posted on 15-Sep-2001 12:03:17 PM
this is the "others" section of my stuff. the main focus of my writing is my alt universe, which remains unfinished, so I'm posting all the stuff that will not be continued in any way first so my alt universe will be continuous to the end...

I write most things in threes, with the exception of a little season two starter fic that was a one-shot deal, and a lost entry to liz's journal, post "end of the world" (warning, very angsty)... so the order of fics goes something like this:

theory of relativity - 1,2,3
little prince - 1,2,3
auto mechanics - 1
do you hate yourself? - 1
alternate universe - 1 - 22

Title: “Theory of Relativity”
Author: N/A
Email: ajrocchio⊕
Rating: PG – for content I guess
Category: Max/Liz
Disclaimers: The characters of Roswell belong to the WB, among others, I’m just borrowing them to tell a tale.
Summary: A year or two down the road (still in highschool)…Max and Liz are about to end the friendship game they’ve been playing
Author’s notes: 1.) For some reason I like Fan Fictions in episode format so that’s how I wrote this…
2.) This story gets vague at a specific spot – I figure your imaginations can come up with details far better than I can write…

(Scene: Max’s bedroom. Max is sitting on his bed reading a book and listening to the radio. There’s a knock on his door)

Max: It’s open (Isabel enters and Max immediately looks at her funny) What’s wrong?

Isabel: Nothings wrong, can’t I just come and see what you’re doing?

Max: Isabel, you knocked. What’s going on?

Isabel (she sighs): Okay Max…but you can’t get mad at me…you know how Liz can get sometimes…

Max (interrupting her): What’s wrong with Liz?

Isabel: Nothings wrong with her (she pauses searching for the way to say what she has to, and finally looking away from Max and sheepishly says) She knows we can dream walk.

Max: What! Isabel, you know….

Isabel (interrupting him and talking really fast): Keep your pants on Max…I told her we hadn’t done it to her and that you don’t really do it all – she kinda seemed disappointed (Max looks at her patronizing). Look, we were talking about Valenti and I let a few things slip…you know, about what we saw when we went into his dream…and then you know how Liz is – question, question, question – I couldn’t *not* tell her Max.

Max (smiling from the image of Liz berating Isabel with questions): What’d she say?

Isabel: Once the feeling of indignation left her she just had more questions…she didn’t really understand...I told her I’d visit her tonight and show her. (Seeing Max’s face flinch with a hint of jealousy) You could go…I’m sure that’s what she’s hoping for.

Max: I couldn’t it…

Isabel: It’s just a dream Max, and you have more patience with her incessant questioning than I do.

Max (contemplating the proposal): It is just a dream.

Isabel: Good boy Max…let me know how it goes. (she leaves)

(Scene: Max’s Bedroom. Max is laying on the bed with the yearbook out looking at Liz’s picture. He’s obviously struggling with “to-do-it or not-to-do-it”)

Max: It’s just a dream…(he touches her picture and closes his eyes as he rests his head down on his pillow)

(Dream Scene: Liz’s Bedroom. Liz, wearing her bathrobe, is sitting on the edge of her bed. Max enters the dream standing in front of her in the middle of her room)

Liz: I’ve been waiting for you. (She looks up at Max) I wasn’t sure if…if you were going to come.

Max (nervous and uncomfortable): Isabel thought it might be more comfortable for you if it was me.

Liz: Is that the only reason you came?

Max (almost embarrassed): No.

Liz: Isabel said you don’t do this very often, why?

Max: We went once when we were little…into our mom’s dream. We wanted to know what she thought of us…but it…it really freaked her out…she couldn’t sleep for weeks. I just decided that I didn’t like it…I would never want anyone to be inside my head, so what gives me the right?

Liz (smiling and looking up at him): Always the gentleman, Max.

Max (looking at her and smiling back): Not that I haven’t thought about it.

Liz: So are you, real?

Max: Well sort of…I mean this is your dream, I’m just a visitor...but I am the Max you know, not some sort of imaginary dream Max. Does that make since? It’s really hard to explain…

Liz: Can I touch you?

Max (thinking about it): Well, yea…you are your “dream self” and I’m my “dream self” and in the dream plane you can do anything you…

Liz (interrupting him and smiling): No Max, I mean can I touch you?

Max (getting it and looking at her and in a shaky voice) Oh…it’s your dream.

Liz (stands up, looks at him): Will I feel you?

Max (confused): I don’t really know, I mean we don’t…feel dreams.

(Liz looks at him slightly seductively, walks over to him and puts her hand on his chest. They look at each other. She puts her hand down and walks around Max so she’s standing behind him. He turns around looking at her questioningly. She puts her hand on his chest again and pushes him backward until he sits on her bed. Max looks up at her extremely nervous)

Liz (softly): It’s my dream, right?

Max (sounding nervous): Yes.

Liz (whispering, like she’s talking to herself): And it’s just a dream.

Max (getting more nervous): But it’s still you Liz, and it’s still me…

Liz: In a dream.

(Liz looks at him deeply and then drops her bathrobe. She’s wearing a simple, very thin, spaghetti strapped long cotton nightgown. Max catches his breath and stands up)

Max (barely audible): Liz…

Liz: Max I’ve been dreaming about this for a long time.

(Max just stands there looking at Liz, passion over takes him and he steps toward her)

Max: Not as long as I have. (He grabs her, pulls her to him and they kiss)

-----Commercial Break ------
(let your minds wander where they will)

(Dream Scene: Liz’s Bedroom. Liz is resting her head on Max’s bare chest and Max is gently playing with her hair)

Liz: Listen.

Max: What?

Liz (she raises her head and looks up at him): Our heart beats…they’re beating (she pauses) in sync (she grabs his left hand puts it on her chest and puts his right hand on his. Surprised he looks up at her)

Liz: Will we remember this?

Max: I think so…after you wake up.

Liz: I don’t want to wake up Max. (Max smiles at her and gently pulls her face towards his and gives her a kiss on her forehead)

BANG! (There’s a loud sound from Liz’s door. The scene splits and we see Max in his bedroom jerking
out of bed and Liz jerking up in her bed. Scene stays with Liz.)

Mrs. Parker (from behind the door): Liz honey, it’s a quarter past 7. Are you up?

Liz (looking down at her bed – where Max was in her dream – rubbing eyes, and smiling): Yea Mom. I’m up.

(She throws back the covers and gets out of bed, still in la la land from her dream she walks over to her dresser. She stops dead in her tracks when she sees herself in the mirror wearing Max’s shirt. She looks down at herself grabs at the shirt, slowly looks over to where her bathrobe and nightgown are on the floor. She looks back at the mirror with “panic/confused face.” She goes back to her bed and sees blood on her sheets, panic face gets worse.)

(Scene: Max’s Bedroom. A bare-chested Max is looking for his shirt. Isabel comes in his room)

Isabel: You’re not ready yet?

Max (confused and fumbling through his things): I can’t find my night-shirt.

Isabel: Max it’s 7:30, forget the shirt. (Max looks up at her confused) Is everything okay?

Max: Yea.

Isabel: So how’d it go last night.

Max (startled): What?

Isabel: The dream, you did go, right?

Max: Yea…

Isabel (interrupting): Are you sure everything’s okay?

Max (totally flustered): No offense Iz, but I’ve gotta get ready for school.

Isabel (looking at him inquisitively): Okay Max. (She leaves. When the door shuts Max just sits on his bed looking puzzled)

(Scene: School. Liz and Maria are standing by their lockers. Maria is babbling on about something and Liz just has this very distant, distracted look on her face)

Maria: Earth to Liz, h-e-l-l-o. (Maria waves her hand in front of Liz’s face. Liz startled looks over at Maria) Okay…where’d you just go?

Liz (stumbling): I’m sorry Maria…I just had…this dream last night…I uh…(she looks up and sees Max and Isabel walking down the hall toward them. Liz’s confused look makes Max confused and Liz follows him with her eyes as he walks past her)

Maria (watching the whole interaction): That time I know where you went. What’s up chica?

Liz: We’re gonna be late for class.

Maria: Not so fast.

Liz: Maria…it was just a really weird dream.

Maria: Lunch – I want details.

Liz (gives her a week smile): Uh uh.

(Scene: Library. Max and Liz’s 4th period biology class is doing research. Max is sitting at a table and Liz walks up and sits across from him. She just stares at him)

Max: Liz?

Liz (softly): It was a dream right?

Max (matches her confused look with a sad one): It was a bad idea.

Liz (sounding urgent): Max, tell me it was a dream.

Max: Liz, what’s wrong? (He looks at her, trying to gauge her mood) It was just a dream, an intense dream. (Liz just looks at him and Max gets more concerned and worried) It was a really bad idea…Liz?

Liz (looking away from Max dazed): It wasn’t a dream…

Max (really confused): Liz, it was.

(Liz looks at Max and then opens her backpack and pulls out his shirt. Max just looks from the shirt to Liz back to the shirt)

Liz: Then how’d I…(she pauses and looks at Max, looking for answers) I was wearing this when I got up this morning. (Max is stone faced just looking at the shirt and then at Liz)

Max (mumbling to himself): It was a dream…I fell asleep…my room…woke up…in my room…how…

(Max looks at Liz and stops, they look at each other neither knowing what to say or what the hell’s going on. Liz shakes her head, gets up from her seat and sits in the chair next to Max. She pulls it close to him, looks at Max and then grabs his left hand and holds it over her heart and grabs his right and places it over his. They both look down at their hands and then up at each other.)

(Scene fades to black and we hear the sound of their hearts beating together)

posted on 15-Sep-2001 12:05:37 PM
Title: “Theory of Evolution” (“Theory of Relativity” part 2)
Author: N/A
Email: ajrocchio⊕
Rating: PG – for content I guess
Category: Max/Liz - primarily
Disclaimers: The characters of Roswell belong to the WB, among others, I’m just borrowing them to tell a tale.
Summary: blah, blah, same as above...

(Scene: School Library. Max and Liz are sitting next to each other, feeling their hearts beating together)

Max (looking up from their hands to Liz’s face): Liz…I…

Liz (meeting Max’s gaze): Can we go somewhere? (Max nods and they gather up their things and leave the library)

(Scene: Max’s Jeep, somewhere in the desert. They're both sitting in silence deep in their own thoughts. Max turns on to a side road, drives a ways and then stops. They're on top of a mesa overlooking the reservation. They sit there for a second and then Liz gets out of the car and walks closer to the edge and sits down. Max follows her)

Liz (looking at the view): It’s beautiful…I know a spot like this.

Max (also looking at the view): I come here to think. (They’re silent for a few moments and finally Max looks over at Liz) Are you...are you sure it happened?

Liz (still looking at the view): Yes. (Max, already in a major state of confusion, looks like he’s trying to figure out how she’d know. Liz glances over at him, and then away) Trust me Max…there are ways to know…when it’s your first time.

Max (quickly looking over at her): Are you…okay?

Liz: I don’t know…I mean, physically I’m…I’m fine. But we didn’t use any protection Max – I don’t even know if we need to…

Max (utterly overwhelmed): I don’t understand…How could this have happened? (He looks at Liz with a sad face) I’m so sorry Liz…I never…

Liz (looks over at him): Max, I wanted it to happen, for a long time I have – and it was my dream.

Max: But you thought it was just a dream.

Liz: Maybe I wanted it to be more. (Max looks over at her out of the corner of his eye, as she continues to look at the view. After a pause and in a sad tone) But I can’t feel it Max…(she looks over at him pleadingly) Can you feel it? (He just looks at her and she looks away) Every time I close my eyes it’s all I see…you…and us…what we did – everything. But I…I can’t feel it. My heart should stop and my body should…I don’t know, tingle all over when I see it. I should be able to remember what your hands felt like…your lips…your body…everything. But I don’t feel anything. It’s like my mind remembers but my body doesn’t. (Max just looks at her desperately wanting to comfort her – to touch her – but he’s not sure if she wants him to. They sit for a bit and she finally looks over at him) Did you want it to happen?

Max (shyly, almost embarrassed): Longer than you have. (Liz looks down with a shy smile and sees Max’s hand resting on the ground. She reaches over and rests her hand next to his so that their fingers are touching. Max looks down at their hands touching and then over at Liz – who’s looking back at the view. They can both feel “their” heart beat. They just sit there looking at the view and holding hands)

(Scene: School Parking Lot. It’s after school and Michael and Isabel are looking for the Jeep and Maria is looking for Liz)

Isabel (to a frustrated Michael): Where could he have gone?

Michael: He’s your brother.

Isabel: Well he was acting weird this morning but…(Maria walks up to them)

Maria: Have you seen Liz?

Michael (looking at Isabel): That explains that.

Maria: What?

Isabel: Max is missing in action since lunch.

Maria: Liz was so weird this morning…something about a dream. (Isabel gives her a quick look) Hope everything’s okay.

Michael: You never know with those two.

Maria (shaking herself out of her worried thoughts): You guys need a ride?

(Scene: Back to Liz and Max, the sun is setting and they’re still in the same positions – sitting holding hands looking at the view)

Max (looking over at Liz): I need to try and understand this…how this happened.

Liz: I know. (Looking over at him) How?

Max: I don’t know…I need to do some experiments with Michael and Isabel…(pauses) and you. (Liz nods her head and looks away) I need to see if we can leave things in each others dreams…if they can leave things in your dreams. (Liz nods her head again) Are you okay Liz? (She looks at him with a weak smile) Tell me what I can do for you.

Liz (looking down at their hands entwined and squeezing his hand): You’re doing it. (Max looks at her longingly, wanting to hold her but settling for holding her hand. She looks away and up at the sky at the stars that have started to appear)

(Scene: Isabel’s Bedroom, late at night. Isabel is lying on her bed listening to music. Max opens the door and comes in, sitting on the bed)

Isabel: Nice of you to ditch us today?

Max (not paying any attention to her): Have you ever left anything in a dream?

Isabel: What?

Max: Have you ever gone into someone’s dream and left something…like a…scarf?

Isabel: A scarf?

Max: You know what I mean.

Isabel: No…what are you talking about?

Max (a little flustered): Look, I need you to go into Michael’s dream, ask him to take off his shirt, and then put it on.

Isabel: Okay, who are you and what have you done with my brother?

Max: I’m serious Isabel. Just do it…I’ll explain when you’re done.

Isabel: What, do it now?

Max: Yes…now…

Isabel: What if he’s not asleep? (Max just gives her an evil exasperated look) Okay. (Max starts to leave the room) Where are you going?

Max: I’m going to Michael’s dream after you…I’ll give him…my shirt.

Isabel: This is crazy Max, are you on something?

Max (leaving the room): Just do it…and make sure you put the shirt on.

(He leaves and Isabel is left staring at the door shaking her head. She grabs her yearbook, finds a picture of Michael, touches it and then leans back in bed and closes her eyes)

(Michael’s Dream Scene: Mescalero Reservation cave. Michael is sitting in the middle of it staring at the wall of images. Isabel appears behind him.)

Isabel: Should have guessed.

Michael (startled and turning around): What are you doing here?

Isabel: Max has officially gone over the deep end. I need your shirt.

Michael: What?

Isabel: Look, just give me your shirt so I can get out of here and get back to Max before he does something even more mental. (Michael just looks at her) The shirt Michael – give it to me or I’ll take it from you (she makes a step toward him and he starts to pull off his shirt. He gives it to her and she puts it on. ) When you wake up…

Michael (interrupting her): I’m already planning on it.

(Isabel shakes her head and leaves the dream. Michael just sits there shirtless and confused for a moment. Then Max comes into his dream and starts taking off his shirt)

Max (handing his shirt to Michael): Here, put it on.

Michael (totally confused): What the…

Max: Just put the damn thing on and wake up. (Michael grabs the shirt and puts it on. Max leaves the dream)

(Scene: Max’s Bedroom. Max wakes up from his dream and sees Isabel standing over him wearing Michael’s shirt over her pajamas he quickly looks down to see that he isn’t wearing his shirt)

Isabel: Okay, what the hell is going on Max?

Max: That’s what I’m trying to figure out.

Isabel: How am I wearing Michael’s shirt – and where is yours?

Max (getting up from the bed): Go get your yearbook and bring your pillow.

Isabel: I need answers.

Max: That’s what we’re going to try and find.

(Isabel looks at him and reluctantly leaves. Max rolls out the sleeping bag he keeps for Michael. He looks at the clock and goes over to crack open his window. Isabel comes back in the room with her stuff and Max motions to the sleeping bag)

Isabel (defiantly): What, the floor?

Max: Michael has to be on the bed – he doesn’t know how to dreamwalk very well I’m going to have to help him.

Isabel: Max…(Before she can finish, Michael opens the window and enters the room)

Michael: What the hell is this (shaking Max’s shirt at them)?

Max (losing patience and grabbing the shirt from Michael he puts it on): We’re trying to figure out.

Michael: Yea, well…

Max (having lost his patience): Listen! I don’t know what’s going on but I’m trying to find out…okay? Isabel (pointing to the sleeping bag) and you (looking at Michael) lie down on the bed. (They both look at each other and then move to their designated positions.) Isabel, I need you to go into Alex’s dream and do the same thing you did in Michael’s.

Isabel: Take his shirt?

Max: Yea shouldn’t be too hard to get it off of him. (He looks over at Michael) We’re going into Liz’s. I’ll help you get there and then I’ll leave to go to Maria’s. Liz knows you’re coming so just give her your shirt. When you come out of her dream I’ll take you into Maria’s.

(Isabel and Michael just look at Max, then over at each other, and nod their heads. Isabel touches a picture of Alex and then lies down. Max and Michael lie down side by side. Max’s left hand touches a picture of Liz and he grabs Michael’s arm with his right. He glances over at Michael with a “you ready look” and Michael closes his eyes)

(Alex’s Dream Scene: Alex is sitting on a stool with his guitar in a dark room. Words are floating by him as he tries to write a song. Isabel appears in the dream just as the word “Isabel” floats over his head)

Isabel (under her breath): This is too easy. (Seductively to Alex) Hey there.

Alex (looking up and startled): Isabel…what are you doing here?

Isabel (she walks up to Alex and plays with his t-shirt): I came to see you.

Alex (looking around and down at Isabel’s hands on his chest, shakily): Really?

Isabel (she starts to pull up his t-shirt): Really.

Alex (looks around nervously): Oh…um…what…what…do you want?

Isabel (looking at him and pulling the shirt over his head): This.

Alex (with his shirt over his head): My shirt?

Isabel (putting the shirt over her pajamas): Thank you Alex. (She gives him a kiss on the cheek and leaves the room, and a poor shirtless Alex completely confused watches her go.)

(Liz’s Dream Scene: Liz’s Bedroom. She’s sitting on her bed waiting. Max and Michael enter the dream standing in front of her. Max and Liz share a knowing gaze which Michael notices. Liz stands up and gives the bathrobe she’s holding to Max. Max leaves. Michael looks confused, glances to where Max was and then over at Liz)

Michael: I think you know more than I do.

Liz: I just need your shirt Michael.

Michael (a little disgusted): Right. (He takes off his shirt and hands it to Liz. She puts it on over her pajamas.)

Liz (looking up at him): Thank you.

Michael (realizing he’s shirtless and in Liz’s bedroom, nervously): Right. (He leaves the dream)

(Maria’s Dream/Nightmare Scene: Crashdown Café. The place is packed, people are everywhere and there isn’t anyone else but Maria. She’s running around franticly. Max walks into the dream, looks around and laughs at Maria. She sees him and runs up to him)

Maria: Max! You’ve got to help me. Liz never showed up and I’m dead here by myself.

Max (looking at Maria’s waitress uniform): Give me your apron.

Maria: What?

Max: If you want me to help I’m gonna need your apron.

Maria: You’re a lifesaver (she takes her apron off and hands it to Max. He puts it on. Maria turns around) Come on I’ll show what to do (she turns back around to look for Max but he’s gone)

(Scene: Back to Max’s Bedroom. Isabel is sitting up on the sleeping bag – not wearing Alex’s shirt, just her pajamas. Michael is sitting up on the bed wearing his shirt. And Max wakes up not wearing Maria’s apron. They look around at each other)

Max (looking at Michael): Ready?

Michael: Maria?

Max: Yea…(Michael shoots a look to Isabel and then lies down) She’s dreaming about the Crashdown…just ask her for her apron.

Michael: Fine, let’s get it over with. (Max gives a quick glare and then lies down. He touches Maria’s picture and grabs Michael’s arm.)

(Back to Maria’s Dream/Nightmare Scene: Crashdown Café. Same as before, packed with people everywhere. She’s now running around franticly looking for Max. Michael walks into the dream; Maria sees him and runs up to him)

Maria: Michael – have you seen Max?

Michael: No…pretty busy?

Maria: Damn him, he’s so getting a piece of my mind tomorrow…

Michael: Need some help?

Maria: You?

Michael: Look, just give me your apron so I can help out.

Maria (looking suspiciously at him): That’s what Max wanted. Are you playing some sort of evil alien joke on me…cause if that…

Michael (interrupting her): Do you want help or not?

Maria (still suspicious and looking around the café): Desperate times…desperate measures. (She unties her apron and gives it to Michael. He puts it on.) You look kinda cute, you want these (she grabs at her antennae)…(Michael just glares at her) Okay (she turns around) you clear those tables and (turns back around to see Michael gone). What the…

(Scene: Back to Max’s Bedroom. Michael wakes up and finds Isabel and Max sitting on the bed. He looks down and he isn’t wearing the apron.)

Michael (looking at Max): Alright, Maxwell…explain.

Max (shaking his head): I don’t know…we must have some sort of mental and physical connection between us that lets us actually interact in our dreams…if it was just a power…we would have Alex’s shirt and Maria’s apron…but it’s something more…(he trails off)

Isabel: I don’t understand, Max…why didn’t we realize this before?

Max: We’ve never tried it before.

Michael (looking at Max): How did you know?

Max: I didn’t…I wasn’t sure…

Isabel: What does it mean?

Michael (attempting humor): If you ever need anything, there’s more than one way to get it to you…(Isabel and Michael glare at each other, then look over at Max who is lost in his own thoughts)

Isabel: Max?

Max (looking up at them): What does it mean that I can do this with Liz?

Michael: What? (Max reaches under his bed and pulls out her bathrobe. Michael and Isabel look at the bathrobe and then at Max, blown away.)

posted on 15-Sep-2001 12:08:59 PM
Title: “Law of Gravity” (“Theory of Relativity” part 3)
Author: N/A
Email: ajrocchio⊕
Rating: PG – for content I guess
Category: Max/Liz (?)
Disclaimers: The characters of Roswell belong to the WB, among others, I’m just borrowing them to tell a tale. Two e. e. cummings poems are briefly referenced in this little piece of fanfiction. Both are used only with great admiration for the poems and the poet.
Author’s notes: Again, forgive the vagueness but I think I’ll let you do the creative imagery for yourselves…I think this is the end.

(Scene: Max’s Bedroom. Max, sitting on his bed, is holding Liz’s bathrobe. Michael and Isabel just sit there with blank looks on their faces)

Isabel (looking up at Max and in complete shock): How?

Max (just shaking his head): I don’t know. (Max looks up at Michael and Michael just looks at him – speechless)

Isabel: What…(Max gets up from his bed and grabs the keys off of his desk)

Michael: Where are you going?

Max: Liz. (Michael wants to protest but Max is out the door before he can. Michael and Isabel just look at each other)

(Scene: Liz’s Roof. Max climbs up the ladder and walks over to her window. He gets within a foot of it and stops)

Max (under his breath): I shouldn’t be here. What am I doing? (He turns to leave when Liz opens up the window and sees him)

Liz (whispering): Max? (He stops and turns around.)

Max: Liz. How did you know I was here?

Liz: I didn’t. I was hoping you would come.

Max (holding up her bathrobe and a little embarrassed): I…uh…wanted to give this back to you.

Liz (smiling at him): Really? Well are you coming in or are you gonna make me come out there to get it? (Max relaxes a little and smiles. He walks over to the window and climbs in.)

(Scene: Various Morning Scenes. The first shot is of Max’s bedroom with Michael asleep on top of the covers with the yearbook next to him. Max’s floor is covered with a bunch of things from Isabel’s room – clothes, books, stuffed animals…etc. The next shot is of Isabel’s room. She’s also asleep on top of the covers with her yearbook next to her. Her room is equally covered with items from Max’s room – books, clothes, sporting items, even his pet reptile. The final shot is of Liz’s bedroom. Max (fully dressed) and Liz are under the covers facing each other. Max is still asleep but Liz is awake and staring at him.)

Liz (barely whispering): I love you Max Evans…I have since the day you touched me…before then, even, I just didn’t know it…(There’s a knock at her door. She looks from Max to the door and then gently gets out of bed so as not to disturb Max. She walks over to the door, making sure it’s locked)

Mr. Parker (from behind the door): Liz, honey?

Liz (from behind the door, softly): Yea dad.

Mr. Parker: Just wanted to let you now that we’re leaving.

Liz: Okay.

Mr. Parker: We’ll be back tonight…the phone number’s on the fridge.

Liz: Thanks dad, you guys have a good time.

(While Liz is talking to her dad Max stirs in bed. He wakes up and takes a second to figure out where he his, that he’s fully clothed and what time it is. He sits up in bed and pulls the covers back – when he does he looks closely at the sheets of Liz’s bed and notices something on it. He moves his hand over it – like he’s going to erase it. Liz sees him as she’s coming back to the bed)

Liz: No! (Max looks from the stain to Liz’s face, confused) No…(Max touches the stain and has a flash of their shared dream and he realizes it’s blood, her blood)

Max: I…did this to you…

Liz (sitting on the bed and looking at the stain): It’s all I have…to remind me that it was more than a dream. (She looks up at Max with a sad face) I’m afraid…if I wash it…if you make it go away…then it really will be just a dream. (Max shifts on the bed and pulls Liz to him, comforting her, but before he knows it her face is millimeters away from his and she’s looking at him with those puppy dog eyes. They start kissing and as it starts to get more intense Liz pulls away just a tad to look at Max and with a pleading tone) Max…(They kiss again with the same intensity and eventually, somehow end up lying down on the bed. After even more intense kissing occurs Liz makes a move like she wants to take Max’s shirt off but Max reluctantly pulls away.)

Max: Liz, I can’t…(Liz just looks at him – hurt and rejected, she sits up and turns away from him)

Liz: Go.

Max: Liz it’s…

Liz (getting physically upset): Please go Max, I have nothing…You’ve taken my soul, messed with my mind, have had my body…there’s nothing left for you here…

Max (getting off the bed and squatting in front of her): I want this Liz…I’ve wanted this with you since I’ve known what it was. But not like this. Were you ready two nights ago? We haven’t kissed in over a year and now we’re having…

Liz (looking up at him through watery eyes): Sex?

Max (brushing back her hair): Liz, you and I have a connection that’s stronger than anything I’ve known…anything I can understand. I don’t want to lose that…I don’t want to lose you. I was mistaken. I pushed you away – maybe because deep down I knew this was there and it scared me – but it’s only gotten stronger. (He pauses to brush a tear off of her cheek) Can you forgive me? (Liz reaches out and caresses the side of Max’s face with her hand. She pulls him toward her and gives him a beautiful, gentle kiss. They look at each other and Liz gently places Max’s hand over her heart)

Liz: “I carry your heart(I carry it in my heart)” (Max looks down at their hands and then back to her face) I read it in a poem once…this is what he meant.

(Scene: Max’s Bedroom. Michael, sleeping on the bed, is awakened by Isabel coming into the room and sitting down next to him.)

Isabel: Max isn’t back?

Michael: Did you expect him to be?

Isabel (looking around at the mess): Did you try it with Maria again?

Michael (sitting up and disappointed): Yea. I tried giving her some pencils, a towel, and I think Max’s watch. (Picking up the watch he was referring to) Guess I’m lucky it didn’t work. You?

Isabel (also disappointed): The same – a teddy bear, a book, I think I even tried to give him my shirt…God I hope he doesn’t remember that.

Mr. Evans (poking his head in the door and taken aback by the mess): What’s going on in here? (Both Michael and Isabel jump at the sound of his voice)

Isabel: I was…uh…trying to convince Max to trade rooms with me last night.

Mr. Evans: Really?

Isabel: Yea, but he wouldn’t go for it.

Mr. Evans: Where’s Max?

Michael (thinking quickly): He went for a walk – said he needed to think about some things. (Michael and Isabel share a glance)

Mr. Evans: Alright, well I just wanted to let you know that mom and I are taking off…

Isabel: What’s it today?

Mr. Evans: A client in Clovis. He apparently forgets that there are some of us who have lives…and other things we’d like to do with them on Saturdays. But what can we do? Be back tonight. (He turns to go)

Isabel: Drive safe…(she lets out a sigh and looks over at Michael) Guess we should clean up this mess.

(Michael and Isabel start returning items back to their proper rooms. After a while Max comes in as Michael is picking up a bunch of Isabel’s cloths off the floor)

Max (laughing at the mess and knowing immediately what they did): You guy’s were busy last night.

Michael (curtly): Not as busy as you.

Max: What’s that supposed to mean? (Michael exits the room to return the clothes to Isabel’s room as Isabel comes in with a bunch of stuff from Max’s room. Max looks at Isabel and motions in Michael’s direction) What’s his problem?

Isabel: We’re just all a little confused about what this means…(Isabel drops the things on the bed and Michael comes in the room carrying Max’s reptile cage)

Max (seeing the cage and very surprised): You could move Tampa (pronounced taampa)?

Michael (curtly): Apparently so.

Isabel (sensing tension): Yea, I didn’t think we’d be able to move living things…

Max (looking at Michael): Do you have something you want to say to me?

Michael: No.

Isabel (attempting peacemaker): Max…

Max: Just say it Michael.

Michael (turning and giving Max one of his “looks”): Whatever this means we’ve still got rules, Maxwell. There’s still a lot of questions to answer before you rush out and do something stupid with Liz.

Max: Are you concerned Michael, or are you jealous? (Michael shoots him an evil look and Isabel sucks in her breath) I’ve been running from Liz – from this – for two years – twelve really. Well I’m done…(he looks at both of them) I’m done. There is always going to be danger, risks – no matter where we are or who we’re with…and yes there’s still a lot about us we don’t know. But are you gonna stand there and tell me this is a bad thing…that I have a “connection”…a bond beyond physical and mental comprehension with the three most important people in my life?

Michael (his attitude relaxes and he sits on the bed): I don’t know Maxwell.

Max: I mean, maybe this is what we do (looking from Isabel to Michael) you know, when we love somebody completely – without conditions…when we let them in – all the way…maybe this is how we know.

Isabel (sitting down on the bed next Michael): But what about mom and dad, they love us – but I couldn’t leave anything with them…

Max (also sitting down on the bed): But they don’t really “know” us Isabel – everything about us.

Isabel (nodding): I guess…

Max: I don’t know either…but we have three people who know everything about us…who have risked their lives for us – I don’t want to count how many times. We push them away to keep them safe but they end up coming to our rescue. I’m done pushing. We’re gonna graduate in a few months and I don’t want to lose her. Do you really want to lose Maria?

Michael (disgruntled): Not all of us are “connected” Max…I couldn’t leave anything in Maria dreams.

Isabel: Because you haven’t let her in Michael. Were do you think we (motioning to Max and herself) learned how to push – you’re Mister “I-push-people-away-for-a-living”.

Michael (looking at her with a reluctant smile): That coming from Miss Ice-princess Isabel.

Max: Look, when we were ten we made rules because we needed them…I’m just saying that some of those rules, maybe we don’t need now. (They just sit there, the three of them on the bed, deep in there own thoughts)

(Scene: Crashdown, same day, afternoon. Maria and Liz come through the double doors and head over to the counter.)

Maria: You are so not gonna believe the crazy dreams I had last night – I’m not sure if they were dreams or nightmares.

Liz (smiling): What, did Michael try and give you things.

Maria (hitting Liz): Oh my god! You had the same dream? Do you think they were playing some sort of alien mindgame with us?

Liz (laughing): Maria…it was just a lucky guess – these days all you dream about is Michael.

Maria (hitting her on the arm): Shut up! I’m telling you it was really weird…Max was there too.

Liz: Max?

Maria: Yea, Max and Michael both came in asking me to give them my apron – that alone qualifies for bizarre – but then Michael came back and was like giving me things.

Liz (trying to contain her laughter): Things?

Maria: Yea, like some pencils – what’s that about – and I think he tried to give me Max’s watch. (Maria looks over at Liz who is failing miserably at containing her laughter) Fine, I’m done talking to you…

(The door to the Crashdown opens and Max, Michael, and Isabel walk in and sit down at their usual table. Liz doesn’t see them but Maria does, and she also notices the major staring that Max is giving Liz)

Maria: Max Evans, with major “love-crumbs” at eleven o’clock.

Liz: What? (She looks up from what she’s doing and over at Max. She smiles and they just gaze at each other for what seems like forever)

Maria (looking between Max and Liz): Okay have I missed something?

Liz (breaking her gaze from Max): Let’s just say that Max and I are starting over (she looks back at Max) for good.

Maria: Oh, I think I’m gonna gag…(Maria just turns and walks away and Liz goes up to the table)

Liz: The usual? (Everybody at the table nods. Michael glances over at Maria and then excuses himself from the table and walks over toward her. Isabel follows his lead and heads for the bathroom. Liz sits down across from Max.)

Michael: Hey.

Maria (looking up from what she is doing): You’re not gonna like ask me for my apron are you…or try and give me pencils?

Michael (smiling): No.

Maria: Good – cause I don’t need anymore Twilight Zone moments.

Michael (fumbling): I just wanted…uh…to see how you’re doing.

Maria (looking around the café suspiciously): Okay now I’m officially in the Twilight Zone.

Michael (getting frustrated): Look, this isn’t easy okay.

Maria: What?

Michael (hesitating and obviously uncomfortable): Do you want to…maybe…do something tonight?

Maria: Are you sure you don’t just want my apron?

Michael (frustrated and giving up): Fine. (He turns to walk back to the table.)

Maria: Wait. (He stops) I have to close tonight…you know, if you wanted to stop by around 10.

Michael (smiles at her): I’ll be here. (He leaves)

Maria (perplexed): What just happened here.

(Meanwhile. Max and Liz are sitting opposite each other in the booth holding hands across the tabletop. Alex walks in and sees Liz)

Alex: I have to tell you about my dream…(He stops and takes a double take of Liz and Max holding hands) Max. Liz. (He looks up and sees Isabel walking toward the table. He immediately blushes from the dream he had and looks back at Liz) I think I’ll go tell Maria...(He walks past Isabel over toward Maria but Isabel takes a step and grabs his arm)

Isabel: Alex.

Alex (turning to see her and pointing to his chest): Me?

Isabel (smiling): Do you see any other Alex’s in here?

Alex: Could be an imaginary friend…

Isabel (hesitant and not so confident): Listen, I just wanted to see if you weren’t…doing anything tonight.

Alex (pausing and looking around suspiciously): Am I on Candid Camera?

Isabel (smiling at him): There’s a new documentary on Ella Fitzgerald playing…I thought you might like…to go.

Alex (pointing between them as he says it): Me and you?

Isabel: Yea…you and me, some popcorn and Ella.

Alex: And this would be a…

Isabel (frustrated): A date. Okay…do you want to go on a date with me or not Alex Whitman?

Alex: Yes, but if I’m dreaming and I wake up before we get to the movie I’m seriously going to be pissed. (He shakes his head and leaves the Crashdown.)

Liz (leaning over the table to Max): So what are you doing tonight?

Max: You mean, other than spending it with you?

Liz (smiling): Yea.

Max: Nothing.

Here’s the two poems for any of you who were curious:

I carry your heart with me(I carry it in
my heart)I am never without it(anywhere
I go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
I fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)I want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

I carry your heart(I carry it in my heart)

e. e. cummings

I like my body when it is with your
body. It is so quite new a thing.
Muscles better and nerves more.
I like your body. I like what it does,
I like its hows. I like to feel the spine
of your body and its bones,and the trembling
-firm-smooth ness and which I will
again and again and again
kiss, I like kissing this and that of you,
I like,slowly stroking the,shocking fuzz
of your electric fur, and what-is-it-comes
over parting flesh….And eyes big love-crumbs,

and possibly I like the thrill

of under me you so quite new

e. e. cummings

posted on 15-Sep-2001 12:14:55 PM
Title: “Little Prince” (part 1)
Author: N/A
Email: ajrocchio⊕
Rating: G
Category: Liz/Maxwell
Disclaimers: The characters of Roswell belong to the WB, among others, I’m just borrowing them to tell a tale. The Little Prince belongs to Antoine de Saint-Exupery…and the world!
Summary: I call this a sequel to "theory of relativity" because it continues the dreamwalking premise established in relativity, though this story takes place years down the road.
Author’s notes/soapbox: I know some people out there don't like The Little Prince, but it's one of my favorites, and I thought it was too perfect not to work into a Roswell fic, so here it is...

(Scene: An older Liz – 30ish – is sitting on the bed of her son – 5ish – finishing reading him a bed time story.)

Maxwell: Why does he leave mamma?

Liz: Because he has to go home sweetie.

Maxwell: Like daddy?

Liz: Yea, just like daddy.

Maxwell: But you always say that Roswell is home.

Liz: Home is a lot of things…and different for everyone.

Maxwell: Do I have a home?

Liz: You’re so special you have two homes.

Maxwell (in wonderment): Really?

Liz: You have a home here with me…and one with daddy.

Maxwell: Will I ever get to go to daddy’s?

Liz: Maybe someday.

Maxwell (thoughtfully): Did you love daddy?

Liz: I love daddy very much. One day you’ll love someone as much as daddy and I love each other.

Maxwell: But if he loved you why did he leave?

Liz: Sometimes sweetie, loving someone means that that person’s happiness comes first.

Maxwell: That’s not fair…Doesn’t your happiness count?

Liz (smiling): That’s just what your father said. But I knew that loving your father meant that one-day I might have to let him go. (Maxwell frowns) It’s like the fox…Do you remember what the little prince does to the fox?

Maxwell: He tames him.

Liz: That’s right. And what does he say? (Quoting the book from memory) “If you tame me, it will be as if the sun came to shine on my life. I shall know the sound of a step that will be different from all the others…Yours will call me, like music, out of my burrow. And then look: see the grain-fields down yonder?…Wheat is of no use to me. The wheat fields have nothing to say to me. And that is sad. But you have hair that is the color of gold. Think how wonderful that will be when you have tamed me! The grain, which is also golden, will bring me back the thought of you.”

Maxwell (protesting): But he leaves the fox.

Liz: Here, you read. (She turns to the page and holds the book in front of him)

Maxwell (reading from the book making up voices to go with the characters):
“Ah,” said the fox. “I shall cry.”
“It is your own fault,” said the little prince. “I never wished you any sort of harm, but you wanted me to tame you…”
“Yes, that is so,” said the fox.
“But now you are going to cry!” said the little prince.
“Yes, that is so,” said the fox.
“Then it has done you no good at all!”
“It has done me good,” said the fox, “because of the color of the wheat fields.”
(Maxwell looks up at his mother as she pulls the book away from him)

Liz: And loving your father has done me good…because of you. You bring me back the thought of your daddy everyday.

Maxwell (after a pause): Do you think he loves me?

Liz: Oh sweetie he loves you very much.

Maxwell: But he doesn’t know me.

Liz: He sees you every night.

Maxwell: Really?

Liz: Why do you think the stars twinkle? That’s daddy smiling at you. And if you’re really quiet and you listen with your heart you’ll hear him tell you he loves you.

Maxwell: Really?

Liz: Really! Just like the little prince looks up at the stars and has five hundred million springs of fresh water – you have five hundred million smiles from your daddy.

Maxwell: What do you have?

Liz: I have five hundred million kisses from daddy.

Maxwell: Will he ever come back?

Liz: Maybe someday.

Maxwell: Do you think I’ll know him?

Liz: You’ll know him.

Maxwell: How?

Liz: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” You’ll just know. (She puts the book away)

Maxwell: Will you read it again?

Liz: Tomorrow.

Maxwell: Please!

Liz: It’s already past your bedtime and tomorrow is school.

Maxwell: Just one more time.

Liz: I promise tomorrow we’ll read it as many times as you want.

Maxwell: Okay…as many times?

Liz: As many times. (She tucks him in and kisses him on the forehead. He looks up at her with the eyes of his father and asks)

Maxwell: Have you tamed me mamma?

Liz (smiling down at him): No sweetie, you’ve tamed me…just like your daddy.

Maxwell: I love you.

Liz: And I love you. (She turns out the lights and looks back at him from the door – under her breath) Good night my little prince.

posted on 15-Sep-2001 12:16:22 PM
Title: “Little Prince” (part 2)
Author: N/A
Email: ajrocchio⊕
Rating: G
Category: Liz/Max

(Scene: A bedroom. An older Liz – again 30ish – is lying in bed drifting off to sleep, as her eyes flutter the scene fades into one of a certain spot on top of a mesa overlooking the Mescalero Indian Reservation. Liz is sitting on the ground admiring the view. An older Max – equally 30ish – enters the scene and walks up behind her to sit down next to her.)

Max: This is a familiar spot.

Liz: The view here is just so beautiful…

Max (looking at Liz): I couldn’t agree more. (Liz looks over at him and smiles) I miss that smile…my smile.

Liz: Yours and your son’s.

Max (sitting down and after a pause): Do you forgive me yet?

Liz: Do you forgive me yet?

Max: No.

Liz: You would have stayed and wondered “what if.”

Max: Instead I went and wonder “why.”

Liz: You know why.

Max: I know…

Liz: You’ll never forgive me.

Max: When he forgives me.

Liz: Max, he’s not angry with you. He’ll understand…

Max: Understand that his father left him.

Liz: His father didn’t know about him…he’ll be angry with me, not you.

Max: He’ll never be angry with you.

Liz (playfully): Do you know something I don’t?

Max: He’s his father’s son.

Liz (smiling): Indeed. Did you see him tonight?

Max: Yes…I found him sitting on a small planet with three volcanoes and a rose under a glass globe.

Liz: No sheep?

Max: No – no sheep tonight. God, he loves that story...

Liz: I’m afraid that’s my fault.

Max (playfully): You do read other things to him right?

Liz (playfully back): Why Max Evans are you questioning my parenting skills?

Max: Never!

Liz: Did you notice the view from his planet?

Max: The view?

Liz: When you visit him again look at the stars. He knows all the major constellations, where they are in the sky and the mythology behind them. It’s like he knows…subconsciously…that there’s something up there – out there for him.

Max: I know how he feels.

Liz (looking over at Max): He’s going to need you soon.

Max: What has he done now?

Liz: It’s just little stuff right now…but I can sense that he has questions…ones I’m not sure I know how to answer. He’s only five but…he knows that he can do things the other kids can’t and he doesn’t understand why.

Max: I’ve been hesitant…

Liz: I know.

Max: I just don’t want to frighten him or push him away.

Liz: Max it’d be impossible for you to push him away…he loves you.

Max: He doesn’t even know me.

Liz (gently touching his face, with a pained voice): He does. Oh Max, he does know you…from me, from your parents, and because he’s your son he’ll know it’s you when you visit him. Believe me Max, he knows you and he loves you.

Max: I wish I could give him more.

Liz: Just give him you…that’s all he wants.

Max: I wish I could give you more.

Liz: What more could you give me?

Max: A normal life.

Liz (smiling at him): What’s so great about normal? And besides, then we couldn’t have real green eggs and ham for breakfast.

Max (looking at her quizzically): Green eggs and ham?

Liz: Maxwell has decided that green is his favorite color…and discovered that if he wishes really hard he can turn all sorts of things green…including mommy’s hair and his favorite breakfast.

Max (reaching over and touching Liz’s long hair): Green?

Liz: Emerald green. (Max’s tries to hold back his laughter) Yes, well we all had a good laugh over it and then a serious talk about what can and cannot be turned green and when he can and cannot turn things green.

Max: He must be so scared. I tried to pretend that I didn’t have any powers …thinking that I could make them go away if I pretended long enough.

Liz (gently): I’m selfishly glad they didn’t go away.

Max (looking at her): Selfish…Liz Parker…

Liz (interrupting him playfully): Max Evans – did you divorce me and not tell me?

Max: Never! (Jokingly) Though, polygamy’s pretty big here.

Liz (hitting him): You are not allowed…

Max (interrupting her): I would never want. (He leans in and kisses her) I love only you…always only you.

Liz: How much?

Max (thinking for a second): The number of raindrops it would take to build a bridge between us.

Liz (she leans in and kisses him): I love you Max Evans.

Max: How much?

Liz (giving him a sideways glance): Why don’t I show you.

posted on 15-Sep-2001 12:21:28 PM
Title: “Little Prince” (part 3)
Author: N/A
Email: ajrocchio⊕
Rating: G
Category: Max/Maxwell

(Scene: A child’s bedroom, on a different night. Maxwell – 5ish – has reluctantly fallen asleep, as he rolls over in bed the scene fades into that of the desert somewhere outside of Roswell. It’s nighttime and Maxwell is sitting admiring the view. Max comes into the scene, sees him and walks over to him.)

Max: This is a pretty nice place you got. Mind if I join you?

Maxwell (not looking up at Max): No.

Max (sitting down next to him after a little pause): Do you come here a lot?

Maxwell: My mamma and I come here every year.

Max: Really?

Maxwell: Yea, (pointing to Roswell) that’s Roswell. Mamma calls it home even though we don’t live there.

Max: Where’s your mamma?

Maxwell: She’s asleep. Don’t tell her that I come here without her. She might get mad at me.

Max (smiling): I doubt that.

Maxwell: I just like to come here by myself sometimes and wait.

Max: Wait?

Maxwell: This is where my daddy left, to go home. I come here every night to see if he’s come back.

Max: Every night?

Maxwell: Well sometimes I go other places but this is one of my favorites.

Max: This is one of my favorite places too.

Maxwell: Mamma says that daddy used to take her here all the time when they were younger.

Max: What else does your mamma say?

Maxwell: She says that daddy is special.

Max: Special?

Maxwell: That there isn’t anyone else in the world like daddy…except me.

Max: Do you know what being special means?

Maxwell: It means if I think too hard stuff happens.

Max (smiling): What kind of stuff happens?

Maxwell: Well if I wish really hard I can turn things green.

Max: Do you like green things?

Maxwell: It’s my favorite color…but I don’t think mamma knows that I can turn things other colors too.

Max: I bet she does. Does other stuff happen too?

Maxwell: Sometimes, like when I get mad…sometimes I brake things. Mamma says it’s okay because when I’m bigger I’ll be able to fix things too.

Max: Does she?

Maxwell: Yea, but I don’t get mad very much. Just sometimes.

Max: Well everybody gets mad sometimes. (After a short pause) Is that all the stuff?

Maxwell: No. (He pauses) Sometimes I see things.

Max: What kinds of things?

Maxwell: Sometimes when I’m holding mamma’s hand I see…(looking up at Max for the first time) sometimes I see you. (Max just looks down at him and they stare at each other for a while) Did you love mamma?

Max: I still do, very much.

Maxwell: Then why did you go?

Max: Mamma wouldn’t let me stay.

Maxwell: She wanted you to.

Max: I know. (After a pause) But she wanted me to go more.

Maxwell: I know. (After another long pause) Are you ever coming back?

Max: I want to.

Maxwell: Do you?

Max: More than anything.

Maxwell: Me too.

Max (after a pause): I brought you something. (He pulls out a very tattered copy of The Little Prince and hands it to Maxwell)

Maxwell: It’s just like mamma’s copy.

Max: She gave it to me a long time ago.

Maxwell: It’s my favorite.

Max: I know, I thought maybe sometimes I could read it to you like mamma does.

Maxwell: Like when she won’t read it to me again and makes me go to bed.

Max: Especially when she makes you go to bed without reading it again!

Maxwell (looking over Max’s copy of the book he turns to the inside cover page and something is written there): What’s this say (showing the book to Max)?

Max: You can read it.

Maxwell (shoving the book back at Max): You read it.

Max (taking the book): It says…“Wherever this journey we’ve started takes us we’ll always have the stars. And when you go – and someday you will – I’ll be able to look up at them and see five hundred million gazes from your beautiful eyes and their warmth will fill me. And that will be enough. That and the memories we’ll make between now and then. You’ve tamed me Max Evans.”

Maxwell: How did you tame mamma?

Max: I guess by loving her.

Maxwell: Will you tame me too?

Max: Only if you’ll tame me.

Maxwell (gets up and sits in Max’s lap): Okay.

Max (readjusting he lowers his head to Maxwell’s head and kisses the top of it. Maxwell looks up at him): Ready?

Maxwell: Ready.

Max (reading from the book): “Once when I was six years old…”

posted on 15-Sep-2001 12:28:34 PM
Title:“Auto Mechanics”
Author: N/A
Email: ajrocchio⊕
Rating: PG-13 for language
Category: Other Stories
Disclaimers: The characters of Roswell belong to the WB, among others, but apparently I just can’t stop borrowing them.
Summary: Anything could happen, including this (but probably not)…
Author’s note/soapbox: Okay, so this is a fanfiction experiment. This story is entirely based on second hand information received from conversations on the internet with a couple of people venting about what happens at the end of last season. This is for my jellyhead sister who asked me to write a post-Destiny story like I did for Balance when I wrote ‘Dealing’. This is a one time deal, not to be turned into another alternate universe because to be honest I don’t like this universe and I’d much rather live in my own filled to the brim with denial and absent of evil blonde chicks. So this is a pre-viewing, post-Destiny little fic of what could happen next (even though I haven’t see what actually happens first)…

(Music Goo Goo Dolls – Iris. Scene: Liz’s roof, nighttime. Liz sits on the lounge chair poised to write in the journal, resting on her lap. The pen tip hangs millimeters above the page as Liz stares down at it. Moments pass or maybe they just stand still. She finally closes her eyes and relaxes the pen, accepting the inevitable. She lets out a deep breath then opens her eyes, allowing them to fall on the last entry she’s written. She reads, she can’t help it…it’s part of the ritual – getting the journal, finding the page, the pen frozen…time frozen…and three months forgotten in the blink of her eye…

May 23rd.
Sometimes love isn't enough...they never tell you that...never warn you that sometimes it isn't enough to keep people together...not when the fairytale isn't for you. So you learn...sometimes love just isn't enough. It's funny – no, it's ironic and very painful...that our love isn't enough. Everything inside of me screams that it is...but no one hears, mocking me with the stars laughing at me...because it is enough - it's just not my fairytale.

I guess I should be proud of myself – so noble or something...but I'm too angry...angry at them...all of everything. At the fact that I don't get the love strong enough to keep us together...No, I get the stronger one…

I get the love that creeps into ever crack and crevasse of the body – consuming it, changing it, so that it’s no longer just yours, but part of his too. I get the love that invades the mind – so that your thoughts aren’t your own and your dreams become his. It’s that first love, the only love…the last love. The love that lets go because your life is no longer your own, your first thought no longer you…but him. What was you dies, but you live, as long as he does.

She stares down, and as the page begins to blur from the tears threatening to spill over she closes the journal, as well as her eyes. She sits there, still for a moment, then finally tosses the journal, completing the ritual. The journal bounces off the wall and lands splayed out over the rooftop. It’s battered and beaten, as is its owner. Liz reclines back into the lounge chair and opens her eyes up to the stars. She sighs softly and stares up at them. They find a satellite crossing the sky and follow it – watching it slowly move away from her.

The scene moves with the satellite, finally falling to somewhere in the desert. The moon illuminates a cave opening, and a harsh voice floats out of it.)

Nasedo: Concentrate!

Michael: I am!

Nasedo: Harder…this isn’t a game it’s your life…they’ll know you before they even see you.

Michael: Don’t you think I know that.

Nasedo (obviously irritated and shaking his head at Michael, Isabel, and Tess): Disgrace. Three months and you’re just as weak…

Isabel: No we’re tired. And tomorrow…

Nasedo (narrowing his eyes at her): Your life has more meaning than toenail polish and primping for the first day of school. (He shakes his head again) It doesn’t matter what color your nails are if you’re dead before you can blink to paint them. (He looks to Tess) Do something with your brother (looking back at Isabel) I’ll take care of yours.

(He exits, leaving Michael and Tess standing with Isabel sitting between them. Isabel watches him go and exhales loudly.)

Tess (turning to her): He’s worried about us.

Isabel: Give it a rest.

Tess (looking to Michael): We’re on the same side – he’s right, if they can sense you…

Michael: I’m dead, I’ve got it.

Tess (sighing and looking back at Isabel, after a pause): He should be here.

Isabel: If you can’t ‘sense’ him then he doesn’t need to be does he?

Tess (looking away): When’s he going to realize he would have had to leave her anyway?

Isabel: When are you going to realize that he’ll never want to be with you?

Tess (darting her eyes to Isabel): This isn’t about our wants – it’s about our survival and I won’t be responsible for your deaths.

(She looks between them then turns and exits.)

Michael: You shouldn’t…

Isabel (cutting him off): Oh please, Michael.

Michael: He should be here…she’s right. The more he does this the harder it’ll be.

Isabel (laughing): After tomorrow it can’t be any harder, can it?

Michael: He just has to face it…he can’t ignore this.

Isabel: He didn’t ask for this.

Michael (defensively): It’s what we’ve always wanted.

Isabel (sharply looking up at him): Is it? Is this what you wanted – waging a war with an enemy we don’t know, from a past we’re supposed to be reliving? Cuz this (she looks at a boulder at Michael’s feet and blows it up, causing him to jump) isn’t what I wanted.

Michael: How can you say that – we’ve always wanted to know who we are, what…

Isabel (standing up and cutting him off): And who we are is somebody else trapped in a human body. (She turns to leave.)

Michael: We’re not human…and he has to stay away from her tomorrow.

Isabel (stopping before the cave opening, over her shoulder): He knows, Michael…he knows.

(Music: Goo Goo Dolls – Iris, continued. Scene floats back to the streets outside the Crashdown. It’s a pretty quiet night, a few people walking together…the occasional car. Max stands in the shadows of the alleyway across from the Café. He watches the roof, as if imagining – no, seeing – what’s happening on top of it. A motorcycle roars down the street and his eyes fall to follow it pass by. It drives past the Crashdown, but leaves Max’s gaze behind – staring at the Café window.

The paint is a little chipped, a little faded from the summer sun, but the message blares, throbs – loud, clear, and meant for him. Funny, you wouldn’t think it would hurt so much…just a simple phrase. That two words could be so deafening with their subtle truth…causing a constant pain that never ceases, only grows. A simple reminder of what he is…and isn’t. “EARTHLINGS ONLY”…

If only…

He’s gaze returns to the roof, for one last look, one last image of her sitting on her chair, staring at the stars. He lowers his head and turns down the alleyway. He disappears into darkness and Liz on the roof turns to look at the fire escape, as if she can see him, watching him go. She closes her eyes again but opens them quickly as the phone near the chair rings.)

Liz (looking at her watch and then answering the phone): I’ve been waiting.

Alex (on the other side of the line): Am I that predictable?

Liz: Alex, you’ve called every night…at 10:00 for the past three months…you’re a Timex.

Alex: Well then, at least I’m dependable, fashionable, and shatter proof – even when dropped from the top of Niagara Falls.

Liz: Don’t tempt me.

Alex: Hey now…

Liz: How’s Maria?

Alex: Good, in the middle of a John Hughes marathon.

Liz: Don’t tell me…Sixteen Candles, Breakfast Club, and Pretty in Pink.

Alex: Close. Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, she just finished Some Kind of Wonderful and is about to start Say Anything.

Liz: That’s not John Hughes.

Alex: Quote, it might as well be, it goes with the overall theme and she’ll watch whatever she wants, end quote. Oh, and she’ll be calling you in an hour when she gets to the whole pen scene.

Liz: An hour? She’s probably trying to call as we speak.

Alex (pausing): You doin’ okay?

Liz: Does it matter if I say no?

Alex: Yes.

Liz: No.

Alex: It’ll be okay tomorrow. Trust me.

Liz: With my life.

Alex: Ditto.

Liz: Don’t be late tomorrow morning.

Alex: 7:30, I’m a Timex remember.

Liz: Yes, but Maria’s a sundial…

Alex: Don’t worry, I’ve scheduled the pick up for 6:45…giving me enough time to get her ready and be at the Café by 7:30.

Liz: I’d reschedule for 6:30...

Alex: I…would not worry about if I were you.

Liz: Fine, just don’t be late.

Alex: Yes, and you don’t be up all night. Get some sleep.

Liz: I will…

Alex: Goodnight Liz.

Liz: Night Alex.

(Alex hangs up his phone and leans back in his chair. He looks at the computer and sighs. He’s hacked into the schools database for the last time. The screen shows Max’s schedule. Alex lifts his gaze to the giant drawing of the West Roswell High School campus tacked to the wall. The map legend has eight different colored dots with assigned names to them. Seven dots of each color are placed and numbered throughout the campus.

A close inspection shows that the dots for Alex, Maria, and Liz are strategically placed as to avoid the dots for Michael, Isabel, Max and Tess. The eighth dot, Kyle’s, overlaps with at least one of the four aliens for all seven of his classes. Alex rests his hands behind his head as he carefully studies his handiwork. No classes together, no lunch together, no crossing paths, no more-than-necessary daily reminders…almost.

His eyes focus on the red and green dots both labeled with the number 7, placed together in the same classroom. He lowers his arms and shakes his head. It was so close, so almost perfect…so thwarted by only one class of A.P. Chemistry being offered.)

Alex (reaching for the mouse and closing down his computer, under his breath): Damn.

(Scene: 7:31 a.m., outside the Crashdown. Liz is standing near the sidewalk looking down the street for the Jetta. She looks down at her watch and lets out a frustrated sigh. 7:32 a.m. She looks down the street again to see the Jetta speeding toward her. It pulls up and she reaches for the back door. Alex, in the passenger seat, bends his arm up, and reaches his hand behind and around the headrest so his watch face is staring at Liz as she slides into the seat. It reads 7:29.)

Liz: Your watch is wrong, that is not using Greenwich Mean Time…this (she leans forward and bends her arm so her watch face is directly in Alex’s face) is.

Alex: Says who?

Liz: The World Clock.

Maria: Give it up Alex, do not mess with her when it comes to time, she like calibrates it every day or something by calling the Time Line – or whatever it is.

Alex (looking at Liz): You do realize that you have a serious problem right?

Liz: I just like to be on time that’s all.

Maria: Okay, but can I just clarify here that this is not on time it’s like a half an hour early. And I did not need to be woken up at 6 this morning. (She shoots Alex an evil glare)

Liz: I had nothing to do with that. (Both Maria and Alex turn in their seats to look at her.) What?

Maria: You…have a problem.

(She turns around in her seat and they take off down the road.)

Maria: I mean, now we’re just gonna be sittin’ around in the parking lot, for 30 minutes, contemplating how this is like the second worst day of our lives and the beginning of 200 more days just like it. While I could have had 30 more minutes of sleep and denial.

Liz: Like you were really sleeping.

Maria (looking at Liz in the rearview mirror and squinting): I hate you sometimes.

(The song on the radio stops and Santana with Everlast ‘Turn Your Lights On’ comes on. Maria looks at the radio then quickly reaches over and changes the station.)

Maria (under her breath): And I hate that song.

(Scene: The Jeep, driving the streets of Roswell heading in the direction of Tess’s house. Michael’s in the passenger seat and he reaches forward turning up the volume to the radio station. He closes his eyes and leans back in his seat listening to the song.)

Isabel (also listening to the song): I used to think there were monsters under my bed. (She looks away, under her breath) Now the monsters are everywhere.

(The Jeep pulls up to the house and Tess opens the door and steps out. Nasedo watches intently from the doorway as she jumps in the Jeep and it drives off. He shakes his head then shuts the door.)

Tess (handing little 3 by 5 notebooks to Isabel and Michael): Here.

Michael: What are these?

Tess: We need to keep a list of all the new students…anything, anybody that stands out. Just because we haven’t been approached or felt them yet, they could be here.

Isabel (waving the notebook at her): And this isn’t obvious? If I saw you writing in this, you’d qualify for my book.

Tess (glaring at her): Then don’t use it. Write it wherever…but write it down. It would take someone less than an hour in this town to hear about the shooting last year and start looking for Max…(rolling her eyes) and or Liz. And the first place they’d look now next to the Crashdown is school.

(At the mention of Liz’s name, Max tenses and watches the conversation in the backseat through the rearview mirror. Michael notices Max’s extra firm grip on the steering wheel and reaches over to the radio and turns up the volume, cutting off the ability to hear anything in the Jeep. Tess glares at the back of Michael’s head and looking at the radio, turns it off. Michael glares at the road in front of him.)

Tess (directed at Michael): Nasedo can’t protect you forever and you clearly can’t protect yourself.

Michael (irritated): I don’t get why we’re even bothering with school.

Max: Yea, you explain to mom and dad why Isabel and I don’t have to go anymore.

Isabel: I have to side with Michael on this one…it’s unnecessary and…(barely audible) painful.

Tess: Get over it. We don’t know who we’re fighting and at least here we’re…protected by Valenti. This way they come to us, and it’s not like they’re gonna open fire in the middle of gym class or the lunch quad.

Isabel (under her breath): No, but I might. (She looks at the radio and it turns on again, just as the Jeep passes by the high school parking lot.)

(The scene turns into the parking lot as the Jeep passes it. Inside the little red Jetta sits three very apprehensive and very quiet humans. Each lost in their own thoughts, visualizing the unlimited number of nightmarish scenarios this day could lead to. The only one who looks in any way at ease is Alex. He knows they’ll be fine, except for Liz – her false sense of hope built up from a Max-less day, to be shattered the moment that Chemistry door opens. He looks at her in the side mirror and sighs. It makes his pain less if he can take theirs away. He’s so concentrated on Liz’s emotionless face that he doesn’t notice the shadow walking toward him. Kyle bends and looks into the car, tapping on the window. All three passengers jump and look at him. Alex rolls down the window.)

Kyle: What’s this, a new correspondence class? Out of the car.

Maria: Sure you don’t want to join us? We could just skip.

Kyle: I think they’d start to get a little suspicious after the first couple of months of you not showin’ up.

Alex (looking at Maria and then Liz): We’re good…it’s all good. We are in control.

Maria (raising her eyebrow): Is that the best you can do? “It’s all good?” Your pep talk is missing the pep.

Liz: He’s right. We’re in control. I’ve always looked forward to the first day of school…and this year it shouldn’t be any different. Let’s go.

(Kyle opens Liz’s door and she steps out, as does Alex. Maria lets out a deep breath then follows suit. Liz walks over to Maria and puts her arm around her and rests her head on her shoulder.)

Liz: Think Teflon.

Maria: Right.

(Kyle walks up to the side of Liz and Alex follows right behind him. The four of them head toward the school buildings. By chance Alex looks to his right and notices another group of four off in the distance heading toward them.)

Alex (softly to Kyle): Power Rangers, three o’clock, veer left.

(Kyle quickly glances at them then leans into Liz, veering her and Maria off toward a different building.)

Liz: What are you doing?

Alex (who’s now standing to the side of Maria): Taking the scenic route, there’s some new trees you haven’t seen by the football stadium.

Maria (looking at him suspiciously): And you’ve seen them when you’ve been what? Practicing football? Spying on the cheerleaders?

Alex: Walking the neighbor’s dog…Thank you very much.

(They walk around the building avoiding the otherwise inevitable meeting. The aliens head into the main building, each scanning the halls searching for unfamiliar, and familiar, faces. They stop in the middle of the main intersection and look at each other. Isabel reaches out and fixes Max’s collar, taking the moment to look into his eyes and show him that he’s not alone.)

Max: See you third.

Isabel: Yea.

Tess: Remember, they could be anywhere.

(Michael looks at Max, sharing in a moment of mutual recognition that the ‘they’ they’re thinking about is not the one she meant.)

(On the other side of campus Kyle, Alex, Liz and Maria are ready to head separate ways. Alex brushes back a strand of Liz’s loose hair.)

Alex: Lunch…and remember…we are in control.

Liz (smiling at him): Whatever you say Chief.

(Alex turns to Maria and she shakes her head at him.)

Maria: Work on that before you try it on me, okay.

Kyle (to Liz): I’m here if you need anything.

Liz: I know, thank you Kyle.

(Kyle and Alex head off in the same direction leaving Maria and Liz to watch them go. Maria squints and tilts her head at the curious sight of Kyle Valenti and Alex Whitman walking the halls of West Roswell High together.)

Maria: See now that’s a site more unbelievable than all of Czechoslovakia.

(Liz nods in agreement and they head into the classroom. Down the hall Kyle and Alex turn the corner and stop.)

Kyle: You got it covered?

Alex: Yea…all classes.

Kyle: You gotta show me how to do that stuff.

Alex: Yea, that’s all we need, both of us in jail.

Kyle: True…better it’s just you.

Alex: Thanks.

Kyle: See you at lunch.

Alex (sarcastically): I’ll be waiting with baited breath.

Kyle: Whatever Whitman…just don’t choke.

(Kyle turns and heads down the hallway. He makes a couple more turns down various hallways and enters a classroom. Max sits in the back of the room with his head bent down as he gently fingers the carvings in his desktop. He doesn’t notice the person sitting down next to him. In fact he doesn’t really notice anything around him until he hears Kyle’s laughter. Max looks up and over at Kyle, talking with a bunch of his jock buddies, who have somehow congregated around Max. Kyle doesn’t acknowledge Max but knows he’s watching him. The bell rings and the teacher starts talking.)

(Scene: Various ones of school. Maria constantly searching the hallways as she apprehensively walks between classes…

Michael having to fight from looking every time he sees a girl with short blonde hair out of the corner of his eye…

Tess writing in her little notebook as a teacher calls roll in one of her classes...

Isabel suspiciously eyeing Kyle, sitting next to her in yet another of her classes…

Max looking out the window at nothing…feeling nothing…

Alex yawning in his English class…

Liz sitting in a class, head bent in full concentration on the empty notebook staring up at her. Protected by the curtain of her hair, she’s oblivious to the eyes that have been following her every move.)

(Scene: Seventh period. Liz, head bent again over her notebook, is already sitting in the front row as other students start to filter into the classroom. Her body stiffens instinctively as Max enters the room. He feels her and quickly looks around the classroom, finding her back to him. He closes his eyes and turns to his left, heading for the back row. The class fills and the bell rings as the teacher enters.)

Ms. Brown (as she enters the classroom, directed to a student starting to pull out a notebook): Don’t get too comfortable. (The student freezes and the teacher heads to the front) Well, you’ve all saved the best for last. I’m a new teacher here at West Roswell, and to the state of New Mexico actually. My name’s Ms. Brown and that’s what I like to be called.

(She eyes her class.)

Ms. Brown: This is seventh period Advance Placement Chemistry. How many of you have taken an A.P. class before?

(A few students, including Liz and Max raise their hands and the teacher nods.)

Ms. Brown: Not too many…that’s good. (She looks around the room) The purpose for A.P classes is to give students the chance to earn college credit…so ladies and gentlemen welcome to college. We’ll lecture three days a week, lab two days a week, and test once a week. This is a serious subject, I am a serious teacher and I expect serious students…if you’re not, I suggest you find another class.

(Slight cries of panic creep from the students as she walks behind the desk and flips through a folder lying on top of it. She finds a piece of paper and pulls it out.)

Ms. Brown: Take a good look at the person sitting next to you… (The students just look at her and she smiles)…and say goodbye. If I can’t choose who I get to work with, then neither do you. (The students all look at each other) We don’t have a lot of time so collect your things and stand to the side.

(The room slowly begins to rustle as slightly frightened students gather their stuff together and stand up.)

Ms. Brown: We’ll start in the back…Mr. Ontiveras, Ms. Shields…Ms. Gardner, Ms. Redes…Ms. Smith, Mr. White…Mr. Robinson…

(Ms. Brown continues to call out names as she goes through the rows of stations. One of the students sits as he’s directed and looks disapprovingly at his lab partner. He looks back to Ms. Brown, who’s moved on to the next row, and raises his hand)

Ms. Brown (looking up from her list to see his hand): Mr. (she looks down at the paper) Johnson, the answer is no. These are non-negotiable. If I have to work with Mr. Beckley down the hall then you Mr. Johnson have to work with Ms. Canadas. (She looks around the room and continues pointing to the front table that Liz is standing near.) Ms. Parker. (Liz moves to her seat) Mr. Evans. (Max doesn’t move and the teacher looks around the room) Is Mr. Evans with us today?

Max (reluctantly from the back): Yes.

Ms. Brown (eyeing him): Then I suggest you take your seat….Mr. Chavez…

(Max lets out a deep breath then slowly walks to the front table. He slides into his seat looking straight ahead of him. They sit there, not moving, not acknowledging each other, and both aware that this is not going to work. The teacher moves to the front of the room and sets her roll sheet on her desk. She looks up to see another student raising her hand. She checks for her name.)

Ms. Brown: Ms. Walker the pass is by the door, the restroom is around the corner, you, have 5 minutes. (The student doesn’t move right away, totally taken aback by Ms. Brown knowing what she was going to ask.) I said I was new to this school, not that I hadn’t done this before…you’re five minutes has started I suggest you hurry. (At that the student gets up and heads for the door) And I suggest we get started. Open up your desk drawers and cabinets and pull out your equipment. I’m passing out an inventory list, if you don’t have something then you can find it at the back, if you don’t know what it is, then I suggest you figure it out.

(The class, still in a frightened state, hesitantly starts to open their drawers – all except Max and Liz. They remain unmoved, adamantly looking forward. Ms. Brown notices them and walks up to their table.)

Ms. Brown: I’ve heard great things about you two…and I have high expectations. (She looks between them) Whatever this is, I suggest you deal with it or it’s going to be a very long year. (She gives them one last look before heading to another table.)

(Scene: Parking lot after school. Maria and Alex are at the Jetta waiting for Liz.)

Maria: It’s like the gods chose last night to actually start listening to me…I mean, I didn’t even see them all day, are they even here? (She shakes her head) Nevermind, I don’t care, all I care is that I don’t have to look at them. (She looks up at Alex) Do you think Liz got lucky too?

Alex (letting out a sigh, knowingly): No.

Maria: Oh…wait (she eyes him suspiciously) how do know?

Alex (leaning back against the car): It’s good to be a God.

Maria (punches him in the arm): You did this?

Alex: Just lookin’ out for my own.

Maria (grabbing him and kissing him): I love you…and it’s not for your funky pants.

Alex: Which you picked out…

Maria (pulling away from him): What about Liz?

Alex: I couldn’t.

Maria: How many classes?

Alex: Just one.

Maria (looking back at the school buildings): Chemistry…No wonder she’s not here. (She looks back at Alex) Who is it, him or the Beastmaster?

Alex: Him.

Maria: I don’t know which one’s worse. (She looks back at the school.) She’s gonna be awhile…the office is packed the first week of school.

Alex: You would know.

Maria: Hey, I’ve only made the occasional error in scheduling judgment. (Alex looks at her sideways) Okay, I don’t know what I was thinking with that Home Ec. class last year…or the A.P English attempt…and…

Alex: Okay, back to now…what do you want to do?

Maria (pulling out her keys and handing them to Alex): Take her home. We’ll walk.

Alex: You sure?

Maria: Yea, she’ll wanna walk after this.

Alex: Call me.

Maria: Why? You call me at 9:30 every night Alex…why stop now?

Alex: Just for that I might.

(Scene switches to the office. It’s mildly chaotic with students standing everywhere waiting to get into see one of the counselors. Liz enters the room and stops, seeing the mass of people. She steps farther in, toward a guy leaning against the wall.)

Liz (softly): Are you in line for Mrs. Perez?

Guy (pointing to the row of people off to his right): Take a number.

(Liz looks at all the people sitting and standing and sighs)

Liz: Great.

(Scene cuts to the opposite side of campus. Michael and Isabel stand in the shadows of a tree waiting for Max and Tess.)

Isabel: I didn’t see them at all today. Are they even here?

Michael: Jetta’s in the parking lot.

Isabel: Did you see them?

Michael: Does it really matter?

Isabel (shaking her head and looking away): It’s just weird, I mean, what are the odds?

Michael (looking at her): Impossible. (Isabel quickly looks at him and it finally registers with her.)

Isabel: Right. (She looks away, softly) Alex.

Michael: Let’s hope Max got as lucky.

Tess (walking up): Hey.

Michael (frowning): Where’s Max?

Tess (pulling out the keys to the Jeep): Said to leave without him – needs to get out of a class.

Isabel (looking at Michael): Guess that answers that question.

Tess (looking between them confused): What?

Isabel: Nothing…let’s go.

Tess: I called Nasedo – he said to meet him at the cave tonight at 8…(she looks at Isabel) and you should make sure Max comes this time.

Isabel: I’m not my brother’s keeper.

Tess: Well somebody needs to be.

Michael (annoyed): Can we save this for another time, I’ve already got a headache.

(Scene: School hallway. A classroom door opens and Ms. Brown and Max exit.)

Ms. Brown: I’m sorry Max but I can’t change my policy…it’s my first day, I instill fear for a reason, and I would lose all credibility.

Max: I understand.

Ms. Brown: Ms. Hardy had such wonderful things to say about you two. I rarely put couples together for this very reason but she seemed to think…well, I don’t know what she thought. Are you sure you can’t work it out?

Max: Um, no. I think it’s um…pretty permanent.

Ms. Brown: Well I’m sorry to lose you in my class.

Max (nodding): Me too.

Ms. Brown (looking at him concerned): Are you okay?

Max (shaking his head and looking at her): Yea…yea, I’m fine.

Ms. Brown: I’ll be looking for you next year.

Max (nodding again): Yea, it might be easier then. (Ms. Brown looks at him curiously and he looks up at her) Better head to the office. Thank you.

Ms. Brown: Anytime Max…anytime.

(He turns toward the office, and Ms. Brown thoughtfully watches him go. When he reaches the office the crowd seems to have dwindled with only a few students lingering. He enters the main office just as Sheriff Valenti exits the principal’s office. Valenti nods to him as he passes him and exits the larger office. Max is too busy suffocating in the sensation of Liz having been in the room to acknowledge the Sheriff, and then he hears her voice coming from another side office.)

Liz: Are you sure?

Mrs. Perez: I’m sorry Liz but it’s only being offered seventh period. If you want A.P Chemistry you’re going to have to take it now or next year.

Liz (letting out a sigh): With AP Physics.

Mrs. Perez: Looks like it.

(Max moves a little closer to try and get a glimpse of her sitting in the chair. He takes another step and Liz instantly stiffens.)

Liz (with conviction, and loud enough for him to hear): I’ll do it – just get me out of that class.

Mrs. Perez: Alright, but I’m warning you, you might not like your options.

Liz (softly): Anything’s better.

(Max takes a step back. Retreat – if he could run away, he would…and he’d take her with him. He lets out a pained sigh. When does the hurting stop and the numbness come? He leaves the building and walks around a corner, almost stepping on the form of Maria sitting on the ground doodling in her notebook.)

Maria (irritated and picking up her papers that went flying): Hey!

Max (hesitantly): Maria.

Maria (quickly looking up): Max.

Max (figuring why she’s there): She’s almost done. I would have done it but she got there first.

Maria: She doesn’t need any favors.

Max (looking away): Right. (He keeps his eyes down and away from her. He can’t look at her – it’s too painful…seeing her, feeling her anger and sadness and fears.) Be careful.

Maria (eyeing him): Always, but you should worry about yourself, Max. You’re not the leader of us.

Max (swallowing and taking a forceful breath): Right…I’m sorry. (He shakes his head and quickly leaves)

Maria (her shoulders sink as she inwardly curses herself, softly): Me too.

(Scene: Streets of Roswell. Liz and Maria are walking home from school, having a heated discussion – as evident by the animated arm movements of Maria.)

Maria (stopping): What!

Liz: What?

Maria: Liz, you cannot take Auto.

Liz: Why not – you took Woodshop.

Maria: I flunked woodshop, and was not alone in that department, and was not the only female in that class.

Liz: I’ve always said that I was going to take it. Everyone should take it.

Maria: It’s one thing to say you’re taking Auto, it’s an entirely different thing to actually take it.

Liz: It should be a basic requirement for life…I mean how much time do we spend in cars, and how much do we actually know about them. If we broke down I wouldn’t even know where to begin…I don’t even know how to change a tire.

Maria: Yea, well, you don’t just change tires in Auto, Liz…you get…dirty. And you have to like check fluids and take the engine apart and put it back together.

Liz: I know, doesn’t that sound fun.

Maria (looks at her like she’s crazy): Fun would not exactly be the word I’m looking for at the moment. It’ll ruin your g.p.a.

Liz: The way I see it a car is like an organism with all these different systems and parts that make it function. Just like Biology…Besides if we’re going on all the road trips we talked about this summer someone needs to know how to fix the Jetta.

Maria (under her breath): He couldn’t have been a little faster could he?

Liz: What are you talking about?

Maria: You didn’t have to transfer out – he was going to. (Liz looks at her) He ran me over on his way out.

Liz (shaking her head, softly): I would have transferred anyway.

Maria: Why?

Liz: He touched the table…and all the equipment…I would have felt him everyday.

Maria: Don’t you think this it’s just a little weird?

Liz: I don’t question it anymore – I just wish I could stop it.

Maria (nods, after a pause): You realize that Mr. Yeager is going to hate you.

Liz: He’s not going to hate me.

Maria: Liz, you wear skirts and sandals – he’s going to hate you. We need to go shopping.

Liz: Shopping, Maria it’s all just gonna get dirty.

Maria: That’s why they call it a thrift store. (She shakes her head) Just remember when you get your first B, from this whole experience, I did warn you.

Liz: I’m sure, if I was going to be getting a B, you’d remind me, but I’m not, so you can save it. Enough! How was your day…was it…okay?

Maria (her tone grows serious): Better than okay…thanks to Alex.

Liz: Why Alex – other than the obvious entertainment reasons?

Maria (looking at Liz): Did you see any of them until last period.

Liz (thinking about it): No, not really…(she looks at Maria) he didn’t?

Maria: He did. Clearly the boy has been warped from any fear of partaking in illegal activities. We’ve corrupted him.

Liz: You didn’t see them at all?

Maria: Except for the hallway incident…I was Czech free.

Liz: Wow.

Maria: It’s good…(she looks at Liz) Right?

Liz (thoughtfully): Yea…(looking at Maria, softly) good.

(Liz looks away from Maria, trying to hide the hesitancy in her eyes, but Maria can hear it in her voice and it only echoes her own. They walk in silence, lost in similar thoughts, grappling with these unexpected feelings. It’s what they wanted – it’s enough to think about them every second, of every hour, of every day, to see them only magnifies the pain…or does it?

The wave of relief that comes from their absence brings with it an undertow of indefinable emotion. It’s like the drying up of a once beautiful creek or the last leaf falling from a now dead tree. A sense of finality that wasn’t expected…hadn’t been prepared for. Which hurts more – to see them or the idea of never seeing them…to have a flicker of hope or none at all?)

Liz (swallowing, softly): It’s a good thing.

Maria (nodding): Yea.

(Scene: Highway 380, nighttime. Max is driving with Michael in the passenger seat and Tess and Isabel in the back.)

Isabel: What I want to know is what he does all day.

Tess: He’s looking out for us.

Isabel: Is that what he tells you?

Tess: He doesn’t tell me anything, but what else would he be doing?

Isabel (under her breath): I could think of a few things.

Michael: What’d he say we were doing tonight?

Tess: More of the same…I don’t know, he seemed antsy on the phone. (Looking at Max) And he seriously wanted to talk to you. (Max meets her eyes in the rearview mirror) I don’t know why you keep doing that to yourself…you really need to move on.

Max: You really need to mind your own business.

Tess: Sorry Max, but your business is all of our business especially when you follow her around, threatening all of our lives. The smartest thing she did was leave you, you’re just too weak to see it.

Isabel (getting pissy before Max can respond): Weak?

Tess: You know what I mean.

Isabel: Like you’ve ever had to ‘leave’ anybody. Spare me your behavioral lectures and insights.

Michael: And spare us the catfight.

Tess: What do I have to do for you…make nice with a human so I can join ‘the group’? Spare me your princess act.

Isabel: Oh wait, I think I am the princess.

Max (warningly): Isabel.

(Tess shakes her head as she looks at Isabel then Max and finally Michael. Some brother, she shakes her head again and looks around the car, some best friend and lover. She’s never felt more ‘alien’ than in their company…more alone than when she’s with them. The dreams were better…infinitely better than this. But this is temporary.)

Michael (breaking the silence after a long pause, to Max): I need the Jeep for class starting tomorrow.

Isabel: Why are you taking that class? It’s not like we can’t fix things if they break.

Michael: It’s better than taking Psyc. or Chemistry – at least it’s useful.

Max: What exactly are you gonna do to the car?

Michael: You know…take it apart and put it back together…basic stuff.

Isabel (laughing): Last time you tried that the car engine blew.

Michael: Once, I did that once…and I have a lot more control now.

Max: Just be careful with her… I don’t want anything happening to her.

Michael: Are you saying you don’t trust me?

Max: Not in so many words.

(Scene: School. It’s a different day and there’s a definite difference in the attitudes of Maria, Liz, and Alex. The apprehension is gone, as is the searching of faces in the crowds. But their faces are still long, and their auras still ones of seclusion. They don’t really talk to anyone other than each other and Kyle...they don’t really need to, or want to.

Kyle is probably enjoying school more than he ever has. He continues to sit near the aliens in his classes – constantly watching them. Subtly, not so subtly, or just plain blatantly.

Tess continues her searching of faces, but to her they’re all unfamiliar except the occasional classmate she recognizes from last year. Max remains indifferent to anything but the carved art on his various desktops and the windows with views. Michael and Isabel try…it’s all they can do, and at least it keeps them busy.)

(Scene: Seventh period, auto shop. Mr. Yeager is talking with a student at his desk as Liz enters the shop.)

Mr. Yeager (stopping his conversation to look over at Liz): Parker. I thought that was a mistake on my roll sheet. What are you doin’ in this class?

Liz (confidently): Learning about cars.

Mr. Yeager (eyeing her closely as he walks toward her): In that? (He nods at her knee length skirt and open-toed sandals)

Liz (pulling out a pair of overalls from the bag she’s holding): I was thinking this.

Mr. Yeager (now standing close to her, and slightly impressed with her attitude): You know you’re gonna have to earn your grade in here. Just because you’re first in your class doesn’t mean I’ll give you an A.

Liz (making a sweeping glance around the large shop filled with cars and guys watching her): Wouldn’t want it any other way. (She looks back at the teacher) The way I see it, a car’s an intricate organism and this is just another lab.

Mr. Yeager (inwardly smiling): Good, just as long as you don’t expect special treatment…(looking down at his roll sheet) or mind getting your nails dirty. You got your own car?

Liz: Is that a requirement?

Mr. Yeager: No, we pair up, your answer picks your partner.

Liz: No.

(The sound of a car driving into the shop makes Mr. Yeager look up.)

Mr. Yeager: There’s your partner now.

(Liz looks at the Jeep driving into the shop, her face falls and her breathing stops. When it pulls into the stall and she can see that it’s Michael and not Max, she lets out the breath she was holding. She looks up at Mr. Yeager as he turns to leave)

Liz: Is he the only option?

Mr. Yeager (turning to her): You already asking for special treatment?

Liz: No…(quickly recovering) he skips a lot I want to make sure I always have a car to work on.

Mr. Yeager (smiling at her): I’ll make sure you do.

Liz: Thank you.

(Yeager watches her walk over to her stall with a stubborn smile on his face – damnit he didn’t want to like her. Michael is propping the hood up as Liz hesitantly approaches the Jeep. She sets her stuff down and the noise causes Michael to peak behind the hood to see who it is. Shock doesn’t describe the look on his face when Liz turns to look at him.)

Michael (harsher than intended): What are you doing here?

Liz (defensively): Learning about cars, you – learning how to fix them after you blow them up?

Michael (eyeing her and noting the tone): Don’t expect any favors.

Liz: Don’t expect to skip this class.

Mr. Yeager (from the front of the shop): Alright, let’s get started…Parker, your attire…

(Scene: After school. Liz walks toward the parking lot where Alex and Maria are waiting for her. Maria looks at her and shakes her head. Liz has grease on her face and remains of it on her hands.)

Maria: Disgusting, (she takes her hand and examines it) how are you going to work like this?

Liz: It comes off, I just wanted to get home.

Alex (watching her carefully, and very aware of who else is in that class): How was it?

Liz: Would have been better if I could have used the Jetta.

Maria: No way sister, I pity whoever has you working on their car.

(Scene cuts to the Auto shop where Michael is starting the engine. Max turns the corner at the shop’s car entrance and freezes. He stares at the Jeep, slowly driving toward him, as it gets closer the panic on his face grows and he takes a step back. Michael looks at him curiously and drives up to him. Max takes another step back and just looks at the Jeep.)

Michael: What?

Max (he shakes his head and doesn’t know what to do, he finally looks up at Michael): I can’t…

Michael: What are you talkin’ about? Get in, let’s go.

Max (not moving, under his breath): I ‘cleaned’ it…

Michael: Come on Maxwell, she’s the same as she was at lunch, we didn’t do anything to her today.

Max (looking up at him): We?

Michael (understanding slowly dawning): Me and…my partner.

Max (swallowing): Who’s your partner, Michael?

Michael (letting out a sigh): I’m sorry Max. I didn’t know, she wasn’t in the class yesterday…(Max raises his hands to his head and closes his eyes) Can’t you just make it stop?

Max (angrily): Don’t you think I would’ve by now! Do you know what it’s like to feel her in everything that she touches or room she’s been in…or…(He looks up at Michael and shakes his head and lets out a sigh) This isn’t going to get any easier is it?

(Scene: Crashdown. Liz’s is standing on a stepladder outside, re-painting the ‘earthlings only’ sign on the window. A better than average, blonde haired, tall, lean, teenager walks toward the entrance and stops, eyeing what Liz is painting.)

Guy: You have to enforce that often?

Liz (turning to him): You never can tell. (She looks at him closely) You’re new here.

Guy: But I come in peace.

(Liz dips the paintbrush in the can and begins painting again.)

Guy (under his breath): Tough crowd.

Liz (not looking at him): We have English, Math, and World History together.

Guy: Impressive…should I be flattered or frightened?

Liz: Neither. I just like to know who I might be working with.

Guy: Would you like a resume so you can verify my qualifications?

Liz (looking sideways at him): If it’s necessary.

(Inside Maria drops off an order to a table and looking up sees Liz and this guy. She watches the guy closely as she slowly walks to the door.)

Maria (to Liz while looking at the guy): You okay?

Liz: Yea. You doin’ okay in there or do you need me?

Maria (squinting and thoroughly inspecting this poor guy): I’m good.

(Maria gives him another suspicious once over then returns to work inside the Café. The guy watches her leave a little unnerved by her behavior.)

Guy: Friendly place.

Liz (looking at him): We try.

Guy (holding her gaze): So is the food as nice as the staff?

Liz: Depends. (She returns to painting and he watches her, a smile creeping over his face.)

Guy: Do you seat yourself?

Liz: That’s what the sign says.

Guy: Which section’s hers (he motions toward Maria)? She kinda scares me.

Liz (looking through the window at Maria, who’s still watching them): She should. (She finishes up the ‘Y’ and steps down from the ladder. And looks at him) The front…and the counter.

(She picks up the large can of paint next to the ladder and walks past him into the Café. He smiles and follows her. Hands full, she turns at the backroom door and backs into it. He watches her disappear as he slides into the second to last booth. After a few moments Agnes comes over and drops a menu off to him and stands waiting for his drink order. He looks at her confused and then to the backroom door as Liz, dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, comes out of it and heads to the counter where Maria is.)

Liz: I’ll be back.

Maria: I’ll be here.

(Maria looks to the guy at the booth, who is now disgruntledly giving Agnes his order while watching Liz. Maria smiles and Liz turns to leave, she throws the guy a look of indifference, and walks out the front door. He watches her leave and catches Maria’s penetrating gaze as he turns his head back to his table. He holds her gaze until Agnes drops his drink off in front of him.)

(Scene: Crashdown, late that night. Liz is sweeping the front.)

Guy (on what looks like a cell phone): Got her…No, she’s a hard one, she’ll take some work. The others?…Even harder. Haven’t tried the boy yet, but if he’s anything like these two…I know…Yes…Only from a distance, he’s strong, his sister’s the strongest…No. He hasn’t made himself known yet. I know, immediately…Yes…I will. (He hangs up the phone and watches Liz, after a few moments) No wonder he saved you…let’s see if you can save him.

posted on 15-Sep-2001 12:46:12 PM
Title:Do You Hate Yourself?
Author: N/A
Disclaimers: I own nothing and no one...
Summary: At the time of writing this I actually hadn't seen the "end of the world" episode. Pretty much all of season two disgusts and disappoints me - especially this storyline. I just think that once the realization of what Liz did - what (future)Max asked her to do - sunk in, she'd be really, really, really angry...and this is the missing journal entry expressing that anger. This wasn't written for posting anywhere, but I figure what the hell...

Do you hate yourself? I hate myself. I hate you too. I don’t know who I hate more, me or you. Can you look in the mirror? I can’t. It makes me sick. Does it make you sick to have to look at that face, your reflection, knowing what you’ve done to us? I hate her, the face staring back at me. I hate what she represents… Perfect Liz Parker, daddy’s little girl, responsible, unselfish, with this future in front of her that doesn’t exist anymore. You took it from me. I wish I could be selfish like you. I wish I could take it back. But it’s gone, just like you.

I hate you for leaving me here. I hate you for coming here, for asking me to give up my future so you could have one. Didn’t you know that you were my future? Didn’t you know that I could never love anyone like I loved you, that I could never be with anyone but you? Didn’t you know after all of those years we spent together, that you were my life? Didn’t they mean anything to you – all those years? Or did it only matter to you that I loved you enough to do anything for you – anything you asked? You knew that…that’s why you came, because you knew, all you had to do was ask…and watch.

Watch. How very painful for you, excuse me if I hate you even more for just standing there and watching me rip out my own heart, watching me sacrifice every happiness I was supposed to know, watching me slowly die. But you’re not watching anymore are you? You don’t even remember, do you? You’re living this different life now. You don’t even know – you’ll never know what you asked me to do for you…only what I did to you. That’s what you know, what you think – that I did this. That I did this to you…to us. That I betrayed you. That I lied when I said I loved you. That I would throw what we had away…You think I chose this, that I wanted this. But I didn’t, did I? You did. You wanted to hate me…to be with her.

Are you happy now…with her? Do you love her? Is there a part of you, however small, that hates her for not being me? God I hate her. She’s everything I was supposed to be for you…your love, your future, your…But I hate her even more because you chose her. After everything we had, everything she did, you…you chose her. It didn’t have to be this way, there were other ways – there had to have been. Other people you could have gone to, other things you could have done…But it doesn’t matter does it? Doesn’t matter what you could have done, because this is what you did. This is what you chose.

And how could you? When she abused you – she made you see and do things you didn’t want to…she killed Michael, my god, she killed Isabel, and …us. She killed us. She ended the world, don’t you see that? She did, not us. It was her hate that ended it, not our love. I see that now. Why didn’t you see it? I hate you for not seeing it. She ended the world and you saved it. But you didn’t save it, did you? I did. Do you think it was selfless of you to come here and ask what you did? Did you think you were making the noble sacrifice? Well, fuck you! We’ve already covered the fact that you don’t have to remember any of it. You don’t have to live with what you’ve done – I do. You didn’t have to give up anything – I did. I gave up everything for you…I saved your life, and Isabel’s and Michael’s, and…and who saves me? Who fixes me now? There’s no one…just me, left here to fix myself, to live with myself…to hate myself. You don’t have to hate yourself…you just have to hate me…and love her. She’ll take away your pain eventually, and I have the rest of my life to learn how to live with mine…

posted on 15-Sep-2001 12:58:23 PM

this started as one story, that turned into a trilogy, that evolved into a universe...that someday I'll finish.

Title: “Dealing”
Author: N/A
Email: ajrocchio⊕
Rating: PG – for language, I guess
Category: Max/Liz
Disclaimers: The characters of Roswell belong to the WB, among others, but if I could have them for one episode, it would go something like this (music and all).
Summary: ****Takes place after the “Balance” episode from season 1****
Author’s note/soapbox: The Max/Liz “breakup” was inevitable. The question is where will the writers go with it. Several options lay before them...What I hope they do is actually use the “space” to really develop a relationship/friendship between the characters of Max and Liz. But before that can happen Liz needs to get a little angry, say a few things. Max can break them up but Liz gets the last word. And I think she’s the one who needs to set the tone for where this thing is going. So with that in mind….here’s the show:

(Scene: Liz bundled up lying on her roof looking up at the stars)

Voice over: It’s amazing how our lives are just millions of moments. In one second – an instant – everything can change. How in a moment you can realize you’re not as strong as you thought you were. Or how one moment you can feel…I don’t know…like you’re floating…and then the next it’s like you’ve crashed. And how is it that some people can have these amazing feelings one second and the next act like they don’t feel anything at all?

(Scene: Crashdown Café, late in the evening, Liz and Maria are standing at the back counter)
Music: Ani Difranco – Carry You Around

Liz: Maria do you think you could take over my tables – I need to do some…stuff.

Maria: What…(she turns to see Max, Isabel, & Michael in the act of sitting down in Liz’s section) Liz, I’m telling you, you just need to give him a solid piece of your mind. Walk up to him and…

Liz: Please.

Maria: Fine, but your missing a very therapeutic opportunity here (Liz watches Maria walk over to the table to take their order)

Cook: Order up.

Liz: Thanks (she delivers the food to a table and before going into the back room glances at Max – eyes meet and she quickly turns and walks through the double doors. Max watches her go)

Maria (looking at Max): Yea, she’s not on the menu anymore, remember. You are here for food, right?

Max (annoyed): Just give me a Will Smith burger and a coke.

Maria: Okay so we’ve got two cokes, one Will Smith burger, one Sigorney Weaver – hold the onions, some Moon Craters, one (looking at Michael) Alien asshole Blast, and a super sized bottle of Tabasco, coming right up. (She walks away)

Michael: Why are we here?

Max (still looking at the double doors, motions to Isabel): Ask her.

Isabel: What can I say, I love the service.

(Scene: Next day at school. Liz is walking to class and Max purposely walks around the corner into her)

Max: Hey.

Liz: Oh, hey.

Max: How’ve you been – I haven’t seen much of you.

Liz: Yea, well I’ve been busy.

Max: Liz…

Liz: Listen Max, I’ve gotta get to class. One more tardy and I think I have detention. (Liz walks off into a classroom and Max watches her go)

(Scene: English Class)

Teacher: Okay, before the bell rings I want to talk about the largest writing assignment for the quarter. It’s an autobiographical sketch. (Sighs are heard, teacher starts passing out handouts) You may think that as 15 and 16 year olds you don’t have much to tell. But you’re wrong. The framework for who you are has been developing since the day you were born. I want to know who you are at this point in your life and the moments that have helped define you. This is the first in a series of college prepitory assignments. It will be worth 30% of your grade…(Bell rings) Read the handout and tomorrow well discuss the peer review process.

(Scene: Lunch area, Isabel and Alex are siting together, Max is heading for the table)
Music: Billy Bragg and Wilco – Hoodoo Voodoo

Alex: Okay, so you can manipulate molecules – I’ve grasped that – now give me the good stuff. Can you change form, never get old, fly, what?

Max (as he sits down at the table): Fly? We’re not from NeverLand.

Alex: Hey, we don’t know where you’re from, for all we know you’re Peter Pan and she’s Tinker Bell.

Isabel (laughing): Who’s Michael, Tootles?

Max (irritated): Did she tell you that we’re incredibly strong?

Alex: Okay, so you’re superman without the leaping from tall buildings. Still gotta be more.

Isabel (containing her laughter): Manipulating molecules is pretty much the basics Alex. I mean we use that to heal ourselves, fix things or break them.

Alex: What’s the use of having powers if you can’t do anything remotely evil. Okay, other than that whole killing thing. I mean can you mess with people’s heads, read minds?

Isabel: Read minds? Not exactly.

Alex: Not exactly, this is good, continue.

Isabel (she’s sidetracked watching Max follow Liz across the area to sit by herself to eat lunch): So what’s up with Liz? She’s been avoiding us for weeks. (Looking at Max) What did you do to her?

Max: Nothing. I needed some space, after what happened to Michael; things were just out of control.

Alex: Well this, is definitely space. I’ll be back. (He gets up and walks over to Liz)

Max (motioning toward Alex): What’s this?

Isabel: Alex? He makes me laugh. Besides, it’s nice having someone you don’t have to pretend with. You know someone to talk to. Which is currently much more than I can say for you. There’s space, Max, and then there’s whatever this is. You should talk to her.

(Scene switches to Alex and Liz)

Alex: The lovely Ms. Parker, eating alone, again.

Liz: Hi Alex.

Alex: Where’s DeLuca?

Liz: I don’t know, I think she had some project or something, I think the library, or lab, or maybe it was woodshop…(she trails off)

Alex: Okay Liz, what’s up?

Liz: What? Nothing.

Alex: Remember, we don’t play the “nothing game” with Alex anymore.

Liz: Alex I’m fine, just busy.

Alex: Uh uh, busy filling what Liz, (uses is hands to illustrate the quotation marks) “space”.

Liz (glaring): You realize you can be irritating sometimes, don’t you?

Alex: Brutal honesty, we’ve moved way passed the sugarcoated stage. Besides, I’m still trying to get a grasp on this whole “not of this world” thing, and I could…

Liz (interrupting and looking at Max and Isabel talking): You seemed to be doing just fine.

Alex: You should join us. (Liz starts to say something) Oh, let me guess – busy.

Liz (smiles): I just need to figure some things out.

Alex: I’m here for you Liz.

Liz: Thanks Alex – I think.

(Scene: Next day in English Class)

Teacher: Okay. (She starts walking around the room handing out papers) I’m handing out some exercises to help you with your autobiography. You’ll find a name of a fellow student in the upper right hand corner. This is your peer review partner. It’s an important tool to be able to give and receive constructive criticism. Everything you do for this project will be read and critiqued by your partner. (She hands Liz her paper. Liz looks down then glances over at Michael, who turns around and looks at her.) I want an introduction and outline by Monday. Get with you partners for these last few minutes of class. For tomorrow define “respect” together, in your own words not Mr. Webster’s. Criticism in this class is for helping each other, nothing else.

Liz (takes a deep breath, gets up and sits next to Michael): Pretty interesting assignment, uh?

Michael: Pretty lame if you ask me. There’s not much to my life and what there is it’s not like I can write about it.

Liz: I know what you mean. It seems like the important stuff is off limits.

Michael: Whatever, the bell’s gonna ring.

Liz: Okay so “respect” (the bell rings and Michael leaves) is something obviously missing here.

(Scene: Crashdown, late, Liz is behind the counter cleaning to the music and singing along to the song. Max watches her dancing for a moment then opens the door. She barely hears the bells on the door ring)
Music: Aretha Franklin – Respect (playing really loud)

Liz (yelling): Sorry we’re closed (She looks up to see Max) Oh (she walks over to turn the music off).

Max: Nice.

Liz: Oh, the music, yea, uh…research for English class. (There’s a pause) What are you doing here Max?

Max: Liz, you avoid me at school or ignore me and I, I just want to know how you’re doing.

Liz: It’s called space Max.

Max: Right. It’s just been, well, it’s been weeks Liz.

Liz: Weeks? It seems like yesterday.

Max: I wish you could see things the way I do, the way I have to. I play it over in my mind…and Liz…we’re two different species – species not races. Nothing can ever come of that.

Liz: Max I get that. I really do, you know, the species thing. I also get that you’ve created this world of control and self-discipline for yourself. And I’m getting that I seem to threaten that. I get a lot of things Max, but what I don’t get (she pauses) is why are you here? Why do you keep coming to the Crashdown, running into me at school?

Max: Liz…

Liz: But the big thing I don’t get. Why did you save me Max?

Max (confused): Liz, I…

Liz: Why?

Max (a little embarrassed): Liz, I told you…

Liz (interrupting rudely): No Max, you really didn’t.

Max (completely stumbling): Liz…um…I…uh…I guess I really can’t explain it, the way you want.

Liz: You can’t or you just don’t want to, cuz if you did, if you said it out loud you’d actually have to deal with it? I mean let’s be honest with each other Max. When you deal with something by not really dealing with it at all – that’s not dealing that’s denial. Max, your life is a lie. Lying to everyone you know. It’s all about pretending, hiding your feelings, your secrets, everything. At some point it must get pretty easy to lie to yourself and just pretend things away. Well I can’t. I need to deal with things. And I’m trying to understand what this is between us…what I’m feeling. (Liz starts to walk out from behind the counter) You didn’t want space Max, you wanted time to run away. (As she turns the corner she accidentally knocks over a tray of ketchup bottles – they break on the floor, she lets out a frustrated sigh) Look I’ve got work to do.

(Liz walks through the double doors into the back. Once out of sight she stops and leans forward into the wall, holding back tears. After a moment she goes and gets the mop. When she returns to the front the ketchup bottles are sitting on the tray on top of the counter.)

(Scene: Before School at Max’s. Max is waiting for Isabel in the jeep and Michael walks up)

Michael: You look like shit.

Max: Rough night.

Michael (sounding somewhat disgusted): Let me guess – Liz?

Max: This space thing…It isn’t going how I thought.

Michael (amused): What’d you expect Max, she’d be overjoyed to be downgraded to “buddy” status.

Max (ignoring him): She’s so angry…and hurt…and there’s nothing I can do. She wants more…

Michael (interrupting): She wants?

Max (looking at Michael angrily): Does it really matter?

Michael: No Maxwell it doesn’t. Cuz either way you say it you’re screwed.

Max: Thanks.

Michael: It’s called reality Max, and you’re welcome…What is taking her so long, you’d think she was getting ready for the damn prom.

Max (playfully pissed off): What’s with the extra attitude today…and when have you ever been in a hurry to get to school? (Michael just gives him a quick glare and sits back in the jeep looking impatient)

(Scene: Various scenes from school including: one of Michael watching Maria from a distance – looking like he is going to talk to her, but losing nerve at the last minute; an angry/frustrated Michael scene; one of the English class with Michael’s seat noticeably empty; one of Max and Liz in lab; and the last scene the lunch bell rings and Liz makes a very cold exit from lab)
Music: Jayhawks – Waiting for the Sun

(Scene: Lunch Quad, same day. Michael, looking very frustrated from another failed attempt at talking to Maria, is walking hurriedly through the quad. Liz is trailing behind him trying to get his attention.)

Liz: Michael. Michael!

Michael: What? (He stops and turns around, looks at Liz – who is taken aback by his overt rudeness) Did you want something Liz?

Liz (stumbling): Um...I

Michael: Whatever. (He walks off)

Liz (standing there, under her breath): That went well.

(Maria walks up to Liz)

Maria: Impressive.

Liz: Thanks. I have no idea what that was.

Maria: Get in line. I don’t think I’ll ever understand what that (nods her head in Michael’s direction) is. You save a guys life and where’s the gratitude?

Liz: What am I going to do Maria?

Maria: Well, I was thinking we get some rope….

Liz: Maria.

Maria: What? Why do you have to talk to him anyway?

Liz: English. The biggest assignment for the quarter and half of my grade depends on him.

Maria (amused): Uh, good luck with that.

Liz: What am I gonna do?

Maria: Okay, well you definitely need a new approach. You’ve gotta be firm – firm and angry. No, no mean, really mean (Liz is looking at her with a “are you kidding me” look) What? Okay, okay, stick with firm – mean, not one of your stronger qualities.

Liz (seeing Max across the way, under her breath): I can do angry.

Maria: Are we still on for Saturday?

Liz (distracted): Yes – Star Watchers – Saturday night, seven o’clock. (Bell rings)

(Scene: Same day, after school in the parking lot. Michael is waiting by the jeep and Liz walks up to him)

Liz: I need to talk to you.

Michael: If it’s gonna go like last time, can we just skip it?

Liz: Whatever, look just give me your English outline.

Michael: What?

Liz: The autobiography.

Michael: That – I’m not wasting my time.

Liz: You’re not doing it?

Michael: No.

Liz (sounding irritated): You’re not doing it? (She sees Max and Isabel approaching) Try again.

Michael (startled by her tone): What?

Liz: This paper is worth 30% of my grade – and half of that grade depends on you. You want to be mean and nasty to me Michael that’s fine. But if you think I’m gonna let you fuck around with my grades – try again. If I don’t have your outline by Saturday morning at the Crashdown, I know where you live, I have no plans for the weekend, and I’m sure Hank and I can find something to talk about. (Liz gives Michael a look and as she’s leaving glares at Max – who just walks up with Isabel as she leaves)

Max: What was that?

Michael: No, who was that? (Looking at Max) What did you do?

Max: I told you she was angry.

Isabel: Angry Max? Understatement. Are the two of you purposely trying to piss off the people who our lives, technically depend on. Cuz, if that’s your plan, get a new one. (She gets into the jeep, exasperated) Honestly, the two of you…

(Scene: Crashdown. Saturday morning. Michael walks in, Maria sees him and goes into the backroom for Liz)
Music: Martin Sexton – The Beast in Me

Maria: Today is your lucky day.

Liz: No. He didn’t.

Maria: Firm – works well for you babe.

Liz: What am I gonna do? He wasn’t suppose to come…

Maria: Liz, get a grip. You’re just gonna go out there, offer him some breakfast, and then talk to him, you have to talk to him.

Liz: Right.

(Liz walks up to the booth)

Liz: Hey

Michael: Hey

Liz: Do you want some breakfast?

Michael: Sure give me a breakfast burrito.

Liz: One generic alien-themed breakfast burrito (Liz goes to the counter and places the order. She comes back and sits at the booth. There’s a long pause) So.

Michael (looking irritated): So.

Liz (nervously): Look Michael…I’m sorry…I’m so sorry – God I’ve been wanting, needing to say that to you.

