Ringing in the New (AU,M/L,Adult) (Complete)

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Ringing in the New (AU,M/L,Adult) (Complete)

Post by Shadowlynxbehr » Mon Jan 08, 2007 6:48 pm

Winner-Round 11

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Thank you all so much! :oops:

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BANNER BY BEHRSGIRL77

Title: Ringing in the New
Author: Shadowlynxbehr
Disclaimer: Don't own a thing...lucky Kadee :cry:
Pairings: M/L
Rating: Adult
Summary: On the eve of her high school graduation, Liz loses the man she thought was her life. Now, she must go on to raise their son alone and find a new life. Unbeknownst to her, she will have LOTS of help...
Author's Note: Thanks La'Shon aka FSU/MSW-94 for helping me flesh out this story! You are the best chica!

*Note*
Kylan has been nominated as Favorite Portrayal of a Child in Round 11, Part 1 of the RoswellFanatics Character Portrayals and this fic has been nominated in Part 3 for "Fic That Left You Bouncing in Your Seat for an Update". Thanks to all who have nominated for any parts of my fics and good luck to everyone in all of the parts of Round 11! :D


Prologue

Liz plopped down on her bed. She was exhausted, yet full of happiness. Her graduation party had been exciting, but it was the phone call that she had gotten from Kyle that had made her night. She gazed at the ceiling as she thought back to the phone call.

She had been in the living room dancing to a popular tune with several of her friends when her mother, Nancy, had called her into the kitchen.

“It’s Kyle,” she said, handing Liz the phone. “He’s calling from the airport in New York.”

Liz took the phone with a smile on her face, “Hello Kyle.”

“Hi, babe! How is your party going?” he asked.

“It’s great. Everyone’s having a ball. I’m having fun too, but it’s not the same without you.”

“I know. I’m sorry that I couldn’t make it. I tried to leave yesterday, but my father needed me to close a deal before tomorrow and I finally got it finished about two hours ago.”

“I understand. I know how important your job is to you.” There was a pause before she added, “When are you coming back here?”

“I’ll be at your doorstep first thing tomorrow morning and we’ll celebrate your graduation privately, okay?”

“Okay. Be careful, Kyle. I love you!”

He chuckled, “I love you too, babe. I’ll think of you all the way to Houston. Bye, Liz.”

“Bye, Kyle.” The dreamy smile hadn’t left her face for the rest of the night.

It was now a little after one in the morning and Liz knew Kyle was on a plane somewhere between New York City and Houston. The last person had left her party thirty minutes ago and Liz and her mother had cleaned the majority of the mess, but left the serious mess for the next day.

She fell asleep thinking about having the house sparkling clean before Kyle arrived. She wanted things to be perfect for them since it had been about a month since she had last seen Kyle. He’d been so busy with the move and his job, while she’d been finishing up with school. All of that had left neither of them with any time to just be with each other.

It was nine-thirty in the morning when Liz stumbled out of bed and into the shower. She knew she would have to hurry because Kyle would be at her doorstep before noon and she still hadn’t finished cleaning up the house. She took a quick shower, then returned to her room and yanked on her clothes.

She was putting her long dark brown hair into a ponytail when her mother walked into her room. Liz stopped to watch her mother walk towards her with a face full of worry and sadness.

Something was wrong.

Everything seemed to go in slow motion after that for Liz. Nancy explained what had happened in the car on the way to the hospital. Kyle had been on his way to his mother’s house from the airport when a pickup truck had collided with the taxi he was in. The impact, against his side of the car, had thrown him against the opposite side nearly rendering him unconscious.

When the ambulance had arrived and rushed Kyle to the hospital, they had found out he was in serious condition. The hospital said he had punctured lungs and a fractured neck. He was in intensive care and the doctors were afraid he wasn’t going to make it through the day.

Liz didn’t even wait for her mother to park the car before she jumped out and hurried to the entrance. Liz waited impatiently for the elevator to get to the third floor where Kyle’s room was. His mother, Melissa, was waiting in front of his door as Liz came careening around the corner. Liz went up to her and they embraced each other.

“He’s hanging in there,” Melissa whispered into Liz’s ear.

Pulling back, she looked into Liz’s eyes with tears in her own. She cupped Liz’s cheek as she said, “He’s been asking for you. Please, go in and talk to him.”

Liz took a deep breath and walked into the room. The first thing she noticed was that the room was devoid of any machines. Nothing was keeping him alive. As she caught sight of him in the bed, she swallowed visibly before squeezing her eyes shut.

He looked so helpless and small in that bed. It was something she’d never thought she’d see him as. She willed herself not to cry as she walked over to the side of the bed and looked down at him.

“Kyle?” she whispered.

Kyle opened his eyes, saw her, and smiled a weak smile. “I missed seeing your beautiful face.”

Liz cringed. His voice was so faint and broken. “I missed you too,” she said, trying to keep her voice from breaking.

Kyle lifted his hand, indicating that he wanted to hold hers. As she slid her hand into his, he gave it a squeeze. Liz watched as he closed his eyes and a tear made its way from the corner of his eye down his cheek to splash against the pillow.

Finally, he opened his eyes and looked into hers. “I love you, Liz.”

Liz could only nod, too afraid to speak.

“I want you to do something for me, okay. You have to take care of yourself. Don’t ever give up your dreams, Liz. Don’t give up, Liz.”

Liz could only stare at him as more tears fell down his cheeks before his eyes slowly fluttered closed. After a few moments, she tried to find her voice.

“Kyle? Please don’t go. I need you.”

Kyle didn’t answer. He lay silently still, his hand still in hers. Until she felt his hand go limp.

“Kyle?” She started to cry as she bent over him and lay her head on his chest.

She pleaded with him through her sobs, “Oh Kyle! Please don’t leave me here! I need you! I love you! What about our plans? Our baby? Oh God, please!”

Melissa, hearing Liz’s sobs, entered the room and placed her hand on Liz’s shoulder. Liz moved into Melissa’s arms as they both wept. There was nothing they could do.

Kyle was gone.

TBC...
(The parts will get longer...I promise...lol)
Last edited by Shadowlynxbehr on Wed Sep 12, 2007 10:48 pm, edited 36 times in total.
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Post by Shadowlynxbehr » Sun Jan 14, 2007 2:52 pm

spray- thanks

abbs007- thanks

OrangeSky- LOL, thanks

La'Shon- Awwww. You're welcome :D .

Laira- :lol:

LovinGuerin- Awww...

aussie- Awww :(

EVE- Aw, thanks.

Em- ~sniff~

LJL- Awww....

Sweet Liz- :(

French- Thanks, we'll see :D

pandas- me too, LOL

dream18- awww, we'll see

D4E- thanks

Vero- yes it is. LOL, you have that much faith in me? :wink:


Okay, here's the next part...


Part 1

Liz sat in the rocking chair holding her son in her arms and singing softly to him. As soon as she knew he was asleep, she got up and walked over to the small bed and placed the sleeping child into it. She tucked her son in and watched him sleep for a few moments.

Kylan was a beautiful child. He had light brown hair and blue eyes that were fringed with the most adorable lashes she’d ever seen on a little boy. His face had a nearly cherubic, innocent look that she knew he would never lose because his father had always had a youthful face. Even at the tender age of three, Kylan looked every inch like his father.

Liz walked out of the bedroom and closed the door behind her. She walked next door to her room and sat down at her desk to finish her homework. She was now in her fourth year of college majoring in interior design. Thankfully college had been a breeze for her even though she’d had a child to raise.

It had been easy because Kylan’s grandparents lived in New York and had given both Liz and Kylan a place to live. Plus, Melissa took care of Kylan while Liz attended classes. Having that support and having an experienced mother there had helped Liz get through the last few years easily.

As she looked down at her homework, deep in thought, she absently twirled a ring around her finger. That action had always had a calming effect on her and allowed her to concentrate better. Gazing at the ring, she smiled as she remembered the day Kyle had given it to her. It had been a pre-engagement ring that he’d given to her back when she’d just turned seventeen.

He had never had the chance to give her the engagement ring that she now kept in a small jewelry box near her bed. She’d known he was supposed to propose to her after she’d graduated, but that had never happened. Instead, she had received the ring after his funeral. Now she kept it in the box and wore the only ring he had ever truly given to her.

A knock sounded at her door and she turned to look as she said, “It’s open.”

Kylan’s grandmother, Melissa, entered the room. “Kylan’s asleep?”

“Yes. He was really tired tonight.”

Melissa sat down on the end of the bed. “How are you doing?” she asked.

Liz sighed. She hated that question. Even after three years, she still missed Kylan’s father. She still loved Kyle and had refused to love anyone else.

“I’m fine. If it wasn’t for you and your husband, I’d probably be a walking corpse by now.”

Melissa nodded, her eyes fixed on Liz’s face. Liz knew what was coming and braced herself for it.

“Are you going out with Jesse again this weekend?”

“Yes. He wants to take me to a show on Broadway. A friend of his can’t go, so Jesse is using his two tickets.”

“Liz, why do you continue to lead him on? You know he cares deeply for you. You can’t hang on to memories forever.”

Liz bowed her head. The tears came slowly. As long as she had her son, nothing and no one could make her forget Kyle.

“You have got to go on with your life,” insisted Melissa. “Kyle was my son and I miss him as much as you do, but I know he would want you to go on with your life also.”

Liz remembered Kyle’s last words. Yes, he had told her to never give up her dreams which was why she was close to graduating from college in her chosen field. Still, she couldn’t give up Kyle. She had moved on in everything but him.

Melissa got up and walked to the door. “I know that you and Kyle were planning your lives together, but you can’t hold on to him forever. I would think that Kylan needs a father and you need someone who loves you and cares for you as much as my son did.”

Liz watched as Melissa left the room. Melissa just couldn’t understand. How could she let go of Kyle when he was all that she had wanted in the world besides her son? She looked at the picture of Kyle that she kept on her desk.

He had been everything for her. A brother, a best friend, and finally a lover. Her father had died when she was only two years old, so she couldn’t remember him. Kyle had been there for her every step of the way. And now, she felt so lost without him.

As she twirled the ring around her finger once more, she went back to finishing her homework. Soon, she had managed to finish it and began to get ready for bed. She had an early class in the morning and she knew she would take forever to get up. She changed into her favorite night shirt and shorts and climbed into bed where sleep came instantly.

************************************************************

The next day Jesse was waiting for Liz near the door of her class. She gave him a smile as she neared and he leaned over to give her a kiss on the cheek.

“Hi. I wanted to let you know that I’ll be picking you up about seven, okay?”

“Okay, I’ll be ready. I can’t wait to see the show.”

“I know. Neither can I. We can go eat afterwards if you want.”

Liz nodded, “All right. I’ll see you at seven then.” She gave him a kiss before walking into her classroom.

That night after the show ended, they decided to pick up some takeout and eat it at Jesse’s apartment. They sat on the couch eating their takeout and talking about the show for a while. Soon though, Jesse turned the conversation into something more serious.

“Liz, there’s something that I think we should talk about.”

“Oh? What is it? What’s wrong?”

“Nothing’s wrong, really. It’s just that…well, we’ve been dating for over two years now and you know that I care a lot about you. I think we should start thinking about our relationship more seriously now and decide where it’s going.”

