RATING: Mature, for language lately.
PAIRINGS: AU without aliens. M&L, M&M, A&I, K&T
DISCLAIMER: none of this is mine, just borrowing.
SUMMARY: Mobile phones are really great and very useful, but sometimes the sneaky little bastards can cause a world of trouble. Four short stories about the things that can go wrong featuring our favourite Roswellians.
Excuse the mess, this is unbetaed.
Max Evans stared across the crowded bar of Cow Patties, his eyes fixed on a couple laughing by the pool table. His shoulders were hunched, his fists curled and his gaze was angry.
“Who pissed in your Fruit Loops?” A voice asked, interrupting his attempt to see if looks really could kill.
“Nobody,” Max sulked. He turned his back on the couple and faced his friend. “Hey, Michael.”
Michael was looking over his shoulder, immediately spotting what had caused Max's foul mood. “Stalking, I see.”
“I'm not stalking,” Max snapped. “I was here first. They just came in a few minutes ago. Believe me I have no desire to watch Liz Parker being mauled by that slimeball Jenson.” He shook his head and glanced over his shoulder just in time to see Jordan lean down and whisper something in Liz's ear that caused her to blush and giggle. He grimaced and turned away again. “What kind of name is Jordan Jenson anyway?”
“It's a douche name,” Michael agreed. He sat down on the stool beside Max and signaled to the bartender. The bartender duly placed three beers on the counter in front of him. Michael slid one over in front of Max and took a sip from his own. “You know, you have nobody to blame but yourself.”
“What's that supposed to mean?” Max asked.
“I mean, you've been lusting after Parker for eighteen years now. And in eighteen years, how many times have you asked her out?”
It was a rhetorical question. Max had never worked up the courage to ask Liz Parker out.
“If you would just grow a pair of balls and ask her out, you might be the one feeling her up at the pool tables right now.”
Max glowered at Michael and kicked him to warn him to be quiet as Michael's girlfriend joined him at the bar, nabbing her bottle of beer. Maria Deluca was Liz's best friend and she was the last person that he wanted to know about his infatuation with Liz. “Hi, Maria.”
“Hi,” Max,” Maria said cheerfully. “Have you seen Liz?”
“Uh... I think I saw her come in earlier with Jordan Jenson,” Max said.
“She's over by the pool tables,” Michael supplied, shaking his head at Max's patheticness.
“Cool,” Maria gave Michael a quick kiss and slipped away. Max relaxed a little. He knew that with Maria around, Jordan wouldn't have much chance to feel Liz up. Maria didn't like him either.
Michael watched Maria go before turning back to Max. “Dude, seriously, ask her out already.”
“I'm too late. She's with him now.”
Michael groaned. “They've been out a couple of times. They haven't even slept together yet. And they're not getting married any time soon. Plus he's an asshole. So, she's fair play. Ask her out. Stop being such a pussy.”
Max glared at him. “It's easy for you to say that. You never asked Maria out either. She's the one who had to do all the chasing. If she'd waited for you to make the first move, you'd be sitting here too pining for the woman you love.”
“Hey now, easy with the L word,” Michael complained. “I don't want to give Maria ideas.”
“Ass,” Max under his breath. If he had a girlfriend, he wouldn't take her for granted the way Michael took Maria for granted, he would treat her right and let her know that he loved her, every day.
He pushed himself away from the bar. “I'm going to use the men's room.”
The men's room was mercifully empty. Max leaned against the sink and tried to calm down. He knew that he was grumpy and sulking and that it wasn't fair to take it out on Michael, but he couldn't help it.
He slouched away from the sinks and stood in front of the urinal. The door opened and Max heard somebody else approaching. He trained his eyes on the wall in front of him.
From the corner of his eyes he realized that the other guy in the room was none other than Jordan Jenson. Max gritted his teeth and willed himself to hurry up. Unfortunately it seemed that he was having the longest piss of his life.
“Hey, Evans,” Jenson greeted as he unzipped. Another reason he was douche. Didn't he know bathroom etiquette? “Who are you here with tonight?”
“The guys,” Max said. He zipped himself up and hurried back to the sink.
