When the Rain Begins to Fall (DA-XO,UC,ADULT) AN (2/22)[WIP]

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Calinia
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Post by Calinia » Tue Mar 13, 2007 6:52 am

Believe it or not, it's finally here: a new part. To be honest, I'm having a hard time believing it myself. Once again I want to apologize for making you wait so very, very long. I'm seriously sorry. My muse is obviously more fickle than I would have ever imagined.

Now before you read this, I should probably warn you that some of you might not be completely happy with this chapter, content-wise. While I'm not going to guarantee a happy ending (actually, I'm not a big fan of those endings where everything is suddenly perfect and the couple rides off into the sunset together), I do promise you that this story won't end on a completely heartwrenching note. There will be at least a silver lining, maybe more. I haven't quite made up my mind. But I will say that I normally like positive endings.

And now on to more important thing. I have a message for all those other evil x-tremer writers out there that haven't updated their stories in months, if not years. Yes, you. You people know exactly who you are. You might think that this part is a gift, something you can enjoy without having to give anything back. Well, it isn't. After all, they don't call me evil bitch for nothing. :twisted:

Here's the deal: you read this, you'd better start working on the next part of your own story. If you don't, the consequences will be horrifying! Terrible things will happen in this fic if you don't update! Liz will leave Seattle forever! She'll fall back in love with Max and become his doormatt and they'll have lots of big-eared babies! Alec will realize he's gay and will start living out Normal's gladiator fantasies! Joshua will die from an overdosis of toxic-paint-sniffing! White will win! The skins will take over the planet! Everyone will die!

So, jeez people, update! I did it. If I managed, it can't be that hard. :roll:

Oh, and in case you don't remember what happened in the last part (not that it's been a long time since I posted it or anything), Michael showed up at Joshua's, filled Liz in on what happened since he left and basically asked her to come home. This part pretty much picks up where the last one left off. Also, I edited the part where Liz and Alec talk about his cooking ages ago, just not at this site. What I changed there is mentioned here, so you might want to reread that scene, it's in part 30.


Part 41

I don’t know how long Alec’s been standing there in the doorway, watching me. His expression is grave, his eyes showing a hint of emotions I can’t quite put my finger on.

“So you’re leaving?” His voice is rough and I have to swallow. The words hang there between us for what seems an eternity.

I nod, look away. My voice doesn’t seem to function when I’m looking at him. “I have to. I never planned to stay here. Just until I found Ava, until I managed to get my powers under control.” I wait a beat. “I can’t stay.”

Who am I trying to convince again?

Now I do look at him, and his eyes are burning with emotion. “My family is in Roswell,” I go on. “My friends. I..I really miss them. My parents are going crazy worrying about me. My…my whole life is there.”

“And Max.” It sounds almost more like a question than a statement.

I actually laugh. “Max? No. Not Max. He’s not…he’s nothing to me. He’s not you.”

Alec’s voice is hoarse when he speaks again. “You have friends here too, Liz. People who need you. People who’ll miss you.”

He doesn’t say it. Doesn’t say that he needs me, that he’s the one who will miss me.

But then, he doesn’t have to. I can see it in his eyes. They’re suddenly overflowing with emotions, with love and sadness and so much more.

I have to swallow past the lump in my throat, fight back the tears. “I know,” I whisper. And I do. How could I not when he’s so obviously baring his soul to me? When everything he feels for me is showing so blatantly in his eyes, his face, his voice?

He loves me. And I…I love him. I do. But I can’t stay. I just can’t. I can’t do that to my parents. My friends. Then there’s school. My dreams. My future. All that is in Roswell. Right?

I swallow, again. My mind knows that all that is true, but my heart is telling me something different all the same. Too bad I stopped listening to it when Max broke it.

-------

Farewells suck.

If I hadn’t snuck off into the night when I left Roswell, thus avoiding the whole saying-goodbye-ceremony, I probably would have never left. Not if it meant going through all this.

The last two days have been hell. I’ve been preparing everything for my return to Roswell. Packing, saying goodbye, finishing up a million other little things.

