Page 2 of 5
Posted: Sat Mar 31, 2007 1:46 am
Hello again readers! I'm trying to get as much writing done before I leave for vacation next week. And to that end, I have another chapter!
Maria’s exclamation rang out loudly in the empty café. But the scolding look of disapproval on Michael’s face did nothing to deter her anger. She had been the one to sit up late at night with Liz, crying with her because of Tess. Because of Tess, Liz had been forced to hurt the one person she loved beyond all understanding. Because of Tess, she had to endure the cold, angry glares of Michael and Isabel. But Liz forced herself to push her pain aside, told Maria not to say anything because they needed Tess, because she was their ally. To find out now that she had lied to them all, betrayed them. Maria was done holding her tongue. She pointed an accusatory finger in Michael’s direction.
“Do not start with me, Michael. I knew from the beginning that she couldn’t be trusted and now look what happened. She handed Max and Isabel over to your enemies! God, who knows what else she could have done to us?”
“Maria, let them finish,” Alex coaxed soothingly.
“Fine,” she relented with an angry pout. She could go on hating Tess in silence.
“They took me and Isabel to these cells…”
Isabel had lost track of Max’s voice, her eyes instead focused on Kyle’s face. He seemed to have lost all color and his eyes were darting wildly about the room. She could tell that his mind was reeling and she could only imagine what he was thinking.
“Kyle, are you alright?”
Everyone turned their attention to him, but he made no response. He couldn’t seem to speak, couldn’t will his tongue to form words. His mind was lost in the days when Tess was still with him. He analyzed every word, every action, every touch. Wondering what had been real and what hadn’t. He had cared for her like a sister; did she even feel anything for him? He would have willingly given his life for her. If he had stood in her way, would she have killed him? Was everything they shared just a part of her plan?
“Kyle?” Isabel’s voice grew insistent.
“I’ll get him some water,” Michael said, sliding off his chair.
As Michael crossed the restaurant, the bell rang above the door and a man in his late twenties walked into the restaurant. Maria turned around in the booth to address him.
“Oh, I’m sorry, we’re closed.”
The man gestured to the door behind him. “But the sign says you’re open.”
Maria pushed Max out the booth as if he weighed nothing at all and strode over to the door. The last thing she needed right now was some smart-ass hassling her.
“Is that what it says? Thank God for you, because you know, none of us here can read.” Sarcasm dripping from her voice, Maria flipped the sign around to the side that read ‘Sorry, We’re Closed.’
“Pray tell, what does it say now?”
The man looked Maria up and down with contempt. “Whatever.”
Slamming the door behind him and locking it, Maria returned to her seat. “Fucking tourists.”
With Michael back in his chair and Kyle taking cautious sips of his water, Max decided it was time to tell them Liz, about the prediction. He leaned forward, looking to Liz for permission. She had told him several times that she wanted their friends to know everything, but if she had any hesitation at all he certainly didn’t want to force the issue. With a jerky nod she gave her consent, and Max could see that under the table she was reaching for Maria’s hand.
“What I said about Liz, how she’s important, it has to do with Kivar.”
Max was met with furrowed brows and wide eyes. “On Antar Kivar has a group of men called the Praedico. They’re prophets that he uses to predict the future. He trusts everything they say. I guess they’ve never been wrong. Anyways…” He took a steadying breath, digging deep within himself to continue. “They told Kivar about a woman on Earth who would conceive a child, an alien child. The child would end his rule and bring peace to the galaxies.”
“And this woman is Liz?”
Maria didn’t need to ask the question. She could tell by the way that Liz had been squeezing her hand that what Max was saying was true. Still, she needed to hear the words to believe it. Hell, even then it would be hard to accept. But she needed to hear them say it.
“Yes, it’s Liz.”
“And how is Liz supposed to conceive an alien child?”
Isabel turned her face away from the group towards the wall, her hand under her chin. You could always count on Alex to ask the uncomfortable questions.
Michael noted the awkward look that passed between Max and Liz, and the blush that took over both their faces. “With Max.”
The answer finally registered with Alex. “Oh, well that’s…that’s…”
“More than I needed to know,” Maria finished.
“So what’s the deal? You and Liz hop in the sack, problem solved,” Michael’s crass comment dug deep into Maria’s nerves.
“God, Michael, can you at least pretend to be sensitive? Remember that talk we had about when you should just keep your thoughts to yourself?”
“I was just trying to be helpful.”
“It would be helpful if you just didn’t talk.”
“So you think that your child is actually going to be this powerful?” Kyle finally returned to the conversation, apparently getting his bearings back.
“It doesn’t matter what we think. Kivar believes it’s true, and he’ll do anything to stop it,” Isabel’s voice shook with fear.
Alex wrapped his arm around Isabel’s shoulder, pulling her in closer to his body. “So what do we do?”
“We can’t ask you to do anything that would put you in danger.”
“Max, we’re in this together. It doesn’t matter if we’re apart for a day, a year, or a decade. We’re still a group…a family. If one of us is in trouble, then we’re all in trouble.” Maria’s voice was firm and unwavering.
“She’s right, Maxwell. You guys need us.”
“Don’t you think they’ll come looking for you here?” Kyle asked.
“We need to come up with a plan.”
Six pairs of stunned eyes turned to Michael. He matched them with an equally incredulous gaze. “What? Because I said we need a plan? I’ve experienced a lot of personal growth over the years, why can’t you people accept that?”
After a momentary beat of silence, Maria brought the conversation back on-topic. “So how did you guys escape from Antar anyways?”
Isabel licked her lips. “There was a woman in the prison, a servant. It was her job to tend to us after they…to make sure we would be well enough for more questioning the next day. After a few days she told us that she was part of the rebel resistance, that she was there to help us. One day she arranged for a distraction and while the guards were investigating it, she broke us out. She had a cloaking device to disguise us just until we got out of the compound. She led us deep into the city, hoping to hide us in plain sight. A group of rebels was waiting for us in an abandoned building. They gave us a crash course – no pun intended- on how to fly their spaceship, how to navigate. They hid us in some house for a couple of days until we would have a safe opportunity to leave.”
“No one went with you?”
Isabel shook her head, her hair bouncing about her shoulders. “Too dangerous. Everyone on Antar is implanted with a microchip. It contains all kinds of information about them: where they live, where they work, who their family is. It can be used to track them.”
“And Kivar didn’t implant a chip in the two of you?” Alex thought it strange that the precaution wouldn’t be used on two people of such importance.
“We were prisoners in a high-security facility. I guess they didn’t expect to need it,” Max shrugged.
Before Alex could jump in with yet another question, the sound of something falling to ground came from the kitchen. Michael’s head whirled towards the disturbance.
“Did you hear that?”
Maria dismissed the noise with a wave of her hand. “Probably just a can of tomato sauce falling off the shelf. I don’t understand it but that new guy Rob simply cannot stack things properly. Last week an entire gallon jar of pickles fell down, shattered all over the floor. My hands smelled for days.”
Suddenly they could hear the kitchen door flying open and hurried footsteps rushing out into the alley. Michael was out of his seat in a flash, flying out through the door in pursuit of the trespasser. He caught a glimpse of the person who disappeared behind the corner, but when he reached it he found the entire street empty.
When he turned around, the whole group was filing out through the door into the alley.
“Well? What happened?” Max ran over to him.
“I don’t know. I tried to catch her, but she just disappeared.”
Liz came up next to them. “She?”
“Yeah, it was a chick.”
Max stepped out to the sidewalk, looking up and down the street for any sign of the girl Michael had seen. But as he took another step, the dull ache that he had dismissed as a simple headache began to grow. Tendrils of stabbing pain spread throughout his head, pulsing through every nerve. As the pain reached the base of his skull, the voice he had tried to ignore whispered harshly.
You cannot stop him, you’re not strong enough. You’re only putting the people you love in danger. They will all die, all because of you. One by one you will watch them fall, before you finally succumb yourself.
“Max?” Liz was quick to notice that something was wrong.
Max had his back to the wall of the building, his body hunched over and his hands wrapped about his head. He heard Liz repeat his name, and just as quickly as it had come, the pain had disappeared. He could feel it retreat back to somewhere in his head and everything suddenly became clear again. Liz rushed over to him, lowering herself to be able to meet his gaze.
“Max, are you alright?”
For a moment he considered telling her about the pain, the voice. If there was anyone he would confide in, it would be her. But he quickly dispelled the thought from his mind. Why burden her even more than he already had? Hadn’t he already said and done enough? Besides, it was nothing. He was overreacting and it was nothing. But a nagging question at the back of his mind wondered- if it’s nothing, then what’s the harm in telling her?
“I’m fine, Liz. I guess I’m just a little more tired than I thought I was.” Max hoped he sounded reassuring enough that she wouldn’t worry.
“Are you sure? You look really pale.” She reached up to cup his cheek, her other hand brushing against his forehead before mirroring its partner on his other cheek.
If she only knew what her touch did to him. His skin grew hot where her flesh met his, the fire burning through his whole being. Without realizing what he was doing, Max dipped his head towards hers, intending to capture her lips. And for a moment, Liz almost allowed it. She had, in fact, encouraged it by threading her fingers in his hair and pulling him closer. But at the last second she pulled away, reminding herself of the promise that she had made- not to let Max hurt her again, not to hurt Chris.
“I’m sorry. I…I don’t know what I was thinking. I’m fine, really.” Max stood up as he hastily tried to apologize, helping Liz up with him.
As she joined the rest of the group, Liz wondered how she was going to get through the next…God knows how many days, being so close to Max. She had learned by now that her willpower was severely lacking when it came to him. She would have to count on Maria to help her keep to her senses. As long as Michael didn’t serve as a distraction.
I don’t have a chance in hell.
“Was that them, Max? Have they found us already?” Alex winced at the panic in Isabel’s voice.
He had never felt the need to protect her; she had always been so strong. But now before him he saw a frightened little girl, worried not only for herself but for her friends as well.
“I don’t know. But I don’t think we’re safe here.”
“Well wherever you’re going, we’re going too,” Maria stated forcefully, holding to Michael’s arm.
“Yeah, me too,” Alex chimed in.
An irrepressible smile flashed across Isabel’s face. To know that even now he cared about her that much, that he was willing to put his life on the line for her…it was like nourishment for her soul. She knew then that no matter what her life had been or where it would take her, she still had a chance with him.
“Well you guys can’t run off and have all the fun by yourselves, so…” Kyle attempted to make the remark light and casual, but inside he was still shaking.