Michael (attempting humor): I’m assuming that’s not for your behavior at school?

Liz (looking at him obviously upset): I hesitated...I…hesitated, Michael.

Michael (after a pause): Liz, you were worried and scared – granted it was more for Max (Liz looks away, Michael stops, after a pause) Look, we all do what we can, and what matters is that you came through in the end. I’ve already told you I know I can trust you…and count on you.

Liz: Right – my journal. (She pauses) You know, I had a question about that (Michael is about to protest) What? You can read my most private thoughts and I don’t get to ask you one of yours? (Michael sits back in the booth) What did you mean when you said now you have one more reason to envy Max?

Michael (after another pause, trying to get out of answering, with rudeness): Well it certainly wasn’t you. (Liz gives him a patronizing gaze and he fidgets, looking uncomfortable) Max always seems to have people who care about him, people he can turn to, talk to. He’s got his mom and dad, Isabel, and even after knowing everything about him – he has you…

Liz: Michael, you have Maria. (Michael startled/confused looks at Liz and she realizes he’s clueless) Obviously you don’t see that.

(Maria walks over to the table)

Maria: Okay we’ve got one ungrateful alien burrito and a milkshake, enjoy kids. (Liz takes a sip of her milkshake and glances up to see Michael watching Maria walk away. Michael looks back at Liz)

Michael: Can we cut the chit-chat and focus on why I’m here.

Liz: Yea.

(Liz and Michael exchange papers. They start reading and after a bit Liz looks up at Michael, and Michael looks over at her.)

Michael: What?

Liz: You can write.

Michael: I can read and do arithmetic too.

Liz: No, I mean you can write, Michael – really write.

Michael: Yea. (he returns to reading her paper)

Liz: Why do you hide it, you know your talent, your intelligence?

Michael: Why bother?

Liz (frustrated): I give up – I don’t get you, either of you. It’s been what 50 years. Do you see the mothership coming anytime soon? You people are stuck here. And your answer to that is to build these walls around yourselves to keep you from enjoying any of the possibilities that being stuck here has to offer.

Michael: It’s not that simple Liz.

Liz: Right. You get a few good grades, go to college, make something of yourself and what, people are gonna think you’re an alien? Max and I go on some dates and people automatically think he’s from another planet. It’s as simple as you want to make it Michael.

Michael: It’s about survival and weaknesses. You can’t understand. Getting attached to people or things…It’s like Max, you have him so fucked up…if he had to leave tomorrow, there’s no way he’d go.

Liz (leaning over the table): Michael, if Max had to leave tomorrow…there’s no way I’d let him stay. (Michael looks surprised at her response) You don’t really think much of me do you?

Michael (taken aback): Liz, I…

Liz: It’s fine Michael, why would you…I mean, aren’t I the reason for all of this. You know, first Max risks exposing you by saving me, and then he shares with me his most intimate secret…but it’s not just his, it’s yours too. So without discussing it with you, Max risks your future…for me…and here we are. (Michael, looks at Liz a little stunned and a little impressed) And now it’s our turn – you know, lying to our parents, Valenti, the FBI. You might think it’s the least I can do – and I’d give you that – but what about Maria…and Alex? They don’t owe you anything Michael. And yet they do it – (she shakes her head) not for me, but for you. (Michael’s gaze drifts over to Maria, Liz pauses) Think of me however Michael, but the least you can do is treat them with some decency…some respect. (She pauses noticing Michael watching Maria) She deserves that. (Michael looks at Liz) Ignoring her or avoiding her won’t make her go away…or care for you any less…

Michael (in a soft tone, looking back at Maria): What about you? (He looks at Liz and she looks at him confused) Avoiding Max, gonna make him go away?

Liz (gives a weak smile and looks away, with evident pain in her voice): No…he’s doing that on his own.

Michael (looking at Liz intently, after a pause): Liz, you’ve had a (searching for the word and giving up)...He’s not going very far – trust me. (Maria walks by and Michael follows her with his eyes and under his breath says) None of us are.

(Michael and Liz both look down at their papers and then look separate ways, drifting off into their own thoughts)

(Scene: Later in the day at the Crashdown. Michael and Liz are wrapping up. Liz leaves the table with her stuff. Michael lingers awhile. He finally leaves with one last glance at Maria. She starts to clean the table. Picks up his plate and then sets it down again. She looks around the café and then picks up a napkin that was hiding under the plate. It has a bunch of silly drawings of Maria beating up on Michael and the word “uncle” written beneath them. Maria smiles, looks around for Michael again and then puts the napkin in her apron.)
Music: Moon Seven Times – Knock

(Scene: A park. A group of people are gathered for a monthly stargazing class, some are lying on the ground, others are sitting in chairs or still standing)

Liz: I don’t know if he’ll come – I don’t…really know…what happened this morning.

Maria: Oh, he came, and not alone.

(Liz turns around and sees Michael with Max in the distance walking their way)

Max: You didn’t tell me she was going to be here.

Michael: I told you she was the one who told me about this.

(Liz turns around)

Maria: I know, go, I can handle the Beast.

Liz: Thank you. I just need this weekend – Monday is a new me.

Maria: We’ll see…drive safe.

(Liz walks off)

Max: I can’t stay Michael. You’ll have to get a ride from Maria or Liz.

Michael: What, wait…(Max hurries after Liz)

(Maria and Michael walk in each other’s general directions)

Maria: Hey

Michael: Hey

Maria: You’re obviously a Star Watcher virgin. (She tosses him a pillow)

(Scene switches to Max and Liz)

Max: Liz wait. Liz (she stops) stay. I’ll go. Michael didn’t tell me you’d be here or, I never would have come.

Liz (turns around): Max it’s fine. I’ve been to lots of these. And it’s been a pretty…interesting day; I could use a quiet night to process it. (She starts to turn back around)

Max: I’m sorry for hurting you. Just being who I am – somehow – it will always hurt you. That’s why it had to end, Liz. No matter what feelings were involved. It just needed to end before it got even more complicated. I only hope you can…you can understand that someday.

Liz: End Max? (She turns around to face him) It doesn’t just end.

Max: Liz.

Liz: No Max, for me, this will never end. (She pauses) The day after the shooting…when you came to the Crashdown…when you touched me Max (she pauses) when you touched me…I saw your soul, and at that moment it – you – became apart of mine. So this, this doesn’t just end. You can’t take it back Max….and I’ll never let it go.

Max: Liz. I…

Liz (sounding tired): I know, Max (she pauses)…you want to be friends, I want to be more. But if friendship is all you can give me, well then it’s all I get. And I need to deal with that. Better than I have been. A lot…better…then I have been. I’m sorry for what I said to you the other night. It was completely, completely…

Max: True.

Liz: It was wrong of me to say those things, to judge you.

Max: Liz, what you said…it was true…because it has to be. To hide my feelings isn’t a choice, it’s a necessity. I can’t do this any different. (He looks at her with sad eyes) But it isn’t easy…if…if this was easy for me (he pauses) you’d be dead. If it had been…if it had been anybody else that day…anybody else Liz. But it wasn’t…it was you. Why I did it, doesn’t make a difference. Because what this is, between us, can only ever be friends.

Liz (stands there looking intently at Max, like she’s reflecting on his words, then finally in a “defeated” tone): Well, you’re just gonna have to be patient with me then. Cuz you and me Max, there will always be something…something between us that’s more than friends. I can’t pretend that away, (she pauses, looks up at him out of the corner of her eye) and what hurts most, is that you think you can. (She pauses. Music in the background starts: Red House Painters – Revelation Big Sur) Goodnight Max.

(Liz turns and walks to her car)

Max (watching her drive off, looking painfully sad): Goodnight Liz.

(Max turns and sees Michael and Maria talking, sitting in their chairs. Maria starts laughing and Max slowly starts walking toward them.)

(Scene: Liz coming into her bedroom. She sets down her stuff, turns on the radio – the music gets louder – then flicks the mouse of her computer and the screensaver stops, revealing her Autobiographic sketch on the screen. She takes a moment to look over what she’s written, then highlights the paragraphs under the INTRODUCTION heading, deletes them, and begins typing:
“Who we are is a lifetime in the making. And while a life is made up of millions of moments – they do not define it. It is the challenges we face that define us, by testing our beliefs, testing ourselves. Some challenges we triumph over, and others we barely survive through. The challenges of life make us stronger, by showing us our weaknesses. They constantly force us to redefine who it is we are.
Five months ago I could have told you exactly who I was, what I believed, who and what I was going to be. And now? I’m just beginning to find out who I really am. You see, four months ago I started a journey, an incredible journey. It is without a doubt in my mind the challenge of my life. Where it will take me or who I will be at the end of it – I have no idea. You would probably have to ask me in 20 years or so. In the mean time though, for the purpose of this assignment, you will have to settle for this: moments and insights into the Liz Parker I thought I was.”

Liz sits back in her chair and reads what she wrote. All of a sudden her backpack – which was resting on her grandmother’s book – and the book, fall off the edge of her desk. When she picks up the book and turns it over she sees an illustration of the design on Isabel’s necklace. She looks up at the computer screen)

Liz: Did I say 20 years?

posted on 15-Sep-2001 1:01:53 PM
Title: “Lost Treasures” (Dealing trilogy, part 2)
Author: N/A
Email: ajrocchio⊕
Rating: PG
Category: Max/Liz & Others
Disclaimers: I guess I lied…The characters of Roswell still belong to the WB, among others, but apparently I need to borrow them for two more stories…
Summary: My attempt to get to the “UFO Convention” episode a different route.
Author’s note/soapbox: As much as I like the Counting Crows, I’ve taken the liberty of finding Max a more fitting band (in my opinion) for his complex personality. If you’re unfamiliar with Red House Painters, I can’t really describe them, thoughtful male music is the only thing that comes to mind – think Nick Drake. Anyway…on with the show:

(Scene: Liz’s Bedroom. Liz is lying in bed, just waking up – eyes still closed)

Voice Over: I think subconsciously every morning I expect – no, more like wish – to find things…“normal”. You know, where Max Evans is just this ordinary boy with nothing to stop him from being with…ordinary me. And for a moment it seems so possible – you know, that moment between sleep and awake. (Liz rolls over in bed and her face lands on her grandmothers book. Without moving she opens her eyes and looks down at the book and closes her eyes again) But it’s only a moment. And there’s always something to remind me…that I really don’t know what…“normal” is anymore.

(Scene: Liz’s Kitchen, early Saturday afternoon. Mrs. Parker is fusing about the kitchen. Liz walks in carrying her grandmother’s book and wearing her pajamas, she yawns)

Mrs. Parker: Good afternoon sleepy.

Liz (yawning again): Afternoon?

Mrs. Parker: You’ve finally learned the art of sleeping in (she smiles at Liz). Were you up late studying again?

Liz (sitting down at the kitchen table and setting the book on the table): Sort of.

Mrs. Parker (looking down at the book): I’m surprised you don’t have that memorized yet – it seems it’s all you’ve been reading lately.

Liz: It’s just really interesting, that’s all.

Mrs. Parker (goes back to fusing): They should come today.

Liz: You think?

Mrs. Parker: Well, your father called the lawyer in Phoenix on Monday – he said they’d be shipped by Wednesday.

Liz: I can’t believe it – did he say how many boxes?

Mrs. Parker: Some ungodly number like 10 or 11. They’ll probably come to the Café but make sure they bring them up here.

Liz (panicked): The Café…

Mrs. Parker: You have an hour. Pancakes?

(Scene: Max’s Bedroom. Max is lying on his bed with his eyes closed listening to a CD, Isabel walks in)
Music: Red House Painters – Katy Song

Isabel: Feeling depressed, a little self-loathing…

Max (eyes still closed): You want something?

Isabel: Max, you combat depression by listening to, I don’t know, “happy” music. This stuff is just more depressing (looking at Max) if that’s possible. (She walks over and turns off the music. Max opens his eyes and looks over at her. Her tone changes to concern) Max….

Max (cutting her off): Isabel…There is a reason for this visit?

Isabel: Family outing? Movie starts at 2 so if we want lunch you need to get your depressing ass out of bed…you’ve got 30 minutes. (She turns the CD back on and leaves his room)

Max: Great.

(Scene: A pretty empty Crashdown. Liz is cleaning up a table at the front of the café. Her back is to the entrance so she doesn’t see The Evans family entering)
Music: Wilco – Can’t Stand It

Mr. Evans: You kids come here all the time. Your mom and I haven’t been here for years, we thought it would be fun. Is it really that big of a deal Max?

(As Mr. Evans finishes saying Max’s name, Liz turns around and is only a little over a foot away from the family. Max’s mom is smiling at Liz, Max looks down and away from her, Isabel doesn’t know whether to be amused or disgusted, and Max’s dad is clueless)

Liz (startled): Hi there.

Mr. Evans: Sit anywhere?

Liz: Yea. You’ve got your pick of tables today. Just go ahead and have a seat and I’ll be with you in a minute.

(Liz turns grabs the dirty dishes container and heads to the back, while the Evans pick a booth – Max and his mom are sitting on the isle. Liz comes back out; glances are exchanged between her and Max – mom notices. Liz walks over to the table)

Liz: Can I get you something to drink?

Mrs. Evans: I’ll have a diet Coke.

Mr. Evans: I’ll have a Cosmic Cherry Coke.

Liz (skipping Max and Isabel): Are you ready to order?

(The bells on the front door jingle as Maria enters the Crashdown. She looks over at the situation in progress and tries to hold back laughter - unsuccessfully)

Liz: Okay, so we’ve got two diet cokes and two cherry cokes, one Sigorney Weaver, one Close Encounter, one Will Smith, and one E.T., anything else? (There’s a pause) I’ll be right back with your drinks.

(She leaves and Maria is waiting for her at the back counter)

Maria: You’d think they were at the dentist or something. Look at that face. (Liz turns around and the look on Max’s face is pure dread she turns back around and then starts filling their drinks) Major fighting it. You should go fiddle with the cash register or something just to make him miserable.

Liz (looking at Maria sternly): Maria, play nice.

(Liz walks over to the table with the drinks)

Liz: Here we go. Your food should be out in a few minutes. (She’s about to go when Max’s mom touches her arm)

Mrs. Evans: Liz, right?

Liz: Yes, Liz Parker.

Mrs. Evans: You were in the car accident with Max?

Liz: Yes. That was a pretty frightening day.

Mrs. Evans: Just lucky that no one was seriously hurt.

(The door to the café opens and the UPS man walks in. Liz sees him)

Liz (to Mrs. Evans): If you’ll excuse me. (She walks over to the UPS man and goes outside with him)

Mrs. Evans (looking at Max and smiling one of those smiles only a mother can smile): She seems like such a nice girl.

Max: I’m going to the bathroom.

(Scene: Backroom of Crashdown. The door to the outside is open and the UPS man is unloading boxes to bring in and take upstairs. Liz is directing him. Max steps out of the bathroom and sees all the boxes, shoots a puzzled look at Liz and goes back to sit down. Liz comes back to the front – says something to Maria and then leaves)

(Scene: School. Out in the quad, before school, Max is sitting down at a table reading a book and Michael walks over)

Michael: How was Saturday?

Max (not looking up from his book): Really rather not talk about it.

Michael: Isabel told me it was pretty entertaining.

Max (looking at Michael): Lunch with the family and then a movie, no big deal.

Michael (holding back a smile): Where’d you eat?

Max (going back to his book): I have a feeling you already know.

Michael (sounding more serious): Well, what movie did you see?

Max (reluctant): End of the Affair – mom’s choice.

Michael (laughing): Yea couldn’t stop laughing when she told me that. (Sees Maria walking across the quad) Gotta go.

Max: Thank you. (Max keeps reading his book and doesn’t notice Liz approach the table and sit down across from him.) Forget something?

Liz (puzzled): Excuse me.

Max (looking up from his book startled): Liz – I thought you were Michael.

Liz: Easy mistake. (She smiles and then reaches in her backpack and pulls out her grandmother’s book. She pushes the book over to Max)

Max (reading the title): Lost Treasures by Claudia Parker. (He looks up at her questioningly)

Liz: Page 93. (Max, confused, opens the book and flips to page 93 – which has the illustration of the design found on Isabel’s necklace, his eyes widen and he looks up at Liz) I wanted to show it to you sooner.

Max (in shock): What is this?

Liz: It’s the last paper my grandmother published before she died. (Max starts flipping through the book, looking for more.) Page 100. (Max looks up at her then back at the book – page 100 has a photograph of the cave it was found in) I’m sorry that I didn’t show it to you sooner, things were…well…and I wanted to wait until the rest of her things came.

Max (not looking up from the book): The boxes.

Liz: Yea. There are eleven of them. All her books, her notes, I think her computer’s in one…

Max (still reeling from the discovery): Liz…

Liz: I’ve memorized the book so take it Max. It’s only that last chapter – Unexplainable Images. I’ve spent the last couple of weeks reading it and re-reading it and it’s the only place I can…

Max: Liz…I…

Liz (she pauses): Max, I want to go through my grandmother’s boxes before we tell anyone. I need to research this before we start sharing.

Max (hesitating): Liz…I don’t know…I

Liz (interrupting): It’s my grandmother Max, and I didn’t have to share it with you.

Max (looks at Liz – who’s very serious): Can I…at least, help?

Liz: I’m off tonight if you want to stop by. I’ve only opened two boxes so far…Promise me Max.

Max: I won’t tell anyone. (He looks down at the book and Liz gets up to leave. He looks up at her still shocked) Liz…

Liz (she stops him): I know. (She walks off and Isabel is off in the corner watching them with a “huh” look on her face)

(Scene: Liz’s Bedroom. Her floor is covered with boxes and books – complete mess. She’s trying to arrange them so she can walk around. There’s a knock on the door)
Music: Mazzy Star – Fade Into You (playing softly)

Liz: Come in. (Max, opens the door and almost laughs at the mess)

Max (smiling): Never would have taken you for a messy one.

Liz (glaring back): It was the one condition my mom insisted on – I keep the mess to my room. Can you imagine what our house would look like with this stuff everywhere – total disaster.

Max: How you gonna keep this from Maria?

Liz: Oh, she knows about it. She just doesn’t know why.

Max (taking off his coat and setting down his backpack): What can I do?

Liz: Well, I’m trying to make a path from the bed to the door and one to the dresser. I figure we’ll empty the boxes out on the bed and try to keep the floor clear. I’ve made room for her books along the wall and…I’m not sure where the computer will go.

Max: Well let’s get started.

(Liz bends down to open another box and Max starts to pick up loose papers and books off the floor. Max grabs a handful of stuff and pulls out from under them Liz’s bra. He looks at it, obvious embarrassment. Liz notices he’s stopped and stands up.)

Liz (embarrassed grabs it from him): Oh, sorry...

Max (points to the door): I’m gonna go…

Liz: Yea I’m gonna make sure there’s nothing else…

(Max leaves and stands in the hall and has a flash of that bra – it was the same one she wore when he saved her. Liz pops her head out of the doorway, still flushed with embarrassment)

Liz: All clear. (Max pauses in the hallway for a moment to collect himself and then goes back in the room – leaving the door cracked open.)

(Various Scenes: Max and Liz arranging books, emptying boxes, picking up things off the floor, siting on the bed going through folders and notebooks.)

Mrs. Parker (poking her head in the door): You kids hungry?

Max (looks up from reading): What time is it?

Mrs. Parker: It’s about 7:30.

Max (looking at Liz): I’ve gotta go.

Liz (to her mom): Mom we’ll be out in a minute.

Mrs. Parker: Okay, sure you don’t want to stay for dinner Max?

Max: I can’t, thank you though. (Mrs. Parker leaves. Max sighs and looks at Liz) I think I’m leaving you with a bigger mess than when we started.

Liz: To be expected. (Realizing the possible double meaning in what she just said) The mess I mean…you know…as we open more boxes it just grows…exponentially.

Max: Liz...

Liz: I’m sorry we haven’t found anything yet Max. I’ll get to these last boxes tonight, there’s got to be something.

Max: Thank you. (Liz looks up at him) For letting me help.

Liz: I know this is important to you Max…and I knew you’d be…(wanting to say “hurt” but saying this instead) disappointed…if I kept it from you. (Max looks away from her, back to the bed full of papers.) You want to take some? I haven’t gone through this pile yet (she holds up a bunch of folders).

Max: Are you sure?

Liz: Yea, I think I can trust you with them.

(Scene: School Quad. Maria and Alex are walking the quad together)

Alex: So I was thinkin’…about taking Isabel to…the spot. (Maria stops and looks at him)

Maria: You mean “the” spot…like “our” spot?

Alex (hesitant): Yea.

Maria: Have you discussed this with Liz?

Alex: What, do I need…permission?

Maria: Uh…yea. The spot has been shared with no one Alex. (She looks at him suspiciously) W-h-y?

Alex: What? You don’t…are you kidding…strictly platonic.

Maria: Uh uh. In her mind.

Alex: Hey, I look in the mirror and reality slaps me in the face…I don’t even register on Isabel’s social radar. (Maria is still looking at him questioningly) Look…I’ve just been thinking…We know this…insanely personal thing about these guys and they don’t really know anything about us. I just thought I’d share something…personal…with Isabel…you know to show her she can trust me.

Maria (smiling): Ah…The sensitive guy approach.

Alex: Well, if I haven’t learned anything from being best friends with two girls for 8 years – then I’m definitely wasting my time.

Maria (hits him in the arm): I’d still talk to Liz first.

(Maria and Alex continue walking and in the far corner of the quad Max and Liz are sitting at a table unaware that Isabel is standing off to the side watching them with a look of “disapproval”)

(Scene: Crashdown, early evening. Isabel is sitting at the counter keeping an eye on Liz, who stands behind the counter away from Isabel. Kyle walks in and sits at the counter in front of Liz)
Music: Big Back Forty – Blood

Liz: Kyle.

Kyle (smugly): Hey Liz (He looks around the café) Where’s your boyfriend?

Isabel (out of hearing distance from Liz and Kyle): Jerk.

Liz: Kyle, I don’t have a boyfriend.

Kyle: Oh that’s right. Dumped was it…how does it feel Liz?

Liz (about to say something, changes her mind, looks away from Kyle): It’s like what suffocating must be like, you know, knowing that you’re dying…except I just won’t die. (She looks up at his taken aback face. He wasn’t expecting that and it shows. Neither was Isabel, having overheard, who now has a shocked look on her face) Did you want something Kyle…other than the obvious?

Kyle (stumbling): Liz…I’m…I’m…sorry.

Liz: You know Kyle, I am too. Cuz, no matter what happened, I would never…try to hurt you…like you just did. (She walks away, into the back, and Sheriff Valenti walks up to Kyle)

Sheriff: What was that about?

Kyle (quietly): Nothing. Let’s eat somewhere else tonight, okay?

Sheriff (looking at the double doors where Liz exited): Whatever you say.

(Scene: Sheriff’s Truck, nighttime, same day. Kyle in the passenger seat looking deep in thought. Sheriff keeps looking at the road and then over at Kyle)
Music: Garth Brooks – Much Too Young (To Be This Damn Old) – country music, definitely not my forte, however who can resist a song with this title?

Sheriff: You were pretty quiet through dinner. Want to talk about it?

Kyle: No.

Sheriff: This about Liz?

Kyle: Dad.

Sheriff: Sorry, just tryin’ to help.

Kyle (looking out the window): I really liked Liz…I…I thought I did. I don’t know, maybe I’m madder at Liz breaking up with me then the actual ending of our relationship. (Looks over at his dad shakes his head) I must be nuts.

Sheriff: This have to do with earlier?

Kyle: Maybe…I don’t know…but whatever Max did to Liz – it must have been somethin’.

Sheriff (looks at Kyle questioningly): What makes you say that?

Kyle: Just something she said. (He reaches over and turns the radio up loud enough to stop the conversation)

(Scene: Crashdown, same day. After closing, the chairs are all up on top of the tables except one which Liz, in uniform, is sitting at with papers everywhere. Max is mopping the floor, the old fashion way)
Music: Cowboy Junkies – Any song off the Trinity Session Album (it is the most seductive late night mopping music you can come by)

Liz: Okay so the drawings were discovered by an anthropology field class in 1965…but listen to this (reading from notes) “Photographs taken in 1932 and 1955, of the same cave, do not show any indication of the existence of the petroglyphs in question. Carbon-dating tests on ink scrapes from the images produced inconclusive results.”

Max: Okay, but why…how’d they get there?

Liz (she pauses): Max, I think it was Nasedo. (Max stops mopping and looks at her) Maybe he went from reservation to reservation, staying with something that made him feel comfortable, you know, after the way River Dog treated him. And maybe he left a mark wherever he went…maybe so you’d be able to find him, or at least trace his steps. (They share a glance. Max with a pensive face continues mopping and Liz pauses for a moment to watch him mop. She shakes herself out of it and starts shuffling through papers) See, right here...I’ve been going through grandma’s interview notes and five different people mention a strange “white” man – a recluse – who came to the area in the early 60’s and was living near the cave. When she asks about him, they say that he just…left in 1968…disappeared. (She flips through more papers and looks up at Max) Max, they called him the “visitor.”

Max: Let me see. (He walks over to the table and leans down and over Liz’s shoulder. His head is really close to Liz’s. She turns her head slightly away from his, closes her eyes and takes a deep breath, like she’s smelling him. Max looks at her out of the corner of his eyes – realizes what he’s doing and stands up. Liz slides out of the chair and grabs her glass.)

Liz: Need a refill. (She walks over to the soda machine and fills up her drink. Max watches her go and then sits down in her chair and looks over the papers. Liz comes back and sits across from him)

Max: It has to be him…but why would he leave?

Liz: Grandma’s contact database is on the computer…we can call some people, I’m sure they’d remember who she was.

Max (reading the papers on the table for awhile and then looking up at Liz): Your grandma was a pretty amazing person.

Liz (smiling): She was wasn’t she. She was everything I want to be, you know, an incredible woman. I wish you could have known her.

Max (pauses): What about your other grandparents?

Liz: I never got to know them. I think it makes my mom sad sometimes – when she sees how close I was to Grandma Claudia – sad that I never got to know her parents, what they were like or who they were. (She looks up at Max and sees a flinch of sadness on his face) Max, I’m sorry. (He looks at her) I can’t imagine what it must be like for you – not knowing who your parents are or where they are or…

Max (finishing for her): If they’re dead…or waiting for us…out there somewhere.

Liz (in her soft comforting tone): Will find him Max and he’ll give you those answers you’re looking for. (They share a “connecting” gaze. Liz looks away and stands up) It’s getting pretty late.

Max: Right.

(Liz starts to pick up the papers. Max goes back and grabs the mop. There’s still part of the floor that he hasn’t finished mopping yet and as he’s walking back to put the mop in the backroom he cleans the rest of the floor using his powers)

(Scene: Max’s Bedroom, same day. Isabel is lying on his bed waiting for him to come home. He opens the door and turns the light on)

Max: What are you doin’ here?

Isabel: Where’ve you been?

Max: Iz…it’s late and it’s none of your business.

Isabel: You’ve been out, a lot lately Max. What’s going on?

Max (setting things down and taking off his coat): I’m tired and if you don’t mind…

Isabel: Max.

Max (getting mad): What Isabel, what do you want?

Isabel: Just…humor me Max…tell me what’s going on…what you’re feeling…what…

Max (interrupting her and sounding very irritated): I don’t like your sense of humor.

Isabel: Max, let me help. Just tell me what you’re going through…

Max (angry): You want to know…you want to know what I’m…going through? (He walks over to the bed, sits down next to Isabel, looks her in the eyes and touches her arm. They connect and Isabel makes a painful wince. He lets go and stands up) There. It’s over, okay, I don’t want to talk about this anymore…just let it die. (He turns around and leaves the room)

Isabel (in a shaky, concerned tone): That’s what I thought.

(Scene: School Quad. Michael and Isabel are standing off to the side looking at Liz and Max sitting at a table)

Isabel: I just don’t like it Michael.

Michael: What are talking about?

Isabel: H-e-l-l-o. That. (Motioning toward the table) This whole Max/Liz…situation.

Michael: There is no situation.

Isabel: Excuse me. Are you not seeing what I’m seeing? He’s been spending way too much time with her…

Michael: Isabel.

Isabel: I’m just saying Michael that we’re not dealing with some schoolboy crush and Florence Nightingale syndrome. (Michael gives her a “what are talking about” look) Look, I don’t know what’s going on but it’s definitely not good.

Michael: Isabel, you’re over-reacting.

Isabel: Yea, well the question is why aren’t you Michael?

Michael: Isabel. The situation is being taken care of.

Isabel: Right. The “space” game that Max has apparently forgotten he’s supposed to be playing.

Michael: Hey, you’re the one who told him to talk to her.

Isabel: Okay, I certainly didn’t like the pissy Liz, for obvious reasons…but I don’t think I like this cute and cuddly one either. Things are just starting to calm down Michael; the last thing we need is for something to…happen.

Michael: Isabel, trust me. We have no idea what’s going on between them; none of us do…not even them. But as it is, the situation’s handled.

Isabel: When’d you get so insightful? I’d like to talk to the “irrational-don’t-need-to-think-before-acting” Michael. He’s the one I came to see…can you get him for me?

Michael (looking at her): Isabel, trust me. It’s under control. (Seeing Alex out of the corner of his eye and nodding in his direction) What about you and “studdly,” you’ve been spending a lot of time with him lately. Should I be worried?

Isabel (turning to look at Alex just as he attempts another double-jointed trick): Alex? Admittedly, he makes me laugh and I occasionally enjoy his company, (turning back to Michael) but really Michael.

Michael (watching the trick): Point made. (He looks back over at the table Liz and Max were sitting at and sees Liz sitting with Kyle.) Now that’s a situation.

(Scene: Saturday Afternoon, Crashdown. Maria is working and Liz, in causal clothes, is sitting at a booth – distracted. Michael sits opposite her reading over her English paper)
Music: Bare Naked Ladies – One Week

Michael: This is the same crap I read last week. (Liz comes out of her “zone out” and looks at him) Okay, it’s bad enough I was bullied into doing this assignment…but then in some moment of…whatever it was…I’m coerced into coming to English class everyday…And it’s now that you decide, you don’t want to bother with this assignment either.

Liz: You know if we’re not careful we’ll end up being peer partners for the rest of the year. Maybe you should start skipping again. (Michael smirks at her. Liz looks down at his paper and then up at Michael again like she’s just remembered something) I’ve gotta go.

Michael: What?

Liz (gathering her things and standing up): I’m sorry Michael, there’s something I need to do.

Michael (looking at her funny): Definitely skipping next week…(Liz waves him off and leaves the café. Maria notices Liz leave and comes over to the booth and sits down)

Maria: What’s up?

Michael: I don’t know. Has she seemed weird lately?

Maria: No more than usual…a little preoccupied though. (Michael looks at her interested) Some of her grandmother’s things came last week…I think it has her kind of upset.

Michael: She been spending any time with Max? (Maria looks at him intently and questioningly) What?

Maria (still looking at him): She doesn’t talk about him much…still dealing.

Michael: What about Kyle?

Maria: What, are you like spying on her or something?

Michael: N-o. But I do make it my business to know where and what he’s doing.

Maria (relaxing a little): She said he wanted to apologize…that he realized he was being a major jerk and was sorry for his…obsessive stalking behavior – though I’m sure he didn’t put it quite like that.

Michael: What do you think he meant?

Maria (looking at him amused): Uh…that he’s sorry. O, that’s right, you’re not quite familiar with that concept are you? See on this planet when you behave…I don’t know…badly…we do something called apologize. Say it with me Michael a-p-o-l-o-g-I-z-e. (Michael just looks at her) Well, a girl can dream. (She gets up and starts clearing their table. Michael gets out his wallet like he’s going to pay for the meal.) On the house. (She walks away and he watches her go.)

(Scene: The Woods, same day. Alex walking ahead of Isabel finally comes to a clearing. It’s a beautiful spot with an amazing vista. Alex sits down on a rock gets out the water bottles and things for lunch and waits for Isabel.)

Isabel (panting and looking at Alex): Are we there yet?

Alex (handing her a water bottle): Here. (Isabel takes a drink of water and then looks around)

Isabel: Alex, it’s…it’s beautiful.

Alex: Isn’t it. (Isabel looks back at him) I come here a lot…when I just want to…be.

Isabel: Alex, you can’t drive.

Alex (playfully offended): Hey, I get around. (Isabel comes and sits over by him and he hands her a sandwich) My dad’s usually the one who brings me out here. He hunts and I come up here…or he fishes (nods to the lake they can see) and I come up here. It’s one of the few things we actually do together. (He looks at Isabel) Most of the time I think he thinks I’m from another planet. (He looks away)

Isabel: What does he do?

Alex: Air Force. He talks military, I talk computers and every now and then we both talk in English. (He looks at her and smiles) At least he’s stopped with the whole “following-in-dad’s-footsteps” idea. Once he realized the friendship with Liz and Maria wasn’t a passing adolescent phase I think he just gave up.

Isabel: You’ve been friends for along time, haven’t you.

Alex: Since 5th grade.

Isabel (looking at him out of the corner of her eye): So do you bring many girls up here?

Alex (looking back at her): Yea on my ten speed? We’ve never brought anyone here.

Isabel: We?

Alex: Liz, Maria and I. We sort of found this place. Fifth grade summer camp. I found this spot and would come here everyday – one day when I came up here the two of them were here, like waiting for me. Ever since it’s kind of been our secret…(looks at her playfully) “clubhouse.” Which reminds me – don’t mention this to Liz.

Isabel: What, that you brought me here?

Alex: Yea, since permission wasn’t granted – actually not even requested – I’m not sure how ugly it’ll get if I’m not the one who tells her.

Isabel (surprised): You guys are pretty close, aren’t you?

Alex (thinking about it for a minute): Like you and Michael I guess – just different circumstances. Next to my parents I don’t think there’s anyone I’d trust with my life more than Liz.

Isabel: Well at least Max chose well.

Alex (packing up the water and lunch): It wasn’t a choice. (Isabel looks at him curiously after his remark) We can head down by the lake. (Isabel continues to look at him, thinking about his comment and follows him out.)

(Scene: Roswell Public Library, same day, nighttime. Liz is sitting at a microfiche machine and one of the Librarians comes over to her.)

Librarian: Miss, just to let you know we will be closing in five minutes.

Liz (looking at her watch it’s 8:55): Oh, thank you. (Liz finishes printing out something from the machine, gathers her things and leaves.)

(Scene: Max’s Bedroom, same day, nighttime. Max is sitting at his desk working on something. He hears a knock on his window and walks over to it, pulling back the curtains he sees Liz. He opens the window)

Max (surprised): Hey.

Liz (hesitant tone): Hey. (Max motions for her to come inside. She shakes her head) No…I just wanted to give you these. (She hands him a folder)

Max: What is it?

Liz (same tone): Um…some things I found…I thought you’d want to see them. (Max looks down at the folder puzzled and then back up at Liz, who’s looking at him concerned) Call me…if you need anything. (Max looks at her confused and she leaves)

(Scene: Liz’s Roof, same day, nighttime. Liz is sitting on the lounge chair writing in her journal.)

Voice Over: It’s funny…when you go looking for things – whether you plan to or not – you end up having this…this ending. You know, the perfect one with everything exactly how you want it – all the answers you want to hear. And it sort of lingers there – in the back of your mind.

(Scene cuts to Max siting on his bed opening the folder and pulling out a bunch of photocopies of news articles from the Farmington, NM newspaper, the Shiprock, NM newspaper, and a Navajo Reservation newspaper dated from 1968. They all have headlines regarding the mysterious murder of a pregnant woman and her baby, who disappeared for 4 days. The autopsy revealed nothing medically was wrong with her. Some of them talk about the woman’s husband who believes her death was “alien” induced. One headline says he can prove it and another questions his sanity.)

Voice Over (continues while we’re seeing Max): And you try not to think about it and sometimes you even forget it’s there…Until you do find what you were looking for and you realize…that you haven’t prepared – that you aren’t prepared…for the answers you might actually find. (There’s a pause) But then there really isn’t anything to prepare you for what you find…or what finds you.

posted on 15-Sep-2001 1:04:55 PM
Title:“Prepare Yourself” (Dealing trilogy, part 3)
Author: N/A
Email: ajrocchio⊕
Rating: PG
Category: Max/Liz & Other Stories
Disclaimers: I guess I lied…The characters of Roswell still belong to the WB, among others, but apparently I need to borrow them for two more stories (this being the last one)…the movie I’m No Angel belongs to Paramount Pictures.
Summary: This is the last in a “trilogy” of sorts…Starting with Dealing, then Lost Treasures, and finally this one. It takes place sometime after Balance and before the UFO Convention. Max has discovered the evil doings of Nasedo and has to figure out what to do…
Author’s note/soapbox: Mae West rocks! Enough said…Anyway…I hope you’re not partial to happy endings…

(Scene: Liz’s Roof, nighttime, Saturday. Liz is writing in her journal and you can tell that she’s been crying.)

Voice Over: Today the world stopped…and part of me got off…and now there’s this hole inside me…where it used to be. And everything seems a little bit slower…a little bit darker…and a lot emptier. It’s like someone has shown you – given you – the most amazing gift. But as a condition of getting it you have to keep it in this box – where you can’t ever touch it or even look at it. And how do you do that? How is it possible to have something so wonderful so close and yet never be able to touch it…to hold it? How do you stop from wanting to look at it when you know how beautiful it is? (She pauses) And how did this happen…how…how did I get here?

---Flashback to the Tuesday before---

(Scene: School, History Class. The gang’s all there. Max has fallen asleep at his desk)

Mr. Sommers: Mr. Evans (Max jerks up). Shall I get you a pillow?

Max: Sorry Mr. Sommers. (Isabel and Michael exchange glances and Max blatantly avoids Liz’s concerned look)

(Scene: Hallway right after class. Liz is following Max down the hallway trying to get his attention.)

Liz: Max! Max! (Max hears her but ducks into the bathroom to avoid her. Liz stops, lets out a sigh and then turns around and walks in the opposite direction. Isabel watches her leave)

(Scene: Crashdown, same day. Liz and Maria are both working. Liz is standing at the counter with her back to the door, Isabel comes in and heads straight for Liz.)

Isabel (confrontational): Are you gonna tell me what the hell’s going on with you and my brother?

Liz (startled, turns around): Isabel.

Isabel: Look all I know is that a couple of weeks ago you were spending way too much time together – which was fine because Max was still…Max. Now all of a sudden I have no idea who he is – he cuts class, and at night he’s either locked in his room or out – I’m assuming with you. So tell me what the hell is going on.

Liz (a little defensive): There’s nothing going on between us.

Isabel: I don’t believe you.

Liz (a little more defensive): Isabel – for the past week he won’t even look at me. He skips Biology so he doesn’t have to sit next to me and when I try and talk to him he runs away. I don’t know what you’re expecting from me.

Isabel (her tone changes from anger to concern): Liz, I’m worried about him.

Liz (softening her tone): I am too Isabel.

Isabel: He won’t talk to me…or Michael. I don’t know what to do. (She pauses and looks at Liz pleadingly) He cares about you Liz, please try and talk to him…he won’t push you away, he can’t…he’ll talk to you if you make him…Please Liz.

Liz (glances over at Maria, who has a “what’s going on” look on her face and then back to Isabel): I’ll see if I can get off early tonight. Give me an hour.

Isabel: Thank you.

Liz: Don’t tell him I’m coming over or he’ll probably leave. (Isabel nods and leaves. Maria walks up to Liz)

Maria: What was that about?

Liz: She’s just worried about Max?

Maria: Yea, what was that in History today?

Liz: I have an idea. Maria do you think you could cover for me tonight?

Maria (noting Liz’s worried face): Liz, is everything okay?

Liz (shaking her head): No.

Maria: Lizzie? (Liz gives her a pleading face) Go. Call me.

Liz: Thank you.

(Scene: Max’s Bedroom, same day. Max is lying on his bed. There’s a knock at his door)
Music: Red House Painters – Song For A Blue Guitar

Max: I’m not hungry mom.

Mrs. Evans: Max, honey, Liz Parker is here to see you.

Max (hesitating): I’m really not feeling well mom, a little tired...

Mrs. Evans: She’s pretty insistent on seeing you Max. Says she won’t leave until she talks to you – something about an assignment.

Max (he sits up): Give me a minute. (He gets up to lower the CD volume and then sits down again preparing himself for what’s about to happen. There’s another knock on the door) Come in. (Liz opens the door and then shuts it behind her. She stands there, looking at Max, waiting for him to speak) I don’t really feel like talking.

Liz: I know Max…that’s why I’m here. (Max looks up at her) I know what this is about so you don’t have to pretend with me.

Max (Getting up from the bed and walking over to his desk): I can’t pretend he’s…not a murderer, Liz – no matter how hard I try.

Liz: Max…Atherton was obviously a threat…and we don’t know about the woman…

Max (interrupting her, still facing away from her): Don’t. (He shakes his head) I appreciate it Liz, but don’t…don’t bother. (He picks up a folder from his desk and throws it on the bed.)

Liz: What’s this?

Max (pausing): More research.

(Liz walks over to the bed, picks up the folder and sits down. She opens it up and there are newspaper clippings from Arizona, Utah and more from New Mexico. All the clippings are from towns located on reservations and are about mysterious murders that can’t be explained. They span the 30+ year period from 1968 on. They all seem to have the same MO. There are 5 murders total. And a couple of the articles have the husband from the pregnant woman claiming that there was “foul-play” insinuating it’s the same “alien”/person who killed his wife.)

Liz (obviously hurting for him): Max…I’m so sorry. (She continues to flip through the articles, not knowing exactly what to say.)

Max (starting to pace around his room): I don’t know what to do…How do I tell them…God, Isabel (he sits on the bed next to Liz) how do I tell her?

Liz: Max you have to tell them. They’re so worried about you…and they need to know.

Max: I know…I just can’t.

Liz (she pauses and looks at him): Max. You told me once that you weren’t all the same…you and Michael and Isabel. This man, Nasedo…he is who he is Max, but whatever he’s done, it doesn’t say anything about who you are. (Max looks over at Liz, she closes the folder) He may have done these things but he still has the answers you’re looking for.

Max (looking away): I’m not sure I want them anymore.

Liz (She shifts so that she is sitting sideways on the bed and facing Max): Max, of course you do…and that’s why this hurts so much. (Max looks back up at her – thinking “God I love this woman” – sorry I just had to throw that in there. Liz looks at him and then gently touches the side of his face for a moment) Max I know who you are, and nothing will ever change how I see you…or what I think of you. (She looks away from him.)

Max (softly): Liz…

Liz: Promise me you’ll tell them tomorrow.

Max (protesting): I…

Liz: If you don’t I will. (Max looks at her surprised) They need to know and the three of you need to…deal with this.

Max (after a long pause, looking away from Liz): I knew you would come.

Liz (smiles and looks at him): Max, I’ll always come. I’m sorry it wasn’t sooner. I had no idea.

(Scene: School next day after classes are out. Michael and Isabel are sitting on the bleachers and Max is standing in front of them leaning against the railing. No one else is around)

Max (hesitating): A couple of weeks ago…Liz found something...

Michael (a little disgusted): Secrets with Liz again?

Max: Michael it’s not like that. Liz found this on her own…and she didn’t have to share it with me.

Isabel: Right.

Max: Look, her grandmother was really important to her…

Isabel (interrupting): What’s grandma have to do with this?

Max (taking a deep breath): Her grandmother was an anthropologist…the last paper she wrote was about lost artifacts and images found on the Navajo Reservation…

Isabel (interrupting again): The point Max…

Max (grabbing Liz’s grandmother’s book and turning to the page with the design on it. He shows it to them): This.

Isabel (grabbing the book from Max, completely shocked): Max.

Max: We’ve been going through her things…Liz had most of her grandmother’s office sent from Arizona…

Michael: Did she know?

Max: No…she never found its meaning.

Isabel: But how…Max…who?

Max (pausing): We think it’s Nasedo. (With that Michael and Isabel look up at him blown away)

Michael: What?

Max: When Liz was going through her grandmother’s interview notes, a few people remembered a strange man coming to the reservation in the early 60’s. The image wasn’t discovered until 1965…

Michael: But what makes you think it was him?

Max: They called him the “visitor”…like River Dog.

Michael: That’s over 30 years ago…

Isabel: Could he still be there?

Max: No.

Isabel (surprised by the quickness of his response): Why? (Max pulls out the folder of research Liz did and throws it on the bleachers in front of Michael and Isabel) What’s this?

Max: Why he left. (Isabel opens the folder and she and Michael pull out the newspaper clippings about the murdered pregnant woman.)

Isabel (looking over the articles): He killed…again?

Michael (flipping through the articles): We don’t…(he sees the one article with the headline about the husband thinking there is “alien” foul-play and he stops…looks up at Max.) We don’t know why…maybe she…

Max (pulling out the larger folder with the research he did on the other mysterious 5 murders on reservations and tossing it to Michael): There’s more. (Michael looks at it and grabs the folder. Isabel looks from the folder to Max)

Isabel (still in shock): More? (Michael hands her a couple of articles from the folder)

Michael: So he’s a murderer…

Isabel: A murderer Michael? He’s a serial killer.

Michael: Isabel…maybe he had to…maybe they knew.

Isabel (starting to get pretty panicked): What if he comes here…what if we find him and he kills someone…Valenti…it could start again…the suspicions and…questions…

Max (trying to comfort her): Isabel…

Michael: We don’t know anything…

Isabel (officially upset and panicky): We don’t know anything? He’s a killer Michael…the only thing connecting us to our past…to our home is a murderer…(going through the newspaper articles) a pregnant woman…an elderly man…an 18 year old (looking up at Michael)…know anything?

Michael (getting angry and frustrated): Maybe he had too…maybe they knew…

Isabel (having a revelation): Oh my God…Liz and Maria…and Alex. (At this Michael and Max both freeze and the impact of Isabel’s words hits immediately) What if…(Michael grabs the folder, gets up and walks off. Max and Isabel just sit there in silence thinking about the “what if”)

(Scene: School, moments later. Michael, obviously upset from what just happened, is walking the halls to the exit. Maria is walking down a different hallway and they are about to meet)

Maria (seeing the back of Michael and hurrying her step to catch up with him): Hey.

Michael (rudely): Go away.

Maria (offended): Excuse me.

Michael (a little more rudely): I said go away, I’m not in the mood for your incessant...

Maria (totally taken aback): Excuse…

Michael (interrupting her, being blatantly mean and yelling at her): I said GO AWAY.

Maria (she grabs his arm to make him stop walking. He turns to her looking very menacing. Her body stiffens up, she takes a step toward him, looks him in the eye): You’ve been rude to me before Michael. But you’ve never been mean. And you NEVER will again. (She gives him a shove as she lets go of his arm and turns around and walks away. Michael in frustration hits a locker with his fist and just about breaks the door off.)

(Scene: Trailer Park, same day, nighttime. Max is sitting on the steps to Michael’s home waiting for him. He walks up and sits next to Max and they just sit there for awhile)

Michael: We’re so close Max. I can’t explain it but I feel it. He’s out there…closer than we think.

Max: What do you mean?

Michael: I don’t know. It’s like I can feel him…feel something about to happen.

Max: I can’t feel anything. Are you having visions?

Michael: No…It’s just this feeling that…I don’t know. (He hands the folder of newspaper clippings to Max) I don’t know what to do with this, Maxwell. It changes things but it doesn’t.

Max (grabbing the folder): I know.

Michael (looking at Max): Do you think he’d…

Max (looking at him) I don’t know. But we can’t take our chances. We have to stay away from them…like we don’t even know them.

Michael (thinking about Maria): After this afternoon, that shouldn’t be hard. (Max looks over at him and fighting back tears looks up at the stars. They just sit there together in silence, looking at the stars.)

(Scene: Maria’s Apartment, same day, nighttime. Maria is wrapped up on the couch watching the movie I’m No Angel. Liz walks in holding a paper bag.)

Maria (upset): I love her.

Liz (looking at the t.v. and smiling at her friend): I know. (She goes over and sits down next to her)

Maria: I mean…she’s a goddess…wait, wait…this is it…(Maria and Liz look at the television. It’s near the beginning of the movie. Mae West is talking to another woman about men. “…a good motto is take all you can get and give as little as possible…don’t forget honey never let one man worry your mind: find him, fool him, and forget him…” Liz looks from the television to Maria – who is quoting along with the movie)

Liz (looking at her): Do you remember the first time we saw this movie?

Maria (looking over at Liz): Fifth grade.

Liz: What was it Grandma Claudia said…a girl is never too young to be introduced to Mae West. She practically had to tie us down to watch it though…

Maria: It was color-free, what’d she expect…

Liz: We watched every movie of hers that week… and you (hitting Maria)…afterwords you kept strutting around everywhere saying “penny for your thoughts” (Liz tries to imitate Mae West)…but the best was when anyone asked you a question you’d say “wouldn’t you like to know”….My dad had to apologize to your mom for my grandma corrupting you…(the two of them start laughing)

Maria: It’s all in the attitude. (She lets out a sigh and a sad look comes across her face as she looks back at the movie) I know every line from every movie she’s ever made.

Liz (looking intently at her friend): I know…and I know that you only watch her movies when in a serious male-bashing mood…like when your mom would go on a date with someone you didn’t like…or when someone… (Maria looks over at Liz pulling out a pint of ice cream and two spoons)

Maria (interrupting her): You knew I was watching this…(Liz hands her a spoon)

Liz (pauses to take off the ice cream lid and hands it to Maria): Your mom called.

Maria: See…this is so why I need my own vcr.

Liz: You wanna tell me what happened?

Maria (looking back at the movie and after a pause): Why do I let him get to me…why can’t I throw him a one-liner and…forget him?

Liz: Michael?

Maria: He’s been rude before, you know, I just figured that was his way of dealing – well, more like incapability of dealing…but he’s never been cruel…Liz he was…

Liz (looking away from Maria): It’s not you Maria.

Maria: What?

Liz (looking up at Maria): Maria there’s something I need to tell you…something that will explain his behavior. (Maria looks at Liz questioningly. Liz looks away and lets out a deep breath.)

(Scene: School, various scenes of Liz in different classes. One of English with Michael’s seat noticeably empty; one of Biology with Max’s seat empty; one of Geometry with both Max and Michael’s seats empty; and the final one of History with all three seats empty and Maria and Liz exchanging a worried glance)

Voice Over (as we see the scenes of school): Do you ever get that feeling – that overpowering gut-churning one that tells you something’s wrong. And you’re not sure if you’re creating it… you know, if you’re just imagining it…But then after awhile you start to wonder if maybe you aren’t, that maybe it’s really there – because no matter how hard you try, you can’t seem to…imagine it away.

(Scene: Trailer, Michael’s bedroom, same day, nighttime. Michael is in bed tossing and turning. He has a vision of something – an image – and wakes up sweating. He gets out of bed, gets dressed and leaves the trailer. It’s still dark outside.)

(Scene: School Quad, next day. Maria and Alex are sitting at a table. Max walks into the quad area flustered and looking around. He sees Maria and Alex and heads their way)

Alex (looking suspiciously at Maria): Okay, that’s it. “Mr. Always-the-last-to-know” would really like to know what’s going on. They haven’t been to school for the past two days and Isabel won’t return my calls…okay maybe that has to do with me…but still, all three of them missing school…

Maria: Alex, just let Liz…(Max reaches them, looking obviously upset. Maria is startled by his appearance) Max?

Max: Have you seen Isabel?

Alex: What’s wrong?

Max (upset and speaking fast): Isabel took the jeep this morning…and Michael left Hank’s before dawn. I have an idea where he is, but…I don’t know where Isabel is, I’ve been looking all over town.

Alex (sharing a look with Maria): I think I might know.

Max: Can you drive us there.

Alex: Only if you want to ride on my handlebars.

Max (looking at Maria): Please.

Maria (pulling the keys out of her pocket and hesitantly handing them to Max): She needs gas.

(Max grabs the keys and Alex gets up from the table. They head off in the direction of the parking lot just as Liz enters the quad. She sees them leave as she’s walking over toward Maria.)

Liz: Was that Max?

Maria: Yea, both Isabel and Michael disappeared this morning.

Liz: And Alex?

Maria: He thinks he knows where she is. (They look at each other with worried faces)

(Scene: Garage/Gas Station out of town, same day. Sheriff Valenti gets out of a squad car, says something to the driver and then walks up to the Garage. The squad car drives off.)

Garage Man (who we’ll call Karl): Hey there Sheriff.

Sheriff: Hey, Karl. How’s the car?

Karl: She’ll be right out…Sure is a beauty. Kyle’s a lucky kid.

Sheriff: Lucky it was only a fender-bender.

(Max and Alex pull into the gas part of the station. They can’t see Valenti. Max gets out to pump gas and Alex goes inside to pay for the gas. Alex comes out and stands by the car. Max looks at him.)

Max: You sure she’s out here?

Alex: Pretty sure. (Max puts the cap back on the gas tank. Sheriff Valenti hears their voices and peeks his head around the corner. Alex is just looking intently at Max.) You gonna tell me what the hell’s going on?

Max (looks up at him as he starts to get in the car): She’ll tell you…let’s go.

(Scene: Max and Alex get in the car and drive off. Valenti notes the direction they head in and pays for the work done on Kyle’s car. He drives off after Max and Alex. Max and Alex turn onto a Forest Service road and can see the jeep off in the distance at a parking area. Alex gets out of the car and Max heads back to the main road. The sheriff is waiting – out of site from Max – and follows Max until he pulls into the reservation. Valenti stops the car and looks pensively at the reservation sign...Okay, technically Alex and Max needed to go in opposite directions to get to these spots but in the land of fiction – anything goes)

(Scene: The Woods. Isabel is sitting on a rock, physically upset. Alex walks into the clearing)

Alex: Thought I might find you here.

Isabel (looks up startled): You shouldn’t be here Alex.

Alex: Well, Max thought I should…and I think I’m gonna go with him on this one. (She looks away and Alex walks over and sits next to her) Isabel, what’s wrong…what’s going on? (Isabel looks at him and starts crying. He puts his arm around her and comforts her.)

(Scene: Mescalero Reservation. Michael is sitting inside the cave staring at the image he had a vision of on the wall. It’s an image that wasn’t there before. Max walks up from behind.)

Max (calling out): Michael?

Michael: It’s here Max…I dreamt it.

Max (not in view of it yet): Michael? Dreamt what?

Michael (pointing to the wall): That (Max reaches Michael and he sits next to him and seeing the image reaches out to touch it. When he does it glows.)

Max: Michael?

Michael: He’s close…don’t you see…he left it for us – and he showed it to me in a dream so we’d find it.

(River Dog comes up behind them – without them noticing/hearing)

River Dog: He is right. (Both Michael and Max get the crap scared out of them when he speaks and they turn around) It is for you…and he is near.

Max: How do you know?

Michael: What do you know?

River Dog: I know he is close…I have felt him too.

Max: How…

River Dog: A week ago…I brought the stones – your stones – to the cave…I could feel something…coming from them…and when I entered the cave they began to glow (he pulls them out and they’re glowing). When he gave these to me…as a child…they were glowing. They stopped when he left...not even you (motioning to both Michael and Max) can make them glow – only him.

Michael (looking at Max): Soon Max.

Max (looking away and under his breath): Liz…

River Dog (having heard Max): The time is coming…(he looks at Max)…you must prepare yourself. (River Dog leaves the cave. And Max and Michael just sit there thinking about what he said)

Michael: Prepare? What’s Yoda talkin’ about?

Max (softly): I know. (Michael just looks at Max confused and Max reaches out to touch the image again)

(Scene: UFO Museum, Saturday same day as the first scene. Max and Milton are in the library room, the door is open and Liz comes in carrying a folder.)

Liz: Hey.

Max (looks up at her and away and speaks very coldly to her): Hey.

Liz: Can I talk to you?

Max: Actually I don’t have break for another hour. (Milton comes out from behind the stacks and sees Liz)

Milton: Go ahead. (Looking from Max to Liz and sensing the awkwardness in the air he walks to the door) I think I’ll go…check on the masses. (He shuts the door behind him)

Max (not looking at Liz): You shouldn’t come here.

Liz (a little surprised by his attitude): I’m sorry I was…just wondering what was going on…(holding up the folder she’s carrying) and I wanted to...

Max (not looking at her): It’s not like I have to tell you everything Liz…I mean we’re not together…it’s not like we’re…

Liz (starting to get upset): Friends?

Max (looking at her and then quickly looking away): You should go.

Liz (confused and upset): Um…No…you should…explain yourself.

Max (not looking at her): You were right Liz…he still has the answers we need. And we’ll find them…without you…getting in the way...

Liz (she steps toward him completely blown away by his attitude): Um…in the way? I…

Max (still not looking at her and in a very rude tone): Just go Liz. Don’t come here anymore…or stop by my house…or (he stops because he can’t do it anymore)…just leave.

Liz (looking like she’s just been sucker punched): Um…no.

Max: Don’t you get it! (He turns to look at her) He’s a murderer Liz…and you know what we are – what he is. (Liz’s face changes as she gets what he’s saying) If he did anything…if anything happened to you do you have any idea what that would do to me? Cuz I don’t…I can’t even…(He stops. Liz is standing there taking it all in. He looks away from her) We can’t be anything Liz…(he looks at her) I can’t be near you…(he starts to leave the room and says this as he passes her) I can’t know you.

(He walks out of the room leaving the door open. Milton sees Max leaving the room and he looks over to see the back of Liz. She stands there for a minute, processing everything that just happened and realizing the finality in his tone and his words. She drops the folder she was holding – it has notes and homework assignments from the days Max missed at school. And she finally turns her head to the side to look out the door just as tears start to fall down her cheek.)

-----Back to Liz on the roof-----

Voice Over (continues from first scene): And I have this feeling…that Max Evans won’t be healing this wound – this hole that’s bigger and more painful than any gunshot could ever be…Maybe one day I’ll learn (she pauses) how to heal it myself. I guess that’s one of life’s greatest challenges – letting go. Learning how to give back the most amazing thing that anyone has ever given you – will ever give you…knowing that you never got to really see just how beautiful it was…knowing that you never will.

posted on 15-Sep-2001 1:08:32 PM
Title: “Attitude” (Tess trilogy, part 1)
Author: N/A
Email: ajrocchio⊕
Rating: PG
Category: Other Stories

Disclaimers: The characters of Roswell belong to the WB, among others, but apparently I need to keep borrowing them...and just to clarify, I know nothing about computer hacking!

Summary: Okay, so this is the story of Tess – at least in my little alternate Roswell universe I’ve created. Since I don’t know anything about her (I.e. what she looks like, her mannerisms, and her personality) at the time of writing this I’ve limited her appearance in this fanfic. It pretty much focuses on everybody else’s reaction to her. Whatever they do with Tess on the show, this is what I’d do with her…

Author’s note/soapbox: The basic premise here is that the 3 humans and the 3 aliens are avoiding each other out of safety – they know that Nasedo is evil and they’re not sure if he’ll hurt A, M, and L because they know about the aliens. So, in the space between “Dealing” and “Tess” generic things that have happened on the show from the UFO Convention to Independence Day can still happen. For example – Michael does the wrestling thing but there is no kissing! The blind date happens Max can be jealous get drunk whatever…but Liz would be definitely resistant of any lovey stuff between her and Max. Michael can escape from Hank’s but he doesn’t go to Maria’s. And sorry – no “Sexual Healing”…the fact that the writers of the show would have Max and Liz make-out like bandits and then introduce I love interest for Max just seems WRONG to me – so I’ve changed the order of things. Does that make sense? Oh…and Michael figured out who Hubble was by recognizing his name from the newspaper articles that Max researched regarding Nasedo – confused…read “Dealing”…anyway…here you go:

(Scene: Liz’s Roof. Liz is sitting on the lounge chair writing in her journal)

Voice Over: I can’t be angry at Max for what he is – you know…I mean…if he wasn’t what he is, I wouldn’t be here. And I completely understand the fears he has…of being exposed…of getting hurt…of not knowing exactly what it is he is. And I wouldn’t hold his fears for me against him – being afraid of hurting me…of leaving me – except he has…hurt me…and in a way left me. So no…I can’t be angry at Max Evans for being “what” he is…but for being “who” he is – fair game…

(Scene: School. Liz is in the hallway about to walk into her 4th period biology class. She opens the door to find Tess sitting in her seat talking with Max. Max is looking at his notebook, showing her something, and Tess is looking at Max intently. They both look over at Liz as she enters the class with a pretty cold look on her face. As she walks over to her seat Tess gets up)

Tess (touching Max’s arm and leaning close to him): Thanks for the help Max.

Max (feeling uncomfortable): Sure, it’s no problem.

Liz (as she sits down – not looking at them): Take it to the eraser room already. (Max looks over at her a little hurt and Tess just looks between them)

Tess: What’s the eraser room?

Liz (looking at Max and then up at Tess): Maybe if you’re lucky Max here (she pats him on the arm) will show you.

(Max just looks at Liz, surprised. Tess looks from Liz back to Max and then over at the door as Ms. Hardy walks in to start class. Tess gives Max a squeeze before taking her hand off of his arm. She walks back to her seat smiling and Max just watches Liz getting their lab ready in silence.)

(Scene: School Quad, lunchtime. Max and Tess are sitting at a table studying. Occasionally Tess will reach over and touch Max. Liz and Maria are sitting on the other side of the quad watching them)

Maria: I just don’t like her.

Liz (looking over at Maria): I know what my excuse is – what’s yours?

Maria: Don’t you find it a little suspicious?

Liz: Maria…

Maria: Hey, if you can get all “Conspiracy Theory” on me over Ms. Topolsky taking role the first day she’s here then I can get suspicious of that (motioning to their table).

Liz: Maria, what are you talking about?

Maria: I mean…Liz…the girl’s been here for what? Three weeks and who does she single out to be her new-school buddy? Max? Don’t you find that odd?

Liz (looking back over at the table): Wouldn’t you want him for your buddy?

Maria: Okay – you’re totally missing the point. Max has been in love with you for like…ever…and it takes him 10 years and a shooting to finally talk to you…clearly not a social butterfly. So explain that (motioning, again, to the table) to me.

Liz (sadly): I can’t. (She stands up)

Maria (hearing the hurt in Liz’s voice): Liz.

Liz: I’m not hungry anymore…think I’ll study in the library. (She walks off)

Maria (a little louder than she meant to): Liz! (Liz waves her off and Max looks over at Liz leaving and then over at Maria who is glaring at him. Alex walks up to Maria from the opposite direction)

Alex: Was that Parker?

Maria (still glaring at Max): Yea, the lunchtime entertainment made her lose her appetite.

Alex (following Maria’s glare to the table): I don’t know who I dislike more…him or her.

Maria: Right now I’d like to beat the crap out of both of them.

Alex (opening his sack lunch): There’s always the Vulcan death grip – oh wait, that’s them not us…

Maria: I just don’t like her…something’s rotten in the state of Denmark Batman and we’re gonna find out what it is.

Alex (almost choking on the food in his mouth): We?

(Alex and Maria continue talking and over in the corner of the quad Michael and Isabel seem to be having an argument. Isabel gives up in frustration and walks over to the table Max and Tess are at and sits down. Michael just watches the table with an intense look)

(Scene: Crashdown. Maria and Liz are working. Liz is standing behind the counter just wiping the same spot over and over. The Sheriff walks in and heads to the counter where Liz is at.)
Music: Ani Difranco – Wish I May

Valenti: Ms. Parker. (Liz looks up at him blankly) I don’t suppose you know where Max Evans is?

Maria (overhearing the question, under her breath) Shit. (She looks at the customer she’s waiting on) If you’ll excuse me. (She heads to the counter expecting what’s about to happen)

Liz (cocking her head and looking at Valenti and with a little hint of attitude): Sheriff, Max Evans and his whereabouts don’t seem to be any of my business these days…and for the life of me I can’t figure out why they’d be any of yours. (Just as she finishes Maria puts her arm around Liz and looks up at the Sheriff)

Maria: Excuse us. (She pulls Liz into the backroom) You, sit. (Pointing to the couch and Maria goes back to the Sheriff) Sorry about that. She’s been having a…bad day. Is there anything I can help you with Sheriff?

Valenti (looking at the double doors to the back): Just looking for Mr. Evans, Ms. DeLuca.

Maria: I would try the UFO Center across the way…May I ask what this is about?

Valenti (looking down at Maria): Just business.

Maria: Right.

Valenti: Good day Maria.

Maria: Sheriff. (He leaves the café. Maria grabs the other waitress – whom we’ll call Betty) Betty can you get that guy’s order? (Betty looks about to protest but Maria cuts her off) Thanks, I’ll owe you one. (Maria exits quickly to the back and sits next to Liz on the couch)

Liz: Did I just say that out loud?

Maria: Uh uh.

Liz: And it was the Sheriff right?

Maria: Uh uh.

Liz (shaking her head and then resting it in her hands): Maria…what am I doing?

Maria (putting her arm around Liz and pulling her so that Liz rests her head on Maria’s lap) Hurting.

Liz: Make it stop.

Maria: I wish I could Lizzie…I wish I could. (She looks down at Liz’s head) Why don’t you go upstairs? Betty and I can cover tonight.

Liz (sitting up and looking at Maria): The only thing waiting for me upstairs are the thoughts in my head.

Maria (pausing and looking at Liz): Okay, but try and play nice with the customers.

Liz (smiling): I’ll try…Thank you.

Maria (hugging Liz): Hey, what else am I here for?

(Scene: UFO Center. Max is working on one of the exhibits and the Sheriff comes up behind him)

Valenti: Mr. Evans.

Max (turning around surprised): Sheriff.

Valenti (feeling awkward): I just wanted to check on you…(he looks around to see if anyone is listening) Make sure you’re doing alright.

Max (surprised and hesitant): I’m fine Sheriff…thank you.

Valenti: I know it’s been over a month, but something like that…well it can take time to deal with.

Max: I know. (He pauses) I never thanked you. If you hadn’t come along, he would have killed me.

Valenti: Well, I’m just glad that you’re okay…son. (They share an awkward moment and then the Sheriff leaves and Max just looks puzzled by the exchange)

(Scene: Max’s Bedroom, same evening, late. Max is lying in bed. Michael knocks on the window and starts to open it as Max pulls back the curtain)
Music: Red House Painters – Mistress (piano version)

Max: Michael?

Michael: Maxwell.

Max: Problems with sleeping again?

Michael (giving Max a look of disapproval): No Max, problems with you.

Max (defensive): Mich…

Michael (interrupting): Save it Max. Just tell me what the hell you’re doing.

Max (defensive): I don’t have to…

Michael: Yes, yes you do Max, and I’ll tell you why. You’ve already used your one “tell a human the truth” card…and you don’t get another one every time you get the hots for some girl.

Max (mad): You don’t know what you’re talking about.

Michael: Then explain it Maxwell, cause she’s been hangin’ all over you for the past 2 weeks and you don’t seem to be fighting it.

Max (turning away from Michael and sitting on his bed): It’s not like that Michael…she’s new and I’m just helping her catch up.

Michael: Come on Max.

Max (looking up at Michael): It isn’t like that Michael…it’s nothing like…(looking away) Liz.

Michael (sitting next to Max on the bed): Then what is it?

Max (pausing and taking a deep breath): Okay…you now how you said you felt something – like Nasedo was near?

Michael (confused): What are you talkin’ about?

Max: Look there’s something about her…something almost familiar Michael.

Michael: Max…

Max: She touched me on the arm Michael and there was almost a…a connection.

Michael: What?

Max (shaking his head): I don’t know…but there’s something about her…I can’t explain.

Michael (after a pause): What about Liz?

Max (sounding sad and looking at Michael) What about her? It’s not…it doesn’t matter Michael…

Michael: I hope you know what you’re doing…Cuz now is the time to error on the side of caution Maxwell…we’re close to Nasedo…and we don’t know anything about this Tess…

Max: I know…just give me some time…to figure it out.

(Scene: Streets of Roswell, Saturday evening. Alex and Maria are in the Jetta. They’re a fair distance from the UFO Center front entrance. Maria all decked out in black – with a hat, sunglasses, and a pair of binoculars is sitting in the driver’s seat watching the entrance)

Alex (looking at Maria): Alright Inspector Gidget – what are we doing here again?

Maria: Max told Tess he’d be off work at 6 today so they could study.

Alex: What makes you think they’ll go back to her place – that is the point of this right, to find out where she lives? Can I just say that there are much easier ways of doing this – albeit illegal ones…

Maria (cutting him off): There she is…(They both slide down in their seats) Come on, who wouldn’t want to bring him home – quiet time alone in her bedroom…meet the folks…

Alex: Okay…but you’re theory is that she’s hiding something, so why would she take Max to her home? (Maria just glares over at him) And if they were going to study at her house wouldn’t Max just drive there after work?

Maria: Shut up…they’re leaving. (She starts the car)

Alex: This is gonna be a long night isn’t it?

(As Maria and Alex are discussing the finer points of their plan, Michael rounds the corner behind the car and stops – recognizing it. He bends down and sees Maria taking the binoculars off her head. He’s about to walk over to the car when he stops. There’s a shadow of movement in an alley that’s in the middle of the block. Michael looks around like he’s feeling something – looking confused and worried he looks back at Maria’s car but it’s gone.)

(Scene: Outside of a Mexican Restaurant. Max and Tess pull up and get out and go in. Maria and Alex pull up a block or so away)

Alex: Maybe her parents own the restaurant and they live…uh…in the basement. (Maria looks over at Alex annoyed)

Maria: Fine…but she’s gotta go home after this.

Alex: Does she? Yea, just like she’s gotta show off Max to mom and dad?

Maria: Wouldn’t you? (Alex gives her a sideways glance) Oh, you’re telling me you’d pass up the first chance you get to bring Isabel home to your dad?

Alex: Yea well I’m not gonna get a chance am I? Which brings me back to the original question – why are we doing this?

Maria: Look, just because I want to kick 2 out of 3 alien asses doesn’t mean I want anyone else to…I certainly don’t want them handed over to the government for serious exploratory experiments. They’re too busy looking for what’s-his-name to see what’s going on…

Alex: Which is?

Maria: I’m telling you Alex. The girl is sending out vibes and I’m not talking about the warm fuzzy ones. She’s new to school… she ends up having like five classes with Max …she singles him out to be her best friend…and I’m telling you she’s hiding something.

Alex (shaking his head): Okay…I think I just had a lapse in brain function cuz that almost made sense.

Maria: You’ll see.

Alex: So what? We just wait here for her to leave?

Maria (looking around the street and pointing to a grocery story): Yea, hungry?

Alex: Oh, this is gonna be a very long night.

(Scene: Fast forward a couple of hours. Maria and Alex are still sitting in the car. Maria is watching the door to the restaurant like a hawk and Alex is leaning back in his seat snoozing. Max and Tess walk out, say goodbye and Max gets in the jeep and drives off. Tess starts walking home)

Maria (hitting Alex on the chest): Here we go.

Alex (startled looks around and sees Tess): She’s walking home?

Maria: What’d I tell you, definitely hiding something, she doesn’t even want Max to give her a ride….

(Tess walks around the corner, crosses the city park and then goes into a small duplex unit. Maria turns the corner just as she’s approaching the duplex.)

Alex (looking annoyed at Maria): Maybe because she doesn’t need one. (Maria parks the car along the park) So we just sat there for 2 hours when we could have…

Maria (interrupting him as she opens the car door): Are you gonna sit there and complain or are you coming?

Alex: Where?

Maria: To see what she’s doing.

Alex (looking around): You’re joking, right?

Maria (shaking the binoculars): Does it look like it?

(Alex lets out a sigh and gets out of the car. They walk over to some trees and shrubs that are in direct view of Tess’s front window. Maria gets out the binoculars and Alex stands guard with his back to Maria.)

Alex: What do you see?

Maria: Nothing – she’s talking on the phone.

Alex: Any sign of parental units?

Maria: No, pretty nice place though…for just moving here a month ago.

Alex: What’s she doing now?

Maria: Typing on her laptop…o, she has a cat…damn she’s shutting the curtains.

Alex (exasperated): Okay (he turns around and grabs the binoculars) We’ve tried it your way…now we do it my way.

Maria: What are you talking about?

Alex: What time are you off tomorrow night?

Maria: 9 – Liz is closing.

Alex: Alright, tomorrow night 9:30, my house…I’ll show you how this is done.

(Scene: Crashdown, next evening, early. Michael, Isabel, and Max come in and sit down in their usual booth. Max and Isabel sit on the isle. Maria comes in from the back tying her apron on and sees them out of the corner of her eye. Liz has her back to the door so she doesn’t know they’re there)
Music: Dido – Don’t Think Of Me

Isabel: Okay what are we doing here?

Michael: Look just because we’re not talking to them doesn’t mean we don’t need to check on them…(mocking Isabel) don’t our lives still technically depend on them?

Isabel: Right.

(Max just looks at the back of Liz and Michael looks around the café and steals glances at Maria when ever she’s not looking)

Maria: So how’s it going?

Liz (sounding tired): Well…I’ve spilt coffee on one customer, backed into Betty dropping both our trays and breaking 4 dishes, and was apparently so rude to another customer that he left me a penny tip.

Maria (holding back a smile and glancing over at the table): Well target practice is over babe…now it’s time (she grabs her on the shoulders and turns her around to face the table) for the real thing.

Liz (looking over at Maria): What the hell are they doing here?

Maria: Okay, just stay in that happy place and go take their order.

Liz (giving Maria a mischievous smile): Right – happy place. (She walks over to the table and in a very cold tone with some attitude) Welcome to the Crashdown Café, my name’s Liz and I’ll be your waitress this evening. Can I start you with something to drink? (The three of them just sit there for a second)

Isabel: I’ll have a Diet Coke.

Michael: Mountain Dew for me.

Max (not looking at her): Cherry Coke.

Liz: Are you ready to order?

Isabel: I’ll have the Sigorney Weaver.

Michael: Give me the Martian Mushroom Burger

Max (still not looking at her): The Lunar Landing

Liz: Alright we have a Diet Coke, Mountain Dew, Cherry Coke, one Lunar Landing, one Sigorney Weaver, and one Martian Burger. Coming right up. (She turns and leaves and the 3 of them just sort of sit there)

Michael: Okay, maybe next time we should check on them from a distance. (Liz comes back over to the table with their drinks)

Liz: Here we go. (She just sort of plops the drinks down – some slushing occurs – she turns and leaves)

----about 15 minutes later----

Liz: Here we go. (She sets down their dinner plates the same way she did the drinks and turns to leave but Michael lifts up an empty bottle of Tabasco sauce)

Michael: Any way to get some more.

Liz (just looking at him with attitude): Sorry, we’re all out.

Isabel (under her breath): Rrrrer. (Michael and Max just look at Isabel in total disbelief that she just did that and Liz turns her head and looks straight at Isabel)

Liz: Excuse me?

Isabel (looking up at her – and startled that she heard her): Sorry, I was just…look that attitude isn’t gonna get you many tips. (Michael and Max are horrified and Liz sets her tray on top of the table and leans over Isabel)

Liz (just loud enough for them to hear and with a whole lotta attitude): Attitude? Yea, well with that attitude you almost make me want to share your secret with the world…how’s that? (She stands up grabs her tray looks around the table)…Enjoy your meal and (looking right at Max) don’t come back. (Liz leaves and the table is silent. Max just looks at Isabel and both Michael and Isabel look at Max)

(Scene: Crashdown, later that evening after closing. Liz has finished cleaning up and is sitting in one of the stools writing in her journal. Max hesitates but pushes the door open and comes inside.)

Liz: We’re (looking up from her journal) closed. (Under her breath – to herself) I gotta remember to lock that door…

Max (taking a couple of steps into the café): Liz, I need to talk to you.

Liz (exasperated): What could you possibly want to talk to me about Max?

Max (hesitant): Liz…(pauses) it’s not what you’re thinking.

Liz: What am I thinking Max? Am I thinking how convenient it is for you that it’s too dangerous to be with me…but it’s not too dangerous for you to be with someone else?

Max: It’s not like that Liz…

Liz: Then what is it?

Max (deeply frustrated): It isn’t what you think…but…I can’t really explain what it is…

Liz (staring at him in disbelief for a moment): You know what Max, that does nothing for me…I take it back…what that does is acknowledge that there is something between you…you might not know what it is – but you know it’s there.

Max (pleadingly) Liz…

Liz (getting up from the stool): I’m done Max. You don’t owe me any explanations remember…we aren’t anything, you can’t be near me, and I clearly (looks up at him) don’t know you. (She turns to leave and Max just stands there. She stops before the double doors and turns back around) Oh. And I’m sure the real reason you’re here is Isabel. You can reassure your sister that I would never tell anyone – that I will never tell anyone. I guess that’s something of you I’ll always have (meeting his gaze)…your secret. (She turns to go)

Max (very softly – like he didn’t mean to say it out loud – but loud enough for her to hear): You hate me.

Liz (stopping with the door open): It’s easier that way (Max looks up realizing he must have said it out loud. Liz turns her head to the side to look at him) If I don’t it hurts too much (and with that she leaves).

(Scene: Various ones of the same night. Liz lying on top of her bed staring blankly at the ceiling. She has that stucco-glitter stuff for a ceiling so it’s like she is looking up at the stars and her gaze falls on a bunch of glitter patters that look like the V constellation. Author side note: I had this ceiling growing up and when taking high school geometry it was the most annoying thing because all I could see when I looked up at the ceiling was geometric shapes…so it’s completely feasible that all she would see when looking at the ceiling is that damn constellation…anyway…Another scene of Max walking home looking miserable. And one of Michael sitting under a tree across the way from Alex’s House. Maria’s car is parked outside)
Music: Matchbox 20 – Back 2 Good

(Scene: Max’s Bedroom, same night. He comes in and sits down on his bed and rests his head in his hands. Isabel comes in and sits next to him.)

Isabel (worried): Max…

Max: Isabel – she isn’t going to tell anyone…no matter how much she hates me.

Isabel: Look Max…what’s going on?

Max: What?

Isabel: You know what I’m talking about.

Max: Isabel, I’m just helping Tess out with school…

Isabel: Max…

Max: It’s not like that…you know that.

Isabel: I know you Max, and if someone asked you for help you’d give it to them. But I know women too and what she’s wanting from you is more than your history notes. (Max looks over at her) And I think you know that too.

Max (after a long pause): Touch her tomorrow.

Isabel (confused): What?

Max: The first time she touched me…there was almost a…a connection.

Isabel: What are you saying Max?

Max: There’s something about her Isabel…something familiar. I thought, if I could spend some time with her I might be able to tell if…if she feels it too.

Isabel: And…

Max: I think she does…(He pauses) What if she’s…

Isabel (cautious): Max.

Max (looking at her pleadingly): Just touch her tomorrow Isabel.

(Scene: Alex’s Bedroom. Every possible computer accessory is in this room. Fancy computer and printer, scanner, digital camera, CD writer – you name it he’s got it. Maria and Alex are sitting in front of the computer.)

Maria: This is so illegal.

Alex: You wanna know who Tess is? (Maria just looks at him) Then this is how we do it. (He starts fiddling with the computer and Maria puts her hand over his on the keyboard)

Maria (panicked): What if they catch us?

Alex (reassuring her): I doubt West Roswell High has a Hacker Tracker. If there’s any problems I’ll get out before they can trace us.

Maria: Okay. (She takes her hand off of Alex’s and just watches as he does whatever it is he does) So what are we looking for?

Alex (while concentrating on the computer): All you need to find out anything about anyone is their social security number. So we get into her school record, print it out and go from there…Bingo! (He double clicks the mouse and the printer starts – making Maria jump. He looks over at her) Hard part’s over.

Maria (letting out a sigh): Now what?

Alex (grabbing the printed sheet and typing something on the computer): Now we find out who Tess Russell really is. (He looks down at the sheet of paper and types her SS# into a search field and hits return. The computer takes a second and an error message pops up saying that no matches are found. Alex furrowing his brow looks at the paper again) Maybe I typed it in wrong. (He retypes it double checking to make sure it’s correct. He hits return and the same screen comes up)

Maria (looking from the computer to Alex): I was right?

Alex (looking at Maria): Okay…if she’s not who she says she is…

Maria (looking at Alex): Then who is she?

(They just sit there looking at each other. Neither of them notices a shadow of a figure pass by Alex’s window. Suddenly Michael stands up where he is – feeling the same thing he did the other day near Maria’s car. He looks around and over at Alex’s house with a worried look on his face.)

posted on 15-Sep-2001 1:10:10 PM
Title: “Plan C” (Tess trilogy, part 2)
Author: N/A
Disclaimers: The characters of Roswell belong to the WB, among others, but apparently I need to keep borrowing them. I know nothing about hacking into computers or parapsychology.
Summary: see above...and thank you to Rachelle Ramsey for letting me use her name and telling me that I’m not crazy!

(Scene: School Quad. Maria, Alex and Liz are sitting around a table talking very quietly. While on the other side of the quad Max, Isabel and Michael are sitting at a table also talking quietly.)

Liz (confused): Okay…so what you’re saying…What are you saying?

Maria: There is no Tess Russell.

Liz: Except for the fact that I have 3 classes with her.

Alex: Liz…her real name isn’t Tess.

Liz (looking at Alex and motioning to Maria): So she’s gotten to you too.

Maria: Look, this is so not a joke Liz. We got her social security number from her school record and when Alex did his computer magic…well no one has that number.

Liz: What?

Alex: It’s true…she’s right. I fought it as long as I could but the computer doesn’t lie. Maria DeLuca was right.

Maria (hitting Alex): I told you.

Liz: But…who is she?

Maria: We don’t know.

Alex: Yea, and I’m all out of ideas on how to figure that one out.

Liz (thinking out loud): Max said that it wasn’t what I was thinking…that he couldn’t really explain it. (Looking up at Maria and Alex) You don’t think she’s…

Maria: What?

Liz: You know, (whispering) Nasedo.

Alex: Wouldn’t he be like 60ish and…a he?

Liz: Maybe they can change.

Maria: Eeeeww.

Liz: We have no idea what they can really do – you know when they’re older.

Maria (in true Maria paranoid fashion): Or maybe there’s more of them…maybe they’re all around us…maybe they…

Liz: Maria focus, before you get all space-invasion-panicky on me…we need to focus.

Maria: Fine, but if she’s one of them why wouldn’t they just tell us?

Liz: Maybe they don’t know…

Alex: Yea, but you’d think with all the time Max spends with her, he’d know by now.

Liz (shooting Alex and evil glare): Well it’s not that hard to find out…we just need some cells.

Alex: Okay, I’ll go hold her down and you can scrap some of her skin off – or better yet we let Maria pummel her until she bleeds.

Maria (looking at Alex): How ‘bout we hold you down…

Liz: Her pen. (Both Maria and Alex look at her)

Maria: What?

Liz: That’s how I figured Max out. He chews on his pencil…I scraped some cells off it and under the microscope they were…well, not normal. She chews on her pen…I’ve seen her…a million times I’ve wanted to shove it down her throat.

Alex: Now isn’t that a pretty picture …

Liz: No seriously, if we can get her pen…we can tell. (Maria and Alex look at Liz and they huddle in a little closer together)

(Scene cuts to Max, Michael, and Isabel)

Max: What are you saying Michael…That you’ve seen him?

Michael: No. I haven’t seen him…but he’s close…too close.

Isabel: What are you talking about?

Michael: A couple of times I’ve been around Maria and I’ve…I’ve felt him – it’s almost like he’s watching her.

Max: Are you sure…that it’s him.

Michael: I’m telling you Max…what else could it be?

Isabel (starting to get panicky): He’s watching them…

Max (trying to calm her down): We don’t know if it’s him.

Michael (getting defensive): I know what I feel Maxwell…and it’s him.

Isabel: What do we do?

Max: But why wouldn’t we be able to feel him Michael?

Michael: Maybe because you’re to busy making eyes with what’s-her-name.

Max: There’s something about her Michael…if you’d spend more than two seconds in the same room with her…you’d feel it too.

Michael: I don’t need to.

Max: What’s that supposed to mean?

Isabel: Stop it! Fighting isn’t going to get us anywhere. You both are feeling things – so what do we do about them.

Max: I just need more time with her.

Isabel: What do we do if Michael’s right…if he’s watching them.

Michael (absentmindedly): River Dog…(He looks at Max and Isabel) he’s the only one who’s known this guy…he’s are only clue.

Isabel: And in the mean time…what about them (motioning to the table that Alex, Maria, and Liz are sitting at)

Max: We have to stay away…maybe it wasn’t Maria, Michael, maybe it was you he was following.

Michael: Maybe…but I’m not letting her out of my sight. (He looks over at Maria)

Isabel: From a distance, Michael.

Max: We’ll just have to watch all of them…from a distance. (The three of them look over to the table that Alex, Maria and Liz are sitting at with worried faces.)

(Scene: Tess’s House, nighttime. Tess is sitting at her computer talking on the phone to someone.)

Tess: No, nothing yet. Uh uh……I know…….No. Michael’s a suspicious one. He won’t talk to me. He stares at me from a distance but nothing…….Yes…I can try. Uh uh…….uh uh. No – only Liz. The kid’s got a helluva crush…all he thinks about is her. I don’t get anything else. No. Not yet……..I know…you’ll get my report. I’ll e-mail everything so far…

(Scene: School, next day. Tess is standing at her locker. Isabel walks up behind her – she reaches out and touches her on the arm. When she does, she has a fuzzy “flash” and let’s go. Tess startled turns around and Isabel quickly tries to recover from what she thinks just happened.)

Tess: Hey.

Isabel: Hey…Um…Max wanted me to give these to you. Said you needed them for the test today.

Tess (taking the papers): Yea, thanks. Your brother’s a great guy. I couldn’t get through these midterms without him.

Isabel (wanting to retreat): Yea, he’s unique that way…you know, considerate and so unlike most guys our age…sometimes too much.

Tess: Yea, I’ve noticed...

Isabel: Well the bells gonna ring.

Tess: Right. Tell Max thank you for me.

Isabel: I will. (She turns away and has a confused look on her face as she walks away. Tess watches her go with a curious look on her face.)

(Scene: School, same day. Liz and Alex are outside Alex, Maria, Tess and Max’s English classroom. The tardy bell is about to ring.)

Liz (handing him a plastic bag): You know the plan.

Alex: Yes ma’am.

Liz: Whatever you do…make sure you put it in the bag….

Alex: Consider it done.

Liz: Give me some time after the Lunch bell rings – to make sure Ms. Hardy leaves.

Alex: Got it.

(Alex goes into the classroom and sits down at his desk – sharing a quick glance with Maria. The class is watching Laurence Olivier’s movie version of Hamlet and taking notes as it goes. Alex keeps a close eye on Tess, waiting for her to take her pen out of her mouth. She finally does setting it on her desk. Alex makes a couple of fake sneezes and slowly gets out of his seat to walk up to the teacher’s desk for a Kleenex. Maria hears his sneezing and starts pretending to fight with her bag resting under her desk – like it’s caught. She pulls so hard that her desk bumps into Tess’s desk – Tess turns around to look at Maria and just as Alex walks by her desk he catches the pen before it falls and drops a pen from his sleeve to the floor. Alex bends down to pick up the pen he dropped and hides Tess’s pen up his sleeve.)

Maria (playing ignorant and pulling out a pack of gum from her bag): Sorry…Gum?

Tess (slightly annoyed): No thank you.

Alex (as he stands up and putting the pen in front of Tess’s face): Your pen?

Tess: Thanks Alex.

Alex: Not a problem.

(Alex walks back to his seat and quietly puts Tess’s pen in the plastic bag Liz gave him. Maria glances over and Alex gives her a thumbs up.)

(Scene: Biology Class, same day. It’s toward the end of the class period. They are dissecting a pigeon – without microscopes. Ms. Hardy, the teacher, is walking around the room helping out students.)

Liz (making eye contact with her teacher from across the room and raising her hand): Ms. Hardy. (Max looks over at Liz and Ms. Hardy approaches their table.)

Ms. Hardy: Liz.

Liz: I was wondering if I could stay through lunch. I’d really like to look at some of these things under the microscope.

Ms. Hardy: Well we’re planning on doing that tomorrow.

Liz: I’m just really eager to compare these cells with the fish we dissected a couple of weeks ago.

Ms. Hardy (pausing and nodding her head): Alright Liz. Just make sure you put everything away when you’re done.

Liz: I will. (Ms. Hardy leaves and Max looks at Liz)

Max: Do you want me to stay?

Liz (curtly and not looking at him): No.

Max: Liz we’re lab partners if you’re doing something for class don’t you think I should be involved. (The bell rings and students start leaving class.)

Liz: Max, it’s for my own curiosity and…

Tess (interrupting Liz and putting her hand on Max’s shoulder): You coming? (Max looks up at her and over at Liz, who is already starting to take out the microscope.)

Max: Are you sure Liz?

Liz (continuing to get equipment out): Positive.

Max (reluctantly): Alright. (He packs up his stuff and follows Tess out of the room. Liz watches them go and then lets out a sigh. She gets up from the desk to get some slides and chemicals out of the cabinet.)

Ms. Hardy: You have everything you need?

Liz: Yea, thanks for letting me stay.

Ms. Hardy: I’ll be in the teacher’s lounge if you need anything.

Liz: Okay. (Ms. Hardy leaves. Liz sets up the microscope, cleans a slide and sits and waits for Alex and Maria. She goes into a little daydream about Max and some of the more “tender” moments they’ve had in labs. She’s startled as Maria and Alex enter the room.) Did you get it?

Alex (pulling the pen out of his bag and handing it to Liz): Too easy.

Maria: You should have seen the look on her face when I bumped into her desk. She’s gotta be evil.

Liz (laughing at Maria’s last comment as she puts the pen in some chemicals and then puts a drop of liquid on the microscope slide): Well, let’s see if she is. (Liz puts the slide under the microscope and looks in the eyepiece. What she sees are normal human cheek cells. She lets out a disappointed sigh and looks over at Alex and Maria) What’s plan ‘B’?

Maria: They’re normal?

Liz: Like yours and mine.

Alex: Well, at least we don’t have to worry about an alien invasion or a 60-year-old alien transvestite. (Both Maria and Liz look at Alex and can’t help but laugh.)

(Scene: After School. Michael is painting in the art room. It’s a picture of the cave – not of the drawings but of the inside. He has his headphones on and is really into what he’s doing. All of a sudden he stops painting, furrows his brow and looks around the room with his eyes. He turns his head over his shoulder to look out the window and Tess is standing off to the side staring at him, intently. She’s startled when he makes eye contact with her, smiles at him, waves and then leaves. Michael watches her go with a puzzled look on his face.)

(Scene: Crashdown, after closing. Maria and Liz are both cleaning up. Alex walks in)

Alex: I’ve got plan ‘B’.

Maria: What?

Alex: Okay, I haven’t figured out any of the details but I know what we need.

Liz: What?

Alex: Her fingerprints.

Maria: Fingerprints?

Alex: If she’s working for the government she’d be printed. (Getting excited) They’d have her on file.

Liz: Yea, but fingerprints? Alex how are we gonna get those, ask nicely?

Alex: Hey, I didn’t say I had any details. That’s what you guys are for. I do the hacking, you get me the goods.

Maria (sitting down at a booth): Fingerprints – that’s like impossible. Can’t we just tie her down and beat it out of her.

Alex (sitting down across from her): Hey, I’ve already offered that…

Liz (joining them at the table): There’s gotta be a way.

Alex: All we need is one good print.

Maria: Liz, there’s no way.

Liz (looking at Maria): There has to be…we just need to think.

Alex: Maybe we should watch the Cartoon Network’s Scooby Do-athon – you know for research. (Maria and Liz just look at him) Just a suggestion. (The three of them sit there shaking their heads and trying to come up with something)

----- fast forward an hour or so ------

(Liz picks up the cleaning towels lying on the counter top and goes in the back. Alex leaves through the front door and Maria goes over and locks it behind him. As she turns to leave she sees a shadow of a figure standing off in the distance across the street. She steps toward the café door to get a better look and sees that it’s Michael – he doesn’t see her. A questioning look crosses her face as she turns and walks toward the back of the café.)

(Scene: Mescalero Reservation cave, next day. Michael has skipped school. He is sitting in the middle of the cave staring at the wall. River Dog enters the cave and approaches him.)

River Dog: You have questions.

Michael (looking up at him): You have answers.

River Dog: Some maybe, but not the ones you’re searching for (motioning to the wall of images). (After a pause) You are troubled.

Michael: What was he like?

River Dog: Nasedo?

Michael: Did he frighten you…threaten you.

River Dog: No. I was only a child when I first met him.

Michael: What about Atherton? You saw what happened…

River Dog: I was too far away to see.

Michael: Are you afraid…that he’s so close…that he’s back.

River Dog (thinking for a moment): No…a life for a life…and I saved his. (Pausing and looking intently at Michael) You are worried for your friends.

Michael (frustrated): We weren’t supposed to get attached…it weakens us.

River Dog: It is a choice…it can weaken or strengthen…that is up to you. (Michael just looks at him confused) You’re afraid he will hurt them. (Michael nods) They saved your life like I saved his.

Michael: But why won’t he show himself to us…why follow them?

River Dog: He doesn’t know them…trust them like you…

Michael (looking up at him): I don’t know him like you…

(Scene: School, a different day – let’s say it’s Thursday. Before classes begin. Liz, Maria and Alex are sitting in Maria’s car. Maria and Liz in the front with Alex leaning in from the back.)

Maria: Are you sure?

Liz: Like clockwork…the past two days she’s asked for a bathroom pass about half-way through Biology.

Alex: What she can’t wait until lunch?

Maria: Hey, some of us like our privacy. (Looking nervously at Liz) You’re sure?

Liz: It doesn’t matter if I’m not Maria – I mean it’ll just look like a practical joke anyway. But if she doesn’t go today we’ll have to come up with another plan.

Maria (re-assuring herself): Right – practical joke. (Looking at Alex) Did you bring it?

Alex (pulling out a tube of printing ink and handing it to Maria): Here you go.

Liz (holds up a pair of latex gloves): Use these too. (Maria takes them and looks at Liz funny) Are you sure you can do this Maria?

Maria: I’ll be fine…if he (motioning to Alex) can break state and federal laws then I can play a little practical joke…right?

Liz: Just remember not to be in there when she is.

Maria: Why?

Liz: I don’t know, just in case.

Maria (starting to get paranoid): What do you mean, in case?

Alex: In case you spaz out and flush the toilet by accident. (They hear the school bell ring in the parking lot and start to get out of the car. Liz walks up to Maria and puts her arm around her.)

Liz: You’re gonna be fine…you can do this Maria.

Maria (leaning her head on Liz’s shoulder): We really need new friends.

(Scene: Biology Class. The class is continuing to dissect their pigeons. Liz keeps looking at the clock and around the room to wherever Ms. Hardy is at. She is obviously distracted from the lab. She looks up when the clock reads 11:45 and over at Ms. Hardy, who is giving Tess a bathroom pass. Tess leaves the classroom and heads to the nearest bathroom. While she’s in the bathroom we see Maria in an empty classroom just down the hall with the door cracked open a tad. She’s eyeing the bathroom. Back in the bathroom. Tess flushes the toilet and goes to wash her hands. When she pushes the soap handle down with her thumb it gets covered in ink.)

Tess: What the…(She puts her thumb under the water but the ink isn’t water soluble. She grabs a white paper towel and rolls her thumb on it to try and get the ink off. She keeps doing this until she can’t get anymore off and throws the towel away. She looks at the rest of the soap handles closely and then laughs) Teenagers. (She washes her hands without soap and leaves the bathroom. When Maria sees her going back into the biology class she heads for the bathroom. Looking in the two garbage cans she pulls out the towel with several perfect thumbprints on it.)

Maria: Gotcha.

(Scene: Crashdown. Early evening. Liz is in the back room, getting a bag of trash ready to take to the dumpster in the alleyway. She goes through the back door and walks toward the dumpster – near the main road. As she’s putting the bag in it she turns her head in the direction of the UFO Center and sees Max and Tess standing by Max’s Jeep – very closely. Liz stands there watching them – not quite breathing. Tess leans in closer to Max and they kiss. Liz’s face drops, she steady’s herself against the dumpster and looks away. She takes a couple of hurried breaths and then turns and goes back into the Crashdown.)

(Scene: School, the next day before classes. Liz and Maria are standing at their lockers. Liz is very distracted and Maria is very excited about the fingerprint.)

Maria: I can’t believe we have to wait until tonight…I think I’m gonna pee my pants…(Looking at Liz who’s obviously distracted) Liz?

Liz (shaking her self out of her thoughts): What?

Maria: Liz, is everything okay?

Liz: Fine.

Maria (looking at her suspiciously): Alright – the bells gonna ring, we’ll talk at lunch, okay?

Liz (looking at her) Yea…lunch. (Maria walks off and Liz walks to class, a little zoned out)

(Scene: Various Scenes of Liz watching Max and/or Tess. One in Geometry, in Biology, at lunch, in history, and a couple in the hallways between classes.)

Voice Over (while we see the above scenes): You think you know a person…but can you ever really “know” someone? The day after the shooting, when Max touched me…he told me he wanted to show me that he was the same Max – the Max I had always known. But I didn’t really know him did I? Cuz the Max he showed me was this…this beautiful person that I had no idea sat beside me everyday. I thought I was seeing Max Evans for the first time…really knowing him – what he thought, what he felt, who he was. But maybe I wasn’t. Maybe all I saw was what he wanted me to see. Maybe I felt what he wanted me to. And maybe I don’t really know Max Evans at all anymore – if I ever did.

(Scene: Alex’s Bedroom, same day, nighttime. Alex is sitting at the computer and Maria and Liz are huddled around either side of him. Maria and Liz look nervous while Alex attempts composer. Michael is once again, under a tree outside watching Alex’s house.)

Maria: I don’t know about this Alex…Roswell High is one thing, but this is like…the police. We’re talking serious shit if we get caught.

Alex: Look, I went to the library this afternoon and tested it out.

Liz: You what?

Alex: You know the computer in the back…I figured they couldn’t prove who did it (giving them a smile) I wore gloves…

Maria: And…

Alex: Piece of cake…you’d be surprised what you can do if you know what you’re doing.

Liz: How exactly do you know what you’re doing?

Alex (looking at Liz): The less you know the better. (Alex turns his attention back to his computer and starts doing what he does.)

Maria: So what exactly are you looking for.

Alex: Well, I’ve scanned the fingerprint onto my computer. Once I’m into the police computer I’ll upload it and do a search…if she’s working for somebody she’ll be in there.

Liz: What do we do if she’s not?

Maria: Then I suggest plan ‘C’ – tie her up and force it out of her. (Liz just looks over at Maria) You got anything better?

Liz: At the moment, no.

Alex: Here we go. (They all turn their attention to the computer screen. It looks like it’s “thinking” and then a screen appears that has a few head shots of a younger “Tess” and a rap sheet.) Holy shit…she’s been arrested.

Liz (pointing to the screen): Is that her name?

Alex: Yea, wait a minute and I’ll print this out. (He fiddles some more and his printer starts)

Maria: She’s a felon, who would have guessed?

Liz (looking closely at the screen): She was 13 Maria. (Alex continues to fiddle with the computer – disconnecting from the police computer system. He reaches over and grabs the sheets from the printer.)

Alex: Let’s see what we’ve got (He divvies up the papers between the three of them.)

Liz: Well, her real name is Annie Robinson. She was arrested in 1989 – wait, that makes her 23 years old.

Maria: Yea, and she’s along way from home. (Liz and Alex look over at her) Her address listed here is a Rachelle Ramsey House – in New York City.

Liz: What?

Maria: Yea, doesn’t say what it is?

Alex: Only one way to find out. How do you spell it? (Maria hands him the paper and he types the name into a search engine and hits return. What comes up is a nice homepage for The Rachelle Ramsey House. It’s the only “school”/”center” for children/youth who experience psychic phenomena in the country.) What’s (he fumbles trying to pronounce it) “parapsychology”?

Liz: It’s the study of psychic phenomena…you know – e.s.p., psychokinesis…stuff like that.

Maria (looking at Liz funny): I don’t wanna know how you know that.

Liz (to Alex): Can you get into their system and get her file?

Alex: I can try…if they trace us – at least it’ll take ‘em a while to get here. (He starts fiddling again) What’s her name?

Liz: Annie Robinson.

Alex (after a moment): Here it is. (He double clicks the mouse and the printer starts again. He looks over at Liz) So what exactly is psychokinesis?

Liz: It’s the ability to interact with objects – with your mind. You know, moving a fork across a table just by thinking about it.

Alex: Can’t Max do that?

Liz (thinking for a moment): Yea…actually, a lot of their powers could be called “psychic”.

Maria (reading through some of the papers that printed out): They call them “gifts.”

Liz: What?

Maria: Instead of “powers” they call them “gifts”…look. (She hands Liz and Alex a couple of sheets. They all just sit there for a bit reading through her file.) Get this…a bunch of kids from the house were arrested for breaking and entering. They all wanted to test their “gifts”. They kept them in jail overnight – to teach ‘em a lesson…nice place.

Alex: It says here she left to go to Princeton.

Maria: Princeton? There you go Liz, if she can have a rap sheet and make it into Princeton – you’re set for Harvard.

Alex: Yea, she’s studying at the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research center…whatever that is.

Liz (not listening to them): Oh my God. (She looks up from the paper she’s reading) She can interact with living organisms – it’s called bio-psychokinesis.

Maria: English, please.

Liz: It’s like psychokinesis but with plants and animals…and people. It says that she can touch someone – something – and get visions from it…that’s her “gift”.

Alex: What do you mean, visions?

Liz (getting a little panicky): Like visions. She can touch you and get a vision from you – what you’re thinking, feeling…maybe something you’ve done…

Maria (knowing exactly what she’s thinking and getting a little panicky herself): The shooting. What if she sees the shooting? Max, and Michael, and Isabel….

Liz: But it doesn’t make sense. Parapsychologists don’t study “aliens”…psychic stuff happens all the time, it’s legitimate science…well in most scientific communities…why would she be here – after aliens.

Alex: Maybe she doesn’t know what she’s looking for.

Maria: Maybe she’s working for someone.

Alex (looking at Liz): What now?

Liz: Now we tell Max, Michael, and Isabel (looking at Alex and Maria and under her breath)…and hope it’s not too late.

(Outside under the tree Michael gets another funny feeling and scans the streets looking for someone/something hiding in the shadows)

posted on 15-Sep-2001 1:13:18 PM
Title: “The Spin Cycle” (Tess trilogy, part 3)
Author: N/A
Rating: PG-13 - for language
Disclaimers: The characters of Roswell belong to the WB, among others, but apparently I need to keep borrowing them. Again, I know nothing about computer hacking or parapsychology.
Summary: Okay, so this is the end of Tess..

(Scene: Crashdown, early afternoon. Liz and Maria are working and Alex is just visiting sitting at the counter.)
Music: Citizen King – Better Days (And Then The Bottom Drops Out)

Liz: How do you know?

Maria: You’d be surprised what people talk about in the bathroom when they think they’re alone.

Alex: I don’t want know.

Liz: So they’re gone for the weekend?

Maria: Yea, I can’t remember if it’s an anniversary or birthday…but they went up to Taos.

Alex: What about Max and Isabel? Will they be home tonight?

Maria: Don’t know.

Liz: We’ll just wait for them if they’re gone. But how are we gonna get Michael there?

Maria (with a knowing smile): Don’t worry…he’ll be there.

Alex: So you’ll pick me up 6:45, right?

Maria: Yea. Liz you sure you don’t want a ride?

Liz: No, I’m actually looking forward to the walk. (Alex and Maria share a glance.)

Alex (getting out of his seat): Alright, ‘til tonight, ladies. (Alex leaves the café)

Maria: What’s up girlfriend? (Liz looks at her questioningly) I expected you to be – I don’t know, a little encouraged.

Liz: What?

Maria: Don’t get me wrong the guy’s still an ass but at least you know…I mean, now we know why Max was so caught up with “Tess”, why he’d want to spend so much time with her.

Liz: Yea, but he didn’t have to do it in front of me.

Maria (not wanting to push it): So how’d you manage to get us off tonight?

Liz: Sold my soul to Betty and Jen. (They just look at each other and smile.)

(Scene: Outside Maria’s House, around 7 p.m. Michael is standing in the shadows. He sees Maria come out and get into her car. Maria drives off and Michael starts walking on the sidewalk in the direction she went. He doesn’t notice the Jetta, slowly pull up behind him. Maria rolls down the window and drives along side him)
Music (on the radio): William Topley – Walk Like I Do

Maria: You want a ride?

Michael (turning around totally startled that she caught him): What…um…

Maria: Listen, I’m already late. I have to pick up Alex and be at Max’s by 7…do you want a ride or are you walking to the Evans’? (Michael still confused that she caught him just stands there. She reaches over and opens the door from the inside) Do I look like I have all day?

Michael (gets in and sheepishly): Thanks.

Maria: All I have to say is that instead of sittin’ under my window for the past week you should have been sittin’ at Max’s.

Michael (still confused and embarrassed): What?

Maria: Nevermind…

(Scene: Isabel’s Bedroom. Max and Isabel are sitting on her bed)

Isabel: I felt it Max. It was like a blurry image – I couldn’t make anything out – but I think she felt it too.

Max: I told you Isabel…(the doorbell rings and he looks at Isabel) You have a date tonight?

Isabel: No. You?

Max: No, Tess and I are studying together tomorrow afternoon. (The doorbell rings again and he gets up) Maybe Michael’s forgotten how to use a door knob. (Max goes to the door and opens it)

Max (surprised): Liz.

Liz (coldly): Max.

Max: Um. What are you doing here?

Liz: Yea, we’ll get to that Max…can I come in?

