Page 1 of 2
Rooftops and Invitations ( M/L, Mature)(Complete)
Posted: Wed May 23, 2007 12:48 am
Rooftops and Invitations
The characters of Roswell aren't mine. They belong to Jason Katims, Melinda Metz, WB, and UPN. The fic title is from a song by Dashboard Confessional, as are the lyrics used in the first chapter.
Max Evans knows exaclty where his life is going. At least he did, until his sister's foreign exchange student walked into his world.
Thanks to Duccia for my awesome banner!
The first time you looked at her curves you were hooked
And the glances you took, took hold of you and demanded that you stay
And sunk in their teeth, bit your heart and released
Such a charge that you need another touch, another taste, another fix
She just might get you lost
And she just might leave you torn
But she just might save your soul
If she gets you when she gets you any closer
Today is officially the worst
day of my life. I mean it. I can unequivocally say that no day in the entire history of my life has been worse than this one. And that includes the day that I failed my drivers test by crashing my parents’ new car into a Sheriff’s vehicle.
I can see the way you’re looking at me. Surely I must be exaggerating. I mean, how bad can it really be? Alright, maybe I should back up for a second. My name is Max Evans, and normally my life isn’t all that bad. Casting modesty aside, I’d say it’s actually pretty great. I just started my senior year at West Roswell High in Roswell, New Mexico. Yes, that Roswell, no I don’t believe in aliens. Moving on. I have the fourth highest GPA in my class and I’m the star of our track team (I know that last part sounds a bit cocky, but I can’t help it if I hold three of the school’s records, can I?). Last year we won the national championship and we’re primed to do it again this year. I am virtually guaranteed acceptance into the school of my choice. This past weekend marked my two month anniversary with Cassie Schaffer, one of the hottest girls in our school. Sounds pretty good so far, right? Well that’s because we haven’t gotten to today yet. So without further ado, allow me to present to you the day from hell…
It begins at 6:30 when my alarm goes off, Bon Jovi’s ‘Living on a Prayer’ blaring through the speakers. I pull the pillow over my head and hit the snooze button, willing the day to wait a few extra minutes before starting. I was up until 3 last night trying to perfect my speech about religion in the media for my communications class. And it turned out pretty damn good, if I do say so myself.
The sun streaking in through my cracked blinds hits my eyes and pulls me out of my slumber. I stumble out of bed, absentmindedly glancing at the clock. That doesn’t say…oh shit. It’s twenty past eight and I’m late for my first class. Silently cursing, I brush my teeth and throw on some clothes. I grab the books off my desk and toss them into my bag, noticing that my speech is conspicuously absent. I know I left it right here last night. Ten minutes of fruitless searching and I give up. I jump in my jeep and drive off, praying that I don’t get caught speeding. I arrive at school to find that all the spots in the parking lot have been taken, so I end up parking in the only spot I could find three blocks away.
I stumble through the door of my communications class, effectively interrupting Vicki Delaney’s speech on abortion. I shoot my teacher Mr. Simmons an apologetic look, but the glare that he gives in return makes me a little nervous. I really need to do well in this class to keep up my GPA, and so far I haven’t been, as my advisor put it, ‘living up to my potential.’ I don’t really know what my problem is. I’m usually a confident speaker and have, on occasion, known to actually be quite eloquent. But I stand up in front of that class and I just freeze. My tongue swells up and just sits in my mouth. But I think this religion speech may be just the thing to pull up my grade. When I find it, that is.
The sound of unenthusiastic clapping brings my attention back to class, and I notice that Mr. Simmons is gesturing from me to the podium. I raise my hand meekly and tell him that I couldn’t find my speech this morning. He either doesn’t believe me or he doesn’t care, because he insists that I come up before the class anyways. So I figure I’ll wing it. I mean, I wrote the speech, I should be able to recite it. I open my mouth and freeze. I can’t remember a word. Not one. Damn. Word. After five minutes of rambling, I decide to spare myself any further humiliation and return to my seat. There goes my GPA for this semester. My dad is going to kill me. He’s determined that I go to Harvard just like he did, and he’s been riding my ass about it since freshman year. I feign attention until the bell rings and it’s time for my next class.
After economics, during which we were given a pop quiz on the chapter I didn’t read, I spot my cousin Kyle in the hall. He informs me that my aunt’s dog, who I found as a puppy but had been unable to keep because of my dad’s allergy, had died during the night. I loved
that dog. Kyle’s also quick to break the news that Cassie was caught in the eraser room with Caleb Mitchell during first period. I suppose that means we aren’t seeing each other any more. The news had apparently gotten around to the whole school by third period. That’s the class I share with my sister Isabel and her boyfriend Alex Whitman.
Alex is a bit of a brainiac and my sister…not so much. I’m not saying she’s stupid or anything, it’s just that academic pursuits were never high on her priority list. When she first got together with Alex I assumed it was just to get him to do her homework, but I guess she had some true, deep feelings for him. She took some really bad criticism from a lot of her friends for it, but she stood up for Alex and they’re still together.
Anyways, by lunch the day seems to be looking a bit better. I got an A on my big history paper and Ms. Hardy was out for the day, so we were given a study hall. At lunch they’re serving pizza, and despite the fact that it’s cafeteria food, it’s honestly the best pizza in town. It’s actually the only decent food they serve at West Roswell, so I want to make sure I get in line. Pizza goes fast. In my haste I fail to notice that my shoelace has become untied. I trip and fall down the steps, right at the feet of Amanda Stevens, the most popular girl in school.
“Smooth move, Evans,” she smirks.
Blushing, I pick myself up and rush into the cafeteria. Just as I get there, some girl cuts in front of me in line…and gets the last slice.
I take my…whatever the hell kind of casserole it was, outside to sit with my buddy Michael and his girlfriend Maria. She’s a bit outspoken, but she means well. So I just smile when she says that ‘that bitch Cassie is gonna get what’s coming to her’ and from what she heard about Caleb Mitchell, it will include a trip to the free clinic and some antibiotics. Just as I dare tempt a bite of my unrecognizable food, I hear a loud buzzing by my ear, quickly followed by a piercing sting at the base of my neck. Did I mention that I’m allergic to bees? I break out in hives and end up scratching for the rest of the day.
After school I head to the gym for track practice. I only have a couple of minutes to stretch before we start running heats. I don’t know what’s happening, but I am running my worst time ever. Even Ryan Wells, one of the slowest guys on our team, is outrunning me. Coach keeps me after practice to talk to me about my dedication. I promise him that I’m just having an off day and that by tomorrow I’ll be back in top form.
“I hope so, Evans,” is his reply. “I know you have talent, but if I’m not getting your best than I’m gonna have to bench you. I’d really hate to have to do that.”
By the time it’s over, all I want to do is take a long hot shower, crawl into bed, and never come out again. My sore legs carry me back to me jeep and just my luck, there is a lovely pink piece of paper waiting for me on the windshield. Apparently I was parked too close to a fire hydrant.
It’s dark by the time I pull into the driveway. I walk through the front door as quietly as I can, hoping to avoid whatever my mother has concocted for dinner and any questions of how my day was. I pass by the living room, the door to my bedroom is in sight. Just a few more steps and I will be safe inside and I can put this horrible day behind me. Sensing freedom within my reach, I don’t see that Isabel has dropped her backpack in the hallway. I trip over it, a low curse catching on my lips.
“Max, is that you?” My mom calls out in that sugary-sweet voice which usually means that she wants me to do something. “Max, come meet our foreign exchange student.”
I stifle a groan. I completely forgot that Isabel was hosting an exchange student from Spain this semester. The last thing I need right now is to spend thirty minutes trying to introduce myself to some girl who probably won’t even understand what I’m saying. I step into the living room, noticing a girl with dark hair sitting on the couch with her back to me.
“Liz, this is our son Max. Max, this is your sister’s exchange student Liz.”
Liz stands and turns to greet me, and I am face to face with the most beautiful girl I have ever seen. Every nerve ending in my body instantly becomes alert. She flashes me this radiant smile and my heart skips a beat. I finally notice that she has her hand extended, waiting for me to offer my own. I’m sure my cheeks are turning red, if her amused giggle is any indication. I nervously scratch behind my ear, a habit I have great difficulty controlling when I feel tense, and then I take her hand in mine. Our eyes lock and a tingle of excitement rushes to my brain. I can’t control the wide grin that is spreading across my face.
This is seriously the best day of my life.
Posted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 12:25 am
A/N: Sorry that it''s been so long, guys. Between real life, computer issues, and my other story, this one has been pretty neglected. I hope that I'll be able to bring you the next chapter sooner!
Thanks to my readers:
I hold her hand longer than I probably should, unwilling to break the spell that touching her seems to have put over me. I can’t help but notice that she’s not quick to pull back either.
“It’s very nice to meet you, Max.”
God, I love the way my name just floats off her lips. Her perfect, pink, inviting lips. I can only imagine what she must taste like…Oh God, I’m staring again. I dart my eyes away, but they are drawn back to her just as quickly. There’s something about her that just lures me back in. Finally I feel her fingers slip from mine and I feel like a piece of me has gone with them.
“Isabel dear, why don’t you show Liz to her room?”
My mother’s voice cuts through my haze and I realize that I’d completely forgotten anyone else was even in the room. I take a step back, self-consciously shoving my hands into my pockets. I offer Liz a weak smile as she follows Isabel down the hall, my eyes traveling after her.
“Pretty, isn’t she son?” My dad smirks, patting me on the shoulder as he walks past me.
“Don’t stay up too late sweetheart,” Mom advises as she rises out of her chair. There’s a mischievous gleam in her eye as she passes me on her way out of the room.
I take one last look at the spot where Liz was standing before following my mom’s instruction and going to bed. I peel the clothes from my body and they land on the floor in a heap about two feet from the hamper, along with everything else I’ve worn for the past couple of days. Eventually they’ll make their way into the hamper then down to the laundry room, but for now I just leave them there. Falling back onto the bed, I reach over and turn off the light. I settle down against my pillow and let my eyelids fall closed as sleep begins to wash over me. And then I hear it.
Moving around in the room right next to mine.
Of course. My parents had converted their office into a makeshift bedroom so that Liz could have her own room. And now through the wall that separates us I can hear every step she takes. Every tiny cough and dainty yawn. And I begin to wonder exactly what it is she is doing in there.