“Alright anyone who wants to go, and no one has to if they decide they don’t want to, meet back here in two hours. Bring what you need, make sure that it can be packed up in a hurry. Maria, do you think we could use your car too?”
“Yeah, no problem.”
“Thanks. I think it’s for the best if you don’t tell anyone where we’re going.”
Liz was the first to ask the obvious question. “Max, where are we going?”
“I was thinking California, L.A. maybe. Like I said, nobody has to come. There won’t be any hard feelings. Anyone that is coming, I’ll see you in a little while.”
Posted: Tue Apr 03, 2007 11:17 pm
- Lol, poor Max- so close.
- Chris is...around. You'll be seeing him soon. And yes, I am trying to drive you nuts
- I can't tell you yet...
- Welcome! I'm glad you're enjoying.
- Cross dresser! Lol. Yeah, Kyle and Tess were very close, so of course the news is going to hit him hard.
- Just have to wait and see...
- Interesting idea! Hope you like the update.
- Psshh. Girl doesn't know what she wants.
- Whatever works for you
- You too? I hope that's not a bad thing
- It does seem pretty obvious that she should be with Max. She's dealing with a lot of pain and stress right now, she may not be in the best frame of mind. Hopefully she'll come to her senses soon.
- Another new reader! Wow, you have a lot of questions!
No worries, the answers will come eventually. I love Kyle too. I just hope I do him justice.
- Thanks a lot! Here's your update!
A/N: It looks like this is going to be the last chapter before I go on vacation. I should probably pack and maybe get some homework done for once. So I'll be gone until the 15th but hopefully I'll have a chapter for you soon after I get back. In the meantime, enjoy this update!
“Michael, please don’t do this to me. I’m begging you. I will beg on my hands and knees…”
Proving herself true to her word, Maria lowered herself to the ground, her palms pressed together in supplication. “Please, Michael. You don’t know what you’re doing to me.”
Michael’s exasperated sigh told her that he wasn’t going to give in. “Maria, for the last time: You cannot take more than two bags. There just isn’t enough room. And nobody needs that much shit. So cut it down to the bare essentials and get packing.”
“Bare essentials?” Oh God, here comes the tirade.
“I refuse to live like a cave…person. Do you have any idea how much work it takes for me to look this good? I know it seems like I am just naturally radiant but it is all an act, Michael. And it is all held loosely together by carefully-coordinated outfits, hair gel, and make-up. Trust me, you don’t want to see what happens without it!”
Michael choked back the laugh that wanted to escape at the sight of Maria stamping her foot and pouting like a child. He forced his face to remain passive, knowing better than to do anymore to upset her right now. This was just how Maria dealt with stress. And that was certainly in abundance given the current circumstances. He knew that Maria and the others must be feeling what he was- complete and utter helplessness. God, he hated feeling that way. The truth was that everything came down to Max and Liz, if the prophecy was to be believed. That damn prophecy which only served to make him feel even more isolated from the only family he had. He knew now why Max and Isabel hadn’t involved him from the beginning. Max had told him how he and Isabel decided not to tell anyone right away, that they were afraid and unsure, worried that telling anyone would just put them in more danger. They needed time to explore the situation with Liz before they could involve anyone else. And while he understood what they were thinking, it didn’t alleviate his anger and frustration. Even Maria had known when he didn’t.
But he wasn’t in the mood to fight with anyone. Knowing that that girl had been listening to them, seeing how she just disappeared out into the street…he didn’t want to admit it, but he was really shaken up by it. The threat of Kivar’s power had always seemed so distant before, but now they had to confront it head on. And with that thought came the realization that Kivar had succeeded in killing them all once before and might be able to do it again. He set the fear aside, something that was growing increasingly harder to do, and tossed his backpack next to the front door. All he wanted right at that moment was to get everyone out and make sure they were as safe as possible. Because the truth was that no matter how angry he got with Maria, no matter how she pissed him off (oftentimes on purpose), no matter how stubborn she could be, he would be lost without her. Life wouldn’t be worth living if he didn’t get to look into those shining green eyes everyday. Those brilliant green eyes which now looked defiantly into his, looking for any reason to start a fight just to avoid thinking about what they were faced with.
“Why don’t you go light some incense, take a minute to meditate or whatever the hell it is you do, and I’ll come in and help you pack.”
He could sense by the way her body relaxed that she was conceding, but those stubborn eyes were still throwing daggers toward him. When he flashed her that trademark smirk, she became even more determined not to give in. But as his hand grabbed the back of her neck and fiercely drew her lips to his, all resistance melted away. Michael reveled in her throaty moan as her hands ran up his back. Maria was breathless as the spicy taste of his mouth was suddenly taken away.
“We better get moving.”
“Michael, we probably aren’t going to have another moment just to ourselves for a while. I think I need to work off some of this nervous energy before we leave…” she trailed off suggestively, running a finger down his chest to the top of his pants, hooking her finger inside and pulling him toward her room.
“Well if you think it’ll help…”
A moment later their clothes were strewn about the room with reckless abandon, Michael’s body entangled with Maria’s on the bed. He nipped along her collar bone as he plunged into her, savoring the taste of her sweet skin. Her husky voice called out his name and he quickened his pace. Her nails dug into his shoulders and he felt her tighten around him. He looked into her sparkling eyes, knowing he was getting close.
“I love you so much,” he whispered against her lips.
They clung tightly to each other as both reached their climax. Michael’s breath was still racing as he rolled onto his back, one arm trapped under Maria’s body. “I know this is the part where we’re supposed to cuddle, but Max is probably wondering where the hell we are.”
The thought had indeed passed through Max’s mind as he paced inside the Crashdown. He had said two hours, but he didn’t really think it would have taken that long for everyone to get back. Of course he should have factored Maria into the equation. In all honesty the thing that was really bothering him was the fact that he was there alone…with Liz. The thought of their almost-kiss kept running through his head, teasing him with what he had lost. Every time he closed his eyes, her face was there in front of him. And every time he opened them he found himself staring at her. He knew he had to stop, but he just couldn’t force himself to do it. Everything about Liz Parker was addictive, and he was definitely a junkie.
“Uh, did you want something to eat? The grill’s not hot, but I’m sure I could find something,” Liz asked, sidling up on the opposite side of the counter from where he sat.
“No thanks, I’m fine,” he managed to reply.
Liz nodded, putting her elbows up on the counter and resting her chin in her hands. She noticed that he hadn’t really eaten much in the last few days. When she thought he wasn’t looking, she ran her eyes carefully over his body. For the first time she realized how much weight he had lost. He was still quite toned, but he was definitely thinner than he had been before. The line of his jaw had softened, and the t-shirt that would normally cling to his large biceps and chest now hung somewhat loosely.
“Are you sure? Cuz I really think you should eat something. How about I make us a couple of turkey sandwiches?”
“Yeah, okay. That sounds great. You want some help?”
She flashed him a smile, that intoxicating smile, as she backed herself towards the kitchen. “No thanks, I can handle it.”
It seemed like seconds later when she emerged again carrying two plates. She set one down in front of him, placing her own in front of the seat next to him. He reached for the Tabasco, pouring it generously on the sandwich and the pickle wedges. He devoured it all quickly, barely taking a breath between bites. Apparently he was hungrier than he thought he was. Liz could only laugh as he managed to fit half of the sandwich into his mouth.
He tried to hide his embarrassment by wiping his face with a napkin. “Thanks. It was really good.”
Taking a final bite from her sandwich, Liz said, “I need to get some things from my room. Wanna come help?”
He followed her up the steps, telling his eyes not to focus on the supple curves of her butt. Liz’s pace slowed as she stepped into her room.
“Huh, that’s strange…”
“Oh, it’s nothing. Everything just seems moved around a bit. I’m sure it was just my parents.”
“Or it could have been that girl.” Max’s tone struck her as ominous as he looked around her room.
“Do you think?”
He shrugged his shoulders. “It’s possible. Did you have anything important here?”
“No. The only thing here was my journal and I took that with me. It’s downstairs in my back pack right now. Do you think we should be worried?”
“I think we should get out of here as soon as we can.”
“Right, just um…toss me that bag over there.”
Liz began folding clothes as Max reached for the bag she was pointing at. As he picked it up he noticed something on the floor next to her dresser. It was the picture of them taken at prom. God, they both looked so happy. And she of course looked gorgeous. But then again, when didn’t she look gorgeous? When she asked him if they could go together, his heart had stopped beating entirely. Never in a million years had he imagined that he would go to the prom, let alone with the girl of his dreams. That night had been almost perfect. When he held her in his arms on the dance floor, he had almost forgotten that they weren’t even together anymore. And then she had broken the spell by bringing Tess back in.
“Yeah?” His body jerked, startled out of his thoughts. He quickly shoved the picture into his back pocket, hoping she hadn’t noticed.
“The bag?” She asked, laughter dancing on her voice.
“Right, the bag. Sorry.”
“It’s okay. Come over here and help me pack.”
At Alex’s house, Isabel was carefully folding pants and laying them into the suitcase on his bed. Alex came up beside her with a stack of shirts.
She glanced down at his selection, pointing to the one on top. “No, that one has to stay behind.”
“What?” Alex asked incredulously, unfolding it and holding it up against his body. “This is one of my favorite shirts.”
Isabel looked it up and down. “Fine. If you like, you should take it.”
“Did I tell you how happy I am that you’re back?” He suddenly asked, the expression on his face entirely serious.
She smiled shyly and brought her hands up to the sides of his face. “I missed you so much, Alex. You have no idea how much I thought about you when I was away.”
“Actually I think I do,” he retorted, gently pressing his lips to hers.
“So this is really going to happen? We’re really going to give this a go?”
Alex had never seen her so open before, so vulnerable. She was worried about what he would say; he could see it in her eyes.
“Nobody could ever compare to you. I want to make this work, Isabel. I don’t ever want to lose you again.”
She let out her breath with a relieved smile. Her fingers traveled to the back of his head, drawing him in for another kiss. This time it was deeper, more passionate. She hadn’t expected Alex to be so skillful with his tongue, but what he was doing was making her weak in the knees. She had to pull back to regain her balance.
“I, uh…I think we should finish packing and meet up with the others.”
Twenty minutes later they were at the Crashdown with Max, Liz, and Kyle, waiting for Michael and Maria. Isabel nearly died at the sight of Michael walking through the door, backpack slung around his shoulders, both of Maria’s enormous bags in his hands.
