After drinks with Jim and discussing Isabella’s case some more Max having borrowed Isabel’s car went for a drive around the town to see the sights and see what he had missed over the previous decade and once he returned to the hospital to spend more time with Liz, he ran into Jeff Parker who openly frowned when he saw him approaching. “Hello Jeff,” Max said warmly of Liz’s father as they stood near the hospital room.
“Max,” Jeff asked with shock as he hadn’t heard that his daughter’s ex-boyfriend was back in town. “When did you get back to town?”
“Last night as I decided I had stayed away too long. I am staying with my sister and Kyle” Max answered in the easiest way possible. “So, you are here visiting Liz.”
“Yeah,” Jeff nodded as he couldn’t help but stare and assess the man who looked so differently from the boy he had conflicting feelings over and over how it went for both his daughter and Max before the boy left town. Max it appeared had gone through a lot over the last decade.
“I was here earlier but she had to undergo testing, so I was coming back to pay a visit. But I can go and come back later if you want to visit your daughter.”
“No,” Jeff shook his head because he knew his daughter would want to see her ex and wouldn’t take it well if she perceived that he was keeping Max away from her, which he didn’t truly want to do either. “What are you doing here, in Roswell?”
“Visiting my family. Conquering the past, and of course seeing your daughter and making peace with what happened is part of it.”
“So, have you?” Jeff asked. “Made peace with the past?”
“I am trying,” Max admitted as that was a hard question to truly answer. “There are still some steps to go…”
“Max…” Jeff Parker sighed as he continued to assess the man that held so much history with his daughter.
Wanting to pre-empt the evitable interrogation, Max spoke up first “Look Jeff you have a right to be upset with how I treated your daughter back when I was a teenager. I screwed up, and I regret that and if only I could do it over or go back and repeat the sins of the past… with a different result. If I could, I would do everything differently. I treated your daughter terribly and I deserved how it ended, and how she ended it.”
“I want to be angry with you Max,” Jeff said with a sigh, but he also knew by ending things his daughter also went down a path that had changed her life for the worst, and maybe Max would have made her happy and she could have been on a better path with her life than the one she was forced on. “I should be, but Liz made the choices too and we all make mistakes. It’s about how we own them and move forward.”
“I know,” Max admitted. “I just wish things could have different for both of us…”
“My daughter is strong, and she’s gone through too much for me to judge others for mistakes they made. You decided what you decided, and she decided what she decided. I just hope that both of you can lead lives you both deserve.”
“I hope so too,” Max nodded as the wheelchair carrying Liz came back to her room as she noticed her and Max talking, and she frowned at what they might be discussing. “Um, Dad, Max. I am not interrupting anything am I?”
“No,” Max said smiling as he welcomed her back. “How was it?”
“The same as always. I have gone through this too many times for my liking,” Liz admitted.
“I know the feeling. When I was in the hospital, I hated the feeling of them poking and prodding me,” Max reminisced as he gave some thanks to the god he didn’t believe in that no one ever questioned his human status during the months he was in the hospital…
“You were in the hospital?” Jeff asked as they went into Liz’s room as she got out of the wheelchair and got back into her bed and laid back against the pillows. “I don’t recall your parents mentioning it.”
“They didn’t know. No one knew,” Max admitted as she exchanged a knowing glance with Liz who hated the idea that no one knew Max was out there suffering.
Jeff couldn’t help but notice the sparks between his daughter and Max, and couldn’t help what road they would be going down again… “Where are you currently.”
“California?” Jeff asked surprised.
“It’s speaks for me, right now.” Max sighed as he thought of Liz. “Right now, at least.”
Jeff nodded as Max didn’t want the situation to be even more confusing for any of them, so he elected to give father and daughter some time together, “I’ll give you some time” Max said softly as he walked away and headed for the cafeteria for something to eat. Once he was gone, Jeff turned to his daughter and was going to say something, but Liz silenced him.
“Dad, no, please don’t…” Liz sighed as she could tell what was coming from her father as he had that kind of look on his face and she knew where it was going to go.
“Liz, I only wanted to say that I am glad Max is here…” Jeff asked of politely to his daughter.
“Are you kidding me,” Liz squeaked as she gave her father a hard look. “For years I have heard nothing but griping about Max from you and now you’re glad…”
“Honey, I give him credit for coming back,” Jeff tried as he cried inside regarding the dark times his daughter has faced since high school, and how he wished he could wipe them away. “I want you happy.”
