As always, thank you for your wonderful feedback!
saori_1902, thank you! You think Tess did it for Zan? That's my understanding also, although other readers may have a different interpretation. and I think this conversation cleared up a lot of thing between them.
keepsmiling7, you're welcome! I'm glad you liked it!
begonia9508, I didn't explore the 'Future Max conversation' because I don't think it would help Liz in any way. Tess is not interested in Liz's noble intentions; the 'Future Max conversation' would only flame Tess' sense of entitlement towards Max. I hope that cleared it up for you.
Here's the eleventh part.
Enjoy it and have a great weekend!
the love you take
is equal to the love you make.
The Beatles - The End
The blast put Liz back on the edge. The cold sweats, the palpitations, the nausea, it all came back with full force, as if her body was also undergoing a radical change. Liz took the little tape recorder out of her coat pocket… it had stopped. She rewound the tape just to see how much she had. When she pressed play, she could hear her own muffled voice and Tess’, answering her.
“The decision is my own… that’s a victory in itself.”
Looks like it’s all in here. She put the little tape recorder on the passengers’ seat and reached for her cell phone. She looked everywhere, in every pocket, under the car seat... After searching everywhere again, she felt a cold shiver at the realization that she had left her cell phone at Isabel’s. “Dammit!” She yelled, hitting the steering wheel. How could I not bring the phone with me!? What if Max wakes up?
Her stomach flipped over itself at that thought, and Liz only had enough time to open the door, before everything came out. After that, she grabbed a few paper handkerchiefs and a bottle of water that Maria’s mother always had in her car to take that awful taste out of her mouth. It didn’t take long before Liz realized that she needed more relief than that, so she grabbed a few more handkerchiefs and walked away from the car.
A few minutes later, she was back behind the steering wheel. She felt much better, other than the uncontrollable tremors and the cold sweats. Trying to fit a shaky key in the ignition was an exasperating experience but, after many attempts, she had the car up and running again.
She was in no condition to drive; her hands were trembling and she could barely feel her legs, but staying there, waiting for her nerves to go away simply wasn’t and option. She took a deep breath and counted to ten, before she put the first gear back home. She was glad that her muscle memory didn’t fail her (even if her body seemed completely out of control) and thanked Alex for all his driving lessons. Go slow, there’s no use arriving in Roswell as a corpse, she told herself, but a sense of urgency made her put the car in fourth gear. She wished she could go to fifth, but she didn't want to stress the engine more than necessary.
The darkness of the desert didn’t seem half as scary now, and before long, the lines reappeared on the road. She only slowed down when she saw a checkpoint in the distance. Liz hid the tape recorder in her pocket and had no trouble passing through; even though the dogs barked at Tess’ scent, the guards didn’t ask her any difficult questions, since she was alone.
When she entered her hometown, her foot came off the gas and the Jetta was almost in neutral. She was trembling more now than when she was near the Base with Tess and her stomach was troubling her again. The streets were completely empty. Of course, they were all dispatched to deal with the explosion at the Base, Liz thought. Roswell was just Roswell again.
Liz slid the Jetta in the dead of night to Isabel’s house. She decided to park the car on the opposite sidewalk. As soon as she did, she saw a faint light in the living room. She gulped and squinted her eyes, but it was difficult seeing inside. A cold wave passed through her and her nausea only got worse. She started looking around, but she knew that the streets and sidewalks were clean. If she had another episode, it wouldn’t go unnoticed by the neighbors. Still, it was her only choice for relief…
Against her will, she chose to stay in the car a little while longer, taking deep breaths and waiting for the nausea to pass, even if just momentarily. Walking also seemed to be a difficult task, even though she had little trouble driving. Taking into account just how shaky her legs were, crossing the road seemed about as likely as crossing the Atlantic… Liz lay back in the seat and a thought thundered in her head: I’m only going to get better once I get back in the house. Waiting meant greater suffering than the nausea that rumbled through her.
She took the key out of the ignition and opened the door. The air was cold outside, but she willed her legs out of the vehicle and got up, leaning against the car for a few seconds. She looked at the house again, and couldn’t discern any movement… Something’s definitely going on if there’s a light on in there, she thought.
As wobbly as they felt, her legs seemed able to carry her through the last part of her journey. When she took her first step forward, she thought she could discern Max inside, which increased her gait velocity. Whether it was really Max or just a trick from her sleep-deprived brain, she felt a stronger pull as she got closer to the house.
