past Max and lunged at Tess.
"You little-I'm gonna get you for what you did to Michael-"
"Maria! Wait!" Kyle said, grabbing Maria inches before she reached Tess. "Just let her talk."
Tess looked up. Her eyes went from Maria, to Alex, to Tess. "They're gonna get me, Max," she said, her voice shaking. "They're gonna get me cause I wanted out."
Tess started crying, and Kyle put his arm around her. Max pulled the two inside and shut the door. He looked out to make sure noone had followed Kyle and Tess.
"Kyle-" Max started.
Kyle interrupted him. "She tracked me down. Said she didn't know who else to go to. I almost went crazy on her. But I let her talk. You have to hear her out. She knows who shot Michael."
Max was still stunned by the fact that she was there. "Okay," he said, looking at Tess. Tell me everything. And I do mean EVERYTHING!"
Tess took a deep breath. "Well, it started about 6 months before the robbery where I supposedly died. They approached me and offered me a lot of money. If I would help them correct a wrong. Help them payback someone who had done something bad to them. The offered me more money than I had ever had. But they promised me noone was going to get hurt. They promised me nothing would happen." Tess drifted off as her eyes filled with tears.
Kyle started to reach over to her, but she held up her hand. "I can finish," she said. She wiped her tears and went on.
"They told me that all I would have to do was fib on a few reports. Put their names on them when they weren't really there. Fake evidence. Lie about case stauses. At first it was simple stuff. Then they wanted more. Wanted me to help them steal drugs from evidence. Money from drug busts. When I found out what they were doing, I wanted out. And I almost made it. I was making copies of everything. They have sabatoged investigations, falsified reports, stolen evidence. They will stop at nothing to get thier job done. Even attempted murder. I knew I would go down too, but I deserved it. I at least figured if I was against them, I could get a deal. But they caught me. Faked my death, have been keeping me locked up. But I got out. I had to find you. They probably have one of their men on me by now. You guys have to believe me. I didn't know what they were doing. I didn't. I swear."
"I still don't understand Who is they?" Alex asked. "And what was their plan?"
"They is Det. Walker from . Serena Matthews. And another detective. Nicholas Grant"
Things started clicking in Max's head. Det. Matthews finding him in the records room that day. He thought she had acted weird. And he was right. She had come for Tess's file, and didn't expect Max to be there. All the signature's on Tess's reports belonging to her. Her being the Investigating Det on Tess's ‘homicide case'. It was starting to make sense now.
"How do me and Michael fit into this?" Max asked her.
"You don't," Tess said. "You never did. You were meant to be involved. You are not the one they are after. You just got too close. Asked too many questions. They had to do something to get you out of the way. Before you exposed them. What happened actually ended up working for them. It's just more ammunition in the end.
"Why are they doing this? What is the big plan. And who exactly are they after?" Liz asked.
Tess gave Liz a funny look. She didn't recognize her, and made a funny face. Max looked at Tess.
"It's okay, Tess," Max said. "She is on our side. Tell us, Tess. What is the big plan?"
"It's Det. Matthews," Tess said. She's behind the whole thing. All she wants to do is bring down Chief Valenti. Starting with his career. She wants to ruin him by corrupting his deparment. He's the one she's after."
"Why?" Maria asked.
"Because," Tess said. "She's his daughter."
"What!" gasped Liz, Max, Maria, and Alex in unison.
"What do you mean she's his daughter?" Maria asked Tess. Then she turned to Kyle, her hands on her hips. "I thought you were an only child! If you have lied to us, Kyle Valenti, then so help me, I'll beat-"
Kyle held his hands up in front of him. "Whoa, put away those boxing gloves, Maria Ali!" Kyle said. "I didn't know I had a sister, and as far as I'm concerned, I still am an only child." Kyle wasn't surprised by the news like his friends were. He had heard the whole story on the way to the cabin. He told her he wanted to know everything before he took her to see the others.
"Tell us, Tess. Everything." Max said.
"Well, when Jim Valenti was very , he and his high school sweetheart were deeply in love. They had one of those romances they think will last forever. But they were so young. She was 16, and he was barely a year older at the time. Her name was Marry. Marry's family moved away abruptly when her father got a new job. When Marry's family got settled in, they realized she was pregnant. They abandoned her, for fear it would be a disgrace to the family name. Marry and Jim never saw each other again. Marry had her baby alone and poor, in a shelter hospital. She lived on the streets. Worked wherever she could get a job, just little odd things here and there. Never had a home to call her own. Never had any luxuries, barely had the barest essentials. But she did whatever she could to give her baby everything she needed. Marry suffered to no end. She died when she was only 29, sick, cold , and poor, on a street in the middle of the night. She left behind an 11 year old daugther, Serrena. Serrena was taken in by the other homeless people. But she never got over her mother's suffering."
"How awful," Alex remarked.
"I don't understand. Why didn't Jim ever try to reach her. Didn't he want to see his child?" Liz asked.
"He did try to reach her," Tess said. "But because she was living at home, his calls and letters were never returned. Her family hated him for what he had done. But he didn't even know about the baby. He eventually gave up. Figured she had forgotten him."
"How did Serrena find him?" Liz asked.
"Marry had a few mementos. Pictures, cards, a class ring. Serrena used those to find Jim. Found out about his career, and started to devise a plan. She lied her way into Law Enforcement Training, then came to LA to put her plan into action. Applied and got a job working under her own father. She wants to ruin him for what he did to her mother. She will stop at nothing to get her revenge."
"So, what exactly is her plan?" Maria asked.
"She wants to destroy Valenti. Wants to make him suffer the way her mother did. Wants to kill him, but not like shooting him or anything. She wants him to suffer a little at a time, until he just wastes away. Starting with his career. Wants to ruin his reputation. Humiliate him in public. She wants to bring down the whole LAPD, and put it on his shoulders. She knows that would be the worst thing that could ever happen to a good cop. To be accused of being crooked."
