Never Meant To Be? - AU M/L TEEN Pts 1-22 [COMPLETE]

Finished stories set in an alternate universe to that introduced in the show, or which alter events from the show significantly, but which include the Roswell characters. Aliens play a role in these fics. All complete stories on the main AU with Aliens board will eventually be moved here.

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LilyFrancesca
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Part 11

Post by LilyFrancesca » Sun Mar 30, 2003 9:45 pm

Part 11



The sun was breaking the horizon, when Liz woke with a start. She had been dreaming of something frightening, but couldn’t recall what it was. Looking at the time, she laid back with a sigh. She had a hour before she needed to get up and get ready for school.

She wasn’t looking forward to going. Things have been tense between herself, Maria and Alex, since she decided to stay away from Max. She didn’t begrudge her friends from helping the others, but she was on the outside looking in and it was her own fault. She knew that if she was around Max, she would cave and get closer to him, and that couldn’t happen.

Alex had made some good points about that, but she had been down that road before and she didn’t like the results. Her heart would always belong to Max Evans, nothing could change that, but now she would be safe from the pain and betrayal that would come from her sharing her life with him.

Keep telling yourself that, she thought mockingly, you might start believing it. Laughing ruefully, she pulled the covers over her head and groaned. She was hurting Max and she knew it. She had never considered herself as selfish, but here she was, thinking only of herself. Max needed her and she could only think of how it was going to affect her, and not how he was feeling.

Jumping out of bed, she decided that she was not going to let what might happen rule her life. She was going to be happy, if it killed her. She owed Max nothing less than everything she could give him. That’s what love was, giving until there was nothing left and expecting nothing in return.

Smiling, she grabbed clean towels out of the linen closet and went to take a shower. Hold on to you hat Max, I’m coming to get you!

###



Max woke with a frown. His life had never been perfect, but lately it had been going from bad to worse. Last night’s revelations about Tess had sunk him to an all time low. Liz had warned him that she was no good, but he tried to believe the best in people. Having her try to take control of his best friend, made he furious. He had always felt responsible for Michael and having someone threaten him sent his hackles rising. No one was going to hurt him or his sister while he was around, former wife or not.

He heard the door open across the hall and waited for the inevitable knock. When it happened he called," Come on in."

Isabel opened the door and closed it quietly behind her. She always knew when he woke and they had, since childhood, talked before starting the new day. Most times, it was about mundane things, but recently, it was the only chance they had to confer about the whole ‘humans knowing our secret’ situation.

Taking a seat on his desk chair and began, "What are we going to do about Tess?"

"I’m not sure," he replied. After returning home last night, he wracked his brain trying to figure out what do about her.

"I think we should get rid of her," she suggested. If Tess tried to get control of her mind, Isabel wasn’t going to be held responsible for her reaction.

"How do you suggest we do that?"

"I don’t know. Alex and I talked about it for a while last night but came up empty."

"Was that all you and Alex did last night?" he teased. He was glad to see her feel something for a guy, for a change. Alex was a good person and would treat his sister the way she deserved.

"That’s none of your business. I never asked you what you did with Liz....." she stopped when she realized what she said. "Max, I’m sorry....."

"That’s okay, Iz. She’s made her decision, and there is nothing I can do about it," he remorsefully said.

"You can talk to her, make her see that you belong together."

"No, I’m not going to force her to do something she doesn’t want. I’ll be fine."

Isabel was dubious of the last part, but decided that she was going to help him, whether he wanted it or not. Alex had told her about his conversation with Liz and she felt as he did, Liz could be brought to her senses with a little push in the right direction.

Rising she said, "Well if you have any ideas, Alex and I are meeting at the Crashdown after school."

"I thought you didn’t like going there?"

"It’s grown on me." she replied haughtily. "Besides, Michael told me he was going to see if they needed any help and I want to see Maria’s reaction when she finds out he can now go in the kitchen after her."

Max laughed as he imagined Maria’s outrage at him working there. It should prove an amusing distraction. He hoped Liz would find it as funny as they did.

###



"So, what’s the plan," Maria asked, leaning against the locker next to Liz’s. Liz had called her and asked her to help in getting Max back.

"I’m not sure," she said indecisively. "I could go and throw my self at his feet and beg forgiveness."

"Too degrading. You need to be cool about this."

"Cool? I have to prove that I’m not going to pull back from him again." She had a horrible thought and asked," What if he doesn’t want me back?"

"Don’t be ridicules. That would never cross his mind." Maria reassured her. "There is no way Max would send you packing, you belong together."

"I hurt him, Maria. You didn’t here the hateful things I said. I can’t believe I’m such an idiot.!"

"What did you do now?" Alex asked coming up to them. He took another bite of his Pop Tart and chewed noisily.

Moaning, Liz stuck her head in her locker.

"She wants Max back and doesn’t believe that he will take her." Maria supplied.

"Are you kidding?" he asked.

Liz groaned again and Maria replied, "No, she’s finally come to her senses and is afraid he will turn her away."

"Well, if what Isabel told me is true, he would take you back in heart beat, if not quicker."

Pulling her head out, Liz turned to her friend and asked, "Isabel, huh?"

He blushed and replied, "I took her to the Black Crow turn off."

"Wow," Liz replied. Alex must be hooked, to bring her there. It was the place his Mom took him, when she and his father were having trouble, and she need to get away from him for a while. It still was a special place for them.

"We’re taking things a step at a time."

"That great, but what are we going to do about her and Max?"

"Nothing," Liz said, closing her locker. "I’ll talk to him and then go from there."

"Are you sure?" Maria asked.

"Yes. If he wants me, he wants me. If not, I’ll find the closest cliff and see if I can fly."

Alex and Maria looked at each other and shrugged. She would have to faced this her way and take the consequences. She was in for a big surprise.

 

 

###

 

Liz wasn’t quite sure what she was going to say to Max when she saw him, but here she was, waiting for him next to the door of the Bio lab, hoping he would at least let her say she was sorry.

Hearing his voice, she looked down the hall and sucked in her breath. Max and Tess were coming toward her and their heads were bent close to one another. Tess let out a trilling laugh at something Max said and Liz suddenly felt faint.

‘It’s happening again,’ she wailed inside her mind. ‘I let Tess have him again’

As if hearing her thoughts, Tess looked up and saw Liz. Giving her a triumphant smile, Tess threaded her arm thru Max’s.

Max was startled at Tess’ sudden possession of his arm and looked around to see the reason for it. The stricken look on Liz’s face made his heart contract. Then he thought, ‘Why should I care? She’s the one who wanted it this way.’

Liz saw the resolve on his face and knew she was too late, Tess had staked claim on Max once again, and she was out of luck. Defeated before she could begin, she turned from them, walking down the hall and out the door. There was no way she would sit and endure Tess’ smug smiles thru-out class, it would be unbearable.

Max was surprised to see Liz leave the building, it was unlike her to miss class. He was about to follow, when Tess asked, "Max, could you help me with my experiments? It seems out lab partners aren’t coming today."

He looked down at the petite blond and was shocked to see she was still there. When Liz was near, no other girl existed for him. Taking another glance at the door Liz exited, her replied, "Sure, no problem."

Flipping her hair over her shoulder, Tess grinned maliciously. ‘Take that, bitch!’ she thought.

Max sat next to Tess and tried to concentrate on class, but it was no use. His mind kept seeing the hurt look in Liz’s eyes and he didn’t understand why he should care. *That’s not true and you know it,* his conscious said. *You could have made her talk to you instead of sitting back and letting her slip away.*

‘Shut up,’ he thought. ‘There was nothing I could say to make her change her mind.’

*I guess you’ll never know,* it argued.

He pondered that for a minute, then replied, ‘Wanna bet?’

Grabbing his things from the table, he stuffed them into his bag and walked up to the teacher. After gaining permission to use the restroom, he ran down the hall and out the door.

He had a hunch he knew where Liz would be and as he walked closer to the football field, he could ‘feel’ the despair coming thru their bond. Earlier, he realized, he must have been blocking it, so as not to feel her rejection of him. Now he knew that he had made a mistake by not following her sooner.

He rounded the end of the bleachers and found her sitting on a stack of grass seed bags. Her head was laying on the backpack in her lap and she was sobbing.

He dropped his bag and collected her into his embrace. Nuzzling her neck, he begged, "Forgive me, I’m sorry, so sorry."

Liz was shocked to feel his arms closing around her, she hadn’t felt him coming. Pulling back, she placed her hands on either side of his face and stared into his guilt ridden eyes.

"Shhhhh, no, no," she whispered. "I’m the one to blame. I’ve been so blind."

Pulling his head down, she kissed him without reservation. She felt his denial, then his relief. The love he sent along the bond frightened her, it was so fierce.

Opening herself to him, she allowed him full access to her heart and soul, praying he would see that she had been lying to them both about being apart. They were meant to be and ‘no one’ was going to get between them, no matter what.

If they only had hours to be together, it would be enough. She would take everything he could give and cherish every second.

Max released her mouth and looked into her beloved face. Her smile was like the sun coming out from behind a cloud, he was blinded by the love and acceptance he saw shining there. "I will never let you do this to us again," he vowed. "You are the other half of me. Without you, I’m nothing."

Liz couldn’t speak, so she just nodded and placed her head against his chest. Words were not necessary between them now. ‘Always and forever,’ she agreed silently. ‘Always and forever.’

 

###

Tess angrily watched Max leave and knew where he was heading. She had enjoyed the pain Liz experienced at seeing her and Max together. Running into him had been chance, but if it hurt Liz, she was thrilled about it happening.

Holding back a scream of frustration, she slowly closed the book in front of her. Getting upset here, wouldn’t help, but oh when she finally had a chance to vent her anger on Liz. she would be sure to savior every last moment. it couldn’t come soon enough for her.
Wind To Thy Wings
~Krys~

Do not meddle in the affairs of Dragons.....
For you are crunchy and good with ketchup

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LilyFrancesca
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Part 12

Post by LilyFrancesca » Sun Mar 30, 2003 9:49 pm

Part 12



"How long are we suppose to watch this?" Isabel asked, distastefully.

Maria looked at the couple across the table from them and replied, "We were trying to get them back together."

Michael snickered and said loudly, "Get a room."

Liz blushed prettily and turned to look at their unwitting audience. "Sorry," she beamed.

Michael groaned and said to Alex, "Your her friend, can’t you make her stop?"

Alex grinned, not at all phased by the sickly sweet twosome. He had never seen Liz soo happy and who was he to spoil it for her. "I guess were going to have to live with it," he replied, winking at Isabel.

She blew the bangs out of her eyes and shook her head in resignation.

It had been three days since Michael’s meeting with Tess and they had been walking on eggshells waiting for her to make her next move. Liz had been upset that she hadn’t been included in the stake out, but she had been working and there wasn’t much she could have done anyway. Her description of the mind warp had saved Michael and that was the biggest help of all.

They were sitting at a table in the quad having lunch. A group of girls walked by and a few eyebrows were raised at the odd group. Isabel gave them and icy stare and they moved along quickly. She had taken some flack from her friends about Alex and the girls, but she didn’t care. Those girls were more acquaintances, than friends and with these five people, she didn’t have to pretend to be something she wasn’t.

Maria turned to look at her and asked, "Have you spoke to the evil one, lately?"

"No," she replied. "I saw her this morning, but she seemed to preoccupied to notice me."

"Can you blame her?" asked Michael. "With those two all lovey-dovey," he pointed to Liz and Max, "She hasn’t had a chance to implement her plans."

"And what do you know about her plans?" Maria asked turning her gaze on him.

He visibly flinched when it fell on him. Maria had been trying to start something with him since the ‘kissing incident’, but so far, he hadn’t risen to the bait.

"All I’m saying is, if she is following along the same line as in Liz’s dream, Max should be in her sights and Liz is blocking the view," he rationalized.

Max placed his arm around Liz and stated, "That means she might try to get her out of the way. Has she made contact with you?"

"No, but I think she will soon. With her thinking that I’m in her power, we might be able to know what she is planning before hand, and do something about it."

Liz didn’t want to ponder what could be rattling around in Tess’ head. Nothing she would do, could surprise her, but she would do anything in her power to protect Max and the others.

"Tell us again what you did to keep her from taking control?" Max asked for the twentieth time.

Michael heaved a sigh and told him once again. "I saw her close her eyes and felt pressure building behind my eyes, so I imagined myself curled up into a protective ball and ignored her voice in my mind.

"I could understand her clearly, but it was like hearing a far off echo, and it couldn’t breach my defenses."

Max nodded and looked out over the quad. Knowing this would let them avert

Tess from taking a hold of one of them like she had Alex in Liz’s dream. "I hope that little trick will work for everybody."

Liz sat up straighter, remembering something. "There was a way to tell if you had been warped," she said.

The others looked at her expectantly and she told them about Kyle’s and Alex’s excessive tapping. "Your not aware your doing it, so we have to keep an eye on each other."

"The best thing we can do is keep away from her," suggested Maria.

"Unfortunately, she only needs a line of sight," Liz explained. "She did say it was easier if she was in contact with the person, so let’s hope she’s lazy."

"Great, now I’m going to have to keep looking over my shoulder," mumbled Maria.

Michael bent down and whispered in her ear, "I’ll keep you safe."

She looked up at him and thought, ‘I wish this guy would stop sending conflicting signals. He wants to protect me, but keeps his distance at the same time. Men!’

Isabel grabbed Alex’s hand and gave it a squeeze. She would not allow Tess to hurt him now that she had finally found him.

Alex squeezed back and gave her an understanding smile. He suddenly felt that with his guardian angel at his side, he could face a hundred Tess’ and win. It was a pleasant thought.


###

"I still can’t believe that your father hired him," complained Maria to her friend.

"I know, but Dad said something about second chances and told me to put him on the schedule," Liz said as she put a ticket on the rack and spun it so Michael could see the order.

"It hasn’t helped me any," Maria responded, giving the handsome guy manning the grill a quick glance. "He’s taking the whole ‘I’ll watch your back’ thing a little too far."

Liz laughed. When Michael said he would do something, you could take his word for it. He had been shadowing Maria for days and Liz believed it was more than just protecting her from Tess. She thought he liked being around someone as lively and flighty as Maria. It was a total 180 from the life he had been use to.

"Do me a favor?" Maria asked.

"What?"

"Have Max tell him to cool his jets or I won’t be responsible for what happens. He’s got my mother completely fooled. She even asked him to dinner last night, it was so embarrassing."

The bell rang and the girls looked at the pass-thru. "Order up," Michael called.

"Just look at that face," Maria grimaced. "I can’t get away from it."

Michael held up his hands and asked, "What?"

Grabbing her order, Liz said, "It could be worse."

"How?"

"It could be Kyle."

###

 

Liz unlocked the front doors and let Michael out. "You did a great job, tonight," she said as he walked to the motorcycle parked out front.

"Thanks," he grimaced, not use to having someone complement him.

"I think Dad saw your potential."

"I just got sick of frozen dinners every night and figured, at least here, I can have some decent food."

Liz tried to hid her smile. Leave it to Michael to think that burgers and fries were decent food. "See ya."

"Bye." He made sure she had locked the doors before starting up his bike. Looking over his shoulder for oncoming traffic, he didn’t see the girl standing in the shadows, watching him.

He took off down the street and she waited until he turned the corner before going back down the alley to the rear of the cafe.

Tess had decided that she would take possession of Liz herself, so only she would know where Liz was hidden. When she turned up missing, she would use Michael as her pawn to lead the others off her trail.

Testing the back door, she laughed to herself at the number of locks securing it. Placing her hand over each one, she was rewarded with a soft click as the tumblers moved. She slipped in quietly and made her way over to peer thru the window in the door leading to the dining room.

She saw that Liz was siting at one of the tables, entering tonight’s receipts into a ledger book. Listening for any movement from upstairs, she opened the door and padded silently up behind her. Closing her eyes, she tried to gain access to Liz’s mind, but found the way was blocked.