As the journey became shorter, her legs became more determined, and before long, she had her hands on the windowsill. There he was – sitting on the couch, leaning over himself with a cell phone next to him and holding another in his hands. One of those is mine, she knew, but the dim light didn’t allow her to discern which. Maria was there too: she was walking slowly around the room, keeping her eyes on the floor, and holding on to her own cell phone.
Liz felt a lump in her throat at this sight, and she wasted no time in tapping the window with three fingers. They both looked in her direction. Max leapt off the couch and opened the window, while Maria ran to the front door. He gasped when he saw her up close, without the glass between them. She reached her arms out to him. The irony of pulling away from his touch less than a month before wasn’t lost on her. He fought to pull her in and Liz fought right with him, forcing her exhausted legs to climb the windowsill. She wrapped her arms around his neck, feeling like a castaway who had reached terra firma after an eternity lost at sea. With their last impulse, they both fell to the ground. She was finally home!
“Are you okay?” He murmured, wrapping her in the warmest, tightest embrace she had ever experienced.
“I’m okay, I’m alright… Everything’s okay,” she assured him. “I’m very sorry about the cell phone, I completely forgot about it here… I wasn't thinking… I’m so sorry... I didn’t mean to scare you, Max, I swear!”
“I’m so glad you’re okay!” Max mumbled again, holding her even closer. She took a deep breath and smiled, snuggling against him.
“Alright, get up you two!”
Liz looked up and saw Maria standing next to them with one cell phone in each hand. Deluca set the phones aside and helped her friends off the floor. Liz knew that her best friend was on edge: even if Liz didn’t know her since forever, her cold hands and tense position would give her away.
“Is it my turn now?” She asked Max, pointing at Liz.
“Sure, go ahead,” he said, clearing his throat.
Maria didn’t waste any time and hugged her best friend, as if they hadn’t seen each other in years.
“What do you think you’re doing, Liz Parker?! It's a quarter to three. You scared us all to death. Don’t you know we live in a wonderful age where people can communicate with each other through wireless phones?” She said, sounding like Liz’s mother.
“I know… I wasn’t thinking straight and completely forgot about it. I’m sorry,” Liz said. Even Maria’s mock lecture sounded good right now. “Here’s the key to the Jetta. I’m sorry for that, too, but the car is fine. Not a scratch on it, no broken windows, no biological fluids, nothing.” Liz said. Maria frowned; she seemed confused by her remark. She took the key and put it in her pocket. Liz could see that her friend still had that ‘I don’t know whether to punch you or hug you’ look on her face. “You can slap me, if you want. I kinda deserve it…” she said.
“You’re still shaking…” Maria stated, looking at her more carefully.
Liz took a deep breath and nodded. “It’ll pass, eventually…”
“Is that sweat?” Maria asked, pointing at her pants. “Yeah!”
Five more minutes and it would’ve been something else, Liz mused.
“Okay, what the hell happened to you?” She asked, her mock anger now vanished from her face.
Hell is an excellent word for it, Liz thought.
“Com on, sit down and tell us,” Max said, leading her to the sofa, keeping his arm around her shoulders. Max and Maria sat next to her, waiting for Liz to tell her tale. But as Liz looked around at the otherwise empty house, she got confused.
“Where’s everybody else?”
“They're out there looking for you”, Max stated.
“Which reminds me,” Maria started, getting her cell phone, “I gotta call them back.” Liz remained silent, while Maria called Michael. “Yeah, it’s me. Call it a night, Spaceboy. Liz is here… Yep, safe and sound, in one piece… well, sort of… Okay, see ya.” She put the phone away and added: “They’re on their way back, they won’t even spend time looking for Tess.”
Liz felt a rush of cold nausea again at the mention of the alien girl.
“Are you sure you’re okay,” Max asked. “You’re trembling all over…”
“I’ll be fine,” she said. When she looked at him again, she felt all the blood vanish from her. Even in that faint light she could see them well – Max’s bloodshot eyes. He’s been crying, she thought. She wanted to hug him and never let go again, but that would just add more fuel to the fire. “It’s just excess adrenaline, Max, I promise! I’ll be fine,” she said, opening a smile. “I know where Tess is,” Liz added, waiting for the sky to fall on her head. Not knowing how to begin telling them about her night with Tess, she picked the remote and turned the TV on.