"That's it? She has done all this just to ruin his career?" Liz asked.
"She will do anything to get her revenge." Tess said. "His career is only the beginning. But we can stop her before she can go any further. Before she takes on the next step in her plan."
"Which is . . ." Maria asked.
"Murder," Tess stated simply. "She is going to set him up."
"Murder?" Alex asked. "Who is she gonna kill?"
Tess didn't answer.
"Me," Kyle said. "She's going to come after me and blame it on my dad."
The group was silent for a moment.
"How do we stop her?" Alex asked.
"We have to catch her in the act. The only proof we have is a police documents, reports, file logs.. But it's not good. It can be so easily manipulated, that it's useless," Max said.
"We can do it on Thursday. In 2 days. " Tess said. "There is a sting operation for possible bank robbery that could happen. Jim is going to be there for supervision. Kyle is one of the officers that is going to be inside, undercover. She's got men going in there, and that's when she plans to get him.
"I know," said Liz. "She doesn't know I am here. I have friends I can call. They can help us. We can track her down, and beat her on her next move. I can run extensive background checks. On credit cards, ATM cards, Social Security numbers. Everything. There has to be a paper trail that we can find. If there is one, the FBI can find it."
"Okay. We'll start first thing in the morning I think we have all had enough for tonight. We'll just rest for now. It's late, anyway. We all need some sleep."
In less than an hour, everyone was ready for bed. Liz had snuck into the dining room with her laptop, and shut the door, sure to be cut off so that she would not keep anyone from falling asleep. Max had gone in to get something to drink, and seen her working.
"Hey I thought we were going to get some sleep?" He asked her.
"Yeah, we were. But I am dying to get this thing wrapped up. I want to get started as soon as possible. Running anything I can find about Serrena. I'm anxious to resolve this thing."
"Yeah, I guess you want to get back home," Max said, a hint of dissapointment evident in his voice."
"Yeah." Liz said. "And It's hurt people I care about."
Max looked at Liz after her last statement.
"You know, Maria and all." Liz said nervously, almost like she was trying to cover for herself. "She's upset over Michael."
"Maria. Of course," Max said, fingering the flip tab on a can of soda he had taken from the fridge.
"Good Night, Liz," Max said.
"Good Night, Max."
With that, Max headed to the back of the cabin, and set up a cot on the screened in back porch. He needed some time alone.
Sometime during the night, Max woke up. Something had startled him, but he wasn't sure what. He lay on his cot, listening, for something out of the ordinary.
Max heard a thump, and a groan, and jumped off the cot. He entered the house, and saw the light on in the dining room, where he had left Liz. The door was slightly open.
When Max entered, he saw Kyle on the floor. He was bleeding from his head, and was pulling himself off the floor. Liz's computer was still up, and her papers were scattered around the room, but Liz was nowhere around.
"Kyle!" Max exclaimed. "What happened? What's wrong?"
"It was Tess." Kyle answered. "I heard something, so I came in here. Tess clobbered me with a saucepan."
"What, why? What was she doing?"
"She was doing something to Liz. I tried to stop her. I-" Kyle cut off, and groaned again.
The dining room door flew open, and Alex and Maria were standing there.
"Oh My gosh!! What happened?" Maria said. "Who did this? Did someone break in? We have to get Liz and Tess."
"It was Tess," Max said. Then he turned back to Kyle. "Kyle, where's Liz?"
Kyle started to whimper. "I am so sorry, I-I- I didn't know. I shouldn't have brought her here."
Max took a deep breath. And asked Kyle again. "Kyle," he said calmly. "Where is Liz?"
"She's gone," Kyle said. "She's gone, and Tess took her."
Max felt his heart skip a beat, and his pulse speed up a thousand times. His head was pounding, and he felt a rush of fear surge through his body. It was in that moment that he knew. Sometime during the last few days, he had fallen for Liz Parker. And he had fallen hard.
|posted on 2-Sep-2002 11:43:14 AM|
"Liz!" Maria screamed. She ran out the back door, and onto the back porch. "Liz! Where Are You? Liz! Liz!"
Maria was hysterical. She couldn't bear the thought of something happening to Liz. After all, Liz was only involved because she had called her and asked for her help.
Alex walked on the back porch. "Maria, honey, she's gone. Tess took her."
Maria turned to Alex. For the first time in her life, she was scared. Not for herself, but for Liz. "What's going to happen Alex? We have to find her," Maria sobbed, throwing herself in Alex's arms.
"Shh, it's okay," Alex said. "We'll find her."
Maria and Alex walked back into the cabin, and found Max handing a wet towel to Kyle. Kyle was leaning up against the wall, with his hands on either side of his head. Head wounds tend to bleed a lot worse than they look, so Kyle's wound wasn't actually that bad. It did leave him with one heck of a headache, though.
Max turned and looked at Maria. "I'm sorry," Max said.
Maria looked at Max, ready to go off on him, not because it was his fault, but because she felt she needed to go off on someone. But when she saw him, she was surprised. He was crying. When she realized what had happened, part of her wanted to smile. He had fallen for Liz. Well, they did make a cute couple.
"It's okay, Max. It's not your fault."
Beep, Beep! Beep, Beep!
"Turn it off!!" Kyle said. The slightest sounds were making his head pound.
Max looked around. It was Liz's computer. He went over to it, and turned it so that it was facing him. There was an incoming message.d pushing buttons, and Maria wondered what he was doing.
"I can't believe it!" Max said.
"What?" Alex asked. He ran over behind Max, Maria hot on his heels. Both of them looked over his shoulder at the computer screen.
