Family Connections (AU,CC,ADULT) Ch 58 26/10/14 [WIP]

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KatnotKath
Roswell Fanatic
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Postby KatnotKath » Mon Mar 05, 2007 5:20 pm

Okay guys, I'm back :)

Thanks for all the wonderful feedback

Zanity - Yay, so glad you enjoyed it. And the story's not drying up or disappearing, I promise... I know updates have been a little thin on the ground lately, and I hate that as much as you guys honest, but I am trying...
Timelord31 - Poor Maria indeed, but I'm sure she knows that easy isn't always the best... Michael wouldn't be Michael without some difficulty surely, and when all's said and done, Maria does her fair share of being difficult too I'm sure...
tequathisy - I don't think that they avoided the question on purpose... In all honestly I hadn't realised they had... They tried to explain, just it slid on into other things quickly I guess. Glad you liked the part though, and yeah, I guess you're right, Michael's appearance can't do any harm lol
Redrumm - Glad you liked it. Maria and Micheal aren't a couple I find it easy to write about, but I do honestly try... As for Alex and Maria finding out about Michael and Isabel. I'll bear that in mind and see what I can do about supplying the answer in a future chapter.
Flamehair - Thanks hun, glad to know you're still enjoying it.
Behrsgurl*87 - Cute but serious too...they haven't had it easy, but at least they had one another - you do know by now I'm a dreamer right? hehe
nibbles2 - I'll refrain from answering since I'm considering how to write it into the story, but as for Maria and Michael, I'm sure he does try to be romantic sometimes...and I have no doubt that he does love her, but showing it, well, that's another matter I guess. Thanks for reading.
ken_r - Thanks for reading
Alien_Friend - Well I'm glad you managed to finish reading it, thanks for taking the time and happy to know you enjoyed it. Things with Michael, Liz and Max are going to go slow I'm sure, but at least they're going in the right direction now.
Tharos - Thank you for the compliment, as for Michael, I know he can be bad sometimes, but he is trying...

I'm delighted to see so many of you are still enjoying this story. I know when I have the ideas flowing, I still love reading it and I have no intention on abandoning it, of that you can be sure. I must admit that recently I've been really busy though, and inspiration has been lacking. My muse has been less than cooperative, and I'm far from certain a lot of the time about what I'm writing. I'm trying though, promise...

This chapter is one of those which I've known I was going to put in for a while, but I'm not completely sure about the placement... Part of me thinks I should have another chapter between the last and this, but then another part of me says it would just be a filler, and since I haven't got that written, and I do have this, I've decided to go with the latter feeling, trust that it will be okay and hope I'm not going to be jumping too much. Basically, this one is set about two weeks after the last one, and that's about all I can say without giving it away...I really hope it doesn't disappoint though.

And one last thing, I really wanted to post this today for a friend - Happy Birthday Isabelle ;)

Thanks to everyone who's reading, hope you're enjoying the story. Thanks again for all the feedback and a big hello to any lurkers out there.

~Kat~


Chapter 41

"Hey Liz, wait up!" Maria yelled as she chased after her friend at the end of class.

As the other girl's voice finally penetrated her senses, the younger girl slowed reluctantly, coming to a stop as she turned to look around at her friend. "Oh Maria, sorry, I didn't see you..." She apologised softly, shifting uncomfortably on the spot it seemed.

Maria raised an eyebrow. "No, I'd never have guessed that..." She teased playfully, shaking her head. "Did someone light a fire under you, because you just shot off after class..."

The brunette made no response, and it didn't take much for the older of the two girls to realise that this was no laughing matter. There was something seriously wrong...the only question was what...? Reaching out to catch her friend's arm, she looked into her eyes questioningly, "Liz...what's wrong chica...?"

Biting down on her lip, she shook her head awkwardly. "I-It's nothing..." She responded. Or I'm hoping it is anyway... The young brunette added silently.

"Or yeah, and it sure looks like nothing..." Her friend made no secret of her scepticism as she noted the wide eyed look of her friend. She looked so young, and so...scared... "Chica please...you can tell me..." She attempted to coax the younger girl gently, squeezing her arm as she continued to look into her eyes. Considering for a moment, she frowned as a thought occurred to her. "Is this because of Michael, has he said something?"

"What, oh no, nothing like that!" The young brunette was quick to rebuff this suggestion, hating the thought of Michael being blamed. The two of them were still in the beginning stages of a friendship, they weren't very close, but she knew that Michael had been trying, and she appreciated that... It was her that was limiting the progress they were making now actually because, much as she wanted to get to know her cousin, he had hurt her and she didn't want that to happen again. Taking it slow, they had agreed, was the best way to go for both of them...

They wanted to get to know one another of course, but the two of them needed time, and it wasn't going to happen overnight... It was the same as with Isabel and Max, they had to build a friendship first, and then, with time, maybe something more would come...

This had nothing to do with Michael though, and she couldn't let him take the blame. She knew that Maria and Michael had their problems, and the last thing that she wanted was to make things worse... Swallowing, she looked back at her friend, shaking her head repeatedly. "Honestly Maria, this has nothing to do with him..."

"Alright, so it has nothing to do with him, but you've just admitted there's something, so what's wrong...?" Maria's tone was gentle yet probing; she was clearly determined to get to the bottom of this!

Again the younger of the two girls declined to answer, biting down on her lip and shaking her head again. "I-I just..." She trailed off, the beginnings of tears glistening in the corners of her eyes.

"Oh Chica, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to press too much..." Immediately Maria felt bad for having pushed as her attitude switched in an instant. "I'm sorry sweetheart, you don't have to tell me if you don't want, but I was only asking because I care, I didn't mean to be nosy and act like a busy body, I know maybe I should mind my own business a-"

"It's okay Maria..." Liz held up a hand to stop her friend as she started to rant, even managing a tiny glimmer of a smile as she looked back at the other girl. "I was just..." She trailed off again and bit her lip, falling silent for a moment as she tried to work up the courage to say more. "I-I..uh...just need to go in here..." Finally she spoke again, gesturing towards the door in front of which she had stopped.

"What, oh yeah, of course...sorry, I didn't think!" Maria flushed slightly as she realised where her friend had been heading and nodded, gesturing for Liz to go in front and then following the brunette as she disappeared through the door into the restroom.

Closing her eyes, Liz slumped against the wall in relief once inside. All the tears she had been holding back came streaming out now, unable to hold them any further as her knees became weak, suddenly no longer able to support her it seemed and she slid down to the ground, burying her face in her hands. "Oh Maria, w-what am I g-going to do...?"

"About what? Chica, what's wrong...?" Maria's eyes were wide with concern as she dropped down next to her friend, drawing the younger girl into her arms and pulling her against her chest, rubbing her back in a comforting manner.

The brunette gave no indication of even having heard her friend as she continued sobbing, her whole body shaking now as she curled up almost as though trying to hide.

"Liz, should I get Max..?" The older girl suggested, grasping onto the only thing which she could think of as she sat there, feeling completely unable to do anything...

"N-No...please, don't, I can't face him, I just-" After a couple of minutes Liz broke down again without finishing, simply shaking her head, repeating no, no...over and over...

If she had been worried before, Maria was now getting completely frantic. She had been known to overreact about things of course and maybe this was just another occasion on which she was doing just that, but somehow she didn't think so... But what could it be that Liz wouldn't want Max to come...? She swallowed, looking again at her friend, nodding as she pulled back for a moment. "Okay Chica, I won't call him, I promise, I won’t call him, it's okay..." She responded in a soothing tone, resitsting the urge on this occasion to ask once more about what was wrong...

At this reassurance, the younger girl's sobs seemed to soften slightly.

"It's okay Chica, it'll be okay..."

"How can you say that, you don't know, you can't!" She pulled back sharply, swallowing and biting down on her lips again as she continued to shake her head.

"So tell me...whatever it is Chica, you can tell me, don't you know that...?" Maria reached again for her arm, prompting the younger girl to look back at her again and meeting her gaze as she did so.

Her words caused another sob from her friend, her shoulders shuddering as she leant back against the wall, wrapping her arms around herself in a protective manner.

"Liz, what's wrong...?" Maria asked again, her tone softening even further. A part of her wasn't even sure she wanted to know since it had to be bad, but a greater part of her hated seeing her friend like this, and only by knowing what was going on could she really do anything about it she was sure...

"I-I" Liz broke off as she forced herself to sit up, rising back into a standing position and then very deliberately studying her face in the mirror. Red eyes, tear stained cheeks, a pale, sallow complexion and lank hair - she knew looked a real state.

"Liz..."

Holding up a hand to silence her friend, the younger of the two girls looked around, checking for any sign of cameras or other presence in the room before moving her hand up and over her face, putting right what she could, although even alien powers couldn't hide the look of fear which lingered in her eyes as she finally whispered, "I-I'm late...".

What followed initially was a stunned silence... Of everything that Maria had thought of, this just hadn't featured... It was just so...human... "You mean..."

"I'm late..." She repeated, nodding silently as the other girl broke off, neither of them willing to voice the rest just yet.

What should she say...? What could she say...? For once Maria found herself completely at a loss for words, it was just...

"I'm late..." Again Liz whispered the words which scared her so much... Reincarnated alien Queen or no, she was also a fifteen year old girl, and as such, she was terrified... She could blast rocks to smithereens, form a shield that was hard as iron, but what help was that right now? They didn't change the reality, they didn't put the little red cross on her calendar that she had realised was missing earlier when she looked in her locker...

"Are we still on for this weekend?" Maria questioned as the group headed down the corridor towards their next set of classes.

There were a couple of enthusiastic confirmations, and then the conversation moved on. "When's Mr Seiglman's assignment due in Liz, can you remember...?" Isabel turned to the younger girl as they reached an apparent lull in the conversation, a look of frustration on her face as she failed to remember herself.

The brunette thought for a moment and then shook her head apologetically..."Sorry no, but give me a moment and I can tell you..." She told her friend, realising they were just passing their lockers. A quick check at the time confirmed they had a few minutes to spare, and accordingly, she moved to one side, releasing her padlock with a discrete pass of her hand before allowing the metal door to swing open and scanning the small calendar she had pinned inside. "It's a week next Friday, the twenty-f...twenty first..." She stumbled slightly but recovered herself quickly, hoping no one had noticed as another date burned in the back of her mind...


Why hadn't she realised sooner...? How could she have forgotten...? She couldn't help asking herself the questions as she stood there, staring into the mirror.

"Liz...?"

The young brunette blinked, giving the impression of having forgotten the other girl was there. "O-oh Maria...sorry, I just..."

"It's okay..." The other girl made no attempt to say anything else for the moment, understanding that it probably wasn't what she needed right now...

Another silence followed, before finally the younger of the two girls spoke again. "I didn't realise until I saw the date, I never even thought, there's been so much going on you know, and everything has been so busy, I guess I lost track of the days somehow or something like that..."

Maria nodded. "Happens to me all the time - that I loose track of the dates you know..." She responded, trying her best to sound reassuring. "And you're right, there's been a lot happening recently, you've been through some pretty major stuff, moving here, finding Isabel and Michael..." She hesitated a moment, unsure whether to go on but then continued softly, "...maybe it's just that, there are other reasons why you might skip you know..."

"Thank you..." Liz swallowed and bit down on her lip, unable to say anything else. She was right of course, she knew exactly what Maria was trying to do, and she was more than grateful to her for it, but she couldn't help but think the worse it seemed, and even the thought of it, it was just...terrifying... Closing her eyes, she ran her hand through her head and leant back against the wall once more. "I just keep thinking what if it's not another reason, what if I-I-I'm..."

"...pregnant...?" Maria finished the word she knew had to be faced, reached out to take her friend's hand once more and squeezing it gently. "If you are, I'm sure you'll find a way to make things work out..." She offered the younger girl a reassuring smile although she knew she likely couldn't imagine half of what she was going through right now... It wasn't even a case of a normal teenage pregnancy if what she feared was true - this was something so much more...

There was the alien side of it - although of course at least they presumably knew something of what to expect... But not only that, there was the very real human side of being on their own... Liz and Max lived alone and supported themselves, and she knew that wasn't easy....what would all the things a baby needs add to that...?

Liz wanted to believe that, of course she did, but at the moment, she just didn't know how... All through the last lesson, she had thought about this, ever since she had realised that she had been due at the beginning of the week, and all it made her do was want to cry. It was a miracle that Max hadn't already picked up on her emotions, although of course they were partnered separately on this occasion and perhaps for once that had been a good thing.

"What am I going to do Maria, I don't know if I can do this, I just-" The burnette bit down hard as her lip began to tremble again, trying desperately not to loose the little composure she had reattained.... Despite everything, it was strange she supposed - for all her alien powers, special abilities, for everything she could do, right at this moment in time she was sure she was no more scared than any other teenager who found herself in this position. "I'm not ready...we're not ready..."

"Have you told Max yet...?"

Closing her eyes at the mention of her husband, Liz shook her head, a silent tear falling from her eye. "N-no...I only just realised, and as you say, maybe it's just a false alarm you know...?" She gave a hopeful smile, although the effect was rather spoilt as her lip trembled, further tears spilling from the young girl's eyes. She wanted to be strong, she did, but this was just...too much...

"Of course..." Maria nodded, although she wasn't sure she agreed with the other girl's thinking... Even if it was a false alarm, she couldn't help thinking that Liz should tell Max, he would want to be there for her she was sure, and she had a feeling he would do a whole lot better job of comforting than she was at that moment in time... "H-how late are you...?" The older of the two girls now asked. "I mean, only if you want to tell me of course, if you don't that's fine, it's completely your choice!" She assured the young brunette, squeezing her hand again as a way of showing she was there for her...

Taking a moment to try and dry her eyes, dabbing at the corners as she bit down on her lip, Liz forced another weak smile of thanks as she spoke again. "N-no..it's okay..." She broke off for a moment but soon resumed. "I-it's only a couple of days, I was due to come on the beginning of this week...but I've always been regular, even when Nacedo..."

Over the time she had known the couple, Maria had heard several vague mentions to Nacedo, and some more detailed mentions. She herself couldn't help thinking that he sounded like pretty much a creep, but she understood that to Liz and Max he had been the closest thing to a father, and their feelings were therefore somewhat complicated... Where he was now had been something that to this point hadn't been mentioned, but now, she had a feeling she had her answer as the younger girl broke off, wracked with emotion. Instead of saying anything this time, she simply opened her arms to her friend, who entered them gladly, tears falling freely once more.

"It's okay, we're all here for you Liz, whatever happens, you're not alone...you're not alone..." She continued to whisper softly as they stood there without moving...

After what seemed like an age, Liz finally pulled back from her friend, studying her appearance in the mirror again, but this time making no attempt to rectify the mess which had resulted from her tears. She just didn’t have the energy and couldn’t help thinking it would do no good – it didn’t erase the problem… “We always promised ourselves that we wouldn’t let this happen you know…” She commented softly, almost as though she was speaking more to herself as opposed to the young woman with her. “We told everyone we would finish school, that we would make this work, that we wouldn’t give up on things because we were getting married…”

“And there’s nothing to say that won’t still happen…” Maria responded softly, nodding as she reached out again to her friend. “You don’t even know if you are at the moment, but if you are pregnant, there are schemes which are designed to help… You won’t be alone in this, you have Max, and me, Isabel and Michael…” She paused a moment, trying to work out how to say what she wanted… “Chica, other than Isabel, you and Max are two of the strongest people I know, and you’re great together… If anyone can make this work, it’s you…I believe in you guys, and if you are pregnant, I know you’re going to be wonderful parents…

Turning around, Liz shook her head as she backed up against the counter and boosted herself up, swinging her legs below as she sat in silence without speaking. Closing her eyes, she drew in a deep breath as she buried her head in her hands, her eyes filling with tears once more. “I-I I don’t think I can do this Maria… I love Max, I do, of course I do, and I-I’d love any child of ours, I couldn’t not…” The young brunette shook her head again, biting down on her lip and pausing before continuing. “I-I’m just not ready for this though… Our term is so much shorter, I’d never even finish the year, I wouldn’t graduate, I’d have to drop out of school and I-I just can’t… I’m not ready to be a mother at sixteen…”

Her speech could have come from any young girl faced with the same situation, and it was something which both girls were painfully aware of. This was a situation which neither of them had any experience of, and in which both were uncomfortable and unprepared… Alien or human, it made no difference because the worries were the same… The future…and what it would hold…

And Maria just didn’t know how to respond… How could she respond, what could she say… A baby would bring with it huge changes and responsibilies, she had listened to her mother telling her all about how hard it had been for her ever since she had started going out with Michael – a way to discourage her from becoming intimate she was sure – and it was only likely to be tougher for Max and Liz she was sure. And yet, she knew the younger girl needed her encouragement and slowly, as she moved forward to pull her down into her arms once more, she looked up at her friend. “I know this isn’t going to be easy if it’s true, but either way, real or not, just remember you’re not alone, and one way or another, things will work out…"
My fics:

Dreams and Reality
Reality Revealed
Family Connections
When Love and Loss Collide
When Friendship and Love Combine - New!
If Only...
The Important Thing
Home for Christmas
I Knew Him Before (PB fic)
Love Always...
The First Time Around - New!

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KatnotKath
Roswell Fanatic
Posts: 1130
Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 5:54 am
Location: UK
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Postby KatnotKath » Thu Mar 29, 2007 4:11 pm

Hey guys, I'm back :).

Sorry it hasn't been sooner, work is crazy right now and I'm busy busy busy. Trying to force myself to find time to write again, but I'm not going to make promises about updates that I can't provide. I'll do my best, and that's all I can do.

Thanks for all the wonderful feedback

Zanity - The first I'll say you're right about, the second I'm going to stay quiet...all will be explained shortly...just not right now.... Glad you enjoyed the part anyway, thanks for reading.
Alien_Friend - Again, no comment on the bit which Zanity brought up, but I'm glad you thought the part worked, and I agree she shouldn't wait too long.
Timelord31 - Thanks for reading, glad to know you're still enjoying the story. The answer to the question about Liz will obviously come...but not quite yet, hope that doesn't disapoint you too much.
Redrumm - Thanks, I'm glad you liked it. Unfortunately I'm not too sure that even Max will be able to make her feel better right now...he could always try though...
roswell4life - well why don't you read and find out :wink:
nibbles2 - I agree with you that it wouldn't be fair on any of them. I'm not too sure she or Max has much of a childhood though... As for telling Maria rather than Max, I think you're right, telling Max would mean really facing the possibility...even if it would be together now. As for Isabel, Michael, Maria and Alex - I promise more will be said about how they got together, it won't be a direct carry-on of course from the last, but I hope it will give you the answers you seek. And Michael - I'm sure he has his good moments...
Flamehair - Thanks hun, I'm glad you're still enjoying it. Here's another.
Natalie36 - Easier said than done...
Tequathisy - Well hope you'll stick around to find out the answer...
Araxie HRH - Okay, I definitely need to clear this one up - it wasn't meant to suggest that he had done anything... More that something had happened to him... I'll be honest and say I'm still playing with ideas in my head regarding this, so I didn't want to be too specific...sorry if that confused you...
Ladeia3 - It's so long since I've seen you hun! Hope you're well. Your points are good, and answers will come, only I have to ask for patience...sorry...

Okay, so it seems a couple of you think that I've been using the young and brunette a lot in descriptions of Liz... I'm sorry about that. Particularly in that last chapter, I found it difficult to distinguish between the girls, and I actually really don't much like saying 'she said this' 'she said that'... I use brunette and young, not so much to stress differences in age, but to simply distinguish between the girls... I think I have Isabel as brown haired, and Maria as curly haired...maybe I have overused young brunette for Liz though, and I'm sorry. I think I've also used young a lot in relation to the fact that Liz is married - both in normal discriptions, and people's thoughts... I hadn't realised just how many times I had used it in the last chapter though, honestly, and I've tried hard to reduce and limit my use of it in this next... The main thing was with only having two characters in the scene... Most of the time if there's only two, it's a couple for me, or alternatively I split the chapter between scenes... Again, sorry if it got annoying and I'm hoping this next will be better.

Thanks again to everyone who's stuck with this story throughout, I really appreciate knowing that you're enjoying the story and love to hear what you think.

And all that said, on with the story, here's the new chapter, I hope you'll enjoy it.

~Kat~


Chapter 42

“So that’s one ‘Men in Blackberry pie’, a space alien smoothie, an alien blast, a soda and two space lime pies…?” Liz added the last item to her notepad as she checked with the group she was serving, doing her best to try and keeo her mind on work, and off the subject which had been boached earlier.

“No, two Blackberry pies and one space lime pie…” The guy who was closest looked far from impressed at her mistake.

That threw her a little, and it took her a few moments to recover as she swallowed and nodded, apologising quickly as she noted down the changes needed on her notepad.

Maria, who was stood a few tables back, clearing away some dirty pots, heard everything, and she knew it was a sign that Liz was far from okay as she had insisted at the beginning of the afternoon. Liz never mixed up orders…she was a great waitress, and the fact that she was making mistakes just showed how upset she was…

Waiting until her friend was finished at her table, Maria too finished up what she was doing quickly, before following the brunette back to the counter whereupon she cornered her. “Chica I really think you should maybe think about going home… I’m sure if you explain to Mr Parker that you’re feeling a bit off it he would be okay, and then you could go talk to Max…”

Liz bit down on her lip as she turned, shaking her head at her friend. “Really Maria, I’m fine… I don’t need to go home, and Max is working tonight anyway…”

“You’re fine, so I didn’t just see you nearly mess up an order then…” The curley-haired young woman raised an eyebrow in a show of scepticism. “Sweetie, anyone can see you’re distracted…”

Drawing in a deep breath, Liz turned her back to Maria now as she moved to grab some glasses and then began to fix the drinks from her order. “I got two deserts mixed up Maria, big deal…it doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t be here…”

“No, not on it’s own… But you’re upset, I saw you a little while ago you know…you were almost shaking…”

“I was just a little cold…” The second of the two friends responded although she knew it was a pretty weak excuse… The weather was pretty warm at the moment, and certainly in the diner, when you were moving around, passing the hatch into the kitchen every two minutes, it was pretty unlikely even the coldest blooded person would call it cold…

“Which is why you were commenting on the heat when you were talking to Michael earlier…”

Looking down as she found herself caught in the lie, Liz shook her head and sighed, toying with the glass in her hand for a moment before sticking it under the soda fountain. “I’m fine Maria… A little emotional perhaps, but that doesn’t mean I can’t do my job! Besides, as I said, Max is working, so it’s not as though I could go talk to him anyway…” She tried to shrug it off and reached for another glass as the liquid in the soda reached the top and she switched it off.

