Shadows on the Water (AU, M/L, ADULT) [WIP]

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Shadows on the Water (AU, M/L, ADULT) [WIP]

Post by beautifyldreamer » Sun Mar 28, 2010 9:54 pm


Title: Shadows on the Water
Category: Mostly CC with a M/L focus but a little UC too in parts.
Disclaimer: The characters of Roswell don't belong to me; I'm just borrowing them to fill the hole in my heart that developed when the series ended. They definitely belong to Jason Katims, Melinda Metz, UPN, and the WB. The songs don’t belong to me either – just another means of inspiration. No infringement is intended in any way, shape, or form.
Rating: Mature
Summary: Life is a ruthless, cold-hearted, unfair bitch. Liz learns the hard way that life never goes as planned, but there is always purpose.
AN: I’ve been working on this for awhile. Not sure where it will go – but I have a general thought process around it. I have four parts completed thus far, so I’ll post them spaced out, once a week – hopefully that way I can keep a regular writing and updating schedule.

Each chapter has a song/lyrics theme. I’ll try to post links to each song at the beginning so you can listen and read too if interested. The title comes from a song by singer/songwriter Ben Howard called Cloud Nine. I’ll be using the song later in the story – so stay tuned : )

Feedback is loved and adored : ) Critique away folks.


Prologue – Skinny Love

“Come on skinny love just last the year
Pour a little salt we were never here
My, my, my, my, my, my, my, my
Staring at the sink of blood and crushed veneer

I tell my love to wreck it all
Cut out all the ropes and let me fall
My, my, my, my, my, my, my, my
Right in the moment this order's tall”

When my fist connected with her face, I didn’t really stop to think about the consequences. All that was going through my mind was how good it felt to knock that smug smile off my ex-best friend’s face. It took my ex-fiancé and his brother to pull me off of her.

Bad idea - because then I turned on him. And when my fist connected with his face, I didn’t stop to think about the consequences then either.

In fact, the consequences of my actions didn’t really enter my thoughts until I was taking I-40 East out of California in my red Mustang with the wind whipping through my long, chocolate brown hair. Until my bags were packed and I was leaving everything I’d worked so hard to build in my dust.

Kyle Valenti and I had been together since my freshmen year at the University of Southern California. We met through the tutoring center. It was your classic, stereotypical love story – I was the geeky tutor who knew Biology 101 like the back of my hand, and he was the burly football player who needed help to stay eligible to play ball. On our last session together he asked me out for coffee.

I never would have guessed he was so intelligent. He didn’t get science – but he knew his politics. And he knew his sports. We spent hours on our first date debating everything from Weapons of Mass Destruction to the Vietnam War. I think I fell in love with him that first night. He was so passionate about life. He was so different from the small town boys I’d known before.

We waited until we both graduated from USC, he with a degree in football and I with one in Molecular Biology. He proposed to me during a summer visit to San Francisco. It was everything that any normal girl would dream of: an expensive dinner by candlelight, walk on the pier under the stars, and a diamond worth more than my beautiful, convertible ‘Stang. (I should know considering I bought my car with the money I got from pawning that damned liar’s ring.)

I loved Kyle. I probably still do. He is everything I thought I would need. When the weight of the world was crushing me from all sides, he would lift it from my shoulders and comfort me in all the right ways.

“I told you to be patient
I told you to be fine
I told you to be balanced
I told you to be kind
Now all your love is wasted?
Then who the hell was I?
Now I'm breaking at the britches
And at the end of all your lines”

Tess Harding was my college suitemate for four years. We did everything together – every football game, every party, every late night study session. She was my best friend - the one I turned to when my life was falling apart. I cut all my ties back home and crossed the continental USA to attend the University of Southern California. After leaving everything I’d ever known back home, Tess was everything I needed in a friend. She became my family.

Or so I thought - until I walked in on her and Kyle together in my bed. I still shudder at the memory. My future fell apart in front my eyes that afternoon when I found her on top of my would-be husband in our would-be home.

They never saw me. Instead of going off on them then, I spun on my heel and left the house. I can’t describe how it felt – discovering that the two people you trusted and loved most in the world had betrayed you in every definition of the word. What else was there for me in the world?

It wasn’t until the next night – the night before my wedding – that I confronted my maid-of-honor and fiancé about their transgressions – in front of the entire wedding party.

I remember how Kyle’s blue eyes had widened in utter guilt, while my own brown ones flickered with white hot rage. I’d erased all the pain from them that I could with that anger. It was the only way I could handle it.

Tess, embarrassed that I’d called her out in front of everyone, fired back with her own accusations – how Kyle had secretly loved her since our freshman year, how he had only dated me to get closer to her, how I wasn’t good enough for her or him, how I wasn’t a good enough lover...

She didn’t make it past that last one.

It was at that point when I lost all of my control, and my fists started flying. When I left for the evening both Tess and Kyle had battle scars – two black eyes, chunks of missing hair, and a torn dress among them. And I had a pending restraining order.

Like I ever wanted to be anywhere near either one of them again.

My life in Los Angeles - in California – was over. I quit my job. I packed up everything that was mine, stuffing it in my new 2009 Mustang. I left.

I didn’t shed a single tear either. Not until I saw the “Leaving California” sign. When I crossed the border, I gave one final glance into my rearview mirror.

And that is when my tears finally fell.

That life that I knew – it’s over. I’ve opened to a new chapter now.

“Welcome to North Carolina”

“Come on skinny love what happened here
Suckle on the hope in light brassieres
My, my, my, my, my, my, my, my
Sullen load is full; so slow on the split

Who will love you?
Who will fight?
Who will fall far behind?”

* * *
Last edited by beautifyldreamer on Tue Mar 06, 2012 8:17 am, edited 15 times in total.

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Re: Shadows on the Water (AU, M/L, ADULT) Ch 1 pg 1 4/4/10

Post by beautifyldreamer » Sun Apr 04, 2010 8:33 pm

begonia9508 - you're definitely right, bad idea but definitely had to feel pretty good punching Tess in the face :D
LilithAnn - Thanks :D Liz has a few strong characteristics, but you'll come to find she has a long way to go.
Janetfl - Glad you like it so far! Kyle and Tess totally deserved a good slap to the face. That was my favorite bit to write!
dreambeliever - Thanks!
mary mary - Yeap, North Carolina. This chapter should give a little insight into why.
twilight - Very interesting insights! We'll see what happens :wink: No Max yet... but soon, I promise! :D

As promised here's another update :) Chapter 2 next Sunday!
Disclaimer: The song "Set Free" does not belong to me, I'm simply borrowing it as inspiration. You can find the music here: "Set Free" - Katie Gray

Chapter 1 – Set Free

“There's a cold fire
There's a crossfire
And there's something
Inside, inside

And we'll never, never
Make it
And we'll never, never
Break it

Until, until…”

Oriental, North Carolina.

A small town tucked under the arm of the Neuse River in the rural east coast of North Carolina. A far cry from Los Angeles.

It was here, in Pamlico County, where I was born and raised. Here in the smallest of small towns. It was a home I had been desperate to leave behind.

The moment I graduated from the confines of its small town high school hell, I had packed my bags and headed as far west as the continental United States would allow. I have never understood those who wanted to say in Pamlico for the rest of their lives, rotting away, never experiencing life outside its borders. I wasn’t meant for that life. And I wasn’t going to stand another minute stuck here letting it destroy everything I’d worked so hard for.

So I spent my high school years studying and acing all my classes – Biology being the subject I excelled in the most.

(Thus leading to my tutelage of Kyle and, so ironically, me ending up right back here. Oh life, you wicked bitch.)

I applied to many different schools, but the only one I ever wanted was the University of Southern California. It was the furthest away. When that acceptance letter finally arrived in the mail, I remember actually dancing a little jig right there at the mailbox. My life was finally going to be everything I’d dreamed.

So the day after graduation, I, Liz Parker, left Pamlico County, North Carolina.

And I had never looked back.

Until now.

“There's a long game
That's a wrong chain
And it's something
We all hide it

And we'll never, never make it
And we'll never, never break it
Until we learn to see
Until we set free…”

The day after the rehearsal dinner – where my life had finally tumbled off its pedestal – as my Mustang plowed beyond the California state lines, the tears I’d been holding back fell in steady streams down my cheeks. I realized in those moments that I had nowhere else to go but back home. California – the life I’d so desperately dreamed of having with Kyle – was over.

Now life was leading me back here.

As the back-roads highway turned into a two way street, I knew I was close. The same buildings lined the road, all looking a little shinier then when I’d left five years ago. The once crumbling structures with their peeling paint now had fresh architecture and a new shade of color added to their form. A couple more banks were added to the ranks along with a vet and new bed and breakfast.

The old elementary school had become a set of rather nice apartment buildings – I tucked that information away for future consideration in case my old room wasn’t available...

There was even an official museum now. Not that Oriental needed one. The small town was archaic simply in its nature. Every house you passed had some small piece of history to it. Fresh paint would never erase it.

My parent’s home was a little ways past the town. Over the Intercoastal Waterway and a couple of miles down the stretch of one lane highway leading further away from civilization was a tiny cottage right on the creek. I wasn’t ready to head there yet. It was barely past noon and my parents wouldn’t be around anyway. Mom would be working in New Bern – the closest “big” town. She was a secretary for a boating company in downtown. Dad would be out on the shrimp boats all day.

Plus. I really needed a drink.

As my eyes took in all the new sights, I couldn’t help feeling slightly depressed. Here I was. Back in the place I’d swore I would never return.

I’d been so desperate in severing my ties that I had not even invited my own parents to my wedding. A little twinge of guilt seeped into my conscience.

“And you got style
And you got grace
And you got the means
To leave that place
But you'll never, never make it
And you'll never, never break it

Until you learn to see
Until you set free

So set free
Set free”

I hadn’t really planned for this part of my journey. How was I supposed to go crawling back home, expecting my parents to have their arms open wide when I’d deserted them? In all the time that I had been gone, I had barely spoken to them more than once a year on Christmas Day.

I needed a drink.

As I turned towards the town marina, I felt some relief. Amy’s was still there in all its glory, sitting just a block off the main drag.

I could get a drink there.

* * *

“Jake! We have two more orders for the special. And three more orders for the crab cakes. Can you make sure I get them today instead of tomorrow? You’re taking forever back there!” Maria DeLuca shouted, striding away from the dining room and towards the small bar in the back, her long blonde hair swinging over her shoulder as she finally slammed her waitress pad down on the bar.

I watched her from the front entrance to Amy’s, not sure if I was really seeing her.

Maria was the last person on earth I ever expected to see still in this hell-hole known as Pamlico County.

Of all the people I thought would escape, Maria was number one. Maria had been the most talented performer in our high school. She had an amazing singing voice that rivaled that of many of the Top 40 female artists of all time. She also was the lead in every school play. She was a performing artist with the most charisma of anyone I have ever met. And hello – I just lived in California for four years.

She was also the fiercest and most beautiful person I have ever known.