Considering the short period of time I was only here and how careful I was to avoid getting attached to anything or anyone, there sure is a lot to do. So many people to say goodbye to…Logan, Calvin, Annie, Biggs, just to name a few. Joshua leaves the room howling every time I see him. I’m hating every second of this.

And through all this, Alec is stoic. He doesn’t ask me to stay again. He doesn’t try to keep me from leaving. To be honest, I really have no idea at all what he’s thinking anymore. He seems to have a tight grip on his emotions, his thoughts, his actions. Everything. He’s not avoiding me, but he’s not really there either. He’s turned into a non-presence in my life, if that makes any sense.

Not that I blame him. I don’t know how I’d act if our roles were reversed. I just know that I’d have a lot less self-control.

My last day in Seattle is quickly approaching, and I’m dreading it more with every passing second. Michael leaves before me, taking most of my things with him since he came by car, having borrowed the DeLuca Jetta. A safe choice since even in this dump of a city, no-one has any interest in stealing that car.

I’ll follow a few days later on my bike. At first I wanted to leave it here. I assumed that Alec would want it back. Boy, was I wrong.

When I mentioned it, he looked like he wanted to strangle me. For the first time ever since I told him that I was leaving, I saw real emotions in his eyes. Granted, anger isn’t exactly my favorite emotion, but at that point, I was almost glad to see it. Any emotion is better than the block of ice he’d turned into.

To put it in a nutshell, he definitely doesn’t want the bike back.

Ever.

He wants me to keep it. So I will. To be honest, giving it back is the last thing I want to do anyway. It’s the only present I ever got from Alec. It’s precious. It’s mine.

-------

My last night in Seattle arrives much too quickly. Alec invited me over to his apartment. The way things have been lately, I’m really not sure what to expect. Anticipation and trepidation are fighting for dominance over my mind. My heart is beating like crazy when I stand in front of his apartment door. I’m taking deep breaths, trying to calm down my racing heart, trying to build up the courage to knock, when Alec opens the door.

He raises an eyebrow at me. “You know, I can hear you breathing through the door. Not to mention that I heard you arrive.”

Great. Now I look like a complete idiot standing here for an eternity instead of just knocking. Damn those superior transgenic senses of his.

But then something strange happens, and I forget all about feeling like the world’s biggest dork. Alec smiles at me.

Sort of.

It’s more a barely-even-there half-smile, but it’s a smile, even if there’s a hint of a smirk mixed in there somewhere. “You’re cute,” he tells me. His eyes are laughing at me, but suddenly I don’t mind anymore.

Then he kisses my forehead, and suddenly the world rights itself, at least for this one short moment. We just stand there in the doorway, wrapped around each other. I don’t want to move, like, ever.

“I’m sorry,” he whispers into my ear, almost startling me. “I was behaving like an idiot. Roswell is home. I get that. I get that you have to go back. I don’t like it, but I get it.”

I just wrap my arms tighter around him, pulling him closer, trying to suppress the tears fighting to break free. I don’t know how he can understand it when I don’t even understand it myself.

After a few minutes he pulls away a bit, looking down at me. The smile is gone, and I see my sadness reflected in his eyes. Then he looks away, takes a step back. “Come on in.”

He closes the door behind me and I have a second to take in his apartment. There’s music playing. And it’s dark, no lights, only a few candles scattered around the room.

“Brown out?” I ask.

He looks at me. “No,” he says slowly.

And I’m speechless. Alec does not do romantic. He doesn’t. Trust me. I know. Actually, that’s one of the things I always liked about him. It’s the exact opposite of Max. But this…

Suddenly my heart aches. How can he possibly know what I need, what I want, before I even know it myself? This is perfect. This is exactly what I need right now. This is exactly the way I want our last night together to be like.

But the surprises don’t stop there. He’s set the table. There’s a pot on the stove. And a frying pan. And there’s a pile of meat lying on the counter beside it.

“Are you cooking?” I ask, and my voice has the queerest catch in it.

He shrugs. “Thought you might be hungry.”

A half-smile finds its way to my lips. “I could eat something.”