Max: Um…sure. (Liz walks past him and goes into the living room. Max follows her and they just sort of stand there on either side of the room. There are a few moments of silence – Liz not looking at him. Finally Isabel comes into the hallway)

Isabel: Max, who was it? (She comes into the living room and sees Liz) Liz? What are you…(She’s interrupted by the front door opening and Alex walking in followed by Maria and Michael exchanging pleasantries)

Maria: Definitely need to work on your stalking skills pal. Just because you’re wearing black and it’s dark outside doesn’t mean you’re invisible.

Michael: Yea, well (he stops as they enter the living room and sees everyone) What’s this a pow wow? (There’s awkward silence for a moment)

Isabel (looking between Max and Michael nervously): I don’t know if this is such a good idea.

Liz: What all of us being in the same room together?

Isabel: It’s just risky.

Michael (sending a worried look to Max): She’s right, this is a bad idea…

Maria: Give it a rest. (Max, Michael, and Isabel look at her and she looks over at Liz)

Liz: You guys are so busy pushing us away and worrying about us you’ve forgotten about yourselves.

Max (looking at her confused): What?

Liz (walking over to him and practically shoving the folder at him): She’s not from your planet…she’s not even in high school…and her name isn’t Tess. (Max looks down at the folder and Isabel and Michael walk over to Max. He opens the folder and it’s the police report and her file from the Rachelle Ramsey House – all of them are confused and speechless.)

Max: How’d you…

Alex (raising his hand): Guilty. (Max looks up at him and over at Liz)

Isabel (in shock, flipping through some of the papers): I don’t understand.

Liz: She’s a graduate student at Princeton. Studying psychic phenomena…

Michael (looking up from his paper): What?

Liz: A lot of the powers you have could be explained as…psychic. Connecting with objects…moving objects with your mind…and some humans have them too. She studies them…(She pauses) and can also do them.

Isabel (confused and panicky): Excuse me?

Liz: She can do what’s called bio-psychokinesis. (Michael’s about to say something but Liz stops him) She can connect with people…and see things.

Max (completely shocked): Things?

Maria: I think you call them…“visions”. (All three of the aliens’ mouths drop open blown away)

Isabel (falling down on the couch behind her): Oh my God.

Max: That’s why…

Alex: Look, we know who she is, now we just need to find out why she’s here.

Isabel (being snappy): Isn’t it obvious.

Liz (getting testy): Don’t snap at him. We’re here to help you.

Michael: Who’s she working for?

Alex: We don’t know.

Michael (looking at Alex): That’s what we need…that’ll tell us why.

Isabel: I can’t believe this. (Looking up at Max) Max? (Poor Max is just trying to take everything in from the conversation around him and the stuff that he’s reading. He looks down at his very scared sister)

Max: We’ll figure something out, Iz.

Liz: That’s why we’re here.

Maria: We need a plan.

Michael: No way.

Maria (defiantly): What?

Michael: It’s too dangerous for us to be together.

Maria: What? I can’t be in the same room with you, but you can stalk me?

Liz (looking from Michael to Max): What aren’t you telling us? (Michael and Max share a quick glance that Alex catches)

Alex: I don’t know about these two (motioning to Liz and Maria) but I sure as hell feel like I deserve the truth.

Michael (looking at Max and pausing): I’ve been following you, because he’s here…he’s close.

Maria: What are you talking about?

Michael: Nasedo, I’ve felt him, a couple of times…when I’ve been near you.

Maria (getting paranoid in true Maria fashion): Lead him right to me why don’t you – did you point out my window to him too?

Liz: Maria…

Michael: I’ve felt him at the Crashdown…and at Alex’s.

Alex: The last to know the first to go…

Liz (starting to get irritated and pissy): Listen! We have two issues here. Can we deal with them one at a time? (Everybody looks at her) Let’s first figure out what to do with “Tess” and then move on to the leader of your people? (Everybody just stands there for a second)

Maria: Sorry.

Max (not looking at Liz): Michael’s right. It’s too dangerous. He hasn’t even made himself known to us…we have no idea what his intentions are, what he’ll do.

Liz (shaking her head and letting out a sigh): You don’t get it do you? (Everybody looks at her and she looks at Max) All you’ve got, is an old man on a reservation…the shadow of man who eludes you…and the three of us.

Max (affectionate almost pleadingly): Liz I don’t want you to get hurt.

Liz (just glares at him and shakes her head and in her fury forgets that anybody else is there but Max): Is that a joke? You think he’s gonna hurt me – well here I am Max – cuz it can’t be any worse than what you’ve already done. You saved my life…now we call it even! If after everything we’ve done for you – for Michael, for Isabel – if after everything he still wants to hurt me…then fuck him. And you know what, fuck you too Max for standing there and saying you don’t want me to get hurt – and pretending to sound like you mean it. (She stops looks away from Max and sees Isabel sitting off to the side of Max and she realizes that she wasn’t alone with him. She takes a second to gain her composer while everyone is totally dumbfounded. In a shaky tone) Um…just let me know what my part in the plan is.

(She leaves the living room. Nobody moves and when the front door shuts everybody looks at Max. He’s just looking at where Liz was standing, it takes him a moment to realize that everyone is watching him and he heads after Liz. Once he’s gone from the room everybody left lets out the breath they’ve been holding and look around the room at each other.)

(Scene: Moments later outside the Evans house. Liz is down the street a little. And Max is running after her.)

Max: Liz! Liz!

(Liz stops and stands there for a second and Max catches up to within a few yards of where she’s standing. He stops and stares at the back of her. She turns around not looking up at him)

Liz: I saw you. (She looks up at his distraught face and pauses for a moment) I saw you kiss her. (His face flinches. She takes a step backward and then turns around and walks away. Max has a “what-the-hell-have-I-done” look on his face as he watches her go.)

(Scene: Various. Liz walking through the streets of Roswell. Max sitting on the curb with his head in his hands. Alex, Maria, Isabel, and Michael sitting around the living room looking over “Tess’s” files and planning the next move…The scene fast forwards to later in the night. Liz has fallen asleep on the lounge chair on her roof – with only a thin blanket. Max, carrying a letter quietly climbs up the escape ladder. When he sees her he stops – not sure if she’s awake. He realizes that she’s asleep and evaluates the situation. He wants to carry her back into her bedroom – but knows he can’t fit her through the window and might wake her. So he goes into her bedroom and gets her pillow and comforter. He gently covers her up and puts the pillow under her head. He sees her journal at the side of the chair and places the letter just inside the cover with part of it sticking out. He leaves.)
Music: Sara MacLachlan - Black

(Scene: Max’s Bedroom, later the same evening. Michael is sitting on the bed. Max walks in and sits down next to him and rests his head in his hands.)
Music: Red House Painters – Another Song For A Blue Guitar (softy)

Max (after a few long moments of silence): What have I done?

Michael: She fooled us all Max.

Max (shaking his head): Not you.

Michael: She was about to. (Max looks over at him confused) I felt her. The other day I was in the art room and I could feel something – someone watching me. I turned around and there she was – outside in the quad. (Shaking his head) She would have had us all…(smiling) except Maria.

Max: What have I done Michael? (Michael just looks at him) I thought it would be better…you know, if Liz hated me then it would be easier, she could move on, actually have a life. But I didn’t think about what that would do to me. I didn’t want…that (motioning to the living room).

Michael (softly): Attachments Maxwell, it was rule number one for a reason.

Max (shaking his head): We were ten when we made those rules Michael…we thought if anyone knew they’d turn us in…we thought kissing girls was still gross…what the hell did we know?

Michael: That we were different and that meant being alone.

Max (looking at Michael): We thought we were freaks…freaks that no one would love – we were wrong.

Michael: Maybe Max, but we are different, and there has to be rules…

Max (interrupting and looking away from him): Michael, they’re broken…we are attached. I fucked it up cuz I was scared…and you pretend not to be because you’re scared. Admit it, deny it…it’s there Michael. (He looks over at him) I want the answers like you do…I want to know who we are…where we come from…what it means to be us…but I want her too.

Michael: And the “what if”?

Max: What if we leave, what if I lose her, what if I hurt her…which of those haven’t I done?

Michael (pauses): Let’s just handle Tess first… (At the sound of Tess’s name Max lowers his heads in his hands again and lets out a sigh)

Max: Oh God…I should have listened. (After a long pause) She kissed me.

Michael (confused): Liz?

Max: Tess – whatever her name is. She leaned in and I knew it was coming and I didn’t push her away. And all I could think was Liz – how much pain this would cause her…that I was causing her.

Michael: You had to Max, you were feeling something and you had to know. Hell, I would’ve done the same thing.

Max: She saw. (He looks over at Michael’s puzzled face) Liz saw us kiss. (Michael’s face flinches) I don’t think I can do this…I don’t think I should be around Tess – not knowing what she can do, obviously I’m the one she’s after.

Michael: No Max, you’re about the only one who should be around her. (Max looks confused) You’ll be too busy thinking about Liz to give anything away.

(Scene: Liz’s Roof, early morning. Liz is sleeping on the lounge chair. She squints as the sun gets brighter and rolls over on the lounge chair almost falling off – causing her to jerk up. She looks around confused – realizing that she slept outside. She looks down at her comforter and at her pillow – extremely confused. She starts to get up from the chair but sees the envelope sticking out of her journal. She reaches down, grabs her journal and pulls out the envelope and opens it. She sits back and reads:

You said that you’d always have my secret, but Liz you’ve always had me. Whatever was happening between Tess – Annie – and I, I never confused it with what happened between us. And whatever I might have been feeling I never mistook it for what I feel for you. I think I’m in love with you Liz – it terrifies and exhilarates me at the same time. I pushed you away because loving you has risks – risks that I don’t even know about, that I don’t want to expose you to. I pushed you away because on the slight chance that you do love me back I wouldn’t care about the risks. If by hurting you now I could save you from a far greater pain to come – can you understand why I would do it? Can you understand that I would love you that much? But there’s no way to know the future. So I was torn between loving you now if only to hurt you in the end or hurting you now if only to have maybe loved you for a lifetime. Neither was fair to you. I needed to either give in or let go – and I’m afraid now I’ve lost the right to choose. And now I know what it feels like to lose you – even though I never could claim to have had you – and losing you once is enough to know that I’d never want to lose you again. I know it’s too little too late, after what’s happened. I can’t give you much, but at least I can give you this – the truth. I only hope that one day you can look at me and smile again.

Liz takes a couple of deep breaths puts the letter back in the envelope and places the envelope back in her journal. She stares at the journal for a moment and then throws it at the wall. She hugs her knees and rocks gently back and forth as tears fall down her cheeks)

(Scene: Tess’s House, same day. Michael is at the back door. He looks around and then unlocks the door with his powers. He quickly goes inside and starts looking through things. He opens drawers and cabinets, looks under the bed, in the trash,…general snooping activities. He doesn’t find anything, disappointed and frustrated he leaves.)

(Scene: Crashdown, after closing, same day. Maria and Liz are sitting on the couch in the back.)

Liz: What time are they supposed to be here?

Maria (looking down at her watch): Soon. (She looks over at Liz) So you want to talk about yesterday?

Liz: No.

Maria: Liz, it’s me…and yesterday was very – un-you.

Liz (looks over at her): Do you ever feel like you’re trapped in a washing machine stuck on the spin cycle? (Maria just looks at her and Liz looks away.) I’m confused Maria…I don’t know what to do or what to feel. I just want someone to turn the damn machine off and let me out. (Maria’s about to say something but Alex comes through the back entrance door.)

Maria: Hey Alex. (Liz looks up at Alex and stands up)

Liz: I should make sure the front door’s locked. (She goes into the front)

Alex: How’s she doing?

Maria: I don’t know.

(The back door opens again and Max, Isabel, and Michael walk in and Liz comes back from the front. Can we say awkward silence?)

Alex: Let’s get down to business. (Liz gives him a grateful look.)

Maria: What’d you find?

Michael (frustrated): Nothing.

Maria: Nothing? Did you check the trash?

Michael: Yes.

Maria: Her books? (Michael just looks at her, cause he didn’t) Her phone? (Another look) Anything other than the trash?

Michael (defensive): There wasn’t anything there – just a stupid cat.

Maria (looks at Max and Isabel): Who decided to send him?

Michael: Like you could have found something.

Maria: Well you’re obviously no Sherlock.

Liz (calmly): What do we do know? (There’s a pause)

Alex: Was her computer hooked up to a phone line?

Michael: I don’t know…there were two cords.

Alex: If her computer’s hooked up to a phone line I might be able to access it – but it has to be on. You have her phone number Max?

Max: Yea.

Alex: We can’t do it when she’s there…she’d be able to tell.

Isabel: Aren’t you studying with her after school?

Max (totally fighting it): Yea, in the library.

Michael: I’ll go back tomorrow after school...

Maria (looking at him): And I’ll drive you.

Alex: Make it quick though and when you’re done come by my house so I know it’s on. (Looking at Max) How long will you be studying?

Max: I don’t know, couple hours.

Alex: Should be enough – call me before you take her home.

Isabel (seeing Alex in a new light): You sure you can do this?

Alex: No. Doesn’t stop me from trying though.

(Scene: Tess’s House, next day, after school. Michael and Maria are standing outside the back door. Maria’s on the lookout and Michael puts his hand over the door lock.)

Maria: Try not to blow it up okay?

Michael: I still don’t understand why you’re here.

Maria: Well, if you’d have done this right the first time I wouldn’t need to be.

Michael: Will you shut up, I’m trying to concentrate.

(He unlocks the door and holds it open for Maria. They enter and quickly close the door behind them. Michael walks over to the laptop on the living room table, the cat follows him and annoyingly won’t leave him alone. Maria starts flipping through books, looking behind them, looking under the couch – and behind it. She goes over to the phone. It’s a cordless – the phone is gone but the holder has an intercom, a dial pad, and a bunch of options/buttons…I.e. redial, phone, off, hold etc. She pushes the redial button and the intercom comes on and starts dialing a number. Michael looks over from the computer to Maria and they both look at the phone. It rings twice and then…)

Phone: Agent Topolsky.

(Maria instinctively hits the off key and looks at Michael who mirror’s her “holy shit” face. The phone rings. Maria looks down at it and thinks quickly.)

Maria: The cat.

Michael: What?


Maria: Give me the damn cat. (Michael grabs the cat and hurriedly hands it to her)


(Maria clicks the “phone” button and holds the cat – squirming over the intercom. It meow’s a couple of times and Maria hits a couple of numbers and buttons – making it seem like the cat is walking on the phone.)

Topolsky: Stupid cat. (Click)

(Maria practically drops the cat, letting out a big breath and her and Michael just look at each other again with “holy shit” faces.)

(Scene: Alex’s bedroom. Alex is sitting at the computer – fiddling with it – and Liz is sitting on his bed, off to the side of him.)

Alex: So…

Liz: Alex, I really don’t…

Alex: Hey I coulda been askin’ about the weather.

Liz (smiling at him): Really?

Alex: I wasn’t…but I coulda been.

Liz (after a pause, softly): Thank you Alex.

Alex (looking up from the computer and over at her): For…

Liz: For doing this – everything you’ve done.

Alex (thoughtfully): I care about them too.

Liz: Isabel?

Alex: I just try and understand it – you know. One day life’s biggest challenge is matching lipsticks and nail polish and deciding what to wear…and them all of a sudden it’s being harassed and followed by multiple forms of government law enforcement and whoever this person is – (looking over at Liz) still mind you, all the while looking fabulous.

Liz (thinking about what he said): Yea…

Alex (returning to his computer): And how long can it go on? (Liz looks up him) Can’t these people give up already?

Liz (thinking after a minute): I don’t know. I guess it could never end.

Alex: We’re all gonna end up like Maria or Michael – paranoid or disturbed and paranoid. (Liz laughs at Alex and he continues) Think about it. We’ve now entered the “ Xenophobe Zone” – every person we meet from now on could be after us.

Liz (laughing at first but then realizing the absolute truth of what he said): Every customer at the Crashdown.

Alex: You were right when you said all they have are the three of us. And in a way, they’re all we’ve got too – at least to share these highly dramatic moments we could all live without…(Maria and Michael practically knock the bedroom door down.)

Maria: Topolsky!

Liz (startled by there entrance): What?

Maria: She’s working for Topolsky. (Alex and Liz look at each other)

Alex: Are you sure?

Michael: Unless she said Koloplsky – pretty damn sure.

Liz: Oh my God, I didn’t think….

Alex (thinking out loud): Okay, if I can get into her computer maybe I can…we can find out what she’s been writing, e-mails…

Michael: No…I think we should ask her. (Maria, Liz and Alex all look over at him.)

(Scene: School. There is a quick scene of History class. To set the stage: Tess sits farthest away from the door – last row middle. Isabel and Max are next to each other in the back middle of the room. Maria and Liz sit one row away from them in the center of the room. And Michael sits up front one row closer to Tess than Max and Isabel. So if you can picture them sort of sitting in a crud semi-circle around her. Mr. Sommers is lecturing and no one is really paying attention. Looks and glances are being shared between Max, Michael, Isabel and Maria and Liz. The scene cuts to Alex standing at the office counter talking to a student aide – whom we’ll call Julie. They are talking quietly.)

Alex (begging): Please.

Julie: I don’t know, Alex.

Alex: Julie (motioning to the piece of paper) it’s only three lines…please…my life is dangling in your hands here…I’ll do anything…

Julie: My computer lab?

Alex: Yours and your mothers. (She grabs the paper and turns to go over to a desk. Alex mouths the words “thank you” to her and leaves.)

Julie (to the secretary): I have a message for a student.

Secretary (looking at the clock): There’s only a minute left, go ahead and read it.

(Julie goes over to where the school intercom is at and sits down.)

(The scene cuts back to History class. Maria looks impatiently at the clock and then over to Michael – and they both look up as the loud speaker comes on.)

Intercom: Annie Robinson…Annie Robinson…you’re wanted in the office.

(At the mention of her real name “Tess’s” face drops as she stares at her desktop. Five pairs of eyes are looking at her but all she feels are one. She takes a deep breath and looks over to see Max’s hurt/questioning face and then she turns slightly to meet Liz’s intense stare. The bell rings and everybody makes a move to leave except the six of them. They slowly get out of their desks and lean against them – I.e. Michael sits on top of his desk, Maria just shifts so that she’s sitting facing “Tess” while the others are standing leaning against their seat or another desk. “Tess” shifts as the teacher leaves and they’re all alone in the room. There’s a moment of silence and then Alex comes barging in the room.)

Alex: What’d I miss? (Everybody looks from Alex back to “Tess”)

Michael: We were just about to ask…Annie…why she’s here.

Annie (leaning back): Wow…Um…how did you…

Maria (cutting her off): I think you’re the one who needs to answer the questions – we’ll do the asking.

Annie (raising her eyebrow at Maria’s boldness): Fine. Obviously you know who I am, so I am assuming you know…what I do.

Liz: We know who you’re working for too.

Annie: What don’t you know?

Max: Why you’re here.

Annie (looking down at the floor and then taking a deep breath): I’m working on the leading research project in the country dealing with something called bio-psychokinesis. That’s the…

Liz: We know what it is.

Annie (taking another breath): I was approached by someone...

Michael: Ms. Topolsky.

Annie (looking at Michael and nodding): Yes. She told me that some things had been happening in Roswell that I might be interested in. Things that the FBI scientists and agents were having problems explaining and understanding. She thought my study and…abilities might be able to help them. I was reluctant at first but she sent me a file with some newspaper clippings and initial reports…

Michael (interrupting her): Reports?

Annie (pausing): Files on you.

Alex: All of us?

Annie: No, actually they were on Michael, Max, Isabel, and Liz. You two (motioning to Maria and Alex) were mentioned but not intended to be the focus of the study.

Max (somewhat disgusted): Study.

Annie (looking at Max): I was to become friends with you, observe you – in many ways – and report what I was seeing. (She pauses) The reason I agreed to do this...was because you’re teenagers.

Maria (disgusted): Excuse me?

Annie (looking at Isabel and Max): You have a gift like I do and it’s nothing to be scared of. (Trying to find the right words) I could feel you feeling me. Um…when I touched you I could feel you react to me. It wasn’t very strong – but it was there. (Max and Isabel share a worried glance)

Michael: And that’s what you told Topolsky?

Annie: I told her that I thought Max and Isabel might have slight psychical tendencies. But she was more interested in what I was seeing.

Michael (curtly): Which was?

Annie (looking around the room): You want to know? (No one answers her and she pauses) Alright. (Looking at Michael) You’re a very confused young man…you have a lot of pain and anger…and a lot of loneliness in you – and those feelings are so strong that it was hard to connect with you – I didn’t see anything from you – except when you were painting. (She smiles at remembering) When you caught me. And what I saw…was her…

(Annie points to Maria. Michael looks embarrassed and Maria looks completely surprised. Annie looks from Maria to Liz, who’s next to her.)

Annie: And Liz…(Liz looks from Maria to Annie) I can honestly say that I have never been…more hated in my life – and I would know. You were impossible to connect with. Your feelings were so strong.

(Liz looks down and away from her. She pauses and then looks at Isabel)

Annie: Isabel, you puzzled me. I kept seeing the same image…it was of the desert – it was dark out with just the stars and then headlights. I didn’t understand it…until you touched me last week. Then I saw the same image but you – and I’m assuming Max – you were about 6 or 7 – you were in it…holding hands and you were naked. And then I could understand the feelings that I was reading form’re still very much that scared little girl standing in the headlights.

(Isabel shifts uncomfortable and looks away from Annie. And Max, realizing he’s next, looks down at the ground very much uncomfortable. Annie looks at him warmly.)

Annie: Max…you were obviously the primary focus…that’s pretty clear. (She pauses, not really knowing what to say to him and he looks up from the floor at her) You’re a wonderful person Max, you really are – very thoughtful…very kind…a lot older than your age. But you make a lousy date…for anyone other than her (she motions to Liz and Max looks at Liz). Let’s just say (thinking about it and not wanting to embarrass him she looks at him) let’s just say that. (Max blushes and looks away. Annie looks around the room) Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some packing to do…and a flight to book.

(She grabs her bag and starts to leave. She stops at Liz and leans in toward her – whispering so that only she can hear)

Annie: He loves you. (They share a glance and then Annie makes for the door. Liz turns to her before she leaves.)

Liz: What will you tell her?

Annie: Other than getting shamefully caught somehow…That I saw four sixteen-year olds being sixteen-year olds…trying to find themselves, understand why they’re here, and trying to figure out what love is (looking from Max to Liz) – and finding it. You’re all very lucky.

(With that she leaves and the six of them just sort of stand there – overwhelmed by the touchy-feely session that just occurred.)

posted on 15-Sep-2001 1:16:31 PM
Title: “Nuts” (Revelations trilogy, part 1)
Author: N/A
Email: ajrocchio⊕
Rating: PG for language
Category: Other Stories
Disclaimers: The characters of Roswell belong to the WB, among others, but apparently I need to keep borrowing them.
Summary: After Tess leaves what next?
Author’s note/soapbox: Pretty important for this story to work (at least where it’s headed) is the fact that Max, Michael, and Isabel do not know that Nasedo can shapeshift!

(Scene: School. Liz is walking the hallways of school before classes start.)
Music: Tracy Chapman – Less Than Strangers

Voice over: It’s been two weeks since she left. Funny, in so many ways it’s almost like she was never here. (She sees Max walking down the hall, they share a brief glance) Almost. (She turns to look down a different hallway and sees Michael avoiding Maria in the halls – no eye contact and Isabel walking past Alex without even a glance) I don’t think they know what to say to us…and I guess I can’t really blame them. I mean, what do you say? It’s one thing to write your most private thoughts and feelings down, but another to have them read aloud to you.

(Scene switches to Max and Liz in biology class. Max keeps stealing glances at Liz while she is taking notes from the lecture.)

Voice over continued: And I know Max wants to talk to me. It’s in his eyes when he looks at me – when he doesn’t think I can see. But he’s waiting…waiting for me to tell him that I’m ready to listen. And I’m (she pauses) well I’m waiting too…

(Scene: Lunch Quad. Maria and Liz are sitting at one table. Off in the distance Max and Michael are sitting at another one – looking terrible and watching them, and just for fun Michael is wearing a Spiderman t-shirt.)

Maria: Okay…kissing is one thing but doing the nasty is entirely different. I mean, it’s the Sheriff.

Liz: Maria!

Maria: It’s a bridge that needs to be burned before they get there.

Liz: Maria, you don’t know…

Maria: Liz, I’m not getting kicked out of the house tomorrow for a night of fine dining and a little groping.

Liz: Maybe she just wants it to be special.

Maria: Oh yea, very “special.”

Liz: They’ve been dating for over a month, how do you know they haven’t already.

Maria: Chocolate.

Liz: What?

Maria: She’s been eating a lot of chocolate. It’s a nervous habit…look, my mom’s done this enough times – I know the signs and they’re flashing neon saying tomorrow’s the night. (Liz just laughs and looks at Maria) I need a plan.

Liz: Maria.

Maria: They must be stopped.

Liz (looking at Maria sideways): Maria.

Maria (looking back at Liz): Liz we’re not talking about just some guy – this is Sheriff Valenti, you know the guy with the gun and the badge and the overwhelming urge to ruin the lives of Michael, Max and Isabel. And have you seen the way they look at each other.

Liz: Yea, your mom hasn’t been this happy in a long time.

Maria (raising her hand to stop Liz and sounding very determined): You’re not gonna make me feel bad about this.

Liz: I didn’t say anything.

Maria: Don’t get me wrong…I want nothing more for my mom than to be happy – except for me to live long enough to see it.

Liz: What are you gonna do?

Maria (seeing Kyle walking across the quad): Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Liz (following her eyes to see Kyle): Kyle? (She’s about to say something more but is interrupted by Alex setting down his lunch)

Alex: What are we talking about today ladies?

Liz: Maria’s moms' sex life.

(Alex freezes before taking a seat and the scene switches to Max and Michael as Isabel sits down joining them.)

Isabel: You cut it close this morning Max…do you have any idea how flipped mom will be if she finds out you haven’t been sleeping at home for the past week…never mind where you have been sleeping.

Max: I know. I know…I guess I’m getting used to sleeping on a dumpster.

Isabel (looking at him and shaking her head): You look like shit. (Michael is about to say something but she looks at him) You always look like shit Michael. (Michael doesn’t protest but just returns to look at Maria. They all sit there in silence for a moment watching them) We should talk to them. (Both Michael and Max turn their heads to look at Isabel and she looks over at them) It’s been two weeks and we act like nothing’s happened.

Michael: What are we supposed to say?

Isabel: We didn’t even thank them. They could have gone to jail for what they did.

Max: Isabel we’ve talked about this…

Michael: It’s better than getting them killed.

Isabel: What? And the two of you are going to be able to stop him? We don’t even know who “he” is or what “he” wants.

Max: We can’t take any chances Isabel.

Isabel: Seriously Max. Have you thought about what you’d do if you catch him at Liz’s (looking at Michael) or you find him at Maria’s? We have no idea what kind of powers he has.

Max: I don’t know Isabel – but I’m not gonna just sit around my room thinking about it.

Isabel (looking at Max): You’re not Superman Max (Michael laughs and she turns to him looking at his shirt) and you’re certainly no Spiderman. Just promise me you won’t do anything stupid. (Michael and Max look at each other and then back over to the table)

(Scene: School Hallway. Kyle is talking to some friends at his locker and Maria, taking a big breath, walks up to him)

Maria (to Kyle): I need to talk to you.

Kyle (looking at her with disgust): I don’t think so.

Maria: Look can we save the pleasantries until after we’re family.

Kyle: What are you talking about?

Maria: Your dad…my mom. (Kyle looks around to his friends and then grabs Maria by the arm and pulls her off to the side.)

Kyle: Okay, talk.

Maria: I think we both find the idea of our parents dating …revolting – to say the least…so I think we should help them…

Kyle: Help them?

Maria: You know, giddy-them-up to the end of their relationship. (Kyle just looks at her) Listen, if you wanna help me end – what we both know is a relationship bound to nowhere – come by the Crashdown after practice. (She gives him a good glare and then turns and walks away. He watches her go and meets the evil stare of Michael – who watched the whole interaction)

(Scene: Crashdown, pretty slow. Maria and Liz are standing behind the counter)
Music: Wilco – ELT (Every Little Thing)

Liz: You think he’ll come?

Maria: If he knows what’s good for him he will.

Liz: What are you gonna do Maria? Just because one date goes bad doesn’t mean they’ll stop seeing each other.

Maria: It’s all about bad omens. One bad date leads to another and eventually she gets the message the gods are sending.

Liz: So you’ll keep doing this until she stops seeing him.

Maria: Won’t take long…trust me I know my mother.

Liz: You’re terrible, you know that right?

Maria: Whatever it takes. And do I need to remind you the ugly consequences this relationship could lead to – the other ones besides being forced to go to a hoe down rodeo?

Liz (trying not to laugh at Maria): You don’t have to tell me…I just feel bad for your mom, she finally seems so happy.

Maria: I’m so ignoring that. (Kyle walks in the Crashdown) Ah, Cowboy Kyle’s here – I mean really Liz can you see having that for family, I can’t believe you dated him. (She smiles at Liz and then walks over to the booth Kyle sat down at.)

Kyle: I don’t really know what I’m doing here. It’s not like we can stop them.

Maria: Kyle, Kyle, Kyle…you underestimate me – don’t. Just a little information and we’ll be able to pull the emergency brake on this runaway disaster-about-to-happen.

Kyle: I don’t know.

Maria: Look, have second thoughts now – because when the wedding bells ring it’s too late.

Kyle: What are you nuts? They’re not getting married.

Maria: That’s right – not if we have anything to do about it.

Kyle: What’s your plan?

Maria: All we have to do is prevent their night of nookie bliss.

Kyle: What?

Maria: You know…sex.

Kyle (under his breath): Oh God.

Maria: As disgusting as the thought of our parents having sex might be the thought of waking up every morning to your smiling face across from my breakfast table keeps me focused. Can we get down to business?

Kyle (letting out a sigh): Yes.

Maria: Okay…does your dad have any non-life threatening allergies.

Kyle (playing with some alien thing Maria’s mom made): Obviously not “tackiness.”

Maria: As evident by his wardrobe…think Kyle.

Kyle: Cats. He’s allergic to cats.

Maria: Ooh, cats are good. Any dietary allergies – you know, something that gives him hives?

Kyle: Are you trying to kill my dad?

Maria: Of course not, but a runny nose isn’t going to slow them down.

Kyle: Nuts. (Maria just looks at him) He gets hives if he eats peanuts.

Maria: Perfect. Does your dad have a red shirt – I’m talkin’ bright red?

Kyle: Yea, I think so.

Maria: Good – make sure he wears it. My mom hates men wearing the color red.

Kyle: What?

Maria: Yea, weird I know…it’s almost as weird as men wanting to wear belt buckles bigger than their heads.

Kyle: Are we done yet?

Maria: Almost. Is there anything your dad doesn’t like…colors, food, music?

Kyle (pausing and sadly): Music – he hates Frank Sinatra – I think it has to do with my mom.

Maria (looking at him sympathetically): That’s helpful. (They just sort of sit there in silence for a moment.) So you want to pick me up tomorrow around seven?

Kyle (looking at her funny): Pick you up?

Maria: We’re not going to all this effort to sabotage their date and then not make sure it works. So does seven sound good?

Kyle (letting out a sigh): Seven’s fine.

(Scene: Liz’s Bedroom, same day, nighttime. Liz is sleeping in her bed but is awakened by thunder. She looks over at the window and realizes that it’s pouring – we’re talking monsoon rains. She pauses for a second, still waking up…)

Liz (under her breath): Max…

(She gets out of bed and puts her bathrobe on. She goes downstairs to the back of the Crashdown and opens the back door.)

Liz (quietly): Max? (He doesn’t respond so she steps outside and the door closes behind her) Max I know you’re here.

Max (stepping out from behind the dumpster – totally soggy): Liz you shouldn’t be out here…you’ll catch a cold or get sick…

Liz (after catching her breath from seeing him so drenched): And what about you Max?

Max: I don’t get sick…remember?

Liz: At least come inside…you’ve got to be freezing. (Max doesn’t move) Max, we can stand out here or stand inside. (Max looks at her intently and then moves to the door. He goes to open it but it’s locked. He uses his powers to open it up and they both hurry inside. Once inside Max is obviously embarrassed that she caught him and Liz is trying not to laugh at his soaking appearance.) Max you’re soggy…you should really…(she sneezes a couple times and looks up at him – he has a shy smile on his face) Never been sick…uh?

Max (shyly): No.

Liz: Uh uh…You’ve never known the torture of a runny nose…(she sneezes again) or the pleasure of having a Kleenex permanently attached to your face? (She smiles at him and he melts inside. She starts to sneeze again and he looks around finding a box of Kleenex he grabs one, and as he hands it to her, his hand is glowing. She puts it up to her nose and sneezes again and then looks down at the Kleenex and over at Max – she can feel the tingling in her nose go away and suspects that Max is the cause. They stand there in awkward silence for a moment) Well you may be immune to the common cold but you’ve still gotta be freezing. Do you want something to drink…some hot chocolate?

Max (softly still embarrassed): That would be nice. (Liz walks past him into the kitchen of the Crashdown. She grabs two mugs of the dish drying rack and opens up the fridge taking out the milk. Max, meanwhile, takes off his coat and sets it on the table near the couch in the backroom. He joins Liz in the kitchen and watches her in silence for a few moments. As she is about to pour the milk into a pot to boil on the stove he stops her.) Let me. (Their eyes meet as he walks over and takes the milk from her. He pours it into the mugs and then places his hands over them and begins to heat up the milk) Less dishes this way. (Liz watches him – his hands – and when he’s done he places his left hand on the counter while he uses his right to add the chocolate. She gently touches his left hand.)

Liz (without looking at him): It’s amazing. (Max quickly looks at their hands touching and then up at her face)

Max: Why doesn’t it scare you? (She looks up from his hand to his face) Even right after I told you – when I came to talk to you, you weren’t afraid…when I wanted to touch you – to connect with you – you didn’t even flinch.

Liz (she pauses): Something in your eyes…told me you’d never hurt me. (There’s a moment of silence and Liz grabs her mug of hot chocolate and leaves the kitchen. Max stands there for a second and then follows her)

Max: Why’d you do it? After everything I’ve put you through…

Liz: Why wouldn’t I? What happens to you affects all of us – all six of us. Just because you don’t want to be with me doesn’t mean that I go away.

Max: Liz…

Liz: I know Max…I know. I’m just really confused. I hear the words you wrote me in my head but at the same time I see you kissing her and I – I don’t know what to think.

Max (shyly): Can I show you something?

(Liz looks at him and nods. Max takes her cocoa from her and sets both his and hers down on the table. He steps toward her, very closely, and with both hands cups her face. He looks deeply into her eyes and then the connection is made:

Voice Over: It’s not so much the things Max shows me, when he touches me…it’s the feelings – his feelings – that he shares with me that are so amazing…so beautiful.

(1st image Liz sees: Liz and Max in biology – pre-shooting. She gently touches Max on the arm during a lab exercise. )

…The hope and fear and…giddiness – a giddy Max, it makes my heart stop – from just a touch.

(2nd image Liz sees: The first time Tess touches Max on the arm.)

…And the confusion, and a different kind of hope – one I don’t know but understand – a different fear, from a different touch.

(3rd image Liz sees: Max watching Liz from across the quad.)
(4th image Liz sees: Max standing in the Crashdown just after she told him she hated him because it made it easier for her)

…And that wrenching feeling, you know the one where you can’t breathe and you’re…you’re suffocating from sadness.

(5th image Liz sees: Max kissing Tess.)
(6th image Liz sees: Liz and Max standing outside his house when she tells him that she saw him kiss Tess.)

…And the wave of pain…it’s so great…so overwhelming…it would knock you down if someone isn’t there holding you up. And you can’t tell if, if it’s your pain too you’re feeling…because there’s so much of it.

(7th image Liz sees: Max putting her comforter around her when she fell asleep on the roof.)

…But underneath it all is love. Someone can tell you how much they love you, maybe show you…but to feel it, to be able to feel how much…is…is breathtaking…

The connection ends and they just look at each other. Max is about to get lost in the moment and kiss her when he realizes what he’s about to do. He takes his hands away from her face and backs up. He walks over to the couch and sits down. Liz just stands there trying to breathe.)

(Scene: Maria’s Bedroom, same night. Maria is sitting on her bed looking at the rain pouring down outside. She has a mischievous smile on her face and then lets out a sigh.)

Maria (under her breath): I guess that’s enough…(She walks over to the window and opens it up. She looks over at Michael’s usual spot but he isn’t there. Worried she starts to look around) Michael? (He sticks his head out from behind a bush and shoots her an evil look)

Michael: It’s about time.

Maria (innocently): Well I had to make sure my mom was asleep.

Michael (doubting her): Right.

Maria: Are you coming in or not? (He stands up and she can see how soaked he is – trying not to laugh) You really need a new hobby.

Michael (as he climbs in the window): You’re telling me.

Maria: I mean how long are you gonna do this?

Michael (shyly): As long as it takes.

Maria (touched by what and how he said it): You need to get out of those clothes (Michael shoots her a surprised look and Maria gets what he’s thinking and she shoots him back a glare) Please. (Pointing to the ground) You’re leaving a puddle…and besides, they need to dry.

Michael: I can dry them myself.

Maria: And burn the house down too. Just take them off. We’re big boys and girls here…(throwing him an oversized T-shirt) put this on. (She turns around while Michael undresses and hangs up his pants and shirt to dry. He looks totally uncomfortable and nervous when Maria turns back around to look at him) Fidget much?

Michael: Hey, I’m doing you a favor here…

Maria: Oh, no. You’re doing yourself a favor. I didn’t ask for a bodyguard. You sit outside my window because unbeknownst to your conscience you care about me. You sit out there because it makes you feel better to know that I’m safe. Don’t make this about me – it’s entirely about you.

Michael (totally wanting to retreat): I’ll be going...

Maria (smiling at him): But you just got here…and you’re clothes aren’t dry yet. (Michael looks at her smile and starts fighting it when he, for the first time, realizes she’s in her pajamas – just an oversized T-shirt. “Look away” is all he can tell himself.)

(Scene: Back to Max and Liz sitting on the couch in the backroom of the Crashdown.)

Max: I’m so sorry Liz.

Liz: I know. (She pauses and looks at him, playfully) That’s a pretty handy trick you have to get someone to forgive you. (They smile at each other and she moves closer to him on the couch) I know there are risks Max. I mean, we’re not running from the hall monitor here – it’s the FBI. But I’m willing to take my chances, if you are.

Max (looking away from her): I’m afraid…

Liz: I’ll never ask you to stay. (Max looks over at her very surprised) All I’m asking is that you leave me with more memories than this before you go.

Max (shocked): Liz…

Liz: You could go tomorrow Max or it could be ten years from now…

Max (quietly): Or never.

Liz: I don’t want to get to that point and look back at what we could have had all those years…all that time. I need something to hold on to when you leave, if you leave.

Max (looking away): I’m afraid I wouldn’t be able to go.

Liz (looking intently at him): I won’t let you stay. (He looks at her) I’ve been thinking about this a lot Max. Love is a lot of things – including letting go. If you’ll love me “now”…I promise when we get to “then”…I’ll let you go. (He still just looks at her) Can you understand that, maybe, I would love you that much? (Max still hasn’t moved – or really breathed. She smiles at him and leans in and gently kisses him. He reaches up with his hand to caress her face and the kiss deepens.)

(Scene: Morning at Maria’s House. Maria is lying in bed – awakened by her mother opening her door.)

Amy: Maria, honey.

Maria (jolts up in bed and looks around the room panicky): I’m up, I’m up.

Amy: Sweetie, I’m taking off. I’ve gotta run by the shop for a couple of hours and then do some grocery shopping. (Maria is all the while looking around the room. She can see Michael’s jacket on the chair – out of sight from her mom but no Michael.) You’ll be alright at Liz’s tonight?

Maria (totally distracted): Uh uh. I’ll be fine mom.

Amy: Well then, I’ll see you tomorrow if you’re gone before I get back.

Maria (absentmindedly): Uh…Okay... (Amy just looks at her daughter and then closes the door. As she closes the door Maria sees Michael standing behind the door – completely frozen holding his clothes. Maria covers her mouth, as she is about to break into hysterics.)

(Scene: Morning at the backroom of the Crashdown. Max and Liz have fallen asleep cuddling on the couch. Mrs. Parker opens the door from the apartment and starts coming down the stairs. She stops when she sees feet on the couch and crouches down to see who they belong to. Max starts to wake-up from the noise of Mrs. Parker. He looks around trying to figure out where he is and what he’s doing there. He sees Liz and smiles. Carefully getting out from her he grabs his coat and leans over her and gently kisses her on the forehead – whispering “ I love you Liz Parker”. Mrs. Parker watching from the stairs catches her breath at his tenderness. When she hears the back door of the Crashdown close she waits a moment and then continues down the stairs. As her mom sits on the couch next to her Liz starts to wake up.)

Liz (startled): Mom! (She looks around and under her breath) Max? (She looks back at her mom who’s looking at the two mugs of cocoa on the table) Nothing happened…I swear! He was upset and wanted to talk – that’s all we did – talk.

Mrs. Parker (trying to calm her daughter down): It’s okay. Honey I trust you. (Liz stops panicking and looks at her mom) You’ve always been so responsible… So much older…never quite my little girl. (She looks at Liz and gently strokes her hair) Just promise me that you’ll be careful. You’re only sixteen and you have a lifetime of experiences ahead of you. I trust you to be responsible about the decisions you make…and to talk to me about them first.

Liz (nodding): I will. You don’t have to worry mom. (She smiles at her mom and then slightly frustrated) I’d be lucky to get him to ask me on a date.

Mrs. Parker (smiling at remembering what she saw and heard Max do before leaving): Oh, I don’t know sweetie. Guys are always slow when it comes to those things…but Max seems like a pretty bright boy. He’ll figure it out.

Liz: Hopefully before I am twenty. (Her mom smiles and gives her a hug)

Mrs. Parker (giving her daughter a sideways glance): Just promise me you won’t make a habit of this.

Liz: Promise.

(Scene: Crashdown, later that day. Liz is working and Maria in standard black attire is waiting at the counter for Kyle to pick her up.)
Music: Golden Smog – Until You Came Along

Maria: So did you give Max shelter from the rain last night?

Liz: Maybe.

Maria (playfully shocked): Maybe?

Liz: I couldn’t let him stand all night out there – it was pouring.

Maria: So what? Does this mean space-boy’s forgiven?

Liz: He has a pretty convincing method of asking for forgiveness.

Maria: Elizabeth Parker!

Liz (flustered by Maria’s overly loud reaction): Maria…get your mind out of the gutter. We just talked and fell asleep on the couch in the backroom.

Maria: Just talked, uh uh.

Liz (embarrassed): My mom caught us.

Maria (wide-eyed): What?

Liz: Max had already left…but I was still asleep on the couch and I couldn’t hide his mug...

Maria: What’d she say?

Liz: It was pretty surprising actually. She just said she trusted me…trusted me to be responsible.

Maria: I can recite to you word for word the do-you-know-how-much-responsibility-babies-are speech that I’d have gotten.

Liz: Speaking of you…did you let Michael in?

Maria: After he suffered for awhile. I still haven’t decided if we should be flattered or offended by this display of testosterone.

Liz: I think it’s kind of sweet.

Maria (looking at Liz): You would. I mean, what do they think they’re gonna do. Max maybe has a chance of doing something but Michael – all he knows is how to blow things up. My luck, this guy’s coming after me and Michael’s gonna blow up my house – with me in it.

Liz (through her laughter): At least he cares. Isn’t that what you wanted?

Maria: I guess. (They look at each other and burst into laughter.)

Liz (when they’ve stopped laughing): So what do you have planed for the Sheriff tonight?

Maria: Oh, a little of this and a little of that.

Liz: Maria.

Maria: Well I let the neighbors’ cats run through our house for about an hour – making sure to cover the couch with kitty cooties. Added crushed peanuts to the rice pudding. And the CD changer is full of Frank Sinatra. If this doesn’t produce a date from hell then I don’t know what would.

Liz: You are so bad. (Before she can comment any more. Kyle pulls up out front.)

Maria: There’s my ride. Wish me luck. (Liz shakes her head at Maria as she leaves.)

(Scene: Kyle’s Car. Kyle is in the driver’s seat with Maria in the passenger seat. She has binoculars and is looking through them toward the window of her living room. Kyle is perusing a Sports Illustrated – swimsuit edition.)

Kyle (looking up from his magazine over at Maria): Is this really necessary (motioning to the binoculars)?

Maria: Okay, have you done this before?

Kyle: No. What and you have?

Maria: Let’s just say I’m no virgin.

Kyle: Really?

Maria: You know what I mean. And speaking of necessary (she shoots an evil look toward his magazine).

Kyle: What?

Maria (looking around the car): Do you have like scantily clad women magazines scattered around your car incase your dates go home early and you’re still in the – mood?

Kyle (seriously irritated): Are we gonna have to stay here all night?

Maria: Just long enough. Trust me I don’t want to be here any more than you do. (She looks through the binoculars and sees Valenti in the middle of a major sneezing fit and her mom trying to comfort him) They look like they’re having fun.

Kyle: Hey is that Guerin?

Maria: Where? (Kyle points across the way) Yea, not to stealthy huh?

Kyle: What are you guys like dating?

Maria: No…he’s a member of the can’t-get-a-clue-club you started. (Kyle just glares at her)

----------about an hour later they’re both sitting back in their seats quietly reflecting-----------

Kyle (after a long pause): My dad’ll kill me if he finds out about this.

Maria: Yea, my mom will be pretty upset too. For some reason she really likes your dad – I can’t figure it out.

Kyle: Yea, well, I think my dad’s attracted to your mom’s alien lameness. (Maria just looks at him) Sorry. My dad’s been pretty happy lately…humming a lot.

Maria: I know what you mean…mom’s been eating a lot of chocolate. She never eats chocolate.

Kyle: I think the last time I remember hearing dad hum was before my mom left.

Maria (after a while): Do you miss your mom? (Realizing the personal nature of the question) Sorry…I…

Kyle: I used to think, when I was younger that I’d never stop missing her. Now it’s just bad on certain days…you know, birthdays, holidays. Dad still has a hard time around their anniversary. (After a pause) What about you?

Maria: It’s hard to miss somebody you never really knew. (She looks away) I used to wish he’d come back. Now I don’t even know what I’d say to him. I think I’d just beat the crap out of him for the way he treated my mom. She’s been through so much you know…

Kyle: Yea, dad was pretty devastated when my mom left. I don’t think he’s ever really been the same. He’s never been like this (motioning to the house).

Maria: Yea, my mom’s gone out on a lot of dates…but she’s never been this nervous…she’s like a teenager. (They just sort of look at each other starting to feel really bad about what they’ve done.)

(Scene: Alleyway Behind Crashdown. Max is sitting on the dumpster and Michael walks up)

Michael: Maxwell…nice place you got here.

Max: What are you doing here?

Michael: Maria’s staying the night. (He jumps up and sits on the dumpster with Max. They sit there for awhile in silence.)

Max: Isabel’s right you know. What can we do…if he’s going to hurt them he will?

Michael: I don’t get it Max. What’s he waiting for?

Max: I don’t know.

Michael: What do we do?

Max: Wait.

Michael: Waiting bites.

Max (smiling): Wasn’t so bad last night. (Michael looks over at Max surprised) What you didn’t have a good time last night?

Michael: No complaints. But that’s just it. Everyday we get more and more…sucked in.

Max (looking over at Michael): Michael, I can’t possibly get anymore sucked in. (Again they sit in silence for a few moments) You gonna stay here tonight?

Michael: Yea…why?

Max: Well, if you don’t mind I think I’ll head home and spend some time with Isabel.

Michael: She’s been pretty left out lately.

Max: She’s as attached as we are…she just won’t admit it. It scares her too much.

Michael: It scares us all Maxwell – what’s new.

(Scene: Liz’s Bedroom. Liz is sitting on her bed doing some homework and Maria walks in and sits down on the bed.)
Music: Aimee Mann – Wise Up

Maria: I’m a horrible person.

Liz: No you’re not.

Maria: I intentionally gave a man hives tonight. What qualifies you for the terrible person award if it isn’t that?

Liz (trying desperately hard not to laugh at her): You were doing what you thought you had to.

Maria: Hives Liz, have you ever had hives? And my poor mother…all she could do was apologize. I am a horrible daughter. Oh God, and Kyle...

Liz: Maria, I’m sure it wasn’t that bad. (Maria just looks at her) At least no one was seriously hurt, I mean no one had to go to the hospital…Did they?

Maria: No.

Liz: See, there you go. It could have been worse.

Maria (she looks at Liz almost pleadingly): I think Kyle and I have decided we can work around our parents dating. I mean really Liz, is it that dangerous? Maybe the Sheriff will like Michael – once he gets to know him…

Liz (just trying to calm Maria down): It’ll be fine Maria we’ll figure something out. And who knows – they could decide that it’s not working out on their own. I mean, on their next date...

Maria: You mean if he forgives her for trying to kill him. (She lets out a sigh) I deserve a slow horrible death for this.

Liz: You deserve…a hot fudge mint chocolate chip ice cream sundae with whip cream and nuts…

Maria (cringing at the word “nuts”): No nuts.

Liz (smiling at her): Come on. (She grabs Maria’s arm and pulls her off the bed)

(Scene: Liz’s Roof same night, very late. Michael is asleep on the lounge chair. He’s having a vision – tossing and turning, very sweaty. He jolts up from the lounge chair looking terrified.)

Michael (shakily): He’s dead.

posted on 15-Sep-2001 1:20:09 PM
Title: “Wraiths of D’Spayre” (Revelations trilogy, part 2)
Author: N/A
Email: ajrocchio⊕
Rating: PG-13 for language
Category: Other Stories
Disclaimers: The characters of Roswell belong to the WB, among others, but apparently I need to keep borrowing them.
Summary: Bad things are just beginning to happen…
Author’s note/soapbox: The title of this fic is a play on two Marvel Comic villains the Dire Wraiths (a rebel group of an alien race who can shapeshift) and D’Spayre (who is “made up of all sorts of nasty emotions, mostly hate, fear and depression. Think of him as a big angst-sponge. His main weaknesses are hope and love, two emotions that are poison to him.” Taken from the Marvel Comics Villain website: The Apache phrase used in this story is taken from a Western Apache/English Dictionary. Mescalero Apache is a different dialect and would I’m assuming have different words for the phrase. But since I didn’t have access to a Mescalero Apache/English Dictionary this is the best I could do. Should anyone out there actually know Mescalero Apache I’d love to know what the phrase should have been. Oh and another thing…in my alternate universe Alex’s dad resembles the dad in the books – hard core military man.

(Scene: Liz’s Bedroom, morning. Maria is waking up on Liz’s bed as Liz returns to her room drying her hair with a towel.)

Liz: Hey.

Maria (sitting up): Okay, so when’d you stop snoring?

Liz: I never…

Maria: Liz.

Liz: I do not snore.

Maria: Not anymore you don’t.

Liz: I never did.

Maria: Yea and we haven’t been best friends for like twelve years and we’ve never done this (waving her hand around the room) sleep over thing before…

Liz: It was a slanderous campaign you started after my seventh birthday slumber party – yet to be proven.

Maria: Do I have to call Alex?

Liz: It’s a conspiracy!

Maria: And the tape would be…

Liz: Total fabrication!

Maria: Uh uh.

Liz (giving her a playfully defeated look and sitting down next to her on the bed): Framed I tell you.

Maria: You go ahead and believe in that lie.

Liz: Thank you, I think I will.

Maria (getting up from the bed and going through her bag for her shower stuff, she stands up having just thought of something): You don’t think Max like wiggled your nose or something the other night.

Liz: Maria!

Maria: I mean that couch is pretty small you had to be super-spooning…I bet it sounded like a freight train to him.


Maria: Think about it…one day you snore and the next day you don’t – and the only thing that happened in-between is a night spent with Max…who can wiggle his nose and make things happen.

Liz: He wouldn’t…

Maria (she heads over to the window to check on Michael): I’d thank him…(she looks out the window and frowns) He’s gone?

Liz: Michael. Yea, he was gone when I got up.

Maria: When?

Liz (looking at her clock): About an hour ago.

Maria: We were supposed to go over to his apartment…I was gonna help him…decorate.

Liz (suspicious): Decorate?

Maria: What?

Liz: Maybe he went home already.

Maria (a little worried): Maybe.

Liz (picking up her phone): Call him.

Maria: Are you kidding? He’s the stalker, not me…

Liz (interrupting her): Just call. (Maria walks over and sits next to Liz and dials his number. It rings four times and the answering machine comes on. She hangs up and looks over at Liz even more worried.) Maybe he went to Max’s first. (Maria just stares at her pleadingly) Fine. (She grabs the phone from Maria and dials Max’s number. It also rings until the answering machine picks up. She hangs up the phone and looks at Maria) Maybe they’re on their way back here?

Maria: I have a bad feeling about this.

Liz: Maria you have a bad feeling when the…(she’s interrupted when her phone rings. Her and Maria look at each other and then she picks up the phone) Hello?

(Scene switches to Isabel in the Evan’s Kitchen)

Isabel: Liz. It’s Isabel.

(Back to Liz’s Bedroom)

Liz: Isabel. (Maria shoots Liz a major worried look)

Isabel: I know this is gonna sound odd but…is Max there?

Liz: No he didn’t stay last night Michael did and he left this morning before I got up.

Isabel (completely shocked): What? Wait you knew?

Liz: That they’ve been camping outside our windows for the last few weeks? Yea, kinda hard not to…

Isabel: Oh…okay…um…when did he go?

Liz: Over an hour ago. (There’s a pause) What’s going on Isabel?

Isabel: I don’t know. I woke up an hour ago too and Max was gone, we were supposed to go running this morning.

Liz (in disbelief): Running? (Then realizing how it sounded) Sorry I just can’t picture you running…

Isabel: A girl’s gotta keep her figure somehow – it’s not like I can just wave my hand over myself and make fat disappear…(thinking about it for a second) Wait, maybe I can…

Liz: I think something’s wrong.

Isabel (shaking out of her transgression): I think so too.

Liz: Can you come by the Crashdown, you know when they get back?

Isabel: Yea…(not sounding very convincing) I’m sure they’re fine.

(Scene: Max’s Jeep, on the road to somewhere. Max is driving and Michael is sitting in the passenger seat.)

Max: What exactly did you see?

Michael: It was hazy and dark but he was dead Max…that I know.

Max: How?

Michael: I just know…his eyes were open and he was…just dead okay.

Max: He wasn’t that old…how could he have died? Did you see anything else?

Michael: A whole lotta nothing but his freaky face starin’ at me Maxwell.

Max: I don’t get it Michael. Why’d you see it? Why do you keep having these visions?

Michael: If I knew Max I’d stop…feeling Nasedo walking around in the shadows is one thing but seeing dead people – I can do without.

Max: Maybe he’s not dead yet…maybe it was a premonition…

Michael: You believe what you want Max I know what I saw.

(Scene: Mescalero Reservation. The Sheriff is roping off an area surrounding a body and pushing people back. The Deputy is examining the body. Bystanders are all around watching from a distance, including Eddie way off to the side. The Sheriff still has visible signs from the hives he got the other night from Maria’s planned date from hell. Deputy Blackwood is Michael Horse’s character – for those of you who didn’t know his character name, like me)

Sheriff (speaking over his shoulder to the Deputy as he finishes securing the area): Any physical wounds.

Deputy Blackwood: Nothing Sheriff.

Sheriff: Better call the coroner and see what’s taking him so long. (The Deputy stands up and heads over the car. The Sheriff walks over to the body and squats down. He furrows his brow and reaches out to touch a necklace hanging around the man’s neck. The Deputy comes back and squats down on the other side of the body.) I’ve seen this before.

Deputy Blackwood: Impossible. (The Sheriff looks up at him questioningly) It’s a spirit necklace…no two are the same. (He pulls out his necklace from under his uniform and shows the Sheriff)

Sheriff: I know I’ve seen this. (He looks up at the Deputy) Who is he?

Deputy Blackwood: River Dog…bíni'édįh (the Sheriff just looks at him) he’s a crazy old man.

(The Sheriff looks down at the body and then back up and sees Max and Michael talking with Eddie way off in the distance he has flashbacks of following Max to the reservation and of seeing him and Michael leaving the reservation together some time ago)

Max: What happened?

Eddie: What are you doing here?

Michael: What happened?

Eddie (looking from Max to Michael): I don’t know.

Michael: He’s dead?

Eddie (looking angrily at Michael and nodding in the direction of the Sheriff): What does it look like?

Max: How?

Eddie (keeping his gaze with Michael): How’d you know?

Michael: I saw – dreamt it.

Eddie (looking past Michael and noticing that the Sheriff, now standing, is watching them intently): You should go.

Max: We need to know what happened.

Eddie (looks over at Max): Go. (And with that he walks away from them. Max and Michael just look at each other)

(Scene switches back to the Sheriff and Deputy. Valenti is watching Max and Michael and Deputy Blackwood is tilting the body up to look on his back)

Deputy Blackwood (curiously): Sheriff. (Valenti turns to look at him, noting the tone of his voice and walks over to him. The Deputy nods to the body, Valenti kneels down and sees the silver handprint on the back of River Dog. His face goes white and he looks back over at where Max and Michael were standing but they’re gone.)

(Scene: Max’s Bedroom. Max and Michael are sitting on the bed and Isabel is pacing around the room obviously upset.)

Isabel (panicked): He’s dead. (Neither of them answer her) How Max?

Max: We don’t know.

Isabel: It was him…

Michael: We don’t know that.

Isabel: It’s just what…a coincidence Michael. I want the truth and I want it now – this secretive shit…it stops NOW!

Max (trying to calm her down): Isabel…

Isabel: I mean it Max.

Michael: We don’t know anything. I had a vision last night all I saw was his face.

Isabel (sitting down on the bed): What do we…what do we do now? (Looking over at Max) Max? What do we do? (Max looks from Isabel over to Michael – who shakes his head at Max and then looks down)

(Scene: Crashdown, moderately busy. Maria is filling up drinks behind the counter as Liz walks in from the back)

Maria: Anything?

Liz: No.

Maria: She’s bringing them here when they get back right?

Liz: That’s what she said.

Maria (finishing her drinks): It’s four Liz…where the hell are they? (She looks at Liz worried and then takes the drinks and delivers them to a table. Liz watches Maria and then notices Kyle walk in heading for the counter.)

Liz: Hey Kyle.

Kyle: Liz.

Liz: How’s your dad?

Kyle (looks up at her and groans): I don’t know…I haven’t seen him today.

Liz: Really?

Kyle: He was gone pretty early this morning…I heard something on the scanner about a suspicious death…on the reservation I think…

Liz (her body stiffens): The reservation?

Kyle: Yea. Look can I get a coke and some fries.

Liz: Sure Kyle, I’ll be right back. (Liz walks out from behind the counter grabs Maria and pulls her into the back.)

Maria: What?

Liz: There was a death on the reservation.

Maria: I’m gonna need a little more than that.

Liz: The Sheriff was called out early this morning for a suspicious death…on the reservation.

Maria: And you’re thinking…

Liz: River Dog. (Maria’s eyes widen as she puts it together)

Maria: No. He wouldn’t…(she’s interrupted by Alex coming through the double doors) What are you doing here – I thought you guy’s were practicing?

Alex: Got a 911 call from Isabel to meet here. (Maria and Liz just look at each other)

(Scene: Roswell Public Library. The Sheriff is sitting at a microfiche machine looking through newspaper articles from 1959, like he is looking for something in particular. He stops and focuses the machine. What comes into view is a picture of the crime scene from the 1959 murder of Atherton. A bunch of people from the reservation are gathered around and in the background there’s a very stoic boy standing off to the side. The Sheriff leans in to look closer at the screen and there it is – the necklace that River Dog was wearing.)

(Scene: Crashdown Backroom. Alex, Maria, and Liz are sitting on the couch while Isabel, Max, and Michael are standing around)

Liz (sounding like she’s trying to reassure herself): We don’t know how he died. (Everybody looks at her and she looks around the room) Well we don’t.

Maria: Isn’t it bad enough that he’s dead.

Alex: Gonna have to go with DeLuca on this one.

Michael: Liz is right. We’re jumping to conclusions here.

Maria (looking at him): Conclusions?

Michael: He was old – it could have been anything…

Isabel: He wasn’t that old Michael, and there’s only one thing it could have been.

Michael (frustrated): Isabel…

Max: Enough. Liz is right – we don’t know…but we can’t pretend it isn’t a possibility either.

Maria: Then what do we do Obi-Wan?

Max: First we stay calm…rational…and second I don’t think any of you (motioning to the three of them on the couch) should be alone.

Liz: Maria can only stay so many nights in a row Max.

Max: That’s what Michael and I are for. (Isabel looks at her brother and then over at Alex who’s looking at her)

Alex/Isabel (at the same time shaking their heads): U-uh. (Everybody looks between them)

Isabel: I need sleep…on a comfortable bed.

Alex: And I need some self-respect – no matter how small. Two girls for best friends is one thing but a bodyguard – no way…I can’t recover from that.

Liz: Alex this is serious.

Alex: Oh, I’m very serious. (He looks between Michael and Max) Which one of you am I staying with?

Michael: Look, he wouldn’t do anything tonight…why don’t we just wait and see what we can find out tomorrow.

Alex: I’m down with that.

Liz (looking at Maria): You think you can stay again tonight?

Maria: Yea, I’ll just tell her it’s something for school.

Isabel (feeling bad): Are you sure Alex?

Alex: Oh, yea, besides I have G.I. Joe for a dad, I’ll be fine.

(Scene: Alleyway behind the Crashdown, later that night. Michael is sitting on top of the dumpster. Max turns the corner and sees him)

Max (sitting next to him on the dumpster): You don’t have to stay…you did last night.

Michael: I kind of like it actually.

Max: What?

Michael (looking at Max from the corner of his eye): I just like knowin’ for myself…you know.

Max: Yea, I know.

Michael: Look I’m used to staying up…go home, get some sleep…besides, we can’t have you lookin’ like shit again.

Max (chuckles): You sure?

Michael: Go. I’m sure.

Max (gets off the dumpster and lets out a sigh): Thanks. (Michael just nods at him and Max leaves, as he turns the corner Michael gets a sinister smile on his face and then he hears from the opposite end of the alleyway)

Michael: Hey. (The “Michael” on the dumpster turns to the sound looking just like Max)

Nasedo Max: Hey Michael. What are you doing here?

Michael: You know the drill.

Nasedo Max: No I mean, you stayed last night…I’m fine here tonight.

Michael: You sure? I don’t mind.

Nasedo Max: Yea I’m sure, besides I couldn’t really sleep last night anyway…I think I missed the dumpster.

Michael (laughs): Yea, I’m sure that’s what you missed.

Nasedo Max (gives him a sideways glance): Go…I’ve got it here.

Michael: Thanks…I could use some sleep…on a bed.

Nasedo Max (smiling): I bet you could. (Michael yawns and gives Nasedo Max a wave and then walks back the way he came. The sinister smile returns to Nasedo Max’s face and his gaze drifts up to the roof of the Crashdown.)

(Scene: Liz’s Roof, about an hour later. She looks over the edge of the roof to see Nasedo Max sitting on the dumpster)

Liz (softly): Hey. You coming up?

Nasedo Max (getting off the dumpster and looking up at her with that same smile): Just waiting to be invited. (He climbs the ladder)

Liz: You don’t need an invitation Max.

Nasedo Max (reaching the top of the ladder, looking at her slyly): Oh, I don’t do I?

Liz (playfully): Not unless you go kissing other girls again – then you’ll be banished for good.

Nasedo Max (looking at her curiously from the last comment): I’ll be sure to remember that.

Liz: You better Max Evans.

Nasedo Max: Where’s Maria?

Liz: Making popcorn…dad’s forcing us to watch this movie tonight…I don’t remember what it’s called.

Nasedo Max: Forcing you huh?

Liz: You know, one of those father-daughter-bonding things. Thank God mom didn’t tell him about the other night.

Nasedo Max: The other night?

Liz: Oh, I haven’t told you yet have I? My mom caught us.

Nasedo Max: What?

Liz: I mean you were already gone but she saw the mugs and I was so startled when I woke up…I think I called out your name.

Nasedo Max (very interested): Really? What’d she say?

Liz: It was actually…surprising. She just wants us to be responsible…and I told her it was impossible for us not to be…I mean…it is us…(Looking at him shyly) Not that I don’t think about being…irresponsible.

Nasedo Max: Is that so?

Liz (moving closer to him): You know…we never got a chance to really talk about what happened.

Nasedo Max: It’s been pretty crazy lately hasn’t it.

Liz (ever so slightly inching her way towards him): I meant what I said Max. (He just looks at her) I hope you know that.

Nasedo Max (taking a step toward her so that he’s only inches away from her): Tell me again.

Liz (looks up at him a little surprised): I’ll never ask you to stay.

(That is so not what Nasedo Max is expecting to hear and he’s totally caught off guard. He just looks at her as she closes the distance between them and kisses him. The kiss deepens and a connection is made.

Liz sees: An aerial view above the desert somewhere outside of Roswell and then moving faster – a series of images getting closer to the ground. A bright flash – an explosion. Just stars. A desert landscape. A cave. Something silver she can’t make out. Another view of the desert landscape with the cave opening visible. A view looking down a highway.

Nasedo Max sees: Liz as a little girl seeing Max step of the bus in third grade. The shooting. Max connecting with her – and what she saw. Their first kiss. Michael sick with everyone standing around the circle and the fear for Max in her eyes. Max taking a step back. Max at the UFO Center telling her he can’t know her. Max kissing Tess. The letter Max wrote her. Them sleeping together on the couch. All the while hearing the words “I’ll never ask you to stay” repeatedly ringing in his ear.

They’re still kissing when Maria sticks her head out of Liz’s bedroom window)

Maria: Liz. Liz! (Liz pulls away from Nasedo Max just looking at him and catching her breath. He is equally taken aback from the images he saw and just stares at her) The movie starts in five minutes and you’re so not getting out of watching it. So say good night to Max and come inside before your dad comes out here looking for you. (With that she turns away from the window)

Liz (flustered by what just happened): Um…(she takes a step back towards her window) um…I’ve…gotta go. (Nasedo Max just nods at her) I’ll see you tomorrow…morning. (She goes inside her window and Nasedo Max watches her leave with an intent look on his face)

(Scene: Liz’s Roof, morning. Liz is sitting on the lounge chair. She’s staring at her journal. On the page is a picture she tried to draw of the desert landscape she saw in the vision from kissing Nasedo Max)

Voice Over: Seeing things when Max kisses me or touches me, I’ve come to expect…to love. It’s one of the things I wouldn’t trade for even a second of “normal” with Max. But it’s always been about us…I mean the images, they’ve always been Max…or me…or us. This was different…bigger than us. I’m staring at a path…the path he’s been looking for, waiting to find. I don’t know how I know, but I do. And when I show this to him today, I’ll be ready to walk down it with him…but for right now (she closes her journal) I’d like to think I just imagined it…and maybe I did. If I tell myself that enough times, do you think I’ll believe it?

(Scene: School, before classes. Liz is walking down the hallway and sees Max go into the vending room. She looks around the hallway – no one’s really around – and she follows him into it.)

Max (bending up from getting his snack and noticing Liz): Hey.

Liz (looking at him intently): Kiss me.

Max (totally taken aback): What?

(Liz pushes him around to the other side of the vending machine so no one can see them and then standing on her tiptoes she pulls him down and kisses him. It only takes Max a second to get over his shock of her forwardness and then he starts kissing her back. They kiss extremely passionately for a while. Finally coming up for air they stop and Max just looks at her with a mixture of surprise and curiosity. She looks at him and furrows her brow. )

Liz: Did you see anything?

Max (confused and embarrassed by her comment): What?

Liz (confused): I didn’t see anything…not like last night. (She moves toward him again) Let’s try again.

Max (completely confused now): Last night?

Liz: Last night when we kissed Max, I saw things.

Max: Last night?

Liz (giving him a playful look): You weren’t drunk again were you?

Max (trying not to completely freak out): Last night we kissed…

Liz: On my roof…

Max: And you saw things?

Liz: They were flashes, like I was watching a really fast slideshow. (Max is just staring at her) Max, are you okay?

(Deputy Blackwood walks past the vending machine room and looking in the window sees Liz. He stops and enters)

Deputy Blackwood: Ms. Parker. (She turns startled) Have you seen Max Evans?

Liz: Um, yea. (Max steps out from behind the vending machine)

Deputy Blackwood (looking at Max): The Sheriff needs to speak to you.

Max (in a state of confusion): Uh…okay. (He and Liz share a worried glance and then in a daze Max walks off and follows him)

(Scene: School Office. Max just follows Deputy Blackwood inside the office area – in his state of, what he thinks is delusion, he doesn’t notice Michael standing off to the side with a very panicked face. They enter an office and the Sheriff is sitting down at the desk. He motions for Max to sit down and then Deputy Blackwood leaves and shuts the door behind him)

Sheriff: Mr. Evans, where were you Saturday evening?

Max (still in a daze): Saturday evening? Home.

Sheriff: What time?

Max (cautiously): What is this about Sheriff?

Sheriff (pulling out a picture from the folder on the desk he tosses it toward Max): Did you know this man?

Max (looks at the picture – it’s a close up of River Dog’s dead face): Um no.

Sheriff: See that’s where we’ve got a problem Mr. Evans. I’ve got witnesses that say you and your friend Mr. Guerin knew this man and visited him – often.

Max: Sheriff, I was home Saturday night from 9 o’clock on. You can ask my parents.

Sheriff: I’ve already talked to your parents.

Max: Then what is this about?

Sheriff (pulls out another photo and tosses it to Max – studying Max’s reaction to the photo): What do you make of this?

Max (trying really hard not to react to the photo – it’s of River Dog’s body with a silver handprint on the back): I don’t know what that is?

Sheriff: That’s just what Mr. Guerin said. (Max quickly looks up from the photo to Sheriff Valenti) And I don’t believe you. See this is the same handprint my son saw on Liz Parker’s stomach after the shooting…

Max (getting instinctively defensive): We’ve been over this Sheriff…do I need to call my parents?

Sheriff (leaning over the desk toward Max): I’m watching you. (The school bell rings)

Max (nervously): Can I go now?

Sheriff (leaning back in the chair): For now.

(Max takes one last look at the photo of the handprint and then gets up from the chair and leaves the room. He walks into the school hallway and before being able to process anything that’s happened Michael comes up and grabs him by the arm and pulls him into an empty room.)

Michael (very panicky): He killed River Dog. (Max doesn’t say anything) Max.

Max (looking at Michael): Where were you last night?

Michael (almost angry): What?

Max: Where were you last night Michael?

Michael: He kills fuckin’ River Dog and you want to know where the hell I was last night…

Max (upset, grabs Michael): Where the HELL were you last night?

Michael (shoving Max off of him): My apartment – what the fuck – I told you that last night.

Max (brings his hands up to his face and starts to panic): No, no you didn’t…you told me last night that you had everything covered at the Crashdown and I could go home.

Michael: What the hell are you talking about? You told me you had everything covered. (They just look at each other) What’s going on Maxwell?

Max (shaking his head): I don’t know…I…it was him.

Michael: What?

Max: It had to have been him.

Michael: But I’ve felt him, I would have felt him…

Max: Not when he doesn’t want you to.

Michael: Are you saying he looks like one of us?

Max: No…I’m saying he can look like any of us…like anybody...

Michael: What?

Max: Think about it Michael – we can manipulate molecular structure…we changing things all the time, we’ve never tried to change ourselves beyond healing but…

Michael: Maxwell, are telling me he can turn himself into – anything?

Max: Oh my god he kissed her.

Michael: What?

Max (talking really fast – like he’s thinking aloud): Liz said that she kissed me last night…that she saw things…it wasn’t me – it was him…I think I’m gonna be sick…

Michael: What do you mean saw things?

Max: What if he did something to her…what if he…

Michael (grabbing Max): Max! What things did she see?

Max: She didn’t say…Michael he could have done something to her…to both of them.

Michael: Max if he wanted to do something he would have.

Max: Maybe we can’t see it…maybe by kissing her he gave her some sort of…disease…

Michael: Maxwell, one of us has to be calm and I really need it to be you.

Max (looking at Michael): Michael…

Michael: Max.

Max (taking several deep breaths and pausing to think): Okay…let’s think about this. He knew we’d find out…maybe he wanted us to find out…maybe he wanted Liz to see whatever she saw…maybe he wanted to see something from Liz.

Michael: Okay?

Max (shaking his head): What do I tell Liz?

Michael: How do you tell if it *is* Liz?

posted on 15-Sep-2001 1:22:48 PM
Title: “What’s Your Flavor?” (Revelations trilogy, part 3)
Author: N/A
Email: ajrocchio⊕
Rating: PG-13 for language
Category: Other Stories
Disclaimers: The characters of Roswell belong to the WB, among others, but apparently I need to keep borrowing them.
Summary: And those bad things…they keep getting worse…
Author’s note/soapbox: No offense to ‘N Sync fans, I just needed someone to sacrifice, it’s for a good cause…

(Scene: Crashdown. Maria and Liz are both working. The place is packed.)

Voice over (while seeing scenes of the Crashdown): It’s been said that you can’t really know a person until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. I feel like I’ve run a marathon in Max’s – and I haven’t even been wearing them long enough to tie the laces…and all I want to do is scream. This constant searching of faces, of looking over my shoulder…of wondering “is the guy behind the counter really just a video clerk”…“is the woman smiling at me as I pass her on the sidewalk because she knows something”…“are any of these customers here for more than the food”…it’s exhausting…

(Scene switches to Liz writing in her journal on her roof)

…And distrusting every stranger – every unfamiliar face – isn’t even the hard part. Topolsky taught us to doubt the unknown somebody, but now it’s graduated into doubting everybody. It’s no longer just worrying if the person behind me in the check-out line is checking me out…now it’s wondering if that’s really my mother asking how my day was or my best friend picking me up for school…or…if it’s really my boyfriend kissing me goodnight. (Music, softly: Sarah McLachlan – Ice Cream)

Max (from the foot of the ladder): Liz? (Liz looks up from her journal over to the direction of his voice) Liz I’m coming up. (He climbs the ladder and when he reaches the top he stops and looks at her tired face) Vanilla.

Liz (smiling at him): With hot fudge and whip cream on top? (Max relaxes and climbs over the edge. He walks to her and sits down beside her on the lounge chair.)

Max: You look so tired.

Liz: Can’t seem to sleep.

Max: Come here. (He pulls Liz down so her head is resting in his lap and he gently plays with her hair. They stay like that in silence for a few moments)

Liz: You know, I don’t think I’d know what to do if you’d said “chocolate”…

Max: Scream.

Liz (smiling): I scream for ice cream…I feel so silly, like we’re the super secretive division of some…Baskin Robbins cult – using passwords and talking in ice cream code.

Max (smiling down at her): I know…but it’s the only way…

Liz: I know…it just makes me actually want a hot fudge vanilla ice cream sundae. (Max continues to look down at her)

Max: That could be arranged you know?

Liz: Too tired…

Max (concerned): Liz…

Liz: I’ve been thinking Max. (She sits up and looks at him) Where’d your parents find you – that night?

Max (confused): What?

Liz: Well we know where the crash reportedly happened. If we can find the spot where your parents found you and Isabel then maybe we can narrow down the search – I mean you couldn’t have walked that far could you?

Max: I never thought about that.

Liz (opening up the journal and looking at the picture she drew): I know it’s out there Max…and I know there’s something in that cave.

Max (pulling her back down to his lap): We’ll worry about that tomorrow…I’m more worried that you get some sleep.

Liz (closing her eyes and very softly): Tell me about that night.

Max (looking down at her and then up at the stars): The first thing I remember…

(Scene: School. Maria is at her locker and Michael walks up behind her. She shuts her locker and turns around)

Maria (startled): Michael.

Michael: Maria. (She raises her eyebrow at him and looks like she’s waiting for him to do something – say something) I’m not doing that here.

Maria: O really?

Michael: It’s school – don’t you think someone would notice if there were two of me walking around?

Maria (looking around suspiciously): He could be any one of these people (motioning to the students in the hallway) just waiting for the opportunity to pounce…so suck it up buddy and just say it.

Michael (looks at her annoyed): Mint chocolate chip.

Maria: Thank you. (They start to walk down the hall together and exit into the quad) Now what do you want?

Michael: What was Valenti doing dropping your mom off last night?

Maria: Dropping her off.

Michael: Why?

Maria (looking at him sideways and letting out a sigh): Because they had a…date last night.

Michael (stops walking): What?

Maria: They’ve been dating for over a month…(They begin walking again towards a table with Max, Liz, and Isabel sitting at it)

Michael: Shit.

Max (looking at Michael): What?

Michael (sitting down): Guess who’s got the hots for Mrs. DeLuca? (Max just shakes his head blankly)

Maria (reluctantly): Sheriff Valenti.

Isabel (a little freaked): You’re kidding right?

Maria: If only…

Max (also a little worried): Michael you’ve gotta be extra careful...

Michael: No shit, Maxwell.

Liz: Maybe this could be a good thing.

Isabel (typical attitude): A good thing?

Maria: Look maybe this’ll keep him busy…guys can’t think about multiple things at once…(Max and Michael just look at her and Liz smiles)…his brain or his libido – which one do you thinks gonna win?

Isabel (looking at Max and sounding very stern): We already know the answer to that, don’t we…(she returns her attention to the map in front of them. On the table is a copy of the New Mexico Atlas and Gazetter, open to page 41 – the page with Roswell and vicinity. Liz just looks at Isabel questioningly) The sooner we find this the better. (Max just glances from Liz to Isabel as Alex comes up to the table to join them.)

Alex (sitting down): Hey. (Everybody turns to look at him and they hesitate) Oh – right…let’s see we’ve got a scoop of vanilla, mint chocolate chip, pistachio, strawberry cheesecake, and chocolate fudge brownie…and can I just add that when you put us all together we make one disgusting sundae.

(Scene: Evans House, later that night. Max’s mom is doing the dishes and Max comes in and sits down)

Max: Mom.

Diane: Hey honey.

Max: Can I ask you something?

Diane (she stops doing the dishes and sits down next to him): Of course. What’s on your mind?

Max (hesitating): Where’d you find us…you know that night?

Diane (studying her son’s face): I’ve been wondering when you’d ask. (Max looks up at her) Honey, your father and I will help you find your biological parents if that’s what you want.

Max: I don’t think we could find them if we wanted to. I just want to know…you know…where we were left.

Diane (taking a deep breath): Your father and I were coming home from a dinner party in Corona. We hadn’t driven more than 30 miles on Highway 247 when you came into the headlights…(smiling) came into our lives.

Max: Was there anything you noticed? Anything about where you stopped…you know that would help me find it.

Diane: It was so dark out…but I do remember…that we’d just passed a large radio tower – I think it was.

Max: Radio tower?

Diane: I’m not sure but there was a large structure on the side of the road, I remember wondering what it was.

Max: Thanks mom.

Diane: Can I ask you something?

Max (looking up at her): Yea.

Diane: What’s making you want to know this…now…I knew this day would come…(smiling at him) I guess deep down I was hoping it wouldn’t be until you were forty.

Max: Mom its not…you’re my mom…I just want to see it, to see where my life… started.

Diane: Do you want us to come with you?

Max (looking down at the table as he’s getting ready to get up and leave): No, Liz and I are gonna go this weekend.

Diane: Liz?

Max (looking up at his mom and thinking to himself “shit”): Um, yea, Liz Parker, you remember?

Diane (smiling): Of course…how could I forget Liz Parker.

Max (a mix of embarrassment and exasperation): Mom.

Diane: Just no accidents this time, okay?

Max (smiling at her as he finally gets up): No accidents.

(Scene: Crashdown Kitchen, after closing. Liz is digging in the freezer. Maria walks into the kitchen.)

Maria: I think this job is speeding up my aging process...

Liz (holding out a box of ice cream): Here. Mint chocolate chip?

Maria: Liz I know its you, we’ve been working together all night.

Liz: No, do you want some?

Maria: Oh…do you even need to ask? (Liz pulls out the vanilla ice cream too and takes it over to the counter where the toppings are. Maria grabs two bowls and brings them to the counter where they begin scooping their ice cream. Maria glances at Liz’s vanilla) You know I thought you’d outgrow the vanilla stage – once you actually tried another flavor.

Liz: What?

Maria: I mean you’ve got your standards – vanilla, chocolate, strawberry – and then you’ve got like the rest of the 32 flavors…

Liz: I like the variety vanilla gives me.

Maria: Variety? It’s vanilla Liz.

Liz: The ice cream is only one aspect of the sundae. (Maria just looks at her) It’s the toppings that make a sundae.

Maria: Uh uh.

Liz: Look, vanilla will taste good with any one of these toppings (waving her hand over the topping tray in the counter)…yours…well, it’s restricting.

Maria (trying really hard not to laugh at her): Restricting?

Liz: It’s like hydrogen, with it’s one electron it can pretty much go with anything…you’re a noble gas – very limiting.

Maria: And they call me the wacky one.

Liz: Yeah well anyone listening to us lately would think we were both pretty crazy.

Maria (after a pause): It’s too late for a refund isn’t it?

Liz (laughing): Afraid so.

Maria: Actually an exchange would work for me…you know return them for some new friends.

Liz: Maybe just Isabel.

Maria (shocked): Do my ears deceive me? Did Elizabeth Parker just utter her first out right spiteful words?

Liz: They were not spiteful…I just wish she’d leave the attitude with her other friends.

Maria: I’m speechless.

Liz: Do my ears deceive me?

Maria: Hey!

Liz (letting out a sigh): I mean I understand why she feels she needs to be that way – at least as much as I can understand. I just wish she’d realize that she doesn’t have to be that way with us.

Maria: What do you mean?

Liz: She’s just so cold and closed off. Doesn’t she realize that there’s nothing more we could learn about her that’s going to make us see her any differently than we already do?

Maria: She’s just scared.

Liz: I know, we all are…she doesn’t have to pretend not to be. And she doesn’t have to make Max feel bad all the time.

Maria: Ah…so that’s what this is about.

Liz: No! It’s just…she constantly makes him question himself, question us – and it’s not like he needs any help with that.

Maria: Liz, you’ve gotta think about this from her perspective.

Liz: I have Maria, and I think she needs to see it from Max’s…I just need to talk to her…

Maria: Yea, can you tell me when you’re gonna do that so I can make sure not to be anywhere nearby.

Liz: You have to feel it Maria when we’re all together lately, it’s like this cloud hanging over us.

Maria: She gives Michael the same looks she gives Max.

Liz (shaking her head): She has things she wants to say and she just needs to say them.

Maria: And you’re just gonna listen?

Liz: Well I have a few things to say too.

(Scene: School Parking Lot. Max and Michael are sitting in the jeep)

Michael: We should all go.

Max: Michael, we’ve been over this.

Michael: It’s our past.

Max: And it’s her vision.

Michael: Isabel and I should go.

Max: Michael, it’s on private property…the more of us walking around the better chance we have of getting caught.

Michael (after a short pause): I don’t understand why he gave her the vision.

Max: I don’t either…it makes me sick just thinking about him kissing her.

Michael: What time are you leaving?

Max: Pretty early…it’s a three-hour drive just to get there. Who knows how long it’ll take us to find the cave.

Michael: If you find it.

Max: We will Michael…we will…

(Scene: School Quad. Isabel is sitting at a table reading a magazine. Liz walks up and sits down opposite her.)

Liz: Hey. (Isabel looks up from the magazine) Doesn’t a chocolate fudge brownie sundae sound good?

Isabel: Better than a vanilla one. Look, I don’t know where Max is…

Liz: I’m not looking for Max, actually I was hoping to talk to you.

Isabel (surprised): Me? About what?

Liz (hesitating a little): About why you don’t like me.

Isabel: Liz I’ve never said…

Liz (interrupting her): You don’t have to say it Isabel, it’s kinda…evident, lately.

Isabel: It isn’t you Liz, it’s just the situation.

Liz: Cuz I’d understand if it’s me. (Isabel just looks at her) I can’t even begin to imagine how terrifying it must be to have this…world of normalcy you’ve created for yourself, shattered and replaced with…this…and because of me. So trust me, I’d understand.

Isabel (looking intently at Liz): You have no idea.

Liz: I’m not claiming to know what it feels like to be you. I can only understand why you’d feel the way you do…I can never know the depths of those feelings…Except maybe one. (Isabel continues to look at her intently) When Max connected with me after the shooting I felt this overwhelming sense of loneliness – and I can only imagine that it’s the same for you, if not greater.

Isabel (defiantly): I have Max and Michael…

Liz: You’re not alone anymore Isabel. You don’t have to be…it’s a choice that you make. But you’re making it for Max – and I don’t think that’s fair.

Isabel: It’s not that simple Liz…

Liz (smiling): That’s what Michael said.

Isabel: Michael?

Liz: Look, I told you once that I would never – could never – take Max away from you…All I want to do is take away his loneliness. And he won’t let me…if you won’t let him.

Isabel: River Dog’s dead, the Sheriff’s suspicious and spying on us, and the only thing connecting us to “home” is a killer that can look like anything…we have enough to worry about without you and Max exploring interspecies “relations.”

Liz: You’re right…we have a lot to worry about but turning this into an “us” verses “you” isn’t going to help either. We’re in this together, Isabel, all six of us. And the only way to get through it is to stick together. Is it that hard for you to imagine that someone could know everything about you and still want to be apart of it, a part of your life…and maybe even love you because of who it makes you? (Isabel just stares at her and Alex approaches the table and sits down)

Alex: Ladies…a little chocolate fudge brownie with vanilla – now that’s a sundae I could go for.

Liz (looking from Isabel to Alex): Hey Alex.

(Scene: Somewhere on 285 North, really early on Saturday morning. Max is driving and Liz is in the passenger seat.)
Music (on the radio): ‘N Sync – Bye Bye Bye

Liz (reaching over to change the radio station and Max looks at her sideways): They bug me. If I don’t change it now I’ll be singing that song all day – and neither of us wants that. (She starts flipping through radio stations and finds one playing Janis Joplin’s – Me and My Bobby McGee. She stops and turns the volume up) I love this song. (She leans back in her seat and starts singing along.)

Max (raising his eyebrow at her): Really?

Liz: I guess you could call it a “dad-influence.”

Max: Your dad?

Liz: He’s a hippie at heart – don’t let him fool you.

Max (surprised): A hippie? Guess I better buff up on Woodstock.

Liz (laughing at him): I’ll let you borrow some of my CD’s. (He turns his head to give her another look and she smiles at him and starts singing along to the song again. Max looks back at the road and the jeep passes a sign reading “ Highway 247 Jct. – 20 miles”)

(Scene: Crashdown. Maria is working and Mr. Parker is cooking. Michael, looking overly irritated, walks in and sits at the counter.)
Music: Barenaked Ladies – Call and Answer

Maria: What can I get you?

Michael: Just give me a coke and an ET platter.

Maria (looking at him intently): And for dessert?

Michael (a little irritated): Dessert? Some pie, what? Do I have to decide now? (Maria freezes, her face goes a little white and she steps back from the counter just staring at him. Michael gives her a questioning look and after a moment realizes what he’s done) Mintchocolatechipicecreamsundae! (Maria, sucks in her breath getting physically upset and runs into the back room) Shit. (Michael follows her in the backroom. She’s standing with her back to Michael crying. He hesitates – definitely perplexed about what to do. He walks over to her and touches her shoulder lightly) I’m sorry…I forgot. (She turns to him and hugs him. He’s taken a bit aback and then puts his arms around her and hugs her back) I won’t let him hurt you…I won’t let him hurt you.

Mr. Parker (coming out from the kitchen): Maria? (Maria and Michael look over at him) What happened?

Michael: A customer was being a jerk.

Mr. Parker (moving toward the door): Where?

Michael: He left (He looks down at Maria) He left.

Mr. Parker (coming over to them): Are you okay?

Maria (gathering herself and nodding at him): I’m fine…just shaken up that’s all.

Mr. Parker: Take your time, the customers can wait for their food today…I don’t know how Lizzie convinced me to give her the day off…and if you ever see that customer in here again – you tell me okay…we don’t want business from anyone harassing you.

Maria: Thanks Mr. Parker.

Mr. Parker (looking between Maria and Michael): Take your time. (He returns to the kitchen)

Michael: Are you okay?

Maria: I don’t know, when I thought you were him I just didn’t know what to do…I…

Michael: It’s okay, I’m not going to let anything happen to you.

Maria (she looks up at him and nods): Will you stay with me here today?

Michael: Yeah.

(Scene: Somewhere in the desert southeast of Corona along Highway 247. Max and Liz are walking along in silence. Liz keeps stealing glances at Max – who is deep in thought. It’s a bit windy out.)

Liz: What are you thinking?

Max (absentmindedly): About you.

Liz (interested): What about me?

Max (realizing that he said it out loud): What?

Liz: What about me were you thinking?

Max: Um, nothing.

Liz: Max, you’ll show me your soul but you won’t tell me what you’re thinking?

Max (pausing): What if I couldn’t (Liz looks over at him) you know, show you things…what if I was just your lab partner?

Liz: You mean what if you were from around here?

Max: Yea. Would you still want to be with me?

Liz (smiling at him): Max have you looked in the mirror? (He looks over at her surprised) I’ve got to be the envy of every girl in school. (She smiles at him and he looks away from her.) Would you have asked me out instead of watching me from a distance for all those years?

Max: Yes.

Liz: Well, there’s your answer. (Pausing for a moment) But you wouldn’t be who you are without being what you are. (Max looks at her questioningly) I mean, so shy, so serious and thoughtful…so many things that make you you…that I like about you.

Max (looking away from her): What about what I am? How can you want to be with me?

Liz: Why do you want to be with me? (Max quickly looks at her) What’s so great about me Max…that’s worth risking everything for?

Max: It’s…it’s everything about you.

Liz (cupping his face with her hands): And it’s everything about you. (She pulls him to her and kisses him) Now let’s see if we can find what we’re looking for.

(Scene: Alex’s House. Isabel is knocking on the front door. Quick reminder – in my little alternative Roswell universe, Alex’s dad is closer to the one in the books…hard core military man.)

Mr. Whitman (answering the door): Can I help you?

Isabel: Is Alex home?

Mr. Whitman (surprised): My son Alex?

Isabel: This is the Whitman residence?

Mr. Whitman: Yes, yes it is. He’s in the garage practicing with his (sounding very disapproving) ‘band.’ (Still looking at her questioningly) This way. (They walk through the living room into the kitchen and Mr. Whitman opens the door to the garage…the music stops when the door opens)

Alex: Dad…

Mr. Whitman: You have a visitor.

Alex (puzzled): A visitor? (His dad steps out of the way and Isabel comes into the room) Isabel! Guys I think that’s enough practice for today.

Nicky (fidgeting with something): Alex we just started 15 minutes ago. (He looks up and sees Isabel) Oh.

Markos (leaning over and whispering to Chris): Is that who I think it is?

Chris (whispering back): I think so.

Isabel (with everybody, including Mr. Whitman, watching her sort of awe struck she walks over to Alex): Can we go somewhere, like for a walk or something?

Alex (leaning closer to her and whispering): Maybe.

Isabel (gives him a nasty look): You know, to get like a Chunky Monkey sundae or something.

Alex (smiling at her): Sure…let me put this away. (He turns around from her and gives the greatest Alex grin to his band members as he puts his guitar back in the case. Meanwhile everybody is still staring at Isabel.) Come on. (Alex leads Isabel out of the garage and through the house to the front door)

Isabel: That’s not really your favorite flavor is it…you just wanted all of us to have to say it – aloud.

Alex: Who me? (Isabel shots him a typical Isabel look. They leave the house and Alex looks over his shoulder to see his dad watching them from the window.) Hey, I don’t suppose you’d want to put your arm around me and give me a little kiss on the cheek, you know put on a show for major dad…(Isabel just glares at him, trying not to laugh) Had to ask. (They walk a ways down the street) Sorry about that, outside of Maria and Liz I don’t get many visitors…of the opposite sex.

Isabel: Apparently. After this, remind me never to agree to have dinner at your house.

Alex: So wait, does that mean before this you would have considered it? Cuz if that’s the case you really need to give a guy warning when you’re coming over to his house…I mean, preparations could have been made…you can’t just show up on unsuspecting parents…there are health conditions to consider…

Isabel (smiling at Alex): Thank you.

Alex: For being the only one not staring back there?

Isabel (softening her tone to a more serious one): It’s for everything. Thank you Alex.

Alex: Just doin’ what anybody would.

Isabel: No, not anybody Alex. Nobody would do all the things you’ve done for us…you didn’t even know Max that day in the hospital and then with Michael…and Tess…not just anybody does that.

Alex: I know what it’s like to need friends.

Isabel: You’re a good friend Alex.

Alex: Well don’t let that get around or anything…I don’t think I could handle anymore friends at the moment.

Isabel: I’m sorry.

Alex: For?

Isabel: For all of this, for how messed up we’ve made your life.

Alex: I don’t do anything I don’t want to…and I’m not sorry for anything I’ve done…well, nothing you would know about. (Isabel looks at him and smiles) So have you heard anything yet?

Isabel (reverting back into a serious tone): No, they won’t be back until late tonight.

Alex (giving her a classic Alex grin): So you want a sundae or what?

(Scene: Back to Max and Liz in the desert. The terrain has gotten a little rockier and it’s still pretty windy out. They’ve been walking for hours now, it’s early evening, and Liz is definitely feeling it. She stops to catch her breath.)

Max: You okay?

Liz (looking around at the terrain): Yea, just catching my breath.

Max: We can stop, go back…

Liz (still looking around): I’m fine Max, really I just need a minute.

Max (noticing her looking around): Anything look familiar?

Liz (shaking her head): No. (Pointing to a large rocky hill) Maybe if we can get on top of that hill I’ll see something.

Max (looking at the hill): I don’t know…it’s pretty steep, you sure?

Liz: Max I’ll be fine. Come on (she grabs his hand and pulls him forward).

(They climb the hill and when they get to the top the wind hits them – very, very windy up there.)

Liz (looking at the view and slightly choking on the wind as she speaks): It’s beautiful.

Max (complaining): It’s windy.

Liz (smiling at him): You’ve never played in the wind?

Max (intrigued by the question): Played in the wind? I’m thinking no.

Liz (She undoes her hair so it’s flying behind her and she spreads her arms out): Come on, you have to lean into it (she leans forward going as far as she can with the wind holding her up – which when it’s really windy can be pretty far. She looks over at him) You have to try it Max, when I was little I always thought it must be what flying was like – with the wind rushing over you. (She closes her eyes and Max just watches her. He steps toward her and gently touches her hand. She opens her eyes and looks at him standing up straight. He steps in front of her – blocking the wind)

Max (shaking his head): No…this is what flying is like…(he kisses her)

(About half a mile away. A man stands watching the two of them kiss through binoculars. He lowers the binoculars and has a flash of when he was kissing Liz on her roof and some of the images he saw from the connection he made with her. He gets a curious smile on his face and turns and leaves.)

(Max and Liz are still kissing passionately when she all of a sudden has a flash – the image of Max as a little six-year old boy standing on the same spot looking at the stars. She pulls away from Max)

Liz: It’s here.

Max: What?

Liz (looking around): It’s here, I saw you when you were little…I saw you here.

Max: Here?

Liz (walking to the other edge of the hill and looking down. She can see a small opening – big enough for a small child to get in and out of – hidden by some large boulders down about halfway from the hill. She turns around to see the view behind her and realizes it’s what she saw in her vision. She looks at Max and points down to the opening, saying softly): It’s there.

(Scene: Miscellaneous Office. A man sits behind a desk typing on the computer. His door opens and he looks up)

Agent Cooper: Agent Topolsky.

Topolsky: You called.

Agent Cooper: I need your file on the Roswell shooting.

Topolsky: What for?

Agent Cooper: There’s been another incident. My flight leaves tomorrow morning.

Topolsky: Tomorrow, why wasn’t I notified?

Agent Cooper: You’re not going.

Topolsky: This is my case.

Agent Cooper: Was your case Agent. Now I need that file by 9 tonight.

Topolsky: What course of action will you be taking?

Agent Cooper: I’ve been given the go ahead.

Topolsky: The go ahead?

Agent Cooper: Let me ask you something Agent. Do you think Max Evans saved that girl’s life?

Topolsky: Yes, yes I do.

Agent Cooper: And do you think that he would do it again?

Topolsky: Are you suggesting Agent Cooper that you intend to endanger Liz Parker’s life?

Agent Cooper: I’m suggesting that I’ve been given the go ahead to use whatever means are necessary to discover the truth.

(Scene: At the opening of the “cave” that Liz found. Max has moved a boulder to make the opening a little bigger for them to get inside and has gone in ahead of Liz. She slowly begins to go in after him. She can see Max creating a light with his hands to look around and notices him stop.)

Liz: Max? (She walks up behind him and looks at what he’s looking at) Oh my God…there’s four of them. (Her and Max are staring at four small silvery “pods” with writing – similar to that in the cave on the Mescalero Reservation – on them and the walls all around the cave.)

posted on 15-Sep-2001 1:27:21 PM
Title: “…and The End is linked to The Beginning” (a cliffhanger)
Author: N/A
Email: ajrocchio⊕
Rating: PG-13 for language
Category: Other Stories
Disclaimers: The characters of Roswell belong to the WB, among others, but apparently I need to keep borrowing them.
Summary: It can’t get any worse than this…can it?
Author’s note/soapbox: The title of this fic is taken from a quote by Marcus Manilius, a Latin astrologer and poet born sometime around/before 1 AD. The whole quote would sort of give it away, so you’ll have to wait ‘til the end for it. At one point, this was the end of my universe, unfortunately I couldn't get the characters out of my head so I had to continue.

(Scene: Various Scenes of Max, Michael and Isabel making their way to the cave. Starting with them driving along on 285 North and turning on the exit for Highway 247. Parking the jeep along the side of the road next to a large radio tower. Walking along in the desert, in silence, with Michael leading the way followed by Max and Isabel trailing behind. Reaching the cave and Max using his powers to move the boulder blocking the entrance. And finally with Michael, Isabel, and Max standing in the cave looking at the pods.)

Voice over (Liz, as we see the scenes above): There’s a part of Max that I’ll never know…I mean, he doesn’t even know it to be able to share it with me. But once he does…once the…‘dictionary’ is discovered that can translate the language of those symbols…I still won’t know that part of him. I can’t ever know it…because it isn’t a part of me. Michael and Isabel are always so quick to point that out. That we’re different…that we’re not (she pauses) not the same…Max does it too sometimes, when his insecurities and fears come out. But the thing is…we’re not that different…Cuz as much as they’re ‘alien’ – they forget that they’re ‘human’ too.

Michael (pulling out a sketchbook from his backpack): I don’t understand it. (He flips through pages and pages of sketches of the symbols from the cave to find a blank page.) Why show us this and not explain it?

Max (touching some of the symbols): I don’t know. Nothing he’s done makes sense.

Michael: And why the hell did he show this to Liz.

Max (looking at Michael questioningly): I don’t know.

Isabel (touching the pods): The question is why do we keep coming here? How many times do we have to touch this stuff to convince ourselves that we aren’t going to see anything?

Michael (disgusted): You don’t want to see anything.

Isabel (whipping around to look at Michael with a very ‘Isabel’ look on her face): Go to hell Michael. I want to know just like you do…but this is a waste of time…how many weekends are we gonna spend staring at nothing?

Michael (seriously pissed): Nothing!

Isabel (pointing to a series of symbols on the cave wall): Do you know what the hell this says?

Michael (looking back down at one of the drawings in his sketchbook and with a determined voice): Not yet.

Max (opening up his backpack and pulling out River Dog’s stones): Isabel, we have to keep coming. He could leave us…clues.

Isabel: Whatever Max…don’t you think he would have done that by now.

Michael: What’s your problem?

Isabel (sounding defeated): I’m just tired…of getting my hopes up.

Max (looking over at her): Isabel…he’s not gonna show this to us and then not explain it…why show it to us in the first place?

Isabel: He hasn’t been exactly forthcoming with us has he Max?

Max (letting out a sigh): I don’t know Isabel…it must be part of some plan he has…

Isabel (gently stroking one of pods): Maybe he wants us to find them first…(she stops and Max and Michael both look over at her)…I can’t believe there’s another one of us out there… somewhere...

(Scene: The Spot – if you don’t remember what this is it’s from “Lost Treasures”, a special spot for Alex, Maria, and Liz. Liz is lying down, Maria is sitting on a rock trying to weave together pine needles, and Alex is sitting on the ground admiring the view)

Liz: I miss this…We haven’t been here in a long time.

Maria (absentmindedly): We haven’t.

Liz (furrowing her brow at Maria and sitting up): What? (Maria looks up at her and then over at Alex who has a “shut up” look on his face. Liz follows Maria’s gaze and frowns) Did you two come here without me?

Maria: N-o. (Liz looks from to Maria to Alex – who has a guilty look on his face – and she gives him a raised eyebrow glare)

Alex: See I was gonna tell you…

Liz (playfully): Uh uh…(looking at Maria) and you knew about this?

Maria: I told him to ask you before bringing her here.

Liz (shocked): Her! Wait, you brought a girl here. (Looking at Maria surprised) He brought a girl here?

Alex (looking at Maria): Thanks…got anything more you’d like to tell ‘bout what I’m getting her for her birthday…or maybe that it was me in sixth grade who stole her ‘Teddy’ dunked him in the toilet and then stuck him in the freezer…

Liz: I knew that was you! And don’t try and get out of explaining yourself.

Alex (after a pause and looking at Maria with a scowl): I brought Isabel here.

Liz (surprised): Isabel?

Alex: I just wanted to show her something personal…(Liz looks over at Maria)

Maria: He was going for the ‘sensitive guy’ approach.

Alex: You haven’t brought Max here yet?

Liz: Max? No. I haven’t even thought about it…okay, maybe I’ve thought about it. But still I would have asked first…Isabel?

Alex (holds up his hands, innocently): Strictly friendly…(Liz smiles and looks over at Maria)

Liz: You think he’s a goner?

Maria: Do birds fly?

Alex: Hey, third party still here…and taking offense…Isabel needs some sort of…clueless-rebel-type to keep up her social front…I’m just the guy she can talk to…which is better than being a James Dean poser ‘cause I get to see the Isabel that nobody sees.

Maria: Alex, my friend…welcome to the Darkside. (Liz laughs)

Alex (looking at Liz): Well, at least I’m not as bad as you.

Liz (innocently): Me?

Alex: Oh, please…(he looks at Maria and they both smile and then start imitating Max and Liz with overly mockingly dreamy looks.)

Liz (throwing pinecones at both of them): Hey! (They have a good laugh and then she stops smiling and her tone changes) I miss him. (Alex and Maria stop and the air becomes a little tense) I mean I see him every night but it’s different, he’s just so sad – especially when he comes back from visiting the cave. I don’t understand Nasedo…it’s been weeks…he gives them everything and nothing at the same time.

Maria: All Michael does is look at that sketchbook. I could be naked and he wouldn’t even notice. (Liz and Alex look at her) Not that I’ve tried or would try that.

Alex (after a pause): I can’t believe there’s another one of them. (Liz and Maria just look at him) I wonder if it’s somebody we know.

Liz: I’ve been looking through old newspaper articles and can’t find anything.

Maria: What are you looking for?

Liz: Well I thought maybe it would have been reported…you know, finding a naked kid in the middle of nowhere is pretty news worthy. Max, Michael and Isabel came out of their pods in 1989 so I’ve been looking but I can’t find anything about another child. Not even in the Corona community paper.

Alex: Maybe it was before then…

Maria: Or after.

Liz: I’ve done a five-year buffer 1984 to 1994. (Letting out a sigh) The next step is legal records – but adoptions are mostly closed records.

Alex: You need to go to the source.

Liz: Nasedo, (shaking her head) try again Alex.

Alex: No, the adoption agencies. They’ve gotta have computerized records. (Liz looks at Alex and mentally slaps herself for not thinking of that sooner.)

Liz: Next weekend?

Alex (nods): Sure. That gives us enough time to get the names of the orphanages and adoption agencies. We should try Albuquerque too.

Liz: Thanks Alex.

Alex (smiles and gives her one of those mockingly dreamy looks and with a playful dreamy voice): Anything for you Liz.

Liz: That’s it! (And she jumps up and heads for Alex)

(Scene: Outside the Crashdown, late that night. A man stands in the shadows across from the Crashdown looking up at the roof. He smiles as Liz comes into view on the roof. She walks to the edge and looks down – no Max yet, her shoulders sink a little and she turns and sits down against the ledge. The man turns his head to see Max walking down the street toward the Café. As Max reaches the ladder he calls out Liz’s name and she stands up and looks over the edge. He climbs to the top and they stand there for a moment. Max hangs his head down, giving away his sadness. Liz reaches up and caresses the side of his face and then pulls Max into a hug. The man in the shadows turns to walk away and then notices a man sitting in a dark car watching Max and Liz with binoculars. Nasedo – recognized as the man watching Max and Liz kiss in the desert – looks at the man in the car intently, very suspiciously/menacingly.)

(Scene: School Quad. Michael is sitting at a table looking at the sketchbook. Isabel walks up to the table)

Isabel: Do really think you should be looking at that here?

Michael: No one’s around.

Isabel: It’s risky Michael.

Michael: Enough Isabel.

Isabel: What’s your problem Michael?

Michael (looking up at her): What’s yours?

Isabel: I just can’t take it Michael. It’s been weeks. We know nothing more than we did then – except there’s another one of us out there…who’s probably impossible to find.

Michael: We’re so close.

Isabel: To what? To what Michael?

Michael (passionately): To everything we’ve been looking for – don’t you get that?

Isabel (shaking her head): It doesn’t mean anything if we can’t understand it.

Michael (looking back at the drawings): Soon. (Isabel looks at Michael and then up at Max who walks in the direction of the table. He sits down and Michael immediately starts) I think we should stay this weekend at the cave. Leave Friday come back Sunday. Maybe we’ll catch him there.

