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Aftermath of War Ep XXIII Mi/L/Z ADULT 4/29/5 COMPLETE W/AN
Posted: Tue Mar 15, 2005 2:32 am
DISCLAIMER: Characters portrayed in the following work belong to Melinda Metz, Jason Katims and UPN. Episode IV contains Got You Where I Want You by The Flys. Episode VII contains Forgotten by Linkin Park. Episode XI contains Trouble by Coldplay. Episode XII contains My December by Linkin Park Episode XVI contains Polyamorous by Breaking Benjamin. Episode XVIII contains Somewhere I Belong by Linkin Park. No infringement intended.
SUMMARY: Michael and Liz are all that are left after the others have died and while they work to stick together '->, they run into someone unexpected for a sort of reunion.
CATEGORY: PolarTrucker - Michael/Liz/Zan
SPOILERS: Season 1 and Season 2 through Viva Las Vegas.
NOTES: If I'm going to use the name Polar Trucker... I might as well write a PolarTrucker story. '-)
WARNING: This story is not for the squeamish. Deals with character death and unconventional couples and threesomes.
NewAN: Repost. I completed the story but never finished posting it here.
Aftermath of War Episode I
Liz Parker felt the tears pool where her sunglasses rested on her high cheekbones before rolling down her cheeks and dripping off her chin. A soaked Kleenex clutched in her hand, stained with tears and mascara. Before her lay the remains of a battle. Nine fresh graves lie in a row in the Roswell cemetery. Nine teenagers slain in battle for control of a throne in a galaxy far away.
This was the end of the last funeral of the day. It was best to bury the charred remains quickly. No need to drag it out for the surviving family members and friends. No need to keep twisting the knife in everyone's hearts.
Early that morning, Alexander Whitman and Maria DeLuca had shared a service as a result of their families being so close... and Amy DeLuca not being able to foot the bill for even the solo service on her own. The Whitmans lost their only son, if only they knew where their daughter was. Amy lost the one reason she had for living in the past 17 years.
The Evans funerals had taken place after that. Max, Isabel and Vilandra Evans. Philip and Diane Evans had lent their name to the twin of their daughter. Some girl with her face and no last name. If only they knew the truth about what had happened, maybe then they would not have been so generous.
Then Sheriff Valenti had buried the rest in a quadruple service. James Kyle Valenti III lay in a grave next to his adopted sister, Tess Harding. Avaria Harding lay next to them, her last name borrowed from her duplicate. Rathard's grave next to hers without a last name. Michael Guerin had refused to lend his name to the look alike, Rath, as was done for Lannie and Ava with theirs.
Liz felt her father squeeze her shoulder as he turned to go with her mother. They knew that she needed a little more time with her friends' graves. Liz reached out to take Michael's hand from where he stood a ways off beside her, but he shook her off violently. It didn't stop her from trying again. She hadn't seen him cry all day... or at all since it had happened. She knew he needed to let some of it out or else go crazy.
"We should have been there." Michael hissed at her. He kept thinking about how much this was his fault. They were humans, healers, mind-warpers and dream-walkers. He was the commander, he was the destroyer. He could have stopped the carnage before it began if only he had been there. "I should have been there."
"Michael..." Liz tried to quiet him as the remaining people were staring at them. That's all they needed; more stares and whispers.
"They should have waited for us. We out-numbered them to begin with but I could have helped." He insisted, not even turning to face her or bothering to shake her off. The emotions that he had shut off three days before began to surface. "If Max had just waited until I could be there."
"It's not your fault." She whispered and hugged his arm. She saw the Evans just a ways off. They had just lost both their children and seen the body of someone who could have been a child of theirs placed into the ground for all eternity. She looked away to stop seeing the devastated expressions on their faces. "I think that... that if we had been there, we would have died too."
"Then we should be down there with them. We should have died with them..." Michael croaked out and pointed to the fresh graves at his feet. Dead. It suddenly became clear, the knowledge bringing him to his knees and reaching for Liz as the nearest source of comfort. He held onto her tight around the waist and cried silently. It had just hit him how alone he was.
He was Michael Guerin, alien, stranded on planet Earth without any family or friends to speak of. He was quite possibly the sole Antarian survivor of an interstellar war. Michael had considered himself alone all his life but in this moment, where he realized that he was truly alone, he was scared. Michael thought back to all those times that he had yelled at Max to take charge and Max had yelled back, telling him to take the damn throne if he thought he could do better. Now... if there was any Antar left, it was probably up to Michael to save it... alone.
Liz didn't mind that her blouse was getting soaked through with Michael's tears. She ran her fingers through his hair and let her own tears slide down her face. She was beginning to feel numb. Max, the man she had loved, was dead at the hands of the dupes. Not all of them, just Rath and Lannie. Ava had tried to warn them. Still he was gone and so were her best friends.
Michael felt hands touch his shoulders in passing and heard murmured condolences to Liz. Everyone in town was at the funeral and they all thought it was sad that only two of a tight-knit group of friends remained because of some senseless incident in the desert. There were rumors about the other three kids involved. Isabel had a twin that no one had known about; possibly separated at birth. Mr. Harding must have been messing around or maybe his ex-wife had custody of Tess's twin.
There were so many theories on where Michael and his 'brother' came from. Wasn't Michael Guerin the illegitimate son of that Tucson tycoon, Charles Dupree? Some young girl became pregnant with twins and gave them up for adoption. Probably got separated in the Social Services shuffle. Isn't strange how they all died together? Poor Michael probably never even met his brother before he died.
"Michael, come on. We should go..." Liz finally said as there were so few people left. Who knew how long they had been there after the last burial. He got to his feet and wiped his eyes, nodding his head. He found himself slightly embarrassed to have let go like he had and hugged on Liz.
"Sorry about your shirt." He whispered and started off to his bike. He just wanted to go home and start being completely alone.
"Michael..." She called after him. He paused to let her catch up. Liz knew she should really talk to her parents first but surely under the circumstances they wouldn't mind. "You shouldn't be alone now... I don't want you riding that thing when you're like this."
"You trying to be Max now?" It came out harsher than he had intended. Mentioning Max had made his throat tighten up. "You gonna start telling me what to do now?"
"I'm just trying to be your friend. You're the only one I have left." Liz's face threatened to crumple into fresh tears. They faced off for quite a while until the Evans made their way over to them.
"Liz, honey." Those were the only words that Mrs. Evans was able to speak before hugging the young girl who had brought out the best in her son. "Don't be afraid to stop by... OK?"
"OK." Liz nodded and then hugged Mr. Evans somewhat awkwardly. In all the times that she had been to the Evans home, she hadn't really spoken to the man. Sure there was that time that she and Max had gotten caught after spending the night out in the desert but... lectures and punishments don't count as a meeting.
"Michael, you too." Diane pressed, touching his shoulder lightly. She wanted to hug the young man she'd always seen as an addition to her family but knew he would be uncomfortable with it. "Philip and I will always welcome the both of you into our home."
Her shoulders hitched with the fresh sobs that mentioning her half empty home always brought in the past few days. Philip led his sobbing wife away to their car to make the trip to their quiet house. No more would its walls hear the bickering of their teenage children. No more would Max's quiet laughter grace the ears of his parents, who were grateful for the rare treat. Nor would their daughter's bright smile light the room as she told them of something that one of her friends had said or done. No more wondering where their children were at night. The would forever rest next to each other where they could be visited with flowers and kind words.
"Michael, come on. We'll put your bike in the back of the truck." Liz nudged him lightly. She needed him to go home with her and her parents. Even if they had rarely spoken before, she needed him where she could see him. He was the only friend she had left.
"I'm alone." Michael firmly stated and made to get on his bike. He was going to go home and... do what? Listen to the last ten messages that Maria and Isabel had left on his machine? Read the new copy of Ulysses that Max had gotten him for his birthday because the other one had fallen apart? Stare at the rock that Tess had instructed him not to blow up because it was pretty?
"Don't pull that crap now, Michael." Liz pleaded, her bottom lip quivering. "You are not alone. I am still here and I'll be damned if I let you just go off and pretend you were never here."
"What? Am I your next project?" Michael hissed. He just wanted her to go away. She was a reminder of everyone they had both lost. "You and Maria, always working something on everyone but I think it was just you that did it. Teach Alex how to fit in, show Kyle that not everything is about him and football, teach Max how to love, show Isabel how to trust, prove to Tess that you aren't a threat... Now what? You gonna teach me how to what?"
"If anyone learned anything from me... it was because that's what they were looking for. What do you want from me?" Liz whispered and stared at him hard. "I just don't think you should be alone right now."
"Why?" He glared at her. "Are you trying to be the gracious widow, now?"
"No. My motives are purely selfish. I don't want you to run away from this. If you leave... I'm afraid that I'll forget. As much as you think none of us needed you... we did." She raised her voice to him. "I... I need you now so I don't go crazy. If you leave then I will be alone." He turned away from her, so she continued to plead with him. "No one else will understand if I need to talk about this. You are the only one left who knows..."
"Fine, if you'll just shut up!" Michael wheeled his bike in the direction of the Parker truck. He stopped and waited for her to stop being stunned and follow. The way he saw it, she was making some sense and what kind of jerk would he be to take her comfort and not give her any in return? If it made her feel better to have him in her house then, fine, he'd go.
Without even questioning his daughter, Jeff helped Michael put his bike in the back and then they all climbed into the cabin of the truck. The silence was thick for the whole ride to the Crashdown. When they arrived, both Michael and Liz sat there and stared at the sign. It was reminder of that day three days before.
[They had been working that day. Max, Isabel and Tess were ruining their dinner appetites when Ava stumbled in. Rath and Lannie were back with a vengeance. Max told both Michael and Liz to stay and finish their shifts and to come when they could. He was going to get the others.
Michael and Liz had just finished their shift when the ambulances rushed by. Liz never hesitated to hop onto the bike behind Michael before they were off after it. The ball of fire was visible from town. By the time anyone got there, they were all dead. They killed each other.
The Sheriff made sure the coroner understood what his job was concerning the nine bodies. Everyone knew how they died, no need to do an autopsy or any tests. Surprisingly enough, he never questioned the orders.
The coroner pried a pocketknife out of Max's hand later and returned it to Liz. Nothing could have stopped her tears then. That knife had gone back and forth between them since sophomore year and now it would never go back to Max.]
Michael broke the spell and led Liz around the back to the apartment. They followed her parents into the apartment and they sat on the couch. Staring at the blank TV screen was how they spent the next hour.
"Kids, let's go. The Whitmans are expecting us, and then we're going to the Valentis." Nancy Parker whispered to the two shadows that occupied her couch.
"What about the Evans?" Michael and Liz asked at the same time.
"The Evans too. Come on." Jeff nodded and motioned for his daughter to join him.
The rest of the night went by in a blur of sitting and staring at three different living rooms while various people tried to console the two teenagers. Murmurs of 'things will get better, you'll see' and 'it's not the end of the world, it will be alright' and 'we're here for you if you need someone' and a couple of 'it was God's will that you were working that night.'
It was in the Evans' living room that Liz completely broke down with only Michael to notice and give her the comfort that she had given him at the cemetery. Her tears soaked the gray tie he wore, a gift from Maria, and through his black shirt, a gift from Isabel as a comment on his lack of taste. Michael had learned to comfort Liz over the many times where he was the only one thinking straight. When she thought he was in trouble, when he stole her journal, when Max had been kidnapped, when Max was in New York. He stroked her back and pat her head, trying not to mind when she squeezed his middle too tight.
Liz just couldn't take it anymore. She had been strong for three days, not counting her outburst when the coroner gave her back Max's knife. Looking at Max's graduation pictures had been too much. That gentle smile shone down from the framed portrait sized photo on the Evans living room wall and reminded her of all that he was.
Max the unselfish healer that risked himself to save her, that punished himself for not saving one man and risking himself yet again to heal all those sick children in Phoenix. Max the king, the leader and self-appointed father to his small family of aliens. Max the lover, refusing to hate Liz for the charade she had pulled with him. He saw right through her lies, time after time, and had forgiven her for her production with Kyle.
Liz clung to Michael for dear life as no one seemed to notice that she was falling apart in front of them. Michael didn't know what to do anymore and so he did the one thing that he knew would help him. He lifted her up with him and they walked into the back of the Evans home to Max's room.
As the scent of his friend soaked into him, he felt her relax a little. He spoke just a little to raise the silence. "Why is it when someone's alive, their smell isn't something that you notice? But when they're gone, it's all that's left. It's on everything they own... and you can't help but pick up on it."
Liz just nodded stiffly against him and let him guide her. Closing the door, Michael led her to the bed and sat them both down. It was so much better to be where Max was Max the most often. Max's cologne still lingered in the air, watered down Stetson. He was always afraid to reek of cologne and watered down even the cheap bottles.
"I feel numb, Michael. I know that I just cried my eyes out but now I feel empty." Liz's scratchy voice reached his ears. "They are all gone but all I had to do was see his face and I lost it."
"I know." He nodded and hugged her tighter. "It was all about Max, whether we knew it or not."
"Yeah. I loved them all but I did it all for Max." Liz lifted her head to rest it on Michael's shoulder. "Every lie I told, every risk I took was all for Max."
"I... I loved Max. He was more than a friend or brother to me." Michael whispered, his eyes filling with tears for the second time that day. "I looked up to him, I envied him, I wanted to be him. I wanted everything that he had and not much more."
"I miss him so much already."
"Me too." He rested his head on hers, their breath mingled for a moment before Liz lifted her head to look at him. She wanted to make him feel better and so, she kissed him. A sweet, innocent kiss on the lips, one grieving friend to another.
As their faces stayed so close after parting that neither could see anything more than each others noses, their eyes closed and lips returned to feel that light pressure that had somehow temporarily lessened the pain. Liz curled her fingers around his tie, refusing to let him go away. The pressure between their lips increased as their kiss became hard, crushing and urgent.
Their breath puffed against each other's faces and then mingled as mouths opened, seeking and receiving just a bit more to stave off the overwhelming grief. Tongues met and curled around each other, caressing and tasting. Liz's fingers stabbed into his hair, keeping him close as she lay back on the bed.
Michael found himself hovering over her small body, his hands fondling her breasts through her shirt, soft moans escaping her lips. One of her legs lifted and wrapped around his waist, pulling him closer to her.
Liz didn't know what she was doing but it felt so good. His mouth burned her throat, sucking at her pulse. She arched into his hands. An ache formed deep within her body and it needed to be relieved. She reached down and pulled her skirt up. Her leg tightened around his body, pressing his very maleness up against her most female part.
Thinking had shut down some time ago. Liz felt as if she had blinked and suddenly her blouse was unbuttoned, her bra up over her breasts and Michael sucked hungrily at her nipples as if he had never had a meal before. Her hands were inside his shirt, his tie dangled from his neck, still wrapped around his collar. His hand rubbed against her heat through her panty hose and underwear.
Without hesitation, her hands found themselves at his waist, unbuckling his belt and undoing his fly in frantic movements. Shoving the slacks down over his hips, she pushed his boxers down over his throbbing erection. Lifting himself off her, Michael reached under her skirt and pulled both hose and underwear down her legs, stopping at her ankles before resuming his position between her legs.
Without preamble, he pushed inside her. Liz yelped at the sudden tearing inside her body and the fullness now between her legs. Michael's mouth covered hers as he began thrusting in and out of her receptive body. Every moan and groan forced the pain further and further away. Every contraction of muscles, arching of a back, tight grip of a hand, squeeze of soft flesh... brought with it a pleasure never before known to either of them.
Their release was swift upon them and for those brief moments, the pain was gone. There was nothing but that feeling of flying into the stars. Michael poured himself into her as her walls closed tight around him. Liz gasped when she felt the warmth spread through her middle. Then it was over and just like the initial kiss, it gave brief reprieve but... the pain that returned in its wake was even greater and more devastating.
As Michael hovered over Liz, his tie stuck to his sweaty chest, blood dried on the left side of his ribs and his right butt cheek where her fingernails had dug in upon her release, his lungs filled with air to return him to his normal state of mind.
Liz shivered when cold air hit her bared nipples, rising and falling with her breathing as it slowly returned to normal. Hickeys already began forming on her pale flesh, a bruise on her thigh where his fingers had gripped her so tight, and slight soreness where his body had hit hers over and over again and still remained joined with hers.
Finally, he pulled out but didn't move off of her just yet. He looked between their bodies as if to make sure he knew just what he had done. Cursing under his breath, he pushed himself away from her. Michael thought he was going to be sick when he saw the blood where his body had joined to hers in their desperate act of comfort.
They righted their clothes in silence, Michael doing what he could to rid them of the evidence of their act of need. The awkwardness was suffocating and as they looked at anything but each other, the shame slammed into them full force. This was Max's room. They had betrayed their loved one in his own bed. All his belongings had bore witness to their act of shame. His clock, his phone, his computer, his Moby poster, his desk...
Liz felt the tears burn down her face as she hugged herself. Michael sat with his hands braced on his knees, afraid to look anywhere but at his feet. They both kept waiting for a lightning bolt to come and strike them both dead but it never came.
The door opened suddenly, admitting Diane in the suddenly too small room. "I wondered where you two got off to." She whispered and then she realized that they were both so quiet and withdrawn... and in her dead son's bedroom. "Liz, your parents are looking for you."
"OK." Liz nodded and stood, blinking at her soreness. Michael rose to his feet and on his own shaky legs, he guided his friend out into the house.
"It's so peaceful in his room, isn't it? Almost like another world." Diane murmured as she shut the door. "In Isabel's room, I can hear her chatter and laughter but in Max's room... I feel him stronger somehow... maybe it's because Max never used words to express himself. The two of you were his best friends and you need to help each other get over this..."
Liz tuned out Mrs. Evans' words as she blindly allowed Michael to lead her out to her parents and then out to the truck. In the blink of an eye, she was home and her mother was guiding her to her bedroom. Mrs. Parker may have asked if Liz needed anything and Liz may have shook her head in response but Liz wasn't too sure of anything anymore.
Michael wouldn't look at Liz the entire ride to her place and he let her mother take over with guiding the stunned girl about. He did watch as Nancy led her silent daughter to her bedroom. Jeff pulled out the sofa bed for him to sleep on. Michael might have said thank you or something to that effect but his mind was somewhere else.
What had they done?
End Episode I
Posted: Mon Mar 21, 2005 2:46 am
Aftermath of War Episode II
Morning found Michael staring up at the ceiling in the Parker living room. He had not slept a single wink since the night before all seven of his had friends died. He had cried all his tears the day before after the funerals and... in Max's room.
A pang went through his chest, squeezing his heart as he thought about his latest screw-up. He had only meant to comfort Liz; he swore that was all. She had been sobbing hysterically in the Evans living room and he had taken her to Max's room to calm her down. They had cried and talked and then one thing lead to another... Michael had sex with his dead best friend's first and only love.
A ringed hand went through his hair as his eyes closed one more time against the memory of being inside Liz Parker. For those brief moments, Michael Guerin had forgotten all the pain and loss he had been feeling. While he knew it was wrong to take advantage of Liz, it was almost... almost worth the betrayal to feel that reprieve from loneliness and unbearable pain.
Michael still had no idea how Liz was dealing with what they had done. She had only said a few words to Mrs. Evans before leaving the house and not said a word since. She hadn't even said good night to her mother.
With his eyes still closed, Michael could hear the Parkers begin their day. They moved as quietly as possible as not to to disturb their guest. That Michael would sleep over at the Parkers for the night had been decided before the incident that he and Liz shared in Max's bedroom.
"Let him sleep, if he's gotten half as much sleep as Liz, I'd be surprised." Jeff Parker stirred his coffee and cast a glance into his living room. Over the past two years the boy had become a fixture in the Crashdown and therefore in the Parkers' lives. "He's refused to take even a single day off. He comes in to work and nearly falls asleep at the stove."
"I don't think they should go to school today." Nancy Parker shook her head. She was glad that Liz had insisted that Michael stay there. No matter what any legal document said, Michael Guerin was still a child like her daughter. He needed to be taken care of every now and then. "I don't think she should make her speech tonight."
"It's the last day of school... Liz is Valedictorian. You know as well as I do that she will insist on going." He shook his head. His daughter was definitely a Parker... just like her grandmother. "She's been dealing too well. I'm just afraid that once everything is over she'll fall apart."
"Honey, she lost nearly all her friends. She was supposed to be out with them... When I think that I could have lost her..." She trailed off, not daring to voice that her daughter might have died along with those other nine kids. "I'm glad she's held together as well as she has. After tonight, she'll be better. I'm sure of it. She's just like your mother. Liz will probably insist on giving her speech and then once it's all over..."
"I know. I know." He started to speak again when the sound of a shower filled the apartment. "She's up. I hope she got some sleep."
Michael figured he might as well give up his charade of sleep. He couldn't just lay around the Parker's place all day and eventually he would have to talk to Liz. As silently as possible, he began folding the bed back into a sofa and gathering his tie and shoes. Debating on what to do next was the hard part. Did he wait for Liz and try to talk about what happened between them or did he go home and get ready for school?
Thoughts of the girl down the hall getting ready for school consumed him. The same girl was also thinking of him. Cold water streamed over her dark head and down her body, washing away any lasting evidence of the loss of her virginity. Liz scrubbed at her body hard. It wasn't really that she felt dirty as much as numb. How could she feel absolutely nothing?
No more tears. The last of them had been cried in Max's room. Liz had come home and sat on her bed. When her alarm went off, she stood and began her day. No sleep. She had just rewritten her valedictory speech in her head all night. No one but Michael could know how she felt and what walking across that stage without her friends would be like. She just had to make it through the last day of school and graduation that night.
Michael. Some of her fantasies about losing her virginity had indeed involved Max's bed but not a single one matched the reality. Instead of loving caresses, whispered 'I love you's, and romantic cuddling with Max, she had gotten hurried undressing, desperateness and shame with Michael. For as wrong as it was, just to have those ever short moments of peace was almost worth it. There was no thinking, no crying, no grieving or pain. Just raw need and physical sensation.