He smiles back at me. “I even have a side dish for you.”

-------

We’re sitting across from each other at the table eating, and seriously, it’s delicious. Okay, so I took over cooking my potato, because Alec didn’t have a clue what he was doing.

He passed on the side dish, in case you’re wondering. Still sticking to his “who needs a side dish when you have meat” theory.

But the steaks are all his doing and they’re perfect. Not too raw, not too well done, and wonderfully juicy and tender.

“God, this is good,” I mutter. I’m just starting on steak number two, my potato only have eaten. I’m beginning to see where Alec is coming from. “Why’d you never cook for me before?” I ask almost accusingly.

Alec shrugs, taking a sip of wine. I passed. Kinda want to remember this night.

“Steaks are hard to get by,” he tells me.

“So where’d you get these?”

“Stole them from our congressman. He’s hosting some fancy party tonight. Guess some of his guests will have to make due without a steak.” He’s smirking, of course. Why doesn’t it surprise me that he’s actually proud of his criminal activities?

I shake my head at him. “You’re hopeless.”

He smirks again. “I’ll take that as a compliment.”

He would.

-------

Once we’re done eating he pulls me to my feet. An old Chris Isaac song is playing. Something slow and sensual with a touch of bittersweet longing. And then I’m in his arms and we’re moving to the music. It’s hardly even dancing. But I don’t really care, I just want him close to me, want to feel the heat radiating off his skin, want to feel his body pressed against mine.

I push away the sadness, the longing that’s already building up despite me still being in Seattle, still in Alec’s arms, push away the question of how I’ll ever survive without him. Instead I let myself sink into the moment, into the here and now. That’s what matters after all. It’s all that matters right now.

We keep on dancing, arms wrapped tightly around each other. My face is buried in the crook of his neck while his cheek is resting on the top of my head. He smells like soap and Alec and something that I can only describe as pure maleness. It’s intoxicating, and soon just dancing isn’t enough anymore.

My lips brush over that one spot on his neck that always drives him crazy, before I replace them with my teeth. I shiver when I feel his pulse quickening under my ministrations. His hands begin to roam over my back, leaving behind a tail of goose bumps.

I really need to feel his lips on mine and so I kiss my way upwards, over his throat, his jaw. Finally our lips meet and passion sparks between us. The kisses become more urgent quickly, hands ripping at suddenly unwelcome pieces of clothing separating us. When we’re both panting and half naked, Alec simply plucks me up and carries me into the bedroom.

His bare chest is pressed against my skin and I can feel his arousal through his jeans. And suddenly the need to take him and posses him and feel him deep inside me consumes my mind, my body, my soul. A cloud of lust and passion and carnal desire settles over my brain, taking over me. We topple onto his bed, and I start clawing at his jeans. I want him. Now.

I’m aching for him, and finally the clothes are gone and he’s inside me. And it’s the most perfect feeling I could ever imagine. It’s not just lust, not just passion. It’s love. We’ve become one, and not just physically. I feel like his soul just slid into mine.

A tear slips down my face. How will I ever be able to live without him? Without this? I don’t know.

The passion intensifies, and soon I’m carried off to a place where thinking isn’t possible anymore, just feeling and wanting and needing.

Right now, I couldn’t ask for more.


tbc
Tact is for people not witty enough to be sarcastic.
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holier than thou | katastrophee
Updated 03/16/07 | Updated 02/10/08

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Calinia
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Post by Calinia » Thu Mar 29, 2007 8:47 am

Update!

First of all, I want to thank everyone who left feedback. I didn't update this fic in such a long time, and it means a lot to me that so many of you are still around.

Now, a lot of you seemed a bit, let's say, not happy with the last part. The thing with Liz is, she has yet to realize that she has an actual choice in this matter. I think from the moment Max saved her onward, her life was no longer her own. It was all about responsibility, about what she owed Max, doing what was best for the her friends, the aliens, the world. It was never about her. Now it is, but she just hasn't realized it yet. And yes, Alec could do something about that, but he knows that Liz needs to figure this out on her own. If/when that will happen...who knows? :wink:


<b>Part 42</b>

I spent the last few days driving to Roswell. And I spent the last few nights crying over what I’d left behind in Seattle.

