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Re: When He Returns (CC, M/L, Mature) Ch 28 3/11/08
Posted: Sat Apr 26, 2008 1:10 am
A/N: Oh goodness, I can't believe how slow I'm being with these updates. Part of the problem is that I recently discovered 'Twilight' and have been devouring the series as fast as I can. SO excited about the next book and the movie! But anyways, here's the next installation of my little story. Thanks for reading!
From Chapter 28:
“And…” Nancy began in a sly voice, “You have a visitor.”
Liz’s brow furrowed in confusion, and she followed her mother’s sideways glance to the man on her left. Slowly he spun his stool around to face her.
“Hey there, sweetness. Surprised?”
Liz’s teeth sunk into her lower lip, holding back the curse that wanted to leap off her tongue. This couldn’t possibly be happening. Chris couldn’t be there, especially not when Max would be coming by later. She couldn’t let them run into each other until their awkward little situation was settled. That was a disaster waiting to happen. What was she going to do? How was she supposed to break up with Chris, tell her parents, and then explain to them that it was because she was back together with Max Evans, the boy who had broken her heart and disappeared, all within the span of a few hours?!
And how would Chris take it? Would he be angry at her, at Max? Would they get into a fight? She wouldn’t be able to stand it if either of them got hurt because of her. With that thought came the memory of Max’s flash, of Chris with the man who had died in their hotel room. Max promised her that he was going to take care of Chris, but was it right for her to leave Chris in the dark about the danger he could be in? How could she warn him without revealing the truth about Max? For a brief second she considered postponing the breakup, keeping Chris close in order to protect him. Immediately she chided herself for even allowing the thought. That wouldn’t be fair to anyone, and especially not Max. And he had already suffered enough because of her. No, she had to tell Chris that it was over between them and hope that being away from her would be enough to keep him safe.
The slight nudge of her mother’s elbow in her ribs brought Liz out of her thoughts and back into the dining area of the restaurant. Her eyes darted between her mother’s face and Chris’s, while he watched her with restrained amusement. Apparently he wasn’t bothered by her reaction, or lack thereof, as she remained rooted in her spot. He chuckled at her shocked expression, opening his arms out to her.
“Well don’t just stand there, come give me some sugar,” he coaxed.
Liz fixed a smile on her face, playing her part convincingly enough, all the while planning exactly how she was going to get Chris alone and break the news to him. It was not something she was really looking forward to, even though she had been anticipating it for weeks now. She hated having to hurt him, remembering how wonderful he had always been to her, but she knew she had to do it. She sucked in a deep breath, hoping he wouldn’t note the anxiety in her voice.
“What are you doing here Chris?”
Liz still had yet to make a move, so Chris took the initiative in closing the distance between them. He shrugged his shoulders, like it was no big deal that he had decided out of the blue to travel 1300 miles and show up at her home without telling her.
“I just missed my girl.”
With a final step he was in front of her, hands on her hips as he leaned towards her. Liz turned her head as his lips sought hers, diverting his kiss to her cheek. She noticed the slight frown that creased his forehead, but he recovered quickly. He turned to Nancy, mouth turned up in a half-smile.
“Your mom has been nice enough to let me follow her around until you got here. I finally got to see where you get your charm from.”
Liz rolled her eyes as Nancy giggled like an infatuated teenager. ‘Oh come on, mom,’ she thought. ‘You can’t honestly be simple enough to fall for that.’
Jeff Parker entered then, lugging a heavy looking box, not noticing his daughter who was obscured by the young man’s large frame.
“Thanks so much for the lunch, Mr. P. It was excellent,” Chris called loudly across the restaurant.
Jeff’s only acknowledgment to the young man was a nod of his head and a slight grunt. He didn’t really like Liz’s new boyfriend. Not that he’d been particularly fond of any of the others, believing no one to be good enough for his little girl. But there was something about this one that just rubbed him the wrong way. Of course he didn’t dislike the boy enough to refuse help when it was offered.
“Here Mr. P., let me help you carry that,” Chris proffered, already taking the load from the older man’s hands and following behind him to the counter.
Liz used Chris’s distraction as an opportunity to talk to her mother alone. “How long has he been here?” she hissed in a whisper.
“Only since this morning,” Nancy answered, searching Liz’s face. Her brow furrowed in confusion at Liz’s agitated mood. “What’s the matter honey? You don’t seem too happy that he’s here.”
“Maybe because I’m not!” Liz snapped. She immediately regretted it, not having meant to take out her frustrations on her mother. “I’m sorry mom, I didn’t mean to yell at you.”
Liz noticed the tension in her mother’s jaw, the steel in her eyes, and knew that she was about to get what her grandpa had always referred to as “a talkin’ to.” It was Nancy’s specialty, a punishment wherein you actually punished yourself. The lingering guilt of one her talks had been known to last for weeks. Liz’s entire posture slumped in preparation.
“Liz what’s going on? First you take off from school without a word, putting your academic standing and your future in jeopardy. And I mean, do you even understand how much your father and I have sacrificed in order to support you there? And then you show up here, again not telling us first. Not that I’m not happy to see you, but Liz I…I just don’t understand you right now! What is going on inside that head of yours? And why would you ask Chris to meet you here if you didn’t really want him to?”
Liz’s head snapped up, eyes blazing. “Is that what he told you? That I invited him here?”
Nancy shook her head in disbelief. “Of all of the things that I…that’s what you want to focus on? Fine. Yes, he came into the restaurant early this morning and said that you would be here soon because you wanted us to meet him. Why?”
Liz sighed, “I didn’t ask him to come here. Until I saw him I thought he was still in Chicago.”
Nancy waited for her to expound, but Liz’s thoughts seemed to be miles away, her eyes unfocused and weary. It was then that Nancy noticed the changes in her daughter that had escaped her attention earlier. The changes were slight, almost negligible, but easily identified under the scrutiny of a mother’s eye.
Liz had always been slender, but now it was slightly more pronounced. But at the same time she appeared sharper, stronger. There was confidence in her usually shy posture, a sort of commanding power that hadn’t been there before. Her eyes, though they held a certain tiredness, were also brighter and somehow…happier than Nancy had seen them in years. A kind of sadness rolled through Nancy then as she found herself wondering what had caused these changes in her little girl. She felt once again like she was on the outside of her daughter’s life, much like she had when Liz was in high school. Hadn’t they made such progress since then? Yet she couldn’t help but feel like there was something Liz was hiding from her now.
Nancy reached out to her daughter, curling her fingers around the younger woman’s forearm. “Talk to me, sweetie. What’s going on?”
Liz sighed again, hating herself for being the cause of worry in her mother’s voice. “I can’t tell you right now, Mom. It’s…complicated. But I promise we can talk about it soon.”
“Soon?” Nancy repeated.
“Yeah, soon,” Liz reassured hurriedly, noticing that Chris had finished helping her father and was coming to rejoin them. “Right now, I really need to talk to Chris. I’m gonna take him upstairs, so could you and Daddy just…stay out of my way for a little bit?”
Bolstered by Liz’s promise, Nancy nodded and stepped away as Chris reached them. He moved to embrace Liz again, but she stopped by grabbing his hand.
“Come upstairs with me?” she asked, hoping that he wouldn’t question her until they were alone.
He smiled down at her and nodded his consent. Liz led him through the restaurant which was growing more and more crowded. She was almost through the door which led to the back, when her father’s booming voice carried over to her.
Liz turned around slowly, forcing herself not to grimace. Of course she wanted to see her dad, but she had been so close to ending the situation with Chris.
“You aren’t even going to say hello to your own father?” he chuckled, almost knocking into several customers in his haste to get to her.
“Hey Dad,” she said, winding her arms around his waist.
Jeff heartily returned her embrace. “It’s been a long time,” he sighed into her hair.
“Yeah, it has. Listen,” she began, pulling away, “We can catch up later, ok? Right now I need to talk to Chris.”
Jeff’s eyes cut over to where Chris stood behind her. A slight frown overtook his features and he grunted again, releasing his hold on Liz.
She couldn’t help but notice her father’s less than favorable reaction to Chris, a man who he had absolutely no reason to dislike, and briefly wondered how he would accept Max when he found out they were back together. Jeff certainly hadn’t been reserved about voicing his opinion of Max after he left. Liz didn’t think her father could dislike anyone as much as he had professed to dislike Max. But that was a conversation she would worry about later.
She blindly reached behind her for Chris’s hand and, feeling his fingers wrap around hers, led the way through the break room and up the stairs to her room. With Chris inside, Liz turned to the door, drawing out the seconds as she slowly closed it. She was stalling and she knew it. As it finally clicked in place, she leaned against it for support. It was now or never.
“Chris, we really need to talk.”
Liz cringed as the words left her mouth. You couldn’t do better than that?!
Suddenly there was a hand at her back, running a gentle path up and down between her shoulder blades.
“Whatever it is, you can tell me. It’s ok, Liz.”
Liz swiveled around to face him, back against the door, groaning. Why did he have to sound so sweet, so understanding? Didn’t he know he was making this harder for her?
“I think maybe you should sit down,” she said slowly.
Chris nodded his head, his expression unchanging, but he seemed to be catching on to what was about to happen. He pulled Liz’s desk chair to the middle of the room and sat, hands clasped together in his lap. Liz took a shaky breath and her eyes dropped to the floor. Maybe it would be easier if she didn’t have to look at him.
His voice made her plan impossible. He sounded nervous, worried…pained. He deserved better than this from her. She only wished that she could offer him more.
“Chris, I can’t begin to tell you what knowing you has done for me. Before I met you I had been so lost, so detached from the world. And being with you…you brought me back to life. And I will never, ever forget that as long as I live.”
“But…” he prompted, his expression proving that he knew exactly what was coming next.
Liz slid to her knees in front of him, her hands resting on top of his legs. “But I’m not in love with you. I tried to convince myself that I was. But as much as I care for you, it can’t be any more than that.”
His hands on her shoulders forced Liz back, and then Chris was on his feet. Despite herself, Liz looked up at him. Tears flooded her eyes as she read his pain clearly on his face.
“Don’t lie to me Liz. Is there someone else?” he asked through clenched teeth.
Her eyes fell closed as she silently nodded her head.
It wasn’t a question, but a statement of understanding, muttered bitterly high above her head.
Again she nodded.
“Jesus, Liz! How could you do this to me?”
At least he was shouting at her now. She was glad. She deserved his anger. Meeting his eyes again, she was outright sobbing.
“I…I’ve been in love with him for so long, but I thought he was gone forever. I…I thought my feelings were gone with him. I didn’t mean…I didn’t expect…I tried not to let it happen.”
“Let it happen?! This doesn’t just happen Liz. You chose this,” he corrected her harshly.
Her head bobbed in agreement. “You’re right. I did. I chose to love Max. But I never wanted to hurt you. I hate this.”
He turned his back to her, and she listened to the severe in and out of his breathing. She watched as his hands clenched into fists at his sides, the muscles of his back, neck, and arms tensing. He finally seemed to calm with the passage of a few silent minutes.
“Chris,” Liz began tentatively. “Are you okay? Please say something.”
Liz wasn’t sure what she expected to see when he turned to face her, but it certainly wasn’t what she was met with. His eyes were different, darker. And the corner of his mouth was turned up in a smirk. When he spoke, it was with a smooth, cold tone that she had never heard before.
“Oh Lizzie, sweetness. How can I be mad at you? You’ve done everything exactly right. Now, how long until dear Max arrives?”
Re: When He Returns (CC, M/L, Mature) Ch 29 4/26/08
Posted: Wed May 28, 2008 1:26 am
Max watched his mother’s eyebrows rise in interest as he poured a generous amount of Tabasco sauce onto his slice of pineapple pizza.
“Well I guess that
certainly makes a lot more sense now.”
“Yeah, food just doesn’t taste right to us unless the flavors are extreme,” Isabel sheepishly informed her, dipping her slice in chocolate syrup.
“Well I’m sure that we’re going to understand a lot of your little quirks better now,” Phillip chimed in with a wink at his daughter.
Max held back from laughing as his parents went on to ask them more of the typical ‘alien’ questions. They were handling everything so much better than he had ever imagined. He couldn’t help but think that maybe he should have listened to Isabel all those years ago, when she told him to let them in on the secret. Maybe they could have been a voice of reason, something to pull him out when he felt like he was drowning. Maybe they could have been there for him when he thought no one else was, no one but Tess. They were always so rational, so intelligent, maybe they could have seen Tess for what she really was. Maybe he wouldn’t have screwed things up so badly and maybe…No, he had to stop that. He wouldn’t let his thoughts wander to what might have been. The past was past and it couldn’t be changed. All he could do now was look to the future. And what a future it was shaping up to be.
Thinking of what he had planned for the very immediate future, Max glanced down at his watch, at the same time roughly wiping his mouth with a napkin. “I should probably head over to Liz’s. You know, see how she’s doing, make sure she’s okay.” Max pulled on his jacket and moved towards the door, not even conscious of the obvious way he was avoiding his parents’ eyes. “I, uh…I don’t know how long I’ll be, so you probably shouldn’t wait up for me or anything.”
Diane and Phillip shared a look at this, but neither said anything. What could they say to their son who was now not just a man, but a king
? They watched him stride from their sight until their attention was draw back to the room by Isabel’s none too subtle throat-clearing.
“So you two, I have one word.” She gestured down the length of her body, “Shopping.”
Max had only made it half-way down the front walk when Michael’s bike swerved to a stop in the driveway. He gaped incredulously as Michael shook his hair loose from the helmet. His disbelief quickly gave way to anger over Michael’s irresponsibility.
“What the hell are you doing here, Michael? I told you to wait with Liz until I could show up! You know I don’t want her alone right now.”
Michael’s brow furrowed in genuine confusion. “This is the busiest time of day for the restaurant. She’s not alone.”
An exasperated sigh escaped Max’s lips. “You know what I mean. She needs someone who can protect her.”