We had been relatively close in high school. She could probably have been classified as my closest “girl” friend. We didn’t spend every waking moment together or anything like that. We didn’t play dolls with each other or hang out on the weekends, but we’d sit together in classes and chat at Amy’s while we waitressed after school. And we went to prom together, if that counts for anything…

She knew I wanted to get the hell out of here, though, I never officially told her I was going. No – I sucked at goodbyes and I didn’t want anything or anyone to stop me from getting out of Pamlico in the end. The more I thought about it – the more I regretted not saying goodbye.

Another voice invaded my flashback – a younger girl, probably just a year out of high school – her name tag read Jenni.

“Someone will be right with you ma’am.” She assured me, her slight southern twang giving “right” two syllables instead of one. I watched as Jenni headed towards the back, where Maria was standing, shaking her head at the bar. “Out-of-towner for your section Maria.” Jenni’s voice seemed to break through Maria’s thoughts, bringing her back to reality and the calls of duty. It made me think of all the times we’d sat gossiping about customers during the lunch and dinner rushes on those very bar stools.

It made me suddenly melancholy for those days of innocent youth – before I learned how cold the world could really be. Thank you again, Kyle and Tess for ruining my dream life.

I looked on as Maria took a deep breath and calmly picked her order pad back off the bar. I felt myself tense, bracing for this moment. This reunion. Would she be happy to see me? Would she hate me?

Maria spun around, a practiced, award-winning smile donning her face as she headed into the dining room of Amy’s towards me. But when her eyes met my figure standing in entrance, the smile faded into oblivion. Her eyes narrowed, saying exactly what she was thinking:

The long lost bitch was back.

* * *

I had never been on the receiving end of Maria’s anger. Today however, if looks could kill, I would have already died 100 times over.

Maria’s gaze was murderous.

“Hi Maria,” I squeaked. I had never felt so nervous before, but something about the way Maria was looking at me made me want to turn on my heel and run straight for the door.

“Liz.” Maria answered coolly, the murderous look in her eyes never wavering.

I let my gaze travel away from Maria’s flashing green eyes and to the rounded abdomen I hadn’t noticed before when her back had been facing me.

“Oh! You’re pregnant!” I heard myself blurt out and immediately regretted the words. Maria’s eyes narrowed even further.

“Yes. Michael and I are having a girl.” Her answer was even colder than before. I felt a twinge of pain at the mention of Michael.

Ah. Michael. Good, sweet, kind Michael. My best friend Michael.

I was definitely walking on eggshells. Suddenly, I realized exactly what was going on here. Maria didn’t care that I’d left her. No – she was pissed that I’d left Michael, the one man in the world we’d both loved more than anything – in two completely different ways. I stood silent for a moment, processing and trying to sort through Maria’s anger, to analyze it. It wasn’t unreasonable for Maria to be angry with me. She was very protective of those she loved, Michael being the primary candidate.

I started regretting my decisions from those four long years ago even more. The way she was looking at me even had me hating myself a little bit. Damn, she was good at this. But even she couldn’t understand everything…

“So you and Michael are….” I let myself trail off, hoping Maria would at least fill me in on that development.

“Married. Yes.”

“Oh.” I fidgeted for a moment as Maria DeLuca-Guerin offered no other words.

For years Michael had been my rock and vice versa. We had been best friends, though I knew he had always wanted more from me. Michael hadn’t had anyone else but me. I was the only one he had ever opened himself up to.

After spending his younger years going from foster home to foster home, he had been finally petitioned for his independence at sixteen. He worked at Amy’s throughout high school, renting a small trailer near Whitaker Creek on his own. When he wasn’t working, he and I spent most of our time together. We had been mostly inseparable; he had been so much like a brother to me that even Mom and Dad had come to set an extra spot at the dinner table for him.

When I had left without so much as a word of goodbye, it really must have devastated him.

I, however, was in no shape to process this right now. To give me some credit – I tried to, I really did, but I was too drained to process anything after dealing with my own failure of a life in California and then driving across the country. I just didn’t have it in me to handle the guilt that was quickly and effortlessly beginning to weigh heavy on my shoulders. If I wasn’t careful, I would let it consume and bury me. It was too easy right now to get lost in an endless spiral of depression – and I had no one but myself to dig me out.

Don’t worry Maria, I got what I deserved. You can thank Tess and Kyle later.

So, instead, I decided to make a run for it.

“It was, erm, really nice catching up with you, Maria. I’m really happy for you and Michael. Congratulations. I’m just… uh… I’m just going to go.”

Mentally berating myself for being such a coward, I did the thing I was doing best lately.

I left.

God, I really needed that drink. ASAP.

“If we could see that this was all that we need
Inside our minds
Bodies and souls
We wouldn't run and we would let go
Cause we'd realize
That we had
That we had no control”

* * *

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Re: Shadows on the Water (AU, M/L, ADULT) Ch 2 pg 3 4/15/10

Post by beautifyldreamer » Thu Apr 15, 2010 11:10 am

Thank you everyone for reading! And special thanks for all the fab feedback to: NotYourChick, dreambeliever, keepsmiling7, begonia9508, yayaliens, Natalie36, AlysLuv, twilight, LilithAnn, Michelle17, sunrise102, and Janetfl!

Sorry this chapter is late... Things here have been crazyyyy busy between work, moving into a new apartment, and a few other things. This one is a little short. But I PROMISE Chapter 3 will make up for it! :D Enjoy!

"Black Tables" by Other Lives is the song for this chapter. Check out the youtube link below if you're interested in listening. Again - no infringement intended.

Chapter 2 – Black Tables

“When the whites of your eyes come through
You'll see something new
With your body and mine raised up
It's good to see you back home”

The sun was melting into the trees when I finally found the courage to make the drive to my parent’s home.

After leaving Amy’s, I found refuge at the Tiki Bar on the other side of the Marina and huddled in a hidden corner just behind the bar. Thankfully, no one else from my past made an appearance and I was able to pass a few of hours in peace with a beer and sandwich.

My corner had an unobstructed view of the Town Marina, so I watched with little interest as boats of all shapes and sizes and colors had come and gone. Despite the October chill, the town was still abuzz with visitors as the weekend approached. As Friday came nearer, things in the sleepy town would pick up pretty quickly. The season wouldn’t die down until mid-January and even then there would still be a few new people each weekend.

Things were always quiet in Oriental, but never silent.

Passing over the bridge that would take me out of town and deeper into the back-road abyss, I couldn’t help the small feeling of melancholy that passed through me for the second time that day.

I had spent many a sunrise on this bridge watching as the large shrimp boats headed out of the marina and towards the mouth of the Neuse. Life had been different then. I’d been hopeful, full of dreams and aspirations. Sometimes Michael and I would ride our bikes up to the top of bridge early on Sunday mornings, before heading to church, so we could watch the marina come to life. I could tell him about where I wanted to go, what I wanted to do, how I would never come back.

“You’ll come back, Liz.” I remember he’d told me on one of our Sundays, just a couple of weeks before high school graduation. I think he knew I was getting ready to leave him. We were sitting side by side, our feet dangling over the edge of the bridge, watching the boats below us. I looked over at him, shaking my head. He had his elbow propped up on his knee and his hand riffling through his spiky, bronze hair, the sun making the lighter strands of brown glisten. He wasn’t looking at me; instead, his gaze was towards the sea.

“No, I won’t Michael. There’ll be nothing here for me after high school. I’m never coming back. The moment I drive out of town, I won’t look back.” I’d told him fiddling with the spokes on my bicycle as it rested next to us on the guardrail.

“Yes you will. I’ll be here.” I remember looking over at him, a half-hearted smile on my lips and shaking my head sadly. I’d hoped he wouldn’t still be here. Michael deserved more then what this town could give him. So much more.

But in the end, he’d been right. I was back. And he was still here.

And now the sinking sun seemed to speak volumes of my current life. Gone were the sunrises we’d dreamed of, instead the sun was setting on that facet of our lives. I was, in fact, quite desolate now.

How had I gone to having everything I had once dreamed of to having nothing?

The road travelled on, pulling me forward. What could it possibly have left in store for me now? A life in the “sticks” of North Carolina? Life was hardly fair. How hard I had worked to escape that fate!

“When the life in your eyes wants black
Things return
You've come back
With your body and mine raised up
It's good to see you once more”

But here I was, back like the jaded child who had failed at life in the city. Crawling home to mommy and daddy after I’d abandoned them for my independence.

Speeding up, I left the bridge and its melancholy behind in my wake. I couldn’t think about this now. I could wallow in my self-pity later. Right now I had to face the music.

As I pulled into the once familiar driveway, I could only hope it went better than my sudden visit with Maria.

* * *

Life, why are you such a cruel, ruthless bitch?

Was it not enough to have the man that I loved and adored cheat on me with my roommate and friend? Was it not enough to make me return to the place I despised most?

Couldn’t you have warned me before throwing me to the sharks? Another beer or two would have been nice!

Or straight rum.

I pulled into the quaint cottage that had once been home to me only a few years before and cut the engine before I could change my mind. There were a couple of cars parked in the driveway – Mom and Dad were definitely home. It was time to face the music.

Though it was getting dark, I could still make out the creek just beyond the house and the small dock that had been there for years. A cool breeze whispered through the air while a few creatures rustled in the woods behind me.

As much as I was loathe to admit it, I had missed this in Los Angeles. The air here smelled fresh and salty, like the river. I enjoyed the breeze that always blew in off the water. It was the one thing you could depend on here.

I suppose it was the entrancing breeze that kept me from really paying close attention to the cars parked in the driveway. Maybe if I hadn’t lost my focus, I would have realized they did not belong to my parents.

But no – oh no. I had to ignore the warning signs, and instead lose myself in the few parts of Pamlico I did enjoy.

Maybe alcohol was actually a bad choice?

I stood dumbly at the front door for a moment, unsure of how to proceed. I felt ridiculous at the notion of knocking at my childhood home, but I hadn’t seen my parents in four years. And this wasn’t really home anymore.

After a few moments of silent debate, I lifted my wrist and lightly drummed my knuckles against the white oak of my parent’s front door. I heard a man’s laugh bellow from inside as my mother’s voice met ears.

“Oh would you be a dear and get that for me? I’m trying to finish these dishes. I’m sure it’s just Michael and Maria…” She faded out. I supposed the intended recipient was now heading for the door as per her request.

“Turning black tables
And you’re turning black tables
And you’re making your head blur
Making your head blur…”

Who was here in my parent’s home? Since when did they have dinner parties? Did they get a divorce? That certainly wasn’t my dad laughing in there! And Michael and Maria? Coming here?

Could this get any worse?

Yes. It could.

As I stood, with my jaw half ajar, trying to figure out what in the world was going on inside the cottage, the front door swung open, revealing the absolute last person I ever wanted to see again.

“No fucking way... Liz?”