Shutting off the water, Liz began organizing. She could not think about herself today. There were so many things to do. There would definitely be changes made in the ceremony and it was up to Liz to make them. She'd be the only one thinking straight anyway. There were six diplomas that wouldn't be received and wrinkles to smooth out in the flow of the lines.
As she dressed very carefully, Liz pushed everything out of her mind. Today she was just a regular high school senior valedictorian about to exit high school forever. A navy blouse and khakis with loafers. It was casual and comfortable but wouldn't look disrespectful. Quickly, she French braided her hair. Sensible and practical.
Liz breezed into the apartment, walking right past Michael, tossing a 'good morning' over her shoulder before going into the kitchen for some coffee. Her parents stared at her in awe. She almost bounced around the kitchen, fixing her coffee and glancing at the newspaper. Of course her parents knew better than that. Their daughter was just being brave again. Liz turned around and faced the other three people in the apartment. "Are you going to school, Michael? If you are... can you give me a ride? I want to get there early and talk to Mr. Cruelik about something."
"Yeah, I guess." Michael nodded and bent to put on his shoes. "I gotta stop by my place and change though."
"OK. Let's go then or else we're going to be late." Liz then bid her parents good-bye and they were out the door. While Michael was retrieving his bike from Mr. Parker's truck, he tried to talk to her.
"Listen, Liz... about yesterday..." Michael could barely get any words out. He just felt like such a jerk for having even been in the situation. "I didn't mean to take advantage of you."
Liz stared at him and blinked. He thought it was his fault? But she was the one that kissed him and she was the one who laid them down on the bed and she was the one that starting undressing him. No. This was not the time. "No one said yes and no one said no. Let's just leave it as a mutual... mistake."
Michael watched her avert her eyes and tuck a loose strand of hair behind her ear. Well, if that's how she wanted to play it. "Let's go. I wanna change."
"OK." Liz nodded and waited for him to climb onto the bike, then realized she was going to have to hold on to him to ride. Gingerly, she sat behind him and held onto his sides with her hands. Michael winced when her grip squeezed the scrapes on his left side. Liz tried to ignore the heat the radiated from his back in front of her and the muscle under her hands. Having a similar problem, Michael wanted to forget that he knew another way to be between her legs.
Kicking the bike into life, they roared out of the alley at such a fast speed that Liz had to reach her arms around his middle to keep from falling off. Michael gritted his teeth as Liz squeezed him too tight with both her arms and her knees. Her breasts pressed up against his back and he could feel her breath from where her face buried itself between his shoulder blades.
At a stop sign, Michael moved her hands from where they clutched at his chest down to his stomach. She whispered an apology before they roared off down the street again. In Liz's opinion, they couldn't get there fast enough. It was still early but the summer desert heat had already stoked up to the mid-70s and in the immediate vicinity of a certain motorcycle, the temperature was reaching scorching levels.
Silently they made the trip to Michael's apartment and once inside, he made for the bathroom. Desperately, he tried to forget that outside was the girl... or woman that he had had sex with the day before. After stripping down, he then stepped under the cold spray of his shower. He just needed to get his head on straight.
Liz did have a point. No one had said no and no one had said yes. Maybe it was just a mutual mistake. As the water beat down on his sore muscles, doing nothing whatsoever to alleviate their condition, Michael thought about the situation. He didn't know whether to say they had sex or made love. It had definitely been more than just sex. Love was a tricky subject.
While he was almost sure that he wasn't in love with Liz, he wasn't sure that it wasn't an act of love. Liz loved Max. Michael loved Max. They both loved Max if not each other. Snorting, Michael shook his head. He had never thought himself to be a romantic. Maybe losing 'it' had meant more to him than he previously thought, having resigned himself to being an alien virgin and all.
Snapping off the water, Michael reached for the towel and dried himself off. He had his hand on the doorknob before he remembered he wasn't alone in his apartment and that he didn't bring any clothes with him into the bathroom.
Cursing at the thin towel that barely covered his lower body, he opened the door. Liz looked up from where she sat on the edge of his bed. Her jaw about dropped open at seeing him in just that thin towel, which left nothing to the imagination. "Can you like turn around so I can put some pants on?"
"Oh, uh, yeah." Liz quickly turned away from his almost naked form. She hadn't realized that Michael had started working out or known that he did at all. She pushed the mental image of him putting on his boxers that generated as she heard the towel drop and then the elastic snap on his boxers. By the time that she heard him zip up his pants, she realized that she had been holding her breath and blushing. Why the hell did this have to be so awkward?
"Okay, I don't got anything out that you haven't seen before." Michael called over his shoulder and began rooting around for a shirt. If she was going to be cool about this, he could too. "So what's up that you gotta be there so early?"
"I just want to know what going to happen now that... you know six people will be missing tonight." Liz nodded, her eyes running around the room and finally settling on Michael... and the awful scrape on his left side. She was up and across the room in a flash. "Michael, what happened? That looks bad."
"You happened..." He bit out, not really wanting her as close as she was. He had to maintain some distance if he was going to stop thinking about her and Max's room. "Your damn nails are too long."
"I'm sorry." She scoffed and glared at him. How dare he be this way with her? She had just asked him a question. He didn't have to bite her head off. "I've got bruises and hickeys, thank you very much."
"I'm sorry." He muttered and threw a shirt over his shoulders, quickly buttoning it up. There was silence as he finished getting dressed. The air hung too thick with tension. Michael was glad when she broke it.
"We'll never be able to forget what happened... will we?" She whispered. "Not what happened to them, not what happened with us... none of it."
"I don't think we're supposed to." He whispered back. Guilt hung over both their heads for their desperate act. Grieving and guilt-ing over recent events wouldn't really get them anywhere. "Let's just go to school."
"Can you do me a favor?" Liz looked up at him. "Don't be you today. Be my friend because I don't... I won't make it through school today without someone to lean on."
Nodding, Michael put an arm around her shoulders and guided her out of the apartment. School blew by so quickly. They didn't leave each other's sides all day. Occasionally they would try to talk but then they would lock eyes and drop the subject completely. Few of the teachers questioned that they either had one student missing or one student too many in their classes, they obviously hadn't known that the two traveled in the same social circle.
Liz had blown up at one teacher for questioning Michael's presence. The teacher couldn't believe that they expected him to believe Michael Guerin was friends with any of the deceased students. "Max, Isabel and Tess were practically blood to Michael. Maria was his girlfriend. The eight of us were like family... so forgive us if we're trying to salvage the friends that we have left."
No one else had said a word after her outburst. Liz Parker was calm and cool and if she had blown up, it was serious. Michael had hugged her a silent 'thank you' and led her to her seat where she tried desperately not to cry. Only once did Liz try to talk to Michael about days that lay ahead.
"What happens now? Do we keep in touch? Do we never see each other again? I'm supposed to go to school in Santa Fe in the fall." Liz picked at the smoothie she had ordered for lunch while she leaned on his bike. "Max and I were going to call each other once a week. Maria and I were going to write letters. Alex was going to E-mail and Kyle was going to be on campus."
"I dunno. I'm not into planning things." Michael shrugged and tossed his uneaten fries in the trash. "I just figured Maria would be the only one to call me from Las Cruces. The rest of us were going to be here."
"You really didn't have any plans?" She blinked at him. "Max was going to do one of those cheesy diplomas by mail."
"Yeah, well the king said we were staying and so I was just going to stay. Keep doing what I've always done." Michael lifted a hand into the air and then let it drop. That was the last said on that subject. Before either of them knew it, it was time to graduate.
Liz stood in front of the stadium with Michael by her side. She had been able to work him into the ceremony. She took a deep breath and began. "Michael and I wanted to take a moment to accept diplomas on behalf of Maria DeLuca, Isabel and Max Evans, Tess Harding, Kyle Valenti and Alex Whitman."
A teacher handed a stack of diplomas to Michael. "We'll see that their parents get these later tonight... and now a moment of silence for our fallen classmates."
Taking another deep breath, Liz lifted her head to look out over the class of 2002 and all their parents and loved ones. She glanced back at Michael, who stepped forward and took her hand, before turning to give her speech. "I had a speech written out my freshman year and every year since, I've rewritten it with great care. I wanted it to be perfect because I knew that today I would be standing here in front of all of you at graduation. Last night, though, I rewrote it.
"I rewrote it all in my head. High school has been a whole world of experiences for me and my friends. Learning, growing, making friends, losing friends... And now, here we all are... on the brink of a brave new world. Some of us will go to college, some of us will stay here, and some of us never made it tonight.
"I don't say these things to make us cry. I say these things so that we remember. We will all go our separate ways after this night to pursue our adult lives and no matter where we go or what we do, high school made an impression us. Whether it was what happened at the Crash festival last year. Senior prom, junior prom, SATs, homecoming. This school has a myriad of memories for us all. Good ones, bad ones and most of us have made it." She squeezed Michael's hand and swallowed.
"Now, this may be Roswell, home of the UFO nut. (good-natured laughter erupted from the stadium) Don't let that stop you from chasing the stars. There are many things that we still don't know about this world and this universe but that's why humans are such curious creatures.
"Max really wanted to be a doctor, Isabel wanted to either be a supermodel or a lawyer like her father. Maria wanted to do everything but mostly cut a record deal. Alex was going to be a computer specialist. Tess just wanted to explore the possibilities... and Kyle... even though he hadn't told anyone but me... He wanted to be a police officer, like our own Sheriff Valenti." Liz smiled at the thought of that conversation. "We all have dreams and desires and now it's our turn to see them through. Don't be afraid to make your life exactly the way you want it..."
Liz trailed off as she saw someone familiar at the edge of the field walking away. She went pale and her throat went dry. Her sudden death grip on Michael's hands made him follow her gaze but all he saw was someone walking away. He pat her hand gently and she snapped back to reality. "Go forth West Roswell High graduates of 2002. Do well!"
Michael helped her over to their seats and looked her over. "What happened up there?"
"I saw him." Liz whispered. Guilt bore down on her like a lead weight. "I saw Max. He was standing at the end of the field and then he walked off. Did you see him?"
"No. I saw someone but I didn't see him." Michael tried to reassure her. If he thought about it, the guy was about Max's height and weight. He had black hair and dark clothes. Maybe it wasn't. It couldn't be. Max was dead.
Liz smiled at the teachers around her. Panic gripped her heart even as she maintained an exterior of coolness. Max was dead. There was no way he could have been on the field. Somehow she managed to get through the end of the ceremony. She and Michael found their friends parents and passed out the diplomas. Liz and Michael were brave for their friends' parents and the Parkers. Never let anyone know they thought something was wrong. Never talked about the mysterious figure that had attended graduation.
They went to the Crashdown for the mass graduation celebration. Michael watched Liz carefully as she smiled and hugged her relatives. She opened her presents and watched casual friends open theirs. Everyone was used to Michael sitting in the background, scowling and so no one said a word about it. It seemed like an eternity before they were able to escape.
Liz clung to Michael as the wind whipped around them on the bike. They had both had this urge to visit their friends. The cool night air was full of music from various parties and get togethers. Whenever the bike would pause in front of people from school, invitations were made to a blow out or to the old soap factory. All invites were politely declined by Liz and ignored by Michael. They both had other things on their minds and had to get to a place where they could talk about them.
Quietly, they made their way through the graveyard to the back where the nine plots rested. Shock greeted them there. Each tombstone had been changed in some way. Alex's had a mouse imbedded in the top. Maria's had a CD pressed into it. Kyle's had a badge sticking out of the top. Max's had a stethoscope carved into it. Isabel's a mirror pressed into it. Tess's had a symbol raised on the top. The really strange part were the dupes tombstones.
Vilandra Evans had been changed to Lannie and a butterfly had been pressed under her name. Avaria Harding had been changed to Ava and a feminine crown carved under her name. Rathard had been shorted to Rath and a fist was raised off the top of the stone.
"Who did this?" Liz whispered, clinging to Michael's side. Every marker had been personalized in some profound way. She reached down to touch the blemishes and found them to be stuck tight or growths of the stone or smooth indentations.
"I... I don't know. But... they knew them. Someone's out there that knows." Michael whispered as his eyes ran all along the perimeters of the cemetery. Whoever had done this could still be there, watching and waiting. "We... we aren't safe."
Fear crept into her heart but Liz struggled to stay calm. No one was left that could know, but then again... everyone had thought that Lannie and Rath were dead. They were now but not before they took six others with them. Nicholas? No one ever knew what happened to that shrimp. "What-- Michael? What do we do?"
"We stick together because if they knew Maria, Alex and Kyle, they know you." He spoke in a low tone but with confidence. If he was weak, then he had no hope that she would be strong. "You and I are on a hit list... I'm sure of it."
"Michael, my parents. If they come after me, they might go after my parents." Her thoughts raced with all sorts of scenarios. White rooms and evil aliens with guns and torture devices. "I can't stay home. I have to leave."
"Listen to me. I'm not going to let anything happen to you." Michael shook her and looked directly into her eyes. "You stick with me. I might not be the best person for the job, considering recent events, but I will be damned if I let Max down by letting you die."
Liz nodded and hugged him tight. This was too much to be happening all at once. Why was all this happening? Was someone really out to get them? Then something caught her eye. "Michael... look."
Two pocket knives lay on the ground beside the graves, possibly in the next two plots. One was Michael's and one was Liz's, the one she had given Max. The blades were open and shone in the moon light.
"I put that in my room. It was in my desk. It's been in my desk since the coroner gave to me." Liz's face paled as she knelt to pick them up.
"I had mine in my apartment. I never really used it after it fell out of my pocket that time." Michael whispered and took the knife from her. "Let's go. I don't like the vibes I'm getting from this place."
Unbeknownst to them, a figure stood beneath a tree and watched them leave.
End Episode II
Posted: Tue Mar 22, 2005 1:58 am
Aftermath of War Episode III
Liz hugged her pillow and snuggled against the warmth next to her. She felt content for the first time in weeks. It had been hell; the grief over the loss of her friends, the guilt over sleeping with Michael, the fear of whoever had broken into their apartments, the paranoia, not knowing what was going to happen. None of that seemed to bother her at that precise moment in time. Michael had his arm draped over her but that was nothing new. It happened more often than not as they slept. Liz chalked it up to him never really sleeping with someone before. Michael preferred not to mention it at all.
As he shifted slightly next to her, a hard object came in contact with her butt. She looked over her shoulder and quickly turned her head back. Blushing, she tried to figure out something to do but the image of Michael's tented sweats touching her stuck in her head. Liz could remember what he looked like fully erect; long, hard, thick cock thrusting forcefully in and out of her pussy.
Finally, Liz shook her head free of such thoughts and nudged him. He grumbled and buried his face in his pillow. So she tried another tactic. "Michael..."
"Mmmmppff." Subconsciously, his arm tightened around her middle, drawing her flush up against him; his erection pressing fully against her butt.
"Michael, are you trying to tell me something?" She said louder.
"What?" He raised his head, eyes squinted shut to hear what she was saying.
"I said... are you trying to tell me something?" Liz pointed down to where their lower bodies were in full contact.
One eye popped open and assessed the situation. Mumbling, Michael rolled over, taking his arm back. "Don't flatter yourself. Happens when I sleep alone too."
Facing away from his bed mate, Michael suppressed a groan. He had been having a dream and knowing he had a hard-on made his situation even worse. He wasn't even going to think about how it felt to be pressed up against Liz like he had been. He was tempted to relieve himself but it felt wrong to do with Liz there. Aw hell, he had a shower.
Liz felt Michael get up and then she heard him pad off to the bathroom and the door shut. She let out a breath and rolled onto her back. Morning. Light filtered in through the blue curtains, reminding Liz that she should get up and shower soon for work. Liz had gotten a job in the Litehouse, by day it was a bar and by night a strip club. Normally she would have never have entertained the idea of working there but after talking to a couple of the waitresses about nightly take-home and bi-weekly checks, she was sold.
The shower turned on and then a small creak made its way to Liz's ear. Their bathroom door had a habit of not sticking once the mist from the shower hit it and it usually just swung open. Liz rolled over to yell out that the door had opened when the view stopped her.
Michael stood in the spray of the shower. He ran his fingers through his hair, slicking it back out of his face. The water ran over his chest and shoulders and then down his body, hitting his huge erection. Liz sat there mesmerized and vaguely tried to recall the times that the door had opened on her and how Michael swore up and down he hadn't seen her when he shut the door. She hadn't known they had a direct view of the shower stall from their bed.
Liz watched Michael wash himself. Clothed hands ran over soft muscles, rubbing the soap in before rinsing it off, from head to toe. Finally, she saw him put the washcloth aside. He stood under the spray and reached for the hot water handle. He seemed to debate on whether or not to turn it before letting the same hand drop to his erection, where it jutted straight out from his body. Entranced, she found herself straining her eyes to see better through the steam gathering in the stall.
Michael groaned softly in the back of his throat as he took hold of his aching cock. Gently, he stroked his hard cock, working himself up to quick release but he found that harder to attain than before. He needed a little help. Closing his eyes and tightening his grip as his fist ran up and down his erection, he drug up an image.
[The morning before, he had come out of the shower and Liz had uncovered herself in her sleep. All she wore was a tiny little tank top and an even tinier pair of panties.] Wrong or not, Michael knew the image was sure to get him close. His pace quickened, his hips bucked, thrusting his cock into his fisted hand harder. Some thing else...
[The morning that Michael had been on his way to the kitchen and the bathroom door had crept open. Liz had been in the midst of scrubbing her sweet body. She ran that stupid little spongy thing around her neck, across her shoulders and then down around and between her breasts.] Michael licked his lips at that image, remembering vaguely how she tasted. He focused on her breasts. [Soft, tantalizing with hard points jutting out into the air, begging to be suckled. It was at that point he had forced himself to go over and shut the door.]
Keeping her pert breasts in mind, Michael worked up a frenzied pace; hips bucking and fist pumping. Head thrown back, face twisted in a grimace of need, Michael emitted small grunts of pleasure. He felt his release upon him and arched his back to let it come.
Liz's eyes widened at the expression on Michael's face when his back suddenly arched. Her eyes immediately went down to his fist and cock. She watched him shoot stream after stream of cum into the shower spray. She licked her suddenly dry lips and realized she was flushed and turned on. Her skin was burning up, her breathing labored, her nipples hard, her panties wet and her body in severe need of release.
A knock at the door whipped her head around. Quickly, she scrambled out of bed to answer it. Who on earth would be at the door so early? Mumbling under her breath about bad timing and early risers, Liz opened the door coming face to face with Jeff Parker. "Dad! Hi! What are you doing here? Um... how did you find me?"
"Lizzie... I can see why you didn't want us to know where you were living. This is no place for a young woman to live alone. Come home, Lizzie. I know you miss the gang but shutting yourself away from everyone else isn't going to help." Mr. Parker pleaded with his daughter and even as the words tumbled out of his mouth, a very masculine figure crossed behind his daughter wearing only a thin scrap of a towel, asking where to find his underwear. Jeff saw red and his bellow made everyone jump. "Michael!"
"Dad!" Liz cried out and tried to stop her father from entering the apartment but it was a lost battle. She quickly ran around him and placed herself in front of Michael's nearly nude form as if to protect him from her father.
"Is this the thanks I get? Is it! I gave you a job when no one else would look at you. I invited you into my home, let you sleep under my roof and this is what I get? You steal my daughter away from me?!" Jeff screamed over Liz's head at the young man, whose face had gone pale.
"Dad! It's not what you think!" Liz shouted into her father's face, trying desperately to take his attention off her scared friend. Her mind raced but she stayed put.
"Tell me, then! What the hell is going on?!"
"Michael. I put your boxers in the top drawer on your side. Get dressed." Liz pushed him in the direction of their dresser and faced her father, meeting his eyes so he wouldn't be tempted to go after Michael. Michael did his best to scoot away without going near Mr. Parker or losing his towel. "Dad, Michael and I are just living together."
"Just sharing a bed too, I'm sure." He pointed to the single bed in the one room apartment.
"Dad, I swear." Liz pleaded and noticed Michael getting ready to speak from where he stood on the other side of the apartment.
Taking a deep breath, Michael cleared his throat. "Mr. Parker... I swear to you on my own life that your daughter and I have never had sex, made love or any other euphemism for sex... in this apartment. I sleep on my side of the bed and she sleeps on hers." He took a another deep breath before plowing ahead. "Frankly sir, I did this for her. She doesn't want to let me out of her sight and this was the best way. I didn't know she hadn't told you or Mrs. Parker. She's a little paranoid about losing people she loves... she obviously doesn't love me so it's OK to stay near me..."
Jeff didn't say a word, just let the information sink in.
"Michael's got it almost right. I do care about him and all... He's the only one who knows what I'm going through. It makes me feel better to know where he is." Liz whispered, head bowed to avoid looking her father in the eye.
"Honey, Maria was like a second daughter to me..." Jeff started but got cut off when Liz raised her head.
"But she was like a sister to me, she was my best friend. They all were. Max and Kyle were my ex-boyfriends. It's too much. I need this." Liz felt the tears stinging at her eyes just seconds before they spilled over. "I need to be on my own for a while and Michael knows what he's doing."
"We don't do anything but fight anyway." Michael shrugged. "Personally, I never could stand her but... I'm just doing what Maxwell would have wanted me to do. Look after her."
Jeff then proceeded to gripe them both out about lying and sneaking around before leaving. The part that hurt most was when he said he was disappointed in Liz no matter how much it didn't surprise him about Michael. It hurt them both. Michael stood there in silence until Jeff had left shaking his head. Five minutes later, he mumbled something about it being a good thing that Liz hadn't gotten her uniform out and then he was pulling shirts out of the closet.
Liz wiped at her eyes and gathered her things for her shower. Halfway to the bathroom door, she lost it and started crying hysterically. Michael caught her before she fell to the ground. Cradling her against his bare chest, he was reminded of their first week in the apartment. They didn't talk or look at each other during the day. At night they fell asleep until one or both of them was awakened by a nightmare.