“Can we just get going?” He pleaded angrily.
A devilish grin crossed Kyle’s face. “What took you guys so long? Everything ok? Because, Maria, you look a little flushed.”
Ignoring Kyle’s comment, Maria cleared her throat. “I’ve come up with seating arrangements for the first leg of the trip. Liz and Kyle will join me in the Jetta. Michael, Max, Alex, and Isabel can share the rental. Good? Good.”
Maria grabbed Liz’s arm, pulling her towards the door and talking under her breath. “Kyle will be asleep like ten minutes into the trip. After that we are going to talk. And by ‘we’ I mean mostly you.”
Liz just rolled her eyes as they stepped outside. She threw her bag in the trunk, moving aside so that Michael and Kyle could do the same. Max handed Maria a map and the friends separated into their respective vehicles. The drive was underway, and although they had a destination, everyone couldn’t help but feel completely lost.
Posted: Tue Apr 24, 2007 12:13 am
A/N: Dear loyal readers, thank you for being so patient with me. I'm back from vacation, so hopefully the updates will be closer together. I hope you like the latest enstallment!
“1, 2, 3, 4, 5,” Liz counted out, pulling dollar bills from her purse.
She straightened out the stack and passed it to Maria, payment for losing their wager. Liz had bet Maria, over Kyle’s protests that he wasn’t there for their amusement, that he would stay awake for at least forty miles. But as Maria had predicted, Kyle was asleep before they were even two miles out of Roswell.
He figured it was due to all the times when his dad, unsure of any other way to stop his crying, had driven him around as a kid just to get him to fall asleep. It was an explanation that made sense to Liz and Maria. They could perfectly imagine a flustered Jim Valenti strapping Kyle into his car seat and circling around town in the middle of the night. Kyle fought not to roll his eyes when Liz explained that he had been classically conditioned to associate car rides with sleep.
Where in the hell does she store all this information?
Kyle’s ponderings on Liz’s intelligence didn’t last long, as his eyelids soon slid over his eyes and he drifted off into a deep sleep. But no matter how deep the sleep, it didn’t prevent Kyle from voicing his dreams.
“No Heidi, I told you I don’t want to eat the pickle. Give it to the elephant.”
“I don’t even want to know what is going on in that boy’s head,” Maria mumbled, glancing at her rearview mirror for a look at Kyle.
“Oh come on, Maria. What about that book about dream analysis that you read? Lend us your expertise.” Liz finished with a grand flourish of her hands.
“First of all, if you were having reoccurring dreams about Duckie from Pretty in Pink, I’m sure you would want to know what they meant too. Second of all, I see right through you, Liz Parker. Don’t try to change the subject. We’re talking about you and Max.”
Liz’s face instantly fell and she looked despondently out the window, her voice flat as she replied. “There is no ‘me and Max.’ There hasn’t been since he got Tess pregnant and left the planet with her.”
Maria almost did a double take. “But earlier, you said-”
“Forget what I said Maria. It was just a foolish, passing moment. I didn’t mean anything by it.”
Maria turned her sympathetic eyes to her best friend. “Listen hon, I’m not going to say I understand, because I don’t. This whole thing with you and Max…it’s like some kind of friggin Greek tragedy. But it seems to me that somehow the two of you always end up coming back to each other.”
Maria paused for a moment, giving Liz the chance to say something. When she didn’t take it, Maria continued. “And let’s not forget that I was sitting between the two of you in The Crashdown earlier. I’m just grateful that I wasn’t suffocated by all the sexual tension.”
“Maria, that is all in your head.”
“Alright, let’s assume for a second that it is. What about the prophecy? The baby that you’re supposedly going to have with Max? What are you going to do about that?”
Liz’s hand fell from its position of supporting her chin down to her lap. “Give me a break, Maria. No one can predict the future. It’s impossible.”
“Yeah, and a couple of years ago we thought that time travel was impossible. But we sure as hell were proven wrong there.”
Liz ran a weary hand through her hair. Maria had a point, she had to admit. Damn it.
Liz spoke with determination, but Maria sensed the insecurity behind her voice. “We’ll figure something out and take care of this whole mess. And then I’m going back to my life and back to Chris.”
Alright Deluca, someone has got to set this girl straight. I suppose as the best friend, the task falls to you.
“Can I be honest for a second?”
Liz knew the question came only as a courtesy. No matter the response, Maria would speak her mind.
“Go for it,” Liz answered listlessly.
“I’ll admit that I’ve never met Chris so I really can’t make any judgments about the guy. But I know that when you talk about him…it’s not like the way you used to talk about Max.”
“What do you mean?”
Maria threw her hands in the air with a scoff. “I don’t know, it…”
Maria stumbled, one of the few instances in her life where she had trouble finding the words. A frustrated grunt seemed to help smooth her thought process.
“When you used to talk about Max – correction, when you talk about Max, everything about you just seems…brighter. Your eyes, your smile, your voice…You just exude this happy glow. It’s like your whole world is perfect because of this one person, and nothing could possible bring you down. Honestly, if I didn’t love you so much, it would be pretty goddamned annoying- nobody’s life is supposed to be that perfect. But somehow, yours is. But with this Chris guy it seems…forced. Like you’re trying to make yourself happy when you’re not. I just don’t want to see you settle, Liz, because you deserve to be happy. Really, truly, over-the-moon happy. And I just don’t get that feeling from you when you talk about Chris.”
Maria looked over at Liz for the first time since she’d started her impromptu speech. Liz’s face was buried in her hands, her threadbare nerves apparently finally reaching their breaking point. Her sobs were audible, even over the sound of the engine and the radio. Maria inwardly scolded herself. Why do I always have to stick my nose in where it doesn’t belong?
Her hand moved to Liz’s shoulder as she made her concerned apology. “Oh God, babe. I’m so sorry. Please, please don’t cry. I don’t even know what the hell I’m saying. Do you have any idea how many cappuccinos I had? I am on such a caffeine rush. Don’t even listen to a word I say.”
Liz’s strained voice floated out from behind her hands. “No, Maria. You’re right. Everything you said was completely right.”
Her fingers ran underneath her eyes trying to wipe away her tears, a useless endeavor as the torrent continued to flow.
“I’ve been hiding for the past two years. I wouldn’t let myself be happy because I know now what happens. There’s only one way to go from there, Maria, and you wouldn’t believe how fast you can fall. I was really happy with Max. I loved him completely. And before I knew what was happening to me my entire world came crashing down. I’d do anything not to feel that pain again.”
To say that Maria was shocked would only be touching the surface. This person sitting next to her, a woman with a wall around her heart, afraid to let herself be happy, this wasn’t the Liz that she knew. And then she felt the deepest guilt, realizing that hadn’t even noticed the change until now. How could she not have seen what was happening to her best friend?
Her tone was soft, hesitant. “Liz, I…I’m so sorry. I didn’t know how much…But babe, do you really think life is worth living like that?”
The only response Maria received was an uncertain shake of Liz’s head. With a quick sniffle and a few steadying breaths, Liz was able to speak again.
“I don’t know what to think anymore. I mean, Max and I had this back and forth relationship and it wasn’t always the easiest thing to deal with. But whether we were together or not, I always knew that he was there. I never imagined a life without Max Evans in it. And then he was gone. He told me he loved me and then he left. Where’s the worth in loving someone if they just end up hurting you?”
Looking down at her hands, Liz noticed how they were trembling. She forced them down in between her knees, hoping that making them stop quivering would also still the shaking she felt within her. For her part, Maria said nothing. She decided it was better to just let Liz talk, to release everything she had apparently been holding inside.
“Do you know that I wrote him letters? Practically everyday I would sit out on my balcony and just write. I mean it wasn’t really for him. Obviously. I think it was more to help me deal with my feelings. Maybe to bury them in the pages and not have to experience them anymore. But now he’s back and it’s like all the pages have been torn to shreds and all those emotions have escaped.”
Helplessness and desperation shone out of Liz’s watery eyes as she looked over at Maria. “How do I make myself stop loving him?”
A sympathetic smile graced Maria’s lips, but her eyes remained glued on the road. “Honey you are asking the wrong person. Michael and I tried to walk away from each other so many times. But when you love someone, there’s nothing you can do about it.”
For the second time that afternoon Maria had managed to leave Liz speechless. They passed next few hours of the trip in silence, Maria trying to figure out what Liz was thinking, Liz trying to stop herself from thinking about Max.
As they passed the sign for Flagstaff, Arizona, Maria pulled her cell phone from her purse.
“Hey Michael, I just wanted to let you know that we’re going to be stopping in Flagstaff. My mom used to take me there in the summers. I know a great picnic spot in the San Francisco peaks where we can stop and have dinner.”
“Dinner? Maria what are we going to eat?” Kyle asked groggily from the backseat, awaking for the first time in hours.
A proud smile on her face, Maria replied, “Don’t worry about it. I had this whole thing planned out.”
“Good, I’m starving.”
“God Kyle, is that all you do- eat and sleep?” Liz asked sarcastically.
“Oh, I have ways to break the monotony,” Kyle retorted with a roguish wiggle of his eyebrows.
Laughter erupted in the car, alleviating the heavy emotions that had previously occupied the space. Maria’s spirited was lifted a bit, seeing Liz let herself go. And for a moment, Liz’s spirited was lifted as well. But in the next moment, Liz caught a glimpse of Max in her side view mirror. She cursed her heart when it suddenly skipped a beat. No matter how hard she fought against herself, she couldn’t force Max out of her mind or her soul. She understood then that she needed to pull Max aside and finally talk this out. She couldn’t run from her feelings any longer.
Posted: Thu Apr 26, 2007 1:12 am
- Thanks for reading! I'm glad you like it.
- I always thought Liz was a pro-active girl. It's time for her to take control of her life.
- Liz really hasn't had an easy time, has she? Well it's time for 'the talk' and a decision, but don't think that Liz's problems are over yet. Oh, and don't worry about baby Zan. We'll get to him.
- I hope I don't disappoint
- I agree: two years apart is going to take a lot of talking to get past.
- That always seemed to be Maria's job, to help people deal with their feelings. She has a gift for getting people to talk.
- She's Liz's best friend, I think it's kind of her job
- Why thank you!
- Thanks for following along with a story. I think you may like this part.