Max: Can’t Friday.

Michael (questioningly): What do you mean can’t?

Max: I can’t I promised Liz that we’d do something this Friday.

Michael (completely disgusted): This is more important than dating Maxwell.

Max: Well right now I think it’s pretty important to spend some time with Liz, we can go on Saturday.

Michael (looking between Isabel and Max and angrily): You two don’t want to find out anything – you’re happy with your artificial ‘human’ lives.

Max: If I were you Michael I’d think about your attitude and consider doing something with Maria this Friday…with Liz and I.

Michael: I have more important things to do with my time than dinner and a movie.

Max: We could spend a week there Michael…don’t you think he’d sense us. We can’t…sneak up on him. He’s got his own agenda…and clearly it doesn’t include revealing anything to us anytime soon. I just think we all need to take a step back from it…and maybe we’ll be able to see something we missed when we look at it again. And besides, maybe he showed us this to keep us away from them – we’ve been spending a lot of time out there. (Michael looks up at Max; that thought never having crossed his mind.)

(Scene: Crashdown, early evening. Maria and Liz are both working, it’s semi-busy. Agent Cooper is sitting at a table finishing up his meal – a cup of coffee and a nice piece of pie - and every now and then following Liz around the café with his eyes. Unbeknownst to him Nasedo is sitting at a booth watching him, watch Liz. Liz approaches Agent Cooper’s table.)
Music: Paperboys – I’ve Just Seen A Face (Beatles Cover)

Liz: How was everything?

Cooper: Just fine thank you.

Liz: Anything else I can get you?

Cooper: Not at the moment.

Liz (she puts his bill on the table): I can ring you up whenever you’re ready. (She leaves and heads over to Nasedo and notices his empty drink) Can I get you a refill?

Nasedo: Ah, no thanks.

Liz (smiling at him): It’s free.

Nasedo (smiling at her): Sure.

Liz (taking the cup): Cosmic Cherry Cola coming right up. (Liz heads to the drink machine and meets Maria there)

Maria: What are all these people doing here at 5 o’clock…Don’t they have jobs?

Liz (sarcastically): Not everyone is so lucky.

Maria (looking over at Liz): And I definitely don’t like that guy.

Liz: What guy?

Maria (inconspicuously nodding to Agent Cooper): That one…don’t like him.

Liz: Maria, what are you talking about?

Maria (as she grabs her drinks she was filling): Vibes…the un-fuzzy kind. (She looks at Liz and then leaves to deliver the drinks. As she fills up Nasedo’s drink, Agent Cooper gets up and leaves the Crashdown. Liz brings the drink over to Nasedo who is now standing.)

Nasedo: Looks like I’ve gotta be going.

Liz (smiling at him): Well you’re lucky it’s free.

Nasedo (going through his wallet and pulling out a twenty): I think this will cover it.

Liz (sets down the drink on the table): Here, let me get you change.

Nasedo (holding out the twenty to her): Don’t need any.

Liz (surprised at the over $10 tip): Um, thanks. (She reaches out to take the twenty and their hands touch. She immediately freezes, stops breathing and just stares at him. He turns and leaves. Liz just stands there completely frozen. Maria notices her and walks over.)

Maria: Liz?

Liz (shakily): That was him.

Maria: What?

Liz: Nasedo…he was here, that was him.

Maria (looking over to the door): How do you know?

Liz: I know.

(Meanwhile, outside of the café. Agent Cooper gets into his black sedan and drives off with Nasedo watching him go, and walking after him.)

(Scene: Maria’s Bedroom, later that night. Michael and Maria are standing in the middle of it having a hushed argument)

Michael: I’m asking you to come with me.

Maria (angrily): No you’re not.

Michael (about to explode with frustration): What about “will you come with me” don’t you understand?

Maria: Michael, I’ve wanted you to ask me to come with you for over a week. But you don’t even share the sketches in your book with me. The only reason you’re doing this now is because of what happened today.

Michael: I can’t do anything right, can I?

Maria: You want it both ways. Well guess what…doesn’t work that way.

Michael: You’re driving me insane.

Maria (getting watery eyes): You don’t want to share what’s in that cave with me. You’re just asking me so you can ‘watch’ me while doing what you want.

Michael: You’re impossible!

Maria: Ya and you’re a bed of roses! I’m going to the movies with Liz and Max tomorrow night.

Michael: Don’t you understand how important this is to me?

Maria: Yes Michael it’s the only thing that’s important to you.

Michael: You’re trying to make me choose.

Maria: No Michael, this isn’t a choice…don’t you get that in that…misguided alien head of yours?

Michael: You don’t understand.

Maria: Because you don’t let me. You don’t let me in because things get all ‘intense’ and it scares you. It scares the crap out of you because you actually like it…but instead of admitting it you sit outside my window ‘protecting’ me and pretending that it has nothing to do with the fact that you care about me. Just save us all the trouble, admit that you like being with me, let me in, and I’ll let you be whatever…alien you want to be.

Michael (heading toward the window): You infuriate me.

Maria: Ditto! Run...typical!

Michael (as he’s exiting the window): Go to hell. (He walks away from the house a couple of steps and then furious at himself goes back to the window and stands off to the side of it leaning against the house – out of sight from Maria. Music starts: Ani DiFranco – Falling is Like This)

Maria (lets out a frustrated sigh and then softly but loud enough for it to float out the open window): I love you too.

(Michael, hearing her, just sinks down to the ground against the house and hangs his head in his hands. After a few moments Maria comes to the window and as she’s shutting it Michael pulls his head up out of his hands and his eyes are watery. He stands up and goes over to the window. Maria looks at him and he puts his hand up to the window. Maria matches his hand and after a moment opens the window and Michael climbs back through. He stands there in silence with Maria looking at him and then she steps to him and cradles his face with her hands.)

Maria (very affectionately): What am I gonna do with you spaceboy?

Michael (softly): I’m sorry.

Maria (whispering): I know. (She pulls him to her and gives him a hug)

(Scene: Ramada Inn, roughly same time. Nasedo is hidden from view behind a tree near the edge of the parking lot. He’s staring at the familiar black sedan. Agent Cooper walks toward the car with a cup of coffee and a small bag. Nasedo evilly watches him as he gets into the car and drives off toward the Crashdown.)

(Scene: Liz’s Bedroom, really late that night. Liz and Max are sitting on her bed.)

Max: I’m not leaving you tonight.

Liz (smiling at him): Max, you never leave, remember I’m the one who wakes you up out there every morning.

Max: No I mean I’m not leaving your side tonight.

Liz: Max.

Max: Liz, I’m not leaving.

Liz: And if my parents find you in here?

Max: I’m watching you sleep – I’ll hear them if they’re coming in.

Liz (gently touching his face): Max.

Max (looking deeply into her eyes): I don’t know what I’d do if anything happened to you.

Liz: Max, nothing’s going to happen.

Max: It felt like I was dying when you were shot.

Liz: Is that why you saved me?

Max: I was saving myself…A part of me would have died if you had…died.

Liz (softly): Max. (Max leans in for a kiss and when they finally break apart…)

Max (resting his forehead against hers, softly): Don’t ever leave.

Liz (smiling up at him): I’m not planning to.

(Scene: Roswell Police Station. The Sheriff enters the station. Okay, since I’m borrowing the name “Agent Cooper” from the television show Twin Peaks, I figure I might as well borrow “Hawk”…which for those of you who missed the brilliant show Twin Peaks was the name of the character Michael Horse – the actor playing Deputy Blackwood – played. And a note here: my Agent Cooper is the antithesis of the Agent Cooper from Twin Peaks.)

Deputy (from behind the counter): Morning Sheriff.

Sheriff: Morning Hawk. Anything new?

Deputy: Pretty quite night last night.

Sheriff: That’s what I like to hear. (He continues walking to his office. He opens the door, enters, hangs up his coat and hat and then sits down at his desk. He picks up the phone to check messages and scanning over his desk notices an envelope addressed to him lying in the middle of the desk. He looks at it curiously and sets down the phone. Picking up the envelope he turns it over and opens it. What he pulls out is a single piece of paper with “Liz Parker’s life is endanger” written neatly on it. He stares at if for a moment and then quickly exits his office carrying the note and envelope) Have I had any visitors?

Deputy (shaking his head): No. Not since I’ve been here. Harry didn’t mention any from last night.

Sheriff (handing the envelope to Deputy Blackwood): I want this dusted for fingerprints. Along with my office. Immediately.

Deputy (looking at him questioningly): Sheriff?

Sheriff: Someone was in my office last night and I want to know who the hell it was!

(Scene: Liz’s Bedroom. Liz is finishing getting ready and Maria is sitting on the bed.)

Liz: So is he coming?

Maria: Yea, I think so. (Letting out an exasperated sigh) He can be so infuriating…sometimes I just want to give him a time-out.

Liz (looking at Maria in the mirror): Time-out?

Maria: You know, make him sit and stare at the wall for awhile and think about his behavior.

Liz (laughing): That I’d like to see.

Maria: It’s like babysitting my cousin. When I put him to sleep he gives me the most frightened look because he’s afraid of the dark. Michael gives me the same look sometimes. And then when I try and comfort him and tell him it’s gonna be okay he throws a tantrum and tells me it’s my fault because I put him to bed – (raising her eyebrow to Liz, who’s looking at her in the mirror) sound like anybody we know?

Liz (smiling and shaking her head): He just lost.

Maria: So lost he doesn’t know how to recognize being found.

Liz (looking at Maria in the mirror again and turning around): How do I look?

Maria: Well, if you’d stop fussing…why are you so nervous?

Liz: It’s…it’s our first ‘date.’

Maria: What? What about ‘going out for some Chinese?’

Liz: When Michael got sick? Doesn’t count.

Maria: Doesn’t count? Babe, take what you can get.

Liz: It’s null and void...When the goodnight kiss is replaced with a good…heart stomping – it doesn’t count.

Maria: They should come with warning labels. (Liz looks at her and sits down next to her on the bed) I’m totally serious like little business cards to hand out to unsuspecting people. (She playfully changes her tone) “Hi. Not only am I a total flight risk and suffering from the most sever case of fear of intimacy you’ll ever know, I’m also possibly hazardous to your health, (looking at Liz with raised eyebrows) in multiple ways…”

Liz (interrupting her): Maria!

Maria: What you haven’t thought about it. If the kissing’s explosive can you even imagine what…

Liz (blushing): MARIA!

Maria: It’d probably be “Like Water for Chocolate” all over again. You know combusting into billions of little specks of light.

Liz (totally embarrassed and bringing her hands to her face): We are not having this conversation. (Before Maria can respond Liz is saved by a knock at her door)

Mrs. Parker (from behind the door): Liz, honey, Max and Michael are here.

Liz (gathering herself): We’ll be right out. (They get off the bed and grab their coats.)

Maria (as they exit the bedroom and pretending to hold up the ‘business card’ and in the same playful tone): “And did I mention that I can seriously mess with your head. Still interested, call me.”

Liz (hitting her from behind): Stop it!

(Scene: A Local Pizza Joint. Michael, Max, Liz, and Maria are sitting around a table – semi-awkward silence. Random music playing in the background.)

Michael: So what movie are we seeing?

Liz: Cider House Rules.

Michael (looking at Max): Chick flick?

Maria: Hey, you missed the boat on voting buddy.

Max (looking at Michael): Yea.

Liz (looking at Max): I thought you wanted to see it.

Max: I do, I do…it just wasn’t my first choice. (Michael grunts with disgust) I still haven’t seen The Green Mile and it’s playing at the $2 theater...

Maria: Didn’t want to pay the $6.75 for Liz, huh?

Liz (looking between Max and Maria): Who says he’s paying? (They both look at her) Just thought I might have missed the conversation that was discussed in.

Restaurant loudspeaker: Max, pizza for Max.

Max: I’ll get it.

Maria (grabbing everybody’s drinks): I’ll get refills. (Max and Maria leave the table and Michael and Liz just look at each other)

Liz: I’m glad you came.

Michael: The evenings just beginning better wait on that.

Liz (after a pause): I’m sorry.

Michael (looking at her curiously): For what?

Liz: That he gave me the vision and not you.

Michael (after a pause): Better you than me – kissing guys…ain’t my thing.

(Scene switches to Max and Maria. Maria is filling the drinks and Max, with pizza in hand is reaching next to Maria to grab a handful of napkins from the container next to the drink machine.)

Maria (not looking at Max): You break her heart again and I’ll personally rip yours from your chest.

Max (caught off guard): Huh? (He looks over at Maria and she looks back at him with a pretty serious look. He smiles to himself) I can see why Michael likes you. (Maria raises her eyebrow at him) I have no intention of doing anything to Liz’s heart except love it.

Maria (returning her attention to the drinks): Smooth talkin’ spaceboy…I can see why she likes you.

Max: You’re good for Michael, don’t let him push you away.

Maria (looking up at Max): Thank you.

Max (turning to head back to the table): And if you break his heart I’ll rip yours from your chest (leaning into her) and I might actually be able to do it. (He smiles innocently down at her and walks to the table. Maria looks after him smiling.)

(Scene: Fast-forward a half hour or so. They’re just sitting around the table finishing up the pizza. Liz looks over and notices that the pool table is finally free)

Liz (to Max): What time is it?

Max (looking at his watch): Um, eight.

Liz: The movies at nine, right?

Max: Yea, why?

Liz: Enough time to see who’s paying for the movie tonight…(she grabs Max’s hand from the table and looks at Michael as she’s getting up from the table) Up for a little wager?

Michael (suspicious): Depends.

Liz (looking and motioning to Maria): Us verses you two (she motions between Michael and Max)…losers pay for the movie.

Michael: Loser at what?

Liz (pointing to the pool table): Pool.

Michael (clueless to Liz’s talent): You’re on. (He gets up from the table grabs Max and walks over to the pool table.)

Maria (quietly to Liz as they walk over to the table): You better know what you’re doing because I didn’t bring any money.

Liz (smiling and looking at Maria): Max can’t play to save his life and Michael…(she looks over at Michael) doesn’t even know what the chalk is for. (Her and Maria turn to look at Michael who is examining the little cube of blue chalk and holding it up to Max asking what it is.) Not a problem.

Max (to Michael): It’s for the stick, you rub it on the end to help with hitting the ball. We’re going to lose…you know that right?

Michael: What? Those two (nodding to Liz and Maria picking out cues.) No way.

Max (shaking his head at Michael): Man you’re in for it. (Michael just looks at Max confused)

Liz (racking up the balls): Alright. First ball pocketed indicates who’s stripes and who’s solids, one foot on the ground at all times, and gentlemen (looking between Michael and Max) no funny stuff. (They look back at her innocently) We’ll let you break.

Michael: Oh, don’t do us any favors, please (motioning to the table with his cue) show us how it’s done.

(Liz looks at Maria who nods her on and then goes around to the table and sets the cue ball down. She bends over the table. She looks over at Michael’s ignorantly confident face and then up at Max giving him a wink she shoots. The balls fly across the table with two of them going into pockets. Michael looks a little stunned)

Liz (examining the balls in the two pockets): Looks like we’re stripes. (Liz stakes out her next shot and makes it. Michael looks at Max who gives him an “I told you so” look. She walks around the table for another shot and makes it but misses her next one.) Your turn.

Maria (trying not to laugh): Please, show us how it’s done. (Michael looks at her and curses under his breath. He looks at Max and nods for him to go.)

Max (approaching the table): We’re solids right?

Liz: Yep. (Max just looks at her and then bends down to take a shot…missing. He looks at her and she smiles at him.)

Maria (stepping up to the table): Okay babe, which one should I go for.

Liz: The ten ball. (Maria leans over the table and Liz helps her adjust and aim.)

Michael: Hey no cheating.

Liz (looking up at him): Fine. (She backs off. Maria shoots and makes the shot. She looks up at Michael and gives him a smile and then readjusts for another shot but misses.)

Maria: Your turn wonder boy.

Michael (fighting it): Shut up! (He leans over the table for a shot and misses – badly.)

Liz (playfully): Try some chalk. (Michael just gives her a glare as she bends down for another shot. She makes the shot and readjusts for another one)

Michael: Pool-shark Parker – who would have known.

Liz (aiming for her shot): Just because you’ve read my journal doesn’t mean you know everything about me. (Michael completely freezes. As does Liz realizing what she just said. Max and Maria just look over at Michael dumbfounded)

Max: It was you.

Maria (looking at Liz): How could you not tell me it was him!

Liz (finishing the shot and making it): It didn’t matter, I got it back that’s…

Max (still looking at Michael): You stole her journal…her journal…you…

Michael: Maxwell…

Liz: Max it’s no big deal…

Maria (under her breath): No big deal.

Liz: Look an understanding was reached. (Trying to move on) Eight ball in the corner pocket...I just wanted my journal back and I got it back. (She leans down for the shot and makes it) Another game? (Everybody stares at her.)

Max (still stunned): I think it’s time for the movie. (Liz moves to put her cue stick back on the rack)

Maria (to Liz): You have some serious explaining to do.

Max (to Michael): You too. (Liz looks to Michael and mouths the word “sorry”, He nods and puts is stick on the rack. The girls head back into the other room where their coats are still on their chairs. And as they get to the table a new song comes on in the background. Music: 10,000 Maniacs – These Are Days)

Maria (looking at Liz, waiting for her to recognize the song. It takes Liz a second and then she shots a look to Maria): Fifth grade end of the year slumber party!

Liz: Johnny Depp, Alex Baldwin lovefest.

(Michael and Max, standing off to the side, share a glance. Maria and Liz start dancing around and singing to the song.)

Michael: You ever get the feeling they know more about us than we do about them?

Max (looking at Michael): Apparently you know more than any of us.

Michael (looking at Max): You know what she wrote in there (He pats him on the chest and then walks to the table, leaving Max to look at Liz.)

(And over in the corner of the pizza joint is a man talking on a cellular phone)

Man: They’re leaving. No. The movie starts at 9. We’ll get them when they leave the theater.

(Scene: The Spot, late that night. Isabel and Alex are lying down next to each other looking up at the stars.)

Isabel (pointing to the sky): Did you see that one?

Alex (disappointed): Again…what the hell am I looking at up there? That’s your fourth one…you’re either lying or cheating.

Isabel (laughing): Cheating?

Alex: You’ve got like an ‘in’ with the shooting stars don’t you? They tell you where they’re gonna fall, don’t they?

Isabel (laughing and turning her head to look at him): Sometimes.

Alex (sitting up and looking at her): Really?

Isabel: If I’m really focused…like meditating, I guess. I can sense them.

Alex (disbelief): Really?

Isabel (pulling him back down to lie next to her): I’ll show you. (She looks up at the stars focusing on the familiar ‘V’ shaped constellation and starts breathing deeply and evenly. Alex stares at her) It won’t work with you staring at me…and besides you won’t believe me if you don’t see it for yourself.

Alex: Sorry. (He turns his head away from her to look up at the stars. They lay like that for awhile.)

Isabel (softly): The Big Dipper.

Alex: What? (And then looking over at the Big Dipper constellation he sees a shooting star, under his breath) No way.

Isabel (turning on her side to look at Alex): Told you.

Alex (still staring at the Big Dipper): I think that’s either the coolest thing I’ve ever seen…or ever imagined seeing. (He looks over to her) What other…things can you….sense?

Isabel (lying back down): Mostly Max…Michael too.

Alex: What do you mean?

Isabel: Their presence, their feelings sometimes.

Alex (more to himself than her): Feelings.

Isabel: They have to be really strong though – it doesn’t happen very often.

Alex (sort of inching his way away from Isabel): Strong huh? (Isabel is staring up at the constellation again and doesn’t hear Alex. She’s focusing intently on it but is ripped out of her meditative state.)

Isabel (sitting up and in unbelievable pain): AAAAH!

Alex (sitting up quickly and panicking): Isabel, what is it?

(Scene: Outside the Del Norte Twin Theater, late that night – same time as the previous scene with Alex and Isabel. The Sheriff sits in his car, parked off to the side towards the back of the lot. He surveys the parking lot and entrance to the theater. There is a couple kissing and talking leaning against their car, parked close to the entrance. A guy, same one from the pizza joint, is sitting on a bench out front appearing to wait for someone. A man appearing to talk on the payphone turns around with a sweeping gaze over the parking lot. He makes eye contact with a man sitting in a familiar black sedan. Agent Cooper nods to the man on the pay phone and turns his head to the left toward another car. Inside that car a man sits in the passenger seat with a high-powered video camera pointed toward the entrance and lobby of the theater. As the man focuses the camera what comes into view is the movie crowd – pretty small – coming into the lobby…trailing behind everyone is Liz, Max, Michael and Maria)

Maria (wiping at her eyes): I can’t believe he just left…that she’s just gonna go back to that guy…

Michael: You’re the one who wanted to see the movie.

Maria (hitting Michael): It was a good movie, the ending just…sucked.

Liz (looking up at Max): And what did you think?

Max (looking between Michael and Liz and reluctantly): It was good.

Michael (under his breath): Whipped. (Everybody looks at him)

Maria: Shit! (Reaching at her sides) My purse! (Everybody stops walking) I’ll be back. (She turns around and heads back into the theater)

Liz (looking at Max): I’m gonna wait outside. (Max looks at Michael, who nods at him)

Max: I’ll come with. (Michael, shakes his head as Liz and Max make for the exit and he turns back in the direction where Maria went.)

(As Max opens the door for Liz the man at the payphone hangs up the phone and the black sedan starts it’s engine. Liz looks up at Max out of the corner of her eye. Music starts: Blue Rodeo, Sarah McLachlan background vocals, – What Is This Love)

Liz: So were you just humoring me in there?

Max: What? No, it was good…slow…but good.

Liz (smiling at him): Well, you can pick the next one. (They share one of their “connecting” gazes and neither of them notices the car slowly driving by…)

--A shot rings out--- (the black sedan tears out of the parking lot and passes a very menacing/evil Nasedo who follows the car with his eyes.)

Sheriff (hearing the shot and yelling into his police radio): “Shots fired I need an ambulance at 2800 N. Main Street NOW!”

Michael (turning to look in the direction of the shot he sees Liz falling to the ground and hears Max yell out “LIZ!”): Shit!

(The man with the video camera refocuses and what comes into view is a close up of Max opening up Liz’s shirt on the ground.)

Max (shakily fumbling with Liz’s shirt): Oh god, oh god, oh god…. (He looks up at Liz’s face and she looks back at him with a terrified look)

Liz (weakly): No Max…you can’t…

Max: Stay with me Liz…this is not happening…

(He feels a hand on his shoulder and then finds himself being pulled away from Liz. He looks over his shoulder angrily at Michael and jerks himself free from Michael but as he turns around to Liz the Sheriff is there holding his shirt over the wound and pressing down to stop the bleeding. Max, in total despair at the sight of the Sheriff looks down at Liz and lets the tears fall – knowing that he can’t do anything to help her now. An ambulance siren can be heard in the distance.)

Liz (very weakly): Max.

Max (completely lost he cradles her head trying to comfort her): Liz, I’m here, I’m here, stay with me Liz…oh god…stay with me…please. (The Sheriff looks from Liz to Max and then surveys the scene. Oddly, there isn’t anyone around anymore in the parking lot – no one who would be a witness. Liz, with fluttering eyelids, looks up at Max’s face. Her peripheral vision slowly starts to turn white gradually closing in around Max’s face.)

Liz (as she loses the sight of Max’s face to a blanket of white): Max.

(The thick blanket of white that Liz sees slowly turns to a mist and as it begins to clear in front of her she can see a warm light in the middle of darkness. As more mist fades away she notices a man sitting on a rock in front of the light, which coming into view is a fire. He turns to her and motioning with his hand to a rock across the way from him.)

River Dog: Come.

(Liz looks from the rock back to River Dog and then down at her body, realizing she’s standing. She looks back up to River Dog and takes a step forward.)

“We begin to die as soon as we are born, and the end is linked to the beginning.” Manilius

posted on 15-Sep-2001 1:35:02 PM
Title: “!” (Choices trilogy, Part 1)
Author: N/A
Email: ajrocchio⊕
Rating: PG-13 for language
Category: Other Stories
Disclaimers: The characters of Roswell belong to the WB, among others, but apparently I need to keep borrowing them.
Summary: “The difficulty in life is the choice.” – George Moore
Author’s note/soapbox: Alright. So the saga continues…Again, the Apache word used in this fic is Western Apache not Mescalero Apache…you work with what you can…sorry.

(Scene: Somewhere between living and dying. Liz and River Dog are sitting on two rocks, in a circle of rocks, across from each other. A fire burns between them and they are surrounded by complete darkness.)

Liz (staring at the fire, and very hesitantly): Am I dead?

River Dog (looking intently at her): No.

Liz (looking up at him): But you are.

River Dog (nodding his head): Yes.

Liz (looking down at the fire again): He killed you.

River Dog (shaking his head): No.

Liz (confused): But the handprint?

River Dog (looking at the fire): It was my time to die.

(Scene: Hospital Waiting Room. The Parker’s are huddled together comforting each other near the entrance to the waiting room. Nancy is crying and Jeff is trying to calm her down. Maria is crying, sitting in the middle of the room, Michael is trying to calm her down. And over in the corner is Max. He’s just staring blankly in front of him with tears gently streaming down his cheeks. The Sheriff walks into the room and everyone – but Max – looks up and over to him, the Parker’s stand as he enters the room.)

Jeff Parker: Jim.

Sheriff (walking to them): How is she?

Jeff: They haven’t told us anything.

Nancy Parker (through tears to the Sheriff): If you hadn’t been there…

Jeff: Do you have any idea…

Sheriff (shaking his head): We’re still looking for witnesses.

Nancy (getting physically upset again): Who would hurt my baby? (Mr. Parker hugs his wife and the Sheriff looks between them.)

Sheriff: I’m going to do everything I can to find out. You just worry about your little girl.

Jeff: Thank you Jim. (The Sheriff nods. Jeff turns with Nancy and tries to get her to sit down again. The Sheriff looks around the room and spots Max over in the corner. He walks toward Max under the watchful gaze of Michael.)

Sheriff (looking sympathetically down at Max): Son, I need to ask you some questions. (Max doesn’t respond to him…his mind completely frozen in time and slowly replaying the horrors of the night. The Sheriff rests his hand on Max’s shoulder and sounding more like a concerned father than a sheriff) Son? (Max flinches, acknowledging the Sheriff, and then continues to stare at nothing.) I need to know if you saw anything…the car…the driver.

Max (lost in his own thoughts): Her face…I…I saw…her…her face…

Sheriff (looking down at Max with a mixture of sympathy and shame): I’m sorry…

(He lets his hand linger on Max’s shoulder for just a second, and then turns to leave the waiting room. With one last look in the direction of the Parker’s he exits. The Parker’s continue to struggle with remaining calm. Michael continues to comfort Maria while giving Max the occasional concerned look. And Max remains lost in his own thoughts. A few minutes after the Sheriff leaves the waiting room doors open again as Alex and Isabel enter together. Maria and Michael immediately stand up when they enter. Isabel scans the room looking for Max, and Alex freezes when he sees the Parker’s and Maria.)

Isabel (letting out a gasp of relief upon seeing Max in the corner): Max! (She heads toward him but Michael grabs her arm.)

Maria: ALEX! (She runs to him and hugs him.)

Alex (under his breath and returning Maria’s hug): Liz.

Isabel (irritated): Michael let go.

Michael (shaking his head and looking at Isabel): He’s somewhere else right now.

Isabel: What happened Michael?

Michael: I don’t know. They went outside to wait for us…I heard a shot…and when I turned she was on the ground.

Isabel (hushed): He didn’t…

Michael: He couldn’t…Valenti showed up as he was opening her shirt. I tell you Isabel…I never thought I’d say this but I was glad he was there.

Isabel (shocked and questioningly): Michael!?

Michael: It was wrong Isabel…something about it was…wrong.

Isabel: You think someone did this on purpose?

Michael: Nothing would surprise me. But I don’t think the Sheriff was part of it.

Isabel (looking over at Max again): Does Max…

Michael (nodding and finishing her thought): I think he knows. (Michael turns his head slightly to look at Alex and Maria hugging near the entrance.) This wasn’t an accident…(Isabel looks at Michael and then follows his gaze to Alex and Maria)

Maria (looking up at Alex): How did you know?

Alex: Isabel felt something…she thought it was Max.

Maria: It might as well’ve been. (She turns and both Alex and Maria look in Max’s direction.)

Alex: Is she…

Maria: The doctor hasn’t told us anything yet. Oh Alex…what if…

Alex (pulling Maria back into a hug): Shhhhh. It’s gonna be okay…she’s gonna be okay. (He looks up from Maria to meet the worried gaze of Isabel, but the moment is interrupted when the doctor enters the room. Everyone but Max reacts to his entrance.)

Jeff (standing with Nancy): Doctor Sanchez.

Doctor (looking between them): Jeff…Nancy.

Nancy (fighting back tears): How’s my baby?

Doctor (slowly and cautiously): Elizabeth is extremely lucky. The bullet didn’t hit any vital organs…but she lost a lot of blood…and…

Jeff (semi-interrupting him): Is she’s going to be okay?

Doctor (continuing in the same precautionary manner): Her body’s response to the shock has been to ‘shut down.’ (The Parker’s give him blank looks) Elizabeth has lapsed into a coma.

Nancy (gasping): A coma? How…

Doctor: It isn’t common but sometimes a shock to the system can induce a coma. We’re monitoring her right now and can only hope that this is a very short-term response.

Jeff (holding a very emotional Nancy close to him): Can we see her?

Doctor: Soon. We have some more x-rays to do and then we’ll move her to her room. (He rests his hand on Jeff’s arm)

Jeff: Thank you.

Doctor: I’ll be back soon…She’s a very lucky girl Jeff.

(Scene: A Hotel Room. Agent Cooper is sitting on the bed talking on the cell phone.)

Cooper: 9-0-3-6-1. Negative…Complications arouse. Sheriff Valenti…No, No witnesses. Yes…The area was contained. Eastern New Mexico Medical Center. 7-5-4-9-1 has the room wired…audio and visual…Yes…I know…It will be taken care of...Yes…Yes, I know…he’ll be monitored.

(Scene: Hospital Waiting Room, some time later. The Parker’s remain seated by the doorway comforting one another. Alex and Maria are sitting next to each other in the middle of the room. Alex tries to comfort himself by comforting Maria while Michael and Isabel sit across from them. Max continues to sit in the corner unaware of the constant worried gazes of Isabel and Michael.)

Maria (looking up at Alex): She’ll come out if right? I mean it’s not like she’ll be…um…(choking back tears) a…

Alex (reassuring himself along with Maria): She’ll wake up…you know Sleeping Beauty was always her favorite movie…She just didn’t have to be so dramatic about it.

Maria (smiling through tears up at him): That’s my job.

Alex (leaning his head against hers): And we love you for it.

Maria (closing her eyes and snuggling closer to Alex for comfort, softly through tears): Thank you Alex.

(Alex gazes over Maria’s head to Max, looking around the room he notices he’s not the only one watching Max. In fact Isabel looks even more concerned now than before they arrived at the hospital. He’s about to get her attention when the doors swing open and the doctor re-enters. Everyone stands up except Max at his entrance.)

Doctor (looking at the Parker’s): Jeff…Nancy…You can see her now.

Nancy (as she starts to follow the doctor out the door she turns to Alex and Maria): Maria, Alex…I know she’d…

Alex: We’re coming.

(Mrs. Parker gives him as warm a smile as she can muster. She looks over to Max with a sympathetic and tender look but before she can say anything Jeff leads her out of the room. Maria and Alex look at each other, taking deep breaths and then move toward the door. Just as they’re about to exit Maria looks over to Max and stops. She motions for Alex to go ahead and then she walks over to Max. Standing in front of him she places one hand on each of the armrests of Max’s chair and leans over to stare him directly in the face – only inches away from him.)

Maria (as calmly as she can but forcefully): This is how this works Max. You’re gonna get out of this chair, walk through those doors, and into her room. You’re gonna sit down next to her, hold her hand, and tell her that you’re there for her…and if you don’t…so help me god Max…

Max (choking on tears): I…I put her there…

Maria: No Max, a man with a gun put her there…but if you don’t get out of this chair and into her room…you’re gonna be the one who keeps her there. She doesn’t need anybody in that room, except you.

Max (meeting Maria’s fierce gaze and quickly looking away he pushes her out of the way as he gets up from the chair and dejectedly): I can’t…

(He quickly strides across the room and out the doors. Maria stares at his empty chair for a moment as another wave of tears hits her. She turns around looking straight at Isabel. Shaking her head she goes to leave the room. Michael reaches out to her as she passes him but she waves him off and exits. Isabel looks at Michael quickly and then follows after Max. Michael sinks in the chair behind him, crushed by the weight of two worlds on his shoulders and the sound of his heavy breathing echoes in the empty waiting room.)

(Scene: Back to Liz and River Dog sitting across a fire.)

Liz (confused): I…I don’t understand…

River Dog: We leave one world when our purpose is served…moving to the next where we are needed…

Liz (again confused): But why me? Why are you here?

River Dog (looking at her intently): This is your nadzeel. And the question is why are you here? It is not your time…your purpose has yet to be…

Liz (looking at the fire deep in thought): I…I don’t know.

River Dig (smiling at her): You must know…a bullet will put you in the hospital…but only you can bring yourself here.

Liz (meeting his gaze confused): I don’t even know where here is.

River Dog: The dream between living and dying…where choices – decisions must be made.

Liz: Choices?

River Dog (looking at the fire): We are the same…you know. (Liz continues to look at him puzzled) I was younger than you…true…when this burden was given me. (Liz looks away as he looks up at her, instinctively knowing what he’s talking about) I assume that is why you wanted me here.

Liz (startled): I…wanted you here?

River Dog: This is your dream…

Liz (in disbelief): And I wanted…you…here?

River Dog: You see what you want to see here.

Liz (totally confused and looking around to the darkness surrounding them): I can’t see anything here.

River Dog: It is there, but you don’t want to see it.

Liz: But you just said I see what I want.

River Dog: Here (out-stretching his arms to indicate the circle created by the rocks they are sitting on) But out there (indicating outside the circle of rocks to the darkness surrounding them) is what you’re running from…is the reason you are here…the choices.

Liz (looking confused at River Dog): I don’t understand…there’s nothing out there.

River Dog (looking down at the fire…and somehow it grows brighter): Look again. (Liz slowly looks away from River Dog to her surroundings and she gasps when she sees the silvery symbols from the desert cave all around her, looking up she sees the ‘v’ shaped constellation directly overhead. Lowering her eyes she meets River Dog’s intent gaze.) Choices.

(Scene: Liz’s Hospital Room. Liz’s parents are sitting on either side of her holding her hands and just lovingly whispering to her through tears and smiles of remembrances. Alex and Maria are standing outside the room looking in, holding each other. Maria turns to see her mother coming down the hallway. When she reaches them Maria breaks down in her mother’s arms. Amy DeLuca looks through the window to Jeff and Nancy. Maria pulls away and her mom goes into the room immediately hugging Nancy. After a few moments Amy comes out of the room and looking at her daughter, puts her arm around her, holding her tightly and kissing the top of her head. Maria breaks away to give Alex a hug, say goodnight and then quickly returns to her mom’s embrace and they walk down the hallway to the elevator. Michael hiding in an unnoticeable corner watches them leave.)

(Scene: Max’s Bedroom…looking down on Max lying on his bed staring up at the ceiling blankly. Outside his door Diane Evans is about to knock when Isabel comes up behind her and gently touches her shoulder.)

Isabel (softly): Let me.

(Diane looks from the door to Isabel and nods. Isabel reaches for the doorknob and gently opens the door. She walks over to the bed and sits down next to Max. Diane watches them from the doorway for a moment and then shuts the door.)

Isabel (in a soft comforting tone): Talk to me Max…tell me what happened.

Max (not moving and sounding like a lost little boy): They shot her Izzy…they shot her.

Isabel: Who Max? Who shot her?

Max: I don’t know.

Isabel (affectionately): Max…

Max: What have I done to her?

Isabel: Max, you haven’t done anything to her.

Max (turning his head to look at Isabel): They shot her because of me, Isabel…because of me she could have died.

Isabel: You can’t blame yourself Max.

Max: Why not?

Isabel: She needs you now…

Max (getting angry with himself): She needed me to stay away from her…I needed to be stronger…(under his breath) why didn’t I listen to you.

Isabel (shaking her head and letting out a sigh): To me Max…

Max: I should have stayed away…you and Michael…you were right…

Isabel (interrupting him): Michael and I were scared…(looking away from Max) and jealous. (Max surprised turns to look at Isabel and she looks down at the floor) Do you know how lucky you are Max? Don’t try and deny it…you’ve been in love with Liz from the moment you saw her. Michael laughed at you and I…I felt sorry for you…but…(sounding amazed at the fact) but she loved you back. (Shaking her head and enviously) After everything…she loved you back.

Max (angry with himself): And look where it got her…what good it was.

Isabel (quickly looking over him): She chose it Max, she chose you…she knew what she was getting into…

Max: And I should have stopped her. I was selfish…I wanted her…(closing his eyes to fight back tears) god, I wanted her…I should’ve known better…I should’ve been thinking about her and not…(angrily) me…

Isabel (looking down at him): That’s what you should be doing now…thinking about her and not you.

Max (sitting up defiantly and angrily): And you think I’m not!

Isabel (calmly): Maria was right Max, the only person she needs right now is you.

Max (looking at Isabel with a frightening intensity): You don’t think I want go to her. (Looking away from her and shaking his head angrily) But I can’t…I can’t…being with me will kill her…(He looks back at Isabel) I can’t…it’s better this way…for her…she’ll be alive…with me she’ll (he looks away unable to finish the thought)…it’s better this way…for her…

Isabel (taking a deep breath and gently): Only she can tell you what’s better for her Max. And she won’t be able to do that if you don’t go to her and help her through this.

Max (shaking his head as tears fill his eyes and turning to Isabel): I can’t…I can’t see her in that room…knowing I’m the reason she’s there. (He finally breaks down, lowering his head and letting tears flow freely, and Isabel pulls her brother into a loving hug.)

Isabel (softly, lovingly): She’d do anything for you Max…she already has…and she needs you to do this for her…and you need to do it…you have to. (Max just continues to cry and Isabel continues to try and comfort him.)

(Scene: Maria’s Bedroom. Maria has finally fallen asleep curled up with her teddy bear. Her mother gently strokes back her hair looking lovingly down at her. She gets up from the bed, takes one last look at her sleeping daughter and then closes the door. Michael watches her sleep through the window and is about to leave when Maria stirs in bed, starting to softly cry. Michael touches the window while staring at Maria and it unlocks and lifts up slightly. His vision refocus from Maria to his hand on the window and what he subconsciously did. A soft cry from Maria brings him back to what he was doing and he pushes up the window and climbs through, quietly shutting it behind him. He walks to the bed and gently lies down next to Maria. Maria almost immediately reacts to Michael’s arm around her. Her crying stops and her breathing becomes steady…

(Scene switches to Max’s Bedroom. Max is restlessly sleeping on his bed. He jolts up looks down at the floor and tries to steady his breathing. He looks over to see Isabel sleeping on the far edge of his bed. He brings his hands to his face and lets out a deep sigh. Getting off the bed he grabs his coat and keys…Scene fast forwards…Max is slowly walking down a hospital hallway. He stops short of the window to a room. He looks around the empty hallway not sure if he can look through the window. He turns and leans his back against the wall, closes his eyes and takes a series of deep breaths. After a moment he turns to face the window. He looks in and sees Liz. He catches his breath at the sight of her – so small…so fragile…with tubes leading from her delicate arms to the machines surrounding her bed. He quickly closes his eyes and lowers his head. Breathing slowly and deeply, his tears gently fall to the floor. He raises his desperate eyes to look at her again. Gently pressing his hand to the window he stares at her, focusing on her peaceful face. ‘I did that’ softly escapes his lips.)
Music: Lyle Lovett – If I Needed You

(Scene: Hospital, early morning. Jeff Parker, carrying two cups of coffee, exits an elevator and turns to walk down a hallway. As he’s passing the waiting room he looks through the windows and stops. Stepping toward the doors he takes a closer look. He lets a small smile escape his lips and then turns the way he came and heads to the pay phone. After setting the coffees on top of the phone he starts flipping through the phone book. Finding the number he needs he dials and puts in his 35 cents.)

(Scene switches to the Evans home. Phillip is reading an article about the shooting in the paper sitting at the kitchen table drinking coffee. The phone rings, he puts down the paper shakes his head and then picks up the phone.)

Phillip: Hello.

(Back to the Hospital)

Jeff: Phillip it’s Jeff Parker.

(Back to the Evans House)

Phillip: Jeff…how is she?

Jeff: There’s still no change…Listen I wanted to let you know that Max is here.

Phillip: Max?

Jeff: He’s in the waiting room…I just passed by and saw him.

Phillip (thinking aloud): I don’t remember hearing him leave this morning.

Jeff: I think he’s been here for awhile…he’s sleeping.

Phillip: Sleeping?

Jeff: I’ll take care of him…just didn’t want you to worry.

Phillip: Thank you…Jeff, if there’s anything Diane and I can do for you and Nancy…please don’t hesitate to ask.

Jeff: Thank you Phillip…right now we just need a lot of prayers.

(Jeff hangs up the phone and then heads back to the waiting room. As he sits down next to Max, Max begins to stir. He wakes up confused about where he is. Sitting up he sees Mr. Parker and quickly looks away and down at the ground.)

Max (quietly): How is she?

Jeff: Her condition hasn’t changed.

Max (willing himself to speak through the pain and guilt he feels): I’m sorry.

Jeff (looking over at Max): This isn’t your fault.

Max: I should’ve done something…if I…

Jeff (very fatherly): Lizzie wouldn’t want you to blame yourself. I know she doesn’t blame you.

Max (looking at Mr. Parker and then quickly returning his gaze to the floor – very softly under his breath): She should.

Jeff: I was hoping to convince Nancy to get some air…if you want to sit with Liz…

Max (standing up abruptly and looking anywhere but at Jeff): I should be getting home…I didn’t tell my parents…

Jeff: I talked to your father this morning and told him you were here.

Max (quickly trying to think of another way out): Oh…still they’re probably worried (he walks toward the door.)

Jeff (looking after Max puzzled by his obvious retreat): We’ll let you know if anything changes.

Max (stopping at the doors and looking back at Mr. Parker): Thank you. (He ducks his head down and exits.)

(Scene: Maria’s Bedroom, early morning. Michael – on top of the covers – is asleep with his arm around a sleeping – covered – Maria. The bedroom door opens gently as Amy quietly enters. She almost drops the coffee she’s holding when she sees Michael…about to rant and wake them up her eyes fall on the plethora of Kleenex on the floor and remembers the events of the previous evening. Looking back at the bed she notices that Michael is fully dressed – even with shoes – and on top of the covers. She let’s out a sigh and backs out of the room shutting the door…a little louder than she needed to. Michael stirs as a result of the door being shut and takes in his surroundings. He gently gets off the bed, grabs his coat and heads for the window. With one last, hesitant look to Maria he exits through the window. Michael walks home deep in thought. He turns the corner to his apartment building and looking up sees Max sitting on the curb. Michael pauses, letting out a sigh, and then heads towards Max. Back in the DeLuca kitchen Amy is drinking her coffee and trying to figure out what to do. After a few moments her thoughts are interrupted by a sleepy Maria entering the kitchen.)

Amy: Honey before you say anything I want you to know that it’s okay.

Maria (confused): What?

Amy: I know how upset you were last night…and it helped that he still had his shoes on.

Maria (very confused): Mom what are you talking about?

Amy: Michael, honey, it’s okay that he stayed with you last night…I just…I just don’t want it happening again.

Maria: Michael?

Amy: Again, it helped that he was still fully clothed and on top of the covers…

Maria (talking to herself and a little lost): Michael?

(Scene: Del Norte Twin Theater. The Sheriff is talking with the Manager in the empty lobby of the theater.)

Sheriff: …credit cards or checks?

Manager: Sorry Sheriff…we’re a cash only business. Look how long will this be a crime scene?

Sheriff (letting out a frustrated sigh): As long as we need it to be…I need a list of all your employees.

Manager: I thought my night manager took care of this already.

Sheriff (irritated): Do I need to ask you again?

Manager (sheepishly): Let me get that for you. (The Manager leaves and the Sheriff turns and walks over to the window staring at the bloodstain on the cement. As the Manager returns the Sheriff gets a call on his radio.)

Deputy Blackwood: Sheriff.

Sheriff (talking into his radio): Go ahead.

Deputy: We’ve got a homicide on County Rd. 82.

Sheriff: I’m on my way. (The Sheriff turns to the Manager grabs the sheet from his hand and then exits the theater.)

(Scene: Michael’s Apartment. Michael, shutting his bedroom door he heads for the couch. Sitting down he puts his head in his hands and lets out a sigh. There’s a knock at his door. He reluctantly gets up and opens the door.)

Michael (startled): Maria!

Maria: Hey.

Michael (curtly): What are you doing here?

Maria: I wanted to thank you. (She steps toward him and he backs up. She looks at him a little confused) My mom told me that you stayed with me last night.

Michael (nonchalantly and turning away from her): Oh.

Maria (starting to sense that something’s up): Why did you go…without waking me?

Michael (coldly): Didn’t want to.

Maria (pausing to survey the scene): What’s going on?

Michael (defensively and walking away from her): What are you talkin’ about?

Maria: Would you look at me please? (He doesn’t. She squints at the back of his head and starts to get a little angry): What the hell is this?

Michael: What the hell is what?

Maria (after a pause): What was last night…a goodbye?

Michael (looking at her and then quickly away): You can call it whatever you want.

Maria (now officially angry): Oh no…don’t even think you’re getting out of explaining yourself. Liz gets shot and we’re back to the asshole alien…bullshit!

Michael (getting frustrated): Damn it! That could be you in that hospital room.

Maria: It could be any of us Michael – it’s a violent world – you could get hit by a bus or if the gods had been listening to my prayers struck by lightening.

Michael: This wasn’t an accident.

Maria: What?

Michael: Liz getting wasn’t an accident.

Maria (confused): What?

Michael: We think somebody shot her on purpose…to force Max to save her.

Maria (sitting down): Oh my god. (She stares in front of her at nothing for a few moments and then looking out of the corner of her eye at Michael she has a small revelation) That’s what this is about.

Michael: What?

Maria (motioning between the two of them): This…the alien-retreat-when-intense response.

Michael: Did you hear what I said?

Maria: Oh yea…and everything you didn’t say.

Michael (desperately): That could be you in that hospital…

Maria (standing up forcefully): I don’t care if I’m in that hospital if I know you’ll be there when I wake up. (She startles herself, and Michael, with her words and is a little frightened by the fact that she truly means them. Looking away from Michael and talking more to herself than him) That’s why she’s in a coma. She knew…

Michael: What?

Maria (looking at him): She knew he’d run…she knew it. He didn’t put her in the hospital but he put her in that coma…it’s a test and he’s failing like the bastard he is.

Michael: This isn’t a fuckin’ test it’s life and death.

Maria: That’s right…we risk our lives for you and your gratitude is what? Run away…thanks for nothin’!

Michael: We’ve put your lives in danger for the last time…we can’t do it anymore…(yelling) Not anymore!

Maria: It’s too late for that Michael. Five months ago maybe…but not now…not after everything that’s happened between us.

Michael (excessively cold and ugly): There’s nothing between us.

Maria (…hell hath no fury…): You tell yourself that lie Michael and you raise whatever noncommittal-chicken-shit alien defense mechanisms you have to…because I will see you in HELL before I let you and Max run away from this. Do you even think about including us in on these life-changing decisions or is that one of your alien tricks – knowing what’s best for everyone else. I’m standing right here – you’re the one who’s running. Do you see Liz running…

Michael (interrupting her): You’re the one who said she’s in a self-induced coma. (He regrets it as soon as it comes out of his mouth and can tell by the look on Maria’s face that if he was standing anywhere near her she would have slapped him.)

Maria (staring at him for seconds that seem like hours…Music starts: Sheryl Crow – Strong Enough): She’s a stronger person than you will ever be. (She turns and walks out of the apartment – slamming the door. Michael looks after her in considerable pain. He turns to walk to the bathroom but stops when he sees Max standing in his bedroom doorway.)

(Scene: Somewhere along County Rd. 82. The Sheriff is driving along in his truck. He sees the Deputy’s car with the lights flashing and pulls off the road and gets out. He puts his hat on and steps away from the truck. As he is putting on a pair of gloves Deputy Blackwood approaches him.)

Sheriff: What’ve we got?

Deputy (hesitates a little and hands a wallet to the Sheriff): Federal Agent sir.

Sheriff (furrowing his brow and grabbing the wallet. He looks at it and then up and over to the black sedan): Cause of death?

Deputy (as they begin to walk over to the car): Appears to be a broken neck...(hesitantly) but there are signs of…torture.

Sheriff (surprised): Torture?

Deputy: He was cuts and puncture wounds on the upper body.

Sheriff (reaching the car and looking at Agent Cooper in the front seat with some nasty cuts on his chest, under his breath): Shit.

Deputy: There’s more.

Sheriff: More?

Deputy: We found a gun with him…same caliber as the shooting last night…one bullet missing and it appears to be recently fired.

Sheriff: I want ballistics on that immediately.

Deputy: I sent it in with Harry.

Sheriff (looking over the rest of the car): What’s in the trunk?

Deputy: Haven’t looked yet.

Sheriff (walking to the back of the car): Pop her open. (The Deputy reaches down in the front seat and pops the trunk. As it raises the Sheriff flinches slightly and then reaches down. Inside the trunk is another man with what looks like a broken neck. Lying on his chest is a videotape and a wallet. The Sheriff picks up the wallet, flips it open and then looks back down at the body, grabbing the videotape with the other hand. Deputy Blackwood walks around the car and sees the FBI identification badge in the open wallet. The Sheriff looks up at him – dead pan face.) Not a word of this to anyone until the ballistics report comes back. You understand. (Deputy Blackwood just nods and the Sheriff looks down at the videotape in his hand.)

Edited by - not applicable on 09/24/2001 16:32:58
posted on 15-Sep-2001 1:37:39 PM
Title: “?” (Choices trilogy, Part 2)
Author: N/A
Email: ajrocchio⊕
Rating: PG-13 for language
Category: Other Stories
Disclaimers: The characters of Roswell belong to the WB, among others, but apparently I need to keep borrowing them.
Summary: “The difficulty in life is the choice.” – George Moore
Author’s note/soapbox: All books referenced in this fic are used only out of love and admiration for the authors (Lucy Maud Montgomery, Shel Silverstein, and William Goldman) and their stories.

(Scene: Hospital Hallway. Maria exits the elevator carrying a small paper bag and Liz’s backpack over her shoulder. She heads down the hallway and enters a room. Jeff and Nancy Parker look up from their daughter as Maria enters. Maria walks over to Nancy and they share a hug. After a few moments Jeff puts his arm around Nancy and they exit the room. Maria settles down into a chair next to Liz’s bed. She looks at Liz and lets out a deep sigh. After looking around the room to make sure that her parent’s are gone, Maria starts…)
Music: Indigo Girls – The Girl With The Weight Of The World In Her Hands

Maria: Okay, babe, we need to do some major talking…I mean Alex is great and all but…first he’s a guy, and second, well…he’s a guy. And you and me…we have some serious ass kicking to do…So I really, really need you to wake up and help me out here – I can’t do this by myself Lizzie…(letting out a sigh) I need you. I mean you’re the one who got me into this in the first place…okay, okay, technically I got myself into this but still…you can’t just leave me here…(she leans forward and with an added tinge of desperation) I don’t know what to do. (Slowly letting her gaze fall, then quickly looking up) If you wake up now I promise to forgive you for doing this to me…after I give you a piece of my mind for doing this to me. I mean, (standing up and holding her hands – palms up, fingers splayed – to Liz) have you forgotten who you are…you’re Liz Parker – calm, collected, scientifically minded, always practical and very rational. I’m the wacky sidekick who suffers from serious bouts of questionable sanity and is prone to overly dramatic moments (abruptly ending her trek around the perimeter of the hospital bed and focusing on Liz again). Don’t you think this coma is a little much for you? And if you’re the one doing the dramatics that means I have to be rational – we’re talking about me – I don’t do rational and I really don’t do calm in situations like this…so I really need you to snap out of this…(tears brimming)…so I can be me. (She stares at Liz for a few moments and then brushes the tears away with her hand.) We’ve been friends for so long that I don’t know who I would be without you – and I don’t ever want to know. Please, I need to talk to you…I need to hear you tell me that this is going to be okay…god, I need you to wake up. I’m begging you…(catching sight of the paper bag on the table next to the bed she walks back to the chair and sitting down reaches for it) you know I’m not above blackmail…(taking a half-pint of ice cream out of the bag) or bribery. It’s your favorite…you’re not gonna make me eat all this myself, are you? (She looks away from Liz to the window, lets out a sigh, and then opens up the vanilla ice cream and takes a couple of bites) Do you remember the first time we had sundaes? (Smiling at remembering) I’ll never forget it. It was the first day of second grade and Paulie was terrorizing…who was it…Cynthia Ramsey…trying to lift up her skirt or something…like I’m gonna let him get away with that…and when I came out of the principal’s office you, you were waiting for me. And you took my hand and told your dad that I was the defender of all the girls in school and that I deserved to be rewarded instead of punished. So he took us to the Crashdown for sundaes. (Fighting back tears) You were a gift you know that…’cause…um…then my dad left and I…I don’t know what I would have done without you…just like I don’t know what to do now…I need you…I really need you Lizzie. (She pauses taking several deep breaths while fighting back tears) I brought you something…(reaching into Liz’s backpack she pulls out a bunch of books of varying sizes)…they’re your favorites…and of course you know which one we’re gonna read first.

(Maria sets the books down on the table next to the bed and then takes the top one…getting comfortable in the chair she looks over at Liz and then begins reading.)

(Scene: Sheriff’s Station, random room. Sheriff Valenti puts a videotape into the VCR attached to a large screen television. Sitting down he pushes play on the remote. It’s fuzzy for a few seconds and then what comes on the screen is the Del Norte Twin Theater lobby and entrance. The Sheriff furrows his brow and leans forward in his chair. After a few moments of nothing, a small group of people walk into the lobby followed by Maria, Michael, Liz, and Max. Liz and Max exit the theater…the Sheriff puts the tape into slow motion and scoots closer to the t.v. In slow motion the back end of a car drives into the left-hand corner of the t.v., a shot is fired and then Liz falls to the ground. The camera refocuses for a close up of Max opening Liz’s shirt. The Sheriff hits the rewind button and watches the scene right before the shot again. He rewinds the tape again, pushing pause he gets up and leaves the room quickly. He promptly returns with a folder. Sitting down he takes out some pictures from the folder and quickly flips through them. Holding up a picture of the back end of Agent Cooper’s black sedan, he looks from the picture to the television and then back at the picture. Pushing play he watches as the license plate of the car comes into view in the left-hand corner of the t.v. screen. He pushes pause again and looks down at the picture he’s holding.)

Valenti: I’ll be damned.

(The door opens and Deputy Blackwood enters)

Deputy: Ballistics report is here.

Valenti (not looking away from the television): And I bet I know what it says.

(Scene: UFO Center. Max looking like shit is putting on his name badge and is about to walk up the stairs to the main office when Milton stops him, coming down the stairs.)

Milton (surprised): Evans! What are you doing here?

Max (sounding very tired): Work…I still work here right?

Milton: Not today you don’t.

Max (confused): Is it Sunday?

Milton: Max, I read about the shooting in the paper. Didn’t you get my message? I don’t expect you to work at all this week.

Max (letting out a sigh): I was just looking for something to…do.

Milton (looks at him intently): Evans…your focus and determination is constantly reminding me of myself when I was your age. But Max, you don’t want to be me when you’re my age. It’s a lonely world out there. Now get out of here and over to the hospital…I don’t want to see you for at least a week.

Max (realizing there is no way Milton will relent): Thanks Milton.

Milton: Just take good care of her.

(Max turns to leave. Milton furrows his brow and watches very intently as Max makes his way out of the Center. Milton turns around and heads back up the stairs to the office. Quickly entering he heads to the computer and begins shutting it down. He grabs his coat, and a few things from the printer. As he’s about to leave he makes a sweeping glance back over the room. His eyes stop and focus on the sleeping form of another Milton in the corner of the room. Nasedo Milton leaves and walks down the stairs. He rounds an isolated corner of the museum looking like a totally different person and heads for a back exit.)

(Scene: Alex’s Bedroom. Alex is at his computer researching ‘comas’ on the internet. Behind him on his bed are stacks of papers – printed out from his computer…a real mess. There’s a knock on his door.)
Music (on Alex’s stereo): Foo Fighters – Big Me

Alex (not looking up from the computer): Mom, I really can’t handle another cry-fest right now…yesterday wiped me out. (He looks up to see Isabel standing in the doorway – under his breath) Rewind and erase. (She comes into the room and shuts the door) I don’t suppose there’s any chance you didn’t hear that?

Isabel: Alex my brother’s a walking box of Kleenex, you can’t possibly cry more than he has.

Alex: Right.

Isabel (looking a little uncomfortable): I need to ask you something.

Alex (looking at her a little surprised): Shoot…(cringing at what he just said)…never mind.

Isabel (looking over at the bed): Can I sit down?

Alex (starting out of the chair he’s sitting in): Yea, sorry…(he picks up piles of papers off the bed. Isabel helps him by grabbing a few and pauses to look at them. They are printouts of adoption agencies and lawyers that handle adoptions in the Albuquerque area. She furrows her brow a little but Alex grabs the sheets from her hands) Thanks…here…have a seat.

Isabel (coming back to where she is and what she’s here for): Oh, thanks. (She sits down and Alex is sitting in the computer chair in front of her looking at her intently) Um…you said something to me a while ago…when you first took me to ‘the spot.’ (Alex nods like he’s trying to remember) It’s sort of been bugging me and I wanted you to explain it.

Alex (hesitantly, still not knowing what this is about): Okay.

Isabel (hesitantly herself): We were talking about Liz and Max and I said…I said that at least Max chose well…and you said it wasn’t a choice. What did you mean by that?

Alex (letting out a sigh of relief): I’m a firm fate believer Isabel. There are things that happen for reasons that we just can’t explain or understand. We choose a lot of things in life…but I think the really big things…they choose us. And I think that’s what happened to Max and Liz…and really all of us.

Isabel: So you think it was fate.

Alex: What are the odds of Max being in the Crashdown that day?

Isabel: Considering his attraction to the staff…pretty good.

Alex: But even that…of all the people for Max to be drawn to…he chooses Liz – I don’t think so. I mean, can you imagine Pam Troy’s reaction to your secret?

Isabel (smiling at the thought): No but I can imagine what my reaction to him saving her would’ve been.

Alex (smiles): I’m just saying that there’s a reason that the three of you found the three of us.

Isabel: Alex, you know we can’t be anything…

Alex: I’m not talking about coupling convenience…(smiling) though you have to admit it is oddly (Isabel gives him a ‘look’ – abruptly cutting him off)…well it is…but…I’m talking about everything we’ve been able to help you find out about yourselves.

Isabel: But what’s in it for you?

Alex: I can’t speak for Liz and Maria – not that I think I couldn’t…it’s pretty clear what they get…well it was…

Isabel: And you?

Alex: Me? I get about 4 felony convictions…and…uh…I get to know you.

Isabel: Alex…

Alex: Look Isabel…I’m not kidding myself…I’m me and you’re you and never the twain shall meet. But I do get to know you and see you in a way that no one else does. And that’s what I get out of this…doing what I can to help you…to help my friends.

Isabel (looking away from him): Alex, there’s something I need to tell you…about the shooting.

Alex (matter-of-factly): It wasn’t an accident.

Isabel (looks over at him surprised): How’d you know?

Alex: I had my suspicions at the hospital…the way Max reacted made me think he knew something I didn’t…and then yesterday Maria told me that’s what Michael thought. (Shaking his head) It makes sense when you think about it…I guess…

Isabel: Look Alex, now’s the time to get out.

Alex: What?

Isabel: I don’t know how much more dangerous this is going to get and I can’t guarantee your safety…If you want out, I won’t be mad…I can’t really blame you…

Alex (interrupting her): Isabel…Isabel…if I wanted out I’d be gone by now. I sort of forced my way into this secret…threatening Liz in jail may have gotten me in…but I decided to stay. And besides…by my calculations I’m already due to serve 25 years in a state prison…what’s a few more.

Isabel: This is serious Alex.

Alex: You don’t think I know that every time I look at Liz in that hospital bed.

Isabel (looking away from him): I’m sorry.

Alex: It’s too late to turn back now…I just hope Max realizes that…or she’s never gonna wake up. (Alex looks over at the clock) Which reminds me…duty calls.

Isabel: Duty?

Alex: Maria and I are reading some of Liz’s favorite books to her…she’s gotta work at the Crashdown tonight so I’m taking over for her in…about five minutes ago. (He gets up and starts getting some things together.)

Isabel (standing up and thoughtfully): Maria has to work?

Alex: Yea, the Parker’s can’t afford to close the Crashdown so she’s helping them out with some extra shifts…You aren’t going by the hospital are you?

Isabel (distracted): Um no…I mean, yea if you need a lift.

Alex: Beats bikin’ it. (They make their way to the door)

Isabel (before they exit the room): Alex.

Alex (turning to look back at her): Yea?

Isabel: Thank you.

Alex (he pauses): No need…come on…I fear the wrath of DeLuca. (Isabel smiles at him and leaves the room.)

(Scene: The dream between living and dying. Liz and River Dog are sitting around a fire and surrounded by hundreds of silvery ‘alien’ symbols shinning in the darkness. Liz is just taking them all in while River Dog watches her intently.)

Liz (not looking at River Dog, softly): He hasn’t come yet…

River Dog: Did you think he would?

Liz (sounding a little hurt): No…I guess I didn’t.

River Dog: Was he deserving?

Liz (looking at him confused): Deserving?

River Dog: Your trust…it shouldn’t be given lightly…I warned you.

Liz (looking away): Are you speaking from experience?

River Dog (smiling at her): Ah…this is not about me…I’ve made my choices you must make yours.

Liz (shaking her head and getting frustrated): What choices…to live or die…to let go or hold on…what am I here for?

River Dog (looking around at the symbols): Do you want this…(motioning with his hand to the symbols)…this burden, this obligation…this…secret?

Liz (frustrated): I don’t have a choice. (Her face falls as soon as she says it. She quickly looks over at River Dog who raises his eyebrow and slightly nods his head. She sort of chokes on her breath and looks away, not really knowing what to say.)

River Dog: Here…everything is a choice. What you take with you when you wake from this place…is up to you.

Liz (looking at the symbols, hesitantly and shaky): I…I could forget…him?

River Dog: You can leave here with what you want.

Liz: I don’t…understand.

River Dog: You brought yourself here because within you there are doubts. Only you know what those doubts are and only you can decide if you want to leave them here. (Looking at her intently) Are you waiting for him to come…to make the choice for you? (Liz shifts nervously and avoids his eyes) He cannot help you. He won’t come until you choose…and even then, he still may not come.

Liz (surprised): What?

River Dog (after staring at her, almost staring through her, for a while): You’re afraid of what these mean…(indicating the symbols)…of where they may lead…(after another long pause) And you’re afraid that he’s left you…and so you wonder if you shouldn’t leave him…here. (She meets his gaze and they just stare at each other.)

(Scene: Liz’s Hospital Room. Maria has finished the ice cream and is sitting comfortably in the chair reading aloud to Liz. Alex quietly opens the door and enters the room.)

Alex: How’s Sleeping Beauty?

Maria (looking up from the book and then over to Liz): Sleeping beautifully…(adding under her breath)…and still waiting for Prince Charming to get his sorry ass here and wake her up.

Alex (let’s out a soft laugh but it’s short-lived as he reflects on the truth of Maria’s comment. Maria shifts in her chair and Alex notices the book she’s holding): Whatcha reading?

Maria: Anne of Green Gables.

Alex: I’m not reading that.

Maria: This isn’t about you Alex, this is about Liz…and besides we know you like it.

Alex: Do you know what kind of damage that could do if somebody saw me reading that…and I do not like it.

Maria: Yea, how many times have we watched the miniseries together?

Alex: That’s just because you make me…okay…and because Anne’s a babe.

Maria (getting out of the chair and handing the book to him): Please…you’re not fooling anybody…sit.

Alex (taking the book and then sitting in the chair): Well what part are you at?

Maria (smiling at him): Lady of the Lake.

Alex (looking at the book and then over at Liz): She’s gonna get it when she wakes up.

Maria (standing at he door): From me and you both…

Alex (looking at Maria): You doin’ okay?

Maria (letting out a sigh): I’m trying…I just really need her to wake up.

Alex: I know…she will.

(Scene: Crashdown, a little later that night. Maria walks into the back room and puts on her uniform. When she turns around Isabel is standing there, wearing a long black coat and looking a little fidgety.)

Maria: Isabel? What are you doing here…isn’t there some sort of ‘no contact’ rule being enforced?

Isabel: Look, I’m not my brother…and frankly I don’t know what to think about his behavior lately. I just thought that…(looking away from Maria)…you might need some help here. (She looks back over at Maria’s surprised face) And besides, I still have these (she pulls out a pair of antennae from behind her back).

Maria (slightly surprised): You’re here to help?

Isabel: It’s a limited offer…good for possibly the next five seconds.

Maria: I’ll take it – let me get you a uniform.

Isabel (taking off her long coat): Yea, I still had that too.

Maria (pausing and touched): Thank you.

Isabel: You better save that – there’s a few guys out there who deserve to be wearing their food.

Maria: Well then, let’s go give it to them. (She grabs Isabel’s arm and they walk through the doors to the front.)

-------Fast forward about an hour or so. Music: Sara Hickman – Bowl Full of Stars ---------

Guy at table (to Isabel): I ordered onion rings not fries.

Isabel (looking down at the plate): Do you have a problem with fries?

Guy (taken aback by Isabel): No…I…uh…just didn’t want them tonight.

Isabel: Did you see the sign in the window…‘voted best burger and fries in Roswell’.

Guy: I just really wanted onion rings.

Isabel (letting out a frustrated sigh): Fine. (She grabs the plate away a little forcefully and walks to the order window…Maria watching the exchange walks past the guy’s table)

Maria (to the guy): She’s new…(She walks over to Isabel) Are you like trying for the smallest tips award or something?

Isabel: No…people are just so damn picky…fries, onion rings…the body doesn’t distinguish which fatty fried foods clog its arteries.

Maria (looking at her with a raised eyebrow): If I remember correctly…you eat here too.

Isabel (grabbing the plate from the counter): Yes, but I look like this…and he looks like that. (Giving Maria a classic ‘look’ and then walking over to the table. Maria shakes her head at Isabel and then notices Kyle walking toward her.)

Maria: Hey Kyle.

Kyle (clearly upset): How is she?

Maria (softening her tone and face): I don’t really know Kyle. The bullet didn’t do much damage but she’s still in a coma.

Kyle: Oh.

Maria: You can see her you know…I’m sure she’d like someone other than me and Alex harassing her to wake up.

Kyle (looking a little surprised): What about Max?

Maria: It’s a seriously twisted version of a ‘hit and run’…(Kyle just looks at her blankly)…you know, she gets hit and…uh…he runs.

Isabel (over hearing Maria’s comment, under her breath): Ouch.

Maria: If you want to visit her you should…I’m sure she’d like that.

Kyle (still puzzled over Max not visiting Liz): Uh, thanks Maria. (He turns and walks out of the café.)

(Scene: High-tech Video Electronics Store. The Sheriff walks in and heads for the counter. Seeing the Sheriff enter the man behind the counter goes into the back room and returns holding a couple of videotapes.)

Video Man: Here you go Sheriff.

Sheriff: You did as I asked?

Video Man: Copied without viewing – just as you asked.

Sheriff (eyeing the Video Man carefully): Which one’s the original?

Video Man (shaking his right hand): This one…it has it written on the label.

Sheriff: No way to tell the difference?

Video Man: Nope…should be identical copies. If you notice any discrepancies bring it back.

Sheriff (taking the tapes): Will do.

(Scene: Liz’s Hospital Room. Alex, sitting in the chair next to Liz’s bed, is reading Anne of Green Gables aloud – not quite fighting it. He’s caught up in the story and doesn’t hear the door open as Kyle sticks his head into the room.)

Kyle: Whitman.

Alex (stops reading and whips his head to the door): Kyle. (He looks down at the book and then quickly throws it behind his back into the chair) What are you doing here?

Kyle (looking at Liz): How is she?

Alex (looks from Liz to Kyle): The doctor says that her wound is healing but they don’t understand why she’s still in the coma.

Kyle: Is she gonna be okay?

Alex (looking sympathetically at Kyle): I think so…she just needs to wake up.

Kyle (looking from Liz to Alex): Where’s Evans? (Alex shoots a concerned look at Liz and then gets out of the chair and walks to Kyle – who’s now just inside the door) Maria said he hasn’t been to visit her.

Alex (in a slightly hushed voice): I think it’s an overactive guilty conscience.

Kyle (in disbelief): So he really hasn’t visited?

Alex (letting out a sigh): Yea.

Kyle (staring at Liz and under his breath): Son of a bitch.

Alex (watching Kyle’s intent gaze on Liz): Hey look…I’m starting to get hungry here do you want to sit with her while I get some food?

Kyle: Where are her parents?

Alex: Church.

Kyle (looks at Alex and then back at Liz, a little reluctantly): Sure…I guess.

Alex (grabbing money from his coat that’s hanging up): You can read to her if you want.

Kyle: What?

Alex (nodding to the pile of books on the table next to the bed): Her favorites…(he smiles at Kyle as he leaves the room) should be something there you’ve read.

(Kyle watches Alex leave and then returns his gaze to Liz. He hesitantly walks over to the chair and sits down. Feeling something he reaches behind his back and pulls out the copy of Anne of Green Gables. He looks at the book and then back at the door and shakes his head.)

Kyle: Whitman, we really need to get you some guy friends. (He looks back at Liz holding the book in his hand) I was never very good at this stuff was I? Not that I didn’t sit through enough of these movies with you…but I…I just wasn’t able to (he looks away from her)…share them with you. (He sets the book down on the table and starts perusing the stack of books) The Giving Tree, that’s a good one…my mom used to read that to me. (He finds one and pulls it out holding it in his hand) The Princess Bride…we saw that movie together…do you remember (he looks up at Liz)…I gave you this book…(shaking his head) I don’t even know why I did…I’d never done anything like that before. But that’s how you were…you know…making me do things or say things that I’d never done before. Maybe if I’d…(he pauses) who am I kidding…you never looked at me the way you do Evans…you want me to kick his ass for not being here…I’d do it. (He flips through the pages of the book looking for one in particular, he finds it and the page is rabbit eared.) Here you liked this part…

(Scene: Michael’s Apartment, later that evening. Max is sitting on the couch still wearing his work uniform, looking miserable. Michael sitting in a chair doesn’t look much better. Isabel, still wearing the Crashdown uniform, comes through the front door.)

Michael (sarcastically): That’s a nice look for you. (Max looks up surprised at Isabel’s outfit.)

Isabel (looking classically ‘Isabel’): I’ve just spent four hours cleaning up other peoples disgusting messes…do you really think I’m in the mood for your shit? (Michael and Max both tense up realizing that they’re in for something.) And besides one of us needed to show a little compassion…you two haven’t been the best ambassadors for our people lately.

Michael (standing up really not in the mood for this): Isabel…

Isabel (cutting him off abruptly and very pissy): Shut up Michael…and sit down. (He complies reluctantly.)

Max: Isabel…

Isabel (whipping around to look at Max): Save it! Who made you the leader of us? And who made you the leader of them too? We need to decide what we’re doing…and we need to decide it together. I’m sorry Max that I’ve made you feel like you always have to be in charge – that you’re responsible for taking care of me. It stops now. (Looking over at Michael) And that goes for you too. Running around doing stupid careless things makes him think he’s gotta run after you and fix them. We’ve created that (pointing at Max) and it stops right here…right now.

Max (not sure what to think): I…

Isabel (cutting him off before he can think): Do I look like I’m done?

Michael (defensive): And who made you leader?

Isabel (raising her eyebrow at Michael): Process of elimination Michael…you two have seriously diminished mental capacity.

Max (finding his tongue again): We have to think about them.

Isabel: HELLO, what the hell do you think I’m doing! You two are the ones who aren’t thinking…

Michael/Max (at the same time): What!

Isabel (looking at Max intently): The girl you’ve been in love with for…ever…has been shot, is sitting in the hospital in a COMA and you haven’t been to visit her! (Clenching her fists and looking like she wants to scream) Do have any idea how…(searching for a word) unbelievably…repulsive your behavior is…

Max (painfully): Isabel…

Isabel: No Max…do you hear me…she’s in a coma with a gunshot wound to her stomach…

Max (on the edge): Because of me!

Isabel (shaking her head in frustration): She’s alive in the first place because of you…do you remember how this whole thing got started? Do you wish you’d have run away from her then?

Max (looks at Isabel furious at the question): Don’t even…

Isabel: Don’t even what Max? Can you replay that moment in your mind and instead of running up to Liz…instead can you turn and run away from her? If you couldn’t do it then why the hell are you doing it now?

(Max collapses his head into his hands and Michael saves him)

Michael: Because now they’re shooting at her on purpose…because of us.

Isabel: No Michael…because of them. (Both Michael and Max look up at her angrily) The last time I checked ‘mind control’ wasn’t one of our powers. Everything they’ve done…they’ve done of their own free will. If they wanted to run…they could have, a long time ago…instead you two are running. And Alex is right – it’s too late. (Michael and Max look away from her and she looks between them.) You know what I think…this is the easiest out for you. (Looking at Max) Liz is a part of you and you’re scared shitless at the thought of losing her…so what better way to not have to think about it, to not have to deal with even the thought of that then to run away from her now. (Looking at Michael) And you…just follow the leader. It’s the perfect out…and you even get to sound noble when you say it’s for their safety…that it’s because you love them so much. (Looking back at Max) You’re lucky Liz’s in a coma and can’t kick your ass for being so selfish…(quickly turning to face Michael) and I’m just waiting for the fireworks to fly from Maria. You two are unbelievable. This is not about you…not about what you want. This is about what they want. And right now…(looking at Max)…Liz wants you sitting in that damn chair beside her bed and Maria…(turning to face Michael)…wants you to support her through this.

Michael (quietly): They have Alex.

Isabel (at the end of her rope): Do you hear yourself? Do you intentionally say incredibly stupid things or do they accidentally find their way out of your mouth Michael? I’m done with you two. We stick together because we have to…they stick with us because they want to…and it’s their choice if they don’t want to anymore – not yours…neither of yours. (She let’s out an exasperated sigh, spins on her heels, and slams the door on her way out. Michael and Max look briefly at each other and then Max gets up and leaves the apartment.)

(Scene: Hospital Hallway, sometime later. Maria exits the elevator wearing her uniform and looking beat. She walks down the hallway and enters a room. She gives Nancy a hug and hands Jeff some papers from the café. She gives Liz a kiss on the forehead and then leaves the room heading back to the elevator. When passing the waiting room she looks in the windows and stops walking. Letting out a deep breath she pushes the doors open and enters. Max sitting with his head in his hands looks up when the doors open. He quickly looks away from Maria.)

Max: Maria I really don’t want…

Maria (coming farther into the room and sitting down across from Max): I don’t really care about what you want do I Max? I’m not here for you…I’m here for her…like you should be.

Max (letting out a sigh): You don’t understand.

Maria: No, I don’t think you understand. (Max just looks over at her) You wanna take a step back…then you take a step back Max. But you think about this…and I mean think about it. Because if you do this…that’s it buddy…the end. I don’t want to see your face at the Crashdown…I don’t want to see you talk to Liz – ever…and don’t even think about looking at her like you have any right to care about her. Do you get me? Can you do that Max? Can you walk away?

Max (resting his head in his hands again): I don’t know…I need to do what’s best for her.

Maria (shaking her head): No, you need to do what’s best for you and let Liz worry about what’s best for her. Do you think she’s stupid? (Max quickly looks up at her) She knew what she was getting into…she’s had a lot of chances to back out of this. For a while there…I thought she was stupid – I mean pining away for a guy who’s been proven to break your heart…but she said you were worth it. Are you? Prove me wrong here Max.

Max: I can’t let her get hurt anymore.

Maria: Look…I know you love her…and I know you think by doing this you’re protecting her…but you forget...she doesn’t need your protection – she just needs you…but as much as she needs you…you need her more. (Getting up from the chair and walking over to the door) Think about it Max…this is your last chance – you don’t get any more. (She walks through the doors and Max returns his head to his hands.)

(Scene: Returns to Liz and River Dog sitting across the fire.)

Liz (looking at the fire): He thinks this is helping…that he’s protecting me…but it’s only hurting.

River Dog (said as a statement not a question): So you’re here to make him hurt.

Liz: I want him to see.

River Dog: See?

Liz: That this isn’t a burden, an obligation for me…that he isn’t those things…and that I shouldn’t be those things to him. He can’t see that…he sees only this obligation to protect me and…and I don’t want it…I don’t need it.

River Dog (smiling at her, knowing what she’s not saying): So you came here to show him. (She doesn’t look at him) No…you came here to make him chose. (She slowly raises her eyes to River Dog’s smiling ones)

Liz: He needs time. (River Dog smiles and nods at her impressed by her thinking) And I need to know what I’m going back to.

River Dog: Does it matter?

Liz: Yes…and no.

River Dog: You’ll leave here with everything you came with.

Liz (softly): Almost everything…I think…I think I’d leave my love…

River Dog: Is that your choice?

Liz (almost panicky): Do I have to choose now? (River Dog smiles at her and then slowly vanishes from the dream…music starts: Plumb – Stranded. She becomes officially panicky, stands up and looks around her. As soon as she steps out of the circle of rocks they – along with the fire – disappear and she’s left in the dark with only the bright silvery light from the symbols. She looks around breathing heavily. All of a sudden she stops and turning around quickly, she sees him standing a few yards away from her. They stare at each other for what seems like hours. Liz’s closes her eyes and takes in several deep breaths. She hesitantly re-opens them and he’s still standing in the dream…in a whisper of raw emotion) Max.

posted on 15-Sep-2001 1:40:44 PM
Title: “…” (Choices trilogy, Part 3)
Author: N/A
Email: ajrocchio⊕
Rating: PG-13 for language
Category: Other Stories
Disclaimers: The characters of Roswell belong to the WB, among others, but apparently I need to keep borrowing them.
Summary: “The difficulty in life is the choice.” – George Moore
Author’s note/soapbox: The wisdom of Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki is borrowed in this fic briefly by Alex, with only the greatest respect for the man and his words. And for anyone interested/curious I will gladly explain Nasedo and his motivations in my little world…just ask and I promise to share.

(Scene: The Dream. Liz is standing in darkness illuminated only by the glowing silvery light from the cave symbols. She’s staring at Max – who’s just entered the dream five or so yards away from her. She takes a step toward him but stops and looks away.)

Liz (with disgust): You’re not Max. (Nasedo Max smiles as he watches her turn away from him with disappointment. After a moment he morphs into the man she saw in the Crashdown and takes a step toward her.)

Nasedo: Fooled once but not twice. (She looks back at him with hate in her eyes and he holds her gaze for a moment before turning his attention to the symbols surrounding them.) Poor Max, his little Liz…almost dies…again…

Liz (coldly): Are you here to finish the job?

Nasedo (looking at Liz): You think I did this to you?

Liz (holding his gaze with all the strength she has left): Did you?

Nasedo (casually): Partially. (He looks away from her and for a second her face betrays her and the fear she’s feeling shows) You’re a lucky lady Miss Parker…(he starts to walk around looking at the symbols) shot by a man in a moving vehicle and not a vital organ hit…tell me the odds. (A hint of confusion crosses Liz’s face as she tries to process what he’s implying) What? (He turns to her) Need a calculator?

Liz (hesitantly): You saved me?

Nasedo: And said with so much feeling of appreciation.

Liz (trying desperately hard to remain calm and in control): I thought you would’ve wanted me dead?

Nasedo (matter-of factly, but with a hint of something else): I did.

Liz (confused): What do you mean, did? What changed? (He glances at her briefly but then returns to the symbols – avoiding her question.)

(Scene: Sheriff Valenti’s Office, early morning. Valenti is sitting at his desk – which is covered with photos taken from the crime scene of Agent Cooper’s car. A corner of the ballistics report is visible underneath some of the pictures. Valenti is flipping through a rolodex of business cards. He stops on Agent Stevens’ card, picking up his phone he dials the number on the card.)

Valenti: Agent Stevens…Sheriff Valenti.

(Scene cuts to Agent Stevens sitting in his office)

Stevens: Sheriff. I hear you’ve got your hands full down there.

Valenti: Keepin’ busy for a small town.

Stevens: Seems one resident keeps you busy…poor girl…the victim of two random acts of violence in less than a year.

Valenti: Random acts? Come on now Agent Stevens…we both know this wasn’t an accident.

Stevens (hesitantly): I don’t know what you think you know Sheriff…

Valenti (cutting him off): When’s the last time you heard from Agent Cooper?

Stevens (after a pause, not sure where the Sheriff is going with this – but definitely not liking it): My agents aren’t any concern of yours Sheriff.

Valenti: Well now, then it seems we’ve got a problem. I’ve got a girl in the hospital and a ballistics report that says your Agent’s gun put her there.

Stevens (very defensively): You’re on shaky ground Sheriff…making accusations…

Valenti (interrupting him again): Accusations…Agent Stevens I’ve got enough evidence here to bury you in a scandal that’ll reach Washington and the front page of every paper in the country.

Stevens (threateningly): Pretty bold words Sheriff…I’ve got a scandal of my own, maybe you know something about it…Sheriff loses job and mind over the crazy search for e.t. – and I don’t need to fabricate any evidence.

Valenti: You wanna talk evidence Agent…I’ve got a bullet retrieved from a girl lucky to be alive, the gun it was fired from with the only set of fingerprints on it belonging to a Federal Agent Dale Cooper. And your Agent Cooper…well, somebody sure didn’t like what he did to Miss Parker because he’s lying in the morgue with his fellow Federal Agent Kevin Olsen…cause of death a broken neck and a bad case of torture….

Stevens (sitting up in his chair): Did I hear you correctly Sheriff?

Valenti: Thought that might get your attention.

Stevens (with a sense of urgency): Do you know what you’re dealing with Sheriff? If you’ve got two downed Federal Agents then this conversation is over and so is your investigation…it’s in our hands now and I’ll have someone there in a matter of minutes.

Valenti: You can take the investigation away from me but it won’t change the evidence I’ve got.

Stevens: Are you threatening me Sheriff?

Valenti (toying with him): Now why would you think a thing like that?

Stevens: You’re not talking to some small town deputy Sheriff. I can ruin you like your father.

Valenti: Now that sounds like a threat. Come and get me Agent Stevens…I’ve got nothing to lose and a whole lot to gain when I turn this videotape of the shooting over to the local news. (The phone clicks and Sheriff Valenti pulls the receiver away from his ear smiles at it and then hangs it up.)

(Scene: Various ones from School. Before school…Maria and Alex walk into the main hallway – share a lingering hug and then walk in separate directions. Maria gets to her locker and is accosted by girls wanting to know about Liz. Out of the corner of her eye she sees Michael watching her and ignoring the girls she turns her head to stare at him with all the disgust she has in her. Michael quickly walks away. First class…Max is the last one to walk in. As soon as he enters everyone looks at him, and the whispering begins. He hangs his head and slowly walks over to his seat. Second class…Maria’s already seated at her desk, waiting for Michael to come to class. He enters and avoids her eyes…with squinting eyes she watches him take his seat. Hallway after class…Michael can’t seem to escape Maria…he turns a corner only to look up at her. He looks away from her and walks in another direction – but can definitely feel her gaze following him. Third class…Michael hides in the bathroom. Fourth class…Max walks into Biology and hesitantly sits down looking at Liz’s empty seat. Everyone is watching him – including Michael from the window. Max tries not to be affected by the absence of Liz…but he’s not very good at hiding the pain in his eyes and the sadness that creeps over his face. Michael shakes his head and takes off for the parking lot.)
Music: Catherine Wheel – Pain

(Scene: Bank. Sheriff Valenti enters the bank carrying a briefcase/bag – nothing fancy and definitely not leather…you know what I’m talking about…something you’d get at REI or L.L. Bean. Anyway…he enters with the bag and heads for the counter. We’ll call the bank teller Marcy.)

Marcy: Sheriff…how can I help you today?

Sheriff: Need to visit a safety deposit box.

Marcy: Right this way. (They walk toward the left corner of the bank – separated by the counter. Marcy reaches a swinging half door and steps through it.) You’ve been awfully busy lately haven’t you Sheriff…with the shooting on Friday...Poor girl…

Sheriff: Just trying to find who’s responsible. (They continue to walk in the same direction, heading for an oversized door.)

Marcy: It’s just a shame…she’s so young…(they reach the door and Marcy unlocks it with a key and opens it)…The Parker girl, right? (The Sheriff nods and enters the room followed by Marcy. Upon entering, he pulls out his key and hands it to her.) Just a shame… (She finds the box and then puts both her key and the Sheriff’s into the appropriate holes, turns them and then removes the box from its slot.)…It’s not even safe for kids to go to the movies anymore…what is the world coming to? (She hands the box to the Sheriff. He nods in agreement and then walks over to the table, setting the box and the bag he’s been carrying down.) You just let me know when you’re done Sheriff.

Sheriff: Thank you Marcy.

(She nods and then leaves the room. Valenti opens the bag and pulls out a folder. He flips through it, making sure that it has copies of all the photos taken from Agent Cooper’s crime scene, the negatives of the pictures, and copies of the ballistics and forensics reports. Satisfied he sets the folder down on the table and pulls out a videotape from the bag. He sets the tape on top of the folder – it has ‘original’ written on the label. He slowly opens the lid to the safety deposit box. The only item in the box is hidden inside a black bag. He gently pulls it out of the box and holds it for a moment – looking intently at it and then finally setting it down gently on the table. He then places the folder in the box followed by the tape and the black bag. He closes the lid to the box and carries it back to its slot in the wall. He pushes it in and lets his hand linger on the front of it once it’s securely in place. He looks at the box like it holds his life and then turns and exits the room.)

(Scene: The Dream. Liz is watching Nasedo look and ‘touch’ the symbols around them. She’s not really sure what to make of Nasedo. Figuring she’s got nothing left to lose she might as well push his buttons and try and get something out of him.)

Liz: Going soft?

Nasedo (quickly looking over at her): What one gives one can easily take away.

Liz (shaking her head): You would’ve already. (They stare at each other for a few moments and then Nasedo smiles that slightly sinister smile of his and Liz’s confidence wavers.)

Nasedo: Are you this feisty with Max…I’d expect it from your friend…Maria…(he shakes his head)…but you Liz…

Liz: You don’t know me.

Nasedo (smiling and looking at her intently): Don’t I? I know everything about you Liz. I can feel your feelings…see your dreams. Every thought that crosses your mind – I hear. You see, Liz, it’s you…you who doesn’t know me.

Liz (taking in a slow deep breath and with whatever strength she’s got left, shakily): I know more about you than Max, Isabel, and Michael…why? Why me?

Nasedo: “It was you”…isn’t that the phrase? (Liz sucks in her breath at the familiar words) Young Max seems to think that you…(he looks her up and down – giving her a once over)…are worth death…which is what awaits him should the right people find out ‘what’ he is…(shaking his head and under his breath)…stupid romantic fool. (He looks back at Liz, scrutinizingly)…But you’re not very good with secrets are you Liz…what started out as one quickly turned to three. (She looks away from him) So I had to see for myself what was so special about Liz Parker…that would make Max so foolishly risk everything for. (He pauses and returns to admiring the cave symbols) You know it can’t lead to anything?

Liz (not looking at him): I don’t know anything except how I feel.

Nasedo (smiles and looks at her out of the corner of his eye): And how would you feel if he left you here in this hospital bed. Oh wait…he has…what’s it been three days and still not a visit. What does that say about his feelings for you?

Liz (defiantly): More love than you will ever know. What do you want from me?

Nasedo (smiling to himself): What do I want? There’s plenty of time for that…I’m here for you Liz…what do you want?

Liz (doubtful): Me?

Nasedo (looking around at the symbols): Don’t you want to know what they mean? Or maybe not…maybe you’re not ready for what they mean. (Liz just looks at him. He looks over at her and smirks) To know or not to know…tough choice isn’t it?

(Scene: School Quad, lunchtime. Max is sitting alone at a table. He’s so lost in his thoughts and staring at his uneaten food that he doesn’t notice Kyle sit down opposite him. Kyle watches Max for a few moments.)

Kyle: You know…(Max jerks his head up at the sound of Kyle’s voice)…the thing about Liz was that I could talk to her…about anything (he looks away)…and she wouldn’t laugh. (Max nods slightly, knowingly) She was different…she is different. (He looks back at Max seriously) Look Evans…I don’t know what’s goin’ on between you and Liz…but it’s something to her…and if you’re just fuckin’ around with her – it’s time to move on…‘cause we both know she doesn’t deserve it. (They stare at each other for a few moments) And we were making such progress…(He gets up from the table not breaking his gaze with Max)…don’t give me any more reasons to wanna kick your ass. (He turns and leaves. Max watches him walk across the quad, finally releasing the breath he was holding. He returns to staring at his lunch and doesn’t look up when moments later he hears someone sit down across from him.)

Max (not looking up): What am I doing here?

Alex: My guess…(Max looks up surprised) some sort of intergalactic plan to take over Earth – under the guise of getting a public education.

Max (letting out a sigh): I thought you were Michael.

Alex: He left. (Max looks at him confused) I think the death-rays from Maria were starting to dent his force field. I saw him head off campus around 4th period.

Max (under his breath): I think he’s got the right idea.

Alex (watching Max closely): What’d Valenti want?

Max: What everyone wants…(he shakes his head and looks at Alex expectantly)…your turn?

Alex: Who me? Not my thing…besides when we divvied up the friendship Maria got all the threatening and ass kicking duties. I mean, come on, she’s got a knack for that just can’t be…learned.

Max (relaxes a bit with a small smile and looks away): I don’t know what to do.

Alex: Look Max. I can’t tell you what you should do – no one can. But I can tell you what I know. (Max looks over at him) You’re a long way from home…and you can use all the friends you have – ‘cause I’m thinking, you’re not gonna get too many more. Someone once said, “life is like getting on a boat that is going to set sail and sink.” (He pauses) The question is…do you want to sink with her…or without her? “You always have just enough problems” Max…you don’t need to make more for yourself. (Alex pauses and then looks down at his sack lunch) Ah…peanut butter and banana…is it a sandwich or dessert in disguise…(Max doesn’t hear Alex as he retreats into his thoughts – reflecting on what he said.)

(Scene: Liz’s Hospital Bed. Nancy is sitting in the chair next to her reading from the book Anne of Avonlea. Amy DeLuca lightly taps on the room’s open door and Nancy looks up from her daughter.)

Amy (as she enters the room carrying a paper bag): How’s she doing?

Nancy (looking back at her daughter, softly shaking her head): I don’t really know. The doctor says that the wound is healing fine…but they can’t explain the coma. If she was awake she might even be able to go home on Friday. (She pauses and both women look loving down on Liz) Alex calls her Sleeping Beauty.

Amy (smiling): Well that she is.

Nancy (looking across the bed to Amy): How’s Maria?

Amy: It comes and goes…I think keeping busy at the Crashdown helps her.

Nancy: I don’t know what we’d do without her.

Amy (looking down at Liz and gently touching her arm): I can say the same thing. You know I’ve always thought of Liz as a…I don’t know…blessing. They became friends right before Maria’s dad left and as much as I tried to be there for her…I wasn’t…(She trails off)

Nancy (looking at Amy): It’s a hard thing for anyone to handle…you are a wonderful mother Amy. Maria’s a beautiful girl.

Amy (looking at Nancy affectionately): I’ve been lucky (looking back at Liz) and I’ve had a lot of help.

Nancy: They’ve always been so close…like sisters.

Amy (letting out a chuckle): Don’t forget Alex.

Nancy (smiling): The three musketeers…(shaking her head as the memories flood through her mind) they’ve always been inseparable. I used to wonder if he might decide friendship wasn’t enough one day…(Nancy and Amy smile at one another.)

Amy: I used to hope it would be for my Maria…but I’m afraid she’s got too much of me in her – she appears to go for the dangerous mysterious type. If I can just get her to graduation…she’s already thinking about sleepovers with boys – other than Alex – I even caught her.

Nancy (smiles at remembering catching Max and Liz): It must be in the water at the Crashdown.

Amy (shocked): Liz?

Nancy (nodding): Max Evans…(she looks down at her daughter) They grow up so fast don’t they? One minute you’re changing your baby’s diapers and then the next…your baby’s not a baby anymore.

Amy (shaking her head): Max Evans, well who would’ve…It’s always the shy ones isn’t it?

Nancy: Or the rebel loners with unruly hair, among other things.

Amy (laughs): Michael Guerin…what’s a mother to do?

Nancy (looking down at Liz): Trust their better judgment…(gently stroking Liz’s arm) and hope they take good care of our baby girls. (Amy lets out a sigh and then remembering the bag she opens it up and pulls out a couple of take-out boxes and two soda cans. She hands Nancy the drink and then the lunch and the two ladies begin eating.)

(Scene: Roswell Public Library. Alex is sitting at a microfiche machine. He’s constantly checking from the screen of the machine to his watch. Looking a little frustrated he keeps scanning through the microfiche film, looking for something in particular. He looks at his watch again – 4:30 – he lets out a sigh and shakes his head. He rewinds the film and puts it way. Grabbing the stack of papers from the desk he quickly exits the library.)

(Scene: Michael’s Apartment. He’s lying on his couch listening to random ‘metal’ music really loudly. Max goes to ring the doorbell but hearing the music he lowers his hand to the knob and just opens the door. Michael doesn’t hear him enter or even realize he’s there until the music is abruptly cut off.)

Michael (opening his eyes and slightly irritated): I was listening to that.

Max: The whole neighborhood was listening to that. (Michael sits up on the couch and Max falls down into the chair letting out a sigh. They sit in silence for a while. Max staring at nothing and Michael closely watching Max.)

Michael (finally speaking): You can’t Max. (Max looks over at him) You can’t.

Max: What if she’s not waking up because of me…what if Maria’s right?

Michael (frustrated): Maxwell…

Max: She’s not even supposed to be in a coma Michael…

Michael: She’s not even supposed to be in the hospital Maxwell. (Max looks over to him and lets out another sigh as he looks away. Michael looks at Max scrutinizingly) You want to don’t you?

Max (seriously irritated with the question): I’ve never not wanted to Michael – what the hell kind of question is that?

Michael: Max…

Max: Everyone looks at me like I’m a…(for lack of a better word) ‘alien’…(disgusted with himself) I mean, what kind of…person…watches his…girlfriend get shot and then…leave her.

Michael (coldly): Hate to break it to you but you are an alien Maxwell…and the kind of guy who gets his ‘girlfriend’ shot.

Max (shakes his head at Michael): How do you do it?

Michael (confused): What?

Max (reproachful): This. Tell yourself that you don’t care – that you never cared. How do you close your eyes and not see her…feel her. Detach yourself so completely…so (it rolls off his tongue before he can stop it) effortlessly.

Michael (defiantly and angrily getting off the couch): I do what I have to Maxwell. Go to your little Liz, you know you will eventually…but when something worse than this happens – don’t look at me…cause all I’ll say is…I told you so. (He turns the corner and enters the bathroom, slamming the door. He places his hands on the sink and leans over it – head down. The sound of the front door slamming shut causes him to flinch. He lets out a deep breath and then looks at himself in the mirror and then rubs his hand over his eyes – pressing them shut to keep the tears from flowing out. After a moment he leaves the bathroom and heads toward the radio. Before he can turn the music back on the phone rings. He stares at it and on the third ring decides to pick it up.) What?

(Scene: Outside the Sheriff’s Station. Sheriff Valenti pulls up in his truck and notices the white sedan with government plates parked out front. He lets out a deep breath and exits the car. He takes off his sunglasses as he enters the front door – immediately making eye contact with a gentleman standing off to the side – the gentleman is the same man who was following Liz, Max, Michael and Maria the night of the shooting.)

Valenti (under his breath): Well, well. (Deputy Blackwood approaches him)

Deputy (quietly): He’s been here since eight this morning Sheriff.

Valenti: Well that’s quite a wait isn’t it. (He walks toward the gentleman standing off to the side) Sheriff Valenti and you would be?

Gentleman: Federal Agent Banks Sheriff…(sounding irritated) must have been some day you’ve been having.

Valenti: Well, as you know, we keep pretty busy for a small town. (He looks around the station) Where’s Agent Stevens?

Agent Banks: On his way. (He looks at his watch) Should be arriving any minute. I’d like to see the case files.

Valenti: Right this way Agent…Banks you said…right this way. (He leads the Agent to a random room and then leaves, returning with a pile of folders. He tosses them on the table.) Now you let me know if there’s anything I can do for you.

(He gives the Agent a smile and then closes the door. He walks over to the counter where Deputy Blackwood is doing paperwork. Walking behind the counter he begins a hushed conversation with the Deputy. The Deputy looks at Valenti a little wary but the seriousness on Valenti’s face quells his doubts. He nods and then leaves. Valenti sits down in a chair behind the counter, putting his feet on the desk and his hands behind his head. He stares at the clock. After a few minutes tick by the front door opens and Agent Stevens walks to the counter – taking off his sunglasses to look at the Sheriff.)

Stevens: I hear you’ve had a busy day Sheriff…making my Agent wait (he looks at the clock) nine hours.

Valenti: It just never seems to end Agent Stevens…you ever have one of those days? (Deputy Blackwood returns to the counter area and proceeds to continue with his paperwork.)

Stevens: I’d like to see Agent Banks, and have a word with you (looking at the Deputy)…in private. (Valenti takes his feet off the desk in front of him and stands up.)

Valenti: Right this way Agent Stevens. (They walk to the room where Agent Banks is at. Agent Stevens enters and Valenti remains in the hallway.) I’ll be in my office if you need me…you remember where that is Agent Stevens? (He smiles and then leaves. Agent Stevens watches him with an unreadable look and then shuts the door. In his office Valenti is sitting with his back to the door, looking out the window with his hands behind his head. After a few moments the door opens and Agent Stevens enters…the Sheriff just continues to stare out the window.) You gonna tell me what an FBI Agent is doing shooting a sixteen year old girl or am I gonna have to read about it in the trial transcripts.

Stevens: You’re a desperate man aren’t you Sheriff?

Valenti: Oh, not as desperate as you are I imagine.

Stevens: What do you want?

Valenti (turning the chair to look at Stevens): The truth.

Stevens: Do you want the truth Sheriff or a validation of the ‘truth’ you’ve created in your head.

Valenti: I was never very good at making things up Agent Stevens…creative writing…I just never was very good at. You can lie to the people of Roswell all you want, you can look in the eyes of Mr. and Mrs. Parker and feed them some bullshit story about how their daughter was shot. But don’t think you can come in my office and tell me the same bullshit story. I’ve seen the evidence. I have the shooting on tape with your Agent on it.

Stevens: Had the tape Sheriff. That’s our property now. And do you think people will believe you with your family history.

Valenti (smiles): Do you know where you are Agent? This is the land of conspiracy and governmental cover-ups…and you know what makes this so beautiful. (Leaning forward in his chair) We’re not talking about aliens here…we’re talking about a sixteen year old, straight A high school student, and daughter of a well known Roswell family. I don’t think it’ll take much to get people riled up…do you?

Stevens: You know what I think Sheriff?

Valenti: No but I’m just dying to hear it.

Stevens: I think this Parker girl did a number on you Sheriff. First, you think she’s shot and magically healed. Now, you think she’s been shot by the FBI.

Valenti: You know what I think Agent? (He pulls out a picture taken off of the video of Max and Liz standing out front of the movie theater and pushes it across his desk to Agent Stevens) I think this shooting has nothing to do with Liz Parker and everything to do with Max Evans. (Agent Stevens picks up the picture, looks at it and then over to the Sheriff.)

Stevens: I think this conversation is over Sheriff. The FBI thanks you for your hard work on the case, and it reminds you that your part of this investigation is over. Should any…complications arise that disrupt our investigation we’ll take whatever means are necessary to handle them swiftly and quietly. (He stares down at Sheriff Valenti and then exits the office and returns to the room where Agent Banks is.)

Valenti (to himself): Well now…we’ll just see about that. (He gets up from his chair and walks out to the front counter. While he’s standing there Deputy Blackwood comes through the front door and nods to the Sheriff. The Sheriff smiles and under his breath) We will see.

(Scene: Crashdown not very busy. Maria and Isabel are working, well attempting to. Maria is wiping down the same spot on the counter repetitively and Isabel is seriously struggling to make the milkshake machine work. Her frustration explodes as the machine has a ‘power’ induced surge causing milk and ice cream to go everywhere and the machine to burst into ‘smallish’ flames. She completely freaks and tries to throw what’s left from the milkshake container over the fire to put it out. Maria, seriously freaking out quickly turns to stands next to her blocking the view.)

Maria (whispering in pure panic): DO SOMETHING! (Isabel looks over to her frazzled) You know (she waves her hands in front of her frantically and looks at Isabel with wide eyes) something. (Isabel quickly glances past Maria to notice if the two customers are watching and then waves her hand over the machine – putting out the fire. They both stare at the machine for a few moments. Isabel reaches out to touch it and Maria grabs her hand.) I don’t think so. (Isabel attempts to give Maria one of her ‘looks’ but Maria just breaks down into hysterical laughter. Isabel looks at Maria then herself – covered in ice cream and starts laughing too – seriously side wrenching laughter. After a few moment there’s a pause and Maria looks over to Isabel, pointing to her hair and through tears) What flavor is that?

Isabel (choking on laughter): I can’t remember. (They breakdown again. The two customers in the café look at the girls and then at each other from across the restaurant.)

Maria (now leaning over the counter to try and stop the pain in her side): Wait ‘til I tell Liz…(she stops and her laughing sobs become pained ones, choking on her tears)…and I was doing so good...(Hearing the change in Maria’s voice and realizing that she isn’t laughing anymore, Isabel stops laughing and raises her hand to her mouth. She looks at Maria, now sobbing, not really sure what to do for her. She notices the customers watching Maria curiously and gently puts her arm around her and walks her through the backroom door and sets her on the couch. Maria releases what’s been building up all day and Isabel just watches a little overwhelmed by the intensity of Maria’s feelings for Liz. After a while Maria starts to regain her composer. She looks over to Isabel) Isn’t there something you can do?

Isabel (looking at Maria): I’ve tried.

Maria (shaking her head and staring out in front of her): I’m gonna kill him.

Isabel (looking away from Maria): He’s killing himself.

Maria (after a pause, looking over at Isabel and inspecting her ‘dirty’ appearance): She wouldn’t have believed me anyway.

Isabel: What? (Maria points to her outfit of ice cream. Isabel waves her hand over herself removing the mess) Our little secret.

Maria: To be used and reused as a form of blackmail. (Isabel shoots her a glare and before she can say anything Alex comes through the back door)

Alex: Ah ladies, you have customers…(seeing Maria’s tear stained face) Are you okay…what happened?

Maria: I’m fine Alex…wait…what are you doing here, you’re supposed to be with Liz.

Alex: I was relieved…are you sure you’re okay?

Maria: Alex, technically am I ever really okay?

Alex (realizing she’s fine he lets out a smile): Why does the café smell like smoke? (Maria and Isabel share a glance and then get off of the couch failing to suppress their laughter as they pass a confused Alex on their way through the door.)

(Scene: Hospital Hallway. Max exits the elevator and slowly walks down the familiar hallway. He gets to the window and stops in his tracks. He steps closer to the window and after a moment lowers his head. He looks up again and stares at Kyle sitting in the chair next to Liz’s bed reading to her. He closes his eyes and lets out a painful sigh as he leans forward into the wall.)

(Scene: Back to the Crashdown, still pretty quite. The milkshake machine has now been ‘fixed’ and Maria, Isabel and Alex are sitting at the back booth. Maria and Isabel sit facing the front door for easy viewing of the few customers that are in the café.)
Music: Golden Smog – To Call My Own

Isabel: What’s this about Alex?

Alex (going through his backpack and pulling out some papers): Not yet…

Isabel (slightly irritated): Not yet?

Alex (now busy organizing the papers): Waiting for someone. (The bells on the front door jingle and Maria looks over toward the door to see who’s entered.)

Maria (under her breath): Or something. (She looks back over to Alex) What’s he doing here?

Alex (looking over his shoulder to see Michael approaching the table): I asked him to come.

Maria (choking on her surprise): You asked him to come? (Looking toward Michael) And he came? (Looking back at Alex) What’d you do – threaten him?

Alex (giving Maria a ‘be on your best behavior look’): Maria…(She looks at him innocently and Michael slides into the booth – not looking at Maria in anyway what so ever).

Michael (annoyed with himself that he actually came): So what…(looking at Alex) what’d you find?

Isabel/Maria (at roughly the same time): Find?

Alex (looks around the table, lets out a sigh and hesitantly begins): Okay. Liz has been researching…the fourth (leaning in and whispering)…‘one’.

Isabel (confused): Nasedo?

Alex (shaking his head): No, the fourth pod…you know – the fourth one like your age (pointing between Michael and Isabel – who look at each other and then back to Alex).

Michael (disbelief): You found them?

Alex: Not yet. But Liz was having a hard time finding anything. She looked through the Roswell Daily Record from 1984 to 1994…and couldn’t find any article mentioning another child left out there. So I went back to look for myself, and…I couldn’t even find an article about (he looks over at Michael) you.