"She did it. She found everything," Max said.
"Found what?" Kyle asked.
"Found all about Det. Matthews. Her real name, her history, where she lived, everything. Must be why Tess did what she did. Liz was getting close."
"Let me see," Alex said, and Max moved out of the way.
Alex was a computer genius, and as soon as he was in front of the computer, his fingers started flying across the keyboard.
"You're right. Look at this," Alex said pointing at the screen. "There were some things erased just a little while ago. Files and folders. Tess was trying to hide them. But she didn't know there was a message coming."
"Liz must have e-mailed the information to one of her friends at the FBI. They ran it through a master computer, and it came up with the stuff they e-mailed back," Max said.
"Exactly," Alex remarked.
"Guys," Maria said. "How is this going to help us find Liz?"
Max and Alex looked at each other. "I'm not sure, Maria," Alex said. "We have to see if we can find anything."
Kyle groaned, and started to swagger. Alex and Max jumped up and caught him. They took him to the couch, and helped him lay down. Maria went in after them.
"I'll help him," she said. Maria gave Kyle a cold compress to put on his head, and cleaned off the blood. She told him not to go to sleep, because he might have a concussion. Then she made him sit up, and turn on the radio, to keep him awake. She went back into the kitchen. Max and Alex were both looking at Liz's computer. Maria grabbed a coat, and stepped out onto the porch.
A few minutes later, the door opened, and Max stepped outside.
"Hey," she said.
"Hey. How ya doin?"
"We are going to find her, Maria."
"Yeah, I know. I just-I mean- if Tess or that sorry excuse for a woman, Serena does anything to her, It'll be me that will be in trouble with the law next."
Max could only smile.
The door opened again, and Kyle stepped out. He still had a compress on his head.
"I was falling asleep, so I had to get up and walk," he said.
He looked at Maria and Max, and felt a pang of guilt. After all, he was the one who brought Tess here.
"Guys, I am so sorry. I don't know what to say. I thought she was telling the truth. She was so believable. I mean, I used to date the girl. And to think that I was actually happy when I found her. I can't believe this is happening. It's all my fault."
"No, Kyle," Maria said. "We all believed her. Even me. She's good."
"Yeah, but, if I hadn't brought her here-"
"Kyle, it wasn't your fault. It's Serena's fault. Somehow, she got to Tess. Convinced her to work against us. But it's okay. We are going to find her. I don't know how, but we will."
"Guys, come here, quick." Alex hollered from inside.
Max, Maria, and Kyle ran in the door, and stopped.
"Shhh!" Alex said.
"We don't have a phone!" Maria said.
"Yeah, I know," Alex said. "But Liz did."
Liz's FBI jacket was flung over a chair in the corner. And it was ringing.
Max walked over to it, and looked for a pocket.
Finally, he found one, and picked up the phone, putting it to his ear.
"Hello?" he said, hesitantly.
The voice on the other end made him want to punch something.
"Hey there, Maxie," the voice said. "I think I have something that belongs to you."
Max felt every fiber in his body tense up at the sound of the voice. Maria, Kyle, and Alex could only watch as Max's jaw tightened and he gritted his teeth.
"Where is she?" He asked angrily.
"Max, I'll do the talking here. You know, she's a real pain in the butt. All she's done since we got in here is call out your name. Until I shut her up, that is."
Max felt his heart constrict at the thought of Liz calling out for him, but even more so at the thought of what may have been done to her to keep her quiet. "Tess, if you hurt her, I'll-"
"Why don't you just be quiet and listen, Max?"
The others had no choice but to standby as they watched the flood of emotions cross Max's face.
"You know, you weren't supposed to be a part of this. But you and that sorry excuse for a partner of yours just wouldn't leave well enough alone. I tried, Max, I really did. I kinda liked you. But you just kept digging and snooping. And Michael got what he deserved. Well, I mean, except for the whole surviving the shooting thing. But that will be taken care of shortly, too."
Max's eyes widened as he realized that they weren't through with Michael.
"What are you going to do to him?"
Tess laughed wickedly. And the sound made Max cringe. "That is a surprise. This is what we are gonna do. You and your two friends are going to come meet me. We'll see if we can do some . . .negotiating. I already took care of that twit Kyle. He won't be a problem"
Max realized that Tess thought she had killed Kyle. He scrambled for a pen and a piece of paper.
‘Go Get Michael,' he wrote. ‘ Someone is going after him'. Max knew that Maria and Alex would have to stay with him, but that noone would be expecting Kyle to show up at the hospital.
Kyle scrambled for his gun and started out the door, Maria close on his heels. Max gestured wildly at her, and she turned around to see what he wanted. ‘Don't go,' he mouthed silently. He pointed at the phone where Tess was still talking. ‘She wants to see you.' Maria nodded for Kyle to go, and she looked at Max and put her hands on her hips. She narrowed her eyes and couldn't wait until she got a hold of Tess Harding. She was going to pay for what she had done.
Alex couldn't help but notice that with Maria so mad and angry at Tess, that things were definitely in their favor. A Mad Maria was definitely something you did not want working against you.
"Where?" Max said.
"You know the old school at the end of Manchester?"
"Be there in 2 hours. You and Whitman and Deluca. I want you to come in, and the other two to stay in the car. Oh, and Max, don't try anything funny, because if you do, I've got your little Miss FBI right where I want her."
Max put the phone down, and was bombarded by questions from a very angry Maria and a concerned Alex.
"What did she say? Where is she at? Is Liz okay? Where do we have to go?"
"Whoa!! Calm down Maria," Alex said. "Let him catch his breath, he'll tell us."
Max took a deep breath. "She's got Liz. At the old school on Manchester. She wants to see us. And she says that if I try anything funny," Max swallowed, and could hardly get the words out. "She'll hurt Liz."
