Max hated the thought of the battle that Molly was facing as he thought of the little girl. Something drew him to the girl, and he didn’t know why. He had stayed away from kids generally over the last decade unless it was case related because they reminded him too much of what drove him away from his home and family, and especially Liz back in Roswell. It was all a lie
, Max muttered to himself. He hadn’t faced too many cases involving kids over his career, since he began at the LAPD as he let Serena most of the time take the little ones, because of her own experience with kids. Yet Molly drew him in, and he needed to make sure she was alright.
“Where is she?” Max said quietly.
“We did some testing and Dr. Benson decided that with Molly’s condition so fragile, that they needed do some of the initial surgery right away, so she is in the operating room. We will know more about her condition, once she comes out.”
“So she will need more surgery?” Max asked as he hated finding out that the little girl was in surgery. “How is her ability to talk?”
“We may, but we won’t know until we have more access when the bandages come off, and we deal the more pressing issues with her health. So far, she’s hanging, and we have reason to optimism, but one never does know until we see how she responds.
“Will she make it?” Max asked as she made notes for her file.
“We won’t know until we how she responds to the surgery, and how it goes. But none of her challenges should pose a risk, but given how much abuse she has experienced, well, you never know.”
“I am going to around,” Max said as he wasn’t sure about leaving the hospital. How much longer?”
“Well, the surgery just started, so it could be a few more hours” Dr. West warned. “We won’t know until they open her up” she said softly because she could sense how invested Max was in Molly’s case. It was rare to see a cop so attached to a subject of one of his cases, but intrigued her to see Max attached to Molly, as she muttered. “Have you caught the monster who did that to her?”
“It looks like he slipped away, for the moment. But we are still looking, and we’ll find him.”
“I pray that you catch him and punish him” Dr. West admitted as Max nodded his affirmative to the wish.
“Call me when she’s out of recovery,” Max asked, and the doctor nodded as he turned to head back to the station, and when Serena actually forced him back home, by driving him home, he walked into his house and saw the emptiness of the rooms and he couldn’t help but wonder how his life had ended up like this. Thinking of Molly made him think of Roswell, and how it all ended, and the family he shunned by walking away over the last decade. It was all on him for staying away. He didn’t fault his family, or Isabel and Michael, or most of all Liz.
He had intended to go home to Roswell and to Liz, once he dealt with all that Los Angeles brought, when he came to investigate the Joe Ferini case and that led him to their other watcher, Kal Langley and his search of the ship so he could find his son and get answers.
That was a boneheaded move Max
, he muttered to himself as he took a beer out of the fridge. He didn’t care that he wasn’t supposed to drink, but he drank too much on nights where memories of Liz came on full force and thinking of Molly and how the small child made him think of Liz, and his hatred of how badly it had gone.
Once he got answers to his son and found out he was lied to as he had managed to make it to Antar, and was shocked to find out that Tess lied, and was dead. After having tried to deceive Khivar, they killed her. She was never pregnant. She mind-warped everyone into believing she was pregnant, and that she needed to leave town to protect the baby, and when he stayed… he sent her off, thinking the baby needed to be protected. Only she hadn’t been pregnant, and when she got to Antar, well, they found out the truth, and they had killed her.
Max barely made it back to Earth, and when he did, he wasn’t in one piece. Some major health problems kept him preoccupied and why he hadn’t gone back to Roswell because he didn’t want to burden them when he didn’t know how he was going to be, if he was forever changed.
Well he was changed, but once his health stabilized, and he was able to pick up his life, well, he knew he couldn’t go home and continue to lie to his parents. So, he surprised even himself and went to Quantico, and spent time in the FBI which was a fun irony filled stint given it was that branch of the federal government who wanted to terminate him, but eventually he decided to stop, and settle on a low-risk branch of law enforcement, and he joined the LAPD, and got partnered up with Serena.
Because he hadn’t gone back to Roswell, memories of the girl he left behind weren’t far from his thoughts. He tried somewhat successful to move on and try to ignore Roswell. He tended to lie about where his hometown was as he generally said that he was from out of the country – which was true in some ways but not, in others.
Taking a sip of his beer, he picked up his phone and made a call… and as his stomach flipflopped over the dread of making the call he was making as he waited for an answer to the call. He almost wished, I hope you’re not home.
“Hello” came a commanding voice from the other end of the phone and Max paled at the memories, and it made him silent. “Hello,” the person asked again. “If this is a prank, stop it or I’ll stick my husband on you.”
