Daddy’s Daughters (CC, AU, Teen/Mature, AN, 10/14/09) [WIP]

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Daddy’s Daughters (CC, AU, Teen/Mature, AN, 10/14/09) [WIP]

Post by CandyDreamQueen » Mon Sep 29, 2008 7:40 pm

Banner: CandyDreamQueen
Title: Daddy’s Daughters
Author: Candice AKA CandyDreamQueen,
Beta: Tears_of_Mercury
Disclaimer: Roswell is the property of Jason Katims, Melinda Metz, the WB, and UPN, now known as The CW. All those are people that are not me. No infringement is intended.
Rating: TEEN to Mature
Category: AU/wo Aliens
Pairing: M/L K/T M/M A/I
Summary: Elizabeth Parker thought she’d lost everything when her parents died in a tragic car accident. But sometimes the greatest loss can become the greatest gain.
Challenge #249: created by killjoy. LINK
AN: Thank you very much to Tears_of_Mercury for being such a great beta. Kudos to killjoy for creating such an interesting challenge. Thank you to everyone and anyone who reads this.

She was his pride and joy, his perfect angel. She was his greatest accomplishment, and his greatest pleasure. He doted on her, he loved her, and he spoiled her whenever her mother would allow it. She loved every single minute of him, and he every single minute of her. She was his angel, his everything, the queen of his world, and the light of his life. She grew more beautiful with each passing day, right before his very eyes. And as he watched her make the magnificent transformation from child to woman, he couldn’t help but love her even more: Elizabeth.


She was his greatest mistake, his greatest regret. The result of a moment in time he wished he could take back, but would haunt him forever. Her existence scared him. He feared her, and everything she stood for. Did he love her? He tried, but only in the ways a father could love a furtive child: in secret, in hiding, with money as opposed to true affection, and with as little verbal or physical contact as possible. Regardless of all this, of all the doubt she created in his heart, in the end, he tried to do right by her. Like any good father should, he tried: Tess.
It was strange how things could change so quickly. All it took was a second, a mere fraction of existence’s time, to alter someone’s life forever. No notification need be given, no alarm need be sounded. Not if the cosmos dictated. Life was constantly at the whim of the unknown, and there wasn’t a thing a person could do to change that.

Things changed. Sometimes they did so with a healthy dose of foresight, but more often than not, it was with as little warning as possible, that life threw a wrench your way.

At the young age of twenty-two, Elizabeth Parker was learning about change all too well.

A single tear ran down her cheek, dangled shortly on her chin, and dripped down onto the clear glass of the framed photograph she held in her hands. She watched in a state of silence as it slowly rolled down the picture frame that had once sat on her parents’ bedroom night table. Behind the glass two faces smiled happily up at her in a depiction that could have easily been dubbed one of the happiest moments of the exultant life her parents had shared for more than twenty-five years.

Her parents, her father with his arm wrapped snuggly around her mother’s shoulders in a warm embrace and her mother resting her head contentedly on his strong chest, looked up at her with smiles on their faces as well as in their hearts. They had been much younger in the photo. It was a time when Liz had been nothing more than a small dream in her loving parents’ future. Nevertheless, they looked happy. As if they had always been a family, before even the shared joy of their marriage; shared delight at her birth; shared stress of their mortgage made them one. But they were gone now, and the thing that hurt Liz the most was that she would never get the chance to say goodbye.

A slight knock sounded on the door, bringing Liz from her single-tear melancholy and back to the present. She took a deep breath and made an effort to pull herself together. There was no need to dwell on things that could never be changed, nor was there time for her to wallow in her own self-pity. She damn sure was not going to force others to wallow with her. After all, her father had always told her she was the strongest person he knew. He’d often said she had the will to take on whatever the world threw at her. If only he’d known…

With a quick swipe of her hand across her face, Liz wiped away the outward remnants of her sorrow and placed the photograph back on the table. She called out that the door was opened just before rising from her seat at the foot of her parents’ bed. She gave the black dress she wore a quick once over to straighten it out.

Max Evans entered the room with no more than the sound of the slight squeaking of the hinges of the bedroom door to mark his entrance. He looked genteel and polished in his black suit and no tie. Though his smile was wane it was not unwelcome. Liz smiled back. It was good to see his familiar and friendly face as opposed to yet another pitying face of the local townsfolk. She appreciated the sympathy, but she wasn’t sure how many more empathetic pats on the back she would be able to take.

“I thought I would find you here,” Max started as he walked farther into the room. Folding his arms across his chest, he came to stand directly in front of the dresser and leaned heavily upon it. “Hiding from the masses?” he tried jokingly.

Liz smiled and shook her head. She appreciated the effort Max put forth to make her smile. “No, nothing like that. Just thinking.” She glanced over at the picture frame, silently giving her thoughts away.

Max looked at it as well. “It was a nice service,” he commended. “You did them proud.”

Liz nodded again, but said nothing. Hadn’t she always done them proud, always been their perfect child? With her arms defensively hugging her own waist, she started towards the door, but was stopped when Max placed himself in her retreating path.

“I had better get back down there,” she said motioning towards the entryway. “Half of Roswell’s waiting.” Waiting to hug her and pat her shoulder; to cry and console and comfort, while all she really wanted was to be left alone.

Max reached out and placed his hand on her shoulder, then slowly drew it down the skin of her bare arm. His eyes bored directly into hers, not with pity or with empathy, but with simple truth. “Your parents were loved.”

Again, she only nodded.

“And they loved you,” he added.

Liz fought back the tears she had tried so hard to keep from spilling forth all day. For as far back as she could remember, Max Evans had been one of her closest friends. She had been half in love with him for almost as long. In that single moment, as his hand continued to caress her arm affectionately, with his eyes looking down upon her tenderly, and his words seeming to read the very thoughts that had been running through her mind before he‘d entered the room, she loved him fully.

“Thank you,” she whispered softly.

Max lifted his other hand and placed it warmly on her shoulder, repeating his caress all the way down her arm until both his hands were joined with hers. “It’s okay to cry if you need to.”

Oh how she truly loved him.

Liz disengaged her fingers from his and stepped away. She didn’t dare remain this close to him. Not when she liked his comforting so much. Not wanting it so much. Not if she wanted to reframe from making a complete fool of herself by kissing him right then and there. “I know Max, and thank you. It’s just,” she tried to find the right words to best describe what she was feeling. “It’s just that I can’t start crying. Not right now.” She prayed he would accept that as explanation enough.

With a simple nod of his head, he did. “Well if you need me…you know.” He shrugged.

“Thank you Max. I know. You’ve always been…” a really good friend.

Max smiled, not needing her to finish. “So anyway, I know you’re meeting with my dad tomorrow. And I was thinking of going in early to get some work done. I could give you a ride if you’d like.”

Liz shook her head. “Max you don’t have to do…” she started to protest but he cut off her objection with an indifferent shrug.

“I know I don’t, but I want to.” The words eased from his mouth as if it were the most natural and reasonable explanation in the world.

Liz sighed. Her meeting with Philip Evans to discuss her parents’ legal matters was the last thing on her mind at the moment. Truthfully, it was something she had been dreading. To speak of her parents’ wishes after death…she could hardly fathom the idea. But Max’s offer had been a considerate and thoughtful one and she didn’t really have the resolve to reject it.

“Okay,” she agreed with a shake of her head. “That would be really nice of you.”

Max took a step closer, depriving her of the space she needed to think clearly. “It’s not a problem,” he said offhandedly. “I’ll come get you in the morning.”

Liz nodded again. The two remained standing silently in the middle of the room, Max looking gorgeous and being friendly and supportive, and Liz not knowing what to say to end or prolong their conversation. Although he was no longer touching her, the heat of his body standing so close to hers was having just as great of an impact on her nerves as the touch of his skin.

The spell that Max’s nearness seemed to be causing on her was thankfully broken by the sound of the door being opened yet again. “Liz, are you in here?” Maria, Liz’s best friend since the beginning of time stood in the doorway with a worried look on her face. She paused when she saw Liz and Max standing together. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt.”

“It’s ok, we were just going back down,” Liz said, putting even more distance between Max and herself. Thankful for Maria’s interruption, Liz was sure she had been about to do something crazy.

“What’s the matter, Maria?” she asked taking in her friend’s slightly worried expression.

Maria shook her head. “Nothing, it’s nothing really. Well, except I just wanted to let you know that Mr. Lopez, you know, who owns the fruit stand down the street. He just left some fruit for you.”

“Some fruit?” Liz raised a questioning brow.

Maria nodded.

“How much fruit?”

“A lot of fruit?”

“How much fruit is ‘a lot of fruit’?”

Maria’s gaze shifted over at Max with pleading eyes. “We could use your help.”

Max laughed. “That much fruit, huh?”

Maria shrugged. “He said something about a good season, and times of blessings during times of tragedy…I don’t know. The point is, he’s toting several large boxes of fruit and we could use some muscle to help bring it all in. The guys are already waiting at the back door.”

“Then I guess I’d better get down there and help.” Turning his attention to Liz he smiled one more time before turning and leaving the room.

Maria didn’t follow him. Instead she stood in the doorway, examining her friend thoroughly.

“What?” Liz asked, squirming under the pressure of Maria’s scrutinizing gaze.


“Maria, I know you. Whenever you say nothing it’s not nothing.”

“Okay, sit down.” The two girls walked over to the bed and took a seat.

“How are you holding up?” Maria asked her friend.

That question was probably the one thing Liz hated the most about the entire situation of funerals. Truthfully, she was a mess; but she couldn’t say that, and a lie would be just as obvious.

Maria saved her from having to answer. “I know you’re probably sick of hearing this, but you know we’re all here for you right?”

“I know.”

“We all loved your parents.”

“I know.”

“And we all love you.”

“I know, Maria.”

Maria reached over and wrapped her arms around her best friend. “Ok, I just wanted to make sure that you did.”

“Of course,” Liz said, returning the hug. She allowed Maria’s arms to stay wrapped around her before finally pulling back and wiping her suddenly tearful eyes with her hand.

“Ok, that’s enough.” Liz tried to laugh off her emotional display. “I should probably head back downstairs to deal with this fruit crisis in person.”

Maria shook her head. “It’s okay girl, we’ve got you. You can take some time if you need to.”

Liz rubbed her eyes again. “Thanks, but I really need to be working. You know, doing something productive.”

Maria nodded and rose from the bed. “Ok, well whenever you’re ready. I’ll see you back downstairs.” With a slight smile, Maria turned and left the room.

Alone again in her parents’ bedroom, Liz’s gaze once again returned to the picture on the nightstand.

At the wake she had told herself she’d needed to be strong everyone.

At the funeral she’d told herself that her parents would have wanted her to be strong.

At the burial she told herself that she wanted to be strong.

In her parents’ bedroom, she cried.
Last edited by CandyDreamQueen on Wed Oct 14, 2009 10:34 am, edited 12 times in total.

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Re: Daddy’s Daughters (CC, AU, Teen/Mature, One, 9/29/08)

Post by CandyDreamQueen » Sat Oct 04, 2008 4:00 pm


Thanks you all so much for all the feedback. I’m going to try to update this tentatively every Saturday. That may change as my school schedule gets more hectic, but I think I’m pretty good for Saturdays for now. Even if that day does change, and I’ll let you know if it does, I will still try to update at least once a week.



She was five years old when he gave her her first allowance, one whole dollar once a week. In two weeks she turned it into two dollars. In three weeks she made it three. By the sixth week she’d had enough for that pretty pink pony in the toy store window. And at ten weeks she’d had enough for two: Elizabeth.


She was ten years old when she got her first credit card. She found she really enjoyed it. In two months her mother extended her credit. In three she got another one. Her mother didn’t know about that. She was shopping like a pro by twelve, and she was ready to take on platinum when she was sixteen: Tess.
There were two things in the world that Tess Harding knew how to handle better than anyone else: Money and men.

The first was easy. As the daughter of a woman who prided herself on being a sexy, savvy, and successful single woman who knew exactly how to get what she wanted in a world that thought it was being controlled by men, Tess had learned everything she needed from her take-charge mother on money management skills.

She knew how to make it, how to keep it, and, perhaps most importantly, how to get others to give it to her. Nope, money had never been a problem in her life. Unlike most people, she’d never suffered from a lack of it. And she’d never had a problem figuring out what to do with it.

There was a very simple process which she used for her money management.

Sometimes she spent it.

Like when her favorite shoe store was having a killer sale on a pair of the cutest little black stilettos – the ones she’d been dying to get her hands on. Because a girl could never really have too many pairs of black stilettos.

Sometimes she saved it.