“…And you’re turning black tables
And you’re turning black tables
And you’re making your head blur
Making your head blur…”

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Re: Shadows on the Water (AU, M/L, ADULT) Ch 3 pg 4 4/27/10

Post by beautifyldreamer » Tue Apr 27, 2010 10:28 pm

I'm finally back - sorry for the extended delay with such a cliffhanger! :D It might be awhile between posts now... Work is absolutely taking over my life these days! As promised before, this chapter is quite long. Hope it sates your hunger for now :D Thanks for reading, especially: yayaliens, RoswellianDreamer, keepsmiling7, LilithAnn, mary mary, dreambeliever, AlysLuv, begonia9508, Dziumka, & kismet!

The song for this chapter is "Gimme Sympathy" by Metric. Check out the youtube link below if you'd like to give it a listen. Once more - no infringement intended.

Chapter 3 – Gimme Sympathy

“Get hot
Get too close to the flame
Wild open space
Talk like an open book
Sign me up”

May, Five Years Earlier

Senior Prom –the clichéd epitome of every high school girl’s existence.

Except me.

Maria has been trying to get me psyched up about it all week. Questions about who I’m going with, who’s still available to go with, should we go out to eat or just host a pre-prom party at Amy’s, what color is my dress, do my shoes match or did I just go for a neutral color, how am I doing my hair…

Meanwhile, I have been hiding out in the back of the school library, a place she avoids like the plague, so I can avoid her like the plague.

What do I care about some stupid dance? Michael isn’t going, and if my best friend isn’t even going to be there, why in the world would I want to spend time around people I could not care less about?

Nope – Michael and I are going to go to the pre-party at Amy’s to placate Maria and then we’re staying as far away from the high school gym as we can. This means watching old movies and snacking on popcorn at my house until the wee hours of the morning just like any normal Saturday.

Unfortunately, life has something a little different in mind.

It is while I am hidden in a back corner, propped against my backpack, reading Wuthering Heights for the umpteenth time when he finds me. I don’t see him at first; my hair is draped over my shoulder hiding me from the world and the world from me.

“Seriously, Parker? Wuthering Heights? You do know that we already covered that one, right? In fact – if I recall correctly – Ms. Hardy gave you an A on your paper for that one…”

His voice, smooth and deep, startles me. My body jumps, knocking over my backpack and spilling the stack of notebooks I had neatly piled beside me. Picking them up, I let my eyes glance up at the intruding presence to my otherwise quiet nook. Max Evans, the bane of my existence for the past four years – always around to catch me at my most embarrassing moments. And always happy to point them out to the world – stands over me with the most infuriating smirk donning his lips and filling his eyes. He’s been torturing me since we were children and he learned I was terrified of snakes. It all started with that stupid garter snake on my pink bike when we were five.

The only reason I even tolerate his presence in a normal social setting is the fact that he’s Michael’s closest guy friend.

“What do you want?” I ask, openly glaring at him. “And for the record – I actually enjoyed reading this one, and since it’s a free country, I can read it as many times as I want.” My voice comes out snarky. He throws me a lopsided grin, running a hand through his brown hair and plopping down next to me.

“I need a favor.”

The snort I let out is hardly becoming. A favor? What a joke!

“You’ve got to be kidding. You need a favor? From me?” I look at him again, trying to gauge exactly how serious he’s being right now.

His amber eyes meet mine dead on.

He’s absolutely serious.

“What do you want, Max?” This has got to be good. And I’m going to milk this for all it’s worth.

His eyes leave my face for a moment, his gaze directed at the worn Converses on his feet.

He’s nervous! Oh, this is just priceless!

“You want to make this a little harder, Parker?” He snips sarcastically. Oops, did I say that last piece out loud?

I watch quietly as he takes a deep breath and then brings his eyes back up to meet mine.

“WouldyoumaybewanttogotoPromwithme?” He whooshes out in one breath. I stare at him, absolutely befuddled.

Did he just ask me what I think he asked me? No effing way.

“Wha…what? I’m sorry. Can you repeat that?” He guffaws at me, rolls his eyes, huffs and puffs. And then repeats it slower this time.

“Liz Parker, would you go to Prom with me?”

He did! He did ask me what I thought he asked me!

Oh. My. God.

I can’t hold it back. I try. Oh boy, do I try. But once the first giggle spilled out, I couldn’t hold the rest back. I quickly gather up my things, stuffing them into my bag, trying to keep the fact that I’m laughing from Max as best as I can.

But then the tears start rolling down my cheeks, and a snort sneaks out.

“Oh… my…God…. Max…. I…. Did you just…. I can’t believe…. Michael isn’t going to believe…..”

Throwing my bag over my shoulder, I start backing away. I can’t see him too clearly with all the tears from my laughter clouding my vision. I wipe my eyes quickly, still half doubled over in laughter.

Then I see his eyes.

“Got no time to take a picture
I'll remember someday
All the chances we took”

The amber mirth that is usually dancing in them is gone. Instead he looks purely dejected. He’s hunched over, not even looking at me anymore - he’s staring off at the bookshelves at the side. My conscience decides at that moment to come bite me in the ass. I feel… bad for him? Here he is legitimately asking me to be his date – apparently there isn’t anyone else on the planet he can ask – and I, the last resort, instead laugh my ass off at him.

I let out a sigh, and walk back over to him.

“Yeah Max. I’ll go.”

* * *

I don’t know why I’m so nervous. It’s Max Evans for god’s sake. MAX!

But here I am at Amy’s, dressed in this slinky, low cut, form fitting, floor hitting red prom dress that Maria had apparently already picked out for me “just in case”. I’m standing by the bar nursing a coke while she and Michael smile at the camera.

Yes. Michael.

He was surprisingly cool with me going to prom with Max. I, of course, explained to him that it was only out of the kindness of my heart and that I would much rather spend the night hanging out, watching movies with him. He just smiled, shrugged, and said he would find a date so he could go too.

His date? Maria.

And she is absolutely beaming.

I think she’d been secretly holding out for him to ask her. I know she turned down a couple guys who asked during the past month. They’d all saunter up to her in class, give her this spiel about how it would be their honor to escort her to prom, and she’d just smile politely and shake her head “no”. Then, they’d stalk off and start bad mouthing her to all their friends. She’d grin, turn to me and call them such “children”.

But she’d said yes to Michael.

No one had asked me. No one but Max anyway.

I think because they knew I’d say “no”.

But I’d said yes to Max.


Out of charity!

I absently mindedly twirl one of the loose tendrils of curled, chocolate brown hair framing my face. My hair is otherwise styled in an elegant coiffure piled on top of my head. As Maria and I had walked out of her bedroom, I had caught a glimpse of myself in her full length mirror and had to pause. I looked different.

There wasn’t a book in front of my face. And my hair wasn’t twisted into a bun with a pencil.

I looked… like a prom princess.

Oh God. That is so cliché!

“You look beautiful Liz.” I look up from my coke at Michael. He’s escaped Maria and Amy’s clutches, as mother and daughter are arguing over Maria’s curfew. The rest of the pre-prom party crowd is starting to file in, filling up the tables set up on the outside patio. I blush, not used to being called beautiful.

“Thanks Michael. You look good too.” And he really does. He’s rented a tux from a shop in New Bern, he looks… different too – just like me. For one night, it’s like we’re all grown up.

He blushes too, catching my eyes and then glancing away, back towards Maria.

She’s sauntering towards us, her eyes bright with excitement.

“I finally just told her I’m going to stay with you, Liz. Is that okay? She’s just all over my case about where I’m going after the dance, and with who… and well… you know how she can be….” Maria starts word vomiting everywhere. It’s the first time I’ve seen her look unsure. I give her a reassuring smile.

“Yeah, sure. My parents won’t mind. And they just told me to do whatever. I think they were just thrilled that I was actually going to this.” Michael and I share a chuckle at the last part.

When we’d told my mom that I’d decided to go to prom and that a boy had asked me, she’d almost fainted. Even after I’d assured her we were all going as a group, she’d still had this weird sparkle in her eyes – like she thought it was my first date or something.

As if. Max Evans – my first date?

Please. I’m saving that up for someone worthwhile.

Mom essentially gave me free reign to stay out as late as I wanted. Her only request?


“Oh look! There’s Max!” Maria’s chipper voice breaks me out of my reverie, and has my eyes immediately glued to the front entrance of Amy’s, where my prom escort (not date) has entered looking very good looking indeed (oh God, did that thought just enter my mind?).

“I can feel it in my bones
Gimme sympathy
After all this is gone
Who would you rather be
The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?
Oh, seriously
You're going to make mistakes you're young
Come on baby, play me something
Like "Here Comes the Sun"”

He’s wearing a tux from the same shop as Michael – they’d gone together. His vest is a brilliant red that matches my dress. I shoot a horrified look at Maria. Did she do this? This is not a date, but the more I analyze Max’s entrance and dapper form – the more I’m starting to think differently. Not only are we matching, but he’s carrying a corsage for my wrist full of white roses, which coincidently are my favorite. I shoot an equally horrified look at Michael. He’s looking conspicuously away at the couples outside.

“Did you guys….” I start, but Michael cuts me off – his voice sounding oddly forlorn.

“Maria… let’s go outside for a bit. Liz, we’ll see you and Max in a few.”

They walk off, Michael never meeting my eyes and Maria looking absolutely delighted to be at Michael’s side, leaving me alone to face my date – er escort.

Max spots me immediately, a dazzling smile adoring his lips.

“Wow… Liz… You look…incredible…” He whispers the last bit, his eyes darting to my face. I feel my face flush.


“I got this for you.” Max holds up the corsage sheepishly. It’s beautiful. There is a single red rose among a bouquet of white ones. “You, um, don’t have to wear it if you don’t want to…” He trails off and I realize that I’ve been staring at it and him.

I flash a shy smile – doing my best to hide my nerves. Why in the hell am I so nervous around him?

“It’s lovely Max. Thank you.” He flashes me a grin back, clearly pleased by my acceptance. He wraps his strong fingers around my wrist and gently lifts my hand up, slipping the corsage onto my arm. Then, he shocks me, bringing my hand to his lips and kissing it.

“Thanks for being my date tonight Liz.” He says softly, smiling and looking up from my hand through his eyelashes. And damn it if my heart doesn’t flutter twice in my chest.

Butterflies? You have got to be kidding me!

I should have known then that this night was going to be the death of me.

* * *

Oh. My. God.

Max Evans is kissing me.

And I don’t mean some corny little chaste peck on the lips. No. I mean a full blown, his-tongue-is-totally-dueling-with-mine kiss. And worst of all – I actually like it.

Oh. My. God.

We’re sitting here in our prom wear on the dock behind his parent’s rental house. The house – a three story historical masterpiece with peeling paint, no air conditioner, and 200 years worth of gossip – is empty. The peak rental season starts in just a couple of weeks, until then, the house tends to sit empty except for a lone visiting family here and there.

The house is actually one of my favorite pieces of Pamlico. It’s why I suggested we ditch prom (it was absolutely lame) and come here. Unbeknownst to Max and his family or even Michael, I often sneak over here after twilight or just before dawn to watch the water. The house sits right on the river, the dock reaching just out into its depts. Sometimes, if I time it right, I can catch the porpoises swimming by for their morning meals.