Thania St. John again, to inform you about a terrible accident that resulted in an explosion at Rogers Air Force Base, a few miles outside of Roswell. According to our latest information, the total number of casualties is still uncertain, but over fifty people have been confirmed dead by the local authorities. We’re gathering here waiting for Colonel Dougan; he’ll be here shortly to give a press conference. This is Thania St. John, reporting from Rogers Air Force Base.
Liz gulped at the grim scenario behind the reporter; there seemed to be no Base left to speak of. Did Tess do all that, she wondered.
“You drove Tess to the Base,” Maria asked, clutching her car key.
“Tess led me, I merely drove the car,” she replied, hanging her head low.
“Why would you do that?” Max chimed in.
Although his tone was non-accusatory, Liz could hear the unasked question in his voice: why would you get in a car with a killer, that’s what he really wanted to know.
She sighed. “It’s complicated… I didn’t know why, at first, I felt… compelled.” Max tensed at her words, and Liz could tell what he was thinking. “Eventually, I figured out why being with her was so important; a lot of things between us needed to come out...” Max was still tense. He thinks she mindwarped me, Liz realized. “I needed to tell her many things, you know, face to face,” she added.
“So, what did you talk about?” Maria asked, curious.
“Oh, it was too long a conversation to be repeated. But I got something you may want to listen to. Or not… It’s kinda painful, really.”
“It was so painful that you’re still shaking from it?” Maria asked.
Liz took the little tape recorder from her coat pocket and searched for a pivotal moment in her conversation with Tess to share. But as soon as she pressed play, she realized that it wasn’t the right moment in the conversation and pressed stop.
Her action was abrupt enough for Max to notice. “What happened?”
“You can listen to it some other time-” Liz tried to deflect, but Max refused to let it go.
“What did she say to you?” He asked. “You can’t trust anything she says...”
Liz could detect a barely controlled rage in his voice and she reached heavily for the recorder again and pressed play. “Don’t think he didn’t torture himself wondering if you had ever loved him at all. You know… I will never get my husband back… but you sure as hell don’t deserve his love…”
Gently, Max reached over and pressed stop. “You know what she was trying to do,” he asked, not really asking.
“Yeah, she was trying to make me see the error of my ways,” Liz sighed.
“More like twisting the knife inside, so you’d feel guilty, miserable and useless for an eternity.”
Liz frowned. Does he think I’m being sarcastic?
Max got up and started pacing around the room, like some caged tiger in a zoo. “I knew she was gonna mess with your mind. How did you get to the Base, anyway?! The streets were full of guards!”
“She mindwarped them,” Liz said.
“Of course, but the point is that her previous mindwarp had failed, so she must have done something different this time,”
“She mindwarped the dogs, too.”
Max sat down, abruptly, as if he had found the secret. “Liz, she can’t mindwarp dogs! She probably mindwarped you.”
“Believe me, she messed with their canine brains; there were four German Shepherds around us and they didn’t even sniff the car.”
“So, why didn’t she do that before?” Max asked.
“I don’t know,” Liz shook her head. “But I don’t think she mindwarped me then.”
“What do you mean by ‘then’?” Max asked, as if scared to know the answer.
Liz took a long, deep breath. “I know that Tess mindwarped me in a specific moment,” Liz confessed under her breath.
“I knew we should’ve turned that monster in,” Maria said, letting her anger flare up in her voice.
“What did she make you see,” Max asked in the same hushed tone.
“She made me think that I was strangling her to death… It was stupid, I knew it was a mindwarp,” she added, quickly.
“How could you know that?!” Maria asked.
“Because the narrative didn’t make any sense,” Liz explained. “I would never kill Tess in your mom’s car! It’s ridiculous!”
“What else did she do?” Maria asked, taking Liz’s trembling hands in her own in a maternal gesture.
Liz freed herself from it, not feeling worthy of her friend’s tenderness at that moment. Even though the mindwarp had made her a little nervous, she had known it wasn’t real, but the moments after that one had been real enough and way scarier. Only then did she understand just how close she had come of killing Tess. “Where’s the baby?” She asked Max, changing the subject.
“He’s sleeping, unlike the rest of us,” Max said, pointing to Isabel’s bedroom door.
At that moment, another door creaked open. Jesse crossed the room with feline speed, while the rest of the gang walked in much slower.
“Is he still asleep?” Isabel mouthed to her brother. Max nodded and they all came in.
Liz was surprised when she saw Kyle, Michael and Valenti walking in silently.
“I knew you’d be back safe and sound,” Kyle said with a wide smile, putting a friendly arm on her shoulder. “I told Max not to worry-”
“Kyle,” Max said, raising his voice a little and shaking his head.