I’m in New Mexico now. To be more exact, I’m standing about two yards away from the “Welcome to Roswell” sign. And I just can’t get myself to go past it.

Before I left Seattle, I was so sure that I was looking forward to this…to coming home…to seeing my family, my friends. That this would make the pain of leaving worthwhile.

Now I just want to turn around and drive all the way back to Seattle…to Alec…to my room at Joshua’s…to the cold and the rain and the wind. The sun is shining here, and I just <i>hate</i> it.

I’m filled with dread and trepidation, and I just don’t know why. Driving into Roswell…I just can’t do it. It’s too final. Once I’m there, that’s it. Seattle will be in the past. And right now, I just can’t face that. I don’t want my life there to be over. I don’t want my relationship with Alec to be over.

I can’t stop thinking about the last few hours we spent together. It’s like an infinite loop in my brain, playing out in front of my inner eye again and again and again.

We didn’t sleep that night. <i>At all</i>. We didn’t do much of anything, actually, that didn’t involve naked, sweaty bodies sliding against each other. Our last hours together were much too precious to waste with something as mundane as sleep.

I needed to feel him, all the time. My hands in his hair, his lips on my skin. I couldn’t stop touching him. I couldn’t stop wanting him. No matter how often we made love, I always craved more. I just couldn’t get enough of him, of his smell, of the way his skin felt under my touch…hot and damp and smooth and oh so seductive. I couldn’t get enough of the way he felt inside me.

Morning came much too quickly, and somewhere around that time even I reached the point where I was too exhausted to keep up the endless cycle of lovemaking and touching and kissing and more lovemaking.

We just lay there, wrapped in each other’s arms, bodies pressed against each other, watching the traitorous rays of light that filtered in through the blinds creeping up the walls. Not that the sun was shining or anything. It wouldn’t have dared. Not on my last day in Seattle. Not the one time I craved clouds and wind and rain to match my misery.

We just lay there, clinging to each other, trying to make the most of the last moments we had together, hating every second that passed because it meant being yet again a step closer to goodbye.

I delayed my departure as long as possible. The mere thought of leaving was unbearable, like a knife twisting in my gut.

I realized that I was a complete mess once I actually managed to leave Alec’s bed…Alec’s arms. I was sweaty, my hair looked like a rats nest and my make-up was all over the place.

So we took a shower. It gave us a few precious extra minutes to spend together, to spend touching each other, committing the other’s body to memory. I savored every minute of it. Of Alec’s hands slowly gliding over my body, taking his time washing away the outside signs of the night we’d spent together. Of my hands exploring Alec’s hard chest and strong arms one last time. Of the sight of Alec, wet and naked and oh so sexy.

Despite all the touching and the nudity, there was nothing sexual about the shower. Maybe that’s why it felt so very intimate.

We stayed in the shower much longer than necessary, despite the fact that the water was barely even lukewarm. I just didn’t want to leave, and Alec didn’t seem in any kind of hurry either.

But I had to leave at some point.

I’d packed the rest of my stuff the day before, just like I’d already said goodbye to Joshua. Since Michael had taken most of my stuff with him to Roswell, I could fit everything I still had in Seattle into the compartment under the seat of my bike.

I’d left the motorcycle outside, even though- okay, that’s a lie. I left it outside <i>because</i> it could so easily be stolen there. If the bike was gone the next day, I would take it as a sign from above that I should stay in Seattle. I was praying for grand theft the whole night.

My heart sank when I stepped out of Alec’s apartment building and it was still there, exactly where I’d left it the evening before. It didn’t even have a scratch. So much for my sign from above.

Alec was right behind me, his hand on the small of my back. He hadn’t stopped touching me since we started dancing the night before. I crammed my things into the compartment under my seat.

And then I turned around and looked at Alec and the reality of it all just crashed into me. Looking back, I’m surprised that my knees didn’t give out. I’m even more surprised that I managed not to burst into tears. God knows I felt like it.