Like when her favorite shoe store was not having a sale on the cutest little black stilettos, and she needed a little something extra to cover the cost. But honestly, who could really put a price on a fabulous pair of shoes?

And other times she figured out ways to turn it into even more money.

Like when she’d worn those stilettos into her middle-aged, midlife crises, newly divorced boss’s office and used them quite suggestively while explaining to him why his best employee deserved a raise right before Christmas bonus season.

Needless to say, she’d gotten the raise.

It was money. It was easy.

And the other thing, the men? Well, they were even easier to deal with.

In fact, they required even less management time than money. Men always thought they knew what was up and it was easy for women to let them think that. Let him believe he was running the show, and a man would unknowingly give a woman anything her heart desired. They were simple creatures, really. And she enjoyed them simply.

However, at the moment Tess was not doing a very good job with managing her money or her men. And there was one particular man that seemed to be sitting at the backbone of that problem.

His name was Jeffery Parker, and he was her father. More importantly, he was her estranged deceased father. The deceased part she had just discovered from her mother two days ago.

And wasn’t that just odd? She hadn’t even had a clue that her mother kept in contact with dear old dad. From the way she spoke of him, when she spoke of him, Tess had always been under the impression that Jeff was the last person her mother would ever want to have anything to do with.

All her life she’d known that her parents hadn’t been on good terms. No love match there. No secret pining away of one for the other. They had simply been two consenting adults with one not so consenting condom. And so, here she was.

She’d known Jeffery mostly through his handwriting. He’d sent birthday and Christmas cards when she was younger. She supposed they’d been his way of checking up on her. In them he’d asked her generic questions: “How’s school? How’s life? How’s your mom?” Though she was pretty sure the last had been thrown in more as a courtesy for her sake than for any actual concern on his part.

She’d answered him in generic responses. “School’s fine, Life’s good, Mom’s mom, Send Money!” But even those cards had eventually stopped around the time she’d turned twelve.

After all, Jeffery was married. And Tess’s mother, a world traveler of sorts, had never been a woman to sit in the same place for too long. Tess supposed it had become a bit too much of a bother for Jeffery to figure out where to send cards all over the world. And frankly, she’d been happy to be rid of the hassle of having to write back.

So that was the basis of her relationship with Jeff Parker. They didn’t call each other on holidays. They didn’t meet up for lunch. They didn’t get together ever really. Hell, she was twenty-two years old and she’d only seen her father a grand total of maybe four times.

And now that he was dead he was ruining her life.

It was because of Jeffery Parker that she was traveling to Roswell, New Mexico, alien capital of the world and the last place she would ever consider visiting on a holiday, to oversee some inheritance issues that she had next to no interest in.

It was because of Jeffery that she was driving down the long stretch of New Mexican highway instead of kicking up her heels on the long awaited vacation she’d been about to take.

It was because of Jeffery that she was hot, horny, and lost in the middle of nowhere.

Well, maybe that wasn’t entirely Jeffery’s fault, but she was sure there was some way she could blame him for that too.

Tess pulled over and looked out of her side view mirror at the stretch of highway in front of her and behind her. Nothing. There was absolutely nothing. No road signs. No malls. No building to speak of. Just dirt and desert. “What is this, the twilight zone?” she mused allowed. Next thing she knew her car was going to be swarmed by a flock of wild New Mexico birds, or something.

She looked down at the map sitting beside her on the passenger seat but gave it no more than a passing glance. The damn thing had been no real help to her so far, so she wasn’t expecting it to reach out a helping hand now. She looked from the map to the GPS system on her dashboard. The broken GPS system.

Just when she was contemplating throwing the thing out of the window her cell phone started to ring. She snatched it up like a lifeline and read the name that flashed across the caller ID. Emma Harding.

“Thank God,” she muttered, answering on the second ring. “Help me, I’m lost,” she said, not bothering to greet her mother.

“It’s a straight road into Roswell. How can you be lost on a straight road?” Emma answered as if she and her daughter had been in mid conversation.

“It’s not a road. It’s a dirty death trap with no arrows, directions, enter here’s, or exit there’s. And it’s trying to lead me to my early demise,” she complained.

“Just use the GPS.” Emma spoke casually to her daughter as if it were the simplest concept in the world.

Tess rolled her eyes as if her mother could see her. “That would be nice, if the GPS system on your crappy car actually worked.”

“There was nothing wrong with the GPS system on my car the last time I saw it.”

She rolled her eyes again. “And when was the last time you saw it?”

“About a month ago. I lent it to Andy for his spring break trip.”

“You leant a 2007 giugiaro mustang to a sixteen year old to drive from Chicago to Los Angeles?” Sometimes her mother was not the brightest bulb in the box. “And did you expect it to come back in one piece, or was Andy supposed to mail the parts to you when he was finished with it?”

“Oh, come on. You’re overreacting. Your brother promised me he would take excellent care of my car,” Emma answered ceremoniously, but Tess knew her mother couldn’t care less about the condition of the extravagant birthday present her current boyfriend had lavished upon her.

“Emma, he’s sixteen, not sixty. And it was spring break. He doesn’t even know the meaning of the words ‘take care of’.” Spoiled little snot.

“Is there a real point to this call, or are you just going to lecture me?”

“First of all, you called me. And yes, there is a point. I’m lost in the middle of freaking nowhere. Call the authorities. Call the secret service. Call the damn FBI if you have to. Just get me the hell out of here!”

Tess heard her mother sigh heavily on the other end. There was a moment of silence followed by the sound of movement before her mother returned. “Ok, just flag down a police officer, open up your shirt a little, and have him take you to the nearest trace of civilization. Call me back when you get into the city.”

“The city? What city…what? What police? Hello? Hello?” But Emma had already hung up.

Tess looked down at her cell phone, knowing now that it too would get her no help. Letting out an extremely aggravated breath, she looked down at her shirt and undid the top two buttons.
Kyle Valenti hated highway patrol.

It was the most boring patrol that there was. Sure, on TV it was all high-speed chases and hit and runs, but in reality, it was worse than paperwork. It was longer than sitting through a really bad movie; more painful than a trip to the dentist. Pick your analogy. It was boring. It was simple sight it and write it, and it was going to be the death of him.

He’d been on highway patrol for about two hours when he noticed a car sitting on the side of the road. Oh, joy. This was the highlight of his day, calling triple A for some poor schmuck.

Kyle slowed his patrol car down as he approached the vehicle. Well, this was interesting. It was a yellow mustang. He didn’t see too many of those in this neck of the woods. As a matter of fact, he wasn’t sure if he’d ever seen a yellow mustang in this part of town at all. Which could only mean one thing:


Kyle pulled up behind the car and got out of his own. As he approached the car he noted that the driver was not inside the vehicle, but perched atop the hood of the car, looking for the entire world like a super model in a car add.

She had long blonde hair that was streaming behind her head in a loose ponytail. Her bangs were wind swept by the hot air. Her skirt was short her top was revealing and her boots were sexy. She leaned back on her arms, putting most of her weight on her shoulders while her legs dangled off the front of the car in a crossed fashion.

He wasn’t sure if she’d noticed him or not yet, but the expression on her face as she approached her car was one of annoyance. He couldn’t blame her. On an empty highway like this, there was no telling how long she’d been waiting for some sort of roadside assistance.

Well, here he was.

“Can I help you, Miss?”

Tess hadn’t even been aware of the fact that she was no longer alone. She’d been sitting on the hood of her car thinking about how ridiculous this entire situation was when she heard the sound of the guy’s voice.

She looked up.

And boy did she look up!

He was absolutely gorgeous. Dark hair, blue eyes, nice smile. And damn was he not working that uniform! Even if the color was a bit drab for him. She gave his body an obvious once over. He was in shape, too - not one of those beer-belly, stomach hanging over belt, lazy flashlight touting cops. This guy was straight out of Sexiest Men of the Law magazine.

Well, at least some things were looking up.

Tess slid slightly down her car, very slowly, letting her legs drag against the hood. It was hot, but it was worth it to see the look on his face as he admired her legs in the sexy mini jean skirt she was wearing.

“Officer,” she purred in a voice that was designed to make men go wild. She held her hand out in a motion for him to take it and help her climb down from the car. She didn’t need his help, but she couldn’t resist making him the offer.

Officer Hottie smiled somewhat crookedly at her and took her hand, helping her slide off the car. “Are you having trouble with your vehicle, Miss?” He asked.

“It’s Tess. And no. I’m not having any trouble with my car. As a matter of fact, my brakes, my motor, and my body…” she let her words trail suggestively for a moment, “Are all running perfectly fine.”

He just continued to smirk at her. “Then how can I assist you today, Miss Tess?” There was no flirting intonation in his tone. No undertones of sexuality. She wasn’t sure if he was oblivious to her flirting or if he was playing hard to get. Either way, she didn’t like it. And what was with this Miss Tess thing?

“Tess,” she said again. “And actually, I’m a little lost officer…” she looked at his shirt, “Valentine?” she asked, purposefully misreading the name.

“It’s Valenti,” He corrected.

“Oh,” she said innocently, “My mistake.

He didn’t seem phased. “Where are you headed?”

What was with this guy? “Roswell.”

“Visiting family?” he asked politely.

She almost didn’t answer. From her car alone it was obvious that she wasn’t from around here. “Something like that.”

He turned away from her to face the road. “Well, the Roswell entrance is only a few miles that way.” He pointed directly in front of her. “Keep going along this road and you can’t miss it.”

“Thanks.” There was a bit of edge in her voice. His indifference was beginning to annoy her.

“No problem, Tess.”

She looked back to him. The way he said her name - Tessss. It was very sexy and rolled off his tongue nicely. It seemed he wasn’t as immune to her charms as he wanted her to believe.

She decided to keep the game going for a bit. She lifted her hand to a loose strand of her hair and began twirling it around her finger. “You know, Officer Valenti, I’ve been having the hardest time finding all of the road signs.”

“Is that so?” he asked.

She smiled her flirtiest smile. “Do you think you could lead me into town? Perhaps all the way to the police station? I’m sure I could find my way from there.”

He looked as if her were considering it. “Well I suppose I’d hate for you to get lost. Lonely highways are no place for pretty girls.”

Pretty girls?

Tess almost laughed. She’d been called many things in her life. Sexy, fiery, hot…bitchy. But never a ‘pretty girl’. Pretty girls were usually pretty nice girls. And she was far from being a nice girl. In fact, she had a tendency to get very bad when she wanted to. As it so happened, she was having the sudden urge to show Officer Sexilicious just how much of a ‘pretty bad girl’ she could be.

“You’re sweet,” she smiled.

“Just doing my job.”

She wondered if his job included being drop-dead gorgeous in an intersection? “I’m sure you do it well,” she said suggestively.

He didn’t answer that. He just turned around back towards his own car. “Stay behind me.”

Tess was startled. Was he walking away? Just like that? No more flirting? No more crooked smile? No more saying her name all sexy like that?

Officer Valenti turned back around to face her when he saw that she had not made a move to get into her car. “Try to keep up, Tess,” he said, then opened his driver side door and slid in.

With a strange giddiness she hadn’t felt from flirting in a long time, Tess ran around her car and slid inside as well. He was definitely interested. She had never been a woman who was afraid to play a man’s game.

And this little game was far from over.
Last edited by CandyDreamQueen on Sat Jun 06, 2009 8:38 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Daddy’s Daughters (CC, AU, Teen/Mature, Two, 10/04/08)

Post by CandyDreamQueen » Sat Oct 11, 2008 11:38 am


Thank you so much for the Feedback. Enjoy the next part. :wink:
He loved to give her surprises. Sometimes he would hide things all around the house just for her to find. They were little things, small tokens: gumball machine prizes, really. But she loved each one as if they were just as thoughtful and exciting as any birthday or Christmas present: Elizabeth.

She loved it when they gave her presents. Her mother’s boyfriends were always good for that. They gave her many gifts: toys, clothes, and jewelry. She really liked the jewelry. And to think, all these wonderful things just for whispering a few kind words about them in her mother’s ear: Tess.
She wasn’t sure if she was going to be able to do this.

As Liz stood outside of Philip Evans’s office she wondered for the thousandth time if she should just turn around and head for home. But that was the coward’s way out, and Elizabeth Parker was no coward. Besides, it wasn’t as if turning tail would cause all her problems to magically go away. No matter when she saw Philip – today, tomorrow, or a hundred tomorrows from now - it wasn’t going to bring her parents back. They were dead, and that was something that wasn’t going to change no matter how much she wished.


She’d been loitering. That’s what she was doing. Loitering in front of the family lawyer’s office like a crazy person, driving herself insane with her own thoughts.