"Over my dead body!" Maria said.
"Maria, somehow, I don't think that will be a problem for Tess of her cohorts." Alex said.
Maria knew she was right, and sighed in defeat.
"What are we going to do?" she asked. "We have to get her."
"We will. I am not going to let anything happen to her. Nothing!"
The urgency in Max's voice shocked Maria. He had fallen for her! She knew when she called Liz to help her with Max's case that the two would probably be attracted to each other, but she hadn't guessed how strongly. She put her hand on Max's shoulder. He smiled appreciatively.
"Wait! Did you say the old school at Manchester?" Alex asked.
"Yeah, why?" Max responded.
Alex looked at Maria, and their eyes lit up. "When me and Maria were just out of the Academy, that was our first assignment. As school resource officers."
"Right!" Maria said. "Tess and that Serrina are going to get it. They are on our turf now. Alex and I know that school like that back of our hands. We can think of something. We know every nook and cranny in that building. That has to work to our advantage."
Maria, Max and Alex sat at the table, discussing their options.
Maria couldn't help but be worried and a bit guilty. If she hadn't called Liz in on this thing, she wouldn't even be here. Michael was in the hospital, and now Tess had Liz, and there was no telling what she might do. But that was okay. Because they were going to get her back. And everything was going to be okay. It had to be.
Alex didn't know Liz very well, but the few times they had met, they had hit it off very well. After all, she was a friend of Maria's. Any friend of Maria's had to be special. He knew they had to find her before something happened, or Maria would never forgive herself.
Max's head was spinning, and his mind was racing. He could only think of Liz. How could he have been so stupid as to believe Tess' story! He should have asked more questions. Been more observant, watched her a little closer. Then maybe something would have tipped him off. Something that would have cued her in to the fact that Tess was a fake. And that Liz was in danger. He couldn't help but think that Liz could be in trouble. And that he'd never have a chance to tell her how he felt.
Back at the hospital, Kyle walked up to the guard outside Michael's room. The guard gave Kyle a horrified look. That's when Kyle realized he must be a sight. Blood over his shirt, and in his hair. But the funny thing was, it didn't even hurt anymore. Right now he was more mad than ever. At Tess for deceiving him, and at himself for believing her.
Kyle whipped out his badge.
"Anybody go in that room?"
"No sir, just the doctor," the stunned rookie managed to stutter.
Kyle drew his gun and kicked the door open. "Freeze!" he hollered at the man holding the pillow over Michael's face. "LAPD!"
Michael was jolted awake, and saw the pillow hovering above his face. Instinctively, with all the energy he had, he raised up and threw a punch at the man standing beside his bed. The man went down without a word.
"Hello?" Max said hesitatntly.
"It's me, Kyle. I am at the hospital."
"He's fine. Got here just in time. He had been gaining back his energy over the last couple of hours, and he had woken up sometime yesterday. Kinda helped save himself."
Kyle paused as Max relayed the news to Maria and Alex.
"Kyle, are you busy?"
"No. Have you found Liz yet?"
"That's what I need to talk to you about. Meet me at the corner of Manchester and Reilly. I'll fill you in on the way there. And hurry we don't have much time."
Max was telling Kyle the plan, as he, Alex, and Maria were on their way to meet him. When he hung up the phone, he sighed. This better work, he thought. Because the life of the woman he loved was at stake.
|posted on 2-Sep-2002 11:44:22 AM|
Max stopped the car at the turnoff where he knew the abandoned school was at the end. With Liz inside. Somewhere. He had to gain his composure before going in. He had never been this nervous in his whole life. Then again, he had never had to do anything before concerning someone or something that meant the world to him. And in a matter of a few days, Elizabeth Parker had become that and more. She had become his world. His heart. His soul. He was 24 years old, for goodness sake, and had never been in love. A few days with this girl had turned him upside down and inside out. And the next few hours could make or break that relationship. If there could even be one.
Liz woke up and found herself tied to a chair in the middle of a room that reminded her of a biology lab. Come to think of it, it looked exactly like a school. When she got her senses about her, she realized she had a throbbing headache. And she could have sworn she felt a slight trickle of something on her temple. She tried to look up to see if something was dripping on her, but when she moved her head, the ceiling started to move. She groaned out loud and put her head down.
"Well, well. Looks like little Miss FBI is awake and moving. Sorry if you're a bit uncomfortable. The service around here is terrible."
Liz looked up at the woman standing in front of her. She was tall and skinny with brown hair that hung straight and to her shoulders. She must be Serena. She had expected Tess, but Tess was nowhere around
Serena chuckled evilly. "She'll be around."
"Why are you doing this?" Liz asked.
"Well, you see, there is a little thing called vengeance. And I will get mine on that sorry excuse for a man Jim Valenti. Daddy dearest himself. You are just collateral. A guarantee to get Max Evans out of the way."
Liz felt her heart lurch at the mention of his name. Surely, he wouldn't come after her. He would stay at the cabin and wait for something to be done. It was safer for him that way. She couldn't bear it if anything happened to him. She closed her eyes and willed him to stay away. She loved him too much for him to risk getting into trouble for her. Wait a minute-Loved? When did that happen? It didn't matter now anyway. She was about to die at the hands of some former orphan gone psycho, and Max was safe at the cabin. He would never know how much she came to care for him in the few days that she had known him. She started to cry.
Serena leaned in real close to Liz and put her hand underneath Liz's chin. She was so close, that Liz could feel her breath on her cheeks. "Looks like someones taken a liking to Officer Evans, hmm. But don't worry," she whispered. "It won't hurt a bit."
With that, Liz spit in Serena's face. Then everything went black.