The sun hung lazily in the sky, casting long shadows across the ground. Maria knew they didn’t have too long before the sun disappeared altogether. She pushed everyone to hike at a double-pace, her cold glares enough to quicken the steps of those who fell behind. She led them to a spot on the edge of the forest that offered a perfect view of Humphrey’s Peak- the highest point in Arizona, Maria pointed out. She directed Michael and Kyle to set down the coolers they had carried, both attempting to hide the effort it took to do so. Maria had packed enough food to carry all of them over through winter.
“Alright, I have Blue Moon Burgers, a couple of Will Smiths, some warp wraps, Saturn rings and space fries. And for dessert, two Men in Blackberry pies. So Michael, if you wouldn’t mind…”
A moment later the food, with exception of the pie, was steaming hot, courtesy of Michael’s powers. It became clear early on that any conversation was forced and awkward, especially for Max and Isabel who had no desire to catch everyone up on their lives. But the silence that settled upon them was surprisingly comfortable, soothing. Something about all of them just being together almost served to erase the bad memories, to turn back the clock to a time when they were all happy and unscarred. Isabel’s contented smile was infectious, passing first to Alex as she fed him a fry, before making its way to everyone else in the circle. Kyle was the only one not to catch it, his mouth being too filled with food to make any expression at all. His loud chewing drew funny looks from everyone.
“Sowwy,” he mumbled, his eyes darting about.
Kyle was slightly indignant at the giggles that his response drew. But a moment later he was laughing louder than anyone, deciding that there was no point in taking anything too seriously if it could be avoided. So it was at that moment that he announced to the group that he was off to take a little ‘bathroom break’, voicing aloud his hope that he wouldn’t be gone too long.
Maria stood and dusted the grass from her backside. Hooking her hand into the crook of Michael’s elbow, she lifted him to her feet, tossing a meaningful gaze in Alex and Isabel’s direction.
“Well, I think Michael and I are going to go for a walk. There are some really cool old lava flows around here. Alex, Isabel, would you care to join us?”
Isabel’s attempt to sound nonchalant, while valiant, didn’t succeed as she had hoped. She jumped to her feet, her voice a little too high, the words a little too rushed. “That sounds really cool, doesn’t it Alex? We should go.”
“Yeah, lava…great. Let’s go,” he snaked an arm around her waist as they followed behind Michael and Maria.
As they disappeared behind the trees, Max turned his amber eyes to Liz who was sitting a ways off from him, absentmindedly pulling at some blades of grass. He couldn’t help but notice that she had been avoiding his gaze since she stepped out of the car, that she had barely spoken two words since they had stopped for the picnic. Even so, he was confident that the sudden departure of the rest of their friends, leaving only him and Liz, was not complete coincidence.
His eyebrows raised in amusement, he called out, “Why do I get the feeling that this is some kind of conspiracy?”
He watched as Liz lowered her head and closed her eyes, as if steeling herself for a difficult task. Without a word she leaned herself forward onto her knees, crawling over to where he was and sitting beside him.
Alright Liz, this is your chance. You need to tell him how you feel. He deserves it. You deserve it.
“I…I was just wondering, you know, about your son. I mean, we all got caught up in you and Isabel coming back, and this whole…prophecy, or whatever. I guess nobody thought to ask you about it.”
Max was taken aback by her question. He hadn’t sensed that this was the direction she was going to go. “Well, I really don’t know anything about him. They never let me see him and nobody really talked about him. I asked the woman who attended us but she said she hadn’t heard anything. I wished there was some way that we could have brought him back with us, but at the time it was just too dangerous to try anything. Besides, we wouldn’t have even known where to start.”
Liz’s eyes, which had been studying Max’s face, quickly returned to the blade of grass between her fingers. “I’m really sorry to hear that, Max.”
Max placed a finger under her chin, unsure if she would welcome his touch. When she didn’t pull away, he gingerly tilted her head up. “Is that really what you wanted me to talk to me about?”
Tears brimming her eyes, Liz silently shook her head.
“Hey, what happened to everybody?” Kyle’s brow was furrowed as he stepped out from the behind the trees.
“Uh, they went for a walk to see the lava flows. That way. I think they wanted you to go along,” Max gestured in the direction that the foursome had gone.
Kyle glanced between Max and Liz. “Right. Well I’ll go catch up then.”
He took off at a brisk pace, breaking into a jog and soon disappearing as their other friends had.
“Come on, Liz. Talk to me. Something is obviously bothering you. What’s going on?”
A reluctant sigh floated from Liz’s mouth. “Have you ever had something that you wanted to say, and you practice it over and over, but when the time comes you just…”
“Can’t?” He finished for her. “Of course. I told you how I thought of telling you my secret thousands of times.”
“Right.” Liz smiled, remembering how special it made her feel to know that Max had wanted to tell her
his secret; that he wanted her
to see who he truly was.
Clearing her throat, she pushed herself to continue. “It’s this whole thing with you, me, and Chris, and this prophecy. I mean, I thought I was finally at this point where I decided the course of my life, where there were no interferences telling me what I had to do. And I care about Chris…I really do.”
Max was sure he knew what she was trying to say. He cut in, trying to reassure her that he supported her decision. “I understand Liz. I will always be grateful for how much you loved me, for everything that you sacrificed for me. But you have another life now, and I just want you to know that I won’t do anything to ruin that for you.”
Liz got to her feet, pacing back and forth in front of him. “Stop, okay. Just stop. This is part of the problem. I’m supposed to hate you, Max. I’m supposed to be angry with you for sleeping with Tess, for leaving me here all alone. But that is really hard to do when you are being so damn understanding and…looking at me like that.”
She fell to her knees in front of him, her face inches away from his bewildered one. She felt herself melting in the warm pools of his eyes.
“And no matter how hard I try, I can’t make myself hate you. Because I know…I’ve always known…that you were the only one I ever wanted to be with. I
am making the decision, and I choose
to be with you.”
Max felt his heart flutter as his stomach tied itself in knots. He had dreamt of a moment like this countless times while he had been held captive. It was more than he dared hope that it was actually happening, and he was certain that he would wake up any second. But as he reached a hand to caress her cheek and felt the creamy skin beneath, he convinced himself that the vision before him was real.
“Liz?” His voice was hoarse with the question he had to ask her, something he had to be sure of. “What about Chris?”
Liz cupped one hand over his, the other finding its way to the back of his neck. “I do care about him, and I don’t want to hurt him. But Max…he can never be you,” she finished, echoing the words he had spoken to her years before.
Max’s breathing hitched as Liz leaned closer to him. As her lips brushed against his, he felt a bolt of electricity shoot through his entire body. The kiss was a contradiction- both familiar and new at the same time, soothing and exhilarating. But the sensation was soon replaced with darker emotions. He felt Liz’s pain and despair, felt her emptiness swallowing him whole. All color seemed drained from the world. Then suddenly he was in the car with Maria, feeling Liz’s emotional breakdown.
He pulled back, holding the sides of her face in his hands. “Liz? God, I’m so sorry. For all of it. It's all my fault.”
“Shhhh,” she whispered in a soothing voice, caressing his arms. “Don’t even think about it. I’m happy now, I have you. That’s all that matters.”
“I never wanted to hurt you,” his voice was strangled, tears welling in his eyes.
Liz placed light kisses along his forehead. “I know. I know you didn’t. Max please, just be with me now.”
Liz ran her tongue along his lower lip, hoping he’d open his mouth and bring his tongue to meet hers. Liz inhaled deeply when he did, savoring the spicy taste of his mouth. She pulled his body tighter against hers, deepening their slow kiss. She vaguely sensed her hands moving up under his shirt, grasping at the taut muscles of his back.
“Max,” she whispered huskily as his mouth moved to the base of her neck, sucking gently before he licked his way up to her ear.
She felt him grow harder as she moaned his name, and the feeling of his hardness against her leg excited her. Her hands entangled in his hair, she leaned her weight forward, pushing him to the ground on his back. She hovered over him, taking in the sight of his muscular body, the handsome face from her dreams. She lovingly ran her hands down his abdomen to the bottom of his shirt, caressing his bare skin as she pulled it upwards. Max sat up, helping her pull the shirt over his head. She nipped at his shoulder, a ravenous desire to taste his skin overwhelming her.
Before she knew what was happening, Max had expertly flipped her body under his. He brought his mouth down to hers, smiling at the surprised and delighted look on her face. As his tongue explored her mouth, his hand gently squeezed her breast through the thin fabric of her baby tee.
“God, Liz. I missed you so much.”
“Please don’t stop,” she pleaded, pulling his mouth back down to hers.
There was no need for spoken words at this moment. She knew how he felt, not only through their connection, but because she was sure that his feelings matched her own. Right then, all she wanted was to feel his mouth on hers, to have his hands take possession of her body. And as much as he wished to oblige her, there was something he knew he had to do first. Something his heart had been aching to say for years. Something he thought would explode inside him if he didn’t release it.
“I love you, Liz. Only you. Always.”
She closed her eyes, letting the words and his warm voice wash over her.
“I love you too, Max. I never stopped.”
Liz swore that not even the sun itself could have been as bright as Max’s smile at that moment. He rolled over onto his back pulling Liz to his chest and holding her as tightly as he could. His fingers ran softly up and down her back as hers circled his belly button. And for the first time in two years, Liz Parker felt truly alive.
Posted: Wed May 09, 2007 12:06 am
Hello again loyal readers! Sorry I've been away for so long, but RL has been a little hectic. Good hectic though, cuz I just had my 21st b-day. Whoop! Anyways, this chapter got a little long, so I split it into 2 posts.
“Liz, are you humming?”
“Hmm?” Liz glanced up from the blanket she was carefully folding.
A knowing grin crossed Maria’s face as she repeated her question. “I said, are you humming?”
Liz felt her cheeks flush, though she was unsure exactly why. “No!” She glanced around at the others who were also keeping themselves busy, then lowering her voice she asked, “Was I?”
Maria nodded her head vigorously. “I think you were. Liz, you’re not the humming type.”
“So what’s wrong with humming? I’m not allowed to hum? People hum all the time, Maria. It doesn’t mean anything.”
Liz’s ranting response was all Maria needed to confirm her suspicions. “You know, my mom’s not the humming type either. Every now and then though, she’ll wake up really happy and just humming away. Those are the days that I have to get out of the house because I know she’s gotten some.”
“Maria!” Liz’s expression was an amalgam of surprise and horror. God, was she really that transparent?