“I know, you’re right,” Michael conceded. “Look, I was on my way over there when Maria called me. She was completely freaking out about some shit with her mom. I…I figured Liz would be ok for a while. I can go over there now if you want.”
“No, that’s okay,” Max sighed again. “I was just about leave. But we need to meet tomorrow, all of us. We have to figure out what we do now.”
Michael nodded gravely before tugging his helmet back on and departing. Max followed behind him in his father’s car before the two parted ways at the main street of town. Max continued on to the Crashdown, opting to park a couple streets away and sneak up to Liz’s balcony by way of the alley. As he tossed himself over the side, slightly winded, he absently thought that it was time for him to start working out again. Liz certainly didn’t seem to mind the way he looked, but he was determined to get things back to the way they were. Or at least as much as they could go back.
Ducking in through the window, he instantly caught sight of Liz on her bed, sleeping on her side and facing away from him. The last few days had been especially rough, and he was certain that she needed the rest. He was glad to see it, knowing how Liz was usually concerned with everyone else before herself. Careful not to wake her, he lowered himself down beside her. Smiling to himself, he reached a hand out to stroke her hair, only to freeze when his fingers felt nothing but air. His fear grew exponentially as the image of his lover flickered, then disappeared altogether. He was on his feet in an instant, his eyes carefully searching the room.
“Liz?” he called out, his voice barely above a whisper, terror pooling like lead in the pit of his stomach.
Lightening fast, the bathroom door to his right flew open and Max was thrown to the floor. Stumbling slightly, he quickly pushed himself back to his feet, his hand outstretched in front of him, ready to strike.
But he didn’t even notice his attacker. The only thing his eyes saw was Liz, an arm wrapped tightly around her waist, the hand of the other covering her mouth. Her eyes were wide, regretful and afraid, her face streaked with tears. When she saw Max, tossed like a rag doll, her struggles to free herself were vigorously renewed, her quiet cries growing to painful sobs. Now her eyes were locked with Max’s and she found herself incapable of doing anything at all.
Unable to breathe, Max looked Liz over carefully. Assuring himself that at least she wasn’t injured, he finally allowed himself to turn his attention to Liz’s captor. Most of him was unsurprised to find Chris holding Liz, the pieces of her vision falling into place. Chris wasn’t in
danger. Chris was
“What’s going on here, Chris?” he spoke slowly, carefully measuring each word.
“Oh, I’m sorry. Chris isn’t here right now. No need to worry, though. I’ll only be borrowing him for a short time.”
The coolly amused response struck a chord of familiarity in Max, and the hairs on the back of his neck stood up in response.
“Who are you?”
“That is of little consequence at the moment. Right now I want you to tell me where she is.”
Max’s eyebrows drew together in perplexity. “Where who is?”
“Do not play games with me, Zan. You cannot protect her. She will receive the same punishment given to all traitors to the crown. Now, are you going to tell me, or will I have to…persuade
you?” His grip on Liz tightened painfully, and she couldn’t help but whimper.
“Stop! Don’t hurt her! Please, I don’t know who you’re talking about!” Max pleaded desperately.
.” ‘Chris’ enunciated the name. “I know she helped you escape. Now where is she?”
‘Chris’ sighed exaggeratedly. “If you insist on using that name, then yes. Tess.”
“I-I have no idea. I haven’t seen her since…since…” Max faltered, unable to finish the sentence, unable to talk about the moment when Tess had led him to his own personal hell.
“I suppose I believe you,” Chris responded dully. “You were always too virtuous to lie. A fault that seems to have carried over to this new life.”
“Okay, okay,” Max took a small step forward, both palms raised now in a gesture of surrender. “So why don’t you let Liz go and we can talk about this?”
‘Chris’ took a step back in compensation to Max’s advance. “I don’t think I can do that.”
Fire and adrenaline raced through Max’s veins, and his careful hold over his emotions snapped. “Let her go, god damn it! This is between you and me. She has nothing to do with this!”
“She has everything
to do with this,” was the calm response.
Without even thinking, Max lunged forward, hoping to at least knock Liz free of her assailant’s grasp. But just as before, he simply wasn’t fast enough. He was knocked, hard, back into the wall. His hand rubbed the back of his head, and encountered something sticky and warm. Looking down at his fingers, Max discovered that they were covered in blood. ‘Chris’ must have removed his hand from Liz’s mouth, for Max could hear her calling out to him. But her voice was muffled, as if they were underwater. His head lolled uncontrollably for a moment before he was able to raise it again. When he did, ‘Chris’ was standing over him, Liz still held tightly in his grasp.
He clucked his tongue, scolding Max as if he were a child. “You really should learn to control your temper, Zan. Go ahead, heal yourself. We can’t very well have a conversation if you’re unconscious on the floor.”
Max raised his hand back to his head, mending together his damaged skull and skin. He pushed back against the wall, sliding up it until he was standing again. ‘Chris’ made no move to retreat, and Max was acutely aware that Liz was close enough for him to touch her. Despite the overwhelming desire to do so, Max thought better of it.
“You’ve been so honest with me. It’s only fair that I return the courtesy. You ask who I am, but you already know the answer to that. I am, I suppose, your greatest enemy.”
“Kivar,” Max spat.
His soft chuckle confirmed the assumption, and Liz turned her head to him in disbelief.
“H-how long?” she questioned in a small voice. How long had this monster been parading around as her boyfriend?
“Several months now. I needed to observe you, know what you were capable of, what your weaknesses were.” Kivar stroked his finger down Liz’s temple to her jaw line. “Fortunately for me, you turned out to be such pleasant company.”
Max clenched his fists at his side to keep from punching him.
Kivar dropped his hand. “And then when you were reunited with…Max
here, I needed to make sure that the two of you didn’t fulfill that little prophecy, create the child that would overthrow me. I have to admit, I’m disappointed that I was failed on that front.”
“W-what?” Liz asked breathlessly, her eyes instantly seeking out Max’s.
Kivar glanced back and forth between Liz and Max’s shocked and incredulous faces. “You mean you didn’t know? I sensed it the moment I saw her.” His hand splayed low across Liz’s stomach. “Yes, our little Lizzie here is carrying the heir. And my potential destroyer.”
Tears filled Liz’s eyes, overflowing and rolling down her cheeks. Max mouthed a silent apology, knowing that it couldn’t possibly convey the depth of his remorse. He was sorry that she had to find out this way, sorry for what would happen to them and their child, sorry that he had left her, sorry that he had betrayed her, sorry for a million other things since the day he revealed himself to her.
“Oh, don’t be so morose. It doesn’t have to end quite so terribly. Mother and child can remain safe and alive.”
Max’s eyes snapped back to Kivar’s, hopeful yet disbelieving.
be merciful Zan. Oh your fate is quite sealed, but there is a chance for Liz and your son. When I heard the prophecy I became certain that we could come to some other conclusion. I can raise him as my
heir. He can completely solidify my hold on the planet, especially if the rumor of his power turns out to be true. I think even the rebels would lay down their swords if they knew that your son was in line to rule. Of course you can join us, Liz. Help raise him. It is entirely your choice.”
Liz’s head was spinning so fast that it took her a moment to fully comprehend Kivar’s words. He was going to kill Max. That was inevitable. And if she wanted to save her own life and that of her child, she would have to turn him over to be raised by the monster that had killed his father. How could she accept that? How could she not? Wouldn’t she do anything to save her son? But what kind of life was she saving him for?
She turned her attention to the hoarse, rough voice pleading for her.
“Liz, you have to save yourself. Save our son.” Max choked back a sob, wishing he was stronger, wishing she couldn’t see him crying. He didn’t want her to remember him this way. “It’ll be alright. As long as the two of you are alive, a part of me is too. You can’t die, Liz. Not for me.”
His name tore through her lips on a harsh cry. Her tears were falling harder now, anticipating a life without him. She couldn’t even bear to think it. “I…I don’t know if I can.”
“Yes you can, Liz,” he assured her heatedly. “You have to. It doesn’t matter what happens to me, I’ll always love you. Always, Liz.”
His eyes held hers fiercely, begging her to take Kivar up on his offer. Even with Max gone, there was a chance that Michael, Isabel, and Serena would be able to save Liz and his son. They just needed time. And agreeing to Kivar’s proposal would buy her that time. He needed her to see that she wouldn’t be betraying him, that it didn’t mean she didn’t love him. She bit her trembling lower lip, and the confliction in her eyes told him that she was considering the offer.
“So,” Kivar cut in, his voice devoid of emotion, “Have we made a decision?”
Liz closed her eyes tightly, unable to look at Max when she spoke the words. Her throat felt so tight that she could barely talk. “I’ll come with you.”
Max tried to smile at her, to reassure her that she had made the right decision, but she couldn’t bring herself to open her eyes. She was certain that she could feel her heart stuttering to a stop.
“Good. I’m sure you’ll find that the experience really isn’t all that unpleasant,” Kivar replied diplomatically. “We really must be going now, but there is one contingency that must be dealt with before we go. Do you wish to say goodbye?”
Liz’s eyes flew open at that and she thrashed violently in Kivar’s hold, trying to reach out a hand to Max. “No! Please…I can’t! Max!”
For a moment he thought of fighting back, of rebelling against his death sentence. But even if he could move faster than Kivar could react, he would never take the chance that he would hurt Liz or their child.
“I love you, Liz. I love you,” Max promised her passionately.
“Max…” she cried. “…I love you.”
Max smiled through his tears, tuning out everything else around him. He wanted the last thing that he saw and heard to be Liz Parker. He wished desperately that he could touch her one last time, feel her lips against his, but he knew that Kivar would never allow it. Instead he clung to his memories, imaging in perfect clarity how everything felt. He didn’t take his eyes off of Liz, even as Kivar raised his hand to deliver the fatal blast.
Re: When He Returns (CC, M/L, Mature) Ch 30 5/28/08
Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 11:51 pm
It’s been said that right before you die, your whole life flashes before your eyes. And for Max Evans, his whole life amounted to only one thing. Liz Parker. Liz sitting on a stool in the Crashdown, her eight-year-old legs swinging freely. Liz in the school cafeteria, laughing with Maria and Alex. Liz smiling at him the first day of biology. Liz tucking her hair behind her ear, her face schooled in fierce concentration. Liz giddy and breathless the first time she said she loved him. Liz flushed and moaning beneath him. Liz. Liz. Liz. Endlessly, eternally Liz.
He felt the crackle of electricity in the air and knew he didn’t have much more time. Never more had he wished that there was a God, and never more had he wished that He was listening. Max silently prayed for his parents, for Isabel and Michael. For the friends he had come to love as if they were family. For his soulmate. And for the child they had created together. It saddened him beyond measure that they would never meet. That he would never hold his son, never sing him to sleep or teach him to play baseball. Never watch him blow out the candles on a birthday cake. Never talk to him about girls or see him get married.
The only comfort he had was that he knew Liz would tell their son about him. She would make sure he knew how much they loved each other, and how much his father loved him. For even though Max had only just learned of his son’s existence, he loved him just as surely and completely as he loved Liz.
She was crying now, and it tore him apart that he couldn’t comfort her, that he was the cause of her sorrow. He was leaving her. Again. And even though it was beyond his control, Max was still racked with guilt. Maybe, he thought, this would be better for her in the end. She could have closure. But he could imagine perfectly what Liz’s scolding response to that thought would be, and he instantly took the thought back. Strangely he found himself smiling, picturing the way her eyes would angrily pierce his, how her face would redden with heat, the way her hands would flail about demonstratively as she reprimanded him. Liz always looked so beautiful when she got angry. And she would never let him feel like he was less than worthy of her.
The seconds seemed to tick by at the speed of molasses, and Max found himself wondering what Liz was thinking about. Was she remembering the times they had shared together? Imagining the future they might have had? Planning for the future she would face without him? Liz always had to have a plan.
His attention was suddenly drawn to Kivar’s hand as it began to glow with currents of unnatural purple light. His face was unconcerned, almost bored, as if dealing with a tedious task. And that’s all Max’s death would be to him. A chore to be taken care of without emotion. Max’s muscled tense, steeling him for the blow that would end his life.
“Liz? Is everything alright? I thought I heard something…”
Nancy Parker’s voice sounded just outside the door, and it was unexpected enough to draw Kivar’s attention for a fraction of a second. Seizing upon the opportunity, Liz drove her elbow into Kivar’s ribs, throwing herself from his body when he contracted in pain. The second Liz was safe from harm, Max struck. He summoned up all his strength, sending a powerful blast to Kivar’s abdomen. The wound was ugly, charred and gory, but not deadly. Not enough to stop him. Kivar disappeared in a flash of white light, leaving Max and Liz alone in her room.
Hearing the floor creak just a few feet from her room, Liz threw herself against the door and locked it. There was no way she could deal with her mother right now.
“Liz?” The handled jiggled, the door shuddering in its frame. “Lizzie, is the…why is the door locked?”
“Uh, we,” Liz winced when her voice cracked. She couldn’t let her mom get any more suspicious than she already was. Liz cleared her throat. “We just needed some privacy. We’ll…I’ll be down in a minute.”
“Alright, honey. Are you sure everything is okay?”
Liz sighed. Her mom sounded wary. She knew something was going on. “Of course, mom. It’s fine. I’ll be down soon.”
Liz slumped forward against the door, listening to her mother’s retreating footsteps. They paused on the step, and Liz imagined that her mother had stopped to listen for anymore noise from her room. Apparently satisfied, she continued on down back to the restaurant.
The room was still now, giving Liz the chance to realize just how fast her heart was beating. And here she was certain that it had stopped altogether. She heard movement behind her and she knew it was Max. But she didn’t dare turn around. What if he wasn’t really there? What if her mind had fooled her into believing that he was safe, alive, in order to protect her?
Her hands were flat against the wood of the door, her eyes closed tightly. “Please, please, please,” was her barely audible chant.
Please let him be alive. Please let him be unharmed. Please let him be there. Please don’t take him away from me. Please, not again.