And what was she afraid of, really? Things couldn’t get much worse. And even if they did, she wasn’t the type of person to avoid a problem. She faced challenges head on. She never backed down. She worked as hard as she possibly could to overcome obstacles. She was Elizabeth Parker, damnit!


Liz gasped and turned around to face the voice that had called out her name. Max was standing behind her looking at her with worried eyes. Great, now he was going to think she was completely insane.

“Max,” she stammered. “Did you want something?”

Max continued to eye her strangely. He walked closer and handed her one of the two cups of coffee she had just noticed he’d been holding in his hand. “Coffee,” he explained. “Are you okay?”

She nodded, taking the cup from him. “Fine. Just fine. Just thinking I guess,” taking a sip of her hot coffee, she tried to explain her odd behavior away with a laugh.

“Okay,” was all he said.

She almost winced. Just completely insane. She needed to change the subject fast. “So, I guess your father’s waiting for me.”

He nodded. “Yeah, dad usually gets in pretty early, so he should be waiting for you.”

“Well then, I guess I shouldn’t keep him waiting.”



Neither one of them moved.

This was silly. She was being silly. She was a big girl, and big girls; well they didn’t cry and all that. “Okay, then.” Liz started towards the door.

“Wait…you don’t…um,” Max stopped awkwardly.

She turned back to him. “What is it, Max?”

Max took a sip of his coffee. He looked almost nervous. He swallowed, and then stepped closer to her. “You don’t want me to come with you, do you? I mean, do you want me to…come in with you?”

Liz had to fight back a sudden burst of tears. Big girls didn’t cry, but it was hard not to when they had such sweet friends.

“Max, thank you.” She couldn’t think of any nicer gesture he could have made. She took the hand that wasn’t holding his coffee cup and pulled him to her until he was close enough for her to place a kiss on his cheek. “But I’m sure you have better things to do than baby-sit me.” Even as she said the words, she wanted nothing more than to continue holding his hand as she let him lead her into his father’s office.

“Actually, I can’t think of a single thing that’s as important,” he said.

Oh, he was trying to kill her. He was trying to make her heart explode in gooey mush of joy. He was being so sweet and nice and kind and perfect - and he didn’t even seem to realize how sweet and nice and kind and perfect he was being. How could a girl not be totally in love with him?

Suddenly the door to Philip’s office opened and he stepped into the hall with them. “Liz,” he greeted her with a friendly smile.

“Hello, Mr. Evans,” she answered.

He shook his head. “Please, call me Philip. Your dad and I were friends for a long time. It’s only right that his daughter address me by my first name.”

“Oh, Mr. Evans, I couldn’t-”

“Please,” he insisted.

She looked over at Max, who was smiling at her. He nodded his head.

“Ok Mr. Ev… I mean… Philip.”

“See,” Philip laughed. “That wasn’t so hard.” He stepped away from his opened door and motioned for her to enter. “Why don’t you and Max go in and have a seat? I’ll be right with you in a moment.”

Liz wasn’t sure how Philip knew Max would be joining her for their meeting, but she didn’t question it as the two of them entered Philip’s office.

There were two wooden cushioned chairs sitting in front of Philip’s desk. They were angled slightly out from the desk and appeared very masculine. A number of plaques hung on the walls. Most of them were awards; degrees and the like. But there were also a few pictures of Philip’s family. One included a particularly endearing picture of Max that she recognized from their high school graduation.

“Wow, this is the first time I’ve been inside of your dad’s office,” she said, making small talk as she ran fingers along the edge of the picture frame. She turned to face Max. “It’s nice.”

He shrugged. “I guess,” then he smiled slyly. “Not half as awesome as mine,” he teased.

She lifted a brow, teasing him back, “Really? I don’t believe I’ve ever seen this awesome office of yours.”

“Yeah, you haven’t.” He walked over to one of the chairs and took a seat, making a big show of reclining lazily in it as he pretended to examine the furnishings of the room. “It’s not as big as this one, but as one of the partners he likes to show off.”

She laughed. “Is that so?”

“Well, the partners tend to require a certain level of ego stroking - bigger offices, better parking spots. You know how it is.”

“Really?” Liz took the open seat next to him. “And what level of ego stroking do sons of the boss require?” She asked as if she were genuinely curious.

Max didn’t break. “Oh, them? They’re pretty low maintenance guys. Very genuine, very real. Easy to get along with. We all like them around here. Some of the best lawyers at the firm actually.”

“Is that a fact?”

“It is.”

The two of them looked at each other for a moment, both trying not to be the first one to crack a smile. But it was too much, and after a few seconds they both erupted into laughter.

“You’re crazy, you know that?” Liz gave his arm an affectionate punch.

“Well, I haven’t heard you laugh in a while. I was starting to miss it.”

She stopped smiling. Why did he have to go and ruin the moment by being all perfect again? She looked down at her hands sheepishly. “Yeah, well I haven’t actually felt like laughing in a while.”

“It’s understandable,” he placed his hand on her knee. “You shouldn’t force it though. It’s better when it’s natural. Prettier.”

Liz didn’t know what to say to that. Fortunately, she didn’t have to say anything, because Philip had just walked back inside of his office.

“All right, sorry about that.” He took a seat at his desk. “Are we ready to get started?”

Liz nodded.

“Okay, then.” Philip opened up one of two large folders that sat on top of his desk and handed one to Liz. He was obviously in lawyer mode. “This is a copy of your parents’ will. Inside there is a dictation of all of their assets, money, personal property and the like.”

Liz didn’t say anything as Philip opened up to a specific page and pointed to something on it. She couldn’t help but feel that this was all very strange, all her parents’ worldly possessions all written down and accounted for neatly in a large brown envelope.

“Now, as you know, most of your parents’ monetary assets have been left in your name. However, in regards to your parents’ property there is a bit of issue,” he explained.

Liz frowned. This was news to her. “What kind of issue?”

“Well, it’s seems that your father left the division of his personal property, the Crashdown Café, in shares.”

“Shares?” Why would her father do that?

“Yes; two shares, to be exact. Both containing fifty percent ownership.”

Liz had to take a second to make sure she was following the conversation right. It sounded like Philip was saying…

“My father…split his property?” This was getting weirder and weirder. What could her father have possibly been thinking by doing this?

“Yes,” Philip continued. “And he left one of those shares to you.”

One of those shares? One of the fifty percent ownership shares he had divided his property into? He’d left only one of those shares to his daughter. Liz did not like where this was going. “And the other share?”

Philip paused for a second. The strictly professional air he had obtained since he’d taken his seat suddenly transformed for a moment into one of compassion. From that one simple look Liz could tell that Philip and her father were about to drop a huge bomb on her.

“Liz, Jeffery left the other share of the Crashdown to your sister.”

Liz frowned. She wasn’t sure if her brain had stopped working or if she hadn’t heard Philip right, but it sounded as if he had just said that her father had left half of their family restaurant to her sister, which was completely impossible, because she didn’t have a sister.

“I don’t have a sister,” she said out loud.

Philip looked uncomfortably at the folder sitting before him. “Yes, Elizabeth, you do.”

But Liz’s brain still wasn’t computing this information. “I… I don’t understand.” She looked over at Max, who was looking just as confused as she was.

“Mr. Evans… Philip, I don’t have a sister,” she repeated.

Philip sighed, and she could see clearly that this conversation was no easier for him than it was for her. “I was given strict instructions by your father not to reveal this information to you until the appropriate time. But yes, you do have a sister, Liz, a half sister.”

Philip opened up a thin manila folder and took something out of it. “This is her.” He handed her a small picture.

Liz didn’t take the photo right away. She couldn’t make her hands lift to reach out and take it. She felt numb, as if her whole body had suddenly become frozen. She could do nothing as Max took the photo from his father and sat it on the desk in front of her.

Adjusting her eyes to the table, because those seemed to be the only part of her body she had control of at the moment, she looked down at the photograph of the beautiful girl that looked nothing like her.

Her sister.

She was fair skinned, with light blue eyes and long blonde hair. She wasn’t looking at the camera, as if the picture had been taken without her being aware of it, but Liz could see a slight smile on her face. It wasn’t a friendly smile, but different. The smile was almost flirty.

And her clothes - they were obviously high-end. She looked like the poster child for Prada and Gabbana. It was a look Liz had never seen on any of the girls from Roswell. But then, she was obviously not a girl from Roswell.

“Her name is Tess Harding,” Philip continued. “She’s the daughter of your father and a woman named Emma Harding.”

“Dad,” Max cut his father off. “I think maybe we should take a break.” Max picked the picture up and gave it to his father, who placed it back inside of the folder.

Philip nodded, “Of course. I’ll give you a few minutes.” Without another word, and probably grateful to have a slight escape from the strange situation, Philip rose from his chair and left the room.

Max started to rise as well, but Liz found her previously immobile hands reaching out to stop him from leaving. She looked at him with eyes that were shocked, sad and angry all at once.

She didn’t know what to say. What was she supposed to say? What was she supposed to do? How did you respond to a situation like this? Things like this didn’t happen in real life. Not to her family. Not her father.

“Are you okay?” Max asked, his voice laced with concern.

Liz shook her head no.

“Do you want me to stay?”

She nodded yes. That was the only thing she did know

“Then I’ll stay.” He placed his hand over the one that had grabbed his arm, silently promising her that he would stay as long as she needed him to.
As Tess followed Officer DoMeRight into town, she got her first look at the tourist trap that was Roswell, New Mexico. It wasn’t bad. It wasn’t some small little hick town like she’d imagined in her nightmares. There were actually buildings. And people. There were a lot of people. She supposed that went along with any touristy location. Granted, it was no Grand Central Station, but it wasn’t desolate by any means. It was quaint. Cute. The buildings were small but plentiful. It was all very mom and popish. A nice place for window-shopping and souvenirs, if you liked that sort of thing.

There were a few restaurants; some looked better than others. Nothing too big. Eateries, she thought they were called. They were probably all family owned. It was one of those types of places where they probably served homemade apple pie and ice cream.

She could see what had brought Emma here twenty-two years ago. Her mother would have thought of this place as a play world. It was a place so far away from the reality that she’d known that she hadn’t been able to resist its allure; at least, not long enough to avoid getting herself knocked up.

Tess continued to follow the police car as it drove through the town with the ease of a person who knew the streets backwards and forwards. One thing was obvious: she had definitely picked the wrong car.

She couldn’t help but notice the stares and points her vehicle got as they passed pedestrians. Yeah, so a 2007 Giugiaro mustang was still a wee bit flashy for this place. She prayed there weren’t any skilled carjackers in the area.

When they reached what Tess assumed was the police station, the patrol car pulled in front and parked. She pulled in behind it and admired the view as Officer Delicious Derriere got out of the car.

She waited in her car for him to come to her. She enjoyed the view as he approached her window with a slow, sexy swagger.

“So, looks like you made it one piece.”

“Looks like.”

“I trust you can find your way from here,” he said.

She leaned against the window of her car, drawing herself closer to him. “Oh, yes, officer, I’m really good at finding directions.”

“I bet.” He patted the top of her car. “Try to stay out of trouble.” He turned away from her car and started to walk towards the entrance to the precinct.

Tess let him walk until he was halfway there. Then she yelled out her window at him. “And just where are you off to? Do you always return to headquarters after rescuing a lost damsel on the side of the road?”

He turned back to face her. “Didn’t you know? Rescuing lost damsels on the side of the road is just my day job. After 10:00 AM I turn my badge in for a cape and turn into a superhero.”

Tess giggled softly. Wasn’t he just adorable? “Well, today you were definitely my hero.”

Valenti flashed that dazzling smile at her one more time. Then he did the dearest thing: In a move that was straight out of an old spaghetti western, he reached up to touch the brim of his hat and tipped it. “Glad I could be of service to you,” he said, then started to walk towards the police station entrance.

Tess made up her mind as she watched him enter the building. He was cute. He was funny. He was sexy as hell. And he was going to be hers. No way was this the last time she was going to see Officer Rockmebaby before she left this place. And she was going to do just that.

Rock his world.

But first things first. She had an appointment she could not afford to miss, not if she wanted to see her little knight in shining armor again soon. Then she would go about hooking up.

Tess grabbed her purse off the floor and opened it up, pulling out a piece of paper with a name and address written on it.

“Evans, Matheson, and Baker,” she said, reading the name of the firm that was handling her father’s will out loud. Hopefully this place would be a lot easier to find than the entrance ramp.
Last edited by CandyDreamQueen on Sat Jun 06, 2009 8:39 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Daddy’s Daughters (CC, AU, Teen/Mature, four, 10/18/08)

Post by CandyDreamQueen » Sat Oct 18, 2008 3:36 am


Thank you all so much for reading and feedbacking.