Jenson followed. “I'm here with Liz Parker. I think I’m finally going to get lucky tonight. I’ve been laying the groundwork for a while now, think it's time to cash in. She better be worth it after all the trouble I’ve been to.”
Max wasn't usually a violent guy. He was passive and calm. He didn't believe in using violence to solve problems. But right then, he wanted nothing more than to punch Jordan Jenson's lights out. His fists curled at his side and he took a deep breath. “Fuck off Jenson. You're nothing but a stupid little prick.”
Jenson laughed, not at all perturbed by Max's outburst. “A stupid little prick who's going to get inside Liz Parker's pants tonight while you go home alone and jerk off to the thought of Liz Parker.” He patted Max's shoulder and left the room.
Max punched a wall which did nothing except hurt his hand.
Furiously he strode back to bar. Alex Whitman was sitting beside Michael now, a whiskey in his hand. Max took one look at Alex’s drink and ordered one for himself too. He wanted nothing more than to get trashed right then.
“I don't get it,” he said. “Why do girls fall for dicks like Jordan Jenson?”
“I wish I knew,” Alex said. “Maybe if I was a dick, I’d have some luck.”
Max turned to Michael, “Hey, you're a dick to Maria yet she's still going out with you. How do you do it?”
“I'm not a dick,” Michael protested angrily. “You're just jealous because I have a girlfriend and you stuck stalking Liz because you don't have the balls to ask her out.”
“Where's Kyle tonight?” Alex asked in a blatant attempt to change the subject before Max and Michael came to blows.
“He's taking Tess to see an art show. He'll be here later.”
“Another one of them,” Michael mumbled under his breath.
“What's that?” Max asked, glaring at Michael.
Michael rolled his eyes. “You two are pathetic, pining over girls you don't have the balls to ask out and Kyle is pussy-whipped by a girl he's not getting any from. Seriously, man up.”
“Why all the long faces?” Maria asked as she materialized at Michael's elbow. She slipped her arm around his waist and surveyed the three guys. “What's going on?”
“Nothing,” Michael said quickly.
“Dance with me, please?” She asked, throwing in a pout for good measure.
Michael made a face but he allowed Maria to drag him onto the dance floor.
Max followed their progress onto the floor until his eyes alighted on Liz and Jordan. Liz had her arms wrapped around Jason's neck and her head was leaning against his shoulder. Jenson caught Max's eyes and smirked.
Max turned his back on them and slumped against the bar. “I don't get it, he's a creep. What the fuck does she see in him?”
Alex looked over at the pair and shrugged. “He's smart enough not to act like a creep around women.” He sighed and downed his whiskey.
“What's got you on whiskey tonight?” he asked, remembering that Michael had mentioned that Alex was pining over a girl too.
“Nothing,” Alex sighed. He held up his hand and ordered them another round of drinks. “I like this girl but she's with this guy. He's a good guy too, so I can't even hope she'll see him for what he really is and leave him. They're probably going to get married and have kids and I’ll die alone with only my pet parrot for company.”
Max skipped over the parrot comment because he really didn't know what to do with that. “Who's the girl?”
“Uh... nobody you know,” Alex sighed.
The bartender placed their drinks in front of them. The two guys raised them to their lips and swallowed in one.
Tess giggled at Max's attempt at the Katy Perry song. “Don't give up the day job, ok Max?”
“I won't,” he promised. He hiccuped and leaned his head against the car window.
A few minutes later, Kyle's parked in front of Max's building and he and Tess helped Max out of the car and up the steps to his apartment. Max was singing loudly despite Tess and Kyle's frequent admonishment's to be quiet. “Do it aaaaaaalllllllllll again... I love tha song.”
He stumbled on the last stair and if probably would have fallen if Kyle hadn't been supporting him.
Kyle leaned him against the door. “Keys, Max?”
Max patted his pocket. Kyle signalled for Tess to go fishing. She slid her hand into his pocket and pulled out a set.
“Looks like you got a girl in your pants tonight after all,” Kyle joked
“I'm going to be a doctor,” Max announced suddenly. Had they been talking about work?
“I know,” Tess giggled again.