Liz stopped him, “Jesse. You know how I feel about this.”

Jesse sighed, “I know, but you can’t hold on to a memory forever. I know that you can’t forget Kyle. I’m not asking you to, but you need to start thinking of the future. Not the past. Liz, I…” He faltered for a moment, “I’m asking you to marry me.”

Liz was quiet for a while. She couldn’t say yes because she knew she wasn’t ready for a commitment like marriage.

“Jesse, I’m sorry. I really like you, but I still love Kyle. I know he’s gone, but that doesn’t change how I feel. You have been so wonderful to me and you’ve helped me through some rough times, but I can’t marry you. I’m just not ready.”

“What about Kylan? He needs a father.”

“He has his grandfather for now. Besides, I can take care of him by myself. He is my son after all. Maybe in time he will have a father, but I want the time to be right.” Liz paused before adding, “I just don’t feel that now is the right time.”

Jesse sighed as he finally gave in. “I understand.”

Silence settled between them for a few moments before Jesse started a conversation about school. He knew that Liz wouldn’t say anything else about marriage or want to have another serious conversation like that. Jesse knew Liz well enough to know when to cut his losses and try again another time.

Later that night, he had managed to persuade her to stay the night with him. He had noticed that despite the fact that she didn’t like talking seriously about their relationship, at least she’d been staying over at his place more often.

As Liz climbed into bed with him, she began to feel a little sick. Her head had begun to throb and she was feeling slightly nauseated. Finally, she couldn’t take it anymore and told Jesse that she was just going to go back home. She told him that she wasn’t feeling well and it probably was because she needed some rest.

When she got home, she let herself into the house as quietly as possible and made her way upstairs to her room. She stopped by Kylan’s room to check on him and give him a kiss goodnight. She really hated leaving him, but she knew if she didn’t go out on dates, Melissa would be constantly nagging her. She finished tucking the blankets around him and kissed his cheek before going to her own room.

As she changed, the conversation she’d had with Jesse was still fresh in her mind. She sank down on the edge of her bed and looked at the picture of Kyle on her desk. Instantly tears welled up in her eyes as she began to softly sob.

Life wasn’t fair. She should have married Kyle. They had made so many plans for their life together and for what? She had never once imagined life without Kyle. Even now, when it had been almost four years since Kyle had died, she still couldn’t let go of him and move on. She couldn’t make herself fall in love ever again.

“Oh, Kyle. Why did you have to leave me?”

She felt a hand brush over her shoulder as a voice whispered, “I’m here now.”

Liz jumped away from the bed and stared at the figure standing near the spot she’d just vacated. She stood paralyzed in shock, too frightened to scream.

The figure gave her a hesitant smile as he said, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to frighten you, but you know that I could never stand to see you so sad.”

Liz couldn’t move. She opened her mouth, trying to speak, but no sound would emerge. Then, her world went black.

TBC...
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Post by Shadowlynxbehr » Sun Jan 21, 2007 5:25 pm

spray- LOL, yes she is but I'm not going to make it all weird and stuff...LOL

LJL- :) Kyle is dead...so that Liz can go be with Max :wink:

EVE- thanks, she wonders too, LOL.

pandas- LOL, here I am :)

Jessika- yes, she was. Thanks. Apparently so :( . LOL, we'll see.

La'Shon- yep, I know I would've too! Aww (thanks). Nope, since she was so young, but yes at least Kyle's 'rents were there. LOL....yet :wink: .

Vero- true. Really? Well, you're right about that, but I think it's that Liz doesn't really know how to let him down easily, LOL. Yep :) .


Okay, here we go...


Part 2

Liz awoke with a start. Kylan was crawling into the bed next to her. She smiled and put her arm around her son knowing that he’d had another nightmare. As they both fell back to sleep, neither of them noticed the figure who watched them from his seat at the desk. Then the first ray of light appeared in the window and the figure disappeared with a soft smile on his face.

A few hours later, Liz awoke to the smell of freshly brewing coffee. She got out of bed quietly, allowing her son to sleep a little longer. Grabbing her robe, she slid it on and tiptoed out of the room. She made her way downstairs towards the kitchen where she knew Melissa was making breakfast.

As she entered the kitchen, she said, “Good morning.”

Melissa looked up from the hash browns she was cooking with a smile, “Good morning. Did you sleep well?”

“Yes I did. But I think Kylan had another nightmare. He’s asleep in my bed.”

“Well, I suppose we’ll hear all about the nightmare later, right?” she laughed. “Okay, the coffee’s ready and everything else is done except the browns. I just hope Jim gets up before it’s all gone.”

“I heard that!” exclaimed Jim as he walked into the kitchen with a sparkle in his eyes. He kissed Melissa on the cheek then walked over to Liz and gave her a kiss on the forehead before asking, “How did the date go?”

Liz smiled, “It was okay. The show was wonderful, but then they usually are.”

“I’m surprised that you are here this morning. I thought that you would have stayed the night with him,” said Jim.

“I was going to until I started to feel a little sick, so I came home instead.”

Melissa placed the food on the table and felt Liz’s forehead. “You don’t seem to be running a fever. Did you take anything?”

“Oh Melissa, please! I feel fine now. I think it was just lack of sleep or stress. Don’t worry.”

Jim laughed, “Mel, quit being such a mother hen and leave the girl alone. She’s fine. Why shouldn’t she be? She has a healthy son and a nice comfortable home.”

Liz gave Jim a thankful smile. “That’s right! Who could ask for more?”

Melissa sighed and sat down at the table with Jim and Liz on either side of her. Together, the three of them had a nice hearty breakfast before Liz returned to her room to wake up Kylan.

As she leaned over him with a smile, she nudged him gently and spoke. “Kylan? Sweetheart, it’s time to get up. You missed breakfast with mommy this morning.”

Kylan rubbed his eyes as he yawned before he blinked and looked at his mother. “Mommy, I wuz scared.”

“Scared? Of what, sweetie?”

“Scared of da man.”

“Is it the bad dream you had?”

“No mommy! It wuz no dream! He wuz in my room.”

“There was no one in your room. I was the last one to see you last night.” Liz stated.

“Mommy, he wuz there! He tol’ me I wuz safe. He tol’ me he wood not hurt me.”

Liz frowned, “What did he look like baby?”

Kylan pause for a moment and scrunched up his face, trying to remember what the man looked like. Suddenly he opened his eyes and looked around the room. When his eyes landed on the picture sitting on her desk he exclaimed, “Like dat!”

Liz felt her heart stop. She remembered the fright she’d had the night before when she had thought she had seen Kyle. She had chalked it up to a bad dream. Now her son was telling her that he had seen Kyle too.

She looked at Kylan and asked, “Are you sure it was him?”

Kylan nodded, “Uh huh.”

Liz sat still as her mind was in a whirl. She couldn’t understand how that was possible. She looked at the picture wondering if it had really happened. She had tried to pass it off as a dream she’d had the night before, but after hearing what Kylan said, she knew they couldn’t have shared the same dream.

She took Kylan in her arms and hugged him tight. “Now listen, Kylan. You can’t tell Nana about this okay? Not Nana or Gramps or anyone else. This is going to be our little secret.”

“Buh why, mommy?”

“Well, we don’t want Nana and Gramps to worry about it okay? It might hurt their feelings.”

“m’kay.”

“Good. Remember, don’t tell anyone about this, only me. Okay?”

“m’kay mommy.”

Liz hugged her son once more then put him down. He ran out of the room and soon she could hear him saying good morning to his Nana. As she sat on the edge of the bed, she felt chills moving over her skin.

She had not told Kylan about his father yet because she thought he was still too young to understand. She knew she’d have to tell him when he was older and she hoped he would have a full understanding of what a great man his father had been. As she looked at the picture of Kyle, she hoped that Kylan would someday grow up to be just like his father.

With a wistful sigh, she got up from the bed and made her way back downstairs. She sat down at the table where Kylan was eating his breakfast just as the phone rang. Melissa answered it, then turned to tell Liz that it was Jesse.

She told Melissa that she’d take it in the living room and walked in there and picked up the receiver. “Hello?”

“Hi! Are you feeling any better?”

“Yes, I think I just needed some sleep.”

“Oh.” He paused a moment before he said, “I was worried that it might have been the conversation that we’d had earlier.”

“No. It wasn’t that. I wasn’t upset. I’m okay, really.”

“Well, are you feeling good enough to have lunch with me?”

“I think so.”

“Great! How about The Subway. At noon?”

“Sure, I’ll be there.”

When Liz got off of the phone, she turned around and nearly ran right into Melissa.

With her arms crossed over her chest Melissa asked, “So, you go out with him, yet you don’t want to get serious with him?”

Liz sighed, “Jesse and I talked about this last night. I told him how I felt and he said he understood. He knows that I’m not ready for a serious relationship.”

“Oh really? I’m surprised he has the patience to wait, especially since you have been dating him for almost two years now.”

Liz wanted to scream at Melissa and tell her to take a hike, but she just bit her tongue and simply said, “Jesse is a very patient and understanding man.”

With those words, she whipped around and walked back into the kitchen to sit with Kylan as he finished his breakfast.

After she’d left, Jim came out of the hallway and walked up to Melissa while shaking his head. Looking at his wife he said, “When are you going to leave the poor girl alone, Mel?”

Melissa frowned, “I’m trying to help her move on, that’s all.”

“Liz is a big girl, Melissa. She’ll move on when she’s ready.”

“Jim, it’s been nearly four years!”

Jim nodded, “I know that, but she is still so young. You know Kyle was everything to her. They practically grew up together. He was there for her when her father wasn’t. You have to understand that Liz can’t just move on from someone that she spent her whole life depending on.”

Melissa sighed, “I know that, but I just worry that she won’t be able to take care of herself and Kylan without us, without someone else there to help.”

“I know. I worry too, but Liz has got to live her own life. She’s got to learn how to do things on her own. She can’t always have someone to depend on and right now, she’s got her hands full with school and Kylan. Soon, she’ll be looking for a job too. All we can do is be there when she needs us, but we have to allow her to move forward on her own.”

When Melissa just stood there silently, Jim continued. “Mel, she has to learn how to depend on herself, not on someone else.”

Melissa sighed, “I know, Jim. I just don’t want to see her hurt. Kyle did everything for her and I know he’d never forgive us if we let anything happen to her or his son.”

Jim took his wife in his arms as he noticed the tears welling up in her eyes. Hugging her close he said, “She’ll be okay, honey. Liz is stronger than we all think she is. I think Kyle knew that and I think he’s still out there somewhere watching over his family. I know he is.”

Melissa hugged him back. “Yes. You’re right. He is.”

************************************************************

Liz hid her frown from Kylan as she sat at the table. She was suddenly glad that graduation was only a few weeks away. She had decided that she was going to move back to Texas with Kylan and stay with her mom until she found a job there.

She couldn’t wait to leave. Melissa was really driving her up the wall with the boyfriend business. She loved Melissa and Jim dearly. And she would always be grateful for what they had done for her, but she knew she’d overstayed her welcome. It was nearly time for her to move on and fend for herself and her son.

Kylan glanced up and noticed that his mother seemed upset. Putting his fork down he leaned over and asked, “Mommy? Can I make you happy?”