Liz spun when she first felt the pressure Michael spoke of and saw Tess standing behind her. Jumping up she faced her defiantly. "What are you doing here?" she demanded.

Tess was disturbed that she was unable to enter Liz’s mind. ‘Time for plan B,’ she thought and reached out and grabbed Liz by the shoulder. Using a technique that Nesadeo had shown her, she used her powers to compress a small vessel in Liz’s brain, which made her loose consciousness and slump to the floor.

Tess couldn’t hold back the smile that came to her face as she executed another little trick shown to her by her ‘father’. Raising her arm, she opened both doors leading to the alley, while she levitated Liz’s body out them and to her awaiting car.

 

###


Max opened his eyes and saw a pen laying on the desk in front of his nose. Raising his head, he rubbed the sleep from his eyes and looked at the clock. The red numbers showed it was 2:45 am and he realized he had fallen asleep waiting for Liz to call.

‘Liz’, he thought and unconsciously reached for her thru the bond. He sensed that she was asleep and relaxed. ‘She must have finished late and didn’t want to wake me,’ he thought reassuring himself.

Getting undressed, he got into bed and turned out the light. He sent a wave of love to her and drifted back to sleep.

 

###


Liz felt wrapped in a blanket of Max’s love and tried to roll over and snuggle deeper into it, but she couldn’t seem to make her arms move. Coming fully awake, she realized that she wasn’t in her own bed and that her arms were being held tightly over her head.

Looking to her right, she saw a table with a lamp on it, next to the bed, while on the other side, there was a filthy toilet and sink. Across the small room from her, was a metal door that was slowly opening.

The bright light coming from the other room silhouetted the person entering Liz’s prison. Waiting for her eyes to adjust, a myriad of questions flashed thru her mind. ‘Why was she here? and Who was responsible?’ were the uppermost.

"Are you enjoying your stay?" asked a condescending voice.

The latter was immediately apparent and Liz replied, "Tess.’

"Very good," Tess purred. "I was afraid I had done serious damage to that pretty little head of yours."

"Why are you holding me?"

"Isn’t obvious? You have something that I want."

"Max."

"He’s part of it, but more importantly, you know where the Granalith is," she elucidated.

"I don’t know what your talking about."

"Tsk, tsk. I never thought a amiable girl like yourself would stoop to lying, even for your ‘soul mate’," she laughed cynically.

Walking closer, Tess looked down at her captive. Nesadeo had told her about the experiences he had while contained by the humans and thought it would be ironic to perform some of the same tactics they had used on him, to extract the information she need. ‘This should be fun.’

Liz saw the flame of insanity burning in Tess eyes and broke out in a cold sweat. Somehow, she had repelled the assault on her mind and now Tess was planning something Liz was sure she wouldn’t like. Struggling to release her arms, she let out a silent cry to Max.

"He can’t help you," stated Tess, nonchalantly. "In fact, I don’t think there is a being on this godforsaken planet that could. So what do you say we get down to business, hmm?"


###

Max was dreaming. He saw Liz struggling to free herself, but it was futile. A dark shadow stood above her, ready to devour his love, and there was nothing he could do about it. He ran toward her, but he felt as if he was moving thru molasses. He called out to her, but no sound could break the bubble closing in on him.

"Max, wake up, wake up," Isabel said, shaking her brother.

Max tossed his head back and forth crying, "Liz! Liz I’m coming!"

"Max, please, you have to wake up," she implored

Coming out of his dream, he reflectively grabbed her arms. "Isabel?"

"Thank God," she breathed. "Max, I’ve been trying to wake you for ten minutes."

"What’s going on?" he asked, then saw Michael standing behind her. "Michael, what’s wrong?"

Isabel turned to her ‘other’ brother and frowned. ‘How the hell were they going to tell him?"

Seeing Isabel’s expression, Michael stepped closer to the bed and said flatly, "Liz is gone."

Letting go of his sister’s arms, Max sat up in bed and asked, "Gone? What do you mean, gone?"

"She was taken last night from the Crashdown. The police have been looking for her since three this morning."

"Who....what?" he stuttered confused. Reaching for her, he found that she was terrified, but alive. "She’s still alive," he stated to Isabel’s relief.

"Can you tell where she is?" Michael asked.

Max closed his eyes and tried to get a fix on her, but it was no good. All he could feel was her fear and it almost overwhelmed him. "She’s scared, oh god, we have to find her."

Michael could tell that he would have to take over for Max, until this was resolved. In this state, the was no predicting what he might do. "Okay, I’m going to go to the cafe and see what they have found out so far. You two, call Maria and Alex and have them meet us here in an hour. Understand?"

Isabel nodded and pulled her brother into her arms. She knew that they had to find Liz and fast. If anything happened to her, Max would never recover. Laying his head on her shoulder, she watched Michael purposefully stalk out of the room. If anyone was going to find Liz, it would be him.


###


Michael waked into the Evan’s living room, discouraged. He went to the cafe and Kyle (will wonders never cease) pulled him aside and told him what the police knew. It wasn’t much.

Maria looked up and seeing Michael, she threw herself into his arms, sobbing. He enfolded her in his embrace, knowing that this was terrifying for her. Placing a kiss on her head, he turned to the others. Isabel was next to Max on the couch, while Alex was pacing like a caged tiger

"Well?" Alex snapped, stopping in front of him.

"What they think is that she let someone in thru the back and that she might have left with them on her own," he replied.

"That’s impossible," Maria proclaimed, "she wouldn’t do that without telling someone."

"I know, but that’s what the evidence is saying," he said, stroking her hair.

"Okay, we all know that she is not somewhere she wants to be, so let’s figure out where and go get her," Alex demanded.

"I know how you feel, but we have to go about this with level heads," Michael said, sitting Maria down in the chair she had vacated. "We need to figure out who has her."

"Isn’t it obvious?" Max asked. He looked like hell. His face was pale and his eyes had sunk deep into their sockets. He clutched Isabel’s hand like it was the only thing keeping him sane.

"Where do you think we should start looking?" Isabel asked.

"I’ve already been by ‘her’ house, but I didn’t see any sign of her or her car.

She could be anywhere."

"That’s comforting," growled Alex.

"Hey, this in not the time to go off half cocked," Michael remarked, feeling the same as Alex. "We have to think where she might be holding her." Turning to Isabel he asked, "Has he felt anything else?"

Looking at Max, she shook her head. "No, but he said that it flares up briefly."

Standing up, she pulled him to one side. "Michael, he’s not doing good. It’s like he is being sucked into Liz’s fear and he can’t find his way back."

"No, he’s giving himself over to her," Maria said. The two of them looked at her. "They are connected. He doesn’t want her to face this alone, so he is trying to join her."

"That makes sense. A while ago, it looked like he was fading out."

"Okay," Michael said decisively. Motioning for Alex to join them, he said," Alex, I want you to go to Tess’ house and see if you can find anything. Isabel, I want you to try and see if you can get to Liz, dreamwalking. Maria, I need you to stay here and take care of Max. I’m going to go to Liz’s and get her journal. She might have written down her experiences from the dream and they may lead us to where Tess is keeping her. Any questions?"

The three of them looked at Michael in a new light. Here was the man the King of Antar hand picked to be his second in command, and now they knew why. Who would have know that this person had resided inside of Michael all these years.

Agreeing, they went about their assigned tasks with heavy hearts.

Isabel walked up to her bedroom in a daze. She was glad that her parents were out of town and she didn’t have to explain her brother’s condition to them. All her life, she had wanted to tell them about herself and Max, but now she was grateful that they were still in the dark and safe, she hoped.

Entering her room, she opened the drawer to her night stand and took out a picture of Max and Liz. Alex had received a new camera last week and had been the happy shutter bug, to everyone’s dismay. She had planned on getting a frame for it and giving it to Liz as a gift, but that might not come to pass.

Clutching it to her chest, she willed her mind to calm down and she slipped into the dream plane. She knew better than the others, that this might be a fool’s errand, and she might not be able to find Liz’s aura. Hoping Liz was sleeping, she sent her mind out to float over her hometown.

She had expected to go to Tess’ home or maybe one of the abandoned warehouses, but she drifted to a section of town she never visited. Here were rows upon rows of tenement houses that had housed workers during the building of the base. Now, they were in inhabited by the down and out, junkies and prostitutes. "I guess Tess had no problem blending in,’ she thought.

Focusing her search, she started floating down to one of the most dilapidated and was about to pass thru, when her concentration was broken by Maria screaming her name.

"Isabel! Isabel come quick, I think Max is dying!"


###



Alex sat in front of the house for a few minutes to see if there was any activity within, before going around the back and jimmying open the garage window.

Pulling himself thru, he went over to the door to the house and said a quick prayer to the patron saint of thieves and fools . Slowly turning the knob, he waited for the alarm to go off, but there was silence.

He opened the door and walked into a messy kitchen. The sink was overflowing with dishes and there were take out cartons strewn about. ‘Not much of a housekeeper, is she?’ he thought. Walking around the island he entered the great room and stopped dead. On the wall across from him were hundreds of snapshots of the six of them. On closer inspection, the ones of Liz were mainly before the shooting and their involvement with the aliens.

‘She’s been watching Liz for months,’ he thought. ‘Could she have something to do with the shooting?’ A cold chill went down his spine and he turned to go and warn the others when a picture on the table caught his eye. Looking down at it, he was frozen to the core. It was a blow up of Liz and someone one had scribbled over it with red marker. At the bottom written in black were the words, ‘DIE BITCH DIE’.

Fearing the worst, he ran out of the house and jumped in his car. Taking off down the street, he call the Evan’s house but no one answered. Throwing the phone on the seat, he stomped on the gas, not knowing what he was going to find when he got there.



###



Michael jogged down the street away from the Crashdown. There had been police inside of the restaurant, but not upstairs, when he climbed up to the balcony and entered Liz’s room. Her journal had been under her bed and he had just climbed back out of the window, when he heard voices coming down the hallway. He had thrown himself over the wall and practically slid down the ladder in his haste to get away.

Leaning against his bike, he leafed through the entries dated after the shooting. Scanning the pages, he slowly came to realize that Liz had held back many things she had experienced during her dream. He had to wonder how Max would have reacted if he knew half of the things Liz had suffered by knowing him, and he admired her for throwing herself back into the fire.

He closed the book in frustration. There was nothing he could see, that would lead him to where Tess might be holding her. Slipping it under the bungee cord on the back of the seat, he was putting on his helmet when Maria’s phone rang.

Flipping it open he asked, "Anything?"

Maria cried, "Michael, Max is really, really bad, you have to get here, now!"

"Okay, I’m on my way." Stuffing the phone in his pocket he headed back to save the only friend he had ever known.



###



"Max, Max can you hear me?" asked his sister, brushing back a lock of hair from his forehead. His skin was clammy and cold. "You have to stay with us, Max. You can’t help her if your not here."

Alex placed a hand on her shoulder and she laid hers over it. Turning her face to look up at him, Alex felt a wrenching in his gut at what he saw shadowed there. She returned her gaze to the still figure laying on the couch and willed him to open his eyes.

Maria sat in a chair staring into space. She knew that if Max was fading, Liz must be dying, and there was nothing she could do. She heard Michael come in, but couldn’t summon the strength to go to him. It was hopeless. Tess was going to win again.

Kneeling next to his friend, he gave him a shake. "Maxwell, wake up. We need to find her and you have to help," he demanded, getting mad. Grabbing his shoulders, he shook him hard.

Max groaned and opened his eyes. "Michael?"

"Max are you okay?" Isabel asked anxiously.

He placed a hand on his head and moaned. "Liz is in trouble. Tess is doing awful things to her, but she’s resisting. I need to get back to her.’ and he closed his eyes.

Seeing he would get nowhere with Max, Michael stood and looked to Isabel and Alex. "Did you find out anything?" he asked them.

"Just that she had been watching Liz since before the shooting and that she wants to kill her," Alex said disgustedly.

"I think I might know where she is, but it is a long shot," Isabel replied, standing up. She went over to a map laid out on the table and pointed to a section. "I was able to trace her aura to here, but that was all."

Michael looked where she pointed and grunted. He knew that part of town well. "In one of the tenements?"

She nodded and asked, "Will we be able to get to her in time?"

"I don’t know, but I’m sure going to try."

"Let’s go," Alex said, going toward the door.

Michael stopped him and said softly," No, I need you to stay here."

"She’s my friend, and I won’t abandon her."

"I know, but they need you to be strong for them," he explained nodding to the women behind them.

Looking over his shoulder, Alex could see that he was right and he could just be in the way. "Okay, but if you need me I’m just a phone call away."

"I’m counting on it."
Wind To Thy Wings
~Krys~

Do not meddle in the affairs of Dragons.....
For you are crunchy and good with ketchup

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LilyFrancesca
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Part 13

Post by LilyFrancesca » Sun Mar 30, 2003 9:56 pm

Part 13

Liz bit back a scream, she would not give Tess the satisfaction of hearing her cry out. Opening her eyes, she saw Tess sitting in a chair across from her, scowling. After trying to get into her mind again and failing, Tess had resorted to physical stimulation to get the answer to her one and only question, ‘Where is the Granalith?’

The bed she was lying on was metal, and Tess had wired it up to a outlet and was using a remote switch that she flipped on and off, sending a charge thru Liz’s body. It was enough to shock her, but not kill her. "Why don’t you kill me and get it over with," taunted Liz.

"What and end my enjoyment at watching you suffer?" cackled Tess. She was frustrated that she could not strip Liz’s mind with her powers. The electricity had been one of the things used against Nesadeo during his imprisonment with the government, and so far she wasn’t impressed. Liz was still able to mouth off and it was getting on her nerves.

"Face it. I will never tell you anything, you bitch," spat Liz. She hoped that goading her like this would end her torment. She could feel Max in the back of her mind, lending his strength, but she didn’t want it. She felt that if she died, she could take him along with her, and he need to stay here and protect the others from this monster.

"Brave words, but I will end this when I want and not before. You could further that along, if you would tell me what I want to know."

"Fat chance of that happening."

"Suit yourself," and flipping the switch, she smiled as she saw Liz’s body convulse with energy.

 

###



Max could feel what was happening to his love and he could do nothing to stop it. Using their bond, he sent his energy to her, hoping to give their friends enough time to save her. He didn’t care if he sent everything he had, it was for Liz and it would be worth it.



###

Michael was racing thru the streets of the section of town Isabel had told him about, but he couldn’t sense Tess anywhere. If she was hurting Liz, she must not be using her powers and he wouldn’t be able to locate her until she did. Pulling over to the side of the road, he decided to try something he hadn’t done since he was a child.

Before being sent to the first of many foster homes, he had made a connection with one of the councilors at the halfway house they had placed him, when he had been found in the desert. She had freaked out and quit soon after. He vowed that day, to never expose himself to that kind of hurt again, but now he knew he didn’t have a choice.

Closing his eyes, he pictured Liz in his mind’s eye. At first, he saw nothing, then suddenly, he was drawn to a building two streets away. Opening his eyes, he ran down an alley toward his goal, knowing that she didn’t have much time left.

 

###

Isabel watched as the life force slowly drained from her brother. She had tried everything she could think of to get him to come back, but it was no use. He would let himself die, to save Liz. Clinging to Alex, silently weeping, she knew that she would never see his smile or hear his laugh again. She prayed that Liz would be worth his sacrifice.



###



"Well, I’m board," commented Tess. She wasn’t going to break Liz this way and decided that she needed to inflict more pain. Walking over to the bed, she took a deep breath and held out her hand. Slowly, it began to glow, and she gave Liz an evil smile; this was really going to hurt.

Liz watched her approach and tried to brush the hair out of her eyes by shaking her head back and forth. Glaring at her in defiance, she watched in horror as the girl’s hand began to glow and she felt the heat radiating off it. Suddenly realizing what she intended, Liz finally gave Tess what she had been hoping for, a scream of pure terror.