“Right, right... The most important thing is that you are safe!”
“Thanks, Kyle!” Liz said, returning his friendly gesture.
“Where’s Tess?” Michael asked, charging towards Liz like a guard dog.
“I’m fine, Michael, thanks for asking,” she said with a laugh.
“Yeah, we’re all glad you’re fine,” he stated, losing some of his tension, but not his composure. “But she won’t be. So, where is she?”
“Tess is dead, Michael. You can relax!” Max said, making his friend sit on the couch.
“Are you really okay, I mean, did Tess do something to you?” Isabel asked, moving next to Liz.
“Why would you ask?” Liz said, almost in a whisper.
“You’re trembling,” Isabel said.
Liz stuffed her hands in her pockets, and smiled sheepishly. “It’s just excess adrenaline,” she said, trying to minimize the whole ordeal.
“Would you like some camomile tea?”
Liz nodded. “Thanks, Isabel!”
“So, what happened between you and Tess?” Valenti asked in a hushed tone.
“I have it all on tape, actually,” Liz said, pointing to the recorder on the coffee table. “She thought it was a good idea to stop the military from searching for aliens, so she took it upon herself to make sure that we wouldn’t be bothered again.”
“What made her think that was a good idea?” Valenti asked.
“That’s what I said. I tried to change her mind, make her come back with me, but she was stuck in her ways,” Liz said, thinking about the explosion.
Valenti smiled gently, and murmured: “You’re a good person, Liz.”
You don’t know the half of it, Liz mused, feeling the pocketknife again.
The sound of faint cries interrupted them. Max didn’t waste any time and went to check on his son.
Liz sat down next to Maria who was sitting next to Michael. “You have no idea of how hellish this place became when Max woke up to find out you were missing,” Maria murmured.
Liz took a deep breath – lucky for her, Isabel came by with her warm cup of tea. “Thank you!”
“No problem,” Isabel replied with a smile.
Liz blew on it to cool it a bit while she gathered her thoughts. “I saw his eyes… I know he was crying before I returned.”
“It’s pretty much all he could do,” Michael mumbled in his laconic tone, putting his arm around Maria.
“Yeah, we probably shouldn’t be telling you this, but it was almost impossible to keep Max from the search party” Maria whispered. Probably the same desperation that led him to the White Room, Liz thought as she took a sip of her tea. “Isabel had to make him promise he wouldn’t leave the house and Max only agreed to stay here when Michael swore to him that he would kill Tess on sight.” Maria said.
“Of course he couldn’t have left. He had to stay with his son,” Liz said.
Maria looked at her through the corner of one eye, with a smile that needed no explanation. “Babe, when he found out you were gone, I’m pretty sure he forgot he ever had a son!”
A smile erupted from Liz's soul – still aching from the pain she had cause the one who loved her so much.
“What I still don’t understand is,” Michael’s voice broke through the silence, “what the hell was Tess thinking taking you with her? What the hell was she trying to do?”
“Michael, calm down,” Maria said, hugging him.
“I’ve been asking myself that,” Max said in a hushed tone, closing the door behind him. “He’s fine, he’s sleeping again. He probably woke up because of the noise” he added, when the group looked in his direction.
“Well, Tess wanted to take the military’s attention away from herself and from us,” Liz said.
“How would blowing up the entire Base help her accomplish that?” Max wondered. Liz could see the tension in his jaw and feel it in his voice. “Are you sure she mindwarped you only once?”
“I don’t see anybody in a uniform knocking at our door. Do you? There are no helicopters flying over Roswell, either.” Liz said, flatly.
“Yeah, and you were with her long enough to have Stockholm syndrome,” Max replied, in the same tone.
They both knew that the U.S. military was too big to be squashed to oblivion by a single person (even if she was an alien). Liz hoped Tess was right, though. It would be nice to finally be free from persecution.
“She mindwarped me only once. I’m sure of it,” Liz said, in a gentler tone. She moved to the window and looked outside. The pocketknife was already hidden, but she felt an old flutter in her stomach and the need to hide her face from Max. “She made me believe that I would actually suffocate her… in the Jetta…”
Max came close to her and murmured: “It’s okay, Liz. That’s exactly what she wanted: to mess with your mind. I don’t pretend to know why… maybe just to see how you would react…”
“The thing is: I did think about her like that… I thought about sticking a syringe full of air in her arm, I thought about pumping her full of water, I thought about sticking the pocketknife in her carotid artery…” She turned to face him and said, in a trembling voice: “These thoughts weren’t mindwarps… And Tess knew how it felt to want to-” She didn’t dare to say the word now. “Well, I’m sure she wanted to do the same to me for all this time…” She felt strange saying those things to Max; the words rolled off her tongue with a mixture of disgust and relief.