But I didn’t want my very last moment with Alec to involve tears. I wanted it to be something I could maybe one day remember with a smile on my lips. Not that I think that I’ll ever get to that point. The mere thought of it makes me feel like my heart is being ripped out of my chest. I’ve done nothing but cry ever since I left Seattle. I can’t even count the times I had to take a break from driving simply because my tears were blinding me, <i>again</i>.

But maybe…someday…one day…I’ll remember our goodbye with nothing worse than a bittersweet kind of yearning instead of the gut-wrenching heartache it comes with right now.

That last fierce hug. The last kiss. My lips were quivering so badly. I had to fight so hard to keep the tears from breaking free. The last time he smiled at me, trying to mask how miserable he was. Me smiling back, equally miserable. His last whispered words, telling me to take care.

There was so much I wanted to say to him. That I loved him. That I already missed him. That I’d never forget him. That our time together would always have a special place in my heart. That he was the most amazing person I’d ever met in my whole life.

But no words got past the lump in my throat. And so I just nodded, giving him a crooked smile that came out more like a grimace. That last time I looked at his face…

Damn it. Here I go again. Why can’t I just stop crying for an hour or two? Ten minutes at least? This needs to stop. It’s not healthy. I doubt it’s even in the periphery of normal. I need to adjust myself to the fact that I’m back in Roswell, and this just won’t do.

Now I’m determined. I wipe away my tears, get on my bike and start it. And then…I just sit there. I feel like there’s an invisible wall between me and Roswell and I just can’t get past it.

And then it hits me. This isn’t about letting go of my life in Seattle. It’s about facing my demons here. Until now, I was so preoccupied with what it would mean to leave Seattle that I never thought about what it would mean to come back to Roswell.

Am I really ready to face Max again? Definitely not. I think I might just kill him if I happened to run into him right now. And what about Sean? Another no. I really trampled all over the poor guy. I have no idea how to act when I meet him again, how to make up for what I did to him.

And Alex…my sweet, loveable, dependable Alex. How will I stand being back in Roswell where <i>everything</i> reminds me of him? How will I ever come to terms with the fact that he was killed, and that my actions, my decisions only ever made that possible?

What about my parents? Maria? Kyle? <i>Everybody</i>? I can only imagine the rumors making the rounds, running rampant all over town no doubt.

I’m not ready for this. I’m not prepared to see any of the people here again, least of all my friends. And what about my parents? They’ll want an explanation. I’ll need to tell them something. I don’t have a clue what exactly I should tell them.

Shit. Why didn’t I think about this stuff while I was driving to Roswell? Oh right. Too busy crying. Seriously, one of these days I’ll need to get my priorities straight.

-------

I feel like a thief sneaking into my own home, dressed in black, trying hard to avoid any and all sounds.

It took me four more hours until I finally managed to drive into Roswell. The fact that it was dark by then helped matters considerably. I avoided the main streets, taking back roads and alleys instead. Not that anybody would have recognized me. Who would expect the leather-clad figure driving a motorcycle to be perfect little Liz Parker?

I parked my bike outside the back door of the Crashdown, making sure that it wasn’t visible from Main Street should anybody happen to glance this way. And then I took a deep breath and snuck into the café.

Everything is silent here. It’s past closing time. But there’s still a light on in the café, and so tiptoe over to the door and peek through its diamond-shaped window to take a look.

My father is sitting at one of the tables, working. He looks…I don’t know, older somehow. Tired. Drawn. Guilt overwhelms me. Did I do that?

Tears spring to my eyes, and for the first time in days they’re not about Alec. I can’t believe what I put my parents through. They must have been sick with worry over me. I should have found another way. I should have found a way to deal with my powers that didn’t mean sending my parents through hell.

And suddenly the decision of what to tell them is incredibly simple. The truth. I owe them that after everything I did to them. And it’s the only way they might ever understand why I felt that I had to do what I did, the only way they might ever be able to forgive me.

I push open the door, step into the café. “Hi dad.”