Maria mimicked her response, her eyes wide and her mouth a gaping ‘o’. She could only hold the mocking expression for a moment before the laughter leapt from her throat. “Oh come on Liz, you are positively radiant! Tell me what’s going on!”
“Could you please keep your voice down?” Liz begged in a hushed tone.
She roughly grabbed Maria by the arm, taking her by surprise. And while she tried to maintain a blank expression, inside Maria was smiling. Liz pulled her towards the edge of the trees and out of hearing range of the rest of the group.
Liz smoothed back her unkempt hair and tried to appear calm, hoping that Maria wouldn’t be able to read her face. “Okay, Maria. So Max and I…we talked. It is no big deal and I’m asking you not to make it into one.”
Maria’s retort was gentle, but accusing. “If it’s no big deal, then why do I have to keep my voice down?”
Damn, now she had backed herself into a corner. Come on, Liz. You’re supposed to be smart. You’ve maintained a 4.0 GPA for the last 4 years. Think of something!
As Liz opened her mouth to respond, her eyes suddenly locked with Max’s. Even with the distance between them, she thought she might melt from the heat of his intensive gaze. She wished he would march over to her and quell the fire burning through her with his mouth. She lost all sense of time and place, hypnotized by those glowing amber eyes. Liz was finally able to draw in a breath when a contented sideways grin crossed Max’s face and he turned his attention back to packing up.
Maria’s smile was irrepressible, prideful. She loved being right. “Uh-huh. Just like I said. Radiant.”
With an amused huff, Liz gave in, her hands meshed into her hair. “Fine. You were right. Are you happy?”
Maria’s eyes widened as a thought flickered into her head. “You mean you and Max actually…out here in the open? With all of us only like a hundred yards away?”
“No! No, I mean I told him how I felt and…”
“And…” Maria coaxed when Liz trailed off.
“And we…reconnected,” Liz averted her eyes, a pleased smile that she just couldn’t hide playing on her lips. “I don’t know exactly what the next step is going to be, but whatever happens we’re doing it together.”
Maria tossed her arm around Liz’s shoulder, pulling her back towards the picnic spot. “Aww babe, I knew everything would work out. I’m really, really happy for you.”
Maria slipped a folded piece of paper into Liz’s hand.
“Maria, what is this?”
“Oh that?” Maria asked nonchalantly. “It’s just my birthday list.”
Liz eyed her suspiciously. “Maria, your birthday isn’t for another five-and-a-half months.”
“I know. I just thought that you might want to get an early start.”
Liz threw her head back and laughed, wrapping her arm around Maria’s waist.
“Any chance we’ll be leaving before dawn?” Michael called, throwing his arms out to the side.
Maria shot him a look that he recognized all too well. The last time he had carelessly ignored that look he ended up at the emergency room with three stitches above his right eye. Maria swore that she was aiming just past his head, but he still had his suspicions. He gave her a quick peck on the cheek to placate her, hoping that his lips wouldn’t connect with her fist instead. Judging by the accepting smile on her face, it seemed to do the trick.
Maria looked like a quarterback gathering everyone in a huddle around her. After she made the announcement that they were switching riders, with Liz and Kyle going with Max, she spurred everyone on backs toward the cars. “Let’s get a move-on, people. It’s another 3 hours till we get to Lake Havasu City and all I want to do is take a nice, long shower.”
A similar thought ran through Max’s mind. A long, cold shower to cool him off. He knew exactly where he and Liz were headed earlier, the fact that they were outdoors in a public park notwithstanding. Everything about that moment was firmly implanted on his mind. The way she had felt on top of him, her hips pressed against his. The way her tongued had plunged into his mouth, so desperate and demanding. How her hands had raked over his body. The way he could feel her heat at the straining in his pants…
A very long, very cold shower was definitely needed. And maybe some ice. Yes, ice could be good. The image of an ice cube running down the swell of Liz’s breast, circling a hard pink nipple suddenly crept into Max’s mind.
Get a hold of yourself, Evans! Come on, what did Michael tell you to think about? Mud? Okay. Mud. Mud. Mud. Mud slide. Mud pie. Muddy shoes. Mud cake.
“Max, are you alright?” Liz was looking up at him in bewilderment.
Max hadn’t even noticed that they’d been walking, but now he was standing right beside the car. Liz tugged his hand, still waiting for his answer.
He gave her hand a quick squeeze and a discreet kiss on the cheek. “I’m great.”
He didn’t want to push Liz too far, too fast. He was determined to take his time, to show her why she fell in love with him in the first place.
Posted: Wed May 09, 2007 12:08 am
“Are you sure he’s really sleeping?”
Kyle was curled up in the back seat, his face buried into the cushion.
“Yeah. Yeah, I’m sure,” Liz replied, running a hand gently up and down Max’s forearm.
Max fought not to groan at the tingling sensation that followed Liz’s fingers.
“That might not be such a good idea right now,” he said, regret lining his voice.
“Oh really? Well then what about this?” She tossed back playfully, allowing her hand to drop lower to his thigh.
For a moment, the rational part of Max’s brain was completely overruled by the feeling of Liz’s hand on his leg. But her hand began exploring dangerously higher, and Max knew that he had to stop it before she completely pushed him over the edge.
“That,” He said, picking up her hand and placing it back in her lap, “is definitely not a good idea right now.”
One simple sound, not even an actual word, and it made Max wince. He could tell she had completely misinterpreted his behavior and that she had been hurt by it.
“No Liz, it’s not what you think,” he rushed to explain. “I just…I don’t want to push things too fast. You deserve better than that. I love you, Liz. And I’m going to prove it to you.”
“Max, you don’t need to prove anything to me. I love you and I want to be with you. I know we both want this, so why should we wait?” She was turned in her seat to face him, both of her hands gripping his arm in a desperate plea.
He moved his hand from the steering wheel to caress her cheek with his thumb. “You’re worth waiting for Liz,” he said simply. “And there’s still a lot we need to talk about. Including the prophecy.”
Liz threw her head back and sighed in exasperation. “Come on, Max. Can we at least pretend that this is just about us, even for just a few minutes?”
“This is about just us. I want you to know that I’m not going to let that prophecy rule my life and it doesn’t have to rule yours either. We don’t have to do anything that you don’t want to.”
Relief washed over Liz and she felt her tense body relax. Max had said the exact words she needed to hear. She was beyond happy to have him back in her life, but she was still unsure what he expected of her. Knowing that he was willing to accept their relationship for what it was, that there was no pressure to fulfill some distant destiny, it was soothing to her.
“Thank you, Max.”
She took his hand back in hers, keeping it in a safe place on the arm rest between them.
“So what’s the plan for when we get to L.A.?”
Max shifted uncomfortably in his seat. “Honestly…I don’t know.”
“That’s not like you,” she noted gently.
“I know. I feel like they’re one step ahead of us and I’m just playing catch up. We’ll find a hotel when we get there and we’ll come up with a plan. All of us, together. I don’t want to be making anymore decisions on my own. I’m not a king here. Hell, I wasn’t even a king there.”
Liz chewed her bottom lip, unsure if she should say what she was thinking. Max noticed the nervous gesture, and he knew that it meant Liz had something on her mind.
“What is it?”
She looked intently at his face even though he couldn’t return her gaze. “The problem is that whether you like it or not Max, they’re look to you to lead them. Michael, Isabel, even Maria and Kyle. They’re counting on you to know what to do. It sucks but that’s the way it is.” She paused for a moment, her other hand running gentle circles across the back of his. “But the bright side is that I’ll always be here for you, to help you when you need me.”
Max offered her a grateful smile and a quick kiss, careful to keep his eyes on the road. They didn’t have much farther to go until they reached Lake Havasu City where they were stopping for the night. It reminded Max of a thought that had come to him earlier.
“So,” he began, nervously clearing his throat. “How do you think we should do the rooms? I mean, with seven of us there’s really no way we can all stay in just one room. I mean, I guess we could do two rooms with two double beds in each. Then the question just becomes who sleeps with who.”
With a wicked smile, Liz asked, “Max Evans, are you saying you want to sleep with me?”
“I might be,” he laughed.
Max noticed her face suddenly become serious, and he was sure he’d crossed a boundary. “I mean…”
“It’s just…that would entail telling everyone that we’re back together. Is that what you want? I mean I know we never really settled what we were going to say or how we were going to say it.”
“Well what do you think?” Max asked, afraid of making her uncomfortable.
Her hand returned to its previous behavior of stroking his arm. “I want the entire world to know that I’m in love with you. But…”
“For the sake of everyone’s comfort it would probably best if all the girls roomed together and the guys got their own room.”
“Yeah, you’re probably right.”
“But you should know,” she continued, “That the second you set foot outside this car, I’m going to throw my arms around you and kiss you senseless.”
She teased his ear with her tongue, his lungs drawing in a sharp breath. His foot pressed down harder on the accelerator, eager for him to collect his prize.
“What the hell was that Max?” Maria complained as they stopped at a motel. “You were doing nearly 25 over the speed limit.”
Max had no time to respond, for as soon as his foot hit the pavement Liz had her lips against his. No one present was really shocked at the display. It probably had something to do with the fact that Maria had filled them in during the drive. But in the name of decency, they decided go into the lobby and get their rooms, giving the lovers a few minutes.
A few hours later, each group separated into their respective rooms. While he outwardly complained, Kyle had to admit to himself that he was a bit jealous at watching the couples separate. But really, they were acting like they weren’t even going to see each other tomorrow. I love you. I’ll miss you. Promise you’ll dream about me? Just say goodnight already!
He settled into bed, Max taking the other and Michael on the floor. Max had offered to share, but Michael said it was just too strange to share a bed with a guy. Besides, it wasn’t like he had never slept on a floor before. In the girls’ room, Liz and Maria buddied up in one bed while Isabel claimed the other. Maria set the alarm clock and called through the thin wall that separated their adjoining rooms that the guys had better be ready to go by 9:00 the next morning. After a few minutes of being stonewalled, Maria gave up on trying to press Liz for any juicier details and all was finally silence.
Outside a man sat in an old Chevy pickup, watching the lights go out in the rooms that the group shared. He pulled out his cell phone and dialed Chris’s number.
“Yes sir, they’ve stopped for the night. No, I don’t think they noticed me. Don’t worry sir, I’ll keep you informed.”
Posted: Mon May 21, 2007 11:54 pm
Hello again everyone! Sorry it's been so long since the last update. But school is over now (woohoo!), so hopefully they'll come a little quicker.