A solid pair of arms wrapped around her body then, one across her waist and the other just above her breasts, and her whole body sighed in relief. It would know those arms even in sleep. His lips were against her hair, her name uttered softly there. Her hands closed around the arm at her shoulders, her nose dropping there as well to inhale his scent. Liz melted into his embrace, reveling in the way his body felt warm against hers.
“Oh Max…” she sighed.
His arms tightened around her. “I know. Are you...are you alright?”
Her lips pressed against his arm and she smiled. He was the one who had almost been killed, yet his only concern was for her. She turned herself around to look at him, wedging herself between his body and the door.
“We’re having a baby, Max.”
He couldn’t quite recognize the emotion in her voice.
“How do you feel about that?” he asked, trying to keep his voice steady. He didn’t want his feelings influencing her answer. He watched her face intently for any signs that she wasn’t being completely honest.
“I think I’m still kind of in shock about it. I mean, I didn’t even know if it was possible. If we were…compatible. And we were being careful about using protection. I don’t know, I guess I’m kind of scared.”
Liz noticed the dark look that crossed Max’s face, and knew what he was thinking. Her eyes widened as she rushed to reassure him. “About being a mom, I mean. I’m worried that I won’t know what to do. But…I’m excited about it, too.”
Liz grabbed Max’s hands and held them over her stomach with hers.
“It’s a life that we created together, Max. How could I not be happy?”
Grinning broadly, Max moved his hands to Liz’s waist, pulling her against him. “You’re crazy, you know that right? You’re going to be a great mom.”
Bolstered by Max’s words, she smiled brightly before pulling him down for a kiss. She opened her mouth enthusiastically, accepting his tongue’s invasion. His hands moved restlessly across her body, touching her everywhere they could reach but always finding their way back to her stomach.
“I take it that you’re happy about this too?”
“Happy isn’t strong enough,” he murmured against her lips. “I’m ecstatic. Elated. Overjoyed, thrilled, delighted, jubilant…”
“Okay, okay. I get it,” Liz laughed.
Max kissed her softly, running his fingers through her hair before dropping to his knees. He inched her top up over her navel, revealing the flat expanse of her abdomen. He gazed at the smooth skin in wonder. His child, their child, was inside there. He pressed his palm flat against her stomach, much in the same way he had when he healed her. With little concentration he was connected, amazed at the flicker of life that responded. If he hadn’t already lowered himself to the ground, the emotions he was experiencing would have knocked him over. He sent out a pulse of energy, a signal of his love and joy to his son. The flicker grew stronger in response and Max knew his son had understood. With great reluctance he pulled back, looking up to find Liz with tears in her eyes, and he knew she had felt it too.
“I love you, Liz,” he vowed sincerely. “I love you so much.”
“I love you too. More than you could ever know.”
His stomach tightened painfully. Only a moment ago he thought he would never hear her say those words again. He would have traded the world for another chance, and thanks to Nancy Parker, he was getting it. His relief, however, was short-lived. The danger was over… but only for the moment. Who knew how long he really had? There was a possibility, a very strong one, that he might not survive this. He had to take advantage of the time he had.
His hand released her shirt, turning its focus to the button on her pants. Having opened it, his fingers moved to pull down her zipper before tugging her pants down her legs, her panties following along behind. He lifted first one ankle, then the other, helping her free the material from her body. Liz’s hands gripped around his elbows, urging him to his feet, but he gently extracted himself.
“No Liz, wait. I…I wanna try something first. Please?”
His voice wavered slightly and she could tell that he was nervous. Being honest with herself, she could admit that she was too. Her fingers sifted through his hair and she nodded. Max smiled briefly at her before his expression grew serious again. Starting at her ankles, his hands trailed slowly upward, caressing her silky calves. They stopped when they reached the inside of her knees, his lips taking their place.
“So soft,” he groaned into her skin as his mouth trailed wet kisses up the inside of her thigh.
Liz whimpered, the combination of his voice and touch making her weak. She reached out blindly, finding Max’s shoulders and gripping them tightly trying to steady herself. His mouth finally reached the juncture between her thighs, and he gently parted her legs further. He could smell her arousal, and the bulge in his pants hardened painfully. But that would have to wait.
He leaned in slowly, tantalizingly, and Liz trembled with anticipation. She could feel his hot breath against her center, and her fingers dug painfully into his skin. All traces of nervousness were gone, overwhelmed by a desire too strong to be denied. The first touch of his tongue was tentative but electrifying, setting her whole body on fire. The next swipe was more confident, dipping inside her. Liz’s body fell heavily against the door and she inhaled sharply.
Max growled out her name. “You taste amazing.”
“Oh God, Max! I…I…”
She stuttered incoherently as he licked her sensitized clitoris. His hands slid higher up to her butt, molding her flesh and bringing her closer to his hungry mouth. He grunted as his tongue continued to move against her, and the vibration sent waves of pleasure rolling through her stomach.
“Max,” she gasped. “I-I can’t…I need you. Max, please.”
She yelped in surprise as he pulled her legs out from under, catching her before she could hit the ground and cradling her in his lap. His mouth pressed against hers forcefully, his fingers digging with bruising strength into her hips. Anyone else might have been frightened by Max’s loss of control, but Liz’s desperation matched his. She bit down on his lower lip, begging for more, knowing Max would never really hurt her. His hips rocked up into hers and she could feel how badly he needed her. She reared back, pushing him away from her and flat onto his back.
His eyes seemed to clear, and before he could apologize for his rough treatment of her, Liz was straddling his thighs and pulling his pants open with urgency. Before she could push them down, Max stood up, holding her to his chest. Her legs wrapped instinctively around his waist as he rushed them toward the wall. Her back hit against it with a dull thud, but Liz didn’t seem to notice or care. She was too focused on getting Max’s pants off and completing their joining.
Max resumed kissing her as he helped her push his pants and boxers down, the clothes gathering around his ankles. They broke the kiss only to remove each other’s shirts, and then Max pushed inside her. Liz threw her head back against the wall, and Max attached his mouth to her neck. He thrust into her, fast, hard, and deep. Her nails scratched down his chest as she arched her body against his.
“So beautiful, my Liz,” Max panted as his mouth sought one of her pebbled pink nipples.
“Yes Max,” she cried out hoarsely. “Love you…so much.”
The emotions raging through them were so strong that it didn’t take long for Liz to feel the pulsing release of her orgasm. She rode out the waves of pleasure with Max still moving inside her. He buried his face in the crook of her neck, tilting her hips to stroke her at a different angle. Max’s steady, quick pace had her soon building toward the crescendo again. It was only after her second orgasm had passed that Liz noticed Max was speaking. His voice was gruff and distressed.
“Can’t lose you…love you too much…have to be with you…have to protect you…protect the baby…”
She leaned forward to whisper in his ear, her body shivering as their upper halves sealed together in intimate contact. “It’s okay, Max. I’m here. We’re safe and nothing is going to happen to us. You can let go, Max. It’s okay.”
His whole body was trembling, from the effort he was exerting in his love-making or from the sobs she suspected were wracking his body, Liz couldn’t be sure. But he wouldn’t stop.
“Max, please. Please don’t do this to yourself,” she begged. She twisted her neck painfully to kiss the corner of his mouth. “I love you.”
His frantic pace slowed and his hips jerked against hers. He came hard, his loud cry of Liz’s name muted against her skin. Liz lowered her feet to the floor, supporting Max as he slumped exhaustedly against her. She moved them the few feet to the bed, pulling Max over her as she settled herself on top of the covers. One of her arms was slung across his shoulders, the other trailing through his sweaty hair. It took a few minutes for his heart and breathing rate to slow back to normal, and Liz held him close to her the whole time. She watched him press his hand against her belly, checking on their child, before turning his attention to her.
Max looked up at her timidly from where his head lay on her breast. “I didn’t hurt you, did I?”
“Never,” Liz assured him. “But Max, I’m worried about you.”
“I’m fine,” he said quickly, but Liz could tell he was anything but.
“No, you’re not,” she countered, shaking her head. “You always do this. You can’t put everything on your shoulders. You need to let your friends help you. Let me help you.”
At that Max rocked back to his knees, looking down on her fiercely. “No, Liz. You need to stay out of this as much as you can.”
Liz moved to mimic his pose, cupping his face in her hands. “I’m a part of this, Max. I know that scares you, but I couldn’t watch from the sidelines even if I wanted to. They’d still come after me. You have to let me help you, Max. You don’t have any other choice. Besides, we’re stronger when we’re together.”
“If anything happened to you or the baby-”
“It won’t,” she cut in resolutely.
“You don’t know that, Liz!” he shouted, pulling her hands from his face. “You don’t know what could happen! If Kivar decides that you and the baby aren’t worth the trouble…”
“Yes, there’s a chance that he could kill us,” she acquiesced. “But there’s also the chance that we will kill him first.”
“Are you forgetting, Liz, that the baby inside you is the one who’s supposed to kill him?” Max asked sardonically.
Her hands automatically flew to cover her stomach.
“Would you let our son put himself in that kind of danger?”
“It’s not the same thing,” Liz gritted through her teeth. Hot, angry tears flooded her eyes.
Max made a distressed sound at the sight of her crying. “I’m sorry, Liz. I wasn’t trying to upset you. I’m just…I’m just scared.”
He beckoned her into his arms and she went willingly. She knew this wasn’t easy for him, but she sure has hell wasn’t about to give in. He didn’t seem to realize that she worried about him just as much as he did about her.
“I know you’re scared. I am too. But the only way we’re going to get through this is if we are together.”
“I know,” he responded, resting his chin on top of her head. “We’ll figure something out, I promise.” He dropped a kiss onto her hair. “I love you, Liz. With all my heart.”
“I know. I love you too.”
Re: When He Returns (CC, M/L, Mature) Ch 31 6/12/08
Posted: Sun Jul 20, 2008 1:22 am
Liz watched with an amused smile as Max checked the locks on her windows for the tenth time. He waved his hand over them, reinforcing the shimmering alien shield he had put in place. She pulled her legs up to her chest, resting her head on her knees and admiring his toned form as he restlessly went about trying to turn her room into a fortress.
“Max…” she called indulgently from her position on the bed. “You do realize we’re going to have to leave the room eventually, right?”
“Not if I had anything to say about it,” he mumbled under his breath, before dropping down on his stomach in push-up position and looking under Liz’s bed.
Liz leaned upside down over the other side to meet his eye, her hair grazing the floor. “Find any monsters?” she asked with a giggle.
“This isn’t funny, Liz,” he scolded.
Her smile faltered and then dropped from her face. “I know it’s not,” she responded tiredly, the tone of her voice drawing Max to her side. “But sometimes it’s easier to joke about the things that scare you.”
His fingers weaved into her hair and he placed a tender kiss against her temple. “I’m not going to let him hurt you, Liz. You or the baby. I’ll die first.”
“Don’t say that,” Liz whispered, turning wide, horrified eyes to his.
He brushed his thumb across her cheek before leaning in to kiss her forehead. “I love you, Liz.”
He kissed her again, a lingering, love-filled kiss. Pulling back, he smiled at the way her eyes remained closed, her pouty lips reaching towards his. Maybe, he thought, he had been using the wrong kind of persuasion to get Liz to be more careful with herself. With another quick peck, he moved away from her to use her bathroom.
Standing in front of the mirror, Max splashed cold water on his face. He looked intently at his own reflection, trying to find the differences that he was sure would be there, but came up empty. He and Liz were going to be a family, with a child that would be a perfect combination of them both. And the very thought of it filled him with the most incredible happiness. Something like that would certainly have to show up in his face, wouldn’t it?
He rubbed his eyes with the heels of his palms, willing away the fatigue that wanted to envelope him. There wasn’t time for that now. He emerged from the bathroom to find Liz fully clothed and pulling her hair up into a ponytail.
“What are you doing, sweetheart?”
Considering her image in the mirror, Liz answered without turning to look at him. “I really have to go talk to my parents. And even though I’m completely dreading it, I can’t put it off anymore.”
“Okay,” Max nodded, grabbing his t-shirt and lowering himself to the edge of the bed. “Just give me a minute to get ready.”
“No, Max,” her voice was firm but gentle, and he looked up at her in surprise. “They need to hear this from me. Alone.”
He frowned in annoyance. “If you think I’m going to let you out of my sight for one second…”
“Hmmm.” Liz contemplated his words for a moment, trying to find an acceptable compromise. She approached Max where he sat, slung one leg over his, and straddled his lap. With her arms wrapped around his neck, she placed small, tantalizing kisses up his jaw to his ear. “What if…I let you watch…from the break room. That way you’ll be close by in case anything happens.”
“Liz, I don’t-”
She pressed her lips firmly to his, silencing his objection. Her tongue traced the inside of his mouth as her hips rocked slowly against his. Max’s reaction came slowly, but when it did, it was just as enthusiastic as hers. His hands crawled up her back, one pulling her against him and the other tangling itself in her hair. He took control of the kiss, massaging her tongue with his while his body matched her rhythm.
Liz pulled away first, nuzzling his nose with hers. “See you downstairs in five.”
It took Max a moment to shake himself from his dazed state. He shook his head, grumbling about how easily he’d been played. He was swift to pull his shirt over his head, buttoning up his pants as he made his way down the steps that led to the lower level of the building. He approached the door that separated the break room from the restaurant cautiously, trying to look through the diamond-shaped window without being noticed by the people on the other side. The two older Parkers sat in a booth with their daughter, their backs to him. He couldn’t really hear what was being said, but he could see the way Liz was nervously wringing her hands under the table.
She shouldn’t being doing this alone.
His hands went to the door, ready to push through and take his place beside her. But her eyes lifted to his, as if she knew what he were about to do, and warned him to stop. She took a deep breath, turning back to her parents before they noticed her attention was elsewhere.
“So anyway, Chris shouldn’t be coming around anymore. If you see him, you need to tell me right away, alright?”
“You talk like he’s dangerous or something, Liz,” her father spoke slowly, suspicion lacing his words.