Reaching out, Maria pulled her hand away from the shelf, causing the younger of the two girls to turn and look at her with some amount of frustration.

“Liz, you’re overwrought, distracted and-“

“Apparently wanting to work…”

The two girls looked around in surprise, having been unaware of Michael’s approach until he spoke. “Oh hey Michael…didn’t see you there…” Liz commented softly, shooting Maria a look which practically begged her to stay quiet.

“So what’s all this about, you’re overwrought…is something wrong?” Michael stood in his less-than shiny-white t-shirt and jeans, with a dish cloth tucked into the waistband as a type of apron it seemed. His usual spikey hair was looking rather more subdued, the head and steam from the kitchen having got the better of it and sweat was still streaming off his face as he looked at his ‘cousin’ with some amount of concern.

“What, oh nothing...nothing’s wrong…” She responded softly, fiddling with the edge of her apron. “Maria just keeps saying that I look tired and need a break is all…”

“Yeah…well I tend to agree with her…” He responded slowly, not completely sure what to believe as he looked over at his girlfriend questioningly, noting quickly how she refused to meet his eye and then sighing. What had he done now…?

Deciding to focus on the second of the girls at the moment, he looked back at Liz. “You do look pretty tired you know… Been having lots of late nights have you…?”

“Not too many…just had a couple of big assignments for school you know…” Liz shrugged as she reached to tighten her ponytail, not wanting to worry him. “You look pretty tired yourself anyway…”

“Oh don’t worry, I’m okay…” Michael waved away her comment with a grin. “Got a big date tomorrow don’t you know…”

The comment, had been designed to catch Maria’s attention, but it failed to draw comment from either girl. He frowned and opened his mouth to say something more, but before he had chance there came a yell from the kitchen, which sounded suspiciously like something had gone wrong… With an air of resignation, he looked back around towards the door to the kitchen and then back at the girls in front of him as he wiped his forehead with the towel. “Well, if you’re sure there’s nothing wrong, I guess that I should see what trouble they’ve got up to without me.” With that, he turned on his heel and headed back the way he had come, leaving the pair of waitresses alone once more.

“Thanks Maria…” Liz offered her friend a grateful smile as she heard the door swing shut after Michael once more.

She nodded, grabbing a cloth to give the counter a quick wipe while she was there. “You’re welcome, but seriously, how long do you think you can keep this secret...?” Maria’s tone was low yet full of concern, trying not to push, and yet at the same time, letting her thoughts be known…

Swallowing, the younger of the two girls remained silent, pretending to busy herself for a moment with wiping the edge of the glass where the shake had overflowed.

“Liz please, talk to me…”

“What?” She dropped the cloth she had been using abruptly and turned back to her friend. What am I supposed to say?” Her response was short and clipped, giving the impression that she was right on the brink of tears. “Just what am I supposed to say Maria, I don’t know, I don’t know anything, except that I’m scared…”

“I know…” Maria sighed, setting down her own cloth as she looked back at the other girl, hardly able to believe how small her voice sounded. Liz and Max went through so much every day, and they dealt… She was used to thinking of them as strong, and smart and brave…they were born leaders, whether they wanted to admit it or not, and it showed… And yet right now…Liz was just a teenage girl like any other. She was frightened, worried, and if Maria knew one thing, it was that her friend needed Max… “You should tell him though you know…he cares about you…we all do…”

“Tell who what…?”

“M-Max…hey…” Maria offered the young man in front of her an awkward smile, reaching into her front pocket and toying with a pen nervously as she, with Liz, turned to face him. “We didn’t see you come in…”

“I really have to get these drinks over to table five…I’ll be back in a moment…” Liz finished the order she was collecting and picked up the tray, attempting to excuse herself.

Her actions didn’t go unnoticed by her husband who, by now, was convinced that something was very wrong. He frowned, but made no attempt to stop her as she slipped away, accepting that she had to work. As he waited for her to return though, he did watch his wife carefully, noting her every movement before looking back at Maria for a moment. They were hiding something…of that he was sure, and as he saw her coming back, he turned now to Maria as Liz came into earshot. “Hey, do you suppose you could cover Liz’s tables for a little while Ria…?”

“Can’t it wait Max, it’s really not fair to ask Maria to do that!” His wife protested, making a poor effort to hide her reluctance, which only served to make Max even more certain he had to know what was going on.

He shook his head, holding out his hand towards the brunette. “Actually it seems pretty quiet at the moment, and I won’t take long I promise, but please honey, I just want a moment…

“Max is right, it’s not too busy, and you are due your break so don’t worry about it…” Maria offered her friend what she hoped was a reassuring smile as she ignored the silent pleading in Liz’s eyes.

Realising she wasn’t going to get out of this, Liz swallowed and nodded, putting as much of a smile on her face as she could manage, thanking Maria in a falsely bright tone as she removed her apron and then motioned to Max for him to follow her as she led her husband through into the back room so that they could at least have some privacy…

***

“Liz what is it…?” Max struggled to try and read his wife’s face as she paced around the room, searching for some indication as to what was going on. When they had first come in here, he had asked her to sit with him, but, in a response which had felt as though she had punched him in the stomach, she had refused, pulling back as he held out his hands towards her, and confirming, not that he needed her to, that there was something very wrong…

Liz shook her head, biting down on her lip, wringing her hands together as she tried not to look at him. She couldn’t…she was just…

As Maria had said earlier, there were other possibilities, other reasons, other explanations – why bother him, worry him, with something until she was certain, why give him cause to worry when it could just be an overreaction.

Didn’t she and Max have enough to worry about as it was? Just earning enough money to pay for rent, food and other basic necessities was a struggle when they were going to school as well, never mind…

No, she shook her head mentally, she would cope on this for her own for now, it was simply a matter of waiting, and she could do that alone…

“Liz…” Max stood up, stepping towards her now, his arms outstretched, almost giving the impression of begging her to come back to him… “Sweetheart, what’s wrong…?”

Turning her head up as she remembered that she had yet to answer him, Liz swallowed, trying to fake a smile as she looked back at him. “I-it’s nothing honey, I’m just a little tired is all…” She told him softly, stepping forward to meet him and close the remaining distance between them as she brushed her lips against his.

Too late did she realise that was the last thing she should have done though. The connection between the two of them was undeniable, and as soon as they touched it soared to life, leaving little doubt in her mind that he would be able to sense her fear.

“Oh baby…” Max looked down, pulling her into his arms in a manner which seemed to confirm her expectation. “What’s wrong…? What’s the matter…?” He held his wife close against his chest for a moment before pulling back a few inches and gently cupping her chin in his hand, causing her to look up. “Baby…what’s the matter…please…talk to me…?” He pleaded softly, his heart swelling with pain at the anguish he sensed inside her.

Raising her eyes reluctantly, Liz looked up, and as she met the gaze of her husband, saw the worry and concern in his eyes, heard the pleading in his tone, she knew she couldn’t lie to him. More than anything she wanted to spare him what she hoped would be unnecessary worry and anxiety, but it obviously wasn’t working, and she was this close to letting it out. All it would need was for him to ask one more time, and she knew she wouldn’t be able to stay silent any longer…

And ask he did, threading his fingers through her hair as he pushed it back from her face to give him a clear view of the beautiful features of the young woman he loved so much. “Sweetheart…?”

She swallowed nervously. “I-I…”

Dipping his head, Max brushed his lips against the top of her head, providing gentle reassurance and encouragement. “Go on honey…”

She trembled in his arms, biting down on her lip and closing her eyes, silent tears swelling up in her eyes as she clenched her hands into fists and pressed against his chest. “I-I-I c-can’t…” She whispered into his chest.

How fragile she looked, and sounded, how scared, how young, how small… Max looked down at his wife with concern, his own eyes brimming from tears as he felt her tremble, just wanting to do something, anything, to make this right. “Lizzy please… What’s wrong baby? Don’t shut me out Lizzy, please… I’m here for you…I’m always here for you, whatever it is you can tell me, and it’ll be okay…just don’t shut me out, please…don’t shut me out…”

The sight of the unfamiliar sight of her husband close to tears felt as though it were tearing out her heart, and Liz knew she couldn’t lie to him any more. “I-I’m late…” She finally admitted, her voice so soft a whisper that she could barely be heard even in the calm of the room. And, as the words slipped from her mouth, she then collapsed into his arms, clinging to him as her body was wracked with sobs and she pressed deep into his chest.

**********

A less than an hour later, Max carried his unresponsive wife through the door to their apartment. She clung onto him tightly, but didn’t say a word.

In fact, she had barely spoken a word since Mr Parker had come into the back room, effectively ending their conversation earlier. Liz had pulled back, wiping away her tears with the back of her hand quickly as the door had opened, muttering a quickly apology before slipping back out into the diner past her boss, ignoring questions about whether she was alright or not, and focusing on the remainder of her shift.

Max had hung around, having called in to make an excuse to his boss and hoping to get chance to speak to her, but she had studiously avoided looking at, or hanging around close to him until she was ready to leave.

Maria had tried to get her to open up too, if nothing else to find out what had been said earlier, but it was no use, she had refused to speak, and as the second hand of the clock came to the hour, the two girls had disappeared back into the staff room to get changed.

Max had left it a few minutes, allowing them their privacy, but when they hadn’t then emerged, he had approached the back of the diner, stopping at the door to knock, and then, when he got no answer, pushing open the door to find his wife held, sobbing, in the arms of her friend.

That was the last straw, as he had moved quickly to her side. Maria had pressed Liz back into his arms, stepping back even as he picked her up, lifting her high against his chest and pressing a kiss to her forehead as he did so.

Any other time, that would have been followed by a stream of objections he was sure, about being able to walk, and drawing attention to them, and of course demanding to be put back down, so it only served to show how shaken she was that she didn’t make a sound.

Maria had offered them a lift in the Jetta, which he had accepted for both of them, and they had left through the back door to the Crashdown to avoid prying eyes.

In the ride back to the apartment, Liz still hadn’t spoken, not even to thank Maria, or wish her a goodnight, and neither Max nor Maria had pushed. She was obviously upset, and both knew why, it was understandable to an extent, and they felt the best thing they could do was give her a bit of time…

As Max walked over to the sofa now though, setting his wife down carefully and then perching at her side, he felt his heart breaking. Looking down, running his fingers through her hair to push it back from her face, he found the silence deafening… “Baby please…talk to me…?” He pleaded softly.

Liz made no response. Her eyes were closed, her breathing even. To all intense and purpose she appeared to be asleep, but Max knew that she wasn’t… “Honey…please… I know you’re upset, and probably scared…but we need to talk about this…” He tried again, hating to push, but knowing that right now, perhaps silence was worse…

His words seemed to catch her attention, causing the brunette to flinch slightly as she opened her eyes to meet his gaze, swallowing. “There’s nothing to talk about…I’m late!” She repeated her earlier statement, struggling past a huge lump as the words got stuck in her throat.

“I know…but that doesn’t have to mean the worst…” Max responded, nodding slightly. “There are lots of possible reasons for that – stress, upset… We’ve been through a lot recently, and you haven’t been eating as much as usual…”

To Liz though, however true his words were, there was a part of her that felt as though they were all just excuses. If she hadn’t been irregular after Nacedo disappeared, she couldn’t help feel doubtful that something as simple as stress would be the explanation. She knew he was trying to help of course, and she appreciated the effort, but somehow it just didn’t really work… “But what if it’s not one of them? What if I am…” She trailed off, unable to finish even, feeling as though voicing it would make this all too real.

“If you are pregnant…” Max spoke in a deliberate, slow manner, forcing himself to use the word as much for himself as for his wife. They both needed to hear it. “…then we’ll deal…” He finished softly, continuing to smooth her hair back as he spoke.

“How?” Liz responded with one simple word with held in it all the fears and worries she felt. She shook her head and looked away from him for a moment, wringing her hands in her lap, wishing she could just curl up on the sofa and hide from everything. “How Max, I mean how would we be able to look after a baby…?” She paused and swallowed, trying to regain some measure of composure before continuing. “I-I mean I’m not talking about the caring for…but the money…” She stressed the word and shook her head again as she looked back at her husband.

Max sighed and gave no answer. If he was honest, she was right… It was hard enough earning enough to support themselves on the wages they could earn while at school, if you added another mouth, and all the things that a child needed, he couldn’t deny it seemed an impossible feat… He reached for one of her hands and squeezed it gently in reassurance. “I don’t know how right now…but we’d find a way, we’d manage honey…” Dipping his head, he captured her lips in his for a deep, emotional kiss which spoke of the incredible love her felt for her. “I love you Lizzy, and if this has happened, well maybe it was meant to be…” His hand came to settle gently on her stomach, a glimmer of a smile on his face. “I can certainly think of far worse things that could happen than a baby with the love of my life…”

“Max!” Liz giggled at his comment and nodded with a small smile. Somehow, the smile didn’t seem to reach her eyes though, and this wasn’t something that Max missed. She was still very upset…

“And things are a lot better than they would have been six months ago you know… We’ve found Michael and Isabel, we’ve got a home…we’re doing well in school…”

As her husband proceeded to point out all the good aspects of their situation, Liz listened in silence. He was right of course, six months ago it would have been really bad…but she still couldn’t see how they were going to cope, and as he commented on the last, she looked back at him. “For how long?” She questioned in a clipped manner. She knew he was only trying to help, of course she did, but the simple fact was that she wasn’t ready to be a mother at sixteen… She was scared, and frightened, and completely unprepared…

Besides, what she was saying was true too. If she was pregnant, their current success at school wouldn’t continue. Most likely, they’d both have to drop out of school. The only way they would possibly be able to afford to support a baby would be with increased income from wages, and an increase in wages would only come with increased hours.

No, if this was as she feared, they’d both become drop-outs, they wouldn’t finish school and they’d certainly be giving up any chance of going to college.

They wouldn’t be able to leave the baby with a childminder while they were working either, not only because of the cost, but because they weren’t normal… Instead, one of them would always have to be there, which would leave two options; one – they could take on alternate shifts or two – she would give up work to stay at home, and Max would get something full time. Either way, they’d see very little of one another she was sure, and that wasn’t something that she wanted…

Not that she wouldn’t love the baby if there was one… Of course she would… It would be her child, and Max’s…a dream come true in some senses…but it would be too soon… They just weren’t ready…life was hard enough as it was…

“Lizzie…” Max shook his head as he reached to draw her further into his arms.

She looked up with eyes brimming with tears. “I’m just not ready…” She whispered softly before burying her face in his chest.

Max nodded, wrapping his arms around her small frame and holding her close. “I know…but it’ll be okay…whatever happens, it’ll be okay…” He repeated the reassurances over and over, pulling her deeper into his arms and pressing a kiss to her forehead as they rocked back and forth together on the sofa and then became still, the shadows falling around their figure as the sun outside the window fell low and was replaced by a small crescent moon…
My fics:

Dreams and Reality
Reality Revealed
Family Connections
When Love and Loss Collide
When Friendship and Love Combine - New!
If Only...
The Important Thing
Home for Christmas
I Knew Him Before (PB fic)
Love Always...
The First Time Around - New!

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KatnotKath
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Postby KatnotKath » Tue May 29, 2007 5:36 am

Wow, is this my fic? :shock:

I'm so sorry for keeping you guys waiting so long, but thanks SO much for all the feedback!

Zanity - well I guess creating a diamond wouldn't be completely illegal...but something of a unique talent for a sixteen year old don't you think, maybe the dealers would be somewhat intreigued by his age ;)
Natalie36 - stressing out might be an understatement...
I had an incredible amount of trouble with the last part of this chapter, and somehow it still just seems like it's not quite done, and is little more than filling, I'm sorry about that, and I hope that the next one is better.
tesquathisy - I'm sorry you thought the comment from Maria about Liz was wierd, but I guess that's just the way I've thought of her... Thanks for voicing your thoughts though, I'm going to do my best to respond. I don't know that I've been trying to show her 'relying' on Max so much... A lot of the help, assistance comes because Max is there and wants to give it, perhaps you could even suggest that they both rely on one another in a way, drawing strength from each other being there, from knowing they'e not alone. My thoughts are that both of them have to be strong and capable in a way to go through everything they do every day. She didn't cope well with the guys at school groping her - but who would? Teasing might upset her too - but speaking from experience, teasing can hurt and I woldn't want to think of myself as a complete wimp... Her reaction to having missed her period initially surely could just be natural, it's a shock, a surprirse, she hasn't expected it and no, perhaps she didn't deal with it in the best way. I'm not saying she wouldn't be too young to be a mother, but I have a feeling that if she had to deal with it, she would, just like everything else... Moving onto your other comments, I'm glad you approve of Michael, and as for him and Isabel, yes, they're still with Hank at the moment, little or nothing has been done, but there's time...
imnotic - well at least she's let Max in now. Glad you enjoy the story though, thanks for stickign with it.
pandas2001 - thank for your response. I'm going to tell you know that I already know what's going to happen with this particular plot point, but I'm not going to tell you. I do appreciate you sharing your thoughts on the matter though, and I hope the outcome won't disappoint you... As for Michael, its not going to happen instantly, but yes, he's trying...
katydid - Thanks Kate, glad you enjoyed the chapter.
Timelord31 - seems you're not the only one, thanks for reading and responding
Flamehair - I'm going to explain the 'checking' in the next chapter I think...not this one though sorry, all I can do is ask you remain patient.
Alien_Friend - Thanks for responding. I'm glad you enjoyed the last chapter and hope this new one won't disappoint.
nibbles2 - I think most people think you're right. Redrumm - well you know Michael's not all bad!
LoveIsForever - Well I'm glad you found it again, just sorry I haven't updated sooner. Thanks for reading.
Max/Jason Luver - Well in my defense I didn't intend to leave it this long, I'm soooooo sorry... Here's the new part though, enjoy :wink:
closeintime - What happened was my life went crazy, and my muse and motivation went for a vacation together...sorry guys...
Natz - I'm back :)
Lazza - oh I'm so glad you caught up and enjoyed though, although I'm now putting you behind again :wink: hope you don't mind.

I know I've been a no show for waay too long. Even when I've been bad at updating, I've rarely left it this long and for that I'm really sorry. I'm just having a really bad time at the moment RL-wise... Work is crazy, I'm tired and weary. Writing really isn't flowing a lot at the moment, and I'm going to be honest, my motivation had been pretty much non-existant recently. I have been forced to take a break from rps I'm in, because I just don't have time, and while I had hoped the break would get my mind back into writing, I'm not too sure it's worked... I am trying though, honest, and whether you believe me or not, I feel terrible for leaving everyone waiting like this and I hope not to leave it this long again if I can at all help it.

Okay, so here's the new chapter, as said above it's not as good as I might like, but I'm trying, and I hope the next will be better.. Love to hear what you think.

Kat


Chapter 43

Max woke up slowly, rolling over in bed as he opened his eyes, his gaze settling on the sleeping figure of his wife. Her cheeks were streaked with lines of the dried tears which she had cried herself to sleep with. He had held her in his arms, hating to see her like this even for a moment, but nothing he could say or do would make it any better.

He could tell her that it was all going to be okay, had done that in actual fact, but was it really…? This wasn’t ideal, far from it in fact, and it was just impossible to claim it was.

They had been told since they were kids that that they were supposed to have children together, that it was meant to be… And he wanted it for himself too, because having a family was a natural thing to want, but not now...not so soon…

Liz was right, they were still at school, things were hard enough as it was. They struggled to pay their rent and neccesities at present on two part time wages, a baby would definitely add to that struggle.

And then there was school… They had promised themselves that they weren’t going to give up when they had got married. It had been a forgone conclusion in many people’s minds, but they had gone against that expectation and continued to succeed… Perhaps their scores weren’t quite as high as they might once have been, but the reduction was minimal and they would still be on track to do as they had hoped, get partial scholaships and see themselves through a good college.

That was before this though…

The worst thing about it was probably the feeling of helplessness which he felt… He had hugged her, told her it was going to be okay, but there was really nothing he could DO…

He just wanted to be able to comfort her…to see her smile again…

With a sigh, he pushed up on one arm, resting his chin in the cup of his hand so that he was looking down at her, and reached over, pushing a few loose strands of hair away from the eyes of the brunette sleeping next to him, just watching… The smile which settled on his lips had a strange, almost sad and whistful look about it. At least at the moment she looked peaceful…

***

“Hmmm…” Liz’s arm slipped from under the cover to brush his hand away, her eyelids fluttering gently as she slowly woke. “Hmmm…Max…” His name slipped from her lips as she slipped between sleep and waking for a moment before opening her eyes more fully.

Rolling over onto her back, she looked up at her husband with a small smile. “Been there long…?” She questioned softly at first. The smile only lasted a few moments though, as the events and conversations of the previous day came back to her and it vanished, replaced by a trembling lip as her hand slipped down to lay on her currently flat stomach and she forced herself to meet his gaze.

“I know…” Max whispered softly, understanding easily the look in her eyes as he reached out under the covers with his free hand, bringing it to rest on top of hers as he looked back into her deep brown eyes with warm, amber ones, full of love… “We’ll get through this Lizzy… Whatever happens, I know it’s scary right now, but we’ll make it work…” He told her gently, slipping an arm around the small of her back as he lay back down and pulled her up into his arms, holding her close.

His wife bit down on her lip, swallowing, but gave a small nod, trying, and failing to give a weak smile too, as she curled up next to him, pressing her small body tight against his without a word.

