Maybe... (AU, M/L, Teen/Adult, sequel) Complete 14/02/15

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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KatnotKath
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Maybe... (AU, M/L, Teen/Adult, sequel) Complete 14/02/15

Postby KatnotKath » Sat Feb 14, 2015 11:34 am

Story Title: Maybe…
Author: KatnotKath
Rating: TEEN/ADULT
Couple: L/M
Disclaimer: The characters of "Roswell" belong to Jason Katims, Melinda Metz, WB, and UPN. They are not mine and no infringement is intended.
Summary: A little look at what’s going on with Liz and Max from the ‘If Only’ universe on February 14th
AN: People have said that they wanted me to show more of this universe on several occasions and I’ve played around with a couple of possibilities for years but then this one just popped up. I think it works, I hope you guys will too. As always I’d love to know what you think.
AN2: If you haven't read the original story, I strongly recommend that you do so before looking at this one because you might feel a little lost if you don't. (If Only...can be found here : viewtopic.php?t=13735)


Chapter 1

Do you ever find yourself wondering how things can change so much in such a short period of time? I know I do. Three years ago I was looking at a life of a single teenage parent in the eyes of all around. I was pretending that I had a one night stand, betrayed the love of my life and I lost some of my best friends in the process.

I had a little girl whose father could barely spend any time with her, and no idea when it would be safe for Max and I to be seen together, for us to be a family… Even when I look back only a year, the situation barely even resembles that of the present. We were sneaking around, and then finally making tentative steps forward. And now I--


“Momma!” Abby toddles over to tug my leg and cries insistently in order to draw me from my thoughts.

“Oh what, what is it my baby?” I push my reflections to the back of my mind as I kneel down so that I’m level with her. “What’re you doing?” I ask, grinning as my fingers dive to catch her under her arms and tickle my little princess to elicit cries of delight.

“Momma no!” She giggles as she cries out, playfully pushing me back with her small hands.

“Oh, alright, I’m backing off…!” I lean back in an exaggerated motion as though forced to do so by the tiny pressure she can exert. “Don’t hurt me okay?” I raise my hands in surrender gaining a dazzling smile in payment…

“Don’t do that! Bad Momma!” My perfect brown-haired angel waves her finger gleefully back and forth in a scolding manner, obviously imitating the manner in which she’s seen me act on occasion when telling her off.

“I’m sorry, I won’t do it again, I promise…” I do my best to keep a straight face as I respond in character to her playful chastisement.

My daughter’s face is a picture of delight as we play and for a moment, nothing else matters. How is it possible to love anyone or anything more than I do this small child? I would literally do anything to protect and care for her – she is my world. I can barely remember what my life was like without her – it’s like a dream when I look back; it just doesn’t seem right. There’s something missing, something essential that’s just not there. I love my baby and it’s as though when I had her I discovered just what I was always meant to be – a mother… Suddenly, it’s as though, no matter what, my life…works…

Even before things started to look up with Max and I, she was still a shining light in the darkness that made up the rest of my life and I wouldn’t have given her up for anything. I used to complain about how my mom would fuss and worry over me, but now I understand; all that mattered was Abby, and as bad as things might seem, I knew it would be okay as long as she was there.

All too soon, only few minutes later, our moment of fun is interrupted once more as a knock sounds on the door to my room. “LIZ?”

The voice brings our impulsive play session to an immediate close yet I smile as I recognise the smooth mellow and familiar tones. “Who’s that? Do you want to go and see?” I query of Abby with a grin. “Come on, let’s go and see!” Diving forward, I scoop her into my arms,swinging her up high amidst giggles and cries and stand . “I’ve got you!” I nibble playfully at her ear whilst securing her carefully against my chest and cross the room quickly to release the latch.

There’s certainly no question of a lack of recognition on the part of my firecracker. “DADDY!” Before I can do anything about providing a greeting of my own, Abby has launched herself into Max’s arms as she cries out to him with glee. Her interest in me is fleeting it seems… I smile as he catches her with practiced ease.

Daddy… Such a simple word; one most take for granted but it means so much to hear her refer to Max like that. He missed so much, through no fault of his own, and there was a time when I feared it would never happen.