“No, nothing like that,” Liz lied. Well, she told herself, it’s not really a lie. Chris isn’t dangerous, just the alien despot who’s possessing him. “It’s just…the break up was pretty hard on him, and I think it would be better for both of us if we just took some time apart. I’d still like us to be friends, but we need to get used to not being a couple first.”
Nancy nodded, seemingly accepting Liz’s explanation, and started to rise from her seat. “It’s getting pretty late, sweetie. Maybe we should all head on up to bed.”
“Actually,” Liz cut in, looking chagrined. “There’s…there’s more.”
“More?” Nancy parroted, lowering herself back behind the table.
Liz bit her lower lip, anticipating her parent’s reaction. She discreetly glanced back up at the window, her eyes finding Max’s, drawing strength from his presence. He smiled softly, and she knew that he wouldn’t be angry with her if she decided not to tell her parents. But she loved him, and their baby, and she wasn’t going to let anyone make her feel guilty about it.
“I’ve actually been seeing someone else. It’s the reason why Chris and I broke up.”
Nancy looked slightly shocked at the admission, and she and Jeff looked expectantly for their daughter to continue.
Liz mustered up a smile. “It’s Max. Max Evans.”
At the mention of Max’s name, her parents exchanged a look, both of them frowning.
Liz continued on hurriedly. “We ran into each other a couple of months ago and…and all these feelings that we had came rushing back. I don’t think they ever really went away but…A-anyways, we started spending more time together and we just fell back into being a relationship. I mean, it just felt so natural, you know? Like…like Max and I were meant to be together. I love him so much, and I know he feels the same way about me.”
“Well, Lizzie that’s…” Jeff tried to appear enthused, but was having a little trouble pulling it off. He remembered all too well how his daughter had cried over Max Evans. “That’s great. Your mom and I are glad that you’re so happy.”
Nancy nodded her agreement with a tight smile, not really appearing anymore glad than her husband did.
“Thank you. I am happy. Happier than I can ever remember being. And I have some really important new to share with both of you.” Liz reached across the table and took her parents’ hands in each of hers. “Mom, Dad…Max and I are going to have a baby.”
It took a moment for Liz’s words to sink in.
“You-you’re…Lizzie you can’t be serious!” Nancy spluttered in disbelief.
“Damn it Liz, how could you be so stupid?” Jeff shouted, his fist pounding the table, causing the napkin holder to shake violently.
Liz felt her heart drop into her stomach. “We…” she paused, feeling her eyes well with tears. “We tried to be careful. We used protection, but it isn’t always a hundred percent. And even though this pregnancy wasn’t planned, we are both very happy about it. I was hoping you would be too.”
“Of course I’m happy,” Jeff bit out sarcastically. “Why wouldn’t I be? My twenty year old daughter disappears from school without a word, then shows up to tell me that she’s gotten knocked up by her bastard boyfriend who we didn’t even know she was dating.”
“Dad, don’t talk about him that way!”
Nancy placed her hand over Jeff’s arm in a calming gesture. When she spoke to Liz, her voice was gentler, more controlled than her previous outburst. “Lizzie, I remember how badly things ended between the two of you before. How do you know he isn’t just going to hurt you again?”
Liz’s voice was desperate, pleading for her parents to understand. “He won’t, okay? He’s completely devoted to me and our baby.”
“Right,” Jeff snorted. “Then where the hell is he? Why is he letting you face the firing squad alone?”
“Because Liz asked me to.”
Three sets of eyes snapped in the direction of the low, rough voice. Liz was instantly on her feet, taking solace in Max’s embrace.
“I’m sorry,” he whispered in her ear. “I couldn’t just stand there and listen anymore.”
She nodded against his shoulder, the fabric absorbing her tears. With one hand he gathered her hair and pulled it over her shoulders, stroking down her neck as he did so. He kissed her forehead briefly, and then addressed the Parkers with more confidence than he actually felt.
“Mr. and Mrs. Parker, I understand your concern for Liz. I know that I hurt her in the past, and you can’t imagine how much I hate myself for that.”
Nancy pursed her lips, not quite sure what to think of the man standing in front of her.
“But I’m in love with your daughter. I’ve been in love with her for almost as long as I can remember. And even though I know I don’t deserve her or her forgiveness, I’m smart enough to accept it if she’s willing to offer. Liz is the most amazing person I’ve ever known and the best thing that’s ever happened. I promise you, I’m going to do everything I can to take care of her and our baby.”
The air was heavy with tension as Liz and Max waited for her parents’ response. Jeff Parker still wore a scowl on his face, and when he opened his mouth to speak it was clear that he was going to voice his objections. Unfortunately for him, Nancy spoke first.
“Thank you for that, Max. I think that if Liz is willing you give you another chance, then we should as well.”
“Nancy!” Jeff cried out incredulously, glaring at his wife.
She leaned closer to him, speaking in a low voice. “Look at her, Jeff.” She glanced over where Liz was standing, noting with sadness the way Liz clung to Max like he was the most important thing in her world. Nancy remembered when Liz was a little girl, how she would hold on like that whenever Nancy tried to leave the house.
“If we make her choose between us and him, I don’t think we’ll like the outcome. And I don’t know about you, but I would like to have a relationship with our daughter and grandchild.”
Jeff clenched his jaw, knowing that his wife was right but not wanting to face it. He looked up to find Max and Liz embracing again, Liz with her hands on Max’s shoulders, one of Max’s hands cradling her jaw while the other rested on her stomach. Jeff couldn’t deny the love he saw in Max’s eyes as he looked at Liz, nor how that love was mirrored in her gaze.
“Like I said before,” Nancy went on, speaking loud enough for everyone to hear, “It’s getting late. And I really think Liz should get some rest. Max, why don’t you take her to her room. I’ll be up in a minute with a glass of juice.”
“Help me in the kitchen, Jeff?”
It was phrased as a question, but the command behind it was clear. Get your butt in the kitchen, NOW.
Max took Liz’s hand, smiling gratefully at Nancy while he and Liz started up the stairs. Nancy turned to the kitchen, Jeff trailing behind her.
“You’re just going to let them go up to her room? Alone?”
Nancy rolled her eyes, retrieving a glass from the cupboard and a pitcher of orange juice from the fridge. “What’s the worst that could happen, Jeffrey? That she get more pregnant?”
“I can’t believe you’re encouraging this.”
She sighed in exasperation. “What else am I supposed to do? She loves him. And I think he really loves her too. Maybe…maybe he just needed some time to grow up.”
“I still don’t trust him,” Jeff grumbled.
“Well, Liz does. And there’s nothing else for us to do now but be there for her when needs us. Now come with me and say goodnight to your daughter.”
Jeff followed behind his wife like a dog with its tail between its legs. His ears perked up as they neared Liz’s room, hearing strange noises float through the closed door. His eyes widened. Was that…moaning?
“Mmmm, harder Max. Oh yeah, right there. Oh god that feels amazing.”
Jeff burst into the room, ready to toss that damn Max Evans over the fire escape. He found them on Liz’s bed, but not at all in the position he had expected. Liz was reclined against the headboard, Max cross-legged at the end of the bed holding one of Liz’s feet.
Nancy brushed past him, glaring at him while she handed Liz the glass of juice. “Here you go, sweetie.”
She sat down beside her daughter as Max resumed massaging her foot. “Are you seeing a doctor? Taking your vitamins?”
Liz gulped down half the glass before answering. “Actually I haven’t been to a doctor yet. We just found out today.”
“Really?” Jeff perked up. “You know, those tests can give out false positives,” he said cheerily.
“I’m pregnant, Dad. We’re sure. Sorry to disappoint,” Liz responded sourly.
“Well…” Nancy began, attempting to diffuse the awkward situation. “We’re going to bed. I suggest you two do the same. Good night Lizzie, Max.”
“Good night Mrs. Parker.”
Nancy stepped into the hallway, waiting for Jeff to join her. He remained in the middle of Liz’s room, arms crossed, looking expectantly at Max. After a moment of silence he cleared his throat, none too subtly gesturing towards the door.
“Daddy, Max is staying,” Liz said calmly, as though hers was the final word on the matter.
“The hell he is,” Jeff fired back. “You may be an adult, but this is still my house and-”
“No, Nancy. This is where I put my foot down.”
“Daddy you’re being unreasonable.”
“No, Liz. He’s right. I should just go,” Max said diplomatically. The last thing he needed was Jeff Parker hating him even more. If that was even possible.
“You’re not going anywhere, Max. Now sit down,” Liz commanded.
Max glanced warily between Liz and her father, unsure which one he was more afraid of. Finally deciding that Liz could do far worse things than kill him, he slowly lowered himself back down onto the bed.
“Honestly, Jeff. Don’t you think it would be nice for Liz to have someone to take care of her?”
“We’re her parents. We can take care of her,” he replied stubbornly.
“Really? So you want to run out at two in the morning trying to find some place that’s still open because Liz has a craving for Doritos?”
“Well…” Jeff shifted nervously.
“That’s what I thought. We’re going to bed now. Good night you two.”
Nancy gripped Jeff’s arm and effectively pulled him from the room. He stumbled along, watching apprehensively as Max Evans stretched out alongside his little girl.
“Alright, Evans,” Liz said as soon as her parents were out of earshot. “Close the door and lose the pants.” She batted her lashes innocently. “Oh, and when we’re done, would you please get me a bag of Doritos?”
Re: When He Returns (CC, M/L, Mature) Ch 32 7/20/08
Posted: Tue Sep 02, 2008 12:47 am
Standing under the warm yellow glow of his porch light, Kyle and Serena were saying goodnight after their date. Well, Serena was saying goodnight. Kyle had other plans…
“Come on, Serena. Stay,” Kyle cajoled, fingers trailing up and down her side. He leaned in to kiss her, but she pulled away just before his lips could reach hers.
“I don’t think that’s such a good idea,” she hedged, peeking over his shoulder into the darkness of his living room.
“Why? You worried about my dad? Don’t be. He sleeps like a rock. He’ll never even know we’re here.”
Her mouth twisted in thought, and Kyle used her momentary distraction to his advantage. His mouth lowered to her neck, pushing her shirt aside to kiss her shoulder. Her head rolled slightly back, an appreciative sigh catching in her throat. But when Kyle took a step backwards, pulling her with him into the house, she snapped back to her senses.
“Oh no, loverboy,” she laughed softly, pushing at his shoulders. “Not gonna happen. It’s going take a lot more than dinner at some Italian restaurant and a glass of sparkling cider for you to score.”
A sly grin spread across his face. “Oh don’t you worry about that. I’ve got Barry White all ready to go in the CD player.”
Her laughter bounced loudly around the room and she flitted lightly from his arms. “Call me tomorrow,” she called, blowing him a kiss before ducking into the driver’s seat of the Evans’ car. Even though she insisted that she would be fine in a hotel, Phillip and Diane were adamant that Serena stay with them for as long as necessary.
Kyle reluctantly waved goodbye, his whole body thrumming with disappointment. It looked like another cold shower and a date with his hand. This whole relationship thing was new for both of them, Serena having spent practically her whole life dedicated to stopping Kivar, and Kyle not spending more than two weeks with any single girl. Liz was the first one he had ever considered a girlfriend and well, that hadn’t exactly worked out. Even so, he was ready for more with Serena. But after that first night when they had gotten so close (and, Kyle recalled ruefully, she had fallen asleep), she decided that she wanted to move things a little slower. However, that didn’t stop him from imaginging…
The sudden vibration of his phone in his pocket alerted him to the fact that he had a text message. He flipped it open, his forehead creasing slightly when he read that it was from Liz. He didn’t get the chance to read the message, as the phone slipped from his hand at the sound of a voice that was definitely not his father’s.
“She’s awfully pretty, Kyle.”
Kyle spun around in surprise, knocking over what he guessed was a lamp. The only light came from the porch behind him, making it almost impossible to see into the hidden corners of the room.
“Who’s there?” he called out, eyes squinting in the darkness.
Kyle took a sideways step towards the cabinet where his dad kept his guns, when his uninvited companion stepped forward from the shadows, slowly revealing what Kyle was sure was a hallucination.
Hair that had once been short and perfectly curly was now long, practically down to her waist, dirty and unkempt. Any skin not hidden by clothes was marred either with dirt or varying wounds and bruises. She stood awkwardly, like all her weight was balanced on one foot. The only feature that he recognized, that betrayed her true identity, was her eyes. They were still bright, the color of ice and just as cold.
Her eyes sparkled with mirth and she smiled warmly. “It’s been a long time, Kyle. You look good.”
He took another step towards the cabinet, trying to make the movement look casual. He kept his tone light when he responded. “Thanks. I wish I could say the same, but you look like shit.”
She chuckled good-naturedly. “Yeah, well times have been tough. So…who was the girl?”
Kyle’s fists clenched reflexively. He didn’t want Tess finding out about Serena and turning her over to Kivar as well. All traces of his friendly tone disappeared. “None of your business.”
She flinched, genuinely hurt by his coldness. She could think of only one explanation why Kyle would be so angry with her. “So I assume they’re here then? They told you what happened?”
“Oh you’d love that, wouldn’t you? I tell you they’re here, you phone home and then your buddy Kivar shows up to take them back. I don’t think so sister.”
Her eyes narrowed. “That would be foolish, after everything I risked arranging for their escape.”
Another step. Only a couple more feet now.
“What are you talking about Tess?”
“Look Kyle, if you want a gun just grab it already,” she snapped. “But you don’t need it. I’m not going to hurt you.”
“Well you’ll excuse me if I don’t quite take your word for it,” he retorted caustically. He stretched his arm out and opened the cabinet, reaching inside and removing a handgun without ever taking his eyes off Tess. He opened the chamber to make sure it was loaded, knowing in the back of his mind that if Tess was inclined to use her powers on him, the gun would be completely useless.
“So what were you saying? About helping Isabel and Max escape?”