I digress – Max and I ditched prom to come here because prom was an utter disaster of the lamest proportions. Michael and Maria had disappeared right when we arrived. The music was horrible. The food tasted disgusting. And everyone was staring at me.


Meanwhile, Max was weirdly the only part that didn’t suck. We danced. We laughed. He kept looking at me in this way that was completely different from any way he had ever looked at me before. It was like he really saw me.

Pam Troy – my arch-nemesis, and ever so coincidently Max’s ex-girlfriend – caught sight of us at one point and trailed me into the restroom, cornering me at the sinks.

“Who the hell do you think you are, Liz Parker?” She’d seethed at me, her red lips curled in a sneer. I didn’t even grace her with a response.

I think that just made her angrier. She continued her rant against me, the words absorbing into my silent façade.

“Mousy little Liz Parker – You do realize that you are just a pity date, right? Max Evans? Seriously? He only asked you to prom because I refused to go with him and thus none of my friends – everyone in the school but you that is – would touch him with a ten-foot pole. He’s clearly desperate; I’m surprised he even showed up. Having to choose between bringing you, coming dateless, or just not coming at all – if I were him I’d have gone with one of the last two options.” She started laughing. It was high-pitched, self-assured, and downright catty.

I took it in stride. It wasn’t my fault she and Max had broken up. It wasn’t my fault he asked me to prom. I was just here, doing him some random favor. I owed her nothing. I owed him nothing. There was no need for me to get involved.

But those words, those hurtful, painful words – they pierced through my skin, like the slightest paper cut. The damage didn’t show on the outside, but on the inside – I hurt like hell.

Still, I said nothing as I coolly brushed passed her and out of the restroom back towards Max, who was leaning against the bleachers in the gym. A few stray locks of his hair were lying loose against his brow. I fought the urge to brush them back and instead reached for his hand.

“Let’s get out of here.”

We slipped out the back doors and into the fresh May breeze, the air smelling faintly like the Neuse River. I knew where I wanted to be in that moment – and I for once, I didn’t want to be alone.

“Don't go
Stay with the all unknown
Stay away from the hooks
All the chances we took”

The water was calming beneath our dangling feet. My pedicured toes fluttered in the wind, making shadows against the waves with my red dress spilling out around me. We sat in silence for awhile. I needed a moment to let the emotions Pam had invoked roll off me like the waves below us. Max, completely oblivious to his ex-girlfriend’s intrusion on my evening, seemed to understand my need for a quiet reverie. Instead, I felt his fingers lace through my own. Every now and then his thumb would draw a gentle pattern against the side of my palm.

I suppose that’s how we ended up like this – with his lips trailing dangerously down my neck, setting fire to my skin. My free hand was clutching to his vest, my lips parted in ecstasy.

How is Max Evans of all people doing this to me?

Every malicious word Pam uttered flies out my mind. Instead, all I can think about are Max’s lips and how fabulous they feel against my skin. The only light around us is coming from the stars twinkling above. It is absolutely the most romantically cliché moment ever. And I’ll be damned if I ever want it to end.

One of his hands is cupping my face, his fingers now reaching around and tangling themselves into my hair. He falls backwards and pulls me with him, his lips still connecting with mine, his tongue still dueling gently with mine. I am lost in the sensations. I pull away and trail light kisses down his neck and then back up towards his earlobe, slightly nipping. He lets out a quiet growl of approval and begins taking control once more, pulling my lips back to his.

I don’t know how long we are like this – making out beneath the stars. We never notice the clouds rolling in until the first drops of rain, followed closely by a shattering bolt of lightning and roar of thunder. Max seems to gain his senses immediately and shoots up, pulling me with him. He scoops up my shoes and his jacket, throwing the latter over my shoulders to shelter me from the worst of the rain and we race towards to the house, Max’s fingers still laced through mine.

I can’t describe what I was thinking. All I know was that it felt nice. I felt wanted. I felt protected. And as much as I chose to fight it before – I felt something for Max.

The house shook around us as the lightning crashed and the thunder boomed. Rain pelted the roof above our heads – but we noticed nothing. We were focused only on one another.

It wasn’t until I awoke to the sunlight streaming in through the windows illuminating our naked bodies that I realized what I had done. Mortified, horrified, and confused, I quietly slipped out of the house before Max could wake up and have any regrets.

No. I wouldn’t let him look at me with regret in his eyes.

First date... First Kiss… Losing my virginity…

Guess I screwed those up.

As I stumbled away in dawn’s sunrise, I could hear the porpoises splashing. Suddenly, their magic had vanished.

“We're so close to something better left unknown
We're so close to something better left unknown”

* * *

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Re: Shadows on the Water (AU, M/L, ADULT) AN 8/28/10

Post by beautifyldreamer » Thu Nov 25, 2010 9:13 pm

Oh how many apologies I owe you all for my lack of updating over the past few months. Between work and personal life - I haven't been inspired for awhile. But it has finally hit me again! I'm hoping to update more often now... Oh how I hope!

Thank you all for your comments and for reading - even despite my failure as a deadline meeting author :D

This next chapter's theme song is "On the Water" by The Walkmen. As per usual - I'm just borrowing it as my inspiration. No infringement meant. Check out the youtube link below to hear it.

Chapter 4 – On the Water

“All the windows are glowing
The branches bending low
The skyline is swinging
Rocking back and forth
Walking down this dirt road
Watching at the sky
It’s all I can do
It’s all I can do”

I feel sick.

Like I’m going to wretch everything in my stomach out onto my parents’ living room floor in front of everyone.

Yes. I said everyone. The Evans’ and Parker’s.

As if my life wasn’t one fucked up mess before…

Apparently in my absence, my parents, good ole Jeff and Nancy – who were the furthest things from socialites when I was in high school – are now best friends with Philip and Diane Evans.

Better known for their role in raising one Max Evans – who happens to be sitting across from me in a chair pulled in from the dining room, nursing a beer and smirking at me.

Fuck me.

Oh wait…

I force a smile on my face, and take a deep swig of red wine from my glass, as Diane asks me about California.

I take another long drink for good measure before answering. Giving her an interview-worthy spiel about what a great growth opportunity it was for me to get out on my own and experience the world. Everyone nods, and my mother – who’s sitting beside me, holding onto my hand for dear life like I might disappear with the blink of an eye – squeezes my fingers with a smile.

I can’t believe I was going to get married without them.

I can’t believe they want me back after I essentially ditched them all those years ago.

After Max answered my parent’s front door, everything else had seemed surreal. He’s had on that God-awful smirk on all night. It is a cross between sick sarcasm and humor, like a joke that only he knows the punch line to.

I had followed him inside towards the living room where his parents and my father were sitting.

“Mom, Dad, Jeff – I believe we have a distinguished guest.” He’d said with a twinge of sass.

“All the years keep rolling
The decades flying by
The days are long
So here’s one to the pigeons
And the tugboats on the river
Here’s one to you
For walking in my shoes”

I’d lost all interest in Max at that point. My eyes found my father, who was sitting with a beer on our old couch sharing a joke with Philip Evans. His eyes found me immediately, wide and bright. Unbelieving and hopeful. My heart roared in my chest, the guilt I’d buried down with a few beers fighting back out of its shallow grave.

“Who was that at the door, Ma…” My mother’s voice trailed off in the silent room, the serving platter she’d been drying clattering with a thud to the hardwood floor. “Oh my God, Elizabeth!”

I’d been engulfed in hugs I didn’t deserve while my mind traveled down many tributaries. The first being how much I’d missed my parents and their love. No matter what I did, no matter how much distance – figuratively and literally – I put between us, they welcomed me back with open hearts and arms.

The second horrible and disgusting thought was Kyle. I let my mind travel down the path of what ifs and maybes. What if I’d never found out about Kyle and Tess? Maybe I’d be on my honeymoon right now, oblivious to my parents’ lives back here in Pamlico. What if I’d have been escorted down the aisle to my own wedding by a stranger? Maybe I’d never have come back.

Finally, my thoughts and eyes found Max, and the strange feeling in my chest when he answered my door. Fear? Excitement? Nervousness? Whatever the feeling, it was still there, a quiet thumping, reminiscent of a night not so dissimilar to this one just a few years ago…

I physically shook my head of these of thoughts and turned away from Max’s seemingly knowing smartass smirk as I finally pulled away from my parents’ embrace.

We shared a few more “I missed you’s and I love you’s and I’m so happy your home’s” before arriving at this moment – with me gulping down my second steady glass of merlot as I faced more of the inquisition verbally via the Evans’ and my parents – and silently via Max’s intense gaze.

My only stroke of good luck was that Michael and Maria didn’t show – no doubt thanks to the warning visit Maria had earlier today at Amy’s. I’m sure she found a way to keep Michael away from the Parker cottage for one night.

Though – as relieved as that made me – not to have to face Hurricane DeLuca (or Guerin as I suppose she was now called), I had missed Michael the most of anyone from home. I needed to see him soon. Would he hate me now too – like Maria and Max? Or would he, like my parents, welcome me home with open arms and a warm smile?

“Well, I suppose we’ve bombarded Lizzie enough with all our questions tonight, eh Diane, Max? What say we head home and let Jeff and Nancy enjoy some time alone catching up with her? It’s been a long time.” Phillip Evans’ voice broke through my train of thought after a final lull in conversation.

“We’re so glad ya’ll could be here with us tonight, Phillip. We’ll see you next week.” My father shook his hand, coming behind me and finally placing his hands warmly on my shoulders.

I smiled my goodbyes, hugging both Phillip and Diane as they each rose and headed for the door. Max was last, I didn’t dare try to hug him. He nodded at me instead.

“I’ll be seeing you Liz.”

It was more a threat than a promise.

“Oh you know I’d never leave you
No matter how hard I try
You know I’d never leave you
And that’s just how it is”

* * *

I didn’t sleep well that first night.

Max’s words lingered in my ears and laid heavy in my mind.

“I’ll be seeing you…”

Why? Why couldn’t he just let bygones be bygones?

My parents had given me my old room. It was just the way I’d left it, with my bed right against the window looking out into the creek behind the cottage. It was perfect on a cool night for opening my window and falling asleep to a breeze.

But tonight, the breeze reminded me too much like the night so many nights before.

And to top it off a storm raged on into the deepest hours of the night. Thunder cracked loudly around midnight startling me out of a restless slumber and lightning illuminated the entire backyard and creek beyond it. I could make out the old Sunfish sailing vessel on our small, makeshift dock and dad’s little dingy boat.

I was jittery and restless. Everything felt off as the storm raged on outside.

I spent the rest of the night like this.

It wasn’t until the wee hours of dawn when I finally fell asleep.

When my mother came into the room to announce breakfast at 7, I found myself wide awake. Thank God.

Of course, there was nothing like Mom’s biscuits, Dad’s eggs, and a hot cup of hot chocolate to get the day started. And as undeserving as I’d been last night, I was even more so this morning finding the old wood table in my parent’s kitchen just the way I’d left it years before. Set with new, pale green place mats and the same dishes that had been around since before I was born. Even worse was the hot chocolate sitting in front of my place – my old seat right between my parents, looking out onto the water – with two marshmallows resting next to it.