Max ran his fingers through her hair gently, smoothing it against her head as he looked down at his wife. “I love you Lizzy, you know that…right…?” He paused a moment and smiled softly, ceasing the movement of his hand, and leaving his fingers intertwined between the silky brown locks. “It’s not because of who we were though…nothing to do with Zan or Avara, but who we are… I fell in love with Elizabeth Davies, and it was the most wonderful day in my life when you agreed to become Elizabeth Evans…”

“Of course I know Max, I j-“ Liz opened her mouth to try and reply but was silenced as a finger was pressed firmly, but gently, to her lips and she fell silent once more, waiting…

“Sorry honey, but please, let me finish…?” Max looked at her, his amber eyes warm with love as he waited for her to nod and, as she did so, reached for her left hand under the covers, smiling as he closed his hand over hers and drew it up, bringing it to his mouth, and kissing her knuckles gently just about where her rings sat. “I know things might be hard for us sometimes, and I know they’re often far from ideal, but whatever happens, I will never regret the day I first asked you out, or the day I asked you to marry me, the day I put this ring on your finger, or any other day I have spent with you, before or after…I never will…”

Again he paused, to let his words sink in, but this time his wife didn’t try and speak, recognising there was more… “Baby, I love you so much, and whatever the answer to this turns out to be, we’re going to get through it, because together-“

“Together we can do anything…” Liz interrupted now, finishing the statement softly as she met his eyes. Despite everything, she just couldn’t help smiling at his words. A shiver of anticipation ran through her as she felt his lips on her skin, and as she spoke the final words, she remembered many other occasions on which he had said something very similar. Together they were far stronger than apart, and that wasn’t only in their powers, although that was definitely true, but emotionally too…

Her husband smiled and nodded as she took over from him. “That’s right, and just you remember that!” He stated firmly as he gently withdrew, easing himself away from her now.

As she felt him draw away, however, Liz let out a whimper, unwilling to let him go quite so soon, and reached to clutch his hand.

Max turned back quickly, nodding as he squeezed the hand which had grabbed his gently. “It’s okay, I won’t be long sweetheart, I’m going to be right back, but I just need to phone in sick to school for the two of us…” He explained, his voice gentle and soft, every word full of the love he felt for her as he attempted to reassure the young brunette who still lay next to him in the bed.

It was extremely rare that he would do something like that. To be honest they rarely had time off work because they weren’t usually sick, but more than that, to both be off on the same day… It would be suspicious, and no doubt teachers would doubt the validity of their excuse, Max knew that. It was a risky thing to do, but right at that moment in time it didn’t matter, because he knew Liz wasn’t up to going, and he wasn’t going to leave his wife alone at this time…it was as simple as that!

“What?” Liz’s eyes widened sharply as she pushed up onto one elbow, looking back at him. “You can’t do that!”

“I can, and intend to…”

“No!” Her response was short and sharp as she shook her head, her voice softening as she continued although it retained a certain tightness which spoke of the tension she felt perhaps. “Really Max, we should get ready to go, there’s no reason why we should skip school…”

Max frowned at her response and opened his mouth again to protest. “Honey, it’s okay… You’re not up to it, and I know you don’t need to put up with class and all the comments that people make today… I want you to rest…”

Perhaps he was right, but Liz just didn’t want to give in. Besides, if she was p-pregnant… Blinking, she swallowed, struggling to even think the word. She shook her head and looked back at her husband. “I know that you mean well, but I want to go in Max… If this is right, if I am...I need to work up as many hours as possible to try and finish the year, you know that!” She explained, deliberately avoiding the extremely worrying word as she continued, her voice sounding slightly weaker, probably from all the crying, but determined as ever…

“Baby please…”

“No, Max you know I’m right!” She looked at him, raising her eyes again to meet his gaze as she spoke slowly and deliberately. “I’ll manage… If it gets too much, I’ll tell you, I promise you that, but I want to try…I need to…” She shrugged slightly, trying to ease the tension as she managed another weak smile. “Besides, I’m going to have to fact it sometime, so why put it off…?”

The young man next to her still didn’t look convinced, but she continued again. “I think I need to do this, I need the normal, and I can do this!” The young brunette now, her voice growing a little stronger now, with a sense of resolve behind it. “Please Max, don’t fight me on this…”

As soon as he saw the big doe eyes which came with the pleading, her husband knew he couldn’t refuse. “Alright, but if anyone says anything, you tell me and I’ll sort it!” His tone left no room for disagreement now, looking her straight in the eye.

A flicker of a smile played on her lips as he said this, cocking her head to one side after tossing her hair back over her shoulder. “My knight in shining armour…” She joked softly, before adding more seriously. “You don’t have to protect me like that though you know…”

“I know…but I can’t help it sometimes honey…you’re my world, and anything which upsets you upsets me…” Max sighed as he pushed up into a sitting position and gestured to her, beckoning her closer, “Come here…” and his wife made no attempt to argue this time as she inched closer, allowing him to help her sit up and then draw her back into his arms, leaning her head against his chest thankfully and then looking up, closing her eyes thankfully as their lips met with a sigh of contentment because when she was in Max’s arms, whatever else was going on, she was home…

The escape allowed was all too brief however, as time continued to tick by and finally Liz forced herself to pull back. She could have stayed there, perfectly happily, for the rest of the day she was sure, but as she had told Max, she didn’t want to hide out…

Not that it didn’t hold some appeal, avoiding all the smarmy comments, just wrapped up safe, tight in his arms, but it wasn’t practical, and it wasn’t going to get any easier to go back with time off…

So, chewing on her lip, she pulled back with some reluctance, drawing away from her husband and swinging her legs over the side of the bed as she grabbed her robe and moved to head into the bathroom. “Okay I’m gonna grab a shower…” She told him softly, fighting to keep her tone light, as though nothing had happened.

“Lizzy…”

“I’ll tell you when I’m done okay…?” She looked back at her husband, that one look showing she didn’t want to talk about it, they had done that enough, she just wanted to concentrate on something normal…

Max nodded silently, conceding to her wishes, watching her retreating form and then sitting back as she disappeared through the door, closing his eyes for a moment as he made a silent promise. This was going to be okay… How, that he didn’t know, but this was going to be okay…

***

“Maria, just talk to me, please…” Michael pleaded with his girlfriend as they stood around in front of the school waiting for the others.

“I am talking to you, what do you think I’m doing now…” Maria responded awkwardly, biting down on her lip as she tried to put forward a cheerful front.

A sound something like a growl came from Michael’s throat as he frowned at her response. “You know what I mean…” She had been evasive to any questions throughout the previous evening and had persisted this morning, but he wasn’t stupid, he knew something was going on!

Swallowing, Maria chewed on her lip in an indecisive manner, as though teetering on the border before seeming to take a step back again. “I can’t Michael…” She finally replied in a broken tone. She hated this, wanted more than anything to tell Michael what was going on, but it wasn’t her secret to tell, and she knew that it should be Liz who explained – especially since the two of them were finally beginning to get on…

“So there is something then!” Michael jumped on her words immediately, taking them as confirmation that his suspicions had been correct in the first place. He might not know Liz that well, but slowly, he felt he was becoming able to judge her moods relatively well, and the previous night there had undoubtly been something wrong. She had made mistakes when she didn’t usually for starters… “Maria what’s going on, why won’t you tell me?”

Maria almost winced as she said that, closing her eyes briefly as she realised he wasn’t going to give up. “Please Michael, don’t ask me anymore… If you really want to know, as Liz, but I can’t tell you anything, it’s not my place…”

Taking in the conflict in her tone, her boyfriend grunted a moment and then nodded in apparent, his tone, as he spoke again, noticeably less gruff now. “I’m sorry Maria…I know I shouldn’t take it out on you, I’m just worried about her…”

Considering how he had acted towards the younger girl initially, Maria couldn’t help thinking how much those few words meant… It cost Michael a lot to swallow his pride, she knew that from the past, and while he might not be making a full apology about his earlier actions, anyone could see that he was trying…

Even he and Max had managed to have a couple of brief chats without coming to blows, but the real progress which had been made was between him and Liz. And she knew how much that meant to both of them. It wasn’t as though everything was happening all at once of course, but he was obviously making a concerted effort, and it showed…

“I know Michael…” His girlfriend reached out to touch his hand, threading her fingers through his as she did so and then tightening her grip around his as she squeezed gently in an attempt to provide reassurance. “I know that you care about Liz, and she does too, its ju-“

“So if she knows it why does she continue blocking me out?” Her words caused Michael to turn his head, interrupting before she could finish, an unusual, almost pleading edge to his tone now. He had messed up big time in the way he had treated his cousin initially, but he knew that now, and he was trying to put it right. He didn’t like seeing her as he had done the night before, and he couldn’t help wishing that she would confide in him…

Didn’t she trust him…? Deep down, perhaps he already knew it had nothing to do with that, but somehow he couldn’t help asking it…

“She just needs some time…” Maria murmured in response, looking back at him with a sigh. She could see how much this was hurting him, wished that there was something she could say to make it better, but what…? Even if she went ahead and told him, how was that going to make it better – the situation wasn’t exactly ideal by anyone’s standards…

Michael was silent as they stood there together, wrapping his arms around his girlfriend and drawing her close, pressing his lips to the top of her head in a deliberate manner. “I love you Maria…”

The couple seemed frozen, almost like a statue, but then, as the area began to fill with more kids, an ill-aimed ball causing them to part sharply, the moment was broken. Michael growled deep in his throat as he bent down to chuck the ball back towards the wanabee jocks who were having an impromptu game as they came through the gates it seemed.

Maria watched as the ball sailed through the air, perhaps a little too smoothly… “You’re pretty good with your hands there…” She commented as she slid back towards him now, her eyes twinkling mischievously. “Perhaps you should show me what else those hands of yours can do…”

“Hmm…w-“

Any response from Michael was cut off however as Alex bounded up and the moment was officially over.

“Michael, to what do we owe this pleasure…?”

“Oh you know, perhaps the threats of bodily harm from pixie here if I didn’t pass this year…” Michael commented with a smirk.

His girlfriend’s eyes blazed at the use of the nickname she so hated. “Don’t call me that!”

Michael continued as though nothing had happened. “So anyway, I promised I’d come this week at least, and you know me, I never break a promise…”

His response drew the desired amusement from the group, and a few minutes later, as Liz and Max completed the group, it seemed for the moment that any of the earlier upset had been forgotten as the six teenagers moved together, prompted by the bell, towards the main entrance to start the school day...
My fics:

Dreams and Reality
Reality Revealed
Family Connections
When Love and Loss Collide
When Friendship and Love Combine - New!
If Only...
The Important Thing
Home for Christmas
I Knew Him Before (PB fic)
Love Always...
The First Time Around - New!

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KatnotKath
Roswell Fanatic
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Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 5:54 am
Location: UK
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Postby KatnotKath » Wed Aug 22, 2007 2:54 am

(Venturing out cautiously) Please don't throw anything at me, I know I've been gone ages, I never got chance to write the update for this when I updated my other fics last after I got my modem back, and I've had a lot of personal stuff, plus work of course, going on recently, I didn't leave you guys hanging deliberately, honestly just didn't get to writing much recently.

The feedback you guys continue to leave is fantastic though, and it's so appreciated from my side so THANK YOU!!!

lazza - Or maybe not? Seriously though, I agree completely about Liz. She can be strong in so many ways, and I tend to think she has been. I don't think I could have been married and lived on my own at sixteen. They deal with so much every day, so yes, sometimes things get to her, but as you say, that's human, even if they're not....:oops: I'm glad you liked it anyway, hope this one will meet with your approval too. Thanks for reading.
Natz - :oops: You flatter me, but I'm glad you enjoyed the chapter anyway. Thanks for reading.
Zanity - Well yeah, there is that, I might have to use that sometime - making diamonds hmm, I'll put that on the list :wink: hehe. Thanks for reading, glad you enjoyed the chapter.
Flamehair - CONGRATULATIONS! And thanks for the good wishes, life is still...busy...but I'm trying... Feeling a little more motivated to write than I have in a while, so it could be progress...*crosses fingers* Thanks for the bump though :)
tequathisy - I think this next chapter answers one of your questions so I won't repeat, and as for Maria and Michael, I'm sorry, I was originally going to take that further with an extra scene, but I've had suck block recently and when it came to it I just couldn't get it written so decided to cut it out... I will try to make a note to include something in upcoming chapters.
Alien_Friend - Glad you're enjoying the story. Thanks for reading, and for the bumps, I'm sorry I took so long to get back here.
Natalie36 - Well I just love Liz and Max
pandas2001 - Thanks for reading
LoveIsForever - I'm sorry to have disappointed you. When you first posted that I had intended to try and post a new chapter very soon, unfortunately real life got in the way and here I am, eventually. Hope you're having a good summer though, and that you'll enjoy the chapter when you read it.
isabelle - I'm going to refrian from commenting on the pregnancy test idea, since that's adressed in this next, but I'm glad that you're still enjoying the chapter, and as for Michael, as you say, it's progress hehe.
nibbles2 - Thanks for reading and taking the time to give your thoughts. I'd love to give you an answer, but I don't want to risk spoiling it...which I'm hoping I'm not being by letting it continue as I have been. I agree with a lot of what you've said of course, but which way life will take them, well I'm staying stum.
ultimatepickupline - well I like pregnant Liz too in a lot of stories, but I guess it does depend on the situation too. The pregnancy test and connecting will be adressed in this next though, I promise!
sam111 - Thanks for reading, I'm glad you're enjoying the story.

Again, I'm sorry for having kept you guys waiting so long, and while I won't promise, I do hope to be able to update again sooner than I did last time. Thanks for your patience.

This next is a pretty long chapter, I'm not certain about the last part and there may be some spelling errors and such although I have checked it. Anyway, hope you enjoy it.

~Kat~


Chapter 44

“Okay, so we're going to meet you guys after your shift on Saturday and we'll head to the evening show at the movie house from there?” Isabel checked as the group selected a vacant table in the cafeteria and set down their trays.

“We'll need to grab something to eat on the way too, if we have time...” Liz offered in a falsely bright tone, taking advantage of the subject to focus on something nice and light for a change.

Alex nodded eagerly. “Well there shouldn't be any problem there, we finish at seven and the show doesn't start until eight...” He paused a moment as something occurred to him. “In fact Izzy and I could pick something up for the rest of you if that would help...” The lanky young man looked over at his girlfriend for confirmation.

“Sure!” The blond smiled brightly as she reached for her can of cherry coke. “What do you say guys, sound like a plan?”

Maria nodded in a distracted manner as she watched Liz carefully in silence. She wasn't certain which she thought was better, her friend being in tears, or her bottling it up tight and pretending nothing was amiss as she was now. She certainly seemed a lot more composed than she had earlier, but then she couldn't help but wonder how much of that was an act.

Michael too nodded, albeit in a non committed fashion. He wasn't actually too bothered about the movie itself, but it was a chance to spend time with both Maria and Liz, even if Max would be there too, and that wasn't an opportunity he intended to turn down.

“Sounds good Izzy...”

Isabel smiled softly, noting with pleasure his use of her nickname which showed the growing ease which they felt around one another. It felt...right...

Michael on the other hand was less than pleased at the increasing familiarity with which Max was addressing his sister. He knew that Isabel had assured him that nothing would change between them, that he would still be her brother whatever, but every time he looked at them, he was reminded that he wasn’t…not really… His eyes narrowed as he watched the other boy for a moment, before turning his attention back to his girlfriend and cousin.

He knew something was going on with them, just he didn’t know what… Maria had as much as admitted it when she told him to ask Liz, but the brunette had shrugged it off, saying it was nothing when he questioned her, and telling him not to worry.

And yet worry he did, for it was natural, she was his family and he cared for her…

“Oh look, it’s Mrs Evans…” Pam Troy’s loud, fakely pleasant-sounding voice invaded the friendly atmosphere around the table and the air took on a chill it seemed as everyone looked around.

“What do you want Pam?” Liz asked in an equally fake manner, her tone one of relative indifference.

The blond cheerleader offered a sickly sweet smile as though butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth. “Well you know, we were thinking the other day and maybe we were a bit hard on you before…” She paused a moment before continuing. “Maybe we could throw you a shower – when is it you’re due anyway, or don’t you know – I know it can be hard sometimes when you’ve had multiple partners...”

“What did you say? How dare you!”

“TAKE THAT BACK!”

Max and Michael both glared at her, each starting for a moment as he heard the other, and then offering an almost imperceptible nod of acknowledgement as they were brought together in defence of a young woman who meant so much to both of them.

Under any other circumstances Alex might have cracked a joke about the two of them actually working together, but as it was, he simply watched and listened, noting that it was...progress...

“Well while I understand that you might be familiar with that possibility Pam, in case you didn't get the memo or listen on the multiple occasions you have been told – Liz isn't pregnant!” Isabel offered her own retort with an equally sweet smile as the blond as she delivered her blow.

The blond did have the decency to look abashed for a moment, but that was as long as it lasted as she tossed her hair back and fluttered her eyelashes as she looked back at Max. “Oh I'm sorry, I didn't mean any offence I'm sure...”

“No? And here was I thinking that you were suggesting my wife was cheating on me...” Max ground out slowly, his hands clenching at his side.

“What? Oh no, of course not...” Pam's voice tinkled as she spoke, her curls bouncing on her shoulders as she shook her head back and forth. “Of course you know if you ever want to talk about it...” She trailed off, letting the end of her offer hang in the air.

“Well you know that's a really nice offer, but I think I can do without!” Resisting the urge to make a more expletive response Max refused in as polite a manner as he could manage before turning back to his wife and reaching for her hand. “I do believe I've got all I need here...”

A sound which sounded very much like a snort, and most unladylike at that, followed from Pam before she tossed her hair again in a 'I don't care' manner and with a comment of “Whatever...” before turning on her heel and heading back to rejoin Kyle and some of the other jocks who were sat a few tables down.

“What a-” Isabel started to comment on the other girl but stopped abruptly as she realised that everyone else was silent.

Max was sat, facing Liz, rubbing his thumb gently against her palm while Michael and Maria were watching without blinking. Even Alex wasn't speaking, cracking his usual jokes, although from the look on his face he knew no more than she did... Her brow furrowed as she frowned and looked over at them. “Guys...are you okay...?”

Even had he not been convinced before that there was something wrong, Michael would have been at that encounter. There was just something 'off' in the way Pam had been dealt with. There was nothing wrong in the way it had been handled really, but somehow it was just not quite...normal... “Liz...?”

Gripping Max's fingers with her smaller hand, the brunette was silent as she continued to sit there. Swallowing, she bit down on her lip, her eyes downcast, fixed on a point in her lap it seemed.

“Liz...?” Her lack of response didn't escape the notice of her friend as Isabel inched her chair closer. “Are you okay...?”

The question made it all sound so simple that Liz almost laughed, although the sound threatened to come out instead as a sob when it reached her throat, and she turned it into a cough as she choked it back down.

“Well we can tell that she's not okay...” Michael commented in a stony tone as he looked from his cousin, over to her husband, attempting, for the moment at least, to get over his dislike of the guy. When it came to Liz, as he had come to realise, they both had the same thing at the forefront of her mind after all – her happiness and well-being... “How about it Max, what's going on?”

All eyes turned to the young man he addressed, but it was obvious that Max cared nothing for it. His focus was on his wife, who he knew must be upset although she was handling this pretty well considering... “It'll be okay honey...” He whispered softly, leaning forward to place a gentle kiss on the top of her head.

“Max?”

“Liz?”

Brother and sister asked in union again now, pleading in their eyes as they watched the couple. One thing was for certain, something was very wrong...

Max looked down at the beautiful brunette in front of him, taking in her unusually pale and slightly drawn expression. This was hard on her, hard on both of them, but at least if they told the others they'd have their support...

Almost as though she could read his thoughts, Liz looked up for a moment, offering an almost imperceptible nod of silent agreement to this course of action, and as he saw this, Max nodded back and gripped her hand tighter. “Alright, but not here...”

Although surprised, no one voiced an objection. Perhaps it was that they could sense the tension, or perhaps they simply wanted to respect Max's wishes, but instead of pushing they simply nodded.

“Okay, so where and when?” Michael questioned after a moment as his gaze continued to dart between his cousin and his girlfriend, trying to read the expressions on their faces.

“After school, our place... “ Liz finally spoke now, looking around the table, grateful to each and everyone there for the friendship, love and support they had offered already. “Is that okay...?” She questioned, her voice wavering just slightly.

“I have a shift at the Crashdown...” Maria admitted reluctantly. Strictly speaking of course she didn't need to be there, she already knew the story, but there was no way she wanted to miss it, it would be hard enough for Max and Liz, the least she could do was be there to offer what little support she could...

“What about right now then...?”

Max looked over at Michael sharply. “I told you not here!”

“Well who says it has to be here if it's now...” The spiky haired guy smirked and shook his head. “I say we cut!”

Although it wasn't something most of them would usually do, surprisingly perhaps, the idea seemed to meet with mostly approval from the rest of the group as, without actually saying anything, they all began to clear away their trays and together headed out into the yard
together.

***

A short while later, the small group of teenagers made their way up the narrow stairway of the Liz and Max's apartment building, and crowded onto the small landing outside the door.

“Don't wait on ceremony guys, come on in...” Having checked there was no sign of any neighbours on the way up, Max wasted no time in searching for his key but instead waved a hand over the lock before pushing the door open and gesturing for everyone to follow him inside.

“Anyone want a drink...?” Liz, polite as ever, offered as she stepped sideways into the kitchenette, surprising even herself at how composed she sounded despite everything.

With the exception of Maria, who asked for a drink of water, the offer was declined quickly as the teens spread out, taking whatever seats that were available, Isabel sitting on the sofa with Alex, while Maria and Michael sat at the dining table and Max continued to hover at the other side of the worktop which separated the kitchen area from the rest of the room, watching his wife's every little move, almost as though scared she was about to fall apart.

“Okay, so we're here, now what's going on?” Michael broke the uncomfortable silence with little hesitation as he turned to look back at his cousin once more.

Giving the impression of busying herself with fixing drinks – a glass of water each for herself and Maria – Liz made no response except to look up, her silent gaze meeting that of her husband ever so briefly, but not so brief that the message wasn't clear...

“She's late...” Max breathed softly, looking down as he spoke reaching for his wife as she moved around from behind the counter, sliding his arms around her waist as he pulled her into his side.

The only response from the others for the moment was a stunned silence, a silence which was eventually broken by Isabel as she struggled to find her voice. “Y-ou mean your-” Her eyes widened in alarm.

The brunette swallowed, pulling away from Max slightly as she looked back at the others and shook her head. “We don't know yet...” She responded softly, running a hand through her hair to push it back from her face as she closed her eyes. “I'm late but we don't know yet...”

“Couldn't you do a test, or check yourselves...?” Alex finally spoke and questioned awkwardly. The truth was he didn't know what he should say about this, it wasn't exactly a situation he was familiar with...

Max shook his head. He knew they were sensible sounding questions of course, but it just...wasn't possible...

“Surely you could make a connection, be able to see in that way...?” Isabel pressed hesitantly. “I mean from what you've said you can tell when there's something wrong...”