Michael: Me?

Alex: Yea, you weren’t in the news. (Looking to Isabel) You and Max and a little blurb – I’m guessing because the Evan’s wanted to adopt you and needed to…maybe see if your parents were out there. But you (looking back to Michael) went straight from being found to the Children Youth and Families Department without a notice.

Michael (irritated): Figures…thanks for pointing that out. (He looks like he wants to leave and Alex quickly catches that’s what he’s about to do)

Alex: Well, not a notice in the Roswell newspaper. (Everybody just looks at him) You guys ‘hatched’ in the spring of ‘89…the same time as the whole cattle scandal. (They just look at him blankly) You know…cows were being killed and ranches vandalized and the whole town was taking sides and completely preoccupied with it…it was udder chaos (nobody gets his joke and he quickly moves on). Anyway, from about March to the beginning of June that’s all the newspaper really covered except for small stories here and there about the usual stuff.

Maria: So what…Michael got overlooked because of a cattle killing crisis? (Michael turns his head and glares at her and she shrugs it off.)

Alex: Here but not in Albuquerque. (He takes the top paper off the stack in front of him and tosses it in the middle of the table.)

Michael (grabbing the paper): What’s this?

Alex: A letter to the editor of the Albuquerque Tribune…about you guys.

Isabel: What?

Alex: Not directly…it’s just this guy who wants to know why kids are being dropped off in the middle of the desert and what it says about the society we’re now living in…

Maria: He could be talking about Max and Isabel…

Michael (reading from the letter): “On multiple occasions children have been found naked wandering the desert south of Corona.”

Isabel (stunned): Multiple.

Michael (looks up from the paper to Isabel. Maria grabs it from him and her and Isabel start reading it. He looks from them to Alex): Who is this guy?

Alex (handing him a couple of pieces of papers): Steve Gratreaks, he was a rancher north of Corona and on the city council.

Michael: Was?

Alex: He moved about five years ago.

Michael (sounding desperate): To where?

Alex: Well, lucky for us it wasn’t Florida. He just relocated to Santa Fe. (Michael lets out a sigh and Alex leans over and points to a highlighted section on one of the papers he had handed him. It’s a print out from an Internet search engine with the address and phone number of a Steven Gratreaks in Santa Fe, NM.)

Isabel (still stunned by the information): So what now?

Maria/Alex (looking at one another): Road trip.

(Scene: An unknown road. Agent Stevens is driving alone in his car talking on the phone very, very angrily.)

Stevens: ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME AGENT JONES! I WANT EVANS AND I WANT HIM NOW! If I don’t get something from you and Agent Banks…(seriously irritated) What do I want? Anything…his blood, his DNA, his body…something besides a hunch and a girl in the goddamn hospital! DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME?! The next time I hear your voice it better be telling me you’ve got something…and that something better be on my desk by next FRIDAY! And if it isn’t…

(The scene quickly cuts to Sheriff Valenti sitting in a random room with a bunch of audio equipment on the wall in front of him, apparently recording something. He’s wearing a pair of headphones. The volume is so loud that what he’s listening to fills the small room)

…You’ll be sorry you ever thought about being a Federal Agent! DO YOU HEAR ME? (The loud banging noise of the phone being thrown against the dashboard causes the Sheriff to flinch and reach up to lower the volume. Agent Stevens lets out a sigh) God damnit if I have to, I’ll get this kid myself and rip the truth from him!

(Scene: The Dream. Nasedo and Liz are staring at each other.)

Liz (suspiciously): Why tell me? Why not Max or Michael or Isabel…Why me?

Nasedo: I have to tell someone…why not you.

Liz: This doesn’t make any sense…

Nasedo (almost meanly): What? You don’t want to help Max and be a part of the scientific discovery of a lifetime Liz?

Liz (disgusted by the implication): How can you say that…how can you do this to them…why don’t you just tell them…why play these games…

Nasedo (angrily interrupting her): Games, Miss Parker. This is no game…(he slowly begins to walk toward her) You see L-I-z…you’ve altered my plans and now…well now I need to know what I’m dealing with…I need to know what Max is willing to do for his past. (He gets closer and closer to her) How far do you think he’ll go to find the key to unlock these (motioning to the symbols)? (He’s standing inches in front of her, just louder than a whisper) How far will you let him go…

(He looks into her eyes and then leans down like he’s going to kiss her but at the last second he tilts his head and whispers the rest of the sentence in her ear. At the feel of his breath on her ear and neck, Liz closes her eyes – tightly – and clenches her hands into fists at her sides. She uses all the strength she has just to breathe and remain standing. When she can feel him step away from her she slightly relaxes. But before she can fully recover she feels something lightly touch her lips…her body tenses immediately and she jerks open her eyes. She squints slightly as the dull light from the hospital room momentarily blinds her. She sucks in her breath as Max’s wide-eyes come into focus, looking down at her. Music: Sheryl Crow – I Shall Believe

Max (ever so tenderly and softly): Hey.

Liz (overwhelmed): Max? (She closes her eyes and rolls her head to the side, away from him. He’s about to stand up but sees a tear gently creep out from under her eyelid. He leans down and kisses it away and whispers in her ear.)

Max (as soft as a kiss): I’m sorry. (He stands up and takes a step away from the hospital bed toward the door. Liz feels him moving away and she rolls her head back to face him.)

Liz (panicky): You’re leaving?

Max (smiling down at her softly): To tell your parents.

Liz (shakes her head softly, pleadingly): Not yet. (She twists her arm, lying at her side, so the palm of her hand is facing up, and curls her fingers, inviting him back to the bed. Max notices the gesture and he steps forward. He gently takes her hand in his and kisses it as he sits down on the bed. Their eyes meet and he starts to say something but she stops him with a finger, from the hand he’s still holding close to his lips, and closes her eyes. He watches her for a moment and then leans forward kissing her forehead. He rests his forehead on hers and closes his eyes. Liz gently squeezes his hand as she feels a tear softly land on her cheek.)

posted on 15-Sep-2001 1:43:50 PM
Title: “Ready or Not” (Awakening trilogy, Part 1)
Author: N/A
Email: ajrocchio⊕
Rating: PG-13 for language and sexual situations
Category: Other Stories
Disclaimers: The characters of Roswell belong to the WB, among others, but apparently I need to keep borrowing them.
Summary: “There are two tragedies in life. One is not to get your heart’s desire. The other is to get it.” – George Bernard Shaw …and so begins this author’s version of ‘Sexual Healing’…

(Scene: Liz’s Hospital Room, early morning. Max is sleeping in a chair pulled close to Liz’s bed. He looks like he’d be very uncomfortable by the way he’s sitting but nevertheless he has a more than content look on his face. Liz is lying in bed with her head turned towards Max. She’s watching him sleep and gently stroking his hand with her thumb.)

Voice over: Sometimes when I look at him…sometimes I almost forget that he’s…‘different.’ (Max starts to stir in the chair) And then I see his eyes…and I wonder how…how anyone can look into those eyes…and not know.

(Max, unknowingly releases Liz’s hand and brings his to his face. He pulls it away and his eyes open, he starts a little when he sees Liz awake and watching him.)

Max (re-adjusting in the chair, soft and lovingly): Hey.

Liz (smiles and equally lovingly): Hey yourself.

Max (a little hesitantly): I thought…maybe it was a dream.

Liz: Me too.

Max (he looks down and away from her): Liz I…(Liz reaches out and takes his hand, cutting off his train of thought and bringing his eyes back to hers.)

Liz: You came.

Max (slightly sucking in his breath and looking away, dejectedly): I’m sorry…I…

Liz (cuts him off again): Max…

(He looks at her intensely with such sad, guilty eyes, and then quickly down to their hands. Her hand is so tiny, so delicate – like the rest of her. He starts caressing her hand and fingers with his thumb, getting lost in the details of her hand. Liz is watching him and she shyly smiles as his thumb starts to softly slide across the back of her hand. After a moment she squeezes his hand lightly and he raises his eyes to meet hers.)

Liz: You came.

(Understanding the forgiveness she’s offering in those two words, he brings her hand to his lips and closing his eyes he kisses the top of it. She moves her hand so it’s cradling his face and with her thumb gently wipes away the tear that’s escaping from under his eyelid. He opens his slightly watery eyes and looks deeply into hers. Just louder than a whisper.)

Liz (softly): You came.

(He places his hand over hers, which is still cradling his face. Lacing his fingers through hers he gently pulls her hand away from his face and down so he’s holding it in his lap. His eyes travel from their hands up her arm to the I.V. a few inches above her wrist. He swallows hard. He rubs the area around it with his thumb and then raises his eyes to meet Liz’s.)

Max (struggling): I…I…

Liz: I know.

Max (looking away from her, back to the I.V.): I feel…responsible.

Liz (after a short pause and smiling): You are. (Max shoots his eyes back to her with a panicked and confused look. Liz’s smile deepens) If I hadn’t been so caught up staring into your beautiful eyes…maybe I’d have seen the car coming. (Max lets out the breath he was holding) This isn’t your fault Max. (He looks away from her again and she squeezes his hand making him look at her) This isn’t your fault.

Max (still blaming himself): I…(Liz squeezes his hand again and gives him a determined look, abruptly cutting off where he was initially going)…I…I missed you.

Liz (smiling): I told you I wasn’t going anywhere.

Max (this time he squeezes her hand and passionately): Neither am I. (They share a ‘connecting’ gaze for a moment and then Liz’s eyes fall to Max’s lips and he leans down and gently kisses her.)

(Scene: Hospital Hallway, a little later. Max is walking down the hallway with a hesitantly happy look on his face headed for the elevator. He pushes the down button and stares at the elevator smiling. It’s taking too long for the mood he’s in. Noticing the ‘exit’ sign above the stairwell door he pushes through it. After a few moments the elevator doors open and the Parker’s step out and head down the hallway. When they enter Liz’s room she opens her eyes and Nancy breaks down, again, and hurries to the bed kissing the top of her head, followed closely by Jeff.)

(Scene: School Hallway, before classes. Maria is standing in front of her open locker looking aimlessly into it. Max smiles as he sees her and heads toward her.)

Max (leaning into her right ear, softly): Liz says ‘hi.’ (Maria starts a little at the sound of his voice and she doesn’t quite get what he’s saying. Max walks past her then pauses and softly says into her left ear) Oh, and she said you better bring some ice cream after school.

(Max smiles and takes a step like he’s going to keep walking past her but he doesn’t get far. Maria, getting what he’s saying now, slams her locker closed with one hand and grabs onto Max’s arm with the other, yanking him back to her. She spins him around so he’s facing her.)

Maria (wide-eyed and trying to contain herself): She’s awake? (Max nods and Maria grabs on to him to support herself and then she loses it) Ohmygodshe’sawake! (She looks up at Max with watery eyes) I could kiss you…if I didn’t already want to kill you…she’s awake?

Max (nods again): Yes.

Maria (the tears start flowing): OhmygodIloveyou!

(And she just about knocks him down as she grabs him and hugs him. Max smiles down at the top of her head, trying to contain his laughter. When he looks up he sees Kyle walking down the hallway toward them. Max’s smile falters but then Kyle grins at him and nods his head. Max nods back as Kyle walks past them. He looks down at Maria again and she abruptly pulls away from him and looks at him.)

Maria: I’ve got to see her now…shit I have tests… I can’t see her until 3 (she looks at him suspiciously) How many hours is that? I can’t…damnit that’s like cruel and unbearable (Max smiles at her and she shoots him a semi-menacing grin.)

Max (leans down): That means I get her all to myself after lunch. (Maria playfully hits him and then remembers.)

Maria: OhmygodAlex!

(She grabs Max and kisses him on the cheek and then shoves him away as she rushes off to find Alex, turning a corner and running down another hallway. Max lets out a soft laugh and then continues to walk down the hall but stops when he looks up and sees Michael – who’s just witnessed the whole scene. He lets out a sigh and then walks over toward him.)

Max: I had to Michael. (With conviction) I had to. (Michael looks from Max back to where Maria ran off to.)

Michael (looking back at Max): I know. (They just look at each other and then softly smile as the whole school can pretty much hear Maria finding Alex.)

Maria (from somewhere on campus): A-L-E-X!!!!!

(Scene: Random Hotel Room. Agent Banks is sitting at the desk looking over some files. Agent Jones comes out of the bathroom and sits down across from Banks and rubs his eyes.)

Jones (watching Banks looking through the folders): Anything in there?

Banks (looking up): Have you fuckin’ read this thing?

Jones (shaking it off): Looked through it.

Banks: Looked through it…look at these. (He tosses over a picture of Agent Cooper’s tortured chest. There are deep puncture wounds and ‘knife’ like cuts that to an unknowing eye look random. Jones tosses it back to Banks.)

Jones: That I’ve seen.

Banks: And Patton. (He looks down at the picture of the man found in the trunk) Who the fuck are we dealing with?

Jones: Don’t you mean ‘what?’ (Agent Banks quickly looks at him.)

Banks: You believe this?

Jones: That girl was shot in September – we’ve got blood and a bullet hole in her dress. Something happened.

Banks (furrowing his brow and looking through the stack of folders in front of him): You know, there was something in Topolsky’s report…(He pulls out a folder and flips through its contents) Here…She says something about the girl’s journal.

(He hands the paper to Jones and they go about planning their day.)

(Scene: Liz’s Hospital Room, later that afternoon. A nurse is gently removing the gauze bandage that covers the stitches and wound area just below the valley of Liz’s rib cage. Liz is slightly sitting up so she can see. We’ll call the nurse, Angela.)

Angela: Now hon. when you go home you’ll have to be very careful not to disrupt these. No rolling around on your stomach…you don’t want to come back for more. (She completely pulls off the bandage) There you go. (Liz looks down at the stitches and is slightly surprised at how big the area is.) The doctors call you the ‘lucky lady.’ (Liz looks up at her questioningly) This is a pretty sensitive area to get shot; it’s almost a miracle that no serious damage was done by the bullet. (Angela chuckles) But then you went into a coma and had all the doctors beside themselves trying to figure out why.

Liz (gently touching her tummy): How long will they be in?

(She looks up to the nurse and notices that her attention has moved to the door. Turning her head Liz notices Max standing in the entry way.)

Max (very hesitantly and pointing back the way he came): Should I…

Liz (smiles and lightly shakes her head): No. (She holds out her hand inviting him in) Come here. (She looks down at her stomach again) Angela was showing me what they did.

(She looks back up to Max who’s now hesitantly standing a little ways away from the bed staring at her tummy with a very clouded expression on his face. She watches him closely and doesn’t really hear Angela.)

Angela (cutting a new piece of gauze): I should put this back on…I shouldn’t have taken it off in the first place but you are persistent aren’t you Miss Parker?

(When Liz doesn’t respond she looks up to Liz and then follows her gaze to Max. Before she can say anything the hospital P.A. system comes on.)

Hospital P.A.: Nurse Browning…Paging Nurse Browning.

Angela: I’ll be back. Now you don’t move until I get back…okay? (The tone in her voice breaks Liz’s gaze away from Max and she nods up at Angela) I’ll be back.

(She steps away from the bed and walks toward the door, smiling at the teenagers and shaking her head. Max hasn’t moved. At the sight of the stitches his mind went into instant replay and all he can see is that night and everything that happened. Liz watches him questioningly, not able to read the expression on his face.)

Liz (reaching out and grabbing his hand): Max?

Max (he steps toward the bed intently focused on the wound, shakily): There was so much blood…so much blood.

Liz (now understanding, gently): Max.

(Dropping her hand he steps closer to the bed and then sits down – never taking his eyes off the stitches. He reaches out almost instinctively and gently touches her skin just beyond the stitches. Liz watches him, sucking in her breath at his touch and the unexpected but wonderfully warm sensation it induces all over her body. Her breathing becomes shallow as he starts to trace with his trembling fingers the outline of the stitches. He’s so lost in reliving that moment that he doesn’t even register the softness of her skin or the fact that her stomach is rising and falling a little differently than before.)

Max (trembling): There was…so much blood…I was looking at your face…and then…and then you were gone…on the ground and…

(Max makes another sweep with his thumb, just above her rib cage. Liz gives up on trying to see straight and closes her eyes. Breathing, that’s what she needs to concentrate on… Breathe in. Breathe out. How is it possible for a touch to be so gentle, so tender, so…warm? She knows Max is talking but can’t really hear anything beyond the incredibly loud sound of her heart pounding. Breathe in. Breathe out. She sucks in her lower lip and gently bites down as she tries to control the overwhelming rush of feelings her body has never experienced before – that she has never experienced before. His hand stops moving and she swallows, lets out a gasp of breath and opens her eyes to look at him. He’s still unaware of the affect he’s having on her.)

Max (with watery eyes and gently placing his hand over the stitches): I couldn’t make it go away…(letting out a shaky breath)…I can’t make it go away. (When his hand finally lightly presses down over the wound a connection is made. Max sees…

1st image – Liz smiling and looking at him that night right before the shot is fired…
2nd image – Liz falling to the ground and looking at him terrified and pleadingly telling him that he can’t help her…

3rd image – The blood…as it seeps out of the wound and covers her stomach…and the pain, he can feel the pain…there’s so much he must be feeling his too…

4th image – A blanket of white followed by the appearance of a man sitting by a fire…River Dog…and Liz…

5th image – The silvery symbols of the cave surrounding Liz and River Dog…

6th image – Another man standing extremely close – too close – to Liz. He leans in like he’s going to kiss her but at the last moment whispers something in her ear…and Max can feel her confusion and fear…and jealousy – wait, that’s coming from Max…

7th image – His face as Liz sees it upon waking up…such love…

8th image – Liz looking at him just a second ago, when he was touching her…looking at him…with…with desire. And he can feel it. The intensity of it and the fact that it’s for him is so overwhelming that he involuntarily jerks his hand away and the connection is broken.

(He sucks in his breath and looks down and away from Liz, his mind racing to understand what just happened. Forget what he saw, he’s just trying to grasp what he felt. He can’t seem to catch his breath and his chest appears to be heaving at the same speed as his pounding heart. He closes his eyes for a second but is immediately met with the image of her looking at him and the feeling of her…wanting him. It’s too much and he opens his eyes again. He tries to focus. His mind can’t process it fast enough. Or believe that those were her feelings – not his. He was feeling…Liz. Liz opens her eyes at the hasty removal of his hand from her stomach. She sensed a connection but didn’t see anything and is extremely confused by the way Max has turned away from her.)

Liz (softly) Max? (He doesn’t respond, she reaches out and touches his hand causing him to jump and look at her) Max?

(He takes a deep breath and then slowly lowers his eyes to her stomach and for the first time he realizes just how much of it is showing. Her entire stomach is visible from just below her navel to an inch above the V of her rib cage. How did he not see that? And it looks so soft. Was it soft when he was touching it? He wants to touch it again, and almost choking at the thought, he looks away.)

Liz (not understanding his behavior.) Max…did you see something? (He can’t find his tongue to answer her so he just stares at the creases in the linoleum floor.) Max, what did you see?

(The pleading and almost frightened tone in her voice jolts him back to the moment and he looks at her.)

Max (hesitantly and very shakily): Um…(he searches his mind to remember) the shooting. (She looks at him expectantly. He looks away and tries to remember details) Um…I think I saw…River Dog? (It all comes back to him)…and a man, I didn’t know, whispering something to you…and the symbols from the cave. (He looks at Liz questioningly.)

Liz (she looks away from him and thinks she understands his behavior now): Oh…It was Nasedo.

Max (clearly hearing her wrong): What?

Liz: I don’t remember what he said…I just remember seeing him…and knowing it was him.

Max (trying to understand): Nasedo…how…why…?

Liz (becoming upset and fearful of disappointing Max): I’m sorry I can’t remember Max…when I close my eyes I can see River Dog and the symbols and…him but I don’t remember what…

Max (quelling her fearful thoughts): Shhh…Liz it’s okay. (More to himself than her) As long as he didn’t do anything...

Liz (hesitantly): Max…I think he saved me.

Max (said as an exhaling gasp): What?

Liz: I can’t explain it Max but I think…I think he saved me…I…I mean the bullet hole Max, look at where it is. (She tries to sit up a little more and show him) It should have damaged something…but it didn’t.

(At the sight of her stomach, Max has another uncontrollable urge to touch it, followed by a rush of remembering Liz’s emotions. His mind and senses go into overload. He gets off of the bed and sort of takes a step away from it. He’s trying to process everything…River Dog, Nasedo, the symbols – which he can’t help thinking looked a little different than the actual ones in the cave. And then Liz and her feelings for him, feelings that they’ve never talked about, feelings that he never thought they’d have to talk about – because he never thought she could feel that way about him. While Max is struggling with his mind Liz is watching him and becoming increasingly upset and worried by his behavior. Was it her? Did he see something else? She doesn’t understand his retreat away from her and is physically becoming upset with each second that goes by.)

Liz (through the tears that are forming in her eyes): Max? (Hearing the almost desperate tone in her voice he quickly looks over at her.) Did you see something else? (At that question he looks away, and she gulps) Max please…

(Max raising his eyes to her stomach and focuses on the birthmark just barely visible above her left hipbone. He swallows hard and raises his eyes so he’s looking past her stomach at the wall. He takes a deep breath.)

Max (very shakily and very softly): Me – I saw me.

Liz (shaking her head and feeling relieved but still not understanding): You?

Max (moving his eyes to meet her confused ones): I saw you looking at me. (She furrows her brow and shakes her head trying to understand why that would effect him like this) Just now…(she looks at him)…I saw you looking at me just now.

(She stops and thinks for a second, still grasping to understand. And then it hits her – just now…when he was touching her. She looks up at him with wide wondering-just-what-he-saw-and-felt eyes.)

Max (just louder than a whisper): I felt you.

(At that she sucks in her breath and turns her head away from him – feeling very exposed and embarrassed.)

Liz (under her breath): Oh.

Max (after a seemingly endless pause): Liz…I…um…we…can’t…

Liz (closing her eyes and keeping her head turned away from him): I know.

Max: I mean there are so many risks…

Liz (cutting him off): Max, I know.

(He quickly looks at her face turned away from him and can hear the pain in her voice. He doesn’t know what to do, and his mind is totally spinning out of control.)

Max: I should go. (He knows he shouldn’t but he doesn’t trust himself if he stays and he really doesn’t know what to do.) I need to show Michael.

Liz (completely panicked by that, turning to face him, gasping): WHAT!?

Max (understanding how that sounded): The symbols…and Nasedo…we need to figure out how he saw you and Michael can draw the symbols.

Liz: Oh. (There is an awkward silence. Max wants to kiss her goodbye but again, he doesn’t trust himself knowing now how she feels. She looks up at him and he can see the hurt and rejection – at the fact that he hasn’t admitted feeling that way about her – in her eyes.)

Max (not moving): I’ll be back.

Liz (nods, softly): Okay.

(They stare at each other. Liz searches his eyes – everything she’s ever needed to know from Max she’s been able to find in his eyes But now they’re so unreadable…so clouded…struggling. As if the urge to touch Liz’s stomach wasn’t enough. now he’s fighting one to gently push those few loose strands of Liz’s hair behind her ear. Her hair – he’s touched that and he remembers what that feels like…is her skin as soft as her hair?

(What is he doing…he knows he can’t leave her like this. So he takes a step toward the bed and leans down – aiming for her forehead but not quite making it. He rests his forehead against hers – so close. He closes his eyes inadvertently giving her a butterfly kiss with his long lashes and she shivers and closes her own eyes. Her breath quickens as she begins to feel the warmth of his breath fall on her cheek. He tries to steady his breathing by concentrating on her…smell. How does she smell so good…she’s been in the hospital and she still smells so…so good? He swallows…that didn’t work.

(Liz sucks in her breath with anticipation at the sound of him swallowing…and then slowly, hesitantly he lowers his mouth to hers. So tentative at first – like the first time – but then as he reaches to hold her face with his hands the kiss deepens into something like never before. As they kiss he can feel something within him open and in that kiss he gives Liz complete access to himself and she can feel all of him…his feelings for her…his love, fear, hope…his desires to be with her, wanting…her.

(And just as the door in her is about to open for him there’s a sound as the nurse re-enters the room. They break apart hesitantly and as Max pulls away from her he takes her breath, her conscious thoughts, and her ability to speak with him. They stare into each other’s eyes – both understanding that their relationship has now changed. A noise from the nurse brings Max back to reality.)

Max (shakily): I’ll be back.

(Liz can’t speak, let alone breathe, so she just stares at him and sort of nods. He backs up and hesitantly leaves the room, with one last glance to Liz. She just watches him go – her mind reeling.)

Angela (smiling down at Liz as she puts the bandage on her): I’d wake up from near death for that too. (Liz looks at her and blushes fiercely and then turns back to look at the door. Angela finishes the bandage and goes to leave the room.) I’ll just leave you to your thoughts.

(As she’s about to exit, Liz thinks of something quickly and manages to find her tongue.)

Liz: Do you have any paper…and maybe a pen?

Angela (smiles): Sure hon., I’ll be right back.

Liz: Thank you.

(Scene: Hospital Entrance/Exit. Max, dazed and confused, walks out of the hospital and heads for the stairs. He stops at the top of them and then turns and leans forward into a column, bracing himself against it. He stares at the column, not wanting to close his eyes because then he’ll see everything and it’s bad enough just having it running through his head. Eventually though, he has to. Leaning his forehead against the column he, closes his eyes and the rush of images returns. Her stomach – so much skin showing…so much blood…River Dog…Nasedo – leaning in to almost kiss her…himself leaning in to kiss Liz…that kiss…and then those symbols – God if there isn’t something slightly off about them. As he’s thinking that, one symbol [that sure does look awfully like what was on Agent Coopers chest] starts to shine just a little bit brighter and he focuses on it. It gets seemingly bigger and then Max jerks his head away from the column.)

Max (overwhelmed but under his breath): I’ve never seen that one before.

(He looks down, takes a moment to gather himself and then hurriedly steps down the stairs and starts walking off in the direction of Michael’s apartment. He turns a corner to leave the Hospital parking lot and is so lost in his thoughts that he doesn’t realize that someone is following him.

(But somebody else notices for him. Sheriff Valenti is sitting in Kyle’s car across the street from the Hospital. He stares at the man following Max and knows that he’s seen him before but can’t place it. He furrows his brow and takes off his sunglasses to get a better look. And then it hits him. He has a flashback to the shooting and the man talking on the phone. He looks back at the man now trailing Max and nods. He puts his sunglasses back on, starts the engine, and then slowly pulls out from where he’s parked.)

(Scene: Liz’s Hospital Room. Liz is now sort of sitting up in bed with the hospital rollaway tray coving her lap. She’s staring down at the blank paper and is unconsciously chewing on a pen. Her mind is a mess with thoughts of Max and what transpired between them. She lets out a sigh and then begins.)

Voice over (hesitantly): I think…I think I’ve just lost my way. I mean, technically everything with Max is uncharted territory. It’s not like I can go to the library and check out a book that’s gonna help me out with our relationship. I’ve been in relationships before – not many, but enough to be able to sort of fumble my way through creating a quasi-normal – whatever that is – one with him. I mean, if you take away the…the difference…all relationships on some level still boil down to hand holding, a little cuddling, kissing and…well, that’s about all for me…

(She lets out a shaky breath, quickly brushing a strand of hair behind her ear and continues)

V.O.: I mean I’ve never…you know…had sex. I’ve never even been close. I’ve never really thought about it – okay, everybody thinks about it I’ve just never really seriously thought about it. I mean really there’s just been Kyle and we were so not even close to that. I mean you have to be ready for something like that…really ready…and I’m sixteen. How can you be ready for something like that at sixteen? Call me the school girl that I am but you just need to really think about something like that…it’s not to be rushed into. You only get one…first…and you need to be ready.

(She pauses and remembers Max touching her stomach and then that kiss and she gets a dizzy look on her face. She sucks in her breath a little)

V.O.: I think I’m ready. It’s not like Max and I were going to have sex just now but…where my mind went and where my body went when he was (she has a flash of his hand on her stomach) touching me. It was amazing…and a place I’ve never gone before. With a touch and a kiss – a kiss? My god that was not just a kiss. What was it? It was an awakening…and my whole body felt it. So with a touch – that was so much more than a touch…and a kiss that wasn’t even close to being just a kiss…Max made me ready. He catapulted me into ready. And what am I – crazy? He’s a whole other life form…I mean it can’t even be possible, right? Maria would kill me…Maria? My mother would kill me. What am I thinking?

(She pauses for a second and lets out a breath)

V.O.: I’m not…I’m not thinking, I’m feeling and right now…I’m feeling…indescribable. It’s like that moment, you know, when you can feel the blood returning to your sleeping hand as a wave of tingles. Every cell in my body – from my fingertips to my ears to my toes – it’s like the blood is rushing into each individual one, making my entire body…one tingle…it’s amazing. It’s so amazing it’s…scary.

(She lets out a deep breath and shakes her head)

V.O: But Max is right…we can’t…there are so many risks – and not the ones we learned about in Sex Ed.…risks that you can’t find in a book. (She pauses) But…if Max makes me feel like this every time he touches me now…(she pauses again and swallows hard)…then I am in serious, serious…

Nancy (upon entering the room): Hi sweetie.

Liz (jerking her head up from what she’s been writing and barely able to speak): Mom. (She watches her mom hang up her coat and then looks back down at what she was writing. She takes a deep breath, scribbles the word ‘trouble!’ and then folds up what she wrote and puts it behind her pillow.)

Nancy (looking through a bag as she sits down in the chair next to Liz): I brought you some things. (She looks up at Liz who gives her a weak smile.)

(Scene: Outside Michael’s Apartment. Max is sitting on the curb staring at the street thinking – doing a whole lot of thinking. He doesn’t notice Isabel and Michael pull up in the jeep.)

Michael (walking up behind him, jokingly): Problems already? (Max looks up at him and startles Michael with the myriad of emotions that are reflected in his eyes.)

Max: We need to talk.

(Scene cuts to the three of them inside the apartment. Isabel is looking at Max with a concerned/confused face, as is Michael. Max is just trying to figure out where to begin.)

Michael: Maxwell, what’s going on?

Isabel (concerned): Did something happen? (At her question Max looks up and over to her, causing her concern to grow) What happened Max?

Max (letting out a breath and hesitantly): I touched her…wound…and saw things.

Michael: What’s new?

Max (quickly looks over to him): I saw Nasedo. (At that Michael and Isabel drop their mouths.)

Michael: What?

Isabel: How?

Max (shaking his head): I don’t know.

Michael (slightly challengingly): How do you know it was him?

Max: Liz…she says it’s him, she doesn’t know how but she knows it’s him.

Michael: That doesn’t mean anything.

Isabel (turning to him angrily): Michael!

Max (continuing): She thinks he saved her.

Isabel/Michael: What?

Max: Do you know where she got shot? (Walking over to Michael and pushing his finger into Michael’s chest where the bullet entered Liz, a little forcefully) Tell me how you get shot here without damaging anything?

Michael: You’re the honor student...

Max: I’ll tell you – you don’t!

Isabel (grasping for understanding): What are you saying Max? That somehow he was there at the shooting and saved her?

Max: I don’t know Iz…something saved her and it wasn’t any of us.

Isabel: What about the vision?

Max (he looks at her): I don’t know.

Michael: If it even was him, maybe he dreamwalked.

Isabel: Couldn’t have. (Max and Michael both look at her confused and she sheepishly looks away from Max) I tried.

Max: Isabel!

Isabel (being classic Isabel): Please! I was trying to get her to wake up so she and Maria could – as Maria puts it – kick your sorry ‘unearthly’ ass. (Max is about to retort but is cut off by Michael.)

Michael (irritated): Back to now please! (Max and Isabel look over at him) What do we have here…a man who may or may not have been Nasedo talking to Liz in her coma…and the theory that Nasedo may or may not have saved Liz’s life?

Max: There’s more. (He looks up and glances between them) I saw the symbols from the cave and there was one…I hadn’t seen before.

Michael: What?

Max: I’m pretty sure I know all the symbols in that cave Michael and this one wasn’t one of them.

Isabel: Maybe Liz ‘dreamed’ it up.

Max (shaking his head): I don’t think so.

Michael (steps toward him): Show me.

Max (backs away): What?

Michael (still steps toward him): Show me. Do your little connection thing and show it to me.

Max (still backing away slightly): I can’t.

Michael (seriously getting irritated): Maximilian we’ve done this before…I need to see it.

Max (thinking about everything else Michael would see): No Michael I can’t…show it to you like that.

Michael: Max…now is not the time for modesty…it’s not like I don’t see you staring at her all the time and it’s not like I haven’t seen a few things from when we’ve done this before…I’ve seen it all Max and it’s actually quite boring.

Isabel (getting pissy): Yea, nothing like what’s in your dreams, huh Michael? (He whips around to her and she just gives him a ‘look’.)

Max (more to himself than anyone): You haven’t seen this. (But it catches the attention of both Michael and Isabel who look at him questioningly and expectantly. He looks at them.) Just give me a minute okay Michael. I need to try and block it out.

Isabel (now pretty curious): Block what exactly?

Max (getting defensive): It’s personal…okay Iz. And it doesn’t have anything to do with you…(looking at Michael) or you!

(He rubs his hand through his hair and closes his eyes trying to see just the symbol – good luck! He’s not sure he’s going to be able to do this without betraying a little bit of Liz to Michael and he sighs heavily. He opens his eyes to look at Michael. They stare at each other for a few moments.)

Max: Okay. (Michael steps toward Max and then Max reaches out and touches Michael…please just see the image. The connection lasts a little longer than a few seconds, then Michael pulls away.) Did you see it?

Michael (awkwardly): Yea. (He looks at Max with a mixture of surprise and guilt and then quickly starts searching around the apartment for his sketchbook) I need to draw it.

(Max watches Michael avoiding him. He lowers his head letting out a deep breath, sensing that Michael saw more than he wanted him to.)

(Scene: Liz’s Hospital Room. Liz is slightly sitting up in bed staring out the window lost in thought. Maria, carrying a paper bag, walks through the door and stops – when she sees Liz awake. She gasps, covers her mouth with her hand and drops the bag she was holding. Hearing the gasp Liz turns toward the door and smiles at Maria. Maria starts to cry and hurries over to the bed, hugging Liz.)

Liz (through watery eyes): Maria, I’m fine. (Maria pulls away from her and looks at her.)

Maria (sniffling and through tears): Not when I’m done with you. (Liz softly laughs at her) You think I’m kidding. I’d kill you – except I can’t because I don’t know how to live without you – which I’ve been doing for the past 4 days and let me just tell you…

Liz: I love you too. (Maria swallows hard and then breaks down hugging Liz again.)

Maria (very muffled through tears): I love you so much Lizzie, don’t ever do that to me again. You and my mom – you’re all I’ve got.

Liz (through her own tears): Maria…I promise…

Maria (pulling away from her): You better promise…That’s twice now you know…twice – and I don’t think I can handle another one…

Liz: I promise…but it’s not like I intentionally did it…

Maria: Just comes with the territory…I know…

Liz (looking a little confused): What?

Maria: Max didn’t tell you…(Liz shakes her head and Maria leans in whispering)…they think someone shot you on purpose – so he would save you.

Liz (thoughtfully): I think part of me knew that.

Maria: That’s why Prince Charming turned into such a sorry ass toad…

Liz (laughing at her): Maria.

Maria: And it’s a good thing he came to his senses because I was seriously contemplating killing him. (Maria gives her a sideways glance) Now I just have to kill Michael…his ‘toady’-in-waiting.

Liz (laughing): What would I do without you?

Maria: It would serve you right – scratch that…let’s hope you never have to find out – cause I don’t think I could do this…(Maria sweepingly looks over Liz in the hospital bed)…you know how I am…with…um…stuff like this…(she swallows)…I thought you were going to die. (She looks up at Liz) We all thought…(She can’t finish and Liz pulls her into another hug.)

Alex (upon entering the door): I see you’ve started without me.

Liz: Alex! (He sets down his backpack and walks over to the other side of the bed, kissing Liz on the forehead and then hugging her.)

(Scene: Michael’s Apartment. Max is now sitting in a chair with his head buried in his hands. Isabel is watching him from the couch with a very intrigued look on her face. Michael is in the bedroom paging through his sketchbook looking for a symbol to match the one he’s drawn from what he saw in Max.)

Isabel (softly to Max): Max, what’s wrong? (Max doesn’t move) Max? (He raises his head to look at her and then lowers it again to his hands.) You know I can just touch you and find out for myself.

Max (not moving): Don’t even think about it.

Isabel: Well, I’m sure I’ll find out sooner or later. You know how he likes to use these kinds of things against you.

(Max lets out a sigh and sinks farther into his misery and for a moment Isabel slightly regrets the comment.)

Michael (returning to the room with the sketchbook and the drawing in hand): You were right. (Max raises his head and Michael looks down at the sketch and then sits next to Isabel on the couch) It’s not in here…there isn’t a symbol that’s even close to it.

Isabel: We don’t even know if it’s a real symbol.

Michael: It is.

Max (looking over to him): Now you’re convinced?

Michael (he looks at Max): That was Nasedo.

Isabel: What? How could you tell?

Michael (looking from Isabel to Max): I could…tell.

Max: How?

Michael: Look, I’m the one that’s been able to sense this guy and I could just tell okay. That was him…Liz was right.

Isabel: So what? He visits Liz in a coma and leaves her a symbol? It doesn’t make any sense. And why Liz? There can’t be two of you fixated on her – one of you is bad enough. You aren’t secretly holding out for Liz too are you Michael? Maybe it’s something with the males of our species.

Michael: Isabel!

Isabel: What! She isn’t even one of us and he’s giving her all of our secrets. Like that doesn’t piss you off?

Michael: He’s using her...(They both start at the sound of the front door slamming shut. And quickly look at the empty chair. Under his breath) Shit.

(Scene: Liz’s Hospital Room. Maria is finishing up the ice cream, Alex is pulling out books from his backpack, and Liz is sitting in bed looking kind of tired.)

Alex (while pulling out a book): Geometry…(pulling out another book) History…English – this is the one that was really weighing me down (he holds up a paperback copy of The Great Gatsby and Liz smiles at him)…and last but definitely not least Biology (he pulls out a rather large book). How you’re not a hunchback from carrying these around is a mystery.

Maria: The ‘mystery’ called…a locker Alex.

Alex: Yea, well I didn’t get these from a locker did I? I had to go searching through your – might I say – rather messy room Miss Parker. Your tidiness is certainly slacking. For a moment I thought I was in the wrong room (he looks over at Maria).

Maria: And just what are you looking at me for?

Liz (a little confused): Wait…what to do you mean messy…how messy?

Alex: I don’t know (motioning to Maria) her room times about two.

Maria (throwing her spoon at him): Hey!

Alex: Hey, I’m just stating the obvious…

Liz (now pretty confused): My room was messy?

Alex: Shocking isn’t it? I mean how many outfits did you two try on when you went out on Friday…you know you could be wearing sweats and a poncho and he’ll still look at you like this (he demonstrates an overly dramatic lovey look).

Maria (choking on her laughter): What are you talking about Alex – we didn’t try on any outfits.

Alex: Maybe your mom got a little over anxious to find your coming-home-from-the-hospital outfit…though I think your Homecoming gown is a bit much.

Liz (through laughter): Alex, what are you talking about? My homecoming dress?

Alex: It was on the bed with a bunch of other…questionable outfits from your closet…

Liz: What exactly did my room look like?

Alex: I don’t know…dresser drawers open, closet open, stuff on your bed. Your desk was a DeLuca disaster. And the stuff from under your bed was pulled out – what were you looking for down there anyway?

Liz (the smile fading from her face): I wasn’t.

Maria (looking at her): What do you mean?

Liz (looking at Maria and starting to get a little concerned): Maria, you were with me right before we left. I didn’t get anything out from under my bed, and I know my desk wasn’t messy – it’s never messy.

Maria: Where are you going with this?

Liz: Somebody was in my room.

Alex: Why? What would they be looking for…besides fashionable clothing?

Liz/Maria (looking at each other and at the same time under their breaths): Journal.

Alex: Come again.

Liz (looking to Alex): My journal. They’re looking for my journal.

Maria: But who?

Liz: Who ever shot me. Good luck finding it, though – they’d have to have x-ray vision.

Maria (thinking about the last journal thief): They just might. (Liz gives her a slight reprimanding look and as Maria looks away her eye catches on a folded piece of paper lying on the floor. She bends down and picks it up) What’s this?

Liz (wide-eyed with the realization that Maria is holding her impromptu journal entry she reaches out and snatches it from her, looking down at the paper and taking a deep breath): Um…I think maybe I need my journal…with me...(she looks back down at the paper, under her breath)…definitely with me.

(Scene: A Park, near the hospital later that evening. Max is sitting on a bench staring at the red cross on the roof of the Hospital that’s visible above the tree tops.)

Max: What are you doing here? (Michael approaches Max from behind and sits down next to him. They sit in silence for awhile until Max breaks it, a little forcefully) What’d you see Michael?

Michael: Max…

Max (turning to face him and angrily): What did you see!

Michael (looks away): Just the symbol…all the symbols…Nasedo…River Dog – that was a surprise.

Max (looking at him scrutinizingly): What else?

(Michael looks over to meet his stare and they just look at each other for a few very tense moments.)

Michael (finally looking away): That was some kiss. (At that Max closes his eyes and exhales heavily) Where’d you learn that one? (Max angrily gets off the bench and starts heading for the hospital. Michael follows after him) Maxwell! (He reaches out and grabs his arm and Max stops, angrily jerks it away from Michael and turns to face him.)

Max (yelling more at himself than Michael): You weren’t supposed to see that!

Michael: Well I wish I hadn’t. (Max turns to leave) We need to talk about what to do.

Max (angrily): Talk about it?

Michael: Maxwell we said we’d talk about this.

Max (again turning to leave): Well not tonight Michael.

Michael: Max.

Max (having had enough of this conversation): I haven’t even talked to her about this. Why the hell do you think I’m gonna talk to you about this? I don’t even know what this is…

Michael: It affects me…it affects all of us.

Max: It affects YOU? It affects ME and HER – not you!

Michael (a little irritated): Maxwell.

Max (on the brink): Don’t push me Michael.

(And something in his eyes makes Michael take a step back. Max turns and walks toward the hospital with Michael watching him intently.)

(Scene: Hospital Hallway. Max is walking down the hallway to Liz’s room. Before he gets to the window he stops and leans his back against the wall. Bringing his hands to his head and closing his eyes he tries to organize his thoughts but after a moment he shakes his head – realizing that’s impossible. He takes a deep breath and then walks past the window and turns to enter the room, but stops in his tracks in the doorframe. He’s about to back up but is stopped when Liz catches sight of him.)

Liz: Max. (Her parents turn to the door and Max has a very deer-caught-in-head-lights appearance about himself.)

Max (stuttering and pointing back the way he wants to be heading): I…could…um…

Jeff: No, no Max…come on in…(he gets up from his chair and looks at Nancy who mirrors his smiling face.) I think we were just about to let our little girl get some sleep.

Liz (slightly embarrassed): Dad. (Jeff bends down to kiss the top of her head.)

Jeff (a little louder than a whisper): You’ll always be our little girl. (Whispering in her ear) Besides it’s better than being called sweet pea…or pumpkin. (Liz’s face cringes.)

Liz: Dad…enough with the vegetables.

Nancy (bending down to kiss her forehead): We’ll be back in the morning okay baby…(she looks at Max out of the corner of her eye – still standing in the doorway)…after eight.

Liz (looking up at her mom, softly): Thank you.

Nancy (softly): Be good.

Jeff (now standing near Max by the door): Chairs here are a bit more comfortable than the ones in the waiting room.

Max (sheepishly looking from Liz to her father): Yea, a little bit.

(Nancy comes over to join them, putting her arm around Jeff’s waist.)

Jeff (putting his hand on Max’s back and looking at Liz): We’ll see you tomorrow.

(He looks down at Max, slightly nodding and then the Parkers exit the room. Max watches them walk down the hall and then he slowly looks over at Liz.)

Liz: Sorry about that.

Max (hesitantly walking over to the chair): Sorry for what?

Liz: My dad.

Max: He’s just being a dad.

Liz (playfully): So…how comfy are these chairs really, compared to the ones in the waiting room?

Max: Not really, I think they’re the same chairs just reupholstered…(shyly) It’s the view that’s better.

Liz: I see. (They fall into a semi-awkward silence for a few minutes, neither really knowing where to begin. Music: David Mead – Breathe You In) So…

Max (again he finds himself staring at the creases in the linoleum floor): So…

Liz (reaching out to touch is hand): What now Max?

Max (looking up at her): I don’t know…I’ve never thought about this – no I mean I have, God I have, but I just never thought that you…(he trails off)

Liz: That I what?

Max (looking away from her): I never thought you could feel that way about me – that anybody could feel that way…

Liz: How could I not Max? I mean, it surprised me because I’ve never felt that way before…but it didn’t surprise me that it was you making me feel that way. (Blushing a little) If your kisses make me fly I should have known what your touch would do.

Max: But maybe it’s just what I am…maybe that’s what’s making you feel like that…maybe…

Liz: Maybe it’s just that I love you. (Max looks over at her, with little boy eyes) All of you…I told you that. It’s everything about you…everything you are and everything you aren’t.

Max: But…

Liz: But what Max? What more do you need?

Max (struggling to believe): I…um…

Liz (looking at her hands nervously): You shared something with me today when you kissed me…and…um…I’d like to share something with you. (Max looks over at her not quite sure what she’s saying. She blushes, very embarrassed) I’d like to give you the same gift…if you’ll kiss me again.

(She looks up and their eyes meet. Hours pass in that one moment. She reaches out and takes his hand and gently pulls him to the bed – their gaze never breaking. He swallows, she swallows. He leans in almost in slow motion, searching her eyes for a sign of doubt, of retreat, but there’s nothing. Just love…love for him. She closes her eyes with anticipation but the kiss doesn’t come and she opens them looking into his eyes, only inches from hers. So close – if she stuck out her tongue she’d be able to lick his lips for him. Another one of those endless moments passes lost in each other’s eyes. And then she hears it…feels it…like a kiss.)

Max (barely audible): I love you too.

(He closes the half an inch distance between their lips and they kiss. He reaches up to hold her face and everything opens. If he thought the kiss before was incredible this is unbelievable. Her feelings for him…all of them…the ones you would expect…love, hope, desire and wanting but the one he is searching for is the first one he finds – acceptance, unconditional and complete. How did he get so lucky?

(And then it happens. It hits him like a train. Stars – lots of stars…speeding through them…passing unfamiliar planets?…asteroids. It gets faster…becomes familiar…Saturn?…is that the sun?…Earth….still getting faster…and then…a crash and nothing. He jerks away from Liz and almost falls on top of her trying desperately to catch his breath.)

Liz (panicked and concerned): Max? (He looks up at her and then lowers his head in exhaustion.)

posted on 15-Sep-2001 1:46:48 PM
Title: “Rounding Second” (Awakening trilogy, Part 2)
Author: N/A
Email: ajrocchio⊕
Rating: PG-13 for language and sexual situations
Category: Other Stories
Disclaimers: The characters of Roswell belong to the WB, among others, but apparently I need to keep borrowing them.

(Scene: School, Geometry class. The class is taking a test, with the exception of Max – who is staring blankly down at the one on his desk. He closes his eyes and takes in a deep breath.)

-------Flashback to that morning------

(Scene: Liz’s Hospital Room. Liz is asleep in the bed, looking very peaceful. Max is sitting in the chair pulled close to the bed, staring at her. She starts to stir a little and Max leans over her and starts lightly blowing on her face. She turns her head and brings her hands to her face to fight off the imaginary tickler. Max, amused, continues to blow on her ear and neck until she finally shakes her head and wakes up rubbing her face and ear.)

Max (smiling silly): Good morning.

Liz (looking over at Max’s amused face): Apparently. Having fun?

Max: Actually...(he smiles mischeviously) I can think of some other ways to have fun. (Liz playfully hits him on the arm)

Liz (smiling): Oh really? And what might those be?

Max (as he leans in to kiss her): Something like this.

(He’s just about to kiss her when she puts her hand on his chest and stops him from moving forward. He looks at her hand and then slightly frowns up at her.)

Liz: Are you gonna tell me what happened last night?

Max (sighs to himself and then sits back down in the chair looking away from Liz): I don’t really know what happened.

Liz: Max…

Max (looking over at her): I don’t know…maybe I’m just tired. Yesterday was a little…

Liz (looking down at her hands and finishing for him): Overwhelming.

Max (looking at her, softly): Yea.

Liz (after a pause and still looking at her hands): I can’t control how I’m feeling – I don’t even know what I’m feeling. (She steals a sideways glance up at Max, and continues shyly) It’s like an emotional kaleidoscope – all these different feelings combining to form these patterns I’ve never seen…emotions I’ve never felt before…and even when the feelings change and the pattern is different…it’s still beautiful. (She swallows and looks up at him) I don’t want to control how I feel.

Max (struggling to control the giddiness within him): Liz…I…I have to…to try anyway. You’ve always made me feel…feel normal…like being here wasn’t so bad. If I could just see you everyday and see you smile – it made being here okay. You’ve always been my weakness Liz…(sort of mumbling to himself and smiling) control sort of goes out the window. (He looks up at her) But I’m not normal Liz. I don’t want to do anything to hurt you and we don’t know…I have to try and stay in control…I have to think about…

Liz (gently interrupting him): Don’t think Max. (Max stops mid-sentence with mouth open) We think about everything…and when we’re done we think about it again. For a few moments…(wistfully under her breath) or more…can’t we just feel?

Max (stuttering): Liz…I…I

Liz: I’m not talking about…(She stops and immediately blushes at the thought of the word she was about to say – ‘sex.’ It has yet to be uttered between them and she doesn’t want to be the one to say it. She looks up at Max for help but he looks a little confused.) You know…

(Max looks at her blankly and then – OH! The thought of hearing that word come out of her mouth is enough for his imagination to create a few visual aides. Stop it! He quickly shakes his head and then looks down at her and then away.)

Max (embarrassed from where his mind went): Oh…right.

Liz: I’m just taking about this (she reaches out and slides her hand into his and he looks at her)…about enjoying how we make each other feel. (She gently pulls him toward her.)

Max: Liz I don’t know if I can…um…control…

Liz (as he gets closer to her): Don’t think Max…just feel.

Max (as they’re about to kiss): Feel.

(Their lips meet and there’s a whole lot of feeling going on. Liz hooks her left arm around his neck and after a moment he starts to pull away. He doesn’t get very far as her arm holds him about an inch away from her.)

Liz (looking up at him breathless): Feel more Max.

(He smiles at her and then lowers his mouth to hers. Feel…that’s all he can do…feel her mouth, her face with his hands…feel her everywhere inside of him. And just as she slides her hand up his neck so her fingers are playing with his hair it happens again. Except this time the train isn’t moving so fast – it’s almost like he’s floating through it…stars…lots of stars and…unfamiliar…planets?…with…moons?…it gets a little faster…more stars…asteroids…more stars…that is Saturn…and the Sun…and Earth…he can see it coming closer…North America…the speed picks up…it’s dark…nothing…the desert…too fast…then flames…and a scream…and faint tapping – wait there wasn’t any tapping.)

(Max shakes his head and his Geometry test comes into focus in front of him. He sees a hand tapping a pen on his desk and he raises his eyes to meet those of the teacher staring down at him.)

Mr. Singer: Planning on starting this test today Mr. Evans?

Max (quickly trying to gain composure): Um…yes Mr. Singer…I’m sorry.

(Mr. Singer looks down at Max and then continues walking down the isle. Michael looks over at Max questioningly.)

(Scene: Liz’s Hospital Room. Liz is sitting up in bed chewing on her pen as she stares down at the blank piece of paper resting on the tray covering her lap. She closes her eyes, smiles, and softly shakes her head.)

Voice over: How is it that ‘feeling’ and ‘thinking’ have become competitively exclusive processes. I mean, they should be compatible…shouldn’t they? One can think and feel at the same time – right? Isn’t it normal to think about what you’re feeling while you’re feeling it…and what happens when you can’t? Like you really can’t…because I can’t anymore. When I’m ‘feeling’ Max I lose all thinking capabilities…okay, well not all capabilities just the rational ones…and…aren’t those kind of the important ones? Shouldn’t I be thinking of consequences or something instead of how soft his hair is or his lips are…or…his stomach – I wonder if his skin is soft and smooth (she swallows hard) – oh boy. And the problem – one…of many – is that I told Max for a few moments we should just feel…not think…just feel. And the problem with that is…(she pauses)…those few moments – I don’t want them to end. We are headed down a one way road and…(she pauses again)…I don’t think either one of us is coherent enough to be driving. That can’t be good…but God it feels good…

Sheriff Valenti (from inside the door): Miss Parker? (Liz looks up from the paper at the sound of his voice and immediately blushes – for no visible reason.)

Liz (surprised): Sheriff.

Valenti: Am I disturbing you?

Liz (looking down at what she was writing and quickly folding it up): No…no you aren’t.

Valenti (coming farther into the room): I need to ask you some questions about the shooting.

Liz: I don’t know how much help I’ll be Sheriff, I don’t really remember anything.

Valenti: Did you see the car…or maybe anything peculiar throughout the evening?

Liz (thoughtfully): No Sheriff…I just remember Max.

(The Sheriff slightly smiles at her answer and then grows serious and looks at her intently.)

Valenti: Miss Parker, I believe you were shot intentionally…(Liz sort of squirms a bit and looks away from him)…but I think you already knew that. (Liz looks up at him) These people are dangerous and I can’t protect you if I don’t know why they’re shooting at you. (He pauses) And it’s not just you Miss Parker…they’re after him.

(Scene: School Quad. Michael is sitting at a table thoughtfully eating and watching Maria across the quad. Max approaches the table looking a little disheveled.)

Max (as he sits): We need to talk.

Michael (with a tiny hint of sarcasm): And this is a good time for you?

Max (looks at him and then away): Something’s happening.

Michael: What are you talking about – and don’t get descriptive with the details.

Max: Michael I’m seeing things.

Michael: Maxwell we’re all seeing things.

Max: No Michael, like things I shouldn’t be seeing from Liz.

Michael: Like what?

Max: When I kiss her…

Michael (interrupting): Are we talking ‘kissing’ like the way the rest of us do it or ‘kissing’ as in your new method of suck-face soul searching?

Max (just looks at him blankly and hesitantly): The last one.

Michael: Figures. So what’d you see Maxwell? She cheats on tests or some other deep dark terrible secret?

Max (a little hesitantly): You remember the beginning to the movie Contact?

Michael (confused): Yea.

Max: That – only backwards. Like it was moving toward Earth instead of away.

Michael (now a little more confused): What are you talking about?

Max: I don’t know what I’m talking about. Twice…last night and then this morning I’ve kissed her and seen it…it’s like I’m moving through space toward Earth and then…(he looks up at Michael)…and then crashing. Michael I think I’m seeing the crash.

Michael: What!

Max: I saw the desert and then flames, bright flames and screaming – I heard it Michael.

Michael (total defensive disbelief): How? No it doesn’t matter it’s impossible.

Max: I thought so last night…I thought maybe I was tired or something but this morning Michael…it was real and it was coming from her.

Michael (in the same anger/disbelief tone): Maxwell...

Max (cutting him off): Michael it’s like that symbol. How did she know that…how did it get…‘inside’ her?

Michael (shaking his head): I don’t know. (He pauses and then looks up at Max’s flustered eyes) Nasedo.

Max (letting out a shaky breath and then frantically): He wouldn’t right? I mean he wouldn’t do what I’m thinking he did…(looking up at Michael almost pleadingly) Michael? He wouldn’t would he?

Michael (slowly): Max…what are you thinking?

Max (still frantic): It doesn’t make any sense…I don’t even know what I’m thinking…

Michael (a little firmly): Maxwell, what are you thinking?

Max (now talking to himself): No…he wouldn’t…he couldn’t…

(He gets up from the table and hurriedly walks off toward the parking lot.)

Michael (calling after him): Max! Maxwell!

(Scene: Denny’s Restaurant. Agents Banks and Jones are sitting in an isolated booth in the back corner.)

Banks: It’s gotta be the Sheriff.

Jones: Why wouldn’t he have turned it in – it’s the proof he’s been looking for.

Banks: I don’t know. He’s the only one that makes sense though. None of her friends would have taken it…and the ex-boyfriend turned out negative according to Topolski’s report.

Jones: You’re sure it wasn’t in the room?

Banks: Unless it’s invisible. I was gonna try the boyfriend. Maybe he took it for safe keeping…not too happy about her writing it all down.

Jones: He sleeps at the hospital with her – I think tonight’s the night. We need something, and we need it soon.

Banks: What’ve you got planned?

(Agent Jones leans across the table and their conversation continues in whispers.)

(Scene: Liz’s Hospital Room. Liz is attempting to do some studying. She’s got her Geometry book open and her calculator out but she’s not getting very far. She stares at a couple of problems – attempts them and then erases them. This happens a few times before she realizes that she has company in the room. She looks up and sees Max watching her quietly from the doorway.)

Liz (smiling): Hey.

Max (quietly): Hey.

Liz (looking at him closely): Max are you okay? Is everything okay?

Max (letting out a breath and shaking the thoughts of Nasedo from his head): Yea…(he walks toward the chair) I just didn’t do to well on that test today.

Liz (playfully): Maybe I should find another tutor.

Max (looks at her and smiles): My failure was entirely your fault…it had nothing to do with my grasp of complementary angles.

Liz: My fault…looking for scapegoats are we?

Max: If I hadn’t been thinking about you…

Liz: Thinking? I told you no thinking. I’ve decided at times it’s entirely overrated…and besides it seems I can’t do much of it myself – especially with you around.

Max: What was that about scapegoats?

Liz (reaching out to take his hand and changing her tone): I was worried about you.

Max (surprised): Me?

Liz: Sheriff Valenti was here earlier.

Max: Valenti. What’d he want?

Liz: To talk about the shooting. I told him I didn’t remember anything but…Max he knows it wasn’t an accident. And I think he knows who did it.

Max: How? What’d he say?

Liz: He said they were dangerous…and that…that they’re after you.

Max (trying to convince himself along with Liz): He’s just trying to scare you…to scare us. (He moves from the chair to the bed and gently strokes her hair) Nothing’s going to happen. I won’t let anything happen to you again.

Liz: I’m not worried about me Max…I’m worried about you.

Max: Nothing’s going to happen to me. He’s just trying to scare you into saying something.

Liz: Well the scaring part worked.

Max (brushing back a loose strand of her hair, softly): I promise…nothing…

Liz: Max someone tried…Max I think…

(Max cuts her off by putting his thumb over her lips as he holds her face with the rest of his hand.)

Max: None of that remember?

(Liz smiles and looking into his eyes forgets the other semi-important thing she was supposed to tell him. How does he do that? She couldn’t remember her name right now if someone asked her.. He glides his thumb over her lips and then replaces it with his own lips. Thinking…thinking is definitely overrated. As the kiss is about to deepen Max reluctantly pulls back, afraid that another vision might come. Liz looks up at him with a small pout.)

Max: I’m here to help you study…school – not me.

Liz (frowning): But that’s thinking.

Max (sitting back in the chair and pulling out his books from his backpack): I know but we have to keep up appearances. (He looks at her and smiles) Otherwise the principal might not be so generous with letting me be here. (He looks down to the books) What do you want to start with?

Liz (frowning and looking at him wistfully, pouting): Biology.

(Scene: Liz’s Hospital Room…various scenes of Max attempting to help Liz with her homework, while Liz makes every attempt to thwart Max’s concentration. Music: David Mead – Sweet Sunshine.

…Max pulls out his Biology lab notebook with photocopies of the notes he’s taken for Liz. He opens the book and sets it on the tray table in front of her and starts talking about what they did. Liz just stares at the side of his face. He gives her a sideways glance and points to the notebook. She pouts and reluctantly looks at it, bending over it so her head is just slightly touching Max’s. He readjusts so it’s not so close and then starts passionately describing the intricate workings of Evolutionary Biology. Meanwhile, Liz pretends to be looking at the notes instead of memorizing every detail of his hands...

…half an hour later…Max is trying to show Liz how to do the Geometry problems she was working on. He’s now, unfortunately for him, sitting on the bed so she can watch how he does the problems. Liz is leaning unnecessarily close to him pretending to be concentrating on the problems and not reveling in his scent. Max keeps glancing at her to make sure she’s following what he’s doing, but catches her looking at him every time. She gives him innocent looks and then quickly turns her attention to the problems. He finishes and it’s her turn to try and do them so he moves back to the chair with a sigh of relief. But as soon as he sits down she turns to him and asks him a question, very innocently. He lets out another sigh and then sits back on the bed. He answers the question and then makes a move for the chair but Liz puts her hand on his leg, abruptly stopping any movement, and tells him he should stay, she might have more questions. He readjusts and stays put...

…over an hour later…Max is now leaning back in the bed, asleep, while Liz finishes up her Geometry problems. She quietly closes her book and puts it on the chair to her left. She gently pushes the tray table off to the side and then turns to look at Max’s sleeping face. How does he sleep in the most awkward positions and still look peaceful? She leans back so she’s only inches away from his face, and lightly begins to trace the curve of his chin with her finger. She moves, as slowly and quietly as she can, and gently kisses his forehead. When she pulls away she can see the smile on his lips and she slowly lowers her head and kisses him. Max, forgetting the reason why he was trying not to kiss her, brings his hands to her face and pulls her into him, deepening the kiss. As they begin to shift positions on the bed so that Liz is leaning back and lower than Max, Max remembers just why he didn’t want to kiss her...

…It starts as a burst of light…flames…smoke…searching through the smoke…and metal…shiny silvery metal. Then four pods…picking them up one at a time…running…looking backward…smoke in the sky…resting…running…setting the pods down and then returning to the crash. Searching…picking things up…can’t see what they are…rocks?…something else…voices…running…hiding…watching…

…There’s a part of Max that knows he should pull out of the kiss but he can’t, because another part of him wants – no – needs, to know what more he can see. And it doesn’t help that Liz’s hands and arms are firmly grasping his back…she sure is strong for being so tiny…Liz…her mouth…her lips…her tongue – where’d that come from!...her ear…her neck…it all just tastes so good…a bright light flashes…flood lights?…voices…soft crying…running…falling on the ground…running…the pods…searching for a place…a cave…the cave…the pods…a blinding blue light filling the cave…the symbols…the boulder sliding into place.)

Maria (standing in the door a little more than shocked at the sight of her best friend necking on the hospital bed…and where are his hands!): AHEM!

(Max and Liz immediately pull apart. Liz sits up and looks to the door while Max just looks at the wall trying to collect himself.)

Liz (blushing is an understatement): Maria! Um…what…are…um…what time is it?

Maria (shocked and amused): Time for a study break.

(Scene: School Parking lot. Isabel is looking around for the jeep but doesn’t see it. Alex walks up to her shaking a pair of keys.)

Alex: Need a lift?

Isabel (doubting him): You?

Alex: Roswell beware…Alex Whitman has arrived – on four wheels.

Isabel (surprised): When’d you take the test?

Alex: Yesterday. I already had the appointment before everything happened.

Isabel: Why didn’t you tell anyone?

Alex: What, and have you know if I failed? I think I do quite well with self-humiliation – without help from the DMV.

Isabel (looking around the lot): So which one’s yours?

Alex (he nods and they start walking toward a brown truck – hunting rack included and visible): Bambi.

Isabel: What?

Alex: It’s Dad’s, he calls it Bambi…there’s irony there you don’t want to be a witness to. (Unlocking Isabel’s door) Where to?

Isabel: Home. Mom can take me to the Crashdown.

Alex (getting in): I can take you there. I have to go anyway.

Isabel (suspiciously): A little early for dinner isn’t it?

Alex: I’ve gotta get something for Liz from her room...and do a little cleaning while I’m there.

Isabel (surprised): Cleaning? Don’t tell me Liz Parker’s not the ‘Little Miss Tidy’ she appears to be.

Alex (letting out a laugh): No, that she is. (He pauses, glancing at her out of the corner of his eye. His tone is serious when he continues) Actually, Isabel…Um, someone broke into her room the other day.

Isabel: What!

Alex: She thinks they were looking for her journal.

Isabel (panicky): Alex…

Alex: Don’t worry – she’s not. She’s got a pretty good hiding place for it…it’d be pretty impossible for someone to find.

Isabel: Oh my God, Alex.

Alex: You know I wasn’t even surprised? I think I’m damaged for life…

(Scene: Liz’s Hospital Room. Maria shuts the door behind Max and turns to look at Liz – who’s straightening her gown and her hair.)

Maria (bluntly): What was that?

Liz (sheepishly looking up): What?

Maria (exploding): What? What!…(pointing to the bed)…that!

Liz: Maria…it was…um…(thinking about it and looking up at Maria’s not quite patient gaze)…well…I guess it was what it looked like.

Maria: What it looked liked? Do you have any idea what it looked like…you were being ravished on your hospital bed…on your hospital bed! You…Liz Parker…ravished…and where were his hands – no don’t tell me…(Liz opens her mouth to speak but Maria continues) No tell me I want to know exactly what I just saw.

Liz: Maria…

Maria: Tell me! Now – and can you explain to me the whole process by which Max Evans gets from shy step-backer to total mac-attacker please!

Liz (now completely flustered): Maria…it just happened.

Maria: Just happened? Bad hair just happens, this does not just…happen.

Liz (lost in remembering): He touched me.

Maria: Ya…clearly…he was touching a whole lot of you.

Liz: No Maria he…(looking at her almost dizzy)…he touched me.

Maria: What are you talking about?

Liz: The nurse was showing me what the doctors did and Max came and he…touched me.

Maria: Okay Roma Downey what are you talking about?

Liz: Maria, he was touching the area around the wound…(she pulls her gown straight so Maria can see where the bandage is)…and it was so warm…and so gentle…Maria he was so gentle and I didn’t want him to stop…(blushing a little) and I didn’t want him to be touching just my stomach.

Maria (mouth dropping open): Who are you? Are they giving you drugs?

Liz: Maria!

Maria: What’s my favorite flavor?

Liz: Maria.

Maria: Say it!

Liz: Mint chocolate chip…

Maria: Oh my god. Lizzie what are you saying?

Liz (bringing her hands to her head): I don’t know…I just…(she looks up at Maria) I don’t know.

Maria: Have you guys like…done anything?

Liz: No…just what you saw.

Maria: Which was plenty.

Liz: Maria it’s not like we were going to have…you know…(she blushes and Maria just looks at her)

Maria: Say it.

Liz: No.

Maria: Elizabeth Anne Parker if you’re even thinking about it you have to say it.

Liz (totally embarrassed at this whole conversation): Sex…(Maria gasps and covers her mouth with her hand) Satisfied? Sex, sex, sex…

Maria (covering her ears): Enough! I can’t take anymore!

(Liz stops and brings her hands to her head. She peeks through them at Maria who looks shocked. They make eye contact and then burst into laughter.)

(Scene: Michael’s Apartment. Max, looking upset, knocks on the door.)

Michael (opening the door and eyeing Max’s distraught appearance): Maxwell.

Max (entering the apartment): I used her.

Michael: What are you talking about?

Max (looking up at Michael upset): Michael, I used her…I knew I should have pulled back but I couldn’t…Michael I couldn’t I…I had to see it.

Michael: See what? What’d you see?

Max (almost frantic): The crash…there was smoke and flames and the pods and the cave…I saw the cave and this blue light that created the symbols and…(looking up at Michael) Why Michael? Why would he do it?

Michael (dumbfounded): I don’t understand…

Max: Don’t you see…he gave her his memories.

Michael: What?

Max: I’m seeing what he did…what he saw.

Michael (processing it all): What…

Max (distraught): Why…

Michael: Maxwell it doesn’t matter…if she’s got the answers you’ve gotta get them from her.

Max (getting angry): I can’t just get them from her Michael. Don’t you get it? I only see them when we’re…when we’re kissing.

Michael: It doesn’t matter Max you have to.

Max: Are you listening to me?

Michael: Are you listening to you? You not only get the answers to our past, our lives, you get to fuckin’ make-out while doing it. What are you complaining about?

Max (disgusted): How can you say that Michael? I have to think about Liz.

Michael (passionately): You have to think about us Max…this is our past.

Max (in disbelief): It’s HER body…(disgusted) He’s using her and he’s trying to make me use her too.

Michael: Enough with the sensitivity shit…Maxwell it’s not using her when you know she wants it. (The callousness with which that statement was made was enough for the punch to be thrown, and before Michael can react he’s sprawled on the couch behind him holding his face.) What the…

Max (standing over him): Don’t ever talk about her like that.

Michael (seriously angry): I know what I saw and felt…he’s giving you a goddamn gift.

Max: You tell that to Liz.

(He looks angrily down at Michael, shaking his head, and then slams the door on his way out.)

(Scene: Liz’s Hospital Room, a little later that evening. Maria is curled up on the bed next to Liz.)

Liz: Where’s ice cream when we need it?

Maria: It would have melted when I walked through the door.

Liz (playfully hitting her): Stop.

Maria: I can’t help it. This conversation was not supposed to happen for like a couple more years…I mean with Kyle I figured we were pretty safe…And then Max is…Well I didn’t think a viable candidate due to his…you know.

Liz: Maria…I know we can’t…and that’s not really what it’s about.

Maria (giving her a sideways glance, very doubtful): Oh really?

Liz: It’s the feeling…it’s amazing…(biting her lip) I don’t know…it’s just the way he makes me feel.

Maria: As long as his hands are visible at all times.

(Liz hits her again and they both start as Alex enters the room.)

Alex: Ah Houston, we have a problem.

Maria: You mean besides Liz being ‘touched by an alien.’

Liz (shocked): Maria!

Maria (looking at her): Okay, maybe it can’t go all the way but you are definitely headed for a ‘close encounter of the third base kind’.


(Liz pushes her off the bed and covers her head with a pillow while Alex blinks and tries to process exactly what he just heard.)

Alex (fumbling): Um…I…I think um…I’ve missed part of this conversation…and please don’t fill me in.

Liz (throwing her pillow at Maria): Don’t listen to her Alex she’s…um delusional. Everything she says…all lies!

Maria: Delusional? You wanna talk delusions...

Alex (interrupting them): Um…as much as I’m not enjoying this conversation…We have a serious problem.

Liz (looking at Alex): What’s wrong Alex?

Alex: The journal…it was gone.

Liz (completely panicky): What? That can’t be…Alex there’s no way someone would have found it…Are you sure…did you reach in far enough?

Alex: Liz, believe me I looked…it wasn’t behind the brick.

Liz (getting physically upset): Oh my God…Max. What do I tell him? Oh my God Alex…what do we do?

(Scene: Hospital Parking Lot, later that evening. Max reaches for his bag in the backseat of the jeep and when he turns around the Sheriff is standing next to the car.)

Max (startled): Sheriff… you startled me.

Valenti: Son, we need to talk.

Max: I told you I didn’t know anything…

Valenti: That shooting was intentional, we both know that…I don’t want to play games here, I don’t think there’s time for that. You have some very dangerous men after you, Mr. Evans…You’ve seen what they can do.

Max: Why are you telling me this?

Valenti: I don’t know what your secret is son…and at this point it doesn’t matter. My job is to protect you. I’m not denying that knowing why these men are after you wouldn’t help but right now I’m just trying to make sure this town doesn’t have another movie-theater shooting. (Max just looks at him cautiously) I’m telling you that you need to be careful and that I’m doing what I can to make sure they don’t hurt you. (Valenti looks at him intently and then puts his hand on his shoulder) Be careful son. (And he walks away with Max watching him.)

(Scene: Hospital Hallway. The Parkers are standing in the hallway waiting for the elevator. After they enter and the doors close Max steps out of the waiting room and heads down the hall. When he turns to enter the room he can tell that something’s wrong by the look on Liz’s face.)

Max (concerned): Liz? What’s wrong?

Liz (looking up at Max and trying not to breakdown): Max…something happened.

Max (sitting down next to her and taking her hand): What? What happened?

Liz: My journal Max…it’s gone.

Max: Your journal?

Liz (clearly upset): Max somebody broke into my room the other day and…and I don’t know how but they found my journal…I’ve been hiding it in this hole behind a loose brick…I didn’t think anybody could find it there but…Alex went today and it’s…it’s gone.

Max (pulling Liz to him): Shhh…we’ll figure this out…I don’t know how but…we’ll figure this out.

(They sit there quietly with Max just holding Liz and stroking her hair. His mind racing and hers finally slowing down.)

(Scene fast forwards a few hours later. Max and Liz are both sleeping in the room. Agent Jones enters the room dressed as a nurse. He closes the door and then quickly shuts the blinds. He pulls out a cloth and silently walks over to Max. He covers Max’s mouth and nose with it and holds it there for a few seconds. Setting down the cloth he then pulls out a syringe. Rolling up Max’s sleeve he proceeds to draw blood from a vein in Max’s right arm…

…The scene switches to black and white – as it is seen through a small 13” monitor in a van somewhere. Pulling back from the black and white image, more monitors can be seen – each showing a different angle of Liz’s hospital room. There’s an open book on the floor and the contents of a spilt drink seeping into the carpet as the van reverberates from the car door slamming shut. The monitor shows Agent Jones re-buttoning Max’s sleeve, labeling the vile of blood and grabbing the cloth. He quietly exits the room…

…Back at the hospital…Agent Jones walks down the hallway, heading toward the stairs. As he turns a corner he’s knocked down by a janitor hurrying down the hallway. Jones goes sprawling and drops the plastic container of Max’s blood. The janitor apologizes profusely and picks up the blood to hand it to Jones. Jones is seriously pissed and too busy dusting himself off to notice the janitor. He grabs the blood from him and angrily walks off….

…The janitor smiles that slightly sinister smile as he watches Jones enter the stairwell. Turning down the hall the janitor walks toward Liz’s room. After checking to make sure the hall is empty, he enters. He walks over to Max and checks the spot where the blood was drawn. Then walking around the bed he looks at Liz for a few moments. He leans down and whispers something in her ear.)

Liz (jerking up in bed and looking around the now empty room): The key…(Max jerks awake at the sound of Liz’s voice and quickly reaches out for her hand. Liz swallowing hard and looking at Max) I’m the key!?

posted on 15-Sep-2001 1:49:29 PM
Title: “Play Things” (Awakening trilogy, Part 3)
Author: N/A
Email: ajrocchio⊕
Rating: PG-13 for language and sexual situations
Category: Other Stories
Disclaimers: The characters of Roswell belong to the WB, among others, but apparently I need to keep borrowing them.
Author’s note/soapbox: Sorry, I couldn’t help but quote from Romeo and Juliet…

(Scene: Liz’s Hospital Room, middle of the night. Liz is sitting up in bed, startled and confused. Max having awoken to the sound of Liz’s voice is now sitting on the bed facing her.)

Liz (looking at Max for answers, shakily): I’m the…key?

Max (quietly and guiltily): I know…I’m so sorry.

Liz (looking at him confused and questioningly): You knew? When were you going to tell me?

Max (almost ashamedly): Tonight…but then the journal…I didn’t want to upset you.

Liz: What does it mean Max? What did he mean?

Max (alarmed): He?

Liz: Nasedo…I remember what he said…(She looks at Max) He said he needed to see what you would do for your past…for the key… How far I would let you go if…if it was me.

Max (pained): Liz I’m so sorry.

Liz: What does it mean Max?

Max (hesitantly): He’s given you his…memories.

Liz (swallowing in disbelief): What?

Max: I don’t know how…but…um…I think when you were in the coma he gave you…his memories.

Liz: Memories?

Max (meekly): Yes.

Liz: Have you seen them?

Max (looking away from her): Some.

Liz: What have you seen Max?

Max (meeting her almost hurt gaze): The crash, the cave…the pods.

Liz (watching him closely): When do you see them?

Max (swallowing hard and unable to look her in the eye): When we’re kissing.

Liz (softly): Oh.

Max (reaching out to her): Liz I’m sorry. (She looks up at him and he reaches out and brushes a loose strand of hair behind her ear.) I’m so sorry.

Liz (breaking a seemingly endless pause): Where’s the line…Max? (He just looks at her confused, not knowing what to do or say) I just need to know where the line is…that defines when kissing stops being about what we’re feeling and becomes about what you’re seeing.

Max (struggling): Liz…I don’t need visions to want to kiss you…trust me. (Liz softly smiles at him and he caresses her face with his hand) Trust me.

Liz (looking away from him): You don’t know how many there are?

Max: No.

Liz (after another pause): Maybe Max…maybe we should just do what it takes so that they’re gone.

Max (angry with himself and the situation): Don’t say that Liz…please, don’t say that. It’s not supposed to be like this. Why can’t I be normal? Why can’t this be normal?

Liz (gently grabbing his arm to stop him from getting off the bed): Max…this is our normal.

Max (shaking his head): I can’t.

Liz: Max…I can’t not kiss you. It’s not an option.

Max (strained): Liz…I can’t hurt you.

Liz: Max, your kisses don’t hurt me.

Max: But I don’t know where this will lead…we don’t know…and we can’t.

Liz: We’ll deal with that when we get there.

Max (struggling): No.

Liz (cradling his face): Max, this is your past…how can I keep you from it?

Max: Liz…

Liz (softly): It’s okay. (She leans in and kisses him. It takes everything inside of him not to kiss her back. She pulls away and looks at him) Do you want to kiss me Max? (He doesn’t have to answer, the struggle is visible in his eyes.) Don’t do it for what might happen…do it because you want to and we’ll see where it goes…Kiss me Max. (Music: Third Eye Blind – Deep Inside Of You)

(She kisses him again. At first he doesn’t respond but as she starts to pull away he reaches up and holding the back of her head he pulls her back to him. She parts her lips and braces herself for the tidal wave of emotions about to break. She can feel herself being swallowed by the sensations of Max. The smell…his smell…of his skin and lips…and…kisses. But the taste…God, his mouth…it tastes so good. Is it possible to drown inside of someone – inside of a kiss?

(The sound of her breathing – what little of it she’s doing – is the only thing she can hear. It echoes in her ears, stifling the fumbling thoughts that come and go in her mind. It even drowns out the pounding of her heart. Can it beat any faster? Yes – yes it can…and does as Max gently glides his hand from the base of her neck down the curve of her spine. Falling…drowning…dying…what is this? Max slowly lowers her to the bed and brings his hand from her lower back down over her hip and then slowly up and over her stomach until his hand is resting over the bandage. She can feel his touch almost burning through the gown and gauze – like they’ve melted away – his fingertips on her stomach touching her skin…

(It didn’t take long for the visions to come – a fast paced slide show flashing through his mind. The desert…hitchhiking…random towns, one after another…loneliness…random faces…empty faces…then a woman…hesitation…the woman again…a kiss?…revulsion – wait that’s Max’s – no, it’s hers…a look of fear and terror in her eyes…rage – pure unadulterated rage…killing – a man…a woman…a child…hitchhiking…Roswell…more killing.

(Max is fighting a battle within himself – a battle between ‘want’ and ‘need’. He wants out – to pull back…the line…where is the line? God he wants out – but he can’t. This unleashed need inside of him – need to see…to know – it’s too powerful. Where did it come from? What is it pulling him toward? He can’t control it – it’s frightening in it’s intensity. But Liz…think about Liz…who’s he kidding? That doesn’t help. She’s so soft and so…smooth. Is he touching her skin – he can’t be she’s wearing a gown…but it’s so real, so soft…What is he doing? God please make it stop…

(The electric shock from the brush of her fingertips on the skin of his stomach is enough to momentarily break this…‘force’ controlling him. He opens his eyes…to find hers staring up at him – God she’s beautiful. He can’t look away from her – she’s holding him with her gaze. Their breathing synchronizes as they stare at one another. And then his catches in the back of his throat as he feels the palm of her hand slowly and deliberately press down on his upper abdomen – the same spot where his hand is on her.

(As soon as she touches him he can feel the visions waiting to explode behind his eyelids. No! He doesn’t want them. He wants to scald the image of Liz in his mind. No more visions…damnit make this stop! And then he feels her hand move, slowly up his chest and stop. What is she doing? Stupid question, he knows exactly what she’s doing. She can feel him – his struggle…his need…and she’s telling him it’s okay. He can’t let her do it…can’t? He can’t stop her…and he certainly can’t stop himself. All he can do is search her eyes for a flicker of doubt, of hesitation of something that will break this hold this pull between them. But there’s nothing but assurance…and trust. So he follows her lead and slowly moves his hand. Holding his gaze she continues to move her hand and all he can do is mirror her movements. She sucks in her breath and closes her eyes and he lowers his forehead to hers. Before he can think she tilts her head up and kisses him. He gives in and closes his eyes…

(The images come at an exhausting speed. Roswell…the cave…the pods…rage…the reservation…River Dog?…the reservation cave…loneliness…the stones…wait – what is he doing with them?…two larger stones with symbols on them…that blue light – blinding…the symbols in the reservation cave…emptiness…the vision of that woman – and this time there’s a faint sense of familiarity about her…rage…killing again…Atherton? His body can’t take it anymore and he quivers. Liz can sense his exhaustion and gently breaks their kiss and slightly turns on her side to give him room. With her hand still on his chest she eases his fall to the bed. What was this? What did he see…feel? What did he do? It’s too much…to understand…to process…to deal with…and he’s so tired…so tired. Liz watches him gently stroking back his hair from the side of his face and listening to his breathing slowly become steady. He almost immediately drifts into sleep – the last thing he hears being a distant ‘I love you’.)

(Scene: School Quad, next day before classes. Michael is sitting at a table reading a book, with his head ducked down so his bruised eye is not visible. Isabel spots him and heads toward the table.)

Isabel: Michael have you seen Max this morning?

Michael (not looking up at her): No – he’s probably with Liz.

Isabel: He wouldn’t miss school.

Michael: Isabel – trust me – he’s with Liz.

Isabel (looking a little irritated): He spends all night with her and now he needs all day too. (Michael can’t help but chuckle and look up at her) Oh my God Michael what happened? (She reaches out and touches his cheek)

Michael (brushing away her hand): Nothing.

Isabel: Nothing? What…Maria finally kick your ass?

Michael (glaring at her): No.

Isabel: Why don’t you get rid of it?

Michael (frustrated): Because I can’t…and I couldn’t ask your brother to do it since he’s the one who put it there.

Isabel (shocked): What? Max…You had a fight?

Michael: I guess you could call it that.

Isabel: What about? (Michael just looks at her and then away) Don’t tell me it was about Liz. (Michael doesn’t say anything and Isabel looks a little disgusted) What was it this time – you’ve realized she’s the girl for you too? (Michael shoots her a seriously irritated look and Isabel just looks at him expectantly.)

Michael (letting out a sigh): He’s getting visions from kissing her.

Isabel: There are some things about my brother I do not need to know.

Michael: Yea, well, we need to know these visions and Mr. Sensitive doesn’t wanna do the deed to get them.

Isabel (flabbergasted): What? Wait…you want Max to make-out with Liz so he’ll see visions…and then you want him to share them with you? Living vicariously Michael?

Michael: The visions are about us.

Isabel (taken aback): Excuse me?

Michael: He thinks the visions are from Nasedo…like he ‘put’ them in her when she was in the coma.

Isabel: What?

Michael: He’s seen the crash…the cave…some other stuff – he thinks they’re Nasedo’s memories.

Isabel (struggling to understand): And he only gets them when he…kisses her?

Michael: Yea.

Isabel: Oh my god.

Michael: Tell me about it…it’s like being punished with a trip to the Playboy Mansion.

Isabel: No Michael…that’s…how could Nasedo do that?

Michael (disgusted): Please.

Isabel: Michael he’s using her…her body – that’s such a…violation.

Michael: The only thing he’s doing is helping them out of their sexual frustration while giving us the answers to our past.

Isabel (just looks at him in disbelief): Is that when he hit you?

(Michael glares at her and they’re interrupted as Alex sits down.)

Alex: Have you seen Max today?

Michael: Why?

Alex (noticing the bruise): Did Maria find you? (Michael gives him an angry glare) No seriously, she’s been looking for you and she’s pissed about something. I mean, she lives in a state of angry when it comes to you but she couldn’t even talk about it on the way to school – that’s seriously pissed.

Michael: You think I’d let her hit me?

Alex: You think you can stop her? Do you remember fifth grade at all? (Michael looks away in annoyance) I would not go home if I were you.

Isabel: Why are you looking for Max?

Alex (remembering the crisis at hand): Um…have you seen him?

Michael: I’m sure he’s with Liz.

Alex: Liz? (He looks at his watch) Now?

Michael (looking at him and raising an eyebrow): Trust me.

Alex: (furrows his brow): I thought Liz was having a meeting with the doctor this morning. (He looks at Isabel) You didn’t see him at all?

Isabel: Alex what’s this about?

Alex (not sure where to begin): The journal.

Isabel: Please tell me that you found it yesterday.

Alex: Can I get back to you on that?

Isabel (panicky): Oh my God. Max.

Michael: What about the journal?

Alex: It’s missing.

(Scene: Liz’s Hospital Room, mid morning. Max and Liz are fast asleep – on the bed. Max is sleeping on his side with Liz, lying on her back, snuggled up next to him. His chin rests on the top of her head and his arm is draped over her with his hand softly placed on the bandaged area of her stomach. Liz’s arm is looped through his with her hand splayed over his. The silence of the room is broken by the sound of the doorknob turning and the door opening. Nancy Parker steps into the room and immediately stops when she sees the bed. Jeff almost bumps into her and follows her line of vision. They simply stare at the bed. After the shock wears off they both can’t help but notice the way the light filters through the blinds of the window and falls on the sleeping teens – they radiate…it’s almost breathtaking…if it just wasn’t their daughter.)

(Scene: Random Hotel Room. Agent Jones is sitting on the bed with a bunch of paper work spread out in front of him. He shakes his head, picks up the phone and dials.)

Jones (into the phone): 9-7-4-2-8.

(Scene switches to Agent Stevens sitting at his desk)

Stevens: What’ve you got?

Jones: You’re not gonna like it.

Stevens: Just tell me what you’ve got.

Jones: Blood…

Stevens: And…

Jones: AB like half the country.

Stevens: Impossible!

Jones: I’ve got it in a vile I labeled.

Stevens: I want it now!

Jones: Already on its way.

Stevens: It has to be wrong.

Jones: I went from the room to the lab…

Stevens (cutting him off angrily yelling into the phone): Check again…and this time I want hair and skin…do you hear me!

Jones: Yes sir.

(Scene: Max’s Bedroom. The door opens as Max enters. He stops immediately when his eyes fall on the messy room. It was not this messy yesterday. Swallowing back panic he looks around the room. His bed is ruffled – like he’d been sleeping in it, which he hasn’t for almost a week. Clothes and books litter the floor and his desk. A total mess – and it’s never a mess. He shuts the door behind him and slowly sinks to the ground.

What would someone be looking for? Why? His mind sifts through the jumbled thoughts that race through it as he stares blankly in front of him. His eyes focus on something barely visible, covered by his ruffled comforter, but his mind doesn’t register it. It takes him a few moments to realize he’s actually staring at something. He furrows his brow and slowly moves forward, reaching out he picks it up. A book? He turns it over in his hands and then opens it up to the first page…“I’m Liz Parker and five days ago I died…”

He instinctively shuts it and drops it to the ground. Her journal – how the hell did he get her journal…and why…and what’s that? Looking down at where the book landed there’s a folded piece of paper lying next to it. He hesitantly reaches out and picks it up. As soon as he opens it he wants to drop it…fold it back up…get rid of it! But he can’t. His eyes are frozen on the few deliberately highlighted words…the important ones being ‘sex’ and ‘Max made me ready.’ Look away. Look away. ‘He catapulted me into ready’. If he can’t look away at least he can close his eyes. Like that does any good…

As soon as his eyelids fall he’s hit with images of last night…of kissing her…of…touching her. Swallow. He drops the paper and opens his eyes to stare at where it was just in his hand. After a moment he looks around the room again…why the hell is he doing this to them?)
Music: Leonard Cohen – Everybody Knows

(Scene: Outside Michael’s Apartment Building. Maria is furiously pacing back and forth in front of the building and having a very animated conversation with herself. Michael turns the corner to the building and quickly hides behind a car when he sees Maria. He watches her talking to herself and flaying her arms around angrily and can’t help but smile. He shifts a little to get a better view and get comfortable – she’s not going anywhere soon and he’s definitely not either – and if Max is in the apartment he’s not coming out.)

(Scene: Liz’s Hospital Room. Liz is in bed, Nancy is sitting in the chair next to her and Jeff and Doctor Sanchez are standing around the bed.)

Dr. Sanchez (shaking his head at Liz): Well Miss Parker, you’re a medical miracle and a mystery.

Jeff: We’ll take the miracle.

Nancy (smiling up at Dr. Sanchez): And I’m sure you didn’t have anything to do with it Doctor?

Dr. Sanchez (shaking his head): Oh no, I can’t take credit for any of it – it’s all Liz.

Liz: Just lucky.

Dr. Sanchez (returning his attention to the charts): Extremely lucky.

Nancy: So when will my baby be able to come home?

Dr. Sanchez: Well the wound is looking good, there’s no damage visible from the coma…(looking up at Liz) The blood transfusions went well. Your body is recovering at a healthy speed. I can’t really see what more being in the hospital will do. I think tomorrow would be fine. But there are still some things to discuss. Elizabeth you shouldn’t be doing any extraneous activity – anything that would stretch and threaten the stitches to reopen. (Liz nods at him)

Jeff (looking at Liz): No Crashdown for you.

Nancy (holding her daughter’s hand and looking at her): And PE at school.

Dr. Sanchez: I’ll have the nurse draw up a list of activities that should be avoided. Now if you’ll excuse me.

Jeff: Let me walk you out. (Dr. Sanchez and Jeff exit to the hallway where Jeff beings to ask specifics)

Nancy (watching Liz): That’s exciting.

Liz (not too convincing): Yea, it’ll be nice to be in my own bed.

Nancy (still watching her): Just no Max.

Liz (shocked): Mom!

Nancy: Your father and I were pretty surprised this morning…though I guess we really shouldn’t have been.

Liz: Mom…

Nancy: Honey I think after you’ve recovered from this we should make an appointment for you.

Liz (hesitantly): An appointment for what?

Nancy: For my doctor.

Liz (getting the reference): No mom we really don’t need to do that.

Nancy: Honey, you’re serious about this boy – it’s impossible not to see that.

Liz: Not that serious.

Nancy (giving her a raised eyebrow): Sweetie, your father and I have been really lucky with you. You’re so responsible – with school, the café, your friends…we’ve never really had to worry about you…about the choices you make. We trust you and I think we’ve been pretty reasonable about our expectations. All we’ve ever asked is that you be honest with us. (She pauses) You’re serious about Max Evans.

Liz (looks away from her mom and softly): I think I love him.

Nancy (nods): Well I think it’s pretty safe to say that he feels strongly about you too – his behavior this last week and…(she trails off, remembering the morning she caught them on the couch) I just want you to be safe – be smart about this.

Liz: Mom we haven’t.

Nancy: Amazing as it might be for you to think – I was your age once, and I do remember what falling in love is like. I’d keep you my baby girl forever if I could but I know I can’t… So if denial isn’t an option, the best I can do is make sure that you’re protected and that you know you can talk to me about this. (She pauses and reaches out to brush back Liz’s hair) Your father and I have always wondered who would take our baby girl away from us…

Liz: Mom I’m not going anywhere.

Nancy (softly): Not yet.

(Scene: Park. Agent Jones and Agent Banks are sitting on a bench)

Banks: What’s he want?

Jones: More blood, skin and some hair samples.

Banks: What? 30 milliliters isn’t enough?

Jones: I don’t know but it’s gonna have to be tonight or tomorrow – I heard the nurses talking, she’s going home soon. Might as well get it while it’s easy.

Banks: I still don’t understand how she survived that shot.

Jones: That’s what we’re here for. The blood doesn’t match with what happened in September.

Banks: Maybe it’s the girl. We spend so much time with this Evans’ kid – she’s the one who’s lived through two shootings. We even sure that’s her blood on the uniform?

(Jones just looks over at Banks and they both shake their heads.)

(Scene: Liz’s Hospital Room, later in the day. Liz is sitting up in bed, thoughtfully leaning over and writing on a piece of paper.)

Voice over: Is it possible…to lose yourself inside of someone? I mean, is it possible to literally give yourself – or a part of yourself – to someone else? And if it is then what exactly does that mean? Is it like…you lose your identity – who you are? Or is it…that you can’t exist outside of that person – that you need them to be who you are? Or are those the same thing?

(She lets out a sigh and looks out the window thoughtfully for a moment before returning to the paper)

V.O: See I’ve had this plan – I mean that’s who I am right – the girl with the plan. And everything in my past leads to this ‘pre-planned’ future. But…the problem with having a plan…is that plans really don’t…adjust well to change. It’s like a house of cards – by pulling out one card the whole thing can fall down. I can feel the cracks forming in my plan, like it’s getting ready to crumble around me. And I feel like I’m losing myself in Max. And I’ve been thinking about this…about what defines a ‘need’. Because I know that I want Max…last night I wanted him like I’ve never wanted anything – like I never thought I could want something. Or someone…

(She closes her eyes remembering and takes a deep breath)

V.O.: It was so overwhelming so…so almost painful. And when you want something like that does it become a need? Do I need Max? Sure I can still breathe and function without him…but can I really be who I am now…without him? No one will ever be able to make me feel the way he does. And yea, I’ve never been in love before and I’m only sixteen but…I know…I know that no one could ever make me feel the way he does. And I like the way I feel…and I’m not talking about the physical feelings – though, those are amazing – I’m talking about everything else…the feeling of being beautiful…of being alive…of being loved…of being…complete. And where does that leave me? Cuz…I told him that I’d let him go when I needed to…and now he’s so close to finding his past…and there’s no way of knowing what future it leads to. And if we do…what every cell in my body is almost aching for us to do…how will I be able to let him go? How could I ever possibly let that part of me go?

(Scene: Max’s Bedroom. Max really hasn’t moved since he arrived home earlier that day. He’s still sitting on the floor of his ransacked room and staring at the journal a foot or two in front of him. This whole thing is like some sort of sick and twisted nightmare. He knows what he wants and he knows he can’t have it – but everywhere around him are temptations making him want it beyond control. If he could just wake up…While in that train of thought the door behind him opens and Isabel and Michael enter.)

Isabel (borderline panic): Max! Oh my God I thought something happened…(noticing the condition of his room) Max, what happened to your room? (Max doesn’t really respond to her) Max?

Max (letting out a breath): I don’t know Isabel…I don’t know.

Michael (steps around Isabel and heads for the bed – he stops when he sees the journal): You took it?

Max (looking up at Michael): No…it was here…somebody left it here.

Michael (letting out a laugh): Somebody?

Isabel (not understanding): What are you talking about?

Michael (bending over and grabbing the journal he holds it up to Isabel): This. (Isabel looks at it and shakes her head still not understanding). Did you read it?

Max: No.

Michael: You’ve just been staring at it all day. (Max just glares up at him, seriously irritated) So tell me Maxwell, how far did you go last night? (Max’s irritation grows and Michael looks down at the journal in his hand) Obviously not far enough.

Isabel (irritated): I don’t know what language you’re speaking but can someone explain what the hell is going on?

Michael (raising his eyebrows and shaking the journal at her): The disappearing diary of Liz Parker.

Isabel (confused): The journal – wait how do you know what it is and (looking down at Max) how did you get it?

Max: Nasedo.

Isabel: Why? Why would Nasedo take it and then give it…to you.

Michael (amused and smirking at Max): “Tempt not a desperate man.”

(Max begins counting the ways he can wipe that smirk off of Michael’s face while Isabel looks between the two of them.)

Max: Go to hell Michael.

Michael: Maxwell you’re thinking about this way too much. The guy is giving you the opportunity to do what you know you’ve been dying to do…(looking down at the journal) both of you.

Max (can he get any more irritated): Michael we can’t!

Michael: Uh…(looking down at his body and then back up at Max) Sure ‘seems’ like we can.

Isabel (under her breath): Oh…please…

Max: It could hurt her…I could hurt her.

Michael: If he wanted to hurt her why wouldn’t he just hurt her – why save her?

Max: Because…it’s me…this way I’m the one who hurts…not him.

Michael: Maxwell you don’t know…

Max: That’s right Michael I don’t know! And I’m not gonna risk it…I can’t…I can’t do this anymore.

Michael (getting serious): Maxwell this is our past…this is the only thing we’ve got…you can’t just…

Max: What! I can’t just what Michael…risk her life?

Michael (exasperated): Maxwell…this is our fucking past…it’s everything.

Max: And if it was Maria – you’d say what, fuck it? Is that what you’d do Michael? (And with that the tension in the room explodes. Isabel, not at all comfortable with a.) Sex and b.) Listening to her brother discussing it figures it’s time to suck it up.)

Isabel: Michael, Max is right…I mean look at his track record…is there a human he’s known and hasn’t killed?

Michael (letting out a sigh): Max you see the visions when you kiss her…what? You can’t do that anymore?

Max: I can’t control it…I can’t…stop.

Michael: You can’t stop? What are you the Viagra Bunny?

Isabel: Okay, I do not want to be listening to this.

Max: Michael it’s like a force…when the visions start – I can’t control myself…it’s like this pull – to keep going…to see more.

Michael: What have you seen Max? (Max rubs his forehead with his hand…what has he seen? He’s been so caught up in Liz that he has to think about it) Maxwell what have you seen after the crash?

Max: Um…random towns…people…and (he looks up at Michael) a woman.

Michael: So?

Max: This woman I think he kissed her. I think she knew and…

Michael: What?

Max: She looked at him…the way we thought people would look at us if they knew…and then he started killing people.

Isabel: You saw him killing people?

Max (under his breath): Yes.

Isabel (softly): Thank God Liz can’t see it. (Both Michael and Max look at her) It’s bad enough what he’s doing to her but that would be…I don’t know…(under her breath) beyond cruel.

Michael (trying to sensitively continue): What else did you see Max?

Max (looking away from Isabel to Michael): The stones…there were these two stones he had with symbols on them.

Michael (almost desperate): What do you mean Max…like the ones we have or…

Max: Different…bigger…he did something with them – I couldn’t see but I think they created that blue light and the symbols.

Michael (thinking aloud): Stones with symbols? We don’t have those, neither did River Dog. Maybe Nasedo still has them. (Looking at Max) You’ve gotta find out, Max…You have to find out where they are.

Max: Michael.

Michael: Maxwell…that’s all we need…

Isabel: Michael…

Michael (looking between them): Something to go on…that’s all we need.

(Scene: Liz’s Hospital Room. Liz is sleeping restlessly in bed. The scene focuses on her face and gradually changes to the dream she’s having. She’s standing in the middle of a strikingly beautiful red rock landscape – similar to Canyonlands or Arches in Southern Utah. She looks around, not knowing where she is or why she’s there. As she turns her head to her right he appears in the dream – and she quickly looks away.)

Liz (stoically): What is this place – one of your memories?

Nasedo (pretending to care): It’s not fair that he gets to see everything is it?

Liz (disgusted): Fair?

Nasedo (patronizingly): Now Liz…I’m giving you a…a reward.

Liz (with hate in her eyes and voice): Reward?

Nasedo: I realize it’s not quite as nice as the…‘gift’ I’ve already given you…consider it a…‘you’re welcome.’ (Liz just glares at him) This (motioning around them) is what you’re helping Max find.

(Her face sort of falls – not sure whether to believe him or not. She slowly moves her gaze from him to survey the landscape again.)

Liz (hesitantly): This is his home?

(She looks back in the direction of Nasedo but he’s gone. She can feel him still there but can’t see him. She searches her surroundings for him but he’s not anywhere visible.)

Nasedo (voice): Not just his home, Liz, it’s his life, the one he’ll eventually be living.

(Liz scans the rocks in the distance and then she hears it – a giggle…a woman’s giggle – coming from behind her. As she turns toward the source of it the landscape quickly changes. It’s beautiful…the most beautiful meadow she’s ever seen. It doesn’t seem real. The colors – they’re so vibrant…like Kool Aid colors. Then that annoying giggling again. She looks around slightly irritated…and then they come into view. She has to squint a little to see who it is and when she does she swallows hard and unsuccessfully wills herself to look away. It’s an older looking Max with a woman who is clearly not her.)

Liz: Why are you showing me this?

Nasedo (voice): I lied before, when I told you it could never lead to anything. This Liz, this is what it leads to…of course, only if you love him enough.

Liz (she can’t take her eyes off of Max and this woman holding hands walking toward her, softly): Do you enjoy this?

Nasedo (voice): What would that be?

Liz (softly): Pain.

Nasedo: The pain makes it real Liz…otherwise it’s just…a dream. (Max pulls the woman to him, she giggles and they kiss.) Let me ask you again Liz, how far will you go to help Max find his past – to find this? You said you’d let him go…but do you love him enough to help him go?

Liz (with watery eyes staring at Max and this woman, weakly): Why are you doing this to me?

Nasedo: It’s nothing personal.
Liz (fighting back tears): Personal…right.

(The kissing between Max and the woman disgustingly intensifies and Liz closes her eyes and wills herself to wake up, she turns her head slightly and opens them again and Nasedo comes into view)

Liz (with pleading in her eyes and voice, under her breath) Please…

(Scene cuts back to the Hospital Room)

Alex (coming into the room and seeing Liz sleeping with tears streaming down her cheek): Liz? Liz are you okay?

Liz (startled and waking up): Alex? Um…I’m…fine…it was just a dream…a…(trying to reassure both of them) a bad dream. (She looks at him quickly remembering) Alex…the journal.

Alex: No worries – I got a call from Isabel saying that everything was okay.

Liz (confused): They found it?

Alex: Don’t know – she wouldn’t give details just said that Max would explain. (Liz furrows her brow trying to understand how everything could possibly be ‘okay’. Alex sits down in the chair and watches her closely) I’m worried about you.

Liz (absentmindedly): Me too.

Alex (sitting down): Let’s try that again…the correct response is ‘Alex I’m fine, there’s nothing to be worried about.’

Liz (smiling at him): If I say it does it make it true?

Alex (nodding): We can play that way.

Liz: Well then, ‘Alex I’m fine, there’s absolutely nothing for you to be worried about.’ (Looking at him slightly questioningly) Why are you worried about me?

Alex (with a sweeping gaze over Liz lying in the hospital bed): Do I really need to answer that?

Liz: Alex…

Alex: It was something Isabel said…though seeing you crying in your sleep doesn’t help either.

Liz (not expecting that): Isabel?

Alex: Yea, she said I should…check on you.

Liz (softly): Oh.

Alex (watching Liz): Yea, and I didn’t really like her tone.

Liz (weekly): Her tone?

Alex (still watching her closely): Uh huh…kinda like that one. (Liz looks away from him) You do realize you’re not helping here.

Liz: Alex…

Alex: Don’t ‘Alex’ me…‘Liz.’

Liz (smiling at him and then letting out a sigh): I don’t really understand it Alex.

Alex: Do we really understand any of it? I still think I’ve eaten one too many Ho Ho’s and fallen asleep watching an X-files marathon.

Liz (laughing at him): Alex you can’t eat Ho Ho’s – you’re allergic.

Alex (gives her a ‘that would be the point’ look and Liz laughs) Now tell me Miss Parker, why is Isabel – of all people – worried about you?

Liz (letting out a deep breath and looking away from him): Max is getting visions from me. (Alex looks at her expectantly) He thinks…um…he thinks Nasedo put them in me when I was in the coma.

Alex (looking at her blankly): Repeat please.

Liz (hesitantly): Max is seeing Nasedo’s memories when he…(softly)…kisses me.

Alex (still staring at her in bewilderment): One more time.

Liz: I told you I didn’t understand it.

Alex: Okay let me get this straight…while you were in the coma…Dr. Demento – a.k.a the murderous shape-shifting alien that we’ve been avoiding for months – gave you ‘his’ memories…and Max sees them…when he kisses you.

Liz: Something like that.

Alex (half under his breath): Uh uh…definitely one too many Ho Ho’s. (He looks up at Liz) What’s he seen?

Liz: The crash, the cave and pods. I’m not really sure what else.

Alex: And it’s only when you kiss?

Liz: Yea.

Alex: Oh Liz…I’m sorry.

Liz (failing miserably at an attempt to lighten the mood): You know it’s not that bad Alex – at least it’s kissing, right?

Alex: Liz…

Liz: I don’t know…I want to kiss him – I mean, I can’t stop kissing him…and I know that he wants to kiss me – not because of the visions…It’s just…I don’t know.

Alex: What does Max say?

Liz: You know Max – he wants to stop…but Alex it’s his past – and as much as that…might scare me…what am I supposed to do?

Alex: If this guy ever plans on showing his face he might as well just kill me because that’s all I want to do to him.

Liz: Alex…

Alex (getting angry): Why is he doing this to you?

Liz (miserably): Because he can.

(Alex is about to say something when Maria, looking upset enters the room.)

Alex (turning to see her and immediately trying to calm her down): It’s okay Maria, Isabel said everything was okay.

Maria (looking at Liz): I know, I ran into her at the Crashdown. (She walks over to the bed looking a little peeved.)

Alex (concerned): Maria are you okay?

Maria (still looking at Liz): Uh uh. (She sort of thrusts the sheet of paper she’s holding in front of Liz) Care to share what this is?

Liz (looking at the paper and then up at Maria): It’s the work schedule for the Café.

Maria: Uh uh…and (pointing to a line on the paper) this?

Liz: The ‘cook column.’

Maria: Yea, and um…(dragging her finger down the paper and stopping) who’s this?

Liz: The new cook.

Maria: Right, and can you read that aloud so all of us can hear.

Liz: Maria he needed a job…my dad asked me and…

Maria: Aloud.

Liz (rolling her eyes and letting out a sigh): Guerin.

Maria: Thank you. Now explain.

Liz: He needed a job.