I gently ran my finger along the table before taking a seat – did I really miss this that much?

Mom and Dad smiled warmly at me, bringing the rest of the food to the table.

“Good Morning Lizzie!” Dad reached over and squeezed my shoulder fondly.

“How’d you sleep?” Mom asks, passing me the biscuits.

I smile. It’s like I never left.

Oh God, these biscuits taste amazing! I haven’t had them in so long.

Yes. I did miss this. More than I’d ever realized.

“I slept alright – the storm last night was major.” I only tell a half-lie.

Mom launches into a story from work yesterday with Dad adding commentary here and there. She tells me about her new boss, Dad mentions how he and his wife even came by the house a few weeks back. They have a son my age. This leads the conversation in the direction I have been dreading.

“Did you meet anyone in school?” Mom asks, looking inquisitively in my direction.

Do I tell them about Kyle? Do I unleash the horror that is their daughter? Their Lizzie, the girl who didn’t even tell them she was getting married?

I take a deep breath – hoping I can add this lie to my growing list. There was so much they didn’t know…

“No. There were plenty of men – but none really caught my eye.” I bite into my eggs, hoping the act of chewing will hide my nervousness. I’ve always been a horrible liar – but because I was their Lizzie, their trustworthy daughter who never lied to them – they have always believed me.


“Well maybe I can invite Mr. Whitman and his family here. He mentioned his son just moved to Wilmington for work so he could be closer to his parents. They’re from Chapel Hill. In fact he went to UNC. You know – the Tarheels? He majored in law.”

The last thing I wanted was to meet another man. After what I’ve just been through with Kyle, I can’t even imagine being in a relationship with anyone else.

But I can’t tell my parents that – instead I fib again. Eventually I’ll be able to tell the truth. A few white lies will protect them. And me.

“Sure. It’d be nice to have a friend here.” I say instead.

Instead of lighting up at the prospect of setting her daughter up, my mother’s face falls.

“Oh but Lizzie! You have friends here. There’s Maria. And Michael! He’s missed you so much! And Max too! Didn’t you go to prom with Max?” I cringe at the memories that float through my brain – particularly at the mention of Max and Maria.

I avoid the subject with a subtle transition to the mention of Michael’s name.

“You know, I haven’t seen Michael in ages. I would love to catch up with him.”

That wasn’t a lie at all. I did want to see Michael.

Dad perks up.

“Come to the boatyard at lunch – he should be around then.”

“The boatyard? I thought he was working on the shrimpers?” Dad smiles.

“He was – until he was asked to come manage at the boatyard. He took over management and even hired me as Co-Manager. He’s a good kid, Michael.” He takes a breath and looks out the window. “I’d always hoped the two of you would eventually get together, but he’s found quite a firecracker in that Maria. They are so happy together.”

I force a smile. It was true – Maria and Michael were probably perfect for each other. But it didn’t help that she hated me. Would I ever get to be friends with Michael again? Or would he snub me like Maria had? Not that I didn’t deserve it. I deserved to be chased out of town with a pitchfork or two after all I’d left behind. And for almost getting married without my parents.

What kind of horrible person did that?

The same horrible person who’d been capable of so much more.

“But Molly
She’s like you
Oh the static
That is in everyone but you
Oh it’s funny
To think it through
That is deep
Everyone but you”

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Re: Shadows on the Water (AU, M/L, ADULT) Ch 5 12/24/10

Post by beautifyldreamer » Fri Dec 24, 2010 4:01 pm

Merry Christmas Everyone! Presenting you with the newest update and hoping I get the next out soon. Thank you for all your feedback and thanks again to mary mary for the gorgeous banner!

You are all wonderful and I hope the holiday season is treating you all well! :)


Chapter 5 – Old Haunts

A cherry bomb, you are a mystery
Exploded, sparkling quiet nights
My teenage heart packed all my misery, baby
To fingertips that might ignite
And all along you knew my story, didn't you
And all night long I carried yours
Your blood was mixed wine and robbery, baby
And left us always wanting more

The journey to the boatyard included a loop by the town marina, back past Amy’s and the Tiki Bar, finally leading you to a road running alongside the river.

And past the Evans’ Rental House.

The menacing white home loomed over my car. Fresh leaves laid around the base and sunlight streamed through the top floor windows. I felt my heart beat quicken to a faster pace as memories flooded through me. So many years ago I would have pulled over to the side of the road and trespass on the house’s dock. I used to spend hours lying in the sunlight on the dock, listening to the sounds of the town marina just a mile away. Peaceful. Relaxing.

Now – the house does nothing but cause my nerves to flare. It lost its magic.

It takes me the rest of the drive by the river – a good mile at a slow pace – to calm myself back down. Calm down just so I can get nervous again. I’m minutes away from seeing Michael for the first time since I left.

The Oriental Boatyard is actually a small marina tucked into one of the many creeks that flow into the river. While it hosts a few boat slip tenants, it also performs routine maintenance and repairs many different types of water craft. It is somewhat surprising to hear Michael has taken up ownership.

Parking the ‘stang next to the hull of a dry-docked sailing vessel, I made my way to the main office. I take a moment outside the door gathering my courage.

What do you say to your best friend when you haven’t seen him in so long? Is he even still your best friend? No. Probably not. I’d always described him as such, even in references to my old home while I was in LA. But now, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I was a changed Liz from the girl I’d been in high school. Michael had probably changed a lot too.

Shaking my head at my stupidity, and turning to walk away, I got about halfway down the gangplank before the door opened behind me.

“Sorry I didn’t hear you knock, I was in the back warming up my lunch. Can I help you?”

I’d recognize his voice anywhere. I freeze, unsure of what to do – I’d just convinced myself what a horrible idea this was and now suddenly I’m faced with him.

“Miss?” He still doesn’t know it’s me. I could walk away now and he’d never know I was here. If I left quickly enough, I could get home, pack up all my things, and fly out of town like a bat out of hell to some other city. Start some new life.

What am I thinking? Who is this Liz Parker – still running away from all life’s problems? Where’s the same Liz who socked Tess and Kyle in the face?

She died that night, that’s where she is. I’m such a chicken-shit now. Broken and hollow.

“Hi Michael…” My voice betrays my plan to get the hell out of dodge. The words are out, I’m caught. I spin around to look at him.

He’s staring at me like I have an abnormal growth on my face. But God does he look good. He’s cut his hair short; it’s not long and spiky anymore. He’s tan from working outside so much, even in the coolness of autumn. He’s wearing a pair of Levi’s and an old t-shirt I recognize from the days he worked as a cook at Amy’s. But his eyes, they are wild – running rampant with confusion, recognition, and pain. I watch as these different emotions run across his features before he whispers my name.


So don't sing me your songs about the good times
Those days are gone and you should just let them go
And God help the man who says
If you'd have known me when
Old haunts are for forgotten ghosts
Old haunts are for forgotten ghosts

Two seconds later he’s crushing me against him in a bear hug, nuzzling the top of my head.

“I told you that you’d come back.” He breathes against my hair. I can’t help but smile.

Why was I freaking out earlier? Of course Michael is my best friend. A friendship like ours didn’t just die out. It was still here, shining dimly while we were apart only to flare up again upon our reunion.

I found myself thankful for this. Leaving Michael had been the hardest thing I’d ever done. He was the one part of this town I loved. My thoughts flutter to my father’s words this morning – “I’d always hoped the two of you would eventually get together…” Maybe I should have considered it before. Maybe if I had I’d never know the pain of betrayal. The sting of a broken heart.

Maybe I’d never have lost my virginity to Max Evans.

These what ifs cloud my brain and come crashing to a head. “…But he’s found quite a firecracker in that Maria. They are so happy together.”


Michael and Maria.

Cherry bomb, your love is surgery
Removing what you don't regard
And every breath felt like a funeral, baby
While you were packing up your car
And with the window down
I hear your tired mouth
You borrowed everything
And wore all your old welcomes out
And shame on you, my love
You sold your youth away
Memories are sinking ships
That never would be saved

I gently pull away from Michael’s embrace, leaving with it my thoughts from just moments before.

“It’s good to see you again, Michael.” And this is the truth. He’s like a breath of fresh air. Air I have so desperately needed since I left this godforsaken town and never looked back.

I should have looked back.

Would have, Should have, Could have.

Hindsight is always 20-20.

There’s so much to tell him, so much to hear. But where do we even start? We were never much for small talk. Exchanging pleasantries wasn’t our forte. We’d always get straight to the point and just say whatever we were thinking. There weren’t many secrets between us. If we were telling anyone anything, we were telling each other.

But now… things feel the same and different all at the once.

I want to tell Michael everything – from Kyle and his betrayal, to Max and mine. It is my guilt that keeps me silent. To tell him I’d almost gotten married without him, that I’d left with every intention of never coming home – it would break him. And no matter my selfish desires to come clean, I wasn’t going to hurt him again. Not like before.

But Michael seems to understand everything just by looking at me. He always has.

Wrapping his arm around my shoulders, he pulls me towards the office.

“Come on, you had lunch yet? Maria made me an extra meatball sub. Let’s pack them up and go sailing. I’ll show you my new boat!”

Leave it to Michael to provide me such solace when I deserved only malice.

So don't sing me your songs about the good times
Those days are gone and you should just let them go
And God help the man who says
If you'd have known me when
Old haunts are for forgotten ghosts
Old haunts are for forgotten ghosts

Oh how I used to love sailing with him. I remember when my dad found an old sunfish at the junk yard. He’d thrown it in the back of his truck and brought it home for Michael and me. We spent the entire summer before starting high school in my backyard fixing it up. When we weren’t in my backyard, we were biking to yard sales around Pamlico, trying to find used sail parts for cheap with our combined savings.

I’ll never forget the day we finally got to take it out on the Neuse. We packed some sandwiches and Cokes into my knapsack, threw on life jackets over our swimsuits, and sailed our boat from the creek behind my parents’ house to the river. We made it all the way across to the beach just beyond the Oriental bridge and harbor, halfway across the river.

Warm and sunburned from the hours aboard our vessel, Michael and I dove overboard, pulling our boat to shore. We sat and sunned while eating our sandwiches.

“Let’s christen it.” I’d told him. I remember how his eyes got really wide as he briefly misinterpreted what I meant. Then they’d travelled to the Coke in my hand and he blushed bright pink.

“Oh… uh… yeah… what should we name it?” He had stumbled, nervously running a hand through his long hair.

I’d laid my head back down and glanced up at the clouds dotting the sky above us.

“Sometimes I wish we could do this forever, Michael. Spend our days sailing to faraway places on faraway adventures. You know, the stuff movies are made of…” I’d told him wistfully, already craving a world beyond Pamlico. I had always felt so limited.

He reached out and grabbed my hand.

“We could you know? Sail away, I mean. When we graduate high school and are real adults. Your parents trust me to take care of you, they’d let us go.” I had smiled at him sadly, somehow knowing even then that these were only dreams that would never come true.