Liz's most popular nightmare had been the site of the 'explosion'. It was always the same; she hopped off the bike and the flames reached out for her, she tried to shield her eyes from the sparks but it was no use, and then she saw him. Max's body was in the middle of all that flame and destruction, his fist clenched tight and his other hand stretched out in front of him. Her second recurring nightmare started the same as the other only Max would step out of the flames point the knife at her and Michael, accusing them of betraying him as the flames continued to lick and eat at his flesh. The rarer dreams had Maria joining him and sometimes the others would all point at her, calling her names. Liz always woke up screaming and crying.
Michael's were a montage of years of fears and angst. He was usually alone by the time he got to the fire. Max was screaming to him for help but Michael was too afraid of getting burned to help his friend. He kept whispering he was sorry and Max kept reaching out to him. Hank would then appear, yelling at him for being a disgrace, a coward and a worthless piece of shit. Then Liz would appear on his bike, her shirt hanging open, one hand caressing braless breast, the other bunching her skirt up as she leaned back, beckoning to him. Max would then leap out of the fire at him, swearing and fists swinging. Seconds before Max touched him, he would wake up shivering, skin feeling slightly warm where he could swear the flames had touched him.
Only once had the dream been different. He had been back in Max's room with Liz on the bed beneath him. He was pistoning himself between her legs as she was screaming bloody murder and beating his chest with her clenched fists. By the time that he came, she was crying and barely able to lift her head off the bed. When he stood up, things flew off shelves, hurled at him by some invisible force. Liz's sobs rang all around him. A glance of her trying to cover up her chest would pass before his eyes as would a translucent Max that raged at him in silence. Michael saw his mouth moving and his arms flailing around but no sound came out of his mouth. The room would spin around and her sobs would get louder and then suddenly Max's threats of murder would be loud and clear. Michael had woken up drenched in sweat, sobbing. Liz had taken him into her arms and held him while he apologized over and over between sobs for what he had done to her. She told him that it wasn't his fault and that she wasn't mad at him, that he hadn't hurt her, that she was as much to blame for what happened.
Michael rocked Liz gently, they didn't talk about that evening anymore. It just never happened. He had even tried to purge it from his memory. When he had fantasies about Liz, only once or twice did he actually recall that he had been with her before. He also tried not to let those fantasies happen too often.
Liz wiped at her eyes and became vaguely aware that her face was pressed against Michael's bare chest. She tried to forget that Michael was a man but it just wouldn't happen. Like it or not, he was man that had given her an orgasm before and sometimes her body wanted to feel that again. It was out of the question but the thought was always there. Suddenly, flushing with the memory of Michael in the shower, she pushed herself away from him and headed for the bathroom. "We have to fix the door. It opened again while you were in the shower."
"Did you see anything?" Michael asked cautiously. How was he going to explain what he had been doing in the shower?
"No. I just heard it open. It makes this weird creaking noise." Liz shut the door and shoved Michael's wet towel underneath the door to hold it shut. One day at a time. That's what it was going to take to survive living with Michael day in and day out.
When Liz got home from work, Michael was already lounging in front of the TV with a box of cereal and a bottle of Tabasco. She glared first at him and then at the mess surrounding him. "Been home long?"
"Just like an hour." He mumbled then glanced at her. "How was work, Catwoman?"
"Got a lot of tips... one went right into my pocket." Liz wrinkled her nose and went into the kitchen.
"You don't have any pockets." His eyes narrowed as he surveyed her uniform again. Thigh-high leather boots, tiny leather mini and a black V-neck tank top.
"Apparently my shirt doubles as a pocket." Liz mumbled and pulled out the milk only to feel its shockingly light weight. "Michael! Why the hell did you put the carton back in the refrigerator if it was empty?"
"I dunno." He shrugged and turned back to the game before he was tempted to look at the way she was bent over looking under the counter for trash bags.
"Michael!" Liz stomped her foot twice. Michael caught the second and wished he had waited a second longer to look. He could see up her skirt when she lifted her leg to stomp.
"What?" He scratched at his eyebrow and waited for the gripe to come.
"It was your turn to go shopping. We don't have trash bags or milk or bread... we have plenty of Tabasco sauce and cereal though. Big shock there. Why can't you just buy the things I put on the list?" She pointed to the scrap of paper hanging onto the refrigerator by an alien magnet that said, 'Probe me Baby!' and displayed a female alien lifting up the back of her skirt while straddling a Harley, which came courtesy of Michael's relatively new job at the Harley-Davidson shop.
"I'm not buying your tampons." Michael called out around a mouthful of cereal.
"Then don't buy the damn tampons but get everything else." Liz stomped over to where he was propped up against the foot of the bed. "All I ask is that every other pay day you would just buy what's on the list. Stuff we need because peanut butter, butter and a half a Kit Kat is not what we call a stocked kitchen."
"Hey, we have rice." Michael glared up at her, trying desperately not to look up her skirt at the tiny black panties that barely covered anything.
"Rice..." Liz narrowed her eyes at him and stomped back over to the counter to retrieve said box of rice. She poured it over her hand and then tossed the one grain that fell out at him. "Yes cause that will make a meal."
"Why are you getting so pissed? Just go to the store."
"That is not the point!" Liz screamed.
"Shut up!" Came a muffled shout through the wall.
"Screw you, Mr. Peartree!" Liz screamed to the wall before turning back to Michael. "The point is that we live in this shit-hole together and it isn't so hard that once a month I ask you to do the shopping. I'll buy my own feminine products and you buy that stinking aftershave you seem to love so much and we'll just take turns buying the groceries... okay?" With every two words she said, a zipper came undone and the three inch heeled boots were tossed into the closet. She grabbed a pair of short jean shorts and a clean tank before disappearing into the bathroom. Two seconds later a muffled curse filtered out through the crack under the door. When Liz emerged she took a deep breath. "You can't even buy toilet paper!"
"Screw you!" Both Michael and Liz shouted to the wall they shared with Mr. Peartree, the most sound sensitive man on the planet.
Liz and Michael had had this fight many times since they had moved in together and the neighbor still had to voice his opinion every single time. Liz strode back over to Michael and stood over him. "I don't say anything when you rudely ask me for my half of the rent but you never do anything but pay the rent and utilities. We share those. All I'm asking is that you share the grocery buying responsibilities too. I know that you do go to the store for Tabasco. I know that you went today, in fact because the box and wrapper that bottle you're drinking now came in is in the sink... which is another thing. You
haven't done the dishes."
"They're not all dirty." Michael shrugged. Liz averted her eyes to keep from staring at his bare chest. Sure it was the middle of July but couldn't he wear a shirt?
"That's gross, Michael. I feel like I'm doing everything. What the hell did you do when you lived alone?" She sank onto the bed, vaguely aware that his head was mere centimeters from her thigh. A glance at the bathroom and its clear view of the shower stall had her reacting to the memory of Michael pleasuring himself that morning. Before she knew it, her panties were wet.
"For your information, my place never got this messy for a few reasons." He turned his head to look at her, noticing her leg was right in his face. "One, I am not a girl and I didn't have all this crap. Two, I paid rent and utilities first and then I worried about eating. I bought what I needed when I needed it. I got cereal so I'm good until I run out... then I'm going to the store. Three, I lived alone. Therefore, I never had to deal with PMSing roommates."
Michael snapped his head back around to the game. He told himself that he was just imagining her smell. Besides, those shorts were just way too short, she should really wear more clothing...
Liz shivered with every puff of breath that hit her leg while he talked, only turning her on more. She closed her legs, crossing them in hopes of concealing her current state from him. Besides... he should really put a shirt on. Finally, she got up and crossed to the counter where a pile of mail sat. "How long has all this been here?"
"Don't know, a few days." Michael shrugged and shifted, pulling a pillow over his lap. He just barely realized how short her shorts were when she walked away from him. The curve of each firm cheek was visible at the edge of her shorts.
"Michael!" She yelled. She whirled around with an envelope in hand. "You know that I've been waiting for my license and it's just been sitting here for three days. Why didn't you tell me?"
"It's not my job to filter your mail. In fact, it's very illegal for me to read mail that isn't mine. A federal offense I believe... so don't even get on my case about it." Michael rose to his feet and crossed to the kitchen to throw his empty box of cereal into the sink and to put away his Tabasco.
"You just don't want me riding your bike, do you?" Liz crossed her
"What the hell is your problem?" Michael shouted at her. "You've
got to be like majorly PMSing or something because you're not usually
this big of a bitch!"
"I'm always this big of a bitch!" Liz screamed into his face.
"Screw you!" They both shouted again at the offending wall.
"That's it. You can have this shit-hole. I'm moving out! I'll get my old place back and you won't have to worry about empty milk cartons and trash in the sink." Michael towered over Liz. "Let's see how you do on your own."
"Good! I'm tired of picking up after you all the time. You are such a disgusting pig." Liz glared up at him.
Before either of them knew what was happening, their lips had met with crushing force and their arms wrapped around each other tight. When Michael's hand found their way down to her ass, he squeezed the half-exposed globes and her legs went up around his waist. Tongues dueled for dominance as they found themselves pressed against the refrigerator right next to the 'Probe me Baby' alien chick magnet.
Liz arched her back, pressing her hips against his, wanting their clothes off. Michael pressed his erection against her, feeling how hot and wet she was, realizing that he had indeed smelled her arousal back at the bed a few minutes before. His hands fumbled with her fly, fighting to tear the tiny shorts down her legs. Liz shifted her legs to slide off her shorts before returning them to their place around his hips.
Keeping one hand in Michael's hair so their mouths stayed fused together, she snaked the other one between their bodies to open his fly and shove his jeans down to the ground. She gasped into his mouth then his hand found its way up her shirt cupping her braless breast. her hips ground against his, soaking his boxers with her saturated panties.
Hoisting her up, his free arm wrapped around her thigh so he could free his erection beneath her. Liz clutched onto his shoulder, finally coming up for air. She felt his fingers digging into her flesh as he quickly inched his way to her juncture, ripping aside her drenched panties and shoving his fingers inside her. She released a high-pitched cry and began riding his hand.
Michael thought he was going to go insane. She was so hot and wet... and her hips rocked against his hand, her juices dripping down onto his erection. Liz screamed out suddenly as one second his finger had been driving inside her and the next his huge cock had been thrust into her.
"God, oh God." Michael panted out as he pushed into Liz's burning center again and again.
"Ah... yeah... Oh yes! Yes!" Liz screamed as he slid out of her dripping pussy and slammed back in, seemingly reaching further each time. His right hand clenched her ass so tight and the left squeezed her breast so hard that she was sure he'd leave marks. Her shirt stuck to her skin as the sweat accumulated from both their bodies.
Michael's eye fell on the point sticking out through her shirt. Releasing his grip on her breast, he yanked down the neck of the shirt from the inside so he could lick the tight little bud. Her hand in his hair pushed his face closer, practically insisting he do what he had been dying to do. Opening his mouth wide, he took most of her small breast into his mouth, sucking and licking at all the flesh he could reach as he continued to nail her body to the refrigerator.
Liz completely ignored Mr. Peartree and worked to keep her voice down which proved to be a futile task. "Yes! God! Yes!"
Her loud keening drove Michael to thrust more forcefully, shoving the refrigerator back that inch that he never could seem to get it to go before. The force of that one thrust and the step that Michael had to take for the next one, triggered Liz's orgasm. "Mi-i-i-i-chael!"
Her walls tightened around his throbbing cock as he made a round of rapid thrusts, finally allowing him to cum forcefully pounding into her body as he spilled his seed deep inside her. "Liz-z-z-z!"
Michael's breath puffed against her neck as her head rested on the top of the refrigerator. He knew he wouldn't be able to stand for much longer but he would be damned if he got rid of the warmth wrapped around him. Holding Liz against his body, he stumbled over to the bed and fell onto his back.
His worn body allowed him to drift into a deep sleep almost immediately after closing his eyes. Liz was too drained to even think of moving and joined Michael in a dreamless slumber.
End Episode III
Posted: Wed Mar 23, 2005 2:22 am
Aftermath of War Episode IV
Liz woke up incredibly sore from head to toe. Her back ached, her breasts were sore, her ass was sore, her legs burned and she had the wedgie from Hell. She could feel Michael's hands on her back under her shirt. She could smell him where her nose was pressed against his neck. Groaning, she reached back and fixed her underwear situation.
Rolling over, Liz found she couldn't go far because Michael's sleeping arms tightened around her. Then it slammed into her full force. She and Michael had gone at it like bandits the night before. Weeks upon weeks of built up sexual frustration taken out on each other. It shouldn't have happened between them. But if it was so wrong... why did it feel so good?
Having Michael's arms around her felt right in a way that she hadn't felt in a long time. Liz couldn't let herself think that Max's arms were the only thing to compare to. Not when this would kill him if he weren't already dead. But if he weren't, this would have never happened. Never before in her life would she have thought she would awaken in Michael's arms the morning after they had sex.
Liz tucked her arms against her chest and closed her eyes. She did have to admit that she had never slept so peaceful before in this bed. That she had not slept so well since September 16, 1999 and even that night she was nervous about school and the cute guy she got paired with in biology. She could have laughed. It always boiled down to Max.
She was so lost in thought that she didn't notice that Michael had woken up and was staring at her. He could have cried looking at her. He needed her and all he could ever do was drive away the people he needed. They had just gotten out of the awkwardness surrounding what happened in Max's bedroom the evening of the funerals and now this. All he ever did was hurt the people he cared about. He could not let himself hurt Liz like this.
Michael's arms were sore, as were his legs and fingers from holding her so tight against him the night before. The elastic in his boxers dug into his hips from where he had forgotten to pull them back up afterwards. He loosened his grip on her warm body and lay back to stare at the ceiling. All he could think was that he'd taken advantage of her again. One second she had been yelling about what a disgusting pig he was and the next his tongue was down her throat. "I'm sorry."
"What?" Liz rolled over slowly to look at him. He took his arm back and threw it over his head.
"For last night, I'm sorry." He reiterated, avoiding her gaze.
"Why?" She whispered. She had never heard him sound like this. Was this the side of Michael that Maria had seen? The soft-spoken, almost shy side of the tuff guy everyone just knew didn't have emotions. Why was he sorry about it? They had both obviously been building up to it, she almost groaned as she remembered what she had been trying to forget.
"Why?" He repeated slowly. "Because I'm not supposed to be here with you. I'm not supposed to feel this way about you."
"What way?" Liz couldn't believe what Michael wasn't saying. Was it possible that she wasn't the only one craving this?
"Stop it, Liz." Michael sat up and pulled his boxers up.
"What?" Liz sat up with him and readjusted her tank top.
"Stop doing this. Stop trying to get me to talk. Stop trying to get me to admit..." He trailed off and shoved himself off the bed. Liz pulled her knees up to her chest. She knew what she was doing. Trying to get him to say it first. If Michael said he felt it then it wouldn't be so bad. "I'm not... him... I don't talk about these things."
"I know. I never thought you would be." She nodded to herself and stared at her toes.
"This can't happen again." Michael pointed towards the refrigerator so she knew what he meant. He saw the question in her eyes. Why? Because everyone he gets close to gets hurt. "Because... because... Because I need you here and this..." He gestured between them. "Will never work out... and we'll end up splitting up."
"You need me?" She never broke her gaze and idly thought she should paint them soon. She turned over in her head the thought of Michael Guerin, loner, needing anyone. He did. He needed Max to keep him grounded and give him direction. He needed Isabel to love him, if only in a sisterly way, and to take care of him. He needed Tess as a teacher and sister type. He needed Alex and Kyle as friends and confidants. He needed Maria, period. Why in the world would he need her?
"If you weren't here, I'd leave Roswell and pretend none of this had ever happened... and you wouldn't let me forget. I need that." Michael finally admitted. "I need you to help me keep my promise to Max and not run away from my problems."
"I need you, too, believe it or not." Liz whispered and looked up at him. "You and I both know that I am not Perfect Parker or Little Lizzie... I never was... and you're the only one that can see that."
"This just can't happen, Liz. They've barely been gone two months and we just can't do this."
"You don't think I know that?" She snapped. "You think I thought this would be some fairy tale? I'd fall in love with you and you with me and we'd live happily ever after? You know me better than that. You knew me better than Max ever did. You always have and never told anyone."
"How-- Why do you say that?" Michael stammered and crossed his arms. He knew it was true but he wasn't supposed to know Max's love better than Max. It just wasn't right.
"You read my journal. You trusted me with Max and Isabel. You knew why I walked away from Max that day. You didn't condemn me for supposedly sleeping with Kyle. I think you knew all along." She whispered.
"I just knew you weren't like that."
"Right. You never told Max because you knew that Max needed to learn. That when he did find out, he would understand... and you were right. I finally told him and he nodded and hugged me and said he was sorry I had to go through it alone. He knew a lot of things that happened because of what I did needed to happen." She locked eyes with him. "All it means is that you've been my friend all this time and never really knew it."
"Which is why we shouldn't do this." Michael turned and walked into the kitchen. He went to open the refrigerator but stopped and stared at the door and that stupid magnet. That alien chick's head was too big for her body and her antennae hung in her eyes, her lips were too full and her breasts too big. It was a stupid magnet. "No matter how much we liked it, it just can't happen, it's wrong."
They hadn't even realized this had become not an issue of if they wanted it but if they should do it. They were exactly on the same page and just trying to decide which way to turn it.
"Everyone in town thinks that we're together like that." Liz murmured and recalled her night at work the day before.
[Liz bent over a table and placed two bottles of beer in front of her customers. She gasped when suddenly a five dollar bill slid into her shirt-neck. He cleared his throat and leered at her. "So, Liz... how much you charging these day?"
"Go to Hell, Steven." She glared at him and yanked the bill out of her shirt. She bit her tongue and gathered the empty glasses and bottles from the table.
"Oh come on... What's Guerin got that I don't?" Steven held out his arms.
Liz glanced around, hoping to just make a swift exit but noticed how many people were actually waiting for her answer. She slowly realized they were waiting for her to defend Michael to this sleaze-bucket. They all wanted to know what Liz really thought of Michael. Thinking quickly, she leaned over the table, looked Steven in the eye, glanced at his crotch and then back up at his face. "Michael doesn't shop in the little boys' department."]
"Why would they think that?" He scratched at his eyebrow and waited for her answer.
"I asked a couple of girls that after work last night. They didn't believe we were just friends. They said that putting aside the fact that we live together, we fight too much. They said that we're too familiar with the way we touch each other. Dave said that when we ride, we ride like a married couple, like we really know each other." Liz whispered. All those people had been the reason she had been in a bad mood the night before. There had been one more thing that had really pushed her over the edge. "They also said that it was natural that we hooked up... being that all our friends were so close and now we're the only ones left. They thought it would happen sooner."
Liz was being kind. The conversation hadn't exactly gone like that but it's what they had meant... no matter how crude they had actually said it.
[Liz cashed out her tables and turned to the others standing around. Dave was cleaning glasses behind the bar and eyeing the rougher looking men in the bar through his tinted glasses. Sineya was tying back her red hair before her shift on the floor and glaring at Steven, who was still licking his wounds. Teri was leaning on the bar, curly blond hair draped over the bar, wearing some skimpy outfit that was just going to come off once she started her set on stage. Liz pocketed her tips and raised her hands. "Ok, so I don't get it. Why do people think that Michael and I are a thing?"
"Babe, don't tell me you aren't." Teri laughed, her blue eyes twinkling. "Come on."
"Tell me, then. What makes it so obvious?" Liz sighed and sat to wait for their analysis of her love life. "What do you all see that I don't?"
"I've seen you two around." Sineya smiled and straightened her top. She was all sweaty having just finished her set on stage moments before. "You fight like cats and dogs. It's like foreplay..." She flicked out her tongue exposing her tongue stud. "Do we want to get into the fact that you guys are living together?"
"But that's it, we're just living together." Liz groaned and looked to Dave for back-up.
He shrugged and leaned across the bar so he didn't tower so much over the short waitress and strippers; his 6'4" stature stoopped to be level with the group of 5'5" women. His eyes fixed on hers when his Irish accent met her ears. "I've seen you two riding. You hold onto him like you've got your name tattooed on his dick."
"Dave!" Liz exclaimed, jaw dropping. Granted, she held on tight to Michael when they were out riding but he drove like a maniac. As soon as she got her motorcycle license she could put a stop to that.
"It's true. And he don't look at you like you're his sister, that's for damn sure. I see that look in all those faces out there." He pointed to their nightly crowd of voyeurs for the strip shows. "And when he steadies you on that bike, he grabs your leg up high. You know what that says to me?" Liz shook her head at the Irish bartender. "That he's claimed you for himself and everyone else better keep their hands the fuck off."
"He's right." Sineya agreed with him. "I don't touch my guy-friends the way you touch him. I don't touch my gay guy-friends the way you touch him. I touch Gary the way you touch Michael."
"I do not!" Liz gasped and swatted her red-headed friend. Everyone in the bar knew Sineya was sleeping with Gary just by the way she touched the bar's owner. "Besides, we're just friends. We've been friends since before I dated his best friend..."
"These the friends that... bit it?" Dave asked sincerely. He always did have a way with words.
"Yeah... Michael and I have been fighting since we met through them." Liz tried to explain that nothing was going on between them. "We aren't... we don't think of each other like that. We're only living together because we're all that's left. Us two against the world that would have us join our friends."
"Right... it's only natural that you two would hook up." Teri murmured, thoughtfully. "I would have thought it would happen sooner."
"What?" Liz shook her head in disgust. She almost said that Michael was like a brother to her. Almost. If she had a brother, she would have never watched him jack off in the shower and get off on it.
"Answer me some questions." Teri spoke up finally.
"Fine." She sighed and waited for whatever stupid questions her friend thought would solve her problem.
"Do you live with the guy?" Teri arched an eyebrow up at the brunette.