She unlocked the door and Kyle hefted Max inside and into his bedroom. He pulled off Max's jacket and pushed Max onto the bed so he could pull off his shoes.
Max lay half on, half off the bed, his head lolling off the mattress. “D'you thing Lis is fucking that prick right now?” he asked.
“No, she's not. She left in a cab, alone.” Tess said as she came back into the room. She set a glass of water on the bedside table and placed a bucket on the floor by the top of the bed. Then she and Kyle pulled Max fully onto the bed. “Are you going to be ok now, Max?”
“Whyaren't you two together?” Max asked, staring up at his two friends. He lifted his head off the pillow to look them more fully in the eyes. “You should've babies together.”
“You're drunk, Max,” Kyle said sternly. He pushed Max down again. “Go to sleep.” He tossed Max's phone onto the bed beside him and ushered Tess out of the room.
Max lay on his bed watching the ceiling spin above him for a few moments. Then he turned onto his side, rolling onto his phone. He picked it up and saw that when he'd rolled over, he'd pressed the button to bring up his previously called numbers. Michael's name was top of the list. So he dialed.
“H'llo,” came Michael's sleepy voice.
“Heeeeeeeeeeeeere's Maxie,” Max cackled down the phone.
Michael groaned on the other end. “Are you drunk?”
“No,” Max said, covering his mouth so that Michael wouldn't hear him laughing and know that he was lying.
He could hear Maria say something and Michael answered. “It's Max, he's drunk.”
“You're a lucky sunovabish, Mike, y'know tha? You got a great girl there. M'ria's great. She's funny and she's smart and she's boofital... beufital... and she loves you. I don't know why... why does she love you? Because you're a prick.”
“I don't know,” came Michael's weary response. “Max, can we have this conversation tomorrow?”
“No! I want to haf it now. You're a good guy Mike, and I love you man. I love you. You're my best fren in the whole world. But sometimes I really wanna punch you, man. If I had a girl like M'ria I'd be so good to her. I wouldn't be a prick like you are to her. Why dontcha tell M'ria you love her? You should tell her. G'won, tell her.”
“Max, I'll talk to you in the morning,” Michael said, and hung up.
Max stared at the phone for a minute and rang again. There was no answer, so he rang again.
“Go to sleep, Max. I'll talk to you in the morning,” Michael said.
“Why is Lis with that guy?” Max asked, ignoring Michael's comment. “She's so perfeck. She's got perfeck hair and perfeck eyes and perfeck everything. She's a perfeck person, y'know. So why is she going out with him? He's such a loser. I hate him. I want to smash his nose off his stupid face. Why is she with him?”
“Maybe because he asked her out.” Michael suggested.
“But why did she say yes? She didn't haf to say yes. She could've said NO. I'd have said no if he asked ME out. I wouldn't go out with him, if I was a girl. I'd go out with somebody like me. I'm a good guy. I'd be a good boyfriend. Why doesn't she go out with me?”
“Because you haven't asked her,” Michael said. “Go to sleep, Max. We'll talk tomorrow.” He hung up again.
Max kept the silent phone cradled to his ear for a while as she considered Michael's words.
Michael was right. He should ask Liz why she was going out with that prick. So he scrolled down through his contacts until he came to Liz's number and he pressed 'call'.
It went straight to her voicemail.
“Hi, this is Liz. I can't answer the phone right now. Please leave a message and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. Promise.”
“Hi Lis. This is Max.”
Every part of Max hurt. His feet hurt. His muscles hurt. His eyes hurt. His hair hurt. And most especially of all, his head hurt.
He kept his eyes closed, careful not to move because that just made everything worse.
But his stomach had other ideas. He tried to fight it back, but it was no use. He was going to blow.
Max rolled onto his side just in time to empty the contents of his stomach into a well placed bucket by the bed.
He waited until he had thrown up everything he possibly could before rolling weakly unto his back. He was very impressed with himself that he'd had the foresight to leave the bucket there the night before.
There was a glass of water by the bed. It looked cool and delicious. He wanted it more than anything in the world. But he was too feeble to reach for it. So he just stared at it and imagined the cool water sliding down his throat.