“I will only be happy when my daughter comes back,” Liz muttered “So, don’t try to think of anything else when you see Max or me okay. Bella is the only thing that will make me happy.”
“I doubt that,” Jeff smiled. “My granddaughter will come home, I am convinced of that and you should be too.”
“Soon,” Jeff nodded. “I sense that with Max back in town, that maybe answers will be coming from all corners and that includes answers into where Bella is…”
Liz prayed her father was correct and yet she could only shake her head as she had doubts that her father didn’t have any other motives for encouraging the thawing of tension between her and Max or why he was suddenly seeing the light about her ex when he was the worst critic of their relationship. “All I am asking is for you to leave Max and I alone, okay?”
“I will try,” Jeff smiled but Liz didn’t trust that…
Once he allowed Jeff to visit with is daughter Max elected to head back to Isabel’s place to return the car and was doing some paperwork for his day job as his sister was out doing errands. Sighing at the memories that Liz brought to him, and worried for Molly he reached out to Serena, and called her up via Skype.
“Hey partner,” came Serena smiling as she came on the connection. “You couldn’t stay away from the job, huh?” she asked as she saw that Max was deep at work.
“At the moment it’s a diversion, so what’s going on with Molly?” Max was quick to ask. “Is there anything new, at all?”
“Molly’s memory is still confused. It’s funny, she is improving rapidly with everything else, but her memory is still fuzzy. It’s almost like it was wiped…” Serena asked as Max flinched at the word “wiped” as he knew someone who was quite used to that kind of power. “She responds to Molly, but we can’t find any record for her being a resident of California or a record of her birth.”
“Don’t all parents have to record their child’s birth with the state?” Max asked.
“Yup,” Serena nodded from experience with her own kids. “I know it well, plenty of paperwork and a birth certificate is usually created but there is nothing that matches little Molly Davidson that goes with the date of birth we have associated with her file. It's bizarre.”
“It’s frightening more like it,” Max sighed as hated the dots that were forming that led to a horrifying conclusion. “You’re running her DNA?”
“But because of the backup down in the lab, well, it might take a while before we get any results.
“Have you accessed the countrywide database?” Max asked.
“That is the next step,” Serena acknowledged. “I am off until Monday, but that is plan for when I go back in.”
“I won’t stop you,” Max said. “I know you want to spend time with your children.”
“I do,” Serena smiled as she thought of her daughters who were staring her with glares they could only manage as they were waiting for her to take them swimming. “How is the trip to the past?”
“It’s been eye opening,” Max admitted. “I don’t know how to handle it as it hasn’t kicked in yet.”
“When are you going to be back?”
“I don’t know yet,” Max said as a sudden desire to not leave Liz or Roswell arose in his body, and he didn’t know what to think as he could hear the front door open and therefore he knew his sister was now home as he knew Kyle wasn’t expected until dinner time “I have to go. I’ll talk to you on Monday.”
They disconnected as Serena followed her girls to the family car, while Max was watching as his sister came into the living room. “Who was that I heard you talking to…” Isabel asked as she came into the living room and had overheard his brother talking to someone.
“Work,” Max admitted. “I was checking in on one of my cases.”
“You don’t have to leave, right?” Isabel asked fearful that she might lose her brother after getting him back.
“Don’t worry Iz, I am not going anytime soon and plus, I won’t be welcome back until my vacation is over. My boss was forcing me on vacation because I refuse to take any during the last five years.”
“You were a workaholic?” Isabel asked.
“That would be a good description of how it was,” Max admitted as his sister and sat, and they talked. “I was never good at taking time for myself.”
“Did you find anyone at all or settle down at all?” Isabel asked.
“Nope,” Max only shook his head. “There was no one I felt the need to want in my life, and my life when I had control of it, I didn’t truly want to settle down or find someone.”
“Why not?” Isabel asked.
“Because there was never another Liz,” Max said. “Some tried, but none really did. I would have been fooling myself if I even tried to settle down.””
“I wish it hadn’t been so hard for you” Isabel sighed as she almost didn’t recognize the man who was sitting across from her, as she was coming to realize a decade was a long time to be apart.
“At least I didn’t stand to lose anyone by anything I did,” Max muttered. “I am not like Liz who lost a lot.”
“It sounds like you did too,” Isabel commented.
“Maybe I did,” Max nodded.
“What is it like having Max back?” Kyle asked as he sat by Liz’s bedside. She was trying to ignore memories of Max, and the warmth she felt by having him there with her when her favorite ex-husband paid a visit.