I know, It’s super early Saturday morning, but I’m posting this early because I’m going shopping with my sister for most of the day and I don’t know what time I’ll be home. And even if I do get home early I know I’ll be super tired and probably go immediately to sleep. So here is today’s chapter at an ungodly hour to be up.

He’d never break a promise to her. He’d given her his word, and when he gave his word she always knew she could trust him to keep it. He was her father, after all. Pleasing her was his life. So when he didn’t show up that day she’d been devastated. He had promised to come, but he’d never made it. She’d been angry with him. She’d been hurt. Where had he been? He’d never said: Elizabeth.

He didn’t belong to her. She understood that. He was her father. She understood that, too. He was that lady’s husband before he was her father. That was fine. She still had her mother. She still had her brother - little snot that he was. They would both always belong to her, even though they had other people. So yeah, she knew he wasn’t hers. But sometimes she wondered…why not?: Tess.
Tess looked from the small piece of paper in her hand to the large building in front of her. She’d only driven about a block past the police station when she found the building she was looking for. The sign in front that read: Evans, Matheson, and Baker had been a helpful hint that she was in the right place. The building was smaller than she’d thought it would be. She should have known. Everything around here was small. Cushy. She wasn’t sure why she’d expected to find this place any different. At least it wasn’t too far from the police station. If she played her cards right she could easily orchestrate another run-in with Officer Delightful. But that was for another time.

As she entered the lobby of the building, Tess looked at her wristwatch. It was almost ten-thirty. Her appointment with Philip Evans was scheduled for eleven. She took a quick glance down at herself. It may not have been as fancy as the firms in Chicago, but she’d be damned if she was going to go into her meeting looking like this. She looked like she’d been on the road for hours. She felt like it, too. Her clothes were wrinkled from having been sitting for so long, and her makeup was in desperate need of a touch up. Oh, and a shower! She definitely wanted a long, hot shower.

Finding the idea pleasing, Tess turned around and left the lobby. First she would find a passable hotel in this place, then she would shower, change clothes, and make herself beautiful. Phillip Evans would just have to wait.
Liz and Max were still sitting in silence in Philip’s office when he returned to the room. He had given Liz fifteen minutes to compose herself before returning to continue to hash out the details of her parents’ will.

To Liz, those fifteen minutes felt like a complete waste of time. She didn’t feel any differently than she had fifteen minutes earlier, and probably wasn’t going to feel any better fifteen minutes from now.

Picking up the dry cleaning took fifteen minutes. Ordering takeout from her favorite Chinese restaurant took fifteen minutes. Getting over the end of a bad movie took fifteen minutes. Suddenly discovering that your father has a secret love child that is now part owner of your family’s business was not something that took a girl fifteen minutes to get over. So, no, the fifteen minutes hadn’t really helped.

“Liz?” Philip was back in his seat now, and he was giving her that ‘I’m so sorry’ look again. “I realize that this is very difficult for you, but there are a few more things we need talk about.”

“What, does daddy have a secret wife, too?” she snapped at him. “A long lost dog in Canada? A chain of restaurants in Cambodia? A Swiss bank account?”

“Liz,” Max tried to calm her, but she wasn’t having it.

She was still pissed. “What Max? It’s all within the realm of possibility, isn’t it? Because fifteen minutes ago I would have said that it wasn’t. But fifteen minutes ago I was Jeffery Parker’s only daughter.” She turned back to face Philip. “So tell me Philip, what other surprises does my dad have in store for me?”

Part of Liz knew she was being unfair. It wasn’t Max’s or Mr. Evans’s fault that she was finding out that her father had been the biggest liar on the face of the earth. Philip had only been doing his job. If that job included keeping the truth from her at her father’s behest, she couldn’t really fault him for it. She was just so damn angry! This was the ultimate betrayal. Her father was gone now, and she couldn’t even be mad at him. She was so angry she didn’t know if she were going to scream or cry. “Did mom know?” she asked.

Philip shook his head. “No, your mother didn’t know. Since the Crashdown was your father’s business, she wasn’t aware of the changes he made regarding the property ownership.”

Liz didn’t think she had ever felt more angry and sad and hurt in her entire life than she did at that moment. Her father had not only done this to her, but he’d gone behind her mother’s back to make it happen. “What else?” she asked Philip.

“Well, it’s about your home.”

“My home?”

Philip nodded. “Since the house and restaurant are all one property, your sister also has rights to live there if she so chooses.”

Liz laughed humorlessly. This just kept getting better and better. “So not only does this girl, this stranger now own half of my family’s business, but she has the right to come and live in my house if she wants to?”

“Well, that’s not exactly how it works,” Philip said.

“Well then please explain to me how it works, exactly.”

Philip sighed. “There is the possibility that Ms. Harding will have no interest in the property.”


“Meaning it would not be difficult to obtain her fifty percent.”

Liz’s eyes narrowed. She knew where this was going. “By buying it from her?” she asked Philip.

“Essentially.” Philip nodded.

Now she just felt like crying. “You’re telling me that the only way I can have complete ownership of my own house, and my family’s own business is if I buy it from some stranger?”

“Yes,” Philip said, “legally. Unless she were willing to sign her share over to you.”

Liz leaned back in her chair. This was an awful lot of information to take in in such a short period of time. She looked at Max, who was back at her. “I think I need another fifteen.”

Max nodded, “I think that’s a good idea.”

“Understandable,” Philip said. He gathered all the documents he had placed on his desk and began straightening them out. “You should know, I have an appointment to meet with Ms. Harding this morning.”

That got Liz’s attention. She shot forward in her seat, practically slamming her hands on the front of Philip’s desk in her surprise. “This morning?” Then that meant… “She’s here in Roswell?”

Philip nodded. “She said she would be coming in today.”

Liz didn’t hesitate. “I want to sit in.”

“I expected you would. She should be here at around eleven.”

Liz nodded. She was going to meet her sister.

“Look, Jeeves, or Alfred, or whatever the hell your name is, I just need a room. Is that too difficult of a concept for you to understand?” Tess was standing at the front desk of the Tumbleweed Inn, trying to explain to the front deskman in the simplest of terms that all she wanted was a room with a working shower, fresh towels and sheets, and a nice hot meal sent to her. However, the short little red bearded man was being extremely difficult.

“Look, lady,” he said, leaning over the counter and speaking just as condescendingly as she had, “we - don’t – have – any – rooms - available!” He stressed each word, having repeated them for the third time. “Now I don’t know how hard of a concept that is for you to understand, but it’s pretty simple to me. So, if you’ll excuse me.” He walked away from the desk, leaving Tess standing there with no one to assist her.

Tess wanted to slam her fist on the desk, or in the little man’s face. Either would have made her feel a whole lot better. This was unbelievable. She was stuck in this little rinky-dink town, at this rinky-dink excuse for a hotel that didn’t even have one little rinky-dink room for her to spend the night in. Whatever happened to service with a smile? Well, she was used to service that was a thousand times better than this. No way were they getting away without a costumer complaint.

Tess leaned down and picked up her bag. “Fine,” she called back in the direction the man had headed. She should have known this place was going to be a crock of crack. There wasn’t even a bellhop. “You can keep your stupid rooms at your stupid Tumbleweed Inn!” She spun around and started to head for the door, then stopped and turned back. “And your name sucks, too! Who in their right mind would ever want to sleep at a place that associates itself with a rolling patch of thistle?”

Tess left the Tumbleweed with her back straight and her head held high. When she reached the curb outside, she shuffled through her purse and pulled out her cell phone, hitting the number three on her speed dial.

“Hello, you’ve reached the cell phone of Emma Harding, you lucky dog, you.” Tess rolled her eyes at the start of her mother’s annoying voicemail message. She hated this message, but she finished listening to it anyway. “However, unluckily for you, Emma is currently unavailable. Feel free to leave your name and number, and she will get back to you after she establishes the level of importance of your phone call. Ciao!”


“Emma, this is Tess. Can you please explain to me why you would tell someone to call you and then turn your cell phone off?” As if her mother even really cared, Tess thought to herself. She sighed, and started walking back to her car. “Anyway, I made it to RosHell! I’ve been to three hotels and none of them have any rooms available.” Tess looked around the small street she was standing on. Stupid tourist towns with their stupid tourists. She didn’t think she’d have to book a hotel a week in advance just to have a place to sleep. “Call me back as soon as you get this message, and not a moment after.”

Just as she started to hang up, her phone beeped, indicating she was getting another call. Tess prayed it was her mother as she answered. “Emma?” she asked.

“Ugh, not exactly,” a voice answered. It wasn’t her mother’s voice on the phone. It was her little brother, Andy.

She groaned. “What do you want?”

Andy laughed lightly. “Wow, sis, what a nice greeting! I think you just gave me the warm and fuzzies.”

Tess rolled her eyes skyward. She was not in the mood to deal with her brother and his annoying sense of humor. “Andrew, I do not have time for this, alright? What do you want?”

She could still hear her brother laughing on the other end of the phone. “Mom said you’re in Roswell. As in New Mexico? As in alien capital of the world? What the hell are you doing there?”

“None of your business,” she answered. She opened the car door and got inside. Then she remembered the broken GPS system. “And what the hell did you do to Mom’s GPS?”

“What makes you think I did something to it?” Andy asked defensively.

Tess wasn’t buying the innocent act. “Because it didn’t just break itself, and Emma told me you were the last one who had her car. On a road trip, no less.”

“Doesn’t mean I broke it.”

“Did you use it?”

“Yeah, so?”

“Did you get mad and try to put your fist through it?” she asked accusingly. There was silence on the other end, but that was answer enough. “Un-huh, just what I thought.” Well, that explained the large crack.

“You can’t prove a thing. It’s your word against mine, and Mom likes me better,” he said jokingly.

Tess ignored him. She looked down at her watch again. Crap, it was already past eleven. “Aren’t you supposed to be in school?” she asked her brother.

“Aren’t you supposed to be in Chicago?” he shot back.

“Shut up and answer the question.”

He laughed. “Isn’t that an oxymoron? How can I shut up and answer a question?”

“You sure know how to skate around a question. I’ll ask it again. Why aren’t you in school?’”

“Calm down, Mother. I am in school. But Madame Make-Me-Snore was droning on and on about something. I wasn’t really paying attention, so I decided to take a break. Besides,” he added, “I was so worried about you when mom called and told me you were lost I just had to check on my dear sister.”

Tess groaned. Her brother was impossible. “Go back to class,” she ordered him.

“No,” he said, sounding as if he were horrified that she would even make such a suggestion.

“Andy,” she said his name as a warning, using her most authoritative, pissed off, not-to-be tested big sister voice.

“What are you going to do? Fly to Chicago and make me?” He didn’t sound intimidated.

Tess counted silently in her head. “No, but I do have Headmaster Frink’s number programmed into my cell phone.” She’d flirted it from him at an open house she’d gone to in Emma’s place last year. So what if he was a in his fifties? Frink was still a major hottie. Besides, who didn’t like a little salt and pepper? Of course, her brother didn’t need to know all that. The number was strictly for business purposes anyway.

“Isn’t the punishment for skipping at Wellington ISS: In School Suspension?” She asked, already knowing the answer.

“You wouldn’t call him,” Andy challenged. “Not freaky Frink.”

“Oh, I would,” she assured him. “You think you’re bored now? How does three hours of writing the rules for disciplinary action over and over until your hands are numb sound?” Tess had gone to high school at Wellington’s sister all-girls school when she’d been his age. She’d had her share of ISS.

“Fine, I’ll go.” he conceded. “But you know, sometimes you can be a real bi-”

“-ig sister,” she cut him off. “Now go to class.”

Her brother sighed dramatically as if she had just sentenced him to the worst possible punishment he could imagine. She laughed. “And stop being so dramatic.”

He mumbled something incoherent.

“I’ll know if you don’t go.” She warned.

“No you won’t, but I’ll go back anyway.”

“Thank you,” she said. “Now get the hell off my phone.”

She could still hear Andy laughing as he hung up.
Last edited by CandyDreamQueen on Sat Jun 06, 2009 8:37 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Daddy’s Daughters (CC, AU, Teen/Mature, AN, 10/25/08)

Post by CandyDreamQueen » Sat Nov 15, 2008 7:34 pm

She didn’t like to wait. Patience was a virtue she had never acquired. Her mother always said it was because it was in her nature to be curious. Who had time to sit around being patient when there was a whole world waiting out there? Her father always said she was too curious for her own good. He was constantly reminding her to be patient - to stop asking so many questions - to just “wait and see”. One of his favorite sayings was, “Good things come to those who wait.” Well frankly, she was tired of waiting: Elizabeth.