Maria: A job? Is he even qualified – and boiling water does not count. Hello…the guy clearly doesn’t do domestic – have you seen his apartment? Nasty! He doesn’t know how to do laundry and do we even know if he showers?

Liz (trying not to laugh at her): Maria. Dad asked and I couldn’t see any reason.

Maria: Any reason! She’s standing right here!

Liz: Maria…I’m sorry I wasn’t thinking.

Maria: Oh you were thinking but it wasn’t about me. Can you stop thinking about Max for like a minute?

Alex (defending Liz): Okay that’s enough of that.

Maria (turning to look at him): What was that?

Alex (looking from Maria to Liz): She doesn’t know? (Liz shakes her head and Maria looks between them)

Maria: Okay, what’ve I missed – besides (shaking the paper) this?

Liz (taking in a deep breath): Maria you should sit down.

(Scene: Sheriff’s Office, later that night. An unidentified person, wearing gloves, is standing over the Sheriff’s desk. Reaching into their coat they pull out a videotape and carefully place it in the middle of the desk, followed by a small folded note.)

(Scene: Liz’s Hospital Room, much later that evening. Liz is sitting up in bed thoughtfully looking out the window. She lets out a sigh and turns her head toward the door to find Max standing just inside it watching her.)

Max: Hey.

Liz: Hey. How long have you been standing there?

Max: Not long. (He steps into the room and heads to the bed) I come bearing gifts – well gift actually. (He reaches behind his back and pulls out the journal.)

Liz (taking it from his hands, wide-eyed): Max.

Max: It was in my room…it must’ve been Nasedo. (Liz just stares at him and he quickly adds) I didn’t read it. I think he wanted me to but I could never do that Liz.

Liz (looking through it, after a pause): Max I think you should destroy it – burn it or something.

Max (surprised): Liz it’s a part of you…

Liz (cutting him off): A part of me that could hurt you. I couldn’t live with myself if someone found it and used it – against you.

Max: Liz.

Liz (handing it back to him and shaking her head): It’s a part of me I can let go. Take it. I’ll start a new one and be…be smarter about what I write.

Max (taking it and setting in on the table next to the bed): Are you sure?

Liz: Yea. (She pauses and then looks at him out of the corner of her eye) You didn’t read it?

Max: No – it’s not mine to read.

Liz: Such the gentleman.

Max (his face sort of falls at her comment and he lets out a sigh): Liz we need to talk about last night.

Liz (suddenly shy): Okay.

Max (hesitantly and not able to look at her): Last night I…last night I crossed the line – I couldn’t stop. I don’t need visions to want to kiss you and I have a hard enough time controlling my feelings as it is but when the visions start…I…I don’t know – I can’t stop.

Liz (softly): I know Max.

Max: I know and I can’t let you do it.

Liz: Max you need to know.

Max: Not like this…not like this. (He finally looks at her and she can feel the pain and sadness reflected in his eyes.)

Liz (reaching out and pulling him to the bed): Come here.

Max (in his little boy voice): I don’t want them anymore.

Liz: Max.

Max: I don’t want to see visions I just want to see…you. I want to feel you…not him. I can see what we do in my head like I’m outside of myself watching but I can’t feel it – all I feel are the visions and him and…that’s not how it should be. It should be you and me and…(his voice cracks and Liz reaches out and pulls him into a hug. They hug for a moment and then Liz readjusts in bed and pulls him down so he’s lying next to her, looking into each other’s eyes. After a pause) I don’t understand why he’s doing this to us…to you.

Liz (brushing back his hair): I’d do anything for you…and he knows it.

Max: I’m so sorry.

Liz (closing her eyes): I have to be honest with you Max.

Max: Liz please don’t be anything but honest.

Liz (she opens her eyes): I’m scared. Not of what might happen if…you know. I can’t imagine how something that feels so right could hurt me. That’s not what scares me. It’s…(she looks away from his eyes) it’s your past – what you might find.

Max (with a flicker of fear): My past?

Liz: It’s not really even that…it’s what your past might mean for you…for your…future.

Max: Future?

Liz (rushing to just get it all out): I know you need to find your past Max and I’ll do whatever it takes, whatever that means, because it’s important to you and it’s important to me. I’m just afraid of…of losing you to it. I know that’s silly and um…(willing herself not to cry)…it’s just…I don’t know…I’m sorry Max. (She rolls on her back so he can’t look at her.)

Max (a little overwhelmed): I’ve never really thought about the future, not until you. I mean we always told ourselves we shouldn’t think about it because we didn’t think we had a chance for one. (He looks at the side of Liz’s face, after a pause) I need to know – I didn’t realize how much I needed to know, wanted to know until the visions started…it was…almost…

Liz (softly): Painful.

Max: Yea.

Liz: I know that feeling.

Max (still watching her): I’m scared of it too. (Liz turns her head to look at him) I mean what if we’re all like him, evil and dangerous…or if we really are little green men – you can’t love that.

Liz: Max.

Max: When you’ve wanted something for so long – to actually get it…I don’t know. It’s like you…all I ever wanted was to talk to you and then when you did – I was terrified…afraid of where it could go – or couldn’t go. Afraid it’d be another one of my dreams.

Liz (under her breath, thoughtfully): The pain makes it real.

Max: What?

Liz: Something someone said…‘the pain makes it real…otherwise it is just a dream.’

Max (reaching out and caressing the side of her face): I don’t know what my past is but the only future I’ve ever wanted or thought about…is you. (He pulls her face to his and they kiss – not a passionate, vision inducing kiss but a very tender and loving one. They break apart and he moves like he’s going to sit up and she grabs onto his arm and stops him)

Liz: Stay.

Max: What about your parents?

Liz: It’s our last night…sleep here, with me. (She snuggles up to him and gently moves his arm so his hand is resting on her stomach – like it was the night before. He slowly traces the edge of the bandage with his fingertips. She closes her eyes, as does he.)

(Scene: Liz’s Hospital Room, middle of the night. The door opens and a janitor enters. He slowly walks to the bed staring at the teens. After a moment he places a hand on the side of each of their faces. Once contact is made the hands glow and the scene focuses in on Liz’s sleeping face and then switches to her dream…Liz is in the middle of a random dream about school when it suddenly stops and everything goes black. She’s now standing in the middle of darkness and very aware of it.)

Liz: Max? (She looks around her) Max I feel you why can’t I see you? What is this? (She starts to get a little panicky) Max? Am I in another coma? (She hears him, before she can see him)

Max: Liz? (She turns around and he sort of fades into the dream)

Liz (a little scared): Max what’s going on…where are we?

Max (totally confused): I don’t know…I must be…dreamwalking.

Liz: Dream what?

Max (looks around and then to Liz, very confused): Dreamwalking...but this doesn’t look like a dream.

Liz: What do you mean – dream walking?

(Max looks from the darkness surrounding them to Liz’s confused face and lets out a sigh.)

posted on 15-Sep-2001 1:52:32 PM
Title: “Black and Blue” (Awakening trilogy, Addendum)
Author: N/A
Email: ajrocchio⊕
Rating: PG-13 for language and sexual situations
Category: Other Stories
Disclaimers: The characters of Roswell belong to the WB, among others, but apparently I need to keep borrowing them.
Summary: Just too much to cover in three stories…

(Scene: Hospital, late at night. Jones and Banks get out of their car, parked next to a big ugly beat up van, and make their way to the entrance. Once inside Banks reaches into his pockets and stops.)

Banks: Damn. You go ahead, I forgot my tag.

Jones: Fourth floor room 423.

(Banks nods his head and then turns back to the exit. Jones surveys the hallway, under the unnoticed gaze of a janitor, and then slips into a closet. Once the door shuts and can be heard locking, Nasedo walks over to it and places his hand over the doorknob. After a moment he makes a sweeping motion with his hand over the door and then turns toward the exit. Inside Jones, now dressed as a nurse, unsuccessfully tries to turn the doorknob. Frustrated after several attempts he starts yelling for help; out in the hallway you can’t hear a thing.)

(Scene cuts to the parking lot. Banks shuts the car door and starts to head back to the hospital. As he steps up onto the curb he nods to the janitor, walking down the sidewalk toward the van. His next step is but a memory as his foot slips out from underneath him and he lands on his back knocking himself unconscious. The janitor looks around, smiles and then walks up to Banks. He checks out his head and then removes his wallet and I.d. tag. He then hurriedly returns to the hospital.)

Nasedo (as he passes through the doors to a nurse standing off to the side): Some guy just knocked himself in the head – I think it’s pretty bad.

(Scene: A dream. Liz is sitting on the ground with her knees tucked up against her chest and her arms wrapped around them – holding them close to her. Max is sitting next to her but facing her. They are surrounded by darkness.)

Liz: So…you can…go into people’s dreams?

Max (watching her closely): Yea.

Liz: How? I mean, how is that possible, Max?

Max: I don’t really know.

Liz: It’s just so – not possible. I mean, dreams are someone’s subconscious. How can you go into someone else’s subconscious? I don’t understand.

Max (feeling helpless): I wish I could explain it but I don’t know how or why – we just can.

Liz (after looking around and thinking about it for a few moments she turns to Max and smiles): So what, does that make you…my ‘dream Max’?

Max (smiling back at her): Only if we’re in your dream.

Liz (confused again): You mean…I could be in yours?

Max (looking around): I don’t know. This doesn’t look like any dream I’ve ever been in.

Liz: Have you ever been in mine?

Max (quickly looking at her): No – I would never…do that to you.

Liz (hesitantly): What about Michael and Isabel?

Max: Well Michael really can’t do it…but I’d never let them – not yours.

Liz: What about Maria and Alex – have they…

Max (hesitantly): I can’t control Izzy sometimes.

Liz: Oh my God.

Max: She wanted to make sure Maria wasn’t going to tell Valenti and...

Liz: Max – it’s…

Max: I tried to stop her…I know it’s wrong – that’s why I don’t do it. I wouldn’t want anyone to see my dreams. (He looks around again) That’s why I don’t understand how this happened.

Liz (after a few moments of watching Max, she smiles): So what’s in your dreams?

Max (quickly looking at her): My dreams?

Liz: Yea…if we were in your dream – where would we be?

Max (a little embarrassed by the potential of this conversation): I don’t know – what about yours?

Liz: I asked first. (She lowers her legs and looks at Max a little seductively) You’ve never dreamed about us?

Max (swallowing): Have you?

Liz (shakes her head): I asked first.

Max: Not fair.

(Liz reaches out to touch the side of his face and then pulls back)

Liz (a little startled): I can feel you – how can I feel you Max?

Max: It’s me.

Liz: But Max…It’s…I don’t know. It’s different – like I feel you when we’re awake. You can’t ‘feel’ dreams Max – I mean we don’t really have control over our dreams…(she looks at him suspiciously) You’re not gonna turn into my mother are you – or morph into someone else?

Max (smiling): No. (He takes her hand and places it over his heart so she can feel it beating) It’s me.

Liz (at the feel of his heartbeat, under her breath): Max…(she looks from her hand to his face)

Max: What?

Liz (she moves closer to him and grabs his shirt beneath her hand, as she pulls him to her): I want to feel it.

(As they kiss Liz readjusts so she’s now sitting on her knees. Max can feel her leaning against him and afraid of having a vision attack he reluctantly lets go of her lower lip and pulls away from her, opening his eyes. Hers are still closed and her mouth curves into a smile. Finally opening her eyes.)

Liz (amazed): It’s so real Max – how can it feel so real?

Max (strained): I don’t know.

Liz (looking at him): Did you see anything?

Max: No.

Liz (thinking about it): Maybe you can’t here…maybe here it’s just us.

Max: Maybe.

Liz (leaning into him): Maybe we should find out.

(Max just watches her close the distance between them and when she does he reaches up and holds the back of her head. Pulling her into him they fall backward to the ground. Control? What control? At least with the visions there was a reason to stop – a reminder of why he needed, should, must stop…now there’s nothing – just Liz.

(Max makes a move to roll over so Liz is on the bottom but as he moves his head he feels something brush his cheek – that was not hair. He opens his eyes and immediately stops kissing when he sees the most amazing shade of blue outlining Liz’s face. Liz opens her eyes too and can see a familiar ‘Kiwi-Lime’ green grass cushioning Max’s head. She sits up and sucks in her breath.)

Max (sitting up): What is this?

Liz (shakily looking around the meadow): My dream – we’re in my dream.

Max (looking around): It seems so…familiar.

Liz (watching Max): It’s…It’s your home Max.

Max (turning to her quickly): What?

Liz: Nasedo showed it to me today – in a dream – he said this is what I’m helping you find.

Max (moving his gaze from her back to the landscape, in disbelief): Home? My home?

(He looks around in hesitant wonderment. Liz watches him closely but then her face falls as her eyes focus on something coming into view just past Max. Max looks over at her, confused by the look in her face)

Max: Liz?

Liz (not moving): I’m helping you find this…and her.

Max: What?

(Before he can press her there’s a giggle from behind him and he turns to see an older him with a woman holding hands and walking in the meadow. Max is totally taken aback at seeing himself – and this woman, holding hands? He stares at them and then finally turns back to Liz.

(If it’s possible to have your heart ripped out from inside of you – then this is what it feels like. In that moment, in that pained look on Liz’s face, in the tear sliding down her cheek is the realization of everything Nasedo is doing to her. It hits Max with enough force to collapse both his lungs and for the first time he knows what it’s like to truly hate someone – some thing. He follows Liz’s gaze back to the, now kissing, couple and he quickly turns back to her)

Max (panicked): Liz we need to wake up…you need to wake up!

Liz (softly): Make it stop Max.

Max (desperate): You’ve gotta wake up Liz! Please!

(Scene cuts to the hospital room. Max wakes with a start and then immediately begins gently shaking Liz to wake her up. She finally does and Max pulls her to him and cradles her against his chest, softly stroking her hair as she cries.)
Music: Matchbox20 - Bent

Max (choking on his pain and anger): Oh Liz I’m so sorry. Why is he doing this to you? I’m so sorry…I…

Liz (through her tears): He’s laughing at me – that giggle…it’s him laughing at me.

Max (pained): Liz…

Liz: I’m supposed to help you find that – find her.

Max: It’s just a dream Liz – he’s doing this to hurt you – it’s not real.

Liz: But it was familiar – you said it was familiar.

Max (desperate): Liz.

Liz (crying harder): It’s not enough that I have to let you go…now I have to help you.

Max (pulling her tighter to him): I’m not going anywhere Liz…I don’t care who that is – what that dream was…it’s not real…nothing is real but you…nothing.

(He closes his eyes and gently rocks back and forth trying to calm her down and trying to control this new found rage that’s building within him.)

(Scene: Sheriff’s Office, early morning. Valenti enters his office and leisurely hangs up his coat and hat. He lets out a sigh and heads to his desk and sits down. In mid-reach for the phone he spots the videotape and furrows his brow. He picks up the note resting on top of it, opens it and reads “What could the Evans’ do with this?” He takes the videotape in his hand and checks his desk for any other surprises. Finding none he quickly gets up and exits his office heading toward the video room.

(Securing the door he pops in the video and sits down pressing play on the remote. He stiffens in the chair as the black and white image of Liz’s hospital room comes on the screen. He leans forward and squints to get a better view of Liz sleeping in bed and Max sleeping in the chair next to her. After a few seconds of tape a nurse enters the room and approaches Max. The Sheriff proceeds to watch in shock as the man first drugs Max and then draws blood from him. When the nurse turns to exit the room Valenti pushes pause and just stares at the image of Agent Jones’ face on his television screen.)

(Scene: Michael’s Apartment, morning. Max – looking very un-Max, disheveled and visibly angry – knocks on the door. A yawning Michael opens it up and immediately frowns at Max’s appearance.)

Michael (concerned): Maxwell.

Max: I’m gonna kill him.

Michael: Who? What happened…what are you talking about?

Max: He’s showing her things Michael.

Michael: What? What things?

Max: It doesn’t matter what they are – they’re hurtful…horrible things. He’s hurting her Michael.

Michael (looking at him intently): Just come inside Max.

(Michael reaches out and brushes Max’s shoulder as he walks through the door. With that slightest of touches Michael is hit with a flash of Max cradling a crying Liz and the overwhelmingness of Max’s anger. Michael sucks in his breath as he turns to look at Max. He slowly shuts the door behind them.)

(Scene: School Quad, lunch time. Maria and Alex are sitting at a table, across from each other, both with serious faces.)

Maria: Bullshit! I don’t understand why he’s doing this to Liz. (Looking up at Alex) We know too and he hasn’t done anything…but Liz…She’s the only one of us that hasn’t freaked. I mean if anyone deserves this it’s me – I’m the one who cracked and almost told Valenti…And when she first told me I totally flipped – we’re talking running through the streets screaming. Literally.

Alex: None of us deserve it Maria. We’ve all done more than our share of criminal life threatening save-their-ass-type activities.

Maria: Why is he doing this to her?

Alex: I’ll be sure to ask him right before I kill him.

Maria: Oh – stand in line Alex, I’ve got first dibs on this alien’s ass. (She lets out a sigh) Why couldn’t they have just been little green men?

Alex: I have a hard enough time trying to explain Isabel to my parents as it is.

Maria (looks over at him): I need some ‘us’ time Alex. A…a normal fix. I’m suffering from serious evil E.T. overload here. I need you to push ‘pause’ on this Invasion of the Body Snatcher movie were in – I never liked that movie – still don’t.

Alex (affectionately): Maria…

Maria (pleadingly): I need it Alex.

Alex: Done.

Maria (hopeful): Tonight?

Alex (shaking his head): Tomorrow – no way the Parkers would go for tonight.

Maria: Thank you.

Alex: Retreat, regroup…(grinning and table dancing) and do a little rumba. It’ll be like an Ewok party – without the roasting of strange animals.

Maria (trying not to laugh at him): You are such a dork.

Alex (smiling): Sticks and stones DeLuca.

(Maria just laughs but stops suddenly and gets up from the table)

Maria: I’ll see you in class, okay?

Alex (frowning at her): Okay.

(He watches her go, not understanding the premature departure until Isabel sits down next to him.)

Isabel: Hey.

Alex: Hey.

Isabel: Is Maria okay?

Alex (looking in the direction Maria went): Yea, she just needs some time…I think we all need some time to try and understand this.

Isabel: Alex, I’m sorry…I…I don’t know what else to say.

Alex: I know – we know it’s not you, it’s not any of you…it just doesn’t make sense after everything we’ve – everything she’s done that he’d do this to her…and only her.

(Isabel is about to respond when Michael promptly sits down)

Michael (seriously): We need to talk…(looking at Alex)…all of us.

(Scene: Liz’s bedroom, afternoon. The door opens and Liz and her mother slowly enter.)

Nancy: How you doing?

Liz (a little annoyed): Mom I’m fine, the bullet didn’t hit me in the leg.

Nancy (ignoring the attitude): Sweetie I just don’t want you moving too fast. You know what the doctor said – no strenuous activity…

Liz: Mom, walking hardly counts – I think it was lifting heavy boxes and jogging laps that he was talking about.

Nancy: Can’t a mother just be a mother? You’ve been shot. I think I have every right to be a little over protective and worried.

Liz (looking up at her mother): I’m sorry.

Nancy: I’m just glad to have you home.

(Liz looks from her mother to the bed and as she sits down her eyes fall on a wrapped gift lying on her pillow.)

Liz (reaching out and picking up the present): What’s this?

Nancy (smiling): I know nothing. (She bends down and kisses the top of Liz’s head) You get some rest okay. I know Maria and Alex…and Max will be by later. So you should get some rest now.

(Liz suspiciously watches her mother leave her room and then turns her attention to the present. She carefully undoes the tape – being sure not to rip the wrapping paper. She sticks her fingers in at one end and slowly pulls out the gift. A single sheet of paper is carefully attached to the outside cover of the familiar book. On it is neatly written…“This is a part of you. And nothing would hurt me more than knowing that you gave up any part of you for me. I love all of your parts. Max” She closes her eyes and hugs her journal to her chest.)

(Scene: Hotel Room. Agents Jones and Banks enter the room looking extremely disheveled – it’s been a rough night. They take off their coats and head for the beds. As Jones reaches for the phone his eyes fall on the videotape sitting next to the lamp.)

Jones (picking it up with one hand and massaging his throat with the other, he turns to Banks, hoarsely): What’s this?

Banks (turns to see what he’s talking about): Don’t know.

(Jones takes a closer look at the nightstand and finds the small folded note. Opening it up he reads “What could the Evans’ do with this?” Jones looks a little confused at the tape for a moment and then over at Banks quickly)

Jones (too exhausted to even think about what could be on the tape): This just gets better and better.

Banks (snatching the note and reading it as he rubs the knot on the back of his head): Let’s just get what Stevens wants and get the hell out of this town.

(Scene: Liz’s Bedroom. Liz is sitting on her bed thoughtfully looking through her journal. She comes to a blank page and setting the book open face down she gets off the bed and grabs a pen from her desk. She sits back down cross-legged and returns the journal to her lap. She pauses for a moment – looking out the window and then slowly begins writing.)

Voice over: There are these things, these organisms, called blood flukes. And their larvae – well one kind of larvae, it’s got this complex life cycle but that’s not important – this one kind of larvae swims around in water waiting to find a human. And when it does it burrows into the human and migrates into the intestinal veins – where it can reproduce. The human body knows the fluke is there and it sends out white blood cells to defend itself and attack the fluke and the eggs it’s laying. Sometimes the blood cells win…but sometimes they don’t. Sometimes it’s a losing battle…because the liver, spleen and even the kidneys and bladder – they start to slowly deteriorate…and the body just can’t take it anymore.

(She pauses and closes her eyes for a moment)

V.O.: That’s what Nasedo is. He’s like this parasite that’s attached himself inside of my mind and he’s waiting…waiting for me to deteriorate…to give up. I just wish I knew what he wanted. I mean parasites want something – there’s a biological reason for what they do. Most want nutrition, a place to lay eggs, something. I just don’t understand what he wants from me, from Max…cuz it’s not just me. It’s almost like he wants Max to slowly deteriorate too, through me. Maybe that’s what he wants – Max. Well if that’s it, he’s going to have to try a lot harder than this to get him.

V.O: When you invest yourself in something, there comes a point where there’s no turning back. The reason the liver and spleen deteriorate isn’t because they give up – the body never stops fighting. I’ve lied to my parents. I’ve lied to the FBI. I’ve sucked my two best friends into this. I’ve broken – I don’t know how many federal and state laws. I’ve had my personal thoughts stolen and read, my room broken into, my mind infected by an invisible relentless parasite, and I’ve been…shot. I’d say I’m invested. He can wear me down but I’ll never stop fighting.

(She pauses again and looks out the window)

V.O: He can fuck with my mind. He can fuck with my body. But he can’t fuck with my heart – not with what’s inside of it…what it knows and feels. He can’t touch that.

(She looks away from her journal and stares at nothing in particular for a few moments – thinking. She closes her eyes and the small smile of a revelation creeps over her face. She looks back down at her journal)

V.O.: That’s what he wants…and he’ll never get it.

(Scene: Liz’s Bedroom, later that afternoon. Liz is sitting at her desk now trying to catch up on some of the homework she’s missed from the past week. The door is open and Maria walks in.)

Maria: Okay, aren’t you supposed to be resting?

Liz (looking up and over at her): I’m just so far behind.

Maria: Liz – you’ve been shot. Your teachers eat out the palm of your hand, if you asked they’d give you ‘til Christmas to make up this one week. You’ve gotta milk this thing for all it’s worth. (Maria promptly plops down on the bed curling up with Liz’s teddy bear) Speaking of dairy – I told your mom to double up on the ice cream.

Liz: Double up?

Maria: Tomorrow night – you, me, Alex.

Liz: I thought Alex had study plans with Isabel.

Maria: Cancelled. I mean really, when he can spend an evening with two hot babes instead of one – what’s he gonna choose? (Liz looks at her suspiciously) Okay fine, I need some ‘us’ time – some alien-free, like it used to be, quality no-contact time.

Liz (coming over to the bed): Maria.

Maria (looking at her protectively): I won’t let you do this Lizzie.

Liz (sitting next to her): Maria…

Maria: I just can’t – I won’t.

Liz: Maria, it’s not up to you. It’s between me and Max – the two of us, not the three of us…or the six of us for that matter. I mean that’s what we’re gonna do right? Go downstairs and have a big long talk about whether Max and I should or shouldn’t…if we can or can’t do it…maybe if we decide to, we can do it on the roof so everyone can watch.

Maria (looking at her sideways): That is not funny.

Liz: I know…but that’s what it feels like – everyone discussing our nonexistent, but possibly, maybe-soon-to-be-or-not-to-be sex life. It’s supposed to be this intimate beautiful thing between two people. Not two people their four best friends and some evil…

Maria (finishing for her): Asshole? (Liz looks at her and Maria’s face saddens) I’m sorry.

Liz: Me too. But it’s the way it is. What am I supposed to do?

Maria: Just say ‘no’ and big ‘HELLO get your alien jollies somewhere else thank you!’

Liz (smiling at her): Maria, I’m not gonna do anything I don’t want to. It’s my body and I’m in control of it.

(Maria just rolls over on her side so she’s facing Liz and Liz lays down next to her. They stare at each other for a few moments and then a mischievous smile appears on Maria’s face.)

Maria: So have you guys thought about – like logistics?

Liz (eyeing her very, very suspiciously): What do you mean?

Maria: You know – like if he’s got the right – parts?

Liz (horrified): Maria!

Maria: What? I mean we don’t know.

Liz: I’m not answering that question.

Maria (rolling over on her back): That’s fine. I’ll just ask Max.

Liz: MARIA! I cannot believe you…

Maria: You guys were pretty hot and heavy in that hospital room, you must’ve felt something.

Liz (throwing her pillow at Maria): Yea, well you and Michael were doing a little more than kissing in December.

Maria (throwing the pillow back at her): Oh don’t even try. Do you want me to bring this up downstairs?

Liz (completely blushing and not believing this conversation): I’m assuming – okay? Otherwise he would’ve said something by now. (She puts the pillow over her face in utter embarrassment. Muffled by the pillow) I’m gonna kill you.

Maria (watching in amusement): Okay, so then assuming he has the right parts and that…you know…it fits…(Liz pulls the pillow tighter to her face and groans)…then what about the – results?

Liz: We are not having this conversation.

Maria: It’s now or later, babe.

Liz: I am so getting you back for this.

Maria: I’ll take that as a now…So let’s look at all the possible…outcomes. First there’s the obvious (she looks sideways at Liz) spontaneous combustion – Like Water For Chocolate, I’m telling you it’s possible. (Liz shoves Maria and she continues) Okay second…since you’ve never done this and we’re assuming that he hasn’t either then we don’t have to worry about conventional STD’s – though we have no idea what kind of intergalactic ones could possibly be out there. I mean herpes and syphilis are bad enough...

Liz (tortured): Maria…

Maria (continuing): Fine…so diseases might not be an issue but there’s still the question of his…(she looks at Liz and plunges ahead) fluids. (Liz collapses into a ball of humiliation) I mean what if they do something to you…like turn you into something, or take over your body, or you know – hurt you. Serious question mark here Lizzie.

Liz (still hiding her face in her pillow and beside herself to speak): Next!

Maria (looks at her and then lets out a sigh): Okay, last but definitely not least there’s the whole issue of – ‘mom, dad I’m having my boyfriend’s alien baby.’

Liz (shoving the pillow at Maria): Maria I can’t get pregnant!

Maria: Can’t? Super-sperm, Liz.

Liz (hitting Maria): You have to be genetically compatible…two species can’t just reproduce.

Maria: Then how’d we get so many kinds of dogs…and what about the mule – or is it the donkey?

Liz (totally flustered): Maria it’s just not possible.

Maria: Yea, and nine months ago – flying saucers and E.T. were impossible too.

Liz (shaking her head and getting off the bed): We are not talking about this anymore. You, you are not talking about this anymore…You realize I’m going to have to kill you – do you understand…KILL you - now!

Maria: No, now you need to shower…you smell like hospital – very unattractive. I brought you more vanilla.

(She sits up on the bed and reaches into her backpack and pulls out a small vile and offers it to Liz. Liz looks at her menacingly and then grabs it from her hand.)

Liz: You are not getting out of death. I’m just washing my hair and then…and then, I don’t know what…but I’ll think of something.

(She shuts the door to cut off Maria’s response. Maria looks at the door and smiles. She gets up from the bed and walks over to Liz’s desk. She fingers the multitude of pictures that litter the bulletin board behind the computer and smiles. She rests her hand on the framed picture of her, Alex and Liz and picks it up. Letting out a sigh she sets it back down and out of the corner of her eye spots the journal. She looks sideways at the bathroom door and then uncovers the journal – removing Liz’s Geometry homework. She bends down and reads the note still attached to the front cover.)

Maria (softly): Smooth talker – I’ll rip out your parts if you…

(Scene switches to Max entering the apartment from the Crashdown stairwell.)

Max: Mrs. Parker? Liz? (He turns the corner to Liz’s bedroom just as Maria looks up from the book and sees him)

Maria: Not so fast lover boy. (Max just sort of freezes and Maria squints) We need to have a little talk.

Max (weakly): Talk?

Maria (walking towards him and sort of cornering him against the hallway bathroom door): Listen…I’m all for family history and whatever – I know what it’s like not to know who you are, at least a part of you. But I don’t give a shit about your past when it comes to her future. If you hurt her – like in any way – I won’t have to think about killing you, I will and it’ll take me like a second to do it.

Max (fumbling): Maria…I…

Maria: I mean it, Max.

Max: The last thing I want to do is hurt her.

Maria (staring at him intently, after a pause and letting out a sigh): I know. I know…it’s just Lizzie and I don’t like it, I don’t like…

Max: I don’t like it either. I’d give anything to make it go away.

Maria (dead serious): I will kill him.

Max (looking at her just as seriously): You won’t get a chance.

(Maria stares at him for a few moments and then nodding her head she walks past him and heads down the stairwell to the Crashdown. Max watches her go and then hesitantly walks into Liz’s room. He looks around and isn’t sure what to do when he doesn’t see her. He heads over to the window to check the roof. As he gazes at the empty lounge chair he has a series of flashbacks of the times he’s found Liz writing in her journal, lying asleep, or sitting up waiting for him. He’s lost in thought and doesn’t hear the bathroom door open. Liz, drying her hair with a towel and wearing jeans and a bra, steps into her room and freezes when she sees the back of Max. She looks down – and silently reaches out and grabs her t-shirt off the dresser and then quickly goes back into the bathroom. Seconds later she comes out again and Max is still staring out the window.)

Liz (softly): Max.

Max (starting at the sound of her voice and turning to her): Hey.

Liz: Hey. Where’s Maria?

Max: She went downstairs.

Liz (under her breath): Death postponed.

Max: Huh?

Liz (shaking her head): Nothing. (She smiles at him) I got your present.

Max: It’s not really a present – I mean…

Liz: Thank you.

Max (smiling at her and reaching into his coat pocket): This is my present. (He pulls out a small slender box, neatly wrapped.)

Liz: Max you didn’t have to get me anything.

Max: I know…here.

(Liz looks at him sideways and then takes the box and sits down on the bed. She gently undoes the tape and removes the wrapping. She slowly opens the box to find a beautiful Parker fountain pen. She gasps and looks up at him)

Liz: Max it’s beautiful.

Max: You like it?

Liz: Like it? (She picks it up and gently unscrews the cap) It’s amazing – (She rubs her thumb over the ‘Parker’ insignia on the metal penclip) Grandma Claudia had one.

Max: I know. (Liz looks up at him and he sits next to her on the bed) When we were going through her things you mentioned it, but we never found it. (He looks down at the pen) This was my grandpa’s.

Liz: Max.

Max (smiling at the memory): I used to write him letters and he would always write back saying he couldn’t read them because my handwriting was too sloppy. So he gave me this and told me to learn how to write – (he looks up at her) I was ten.

Liz: Are you serious?

Max: Yea – that’s kinda how he is…so I would write him letters with this…but now he can’t tell what pen I use so…(He looks up at her and blushing at the total mushiness she brings out in him)…so it’s the part of me that goes with that part of you. (He looks away and reaches into his pocket) Here I got you ink too. (He pulls out two small bottles of ink – one black and the other blue) I didn’t know which one you’d want.

Liz (touched): Max, I…

Max: Want me to fill it for you? (Liz just nods at him and he takes the pen from her hand) It can get kind of messy. (He stands up and goes over to the desk and sits down. He takes the cap off the pen and then looks over to the bed and sees Liz just sort of watching him.) What color?

Liz (she shakes her head and then stands up and walks over to him): Um…blue.

Max (returning to the pen): Okay. (He unscrews the blue ink lid and dips the tip of the pen into the bottle and then lifts up the lever to suck in the ink. He lowers the lever and then grabs a piece of scratch paper and scribbles a few lines. He screws on the ink lid and then looks up at her.) Here. (He holds out the pen and she takes it from him and looks down at the scratch paper. She leans over and writes ‘thank you’ on it.) You’re welcome.

Liz: Max it’s beautiful…I don’t know what to say.

(She leans down and kisses him. He reaches up to hold her face and when they pull apart he laughs)

Max (reaching up and wiping at her cheek) I told you it was messy.

(Liz looks at him funny and then turns to her mirror. She smiles when she sees the blue ink smear on her cheek)

(Scene: Crashdown. Michael is already sitting in the back booth as Isabel and Alex slide in – Isabel next to Michael and Alex across from them.)

Isabel (to Michael): So, why are we doing this here and not at your apartment?

Michael: Convenience.

Isabel: For what – eating while we talk or making this as awkward for Liz as possible?

Alex: Maria’s working and Liz is pretty much tied to the premises. (Isabel and Michael look at him curiously) Seriously, she’s on a leash…or maybe one of those radar tracking collars – she was shot going to the movies, do you think her parents are gonna let her go anywhere?

Isabel: Well did you at least tell her about this…you know, warn her?

Alex: Yea, I called after lunch. You know – I think she’s handling this much better than we are.

(The backroom door swings open and Maria enters in uniform. She shoots Michael a glare and then goes behind the counter – over exaggerating her irritation and anger.)

Michael: We should give her (nodding toward Maria) whatever Liz is on.

Alex (shaking his head seriously): It’s not drugs – I asked. And it’s not denial – she seemed to know what I was talking about.

Isabel (shaking her head thoughtfully): It just doesn’t make sense…

Alex: Yea well, it stopped making sense around the whole Mikey-goes-Spidey episode. (Looking at Michael) Sorry. (Encouraged by Michael’s indifferent look he continues) I just don’t get why her – I mean look at his options.

(As if on cue, Maria has a losing battle with the milkshake machine splattering milk and ice cream everywhere.)

Michael (watching Maria angrily cleaning herself off as she heads into the back): That’s the point –she’s the only one who can handle it.

(Alex and Isabel, more than surprised at Michael’s insightful observation, just look at him The silence is interrupted by a mild crashing sound from the back room, followed by a faint “Fuckin’ shitin’ piece of shit”)

Alex: Excuse me. (He slides out of the booth and heads in search of Maria while Isabel continues to eye Michael. He finally notices out of the corner of his eye.)

Michael (irritated): What?

(Isabel, raising her hand and backing off, exits the booth for the bathroom.)

(Scene: Liz’s Room. Max is sitting at the desk doodling with the pen. Liz walks out of the bathroom with a washcloth trying to get the ink off her face.)

Liz (a little annoyed): It’s not coming off.

Max (looking up at her and smiling): Come here.

(She walks over to him and he scoots the chair out and innocently pulls her to his lap. He waves his hand over her cheek and the smear disappears)

Liz: Why didn’t I think of that?

(She readjusts and turns to look at him. Huh? Think of what?)

Max (reaching out and brushing back a strand of hair behind her ear): You sure you want to do this?

Liz (in a haze and nodding): Uh huh.

Max (still concerned): Cuz I can just go downstairs and tell them you’re not ready.

Liz: What?

Max: You know – that you don’t want to talk about it yet. I mean, you just got back from the hospital…and we haven’t really even talked.

Liz (realizing that she and Max are not having the same conversation): Oh…um…Max I’m fine about this. Really, we should talk about it.

Max: You sure?

Liz: Yea. We need to…Maria’s really upset and I’m not sure about Alex…

Max (gently interrupting her): What about you?

Liz (getting off his lap and moving to the bed. She sits down and hugs her knees): I’m sorry about last night.

Max: What! (Getting up and going over to her) Liz, you have nothing to be sorry about.

Liz: I should have told you about the dream.

Max: I don’t care about the dream.

Liz: Max…

Max: It’s not real – and even if it is I still don’t care. All I care about is you and why he’s doing this…he has no reason – no right – to do this to you, to hurt you…not after everything you’ve done.

Liz: It’s because of what I’ve done. (Max just looks at her and she gently caresses the side of his face) We should go downstairs.

(Scene: Back at the Crashdown. Isabel remains in the bathroom while Alex and Maria come out from the back and head over to the table. Maria slides in followed by Alex.)
Music: Soul Coughing – Circles

Michael: Any way to get something to drink around here?

Maria (glaring at him for a moment and then taking off her alien headband): You’re an employee (she tosses her headband at him) get it yourself. (Michael glares and starts to slide out of the booth) And while you’re up Emeril, why don’t you whip us up something to eat. (He ignores her and heads to the drink machine. She adds under her breath): Or burn the place down.

Alex: It’s not that bad.

Maria: Speak for yourself boy-toy. I mean can’t I have one place that’s…alien free?

Alex (looking around the café): You sure picked a winner.

Maria (giving him a dirty look): You know what I mean.

Alex: And Isabel would be?

Maria: Temporary…and not him.

Alex: Thank God.

(Maria glares at him and after a moment, Michael slides into the booth with a tray of drinks. Maria eyes him suspiciously as he starts setting drinks in front of Alex and the empty spots for Liz, Isabel, and Max.)

Alex: Thanks man.

(Michael smirks and plops Maria’s drink down in front of her – she smirks back)

Isabel (sitting down): They’re not down yet? Do you think we should get them?

Maria (pissy): No! She’ll be down when she’s ready – the last thing she needs is us acting like we want to be here.

Isabel: I’m worried about her too Maria.

Maria (looking at Isabel, her face softens, but an inadvertent cough by Michael makes her tense up again): Well that makes four of us.

Michael (having had just about enough of her attitude): What’s that supposed to mean?

Maria: Yea, like your first response to Max wasn’t ‘lucky you.’ (Michael doesn’t say anything) Predictable.

Alex (ever the mediator): So…what exactly are we gonna talk about here?

Michael: We need to figure out what to do.

Maria: We?

Michael: Do you have something you want to say?

(Maria’s about to reply when Jose plops down a large plate of nachos and dips)

Jose: Here you go. (Looking at Michael) When you’re done out here come back and I’ll show you the kitchen.

Maria (under her breath): Oh happy day.

(Jose and Michael don't hear her but Alex does and gives her a slightly reprimanding look.)

Jose (turning to the sound of the backroom door opening): Hey beautiful. (Liz smiles at him and Max sort of frowns) How you doin’?

Liz: Fine now…better than those burgers burning on the grill.

(Jose smiles at her and notices the look on Max’s face. He moves toward the backroom.)

Jose (as he passes Liz): Glad you’re back.

Liz (softly): Thank you.

(Jose winks at her and then goes through the doors. Max and Liz slide into the booth opposite one another. Everyone sort of looks anywhere but at each other and no one knows exactly where to begin.)

Alex (God bless him): So Max…are you (doing the voice) seeing dead people or what? (Maria hits him, Isabel shoots him a seriously punishing look and kicks him under the table) Ouch.

(Michael tries his hardest not to smile – but it’s Liz who finally laughs, followed by Michael. Alex looks at Maria and hits her back)

Maria: Ouch!

Isabel (looking at Alex): Don’t even think about it!

(Everyone looks at Isabel, holding back laughter. Alex steals a sideways glance at Liz as he feels her hand gently touch his arm under the table – saying ‘thank you’ with a squeeze.)

Alex (after a moment looking back over to Max): Well?

Max (looking at Liz for reassurance and finding it in her smile): Sort of.

(Both Maria and Alex’s faces fall.)

Alex: Bad joke.

Max (looking around the table and letting out a sigh): It started with the crash and the pods and the cave off 247. But then it was stuff I didn’t know – places I didn’t recognize.

Maria: What do you mean?

Max: I think he just hitchhiked around the southwest…It all sort of looked the same. (He pauses and then looks away from the table. Quietly) And then he started killing people.

Maria (not hearing correctly): What?

Max (reluctantly looking at her): Um…he started killing people.

Maria (getting upset): You see that? (Max nods)

Alex (under his breath): That’s worse than dead people.

Maria (looking at Liz extremely concerned): Lizzie?

Liz (understanding): I don’t see them – just Max.

(Maria looks from Liz to Max and then shakes her head. Liz softly smiles at Max and he marvels at her strength.)

Max (hesitantly continuing): He came back to Roswell and I think…I saw River Dog and then the reservation cave. (He shoots a sideways glance at Michael and then looks down at the table) He used some stones to create the cave symbols.

Alex: Like River Dog’s stones?

Michael: No. (Maria and Alex look at him) Different ones – ones we don’t have.

(Liz looks at Michael and then slightly furrows her brow as she moves her gaze from him to Max – and he raises his apologetic eyes to meet hers.)

Alex: So he’s got stones?

Isabel: We don’t think he has them anymore.

Liz (still looking at Max): He wants you to find them.

Maria (still angry): Why doesn’t he find them – he’s Mr. Know-it-all…isn’t he?

Max (frustrated): I don’t know.

(He shakes his head, but stops as his eye catches on something behind Liz. He looks at Liz and then past her again – this time she notices. She turns to look behind her and then quickly back to the table. With a sweeping glance around the booth she slides out.)

Liz (as she walks toward the front): Kyle.

Maria (leaning over to Max): Still doesn’t explain why he’s doing this to her.

(Max reluctantly looks away from Kyle and Liz and over to her.)

Kyle: Just wanted to see how you’re doin’.

Liz: I’m fine Kyle – thank you…You know, Max told me what you did.

Kyle (looking back at Max – who’s obviously torn between the now heated conversation going on around him and the one Kyle and Liz are having): Max?

Liz: Yea…You know, that you came to visit me and…and read to me.

Kyle (a little embarrassed): Oh.

Liz: Thank you. It means a lot.

Kyle (down playing it): Yea well, it’s a good thing Max came when he did or Maria was gonna make me read some Anne book or something. One more day and I thought I was gonna have to drag his ass in there.

Liz (laughing): I’m surprised Maria didn’t. (After a brief pause) He just needed time.

Kyle: I guess it only matters that he came.

Liz (reaching out and gently touching his arm – almost instinctively): Kyle…

Kyle (pulling out a bag from inside his coat): Look, I just wanted to drop this off. (Looking back at the table) I know you’re busy and all.

Liz (surprised): Kyle you didn’t have to get me anything.

Kyle: It’s nothing really – your mom said you didn’t have it.

Liz (opening the bag and pulling out The Princess Bride video, she smiles up at him): I have been wanting this forever! Thank you!

Kyle: Maybe we can watch it again sometime…(looking back at Max)

Liz (smiling): I’d like that.

Kyle (after a pause): Well I’ll see you on Monday.

Liz: Thank you Kyle.

(He looks at her deeply – just for a moment – and then nods and turns to leave. He makes eye contact with Max as he goes through the door.)

Maria (trying really hard not to yell at Michael): Know what? You can’t possibly k-n-o-w, because it’s not happening to you.

Michael (equally angry): It’s not happening to you either.

(Isabel side kicks him under the table. He turns to yell at her but stops short when he sees Liz sitting down. The table falls silent and Liz looks around at everyone not looking at her.)

Liz: You can talk about it when I’m here too – that is why we’re here right, to talk about it?

Isabel: There wasn’t much talking really…just Itchy and Scratchy over here…

(Maria lets out a grunt of indignation and the rest of the table – except Michael – chuckles.)

Liz (looking at Max): So somewhere in the visions is where the stones are – and you haven’t seen it yet?

(Max doesn’t say anything so she looks down the table to Michael – whose expression gives her the answer. She nods and the table grows silent again.)

Alex (thoughtfully after a pause): Could the fourth, um, ‘pod person’ have them?

(The aliens look at one another and Liz turns to Alex.)

Liz: Did you find something?

Alex: Letter to the Tribune – some guy from Corona talking about naked kids being left in the desert.

Liz (disappointed): Albuquerque – I hadn’t looked there yet. (Looking at Alex) Have you talked to him?

Alex (looking from Liz to Isabel): He’s on vacation.

Michael: How do you know?

Alex: Answering machine – why do people do that? It’s like advertising. Why not just put a sign up saying ‘Come on in, we’re gone for a month.’

(Michael gets a thoughtful expression on his face and Maria jumps in – knowing exactly where his mind went.)

Maria: Not with my car – breaking into dead people’s homes is one thing…but Grandpa – uh uh!

Liz (thinking aloud): We want to talk to him – that’s the point…he can give us where to look.

Isabel: Well, we’ve got the orphanages and adoption agencies for Albuquerque but we don’t know what we’re looking for…(Liz quickly looks at her)…you know boy or girl. (Liz stares at her, thinking about her comment.)

Michael: More to the point we don’t know if they’d have the stones.

Isabel (reprimandingly): Michael.

Liz (shaking out of her revere): He’s right – we don’t know. It doesn’t make sense either. I mean if the stones were in the cave then why wouldn’t one of you’ve grabbed them?

Alex: Okay girl with a point…

Michael (finally saying what no one will): All we’ve got are the visions.

Maria (angry): What do you want them to do – go in the broom closet and have some for you?

Liz: Maria.

Maria (looking over to Liz): I don’t like it and I don’t understand why…

Liz: He doesn’t believe it. (Everyone looks at her) That we know and still care.

Alex: Why you?

Liz: I started it. I’m the reason…

Max: Liz…

Liz (looking at him): I am. He’s obviously angry with me…and you. (Max opens his mouth to say something but she cuts him off) It doesn’t do any good to talk about why or how – it is. And Michael’s right – it’s all we’ve got. And the sooner we find what he wants, the sooner it’ll stop.

Max (slightly pleadingly): I can’t ask you…

Liz (firmly): Max you’re not asking – I am. I want him out of me.

(Max looks around the table awkwardly then grabs Liz’s hand and pulls her out of the booth and toward the back.)

Alex (as they go through the door): Three is definitely a crowd.

Liz: Max all we’re doing is making-out like every other teenage couple…

Max (interrupting her): But I don’t know if I can stop.

Liz: Why do we have to?

Max: Don’t say that.

Liz: Max I trust you. (He looks at her concerned and she gently touches his face) I trust you.

Max (after what seems like hours): I have to do some stuff for Milton at the Center but I’ll be back…and we’ll talk about this?

Liz: I’ll be upstairs. But I’m done talking Max.

(She heads through the door and into the front. Maria has now returned to work and is behind the counter filling up drinks. Liz pauses at the counter, ripping a piece of napkin and hurriedly writing something on it. She slides back into the booth next to Alex.)

Liz (looking at Michael): So you start tomorrow?

Michael: Yea.

Liz: Have you gotten the tour yet? (She notices him look at Maria behind the counter and adds) The formal one?

Michael (looking over at Liz): No.

Isabel: I’ll show him what Jose doesn’t. (Looking in Maria’s direction) If she doesn’t kill him before tomorrow.

Max (coming up to the table): I’ve gotta talk to Milton. (He looks from Liz to Isabel and hands Isabel the keys to the jeep) Don’t wait for me.

Isabel: I wasn’t.

(Max looks at her and then Liz, and reluctantly walks off.)

Liz (turning to Alex): What’ve you got planned tonight?

Alex: Research and a few party preparations.

Michael: Party?

(Liz closes her eyes as Alex answers the question and stiffens in her seat. She opens her eyes slowly and looks around the table. The conversation continues as a haze around her. She slowly turns her head to look behind her but doesn’t see anything – not that she knows what she’s looking for. When she turns back around she meets Michael’s gaze and instantly knows that he felt it too. She looks down at the table and lets out a soft sigh.)

Alex (struggling to not offend the uninvited): …uh…pre-contact party.

Liz (returning to the conversation): I think, um, I’m gonna go upstairs – I’m tired all of a sudden.

Alex (doing a little table dancing): Better save your strength Parker.

(Liz smiles at him and then under the table slips the folded piece of napkin into his pants pocket. He flinches and looks at her curiously – not too obviously – but she doesn’t acknowledge it.)

Liz: ‘Til then Chayanne.

(She gets up from the table and goes into the back. As she starts up the stairs the backroom door swings open and Michael enters.)

Michael (said as a statement not a question): You felt him.

Liz: I don’t know how. It’s like I’m connected to him or something. It’s like I…sense him.

Michael (after a moment): I’m sorry.

Liz (stopping and turning to look at him, after a moment): Thank you. (Michael nods and then lets out a deep sigh. Liz watches him for a second) She’ll understand. (He looks up at her) Just give her time.

(Scene: Crashdown, various scenes. Michael’s in the kitchen getting the tour from Jose. Every time Maria goes behind the counter to fill up drinks he’ll peak out the window and watch her. Whether or not she notices is hard to tell…A little later Michael is sitting in one of the booths filling out some paperwork with Jeff Parker. It would be impossible for either of them to miss Maria’s obvious dissatisfaction at the situation as she mumbles under her breath each time she passes the table…Again later – close to closing – Michael is wearing an apron in the kitchen busy doing something for Jose. Maria comes up to the pick up window to get an order. She pauses and watches him for a moment. He turns to her and she quickly covers by giving him a glare and then snatching the plate off the counter. He watches her go, shaking his head, and letting out a sigh…About 30 minutes later Michael, now done for the evening, is standing in the back room looking at the lockers and scratching his head. Maria comes in.)
Music: Smash Mouth – Waste

Michael (not looking at who it is): Do you just take one?

Maria: Sure – why not? You’re good at taking whatever you want.

Michael (turning to look at her): Do you have a problem?

Maria: I’m not even gonna bother.

Michael (returning to the locker and under his breath): Why do I?

Maria: YOU! Bother with what? You don’t even feel bad -at least Max…

Michael (exasperated and angry): I am not Max.

Maria: Obviously…(under her breath) Liz always gets the good ones.

Michael (slamming the locker shut): You realize you’re being a bitch.

Maria: And you realize you’ve been nothing but an asshole for the past two weeks. My best friend’s been shot and now she’s being used as some psycho’s sex toy and I can’t do anything…(She starts to get physically upset) except watch her and wonder if I’m going to be next. And you! (She angrily looks at him, forcefully) You can’t even pretend to act like you care.

Michael: Like I care? What the hell do you think I’m doing here? You think I like flipping burgers and subjecting myself to…(he searches around the room and then grabs the alien doll off the couch)…this in my spare time? (Maria opens her mouth to snap at him but the weight of his words hits her and all she can manage is a gruntish exhale of surprise.) Don’t you think I know it could be you? If you’d stop with the attitude for five seconds you’d realize that I’m here to be near you…(Frustrated and feeling exposed) Damnit!

(He yanks his coat off the rack and brushes past a dumbfounded Maria still standing with her mouth open. Michael heads for the back door and as he reaches for the knob Maria finds her tongue.)

Maria (turning to him): Don’t go.

(Michael stops, drops his hand to his side, and lets out a heavy sigh.)

(Scene: UFO Center entrance. Milton and Max exit the building together. Max turns to him and waves goodnight and crosses the street toward the Crashdown. Milton walks down the street, passing the alleyway, and then finally rounds the corner. As Milton disappears down the side street, Nasedo morphs out of the alleyway wall looking like Milton. He exits the alley and heads back toward the Center entrance. He reaches to open the door as the security guard appears inside.)

Guard: Forget something?

Nasedo Milton (shaking his head): Almost forgot my bedtime reading. You can go ahead and beam out – I’ll set the alarm.

Guard: Alright then, you have a good night. (He walks out the door and heads for his car, under his breath) Nothing would put me to sleep faster…

(Scene: Various ones from later that night…starting with the Crashdown. Maria is condensing the condiments behind the counter and Michael is sweeping. Maria watches Michael and bites her lip to hold back from yelling at herself, aloud. She shakes her head and turns to take the ketchup tray into the back. As she turns away Michael looks up from the floor and over to her. He lets out a silent sigh and watches her go…

In Liz’s bedroom, Max is standing by the window quietly watching Liz writing in her journal on the roof. Nancy, carrying a laundry basket turns the corner of the hallway and looks at Liz’s slightly open door. She hesitates and then walks toward it, not hearing anything she gently pushes the door farther open. She stops when she sees Max and moves to her left to see what he’s looking at. She smiles as Liz comes into view sitting on the lounge chair. Looking back at Max, Nancy’s smile deepens and she quietly backs out of the room and closes the door…

Over at Alex’s House…Alex is sitting in front of his computer. He’s apparently hacked into the Adoption Exchange office in Albuquerque. He rolls his head to crack his neck and then looks over at the stack of printouts spread out all over his bed. He lets out a sigh and then picks up a small piece of crinkled napkin off the desk. He furrows his brow as he looks down at it. Looking back at the computer, he sets the napkin down and moves the mouse to the search button. He pauses and looks back at the napkin off to his left. ‘It’s a girl’ is written on it neatly. He shakes his head, lets out a sigh and then types the word ‘girl’ on the screen and hits return.

Inside the UFO Center, Nasedo Milton turns off the computer and exits the office. He casually passes his hand over the alarm system and the little red light turns green. He exits the Center and walks toward the alley. Before turning, he looks up and across the street to Liz’s roof and pauses. He has a flash of Liz looking so devastated from the dream of Max’s home. He pulls something out of his pocket – the shadow he’s standing in makes it difficult to see what it is – he looks down at it and turns it over in his palm and then looks back up to the roof. Nasedo shakes his head to try and rid himself of the unwanted thoughts and regretful feelings creeping over him. As he turns the corner, he changes into someone else.)
Music: Holly Cole – Make It Go Away

posted on 15-Sep-2001 2:00:54 PM
Title: #1 Know Where You’re Going (Road Rules trilogy, part 1)
Author: N/A
Email: ajrocchio⊕
Rating: PG-13 for language and definite sexual situation
Category: Other Stories
Disclaimers: The characters of Roswell belong to the WB, among others, but apparently I just can’t keep myself from borrowing them.
Summary: Goin’ on a road trip.
Author’s note/soapbox: So if you’re reading this you’ve probably already read the previous stories, and if you haven’t, then none of this is going to make sense – you’ve been warned. Okay…so I’m gonna take this opportunity to give you all a little insight into the friendship of Maria and Liz in my little world. Why? Because it has pretty big ramifications at the end of this story (in other words, it’s gonna get a little angsty between M and M). I don’t really know what to think of what the show has done with the human friendships, but I think it’s pretty lacking for the most part. (I’m still caught up by the fact that Maria actually asked Liz for $100 to go on the father/daughter camping trip…really good girlfriends – don’t do that, or at least none of mine do, and if they did I’d think they were on something.) So…really (like really) good friends…aren’t really friends – they’re family. And when you love your family because they’ve all you’ve got…you’d do anything (like anything) for them. Maria’s a pretty strong person – but I think a good portion of that strength comes from Liz – from Liz’s belief in her, support of her, and love for her – because she doesn’t really get that from anyone else. So what this all boils down to is this – Maria would do just about anything for Liz, and when you mess with Liz then you have to deal with Maria. Watching Liz go through something that she doesn’t understand, and can’t do anything about, pushes the boundaries of her anger – and we already knew that she had problems dealing with that. You can disagree with me – that’s cool – but in this universe that’s what it is…and that’s what’s behind Maria’s behavior towards the end of this story…so with that…here you go…

(Music: Toad the Wet Sprocket – Good Intentions. Scene: Crashdown, various. Michael is in the kitchen with an abnormally messy apron and the hair to match. Maria comes up to the pick up window and slaps down a couple more orders. Michael looks at her with a mixture of panic and annoyance, but she just laughs at him and walks away. Michael glaringly watches her go but gets a good whiff of burning burger and his attention is quickly returned to work…

A couple hours later Jose, wearing his coat slaps Michael on the back and heads for the exit. Michael watches him go, letting out a heavy sigh. Maria and Isabel watch from the pick up window with obvious amusement at Michael’s helpless appearance. Michael turns back to the grill ignoring the on-lookers, entertained at his expense. Maria and Isabel each let out laughs as they pick up their orders and return to work. They get about a step from the counter before finding french fries being hurled – and sticking – to the back of their heads. They spin on their heels to Michael with the most venomous glares and he just looks at them for a second before plopping a fry in his mouth and turning to the grill...

Later that evening, closing time. Alex and Liz are sitting in the far booth playing poker for popcorn while Maria, combining condiments at the back counter, stares at the only customers in the place – a couple eating near the front. In the kitchen Michael is in the middle of a massive clean up while Isabel puts away the broom and dustpan before heading into the kitchen to check on Michael. Maria, looking severely irritated, walks over to Liz and Alex and plops down in the booth)

Maria (a little louder than necessary): Are these people ever gonna leave?

Alex (studying his cards): It’s not like you were too obvious about it – you only gave them their bill with their meal.

Maria: Well if you’re gonna come in at 9:40 then you better be out by 10 – don’t they realize we have plans?

Liz (dealing two cards to herself and three to Alex): You all but told them. (She looks at her cards and then places them on the table face up)

Alex: Damn.

Maria (looking at the cards, to Alex): Kicking your ass?

(Alex glares sideways at her and then tilts a bowl toward Maria. There are a couple of pieces of popcorn in it. Maria looks over at Liz who has a practically overflowing bowl of popcorn.)

Maria (to Liz): Did you at least try and be gentle with him?

Liz: It’s like physiologically impossible for me – you know…I couldn’t even let the kids I used to baby-sit win.

Maria: Right, like the time you made Joey Reister cry.

Liz: It’s important for kids to learn how to lose…

Maria (rolling her eyes): Oh, like you’re so good at it.

Alex: Hey I’m still chess champion.

Liz (to Alex): Yea, I’m working on that.

Maria: Point proven. (Returning her attention to the couple) Maybe we should start putting chairs on the tables…

Alex: Or maybe you can just start cleaning their dishes while they’re still eating from them.

Maria (glaring and flicking popcorn at him): Loser.

Alex (gently brushing his arm where the popcorn bounced off him – mocking Maria): Like Teflon, babe.

(Maria glares at him and contemplates tossing all of Liz’s popcorn at him but the bells on the door jingle as the couple finally leaves. She darts up and locks the door behind them. She clears their table and goes into the back. Alex and Liz get up from the booth. Liz clears the booth of the playing cards and puts the popcorn in a bag. Alex starts pushing tables aside and putting chairs on top of them. Maria returns to the front with a CD player and a handful of CD’s. She sets them on the counter, then takes the condiment tray into the back. Liz walks over to Alex to help him lift chairs on top of the tables.)

Alex (looking at Liz, who’s in mid-reach for a chair): Uh…what do you think you’re doing?

Liz (innocently glancing up at him): Helping.

Alex (he bats her hand away from the chair and looks at her reprimandingly): Help over there (he points to the CD player).

Liz: It’s not that heavy.

Alex: Tell it to the CD player.

(Liz grudgingly walks over to the counter and plugs in the stereo. She peruses the CDs and holds one up to Alex)

Liz: This the new one?

Alex (looking over at her): Buena Vista – yea. You’re gonna love these guys. I made a copy of it so that’s yours.

Liz (while putting the CD in): It’s been a long time hasn’t it?

Alex: Too long my fri…

(He stops as Isabel walks in from the back. She glares at him, and as she passes him, heading for the cash register, she lets out a sigh of irritation, which is far from subtle.)

Isabel (clearly in one of her ‘moods’): I’m cashing out the register and we’re taking off.

Liz: What movie you guys gonna see tonight?

Isabel: Battlefield Earth.

Alex: I heard that was really bad.

Isabel (looking straight at Alex): I think it might actually be…inspiring.

(Alex and Liz look at each other and then continue what they were doing. Liz pushes play and Alex finishes the chairs at the table he’s at and then moves to the next one. When the music starts Isabel looks at Liz out of the corner of her eye curiously and then finishes what she’s doing and heads toward the back passing Maria through the doors)

Maria: Is she like irritable with a side of extra-pissy tonight or is it me?

Alex: Yea, and she’s taking it out on me. (He looks at Maria) Thank you very much.

Maria: Me?

Alex: This is your party – and you didn’t want to invite them.

Maria: This isn’t my party, it’s Liz’s. (Liz and Alex just look at her and she lets out a sigh of frustration) Okay, okay…so technically it’s for me…(she points at Alex accusatorily) but it’s not like you didn’t need it either.

Liz (looking around the café): Well let’s get started. What’s left?

Maria (making a sweeping glance around): The ice cream, cookies, cheetos, chocolate fudge, strawberries…and um…just about everything else my body is seriously going to regret havin’ eaten.

Liz: Need help?

Alex: Say no.

Liz: Thanks Dad…

Maria (reaching over and pushing the forward button on the CD player a couple of times it skips to a slower song: Buena Vista Social Club – Pueblo Nuevo, looking at Alex): Be careful with Ginger, Fred, or her parents will kill us.

Liz (rolling her eyes at Maria and sighing with indignation): And Mom.

(Maria just smiles at her and heads into the back. Opening her locker Maria pulls out her shorts and puts them on under her uniform. She undoes a couple of buttons and steps out of the dress. Michael, in the kitchen, walks past the door and glances out. He immediately stops. His feet can’t seem to move and his eyes won’t look away from the image of Maria’s back. He watches her slide her shirt over her head and shut her locker. The noise of that snaps him out of it and he quickly moves to avoid getting caught. Maria doesn’t notice him as she turns and heads into the kitchen to retrieve the food. She opens up the freezer and starts pulling out ice cream while Michael ties up the trash bags.)

Michael: So what are you guys gonna do tonight? Hold hands, sing songs and watch movies? (He turns to look at her and eyes the mound of food she’s piling up on the counter) Or just stuff yourselves?

Maria (shuts the door and thinks aloud about what he said): Hold hands…sing…movies. Yes, yes, yes (She looks up and over at Michael batting her eyes and smiling) Yea, pretty much.

Michael (sarcastically): Thanks for keeping it between yourselves.

Maria (eyeing him with a mischievous smile): It’s a good thing really. I mean, you avoid dances like they’re a disease or something, and I’m guessing your sense of rhythm is seriously whacked from listening to that crap you call music.

Michael (confused): What?

Maria (looking up from the tray to him): What?

Michael (irritated and confused): What are you talkin’ about?

Maria: This. Tonight. You know earthlings stay aliens leave. It’s totally for your own good – you would’ve humiliated yourself. (She picks up the tray and pauses) Though, that’s actually kinda fun to watch. (Michael shakes his head in utter bewilderment)

(Out front, Alex walks up to Liz and playfully bows to her – she curtsies back and they begin dancing to the music – we’re talking serious slow-salsa dancing.)

Alex: I’m telling you Parker – if the Harvard thing falls through we could go pro.

Liz (laughing): And admit to your dad that all those years at summer camp weren’t spent taking archery?

Alex: I think that cover story’s been blown...(shaking his head at the memory). He asked me to get his ‘Gamegetters’ once…(he gently dips Liz)…like he couldn’t have just called them arrows? (He shakes his head again) But it was definitely worth it.

Liz (closing her eyes and moving to the music): I’ve missed this…definitely need to teach Max.

(Alex just watches her and lets out a sigh, which Liz hears and she opens her eyes looking up at him. He reaches into his shirt pocket and pulls out a crinkled piece of napkin.)

Alex: Care to share?

Liz (not really wanting to): A hunch?

Alex: A hunch? Nice try, Velma.

Liz: I just know, Alex, I can’t explain it.

Alex: Are we talking ‘know’ as in ‘I don’t know I’m feeling lucky today’ or ‘know’ as in ‘the evil one told me so?’

Liz (looking up at him): It makes sense doesn’t it? I mean think about it…there’s Michael and Max and then Isabel and someone else.

Alex: So what, you think they come in sets.

Liz (letting out a sigh): He didn’t exactly tell me…but I know what he was showing me.

Alex (looking at her seriously): Does Max know?

Liz: No, and I don’t think we should tell him – any of them – until we find something. (Alex looks at her questioningly) Trust me.

Alex: You know I do – but I haven’t been able to find anything. I’ve still got a few more places to look but so far nothin’ in Albuquerque.

Liz (thinking about it): Where could she be?

Maria (coming in from the back loaded down with the tray of junk food): Right here, babe. Let the bondage begin – wait…that didn’t sound good…

(Scene fastforwards about 15 minutes. Isabel comes out of the bathroom holding her uniform and walks over to the lockers. She doesn’t notice Michael standing near the doors to the front, off to the side, looking through the window.)

Isabel (looking at the uniform in her hand): I am so over this. (She stuffs it forcefully in her bag and tosses her headband into the locker and swings it shut. She turns and starts when she sees Michael.) Michael? What are you doing?

Michael (without moving): Max would get visions just watchin’ this.

Isabel (walking over to him): What?

Michael (moving only to point at the window in the door): That.

(Isabel turns slightly to look through the window. Her mouth drops a little and her eyes widen as she sees Liz and Alex dancing – like really dancing. She has a flash of her and Alex dancing together from his dream and barely hears Michael.)

Michael: Is there anything she doesn’t do…

Isabel (lost in thought): I thought he was dreaming...

Michael: What?

Isabel (coming out of it and looking at Michael): Nothing. (She looks at her watch) Where is Max?

Michael: Now? (Ducking his head to look out the window closer) Sitting in his drool out front.

(Isabel looks at him and Michael points again over toward the far corner of the café – barely visible through the window is the right headlight and front grill of the jeep. At about that moment the song changes and Maria starts singing – in Spanish – along with the music. Michael stiffens, just enough for Isabel to notice, and slowly moves so he can see behind the counter. Maria is holding the CD book singing along to the lyrics and dancing around behind the counter waiting for the drinks to fill up.)

Isabel (watching Michael): Should I get you a bucket for yours? (Michael turns and glares at her)

(Scene cuts to the jeep. Max is sitting in the front seat pretty much immobilized by what he’s watching. All he can do is stare. He doesn’t hear Michael and Isabel until they actually start climbing into the jeep.)

Michael (looking at Max and smirking): Maybe I should drive. (Max doesn’t say anything) Looks like you’re gonna need dance lessons Maximillan.

Max (looking over at Michael and nodding toward the café): Me? (He lets out a laugh) I’m not the only one.

(Michael looks from Max to the Crashdown and sees Maria now dancing with Alex. Michael sort of chokes on his breath and the three of them just sit in the jeep watching what’s going on inside.)

(Scene cuts to inside)

Alex (playfully frustrated): Okay, let’s go over this again. (He stops dancing with Maria and steps away from her) Who am I?

Maria (rolling her eyes and letting out a frustrated sigh): The boy – however questionable.

Alex (gives her a playfully stern look): Do you want to dance? (Maria sighs and looks up at him) And what does the boy do?

Maria (even more frustrated): Leads, okay, but…

Alex (putting up his hand and interrupting her): Aaah…

Maria: Fine.

(Alex pulls her to him and they start dancing again as Liz dances over to a booth near them carrying a huge vanilla sundae.)

(Scene: The Evans House, middle of the same night. Diane shuffles down the hallway and enters the kitchen. She turns on the lights and Max, sitting at the table, squints at the brightness.)

Diane (surveying the scene): Strawberry milk?

(Max looks down at the half glass of pink milk and the tiny – one shot – bottle of Tabasco sauce sitting in plain sight next to it. He doesn’t say anything, or do anything, and Diane walks over to the fridge)

Diane (as she pulls out the milk and pours a glass for herself): Comfort food at (she looks at the clock on the coffee machine) 3 a.m. – you want to talk about it? (Max lets out a sigh) Must be something more than forgetting how to sleep in a bed. (Max looks sideways at his mother as she comes over to the table and sits down across from him) I almost forgot I had a son.

Max: Mom…

Diane: I know sweetie, your father and I understand. Is that what this is about? (Max looks away from her) Liz? How is she?

Max: She says she’s fine but I think she’s trying too hard to be for everyone else and…(he catches himself and sort of blushes looking up at his smiling mom)…Fine, she’s fine.

Diane: Jeff and Nancy must be glad to have her home. I talked to Sheriff Valenti…

Max: What? When?

Diane: I was just inquiring about the investigation. He said there weren’t any leads. He doesn’t think they’ll ever find who did it. I can’t believe it – no witnesses on a Friday night at the movies. (She shakes her head and takes a sip of milk. She watches Max for a few moments and then hesitantly starts again) Your father and I have been meaning to talk to you.

Max (looking over at her): What about?

Diane (delicately): Honey, we know you’re very serious about Liz. (Max immediately stiffens, knowing exactly where this conversation is headed) We just want to make sure that you’re…careful.

Max (uncomfortably): Mom, you don’t…

Diane (smiling): It’s about time don’t you think? You’ve avoided this for longer than I thought possible. Your sister on the other hand (she shakes her head)…You though, we’ve never had to worry about – much to the disappointment of the girls in your class…

Max (seriously wanting out of this): Mom, please…

Diane: Liz is a wonderful girl. (Max sinks further in his chair and Diane looks at him intently. Her eyes fall to the table and the curious bottle of Tabasco sauce next to the milk – nothing she hasn’t seen before. She looks back up at Max and lets out a sigh.) I know there are…things you don’t want to talk to me about – for whatever reason. But I hope you can talk to her about them…or (Max quickly glances over at her and she stops – immediately recognizing in the look on his face that he already has. Her smile deepens and she gets up from her seat.) Goodnight, honey. (She gently touches his face) Be gentle with your father tomorrow he’s had this speech planned for years.

Max (inwardly groaning): I’ll try. Goodnight, mom.

Diane (walking over to the hallway and pausing): You want the lights on or off?

Max: Off please.

Diane (smiling): See you in the afternoon. (She flips the switch to the kitchen and lingers a moment. Max lets out a heavy sigh and she heads down the hall.)

(Scene: Hotel room. There is a VCR hooked up to the television. It’s just playing fuzz. Agents Banks and Jones are sitting in silence staring at it. Banks finally looks over to Jones.)

Banks: You think it’s the Sheriff?

Jones: Who else could it be?

Banks: We still don’t have anything on the guy who killed Coop and Patton.

Jones: We’re not here for him – we’re here for the kid.

Banks (shaking his head): Guess last night was a good thing – they would’ve just had more of that (he motions toward the t.v.). I don’t get how they rigged it though – shit we don’t even know where Patton’s equipment is. Maybe the Sheriff found it.

Jones (furrowing his brow and looking over at Banks, contemplating his comment): Maybe Sheriff Valenti knows more than we think.

(Scene: School, before classes – pretty early. Max is standing at his locker transferring books from his backpack to the locker. Liz turns the corner and sees him. She smiles and saunters up to him.)

Liz: Hey.

Max (not really looking at her): Hey.

Liz: So did you have a good weekend?

Max (avoiding eye contact): Okay. You?

Liz: Yea I had a great time on Saturday.

Max: That’s good.

Liz (watching him for a moment): So you wanna know what we did?

Max: I’m just glad you had a good time.

Liz (smiling knowingly): You’re not the least bit curious?

(Her tone makes Max look over at her and he instantly knows he was caught)

Max: How’d you…

Liz: I saw the jeep – plus I figured you had to pick up Isabel for the movie – how was that?

Max: We didn’t go.

Liz (moving closer to Max and looking up at him slightly seductively): So when do you want to start?

Max (mentally shuffling through the millions of things that could be): What?

Liz (inching even closer): Dance lessons.

Max (taking a step back): I don’t think that would be a good idea.

Liz: You don’t?

Max (shaking his head and returning to the locker, talking more to himself than her): No, yea, not a good idea.

Liz (leaning back against the locker): Well than I’ll just have to keep looking for someone else – I mean Alex is only temporary…

Max: What? Wait? Someone else for what?

Liz: To dance with.

Max: Like that?

Liz: Well, yea, and other ways.

Max (fighting that and shaking his head): I don’t…uh…

Liz (smiling even broader and stepping into him): So, when did you want to start?

(Max just looks down at her and takes a deep breath. He’s saved by a group of girls entering the hallway and spotting Liz.)

Girl1: Liz!

Girl2: Ohmigod!

(Liz is swarmed with girls, giving Max the perfect opportunity to escape. He backs up and lets out a major sigh of relief. He glances at her before turning down the hallway. She’s caught in the crossfire of numerous questions and finally just lifts up her shirt to show everyone where the bandage is. Max sucks in his breath and quickly heads down the hall.)

(Music: Ugly Americans – You Turn Me On. Scene continues about an hour later. Liz is intentionally, and quite successfully, driving Max nuts.

In Geometry class she keeps playing with her hair – repeatedly putting it up in a bun and taking it out. She drops her pencil an abnormal number of times, and when she raises her hand a certain way her tank top rides up just an inch farther than normal…

Later in the halls she’s talking to a group of girls while Max watches her from a safe, seemingly out of sight place. She pulls out the pencil holding her hair in a bun and shakes her hair down. Her hand falls down to her thigh and she softly scratches just under her skirt hem. Max shakes his head – is she doing this on purpose? Kyle, walking the hallway, sees the whole interaction and as he passes Max he hits him on the back)

Kyle: Give it up Evans.

(Biology class pushes new levels of distraction. Now she’s brushing up against him accidentally – and frequently. And then there’s the soft sighing, and the constant fiddling with her sandal. And every time she raises her hand – how do her parents let her out dressed like that? The bell rings and Max has had about enough. Liz walks out in front of him but she doesn’t get very far before finding herself being pulled into the nearest closet. He backs her up against the door and with his hand, unnoticed by either of them, glowing over the doorknob he leans in and kisses her – we’re talking breath stealing, toe tingling, knee weakening kisses her – well, almost. It would have been if he hadn’t stopped just short of the tingling, weakening, and sure to follow, ‘seeing’ of things.)

Liz (completely breathless): What took you so long?

Max (equally breathless): Too many people.

Liz (getting her bearings of where they are): Not in here.

(Max pulls away from her and looks around and then back at Liz. She looks up at him and he lets out a sigh and leans his head into the door.)

Max (strained): Liz, you have to stop.

Liz: Why, Max?

Max: Because I can’t.

Liz: Max I…

Max (shaking his head and interrupting her): No. (He swallows) To be with you…I’ve (he looks away and doesn’t finish. Liz gently turns his face back to her) I can’t let it be like this. I – I – don’t want it to be like this. I want it to be…special…and (he tenderly places his hand over where her bandage is on her abdomen)…and you’re hurt and it might hurt you more.

(Liz places her hand over his and leans her head forward into his shoulder)

Liz: I’m sorry.

Max: For…

Liz (pulling back and looking up at him guiltily): This, for trying to…seduce you.

Max (smiles at her): You don’t have to try.

(Liz looks down at their hands and laces her fingers through Max’s. She looks back up at him.)

Liz: But there’s still the visions, Max. And I – we – need to be free of them so it can just be us.

Max (letting out a frustrated sigh): I know. I just…

Liz: Let’s just take it slow. I promise I won’t let anything – like that – happen.

(Max looks to protest but Liz gently pulls his face to hers, abruptly cutting off all thought.)

(Scene switches to the lunch quad, at relatively the same time. Alex is sitting at a table opening up his sack lunch. Isabel spots him and hesitantly walks up to the table and sits down.)

Isabel: Hey.

Alex (surprised): Hey. (He looks around the quad suspiciously) Everything okay?

Isabel: Yea, what?

Alex (looking at her suspiciously): Nothing. How was your weekend?

Isabel (sarcastically): Full of family bonding. Mom and dad had to make up for all the fun Max missed these last couple of weeks – if I have to play Monopoly one more time I’m gonna turn that board back into a tree.

Alex (taking a bite from his sandwich): At least your family games don’t involve shooting things and/or camouflage.

Isabel: Shooting things sounds nice.

Alex: So the movie was good?

Isabel: Movie?

Alex: Battlefield Earth.

Isabel: Oh, we didn’t go.

Alex: What’d you do?

Isabel (trying her hardest to suppress flashbacks of Alex dancing): Um, nothing – sat around. (Quickly changing the subject) So what kinds of things do you shoot, besides bows and arrows?

Alex (raising his eyebrow and grinning at her): Ever tried paintball?

(Scene: Janitor’s Closet. Liz is learning the hard way not to make promises you can’t keep. What was she thinking? What started out as slow controlled kissing quickly erupted into this – whatever this is. Liz is now backed up against a waist-high stack of boxes. Supporting her back and grabbing her leg Max lifts her onto the boxes – without breaking the kiss. He slides his right hand up her thigh to her waist and pulls her forward. Max can feel her melting into his left hand, as it creeps up her spine. He can feel it but he doesn’t register it. His mind is overflowing…

…the desert…Atherton…suspicion…more Atherton…hope…Atherton smiling, laughing…pictures of alien sightings…Atherton holding the necklace…showing Atherton the stones…discovering the stones missing…Atherton talking to a man in a suit in the dessert…rage, betrayal…killing Atherton…searching Atherton’s home…nothing…hopelessness…that woman again, with a little boy – God, who is she?…longing…the V constellation…anger…killing…again…the Navajo reservation cave…a hand brushing against the cave wall and the image from the necklace appearing…killing a woman…another cave…a different symbol…another killing and another cave…

...Max is screaming in his head for Liz to make it stop – it’s so loud why can’t she hear him? She can but she’s lost in her own struggle between wanting Max and keeping the promise she’s made him. It feels too good. His hand in her hair, his lips on her neck, and his other hand…God, what is he doing to her…she doesn’t want it to stop. But it has to…she can feel him pleading…

The loud jiggling of the closet doorknob, followed by a low curse, is enough to break them apart – panic quickly setting in)

Janitor (from behind the door): Damn kids – always locking this door. (The key is heard going in but the knob still won’t turn) What the…

(He jiggles the knob harder and bangs on the door. Max looks to the doorknob and sighs some relief when he sees that somehow in the middle of all this he managed to melt it. The relief is short lived as feeling slowly returns to his body. The slight movement of Max relaxing causes Liz to breathe in sharply and softly moan. Max looks at her, confused by her moaning, and suddenly becomes very aware of the warmth surrounding his right hand. His breathing stops and his eyes slightly widen as panic creeps into him again. He slowly lets his eyes fall down Liz’s body but quickly closes them before reaching the folds of her skirt. He no long needs visual confirmation as he can feel the soft cushion of Liz’s upper leg beneath his arm and the silky fabric of her skirt above it. He’s so overwhelmed in his thoughts that he isn’t even startled by the Janitor’s final bang of frustration on the door.)

Janitor: If Mr. Ortez doesn’t do something about these damn kids…(his voice gets faint as he heads down the hall toward the principals office.)

(Max instantaneously brings both hands to his side and opens his wounded eyes to Liz’s apologetic ones.)

Liz (a desperate whisper): I’m so sorry, Max.

(Scene: School Hallway. Maria is impatiently waiting for Liz. She keeps looking at her watch and then sighing in frustration. Michael turns the corner practically running into her.)

Maria (frustrated): You’re not Liz.

Michael: Obviously.

Maria: Have you seen her?

Michael: Why…you guys gonna have another group hug?

Maria: I was going to take her out to lunch.

Michael: My guess, she’s on a vision quest.

Maria: It’s noon – ye of little faith. She’s probably talking to Ms. Hardy about her homework or something.

Michael (getting a mischievous smile): Bet?

(Maria narrows her eyes and cautiously looks at Michael out of the corner of them.)

(Scene cuts to the principal and janitor walking down the hall headed toward Maria and Michael – now shaking hands. As they pass them…)

Janitor: You’ve got to do something about these damn kids in our closets. They lock them, jam the door…(They turn the corner and trail off. Michael smirks and looks at Maria.)

Maria: Damn! She is so paying for this! (She storms off down the hallway)

(Music: Mary Karlzen – Dimestore Life. Scene: Crashdown. Nancy is standing on the counter hanging little green aliens dressed in caps and gowns from the ceiling. She bends down to pick up the next alien as the bells on the door jingle.)

Nancy (looking to the door): Diane.

Diane: Nancy. (She nods at the decorations) Getting ready for the 15th?

Nancy (looking up at the ceiling): Yep. It’s amazing! I can’t believe another year’s already gone by.

Diane (nodding her head in agreement): Won’t be long before it’s our turn.

Nancy (letting out a sigh and stepping down from the counter): If mine lives to see it.

Diane (looking over at Nancy): How is she? Max is very sparse with details.

Nancy (letting out a sigh and walking over to the coffee machine): Sometimes I wonder if she even realizes she’s been shot. (Looking up at Diane) Coffee?

Diane: I’d love some.

Nancy (pouring two cups): Let alone been in a coma. She’s more worried about catching up with the school she’s missed than recovering. (She walks over to Diane and they sit down at a table) I’m just waiting for it to hit her.

Diane (taking a sip of coffee): Well it certainly hit Max. (Nancy smiles and Diane catches it and shakes her head) Jeff feel like he gained a son sooner than he wanted? (Nancy laughs) Philip and I sure couldn’t remember if we had one. I think I’ve seen him three times in the last three weeks. (She lets out a sigh and shakes her head again) I’m still trying to figure out when all this started.

Nancy (sipping her coffee, thoughtfully): I think sixth grade. (Diane looks at her surprised) Max used to come in and sit over there (she points to the corner table up front) and get a… vanilla blast – no strawberry, it was always pink…He’d get the milkshake and an order of fries and watch Lizzie work on her homework at the counter. How she never noticed, I’ll never know.

Diane: So this is where his allowance has been going all these years. (The two women laugh) I’ve had my suspicions since November…but boy, was Philip starting to get a little worried about his lack of interest.

Nancy (almost choking on her coffee with laughter): Poor Jeff can quell those fears. I thought he was going to lapse into a coma when he saw them sleeping on that hospital bed.

Diane: Together?

Nancy: Very innocently…(thinking)…but I think Jeff’s had his suspicions for awhile too. Looking back it’s easy to spot the signs – so subtle at the time but now…now they hit you over the head.

Diane (reflectively): They’re good kids.

Nancy (nodding): That they are.

(The conversation lulls for a moment as both women sip their coffees and think about their children. The quiet is interrupted as Amy DeLuca attempts to enter the café caring an insanely large number of boxed pies.)

Nancy (getting up from the table): My word.

(Diane joins her and they each take an armful of boxes and set them down on the counter. Amy returns from the car with another load and plops them down.)

Nancy (surprised at the quantity): Amy?

Amy (letting out a deep breath and raising her hand): Don’t ask. (Seeing Diane’s confused state) It’s very therapeutic – I think it’s the dough kneading. (All three of them laugh)

Nancy (walking over to the coffee machine, looking at Amy and raising her mug): Can I get you some?

Amy: Decaf?

Nancy: Yea. So who was it this time…Jim or Maria?

Amy (sitting down at the table next to Diane and letting out a sigh): She has been driving me batty this past week. (Nancy sits down and Amy relaxes) Don’t worry, I think Jeff’s finally been forgiven.

Nancy (seeing the lost look on Diane’s face): Hiring Michael Guerin didn’t have the reaction he was expecting.

Amy: Who knew this week they’d stopped speaking to one another? I swear those two…

Diane (thoughtfully): Michael Guerin. (Nancy and Amy look over at her) My only regret is that I didn’t find him too. (She shakes her head) He’s known Isabel and Max for years and he still doesn’t trust Philip and I. We’ve tried…At least we could get him free of Hank.

Nancy: Any word from him?

Diane: Nothing. I’m sure he only kept Michael for the money. Just a shame…

Amy: Maria mentioned it was bad.

Diane (shaking her head): He was in and out of foster homes for a few years and then Hank got him. Why he stayed there I don’t know. I wouldn’t be surprised if Hank hit him – he certainly yelled at him. Max would say things but when Philip or I would ask, Michael would just deny it.

Amy (sipping her coffee): Well that explains a lot of things. Not the hair, but a lot of other things.

Diane (smiling): The hair…

Nancy (looking at Diane): Without Isabel here these past few days I think Maria would have killed him.

Amy (shaking her head): Oh…a few times over.

Diane: I can’t tell you how pleased we are that she’s been working here. She’s grown so much this year…Working, developing real friendships – most of the girls she used to spend time with were so…well, shallow…and now she’s spending so much time with Alex Whitman. Though she says that it’s strictly friendly.

Amy (looking to Nancy and then Diane and raising her hand above her head): Tall skinny Alex Whitman?

Diane: With a sense of humor and a ten-speed bike named Floyd.

Amy (letting out a laugh): He’s been in love with her for years.

Diane (surprised): Really?

Nancy (smiling as she sips her coffee): Oh…years.

Diane: I had no idea!

Nancy (laughing at remembering): I caught him once – fifth grade I think – talking to himself in the bathroom mirror. He was giving himself a motivational talk to get up the courage to go talk to her.

Amy: No, no, no…I caught him writing an ‘Ode to Isabel’ once.

Nancy: Oh no…Did you ever get the Valentines Day heart-to-heart…

Amy: ‘Mrs. DeLuca what makes a woman fall in love?’

Nancy (laughing harder): I was trying so hard not to laugh all I could come up with was telling him about when Jeff used to write songs for me.

Diane (looking from Nancy to Amy): Don’t tell me – chocolate covered strawberries. (Amy nods and all three of them crack up) She’s been getting those for years – I wouldn’t let her eat any of them because we never know who was sending them to her.

Amy (through tears): It could have been worse…if I had said what I was really thinking.

(The laughter starts again, bringing all three of them practically to tears.)

Diane (wiping at her eyes): Oh to be young again.

Nancy: And in love.

Amy (slightly dreamily): It’s wonderful. (Nancy and Diane both look at her and she rolls her eyes) Did I just say that?

Nancy: Jim?

Amy (smiling like a schoolgirl): I don’t know.

Diane: Jim Valenti?

Amy: Are the Gods laughing or what? Tonight’s our three-month anniversary – take two.

Nancy (sliding out of her seat): This needs pie.

(Scene: School Hallway. Sixth period has just gotten out. Michael’s walking the halls toward the exit. As he crosses the parking lot to ditch school he turns his head and abruptly stops. He squints, looks around and then changes direction heading for the football field bleachers. As he gets closer Max can be seen sitting on them staring out into space. Michael strides up the stairs and sits down next to him. The expression on Max’s face tells him this isn’t a conversation for him to start. They sit there in silence.)

Max (not moving): Do you ever think about it, Michael?

Michael: What’s that, Maxwell? (Max looks over to him as if answering without words) Of course, everybody thinks about it. You can’t have the parts and not think about it.

Max: I’ve thought about it with Liz, I mean, I’ve only ever thought about it with Liz…dreamt about it. And now it’s happening but it’s still a dream. I can’t even feel it – or control it…I don’t even remember what we do. It’s like everything I’ve ever wanted to happen…is happening without me…

Michael (eyeing him very carefully): Max, when this is over you can…

Max (interrupting and turning to him): What? Start over? No. (He shakes his head and turns away from him, softly to hide the pain) No, you only get one first. You get one first love, one first kiss, one first (he stops and turns his head farther away from Michael)

Michael (cautiously): We don’t know if it will hurt her…

Max (angrily): It was never about sex – not to him. He never wanted us to do it. This…this is what he wanted.

Michael (at a total loss): What happened, Max?

Max (letting out a sigh and turning to Michael): Atherton took the stones.

Michael (effectively sidetracked for now): What?

Max (looking back to the field): I think he stole them from Nasedo.

Michael: Shit we were so close.

Max: I don’t think Nasedo knew about the secret room downstairs – I didn’t see it.

Michael: We’ve gotta go back.

(Music: Trish Murphy – Outsider. Scene: Crashdown. Michael’s in the kitchen while Maria is out front waiting on a table. She writes down the order and heads to the pick up window.)

Michael: Where’s Liz?

Maria (placing the order on the counter, with a hint of concern): Upstairs.

Michael (shaking his head as he dumps fries into the fryer): Something happened.

Maria (annoyed): What tipped you off, Genius– Max cutting classes, Liz locking herself in her room or…um…the bat signal?

(Michael just stares at her and she simply stares back. Moments pass as they silently regard one another. The jingle of the front door can barely be heard.)

Michael (not moving): You have customers.

Maria (likewise not breaking her gaze): Your burgers are burning.

(They stare at each other for a few seconds more before they both turn their respective ways. Maria lets out a sigh as her eyes fall on the new customer sitting at the counter.)

Maria (wiping her hands on her uniform as she approaches the counter): Hey Kyle.

Kyle (looking up from the menu briefly): Maria.

Maria: Too much to stomach?

Kyle: Once was enough – I didn’t need the instant replay.

Maria (leaning up against the counter and letting out a sigh): I think this has gone well past the whole ‘passing phase.’ (She turns and looks at him) I thought you said two months and he’d bail.

Kyle: He normally does. What about you…Your mom going for a personal best or something?

Maria: Or something.

(Kyle looks back down at the menu and Maria takes off her headband and fiddles with it. She lets out a deep sigh and Kyle looks back over at her. Looking past Maria, he notices Michael watching them, warily, from the kitchen.)

Kyle (nodding in Michael’s direction): So what, you guys afraid you won’t see enough of each other during the summer? All you need is Whitman in one of those (he motions with the menu to Maria’s uniform) and every day’s a class reunion.

Alex (sitting down next to Kyle): Did I hear my name or am I just being vain?

Kyle (looking at Alex): I was saying with your long legs (again he motions to the uniform) one of these might actually do something for you.

Alex (shaking his head): No no my friend, it’s your legs the girls show up to all those basketball games for…you put the cheerleaders to shame. (Kyle just looks at him and then back to the menu. Alex looks between the two disheartened faces) So, dare I ask what else I’ve missed in this conversation?

Maria: The parental dating game continues to disgust.

Alex: Did we not deal with this last night?

Kyle: Round two. (Alex looks from him to Maria)

Maria: Their date last night was interrupted by some shootout or something. (Looking at Kyle) Fries and a coke?

Kyle (setting down the menu): I guess.

(Maria turns to fill up Kyle’s drink. As she sets it in front of him, Michael hits the order pick up bell, a little harder than he intended and all three of them turn to look at the source of the excessively loud noise and see Michael’s irritated face. Maria rolls her eyes and heads to the window.)

Maria: Smooth.

Michael: What’s Jr. doing here?

Maria (balancing the plates in her arm): Communal commiseration…okay?

Michael (just looking at her): He better be gone when everyone gets here.

Maria: Everyone? Who’s coming? Did you phone home and invite the rest of your race? He wants fries and he’ll leave when he feels like it. (She turns to deliver the food she’s balancing but stops and looks over her shoulder) And don’t do anything funny to them either.

(Michael watches her walk over to the table then shifts his eyes to Kyle and Alex at the counter.)

Alex: You know they’re hiring a dishwasher – I’ve got an in with the owner.

Kyle (looks to Alex and then over to the kitchen): Yea, and confine myself to a small room with that (nodding at Michael) and sharp metal objects? No thanks. (Alex nods in agreement) The guy’s got issues. (Kyle takes a sip of his drink and Alex watches Michael return to the grill)

Alex (under his breath): You have no idea.

Kyle: So you joining the retro-alien workforce this summer?

Alex (caught off guard by the ‘a’ word): Huh? (Kyle picks up Maria’s discarded antennae headband and waves them at Alex.) Oh, no – working at the Rec.

Kyle (sincerely interested): Doin’ what?

Alex: Teaching some computer classes and the chess club.

Kyle (almost choking on his drink): People actually sign up for that?

Alex: You’d be surprised how interested Grandma and Grandpa are in the web…

Kyle: No…chess?

Alex: Oh, yea...

Kyle: Besides you?

Alex: Hey man, don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it.

Kyle (raising his eyebrow and his glass): Maybe the next life.

(The pick up order bell rings again and Maria walks back to the counter for Kyle’s fries. She eyes the fries suspiciously.)

Maria: You do anything to these?

Michael: What? Like I’d really …

Isabel (interrupting as she enters the kitchen): Where’s Max and what’s up with the ‘adopt-a-buddy program’ going on out there? (She nods toward Alex and Kyle)

Maria (looking at her as she picks up the plate): Why, do you need one? (Isabel can’t help but smile and acknowledge setting herself up) The Max Magnet is upstairs so I’m assuming he’s soon to follow. Though if you really want to know ask Sherlock here – he’s been on fire all day.

(She smiles at both of them and as she looks at Michael pops a ‘test’ fry in her mouth. He doesn’t react so she turns and heads to the counter.)

Kyle: You know, Whitman, you’re not so bad, (he glances over to Alex) for being a girl.

Alex (patting Kyle on the back): You’re not so bad yourself Kyle, once you take the jock strap off.

(They smile at each other and out of the corner of his eye, Alex catches Isabel’s disapproving look. He gets up from his seat.)

Alex: Catch you later – let me know when you want me to wipe my chessboard with your ass.

Kyle (smiling): Just after I mop the court with yours.

Alex (as Maria sets down Kyle’s plate of fries): It’s a date.

(Scene: Liz’s Roof. Liz is sitting on the lounge chair writing in her journal.)

Voice over: There isn’t a part of me that Max hasn’t touched – mentally, emotionally…(she bites her lip and looks away) physically. God, just the thought makes me blush. I should be this permanent shade of shimmering silver from being wrapped in his touch. And if you peeled back the layers of me it would only get shinier. The deeper he touches me the brighter it shines…glows.

(She closes her eyes for a moment and then opens them up to the sky as she lets out a deep breath.)

V.O: That’s what I should be feeling. You know that warm wonderful tingling sensation that makes every cell in your body do cartwheels…or something – something other than this. And if I think about it, I do feel it – as if he’s touching me again. But that’s just my body. The rest of me…can’t stop feeling so…

(She stops and her face falls. She sadly turns away from her journal and looks over the roof.)

V.O.: I can handle a lot of things. I’ve proven that to myself – if ever I doubted it. But the look on Max’s face when he realized what he’d done – what I had let him do… And what’s hard to handle is the fact that I put it there – that look. So confused. Lost. Like I’d taken something from him – an experience he’d dreamed of…a memory he was waiting his whole life to create.

(She shakes her head, angry with herself, and lets out a sigh)

V.O.: And I couldn’t stop him… (She closes her eyes and lets her head slightly fall to the side, reliving the feeling of Max’s touch.) How could I with those eyes and his smell (she breathes in deeply, as if smelling him again) and his hands, God his hands? (She bites her lip) He rendered me senseless – no, (she shakes her head softly) not senseless. I was swimming in them. Blinded by them…by feeling him, feeling me.

Max (softly from the top of the ladder): Liz.

(She sucks in her breath and closes her eyes at the sound of his voice. After the briefest of moments she turns her head to him and opens her eyes.)

Liz (hesitantly): Max.

(He climbs onto the roof and stops – conflicted between crossing to Liz and retreating down the ladder. Liz closes her journal and readjusts on the chair so she’s facing him. She watches him – his eyes avoiding hers – desperately wishing this moment was over.)

Liz/Max (at roughly the same time): I’m sorry.

(Both are surprised by the other and Max crosses to the chair)

Max: I’m sorry. I never would have…(he looks away from her). I never would have done that without asking…without talking and…and knowing you wanted me to…

Liz (quietly): Max I didn’t want to stop you. It felt too good. (Max turns to her as if he heard her wrong and she rushes to get it out) I promised you I wouldn’t let something like that happen…but I couldn’t stop it. (Just louder than a whisper) I’m so sorry, Max. But you make me feel things that I don’t know how to control.

Max (looking at his hands, fidgeting in his lap, after an endless pause): I…I just wish I could have felt it...that I could remember…

Liz (looking over to him, softly): You can. (He looks up at her) Feel it now.

(Max’s air intake stops as he watches Liz slowly take his hand in hers. She gently brings it to her face. Cupping it with her hand, she takes his other hand and repeats the motion. With his hands holding her face and hers on top of them she looks into Max’s eyes and as he sucks in his breath a connection is formed.

(Max is hit with flashes from earlier that afternoon. The kissing, the touching…the feeling. The fact that he’s the cause of Liz’s feelings is enough of an aphrodisiac but pile on top of that what she’s feeling and Max is discovering new dimensions of ‘desire.’

(But the connection goes both ways, and while Max is swimming in Liz’s ecstasy, Liz is drowning in his despair. For the first time she can feel and see what Max sees when he kisses her. Nasedo. Atherton. Wrenching betrayal. Desperate loneliness – a thousand times over from what she felt from Max the first time he connected with her. Searing anger and…killing. She jolts at the sight of Atherton dying and the connection is broken.

(They both gasp for air as if struggling to breathe through the weight of understanding that’s hit them. Liz moves her hands to Max’s arms and clinging to him, pulls him into an embrace.)

(Scene cuts to the Parker hallway just outside Liz’s door. Maria knocks on the door as she enters. Noticing the bathroom door open and light off she quickly looks to the roof. As she begins to call out Liz’s name, she stops short, seeing her and Max in the middle of an emotional embrace. Maria closes her mouth and backs away from the window, feeling like an intruder. She looks around the room and then lowers herself down to the bed, shaking her head and letting out a deep breath.)

(Scene: Outside the Valenti home, later that evening. Amy and Jim walk out the front door. After checking to make sure it’s locked Jim puts his arm around Amy and walks her to Kyle’s car. They get in and as the Sheriff adjusts the rearview mirror he catches a pair of headlights in the distance just turning on. He looks to Amy as she starts talking about her day but keeps checking the mirror as he drives down the street.)

Amy (noticing her somewhat distracted date): Turned in the radio and the keys to the cruiser…but couldn’t leave the Sheriff at home.

Valenti (catching the tail end of her comment): What? (She just looks at him) I’m sorry.

Amy (playfully): You promised. Or are you hoping the third times the charm?

Valenti (looking from the mirror over to Amy): Won’t happen again – not tonight…I’m all yours.

Amy (as she watches out of the corner of her eye, him looking in the mirror out of the corner of his eye): On loan...

(The Sheriff shuffles between listening to Amy, watching the road, and keeping on eye on the car following them. He takes a deliberately long and out of the way route to the Mexican restaurant. Once there, he surveys the street as he holds the door open for Amy. As he turns to enter he can see in the reflection of the window Agent Jones driving past the restaurant. The Sheriff squints and then smiles as he walks through the door to join Amy.)

(Music: Everclear – Wonderful. Scene: Crashdown. The gang is sitting around the back booth. Michael, Max and Liz are on one side facing Maria, Alex and Isabel.)

Maria (defiantly): Go back?

Alex: Hey, I’ve never been. (Everybody just looks at him) You can’t ‘go back’ if you’ve never been.

Maria (letting out a frustrated sigh in the direction of Alex, but turning her attention back to Michael): Don’t you think we would have seen them?

Michael: We weren’t looking for them.

Maria: Well what about whoever was looking for us – or did you forget that whole ‘almost-getting-our-asses-discovered-by someone-lurking-above-us’ moment?

Alex (not helping Maria’s frustration): Suddenly thankful he’s never been.

Maria (continuing, after shooting an evil glare to Alex): Don’t you think they cleared the place of all the important (lowering her tone) alien artifacts?

Michael: They’re stones.

Maria: With symbols on them.

Max (softly interjecting): On one side.

Maria (looking to Max): Isn’t that enough? It’s not like they wouldn’t know what they were looking for. And you don’t really know that Darth Vader didn’t look down there.

Max: I didn’t see it.

Maria: And that means what? Do you see everything the guy does? Can he pee farther than you? Did you see what he saw when he was frying the guy like a shishkabob?

Liz (softly): Maria...

Maria (turning to Liz, forcefully): Don’t even. (Everybody looks at Maria, who’s staring at Liz fiercely)

Liz (softly): What?

Maria: Oh, like I don’t know what’s comin’ out of your mouth. (She turns to Alex, while everyone else watches in total confusion) Are you helpin’ here or what?

Alex: You’re doin’ fine.

Maria (jerking back to Liz, adamantly): You are not allowed to feel sorry for him Lizzie! Does ‘sex-toy-mind-snatching-body-violating-asshole’ mean anything to you? There is no such thing as forgiving that!

(Liz looks down at the table and Max and Isabel look at her just about as horrified as Maria)

Liz (softly): It’s just sad, that’s all…and it explains things.

Maria: Sad my ass. He’s done nothing…

Michael (interjecting): He saved her life.

Maria: And then proceeded to play nookie games with her and, might I remind you, your best friend too.
What aren’t you getting?

Michael: I don’t know why he’s doing that…(almost desperate) We don’t know anything about him or who he is…or…

Maria: If you’re searching for a long lost relative, Michael, you sure picked a winner.

Michael (spitting it out in utter anger): Just like your dad?

(And then there was silence…Liz immediately reaches for Max, finding his leg and grabbing it with the force of a tourniquet. Max, sucking in air, quickly looks to Alex – who gives him a slight nod.)

Alex (calmly looking between Michael and Maria): This…(he motions with his hand between the two of them) this is not good. Unless the intent of this exercise was in fact to start the first intergalactic war known to humankind. And if that’s the case, which it very well could be seeing as I’m consistently the last to know these sorts of things, then bravo – I for one, am thoroughly impressed! Though, a little notice would’ve been nice. I mean, I could have brought some popcorn and a box of jellyheads. (He takes a deep breath, focusing his gaze on Maria) But my thinking is…that’s not what we’re here for. And you know I’ve always wanted to go to Texas – so don’t ruin this for me.

(Michael and Maria remain unmoved and Alex turns to the rest of the table in search of help.)

Isabel (taking in a deep breath): It doesn’t hurt to go back…to make sure. It’d be easy to miss – I mean they’re stones, he could have used them for doorstops.

Alex: They’d be pretty cool paperweights…depending on the size. (The three active listeners at the table turn and look at him.) Well, they would be.

Max: I can’t this weekend.

Liz: I’m under house arrest for at least a month.

Alex: I’m free…oh, but Bambi isn’t – she’s goin’ on a fishin’ trip with dad.

(Isabel looks to Max and he immediately shakes his head)

Max: We were lucky the jeep didn’t break down the first time. We can fix some things but…I wouldn’t want to risk it.

Isabel: Okay, then what do we do? We can’t just beam ourselves there Max.

(Alex looks from Isabel to Maria and seconds later all four heads are turned in her direction.)

Alex: Maria. (She doesn’t respond) Let’s call it a tie and deal with this. Let’s figure it out, and then I promise once it’s over I’ll let you beat him up – if he doesn’t kill you first. (She shakes her head, almost intensifying her glare. Time to bring out the big guns…) Think about Lizzie, Maria, the sooner we find this thing then the sooner all this stuff stops happening to her.

(The impact is immediate. As soon as the words fall on her ears Maria turns to Liz and reaches her hand out to her.)

Maria (now on a mission): What do we do?

Alex (setting his hand on her arm): The Jetta this weekend.

Maria: I’m working.

Liz: I can get you off.

Maria (looking to Isabel): What about you?

Isabel: I’m quitting remember? Just apparently sooner than I thought.

Liz: Isabel, you don’t…

Isabel: No, I’m definitely over the whole servitude thing.

Max (looking at Michael): What about you, Michael?

Michael (slowly shifting his gaze from the side of Maria’s face to Max): Work Sunday, off Saturday.

(The table falls silent for a few moments. Maria just stares at Liz, soaking in her strength, while everyone else looks to Alex.)

Alex (squeezing Maria’s arm): Then Saturday it is. (Looking at Max) I say leave the details for another day.

Max (nodding, softly): Yea. (Looking between Maria and Michael) We can figure it all out later.

(No one moves, not really sure what to do. Isabel finally throws Michael a severe look as she scoots out of the booth. Max and Liz look at one another and then also slide out, followed by Alex and Maria. Alex stands at the edge of the table looking at Maria, hand outstretched. She looks at it then places her headband in it followed by her apron. Alex puts them on, looks himself over, shakes his head, and starts working. Maria looks at Liz.)

Liz (softly): Walk?

(Maria just nods and Liz puts her arm around her and rests her head against her shoulder as they walk toward the front door. Max watches them go then looks down at Michael shaking his head. Michael catches it out of the corner of his eye. But he’s too busy being angry with himself and Maria to care what Max thinks.)

(Music: Paula Cole – Hush, Hush, Hush. Scene: Liz’s bedroom, nighttime. Liz is sleeping peacefully in bed, her face softly illuminated by the moonlight coming through the window. A shadow emerges from the wall and makes its way slowly to the bed. Nasedo pauses and looks down at her with unreadable eyes. Seconds pass as he simply watches her – breathing in and out. Finally he looks away and shakes his head. Looking back at her he reaches down placing his hand gently on the side of her face. His hand begins to glow and he closes his eyes.

Moments later he pulls his hand away from her face. A sudden sound from the far side of the bed causes Nasedo to jerk back. The whimpering noise continues and Nasedo raises a glowing hand to illuminate the room. He narrows his eyes and stares at the restlessly sleeping figure of Maria. She’s not tossing and turning but the myriad of emotions and expressions that cross her face clearly indicate she’s in the middle of a nightmare. Nasedo simply stares at her. Tilting his head he concentrates on her face, as if looking for something invisible to the eye. After a few moments, Maria’s face softens and her breathing steadies. After a few more moments of watching her, now peacefully sleep, Nasedo lowers his hand and slowly backs away from the bed – shifting into shadows.)

posted on 15-Sep-2001 2:05:59 PM
Title: #2 Pack Wisely (Road Rules trilogy, part 2)
Author: N/A
Email: ajrocchio⊕
Rating: PG-13 for language and sexual situations
Category: Other Stories
Disclaimers: The characters of Roswell belong to the WB, among others, but apparently I just can’t stop myself from borrowing them.
Summary: Okay, so now they really are going on a road trip.
Author’s note/soapbox: If you’re reading this then I assume you’ve read my other stories, and if you haven’t good luck getting what’s going on…stepping on soapbox, 3, 2, 1…So crazy as it may be I like to include a little musical component to these stories. There’s actually a lot of thought that goes into most of the music behind my stories…but…since I write these stories for myself, and the five people who give me feedback, I don’t really think about what the music sounds like, because I know it and I share it with the above mentioned five people who so graciously give me feedback. And I don’t include lyrics because these stories are already way too long as it is. Having said that, I do recognize the large annoying factor that comes with seeing the title of a song and having no concept of what said song sounds like. So I do apologize to those of you who might be irritated with this aspect of my stories, but sometimes I write scenes solely to include a song in a story (sad, yes I know, but nevertheless true). It’s all good music, not that I’m biased in any way, and if you see something you don’t recognize might I just suggest a little visit to or Who knows, you might actually like it and be glad you did…anyway…

(Scene: School hallway before classes. Max is methodically loading his backpack with textbooks and notebooks from his locker. He pauses for a moment and looks to his left, just as Liz turns the corner heading toward him. He quickly zips up his pack and shuts his locker, turning to her as she reaches him.)