“Something wrong yeah...but this wouldn't be something wrong...” Liz tried to explain and even managed a weak smile as she felt her husband grab and squeeze her hand tightly. “You see if I get pregnant, it's a natural thing, something that's meant to happen to my body eventually and it doesn't mean I'm sick so Max wouldn't detect it...”

“Even I have my limitations, however much I might wish I didn't, so it's just a case of wait and see...” Max added with a sigh. “Eventually we'll both be able to sense a third presence in our connection if it's true...”

“But of course I'll be showing before that happened...” His wife interrupted, her expression slightly sad and thoughtful as her hand slid slowly over her smooth, flat stomach. It wasn't that she didn't want the baby, really...the thought of having a child with Max filled her with all kinds of joy, but then there was fear too – it was too soon...

“Okay, so you can't sense it, but what about a test...?” Michael broke his silence now as he watched his cousin, his chest tightening as he caught sight of the sadness on her face. This was always going to be hard, but the waiting had to be making this a hundred times worse.

“We can't be certain it would work though...” Liz shook her head, quickly rebuffing the suggestion.

“You can't be certain that it wouldn't though either...” Isabel pointed out softly.

The youngest of the three girls present swallowed and bit down on her lip, closing her eyes for a moment as she took in a deep breath. “But what if it comes up negative, and it's wrong Izzy...” She shook her head slowly. “I don't know if I could deal with that and then a couple of weeks later I find I'm showing...”

Hearing the tremble in her voice, Max reached out towards his wife, pulling her into his arms as he pressed a kiss to the top of her head. “We're not deliberately trying to make this harder guys, but we've talked through this and we think it would be worse to have an answer and yet not know whether it's true, than to have to wait for the true answer...”

Maria listened to his explanation and nodded. She had heard more of this than the others of course, having been the first one that Liz confided in, but while she wanted to be supportive, she had her own thoughts on this matter. “Home tests are never hundred percent for anyone guys...there's always that little chance that it's incorrect, and that uncertainty, and your worry about it, it's just human...”

Human...exactly what most people here weren't... Her comment caused a weak ripple of laughter around the room. All too soon it was gone of course though, replaced by by an increasingly familiar tension in the atmosphere.

“Maybe it won't work, but then again maybe it will...but what's the chance that positive for you is going to come up negative and negative positive...? - pretty unlikely I'd say...” Isabel looked over at the couple, her eyes full of compassion, her tone soft and gentle as she tried again. “As Maria says, there's always some uncertainty, and maybe you think I'm talking about something I know nothing about, but if I had a scare...” Her unexpected words caused Max and Michael to both look over at her boyfriend, their gaze hardening, and Isabel hurried on quickly to assuage their worries and save Alex who was looking very uncomfortable. “Which I didn't before you guys start getting all protective!”

“Good...”

Michael grunted simply although whether it be in his imagination or not, Alex could have sworn he still looked at him with some suspicion... He shifted uncomfortably in his seat.

“Don't worry, he wouldn't do anything to hurt her you know...”

Isabel shot Maria a thankful look as she attempted to calm her boyfriend. Once confident her words weren't going to cause any more trouble, she then continued. “Anyway, as I was saying, if I had a scare, I'd know that the test wouldn't be a hundred percent, but that wouldn't stop me wanting to take it...” She shrugged slightly. “Maybe I'm being too hopeful, but I'd think there was more chance of it being right than wrong, and I'd go with that – I'd rather have some idea than none, and yes, I'd have to still wait to be sure, but it might ease my mind a little in the meantime...”

Her thoughtful comments caused the petite brunette at the centre of the scene to look thoughtful for a moment, before nodding, slowly. “Maybe you're right...” She admitted softly, looking up at her husband to get his approval.

Max smiled and nodded quickly. “If that's what you want, sure...”

***

“Okay, so we're going to give you some privacy now and get going...” Isabel told her friends as she watched Liz toying nervously with the bag from the pharmacy. While she and Maria had insisted on providing support when it came to buying the test, she recognised that right now no one could help the couple – only Liz could take the test, and right now, rather than anyone else, she needed Max...

“Bu--”

Michael began to object but was silenced quickly by a look from Maria. “Right, you two should be alone for this...” She echoed his sister's words and nodded to punctuate her response, offering a small smile of encouragement to the nervous brunette.

“Thanks you guys...you've been really great about all of this you know...” Max nodded a thanks towards the rest of the group.

Alex grinned. “Well that's what friends are for – right?”

“Right!” His girlfriend nodded enthusiastically for a moment before her expression became more serious. “We're here for you, whatever happens, don't forget that, okay?” She commented softly, looking between the couple.

Liz gave a small smile of response and nodded. “Thanks...” She whispered softly as they moved towards the door with the rest of the group as their friends began to vacate the apartment.

As she was exiting, Maria turned back towards those remaining in the apartment. “I have a shift at the Crashdown tonight, so I guess that we'll be there if you want to talk after...or even if you just want to join us...” She offered another small smile towards the young couple.

Max smiled and nodded back. “We'll be sure to bear that in mind... See you later guys...” He raised a hand in something like a wave as the group now turned and headed for the stairs. It wasn't until they had disappeared from sight that he swung the door closed once more, reaching to draw his wife close, wrapping his arms tightly around her frame as he leant back against the back of the door and pressed his lips to the top of her head gently. “We're going to be okay Lizzy, I promise you...I promise you...whatever happens it's going to be okay...”

The bag dropped noiselessly to the floor as she let go and reached up, tilting her head and sliding a hand around the back of his neck as she rose up on her tip toes and her lips met his lovingly, the kiss deepening quickly as his arms hooked under her legs and lifted her as though she were nothing more than a feather, setting her down gently on the couch as they continued to kiss and caress one another. For all too short a moment, they were able to forget about all their worries and fears, all the complications in their relationship. All that mattered was the two of them, and that they were together; for together, they could do anything...

And then, that moment was over and it was back to reality as a car backfired in the street below, drawing the two of them out of the daze, and back into the mess that was their life as they parted slowly.

“You okay...?”

Liz swallowed as she bent to retrieve the small bag which had fallen from the floor, looking back up at her husband to offer a slight nod of reassurance. “I will be...” She responded, closing her eyes with a sigh. “I just need to get this over...you know...”

“Of course...” Bending down, Max offered a hand to pull his wife to her feet, rubbing her back gently as he slid an arm around her waist, dipping his head to taste her lips once more. “Come on...” He whispered, switching from her lips to nibbling her ear teasingly now as he lead her towards the bathroom.

***

“How much longer...?” Liz hardly dared ask as she sat on the bed and looked over at Max. Five minutes didn't sound very long, in fact, usually, it would pass without them realising it she was sure, but not under these circumstances. It was just...difficult...

Max glanced down at his watch at her question, studying it for a moment before looking back to her. “Another minute...” As he spoke, he moved over towards the bed, reaching out to take her hand, threading his fingers through hers as he brought it to his lips to kiss. “It's going to be okay...” He whispered softly, almost as though if he said it enough times, it would honestly be true...

His wife made no response, her gaze remaining fixed on the small clock which stood on her bedside table, counting down the remaining time second by second it seemed, and then rising as the second hand reached twelve once more, moving back towards the bathroom, still without another word.

Max was worried... She looked so pale, so worried, so young... He loved her so much, yet that love was what had caused this, and he hated himself for it...

“Don't...” Liz turned as she stopped on the threshold, shaking her head as she looked back at her husband. “I wouldn't change a thing, you don't need to feel bad...” Her eyes shone with the beginnings of tears, but her cheeks were clear as she moved back to his side, beckoning, holding out a hand towards him as she leant forward and kissed him on the lips. “Come on...it's time to see...” She spoke softly, tugging gently on his hand now as she began to move back towards the door.

Closing her hand over the small stick which lay at the side of the sink, Liz didn't look down immediately but closed her eyes, taking a deep breath.

“It's okay...” Max squeezed her hand gently once more in reassurance, standing by her side but never rushing her despite his need to know too, giving his wife all the time she needed.

Turning her head, the brunette glanced up at him for a moment, before looking back down at the test in her hand. Her gaze shifted to the hand in his, and then back once more to the small stick as she tried to pluck up the courage to look. “It's just a stick, no reason to think it's even going to be correct right...” She murmured softly as she unfurled her fingers and turned the small white stick around between her fingers, finally revealing the window in which they would be able to see....

Green spots...

“Uh...I don't think that's one of the options...” Max commented with a frown.

“Of course not, because it couldn't be that simple could it?” His wife's voice was full of frustration as she closed her fist back over the length of the stick before flinging it into the bin. “Why did I ever let myself hope, why did I ever let myself believe we were actually going to get an answer?”

Her voice trembled as she teetered on the brink of tears and Max wrapped his arms around her, pulling her deep into his arms in an attempt to provide comfort. “It's okay baby...it's okay, maybe it's going to take a little longer, but we'll find out, and whatever the answer is, just remember that I love you okay...?”

Pulling back from his chest she reached up, pushing strands of long brown hair out of her eyes as she met his eyes. “I love you too Max, I love you too...” She responded chokingly as she reached up, pressing her lips against his for a moment and speaking once more 'I love you too...' as she closed the short distance between them once more and their lips met in another searing kiss as Max lifted her in his arms once more, and carried her back towards the bed.

***

“Hmm...” Liz laid her head on his chest as they lay under the covers.

“You know what, you are beautiful...” Max whispered as he ran a his fingers through her hair, gently smoothing the silky tresses.

The young brunette smiled softly as she looked back up at him. “You're not so bad yourself you know...” She responded with a grin as a contented sigh escaped from her lips. They might not have gotten an answer to the burning question, but she couldn't deny that she felt better right now than she had in ages... She glanced up at him again. “What time is it anyway...?”

Her husband turned his head to check the clock. “Seven...”

She blinked. It was later than expected... “What? Oh wow, that's...” She trailed off, shaking her head as she pulled away from him reluctantly and sat up reaching down at the side of the bed in search of the clothes which had been discarded there a few hours ago. “The others are going to be wondering what happened to us...we should...”

“Stay here...?” Max suggested mischievously with a grin as he turned on his side to watch her but made no attempt of his own to move. As she began to put her clothes back on, he reached out to catch her hand. “Come back to me...” He whispered softly, shaking her head as she spoke of the others. “We never promised we'd be there, they'll be fine...” He assured her gently, tugging her hand in a teasing manner as he inched closer and sat up himself now, dipping his head to nibble on the back of her neck.

“Max!” His wife turned sharply, laughing softly despite all efforts to look stern.

“What? I'm just not ready for this to end, is there something wrong with that?” He questioned innocently, his eyes twinkling.

She shot him a look, shaking her head as she fought back giggles and leant towards him, pressing her lips against his once more in a brief yet deep kiss. “Of course not. However, I don't know about you, but I personally could do with something to eat even if we're not going over to the diner...” A small growling sound came from her stomach at that moment, almost as though to prove a point.

Max laughed, kissing her back and nodding as he pulled away in surrender. “Okay, that I can't disagree with that then...” He responded as he began to pull on some sweat pants and a t-shirt, before moving onto his trainers as he shoved his feet into them. “What do you want to eat? Shall I go and pick up some take-out?”

Although she knew budget wise they shouldn't, under the circumstances Liz couldn't admit that she felt less than eager to be cooking right at that moment and she nodded, grateful for the offer. “Sounds great!”

“Pizza? I think there's a place just down the road...”

She nodded again, standing now to fasten up her jeans and reaching for a brush to tidy her hair as she moved over to the mirror. “Sure, that sounds fine...”

Max watched her for a moment, delighted to see her smiling like that again, and then stood up himself. “Okay, well I'll head out and if you want to sort out plates and such...” He headed for the door which lead into the main living area but paused after only a few steps as he reached the door for the bathroom. On impulse, he slipped inside and grabbed the bag from the trash can without even looking down. “I'll get rid of this on the way out...” He added, knowing that it would likely be easier for them if it weren't there, before continuing on out of the bedroom accompanied by the rustling of the plastic bag.

On his way, he grabbed his wallet, jacket and keys, and then headed out of the apartment and down the stairs, dumping the trash in the bin just outside the main doors before heading off down the street.

The bin liner fell relatively noiselessly amongst a number of other bags, its top edges untwisting since it hadn't been sealed, and falling open to reveal a small white stick still lying on top, the green dots in the window almost mocking as the lid of the bin swung closed and they slowly began to change to a...
My fics:

Dreams and Reality
Reality Revealed
Family Connections
When Love and Loss Collide
When Friendship and Love Combine - New!
If Only...
The Important Thing
Home for Christmas
I Knew Him Before (PB fic)
Love Always...
The First Time Around - New!

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KatnotKath
Roswell Fanatic
Posts: 1130
Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 5:54 am
Location: UK
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Postby KatnotKath » Sun Oct 28, 2007 2:10 pm

:( Sorry it's taken me so long to get back here guys, I guess you're not too happy at me.

I'm sorry for ending the last chapter as I did, truely I am, but I've spoken to some of you and I also know you said you'd do exactly the same. I work well with cliffhangers, sorry...

Timelord31 - sorry, glad you enjoyed the chapter though.
Emz80m - You know you'd have done the same though :wink:
nibbles2 - evil, really, that bad :? I'm sorry... As for Pam, maybe the attraction is something that she knows she can't have...
ultimatepickupline - well you know I'm not American... I'm really not trying to get back at you for anything though, it was an idea which occured to me and seemed to work. You guys were so ademant that the test should be done, I just tweaked it slightly hehe.
tequathisy - well it's only been a couple of days in their time...
Alien_Friend - I was coming back very soon originally...unfortunately it didn't work out that way I'm afraid sorry. I'm glad you're enjoying the story though, and I agree, it's nice to see the group coming together. Just shows, they can fight and argue, but when it comes to something important, there's no doubt where their loyalties lie... Thanks for the bump.
Flamehair *looking subdued[/b] - evil...you think :(?
dusk - sorry, nothing doing...
Isabelle - Well I hope that me being apparently evil didn't spoil the trip, I loved having you over hun! Pam - I guess she figures maybe if she puts some doubt in his mind Max might realise what a mistake he's made - in her eyes anyway... Alex - well Alex is always sweet isn't he. I'm glad you see where I'm coming from with Liz and Max. As for what happened to the test, it could always have just faded to nothing again...no guarantee there was an answer at all... You're right though, maybe it should have been left as a full sentence. Anyway, thanks for reading as always, and I hope you enjoy what comes next.
angelina - I'm sorry, didn't mean to be away so long.

Okay guys, so I never intended the 'answer' to be such a big thing, and the fact is I'm beginning to worry about it being a big anticlimax... I'm trying to work through that I promise though.

I've also got quite a bit going on personally at the moment, and it's not helping with writing to say the least. Having said that, I have nano coming up next week which I'm attempting again too. Needless to say, I don't know when the next update will be, and I'm sorry about that. I hope you'll continue to stick with the story though, and I thank you for your patience thus far.

Thanks for all the feedback guys, hope you enjoy the new chapter.

~Kat~


Chapter 45

“You do realise that I'm lucky to be alive thanks to your little 'hypothetical...” Alex commented as he walked down the main road which ran through the centre of town alongside Isabel. “If looks could kill...” He trailed off shaking his head. Any other time he would have been delighted to see Max and Michael on the same wavelength…that was when the wavelength didn’t include wanting to kill him… Michael had been bad enough on his own in the past, but no one could doubt that Max too cared deeply for Isabel, and he for one didn’t want to get on the wrong side of the pair of his girlfriend’s protective ‘brothers’…

Isabel laughed softly, before offering a somewhat apologetic look. “I'm sorry, I never thought that either of them would have thought that we had...” Her cheeks began to colour and she trailed off awakwardly as she noticed the look her words were having on him. Talk about putting her foot in it…her and her big mouth, she rebuked herself silently. “Not that I'm saying it's stupid you know...I don't mean it like that...” She trailed off, clamping her lips together, ceasing in her attempts to try and repair the inadvertant damage she had caused as she realised she was in fact only making it worse….

The pensive look on Alex’s face was soon replaced by a grin, unable to keep from smiling as he saw the look of apparent distress on her face. Not because he wanted her to be distressed of course, that was the last thing he wanted, but she did look so sweet, and it was obvious that she hadn’t meant it how it sounded. “It's okay, I know...” He pressed a finger to her lips, silencing any response from her with his touch before following it quickly with a kiss. “I'll wait as long as you want to, you know that...as long as is right for us” It was something which they had touched on only briefly previously, but after seeing Liz and Max in the state that they were, he could honestly say it wasn’t something he knew he wasn’t remotely ready for himself… It would be a huge step, and one which shouldn’t be rushed.

The blond next to him smiled, leaning her head against his shoulder. “You are amazing you know...” She commented softly as they continued along the street. He was so sweet, so gentle, so sensitive, so wonderful… Sometimes she wondered how she could ever have managed without him now – it was hard to think of a time before he had been there, and certainly not something she wished to remember. Alex just… Simply put, he completed her…

“I could say the same about you...” Alex countered playfully with a smile as he slid his arm around her waist, pulling her into his side. “Afterall, not many girls as glamorous as you would go for a nerd like me...” He gave a cheeky grin as he made fun of himself. He wasn’t too proud to admit what he was – if he wasn’t with Isabel half of the people he knew wouldn’t think twice about him he was sure. “Are you sure don't just want my help with some schoolwork.”

His suggestion couldn't have been further from the truth and while she was certain he knew that, Isabel couldn't let it go without comment, or could she...? On impulse, she leant towards him, pressing her lips against his, the kiss deepening naturally and stretching lovingly, only breaking from a need for air where upon Isabel looked back at her boyfriend, her lips swollen and cheeks flushed. “You were saying...?”

“I'm in heaven baby...” Alex breathed heavily and grinned, thanking some upper being silently for the hundredth time as he thought of how lucky he had been. Maybe Isabel wasn’t one of ‘the’ popular crowd, but she was popular and attractive enough that she could have had her choice of guys had she liked. Not that it mattered to him, and of course her background may have made her more reserved, and less likely to take up the many offers that she had no doubt received, but there remained one fact that was true no matter what the reason. She had chosen and trusted him…and he loved her…

Meanwhile, on the other side, his girlfriend did the same and a thoughtful silence fell over the couple as they continued on their way.

***

“Have you heard anything from them…?” Maria questioned as she crossed the kitchen towards where her boyfriend was busy manning the grill.

Michael turned to face her quickly, shaking his head. “Not since the last time you asked me five minutes ago…” He commented, doing a surprisingly good job of keeping a tone of irritation out of his voice. He was fed up of being asked of course, and anyone who knew him would say that he had little patience, but at the same time he couldn’t really be angry because when it came to it, to be honest, he could fully understand how she felt.

It had been evident how tense she had been when they arrived at the Crashdown – it was the main reason he had stayed, which had in turn resulted in him being roped in by Mr Parker to cover for an absentee.

Not that he really minded – even if he hadn’t been working, he would still likely have just been hanging around the diner trying to keep his mind off things. This way, at least he had something to occupy him, and there was the bonus fact that he was close to his girlfriend to try and do what little he could to ease her worry. Unfortunately, while he hated to admit it, that wasn’t much…

For all that people might have thought of Michael as gruff and uncaring, nothing could be further from the truth, just he was less ready to show his feelings openly than most. It didn’t mean that he didn’t care though, in fact, he cared very much – especially when it came to the two, and now three, girls in his life: Isabel and Maria would always come first of course, but his familiar feelings for Liz were growing and she had certainly found a place in his heart. She was his family…

In all honesty, he was as worried as Maria about his cousin, if not more so, but right at this moment in time, he knew that him being emotional was not what was needed. As in so many cases, he had to be the strong one, the supportive one, and that was what he was trying to do. He had always been the leader of the group, the one which the others had looked to, and part of being the leader was being the one to support and protect, not to need support himself… “I’m sure they’re fine Ria…” He commented softly in a reassuring tone, reaching out to catch her arm and stop her as she turned on her heel, about to head back out. “They probably just need a bit of time…”

“A bit of time? But it’s been well over three hours since we left them. It takes five minutes Michael! Five minutes, we should have heard from them by now! We shouldn’t have left them there!” Maria returned in a rush without pausing for breath until the end. Her tone was high, her pace fast, and it was obvious she was fast driving herself into a rant, if she hadn’t already got there in fact.

Even in her most distressed state, the necessity for breathing still existed though, and Michael, knowing this, decided to simply wait until she was done. Really, he had learnt in the past that trying to stop her mid-rant was like trying to stop a runaway train, and more recently he had realised it was just easier to let her go.

“I think we should at least call them – maybe they couldn’t get through on our phone…”

“Or maybe they didn’t call yet…” Michael offered casually but was hardly surprised as his girlfriend continued as though she hadn’t heard him. He hadn’t really expected her to stop afterall.

“What if it’s positive, Liz will be in bits by now, she’s going to need a lot of support you know, she has to know she’s not alone with this…”

“She won’t be going through this alone Maria… She has Max remember…” Once more her boyfriend attempted to be the voice of reason but it was clear that she just wasn’t interested.

“It’s not the same!” She rebuked his comment with a shake of her head. “Of course he’ll be there for her, and the baby, but she’s going to need some female support too, some girly time… If she’s going to be a mom, that’s a huge thing, and I don’t think that guys can truly understand!”

“Not even the father of that child…?” Michael resisted the urge to roll his eyes in frustration as he clenched his hand and released it, trying to rid himself of some of the tension he felt. “Maria don’t you think maybe you’re overreacting a bit…”

That certainly got a response…


“OVERREACTING??? Don’t you realise how huge this is, don’t you care about them?”

Michael winced as he heard her voice increase in pitch by about ten times. That probably hadn’t been the best thing to say, he admitted to himself as he set about trying to do some damage control and he held up a hand in defeat. “Okay, maybe not overreacting…”

But once again, Maria wasn’t listening by that point as she resumed her rant. “Don’t you realise how this is going to destroy Liz, don’t you care what this is going to do to her?”

Did she honestly believe that of him…? Didn’t she know it couldn’t be further from the truth…? Her boyfriend’s lips thinned at this suggestion, a fire lighting in his eyes as he reached out suddenly, clamping a hand over Maria’s mouth for a moment since he didn’t see any other way to respond. “Of course I care Maria, I’m not completely heartless…” He looked a little hurt by the suggestion but pressed forward. “Don’t you think perhaps you’re getting a little ahead of yourself though? I mean we don’t even know that she’s pregnant!”