"Yeah." Liz nodded.
"Do you share a bed?" Teri watched another slow nod. "Does your dad hate him?" Another nod. "Now, you ever fucked him?"
"Well..." Liz started but trailed off.
"It's not that hard a question, Liz. Either you fucked him or you didn't. I'm sure you would know." Teri sat up and looked at the younger girl struggling with herself. "Well?"
"Well, it was just once and it's never happened again. I mean... it's like ancient history." Liz tried to explain that things were simply not like that. It was a lost cause because... she could see the logic behind her friends assumptions.
"Don't matter. Look, you gripe about him all the time, you live with him, fight with him, you sleep with him and you fucked him once upon a time. You two are like my parents and you don't get any more together than that."]
"So because no one else thinks it's wrong and already think we're together... that makes it okay?" Michael shouted and threw his arms out.
"Michael, if we don't make a decision..." She sighed heavily and re-thought her approach. "I'm leaving in a month and a half. I need to know where we stand." Liz scooted to the edge of the bed.
"What?" He spun around, eyes wide.
"If you hadn't forgotten, I've got a scholarship that I'm taking at UNM. Check-in is at the end of August." She shrugged her shoulders. She had barely given college much thought since graduation. It just didn't seem so important anymore.
"I thought you weren't going." Michael's mind spun. He figured she would stay and they would protect each other from whomever it was that was threatening them. Liz wasn't supposed to leave, she had to stay with him.
"We never talked about it but now is as good a time as any. I do want a life, Michael. I had dreams and goals before I really knew any of you and I've still managed to make it this far. I've got a micro-biology scholarship and I have no reason to give it up." She stared at him as she rose to her feet. "I thought you knew about this."
"I knew that you were supposed to go... I just thought you weren't going anymore. I mean, with whatever psycho is out there, how can we protect each other if you're in Santa Fe and I'm here?" Michael approached her.
"You don't need me for that, Michael." Liz bit her lip. "I'm human. I can't protect you. Maybe if I went away, all this would stop."
"It doesn't matter that you're human. You're a target." He told her and pulled her against his chest. "If we split up, we're sitting ducks."
Liz couldn't believe that she had done it. She had made her decision before she had even brought it up. She wasn't going to UNM. She should have known she would never make it. Michael obviously wasn't ready to leave Roswell and she couldn't ask him to. Maybe she could ask for a year off... given the circumstances surrounding her personal life, maybe the board would understand.
Burying her face in his chest, she acknowledged to herself that she had fallen hard for Michael. Dave, Sineya and Teri were right. It wasn't fair and probably not right but there it was. "Michael... I just want you to know that I care about you and that I'm... I'll stay."
Michael's only response was to squeeze her body tight and kiss the top of her head. "Thank you." He heaved a heavy sigh. "You're right about needing to know where we stand. I don't think I could just go back to sleeping beside you every night and not... be with you."
"Don't fix the bathroom door. I like the view from the bed." Liz whispered so softly that Michael almost didn't hear her. Michael almost choked when he realized what she was talking about.
"Oh, you do?" He asked almost playfully.
"Yeah and you can quit lying about not seeing me. I don't mind."
Michael chuckled and shook his head. "I never lied. I didn't see you when I shut the door... I saw you when I was in the kitchen."
"Michael, I think you've noticed but I'm very demanding of my boyfriends... it's best just to go with it." Liz tilted her head back to look at him.
Michael stared blankly at her and really didn't have a clue about what she was talking about.
"I'm serious... but you'll like it. I promise." She gave him a half-smile and stepped back. "I gotta get ready for work. We'll talk later."
They had to somehow make it through another day of work so that they could finish their talk. Where did they stand? Liz had thought of things Michael had said without realizing it. He had said that no matter how much they liked it, it being sex together, that it wasn't right. Maybe it wasn't right but she didn't feel guilty. She knew that it wouldn't be something her friends would have liked but they would have dealt with it.
As much as they needed to finish the talk, it wouldn't happen. By the time that Liz came home the next couple of days, Michael was already asleep. When she woke up, he would be gone to work already. Thus was the pattern for four days.
When Liz stepped out of the bathroom that fifth evening wearing just a towel, Michael was in the kitchen in just a pair of jeans unpacking a bag of groceries, listening to the radio. "You hungry?"
"Depends, what did you buy?" Liz slid up onto a stool and peered into a bag.
"Just basics. Cereal, bread, Ramen noodles, Spam." Michael shrugged.
"I'm actually not too hungry. Dave made that thing with the pineapple and the shrimp with coconut for Sineya's birthday and I am all partied out." She yawned and pointed towards the bed. "I'm just going to hit the sack."
Michael nodded and finished putting away the groceries he had bought. Then he reached into the remaining bag and grabbed a spoon from the drawer. Liz glanced up when he thrust the objects at her. "Thought you mind want some. It's kinda hot out."
"Thanks." Liz smiled gently up at him for her present of Vanilla ice cream. Silence covered the room as Liz picked at her ice cream and Michael worked on not staring at her towel clad form.
Not knowing what to do or how to start the conversation, Michael finally stood. "I'm just gonna..." He pointed to the shower and hopped up. "Yeah."
Liz nodded and kept her eyes on her carton. He was being really sweet. Maybe it was just awkward. That morning about four days before, they were debating the possibility of a 'them' and now being a 'them' seemed odd. Not really odd, though... not as much as strange and new.
She got up to put her barely eaten carton into the freezer and debated getting dressed. It was a really hot night and clothes seemed like a burden. Lying down on her side of the bed in just her towel was much more comfortable. Before she knew it, she was dozing in the Roswell July heat while the radio played on some rock station.
When Michael emerged from the bathroom, his own towel wrapped around his waist, he could see her lying on top of the sheets. The moonlight hit her just right, making her seem to glow. When the hell did he start thinking about these things? He couldn't resist the urge to touch her.
Dropping onto the bed beside her, he touched her arm. He watched the goose bumps rise after his touch. Michael pressed an open mouth kiss to her shoulder as his fingers began opening her towel, exposing her back to him. His fingers ran down her spine, eliciting a gasp and then a low moan from her throat. "Did you know you taste sweet?"
"I do?" Liz whispered, turning her head so her neck lay exposed to his wandering lips. She felt his tongue massage her shoulders and up her neck while his fingers drew light circles on her back. So this was slow with Michael. Craning her head around, she met his lips with hers, softly rubbing and tasting. She pushed him onto his back as she rolled over.
Liz rubbed her lips against his then ran them down his chin, nuzzling at his neck and then returning to lap at his mouth, dipping her tongue into his mouth for the briefest of moments and drawing his out into hers. Straddling his hips, she continued to slowly drive him crazy. She drug her mouth down his neck to his chest, running her tongue in circles over his salty flesh. Hearing his labored breathing was reward enough for her tasks.
Their hands ran softly over each other; his exploring soft sensual curves, hers soft but hardening muscles. Her soft breasts with their hard points brushed over his torso as she continued to taste him. Pushing her towel off her body, Michael snuck his hands down her behind and between her legs, stroking her slick folds. Liz's back arched at the sensation of his fingers exploring her most intimate parts; his fingers sliding along her slick slit and finally pushing inside. Her fingers gripped his arms as her hips bucked back against his hand.
A twist of his head brought his mouth in contact with her breasts where they loomed over him. Using only the lightest pressure, he sucked at her taut nipples alternatively. Soon enough he had her gasping his name, pleading with him for more.
Liz bent her head and covered his mouth with his, thrusting her tongue inside to stroke his. Startled, his hand stopped moving in and out of her very slick opening and she whimpered at the loss. Together they removed the towels from their bodies, tossing them off the bed. Michael let out a low hiss when she began pushing herself onto his throbbing cock. Guiding her hips, he thrust up onto her making them both gasp.
Every attempt Michael made to roll them over, Liz would thwart by pushing him back down and distracting him with a passionate kiss. Shifting her hips, she found a way to slide up and down on him without losing upper-body contact. Subconsciously, she moved their rhythm in time with the song on the radio. As frenzied as Michael was, he could only recognize one part of the song.
Aah--Oooh--- Got you where I want you
Aah--Oooh--- Got you where I want you
Their sweat slicked bodies slid against each other as Liz moved on top of him, occasionally arching back when his hands shifted her hips slightly to thrust up against her. "Michael... mmm... Michael..."
"God, Liz..." He whispered against her lips. He felt helpless as she kept control of their rhythm, only pausing when she needed to fully feel him inside her. His heavy-lidded eyes cracked open to watch her mouth open with gasps and moans, every once in a while his name was breathed out.
Well, I think you're smart,
you sweet thing,
tell me your sign,
I'm dying here
Aah--Oooh--- Got you where I want you
Aah--Oooh--- Got you where I want you
You know you get no rubber,
Gone with a pretty girl
changing me like no other.
Suddenly, Liz arched her back and began riding him hard, signaling to him that she was close. When she shifted the angle of penetration, he moaned it felt so good. Feeling her tight walls fluttering all around him as their flesh came together over and over and watching the sweat trickle down her breasts had him close. He just needed a little more.
You know there is no rubber,
Would you like a minute to
put that thing on your lover?
Aah--Oooh--- Got you where I want you
Aah--Oooh--- Got you where I want you
Liz lost all the control she had as her orgasm rushed through her, blocking out everything but that one line of the song. She felt his hips continue to buck underneath hers and when her walls tightened around him, she heard him shout out her name. Her mouth opened in a silent gasp when his warmth shot up inside her.
Michael gathered her limp body against his when she collapsed on top of him. Light kisses and touches were exchanged as they came down from their sexual high. Liz finally nestled her head against his chest as she caught her breath. "I could get used to that."
"Me too." Michael whispered back and stroked her back. His eyelids fell, letting him drift into sleep. Nothing could prepare him for the next day.
Liz was a ball of energy from the minute she woke up. She kissed him at every given opportunity, not that Michael minded so much but now he knew what she meant when she said she was demanding. It made for a difficult time getting ready for work as well as a difficult time saying goodbye when he dropped her off at work.
They didn't normally exchange more than pick up times when he dropped her off but that morning she had climbed off the back of the bike and turned him to her for a sizzling kiss which quicky turned into a mini-make-out session. He felt her lips and tongue all over his. Michael had her straddling one of his legs as he kissed at the flesh on her neck. Gary's yell for Liz to get to work had stopped their good-bye. Michael didn't have a clue how he was supposed to work with something like that on his mind.
That didn't go unnoticed when he got to work. Col had casually looked up when he walked in to greet her. She stared at him and adjusted her little tinted glasses. "Dude, you got... like red stuff all over your neck and... like your face too, man."
That comment was followed by hoots of laughter from the guys when Michael quickly checked a side view mirror on the display bike to wipe off her lipstick. He didn't hear the end of it all day from the guys in the garage.
Col was the only one who didn't mention it again, but then she had taken several 'breaks' throughout the day. "You know, man... Bikes are awesome, man. If I didn't already own like three... I'd want one, dude."
"Sure Col." Michael just nodded and went back to work on the carburetor on the table in front of him. He was supposed to be watching the floor and trying his hand at selling the bikes.
"She's right, man." Ben started in. "How much longer til you pay your bike off?"
"Couple of months." Michael shrugged. He missed his dirt bike in a nostalgic way but once he had started working there, the guys had bugged him until he traded it in for a real bike. It had taken most of what he had saved to pay half on the spot. Ben made cracks that the only reason he still worked there was to pay off the bike.
"Why don't you borrow some money from your chick?" Ben wagged his eyebrows at the younger man "I hear she gets seriously paid where she works."
"Fuck off." Michael growled. It suddenly bothered him that Liz worked there she did and wore what she did to work there. He had tried not to give it much thought before but now that they were together, it was different.
"Not cool, man." Col shook her head. Long brown braids waved under her bandana. "Women don't need men to pay for them or to leech. Her money is her money no matter how she gets it. If she wants to take off her clothes, let her do it."
"Liz does not strip." Michael shot out and suddenly became the center of attention while the guys taunted him. They only did it because it obviously bothered him but really, they didn't care what she did.
Michael thought he had heard the end of it until Liz had to drop him off one day the next week because her shift was shorter than his. The week had consisted of work and being with Liz. Holding her, making love to her, kissing her or working. He had to admit that it was a turn on the way she insisted on saying goodbye for the day. She was almost territorial with him and with her wearing that little skirt, who was he to say no?
Their good-bye kiss, or rather make-out session, was interrupted by Ben. Michael had quickly gotten used to both the good-byes, hellos and interruptions. "Hey Liz! How about I get you a deal on your own bike so you can dump Mikey?"
"Not a chance, Ben!" Liz called out and gave Michael one last kiss.
"Come on! You know you're only in it for the bike." Ben shouted and threw his arms open to motion at all the bikes he had on the lot.
"You don't have a big enough bike to get me to dump Michael." With that, Liz roared off, leaving Michael shaking his head and wondering when the torture was going to end. The guys were sure to bother him yet again.
Liz was grateful for the short shift that day. It was hot, the beer was stinking up her hair and the smoke machine broke, smelling the place up like lemon mist and burned rubber. For some reason there were people everywhere she turned. When she took her break, she sat at the bar and glared at Dave. "Why do I work here?"
"It's better than the cheese factory." Dave shrugged and glanced into the beer cooler behind the counter. "Push the imported beer, I'm tried of serving American tap crap."
"Dave. What's the difference?" Liz complained and wished she had kept her mouth shut.
"The difference? The difference is taste. American beer tastes like shit and is thin as water..." Dave trailed off as Gary gave him a look to get back to work. "You Philistine. The difference. Please." He scoffed and rolled his eyes.
"It was just a question, geez." Liz rolled her head around on her shoulders as he walked off. Suddenly, a prickly feeling traveled up her spine, almost as if someone had run their fingers up it. She sat up straight and stared straight down at the bar.
Seconds later, a warm body was standing behind her, brushing her hair back. "Ah-Oooooh." He howled softly. "Got you where I want you."
Liz sat absolutely still. His voice was so familiar and yet she knew it wasn't Max. "Who are you?"
"What's it really take for Max's bitch to turn on him for his second? Huh?" His breath puffed against her ear. "You two fuck like demons... Is he really that good a fuck?" His tongue snaked out and licked the curve of her ear. "Not that I blame Michael for wantin' to get close to this."
"What are you?" Liz whispered almost inaudibly as her fear rose. Whoever this was, knew about Antar and had been in town awhile. This could be the person who had broken into her room to get Max's pocket knife. Slowly, her eyes rose to the mirror behind the bar.
"What's wrong, Liz? You look like you seen a ghost." The mirror image of Max smiled broadly as he ran a hand down her back, patting her butt before backing away. "Someone's watchin' you." He called out and disappeared into the throng of people in the bar.
End Episode IV
Posted: Thu Mar 24, 2005 5:18 am
Aftermath of War Episode V
Michael glanced up when the doors swung open and did a double-take when he realized that Liz had just walked in the front doors and was headed straight for him. Her normally olive skin had taken on a white pallor and her hands seemed to be actually shaking. Lifting his hands out of the grease pile they were in, he reached for rag to clean up with. "What's wrong?"
A low whistle sounded from the back of the shop but for once, Michael ignored it. Liz still hadn't spoken, the second she reached him she pulled him into a hug, squeezing him tightly. Then the sobs reached his ears, which had him at a total loss. "Liz?"
"He's back. I don't know how or why but I saw him. He knows about us. He's seen us." Liz whispered as her mind raced. It had looked just like Max, except for the clothes and tattoos and multiple piercings. Max would have never done those things to himself and yet there he was at the bar, scaring the hell out of her on purpose, something else he would never do. "He's seen us, Michael."
"Who?" Michael wanted to pull her into his arms and stroke her hair but his hands were still greasy.
"Max." Liz pulled away to look her lover in the face. "Don't say I'm seeing things again. Now that I saw him today, I know I saw him at graduation."
"Liz, you're seeing things. He wasn't there." Michael peered into her face and watched the fear still etched there. "Max is dead... as much as we both wish he was still alive, he's dead."
"Michael, he spoke to me. It was really weird. He was talking about himself in the third person and he called you his second. Max never did that before." She rushed to explain what had happened and then she faltered, tears filling her eyes. "Michael... he's seen us. He saw us together.... together." She repeated the word slowly and saw him get what she was saying but she knew he still didn't believe her. "Michael, he touched me. He was real, not a figment of my imagination like I know you're thinking."
"He touched you." He narrowed his eyes at her and tried to grasp the concept of their dead friend just suddenly rising from the grave to terrorize his ex-girlfriend. "What do you mean he touched you?"
"I mean that he walked up behind me, brushed my hair away from my ear, spoke to me, licked my ear, touched my back and patted my ass. He touched me." Liz gripped her fingers around the collar of his shirt, her knuckles turning white.
"He licked your ear." Michael snorted and started to go back to work. Max would never just lick anyone's ear in public, not even Liz's.
"Michael Guerin!" Liz shouted and succeeded in getting everyone's attention. "I am not hallucinating, he was there!"
"Liz, I love you and I know you think you know what you saw but I think you're tired. You haven't been getting much sleep and you've been working double shifts all week. Go home and get some sleep." Michael used his wrists to touch the sides of her face. Nothing she was saying was making any sense and some rest would do them both good. "Go home. I'll get a ride home with Col or something."
"God, Michael, you are unbelievable." Liz whirled around and stomped off, she could not believe that he hadn't believed her. Max was there. He was there. Dave had seen him, Sineya had definitely seen him and was drooling by the time she had asked Liz about the hunk of beef with the tattoos.
She barely remembered the ride back home. Once in their apartment, she looked over every nook and cranny. She sat on the bed and tried to figure out where exactly Max could have been watching from. From what he said, it was implied that he had watched she and Michael have sex on more than one occasion. Why in the world would he do that? The Max that she knew and love was not a peeping Tom, nor was he a threat to her, or even the remotest bit spiteful to her. Why in the world would he choose to stalk her?
Then she threw logic out the window. Max had to have died in the fire. His dental records had been confirmed by the coroner, the pocket knife she had given him was in his hand, he was wearing the shirt that Isabel gave him on his 19th birthday. If Max was indeed back... he might not even be the same Max, which would definitely explain a lot of things but bring up a myriad of questions.
Crawling beneath the sheets on the bed, Liz tried futilely to hide. Her head hurt with the knowledge that something in Max's skin had been definitely stalking her.
Michael pulled several parts out of a cleansing solution and set them out on a cloth so he could put them together. Once more he was manning the front table, watching for potential customers and repairing a busted carburetor. He glanced up at Col as she glided by and shook his head. She was a trip... or was that tripping? She sat on the table and pulled her legs up under her body and stared at him. "What is up with your woman? She was all messed up, man. She was all scared and shit, man."
"It's nothing." He shrugged but knew that it was definitely something. While he didn't believe that Max had somehow risen from the grave and chosen to go spying about Roswell, there had to be something that made Liz so upset. One question had been rolling around in his head since she left. Of all their friends, why had it been Max to haunt Liz? Aside from obvious answers, there was something deeper there. "She... I think she's... maybe she wants out."
"Out of what, man?" Col's glazed green eyes rolled around before focusing on him again.
"Our... thing." Michael shrugged and picked up a wrench. Maybe that was it; maybe Liz was feeling guilty and wanted out. August wasn't very far away and neither was UNM. Maybe she was thinking of leaving anyway.
"Your thing?" She tilted her head back and took a deep breath. "Why do men have trouble communicating? A relationship is a special thing... a woman is a special thing. Treat them both with respect, man."
"I treat her with respect. I... I care about Liz. She's the only thing I've got that's worth a damn." Michael shot out at the woman sitting on his worktable.
"Dude... you've got a lot. I heard your friends died and all that, man. Sucks." Col closed her eyes and sighed. "You got your life, you got a job, an awesome bike, and a girl who loves you. That's all you need, man. This world ain't a place for just anybody, man. You gotta know how to deal."
"How do I deal?" Michael stopped what he was doing to wait for her answer.
"Just be, man." She took a deep breath and a smile crossed her face. "You gotta wake up and smell the oil and exhaust, man. Everybody has something they're supposed to do... a destiny."
"What's yours, Col?" Ben called from behind his desk around the corner.
"To sell the world's greatest bike and have fun, man. I just gotta be me. I gotta wake up and kiss my babe, come to work, sell a bike, go home, be with my love and be high the whole time." A lazy smile crept across her face. "What's your destiny, Michael?"
"To protect my girl, work for Ben, and save the world from invading aliens." Michael mumbled under his breath.
"See, there you go. You're set, man. If you gotta keep the aliens off Earth, you do that. I'd protect my girl but... I'm not strong and my girl's a man." She pulled her glasses out of her jacket and slid them onto her nose. "Besides, I don't like violence, man."
"You also don't like to work." Ben called out again. "Mikey! Need those parts today."
Michael stopped talking to Col so he could finish working, all the while feeling as if someone was watching him. At first he put it off to suggestion. Liz said someone was watching them and so he felt watched. It wasn't until later when he was walking home that the feeling increased by triple. A second set of footsteps had reached his ears several times but each time he turned, there was nothing but shadows behind him. Only once did he swear he saw someone step into an alley the second he turned.
His big mistake was when he decided to take a short cut through an alley. His own footsteps echoed around him and multiplied. He couldn't tell one sound from another and instantly regretted this side trip. In the middle of the alley, he heard a whisper that grew to normal talking levels.
"Big man. You's s'posed to be tight, like blood but your king dies and you move in on his girl. Not fuckin' right." The voice shot out at him, making Michael freeze in his tracks. He knew that voice, it used to be much softer but there was no doubt whose voice that was. "You even like the bitch or is she just pussy to you? You love her like he did? Or were you just jealous you could never get a piece of ass like that on your own?"
Michael didn't move so he could get his bearings. The voice was coming from over his head. A fire escape creaked and then a stomping noise made him look up. The spitting image of Max was crouched on the second tier of the escape, staring right at him. "Who are you?"