At first I imagine her in a pair of modest pajamas, lying on her stomach on the bed and reading a book. Suddenly her dark eyes flit upward, and she sees me standing at the foot of her bed. There’s an unexpected, animalistic hunger in her eyes as she tosses the book carelessly to the floor. The conservative pajamas she was wearing have been replaced with a form-fitting black corset and matching panties. The light dances off her hair which falls wildly in loose tendrils about her shoulders. I instantly go hard as her eyes shamelessly roam over my body, her tongue eagerly running across her lips.
She crawls to the edge of the bed like a graceful cat, her eyes never leaving mine. With her finger she signals me to come closer and I willingly comply. She tangles her hands in my hair and pulls me down on top of her. My hands explore her body, finding every inch of skin just as smooth as her hand was. Just as our lips are about to meet, she whispers my name…
“Max? Are you awake?”
“I heard some noise and I thought maybe you were still up. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to bother you.”
I open my eyes and Liz is no longer underneath me, but padding across the floor and out of my room. I can’t just let her leave like that.
“No, you weren’t bothering me at all. Did you need something?”
I start to rise to go after her, but realize that another part of me has already risen. I hastily sink back onto the bed and pull a pillow across my lap. Oh yeah, real slick, Evans. God I hope she didn’t see.
“I just couldn’t sleep, you know? I figured if you were still up maybe you’d want to talk or something.”
My curiosity gets the better of me and my eyes strain against the darkness to see what she’s wearing. It’s just a tank top and a pair of shorts, but it’s enough to send my imagination off on a decidedly naughty fantasy. I blink back the image, filing it in the back of my mind for later.
“Uh, yeah. You want to meet me in the kitchen in a couple of minutes?”
Her eyes dance across the pillow in my lap before she responds, a knowing smile on her face. “Yeah, sure. I’ll see in a few.”
I try not to watch as she saunters out of the room, but my eyes move of their own accord. I’d swear her hips are swaying just a little bit more than they had before, like she knows I’m watching.
I will my body to relax so that I can finally join her in the kitchen. I walk in to find her rummaging through the fridge.
She looks over her shoulder and smiles coyly. “Maybe.”
I pull two bowls from the cupboard and a couple of spoons from the drawer. Maybe the next time you talk to her you can make it a full sentence. But when she looks at me, I find myself stammering stupidly as all intelligent thought leaves my head.
“I, uh- I was wondering about your name. ‘Liz’ doesn’t exactly sound Spanish to me.”
She nods as I step past her to the freezer and pull out a pint of mint chocolate chip ice cream.
“My name is actually Elisa. It’s the Spanish equivalent of Elizabeth and I just kind of thought ‘when in Rome’…”
I scoop the ice cream into the bowls and hand her one. She leans forward onto her elbows, cupping her chin in her hand as she pushes the contents of her bowl around.
“So what part of Spain are you from?”
“My family lives in Sevilla in the Southern part of Spain.”
As she answers she twirls her spoon around to lick the back. I’m mesmerized as her pink tongue glides over the smooth metal.
“And uh…uh,” I try to clear my throat, “What is your-your family like?”
“You’re quite the inquisitive one,” she looks up at me, smiling. She shifts her weight to the other foot, pushing her hip against mine.
I lean forward, matching her posture. “Well you’re going to be living in my house for the next couple of months and I don’t even know anything about you. Where you went to school, what you want to study, what your family's like.”
I thought I noticed her face fall, but she dipped her head so quickly that I can’t be sure. What did I say?
“I just meant that it would be nice if we got to be friends while you’re here.”
When she lifts her head again her smile is back in place and her eyes are shining. “Definitely.”
“So what do your parents do?”
She abruptly drops her spoon into the bowl and again I feel like I crossed some line with her. Is this some kind of cultural thing that I just don’t understand?
“Liz, is everything alright? Did I say something wrong?” I lean my head in closer to hers, hoping that she’ll see that I didn’t mean to upset her.
“No, Max. Everything’s fine,” she replies sunnily, but somehow it sounds forced. “I think I’m just getting tired. You know, the trip is finally catching up with me.”
I nod my head, not wanting to push her any further.
“Thanks for the ice cream,” she says, placing her dishes in the sink. “I’ll see you in the morning?”
“I’ll be here.”
I’ll be here? Lame!
She backs her way out of the kitchen, smiling softly. “Good night, Max.”
“Sweet dreams,” I call back. “…I know mine will be.”
Oh God, did I really just say that out loud?
“I thought you said something…”
I scratch behind my ear, pretending to think.
“Uh…no, I don’t think so. Night, Liz.”
She throws her head back and giggles as she spins around and out the door.
“Buenas noches,” she calls over her shoulder.
I rinse off our dishes and put them in the dishwasher before making my way down to my room. There’s no light shining from under her door, so I assume she has already gone to bed. I toss the covers aside. My body’s already feeling too hot. I close my eyes and I can see Liz licking her spoon…and I know that a wonderful dream is on its way.
Posted: Sun Aug 05, 2007 11:15 pm
Wow, has it really been so long since I updated? Sorry about that guys. This chapter's a little short, but at least it's an update.
Thanks to everyone who's reading!
“Max…Max the girls are going to be up soon, and if you have any hope of getting in the bathroom before school, you better do it now.”
My dad gently shakes my shoulder, and Liz slips from my vision. I’ve been dreaming about her all night. While I’m not a complete perv, I am a teenage guy, so needless to say some of those dreams ventured into NC-17 territory. But as cheesy as this might sound, most of them were just about us holding each other and talking. Or running hand-in-hand through the rain. Walking barefoot in a field. You know, the kind of things you see in those stupid chick flicks. But with Liz, it’s not stupid. It’s just…incredible.
“And if you thought it was bad competing with Isabel, just see what happens when you have two girls to contend with.”
Dad takes a long sip from his coffee mug, looks disapprovingly at the mess my room is, and walks away. I’m in no mood to wake up, but I know he’s right. Isabel alone spends at least 45 minutes in the bathroom every morning, doing only God knows what. I stretch my arms high above my head before tossing the sheets aside.
My bare feet make no noise as I amble dawn the hallway, rubbing the sleep from my eyes. Instinctively I turn to the right and wrap my hand around the brass doorknob, my eyes still closed. But as I open the door, I realize that I must still be sleeping. Because standing in front of me with her back turned, naked and dripping wet, is Liz. For one endless second I freeze, unable to tear my gaze away from her. I’m mesmerized by the tiny beads of water that roll down her silky skin, wishing I could trace their path with my fingers. But as the steam fills my lungs I quickly become aware that this is not a dream, that I am actually in the bathroom with a very naked Liz. I raise my hand to shield my eyes and blurt out an apology, drawing her attention to my presence.
“Hijo de puta!” She cries out angrily at my intrusion, reaching for a towel.
I back out of the room as fast as I can, tripping over my own feet. I register something being thrown at the door as I slam it shut. I can hear my heart pounding in my ears as I race back to my room. It was one thing to imagine what Liz would look like naked; it was something entirely different to actually see her. She was more beautiful and more perfect than anything I had dreamt.
I dress as quickly as possible, wanting to get out of the house before Liz emerges from the bathroom. I am so not ready for that conversation. I call out good-byes to my parents as I rush out the front door. It isn’t until I pull into the school parking lot that my heart finally resumes its normal beat.
A pair of small hands cover my eyes, and I know instantly that it’s Tess. She’s been one of my best friends since third grade when I fell off the monkey bars. I was sitting on a bench outside the nurse’s office when Tess sat down next to me. Her parents were meeting with the principal, discussing the possibility of moving her up a grade. She did her best to cheer me up while I waited for the nurse to call me in, telling me stupid jokes and making funny faces at me. I was so glad the next day when the teacher introduced her as a new member of our class. Of course I didn’t let the others boys know about our friendship. Not only was she a year younger than us, but she was a girl. So we’d hang out together after school and on the weekends, and by the time that it was socially acceptable for guys and girls to be friends, we had gotten really close. We tried going out on a couple of dates, but the chemistry just wasn’t there. Now she’s one of my best friends, the only person I can really tell everything to.
“Sorry Tess,” I say, pulling her hands from my eyes. “I’m not really in the mood.”
Her face immediately softens, but there’s an edge in her eyes. “Yeah, I heard about Cassie. God, Max. I’m so sorry. I knew you could do better, anyways.”
Cassie? Oh right, the girl who oh-so-publicly cheated on me yesterday. It’s amazing how today I don’t even care anymore. And I know it’s because of Liz. How is it possible that someone could affect me like this after just one night?
I turn my attention back to Tess and shrug my shoulders. “I never really expected it to be a long-term thing.”
“Get dressed in a closet this morning?” She suddenly asks.
“Your shirt is on inside-out,” she explains, tugging at my sleeve.
I clear my throat under her scrutinizing glance. I fix my shirt as I climb out of the jeep and start the walk toward campus.
“Max,” she narrows her eyes at me, “What’s going on with you?”
I pull my backpack higher up on my shoulder. “It’s Isabel’s Spanish exchange student. I walked in on her in the shower this morning.”
“How scandalous!” She exclaims. “So is she pretty?”
“So beyond pretty,” I say before I can stop myself.
“Oooh, I sense a blooming romance,” she says in a low voice as she pushes her way through the double doors.
She hooks her arm around mine, throwing silencing glances at all the kids gossiping about yesterday’s events.
“I can’t wait to meet her. Of course, she’ll have to live up to my strenuous standards to date my best boy,” she adds, playfully ruffling my hair. “So do you mind if I come over for dinner tonight?”
I look down, noticing instantly that she’s working to avoid my eye. We both know why she wants to come over, and it’s not just about Liz. She knows that Kyle practically lives at my house and she’s had a crush on him for years. Unfortunately for her, my poor cousin seems completely oblivious. I, however, am grateful that he hasn’t tried anything with her. I love Kyle, but he just doesn’t have the fortitude for a long-lasting relationship. I’d hate to see Tess end up hurt.
“You can come over as long as you’re up for takeout. Mom and Dad are working late tonight on a big case.”
“Sounds great,” she says, stopping at her locker. “I’ll see you later.”