###

"Liz! No!" screamed Max, sitting up right on the couch. Isabel went and put her arms around him. Looking at the others, fresh tears crept down her cheeks and she knew the end was near.

###

Michael knew what building Liz was in, but he had no clue as to what floor, never mind what apartment. He was in the foyer when he ‘felt’ Tess using her powers and he could feel Liz’s dread thru the connection. Running up the stairs, he made it to the third floor before Liz’s scream penetrated the hallway. Racing down the hall, he slammed into the door at the end and looked about hurriedly. Another scream permeated the air and he kicked open the bedroom door, and was overwhelmed by what he saw.

###

Tess’ hand lowered ever so slowly to lay on Liz’s chest and she could actually smell the flesh burning under her palm. Liz’s scream went on and on, as Tess fed more power to her fingers. If this little slut wouldn’t give her the information she wanted, she was going to burn.

###

Liz, thankfully, only last a few moments after the first onset of pain. She saw darkness coming toward her and she embraced it joyously. As it overwhelmed her, she sent out one last goodbye to Max and regretted not being able to say the same to her parents.

*Did you believe that I would leave you?* asked a voice in the darkness.

*Max?*

*Of course, were you expecting some one else?* he joked, coming up to her and taking her in his arms.

*You shouldn’t be here, Max. Your needed back there.*

*I belong where ever you are. Your the other half of me.*

*What about Isabel and Michael? You need to be there for them. They won’t be able to fight the enemy that is coming.*

*How bout we go back and do it together?*

*That’s not possible. I’ll never leave that room alive.*

*Trust me.*

Laying her head against his chest she replied, *Always.*

###

Michael thrust his hand out in front of him and sent a burst of power at Tess that picked her up and threw her across the room and into the wall. Not waiting to watch her slide to the floor in a heap, he rushed over to the bed and with a wave of his hand, the handcuffs holding Liz’s arms and legs melted away. Gently, he picked her up and carried her out of the room, without a backward glance at the figure on the floor. Right now, Liz was more important than finishing off the monstrosity bleeding and unmoving in the corner.

Taking great pains not to hurt her much abused body, Michael carried Liz down the three flights of stairs and into the street. Knowing that he could never get her back to Max on his bike, he put her arm around his neck and fished the cell out of his coat. Placing next to his eat, he hit the redial button and waited for someone to answer.

"Hello?" asked a gruff voice.

"Alex, I’ve got Liz, but I need a car. Pick us up at the corner of Amostown and Piper. Got that?"

Alex was shocked to hear Michael’s news, seeing that Max was hardly breathing in front of him on the sofa. "Is she alive?"

"Yeah, but she needs to get to Max and fast."

"Michael, Max might not be able to help her. He’s in rough shape."

"Well at least they can be together then. Come get us."

"I’ll be there shortly," he said and hung up the phone. Addressing the others he said, "I have to go get Michael, he’s got Liz. Will you guys be okay?"

Hearing Liz’s name, Maria perked up. "Liz? he found her. Is she okay?"

"He said she’s alive, but she’s hurt and needs Max. I’ll be back."

The girls watched him bolt out the front door, then turned their gazes back to Max’s prone figure. If Liz stilled lived, maybe Max would too.


###


Alex sped around the last corner and saw Michael with an unconscious Liz in his arms. Coming to a screeching halt, he vaulted out of the car and ran around to open the passenger side door.

Michael gently deposited his burden in the front seat, and reaching around her, he clicked the seat belt into place. Standing back up, he shut the door with a slam and jammed the helmet on his head. Starting up his bike, he waited until Alex pulled away from the curb, to follow.

The drive back to the Evan’s was the longest of the two men’s lives. Finally, they arrived and Michael threw his helmet to the ground and removed Liz from the car. Alex ran ahead and held the front door open for him. Maria was waiting inside to direct him up to the master bedroom.

Laying her on the bed, Michael asked, "Where’s Max?’

"Right here," he said coming out of the bathroom. His hair was damp and he had a towel in his hand.

"Glad to see your feeling better," commented Michael.

"Thanks to you," Max replied kneeling down next to Liz.

Maria came up behind Michael and wrapped her arms around his back . He spun in her embrace and lifting her up, he kissed her long and hard. He wouldn’t know what he would have done if it was her, not Liz, lying on the bed.

Max slowly peeled away the remnants of Liz’s shirt, trying not to cause any further damage. Isabel sucked in her breath at the charred hand print embedded on her chest below the collarbone. Repressing a shutter at the power that would be required to do such wreckage, she put her hands on Max’s shoulders and offered her strength to him.

Closing his eyes and taking a deep breath, Max gathered up his remaining power and most of his sisters, and dove into Liz’s aura. What he saw sickened him. Liz was normally surrounded with a pure amber light but now it was infused with a green ichor, that radiated from the burn. Deciding that getting rid of the taint would go along way in restoring her natural balance, he focused a burst of healing energy at the wound.

At first, the poison started to dissipate, but a sudden flair broke through the surface and fought back viciously. Gritting his teeth in frustration, he pushed it back down and rooted around to find the center of the contamination. To his surprise, he saw that Tess had attached this nasty bit of work to all of Liz’s doubts about her self and their relationship. It was the fuel feeding the slow consumption of her soul.

‘Max, how’d she do this?’ Isabel asked in the back of his mind.

He was amazed that his sister had been able to follow him into the healing trance and see what he was seeing. ‘I’m not sure, but we need to dislodge it from her and hopefully, without a source of power, it will cease to function. Ready?’

He felt her agreement and he imagined a knife in his hand and proceeded to sever the line that connected this blight, from his beloved. It took a series of quick strokes to get thru the connection and he had to sever the feeble attempts it made at reestablishment, but finally he was able to draw the foul node of corruption from Liz and disintegrate it with a concentrated blast of energy.

With that removed, Liz’s body joined him in rebalancing her essence. It showed him where the healing was needed most and he followed it’s lead. Seeing that the body was physically mended, he sent out a tentative thought to her mind and had to jump back quickly from the whip like snap of self preservation.

Heeding this warning, he deduced that his best option of bringing her back from the terror she faced, would be better accomplish by holding her in his arms and sending waves of reassurance through the bond their shared. He pulled himself back into his body and let go of his sister.

Slumping forward, he tried to regain his breath as he heard Alex catch Isabel before she fell to the floor behind him. A few minutes later, he was able to raise is head and see the results of his work. Liz’s flesh was whole, but she would forever carry the mark of Tess hand faintly on her skin.

He felt tears escape from under his lids, as he squeezed his eyes shut at the unfairness of it all. If it wasn’t for him, she would have remained safe and unharmed. If it wasn’t for his selflessness, he would have rebuffed her successful reentrance back into his life.

"Stop it," whispered a voice next to his ear.

Snapping open his eyes, he looked into the weary, but fully aware gaze of holder of his heart. "Liz?"

"Stop beating your self over the head," she ordered, weakly. "She’s wanted me dead for eons. She know that no matter what she does, you and I will be together, forever. If not here, than in the next life or the one after that." She closed her eyes, exhausted, and fell into a deep sleep.

Collecting her hand into his, Max wept over it and thanked God that she would be all right. He had come very close to loosing her and he vowed to eradicate the menace that had almost taken her away from him.


###


A few hours later, and after taking a nap next to Liz, Max came down the stairs looking much better than he had going up. When Michael broke Tess’ hold over Liz, he had come rushing back into his body and awoke. He had heard Alex talking on the phone, and opened his eyes to watch his friend race out of the house. Groaning, he made Isabel and Maria aware that he was back and they came and helped him to get upstairs and refresh himself before the guys brought Liz home.

Now he had the unfortunate task of finding out what Michael had done to Tess.

Taking a seat next to him and Maria on the sofa, he said, "I don’t think I’ll ever be able to repay you for what you did for us."

Michael was a little abashed buy the sentiment, but decided not to comment on it. He was coming to realize the depth of feeling one could have For another person, and he hoped that if the situations were reverse, his friends would have come to the rescue.

Looking around the room at his friends, Max knew that he would do anything to keep them safe, even if it meant killing someone to do it. Letting out a sigh at the thought, he asked, "What happened to Tess?"

Michael shrugged and replied, "I blasted her into the corner and grabbed Liz and left. I don’t know if I just stunned her or if she’s dead. I’ve been waiting to see if Liz was going to be okay before going back over there."

"Well I for one, hope she is rotting as we speak," Maria snarled. She wished she had the tramp’s lily white neck in-between her hands right now, so she could wring it.

"Down girl," Michael whispered loudly. The others laughed and it broke the tension in the room. Maria gave his arm a punch and he grunted for her sake.

"I say, we go and see either way," Alex put in. He didn’t relish the idea, but they had to know if she would be coming to get them. "Michael and I can be back in a half an hour."

"No," Isabel said. She had been in the kitchen brewing coffee and she placed the tray she had made up on the table in front of the couch. "I don’t want you coming within twenty feet of that witch."

"She’s right," Max said. "I can’t risk having Maria and Alex falling into her hands. If you guys would stay here with Liz, Michael, Isabel and I will go. If she still there, we can take care of her, our way."

The others could see the gleam of revenge glowing in his eyes and understood that he needed to face her himself. Three against one were good odds and their combined powers would be able to take care of anything Tess could throw at them.


###


Max, Isabel and Michael piled into the jeep and headed out to see what had happened Tess. Michael gave Max the directions and they drove along, each immersed in their own thoughts. Isabel looked over at her brother and scowled in frustration. His need for revenge was so out of character for him, she was worried at what he might do when he finally saw Tess in person. Michael, on the other hand, had show a side that she never knew existed. She wondered if they were even the same people she thought she knew.

Max watched the road and tried not to speed. His overwhelming need to face Tess as soon as possible was the force driving him on. He should be exhausted, but the flame of retribution was burning brightly in his soul and only confrontation would douse it. He hoped Michael had left something for him to take his anger out on.

Pulling onto Piper Road, they were forced over to the shoulder, when a fire truck came screaming up behind them. Watching it fly by, a sense of dread fill Michael. As they got closer to their destination, they could see flames rising in to the darkening sky. They were stopped a block away from the building that once held Liz, it was completely engulfed in flames.

The three of them got out of the truck and walked closer to the taped off area surrounding the inferno. Around them, the forgotten people of the world mulled as they watched the place they called home disappear. A woman was weeping off to Max’s right and he turned to see if Tess was included in the group.

"She’s gone," said Isabel.

"How do you know?" asked Max.

"One of two things happened," she replied. "Either she came around and left, or she is still in there. Which ever one, there is nothing we can do now. We’ll have to wait and see what the police find, but I wouldn’t keep my hopes up. If anyone was caught in there, there won’t be much left for them to find."

Glancing up at the fire, Max had to agree. Time would tell if she got out or if she received justice from some other hand. He was divided as to which out come he would prefer.



###



Liz slowly woke and her eyes roved the room, trying to figure out where she was. All of a sudden, the events of the last day and a half came flooding into her mind and she sat up abruptly. "Oh my god, my parents must be freaking out," she said to the empty room.

Swinging her legs off the bed, she grabbed the headboard and tried to stand. When she had no difficulties, she smiled and thought, ‘What did I expect? Max is good at what he does, especially when it comes to me.’

Hearing voices coming from downstairs, she followed them and saw Maria and Alex sitting in the Evan’s living room. When he saw her, Alex jumped up and came over to help her to a chair. Seeing what he intended, she laughed and said, "Thanks for the offer, Alex, but I feel fine."

"Are you sure?" Maria asked, plainly not convinced.

Sinking into the chair, Liz reassured her. "Yes, Mom."

"Good. When Michael brought you here, we weren’t sure if you would be able to walk, never mind, be okay."

"Oh, so that’s how I got here," replied Liz. She could only recollect the pain Tess had inflicted on her and Max’s healing presence. Everything else was a blur.

"Yeah, he burst in and sent that bitch flying," ginned Maria.

Liz gave her a small smile and said, "Michael was always one who shot first and asked questions later."

"What are you going to tell your parents?" Alex asked.

"I’m not sure. They must be frantic by now."

"They realized you were gone a couple of hours after you were taken. They think you went with someone you knew, because there was no forced entry," he told her.

"I think she waited until everyone had left, and opened the locks on the back door. All I remember is feeling her trying to get into my head and confronting her. The rest is fuzzy."

Looking around, she asked, "The others?"

"They’ve gone to see if she was where Michael left her, then from there, I’m not sure," explained Alex.

As he finished speaking, the Jeep pulled into the drive and the three waited anxiously for their friends to come in with some news. They could tell that things were not well by the expressions on their faces. Max saw Liz and made a bee line to her and sat on the arm of her chair.

Raising an eyebrow, Maria asked, "Well?"

"The place had almost burned to the ground by the time we got there," Michael said, sliding to the floor at Maria’s feet. She began to rub his temples. "Aaaaah," he groaned in pleasure.

"What’s our next move?" asked Alex, taking Isabel’s hand.

"First thing, we have to get Liz home." replied Max, even though he hated to let her out of his sight.

Liz nodded. "What should I tell them?"

"Tell them that you were hit on the head and when you woke up, you were laying on the side of the road." Michael suggested.

"Okay, but how will I explain about you guys finding me, and not the police?"

"We’ll say we saw you walking back to town and brought you home as soon as possible," Isabel put in. Everyone seemed to like the plan, and so they got up and Max put his arms round her. The others went out and gave them a few minutes alone.

"I guess I have to thank you for saving my life, again" she said.

"If it wasn’t for me, you wouldn’t have been hurt either time."

"What do you mean?"

"Alex went to Tess’ house. She has a wall of surveillance pictures and most of them are of you months before you were shot. We think the shooting wasn’t an accident."

"Are you kidding?"

Shaking his head, he gave he a quick squeeze and stepped back. "Let’s get you home. We can talk about this later."

Agreeing, she followed him out the door, but something kept nagging at the back of her mind. She knew she had to dive into the memories of her imprisonment, because she was sure it held the key to everything.
Wind To Thy Wings
~Krys~

Do not meddle in the affairs of Dragons.....
For you are crunchy and good with ketchup

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LilyFrancesca
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Part 14

Post by LilyFrancesca » Sun Mar 30, 2003 9:58 pm

Part 14


Tess still couldn’t believe that she had let Michael come up on her unawares. She hadn’t heard him kick in the door, so intent on hurting Liz, she was flying thru the air before she knew they were no longer alone. On the verge of unconsciousness, she watched thru veiled eyes as Michael scooped up her prize and dashed out of the apartment.

She must have blacked out, because when she came to, the room was on fire, probably caused by a short circuit from the extension cord that was still wired to the bed. Crawling along on her belly, she made for the door, trying not to breath in any of the noxious fumes coming from the asbestos filled paneling. When she got to the hallway, the stairs were blocked and she was forced to enter the apartment across the hall.

Slamming the door behind her, she broke thru the wood covering the window and stuck her head out. This building along with most in this part of town, had been built in the mid forties and were not equipped with fire escapes. Seeing a drain pipe, Tess shook her head to clear it, before squeezing thru the broken slats and swinging herself out onto the ledge.

Shuffling along, she came to the edge and had to jump onto the pipe. Giving a silent thanks to her creator for her small size, she shimmied down to the ground.

Hearing sirens in the distance, she ran to her car, which was parked a few blocks away, and took of in the opposite direction.

She would have to make contact with Kivar, she shuttered at the thought, and find out what he wanted to do. She dreaded his reaction and what he would do to her once he got her back on Antar, if she ever made it that far. This fiasco was going to cost her dearly.

 

###


Liz’s reunion with her parents was a tear filled event. Having almost lost their daughter twice in as many months, they jokingly informed her that she was never to leave her room again. Praying that it was only a joke, Liz endured the many questions put to her by the sheriff. Luckily, he didn’t need to question the others as much, their answers were pretty straight forward, and they were sent on their way.

Promising to call her later, Max left the restaurant, but stayed in the vicinity. He wasn’t going to let Tess get a hold of her again, on the off chance that she survived the fire. Alex agreed to bring Maria and Isabel home, while Michael sat with Max in the Jeep.

