Hiding Beneath (AU,M/L,ADULT) [WIP]

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Hiding Beneath (AU,M/L,ADULT) [WIP]

Post by Rowedog » Tue Aug 12, 2008 11:14 pm

Round Thirteen RF Awards

Best All Around Fanfiction

Favourite Supporting Portrayal of Michael Guerin

Favourite Supporting Portrayal of Maria DeLuca

Round Fourteen RF Awards

Favourite Lead Portrayal of Max Evans tied with BB's awesome Crush

Favourite Lead Portrayal of Liz Parker

Favourite Supporting Portrayal of Alex Whitman

Favourite Portrayal of a Child

Best Original Character for David

Best Conventional Couple Fanfic

Best POV Fanfiction

Story with the Best Twist tied with trulov’s awesome Twisted

Fic with the Best Musical Use

Favourite First Chapter

Title: Hiding Beneath

Author: Alison

Genre: M/L

Summary: Max Evans appears to have the perfect life, he's popular, hot, smart and a talented athlete. When Liz finally gets to know the object of her affection, will she find out that all is not as it seems?

Disclaimer: I don’t own nuffings. Jason Katims and Melinda Metz and a whole bunch of people I’ve never met own them.

Rating: Adult

A/N: I promised myself that I wouldn't post this until I had it completely finished, but I've had a rough couple of days and could really use a pick me up.

Warning: This fic contains mentions of child abuse. Please don't read if this subject is not something you can cope with. It's not the only focus of the fic and I've attempted to deal with it tastefully, but I won't be offended if you choose not to read, believe me.
Lovely Banner by FrenchDreamer. Thanks a bunch!

Hiding Beneath
Part One

‘There are many things that I would
Like to say to you
I don't know how
Because maybe
You're gonna be the one who saves me’
Wonderwall by Oasis


Liz's POV
I sit at the counter, one hand supporting my chin, staring dreamily off into space. It’s a dreadful habit of mine, you see. My life is so uneventful that I have to fill it with as many fantasies as I can, a sort of escapism if you will. Right now, I’m indulging in one of my favourites; Max Evans. In my mind, I have Max Evans. He is mine. In my mind I can put aside all the other girls that are prettier, nicer or just generally more worthy than I am and pretend that he sees past all these girls and only has eyes for me. Yes, I know, it’s not healthy and quite delusional to believe that I, Liz Parker, plain and nerdy, can attract the attentions of such a virile he-man. But, alas, with no other prospects on the horizon, I’m left to my own imagination. Besides, it can’t hurt to fantasize, can it?

I mean, the last guy I dated was Kyle, whom I went out with twice over the summer before he broke up with me for Tess, which wasn’t too upsetting because I knew there was nothing really between us and there never would be.

I’m immersed in my Max-land, imagining that he’s professing his long repressed desire and love for me, when suddenly a voice sounds in my ear knocking me back into reality and almost off my chair.

“What are you thinking about that’s got you smiling like that?”

With one hand gripping the bench and another on my heart to try and settle it, I turn to the object of all my secret fantasies and begin to berate him.

“Max! Do not sneak up on people!”

Instead of looking abashed he merely smiles that lopsided grin that I adore, with a confidence that has never failed to arouse my jealousy. Just how can he be so sure of himself and so comfortable around everyone? While I love most everything about Max, the thing that I love most about him, is the fact that he doesn’t ignore me. In fact he goes out of his way to talk to me even though I’m not exactly in his league. He sits with the pretty people and I… well, let’s just say that I don’t. His Mom owns a delivery company here in town and it’s their company that we hire to bring us our vegetables. And it’s usually Max who brings them, which, when I found out, just about put me into an almost hysterical state of happiness.

“I didn’t sneak Parker, I walked calmly. It’s not my fault that you were too engrossed in your own mind to see me coming.” He leans in farther his eyes locking with mine and in my head I see myself swoon. Obviously doing it physically would be a tad too obvious, so I restrict myself to my imagination. I’ve become quite adept at restricting and controlling my reactions to him. “Just what was it that had you so absorbed? I’ve never seen such a goofy smile on your face.”

I scowl at him. “Goofy. Thanks. That’s what every girl wants to hear, that they have a goofy smile.”

He rolls his eyes at me and pushes my shoulder. I am able to control my natural instinct to shiver at his touch and mentally clench my fist in victory. “Parker, that’s not what I meant. You just looked really… happy, I guess. So spill, what were you thinking about?”

I snort, coming up with the most repulsive image I can find, hoping that if I make him laugh, he’ll stop pursuing this line of questioning. “Mrs Morgan.”

While Max laughs, let me fill you in here. Mrs Morgan is old, hairy and about five feet tall and about five feet wide. She’s our school’s cafeteria lady and if the food wasn’t off putting enough, her serving it is guaranteed to make you dump your lunch in the trash.

Max stops laughing and pins me with his probing gaze again. I squirm a little in my seat. How am I supposed to lie to that face? “No, seriously. What were you thinking about?”

This time, I’m going to have to flat out deny. “Nothing.”

His incredulous look tells me that he might not give up on this one. “As if. Come on Parker, you know you want to tell me.”

I laugh and push myself up and out of my seat. “No, actually I don’t.”

I begin to walk to the back room only to have Max follow me. While I may have dreamt about Max and I in the back room, these weren’t the exact circumstances I’d imagined. I’m just about to walk up the stairs when unexpectedly, Max asks, “What’s his name?”

I blink and stare at him, my foot held in mid air, about to take the first step. “What?”

“What’s the name of the guy who’s got you sitting dreamily at the counter staring off into space?”

I search Max’s face to find any sign of humour, but his face is unreadable at this moment. He’s shut off from me and I’m not sure if he’s joking or not.

“You’re insane.” I quickly plaster on a fake smile, attempting to divert him away from this strange questioning we’ve gotten ourselves into. “Don’t you have a home to go to and a sister to drive insane?”

Max rolls his eyes and I inwardly breathe a sigh of relief as he withdraws from the strange conversation we’ve been having. “Yeah, I guess I should go spread her bras all over the front lawn or something.”

“But then you’d have to touch them,” I remind him, the relief at the normalcy of this conversation letting me slip back into my usual role around him.

He winks and I think I feel my knees go weak. “Don’t you worry about me Parker, I’ve got a hazchem suit in the back of my closet.”

“Well, isn’t that handy?”

“Isn’t it?”

And suddenly, like a switch has gone off, there’s an awkward silence. Now, despite my attraction to Max, I have never, ever had an awkward silence with him. Never. This, ladies and gentlemen, is a definite first. I silently groan, hating my bad luck. First the bizarre conversation and now this? Could my life suck anymore?

“So Parker,” I jump as he breaks the silence. “Can I spread your bras over the front lawn?”

“Max,” I reply easily to his cheeky question. “You’re never seeing my bras.”

“Oh come on,” he wheedles. “Just one?”

“Nope. You can just pine away for them.”

“Parker, you’re resigning me to a cruel fate. How’s a man supposed to live without seeing some breastices?”

I raise an eyebrow. “I thought you had enough offers from the cheerleaders to fulfil your breatices quota?”

Max waves away my statement with a dismissive hand. “Pfft. Fake boobs don’t count.”

“I can hear the sound of dozens of cheerleader hearts breaking all over town.” Glancing at my watch, I pretend to read the time. “I have to go, Max, I’ll see you later.”

“Seeya Liz.” I turn and head upstairs, having avoided another awkward silence with him. I collapse against the closed door and congratulate myself and then ponder the strangeness of my encounter with Max.

What in the hell was going on there?
Last edited by Rowedog on Tue Jun 02, 2009 10:50 pm, edited 39 times in total.
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Re: Hiding Beneath (AU, M/L, TEEN) Pt 1, 13th August 08

Post by Rowedog » Mon Aug 25, 2008 8:15 pm

Ah, poos. Silly server. Oh well. i'll just have to repost.
Part Two

‘I'm too afraid to show
If it's coming over you
Like it's coming over me
I'm crashing like a tidal wave
That drags me out to the sea
And I wanna be with you
And you wanna be with me
I'm crashing like a tidal wave
And I don't wanna be
Stranded, stranded, stranded, stranded’
Stranded by Plumb

I enter the community centre that Maria’s mom runs and look around for my best friend. After school I usually hang around Maria as she organises the class organisation for the week and I help her out by typing out her messy handwriting into legible and organised rosters. She does this whenever she’s not working at the Crashdown with me and it really helps Amy out.

“Hey Maria,” I greet nervously, her entire face a massive scowl.

“I hate him,” she replies, not even bothering to greet me.

I roll my eyes getting ready for another episode in the DeLuca/Guerin drama. “Ah, yes... what has Michael done now?”

She glares at him openly from across the room, not even flinching when he looks up and spots her. To his credit, he merely looks back blankly, only letting a ghost of a smile cross his face when she turns away.

“It’s not even like he says anything rude, he’s just so condescending. He’s like ‘Oh you’re in high school, what could you possibly know about the world? So what your dad left you? Your pain couldn’t possibly compare to my pain. I was in foster care for 12 years.’ It’s like what I think and feel don’t matter at all.”

“He did not say that Maria,” I reply patiently, waiting for her anger to dwindle. Michael is 19 and teaches art to both kid and adults, whilst taking classes at the local community college himself. It’s actually pretty impressive, he manages to fit in three classes a day, paint works of art that get sold by our local gallery, has a job as a security guard and fits this all around his course at college. Not that I’d ever mention this to Maria. They really rub each other the wrong way.

She rolls her eyes. “Details, details. I know he thinks I’m a bratty pain in the ass, I can hear it in his voice. So in turn, I think he’s a pretentious, arrogant, condescending wanker whom I would love to fire,” Maria pauses and turns to watch Michael instruct the children sitting bunched up by his feet with a paint brush in his hand, all of them totally enraptured by what he’s talking about. “If he wasn’t so freaking good at his job.”

Michael suddenly gestures to the kids and they run off to set up their easels, eager to learn what he has to teach them.