I’m just about to walk into my first hour communications class when I hear someone calling my name. I don’t even have to turn around to know who it is, and I’m tempted to walk into class like I never heard her. But I can’t resist the temptation to look at her.
“Hey Liz. Listen, about this morning-”
“Don’t even worry about it, Max,” she cuts me off, slightly breathless after running to catch me. “I’m sure it was just an accident. The thing is, Isabel told me where my first class is but I’m completely lost. Do you think you could help me?”
She bats her eyelashes and looks up at me expectantly as she hands me her schedule. This girl sure knows how to get her way. I can’t help but smile at her.
“No problem. This way.”
She lets out a satisfied squeal and grabs my arm as I lead the way. I shorten my stride and take the long way around, desperately clinging to every moment that I can of having her touch me.
“This is it. Your next class is just three rooms down on the right. And the class after that we have together. So if you want to, I can meet you here and we could walk together.”
That sounded casual, right? No big deal, you’re just offering to show the new girl around school.
“That’d be great. Thanks for helping me out, Max. You’re a prince.”
She leans up on her tiptoes and kisses me softly on the cheek. She disappears into the classroom before I can respond. Not that I’d be able to talk right at this moment. My heart is pounding so loud in my chest that I can’t even hear myself think. I don’t know how I’ll manage to walk back to my class. I can’t even feel my feet touching the ground.
Posted: Wed Aug 29, 2007 1:53 am
A/N: Hey guys, I'm back! Just a little note- I've been working on where I want the story to go and I think it's going to require a higher rating. So I've bumped it up to mature/adult.
Thanks to all my wonderful readers who inspire me to keep going!
And lurkers too!
I need help. Serious, professional, $200 an hour, tell-me-about-your-childhood help. No matter what I do, I just can’t get the image of a dripping wet Liz out of my mind. I mean not even for a single second. That’s just not normal, is it? I’ve never been so taken with a girl before. I can’t concentrate on anything else. And everything I see has taken on this hyper-sexual connotation. The gear shift in my jeep, the calla lilies in the greenhouse, the pair of soccer balls sitting on Coach Pederson’s desk…
And the kiss. God help me, the kiss. It was sweet and innocent and I know that it was really nothing…but I can still feel where it lingers on my skin. God, how could I have become so infatuated with this girl after only one night?! There’s just something special about Liz. I can’t really explain what it is. There just are no words for it. At least not in the English language. Maybe I need to take up Spanish.
I spot her leaning against the wall outside her classroom, glancing up and down the hallway. It’s ridiculous, but I swell up knowing that it’s me she’s looking for. I breeze up beside her, my preoccupations melting away. I breathe in her scent, sweet with an edge of spice, and a sudden calm floods over me.
“So what do you think of the school so far, Liz?”
“It’s different,” she says unsurely. “But everyone has been really nice.”
I notice she’s struggling with the pile of books in her arms, so I reach over to take them from her. “Here, let me carry those.”
She slips her hand into the crook of my arm and gifts me with a gracious smile. “Thanks Max, that’s so sweet.”
Sweet. Sweet is good. Girls like sweet, right? I watch the light play off her hair as my mind analyzes her words, but the feeling of eyes on me draws my attention away from Liz. A cocky smile lights up my face as I revel in the jealous glares I’m receiving. But who could blame them? It’s not everyday that one of us mere mortals walks down the hallways of West Roswell High with a goddess hanging on our arm. But still…I don’t want all these guys leering at Liz. Something primal, protective, stirs inside me. I move closer to her, hoping they’ll take the hint.
“Max…why are people staring at us?”
My eyebrow quirks as I look down in her in disbelief. “Are you serious?”
She shrugs her shoulders and looks up at me expectantly. She can’t be serious.
“They’re not staring at us. They’re staring at you, Liz. You’re gorgeous,” I blurt out. I probably should have kept that last part to myself but, well, it’s the truth.
Her face turns pink as an incredulous smile lights up her face. “Oh come on! You’re just kidding me, aren’t you?”
I feel like pulling her into the eraser room and showing her just how beautiful I think she is. Instead I opt to paste on my most serious face, even as the corners of my mouth tug up in a small smile.
“Scout’s honor. Anyone who isn’t staring at you is either blind or gay.”
“Max!” She raises her hand to cover her face, and an embarrassed giggle escapes from behind it.
My heart leaps with her laugh, and I stifle one of my own as a tiny snort ends her fit. Who ever thought that a snort could be so endearing?
I somehow manage to make it through class without staring at Liz the entire time. Every so often though she would lean over to my desk to ask me to clarify something. And every time she did her hair would trail across my arm, leaving goose bumps in its wake. If this is the way it will be everyday, biology could easily become my favorite subject.
The bell signals lunch hour and there’s a mad rush to the door. Liz lingers behind, waiting as I gather up my things. She laces her fingers through mine, and I could really get used to having her close like this.
We talk idly about how her day is going as we head out to the quad. I spot Michael and Maria lounging under a tree and I take Liz over to meet them. Michael being Michael offers her a hurried greeting before launching into a tirade about last night’s hockey game. I’m grateful that at least Maria isn’t brushing Liz aside. But despite her advanced English, poor Liz seems to be having trouble keeping up with Maria’s frenzied pace.
“Maria…Maria!” I interrupt. “Slow down.”
“Sorry,” she replies sheepishly.
Michael wraps his arms around Maria as he speaks to Liz. “You’ll get used to her.”
“So where’s Isabel?” Liz asks.
“She and Alex have a different lunch hour. We’ll see them later,” I answer, tossing her a sandwich.
“Samantha alert,” Maria perks up, nodding her head towards the door that leads out to the quad.
I follow her eye line, and sure enough here comes Samantha Martin.
Liz too looks in the direction Maria indicated. “Who’s Samantha?”
“She’s uh…” I scratch behind my ear, stalling. “She’s just this girl I used to date.”
The truth is that we more than just ‘dated.’ We were practically joined at the hip for 3 years. Everyone, including my parents, thought that we were going to be together forever. I’d even swear that I caught my mother looking at wedding invitations. But some high school romances are just that, and she ended up breaking up with me at the end of our junior year. It’s still weird for me to be around her.
I glance over at Liz and I think I just saw jealousy darken her chocolate eyes. But then again that’s probably just wishful thinking. I let out a breath as Samantha spots some of her friends and turns away before she reaches us. The rest of lunch passes without incident, with Liz answering Maria’s bombardment of questions. As we make our way back into the building I happen to glance over my shoulder at Michael. He nods toward Liz and wiggles his eyebrows suggestively at me. I give him a harsh look and he raises his hands in submission. After pointing Liz in the direction of her next class, I head the opposite way to fifth period.
I grow more and more anxious as the day goes on; waiting for the next chance I’ll have to see Liz, to touch her. I’m nearly crazy as I stand next to my jeep, waiting for her to appear. I feel more than rewarded for my patience as she bounds out school and over to me. After she tosses her books into the back seat I offer my hand to help her into the jeep and receive another ‘thank you’ kiss on my cheek. I’m still not sure if this is some cultural habit or if it’s something special for me from Liz. I’ll have to check Wikipedia or something when I get home.
Isabel is sitting in the living room as we enter, flipping through the pages of her Cosmo. She pulls Liz down next to her on the couch and eagerly asks about her first day.
With a slight wave to Liz I walk to the kitchen to grab a snack and do some homework. I’m done with calculus and half-way through a bag of Doritos when I hear guitar music floating down the hallway. The chair squeaks as I push it back from the table and follow the music to its source. I peek through the crack in Liz’s door and see her sitting on the floor strumming an acoustic guitar. I plan to just stand outside and listen, not wanting to intrude.
“You don’t have to hover outside the door, Max. You can come in and sit down.”
Her eyes don’t even leave the guitar as she speaks to me. I push the door aside and take a seat across from her, watching as her fingers move nimbly along the strings.
“Do you know how to play?” she asks.
I shake my head no. “But I’ve always wanted to learn.”
She stops playing to look at me, her brown eyes sparkling. “Do you want me to show you?”
Guitar lessons? Hmmm…seems to me that would entail spending lots of time with Liz. I’d be a complete idiot to say no.
“That’d be great!” I answer eagerly. But then the thought strikes me that maybe she was just trying to be nice. I quickly amend my statement. “But you really don’t have to do that. You know, if you don’t want to.”
She dismisses my statement with a wave of her hand. “Don’t be silly, Max. I’d love to.”
She places the guitar in my hands and gets on her knees behind me. I can feel the heat of her small frame against my back.
“Uh…” She struggles to find a way to reach the guitar from around my broad shoulders. I feel her slide her hands underneath my arms and across my sides and my breath catches in my throat.
“Okay, well…” She makes a final attempt to move around me before crawling in front of me and taking the guitar from my hands. “I guess we’ll just have to do it this way.”
She settles down in my lap and places her hands over mine. I close my eyes tightly, praying that nothing, erm…comes up. The last thing I need is for Liz to think I’m some kind of horn dog trying to get in her pants while she’s just trying to be nice to me.
“Okay, the first thing you want to do is take these three fingers and put them here…here…and here.”
She guides my fingers to the right strings, blowing the hair out of her face as she dips her head.
“Okay, now take the pick and strum the strings like this…”
I follow her instructions and sound emanates from the guitar.
She cranes her neck to face me, a proud smile on her lips. Those beautiful lips which are now only a breath from mine. It would take only the slightest movement to bring her mouth against mine and taste her. But her words interrupt any motion on my part.
“That was great! Alright, that was a G cord. Next we’re going to try a C cord. So you need to move your fingers…”
I lose track of her voice as her hands move over mine again. I know now that I can’t not be with her. It’s not just a matter of attraction. It’s not just the overactive hormones of a teenage guy. I need to be with her. The only thing left to do is figure out how I’m going to tell her.
Posted: Thu Sep 06, 2007 12:39 am
Thanks for reading you guys! All your comments give me the warm fuzzies!
Michelle in Yonkers
A/N: The song used in this part is from 'Fresh Prince of Bel Air' by Will Smith.
“Anyone order Chinese?” Isabel calls out in a sing-song voice.
I stake my claim on the sweet and sour chicken as I bound into the kitchen and almost burst out laughing when I catch sight of Isabel. Her head is barely visible behind the two large, overstuffed paper bags she’s holding in her arms. I know I told her to bring enough for Tess and Kyle, but it looks like she’s preparing to feed an army. She drops the bags on the counter and addresses me, out of breath.