"Are you planning on keeping a ‘round the clock surveillance?" Michael asked, pouring some hot sauce onto his Three Musketeer Bar and taking a bite.

"That’s the plan," he replied, watching Liz and her mother go thru the doors into the back.

"And when do you expect to sleep? Or eat?"

"I haven’t got all the detail sorted out yet, but I’ll come up with something."

"You know, Liz won’t want you to do this."

"I know, but what else can I do? Because of me, she is in danger. God, I have almost got her killed twice and I won’t let it happen again."

"I say we take out the cause, then she will be safe."

"I have a feeling that Tess is only a tool. She might be working for someone else, maybe even Kivar. How can we stop him?"

"I’m not sure, but I bet Liz’s parents won’t let her out of their sight for a long time. We can go to Tess’ and check out this wall Alex told us about. Maybe she left more than he saw. It couldn’t hurt."

"I guess your right, she should be fine, for now. I’ll come back and watch over her tonight. I wouldn’t put it past them to try and get to her as soon as possible, she apparently has something they want."

Starting up the truck, Max took on long look at the apartment above the restaurant and slowly drove away, vowing that he would keep her safe.


###


Liz’s parents were true to their word and she was hovered over and watched more than when she came home from the hospital. The sheriff finally seemed satisfied that she didn’t know any more than what she had told him and had left her in peace. Her only regret was not finding out why Tess had been asking about the Granalith.

From her dream, she had only told the others that it was only some sort of ship. For some reason, she withheld the whole ‘Future Max’ incident, and was not sure why. *Yes you do,* said her conscious. *You didn’t want to loose Max again.*

She cringed at the words. The voice was right and she knew it. Deep in her heart of hearts, she wanted the wedding that Future Max had described, never mind the consequences that would be involved if it came to pass.

‘I know it was wrong," she thought, ‘but at least this time Tess won’t get Max’s son.’

*That’s what has been really bothering you,* taunted the voice. *She had him before you.*

‘No,’ she snapped, then realized that was a lie. It had eaten her up inside until she had been consumed with hate for the both of them. "It wasn’t fair," she said aloud.

"What wasn’t fair?" asked a voice behind her.

"Michael," she said turning to look at him.

Jumping off the wall he walked toward her. "How are you feeling?"

Smiling, she unconsciously rubbed the spot where Tess had branded her. "Fine, thanks to you."

Looking away, he took something out of his jacket and held it out to her. "I thought you might want this back."

Seeing her journal, she resisted the urge to snatch it from his hand. Instead she asked, "Did you read it?"

"Yeah," he admitted. "I thought it might lead us to where she was keeping you."

He placed it on the table next to her chair and quickly wiped his hand on his leg. "Why, Liz?"

Knowing what he wanted, she scrambled for something to tell him, but all she could say was, "I don’t know."

"You don’t know?" he asked incredulously. "Our lives are in the balance and all you can say is ‘I don’t know.’ "

Shaking her head, she couldn’t meet his eyes. "I guess I was being selfish," she whispered.

Slumping into a chair he let out a sigh and ran his had thru his spiky hair. "That at least is something I can understand."

"Did you, I mean, have you........?"

"No, I didn’t let the others see," giving her a hard look.

"Thank you."

He got up and was about to leave when her voice stopped him. "I felt you, you know."

"I know."

"Will we always be ‘connected’?"

"Yeah, until I break it."

"You can you know, I’ll understand."

"No, I think I need to know where you are for now, if only for Max’s sake."

"Do Max and Isabel know about this power?"

"No," he replied climbing onto the ladder. "Now, we each have a reason to keep secrets."

Liz silently agreed as she watched him disappear down the side of the building. She knew her reason, but what was his?

 

###

Alex placed his arm around Isabel’s shoulder and she laid her head against his shoulder. Ignoring the movie, she closed her eyes and basked in the warmth of his embrace.

Suddenly she saw images of Tess flashing thru her mind: *flash* Tess driving in the desert shaking with rage. *flash* Tess talking to a familiar figure hovering over a glowing device. *flash* Tess being set upon by two beefy and them throwing her in a car. *flash* Tess laying battered and bleeding on the side of the road.

"Oh my god," Isabel cried sitting up in her seat. A bevy of ‘shut up’ and ‘keep it down’ answered her but she didn’t hear them.

"Isabel, what is it?" Alex asked looking into her frightened face.

"We have to go and see Max, right now," she exclaimed.

Hearing the fear in her voice, he stood and grabbing her hand behind him, he bullied his way to the main aisle, pulling he along with him. Once outside he asked, "Where?’

"Home, he said he had to study," she replied as he led her over to the car and opened the door for her. After she was situated, he closed the door and ran around to his side. Sliding behind the wheel, he saw that she was badly shaken and hurriedly drove her home.

###

Max was trying to focus on the book in front of him, to no avail. His mind kept going back to what he and Michael had found at Tess’ house.

The place had been ransacked. The wall of pictures Alex had told them about along with the blow up of Liz were gone. The only thing they had found was a photo of him and Liz taken at the Crashdown a week or so ago and that had been hidden under a discarded pizza box.

The two of them went thru the house, but everything of Tess’ was gone. Either she had made it out of the fire and took her stuff or someone came and cleaned up after her when they realized she was dead, he didn’t know which.

Pulling out the picture, he brushed his finger over Liz’s smiling face. He remembered how happy she was that day. She had just found out that she would be going to a seminar at the University of New Mexico on molecular biology, given by some professor whom she regarded as a leading scientist in his field. She had been so excited, that her joy made the people around her smile at her delight.

‘That was so like her,’ he thought. ‘Her mood effects those around her, she feels things so deeply.’

He felt a pulse of love come to him thru their bond and he knew she was thinking about him. Unfortunately, she wasn’t as sensitive as he was and unless he sent a large dose, she wasn’t aware of his thoughts.

"Oh well, she’ll know soon enough," he sighed and stood to get ready for their date. Her parents would only let her go out if she was with him or Maria and Alex. She was getting fed up with the whole situation, but he liked it very, very much.

Grabbing fresh towels out of the linen closet, he headed down the hall to take a quick shower. Hearing his name being called from downstairs, he spun and ran down to see what was wrong.

Alex was coming thru the front door behind Isabel, who had called his name. He wasn’t the only one to respond to her call.

"Isabel," her mother said, walking in from the kitchen, "what are you yelling for?"

"I wanted to know if Max was home," she said, staring at her brother.

"You could have gone up to his room. There is no need to shout the house down."

"Sorry Mom, I didn’t mean to alarm anyone," she apologized.

"Okay." Seeing Alex she asked, "I thought you were going to a movie?"

"We were, Mrs. Evans," Alex said, "but it was really boring. We thought Max might want to come with us and get something to eat."

"That was sweet of you," she said beaming at her daughter’s friend.

"Why don’t you two come up for a minute, and let me finish getting ready," Max suggested, sensing his sister needed to talk to him alone.

Isabel nodded her head and grabbing onto Alex’s hand, led him past her mother and up the stairs. Max shrugged at his mother and gave her a smile. She returned it and giving the retreating pair a strange look, went back into the kitchen.

Max went back up stairs and going into his room, he closed the door behind him and leaned against it. "Well?"

Sitting next to each other on the bed, Isabel told them about the flashes she saw of Tess, while clinging to Alex’s hand. When she was finished she said, "I know she isn’t your favorite person right now, but she is in danger. What if she’s picked up and they find out what she is?"

Max looked up at the ceiling and knew she was right. He had hoped Tess had died in the fire, but Isabel was never wrong when she got her flashes. "Do you have any idea what road she was on?"

"I saw a sign for some fortune teller, but that’s it." she replied, dishearteningly.

"It wouldn’t have happened to say Madame Vivian on it, would it?" asked Alex.

"Yeah, that could be it," she said, raising one brow in a silent question.

"I’ve brought Maria out there a few times," he defended himself.

"Isn’t that over on 252?" Max asked, pulling out a map from his desk.

"About ten miles out of town. Near that shut down motel."

"Okay, let me call Liz and tell her that I’m going to be late and we’ll go and check it out."

"Max, what’ll we do if she’s there?" Isabel asked in trepidation.

"I guess we’ll find out when we get there. I can’t promise anything."
Wind To Thy Wings
~Krys~

Do not meddle in the affairs of Dragons.....
For you are crunchy and good with ketchup

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LilyFrancesca
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Part 15

Post by LilyFrancesca » Sun Mar 30, 2003 10:04 pm

Part 15

"Well, damn," Liz said hanging up the phone.

"What’s up?" Maria asked poking her head out of the closet.

"That was Max. He said he needs to check something out with Isabel and he wasn’t sure if he could make out date." Throwing a pillow she whined, "I was so looking forward to getting away from this house."

"Poor baby," Maria cooed as she pulled out one of Liz’s dresses and held it up in front of her as she looked into the mirror. "At least you had a date for tonight. Space boy had been avoiding me like the plague."

"He told me he wanted to be scheduled for anything open." Liz told her.

"It’s just so he doesn’t have to take me anywhere," Maria complained, discarding the dress and pulling out another one. "I thought we were starting something and he goes all frigid on me."

"Don’t worry. When he finally comes around, your going to wish he was back to the way he is now. He can get very intense."

"I hate that you know more about him than I do. I wish you could show me how we were in your dream. I might be able to get some pointers."

Shaking her head Liz replied, "Trust me, you don’t want to know. You might end up killing him before he has the chance to win you over."

"Well, it looks like you and me tonight, Wanna go down and bug Michael?"

Smiling, Liz figured it was the only other invite she was going to get tonight and it would be fun watching Maria drive Michael crazy.

 

###

"There’s the sign," Isabel said pointing to the glowing hand in the distance.

Alex slowed up and the three of them scanned the roadside for anything out of the ordinary. Looking out the windshield, Alex was surprised to see a dark van pulled over onto the shoulder. Slowing to a crawl he watched as the side door was thrown open and something flung to the ground. Without turning on it’s lights, the van took off down the highway.

Knowing instinctively what had been tossed onto the dirt, he stopped the car and got out.

"Alex, what are you doing?" Isabel asked, not having seen the truck.

Waving her to join him, her and Max got out of the car and followed him to where he stood looking down at a heap at his feet. Isabel sucked in her breath when she saw Tess’ bloodied face staring up at her.

Max knelt next to the prone girl and felt for a pulse. "She’s alive."

"What are we going to do?" Isabel asked. She still felt betrayed by this girl and wasn’t sure she deserved help after what she put Liz thru. Unfortunately, they couldn’t leave her here, because of what she was and what could happen to them if she was found.

"We have to take her with us, I guess," Alex said surprised to here his voice so calm. He had seen the mess he made of his best friend and knew that she would kill them all if given the chance, but he wasn’t a monster and couldn’t leave her here. "But where?"

Max ran his hand over her body and saw she wasn’t seriously hurt. He decided that she could heal on her own without his help. She deserved to feel some pain considering what she inflicted on Liz. Now, where to take her.

"Back to her house?" suggested Isabel. "You said they already cleared it out, so they wouldn’t think she’d go there."

"What choice do we have? I won’t risk having Liz see her. she is still having nightmares about her captivity," Max said and bent to pick up the limp girl.

Tess’ eyes fluttered open and when she saw who was holding her, she began to struggled weakly. "Cut it out or you going to hurt yourself even more," he said coldly.

She stopped moving and looked up into his eyes uncertainly. "Why?" she whispered.

"We can’t risk you being picked up by anyone else," he replied, carrying her to the car and putting her in the back seat. Climbing in next to her he motioned for the others to get in .

"Where are you taking me?" she asked hoping to sound calm, when in fact she was more terrified than when Kivar’s people had scooped her up.

She knew that he was angry about her botched attempt at finding out the location of the Granalith, but she never suspected him to have her beaten. The worse part was that the men who had taken her, never uttered a word. They just went about hurting her like machines, with no expressions on there faces. She was unsure if they were suppose to leave her there to die in the cold desert night or what.

Max looked at her with hate filled eyes and said, "To your house. We have a few thing we need to talk about."

Tess felt a shiver race down her spine at the repugnant look he gave her. Closing her eyes, she laid her head back on the seat. Taking a deep breath she tried to focus her mind and gain access to his, but it was blocked.

"You should conserve your strength," he said softly. "Your little trick won’t work on us. You should have figured that out after everything you put Liz thru. Your lucky it was us and not Maria who found you."

"What could that little bitch do to me?" she asked with false bravado

"You would be surprised at the things she wants to do to you. Just sit back and shut your mouth. You have a lot of explaining to do."

Turning her head, she gave him a dirty look but did what he said. If she was going to get out of this alive, she would need all the rest she could get.

###

 

"Michael, could you cook this a little more?" Maria asked sweetly as she walked behind the counter carrying a plate that held a Will Smith Special.

"You asked for medium and medium is what you got," he said rolling his eyes.

The girls had come down a half hour ago and his life had been hell ever since. Maria had ordered one thing and after he had almost finished it, she had changed her mind and ordered the burger. Liz wasn’t helping things either. She had complained that her food was too cold then too hot and he was about to boot the both of them out of there.

"But when I cut it in half, it was still pink inside," Maria pouted prettily. She had to choke back a laugh at the pitiful expression on his face.

Taking the plate roughly from her hands, he looked over his shoulder to make sure Mr. Parker was elsewhere and quickly passed his hand over the food. Holding it back out to her he said, "Now is there anything else?"

Smiling Maria replied, "No that should be it,.........for now."

Michael growled low in his throat as he watched her walk back to the table she was sharing with Liz. "You must have done something pretty bad to tick her off," Mr. Parker said from over his shoulder.

Turning his head to look at the older man he replied, "If you tell me what it is, I’ll at least have a clue."

Jeff Parker laughed at the boy. When Michael had come in looking for a job, he had seen himself twenty years earlier. He remembered what it was like to be young and carefree, but poor. He had a feeling that this young man was more that what he appeared on the surface, and he proved it in his unrelenting search for Liz when she had gone missing. That, if nothing else, had earned him his respect. Liz and Maria were lucky to have him for a friend.

"Well what ever you did, you better fix it and quick. With those two against you, you never get any peace," he said and clapped him on the shoulder.

Sighing in disgust, Michael spun the ticket holder and started on his next order.

Isabel opened the front door and held her hand up to her nose to block the stench coming from inside the house. Looking at the girl behind her, she didn’t think her opinion could go any lower for her, but she was mistaken.

Blinking her watering eyes, Tess said, "They must have left the fridge open."

"That or your a pig and this is your sty," mumble Isabel as she flipped on the lights.

Max brushed past her and walked into the kitchen. Waving his hand, he disintegrated the source of the odor and shut the refrigerator door. Pointing to the table, he indicated for the others to take a seat.

Pulling out the picture of him and Liz he threw it down in front of the bruised girl.

"You want to explain why you tried to kill Liz ?" he asked unemotionally.

Tess looked down at the photo and had to keep a sneer from her face. It seemed she was never going to get rid of this bane to her existence. "She didn’t fit into my plans," she said pushing the picture way.

"So torturing and almost killing her benefited you .....how?" asked a sarcastic Alex. His hands were clasped together on the table in front of him and his knuckles were turning white from the pressure he was using to keep them from reaching out and implementing one of the many ways Maria planned on killing this beast.

"No, that was for my pleasure alone," Tess laughed maliciously.

Isabel gasped and Alex lost it. Standing up his chair fell to the floor as he tried to round the table and dispatched this demon back to hell where she belonged. He was stopped by a hand on his shoulder and the word "Enough."

The power that voice held, froze him on the spot. Slowly, he turned and looked at the man behind him. He was taken back by the flame of rage glowing in Max’s eyes. Never taking his gaze off Tess he said, "This is getting us no where. Sit down Alex."

Unable to argue, he did as he was told, but he kept clenching his fits in frustration. Death would not be enough retribution for what she has put his friends thru.