She didn’t really have a problem with waiting. When she was younger, maybe ;but as she grew older she also grew to see all of the advantages that could be had from simply waiting around. Sometimes she waited for the perfect opportunity. There was nothing better than the sensation of striking at the right moment. Other times she waited for opportunity to come to her. Why do all the work when you could let the work do itself? So, no, waiting wasn’t a problem for her. After all, she’d done it for most of her life: Tess.
Michael and Maria stood beside one another, both watching uneasily as Liz rapidly wiped down every table in the dining area of the Crashdown Café. The restaurant had been closed for the last two days and was scheduled to reopen tomorrow. Liz had already wiped off every condiment bottle, cleaned every napkin dispenser, and centered every special suggestion. Now she was moving to the counter, where she repeated the process.

“I’m telling you, she’s lost it,” Michael said.

Maria rolled her eyes. “Michael, she has not lost it. She’s just stressed.”

“Uh-huh, then explain to me why earlier I saw her cleaning the fry machine? She dumped out all the salt and pepper shakers then refilled them with more salt and pepper, threw away bottles of tabasco that were only half empty, and replaced all the napkin holders with new napkins.”

“Well, this is a restaurant, Michael. We’re supposed to do those things.”

Michael shook his head. “Not while moving at the speed of light. I think she’s on something.”

Maria gasped. “Don’t even joke like that.”

Michael shrugged. “Then you talk to her, because she’s seriously starting to creep me out and I’m ready to jet.” He turned around and went into the back room, leaving Maria to deal with the Liz situation on her own.

Maria watched her friend worriedly. Though he could have put it in kinder phrasing, Michael was right. Liz was behaving really strangely, and she had been ever since she’d come back from her meeting with Philip Evans. When Maria had asked her what was bothering her, Liz had insisted that everything was fine. But anyone, including Michael Guerin, the most oblivious man on the face of the planet, could see that everything was not fine.

Maria approached Liz warily. “I understand the importance of restaurant cleanliness, but I don’t think that counter is going to get any more sparkly than that.”

Liz looked up at Maria, prepared to bite her friend’s head off for daring to interrupt the irrationally vigorous scrubbing down she was giving the countertop, but she stopped herself. It wasn’t Maria’s fault that she was in a bad mood. It was nobody’s fault. Okay, well, it was somebody’s fault, but no one who was there for her to take it out on. Instead of attempting to explain that to Maria, Liz just shrugged. “Can’t a girl lose herself in a little cleaning every once in a while?” she asked.

“Um, a little cleaning?” Maria looked around the restaurant. Everything was spotless. She could swear even the menus were sparkling.

“What?” Liz asked, picking up the napkin dispenser and wiping it down for the third time. “Cleanliness is next to godliness.”

“Or craziness,” Maria mumbled under her breath, too low for Liz to hear. She grabbed Liz’s hand and stopped her from reaching for a ketchup bottle. “Would you stop with the psycho cleaning for just one second and tell me what’s going on?”

“Nothing’s going on. What makes you think something’s going on?” Liz asked.

Maria folded her arms across her chest and leaned against the counter. “Well for one, you’re doing that thing where you start talking really quickly, and trying too hard to convince me to believe what you’re saying.” Whenever Liz did that it was a sure sign that there was something bothering her. “And for another, the restaurant’s closed, but you’re cleaning it like we’re getting ready for a visit from the Pope or something. What’s the matter with you, girl?”

Liz sighed. There wasn’t much she could hide from her best friend. “I just want the place to be ready for tomorrow, and I’ve got a lot of things on my mind.”


“Just a lot of things.” Liz answered vaguely, dodging an actual explanation. None of her friends aside from Max knew about the situation with her newfound long lost sister. Her long lost sister who now owed half of everything she and her parents had worked so hard to maintain. If that entire ordeal wasn’t stressful enough, the fact that the woman hadn’t even bothered to show up at Philip’s office today was an added stressor.

Did she even care? Was she ever coming? Or would she just pop up one day out of the blue to claim what was hers? All those questions and hundreds of others floated through Liz’s head as she cleaned the Crashdown. Right now, the cleaning was probably the only thing that was keeping her from completely losing her mind.

Maria looked at Liz, her concern evident in her gaze. “You know, it’s okay to keep the restaurant closed for a few more days. No one expects you to go right back to work.”

Liz shook her head. “No, we’re fine to open back up tomorrow.” She wasn’t going to let this change her life. This was her restaurant, her home, her livelihood.

Maria placed her hand on top of Liz’s. “Liz, what’s really bothering you? It seems like more than just the restaurant. Did something happen at your meeting with Mr. Evans?”

Liz wanted to hug her best friend. Sooner or later, she was going to have to tell her what was going on, but right now all Liz wanted to do was stew silently on her anger for just a little while longer. “I know I’m preoccupied,” she said, avoiding actually answering Maria’s question. Liz didn’t like being so indistinct with Maria, but she wasn’t ready to hash out all the details just yet. “It’s just that there are some things I have to deal with, and I’m just having trouble… dealing. It’s nothing you need to worry about.”

Maria didn’t look convinced. “Are you sure? You know you can tell me anything.”

Liz nodded. “I know that. And yes, I’m sure. As a matter of fact, why don’t you and Michael head out? There’s really nothing left for either of you to do here.”

Just as she said the words, Michael came from out of the back room with his jacket draped over his shoulder. “Maria,” he called out, holding up a set of car keys. “Let’s go.”

Maria placed her hands on Liz’s shoulders. “Are you sure? I could stay if you need me to.”

Liz shook her head and smiled. “No, go. I’m fine. I promise.”

With one more apprehensive glance Maria nodded her head. “Okay, I’ll call you tonight.”

“Don’t worry about me.”

“Impossible,” Maria said, giving her friend a hug. “I’ll call you,” she repeated. “And if you need anything, be sure to call me.”

Liz nodded, thankful for her friend’s support. “Thanks, I will.” She wouldn’t, but she knew they were the words Maria needed to hear.

Maria gave Liz one more hug before she turned around and headed back to Michael, leaving Liz alone to finish scouring the restaurant.
It was a little after one by the time Tess left the shabby motel she’d managed to find and made her way back to Evans, Matheson, and Baker. She’d showered, so she felt a lot better, and changed from her short skirt and revealing top into an outfit that was more appropriate for dealing with a business situation. Showering was about all the room was good for, though, because there was no way she was spending even one night in this dump of a motel.

First of all, the place was small and cramped. Everything was dingy and dirty, like the room hadn’t been used in forever ago. There was a funny odor that lingered in the air, and Tess wasn’t even going to try and guess how long ago it’d been since the sheets were last changed. On top of all that, she could swear she’d seen a roach. That was the last straw. There was no way Tess Harding was sleeping in a place that had roaches. No way! The hotel hunt would begin anew as soon as she finished her business.

When Tess entered the reception area of the firm she saw that there were two desks in the small lobby, but only one of them was occupied. Tess walked up to the desk, where an old woman was seated. The woman was staring directly at the computer monitor in front of her as she typed quickly on the keyboard. She did not look up when Tess approached her desk, but she seemed aware of her presence anyway. “How may I help you?” she asked.

“Yes, my name is Tess, Tess Harding. I had an appointment to see Philip Evans at eleven this morning, but I–”

“The time is currently 1:18 PM,” the woman said without looking away from her screen.

“Yes, I know that,” Tess started to explain, “but you see–”

“Mr. Evans is an extremely busy man,” the woman cut her off. “If you need to reschedule your appointment you should call his secretary. In the future I suggest you do so ahead of time.”

Tess was shocked by the woman’s rudeness. “And would you be his secretary?” she asked acridly.

The woman glanced up at her for just as second, “No,” she said just as caustically, “I am not Mr. Evans’ secretary.” Without missing a beat, the woman went immediately back to typing on her computer.

It was official, Tess thought to herself: Roswell was home of the unfriendliest service of any place she’d ever been to. She gritted her teeth in annoyance. “Well then, may I speak with Mr. Evans’ secretary?” she asked.

Again, the woman did not look at her. “Doris is out right now,” she said.

Tess wanted to throw something, preferably at the woman. She had to be the most obstinate old bat in the universe. She folded her arms across her chest. “Well, exactly when will Doris be back in?”

The woman did not answer.

Tess rolled her eyes in frustration. She was getting sick of this. Honestly, what had climbed up this old lady’s ass and died? “Hello?” she asked, waving her hands in front of her to regain the woman’s attention.

“Doris’ lunch hour ends at 2:30 precisely.”

Tess drummed her fingers impatiently against the desk as she glanced down at her watch. Lunch hour? “It’s not even 1:30 yet.”

“Well, Miss. Harding,” The woman still didn’t bother to look up at her. “Just as some people are late for certain undertakings, others are early.”

Tess had never wanted to strangle a person more in her entire life. She normally considered herself a pretty levelheaded person… well, not completely levelheaded, but not particularly angry. This woman was trying her patience. The old lady obviously should have been sitting in someone’s retirement home playing solitaire or something, not working the front desk of a law firm, and definitely not doing anything that required dealing with actual people. She took a deep breath, trying to regain her patience. This was worse than dealing with Emma. “Look lady, I just need to see Mr. Evans for a second. Can you please just tell him I’m here?”

“I’m sorry, I can not.” The woman motioned to an empty chair. “You are welcome to wait if you would like. Or you can leave your number, and Doris will call you when she returns.”

Tess groaned. She didn’t want to reschedule with “Doris”, she wanted to see Mr. Evans today. And the sound of the woman’s fingers clicking against the keyboard was really starting to grate on her ears. “I’m sorry, you don’t seem to understand, but I need to speak with Mr. Evans today if possible, so if you could please just–”

“No,” the woman said, shaking her head. “I understand perfectly well. You, however don’t seem to understand that when you schedule an appointment to see a man such as Mr. Evans, the rest of the world does not go on hold until your arrival. Therefore, if you should miss said appointment, it is up to you to reschedule at Mr. Evans’ convenience.”

That was it, Tess thought. She’d had more than enough of this old bird. She smacked her hand down on the desk, finally startling the woman into looking at her. “Listen to me you cantankerous old biddy. If you don’t call Mr. Evans, or page him, or beep him, or something him right now, I’ll make you wish you’d stayed at home watching The Price is Right with your nine cats and your knitting needles, instead of sitting here being an old bitc–”


Suddenly the door directly behind the woman’s desk opened, and a man stepped out. He paused for a moment and frowned when he saw the heated way the two women were looking at one another. “Is there a problem?” he asked.

The old woman – Ella, shook her head. “No, there is no problem, Mr. Evans.” She ignored Tess as she smiled brightly at him. “What can I do for you, dear?”

The man smiled back at her. “Would you please have Doris call Mr. Morrison when she gets back?”

Ella continued smiling, just as pleasantly as you may. “I’ll give Doris the message as soon as she gets in Mr. Evans.”

“Thank you,” the man said, but he glanced between the two women, a look of confusion written on his face. He could obviously still sense the hostility in the air.

Tess looked between Ella and Mr. Evans. “Not Mr. Evans’ secretary,” indeed. Why that lying old…Tess stood up from her seat and hurried over to him before he could return to his office. “You’re Mr. Evans?” she asked. If old bitchy wouldn’t help her she would just have to help herself.

He frowned down at her, “Yes I am, do I know…” then his face lit with recognition. “Oh, you’re Miss Harding, correct?”

Tess smiled and held her hand out to him. He was a lot younger than he sounded on the phone, and a lot cuter than she’d imagined. “Yes, I am. I had an appointment to see you this morning, but I got lost, and I couldn’t find a place to stay, and I was road dirty, and ugh…” she shuddered and waved her own words off, “It doesn’t matter. Anyway, I was wondering if it would be possible for you to see me, giving him her most placating smile.

He smiled politely at her and shook her outstretched hand. “Miss. Harding, it’s nice to meet you. I’m familiar with your case, however I’m not the Mr. Evans you’re looking for.”

Tess frowned. “You’re not?”

He shook his head. “No, I’m not. My father is the Mr. Evans who is overseeing your father’s will.”

“Oh.” Tess frowned in disappointment, but at least she was finally dealing with someone that wasn’t completely insane. “Well, is the other Mr. Evans in?” she asked hopefully.

The man shook his head. “Unfortunately he’ll be in court for the rest of the afternoon.”

Tess groaned. Damn it! Could nothing go right this day? “Are you kidding me?”