“I set it all up Kyle. As discreetly as possible, of course. I didn’t want any of it getting back to me. But I made some contacts with members of the rebel alliance inside the capitol and made sure one of them was appointed Max and Isabel’s caretaker. I informed her of the changing of the guard; I told her how to help them escape from the prison without detection. A week later they were safely off the planet, and I was sure that Kivar hadn’t connected me to it.”
She cringed, absently rubbing a hand over her heart. “I was wrong. One night Kivar sent two soldiers to my room. Lucky for me they weren’t expecting me to fight back. I barely made it out of there alive. I swear to you, Kyle, I never wanted anyone to get hurt.”
A barking, humorless laugh greeted her words. “Why should I believe that? You’re the one who turned them in!”
Tess winced and stumbled slightly, leaning against an end table for support. “I didn’t want to, but I had no choice. Nasedo had the deal in place decades before he even found me. If I didn’t go along with it Kivar would have had me killed. I was terrified! What else was I supposed to do?”
“Damn it, Tess you could have told us,” he responded harshly. “We could have protected you.”
“Like any of you gave damn about what happened to me!”
“I did Tess! I cared about you!” he shouted, drumming his finger against his chest. “My father cared about you. You were a part of our family. At least that’s what I thought. Was any of it real?”
It was almost physically painful for him, trying to reconcile the Tess that had shared his home, the one who had given him and his father their first real Christmas since his mother left, with the girl who had willingly deceived them all and delivered two of their friends into a living nightmare.
“Of course it was real,” Tess responded sincerely, reaching a hand out to Kyle.
He swatted away the gesture, and Tess fell upon the couch, tears in her eyes. “You and your father are the only family I’ve ever had.”
Kyle raked his hands through his hair, nearly pulling the strands out by the roots. He so desperately wanted to believe her, to be able to remember their time together without the painful shadow that now clouded it. But the deceptions…the betrayal…
Kyle’s eyes were drawn to Tess’s hands, which were covering her grumbling stomach.
“What about the baby, Tess?”
“What about him?” she whispered, and Kyle was sure that he had heard a sniffle somewhere in there.
“Well, let’s see. For starters…where the hell is he?”
Her head fell forward into her hands, sobs causing her shoulders to shake violently. Without even thinking about it, Kyle found himself sitting beside her on the couch, a tissue held in his outstretched hand. Her eyes widened in shock at the warm gesture but she eagerly welcomed his offering.
“Thank you,” she murmured, dabbing delicately at her eyes.
Old instincts insisted that he should wrap his arm her shoulders and allow her head to rest under his chin, that he should rub her arm and comfort her. But things are different now, he reminded himself. So he opted to wait patiently for her to stop crying.
“I-I was about five months along. I was doing everything I was supposed to do so that the baby would be healthy. Kivar had servants waiting on me twenty four hours a day to make sure that I had everything I needed. I was strangely proud of the fact that I was carrying the next king of our planet, despite the fact that I had been forced to coerce Max into sleeping with me.”
Beside her, Kyle blanched. “Coerced? You…you mean…?”
“No, Kyle. I didn’t use my powers on Max,” she retorted severely, although most of her anger was directed inwardly. “But he wasn’t exactly in the right state to be making any kind of decision like that. I…I made sure that he felt like he had no one else, that I was the only one who cared about him anymore. But I knew he was thinking about Liz…wishing I was her. I could see in the flashes how many times he had imagined being with her the way he was being with me. I knew even as it was happening that he felt disgusted with himself, and I couldn’t help but feel the same way. Max was my husband…he was supposed to love me…and all he could do was think about her. But I had a job to do, and I wasn’t going to let any stupid emotions get in my way.”
Kyle shifted slightly away from her, disturbed by her words. “Fine, so you got what you wanted. What happened?”
“Kivar heard that there were rumors passing amongst the rebels, something about a baby and the royal four. You didn’t want to cross his path those days. The smallest perceived infraction could earn you a terrible punishment. Finally his prophets came to him and told him what they had seen. Somewhere a powerful baby was to be born that would end his rule. Anyone else might have been troubled by that kind of prophecy, but not Kivar. No, he saw it as an opportunity. If he could find that child, claim it and its power as his own, then nothing could ever stand in his way.”
Her whole body trembled as she began to cry again. “He…he…” Her voice broke and she breathed in with a harsh, hitching cry. “He decided that it was unnecessary to have two heirs. And since one was clearly superior to the other…”
Kyle was fairly certain he knew what was coming next. And this time when he felt the impulse to touch her, he did. His hand found hers in her lap, and he gently joined them together. She felt so small, so cold.
“My baby never got to take his first breath or open his eyes. He never got to speak or cry or laugh.”
She completely fell apart then, unable to say another word through her crying. Kyle grasped her elbow, helping her to her feet and supporting her as he led her down the hall. She looked up at him questioningly as she limped along beside him. He wasn’t sure exactly when it had happened, but he decided that he believed her.
“You can stay here tonight,” he informed her quietly. “But no funny business, Tess. I mean it. And for the time being, it’s probably best if you stay away from the others.” He paused, unsure of his next words. “Especially Max and Liz.”
She closed her eyes, unsurprised by the ease with which Kyle joined their names together, but shocked by the way it still hurt. “Sounds like he wasted no time.”
Kyle chose not to answer. Tess clearly still had issues with Max's feelings for Liz, and the last thing they needed was her getting angry and acting out. Besides, she had already done enough damage and he didn't feel like causing either of them any more heartache. For now it was probably best to let her rest and heal up. Tomorrow he would tell the others and they could decide what to do from there.
He glanced inside his dad’s room as they walked past and rolled his eyes. The old man was still sound asleep, sprawled out like a starfish across his bed and snoring loudly. He helped Tess into his bed, grabbed a pillow, and dropped down onto the couch. As he curled onto his side he suddenly remembered the message from Liz, but that could wait until tomorrow.
Re: When He Returns (CC, M/L, Mature) A/N 11/11
Posted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 3:21 am
A/N: It's ridiculously late and I have to work tomorrow, but I am so relieved to be posting this. Sorry for the wait, but this installment is nice and long. Thanks for all your encouragement!
The bag opened with a satisfying snap, and Liz closed her eyes as she inhaled the mouth watering aroma of nacho cheese flavored chips. Her toes absently pointed and flexed as she placed one of the treats gingerly on her tongue, savoring the flavor. She gave Max a grateful kiss on the cheek, before popping another chip in her mouth. Mmmmm
, that was exactly what she needed.
Her hand was dipping into the bag once again, when a tap at the window sent her recoiling against the headboard. Max’s hand caressed her leg from ankle to knee as he calmly reassured her that it was just Serena. She smiled weakly, embarrassed by her body’s reaction. She wanted to be stronger than that, to prove to Max that she could take care of herself, that she didn’t need him to protect every minute. Shaking like a Chihuahua at every little noise certainly wasn’t going to help.
Max leaned in and kissed Liz’s temple then moved from the bed to let Serena in. “Thanks for coming, Ser.”
She sat down beside Liz, beaming from ear to ear. “So how are you feeling?”
Liz schooled her expression to match Serena’s. “Good. Really good.”
“Despite the fact that she was attacked
tonight,” Max cut in dryly.
Her eyes narrowed, Liz was ready to retort when she felt Serena stiffen beside her. Her eyes were glassy and unfocused, and Liz knew that she was receiving some sort of vision. Liz and Max waited anxiously, Serena’s expression giving nothing away.
After a few agonizing moments, Serena broke from her trance. Her body wilted as she drew in several ragged breaths. Finally, she straightened up, glancing around her as she tried to get her bearings.
“You injured him. Badly.,” she said, glancing up at Max. “But not badly enough. He’ll be back.”
Max climbed on the bed beside Liz, wrapping his arm around her shoulders. She leaned into the embrace, laying her hand on his knee and stroking her fingers back and forth.
“What else did you see?” Max asked tightly.
“Not much,” Serena answered, shaking her head.
She was smiling again, and Max couldn’t understand it. If she had seen the fight, seen what had almost happened to Liz, how could she be smiling?
“What is it? What are you smiling about?”
“This is a good sign, Max. Don’t you see?”
“No, I don’t see how our enemy coming here and trying to kidnap Liz is a good sign,” Max responded tightly.
“He came alone
. He acted prematurely. I know he looked confident, but that was only an act. The truth is that Liz being pregnant is his greatest fear. He’s terrified
“So what happens now?” Liz asked excitedly. Serena’s words had given her a new kind of confidence. Maybe things weren’t as hopeless as they had seemed.
“We have to fight back, and quickly. It won’t be long until he has reinforcements sent here. If we can get him alone, I think we can stop him.”
“But what about the prophecy?” Max asked, drawing Liz closer to his body.
Serena shrugged. “With all the tampering we’ve done trying to fix the future, maybe we changed things. All I know is that we have an opportunity, a real chance to end this now, and we’d be damn foolish not to take it.”
Max nodded thoughtfully. “You’re right. If we can take him out now without putting our child at risk, then we have to try.”
Liz’s smile dimmed as she was suddenly struck by a painful thought. Would killing Kivar mean killing Chris as well? Just how much was Kivar’s life intertwined with Chris’s? Even she wasn’t in love with Chris, she still cared deeply for him. He was innocent in all this, completely unaware of how Kivar had been stealing away control of his body.
“We’re not going to hurt Chris, are we Serena?” Liz asked timidly. “I don’t think I could handle that. He doesn’t deserve it.”
Max’s face was intense but contrite when he looked down at her, and Liz knew what he would say. The decision was easy for him. He would always choose her.
“It will be difficult, but we might be able to spare him. I think I can separate Kivar from Chris’s body and we can attack him that way. But if I can’t…”
Serena trailed off, and Liz finished the thought in her head. ‘If I can’t…then poor Chris is going to end up collateral damage.’ The decision was easy for Serena, too. She was a warrior; she would do whatever was necessary to liberate her people.
Liz smiled ruefully. “I understand.”
Serena returned the gesture, patting Liz’s hand before moving towards the window, swinging her leg over and straddling the sill. “I’ll round up the troops and fill them in. You two try to get some rest. Kivar will need time to recover. I promise he won’t be back tonight.”
Hopping off the final rung of the fire escape, Serena felt as light as air. For the first time in her life, a real end to Kivar’s tyranny was in sight.
“Who was that?” Tess asked as Kyle snapped his phone shut.
Rather than answer her question, Kyle posed one of his own. “What are you doing out here?”
“I needed a glass of water. What, am I not allowed to leave your room?” Her tone was biting, offended.
Kyle huffed, slinging his coat over his arm. She was living in his house, in his room
, despite what she had done to him and their friends. If anyone had the right to be pissed, it certainly wasn’t her.
“You know it’s not like that Tess.”
He shifted the clutter of papers and used dishes on the coffee table, searching for his keys, before finding them in between the cushions of the couch.
“Who was on the phone?” Tess repeated. “Where are you going?”
Kyle walked determinedly to the door, not stopping as he spoke. “It’s really none of your business.”
“I could follow you, you know.”
Kyle spun in the doorway, his voice colored with disbelief. “You wouldn’t.”
Her only response was to arch one eyebrow, her arms crossed in front of her chest, and Kyle knew that she certainly would.
“That was…a friend. Something’s happened to Max and Liz.”
Tess faltered slightly, looking almost…worried, but a half second later her expression was once again stony.
“Are they alright?” she asked, sounding more curious than concerned.
“I think so. For now. But I don’t know how long that’s going to last. Even though I wanted to wait a little while, I think I’m going to have to tell the others about you tonight. We might need your help.”
“My help? For what?”
Kyle glanced at his watch, feeling jittery. “Look Tess, we don’t have time to talk about this now. I’ve got to get going. Just…just stay in my room. Dad doesn’t know you’re here yet and I don’t want him finding out by catching you at the table munching down a bowl of cereal.”
Tess watched him leave, pursing her lips. “Whatever,” she mumbled to herself. “It’s not like I was ever really part of their little stupid little troop. Why should things be any different now?”
Flopping backwards onto her bed with a frustrated huff, Liz was seriously starting to doubt her new powers.
“I’m not as good at it as you are,” she lamented to Max, who had been keeping watch at the window since dawn.
His eyes paused in their searching as he turned to face her. “At what?”
She rolled away from him onto her side, curling up like a cat. “I’m his mother. He’s inside
me, sharing my body. It should be easy. But I’ve been trying for the better part of an hour and I haven’t been able to connect with him, not even for a second. What am I doing wrong?”
Max couldn’t help but smile a little at the pout in her tone. “Oh Liz, you’re not doing anything wrong,” he soothed in a gentle tone. He climbed into the bed and spooned behind her, drawing her against his chest. “You just need to practice.”
“What do you call what I’ve been doing this entire time?” she grumbled petulantly.
Max’s lips brushed against the back of her neck, and the vibration of his chuckle rippled across her skin. “Here, let me help.”
She shoved his hands from her body and scooted away from him. “No, not if you’re going to laugh at me,” she protested, punctuating her statement with an audible sniff.
Max’s eyes fell closed as he slumped forward onto the mattress. Oh God, was she crying? Wasn’t this a little early for the pregnancy hormones to be kicking in? Max bit down on his tongue to prevent himself from voicing the question aloud. Hormones aside, Liz certainly had cause enough to be emotional without him adding to it by teasing her.
“I’m sorry, Liz. I promise I’ll be nice. Roll over and I can help you.”
Receiving no answer, Max adopted his best wounded puppy impression. “Come on, Liz. I really am sorry. Will you please turn over?”
Apparently taking her time to consider Max’s sincerity, minutes passed by silently before Liz finally rolled back to face him. With a healthy dose of caution, Max leaned forward, testing her response as his lips neared hers. When she made no move to pull away or slap him, he pressed his lips fully against hers. Her mouth moved gently with his, making Max bolder in his response. His fingers tangled in her hair at the same moment his tongue slid into her mouth.
, he thought as her tongue met his. The taste, the feel of his Liz…nothing could be better.