Walking over to Tess, Max leaned onto the table and placed his face mere inches from hers and said slowly, "Where is he."

"Who?"

"Kivar. I know you’ve been working for him. Is he here on this planet?"

"Why would I tell you?"

"I’m the only thing keeping you alive. Your ‘friends’ apparently have no more need of your services and that means your value is less than nothing."

"And what are you going to do, oh great and mighty King? You have no idea what your up against. I should be the least of your worries. When the time comes, your going to wish you had me on your side."

Spinning away, Max paced into the living room. He knew he could rip the information from her mind in a kind of reverse healing, but he was unsure he could control himself enough to not kill her. She will be useful somehow and he couldn’t waste her on revenge, even for Liz.

Isabel went over to her brother and touched his arm carefully. She could never have guessed at the hidden depths that were concealed behind his quiet demeanor. Here was someone she didn’t know and she wasn’t sure she wanted to. Michael had always been the first to fly off the handle and jump in feet first. Max, on the other hand, was the pillar of reason and tranquillity, not this stranger standing before her.

"Max, what are we going to do? We can’t leave her by herself, she might try and hurt the others," she whispered.

"I know," he replied. "Do you think you could say here with her and Alex while I go and get Michael? Everyone needs to have a say in this."

"Even Liz?"

"I’m going to try to keep her out of this. She has suffered enough because of me and I won’t let her get hurt again."

"Are you sure that’s wise? If she finds out, she won’t understand."

"Then I guess we won’t let her, will we?"

Shaking her head no, they walked back to the table and Max pulled Tess from her chair. Dragging her to one of the bedrooms, he threw her into it and was going to close the door, when she spun and threw a bolt of energy at him. Throwing up a field of his own, he absorbed the blast. "Not very smart, Tess. I bet that was the last of your energy, hmm?"

Revealing the snarl she had been holding back she screamed, "Bastard! You better not turn you back on me or it will be the last thing you do!"

"I guess I’ll be careful then," he said tiredly and with a wave of his hand, she slumped to the floor.

"What did you do to her?" Isabel asked from the doorway.

"She’ll be fine. I just put her into something like a coma. Seems appropriate, don’t you think?"

###

Max left Alex and Isabel to watch over Tess’ unconscious body while he heads over to the cafe. Michael should be close to the end of his shift and if he waited near his parked bike, he wouldn’t have to go into the restaurant and risk running into Liz.

Slamming his hand against the steering wheel, he gave into some of the anger that was seething thru him. Why he hadn’t killed Tess as soon as he realized it was her laying in the dust, was a question he couldn’t answer. Instead he put himself thru the agony of watching her express her joy at the pain she inflicted on Liz.

‘She’s our only link to home,’ he tried to justify to himself. ‘She maybe yet prove useful.’ He could only trust the others would agree with him.

Pulling behind the building he cut the engine and looked up to the balcony over head. There were candles lit and he could faintly make out the notes to one of Liz’s favorite songs. He smiled despite himself and indulged in imagining her sitting in her lounge chair, staring up at the night sky.

Because of his wandering thoughts, he didn’t become aware that the object of his reverie was standing next to him with a slight smile on her face. "Max?" she questioned.

Startled, he yelped, "Liz, what are you doing here?"

"Ah Max, I live here," she laughed.

"Yeah, that’s right," he said cursing his luck. Looking around he demanded, "What are you doing out here by your self?"

Holding up a bag of trash, she walked over to the dumpster and tossed it in. Whipping her hands on the back of her jeans, she came back over to the truck and asked, "Did you finish that thing with Isabel?"

"What? Oh yeah," he answered, staring past her at the back door.

"Okaaaay," she drawled. "Why don’t you come in. Maria and I are on a mission to drive Michael insane"

"No I can’t," he said bluntly. "I’m just waiting for Michael to finish his shift."

"Oh. Well then, uhm, okay, see ya Max."

Trying to ignore her crestfallen expression he said," Tell Michael I’m waiting for him."

"Uh sure, no problem." Spinning on her heel, she whipped open the screen door and stormed back into the kitchen. Brushing past Michael, she spat, "Max is out side waiting for you."

He finished washing his hands and asked, "Did he say what he wanted?"

"Do I look like his secretary?"

"I’ll take that as a no," he said watching her violently pushing the door to the dinning room out of her way.

Punching out, he grabbed his jacket and went out the door to see Max sitting in the Jeep. "What the hell did you say to Liz?" he asked. "She’s pretty pissed."

"Get in, we have a problem," was his only reply.

Slipping on he coat, he hopped into the truck and while Max was backing out of the alley, he asked, "What is it, Maxwell?"

"I’ll tell you on the way."

 

###

"Men suck," Liz said ash she fell into the chair across from Maria.

Maria raised her eyes from the personal ads she was scanning and replied, "Your just realizing this now?"

Picking up her napkin, Liz began shredding it into thin strips. "No, I guess it slipped my mind for a while."

"Chica, what happened?"

"I went to toss out that bag of trash from behind the register and Max was sitting in the Jeep. When I asked him to come in, he was all cold and told me he was only there to meet Michael."

"See, this is what I’ve been telling you," Maria exclaimed throwing up her hands. "You open yourself to someone and all they end up doing is kick you in the gut."

Nodding her head in agreement, Liz closed her eyes and took a calming breath. Abruptly, her connection with Michael became awake and she could hear everything Max was telling him. Snapping open her eyes, she stared at her best friend in terror.

Maria watched the blood drain from Liz’s face and reached over and grabbed her hands in support. "Liz, what is it?" she asked anxiously.

"Oh my god, they have Tess," she whispered, starting to shake.

"Who? Who had Tess? Your not making any sense, Liz."

Steeling herself against the onset of dread gnawing at her soul, she kept repeating over and over, ‘She can’t hurt you. She can’t hurt you.’ over and over.

Every night since she had returned home, she has been awoken petrified and covered in a cold sweat. In her nightmares, she kept seeing Tess; glowing hand coming toward her and hearing her ask the same question repetitively.... ‘Where was the Granalith?’

It was only the artful applied concealer under her eyes that kept her family and friends in the dark about her lack of sleep. She knew they would worry and she was afraid that her parents might make her talk to someone about it. She wouldn’t risk the safety of the others so she could get a good nights sleep.

"Liz are you okay?"

Maria’s voice brought her back to the present. "Do you have the car?" she asked her eyes wide and dilated.

"Yeah, where we going? And what was that you said about Tess?"

"Max had Tess and is bring Michael to her house," she replied, standing. "We need to get over there."

Comprehending that Michael could be in danger, Maria stacked the plates on the table into a pile and put them into Liz’s hands. "Take these in back and tell your Dad that were heading to my house for a girl’s night. I’ll run upstairs and grab the keys and some things for you to stay the night."

Liz nodded absently and Maria stopped her a few steps from the door. "Liz, snap out of it, or your Dad won’t let you leave the building."

Nodding again, Liz pasted a false smile on her face and walked into the kitchen. Maria took this as a good sign and dashed upstairs for their things.
Wind To Thy Wings
~Krys~

Do not meddle in the affairs of Dragons.....
For you are crunchy and good with ketchup

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Part 16

Post by LilyFrancesca » Tue Apr 01, 2003 3:07 pm

Part 16

So your telling me that you and Michael are connected?" Maria asked in disbelief. "When the hell were you going to let me in on this info?"

"It happened when he was looking for me," she tried to explain. "I only felt him for a few seconds, that one time."

"And it slipped your mind to make me aware you can communicate with him mind to mind?"

"It’s not like that. This is the only time I got anything from it, besides, he asked me to keep it to my self. Sorry."

"Perfect! This is so like him to keep the fact that we could have a bond like you and Max and he hides it from me, "she complained.

"It is nothing like what I share with Max. I’m like a homing beacon and he can find me if he has to." Liz tried to reassure her friend so she wouldn’t feel rejected by Michael’s unwillingness to share his thoughts with her.

Before Maria had a chance to reply, Liz said, "There’s the house. Pull over and kill the lights."

Maria complied and asked, "Isn’t that Alex’s car?"

"Your right. Max did say he had to do something with Isabel and she was suppose to be seeing a movie with him," she replied, staring at the house hoping to see some movement from within.

"I say we go and demand what the frig is going on," Maria suggested and got out of the car.

Liz jumped out after her and quietly called her name, "Maria, wait."

"Liz?" a voice asked a second before someone grabbed her arm and she jumped. Surprised to see who it was she cried, "Kyle!"

"Are you okay?" he asked then looked at Maria who had stopped at the sound of his name. "Hey Maria."

"Kyle?" she asked walking back towards them. "What are you doing here?"

Indicating his clothing he replied, "I’m out for a run, and you?"

Looking over her shoulder at the house, she lied thru her teeth, "Coming to see a sick friend."

"Anyone I know?"

"No, I don’t think you do," Liz hastily said.

Glancing back and forth between the two girls he asked, "Okay, what’s going on?"

"Why would you think something is going on?" Liz asked hoping to sound nonchalant and failing miserably.

"Does this have something to do with your kidnapping? Cuz if it does, we need to call my Dad."

"No!" they both yelled in unison. "Everything is fine Kyle, "Liz said removing his hand from her arm. "Why don’t you finish your run and we’ll see you at the game tomorrow."

"I’m not leaving the two of you here by yourself," he informed them stubbornly.

"Kyle please, this is really none of your business," Liz told him rudely. She needed to find out what was going on in the house across the street. "You should go."

"Liz, I’m still your friend and I’m not going to stand by and watch you get hurt."

"You have no idea what’s going on, so could you please let it go. I don’t have time for this."

"Fine you don’t want my help. I’ll go and call my father and he’ll get to the bottom of this."

Seeing she didn’t have much of a choice, she motioned for Maria to go up to the house and warn the others before saying, "Okay, you’ll come and see everything is fine, them you leave. All right?"

"Agreed," he said and together they crossed the street and walked up the front walk.

Taking Liz’s hint, Maria sprinted up to the house and without knocking , burst into the foyer. Not seeing anyone, she followed the hall to the kitchen. Unsurprisingly, the four of them were sitting at a table discussing the situation.

Michael glanced up and seeing her standing in the doorway, demanded, "What are you doing here?"

"We don’t have time for twenty questions, "she replied breathlessly. "Liz is coming with Kyle. He threatened to call his father if we didn’t agree to let him come here. Where’s Tess?"

"What do you mean she’s coming with Kyle?" Isabel asked frantically.

"He saw us out front and wants to make sure Liz isn’t trying to find out who kidnapped her," she explained. "We told him we were here visiting a sick friend."

"Tess," Alex said, "is unconscious."

"Really? You take my advice and bash her over the head?" she asked hopefully.

"Long story," Max interrupted. "Where are they?"

The doorbell rang and Maria pointed back they way she had come.

"Great, this is all we need," mumbled Michael.

"If you had told us what was going on, we wouldn’t have had to follow you," Maria snapped at him giving him a look of disgust.

H was shocked at the venom in her words and he felt that he may have underestimated her yet again. Turning his attention to Max, he watched as his shoulders dropped in resignation and he left to answer the door.

Taking a deep breath, he opened the door and the first thing he noticed was that Kyle had a grip on Liz’s elbow. "Take your hand off her."

"Whoa, take it easy, Evans," Kyle said holding up his hands. "I’m just here to make sure Liz and Maria are okay."

"Well as you can see, their in good hands. Thanks for your concern. You can leave now."

"No I think I’ll hang around to make sure everything is on the up and up." he replied and looked over Max’s shoulder. He saw that Maria was in the hall, wringing her hands nervously.

"That’s not what we agree, Kyle," Liz said, drawing his attention back to her. "You can see that Max is here and if my parents trust me with him, I’ll be fine."

Pulling her back from the doorway which elicited a growl of disapproval from Max, he said quietly "I don’t understand everything that’s happening with you, but I’m going to trust that you’ll be okay with tall, dark and brooding over there. I just want you to know that if you need me for anything, don’t hesitate to call. I was serious about being your friend and that means you can come to me with anything."

Smiling at his heartfelt words, she hugged him and missed seeing the jealousy that flared in Max’s eyes. Kyle saw it and it reassured him the Liz would be safe. Pulling back, he took a few steps away from her before Max did something they would both regret and said loudly. "Take care of her, Max."

At his slight nod, Kyle turned and jogged down the walk to continued on his run.

Max watched him until he was out of sight, then indicated that Liz should come into the house. Once inside, he pulled her into the den and asked, "What are you doing here?"

"I could ask you the same thing," she said, looking up and seeing a myriad of emotions pass over his face. "What is going on?"

Turning from her, he pulled over a chair and spinning it, he sat with his arms draped over the back. "It’s Tess."

"I got that," she remarked sarcastically. " Why do you have her here?"

"How did you find out?"

"That’s not important," she said brushing her words away. "I need to know why you and the others neglected to inform me that she was alive." A thought occurred to her and she squatted down in front of him, "You thought to shield me from this, didn’t you?" she demanded.

He looked away and she had her answer. Standing up, she started pacing back and forth in front of him. "You know, I’m not as fragile as you think, Max. I have been through a lot since knowing you and, well, I want you to know that I can handle things and don’t need to be protected all the time."

"Liz" he began, but she cut him off.

"No. I’m not going to live my life looking over my shoulder, worrying every moment could be my last. I couldn’t function like that, no one could. I knew what I was getting into when I begged to be in your life. I want, no I need you to understand that I’ll face what’s to happen with a full heart. I accept that I could lose you without a moments notice and I vowed to myself that I would make the most of the time I have with you, be it one day or fifty years.

There will never be another in my life but you, Max. I would die for you. God, I almost have, twice. Don’t you know how much I love you?"

Max gazed up at her and could feel the tears welling up in his eyes. He didn’t know what he had done to deserve her, but he knew that she was a gift from some greater power and he prayed that he would get to thank the entity that brought her into his life.

He rose and took her into his arms. Nuzzling her hair he whispered, "Your right. In trying to protect you, I’ve denied you the right to make your own choices and that was wrong. I only wanted to keep you safe."

Rubbing her cheek against his chest she replied, "The safest place for me is by your side."

Clearing his throat, Michael said from the hall, "This is all very sweet, but we have bigger problems than your trust issues. Can we please face the topic at hand?"

"You know, your a jerk, plain and simple," Maria said from behind him, and the entwined couple had to hold back their laughs. Letting go, Max took Liz’s hand and with her by his side, they walked together to face the future.

 

Michael sat in the chair next to Maria, but she shuffled hers closer to Alex. Giving her and exasperated look, he waited for the others to find their seats before directing his gaze at Liz and asking, "How’d you know we were here?"

Liz blushed as everyone, but Maria, turned and stared at her. Not able to return Michael’s look, she let her eyes wander around the room and repeated her words to Max, "It’s unimportant." She was fully aware of how Michael would react if she blurted out his secret to everyone, and she wished to avoid another scene.

The silence lingered and she finally let her eyes rest on his face and she hoped that he could see her pleading not to make her tell, but as Maria had told her often enough, subtlety was lost on him. He was more like the 2 x 4 to the back of the head kind of guy.

Maria could see Liz’s dilemma and said, "She’s right, Tess is what we should be discussing."

"I agree," inserted Isabel, breaking her self imposed silence. Maria’s announcement of Kyle’s arrival had sent a spear of ice shooting thru her heart. If the Sheriff’s son, became involved, she knew they wouldn’t be able to explain things and they would be handed over to that ‘Special Unit’, Liz spoke of. She would rather die, than let herself or her ‘brothers’ be dissected.

Michael gave her a sidelong glance and let it drop for now. He still had some questions for Liz, but the girls were right, Tess was the bigger priority. "Fine. What are we gonna do about her?"

Everyone instinctively turned to Max for an answer. He squeezed Liz’s hand under the table and let out a sigh. "For one thing, " he began, "we need to know if she is really working for Kivar. Also, we have to find out why she wants the Granalith. It might be more than just a ship to return home with."