Max, pulled up in front of the school. He had let Kyle off a little ways back. He was going to make his way to the school from the back. Tess and Serena thought that he was out of the picture, and Max was using it to his advantage. He was going to be their element of surprise.
When Max pulled up to the school, Tess walked outside to meet them. She had a gun pointed in their direction.
"All of you out of the car," she ordered, waving the gun at them.
Max, Maria and Alex got out of the car and stood beside it.
"Okay, your guns."
Noone moved, and Tess cocked the hammer of her gun.
"I said, YOUR GUNS!"
They all reached to their waists and removed their guns from their holsters and threw them to the ground at Tess's feet.
"Maaax," Tess said. "The other one."
Max groaned and reached to the small gun he kept strapped to his ankle. He removed it and threw it to the ground.
Tess kicked the guns under the car and motioned the three inside. She walked ahead, and the other three were in front of her. She led them thru empty hallways, making several turns along the way. The walls were old and dingy, and there were loose papers and trash everywhere. Lockers hung on the wall empty and open, some of them crooked and coming off the hinges. Maria shuddered to think that this once used to be a place where people come to prepare for the rest of their lives. She prayed that this would not be where she was coming to end hers.
Tess stopped in front of what looked like a small janitor's closet and opened the door.
"Okay, you two. In there," she said, pointing her gun at Alex and Maria. They looked at each other, and started to move into the room. "We'll come back for you two later."
When Maria and Alex were inside the room, Tess reached out with her free hand and locked the door securely. She kept the gun in her other hand trained on Max.
"Well, looks like its just you and me. What do you say we go see your girlfriend, hmm?" Tess asked.
"Is she okay?" Max whispered.
Tess didn't answer. She just motioned for him to continue. Tess told him where to go, and he found himself standing outside an old biology lab. He opened the door when Tess told him to and went inside. That's when he thought he was going to lose it.
Lying in a corner, was Liz. She had bruises on her face, and a thin trickle of blood running down her temple. Max couldn't tell whether or not she was breathing. He made move to her, but a voice on the opposite side of the room stopped him dead.
"Uh huh Max. That'll be far enough."
Max stopped and his eyes narrowed at Serena when he saw her. "You psycho. You won't get away with this," Max said.
"Quite the contrary, Officer. I will. But first, I need to get rid of a few loose ends. And you, my dear are definitely one of them."
Max closed his eyes, hoping that Kyle would find them in the next few seconds. He heard Serena take the safety off her gun, and he flinched when he heard the shot. He waited for the pain to hit. Waited to fall to the floor in pain. But he didn't. He opened his eyes when he heard a groan behind him. He looked down to see Tess Harding in a pile at his feet. The blood already pooling around her head.
Max looked at Tess lying in the floor, and his heart clouded over. His thoughts went right back to Liz. If this woman could shoot on of her own conspirators, then Liz could already be dead. His eyes moved to Liz's crumpled body, and he willed her to move. Nothing. She wasn't moving a muscle. His eyes went back to Tess.
"What did you do that for?" Max whispered.
"Well, Tess was. . .how do you say. . .a loose cannon. She really wasn't all there. Couldn't take a chance that she might blow my cover. Because with you out of the way, My tracks will be covered. I've already gotten someone to take care of that nosy partner of yours."
Max realized that Serena didn't know that Michael had been rescued just in time.
"Why are you doing this?"
"Max, you wouldn't understand. Being the all-american boy that you are. You had it all. A family. A home. Someplace to call your own. I had nothing. A box on the street. A mother for a little while, until even she was gone. Loose change. All because of him. Because my father didn't want me."
Max looked at Serena, and saw that her hand was starting to shake. He watched her intently, the gun pointed at him shaking back and forth.
"Serena, why do you have to do it this way? Why hurt so many people?" Max asked. He hoped that somehow, he could talk her out of whatever it was she was planning to do.
"You are so naive, Max. Do you really think that there is another way? What do you suggest? Go running straight to Daddy? Huh? Hope he'll apologize? Give me hug, and willingly except me into his life? Make it all better with a kiss on the cheek and maybe some flowers? Show me some family pictures of the family I never knew? Snap out of it Officer. Get back to the real world. It doesn't work that way," she said.
"It doesn't have to be this way. I can help you. Let me help you," Max said. His voice was wavering. He wasn't sure what was going to happen. If he said the wrong words, she could pull the trigger and take him down.
Serena threw her head back and laughed at Max. "Yeah. Right, officer. That line never works. You have seen way too many cop movies. And you know what, I think it's about time I shut you up. For good."
Serena's hand stopped shaking. She pointed the gun t Max's head and cocked the hammer. For the second time that day, when he heard the shot, Max closed his eyes and waited for the pain to hit. But for the second time that day, it never came. He opened one eye, and nearly screamed for joy at the sight in front of him. And would have. Had his attention not been captured by the pile in the corner that was the woman he loved.
"Kyle!" Max said. "Liz!" he pointed to her body in the corner, and both men made their way to her.
Max made it to her first, and picked up her limp body in his arms.
"Liz, please Liz, wake up," he whispered. Nothing.
An involuntary sob rose from deep in Max's chest. She had to wake up. She had to. "Liz, come on. Please wake up. You can't leave me. You can't."
Kyle watched silently, his throat closing on him. He looked up when two more figures appeared at the door. Maria and Alex. They were both dirty, and looked as if they had just dug themselves out of a hole. But the expressions on their faces were directed at Liz. Kyle saw Maria start to faint, but Alex caught her before she reached the floor.
Kyle looked back at Max. There was a single tear rolling down his cheek, and he was rocking Liz back and forth in his arms. He put his head on her cheek and closed his eyes. "Liz," he whispered.
Kyle and Max both breathed in a sigh of relief when Liz's hand moved. "Liz! Liz!" Max said. "Liz! Can you hear me?"