“Not you too,” Liz muttered.
“What?” Kyle smiled.
“It’s just my dad was actually trying to be a matchmake it felt like, when he realized Max is back.”
“Your father is only worried about you Liz,” Kyle smiled. “We all are but your parents most of all… they want you to be happy with your life.”
“I know that, but I am perfectly happy with my life,” Liz muttered as she thought of her life and knew it paled in comparison to the dreams that she once had for herself. Dreams that got waylaid by meeting Max and yet if she was honest with herself then she would have to admit that she had been happy with the life she made for herself with Bella and working at the Crashdown as she helped her parents with the running of the restaurant. It wasn’t the one she thought she would have, but it was the one that she was happy with…
Not that anyone else believed her though
, she mused to herself.
“Whatever you say,” Kyle smiled.
“How is Isabel handling her brother being back in our lives. Last night at their parents, how was it?” Liz asked, pestering for information and Kyle could only chuckle as he saw Liz was being drawn back into Max’s web and yet he wasn’t upset because he only wanted his ex to be happy and he suspected that Max would be the only one who could make her happy once Bella came home.
“She’s handling it,” Kyle acknowledged as he didn’t know how to explain it. “He’s staying with us, so it’s been an adjustment since so much time has gone by for all of us.”
“Phillip and Diane are mystified as ever about why he’s back. They are just glad they got a chance to see him, and that he’s back. Isabel is more suspicious,” Kyle admitted.
“Which is natural. Heck I am suspicious,” Liz admitted.
“He insists it’s about making peace with the past, and conquering demons.” Kyle sighed.
“It’s been a decade, why now?” Liz asked.
“I guess he is the only one who has those answers,” Kyle said as nurse came in. “More testing,” he asked.
“Nope,” the nurse shook her head as she held a piece of paper. “This arrived for you,” she said as she handed Liz an envelope.
“What is it?” Liz asked she looked at it as it was non-descript and blank and yet with the words, Liz Parker – Room 3421
“I don’t know…” the nurse only shook her head. “I was told to deliver it to you…” she murmured before leaving the room.
Liz nodded as she opened the envelope and read the contents and paled considerably, with Kyle growing concerned as he saw the reaction in his ex-wife. “Liz, what is it?”
Liz remained silent.
“Liz,” Kyle asked his ex-wife as he approached his ex and took the piece of paper and looked at it. “What is this…”
“Oh god,” Liz whispered as she handed the piece of paper to her ex-husband while she stared with ghost eyes at something else.
Kyle also paled when he eyed the written words on the piece of paper, as he immediately went for his phone and called his father to come over to the hospital as Liz took the envelope and piece of paper and stared at them again, while handing the other piece of paper to her ex.
The message read, “Come see me or you won’t know what happened to Bella,”
and then the piece of paper was along was a picture of…
Bella’s bedroom, the night she disappeared. BELLA was spelled out in letters on the wall by her bed.
“Listen to me Liz, this isn’t true.” Kyle tried to insist to Liz as they looked at the evidence and his ex-wife’s eyes went wide and then equally as frantic.
“Kyle, that is how her bedroom looked when she disappeared and what it still looks like today.” Liz whispered as she referred to the picture that came along with the message
“That’s right, it’s like it is today, so it doesn’t mean anything okay” Kyle muttered.
“No, it’s proof that Sean knows something…” Liz cried as she remembered her daughter’s bedroom. “Kyle, I took away the picture that was by her bed after she disappeared because the glass was broken, and I replaced the picture and picture frame. It’s a new one now. It’s a heart shaped one now. The old one is in this photo.”
“Still…” Kyle tried to come up with another explanation.
“Sean knows something…” Liz muttered as she feared her past was back to haunt her.
Kyle feared she was right.
“What are you doing these days?” Max asked as he valued the time to talk to his sister and was curious about her life as they sat and talked. “I am sorry that it’s been all about me, and not you.”
“It’s okay,” Isabel smiled. “Nothing much is happening. I wish I could say I am doing something worthwhile, but since university I have been working part-time at a fashion boutique.”
“Did you study fashion?” Max asked.
“Yeah and business,” Isabel nodded. “We went to University of Mexico at Las Cruces. Kyle studied education and sports management. Due to financial consideration, Michael and Maria didn’t go to university. Maria by some happenstance found her calling in only a way Maria could… And Michael figured out how to make a living from what we all did well, protecting people and finding people. I am thinking once the baby comes of opening up my own boutique, but in the meantime, I am just figuring it all out.”