Liz ran a hand through his hair and smiled. “I’m sorry sweetie. I was just thinking of grown up things. But I am happy, see?” She gave him an even brighter smile to show him that she was okay.

Kylan gave her a satisfied nod and stood up in his chair.

Liz chuckled, “Are you finished, baby?”

“Uh huh.”

Liz helped her son down and cleaned his face and hands before he ran off to his room. She cleaned the table and the dishes before putting them away. When she was done, she went upstairs and got Kylan dressed before the two of them sat in his room playing with his toys and reading some books together until she had to get ready to meet Jesse for lunch.

************************************************************

Liz arrived at The Subway at exactly noon. Jesse was already waiting for her at their usual table. When he saw her approaching, he got up and gave her a kiss before they both sat down. As they sat, he gave her a smile and took one of her hands in his.

“Are you sure you feel okay?”

Liz nodded, “I feel fine. Don’t worry so much.”

He lowered his head as he sat back and slid his hands into his lap. “I still think maybe I said something wrong last night. I hope I didn’t upset you and if I did, I’m really sorry.”

She gave him a reassuring smile. “No Jesse. You didn’t say anything wrong. I’m not upset. Really. I was just feeling a little sick. It had nothing to do with you.”

He seemed to relax a little after that and soon their conversation turned to lighter things. It remained that way throughout their meal until afterwards while they shared a milkshake.

Jesse asked her if she had any plans for after graduation.

Liz nodded. “I’m going to move back to Texas. My mother’s there by herself and I’m the only family she has left. I really miss her a lot too and she’s only seen Kylan when he was born and his last two Christmases.”

“Oh well, that’s good. So, are you moving back right after graduation?”

“Yes,” she nodded. “How about you? Any plans?”

“I don’t know yet. I’ve already got a couple of job offers here, but I don’t know if I want to stay in New York.”

“I’ve gotten offers for here too, but I turned them down since I’m moving back to Texas.”

“Are you looking for a job there or is there already one waiting for you?” he asked.

“Well, I’ve tried to locate some places through the school, but it’s hard since I’m so far away. I think I’ll just have to wait until I get there to look for a job.”

Jesse nodded as she asked, “those offers that you received. Are they in the fields you want?”

“Yes, in computer art and animation. Mainly computer art. But I also got an offer to teach at NYU.”

“Really? Well, that’s great! I wish you luck in deciding where you want to go.”

Jesse smiled, “Thanks. You know, since both of us are going to be looking for jobs and places to live, it might be a little hard to keep up with each other.”

“Oh, maybe not. I could give you my mom’s address and when you get settled, you can write and tell me where you are. How’s that?”

Jesse nodded, “Great.”

As silence descended over the table, Liz sat back and looked out of the window. Jesse sat and stared at her profile as she did. He knew that Liz would probably not keep in touch with him once she got to Houston. She would have her son, a new job, and possibly a new home to worry about.

Liz wasn’t stupid. She knew Jesse didn’t want to lose her. That was why he’d asked all those questions. And she had only agreed to give him her mother’s address since she didn’t know where she was going to live. Maybe he would forget about it as the end of the school year got closer. If not, and she gave him the address, maybe he’d be too busy to write. In time, he’d forget all about her.


TBC...
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Post by Shadowlynxbehr » Sun Jan 28, 2007 7:08 pm

spray- LOL, I know...sad isn't it :wink:

La'Shon- Yep :D . We will see...

EVE- You go girl! :D

maya- Thanks. Soon...

Erina- LOL...soon. Um...you should see their reaction later...

Dreamer- LOL. :twisted: . Soon...

Em- it's not like she hasn't tried :?

Vero- Yes well Jesse is PERSISTANT. LOL, yes...you'll see

French- LOL, thanks. You'll see. Yep, he just doesn't seem to get it :? . LOL....soon

Jessika- thanks. Yes and yes :wink: . LOL, thanks I'm still a little uncomfortable when it comes to writing children...I don't really know how to. LOL...soon...


Okay here we go...



Part 3

Liz unlocked the front door to her apartment and walked in carrying three bags of groceries. As she made her way to the kitchen, five and a half year old Kylan came running out of his room wearing his favorite green pajamas.

“Mom! Ria said I’m a good green ranger!”

“She did huh?”

“Yep.” He nodded as the babysitter came out of Kylan’s room.

“Oh! I’m sorry, Liz. I didn’t know you were loaded down! I could have helped you.”

Liz set the bags down on the kitchen table. “That’s okay Maria.” She pulled her purse from her shoulder as she asked, “So, what do I owe you today?”

Maria grinned, “You’re mom kept him longer today, so you only owe me twenty bucks.”

Liz rolled her eyes, “Right.” She plucked the money out of her wallet and handed it to Maria. “Here you go.”

“Thanks. Do you need any help with those?” Maria asked as she indicated the groceries.

“No, I’m fine. Why don’t you go ahead and head on home early today.”

“Okay.” As Maria walked to the front door she called out, “Bye Liz! Bye Kylan!”

Both Kylan and Liz replied with their goodbyes as Maria closed the door behind her.

“Kylan, go get cleaned up while I make dinner.”

“M’kay mom,” replied Kylan as he scampered to the bathroom.

Liz put away the groceries and started dinner before she went to check the messages that Maria had left by the phone. One was from her mom, a few were about business, and there were two from solicitors. There was also one from Jesse who had called to see if she wanted to go out with him again that night. She let out an exasperated sigh and shook her head as she tossed most of the messages in the trash can nearby.

It had been over two years since they had graduated from college and Liz had moved back to Texas to live with her mother. It had taken Liz nearly four months to finally land the job she now had with an established home remodeling company. She and Kylan had continued living with Nancy until Liz had learned enough at the company and earned enough to afford to move out.

They had lived with Nancy for almost a year before Liz finally found a nice two bedroom apartment for her and Kylan to move into. The week that she had begun to move into her new place, she had gotten a phone call from Jesse. He told her he was moving to Texas because he had gotten a job at one of the most exclusive high schools in the city as a teacher.

Liz knew that this job wasn’t the best he was offered, she knew he had gotten better offers. That school may be exclusive, but she was certain he could be making more money than he was going to make at that school. She’d known from the start that he had given up everything else to follow her there.

Now, two years after graduating, Jesse was back in her life again even when she had been honest with him. The moment they had come face to face again, she had to make it clear that she wasn’t in love with him and that she was going to be dating others. While she did date others, it wasn’t like she had a date every night. Most of the time, she was busy with work or with Kylan.

However, she told Jesse she wasn’t looking for a serious relationship just yet. Still, Jesse gave her hints that he’d wait for as long as it took. So, he found an apartment to live in and a job that was not the best one he could have gotten. Then he had proceeded to spend the rest of the year trying to insert himself into her life again.

When dinner was ready, Liz called Kylan and the two of them sat down at the table to enjoy their meal while Kylan told her what he and his ‘granma’ had done that day. After dinner, the two of them curled up on the couch and watched a couple of DVDs together before Liz put Kylan in his bath.

Once he was bathed and in his pjs, Liz tucked him into bed where she read a story to him before saying goodnight. Turning off the light and closing the door behind her, she made her way back to the kitchen to clean up their dinner remains.

Midway through washing the dishes, she thought she heard Kylan’s voice coming from his bedroom. Frowning, she dried her hands and made her way back to her son’s room intending to berate him for still being awake.

As she neared the room, however, a second voice reached her ears. Moving closer, she could make out what the voice was saying.

“…loves you like I do, only I can’t go outside and play with you like she can.”

Kylan’s voice replied, “I wish you could stay and play with me and Ria. It would be lots of fun!”

“Yes, it would be fun, but Maria can’t see me like you can.”

“Can mom see you?”

“I think she can, but she won’t like me like you do.”

“Why not?”

“Well, she’s a grown up and grown ups are afraid of me.”

“I’m not afraid of you! You’re my friend!”

Panic seized her for a moment before she retraced her steps and got Kylan’s baseball bat from the hall closet. As she quietly made her way back to the room, she briefly wondered how someone could have gotten into the apartment without her knowing. She knew she always kept the bedroom window locked and she had been in that room not long ago. There was no way anyone could have been in there.

Bracing herself outside of Kylan’s room, Liz suddenly realized that the voice sounded very familiar, but she couldn’t remember where she had heard it before. Gritting her teeth, she raised the bat over her head and burst into the room shouting, “Kylan get away from…”

As soon as her eyes connected with his face, she froze.

Sitting in the middle of the floor were her son and what appeared to be his father. Liz had burst in on Kylan and Kyle in the middle of playing with Legos. Now, both of them had stopped talking and playing and were looking up at her with twin sheepish faces.

All Liz could do was to continue staring at Kyle in shock. She watched as Kyle put down the Legos and slowly stood up.

Kylan stood up too and quickly moved to stand between the two of them. Looking up at his mother, he gave her a pleading look.

“Mom, this is my friend, Kyle. Please don’ be afraid of him. And…and don’ be mad at us.”

Kyle glanced down at his son then back up to Liz who had slowly lowered the bat unknowingly.

“Hello Liz,” he spoke softly.

His voice jolted her out of her shock as she began to ramble. “But…you’re dead! I saw you die! This isn’t possible!” All of them could hear her voice starting to crack as she began to visibly tremble.

“It is possible,” replied Kyle. “But only for a while.”

Liz shook her head, “No! I saw you die! I know I did!”

Kyle nodded, “I know Liz. Please, just hear me out okay?” He took a step towards her, but she backed away from him shaking her head in denial.

Kyle held a hand out in front of him as he gave her a pleading look, “Liz, if you could just calm down, I can explain.”

Liz laughed hysterically, “Calm down! You want me to calm down!”

Kylan stepped towards his mother and spoke in a tearful voice, “Mommy, he won’ hurt us! He’s been my friend for a long time! Please! Listen to him!”

Liz blinked as her son’s voice penetrated her brain. Looking down at him, she saw the tears in his eyes threatening to spill down his cheeks. It was then that his words registered in her mind.

Swallowing, she whispered, “How long?”

It was Kyle who answered, “Almost three years.”

Liz’s eyes widened as she began to realize the truth of that statement. She remembered that it had been almost three years since she had experienced what she had thought was a very bizarre dream. Sure, Kylan had confessed to having a dream similar to hers, but she had chalked it up to coincidence. Kylan had never mentioned having that dream again and Liz had been glad to shove that dream into the recesses of her mind, locking it away.

Now, she stood there with her son where both of them could see and hear her deceased boyfriend. She knew that what she’d tried so hard to pass off as a bad dream had been real. She had really seen Kyle and so had her son.

Kyle sighed, “Liz, listen. I know this is hard for you to believe, but there’s a reason I’m still here.”

Liz looked up at him as he spoke. Her voice came out squeaky. “A… a reason?”

Kyle nodded, “Yes. You see, I can’t leave yet because you haven’t let me go.”

Liz frowned, “What is that supposed to mean?”

“You are still holding on to me. No matter what anyone has tried to tell you, you still haven’t moved on.” He paused before he added, “Liz, I was not the one for you, but I can’t move on until you do.”

Liz shook her head frantically, “No! No, that’s not true! I don’t believe you.”