Michael’s eyes snapped to Liz and she felt the heat behind his gaze. She had been agonizing whether she should tell the others about Future Max and the Granalith’s other known use, but she was still undecided. As of right now, the future that he described could still happen and she had to find a way to make sure it didn’t come to pass.

"We need to get the book, " Alex suggested. "It might hold all the answers we need."

"Good idea," Max said, having let it slip from his mind. "Do you think it could still be here? Michael and I turned this place upside down, but we didn’t find anything important."

"You said she’s unconscious, right?’ Liz asked. Max nodded and she proposed, "Isabel might be able to dreamwalk her and find out where it is."

Isabel perked up at the thought and nodded her head slowly. "If she is dreaming, I might be able to get her to tell me where it is."

"Are you sure you want to do this?" Max asked, not wanting her to risk herself, especially when it came to Tess.

"I said so, didn’t I," she replied slightly offended. Up until now, she had felt useless, but here she was the only one who might touch Tess’ mind and find something pertinent. "Let me get comfortable and give it a try."

Daring Max to stop her, she got up and went into the great room and laid down on the sofa. Alex followed her and began to rub her temples in an effort to help her relax. She might have fooled the others, but he knew she was riddled with tension at the thought of connecting with the mind of someone without a soul.

"Deep breaths,’ he whispered, then repeated over and over, "In and out. In and out."

She looked up ant him and gave a halfhearted smile before closing her eyes and letting his voice lull her into that now familiar state of not quite awake, but not fully asleep, where she was free to fling her mind to follow where the object of her inquiry, resided.

She didn’t have far to go, only the other end of the house, but the walls around Tess’ mind were high and expertly built. Isabel circled time and time again, looking for any weakness in the construction, but found none.

Mentally stamping her foot in frustration, she was about to give up when a small crack made itself known at the base of the structure. Bending over, she could catch a glimpse of the hell it was to be Tess, thru it’s narrow view.

She recoiled in horror, but steeled her spine to face the madness and get the answers they needed. Making herself into a wisp of vapor, she slipped thru the crack and into the maelstrom that was Tess’ being.

Reforming as herself, she instinctively put up her hand to fend off the images bombarding her senses. In few second flashes, she was able to experience Tess’ life since her emergence from her pod:

Darkness, then a blinding light, followed by a tall man with a scowling face speaking to her in an unknown language.

A young girl staring into a mirror, but instead of her own reflection, a freak was looking back at her.

A never ending life with a being that hated you and blamed you for his misery and the reason he was stuck on a planet full of nothing but slave material.


Closing her eyes, Isabel had to tell herself that this was Tess’ life, not hers. She pictured the faces of her parents in her mind and with it, all the love they had shown her during the last ten years.

Finally able to separate herself from her surroundings, she kept the love she had from her family as a tether to her true self and reopened her eyes.

Tess meeting with Kivar, via the device and where she hid it along with the book for safe keeping.

Glad that she saw the information she needed, Isabel sent herself back to her body and Alex’s calm voice. The chaos that was Tess’ mind tried to embrace her, but her roots were deep and she ripped out of it’s grasp and rushed back into her mortal self.

Raising her hand, she stopped Alex’s right hand and opened her eyes to see him smiling down at her. Glancing at the watch on her wrist, she noticed that she had been out for almost two hours. Her fight to leave that damaged mind must have taken long than she imagined. ‘The others must be ready to kill each other by now,’ she thought and with Alex’s help, she rose and walked back toward the kitchen.

She had been correct, and the tension at the table was palatable. Maria and Liz were sitting on one side, while Max and Michael sat across from them with blank expressions on their faces. "Are you guys okay," she asked stepping into the pool of light thrown down by the only fixture working in the house.

Maria jumped and put she hand to her mouth to stifle a scream. Gaining her composure, she complained, "A little warning, next time."

"Anything?" Michael asked gruffly, trying to avoid looking at the blonde.

‘What have you done now?’ she thought before replying, "Her car. Everything we need is in the trunk of her car."

Coming up behind her, Alex put his arms around her and gave her a squeeze. Laying her head back against his shoulder, she was able to relax for the first time since the images of Tess began flashing thought her mind.
Wind To Thy Wings
~Krys~

Do not meddle in the affairs of Dragons.....
For you are crunchy and good with ketchup

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Part 17

Post by LilyFrancesca » Tue Apr 01, 2003 3:13 pm

Part 17



"This ridiculous," Liz said turning to look at the others in the jeep with her. "We can drive around for days and never find her car."

"Do you have a better idea?" Michael asked sarcastically.

Liz kept her temper, but just barely. Michael had been snipping at her every chance he got since they decided to go and find Tess’ missing car. For all they knew, her cohorts could have taken it along with all her things from the house.

"Kyle offered to help me if I needed him."

"Have you lost your mind?" he shouted. "Why don’t we drive over to the FBI field office and turn ourselves in while were at it."

"Michael, that’s enough," Max and Maria said in unison. Max looked into the review mirror at her and she gave him a wink. "She has a point," she told the aggravated figure next to her.

Maria was still pissed at him for not telling her about the Tess situation. She knew he was only trying to protect her but she was a big girl and could take care of herself. The walls he placed around his heart were thick and she thought she was beginning to breech them, when he neglects to tell her about his ability to link with someone.

Now he was snapping at her best friend because she was hiding the very thing he asked her to keep secret in the first place. Liz was only trying to help.

"What do you mean?" he demanded, turning his ire on Maria.

"We could tell him that Liz remembers Tess’ car and he could check if it has been found by the cops," she said catching on to where Liz was heading.

"That might work," Max said.

"Maxwell, are you crazy?" he asked, feeling he was the only one in the truck with a brain. "she’s going to get us all killed!"

That was it. Liz lost control of her temper. "Max, pull over," she said coldly.

Looking at her from the corner of his eye, he could see she was shaking with suppressed rage. Doing as she asked, she opened the door before he could come to a complete stop and got out. Turing to Michael she commanded, "Get out."

Not waiting to see if he would follow, she walked over to a large boulder and leaned against it.

Hopping over the side rail of the jeep, Michael stomped over to where she was standing and asked, "What’s up you butt?"

"Your head, apparently," she replied, pushing away from the rock. "You’ve been on my case every since I wouldn’t answer your question about how we found out and I’m sick of it. I’ve only been doing what you asked me to do."

"Okay, you’ve lost me."

"I want you to break the connection, "she pleaded, her anger spent. "It was what told me where you and Max were going tonight."

He was stunned. "That’s....that’s not possible."

"Obviously, your wrong," She stated. "I saw Max telling you where you were going and why. Somehow, it opened enough for me to over hear."

Running his hand thru his already spiky locks, he began pacing back and forth in front of her. When he didn’t respond she asked, "That never happened before, did it?"

"No," he snapped, then apologized. "Sorry. I’m not really sure if it could work that way, or not."

"Michael, " she said putting her hand on his arm to stop his pacing, "remove it, then we won’t have to worry that it might happen again."

"What if you get taken again? I owe it to Max to protect you."

"That’s a chance I’m willing to take for your privacy. Mine too. It could go both ways, like a swinging door."

"I’m not sure how it’s going to affect you," he admitted.

"Do it anyway."

Turning to face her, he raised his hand and clamped it onto her shoulder.

 

"What’s going on with them?" Max asked the girl behind him. "I’ve never seen Liz so mad."

"This is nothing, I’ve seen her....." she began, but trailed off as she watched to two people she cared about most go at each other. "They have a few things to work out."

"A few things?" he inquired, spinning to look at her. "Maria, what’s happening?"

His pleading eyes were more than she could take. Hoping those two would forgive her she said, "When Michael saved Liz from Tess, he somehow connected with her and that’s how we knew where to find you."

"Why didn’t she tell me?"

"Michael asked her not to tell anyone,’ she said and he could see that she had been hurt by the omission also.

They watched as the two continued to argue. Max wasn’t sure if he should go and try to find some common ground they could meet on, but that thought slipped away when he saw a strange expression pass over Michael’s face and he grabbed onto Liz’s shoulder.

"What is he.......Michael no!" he cried, scrambling to get out of the truck. As he ran toward them, everything went into slow motion.

Michael’s hand had begun to glow and Liz was fighting to get out of his grasp. Max had covered about half the distance between them and the Jeep when Michael released her and she slumped to the ground.

Time returned to normal as Max skidded to a stop on his knees. Cradling a limp Liz in his arms he looked up at his best friend and growled, "If you’ve harmed her in any way......."

Bending over, Michael rested his hands against his knees and tried to catch his breath. Maria came up to him and placed her hand reassuringly on his back. Suddenly, her eyes got wide and she toppled over to lay next to Max and Liz.

Michael raised his head and looked into his friends confused face. "It’s a long story."

###

When the girls finally woke, Michael had relayed the story of the social worker at the foster care center, along with her reaction, and how he had used the power to find Liz.

"I guess I owe you more than I realized," Max told him when he was done. "But what happened to Maria?"

A guilty expression passed over his face as he watched the blonde slowly open her eyes. "That wasn’t suppose to happen. I was closing the connection from my end when she touched me and well, let just say she got a large dose of Michael."

"Large?" Maria asked turning to look at them. "Massive is more like it."

Collecting her into his arms he gave her a kiss on the head and said, "Sorry, you didn’t deserve that."

"I have to agree, but it did answer a lot of questions I had about you." Seeing his panicked expression, she assured him, "Don’t worry, my lips are sealed."

To make sure that was true, he placed his against hers and sealed her vow with a silent one of his own.

"Ouch," Liz groaned, lifting her head from Max’s lap. "What happened?"

"Michael broke your connection," Max told her, brushing back a stray lock of her hair.

"That’s great, but does everything with you people have to end up with me unconscious?" she joked.

Helping her to stand, Max hugged her against him and scolded her playfully, "Would you please stop scarring the hell out of me every five minutes. I must have aged 10 years in the past two weeks."

Kissing the side of his mouth, she teased, "I think the gray in your hair makes you look very distinguished."

"Gray! Where?"

She laughed as he intend and he said to the other couple, "We should go back and relieve Isabel and Alex."

Agreeing, they piled back into the Jeep and headed back to Tess’ house. The drive was thankfully uneventful and the sun was just breaking the horizon when they pulled into the drive. Alex came out to meet then with some disturbing news.

"Tess is gone, " he said.

The rushed inside and saw a badly shaken Isabel seated at the table. "Isabel, are you okay?" asked Liz pulling up a chair next to her.

Nodding her head, she said, "I heard her moaning, so I went in to check on her, when she threw a blast of energy at me."

Maria gasped and grabbed onto Michael’s arm. "Is she still here?" he asked.

"No," Alex replied. "The blast knocked Isabel out and she escaped out the window."

Max slumped into a chair and rested his head in his hands. Just when he thought things couldn’t get any worse, more bad things happen. Now they were all in danger and for the life of him, he didn’t know what to do about it.

 

###

 

Maria was driving Liz home a few hours later when she asked, "Where do you think she is?"

Liz didn’t have to ask who she was, and shrugging her shoulders she replied, "I’m not sure. I have tell you, this Tess frightens ma a lot more than the other one.

Our Tess is out of control with no one to help her and with no where to hide. She could be capable of anything."

"Thanks for the pep talk," Maria laughed humorlessly. "I feel so much better."

"Sorry. I’m just worried that Max is taking all the blame for this, again. Before he believed he was responsible for Alex’s death and the baby because he trusted her. Now he is walking down the same path again, with my imprisonment and her escape. I understand why he feels it, but he’s not to blame."

"You don’t need to convince me," Maria said. "He might not be perfect, but he cares for all of us."

"I know," Liz sighed. "I wish there was something we could do to make him understand that we care for him just as much."

"Well, I for one plan on going home and taking a long hot shower and getting some sleep. I feel like I got run over by a UFO."

Smiling, she reminded her, "Don’t forget your working the supper shift with me tonight."

"As if you would let me forget, boss lady."

Liz snorted and the two drove the rest of the way to the cafe, lost in her own thoughts.
Wind To Thy Wings
~Krys~

Do not meddle in the affairs of Dragons.....
For you are crunchy and good with ketchup

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Part 18

Post by LilyFrancesca » Tue Apr 01, 2003 3:17 pm

Part 18

Tess huddled behind a storage shed watching the sun pop out from behind the distant mountains. She still wasn’t sure where she could go, but for now, she need to keep out of sight in case they came looking for her. The bolt of energy she flung at Isabel would have killed the girl if Tess had been at full strength, but she had only been knocked out and that had given her enough time to slip out of the house unseen.

Jumping out the window, she almost landed on her face, when her legs threatened to buckle, but they held and she made her way thru the back gate and across the neighbor’s back yard.

Now as she waited for daylight, she tried to think of a place she could hole up until she recovered from the beating she suffered at the hands of Kivar’s men and the coma Max had placed her in. It had been a bitch to annul and she must remember to thank Isabel the next time she saw her for giving her the way out.

The walls that Isabel had encountered had been placed there by Max and Tess had bruised her self fling her mind against them, when she saw Isabel slip threw that crack. When she had left, she used it to crumble the walls where they had stood.

Hearing a door open, she watched as an old woman walked over to her parked car and opened the trunk. Sensing and opportunity, Tess ran up behind her and pushed her head first into the opening. Snatching the keys from the outstretched hand, she shoved it and the rest of the arm into the trunk and closed the lid.

Taking a quick look around, she saw her only witness was a calico cat sitting on the sidewalk cleaning a paw. Smiling, she threw the keys in the air and catching them before they fell, she opened the driver’s side door and drove off into another beautiful New Mexico morning.

 

###

"This is ridiculous," Maria complained as she wiped her face with a napkin. "Can this place get any hotter?"

"You should be here slaving over a hot grille," Michael said glaring at the object in question.

"Sorry," Liz apologized. "Dad is trying to get someone over her to look at the A/C unit, but the normal guy is on vacation and everyone else is gone for the night."

"Yeah, they all seem to be here." Maria indicated the packed dining room. "Doesn’t anybody eat at home any more?"

"Just think of all the tips your going to make," Liz said, as always, looking on the bright side.

"You aren’t the one with sweat streaking down your back and stringy hair."

Liz had to admit, even thought the place was packed and the temp had to be in the mid eighties, she was only mildly effected by the heat. In fact, she was quite comfortable. "Why don’t you two go and get some fresh air. Jose and I can handle things for a few minutes."

Not waiting for a second invitation, Michael and Maria beat a hasty retreat out the back door. Jose gave Liz a smile and picked up the spatula Michael dropped in his rush to get outside.

She returned it when he said, "Gringos. Can’t take a little heat."

###

Maria leaned against the building, relishing in the slight breeze that made it’s way down the alley. Michael slumped to the ground and pulled off the handkerchief that was holding back his hair. Waving his hand over it, the fabric dried instantly.

"Do you think it’s wise to do that so openly?" she asked looking down at him.

"No one is around and after last night, there isn’t much about me that you don’t know anyway."

Sliding down the wall, she took one of his hands in hers and told him softly, "I saw a lot, that’s true, but they were only images of things that happened in your past, not how you think or feel. I know there is tons of things you could share with me if you wanted to."

When he only stared at her, she turned her head away, afraid she had over stepped his bounds. He was a very private person and she felt she didn’t deserve to know all the things she had seen flash thru her mind last night. She hadn’t earned that kind of trust.

Michael had seen the pain that flickered in her eyes before she turned away, but he was unsure if he could erase it, like he wanted. She meant the world to him and he didn’t want to hurt her, but the problem was that he had ten years of hiding himself from the threat of being hurt and only a few weeks with her couldn’t break the walls that he constructed and reinforced for so many years, overnight.

Her silent plea for his heart would have to go unanswered for now, maybe forever and he didn’t have the guts to tell her to her face. Standing, her retied the square of fabric on his head and mumbled, "We should go back."

Refusing to look at him she replied, "I’ll be in, in a sec." She waited for him to close the screen door behind him, before she let the tears that had been building, fall.