He broke away breathlessly to ask, “Does that mean you forgive me?”
A self-conscious smile quirked the edges of her lips. “Only if you forgive me first. I’m sorry for being so moody. I don’t know, I…it just seemed so effortless for you, you know? Why can’t I do it too?”
, Max thought. Liz Parker had excelled at everything her entire life. It must have been truly foreign to her to find something she wasn’t immediately good at.
Max’s hand stroked soothingly up and down her arm. “Be logical about this, Liz. I’ve had my whole life to get used to and hone my powers. You’ve come along amazingly fast, but you can’t expect to be perfect at it after only a couple of months.”
“You’ll get the hang of it, I promise. For now I’ll show you what to do, help you through it, until you’re able to do it on your own. Okay?”
At her less than enthusiastic nod, Max pulled them both up into a sitting position. He pushed her tousled hair away from her face, combing his fingers through the strands and bringing his hand to rest at her neck, his thumb stroking a path across her jaw. His other hand curled around hers and brought it against her abdomen. He felt a tendril of electricity at his fingerprints as though their son, knowing their intentions, was attempting to reach out to them as well. He smiled softly, his eyes finding Liz’s and holding them intently as their breathing slowed and fell in sync.
“Try to block out everything else, everything but the baby. Imagine yourself reaching out to him.”
Liz knew that at this stage the baby was no more than a small collection of cells, but her mind instantly conjured up the image of a tiny, wrinkled bundle with ears adorably too large for his head and wise, curious honey eyes. A tiny little person wriggling in her arms, pudgy fingers reaching upwards to her face…
“Max?” she gasped, feeling a flicker of…something, something she couldn’t describe.
“It’s okay, Liz. Don’t fight it.”
Liz closed her eyes and gave herself over to the connection, allowing everything within her to be shared amongst her little family. It was different than the other times she had connected with Max. He was still there, brushing against Liz’s soul as she saw herself in his mind’s eye. But he was overshadowed by a tiny fluttering that was steadily growing louder. Liz realized, awed, that she was hearing her baby’s heartbeat. It sounded so strong.
Max’s name broke past her lips on a shaky sigh. She reached out blindly for him, refusing to open her eyes and lose the strings that connected her to her son. A feeling of warmth gathered in her stomach, spiraling up and extending through her whole body. Liz’s fingers dug into Max’s forearms as tears of happiness pooled in her eyes. How on Earth had she ever thought that she could live without this?
The sound of a door slamming somewhere nearby broke Liz’s concentration and her eyes fluttered open. She practically leapt into Max’s lap, throwing her arms around his neck and burying her face in the warm crook of his neck.
“Thank you, Max,” she whispered, her lips brushing his skin with each word. “Thank you so much.”
She pulled back and kissed him hard on the mouth, overjoyed.
“I can’t wait to have him in my arms!”
With his hand on the back of her neck, he pulled Liz in for another kiss, eager to have her lips against his again. Would that desire ever fade?
A flurry of footsteps that sounded impossibly fast sounded up the steps, a warning that came mere seconds before Liz’s door flew open.
“OH MY GOD CHICA!”
Max winced at the pitch of Maria’s voice, sliding away from Liz as her best friend bounced onto the bed beside her, her hands making wild gestures.
“Oh my god…You…and…and…oh my god
Liz started laughing, trying to coax an actual sentence out of Maria, when Michael stepped through the door.
He started to ask Liz how she was, but before anyone knew what was happening Max’s fist angrily collided with Michael’s jaw. The force of it knocked Michael to the ground. He rubbed his already bruising flesh, groaning in pain. Max loomed over him, angrier than Michael had ever seen him. The fire in his eyes dared Michael to stand, his clenched fists evidence that he wouldn’t hesitate to take another swing.
“Do you have an idea what almost happened?!” Max shouted, every muscle in his body taut and straining. “You were supposed to be with her! She could have been killed!”
“You have no idea how sor-”
“Don’t you dare say you’re sorry,” Max bit out, his voice low and dangerous. “You can’t do anything right, can you?”
“Max,” Liz called softly, trying to stop Max from saying anything further. No matter how angry he was with Michael, he was still his brother and Max still loved him. Liz knew that he would regret his hurtful words later.
Max continued on as if Liz hadn’t spoken. “It’s one thing to fuck up your own life, but when it affects Liz, when it puts her in danger
, then you have to answer to me.”
Max grabbed Michael by the collar of his shirt, hauling him up from the floor and pushing him roughly against the wall. He ignored the simultaneous gasps behind him.
“I will never
forgive you for this.”
Liz’s hand curled around his elbow, and Max’s fury spiked. Michael had almost cost him everything. But Liz’s soothing presence enveloped him and in an instant the fire retreated, leaving behind only a sense of deep disappointment.
Max examined Michael’s face intently before pushing him away. “Get out of here.”
Michael stumbled backwards, the pain of losing his best friend, his brother, almost overwhelming him. He glanced at Maria, seeing the pain clearly on her face. Liz was her best friend; she probably hated him now too. And then Liz…
“I really am so sorry, Liz. I…I had no idea…”
Liz stepped forward, ready to tell him that she understood, but he was already racing out the door. Liz slowly turned to face Max and Maria.
“What do we do now?”
Re: When He Returns (CC, M/L, Mature) Ch34 11/18/08
Posted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 7:29 pm
The door slammed against the wall with such force that the knob now rested at an awkward angle, while several pieces of wood snapped and splintered off. Not that Michael would have cared, even if he had noticed. At that moment his mind was focused on only one thing. He had changed much in the five years since accepting Liz and the others into their circle, but old instincts are hard to shake off, and right now Michael’s were screaming ‘RUN!’
He haphazardly tossed clothes and a couple of water bottles into a bag, Max’s last words to him endlessly replaying themselves in his mind. I will never forgive you for this
. And why should he? Both Liz and Max could have been killed, and it was all his fault. God, didn’t Hank tell him enough times that he was a no good fuck up, and that sooner or later his friends would realize it and drop him like the garbage he was? Apparently Hank was right after all. And it hurt like hell.
As he threw the bag over his shoulder, he wondered if he was doing the right thing. Wouldn’t they need him, when the time came for Kivar to attack? He shrugged the thought away. He’d probably just mess up somehow and make everything worse, anyway. They’d be better off without him.
His feet moved swiftly through the familiar hallway and down the stairs, skipping over the last one like he always did. Each successive step was easier than the one before it, and soon Michael felt like he could actually breathe again. That feeling was cut short as Michael was abruptly stopped right outside the front door.
“Well isn’t this convenient.”
Fuck. He was hoping to get away before this happened, to avoid hearing another one of them tell him just how much they hated him. Especially her.
“What do you want, Maria?”
Damn it, why did his voice have to shake like that?
Maria shrugged, readjusting the bag on her shoulder. “I thought you might try something like this. Sorry to see that I was right.”
Michael’s eyes lifted above her head, spotting his bike that was a mere fifteen feet away. He was so close.
“You’re here to break up with me, right? To tell me how badly I fucked up? Let me save you the trouble. It’s over, I’m leaving, have a nice life.”
Michael tried to step past her, but Maria shoved him back. Hard. Apparently it wouldn’t be good enough for him to just disappear. No, apparently she needed to hurt him back first.
“Get back inside, unpack your shit, and let’s talk.” Her gentle voice contradicted the hand roughly urging him back into the building.
“What the fuck are you doing, Maria?”
“You’re upset, and I just don’t think you should be alone right now.”
“Of course I’m upset!” Michael exploded, forcing her hand away from his chest. “Liz almost died
because of me! How can you stand there and act like this isn’t my fault.”
“Because it’s not,” Maria answered softly. At Michael’s incredulous huff, she went on. “You aren’t responsible for what Kivar did.”
Michael sagged back against the wall, the rough brick exterior scraping against his skin as he lowered himself to the ground. “I should have been there. I shouldn’t have left her alone,” he mumbled, more to himself than to her.
Michael jumped at the sound of her voice so close to his ear. He hadn’t even noticed that she had sat down beside him.
“But would that really have made a difference? He was going to kill Max, he just have easily killed you.”
“No ‘buts’ Michael. Look we’re all scared right now, wondering if we’ve made the right decisions, done what we should have to keep ourselves safe. But that’s not going to do us any good. What we need is to focus on what we can do now, and hope for the future. And right now, I know we have no hope without you. I know have no future without you. And despite what his anger made him say, Max knows that too.”
Michael shook his head. “He hates me.”
“He doesn’t,” Maria denied, reaching for Michael’s hand and enclosing it in hers. “He was just scared, worried about Liz and the baby. You know this whole time, the danger has been more theory than reality for us. Last night it became very real for Max and I think he just snapped. Let him cool down some and I’m sure he’s going to feel really bad about what he said.”
Maria looked up at Michael’s unresponsive face and felt her stomach clench. The forced façade of indifference was worse than Michael being hurt. It was worse than him getting angry. It was him getting detached. And if he could disconnect himself from him, than he could walk away without looking back. And that scared Maria more than anything.
Maria’s head fell to Michael’s shoulder as she softly pleaded with him. “Just…just don’t go. Please don’t go.”
A long, insufferable minute passed without even a sound from Michael. With every second that passed Maria became increasingly sure that he would leave. Finally, without ever shifting his focus on the road right in front of him, Michael lifted his arm and slung it around Maria’s shoulder, kissing her on the top of her head.
“I won’t leave. I promise.”
“What do you think it’s going to look like?”
Serena smacked the back of Kyle’s head, snapping his attention from Liz’s stomach.
“He’s going to look like a baby, Kyle,” Liz informed him, laughing. She didn’t begrudge him his curiosity. She herself had many questions about what their son would be like. Of course, none of it affected how much she was going to love him. “And he’s going to be just perfect.”
“Yeah, perfect. Until he throws a fit and melts your face off.”
Serena rolled her eyes, dropping her head in her hands. “I can’t believe you just said that.”
“All I’m saying is that it’s something to consider,” he replied unrepentantly. “Hey Lizzie, you want to come downstairs with me and grab some grub?”
“Yeah sure,” Max chimed in before Liz could answer. “Serena and I have some stuff to talk about anyway. Just don’t be long, okay?”
Liz’s jaw locked as she spoke through clenched teeth. “I am perfectly capable of answering for myself.”
Already deeply engrossed in strategizing with Serena, Max didn’t even hear her. With a growl that was part frustration and part fury, Liz grabbed Kyle’s arm and towed him towards the stairs.
“Well that was interesting,” Kyle chortled before thrusting his jaw out in caveman fashion and pounding his chest for emphasis. “Me Max. You Liz. Max talk, Liz eat.”
He was surprised when Liz punched him in the shoulder. Really punched him.
“Damn! Why are you women so violent today?”
“I’m sorry. It’s just…ugh! Ever since last night Max has been on this extra high alert overprotective mode. If he isn’t right next to me, he’s telling me where to be and what to do. I mean, I get that he’s scared and he’s only trying to protect me but…”
As she trailed off, Kyle took a deep, readying breath. There was a reason he had wanted to be alone with Liz. “Listen Liz, there’s something I need to talk to you about…”
“He’s just so tense, and I wish there was something I could do to help him. But right now it’s like we’re just waiting for the floor to drop out from under us.”
“Well then I suggest you find something to grab on to.”
“Liz sit down,” Kyle said softly.
She did as he asked, hoisting herself up to a stool at the counter, her expression puzzled.
“Last night when I got home, there was someone in my house.”
“Oh Kyle! What-”
Liz’s confusion deepened. “Tess? What do you mean Tess?”
“Tess…was at my house,” he stated slowly, watching Liz’s face for comprehension.
“H-how is that possible?” Liz asked haltingly, trying to wrap her mind about the implications of Tess’s presence.
“She said she came back after she helped Max and Isabel escape.”
“She helped them escape?”
“That’s what she said. And…I believe her.”
Liz’s eyes seemed to glaze over as she turned her face from Kyle’s, lost inside her own mind. Her breath came in short, painful gasps that seemed to get stuck in her throat.
Tess was back? She was here? What did she want from them? Was she really as harmless as Kyle seemed to think, or were her intentions more sinister? And what would happen when Max…
“What about their son?” she asked in a pained whisper, her hands unconsciously folding across her own stomach.
Now that she truly understood the intimacy in creating a new life, it stabbed her heart to think that Max had experienced it before with Tess. She had longed for that experience to be theirs and theirs alone, and now she would be face to face with the physical reminder that that could never be. And beyond that, he was something that would tether Tess to their lives forever.
But she remembered the pain in Max’s voice as he talked about never having met his son. Maybe now that wound could finally be healed. That child was a part of Max, a brother to her son, and Liz decided that she would do everything in her power to accept him regardless of how she may feel about his mother.
But then Kyle shook his head, a dark look passing over his face, and Liz felt uneasiness settle in her stomach.
“Tess said that…that he died before he was born. She’s alone.”
Despite herself, Liz felt a pang of sympathy for Tess. Honestly, she didn’t know how she would survive if she lost her baby. And at least she’d have Max to love and support her, to help her through it. Tess had suffered that alone. But even worse than for Tess, her heart ached for Max.
“God, Kyle. How am I going to tell him?”
Re: When He Returns (CC, M/L, Mature) Ch35 2/15/09
Posted: Mon May 11, 2009 12:07 am
A/N: As much as I promise myself that I won't take so long between updates, I just can't seem to stick with it. Time just seems to get away me! Anyways, this chapter is nice and long, so I hope that helps make up for my absence. Thank you for all the comments and the bumps. You don't know how much it makes me smile!
Max’s hand was shaking as he lifted the coffee mug to his lips. It was his fourth…fifth?... cup that morning. He was beyond tired by that point, not having slept in at least thirty hours. But he had far too much on his mind to even consider sleep. Besides, he couldn’t stop himself from thinking about the possibility that Liz might not be there when he opened his eyes again, and that alone was more than enough to keep him awake.
“You might want to slow down before you O.D. on caffeine.”