“Liz…”

“You have to go away. Go away now!” She turned to look at Kylan. “And you have to go to bed! Go to bed and forget that you ever saw anything.”

With that she ran out of the room and into hers, slamming the door shut. Tossing the bat to the floor, she fell on her bed and let the tears fall. It wasn’t true! It couldn’t be! Kyle wasn’t really here telling her that she had to let him go. It had to be a trick that someone set up! Yes, that was it! After all, weren’t Melissa and Jesse always trying to get her to let Kyle go? It had to be one of them who had set this up!

There was no way she would ever forget Kyle. He had been everything to her. He had known that too, so she was certain he wouldn’t be there telling her she had to move on and find someone else. How could the man who had been her world really stand in front of her and tell her that he had never been the one for her. How could he even suggest that she find someone else when she knew he had loved her just as much as she’d loved him.

************************************************************

Kyle sighed as Liz’s sobs reached his ears. He had hoped that this time she’d listen to reason. He looked down at his son who stood there with a bewildered look on his face. Kyle knew he was torn between running after his mother and staying there with his friend.

Kneeling down next to Kylan, Kyle turned his son to look at him. He brushed the tears off of his son’s cheeks and gave him a reassuring smile. “She’ll be okay, Kylan. Just let her get over the shock, okay?”

Kylan sniffed and nodded his head. “M’kay.”

“Come on, let’s put up your toys and get you back into bed. I’m sure your mom will be back soon to see if you listened to her.”

Again Kylan nodded and helped Kyle put the Legos away before climbing back into bed. As Kyle tucked him in, Kylan looked up at him. “Are you going to go away like mom said?”

Kyle shook his head, “Not yet.”

Kylan smiled, “You were right.”

“I was?”

“Yep, you said grown ups were afraid of you. Mom was afraid of you.”

Kyle grinned, “Yes, she was.” He sighed, “But I was hoping she wouldn’t be.”

“Why?”

“I wanted her to listen to me.” He looked into Kylan’s eyes as he said, “Your mom is sad. She’s been sad for a very long time and I want her to be happy again.”

Kylan nodded. “I want my mom to be happy too.”

Kyle smiled, “Will you help me? Will you help me try to make your mom happy again?”

Kylan returned the smile, “Yes! I’ll help you Kyle!”

Kyle chuckled at Kylan’s enthusiasm, “Good. Okay, here’s what we are going to do.”

For a few more minutes, Kyle stayed there explaining to Kylan his plan for getting Liz to move on with her life. Once he was done and Kylan had understood, Kyle told him goodnight and promised to be back the following night.

A few hours later, a puffy eyed, groggy Liz peeked in on her son and saw him curled up under his covers fast asleep with a little smile on his face.

TBC...(Hopefully after this the parts will be getting longer :? )
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"You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams." -Dr. Seuss

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Shadowlynxbehr
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Post by Shadowlynxbehr » Tue Feb 06, 2007 12:20 am

Dreamer- LOL, that's me, I'm a tease :wink: . LOL.

EVE- Good guess :D . LOL, true. Apparently a loooooot of times, LOL.

La'Shon- LOL, me too. I would probably have run away and left my son behind, LOL. Yep, that he is :twisted: . Glad you like Maria :wink: .

Nat- thanks

spray- LOL, I love that line...dash of amber eyes, hint of hunk, heaping amount of manliness...DROOL...I think I may use it in a siggie...

Jessika- Well, she's in HEAVY denial, LOL. Thanks, I thought they were cute together too. Hmm...psycho huh? Oooh...the corner :twisted: . Thanks.

Erina- awwww.....well, he knows that now, but not when he was alive :wink: .

BehrObsession- LOL, thanks. :D , you'll see. Yes, Jesse has no idea what he's in for.

French- LOL, that's okay, you'll see. I would freak too. Oh, she will :wink: .



Okay, sorry for being a day late, but here's the next part...



Part 4

*A few months later*

“Tess, calm down. Just look in the upper right drawer of my desk. That’s where I put the McKinney’s file.” Liz kept her voice calm as she got out of her car and proceeded to gather up her things, while balancing her cell phone between her shoulder and ear.

“Are you sure?” asked a frantic Tess over the phone.

“Positive. It should be the first file on top. I put it there right before I left work today.”

“Right. Okay.” There was a pause before Tess gave a sigh. “Oh! Found it! Thanks Liz, you’re a life saver!”

“No problem, Tess.”

“Okay, well I’ll let you go then. Tell Kylan I said hi and I hope you two don’t cry too much over Maria’s leaving.”

Liz laughed, “Right. I’ll tell him.”

Tess chuckled over the line, “Okay, have a great going away party then.”

“Thanks, see you Monday.”

“Yeah, see you! Thanks again!”

Liz said her goodbye before she flipped her phone shut and stuffed it into her purse. Juggling her purse, briefcase, the gift she’d gotten for Maria, and the cake Kylan had insisted she buy; she shut the car door with her hip and made her way towards the stairs that led to her apartment.

It was Maria’s last day as Kylan’s baby sitter. Now that the summer was over and Maria had been accepted to the university in Colorado on a business scholarship, she would be hopping on a plane before the week was over.

Liz knew Kylan was sad to see Maria go since the two of them had hit it off in the year and a few months that she’d been his babysitter. Liz was sad too. She’d liked Maria’s perky personality and she’d liked the way Maria had been able to handle Kylan. Liz never had to worry about her son when Maria was taking care of him.

Now, she was going to have to find a new babysitter or she was going to have to put him into a day care program. She’d tried to enroll him in kindergarten, but his sixth birthday was too late to meet the deadline. He wouldn’t enter kindergarten until the following year, which meant she had to find someone to care for him for one more year.

Since it was her last day, Kylan had wanted to throw her a party. Really, it was just an excuse for him to have cake and ice cream and to give Maria a gift. So, Liz decided why not do something nice for Maria for sticking with her and Kylan after all of this time.

Liz managed to maneuver her keys in her hand and opened the door to her apartment. Trying to be as quiet as possible even with all the things she was carrying, she shut the door and made her way into the kitchen.

Setting all of the things down somewhere, she breathed a sigh of relief when she’d accomplished getting in without making any noise. Quickly she began to prepare everything for Maria’s going away party.

She set the cake in the middle of the kitchen table and placed the paper plates, bowls, napkins, utensils, and cups with the graduation hats on them next to it. She pulled out a container and poured the fruit punch into it adding a ladle so that they could pour it into their cups. Lastly she put the three different ice cream containers on the table, took their lids off, and placed a serving spoon in each of them.

As soon as she was done, she made her way to Kylan’s room where he’d been playing his television loud enough to keep Maria from hearing her get home. Knocking on the door, she opened it and walked in wearing a smile.

“Mom! You’re home!” yelled Kylan as he ran to her and hugged her.

Maria grinned as she turned off the television. “Hi Liz. Sorry about the noise, but Kylan insisted we celebrate my last day here.”

Liz chuckled as she finished hugging her son. “It’s okay, I figured he’d want to have a party with you.” She paused for a moment as she winked at her son. “Speaking of parties, could you come with me to the kitchen for a moment? There’s something I need you to look at.”

“Sure.”

Maria followed Liz and Kylan to the kitchen. As soon as they entered, Liz and Kylan stepped aside and exclaimed, “Surprise!”

“Oh my God!” squealed Maria. “Oh! You guys! You really shouldn’t have!”

She gave Liz and Kylan hugs as they moved to the table.

“It was Kylan’s idea. He really wanted to give you a party,” laughed Liz. “He’s been bugging me for weeks, so I thought some cake and ice cream would be good on your last day.”

“Aw, thanks so much!”

“Yeah, and we got a gift too,” said Kylan as he picked up the gift bag and handed it to Maria.

Maria took it from him and looked at both of them with tears in her eyes. “Wow! This is just…wow!”

Liz chuckled, “You’re welcome, Maria. Now, come on. Have a seat and open your present before Kylan does it for you.”

Maria and Kylan giggled as they all took a seat around the table. They watched as Maria pulled the paper out of the bag before she gasped in surprise. She reached in and pulled out several pens and mechanical pencils in neon colors, two scarves with matching mittens, and a ceramic girl wearing a cap and gown in Maria’s high school colors.

Liz smiled as Kylan explained. “I tol’ mom to get you sumthin to keep you warm and sumthin to help you at school.”

Liz nodded, “And I added in the graduation gift too.”

Maria chuckled as she set the things back into the bag. “Thank you both so much! I love them! You’re right Kylan, they’ll definitely help me at school and keep me warm.”

Kylan beamed at Maria’s praise, but it lasted for a moment before he rubbed his hands together.

“Okay! Now you gotta eat your cake! And we‘ll help!” he exclaimed.

Maria laughed as Liz handed her the knife to cut the cake while she poured punch into a cup for Kylan.

An hour later, Maria and Liz were in the kitchen cleaning up the remains of Maria’s party. Liz had told Maria that she didn’t need to help since she was the guest of honor, but Maria had insisted. So the two of them began to clean up while Kylan watched cartoons in the living room.

“Thanks again for this Liz. You know you really didn’t have to,” said Maria as she washed the few items Liz had used that weren’t disposable.

“You’re welcome. And you know we weren’t going to let you go without a goodbye party! You became a part of our family. Kylan is going to miss you so much.”

Liz sighed as she finished wrapping up the rest of the cake for Maria to take with her. “I’m going to miss you too! Now I’m going to have to find a new babysitter and I just know they won’t be anywhere near as good as you were with Kylan.”

Maria gave Liz a sympathetic smile. “Oh you’ll find someone, Liz. There are plenty of other babysitters out there.”

Liz nodded, “I know, but not all of them will click with Kylan the way you did. I mean, he even preferred to spend more time with you than with my mother.”

Maria laughed along with Liz as they both remembered the times Kylan would go on and on about how his grandma wouldn’t stop smothering him. They knew it was because Nancy hadn’t seen him for most of the first four years of his life and she was desperately trying to make up for it now that he lived so much closer.

Kylan didn’t understand why his grandma was so clingy and overenthusiastic when she saw him, but they did. Liz had tried to talk to her mother about backing off on the affection towards Kylan, but Nancy just couldn’t help it. She was just grateful to finally have that time with her only grandchild.

Maria dried her hands on the dish towel and turned around to face Liz. Leaning back against the counter, she gave Liz a bright smile.

“You know, if you want a recommendation for a new babysitter, I think I might have just the person for you.”

Liz looked up from where she sat at the table. “Really? Is she a friend of yours?”

Maria shook her head. “Nope, he’s my brother.”

Liz blinked in surprise, but when Maria didn’t say anything else, she raised an eyebrow in question. “Your brother?”

Maria nodded, “Yes. He’s babysat lots of kids before. He loves kids more than I do in fact and that’s saying a lot.” She laughed before adding, “I never got to see him in action, but I’ve been told he’s a great babysitter. The kids loved him and the parents said he was really good with their children.”

Liz slowly nodded, “I see.”

Maria didn’t say anything for a moment as she watched the skeptical look on Liz’s face.

“Okay, well how about I just give you his number and you can call and set up an interview with him. He’s got references like I had, so you can get those and make some calls if you need to. Even if you decide not to, at least you have the number.”