The younger Mr. Evans shook his head. “I’m sorry,” he said. “He waited for you as long as he could, but he had other engagements that he could not postpone.”

Tess sighed. “Oh believe me, your helpful little secretary made it crystal clear to me that the rest of the world does not go on hold just because I made an appointment to see ‘a man such as Mr. Evans.” She glared at the old woman as she spoke, but Ella just continued to ignore her.

“Well, I can make sure he knows you came by,” the man assured her. “And I can have Doris call you to set up another appointment.”

Tess wanted to laugh. Ah, the elusive Doris, yet again. Same tune, different bird. “Great, just great.” She rolled her eyes, and for a split second her gaze landed on Ella. It was only for a moment, but Tess could swear she’d seen the old woman smile smugly at her.

Why that miserable old…

“Miss. Harding, I’m terribly sorry about the inconvenience,” the cute young Mr. Evans was saying. “I’m sure my father will be more than willing to schedule another meeting time with you.”

Tess sighed; well, at least he seemed genuinely sympathetic. “It’s okay. It’s my own fault I guess.” Actually, it was that stupid hotel guy’s fault, but she wasn’t going to start pointing any fingers.

With one more look at Evil Ella, Tess readjusted the strap on her purse. “Mr. Evans already has my number. Will you please have him give me a call first thing in the morning?”

The other Mr. Evans nodded. “Of course.” He turned around to face Ella. “Ella, will you please make sure that Doris has my father call Miss. Harding?” he asked.

Ella looked up and smiled at him as if she were just the sweetest little old lady in the world. “Of course Mr. Evans.”

Tess glared at the woman. Fine, if she wanted to play games, they could play. With and equally saccharine grin, Tess reached inside her purse and took out a slip of paper; then, without asking, she took one of the stray pens off of Ella’s desk.

Tess wanted to laugh when she saw the daggers Ella was glaring at her from behind Mr. Evans. Still, the old witch managed to keep the smile on her face. “Actually, here’s my number,” Tess said as she jotted down her name and number. She slipped the piece of paper to Mr. Evans, all the while never taking her gaze off Ella. “Why don’t you hang on to that?” She narrowed her eyes. “Just in case Ella should forget.”

Ella harrumphed, and crinkled her already wrinkled old nose, then went back to typing on her computer. Tess smiled smugly, readjusted her purse strap again, and headed for the exit.

Max Evans stared confusedly between the two women, wondering what he had just missed.
Last edited by CandyDreamQueen on Sat Jun 06, 2009 8:36 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Daddy’s Daughters (CC, AU, Teen/Mature, SIX, 5/16/09)

Post by CandyDreamQueen » Sat May 16, 2009 6:28 am


Thank you for being so patient with me.

Her first kiss. What a special time in a young girl’s life. She wanted it to be perfect – to mean something. She wanted it to be the third most magical moment of her life – the first being her wedding day, and the second being her wedding night. And there was only one boy that she wanted to share it with. His name was Max Evans: Elizabeth.

Her first kiss. She didn’t really know what was so special about kissing. Some girls made a big deal about things like that. Jamie Thomas said she kissed Ben Larder in the boy’s locker room. Sandra Miller kissed Keith Williams underneath the bleachers at the school pep rally. Never to be outdone, Tess Harding kissed Mr. McPherson in the teacher’s lounge: Tess.

What did a girl have to do to find a decent place to stay around here? As things were currently, Tess Harding was homeless in New Mexico – not exactly a stellar position to be in. It would have been sad had it not been so tremendously ridiculous.

After her brief encounter with the younger Mr. Evans and his bitch of a secretary, Tess had spent the remainder of the day trying to find a new hotel to say in – preferably one that wasn’t vermin infested. As luck would have it, she hadn’t been able to find a single place with an available room. Apparently there was some sort of convention going on in town and every place that was even remotely passable was booked solid. Regardless, there was no way she was going back to the roach motel.

She would sleep in her car first.

Tess couldn’t have begged for a crappier predicament to be in. Not only did she have no way of handling her business and getting out of this crummy town until she met with Mr. Evans, now she had no place to stay. But she supposed all this shouldn’t have come as a surprise to her. Everything about the combination of her and this God awful town known as Roswell had been nothing but shitty so far. Why should she have expected things to magically change? Given the luck she’d had so far, she really would not have been surprised if a bolt of lightning were to suddenly appear in the cloudless sky and strike her down.

Just as she was thinking things couldn’t possibly get any worse, Tess spotted police car slowly pulling up behind her in her rearview mirror.

Wasn’t that just slap you in the face, kick you in the knee, fan-fucking-tastic? What was it now? Was she illegally parked in an aliens only zone or something?

Letting out an annoyed sigh, she reached beside her in the seat for her purse and took out her wallet and her lipstick. This shouldn’t be too hard to deal with. The cop was a male and Tess Harding was no stranger to talking – or flirting – her way out of tickets. After all, she’d been doing it ever since she was sixteen years old. (Well technically fifteen, but her mother didn’t exactly know about that one, so…)

Making sure that her lipstick was perfectly reapplied and that the girls were nice and visible, Tess let down her window as the officer approached.

A familiar masculine voice sounded at the side of the car. “Is it just me, or do you seem to have a knack for getting lost?”

Tess looked up, pleasantly surprised by the sight of the man standing beside her window. Why, if it wasn’t Officer SexOnAStick! “Officer Valenti, how nice to see you again,” she said, folding her arms on the side of the open window. She smiled flirtatiously up at him. “You’re not stalking me, are you?”

He smiled back at her, flashing that charmingly crooked smile she was starting to become so fond of. “It’s nice to see you again too, Tess. And no, I’m not stalking you. It’s just kind of hard to miss a mustang like this in Roswell.”

Tess tilted her head, intrigued by his sudden appearance. “Oh, so then you admit that you knew it was me?”

He laughed. “Let’s just say I had my suspicions.”

“And I haven’t done anything illegal, right, Officer Valenti?” she asked innocently. She caught her bottom lip between her teeth, giving him a look that was innocent but sexy, all the while clearly sending the message that she was not truly worried that she had done anything wrong.

“Not that I’m aware of,” he answered with a one-shouldered shrug.

She laughed, taking his teasing as an obvious good sign.

“Actually, I recognized your car and thought I’d stop to see if you were in trouble again,” he explained.

Tess tossed her hair behind her back, noting how his eyes were clearly drawn to the lip she had just released from between her teeth. Since he was being such a good boy, she decided to tease him a little more. “Because that’s what superheroes do, correct?”

He nodded, his gaze never moving from her mouth. “That’s correct. We’re always looking for a lady in need of rescuing.”

Tess smiled to herself. Oh yes, Valenti was showing all the classic signs of a male with interest, and she was most definitely an interested female. It looked like not everything about Roswell, New Mexico was turning out to be so bad after all.

“Well, officer Valenti, you’re in luck,” she said.

“And why is that?” he asked.

Tess let her eyes roam up his body slowly, stopping only when her gaze met his clear blue eyes. She smirked sexily at him, feeling completely confident in the fact that tonight this guy was going to be hers. “Because I happen to be in desperate need of rescuing.”
Liz was aware that it was getting late, but she was still up long past the time she would have normally gone to bed in preparation for a Crashdown reopening. There wasn’t really anything more she needed to do for tomorrow, but she was finding it difficult to even consider going to sleep. Even though she was already in her bed, sleep was the last thing on her mind right now. She probably wouldn’t sleep at all tonight – she was too nervous about tomorrow. It would be her first time running the restaurant by herself since her parents’ death. That and other things were keeping her mind from easing and her body from resting.

It wasn’t that running the Crashdown by herself was such a big deal. Liz had run the restaurant by herself a hundred times since she had turned eighteen years old; on her parents’ anniversary, when they had taken a second honeymoon, once when her father was sick and her mother had stayed up to take care of him, and countless other times. But even with all that experience backing her, it still felt like tomorrow was going to be the first time all over again, and Liz was scared out of her mind that she would fail her parents miserably.

The worst part of it all was knowing how disappointed her mother would have been if she failed. As for her father… well, what did she really care what her father would think? He obviously had not cared about disappointing her or her mother. And in the end that was exactly what he had done.

Liz gripped the pillow beside her, squeezing it as hard as she could. Her father was the other thing that was preventing her from getting a good night’s sleep. There had to be a million questions running through her head since her meeting with Philip that morning. Good God, would her father have ever told her the truth, or had he been planning on keeping this secret for the rest of his life? The answer to that question was painfully obvious. It was why her mother hadn’t known, and it was why it was ultimately Philip Evans who had had to be the one to tell her the truth. Jeffery Parker had never had any intentions of telling his wife or daughter the truth about his other daughter – her sister.

She had a sister.

Liz had not really taken any time to let her mind dwell on that. She’d been so angry, and so hurt. But now that she was alone, and had had a few hours to cool down, she took a moment to really think about what that meant for her. Aside from the anger she felt towards her father for his betrayal, she had no idea how she personally felt about having a sister.

She’d been an only child for all of her life, and she’d never given any complaints about it. Now to suddenly have a sister… Although she’d always had plenty of friends, she had absolutely no experience when it came to having a sibling. She really didn’t know what to think. She didn’t know this girl - her sister - from any other average Annie walking down the street. What if they hated each other? Or worse, what if they didn’t?

How had her father expected her to feel about this? Was she supposed to embrace the sister she had never known and welcome her with open arms? But then, what would her mother have wanted? Would accepting her sister into her life be a betrayal of her mother?

Liz reached over to the nightstand for the folder Philip had given her. She pulled out the picture of her sister and stared down at it. Tess Harding. What kind of woman was she? Liz wondered.

She was obviously very attractive, with beautiful blond hair, and striking blue eyes. Liz touched a hand to her own brunette hair. She’d never been self-conscious about the way she looked before. She would not have called herself drop dead gorgeous, but she was definitely a far cry from being ugly. Still, in comparison to the photograph in her hands, Liz suddenly felt like the ugly duckling next to the beautiful swan.

“Uh,” she groaned, tossing the picture back on the table. Was she really doing the “Is she prettier than me?” thing?

No! No, she was not. She was not that pathetic.

And besides, it didn’t matter if Tess was prettier than her. That wouldn’t change things. It wouldn’t change the fact of her existence, and it wouldn’t change the fact that Liz Parker, only daughter of Jeffrey Parker, was not so “only” anymore.

Liz jolted suddenly when the phone on the nightstand began to ring. She looked over at it. It was probably Maria – her friend had definitely been worried about her all day. It wasn’t fair of her to keep Maria in the dark like this. And besides, it was something everyone would have to eventually know anyway. Reaching over, Liz answered the phone. “Hi Maria,” she greeted.

“Not quite,” a male’s voice answered.

“Max?” Liz asked. She truly was surprised; she had not been expecting him to call.

“Yes. Sorry, I know it’s late. I just wanted to see how you were doing. You okay?”

Liz sat up straighter in the bed and ran one of her hands through her messy hair, then felt stupid once she remembered that they were on the telephone. “Yes, I’m okay. I’m fine.”

“Really?” His voice sounded skeptical. “I know it’s a lot to take in all in one day.”

She leaned back against the pillow. She wouldn’t say it out loud, but just hearing his voice made her feel a little better. “I’m dealing,” she told him instead.

There was a short pause.

“I talked to Michael and Maria,” he said. “Maria said you seemed a little out of it today.”

Liz sighed. She should have expected this. But she couldn’t be mad at Maria for being a good, if not incredibly observant, friend though. “I haven’t told them yet,” she said.

“Yeah, I figured as much. I didn’t say anything. I thought you would want to do that yourself when you were ready.”

Liz nodded, even though she knew he couldn’t see her. “Thanks, Max.”

“Sure, no problem. Um...”

Another pause.

Liz waited. It seemed like there was something else Max wanted to say. “Was there something else?” she asked.

“Actually, yes, there was something else,” he finally said.

Liz did not like the tone of his voice. “What is it?”

She heard him sigh. “I met her today.”

Liz almost dropped the phone. She didn’t need him to tell her who “her” was. Her sister had come today, and Max had met her. He’d met her sister today? When? There were tons of questions she wanted to ask him, but she couldn’t get the words out. She needed to regain her composure first.

“Liz?” Max called to her, his tone obviously concerned.

“Yeah, I’m still here,” she answered, just as she managed to calm her racing heart. “Um… you met her?”

“Yes,” he said simply. He waited for her to ask her next question.

“What was she… what was she…” Liz felt like her brain was in a fog. There was so much she wanted to know, and she didn’t even know where to start. “What was she wearing?” she asked, hollering out the first thing that popped into her head.