‘It isn’t fair," she wailed in her mind. ‘I know he’s capable of love, look how he feels about Max and Isabel, so it must me, as usual. It’s got to be genetic, Mom and me seem to only fall for impossible men. Why do I keep putting myself thru this time and again, when I know how it’s going to end up?’ she asked the universe at large.

"Glutton for punishment," she said as she roughly wiped the tears away and got to her feet.

Straightening her uniform, she decided to take back her life, regardless of how crappie it was at the moment. Unfortunately, that thought went straight to hell as the door burst open and Michael stood there facing her.

Brushing his knuckles against her cheek, he gave her a sad smile and lowered his face to hers. Before his lips touched her, Maria took a deep breath, and could smell, grease, sweat and the unmistakable aroma that was Michael. A scent that was better than anything her mother could peddle at her store, that was at once calming and electrifying. She could never get enough.

‘Boy if I could bottle this.....’ was her last coherent thought before waves of intense pleasure his kisses always created, crashed over her and swept her up into the world that they only shared. There she could hold what he gave her close to her heart and cherish it as the precious gift it was.

###

Kyle was walking toward the cafeteria when he saw Liz sitting by herself on a bench, staring off into space. He still felt that she hadn’t told him the truth the other night and during the few classes they shared today, she seemed distracted.

Coming to stand in front of her, he said, "Liz." Not getting a reaction, he waved his hand in front of her face and cajoled, "Earth to Liz, come in Liz."

Laughing, he snapped his fingers next to her ear and was rewarded as she almost jumped out of her skin. "Ah!" she yelped.

"Nice to see you back in the land of the living," he joked, taking a seat next to her.

"Huh? Oh, Kyle it’s you," she said blinking a few times to rewet her eyes.

"Are you okay?" he asked seriously. "I must have said your name three times."

"Yeah, I’m fine. Why do you ask?"

"How long have you been sitting here?"

"I’m not sure. Kyle, what do you want?" she asked not in the mood for him right now.

"Well," he said pondering his next words. Deciding to jump in with both feet he asked, "I want to know why you lied to me Saturday night? What was the real reason you were at that house? I know it wasn’t to visit a sick friend."

"Kyle, were not dating anymore and I don’t have to explain myself to you, " she replied haughtily.

"I’m still your friend, Liz and I want to make sure your not in over your head."

"With what? God, your starting to sound like my father. If he doesn’t know where I am every minute, he gives me the third degree. Do I have to post my whereabouts on a billboard?"

"Whoa, where’s this coming from, "he said holding out his hands. "I thought you might need a friend, but I can see I was mistaken." Standing he gave her a rueful look and headed on his way.

"Kyle," she called, but he kept on walking. Putting her hand over her eyes, she sighed, "Damn."

 

Max was coming out of the lunchroom when he saw Kyle coming his way. Dropping his eyes, he hoped to avoid having to acknowledge his presence, but Kyle stopped in front of him.

"Kyle," Max said and tried to brush past him.

"Evans," Kyle spat, which stopped Max in his tracks.

"What do you want, Kyle?"

"I want to know what you’ve done to Liz. Every since she started hanging around with you, bad things keep happening to her."

"What are you implying?" Max asked softly. He was aware of the danger Liz was in because of him and he didn’t need a muscle head to throw it in his face.

"All I’m saying is that Liz is my friend and I don’t want her to get hurt because of you and your friends. She had been acting strange all morning and I know it has something to do with you and that house you were at the other night."

"Don’t worry about Liz, I can take care of her," He snarled and tried to move past him.

Kyle grabbed his arm and said, "Your not doing a good enough job." Letting go of Max’s arm, Kyle pushed thru the double doors, leaving Max to stand in the empty hallway silently agreeing with him.

###

"Liz. Yo Liz," Maria whispered to the girl siting in front of her. Shaking her head she gave the chair a kick and Liz grunted.

"Ms. Parker, if you wouldn’t mind," the teacher said, "please see me after class."

A few snickers and a mumbled taunt made Liz realize she had not been paying attention and got caught. Peering over her shoulder, Maria mouthed, ‘I tried to warn you.’

Rolling her eyes, Liz turned and tried to focus on the lesson, but to no avail. She kept thinking about the Granalith and how Future Max had used it as a time machine.

Was it possible for them to use it and bypass even the shooting? Maybe they could arrange to have all four podsters released at the same time and avoid Tess’ hatred altogether.

*Are you willing to loose Max forever?* that inner voice asked for the thousandth time.

‘I couldn’t loose something I never head,’ she reasoned. ‘Max and the others would be able to led normal lives.’

*Would it be normal? They would know their different and risk of exposure would be the same.*

‘True, but the four would be a unit and prevent Kivar from taking over the Earth.’

*That might not happen and besides, you don’t know how to reconfigure the machine anyway.*

The bell rang and Liz picked up her backpack and put her books away. When everyone had left, Mrs. George came to stand next to her desk. "Is there something bothering you, Ms. Parker?" she asked.

Knowing that her teachers didn’t believe she had recovered from her ordeal, Liz decided to use it as and excuse for failure to pay attention in class. "Actually, I have been having trouble sleeping," she said, which was true, "and my mind has been wandering."

"Have you told your parents about this?"

"No! No, they worry as it is, I don’t want to add to it. Maria promised to get me some of those aroma therapy candles from her Mom’s store and we thought I could try that before bothering my parents," she lied. It really wasn’t a bad idea.

"If you think it would help," the teacher said skeptically.

"As a matter of fact, Cosmo had an article on it," she began rummaging around in her bag, "I think I have it here...."

"That’s okay, Ms. Parker. You better get to you next class." Walking back to her desk, she added, "Your a good student, and I would hate to see your grades slip."

Standing, Liz slung her pack over her shoulder and replied, "Thanks for your concern, Mrs. George."

Striding out of the room, she let out a sigh of relief. She would have to make sure she stayed alert in class from now on, or someone was bound to call her parents and she would never be let out of the house!
Wind To Thy Wings
~Krys~

Do not meddle in the affairs of Dragons.....
For you are crunchy and good with ketchup

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Part 19

Post by LilyFrancesca » Tue Apr 01, 2003 3:22 pm

Part 19

The room smelled musty and there were some pretty hairy spiders living in the corners, but it was the safest place Tess could find on such short notice. She had ditched the stolen car a mile or soo before she hitched a ride with a trucker, but had to bail when his hands became to adventurous. He was too stupid to realize how lucky he was that she wasn’t at full strength. Good thing she had kept her temper, a jack knifed rig would have brought the cops sniffing around and that was the last thing she needed. That was why she had unlocked the trunk of the car before she abandoned it, so the old lady could drive herself home when she came to.

"Must be getting soft," she told her eight legged companions. "I’ve been spending too much time with these disgusting humans."

When she didn’t get a reply, she moved the sun faded curtains back from the window so she could stake out the parking lot. All that was visible was the car of the couple who had recently entered Madam Vivian’s House of Fortune, along with the highway going off into the distance and the shimmering desert beyond the blacktop.

Letting go of the rotting fabric, Tess threw the blanket she had taken from the car , over the sagging mattress on the bed and laid down to get some much need rest. She would figure out her next move when she was felling stronger.

###

"I don’t think it’s a good idea," Isabel told the two guys sitting across from her. "The sheriff is not know for his kindness."

"True, but we need to locate that car," Michael said, spinning a Tobasco bottle on the table in front of him. "Our lives could depend on it."

Max nodded his head, as he watched Liz bust a table on the other side of the dinning room. Kyle’s comment about his lack of protection of her had hit close to home and he knew now knew that she would resent him if he did no matter how good his intentions were. She had informed him that the safest place for her was at his side, but that also put her in the line of fire.

"What would we tell him?" Iz asked, before snatching the bottle from the table. It’s rattling was getting on her nerves.

"That Liz remembers being a silver Impala with a burgundy interior," Max replied as he turned his eyes on his sister’s anxious face. "He might find it and ask her to identify it."

"that’s all well and good, but don’t you think he’ll search it if he finds it abandoned?" she rationalized. "He can’t get his hands on the book."

"That’s why I’ll be staking out the impound yard," Michael said. "Right now there are only a couple of trucks rusting away there."

"It sounds too risky," she said glaring at Michael as he began playing with the pepper shaker. "We’re not even sue Liz could pull it off."

"She can do it," Max said looking back at Liz. "I’d bet my life on it."

"It’s not just your life, Max," she warned following his gaze. "It could mean hers too."

"I know."

###

"So Miss Parker, my son said you wanted to talk with me," the Sheriff said leaning forward in his chair.

She had approached Kyle that morning and apologized for her outburst the day before. She explained about her sleeplessness and how she was remembering things about the kidnapping, the car especially. She asked if he could arrange a meeting with his dad at home, so she wouldn’t have to got to the office and alarm her parents.

He was a bit hesitant, but in the end agreed that talking with his father, anywhere, was better than trying to do things on her one. he told her that he was happy that she trusted him and that they were friends again. hugging him, she tried not to feel guilty about using him, even if it was for the best.

"Yes, Sheriff Valenti," she replied. "I have been remembering little things and seeing how my parents were acting, I thought it would be better if we talked about this here. I hope you don’t mind?"

He nodded his understanding. "Tell me what you remember."

"I think I might have come to while in transit, because I remember opening my eyes and seeing that I was in a Chevy Impala. A new one. I knew what kind it was, ‘cuz my Grandmother has on just like it."

"What color?"

"Silver with a red colored interior."

"Did you see the person driving? Was there anyone else in the car?"

"No, all I could see was a person with a black hat and gloved hands holding onto the wheel before I must have passed back out. Sorry."

"That’s okay, Liz," he reassured her. "Anything at this point can’t hurt. If you remember anything else, you call me, okay?"

"Your not going to say anything to my parents, are you?" she asked anxiously.

"For now, there isn’t anything to tell, really. Let’s see where this will take us and go from there."

Standing, she said, "Thanks, sheriff. I should go, they worry if I don’t come home right after school."

"Kyle, you’ll see she gets home safe?" he asked his on, who had been sitting at the dining room table.

"Yeah Dad, I make sure she get there." he said and gave Liz a smile. He of all people knew how intimidating his father could be and he understood Liz’s need to leave as soon as possible. "I’ll see you later."

Sheriff Valenti watched the two youngsters leave and was happy to finally have a lead on a most baffling case.

###

"Did he believe you?" Isabel asked Liz. The group were sitting out on her balcony enjoying the night and discussing her meeting with the sheriff.

"Yeah. He really wants to get to the bottom of this. My parents have called him everyday since I’ve been home to see if he has had any leads," she told them. Kyle had been so sweet when he brought her home. He had walked her into the restaurant and told her parents he was the reasons she was late so she wouldn’t get into hot water with them. He was turning out to be a better friend than she could have imagined. She hated lying to him, but she understood the consequences if he knew.

"Now all we have to do is wait," Alex said, giving Isabel a squeeze. Her fear of the government was warranted, but he had a feeling that the sheriff would help in protecting them, given all the facts. He had done so in Liz’s dream and that had proven mostly correct.

"I’ve got a scanner and I will be waiting if they happen to find the car," informed Michael. Sitting and watching the impound yard had proved to be a boring as it sounded and he had to work anyway. "I figure, if they find it, I’ll hear them calling the sheriff and one of us can check and make sure it isn’t searched before we have a chance to get the book."

"I think we need to talk about Tess," stated Maria. She was sitting on the wall surrounding the balcony, picking at the crumbling mortar.

"She’s gone, end of discussion," Michael snapped.

"No. Your wrong," she retorted. "She’s not here, true, but she’ll be back."

"What does she have to come back for?"

"Liz is still alive."

Turning from her, he began pacing because he knew she was right. "We should have killed her when we had the chance."

"No, we need her," Liz said, finally making up her mind. Looking up at Max, she knew he could forgive her anything and hoped the others would understand what she was about to tell them.

"Liz, are you sure?" Michael questioned quietly.

Nodding her head, she looked at the others and began. "In fifteen years from now, the Earth is going to be attacked by Kivar and his men. We’ll try to stop him, but without Tess’ help, we’ll

be killed off one by one, until there is no one to stop him from enslaving humankind."

"Liz, I don’t understand," Alex said stopping her. "How do you know this?"

Giving him a weak smile, she replied, "I didn’t tell you everything that happened in my dream. In fact, there are a few things I hope never to repeat. One of my emissions was that I was visited by someone I’ve come to call Future Max."

Max looked down at her in surprise. Her detailed description of everything that happened while she was in the come had never even hinted at this. He came back in time? How?

"He told me that when we were 19, Max and I eloped and were married in Las Vegas. Because of our love, Tess left Roswell and at the end, the lack of her power caused the downfall of everything and everyone we loved."

"What? Wait, what are you saying?" sputtered Maria, who had to quickly grab onto her perch and save herself from pitching over backward into the alley below.

Rushing over to her, Michael picked her up and deposited her into a near by chair. "Don’t EVER do that again," he commanded in a low voice.

She grimaced at his tone, but decided she liked how he had jumped to save her. Turning her attention back to Liz, she motioned for her to continue.

"Isabel spoke before she started again, "What did he want you to do to stop that from happening?"

"He told me that I had to make my Max fall out of love with me. He said that Max and Tess needed to be together to save the world," she explained.

"What could you have possible done to make me stop loving you?" Max asked skeptically.

"I told you that I wanted a normal life, with real boys and I wasn’t willing to die for you," she told him softly. not looking into his face. She knew what would be reflected there.

"I can’t believe that I stopped loving you because of that."

"That wasn’t all." She looked Michael and he gave her a slight nod. He deserved the truth. "I pretended to sleep with Kyle and arranged for you to find us in bed together."

Maria gasped and placed her hand over her mouth in shock. If anyone wanted her to hate him, that would be a sure fire way to make it come about. Grabbing Michael’s hand, she saw sympathy for Liz mirrored there. "You knew," she hissed.

"Yeah," he replied. "It was in her journal."

Max stood and walked to the other side of the balcony. He was finding it hard to catch his breath. he kept telling himself that it never happened, but the pain was still there, as if he knew how it felt to have found the two of them together, in Liz’s bed, laughing.

Spinning he asked, "It was in your bed, wasn’t it? I found you when I came up here to ask you to go to a concert or something, right?"

All the blood drained from Liz’s face and she couldn’t seem to get her mouth to ask how he could have known that. She hadn’t been abler to write the details f her betrayal down in her journal, so it was impossible for him to know how she had destroyed him.

"Liz, are you okay?" Alex had left Isabel’s side and had come to kneel in front of her.

Nodding her head seemed to break the spell holding her lips quiet and she asked, "Max? Max, how did you know that?"

"I don’t know, " he said solemnly. "It was like I was watching a movie in my head. cuz I saw what happened and felt everything he must have felt."

"I’m so sorry Max, but I had to do it. Future Max told me that the fate of the planet rested on me making you hate me and turning to Tess," she cried, burying her face in her hands.

Alex put his arms around her and whispered, "It’s okay Liz. It never happened. You don’t have anything to apologize for."

"He’s right," Max said next to her now. "It can’t happen now, I won’t allow it."

Surrendering her into Max’s arms, Alex went back to Isabel and took her hand in his. "It’s like Tess killing me," he said, "it won’t happen now."

Shaking her head, Liz pulled out of Max’s embrace and wiped her eyes as she said, "I know, but the time line hasn’t changed. Tess won’t be here when we need her and we’ll all die."


"What about Ava?" Michael asked slowly.

"Ava? Who’s Ava?" Maria asked.

"Ava! I had forgotten all about her!" exclaimed Liz.

"Would someone please tell me what the hell is an Ava?" demanded Maria.

"Ava is a duplicate of Tess, only nicer," Liz said, shocking them again.

"Duplicate? Like a clone?" Isabel asked.

"Sort of, yeah, I guess you could say that," Liz replied thoughtfully. "She’s part of the other set of royals."