Liz moaned and moved her head. She felt like there was a marching band inside her head. Consisting of 50 people with all different sizes of drums. And they were going nonstop.
"Liz, are are you okay?" Max asked, his voice thick with worry.
"I-can't-breathe," Liz managed to get out.
"Are you shot?" Max asked.
"No. You're squeezing me."
Max laughed through his tears. He loosened his hold on her, but didn't let her go. He didn't plan on ever letting her go. When Liz tried to move, he helped her up. She was dizzy, and had to lean on him for support.
"Uugh. Make it stop," she said, holding her hand.
"Make what stop?" Kyle asked. He had moved to the other side of Liz to help hold her up.
"The marching band that's doing warm-ups in my head."
Kyle laughed. "It'll stop soon. Let's get you to the hospital."
Ten hours later, Liz and Max were sitting on the porch of Alex's cabin. They had spent the previous hours doing paperwork and making reports.
When the police got to the old school, they found the body of Tess Harding. Needless to say, they were all more than suprised at having to file a report for her death a second time. Kyle had come in the room, and shot Serena before she had a chance to shoot Max. She had been injured, but not killed. She was going to live to stand trial. There were numerous counts she was going up against, including first degree murder, fraud, and assault on a law enforcement agent. She had told officers everything.
Before her mother died, she told Serena about her father. Serena made a vow to her mother to find him. When she did, she didn't tell him who she was. Instead, she was filled with a hate and vengeance. She wanted to get back at him for leaving her mother. She blamed him for the life she never had. She came up with a plan to destroy him little by little, starting with his career. She paid Tess to help her with her plan. When Tess got sloppy, Michael got suspicious, and thus began her downfall.
Max and Liz had been at the hospital, and had been to visit Michael. When he found out the story, he made promises not to let Max forget that he had been right. He was making a fast recovery and the doctors had said that he would be out of the hospital in a week or two. Maria had been at his side all day, and Michael couldn't have been happier than a kid with a new toy. He had waited months for Maria to admit she had feelings for him.
Alex, Maria, and Kyle had all given statements about what went on, and Max had been cleared of all charges.
Max looked at Liz. She looked so tired and weak, but he thought she had never been more beautiful. He was nervous, and was trying to prep himself into telling her that he was in love with her.
"What are you thinking, Max?" Liz asked.
Liz looked at him, and saw his deep amber eyes swimming with emotions.
"I was so scared, Liz. When I saw you today, in that corner, I thought I was gonna lose it. I thought you were dead. I prayed that you weren't. If you had been, it would have been all my fault."
"Max," Liz said softly. "It was not your fault. Don't blame yourself. I came here on my own."
"Yeah, to help me. I couldn't have stood it if you had been dead. I don't know what I would have done. You would have been dead, and I would never have even gotten to kiss you."
Max looked at Liz after he realized what he had said. He hadn't meant for the last part to come out. His heart did a jump for joy when he saw Liz smiling at him, her eyes dancing with mischief.
She walked up to him and put her hands on his. She ran her hands up his arms, causing him to shiver. He could feel his skin tingling wherever she touched him.
"Max Evans," she said hoarsely. "I think Maria Deluca knew exactly what she was doing when she asked for my help."
"Oh yeah," Max said, his arms wrapping around Liz's waist. "And what was that."
"She was playing ‘Little Miss Matchmaker."
"Well, did it work?" Max asked.
"Yeah," Liz said. "I'd say it worked. It worked wonderfully," she said.
Max brought his lips down and brushed Liz's mouth. He smiled when she shivered in his arms. Then he kissed her again. And all the events of the past couple days faded from both their minds. All that either one of them could think was that even with all the things that had happened, all the pain, all the fear, all the events that had wrecked their lives during the past couple days, they had found each other. And it had been well worth the price.
|posted on 2-Sep-2002 3:46:32 PM|
Title:The Dance 1/1
Category:M/M, Future Fic
Summary:A life remembered.
Disclaimer:I own nothing except the ginger ale beside my computer and the bag of M&M's I'm about to dig into. The song is called "The Dance" by Garth Brooks, and it's what inspired this fic.
Note: A huge thanks to Gracie and Meagzie. Without their keen eye and helpful notes, you would have been left with your mouth open wondering what in the heck it was you just read. Thanks girlies, Luvs ya both!
Looking back on the memory of
The dance we shared 'neath the stars alone
For a moment all the world was right
How could I have known that you'd ever say goodbye
And now I'm glad I didn't know
The way it all would end the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance I could have missed the pain
But I'd of had to miss the dance
Holding you I held everything
For a moment wasn't I a king
But if I'd only known how the king would fall
Hey who's to say you know I might have chanced it all
And now I'm glad I didn't know
The way it all would end the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance I could have missed the pain
But I'd of had to miss the dance
Yes my life is better left to chance
I could have missed the pain but I'd of had to miss the dance
I used to thrive on being alone. Unattached. Independent. I took pride in the fact that I could be who I was, go where I wanted to go, and do what I wanted to do without having to answer to anyone but me. I didn't have to let anyone know where I was going to be, or whom I would be with, or how long it would take.
Years of taking care of myself had molded me into a hard shell. Countless days of fighting against the one person who was supposed to take care of me had molded me into a being that was incapable of feeling. Devoid of emotion. Unable to love. I was sure I didn't even have the ability to care for someone else. I had shut myself off, in an effort to keep from being hurt. I was convinced that my otherworldly status would be my ultimate heartbreak in the end. But I was perfectly happy in the emotionless little world I lived in.
Until the day Maria Deluca blew into my life with such a reckless abandon that I'm still reeling from the after effects.