“He is great with kids,” I reply, watching him help a young boy set up his easel, all the while joking and laughing with him. “They just love him.”

“Pfft, what do they know anyway?” asks Maria bitterly staring down at her clipboard, trying to figure out what class was on next.

“They say that kids are the best judge of character.”

Maria rolls her eyes again. “Kids believe in Santa Clause and the Tooth Fairy. Weren’t too great a judge of character when they believed their parents, were they?”

I laugh loudly, amused by Maria’s surliness. “Geez, you’re so bitter. Who crapped in your bed?”

Maria gives me a disgusted look before laughing uproariously. I don’t know what she’s laughing about, it really wasn’t that funny. She eventually calms down and addresses the questioning look I’m giving her. “I’m sorry, I just had a mental image of Michael pinching one out on my pillow.”

“And that was a humorous image, was it?” I asked, a little disturbed by the visual I got.

She cackles again, wiping her eyes. “You should have seen the look of concentration on his face.”

I shake my head and roll my eyes skyward. Only Maria...

“Hey Liz!” Max waves at me as I enter the biology classroom. “I saved you a seat!” he exclaims happily, pointing to the one beside him.

Every school day, Max says the same thing when I enter the Biology classroom to take my assigned seat as his partner. And each and every time I laugh. It’s not any funnier than it was the first time he said it, and God knows it should be old by now, but he’s just so adorably cute when he says it.

“One day Max, you’re going to say that and I’m not going to laugh,” I protest, as I plonk my book bag onto the desk and take a seat.

Max just smiles and shrugs at me, causing me to fall off my seat into a puddle of goo. Well, not really, but it could happen one day. “Until that day, Parker, I’m going to keep doing it. You’re just fuelling my stupidity with your response.”

I roll my eyes and hold my finger to my lips, signalling for him to shush as our teacher begins to teach. I begin taking notes, which was hard at the start of the year being so close to him and all, but now I’ve become very adept. I’m able to pretty much write down the summary of what he says and then take it home to look over myself when Max’s not around and I can concentrate.

I continue writing until I hear a gravelly voice sound next to my ear and a warm puff of air hit my neck. “Hey, Parker, Pam’s trying to get your attention.”

I force my eyes open, having closed of their own volition at his proximity, and look over at Pam sitting across from me, who reaches across the aisle between our desks and shoves a piece of paper in my hand. Without even thinking, I unfold it and read it before I realise that this message was not meant for me. I’m pretty sure that Pam doesn’t want to take me to the Eraser Room and suck me dry. I carefully shut the paper, trying to keep my cool at the skank’s nerve and pass the piece of paper along to Max. Max opens the note and stiffens at the lewd contents, staring at them as if he can’t quite believe they’re actually there. I can’t quite believe it either. I wasn’t aware that there were actually people like her that existed.

Max grabs his pen and quickly scribbles something in response and hands it back to me before I can read over his shoulder. I begrudgingly hand the note back over to Pam, who has been trying and failing to catch Max’s eye the entire time he’s had the note. She opens the note with a smug smirk to me then stiffens in rage, her smile turning into an outraged scowl when she reads his response.

Oh, this is such a good sign! Max, I could just kiss you right now! Well, I could do that most of the time anyway, but right now I just love you for your scruples and for seeing her for the skank she is! Yay! He’s not just a hormonal teenage boy with the motto ‘any hole’s a goal’!

I don’t know what he wrote but it seemed to have done the trick. She stormed quickly out of the classroom right after the bell went, sticking her nose in the air as she went.

Oh, whatever slut, go find yourself another footballer to blow. It’s not like she lacks admirers. Morals, self respect, intelligence and common decency? Yes. But admirers? No. I’m pretty sure she has her own fan club. I’m just glad that Max isn’t a part of it. I grab up my books and wave goodbye to Max, who is still struggling to gather up all his stuff, and head out with Maria and Alex.

I halt outside my locker and quickly fiddle with the combination and stuff my books in there to get ready for lunch. Just as I’m closing my locker, a burning tickle starts in the back of my nose and has me letting out a violent sneeze. Oh shit. I only sneeze when I’m getting a cold. This is just great. I tell Maria and Alex to head off to lunch without me and head off to the girl’s bathroom. Despite what you may have heard, we can go in there without moral support.

I sink onto the toilet and dig through my purse, knowing that I had some Echinacea left over in there from my last cold I had. My purse holds all the secrets of the universe. It holds my entire life actually. Just about everything I need can be somehow placed into this tiny little bag.

I stop my search when I hear the rush of noise from the hall suddenly magnify as someone comes through the door.

“He just totally wrote back ‘no thanks’ I mean, how fucking gay is that?” asks Pam to her bevy of followers.

Her mindless drones agree wholeheartedly until Vicki Delaney butts in. I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for her. She’s forthright, but not in a mean way and manages to retain some intelligence despite the culture of her friends. “Maybe he’s just not into dirty sluts, Pam.”

I have to bite my knuckle to keep from laughing. Oh, this is gold!

“Oh no bitch, you did not just call me a slut!”

“Pam, you just offered to suck off a guy that barely speaks to you in the middle of Biology class. You’re indiscriminate when choosing sexual partners and you have more sex in a day than most people have in a week. Tell me what your definition of a slut is please, I’m dying to know how you can improve.”

Pam merely huffs, knowing that she’s been totally owned and just moves on trying to save some face. “Whatever. At least I’m not like that frigid little bitch of a lab partner of his. Leah... or whatever her name is. Why does he even talk to her, anyway?”

Vicki lets out and exaggerated sigh, silencing the titters from the clones. They can obviously sense a power struggle here and don’t know who to back in fear that they’ll pick the wrong one. Myself? I’d be backing Vicki all the way. “Her name is Liz you stupid inbreed and she’s nice. Even if she did date my ex-boyfriend a while ago.” Damn. I was hoping she’d overlook that. “Besides, she obviously knows something you don’t because you don’t see Max ignoring her.”

“Whatever. I’m tired of talking about this shit. C’mon, let’s bounce.”

They exit the bathroom and I let my mind roll over what Vicki just said. Just what was Vicki implying? Before I can go any further in my train of thought, my sneezing hits home again with a vengeance, very nearly leaving my brains splattered all over the back of the toilet door. I hate colds.
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Re: Hiding Beneath (AU, M/L, TEEN) Pt 1, 13th August 08

Post by Rowedog » Mon Aug 25, 2008 8:17 pm

And again...
Part Three

‘I'm enchanted by your smile
I must admit took a while
For me to see that (this was something)
More than (he's my friend, it's nothing)

I hope to God, you feel the way I feel
Cause this could be amazing
Something so super real

There's something about you
And you don't even know it
I'm telling you know that you got me good’
Something About You by Jamelia

I pop two aspirin and groan, laying back down on the couch and letting my whirling head drag me into sleep, I drag the blanket back over my head to block out the light coming in from the window and wait for my exhaustion to kick in. I’ve taken to sleeping on the downstairs couch in the backroom, being unable to get comfortable in my own bed or on the upstairs couch. It’s a tradition I’ve stuck to since I was five and it gives me a sense of comfort when I’m sick knowing that that cruddy couch is waiting for me to crawl onto it.

I wake about an hour later to hear my Dad come through the back door. “Ugh. Did you bring horse tranquilisers?”

A hand pulls back the blanket and I look up to see honey coloured eyes, not dark brown. I stiffen as Max looks at me in concern. “No, Parker, I don’t have tranqs with me, but I do have some rather lovely tomatoes if you’re that way inclined.”

I sit up quickly and hold my head in my hands both to stop the whirling in my head and to hide my mortification of Max seeing me looking like I crawled my way out of the grave.

“Hey, are you okay?” I inhale slightly, smiling at the concern in Max’s voice.

“Peachy. You?” I shift to reposition myself into a more comfortable position and restrain the urge to groan when I notice the disgusting pyjamas I’m wearing.

“Well, I’m not exactly lying on the couch wishing for horse tranqs, but I think that besides that I’m doing pretty well.”

“How sad for you.” I grab the blanket that Max still has in his hands and wrench it up as far as I can to cover my disturbingly grey and tattered sleep apparel. This is the last time I risk sleeping downstairs. “What are you even doing here anyway? I thought our delivery was tomorrow?”

Max clears his throat and tugs at his ear in what appears to be a state of something close to uneasiness. “It is. I was just on my way to Chez Pierre and thought I’d drop in on you on the way and see how you were doing. You know, because you weren’t at school today, so I figured you were sick.”

Is it just me, or does Max seem nervous for some reason?

“That’s some brilliant deduction work there, Sherlock.” Max smiles and his tension seems to ease a bit. He’s probably just worried that I’ll take this gesture as a sign that he’s smitten over me. Which I would really love to do, but unfortunately I live in the real world and logic tells me that there is no way known that Max Evans would ever get hot under the collar for me. “Thank you for coming to see me though. It was really thoughtful.”

Max smiles, and my already restricted breathing just got a hell of a lot tighter. So not good. Why does he have to be so damn beautiful? I snap myself out of it and force myself to ask him a question I had planned for Maria. “You didn’t by any chance happen to get my homework for biology did you?” Max looks at me as if I’ve grown a third head and I feel impelled to explain myself further. “In the odd occasion when I’m not unconscious, I get really bored. I’ve never been one for daytime TV and I would like to stay ahead of the class, as nerdy as that sounds.”

“You’re not nerdy Liz. You’re focussed. You want to go to a good college to do something that you love. I respect that. So I’ll bring it for you tomorrow.”

“Oh, no Max it’s ok, I’ll get Maria to get it for me. You don’t have to come back.” While I love spending time with him, there’s no way known I want him coming back to witness me in all my sick glory. I’m very aware of how close to death I look at this moment.

“Parker.” Max pins me with a look that tells me he won’t brook refusal. “I’ll get it.”

“Ok,” I reply meekly as Max takes a seat right near my feet. I have to pull my legs up for him and this position really isn’t too comfortable. Max looks at me for a second, obviously waiting for something.