“How did you and Kyle get together. I remember you were with Jesse or hiding you were, when I was last in town. And you and Kyle were only friendly, nothing more.”
“Jesse and I tried but being who I was hurt our relationship. I couldn’t tell him the truth, and with you gone… Michael and I got even more protective of our secret until we had to out ourselves to our parents, and the circle. So eventually he and I ran out of steam. Kyle and I started something for a few months while we were in university, but Kyle was also getting close to Liz at the same time as she was trying to be a single mother to Bella. And he felt the need to protect them, and we just didn’t connect truly at the time. I was young, but not ready to settle down. So, I was fine when we decided to end things. And sooner than later, he and Liz you know…”
“I know,” Max thought as he didn’t really want to think about the fact Liz married Kyle.
“He was solid for her, and for Bella” Isabel assured her brother. “Unfortunately, they weren’t right for each other, but he helped her heal from the debacle with Sean.”
“So, she and Sean had a bad marriage?” Max asked even though he hated the thought of her having moved on without him but it’s not like he was a saint, so he couldn’t judge.
“Beyond bad,” Isabel cringed at the memory. “Liz was going through a hard time in your absence and she and Sean didn’t exactly make a good match as they were oil and water.”
“I don’t remember him being such a bad guy when I was around.”
“He was different when he came back to Roswell after you left. I don’t know how to describe it,” Isabel admitted. “We all saw them as trouble, but we couldn’t tell Liz that as she was going through her dark period and wasn’t listening to anyone. She was determined, and when she found out she was pregnant… well, she did her own thing.”
“It was dark, I mean dark” Isabel cringed at the memory. “We all were worried for her and especially given all she knew, and by that time she was starting to exhibit her own brand of gifts which made Michael and I even more crazy with worry.”
“What!!!!” Max asked as he was forced into a stammer “She…has…powers?”
‘Oops, no one told you huh?” Isabel sighed as she knew this was not the right way to tell Max, but she walked into it with her mouth. “That happens when you stay out of touch for so long,” she cracked. “Anyways, yeah, Liz has some gifts. We don’t know all of them because she won’t be upfront about them, even with us, but after you left they started to manifest because of the stress she was under and well that added to the darkness that fell upon her, and because she was unpredictable, and she was starting up with Sean and quickly married him. We were worried that she could spill the beans or Sean would find out in some way.”
“Did he?” Max asked sincerely worried.
“No,” Isabel shook his head. “Or I don’t think so…” she admitted. “But we got worried and decided to fill in our parents and you know the whole circle so that more could be aware of the truth, so we could protect Liz from herself.”
“So, Liz has powers?” Max asked worried as he flashed back to junior year and how she had saved him when he was in New York. It was a warning side they should have taken seriously at the time, but it wasn’t repeated, or he didn’t think it was but now he wondered…
“Yes,” Isabel nodded. “Despite some early attempts, and lots of green energy when she was unbalanced and because of the friction between her and Sean after they married, well, we were constantly worried about her, but we were without any true intel on them because she wouldn’t open up. We believe that they are strictly related to her dreams. But because of what happened to Bella, she’s disowned them over the last year and is trying to suppress them and while she never really was, it’s made her even less communicative about what she knows.”
“Thankfully after she threw out Sean and she got her life together and then she and Kyle youknow…”
“Yeah,” Max murmured.
“Kyle was great for her as she truly did seem to get over those early months and then of course they ended, and then Bella went missing and the last year has led to her now being in the hospital.”
“I never wanted this for her, when I stayed away.” Max muttered.
“Well it did,” Isabel said cranky about the fact her brother did stay away for ten years. “We all had to figure out how to make a life for ourselves, and sometimes it takes a lot of heartbreak before we finally get it right.”
Max only nodded as Isabel’s cellphone rang, and she grabbed it as she saw it was Kyle. “Are you calling to say you’re going to be late for dinner?” she smiled as she started to talk, but then she quickly went pale as she frowned. “What… Are you kidding me?” she asked. “No, I understand. We will be right there… Yeah, Max is coming.” Isabel said as she glanced at Max, and by the look on her face he knew it had to be Liz.
When Isabel hung up, Max was quick to ask… “What’s going on Iz, is it Liz?”
“Yeah,” Isabel nodded as she stood up. “That was Kyle as he was at the at the hospital visiting Liz. Michael is on the way, but we have to get there on a double.”