Max: Hey.

Liz: Hey.

Max (noting her downcast face): No luck?

Liz (shaking her head slowly): No. You?

Max (leaning his back against the lockers): No. He won’t talk about it with either of us…not for lack of effort on Izzy’s part.

Liz: This is bad. They can’t even look at each other, how are they gonna last 10 hours in a car together tomorrow? They’ll kill each other before reaching the city limits.

Max: I don’t know what to do. Michael’s never been big on apologies.

Liz: You don’t even want to know what Maria’s been calling him.

Max: At least she’s talking about him.

Liz: No, at least she’s been sleeping through the night.

Max (curious): What?

Liz: Her father leaving her was the single most painful experience of her life. And when she dreams about it, it’s not pleasant.

Max (thoughtfully): Sounds like somebody else we know.

(He lets out a sigh and looks down at Liz. A brief smile passes over his face at the sight of Liz absentmindedly playing with one of the buttons on his shirt. The smile fades as his thoughts turn to the past week. He lets out another sigh.)

Max (hesitantly): I’m sorry I’ve been so distant…you know…that we haven’t…been together…

Liz (looking up at him): No, Max, we’ve been busy…with Michael and Maria and…I understand. Believe me, I understand. I wish I would have known sooner, you know, seen what you were seeing – I never would have pushed you…

Max: No you’re right. I would want the visions out of me too.

Liz (earnestly): But we could’ve waited him out – not given him what he wanted.

Max: He would’ve just found another way.

Liz (letting out a heavy sigh and resting her head against the locker, softly): He makes me so confused. (Max looks down at her) I mean, what he’s doing to us, (she looks up at him) to you – I’ve never hated anyone so much. But what I saw, felt – I didn’t think it was possible for loneliness to be so painful. (She shakes her head.) I just don’t know what to think.

Max (leaning into the lockers close to her): It’s okay if you feel sorry for him – I hate him enough for both of us.

Liz (quickly looking up at him): Max…

Max: I saw and felt those things too, Liz – it’s all I can feel, see. What he took I can never get back…we can never get back.

Liz (softly): Max…

(Her eyes darken with pain and Max can’t help but be drawn in by them. This is why he had been staying away...the magnetic force of everything Liz. He gets lost in her eyes, focusing on the little golden specks floating in them, and before he can stop it he’s leaning forward, getting lost in another of his favorite facial features.

(Liz hesitates to kiss, not sure if Max is registering what he’s doing. But it doesn’t take long for her to relax into it, letting her hand slide up his shirt and wrap around his neck. Max slowly brings his left hand to cup her face and, as he does, he furrows his brow. Bringing his right hand to her face he pulls her into him and deepens the kiss.

(They kiss – and keep kissing – oblivious to the fact that the halls slowly begin to fill with students, who can’t help but notice them.)

Jock 1: Dude, is that who I think it is?

Jock 2: Hard to tell.

Girl 1 (as she walks past them): Can’t they keep it to the eraser room?

Girl 2 (walking next to Girl 1): Jealous much?

Girl 3 (as she enters the hallway): Ohmygod!

(The crowd of on lookers grows, as does the intensity of the kissing. Finally Max pulls away, holding his face only inches from Liz’s.)

Max (breathlessly): They’re gone.

Guy 1: Uh, no man, we’re all still pretty much here.

(At the sound of chuckles coming from the bystanders, Max instantly freezes and turns various shades of red.)

Guy 2 (hitting him on the back as he walks past them): Way to go, Evans!

Jock 1 (shaking his head): Perfect, Parker…

(Max can’t move, completely frozen in a state of embarrassed terror. Liz just smiles, trying not to laugh at the look on his face. Poor Max…She takes his hand and turns to the crowd, playfully glaring at them as she leads Max down the hallway.)

Jock 3: I guess we just found who melted the Janitor’s closet.

(Max groans at that comment, the last one he hears before turning the corner and exiting the building.)

(Music: Shawn Colvin – Shotgun Down the Avalanche. Scene cuts to a different part of campus. Maria and Alex are walking together outside in the quad. The group of girls in front of them enters a classroom, no longer blocking the view of the quad walkway – or more importantly, no longer blocking the view of Michael and Isabel heading toward them. Eye contact is made for a nanosecond before both Michael and Maria turn in opposite directions, leaving Isabel and Alex to look at one another in mutual sympathy before following after them.

Scene fast-forwards to second period…Michael is sitting in the last row intently looking at the back of Maria’s head. He lets out a sigh and turns to look out the window, ignoring the penetrating gaze Maria sends him as she turns to zip-up her backpack. The bell rings and Michael stays seated. As Maria’s about to leave the classroom, he looks toward the door and their eyes meet, in an exchange of anger and pain that lasts only seconds.

Later at lunch, Isabel, Max, Alex and Liz are standing around in the quad waiting for Michael and Maria. Maria exits the building from the far right set of doors seconds before Michael exits from the left ones. They walk toward the group. Alex and Liz look at Max and Isabel and they all let out sighs as they divide into separate groups and head in different directions.)

(Scene: Liz’s bedroom, early evening. Liz is in the bathroom checking on her stitches while Maria lies on the bed.)

Liz (from inside the bathroom, exasperated): Maria.

Maria: Don’t even. Do we have to go over the rules again? You’re my best friend, which means you’re on my side.

Liz: There aren’t any sides here, Maria.

Maria (sitting up on the bed, almost hurt): How can you say that? You heard him.

Liz (coming out of the bathroom and sitting down on the bed next to Maria): I know, and what he said was horrible. But I heard you, too, and what you said to him was just as horrible.

Maria (pouting): Some best friend you are.

Liz: Maria.

Maria: He didn’t have to say it.

Liz: That’s the point. You hurt him Maria, so he hurt you back.

Maria: You can’t hurt an inanimate object.

Liz: Please! You knew what you were doing. You wanted to hurt him. (Maria looks away from her.) When you know someone, I mean really know them; it means you know how to hurt them. I’m not talking ‘flesh wounds’ that you just get over. You know Michael better than he knows himself sometimes, just like he knows you.

Maria: Pa-lease! Everyone is not you and Max with the whole soulmate-thing. Michael doesn’t know the first thing about me…

Liz: Right, like he doesn’t know how to push any of your buttons and get you to fly off in a spastic fit?

Maria: Half the school knows how to do that.

Liz (shaking her head and letting out a heavy sigh): We all say things we don’t mean when we’re angry, Maria.

Maria: So? Doesn’t mean they’re forgiven.

(Liz looks at Maria and smiles. She gets up from the bed and goes over to her desk, rummaging through a couple of drawers.)

Maria: What are you doing?

Liz: Fourth grade.

Maria: What?

Liz: You are forcing me to bring up fourth grade.

(Maria watches Liz in confusion, trying to figure out what the hell she’s talking about. Just as Liz finds the letter she’s looking for, it hits her.)

Maria: Oh no, that is so not relevant.

Liz (smiling): Not relevant? Do I need to read this aloud?

Maria: Totally, and in all ways, not relevant!

Liz: Maria, you gave me a letter telling me you hated me, that I was a big baby and that you never (she opens up the letter to read) ‘ever’ (she looks back at Maria) wanted to see me again and that I wasn’t your friend anymore. How is this not relevant?

Maria: It just isn’t…Hello! I was in fourth grade.

Liz: And some things never change. This (she shakes the letter) is how you deal with your anger. Mouth first. Mind later.

Maria: Total cheap shot, and still totally not relevant!

Liz (sitting on the bed): It’s a good thing I wrote you back saying that even if I wasn’t your friend you were still mine…or where would we be now?

Maria: Not in any way hiding from the law or involved with the “Dark Side”.

Liz (pausing and letting out another heavy sigh): What can I say?

Maria: Nothing. (She lies down on the bed, hugging a pillow) I re-live it every day when I wake up, you know. It’s like I can hear Mom crying in the kitchen, and for the slightest second as I’m opening my eyes I’m 8 again…and then I remember, I’m not 8, I’m 16 and Dad still isn’t here, and he never will be.

Liz: What if he did come back now? What would you do?

Maria: Kick his ass. (Liz looks down at her and Maria’s face softens) I don’t know anymore…and I never will, because he’s never coming back.

Liz (looking thoughtfully at Maria as she lies down next to her): Michael’s been alone since the day he was born. Hoping that someone would come back for him – be something to him…and someone finally has. No matter what Nasedo’s done, Michael’s still a little boy looking for someone to explain his existence to him.

Maria: He wasn’t born. He was hatched.

Liz (looking at her): Is that how you see him…them? Hatchlings?

Maria: No, you know that. That’s how he sees himself – ever the alien he is, never the human he pretends to be. He’s so full of shit. (She pauses for a moment) It scares me. It scares me that he can hurt me…hurt me like my dad did.

Liz: I know.

Maria (rolling her head toward Liz after a long pause): I can’t promise anything.

Liz (smiling): I’m just asking for ‘civil’.

Maria: No guarantees.

Liz (resting her head against Maria’s shoulder): Thank you.

Maria (resting her head against Liz’s): Save it babe, let’s live through tomorrow first.

(Scene: The Evans’ house, middle of the night. Isabel’s door opens and she looks down the dark hallway toward Max’s room. The door is shut and she creeps by, heading for the kitchen. Only a sliver of moonlight seeps in from the kitchen window, not enough to illuminate Isabel as she moves about the room with ease. She opens the refrigerator pulling out some milk and a boxed pie. She takes a cup out of the cupboard and grabs a fork. She makes her way to the table and goes to sit down in the dark.)

Max (from the darkness): Get your own chair.

Isabel: Ohmygod! (The pie can be heard sliding inside the box as Isabel tries to recover from the shit getting scared out of her. The lights flip on and, Isabel, now covered in spilt milk, looks down at Max) Max, what are you doing?!

Max (eyeing Isabel and then the pie and pink milk in front of him on the table): Having pie.

Isabel: In the dark?

Max (looking at her): What are you doing?

Isabel (looking down at the pie box in her hand): Whatever. You scared the shit out of me. (She cleans herself of the spilt milk) Why aren’t you in bed? Is Michael sleeping?

Max (slightly shaking his head): He didn’t come over tonight. I don’t think he wanted Maria and Alex to think he’d spent the night here.

Isabel (sitting down across from Max): This is so ridiculous. Why don’t they just kiss and make up?

Max: She threw him.

Isabel (as she pours some Tabasco sauce on a fork-full of pie): What are you talking about?

Max: What she said. He’s been waiting his whole life for Nasedo. Waiting for the answers…who we are, why we’re here, where we came from…We had Mom and Dad and all he had was nothing but the hope that someone would come for him.

Isabel (hesitantly): Do you think he could be…I mean, do you think Nasedo could be related to us?

Max: I don’t know. I hope not. (Their eyes meet across the table and Isabel looks down at the pie.)

Isabel: I’m worried about him. He’s never been like this. (They both take bites of pie and sips of milk and she finally looks at Max questioningly) Why are you up?

Max: I could ask you the same thing.

Isabel: I couldn’t sleep – too busy plotting all the ways I’m going to kill them tomorrow if I need to. Your excuse?

Max: Just couldn’t sleep…that’s all.

Isabel (eyeing him closely): Heard about the show you put on this morning – quite the talk around school. (Max glares over at her as she plops more pie in her mouth.)

Max (letting out a sigh, under his breath): I’m sure it was.

Isabel (intently): So they’re gone?

Max: Yea.

Isabel: You don’t seem too excited about it.

Max: Doesn’t really change things, I could still hurt her. (Thinking about it) Makes it harder actually…

Isabel (taking the last sip of her milk) Poor you! Sexual frustration verses the prospect of spending 12 hours with two bickering 5 year olds in a space the size of this table. (She looks at him.) Care to trade?

Max (laughing at her): No thanks.

Isabel (getting up from the table and putting the pie box back in the refrigerator): Didn’t think so. Wish them luck tomorrow…I am not against using force.

Max: Sorry I’m gonna miss it.

Isabel (as she heads toward the hallway, looking back at Max): I could give you a preview.

(Max raises his hands in defeat and she laughs at him as she turns the corner, flicking the lights off with her powers as she goes.)

(Scene: Outside Michael’s apartment building, early Saturday morning. The Jetta pulls up out front and Isabel quickly gets out and heads for the door. Just for future entertainment purposes, Alex is wearing a red and white, stripped shirt.)

Maria (in the driver’s seat, to Alex sitting in the back behind her as they both watch Isabel waiting for Michael at the front door): Do you realize how much she owes me for this? We’re talking Everest here. It’ll take her years…no more working Saturday nights…or Fridays…and holidays…

(She trails off as Michael appears. He shuts the door behind him and he and Isabel head toward the car. Isabel opens the car door and looks at Michael. Who looks back at her a little confused.)

Maria (leaning over the passenger’s seat): I already have a co-pilot, you’re in the back buddy.

(She reaches over the front of the passenger seat and pulls the little lever causing the seat to move forward giving Michael access to the backseat. Michael glares in her direction as he ducks into the car. Isabel re-adjusts the seat and gets in. She takes a deep breath before shutting the door. Maria pulls away from the curb and they take off down the road.)

Maria (over her shoulder to Alex): You bring it?

Alex: Are you kidding me? Wouldn’t leave home without it.

(He pulls out a tape case from his backpack sitting between him and Michael. Unzipping the case he takes out a tape and hands it up front to Maria. She takes it, checking for the right side and then puts it into the tape deck. Music: Willie Nelson – On The Road Again The music starts and after a second Isabel looks sideways at Maria.)

Isabel: What’s that?

Maria: Mood music.

Isabel: For what, a country hoe-down?

Maria (looking at Isabel, annoyed): Driving.

Isabel: Driving me crazy maybe.

Maria: Got issues, take them up with the backseat.

Isabel (letting out a sigh): Right. (She turns and looks over her shoulder to Alex)

Alex (innocently looking at her): What? It’s like the quintessential kick-off…You know…on the road… goin’ down to Texas. (She looks at him with a raised brow) I just thought we could use a little road trippin’ send off – of the non-psychedelic variety.

Isabel (turning back to the front): Right.

Alex: Hey, we’re thoroughly stocked here. It’s all good, we’ve got the classics…the Beatles, some Stones, a little Queen, Joni Mitchell…all musical tastes shall be satisfied, this is just the first song of the ‘classics collection’…

Michael (reaching over and grabbing the tape case from Alex): Let me see that.

Alex (looking at Michael) Well…there kinda isn’t anything in there for you…your music really isn’t ‘driving’ music...more like ‘crashing’ music.

(Michael looks at him and scowls. He flips through the tapes and eventually pulls one out and turns to Alex holding it up with a questioning face.)

Alex: What? Classic road trip music…granted if we were going north it’d be a little more appropriate.

Michael (very seriously): I am not listening to John Denver.

Maria (looking at Michael in the rearview mirror): Oh really. You know, I’m feeling like a little Rocky Mountain High. (She reaches her hand over to Michael who looks at her and doesn’t move.) I’m driving I choose the music. You got a problem with that? My car, my rules, my driving shift, my music…Give it to me.

(Michael just stares at her in the rearview mirror.)

Isabel (clearly irritated): Give her the tape Michael.

(He looks sideways at the back of Isabel’s head through the car seat and then returns his eyes to a now gloating and smirking Maria – big mistake. He raises his eyebrow at her and the smell of melting plastic fills the car. Maria, wide-eyed, looks down at his hand holding a now ruined John Denver tape. She slams – slams – on the brake and everyone in the car jolts forward.)

Alex (holding his neck): We there already?

Maria (whipping around to Michael): THAT’S IT! Out of the fucking car asshole!

(Michael is too busy peeling himself off of the seat in front of him to hear her. Incensed at his non-response, Maria whips back around to the front and reaches for the door. As she’s about the open it, the locks on all four doors are heard clicking into the ‘locked’ position. She tries unlocking it, but it doesn’t move. Furious, she turns, meeting a very, very irritated Isabel rubbing her shoulder under the seatbelt strap and glaring at her.)

Maria: Let me out of the car, Carrie.

Isabel: At this rate it’ll take us five hours just to get to the highway. Drive the damn car and let me deal with my half of the backseat. (Maria doesn’t move and Isabel intensifies her glare) If you don’t drive this car, you will have more to worry about than the backseat.

Maria (letting out a laugh): You don’t scare me. Eight months ago, maybe that would’ve worked. You can’t make me do anything, least of all make me drive my car.

(Maria defiantly folds her arms across her chest. Isabel raises an eyebrow and Alex in the back quickly reaches over and buckles Michael in his seatbelt. Before Michael can protest the car makes an excruciatingly painful noise as both its brake and accelerator are pushed down at the same time. Scared by the noise Maria releases the brake and the car takes off. Grabbing the steering wheel she attempts to control the car as it speeds through the streetlight.)

Maria: Abducted twice in my own goddamn car…I hate you people!

(Scene: The Valenti residence. The Sheriff, casually dressed, steps out of the house to get the paper resting near the sidewalk. He rolls his neck a couple times; stealing glances down the street. He bends down to pick up the paper and looking to his left spots the car he was searching for. Standing up he leisurely walks back to the front door, smiling.)

(Scene: UFO Center. Max pulls the jeep into the parking lot. He looks at his watch and swearing under his breath, grabs his backpack from the passenger seat and hurriedly walks toward the main entrance. As he rounds the corner another car slowly parks along side the curb across the street. Agent Banks watches as Max enters the Center and he slowly gets out of his car. He surveys the quiet street as he walks across it toward the jeep.

Continually glancing around, he approaches the jeep, pulling a gloved hand with tweezers out of his right coat pocket and a small plastic bag out of his left. Once he reaches the jeep, he looks around again, finding no one in sight he leans down and inspects the top of the front seat for hair. It doesn’t take long for him to notice Max’s coat lying on the backseat. Smiling he reaches over and grabs it. Setting it over the door he takes a couple of strands of hair off the collar and puts them in the bag.

While Banks is busy looking for hair a large black cat jumps onto the hood of the jeep and sits quietly watching him. Banks returns the coat to the back and then sets the bagged hair samples on the front seat. He reaches into his pocket again and pulls out a small cloth inside a plastic bag. Taking it out of the bag he wipes the cloth over the steering wheel and gearshift. While Banks leans to wipe the gearshift the black cat jumps over the windshield, landing in the passenger seat. Banks flinches, startled by the movement, but relaxes when he sees it’s just a cat. The cat meows and moves toward him.)

Banks: Nice kitty.

(The cat reaches out with its front paw and swipes at Banks’ hand and the piece of cloth he holds – connecting with both. Banks retracts his hand and holds it with his other one.)

Banks: Ouch, you damn cat! (He looks down at his gloved hand and can see blood seeping out from a tear in his glove.) Tore right through the leather…(He looks back at the cat, now sitting on top of the bagged hair samples.) Fuckin’ cat.

(Banks checks the parking lot again before returning his attention to the cat.)

Banks: Shoo cat, come on I don’t have all day. What are you waiting for…(Banks puts the torn cloth back in it’s bag, trying not to get his blood on it. He looks at the cat and makes like he’s going to pet it, but the cat swipes again, this time without connecting.) Damnit!

(Banks is getting antsy. He looks around for something to use to push the cat away, finding nothing he lets out a sigh of frustration. He opens the jeep door, to maybe kick the cat off the bag, but once the door is all the way open, the cat jumps down from the seat. Banks grabs the bag and brushes it off. He turns to look at the cat, but it’s gone.)

Banks (shaking his head): Jones’ll never believe this one.

(The cat sits in the shadows near the front corner of the building and watches Banks cross the parking lot and head toward his car. The cat’s eyes follow the agent and then pass him looking beyond the parking lot down the street. In a beat up old car Deputy Blackwood sits with binoculars watching Agent Banks. Is it possible for a cat to smile?)

(Scene: Gas station, outside Fort Stockton, Texas. The red Jetta pulls up to a pump with music blaring – seriously blaring. Maria turns the engine off and looks over at Isabel expectantly. Isabel lets out a sigh and unlocks the doors. Maria opens her door and bolts for the restroom. Alex takes out his earplugs and puts them back in his pocket. He looks over at Michael, who’s watching him.)

Alex: What? (Michael just shakes his head at him and then turns to look out the window after Maria.)

Isabel: She okay?

Alex: Yea, but we won’t be if we don’t start pumpin’ some gas. (He nods in the direction of a man standing outside the door watching them intently.)

Michael (hitting the back of Isabel’s seat): Get out, I’ll do it.

(Isabel gets out of the car, followed by Michael. He walks around the car and unscrews the gas tank cap to start pumping gas. Alex, now standing at the front of the car near Isabel, looks between Michael and the direction Maria went and finally at Isabel. She raises a questioning eyebrow to him and he shrugs his shoulders. Isabel looks back at Michael and then heads for the bathroom. Alex turns around and finds Michael sitting on the hood turning over the ruined John Denver tape in his hand.)

Alex (walking up to him): So can you fix it? (Michael just looks up at him annoyed.) Right. (He sits down next to Michael) She needed a new one anyway…you can’t even hear the lyrics on that one it’s so old. It was her dad’s. (Michael stops fidgeting with it and looks down at it. He looks at Alex, then closes his eyes, inwardly cursing himself.)

(Scene cuts to the women’s restroom inside the station’s quickmart. Isabel stands outside the door leaning into it to see if she can hear Maria. She softly knocks and Maria’s sharp voice answers.)

Maria: What?

Isabel (shaking her head, obviously not sure what to do): Are you done? Can I come in?

Maria: What, so you can watch me pee?

Isabel: No. (She looks to her left and notices she’s being watched by a couple of guys. She turns back to the door.) Look, let me in, okay? People are staring.

(The door unlocks and Maria opens it letting Isabel in. Maria moves over to the sink and Isabel leans against the door watching her. Maria looks at her in the mirror with red eyes.)

Isabel: You okay?

Maria: Like you care.

Isabel: Okay, I’m not very good at this, alright?

Maria: Clearly.

Isabel: I’m trying here, take it or leave it.

Maria: And if I say leave it, you gonna lock me in here and make me listen to you anyway?

Isabel (letting out a sigh): Admittedly, I didn’t handle that very well, but you have to agree that something needed to be done…or we’d still be in Roswell.

Maria: Yea, and humiliating me just happened to be it?

Isabel (shaking her head in frustration): I’m sorry okay, what do you want from me?

Maria (leaning over the sink, quietly): Fix the tape.

Isabel: What?

Maria (looking over at her): The tape, can you fix it?

Isabel (taken aback): Yea.

Maria (turning back to the sink): Thanks.

Isabel (watching Maria closely after a long pause): Look, I don’t know what to think of Nasedo. I don’t like what he’s doing and I know Michael doesn’t either. (Maria looks at her in the mirror and she stops. She shakes her head, lets out a sigh and looks around the bathroom) At least this trip there’s no raunchy Aladdin hotel…

Maria: Yet…he could still blow up the car.

Isabel (smiling at her): True.

(They look at each other smiling and break out into laughter)

Maria (looking around the bathroom): This is definitely a step up.

(Their laughter is interrupted by a knock at the door.)

Alex (from behind the door): Uh, ladies, we’re about five seconds from getting our asses towed outta here if we don’t get a move on. (There’s a brief pause as Alex looks around the mart) Not to mention a couple of guys in big hats checkin’ me out.

(Isabel swings the door open, smiling at Alex)

Isabel: It’s cuz you’re so cute.

(She pinches his cheek as she exits the bathroom. Alex watches her go, dreamily, and Maria rolls her eyes pulling Alex along toward the exit. When they get to the car, Michael’s sitting in the drivers seat waiting for them. Alex climbs in back, followed by Maria. She makes eye contact with Michael, via the rearview mirror, before Isabel shuts the door and Michael starts the car. They pull out of the gas station as John Denver’s ‘Take Me Home Country Roads’ starts in the tape deck. Maria looks at Michael and then Alex, who hands her the tape case of the new tape Michael bought her. She takes the case, looks at the back of Michael’s head again and then turns to the window, closing her eyes and singing along. Michael watches her in the mirror, as does Isabel.)

(Scene: Sheriff’s Station. Sheriff Valenti exits the station putting his hat on and adjusting his sunglasses. He makes his way to the cruiser and gets in. After buckling up he reaches over to the front of his car door, near the dashboard, and uses the small lever to adjust his left side mirror. Finding Jones’s car off in the distance he smiles and starts the car.)

Sheriff: Let’s go for a ride.

(Scene fast-forwards about an hour or so to some random streets of Roswell. The Sheriff makes a few turns, cruising the streets and continually checking to make sure that Jones is following him. He finally turns onto Highway 380 and heads in the direction of Bitter Lake. After stopping, momentarily at Bitter Lake, he turns south on County Road 1, and swings by the town of Dexter before heading north back up to Roswell.

Jones watches the Sheriff intently, from what, in any other circumstances, would be a safe distance. He takes care to note any place the Sheriff stops at or visits repeated times and any landmarks that might be of interest. His patience is wearing thin as they enter the town of Dexter and seem to cruise its streets before getting on Highway 2 and eventually north on Highway 285.)

(Scene: Outskirts of Marathon, Texas. The Jetta pulls up to Atherton’s house and the four teens exit the car and apprehensively approach it.)

Alex (in the general direction of Isabel and Michael): You bring the key?

Isabel (waving her hand over the lock and pushing the door open): What key?

Alex (as he watches Michael, followed by Isabel, enter the house): Right, how do I keep forgetting that…?

(Maria rolls her eyes at him and follows the aliens into the house. Alex takes a long look behind him just for safe measure and then enters and closes the door. Isabel and Michael are on separate sides of the room, looking closely at the ground and shelves in the wall.)

Alex (looking up at the ceiling): Wow, how would you heat this thing? (Lowering his gaze) And why aren’t there any walls?

Michael (as he bends down to look closely at the floor): You don’t need walls. It’s the symmetry of the dome…and it heats with solar panels on the roof – the shape actually conserves heat…(He stands up and finds Isabel, Alex, and Maria staring at him.) What? (They all shake their heads and continue looking around.)

Alex (finally seeing the condition of the house): Man somebody’s sure been here…

Isabel: It’s how we found it last time. It actually doesn’t look any different. (Looking at Maria) Don’t you think?

Maria: Couldn’t really tell you, I was on the verge of peeing my pants the whole time we were here last – wasn’t paying much attention to detail. (Michael looks at her with laughing eyes and she glares at him) Like you weren’t scared…please…we were all shitting bricks…

Isabel (calling out from the back of the house): I don’t see anything here – no rocks on the floor or lying on any shelves.

(Maria and Michael head to the part of the house where the secret door was, with Alex following. Isabel meets them there and she exchanges a hesitant glance with Michael, which Maria observes.)

Maria: You did bring the key right?

Alex: Uh, I thought we don’t need keys…

Michael (looking irritated): We don’t. (He looks at Isabel, hopeful) You can open it, right?

Isabel: Yea. (She turns to the wall and then asks over her shoulder) Where was the lock?

Maria: Can’t you just wave your hand and find it?

Isabel: Can’t you just shut up and help me look for it?

Alex: Hey, I’d help, but I wasn’t invited to this party last time and I don’t know what the hell you’re looking for.

Maria (as she approaches Michael, now standing near Isabel by the wall): It’s a hidden lock to the basement.

(She watches Michael touch the wall and for some unexplainable reason she reaches out and softly touches his arm. Michael looks at her, startled, then quickly back to the wall as they can hear the dummy rock pop open.)

Maria (nonchalantly taking her hand off of Michael’s arm): Worked last time…thought I’d give it a try. (Michael stares at her, a little bewildered, before Isabel voice cuts into his thoughts.)

Isabel: It’s not working.

(Everyone watches as she waves her hand over the lock a couple of times. Michael furrows his brow and turns to look over the room. His eyes fall on Alex standing off behind them. He looks at Alex closely, like he’s trying to remember something.)

Alex (a little unnerved by the close inspection): What?

(Michael doesn’t respond but slowly moves toward Alex, watching his feet as he walks. He reaches Alex and looks up at him annoyed.)

Michael: Get off the door.

Alex: What?

Michael (pointing to the ground): Move. You’re standing on the door.

(Alex looks at the ground and doesn’t see what the hell Michael is talking about but, rather than argue, he takes a step back. Isabel waves her hand over the lock and the door pops up at Alex’s feet.)

Alex (looking up at the three faces staring at him): How was I supposed to know – never been here, remember?

(Scene: 285 North. Valenti turns off the highway and heads into Roswell, trying to figure out where to take Jones next. His stomach growls, deciding for him. Minutes later the cruiser pulls up outside the Crashdown. He exits the car and enters the Café removing his hat and glasses. Music: 3 Doors Down – Kryptonite. Looking to his right he nods at Max sitting in the first booth, fiddling with a menu. Max hesitantly acknowledges the Sheriff and watches him slowly walk over to the counter and take a seat. He’s still watching the Sheriff as Nancy comes over to his booth with a drink in her hands.)

Nancy (setting a large strawberry alien blast in front of Max): Here you go, the usual. (Max looks up at her and slightly blushes, at which Nancy smiles.) You’ll have to come over for dinner sometime Max and let me fix you a real meal…nachos don’t count.

(Max looks down at the menu he can’t seem to stop fidgeting with and then up at Nancy.)

Max (awkwardly): That would be nice…(He stops as his eyes fall on Liz entering from the back. She stops as she spots the Sheriff and then looking over at Max and her mother tilts her head in curiosity. Nancy follows Max’s gaze to her daughter and smiles at the slightly alarmed look on her face.)

Nancy (turning back to Max): You’re order will be right up…it’s a standing offer, any time you want a free dinner, a home cooked one that is.

Max (looking up at her, slightly red): Thanks Mrs. Parker.

(She gently pats him on the shoulder and heads toward the back.)

Nancy (as she passes a suspicious Liz, heading in Max’s direction): Don’t worry…I just asked him over for dinner.

Liz (hushed): Mother!

(Nancy smiles as she goes behind the counter and over toward the Sheriff.)

Liz (as she sits down across from Max): Sorry about that.

Max: What?

Liz: Whatever she said.

Max (smiling at her): You mean you don’t want me to come over for dinner?

Liz: Do you really want to? Cuz we’ll have to do major prepping before you come…I mean Dad can be vicious with the questions.

Max: Suddenly not sure anymore.

Liz (smiling at him): Scared away that easily huh?

Max (playfully, yet so serious): Anything for you. (Liz softly sighs and reaches out to touch his hand resting on the table. Max looks at their hands and then up to Liz’s face) You hear anything yet?

Liz (looking down at her hand tracing Max’s): No. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, though. I told Alex to call if anything happened, but anything happening could include things blowing up and/or the cell phone getting tossed like last time.

Max (watching her): I’m sure they’re fine. Iz seemed to think she had it under control.

Liz: I hope she’s right for all their sakes. Alex is a pretty good co-pilot, though. I’m sure he’s got things covered…I think he even mentioned bringing earplugs – but I think he was joking about that.

Max: I’m sure they were used before reaching 285.

(They look at each other and laugh, but their laughter is interrupted by the sound of Valenti and Nancy laughing over at the counter. Liz turns to look at them and then back around to Max.)

Liz: I wonder why he’s here.

Max: Does he eat here a lot?

Liz: Only when he knows Amy’s dropping off pies or meeting with dad about ordering more supplies. Which isn’t today, on either count. (She turns back around to look at the Sheriff) Maybe he’s just hungry.

Max: Maybe.

(Scene fastforwards about fifteen - twenty minutes. Max and Liz are now finishing up a large plate of nachos.)

Liz (resting her elbows on the table and gazing at Max): So what are you doing tonight?

Max: Not having dinner with you. (She hits him and he smiles) Studying…finals are soon and for some reason I am behind in most of my classes. It’s like I didn’t study at all for a week or something. (She hits him again.)

Liz: I’ll help you study.

Max (eyeing her suspiciously): Aren’t you just as behind as I am?

Liz: We can help each other. You know you need it…

Max: Really? Who had to bail you out of Geometry?

Liz: And who had to bail you out of History, and Biology, and…

Max (surrendering defeat): Enough…I can’t tonight…I want to be home when they get back.

Liz (growing serious): When do you think that’ll be?

Max: I don’t know. Five hours there, five hours back and who knows how long at the house.

Liz: Not to mention any unnatural disasters that happen along the way.

(Max looks at the clock on the wall and sighs reluctantly.)

Max: I’ve gotta go. I have to go to the drug store and pick up some glycerin for Milton. (Liz looks at him curiously) ‘Alien blood.’

Liz: Oh. (She shifts in her seat, places her elbow on the table and rests her chin in the palm of her hand) No dessert?

Max (not catching the hopeful tone in her voice): Oh yea, Milton wants some pie.

Liz (leaning over the table to Max): And what can I get Max Evans for dessert?

(Hard to miss that one…Max looks up at her and catches his breath. He looks from her eyes to her lips and swallows.)

Max (weakly): Pie’s good.

Liz: What kind?

Max (not moving and totally rambling): Pecan…Milton’s got a thing for pecans lately, something about them blooming at weird times because of the crash…

Liz: It’s in the back.

(Scene switches to Valenti at the counter. Nancy walks up with his bill and sets it down. She looks up to see Liz leading Max into the back. Liz turns to her mother and mouths ‘pie.’ Nancy smiles and looks back to the Sheriff, also looking in the direction of the two teens.)

Valenti: Those two seem pretty serious.

Nancy: He’s a good kid. I think if it were anyone else I might be a little more worried than I am. (Remembering Kyle) No offense.

Valenti (raising his hand): None taken. I was never too sure how they ended up together. Not that I wasn’t happy about it…just never expected it to last. (He looks down at the Tabasco bottle he didn’t realize he was fiddling with.) Not sure what exactly happened between them.

Nancy (wiping the counter): Oh, I think Lizzie finally opened her eyes to see Max Evans looking at her the way he has been for the past five years. (She looks at the Sheriff) Hard to resist complete adoration.

Valenti: So that’s his secret?

Nancy: You should take notes – he might be able to help you with Amy. (They laugh) He can sure give Jeff some pointers. (She grabs the Sheriff’s empty glass) Refill?

Valenti: Better make it to go…I’ve got a lot of drivin’ to do today.

(Scene cuts to Max and Liz in the alleyway, involved in some serious action. Max keeps trying to get away but Liz has the power to pull him back. He groans inwardly – or was that outwardly? – as he tries to get the will power to leave.)

Max (desperate, between kisses): I have to go…

Liz (running her hands down his back to keep him from leaving): A little longer…

Max (fighting it): I can’t…

Liz: Please…

Max: Liz…

(Thinking she’s won Liz brings her hands back to cradling Max’s face, where upon he quickly covers them with his own hands and pushes them and her far enough away from him to rest his forehead against the top of her head. Breathing heavily he tries to collect his thoughts and regain control of his body. What does she do to him? Liz sighs at the absence of Max’s lips and opens her eyes to his.)

Max: I have to go.

Liz (pouting): It’s just been so long.

Max: I know.

Liz: After work?

Max: Yea.

(He quickly kisses her then steps away to leave.)

Liz: Max, wait…your dessert. (He turns to her and she grabs the to-go box off the dumpster and holds it out to him.) Wouldn’t want you to forget dessert.

(He takes the box from her hand and somehow manages to turn around and leave…not before giving her a look to knock the wind out of her. Max turns the corner and uncontrollably smiling, Liz slides down the wall to the ground. She sits there with her eyes closed trying to savor the lingering sensations of Max’s touch. When she opens her eyes she tilts her head and smiles. Music starts: Guster – Either Way.)

Liz: Did you come for some pie too?

(The black cat doesn’t move, just sits in the shadows a few feet away from her, watching her.)

Liz: You’re early you know? Better not let Dad catch you back here or that’ll be the end of it. And I won’t be able to help you…

(The cat seems to tilt its head as it watches her. Liz hugs her knees and looks up the wall behind her.)

Liz (with her head tilted back to her roof): I still can’t figure out how you get up there. That’s a pretty big jump…you should be careful, it’s a long way down…

(She lowers her head back to the cat, which remains unmoved. They regard each other for a few moments.)

Liz: Are you ever gonna let me pet you? I mean, don’t you think I’ve proven myself? That’s some high quality free-range chicken I’m feeding you every night…not to mention that I don’t wait around on my roof for just anyone.

(She looks down the alleyway to where Max left and smiles, biting her lip.)

Liz (letting out a soft sigh, under her breath): Not just anyone. (She looks back to the cat.) I won’t hurt you, you know? And whatever Dad says, he’s a big softy, I wouldn’t let him hurt you either. Though I would probably have to stop feeding you, and you couldn’t come up to the roof anymore. Is that what you’re afraid of, you’re just shamelessly using me for food and afraid getting attached increases our chances of getting caught?

(A noise from inside the Crashdown causes her to turn her head toward the door. She lets out a sigh and then turns her head back to the cat.)

Liz: Probably right, but I think it’s too late, I’m kind of attached. The company’s nice – it would be nicer if you’d let me pet you, but I’ll settle for you letting me talk about Max – Maria has a pretty low tolerance these days. (She pauses; watching the cat as closely as it seems to be watching her) Sometimes I even think you’re listening…Or maybe I’m just really desperate and clearly obsessed with my boyfriend.

(She laughs at herself and smiles, again biting her lip. The cat stops licking its paw and looks down the alleyway to the street. A second later the Sheriff’s cruiser passes by, followed moments later by Jones’s car. The cat takes a couple of step forward at the sight of Jones but stops and looks back at Liz.)

Liz: I should go too.

Nancy (from inside the Crashdown): Liz!

Liz (looking from the door back to the cat): Told you. I’ll see you tonight? (She raises her hands) No touching, just talking…and eating…and a lot of homework.

(She rolls her head back, resting it against the wall, and closes her eyes as the sun creeps out from behind a cloud and warms her face. When she opens her eyes and lowers her head the cat is standing only about a foot away from her. She stops moving. Keeping her arms wrapped around her knees, bent in front of her, she watches as the cat debates approaching or retreating. The door to the Crashdown opens suddenly startling both of them. When Liz looks from the door back to where the cat no longer stands. She sighs.)

Nancy (peeking her head out the door, surprised at the sight of her daughter sitting on the ground): Liz?

Liz (under her breath): Almost.

(Scene: Atherton’s House. Michael, Isabel, Alex, and Maria are downstairs in the room rummaging through what’s there. It’s clear that things have been removed but there’s still a surprising amount of stuff still left.)

Maria (while looking around the room): Why wouldn’t they just take it all?

Isabel (also looking around the room): Yea. If they took what we brought back…why wouldn’t they take this too?

Alex (sifting through a stack of papers on top of a file cabinet and picking up one): I guess they weren’t too interested in Aunt Kaitlyn’s trip to Jersey. (He looks up) Don’t know why, sounds like she had a good time.

(Michael frowns in frustration and walks over to Alex. He quickly browses through the pile)

Michael (irritated): Well, they definitely took stuff – but this is all personal.

Isabel (looking through some things on the ground): These are all bills.

Maria (squatting to look at one of the desk drawers lying beside the over turned desk): Check this out.

(Maria reaches into the drawer and looking at it sideways can tell that she hasn’t touched the bottom. She looks up and Michael walks over to her. He does the same and then closing his hand into a fist, busts through the false bottom. He pulls pack thin pieces of wood and then reaching all the way in pulls out a large folder held together with rubber bands. Michael furrows his brow and undoes the rubber bands. He glances at a couple of pieces of paper before looking over at Isabel.)

Michael (laughing): It’s his book – we should take it for Max.

Alex: What book?

Maria (reading from a paper Michael’s holding): ‘Among Us’ – (she looks sideways at Michael) how perceptive.

Alex: What’s it about?

Maria (with raised eyes): Duh? (She points to Michael and Isabel)

Alex: No, you know, what’d he write?

Isabel: I don’t know, Max didn’t finish it – just said the guy was nuts.

Alex (under his breath as he surveys the room): Yea, like the rest of us.

(Scene fastforwards about thirty minutes or so. The desk is now turned upright and the floor is covered with papers. Michael sits at the desk sifting through stacks of stuff and occasionally tossing papers onto the floor. Maria, on the floor, keeps throwing irritated glances up at him as the papers he tosses float by her. Isabel also sits on the floor surrounded by small stacks of books. Michael finishes what he’s looking at and lets out a sigh as he glances around the room.)

Michael (slightly furrowing his brow): Where’s Waldo?

Maria (not looking up from the floor): I don’t know E.T. why don’t you phone 4-1-1 and find out.

Isabel (looking up and glancing around the room): No seriously, where’s Alex?

Maria (quickly looking up): Alex? (Glancing around the room) Wasn’t he just over there? (She points to the uncovered tunnel)

Michael: Great.

(He gets up, along with Isabel and Maria, and they walk over to the tunnel. They all stick their heads inside it, looking and listening for Alex.)

Maria (with her head inside the tunnel): ALEX! (Her voice echoes off the steel tunnel walls and Michael cringes.)

Michael: Was that necessary?

Alex (from upstairs, peeking his head over the secret door opening) What?

(Isabel and Maria both jump at his voice coming form behind them)

Isabel: You scared the crap out of me!

Maria: Where have you been?

Alex: Finding the motherload – you’re not gonna believe this.

(They all look at him curiously then head up the stairs. They follow Alex outside and around the backside of the house. He stops at what looks like the remains of a very large xeorscaped garden and pathway leading to the hills behind the house. The pathway, and border wall, are both made out of small elliptical stones.)

Michael (somewhat irritated): What am I looking at here?

Alex (pointing to the ground beneath Michael’s feet): You’re standin’ on it.

(All heads look down to see a the pathway of familiar looking stones inlayed into the ground to make a relatively smooth pathway.)

Michael: What the…

Isabel (under her breath): Shit.

Maria: Oh my God! (She shoots her head up to Alex) Uh-uh. No way! (She follows the pathway with her eyes up the hill and bending out of sight and then spins to Michael) Wiggle your nose and like make ‘em glow because that (she points to the ground) is like a billion rocks and I’m so not picking them all up.

Michael (turning to her): Don’t you think if I could wiggle my nose and do anything you wouldn’t be here anymore? Huh?

(Michael and Maria glare at each other as Isabel bends down to loosen one of the stones and pick it up.)

Alex: It’s not a bad idea, you know? (Michael and Isabel look over to him)

Michael: What are you talkin’ about?

Alex (taking a deep breath): The glowing part…The way I see it, it’s either we start picking up every one of these or we try it her way (he points to Maria). You got anything better?

(Maria smiles victoriously and Michael looks away, disgusted at all the elliptical stones staring up at him.)

Isabel (standing up): He’s right, Michael. It doesn’t hurt to try – and if it works then it saves us from being here any longer than we have to be.

Michael: We don’t even know what it looks like…

(Alex walks over to his backpack, a few feet off, picks it up and begins shuffling through it. Finding a folded piece of paper he takes it out and heads toward Michael.)

Alex (holding the paper out to Michael): Here you go.

Michael (eyeing the paper suspiciously and not taking it from Alex): What’s that?

(Alex sets the pack down and unfolds the paper. He holds it up so they can see Max’s rough pencil sketch of the stones. Recognition escapes all faces.)

Alex: Was I the only one paying attention at last Thursday’s shindig? (He shakes his head and walks closer to Michael, practically shoving the picture at him) This, is what Max says it looks like, so this, I’m guessing, is what it looks like. Any more excuses I can take care of for you…thirsty? (He reaches for his backpack and pulls out a water bottle) Hungry? I’ve got that one covered too.

(Michael grabs the paper from Alex rather forcefully and Isabel moves next to him. Alex backs away and Isabel looks at the garden of stones and sighs. She takes hold of one side of the paper and holds out her hand to Michael. Michael just stares at her out stretched hand.)

Isabel: Michael, we’ll be stronger if we hold hands – it’ll let us channel our power.

(Michael looks from Isabel’s face to her hand and then reluctantly reaches for it.)

Maria (eyeing Michael carefully): Whatever you do He-Man, don’t blow her up.

(Alex grabs Maria and pulls her out of Michael’s reach before he can go after her and Isabel gently squeezes his hand, reminding him of the task before them. He shoots Maria a seriously threatening look before turning back to Isabel. He watches Isabel take a few deep breaths while concentrating on the picture. She closes her eyes, for just a second before opening them up to Michael.)

Isabel (definitely pissy): It won’t work if you don’t want it to – you have to at least try, Michael.

(He nods. They both concentrate on the picture, taking several deep breaths and then finally closing their eyes. Nothing seems to happen and after a few seconds Alex, letting out a heavy sigh, bends down to start picking up stones.)

Maria (after a few moments, hesitantly): Uh, Alex.

Alex: Suck it up Maria and start helping here.

Maria (sharply): Alex!

(He looks up at her and quickly follows her stunned gaze to Michael and Isabel. The paper they hold starts shaking as the image begins to glow. It gets brighter and brighter, as the intensity of Michael and Isabel’s focus grows.)

Alex: Now that’s some serious glowing.

Maria (grabbing Alex): Come on, we gotta look for the stones. It that’s glowin’ then they’ve gotta be….

(Scene: A dark room. The silence of the room is broken by a soft rattling as dull light slowly begins to escape from cracks in the wall. The light grows brighter and the room begins to illuminate with light reflecting off the metallic room walls. There’s a sudden burst of light, as if someone turned the lights to the room on, and the tiny room of safety deposit boxes comes into full view.)

posted on 15-Sep-2001 2:12:06 PM
Title: #3 Pay Attention to Appropriate Road Signs (Road Rules trilogy, part 3)
Author: N/A
Email: ajrocchio⊕
Rating: PG-13 for language and sexual situations
Category: Other Stories
Disclaimers: The characters of Roswell belong to the WB, among others, but apparently I just can’t keep myself from borrowing them.
Summary: This is a direct continuation of part 2.
Author’s note/soapbox: Okay, so here’s the deal…You’re gonna read this story and when you get to the very end of the last scene you’re gonna say “wait a second that doesn’t make any sense.” I’m asking for a leap of faith here. I promise you that I will make it all make sense but you have to give me the next couple of stories to explain everything and make it clear where I’m taking this. I have two storylines that I’ve been mulling around in my head and I figure it’s about time to actually do something with them. One of them explores the complex past of Nasedo – an attempt to explain why he is the way he is. The other one, which is sort of introduced at the end of this story and the major subject of the next trilogy, is my attempt at explaining the physiology of Max’s race/species. And a quick reminder here…I don’t subscribe to the human/alien genetic engineering because I just don’t like it. So again, bear with me here and believe me when I say that it will all make sense.

(Scene: Walgreens in Roswell. Music playing over the store speaker: The Catchers – Shifting. Max is walking the back aisles looking for glycerin. He finally finds it, and after a few moments of deliberation, chooses a bottle off the shelf and turns toward the front. He heads down the back row and makes a left down an aisle. A few feet into the aisle Max stops, acutely aware that he’s just entered the condom aisle.

He stares down the aisle. Pausing to consider the moment, the opportunity presenting itself, and the fact that the only person in the store even remotely near him is at the very front of the aisle, near the empty checkout, looking at tabloids. Swallowing, Max takes a glance behind him to make sure no one else is around. The coast clear, he steals a hesitant glance at the multitude of little boxes hanging on the wall to his right. He checks the aisle again. Letting out a shaky breath, Max turns back to the boxes and takes a tiny step toward the wall. After one more cautionary glance over his shoulder he leans in for a closer inspection.

While Max is busy educating himself in the fascinating variety of condoms available, the man standing at the front of the aisle glances up from his tabloid. He watches Max for a moment, narrowing his eyes and focusing them on the item Max has in his hand. The man’s face grows dark as he’s mind is hit with the image of the condom box Max is holding.

Max feels a jolt of something he can’t place and quickly looks around the aisle. Seeing the man watching him from 20 some yards away, Max looks down at his hand and back up blushing. He fumbles to put the box back on the wall – what was he gonna do with it anyway – and turns to head down a different aisle to the front. The man watches intently as Max turns and exits the aisle. He stares at the now empty aisle for a moment then hurriedly turns to leave.

As he places the tabloid back into its holder the cover of it, and the tabloid next to it, change from images of Oprah and JFK Jr. to pictures of a dead woman and what looks like a shriveled up baby. The headlines read “Alien Sex Killed My Daughter” and “Abducted Women Dies Giving Birth To Alien Baby.” As Nasedo walks toward the exit he leaves behind horrific tabloid headlines and images at every checkout stand.

Max slowly approaches the front, cautiously looking around for the man who saw him, or did he see him, I mean, the guy was standing a whole aisle away, right? No one else is in the store but the checker popping bubbles and reading a magazine. Max walks up to the register and as he sets the glycerin down notices the tabloids off to his left. His breathing stops for a minute as the headlines hit him.)

Checker: This everything? (Max doesn’t respond) Hey.

Max (shaking his head and looking at the checker): Um…(clearly shaken) yea…no (he reaches out and takes the tabloids and hands them to the checker) Milton always likes these.

Checker (eyeing the headlines and raising his eyebrow): Whatever floats your boat, man.

(Scene: Streets of Roswell. Sheriff Valenti continues to cruise around town, followed shortly behind by an ever increasingly irritated Agent Jones. The Sheriff continually shuffles between driving and checking the review mirror. He marvels at Jones’ arrogance and the rather short distance he keeps. The shrill ringing of a cell phone cuts through his thoughts. He reaches over to the passenger seat and answers the phone.)

Sheriff: Yea, what’ve you got?

Deputy Blackwood: I’m not sure.

Sheriff: What’s your location?

(Scene cuts to the Roswell Industrial Air Center outside of town. Deputy Blackwood sits parked in a beat-up car, a good distance off from the airport parking lot and main building. He has a clear view of the office entrance, and more importantly, Agent Banks sitting outside of it waiting for someone.)

Deputy Blackwood: Air Center.

Sheriff (not expecting that): The airport?

Deputy: Followed the Agent here. He left the Evans boy about three hours ago. Went to the hotel and then came here.

Sheriff: Did he do anything to the boy?

Deputy: Not directly. It was hard to see but I think he took something from the Jeep. His back was turned but he was wearing gloves…collecting something. Sheriff, what’s this kid done this time?

Sheriff: I’m not sure but I know what these Agents have done – and they’ve worn out their welcome. Keep watching him and whatever you see, make sure you get it on tape.

Deputy: Will do.

Sheriff: He does anything to the Evans boy you call me immediately.

Deputy: Yes, Sheriff.

(Deputy Blackwood hangs up the phone and sets it down. He picks up the video camera and uses the zoom feature to get a close up of Agent Banks checking his watch. After a minute or two a man approaches Banks from the direction of the airfield. Banks stands and gives the pilot a small package. The conversation is brief, and Banks watches as the pilot returns to his plane.)

(Scene cuts back to Sheriff Valenti driving around Roswell. He sets the phone down and looks in the rearview mirror at Jones’ car. If the guy was any more arrogant Valenti would be able to see the exasperated look on his face. Valenti shakes his head and makes a right turn.)

Sheriff: Time for you boys to get the hell out of my town.

(Scene: Hills behind Atherton’s home. Exhausted, and definitely looking it, Maria sits on a large boulder watching Michael and Alex – equally as exhausted and showing it – picking up stones and putting them back. Isabel, looking the same, is standing to the side staring back at the house off in the distance.)

Michael (more to himself, but a little louder than he wanted): They’re not here.

Maria (quickly looking over at him): You think? Four hours and four…billion of these later (she throws the rock she holds at the ground), and you’re just now drawing that conclusion? I could have told you that back there. (She irritatingly points in the direction of the house.)

Michael: Right, like you knew.

Isabel (staring down at the drawing, still softly glowing): I just don’t understand why it didn’t work…

Alex (nodding at Michael as he picks himself off the ground): Forget to wiggle your nose? (Faces of irritation surround him) What? I’m sticky, tired, and seriously hungry – very strained conditions for quality humor…that’s the best I can do. (He walks over to Isabel) Besides it did work – that (he points to the paper) is definitely glowing…just means the stones aren’t here.

(Isabel looks at the image again and her eyes widen in panic as the meaning of his words register and begin echoing in her head.)

Isabel: Oh my god! What if someone has them, and they’re not…what if they’re…glowing…or doing something. We don’t even know what these are or what they do. (She looks up at Michael) What have we done?

(A serious silence falls over all of them at the possibilities.)

Maria (finally breaking the silence): There’s nothing we can do now.

Michael (irritated): You think? (Getting just a little angry) This was your idea…

Maria: Like I was supposed to know it was going to work – it’s not like you were trying to ruin my day or…blow something up – those things, you’re good at.

Alex (calmly): Okay, look…I think we’re all tired, irritable and in desperate need of something more substantial than Cheetos and chocolate. Let’s call it a day – it’s gotta be close to four. (He looks at Isabel) She’s right, there’s nothing we can do…maybe Max will have some ideas.

(Isabel looks back down at the drawing she holds and Maria gets off the boulder. She glances at Alex as she passes him, heading down the trail toward the house. Michael runs a hand through his hair and lifts his eyes to Isabel. They share a look of desperation and he shakes his head and follows after Maria. Alex takes a step closer to Isabel.)

Alex: We don’t know where they are. They could be in a box, the middle of no where…

Isabel (looking up at him): What have we done, Alex?

Alex: We’ll deal with it…that’s what we do…crisis happens, Superfriends respond, crisis is resolved, and life goes on. I mean look what we’ve already been through – the whole Spiderman thing, Topolsky, that Tess girl – or whatever her name was, Liz in a coma, Invasion of the Sexually Induced Visions…the car ride here…we’re pretty hearty…

Isabel (looking sideways at him): Superfriends?

Alex: Please, tell me you know who the Superfriends are. (Isabel stares at him blankly and he shakes his head and lets out a sigh of playful disgust) What planet are you from? (Isabel just looks at him and he cringes at his poor choice of words) Okay, nevermind…I would like that officially stricken from the record. (He looks back at Isabel, seriously) It’ll be okay…don’t worry about it now…worry about the next five hours with those two. (He nods in the direction of Michael and Maria, apparently in the middle of another heated discussion)

(Scene: UFO Center. Max is up in the library doing ‘research.’ The tabloids are splayed out to the right of the computer and Max is nervously hunched over the keyboard. His eyes keep darting around the room, completely paranoid that Milton will enter or God forbid Liz makes one of her surprise visits. He clears the search field for the database and glances over at the graphic pictures from the tabloid articles. He takes a deep breath then types in “alien” and “sex” into the search field. He pauses for another quick look around the room then hits enter.

The computer thinks for a while and Max nervously fidgets with the little green alien that usually rests on top of the computer monitor. The computer beeps and Max jumps. He calms himself with yet another reassuring glance around the room. He stares at the keyboard. If the articles in those tabloids are any indication of what awaits him on the computer screen, he’s not sure he wants to see it. He takes in a deep breath and raises his eyes.

He scrolls down with the mouse and scans the various titles…not looking good. Most of what he finds are more outrageous articles similar to those in the tabloids. There’s the occasional scientific sounding one and he’s about to click on one when the door opens.)

Milton: I’ve got it!

(Max about falls out of his chair at the sound of Milton’s voice and he quickly tries to recover and hide what he’s doing by grabbing the tabloids and closing the database window…yea right. His attempts only result in the tabloids falling to the ground along with a coke…and a few other things. Though, he does somehow manage to close the database.)

Milton: You okay, Evans?

Max (fumbling is an understatement): Um...yea…you…um…you startled me.

Milton: This is what I love about you, Max – so absorbed in your work – serious and dedicated to the truth. What are you working on now?

Max: Um…I was…um looking for some info about the pecans blooming. Haven’t found anything yet.

Milton: Nevermind that, Max, I’ve had a…a…an epiphany that came to me last night while I was watching T.V. This. (He tosses a piece of paper at Max, but Max is still too flustered to catch it. He bends down and picks it up. He looks at the scribbled picture and then questioningly up at Milton)

Max: This?

Milton: Do you know what this is? This…This (he motions with his arms) is our new exhibit. Forget Elvis…this is where the truth is at.

Max (looking back down at the paper and trying really hard to understand): What…what exactly is this?

Milton (grabbing the paper from Max and holding it out): What does it look like?

Max (studying the picture and just not getting it): Um…well…a…well…an elephant in a boa constrictor? (Milton looks at the picture then at Max) The Little Prince – (he shakes his head) nevermind…

Milton: Don’t you see it…the spaceship?

Max: Spaceship?

Milton: This…(Milton pulls up a chair next to Max) is the outline of the ruins of Chaco Canyon – connect the dots and…look (he traces his finger around the drawing) it’s a spaceship.

Max: Chaco Canyon?

Milton: You know what happened in Chaco Canyon?

Max: I thought nobody knew…I mean they just disappeared.

Milton (looking down at the ‘spaceship’): Exactly…I can’t believe I haven’t thought of it sooner…And this is just the beginning…Alien symbols are everywhere in Native American Art. We’re on to something Max…

Max (gently): Hasn’t that already been explored…you know like the caves of Machu Picchu?

Milton: We’re gonna do the definitive study…this museum will be home to the world’s foremost exhibit exploring the Alien/Indian connection…and there is one…I can feel it – can you feel it, Max?

(Max just looks between Milton and the picture, trying to understand what just happened…and trying inconspicuously to scoot a tabloid under the desk and out of Milton’s sight.)

(Scene: Jones’ car parked off to the side of the road, in clear sight of the McDonalds. The Sheriff’s cruiser can be seen in the drive-thru line. The agent exudes irritation. His suit jacket is off, hair ruffled from many a frustrated hand run through it, and his face is a perfect scowl. He stares at the cruiser, surely thinking evil thoughts when his cell phone rings. He picks it up from under his jacket and answers.)

Jones: What?

Banks: Guess I know how your day’s goin’.

Jones: Did you get the samples?

Banks: Yea, they’re en route. Anything from the Sheriff?

Jones (sighing): Unbelievable…I knew there was a reason I didn’t go into local law-enforcement. (He lets out a disgusted sigh) I’ve seen more of this town then I’d ever care to…

Banks: Nothing?

Jones: Except for his affinity for fast food…he’s straight out of Mayberry. It’s just a matter of time…
What about the kid?

Banks: Nothin’ just work, errands, and lunch with the Parker girl. I still think she’s the key…I mean if this kid is what we think he is – what’s she doin’ with him?

Jones: Lookin’ for the ride of her life…

(The conversation continues but the scene switches to the McDonalds entrance. A McDonalds employee, carrying a large drink, steps out of the door and scans the street. He spots what he’s looking for and starts walking toward the car. Crossing the street he cautiously approaches the black car on the driver’s side. Jones stops talking as he catches sight of the kid. He quickly jerks his head out of the window as the kid reaches it.)

Kid (holding up the drink to Jones): Here you go. Uh…(the kid looks a little intimidated as Jones stares at him seething with anger)…the Sheriff hopes you…um…enjoyed the tour of the County…I think that’s what he said…It’s on him.

(He shoves the drink at Jones who can’t speak past his rage, then quickly leaves. He crosses the street as the Sheriff’s cruiser pulls up to Jones’ car. Valenti smiles at Jones, tips his hat and raises his drink then drives through the stop sign. Jones throws the drink on the ground and begins shouting all obscenities imaginable.)

(Scene: The Longhorn Lounge in Angeles, Texas. The door opens as four, clearly out of place, weary teenagers enter. It’s a total dive with lots of thematic ‘atmosphere’. Isabel and Maria look around, mirroring faces of doubt and disgust. Michael eyes the inside of the dive with his usual countenance of irritation and masked worry. Alex smiles like a schoolboy, and heads in-between a hesitant Maria and Isabel, over toward an open booth. Reluctantly, the others follow and slide in.)

Maria (to Alex): Okay, can you, um, explain what we’re doing here and not at the Taco Bell back in, whatever town that was.

Alex: What?

Isabel: Like that needs clarifying…take the keys from him now before we end up at the Alamo…

Alex: Hey…

Maria (cutting him off while looking around): We’re not like staying are we?

Michael (emotionlessly): We’re sitting aren’t we?

Maria (making a move to slide out): Not for long…

Alex: What…is your problem?

Maria: I seriously have to pee, okay? And there is no way I’m using the facilities here…eew.

Michael: There’s a tree out front.

Maria (scowling at Michael): Yea, well if you had to sit down every time you had to pee, then you’d be a little more selective too…

Isabel: Do we really need to be having this conversation? And if we’re leaving we better make it quick because I just made eye contact with the waitress.

Maria: Never make eye contact!…Haven’t you learned anything…?

Alex (uncharacteristically pissy): My back is sore, my hands are blistered, my head is burnt, my stomach is growling, and if I had to sit on a toilet I wouldn’t be able to get off because my leg muscles – however microscopic they may be – are burning – burning – from squatting for four hours straight. I’ve never been to Texas, and God damnit I am not leaving it until I’ve had some authentic cookin’!

Isabel: Someone’s suffering from low blood sugar…

Maria: Fine…but someone needs to clean the bathroom.

(Michael and Alex look at Isabel, who grunts in annoyance and looks at Maria)

Maria: After this morning I think it’s the least you can do.

(Isabel lets out a sigh and exits the booth followed by Maria. On their way to the restroom they pass the waitress heading to the booth with water and menus. She gives them to Alex and Michael and leaves.)

Alex (after a few minutes of perusing the menu): I wonder what part of the cow they use for the Governor Bush burger.

Michael (not looking up from the menu): The ass.

(Alex looks at Michael startled by the comical quip and can’t help but break into laughter. Michael tries to hide a smile from behind his menu.)

Alex: Well we knew it wasn’t the brains – the guy pretty much flunked my Geography midterm…even I know where Serbia is. The guy probably thinks Czechoslovakia’s still a country…

(Michael’s smile widens and Alex laughs. He looks up at Michael, reading his menu, and Alex’s face softens. How do you hold the fate of someone’s life in your hands, and not really know who they are? Especially when life, death, and a lifetime of jail is involved, not to mention the seriously damaging psychological effects this whole thing could lead to…and the sucking away of one’s youth…and…)

Michael (looking at Alex, staring at him): What?

Alex (startled): What?

Michael: What are you lookin’ at?

Alex (shaking his head): You…(he waves his finger at Michael head) do you think my hair would do that?

Michael: I don’t know.

Alex: Right. Does it like take effort, or do you wake up like that?

Michael: What is this?

Alex: What?

Michael: Your interest in my personal hygiene…(he motions in the direction of where the girls went) Has she been talking to you or something?

Alex: No, what, guys aren’t supposed to talk about hair?

Michael (raising an eyebrow): No.

Alex: Damn, I’ve been hanging around girls too long. (He looks up at Michael) We should hang out some time.

Michael (about as surprised to hear the words, as Alex is to have said them): Me and you?

Alex (so much for subtlety): Yea…we should do something – outside the call of duty.

Michael: Hang out?

Alex: What? We’re swingin’ bachelors…I mean, I can’t get a girlfriend and you can’t keep one…(someone shut him up) and you know, Max, is pretty much useless in that department since he’s oblivious to anything outside the Land of Liz. (Alex fiddles with the menu and steals a glance at Michael – who’s still trying to process the whole ‘girlfriend’ comment) Do you play chess? (Where is this coming from? Michael just looks at him more confused) Cuz I think you’d like it…the whole strategic planning and plotting of annihilation…(Oh, God)…not that you’re into that or…I just think you’d like it…the whole intellectual challenge of it.

Michael (dumbfounded): Do you always get this way when you haven’t eaten in awhile?

Alex: You mean, irritable and agitated and talking incessantly? (Alex nods) Yea, pretty much…

Michael (eyes Alex for a lingering moment then returns to the menu): Right. (After a pause) Chess huh?

Alex: I really think you’d like it.

(The table returns to an awkward silence as Alex fiddles with the silverware, while Michael finally decides what he wants. Michael sets down his menu and glances in the direction of the bathrooms.)

Michael (letting out a sigh): What’s with girls and bathrooms?

Alex (shaking his head): Man, it’s a portal to a place, you do not want go…(Michael looks at Alex) Trust me.

(Scene: Liz’s Rooftop, early evening around 6 p.m. She sits on the lounge chair reading her Biology book. She jerks her head behind her at the sound of Max opening up her window from inside.)

Liz: Max, what are you doing?

Max (stopping, a little confused): You said to come by after work.

Liz: Through the window?

Max: Oh, (he continues his progression through the window) Actually your dad caught me, said I should just come up.

Liz: Hmm…

Max: Hmmm?

Liz (looking up at Max’s questioning face): Curious that’s all.

Max (raising his eyebrow): Curious?

Liz: You know, one usually doesn’t invite the enemy up, let alone acknowledge them. You should hear some of the things he says when he thinks I’m not in the room…

Max (as he crosses over toward her): The enemy?

Liz (smiling at him): Well, you are in effect trying to take his only child and eternal little girl away from him.

Max: To a galaxy far far away no less.

Liz (she playfully hits him): That, I think we should hold off sharing.

Max (shaking his head, seriously): Never.

(Liz looks at him as he picks up her Biology book and starts fiddling with it.)

Liz (softly): You know they’d still love you.

Max (reluctantly looking at her): Isabel thinks…

Liz: Max, you’re their son.

Max: I’m not even their race…

Liz: So. (Max looks at her) Doesn’t bother me…and I haven’t known you your whole life.

Max: Yea, well you wouldn’t have known if…

(Liz eyes the side of Max’s face, turned away from her.)

Liz: Some things are a blessing in disguise…just think what you’d be missing out on.

Max (wryly): Like endangering your life, pretty much threatening your future with jail or worse…or being responsible for your body being used for someone else’s sick and twisted games?

Liz: You are not responsible for that…and besides I was thinking more along the lines of the benefits. (Her eyes fall down Max’s face and she bites her lower lip) You know like…this…(she leans over and gently places a kiss on Max’s neck. Pulling only inches away and moving up to his ear) or maybe this…(she places a kiss on his earlobe. Max is in surprisingly good control until she softly bites down on his earlobe)…this I especially like…

Max (shifting so that he’s looking at her): Really? I prefer this…(He cups her face and pulls her in for a slow, lingering kiss. And so begins make-out session #554, or somewhere around there.)

(The kissing intensifies – the exploration of lips, hands, and exposed skin. As Max tries to shift them on the lounge chair to get a little more comfortable…he’s hit with the image of the dead women from the tabloid looking like Liz. He immediately cuts off the kiss and gasps, pulling away from Liz.)

Liz (concerned): Max? What’s wrong?

Max (seriously shaken): Um…nothing…I…I thought I heard something.

Liz (eyeing him very carefully): Are you okay?

Max (looking at her and reaching out to brush a loose strand of hair behind her ear): Yea, come here…(He pulls her into a hug. Closing his eyes and breathing deeply he tries to push back his panic and erase the graphic image from his mind. After a few moments he opens his eyes and pulls back a little.)

Max (curiously): When’d you get a cat?

(Liz turns and smiles at the sight of the black cat sitting on the roof ledge watching them.)

(Scene: Sheriff’s Office. Valenti sits at his desk fiddling with some electrical equipment in the left-hand upper left hand draw of his desk. It’s a recording device with cords running up to his phone. He checks all the plugs and picks up the phone causing the reels of tape on the device to start turning. He sets down the phone in satisfaction and leans back in his chair. His door opens quickly and a Deputy peeks his head in.)

Deputy: Agent Stevens on line 2.

Valenti (as he sits forward): That didn’t take long. That’ll be all, Deputy. (The Deputy nods and closes the door. Valenti looks at the phone, smiles and picks it up.) I’ve been expecting your call, what can I do for you Agent Stevens?

Stevens: You know exactly what I want. Let’s cut the crap, Sheriff, your interference with our investigation is only making things more difficult.

Valenti: Well now Agent, you never said your investigation included me, did you?

Stevens: Sheriff, our investigation is none of your concern and we’ll take whatever means necessary to ensure that it continues… undisturbed.

Valenti: Could you repeat that Agent, I want to make sure I got that threat on tape. (Dead silence) See Agent Stevens, I may be a small town Sheriff but I’m not stupid – I don’t need to learn a lesson twice.

Stevens: You have no idea who you’re dealing with.

Valenti: No, I’m pretty clear on that but you might want to remind your Agents who they’re dealing with…I’d have spotted him following me two weeks out of the Academy.

Stevens: I’d be careful if I were you…

Valenti: Two threats in one phone call – I must be doing something right. I wouldn’t worry about me Agent Stevens. I’ve learned a few things from my mistakes…and my father’s. Anything happens to me and it’s just a few degrees of separation back to you. And don’t even think about touching my family.

Stevens (laughing): Now who’s making threats…and empty ones at best.

Valenti: I’m just a phone call away from the 11 o’clock news top story…“FBI shoots a sixteen year old girl in the search for aliens.” You think the people of this town thought my dad was crazy…wait ‘til they get a load of you.

Stevens (after a pause): What do you want, Sheriff?

Valenti: I want your boys out of my town by tomorrow morning.

Stevens: This isn’t over.

Valenti: I didn’t expect it to be…and Agent, I’d warn the next batch you send this way to pay a little more respect to the local law enforcement – at least make it interesting for me.

(Scene: Max’s Bedroom late evening, around 9 p.m. Max is asleep at his desk, his History book being used as an uncomfortable pillow, and the pencil he holds threatening to fall out of his loose grip. The door, slightly open, is pushed all the way open as Michael enters. He sees Max at the desk and walks over, promptly dropping the large folder he carries, inches away from Max’s head. The loud noise jolts Max up.)

Max (startled and looking around the desk): I’m up, I’m up…(He quickly looks around the room and finds Michael retreating to the bed) Was that necessary?

Michael (as he sits down on the bed): Don’t even, Maxwell…

Max (eyeing Michael with a slight grin): Well I don’t see any bruises or scratches…

(Michael just glares at him and Max tries to keep the grin from spreading across his face. The moment is interrupted as Isabel enters the room and shuts the door.)

Isabel (looking at Michael): Did you tell him? (Michael cringes slightly and Max looks between the two of them)

Max: The stones…did you find them?

Michael: We found a goddamn rock quarry Maxwell – but it didn’t have the stones we were looking for.

Max: What?

Isabel (sheepishly): We didn’t find them…they weren’t there.

Max (looking away in frustration): I thought for sure they’d be there. (He looks up in time to see an almost guilty glance pass between Michael and Isabel.) What? (Michael looks away, entirely too disgusted to deal with this, and Isabel reaches into her pocket and pulls out a folded piece of paper.)

Isabel (hesitantly): We…(she doesn’t know how to explain so she just opens up the glowing piece of paper for Max to see) We thought we could find them by…

Michael (under his breath): Maria’s stupid idea…

Max (unmoved by what he’s seeing): Why’s it still glowing? (Michael and Isabel look at him dumbfounded)

Isabel (obviously missing something): What?

Max: Why didn’t you make it stop?

Isabel (sanity wavering): Make it stop? We don’t even know how we made it start. What are you talking about?

Max (looking at Isabel): Haven’t you ever helped Mom find her keys?

(Isabel just stares at him, like he’s speaking another language, and Max shakes his head in frustration. He focuses on the image and closes his eyes. He’s hit with a flash of the stones from one of the visions he’s seen from Liz, then darkness. The glowing dims and he opens his eyes. Michael and Isabel both stare at the paper and then Max. Isabel opens her mouth to speak but shuts it promptly. She looks down at the picture and then back up at Max.)

Isabel: How?

Max: I don’t know…we don’t really know how we do any of this…I just think about something and sometimes stuff happens. (Michael just furrows his brow, Isabel remains speechless, and Max quietly adds) Keys are smaller, and usually no where near Mom.

(Isabel shakes her head and looks adamantly at Max. She opens her mouth to speak but gets abruptly cut off.)

Mrs. Evans (from somewhere in the house): ISABEL DIANE EVANS!

(Isabel stiffens, it’s been a long time since that name’s been used. She looks at Max questioningly)

Max: Forget to tell Mom and Dad about quitting the Crashdown?

(Isabel’s face visibly pales as she inwardly curses.)

Mr. Evans (from wherever Mrs. Evans is): YOU HEARD YOUR MOTHER!

(Isabel throws the picture to Michael and turns, quickly exiting the room. Michael looks at the picture then over at Max, who’s rubbing his eyes and stretching his back. Michael reaches over the bed and picks up the drawing, studying it.)

Max (after a long pause): How long has it been glowing?

Michael (shaking his head): Eight hours. (Max shakes his own head and Michael just looks at him) You don’t think we started anything…you know turned them…on?

Max (shaking his head again): No…years of looking for Mom’s keys never started the car.

(Michael stares at the picture and Max silently surveys his desk, his eyes finally falling on the thick folder resting on top of it.)

Max (picking up the folder): What’s this?

Michael (slightly delayed reaction): What? Oh, his book…

Max (looking at it): Oh. (He looks up at Michael) Anything else in the house?

Michael (shaking his head): No…just some personal stuff… Nothing left of what we would’ve wanted. (He looks up at Max) What do we do now?

Max: I don’t know…I don’t know what we can do. That was the only lead…

Michael: We can’t just sit around and do nothing. What about the fourth…the guy in Santa Fe?

Max: I don’t know…Isabel and Alex were working on that…but we can’t go anytime soon, Michael. Liz can’t…

Michael: We can’t just wait around here…there’s another one of us out there Maxwell.

Max: We wouldn’t even know about them without Liz, Michael, we have to wait for her.

Michael (getting up): You, you have to wait for her…I didn’t subscribe to the 24-hour Liz Channel.

Max (also getting up and grabbing Michael by the arm to stop him from leaving): We, Michael, we do this together…(he notices the paper on the bed) We’ve already seen what happens when we split up.

Michael (angrily): Any more little tricks we haven’t seen yet Maxwell?

Max (defiantly): It’s not just me Michael, you can do it too…(nodding to the paper) you made that glow.

(Michael falters a little as realization hits. He looks at the paper and then back at Max. He slightly smiles)

Michael: I did, didn’t I?

Max (relaxing and smiling at Michael): Yea, now if we can just get you stop melting and blowing things up. (Michael cringes at that and pulls out the melted John Denver tape from his coat pocket.)

Michael (handing it to Max, disgruntled): Here. (Max takes it in his hand and looks at it) Fix it.

Max: What is it?

Michael: Just fix it okay?

Max: It helps to know what it was…

Michael: A tape…a stupid tape, alright?

(Max, not wanting to push it, looks from Michael to the melted plastic blob and waving his hand over it changes it back into what it was.)

(Scene: Max’s Bedroom, middle of the night. Music: Alanis Morissette – Uninvited, just the music, no lyrics. The room is illuminated by moonlight creeping in from the window and the soft red glow of the alarm clock – which reads 3:00 a.m. Max sleeps restlessly, and his face glistens – streams of sweat reflecting the moon’s light. His body starts to shake as chills come over him, and he turns on his side, instinctively curling into the fetal position. He continues to shiver and sweat, saturating his pillow and covers. After several long moments his eyes suddenly snap open and he sits up in bed.

He peels the damp blanket off himself and runs a shaky hand through his soaking hair. He lets out a sigh loaded with frustration, confusion, and fear. After glancing at the alarm clock he shakes his head and gets out of bed. He exits the room only to return minutes later carrying a glass of milk. He stares around his darkened room, contemplating what to do now. The kitchen’s no longer safe – one more chance encounter with his mom or Isabel and there’s no way to avoid the inevitable questions of concern…questions he doesn’t have answers for. His eyes shift from the pile of laundry needing to be folded to the textbooks on his desk. Homework it is.

Rubbing at his eyes, he slowly makes his way to the desk and turns the lamp on. He sits down and his eyes fall on the folder resting on the corner of the desk. He stares at the folder, glances over at the textbooks and then back to the folder. Letting out a sigh, he slides the folder over so it’s directly in front of him. After a few seconds, and a few sips of milk, he takes the rubber bands off the folder and hesitantly opens it. The first bunch of papers appear to be correspondence between Atherton and the publisher. Max quickly sifts through them and stops when he sees the title page of what looks like the manuscript.

Max turns the page and looks down at the next one with a furrowed brow. What he reads he doesn’t remember from the edition of the book he read earlier that year…but then again, he hadn’t paid much attention to anything preceding the Table of Contents. There’s only one line on the page and Max reads it repeatedly, curiously…

“Talent alone cannot make a writer. There must be a man behind the book.” – Emerson.

After moments of dwelling on the curious quote Max turns the page and immediately swallows, gagging back fear, and the overwhelming urge to throw up. The page has two words, well only one word really.

“For, N”

Max scoots his chair out, and stares at the object on his desk. Afraid to touch it, to acknowledge it, to recognize the implications. He brings his hands to his head as if the pressure from his fingertips will keep it from exploding. How had he missed this? How had he been so blind, so assuming the first read through? He peers at the book through his hands and releases a shaky breath, as everything he’s ever wanted to know about himself, stares back up at him.

posted on 15-Sep-2001 2:17:16 PM
Title: The Pawn (Chess trilogy, part 1)
Author: N/A
Email: ajrocchio⊕
Rating: PG-13 for language
Category: Other Stories
Disclaimers: The characters of Roswell belong to the WB, among others, but apparently I just can’t stop myself from borrowing them.
Summary: Picks up about a week or so after the end of the Road Rules trilogy.
Author’s note/soapbox: Okay, so I hope this sort of clarifies the confusing end of the last story, or maybe it’ll just make things more confusing. There is clarity on the horizon if I can get around to finishing this trilogy. Most of this story is fluff. The critical stuff is at the beginning and the very end…you’ll see. Hope you enjoy…

(Scene: Max’s bedroom. The alarm clock flashes 2:00 a.m. and the only noise is Max’s haggard breathing as he tosses and turns in bed. He shakes uncontrollably, and ever more violently, until he convulses awake. He sits up in bed and, with a quivering hand, wipes the sweat from his brow. Concentrating on slowing his hyperventilated breathing and hyper-drive heart rate, he closes his eyes and breathes in deeply. As he gains control of his body, he opens his eyes to look around the darkened room. As they sweep over the room they finally come to rest on the open folder splayed out across his desk. He lets out a heavy breath and then slowly gets out of bed and heads towards the desk. As he sits down, he flips on the light and lets his eyes adjust, focusing on the manuscript lying face-up in front of him. The manuscript is opened about one-quarter of the way through. Next to the manuscript, on the right, lies a notebook with scribbled notes in Max’s handwriting. Max shifts his eyes from the manuscript to the wall directly in front of his desk and a piece of paper leaning up against it. He reaches out and grabs the paper – the Preface to the manuscript – and reads it again, for what must be the thousandth time.)

Atherton voice over (imagine the voice of that high school teacher you had that should have retired before you ever had him): To The Skeptic: I could write a book outlining the multitude of arguments used to deny the probability of UFO sightings and recorded encounters on Earth. We, as a species, have yet to travel to our own moon, let alone attempt to understand the technology required to traverse across and beyond our solar system. There are some, willing to acknowledge the possibility of alien life, who yet deny its ability to contact Earth. They argue for the inability for alien life to enter and function within the confines of the Earth’s atmosphere. The precept being: if you take a fish out of water it can do nothing but die. This is an argument, sound in principle, that ignores the very nature of the subject being discussed.

V.O (continued): By referring to something as ‘alien’ we imply that it exists outside of our understanding, defying comprehension. To believe in the unbelievable – the seemingly impossible – requires the opening of one’s mind to the undefined. We must look beyond our definitions of ‘life’ and what is required to sustain it. We must throw away scientific principles, discard scientific reasoning, that is limited to only what we know – this world, this Earth.

V.O. (continued): Until you are ready to see the possibilities of the unknown, you will not be able to recognize the truth written in these pages. The Government believes that you are not ready for the truth. That we, as a species, are not ready for the realities of other worlds and what the implications of their existences mean for our own. Worlds that do not posses our limitations, do not subscribe to our definitions, do not adhere to our principles. Worlds where, if you take a fish out of water, it grows lungs. Fish that can look like anything, even you and I. Fish that can live among…

Liz’s voice: …us?

(Scene switches to Biology class, waiting for the bell to ring. Liz is watching Max closely as he stares off into space. Liz frowns at Max’s non-response and gently reaches out to touch his arm.)

Liz: Max? (Max jumps at her touch and quickly looks at her) Are you going to have lunch with us?

Max (letting out a sigh and looking away): No, I really need to…

Liz (disappointedly finishing for him): Study.

Max (looking back at Liz): I’m sorry. I know I’ve been studying a lot lately, I just didn’t realize how far behind I was. This Trig class is killing me and I have a couple of papers to write to make up some low test scores.

Liz: Max it’s fine. I understand…I just miss you – that’s all.

Max: I know.

Liz: Maybe this weekend we could study together?

Max (raising an eyebrow at her and whispering): Like last time?

Liz (smiling at the memory): Okay, well obviously my roof and your room are not the best choices for productive studying. This time maybe we could, you know, go somewhere public…like the library.

(The bell finally rings.)

Max (as he throws his backpack over his shoulder): Maybe.

Liz: Promise?

Max (giving in): Okay. (He leans in and gives Liz a quick kiss.) See you later.

Liz (as she watches him exit the classroom, letting out a sigh): Later.

(Scene: Lunch quad. Maria and Liz are sitting at a table, eating.)

Maria: I don’t get it. I mean he can, like, wave his hand and manipulate molecules, but he can’t speed read and memorize stuff. Where’s the priority with power development there?

Liz: Maria, you can’t just plug ‘em in and have ‘em start downloading stuff…they’re not computers.

Maria: Why not? Plug him into you and he’s downloading stuff left and right.

(Liz looks at Maria and Maria shrugs her shoulders as if asking “what?”)

Liz (shaking her head): Besides, you know Max, he wouldn’t do it even if he could…it’d be like cheating.

Maria (as she eyes Michael cross the quad): Yea, well I guess the whole superior intelligence theory’s pretty much already been blown hasn’t it?

Liz (following Maria’s gaze): He’s been distant lately too.

Maria (looking at Liz): What do you mean “lately”?

Liz (looking at Maria): You know you miss him.

(Maria lets out a grunt of protest and, before she can respond, their table is joined by Alex and Isabel.)

Alex: Ladies.

Liz: Hey Alex, Isabel.

Isabel: Where’s Max?

Liz/Maria: Studying.

Isabel: Right. How could I forget? That’s all he’s been doing lately.

Liz: Tell me about it.

Maria: That coming from you…Please! You create a study regimen and start implementing it three to four weeks before finals.

Liz: Yea well, you should know the difference between “studying” something and “avoiding” it.

Maria: Hey!

Liz: It just seems like he’s avoiding me.

Alex: Well can you blame the guy? (Liz looks at Alex and he continues) What? It’s not like we don’t know what’s goin’ on when you two try “studying” together.

Maria: Studying anatomy maybe?

Liz (shoving Maria): Hey!

Isabel (raising her hand to stop this): Alright, it’s bad enough walking in on them. Do we really need to discuss it too? He is still my brother.

Liz: Thank you.

(The conversation lulls for a moment as the four of them take bites out of their lunches. After a few moments Alex looks around the table.)

Alex: Where’s Michael? I thought the white flag had been waved.

Maria: Mr. Avoidance himself. If anyone needs to study he does – he’s barely shown up this week.

Isabel: He’s been acting weird lately – ever since we got back from Marathon. It’s like he can’t sit still.

Liz: What do you mean?

Isabel: Just antsy…he keeps bugging Max about going to Santa Fe.

Maria: Yea, well, unless he’s hitchhiking, hijacking, or hiking his way to Santa Fe, the rest of us are waiting until all of us can go.

Isabel: He knows. He knows he has to wait.

Alex (shaking his head as he pops open his Little Debbie peanut butter bar): That guy’s our last hope…I’ve been checking everywhere and I can’t find out anything about this chick.

Maria/Isabel (both surprised): Chick?

(Liz starts choking on her drink and Alex tries to cover up his major blunder.)

Alex: Sorry…wishful thinking…is that a Freudian slip – no that would be if I was hoping it was a “her” and she looked like my mother – definitely – definitely not Freudian…have you seen my mother?

(Alex continues to ramble as Maria tries patting Liz on the back to stop her choking. Isabel frowns at Alex, not hearing anything he’s said beyond “wishful thinking”. The more she thinks about it, the more she doesn’t like that comment. And the more she doesn’t like it, the more she’s not sure why.)

Alex (directed at Isabel frowning at him): What?

Isabel (shaking herself out of her thoughts): Um…when have you been researching?

Alex: Just here and there…you know Friday night here, Saturday night there – not much else goin’ on in my calendar. I can catch you up this weekend.

Isabel: Yea…that’d be nice.

Alex (turning to Maria): You in?

Maria: Can’t. Mother/daughter bonding over pie this weekend.

Liz (understanding the serious nature that ‘pie’ has in the DeLuca household): Pie?

Maria: Yea, and if it has anything to do with Sheriff Valenti like, moving in, or becoming family, I’ll be calling you from Juvie or the Psych ward at the Med. Center.

(Scene: School library. Max is sitting at a corner table, in the back of the room, hunched over the manuscript. He pauses, shakes his head, then flips the page and continues reading. He doesn’t hear Michael approach.)

Michael (as he sits across from Max): That what you call “studying”?

Max (quickly looking up at Michael and closing the manuscript folder): Study break.

Michael: Any better the second time around?

Max (putting the folder in his backpack, thoughtfully): Definitely…different.

Michael (curious): Different?

Max (covering quickly): You know, more entertaining… What’s up?

Michael: Gratreaks is home.

Max (angering): Michael, we’ve been over this – we can’t go to Santa Fe for at least a couple of weeks.

Michael: I know Maxwell, just thought you should know how much time we’re wasting.

Max: She has to be there Michael.

Michael: Whatever.

Max: How’d you know he was home?

Michael: Called.

Max: Michael!

Michael: Apparently I had the wrong number – ‘Bob’ doesn’t live there.

Max (shaking his head): You gotta be careful Michael.

Michael (irritated): I’m not a four year-old, Maxwell.

Max: I know. Look, we just have to wait a couple of weeks until school’s out.

Michael: And what are we supposed to do until then?

Max: Study, Michael – unless you’re really into re-living this year? (Michael just shakes his head in disgust) You want to study with…me and Liz?

Michael (stifling a laugh): Study with the two of you?

Max (hesitantly): A third party kind of ensures that we’ll actually…study.

Michael (shaking his head): I’m gonna go with a ‘no’ on that. (Max sighs and zips up his backpack) I’m working anyway.

Max: Friday/Saturday?

Michael: No…Saturday/Sunday. I’m doing some stuff for Mr. Parker.

Max: I thought you were “on” Friday nights.

Michael (with a mischievous smile): I am Maxwell, but not this one.

(Scene: Friday night at the Crashdown. Actually, it’s more like late afternoon before the dinner rush. Music: Josh Rouse – Laughter. Liz is talking with her parents near the entrance. Both Jeff and Nancy seem reluctant to leave and eye their daughter carefully. After hugs and one more concerned “You sure you’ll be fine?” the Parkers exit the Café. Liz watches them go, shakes her head, and then heads toward the back. She passes through the back door and stops at the sight of Maria at her locker.)

Liz: Maria? What are you doing here?

Maria (disgruntled): Working.

Liz: Wait! You’re not scheduled to work tonight.

Maria (as she walks over to the wall and picks one of the cook’s aprons off a hook): Not out front.

Liz: What? Why are you putting on that apron?

Maria: It’s a cooking apron isn’t it?

Liz: Okay Maria, you’re totally confusing me and I’m going to have to ask you what my favorite flavor of ice cream is.

Maria: Vanilla. (And with that, she heads into the kitchen to relieve José.)

(Liz stands in the backroom, dumbfounded and staring at the kitchen door. José, smiling, exits the kitchen and spots Liz.)

José: I’d stick around for this (motioning back toward the kitchen) if I didn’t have a test tonight. Make sure she doesn’t burn the place down.

Liz (confused): Right. Wait. (She shakes her head and enters the kitchen, finding Maria examining the various grill tools.) What are you doing?

Maria: What does it look like I’m doing – cooking. Thanks to you I might add.

Liz: What! Maria, you can’t cook!

Maria (turning to Liz): No actually, remember before you went all ‘girlfriend in a coma’ and your dad went into serious panic mode about José going back to school and not being able to work any more night shifts and we all got that nice little kitchen safety tour and lecture? (Maria points a spatula at Liz.) Well, technically that, and the fact that we (pointing the spatula at Liz and then herself) have food handler’s permits…means that we can.

Liz: Maria, oh my God, I’m not talking technicalities here. I’m talking talent – you cannot cook.

Maria: Thanks for the support. Next time we do kareoke at The Pie I’m so making fun of you.

Liz: Support? Hello, I’m quoting you... quote – “I can’t cook” – end quote.

Maria: Yea well, the next time you decide to get all nookie in the janitor’s closet can you tell me please so I don’t go defending your honor and wagering on it?

Liz: What?

Maria: Never mind…just know that I will be getting you back for this.

Liz: Maria, I don’t understand…what are you talking about? The “janitor’s closet” was weeks ago…

(The door jingles out front as Michael and Isabel walk in. Liz and Maria look through the pickup window and Maria turns away in disgust.)

Maria: Ask him.

(Liz just looks at Maria, dumbfounded yet again. Maria begins examining the deep-fat fryer and Liz turns to go talk to Michael. She passes Isabel coming through the swinging door, and confronts Michael at the jukebox near the entrance.)

Liz: What’s going on? Why aren’t you cooking tonight?

Michael: Got it covered. You got a key for this thing (motioning to the jukebox)?

Liz: Okay…Okay, Maria would never in her sane mind agree to cook for you. What did you do?

Michael (looking for the opening to the jukebox): Just a friendly wager.

Liz: Oh my God, this is so not good. My parents would pick tonight of all nights for dinner, a movie, and some stargazing…(She looks at Michael suspiciously.) You picked tonight on purpose didn’t you?

Michael (finding the keyhole and looking up at Liz with an outstretched hand): The key.

Liz (confused): The key? Why do you want the key?

Michael (smiling): I’ve got a new disk.

Liz (eyeing Michael suspiciously as he pulls out a disk from his jacket): You listen to UB40?

Michael: No – got it from Alex.

Liz: Alex? (She looks at the CD, the grin on Michael’s face and back to the kitchen.) Do I want to know why you want to put that CD in the jukebox?

Michael: No.

Liz: If I don’t give you the key, are you going to try and open it anyway…potentially resulting in me having to call the Fire Department?

Michael: Just give me the damn key!

Liz (reluctantly reaching into her pants pocket for the master key ring and, finally, handing it over to Michael): This…is going to be ugly.

(Michael takes the keys and returns his attention to the jukebox. Liz, letting out a sigh, turns toward the back. She pauses before pushing the door open, and after one more deep breath, finally breaks down and enters the backroom.)

Maria (standing at the kitchen doorway, to Liz): What’s he doing with the jukebox?

Liz (to Isabel in uniform): What are you doing here?

Maria (now looking at Isabel): I thought you quit.

Isabel (sighing as she turns to the two of them): I did, but my parents reneged your dad’s offer of not needing a two-weeks notice.

Maria: Two weeks? That’s only, like, five more shifts with finals coming up.

Isabel: I know.

Liz: Max said you had to find a summer job.

Isabel (as she turns her attention back to her locker): This is all his fault for being mommy and daddy’s good little worker boy… Mr. Goddamn Responsible…

Maria: Wait. Are you back for two weeks or the summer?

Isabel: Two weeks…Clinique is hiring…

Maria (laughing): Wait a second… Let me get this straight…you’re trading in serving people and cleaning up after them for actually having to be…nice…to people, trying to make them look good, and then having to lie about the after-effects?

(Isabel steps away from her locker and glances at Maria. She looks at her thoughtfully for a few moments as Maria continues to laugh.)

Isabel: You know, I like the longer-hair look. It works for you…

Maria (stops laughing and looks at her, taken aback by the compliment): Thanks, I’ve been trying to grow it out.

Isabel (shrugging her shoulders and putting her antenna on): See? Lying’s not really a problem.

(Maria’s face falls into a scowl and Isabel just smirks. The silence is broken as Agnes enters through the back door and the bells out front start jingling.)

Isabel: Work calls.

(Isabel shuts her locker and heads for the front. Maria glares after her and then, pointedly at Liz for a moment, before turning back to the kitchen. She’s about to push open the kitchen door when the jukebox comes on with the UB40 song “Rat In Mi Kitchen”. Maria spins on her heels like a bat out of hell and makes a bee-line for the door, but is stopped short by Liz. Liz firmly holds onto Maria’s shoulders as she turns her around and pushes her toward the kitchen.)

Maria: I just think you should know – I’m sooo killing Alex.

(Liz continues to push Maria toward the kitchen and, as they pass the wall of aprons, she reaches out and grabs a cook’s one.)

Liz: If the customers…um…don’t mutiny first, I’ll grill…you do everything else.

(Scene: UFO Center. Max is in the library. He holds a stack of books in one arm and a sheet of paper in his other hand. He looks at the list he holds and moves down the row until he comes to the next book on it. He pulls the book, adds it to the pile in his arms, and moves on to the next one. His pile of books grows unmanageable, and he walks over to the desk setting them down with the others.

All the books have some sort of Native American connection to them – history, research, art, or some other cultural aspect. Max lets out a sigh and then returns to the shelves. He pulls another book, and then another one, and then stops. He looks down at his list “Introduction to the Traditions and History of the Mescalero Apache”. Max finds the book on the shelf and then slowly looks around the library room, confirming that he’s all alone. With his index finger he pushes the book into the shelf until it falls in-between the two tall bookshelves. He squats down to see if the book is visible from the bottom shelf and, when satisfied that it isn’t, he stands up and moves on to the next book and again stops.

Max stares at the bookshelf. He’s eyes focusing, not on the book he wants, but on the book next it – the one he’s been purposely forgetting and avoiding – Atherton’s “Among Us”. He continues to stare at the book – waging an inner battle over whether to take it or not. This isn’t the first time in the last week that he’s fought this war, but it’s the first time that his “need to know” overcomes his “need to deny what he thinks he already knows”. Closing his eyes, Max takes the book from the shelf, slips it under his shirt and tucks it into the back of his pants. He stands there for a moment, before finally looking down at his list and moving on to the next book. As he reaches for the book, the door opens and Milton walks in.)

Milton: How’s it coming?

Max: Good – there’s just a few books I can’t find from the list…

Milton: That’s okay, I’ve got the article search printing out…30,000 hits just using ‘alien’ and ‘Native American’…and that’s only the beginning. We’ve still gotta search under ‘extra terrestrial’, ‘ufo’, ‘American Indian’…

Max: Did you say 30,000?

Milton: Don’t worry Max, I won’t make you find all of them. We’ll go through and highlight the ones focusing on the southwest, and then pick out the articles that sound good – those are the ones you’ll find. We should have a lot of them in the periodical library – but that only goes back to the 60’s; some of the older stuff we might have to find on-line or get through inter-library loan with the public library.

Max (under his breath): Right, just those ones…

Milton: It’s gonna be big. I can feel it Max. No more tourist trap museum – this is gonna put us on the map. We’ll finally be taken seriously…we’re moving up; from conspiracy theories to scientific ones. This is just the beginning Max – just the beginning…

(Milton sort of zones-out into his thoughts, and Max just keeps hearing the words “30,000” and “just the beginning” ringing in his ears…it’s gonna be a long summer.)

(Scene: Crashdown. Music: Stretch Princess – Sorry. Michael sits at the counter sipping his drink and eyeing the chaos around him with a smile. A sci-fi writers convention is in town and, by the looks of the Café, they’ve all chosen the Crashdown to eat. The booths are packed and there’s a substantial wait to be seated. Michael’s eyes survey the scene and then, finally, return to the pick-up window. From his seat he can see Liz frantically flipping burgers and trying to keep the orders straight. Maria crosses in and out of his line of vision as she runs around the kitchen finishing orders with salad, french fries, and whatever else.

Maria grabs a couple of plates and places them up on the pick-up counter. She rings the bell and, as she turns to leave, catches Michael watching her. She turns back, facing him full on, and stares at him as if begging him to bring it on. Michael just smiles at her and she turns away disgusted. Michael’s still looking in the general direction of the kitchen when Alex comes up and sits down on the stool next to him, placing a chess-game box on the counter.)

Alex (looking around the café): Man, it’s gonna take at least a couple of hours before we can get a table to play at. What’s going on?

Michael (still looking at the kitchen): Convention…sci-fi something…

Alex (nodding his head as he continues to look around): Aaah, the signs of summer…let the freak-show season begin... (Alex finally realizes that Michael’s not really paying attention to him and he follows Michael’s gaze to the kitchen) Hey, did I miss it?

Michael: Yea, but somebody’s already played it again. (He turns to Alex with a grin on his face.)

Alex: What’d she do?

Michael: Nothing yet.

Alex (sounding worried): Nothing?

Michael: Just stayed back there (he motions to the kitchen).

Alex (shaking his head): Not good, my friend…

Michael: She’ll get over it.

Alex: I’m not worried about her. (Michael looks at Alex and Alex looks at the pick-up window where Maria is glaring at both of them. Alex smiles innocently and Maria mouths the word “dead” clearly to him. Alex turns back to Michael) Yea, not worried about her… (Michael looks back to the window and Maria just smiles at him.)

Isabel (as she sets down a drink for Alex): Hey.

Alex: Hey.

Michael (sounding irritated): Hey, when’s my food coming?

Isabel: Okay, do you really want me to go tell them you’re complaining about the food?

(The bell rings as Liz throws another plate on the counter and Isabel shakes her head at Michael as she leaves for the window. As Isabel takes the plate, she furrows her brow and looks back into the kitchen.)

Isabel: Is something burning?

Maria: The ‘house special’…

(Isabel looks at Liz.)

Liz (shrugging her shoulders as she flips the extremely burnt burger): Michael’s dinner.

(Isabel lets out a laugh and then turns away from the counter.)

Isabel (smiling, as she passes Alex and Michael): Your burger’ll be right out.

(Both Michael and Alex watch Isabel walk past them and then turn their heads back toward the kitchen, again finding Maria smiling at them.)

Alex: Dude, I would have stuck to drinks.

Michael: Like they can tell which order’s mine.

Alex (looking sideways at Michael and shaking his head, trying not to laugh): Right.

(Alex takes a drink from his glass and watches Michael. After a few minutes the swinging door to the back opens and Maria enters the front, looking like a disaster and carrying a plate of food. She heads toward Michael and Alex, and plops the plate down in front of Michael. Michael looks at the plate of way over-cooked fries and burger, and then back up at Maria.)

Maria: Enjoy.

(Alex pokes his fork at the fries and starts laughing.)

Maria (looking at Alex): Take a good look buddy that’s all you’re getting tonight too.

Alex (pointing to his chest): Me?

Maria: The day he (she nods at Michael) listens to UB40 is the day Liz and I take you upstairs, dress you up, and practice make-up and make-over techniques like we did in fifth grade. (Isabel and Michael both laugh.)

Alex (under his breath): Ouch.

Michael (to Maria): Looks like you need one now.

Maria: Bite me.

Michael: I’d rather bite this burger.

Maria: Well then, don’t let me keep you.

(Maria turns her body to fully face Michael. Resting her hands on her hips she holds his gaze, egging him on. Michael doesn’t waver, but picks up the hamburger and takes a bite. Alex makes gagging noises while trying not to laugh and Maria looks at him.)

Maria (to Alex, dead serious): Two weeks…The Pie…I’m bringing costumes and her (she points to Isabel).

Alex (panicky): Hey now, I think my humiliation quota was just satisfied…

Maria: You’ll wish.

(Maria turns around and heads back to the kitchen. As she passes through the swinging door, Michael spits out the burger and Alex and Isabel crack up.)

(Scene: Later in the evening. Music: Vertical Horizon – Everything You Want. Alex and Michael have moved to the back table as the evening rush has dwindled. The chessboard is set out in front of them, Alex is white and Michael is black, and Alex is in the middle of explaining the different pieces.)

Alex (holding up a knight): Okay, the knight is the only piece that can jump over other pieces and it can only move in a combination of one’s and two’s. (Michael furrows his brow and Alex begins to demonstrate) Like, one up and two left, or, two up and one right…got it?

Michael: Yea, whatever. This guy (he points to a piece)…

Alex: The bishop…

Michael: Whatever…does diagonals, this one (points to another piece)…

Alex: The rook…

Michael: …does vertical and horizontal, and that guy (points to the knight) does L’s…what about this one (points to the queen)?

Alex: The queen. (He reverently picks up his queen) She is the beholder of all power. She can move in any direction for any number of spaces.

Michael (pointing to the king): And this one?

Alex: He can only move one space at a time.

Michael: That’s it?

Alex: Yea, this is a matriarchy…the king just sits there and gets captured. You ready? (Michael nods and Alex moves his center pawn two spaces.)

Michael: Wait…

Alex: White always goes first.

Michael: Now you tell me.

Alex: Oh, and before I forget…(Alex reaches into his backpack and pulls out some books, Idiots Guide to Chess, Chess for Beginners – a picture guide, Chess Master – at any age, Art of Chess, and Chess for Dummies) here you go.

Michael (looks at the books and frowns): What do you do all day – hang out with girls and play games?

Alex (spreading his hands on either side of the chessboard): This…is…not…a…game. This is a metaphor for life, man…the strategy, the challenge, the sacrifice, the focus, the ultimate goal – survival. (Michael just looks at Alex and Alex shakes his head.) Just move, you’ll see.

(Michael moves a pawn, quickly followed by Alex moving another piece. Michael, a little taken aback by how confident and quickly Alex moved, takes a minute to think about his next move. The table falls into the serious silence of concentration. Isabel delivers drinks to a table up front and, as she returns to the pick-up window for an order, she shakes her head at Michael and Alex.)

Liz (setting Isabel’s order on the counter and following her gaze): I give it five minutes, ten, max. (Isabel looks at her.) He doesn’t have a chance.

Isabel (looking back at the table): He constantly surprises me.

Liz (also looking at the table): I don’t think a lot of people give him much credit, you know… can’t get past appearances.

Isabel: There’s so many layers there and not everyone gets to see them.

Liz (looking at Isabel and then back to the table): Only the people he wants to have see them…

Isabel: He’s a great guy isn’t he? I mean he doesn’t have to care but he does…he really does.

Liz (looks at Isabel again, then back at Michael, squinting): Just don’t tell Maria he doesn’t have to care.

Isabel (quickly looking from Alex to Liz): What? Are you talking about Michael?

Liz (looking from Michael to Isabel): Yea, wait, are you talking about Alex?

Isabel (cursing herself): This food’s cold.

(Isabel grabs the plate and makes a break for it. Liz watches her go with a smile on her face and then glances back at the table just in time to see Alex claim Michael’s knight.)

(Scene: After closing. Liz and Maria are sitting on the backroom couch looking completely spent and like total wrecks.)

Liz: I don’t think I ever want to eat another hamburger again.

Maria: Two words for you Lizzie – deep-fat fryer…beyond describable disgust. I think I’m breaking out just from standing next to it…(She rubs her hands through her hair as if ringing it out.) I’m like a bottle of Canola here…you could put a spout in me and it would like pour out. I so need to shower.

Liz: I don’t think I can get off the couch. I’m like…stuck. How do they do this and still have energy to clean?

Maria: How do they do this and not be all toxic from the fat?…Do we have to clean?

Liz: If we don’t, Dad’ll think it was Michael.

Maria: And your point is…?

Liz: Maria.

Maria (shaking her head): Oh okay, like picking the busiest day of the goddamn week doesn’t deserve just a little wrath from your dad.

Liz: What were you thinking… betting in the first place?

Maria: Oh, don’t go there chica. This is, may I remind you, ultimately your fault. (She lets out a sigh) Besides, it was worth it just for the mental pictures I got imagining Michael waiting tables. (She rolls her head to Liz.) Damn you and your lack of restraint.

Liz (smiling): Would you’ve made him wear the antenna?

Maria: Hell yea, the antenna, the apron…I thought about the dress, but I wasn’t sure I could hold him down long enough to put it on him.

Liz: Now that’s definitely worth betting for…

(They both start laughing and Isabel wheels the mop and bucket through the swinging door.)

Isabel: One day down…four more to go.

Liz (still laughing): Oh come on Isabel, you know you’re gonna miss it here.

Isabel (putting the mop away and turning to Liz and Maria pointing to the front of her uniform): Miss this? Do you know what this is? Regurgitated space fries. I’m so very over this. (She swipes her hand over her uniform and cleans herself off.)

Maria: Then why’d you stay so long? You could’ve bailed weeks ago…

Isabel: Right, only to be brought back by your begging ass.

Maria: Hold on, helping-hand-Barbie. Let’s clarify. I didn’t ask you for anything; you just showed up here.

Isabel: And were you going to ask?

Maria: Okay, that is so not the point. The point is, you know you’re going to miss us. You can’t stay away… a week, tops, and you’ll be back here begging to use the milkshake machine – and the foods not free anymore you know.

Isabel: Okay, who’s missing who here? (Isabel makes a sweeping motion with her hand over the floor and it’s sparkling clean.)

Maria (nodding): Yea you win…gonna miss that…definitely going to miss that.

Liz: Hey, can you do that in the kitchen? I’ll owe you…I promise free food for life…

Isabel (squinting at Liz for a moment then heading toward the kitchen): Keep your free food for tonight’s food poisoning victims…but you will owe me.