Well, that was all she needed to set her off again…

“So what if the test came out negative, that’s always assuming it’s correct and you know what they said – it might not work. Can you imagine what the waiting will be like after actually going ahead and taking the test?” Her blond curls shook back and forth around her head. “I can’t imagine what she’s going through, but the least we can do is be there to support them!”

“So what you’re saying is whether the answer was yes, no or maybe, Liz needs you…?” Her boyfriend frowned, rubbing his brow. He felt a little weary just from listening to this tirade.

Maria nodded enthusiastically. “Exactly, I shouldn’t be here, I should be there with her!” Her eyes were wide with feeling as she stamped a foot to prove her point. Oh why had she allowed herself to be convinced to go to work, why hadn’t she just pulled a sicky…?

Surpressing a groan, Michael closed his eyes and let out a long sigh as he made one last ditch effort to calm her down. “Maria, I know you’re worried, believe it or not I am too. Liz is my cousin, my family, and I hate that she’s going through this, but right now, if they haven’t contacted us I imagine that they just want some time alone…” He paused a moment, letting the words sink in. “They know that we’re behind them, I don’t think you need to worry about that, but maybe time for that support comes later… When they want to contact us, they will, and until then I think the best thing we can do is just get on with things…” He looked back at her hopefully, a little surprised at how well he thought that had come out.

His girlfriend appearently wasn’t in agreement though. Pulling back though, Maria shot a scowl in his direction, shaking her head as she turned on her heel. “I’m going to call them…” She shot over her shoulder as she headed out of the kitchen.

Something like a growl emerged from Michael’s throat as he watched her disappear through the double doors and he waited only a moment to double check nothing was going to set on fire before following her, protesting. “No Maria….WAIT!”

***

“Here, let me…” Alex reached out to open the door which led into the crashdown, just as Maria hurried out, closely followed by Michael.

Isabel backed up sharply, knowing better than to get in the way of her friend as she looked towards her brother questioning. What was going on.

“Maria no, if they haven’t phoned that’s because they’re not ready to talk, don’t you think maybe we should accept that?” Michael chased after his girlfriend and past the others without even acknowledging them, his work in the kitchen apparently forgotten for the moment.

Alex looked at Isabel, and, after a single look, the pair headed back outside after their friends.

“Maria…”

They caught up to the couple just in time to see Michael making a grab for the phone but his girlfriend was too fast for him, pulling it out of the way not a minute too soon in order to dial the number she wanted.

“What’s going on…?” Alex decided to get straight to the point as he interrupted the ‘dance’.

“She wants to call Max and Liz, only I think it’s a bad idea…” Michael offered, a look of something which looked a little like apprehension on his face as he watched her with the phone.

Holding the handset close to her ear as she listened to the line ringing on the other side, Maria nodded shooting her boyfriend a cool look before very deliberately looking away and focusing on Isabel. “Right, it’s been ages since we left them, we should have heard something by now don’t you think?”

“I think that maybe they’ll call when they’re ready…” Isabel responded looking somewhat doubtful as she glanced between her brother and his girlfriend.

Slipping his arm around her waist in support, Alex nodded in agreement. “It’s not that long since we left them really you know…” He paused a moment as he looked over at his best friend, his eyes full of care and understanding. “I know it feels like an age Maria, but try and put yourself in their shoes, maybe they just need a little ‘them’ time…

“Right, so let’s hang up and give them that time yeah…?”

Michael took advantage of the distraction provided by the others to make a grab for the phone but his girlfriend wasn’t going to be taken by surprise that easily. Neatly sidestepping him, she simply frowned, her grasp on the phone tightening as she continued to listen, and then a moment later, as the line on the other side picked up and a familiar voice answered, she allowed herself a small smile. “Liz? Hey, it’s Maria…”

***

“Maria…o-oh hey…” Liz blinked in surprise as she heard her friend on the other end of the line, using her free hand to straighten up the bed and then running her hand through her hair as she headed back into the main room, pulling the door closed softly behind her as she listened.

“W-what, oh, yeah, sorry about that…we didn’t mean to worry you…” She pulled a face, moving over to the kitchen area to grab plates and cutlery ready for when her husband arrived back.

She had known they should go over to the diner as had been planned… Not that it was what she wanted to do – she had to admit that wasn’t the case – but the others had been expecting them no doubt, as was currently being confirmed…

As the eager voice on the other end of the line raised a notch in volume, the brunette winced slightly, forced to hold the phone a short way from her ear. A moment later she drew it closer once more though, listening carefully, her brow creasing as there came sounds of something like a scuffle on the other end, “Maria, wha-?” She broke off mid sentence, a small smile lighting up her face as a new voice came on the line. “Hey Isabel…”

***

“I am so sorry Liz, we tried to convince Maria to give you guys a bit more time at least, but you know how stubborn she can be sometimes…” Isabel stated, glancing over at the other girl who was only being kept at bay now by her boyfriend…

“Ask her what the result was!” Maria insisted, glaring at Michael as he continued to hold her in his arms. Anyone would have thought she was about to attack his girlfriend…

“Oh yeah, you could say that…” Isabel chuckled in response to something, shaking her head.

“What, what did she say?”

Alex couldn’t keep the edge of his lips from turning up in amusement as he saw his best friend’s agitation continue to increase. “Something wrong Maria…?”

Michael struggled to keep from sniggering, biting down on his lip to keep from laughing at one look from his girlfriend.

***

“Like I say, it’s fine…” Liz assured Isabel, straightening the mats on the table with one hand before glancing over at the clock to check the time.

Another pause as she listened. “Yeah, I am sorry, we didn’t mean to worry you…just lost track of time I guess…” The explanation she offered made her cheeks flush as she thought about just ‘how’ they had lost track of that time… It had been…

Her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of the key in a lock. Liz smiled as she glanced over and saw the door swing open to reveal her husband enter carrying a large pizza box. She grinned and beckoned him over, accepting the peck on the cheek he offered before speaking again into the phone. “Actually, he’s right here…you want to have a word?”

Pulling back, Max looked at her questioning as she held out the phone, taking it slowly before a smile of understanding spread over his face as his wife mouthed ‘Isabel’. Taking the pizza box from him swiftly as she gestured for him to take a seat as she served a slice onto each of two plates. He watched her for a moment, smiling, before she gestured pointedly towards the phone and he spoke. “Hey Isabel…”

***

“Max, hi…” Isabel smiled at the sound of his voice, deliberately ignoring Maria’s continued efforts to get her attention. “I’m sorry about this, some of us aren’t as patient as we should be I guess…” She listened for a moment and then nodded in an understanding fashion, her tone soft. “Of course, you take all the time you need, and just remember, whatever happens, you’re not alone, we’re all behind you…”

As Alex threaded his fingers through hers, she looked over, smiling gratefully as he squeezed her hand gently, returning the gesture as she leant her head his shoulder. She was so grateful to him for just being there…

***

“Thanks Isabel…” Max gave a sad smile, listening again and then shaking his head. “It’s just a waiting game at the moment though…” Pausing a moment, he looked over at his wife, his eyes asking a silent question which she answered with a nod, gripping his hand tightly in a show of support as he finished. “It didn’t work…”

***

“Well?” Maria looked questioningly at her friend.

Isabel shook her head at the other girl, biting down on her lip as she tried to work out how to respond. “I’m sorry….we shouldn’t have pushed you…” She let out a sigh as she listened to the emotion in his voice, realising that if anything this had probably made things worse.

The idea had been to give them an answer, to ease their worry, instead, they had their hoped raised, been put through the waiting, and trepidation, tried to prepare themselves for the answer and got what? – nothing… Maybe the couple had been right originally, it was easier not to even try…

Listening again, she couldn’t help but smile as Max responded, shaking her head again. “You don’t have anything to thank us for Max, we’re family, and families help one another…”
Last edited by KatnotKath on Thu Nov 29, 2007 5:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
My fics:

Dreams and Reality
Reality Revealed
Family Connections
When Love and Loss Collide
When Friendship and Love Combine - New!
If Only...
The Important Thing
Home for Christmas
I Knew Him Before (PB fic)
Love Always...
The First Time Around - New!

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KatnotKath
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Postby KatnotKath » Mon Dec 24, 2007 7:53 pm

Hey guys,

Flamehair - Of course I don't hold a grudge against you, I'm flattered that you say the story is one of your favourites, and only hope it won't disappoint you.
angelina - of course I came back, I always do. Thanks for reading, I'm glad you're enjoying the story.
Emz80m - well that's Maria for you...she means well though, she always does...
Alien614 - I'm glad you know that Maria means well, and as for Alex and Isabel, aren't they always sweet. Michael isn't always bad either you know.
Thanks for the good luck wishes, I didn't succeed, but appreciated them anyway. Thanks for reading the story.
Lazza - well if it can happen to humans then... Thanks for reading
dusk - Thank you, I'm glad you think Maria was in character.
Timelord31 - Thanks
lilah - I'm back!

I know, an update on Christmas Eve is probably not what you'll be expecting from me, and if I say it's actually after midnight, so is actually Christmas Day here I might have you asking what's happened to me, but I've been working on trying to get some updates ready for this week for a while, and finally they're done. So I really want to put them up, with wishes for a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you. I hope you enjoy the new part.

Kat


Chapter 46

“Hey guys!” Isabel smiled brightly as she pushed open the door to the crashdown and gave a wave to Maria and Liz who were waiting tables nearby.

Both teenagers returned her smile, and Liz, who was just finishing taking her order, indicated that she’d be over in a moment.

Nodding to show she had understood, Isabel headed towards one of the free booths at the back and slipped inside, positioning herself so that she could watch her friends as they worked. It was a week since Liz and Max had tried to take the pregnancy test, and that meant there was a week left until they knew for certain…

Signs were looking good so far – there was no sign of Liz putting on weight, but no one really wanted to tempt fate by commenting on it, and the subject had been studiously avoided on most occasions.

It wasn’t that they didn’t care, but after the first few comments made by Maria, it had become obvious to the rest of the group that it was harder for Liz and Max the more it was spoken about, and they had made a silent resolution to make this as easy as possible and any little they could do, they would…

Which meant that little or no comment had been made, and a new focus had been found.

And that focus, was the upcoming end of school-year dance. It coincided quite nicely with Liz’s birthday, and also with her upcoming one-year anniversary with Max, which had been commented on in passing, and the two girls had determined to have a bit of an extra celebration beforehand.

Liz didn’t know that of course, although Max had been privy to a few of the arrangements. What Liz had been involved in was a determined push by Isabel and Maria to go out and find her a new dress though… They argued that she deserved to have a treat, and ignored all protests about money saying that she could take it as a birthday present from the two of them if she liked…

Which was why Isabel had turned up that day… The dance was only about a month away, which, although Liz considered was plenty of time, Maria had made perfectly clear she considered was completely insufficient. Hence, after some weedling and convincing, the trio were going dress-shopping as soon as those waitressing finished their shift.

“Hi Isabel” Liz greeted her friend as she appeared at the foot of the table.

“Hey, busy day…?” Isabel motioned to the surrounding diner.

The brunette nodded with a sigh. “Very… I’ve never known such a rush on space fries and blood-of-alien smoothies…” She commented with a wry smile as she quoted a few of the items from the corny menu.

“Well, not much longer now and then we can see if we can’t find that perfect dress for you…”

Her comment failed to elicit the smile which was obviously expected.

“Liz…?”

She sighed and shook her head. “Not that I don’t appreciate it Isabel, but right now all I want to do is go home, take the weight off my feet and curl up on the sofa with Max…

“Well you can’t!” Maria stated firmly as she joined the other two. “Well not with Max anyway, “ she added at the questioning look from the younger of the other two girls.

“Why not…?” Liz pressed, her expression somewhat puzzled. “He isn’t working, I know that…”

“No, but he is supposed to be helping Michael…” Isabel supplied quickly, laughing softly at the wide eyed look which met her. “Don’t worry, I think they’ll behave…”

Maria nodded in agreement. “Right, if Michael wants something it’s amazing just how well he can behave…”

“I wasn’t actually thinking of Michael…” The third of the girls replied with a wry smile. She knew full well that Max had been just as much trouble as Michael at times. The other guy had rubbed him up the wrong way completely when they had first met, and while he would disagree, her husband wasn’t above holding a grudge, especially when that grudge involved someone’s treatment of her.

Of course Michael was getting better now, but the mention of the two of them spending time together without any mention of Alex to act as a buffer couldn’t help but cause a little anxiety.

The other girls laughed at her comment. “Don’t worry… Michael wanted to speak to Max about how you two had gained emancipation…” Isabel supplied the answer she knew the brunette had been seeking. It had been an issue which Michael had been pressing Alex on repeatedly, and finally her boyfriend had become fed up and simply passed the query onto Max. He’d know more about it afterall…

Surprisingly perhaps, Max had little problem with speaking to Michael on the subject, and upon learning that the girls had an afternoon shopping planned, the two of them had arranged to meet up that afternoon to go over some of the details.

“Thinking about getting married…?” Liz threw back mischievously at the revelation, studiously avoiding the true reason for the interest of which all three were fully aware. Hank was completely unfit to be a foster parent!

“Would Alex still be alive if he had proposed?” Isabel returned in the same jovial manner and the banter continued back and forth for a few minutes.

“So you see you could go home and be alone, or you could come out with us and find the perfect dress for the dance…” Maria took over now as she turned the conversation back to their afternoon activity once more, never once letting down the light pressing that the two of them had maintained on their friend.

“Well since you put it that way…” Liz shrugged as though it was better than nothing…

“Thanks, you really make us feel like we’re wanted…” Isabel teased as she stood up.

The younger of the girls laughed as she now pulled them both into a hug. “Oh you know I want you guys, you’re great friends and I love you both!”

“In a different way to Max of course…?”

She laughed. “Well don’t tell him, he’ll be jealous, but-“

The girls collapsed into giggles at the comment, causing many eyes in the diner to turn to them.

“You okay girls…?” Mr Parker headed over to see what was going on.

No one answered for a moment as they all fought against the giggles which had overcome them, but it was Liz in fact who regained her composure first, although not completely perhaps…“O-oh Mr Parker, sorry, yeah…I was just saying how I love these two!” She responded, struggling to catch her breath before giggling once more.

He shook his head in amusement, but made no complaint and showed no sign of anger, simply reminding the two waitresses that tables 9 and 10 needed clearing.

“We’ll get right on it, sorry…” Maria struggled to suppress another giggle as she grabbed her friend’s arm and practically dragged her back onto the floor.

“See you shortly…” Isabel raised a hand to wave at her friends before turning to Mr Parker who was still there to order a drink.

“Sorry to keep you waiting…” Maria apologised breathlessly as she reached one of the tables to clear and noted that someone was already sitting there. “Can I take your order…?”

The middle-aged gentleman shook his head and nodded. “That’s fine… I’ll just have a coffee and a plate of fries thanks…”

“Right away…” Noting the order down on her pad, she piled up the used crockery and placed it on the tray she had brought with her. “I’ll be right back with your coffee sir…”

“…that’s one men in blackberry pie and an alien blast…” Liz’s voice drifted over from where she stood a few tables back.

Maria frowned as she noted that the older gentleman suddenly seemed distracted as he turned away now, facing towards the front of the diner. She didn’t know what he found so interesting, but whatever… Shaking her head, she headed back to the counter with her load, passing over the food order before slipping behind the counter to fix the coffee…

When she returned to the table a few moments later, the guy barely acknowledged her as she set down the cup and it was obvious he wasn’t going to say anything it seemed. Resigning herself to the fact that her customer seemed like something of a dud, she headed back to the counter with a sigh. “That guy is really weird…”

“Which guy…?” Liz questioned as she stopped at her side and heard the comment.

Maria looked over. “The guy at table ten over th-“ She motioned with her hand, but stopped mid-sentence as she caught sight of the now empty table. “He’s gone!” Her eyes widened in surprise, already striding towards the table. “He was there a moment before, there’s still an order of fries coming for him…”

“So he’s skipped out without paying…?” The brunette followed her friend over as they spoke.

By this time, Maria had spotted a note which had been left on the table however and picked it up, shaking her head. “N-no…he left this…” She unfolded a ten dollar note with a frown. “That’s way more than he owed…”

“Maybe so, but I guess he was in a hurry…” Liz shrugged and then smiled. “At least you got a nice tip out of him…”

Maria nodded slowly, still half expecting for him to return. “Y-yeah…I guess…he was just really weird…”

The younger of the girls shook her head. “Well, weird or not, I suggest you pay it into the register, take your tip and then cancel the fries, and then come and join Isabel and I in the back booth since our shift is now officially over!”

Her friend considered for a moment and then smiled. “Well I can do better than that last…” She responded with a grin but didn’t offer any explanation as she headed off.

The explanation came as she approached the other two girls complete with a plate of fries a few moments later though, setting it down in the middle of the table as she slid into the booth and reached for one of the cherry cokes that Isabel had ordered. “Well, waste not want not…” She grinned as she pushed the plate towards the other slightly and picked up a fry herself. “Dig in!”

***

“I saw this perfect dress the other day when I was in town…” Maria enthused, pushing open the door for the others as the girls made their way out of the diner a little later.

“It’d better cover a little more than the one you showed me on Friday!” Liz retorted with a grin as she stepped outside.

“I still say you could have pulled it off!” Isabel stated as she chose to put in her two cents on the subject and followed them out onto the pavement outside.

“And you’d have had all the guys eyeing you…” Maria offered with a grin.

The youngest of the girls rolled her eyes and shook her head. “And that’s just what I need right?”

“Well if people are going to talk anyway, why not-“

“Give them something to talk about…” The brunette laughed as she finished the sentence for her friend. She had said exactly the same in the past she knew – the second day they had been at Roswell High being one particular example she could remember.

Maria nodded. “Exactly! And that dress was-“

“Not me!” Liz shook her head firmly in a manner which made it clear the discussion was over. She paused a moment, a twinkle in her eye and then said, “Oh course you two could be another matter…”

“You must be joking!” Isabel and Maria both answered in union.

“And yet you wanted me to wear it…?” Liz raised an eyebrow at the other girls.

“That’s different…” Her friend protested.

She shook her head and giggled. “Why am I not surprised, it always is…”

Gradually the conversation began to turn onto other things as they headed down the street together towards the car, and less than an hour and a half later Isabel and Maria were standing outside a changing room. “Come on Liz, let’s see what it looks like…?”

They pressed, moving to open the curtain at which point a small hand slipped out and swatted them away. “Not on your nelly!”

“Is everything alright here…?”

The girls turned in surprise, jumping slightly at the appearance of the older male assistant behind them. “W-what, oh yeah, fine…” Isabel recovered first and waved him away awkwardly.

As he disappeared, Liz stuck her head out of the cubicle. “Who was that…?”

“No one…” The two girls outside chorused as Isabel produced another dress from the collection they had brought in with them. “Okay, if you’re not wearing that one, try this one on, it’s a perfect colour for you!” She insisted with a smile as she handed the slinky number over.

***

Another hour later, and the girls walked along, each swinging at least one small carrier bag by their side.

“Anyone fancy a muffin?” Liz offered as she spotted the cafe to their side. “I suddenly have a craving for something sweet…” She trailed off awkwardly as she realised how she had described it but forced herself to brush away the thought and recovered quickly. “You know I have a sweet tooth…”

Tactfully avoiding any mention of her slip, the two girls pretended not to notice and the suggestion quickly met with the approval of her friends as they nodded eagerly. After taking orders, refusing to take any money from them and arranging to meet the other girls over in the park, Liz handed over her bag and hurried off in the direction of the shop.

“I hope there’s a free bench…” Maria commented as she and Isabel continued along, adding, “Are you sure we shouldn’t stay and help her…”

Maria’s reluctance to leave their friend to herself was hardly new, and Isabel shook her head quickly despite the recent slip. Liz didn’t want them fussing, so fuss they would not do! “She said she’d be fine and I’m sure she will be, now let’s go find that bench you mentioned…” She pushed her friend forward and so involved in their conversation were the two girls that they didn’t see the guy stood at the entrance to the park until it was too late and they crashed into him.

Bags went everywhere, skittering on the floor as the girls struggled to regain their balance.

“Oh I’m sorry…” The young man in a baseball cap apologised quickly as he knelt down to help them collect their things.

“Not at all, it’s all our fault not yours…” Isabel responded, waving away his apologies with a smile.

“I couldn’t possibly blame two such beautiful ladies…” His response was smooth and slick, almost polished...

“And we’ve both got boyfriends!” Maria interjected with a pointed tone.

“Who said anything about boyfriends…?” He didn’t miss a beat.

“Look, we’re not interested okay?” Isabel didn’t beat around the bush as she quickly took a dislike to the guy.

“Hey guys, wait up!” Liz’s voice carried across the road as she waited to cross and the girls turned to smile and wave.

“Look, I’m sure you’re a nice enough guy b-“ Maria turned back to try and make another attempt at getting rid of the guy but it seemed they had already been successful and he had gone… He must move fast, because she couldn’t see any sign of him, she noted absently although was stopped from thinking any more about it as Liz joined the two of them and handed out the coffees and muffins which had been requested.

“Thanks Liz…” Isabel smiled at the brunette as she again refused her attempt to pay for the treat. She made a mental note to leave an extra tip for Liz next time she was in the Crashdown, before letting it drop for the moment and motioning further into the park. “How about we go find those seats now…?”
My fics:

Dreams and Reality
Reality Revealed
Family Connections
When Love and Loss Collide
When Friendship and Love Combine - New!
If Only...
The Important Thing
Home for Christmas
I Knew Him Before (PB fic)
Love Always...
The First Time Around - New!

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KatnotKath
Roswell Fanatic
Posts: 1130
Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 5:54 am
Location: UK
Contact:

Re: Family Connections (AU,CC,MAT/ADULT) Ch 46 25/12/07

Postby KatnotKath » Sun Jan 20, 2008 7:04 pm

Hey Guys :) Happy New Year!

Sorry I didn't get back to this sooner, but I hope it'll be worth the wait.