“What was she wearing?” Max laughed, obviously not expecting that question. “A skirt. A top.” He laughed again. “I can’t really say that I was paying much attention to her outfit.”

Liz glared at the phone, not liking that answer at all. “Oh, really, Max? Then what exactly were you paying attention to?” she snapped peevishly.

Max kept laughing. “Are you jealous?” he asked.

“No, I’m not jealous!” she denied. “And anyway, what would I have to be jealous about? There is nothing to be jealous about. Why would I be jealous when there’s nothing?” she could have smacked herself at how insecure she sounded.

“You’re right,” Max agreed coolly. “There’s nothing to be jealous about.”

Liz didn’t know how to read that answer. Nothing to be jealous about because the two of them were nothing more than friends, or nothing to be jealous about because he wasn’t remotely interested in her sister?

She didn’t want to think about it anymore.

“Okay, so…”

“So?” he asked.

Liz squeezed her eyes tightly and then opened them again. “So, what was she like?”

“Ah-ha - a more normal question,” he teased.

“Shut up,” she said; then, “Was she nice?”

“Not particularly,” he answered.

“Was she a bitch?”

He chuckled. “Not really.”

Liz rolled her eyes. “Well then what was she, Max?”

He paused for a moment, thinking his answer over. “Well, she was normal I guess. She seemed a little annoyed, but she wasn’t rude. She should be back tomorrow.”

Liz perked up. “When?”

“I’m not sure. She’s meeting with my father.”

“Can’t you find out?” she asked.

“I could, but…” He paused. “Liz, I didn’t say anything about it today because I knew how intense things were for you, but I think it’s for the best that you were already gone when she showed up today. Is that really how you want to meet her? Bombarding her like that? Don’t you think it would be better if the two of you were to set something up? She’ll probably be just as surprised to find out she has a sister as you were.”

Liz didn’t want to admit it, but Max was probably right. If Tess was anywhere near as in the dark about all this as she had been, it wouldn’t be fair to just show up at her meeting with Philip. She sighed. “You’re right. I guess I should try to set something up with her.”

“That’s probably best.”

“Alright,” she said. “Thanks for calling, Max.”

“Not a problem. You’re sure you’re okay, right?”

She nodded. “I’m fine.”

“You can call me if you need anything,” he said.

There he went, being all great again. “Yeah, I know. Thanks a lot.”

“I’ll see you tomorrow then. Reopening and everything, huh?”

“Yep, we’re reopening.” Another issue she had yet to deal with.

“Well, I’ll definitely be in then,” he promised.

“Thanks, Max.”

“No need to thank me. I’m just a guy that’s gotta eat. Besides, that’s the third time you’ve thanked me in the last thirty seconds.”

She laughed. “Okay.” Max really did always know how to cheer her up.

“Goodnight, Liz,” he said.

She smiled for no reason. “Goodnight, Max,” she said, and then hung up the phone.

Reclining back against her headboard, Liz looked up at the ceiling over her bed. Talking to Max really had made her feel better. She had been surprised to find out that he had met her sister today, but at least now she knew she was definitely here. There would be no waiting – all that was left was for her to set up a meeting with Tess so that the two of them could go over things. After that, hopefully the two of them could both get back to their normal lives, regardless of if they were in each others’.

Liz looked over at the picture on the nightstand again, this time without picking it up. She would try not to hate Tess Harding. Even if her mother would have felt betrayed by what her father had done, deep down Liz knew her mother would never want her to hate her sister. It wasn’t Tess’s fault that their father had never revealed her existence to his family, and it wasn’t her fault that their father was a… it wasn’t her fault.

And who knew? Maybe the two of them would get along just fine.
Tess smiled as she pushed officer Valenti down on the bed and straddled his hips like a famed bull rider. His hat, which had somehow made its way to the top of her head, was tilted to the side and in danger of falling off. She fixed it with a slight tilt of her head, then leaned down over him so she could give him a scorching kiss. She dragged her body back up to a sitting position, making sure both of her hands ran up his chest so that she could feel his pecks and abs ripple beneath her fingers.

“You know what would be a good idea?” she asked sultrily.

“What’s that?” he asked, sounding slightly out of breath from the passionate kiss she had just given him.

“If we relieve you of this shirt,” she answered as she slowly started undoing the annoyingly tiny buttons on the front of his shirt.

When she was finished he sat up for a moment and shrugged the shirt the rest of the way off. “You’re right, that’s a pretty good idea,” he said. “But you know what would be an even better one?”

“What’s that?” she parroted him, barely getting the words out on a gasp as she felt one of his hands slowly start to make its way up her thigh and underneath her skirt.

“If we relieve you of this skirt,” he said.

In answer Tess stood up in the bed, directly over his body. Never taking her eyes way from him, she skillfully slid out of the skirt. Now, wearing only her top and the lacy red panties she’d slipped into this morning, she sat back down on him, aligning herself strategically with his lower half. Her efforts were rewarded when she heard him groan underneath his breath and she felt his body respond to the placement of hers. Feeling more than pleased with herself, Tess gripped his hand and pressed it back against her body, this time moving it to her inner thigh. “Officer Valenti, I do like the way you think.”

His gaze was hooded as he looked up at her. “Well, you know what they say about great minds,” he answered, his hands tracing along the inner line of the lacey red material.

Tess gasped again. “Oh, you’re a bad cop, aren’t you?” she asked, leaning over so she could kiss him again. Her lips traced across his slowly and then moved down to his chin, nipping him with her teeth.

His laugh was lustfully husky. He sat up, lifting her with him. “I thought we decided I was a superhero,” he said.

Tess shrugged as she draped her arms over his shoulders. “So you’re a jack of all trades.”

“Well, I do have a few talents,” he said.

Her brow quirked intriguingly. “Do you?” she asked. “Well then, Officer Valenti, why don’t you show me what a few of those talents are?”

He flashed her that winning smile of his one more time.
Last edited by CandyDreamQueen on Sat Jun 06, 2009 8:34 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Daddy’s Daughters (CC, AU, Teen/Mature, SEVEN, 6/6/09)

Post by CandyDreamQueen » Sat Jun 06, 2009 9:12 am

Thank you for reading:

mary mary

I’m so glad that you all have not forgotten about me.

(Hard Work)
Liz Parker had always been a hard worker. It was what her parents expected of her, and what she expected of herself. When setting out to accomplish a task, nothing less than one hundred and ten percent was sufficient. Any goal could be achieved through simple hard work. : Elizabeth.

Tess Harding was used to having things her way. Almost everything she’d ever wanted in life had always been at the tip of her fingers. What others saw as spoiled selfishness, was nothing more than talent and resourcefulness. Any goal could be met with a little determination. : Tess.
Tess shook her sleep-tossed hair out over her shoulders and looked down at the man who was still sleeping peacefully beside her. This was the part of hooking up that she really hated – the morning after. Overnight stays were not her thing. She was more of a “hit it and quit it” kind of girl. But given the extenuating circumstances of her current situation – being that she had absolutely nowhere else to go – there was no other choice but to stay the night.

Keeping as quiet as possible, Tess lifted the covers off of her legs and swung them over the edge of the bed. If she was lucky she could be out the door and on her way before Officer Goodtime was alert enough to realize she’d slipped out.

Placing one foot down on the floor, she winced when the floor boards creaked beneath the pressure of it. Biting her lip nervously, she did a quick glance over at sleeping beauty, checking to make sure the sound hadn’t been enough to rouse him. Assuring herself that he was still blissfully asleep, she snatched her clothes up off the floor and started dressing as quickly and quietly as possible.

With her belt still hanging open off the sides of her skirt, and her shirt only halfway buttoned up, Tess was just slipping her bare feet back into her heels when she saw the bed shift in front of her. She paused and looked up. Valenti – who was now sitting up in the bed – wiped his eyes sleepily and stared directly at her.

“Hi,” she said awkwardly, still half hunched over with one shoe hanging off her foot.

“Hi,” he greeted, leaning back on his arms nonchalantly. “Going somewhere?”

Tess finished stepping into her shoes. “Yes. I have an early appointment so…” She paused, momentarily distracted by the way his muscles flexed when he suddenly stretched his arms lazily over his head.

Hot damn, he looked good!

He tilted his head inquisitively. “You were saying?”

Tess cleared her throat and attempted to clear her head enough to concentrate. “I should probably go,” she said, still unable to pry her eyes away from his bare chest.

“Okay,” he said simply. “You need me to walk you out?”

She hesitated for a second, thrown by the unexpectedness of his cool response. “No, uh… I can manage,” she answered just as coolly. Inwardly, she couldn’t believe how easily he was taking her leaving. On the rare occasions that she had spent an entire night with a guy, she was used to them practically begging her to stay if they caught her trying to sneak out in the morning.

“Ok, then.” He nodded and lied back down on the bed.

Tess stood in shocked silence. She’d never dealt with anything like this before. She didn’t know whether to be relieved or offended.

Was he really that unaffected?

Was he really not even going to get out of bed?

Was he really just going to roll over and go back to sleep?

If the way he laid there motionless with his eyes closed was any indication, rolling over and going back to sleep was exactly what he was going to do.

Okay, now she was definitely offended. No man rolled over on Tess Harding. If that was how things were going to be…“Mind if I use your shower?” she asked.

“Didn’t you say you had somewhere to be?” he answered without sitting up or opening his eyes.

Tess gritted her teeth. What the hell kind of response was that? But instead of exploding over his answer the way she wanted to, she smiled charmingly down at him. “Nowhere that would not appreciate me undergoing the etiquettes of proper hygiene.”

He shrugged, still not sitting up. “Bathroom’s the second door on your left.”

“Thank you, Officer Valenti,” she answered smoothly. The lack of attention he was showing her was really starting to annoy her.

He waved her off with a nonverbal response.

Once again, Tess looked down at him from the foot of the bed. Valenti was unlike any guy she’d ever met, much less one she’d hooked up with. But whatever game he was playing, there was no way she was going to lose. Still, she had to admit, he was definitely a challenge – one that didn’t play by the same rule book she was used to.

Good thing she loved a good challenge.

With a sexy wiggle of her hips, Tess slipped effortlessly back out of her skirt, then pulled her top off over her head and tossed it aside. She stood up over him in the bed, wearing nothing but her panties, bra, and the black heels she’d strategically chosen not to remove from her feet. “Oh, Officer Valenti?” she called down to him.

“Yes?” he answered before opening his eyes.

Tess smirked, waiting patiently for him to open them and look up at her. When he did she let her appearance do the talking.

He sat up slowly and stared directly up at her, getting a good look at all that she had to offer. The expression on his face clearly spelled out for her how pleased he was by the sight she presented to him.

Tess smiled down at him, pleased by his wordlessness. “Would you care to join me?” she asked, placing both hands on her hips and stepping backwards off of the bed. When he didn’t respond immediately – exactly the reaction she was aiming for – she started walking backwards towards the door. “Of course, I suppose I could shower all by myself,” she mused playfully, “but then I’d have no one to wash my back.”

He swallowed hard before speaking, attempting to find his voice. “That would be a shame.” His gaze lingered hotly and obviously on her scantly covered breasts.

Tess nodded. “A real pity,” she concurred. She was absolutely certain that she had his full attention now.

Getting to his knees, he began walking on them towards the edge of the bed. “I guess joining you would be the chivalrous thing to do.”

“The heroic thing,” she corrected.

He nodded slowly. “The heroic thing.”

“It’s what any hero would do, really.”

He placed his feet on the floor, only half paying attention to what she was saying. “Un-huh.”

“And we’ve already established that you are nothing if you aren’t a hero, Officer Valenti.” With a cat-and-mouse grin on her face, Tess continued backing away from him until her back was pressed fully against the door.

He started walking towards her. “I think last night did a good job of proving that.”

Tess smiled in remembrance. Oh yes, he’d spent all of last night proving just how heroic he could be. The man had stamina and agility to rival any superhero. “So then, it would only make sense for you to continue exhibiting the qualities of a hero.”

He stopped in front of her, standing so close that she could practically feel the fine hairs of his skin brushing against her body. “All the sense in the world,” he said, lifting her off her feet and pressing her back against the door.

She gasped in surprise, instinctively wrapping her legs around his waist. Her mission of getting his attention was more than accomplished. In fact, she could feel his “attention” brushing along her inner thigh at that very moment. Feeling very pleased with herself, she folded her arms around his neck and tilted her head back against the door. “Well then, Officer Valenti, have we fully established that joining me in the shower would be nothing more than your civic duty?”

“We have,” he agreed.