"What would your bitch say if she knew you were fuckin' her best friend? Granted, Lizzie is a great piece of ass, might have to taste her later myself... I don't really blame you for going in for the kill." Michael noted his dead friend's new look. Greasy hair that stood on end, dirty black clothes, piercings and tattoos visible where clothes weren't. "You like pissin' on his grave?"
"Who the hell are you?" Michael winced when the question came out much softer than he had intended.
"Someone's watchin' you, Michael." The Max look alike smiled and swung himself onto the ground. "You shoulda listened to Liz when she told you."
Michael stood there speechless as the figure strolled down the alley. It took Michael ten minutes to realize that he had gone the way that Michael was headed. He took off running as fast as he could. He had to beat this guy to the apartment. His legs stretched out, his arms pumped, his heart sped up and he just prayed he'd get there first. '... might have to taste her later myself.' He heard the words over and over in his head.
Liz woke up when she heard the door open. Groggily, she pulled the sheet down off her head and only succeeded in getting her hair in her face. She could barely remember what she was doing before she fell asleep. Her boots were still on, as was her uniform and she still reeked of the bar. When she finally got her hair pulled back and got a good look around, she was alone. "Great, he just left without even telling me he was home."
Glaring at the door and still half asleep, she began stripping her way to the bathroom for a shower. She left a boot on the bed, the other one by the counter, her shirt in the sink, her skirt on the bathroom doorknob and her thong tossed out of the bathroom and onto the floor in the kitchen. Liz almost moaned, the hot water on her stiff muscles felt so good. As the water sluiced down her body, she woke up a little more and remembered why she had been too freaked to even change out of her work clothes to sleep.
As she lathered up her hair, she began to feel vulnerable; a prickling feeling traveled up her spine, the same one she had felt that afternoon at the bar. Quickly, she finished her shower, no longer caring to relax. Shutting off the water, she slowly turned and gasped.
There, sitting on the bed in the dark, was the stranger with her Max's face. He was staring right at her, hands behind his head, feet propped up out of the way for an unobstructed view of her in the shower. He had the nerve to raise his eyebrows at her in suggestion.
Liz grabbed and towel and wrapped it around her body, slamming the bathroom door shut on the eyes that were so familiar but belonged to something else entirely. Tears pricked at her eyes. She was cornered. She didn't have any clothes or anywhere to run but out into the apartment with who knows what that guy was. He looked like Max, talked like Max but he didn't act like Max... not even an angry Max.
"You gon come out of there, Sweetheart?" His voice vibrated against the door she was leaning on. He had to have been standing directly outside. "I was enjoyin' the show, babe."
Liz sank down to the floor against the door and tried to calm down. Her shaking hands went up to her dripping wet hair and pushed it back over her shoulders. She tried to block out the sound of his voice but he kept talking.
"I ain't never seen no one like you. No wonder Max couldn't stay away. Don't blame Michael neither. Bet you got soft skin. Bet you taste good too." Liz could almost hear him lick his lips. "Bet I could make you scream like neither of 'em could."
"What do you want from me?" Liz whispered, almost certain that he couldn't hear her tiny question.
"So what? You can give it up to Max and Michael but I ain't good enough."
"Who are you?" Liz felt her fear rising, clouding her eyes with tears and her senses with trepidation. What would whoever was on the other side of that door do? What did they want from her?
"Ain't you figured it out yet?" He snorted and gave a dry laugh. The door shifted under his weight as he leaned against it. His voice was softer and didn't make the door tremble with his voice, so Liz figured he was talking away from it. "I thought you was supposed to be smart. Miss 4.0 and shit. Miss I-got-a-scholarship-to-some-college and all that."
"What do you want? I'm not special. I'm not like them." Liz curled up into a ball.
"Nope, you sure as hell ain't like them. They's dead."
"Don't you think I know that? Don't you think I know that I'm supposed to be dead with them?" Liz couldn't stop the tears from falling down her cheeks and soaking her towel. All the grief she had set aside came rushing back. "I loved Max and I knew I couldn't be with him and we... we were best friends. I want nothing more for all of them to be back here where they're supposed to be but they're not. I can't change that."
"What the fuck did you do to Lannie and Rath to make 'em go apeshit?" His query was so soft that he was difficult to hear through the door.
"I didn't do anything but save Max's life when they tried to kill him. Max... he didn't let them go home. He wouldn't give up the Granilith. And... And Ava wouldn't say what she was here for. They all took off without us. Now, that's all I know. Leave me alone." Liz sobbed and pressed her palms to her eyes. "That's all I know." Shoulders hitched with every loud sob and shaky breath. She couldn't contain any of it any longer and she completely broke down, whispering over and over that she didn't know any more than that.
Michael threw open the already gaping door and took a wary turn around the apartment. The sheets on the bed were untucked and messed when Michael knew that Liz had made the bed before they left that morning. Liz's clothes were strewn all over the place; boot on the bed, boot on the floor, skirt on the floor, shirt in the sink. Aside from that, nothing seemed to be out of place. None of that served to help his rapid breathing and strung out nerves.
The light from under the bathroom door caught his attention. Slowly, he approached the door that never stayed shut longer than it took for anyone to turn on the water. There was a shadow blocking the light. The closer he got, the louder a small sound got.
"Liz?" Michael called out and rapped on the door.
"Michael? Is that you?" Her raspy voice called out.
"Yeah. Are you okay?" He tried to open the door but it wouldn't budge. "Liz, what happened?"
"He was here." Liz shoved herself off the floor and cracked open the door. "He was here."
"I saw him." Michael pushed the door open to pull her to him. "I'm sorry I didn't believe you. Are you okay? Did he hurt you?"
"I'm fine. He didn't touch me." Liz clung to him and tried desperately to dry her eyes. "Is he gone?"
"Yeah..." Michael nodded and looked her over. "What happened? What did he say to you? Do you know who he is?"
"I... I think I might have figured it out. He... He must have been in here before I woke up. H-he..." Liz swallowed and shut her eyes against the feeling of how dirty she suddenly felt. "He watched me shower and he kept talking about how he wanted me and then... he wanted to know what happened that day out in the desert..." She bit her lip to keep a fresh set of tears from flowing out her eyes. Michael's arms felt so good around her. She felt safe for the first time since she had left him at work that afternoon. "I was scared. I didn't know what he would do but he didn't try to hurt me or anything."
"It's okay. I won't let him get to you." Michael's anger grew when he heard Liz had been spied on, and spiked even higher when he learned that 'Max' wanted Liz, too. Just what was he anyway? "Who was it?"
"I'm not sure and I don't really see how it could be but... I think it might be Zan." Her whisper was barely audible to his ears but the weight of it settled on his shoulders. Zan was dead. Max was dead. How in the hell could it be either one of them? A shape-shifter was the only possibility, but why would a shape-shifter be terrorizing them? Michael pressed a kiss to her forehead, his heart rate finally slowing to normal and the adrenaline dying away, leaving only sore muscles.
"It'll be okay. I won't let anything happen to you." He whispered and stroked her wet hair. "I still can't believe he got that much of a lead on me. I just saw him and... God, I'm sorry."
"I'm okay. He didn't hurt me, didn't even touch me." Liz buried her face in Michael's shirt. She couldn't get rid of that dirty feeling. "I just don't like knowing that he's seen me naked and seen us together in here."
They stayed there for a long time before they both gathered clothes and hid in the bathroom. There was no way Liz was going to stay alone in the apartment while Michael showered. She was too upset to even consider enjoying the view while Michael washed himself. Even wearing a pair of sweats and one of Michael's flannel shirts wasn't enough to ward off the chill she got every time she remembered the feeling that washed over her when she had turned to see the man laying on their bed watching her shower. Both were reluctant to call him Max anymore and too frightened to call him Zan. 'That guy', 'him' or 'he' seemed to do for the moment.
"What makes you think it's Zan?" Michael hurriedly dried off and dressed.
"He kept talking about Max like he was someone else. Then... just the sound of his voice when he asked about Lannie and Rath..." Liz pulled her knees up to her chest where she sat on the toilet. "If he weren't already dead, it would make sense."
"He kept insulting me. Accusing me of being disloyal to everyone by being with you." His voice dropped to a murmur. He had mulled that subject over many times but a slow agonizing death would be preferable to being alone and without Liz.
"He did the same thing to me." She looked up at him where he was leaning over the skin, staring at his reflection. "Michael, what are we going to do? I mean, I know we said that this was the reason we were sticking together but now that it's here... how do we deal with this?"
"I don't know." He turned to face her. "What would Max do?"
She shrugged her shoulders. "He would sit and wait and you would yell at him to do something. Tess would stick by Max's decision. Isabel would either yell at Max for not doing anything, or at you for contradicting Max or both. Alex might suggest a little reconnaissance, Kyle would vote for hiding out and Maria would... play spy games."
"No, I wouldn't." He glared at her.
"Yes, you would. He would want to stay put and make a plan and you would make the plan up as you go." She shook her head at him.
"You work tomorrow?"
"Okay, then. I do." Michael closed his eyes for a moment to think. There was no way that both of them could sleep that night. "You stay awake tonight."
"Not a problem but why?" She hugged herself and thought about the window and it's thin curtain.
"I need to sleep, so you stay awake tonight and come to work with me tomorrow. You can borrow Ben's cot while I work. I need you where I can see you." He guided out to their bed and under the sheets. Neither one of them was going to be able to sleep but just holding onto one another was a small comfort.
Liz cradled his head against her chest and stared at the wall beside the window and its thin curtain. She fell into a daze. She didn't notice that Michael didn't sleep all night either, or that time was passing. As night turned into morning, the light change didn't even register. It wasn't until a knock at the door sounded, that her trance-like state changed.
As one, Michael and Liz made their way out of bed and over to the door. Opening it admitted Sheriff Valenti and four other officers into view. "I'm sorry to wake the two of you this morning, but this is very important."
"Sheriff?" Liz asked uncertainly. She hadn't seen him since May and she knew that she hadn't told him where she and Michael had moved.
"Ms. Parker, Mr. Guerin... the Evans home was vandalized last night. I'd like to ask the two of you some questions about your whereabouts last night." Sheriff Valenti turned his hat over in his hands and Liz noticed for the first time, how truly old he seemed to have become since losing his son. "We'll need to do this downtown with free escort, of course."
"Give us a minute and we'll go willingly." Michael nodded to the older man and went to find his shoes.
"It was vandalized? Are the Evans okay?" Liz blinked rapidly, trying desperately to figure out why in the world she and Michael would have been brought into the matter.
"They are very upset but... we should really talk about his down at headquarters." Valenti took off his sunglasses to rub his eyes before replacing both the sunglasses and the hat on his head. "Come on, then. We should make this quick and painless for all parties involved."
End Episode V
Posted: Fri Mar 25, 2005 1:47 am
AN: I know I got you guys all spoiled with daily posts but... I'm headed out for the weekend. I'll be back Monday night to post again. '-)
Aftermath of War Episode VI
White, cracked paint covered the room surrounding Liz. The Sheriff had gone in a separate car on the way to the station and she had been immediately ushered into an interrogation room to wait alone. Michael had been taken in a different direction. She sat huddled up on a seat next to a table. It was so cold that even her sweats and Michael's flannel shirt weren't doing anything to take the edge off the chill.
As confused and scared as she was, it was nothing compared to the feeling of vulnerability she had the night before. Those amber eyes haunted her. They were filled with so many things. That had scared her the most. She could read his eyes just like she could Max's. Lust, longing, sorrow, hatred, fear. So many conflicting emotions.
"Miss Parker." Sheriff Valenti took a seat on the other side of the table. She hadn't even heard him walk in. Shouldn't she have at least heard the door open?
"What's going on?" She whispered, switching her stare to the old wooden table in front of her.
"The only legitimate way to get you an escort here was to bring you in the way I did." He took a deep breath and continued. "I'm sorry if I scared you."
"Where's Michael?" Her brown eyes studied the older man in front of her, noting for the second time that morning he had aged considerably since May.
"I've already talked to him. I have him waiting in a cell for safe keeping." Valenti pulled his hat out of his lap and put it on the table. "He told me about your scare yesterday."
"So the Evans are okay?" Liz let out a breath and lifted her head slightly.
"They're upset but okay." He nodded stiffly.
"What happened?" She pressed. Why was he dragging this out?
Valenti drew a hand over his face and took a deep breath. "Someone, I believe of... Antarian descent, broke into Isabel's room and stole some photographs. That same someone also destroyed Max's room and left some souvenirs. A picture of the eight of you had been somehow burned without being damaged... all except for Michael and yourself."
"Oh god..." Liz's face crumpled up and tears ran down her face.
"Now if we could just find this person, and maybe Michael could deal with him, then we can put this whole thing behind us." He looked at her hopefully. "I haven't told the Evans what I know... but they could see something was odd about the way Max's room was incinerated."
"It's not that easy, Sheriff." She whispered, biting her lip. She sniffed and wiped at her eyes. "There are two people out there. The one that spoke to us... he had his opportunity to hurt me and he didn't. He told me the first time that someone was watching us."
"So you think he was talking about someone else because he didn't hurt you?" He wanted to tell her that she was wrong and that maybe he was biding his time but he kept his mouth shut. Max had always trusted Liz's instincts. That definitely meant something to the old Sheriff.
"All I had to protect me was a door. He could have easily gotten to me and do what he wanted with me but he didn't." Liz leaned forward and rested her hands on the table. "I'm not saying I could trust him but I... got this feeling from him... like this is more than revenge to him."
"How do you know that?" Valenti watched her choose her words carefully. He could tell she was thinking everything over very carefully.
"His eyes. He's... he looks like Max." Liz shrugged. "I can read his eyes he same way. I can't trust him but... I know." Silence hung over their heads while Liz thought every over for the millionth time since her friends had died. Then it hit her. She wanted to kick herself for not thinking of it before. "Nicholas."
Michael watched the Evans as they cried outside his cell. Whether he wanted to admit it or not, the Evans had always been there for him. He felt bad that they had been dragged into this. A pang of guilt shot through him. It was obvious that the Evans loved their children, adopted or not, and maybe it would have been better if they were told the truth. He had always told Max and Isabel that there was no such thing as unconditional love but looking at the weeping couple... he wasn't so sure anymore.
Just then, Liz came tearing down the corridor and went straight for him. Michael moved to the front of the cell, leaning his arms on the crossbars, and waited for her. Her hands found his immediately and squeezed tight. Her brown eyes were filled with tears and the sight of them tugged on something inside his chest that he didn't know existed. His arms reached out and pulled her as close to him as he could through the bars. "What is it?"
"How could we have forgotten about Nicholas? It makes so much sense." She whispered and leaned her forehead against the bars. "He's going to come let you out and then we have to look for him."
"Nicholas?" Michael turned the idea over in his head. Max had said Rath and Lannie were gone and yet they had turned up. Nicholas had to have still been around. "Shit."
"Have you talked to them?" Liz gestured over her shoulder.
"No. I can only see them when I'm at the back of the cell." He shook his head and closed his eyes. "Maybe... maybe I should tell them."
"No!" Liz shouted and then quickly recovered herself. Now she understood why Max never really wanted his parents to know. After what happened to Valenti a year ago and how bad things got... they couldn't risk it. "If we tell them, we put them in danger."
They could feel each other pulling away. Michael paced around the old carousel. He hadn't done the wash and it was just easier to reach into the bottom of the closet for the old clothes. He was wearing a blue shirt that Maria had given him before he started working out. It hung loosely over his thinning frame. His jeans were becoming baggy, not as snug as they once were in high school.
All he could think about was the past week of paranoia. He and Liz had split their time between work and the Evans. Liz would talk to Mrs. Evans, keep her company and Michael would cook, talk bikes with Mr. Evans. They seemed a lot better than they had after Nicholas had destroyed Max's room. When they got home, they usually showered and took their posts. Michael stared out the window for hours on end and he knew that someone was out there staring back.
Glancing over at Liz, he noticed the huge pants she was wearing. They were a pair of Max's that had been left at his apartment at some point or another. Then there was an old shirt of Max's that they had been using for target practice. It had burn marks all over it, mostly hidden by the sweater she was wearing. She hadn't slept in days and it showed.
Liz sat on the bench and listened to Michael's pacing. She couldn't remember any time after their hug through the bars of the jail cell that they had touched each other. The last kiss she could recall was when she dropped Michael off at work the week before. They hadn't even slept in the same bed. He stood guard all night and she pretended to sleep.
This was insane. They were living in fear of what? A shrimp that they hadn't seen since Copper Summit? A look-a-like that hadn't shown his face again? Speak of the devil...
She could feel him. Her eyes just seemed to gravitate to him as he approached. He was still on the other side of the park. "Michael... Look..."
"What?" Michael rushed over to her and followed her gaze. Just his luck that this guy would show up. "What the hell do you want?"
"Hey. I's just walkin'." He shrugged and pulled his hood over his head. "He still watchin' you. Least you two cooled down. Bet you been givin' the lil' shit wet dreams for a month."
"Who are you?" Michael demanded, stepping off the carousel to get into the guy's face.
"Swee' pea knows." He nodded to Liz.
"Zan?" Michael couldn't help but scoff. "He's dead. He's been dead."
"I am? Shit. Why didn't anyone tell me?" Zan drawled and hopped up on a horse, leaning on the pole. "You mean, I been dead all this time and never knew it?"
"Stop patronizing us." Liz whispered, pulling her sweater around her body tighter. At least he sort of admitted that he was Zan, that was good enough for her. Now all that was left was to find out what he wanted from them... or just from her.
"I ain't dead." He stroked his goatee thoughtfullly.
"Obviously." Michael crossed his arms and stepped back up on the carousel to lean on the bench Liz was seated on. "So what the hell are you doing here? We know Nicholas wants us dead. That's not a surprise."
"Smart. How long that take you to figure out?" Zan leaned forward and eyed Liz slowly from head to toe. "You need some sleep, swee' pea." She glared at him, then turned her face away from those probing amber eyes. "Bet you could tell me how I did it. You can, can't you, swee' pea?"
"Stop calling me that." She whispered.
"Are you going to tell us what you want or are you just here to bug the hell out of us?" Michael growled, disturbed that Zan didn't take his eyes off Liz.
"Answer my question." Zan tapped the head of the horse.
Liz mulled over everything Ava had ever told her about Zan, everything she knew about Max and tried to answer him. "You could have used your shield to... uh, dull the impact of the truck. Maybe... um, rapidly healed your internal organs to a minor degree... so they thought you were dead."
"Smart cookie." Zan grinned and turned to Michael, measuring him up and down. "You got that almost right."
"I know why." Liz spoke up and both men turned their attention to her. It was her turn. "It was your out. No more being King because you were dead to them. You could live your life without destiny interfering. Normal."
Zan's grin faded from his face and he hopped off the horse, striding away. Michael looked down at Liz then made to follow Zan. "Where is he going?"
"He running away! Again!" Liz shouted after him. She had found a way to make him as vulnerable as he had made her. "Isn't that right! You couldn't handle the throne and you just let them take it! Coward!" He stopped in his tracks but didn't turn. "Hit a little close to home, did I? You left Ava alone with those monsters." Rage filled her mind. Ava had been a friend, almost as good as Maria. There were so many reasons to hate Zan if he really had been alive the whole time. "She did nothing but love you and you left her to the mercy of Lannie and Rath. If they could kill their king, what's to stop them from killing the queen? Huh?"
"You don't know what you talkin' 'bout." Zan's voice was soft and suddenly he turned on them both. "You got nerve talkin' shit to me. I ain't the one fucked my king's bitch. I ain't the one fucked the king's second. Least I's loyal. Can't say the same bout the two of you."
"You abandoned them." Michael held him with a cold glare and reached out to pull Liz to his side. "Liz and I are all that's left. What happened with us happened and it's none of your damn business."
"I didn't abandon them. They abandoned me! They fuckin' killed me!" Zan screamed at them, amber eyes flashing. He fought the sting of tears but one look at Liz and he knew she knew.
"This isn't about us." She whispered and sank down to sit on the base of the carousel. His eyes gave it all away. It disturbed her that she could read them so well. How could they have been so selfish to think that any of this had been about them? It had been about their friends. Their loved ones lying in cold graves had died without anyone ever really knowing why or how. They could speculate and toss blame around but it hurt; not knowing hurt worse.
Zan was hurting just like them. Liz gave a wry laugh when she realized who had altered their tombstones so personally. He had been at graduation and heard what she said about the others, then he had paid his homage to his fallen fellows in the damn interstellar battle. At least she and Michael had each other, but Zan was all alone. He had loved them to some degree or else he wouldn't be pushing so hard for them to be miserable.
"What's with her?" Zan muttered while reigning in his anger.
"Liz?" Michael glanced down at her.
"You just don't know how to share the burden, do you?" She whispered up at the tattooed man. "Max had the same problem. When he thought he was losing control, he didn't ask for help... he just held it in and lashed out. He blamed other people for the things he put on himself." Liz stood up and shoved her hands in her sweater pockets, approaching Zan slowly. "What is with you kings and bearing the weight of the world? If you really hated us and didn't care what happened to us... Why did you warn us about Nicholas?"
His amber eyes burned into hers as he backed away. Zan turned on his heel and kept walking. He told himself that he was not going to look back. He was going to walk away and never look back. Liz didn't know what she was talking about. He didn't care. He didn't need them.
Shadows enveloped his hunched over form as he stepped into the ring of trees surrounding the little playground. Stepping behind a tree, he ground his teeth and kicked the trunk. Then he turned and looked back. There they stood, holding onto each other like he hadn't seen them do since they got picked up by the cops.
Liz was right. Zan didn't know how she did it but she knew everything about him. He watched them kiss and knew they didn't feel what he felt. They had someone to hold onto and kiss at the end of the day, something he hadn't had since before his sister and best friend murdered him. Ava's company would be welcome at this point, she wasn't like any of the others.