Thanks to everyone for their lovely comments. I really love reading them.
Thanks to any lurkers as well. Hope everyone likes the new chapter!
The air was thick, leaden with the smell of sulfur. The brilliant violet color of the sky was obscured by heavy gray smoke. The sun was setting behind them and darkness was slowly creeping in. Even out in the wilderness the chaos and destruction of the city could be heard echoing off the jagged rock formations. But they were getting close, they could feel it.
Max was trying to hide his fear, but Liz could sense it. He was afraid for her, and she worried it would distract him. Maybe it was a mistake for her to come after all. Max walked protectively in front of her, his hand outstretched in front of them.
A shuffling sound behind her caught Liz’s attention, but even before she could turn around a body crumpled down beside her. In the next second Max had also fallen, his green shield dissipating into nothing. Liz dropped to her knees next to him, desperately clinging to his shirt.
“Max! Please wake up! Max!” She pleaded frantically. She couldn’t do this without him. She needed him. He was her strength, her life.
She felt herself crumpling against him, heard the footsteps behind her, knew that death was imminent. And she didn’t care. Nothing mattered without him. But then again, that wasn’t entirely true. Maybe she didn’t care about her own life, but the life within her was more important than anything else. She raised a hand to protect herself, but it was useless. The blast was too strong, too furious. It tore through her stomach, destroying her child’s life but somehow, at least for the moment, sparing her own. Yet death would be a welcome blessing. She cried out the only coherent thought that her mind could muster.
“Liz, wake up. Come on, wake up.” Max was sitting beside her in the bed, gently shaking her shoulders.
Hot tears were running down Liz’s cheeks and the searing pain still pulsed in her stomach. The terrifying images from the dream played across her mind and she couldn’t stop herself from shaking. Max brushed her tears away before pulling her up into her arms. Her nails dug into his back as though she were afraid to let him go. She needed him to anchor her in this reality, to pull her away from the cruelty of the nightmare.
“Shhh, baby it’s okay. It was just a nightmare. I’m here. I’m right here.” He whispered soothingly, his face buried in her hair.
He continued to silently rock her and place light kisses against her temple, not pulling away even after her sobs subsided. Liz wasn’t ready to release him either. She needed to feel him in her arms, to know that he was really still with her. She listened to his heart beating beside her ear, felt his warm breath on her face, and after a few minutes she was finally calm enough to pull back. She glanced around her, taking note of her surroundings.
“Where is everyone?” She asked, wiping tears from her red eyes.
“They went down to the lobby to get some breakfast. I figured I’d wait here until you got up,” Max answered. He brushed her hair back, concern etched on his face. “Do you want to talk about it?”
Liz shook her head and tossed her blankets aside. With everything going on at the moment, he didn’t need to worry about her stupid nightmares. “I’m just going to take a shower. You can go downstairs. I’ll be fine.”
Max shrugged. “That’s alright, I don’t mind waiting. I wasn’t all that hungry anyways.”
Liz felt the fears from her nightmare melting away. Max was clearly staying behind because he was worried about her. Somehow, no matter what the situation, he always managed to make her feel safe. She stepped back from the bathroom and knelt in front of him on the bed. Placing her hands on either side of his face, she pulled him in for a kiss.
“Thank you,” she breathed.
Stealing one more quick kiss, Liz bounded into the bathroom to take her shower. She emerged fifteen minutes later to find him still waiting for her on her bed. She sat down at the foot of the bed, drying her hair with a towel. The TV was on, but Max didn’t seem to be watching. Liz noticed that his gaze was fixated on her.
Max dropped his eyes, his hand moving to scratch behind his ear. “It’s nothing.”
She scooted closer to him. “Come on, tell me.”
“I just…I just can’t believe that I’m sitting here with you after…I can’t believe that after everything you would still love me. You’re amazing.”
“Stop it Max,” she swatted at his leg, trying to lighten the mood. “You’re going to make me blush.”
“It’s the truth,” he asserted seriously.
Her playful smile softened and she entwined her fingers with his. “You know I’ll always love you, Max.”
Their lips were millimeters apart when the bedroom door flew open. They pulled away reluctantly, both groaning inwardly at the separation.
“Alright kiddies, break it up. And Liz, put some clothes on for God’s sake,” Maria breezed into the room. She grabbed a bag from under the bed and slung it around her shoulder. “We’ll all be waiting by the cars. You have ten minutes. Use them wisely.”
Maria exited in the same manner that she had entered, making kissie faces at Liz that Max couldn’t see before closing the door behind her. The romantic haze now lifted, Max became acutely aware that he and Liz were alone…on Liz’s bed…and Liz wasn’t wearing anything under that towel. He jumped away from the bed, hoping to reverse his body’s natural reaction.
“You should get dressed,” He said hurriedly. “I’ll just wait for you in my room.”
Liz closed the adjoining door as Max stepped from the room. She pulled out her clothes for the day- a comfy pair of jeans and a light blue tank top with a matching cardigan. She dressed quickly, deciding to use her remaining five minutes in a more…amorous pursuit.
In the parking lot, the rest of the gang was waiting for Max and Liz to finish getting ready. Kyle, Michael, and Maria had spread out a blanket and were playing ‘Bullshit.’ Kyle figured that his well-rehearsed poker face would give him an advantage, but Michael seemed to be winning every hand. He had a sneaking suspicion that alien powers were somehow involved, but he just couldn’t prove it.
Alex and Isabel had split off from the group and were sitting together in the back of the Jetta. Isabel curled her legs up underneath her and leaned back into Alex’s embrace, her head resting against his chest. She closed her eyes and breathed deeply, allowing her whole body to relax.
“I just want you to know that I understand if you don’t want to talk about what happened. But if you ever do, I’m here for you. I won’t judge you. I’ll just be here to listen.”
She pulled his arms tighter around her. “Alex, you have no idea how much it means to me for you to say that. You know you’re the first person I’ll come to when I’m ready. I just can’t yet.”
To be honest with herself, Isabel acknowledged that she wasn’t sure if she’d ever want to tell him. Why should she burden him with that part of her past? Through all of her alien crap, Alex had managed to stay Alex. He kept that sweet, quirky, upbeat charm. If he knew what had really happened, what they were about to face…No, she couldn’t do that to him. And more selfishly, she was afraid of the way he would react to her. How would he look at her, knowing what had happened? She couldn’t bear for him to treat her any differently. But a voice nagged at the back of her mind, reminding her that she wanted to share everything with Alex, no matter how painful it may be. Maybe she should ask Max what he had told Liz, how much he was planning on telling her.
Upstairs in the motel, Liz was preparing to play the part of temptress, at least for the next few minutes that she had. She opened the door to Max’s room, switching her hips as she seductively unbuttoned her cardigan. One step further and she became frozen in place, a gasp of horror escaping her mouth. There in front of her on the floor was Max, writhing in pain and gripping his head.
This couldn’t be happening. Max was hurt. Something was wrong with Max. The thought created a paralysis in her and she was hardly able to breathe. Come on Liz, this is no time to panic. Max needs you. You have to help him. She forced down the fear, even as the images of Max’s death in her nightmare pushed into her mind. She ran over to the window, throwing it open and calling down to the parking lot.
“Michael! Isabel! Come quick! It’s Max, there’s something wrong!”
Liz straddled his stomach, trying to still his movements. “Max, tell me what’s wrong. What’s going on?”
She turned at the sound of the door opening, praying that Michael and Isabel would be able to do something for Max. But Michael and Isabel weren’t there in the doorway.
Posted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 11:39 pm
A/N: Hey guys! I managed to kick my brother off our home computer long enough for me to post the next chapter. Thanks again to everyone who's reading. Here ya go!
"Serena? What are you doing here?"
"I'll explain everything later, Liz. Right now you need to help Max," Serena dismissed Liz's question, crouching down beside her.
"Help Max?" Liz asked in a panicked tone. "I don't even know what's wrong with him!"
Max suddenly cried out underneath her. "My head! Make it stop! Please make it stop!"
Serena held her palm to Max's forehead. "It's a parasite, it's destroying his brain. You have to heal him Liz," she commanded.
Liz was teetering on the brink of hysteria. "I don't understand. A parasite? Serena, how do you know that?
"It doesn't matter right now. You have to heal him." Serena's tone was insistent, her jaw set determinedly.
Heal him? How the hell am I supposed to do that? How could Serena possibly know what she seemed to know? Should I trust her?
There were too many voices vying for control in Liz's head, too many questions demanding answers. She forced herself to focus on the only thing that mattered. Max needed help. He needed someone to heal him. And Serena expected her to do it.
"I-I can't do that. I don't even have any powers yet," she flinched at the cracking in her own voice. She couldn't let herself fall apart now, not when Max's life could be in danger.
Serena's face softened at Liz's fear. She didn't need a commander; she needed a friend, someone to reassure her. "Liz, you d have powers. You just need to learn how to use them. Make a connection and Max can guide you," you instructed gently.
Max stilled slightly, his cloudy eyes looked pleadingly into Liz's. "Please, Liz. Help me. Make it go away."
Tentatively she plaved her hands on either side of Max's face. "Ok Max, you have to look at me."
"Well I've had plenty of practice at that," he quipped, despite the shaking of his body.
Liz allowed herself a slight smile at his joke while she attempted to make the connection. She didn't even know what she was supposed to be doing. She slowed her breathing, trying to bring it in time with Max's. Her eyes locked with his and she suddenly felt feather-light, like if she wasn't holding on to Max she would float away. In the next instant she was being pulled back down, down into the welcoming pools of Max's eyes. The images came at her then, flowing steadliy through her mind.
A young Max and Michael camping out in the Evans's backyard
Max and Isabel playing Clue with their parents
Their first kiss on Liz's balcony
Max, Tess, and Isabel in the Granolith
Max hearing Isabel's screams at the hands of their torturers
There was so much regret and despair lacing the memories that Liz almost broke the connection, unable to handle the emotions. She rested her forehead agasint his, praying for the strength to go on. The images suddenly stopped and Liz found herself standing in black nothingness. She glanced around frantically, wondering what she had done wrong.
"You didn't do anything wrong, Liz. Actually, you did really well. Then again, you always succeed at whatever you put your mind to." Max's voice commended her from somewhere behind her.
Liz spun around, trying to find him. "Max? Where are you?"
Max called back lightheartedly, "I'm wherever you want me to be. You're in control here."
Liz concentrated on Max's face, visualizing him right in front of her. Slowly he materialized, examining his own image.