Even with Max and I seeing one another again, there was a question of how we took that step without me seeming to be scheming or opportunistic. We had thought long and hard about it; we wanted to try and be as acknowledging as possible of the views held by the group, and to try and put things back together as best we could.

In the end though, Abby took the question out of our hands; she made her own choice. The first time she came out with it was less than two months ago – at Christmas – and I had nothing to do with it!

I had come over to Max’s house to meet with him and the group in order to exchange gifts. I had initially offered to arrange for my parents to watch Abby and keep her back at the dinner; I knew her presence was still something that caused certain people to feel…uncomfortable. We had been seeing one another again for several months though and, when I made the suggestion, Max objected.

He insisted that he wanted her to be there. He had, he argued, missed so much of her short life, he wanted to take advantage of any opportunity to rectify that. Christmas was a time for family, and the two of us were both part of his… Anyone who objected, would just have to get over it!

We arrived late due to some less than angelic behaviour – my days of being early for everything having departed the moment she came into the world – and as soon as she was set down on the ground she was off, making a beeline towards Max before I could stop her.

“DADDY!” She cried out much to the surprise of all in attendance, including me. I had never encouraged her, I swear! Not that Isabel or her parents would have believed me. It was obvious from the looks of disgust what they thought of the situation. In fact I’m sure that they still blame me to this day.

I’m using Max, I’m trapping him. I’m opportunistic and ‘easy’… They have thought all these things about me and worse I’m sure. And yet I was at the time, and still am to this day, willing to put up with any amount of disapproval and displeasure of others in return for what our daughter had just given Max.

He was as stunned as anyone I know, but even as I opened my mouth to apologise, he held up his hand, shaking his head as he held his arms open to receive our little fireball. “It’s fine,” He assured the group. “I don’t mind…” I swear if he had smiled any wider he would have split his face open and the emotions I could feel coming off him in waves were overwhelming. His delight, in truth, was there for all to see as he wrapped his arms around our daughter and swung her high in his arms.

And in that one short moment, even as I stood there and watched, everything changed again. Our charade entered a new stage and we were one step closer to being seen as a true family. It was a day I don’t think I’ll ever forget and from that point on, Max has relished taking on fully the role which he was denied for so long.


So it’s nothing new that now that Max is here, I’m second best as far as Abby is concerned. She adores him. And yet I can’t help but smile when I see the two of them together. It’s just…right…

Since Max and I resumed our relationship in public, I know Max has taken much pleasure in increasing the amount of time he can spend with Abby. He’s finally able to be a real father in public, and no one can say he’s not good at it. He dotes on our little girl, and she in turn on him. I think there was always some sort of connection between the two of them, but now it’s no longer something that has to be a beautiful secret between the three of us. Everyone can see that she’s a Daddy’s girl and I love it.

Of course, not everyone is as pleased as we are at the developments. My parents are still wary, as are Max’s. Each is worried about the other’s child hurting theirs. We’re taking things too seriously, moving too quickly, they worry. To cope with a baby is one thing, but to look after a child that isn’t even yours, and to do so as a teenager, is another thing they say. There’s a minor difference between belief and truth I know of course, but we also realise that they only say it because they care.

In fact, perhaps surprisingly, our most vocal opponent isn’t even Tess, as might be imagined from past experience, but Isabel. There’s no misunderstanding there – Isabel cares only about her brother and her only feeling towards me seems to be hate. The fledgling friendship we once shared is gone; she’ll never forgive me for what she believes happened. I’m simply not good enough for her brother, she feels, and It’s made abundantly clear every single day.

That’s not the worst thing though… I can put up with knowing Isabel will never be my friend again. I can even tolerate the way that she looks at me. But the thing that really hurts, is to know what our ‘play’ has done to her relationship with Alex. To put it simply – it killed it!

Alex is still a part of the group as much as anyone, but as much as Isabel disapproves, he has supported me. Together with Maria he’s been my rock and, whilst I know that he might not approve of what he believes I’ve done, he’s never said a word of condemnation.

The problem with that? – Isabel can’t forgive him… I had hoped that when Max and I openly began to see one another again, it might go some way to a reconciliation between the two of them, but no such luck. Isabel is currently seeing a friend of Kyle’s, whilst last I heard Alex was pining over an internet pen pal.