“You’re married,” Max asked as he broke the silence, as he was stunned. “Don’t tell me you married that guy, Jesse,” as he remembered the guy his sister was hung up at the time of trip to California, despite her trying to say it was nothing.
“Max,” came the shock reply from a home in Roswell, where Isabel was sitting doing some paperwork to finalize her recent marriage as her spine stood up straight as she put her hand to her mouth as she tried to comprehend the instantaneous shock to her system. “Max is that you?” she whispered out words she hadn’t thought she ever would. “Max…” she repeated when she heard silence… “Max…”
“Isabel,” Max said after a moment of silence, and tears came down Isabel’s eyes as she heard the voice she hadn’t seen or heard in nearly a decade. “Are you there?”
“Max,” Isabel said as she pulled herself to together as Kyle came through the back door of the kitchen as he was arriving home from the hospital, and instantly frowned to see his new wife so upset and he knew he must have missed the beginning of her comment. “Are you okay?”
“I am… now,” Max as relief instantly came to him as he smiled as he listed to his sister’s voice. “God how I am sorry.”
“That it’s been almost a decade,” Isabel said with tears coming down her face, and she knew she was a mess as she tried to think of how she was going to tell her husband who she was speaking to. “Why now?”
“You have a right to be upset,” Max said softly as instantly he felt at home and knew he had messed up greatly. “I would be too, if it was vice versa. I needed time” he whispered even thought that excuse he knew was weak as much as it was a lie.
“Time Max is a week, or a couple of weeks on the road when seeing the country. Time is not a decade Max, why now…” Isabel cried as Kyle eyebrows shot up when he heard the Max’s name, and he mouthed Max!!!
and she nodded, and he was rightfully upset on his wife’s behalf.
“I know why you’re angry,” Max sighed as he knew full well that his sister had a right to be upset and knew everyone back in his hometown a right to be angry with him, as he had behaved badly.
“You better,” Isabel said angrily as she got up from the table paced the kitchen as Kyle took a seat to keep an eye on his wife because there was no telling how aggravated she was going to be after the phone call as he knew how she missed her brother. “Why now?”
“I was thinking of you guys,” Max said as he felt shame coursed through his body. “I thought I would check in.”
“10 years too late,” Isabel snapped.
“I am sorry about that,” Max sighed. “I wanted to call before now, don’t think I didn’t. But circumstances prevented me in the beginning, and then time got away from me and I thought because I hadn’t called, then you guys would be better off if I didn’t call.”
“We’re never better off without you Max,” Isabel said as her anger vanished, and her tears began again. “Are you okay?”
“I am Izzy,” Max said softly. “I promise you that I am fine, and I want you to know that you’re always on my mind.”
“Where are you?” Isabel asked as he thought back to the days after Max had left ten years before and remembered the dream they shared, to be able to talk. “I asked you in that dream we shared when you left town, but I never expected that would be the last I would hear from you. You closed yourself from me, and I couldn’t reach you while Dad even tried the old fashion way, and he struck out. So, where are you now?”
“Los Angeles” Max admitted and hated the thought that his parents tried looking for him and didn’t succeed. Probably was around the time he was on Antar, and unsure if he would even make it back to Earth… he still didn’t know how he did it. So, if they tried looking, he was long gone…
“LA” Isabel asked shocked. “You’re still there…”
“I came back,” Max said as he kept it as brief as possible. “I am sorry for not keeping in touch.”
“You better be,” Isabel muttered as she thought of her brother being in California all this time. “Why are you still there, when we all know what Tess said and did was a lie.”
“You know?” Max asked as his eyes closed at the mention of Tess’s name.
“Max, you sent Michael a letter,” Isabel eyes shot up at the lapse in her brother’s memory. That is the last thing we ever heard from you, don’t you remember?”
“Oh,” Max said softly as he thought back a decade and wondered if that is something he might have done during that time he was facing medical treatment for his adventures on Antar, and his mind wasn’t how it should have been as it was too fractured to even think most days. It slipped his mind he wrote a letter to Michael talking about Tess’s final betrayal.
“Oh, what Max,” Isabel asked.
“It’s nothing,” Max was quick to answer as he tried to form some thoughts of how to proceed with the conversation and how much he wanted to say. “I am glad you guys know,” he paused. “So, enough about me, what about you?”
“I don’t know enough about you Max,” Isabel insisted. “What are you doing in Los Angeles.”