“Mr. and Mrs. Deluca won’t be joining us tonight?”
“Isabel, you know Michael hates it when you call him that,” I scold, grabbing take-out containers and looking for my chicken.
She smiles sweetly at me. “Of course I know. Why else do you think I do it?”
I’m shaking my head and laughing bemusedly at her when Liz enters, holding the phone.
“Isabel, it’s for you. It’s Alex.” She holds the phone out, tauntingly pulling it back when Isabel reaches for it.
With a mock angry expression Isabel snatches the phone away, practically bouncing as she walks down the hallway and into her room. I wonder if Liz could ever get that excited at the prospect of talking to me.
She steps up to the counter and smiles at me before leaning over the bags and inhaling deeply, her eyes falling shut as she enjoys the aroma.
“It smells delicious,” she says, licking her lips and reaching for a carton and a fork.
“What do you think you’re doing?” I ask as she lifts a forkful of shrimp fried rice to her mouth.
Her hand stops in midair, her mouth partially open as she looks at me. Her brow creases in confusion and she slowly lowers the food.
“I’m sorry. I thought…”
“You can’t eat Chinese with a fork,” I inform her. “You’ve got to use chopsticks.”
She bumps her hip against mine, punishment for my little joke, and her eyes light up playfully. “I don’t know how to use chopsticks.”
“Well then you’re in luck, young grasshopper. You are about to watch the master at work. You may want to take notes.”
I wiggle my eyebrows at her and skillfully pick up a piece of chicken with the chopsticks. I turn my face to hers, a victorious smile on my lips, ready to show off my achievement. But the smile fades and my hand starts to tremble when I see the way she’s staring at me. My stomach twists itself into a billion knots as her eyes drift down to my lips. She leans in closer to me, and my hand starts to shake even more. Suddenly the sticks cross and the chicken goes flying halfway across the kitchen.
Liz throws her head back as a fit of laughter takes over her. At the same time a grim scowl covers my face. God, I loathe that piece chicken. We were so close…But Liz’s laughter is infectious and I can’t help but join her. As her laughter trails off she snorts and the giggles begin once again.
“I’m sorry,” she laughs, wrapping her arms about her waist. “I’m so embarrassed.”
“Don’t be,” I say seriously. “I like it.”
Her laughter dies off and she inhales deeply, and slowly her eyes take on the dark haze that they had just moments ago. Her tongue runs across her lips as I step closer to her. My heart is beating wildly in my chest as I lean towards her and then…
“So are you guys gonna feed me or what?”
Did I tell you about my cousin’s impeccable timing? Right now I hate him almost as much as I hate that chicken. There’s a small, almost inaudible frustrated groan, and I can’t be sure if it came from me or from Liz. And the very thought that it could have been her sends my pulse racing.
I reluctantly pull away from Liz, hopping up to sit on the counter. “Liz this is my cousin Kyle. Kyle, this is Liz. She’s a foreign exchange student from Spain.”
“Well hello beautiful,” Kyle says, trying to discreetly look her up and down.
If he wasn’t already making such an ass of himself I’d probably hit him. Liz glances sideways at me, her face amused and questioning. Is this guy for real?
“¿Y de cuál parte de España eres?”
Wait a minute. When did Kyle learn to speak Spanish?
The indulging smile on Liz’s lips becomes genuine and her eyes light up with excitement. “¿Hablas español?”
They both take a seat at the table, talking animatedly in a language that I don’t understand in the slightest.
“Un poquito,” Kyle says, scrunching his eyes and making a small space between his forefinger and thumb. “¿Te diviertas aquí?”
I feel like fading into the cabinets. Not that it would make a difference. They both seem to have forgotten that I was here. A small voice in the back of my mind says that I should have seen this one coming. Kyle always has a way of one-upping me when it comes to girls.
“Sí. Tu primo es muy divertido. Me gusta mucho.”
“¿Max? ¿Divertido? Yo lo dudo.”
My ears perk up at the sound of my name. Apparently they haven’t forgotten about me after all. Liz looks over her shoulder at me and starts laughing. Every inch of my skin feels like it’s on fire and I’m sure it shows on my face.
“Max, your cousin is just terrible!” She informs me, still laughing.
Isabel’s voice carries down the hallway, asking Liz to come to her room. She swats Kyle playfully on the hand as she rises from the table. I try to avoid her eye, but she tugs on my pant leg and smiles brightly at me as she leaves the kitchen.
Once she’s out of sight, Kyle lets out a low whistle. “You are one lucky man, cuz.”
“Yeah, Liz is really nice,” I mumble, scratching behind my ear. “So, um…what were you guys talking about?”
“Oh you know, just a little chit-chat. Apparently she thinks you’re fun.” His voice rises an octave on the last word and he claps his hands together.
I feel myself relax slightly, but the next words out of Kyle’s mouth almost make my heart stop.
“She’s really cute. I should try to get with her.”
What you need to know about Kyle is that no girl has ever turned him down. Seriously. Ever. He’s a good-looking guy. He’s captain of the wrestling and football teams. And he’s a lot of fun to be with. But what really seals the deal for him is the easy confidence he has. It’s kind of inspiring, really, to watch him flirt with a girl with that charismatic charm of his. It makes you wish you could be him. But now, thinking about him like that with Liz, running his fingers through her hair as she smiles…it just makes my stomach churn.
“I don’t really know if you’re her type, Kyle.”
“Come on, Max. I’m every girl’s type,” he counters self-assuredly, smacking my chest and taking a carton of egg foo young into the living room.
I watch him walk away, unable to move, knowing that he’s right. And while part of me is upset at the prospect of competing with Kyle, I’m also worried about what will happen to Liz when Kyle moves on. And knowing my cousin, sooner of later, he will. I just couldn’t bear to see Liz get hurt. And as much as I love my cousin, I don’t think I’d ever be able to forgive him for that.
“You look like someone just flushed your goldfish.”
I look to my right and Tess is standing just inside the doorway. I must have been so caught up in worrying about Kyle that I didn’t even hear her come in. There’s a playful smirk on her face that quickly dissolves when she sees me.
“Max, is something wrong?”
I lean back against the counter, my voice coming out soft. “Nothing, it’s just…Kyle likes Liz.”
Yeah, oh. She looks just as upset as I do. I still haven’t been able to figure out how Kyle doesn’t know. Or why he’s never made a play for Tess.
I toss her a carton and a pair of chopsticks. “Let’s drown our misery in Chinese food.”
She follows me into the living room where Kyle is seated on the couch, already flipping through the channels. She takes a seat on the opposite end from him and I sit on the love seat.
“Hey Kyle,” Tess says meekly, and it doesn’t sound anything like her. Then again, she always gets like this whenever Kyle gets interested in a new girl.
“Hey Tess. How’d you do on that trig test today?”
“I got a B, but of course that won’t be good enough for my dad. What about you? Fail again?”
“Naturally,” he smirks.
“So what are we watching?” Isabel asks, entering the living room with Liz in tow.
Isabel curls her legs underneath her as she settles into the armchair, and to my surprise Liz takes the seat next to me. She peers over into my take-out box and steals a piece of my chicken. Popping it into her mouth, she clicks her chopsticks at me.
“Who’s the master now, grasshopper?”
My mouth drops open, then turns up in a half-smile. “You lied.”
“I’ve been using chopsticks since I was ten years old,” she says with grin. “I was just trying to give you an ego boost.”
I reach over to take some of her rice, using the opportunity to snuggle in closer to her. We eat our entire dinner that way, taking from each other without request. At one point I fumble with a piece of chicken, so Liz picks it up and feeds it to me. I can tell that Kyle has been stealing glances at Liz, but his face remains expressionless.
“Ooooh, stop there. Leave that on!” Isabel commands and Kyle sets the remote down.
Now this is the story all about how
My life got twist-turned upside down
And I’d like to take a minute, just sit right there
I’ll tell you how I became the prince of a town called Bel Air
The four of us are singing along with Will Smith, while Liz just looks on with an amused expression.
“I take it you guys watch this show a lot?”
“Believe me, you’ll learn the words soon enough.”
In West Philadelphia born and raised
On the playground is where I spent most of my days
Chillin out, maxin, relaxin, all cool
And all shootin some B-ball outside of the school
When a couple of guys who were up to no good
Started makin trouble in my neighborhood
I got in one little fight and my mom got scared
And said, “You’re movin with your auntie and uncle in Bel-Air"
We’re singing loudly (Isabel off-key) and making exaggerated dance moves. Liz is bobbing her head to the beat and trying to match us. I’m sure anyone who walked in at this moment would die of laughter.
I whistled for a cab and when it came near
The license plate said ‘fresh’ and it had dice in the mirror
If anything I could say that this cab was rare
But I thought, nah forget it, yo holmes to Bel Air
I pulled up to a house about seven or eight
And I yelled to the cabby, “You holmes, smell ya later”
Looked at my kingdom I was finally there
Just to sit on my throne as the Prince of Bel Air
I boldly throw my arm around Liz’s shoulder as the show begins, and she leans into my side. With her head resting on my shoulder, I can’t help but think that maybe Kyle won’t be such a problem after all.
Posted: Wed Sep 12, 2007 7:54 pm
Cocogurl- But that's the hard part, now isn't it?
begonia9508- Will Smith was pretty awesome on that show. Max obviously has some self-esteem issues when it comes to Kyle.
Michelle in Yonkers- Well if 'Real Slim Shady' is any indication, I don't think Eminem is too fond of him, lol.
Kyle is definitely not the kind of guy you would take home to meet the folks.
And Max definitely isn't in it for just a good time.
Now you're just trying to make me blush!
"Who's the master now, grasshopper?" is one of my favorite lines, ever!
Raychelxluscious- I guess I should take it as a compliment that Max just leaves you speechless!
Kyle's a smooth operator, but I think Liz already has her sights set on someone else...
Um...It's mainly fluff but...yeah. We don't want it to get boring, right?
Emz80m- Thanks! Lol, yeah, Max saw her first. But I don't think he's got a lot to worry about with Kyle.
sunrise102- We'll just see if Kyle figures out what is so obvious to everyone else.
Natalie36- He's trying!