There’s just nothing left there…

“Hey Princess, I missed you!” Max greets Abby with a grin, peppering her face with kisses before swinging her onto his hip and turning to me. A moment later, his lips collide with mine as my mind is filled with an overwhelming impression of his love and care. *Missed you too* He tells me silently with a smile as he gives me a one-armed hug and holds me close.

As always, I feel as though his emotions are wrapping me in a warm blanket and I have to resist the urge to pull it in close and let myself get lost. Instead, I focus on the feelings of love and caring, and send them right back. *Back at you to infinity!*[i/] I shoot across our connection, pleased to feel a wave of amusement and see a grin from him in return, before his lips capture mine once more, pressing and teasing, longing, inviting and wanting more and more.

And I’m only too happy to oblige…

I know we can’t stay like that forever though, and all good things have to come to an end. Particularly when there is a small child to consider…

And yet despite that fact however, my lips are burning as we finally part a few moments later and he slides his arm around my waist, pulling me back in towards his side and, resting his chin on my head. “Are you nearly ready to go?” Max murmurs, pressing his lips to the top of my head.

A look at my clock reveals that I’m running late, as per usual. My little girl is already a master of distraction. We were supposed to leave over ten minutes ago. [i]Ooops…


“Sorry, I guess we lost track of time. I’ll just be a few more minutes…” I apologise softly, although I know he’d never complain, and disengage, albeit reluctantly, from his embrace to finish preparations. I’m nearly done. One bag for Abby, complete with her current favourite teddy – a curious thing with wild hair and a t-shirt emblazoned ‘Wild Thing!’ (I’m not really sure where she got it from), a few books, blanket and sippy cup, and a smaller handbag for me.

“Momma buba!” Abby waves her arms around eagerly before pointing more deliberately in one particular direction and I laugh as I realise what she’s talking about.

“Bubbles?” I barely need to ask since I already know the answer – she’s gone crazy over these things in the last few weeks and can’t seem to get enough of them much to the despair of those who are required to do the blowing. She first saw them when we were out in town, and I refused to buy some saying she was too young. Later though, true to the way she’s got him wrapped around her little finger, Max presented me with a small bottle with the suggestion that someone else blow to prevent any danger. Well, I don’t know whether he ever imaged what he would start.

“I think we can manage that…” I grab a small bottle from my bedside table, turn to show it to her and then add it to the appropriate bag. She grins and claps eagerly in response. “Yay Buba!” She giggles and presses her face into Max’s chest.

He kisses the back of her head, burying his face in her silky locks for a moment and looks back at me with a happy smile mouthing silently, ‘Love you…’.

I’d pull him back to steal another kiss, but now isn’t the time. Instead, I have to be content with blowing him a playful kiss. Then, with Abby’s contentment apparently secured for the moment, I now take another look around to check that I haven’t missed anything and nod when I’m done. “Okay, ready…” I announce and reach out to grab the larger of the bags but Max shakes his head.

“Let me…” He instructs despite my protests that I can manage.

He releases our daughter back into my arms and takes the first of the bags onto his shoulder as the three of us head down the stairs together.

“Max…” I guess my dad hadn’t seen him when he arrived since he greets him now with a nod. They rarely exchange more than a few words unless forced to nowadays, but even I can’t blame that wholly on the situation with Abby. It started way before that…

I had always been the perfect daughter, the good student, the hard worker. I was innocent and pure and never stepped a foot out of line. I knew exactly what I wanted, and that was to succeed. I had my whole life mapped out and I knew exactly where I was going.

Or so I thought…

The truth is that when I became close to Max, I started to veer away, first slightly and then more fully, from that carefully set plan I had made for myself. Not that I regret it, or the choices that I have made, but deep down I recognise that things began to change from that first moment that day in the diner and I think my dad does too.

I was staying out late, making excuses and even lying to him way before we knew I was pregnant. It was an unavoidable price I paid for being with Max and for being a part of the secret. It wasn’t personal, nor should it reflect badly on him, but it was just…necessary… And, if I’m honest, it is a price I would willingly pay over and over again to protect the group…

I miss the close relationship that I used to have with my parents and I would do anything to retify that… anything except betray Max! He is my love, my life and my other half. He is my family…

So, whilst he might know that Max made me happy once before, and even might recognise that he is doing so again now, my dad still blames him for playing a part in his loss of part of the innocent daughter he had known. And truthfully, I can’t say that I don’t understand…

Which means that the relationship the two of them have now is…tense and…strained at the best of times.