Not wanting to admit to his career in law enforcement, he diverted the topic. “Maybe another time. What is going on back home, what about you. You’re married?”
“Yes,” Isabel acknowledged. “And you missed it.”
“Who is it?” Max asked. “You could have told me…”
“I didn’t know where you were jackass,” Isabel muttered into the phone and Max winced. “I was dating Jesse, but that broke off because I was missing you and he took another job elsewhere, and later I found someone else…”
“Who?” Max asked.
“Kyle…” Isabel said as she glanced at her husband. “We got married three months ago.”
“Wow,” Max asked. “Where did that come from…”
“If you were here, you would have known” Isabel muttered as she didn’t mention how Kyle was divorced from Liz, and that Max had a child who Kyle was raising as his own as the whole family knew Liz’s lie that Sean Deluca was Bella’s biological father was a lie, and Max was the only possibility because they knew Liz. Even if she had tried to muddy up the waters with her actions in the wake of Max’s departure. You don’t name your daughter after your ex-boyfriend’s sister if he wasn’t the father
to herself, but not out loud for fear of her brother hearing the words, even though her husband was thinking about it. It made it tricky that her stepdaughter was her niece. We are a weird strange family
she smiled to herself.
“Right,” Isabel said as she came back to the land of reality and reentered the conversation. “We’re happy.”
“I thrilled for you Izzy,” Max said softly. “I mean it.”
“If you mean it, you will tell me when you’re coming home?” Isabel asked as Kyle only shook his head and got up and left the kitchen as she knew if Max did come back and found out the truth, what Kyle stood to lose if they managed to find Bella. But she needed her brother back as she needed her family back.
“Is…” Max said. “I am not coming home.”
“Mom and Dad miss you, I miss you.” Isabel cried. “Come home, if only for a visit why don’t you.”
“I can’t lie to them,” Max said.
And then Isabel dropped the biggest bombshell to hit the clan in years, when she revealed the truth. “Max, Mom and Dad know.”
“WHAT!” Max yelled as he took another deep sip of his beer and he closed his eyes as he processed this newest bombshell to unsettle his life. “I don’t understand.”
“I told them. Michael and I told them years ago,” Isabel said quietly as she stopped pacing and stood in the kitchen as memories of that time flashed through her mind “If you had checked in, I could have told you.”
“What happened?” Max asked as his eyes were closed as braced for the worst.
“It’s nothing important right now,” Isabel muttered as it did nothing to tell him to the truth that the secret came out in association with Liz’s actions in the months after Max left town. There was genuine fear in the air, and so Isabel and Michael sat the parents down and told them the truth.
“How bad was it?” Max asked.
“They took it as well as it could have been Max,” Isabel admitted. “Sure, there were some adjustments to make, but they recognized we were in a hard spot and they knew why we were worried about their reaction. Amy Deluca had the toughest time since Michael and Maria were still doing their dance. And Parkers were just grateful their daughter was still alive” she said as she left out to muck up her life.
“I don’t believe it,” Max sighed as he took another sip of beer as she made plans for another one, sobriety
“Come home Max,” Isabel pleaded as she cried for her brother, and the decade that was erased by the phone call. The memories flashed of their family, and how close they were, and how it was so brutally severed when Max didn’t come home, nor did he call.
“I can’t Isabel,” Max said as they both knew why he couldn’t come home. “Tell Mom and Dad I love them, but I can’t…”
“Is it Liz?” Isabel asked.
“No,” Max lied as his need to talk once the love of his life’s name was mentioned vanished, as he looked at the clock and shook his head. It was getting later. “I’ve got to go, I am expecting a call, a work-related issue. I love you sis, and I want you happy.”
“I am happy Max.”
“I hope Kyle makes you happy,” Max said softly as he got ready to hang up. “I really am.”
Knowing Max was about to hang up as she knew her brother, and the mention of Liz had weakened him, and her anger returned, and she wanted to express it. “I am pregnant Max, and if you want to meet your niece or nephew someday, then come home.” Isabel spat as she slammed down the phone, and in Max’s home, well, he felt weighted down by the reveal.
His sister was married and becoming a Mom and he was missing it
and he hated that feeling as he cursed his life, as he picked up the file he had stored in his desk drawer, and went down to the couch and started to view it… Why, why do I do this to myself
as he went through the folder for the umpteenth time.
Meanwhile Kyle returned to the kitchen and found his wife crying as she had sat at the table, sighing, he sat and held his wife as she hugged him. “I know, I know.”