Assured that she had definitely won this round, Tess smiled successfully at him. “Then by all means, let’s go.”

She didn’t have to tell him twice.
This time when Tess walked inside of Evans, Matheson, and Baker she was already prepared for evil Ella. Rather than pay the woman any attention at all, she headed straight for the second desk where another little old lady that bore a striking resemblance to Betty White was seated. Apparently Evans, Matheson and Baker did their hiring from the geriatrics department.

Tess stood over the woman’s desk and granted her the friendliest candy sweet smile she could dredge up. “Hi, are you Doris?”

Betty White smiled back with her own welcoming smile. “Why yes I am. And who might you be, dear?”

Tess shot a conspicuous glance over at the biotic-bitch Ella, who was once again typing away at her computer, before she answered. “Hi, Doris. I’m Miss Harding. I have an appointment to meet with Mr. Evans this morning.”

“Oh yes, yes, I remember,” Doris said, laughing jollily for no apparent reason. “Miss. Harding, Mr. Evans is expecting you, so go right in, sweetheart. I’ll let him know you’re here.”

Now this was how little old ladies were supposed to act, Tess thought to herself. “Thank you Doris,” she said, glancing once more over at Ella before she headed back to Mr. Evan’s office. The woman still didn’t look up from her computer.


Tess could see that Philip Evans’ office door was open as she neared it. She could hear the sound of voices speaking before she entered the room. As expected, Philip was not alone. The younger Mr. Evans, whom she had met yesterday, was also in the office and the two of them were smack in the middle of what seemed to be an intense conversation.

“Knock, knock,” she said, hesitantly interrupting them.

Both the Evans men looked up, seeming surprised at her entry.

“Mr. Evans, Miss Harding is here to see you. I sent her in.” The sound of Doris’s sweet elderly voice chimed in helpfully over the intercom.

Moving past the shock of Tess’s sudden appearance in his office, Philip smiled and pressed down a button on his desk. “Thank you Doris.” He looked over at his son. “We’ll finish this later, Max.”

Max nodded in silent agreement and walked to the door. “Miss Harding,” he greeted politely as he passed her.

“Hello again, Mr. Evans,” she returned. Once he was gone she turned back to the older Mr. Evans. “Did I interrupt something?” she asked curiously.

Philip shook his head. “No, not at all. Why don’t you have a seat, Miss Harding,” he said, indicating the chair in front of his desk.

Tess sat.

He opened a drawer and pulled out a folder, then sat it on top of his desk. “Well then, Miss. Harding, can I ask how much you know about your late father?” Philip asked.

Tess shrugged. “Not much I guess. I know he lived here in Roswell, and that he was married to some lady named Nadine.”

“Nancy,” Philip corrected.

“Right,” Tess said, not really caring. “Look, Mr. Evans I’m sorry to hear that he passed away, but the simple truth is my father and I were never very close.” He’d had his life and she had hers, but she didn’t say that out loud.

“Well, Miss. Harding I’m not here to determine what type of relationship you had with your father. However, I can tell you that I knew your father for a long time. He was my client as well as my friend, and I do believe he may have seen a lot more in his relationship with you than you believe,” Philip said rather cryptically.

“What do you mean?” she asked.

He handed her a sealed envelope. “This is for you,” he said.

Tess eyed the envelope before taking it. “What is it?” she asked.

Philip shrugged. “Why don’t you read it and find out?”

Tess took the envelope from him and stared at it. Her name was written on the front of it. It looked like a letter. She had not expected a letter. She hadn’t known Jeffery to attempt to contact her since her teen years, and she’d never attempted to contact him, so she had no idea what he could possibly have to say to her.

“I’ll give you a few minutes of privacy,” Philip said. He stood up from his seat and left the office.

Tess opened the letter quickly, curious to see what Jeffery had to say.

Dear Tess,

I would say that I hope you are doing well, but it seems such an impersonal way to open this letter. Instead I’ll say, “How’s it hanging?” Although, I suppose that sounds too familiar for an estranged father to his daughter. Regardless, however impersonal it sounds, I truly do hope this letter finds you well.

There are two realities under which you could be receiving this letter. The first is the one I hope for the most. It is a reality where I have somehow managed to work up the gall to come and see you, and I’ve given you this letter face to face. In this reality, the two of us have spent the day getting to know each other, and catching up on the last umpteen years of your life. I’ve told you how much I regret that we have not been able to have the type of relationship that every girl should have with her father, and you’ve forgiven me for not being the type of father that you truly deserve. I know this sounds more like a fantasy than any reality we could ever live in, but it is truly a reality that I hope to live some day.

The other reality in which you could be reading this letter is one that I would rather not think of, but one that is just as possible as the first. If you are reading this letter in the second reality then it means that I am no longer here, and that I never got the chance to say the things I’ve always wanted to say to you. I regret that. But mostly, I regret that I will never be given the chance to be forgiven by you.

Regardless of which circumstance you are reading this letter, its purpose is still the same. That purpose is simply to say that I love you, and to let you know that there has never been a day gone by when I did not love you.

In my heart I know I have not been a great father to you, but I also know that your mother has always provided you with a good life, and I would ask that you thank her for that for me. We both know what type of person Emma Harding is – a woman that marches to the beat of her own drum - but she has always been there for you when I was not, and she has fatefully been your mother when I could not be your father.

All that said, perhaps I have given my standing in your life too much credit, but it is my greatest wish that someday the two of us can have a real father daughter relationship. However, if that reality is no longer possible, I ask that you let this letter be the relationship we should have had. For all the hugs and kisses I could not give you, and all the times I did not tuck you in at night, I ask you to allow this letter to be that hug – let it be that kiss – let it be the arms I should have wrapped you in, and the piggyback rides I should have given you. I know that one letter cannot make up for all of those things, but for now, it is all I have to give you.

Hopefully someday you’ll allow me to give you more.

Your father,
Jeffery Parker

Tess’s fingers felt numb as her eyes traced over every word on the page. Through most of her life she’d never thought much of Jeffery Parker. She’d always known he was her father, but she’d never really known him as her father. As a little girl she’d purposefully taught herself not to think of him in that capacity. That way it would not hurt so much that there was no one to take to Daddy Daughter Dances, no overbearing father to intimidate her first date, and no proud papa to give her away at her wedding… not that she had ever contemplated marriage.

She’d always told herself that she’d never wanted those things. Her life had been just fine without Jeff in it. Her mother had had a ton of boyfriends, and some of them had been really nice. They’d all done a fair job of spoiling her without the added suffocation of being her father. Even Andy’s father had never really treated her like a daughter. She’d always been fine with that.

So why was she crying?

Swiping her hand across her cheek, Tess placed the letter back on Philip’s desk and stood up from her chair. She couldn’t believe how silly she was being over a few words written on a piece of paper. It had to be Jeffery’s death that was causing her to react so strongly to his words. That had to be it.

Shaking her head, she snatched up her purse and stepped outside into the hall, running immediately into someone.

“Are you okay?” It was Evans Jr. He placed his hands on her shoulders to steady her and looked down at her with concern filled eyes.

Tess sniffed once and dabbed at her wet eyes, hoping her mascara was not running. “I’m fine, thanks,” she told him. “Where’s your bathroom?”

He pointed down the hall. “There, on the left.” He frowned. “Are you sure you’re alri–”

“I’m fine,” she said, jerking away from him and dashing towards the bathroom. Once the door was closed behind her she ran to the sink and twisted on the cold water, cupping her hands and splashing water on her face to wipe away her now mascara smeared cheeks.

She looked up at her reflection with a displeased grimace on her face. “What a ninny,” she said to herself, reaching for the paper towels. All this over a stupid letter.

How silly.
The Crashdown Café was as crowded as ever. Actually, it was probably more crowded than it had ever been before. The time was only a little after twelve and the lunch crowd was already going strong – stronger than it ever had when her parents had been alive. Liz didn’t think she’d ever seen so many patrons in the restaurant at one time. Then again, it was UFO Convention season – their busiest time of the year. But tourists aside, everyone in town had known Jeffery and Nancy Parker, proprietors of Roswell’s famous Crashdown Café. A small overly sentimental part of Liz believed this was just their way of saying goodbye.

Liz couldn’t contain the smile that formed on her lips as she looked over the packed room. It seemed she’d been worried for nothing. So far, there had been no fires to put out; everyone was doing their job as they should, and all the customers seemed to be pleased as well. Even though there were a lot of patrons, Liz didn’t feel as overwhelmed as she’d thought she would feel. She was sure her parents would have been proud of the way she was running things.

All in all, things were going really well.

“Order up,” Michael called out. He could barely be heard over the hub of customers filling the restaurant. Liz and Maria reached the service counter at the same time.

“Can you believe how many people are in here today?” Maria asked. “It’s crazy.”

Liz shook her head. She was having a hard time wrapping her head around it too. “I didn’t expect this.”

Maria shrugged. “Well, I guess it is convention season.”

“I know, but still, it’s kind of unbelievable.”

“Come on, girl. What did you think would happen?” Maria asked, smiling at her friend.

Liz shook her head. “Honestly Maria, I don’t really know what I was expecting today to be like. Definitely not this. I guess I just kind of thought things would be… different.”

“You’re doing fine. Stop worrying.” Maria touched a hand to Liz’s shoulder, fully aware of what she was really saying.

Liz smiled thankfully. “I know. Thanks, Maria.”

“You know what I can’t believe?” Michael asked, interrupting the two of them.

Maria rolled her eyes at him. “I’m sure you’re going to tell us.”

He ignored her. “I can’t believe you two have time to stand around chit-chatting while me and Jose are back here busting our asses to fill these orders.”

“Jose and I,” Maria corrected him sweetly, leaning over the counter to give him a peck on the cheek.

He groaned, but didn’t wipe the kiss away. “Take this over to table six,” he said, placing a large platter on the counter between them.

“Please?” Maria asked sarcastically.

“No need to beg,” he answered drolly.

Liz smiled at the exchange and then turned to face Michael as Maria walked away with her order. “Could you maybe try losing the angry cook persona for just one day?” she begged as nicely as she could.

Michael shifted the toothpick he’d been chewing on from one side of his mouth to the other. “That wouldn’t be very genuine of me, now would it?” he said, quickly topping off a hamburger.

“Well can you at least smile at the customers?” she compromised.

He paused in his work for a moment and shot her a creepy fake smile.

Liz winced. “I said smile at them, not frighten them away.”

“That’s the best I got,” he said, sticking an alien head sandwich toothpick a little more forcefully than he needed to into the middle of one of the hamburgers on her tray.

“Fine,” Liz conceded, knowing she’d lost to him for now. “Go back to being angry.”

He saluted her. “Good call.”

With a shake of her head, Liz picked her order up and took it over to the table where Alex Whitman and Kyle Valenti were seated. Alex had been her good friend for a long time, and she’d briefly dated Kyle back when they’d all been in high school. Even though Kyle was a something in her life that nothing had ever come out of, the two of them had still remained good friends.

“What are you two talking about?” she asked curiously when they abruptly stopped talking once she reached their table.

“Nothing,” they both answered too quickly. “Nothing you need to hear about,” Kyle added.

Liz eyed them both suspiciously as she set their plates down in front of them. “Really? What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Nothing,” Alex said. “Generic guy stuff.”

“Oh, so what, does that mean I have to be a member of the ‘guy’s club’ in order to hear it?” she asked with a sarcastic roll of her eyes.

“No, not at all,” Kyle said, shaking his head. “You do however have to have to have a penis, so…” he glanced down in the general direction of her apron. “That counts you out.”

“Kyle, that’s gross,” she said offensively. “People are eating.”

He shrugged. “You asked. I’m just explaining to you what the rules are.”

Alex laughed. “Aw, come on, Kyle, we can tell her if she really wants to know.”

“Do I really want to know?” she asked.

“No backing out now,” Alex said. “Kyle was just telling me about this hot blonde firecracker he hooked up with last night, and all the different positions they–”

“Okay!” Liz cut off before he could go any farther. “You’ve made your point.”

Alex smiled over at Kyle. “See, now she knows never to ask again.”

Kyle laughed.

“You’re right Alex. I will make it a note to never ask again,” Liz said. Shaking her head in displeasure, she could still hear the sound of Alex and Kyle’s laughter as she walked away from their table.


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Daddy’s Daughters (CC, AU, Teen/Mature, AN, 10/14/09)

Post by CandyDreamQueen » Wed Oct 14, 2009 10:33 am

Hey guys I just got back from a little off season vacay, but I've been working on this so I wanted to leave a little AN so that it's not booted to D&B. I'll try to get this back up and going ASAP. Thanks everyone.