“Hey honey, you look nice…” Mom’s tone is just slightly too bright and whilst she’s less outspoken in public about it, I know she too isn’t completely convinced. I know from repeated private conversations that she’s just concerned about what happens if it doesn’t work out – which isn’t going to happen, I know, but I can’t exactly tell her that. She has, she reminds me, seen me after we broke up and simply put, I was a mess! She doesn’t want to see me hurt like that again. Not to mention the complication of Abby, and how will him leaving affect her.

Each time I want to cry out that he’s not going to leave me. I want to tell her the truth, and yet…I can’t… So I stand and nod, and smile.

*That’s the understatement of the century!* Max’s voice warms me inside, causing my cheeks to colour. My outfit is pretty simple. I’m wearing a boat-neck red top with slim-fitting jeans, a pair of red pumps and I know I look good. But the truth is that my body isn’t exactly as it used to be… I can’t believe that once upon a time Maria and I joked about aqua bras. And I’m still a little self conscious about the changes I have undergone over the last few years; I’m still trying to work out how to be comfortable... I make a point of cuddling Abby directing my gaze towards her as I respond to my mother with a brief. “Thanks…”

*I mean it…* Max stresses his point as he slides his arm around my waist once more, facing my parents with a fixed smile on his face. “She does doesn’t she…”

“Max…” I look up at him, in amusement but he’s succeeded in two things - my frame has relaxed slightly and the tension in the room has just dropped a few notches. *You’re biased…*

*Maybe, but it doesn’t make it any less true…* He looks back at me innocently. “Is it my problem that I’m crazy about my beautiful girlfriend…”

It’s all I can do not to giggle like a lovestruck teenager. Max just has this way of getting to me.

Even my mom and dad have to smile now, nodding to both of us as I move reluctantly from Max’s side and approach my mom, saying to Abby, “Are you going to see Granma?” My little girl giggles and nods, before allowing me to pass her to my mother. “Can I have a kiss; kiss for mommy?” I lean forward in request, puckering my lips in an exaggerated manner that cause her to laugh again.

The smile on her face is about the most beautiful thing I can imagine. “Ya!” She gives me a teethy grin and reaches towards me again. Wrapping her in my arms, I smother her in kisses. “Love you baby…”

“Luv u mama” Abby throws her arms around my neck and for a moment I hold her tight before releasing her back to my mom.

Meanwhile, at the counter Max has passed the custody of the bag he carries to my father, and we’re almost done. I look around. “Are you sure you guys don’t mind watching her for the day…I don’t want to impose, and I’m sure that we could take her with us if you preferred…?” I offer. My parents have been really good to me ever since they found out about my pregnancy and I never want to be seen as taking that for granted.

Too many times, people in my situation are seen as being only too happy to palm off responsibility for their child on others. Whether it be true in reality or not, many times the primary caretaker is thought to be the grandparent rather than the teen mother. I won’t let that be thought of here! Abby is my child, and whilst I’m thankful for all the help given, I will never take advantage of that.

I don’t need to look over at Max to know that he’s nodding in agreement either. We might not have discussed it in so many words, but I know he feels the same. Besides, it might not have been his original plan, but he spent a long time being kept away from her and I know he would never turn down an opportunity to spend time with our daughter.

However, whilst my offer, and sentiments are genuine, I can’t help but be pleased to hear my parents decline, insisting that it will be nice to spend the day with their granddaughter. It’ll be nice to spend the day with Max alone…

“Are you ready to go?” Max pulls me from my thoughts, adding silently *If not that’s okay too…*

I smile at his thoughtfulness but can’t resist teasing. *Are you trying to stand me up?*

*I’d never stand you up…* He reaches for my hand, threading his fingers through mine and gripping them tight as we stand there in silence together.

Finally, after what feels like an age but is probably only moments, I nod. ”Yeah, sounds good…” I take another few minutes to tell Abby to be good, and that I’ll be back later. “I’m gonna see you real soon okay baby…” My lips linger on her forehead for another few moments before pulling back and turning to take the hand Max offers.