Queen Fee- I know, I just love that show! I have to admit that I still watch the re-runs.
carolina_moon- He needed to step up his game somehow.
It’s two hours later when Kyle offers to drive Tess home. Tess pulls me into a hug, whispering that Liz has gotten her seal of approval. Liz excuses herself with a yawn and heads off to bed. So now I’m sitting with my back against my headboard, legs outstretched, practicing the chords that Liz taught me.
“Okay, C chord is…”
I position my fingers and pluck the strings, but the sound is harsh and off-key.
“Wait, that’s not right...”
“I’ve heard that talking to yourself is a sign of mental illness.” Isabel smirks at me from my doorway.
I shake a reproaching finger at her. “Hey, you are looking at a rock star in training. Show some respect.”
She sticks her tongue out at me as she saunters in and falls beside me on my bed.
“Real mature, Is. How old are you now? Five?”
“And a half,” she answers chirpily. “So when did you start playing the guitar?”
With a heavy sigh I roll off the bed, setting the instrument down and grabbing hold of my back pack. As I sit in my desk chair I toss my calculus book into the air with a flourish and catch it.
“Did you finish the assignment that’s due on Wednesday? I just can’t get past number twenty-three,” I say evasively, thumbing through the pages.
“Don’t change the subject Max. Could this new musical interest have something to do with, oh I don’t know, Liz?”
“It’s not new,” I counter. “I always wanted to learn to play the guitar. But you know Dad would never pay for lessons.”
“Max.” There’s a hint of warning in her tone.
I drum my fingers on the hardcover of my book, uselessly stalling for time. It doesn’t matter what I say. Isabel’s already on to me. I toss the book sideways onto my desk with a frustrated groan.
“What do you want me to say, Is? I like her. A lot.”
She sits up reluctantly, trying her best to look sympathetic. “I know you do, Max. Anybody who looks at you when she’s around knows it.”
My face flushes. “Is it really that obvious?”
“Yeah,” she says with a laugh. She picks at my bedspread, a contemplative look on her face, apparently trying to choose her next words carefully. “But Max, have you thought about what’s going to happen when Liz has to leave?”
Honestly, I haven’t. I know Liz hasn’t been here that long, but the thought that one day she won’t be here is just…unimaginable.
“Of course I’ve thought about it, Is.”
She scoots to the edge of the bed, her legs swinging leisurely. “Come on, Max. You’re a…good-looking guy.”
Her face scrunches up. Evidently she’s uncomfortable thinking about her brother as someone the opposite sex finds attractive. Can’t say that I blame her. I’ve heard more than enough locker room talk about my sister’s more feminine features and what the guys at school would like to do to them.
I shrug the thought away. “Thanks, Is. You’re not exactly a troll yourself.”
She pins me with a silencing glare. “Come on, Max. I’m being serious. You’re smart, and you’re fun…when you want to be. And I know for a fact that there are plenty of girls at our school who would kill to go out with you.”
I glare right back at her. “Yeah, well maybe I don’t want to date any of the girls at our school.”
Her face softens again. “Max I know that the dating scene hasn’t exactly gone your way. I mean, first Samantha and then Cassie, but…”
I don’t need Isabel to remind me how shitty my love life has been lately. Nor do I need her shooting down my hopes of being with Liz.
“Just stop, alright?” I shout.
She rises from the bed with a huff to tower over me. At her stature, it isn’t a difficult feat. “I’m just trying to prevent you from getting hurt. Excuse me for caring!”
“Yeah, well if this is the way you show it then just don’t bother!” I fire back.
She looks like she’s ready to slap me and I’m almost tempted to back down. Almost. She gives up trying to stare me down and exits the room, slamming the door and stomping her feet as she walks down the hallway. I glower at the door even after she’s gone. And I know that part of the reason is that deep down I know she’s right. I don’t want to admit it, but she is. One day Liz is going to have to leave. She’s going to get on a plane and fly across the ocean to another continent. And the very thought of it makes my blood freeze in my veins.
I pick the guitar back up and try again. And this time I get it right.
I’m awake surprisingly early the next morning, considering I was up half the night practicing on Liz’s guitar. I really think I’m starting to get the hang of it. Of course it doesn’t hurt that I’m highly motivated to learn. Motivated by the idea of how Liz might reward me for all of my hard work...
The thought makes me almost trip as I step into the bathroom. I turn the shower up as hot as it will get, trying to dispel the cold that has claimed my body since last night. I stand still, just letting the spray wash over me as a million thoughts swirl through my head. Most prominent right now is the fight I had last night with Isabel. I’m still really pissed off at her. Where the hell does she get the nerve?!
My righteous indignation is interrupted as the bathroom door abruptly opens. “God, Isabel. Don’t you even knock?”
I’m ready to unleash all the horrible things I thought up to last night to say to her when the shower curtain flies open.
Holy shit! Holy fucking shit!
I blink hard, certain that this has to be just the product of my overactive imagination. But when I open them she’s still there, grinning impishly at me. I stare at her in mute shock for several immeasurable moments.
Do something! For the love of God, do something! My mind is screaming at me, but at this moment my whole body is paralyzed. My mouth is hanging open as she holds back a giggle by biting her lip.
My body finally catches up with my mind and I quickly move my hands to cover myself. “Liz, what are you doing?!”
Her eyes have been trained on mine this entire time, but now I notice them dip slightly. “Well you walked in on me. And…what’s that saying? ‘Turnabout is fair play?’”
She nods her approval and I think my whole body shudders. She winks and closes the curtain, and I watch as her silhouette retreats out the door.
It’s suddenly very hot in here.
Of its own volition my mind conjures up a different scenario, one in which Liz decides to join me instead of leaving. Making sure that the door is locked, I let my hand drift lower…
“Max, dear, I think you used up all the hot water. You need to start taking shorter showers,” Mom says as I join her and my dad at the table.
I turn pink up to my ears when Liz grabs a plate and sits next to me. She smiles innocently at me, like she hadn’t just purposely walked in on me in the shower. It’s amazing to me just how angelic she looks right now. I almost believe that she planned for the sun to shine in behind her like that, making it look like she’s just glowing.
“Alex is going to be here in like two minutes. I’m soooo late!” Isabel laments as she runs into the kitchen and grabs an apple. She shoots me a secret scowl before turning brightly to my parents. “Love you!”
She’s out the door before my mom can tell her how thin she is and that she needs to stop and have a real breakfast.
Liz looks up shyly at me, the first indication that she’s aware of what happened earlier. “We should probably get going too, right Max?”
I nod my head dumbly, grabbing our plates and putting them in the dishwasher. We say good-bye to my parents and silently walk out to the Jeep.
She sits as far over in the seat as she can, like she’s afraid of being too close to me. “Is everything okay with you and Isabel?”
“Sure,” I lie. “Why?”
“She just seemed a little tense this morning,” she shrugs.
“We got into a fight last night,” I confess.
I keep my eyes straight ahead, almost afraid to look at her. She’s just got me so confused right now. I wish I understood what was going on with her. I mean one minute she’s this sweet doe-eyed girl who just drives me crazy, and the next she’s this sultry seductress...who just drives me crazy. And then right back.
“I don’t really want to talk about it.”
“Ok.” She fidgets uncomfortably in her seat and finally turns toward me. “Max, I uh…I wanted to apologize for what happened this morning. I don’t know what I was doing. I thought it would be funny and it just wasn’t and…and I don’t want things to be weird between us because I really like you. So can we please just forget it ever happened?”
I look over at her, at the hopeful expression on her face, the pleading in her eyes. I want to tell her that I don’t want to forget it. I want to tell her that I liked the way she looked at me. I want to tell her that she’s all I can think about.
“It’s already forgotten.”
Posted: Wed Sep 26, 2007 3:31 pm
A/N: The song used in this chapter is 'Hands Down' by Dashboard Confessional.
Thanks for sticking with me!
The day flies by pretty quickly, and things between me and Liz seem to be back to normal. Of course I don’t want things to go back to normal, though. I just wish I knew if she wants us to be something more as much as I do. It’s like I’m running towards third base and she’s giving me the go-ahead signal, but what if she thinks this is just innocent flirting? I mean, what if I ask her out and she says no? I’d have to deal with the torture of seeing her everyday. I’d…
“Max? You still with me?”
The soft tone of her voice pulls me out of my obsessive, rambling thoughts. We’re back in my room, me on the floor with her guitar in my hands, her lying on her stomach on the bed.
“Sorry. I guess I was just spacing out,” I reply lamely.
“I said you were doing really well. I can’t believe how fast you’re picking this up.”
“Yeah, well I guess I’m just a prodigy. You have my permission to fall down and worship me,” I say in an airy voice.
Her mouth drops open in an exaggerated gesture. “You mean I could finally realize my life’s ambition and be one of your groupies? Oh be still my heart!” She places a hand over her chest and falls back on the bed with a melodious laugh.
I grab the pillow I’m sitting on out from underneath me and toss it at her. It connects with her stomach with a dull thud, and I’m worried that she’s going to be angry. To my delightful surprise she sits up, amusement dancing playfully across her face and mischief smoldering in her eyes.
She grabs the pillow in both hands and growls out, “So that’s how you want it, huh Evans?”
She pounces off the bed and knocks me backwards, straddling my stomach and smacking me on the head and shoulders with her pillow. She’s actually got a pretty good arm, stronger than I expected from someone so small. I let her get in a few more hits before capturing the pillow in my hands and tossing it aside. I flip her under me, relentlessly tickling her ribs.
“God, Max, no!” She gasps out breathlessly between laughs. “...Párate!...Por favor!”
She wriggles beneath me, swatting uselessly at my hands. Her shirt slides up a little and it gives me a perfect view of her creamy skin. God, what I wouldn’t give to see more.
“Ya basta! You win!” she shouts.
I pin her hands above her head and lean my face dangerously close to hers. “I’m sorry. I didn’t quite hear that.”
She’s panting heavily, her chest heaving up against mine, the most delicious torture.
“I said you win.”
I nod my head in approval. “Now say that Max Evans is the finest specimen of man that you have ever seen,” I command.
“I’m not saying that!” she replies defiantly.
I drop one hand back to her side, threatening to resume my attack.
“Okay, okay!” she says hurriedly. She sighs and repeats in a montone voice, “Max Evans is the finest specimen of man that I have ever seen.”
