“I know,” Max admitted as he remembered back to be seeing Alexandra in Jim’s office the day before. “They need to know their family.”
“Yes, they do,” Kyle nodded. “Just like Beth has lived these thirteen years without her memory. The girls have lived these years, their formative years, without knowledge of their history, the warts and all, their family. Isabel needs to know them. Jeff and Nancy need to know them, your parents need to know them and most importantly you and Grace need to get to know them.”
“I hate this,” Max muttered. “But you’re right, I do need to accept this is the situation we are all in and make do with it, and try to take the next step.”
“I know that it’s hell. I can’t imagine if it was Isabel and happening to me, what I would do so I can only tell you words, it’s you who has to live this regardless of where it may go. You and Grace.”
“I am glad you don’t have to face it,” Max said. “I wish I didn’t.”
“I met her Max,” Kyle said. “I do believe she’s Liz behind the wall that is blocking her memory, but even if her memory comes back tomorrow. She’s never going to be the same person that she once was. None of us are the same people we were fourteen years ago, and certainty not you. So, take it one day at a time and maybe you will find that you can deal with who she is now, and there will be a merging of the two Liz’s and you will love this new Liz.”
“But if she can’t accept her old life?” Max asked as a portion of his brain was in a defeatist position.
“You will have to deal with it, but it’s too early to say that she can’t handle both sides of her life. She just needs to get to know her old life as your wife, and as Liz.”
“So, you’re basically telling me that she can’t do this without seeing me face to face.”
“No, she can’t,” Kyle admitted. “She met Maria today.”
“How did that go?” Max asked as he sighed for the mere idea that Maria would have to deal with Beth not being the Liz she had been so close to as kids, and even into their early adult life.
“Surprisingly well.” Kyle smiled. “I am sure it was killing her that she was looking into Liz’s eyes and, yet those eyes have no memory of her right now, but she was able to handle it with class, and was very friendly and encouraging of her and the twins.”
“I am glad,” Max smiled.
“So, take the chance, and see where it goes” Kyle advised.
“I want to thank you Mom and to you Jim for helping out while Michael was away, and then my little trip,” Maria smiled at her mother and Jim as they had come over for drinks before dinner. “You helped out with the kids, and I appreciate it.”
“It’s nothing,” Amy said. “They are our grandchildren and we will always be here for there.”
“We thank you,” Maria said as Michael walked into the room and gave a kiss to his wife, and a hug to his mother in law. “You’re home.”
“Some work at the office needed my attention,” Michael smiled as he took a seat. “So, I see we have guests.”
“Mom and Jim wanted to come over and spend some time with us, before Jake’s surgery tomorrow.”
“How is Jake handling it.”
“He’s counting the hours,” Maria smiled. “He’s tired of the chair. Crutches will give him some more freedom.”
“I amazed he’s kept his sanity in this short period of time,” Jim asked.
“He’s actually been pretty good about it,” Maria muttered. “But it’s also allowed a diversion from other aspects of his life.”
“Who knows what he would do if he had more freedom,” Amy commented. “With Tommy in the hospital.”
“Is there anything more in that regard,” Michael asked.
“As I commented to Maria earlier at the station. Elizabeth’s story is holding for now, as the Ellis family hasn’t given it any notice at all but then they barely have given their son’s care any notice either. So, Grace and Tommy aren’t in the situation yet, but Tommy hasn’t woken up yet, so there is no telling how it will stay.”
“Isabel helped us by keeping Elizabeth’s story to the minimum,” Amy asked.
“Elizabeth had probably done more harm to the situation than Grace in inflicting the harm,” Jim admitted. “She did a large amount of covering up of the crime.”
“That she did,” Maria admitted.
“She’s definitely your daughter,” Jim commented towards Michael and Michael could only be amazed at the similarities given he probably did even worse back when he was a teenager and they had been very lucky that a large part of it hadn’t been caught by the authorities or covered up by Jim himself.
“Don’t I know it,” Maria laughed.
“Speaking of the mastermind,” Amy smiled. “Where is my granddaughter?”
“She’s off with Grace,” Maria sighed.
“When will she be home?” Amy asked.
“I don’t really know. Elizabeth is being a friend to Grace and she felt like Grace needed some time away from the chaos of her life, and so they are off doing something.”
“Should we worry?” Michael asked thinking about the level of chaos that his daughter and goddaughter could get into on their own, especially when one is stressed out.
“I am thinking not, but given how much upheaval the girls have experienced in the last few weeks who knows. But I think the motive is pure, but we should keep an eye out for any trouble.”
“Will do,” Jim said.
“Do you want to stay for dinner,” Maria asked. “We’re having burgers at Jake’s request, and without Elizabeth here we will have plenty of food.”
“We could,” Amy said.
“We can,” Jim said as he knew his wife loved the idea of having dinner with her daughter and her family, and it was quiet at home. “I’ll call the station and put word out to inform me if there are any suspicious activities with the girls.”
“What made you come out here?” Elizabeth as they headed to a familiar. “I wanted you to get away from all the stress of your life, and that includes you mother,” she muttered as they stood and looked at the headstone near the family chamber. “This is not what you need right now.”
“It’s not,” Grace admitted. “But I couldn’t help it. I saw her today, it was briefly sure, but it made it real. And I can’t help but wonder why did it all start here. So, close to the caves, and the pod chamber.”
“If it was a plot against the clan, or your father, then maybe it was pure coincidence that it started here. Whoever did this couldn’t have known that your mother was coming home from work that day.”