“Okay, well you two enjoy yourselves…” My mother’s tone is clipped and slightly awkward but she does at least manage a smile. I can imagine she wants to continue – perhaps something along the lines of ‘but don’t have too much fun…’ Of course that comment would be for my benefit; no one knows how far our relationship went together.

“Yeah, I’m sure we will…” Max squeezes the hand he holds and, without any more delay, we excuse ourselves, slipping out of the Crashdown and into the open air.

The sun is shining and it’s surprisingly warm considering the time of year. I’m sure it’s going to be a lovely day; in more ways than one. I smile as I look around, feeling Max slip his arm around mine as he guides me across the road and towards the jeep. It’s just the two of us now, and it feels great!

“M’lady…” He opens the passenger door with a flourish, causing me to giggle as I climb in. He joins me a moment later and starts the engine. *Happy Valentines Day!* He leans over, capturing my lips for a long, lingering moment before drawing back and pulling away from the kerb as his kiss leaves me gasping for breath. He is amazing…


Chapter 2

It doesn’t take us long to negotiate the familiar streets of town and before long we’re driving out the other side, travelling up the main road on the way. My best guess is that we’re going towards somewhere near the Pod Chamber. I say I guess, because the truth is that I don’t know what the plans for the day are.

Not that I haven’t asked, because I have. But Max insists that it has to be a surprise … We haven’t had true time to ourselves in a long while, and he says he wants to make it special.

When he asked to take me out, initially I half expected a meal at Senor Chows, or perhaps movie and a walk. I already prefer this though… It’s more…us… Although the details I’m still a little fuzzy on… I look around, surveying the scenery for a moment before turning back to Max. “So, are you going to clue me in yet?”

“Oh no – you’re spoiling the surprise!” Max turns briefly, shaking his head in a scolding manner whilst trying, and failing to appear unhappy with me. I try again, and all that I achieve is for him to pull over to one side of the road without a word.

“Max, what are you doing?”

Without any verbal response, he, produces a scarf from his pocket.

My eyes narrow in question. “Wha-“ Before I can finish a single word Max has doubled over the scarf and wrapped it around my face, effectively blindfolding me with it.

“Hey!” I try to sound indignant. Seriously – he is so cute! By this point I’m struggling not to laugh. “No fair!” I protest weakly but don’t attempt to use my hands to remove it.

Max still makes no response except to turn the engine over and I assume pull back onto the road. I’m going to get nothing more from him at the moment, I realise. I guess I’ll have to get the information another way… As cliche as it might sound, I close my eyes in order to further block out any vision and concentrate on my other senses.

The road is relatively smooth for a distance which, judging on our speed and the length of time, is probably a few miles and then we pause and it becomes more bumpy. *You’re pulling off the road?*

I can almost hear his amusement in his mind. *You don’t give up do you?*

*Now where would the fun in that be?* I smile. *Besides, haven’t you learnt better than to underestimate me by now…*

I can almost feel him shaking his head. *Oh believe me, I’ll never underestimate you Lizzy*.

Without thinking about it, I realise we’ve switched from normal conversation to the telepathic exchange which has become so comfortable for us both.

The first time it happened it was so shocking. We couldn’t understand why we could suddenly communicate as Max can sometimes do with the others. And then we realised that it was a sign that things had already changed. The first indication that Abby existed; a ‘hello’ if you like…

The information flawed us both for a period. We didn’t know what to do.

Pregnant…A baby… We were teenagers and even without the whole complication of aliens thrown into it, this was a huge thing for us to have to deal with.

Talking like this was new, different and difficult at times. But in the end our connection was like a lifeline to us at that time, and for a period afterwards. It was a way to share thoughts and feelings when we could barely speak to one another in person when in public. A way to be close when on the outside we had to be cold and uncaring.