Zan sagged against the tree, hands in his pockets fiddling with stray coins and foil wrappers. They kissed passionately in the middle of the clearing, probably having already forgotten that he was there. He couldn't understand why he was denied that. He knew being with Ava was nothing like he was supposed to feel with someone. He didn't feel about her the way they obviously felt about each other.
She was right about everything. Absolutely everything. When she looked into his eyes, he knew she knew what he was thinking and that scared him to death. No one had ever been able to do that before. Liz was loyal. She stuck to Michael even after all that had happened and Zan couldn't help but want someone that would do that for him.
Drinking in the only sight of love he'd ever seen, he scanned the image into his head for later reference. Adjusting the hood on his jacket and pulling up his pants, Zan turned and made his way down the street. Let them have their hugs and kisses and marathon sex-fests. Zan could deal. He was the man.
End Episode IV
Posted: Mon Mar 28, 2005 2:55 am
AN: Cold medicine makes you all light-headed but not really sleepy and I don't trust that green bottle and so... against my better judgement, wherever that went, here I am posting.
Aftermath of War Episode VII
"Some days it feels like I'm drowning... very slowly... in quicksand. I--I cannot help but blame God for this. He took them away from me. It's the only explanation... that I can grasp at. If I look at it like Max did... if we say that God doesn't exist then... he'd say it was just an accident and these things happen but... I can't accept that an accident took them both away. I need to blame someone." She took a deep breath and leaned against the door, hands laid flat to the wood. "I can't bring myself to go into either room... but Max's even more so since... Why would anyone do that? Don't they know how much we've suffered? Couldn't they realize that would kill us? Who would do such a thing?"
"I thought you said that you felt better in Max's room?" Liz whispered and leaned on the door frame to Max's room. "When was the last time you went in?"
"I must have been inside his room at the moment he died. I was doing something that annoyed him to no end." Diane smiled bitterly. "I had his clean laundry spread out on his bed. I was folding it myself. I knew that he liked to do it himself but... Max had this way of taking care of himself and everyone else that I found any way possible that I could to take care of him." She traced the doorknob with a finger and turned to Liz. "I was putting away his underwear when I heard the sirens. I shrugged my shoulders and put away his socks. Then I hung up his shirts and his jeans. I was worried but I figured that nothing could happen to my children. They were somewhere safe. They were somewhere those sirens weren't... I folded that sweater he kept insisting on wearing even though it was so hot out... Did you give him that sweater?"
"For his 17th birthday." Liz nodded and smiled. She thought the sweater was just going to blow away one day. Max had insisted that he kept wearing it because it was his favorite color and it fit just right, it was soft and broken in. So what if it had three snags in it, so what if you could see his undershirt through it and no, it had nothing to do with the fact his ex-girlfriend had given it to him. Liz had seen right through that. He wore it because she had given it to him and for no other reason.
"He was always so devoted to you. I thought Tess was a nice girl and she obviously liked him but he only had eyes for you." Diane watched the brunette bow her head with the weight of whatever reason kept the two teenagers apart. "I didn't know where to put the sweater. All the others had been put away for next winter. So I laid it out on the chair and went to Isabel's room. I folded her clothes and left them on her bed. Isabel always was such a perfectionist. She liked everything so-so. She always refolded her clothes and put them away herself. I..." Diane shut her eyes against the threat of new tears. "I checked the doors and wondered where the kids were. I knew they were nowhere near those sirens. They couldn't have been. I kept telling myself that.
"I saw the acceptance letter on the hall table. Isabel made me promise not to tell Max she had sent out the application. I don't know why. I probably never will. I never understood it. They talked about everything with each other and she didn't want him to know that she was applying at all. The letter was from UNM. You would have gone to school together." Mrs. Evans opened her eyes and stood up. "Where did Max apply?"
"He didn't." Liz shook her head. "He wanted to be a doctor but he... he didn't want to leave Roswell." She felt her face crumble and she fought the tears, unsuccessfully. "He just... he wanted to be where he was needed, where he could take care of everyone. Sometimes, we were both too noble for our own good."
"Why aren't you going? I know you got a scholarship. Don't put those dreams on hold." Diane reached out and grasped the young girl's hand.
"I just can't. I can't go yet." Liz shook her head and continued to futilely fight the tears. She squeezed the hand in hers. "I can't leave Michael alone and it's too soon to leave after all... all that's happened. I don't want to feel like I'm running away from it."
"I suppose you're right. How did you kids get to be so wise? I probably would have left and tried to forget it all. Not you. You're staying to remember and get stronger. I admire that." Diane's shining blue eyes bore down into Liz's brown ones. "I don't think I could be as strong as you are."
"Yeah, well, my parents don't think so. They think I'm throwing it away for Michael. I think... that when he's ready... I'll take him with me." Liz pursed her lips. She loved visiting Mrs. Evans. The woman never judged. She had noticed Michael's looks at Liz and never said a word until she was sure of what was going on. "I've talked to the head of the department and she said she understood. Freshman year is hard enough without adding grief to it. She told me to observe the old ways."
Liz gave a little laugh. "I don't know exactly which ways those are but she said to give myself a year and a day to grieve. I was actually only thinking a semester or two but that sounds just as good... Yeah."
Slowly, Diane turned the knob, the tumblers clicked and squeaked and then the door swung open. Liz gasped. She had seen the pictures but it was nothing compared to the reality. "I haven't been able to come in here since the funeral... I would stand here and just look around. I would see him in everything and just want to crawl inside myself. Then with what happened... I couldn't even open the door. Isabel's room is better, though. I could sit in there for hours and remember all our little talks. Talks that I could never have with Max because either he wouldn't let me or 'guys don't talk about those things, Ma'." She said with a smile. "They told you they were adopted?"
"Yeah." Liz nodded and ran her eyes over the blackened walls, the ashen books and shelves, the melted computer, his shriveled bedspread and the bald spot on the desk where the picture must have been.
"Max told me that he didn't think he'd ever find his real parents and then closed the subject. He told me that I was his mother and Philip was his father, no else would ever stand in our place for him. Isabel said that she and Max didn't remember anything before the orphanage." Diane sank in the doorway to her son's room. "She didn't remember the day we found them in the desert... and I realize that being left out there was traumatic but they didn't remember anything. I remember that night so clearly... so very clearly."
"What happened? Max... what happened?" Liz realized that she had been about to tell Diane what Max had never told her. Max remembered being found too clearly. Searching for Michael, finding him and reaching out to him... and then losing him when the headlights shone on them.
"Philip and I were out on a drive. He loved to off-road and I had to admit that it made me feel better. He says he loves to watch the scenery fly by around me. We haven't gone out driving in so long. That night, though, I needed to feel better. To feel his eyes looking at me, so full of love. I was feeling sorry for myself and for Philip. I just kept thinking about the kids we would never have... the kids that he and I couldn't have together." She sniffed and watched the young girl slide down to sit across from her.
"You couldn't have any children?" Liz whispered. She had known that. Somewhere in her head she had known there was a reason the Evans didn't have any natural children of their own. There was a reason they only had Isabel and Max but it had never clicked, not until that moment.
"We had known for a while but once in a while it would hit me hard... Then I was in the passenger seat of that old car, staring out into the desert, feeling his eyes on me. I knew he should have been looking at where he was going instead of at me but he knew what he was doing. Then I saw something on a rock. I told Philip to slow down. Then whatever it was, it was gone. I was so scared." Diane's blue eyes were wide. "I never did find out what it was. Sometimes I think I see it. It was standing upright on that rock, I just knew it was. You hear silly stories about things people have seen in the desert but you dismiss them because these people are drunk or high but... I know I saw something."
Liz swallowed thickly. She couldn't tell Diane the truth about what she had seen, not after all this time. The older woman kept telling her story. "Then I looked and looked everywhere as we rolled along. I don't know if I wanted to see it again or if I was scared to see it again... and then there they were. Philip slowed down and then stopped. We stared at them and then Max turned around, then Isabel. I got out and looked them over.
"They didn't look hurt or abused... just naked and... new. I asked them where their parents were but they didn't answer me. It wasn't until much later I realized they couldn't have answered me. They didn't know how to speak." Diane stared at the young girl in front of her hard. "You already know this... don't you?"
"Max... he remembered the headlights." Liz nodded. "He remembered you pulling them out of the way and wrapping a blanket around the both of them because he wouldn't let go of her hand."
"I remember that." Michael whispered. Both women's heads shot up. How long had Michael been standing there in the hallway? He stared at them, between them, at Max's singed carpet. He had blocked that night out; out of fear, out of shame, out of pride. "I remember. He reached out for me and I didn't take his hand. I couldn't. I was too scared and the headlights blinded me. I ran and hid. Max kept reaching for me but I wouldn't reach out and take his hand. Then they got out of the car, said things I didn't understand... then they were gone and I was alone. I had just found them and then they were gone."
"Michael..." Liz whispered, rising to her feet to approach him. "What's wrong?"
"I didn't want to remember before now." He shook his head, eyes sweeping over Diane's bewildered expression and focusing on Liz. "How could I forget that night? I have trouble sometimes, remembering what happened..."
"You left first." Liz placed her hands on his shoulders. "You left first and got lost. Max and Isabel went looking for you. They could feel you out there and then there you were. You stood up on that rock and waited for them to come to you."
"Then they held hands and reached out to me. I climbed down and I was going to take their hands. I was going to reach for Max's hand but the headlights were scary. The big people were scary..." Michael felt the tears slipping down his face. "Why couldn't I have taken his hand?"
"Dear God..." Diane put a hand to her mouth. The thought that she had left a child out in that desert was devastating. She had brought home two children but there had been three. Why hadn't she looked around? Why didn't they try a little harder to find out where the children had come from?
"But you did..." Liz pressed upon Michael. "You did. You learned to take his hand... just like you've learned to take mine. You aren't that scared little boy anymore, Michael. You just blocked that night out. You found them and you were together."
Michael hugged Liz to him and then felt Mrs. Evans' arms around him. He had never felt so warm before. It wasn't pity it was genuine love from two people he would have least expected it from.
Liz tossed the keys onto the counter and no sooner had she rolled her head around on her shoulders, did Michael swoop in on her. He pressed kisses to the back of her neck and pulled her body back against his. He had been waiting for her to come home all afternoon. He had been doing laundry and handling her little panties had gotten him all riled up.
His hands quickly pulled the zipper down on her skirt, sliding the leather garment to the floor. Liz reached down to unzip her boots but his hands caught hers and spun her around. "Leave them on."
"What?" Liz gave a little laugh. Had she heard him right?
"Leave them on." He whispered hoarsely. "I like it."
"God, Liz... You walk around all day in these boots and it's all I can think about all day." He voice dropped a couple of notches deeper as he pressed her against his body. "Just about these boots and this thong..."
"Yeah?" She turned, pulling her shirt over her head.
"Yeah." He nodded before lifting her up and carrying her over to the bed. Together they undressed him. Their mouths met, tongues tangled, teeth clicked. Michael ran his hands over her leather boot clad legs. The shiny soft leather against his skin made his mouth water for the taste of her.
Liz closed her eyes and gripped the muscles in his shoulders. His mouth burned a trail from her lips to her breasts, devouring every inch except the hard points reaching out to him. She could feel his erection against her legs and occasionally against the thin fabric of her panties. Finally, he took one taut nipple into his mouth. He pulled on it, sucked it deep into his mouth. Her back arched up, her head thrown back on their pillow.
She couldn't stop herself from wrapping her legs around his waist, trying desperately to bring him inside her body. Michael groaned when the cool leather surrounded him. Without even thinking he tore her tiny panties off her body and threw them aside. "Michael! I need those--"
Her protest was cut off when he began the slow journey inside her body. His aching cock finally able to be where it had wanted to be all night. Her cries drove him on, increasing the speed he was setting which in turn made her volume rise. Michael rubbed his fingers over and between the top of the boot and her leg, studying the contrasts in texture and softness, glorying in feeling both at the same time.
Unbeknownst to them, a tiny point of light appeared and disappeared every so often through the thin curtain hanging over their window. The regular intervals only changed when the light glowed brightly for a few seconds, then returned to its mechanic like regularity.
Michael woke up when his alarm went off. Liz's arm was draped across his chest and her bare legs tangled in his. He had to think a moment before he was be able to extricate himself from the bed without waking her up. As he staggered to the shower, he rubbed at a couple of hickies on his chest. Liz had been particularly vicious in her reciprocation the night before.
No sooner had he turned off the water and reached for the towel, did someone start pounding on the door. "Guerin!"
"Shit." Michael muttered and threw on some clothes. Mr. Peartree wasn't one to wait around on anyone. He slid out the door and faced his annoying neighbor. "What the hell is it this time? Some people are actually still asleep, you know."
"You and your girlfriend are ones to talk about noise. You kept me up half the night with all that damn racket. And this. Look at this." The little old man pointed to a mess next to the wall. "Clean it up. It makes the whole building look bad."
"Okay." Michael crossed his arms. "I'll admit to the noise pollution but about that mess. Clean it up yourself. It's not mine."
Mr. Peartree narrowed his eyes at the young man. "I'll call the superintendant. I'll tell him all about your wild hours and loud orgies and the messes you and your friends leave in the hallway. Look at this. I sure as hell don't smoke. You young people have no respect!"
"What wild orgies? I only wish!" Michael snapped back at him. "If you'd ever had sex, you'd know what it sounds like. Why the hell don't you go back into your damn apartment? You never leave except to bother me."
"I don't know what you do to make her scream like that. I ought to call the police on the two of you." The old man sneered and turned to shuffle away.
"If it'll shut you up... I'll clean up the damn mess. Be gone, old man." Michael rolled his eyes and went to retrieve the broom and dust pan. He knelt down and noted the numerous cigarette butts and the pile of ashes. One of them was still smoking.
Michael stood and glanced around. No one. Quickly, he cleaned it up and dumped the butts in Mr. Peartree's flower pot. When he turned back around, he came nearly eye level to a hole in the curtain of his own apartment. Through it, he could see Liz stretched out on the bed. Her arms thrown over her head, her breasts exposed by the sheet and her legs tangled in the bottom of the sheet. He spared one more glance at the flower pot and the butts before shaking his head. Perverts...
Liz bounded into the apartment. She set the bag of groceries on the counter, putting things away, dancing to the music blasting out of the little stereo. Soon she was singing along.
"From the top to the bottom
Bottom to top I stop
At the core I've forgotten
In the middle of my thoughts
Taken far from my safety
The picture's there
The memory won't escape me
But why should I care"
She reached over to change the CD and couldn't find the case to the one playing. All the jewel cases had their CDs in them. Frowning, she answered the phone when it rang. "Hello."
"Hey Liz. I'm getting off a little early. What did you want me to bring home to eat?"
Liz couldn't keep a smile off her face at hearing the sound of his voice. "Whatever. I don't care, Michael."
"Bad thing to say. If I come home with nothing but Kung Pao... you only have yourself to blame."
"It's fine, really." Liz nodded her head at him even though he obviously couldn't see. Once in a while he did this. He would call to get her dinner order and pretend he didn't know what she liked, teased her that she'd get stuck with food way too spicy for her pallet and then show up with Sesame chicken, her favorite. "Hey... um... I was going to change the CDs and I can't find the Linkin' Park case."
"Linkin' Park? When did you get that one?"
"It's not mine. It's yours." She shook her head. Then she stood up straight. "The CD was playing when I came home from the store. I wasn't listening to anything before I left."
"Seriously? Well, it's not mine..." Liz heard some mumbled cursing and strained to listen closer. "That means that's someone's been there."
"What?" Liz spun around, eyeing every nook and cranny in their small apartment. Someone had been in their home, playing CDs and probably making themselves at home.
"Don't stay home. Go do something. I'll meet you there when I was supposed to get out. I'm going to see who's been snooping around."
"Michael, don't go by yourself." She shook her head vigorously.
"Who am I going to go with? I'll be fine. Stay out in public, remember that."
"Ok." Liz nodded. "Bye." She hung up the phone and rapidly put away perishables before grabbing her purse and heading out the door. She could get some things done. Stay in plain sight. No problem.
Zan sang and rapped and shouted out the song as he spun around on the vitrified surface marking where his family had died. So into his little homage that he didn't notice he was being watched.
"From the top to the bottom
Bottom to top I stop
At the core I've forgotten
In the middle of my thoughts
Taken far from my safety
The picture's there
The memory won't escape me
But why should I care"
He managed to keep up his dancing and spoken word without losing his breath. Whenever he thought of this song, he thought of them. His lover, his sister, his best friend. They hadn't turned out to be much to him but it didn't change the way he felt.
"There's a place so dark you can't see the end
Skies cock back and shock that which can't defend
The rain then sends dripping/ acidic questions
Forcefully, the power of suggestion
Then with the eyes shut/ looking through the rust and rot
And dust/ a small spot of light floods the floor
And pours over the rusted world of pretend
The eyes ease open and it's dark again"
His feet continued to slide on the vitrified desert sand. The paramedics and fire fighters had pulled the bodies out but the fire was too hot, too bright. By the time they could get any control over it, the desert floor was completely vitreous. No one ever did figure out what could have caused such an explosion. The resulting glassed desert had been left behind. No one saw any use in disposing of it. Some people had even come to lay their flowers beside it from time to time in respect for the young people whose lives were lost.
"From the top to the bottom
Bottom to top I stop
At the core I've forgotten
In the middle of my thoughts
Taken far from my safety
The picture's there
The memory won't escape me
But why should I care"
Then he switched to a smooth tone to sing the chorus. His jerky movements slowed somewhat, his shoes squeaking slightly.
"In the memory you'll find me
Eyes burning up
The darkness holding me tightly
Until the sun rises up"
Then it was back to spoken word raps and shouts. Arms waving around as he spun on the smooth surface. His feet moved quickly in time with his words. Lannie had taught him how to dance once upon a time and he'd improvised on her instructions.
"Moving all around/ screaming of the ups and downs
Pollution manifested in perpetual sound
The wheels go round and the sunset creeps behind
Street lamps, chain-link and concrete
A little piece of paper with a picture drawn floats
On down the street till the wind is gone
The memory now is like the picture was then
When the paper's crumpled up it can't be perfect again
From the top to the bottom
Bottom to top I stop
At the core I've forgotten
In the middle of my thoughts
Taken far from my safety
The picture's there
The memory won't escape me
But why should I care"
Once more his voice switched to the strong smooth strains.
"In the memory you'll find me
Eyes burning up
The darkness holding me tightly
Until the sun rises up"
His movements became more frenzied as he allowed this to be an outlet for his grief and loneliness. He thought briefly on Michael and Liz. Least they had each other, they didn't need him.
"Now you got me caught in the act
You bring the thought back
I'm telling you that
I see it right through you
Now you got me caught in the act
You bring the thought back
I'm telling you that
I see it right through you"
"In the memory you'll find me
Eyes burning up
The darkness holding me tightly
Until the sun rises up"
Zan finally stopped moving all together, his sides hurting, his legs burning, arms sore, voice getting tired. He forced out the final strains of the song. Tears streaming down his face. He knelt down on the vitrified earth, tears pooling then rolling off with the slope of the earth.
"In the memory you will find me
Eyes burning up
The darkness holding me tightly
Until the sun rises up"
Michael waited until Zan looked up at him. He had bore witness to the tribute but hadn't said anything. He still didn't say a word. The two men stared at each other. Zan broke the silence. "What the fuck you want?"
"You were in our apartment. You left your CD." Michael crossed his arms. That was the same song he had heard in the background when he had called Liz. "Sloppy, sloppy."
"Fuck off." Zan yanked a pack of cigarettes from his shoe, snapped his fingers and lit up. Taking a long drag, he got to his feet. "I want the CD back. Took me a long ass time to find it."
"You damn pervert. Stop watching us." Michael turned and hiked back down to his bike. "Least you could do is clean up your mess. I'm taking the heat for your little habit."
"Share the wealth man. Not everybody's got somebody." Zan wiped at his eyes and blew the ashes off the end of his cigarette.
That's when it hit him. Michael stopped dead in his tracks. He had been left behind, too scared to join the others. He had been unwilling to trust. He had been the one without anyone... but now he had Liz. Zan's family had betrayed him, tried to kill him. He had loved them and they pissed on it and now they were gone. Michael made his decision and turned to face his best friend's duplicate. Can't take the hand if it isn't offered.
The shower was on when Liz entered the apartment. She had spent the day window shopping and visiting around. She had been worried about Michael until she had heard the noise upon entering. She put away the food she had left out earlier and then raised an eyebrow in the direction on the bathroom. The door had stayed shut for once.
A wicked smile crossed her face as she stripped down. When she pushed open the door, warm steam enveloped her naked body. As quietly as she could, she approached the shower, her fingers curled around the edge of the curtain. "Want some company?"
She ripped open the curtain. Her jaw dropped open and her eyes blinked uselessly. Water ran over his every plane, over well-defined muscles. He tilted his head back into the spray, laying his black hair flat on his head. Rivulets streamed down washboard abs and taut thighs. The water poured over his face, running down his goatee. He looked her over from head to toe, a mischievous glint in his amber eyes. "Well, you comin' in or you just gon stand there, Swee' pea?"
End Episode VII
Posted: Tue Mar 29, 2005 4:15 am
Aftermath of War Episode VIII
Michael pushed open the apartment door to see Liz yanking on her shorts and then pulling her shirt over her head. Her face was bright red and her hair looked damp. When she saw him she rushed over. "Zan is in our shower."
"So." Michael shrugged and watched her mouth drop open.
"He's been stalking us and now he's using our shower and you don't care?" Liz shook her head in frustration.
"We had a little talk. I knew he was here." Michael put the food down on the counter. "What's with you?"
"Well, if I had known that it was Zan in the shower instead of you... I wouldn't have tried to get in with him." Liz bit out. "He's... infuriating."
"You tried to get in the shower with him?" Michael stopped what he was doing and turned to her. He didn't know whether to be jealous or amused.