-------

He’s so startled he almost falls off his chair. He just stares at me for a moment, blinking as if to make sure that I’m really there. Then he leaps up, sending his chair flying, runs across the room and wraps me into his arms in a tight, fierce hug.

“Lizzie,” he keeps whispering over and over again. “My little girl…you’re home.”

Then the door behind me is pushed open and my mom walks in. “Jeff, what was that noi-” She stops dead in her tracks when she sees me and just stares at me. Then she surprises me by bursting into tears.

Dad releases me from his iron grip.

“Oh God, mom, mom don’t cry. Please. It’s okay.” She pulls me into her arms just like dad did, her grip even fiercer than his. She’s sobbing, and nothing I say or do seems to make any kind of difference.

I send a helpless glance at my father and after a few minutes, he manages to pull my mother off me.

I take a deep breath. “Let’s go upstairs and talk,” I suggest. “I owe you an explanation.”

Here goes nothing. Or everything.


tbc
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Updated 03/16/07 | Updated 02/10/08

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Calinia
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Post by Calinia » Sun Jul 08, 2007 4:33 pm

Finally, new part. It's kind of short, but that's just the way it turned out. Don't know when the next part is going to be up because I really don't know what will happen next. I know exactly how the story is going to end, just not sure how I'm going to get there. But for now, enjoy, and thanks for your endless patience.


<b>Part 43</b>

I’m not sure how I expected my parents to react to the news that their formerly very much human daughter had turned into something straight out of The X-Files. I tried to ease them into it as gently as possible, but in the end, there was no gentle way of breaking it to them.

A part of me was hoping that the joy over having me home again would distract them from the shock of my revelation.

No such luck.

At first they think I’m lying, making up this ridiculous story to avoid having to tell them the truth.

Then they think I’m crazy.

But the more I tell them about all the things that happened in the past two years, the more they seem to realize that a lot of things suddenly make sense. All the missing pieces just slide into place. The lies, the vanishing, the worrying, the fights. Suddenly, there’s an explanation for all of it.

And so I tell them everything, leaving out nothing, not stopping until I get to the part about leaving Roswell. I decide that that’s enough information, at least for now.

Finding out that your daughter is a changed human who spent the better part of the past two years running from the FBI and alien enemies is probably already too much for one night. Telling them that I’m dating a transgenic and therefore involved in <i>that</i> whole mess as well would most likely give them a heart attack, something I would like to avoid so shortly after our reunion.

So I shut up and wait for them to digest everything I just told them.

They just sit there, staring at me, staring at each other, staring at the table. I can see dozens of emotions playing over their faces – shock and worry and anger. They seem confused and appalled and upset. I have no idea how to make this easier on them.

Because despite all these negative emotions so clearly visible in their features, never once do I doubt their unconditional love for me. This won’t change anything between us. I know it won’t. If anything, it will bring us together again, make us as close as we used to be.

When my mom finally speaks, it’s not what I expect. “Jesus Christ, Liz! What were you thinking not telling us about this? We’re your <i>parents</i>, for God’s sake! And you…you’re all teenagers! All of you! You’re too young to deal with things like that on your own. Oh my god. Government agencies and enemies from outer space! Where was your head, Liz? How on earth did you come to the conclusion that we – your parents – didn’t need to know about this?

“And the others! Honestly, I really didn’t expect anything else from Maria, or Max for that matter, but Alex? Isabel? Do none of you have even a spark of common sense left in your heads? And Jim! Just wait till I get my hands on him. I’ll give him a piece of my mind he won’t so soon forget.”

I just stare at my mom. I don’t know where all that came from. It’s almost like she’s setting all her pent-up emotions free. Helplessly I look at my dad. I don’t know how to handle my mom when she’s freaking out.

He finally interrupts her, patting her hand. “Nancy…Nancy, calm down.”

“Calm down? <i>Calm down?</i> I am not calming down! Did you even listen to your daughter? Did you hear what she just told us? She ran away from the FBI! She was shot at! She jumped off a bridge! And I’m supposed to calm down?”

Mom’s voice is getting shriller with sentence, sounding almost hysterical by the time she’s done.