Liz (as Isabel disappears into the kitchen): Anything! (Liz sighs and then turns her head to Maria.) I think I’m seriously going to miss her.

Maria (shaking her head): No you won’t.

Liz: Maria!

Maria: Trust me. (Liz looks sideways at her and Maria continues.) Okay, when was the last time Alex went to the Mall by himself?

Liz: Ummm…never.

Maria: Right! The way I see it, not only are we going to the Mall everyday this summer, but we’re getting free stuff out of it too. He’s totally at our mercy – putty in our hands.

Liz: Okay, Alex has always been putty in our hands…

Maria: Yea, but that was just to get him to do things for us – this is actually getting stuff from him. (She rolls her head to Liz and smiles) I mean who’s he gonna buy Clinique stuff for – his mom? Please!

Liz (hitting Maria): You are so bad.

Maria: Me? Trust me sister. After ten straight days of going to the Mall with him, you’ll be asking for stuff too…just wait.

Liz: He’s not that bad. It’s not like he’ll want to go every day.

Maria: Wanna bet?

Liz: Are you sure you wanna do that with your record?

Maria (shoving Liz): Shut up. I’m telling you, Alex is so…

Alex (standing in the doorway): What? (Both Liz and Maria jump at Alex’s voice, and quickly turn to him.) Oh, don’t let me interrupt this…“Alex is so…” what?…I’m thinking “handsome”, “charming”…pick an adjective here…

Maria: “Dead”. How’s that one for you?

Alex: Come on DeLuca. You’re just mad you didn’t think of it first.

Maria: Can’t talk your way outta paying for this one Alex… Just remember, when you’re on stage at The Pie doing your best Gloria Gayner, you asked for this…oh, and when you want to go to the Mall in a couple of weeks, you’re gonna have to do some serious groveling…

Alex: Okay, that first part I’ll contest later, but …the Mall? You been sniffin’ something besides cypress oil back here?

Maria: Just a little forewarning, you know. Give you time to practice your begging and ass-kissing skills. I’m gonna want to see some improvement from this year’s whole prom fiasco.

Alex (looking at Liz): Is it just me or is she talking crazy?

(Liz shakes her head and gets out of answering by the kitchen door opening and Isabel coming into the back room.)

Isabel (to Alex): Hey.

Alex: Hey, you ready? (He points to Maria.) She’s freakin’ me out.

Isabel: Yea, let me lock the front door…

Liz: Don’t worry about it – you two take off, I’ll get it.

Isabel (after looking pointedly at Liz): Thanks.

Alex (to Liz): Call me if you have any problems with her (motioning to Maria).

Liz (covering Maria’s mouth): Go before she brings up fifth grade again.

Alex: Spoken like a wise woman…(to Isabel) My lady…Vamoose!

(Alex grabs Isabel’s coat from the rack and they exit through the back door. Liz rests her head against Maria’s shoulder and lets out a sigh.)

Maria: “Vamoose” and he thinks I’m sniffing something here. What was that?

Liz: Testosterone…sweet huh? Our boy finally beat up somebody his own sex.

Maria: What? Who? Michael?

Liz: He was thoroughly kicking his ass for two hours straight.

Maria: Too bad it wasn’t literally instead of figuratively.

Liz: Doesn’t matter, both leave considerable bruises on the male ego.

Maria: True. So you think he’ll go home and make his dad proud tonight?

Liz: No question.

Maria: Tom Cruise or Harrison Ford?

Liz: Oh, totally Tom Cruise… Top Gun, A Few Good Men, Mission Impossible 1 and 2… They’ll be bonding all night long.

Maria: I’m kinda sad I’m gonna miss it.

Liz (yawning): Me too.

Maria (looking at Liz): It’ll be brief – he’ll be back in the morning begging for a ‘chick’ fix. Testosterone overdose…(she shakes her head) very ugly. (Liz yawns again and Maria sighs.) Go get outta here. I’ll close.

Liz: You sure?

Maria: Yes, but you better leave before everything we did tonight starts coming back to me.

Liz (sitting up and looking at Maria): Call me tomorrow before you do anything drastic with your mother.

Maria: You know how I am. I can’t control myself sometimes…

Liz: Promise me.

Maria: It’s probably nothing, you know – just another premature mid-life crisis. (Liz just looks at her) Fine, I promise…no violent or irrational outburst without your consent.

Liz: Thank you. It won’t be that bad – whatever it is – just remember you’ve been through worse…we’ve been through worse and we’ll get through worse.

Maria: You’re hopeless. You know that…with all the optimistic crap…

Liz (as she gets off the couch): I know, but somebody’s got to do it. Look who I’m dealing with.

Maria (throwing a towel at her): Good night.

Liz: Night.

(Music: Whiskeytown – Turn Around.)

(Liz heads up the stairs to the apartment. Maria watches her go and sits quietly on the couch for a few moments before reluctantly getting up. She’s about to push the door to the front open when she spots Michael sitting at the corner table reading one of Alex’s chess books. If she wasn’t so pissed at him she’d probably think it was cute. No not cute…slightly sexy…the way he runs his hand through his hair when he’s frustrated, and the way his brow furrows when he doesn’t understand, and…

Maria turns away from the door. Sometimes being pissed is really hard to do, especially when you’re lonely. She hangs up her cook’s apron on a hook as she heads to her locker. She opens her locker door and is about to throw her hair net in when she stops. She looks around the room as tears slowly start to form in the corner of her eyes. She swallows and then hesitantly reaches into the locker, carefully pulling out her dad’s fixed John Denver tape. She holds it to her chest and lowers her head, letting unexpected tears fall.

After a few moments, Maria collects herself and pushes the backroom door open, just as Michael reaches for the front door to exit the Café.)

Maria: Do you have any idea how frustrating you are?

Michael (with his back to her): No where near as frustrating as you are.

Maria (letting out a sigh and shaking her head): God, can you just stop, please? Can we just…stop this? (Michael slowly lowers his hand from the door handle.) I mean…I know this is what I signed up for…you know, the relationship rollercoaster ride with the loopdy-doos and corkscrews but can we just, like, get off of it for a while…and go ride the…merry-go-round or something?

Michael (finally turning to face her): Merry-go-round?

Maria: You know what I mean…Look, you said stuff…I said stuff…okay? We both said stuff. Can we just stop…saying stuff and…hurting each other? I don’t want to do this anymore. (The tears well in her eyes and she blinks them away.) You hurt me Michael. You hurt me like no one can…and you infuriate me and push me until I want to wring your neck and kick your ass back to wherever you’re from. (She pauses and pulls out the fixed John Denver tape from her apron pocket.) And then you do something…that reminds me why I’m on this ride. (She looks at the tape in her hand and then back up at Michael.) Because, in your own twisted way, you can love me like no one can…even if you can’t say it…and you don’t have to…I know. (She lifts the tape up.) When you do this…I know…

Michael (frustrated with what he must admit): I didn’t do that…Max did.

Maria: I know. (She takes a hesitant step toward him after a long pause.) Just like I didn’t burn your burger… Liz did.

Michael (after a long pause): I can’t stop looking for Nasedo.

Maria: And I can’t stop blaming him either. All this stuff is happening to Lizzie that I can’t do anything about, and I need someone to blame…to be angry at…and he’s it Michael. I need to blame him and I can’t change it.

Michael: I need the answers he has.

Maria: I know that…I do. I don’t like him, but I don’t have to. (She pauses for a moment, inhaling a shaky breath and looking down at the tape she holds in her hand.) I need you to promise me something. (She ventures a glance at him but quickly looks away.) I know this is silly, and so down the road and totally not relevant to now…but…I need you to promise me that you won’t leave me like my father did, okay? If you have to go, you have to go, but at least say goodbye…you know, a note is better than nothing – just something, okay…just promise me. If you can’t promise me that Michael then I need to get off the ride for good…because I can’t do that again. (She looks up at Michael and the tears slide down her cheek.) Anything...

Michael (watching her cautiously): I can’t make promises about staying or…

Maria: I’m not asking for that, Michael. It was impossible to miss the “Enter at your own risk” sign you had plastered all over yourself. We all know that… Liz and Alex…being a part of this…a condition of being with you, of loving you is letting you go. But you need to understand that the condition for being with me, loving me, is letting me know if you have to go. I’ll never ask you for anything more than that…I just…I just need to know that you can do that one thing for me…that you can say goodbye, because I can’t do this if you can’t do that. Can you understand that?

(Michael’s breathing slows as he intensifies his cautious gaze. Ignoring instinct and all the alarms sounding in his head, he holds his ground, letting the meaning of what she’s not saying sink in. Maybe she didn’t think he would know, wouldn’t be able to hear the unspoken admission or recognize the motivation for this conversation…and maybe, if it had been anybody else, he wouldn’t have.)

Maria: Can you do that for me Michael?

(She couldn’t be anymore exposed to Michael if she was naked and asking him the same question…and he knows it. Michael Guerin might know next to nothing when it comes to women, and even less when it comes to love, but he knows this woman standing in front of him, and he knows what’s staring him in the face, holding him in place.)

Maria (shakily): Can you, Michael?

(It’s amazing the profound impact a profession of love has on one who’s never known what it means to be loved; to be staring at something that’s eluded you your entire life, that you’ve resigned yourself to never knowing, to living without. It’s so powerful it immobilizes you when every defensive mechanism you’ve spent the last ten years honing and perfecting tells you to run. The temptation of experiencing something you’ve never thought yourself worthy of allows you to make a commitment you can’t possibly keep. In the face of love, you nod, when you should really say “no”.)

Maria: Thank you. (Michael just looks down at her as she reaches up to touch his cheek) I’ve missed you…(and, with that, she pulls his face to hers for a kiss).

(Scene: Liz’s rooftop, a little later that evening. Music: Neko Case and Her Boyfriends – Furnace Room Lullaby. Liz is curled up asleep on the lounge chair. Her journal lays in her lap open to the page she was writing on. She looks so peaceful. It was probably that fact that kept Max from waking her up when he stopped by after work. She just looked too peaceful to disturb. He could watch her for hours, but this time he didn’t. Just a few minutes to make sure she wasn’t too cold or uncomfortable, and then he left.

It’s been an hour since Max came and went, but she’s only been alone for five or so minutes of that time. The black cat sits on the ledge staring at her. Something about her draws him in and repels him at the same time. She fascinates and disgusts, and all he can do is watch… study her, test her, and wait for her to fail… and she will fail, it’s just a matter of time.

Satisfied that she’s sleeping soundly, the cat jumps down from the wall and slowly walks to the chair, all the while studying her face, searching for the slightest sign that she’ll awaken. He jumps up on the end of the chair and pauses. His movements are slow and deliberate as he makes his way toward her. Resting a paw on her leg, he tests her reaction to his weight. Finding none, he proceeds to walk the side of her leg and nestle himself on her stomach, in perfect view of her journal and the latter half of this evening’s entry. It’s short and confusing…

“…Something’s wrong, I know it. Maria thinks I’m crazy, but I know…I just know that something’s wrong. Everyday it’s like he keeps getting farther and farther away from me, and I don’t know what to do…and I don’t know why. It’s like he’s decided to take a step back again – and forgot to tell me. Maybe I am crazy, maybe finals is just making us all crazy. Just another couple of weeks and then maybe he’ll tell me. It hurts that he doesn’t trust me enough to tell me what’s wrong. It’s funny, he trusted me with his life when he saved me…why can’t he trust me with this, whatever it is? Two weeks, I’ll give him two weeks.”

The cat studies the words. He’s been paying so much attention to her lately, he had almost forgotten about him. Damn her. A light turns on inside the apartment, causing the cat to jerk. He jumps off Liz and the chair, and hides in the shadows of the wall. Inside the apartment Nancy walks down the hallway and carefully cracks open the door to Liz’s bedroom. Opening it wider she sees that Liz isn’t there and Nancy enters the room. Jeff, from the hallway, sees Nancy going into Liz’s bedroom and follows after her.

Nancy stands at the window to the roof, watching her daughter sleeping. Jeff comes up behind her and puts his arm around her waist.)

Jeff (whispering): Should’ve made this window a sliding glass door when we put the bathroom in.

Nancy (whispering back): Should’ve made her a room without walls and with the stars for a ceiling.

(Scene: Max’s bedroom, same night. Max sits staring down at his desk. It’s close to two in the morning, which means he’s been doing this for nearly two hours – sitting here, staring at his desk. It’s not so much the desk that’s captured his attention, but the two documents resting on top of it, side by side in front of him. This moment has been a week in the making. He’s known it’s been coming. He knows what he has to do, he knows what he’s going to find, he just doesn’t know if he’s ready.

The problem with denial, is that it’s putting off the inevitable. Only crazy people get to live in fantasylands of denial- where if you don’t like something you change it, if you don’t want to know something then you don’t… where the truth is whatever you make it. Maybe it’s not so bad being crazy. But for the rest of us, there comes a point, a moment, when the truth becomes too obvious to ignore. This is Max’s moment. He’s been avoiding the truth for a week. And now he’s been sitting here for the last two hours staring at it, or at least the source of it – waiting for an act of God or a knock on his door or window to keep him from having to go through with this. But with every passing minute, denial slips farther and farther away…

Max lets out a heavy sigh, laced with defeat. He runs his hands through his hair and then shakily places them on the edge of the desk. With his left hand, he opens the cover of Atherton’s book, and with his right he opens the manila folder, exposing the typed manuscript for the same book. Breathing slowly, he turns the pages of the book to find the title page. He stares down at the two title pages, mirror images of themselves. Another breath, another sigh, another turning of a page. Simultaneously he turns the blank pages following the title page, revealing the next page.

The manuscript reads:
“Talent alone cannot make a writer. There must be a man behind the book.” – Emerson.

The book reads:
“There is a woman at the beginning of all great things.” – Alphonse De Lamartine

Max’s pauses to read them both, then turns the next page.

The manuscript:
For, N

The book:
For, Nadine

That was the easy part, it’s the next page that’s the problem. With the turning of this page comes either a wave of relief, an assurance of what ‘is’, or a tidal wave of destruction, obliterating the security of the ‘unknown’. It’s funny that not knowing anything about yourself would be considered an assurance, a source of comfort. But if Max finds what he thinks he’ll find, on the next page of Atherton’s book, then everything changes…secrets revealed, answers found, lives defined, possibilities… possibly shattered.

Max takes a deep breath and slowly exhales. He closes his eyes for a moment then calmly turns the page. He looks from one Table of Contents to the other, and then lowers his head. They’re completely different. He flips through the book and manuscript from the Preface, to the chapters he hasn’t read yet, searching for a shred of similarity between them…nothing… just like he knew it would be. You see denial’s not so much about avoiding the truth, it’s about avoiding confirmation of the truth.

One title, two very different books…and two curious yellow eyes over in the window watching.)

posted on 15-Sep-2001 2:23:00 PM
Title: The Queen (Chess trilogy, part 2)
Author: N/A
Email: ajrocchio⊕
Rating: PG-13 for language
Category: Other Stories
Disclaimers: The characters of Roswell belong to the WB, among others, but apparently I just can’t stop myself from borrowing them.
Summary: Direct continuation of the previous story in this trilogy (The Pawn). If you thought the last story was fluff – wait ‘til you get a lode of this…
Author’s note/soapbox: Wow, it’s been a long time hasn’t it? Yikes! Apologies to anyone out there still following this…thanks for sticking with me. Anyway…Quick reminder… This trilogy starts to introduce my theories on the physiology of Max’s race. And since this universe pretty much breaks off from the show around the ‘Balance’ episode from season one, nothing that happened, or that was explained, at the end of that season is relevant in my world. I do not subscribe to the ‘genetic engineering’ explanation…1. Because, as I’ve said before, I really don’t like it…and 2. Because I want my humans to be human and my aliens to be alien – that’s what drew me to the show in the first place…not alien/human hybrids or human-to-alien transformations…that’s just me…and that’s how it’s going to be. Just thought I should let you know.

(Scene: Isabel’s bedroom, Saturday morning. Music: K. D. Lang – Consequences of Falling. Isabel sits on her bed looking at herself in the full-length mirror hanging on her closet door. She tilts her head and squints at her reflection. She lets out a sigh of frustration and shakes her head. She picks up the stack of paint sample cards next to her and flips through them. She flips out of the green shades and moves on to the purples. Settling on a deep burgandy, she touches the card with her right hand and her shirt with the left. She looks up in the mirror as the shirt changes from an avocado green to red wine burgandy. She pauses, then shakes her head in disgust and returns to the cards. She continues the indecisive routine of finding, trying, and disliking various colors until she finally throws the cards up in defeat.)

Isabel (irritated with herself): Are you kidding me with this? (She looks at the cards, now scattered over her bed and floor, and lets out a sigh.) Ridiculous…completely ridiculous. He what? Makes one comment about someone else and this is what I’m reduced to. “Wishful thinking” my ass, I’ll give you something to think about…Please! I could be wearing paisley – hell-o, I could be wearing paisley…on polyester and he would still… be putty… (shaking her head at her reflection in the mirror) and you, would now be talking to yourself – losing it Isabel, seriously losing it.

(She gets off the bed and walks over to her desk. She grabs her backpack hanging off the side of her chair and turns to leave, but stops. She looks down at her desk and the, abnormally silly, picture of Alex resting on the corner of it.)

Isabel (shaking her head): Seriously losing it.

(Isabel exits her room and walks down the hallway toward the kitchen. She doesn’t get very far before her mother’s voice stops her.)

Mrs. Evans (from the kitchen): Isabel, honey, is that you?

Isabel: Yea mom.

Mrs. Evans: Honey can you get your brother up, he wanted me to make sure he was up by 10?

Isabel: Yea, okay, mom.

(Isabel turns around and heads back down the hallway. She stops at Max’s door and bangs, loudly, on it. There’s no response, so she turns the knob and enters the room.)

Isabel (irritated): Hey, mom…

(She trails off when she realizes she’s talking to an empty bed and quickly looks around the room. She shakes her head when she finds Max asleep at his desk. She’s about to say something to him, when she shivers, her body finally registering how cold it is in Max’s room. Her eyes dart around the room again, finally falling on the open window.)

Isabel (as she crosses to the window): God Max! It’s freezing in here! What? Are you trying to get sick or just freeze to death in here? (She spins around and looks at Max, who’s just started awake from Isabel’s angry voice.) Honestly Max, I know your grades are important to you but don’t you think this is a little much – sleeping at your desk, if you’re sleeping at all? Don’t think I haven’t noticed that you haven’t been sleeping very well lately…

(Max groggily watches Isabel walk around his bed, back to the door and slowly begins to register that she’s still talking to him.)

Isabel: …And no wonder you’re having problems, if you’ve been trying to sleep in sub-zero temperatures every night – God, you might as well’ve been sleeping in the walk-in freezer at the Crashdown.

Max (confused): What are you talking about?

(Isabel stops at the door and turns to look at Max, in his wife-beater shirt and boxer shorts.)

Isabel (shaking her head and rubbing her arms): You better be careful Max, or I’m going to start believing Liz when she says something’s going on with you. They’re just grades. Mom and dad will still love you and Liz will still fall all over you if you get a B. (She goes to leave but turns in the door frame and quickly adds) I’d fix the temperature of the room before mom comes in here…Honestly Max.

(Max watches Isabel leave, not understanding what the hell she’s talking about. He holds his hands out in front of him – as if gauging the temperature of the room – and lets them fall to his sides when they fail to find the temperature anything other than comfortable. He shakes his head at the door, as if Isabel was still standing in front of it looking at him. He sits back in his chair, stretches his arms over his head, and yawns. He rubs the sleep from his eyes and for the first time looks down at his desk.

He immediately stiffens, in the chair, and sucks in his breath. He hesitantly reaches out and picks up the hand-written note…“What once was thought can never be undone – Friedrich Dürrenmatt.” Max looks from the note to what it was covering on the desk. It’s the next section of the manuscript. “Book 2, Adaptability.” Max puts the note back down and pushes the manuscript away from him. He glances from the desk to the window, and then slowly around his room, looking for any other signs of intrusion. The silence is interrupted by his mother’s yelling voice.)

Mrs. Evans (from the hallway): Max, breakfast is ready! Don’t be too long …or it’ll get cold!

(Max looks at the door and shivers.)

(Scene: The DeLuca residence, roughly the same time. Maria, wearing her bathrobe and rubbing at her eyes, pads down the hallway toward the kitchen. She lets out a yawn as she reaches the kitchen and stops mid-stride before actually entering the room. Her eyes widen as she glances around the kitchen. The counters are covered in pieces of wax paper. Some have balls of dough on them and others have rolled out circles of dough. Flour litters the floor, cupboards, and counter tops. The kitchen table is covered with various bowls of fruit and other intended pie fillings. Amy DeLuca stands over the kitchen sink washing out a mixing bowl. Maria lets out a sigh and Amy turns to the noise.)

Amy: Hey sleepyhead…I thought you were going to pull a “possum” on me.

Maria (still waking up and processing the mess in the kitchen): “Sleepyhead”…what time is it?

Amy: Ten, I think…

Maria: Ten? Exactly, how long have you been up?

Amy: Oh, I don’t know…six or seven…You want some breakfast? Cherry pie’s almost done?

(Maria looks from her mother, to the oven, and then back at her mother.)

Maria: Right…Look mom, before we get all, “down with pie”, can we just cut the “Good morning” chat and get right to the “What’s with the pie” chat?

Amy: Sweety, what are you talking about?

Maria: What am I talking about? I’m talking about…uh, this (she waves her hand around the kitchen). I’m talking about pie, mom. The whole town lies in wait for some sort of emotional, relationship-related trauma to hit the DeLuca’s so they can line up at the Crashdown the next day for some pie.

Amy (turning to Maria): Stop! I thought we could spend some time together – that’s all. I hardly ever see you these days and, I just want to know what’s going on with you.

Maria (eyeing her mother suspiciously): What’s going on with me? What’s going on with you? Pie’s like code for either “Something’s happened and I don’t wanna talk about it” or “I need to tell you something and I don’t know how”…(Amy looks at Maria a little exasperated and Maria sighs.) I know you mom.

Amy (pointedly): I know sweetie, and I don’t feel like I know you these days.

(Maria flinches at the sting of those words and slowly crosses to the table to sit down. The timer goes off on the oven and Amy pulls out the two cherry pies.)

Amy: Now was that a “yes” to cherry pie, or not?

Maria: Is there whip cream?

Amy (smiling): Like you have to ask…I thought you knew me…

(Scene: Crashdown, late morning around 11 a.m. Music floating in from the kitchen: Moffats – Just Another Phase. Mr. Parker sits at a table near the front, looking through some papers and brochures. The Café’s pretty quite just a few regulars at the counter. It’s still in that morning/noon transitional period – after the breakfast crowd and before the lunch rush. The bells on the front door jingle as Max walks in. Jeff glances up from his reading and motions to Max.)

Jeff: Morning Max.

Max: Morning Mr. Parker.

(Max glances around the room for Liz, but doesn’t find her, and Jeff waves him over to his table.)

Jeff: Have a seat…I’m sure she’ll be right down.

(Max hesitantly crosses to the table, and as he sits down, notices the AAA travel brochures Jeff has splayed out in front of him.)

Max: Planning a trip?

Jeff: Yep. I promised Lizzie if she got straight A’s through her sophomore year we’d take her on a trip to the East Coast…Check out some of these colleges she’s been talking about, and maybe sneak in some sights if she’ll let us.

Max (looking at the different brochures): You just focusing on the Northeast?

Jeff (smiling): Most kids want a family vacation to Disney World – ours just wants one to Harvard. (Max laughs and Jeff watches him thoughtfully.) She’s wanted to go there since I can remember, and wanted to be a scientist even longer…Ever since my mother gave her that darn microscope.

(Max smiles at the image he’s seen from Liz countless times…of her opening a box almost taller than her, and Grandma Claudia pulling out the microscope.)

Max (thoughtfully): When she was six.

Jeff (surprised): That’s right.

Max (looking up at Jeff): I didn’t get that microscope until I was eleven.

Jeff (laughing): That’s my mother for you. Toys just wouldn’t cut it, she had to give her the real thing…always the best for Liz. (Max smiles and Jeff hesitantly continues.) Lizzie’s worked real hard to get where she’s at…sometimes I think a little too hard, especially with the shooting and everything. Nancy and I never pushed her; it was always what she wanted, that’s all we’ve ever wanted – what she’s wanted. (He looks at Max closely)…And I would hate…to see anything happen that might…keep her from getting what she’s worked so hard for.

(Max swallows and lifts his eyes to Jeff’s waiting ones. It’s a non-confrontational exchange really, just the passing of understanding from one man to another…the beginnings of a bond between two men, who love equally, in their different ways, and would do anything for one, Elizabeth Anne Parker.

Max (after a pause): I’ve always admired that about Liz. She’s always known what she’s wanted to do, where she’s wanted to go…always had a plan. When Izzy and I were little we weren’t sure if the Evans’ would wake up one day and decide they didn’t want us anymore, so we never really thought about the future…never really made plans.

Jeff: Well, ten years later, the two of you are the pride and joy of both Phillip and Diane. (Max looks up at Jeff and Jeff smiles.) There’s still a lot of time for making plans…Besides, if you don’t come up with one I’m sure Liz will come up with one for you. She’s got ones for all of us…Maria, Alex, even Nancy and I – back up one in case the Crashdown goes under.

(Max and Jeff both laugh and Liz enters the front through the swinging backdoor.)

Liz (as she walks toward them): Dad, you’re not telling embarrassing childhood stories are you?

Jeff: No sweetie – those aren’t any fun unless you’re here to be embarrassed by them.

Liz: Daaad.

(Max stands up from the table as Liz reaches it.)

Max (to Liz): Izzy wanted the jeep – I figure we’ll just walk.

Liz: Okay.

Nancy (now standing at the back counter): You kids don’t study too late…and don’t forget to eat lunch.

Liz: Don’t worry mom, we won’t. (She turns to Max.) You ready?

Max: Yea. (He turns to Jeff and Nancy) Mr. and Mrs. Parker.

Nancy: We’ll see you later Max.

(Max and Liz head for the front door and Max, backing into the door, pushes it open. As Liz walks through the open door he reaches out and grabs her backpack off her shoulder and swings it over his free one. Nancy watches on with a smile, while Jeff wears a slight frown. Nancy comes around the counter carrying a drink for Jeff and sets it down in front of him.)

Jeff (looking up at Nancy): He’s not going away any time soon, is he?

Nancy (smiling): No…I don’t think so.

(Nancy walks over to the jukebox and Jeff returns his gaze to the front door.)

Jeff (still looking at the door): If he wasn’t such a good kid it’d be easier to not like him…

Nancy (looking up from the jukebox and over to Jeff): It could be worse.

Jeff (looking at Nancy): Worse? (He looks back at the door.) Worse. (He shakes his head and continues, talking more to himself than Nancy.) It doesn’t get any worse than that. I’d much rather deal with a passing-rebellious-phase than…that.

(Nancy twists the key in the jukebox giving her a free selection. She picks out a song and then turns to Jeff.)

Nancy: We weren’t much older than they are…You do remember don’t you, what it’s like to be young, and in love…

Jeff (looking up at Nancy, smiling): You calling me old?

Nancy: Did I say that?

(The jukebox kicks in with Van Morrison – Into The Mystic. Jeff raises his eyebrow at the music and gets up from his seat)

Jeff (as he approaches Nancy): “Young,” maybe not so much anymore, but “in love”…(he takes Nancy’s hand and pulls her to him, cradling her back, he slowly begins dancing) Still very much in love.

(The two customers in the shop watch on as Jeff and Nancy dance. In the back room Michael throws some stuff in his locker and heads to find Jeff. He’s about to enter the front when he catches sight of Jeff dipping Nancy. Michael puts his hand down and just watches through the window in the door.)

(Scene: The Whitman residence. Alex is in his room loading up his five-disk CD player. His room is covered in paper – on the desk, parts of the bed, and several stacks laid out in neat rows on the floor surrounding the desk. Alex carefully selects the next disk to put in the CD player and turns to the knock at his door.)

Alex: Alright dad…Have fun with the fish – or whatever it is you’re killing today…See you around six.

Isabel (opening the door just a little): Actually, more like seven.

Alex (surprised): Isabel!

Isabel (opening the door wider): Your dad let me in…and wanted me to tell you he’d be back around 7.

Alex: Right. (Alex shuts the CD player and makes a quick glance around his room for any embarrassing articles of clothing.) You’re early….

Isabel (taking a few steps into the room): Yea, Max was meeting Liz at 10:30 so I figured…Oh my God!

(Alex turns to see Isabel staring at the three-foot by four-foot map of New Mexico hanging on the wall just inside the door on the left. It has little colored flags pinned into it representing all the different orphanages, adoption agencies and a number of foster care homes throughout the state. Isabel turns to him wide-eyed.)

Isabel (stunned): When…did you…

Alex: It’s no big deal really, just the product of a slight case of insomnia…

Isabel (turning back to the map and stepping toward it): Slight?

(Alex walks over to his desk and grabs a four-inch wide binder off of it, and then walks over to Isabel.)

Alex (handing the binder to Isabel): Here. (Isabel looks from the binder up to Alex, and he opens it up to show her what’s inside.) It’s all alphabetized, color coded by city and organization type. The flags (he looks up at the map) match the colored tabs (he runs his finger down the rainbow colored index tabs).

Isabel (amazed): Alex…I…

Alex (giving her the binder): Here, it’s everything I’ve found so far – or really haven’t found. I kept losing track so I started printing out all the searches – the brain was getting seriously fuzzy at 2 a.m.

(Isabel looks at Alex and then walks over to his bed and sits down. Alex watches her for a moment and then heads to his stereo. He hits the random button and then walks over to his desk and sits down. The CD player finally picks a selection and Lloyd Cole’s Impossible Girl begins playing over the stereo. Isabel looks at a couple of search records and furrows her brow. She then grabs a whole chunk of records and flips through them. When she’s done she looks up at Alex with a clouded expression.)

Isabel: These are all for girls.

Alex (working on his computer and not catching the questioning tone of Isabel’s voice): Yea?

Isabel (almost irritated, but not quite): Why?

(Alex stops typing and swallows.)

Isabel (irritated): You really think it’s a girl don’t you?

Alex (slowly turning his chair to face Isabel): It makes sense.

Isabel (getting defensive for no real apparent reason): Sense? Nothing makes sense…

Alex: There’s Max and Michael…and you…

Isabel (standing up angrily): So…what? Because there’s a current two-to-one ratio…you think we come in sets or something…

Alex (not really understanding the source of Isabel’s anger and getting a little defensive himself): We don’t know how you come…(he immediately cringes as Isabel angrily glares at him, and he hurriedly continues in a soft, almost pleading tone) I mean…Isabel… Look, all we know is that you’re here, we don’t know how you got here or why or… how the four of you are related…we just don’t know…

Isabel (still fuming): That’s right – we don’t know do we…So what’s this? (She holds up the binder.) One-sided research based on assumptions…and assumptions based on what? Raging hormones…Wishing for a girl isn’t going to make it one.

(Whoa Nelly! Alex is completely flustered at this entire conversation turn and too busy worrying over how this is not, how he wanted this day to start, to even catch the slight hint of jealousy that crept over Isabel’s voice.)

Alex (trying to fix whatever he did): You’re right, okay – I’m sorry… You’re right, I was making assumptions. (He thinks about what she said for a second.) Assumptions based on observation, not…hormones? I mean, I have hormones, but if they were encouraging me to do anything at two or three in the morning, it sure as hell wouldn’t be playing with the computer…(He looks up at Isabel.) And for the record…I thought you’d want it to be a girl.

Isabel (surprised by that comment): Me? Why would you think that?

Alex: Just a couple of times, you’ve… mentioned that no one understands what you’re going through – not even Max and Michael…that they don’t know what it’s like for you. I just thought you’d want it to be a girl because…she would…that’s all. (He lets out a sigh and shakes his head at himself, under his breath) God, I’m so stupid…of course you’d want it to be a guy…

Isabel (mentally kicking herself): Alex…I’m sorry…I don’t know…

(And she doesn’t, really. She has no clue what came over her – instigating this confrontation. It’s not like jealousy is anything new to Isabel. Ten years of seeing kids with loving parents, kids who don’t have to tell lies, keep secrets, don’t have to pretend…kids that have everything and don’t even realize it – it generates more jealousy than most know in a lifetime. But that’s not the kind of jealousy this is…and this is definitely new to her. I mean, she’s Isabel Evans – she can get any guy she wants. So why does it bother her that one she doesn’t want, starts not wanting her back…and is that really what this is about or is it maybe, just maybe, that she’s not sure anymore, that she doesn’t want him. She glances over at Alex, who’s now internally beating himself up for not thinking sooner that Isabel would want it to be a guy – I mean, come on, a best friend or a potential non-incestualesque alien date…easy pick Whitman!)

Isabel (sitting back down on the bed in front of Alex): I don’t really think about it that much – what I’d want…I just want them to be alive. (She looks up at Alex) And…I guess I haven’t really missed having someone who understands lately, because…you listen to me…and sometimes that’s better than having someone who understands.

(What were meant as words of comfort, possibly an admission of something even more, only sting more. Always the “girlfriend”…never the boyfriend. Alex looks up at Isabel. Who was he kidding anyway? When it comes to Isabel Evans, you take what you can get…and being any kind of “friend” is better than being anything less.)

Alex: I do what I can.

Isabel: You do too much. (She holds up the binder.) You should have told me Alex; I would have helped with this.

Alex: It’s no big deal, really, it gave me something to do.

Isabel: Well, what do we do now?

Alex (patting the bed next to the chair he’s sitting in): Have a seat.

(Scene: Roswell Public Library. Max and Liz are sitting across from each other. Liz pulls out her English book from her backpack, while Max pulls out his Trig book. Liz looks over at Max and watches him for a few moments. She smiles uncontrollably and sighs softly.)

Max: What?

Liz (startled, and shaking her head): Nothing…(She fidgets with her backpack and then looks back up at Max.) You know, you never did tell me what you and my dad were talking about.

Max (searching his backpack for a pencil): Your trip this summer.

Liz (handing Max a pencil from her pen bag): Trip?

Max: Yea, to the East Coast…Harvard pilgrimage…

Liz: Oh.

(Max looks up at Liz and watches her shuffle through her papers.)

Max: You know, you don’t talk about Harvard that much anymore.

Liz (still shuffling through papers): It’s a long way away.

Max (watching her closely): Yea, but you’re still going right? (Liz quickly glances at him and then away, pretending to look for something extremely important in her backpack.) Right, Liz? You still plan on going?

Liz: It’s two years away…I might not even get in anyway, you know? (She looks up at Max and he just looks back at her, waiting for the answer he wants to hear. She lets out a sigh.) Plans change Max.

Max: No they don’t – not yours…

Liz: Priorities change…and besides, your undergraduate degree doesn’t really matter – I could do that anywhere, it’s the Doctorate that counts…

Max: Liz…

Liz: Max…

Max: I don’t want you to give up anything for me…

Liz: I won’t – I’ll do it for me…my decision will have nothing to do with you Max.

Max (if he wasn’t so serious, he’d be smiling): Oh really?

Liz (tilts her head and looks at him thoughtfully): Did you save me, for me, or for you?

Max (totally not expecting that): What?

Liz: When you saved me…did you do it because you thought I wanted to be saved or because you wanted me saved?

Max (completely cornered): Um…I don’t…

Liz: You gave up everything because of me…but not for me…for you, because this is what you wanted…So why’s it any different for me, if this is what I want?

Max: It’s completely different and you know it.

Liz (changing the subject): I don’t know anything except a.) I love you, b.) this conversation will be totally moot if I don’t get A’s on these finals and c.) the librarian is coming this way so we should probably start studying.

(Max turns around to see the librarian walking in their general direction.)

Max (turning back to Liz): This isn’t over.

Liz (leaning forward over the table and brushing a strand of hair behind her ear): Promise?

Max (smiling and leaning forward): That (he points her English book at her seductive face)…is why we’re studying here in the first place. (He shoves the book at her and she reluctantly takes it from him with a playful pout.) And I’m serious.

Liz (smiling): Me too…

Max (looking up at her and then quickly back to his book): Study!

(Scene: DeLuca Kitchen. Maria, carrying two pies, heads out of the kitchen and into the living room. She adds the pies to the couch and takes a moment to glance around the room. Every available flat surface is covered with a cooling pie. She shakes her head and returns to the kitchen. Amy looks up from the dish she’s cleaning at the sink and sees Maria return via the reflection in the window. Maria walks over to the far-left counter and starts kneading another ball of dough. Amy watches her out of the corner of her eye and then finally swallows and slowly turns to Maria.)

Amy (watching her daughter carefully): So I was thinking about inviting Michael Geurin over for dinner.

Maria (absentmindedly): And Kyle too?

Amy (confused by her response): I…could invite Kyle if you wanted me to…

Maria (turning to her mom): That’s what this is really about isn’t it?… Me, you, Sheriff Valenit, and Kyle all sittin’ around a table trying to be civil and pretending to play house?

Amy: Well…

Maria: It’s okay you know…I had a good one-to-one with myself last night and I’m ready for the inevitable.

Amy (skeptical): You’d be okay with that?

Maria: No! Hello! You may not know what’s going on with my life now, but I am still your daughter…(Maria looks down at her hands and then lets out a sigh)…It’s just…

Amy: What? (Maria looks up at her mom and Amy raises an eyebrow) It’s just what?

Maria: You really like him.

Amy: And you’ve decided now, that makes a difference?

Maria: Okay I’m not denying I’ve had issues with your dates, or stop-me-from-gagging, boyfriends that you’ve had in the past… And okay, maybe some of that anger was because they weren’t dad, or maybe even jealousy because they took you away from me…but I never liked them, because…they were never good to you.

Amy (taken aback): What?

Maria (looking away): They never treated you the way you deserved to be treated.

Amy (shocked): Honey…I…(She looks at Maria and Maria fidgets)…And Jim?

Maria: Granted I have serious reservations regarding the Sheriff and his whole out-to-get-my-boyfriend crusade…

Amy: What?

Maria: Nevermind…reservations or not, he treats you like you should be…He takes you to restaurants not bars. He calls you to make sure you got home safely…or because he just wants to hear your voice. He gets this…stupid, Max-like smile on his face when someone mentions your name…(She looks up at her mom and rolls her eyes)…gag me. (She shakes her head.) And it doesn’t matter if I’m freaked or not because…because no matter how much I want to, I can’t justify taking that away from you. You’ve given up a lot of things for me…and this doesn’t have to be one of them. I mean, who knows where this thing is going, or if it’s even gonna keep going and, God help us, if it does, then we’ll all just figure out a way to deal.

Amy (walks over to Maria and cradles her face): I don’t know what to say. When did you become such an amazing young woman?

Maria: Amazing? I’ve always been. Rational, on the other hand, I entirely blame on Liz. Take it while you can, it only comes in infrequent and unpredictable moments.

Amy: Well, remind me to thank her.

(Amy pulls Maria into a hug, and when they break apart she smiles down at her daughter)

Amy: Dinner with the Valenti’s we’ll do soon, but do you still want me to invite Kyle over for dinner with the two of us, and Michael?

Maria (almost choking): Michael!

Amy: That’s what started this conversation, me telling you I was going to ask Michael over for dinner and you asked if Kyle was coming too, frankly I don’t…

Maria (interrupting): Michael who?

Amy: I don’t know, you tell me. I’m beginning to think there’s two of them, one who seems to drive you crazy, making you impossible to live with…and the other one, who has you walking on clouds and smiling your own, stupid smile.

Maria: Whichever one, he’s not coming over for dinner!

Amy (turning to the counter): As the mother here, I think I’ll decide that.

Maria: Mother? Okay, my mom is all about denial and “no boys in this household”, with the exception of Alex, because they’re all the spawn of Satan and will turn me into you. So the question is, whose mother are you? (Amy just looks sideways at her and Maria, squinting at her mom, takes a step backward.) What’s my favorite ice cream flavor?

Amy: What? Apparently our rational moment is over…

Maria (sweeping the kitchen with her eyes looking for anything sharp and pointed): My favorite flavor, what is it?

Amy (turns, exasperated, to Maria): Mint chocolate chip, like your father.

Maria (relaxing a little): Okay, so then are you like, trying with this whole dinner thing, to scare him off and intimidate him into commitment or something, because technically there’s no relationship, we’re like this ameba…

Amy: Ameba?

Maria: Whatever, there is no way he’ll agree to dinner, he’ll like run, do you get that? Run!

Amy: Even if I ask nicely?

Maria: If you ask at all!

Amy: I just think it’s about time that I get to know this person who seems to have so much control over the mental wellbeing of this household.

Maria: Then ask me! Whatever you want to know!

Amy: Alright then, (she turns to Maria) have you two had sex?

Maria (throwing up her arms and heading for the exit): That’s it! I have to call Liz!!!

(Scene: Crashdown. Jeff and Michael are in the stockroom taking a break from doing inventory. Jeff sits on an overturned bucket while Michael sits on a box of something. Michael wipes his brow and takes a sip from his drink.)

Jeff: I appreciate you doing this…It’s nice getting stocked up before the summer season begins. You just let me know when you need to go…I know finals are coming up…

Michael: I don’t study much…I figure if I know it then I know it – if I don’t, then it wasn’t that interesting.

Jeff (laughs): You sound like me! I watch Lizzie study for these tests and wonder where it comes from – it certainly isn’t my genes. She studies for one test more than I probably ever did back in school.

Michael (under his breath, but loud enough for Jeff to hear): Her and Max combined study enough for the whole school…

Jeff (laughing): Sounds about right. Reminds me a little of Nancy…and a lot of my mother – must have skipped a generation. I was too busy getting into trouble to worry about grades.

Michael (skeptical): Trouble?

Jeff (smiling at the memories): I was too into making music to care about school. I got in more trouble, it’s a wonder my mom didn’t ship me off to boot camp.

Michael: Music?

Jeff: I found this used sweet little Gibson – man, she was a beauty – my sophomore year and, that was it for school. I loved that guitar. I’d spend every minute either playing it or writing songs to play on it.

Michael: Really? You played the guitar?

Jeff: Played? I keep telling Nancy I’m planning my 2004 revival tour. (He laughs at himself and then lets out a sigh) Maybe 20 years ago…(he shakes his head) back then I was Alex…dressed up like the Mamas and the Papas, and carrying around an attitude bigger than yours. Boy did I think I had something to prove…couldn’t wait to see the world.

Michael (curiously): You’re from Roswell?

Jeff: No. My mother was – born and raised. I was born in Phoenix. We moved back when I was seven, just after my father died. It was way outta the way for mom’s work, but she always used to say there was something about Roswell. (Jeff shakes his head) And there was…took me four years to get her to notice me, and a whole lot longer to get her dad to agree to me, but there was definitely something special about Roswell.

(Michael’s not really sure what Jeff’s talking about but he watches on curiously. Jeff smiles and then looks back over at Michael)

Jeff: Actually, it took four years to get her to notice me and two more of singing songs for her, to finally get her to go out with me… It only took one song to win over her mother though, and then she did all the work with Nancy’s father... (He smiles knowingly it Michael) There’s something to be said for having someone on your side.

(Jeff stands up and stretches, while Michael furrows his brow, contemplating the meaning behind that last sentence.)

(Scene: Alex’s Bedroom. Alex sits at the computer while Isabel paces around the room reading through some papers. Music playing over the stereo: Life House – Hanging By A Moment)

Isabel (sitting down on the bed with a sigh and looking up from the papers to Alex): God this is so frustrating…all this is, is disappointment after disappointment, it’s continuous, on repeat…for four hours straight…

Alex (under his breath, but loud enough for Isabel to hear him): Welcome to my world… If my life was a Madlib, the noun would be “disappointment”…along with the adjective, “disappointed” and the verb, “to disappoint.”

(Isabel looks sideways at the back of Alex’s head and Alex lets out a sigh.)

Alex (hitting the enter key and turning to Isabel): Time for a break…you want something to drink? Eat?

Isabel: Drink. You got any Coke?

Alex (getting up from the chair): Yea, you sure you don’t want anything to eat – pretzels, chips…Little Debbie…we could order pizza.

Isabel: Pizza actually sounds good…

Alex: Done deal…I’ll be back.

(Isabel watches Alex exit the room and then looks down at the papers she still holds in her hand. She shakes her head and gets off the bed. She sets the papers down on the desk, adding them to the large stack resting next to the computer printer. She looks back at the door and then slowly around Alex’s room. She walks over to the bookshelf and glances through the titles. She softly laughs as she fingers the various versions of Bambi, from Felix Salten’s original to Disney reproductions and more, sandwiched between Shunryu Suzuki’s Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind and Francis Davis’ History of the Blues.

She lowers her hand from the bookshelf and raises her eyes to the pictures resting on top of it. They’re mostly of Alex, Liz and Maria, with a few of just Liz that go back to fifth grade. It’s a chronological glimpse of a friendship… Pictures at the Crashdown eating – and wearing – ice cream sundaes…pictures at the spot, going to the county fair, of eighth grade graduation, surviving freshman year, getting learner’s permits… It’s all there, even the ridiculous photo he took at the prom this year – the same one that sits on her desk. Isabel shakes her head at Alex, pretending to moon the camera, and moves away from the bookshelf.

She heads over toward the window, on the other side of the bed, and glances out. She lets go of the curtain and turns back to the room, this time surveying the walls, and the maps that cover them. The giant ones of New Mexico and of the western half of Texas, along with city maps for Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Las Cruces, Roswell, and Corona. You’d think it was his long lost relative he was looking for. Isabel walks around the edge of the bed, passing the halfway open closet and, after a few steps, stops. She takes a step backward and looks down at the floor of the closet.

Furrowing her brow, she bends down and picks up the awkward looking “gun”. She stands up, turning it over in her hands and jumps when she hears Alex enter the room.)

Alex (carrying two sodas and not looking at Isabel): Here you go, one Pepsi with “attitude,” and one without. Pizza should be here in 15 – 20 minutes.

Isabel (holding out the gun): Umm, what’s this?

Alex (looking up and stopping – mid stride): Okay…put…the…weapon…down.

Isabel (raising an eyebrow at Alex and pretending to point the gun at him): Weapon? Okay, first of all it’s plastic, and secondly, you’re a past president of the Pacifists for World Peace club not to mention the defender of Bambi and all the fuzzy little critters living in the 100 acre forest with him…and third, I do not need a weapon.

(Alex hesitantly walks over to his desk and sets down the drinks – all the while watching Isabel.)

Alex: 100 Acre forest? What is that, Winnie-the-Pooh meets Bambi? Don’t mess with Bambi – okay – he’s sacred territory …You have no idea how traumatic it is to be eating dinner when you’re six and have the answer to the “what’s for dinner” question be – and I quote – “Bambi’s mother”…(Alex shivers and looks up at Isabel, remembering the gun.) And what – you think plastic guns don’t kill? Don’t you watch Law and Order?

(Isabel looks down at the gun and then back up to Alex, she cocks it and shoots – hitting Alex square in the chest with blue paint splattering his shirt, face, hair and pants. Alex wipes the paint from his eyes and marches over to Isabel.)

Alex: Give me that. (He takes the gun from her and walks back to the desk)

Isabel: You could’ve just said it was for paint ball – it’s not like I need a gun anyway.

Alex (sarcastically): “It’s not like I need a gun anyway.” (And with that he gets another paintball smack on the back. He turns around to Isabel’s grinning face.)

Isabel: Told you.

Alex (cocking the gun and pointing it at Isabel): That’s it!

(He fires the gun and Isabel, shocked, looks down at her chest splattered with red paint. She looks up at Alex just as another paintball hits her in the shoulder. Still shocked, Isabel touches the paint, grabs a handful of air and throws the newly formed clump of paint at Alex. The paint splatters on the wall behind him, just missing him. Alex, hiding from behind his desk stands up and shoots at Isabel, hitting her again. Isabel, now thoroughly out for revenge, arms herself again and waits, just long enough, to get Alex as he stands up to shoot at her, before she quickly ducks behind his bed.

The paint throwing continues, as paint drips from the walls, curtains, desk, shelves and ceiling around the room. Alex, having crept out from behind the desk to hide near the bed, peeks over the bed to see Isabel peeking back at him.)

Alex: Truce?

Isabel: Never – you have no idea how long it took me to pick out this damn shirt.

(She fires another ball of paint, barely missing Alex. Alex ducks down and, ever so slowly, creeps around the edge of the bed – attempting to corner Isabel between the bed and the wall. He stands and shoots but she’s not there. He turns around to find Isabel reaching for him and, before he knows it, he’s in some sort of wrestling grip and down for the count on the bed.)

Alex (not yet processing the fact that he’s lying on his back with Isabel on top of him): There’s no need for violence!

(The music on the stereo dies down and the CD player shuffles to the next random song – Yo La Tengo’s Center of Gravity. Isabel leans over Alex to grab the gun from his right hand and, as her body brushes against Alex’s, it awakens every cell within him. Alex swallows and his breathing slows, as does everything around him, with the realization that a.) Isabel Evans is on his bed…b.) Isabel Evans is on his bed, with him…and, here’s the kicker c.) Isabel Evans is on his bed, on top of him. Alex takes in a deep breath, but stops short when his chest rises to fill what little space remains between them. His heart races and he can’t help but wonder if she can hear it pounding. She must, it’s the only thing he can hear – the pounding of his heart in his chest and the little voice in the back of his mind saying this is all a dream. Isabel finally grabs the gun from Alex’s hand and shifts back across his body.)

Isabel (as she moves back, resting on her elbow, to face Alex): Never mess with a wrestler’s… si-ster.

(Isabel looks down at Alex’s frozen face and paint, dripping from her hair, falls to Alex’s neck. She swallows as she registers the feeling of Alex beneath her and the inches separating their faces. Alex swallows in kind and shifts his eyes from hers to her lips – God they’re so close. The actual moment may last only seconds and Alex takes extra care of engraving it into his memory, so that when he’s 90 years old, he can close his eyes and see it…reach out and touch it. The curve of her lip, the smudge of blue paint on her right cheek, the warmth of her breath on his face, the freckles in her eyes, and the smell of her shampoo. He’s only been this close to her in his dreams, and that was nothing, compared to this.

Isabel follows Alex’s eyes as they trace the contours of her face, finally resting again on her lips. She instinctively licks them and can feel Alex’s body respond with a quick intake of breath. Alex raises his eyes to hers, not really sure what to do, I mean all the signs indicate this is leading to a kiss, but then again, all the signs also clearly indicate that he’s dreaming and none of this is really happening. He begins to slowly raise his right hand toward Isabel’s face, when the sudden ringing of the doorbell startles them both and Isabel sits up. Alex lets his hand fall back to the bed and he bangs his head back against the bed.)

Isabel (stumbling and unnerved by what almost happened): Umm…that must be…pizza, I’ll get it.

(She hurries out the door before Alex can protest and he lets out a sigh. He rubs his hand at his eyes and sits up. He lets out another deep breath, and slowly looks around the room, searching for witnesses to verify that he’s not going crazy and Isabel Evans was, in fact, going to kiss him. His teddy bear, resting on the shelf above the computer, just stares back at him blankly and Alex shakes his head, nobody’s gonna believe it – hell, he just experienced it and he doesn’t believe it. Alex glances back at his teddy bear as a big glob of yellow paint lands on its face. Alex quickly raises his eyes to the ceiling above the bear and his eyes widen at what he finds. He lowers his eyes and, for the first time, really notices the condition of his room. It’s like a rainbow exploded. Paint, in various colors, drips from the ceiling and walls, covering books, maps, clothing in his closet, his stereo and computer. His computer!

Alex begins to slightly hyperventilate at the sight of his computer. He starts to get off the bed but stops as Isabel comes through the door and also stops. She almost drops the pizza as she looks around the room.)

Isabel (surveying the damage): Oh…my…God.

(Alex looks at her and starts laughing. Isabel turns to him.)

Isabel: What?

Alex (pointing at her): You answer the door like that?

Isabel: What?

(Alex raises his eyebrow at her and she slowly looks down at her clothing. Alex leans back over the bed and, stretching, pulls the left side of his closet all the way open so the full length mirror is directed toward the door. Isabel looks up at Alex and catching sight of her reflection in the mirror gasps. Her hair is a mixture of green, red, blue, and yellow, with blue smudges all over her face. Alex completely busts up at the indignant look on her face and she quickly turns to him. This time it’s her turn to laugh as she fully appreciates Alex’s condition. He’s the mirror image of her, multicolored and dripping. As their eyes meet across the room, they breakout into laughter.)

(Scene: Public Library. Liz stands, bent over the water fountain, across the room from where Max sits studying. She releases the button with her thumb, cutting off the water, and after a second, slowly opens her eyes. She stands up, steps away from the fountain, and pauses. Her eyes find Max, on the other side of the room, and she leans up against the wall to watch him. Her left hand lets go of the hair it was holding back, and she sighs softly. Her face frowns as she sees Max yawn, again.

She studies him, his posture, the way his hand tiredly runs through his hair. He’s always been her favorite subject, before the shooting, even before high school. She had always watched him and hypothesized what was behind those eyes. Always wondered what made him smile. He’d smile at her, but when she’d watch him from across the classroom or cafeteria – it was almost like… he didn’t know how. And it was fascinating to her; he was fascinating to her. How was it that he could be so beautiful, and so lonely? It doesn’t take a keen scientific eye to figure out that from seventh grade on out, all the beautiful people in school are always surrounded by other beautiful people, or people wanting to be beautiful, or think they’re beautiful…except Max.

So she would watch, taking mental notes, collecting data. And four years, and one random act of violence later, she found out what was behind those eyes, and learned that…she…was what made him smile. That’s when the study took a less scientific and, more personal, turn. It stopped being an objective search to understand, and became an active attempt to absorb, to experience, to know…everything about him. And she pretty much does.

She knows when he puts both his hands in his pockets he’s apprehensive, nervous – it’s cute actually, he looks like a shy little boy. When he won’t look her in the eye, he’s insecure, afraid of something. He wears his Chucks when he’s in a good mood, his army jacket for depressed contemplative moods, and his baseball cap – which he’s only worn twice – when he’s having serious problems with his parents. He drinks cherry coke, except when he’s sad or scared, then he has a milkshake. Fights with Isabel mean long walks around town, fights with Michael mean long drives in the dessert. He hates the smell of Downy, because it reminds him of the orphanage. He takes his anger out on himself – he is his own punching bag, and what he’s really scared of most – forget the FBI or being discovered – is his mother’s rejection, second only to her rejection of him. But if there is one thing – one thing – she’s learned in the past 10 months of close observation, it’s that, when “everything’s fine”, it’s definitely not. And ten yawns in four hours, followed by professions of, “it’s nothing”, is actually something.

Liz lets out another sigh and finally walks back over to the table. As she sits down Max looks up from his book.)

Max: You okay?

(Liz almost laughs aloud at the question. Isn’t she supposed to be asking him that?)

Liz: Yea, why?

Max: I don’t know, you went to get a drink of water 10 minutes ago.

Liz (smiling): It’s called “taking a break”, and something I’ve been trying to get you to do for the past three hours.

Max (looking up from his book with a sly smile): Studying Habits 101, by Liz Parker.

Liz: Hey, you signed up for the class. (She lets out a sigh) I’m serious Max. You’re not going to remember any of the stuff you just read. No wonder you’re so tired, your brain is suffocating in History, Trig, Catcher in the Rye, and Biology…give it a break, let it breathe. And besides, studies totally prove that the brain has a saturation point…and you’ve definitely exceeded it.

Max (smiling at Liz): Oh really?

Liz: Okay, who here at the table has the 4.13 gpa?

Max: Proves nothing.

Liz: R-ight. (She rests her elbows on the table and leans forward) I’m telling you Max, you really need to take a break…I don’t know, stretch, go for a walk around the stacks, find an isolated corner. (Max quickly looks up at her when he feels her leg brush against his, and she looks back at him with a sweet seductive smile) Just a suggestion.

Max: You’re impossible to study with, you know that?

Liz: Okay, let’s go over again the benefits of “group studying”…dialogue and discussion around difficult to grasp subjects – teaching someone else is the best way to learn something. And, you can’t have successful group studying if you don’t have…interaction. You are completely not seeing the importance of that and, might I add, not utilizing the opportunity here.

(Max opens his mouth to respond, but before he does, he catches sight of something behind Liz and it totally changes the course of his thoughts.)

Max: Hey Kyle.

(Both Kyle and Liz seem equally surprised by the greeting. Liz turns to see Kyle standing a few feet behind the table, and Kyle hesitantly approaches.)

Kyle: Hey.

Max: What’s up?

Kyle (hesitant, yet extremely curious at Max’s friendly tone): Nothin’ much, just running some errands, thought I’d maybe get started on studying for finals.

Liz: Really?

Kyle: Surprised?

Liz (fumbling): No…okay maybe. Last year I couldn’t get you to study the day before, let alone a week before finals.

Kyle: What can I say, delayed reaction.

Max: You should study with us.

(Both Kyle and Liz look at Max.)

Max (continuing): Liz has been making a pretty strong argument for the benefits of group studying. She can be annoyingly convincing sometimes.

Kyle (laughing): Tell me about it…

(Liz just looks bewildered between Max and Kyle easily conversing together and can’t help but wonder, what was in that water she just drank?)

Max: Seriously, I think we were just going to start tackling History…you should join us.

Kyle: I don’t know.

Max (as he slides over into the next chair): Come on. You’re gonna study anyway, might as well utilize her 4.0 credentials.

Liz: Hey!

Max (looking up at Kyle with a huge grin): What do you say? If nothing else we can at least annoy her and berate her with stupid questions.

Kyle (laughing at the totally perplexed look on Liz’s face): Count me in for some of that.

(Kyle sits down and Liz just looks at Max, slightly annoyed at how easily he circumvented her attempts to seduce him. And of course, he just smiles back at her.)

Max (smiling): Group studying…good idea.

Kyle (getting his book out of his backpack): Where do you want to start?

Liz (looking at Max, pointedly): How ‘bout the Cold War.

(Scene: Alex’s Bedroom. The pizza’s gone, though the box still lingers on the bed, between Alex and Isabel. Alex sits at the head of the bed, with his back up against the wall, while Isabel lies at the foot of the bed, resting on her side. Paint still drips from the ceiling and the room still looks like a life-size Pollock painting. Alex scratches at his head and slowly starts getting off the bed. Tracy Chapman – Telling Stories.)

Alex: If you don’t mind, I think I’m gonna jump in the shower. This stuff is starting to get itchy.

Isabel: I can fix that.

Alex: I’ve got paint in places your hand can’t find.

Isabel (just looks at him, and then sits up and starts looking around the room): I’ll start cleaning up this.

Alex (getting a change of clothes from his dresser): I’ll only be a few minutes.

Isabel: Good, cuz this is gonna take a little longer than that.

(Alex heads out the door and Isabel watches him go. When he’s gone, she looks around the room again, trying to decide where to begin. She lets out a sigh and then pushes herself off the bed. She starts with the walls and begins working her way around the room. She stops at the computer desk – poor Alex; he must’ve had a slight heart attack at the sight of it, covered in paint.

She cleans off the paint with a wave of her hand, and bends down to start picking up the things that fell during their fight. She grabs a stack of notebooks and sets them on the edge of the desk. She returns to the floor, this time collecting all the loose papers. She stands up, sets them on top of the notebooks and looks down at the stack.

Her eyes narrow and she gently picks up the note resting on top. It’s a crumpled up piece of…napkin…and she squints as she tries to read what’s written on it. After a moment, her face falls and she sinks to the bed. She stares at the note in her hand and doesn’t immediately respond to Alex returning to the room. Alex stops rubbing his hair with a towel, at the sight of Isabel frozen on his bed.)

Alex: What’s wrong?

Isabel (looking up at Alex, angrily): You don’t think it’s a girl, Liz does.

(She holds up the napkin, with the faded words “It’s a girl” scribbled across it. Alex lets out a deep breath and slowly walks over to the bed.)

Alex: Isabel…

Isabel (angry): She knows doesn’t she?

Alex (nodding): Yea, I’m pretty sure.

Isabel (standing up): How long has she known – God, how does she know?

Alex: I don’t know…I think Nasedo showed her in a dream – nightmare more like…something about this girl being Max’s future…

Isabel: What? That’s it? He could’ve just been messing with her.

Alex: That’s what Max said. Granted the guy’s got a history of finding pleasure in Liz’s pain, but… I don’t know. Whatever he showed her, it hurt too much – sometimes the most painful thing to see is the truth.

Isabel: So what, you were just gonna keep this a secret until when? Don’t you think we have a right to know?

Alex: She didn’t wanna say anything until we’d found her. She wanted to have proof so Max would have to deal with it, instead of denying it.

Isabel (shaking her head and pacing around the room, sarcastically): Secrets and lies, now that’s a strong foundation for a relationship.

Alex (defensively): Yea, well as soon as he stops lying to himself, she won’t have to.

Isabel (turning to him): What’s that supposed to mean?

Alex (shaking his head): Everything you do – effects us. What happens to you, happens to us…today, tomorrow…forever. They weren’t shooting at you, or Michael. That was Liz in that hospital bed. And the more he keeps from us, the more he tries to handle – whatever it is – on his own, the more danger he puts her in. How can we protect ourselves if we don’t even know what’s going on?

Isabel: You don’t think I know, that we don’t know, what kind of danger you’re in? You have no fucking clue! You have no idea what it’s like for us. To constantly be thinking about, worrying about somebody else. To everyday, feel responsible for another person’s life.

Alex (standing up, forcefully): Don’t I! (Isabel stops and stares at him) You want to protect me Isabel, protect us? Well you’re looking in the mirror here. Whatever you feel, right back atchya. You don’t think everyday I’m conscious of how one little slip, one little mistake…(Alex shakes his head angrily) You don’t get it. It’s like you guys can’t see that we’re coming from the same place you are…except we don’t have any super powers to pretend to protect you with.

(Isabel’s posture shifts as her anger slowly subsides. Alex sits back down on the bed and looks up at her)

Alex: And the worst thing is, Max has this…wacked idea that whatever this is – whatever we do, whatever Liz feels for him…that it’s all conditional on you (he points at Isabel) looking like, acting like…us. (He looks up at Isabel and continues softly) You’re beautiful Isabel, but if you look in the mirror, what you see isn’t what makes you beautiful. And that doesn’t change with what you look like, or what planet you end up being from. You’re not us – we get it, you don’t seem to get that…

(He shakes his head in frustration and Isabel slowly paces back over to the bed.)

Alex: This isn’t temporary… I’m not risking jail time for cheap thrills, and Liz sure as hell isn’t risking her life for a little alien action. So whatever it is he’s telling himself, to convince himself, to keep things from her… What’s it gonna take for him to see what she’s trying to do for him, what she’s willing to do? Actually die next time, isn’t that a little late?

Isabel (shakes her head and sits down in the computer chair): That’s what got us here in the first place. (She looks over at Alex) Ironic, isn’t it? (She looks away and continues, with only the slightest hint of the bitterness laying below the surface) He spends years preaching to us about safety, about staying in control, acting “normal”. He watches everything we do in this constant state of worry…about us…And then, one day Liz Parker almost dies, and in that moment…everything became about her.

(She looks over at Alex again, and he relaxes a little. She shakes her head.)

Isabel: You have no idea, what it’s like to feel completely helpless Alex. You’ve just joined this party; we’ve been living it for ten years. He doesn’t know how this is going to end. He has no control over what’s going to happen to any of us. He just thinks, whatever the outcome, it’ll be his fault. So he tries to control what he can. Tries to protect as much as he can. That’s who he is. Ten years of watching over me, running around after Michael, cleaning up his messes. That’s not going to change.

(Alex’s whole body language softens, and he watches Isabel closely.)

Isabel (continuing softly, and looking over at Alex): Ten years, Alex…ten years of telling yourself that your life depended on one thing – on keeping one secret. And one day, without thinking, without realizing what you’re doing…you give it up. Do you know what it takes to do that…to expose yourself so completely…to share that one thing? Can you tell me what that’s like…because, I don’t know what it’s like; my secret was shared for me. I have no idea what it’s like to stand there in front of someone and offer it. To stand there waiting for the walls to close around you and your life to begin to end, because for ten years that’s what you’ve been telling yourself will happen when someone finally saw what was really inside of you. And for that someone to be, the one – the one you risked it all for. (She shakes her head) I don’t know what that’s like.

(Isabel pauses for a moment, then looks at Alex sharply.)

Isabel: And can you blame him for being suspicious? When was the last time your dreams came true…and how many times did you pinch yourself afterwards? It takes time, to deal with…to accept…to stop waiting for the end of the world you’ve been preparing yourself for.

Alex (sitting forward and gently touching Isabel on the leg): I’m not saying we stop preparing for the end of the world…that’s still a possibility. I’m just saying, just hoping to show you, that it’s not gonna come from us. Because when your world ends Isabel, a huge part of mine does too. And I’ll do whatever it takes, whatever I can do, to keep that from ever happening. That’s all. And I promise you, no more secrets from here on out…but it has to go both ways.

(Isabel looks at Alex, and maybe for the first time, really sees – really sees – what’s been waiting here, for her, for the past ten months.)

Isabel (after a long pause): Alex, you know more about me than, anyone…I think even Max. And apparently, you and Liz know more about what’s going on with him than I do. We don’t really talk that much anymore. But I’ll tell you what I know, and I…won’t keep anything from you.

(Isabel looks away, embarrassed by the admissions she’s made and the vulnerability she’s shown. She catches sight of the binder, containing their research for the day and quickly changes trains of thought.)

Isabel: I guess we just wasted a day.

Alex (shaking his head, soft and serious): No…It wasn’t a waste.

Mrs. Whitman (from somewhere in the house): Alex, honey, I’m home!

(Scene: Crashdown storage room. Mr. Parker stands on the ladder finishing arranging boxes on the top shelf. Michael enters the room carrying two paint cans, one in each hand.)

Michael: What do you want me to do with this paint?

Mr. Parker: Paint?

Michael: Yea, there’s a ton of it in the utility closet.

Mr. Parker (descending the ladder): What kind of paint?

Michael (clueless): I don’t know, there’s just a bunch of cans – they’re not labeled.

(Mr. Parker walks over to his toolbox, resting on the bottom shelf next to the door. He digs around for a minute and finally pulls out a screwdriver. Michael sets the cans on the ground and Mr. Parker bends down to open one up. He pulls off the lid, revealing the quintessential green “alien” color.)

Mr. Parker (surprised): The old mural paint. (He looks up at Michael) Where’d you find this?

Michael (looking at the color): Behind some boxes in the back of the utility closet. (Nodding at the paint) Still looks good.

Mr. Parker (looking back at the paint): What?

Michael: Still usable.

Mr. Parker: Right. (He looks up at Michael) You know… that reminds me…Liz mentioned that you were a pretty good artist.

Michael (surprised): Really?

Mr. Parker: Yea, something about you having a few pieces in the spring tri-county art show…

Michael (uncomfortable with the compliments): They were okay I guess...

Mr. Parker: I’ve been thinking about redecorating the Crashdown…adding some murals and original art. I’d really like to see what you think. If you’re interested, maybe sketch out some ideas.

Michael (looking down at the paint and then back up to Mr. Parker, drop dead serious): I don’t do little green men.

Mr. Parker (suppressing his laughter): I wouldn’t think you would. That’s what I’m talking about, maybe move beyond that, something different, original.

Michael: I don’t know, I’d have to think about it.

Mr. Parker: Well let me know. I could probably spend about $500 on the murals. If your original work’s any good you could sell it in the café.

Michael (cautioned): Really?

Mr. Parker: You think about it, put something together, and after finals we’ll talk about it some more.

(Michael stands there contemplating the offer. Mr. Parker smiles as he watches the emotions roll over Michael’s face. Jeff turns to return the screwdriver to the toolbox when he catches sight of Nancy, wearing a favorably fitting black dress, standing just outside the doorway.)

Nancy (stepping just inside the room, to Jeff): You ready?

Mr. Parker: Five minutes.

(He goes over to the toolbox and Nancy turns to Michael.)

Nancy: He’s not working you too hard is he?

Michael (caught off guard at Nancy’s appearance): No

Nancy: Good.

(She looks over at Jeff and smiles, then winks at Michael as she turns and leaves. Michael watches her go, and Jeff walks up beside him.)

Mr. Parker (smiling): Dinner date. (He raises his eyebrows at Michael and then heads out of the room. Before disappearing around the corner he turns back to Michael.) We’ll talk more. When you’re finished with the closet you can take off – sleep in tomorrow morning, I’ll cover the early shift for you.

Michael: Thanks.

Mr. Parker (very fatherly): Thank you Michael.

(Jeff bounds up the stairs to the apartment and Michael looks on, puzzled. He lowers his gaze to the green paint and furrows his brow – not sure whether he should smile or frown at the unexpectedly crazy way people seem to enter his life. He shakes his head…He’s gonna have to have a talk with Liz.)

(Music: Jayhawks – Queen of the World. Author’s side note – I highly recommend at least once listening to this song because it pretty much sums up the underlying theme of this particular story, as highlighted by the following series of scenes…and plus, the Jayhawks rock!

Scene starts in Alex’s bedroom. Alex lies on his bed, hands behind his head and feet crossed – shoes still on. The scene focuses on his face and slowly follows his gaze to the ceiling. His mouth slightly opens to form an intoxicated grin and the white ceiling he’s looking up at begins fading into what he’s actually seeing, revealing the highlight reel he’s watching, with clips of Isabel from earlier that day. Sitting across from her on the bed, lying on the bed together eating pizza and listening to music, shooting at her from behind the desk…her face, directly above his. Her beautiful face…the fall of her hair, the curve of her eyelashes, the shiny gloss of blue paint staining her cheek – it’s so real he can almost smell her, hear her breath and feel its warmth on his cheek. His eyes focus on hers; they get closer, as if he’s drawing her to him, as if her face is once again only inches from his. The re-creation of that moment in his mind takes over his entire being and he closes his eyes as the ecstasy of what could have been overwhelms him and he imagines the kiss that almost was…

Isabel pushes the front door of the Crashdown open and she glances around the room searching for Max. The scene follows her gaze and eventually travels through the backdoor window. In the utility closet, Michael rests his hands on his hips and stretches his back. He lets out a sigh as he admires his organizing efforts on the closet shelves. He walks over to the open door, slowing as he approaches and then finally coming to a complete stop directly in front of it. He peers out the doorframe. In the mirror across the way, he watches her hang up her coat and walk over to her locker. She’s talking to herself – she always does that…he loves it when she does that – why is that? She puts her purse in the locker, and grabs her lipstick. Looking in the mirror, hanging on the inside of her locker door, she begins applying the make-up. He traces her movements with his eyes, and his mouth curves into a sly grin, as he suddenly can’t wait to be taking that lipstick off of her. Man, how does she do that to him? Maria puts the lipstick back in her locker and shuts the door. She jumps when she sees Michael standing, leaning against the wall in front of her, watching her intensely. She tilts her head, looking at him curiously out of the corner of her squinting eye…

Across town Amy DeLuca stands in her living room looking down at all the pictures resting on the end table. She gently fingers a framed picture of Maria when she was ten. She picks it up and can’t help but smile. She sets it gently down and goes to pick up another one, but starts at the sound of Jim Valenti entering the room from the kitchen. She turns to him and her smile grows to an infectious laugh as he approaches her, wearing her cooking apron and carrying two plates of coconut cream pie...

The scene returns to the Crashdown and the Parker’s apartment above it. The remains of a candlelight dinner linger on the kitchen table. Candle light coming from the living room flickers and the shadow of Jeff and Nancy dances across the wall. Jeff twirls her out and spins her back to him, gracefully dipping her. He swings her up and continues singing to her as she laughs playfully. They dance around the room and as he dips her once again, the scene floats out the window, across the roof and down into the alleyway…

Kyle’s red car pulls up to the alleyway entrance. Max gets out of the passenger side and pulls the seat forward, letting Liz out from the back. Max shuts the door, and Liz bends down and waves to Kyle. Liz watches the car pull away and Max watches Liz. She looks over at him and smiles mischievously. As soon as the car is out of sight, she puts her hand on Max’s chest and slowly begins backing him up against the wall, eventually disappearing into the shadows.

(Music: Guster – Rainy Day (Versus 1 – 3). Scene: Max’s bedroom, later that night. Max enters the room and walks over to his desk. He plops down into the chair and sets his backpack on the floor. He leans back and closes his eyes. His lips curve into a soft smile as his thoughts drift to Liz and earlier that evening. After a few moments of reliving their alleyway encounter, he opens his eyes and sits up at the desk. His smile instantly falls from his face and his body sinks in the chair as his eyes find the manuscript sitting on the edge of his desk – untouched from the morning.

Have you ever been faced with the devastating reality of being in a completely winless, utterly hopeless situation? A place void of options, where all you can see is the endlessness of the vicious circle you’re standing in? It’s not so much the winlessness that leaves you feeling trapped, like a rat in a wheel going nowhere, but the hopelessness. That’s what relentlessly attacks you, wearing you down, blow by blow, until your left battered and beaten with eyes swollen shut unable to see anything but the inevitable darkness of your own end.

This is the place where Max has finally come to find himself – slumped in his chair, with hopelessness taking root and growing in his soul, staring at his own end. Or at least what he perceives to be the means to his end – all 700-some single-spaced, single-sided typed pages of it. The manuscript is actually the beginning and the end – that’s the problem. It’s the end of not knowing and the beginning of understanding. In its pages is the beginning to Max himself, and in-turn, what he fears will ultimately bring the end of his relationship with Liz.

He is faced with a choice between his past and his future. He must pick one and in doing so knowingly let go and forget the other. But you cannot have one without the other. Spend 20 hours a day for weeks on end trying to find the “choice” in that and you’ll find yourself in the same place Max has. And eventually you’ll give up like he has and concede that there is no choice, no acceptable solution. He’s powerless to do anything but perpetuate the cycle…to continue reading and loath what he’s reading …he is merely a slave to his circumstance. He cannot stop his need to know what’s in those pages, anymore than he could willingly stop loving Liz…and so the cycle continues and Max takes another turn in his wheel.

He reaches out and slowly slides the manuscript over. He turns the title page to Book 2 and bowing his head in defeat, begins reading…

“Many critics and readers alike will no doubt wonder why a book dedicated to exposing the physical realities of alien life begins with an entire section explaining basic biology and human physiology. However, any book discussing life, of any kind, must begin first by defining it. And it is important to clearly understand the perimeters which we, as humans, are programmed to define “life” by.

Science is a window through which we are taught to view the world around us. It is a window created through experimentation, and confined to the limited scope of the subject of study – this planet. The introductory section of this book is the view of life that this window provides us. On this planet, this Earth, in those pages, is how we define “life” – what we are taught to accept, to see as alive.

What I am about to introduce in this and the following sections, cannot be seen from our window. It exists outside our view. It is not definable by our science because it is found outside the boundaries of current scientific study. For life to exist outside our planet it must exist outside our definitions and limited experimentation. And it does.

We are a species defined by limitations. Our existence is confined between environmental variables delivered in doses of “too much” and “too little.” Too little oxygen, too much heat, too little food, too much of any given chemical. You can change the variable but the result is inevitable. Life is the complex struggle for “just enough.” It is about finding a balance or attempting to control the constantly fluctuating environmental elements of our surroundings.

Through the millennia we have evolved as Masters of this planet. We traded in physical amenities for intellectual adaptation. Using ingenuity and engineering we have developed technology enabling us to manipulate our interaction with the ever-changing environment and widen the space between “too much” and “too little” where we exist. Unfortunately though, even our technological advancements have limits. We cannot alter the weather, create the perfect climate, void of heatstroke or frostbite. We cannot change our atmosphere, increasing the production of oxygen in places where it is not present. Our dominance of this planet is limited to the interface between us and it. If it is cold, we can put on a sweater, find shelter, or build a fire, but we cannot make the cold cease.

If we are a species defined by limits, then imagine one defined by limitlessness. Imagine a world where evolutionary adaptation is not catalogued in millennia but milliseconds. Imagine a species that can adapt to its ever-changing environment as fast as the environment can change. A species so evolved it can internally control its physical interaction with its surroundings. A species so genetically advance that each “cell” in its body can alter itself to accommodate a fluctuating environment or adjust to an entirely new one.

This species cannot control their environment any more than we can. They cannot regulate the weather, alter the atmosphere, or modify their external surroundings; instead they regulate themselves, internally altering and modifying as their surroundings demand. If they are cold, they increase their internal body temperature. If their planet is depleted of its sustaining element, “gas”, then their cells become equipped to subsist off the next available one. In Darwin’s battle of the fittest, this is the undisputed universal champion. They are a species that can survive anything, because they can adapt to be anything.”

Max looks up from the page and catches his faint reflection in a framed picture of Liz resting on his desk. He stares at it, making eye contact with himself. For years he’s been looking in the mirror wondering who it was that was staring back at him. With a turn of the page, he’s about to find out.)

(Scene: Max’s bedroom, even later that evening/early morning. Max, still hunched over the manuscript, rubs his eyes with his left hand. He looks over at the alarm clock and yawns as he reads it – 3:37 a.m. He shakes his head and looks back to the pages in front of him. Five hours of reading and you’d think he’d have made a significant dent in this thing. But this has evolved beyond reading to absorbing. Every page requires multiple readings and focused attention to ensure comprehension. Even with thorough re-reads there’s still a lot Max doesn’t understand. His notebook, lying next to the manuscript, is nearly filled with confused thoughts and questions.

He lays his pencil down and runs his hand through his hair. He slowly gets out of the chair and walks over to his bedroom door. He turns the light off and exits the room. He quietly moves down the dark hallway and into the kitchen. He grabs a glass off the dish drying rack and opens up the refrigerator door. He reaches in to grab the milk but stops as his hand and arm register the cold. His mind wanders to the manuscript and to earlier that morning when Isabel started him awake. His head jumps between both trains of thought, and his ears ring with jumbled words… “God Max! It’s freezing in here”…“they regulate themselves, internally altering and modifying as their surroundings demand.”…“no wonder if you’ve been trying to sleep in sub-zero temperatures every night”… “If they are cold, they increase their internal body temperature”…“ God, you might as well’ve been sleeping in the walk-in freezer at the Crashdown.”…“Crashdown…” Music starts, Guster – Rainy Day, versus 5 – 8.

Max stares at his hand as the final words resonate in his mind. He closes the door and the scene jumps to the darkened alleyway outside the Crashdown. Max looks around, then carefully unlocks the door and steps inside. He makes his way through the backroom and into the kitchen, stopping in front of the freezer. He pauses for a moment then slowly opens the door and steps inside. The door shuts behind him and the light goes out. Max creates a small light in the palm of his hand and holds it out in front of him. His body shivers immediately as the full weight of –10º hits, and the light flickers. Max lets out a shaky breath, visible in the wavering light. He closes his eyes in pain, only to open them seconds later in solemn amazement. As quickly as the cold came, it was gone. He stands completely comfortable and unaffected by the freezing temperature around him. He stares at his now steady hand and extinguishes the light.)


I don’t normally include the lyrics to songs that I use in my stories, because it’d just make them so damn long. But it took me a really long time to find the right song for this last scene. I know that it’s nuts, but part of the Roswell addiction for me is the music, and finding just the right songs to complement my stories. I’ve been writing and re-writing this scene for months and I needed just the write song to complete it, and this is it. I highly recommend a listen – go to your used cd store and check this out at a listening station. Plus the Jayhawks Queen of All the World. Trust me…they were meant for this story…

Guster – Rainy Day
1. I will dig a hole
Save my pennies for a rainy day
I will dig a hole
Savin pennies for a rainy day
I'm not scared

2 I will build a wall
Sensing trouble from a mile away
I will build a wall
Saw it comin from a mile away
I'm not scared
I'm not scared

3. Try wearin your insides out
I don't even try,
I know I have seen the best I'll have
I don't even try

4. I will just play dumb
I won't hear a single word that's said
I will bite my tongue
Never sing another song again
I'm not scared
I'm not scared

5. Try wearing my insides out
I don't even try,
I know I have seen the best I'll have
I don't even try
Now they want to take my chances
I don't even try

6. Clouds are comin
Air get's heavy
Looks like trouble on a rainy day

7. Sun starts sinking
Can't see my shadow
Looks like trouble on a rainy day

8. Holes uncovered
Walls will crumble
All spells trouble on a rainy day

posted on 20-Dec-2001 3:55:53 AM
Title: “Promotion” (Chess trilogy, part 3)
Author: N/A
Email: ajrocchio⊕
Rating: PG-13 for language
Category: Other Stories
Disclaimers: The characters of Roswell belong to the UPN blah blah blah
Spoilers: None and never will be in this universe.
Summary: Direct continuation of the previous story in this trilogy (The Queen).

Author’s note/soapbox: “When a pawn reaches the rank furthest from its starting position it must be exchanged as part of the same move for a queen, rook, bishop or knight of the same colour. The player's choice is not restricted to pieces that have been captured previously. This exchange of a pawn for another piece is called 'promotion' and the effect of the new piece is immediate.” Taken from the FIDE Laws of Chess.

“What does it mean to be “alien” and what does it mean to be “human” and what’s more important, the differences between the two, or the similarities…”

(Scene: Max’s bedroom, morning. Max again, is asleep at his desk. The alarm clock ticks 6:00 a.m. and the radio comes on playing the Old 97’s Timebomb. Max jerks up in the chair and his eyes dart from his pillow – the manuscript – to the alarm clock on the nightstand. He leans back in the chair and rubs his eyes with his hand. After a moment, his hand falls from his face, and he turns in the chair, like he’s going to get up, but doesn’t.

Looking at him, you’d never guess that he’d been subsisting on an average of three to four hours of sleep for almost a month. For a while you could definitely see it, the dark rings under his eyes, the slightly sluggish body posture, and the look – you know that look, sunken eyes with eyelids all but giving in to gravity. Now though, to the average eye, he looks, well, normal. But the average eye can often miss the subtleties hiding in the everyday. Like the way Max’s hair doesn’t know which way to part anymore, because he’s been running his hand through it so many times. Or how his lips no longer smile, reverting back to the days of not knowing how. Or how his eyes have grown darker, actually changing entire shades, maybe in an effort to hide what’s going on behind them. His body may be able to adjust to sleepless nights but it cannot completely camouflage the emotional and mental fatigue waging inside of him.

Max raises from the chair and crosses to the dresser. He opens a drawer of perfectly folded underwear and neatly rolled socks. He pulls out what he needs for the day and then heads to the closet. He opens it up, revealing, what has to be the most immaculate closet in all of Roswell – if not the entire state of New Mexico. The shirts look pressed, the pants squared on the hangers, and the floor is covered only by one orderly row of paired shoes. The closet is really just a microcosm of the room as a whole. Every nick-knack has been dusted and straightened. The bed is made, and rightfully looks like it hasn’t been slept in for weeks. The floor is vacuumed, the walls are spotless, and the windows washed. It is a classically demonstrated case of procrastination. No, not procrastination – that can sometimes have an implied laziness. And Max has been anything but lazy, especially lately.

Since beginning Part 2 of the manuscript, Max has become the single subject in a series of endless experiments. It’s strange being your own lab rat, awkward at first, but after a while you get so caught up in the experiment you forget about the potential consequences of your findings. First, obviously, was the Crashdown freezer. Then there was the electric blanket test – comical actually, if you can picture Max, wearing his ski suit, inside his sleeping bag, under his comforter and topped off with an electric blanket – plugged in. After that, things progressed to more, life threatening, experimentation. The Drano test, the starvation study, a few medicine cabinet concoction experiments, and then… there was the swimming pool. He has yet to recover from that one.

Max heads into the bathroom to change and get ready for school. He looks at the shower, but can’t bring himself to get in. The closest contact he can have with water these days is through a straw. Being an alien wasn’t really all that bad, when it meant not exactly being from around here and having a few advanced parlor tricks up your sleeve. Tricks, Tess taught them, even some humans could do. It’s easy to convince yourself that being “alien” doesn’t necessarily mean being all that different, especially when all you want is to be no different. So when you’re sitting at the bottom of a swimming pool, waiting to run out of oxygen, and not running out of oxygen, it can be pretty unsettling. More so than simply ingesting something and explaining away the body’s non-response as some sort of highly developed immune system. But, to actually come to the realization that you’re breathing, but not with lungs, because you don’t have lungs anymore, is outright traumatic. Paralyzing in fact, Max stayed at the bottom of the pool all night, only getting out when the sun began shimmering on the surface, warning that his neighbor – whose pool he was borrowing – might be getting up at any minute. He went straight from the pool to the bathroom, where he proceeded to throw-up for the first time in his life. Odd, if not ironic, that when faced with the undeniable physiological evidence of his alienness, he would have such a human response.

Max spits in the sink. He can still taste the bile – or whatever it is that’s inside his stomach, if he even has a stomach. He will never forget it. Two days ago or twenty years from now, he will know that taste of fear. Max opens the bathroom door and pauses before entering the bedroom. He stands there staring at his perversely clean room. He has to fight back the overwhelming urge to destroy it, to knock the books from their perfect placement, and throw the covers from his mocking bed. To rip his shirts from their hangers and send his tidy nick-knacks flying…just so he can have something else to do again. But that would only be temporary, and the damage has already been done.

He grabs his backpack from the side of his desk, and checks the time, 6:20; he can still be out of the house before Isabel gets out of her shower and catch a bus for school. His avoidance techniques have reached new levels and luckily for him not many have noticed – most just chalk it up to finals, which he gladly encourages. For right now it’s the perfect cover…almost.)

(Scene: Liz’s bedroom, about an hour later that same morning. Maria stands just inside the door, waiting for Liz. Liz is in her closet checking the pockets of everything in her closet that has pockets.)

Liz (poking her head out of the closet and looking at Maria): I don’t buy it.

Maria: What do you mean you don’t buy it?

Liz (returning to what she’s doing in the closet): I mean, I don’t buy it. Not anymore, maybe a couple of weeks ago but…I don’t know. It’s different now…he’s different now. It’s more than him just being tired all the time. He hasn’t been eating lunch for almost a weak – he’s definitely lost weight. He’s totally moody – one minute we’re making out and the next it’s like he doesn’t even want to be around me.

Maria (sighing): Maybe he’s menstrual.

Liz (poking her head out of the closet to look at Maria): What?

Maria: I don’t know, maybe there’s some sort of chemical/hormonal reaction goin’ on in there and this is like…his time of the year.

(Liz shakes her head at Maria and then returns to the closet. She sighs in frustration and slams her closet door shut.)

Liz: Where is it?! I’ve looked frickin’ everywhere!

(She angrily turns around and looks over her room. She flings her arms, grits her teeth to keep from screaming, and heads into the bathroom for one more look through her medicine cabinet and drawers.)

Maria (watching on in amusement): Yea, you know, you’re totally right…I don’t know anyone who gets all
“Alter –ego-All-About-Eve” on me during finals.

Liz (coming out of the bathroom and glaring at Maria): Are you gonna just stand there throwing out, like, really poor analogies, or help me?

Maria: Help you with what – a sedative? You’ve been ripping your room apart for the last 15 minutes and, haven’t shared why.

Liz (exasperated): My Grandmother’s necklace. I can’t find it. I have to find it. I have to have it for finals.

Maria: Have to have it for finals?

Liz: Yes! You know that! It’s my good luck…charm, remember Miss oil-sniffing, crystal rubbing, energy centering yogi! I have to have it for finals.

Maria (holding back the laughter): Okay, you have one final today, and it’s, uh, in p.e.

Liz: It doesn’t matter! I don’t care…I need to find it.

Maria: Okay Miss “Superstitions are for the weak minded” – Chill! Everything will be okay. Let’s just calm down and think about this…Your grandmother’s necklace is what…

Liz: Extremely special and important and valuable…

Maria: …A locket. And what do lockets have in them? (Maria walks over to the desk and grabs a framed picture of Grandma Claudia) Pictures. Right? So it has a picture of Grandma and (she reaches out and unpins a picture of Liz from the wall) a picture of you. And what’s the necklace made of…silver (Maria flicks the silver frame of Grandma Claudia’s picture). So, we throw these in your backpack and you’re good to go.

(Liz eye’s Maria suspiciously as she starts to calm down. It’s a plausible substitute, sort of, and it is only temporary, because she’s totally scouring every inch of this room when she gets home from school. Maria walks over and gently puts the pictures in Liz’s backpack. She looks up at Liz, to see if she’s okay.)

Maria: All better?

Liz (letting out a sigh and completely changing subjects, again): I can feel him pulling away from me. (She looks up at Maria with sad eyes) He won’t even look at me anymore.

Maria (softly): Maybe because instead of looking at him lately, you’ve been studying him.

(Liz’s face falls as she thinks about Maria’s words.)

Maria (looking at her watch): 7:20

Liz: Shit! Why didn’t you tell me, let’s go, we’re going to be late. I’m going to be late on the first day of finals…

(Liz grabs her backpack and rushes out the door. Maria shakes her head and follows after her.)

(Scene: School hallway, before classes. Alex is at his locker emptying books from his backpack. Max, hidden off to the side, checks up and down the hallway, before heading in Alex’s direction.)

Max (as he approaches): Hey.

Alex (looking up at Max as he shuts his locker door): Hey Max, what’s up?

Max (stepping a little closer to Alex and in a hushed voice): I need your help with something.

Alex (stepping closer): What are we talkin’ here? ‘You need a little help with your Geography final cuz you’ve been napping in class for the last month’ or is this more of a ‘you need my help and the future of your people depend on it’ kinda thing?

Max (looking confused): I don’t, have people.

Alex: Max man, you are people – all three or four of you you’ve got in your head.

Max (shaking his head slightly): Whatever, look, I need your help with…some research.

Alex (lowering his tone to match Max’s quiet one): What kind of research?

(Max swings his backpack to his side and pulls out a folded piece of paper from the front pocket. He opens it up and hands it to Alex. Alex looks over the paper and then up at Max.)

Alex: Who are these guys?

Max: Associates of Atherton’s…I just need to know the basics – where they were born, where they live, what they do.

Alex (nodding his head): Easy enough, I might be able to get to it tonight…can’t promise anything though, I’ve got two finals tomorrow and two on Wednesday.

Max: Whenever. Thanks…and…if you could not tell anyone about this…

Alex: Anyone being Liz…You know I can’t be a part of whatever it is you’re keeping from her. Let me give you a little heads up – she’s on to you man. And when finals are over she’s comin’ for the truth…and I do not want to be in her line of fire. She’ll kick my ass if she found out I was involved…

Max (defensively): I’m not keeping anything from Liz!

Alex (shaking his head): Okay, you’re gonna have to do better than that. You’ve been feeding her that line for nearly two weeks…and she’s not biting anymore.

(Max looks at Alex and hides a sigh. It’s not like he’s saying anything Max doesn’t already know. That’s why he’s been avoiding her so carefully. He just didn’t realize that anyone else was paying such close attention. Michael and Isabel haven’t really said anything lately, and for all her protective guarding of Liz, Maria hasn’t mentioned anything or thrown him any menacing looks either. Shouldn’t surprise him though, Alex has always been able to see things they all seem to miss.)

Max (letting out a deep breath) Look Alex, I really need your help with this…I promise when I’ve got all the info I need, I’ll tell her…I just need some more time.

(Alex thinks about it for a minute. Max’s eyes plead with him and Alex finally gives in.)

Alex: Okay, but when the shit flies…I know nothing and did nothing. You’re on your own and you better come up with a damn good explanation for the info I’m gonna give you, that doesn’t include me …You got that.

Max: Thanks Alex.

(Scene: School quad, lunchtime, later that day. Liz sits alone, eating her lunch, dejectedly. For some reason she thought this was going to be different. As stressed out as she gets about finals, she actually looks forward to them. You spend three weeks getting ready and when they come you’re relieved. You’re ready to go, to get it on, and get on with the summer. Popular Liz Parker misconception #1 - she doesn’t like summer and wishes school was year round. Please. She looks forward to summer just as much as everybody else – okay, with the exception of maybe Michael, who wishes everyday was summer. But who wouldn’t look forward to summer, especially when you have someone to spend all those lazy days with?

Liz takes another bite of her sandwich and glances around to the other tables. At the opposite end of the quad, Max enters carrying his lunch. Liz’s heart skips a beat as she catches sight of him walking in her general direction. But the feeling is fleeting as Max, never making eye contact, turns to his right, about 50 yards in front of her table, and exits back into the school.

Well, she at least thought she had someone to spend all those days with. Now she’s not so sure. She’s not imagining Max’s avoidance, apparently no one else can see it, but she knows she’s not making it up. She’s learned to give him space when he needs it. He gets easily overwhelmed and his defensive mechanisms kick in and close him off. So, until he figures out that he can actually talk to her about whatever it is, she gives him space to deal with it in his dysfunctional way. But this has been going on for too long, and she’s starting to worry. Finals week is the beginning of the end of school, and it’s hard to look forward to that, when it might be the beginning of the end of something else.

She throws the rest of her lunch in her sack and starts to gather up her stuff.)

Michael (sitting down across from her): I need to talk to you.

Liz (highly irritable): Yea, (she closes her bag) well I *need* an alien decoder…ring…or manual or something. Do you have one of those?

(She gets up from the table and starts to walk away.)

Michael (quickly getting up and following after her): I can’t help you with Max, I’ve given up trying to understand him. (Liz picks up her pace and Michael struggles to keep up with her as she weaves through the crowd.) Hey look, I don’t know what’s crashed your love boat, but I need to talk to you about your dad.

(At the mention of her dad, Liz immediately stops and turns to Michael.)

Liz (concerned): My dad? What about my dad? Did he say something? Do something? (She steps closer to him and lowers her voice) Is he acting suspicious…because, we’ve been really careful? I mean, he’s hardly ever around in the backroom and we never…

Michael (holding out his hand to stop Liz from continuing her ramble): Settle! (Liz stops and looks up at Michael, and he frowns at her. He fidgets a little and Liz raises her eyebrow expectantly. He hesitantly continues) He mentioned something last week about…redoing the Café.

Liz (not exactly getting why this is so important): Yea, he gets that way about every three to four years…never does anything though.

Michael (visibly disappointed): Oh. So it’s just… a phase?

Liz: Well, according to my mom he hasn’t changed it for over ten years. I think there’s this picture of me when I’m little in a uniform – you think the little green men thing is bad, before that it was Star Trek…That’s just sad.

(Michael just looks at her and grows irritated. He starts to mumble something and walk off.)

Liz (following after him, still not sure what was so important about this conversation): Why? Michael?

Michael: Nevermind, it’s nothing.

Liz: Okay you can explain what this is all about or I’m going to have to respond to the “love boat” comment.

(Michael tries not to smile and Liz gets in front of him preventing him from going anywhere.)

Michael (reluctantly): Your dad just mentioned something about me drawing some sketches for the new look.

Liz (finally getting it): He talked to you? I didn’t think he was paying attention. Did you show him the sketches yet? What did he think?

Michael (a little uncomfortable): I…I haven’t shown him yet…

Liz: He’s going to be really surprised. You’re truly talented Michael; the piece you had in the art show was so good.

Michael (definitely uncomfortable with praise): It was a dome.

Liz: It was a good dome. You don’t get in the county-wide art show for just an average dome.

Michael: Whatever…look…do you think…I mean…would you mind taking a look at what I’ve got, maybe tell me if you think your dad’ll like it.

Liz (surprised, and honored): I’d love to. Do you have it here or…

Michael: No. I’d have to bring it to work.

Liz: Whatever you want. I would be happy to look at them…I’m sure my dad will love them.

Michael (enough with the complements): Okay, yea, I’ll let you know.

(Michael starts to walk off and Liz calls after him.)

Liz: Wait Michael! What does Maria think of them?

Michael: She hasn’t seen them.

Liz (surprised): Oh.

(Michael looks at her and then walks off. Liz watches him go.)

(Scene: Crashdown back room. Alex sits on the couch while Maria fights with a bag stuck in her locker. She finally pulls it free and sets it down on the table in front of Alex.)

Alex: Let’s get this over with okay.

Maria: Hey. I think I’ll dictate the pace, alright, so just keep your pants on until I give you something else to wear okay.

Alex: It’s too late to break this cycle of abuse isn’t it?

Maria (ignoring him): Okay, so this is what I’ve come up with so far. Now, there’s still a few more days, but with finals and rehearsals I just think we’re going to have to work with what’s here.

Alex (furrowing his brow): Rehearsals?

Maria: You don’t think you’re just going to get up there and sing, do you?

Alex: (looking at Maria confused): What? You want me to sing and bus tables?

Maria (shaking her head at him): You don’t just sing this song. You feel it, and express it.

Alex (squinting and looking at her closely): You are, unbalanced, you know that right?

Maria: Whatever…First let’s figure out what you’re wearing and then we’ll worry about moves.

(She opens the bag and pulls out a skin-tight, neon green and yellow, bellbottom jumpsuit with flower buttons. Alex’s mouth drops open and he stares at the hideous outfit.)

Maria: Option 1.

Alex: I think my life just flashed before my eyes.

(Maria sets the suit down and reaches back into the bag. Alex just continues to stare at the jumpsuit utterly horrified.)

Maria (pulling out the next outfit): Option 2.

(Alex looks over at Maria and swallows. In Maria’s left hand is a red mini skirt. In her right hand is a frilly blouse with a big collar and baggy sleeves. Not exactly as hideous as the first one but still frightening. Especially considering the skirt would barely cover his ass. Alex remains speechless and Maria sets the outfit down next to the jumpsuit and returns to the bag. She reaches in and pulls out the last outfit. It’s some sort of psychedelic 70’s dress, with colors that should not be used together. Maria holds it up to herself and then looks over at Alex.)

Maria: Well, what do you think?

Alex (looking up at her): I think Disco died for a reason…

Maria: Which one do you want to wear?

Alex (almost choking): Say again?

Maria: Yea, these are your choices. They’re the only outfits in my mom’s closet I thought might fit you.

Alex (reeling): This is some sort of girlfriend hell isn’t it? Well…NO…(Alex starts shaking his head and stands up) You’ve crossed the line. I am not your dress-up Ken doll. My friendship has limits you hear me! (He shakes his fist and points to the clothes) Limits! (He motions to the floor) Crossed the LINE!

Maria (smiling): Limits, really? Hmmm.

(Maria reaches into the bag and pulls out a beat up, well loved, stuffed animal. It’s missing an eye and possibly a tail. It’s either a deer or a dog, arguments could be made one way or another.)

Alex (almost longingly): Mr. Bundy.

Maria (looking down at the animal): I had a Mr. Bundy once...well I mean I had a Mrs. Teddy. Before she was kidnapped and…tortured…(she glares at Alex)…left for dead so her innards could be picked out and scattered around the playground.

Alex (guiltily): It wasn’t intentional…I forgot her.

Maria: All I have left to remember her by is an eye.

Alex (defensively): Yea, well, I made restitution for that, years ago. You were supposed to give him back after I dressed up like Kiss for the eighth grade talent show…and sang…“Let’s Put The X In Sex.” Did I get him back – no – I got detention, but not Mr. Bundy.

Maria (reaching into her pocket and pulling out the eye): An EYE!

Alex: I’m sorry!

Maria (defiantly): “I’m sorry”, like that makes up for the line you crossed. There’s no limits to our friendship Alex. Cuz if there were, I would have kicked your ass, just like I kicked Joey Riester’s when he tried to play keep away with her during recess…and then… I would have kicked your ass everyday I felt like it just to remind you I could do it…and there would be no friendship.

Alex (sitting back down on the couch, defeated): Can I at least re-draw my line at wearing make-up.

Maria (thinking about it for a minute): Fair enough, as long as you wear the wig.

(Scene: Liz’s bedroom, evening. While Max’s room redefines ‘clean’, Liz’s brings new meaning to ‘messy.’ Her closet has purged its contents on to the floor, and every drawer, from her dresser to the desk, has been emptied on the bed. Liz sits on a pile of clothes surrounded by shallow boxes and Tupperware containers she’s removed from under her bed. She’s gone through them as she’s pulled them out, leaving stacks of papers and notebooks and other, random belongs of her Grandmother, covering what’s left of the floor. She lays on her stomach and searches under her bed, retrieving the last box. She dumps it in her lap and starts hurriedly shuffling through it. It’s not there. She throws the lid across the room and lowers her head into her hands.

Nancy Parker looks up from her book and over at the hallway. She gets off the couch and walks tentatively through the hall entryway and toward Liz’s room. She reaches the doorway and gently knocks on the doorframe as she peeks inside. Her heart breaks as she sees Liz siting on the floor, slowly rocking back and forth.)

Nancy (crossing the room to Liz): Honey!

(Liz looks up at her mother with alligator tears streaming down her cheeks. Nancy skillfully maneuvers through the mounds of stuff, finally kneeling in front of Liz and engulfing her in a hug.)

Nancy: Oh baby, what’s wrong?

Liz (choking on her sobs): Everything…

(Nancy pulls Liz tighter and tenderly strokes her hair.)

Nancy: Oh sweetie, I know how much that necklace meant to you…Even as a baby you loved playing with it, every time Grandma came to visit. She would hold you and you would twist it with your tiny little hands…

Liz: I’ve lost it…I’ve lost…

Nancy: Shhhh, it’ll be okay. Saturday we’ll go down to the bank, you can look through all your Grandmother’s jewelry…We can make a new locket if you want…

(Liz pulls back from her mother and looks up at her. Nancy gently cradles her face.)

Nancy: This has been such a hard year for you…first the shooting…and your Grandmother…and then…(Nancy shakes her head and holds back her own tears)…I thought I’d lost you… It’s too much…And it’s too soon…you’ve been studying too hard for these finals…it’s too much…You know, it’s okay…you don’t have to get an ‘A’…that’s not what’s important. There are more important things…

(Liz lowers her head as she crumbles.)

Liz (barely audible between her sobs): I know…and I’m losing that too…

(She falls forward into her mother’s arms and Nancy kisses the top of her head whispering softly in her ear.)

Nancy (as they rock slowly): Shhh…Shhh…

(The black cat watches from the windowsill, concealed in shadows. There is surprisingly little satisfaction gained in the scene being played out before him, and that, is his problem. It infuriates him to no end to be made so weak by her. He wants to crush her, to break her completely…but he can’t. The closer he comes to the goal the harder it is to achieve. He can kill casually, without a second thought, or even a first…and yet he cannot make this girl suffer as she deserves. But he is not the cause of this pain, which is his only consolation. What he has started, Max will finish.

Nasedo turns his head away from the window. He knew she was dangerous, the first moment he realized how much power she had over Max. But she is far more dangerous than he ever could have imagined, for her power over him. It isn’t as obvious, there’s no longing looks or professions of love, it isn’t a school boy crush. It’s something deeper, buried in the bottom of his subconscious. He is no stranger to love, or loss. The pain he has known is unimaginable, and has no comparison. But it has been forty years since those emotions were free to be felt. They’ve been locked away, behind rage, revenge, and loneliness. And now, now this…girl…this…child…somehow has the key to releasing them. She holds in her slight frame, steady gaze, and unselfish acts…the power to make him care again.

The cat turns its calculating eyes back to the room. And that, is why she must pay.)

(Scene: Various ones at school, Tuesday. Liz slams her locker shut and stares at it. Music starts Dashboard Confessional – Again I Go Unnoticed. Liz lets out a sigh and then turns to her right, just in time to see Max pass by at the end of the hallway. Whether eye contact was made, is a matter of opinion. Before Liz can even exhale Max disappears down the hall. Her face falls and she heads off in the opposite direction…

Biology class, later that day…Liz sits pretending to pay attention to Miss Hardy. She keeps stealing glances at Max out of the corner of her eye but he never seems to acknowledge her. She could light herself on fire and he wouldn’t bother to look over at her. She closes her eyes and lowers her head, finally turning her whole body away from him completely. Max looks up from his notebook and guiltily glances over at Liz. He watches her through pained eyes, only quickly looking away when she shifts in her seat back toward the front of the classroom…

In the halls between classes…Liz walks out of the bathroom and adjusts her backpack on her shoulder. She looks up as Max walks past her. He’s with a classmate and appears too intent with the conversation to look over in her direction. She watches him walk by and then almost gets knocked over by another student exiting the bathroom. She apologizes and moves out of the way, toward class. Max looks over his shoulder as Liz gets swallowed in the crowd…

After school…Liz exits the building and hurries into the parking lot. She stops and lets her backpack drop to the ground as she watches the Jeep pull out of the lot and take off down the street. She just stands there, staring at nothing until Maria comes up behind her.)

(Scene: Biology class – Wednesday. Class is just getting started. Max sits studying his notebook and Liz just sits there, fiddling with her pencil, and every now and then, glancing over at Max out of the corner of her eye. God this is stupid, when did she become an invertebrate? The tardy bell rings and Miss Hardy stands up from her desk.)

Miss Hardy: Alright, this is it, your last chance. Tomorrow is the book final and Friday we have the lab final. Today is your day, ask questions, study your dissection notebooks and the dissections set up at the back of the room. Get the microscopes out and look at the slides. If you want to make slides, or check some out for studying at home, let me know.

(Everyone starts doing their own thing and Miss Hardy heads off to answer a question. Max gets out his textbook and Liz gets out her microscope.)

Liz (tentatively): So how’d your Trig. final go?

Max (flipping through the pages of his book): Good, wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be.

Liz (as she adjusts her microscope): You’d hope so after all the studying you’ve done…everything should be cake this week.

Max (smiling): Don’t worry, Ms. Valedictorian, I’m not threatening your title…I’d have to take 10 classes a semester for the next two years and get A’s in all of them...

Liz (looking over at him and smiling): You’ve done the calculations, uh?

Max: Only out of curiosity.

Liz (hitting him): Uh huh, whatever…

(Max continues studying his book and Liz watches him for a while, with her head slightly turned toward him. She tucks a strand of hair behind her ear and turns her whole body toward him.)

Liz (hesitantly): So you’re gonna come to The Pie on Friday night, right? It’s our Final Friday ritual, stuffing our faces and making fools of ourselves at the karaoke bar…(she frowns) actua