Max spun around to find Liz leaning against the doorframe, arms crossed over her chest and a small smile on her face.
“There’s no rest for the weary,” he quoted with a smirk.
“You need a break. Come on, take a walk with me,” Liz requested, stretching her hand out towards him.
“Now?” Max responded incredulously. “Liz, there’s so much to be done. I don’t think-”
“Please. Just come with me.”
There was something in her voice, in her defeated posture, that had Max on his feet in an instant.
Her eyes surveyed his face, taking their time as she raised a hand to sift her fingers gently through his hair. She didn’t answer for a long moment, and Max grew more and more anxious about what was bothering her. A thousand possibilities flew through his mind, each worse than the one before it, and he wished Liz would just put him out of his misery.
His hands settled on either side of her neck and his thumbs tilted her jaw up so he could look in her eyes. “Liz, talk to me. What’s wrong?”
Liz felt her eyes welling up and she shook her head infinitesimally under his grasp. What was she thinking? She couldn’t tell him about Tess and his son now. She could practically see his shoulders sagging from the weight there. Anything more and she was certain he’d buckle.
“Nothing. It’s nothing,” she tried to deny, but even if the truth wasn’t plain in her eyes, it was obvious in the hoarseness of her voice.
Max gently pulled her against him, surrounding her with his arms. “It’s okay. Whatever it is, we can fix it. Just tell me what it is, and I promise I’ll fix it.”
“It’s not…God, Max I think you need to sit down.”
He nodded dazedly, allowing her to lead him back to the bed and sit him down.
“Okay, I know this is like…the absolute worst timing but…” Liz’s eyes fell closed as she fortified her resolve. How she hated this. “Max…Kyle told me something today.”
He nodded, encouraging her to continue.
“I don’t know how to say this, so I’m just going to say it.” She looked him squarely in the eye. “Tess is here. In Roswell. God, in-in Kyle’s house.”
Max’s eyes were rounded in hopeful disbelief as he rose to his feet. “My son?”
The tears fell from Liz’s eyes as she shook her head. “I’m so sorry Max. He…he died before he was born.”
Max fell back to the bed in shock, his head falling into his hands. All this time, imaging what his son would look like, dreaming of the day when he could finally see him and hold him. All his silent hopes now dashed. Liz silently took a seat beside him, wrapping her arms around him and offering the only comfort she could while he tried not to cry.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered again, lips pressing against his hair. “I’m sorry.”
Slowly his sobs quieted and he lifted his head up, searching for Liz’s eyes. “I can’t lose you too. You and our baby have to stay safe. Promise me, Liz.”
“I promise. Everything is going to be ok. But…we have to decide what to do about Tess.”
A shiver of fear slithered its way up her spine at the thought of the blonde. Tess had stolen everything for her. She had delivered Max and Isabel to be tortured at the hands of their enemy and caused all of them untold pain. Part of Liz honestly and truly wanted to see the other girl dead, and what scared her most was that she wanted to be the one to do it.
Max’s fists clenched, so tightly that his knuckles were turning white. “I don’t want you to worry about it. I’ll deal with her.”
Liz felt herself momentarily taken aback by the malevolence in Max’s voice. She had never heard him speak that way before, and if she didn’t know him so well she might even be a little afraid of him. But this was Max, so she slid her hand into his, easing away the tension with a calming caress, all the while trying to sort her tumultuous thoughts. Despite how much she hated Tess, and her initial murderous urge, could she really handle sentencing another living thing to death?
YES! A part of her all but screamed. But that was the wounded part of her, the vindictive side that longed for revenge. The rest of her, the more logical side, knew that no matter how much she loathed Tess she could never be a killer.
But there was more to her decision than just her feelings. She didn’t want Max to regret it later and she most certainly didn’t want it hanging over them, clouding their life together and coming between them. She knew Max needed to know everything before he took any action.
“Kyle thinks Tess helped you and Isabel escape from your planet,” she said softly.
“I just thought you should know, before you, you know…did anything. She told Kyle that she arranged your escape, and he believes her. But we believed a lot of things about her that turned out not to be true.”
Max sighed heavily, gripping Liz’s hand a little tighter. “Well, if she did help us then…I guess I’m grateful. But that doesn’t mean I forgive her for everything else she did. And it definitely doesn’t mean that I trust her now.”
He raised their joined hands to her cheek, gently stroking his knuckles down to her jaw. “I sure as hell don’t want her anywhere near you.”
Liz smiled a little, laying a kiss on the back of his hand. “So what do we do then?”
“God, I wish I knew.”
“It’s going to be ok. I promise.”
Michael shook his head, his eyes still fixated on the back door of the Crashdown.
“You don’t know that. He hates me.”
Maria laid a hand on his arm. “Maybe he wants to hate you, to make some kind of sense out of what happened. But I don’t think he could ever really hate you. It wasn’t your fault, Michael. Rationally we all know that. Max’s emotions were just getting in the way. Just go in and talk to him. I’m sure he already feels bad about what happened.”
Michael took a step forward, but his stomach rolled sickeningly as he reached for the door. There was no way he could face Max now. With Maria’s assurances that he could try again when he was ready, he turned to walk away, only to stop as he heard the door open behind him.
Max didn’t sound angry to see him there, only surprised. That had to mean something good, didn’t it? Or maybe it was just that he was surprised Michael would show his face there after what happened. He didn’t dare turn around, waiting for Max to make the first move. He could hear him whispering to Liz, and her replying in kind. Then all was silence, until…
“Take it easy on him, girlfriend. I mean it. He’s punished himself enough.”
Without any sound to betray his approach, suddenly Max was behind him, a hand laid tentatively on his shoulder.
“Michael I…I can’t even tell you how sorry I am. I was angry and scared and I took it out on you. It was wrong of me and I’m…I’m sorry.”
When Michael made no move to turn around or reply, Max went on. “I can’t even believe that the things I said to you came out of my mouth. It was completely unfair of me. I swear, I didn’t mean any of it. And you have every right to be angry with me, but I need your help now. Please?”
Michael’s head lifted from where it had been resting against his chest, and he turned to look Max eye. “You were pissed. I get that. Shit, I was pissed at myself. But I get it. You know I’ll always have your back, man.” His mouth broke into a wide grin. “I mean, what are brothers for?”
Max returned his smile, pulling Michael to him in the traditional one-armed guy hug. “Thank you.”
“All right you two, break up the love fest,” Maria cut in sarcastically, though Max was sure she was close to tears. “I’m starving. Let’s go inside and get some grub.”
Max made his way back to Liz’s side, not wanting even the few feet separating them. “Are you hungry?” he asked gently.
Liz nodded, nuzzling her nose against his. “I think we’re in the mood for a grilled mooncheese sandwich with orbit rings and a meteor shower malt. Ooh! And a slice of asteroid pie with ice cream.”
“Whatever you want,” Max chuckled, opening the door and ushering her inside.
Liz suddenly stopped, frowning as she placed her hands on her stomach. “I’m going to get really fat, aren’t I?”
She had never been one for vanity, but what if Max didn’t find her…desirable…as she progressed in her pregnancy?
“Liz, you’re pregnant, not fat,” he said, kissing her ear from his position behind her. “Besides,” he added, pulling her back against his hips meaningfully, “I’d still want you even if you gained a thousand pounds. You will always be beautiful to me.”
How did he always seem to know what she needed to hear?
“God I love you,” she groaned, turning her head to meet his lips. “Now feed me.”
Max couldn’t help but laugh. “Yes ma’am.”
They made their way into the open diner, spotting the rest of their friends gathered at in a booth. Alex was turned so that his back rested against the wall, Isabel leaning against him. Max had thought he would never see her smile that way again. Kyle and Serena sat facing each other, laughing over one of Kyle’s stupid jokes. Michael brushed past Max’s side with Maria slung over his shoulder like a potato sack, and Max thought he heard her mumbling something like, “told you so.” And for a moment, Max could almost believe that they were a normal group of friends, meeting at their favorite hangout for a lazy afternoon.
But how much longer could they exist in this bubble? The awful truth that Max had refused to acknowledge until that point suddenly seeped into his consciousness. They were in the middle of a war. And wars had casualties. What sort of destruction had he brought upon his friends by coming back? His breath caught in his chest and in his mind, the faces of everyone there passed through his mind- cold and still and pale.
No! He wouldn’t let that happen.
If he thought it would do any good, he would turn himself over to Kivar right at that very moment. But he wasn’t what Kivar was after anymore. And there was no way that he would allow his son or Liz to fall into the hands of his enemy. His only choice was to fight. He had never asked to be a leader, but he had no other choice now. Decisions had to be made, and they had to start now.
Max cleared his throat, drawing everyone’s attention to him with a muttered, “Excuse me.”
“I know…I know that the last few months have been hard. And I can’t thank you guys enough for everything you’ve done. But the next few days are going to be harder than anything we’ve faced so far. Serena thinks that now is the time to attack, and I agree with her. But before we go after Kivar, there’s something else we need to discuss. And I want everyone’s opinion on this.”
“What’s going on, Max?” Isabel called, alarmed.
Max drew in a deep breath, feeling Liz’s support flow through him as her hand stroked his back. “It’s-”
Max was cut off as a chime rang out, signaling the opening of the front door.
“Well…I see you started the party without me.”
Re: When He Returns (CC, M/L, Mature) Ch36 5/11/09
Posted: Sun Jun 28, 2009 12:33 am
“Dad!” Kyle shouted, jumping up from his seat. “Dad, what are you doing here?”
“I can understand why you’d be surprised,” the sheriff responded lazily, twirling his hat in his hands. “Seeing as no one thought to invite me along.”
“Save it Kyle!” he barked. “What were you thinking? You guys are in some kind of trouble, and you don’t think I should know about it? I wake up to find Tess in my house and then-”
“Wait! Tess?!” Maria exclaimed. “That bitch is here?”
“No…Max, no…” Isabel mumbled, flinching back against Alex.
Max’s voice rang out authoritatively across the restaurant. “Everyone calm down. Yes, Tess is here in Roswell. She showed up at Kyle’s house last night. That’s the reason I called the meeting. We need to decide what to do.”
Maria was the first to voice an opinion. “I say we kick her fucking ass!”
“There’s no way I could ever trust her again. I say…I say we get rid of her,” Isabel spoke next.
Valenti was quick to interject. “Hold on, now. Now I may not know the whole story yet, but this is a human being we’re talking about.”
“No it isn’t,” Alex called out darkly, his normally cheerful face now hard and angry.
Isabel gasped loudly, her expression wounded, and Max and Michael glanced away uncomfortably.
“Alex!” Liz exclaimed, unable to believe he could say such a thing.
“No, you know what I mean,” he amended, looking slightly chagrined. “She’s not like the rest of you. It’s like she has no feelings. All she cares about is herself. I wouldn’t lose a minute’s sleep if something happened to her.”
“I thought her and Nasedo were the link to our past, the way to unlock everything. The way home.” Michael shook his head slowly, sadly. “I thought I found another sister. Someone who understood how I felt. But I…God, I don’t know.”
“This isn’t going to be an easy decision,” Max began.
“Sure it is,” Maria grumbled, but Max continued on unfazed.
“Maybe we all need to take some time to think about this, then come back and take a vote,” he suggested.
Murmurs of agreement floated through the cafe and everyone turned their attention away. Max began to guide Liz towards the stools, stopping when he felt a hand on his shoulder. He turned to find himself looking at the smiling face of the sheriff.
“Welcome home, son.”
Max smiled, holding out his hand. “Thank you, sir.”
Valenti glanced down at Max’s offered hand, then shrugged it away to pull the younger man into a hug. It was comfortable and comforting, and both men marveled that they had ever feared the other. After a few swift pats, Max pulled away and Valenti turned to his sister.
“And you too, Miss Evans.” He opened his arms awkwardly, unsure how to initiate the embrace with young woman. Isabel stepped quickly into his arms and welcomed the hug. As she pulled back, she left on kiss on Valenti’s cheek, giggling a little to herself as his cheeks flamed pink.
“Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to have a word with my boy.”
Kyle gulped audibly at the underlying threat in his father’s words, feeling like a teenager who had gotten caught sneaking out. He glanced around, looking for some support, but his father’s firm grip on his shoulder made him give up any hope of being saved.
“Tell me what the hell was going on in that head of yours. How long did you think you were going to keep this from me?”
“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you. I just didn’t want to get you involved. It’s dangerous.”
“It’s my job, Kyle,” Valenti corrected him. “It’s my job as sheriff to protect my citizens and it’s my job as your dad to protect you. I can’t help you if you keep me in the dark.”
“I know, Dad, and I’m sorry. It won’t happen again. I-”
Kyle was interrupted as something knocked into his shoulder, and he stumbled a bit as Serena stopped beside him.
“Good afternoon, Sheriff,” she said brightly, extending out her hand. “I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself. I’m Serena of the house of Eldar, daughter of Dristi and Ikshan. Like my parents before me I have the gift of foresight. I was sent to Earth six years ago to find and protect Liz Parker, mother of our liberator. And I’m dating your son.”
“Well that’s…” the Sheriff was a bit overwhelmed by the ball of energy in front of him, not entirely sure he had understood or even heard everything she said. “Nice? I’m sorry, did you say you and Kyle are dating?”
Serena nudged Kyle in the ribs.
“Uh, yeah. Yeah, Serena and I are dating.”
“Okay. Alright then. Um…congratulations…I guess.”
There was a long, awkward pause after that. Serena watched with amusement as both Valenti men shoved their hands into the pockets and shuffled from foot to foot. With a roll of her eyes, she linked her arms with both of theirs.
“Boys, boys, boys. Let’s sit down and have a chat, shall we?”
Serena walked past Liz, Kyle and Jim in tow, and winked. Liz couldn’t help but laugh at the sight. Her amusement was cut short as her stomach growled loudly.
“Alright you,” Max said, taking her by the shoulders and gently pushing her toward the counter. “You need to eat something. Keep your strength up.” He kissed her forehead before stepping around the counter. “You’ve got the two most important people in the world to me right there. Now what can I get you?”