I narrow my eyes slightly. “What?”

He looks amused. “You’re not going to ask are you?”

“Ask what?”

Max grabs my feet and pulls them onto his lap, allowing me to stretch out fully. “To do that,” he elaborates, settling the blanket back over my feet as I stare at him in amazement. He settles back and I try not to think too hard about the fact that my feet are directly near Max’s groin.

He grabs the TV remote and presses the on button. He switches the channels until he finds a trashy daytime soap, he then turns to me and gestures to the TV. “Parker, I’m going to show you that daytime soap watching can be the most fun you can have with your clothes on.”

I stare at him questioningly. “Don’t you have to deliver vegetables to Chez Pierre?”

Max falters for a moment then plasters on a winning smile. “Did I say that I was on my way there? I meant I was on my way back. I have no where to go and time to kill, so I’m going to help out a sickly Parker and educate her on the joys of soap operas.”

I smile, charmed by his enthusiasm. “How charitable of you.”

He smiles winsomely at me. “I’m a giving guy.”

I begin to say something but he hushes me as the opening credits come on. “Shush Parker! You’ll miss the opening saxophone solo. It’s the best part.”

I wince as the music reminds me strongly of the early eighties. “This is the best part?” I ask Max incredulously.

He laughs loudly, “Sadly enough, it is.”

A couple of minutes into it and I can see why Max likes soap operas so much. They’re so easy to tease, so easy in fact that Max and I spend much of our time laughing while we watch it. I even find myself relaxing in his presence and it’s those moments that I allow myself to believe that this is what it would be like if Max and I were together. But then I snap back to reality when Max breaks through my daydreaming to joke about something I just missed on the soap. I really shouldn’t let myself drift off because I do get confused a lot of the time. “Who’s Stephanie?” I whisper so that I can hear what they’re saying.

“Stephanie’s the old bitch who’s opposing their marriage,” Max whispers back.

“But they’ve been married three times before that right?”


“And why’s she opposing it, again?”

Max shrugs, a tad bemused by my questioning. “Cuz she’s evil.”

“But-” I begin to object, only to be silenced by an imperial wave of Max’s hand.

“Parker, there’s no rhyme or reason. Everything’s black and white in this show. People are either good or bad and there’s no reason behind it.”

“There must be a reason,” I argue gesturing to the screen. “She can’t just have been born evil, that’s not how it works, people are a product of their environments. Unless, they’re sociopaths... and then they’re pretty much screwed anyway. Maybe her parents didn’t love her or, maybe she had a paedophile for an uncle, or-”

“Speaking of incest,” Max breaks into my rant. “That dude that chick is kissing right now? Totally her uncle.”

“Oh, sick!” My hands fly to my mouth in horror as they kiss languidly on screen.

Max sends a wickedly delighted grin my way. “You know what they say, Parker.”

I watch Max in trepidation, not trusting the wicked gleam in his eyes or repressed laughter in his voice. “No, what do they say?” I ask with hesitation, not quite sure I want to know.

“Incest is best.”

“Oh, Max! That’s frigging sick!” I try to communicate to him over the top of his loud maniacal laughter.

A thought springs into my mind, and I look at him thoughtfully until he catches my gaze.

“What?” he asks self-consciously, his laughter dying down.

I shrug noncommittally. “Nothing, I’m just wondering why I didn’t see it before.”

Max looks at me with narrowed, quizzical eyes. “See what?”

“That your hatred for your sister is totally an act to hide your deep seated lust for her.” Max’s mouth drops open in outrage and I smile angelically in response. “You know what they say, Max, incest is be-”

Max recovers from his outrage and cuts me off midsentence as he leans over my legs and begins to tickle me, setting me off squealing. “That was so uncalled for. Now you’re going to get it!”

I laugh, trying to push him off me, but his insistent fingers gravitate back to my sides making me squirm and squeal on the couch like a stuck pig. A sick, stuck pig at that.

“Take it back!” he commands, his fingers continuing their torture.

“N-eh-ever!” I manage to push out over the top of my uncontrollable laughter.

“Take it back!” Max amps up his tickling and then adds on, “and then say that I’m a sex god!”

I push his hands off me, heat rising to my face as he touches me whilst saying the word ‘sex’. I admit that it’s a tad juvenile, but I have a massive crush on him and I’d rather not be thinking anything sexual with him in such close proximity.

“How would I know that, Max?” I grunt out in embarrassment, my will to be swallowed up by a black hole growing exponentially. Great, I killed the mood. I slaughtered the playful, happy mood that was working so well before. I’m officially a mood killer. The first time I have sex I’ll probably bring up dog shit or something.

I risk a glance up at Max and he’s looking at me with an unreadable expression. He’s getting really good at those, he seems to be intent at just staring at me until I wriggle uncomfortably under the weight of his gaze and he pulls himself back from his position over me.

He waggles his eyebrows at me. “Come on Parker. You’ve had some of my sweet buns.”

“It mustn’t have been too memorable then,” I state, so relieved we’re back to playfulness and teasing.

“You just don’t remember because I put you into a coma.” He winks at me saucily and drawls out the next two words with relish, “sssss-eeeeenssssss-uuuu-aallll ooooo-veeeerrr-lllloooaaaddd.”

“That’s quite a gift you have there, Max. Do you use it for good or for evil?”

“I use it for awesome. I share myself around. Make sure everyone gets a piece of Max pie.”

“Maxwell Evans, the village bicycle,” I muse out loud, feeling only slightly sick at the thought of Max whoring his way around town.

“It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it,” he sighs, placing a hand on my thigh.

I try to keep my voice nonchalant as the heat from his hand spreads quickly through the blanket and the pressure from his hand sends me into a tail spin. “I’m sure Mrs Morgan is very appreciative.”

“Don’t be jealous, Liz. You know she loves you, what she and I share together is only physical.”

I laugh, relieved at the returned normalcy and snuggle back into the couch to watch the end of this fairly ridiculous show.

I’m enjoying myself so much that I’m actually sad when it ends, but Max informs me that there’s another soap on right after this so my melancholy lifts automatically. I know it has little to do with the actual soaps themselves, but more to do with Max’s presence. He’s what’s making this so much fun, so I’m glad that we can spend more time together. Although I can’t imagine why he’d want to spend his free time with me.

The second show ends to a chorus of our laughter as we mute the TV and replace character’s lines with our own. It’s only when my laughter gives way to violent fits of coughing that I begin to remember just how cruddy I feel.

“Jesus Christ, Liz are you ok?” Max awkwardly pats me on the back as I convulse into my hand, trying to prevent the germs from infecting Max.

“Ack... I’m fine... just dying loudly.” I manage to wheeze out, punctuating my rests with staccato coughs.

“Dying loudly?” Max queries, his eyes narrowed with concern.

“Whenever I have a coughing fit Maria tells me to die quietly.”

“How nice,” Max states, his tone implying that it’s anything but as he rubs my back, having ceased the thumping once my coughing fit had died down. I mumble an incoherent reply, his touch sending my brain off into the stratosphere.


“Yeah?” I murmur back, not previously realising how close he actually was before. His fingers trail over my back and I couldn’t think right now if I tried.

Max licks his lips, still bent over me. “I-”

The door slams open and whatever Max was about to say is lost as Maria storms in. We both jump apart as Maria halts in the doorway looking at us both with a querying expression on her face.

“Liz.” She turns slightly, her gaze resting on Max’s slightly red face. “Max.”

“Hey, is it five already?” I ask, glancing at my watch. Where did that time go?

“Oh... crap,” mutters Max as he stands up grabbing his bag. “I have to be home now. I’ll see you tomorrow, Liz. With your biology homework,” he adds on as an afterthought.

“Bye,” I call out as he heads out the door with a little wave.

As soon as the door shuts, Maria pounces. “Liz?! What just happened?”

I shrug, trying to figure it out myself. “He just felt sorry for me so we hung out and watched day time soaps. It was nothing.”

“Bullshit.” Maria certainly is direct. “No person would hang out with their biology lab partner when they’re sick, unless they had some serious feelings for them. Max wants in your pants, Liz.”

“As if,” I scoff, my heart beating wildly at the thought of Maria’s words being true. “He just dropped off a delivery at Chez Pierre and had some spare time and dropped in because he’s a caring human being. There’s no way Max could ever want me, especially not with me looking like this.”

Maria rolls her eyes at me and mutters all the way to her locker. I can only catch the words “morons” and “kidding themselves”.
Last edited by Rowedog on Fri Sep 12, 2008 6:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Hiding Beneath (AU, M/L, TEEN) Pt 3, 26th August 08

Post by Rowedog » Tue Aug 26, 2008 3:23 am

Because this part is short and because I’m bummed that my feedback was lost, you can have this part. Thank you to everyone who left feedback, I just can’t remember you all! Glad I didn’t update NID too...
Part Four

‘You got me trippin, stumbling, flippin, fumbling
Clumsy cuz I'm fallin in love
You got me slippin, tumbling, sinking, crumbling
Clumsy cuz I'm fallin in love’
Clumsy by Fergie

“Hey Lalex,” I greet as Alex enters our apartment and dumps his stuff near my feet.

“Hello my dearest Lizzy, ready to math it up?”

“Oh yes. Indeedy,” I reply, setting down my things on the table in front of us so that we can get to work. We have a maths quiz on tomorrow and both Alex and I are shitting our pants. Our teacher is tough and natural talent only takes me so far. I really need to study.

Alex throws down his pen after an hour and a half of solid math work. “Fuck this. I’m joining the circus. Who needs MIT anyway?”

I pat Alex’s leg, my own leg having fallen asleep ten minutes ago. “You know what I feel like? Cookie dough. I could really go some packaged cookie dough right about now.”

“And I’ve got a hankering for some sweetened condensed milk. I could eat a whole can.”

I try not to grimace at the thought of a whole can of sweetened condensed milk and stand up, gesturing to the door. “What do you think? Study break to the supermarket?”