"Not bad, Parker. Though I think you might have made me a bit taller and...does my butt really look that good?"
Liz bit her lip, smiling shyly at him. "So now what do I do? How do I heal you Max?"
He placed his palms against hers, holding them up between their bodies. "Close your eyes. Concentrate on finding the parasite. Can you feel it, Liz?"
Liz's eyes were shit tight, her brow furrowed. "I...I think so."
Max's expression mirrored hers. "Now focus all your energy on destroying it. Force it molecules to move faster. If you speed them up enough, it will split apart."
Liz did as she was told, though she wasn't sure exactly how. She felt the air crackling with energy around them, but couldn't tell if she was doing it or if Max was. What she did know for certain was that it was working. She could feel the invader in Max's mind breaking apart, disintegrating into nothing. The threat eliminated, Liz pulled back and broke the connection.
The haze in Max's eyes was gone and he was smiling up at her, sweat beading along his hairline. "Nice work."
"Thanks," she whispered softly, brushing his hair back from his face.
Serena breathed out a sigh of relief. "Well Liz, it looks like congratulations are-"
Serena was cut off as her body went crashing into the wall. then slid limply down to the floor.
Michael and Isabel stood in the doorway with Alex, Kyle, and Maria peeking cautiously over their shoulders. Michael's hand was stretched out before him. "It's her, Max! The girl I saw at the Crashdown. The one who was spying on us!"
"Michael, no!" Liz protested. "This is Serena. She's a friend from school."
"Then what the hell was she doing in Roswell?" Isabel questioned angrily, her posture now matching Michael's.
"I...I don't know. At least give her a chance to explain," Liz implored as she lifted herself off of Max's body.
Serena shakily lifted herself to her feet. She held her hands out in front of her in a gesture of defeat. "Look, I'm not the enemy here, ok?"
"Well then would you mind telling us who you are?" Max sat up, letting Liz wrap her arms around him to support him.
Serena's hands fell resignedly to her sides. "Well the simple truth is that I'm...one of you."
"One of us?" Isabel parroted, still not lowering her hand.
Serena swallowed back the lump in her throat. She couldn't help the awe she felt at being in the presence of her rulers. So many people on her planet prayed for her return, worshipped the images of their saviors. And here she was with only feet between her and them. She instinctively bowed down before them and began her tale.
"I'm a citizen of Antar. I was sent here to protect Liz. She's the revolution's greatest hope. Kind of our...Luke Skywalker."
Noticing that no one was in the mood for her joke, she stood and nervously cleared her throat. "I come from a family of seers. Our gift is forbidden by the new regime, so we have to hide it. But my father, he knew about Liz before Kivar did. We knew it was only a matter of time until Kivar tried to kill her, so we decided to head him off. I was chosen to come here to Earth and keep her safe. One of the conditions, though, was that none of you was ever supposed to know I was here. That's why I ran from you in Roswell."
Isabel and Michael lowered their hands, though they were still ready to strike should something happen. They kept their eyes trained on Serena, watching for any sign that she would attack.
"Why weren't we supposed to know about you?" Isabel asked.
"My power is too often abused. People who know too much about their own future often tamper with it. We couldn't let you do that, not when it would affect the outcome of so many lives. You're told as much as you need to know, no more."
As Liz listened to Serena talk, a thought occured to her. "You were the one who knew that we needed Tess to complete the unit. You were the one who knew how to alter the Granolith for time travel."
"Anybody know what Liz is talking about?" Michael questioned as he and the others emerged from the doorway.
"Don't worry babe, I'll fill you in later," Maria said, taking Michael's hand in her own.
Isabel flashed Alex and Kyle a look signaling that she would do the same.
Max took advantage of the silence to ask Serena the question that had been plaguing him since he found out about Liz's ordeal with his future self.
"The future version of me said that our enemies defeated us because Tess left and we needed her power. But Tess was a traitor all along. Why did you think we needed her?"
Serena shrugged her shoulders. "I don't understand it either. The original prophecy stated that the Royal Four must stand together to defeat their enemies. Without even one, all would fall. It was later that we learned that Liz and Max's child was destined to end Kivar's rule. Maybe the original prophecy was just wrong."
"You think?" Maria snorted sarcastically.
Isabel's brow was furrowed in concentration. "Or maybe it was just misinterpreted."
Serena turned to Isabel. "What do you mean?"
Isabel's face registered surprise, as though she hadn't meant to speak the words. She quickly composed herself and finished her thought.
"If Max is a king, wouldn't his son also be royal?"
Serena fell back onto one of the beds, clearly upset by Isabel's words. Her lungs were constricting, her eyes frantically scanning the floor. "Oh God, you're right. All this time we just assumed that the fourth referred to Ava- I, I mean Tess. What was really missing in the first timeline was Max and Liz's child."
Liz spoke up from her spot on the floor. "In the first timeline Max and I were married for 12 years before the world ended. Why didn't we ever have children?"
Serena was growing frustrated with her inability to give them answers. She shook her head sadly, her hair falling in her face. "I don't know. Since you changed the past it's harder to see the future that sprung from it. Everything is somewhat...muddled. But I can tell you that not having the baby wasn't from a lack of trying."
She winked at them, causing Max and Liz to blush furiously. Liz buried her face in Max's shoulder, playfully sinking her teeth into his shoulder. He pulled back from her, giving his hands space enough to find her ribs and tickle them furiously.
Michael cleared his throat loudly, effectively sobering the room. He looked to Serena and nooded towards the door. "Could you give us a couple of minutes?"
"Oh yeah, of course. I'll just be down in the lobby...drinking really bad coffee."
Michael scanned the hallway, making sure she was really gone, before he came back into the room.
"So what? Do we trust her?"
Liz got to her feet. "I do. I mean, if she wanted to hurt me, she had plenty of opportunities to do it. And she helped me heal Max. Besides, we could really use what she knows to help us against Kivar."
Max was also standing now. He took Liz's hand in his and looked deeply into her eyes. He trusted her more than anyone else in the world. And he had proof that even years into the furture that wouldn't change. If Liz felt that they should let Serena in, then that's what they should do.
"I say we trust her."
Kyle's cheeks puffed out as he dramatically released his breath. "Thank Buddha, cuz she's really hot. Liz, you think you could hook me up?"
Posted: Sun Jun 24, 2007 2:11 am
A/N: Good news- I have my internet back! Bad news, one of the girls where I work just quit, so I'll probably be working more and won't be able to update as much as I want. But I won't leave you guys hanging for too long.
dusk: Thanks! I was kind of worried about writing Kyle. I'm glad you liked it.
begonia9508: Healing Max was difficult for Liz, but I think she got through it ok. I always felt bad that Kyle never really had anyone.
Flamehair: So glad that my Kyle was realistic for you!
Emz80m: Kyle always seemed to be the one to lighten up the mood (later on in the show- in the beginning he caused a lot of drama, didn't he?).
aussietrueblue: I'm so glad that everyone is liking Kyle!
cassie: Very lucky for them that Serena was hanging around.
spacecowboy: Thank you so much!
roswelldreamer4life: Your wish is my command.
behralicious87: Woohoo! More Kyle love.
katydid: Your FB had me cracking up!
Craig Beatty: Thank you for reading!
December 3, 2003
I’m Liz Parker, and I’m an alien. Alright, maybe that’s only half true. But since I healed Max, I feel different. It’s like there’s this entirely new part of me that never existed before. It’s something foreign and powerful. I can feel it building inside of me, growing more and more every day. It’s frightening and exhilarating at the same time and I don’t quite know how I should feel about it. I know that rationally I should be worried. I mean, what’s happening to me could potentially be dangerous. But part of me can’t help but feel like this is right. That this was somehow what my life was supposed to be.
We reached Los Angeles yesterday and we’ve settled into an extended stay hotel. Soon I’ll be starting my training to develop my powers. Serena’s been trying desperately to figure out what went wrong in the first timeline. It’s been difficult for her and I know she’s getting frustrated. It can’t help that Kyle’s there at every turn flirting with her.
Most of us were supposed to be back in school already, but it seems the alien chasm has sucked us in and won’t be releasing us any time soon. I wonder if telling my professors that I skipped class to save the universe from being overtaken by an evil alien dictator will be enough to get me a make-up exam.
“Liz, you hungry? Isabel and I were going out for some Chinese,” Alex called, leaning forward on his toes while supporting himself with outstretched arms on the doorway.
Liz tucked her journal under her pillow. “Oh, no thanks Alex. You guys go ahead.”
She stretched her arms lazily over her head. “Mhmm. I think Max and I are just going to order a pizza and watch some TV.”
Alex understood. Healing Max had taken a lot out of Liz, and Max wasn’t quite feeling his old self either. “Yeah, definitely. Takin’ it easy, I get it. Then um…We’ll see you in a little while.”
Alex caught sight of Isabel waiting in the hallway, slipping her arms into the sleeves of her jacket. She heard Alex come up behind her and she smiled to herself, one of the few real smiles she had had in a long while.
Alex tugged at the back of her jacket, helping her finish pulling it on. As his hands reached her shoulders they hung there, gently rubbing her tense muscles. She was still shaken up about the incident with Max. Serena had explained what had almost happened to him, how if Liz hadn’t been there that they might have lost him. Isabel had run from the room at that point, practically unable to breathe. Alex found her outside on a bench, weeping into her hands. Unsure of what to say, he just held her and let her cry.
Even now he could feel that it was still weighing upon her, but she was doing her best to put on a brave face. She craned her neck to place a light kiss on his lips before he wrapped his arm around her shoulders and led her out of the hotel. As they reached the car, Alex fingered the velvet box in his coat pocket. It had been his grandmother’s engagement ring, a modest diamond Tiffany mounted atop a plain silver band. She had given it to him just this year on his birthday, telling him that she hoped to see him give to a nice young lady someday. He had taken it along on the trip, just in case the right moment should happen to arise. Something in the pit of his stomach told Alex that the right moment just might arise that night.
“Any luck yet?”
“I’m sorry?” Serena opened her eyes to find Kyle sitting on the floor in front of her.
“Well it looked like you were concentrating really hard. I thought maybe you were trying to…you know.”
He placed two fingers to his temples and quirked his brow, eliciting a bubbly giggle from the blonde girl.
“I’m afraid not. I’ll keep trying, but right now I’m just trying to center myself. You know, focus and clear my mind.”