Thanks for all the feedback:

Alien_Friend - I'm afriad I can't give any answers without giving it all away, but I wish I could. I hope you enjoy the new part though.
Flamehair - Do you really want me to answer?
Timelord31 - I'm afriad you'll have to keep reading to find out.
thetvgeneral - Thanks for reading
RiceKrispy - Did someone say cookie - and here's me trying to loose weight :? Thanks for reading
lilah - Well it wouldn't take much for them to be good friends in my opinion, just a little more openness on Isabel's part, and since Maria found out about Aliens thought Michael telling her after he and she were together, I figure it makes sense she wouldn't be so scared either, Isabel is a good friend, Liz too now, so what if they're not completely 'normal.'?
tequathisy - here's more
ultimatepickupline - Now why would you be thinking that?
Emz80m - sorry, I'm taking the 5th on that
Timelord31 - Yes, I know it's been a long time between some updates, my muse isn't exactly forthcoming a lot of the time on this, but I'm trying to do my best and I'm sorry when it's not as often as I might like. As for your questions, now you don't think I'm actually going to spill do you?
Ellie - He seems to have everyone intreigued, feel free to share any theories, I'd love to hear them ;)
isabelle - well I just hope I won't disappoint, here's a new chapter
garcia88 - Well I have to agree about Max and Liz, although I think they're always great together, if you hadn't guessed, I'm a dreamer hehe. Thanks for reaidng, glad you're enjoying the story.

Guys, I know I don't update this anywhere near as regularly as I used to, but that's not only because I don't have the time, but also because my muse simply isn't there as it used to be on Roswell at the moment in general and for this fic in particular. I am doing my best, and I'm not giving up on it, but sometimes it is going to be longer than I might like and I apologise in advance for that.

Again I'm going to be asking about getting this pruned after I finish posting, so if you want notifications to work, you might want to check they're active.

Hope anyone reading the story is enjoying it and I'd love to hear what anyone thinks of the new chapter. I really do appreciate any feedback people offer and if it weren't for all you guys, I'm sure I would have given up on this a long time ago, so thanks!

Hope you all enjoy the new chapter.

Kat


Chapter 47

“Make yourself at home, can I get you anything to drink…?” Max questioned, forcing himself to make an effort as he motioned Michael further into the apartment. This was more than a little uncomfortable it seemed, not only because of the fact that they hadn’t really spent any time alone, but also because of the reason why they were meeting on this occasion.

“Nah thanks…” Michael shook his head as he headed towards the living area and dropped down onto the sofa heavily, causing springs to groan in displeasure. He just wanted to get down to business.

Max recognised the disinterest in his voice and closed his eyes, silently counting to ten. “Michael…” He paused a moment, an awkward silence falling over the apartment. Somehow it always seemed so much easier when some or all of the girls were there too…

Turning his head, Michael looked back at the other guy but he wasn’t really sure what to say and simply therefore instead simply nodded to acknowledge he had heard him. It had been a whole lot easier when he hated the guy for sure…this was still…new…

“Michael…” Max tried again, pausing once more but pressing on quickly before he had the chance to rethink the approach. “I know you might blame me and Liz for the fact that you and Isabel were left by Nacedo as you were, but we didn’t know that he had left you…and I’m sure had he known what you were going through…”

The sentence was left unsaid, but both knew exactly what he had meant. “Whatever…” Michael shrugged non-commitedly.

Max forced himself to hold his tongue and took a moment before speaking once more. “Michael please, I’m sorry you had a hard time, but I know Nacedo, and I’m sure that he did what he thought was best… He would have believed you were with a good family, having a good life…” He shrugged slightly. “He probably thought we were safer because we weren’t together, we weren’t the four that enemies would be looking for, and I know he kept his eye on you…”

“So if he kept his eye on us why was he so oblivious to everything that Hank has done over the years?” Michael’s eyes blazed. “We’ve been with him for years, and he’s been the same from the start, he’s a jerk, a drunk, he’s-“

“A waste of space from everything that I’ve seen…” Max commented with a sigh. He shook his head his expression speaking of genuine regret. He and Liz didn’t like what had happened to his sister and Michael anymore than they did themselves.. “I know Michael, and I wish that I could change things but I can’t… The Nacedo I know wouldn’t have blanked it out though, and you weren’t moved afterall, so it couldn’t have been that obvious…”

“You would say that!” The other guy almost spat out. Deep down he knew that it wasn’t fair to blame Liz and Max for what their protector had, or rather hadn’t done, and it wasn’t as though they had a bed full of roses themselves, but that didn’t mean he was going to admit he was wrong. He was stubborn in that way.

Max let out a sound of exasperation. He gave up! “Look, I can’t make you believe me, and I can’t believe that Nacedo didn’t care about you, so how about we drop it and get on with this…”

The suggestion was met with a silent nod although the frown wasn’t completely gone from Michael’s face by any means.

Counting silently to ten in an attempt to force himself to calm down, Max then told the other guy he would be back in a moment before excusing himself to get something from the bedroom. He returned a few minutes later with a file in his hand which he opened to pull out some papers. “Okay, I can’t promise you anything Michael, but I’ll tell you everything that I know, and if there’s anything that I can do to help you, I will…” He paused a moment before adding, “Liz and I care about you guys, really we do…”

Looking up as Max returned, Michael reached out to take the papers he offered in silence, nodding slightly. “I care about Liz too…” He finally allowed…

The comment was probably as close to an apology as he would ever get, although it could also have been taken as a backhanded slap in the face, but Max wasn’t bothered. Should he be surprised? – well he wasn’t… The truth was that while he and Michael tolerated one another, they did little more, and while he did care about the other guy, it was more because Liz did than anything else…and he cared about what and who she cared about… “I know you do…” He acknowledged, nodding back briefly before turning back to the matter at hand. “So, anyway, are you sure about this…?”

Another nod was the only response he received, but it was enough… Max fingered some papers absently as he tried to work out how to begin. “I’m going to be honest with you Michael, it was probably a whole lot easier for Liz and I than it will be for you two… For starters Nacedo had already laid all the foundation work…” He let out a sign and gestured to some other forms as he laid them out on the table in front of them. “He had already filled in a lot of the forms we needed, as a failsafe I guess, to ensure we could stay together…”

Michael made no comment, but it was obvious he was paying attention…

“The number one need is that you’re going to have to be able to support yourselves…” Max continued, going on to explain. “The government generally won’t give you any handouts of any kind unless you’re still living with an adult… The money you have coming in is the money you have, and that has to cover all your outgoings – food, rent, clothes, any books, equipment you might need…” The list could go on and on of course, but he figured that got the message across. “Liz and I don’t work because we want to, we work because we need to!”

“I get that…” Michael shrugged in a ‘who cares’ manner which to Max said he didn’t understand what he would be getting into at all but he’d let it drop for the moment at least and come back to it later perhaps…

“You’re both still under eighteen, and while strictly speaking if you’re emancipated you could drop out, most likely they’re going to want you to stay in school, so your attendance might be something that would count against you I guess…”

“Whatever we do it can’t be worse than Hank…” Michael commented gruffly.

Max nodded. “Yeah, but proving that Hank isn’t exactly the best guardian is only the first part of the battle… They could move you to another foster home, you’re still in the system remember…” He reminded the other guy.

“So they could just ship us off somewhere else…”

He nodded. again “Unfortunately yeah, the one primary requirement is that you have to prove it’s in your best interests, and most of the time they will believe that being in someone else’s care until you are eighteen serves that better than you being out on your own. Arguing that it’s going to interfere with your schoolwork if you get moved might be one reason, and stressing that you’re almost eighteen and ready to take on the responsibilities that come with it might be another way to go about it…” Max stopped a moment and looked over. “Is any of this making sense?”

The other guy nodded although somewhat uncertainly as he looked down, scanning over the papers he had been given. It was a lot of stuff to remember, but it would be worth it! More than anything he wanted to see Isabel away from Hank. Himself he wasn’t too bothered about, but Izzy was another matter, and enough was enough…

Seeming to sense his emotion, Max continued now in a slightly more sensitive tone. “You’re going to need to find a lawyer too you know… I could call the one who handled our case, but you’re probably better finding someone local who knows the state rules inside and out…” He told him, shaking his head slightly. “It’s not going to be easy you know Michael…”

The response from the other guy was even less expressive than usual it seemed, consisting of only two words: “I know…”

***

A couple of hours later, Max was just about talked out. He had told Michael most of what he knew about the procedure, but couldn’t stress enough the importance of contacting someone to check the rules here. The problem was of course that they were from a different state, and different states had different ideas as usual.

Of course some of the stuff would be basically the same, and it wouldn’t be as though he would be an expert even if they were in New Hampshire. Quite simply, Michael was going to have to speak to someone else if he was serious about this, because while they might do everything they could to help, he and Liz could only do so much…

Sighing, he ran a hand through his hair and then glanced at the clock. Nearly seven. Liz would be home soon… His hand automatically reached towards his phone without thinking about it, glancing down as he flipped the top up to check he hadn’t missed any messages. Nope… He turned his attention back to his ‘friend’. “Okay, so I think that’s about it, but like I said, you need to talk to someone that knows more about this than me if you’re serious…”

Michael nodded slowly. “I need to talk to Izzy about this, but thanks…”

One little word, but the effect was amazing… Whatever Max had done in the past, Michael had grumbled it seemed, but now he had offered a genuine, real and very sincere sounding thank-you? Shaking away the slight disbelief he felt, Max shrugged slightly and then nodded a silent ‘you’re welcome’. It had been an even more important talk than expected he guessed…

Just then, the thoughtful silence whch had fallen over the pair was broken by the sound of a phone, or rather, to be exact, two… Almost in unison, both guys turned sharply, reaching for their phone and pressed to answer. “Hello…?”

***

“Max?”

He grinned as he heard his wife’s voice on the other end. “Yup, hey Lizzie, having a good time?”

***

Maria’s foot tapped impatiently as she listened to the line ringing and looked around at the other two girls who each held a phone to their ear. “Michael…?” She questioned as it picked up.

***

“Alex?” Across town, Alex smiled as he heard his girlfriend’s voice on the other end of his mobile line.

***

At the confirmation she required, Liz smiled. “Yeah, we’re about done here but Maria’s suggested that we all go to see a movie if it appeals…?” She explained in a soft tone.

***

“I was just wondering if you were busy…?” Isabel shifted the phone to her other ear for comfort as she glanced around, trying to gage how the suggestion she was supposed to be making was going down with the other guys in the group.

***

“Fine by me, any idea what we want to go and see?” Max questioned with a sideways look at the guy at his side.

***

“As long as it’s not Braveheart!” Alex winced slightly at the thought of how many times he had watched said film in the company of the brother of his girlfriend. Michael had a fascination with the battle scenes which was incomprehensible in his mind…

***

“Some of us would rather see something that isn’t simply full of blood and gore Michael!”

***

“I’m thinking something nice and light actually…maybe a love story…” Isabel joked, listening to his response before nodding with another smile. “Oh I’m sure we can come up with something…?”

***

“What’s wrong with blood and gore?” Michael responded, looking over at Max as though to ask for some support there. It was a simple gesture, but the implication was great. He would never have thought to do it before that afternoon… To Alex, sure, he was a friend, but Max…well…maybe he had been a bit hasty in his judgement…

***

“I think that sounds like a great choice…” Max responded as he listened to the film his wife suggested.

***

“So what do we have in mind…?” Alex questioned even as he moved to grab his wallet. In truth, gore or not, as long as Isabel was going to be there, he wasn’t going to turn down the opportunity to spend time with his girlfriend.

***

“What’s a great choice?” Michael looked over again at Max questioningly now, before turning the question back onto his girlfriend on the other end of the phoneline. “What’re we going to see?”

***

The curly haired blond giggled and shook her head as she heard him question. “Well you’ll just have to wait and see won’t you! Meet you in about half an hour?”

***

“By the ticket office?” Alex checked, grabbing his keys from the table as he waited to hear Isabel’s response.

***

“See you there, love you…” Max smiled, his lips turning up in amusement as Michael continued to grumble a little, before hanging up the phone and turning back to the other guy. “”Coming?”

***

“Love you too…” Liz murmured softly before pressing to end the call and dropping the phone back into her bag as she turned to the other girls who were just finishing their own conversations. “So….Harry Potter or James Bond?”

***********

An hour later saw the group queuing together to go into the theatre.

“Well what more do you want Michael, it’s bound to have some violence for you, and it’s got plot and romance for us too…” Isabel explained to her brother in an exasperated fashion. She knew of course exactly which movie he would rather have seen of course, but there was no way she was going to sit through another ‘fast and furious’ full of pin-up girls worthy of page three, and fancy cars which she really couldn’t care less about. She had been convinced to give the first a go, and at least it had some eye candy of the male gender too but the latest just left her cold, she just was not interested!

Michael huffed in irritation, but didn’t choose to pursue the subject. At least James Bond was half decent…especially when he got to sit next to Maria throughout…

His girlfriend grinned, perhaps sensing a little of his thoughts as she slipped her hand through his arm and slid a little closer as they continued to wait in line. “Maybe we could go to that one together sometime…I don’t mind seeing a little more of …

She was teasing of course, and certainly wasn’t disappointed by his reaction. “You don’t like him do you, he’s completely skinny and…”

“Sexy…?” A small voice interjected.

Max shot a look of mock horror at his wife in response to that comment. “Sexy? What do you mean sexy?” He pretended to frown. “In fact since when have you been paying any other guys enough attention to be able to class them as sexy?”

“What, is she supposed to be a nun now she’s married?”

He frowned.

The brunette laughed, shaking her brown locks back over her shoulder. “Oh baby, I didn’t mean to make you jealous…”

“Who’s jealous? There’s enough girls in there to keep me occupied…” Her husband returned.

A wicked smile lit up Liz’s face as she pretended to puff up her chest and batted her eyelashes flirtaceously. “There’s enough right girl here to keep you occupied I can assure you…”

The rest of the group laughed in response to that and as the couple failed to prevent themselves collapsing into giggles, Isabel and Alex took up the banter.

“I’m beginning to wonder about the idea of going to see this movie now….in fact any movies at all, I’m not sure I want to encourage this interest in another guy…” Alex commented in a voice so serious it was obviously anything but…

“Are you feeling threatened?” Isabel questioned softly with another smile before leaning in to whisper in his ear. “Because you have no need to be…”

“Hey, no fair private words!” Maria tugged at her friend’s arm, pulling her back from her boyfriend. “What did you just say?”

“Wouldn’t you like to know…” Alex tapped his nose in a secretive fashion with another smile before leaning forward to steal a kiss from his ‘lady’.

Another ripple of laughter sounded through the group, but the exchange between the teens was to be cut short as they finally reached the door to the theatre and handed over their tickets before being allowed inside. Their chatter took on a lower tone now, as the conversations switched from group-wide to that between individual couples and the group split up with each pair selecting seats to suit, making themselves comfortable as they sat back to enjoy the show.

“Good day…?” Max whispered to Liz as he slipped an arm around her shoulders and he felt his wife snuggle closer.

“Hmmm…” She leant over, seeking a chaste kiss before sitting back again. “And it’s getting better…”

As the trailers began, Michael leant over to sneak a kiss of his own from his girlfriend who turned with a smile. “Looking forward to the film…?”

He shrugged non-commitedly although his agitation only moments before seemed to have vanished completely. “Well it’s better than Harry Potter…”

“It could be better than you expect you know…” She slid her hand over to his, threading her fingers through those of her boyfriend as she looked at him with a smile.

“Well if not I’m sure there are other ways to pass the time…” With a wicked grin, he leant over again, his lips probing hers as they kissed once more.

“Oh sorry, excuse me?” Michael looked up with a scowl to the guy who had, so rudely in his mind, interrupted their moment. The young man, who looked as though he was a business man, possibly a banker by his appearance, gave a shrug which Michael presumed was supposed to be an apology as he waited for the couple to stand up.

Maria too was somewhat irritated by the interruption, but she tried not to show it as she smiled and nodded, standing up to let the guy past and nodding again in response to his ‘thanks’. As he settled himself a few seats over though, she now turned her attention back to her boyfriend with a smile. “Now where were we…?” She questioned softly even as she leant towards him once more.

From her seat a few rows back, Isabel shook her head in amusement as she looked over at her brother and then back at her own boyfriend.

“You okay…?” Alex returned her smile as he sat back in his seat.

“What, oh yeah…” His girlfriend nodded softly before silently slipping her arm through his and resting her head against his shoulder.

Alex made no response except to smile again as his arm slid around her shoulders to complete the embrace the opening credits of the film began.
My fics:

Dreams and Reality
Reality Revealed
Family Connections
When Love and Loss Collide
When Friendship and Love Combine - New!
If Only...
The Important Thing
Home for Christmas
I Knew Him Before (PB fic)
Love Always...
The First Time Around - New!

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KatnotKath
Roswell Fanatic
Posts: 1130
Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 5:54 am
Location: UK
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Re: Family Connections (AU,CC,MAT/ADULT) Ch 47 20/01/08

Postby KatnotKath » Mon Mar 10, 2008 6:12 pm

Hey guys, fancy another chapter?

Thanks to everyone reading, and for all the feedback.

Natalie36 - Well the characters are sweet, so sweet moments there should be right?
Alien_Friend - I thought it was about time that they got to spend some time as normal teenagers, because when it comes down to it, that's what they are, teenagers. I'm glad you enjoyed the chapter and while I think that Max and Michael still have a long way to go, I think they're going in the right direction.
Timelord31 - Thanks, I'm glad you enojoyed it and to answer your question, here's the new chapter ;)
Flamehair - Seems I can still do fun not just angst then - yay for me lol. Maybe I'll have to try that some more...another time...
pandas2001 - waitings over!

Sorry it took me so long to get back to this, I had some difficulties with my muse, I have to admit that I have trouble with this story sometime, but even once I'd decided what I actually wanted to happen I then had even more trouble in getting the chapter how I wanted it. I'm still not compeltely happy, but I know I've left you waiting ages already and I don't want to keep you waiting any longer. Hope you enjoy the new chapter.

Kat



Chapter 48

“Hey MAX!” Maria called out and quickened her step as she caught sight of him up in front.

Scowling as he walked beside her Michael was less eager to catch up it seemed. While there could be no doubt that he and Max were making progress (albeit at the behest of the girls) - the two of them could at least share a civil conversation now – there was still a long way to go and no one would ever say that the two of them were best friends.

A part of that was because he was ever conscious of the relationship which his sister was building with Max of course. Time and time he had been told by Isabel and Maria that he had nothing to be jealous about – something that he would deny anyway – even Max had tried on occasion, but the fact of the matter was that he felt threatened…

It wasn’t that he was just being deliberately objectionable but ever since they had been kids it had been just he and Isabel against the world. He had looked after her, defended and protected her. With the possible exception of Maria, she was the most important person in his life…she was his sister…

Yet she wasn’t, not really was she…? As they had found out, they weren’t even blood relatives… It was a realisation which had hit him hard. His whole life he had believed her to be his only family and suddenly…everything changed.

Isabel had insisted it hadn’t of course. She had told him that it didn’t make any difference, that while Max might be her biological brother, that wasn’t what made a family, experiences were… And he was the one who had been there when she had scraped her knee when she was a kid, he had been the one who had protected her from Hank… As far as she was concerned, Michael was her brother, for better for worse, and nothing would change that… Unfortunately, for Michael, stubborn as he was, it just wasn’t that simple…

Since Max made a point to assure him he wasn’t trying to take her away things had been better of course, helped perhaps also by the attempts Michael was making to get to know Liz too, but there was no easy fix – it would take time – and it was doubtful they would ever be best friends…

About to turn the corner to head down the corridor, Max turned at the sound of a familiar voice, greeting Maria with a genuine smile and wave, while to Michael he offered a more subdued nod of simple acknowledgement. “Hey guys…”

“Hey…” The blond greeted somewhat breathlessly as she slowed now to a more leisurely pace and pushed the hair which had fallen over her face back behind her ear, looking back at him now as she returned his smile.

Michael in contrast made no acknowledgement, but instead glanced around as though looking for something, or perhaps someone…

If he was at all perturbed by this, Max didn’t show it. “I had to pick something up from the library…” He lifted his arm to show the book he had tucked there before continuing, “…I’m meeting her at the lockers…” He supplied briefly as he interpreted the other guy’s look. Apparently even Michael could care about someone; the older of the two boys allowed himself the slightest of smiles.…

“Whatever…” Michael shrugged as though it didn’t matter although all involved knew different… While he had been hostile initially, recent attempts start afresh and get to know one another seemed to be working well, and there would little doubt from anyone involved that the spiky haired teen did indeed care deeply about his cousin. Of course if you said that to him, he’d deny it no doubt, but that didn’t change the truth…

Maria shook her head as her boyfriend responded. It was typical Michael of course, and while she knew better than to believe the cold, unfeeling front he put on, but he really wasn’t doing himself any favours…. On this occasion though, she resisted the urge to roll her eyes or chastise in favour of simply addressing Max since that was the reason she had chased after him. “Speaking of Liz, Isabel and I have been thinking that we’d like to try and do something for her birthday…” She dove in quickly.

Michael blinked and looked from Maria to Max and then back again as he questioned.. “It’s Liz’s birthday…?”

He sounded surprised but his girlfriend continued regardless as she looked over at Max to check, “It’s the day of the prom isn’t it…?”

Smiling, Max gave a slight nod and motioned to her to keep up as he resumed walking. “Yeah as it happens…”

Nodding back, Maria offered a knowing smile. “Well I know that you’ll likely want her to yourself that evening…” She held up a hand to stop him as Max seemed ready to respond, and then continued, “…but maybe we could set something up for that weekend… You could all come over to mine, we could get some pizzas and movies maybe…? I know it wouldn’t be that much bu-“

“I’m sure that she would love that!” Max interrupted quickly with a shake of his head. “Having everyone together would be something I’m sure she would love. It sounds like it could be a good night…” His enthusiasm was genuine as he spoke. It would mean spending time with Michael of course, but Isabel, Alex and Maria would be there too. Besides, Liz would like Michael being there anyway and that was good enough for him.

Maria grinned, her delight clearly evident. “Great! Ok well I’m going to go and tell Izzy that it’s a go so I’ll see you guys outside?” She questioned, gesturing towards the main exit before heading off that way to find her friend, leaving the two guys to walk alone.

“Oh yeah, it’ll be just smashing…” Michael enthused in a low voice without any hint of enthusiasm.

Max shot him a glare, “Well you don’t have to be there!” He responded in a tight tone. He was trying, really he was, but there were times when he just wanted to tell Michael to get lost. Did he always have to be so difficult….?

Michael returned his scowl with a shake of his head. “You don’t get rid of me that easily…”

His response was carefully measured to goad the other guy, and under any other circumstance he would have succeeded except that Max wasn’t really paying attention now as he looked around. They had arrived at the lockers now, but Liz was nowhere to be found…

Frowning, the older of the two boys looked up and down the corridor, searching for any sign of his wife. Upon finding none, his brow furrowed further in worry and he was about to say something when a piece of paper shoved part way through the door of his locker caught his eye. Grabbing it he quickly unfolded the sheet and scanned the contents.