We still had to be careful of course, couldn’t do it too close to Isabel, Michael or Tess, but it gave us so many more opportunities to share time ‘together’ as such, whilst stood far apart. I honestly don’t know how I would have got through that period without it…

I say that Max had the hardest role, whilst he argues the opposite. Either way, neither of us had an easy time. On his part, he couldn’t admit that he was a father, and he couldn’t spend time with his child. On mine, I had to pretend to have gone against everything that I believed, to have had sex with a guy I just met and to deal with the repercusions. Some people were great about it, others not so. But regardless, the first year was hard…

Today it seems like second nature that we can communicate in that manner. That we can share special moments, words, feelings in a way that most can only imagine. Max can physically be across the other side of town and yet right by my side all at the same time. If one of us is upset, the other’s there in a second, asking what’s wrong, saying it’ll be alright. And it will, because we’re together, always…

*Liz?*

His warm tone sounds in my head once more, drawing me back to the present. I smile. “Sorry, just thinking…”

*Penny for them…?*

I raise my eyebrow in question. *You first…* Maybe this is a way to get the information I’m after…

If I think I’ve got him cornered, apparently I’m wrong. In fact, despite the fact I’m still blindfolded, I just know he’s grinning right now, smiling with amusement as he continues to withhold any information about plans for our day. [i]*Nah, I can wait…*
He gives a mental shrug and I feel ready to scream.

Max apparently can feel that too, because there’s another impression of laughing that spreads through my mind. *Something wrong honey…?* His voice in my mind is just so….

I turn in the direction I know he’s sitting even through I can’t see through the blindfold and glower, summoning up as irritated a mental tone as I can manage. *You know I could get bored of you Mister….*

He knows I’m kidding of course and this time I even hear a chuckle. *Nah, you like me too much…*

*You think? And why’s that…?*

*You don’t remember?*

My lip wavers and threatens to turn in a hint of a smile. *Perhaps you should remind me…?*

*That I can do…*

The jeep slows and then comes to a halt, but if I expect Max to reveal all just yet, I’m again mistaken. Instead, I hear the driver door open, and the frame of the vehicle shifts slightly, lifting upwards as he steps out. A moment later, the door nearest me opens in turn, and I’m lifted from my seat.

“Max!” I cry out adding, *You’re crazy!*

*About you…*

I laugh and wrap my arms around his neck to steady myself as he steps away from the jeep and his shoes crunch on the surface of the path. *Love you!*

*Love you more!* He banters back as I feel his breath upon my face. He’s so close, and I just want more. My neck cranes forward, my lips seeking out his eagerly. He doesn’t need much of an invitation and a moment later his lips crash down on mine, longing, sensing, needing… I know it sounds like a line out of some old movie, but we just complete one another.

I don’t know how long we stand there, essentially making out. To put it simply, timekeeping isn’t big on my priority list! Then, it’s over, and we’re moving again. I smile, allowing myself to relax against Max’s chest as he makes his way along. I don’t know that there is anywhere else I could feel more comfortable, more at home. I feel his arms around me, and somehow I just know that everything is going to be alright.

*Okay, I’m going to put you down, but you need to be careful – I don’t want you falling…* Max’s touch is gentle and full of care. He deposits me on the ground, holding onto my hand to steady me.

*I’m okay…* I assure him, squeezing his hand in reassurance before letting go. Then, there’s a suspicion I can’t wait on any longer. I play on a hunch and extend one hand forward. As I expected, I feel a rough, slightly sandy rock surface. I allow myself a smile of jubilation *I know where we are…*

*Really… I wonder if you’re right…?*

Max is obviously inviting me to fill him in, but I don’t. Instead, without conscious thought, and for some unknown reason, I find myself waving a hand over the spot. I don’t expect anything to happen (except perhaps that Max might know what I’m thinking), but to my amazement, I feel the solid surface beneath my hands disappear. *Now that’s just mean!* I pull the blindfold from my eyes with a frown, and blink to refocus. The result isn’t as expected.

As I’m sure you’ve guessed, my initial hunch was correct and we’re stood at the entrance to the pod chamber. An entrance which is open, I might add… That fact isn’t in itself unusual – we’ve come out here on many an occasion and passed through the rock into the cavern beyond. The thing that is different today, and that doesn’t make any sense though, is that Max is stood a few steps away.

He’s nowhere near the entrance. Add to that the fact that both his hands are currently full of a box of…stuff… I’m a little confused… *What the-?*

I break off, not sure that I want to finish the question.

Max looks as confused as I feel, and from the emotions I’m sensing rolling off him, it’s not for show.

My gaze shifts back to the open hole in front of me. “Did you just open that…?” My voice trembles as I speak because the truth is I think I already know the answer.