He was vaguely aware of somebody knocking on his door but he ignored it. He wasn't moving from the bed. Ever.
Then his phone rang. He grabbed his head in pain and moaned until the phone rang out. Almost at once it rang again. He grabbed it. “What?” he croaked.
“Open the door, Max,” came Michael's cheerful voice. “I'm going to keep ringing until you do.”
Slowly and painfully, Max forced himself upright. His head thumped in protest. His stomach threatened to erupt again. He managed to lift the glass of water and swallow a mouthful of it. It helped, a little.
Very gingerly, Max made his way down the hallway towards his door, leaning on the wall for support.
Michael grinned. “Morning, sunshine,” he said pushing past Max.
Max followed him into the kitchen and slumped onto a stool at the breakfast bar. He buried his face in his hands as Michael bustled around the kitchen. “What are you doing here?” Every word was painful.
“I thought that you might like to come for a game of basketball with me this morning,” Michael told him. Max could hear the glee in his voice. He was enjoying this too much.
“No,” Max groaned.
“Here,” Michael a fresh glass of water and two paracetamol under Max's nose. “Take these.”
Max took the pills gratefully. He looked up and watched as Michael put a Crashdown Cafe bag down on the counter and pulled out a huge bacon and sausage sandwich and a large cherry coke. Michael set them in front of Max.
Max expected his stomach to turn, but it didn't. It growled in hunger.
“Eat it, you'll feel much better,” Michael promised.
“I doubt it,” Max said. “I feel like death.” But he took a bite and it did help.
Michael pulled another sandwich out and began to eat it himself.
“How did you know I'd need this?” Max asked after he'd eaten half of his sandwich.
“You called me at three thirty in the morning, wasted out of your mind,” Michael said. “So I had an idea.”
“I called you?” Max asked, he had no recollection of it. “What was I saying?”
“Mostly, you were calling me a prick,” Michael said casually.
Max winced. “Shit. Sorry, man.”
Michael laughed. “You balanced it out by telling me you loved me, so we're cool.”
“Cool.” Max took another bite and chewed slowly... There was something else, niggling at the back of his mind.
“Do you really think I treat Maria badly?” Michael asked after a few minutes of silence. “ Twice last night you had a go at me for the way I treat her.”
Max looked at him in surprise. He could see that Michael really wanted to know the answer to that question. Whatever he'd said to his friend the night before had apparently touched a nerve.
“No, not badly,” Max answered. He sighed and put down his sandwich. “Although I think you could treat her better. You don't seem to realize how lucky you are that have such a great girl in your life, and that she loves you. You take her for granted, Michael. She puts up with a lot of your shit, but she won't always. You should try and make her feel special, let her know that you love her, even if you can't say it to her.”
Michael was silent, absorbing Max's words.
“You're so lucky to have her,” Max continued. “I'd kill to have what you have. If I had Liz, I'd tell her everyday that I love her. I'd show her all the time. I wouldn't ever let her doubt how much she means to me.”
“Then tell her,” Michael urged. “Max, you've been in love with that girl ever since I've known you. Put yourself out of this misery and just ask her out. You never know what might happen. Except, I do know because I have the inside track and I really think that you should ask her out.”
“Really?” Max's headache suddenly cleared. “You think Liz would say yes.”
Michael rolled his eyes. “What have you got to lose? Call Liz and ask her out to lunch.”
Max had a horrible, horrible sinking feeling.
He picked up his phone and checked his call log.
He'd called Liz.
shit. shit. shit. shit. shit.
He'd drunk-dialed Liz.
What had he said?
He could feel cold sweat pour out of his body.
There was another knock on the door and Michael slipped off his seat to go and answer it while Max hyperventilated.
Max could hear Michael talking to somebody. A feminine voice answered. Oh God. Was it Liz come to yell at him for whatever he'd said the night before. God, had he told her he loved her too?
Michael returned to the kitchen. He grinned at Max and stepped aside to reveal Liz was behind him.
“I'm going to go take Maria out for some brunch,” Michael announced. “I'll see you later, Max. See ya, Liz.”
“Bye, Michael,” Liz said.