"Did you not hear what I said? I thought it was you. I was going to surprise you but when I opened that curtain, it was him!" She pointed to the door. "Then he had the nerve to ask me if I was still going to get in."
"He saw you naked?"
"Yes. Again." Liz grumbled and crossed her arms over her chest. "And he keeps calling me 'Swee' pea'... what is that? He can't even say it right. It's 'Sweet pea'... I hate him."
"'Me thinks the lady doth protest too much...'" Came a sarcastic tone from the bathroom door, with that gravel that he called a voice. Zan stood there with just a towel around his waist. Liz had to turn away. She remembered that towel too well, it was practically invisible it was so thin and worn.
"Where would you have heard that?" She snarled at him.
"I ain't an idiot. I went to school." Zan snarled right back. "Nothin' to do at night but break in and scan stuff."
"That's great. At least you took advantage of the local school system before you robbed it." Liz shot out.
A shrill whistle broke them up. Michael held his hands out. "Hey! I've got food here. I'm going to eat it. I would like quiet during the game."
"Yo, you mind if I take the bed?" Zan pointed as he grabbed the set of clothes Michael had left out for him.
"Yes. I mind." Liz shook her head. "Michael, tell him he can't stay here."
"I kinda told him that he could." Michael shrugged as he sank to the floor to watch the game.
"What?" Liz whirled on Michael. "You didn't talk to me about this. How can you go offering our apartment to some pervert that likes to watch us when we have sex."
"Hey! I do not watch." Zan barked. "I stand guard. Who do you think is watchin' your back? Huh? When you two do it... there ain't nothin' to protect you. I's lookin' out for you."
"That's it! I'm gone." Liz grabbed her jacket and the motorcycle keys. "I'm going to Diane's and I'm telling her because if he's going to be following us, she's going to see him."
"I thought you said we couldn't tell her." Michael rose to his feet.
"That was before the living dead walked into our lives, Michael." Liz hissed and headed for the door. "If my sesame chicken isn't here when I get back... there will be dead bodies."
She slammed the door behind her. Michael glanced at the sack on the counter and then at the door. "Guess that means I should have got her some..."
Liz paused on the Evans doorstep, her hand poised to knock. How in the world could she just walk in and tell Diane her dead children were actually alien royalty? Before she could change her mind, the door swung open. "Liz, come in. You know you're always welcome." Diane noted Liz's pensive expression. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing... I just need to tell you something... something you should know." Liz nodded her head slowly.
"Well, I know about you and Michael. I think it's great." Diance smiled and stepped aside to let the young woman into the house.
"It's not about that... It's some important and rather late information... it's kinda crazy actually..." Liz said as she closed the door behind her.
Michael rolled over on the bed. Liz still wasn't back yet. Zan had fallen asleep on the floor, which was fine by Michael. The apartment stunk like smoke but at least he used an ashtray. The Max duplicate relayed his story during commercials.
["So then Lannie drops the ball she just stole. I was just gonna git it for 'er. Then Rath shoves me to the street. I can still feel the asphalt diggin' into my arms. I looks up and I sees this truck, huge delivery truck bearin' down on me. I let it come... I just laid there. They tossed me in a dumpster after I plays dead..."
"Three days I stayed there, eatin' what people threw away and healin' up best I could. I put up my shield at night to keep the rats from eatin' me. Lucky for me I heal fast. After I got myself outta there... dump truck came by and..."
"I still wasn't good. I found a shit motel and faked my way into a room for two weeks. I ain't had nothin'. They took my pack. I ain't eat or drink but I slept a helluva lot. A few times... I ain't think I gon' wake up."
"I ain't never heard from none of 'em again. I figure they'd find out but no. I found an old warehouse to get strong again in... then I went lookin' for 'em. They ain't come back... So I went 'round the ol' hood. Ain't nobody seen 'em since that short dude came in... Nicholas. Then Cole, that fool, he tells me that he seen 'em with some fool look just like me... with bad taste in clothes and seen some chick look just like Ava... lookin' sweet and cherry. I ain't want believe him."
"So... I figured it out. They's another set. The old guys made two of us. I ain't know where though. I knew that damn Summit was a trap and so... I beat it out of New York. I found Ava in L.A. I ain't talk to her though. I know she ain't try to kill me but... I ain't love her neither. She got some boy toys and I ain't gon mess wit that."
"One day I seen her and she look scared. Then I follow her and she followin' Lannie and Rath... they's with a short punk, look about 14 years old. He also look like he runnin' the show. They mostly did what he said. Then they comes here. I followed but I got lost and I ain't got here in time. I just knows somethin' fuckin' huge goin' down. I ain't fast enough and it too late."
"I's climbin' that hill and I sees my own face holdin' a shield to Lannie and Rath. He's protectin' 'em all. There was too many of 'em. The shield got spread too thin. Then I notice some of 'em's human and then... I sees Tess and Ava doin' the same thing. Fire ball. When they both let loose, Rath let go and pushed it back. There was fire everwhere. I... couldn't stop it. Too hot, too much. They's gone before I get to the bottom."
"I's countin' the bodies. I sees two Lannies, two Avas and another me. Rath was there but the other was missin'. Then I sees three humans. That's nine. I's backin' off when I hears the sirens. I hid and I sees you and Swee' pea on the bike. I sees you faces and I know you feel like I does. Too late. Too fuckin' late. Shoulda been in there wit 'em."]
Michael looked up when the door opened. Liz crept into the room and sank onto the bed, her shoulders hitching. "Liz?"
She jumped but turned to face him. "I told her."
"What happened?" Michael pulled her to him.
"I told her. I told her why I was telling her. Told her about Zan and Nicholas and she just stared at me. It was like she knew what I was saying was true but then it was like she didn't want to accept it." Liz buried her face in his shoulder. "She told me that it would be best if I left."
Michael closed his eyes. He couldn't believe that he was wrong about Mrs. Evans. "Sh. It's okay. You got me... and Zan."
"Why is he here, Michael?" Liz sobbed again, her whole body shaking in complete surrender of everything.
"Think about it, Liz. You know what happened to him. You know Max. You tell me why he's here." In response, another sob came out. "I remember what it was like to be left behind, Liz. Do you want him to be that way too?"
"It's different. He chose to hide and run away from all this destiny crap. Max would never do that."
"That's bull and you know it. Max spent 10 years hiding from the truth." Michael whispered and stroked her hair, lying back on the bed with her. "We'll need him."
"Ben's going to start sending me to shows out of town and I don't want to leave you unprotected." He felt her shaking her head against his chest. "Liz, he's not going to hurt us."
"Ok." Liz sighed and closed her eyes. "Ok. I know. I know that we need him... I just... It's hard, Michael. He looks exactly like Max."
"I know. I know."
Silence hung in the small apartment. Zan rolled onto his back to stare at the ceiling. He listened to their whispered conversations without making a sound. He closed his eyes and prayed for sleep.
Zan watched as Liz and Michael said their goodbyes in front of the bike shop. Liz was practically trying to eat Michael's face. Zan rolled his eyes. They had gone at it while he was in the shower that morning [Zan wiped the water off his face and slicked back his hair. He could hear them with the shower going. "Michael... ooh... Michael... don't stop."] and then again when they took their turn in the shower [Zan ran his hands through his hair, spiking it on top of his head. There they were again, doing it again in the shower. "Ah! Ah! Right! Yeah, right there! God! Michael!."] Conversations between he and Liz had been terse and few; mostly she prefered to be anywhere but in the same room as him. That proved to be a difficult task as the apartment was one room.
Michael had told him to look after Liz while he was gone but just looking was going to be a problem... especially when Liz wore her work uniform. Biting back a groan, he turned to look over the rows of bikes up front. If he tried, he could hear them speak softly to each other.
"I asked him to keep an eye on you."
"I don't want anything happening to you and you know Nicholas is just dying to get any of us alone." There was a pause in which Zan assumed they had resumed sucking face. "He'll probably be right where you can see him, just don't get upset if you do."
Shaking his head, Zan lit up a cigarette. He had to in order to cut the sickening sweetness behind him. He swung a leg over the bike and sat on the back of the bike. He flicked the ashes off beside him.
"I'll be back next week. We're gonna hit two shows and come right back." Michael pulled away reluctantly. He pressed a quick kiss to her lips and shouldered his bag.
"I'll miss you." Liz called after him.
Liz turned to the bike and groaned. Zan was perched there inhaling deeply on a damned cigarette. She tapped her foot before stalking over. "Move back. I'm gonna be late for work."
"Maybe if you ain't tried eat his face off, you'd be there already." Zan slid to the back of the seat and let Liz climb on.
"Shut up." Liz called over her shoulder. She started up the engine and immediately one of his hands settled on her hip. "Put it out." The butt flew over her shoulder.
"Let's go." He rasped in her ear.
"Don't fall off." Liz yanked the helmet onto her head roughly and took off to work.
Liz leaned on the bar, not surprised when a body sat next to her, and sighed heavily. "Hey Zan."
"The redhead and the blonde are at each other's throats." He gloated and glanced over his shoulder at Sineya and Teri.
"You shouldn't play them off each other like that." Liz shook her head. She felt a little pang every single time that she saw Zan hitting on one of the strippers.
"They's just a little fun. Ain't much. Girls like them are a dime a dozen. No sweat off my back." Zan took a drink from Dave behind him. "Thanks, man."
"Liz is right. Don't go messing around with those girls. It'll come back to bite you in the ass." Dave warned and went back to cleaning glasses.
"You shouldn't drink." Liz muttered and stretched her back, using the bar as leverage. It was an agonizingly slow day.
"You my mommy?" Zan took a long pull on the glass before setting it down. "Booze ain't no big deal."
"Max gets... got really messed up on alcohol. He couldn't remember things he did. It's not like that for you?" Liz asked casually but she could already see the beer taking its effect on him.
"Naw. It ain't nothin'." He shrugged. They both turned at the arguing between the two strippers. "Stupid bitches."
"They're not stupid. Teri is going to school part time. She's graduating soon." Liz saw that he didn't care and sat back on the stool. "If they're so stupid. Why bother?"
"Have you looked at 'em?" Zan turned, eyes running over both girls. "Tight little bodies... and what's her face... Redheads are sweet. Mmm!"
"You are such a pig." Liz scoffed and picked up her tray to go service her tables.
"Bitch!" A scream erupted from Teri after Sineya had slapped her hard. The two women went in fists flying, hair whipping around, rings cutting.
"Whoo!" Zan cried, raising his beer to Liz. She glared at him and then joined Dave in separating the two strippers.
"You two cool it." Dave shoved one girl one way and the other toward Liz.
"He is not worth it. Trust me, he thinks this is hilarious." She told them. "Don't play into his delusion that he's something special. Get back to work before we have to get Gary in here."
They all went back to work and Liz thought everything was ok until she clocked out and couldn't find Zan anywhere. Looking around she noticed Sineya was missing as well.
Zan let the buzz roll over him as he pressed the pretty redhead against the wall. Their mouths met again and again, tasting and biting. His hands wound their way under her clothes. Then he pressed harder against her, hoisting her up for a better angle at her mouth, holding her up with just his body. Her trim legs hugged his hips, trying to pull him closer to her. His hands continued their exploration of her body and just as he thought he was getting somewhere, he was yanked away painfully by his earrings. "What the fuck?"
"Say goodnight Zan." Liz hissed at him before pulling him out the door by his ear. She hauled him all the way to the bike before letting go. She looked him in the eye. "I know you're drunk and you're desperate to get your rocks off but wading through my pool of friends is not going to score you any points. You leave them alone."
"Bitch, that hurt." He rubbed his ear gingerly.
"Good. Every time you think of going after one of them again... remember how that felt because trust me I will be there to do it again." She glared at him and climbed onto the bike, yanking on her helmet roughly. Liz waited a moment or two before Zan climbed on behind her.
She took off before he had situated himself and he had to clutch onto her to keep from falling off the back. "Crazy bitch."
"I heard that." She called over her shoulder. She was laughing at him until she felt one of his hands move from her waist to her crotch. Nimbly, his fingers moved beneath her tiny skirt and under her tiny little panties. Involuntarily, she became sopping wet and her grip on the handlbars tightened. She should tell him something, make him stop but her mouth opened and nothing came out.
His long fingers traced every wet fold and crevasse lightly. Liz had to concentrate especially hard to keep going in a straight line on the road. Zan scooted up behind her to let her feel his erection against her ass. "That feels good, don't it, Swee' pea?"
His voice was low and husky. Liz found herself wishing she wasn't wearing a helmet so he could whisper in her ear. His fingers never stopped moving for an instant.
"I dream about fuckin' you. I's huge, but you knew that. You seen me." He kept talking as his fingers dipped inside her pussy. "Do you dream of me? Of me fuckin' you so hard you pass out? Maybe you wants to ride me? You like to be in control, right Swee' pea?"
Liz couldn't get to the apartment fast enough. He kept torturing her with tiny thrusts with his fingers and then deep penetrating strokes then sliding out to rub her clit. What was wrong with her? Why didn't she want to stop him?
"I took a pair of your panties... that day I came to your place and you was in the shower. I keep 'em in my pocket. They smell like you. They smell like this." She felt him remove his hand and then saw it pass her face and go over her shoulder. "Mmmm." She could hear him licking his fingers. "You taste sweet."
The bike stopped with a lurch in the parking spot outside the apartment, making Zan press into Liz just a bit more before he got off the bike. On shaky legs, Liz wobbled over to him. He wouldn't just leave her like that, would he?
"Let's go, Swee' pea. I'm dyin' for a taste of you." Zan grabbed her hand and pulled her into the apartment after him. Liz had no control of anything as he spun her around to face him. Her eyes sought his out and got completely lost. All thought had ceased to exist the moment he touched her on the bike.
His mouth was on hers the second the helmet came off her head. She couldn't help but open up for the familiar mouth and taste the familiar tongue. Her fingers wound their way through his high spikes as his hands hoisted her up, pulling her legs around his waist. Leaning back against the counter, he pulled off her shirt and the skimpy excuse for a bra.
In one step, he spun so she was pressed against the counter and took off his own shirt. Liz's mouth traveled along his jaw all the while his fingers were exploring her breasts. There was so much that he had seen and not touched. Wrenching his head down, he tasted her skin; his tongue traced designs on her bare chest.
Zan brought one hand down to her ass, pressing her against him as he ground into her. Liz clung to him for dear life. She never wanted it to stop. Never wanted to stop feeling his lips brush against her, his hot tongue bathing her flesh, his fingers touching her. None of it. Just wanted it to go on forever.
Hoisting her up against him once more, Zan kicked off his shoes and managed to get his pants down as he walked to the bed. He tossed her onto the bed so he could work at getting her skirt, boots and thong off. While he worked, his eyes were glued to her heaving chest as she found for breath.
The fuzzy feeling in his head was wearing off, only making him want her more. Forget the blond and the redhead. This was what he needed. Sliding between her legs, he lay on top of her, groaning when his cock met with her wet flesh.
Liz ground her hips up into his. He had worked her up so quickly that she didn't know what she was doing anymore. She just need him inside her. Quickly, she kept thinking. Soon. Now. Please, now. Her pants were coming so rapid that she nearly cheered when he shifted between her legs to bring the tip of his cock to her entrance.
His mouth kept lapping at her breasts and he made ready to thrust inside her. She tasted so good, just like he knew she would. He was never going to get enough of her. Just a little bit longer, he thought. He lost the war and thrust quickly into her hot wet center. Immediately, it brought a cry from her lips. "MAX!"
Zan froze. He was still deep inside a beautiful woman, his mouth hovered a mere breath away from one of her nipples, his hands gripped her hips tight. In an instant, he had withdrawn from her and was stalking to the bathroom, completely sober.
Liz screamed in anguish when she realized he wasn't coming back. After a few moments, she got her wits back about her and gasped. Forget that she was cheating on Michael. Forget that she was about to have sex with Zan. She had just cried out Max's name while with Zan.
End Episode VIII
Posted: Wed Mar 30, 2005 1:45 am
Aftermath of War Episode IX
The tension was so thick that Dave had offered to cut it with a knife for all to share. That comment had earned him glares from both Zan and Liz. Liz tried to work but Zan was boring holes into the back of her head, instead of looking her over from head to toe as per his usual. She felt bad, horrible, disgusted with herself. No excuse. Absolutely no excuse for what she had done to Zan or what she had done to Michael.
The past two days had consisted of separate modes of transportation to work, Zan glaring at her all day or night, then back to the apartment where he sulked on the floor for hours at a time and Liz stared at the ceiling. She had tried to apologize once but he didn't want to hear it. She would have to tell Michael.
Michael would be home in four hours according to the clock. Liz kept glancing at it; both hoping it would slow down and speed up. How in the world was she going to figure out how to tell him in three hours, 59 minutes and 3 seconds?
How could Liz tell Michael that she was still in love with Max?
Michael stepped into the bar and stood back to watch Liz. He had missed her so much and he was early getting back but he wanted just to watch her for a moment. She looked upset. Zan looked upset. They weren't looking at each other which said to him that something was up.
He took a seat to watch as Liz approached Zan's table. She whispered to him and he hissed back. Finally, muttering, Zan downed the remainder of his beer, stalked off, only pausing to whisper in Teri's ear, and disappeared into the back. Michael turned his gaze back to Liz, who had just wiped a tear from her cheek. Something was definitely going on.
"I should get back to work." Teri lightly protested against Zan's wandering lips and hands.
"No, you should stay here with me." Zan flicked his tongue around her ear.
"I thought you were with Sineya." She turned her head, intending to put a stop to his seduction but he began sucking on her neck instead.
"Well, she ain't here, is she." He murmured into her blond hair, setting his hands on the wall on either side ofher. "Ain't she doin' that old guy what owns this joint, anyway?"
"But you were with her a few days ago."
"But I ain't with her now. I with you." Zan turned his head to capture her lips again. "I ain't inter-ested in that piece."
"I should really get back to work Zan."
"Yes, you should." Michael's voice interrupted them. Zan looked up to find him leaning in the doorway.
"Mikey." Zan straighened up a bit and let Teri slip out of his grasp. "Swee' pea said you ain't gon be back til later."
"I'm just gonna go." Teri nodded and slipped past Michael, leaving the two men alone.
"Well, I'm here now and I want to know what's going on. I saw Liz crying out there... after she talked to you." Michael crossed his arms and stepped into the small foyer that housed the entry corridors to the dressing rooms, bathrooms and pay phone. "What did you say to her?"
"What did I say to her?" Zan snapped, straighting his back and tensing. "Why is it me? What if it's what she said? What she did?"
"What the hell is that supposed to mean?" Michael stepped to the shorter man.
"Ask her. The little lady that your king fell for, that you fell for, that I... you know what? Ask her. She'll tell you." Zan bit out and made to shove past Michael to get out into the bar.
"Tell me." Michael ordered.
"Remember your place, soldier." Zan's amber eyes flashed. "You just the Number two. I'm the man. Don't. Forget." Before Michael could say anything, Zan opened his mouth again. "You're here with her, I don't have to be. Lates."
Michael stood dumbfounded as Zan pushed past him. Turning, he took in the scene the bar made. Two waitresses watched closely as Zan left through the front doors. Gary glared in Zan's direction as well, definitely not impressed with the guy. Dave was shaking his head at them all. Liz moved about the tables, distracted. Distracted wasn't something that Liz did well but there she was; Queen of Distraction.
What the hell had gone on while he was away?
Sitting at the bar to think, he barely noticed Dave standing there until he plopped a cherry coke in front of him. "Michael. Welcome back to Earth, pal."
"You know, I ought to warn you. Your friend Zan is trouble. Gary doesn't like him. Not one bit." The Irish accent drifted around Michael's ears. Hopefully Dave knew something about what was going on. "Nope. It seems that Zan is fond of tasting other men's women. I'd watch him around your Liz if I were you."
"Oh yeah? You know why she's like that?" Michael gestured over his shoulder to his girlfriend, who had just mixed up the drink order.
"Nope but she dragged Zan out of here by the ear night before last. She hasn't been the same since." Dave took pity on the couple. "Take her home. I'll talk to Gary. She needs a day off."
"Thanks." Michael nodded and shook hands with the older bartender. He downed his coke and then went to retrieve Liz. She turned to him and her mouth dropped open. It was like she was surprised to see him. Not the reaction he had expected to his arrival. She seemed reluctant to be near him at all. "Let's go. You're getting off early."
"I just started my shift two hours ago." She protested weakly but followed Michael out to the motorcycle after leaving her receipts and cash at the bar with Dave. "Michael."
He turned around to take in her nervous demeanor. "What?"
"I... have to talk to you about something. It's important." She almost reached out to touch him but stopped herself.
"Let's go home." Michael told her and climbed onto the bike. "She give you any trouble?"
"No. Nothing's wrong with the bike." Liz whispered and cautiously climbed on behind him. Her arms wrapped loosely around him, almost as if she were afraid to touch him.
The ride home was silent. No shouts over the roar of the engine, no small talk at the lights. No other gestures of a homecoming for Michael. The second the door shut behind them, he turned to her. "What's going on, Liz? What happened? Was Nicholas here?"
"No... nothing like that." Liz bit her lip and inched backwards toward the bathroom. "It's just that... something happened and it made me think."
"What happened? Dave said something happened with Zan at the bar."
"Yeah and..." A tear slipped out of her eye. "And something else almost happened when we got home... I'm sorry."
"Liz, what is it?" Michael took a step back, suddenly knowing that he wouldn't like it whatever it was.
Liz made him promise not to say a word until she was done talking. She wiped at her eyes and turned away from him as she spoke of what had transpired between she and Zan. Of what harm she caused Zan. Of why she thought she had done it. When she had finished, she waited for his response but none came. "Michael?"
"What the hell do you want me to say?" He whispered and sank onto the bed. After a moment, he stood up and went to the door. "I need some air."
Liz let the water freeze her skin. As it cooled her blazing body, she remembered a time not so long ago that she had done the same thing, trying to wash away the sin of sleeping with Michael on Max's bed the day of the funerals. What was she trying to wash away now?