No…

We exchange a look and that’s all it needs… Another change, another step… Immediately my hand flies down to my stomach as a possibility strikes me. It can’t be…could it….? We haven’t done anything recently…it was only the one time… The truth is that we’ve rarely had an opportunity to misbehave due to a combination of Abby, our parents and of course our friends and other family members.

If I thought that my parents were protective when Max and I first started going out, that’s nothing compared to my experience since having Abby. Whilst they might not openly condem me, and, in truth, I wasn’t really ‘punished’ as such for my indiscretions, they have certainly been on my case. For months it was difficult for me to get even a moment alone other than when I was sleeping. My mom would insist on my leaving the door open or wander in without any warning. After Max and I started going out again, there were constant comments and restrictions.

Not to mention the fact that Abby keeps us on our toes.

But most of all, I think, we’ve behaved because we accept that we moved too quickly and we haven’t been ready to repeat that.

Until…

I shake my head, trying to rid myself of the notion. As I said, it was one time! I can feel my legs about to give way.

As I look up, Max, having dropped his boxes for the moment, takes my trembling hand and guides me into the darkness. I wrap my arms around him without thought, clinging on tight as though my life depends on it. And perhaps it does… I don’t know how I could do this, if it is ‘this’, but I do know one thing, I can’t do it alone, not this time...

“It’s okay…” Max murmers in my ear as he guides me over to a flat area of raised stone and coaxes me to sit down. “I’ll be right back…” He disappears for the briefest time and a moment later I hear the sound of the rocks sliding back in place as he walks into the cave complete with his load.

I shake my head, wrapping my arms around myself, trying to go over this again and again. We haven’t-- It’s not--

Discarding the boxes on the floor without a second though, Max reaches for me again, closing his arms around my frame quickly as I’m engulfed in waves of his love. “It’ll be okay Liz, It’ll be okay…”

I know what he’s going to do next and make no attempt to stop him as he takes one of my hands in his, draws it down and places it over my abdomen.

He closes his eyes, and for an instant I can see what he does; my body, my system… My heart thuds against my chest as we go deeper and deeper, seeking the answer…

Our hearts are pounding in time with one another as we see the blood flowing though the vessels. Moments tick by and we know…

No baby… My eyes fly open at the realisation and I find myself looking back into his eyes. The relief coming from both of us is almost palpable but, I’m surprised to realise, that’s not the only emotion I feel.

Disappointent…loss… I can’t begin to claim that another baby so soon would be something we’d plan. In fact, it’s anything but. Things are difficult with Abby, and o add another child into the equation would multiply that by a thousand I know. And yet, this time we could do it together…from the start…

I look into Max’s eyes, and I know that for one moment he considered that he was going to be there, speaking to my swollen belly, holding my hand and coaching me through contractions. That he’d be sitting up at night and changing diapers… That he’d be there one hundred percent from day one…

“One day…” I murmur softly as lean forward to press my lips against his. *One day…*

He kisses me back and then pulls away with a nod, echoing the words in my mind as a promise. *One day…*

And I know he’s right… We’ll have that moment together, one day…

But, it seems, that day isn’t today. Which leaves an unanswered question. Now that it has sunk in, I grip his hand tightly and take a breath. “Then what-?” I break off, knowing he’ll understand.

Max shakes his head. And from the reels of emotion I can feel coming from him, he’s just as clueless as me . “I’m not sure…” He admits slowly, taking a moment to think about it. After a moment, he looks back at me, pulling me closer. “Maybe this is just all a part of how you’ve changed? I healed you, you had Abby – we don’t know how that will affect you in the long term…” I can tell from his tone that all this is a theory and nothing more. There is no precedence for this, no how-to guide or what-if list.

The truth is that we don’t know…

And that’s as scary as anything we’ve been through…

Not so much the possibilities, but the uncertainty – can you imagine what it’s like to live every day with that hanging over you? Max did heal me, so his suggestion could make sense. Having Abby certainly strengthened the connection I share with him too, but we never knew how it might affect anything else.

And truth be told, we tried not to think too hard over it… The possibilities are…endless, and we’d tie ourselves in knots if we tried to deal with them all.