“Good…Now say you’ll go out with me tonight.”
Holy shit, did I just ask Liz to go out with me? I hold my breath waiting for her answer, thinking of what I’ll say if she says no. Her eyes wander over my face for what seems like an eternity, and I can’t quite read her expression. My lungs feel like they’re going to burst, and then she speaks.
I think my heart just stopped. There’s no way I could have heard her right. “What?”
A wide grin spreads across her face. “I’ll go out with you tonight. I’d love to.”
The stupidest, most besotted smile has pasted itself onto my face, and I don’t give a damn. I’m the happiest person in the world right now. Liz’s hands shift under mine and I feel her fingers slip between mine. She inclines her head toward me, inviting me closer to her lips. Her eyes drift shut and a sigh passes her lips as I close the gap.
Now here’s where I figure out that the world is conspiring against me. I’m about to do what I’ve been dreaming about every night, when the sound of Liz’s ring tone breaks loudly through the silence. We both jump at the interruption, our mouths parting before they were even able to meet. She looks up at me, apologetic and…dare I say, disappointed. I roll aside, letting her get up and flee from the room to answer it. I scoop my own phone off my desk, at the same time turning on my CD player.
Breathe in for luck, breathe in so deep,
this air is blessed, you share with me.
This night is wild, so calm and dull,
these hearts they race, from self control.
Your legs are smooth, as they graze mine,
we're doing fine, we're doing nothing at all.
I look up the number for Chez Pierre, the fanciest restaurant that Roswell has to offer.
My hopes are so high, that your kiss might kill me.
So won't you kill me, so I die happy.
My heart is yours to fill or burst,
to break or bury, or wear as jewelry,
which ever you prefer.
“Yes, hello. Do you have any open reservations for tonight? Seven o’ clock? That’s perfect. Table for two. The name is Evans. Yes, thank you very much.”
I turn the song up and sing loudly as it gets to my favorite part. “Hands down this is the best day I can ever remember.”
And the funny thing is that it really is. Right now I feel like I could fly if someone asked me to.
I turn the music off and walk over to Liz’s room, ready to tell her how lucky I was to get reservations. I stop at the door which is standing ajar, when I hear that she’s still on the phone. I take a step away, not wanting to eavesdrop, when I hear a deep male voice on the other end. She laughs, and I feel slightly jealous. I kind of liked being the one to make her laugh.
I’ll admit that I’m not proud of what I’m about to do. I step back to the door, lightly placing my ear against the wood. Liz is talking in a low voice, almost like she doesn’t want anyone to hear her. But I’m probably just reading too much into it.
“Sí. Te amo…Adios.”
Isabel took a couple of Spanish classes our sophomore year, and from what few phrases I picked up from her I remember that ‘te amo’ means ‘I love you.’ A stab of jealousy hits me in the gut. Liz just told some guy that she loves him.
You know what, I don’t even know why I’m reacting this way. It’s probably just her dad, or her brother or something. Why am I being so paranoid?
I jump back when I hear her close the phone. I take a couple steps back then walk towards the door as she emerges, hoping she won’t know that I’ve been standing there the whole time.
“I, uh…I just wanted to let you know that I got us dinner reservations for tonight at Chez Pierre. It’s kind of dressy so…”
“Great. I’m really looking forward to this, Max.”
“Yeah, me too.” And then before I can stop myself I ask, “So…who was on the phone?”
She looks away evasively. “Oh…just one of my girlfriends from home.”
That was definitely not a girlfriend. Unless said girlfriend is on steroids. So why is she lying to me? And the only answer I can come up with is that Liz has a boyfriend. Of course Liz has a boyfriend. God, how stupid was I to think that someone as amazing as Liz would be single. For the second time I feel my heart stop beating, only this time it definitely isn’t good.
I say something, though I’m not sure quite what, and go back to my room to get dressed. It’s too late to back out on this now. So I’ll go, and have dinner with a good friend. Because that’s all she can be. That’s probably what she thought when I asked her, that this would be just a friend kind of thing. I was probably just misinterpreting her response.
I mechanically put on my suit, the one I wore to homecoming last year. Tess says that the deep green color compliments my skin tone, whatever the hell that means. I’m in front of the mirror, tightening my tie up to the collar, when Isabel walks in.
“What are you getting all spiffy for?” she asks, dusting off my shoulder.
“Liz and I are having dinner at Chez Pierre.”
“Max,” she sighs out like a mother scolding her child. “I thought we talked about this? You’re not supposed to date the exchange students.”
“It’s not a date. It’s…dinner.”
“At the most expensive restaurant in town?” she asks doubtfully.
“Trust me, Is,” I say solemnly. “It’s just dinner.”
I cut her off before she can say anything else. “Liz has a boyfriend.”
Her face falls at my words, and I almost believe she’s being sincere. “Oh Max, I’m sorry.”
“I’m sure you are,” I bite out.
“No, really,” she says earnestly. “You’re my brother and I love you. I never wanted you to get hurt.”
This time I know she’s telling the truth. As much as we might fight, Isabel and I have always had a close relationship. I force a small smile. “Thanks.”
She gives me a tight hug and sends me on my way. At least we’re not fighting anymore. I collapse into an armchair in the living room, waiting for Liz to finish getting ready. Ten minutes later I hear the sound of heels clicking in the hall and I stand up. Bad idea. I almost lose my balance when I see her, and I’m certain that my jaw is resting comfortably on top of my shoes.
She’s an absolute vision in a crimson red halter dress, so tight that I can see all of her curves. I don’t know how I’m going to get through this night without staring at her, without touching her.
She looks ready to laugh as I silently continue to peruse her body, just like the first time saw her. She twirls around slowly, looking coyly at me over her shoulder. “Well? Do you like it?”
My throat has suddenly gone completely dry. Unable to speak, I vigorously nod my head. The laughter that she had been holding back escapes, and she crosses the room to stand beside me.
“Ready?” she asks, slipping her hand into mine.
I nod again as I lead her toward the door, to our date that isn’t a date at all.
And I can’t help but wonder what I’ve done to deserve this.
Posted: Wed Oct 10, 2007 2:23 am
Everybody seems a bit conflicted about Liz's relationship status. Remember that Max really doesn't know that much about her life at home. He's going to keep learning about her as things move along.
Thanks for all the comments guys!
My hands are gripping the steering wheel so tightly that I can’t even feel my fingers anymore. It was either that, or allow my hand to do what it wanted and cross the short distance to hers. Liz is looking serenely out the window, completely unfazed by our proximity. And me…well I’m feeling the complete opposite. I can hardly concentrate on the road ahead of me, as all of my attention keeps diverting back to her. I can feel myself shaking, even if she doesn’t seem to see it. Her scent fills my senses and I need to get out of this car now.
I’m grateful when we finally pull into the parking lot of the restaurant. I inhale the clean air deeply, trying to dispel the smell of her that lingers with me. It’s no use, I realize, as I walk to the passenger door. I offer Liz my hand to help her out of the jeep, and something in me melts when she doesn’t let go. We enter the crowded restaurant and she excuses herself to the bathroom, as I approach the hostess’s podium.
“What name is the reservation under, sir?”
She runs her finger down the pages of the book in front of her, smiling in satisfaction as she finds my name. “Ah yes. Here you are. Oh, I see you managed to book one of our cancellations. How fortunate.”
Right, I feel oh so fortunate at the moment. Part of me wishes the night were over already so that I could go home and lick my wounds in solitude. But another part of me, a really big part, clings to every second I can spend with Liz. Even if I can’t have her.
The smile on my face is genuine as I watch Liz cross the room towards me. I’m completely mesmerized by the way her eyes never stray from mine. As she stands next to me, her hand slides up my jacket and across my back, coming to rest on my waist. It’s an almost possessive gesture, and a rush of adrenaline surges through my body.
The hostess smiles brightly at us, then gestures to a petite blonde woman behind her. “This is Amanda. She’ll be your server tonight. Enjoy your meal!”
I place my hand on the small of Liz’s back and instantly regret it, because it only leaves me wanting more. I can’t allow myself to do things like that, yet touching her just seems so natural. It’s like there’s a war going on inside me, a battle between my heart and my mind. And I honestly don’t know which side is going to win. Is she feeling as conflicted right now as I am?
Amanda leads us to a small table, tucked away in the corner of the restaurant. Just perfect for a romantic evening with someone you love. The injustice of this whole situation hits me as I look around at the other couples around us. They’re holding hands over the table, giving each other affectionate kisses. Do they really have to flaunt it like that? I think bitterly.
Amanda takes our drink orders, and in the next moment I make what seems like my thousandth mistake of the night. I look over at Liz as she reads the menu. If it’s at all possible she looks even more beautiful in the candlelight, her brow creased in concentration as she tries to decide what she wants. Her lips part as she looks up at me, and my cheeks flush at getting caught staring at her.
“So what looks good?” she asks.
“You mean besides you?” I ask back with a smirk, really not knowing where that came from.
This time she’s the one to blush. “Right,” she says with a shy smile.
I look back down to my menu. “I was thinking about getting the seared salmon.”
She nods her head in silent approval, her eyes dipping back down. She twirls a loose piece of hair around her finger for a few silent minutes until she announces her decision of fettuccini alfredo. As we give our orders to the waitress, the lights around the restaurant dim and soft music starts to float through the room.
Liz inclines her head to an empty section of floor. “Do you want to dance?”
Reflexively my fingers scratch behind my ear. “Um, I don’t really dance.”
It’s the truth. I went to a dance once in junior high school, and in my attempt to pull off ‘the running man’ I slipped and ended up with a sprained ankle. Haven’t danced since. But that’s only part of the reason I turned her down. Holding Liz against me, our bodies swaying together…I doubt that my willpower would hold out. And however much I might want Liz, it’s just not right while she’s seeing someone else. I don’t want to have to share her with anyone.
“Okay, so dancing’s out. What do you do for fun, Max?”
“Well I really don’t have a lot of free time, so…”
A puzzled expression crosses her face. “What do you mean?”
“Well I take a lot of advanced classes, so I always have a ton of homework. Then there’s track, community service projects, and my job, which should all look good when I apply to Dartmouth. And after that it’s Harvard Law School like my Dad, pass the bar, join his firm, settle down and raise a family.”