Liz finally nodded, “Okay, sure. I guess having the number won’t hurt then.”

Maria grinned, “Great!” She walked over to the refrigerator and began to write the number down on the magnetic pad there.

As she did that, Liz turned around and asked, “What’s your brother’s name?”

“Max,” came the mumbled reply.


************************************************************

Almost two months later Liz was ready to scream. Instead of looking for a babysitter for her son, she had decided to put him in daycare, hoping to get him ready for kindergarten. So far, it was turning out to be a disaster. Kylan hated his daycare and would whine about it every time Liz went to pick him up. Liz knew he was getting desperate when he started to beg her to let him stay with his overbearing grandma.

Still, she had tried to get him to give it another try. Telling him it would get better. When she finally got the call from the daycare office that Kylan had gotten into trouble for the third time and was now being held there until she could pick him up, she knew the end had come.

She had reprimanded him in the car all the way home and had made him go to his room immediately upon entering the apartment. He’d gone quietly with tears in his eyes and a quivering lip after whispering a heartfelt, “I’m sorry.”

She was now sitting at the kitchen table staring into space trying to figure out what she was going to do with her son. She couldn’t afford to take time off to look at other daycares and she couldn’t leave him with her mother. As she sat there thinking, she began to twirl her ring around her finger the way she always did when something troubled her.

Unbeknownst to her, Kylan snuck out of his room and quietly hurried to her room where his friend waited. As Kylan entered his mother’s bedroom, Kyle nodded to him and motioned to the nightstand. Kylan walked over to the nightstand and placed a piece of paper there before exchanging smiles with Kyle. Then as quietly as they had arrived, they both went back to Kylan’s room.

Liz closed her eyes for a few moments, wishing that everything would be all right once she opened her eyes. When she opened them a few moments later, she sighed in disappointment before getting up and making her way to her bedroom. She glanced at her son’s door before she walked into her room and sat on the edge of her bed.

She sighed again as she turned to look at Kyle’s picture. Smiling wistfully, she twirled her ring once more. “Kyle, I really wish you were here to help me with your son. I just know you would have been a great father to him.”

As the tears began to form in her eyes, she noticed a piece of paper lying next to the picture. Curious, she reached out and picked up the paper. Frowning when she saw that it was the number that Maria had left for her.

Her brother’s number she’d said, the one whom she had recommended as the next babysitter for Kylan. What was his name again? Max. Yes that was it.

As she smoothed out the paper, she gave it a thought. Finally she shrugged.

“What the hell. It wouldn’t hurt to give it a try.”

************************************************************

Liz glanced at the piece of paper tacked to her note board in her office for the fifteenth time. It was now the next day, Kylan was spending the day with Nancy, and Liz was procrastinating. She’d taken Max’s number with her to work, deciding to give him a call from there, but she was still hesitating.

She couldn’t help it. Despite the fact that he was Maria’s brother and she had told Liz that he was great with kids, Liz still worried. She knew she was being discriminatory, but she’d never really heard of a man being a babysitter. Wasn’t there supposed to be a requirement or something?

Shaking her head in disgust at herself, she finally picked the number off of the board and sat down at her desk. Taking a deep breath, she dialed the number and listened to the phone ring. It stopped after the fourth ring.

“Hello?” came the masculine voice that sounded out of breath.

“Yes, hi, is this Max Evans?” she asked, amazed that her voice actually sounded professional.

“Yes it is.”

“Right, I’m Liz Parker, your sister Maria used to be my babysitter and she recommended you to me.”

“Oh Liz, right! You have a son. Kylan is his name?”

“Yes, that’s right.”

“Yeah, Maria talked about him all the time.”

Liz smiled at that. “Really? Well, um I was wondering if you’d be interested in picking up where Maria left off? I mean, I need another babysitter for my son. So if you’re interested we can set up an interview.”

“Oh, well I’m currently in the middle of another job.”

“Oh,” Liz replied, a little disappointed.

“But if you can wait until next week then I will be available.”

Liz smiled at that.

“I’ll understand if you can’t though,” finished Max.

“No, that’s fine. It’ll give me some time to get ready. Um, do you mind if I ask you for your resume and references now? I can look them over before the interview.”

“Sure, would you like me to mail them, email them, or…”

“Can you fax them?”

“Yeah, what’s the number?”

“832-476-3232.”

“Okay, got it. I’ll run downstairs and fax them as soon as I get off the phone. Do you want to set up a day and time for the interview now?” he asked.

“How about this Saturday sometime between noon and four pm?”

“Sure, is two o’clock okay?”

“That’s fine and it’ll be at my house so you can meet Kylan and I can see if the two of you click. My address is 1230 Storybrook Lane. Apartment number 503.”

“503. Okay, then I’ll see you Saturday, Liz.”

“Great, see you Saturday.”

************************************************************

Liz sat on the couch shifting through the papers she held in her lap. It was Saturday afternoon and Kylan was in his room watching cartoons on his television, totally oblivious to the fact that Liz was expecting his new babysitter any minute now.

The papers she was shifting through were Max’s resume and references that he’d faxed to her work just like he said he would. Liz had then spent the rest of the week looking over them while Nancy had continued to keep Kylan for the rest of the week.

She was still a little hesitant about hiring Max because of his resume. Judging from that, Max hadn’t really had a steady job for a few years. In fact, he’d seemed to be a jack of all trades, jumping from one odd job to another. He’d done everything from plumbing, carpentry, construction, and even working at a fast food establishment.

Still, his references all had nothing but glowing praise for him. The jobs she’d called all remembered him to be a hard worker who was always trying to learn new things and he would excel at whatever task given to him.

The previous parents whom he’d babysat for all said they’d loved the way he’d worked with their kids and their kids had loved Max. It was just like Maria had said, the parents all thought that Max loved kids and was great with them.

So, despite the lack of a steady job, she was hoping that the praise from the parents was genuine and Max would turn out to be great with Kylan.

There was a knock at the door and Liz glanced at the clock. He was two minutes early, which made her smile with some hope. Placing the papers on the coffee table, she got up from the couch and straightened out her clothes. Walking to the door, she readied herself for the interview before she opened it.

She blinked in amazement as she had to slightly tilt her head back to see him. He stood there with a smile on his face and Liz could only stare. Warm hazel eyes twinkled at her. She couldn’t help but notice the dimples in each cheek and the thick dark hair that hung in bangs over his forehead.

His smile widened to show his perfect white teeth. “Hi,” he said as he held out his hand to her, “I’m Max Evans.”

TBC... :twisted:
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Post by Shadowlynxbehr » Mon Feb 12, 2007 4:48 am

Sorry I'm a little late...

Erina- yep. LOL, all those jobs will actually benefit him as you'll see here :wink: .

Em- thanks, heh :)

Nat- LOL, me too!

spray- ok, make that me three :D . Thank you!

Vero- thanks, me too :twisted:

Jess- thanks

La'Shon- LOL, yep F-I-N-A-L-L-Y! :D

BehrObsession- LOL, clever aren't they :twisted:

EVE- LOL, wow you're good :wink:

French- LOL, hmm? LOL, glad you like :twisted: . LOL, here ya go.

Jessika-thanks, yep :twisted: .



Part 5

“So, Liz how’s the new babysitter doing?” asked Tess as she walked into Liz’s office and plopped down into the chair on the opposite side of Liz’s desk.

Liz looked up from her work and gave Tess a smile, “Well, so far so good, but it’s only been a few days.”

Tess quirked an eyebrow. “Has Kylan complained yet?”

Liz shook her head, “No, he can’t stop talking about Max. He says Max reminds him of Maria.”

Tess giggled, “Must be because she’s his sister, right?”

“Must be,” replied Liz as she stared out of the window.

Tess quietly watched Liz for a moment before she sighed. “But you’re still worried aren’t you?”

Liz turned to look at Tess and gave her a hesitant smile. “Yeah.”

Tess shook her head. “Really Liz, you said you checked him out. His references all had glowing praise for him and he seems to be doing well with Kylan too. You even told me the two of them clicked immediately when you introduced them.”

Liz nodded as she looked out of the window once more. It was true. When Max had showed up Saturday, Liz had still been a little worried. But she’d convinced herself to give him a try and see how he was with Kylan. She’d invited him in and they had sat in the living room. After offering him something to drink, which he’d declined, they had gotten down to business.

She had asked him to tell her about the other kids he’d once babysat and then she’d given him several scenarios and asked him what he’d do in those situations. Max had seemed at ease the entire time. Always wearing that gentle smile, he’d looked her in the eye and answered all her questions easily. When he talked about the kids he’d been with, she could see how animated he became as he talked about them and there was always this sparkle in his eyes too.

Still, no matter what kinds of questions she fired at him, he managed to have an answer that seemed honest and real. Finally, unable to find anything wrong with him, she decided that it was time for him to meet Kylan. So, she had led him to Kylan’s room where she had introduced them to each other.

“Kylan, there’s someone that I want you to meet,” she said as she’d stepped into the room and turned down his television.

Kylan had turned away from the cartoons to look up at his mother. “Who?”

Liz had motioned to Max to enter the room. “Kylan, this is Max Evans. Max, my son Kylan.”

Max gave Kylan the same full blown smile he’d given Liz at the door as he got down on his knee and extended his hand to Kylan. “Hey Kylan, nice to meet you.”

Kylan at first had inched behind Liz until Max had beamed the smile at him. Moving from behind Liz, Kylan had slowly reached his hand out and shook Max’s.

As they shook hands Kylan squinted his eyes and said, “You look like my babysitta.”

Max chuckled, “Well, that’s if your mom will let me be.”

Liz cleared her throat, “I wanted you to meet him first, baby.”

Kylan shook his head, “No, I mean you look like Ria.”

Max blinked, “I do?”

Kylan nodded, “She was my ol’ babysitta.”

“Yeah, I know. She’s my little sister,” replied Max with a grin.

Kylan’s eyes went wide, “Your sista?”

Max nodded, “Yep and she used to tell me about you all the time.”

Kylan smiled widely. “Really! I miss her!”

“I know. I miss her too,” replied Max with a wistful smile.

Kylan tugged on Max’s arm. “C’mon, you gotta tell me stories about Ria! I can tell you some too!” Max chuckled as Kylan led him to his bed where they both sat down and Max began to answer Kylan’s questions.

Liz had to eventually break up the lively conversation that had started between her son and Max, telling Kylan that Max had to leave soon. Kylan of course was upset, but Max said he’d come by and see Kylan again if Liz let him. After reassuring Kylan that she would let Max come visit, they had left Kylan to his cartoons and gone back to the living room.

It was there that Liz had laid out the rules about babysitting Kylan and that she was willing to give Max a try. Max had listened patiently as Liz spelled it all out for him and said he was fine with having a trial period. He seemed to know that Liz was still hesitant about hiring him.

Once they’d made the arrangements, Max agreed to be there bright and early Monday morning as Liz got ready to go to work. He would be taking care of Kylan that day and Liz let him know that Nancy would be popping in often to check up on them.

When Monday had arrived, Liz had rushed around the apartment gathering her things and once more going over all the rules and regulations with Max who simply stood there with an amused smile on his face, reassuring her over and over again that he knew what to do in case of an emergency. Kylan was still asleep when Max had seen Liz to the door and once more reassured her in that calm voice of his that everything would be all right.