“You are so on.”

Luckily for me, the supermarket is only a couple of streets away from the Crashdown, so we’re cool to walk. I shiver as the cool wind hits me as we step outside. I link arms with Alex as we make our pilgrimage to the holy land of food.

“Girl, you need some more meat on you, that way your bony ass won’t feel the cold so much.”

“Now, now Alex, that’s just mean,” I reprimand good naturedly. I stiffen as my dream from the night before pops into my mind. “Hey, I need to tell you about my dream the other night. Basically the gist of it was that I was watching a documentary on TV, it was like a discovery channel doco and I’m watching it with my parents and it suddenly becomes the mating habits of Liz Parker and it basically went in depth into my sexual desires and showed this video of me and... well, you know who, doing it.”

Alex lets out a long, hearty guffaw. “No, I don’t know who? Sean?”

We dodge people in the crowded street and I stick my tongue out at Alex, groaning when he begins to sing the bloodhound gang song. “You and me baby ain’t nothing but mammals, so let’s do it like they do on the discovery channel!”

“Shut up you dick!”

Alex sucks in a breath, obviously recalling something exciting. “Oh, did I tell you who said hello to me the other day? None other than the girl of my dreams.”

“Ooh, Alex, you playa! Get you some!”

“Liz?” Asks a voice that sounds distinctly un-Alex-like.

Both Alex and I freeze as we spot the Evans family leaving Chez Pierre. I must be blushing like mad right now.

“Hey, Max.” I glance around making a futile attempt to find something to distract Max from the fact that I’m standing in front of him. Runaway pram maybe? Car crash? Anything would do.

“What are you doing here?” he asks as his parents watch on with interest.

I have to think for a moment. What am I doing here? “Oh, well Alex and I got sick of studying for calculus so we went out to get some cookie dough and some sweetened condensed milk for Alex”

“Going to make cookies, huh?”

“No...” I blush. “We’re just going to eat cookie dough. And Alex is going to eat sweetened condensed milk out of the can.”

“Breakfast of champions,” states Alex, with an easy smile.

“Hey Alex.”

Alex tears his eyes away from the intriguing scene that is going on before him and turns to Isabel with a friendly smile. “Isabel, how’re you doing?”

She smiles back at him. “I’m fine thanks. Did you get your assignment done?”

Alex pauses for a moment, wondering what she’s talking about. “Oh... my computing systems assignment! Right... because we talked about it in history. Yeah, I got it done, just barely.”

They laugh as if they’re sharing an inside joke and I hate them both. Join my conversation!

“So, uh... family dinner?” I hazard a safe guess.

“Yeah, my parents love them,” replies Max with a slight roll of his eyes. He looks at me with concern when he notices that I’m shivering. “Are you cold?”

“Yeah, it’s a bit cold out here.” Before he has a chance to respond, I make a wild grab for Alex’s arm and gesture down the street. “Well, we better get going before I turn into an ice cube. See you both at school tomorrow.”

I vaguely hear their goodbyes as I practically tow Alex down the street. Does he think I can’t hear him laughing under his breath?

Once we’re a safe distance away I berate him. “Just keep laughing at my pain, Alex. You’ll get yours.”

“Oh come on Lizzy, that was hilarious. You were a total spastic.” Alex’s laughter just keeps on coming.

“And what would you have done if that was Leanna?” I ask, referring to Alex’s crush.

“Quite obviously I would have died an awful death,” says Alex seriously, still not repenting his meanness.

“Since when do you and Isabel Evans engage in conversation?” I ask, not knowing where that had come from.

“Dunno, we both help out the kids at the hospital, so I guess we have something in common.” Alex shrugs.

I raise my eyebrows at him. “You do realise that the entire male population of West Roswell High would give their right nut to be in your shoes right now?”

Alex merely shrugs again. “Meh, she’s cool. She’s probably picked up on the fact that I’m not interested and sees me as a safe guy to talk to.”

I waggle my eyebrows at him. “Either that or a challenge.”

Alex stiffens in fear. “I hope not. Not that, you know, it’d be bad, cos she’s nice and stuff, but...”

“She’s not Leanna,” I finish for him, rolling my eyes. He’s so whipped. “Let’s just get your freaking condensed milk and go home so that I can repress this entire event.”

“How much have you repressed so far Lizzy?”

“About half a year of my life.”
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Re: Hiding Beneath (AU, M/L, TEEN) Pt 4, 26th August 08

Post by Rowedog » Tue Aug 26, 2008 9:53 am

I'm feeling generous. Have and enjoy.
Eve- Exactly, right on the money!
Tequathisy- Thank you! I do it mainly to entertain myself, but I'm glad you enjoy it too.
Nibbles2- Fear not, totally curable disease :wink:
Part Five

'Whoa, I never meant to brag
But I got him where I want him now.
Whoa, it was never my intention to brag
To steal it all away from you now.
But God does it feel so good,
Cause I got him where I want him now.'
Misery Business by Paramore

I glance over to my right at Alex during our calculus test from hell and he mouths the word ‘Boned’ to me, which nearly sets me off laughing. Which would be a tremendous mistake considering how much of a dick our teacher is. I’d get kicked out of class for sure.

I drag my hands down my face and wait for my brain to stop aching and my eyes to stop watering. Shit I just hate this class.

The bell rings and all the students file out leaving me and Alex behind who simultaneously collapse into one another across the aisle. I pull myself together after a moment and then grab my books with a groan. I hate life.

Alex offers me his arm and I take it gladly, leaning into him as we exit the classroom. We’ve got class together next so I can lean on him the whole way there. Score.

“Hey Alex, how was your quiz?” My eyes narrow in confusion as Isabel Evans pops out of nowhere.

Alex seems to take her sudden appearance in stride though. “Ugh. I don’t want to talk about it,” jokes Alex, his tone half serious.

She gives him a sympathetic smile. “That bad, huh?”

“Worse,” I chime in, drawing a laugh from the ice queen. How about that? I made the Isabel Evans chuckle. Points for me.

“That’s too bad. Are you guys heading to History now?”

Where else would we be going? It’s not like we’re skipping out to do it in the eraser room. Eww... dirty visual of Alex and I doing it...

“Yeah, we’re going now. You coming with us?” asks Alex, reminding me that we actually have a class with her.

“Sure,” she replies, gracing him with a dazzling smile. Holy shit! I know that smile! That’s the smile I give Max! That’s the smile of a girl with a huge assed crush! Holy mother of... this is huge! Alex, I bow down to you and your sexy ways! You must teach me!

“Alex!” comes a piercing cry from down the hall that sets both Isabel and I wincing. Christ, here we go.

“Alex,” breathes Leanna, coming to a halt in front of him, standing slightly to the side so that she blocks Isabel off from him. Ooh, that’s harsh.

“L-leanna,” stutters Alex like the dutiful puppy that he is as her hand comes out to grasp at his arm. He’s eating out of the palm of her hand and she knows it.

She begins running her hand up and down his arm, with a winsome smile plastered across her face. “I was wondering if you’d walk me to Art class?”

“Uh, sure...” he squeaks out nervously before clearing his throat.

“Our class is in the opposite direction,” interrupts Isabel, her smile has all but disappeared from her face.

“I’ll be a little late,” replies Alex vaguely waving behind him as Leanna practically tows him down the hall away from us, but not before she shoots a victorious glare at Isabel. That absolute bitch! She couldn’t care less about Alex, she just wants to stick it up Isabel. That is so unfair to use him as a pawn in her little game. At least Isabel genuinely cares about him.

I glance down and realise that I’m going to have to walk unassisted to my next class. That punk ass little bitch! He totally ditched me in my hour of need. “Alex! Bros before hos!” I call out, but he’s too engrossed in his bitch queen to even notice me. Just great.

I glance at Isabel who’s watching their steady retreat with a angry glare that’s tinged with hurt. I cough slightly and draw her attention back to me. “You ok?”

She goes to protest in denial, but then closes her eyes in defeat and sighs. “Am I that obvious?”

“Just a little bit.” I hold my index finger and thumb close together in front of my face. “Don’t worry, Alex only likes her because he doesn’t know her. Once he realises what an evil strumpet she is, he’ll be over her quick smart.”

“Thanks Liz,” she says quietly, watching Alex disappear around the corner.

“So, wanna walk me to class? I seem to be lacking a buddy seeing as Alex piked out on me.”

She sends me a sincere smile and we walk to class together, my head reeling from not only that brain fuck of a math quiz, but also because Isabel Evans is totally gone for my lovable, but undeniably geeky, Alex. Will wonders never cease?
Alex is ten minutes late to class, but is given a warning considering this is the first time he’s done it. He keeps trying to tell me stuff when the teacher turns his back, but I don’t want to know that the snooty hooker has managed to sink her rabid claws even further into my dear, sweet, unassuming best friend of the male persuasion. Instead I spend my time trying to snooze off this brain ache from the previous period.

I jolt out of my stupor when a piece of folded paper lands square in the middle of my desk. I glance over at Alex who is looking at me expectantly. Gee, I wonder who this is from.

Liz! Leanna and I are going out on a date!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I sigh and turn and give him the double thumbs up sign that he’s so famous for. What else could I do? Tell him to stay away from her because she’s a fucking bitch of the hell beast variety? No, he’s got to learn it on his own.

He smiles and turns back to writing notes, allowing me to pass the note along to Isabel who’s been surreptitiously trying to read it from her position on my right.

She reads it and hurt flashes in her eyes. I mouth the word ‘Sorry’ to her knowing that it won’t make a damn difference in the end. She mouths back ‘Thanks’ with a sad smile and slumps in her seat. I know that slump. I invented that slump. It’s the slump you get when you realise that the one person that you want couldn’t want you any less if he tried. Life sucks.
“The weirdest thing just happened,” states Maria sitting next to me at our usual table for lunch. Pulling out her sandwich, Maria doesn’t hesitate to take an enormous bite then start talking. “Alex just told me that he and Leanna are going out on a date.”