Max took the tea cup from her hand and put it on the windowsill. Then, he put his arm around her and caught her cold, trembling hands inside his, murmuring gently: “Liz, it’s okay, you didn’t do anything wrong. Look at me,” he said, turning her around. It took her a while, but she ended up facing him. “Your hands are clean. That’s what’s important!”
She turned to the window and gazed upon the parked Jetta across the street – bearing no sign of assault on its windows… Her strangled breath gathered strength inside her chest; only then did she feel strong enough to open her gate.
“Just between you and me: every one of us has thought about killing Tess, one day or another,” he said, holding her in his arms.
Liz gulped. “He was ready to kill me in the Granilith chamber… Heck, he would’ve killed me now, if I hadn’t told him the baby and I were linked!” Tess’ words rang in her ears, clearer now than ever before. She turned away from Max when she felt her stomach do another back flip. She neared the windowsill, preparing for another possible accident.
“Are you okay,” Max asked, worried.
“I just need a bit of fresh air,” she murmured, opening the window.
“Liz, I know that look, I’ve seen it before. Michael had that exact expression right after he killed Pierce. I know you feel guilty over this, somehow, but it isn’t your fault. You did nothing wrong!” Max’s words were doing wonders for her and the cool air helped, even though it made her shiver even more due to her cold clothes. Max put his arms around her and said in a low, but determined tone: “There is no blood on your hands, so there should be no guilt on your conscience.”
Liz knew he was right, even though her body still seemed out of her control. She took a deep breath and held him close, reveling in his embrace.
“Here, let me help you with that,” Max said, gently. He waved his hands over her and the clothes dried out immediately.
“Thank you!” She said with an open smile. She put her hand in her pocket and took the little folded blade. “If it hadn’t been for this knife, I would’ve done something really stupid tonight...
She saw him holding his breath for a few seconds, letting the implication of her words sink in, and then smiled again: “Well, I’m glad it was there to protect you when you needed it.”
“I’ve been walking around with this in my pocket for too long... It’s time to give it back to you.” Max held the little blade in his hands for a few seconds, looking at it with an air of reverence, before he put it in his own pocket.
“I realized that I have been focusing on the wrong things…” Liz let that statement float for a few seconds. Max didn’t agree or disagree. “And I think you should forgive yourself as well,” she added.
He kissed the top of her head and murmured in an anguished tone: “You’re right!” Holding her closer, he added: “There was a moment I thought you weren’t coming back to me… I thought she would take her revenge on me by stealing you from me forever.”
“We’ve been through enough to know that would never happen,” Liz assured him. “It’s time to think about our future.” She said with a smile, intertwining her fingers with his in a firm grip.
“I’m sure you guys have a lot to talk about and lots of making out to do, so I think it’s time you go home and get to it,” Isabel said in a playful tone. Max and Liz looked at her, confused. “You heard me, come on, guys! This has been a really terrible day and my husband and I would like to get some sleep, and you clearly need some as well, so, come on, it’s time to go.” She said, gently shooing them away.
“You’re right, Isabel,” Liz said, seeing her nodding in approval, “I really need a good bath and a good night sleep,” she added to Max in a lower voice.
“As much as we can, anyway,” Max agreed with a smile.
The others agreed that it was time to go home and they started saying their goodnights. “So, are you really okay, is it really over?” Kyle asked Liz.
“It’s really over. Time for a new chapter,” Liz smiled.
“Good for you! Those who are free of resentful thoughts surely find peace.”
“Did Buddha say that?” She asked. Kyle smiled and nodded. Liz sighed. “The man was onto something, wasn’t he?”
“Yes! I’m still a work in progress, though,” he said. Liz wanted to tell him what she found from Tess; how her feelings for him made Tess spare his life, but she decided to wait for a better opportunity.
“We all are,” Max agreed.
“Well, see you later, guys,” Kyle said, moving towards his father, who waved goodbye to them all.
“Good night, guys.” Max and Liz said, almost in unison.
“Are your parents still away,” Max asked Liz.
“Yeah, they’ll be in Dexter ‘till tomorrow,” she assured him.