When Maxwell healed Liz and saved her life, I was furious. He had not only put himself on the line, but he had endangered Isabel and I at the exact same time. In a matter of a few minutes, without even so much as a second thought, he had broken the one promise that the three of us had made and kept, believing that our survival depended on it. By placing his hand on Liz's abdomen and healing the damage that a bullet had done to her body, he had inevitably let her in on our secret. That we were in fact, not human.
Something in Max told him that Liz could be trusted. Little did he know that when you get Liz, you get Maria. They were a package deal, and you couldn't take one without the other. Soon, Maria and Liz both knew our secrets. And the most amazing thing was that neither one of them was scared away by the fact that Max, Isabel, nor myself had been born on this Earth.
I tried with every fiber in my being to turn around and walk away from her sparkling crystal eyes. I poured every ounce of strength I could muster into fighting back against her mind-blowing smile and heart-stopping laugh. I could have used every alien power at my disposal and then some to keep myself from opening up to her good-hearted soul. But I doubt anything could have stopped the waterfall of emotions Maria brought crashing into my life.
Those first few weeks were the worst. Every time I thought I was safe, I'd turn around, and there she was. With some crazy idea as to why we would be perfect for each other. Or she'd be there to bombard me with the things she was feeling about me. And each and every time, it scared me to death. Because I knew that out of all the people that had ever crossed my path, Maria was the only one that would be able to break through to me.
I was miserable. She was shaking up my life. Everything I had ever thought about my life was being proven wrong by Maria Deluca. Little by little, Maria chiseled away at the brick wall I had built around my heart. Piece by piece, she chipped away until there was nothing left, and my heart was within her grasp.
And after she took hold, she never once let go.
I'm quite positive that never before has a relationship quite like Maria's and mine ever existed. Nor will one ever be in the future. What Maria and I had was deeply passionate. Emotionally charged. Completely loyal. Ultimately, uniquely ours.
We weren't always happy. We had our ups and downs, but that's what kept us grounded. There were times when Maria would be at each other's throats, and so upset that our friends couldn't stand to be around us. Then there were times when we were so in tune that we couldn't keep our hands off of each other.
I remember the first time I ever felt myself giving in to her emotionally. It was the night we had used our powers on Hank. It was one of the most depressing days of my life. I had spent the night playing Monopoly with the Evans family. And it had only reaffirmed the fact that I didn't have a family of my own. It hurt like crap to see what they had, knowing it was something I would never have myself. It was pouring outside, and I went walking in the rain. I let myself believe that the rain would wash away my troubles, my insecurities, maybe even my fears, as I trudged through Roswell's empty streets. Somehow, I found myself standing outside of Maria's bedroom window.
When she saw me, she opened up not only her heart, but her window as well. And I climbed in. She didn't run off at the mouth like usual. She saw that I needed her, so she just held out her arms and let me take comfort in the solace of her embrace. And up until that time, it was the most intimate moment I had ever experienced. Just being there, knowing we needed no words, but that we could completely understand each other anyway.
Then we had our times that were on the other end of the spectrum. Like when her friend, Billy came in from New York. It stung down to deepest parts of my soul to see her with him. Even if there was nothing between them. In my heart, I could feel Maria slipping away from me. My ties to her were slowly unraveling, and I couldn't handle it. My powers went out of control, and I began to get careless. I took my anger and jealousy out on innocent car windows and unsuspecting chef salads.
And that night, when she broke up with me, I felt the life I had made for myself being ripped out from under my feet. Maria had wormed her way into my heart, and claimed it as her own. And as a result, she had left me heart broken and defeated. I had never felt such pain in my whole life. Even my alien powers couldn't help the fact that I was hurting.
The next few weeks were hard, to say the least. It was extremely difficult for me to be in the same room with her without running to her and telling her that I was sorry, that I was foolish, and begging her to take me back. I was too proud to fall to my knees physically, but emotionally, I was already there.
Time took its course, though, and things got better for us.
When Liz started getting flashes, about the future, and our impending doom, we panicked. We didn't know whether to run, to hide, just stay put, split up, or stay together. Ultimately, we all decided that the best thing to do would be for Max, Liz, Isabel, and I to leave Roswell. Since it was us that we believed had been targeted. When Maria assumed she was going, I did the first thing I could think of. I told her she couldn't come. I hurt her when I told her to stay behind. She thought I didn't want her with me. But it was just the opposite. I wanted her with me so badly, and loved her so much that I wasn't willing to let her risk her life by being on the run from the government. I let her know how much she meant to me, and that I always loved her and always would. Then I drove away from her, bent on carrying out my plan.
But, as usual, things didn't go as planned. Our lives were decided in a split second moment when our fate came sneaking up on us sooner than we had expected. We made a decision. To run and stay together. Max. Liz. Isabel. Kyle. Myself. And Maria. She had already decided that her life was with us. And we couldn't argue anymore.
The two years we were on the run molded the six of us into our own little family. Max and Liz got married. Eventually, Maria and I got engaged. And somewhere down the line, Kyle and Isabel became such good friends that the bond they had rivaled even that of the one Liz, Maria, and Alex had shared so long ago.
The Special Unit agents on our trail were ruthless. We spent endless nights hiding from our enemies and running from people who wanted each and every one of us dead. Countless times, any one of us was saving the other from a fate that none of us believed was ours in the first place. Death. We fought for each other like we had never fought before. We went through things that were so terrible and horrible that we thought we'd never survive. But in the end, we were able to help each other cope. The bonds that we formed on the road were so strong and so tightly bound that when we finally were able to come home, we all bought houses on the same street so that we never had to be far apart.