*Liz?*

I look up, forcing a smile. “I’m okay…”

He nods but doesn’t look convinced. After a moment, he cups my face in his hands, kissing me deeply and then forcing me to meet his gaze. “We’re going to be okay, we’ll work it out…” He tells me softly, and I know the words are as much for him as for me. Right now we both need that reassurance because we don’t have the answers. All we know is that once again, things have changed and how this might go further in the future is anyone’s guess.

I swallow and nod, forcing a smile. “I know…”

It takes another few moments before he lets go of my hand to go and reclaim the boxes he left just inside the entrance earlier. Inside, I find he’s packed the most amazing assortment of food, drink and little treats. From Senor Chows take-out, to bottles of my favourite flavour of Snapple, together, with a picnic blanket to share it on and proper china dishes. It seems he’s thought of everything.

Part-way through his unpacking, he takes me back into his arms, and I find, for the moment at least, that all the uncertainty and worry is replaced simply by love and being and a sense of…right…

Finally, as we draw back, he retrieves a single white rose, and a small parcel from his second box. “Happy Valentines Day!” He tells me as he leans forward to steal another kiss.

Our lips fit together as though they were made for one another and as his tongue touches my lips, they part slightly to allow him entry. It doesn’t require any thought; it’s the most natural thing in the world. He makes me feel complete in a way that I didn’t even know was possible; it’s like we’re two parts of the same whole. This is just…right…

I’m in love with this man, completely and utterly, and he owns my body and soul. Being here with him like this is perfect in a way that I can’t even explain. I just know that this is where I belong…

The rose has been set on one side, but now as we draw apart once more, Max presses the small box into my hands gently. My brow furrows in confusion but he silences my questions not with answers but with another kiss. “Open it…” He urges softly and will say nothing more.

So, I do just that. Slowly, I release the red ribbon and open the cardboard box. Within is revealed a single small jewellery box and before I can say, or even think anything, Max has taken it from my hand and popped it open. Inside, a single shining white diamond solitaire sits within a soft red cushion.

*I made this for you…*

OMG… I have to do a double take and blink, but the ring is really there… There’s no question in my mind what this is about, and so I’m not exactly surprised as Max kneels down in front of me and takes my hand in his. That doesn’t make his actions any less effective however, and somehow I still hear myself gasp.

It isn’t exactly as though I thought this was going to happen even half an hour before. I mean, let’s face it. We’re teenagers. Teenage parents I’ll allow, but a proposal, even on Valentines Day, is not exactly the most common event in my life.

Max removes the ring from it’s box and sets the latter down on the floor. Then, holding the ring in front of me, he breaks his silence. “Elizabeth Claudia Parker – will you marry me?” My boyfriend looks back into my eyes, his gaze heavy with emotion. He closes his eyes, and I feel a flood of love wash over me.

There’s nothing original about it, but I couldn’t imagine anything more perfect! I don’t need fancy words, or an elaborate scene. Just Max and I, together… There can be no question about how I answer. I’ve dreamt of this moment for years. Even before he’s finished, I’m nodding my head, a smile on my lips so wide that it looks like it could split my face in two. “Yes…of course I will…” *Yes* I echo my response in his head so that he can’t misinterperate.

The next minute, I’m held in his arms as he yells in delight and swings me around. “I love you!”

I grin as I hook my arms around his neck. “I love you too!”

We slow and collapse together in a corner of the cave. And at that moment, I realise the details of why I could open the cave don’t really matter anymore. I am changing. I am a part of this now in every way that matters – this is my family…

Max pulls me onto his lap, draws my left hand to his mouth and presses his lips to each of my fingers in turn. Then, slowly he slides the ring up my finger with a smile. *Looks good…*

I nod, holding it up in front of my face as though to get a better look. *Looks perfect…*

I set my arms around his neck, feeling his fingers run through my hair and press my lips against his teasing, tasting, wanting… This man is going to be my husband one day and I only hope it’s soon…

Max draws me back almost as soon as I break for air and the food is long since forgotten as we choose to make the most of this time we share.

And so, I’ll leave you here – it’s Valentines day, I’m Liz Parker (soon to be Evans) and I love my life…
My fics:

Dreams and Reality
Reality Revealed
Family Connections
When Love and Loss Collide
When Friendship and Love Combine - New!
If Only...
The Important Thing
Home for Christmas
I Knew Him Before (PB fic)
Love Always...
The First Time Around - New!

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