‘That’s quite a skill you’ve got there, Maria. You being able to talk with your mouth completely crammed.”

“I’m serious Liz!” she swallows and then takes a sip of her apple juice. “They’re going out on a date. This is the chick who wouldn’t give him the time of day a week ago. And suddenly they’re going out on a date.”

“I know, I was sorta there when it happened. You want to know something that will completely blow your mind?”

“What?” She takes another bite.

“Leanna is only going out with him to get up someone else’s nose. Specifically Isabel Evans’ because she has a massive crush on him.”

“WHAT??!!” cries Maria, spraying food everywhere as she rises from her seat.

“Shut up!” I whisper harshly, yanking her down by her arm. I stop to flick of a fragment of chewed bread off my arm. “You are so gross. And you can’t tell anyone. It’s a secret.”

“This is a joke right?” Her voice drops to a whisper, much to my relief. “Because there is no way that Isabel Evans would ever like Alex Whitman.”

“Believe it. I saw it with my own eyes. She looked totally crushed when he went off with Leanna and I’ve seen them together before and she’s always talking to him. She sort of admitted it to me too.”

“How did this even happen?” asks Maria, trying to get her head around it.

I shrug, my bemusement having worn off somewhere in the middle of last period. “I think they hung out a bit at the hospital because they both volunteer. And you’ve got to admit, Alex is an extremely decent guy.”

Maria nods her head hurriedly in agreement. “Yeah, but the fact that she noticed that? Too bizarre.”

“The fact remains that she did notice. Which is why I’m hoping that Alex gets with Isabel. Leanna only went after Alex because she noticed Isabel liked him. And she was a total bitch about it. Isabel showed me her softer side today and I can now see how her and Max are related. Couldn’t before, but now I have to say that she’d be much better for him than Leanna would ever be.”

“This is like the freaking twilight zone!”

I nod my head, concurring with her statement. “You’re telling me.”
Last edited by Rowedog on Tue Aug 26, 2008 10:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Hiding Beneath (AU, M/L, TEEN) Pt 5, 27th August 08

Post by Rowedog » Fri Aug 29, 2008 12:58 am

Sure you are. *snorts*
Ashley- See what a good role model I am?
Oh god yes, my names Alison and I’m a sweetened condensed milkaholic! I can’t live without milkahol! Perhaps I’ve been watching too much of the Simpsons...
you know, I’m getting tired of writing out your name in feedback responses. It’s long. I would call you my special little kiwi friend, but that’s even longer. What a quandary I seem to find myself in. Can I -in typical bogan fashion- call you Caro?
Tequathisy- I think you did post before and said something about Maria being a genius to which I wholeheartedly concurred.
Part Six

‘Though I've tried before to tell her
Of the feelings I have for her in my heart
Every time that I come near her
I just lose my nerve
As I've done from the start

Every little thing she does is magic
Everything she do just turns me on
Even though my life before was tragic
Now I know my love for her goes on’
Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic by Sting

“Hey Michael, have you seen Maria?” I ask, ducking into his classroom as he sets up for his next sculpture class.

“No, but if you stop talking for a moment you should be able to hear her,” he wisecracks, making me smile in spite of my loyalty to my best friend.

“I can now see the reason why she doesn’t like you,” I return, wagging a finger at him.

Michael stops his preparation and looks up at me. “She talks about me?”

Whoa, time to backtrack. “Oh, nothing really bad, just about how you two seem to love to get under each other’s skin.”

He gives me a crooked smile. “Well, that is true.”

“Lizzy! There you are!” Maria walks into the room, completely ignoring Michael and starts pulling me out of the classroom.

“Bye,” I call out just before Maria closes the door behind us.

“What were you doing talking to him?” she asks, her eyes narrowed.

“Looking for you,” I reply honestly, her anger both amusing and frightening me at the same time.

She rolls her eyes at me and begins to drag me down the corridor. “And what would I be doing anywhere near him?”

“I don’t know? God, take some pills or something.”

Maria mutters under her breath something about turn coats and then delegates me to write out her hastily scribbled notes. Oh the life of a whipping boy.

“You are such a dick!” comes the cry of my best friend from down the hall of the community centre. Two guesses for who she’s yelling at. I quickly rush to the scene to find her and Michael toe to toe.

“I’d rather be a dick than a princess!” he retorts, his eyes narrowed in a rare display of emotions from him. “It’s just paint!”

“Just paint? Just paint?!” She gestures to the large green wet patch on her front. “Do you know how hard it is to get ‘just paint’ out of clothes?” She scans what he’s wearing with a disparaging eye. “I guess that’s never really been an issue with you, huh?”

“God you are such a fucking...” he trails off, obviously not finding the words he needs to convey just how much he hates her.

“Yeah? Well ditto!” cries Maria, throwing her hands in the air and storming out of the room in fury.

As soon as she leaves I pin Michael with a reproachful look. “You could have just apologised to her.”

He runs his hands through his hair with an incensed groan. “I tried! She’s fucking nuts!”

I give him a look. “Well perhaps she would have been more likely to forgive you if you didn’t spend most of your time goading and insulting her.”

He hangs his head, conceding the truth of my words. “She just... drives me insane.”

“I believe that’s a mutual thing,” I reply, turning to head out the door.

“Oh and Michael,” I call, over my shoulder. “Go and apologise to her again. This time without the yelling.”

I hear something that sounds vaguely like a muttered “Yeah, yeah...” as I shut the door. Time to find Maria and do some more damage control.

This is going to be swell.

“Hey Liz!”

I look over to find my glowing best friend holding the hand of the devil incarnate.

“Hey Alex,” I reply cheerfully, even though a part of me wants to go over there and sneer at Leanna like she’s sneering at the decor of my parent’s cafe. Snotty bitch.

“We just thought we’d drop in for a bite to eat,” he explains, totally oblivious to the cold glare I’m receiving from his girlfriend. I know that the only reason that she’s here is because she’s aware that Isabel often frequents this place with her brother. I bet she’d just love to rub it in. The entire two weeks that they’ve been dating she’s been popping up in all the places that Isabel can be found with Alex on her arm. How freaking vindictive and petty.

“Sure,” I shrug, pointing to a booth over in the corner. “I’ll bring you guys some menus in a jiffy.”

I walk away, holding my head in my hands. He sure knows how to pick them. I give them their menus, ignoring Leanna’s comment about having difficulty finding anything that wasn’t artery hardening and then head outside to the outside tables to check up on our customers.

I freeze as I notice the Evans’ heading towards me. Oh shit, I can’t watch Isabel get hurt again. I quickly dismiss myself from the table I’ve been checking up on and sprint to them before they get in sight of the Crashdown.

“Liz!” exclaims Max in surprise when I nearly crash into them both. Ignoring him, I grab Isabel’s arms and shake my head at her. “Don’t go in there.”

Isabel frowns, obviously wondering what drugs I’ve been taking.


“She’s in there.”

Isabel blanches at my words. “But she never...”

“She does now.”

Isabel shakes her head in angry disbelief. “I can’t believe her. Seriously, what is her issue?”

“Who?” asks Max, clearly confused. Both of us ignore him.

I shake my head, not really knowing what to say. “She’s a bitch. Plain and simple.”

Isabel sighs and looks behind her. “Thanks Liz. I’d better get going. I’ll catch you later.”

“Where are you going?” calls out Max.

“Home,” replies Isabel, walking backwards down the street so that she can get as far away from the devil incarnate as possible while still being able to respond to Max.

“Take the jeep,” says Max, throwing her the keys which she catches deftly with one hand.

We watch her swiftly run to the jeep and once he’s certain she’s out of earshot, Max turns to me. “I don’t suppose you’re going to tell me what that was about?”

I smile at him and swiftly shake my head. “Nup.”

“Liz,” Max catches my arm and spins me back to him as I head back to the cafe. “I’m not entirely sure what’s going on, but I’m pretty sure that you’re looking out for my sister, so... thanks.”

I shrug, trying to appear nonchalant about the fact that he’s got my elbow encompassed in his warm grip. “No biggie.”

I retreat quickly before I make a complete fool of myself. Which is a pretty common occurrence when I’m in his presence. I wince as I stumble over a haphazardly placed chair leg. That boy is going to be the death of me.
Last edited by Rowedog on Wed Sep 17, 2008 1:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Hiding Beneath (AU, M/L, TEEN) Pt 6, 29th August 08

Post by Rowedog » Sat Aug 30, 2008 9:01 am

I’m posting these pretty quickly in an attempt to induce myself to write more. My success thus far? Fairly minimal, but it’s the only thing I can think of.

*stage cough*Michael and Maria*end stage cough*
Natalie36- Me too!
It gave me great joy to type that in. I dig shortened names.
I know! I didn’t plan for it to be short! It just was! However, in my defence I might point out that all my updates have been short thus far, so measuring relative shortness seems like a bit of a waste of time.
Although you should be prepared to enter into a new phase of our relationship, moving from author/feedbacker( and fan), to this thing called......friends. I believe this is an earth term. (Yuss 2nd Alien reference in one post- I am on fire!!!! maybe it has something to do with the time of morning and the wine I have consumed)
Point A) Congrats, you have been elevated to the rank of my best friend for either drinking alcohol in the morning (which makes you an extreme alcoholic) or for having a hangover (which makes you less of an alcoholic, but still cool).
Point B) while I appreciate your enthusiasm, perhaps now would be a good time to quit while you’re ahead with the alien references.
Point C) You’re lucky I watch Bro’Town and can envision just how that yuss is supposed to sound.
Point D) This is entirely unrelated to the above post, but considering our newly formed friendship Caro, can you please say ‘fish and chips’ and ‘six’ for me? I know I won’t be able to hear it, but I’ll be imagining it. :D
Part Seven

‘And I can't fake it the way I could before,
I hate you, but I love you,
I can't stop thinking of you,
It's true I'm stuck on you.’
Stuck by Stacie Orrico

Ugh, whoever thought that any person can learn about English on a Friday morning was surely deluding themselves. I’m already in weekend mode. I can’t even concentrate on what Mrs Hinkleberger is talking about and it’s a new assignment. What the fuck kind of a name is Hinkleberger anyway?