Max was too busy wishing the ground would swallow him whole to say anything to his friend.
Liz smiled shyly and took the seat Michael had recently vacated. “How are you this morning, Max?”
“Not good,” Max answered. His nervousness made his voice sound hoarse and shaky. “I had a wild night.”
“Apparently,” Liz smiled.
“Did I call you too?” Max asked, trying to play it off as no big deal. “I don't know what I did. Michael said I called him up and told him I loved him. I do that when I'm drunk, tell people that I love them. It's just the drink talking. I shouldn't be allowed to have a phone when I'm drunk. Was I talking to you?”
Liz shook her head. “No, you weren't talking to me. But you did leave me a message. Want to hear it?”
“No,” Max pleaded.
But Liz called her voicemail anyway and put it on loudspeaker.
“Hi Lis. This is Max. Max Evans. I'm calling you coz I've a kestion. I've a very 'portant kestion for you. And I want you to answer me honestly.hic Why are you with tha guy? Jenson is a tool. He's a fool. He's a prick. He's a dick. He's a... I dunno wha you see in 'im. All he wanstodo is to get you into bed withim.hic
“I think you're perfeck. You have perfeck hair. I love your hair. And I love your smile. And I love your eyes. And I love the way you laugh. hicAnd I love the way you smell. I even love your little stubby legs.
“Sometimes I go to the market and I smell all the shampoos and I try to fine the one that you use but I can never fine it. What shampoo do you use?
“hic Shampoo's a funny word.
“You don't deserve a guy like that. You deserve a guy that will respeck you and treat you right. You shouldn't be with a guy who'll brag about sleepin' with you in the men's room. hic You should be with a guy who knows he's lucky to haf you and'll do everything in his power to make you 'appy every day for the res of your life.
“I wanna be that guy, Lis. Coz I love you. I've loved you since the very firs time I saw you. I got off the bus and you were playin' patty cake wi' M'ria and I fell in love with you right there and then. hic And every day since then I've fallen a little bit more in love with you because every day you become even more boofital... beufital... and lovely, and kind, and smart. You've become an amazing woman and I'm privileged to know you.hic
“So I was wonerin' if you'd like to go out with me, sometime. If you're not going out with that Jenson douche anymore.
“I hate that guy. hic
There was a full minute of silence and then the message ended.
As the message had played, Max had sunk lower and lower in his seat until his head was resting on the counter top. He had never felt so embarrassed in his life. He prayed for death. He didn't care how it happened as long is it was swift and immediate.
Liz's voice broke the silence. “I get my shampoo at Amy Deluca's store. It's vanilla and jasmine.”
“Oh. It's nice.”
Slowly, Max sat up but he couldn't face her yet. “I'm so sorry about all that, Liz. I was very drunk.”
“I was wondering if any of it is true.”
Max licked his lips. He thought about what Michael had said. He thought about what he himself had said to Liz. She deserved to know that she was loved. So he nodded. “Yes. All of it.”
“You really think I have stubby legs?”
Max's cheeks flamed and he shook his head. “No, I...”
Liz laughed. “Look at me, Max.”
Max exhaled slowly and turned his body to face Liz, though he still couldn't bring himself to look at her. He trained his gaze on his hands, folded in his lap.
Liz reached forward and took his face in her hands, she tilted it up slowly and Max's eyes followed.
To his surprise, Liz was smiling and her eyes were bright with tears.
“Do you really love me?” She asked, her voice was soft and hopeful.
Max swallowed nervously. “Yes. I always have.”
Liz leaned forward and pressed her lips on his. Max wound his fingers in her hair and pulled her closer, deepening the kiss, savoring her and tasting her. She was as perfect as he'd always imagined.
When they pulled apart, Liz smiled at him. “How come you have never said anything before?”
“I... I have no idea...” There had been a hundred different reasons but they all seemed so stupid right now.
“Maria always said that you liked me. I didn't believe her but she insisted and she's always right about these things. So I waited and waited for you to make a move. And just when I’d given up and decided to move on... you drunk-dialed me.”
Max laughed. “I needed the Dutch courage.”
Liz grinned and leaned forward for another kiss.