The people in Roswell proved to be one thing that saved or lives. When we left, each and every citizen stepped up to support us. Even as the agents from the Special Unit had their cross hairs aimed at us, the people of Roswell rallied behind us. They went to every part of the government they could reach. Eventually, they found their way straight to the President of the United States. And we were granted freedom. By the very people we had spent our lives hiding from.
Maria and I used to wonder how much different our lives would have been had we known right away that we would have been accepted. We were scared that when people realized we were not human, that they would shrink back in fear, or even worse, take us all to our own white room. But that's the exact opposite from what really happened. Instead, our fellow Roswellians turned out in thousands and worked until they themselves had made the world safe for us.
We all went back to Roswell, and Maria and I got married.
Being a husband to the one and only person I had ever loved was more than I could have ever imagined it to be. No words could do justice to the completeness I finally felt with my life. Even the happiness found in great fairy tale romances couldn't have held a candle to the happiness my beautiful Maria and I had found. Maria was my everything. She was the family I had always wanted. The lover I had always searched for. The soul that had always been missing from my life. She made me a changed man. She made me human.
I had finally found my place in the world, and it was right beside her.
It wasn't long before Maria began to yearn for children. Max and Liz already had two, and Isabel was 8 months pregnant with her first one. I was happy the way I was, but the thought of creating a life with the person who had made mine the gift that it was, made me weak in the knees. I could imagine the way our baby would look, with striking green eyes like hers, and unruly brown hair like mine. Whether it would be a boy or girl, I suddenly couldn't wait for a baby.
We started trying for a baby, and it wasn't long before Maria was pregnant. It was my birthday, and Max and Kyle had taken me out to see a ballgame. When I got home, Maria had dinner on the table and waiting. She hadn't bought me a gift, because I had asked her not too. Instead, she handed me a card in a bright yellow envelope.
I sat down, and opened it up, and my heart flipped in my chest.
Happy Birthday, Daddy
Love, Baby Guerin
I couldn't contain my excitement as I realized what it meant. I was going to be a father. Maria was going to be a mother. We were going to have a small little life to nurture and watch grow. Needless to say, I didn't eat. Instead, I scooped Maria up in my arms, and we ran down the street to tell our friends we were having a baby.
The next nine months were interesting, to say the least. Maria was crazy with excitement, and we spent every spare hour we could preparing for our new arrival. Once, everyone came over, and we painted the baby's room. Maria had wanted to use dolphins, because she said to her they represented peace, innocence, and tranquility. So we painted the walls a light teal color and we painted a dolphin border around the ceiling. Another day, the girls went out to buy pictures and hangings for the wall, and when they came home, they were surprised to see that Max, Kyle and I had bought a crib, put it together, and even put a baby blanket on it that had dolphins jumping across the front.
The night we finished the nursery, Maria and I slept in it, on the floor. She wanted to sleep in the room where our baby would grow up. All night long, we made plans for the future. Where our baby would go to school. How old he or she would be before they could date. Where we would take our first family vacation.
But we'll never get to take that vacation.
When she was nine months pregnant, and on her way to visit her mother at home, Maria's car was struck by a drunk driver.
She was seriously injured, and when we got to the hospital, she was already dead. My sweet Maria had died in the roadway after being run into a telephone pole by a man who had taken the wheel of his car after drinking himself into a stupor. Suddenly, everything around me stilled. I felt the world stop turning beneath my feet. My heart stopped beating. The air was stolen from my chest, and I couldn't breathe. They had just told me that I would have to live the rest of my life without her.
After all we had been through, after escaping from murderous aliens and vengeful government agents, Maria was killed in a car accident.
When I broke down, the doctors asked me to come with them. I walked into the room, and they handed me a tiny pink bundle. They hadn't been able to save Maria, but they had saved our baby. Suddenly, I wanted to throw her across the room. She had lived, and her mother hadn't. But when I looked into her precious face and saw a miniature Maria, the world started turning again. The air came rushing into my lungs, and I could feel my heart starting to pound beneath where my daughter's head lay resting on my chest.
I used to cry for her. I was so angry that she was gone. But Maria had taught me a lot. About relationships, about love, and about life. I remembered something she had told me once, when I found out Jim Valenti, the closest thing to a father and my best friends dad, had been shot and killed while performing his duties as a deputy. She told me that life doesn't always have happy endings. That life is filled with happy times as well as sad times, and that you can't have one without the other. She told me that everyone will die. Maria believed that it's not how you die, or when you die that matters. It's how you live your life that counts.
And I know Maria lived her life to the fullest, and that she had gotten what she'd always wanted. Happiness. I have no doubt in my mind that Maria was happy with her life. And I have no regrets. Because I wouldn't trade my life with her for anything. I wouldn't change one moment of the time we shared. The few years of happiness I found with Maria were filled with so much love and so many good memories, that they will last me a lifetime. And now, I can rejoice in the life that Maria lived. And take solace in the fact that she was happy. Content. And loved.
I know I'll never marry again. I'll never fall in love. Because my heart will always belong to Maria. And to little Amy Elizabeth ; the one part of Maria I have left.
She's only six months old. And it's the little things that make me want to cry for Maria. Not because I'm still angry, or mad. But because she's going to miss the things she used to talk about while she was pregnant. She's going to miss Amy's first words. She won't get to be the doting mom who takes too many pictures on prom night. She won't be able to watch as Amy walks down the aisle and pledges her life to the man she loves. And it's for those reasons that I cry.
Someday, I'll see Maria again. On the other side of all my tomorrows, she's waiting for me, and I'll once again be able to hold her in my arms and tell her how much I love her.
But for now, I'll spend my life raising our daughter and telling her about the wonderful gift we both had. Her mother.
And someday, I hope and pray that our daughter will know the kind of love Maria and I shared. Because no matter what happens, if she is lucky enough to have even a portion of the joy we had, then she'll have everything her mother and I ever wanted for her.