“Split up into groups of three for this assignment, be careful who you choose, this is going to make up half of your grade.”

I groan, not liking the sound of that. The bell rings and the students wander around finding people to partner up with. I grab Maria and look around for a third person to make up our trio. I try not to let out a groan when I notice Leanna coming towards us. Oh Jesus, there’s only so much of her I can take.

“Liz, can I join your group?”

I turn to the voice that’s just spoken and take in Isabel Evans standing there like my own personal knight in shining armour.

“Abso-fucking-lutely!” declares Maria emphatically, her hatred for Leanna outstripping any reservations she might have had over Isabel joining our group.

Leanna scowls at us before scurrying off to find another group. I know what she’s trying to do. She’s noticed that I don’t hate Isabel and is now trying to infiltrate Alex’s friendship group so that Isabel is once again shut out from every aspect of Alex’s life. Too bad, bitch.

“Ugh, what a fucking troll,” bites out Isabel, who is watching Leanna retreat with a small sense of satisafaction.

“Isabel,” sighs Maria, “You’ve just become my new best friend. Congratulations.”

“Thanks,” smiles Isabel. “Does this position come with health benefits?”

Maria cackles as we head out of the classroom. “Absolutely. And a dental plan.”

“When do you think we should meet up to work on this?” I ask, not wanting to break up the bonding session, but needing to discuss it considering I had just arrived at my next class.

“Tonight? After school at the Crash?” suggests Isabel, to which we both nod our heads.

“See you then, Ladies.” I head inside, leaving Isabel and Maria to bond over their common hatred of Leanna. Time for my assigned hour of sweet torture. Time for Biology with Max.

I enter the classroom and wait two beats.

“Hey Liz! I saved you a seat!”

There we go.

“Hello Max,” I reply jovially and sit myself down next to him and flick open my folder, pulling out my pen.

“So, about this Biology assignment thing we have to do, I was thinking maybe we could work on it tonight after school at the Crash.”

I give him an apologetic smile. “I can’t tonight, sorry. I’m busy.”

Max shrugs and looks down at his hands. “Oh... so you got a date or something?”

I let out a snort, my eyes raking over last week’s notes as I try to remember what we learnt. “Oh yeah! A hot date.”

“Who, uh - who with?” Max didn’t seem to catch the sarcasm in my previous statement. So I decide to have a little fun with him.

“Your sister.” Max whips his head up to look at me in horror. “And Maria, it’s less of a date and more of a steamy affair. You’re welcome to come and videotape if you wish.”

Max stares at me in silence, seemingly not quite sure if I’m kidding or not.

“We have an English assignment. The three of us are in a group, so we’re meeting up to discuss what we’re doing.”

“Oh.” Max blushes adorably. “Well, when are you free?”

“Um... Saturday?”

Max shakes his head. “Family thingy.”

“Ok then... how’s Sunday for you?”

“Sunday at about five is good for me. I’m working during the day.”

“It’s fine for me too. I’m not working on Sunday. We can study at my place if you want, the Crash tends to get a little crowded at that time and it’s really noisy. We’d just have to do it in my room because there’s really no where else.”

Max clears his throat. “Uh, yeah. Sure, that sounds fine.”

I smile brightly at him. “Great. I will see you then.”

I groan in abhorrence as I notice the customer I’m just about to wait upon. “Little Lizzy Parker, I gotta say, you’re looking hot these days.”

Gross. Gross, gross, gross. Gross. He could at least make the glaringly obvious undressing of my body with his eyes a little more casual. I feel like I’ve been sexually assaulted.

I give him a disgusted grimace in place of a welcoming smile. “Gee Sean, you’re so charming.”

He winks at me and I throw up a little in my mouth. “The girls do love it.”

“I’m sure.” I’m not sure he can tell that I’m using sarcasm. Maybe I should be more clear.

“So how’s about a date then, you and me, The Crashdown, eight o’clock?” asks Maria’s criminally disturbed, twenty one year old cousin. Can you say statutory rape? Is he even aware that what’s occupying his mind is illegal?

“Wow, Sean, while I’d love to hang out with you at my place of work and eat the food that I serve all day, I have homework.” I think I overdid it in the sarcasm there. There’s no way he couldn’t catch that tone.

“How’s Sunday for you?”

Wow, is he that dense or merely obtuse? “Can’t take a hint, huh? I’m not interested.”

“You wound me Parker,” he slaps his hand to his chest, then his eyes brighten. “How about we make a bet, huh? If Michael Guerin and Maria go out on a date, we go out on a date.”

I laugh, amused by the idea. “There’s no way that will ever happen. Maria hates him and he can’t stand her.” The thought of those two actually getting together is beyond hilarious.

“So we have a deal, then?” he asks, holding out his hand to shake on it.

I shrug, clasping his sweaty palm in mine. There’d be no harm in it seeing as it could never happen.


I turn to encounter my flustered best friend tearing towards me, looking more insane than usual. “Maria?”

“You...will never... ever... in a... million years... guess... big news... can’t talk...”

I pat her on the back as she doubles over, clutching her side and gasping for air. I guess she ran all the way here or something. “Deep breaths, Maria. Deep breaths.”

“Michael Guerin just asked me out,” she blurts out, my face going white with shock and horror. Oh, fuck no. “And the worst part is... I said yes! I mean, I don’t even like him! Why on earth would I say yes?” I flick a horrified glance over at Sean to see him smirking gleefully at me. That fucking bastard knew all along! And now I’ve been freaking roped into a date against my will.

I go to open my mouth to complain about the unfairness of the bet when Sean stands up to leave. “A bet’s a bet, Parker. You shook on it, so I’ll see you here at eight.”

Maria looks between us in confusion and as soon as he leaves I turn on her. “I hope you’re happy, I freaking hate you!” I hiss, storming out into the back room leaving a slack jawed, confused Maria behind me.
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Re: Hiding Beneath (AU, M/L, TEEN) Pt 7, 31st August 08

Post by Rowedog » Tue Sep 02, 2008 10:05 am

Yeah, this is short, but on the plus side, I didn’t hurt all of your delicate dreamer feelings by going in depth into Liz’s date with Sean.

I’ve done my part. “A dingo stole my baby!” and “Crikey, that one has a kangaroo loose in his top paddock!” were both said as loudly and as Australian-ly as possible, much to the amusement of my housemate, who thought I was on crack. You know what’s ironically amusing about that? My parents own a little hobby farm, so we have paddocks and we live on a slope so we have a top paddock and we frequently have kangaroos running through there. So how about that? It freaks my horse out though, he hates kangaroos. They scare the shit out of him.
Anticipatory is a real word and you spelt it correctly, so well done! You invented a word that already exists! Gold medal!

Part Eight

‘Is she really going out with him?
Is she really gonna take him home tonight?
Is she really going out with him?
‘Cause if my eyes don't deceive me,
There's something going wrong around here’
Is She Really Going Out With Him by Joe Jackson

I spin myself around on the bench chairs at the counter of the Crashdown, scowling moodily at everyone as Maria laughs at me.

“Shut up Maria, this is all your fault.”

“Honey, I wasn’t the one who made a bet with him knowing just how manipulative he is. You should have known that if he was going to make a bet with you, he would have been positive he’d win.”

I’m still upset with her. “Well you could have said no! Then there wouldn’t have even been a bet! What in the world possessed you to say yes anyway?”

She shakes her head, not looking too positive that even she knows the answer to that question. “I don’t know. I know that we hate each other and that he drives me nuts. But we were having this argument over something completely ridiculous-”

“Honey, all of your arguments with him are completely ridiculous,” I interrupt.

She brushes that point aside and continues on. “And just as I was about to slap him in the face or do something else just as drastic, he grabbed me and kissed me, in front of everyone at the centre. I mean, I didn’t even have time to think, let alone react. The he just pulls away and says ‘I hate you, but I can’t stop thinking about you. Do you wanna go out sometime?’ I just stood there staring at him in shock and before I could stop myself, I nodded. And do you know what he did? He just nodded, grunted out ‘good’ and walked away.”

I smile for the first time since Sean swindled a date out of me. “That’s sweet,” I murmur, then qualify my statement at Maria’s questioning look. “You know, given the weirdness of you and Michael.”

“I guess,” she mutters, a faint smile brushing her lips.

“Hey, it’s not like he’s revolting or a complete sleaze like, oh say... your cousin,” I remind her, my despair growing back.

Maria nods, her spirits at least are lifted. Mine remain firmly entrenched in the gutter. “That’s right, he is hot. Maybe I can just stare at him and block out everything he says.”

“There you go, that’s the spirit.” I clap her on the shoulder and groan as I see Sean coming towards us. “If all else fails, remember that it cannot get any worse than the date I’m about to go on.”

“True,” Maria smiles, her apprehension about her date with Michael dissolved by my misfortune. I’m so glad that my pain makes her feel better. She jumps about a mile high when her phone begins to ring in her pocket. Glancing at caller ID she blanches and mouths the word, “Michael,” at me.

“Maria, you haven’t even answered it, you can say his name out loud if you want,” I remind her, as Sean stops in front of me.

“Oh yeah,” she whispers flipping open her phone and holding it to her ear. “Hello?... Oh, hey Michael,” she says as she walks off towards the back room.

“Hey Parker, you ready to go on our date?”

I groan in not so silent mortification as he says this in front of a whole bunch of kids from school who have just walked in.

“Nice to see you dressed up for the occasion,” I retort taking in his attire which hadn’t changed from the last time I saw him. I at least had the decency to get changed. He looks like a massive retard. Baggy jeans with the crotch hanging between his knees and a... backwards cap on his head? Who does he think he is? Marky Mark?

“What?” he asks, looking confused.

Shaking my head I begin to walk to the door leaving him to follow me. “Never mind,” I grind out, exasperated.

This is just going to be magical, I can tell.