“What’s wrong?” Max asked. “Is it about her daughter. Is it about Bella?”.
“I don’t know all of it, but Liz got a message from Sean… And it scared her, and so we have to get over there now… before she does something to hurt her recovery.”
Liz was sleeping when everyone collected in her hospital room. Michael had arrived minutes before Max and Isabel showed up. Maria had to stay with Betty as they didn’t think it was appropriate for the child to come to the hospital, knowing what they knew. “She’s been sedated, because she was ready to attack and then she collapsed in hysterics.” Kyle reported when they were all in the room. “They hope she will sleep until morning.”
Max couldn’t help but glance at a sleeping Liz as even in her drug induced sleep, he could tell she was restless from her dreams.
“What in the hell happened?” Max asked he couldn’t help but stare at Liz as he talked. “She was doing alright when I saw her earlier.”
“She was and then Deluca decided to strike,” Kyle muttered. “Dad is investigating, which is why he’s not here…”
“What the hell happened?” Michael asked as he came into the conversation as he didn’t like the looks of the situation as he like Max couldn’t help but look at a sleeping Liz, and then he looked back at Kyle while Max couldn’t quite lose his trail of glances at his ex. The whole room couldn’t help but notice.
“He sent Liz this…” Kyle said as he handed it to Michael as Max also looked at it. “It’s a photocopy. Dad has the originals.”
“Oh god,” Isabel whispered when she got a glance at the words, and then as the guys looked at the picture. “No…”
“Is this Bella’s room?” Max asked as he looked at the picture of a bedroom wall… God don’t tell me
… he thought to himself.
“Yes,” Michael nodded. “It’s the same today as it was on that day, but Liz has changed the picture because when they took Bella, they smashed the picture frame that held a picture of Isabella and Liz in it
, which was by the lamp next to her bed.
“So, it’s different today?” Max asked.
“Yes, when Bella went missing. Liz changed it to just a picture of Bella from her class picture from the school year prior to her disappearance in a new heart shaped frame. But everything else about the room stayed as if it was suspended by her vanishing.
“She rarely goes in it, and no else can go in there…” Isabel commented. “I don’t get, why would Sean try this now… Bella has been gone for a year, and he would have known if he did have some involvement in it, why not come out and try to use it earlier.”
“That is something I don’t know,” Michael sighed. “He had done a check on Sean Deluca, and it had come up relatively clean and they had been using the fact he’s been in jail for years as a reason why he was likely innocent.”
“It’s because he’s been a solitary confinement for much of the last year,” came a voice to the room and they all turned and saw Jim and Amy come into the room. “I checked with the prison.”
“What,” Kyle asked. “Why didn’t we know this before…”
“Probably because the one time we did check in on Sean, he was out in the general population, but they tell me that for much of the last year he has been in and out of solitary, and recently was released back into general…”
“What does that mean?” Isabel asked.
“And that is when he’s started a new push to get his conviction overturned. He’s trying to convince his lawyer to find some way to get it quashed, and since Liz was the star witness used in getting him convicted, well, it stands to reason he would come to her first and try any method in getting her to recant her testimony.”
“Oh god,” Isabel muttered as Maria walked through the doors a moment later as Michael turned. “Diane was willing to take Betty shopping with her, and then she will stay for dinner.”
“What did I miss?” Maria asked.
“This,” Isabel said showing off the evidence.
“WHAT!” Maria paled considerably as she saw the note, and photo. “Is this from my cousin?” she asked as she hated Sean with the heat of a nova.
“That would be the best guess,” Jim said. “As I was telling everyone, he’s coming after Liz to get his conviction overturned.”
“He wouldn’t have gone after Bella to ensure it, would he?” Maria asked fearful for her friend. “She’s sedated, right?”
“Right,” Kyle nodded.
“How did she react?” Maria asked as she saw that Max couldn’t help but keep his eyes off Liz as she slept.
“Almost as bad as when she first discovered she was missing,” Kyle commented.
“God…” Maria cried. “What a mess.”
“If Sean orchestrated it. What did he do with Bella?” Isabel asked of her name sake, niece and step-daughter as the room grew silent as they let that thought sink in as no one wanted to believe that Sean Deluca could be that vengeful.
“Whatever he did with her, well, we won’t let him get away with it…” Max swore as he looked at an unconscious Liz looking so ill at ease while asleep. He ached looking at her and wished something good would happen for her, and he prayed it would…