“I know what it means if he comes back and learns the truth,” Isabel said in a small voice. “I am sorry honey, but I want my brother back.”
“Honey, I want that for you too.” Kyle said although he was still a little ticked off at his brother-in-law for what he put his sister, and parents through and especially what he put Liz through, despite her insistence that was it her that had put the brakes on her relationship with Max, still he had seen the heartache every day in her face as she braved the life she now faced.
“Even what it means?” Isabel asked.
“Yes,” Kyle smiled. “I love Bella, and she’s my daughter regardless what happens with Max. Even if he claims her, as we all know they are father and daughter despite Liz’s denials. She will always be my daughter. But for Bella’s sake, when she comes home… and especially for Liz, I want Max to come back and face the music.”
“I want that too,” Isabel said sadly. “I miss him.”
“I know you do,” Kyle nodded as they got up from the table and walked of the room as she he took her to the bedroom to rest.
While back in Max’s house, well, he was drinking and burying himself into his sorrows as he went through the folder and picked up the pictures of Liz… and picked up pictures of Isabel and Michael and then picked up pictures of his parents. “I miss you guys. I am sorry about the mess I made, and how I hurt you guys” he admitted to himself and out loud to the room.
Finally, he picked up a wedding announcement that always put a dagger into his heart every time he reminded himself of it and noticed the Roswell Gazette heading… Crashdown Café’s owners Jeff and Nancy Parker announces the marriage of their daughter, Elizabeth Parker to Sean Deluca. The newlyweds will continue to live in Roswell, and Liz as she known will work at her parent’s establishment as she finishes high school.
Putting down the article, he drunk the rest of the beer and the last one in the fridge before he passed out on the couch, with pictures of Liz falling out of his hand.
As the date of the wedding was, the day after Liz’s 18th birthday
Waking himself up the next morning and working to get over his hangover, he tried to concentrate on Molly’s case rather than the past. He received the news that Molly was now out of recovery and moved into a private room in the ICU. He would be able to visit, and check on her progress anytime that afternoon, so since he needed time to snap out of his hangover, he knew he was in no condition to head to the hospital and face the injured girl; he puttered around his home until he knew he was full awake while also checking in with the station over his other cases. Finally, he found himself walking the halls of the hospital as he headed for Molly’s room. Walking into the private room they had put her into, he felt it so disheartening to view such a beautiful little girl looking so fragile with so many bandages all over her body. There was practically no area that the normal eye could see on Molly that wasn't covered at this point. She looked like a mummy, except for those beautiful eyes that were so piercing and so memorable…
“Molly, do you remember me?” Max asked as he came closer to the bed, so that the little girl could see who he was, and so he could take a better look at the patient.
Molly intently looked at him and through her bandages, she nodded her head.
“You went through a lot in the last 24 hours?” Max asked as he sat by the bedside and smiled at the little girl.
Molly could only look at him.
“Are you in any pain?” Max asked as he gave her a board to scribble some notes on, to indicate her answers since her throat was still raw.
Molly wrote down No.
“Have your brothers shown up to see you yet?” Max asked as he knew from his enquiries that the Davidson boys were still in the wind, and had yet to surface anywhere, and certainly not at the hospital.
Molly’s eyes took a fearful look, that worried Max.
“Do you remember what happened at home? How you got injured?” Max asked as he saw genuine fear in her eyes. “Hey, you’re going to be alright. I promise you. The doctors are first rate, and they won’t let anything happen to you… and I won’t let you go anywhere we don’t know is safe, okay?”
Molly’s eyes indicated wariness.
“Take it easy as we will find out what happened at your own time?” Max smiled as he took her hand and pressed it with his. He couldn’t explain it, but the child drew him to her, and he would do anything to make sure she was safe. “You don’t have to worry, okay?
Molly’s eyes relaxed.
“Do you remember your mother?” Max asked as he tried a different tact to elicit some information for the girl. From what he knew of the family, he knew the Davidson mother tended to be a positive person, and her death from cancer had destroyed the family, so he wondered how Molly felt about her mother.
Molly’s eyes suddenly had tears in them. “Hey, it’s okay” Max said softly. “It must have been a hard six months since she died.”
Molly only response was to close her eyes indicating that she didn't want to talk about it, and therefore Max had a sense that something was funky but he didn’t want to press it since her health and recovery was so fragile, while at the same time he promised justice for the little girl who had touched his heart. He would be getting to truth, whatever that may be and wherever it led him or her…