“Where is she…?”

“She says she forgot she was due to be meeting Isabel to talk about something…” Max supplied, relief evident in his voice at the simple explanation. He should have known that there would be one really, deep down he knew that, but when it came to Liz sense, logic and simple explanations went out the window and all he knew was that indescribable, unquestionable love he felt for her and the terrible fear that something might happen to her.

Michael nodded but it seemed as though the short few moments of worry they had shared had killed the hostility between the two and he waited in silence as Max grabbed his bag before the pair of them headed out to meet the others who would be waiting…

It didn’t take long to spot three familiar figures who were waiting to one side of the building but a fourth, a slim brunette, was missing… The observation caused both boys to quicken their pace as they crossed the yard. “Hey, is Liz not with you…?”

The trio who had been talking looked around to greet the two boys. Isabel shook her head as she offered Max a brief smile. “No…why…?”

“She left me a note saying that she was supposed to be meeting you…”

His ‘sister’ nodded. “Well yeah, she was, I got a text message from her to say that Mr Parker had called up apparently to ask if she could pull an extra shift, I guess she headed straight there from class…” She explained.

It sounded simple enough, but somehow, for whatever reason, Max wasn’t convinced. He looked around at to the third male who had been stood until now without much comment. “Hey Alex, could you drive me over there…?”

There was no hesitation on the side of his friend as he nodded. “Sure of course…” As though a switch had been flicked, the teens said their goodbyes quickly now. Little time was wasted as they split into two groups and each went their separate ways – Michael with Maria, and Max and Isabel with Alex.- and they headed back to their respective cars.

For Max, as fast as it was it was all still just wasting time though, and while he didn’t say as much, his impatience was evident to all involved. He didn’t want to be rude, that wasn’t it, he was just… He closed his eyes, drawing in a deep breath, and felt a hand close gently around his. As he opened his eyes, he found himself looking back at Isabel as she squeezed his hand gently and offered a reassuring yet silent smile. Her ‘brother’ returned the smile gratefully but still he found he couldn’t relax. He knew in all likelihood that it was fine, but he wasn’t sure he would believe that until he saw his wife for himself… He just had a feeling that something wasn’t right, and he had long since learnt not to ignore such feelings since unfortunately they were usually right… “We going…?” He questioned tightly, looking over at Alex as he climbed into the car.

The couple with him followed his lead and, the tension in the car was obvious as they drove out the school gate. No one tried to say anything, Alex focused on the road, and Isabel on Max as he stared out of the car window without blinking… His worry was contagious…

Less than quarter of an hour later, they pulled up outside the Crashdown and, without even waiting for Alex to cut the engine, Max jumped out. Before his friends could even suggest going with him, he was already out of the car, heading for the door.

Isabel had tensed during the journey, and as Alex looked over, he offered her an encouraging smile. “I’m sure everything is fine… Liz probably just knew you’d tell Max what she had said about work and didn’t want to waste money contacting him as well…” Alex assured his girlfriend in a down-to-earth manner as they sat there outside.

The blond nodded with a weak smile. “I guess…want to go inside…?” She motioned towards the café. Alex was probably right she knew, but still, she’d feel a whole lot better seeing her friend and there was nothing wrong with that was there? Just a friendly concern…

As it happened though neither had a chance to get out of the car before Max came back through the door and the expression on his face told them everything they needed to know… Simply put - Liz wasn’t there…

“She’s probably still on her way, maybe she got delayed…?” Alex suggested practically as his friend arrived back at the car.

He was met by a shake of the head. “No, Mr Parker never even called her about an extra shift...” All the colour had drained from Max’s face as he replied his friends now. Without any further comment, he pulled his phone from his pocket and hit to speed dial. He listened for a moment and then spoke. “Hey Lizzie, it’s me…”

For a moment Isabel allowed herself to believe that they were just making something out of nothing and Liz was indeed on the other end of the line and that this was all just some big misunderstanding but as Max continued speaking it became obvious he was addressing an answer machine and she shot a look at Alex beside her. What had happened to the younger girl…?

Closing his hand around hers, Alex squeezed it gently in a show of support before turning his attention to Max now as he asked, “Is there anything we can do…?”

“Call the others, ask them to meet us back at the school…?” Max responded briefly as he closed up his phone.

“Back at school…?” Isabel couldn’t help repeating, surprised by the location even as her boyfriend pulled out his phone and began to dial a number.

“Well that’s where I last saw her, it’s as good a place as any to try and work out what happened right?” All pretence of things being fine had been given up now as Max found himself increasingly worried over his wife’s location. He didn’t have be told that there were people out there who were dangerous, Nacedo had told them over and over, and of course eventually paid the ultimate price… There were many out there, both human and non human who would love to get their hands on any of them and no doubt the current wonder about whether Liz was pregnant would just be the icing on the cake.

They were pretty sure she wasn’t pregnant by now of course. There had been no sign of her putting on weight, or of a third conciousness in their connections when they had searched, but it was another couple of days before they would know for certain and that only added to his worry.

“She’ll be okay Max…”

Isabel rested her hand on his shoulder causing Max to force a weak smile as he covered it with his. “Thanks Izzy…”

“Hey, it’s what family it for right…?” She returned his smile and then, without thinking, pulled him into a hug,

Behind them, Alex watched silently and then, as the line on the other end was picked up, he began to speak. “Hey Maria, we need you and Michael to head back to the school and meet us there…” He was going to just hang up then, but the young woman on the other end had other ideas it seemed.

He listened a moment and then, “Look Maria, we’ll tell you everything when we meet you…” He tried to get off the line, feeling that it wasn’t his news to tell, but his friend was less than willing to let it drop, and a look from Max made him realise it really didn’t matter that much who told and he took a deep breath as he prepared to share. “Okay fine, I’ll tell you what’s going on - Liz is missing okay, Liz is missing…”
My fics:

Dreams and Reality
Reality Revealed
Family Connections
When Love and Loss Collide
When Friendship and Love Combine - New!
If Only...
The Important Thing
Home for Christmas
I Knew Him Before (PB fic)
Love Always...
The First Time Around - New!

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KatnotKath
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Re: Family Connections (AU,CC,MAT/AD) Ch 48 10/03/08 AN 23/03/08

Postby KatnotKath » Mon Apr 28, 2008 1:02 am

Hey guys, sorry about the delay, I had hoped to update this a whole lot sooner, but life had other ideas. If this isn't as well edited and proofread as usual, I also apologise. I'm currently nursing a cold and I'm sure everyone understands how rotten it can make you feel even if there's really nothing wrong.

Anyway, thanks so much for all the feedback, and again, apologies for keeping you waiting.

Thanks to Isabelle for taking a look at this before I posted, I really appreciated your feeback and I hope this looks a bit better than it did when you first saw it.

Pandas2001 - Are you sure you want to know?
Ellie - Max freaking, well, just a little... Why don't you read and find out :wink:
lilah - A bombshell indeed, the idea when it first occured came as something of a shock myself I have to admit. It wasn't what I had in mind when I originally started the fic, but then that's what I find - fiction can have a mind of it's own. Anyway, I'm glad you enjoyed it, and hope my muse doesn't disappoint this time either.
Alien_Friend - Sorry for keeping you waiting so long, and thanks so much for the bumps. Whatever has happened hasn't done all that much really, just sent a message to Isabel to say that she was working... But I tend to think you're right, not the best thing to happen, and I'm sure that Max would agree with you.
Timelord31 - Well I think I've made you wait longer on occassion, but I'm sorry for making you wait this long anyway, I hope this chapter is some consolation.
Emz80m - Thanks sweetie, I'm glad you enjoyed it, here's another, with a few of the answers to you thoughts.
nibbles2 - Max overreacting, whyever would you think that? As for what's happened and can they get her back, you'll have to read on I'm afraid.
RiceKrispy - I'm back, sorry to take so long but here's some more of the story, I hope you'll enjoy it.
Natalie36 - That's the question on everyone's lips it seems, this next might provide some explanation...
Flamehair - I'm sorry for keeping you waiting, here's the next part though, and I promise there's some Liz in it...
tesquathisy - I'm back, here's more, I hope you enjoy.
Isabelle - Thanks sweetie, and thanks so much for your help with this new chapter too, I really wouldn't have wanted to post it without you looking at it as you did. I'm thinking probably the others do know that it's unlikely that Liz is pregnant by now, since they probably have an idea of the time in which it was likely to become aparent. As for Isabel and Max, I'm glad you enjoyed seeing their interaction. Michael is only trying to do what he thinks is best though, and I'm sure he's shown some care in his own way for Liz by now... Anyway, here's the final version of the new chapter, I hope I adressed most if not all of the issues you mentioned.
paper - Thanks, I'm glad you're enjoying the story, as for the guy - now where would you get that idea from? Seriously, I just hope you're not disappointed.
kyliemou - Thanks Kylie. Computers really don't seem to like me much at the moment I have to admit. That, and then once it had been sorted, RL too... Anyway, I'm back now, hope you like the new chapter.
garcia88 - Well thanks so much. I'm glad you like it. Hope you continue to enjoy the new chapter.

I'm not saying that the chapter is my best, it's a bit shorter than usual and I was really uncertain about it to start with I have to admit because it's not my usual style, but it seemed to fit the current story and I hope you'll agree. Hope you all enjoy the new chapter.

Thanks for reading

~Kat~


Chapter 49

“What do you mean you don’t know where she is?”

Max, had barely gotten out of the car when Michael, who was already waiting outside the school gates with Maria at his side, started on him and to say he wasn’t in the mood for the angry spiky-haired teen was the understatement of the year. The hand which hung by his side clenched into a tight fist, and had the girls not been there, he was quite sure he wouldn’t have been able to resist teaching the other guy a lesson he wouldn’t quickly forget. As it was however, he simply imagined smashing his fist into Michael’s face as he turned and spoke, in a tight, low voice. “What does it sound like Michael, Alex told Maria in simple enough terms that I thought even you would be able to understand – Liz is missing!”

Michael smashed a hand against the railings, causing them to shudder and clang at the words. “Liz is missing… You sound like you’re asking me to take a walk in the park with you…” He fumed angrily as he turned once more on he who, after all in his mind, had only been accepted into the group because of his wife – Liz…Michael’s cousin…

If Michael was trying to push his buttons, Max couldn’t help thinking he was doing a really good job of it. He was this close (imagining a space of a matter of centimetres) from literally knocking him down a couple of blocks… Anger raged in his eyes as he looked back. “Are you suggesting that I don’t care that Liz is missing? That I don’t care that the love of my life, my wife who might even be carrying my child at this moment in time, is missing?”

Max’s voice had been increasing in volume by one notch every time he spoke, and to Isabel it was perfectly clear that if she and Maria, or even Alex, didn’t do anything, it was not going to end well.

Well how about you show an ounce of emotion!” Michael returned, glaring in an equally angry manner.

“Like you, when you pushed her away time and time again, when she came home to me and cried her eyes out?” Another cutting response followed as they continued their battle and inched closer and closer to trading blows.

Not that either of them really believed that the other didn’t care, nor did Michael blame Max for Liz going missing. In fact, he would probably have blamed himself before he did the other, not that there was any more reason to do that than the alternative, but he had afterall always been the leader of his group until Max arrived. Even after the couple had revealed who they were that wasn’t a position he would relinquish willingly, and when it came down to it, leaders took responsibility for their people….

As a side point, if they had really thought about it, the teens would have realised that the last was in fact, probably a large part of the issues which sat between him and Max being friends – Max had been brought up to be a leader while Michael had become a leader through circumstance, and two leaders to one group made for a bad combination…,

To concentrate on tearing strips off one another was easier than facing the truth though – that their wife and cousin respectively, someone who meant a great deal to the whole group even if most hadn’t known her that long really, was missing and they didn’t have a clue where she was. For all they knew she could already be dead, or else be in the hands of some unknown enemy… Other possibilities would have included disappearing to have some time on her own, to think about things, but no one really believed that.

Maria in particular was certain, from everything that she had learnt about her friend, that the young woman wouldn’t simply disappear without telling anyone. While they might try to act as though they were just normal teens with nothing to hide, the group were only too aware that wasn’t the case. A significant proportion of the group were very definitely not normal. Whether alien, as Max and Liz claimed, or something else entirely, the abilities the group shared were certainly enough that if they were discovered they would be in danger. Consequently, all were fully aware that the worst would be assumed from an unexpected disappearance, and she had no doubt that Liz would have told someone had there been a perfectly simple explanation

“Are you guys done, or do you feel the need to knock each other senseless before trying to find Liz?” Isabel finally exploded after the two had traded a few more angry insults. Her eyebrows raised in an expectant manner as she looked from one to the other.

Immediately, Max fell silent at her clearly chastising comment, guilt washing over him that he could honestly be thinking about anything else other than finding his wife at this time. And not only that, but why did he let her head off without him…

“Don’t beat yourself up over it either…” Maria commented softly at that moment, almost as though she could read his mind. She reached out to place a hand on his shoulder even as she slipped the other into Michael’s hand in a show of support as she spoke now to both. “It’s okay to be angry, upset, worried, but neither of you have anything to blame yourselves for okay… You are not to blame for this…”

Drawing in a slow breath, Max nodded. He clamped his lips together, forming a thin line as he pulled away from her gently and began to pace up and down the pavement in silence until, “I’m sorry…” Looking up as he stopped, he looked around at the assembled group, his eyes wide with apology.

Whether it was his sister’s words, those of his girlfriend, or some other reason, Michael too seemed to bethink himself now. The firey expletives which had been on the tip of his toungue only moments before seemed to melt away, and while the anger in his eyes wasn’t completely gone, it did seem to have been reduced to more of a smoulder as he grunted, “Yeah…”

It might not have matched the frank apology that Max had offered, but he wasn’t going to quibble under the circumstances. Instead, giving a nod of acceptance, he turned his attention to focus on that which had prompted the meeting. “Look, as Michael said, the truth is that I have no idea where Liz is. What I do know though, is that the last time any of us saw her was when we were at school…unless anyone would like to tell me otherwise…”

As his comment was met by silence he continued, “Liz was in bio lab with me and Isabel, but then I needed to go to the library and she said she’d meet me at my locker...”

“But by the time you got to the lockers she wasn’t there….?” Alex looked at him for confirmation,

“That’s right… He found a message from her that said she needed to meet Isabel…” Michael supplied, looking over at his sister.

“Which was true…except that I didn’t see her after class, not once she had left the room anyway…” The blond commented, reaching back to release her hair which then fell in long silken waved over her shoulders.

“You got a text though…” Although phrased as a question, the tone Max used made it into more of a statement…Since he already knew it was true. They were basically just laying out what had happened so that everyone was aware, to ensure they hadn’t missed anything and were all on the same page…

“So…she had to have disappeared after class but before you got that text at what time?” Alex pieced together and looked over at his girlfriend to question.

Isabel already had her phone out and was busily pressing buttons. “Three twenty seven according to my phone…” She supplied the answer after a moment, reading again the message which had been sent, unable to keep herself from wondering if she should have realised. ‘Mr Parker called, needs me to cover a shift, have to meet you later.’ The wording was pretty simple and blunt, but she had just put that down to a desire to get a quick, short message out, and hadn’t though anything of it. It had come from Liz’s phone after all, no reason to suspect anything was wrong right?

“So that means that whatever happened pretty much had to have happened at school or really close by…”

Max nodded as Maria voiced the thoughts that he shared. “And since Isabel and Alex were waiting outside, and had been doing for at least a couple of minutes, my bet is that it happened in school…” He explained, gesturing to the building behind them. Another thought which occurred to him was that had they realised she was missing sooner, she would likely still have been close by – a possibility which seemed more unlikely at this point – but he tried not to dwell on this as he continued. “I figure that a good place to start since we have no other leads, would be to try and see if we can find something inside to suggest what might have happened…

“Uh…one problem with that…” Alex ventured as they moved towards the building, hating to put a dampner on the plan… It was a good one in fact, he would have suggested, except… “Everything’s locked up…”

His girlfriend allowed herself a small smile. “Which would be a problem, except…” Instead of completing her sentence, she waved a hand across the lock on the closed door causing a surprisingly loud ‘clink’ to sound from the door, followed by a groan of the hinges as it began to swing open.

The currently quiet atmosphere no doubt made the sounds appear much louder than they in fact were, and the group looked around sharply, checking for anyone who might have been seen. To do that first, of course, would have been the usual order, but Isabel, as the others, was on edge and hadn’t thought of that…

Well wasn’t he impressive – not! Alex knew that he would likely have remembered their abilities with locks had he not been caught up in the moment, but as it was, he offered a somewhat embarrassed-looking nod, trying hard not to think about how stupid he felt, and then gestured inside after they had confirmed that there was no one around.

The group didn’t have to be told twice and, one by one, they filed inside. It wasn’t until they were crossing towards the main corridor where all the lockers stood, that Isabel noticed the small box mounted in the corner on the wall. In fact, she wouldn’t have noticed it at all had it not been for the way the beam of light which Max had produced reflected off it. Her breath caught in her throat. A camera?

“Don’t worry…” Michael slipped up behind his sister now, reading her expression like a book and returning a surprisingly cheerful grin. He held up a hand, waving it about in demonstration and then pointed towards the door. “The control box for it all, cameras and alarm, is just outside and it’s having temporary difficulties…” He explained in a low voice.

The fact that he knew where the relevant box was did raise a few questions in Isabel’s mind, not least what her brother might have been doing on another occasion at school late at night, but she didn’t put those into words as she simply nodded in acceptance.

Max, who had overheard the conversation, might usually have questioned Michael’s powers being so under-control in such a short time, but he knew from experience that their powers were linked to their emotions, and while the automatic assumption would be that worry for Liz would render any one of them incapable of doing anything so delicate, he knew emotions could work in two ways, they could distract, or alternatively, they could focus…

He considered for a moment about how to proceed. “Okay, I’m going to go see if I can find anything on the route from class…Alex, do you want to check out the lockers with Michael, and maybe you and Isabel could check the girl’s toilets Maria…?” Max took charge of the group now, passing out assignments which, on this occasion, gained nothing less than complete cooperation even from Michael. If the other guy had any problems with his rival’s instructions, he certainly didn’t show it, and for this Max was sincerely grateful. “Okay, meet back here by half past…” He pointed to the clock which was just leaving twenty past the hour. That left ten minutes…not a lot of time, but he didn’t like to leave it longer because with every minute that passed, Liz could be getting further away…

With low pictched acknowledgements, the teens split into their respective groups and, after watching the others disappear in the opposite direction, Max headed back up the corridor, stepping quickly yet carefully, watching out for anything that might be amiss and could give even the slightest clue to the location of his love…

***********

Hmmm… Liz turned over on the bed, her hand reaching out, searching for the familiar body of her husband as she attempted to snuggle closer in the cool air and her eyes flew open as her fingers came to rest on the empty cover. “Max…?” She called out, blinking as she tried to make sense of her surroundings.

She was lying, fully dressed, on a rather uncomfortable double bed which wasn’t so different from the one which she shared with Max, but the rest of the room was nothing like the bedroom of the small apartment she had come to call home… In fact, some would say this was far nicer, the walls being painted a bright yellow while the closet frontage had none of the chips and scuff marks which theirs did. The aesthetic properties of the room mattered little to Liz though. What did, was that she didn’t know where she was…

Frowning at this realisation, she pushed herself up into a sitting position and considered her surroundings for a moment, rubbing her eyes with the back of her fist as she tried to remember what had happened…

The last thing she remembered was assuring Max that she’d be fine on her own and that she’d meet him by the lockers when he got back from the library. It wasn’t as though they had to spend every waking moment together after all, and she figured she might catch Maria, who she had been wanting to ask about the possibility of her covering a shift the following day, before she left school. After receiving an agreement, albeit a somewhat grudging one, from her husband, she had headed slipped out of class, heading down the corridor and then turning back briefly to wave as he too emerged from the doorway. He had blown her a kiss, a sweet if somewhat cliché show of affection which had made her smile, and then she had turned and hurried back towards her locker…

The events which followed the end of class ran through her mind like a movie strip, but here they ended she found, vanishing into…blackness…

Which certainly didn’t explain why she was here… Or how she had gotten here in the first place… Running a hand through her hair as she pushed some sections back from her face and fixed them there with a wave of her hand to allow an unobstructed view, she glanced around, trying to suppress a growing sense of trepidation and more than a little fear…

She wasn’t secured though… The brunette nodded as she checked her arms and legs for any sign of restraint and found none. Not tied up, a good start, she thought to herself.

There was a book which looked something like a bible on the far bedside table, and a pen laying on top of a paper. Scooting over to that side of the bed, her hand closed quickly on the paper which, a quick inspection revealed, was nothing more than a used bus ticket dated a couple of days previous…

Las Cruces to Roswell… She read the details with some amount of relief. Well that might suggest that she was still in Roswell, which was one thing to be thankful for… Liz mused silently as she slipped down from the bed and stood up, removing her shoes as she did so before continuing to search the room. A quick check revealed nothing else of interest, although a few items of male clothing in one drawer which looked nothing like those which Max usually wore did give her pause for thought… Either he had brought her here and was trying not to be recognised or…

Unsure whether she wanted to finish that thought, the teen slid the drawer back in carefully and then moved towards the window to look out. The sun had long since set it seemed, but from the landmarks in view she would guess she was in a room somewhere near the UFO museum in town… There was no hotel near there, but since arriving in town she had learnt that a lot of locals rented out spare rooms for a couple of weeks here and there to tourists in order to earn a little extra cash, not to mention the fact that there were apartments all over, so that didn’t really mean much…

She decided against calling out for her husband again, having seen nothing which suggested he was around anyway, and deciding it was best not to draw attention to the fact that she was now awake if whoever might be around didn’t know it. Instead, she glanced again around the room, keen brown eyes searching for any sign of her schoolbag. Even before she had finished, she knew the answer though – it wasn’t there…

So, no phone to call the others… But that doesn’t leave me completely without resources… The brunette thought to herself, considering the window as a means of exit for a moment, but soon dismissing this as a bad idea as she realised there was nothing anywhere near as a means to get to the ground. She could jump of course, but somehow risking a broken leg or worse seemed like a bad idea. “Okay, so it’s the door…” She murmured almost inaudiably to herself.