“So Parker, it’s time for the goodnight kiss,” states Sean gleefully as we arrive at my back door, puckering up his lips in anticipation and leaning down to me.

I place my hand upon his forehead and push back knocking off his stupid backwards cap that’s been annoying me all night. Sean’s sleazy smirk drops from his face as I stare him down.

“Sean, I think I’ve been a pretty good sport all night. I didn’t complain when we went to Burger King for dinner and I didn’t physically assault you when you had the nerve to try and drive me to Buckley’s point. I didn’t even get upset when you made me sit and watch you and your dumb ass friends play Xbox for an hour, which was actually the best part of the date because I didn’t have to talk to you. But there is no way, absolutely no way that I am going to let you place your lips on mine. I didn’t have to come on this date, but fair’s fair, I lost that bet, even if it was made under very shady circumstances.”

Sean looks at me with an inscrutable expression on his face. “So... you wanna do this again sometime?”

I can’t even begin to describe how enormously frustrated I am right now. It’s like talking to a lump of dog shit, you can explain and talk all you want, but in the end, it’s still a lump of dog shit that has no idea what you’re talking about. And now I’m not even making sense. I think I’ve lost brain cells from just being around him. Plus his house smells like weed so I’m sure I’m just a little buzzed right now after inhaling the putrid stench for an hour.

“No. NO. For the love of God, NO! I would rather shoot myself in the foot than do that again!” I slap myself in the forehead and then turn and unlock the door. “Ugh, I’m going in now. Goodbye Sean.”

I slam the door and rush up to my room, throwing myself onto the bed with a groan.

“That good, huh?” asks Maria from the corner of my room in the shadows. I jolt up and place my hand on my racing heart and flick on the bedside lamp.

“Don’t do that ever again! You nearly gave me a heart attack.”

Maria shrugs and crosses over to the bed that I’m sitting cross legged on. “I heard your little tirade. Gotta hand it to you, Lizzy, that was pretty fierce.”

I sigh, not liking how I must have sounded. “In retrospect I guess it wasn’t very nice, but he manipulated me into a date he knew I didn’t want and he is so impossible to talk to. He doesn’t listen, so I thought I’d be as clear as possible.”

Maria takes a seat next to me with a smirk. “Only you would feel guilty over being mean to my criminally retarded cousin.”

“Enough about him,” I say with a dismissive wave of my hand. “Tell me the exciting news! Tell me about you and Michael!”

Maria blushes, a rare and endearing sight. “Ummm... he’s picking me up after work and we’re going to see Amelie at the retrospective.”

I blink and run that through my head again. “Amelie?”

Maria holds out her hands in a shrug.“He’s full of surprises.”

I let out an amused snort. “Apparently.”
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Re: Hiding Beneath (AU, M/L, TEEN) Pt 8, 3rd September 08

Post by Rowedog » Thu Sep 04, 2008 11:47 am

My poor darling horsey, Gordon, as pictured here, happens to have the grace of a hippo and the courage of a timidly mouse, so a fight between him and a kanga often ends up with him piss-bolting down the other end of the paddock, sticking his head up in the air like a giraffe and whistling through his nostrils in an unearthly pitch I had no idea a creature of God’s earth could make. So sorry to disappoint. Pretty he is, useful he ain’t. Though my Shetland pony, Cibble, could probably take a roo on, that is, if she could be arsed.
Part Nine

‘I think the whole room
Can hear me clear my throat
You rip my heart right out
You rip my heart right out
And we know what happens
When we get to your house
Rip my heart out
You’ll rip my heart right out’
Your House by Jimmy Eat World


“He seriously made you watch him play Xbox?” asks Maria, having finally swindled the details of my date with Sean from me the day after the horrendous event occurred.

I nod my head sadly, hoping that in time it’ll be as humorous to me as it is to Maria.

“He’s a special one alright.”

Maria grabs a plate of onion rings from Jose and heads off to the table that ordered them. “Special isn’t the word I’d use, sweetie.”

I spin myself around at the bench while Maria works. It’s not often that Maria works a shift and I’m not on, but when she does, I usually sit downstairs so that we can talk.

Maria smiles at the clock in jubilation as she catches sight of the time, then squeals a little as she realises what that means. “I have to get ready for my date! Tell me when he gets here!”

I sit there for five minutes and blink in surprise when Maria appears, dressed and apparently ready to go. “Quick,” I state, astounded by her speed.

“Michael hates princesses who take a lot of time to get ready,” she explains, letting go of a nervous squeal when she spots him about to come through the door. She manages to compose herself by the time he reaches her though.

“Hey, you ready to go?” asks Michael, halting in front of her. Oh, bad Michael! You have to notice how she looks and comment on it. Not that Maria really seems to mind right now.

“Yeah, I’m good,” she breathes. “See ya Lizzy. I’ll call you.”

“Bye babe.”

I watch them leave, impressed by Michael’s hand in the small of her back, ushering her to his car. Nice. But I’m even more impressed by what he says as they leave the Crashdown. “By the way, you look beautiful tonight.”

Score one for Michael! Props to you boy, you’ve redeemed yourself. Sigh, I wish I had a date with someone who didn’t think that Burger King was a first class establishment.

Speaking of people I’d like to date, I have ten minutes until Max gets here, I guess I’ll just make a start on our Biology.

I’ve written down a few ideas into my note pad by them time Max gets here. I swing from my seat and rush over to him as he enters the cafe.

“Hey there, Maximillion. Ready to work?” I ask jovially, my mood dropping when he simply shrugs and goes to remove his coat.

“Do you mind if I eat first? I’m starving and I won’t have a chance to eat dinner tonight,” he asks dully, not waiting for my answer before he sits at a booth.

“Ok, do you want your usual?” I ask hesitantly, a little put off by his abrupt mood swing. He was fine yesterday and the day before that and the day before that... in fact, I have never ever seen Max in a mood like this.

“Thanks,” he says curtly, fiddling with his menu, not even looking at me.

I turn slowly, really put out by the negative vibes that Max is sending me and place his order at the window, informing the waitress on his section as I go.

I head back to his booth. “Max, I’ll just set everything up upstairs, once you’re done, go through the back and knock on our apartment door, okay?”

Max nods curtly and I turn to head back. I hesitate at the last moment, needing to know if I’ve done something to upset him. “Max is there something wrong?”

“Nope.” He still isn’t looking at me.

“Have I done something to offend you? You just seem a little... upset.”

Max sighs and turns to look at me, his face softening a touch.

“No Parker, you haven’t done anything wrong, I’m just in a shitty mood.” His tone implies that he doesn’t want to talk about it and I take the hint.

“Ok, well when you’re ready, I’ll be waiting.”

I scale the stairs to our apartment and walk through to my bedroom, a frown still etched on my face. I’m trying not to take Max’s mood to heart, but I’m finding it very difficult. I sit at my desk and force myself to get started, really needing the distraction right now.

A knock sounds on my bedroom door twenty minutes later and I call out, “Come in,” too absorbed by the sentence I’m writing to look up.

“Hey Parker.” I spin in my seat and almost let out an audible ‘aww’ at what I see. Max is standing hunched in my doorway with his hands in his pockets, looking so unsure of himself that it’s all I can do to stop myself from pinching his cheeks.

“Sorry about before...” he begins, only to have me wave away his apology.

“Pfft, you’re allowed to have shitty days, Max. No need to apologise.”

“Yeah, but I took it out on you and that’s not cool.”

I smile, relieved to see Max back in his usual cheerful mood. “Don’t worry about it.” I gesture to the spare desk chair besides my own. “Have a seat.”

He crosses the room and sits next to me, looking around my bedroom with approval. “Nice digs, Parker. Is that a balcony?”

I nod, then draw his attention back to our assignment, showing him what I’ve written so far and getting his input. We’re doing fine, it’s just difficult to keep my mind on track when I can smell his aftershave and our knees keeps accidentally brushing against each other’s under the desk. Actually, on his part it’s accidental, I just do it so that I can get my Max fix. It’s ok when we’re in class together as lab partners, there’s an entire room of people there to keep me from acting out my impulses, but here together, alone, in my room no less, the atmosphere just smacks of intimacy. Something I could really do without if I was to actually get some work done.

I bump knees again with him and blush when he catches my eye. “Sorry, it’s a bit squashy at my desk.”

Max smiles at me, warming my insides. “I don’t mind.”

I avert my gaze from him and turn back to the problem at hand. Back to the thing I’m supposed to be obsessing about as it’s worth half of my grade.

“Max, what do you think about-” I turn back to get his attention, but he’s still staring at me in a very unsettling way. “Max?”

His eyes refocus and he blinks a couple of times before his focus comes back to me. “I’m sorry, what?”

“I was just going to ask if you-” I break off and groan when my cell phone rings.

“Hello?” I answer, gesturing to Max that I won’t be long.

“Lizzy, my bitch. What up?”

I roll my eyes towards Max before answering her. “I’m just working on my biology assignment with Max.”

“Ooh,” she squeals, causing me to blush profusely. I hope Max didn’t hear that. “I won’t keep you long then. Michael and I just arrived at the cinema and my loser cousin was there with his delinquent friends. So I just overheard Sean telling his loser friends that he’s going to try and rig another bet with you so that you’ll have to go on another date with him. So if he tries to goad you again, just ignore him, he’s got something planned.”

I put my Maria filter on as she rushes her words together. “Ugh, another date? Like the first one wasn’t bad enough or something?”

Max quickly turns and pins me with his gaze as soon as I say this. I stiffen and nearly fail to catch what Maria’s saying on the other end.

“Well, you know the score now, just don’t trap yourself again and you’ll be good.”

“Thanks for the heads up, Maria.”

“No probs babe. Have fun studying anatomy,” she replies with a giggle.

“It’s biology, Maria!” I protest, but she’s already hung up. Closing my phone I pull a face at it, a normal response when I find myself talking to Maria.

“Didn’t enjoy your date with Sean?” Max asks casually, staring at his pencil.