“How about Sea Dreamer? She is after all the stuff our dreams are made of.” He’d nodded and I pulled away, lifting my Coke over the boats bow.

“To Sea Dreamer.” Michael said, raising his can to our boat.

“Sea Dreamer.” I smiled, pouring some of my Coke onto her bow before clicking cans with Michael in an official cheers and taking a quick chug.

And shame, shame, shame, shame on you
You kept your mind and heart and youth
Just like a tomb
And shame, shame, shame, shame on you
You kept your mind and heart and youth
Just like a tomb

I smile at the memory as present Michael leads me along the dock to his boat. He’s been very tightlipped about her – answering my questions about her vaguely as we packed up the subs and a couple of beers.

I feel my jaw drop as he pulls to a stop in front of a beautifully restored 27 foot Pearson named Sea Dreamer II.

“Michael… oh my God…” He smiles at me before offering a hand to help me aboard.

“Like her?”

Like her? I love her. Its clear Michael has done a lot of work on her, equipping her cockpit with all the newest technologies. The hull is a bright sky blue with a darker blue lining the top. The brilliant white of her top deck is newly shined with no scuffs or dark marks.

I’m thankful I wore my soft-soled Sperry’s.

“She’s gorgeous! When did you get her?”

He launches into a tale similar to that of our original Sea Dreamer. How he found her rotting away in the yard of a local farmer. A relic from the ‘70s, he’d managed to get it for a steal, the farmer simply happy to have it off his property. He’d been working on her off and on for 4 years, finally finishing her this summer. He had already taken her on a few trips around the river, and down the waterway to Beaufort.

But he wanted to go farther.

“I’m trying to convince Maria to go with me to the Bahamas and back – just down the Intercoastal. But she won’t have it. With the baby…” He pauses, looking over at me from the ships wheel. “Maria’s pregnant. We’re having a little girl.”

There’s something in his eyes I can’t quite place. A twinge of happiness mixed with… regret? Pain? What does he know?

I don’t spend long thinking over it, instead choosing to fill the awkward and painful silence with words.

“I heard. I ran into Maria yesterday at Amy’s. She mentioned you two were married and having your first child.” I place my hand over his on the wheel. “I’m really happy for you Michael. Things seem to be going really well for you.” I tell him sincerely. “I’m sad I missed the wedding.”

Forcing a smile, I look away, my own emotions catching up with me. A single tear trickles down my cheek before I can stop it. Life really is a bitch – throwing all of this in my face after I’ve survived so much already. I am happy for Michael, but knowing how happy I could have been…

I shake the thought away and focus instead on the water flowing below us, the noon sun sparkling in its waves.

“I’d forgotten how amazing this felt.” I tell him, my voice soft.

“You did always love a good sail. I think it helped you escape on those days you just wanted to run away.” Michael says to my back.

We sail in silence for a bit, enjoying the sun. For an October afternoon, it is relatively warm and bright. I’m looking out over the water, picking out the Oriental bridge and harbor from a distance. I can see the Evans’ rental property too. I wrap my arms around my abdomen, feeling suddenly cold.

“We tried to invite you, you know?” Michael’s voice pierces the silence. I spin around on my seat, gazing up at him. He’s not looking at me, instead gazing off into the distance ahead of the boat. “Max even went as far as to fly out to LA to try to find you and bring you back for the wedding. He was my best man.”

My heart drops at this. Max came looking for me? He had to have found me, I wasn’t in hiding. Why didn’t he bring me back? What had happened?

“Jeff and Nancy had forwarded you all our invites. You had to have gotten them. Why didn’t you come?”

He looks so sad, and for once I didn’t have an answer. Would I have come home for his wedding?

Doubt fades as soon as it enters my thoughts.

Absolutely. I would have come home for Michael. I’d have done anything for Michael.

Except stay in Pamlico…

“I’m so sorry Michael. I had no idea. I never got the invitations. I don’t know what happened. Mom and Dad had the correct address. And my phone number. Why didn’t anyone call me?”

My mind fumbles backwards, trying to figure out what had happened. Where I had been.

“We tried to. You’re friend Tess always answered. She said you were out and would call us back.”


The name lingers like a plague in my brain.

That bitch. Of course she’d answered. Of course she’d never told me.

Of course.

“I promise you Michael, I would have come home had I known. I never got those messages from Tess. She was no friend of mine.” The last part comes out like venom, my gaze moving from Michael back out to the water as images of her and Kyle flood through my brain like poison.

Sensing my distress, I feel Michael’s eyes on me. But he doesn’t inquire, either knowing better or not knowing me well enough anymore.

Instead, he lays his hand on my shoulder. We’ve made it over the last hurdle, our friendship still intact.

“I’ve missed you.”

And don't sing me your songs about the good times
Those days are gone and you should just let them go
So God help the man who says
If you'd have known me when
Old haunts are for all those ghosts
And don't sing me your songs about the good times
Those days are gone and you should just let them go
And God help the man who says
If you'd have known me when
God help the man who says
If you'd have known me when
God help this man who says
My baby, if you'd have known me when
Old haunts are all we've ever known
"When the power of love overcomes the love of power, only then will the world know peace."
-Jimi Hendrix

"What's so great about being normal?"
-Max Evans

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Re: Shadows on the Water (AU, M/L, ADULT) Ch 6 2/26 p8

Post by beautifyldreamer » Sat Feb 26, 2011 2:13 pm

I'm back! I've been working on this part since December and just couldn't seem to get it finished. A lot will be happening in the next few parts, including the revelation of Liz's deepest and darkest secret.

As always - thank you for your feedback, I thoroughly enjoy reading your comments and critiques.

The song for this chapter comes from The Kings of Leon's new album. The song is called "Pyro" and it is one of my favorites.


Chapter 6

“A single book of matches
Gonna burn what's standing in the way
Running down the mountain
Now they're calling on the fire brigade”

Friday nights in Oriental during the cooler months involved doing 1 of 3 things –

1. Going out of town to visit anywhere outside the borders of Pamlico.
2. Staying in and watching made for TV movies with your family.
3. Going to the high school football game.

Given that I’ve just gotten home – this only leaves options 2 and 3 open for me. And guess what weekend I made it home just in time for?


Michael was the first to bring it to my attention, just as we were coming back into the dock after our reunion sail.

“You going to be in town long enough to come to Homecoming tomorrow night?” He’d asked, steering the new boat into its slip like a professional – well I guess he is technically a professional now…

A lot of choice words flew through my brain as I registered the term “Homecoming”.

Mostly the thought of facing all of my old classmates as the epic failure I’d become was almost too much to bear. I failed at life outside of Pamlico. I wasn’t married. I didn’t have a job.

I was single and relatively broke minus the remnants of Kyle’s ring and my scholarship funds.

“Homecoming…” The word is like tar off my tongue, so dark and thick with disgusting possibility. How was I going to get out of this? What else did I have to do?

“Yeah. Maria and I are going. Max too. I think even his sister is coming back into town for it. You should come.” I looked over at him; he was still focused on getting the boat aligned with the dock that he hadn’t registered the mixed look of horror and disgust engulfing my face. I can feel my entire body turning tense at the idea of hanging out with Maria and Max.

Oh that just sounds like a blast.

“I’ll think about it.”

I’d thought I was safe from it then. I’d just avoid Michael until Saturday, after Homecoming. Maybe grab a coffee with him, claim I had a stomach bug or something, and ask how it had gone. This was totally feasible.

Until my parents brought it up that night.

“Lizzie, we were thinking it would be really nice to catch the Homecoming game tomorrow night at Pamlico High.” Mom tells me as we sit down to our dinner. I’d forgotten how much I’d missed Mom’s signature chicken & dumplings.

My eyes go big and bright, like a deer caught in headlights. There was that dreadful word again: Homecoming.

“Wouldn’t it be nice to see all your old high school classmates again?” My mother continues as I stare in horrified silence at my plate. Was I really going to have to go through with this?

“We thought it would be nice to get together with everyone…” Everyone? Since when did my parents have an ‘everyone’? “Amy agreed to host the post-game social. Pick-up foods and drinks. It’s going to be so much fun! All your old friends, and some new ones too! Phillip mentioned their daughter Isabel – do you remember her? She was quite a few years older, so maybe not – was visiting this weekend.”

I didn’t know Isabel, but I’d heard about her. Max’s older sister and half of the reason he had been so popular in school. She was Homecoming Queen the year before we started high school. Tall, blonde, beautiful, and the nicest person to ever walk the planet. That’s what Michael had always said. I’m pretty sure he’d had the biggest crush on her when we were in middle school. I’d seen her around town once or twice – but I didn’t realize it was her until later on. I definitely couldn’t picture her now. She had graduated, Homecoming crown in tow, and headed off to UNC-Chapel Hill to study nursing.

At least she was proof that someone in this town could get the hell out of here.

“I’ll see if Mr. Whitman and his family can make it. What a perfect opportunity for you to meet his son, Alex!” My mother exclaims. I fight the urge to roll my eyes.

Oh joy. So not only was I going to be forced to suffer through a night dredging up old high school nightmares, but it would be a blind date too?

“I’m making your favorite chili nachos for Amy’s.” My dad throws in, sensing some of my despair. The perceptive old devil.

He and my mother are gazing at me now. I can feel their eyes boring into the crown of my head.

“Those are still your favorite, right Lizzie?”

With that timid question, my mother has somehow managed to take my utter despair at the thought of going to the game and party and turn it into guilt for not being around any the past few years.

I take a deep, cleansing breath and look up from my plate.

“They will always be my favorite, Mom.” I tell her with a reassuring smile. “It will be nice to see everyone. Thanks for organizing this.” I hear myself say, betraying every thought and feeling in my body.

Damn it. I’m committed.

* * *

“Carry out the pictures
And tell the kids that I'm okay
If'n I'm forgotten
You'll remember me 'fore today”

It’s unseasonably warm which is fitting considering I’m walking straight into hell - holding a first class ticket in fact.

The sun is finally fading behind the row of trees behind the scoreboard as my parents and I scan the crowd for some seats. Well they’re scanning. I’m more keeping my eyes low and tucked beneath my inconspicuous ball cap. I managed to find an old Amy’s Café baseball hat hidden in the dark crevices of my old closet just before we’d left. Dressing in black, like I am headed for a funeral – which it may very well be my own, so it is appropriate attire I think – the gray hat works out pretty well with the outfit and for keeping a low profile.

I’m just praying I don’t see anyone I recognize from school. How devastating.

‘So what have you been up to since high school Liz?’

Oh you know… I dumped my fiancé, left my job in California, and now live the life of the unemployed in my old room from high school with my parents. It’s awesome.

Yes. Fantastic.

My parent’s manage to spot the Evans’ sitting way up at the top of the stands and directly in the center. I see Max sitting next to them, but it doesn’t look like anyone else. Guess Isabel isn’t here yet.

I’m relieved and mortified at this realization. An entire football game of my parents being buddy-buddy while I’m forced to make small talk with Max Evans? At least he doesn’t look too thrilled at the prospect either… In fact, he’s grimacing.

Good. I don’t want to be around him either.