I shift uncomfortably as she just stares at me.
“What?” I ask, my tone a bit defensive.
“Nothing,” she answers with a small shake of her head. Her fingers nervously fidget with her napkin as she forces a smile. “I’ve just never met someone who had their life so planned out. But I mean that’s…good.”
It ends up sounding more like a question than a statement. Liz isn’t the first to question my rigid goals. Kyle does so quite frequently. But she’s the first to make me ever doubt it myself. From deep inside me I find myself desperately wanting her approval.
“Well what do you want to do after high school?” I ask.
She shrugs her shoulders. “I don’t know. I’ve applied to a couple of universities in Spain, but I thought I might take some time off to travel. There are a lot of things I still want to see. I haven’t really decided yet.”
The idea of an open-ended future, of a freedom to be who and where I want to be, is suddenly a very thrilling notion. Especially if I could be with Liz. It’s just something that has never really been an option for me. For as long as I can remember my dad has been bragging about what a great lawyer I’ll be, how I’ll follow in his footsteps. I never really considered that I could be anything else.
Liz nervously sucks her bottom lip between her teeth. “Look Max, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to upset you. Those are really admirable goals.”
I slump back in my chair and dismiss her apology. “It’s not you. It’s just…I wish I could be like that. Just…free.”
She leans forward onto her forearms. “Well what’s stopping you?”
“My dad, my mom. They have these expectations of me, ever since I was little. I don’t want to let them down.”
Her hand slides across the table and rests on mine. “I can understand that. But this is your life, Max. Not theirs. And you only get one chance to live it. You need to do what makes you happy.”
The rest of the meal passes more comfortably, and I find myself repeating what Liz said over and over in my mind. I just can’t stop thinking about what she said, or how her voice sounded when she said it. She was insistent, but gentle and understanding. I think she’s the first person to think about only what I wanted.
Before I know it we’ve finished eating, carrying home our leftovers in foil swans. Liz keeps pecking me on the cheek with her swan, making soft cooing noises. By the time we get back to the house, the neck of her swan is dangling pathetically by its side.
“You killed my swan,” she says with a mock pout as we walk into the kitchen.
“He started it,” I reply defensively.
“Well you’ll just have to make it up to me,” she says resolutely.
I put the leftovers in the fridge and close the door. “And how am I going to do that?”
“I’m sure we can think of something,” she says innocently, stepping closer to me.
She looks up at me from under her lashes in that delicious way, her eyes dark and expectant. Everything in me is screaming to pull her against me and capture her lips, to taste the sweetness that I know waits there and feel the softness of her skin under my fingers. But the nagging voice in the back of my head reminds that she has a boyfriend. She’s not mine. She can’t be.
But then the tiny devil pops up on my shoulder, and I allow myself one small indulgence. Her eyes drift close as my lips near hers, but just before they touch I shift to the right, lightly kissing her cheek. Confusion and disappointment play across her features as I pull away.
“Good night, Liz.”
Posted: Mon Nov 05, 2007 3:12 am
A/N: It's late and I really need the sleep, but I wanted to get this chapter out since it's been a while since I updated. Hope you like it!
“I don’t know what’s going on with him, Isabel. I mean, for the last week it’s like he’s actively trying to avoid me.”
“I’m sure he’s not avoiding you. Max is just busy. He’s always like that.”
A heavy sigh, and then, “You think so? I don’t know. He’s been acting really weird lately.”
I wake up Saturday morning and I overhear Liz and Isabel talking in the kitchen. Well, Liz is right. I have been avoiding her, ever since the night we went out to dinner. I’ve been locking myself inside my room, volunteering for extra hours at the UFO museum, driving my jeep out to the desert for hours at a time. I know that it’s incredibly selfish of me, but I can’t help it. I just can’t deal with the things I feel when I’m around her. So instead of facing it, I’m running away.
I move discreetly down the hallway, trying to hear more of the conversation between Liz and my sister. But as the floor creaks under my feet, all talk is instantly cut short. Damn. I step out from my hiding place and two pairs of eyes snap in my direction.
“Morning Max,” Isabel says smoothly, as though they hadn’t just been talking about me.
Well two can play that game, missy. If she can act like they weren’t just talking about me, then I can pretend that I wasn’t eavesdropping. “Morning Is.”
I grab a bowl and fill it with some cereal and milk, my back to where Liz sits at the table. I know if I turn around I’ll find her staring at me, and the thought both thrills and distresses me. The desire to pull her into my arms and kiss her senseless is quickly overwhelming me, so I decide I need to get out of here as soon as possible. But before I can slink back to my room, I hear a chair slide across the floor and feel a small hand on my arm. I look into Liz’s wide, unsure eyes and quickly feel myself getting lost.
“Hey, I was, uh…I was wondering if you wanted to hang out today. It’s just that I haven’t seen you much lately. Maybe you could take me to the UFO museum and give me the grand tour,” she finishes with a slight chuckle.
“Yeah…” I stop myself at the look of guarded hope in her eyes. “I really wish I could, but I’ve…I’ve just got a lot to do today. Sorry.”
God, that sounded lame even to me.
She pulls her hand back slowly and looks up at me with a strained smile. “Don’t be sorry. I completely understand. Maybe some other time?”
I force a smile, which I’m sure is painfully obvious. “Yeah, sure.”
At that she leaves the kitchen, and I listen with a clenched heart as her footsteps quicken down the hall until she’s inside her room. Once she’s safely gone, Isabel moves to the sink beside me and drops her breakfast dishes in. I wince at the loud clatter as my sister spins on me furiously.
“What the hell are you doing, Max?”
I meet her cold stare, just as angry as she is. “You’re the one who told me to stay away from her, Is. Remember? That’s what I’m doing. So what is your fucking problem?”
“Yeah, I told you to stay away from her. And you ignored me like you always do. Now it’s too late for that!”
She sighs heavily and I’m taken aback when her tone lightens. Her lips turn up in an almost smile and she punches me lightly on the arm. “God only knows why, but for some reason she really likes you. And I don’t know how much you heard just now, but she told me that she’s been missing you a lot this week. So be her friend, Max. Make sure she knows that things can’t go further, but don’t just ignore her. I can tell that it’s really been hurting both of you.”
I regard her with a suspicious look. “Who are you, and where are the aliens who have abducted my sister?”
“Come on, Max. I’m trying to be nice. Stop ruining my moment, you asshole.”
I give her cheek a pinch. “Aww, now there she is.”
She slaps my hand away and gives me a gentle shove towards the hallway. “Go.”
‘Listen Liz, I’m sorry I’ve been such a jerk lately. It’s just that I…I really like you. And I know that nothing is going to happen with us, but I’d really like for us to be friends.’
Alright, the fact that I’m talking to myself aside, how bad does that sound? I just can’t help but think that I’m about to make a total asshole out of myself. I can hear music playing in her room and it gives me the excuse I’ve been looking for to put this off. She’s probably busy right now. I should just come back later. But as I back away, the sound of sobbing rises above everything else.
Without thinking I burst through the door and find Liz on the floor, her head dropped between her knees and her arms wrapped protectively around herself. She makes no attempt to hide the fact that she’s been crying as she looks up at me, tears rolling down her cheeks.
Mi gran amor,
si no es por ti
mi vida vacía
sin luz estaría.
“My father used to sing this to my mother when I was little. It didn’t matter how bad her day was, it always made her smile,” she says simply.
Mi gran amor,
mendigo, rey, y centinela
de tu querer
I don’t know how to respond, so I cautiously sit down beside her. Before I even have time to think, she maneuvers herself into my lap and wraps her arms around my neck. Unsurely I embrace her back and allow her to cry into my chest.
Poder soñar sin despertar
que soy tu alegría
de noche y de día
y siempre tuyo vida mía
“It’s okay, Liz. I’m here. You don’t have to tell me what’s bothering you. I’ll just be here for you.”
We stay that way for a while, her crying against me and me trying to comfort her. I wish I could read her mind, to know what’s upsetting her and what I can do to help. I don’t want to ask though, too afraid of making it worse and worried that she won’t want to talk about it with me. The song ends and her sobs soon die down, but she still clings tightly to me.
“Liz, is there…is there someone you want me to call?” I force the next words past the lump in my throat. “Your…boyfriend or somebody?”
“Boyfriend?” she mumbles against my shirt. She pulls back and considers me with red, confused eyes. “Max I don’t have a boyfriend. Why would you think that I did?”
My heart plummets to the bottom my stomach and my whole body seems paralyzed. Could I have been wrong about what I heard? I swallow hard and begin to explain myself to Liz.
“I just…The night I asked you out, I heard you talking to some guy. And when you told me that it was a girlfriend, I…I couldn’t understand why you would lie to me. The only thing that I could think of was that you had a boyfriend back home and you didn’t want me to know.”
I see an expression of guilt pass across her features, and she closes her eyes as if she’s in pain. Apparently I was right. And it fuels my growing anger towards her.
“You told him that you love him,” I challenge forcefully.
Her eyes widen in comprehension. “So that’s why you’ve been acting so weird since our date.”
“It wasn’t a date, Liz,” I correct her harshly. “It can’t be when you’re already with some one else. God, I really liked you, you know!”
“I like you too, Max! Do you honestly think that I would have agreed to go out with you if I already had a boyfriend? Is that what you think of me? That I’m some kind of slut?!”
Wait just a minute! We were talking about her. When did this get turned around on me?
She pushes herself forcefully from my arms and looks at me with disdain. “That guy you heard on the phone when you were eavesdropping on my private conversation wasn’t my boyfriend,” she continues heatedly. “Even though I don’t have to explain anything to you, the guy I was talking to was my cousin.”
Her cousin? My heart comes to life at the thought, only to be shut down again when I think that her explanation just doesn’t make any sense.
My voice is gentler now, but there’s still a hint of accusation to my tone. “If it was just your cousin, then why would you lie to me?”
She shifts uncomfortably, but keeps her eyes defiantly locked with mine. “I don’t like talking about my family.”
“I don’t understand…”
“Can you please just let it go?” she interrupts imploringly.