And so far, it had been. Every day she got home to a happy Kylan who always told her what he and Max did during the day. Kylan wouldn’t stop talking about him and all the stories they shared about Maria. Liz was also finding out about Max through Kylan since Max often told Kylan stories about himself growing up.

Nancy had popped in often that Monday per Liz’s instructions and had told Liz over the phone that night that she had absolutely nothing to worry about because Max was a superb babysitter. Every day Liz had gotten home to find the house still in one piece, Kylan’s toys had been put up and Max and Kylan were waiting for her in the living room watching television. There was no sign of anything having gone wrong at all.

“So, why are you still worried?” asked Tess, her voice bringing Liz out of her reverie.

Liz blinked as she turned to look back at Tess. “I’m always like this Tess. You know how hard it always was for me to find a good babysitter who would stay with Kylan.”

Tess shook her head, “No, Liz. This has nothing to do with whether or not Kylan will run Max away. This has everything to do with the fact that Max isn’t a female.”

Liz’s frown told Tess she was right on the mark.

“Liz, guys can be great caretakers too, you know. Just like there are some women who were never meant to be nurturers.”

Liz sighed, “I know, I know.”

“So, Kylan likes Max. And you know Max has a great background. And so far, they’ve managed to get along just fine. Relax and let it happen, huh? Get over the fact that Max is a male. I mean, think of it this way, Max can be a great male influence for your son, right?”

Liz looked up at Tess and grinned, “You really missed your calling you know that?”

Tess quirked her eyebrow in question.

“As a motivational speaker,” chuckled Liz.

Tess chucked a cushion at Liz as they both broke into laughter over Liz’s joke.

************************************************************

Max looked up as he heard the front door open. Liz was literally being blown in from the strong wind and rain had soaked her from head to toe. Quickly getting up, Max rushed to help her with her burden as she forced the door shut behind her.

“Thanks, Max,” said Liz as she gave a sigh of relief.

“Do you have more stuff to get?” asked Max.

She shook her head, “No. I’ve gotten all of it.”

Max nodded as he carried the two bags of groceries into the kitchen while Liz set down her briefcase and bag. She shrugged out of her heavy raincoat, hung it in the hall closet, and pulled her now wet sweater over her head. Smiling, she picked up the folded towel Max had left for her on the hall table.

It was now mid January, a little over three months since Max had started babysitting Kylan and he had managed to fit right in to their lives. He obviously knew what to have waiting for Liz when she got home. Especially when she got home late like she had done tonight.

It was rare for Liz to work late, but there had been an important deal she and Tess had been working on for a few months already and both of them had been determined to see it through. She’d called Max and let him know she’d be late and if he’d mind staying with Kylan. After talking to Kylan and then Max again, she’d gone back to work.

When she left work at nearly nine p.m. the weather had gotten worse, but she still had stopped by the grocery store before going home.

She was towel drying her hair as she stepped into the kitchen to see Max putting away the groceries. She grinned as she realized he even knew exactly where to put everything.

“Max, you don’t have to do that! It’s late, I don’t want to keep you here any longer than I already have.”

Max shrugged as he continued to put away the groceries. “It’s not a problem, Liz.”

“I can finish, really.” Liz wrapped the towel around her shoulders and moved in to help Max but he grabbed her wrists and led her to a chair at the table.

“Sit,” he said as he gently pushed her down before walking over to the stove, where he fixed a plate for her. He walked back to the table and set the plate in front of her with a smile, “Dinner.”

“Max…”

“I know, I shouldn’t have,” replied Max. “I did anyway. So, what do you want to drink with that?”

Liz started to rise, “I’ll get it.”

Max pushed her back down with a hand on her shoulder, “Liz, you’ve been working hard all day. The least you can do is let me take care of dinner. So, drink?”

Liz nodded, “Tea.”

He grinned, “Tea it is.”

As Liz ate her dinner, Max continued to put the groceries away. When he was finished, he joined her at the table.

Liz gave him a grateful smile, “Thanks Max. It’s delicious.”

Max chuckled, “It’s nothing special.”

Liz rolled her eyes. He was being modest as usual. Max was a great cook. It wasn’t the first time she had eaten something he’d made and he was always making breakfast and lunch for Kylan.

Of course Kylan was always ranting about how he loved Max’s cooking, but then again Liz was wondering if there was anything Kylan didn’t like about Max at this point. In fact, she was even wondering if there was anything Max couldn’t do. She was quickly finding out just how beneficial having all those random jobs really were to Max.

Once her garbage disposal had broken and she had intended to call the landlord about it, but instead Max had fixed it before she’d had the chance. Another time, she’d come home to find him and Kylan folding laundry in Kylan’s room. Max had fixed a wobbly chair, stitched a few torn clothes, ironed clothes, and even built an extra shelf in Kylan’s closet for his shoes. Clearly having all those jobs had taught him quite a few things.

As she finished up her dinner, Max asked, “So, did you finish the deal?”

Liz nodded, “Yeah, finally! I’ve never had a client like this before. Even Tess was complaining that she’d never had anyone change their minds about what they wanted that many times within a week.”

Max chuckled, “That bad huh?”

She shrugged, “Well, it’s not that they were bad or mean, it’s just that they really didn’t know what they wanted and we tried to help them by showing them all sorts of samples, but it just seemed to confuse them even more.”

“Right, but they finally chose something, huh?”

“Yes. Now, all we have to do is get the contractors out to their house to begin work and keep our fingers crossed that they won’t change their minds while the renovations begin.”

Max chuckled, “I’ll keep mine crossed too.”

“Thanks. So, did you have any trouble getting Kylan into bed tonight?”

“Not really, no. I gave him a bath and watched as he put on his own pajamas.” Max grinned at that. “He’s really proud that he can dress and undress himself, you know.”

Liz nodded as he continued. “Then he got into bed and I read him a story, which he fell asleep half way through.”

Liz chuckled, “Yeah, he seems to do that a lot.”

Max nodded, “Yeah, I’m beginning to wonder if he just gets bored of the stories.”

“No,” laughed Liz. “Trust me, it’s not the stories. He always asks me to pick up from where I left off, doesn’t he do that to you?”

“Yeah, he does.”

“See, it’s not the stories. I think our voices are soothing to him. I used to sing to him when he was a baby and that always helped him fall asleep better.”

Max grinned, “You sang to him?”

Liz nodded, “Yes.”

The smile widened, “I’ll bet you have a great voice.”

Liz looked up at Max for a moment before looking back down at her plate with a faint blush spreading over her cheeks.

They sat in silence for a few moments as Liz pushed the remains around her plate and Max stared at her. Finally Liz cleared her throat and stood up.

“Well, it’s late and I know you have to be getting home soon. Um, I could drop Kylan at my mother’s tomorrow instead of you having to get up so early to be here. You can go pick him up from there when you’re ready to.”

Max shook his head, “No, that’s okay, I’ll be here.”

Liz frowned at him. “Max, you’ve been here all day and you’re just going to go home and come back in a few hours. Look, why don’t you just take the entire day off? I’m sure my mother won’t mind taking Kylan for a day.”

“Liz, it’s okay. I’ll be here.”

She was about to protest again, but Max beat her to it. “Really, Liz. I don’t mind. I like babysitting Kylan. And besides, I promised I’d make him my famous vanilla pudding for dessert tomorrow.”

Liz rolled her eyes, “You did, huh? Well, I guess you’ll have to then or he’ll never forgive me for it. Fine, I’ll see you tomorrow morning then.”

He grinned, “Great!” He started to gather up the remains of her dinner but Liz shook her head and guided him towards the hallway.

“Go home Max, you’ve done enough for today. I’ll see you in the morning.”

Max let her hand him his coat and duffel bag he always brought with him before he walked to the door. She held it open for him as he finished shrugging into his coat.

Tugging the hood over his head, he gave her a smile, “See you tomorrow. Goodnight Liz.”

“Night Max, be careful going home.”

He nodded before ducking out into the rainy night.

************************************************************

Kylan remained laying where he was under his covers with his eyes shut. He’d heard his mother come into the room and felt her place a kiss against his cheek before she’d left the room and closed the door behind her. Still, he’d remained where he was listening to the sounds of her taking a shower and getting ready for bed. When the lights had all gone out and things had gotten quiet, he knew she’d finally gone to bed.

“She’s asleep,” came Kyle’s hushed voice from near the door.

Kylan opened his eyes and waited until he could see Kyle’s dim figure moving to sit on the bed next to him. Kylan sat up and frowned at Kyle. “She made him go home,” he whispered.

Kyle nodded, “I know, but at least she ate the dinner he made and they talked for a while.”

“Yeah, but she was gonna make him stay home! She wasn’ gonna let him come ova tomorrow.”

Kyle sighed, “Luckily he convinced her otherwise, huh?”

Kylan’s frown deepened, “Why don’ she like him Kyle? I like him! An’ I know he could make my mom happy!”

Kyle sighed, “She’s just being careful, that’s all.”

“But since he’s been here, mom hasn’ been mad at me. An’ she hasn’ needed to worry ‘bout our home. Max does all a it an’ she don’ need to worry ‘bout a thin’!”

Kyle nodded, “That’s true, Kyl. But it’s only been a few months. Give your mom some time, okay? She’ll come around. You’ll see. In time, she’ll see how great Max is. In the meantime, you just keep on getting to know Max, okay? Maybe when your mom sees how close you and Max are, it’ll help her see Max better.”

“’kay,” whispered Kylan.

Kyle gave his son a smile, “C’mon, you should get some sleep. Max will be here in the morning, maybe you can convince him to make your mom some of those blueberry pancakes you like so much.”

Kylan grinned as he settled back under his covers, “Yeah, I think I’ll do that.”

Kyle smiled as he watched his son close his eyes and drift back to sleep wearing a soft smile on his face. Gazing at his sleeping son for a few more moments, he gave a wistful smile before slowly fading away.

************************************************************

“Yeah, yeah! Hold your horses, I’m coming!” growled Max as he fumbled with the key to his door. He could hear his phone ringing as he finally unlocked the door and pushed inside. Slamming the door shut with his foot, he shrugged out of his coat, draping it over the old chair by the door and dropping his keys on the table next to it.

He walked over to the couch and plopped down onto it as he reached out for the phone sitting on the footstool in front of it.

“Yeah?” he asked as he leaned back into the couch and began to kick off his shoes.

“Geez, man! What took you so long to answer the phone? I knew you couldn’t be asleep already!” came the cheerful voice from the other end.

Max rolled his eyes, “I was working late, Alex.”

“Seriously? Are you saying you just got home?”

“That’s what I’m saying.”

Max could hear his best friend chuckling on the other end of the line. “Damn, Max. This is a record even for you.”

“Alex,” Max growled.

“What? I’m just saying. Usually your babysitting jobs end much earlier than this. Why were you over there so late? Or were you really babysitting?” came the teasing voice.

Max sighed as he ran his fingers through his hair, “I was really babysitting. Liz and her partner were trying to close a deal and it just ran late. Then she had to stop by the grocery store before going home. She called earlier and asked if I could stay or she’d have Nancy go over.”