Taking care to avoid making any unnecessary sound, she crept towards the door, closing her eyes as she leant her ear against the wood to listen for any sounds outside. This allowed two things – firstly, for her to focus all attention on the single sense which was active and secondly, to help to centre herself as she allowed a small amount of energy to pool in her hand and stay there, growing for a moment.

Upon satisfying herself that there appeared to be no one moving around, she placed a hand on the knob, expecting to have to manipulate the lock inside, but to her surprise found none… More and more puzzling… Still cautious about what she might found, she turned the knob slowly, allowing the door to swing open to reveal another room outside.

This one was very obviously a living room, again much like her own, and as Liz ventured forward, she continued to look around. Until a voice from behind caused her to freeze.

“Ah…you’re awake…”

**********

If only he had convinced her to walk with him to the library… Max found himself wishing as he made his way along the deserted school corridor, his footsteps echoing in the darkness. It was amazing how different these places could seem in the evening… During the day it was bright and busy, noisy too, with hundreds of students milling through the various corridors and heading in and out of classes. Even during classes there were always one of two kids around, and the occasional teacher patrolling too…

Now though, there was no one except himself, and Max found that made him shiver. Not because he was scared, not really… If anyone tried anything he was more than capable of dealing with them, but still, it just didn’t seem quite…right…

As he reached the door which led to the biology lab, he placed a hand on the door, considering for a moment whether to go inside, before deciding to concentrate not on where he knew Liz had been, but where she had been headed… Turning, he exended one hand to trail his finger tips along the wall as he moved along now, taking the route he expected she would have done.

This was all a long-shot of course, something that he was painfully aware of, but still, he had to try…he couldn’t just sit here and do nothing… And if there was even the slightest chance that something would help him find her, he would do it!

What if some guy had grabbed her? What if this all had nothing to do with their alien heritage as was his initial thought. What if it was just some guy who liked young girls…? Liz could protect herself fine to an extent, but if she were surprised… His eyes closed as he continued now, possible scenarios running through his head, each worse than the other…

Or what if it was the unexplained enemies who their protector had always been on about. Especially now, she could be the perfect one to take. She could be carrying the heir to the throne o-

He started, the thought still only half formed in his mind. It was true of course, but thinking in that way always shook him to his core… He didn’t want to think of himself as being reincarnated royalty, the King of Antar any more than Liz wanted to think of herself as a Queen… They were kids, teenagers, and they were just…scared…

“Liz…” Her name slipped from his lips as he clenched his fists tightly, wanting to be able to pull her into his arms and never let go. One thing was for certain, he would never forgive himself if anything happened to her, and if someone hurt his wife, he would make them P-A-Y.

“Where are you baby…w-“

“MAX!”

A call from down the hall interrupted him mid-sentence and he practically flew down the hall to arrive almost as soon as Maria’s mouth had closed. “What’s happened…?”

“Michael was checking the locker but his hand slipped and touched the wall…” Isabel pointed to a spot beside the locker. “He says he saw something, a flash, but it was difficult to make much of it and he can’t get it to work again…”

“It won’t work!” Michael’s frustration was clear for anyone to see as he clenched his fist and prepared to slam it against the wall. When he had actually managed to shut off the alarm and cameras on the first attempt he had felt pretty good, as though maybe he had actually got a hold of himself for once, and might actually be some help… When he got the flash it was great, the first indication that they might have found something and he had been the one to see it… But then…

“Michael…” Max stopped the flying fist with his palm and looked at him. “It’s always hard at first but what you need to do is try and focus, centre your energies…try and clear your mind, don’t mess it up with thoughts about Liz, it might not even be to do with her you know…”

“Of course it won’t be, because I could never be any help could I?”

To most of the group, Michael’s scowl was simply another case of him being angry, but Maria could see something more in his eyes, something which showed her the true feelings which hid beneath. Reaching for his hand, her fingers threaded thorugh his, tightening her grip as she looked at him and whispered. “Don’t believe that Michael…because I don’t, and neither does Max, or anyone else here…”

“Want to try again?” Max offered despite himself. It would have been so easy to just tell him where to go, to tell him to get lost and to stop being such a pain, but that wasn’t going to help… He closed his eyes for a moment, his hands brushing against the wall, but there was nothing. Aparently it wasn’t for him to see, he realised, and instead removed his hand and turned his attention back to Michael as he waited…

Swallowing his pride as he turned from his girlfriend to face the guy who he so feared would take everything from him, Michael nodded. “Yeah…” Closing his eyes, he extended a hand once more, laying it over the spot as before. His breathing calm and even, he tried to follow all the instructions he had been offered and within seconds the scene played out before him once more. He fought to hold onto as many of the details as possible as he relayed them to the rest of the group. “A guy came up to her… They were talking but there was something about him…his eyes were…”

“Black?” Even if he hadn’t before, Michael now had Max’s full attention as he looked back at him with a probing gaze. He shook his head after a moment in denial even as he spoke. Could it really be…?

“How did you know…?” Michael blinked in surprise.

“Max…?” His sister stepped forward now, causing him to snap out of his thoughts as she touched his shoulder and spoke again in a soft voice. “Max, are you okay, what’s wrong…?”

“Do you know who it was?” Maria too pressed now, as she picked up the questioning…

Max shook his head again and whether he actually heard the others could be debatable as he repeated over and over, “It can’t be…”

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KatnotKath
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Re: Family Connections (AU,CC,MAT/AD) Ch 49 28/04/08 AN 27/07/08

Postby KatnotKath » Sun Sep 28, 2008 5:06 pm

*Venturing out with some trepidation*

Don't hate me, please...

I'm so so sorry that it's taken me so long to get back to this. I haven't been ignoring the story, honestly. Just every time I tried to write something it just didn't seem to work. I'd never have wanted to be gone this long, but sometimes things don't work out as we want them to I guess.

Thanks so much for all the feedback, and for the encouragement, I really appreciate it.

Natalie36 - I'm so sorry, if I had known how long it was going to be before I came back I assure you I would have tried to leave it as something less of a cliffhanger, but that's the way it goes. Cliffhangers make good reading I've found personally, so it's something that if I have an idea, I tend to go with it.
Flamehair - You're pregnant again? Congratulations! I hope Leo is doing well. As for the story and who took Liz, this next chapter should clear up that question. Thanks for sticking with me, hope you enjoy the new part.
garcia88 - Sorry it's not sooner, but thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the new part.
nibbles2 - why don't you read and find out? I'll say this though, you're asking all the right questions :wink:
lilah - I'm sorry, it's really not deliberate but what can I say, cliffhangers make good endings to chapters, and it's usually the way my brain works nowadays. I'm glad that you're enjoying the story though, and as for Max and Michael, I guess it's amazing what a joint aim can do...
Alien_Friend - I'm back, sorry it took so long but the answers to most of your questions are contained in this next chapter. Thanks for reading, glad you're enjoying the story and thanks for understanding about the delay.
behrlyliz - This chapter has the answer I promise, sorry for keeping you waiting so long.
kay_b - Thanks for reading and sticking with me. Sorry I left it so long, but I am back so maybe that makes up for it a little bit...? As to who took Liz, it's all answered here, and I'll give you an assurance. At the current time I have no intention of bringing Tess into it.
tequaithisy - You might just be right, but then again that would be telling, hope you like the new part, thanks for reading
Timelord31 - Sounds like you're upset with me, and I'm sorry. As it happens it has been months, even longer than usual, but please believe me when I say it wasn't intentional. I never wanted it to be this long, and when I wrote the other chapter I didn't leave it where I did to taunt you, it just seemed a good way to end the chapter... Accept this next one as a peace offering?
C&N214 - Welcome to the story, thanks for reading and I'm glad you've enjoyed it so far.
Isabelle - Thank you so much for everything! And you know what I mean by that I'm sure. I really appreciate your feedback and I'm so pleased you enjoyed the chapter. Thanks for all the help you've given me with this next one, I truely don't know if I would have gotten it done without you!.
December - Another new reader yay (now I just have to hope you haven't forgotten about the story given how long it is since I posted...) Welcome to the story though, and thanks for taking the time to read it. I love your comments about shapeshifters, you might just have them down there but as for Nacedo, well, read and find out? Mocking isn't required either way though.
paper - Oh, I think Liz is more than capable of defending herself, she's not a little wallflower... As for Max and Michael, nothing like a crisis to unite people I guess...
keepsmiling7 - Thanks for sticking with me, sorry for the delay. I'm sorry, the first answer you're looking for isn't going to be in this chapter. I thought it was, truely I did, but it didn't work out. Hopefully next time though. Enjoy the chapter and thanks for the bumps

Alright, long overdue I know, and maybe not my best but here's a new chapter. Big thanks go to a very good friend of mine - Isabelle - without whom I don't think this would be even half done yet!.

Thanks to everyone reading, I really hope this doesn't disappoint. I'd love to hear what you think.

Chapter 50

“Max…”

The group had been trying for a few minutes now to gain a reaction from the teen. All to no avail. It was as though Max was in some sort of trance, his eyes glazed over, it was obvious that his mind was far from here.

Glancing around, Isabel decided to take action. “Max, who couldn’t it be?” She queried, stepping up behind him and placing a hand on his shoulder.

The contact seemed to cause her ‘brother’ to start, turning and blinking almost as though he had forgotten they were there. “S-sorry guys…” He apologised in a strange tone, the far away look in his eyes not completely gone.

“Snap out of it man!” Michael’s tone was as usual brash and forceful.

Maria glanced over at her boyfriend as he frowned in his usual manner. On this occasion however, while to an outside it would seem he was angry at the other boy, she could see it was more a worry which had caused him to speak. “Max please, if you know something, please tell us, we want to help you know…” She added her voice now to that of the others, squeezing the hand Michael held gently in a show of silent understanding.

The focus of the group’s attention had fallen into silence once more. As the pleas of his friend’s continued though, he shook his head and looked around, forcing himself to voice the thoughts in his mind. “Black eyes are a trademark of the shapeshifter race which the protectors who were sent here with us belonged to… But all the protectors are dead…” He paused a moment, before finally providing some of the information which had been saught after so much in previous weeks. “There were supposed to be four of them all told, but Nacedo was the only one who survived the crash and he…he’s dead…”

The demise of the protector who had brought Liz and Max up had been assumed perhaps, but this was the first time that the statement had been made out-loud. If what he said were true however, as the others began to realise, it left a huge question – who was the shapeshifter who had taken Liz…?

***

“Okay, so let’s go through it methodically, what do we know?” Isabel questioned she reached for a sharpie, and wrote ‘Liz’ in a bubble in large letters as they gathered around the white board. It was obvious she was in her element here as she attempted to organise the group.

“Nothing…” Max responded in a dejected fashion with a listless shake of his head.

“That’s not entirely true…” Alex contradicted. “We know she was taken from school…”

“By an alien apparently…” Maria offered.

Although they weren’t exactly anything new, Isabel jotted down these facts for the sake of completeness and then paused a moment before commenting. “So he’d have had to get her out of school without anyone raising the alarm… What sort of powers are we talking about, the ability to take a chosen shape, controlling someone’s mind—“

“No!” The teen at the centre of the group shook his head quickly at the last. “The shapeshifters are just that, shapeshifters… They can manipulate structures, including their own, but they don’t have any control over people’s mind.

“So that means that whatever he did, it would have to have appeared relatively normal.”

Michael pulled a face. “As normal anything involving an unconscious girl could look…”

Maria nodded. “Michael is right, this was at the end of the day, there would have been tons of kids hanging around, how could he have got her out of there without them noticing…?” She queried, her brow furrowed in confusion.

“If he had said he was taking her to the nurses office…” Alex realised. “He could have carried her there which might have drawn comment but nothing like had he taken her outside and there’s a fire-exit in there…

“From where he could have taken her outside to a waiting car or other vehicle…” Michael kicked over one of the chairs in frustration, causing it to clatter loudly on the floor. “Which leaves us exactly where we were to start with, with no idea where she might be!”

His girlfriend reached for his hand, trying to provide some sense of support and encouragement as she turned back to Max to question hopefully. “Don’t suppose one of those nifty powers you guys share is telepathy…?”

Max shook his head sadly. “No…nothing like that… If we’re connected I can sometimes sense her feelings, but that’s only when we’re touching and such…”

Isabel turned to look at him. “We’ll find her Max, I promise we will…” She assured him but to the teen it was little consolation.

No matter how much he might hope that she was right, Max couldn’t find it in himself to share her belief. Somehow, right now, everything just seemed…lost… He closed his eyes, clenching a fist tightly as he cried silently for his wife. Where was she, who had taken her, what were they doing to her? The questions pressed ever more firmly on his mind with every second that passed. He just wanted to get her back safe…

The sight of someone who was usually such a strong figure breaking down like this was somewhat sobering and the rest of the group lapsed into silence for a moment as their thoughts took over.

Surprisingly perhaps, it Alex rather than one of the other guys who eventually broke the silence. “Michael mentioned cameras earlier…maybe that can give us something…” He suggested slowly, thoughts still forming in his mind as he spoke. “Isn’t there one directed towards the emergency exit…I seem to remember them mentioning something…”

Isabel nodded, her eyes lighting up at the recollection. “Yeah, I remember too. When that idiot senior set off the alarm deliberately last year before exams… They used the cameras to see who had broken the glass just next to the door…”

“So there might be a tape of this guy?” Maria too was becoming animated at the thought and feeling it seemed was contagious as Max looked up with a restored light in his eyes as he began to stride towards the door. “Well what are we waiting for?”

**********

“Ah…you’re awake…”

Liz spun on her heel at the sound of a voice, backing up towards the centre of the room even as she aimed a well-placed blast at the figure sat in a chair towards the back of the room. Usually she might have been reluctant to show her powers, but this was not the time for caution! Her target moved quickly though, and was out of the way in an instant as the blast exploded against the back of the chair and the air was filled with stuffing.

“Well that’s not much of a welcome Elizabeth!” The figure in front of her wagged a finger in a scolding manner as he kicked away the remains of his headrest.

Closing her fingers into a fist, she was already allowing her energy to build again as she looked around, her eyes shooting from side to side, seeking a route out of here. Unfortunately, his chair had been well placed it seemed, right in front of the door and to get there she would have to get past him. Which shouldn’t be a problem, if she could place it right… “Who are you?” She demanded, using the question to play for time as she waited for her energy to build sufficiently.

“I’m hurt, you don’t recognise me…?” His tone was scornful.

Liz however shook her head. “You’re not! You can’t be!” She knew exactly who he looked like of course, but it simply wasn’t possible. Instead, she shot another bolt at the guy, her anger and fear acting against her on this occasion as it drifted off target and instead impacted with a nearby table, splinters of wood flying across the room.

Taken by surprise and unable to move fast enough, one of the fragments caught Liz in the arm, causing her to cry out as it impacted and drew blood.

“Very impressive your highness…”

Narrowing her eyes, she straightened up, rubbing her arm as she looked back at him, questions multiplying in her mind and repeated her question. “Who are you?”

“You already know…” He cocked his head, watching her carefully as he crossed the room, moving towards her slowly taking one step after another..

Pushing her hair back from her face, the brunette shook her head once more in denial. “No, you can’t be, he’s dead…” She breathed in little more than a whisper, shuffling back once, and then again, trying to reinstate the distance between them, lifting a trembling hand in warning. “Stay back!”

*********

Why had he let her go on ahead of him? Why hadn’t he taken greater care? Max demanded of himself silently as he paced the length of the oppressively empty apartment. Was it only the previous night that they had been chatting here, sitting, cuddling, laughing…? It seemed like an age ago.

Where was she? Was she hurt? Scared or frightened? Pausing as he reached the window, he clenched his fist tightly as he looked out into the darkness, searching…

A creak of a floorboard caused the teen to spin on his heel, a bolt of energy flying from his hand to impact just to the right of a figure who had just stepped through the door.

“HEY, watch out!” Maria cried out and jumped back into the arms of her boyfriend as he pulled her to one side.

“Oh, it’s you guys…”Max’s tone was somewhat subdued and more than a little apologetic as he caught a hold of himself and stepped to one side to allow the rest of the group to file inside.

“Who did you expect?” Michael grunted as he drew his girlfriend deeper into his arms in a protective manner. “We did arrange to meet back here…”

He was right of course, it was exactly as had been arranged. To try and convince anyone who might have been watching that they had given up for the night, the group had come up with the idea of splitting up into couples (where appropriate) and heading off in opposite directions before eventually meeting back at Max’s apartment after some number of diversions in an attempt to loose anyone who might have been following.

Max in particular had glanced behind him more than once, half hoping that he might catch sight of someone and be able to turn the tables on them – to follow them back to Liz – but he had no luck and it was with a heavy heart that he had finally headed home in order to meet the others.

He nodded slowly. Michael was right of course, they had done exactly that but still… “Oh course we did, I’m just…” Trailing off, he shook his head before sinking down onto a nearbye chair. Max didn’t trust himself to respond as he closed his eyes, fighting a trembling lip for a moment before turning to the others and asking “Did you see anything?”

He might have sounded a little terse and abrupt, but for once not even Michael grumbled. Truth was, the other guy was feeling exactly the same and for one of the first times since they had met, they were actually getting on relatively well. In any other circumstances it might have been cause for celebration, except of course for the reason why…

No one answered verbally but the shakes of heads which followed as they sank into a variety of chairs around the room told all. The group looked around. There was a noticeable difference in the apartment, something was different and everyone knew what.

Liz… Somehow it seemed, she had made the apartment come alive. Instead of a dreary dump as one might well have described it quite accurately, the place had seemed much brighter, much more…homely they supposed… Some of it had been through the use of powers of course, but in other ways it was simply thanks to her presence. She was bright and bubbly, always ready to be the hostess and offer someone a drink, cleaning and sprucing up the place where possible and now…

Max stood once more, moving to stare out of the window without blinking.

***

Stepping forward, Isabel placed her hand on his shoulder for a moment in a show of support “You okay…”

“Not really…” The teen shook his head sadly, raking his hand through his hair in a desperate fashion. “She’s missing Izzy, and I don’t have the first idea of where to look.”

“Not exactly true…”

All eyes turned to look over at Alex who, whilst the others had brooding, it seemed had taken out and set up his computer. On one side of his screen were two pictures taken from the school cameras, one showing a single figure carrying a familiar brunette, the other from a distance showing a car but no licence plate. On the other side however, was a series of windows containing what appeared to be traffic cameras… He turned the computer so that the others could get a better look as he pointed to one of the images he had brought up. “Look familiar…?”

It was, without a doubt, the same one that was in the picture from outside the school and immediately there was a change in attitude of the group.

“Isabel, there’s my laptop under the bed, could you fetch it…?” Max turned to his sister as he approached her boyfriend, leaning over his shoulder as the other boy proceeded to try and find another view of the car which would allow them to see the licence plate. With access to all the cameras around town, it didn’t take him too long to do this and within minutes the group were in possession of their first real lead.

Whoever had taken Liz could have changed the licence plate of course Max knew, but somehow he doubted it. Anyone with any sense would know that to mess with that would invite trouble with the police. All it needed was for them to do a random check, and turn up a non-matching car and you were in a mess. It was too much of a risk, and if there was something he had been taught when he was younger, it was to avoid drawing attention to himself for no reason.

So, he considered it likely that this at least was accurate, and it was with a fresh optimism the group set about accessing the DMV database in order to identify the owner of the car. Perhaps unsurprisingly, a brief search identified the car as a rental from a firm located over the other side of town.

“I’ve got an address!” Maria held up a piece of paper from her spot next to Isabel where the two of them had been using the other computer.

Her boyfriend grabbed the sheet from her hand and nodded. “Good a place as any to start!” He commented, already moving towards the door.

**********

“Elizabeth, now this is getting tiring…” The man scolded as he continued to advance towards her.

“Well prove you are who you say then!” The small brunette responded in a somewhat shaky tone, still refusing to lower her hand as she warned “don’t come any closer!”

Ignoring her apparent threat, the figure in front of her took another step forward and was rewarded with a sizzling bolt which landed just to his right. He paused to look at Liz. “You’re out of practice, a full body to aim from and you missed…”

His taunting tone caused her eyes to narrow and her response was crisp. “Who said I was aiming for your body…”

The silent warning did not go without notice, and for the moment he froze where he was, eyeing the youngster warily whilst she did the same with him. They were at a stand-off it seemed…

Finally, the black-eyed figure broke his silence. “You should be able to sense it you know…that I am who I say I mean…” He shook his head in a slightly disappointed manner. “I guess that I didn’t teach you very well – well either that or you didn’t pay any attention…”

Liz was taken aback by the look on his face. So far it had been irritated, annoyed, even menacing in her mind at times, but this was something quite different. What was that look…would it be concern…? She shook her head mentally, dismissing the possibility as ridiculous as her focus centred once more and she again demanded answers. “Who are you and why did you bring me here?”

Her abductor shook his head as he questioned. “How much longer must we do this?”

His question remained unanswered as Liz’s eyes never broke from the his gaze and she continued to face him without flinching.

“Elizabeth, I can’t believe that you really don’t recognise me… Was I that unmemorable…?”

“I guess I really should be ashamed of myself if this is all you can come up with…”

“It doesn’t take much, just a little concentration don’t you remember…”

The constant stream of comments coming her way seemed to make little difference until the man gave a grunt of what sounded like exasperation. “You and Maxwell were always so stubborn, like when you ran away after him asking you out. It was inevitable the outcome, but you couldn’t just say yes. You hid in your treehouse, didn’t come in until it was nearly time for bed. You wanted it too, but you couldn’t be happy, you had to—“ He broke off as she started.

Inside, Liz’s mid was spinning. It couldn’t be, not really, could it? Yet he seemed to know what had happened in such detail… Much as she tried to dismiss the feeling, she couldn’t… What if he really was telling the truth…? Biting down on her lip, she shook her head, trying to convince herself of how ridiculous she would even sound yet it all came back to the same thing… “Nacedo…?” She hardly dared breath the name as she continued to watch the figure in front of her.

Something which almost appeared to be a glimmer of a smile flickered across his face, and then it was gone into the darkness of his eyes as the same cold look from her childhood stared back at her. “It’s about time…”
My fics:

Dreams and Reality
Reality Revealed
Family Connections
When Love and Loss Collide
When Friendship and Love Combine - New!
If Only...
The Important Thing
Home for Christmas
I Knew Him Before (PB fic)
Love Always...
The First Time Around - New!


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