Michael hadn't even yelled at her. He had just walked out.
She sank to her knees in the tub and tried to hold back tears. She didn't even hear the door open or Michael sitting on the closed lid of the toilet. When he cleared his throat, she nearly screamed and sat to hug her knees to her chest. "Michael?"
"Do you want to be with him?"
"No." She answered his question too fast.
"I took a walk, thought it would help me think but I walked through the park. I saw the basketball courts and I thought of Max. I walked over the bridge and I thought of Isabel. I passed the Crashdown and I thought of Maria. The record store and I thought of Alex... I passed the police station and I thought of Kyle and Tess. But really, every place in this town makes me think of Max. He was everywhere somehow and I never noticed it before.
"I love Max. He was my best friend and sometimes I wondered if maybe he was my friend back because he had no choice. If maybe... he felt sorry for me. I don't know if it's part of the alien programming but I love Max more than anything on this planet. I would have died for him, given the chance. I'm not sure I would do the same for Isabel or Tess. I'd have to think about it but with Max, I didn't think. He always said that was my problem.
"I understand that you still love Max. I understand that and I've never asked you to love me more. What I don't understand is why with Zan?"
"Michael..." Liz hiccupped and gasped for breath. "I... don't know. He just feels so much like him. When he touched me, I closed my eyes and I could swear it was Max. I just... I'm sorry. I wasn't thinking... I just... I was sad and lonely..."
"Don't tell me anymore... please." Michael stood up and left the bathroom to lay on the bed. He had the weirdest mix of feelings inside him and he felt as if he might explode if he didn't lay down. What was he supposed to do?
Not hate her. Not forgive her. Then what?
"Damn, bitch. What're you? Possessed?" Zan gasped for air while Teri went around gathering her things for her shower.
"Was I too much for you?" She flashed him a sympathetic smile and raised her eyebrows. "You going to come help wash my back?"
"You go on. I needa recover first." He eyed her warily and then dropped his head back onto the pillow. "Shit."
"Don't relax too much. We still have round two." She called over her shoulder. "Can't have you falling asleep on me."
The second the door shut, Zan swore again. "Shit." Never in his life had he ever been so worn out with a girl. If he believed in God or the Devil, he thought she mind be possessed by the latter. Maybe if he hurried, he could get away without saying goodbye. Getting up off the bed proved to be a challenge. Every weight shift brought a creak.
"Hey, where're you going?" Teri poked her head out the bathroom door.
"Um... I was just gonna take off." He nodded stiffly, no point lying to a girl like that. It could be dangerous to his health.
"Um, yeah. I was s'posed to grab some grub tonight. Ya know? Mikey's back and all. Liz is all... family oriented and shit." Zan slipped his lie in there as he pulled his pants on.
"Are you coming back?" She wrapped a towel around her body and opened the door wider.
"I don't know. Incentive?" He arched an eyebrow.
A sly grin crossed her face as she went to him. "Next time, I'll let you be on top." Their mouths ground together hungrily.
"Yeah, later." Zan mumbled as he pulled away. Grabbing his shirt and his broken necklace, he was out the door. Down the hall he let out a breath. "C-ya, psycho."
Shirt draped over his shoulder, Zan walked the streets of Roswell. He didn't want to go back to the apartment. Liz had said she was going to tell Michael everything and being dead was not on his list of priorities. Sitting on a park bench, he made an attempt to fix his necklace. He had no idea how she'd done it but Teri had broken it when she grabbed him roughly upon entering her apartment. So intent was he on gently nudging the particles into places, he didn't hear anyone walk up to him.
"Max?" A man's voice broke through the silence. Zan looked up to see an older couple staring at him in awe. The looked oddly familiar.
"Nah, man. You got the wrong guy." Zan shrugged and went back to his necklace. The woman stepped closer, examining his face. He raised an eye to look at her. That's when it clicked. He had seen them before at the funerals months earlier. The people that buried his sister. "Lady, I ain't your kid. Leave it."
"How can this be?" Diane whispered.
"Yo." Zan stood up, putting on his necklace and shrugging at them. "Look, I thought Liz told you everythin'. Leave it. You ain't believe her, fine. Not my problem." He stood there a minute before he gave them a nod of respect. "Thanks for what you did for my sister. Lannie woulda liked that." He faced them for another five seconds and then walked off, leaving a stunned and grieving set of parents.
Liz wrapped herself up to ward off the chills she couldn't seem to get rid of. Maybe it was a product of her shower. Maybe it was Michael's cold shoulder. He had put fresh bedding on the floor and gone to sleep, or pretended to sleep. It stung a little but what else could she expect from him. She had done him wrong. It was unforgivable. Of all the ways to spend a night off.
She pulled out her scrapbook and flipped through its pages. She sat on the floor in the kitchen. Hundreds of pictures over the years. Of she and Maria playing dress up, goofing around with Alex and hanging out. Of the three of them various places, doing various things. Of Max. Of the group before Tess came to town. Of the group the eight of them had eventually formed.
She never heard Michael get up and stand over her. "You didn't tell me everything, did you?"
"No." Liz bit her lips and traced a picture of she and Max posing for the camera. It was the last picture they had taken. They were standing next to each other in the Crashdown with maybe a breath between their bodies. They had been talking, whispering really, and then Maria caught their attention. They both smiled broadly, genuinely. "Do you remember the night this was taken?"
"That was the night before... wasn't it?" Michael sat beside her, not touching her.
"Yeah. Maria took my camera. We used up the film that night and we dropped it off for overnight development." Liz felt a tear slide down her face. "I picked it up early but didn't have time to look them over. I remember what Max and I were talking about when she walked up."
Michael didn't respond. He should be angry and spiteful but living with Liz all these months had taken the edge off his personality. He couldn't enjoy her anguish and he couldn't selfishly crawl into himself.
"We were getting back together." Liz sobbed. "We had stayed friends for so long after I told him the truth and Tess was happy and... He still loved me and I never stopped loving him..."
She completely broke down then. Michael swallowed his pride and pulled her into his arms. He had done pissed earlier and he could do it again later but for a little while, he needed to be supportive of his upset friend. He hadn't known about Liz and Max getting back together. It made a lot more sense in hindsight with regard to how hard she had grieved for him.
"I'm sorry, Michael. I am so sorry."
"Shh." Was all he told her. He held her until she cried herself to sleep. He carried her to the bed and covered her up. Still conflicted about how he should feel, he pulled his own blankets around himself and settled into his makeshift bed. The phone rang. He didn't even glance in its direction and it didn't wake Liz. The machine whirred to life. "This is Liz and Michael's phone, if we were here and wanted to talk, we would've answered the phone. Do your thing."
"Liz? It's Diane. I need to talk to you. Please call me back."
End Episode IX
Posted: Mon Apr 04, 2005 1:23 am
Aftermath of War Episode X
Called in sick. Check. Called Teri... no answer. Have to call her back. Okay. Eggs. Beaten. Pan. Hot. What came next? Liz shook her head and tried to clear the cobwebs. Michael had been gone when she woke up. She couldn't think if Zan had even gone by.
Holding the bowl of beaten eggs over the steaming pan, Liz just couldn't remember what she was doing. Scrambled eggs or French toast? Maybe it was an omelet? Sighing, she dumped the slimy yellow substance into the pan and listened to the sizzle, watching the bubbles as it fried.
The door opened behind her and she couldn't stop her face from crumbling. It was Zan and she had known it was him. Why did she have this connection to him? Turning the half cooked egg mass almost violently in the pan, she screamed. "I hate this!"
"Whateva." Zan crashed on the bed, planning to sleep for the first time in what felt like days.
Suddenly calming, Liz shook her head and let out a breath. "You know, I was doing fine until you showed up." She flipped the eggs onto a plate and stared at them. "I had Michael. We were together. It was fine." She crossed her arms and then reached back into the refrigerator for something to put on them. "Then you and you... you look just like him."
"I gathered." He growled, trying to find a comfortable position on the bed.
Plate in hand, Liz moved around the corner to sit beside him. "I'm serious. You look like him, you feel like him... I can tell it's you coming down the street before I can even see you. I used to have that with him." She stabbed at the red and yellow mess with a fork but never lifted a bite to her mouth. "Are you listening?"
"Yeah." He whispered, staring up at the ceiling. He had taken advantage of that. He had known exactly what he was doing when he came on to her. The only thing that had stopped him from completely taking her was the fact that she said his dupe's name instead of his. Slowly, he turned his eyes to her face. "You told him?"
"Your eyes are like his." Liz bit her lip and looked away. "I told Michael... I don't know what he's going to do..." She looked down at her eggs. "Here. I can't eat this. He used to eat his eggs like this."
Zan barely caught the plate she thrust onto his chest before the contents could slide onto his face. "Thanks!" he called after her, but all she did was slam the bathroom door. All the while he ate the salty Tabasco eggs, he could hear her crying, sobbing, wailing. Halfway through, he set them aside, unable to stomach anymore. He didn't know why. He usually ate like a horse. The phone rang but he made no move to answer it.
"This is Liz and Michael's phone, if we were here and wanted to talk, we would've answered the phone. Do your thing."
"Liz? Hey. It's Teri. Have you seen Zan? He left last night and I haven't talked to him since. Are you doing okay? Dave said you called in sick. Call me."
He reached over and made to erase the message but saw there was more than one message on the machine. Sighing, he left it alone. He had about made up his mind to take off again but he was too tired. He just wanted to sleep and hope Michael didn't kill him while he was out.
Liz threw open the bathroom door. "I am sick of all this. I loved Max. There. I said it. I loved him more than anything. It's been months and I still can't stop." She rushed forward. "The only reason that I'm alive right now is because of him. I was shot, he healed me. And that night... his respect for my parents... He told me to stay and finish my shift so they wouldn't get angry, so he told Michael to stay too. I should be dead now but now I have this!" She threw her arms out to indicate the small apartment that surrounded them.
"If you loved him so much, why did you fuck Michael?" Zan shot out at her. He was getting tired of hearing about how great Max was and how much everyone loved him. How in the hell were they supposed to be the same person when Max had people that would die for him and Zan had people that would kill him?
"I... we... We were grieving and... and I... just wanted to make him feel better. He was missing Max so much... We both were and he'd been good to me for a little while. I just gave him a little kiss and then... it felt good. I needed another... and another, not so little, not so innocent." Tears tore down her cheeks. "Next thing I know, we're getting dressed again and I realized we were on his bed."
"It's just sex." Zan shook his head at her.
"Who did you lose it to?" Liz whispered her question at him.
"She's your mate, that's a good thing. Max was my love and I lost my virginity to Michael. I love Michael but that's not what I had wanted... especially not like that."
"What? You sayin' he forced you?" Zan sat up quickly, almost upsetting the plate of half-eaten eggs.
"No!" Liz shouted. "No. We were so... lost and confused and missing them all and I started it. It's my fault and... we did it." She sniffed suddenly. "I've grown to really love Michael and care about him and... lust for him but... He's not Max."
"Swee' pea, I hate to break it tuya but uh... ain't nobody gonna ever be Max." He calmed down a bit and thought about it. "Not even me and we's got the same 'xact blood runnin' through our veins. I never knew Max and he was probably some great guy that everybody loved but I ain't that. Michael ain't that. Do you love Michael?"
"Yes." She nodded slowly. "What we have might have started by accident but I wouldn't stay with him if I didn't love him." Crossing to the bed, she sat next to him. "I... I've just been going through the motions but now that I think about it... I know what he likes and doesn't, what he'll put up with and what he absolutely hates. I know exactly how much Tabasco sauce he likes on his fries."
"Look. I'm a dick. Everyone knows that." Zan tapped his own chest. "I been messin' wit ya. You tight and all and I shouldn'ta done it. It's mostly my fault and don't get me wrong, you did go along wit it." He waited for her nod. "I ain't the only one to blame. Swee' pea, I loved Lannie. She's my sista, my blood, my destroyer and I still love her. Ava and me had somethin' real sweet. She's gone and I can move on. I miss her somethin' awful but I can move on.
"I ain't Max. I'm not as great as he was, I'm sure. I ain't never gonna be. I just got his face... maybe a piece of his soul. If you don't want me, fine. If you do, that's great, bring it on... but remember... I ain't Max. You got a sweet deal with Mikey. He treats you good and I probably won't." He noted her shocked expression. "Just statin' facts here. I'm a dick."
"You're not that bad." Liz sniffed. She noticed how he hunched over, his hands clasped, resting on his closed legs. Stop it, she ordered herself. She had to stop looking for Max in Zan.
"Trust me. I's worse." He gave a silent laugh at himself. What he had done to Ava was pretty bad. He took her love, accepted it but he had never loved her back, least not as much as she loved him.
"You think the real Zan, I mean the original Zan, that he did that? When he was trying to be understanding and feeling insecure about it?"
"Hold himself like you're doing now. Max did it, too." She flinched. "I can't help it. I had him memorized. He was a part of me, he let me see inside him and he's hard to let go.... Ava felt the same way about you."
"I had somethin' real sweet with her." He repeated and sat up straight. "I could remember why I fell in love with her back home and I still kinda felt it but it wudn't the same. She was my wife and all but it was different here." Zan shook his head and stood up. "It... nevermind."
"Max didn't feel that way for... what's her name? Did he?" He put the plate on the counter and turned to face her. "He didn't."
"No." Liz gave a small smile. "She tried and I tried but Max never would. He kept saying that he loved me and only me and that he could never be with her."
"Huh." He shook his head. "It's nothing. You got messages." He pointed to the answering machine and walked into the bathroom.
Michael worked blindly. He sold two bikes, fixed three carbureators and gave a half assed report of the bike shows. He could barely remember any of it. He still had no clue what he was going to do about Liz, or if he should do anything.
Finally, someone else noticed his funk. "Hey man, you're... like bummed and stuff."
"You could tell?" Michael looked up at Col.
"I'm a woman, man. I got instincts. Is it your chick, man?" She slid her blue tinted glasses down her nose to look at him.
"Let me ask you something. If you had a girlfriend and she kissed someone else... what would you do?" He asked carefully and waited for her answer.
Col rolled her head back stared at the ceiling. "I'd be hurt, man. It'd hurt alot but if I loved her, I'd forgive her."
"And if she slept with someone else?"
"I don't know... it would hurt more and it'd be harder to forgive, man. I don't know." Col looked Michael up and down. "Does she want someone else?"
"No one living." He muttered and picked at the grease residue on his hands.
"My girlfriend loves a ghost and slept with someone else? It could happen I guess, man. If she's sorry about it and I loved her. I'd take her back but I don't know if I'd forgive her."
Liz knocked on the Evans' door and reached back to yank Zan up beside her. "You're going in with me."
"Hell, no." He shook his head. "I walked you here but I ain't goin' in."
"You're coming." Liz ordered just as the door opened. "Hi."
"Hi Liz." Diane nodded and then eyed Zan carefully. "Dan, is that what you said his name was?"
"Zan." He corrected, shoving his hands into his pockets. He fiddled with his labret and raised his eyebrows at Diane. "You Maxie's ma?"
"Yes." She nodded and stepped aside to let them in. "I didn't think you'd come back here after the way I ran you out."
"It's ok. I understand. It's hard to take at first." Liz nodded and hugged herself. "I... I was really scared when I found out. I didn't know if I had gone crazy or if Max was."
"Where's Michael? He's one too, right?" Diane gestured for them to sit but she kept her distance.
"Yeah. They all were. Max, Isabel, Michael... Tess... um the other bodies they found out there were too. Vilandra, Rathard, Avaria... One set was a clone of the other." Liz explained. "Zan is Max's clone."
"I'd like to think he was mine." Zan shot Liz a look than made her turn a glare on him.
"I thought we had established Max was the better of you two." Liz scoffed at him before turning to Diane again. "They won't hurt us. They're pretty much stranded here and don't know what to do. No one gave them an instruction manual, they aren't even all alien." She watched Diane carefully. "How about I explain what I can again?"
Michael walked into the apartment, surprised to find it empty. It wasn't quite empty but the bed was missing. In its place was a weird looking couch. Upon closer inspection, Michael found it to be three mattresses stacked up to form a couch. He was standing in the doorway when they got home. Liz wouldn't look at him as she brushed past him with a bag of groceries. He couldn't help the pang in his chest at the implications of the mattresses. "Liz?"
"Yo." Zan stepped around Michael carefully.
"What happened to my bed?" Michael pointed to the living area.
"Yeah. Well... I might be kinky but I ain't gon sleep wit ya." Zan clicked his tongue stud against his teeth. "So we got those things."
"I... I sold the frame to Mrs. Ogglesby. She wouldn't take the mattresses... because... well, she could hear us apparently." Liz rushed through her explanation as she put away perishables in cupboards and the refrigerator. Her face flushed as she realized there wasn't a single place in the apartment that hadn't been used for sex. "I just thought it'd be better and more practical than the three of us sharing the one double. I took the mattresses to the Salvation Army and I got those. It was either that or bunk beds and someone still sleeps on the floor."
"Not bad but she wants to put frilly flowers and shit on 'em." Zan shrugged and ripped open a bag of chips, munching away.
"Call Teri." Liz shot him a look.
"Not gonna happen. Bitch is psycho." Zan shrugged again and was barely able to speak around the mouthful of chips in his mouth.
"That is so gross. Don't tell me I have to start all over again. It took us months to break Michael of that habit." Liz scoffed and emptied a bag of spagetti into a plastic container.
"Liz, can I talk to you?" Michael pulled her by the arm outside the apartment and down the hall to a little covered patio on their floor. "What is this about? Three separate beds and not even real beds... what is going on?"
"I just..." She slid her eyes away from him, trying to blink back the tears. "I didn't think you'd want to share a bed with me anymore. I thought it would be best for everyone this way. I can't exactly move back in with my parents..."
"Why would you even want to?" Michael stepped away from her. "I never said I wanted you to leave."
"I just... I don't know. I am so confused right now, Michael. I feel completely horrible and I don't know what to do about it. I want it undone but I can't do that. I know that you're angry with me and I don't want to lead him on..." Liz trailed off and stared him in the eye. "You can't honestly tell me that you wanted to sleep with me again after what I did."
"I can't honestly tell you anything." He took a breath and let it out slowly. "I don't know what to do."
She hugged herself and watched him think. "Michael..."
"As much as I hate him now, as much as I want to hate you, I can't." He let it hang in the air, his chest felt like it was wrapped in a concrete vest. "I don't like feeling like this."
"Like you have this hold on me." He snapped at her. "Like everything I do to stay alive is for you. Like you are the center of my twisted universe. I think I know what it was like for Max all those years that he watched you and never did a thing about this... thing."
Liz didn't say a word. She knew this would be the only explosion that would be verbal in the coming weeks. What would she say if she could think of something?
"What is it about you? Even after these past few months I have no clue what it is about you that drives people so insane." Michael punched a column in the small patio. "You always have to look so perfect and innocent but you act like a wet dream and I just don't get you."
He stopped for a moment and then turned to her, pointing accusingly. "Do you see what you've done? I've never done this. Never and now I'm... I'm... I don't know what I'm doing but I've never done this before. What did you do to me?"
Liz punched Zan in the arm. "Bitch, that hurt."
"Call her." Liz poked him with the phone. She kept encouraging the thing with Teri because if Zan was with Teri then Zan was not available. It had been like this for three weeks. He would come back in the early morning and then there would be a call for him that night. He would ignore the machine and then on the second day he'd be gone again.
"I do call her. I can't everyday or else my dick will fall off. Even I gotta rest between sessions with psycho." Zan ducked a punched and sent Liz crashing into the counter.
"Ow." She clutched her elbow, it was ringing. "You made me hit my funny bone, you jerk."
"Think you guys could be quiet during the game?" Michael called over his shoulder, his mouth full of cereal.
"We interrupt this program for this special news break."
"Great." Michael got up and headed into the kitchen. He spared them a glance and went to refill his bowl. It wasn't that he hated either of them. That was pretty impossible to do. Zan was the flip side of Max. That edge that would come out every once in a while with Max was Zan's entire personality. With Zan the side that came out every once in a while reminded him a lot of Max. It was hard to hate someone who could have been his best friend.
Liz was a different story. She covered up her guilt well. She pushed Zan into a relationship with that blond girl she worked with. She enforced the bed rules, not that she got much sleep herself. Michael still had the urge to crush her to him and never let go but he managed to suppress it. It was better all around if they kept things... platonic.
"Michael, Diane said that she's going to get a memorial plaque for Isabel's birthday." Liz stopped him on his way back to the TV. "She wants you to go with her."
"Why?" Michael felt the grief hit him, surprisingly enough it had lessened some. It didn't hurt quite as much as it used to. "Isabel always hated my taste in... everything."
"Diane really wants you to go with her." She looked up at him with those doe eyes and there was no way he was going to say no. "You were family..."
"Yeah, yeah. I'll go."
"Oh shit." Zan swore and leaned over the counter to peer closer at the TV. "Liz.. is that...?"
Liz turned to see what he was looking at. Michael held his hand out and the volume raised.
"Found early this morning." The news anchor said. "This young woman, identified by co-workers this afternoon as Teri..."
"Oh my god." Liz gasped.
"Cause of death is still unknown. Police officials aren't offering any speculations at this point..."
"Why won't they show the body?" Zan asked without realizing it. He had to know if it was really her.
"Because there's something incriminating on the body." Michael answered him. All those nights watching Cops and Law & Order had paid off. He was picking up some of the procedures. "I think it might be a silver handprint... look, there's Valenti."
All three watched the Sheriff wave off the cameras and order the immediate evacuation of the station. "Folks, I'm going to have to ask you all to leave. This is an ongoing investigation and as soon as there is something to report, we let you know."
"Michael, what if it's really her? Why?" Liz tugged at his arm. She refused to believe that the girl she worked with every night was lying dead in a morgue somewhere. She had just seen Teri the evening before. When had everything gone to hell?
End Episode X