“Well that depends…” Liz drawled, stroking her fingertips across the back of Max’s hand. “Are you on the menu?”
He gave her a quick peck on the lips and pulled away. “Maybe later. Right now you need to eat.”
“Ever since I got pregnant you’ve been no fun,” she mock-pouted.
He laughed softly, setting out a sandwich and fruit cup in front of her.
“Since when is Max ever fun?” Michael called from a booth, his arm slung around Maria’s shoulders.
“Hey!” Liz bristled, jumping to her boyfriend’s defense. “Max is plenty fun.”
She glanced over at him and his lips spread in a grateful smile.
“In fact,” she added with a sly gleam in her eye, “I recall him being quite fun last night. Three times.”
Max turned red to the tips of his ears while Maria let out a loud, unrepentant laugh.
“With your parents right down the hallway? Go Liz! Who knew you had it in you?”
Isabel’s voice was brimming with disgust as she gestured towards herself with both hands. “Hello? Remember me? Sister sitting right here. Ew.”
Everyone burst out in laughter at that, Alex being the sole exception as he smiled nervously under Isabel’s glare. And for a moment, it seemed as if time had reversed and everything had gone back to the way it once had been. Max and Liz were sitting close together, lost to the world in each others’ eyes. Alex was staring longingly at Isabel, only this time she was staring right back. Michael and Maria were sparring in a corner booth, but underneath the table you could see how their legs were entwined. Kyle was flirting with a pretty blonde, and Sheriff Valenti was overseeing it all with a watchful and protective eye.
Suddenly Liz felt a warm, familiar sensation gather in her stomach. A wide grin parted her lips as she realized the baby was trying to get her attention. “Max!” she called excitedly. “Max, I think he's trying to connect with us again! Quick, come help me!”
She grabbed his hand and held it against her stomach in an eager attempt to establish the connection.
All heads snapped towards the back of the restaurant.
“Tess,” Kyle called angrily. “I told you not to leave the house. What are you doing here?”
Her eyes darted to his. “I followed the sheriff.” Just as quickly she was looking at Liz and Max again. “You’re pregnant?” she repeated.
Her wide eyes were filling with tears, and focused on Liz’s stomach with envy.
“Our son is dead, Max. Do you even care? Of course not. Because now you can have the baby you want with the girl you always wanted.”
“Don’t you dare say another word Tess,” Max commanded heatedly. “I tried to be there for you and our son. I left behind everything I’ve ever know and everyone I love to take care of you.”
Liz reached forward and grabbed his hand, squeezing it in a silent sign of support.
“But you betrayed me. And Isabel. Do you have any idea how much we suffered? And for what? So that you could play queen to a bunch of people who don’t even care about you? Everything that happened to you, you brought on yourself. Now I’m devastated that my son died, so don’t you dare accuse me of not caring. But you have no right to try to take this happiness away from me.”
Tess’s spine stiffened and she stood perfectly straight. “Fine then,” she said with icy resolve. “You enjoy your happiness with your whore and your bastard child. Enjoy it until Kivar kills you.”
The room quickly spiraled into chaos. Michael had to restrain Maria from going to Tess and “pulling her hair out by the fucking roots.” Isabel was volunteering to hold Tess while she did it. Timid Alex was glaring murderously at the blonde and clenching his fists. Out of everyone, Liz seemed to be the only one in control of her emotions. She had decided that Tess had taken over her life for long enough. She wasn’t about to let her do it again.
“Damn it Tess, how can you be so cruel?” Kyle asked, missing the sweet girl he had seen last night.
“God, I’ve suffered too. Why doesn’t anyone seem to care about that?”
“Because not everything is about you, Tess,” Liz informed her calmly.
Tess’s glare was murderous when she turned back to Liz. “I’m not saying that everything should be about me, Liz. But it’d be nice if once in a while something was.”
Liz sighed as she slid off her stool. Never in a million years did she think she’d be doing this. But Grandma Claudia had once told her that anger was like a poison, and if you let it sit inside you than it would keep eating away at you until there was nothing left. You have to learn to let it go. So she slowly started approaching Tess.
“Kick her ass, Lizzie!”
She reached out a hand slowly and laid it on Tess’s shoulder. It felt awkward there, like it didn’t belong. Both girls flinched slightly at the contact.
Let out the poison, Liz commanded herself.
“I can’t imagine what you’ve been through, losing your baby the way you did. I’m so sorry for that. But you have a chance now to avenge his death. You can stop Kivar from hurting anyone else. Please Tess…help us?”
Tess bit her lip as she contemplated Liz’s words. They both knew they would never be friends, would never be anything even remotely resembling that. But maybe they could reach an understanding.
“I…” Tess’s eyes danced around the room, briefly touching on each face there. “I’m sorry. I just can’t.”
With that she turned and fled.
“Let me try talking to her,” Kyle said as he weaved past everyone and out the door.
Out of the corner of her eye, Liz saw Serena stiffen, ensnared in a vision.
“Kyle!” she gasped as soon as her eyes cleared. “The soldier! We have to save him!”
Reacting immediately, the entire group followed where Kyle had just left. They burst out into the alley to find he and Tess backed up to a brick wall while a large, brawny man bore down on them. He turned his attention to the larger group for only a moment, then raised his hand and aimed a blast at Tess. A surprised cry burst from her throat, but was quickly cut off as her body turned to nothingness. The blast left no evidence that she had ever been standing there.
“I have a message for you from his highness Kivar,” he informed them in a deep, gravelly voice. “He wants the former king, his second in command, and the princess to meet him at the Vasquez rock formation. If you don’t attend, I’ll be back for another one of your human friends. And the next death won’t be so quick.”
Re: When He Returns (CC, M/L, Mature) Ch37 6/28/09
Posted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 9:41 pm
“It’s a trap. It has to be.”
Max nodded his head. “I agree with Michael. But I don’t see how we can refuse to show up.” His hand worried his forehead in a nervous gesture. “We need a plan. Now.”
Max and Michael were sitting in a booth along with Isabel and Serena discussing the ultimatum they had just been given. In the booth next to theirs sat the humans, doing much the same thing.
“One second she was there and the next she was just…not,” Kyle mumbled.
He was still reeling from what had happened and he was having a really difficult time dealing with his emotions. Out of everyone he had definitely been the closest to Tess, and even after she came back he couldn’t help but feel some small bit of affection for her. But was he really sad that she was dead?
Yes, he finally decided. Tess had done and said some horrific things, but he would still miss her... well the part of her that he had once looked on as a sister at least. He looked across the table at his dad, and even though Kyle knew he wasn’t one to openly wear his emotions, he was pretty sure that they were both feeling the same way. Why couldn’t they have been enough for her? Why couldn’t she have been happy with the life they offered her? Of course it wasn’t as grand as the world she was raised to believe was hers. And, Kyle realized then, that was the problem. Nasedo had exerted complete control over her all of her life, molding her into the lying, calculating person she turned out to be. Any hope for Tess was gone before she ever got to them.
“Well I say good riddance. I wouldn’t mind sending Kivar a fruit basket to thank him. OW! Hey!” Maria rubbed her shin where Liz had kicked it under the table. “Sorry, but I’m not sorry.”
Liz opened her eyes wide and gestured towards the Valentis with her head.
“Tess made it clear that she wasn’t going to help us. Who’s to say she wouldn’t have run right back to Kivar and turned us all in? She’s done it before.”
“Maria, you’re being really insensitive right now,” Liz hissed at her.
Maria studied Kyle and Jim’s faces and suddenly realized what Liz was trying to tell her. Her face instantly showed her mortified embarrassment. “Oh my God, I am so sorry. I didn’t mean to…you guys know me. Something pops into my head and shoots right out my mouth. I have no filter whatsoever.”
“Maria, it’s ok,” Jim tried to reassure her.
“No, it’s not. I should have been thinking about how you guys would feel. I really am sorry.”
“She was always just so lost, so unhappy,” Kyle said, mostly to himself. “I hope she’s finally at peace.”
Liz nodded and took Kyle’s hand, saying a silent prayer that he was right. There wasn’t much said after that. Both Alex and Maria seemed to be holding their tongues, not wanting to say anything else that would hurt Kyle and the Sheriff. Small talk seemed completely inappropriate. So Liz instead concentrated on trying to hear what was being said at the next table over. She could hear the low tenor of Max’s voice, murmuring quickly as he tried to formulate a plan. After a couple more minutes of debate, they seemed to have finally reached a conclusion. Liz stood when they did, rushing over to Max.
“Well? What are we going to do?”
“Serena’s tried, but she can’t see anything involving Kivar,” Max began. “We have no choice but to meet him there.”
He continued on despite Liz’s protest. “Sheriff we’d like you to come with us to keep an eye on the perimeter, let us know if anything’s going on that we can’t see. Is there any way you can get your hands on a mic and earpiece for us?”
“I think I can do that,” Jim replied.
“Kyle, Alex, we’re going to need you to cause some kind of distraction. Something that will draw Kivar’s attention, even if only for a second.”
“I’ve got a couple of powerful aerial repeaters,” Alex offered.
Michael’s eyebrows pulled together in confusion. “Um…what?”
“Really loud fireworks,” he explained succinctly. “Kyle and I can set them off. It’ll sound like an explosion right outside the rocks.”
“Okay,” Max nodded. “I think that’ll work. We can tell him that we’ve got more firepower than he knows about. Who knows, maybe he’ll believe us. Even if he doesn’t, the noise should be enough to distract him, and once it does I’ll try to separate Kivar from Chris’s body the way Serena told me. Isabel will take Chris to safety, and then Michael and I will powerblast Kivar into the granolith chamber. Hopefully we’ll be able to bring the formation down on top of him before he has a chance to get out.”
“Okay…” Maria began slowly, going over the details of the plan in her head. “But that all sounds like it depends on him being alone. But what if he’s not? Then what?”
“Serena doesn’t think there will be many soldiers with him. They wouldn’t have been able to get here yet, and possessing someone’s body is extremely difficult. We don’t anticipate there being more than two, and hopefully they’ll get caught in the blast with him.”
“Okay, so what do you want me to do?” Liz asked Max.
“Be safe,” he replied quickly. “You’re staying here with Maria and Serena will be here to protect you.”
Liz balked at his dismissal. “But he’s afraid of me. That’s what Serena said. We should use that to our advantage.”
“I’m not letting you anywhere near him again.”
Liz’s anger was steadily growing stronger, and she could feel her face turning red. “Letting me? I’m a big girl Max, I can do whatever I want.”
“You’re not going and that’s final, Liz,” Max said resolutely. For him the conversation was over and he began walking away, but Liz quickly stepped around him, stopping him with a hand firmly against his chest.
“I can’t believe you would be so stubborn to not use every resource at your disposal. I have powers.”
“Barely,” he retorted. “Not honed enough to do any real damage.”
“I have powers,” she repeated, gritting the words through her teeth. “And so does Serena. You need us. And if you really think there’s only going to be three of them, then we’d outnumber them. Your chances are better if-”
“I’m not taking any chances with you.”
“Damn it, Max, you are being so stubborn!”
“I don’t care! I won’t allow you to put yourself in that kind of danger!”
Hands over her ears, Maria stepped between the feuding couple. “Can we please quit it with the shouting? Seriously.”
Liz grinned, knowing that Maria was about to let Max have it. Amy Deluca was a staunch feminist and she had definitely instilled that belief in her daughter. Just because Liz was female did not mean that she should have to sit out of the fight. And it definitely didn’t mean that Max could tell her what to do.
Maria turned towards Liz, guilt swimming in her eyes. When she spoke her voice was rough with sadness. “He’s right though, Petunia.”
The smile on Liz’s face faded as she realized that her best friend was not backing her up. “How can you say that?”
“Let’s say you do go along to this meeting with Kivar. What are you going to do when you get there? Change his hairstyle? It’s not like you’re going to be able to do any damage.”
“That’s not the point,” Liz contradicted her. “It’s not so much what I can do. It’s what I represent. I am the culmination of his worst fears.”
“You’re just a girl, Liz,” Maria said, her voice watery with tears. “And you could get really hurt. I agree with Max. I don’t think you should go.”
Liz spun about where she stood, looking for even the tiniest hint of support in the faces around her. She found none.
“So that’s what you all think then?”
“It’s for your own protection, Liz,” Isabel said softly.
“No! No, you can’t do this without me. And you can’t stop me from going.”
“I was afraid you would react this way,” Max murmured, sliding his fingers through her hair. “I love you,” he whispered in her ear, as both his hands came to rest on her face.
He quickly connected himself to the reticular activating system in her brain, slowing down the activity so that she would fall asleep. He caught her easily in her arms as she slumped.
“What the hell did you do?” Maria screamed, rushing towards him with Kyle and Alex beside her.
Max shifted Liz’s weight in his arms, cradling her more firmly against his chest. “It’s okay, she’s just sleeping,” he reassured them. “By the time she wakes up, we’ll be gone.”
“I can’t believe you just did that,” Maria reproached him angrily. “I agreed with you that she shouldn’t go, but this is really crossing the line. You can’t just treat her like some kind of object. You can’t-”
“I don’t have time to argue with you right now.”
Carrying Liz, Max strode to the back of the restaurant and up the stairs. His quick, purposeful steps led him straight to Liz’s bedroom. He lowered her gently to the bed. Was it only hours ago that they had made love there? His eyes took in her face, not to memorize it. He had accomplished that many years ago. He took one last minute to watch her and summon up his courage, to remind himself what he was fighting for. Not his own, meaningless life. But for Liz’s, and their baby’s.
He leaned in and pressed his lips to hers and was amazed at the way she responded to him, even in sleep. She groggily murmured his name as he pulled away. Her eyebrows furrowed and she rolled over, searching for him. He kissed her once more and told her again that he loved her, even though he knew she couldn’t hear him. It took a long minute before he was finally able to force himself to walk away.