“If it’s a plot, then yes, they would have known that Mom worked two hospitals and was at the one furthest away from home on that specific day.”
“So, who do you think it was?” Elizabeth asked.
“Dad tells me it’s not Tess Harding,” Grace said.
“She’s dead. isn’t she?” Elizabeth asked she thought back to the stories the older kids had heard about their parent’s teen years, and while they always got the half truth in the stories, they knew enough to knew Tess Harding was real trouble.”
“So, they say.” Grace admitted.
“Your mother disappeared when you were two years, years away from high school when both Alex and Tess died.”
“I know, but one thing you never know with one of us is if they are really died. Dad is insistent that she is dead, but how can they really know.”
“If she turns into ash?” Elizabeth thought. “We know that is how aliens truly die.”
“But then Dad came back to life?” Grace said. “They said that your grandfather saw Dad turn into ash, and then days later came back alive through someone else.”
“He took over another body,” Elizabeth asked.
“Yes, although I admit that that only happened because they were making Dad heal the old guy in the first place and some weird instance of transference happened, and Dad’s essence transferred into Clayton’s body and Dad’s spent body turned into ash.”
“I doubt your father would have been healing Tess Harding at the time of her death,” Elizabeth asked.
“Nope,” Grace agreed. “The last thing they wanted was her alive once it was known she responsible for Alex’s death.”
“And he only came back because he missed your mother, and he couldn’t forget her.”
“No she couldn’t,” Grace thought back to the story she heard from Maria and Aunt Isabel about that time, in which they believed Max was dead and he was but Liz fought the tyrant who had Max’s essence in him and who was trying to kill Liz at that time but Max had to battle to come back and stop it, and made the ultimate sacrifice to protect his soulmate and then when she believed she lost him for good, did she kiss him and he came back.
“So, who else could it be?” Elizabeth asked.
“Who knows,” Grace said. “Dad did have some enemies back when they were our age and who knows who would want to come back and create havoc when our parents weren’t looking, and ultimately succeeded.”
“They certainly did succeed,” Elizabeth. “So, you saw your mother?”
“Yes,” Grace admitted as she looked at the tombstone. “And then I remembered, that I saw her before.”
“When?” Elizabeth asked as she knew it was better for her friend to talk about it and not push her feelings deep in her and ignore it, so she allowed the conversation.
“When I landed in the hospital when Jake and I took that trip, and I lost the baby.”
“Oh wow, she was there?” Elizabeth asked.
“Yes, she was my doctor. She was there when I briefly woke up after arriving at the hospital, when I woke up again I thought for a moment that I imagined it, that she was a hallucination because I miss her so much.”
“So, she wasn’t.”
“Nope,” Grace admitted. “She was there, and I called her ‘Mommy’”
“Damn,” Elizabeth asked in an awed voice.
“Did I interrupt something,” Isabel smiled as she walked into her home after finishing up the day at the store, and closing it all up and coming home and finding her brother talking with her husband after seeing his car in the driveway when she pulled up. “Hey!”
“Hey,” Max said as he took the hug his sister offered. “How was business?”
“Busy,” Isabel smiled. “Which is how I like it.”
“I am glad,” Max said. “I came over to pay a visit and your husband told me that you were spending some more time at the store today.”
“To make up for closing up yesterday,” Isabel admitted. “I think I made up for the loss of business, which I am grateful for, so how are you?”
“I am doing alright,” Max said. “Life can be complicated, and I hate complications.”
“Yes, it can,” Isabel nodded. “Were you two talking about Liz?”
“It couldn’t be helped,” Kyle said as they walked into the kitchen and Isabel opened the fridge to see what was left of dinner, or any other leftovers. “The pasta is on the bottom shelf.”
“How are the kids?” Isabel asked.
“Doing homework, or watching television in the case of Jamie.” Kyle said. “I checked in on them minutes before you got home. “Yeah we were talking about Liz.”
“Have you seen this woman?” Isabel asked her brother.
“No,” Max shook her head. “Kyle has been encouraging me, and yet I can’t not get the courage to deal with the truth if she actually does look like Liz.”
“She would really be alive, and it would make it real.”
“Yeah,” Max acknowledged.
“I hate this for you Max,” Isabel said as she saw the weight on her brother’s shoulders. “If you need our help, we are here for you.”
“Thanks sis,” Max smiled. “I appreciate that.”
“I think we need to get going,” Grace said as they walked back to the car as she finished looking at her mother’s tombstone, and she looked at her watch. “We have time, do you want to go to a movie?”
“Sure,” Elizabeth smiled as they continued to walk but then she thought she saw a white light. “Hey, do you see that.”
“See what?” Grace said as they stopped walking and she turned to her friend. “What did you see?”
“A white light,” Elizabeth said. “It was faint, but it was over there” she said, by the stone that said Grace’s mother’s name.
“We were just there, I didn’t see anything.”
“It was a like a person watching us,” Elizabeth asked as she watched for the faint light again, but didn’t see it again. Maybe I’m just imagining, and it was nothing,” she said out loud. “Given everything that has happened lately we can’t let go of that possibility.”
“Maybe,” Grace asked as she thought back to her own experience with the white figure. The vision of Alex Whitman who visited her days ago, and warned her about something coming the clan’s way, and now she had to wonder if he was warning them that her mother was indeed alive.
“Let’s go,” Elizabeth said as she assured herself that they were safe, and currently alone out in the desert.
“Okay,” Grace nodded as they got as far as the car when they heard a sound…and they looked back, and their jaws dropped. “You again”
“Me again,” said the spirit of Alexander Whitman.