I flash a smile at Phillip and Diane. Maybe if I pretend-smile long enough, I’ll actually feel it. Right.

Mom and Dad squeeze in next to the Evans’, leaving only a spot next to Max for me.

That’s when the chicken in me comes out. There is no way I’m sitting next to him for the entire game. No way in this warped version of hell.

“All the black inside me
Is slowly seeping from the bone
Everything I cherish
Is slowly dying, or it's gone”

“I’m going to go grab something to drink. Be right back,” I sputter out, turning on my heel and taking the stairs down the bleachers two at a time.

Of course, had I known who I’d meet at the bottom, I might have suffered through Max instead.

“Oh my God. Liz Parker, is that you? I can’t believe it!”

I’m the one who can’t believe it. Of all the people I could have run into. Of all the people I would love to never see again – I run into Pam Troy.

She looks just like she did in high school – a little curvier and a little blonder – but otherwise she’s the same girl she had always been. Her eyes are what give her away – the green irises aren’t full of friendly recognition. No. Instead they watch me carefully, sizing me up, making judgments based on assumptions and past knowledge.

I flash a fake smile. Kill them with kindness, right?

I’ve learned a few tricks over the years I’ve been away – especially for dealing with snobbish twits like Pam. As much as I resent Tess now – she’d helped me grow into myself and break into my bubbled self-confidence. We’d spent four years dealing with random drama – spoiled rich girls needing their homework done instead of actual tutoring, sorority sisters hoping to snag a future NFL player in the form of Kyle Valenti, even fellow honors society members who wanted to snag the leadership crown from me through any means necessary. I’d dealt with it all.

I could handle a punk like Pam.

“Little shaking babies
And drunkards seem to all agree
Once the show gets started
It's bound to be a sight to see”

“Pam – it is so nice to see you again. Enjoying the game?” I force myself to make small talk. Better to throw her for a loop – keep her from asking too many questions.

“Hmm, I am in fact. I just got in from Boston. I’m a journalist up there, you know? A sports journalist. It was really hard to break away given that we’re just getting into the pro-football season. Of course – you wouldn’t know anything about that, would you? You never were into sports. I don’t think I ever even saw you at a game. Which brings up the question – what are you doing here? I never thought I’d see you back in Pamlico again. How intriguing.”

The conniving bitch.

My heart stops when she mentions sports journalist. She couldn’t have heard anything about Kyle and I? I mean he’s barely even a rookie. The drama between us couldn’t have made the news here back east. In LA maybe – but not here.

Except that I’d punched him. Fuck. Normal football fiancés don’t do that. Surely that caught someone’s eyes.

Does that mean she knows?

I watch her carefully, not committing to any answers, and instead gracing her with an award winning smile. Seriously – if this was a movie, my ass would be winning an Oscar for best performance.

“Well, I’m back in town. I missed my friends and family. And what a perfect weekend to come home and catch up with old friends – it being homecoming of course.” My answer is perfect, flippant and cool. As if it was the truth. It was the half truth at least.

She’s not giving anything away. I still can’t tell what she does and doesn’t know. Maybe it’s just a coincidence that she’s bringing up the sports journalist thing. I mean a) Pam loves to brag and b) we’re at a football game. It all fits well into conversation.

But while Pam is an ignorant, malicious bitch – she’s not obtuse. She’s pushing the right buttons, asking the right questions. It’s all calculated – just like the devious journalist she has become. It wouldn’t surprise me if she was looking for a story. She’d be the first journalist to get one from me about the incident.

The press in LA had been dying to get a hold of me the day after – but then something new and exciting had happened in the celebrity front and they finally left me alone just as I was leaving town. Maybe the east coast wasn’t interested – but a story from Kyle’s spurned ex would still make good gossip for the nosy public.

There’s a good chance Pam is going for the kill shot here.

And there’s a good chance she could ruin me with this. I’m home to start anew. Kyle, Tess, that life – none of it exists here and it’s better that way. I have to play it cool so if Pam does have any suspicions regarding my involvement – I can deflate them.

She’s about to ask me something else – I can feel the blood rushing through my veins and my heart pounding. This whole playing it cool thing is not going to be easy. That’s when he shows up – a knight in shining armor. A knight I don’t want – but in this case appreciate beyond belief.


“Thought you were getting drinks Liz – our parents are asking about you.” The way he says it alludes to nothing and everything. Pam’s eyes widen as she takes in Max’s form – the way he stands so casually next to me.

“Max?” She almost whispers. I almost let out a laugh at the way she goes all starry eyed. I practically double over on the inside at Max’s next words.

“Yeah, do I know you?”

Oh. My. God. Her eyes go wide, disbelief resonating in their green depths. She’s been knocked speechless. Perhaps she thought she was unforgettable? I guess he is being a little harsh – they did date for a good length of high school.

What am I saying? That bitch needs a good sock to her ego – whether he’s full of shit or not.

Double what am I saying? Since when do I support Max Evans in anything he does?

“It was nice to see you Pam.” I don’t even address Max – instead I disengage from the battle and move towards the congested concessions stand for a Coke.

There’s no way tonight could get any worse than that, right?

“I, I won't ever be your cornerstone
I, I don't wanna be here holding on
I, I won't ever be your cornerstone”

* * *

“Watch her run
Can you feel it?
Watch her run
Can you feel it?”


The night has gotten way worse – so bad in fact that I don’t know what to do. I’m pretty sure I should just run home, pack up my shit, and get the fuck out of town and dodge.

I am so fucking screwed.

On the positive side – I survived the football game and even enjoyed it from the quiet solitude of a hidden picnic table.

And I’ve made a new friend. In fact, he is my only salvation as I stare into the eyes of my past.

It turns out Alex Whitman wasn’t the blind date from hell I was expecting. As soon as his family arrived, he found me immediately – choosing to pick up conversation with the obvious anti-socialite versus the group laughing so infectiously outside on Amy’s back deck. I was delicately nursing a glass of wine, pretending to enjoy my moments of solace and attempting to ignore the taunting laughter from outside.

Apparently this didn’t put him off at all. Instead, he took the seat next to me, and let his eyes graze over the rows of alcohol ahead of us. I didn’t look at him, instead choosing to watch him from the corner of my eyes. I wasn't in the mood to entertain my parents’ choice of a suitor. I didn’t even want to be here. I’d rather have been outside laughing with my old friends – but no. I am not allowed in that world anymore.

Moments of dead silence passed before he spoke.

“A is for Absinthe.”

This sparked my interest, my eyes immediately shot over to him in curiosity. What the hell?

“Excuse me?” I couldn’t hide the sass from my voice even if I wanted to.

“She speaks!” His grin was more infectious then the laughter outside. I couldn’t stop smile that graced my features. “I said A is for Absinthe. Hmm let’s see… and B is for…. Beer!” He tilted his head towards the bar in front of us and I picked up on the game.

“B is for Beer? That’s so lame. B should be for Bacardi. C is for Cuervo.”

We spent the next hour playing the ABC’s of Alcohol, our laughter and giggles competing with that of everyone else. I can’t remember the last time I laughed this much – it feels like ages ago.

It turns out, while not a romantic interest, Alex is one of the coolest guys I’ve ever met. A few years my senior, he practices environmental law in Wilmington by day and plays lead guitar for his band, the Whits, by night. Had I not written off the male species entirely, I might have fallen for him.

Just as life in Pamlico was starting to feel under control, and God forbid, actually enjoyable – it came to a crashing halt. I should have known it was too good to be true. I must have really fucked up in my previous life, because I am really getting my ass handed to me in this one.

A tap on the shoulder and we’ve come back to the moment we’re in now – me staring into the familiar eyes of my past. A past I had buried down so deep, I had almost convinced myself that it had been only a nightmare.


No. Instead I’m thrust back into reality via Isabel Evans.

This can’t be happening…

“Watch her run
Can you feel it?
Watch her run
Can you feel it?

I, I won't ever be your cornerstone
I, I don't wanna be here holding on
I, I won't ever be your cornerstone

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Re: Shadows on the Water (AU, M/L, ADULT) AN 5/3 p9

Post by beautifyldreamer » Fri Jun 03, 2011 9:51 pm

Sorry for the majorly long wait. I got into quite a writing rut. The inspiration and time seems to come and go.

Thanks all for your feedback and for reading! It is awesome to see what you guys think of everything :D :) I'll try to do a better job updating from here on out :|

The song for this chapter is by Jenny Lewis (with the Watson Twins). The song is called "Melt Your Heart". As usual - I own nothing and am simply borrowing the awesome tune and the characters for fun. No infringement intended. 8)

Chapter 7 – Melt Your Heart

June, Five Years Earlier

“Nothing is ever as good as it was
And what's good for your soul
Will be bad on your nerves if you reverse it”

Today is the day.

It is the day I have been dreaming about. After today I can run away from this god awful town and never look back.

But I am not excited today. Instead I feel sick. Distorted.


I’ve effectively screwed up all my chances now. I’m not going anywhere. I’ve lived up to the biggest, clichéd, teenage fuck-up in existence.

And now I’m stuck forever, practically the poster child for teen pregnancy.

My hands travel to my belly unconsciously. My eyes meet themselves in the bathroom mirror. I look so mature, so grown up, in my cap and gown. Today should not feel this way. I should be happy.

“It's bound to melt your heart
One way or another
It's bound to melt your heart
For good or for bad
It's like a valentine
From your mother
It's bound to melt your heart”

I’ve debated telling Max since I found out a couple of weeks ago. My parents still have no idea, the truth lying between me and the home-pregnancy test I threw straight into the dumpster behind the marina.

I haven’t spoken to him since Prom night. Since we… ruined my life.

But I have to. He deserves to know the truth. He should know the truth. He has to help me take responsibility for this. I don’t deserve to do this alone. Do I?

Maybe today isn’t the best day to break the news, but it has to come out sometime. It’s not like there is ever a convenient time. Finding out just before my Calc Two final wasn’t exactly ideal for me, either.

It takes me a while to find him; in fact, I have all but given up hope when I hear a giggle coming from the biology lab. Taking a quick glance into the room I find him with Pam Troy. He’s pinned against the whiteboard, her chest shoved against his, their lips inches apart.

I feel my own chest tighten as I watch them come together, his arms wrapping around her slim waist, her fingers digging through his hair. I feel the bile rise in my throat and make it to a trashcan just in time to spew my breakfast from the morning. Fucking morning sickness.

Fucking Max Evans.

“And we've lost the people we could have loved, and you...
What you know you have or what you think you aren't
It's never perfect”

* * *

I have it all at my fingertips. Graduation is almost 24 hours behind me; I have a scholarship to a pristine university across the continent. I am so close to that beautiful, successful, hick-town free future. I can escape. I still have a chance.

So here I sit, desperately trying to forget the scene from just the day before of Max and Pam together. And, conversely, desperately trying to remember why I am making this choice.

They say you should never go through this alone, but I am alone. Completely alone. By my choosing – I expect no sympathy. I expect nothing but to somehow move past this.