"Are you telling us that there are more of them running around?" Alex asked then grunted as Isabel elbowed him in the side and said "I am not a THEM."

"The people who engineered you wanted to hedge their bets, you could say, and made two sets, in case something went wrong. Later they realizing that they were inferior, so they placed the Granalith with you."

"Where are they?" Max asked.

"They were in New York City in my dream," she replied.

"I think we need to hear the whole story," Alex suggested. "Tell us everything you remember."

Agreeing, Liz went and got her journal. Flipping open to the section about the dupes, she read what she had written about them. How Rath and Lonnie killed Zan because he refused to go to the Summit and how Nicholas, (She explained who he was), told them about the Roswell set and the three remaining aliens stole a car and came her to get Max.

Ava was against the meeting, having agreed with Zan, so Tess went in her place with Rath and Lonnie, who had tricked Max into believing that Michael and Isabel wanted him to go. Max never told her the full story, only that he refused Kivar’s offer and that afterward Rath and Lonnie disappeared.

Ava left Roswell as soon as Max and Tess got back from the city, but she informed Liz that Max’s healing of her had changed her somehow and how she had always felt Zan hadn’t really loved her. He always seemed to be waiting for someone else and she he believed it was Liz.

"Wow," commented Maria, when Liz closed her journal.

"Ditto," Alex said and looked at each one of his alien friends to gauge their reactions. Isabel looked like she had been hit in the back of the head with a board, Max was thoughtful and Michael was surprisingly relaxed.

Seeing Alex’s questioning gaze, he replied, "I’ve had weeks to get over the shock."

"You knew about this and never said anything?" Isabel asked coming out of her stupor.

"I asked him not too," Liz said coming to his defense. "I’m still not sure they even exist."

Isabel gave Michael a ‘We’ll talk about this later,’ state and said, "Be that as it may, we have aright to know everything."

"I’m sorry, but that’s everything I can tell you," she apologized. She wouldn’t let Max relive his time in the White Room, not even for his own sister.

"Max," she complained, but he cut her off.

"Enough. It’s Liz’s dream and she’s allowed to keep some things to herself," he said not looking at anyone. The night’s revelations had been hard on him too.

"Fine," she huffed and turned to Alex. "Could you bring me home now?"

Giving her a smile, he nodded and the two of them exited thru Liz’s window and disappeared down the hall.

Maria moved her chair closer to Liz and began talking to her in a hushed voice as Michael went up to Max who had gone to stand near the ladder to the alley. "Are you okay?" he asked.

"I’m not sure," he admitted. "Was this why you didn’t want me to see the journal?"

"In part, but it isn’t mine to show you. It’s ironic," he laughed, "in her dream, I stole it from her to find out what she had been writing and if it was dangerous to us, but because of it, I came to understand that she would never do anything to hurt us, just like now. She loves you, Max, no matter what. Your a lucky guy."

Looking over at the girls, he caught Maria’s eye for a long moment, before hopping onto the wall an climbing down the ladder. Max followed his gaze and saw the plea for forgiveness in Liz’s chocolate depths and knew he would forgive her anything.

He wondered if in his past life, if he had married Tess because he knew deep in his heart, that his soul mate wouldn’t be born in that lifetime. He couldn’t picture himself marrying someone, if he knew the other half of his soul was out there and he settled because he couldn’t find her. Tess was who she was, no matter what image she took and evil would always be evil.

Maria went inside to give them some privacy and Liz went over to him, still holing her journal. "You can read it if you want, "she said holding the book out to him.

He was tempted, but declined her offer. "No, what you have in there, is yours and yours alone. I’m sorry that Michael read it without your permission."

"It wouldn’t be the first time," she mumbled and placed it on a table. "Are we okay?"

Collecting her into his arms, he rested his chin on her head and squeezed her tightly. "Yeah, were good," he replied relishing in her warmth and engulfing love.
Wind To Thy Wings
~Krys~

Do not meddle in the affairs of Dragons.....
For you are crunchy and good with ketchup

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LilyFrancesca
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Part 20

Post by LilyFrancesca » Tue Apr 01, 2003 3:28 pm

Part 20


Tess watched as her car was loaded on the back of a flat bed and cursed her luck again. She had finally gotten her strength back, and with the tarot lady’s car, she had retraced her steps to the place she had left her car the night she went to meet Kivar’s men.

Earlier that morning, she had received a message stating that Kivar had come up with a new plan to get rid of that Parker bitch and get the Granalith all at once and she had been eager to find out what it was. Not entirely trusting the scum bags who had turned against their own race, she had hid the car and walked to the meeting place.

She had no sooner arrived when she had been knocked on the back of the head and thrown into a van. The rest was a blur and since regaining her powers, she was able to recall where the car was.

Now she stood helplessly by as the Sheriff had her car towed away. She would have to prevent him from searching it until she was able to remove her stash of alien artifacts from the trunk. ‘What would the Sheriff value most in the world?’ she asked herself. When the answer came, she realized she could hurt Liz in the process and set out to locate Kyle Valenti.

###

"UFO Center, Max speaking. How may I help you?" Max said answering the phone for the hundredth time that morning.

"Max, it’s me," Michael said urgently.

"What’s wrong?" he asked lowing his voice and looking around to make sure no one was near by.

"I heard on the scanner that they just found a silver Impala and there taking it back to the impound yard."

"Okay, are you headed over there?"

"Naw, I can’t leave work, it’s crazy here. Liz’s Dad is counting on me. Can you get away?"

"I wish. This place is a zoo. Milton has already asked me to stay late."

"Great! I’ll call Alex and see if he can do something. although I hate involving him."

"I know what you mean. See if Iz can go with him. Two heads and all that."

"I’ll call them, but I wish we could be there instead."

"And what is ‘your’ big plan on stopping the sheriff from searching the car?"

"I don’t know, but I would think of something."

"So won’t they. Their just as much a part of this as anyone. Look, I got to go, call me as soon as you hear anything and I’ll try to get out of here when I can."

"Later."

###

"How are we going to stop the Sheriff from searching a car in his own impound yard?" Alex asked Isabel as she watched the flat bed pull into the fenced in yard at the edge of town.

"He needs probable cause before he can search it, so we might luck out and he’ll have to wait until Liz identifies it," she said optimistically. Lowering the binoculars, she handed them back to him.

"Yeah, but when has luck been on our side, lately?" He looked thru the glasses as the Sheriff answered his cell. The military binoculars were able to show clearly the expressions passing rapidly over Valenti’s face and Alex felt his stomach drop.

Something really bad must have happened. As Alex watched, the Sheriff’s phone slid out of his hand to the ground and he began to shake in terror. "Iz, something’s wrong with the Sheriff."

"What do your mean?"

"Valenti just got a call and he looks terrified."

"Let me see," she said snatching the glassed from his hand. "He’s leaving. Fast, really fast."

Alex started the car and pulled out behind the SUV. "What’re you doing?" she asked grabbing hold of the dash as he accelerated to keep the Sheriff’s vehicle in sight.

"I got a bad feeling about this. He might need our help."

"Are you our of your mind? What do you think a couple of kids could do to help the ‘Sheriff’?"

"Trust me on this, okay?" he snapped. "We need to help him."

Clicking her seat belt in place, she sat back and crossed her arms over her chest. Sometimes she wondered what she ever saw in Alex Whitman.

###

Kyle was just putting the last of his equipment into the trunk of his car, when he heard squealing tires and looked around to see who the bonehead was. Seeing an old four door hunk of junk coming down the isle toward him, he dismissed it as some sophomore showing off his first car. Slamming the lid, he yanked the keys from the back pocket of his jeans and was opening the door when he felt an intense pressure build between his eyes.

Rubbing the bridge of his nose, he figures today’s practice had finally caught up to him. A hand on his shoulder made him turn and look into a pair of frosty blue eyes. "Who are......" was all he got out before a blank stare replaced the puzzled one on his face and like as he knew it faded away.

Tess had known she would find Kyle at some type of practice at that time of the day and she wasn’t disappointed when she saw his fire engine red Mustang in the student parking lot with the trunk open. Gunning the gas, she needed to get behind his car before he had the chance to back out and loose any chance of gaining control of him. He must have been distracted by something, because he was unaware of her blocking his exit and coming up silently behind him.

She closed her eyes briefly to make contact with his mind and to re-enforce the connection an to make sure he wasn’t fooling her like Gurien did, she grabbed his shoulder and imagined herself as a wedge and slammed her will over his before he could get three words out.

His glazed eyes told her she has succeeded beautifully. Grabbing his hand, she led him like a puppet to the stolen car and into the passenger’s seat. Slamming the rusty door, she darted around the nose of the car and pulling the door closed behind her, she jumped behind the wheel and without a backward glance, tore out of the parking lot at breakneck speed.

Reaching the highway, she decided to use the old quarry Michael had once brought her to, as her meeting place with the Sheriff. Ten minutes later, she parked behind a stand of scrub and pulled out a cell phone.

Handing it to Kyle, she instructed him to call his father and repeat after her when he got him on the line. Kyle took the phone and with jerky, uncoordinated movements, punched in his father’s number and wait him to answer.

"Valenti."

"Dad, I need you to listen carefully," Kyle said in a monotone voice.

"Kyle? Son, this isn’t a good time," Jim said as he watched the flat bed driver get out of the truck and start removing the car.

"Dad, I need you to listen carefully," he said again, repeating the words echoing thru his empty mind.

"What’s the matter with your voice?" Jim began but was stopped when Kyle continued without answering.

"I’ve been taken hostage and I need you to meet me at the old quarry. Your to come alone and tell no one where your going and why, or they’ll kill me. Understand?"

"Are you okay? Please tell me your okay," Jim pleaded to his son.

"Just come and get me, Dad, before something bad happens to me." Tess took the phone from his hand and snapped it shut, cutting off the Sheriff’s questions.

"I guess it’s just you and me for now," she told the expressionless boy. He didn’t reply and she laughed at his slack jaw. "Actually, I guess it really only me, huh?"

 

###

"Hello!" snapped Isabel as she glared at the guy driving the car recklessly.

"It’s me," Max said, surprised to hear his sister so angry. "Are you okay?"

"I’m fine, but Boy Wonder here has totally lost it," she complained.

At Max’s "Huh?", she explained what had happened at the impound yard and that for the last ten minutes they had been racing to keep up with the Sheriff. "I can’t imagine what he intends to do if we ever get to where we’re gong," she finished sarcastically.

"Who’s guarding the car?" Max asked locking the doors to the museum. Milton had received a call, courtesy of Michael, of a big sighting in the next county and had closed the Center to check it out. He left Max to clear out any stragglers and told him to take the rest of the night off.

"No one, far as I know," she replied. "Why?"

"I got out earlier that I thought and I had planned to join you and Alex.

"You could if I knew where we were ‘going’." She emphasized the last word loudly and finally got a reaction from Alex.

"Who’s that?" he asked not taking his eyes off the speeding truck in the distance.

"Max. He’s going to check out the car," she said and heard Max say, "Right, I’ll call you know if I have any luck."

"Okay, bye," she replied and snapped closed the phone. "Any idea where we are?"

"As a mater of fact, isn’t that the turn off for the quarry?" he said pointing to the truck accelerating down the dirt road up on their left.

"Yeah," she confirmed. "Why would he be going there?"

"I don’t know, but it’s got to be something important, he was petrified back at the yard," he answered making the turn onto the old access road.

"Well, I for one, hope this is nothing more that a wild goose chase."

Giving her a quick look, he agreed then added, "Don’t get your hopes up. Whatever’s down there, it’s up to no good and I just know we need to be there to help the Sheriff."

###

"Crashdown," Liz said answering the phone.

"Liz, it’s me," Max said.

"Max, where are you?" she asked putting a finger in her ear to block out the noise from the packed dining room. "I can barely hear you."

"I’m on my way to the impound yard. They found Tess’ car." he explained quickly. "Do you think Michael can get out and meet me?"

"I don’t think so," she apologized. "This place in a mad house. Dad fired up the other grille and if Michael left, I think he’ll notice."

"Okay, just tell him where I’m going and that I’ll stop in as soon as I have what we need."

"I thought Alex and Isabel were on watch?"

"They were, but something came up. I’m almost there. I’ll see you in little while."

"Be careful, okay? I don’t want to miss our date tomorrow," she said sweetly.

"Me neither, love you."

"Me too, bye."

"Bye."

 

Liz hung up the phone and cashed out the few customers standing by the register before walking back to the kitchen. Pulling Michael away from the grille, she told him what Max was doing.

"I should be with him!" he scowled.

"I know, I’m sorry," she said looking into the restaurant.

"Not your fault," he replied. "Oh damn!" he cried and ran back to pull off the smoking burger. "My life can’t get any worse," he mumbled, when Maria threw a plate onto the pass-thru.

"Table 10 said they wanted this well done," she complained.

"Guess I was wrong," he said grabbing the order. Flipping off the bun, he replaced the perfectly cooked burger with the charred one and slamming the top back on, gave it back to Maria and said, "Here, well done."

Jeff Parker let out a laugh and wiped a towel over his sweaty face. Michael looked over his shoulder and the two men shared a smile. Maria picked up the plate and silently vowed to take the difference of her crappie tip out of Michael’s hide.

 

###

Max pulled over next to the gate of the impound yard and cut the engine. Hopping over the side of the Jeep, he approached the fence slowly. Taking one last look to make sure he was alone, he placed his hand over the lock holding the chain. He moved the tumblers and watched it fall to the ground with a thud. Pulling the chain off one side of the double gate, he slipped inside and jogged over to the silver Impala.

Using the same trick as on the gate lock, he popped the trunk and tried to block most of the light from showing . The contents were a mixture of old toys and clothing. He thought it odd for Tess to keep things from her childhood, he knew she wasn’t playing with a full deck, so go figure. Tossing aside a worn Cinderella comforter, he felt along the back of the fire wall and was rewarded with a lump under the carpeting.

With a yank, he removed a leather bag where it had been stuck to the metal with duct tape. Holding his prize close to the light, he untied the string holding it closed and saw that indeed, the book was there along with a small compact. Deciding this was not the place to investigate further, he pushed the jumbled contents evenly over the floor of the trunk and slammed the hood.

Turning, he was surprised to see a large man leaning against the fence. The man pushed himself upright and approached Max with a swagger in his step. "I’ll take that, if you don’t mind," he said in a western drawl.

Max looked around quickly and noticed for the first time that there was another car in the yard that looked new. Cursing under his breath, he tried to circle the Impala but came face to face with another man wearing a dark suit and sunglasses.

As the men moved to intercept him, a light shined in his eyes and a voice call out, "Hey what’s going on in there?"

Shielding his eyes, Max was never so happy to see Deputy Hanson in his whole life. "Deputy!" he called out.

Hanson got out of the patrol car and walked up to the three men. "Evans, right?"

"Yeah, that’s right, Deputy," he said, emphasizing the title.

"Isn’t it a little late to be out here?"

"Sorry about that," Max replied giving the two men side long glances. "I heard over the scanner that you guys found a Impala and thought maybe it was my Grandmothers. Hers was stolen a few nights ago."

"So?"

"She had some personal things in the back and I thought if I found them, I could cheer her up." he lied thru his teeth.

"Personal?"

"Her wedding album. She was planning on having their pictures restored as a surprise for their 50th anniversary and before she could, the car got stolen."

Max new he was starting to babble, but he knew these men were trouble and he need to get his ass out of there fast.

"And is it?"

"No her car is blue. I was just leaving when these guys showed up."

Looking between the two men, Hanson said, "Okay. Next time, wait for someone to call you first before coming here on your own. Go on home."

Max let out a sigh of relief that the deputy bought his story and saved him from the two brutes. "Thanks, Deputy Hanson."

"Now about the two of you," he heard Hanson address the others and couldn’t help the smile that spread on his face. Kivar’s men would have to better liars that him to explain why they were there.
Wind To Thy Wings
~Krys~

Do not meddle in the affairs of Dragons.....
For you are crunchy and good with ketchup

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