Alex chuckled, “And of course you said you could stay.”

“Of course. It wasn’t a big deal.”

“So, was Kylan upset that Liz wasn’t there to tuck him in?”

“Nah, I gave him a bath, tucked him in and read him a story. He was out like a light.”

“So what’d you do until she got home?”

“Made dinner.”

“What! For her?” exclaimed Alex.

“Of course it was for her! I figured she’d be hungry since she’d been working all evening and I was right.”

“Geez Max! You’re not just a babysitter, you’re like Super Maid or something. I hope to hell you’re getting compensated well for all of it.”

Again Max sighed, “Alex, I said…”

“It’s not a big deal. Yeah, I know, Max.” Alex sighed, “So, how long is this gig for?”

“I don’t know. For as long as Liz needs me, I guess.”

“You guess?”

Max leaned his head against the back of the couch and closed his eyes. “Alex, just say it.”

There was a moment of silence before his friend finally spoke. “I’m worried about you Max.”

“What do you mean?”

“It’s just you seem to be putting a lot of effort into this job and you’ve never done that before. All the other jobs you’ve had. You’ve always known how long you were gonna do it and you just did it and went home. But this one, you seem to bring it home with you.”

Max frowned as he opened his eyes and stared up at the ceiling. “They’re not here, Alex.”

“Max, man, you know what I mean! Every time I talk to you now, you’re always talking about what Kylan or Liz did that day. And during the weekends, when you’re off, you can’t go anywhere without mentioning one of them! Man, we’ll be sitting at the sports bar watching a game and someone mentions a good play and you go and say something like ‘I wonder if Kylan needs a basketball’ or something like that. It’s really starting to scare me.”

Max sighed. “Alex, Kylan is six years old and according to Liz he’s never had a male figure in his life besides his paternal grandfather. So, I’m just trying to make sure he knows what some things are. He’s going to start kindergarten in the fall, so I thought it would be nice for him to be a little prepared.”

“Max, it’s only January. August is months away and it’s kindergarten, not the NBA.”

“I know that! Geez Alex, I’m not just talking about sports. Just things in general, you know.”

Alex sighed, “I know. I just think you should be careful. Don’t get so wrapped up in a family that isn’t yours to begin with.”

Max closed his eyes again. “I know. I’m being careful, Alex.”

“Okay, that’s all I care about then. So, before I let you go get some shut eye, are we still on for this Saturday?”

“Yeah, I’ll be there.”

“Great! We are so going to slaughter them!”

Max chuckled, “Yeah, we are. I’ll see you Saturday, Alex.”

“Okay, good night, man.”

“Night.”

TBC...
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Post by Shadowlynxbehr » Sun Feb 18, 2007 8:45 pm

RESPONSE TO FEEDBACK ON PREVIOUS PAGE!

Part 6

Liz slammed the phone down just as Tess poked her head into the office. Tess frowned as she watched her friend and partner scowling at the phone.

“Liz? Want to talk about it?” asked Tess.

Liz looked up at Tess and rolled her eyes, “That was Jesse.”

“Oh,” replied Tess as she walked into the office and sat down opposite Liz. “Still stalking you, huh?”

Liz growled, “He just won’t get the hint that I’m not interested in going out with him every weekend! I already told him that I don’t have feelings for him and that I want to date others, but he still keeps calling and asking me out every week!”

“Yep, like I said. Stalker,” said Tess in a deadpan voice.

Liz pouted at Tess. “It’s not funny, Tess. I don’t know how else to tell him that I’m not interested in having a relationship with him.”

Tess rolled her eyes and leaned forward. Putting her hands on the desk, she looked Liz dead in the eye as she wore a serious expression. “I’m sorry, but I don’t have feelings for you. Not the kind of feelings you want me too and because of that, I am not interested in having a relationship with you at all.”

They stared at each other for a few more moments before Tess sat back in her chair. “There you go. Do it just like I did.”

Liz sighed, “It’s just not that easy.”

“Oh yes it is.”

“Tess, I’m not a rude person.”

“That’s not being rude Liz, it’s called being honest. A little blunt, but honest. And from what you’ve been telling me, it seems blunt is the only thing you can be with someone like Jesse.”

Liz shook her head, “I can’t do that.”

Tess narrowed her eyes as she folded her arms over her chest. Liz avoided her gaze as she lowered her head and pretended to busy herself with some work. Tess continued to scrutinize Liz for a few more moments before she finally sighed.

“You know what you are Liz? You’re just too nice. You don’t like to even let people down easy because it makes you feel guilty.”

Liz frowned at the papers in front of her, giving Tess all the answer she needed.

“So, the only thing to do is to keep dating others and hopefully you’ll finally meet someone who will peak your interest and then you’ll hope that Jess finally gets the message.”

Liz looked up at Tess as she said, “Hey! I’m not dating others just to find someone who will help me get rid of Jesse!”

Tess shrugged, “Okay, so you aren’t, but that’s an idea.”

“Tess…” Liz pleaded.

Tess grinned as she sat forward again. “So, have a date for the weekend yet?”

“What?”

“I’ll take that as a no. In that case, I think I have the perfect guy for you!”

Liz began to vigorously shake her head in denial. “Oh no! No Tess, you are not going to set me up on a blind date.”

Tess continued to grin. “Oh but Liz, he’s great! You’ll really like him because you both have a lot in common. He’s really nice like you are and he’s very organized and goal oriented too. Just like you! Come on Liz, the two of you are going out Saturday night! I’ll call him and let him know!”

As Tess started out the door Liz called out. “What! Wait, Tess! How do you even know he’ll want to go out with me? And I don’t even know his name.”

Tess chuckled as she said, “Oh believe me, Michael will go out with you Saturday. Because if he doesn’t, he’s going to be clobbered by his little sister.”

Liz’s eyes went wide. “Your brother! You’re going to set me up with your older brother?”

“Oh yeah! You two are so much alike it’s almost scary! I just know you’ll get along great! Be back in a bit.” Tess waved as she disappeared out of the office, leaving behind a speechless Liz.

************************************************************

Max opened the door to Kylan’s room and glanced around with a frown. “Kylan! Your mom will be home in a few minutes and you still haven’t cleaned up your room! This isn’t going to look good you know!”

Kylan looked up from where he sat on the floor with his coloring book and crayons. “I’m sowwy Max. I just wanted to finish this picture first.”

Max sighed as he walked into the room. “Look, put the coloring book and the crayons on your table and we’ll clean up the room first. Then when we’re finished, you can go back to finishing that picture, okay?”

Kylan nodded as he got up and placed the items on the table and began to help Max clean up his room. It only took the two of them a few minutes to get it all done and Max left Kylan sitting at his table coloring once more as he returned to the living room to wait for Liz to get home.

He used the remote to flip through the television channels before glancing up at the clock with a frown. Liz was running late and it was starting to worry him. Usually she called and let him know she’d be running late, but there hadn’t been a phone call today. He sighed as he continued to flip through the channels wondering if he should call her office to see if she was okay.

Just as he made up his mind to call, he heard the front door being opened and Liz’s voice reached his ears.

“Please mom? You have to take Kylan for the night, you don’t have to keep him all night, just a few hours.” She shut the door with her foot and set her briefcase down by the hall table as she continued to talk to her mom on her cell phone.

“You can’t even keep him for a few hours? Can’t you take him with you?”

Max turned off the television and stood up, to wait for her to get off the phone. She had her back to him as she set her purse on the table and began to shrug out of her coat.

“Yeah, I know, you’re right.” She sighed. “Okay, thanks anyway. I’ll talk to you later, mom. Yeah, I love you too. Bye.”

Liz turned her phone off and dropped it onto the table before walking over to the closet to hang up her coat. Closing the door, she turned around to see Max standing in the doorway to the living room.

“Hi Max. How was everything today?”

Max smiled. “Great as usual. Kylan’s in his room finishing up a picture in his coloring book.” He stated as Liz looked around the room for her son.

Liz grinned, “Is he? Must be a masterpiece then.”

Max chuckled, “Yeah, he’s really determined to get it done. Despite that, I did get him to take a break from his masterpiece to clean up his room.”

“Really? How’d you manage that? I can never seem to get him to put down something once he’s got his mind set on it.”

He shrugged. “I just told him that we would clean the room up first, then he could go back to coloring the picture.”

She frowned. “I tell him the exact same thing, but it doesn’t work. Are you sure you don’t bribe him or something?”

Grinning, Max replied. “Nah, I just use my natural charm that’s all. Kids are suckers for it.”

As Liz gave him a raised eyebrow, he laughed. “Okay, so that was a joke. Maybe it’s the way I said it that worked. I mean, instead of raising my voice and trying to make it sound like a command, I simply said it to him in a way that made him feel like he had the choice to say no. A lot of the times kids don’t do what their parents say because they get tired of being talked down to. Sometimes kids respond better when you talk to them like they’re on the same level as you.”

Liz was looking at him with a mix of respect and awe. “You didn’t study psychology in school by any chance did you?” she asked.

Max chuckled. “I didn’t go to a normal college. I learned most of what I know from the University of Real Life. I guess it helps that I’m a people watcher. You’d be surprised what you learn just by watching others around you.”

She shook her head. “You must have had a really interesting life to have learned so much.” She sighed, “Well, they do say that even though you are no longer in school, you still learn something new every day. Guess I just learned something new too.”

“Glad I could help,” said Max with a smile.

Liz chuckled as she moved back to her purse and pulled out the money to pay him for babysitting. As she handed him the money, he asked. “You working this weekend?”

“What?” asked Liz.

“I heard you talking to your mom. It sounded like you were trying to get her to take Kylan for the evening, so I thought maybe you were working this weekend.”

Liz shook her head. “Oh that. No, no. I’m not working this weekend, but yeah. I was kind of hoping my mother would be in the mood to have her grandson stay Saturday night with her.” She shrugged, “She’s going to a bridge club thing with some of her friends and there won’t be any kids allowed, so she can’t take Kylan with her.”

Max arched an eyebrow. “Gee, you seemed a little too determined to get her to take Kylan away. So, anything I can do?”

“No, that’s okay. I’ll figure something out.”

He frowned, “Liz. If you need me to baby sit Kylan Saturday night, I can you know.”

“No, Max. You already take care of him all week. I couldn’t make you give up your Saturday night to stay with my son.”

“Do you already have someone else in mind then?”

At her grimace, Max nodded. “Thought so. So, what time should I be here Saturday.”

She sighed, “Max…”

“Liz, I’m volunteering my services. It’s okay really I don’t mind staying with him for a few hours, if you really need me to.”

She looked up at him for a moment as she made up her mind. Finally nodding she said, “Okay. If you’re sure. Can you be here around seven?”

“Sure, not a problem.”

“Great. Okay, it’ll only be for a few hours. I should be home by eleven.”

Max nodded as he shrugged into his coat and picked up his duffel bag. “Okay, I can do it then. Tell Kylan I’ll see him tomorrow morning.”

Liz smiled as she let him out of the door. “I’ll tell him. Thanks, Max.”

He waved as he walked down the stairs. “Any time.”

************************************************************

Max stuffed his hands into his pockets as he made his way up the stairs towards Liz’s apartment that Saturday evening. The conversation he’d had earlier that day with Alex was still ringing in his ears.