I snort, shaking my head as I bend down to write. “Would you?”

“Why’d you go out on a date with him then?”

I sigh, cursing my gullibility for the millionth time since the ‘incident’ occurred. “We made a bet and I lost.”

Max pauses, seemingly mulling that over in his head. “You went out with him because you lost a bet with him?”

“I was 100 percent sure that I couldn’t lose. Unfortunately, he had actually seen Maria accept a date with Michael, so he used that info against me and a Parker never backs out of a bet.”

“Oh, so you...” Max swallows and scratches his ear. “don’t like him?”

“Ew. Come on now, give me a little more credit.”

“Right. Sorry, should have known.”

He’s silent for a while, so I turn my attention back to our lab. I startle out of my thoughts when he begins speaking hesitantly after a couple of minutes.

‘So... you didn’t enjoy... any of the date?” It’s like he needs to be reassured or something. Not that I blame him, I wouldn’t want to be friends with anyone dating a statutory rapist either.

I look at him incredulously. “Max, I went out on a date with Sean. Sean! I really feel that this is self explanatory.”

“Right. Yeah.”

Silence takes over once again and I’m relieved. And yet I can’t help wondering, why does Max seem to care so much about who I date?
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Re: Hiding Beneath (AU, M/L, TEEN) Pt 9, 5th September 08

Post by Rowedog » Sun Sep 07, 2008 7:19 am

I thought the choice of song was kinda funny, so excuse it.

Ashley- No, you haven’t told me lately, but feel free to in the future. Worship me, bestow your love and adoration upon me.
I fear you. Just a smidge. You have a horse too? Hella cool. Does your horse smash through jumps like a hippo too? Does he push you over when you’re bending down to scoop up poo in his stable? No? Just Gordy then?
I swear there are reasons behind Max’s not being able to believe that Liz could like him :wink:
Part Ten

'She's so cute I don't know what to do,
Maybe I could kill you...
I want your girlfriend to be my girlfriend...
Cause she's so cute I don't know what to do,
Maybe she could love me too,
I want your girlfriend to be my girlfriend'
I Want Your Girlfriend To Be My Girlfriend by Reel Big Fish

“Soooo...” I begin, staring at Maria’s blushing face.

“Soooo...” she echoes, not quite looking me in the eye.

“How was your date last night?”

She blushes and shrugs. “It was... nice.”

“Nice?” I echo, not quite recognizing the Maria I’m seeing before me.

“He was... it was...”

“Apparently beyond words,” I remark dryly, finishing her sentence for her.

“We’re going out again,” she blurts out, stiffening when she looks at me.

I shrug, not knowing what the big deal is. “Ok.”

“Do you think I’m fickle?” she asks all of a sudden.

I narrow my eyes and try desperately to keep up with her mental leaps. “Uh... no? Why would I think that?”

“Because I hated him two days ago,” she remarks in a small voice.

I roll my eyes at her and hit her with a pillow from her bed. “You’re a goon.”

“You’re so reassuring. By the way, if Michael and I do become a couple promise me you’ll tell me if you hate him. I’d hate it if my relationship turned into another Alex/Leanna situation.”

I groan at the thought of Alex’s month long relationship. It’s certainly been straining our friendship. She insists on sitting with Alex at lunch so she can be in full view of Isabel and proceeds to drive both Maria and I mad. “Absolutely,” I reassure her. “Not that that would ever happen, Michael has a soul.”

We both giggle at that and Maria puffs herself up, putting on her best pout. “ALEX! Get me a juice. I’m thirsty!”

I laugh, putting on a similar whine. “ALEX! Tell Maria to stop being mean to me!”

We both crack up, Leanna being a great source of amusement for us both. Our giggles eventually cease and Maria turns to me, a speculative look crossing her face.

“How long do you think it will take Alex to realise she’s a rotten hell beast from the depths of the earth?”

I suck in breath, having considered this before. “Here’s the thing, Alex has wanted this for how long? I’m thinking that he’s in denial right now and needs at least another three months to come out of it.”

“Three months!” Maria shrieks, aghast at the thought.

“He’s a guy, they’re not known for their smarts when it comes to the pretty ladies,” I explain, defending Alex’s shitty choice.

“We definitely need to run an intervention with that boy. Why, oh why is he the only straight guy in the world who can resist Isabel Evans? I dig that chick, why couldn’t he be hot for her?”

I shrug, not knowing myself. “Dunno. Life just isn’t fair.”
“Give me an ‘M’!”

“Give me an ‘A’!”

“Give me an ‘X’!”

“What does it spell?” The cheerleaders ask, causing me to turn to Maria and say to her in my best impersonation of their ditzy blonde personas, “I don’t know because I can’t read!”

Maria snorts, pushing my shoulder playfully as they yell out, “Max!”

I stand up and cheer as Max makes another basket. I may hate most of the sluts cheering for him on the sidelines, but that doesn’t mean I won’t cheer for him myself.

“Go Max!” I cheer, watching him intercept the ball and pass it to Kyle, who quickly makes another basket. “Go Kyle!”

Kyle bows to the crowd and more specifically sends a wink my way, which has me rolling my eyes and laughing. Kyle and Tess have been going strong for months now, they’re actually a cute couple, but Kyle still goes out of his way to talk to me. Which is fine considering that we ended it on good terms. We hardly made it past the second date before he broke it off with me, so it’s not awkward now. Kyle pauses near the cheerleaders to give Tess a hearty slap on the butt so that she scowls at him, her anger not touching the mirth in her eyes. It’s then I notice that Max is glaring at Kyle. They used to be sort of friends, but lately this past year, their friendship has gone downhill and I’m not entirely sure of the reason why. Maybe he likes Tess. I mean their animosity started around the time that Tess and Kyle started dating. As far as I can tell anyway, it was over the summer so I wasn’t seeing them every day. Oh god, he’s in love with Tess. That’s why he’s so pissed off with Kyle. Jesus, how did I not see this before?

“Liz? Earth to Liz! Where are you? You just missed a chance to stand up and scream Max’s name,” jibes Maria, unaware of the tight ache in my chest.

I blink at her, not understanding what she’s saying.

She rolls her eyes and gestures to the scoreboard. “Max just made a two pointer, he totally ignored Kyle, who was open, but still made the basket anyway. And now it’s half time.”


“Well now, that’s interesting...” drawls Maria, her attention drawn to something on the court.

I look over to see Max and Kyle in a heated discussion. Max is trying to walk away, but Kyle has hold of his jersey, forcing him to listen to whatever it is that he’s saying. Kyle even gestures over to our bleachers at one point. The bleachers that Tess is standing in front of. Could my life get any worse? I was so right.

Eventually the coach breaks them up, giving Max a few sharp words before forcing him to sit down on the bench. Unfortunately, the crowd is too loud for us to hear what they were saying. Bummer.

The game starts up again and we end up winning by 20 points. Max and Kyle even cooperated on court, even though it was obvious that there was still tension between them.

After the game ends I walk home alone. Maria will be over later, she just has to help her Mom with post game pie selling. No joke. Her mom always has a stall right out front of the gym and you’d be amazed at the people who crave pies right after a victory. She always makes heaps of moola from that one day a week.

I rub my arms as I walk, trying to ward off the desert chill as I make the long walk home. This walk always seems so much shorter in the daylight. I stiffen as headlights behind me slow to a crawl alongside me. I’m about to piss-bolt off into the distance, when the window winds down and I recognize the driver.

“Hey, Liz. You want a ride?”

I smile at Max and hop into the passenger seat with a grateful, “Thank you.”

We drive in silence, until Max breaks it. “I’m sorry about Kyle, Liz.”

Colour me confused. “What?”

Max shrugs, his actions stiff and unnatural. “You know, he’s a jerk.”

I shrug in return, not really knowing what he’s talking about. “He’s not so bad.”

“He’s always winking and flirting with you when he has a girlfriend.” Max puts emphasis on the word, girlfriend. Right, Max’s concern is about how Kyle treats Tess. I should have guessed.

“He doesn’t mean anything by it, Max. We’re still friends. I know that he and Tess are in love and it’s only platonic between us. We only went out twice.” I know I shouldn’t have, but I really, really wanted to point out that Tess was in love with Kyle. I know it’ll probably hurt him, but I’m petty and I’ve got to do whatever I can to keep him from falling in love with anyone but me. If it isn’t too late already.

“Ok then,” says Max, seeming somewhat more relaxed. His reactions confuse the heck out of me.

He pulls up in front of my place and I jump out of his jeep, thanking him for the ride.

“Anytime,” he replies with a smile. I wish that were true.

I head upstairs and begin to watch cable. By the time Maria gets here I’m onto the cartoon network.

“Did I miss anything?” she asks, plonking herself next to me on the couch.

“Fairly Odd Parents,” I reply with a yawn, thankfully my shift tomorrow is a late one. I’m going to need a long sleep tonight.

“Shit.” I love it when Maria pouts. “I love that show.”

“You and me both, babe.”

“Ooh! Martin in the Morning!” she squeals, causing me to laugh at her. “I wish he and Roxanne would just get together already.”

I frown as I watch Martin and Roxanne interact. “You know, I’m kinda creeped out by Roxanne and Martin’s relationship. They look like they should be brother and sister.”

Maria shrugs, not really put out by my statement. “People are attracted to people who look similar to them. That’s why you and Max are hot for each other. You both have brown hair with that whole serious, studious look about you. Now there’s another couple I wish would just get together already.”

Again with her incessant fixation on Max and I being in love with each other. My feelings are completely unreciprocated. “You are so on crack Maria. He’s not hot for me.”

“Pfft, what would you know about it?”

I hit her with a pillow. “I can’t believe you’re comparing my life to a cartoon.”

“Whatever.” Maria’s attention is caught by what’s happening on screen. “Why hello Principal Pickles, can I tickle your pickle?”

“I just love it when you talk dirty to fictional characters,” I remark, unable to stop myself from laughing. She may be delusional about Max and I, but she is good quality.
Alison’s Fics

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