“Can I come over?”
“Of course, but what about the baby?”
“Oh, he’ll be fine with my parents, don’t worry,” he said with a laugh. “You should have seen them before we left: they were so desperate to hold an infant in their arms again. If it hadn’t been for (all) the crisis, they would’ve kept him there with them.”
“Are you sure about this?”
“Absolutely! I think we’ve earned our good night sleep, don’t you?”
Liz accepted his answer and put her arm around him, saying: “Let’s go, then.”
Max went to Isabel’s room to get his son and Maria moved next to Liz.
“Wait a second: did I just hear you right? He said he was coming to sleep at your place?”
“Yes, that’s what he said,” Liz confirmed. She couldn’t run now, and she knew it. She would have to tell her best friend everything.
“Since when are you guys sleeping together, and why didn’t you tell me?!”
“Relax, okay? There’s nothing to tell, I assure you. All we do is sleep.” Liz said, in a calm tone.
“Are you sure about that?” Maria said, still not convinced.
“I’m positive,” Liz repeated.
“Isabel’s right, we should get going. You guys can talk about that some other time,” Michael said. “Maxwell, do you want me to take the baby to your parents’ house?” He asked, when Max came out of the room.
“Thanks, Michael, I’ll do it,” Max said in a low voice.
“You really ought to get him some decent baby clothes, Max,” Maria whispered.
Max nodded. “That’s what I’ll do first thing in the morning,” he said. “Go ahead, I’ll meet you later, okay?” He said to Liz.
She nodded and kissed him as if she would not see him again for a decade and turned away to say goodnight to Isabel and Jesse. After that, she joined Maria and Michael in the Jetta for a ride home.
It didn’t take Liz long to notice Maria’s smirk and her questioning looks. After the girls said goodnight to Michael, she got back in the car and Liz asked: “So, what’s up between you and Michael? Are you guys finally back together, or what?”
“Oh no. Don’t even think about changing the subject, Lizzy!” Maria smirked again, looking at her.
“What do you mean?!” Liz smiled back, realizing what her friend’s mischievous grin was really all about.
“Well, call me naive,” Maria said, turning to her best friend, “but that didn’t look like a friendly ‘we’re just sleeping in the same bed’ kind of kiss.”
“Oh, I knew you weren’t gonna let this one go,” Liz mumbled, holding her head between her hands.
“Look, I’m sorry, but it’s too big a stretch of the imagination to think that you and Max can be in the same bed just slumbering,” Maria laughed. “I know you didn’t want to talk about this in front of anybody else, and now isn’t the time, either, but don’t worry: I have a big bowl of ice cream in the freezer waiting for us tomorrow.”
“When was the last time you slept through the night?” Liz asked, in a serious tone.
Maria shrugged. “Yesterday...”
“I haven’t slept through the night since Future Max showed up,” Liz confessed. Maria looked at her best friend and nearly stopped the car.
“Liz…” Maria started.
“Max hasn’t slept through the night since he got out of the White Room,” Liz added. “One night we were talking in my bed and, for some reason we can’t quite explain, we just fell asleep.”
“You fell asleep?!”
“Yeah! It was the first eight-hour night for both of us in a long while! Something that had become a distant memory, a luxury... and, you know, you shouldn’t change a winning team, so he just started coming over to sleep… Maria, watch out! You just drove by my house!” Liz said, pointing at the Crashdown.
Maria swerved the car and just turned around, parking in front of the Crashdown. “Sorry, that was a little distracting,” she laughed, when they got out of the Jetta.
Liz knew that her friend was still processing everything that had happened that night, but she didn’t want Maria to feel bad, or guilty about anything. “I’m sorry I scared you tonight… I really didn’t mean to.”
“That’s okay… Now I understand why you woke me up in the middle of the night… You’ve had some rough months, and-”
“And everything is okay now, and it will go from good to better. That's what I’ll fight for. That’s my final decision! So… just flash me one of those Maria smiles, okay?” Maria opened a big smile and hugged her best friend tight. “Yeah, I love you too, but Max is almost here, and I still have to take a shower,” Liz laughed. “By the way, when the sleeping cure is over, I don’t want you anywhere near us.”
Maria started giggling at the implication. “You have my word! We won’t bother you again, sweetie.”
“Good! Keep that bowl of ice cream in the freezer, because we’re going to need it soon, okay?”
“You got it!”
Liz saw Maria driving away and entered her home, taking a deep breath, ready for the next stage of her life.