My face is buried in my hands, the reality of my situation yet to sink in. One poor choice has led to another – but what am I supposed to do? I have a future outside of this hellhole, I can’t give that up.

That’s what I keep telling myself anyway, hoping that it will somehow lessen the blow.

It doesn’t.

“Are we killing time?
Are we killing each other?”

“Eliza?” My eyes shoot up to the nurse in the doorway as she whispers my semi-fake name, her kind smile seeming to reach out to me. Like she wants to save me – as if that were possible. “I’m Izzy. We’re ready for you.”

It’s time. Time to nut up or shut up.

I quiver with nervousness, my heart pounding in my ears. Can I really do this?

Nurse Izzy seems to sense my hesitation. She reaches for my hand and squeezes as we sit down in the screening room.

“It’s going to be okay Eliza. We’ll make sure you’re okay.” I look up at her, brown meeting brown. She’s smiling gently with perfect teeth. Her silky blonde hair tied neatly behind her back as she leads the way to my doom. I bet she’s never had to do this before. She’s probably a good girl, she’s going places, she’s the old me. The me who would have never gotten into this fucked up situation in the first place.

How did this happen? Where did that me go?

“I’m not worried about me.” I whisper, wringing out my fingers nervously. “I don’t want to hurt this... It feels so wrong…” My conscience is exposed with my broken words. She seems to understand. She rests her hand on my shoulder in an attempt to bring me some comfort. I tense up immediately. I don’t want comfort. I don’t want to be touched. I don’t deserve any sympathy.

“There is always a choice. If you want to back out, you still have that…”

I shake my head adamantly as glimpses of my future fade away into teen-motherhood.

“No, no. This has to happen.” I tell her.

I feel like she should judge me, condemn me to the worst possible kind of karma imaginable. But she doesn’t. Instead she smiles again, squeezes my hand one last time and repeats that it’s all going to be okay. Like this could ever be okay...

The room is brilliant ivory, contrasting with my blackened soul. That is my last thought as sound of the vacuum takes over my senses. I’m a horrible person. I don’t deserve to live. Please let this kill me.

“It's bound to melt your heart
One way or another
It's bound to melt your heart
For good or for bad
It's like a valentine
From your mother
It's bound to melt your heart”

* * *

Izzy is standing over me, her brilliant blonde hair almost fluorescent from the afternoon sun beaming in from the window. I note that I still have plenty of time to make it to Asheville before it gets to be too late. At this point, I just want to run away. To let myself pretend it was all a dream. To shut out all of my emotions.

She squeezes my hand as I slowly sit up.

“Be careful Eliza. You’re going to want to take it slow. How do you feel?”

How do I feel? Finally letting myself think about what has just happened, I focus in on the pain in my stomach. The muscles feel cramped – taut with pain. I double over for moment as a wave washes over me. The pain passes quickly and I rise back up.

“I’m okay.” I tell Izzy, my words quiet and brisk. I don’t want a warm, fuzzy, “let’s talk about what just happened” moment. I want to pay the nice doctor, get in my car, and get the hell out of this past.

I am too disgusted with myself to stay here.

Nurse Izzy hand’s me my clothes so I can change. I don’t even bother to wait for her to leave. I throw them on in a rush. I want a shower. I want to feel nothing.

I deserve to rot.

“When you're kissing someone who's too much like you
It's like kissing on a mirror
When you're sleeping with someone who doesn't get you
You're gonna hate yourself in the morning”

I don’t wait for her to return, instead heading straight to the front desk as soon as I’ve finished. The receptionist looks at me in surprise.

“Miss, are you alright?” I answer her with a wad of cash.

“Here’s all you need. Do I need to sign anything else or can I go now?” My words are crisp and robotic. There is no feeling inside them.

I’ve managed to bewilder her into stunned silence.

I turn on my heel and head straight for the sunshine. The sooner I make it out of this state, the better I’ll be.

I don’t cry. I won’t let myself. Instead, I let a feeling of numbness pass through me and think only of my journey. That life is behind me, my thoughts are only of the future. A future without Max Evans.

The best kind of future I could dream.

“It's bound to melt your heart
One way or another
It's bound to melt your heart
For good or for bad
It's like a valentine
From your mother
It's bound to melt your heart”

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Re: Shadows on the Water (AU, M/L, ADULT) AN 12/4 p9

Post by beautifyldreamer » Sun Dec 04, 2011 3:31 pm

I fail at regular updates - but I was finally able to get out another part. Inspired by Ben Howard's song "Black Flies".

Chapter 8 – Black Flies ... re=related

“Black flies on the windowsill
That we are
That we are
That we are to know
Winter stole summer's thrill
And the river's cracked and cold”

The sweet rum caresses the back of my throat as I take another swig from my bottle. A streak of silver moonlight is cascading across the water, my perch on the marina dock giving me the perfect view though I don’t pay much attention to the light. My eyes are focused far away as the booze makes me feel light-headed and almost free. But my mind is haunted by memories of the past.

That’s where Isabel finds me, or should I say Nurse Izzy. How could I have been so stupid? Of course Nurse Izzy was the same Isabel Evans from Michael’s freshman fantasies. And of course my past would come back to settle the score.

“Of all the clinics I could have chosen between here and California, I chose the one you were working at. Just my luck.” I slur at her as she sits down on the dock next to me.

“Maybe I should hold this for you.” She replies, gently prying the half empty bottle of rum from my grasp.

I don’t resist. Instead I just stare blankly off into the dark abyss of the river at night. My only peace can be found there. My eyes sink into the blue. I want to sink into the blue.

“See the sky is no man's land
A darkened plume to stay
Hope here needs a humble hand
Not a fox found in your place”

How did I not know, walking into that clinic five years ago, that Isabel Evans was Nurse Izzy. Too absorbed in my own drama? Too blind to my reality?

She helped me abort her own niece or nephew. Talk about fucked up.

“You know Patient Confidentiality still applies, right?” Her words are meant to bring me comfort.

My only reply is a single tear sliding down my cheek.

Acknowledging her means acknowledging a part of my history that I had tucked away in hopes of forgetting it completely. I’m scared of what it means about me. I’m scared to let myself think of it. I can’t handle the truth.

Instead, I stare out into the black nothingness of the river. I let my mind absorb it; I let myself fade into it. I let the rum run its course.

I want her to walk away, to leave me to my own misery. I can’t stand the sight of her and the triggers she brings.

But she stays and sits down next to me on the dock, her long legs dangling over the side.

“You know, I can understand why this is upsetting for you, seeing me. If how you flew out of clinic 5 years ago is any indication, I can imagine being back here is relatively scarring. Did you ever talk to anyone about it? Your parents? The… father?”

My eyes fly up from the river, wide and terrified, to meet her blue ones. Does she know? Could she know?

“You’ve never told a soul.”

It’s more of a statement than a question. She already knows the answer like it’s written all over me.

“And no man is an island, oh this I know
But can't you see, oh?
Maybe you were the ocean, when I was just a stone”

She lets out a deep sigh.

“I get that this is something you’d like to forget. Really. I do…” She fades out for a moment, her eyes catching the moonlight, her mind caught in its own abyss.

This is what catches my attention. The silent pause. The pain that crosses her face even for just a short millisecond.

Maybe I’m not the only one with a painful past…

“You can’t do this to yourself anymore.” She twists around, catching my eyes. They are wide, I’m listening now. “Maybe you think you’re fine, and on the outside, you look fine. But, this… this history that you have tucked inside, it’s going to eat you from the inside out unless you get it out and let it go.” She reaches for my hand, “Please Liz. Please. Just talk to someone.”

She abruptly twists away and stands up, but not before I catch the sight of a tear sliding down her cheek. She takes a swift swig of the rum bottle before handing it back to me and walking away.

I watch her go, a small weight lifted in her simple witness.

Maybe she’s right. Maybe I should talk to someone about it.

Maybe someday.

But for now, I was going to relish this small feeling of peace. Isabel wasn’t going to tell anyone and I could wait until I was ready. If I ever was.

“Black flies on the windowsill
That we are
That we are
That we are to hold
Comfort came against my will
And every story must grow old

* * *

“Still I'll be a traveler
A gypsy's reins to face
But the road is wearier
With that fool found in your place”

It was the next morning I realized that this feeling of peace wasn’t going to last. I was nowhere near safe from my past or the inquiring minds who wanted to expose it.

Suffering from the worst hangover I’d had since Freshman year of college, I slowly made my way to the town marina for a late breakfast and steaming cup of coffee. The caffeine helped sooth my lingering brain pain while the food added much needed sustenance to my blood stream – both combining to break through the first layer of hangover haze.

It was after the second cup of coffee when Pam Troy plopped down in the open seat across from me, her eyes sparkling with something far opposite from friendship, but a smile adorning her lips nonetheless. I suppose the cold brush off from Max last night left her fuming and even more inspired to find a way to take me down. Wasn’t all of this drama and bullying supposed to end after high school? Geez…

“I know you’re not here to gab about how much we miss high school, so what do you want?” I ask immediately. There is no need for us to play games. Thanks to my hangover, what little patience I might have otherwise been able to summon is lost.

Pam seems taken aback for a moment, unused to being called on her bluffs. She recovers quickly, the smile still plastered there.

“I just thought it would be nice to catch up. You know, chat about what we’ve been up to the past 4 years. It was always a mystery what happened to you, Liz. You just disappeared one day.” Her grin widens at the last part with a hint of malice.

I regard her over the brim of my coffee cup.

“I went to college, Pam. Just like everyone else. Just like you.” I reply calmly. I refuse to let her breakthrough. She doesn’t have a story if I don’t clue her into one.

“Somehow I don’t think that’s true.” She leans forward, calculating her next move. I watch the wheels turn and know the drop is coming. She’s been working up to it since last night.

She knows.

“Not all of us date pro athletes.”

“And no man is an island, oh this I know
But can't you see, oh?
Maybe you were the ocean, when I was just a stone”

I hold back the need to steady my breathing. I hope to hell she can’t hear my racing heart.

Instead, I smile. It’s the fakest smile I’ve ever forced to my lips, but it works. And, as I see her eyes widen, I realize it has worked.

“No, not all of us do. What a dream that would be!” The words sound convincing and the smile helps. Pam doesn’t respond, her mind clearly trying to find a way to trap me, but coming up short.

While she calculates, I enjoy the rest of my coffee. I know her game. And I’m going to beat her at it. Her eyes finally narrow, the smile she was faking finally switching into the grimace we know and love.

“I know you know what I’m talking about. I know you’re hiding it. I’m going to get you Liz Parker. I’m going to find out all your secrets and tell the world. I will ruin you.” She hisses at me, rising from my table. Instead of giving her what she wants, I just smile.

“It was lovely seeing you too, Pam. Ta ta!” I wave her off, dismissing her.

“Watch your step, Parker.” She responds cheerily, before stalking towards the exit.

I finally suck in the deep breath I’ve been holding out on, hoping it will calm my nerves. Pam is going to try whatever she can to ruin me.

So what now?

“And I don't wanna beg your pardon
And I don't wanna ask you why
But if I was to go my own way
Would I have to pass you by?”