I suppose that’s the least I can do right now, considering the mess I’ve made of our whole situation. I nod my head weakly, and we both sit silently with our thoughts. I have REALLY fucked things up this time. Liz liked me. She actually liked me. I mean, I still can’t even wrap my brain around that, even as a rush of exhilaration shoots through my body. And I actually could have had a chance with her. Then I had to go and screw everything up, wasting all the time I could have spent with her. Way to go, Evans. But even as I tell myself what a huge fucking idiot I am, I can’t help but hold on to a shred of hope that she might be able to forgive me.
“Liz,” I say hesitantly, waiting until she raises her eyes to mine. “I know that I’ve…well I’ve been a complete asshole.”
“Can’t argue with you on that one,” she says coolly.
I go on, despite the sting I feel from her response. “But I’d really like the chance to make it up to you. I really care about you, and if you think that maybe you would be able to forgive me, I’d like for us to try again.”
Her eyes soften and her body relaxes with a heavy sigh. With a small smile and an even smaller voice, she answers. “Okay.”
“Okay?” I ask, almost believing that I had imagined her reply.
“Okay. Let’s just forget about this and start over.”
I reach for her hand and place a kiss inside her palm. “Thank you so much, Liz. I promise, you won’t regret this.”
There’s a brief moment of silence as we gaze into each other’s eyes. I can’t believe how lucky I am. Not only that Liz would agree to go out with me in the first place, but that she would give me another chance after I messed things up.
“Uh, Max?” her voice breaks through my thoughts.
“Are you going to ask me out, or what?” she asks with a laugh.
I stand up, pulling Liz with me as I keep her hand in mine. “Liz, would you go out with me tomorrow night?”
She smiles brightly at me. God, that’s an amazing smile. “That sounds great. I’d love to.”
Her smile brings on one of my own, and my voice is almost shaking with elation. “We can do whatever you want to, Liz. Just tell me what you want and we’ll do it.”
I kiss her on the cheek and in my excitement practically race out of her room. I linger just outside the door for a moment longer, winking at her before crossing the short distance to my room. I fall back onto my bed, one hand behind my head, the other resting on my stomach. If I close my eyes, I’d swear I could still feel the silkiness of Liz’s skin. And I know I sound like I’m back in sixth grade, but all I can think is ‘She likes me!’
Re: Rooftops and Invitations (AU, M/L, Mature/Adult)Ch9 11/5/07
Posted: Thu Jan 03, 2008 4:27 am
I blink hard, slowly opening my eyes again.
I drop my head back to my desk with a defeated groan. I guess it really has been only two minutes since the last time I looked at the clock; though if you had asked me I would have, to borrow a phrase from Kyle, ‘bet my left nut’ that I’ve been sitting here for at least the better part of an hour. For a brief second I consider that the clock has actually started moving backwards.
“Mr. Evans, I’m sorry you find my assignment so tiresome. But do you think you could humor me and at least pretend to be working on it?”
I force myself not to roll my eyes as Ms. Hardy walks past by desk. How can I be expected to continue on in such mundane tasks when the opportunity to be with Liz lies just beyond my fingertips? I glance down at the paper before me, the words swimming before my eyes. I almost feel like doodling those little hearts with the arrows through them, Liz’s name scrawled through the middle with mine. I’m able to restrain myself because, hey, I have to hold on to at least some shred of my dignity, right?
Who am I kidding? I would run naked through the quad singing Celine Dion at the top of my lungs if Liz asked me to…Let’s just hope it doesn’t come to that.
“Mr. Evans, they want to see you in the front office.”
I pick up my books with a slight frown, not entirely sure why I’ve been called down. The secretary at the front desk tells me that my mom called- something about a family emergency and me needing to go home. My first thought is of my dad, who’s out in Santa Fe trying a case. I hurry out to my jeep, only slightly surprised to find Liz sitting inside.
“Did they call you too?”
She turns at the sound of my voice, her expression half smiling and half repentant.
“I’m really sorry if that message had you worried, Max. I wanted to tell you about it beforehand but it just kind of came to me in the middle of class.”
I’m genuinely confused as she pushes open my door and gestures for me to hop in.
“What are you talking about?” I ask as I start the engine up.
She clears her throat before launching into a near perfect impression of my mom. “Hello, this is Diane Evans, Max and Isabel’s mother. I’m calling because we’ve experienced a family emergency and I’d like for you to send the children home immediately. Thank you so much.”
My jaw practically hits the steering wheel as I look on her with astonished amusement. There’s a mischievous gleam in her eyes and even though she’s trying to hide it, I can tell she’s really proud of herself right now.
She nervously tucks her hair behind her ear, apparently worried about what my reaction will be. “I thought it would be fun for us to take off for a little while. I just…was really excited about spending some time with you and couldn’t wait anymore,” she murmurs quietly.
“Me too,” I respond just as softly, blushing, most likely, up to the tips of my ears. I glance around us, looking for my sister. “I wonder what’s taking Is so long.”
“Oh she left already. She and I have English class together and I told her what I was going to do. She and Alex said something about driving out to the lake.”
“Alex? Alex Whitman?” I ask for confirmation. When she nods her head, I shake mine in disbelief. “I never thought I’d see the day that Alex Whitman cut class. Isabel’s bad influence must finally be getting to him.”
I glance sideways at Liz as I pull out of the parking lot, realizing that despite my growing feelings for her, I really don’t know all that much about her. Even with all the time we’ve been spending together Liz has remained guarded about herself. I know I should be worried about that, falling for someone who’s still, in essence, a mystery to me. And falling hard I am. But the insight only spurs me on, pushing me to learn everything I can about her.
“So is this, like, a regular occurrence for you back home?”
“God no!” she answers with a laugh. “I’m the good girl who always goes to all her classes.” There’s something unreadable about her expression when she adds, “You seem to bring out the devil in me.”
She joins our hands over the gear shaft, giving my fingers a light squeeze. I smile to myself, knowing that I’ve made at least some headway in getting Liz to open up. Now I’m just debating if that little break will lead to more, or if pushing her too soon is just going to shut her down again.
“Where exactly are we going, Max?”
It’s not until she speaks that I realize I’ve driven us out into the desert. I know where there’s a rock formation out here that’s kind of become my place. It’s really quiet and secluded, the perfect place when you just need to be on your own. And every now and then Mike, Kyle, and I will come out here with some beers and just chill. I’ve never shown it to anyone but them.
“This is so cool,” she states as she jumps out of the jeep. She glances my way and then calls out, “Race ya,” as she takes off running towards the jagged outcropping.
I can’t tell you how much I love that. Some of the girls I’ve gone out with have been such princesses that they wouldn’t risk doing anything that could mess up their hair or their make-up or, heaven forbid, get them a little sweaty. Liz doesn’t care about any of that, and yet she still manages to come out looking like a complete goddess.
Of course I don’t say that to her. No, the first thing that comes out of my mouth when I catch up to her is, “You’re such a cheater.”
Oh yeah, that’s how Max Evans smooth talks the ladies. But Liz takes it all in stride, claiming even more of my heart as she does so.
“Don’t blame me because your legs were jello, Evans. Just admit that you couldn’t keep up because I’m just better than you,” she says with a mock tone of arrogance, stepping up onto a rock so that she can look down on me.
Now that just won’t do. I find another rock to stand on, evening out or gazes. I turn my nose up in the air and respond, “Never. If it were a fair race I would have won and you know it.”
I can see that she wants to laugh, but she’s struggling valiantly not to do so. She stays perfectly in character as she haughtily replies, “Is that so? Well then how about a rematch?”
I nod my acquiescence. “Alright. I’ll race you back to the jeep, and the winner will be named supreme champion of speed. Deal?”
“You’re on,” she says determinedly. “On the count of three. One…two…”
We’re both leaning forward, ready to take off as soon as she finishes the countdown. I hear her say ‘three’ but as I go to move I feel her hand reach out and push me sideways off my rock. When I regain my balance she’s already half-way back to the jeep.
She touches the side of the car and begins bouncing around happily, loudly chanting, “I win! I win! I win!”
“Nuh-uh,” I deny resolutely, pointing my finger at her chest when I’ve reached her. “You pushed me. That’s an automatic forfeit. I win.”
“Judge’s rule?” she calls out into the open air. After a moment’s pause she declares, “Judge says… ‘no violation.’ I win!”
I go to grab her around the waist, but she nimbly steps out of grasp. She leans into the jeep and turns on the radio, going through the dial until she finds a song she’s satisfied with. She turns back to me with a small yet smug smile.
“But…” she begins, holding her hands out to me. “I will relinquish my title to you if you dance with me.”
“Come on, Liz,” I say with a sigh, shoving my hands into my pockets. “You know I don’t dance.”
She throws her arms out to the side, spinning once in a wobbly circle. “We’re in the middle of the desert, Max. There’s nobody here to see you but me.”
The look of longing, hope, and expectation in her eyes is my undoing. You have to understand that it’s not like I don’t want to dance with Liz. In fact the prospect of holding her body close to mine, sensually moving our bodies together, well it’s thoroughly tempting. I just don’t want to embarrass myself in front of her. Reluctantly I place one hand on her waist, the other joining with hers and holding it to my chest. Her hand grips my shoulder as we slowly start to sway to the music.
“See? It’s not so bad, is it?” she whispers, looking intently into my eyes.
“Not bad at all,” I whisper back, my fingers moving unconsciously along her hip.
Her fingers tighten on my shoulder as the space between our mouths closes, and I’m not sure if it’s her or me moving in. The distinction becomes unimportant as her lips brush against mine. They’re soft and warm and they leave me with a tingling that streaks through my whole body. My breath hitches up in speed as I lean in for another taste of her, groaning as her hand slips up behind my neck and pulls me closer. I flick my tongue against her lips, trying to deepen our kiss. She seems hesitant and the last thing I want to do is push her, so I begin to pull back. But her hand at my neck adamantly holds me against her. Her lips part as she angles her head, allowing me access to the sweet warmth of her mouth. Kissing Liz is more than I’d even imagined it could be and better than anything I’ve ever experienced. When I finally pull away, her eyes remain stubbornly closed as with a groan of protest she tries to pull me back in. But I tilt her chin up with finger, forcing her to meet my eye, needing to know…
“Are you sure you’re okay with this, Liz?”
“More than okay,” she replies breathlessly. “Now stop talking and kiss me again.”
“Whatever you say boss,” I chuckle, willingly falling back into her embrace.