She noticed Kyle’s face perk up at her comment, excitement building in his eyes.
“Really? Because meditation is an important facet of the Buddhist tradition. It follows a tenet of the Noble Eightfold Path- right concentration. You know the Buddha taught two types of mediation-”
Serena excitedly cut in. “Oh, I know. I have always been fascinated with Buddhism, ever since I came to this planet. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.”
Serena scooted closer to where Kyle sat, her thigh brushing against his. Kyle’s throat suddenly went dry and a thought that Buddha probably wouldn’t approve of darted through his mind.
“Marry me?” He said abruptly.
“What?” Serena questioned, certain that she couldn’t have heard him right.
“I…no, I just meant that…Anyway, what I was saying about Buddha…”
Marriage was also on Michael’s mind, though not with the excited anticipation that Alex felt, or the surprised casualness that Kyle had. Michael’s preoccupation with the idea was more the result of Maria’s constant hints. Although ‘hints’ suggests a certain subtlety that Maria lacked. It would be more realistic to imagine a giant billboard- “When are you going to marry me Guerin?” It’s not that Michael didn’t want to spend the rest of his life with Maria. He knew that she was the only girl for him. It was just the idea of a wedding…something about it made him want to run for the hills. But at the same time he knew that Maria wanted it, and he would do just about anything to make her happy.
“What are you thinking about?”
That had become her favorite question in recent years. Michael was always so hard to read that she had resorted to just directly asking him. Not that she always got an answer, but with enough pushing she could eventually get something out of him.
“Come on Michael, you can’t be thinking of absolutely nothing. Like just now, I was thinking about cheese. I have the biggest craving for something cheesy. So what were you thinking?”
Michael turned his head from the TV to face her. “I was just watching the show.”
“Fine,” she huffed, rolling away from him to the edge of the bed.
He turned off the TV and spooned up against her.
“I’m sorry. I’ve just had so much on my mind lately that it needs a break.”
Maria pulled his hand up under her chin, drawing him closer to her. “I know. And I understand that. It’s just that with everything that’s happening…it feels like you’re beginning to slip away from me. And it scares me.”
A warm tear fell onto Michael’s hand, quickly followed by another. He nuzzled into Maria’s neck and placed light kisses along her shoulder.
“I’m not going anywhere. Ever. I promise.”
Remnants of pepperoni pizza lay discarded in the box on the floor. Liz was curled up in Max’s arms, her eyes slowly falling closed. He could feel as she drifted off to sleep, the movie they had been watching completely forgotten. His lips brushed against her temple and he reluctantly disentangled himself from her arms.
A frustrated moan escaped her mouth at the loss of his body. Her eyes fluttered open just as Max reached the door.
“Where are you going?”
He knelt down beside the bed with a gentle smile on his lips. His eyes roamed her face as his hand ran through her soft hair.
“You fell asleep. I was just going to bed.”
She stopped his hand from its traveling and held it in hers. “Could you just…stay with me? The nightmares aren’t so bad when you’re here.”
Max’s stomach sank at the mention of the nightmares. If he had been strong enough to stay away from her, she would never have had to suffer through them. But he couldn’t change what had happened. All he could do now was protect her, and he would with everything he had. He looked at her small form, and the way she was curled in the large bed made her seem even more fragile.
Without a word he walked to the other side of the bed, pulling back the covers and getting in beside her. She rested her head on his chest and draped her arm across his abdomen. The feeling of his breath stirring against her hair sent a shiver through her.
“Thank you,” she whispered into the darkness.
Max dipped his head lower to kiss the top of her head. “Don’t mention it.”
“Hmm?” he responded sleepily.
“I love you.”
A wide grin crossed his face, even as his eyes remained closed. When she said that she loved him, it made all his worries melt away. Damn whatever came their way, as long as they could be together. “I love you."
The yellow moon seemed so close to the Earth that Alex felt he could almost reach out and grab it. It was a beautiful night, clear enough to see even the dimmest stars. After dinner, he and Isabel had found a quiet spot to sit together. He was sitting on the grass, his legs spread open in a V. Isabel had settled in against him, her head rolled back onto his shoulder. With his arms around her, Isabel cursed herself for pushing him away for so long. She knew that she belonged in those arms forever, where she finally felt like herself. Not an ‘Ice Queen’, not an alien princess. Just Isabel Evans. And she knew it was all because Alex accepted her just as she was.
While Isabel’s eyes were contemplating the stars, Alex’s were on her. Looking at her face bathed in the moonlight, her eyes softly glowing, Alex knew that now was the time. Isabel watched with curious eyes as he positioned himself in front of her.
“Isabel, I love you.”
Her stomach fluttered at the sincerity in his voice. She had never dared to hope that someone would feel that way about her. More than that, she never thought that she would feel the same way. But she did.
“Alex…I love you too.”
Alex lifted himself onto his knees and leaned forward, pressing his lips to Isabel’s. Their tongues met in a slow, sensual kiss. As he pulled back he lowered his hand into his coat pocket.
“I don’t know what kind of dream this is, where you could possibly love me. But I don’t ever want to wake up. And I don’t ever want to let you slip away from me again. Isabel Amanda Evans…”
He pulled the box from his pocket and opened it, revealing the ring inside.
“Will you marry me?”
Tears brimmed Isabel’s eyes as she took the ring from the box and slid it onto her finger. It fit perfectly, almost as though it had been made just for her.
“Oh Alex, I…I can’t.”
Posted: Tue Jul 10, 2007 12:05 am
Thanks for reading everybody!
And any lurkers!
A/N: Alright, here's a short little update. A Gazer scene that will hopefully explain a couple of things. When we left off, Isabel had just rejected Alex's proposal...
Alex’s brow furrowed in confusion. He was so certain…but then maybe she didn’t…No. It hadn’t been just his imagination. She did love him. He knew it. And he loved her too, he had for so long. And everything in her demeanor told him that the time was right.
Alright, he’d admit to making the proposal a little fast. And Alex knew that there was no reason why they couldn’t wait. But why wait when you know exactly what you want? Why allow for the chance that it could slip through your fingers? Alex was through with standing in the corner and watching life pass him by. He had let Isabel go without a fight once before, it wasn’t going to happen again.
“Why can’t you?”
Alex reluctantly reached for the ring that Isabel had slipped from her finger and was now holding out to him. His fingers played across the band, warmed from the touch of her skin. He gazed down intently into the faceted diamond. He couldn’t bear to meet her eye, afraid of what he might find there.
“Alex…” She hesitated. She had dreaded this moment, when she would have to choose whether to lie to him or reveal the truth. Either way she was certain he would be hurt. And either way she was certain that he would never want to look at her again. She’d give anything to just vanish into the air.
“Alex, there are things that you just…you don’t know. Things that I don’t think you would understand. It wouldn’t be fair of me to accept your proposal…no matter how badly I might want to.”
Try as she might to hide it, Isabel’s voice was shaking uncontrollably. She turned her head as she wiped away her tears, not wanting Alex to see. The gesture was unnecessary though, as Alex had yet to look at her since her rejection. Isabel waited a few tense minutes for Alex to make some kind of response, but he simply continued to twirl the ring in his fingers as though he knew how to do nothing else.
“I’m sorry, Alex. So sorry.”
Her eyes hovered over his face, memorizing the features she was certain never to see again. Her fingers twitched as she pushed herself to her feet and prepared to run as far away as she could. But her steps were suddenly stopped as his fingers curled around her arm. She forced herself to look up into his eyes and found that they were soft, full of compassion.
“What?” Isabel whispered hoarsely.
Urged on by her words… “no matter how badly I might want to…” Alex pushed on.
“You said I wouldn’t understand. But you’ll never know if you don’t tell me.”
He coaxed her back to the spot where they had been sitting, back to the place where she had turned him down. As she sat, Isabel pulled her legs protectively against her chest. Alex took a place beside her, close enough to offer comfort but with enough space between them to make her feel comfortable.
Absentmindedly wringing her hands together, Isabel began softly.
“While we were there, on Antar, I began to remember more about my other life. About Vilandra. I suppose it was being in the places she’d been, seeing the people she had known. It was like there were these memories locked in my mind, and being there somehow opened them up. I have these memories about him…about Kivar.”
Alex thought that he had seen a shiver pass through her, but the darkness made it difficult for him to be sure.
“And as much as I despise him, there’s something deep inside of me that still loves him…that still longs for him. I can feel Vilandra in me, and she won’t let him go.”
Certain now that her whole body was shaking, Alex couldn’t control the urge the wrap his arm around her. Noticing that she flinched at the slightest movement from him, he quickly retreated.
“I just can’t help it. When I’m awake I know who I am and it’s like that other part of me doesn’t even exist. But when I go to sleep, everything changes. I don’t have any control over the dreams and that’s when I see him. I see him calling to me and…I want to answer him.”
“Isabel, it’s alright. That’s not you. You know it, I know it. Everyone knows that it’s not really you.”
Isabel shook her head violently, unabashedly letting the tears run down her cheeks. “But it is me. Or at least a part of me. At it scares me because it can’t stop it and I can’t control it.”
“Then let me help you. You don’t have to do this alone.”
Isabel’s weary head fell forward to rest on her knees. God, he was fighting so hard. What could she do to make him see that she was doing this for him? That he needed to just let her go?
“You don’t know what you’re saying, what you’re getting yourself into.”
Alex moved his body closer to hers, determined to make her see that he wasn’t going to be frightened away. “I know exactly what I’m saying. I want to be there for you. I want to be there as your husband. And I know you want me too.”
Her stomach fluttered, battling with the protestations in her mind. But she was doing this for him. And he had to know.
“You can’t say that without knowing everything. What they did to me while I was in that prison- the torture and the tests…Alex…I can’t have children.”
Alex looked at her in disbelief. “You think that matters to me? You think I wouldn’t want to be with you because of that? Isabel, I don’t care about that. I love you.”
Isabel stared at him, the unshed tears in her eyes blurring her vision. How could he still say that?! How could he, knowing everything about her, still feel that way?
“Don’t you understand? You’ve been so good to me…better than I deserved. But I’m damaged! I’m a mess! I can’t be the perfect wife that you deserve!”
Alex pulled her tightly against him, gently rocking her as the sobs wracked her body.
“It’s ok,” he whispered soothingly into her ear. “Everything is going to be ok. You’re not damaged, Isabel. And you’re not perfect, but no one is. I love you. All of you. You don’t ever have to hide from me. Ever.”