“Mom, you’re right,” I interrupt her, frantically looking for a way to shut her up. “I should have told you earlier, and I’m sorry that I didn’t. It <i>was</i> too much for us to handle on our own. You’re completely right. It’s just…Max had this paranoia that his parents would hate him if they found out the truth about him, and so he ordered complete secrecy. Nobody was allowed to say anything to anybody, no matter what.”

Now my mom looks even more outraged. “He <i>ordered</i> you not to tell anybody? And you <i>listened</i>? You just did what he told you to do? Is this how I raised my daughter?! To bow to a man’s asinine wishes instead of using her own head and doing what common sense dictates?” Then she just gaps at me as if she couldn’t believe it.

“That’s not the way it was,” I protest. “Not exactly,” I add. “If I was convinced that I was doing the right thing, I did it, no matter what Max said. But telling you…I just wasn’t sure how you’d react. I guess a part of me was scared that you wouldn’t, you know, accept it. That you would…I don’t know. That something would change.”

My parents look appalled now, both of them. And hurt. My father is the first to speak. “Liz, we’re your <i>parents</i>. We love you. Nothing will ever change that. End of story. We thought you knew that.”

My mom nods in agreement and I sigh. “I do know that,” I tell him, and I mean it. “At least now I do. Realizing that is a big part of why I finally told you the truth. That and the fact that I <i>owed</i> you the truth. I’m sorry for what I put you through these past weeks. I really am. I shouldn’t have run away like that.” I’m close to tears now. I still can’t believe the hell I put my parents through. “I’m sorry I hurt you. I’m so sorry.”

My mom puts her hand on mine, squeezing it gently. “You could have talked to us about it, Liz. You should have. You should have told us what was happening to you. We would have found a way to help you.”

“I know, mom. I know. I was just so messed up back then. Alex’s death and Max’s behavior and…<i>everything</i>. My life was falling apart. I wasn’t thinking straight. I wasn’t thinking at all, actually. It was all too much for me to handle. All I wanted was to get away from it all, from this town where everything had so many memories attached to it. Where everything hurt me so much.

“It was stupid, I know. But running away seemed like the perfect solution back then. Of course, running away never solves anything. I know that now. Knew it back then, too, I guess. I was just…”

“Too messed up?” my dad finishes for me.

I nod, almost smiling. “Yeah.”

“Liz,” my mom begins. “We know how hard you took Alex’s death, especially now that we know the whole story. And with everything else that was going on, it’s hardly surprising that you had to get away. We would have very much liked to be informed of that decision beforehand, but we understand how desperate and unhappy you must have been, and so we’ll cut you some slack. Just don’t do it again,” she tells me, my dad nodding in agreement.

I smile at my parents. This is so much more than I deserve. “I won’t. Promise. Cross my heart and hope to die.”

-------

After the talk with my parents, I’m exhausted. My dad goes down and gets the rest of my belongings out of my bike. He doesn’t say anything about my choice of transportation, but that’s bound to come sooner or later.

The things Michael took with him are already in my room, put back in the place where they belong. Probably my mom’s doing.

It doesn’t take long until my parents say good night and go to bed. They’re exhausted as well, obviously. The Crashdown is going to stay closed tomorrow, we’re going to spend a family day together. Just the three of us, like in old times. I can’t wait.

I get ready for bed as well, intending to follow their example. But my mind is too restless for sleep to come, despite my body’s exhaustion. And so I crawl out onto my balcony. It’s been three months since I left, and yet it looks exactly the way I left it. Everything is in its place. And it’s clean. No dirt, no fallen leaves, no mess. My parents must have kept it clean, along with my room. Always prepared for my return.

I smile softly. Being home feels good. I missed my parents. I just wished I hadn’t had to leave so much behind.

Then I settle down in my lawn chair.

<i>August 18th. Journal entry seventy-six. I’m Liz Parker and I’ve never been happier. Or sadder. But I’m breathing. I’m</i> living <i>again. Finally…</i>


tbc
Tact is for people not witty enough to be sarcastic.
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holier than thou | katastrophee
Updated 03/16/07 | Updated 02/10/08

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