“Are you nuts? You can’t back out now Max! We’re gonna cream them remember? How are we supposed to do that if you’re not there.”

“Sorry Alex, but I already told Liz that I’d baby sit for her.”

“Was this before or after you told me we were still on for tonight?”

Max sighed. “Alex, I just forgot okay. I’m sorry. Look, you guys don’t really need me. We have a great team, so I know you’ll all do well without me.”

“Couldn’t she have found someone else to baby sit? Come on Max, you already spend all week with the kid and now she’s making you give up your weekends too? Just what is she doing that she can’t take her kid with her?”

“I don’t know, man.”

“You didn’t ask?”

“Why should I have? She needed a babysitter and I was available.”

“No you weren’t Max! You already had plans! I can’t believe you’re going to spend a Saturday night taking care of a kid rather than going out with your friends. What is wrong with you?”

Max frowned at the wall. “Alex. She needed…”

“Yeah, yeah. I heard you the first time. She needed a babysitter and you were available.”

“Yes.”

“I hope to hell it’s worth it.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“I hope giving up your life, your social life is worth what she’s giving you.”

“Alex, can you give her a break, huh? She’s a single mother and her only living relative is her own mother. There’s no one else and she’s doing the best she can to give her son a good life.”

“Geez, you are already so involved in their lives aren’t you? I warned you not to get involved with them, but I was too late wasn’t I?”

“I’m just lending her a hand, Alex. It’s just for one evening.”

“Right. One evening. Okay then, guess I’ll see you some other time then.”

Max reached the top of the stairs and walked to Liz’s front door as the last of the conversation faded away in his mind. He had told Alex he’d give him a call Sunday afternoon and they’d go play a game of hoops or something. Thankfully Alex had agreed and told Max he’d see him later, ending the conversation on a good note.

Standing in front of the door, he knocked and waited for her to answer. A few moments later the door opened to reveal a frantic looking Liz. The smile he wore faded as she barely glanced at him before turning towards her bedroom.

With her head tilted slightly as she tried to put on an earring she said, “Thanks for coming, Max. I’m running a little late, so could you try to get Kylan to eat some dinner? He wasn’t hungry earlier and I didn’t have the time to make him sit down to eat it.”

“Sure, I’ll get him to eat.” He closed the door behind him and watched as Liz disappeared into her bedroom for a few moments before coming back out again. She was hopping on one foot, trying to put a shoe on the other foot.

Max took that time to look closely at her. She was wearing a navy blue halter top dress that came to her knees. Her hair was pulled back and piled on the top of her head in a fashionably messy bun. Wisps of hair framed her face which only sported mascara, a touch of blush, and lip gloss. She wore a simple silver necklace with a dark blue stone at the end and matching earrings. The shoe she’d been trying to put on was a black slip on with a small heel, comfortable enough for her to walk around in for a few hours if she needed to.

If he didn’t know any better, Liz was actually going out on a…

“Mom! I’m not feeling well!” cried Kylan as he came out of the room.

Liz sighed as she turned to look at her son. “Well, you did eat all of that candy I specifically told you to stay away from.” She glanced at Max. “Can you give him some pepto? It’s in the cabinet above the fridge.”

Kylan whined. “I don’ want pepto! I want you to stay here and rub my tummy ‘til it stops hurtin’ !”

“Kylan! We have already been over this! Max is here now, so he can rub your tummy for you.”

“Why can’ you both rub it?”

“Because I have to go.”

“I don’ want you to!” sniffed Kylan.

Liz turned pleading eyes on Max who walked over to her son and ruffled his hair. “Come on sport, let’s see what we can do for your tummy, okay?”

Kylan looked up at Max with tears in his eyes. “Maaax! Make her stay! I want mommy to stay here!”

“She’ll be back in a few hours Kylan, don’t worry. I’ll stay with you until she comes back okay?” He began to steer the boy into the kitchen to look for the pepto for his tummy.

Liz returned to her room to finish getting dressed as Max sat Kylan down in a chair before walking to the cabinet. Kylan sniffled as he wiped his eyes and looked up at Max.

“She’s goin’ out on a date, Max,” confirming his suspicion.

Max nodded as he opened the cabinet and looked inside for the medicine. “Yeah, it looks like it.”

“Tell her she can’ go! Please Max! Tell her to stay here with us!”

Max found the pepto and returned to Kylan’s side. Sitting down in a chair next to the boy he gave a sigh. “I can’t do that Kylan.”

“Why not?”

“She’s a grown up Kylan. Grown ups make their own decisions and no one else can make those decisions for them.”

“It’s not fair! I don’ want her to go! I don’!”

“I know you don’t, but it’s not your decision.” He gave the boy a sympathetic smile before picking up the bottle and shaking it. “Does your tummy still hurt?”

Kylan shook his head and Max smiled. He knew Kylan had never had an upset stomach all along. It wasn’t the first time Max had seen a kid fake sickness to get their parents to do what they wanted. Max returned the pepto to the cabinet just as there was a knock on the door.

Kylan sniffled again, prompting Max to walk over to him and give his shoulder a squeeze. “She’ll only be gone for a few hours, Kylan. Come on, why don’t we go watch some TV in your room for a bit.”

As they walked out of the kitchen, Liz came out of her room. She was stuffing things into a small handbag until she glanced their way.

“Did you find the pepto?” she asked.

Max nodded. “Yep. It was just where you said it would be.”

“Great. Okay, I’m going now.” She leaned down to kiss Kylan on his cheek. “You be a good boy and don’t give Max any trouble.” As Kylan nodded sullenly, she looked back at Max. “Thanks again for doing this Max. I really appreciate it.”

“You’re welcome.”

Liz made her way to the front door as she said, “I have my cell phone just in case you need me, okay? And I should be back about eleven.”

“I know, Liz.” he replied.

Liz turned to look at him with a grateful smile. “Right, okay.”

Max smiled back at her. “Have a great time.”

“Thanks.”

Max and Kylan watched as Liz walked out of the apartment and greeted her date with a smile. As soon as the door closed, Kylan huffed and turned towards his room. Max remained where he was for a moment longer looking at the closed door. The smile he’d been wearing earlier was completely gone from his face. Finally composing himself again, he went to join Kylan in his room.

************************************************************

“Oh my God! Seriously!” screeched Liz as tears of mirth appeared at the corners of her eyes.

Michael grinned as he laughed with her. “Yeah! Tess really did that.”

“Oh I wish I’d been there to see it!” exclaimed Liz.

“Trust me, it would have been worth it,” replied Michael.

The two of them laughed some more as they both pictured a petite Tess trying to tower over the class bully after she had just kneed him in the groin for daring to put his hand on her ass.

Michael had been sharing stories of growing up with Tess for the last two hours and Liz had enjoyed every minute of it. She was glad that the date had turned out better than she’d expected.

When Tess had told her that Michael agreed to go out with her and would pick her up at her apartment Saturday night at seven, Liz had still been reluctant to go out with Tess’ older brother. Now hours later, Liz was glad Tess had been as aggressive as she’d been.

It turned out that Tess had been right. She and Michael had a lot in common and they both seemed to have the same sense of humor. Tess had often complained about her brother’s sense of humor every time Liz did something that reminded her of it.

The date had started out sort of awkward as all blind dates tended to do, but half way through their dinner, Michael had made a comment about never letting his perky, aggressive baby sister set him up again no matter how much she’d threaten his life. That had instantly broken the ice as Liz asked him just what Tess had said to him.

After dinner, Michael had taken her to an indoor adult entertainment complex where the two of them had played a few video and arcade games before sitting down in a booth and talking some more over pieces of pie.

Their conversation had touched on almost every topic imaginable. They talked about their jobs, their childhoods, and the things they liked to do both currently and in the past. Throughout it all, they had made each other laugh with their jokes and stories. Michael had even been amazed that Liz even got his sense of humor.

Now, the night was beginning to wind down as a waitress came to remove their empty dessert plates. Liz gave Michael a smile as she said, “Well, I guess I’m going to have to suck it up and admit to Tess that her blind date idea wasn’t so bad after all.”

Michael chuckled, “Yeah, I guess I’m gonna have to do that too.”

************************************************************

Max sat on the couch blankly staring at the television, which was also the only light in the room. He’d put Kylan to bed hours ago, but his mood hadn’t changed. All night long Kylan had been upset over the fact that his mother was out on a date instead of staying home with them. No matter what Max said, he couldn’t seem to get Kylan to understand that Liz was old enough to make up her own mind.

What Max hadn’t known was that Kylan wasn’t just upset over the fact that Liz went out on a date. No, it was the fact that Liz was out on a date with someone who wasn’t Max. Of course, he couldn’t come right out and say that’s why he was really upset, but he had remained worried about it all night long. He was worried that Liz would come home and tell him that she wanted to be with the man she’d gone out with which meant she’d never give Max a chance.

Still, since Kylan had been upset over that all night long despite Max’s attempts to cheer him up, his sour mood had finally affected Max. After trying to explain why Liz could do whatever she wanted, Max had only succeeded in upsetting both himself and Kylan more. Max couldn’t figure out what he was really upset about. Was he upset at Kylan for not understanding or was he upset with Liz for putting him in that position?

Of course, if Max really stopped to examine his feelings, he’d admit that he was upset with Liz. Not because she’d left him to deal with Kylan, but because he secretly wished she’d stayed at home with her son and him. Deep down inside he knew that every word Kylan had said to Liz when she’d been getting ready to go out on the date had been exactly what he would have wanted to say too.

He’d wanted to tell her to stay at home with the both of them. He’d wanted to make her stay there, to tell her she couldn’t go out and leave them there alone. Just like Kylan, Max felt like throwing a tantrum and saying it wasn’t fair and that he didn’t want her to go out with some other man.

Sighing, Max leaned his head back against the couch and closed his eyes. Alex was right. It was already too late. He was already wrapped up tightly in their lives. It wasn’t really hard to feel like that. He and Kylan were close. Closer than he’d ever been to any of the other kids. Max already knew that Kylan confided in him a lot more than he confided in his own mother.

Since Maria had been the babysitter for over a year, Max had the benefit of hearing all about Liz and Kylan from her. He’d already gone to them feeling like he’d known them for a while now. Then over the last three months, he’d been there every day except weekends spending every moment with Kylan.

It was in those three months that Max had come to really know the both of them. Kylan had warmed up to him instantly and the boy always looked forward to having Max there. So much so, that he’d already asked Max several times to spend the night with them. Kylan had been certain his mother would have agreed that it would be a great idea to have Max spend the night.

While Max was certain Liz wouldn’t go for that idea, he still enjoyed the time he could spend with Kylan. He loved the way Kylan always seemed so inquisitive about things and how he seemed to listen intently as Max talked to him. Max enjoyed the games and laughter he shared with the boy. He also admired the way Kylan often attempted to do something on his own and was extremely proud of him when he succeeded in doing it.

Kylan was an exceptionally bright child and Max couldn’t understand why the boy’s father wasn’t a part of his life at all. What father in his right mind would leave a son as wonderful as Kylan was? Max knew without a doubt that if he had a son, he’d want him to be as energetic, inquisitive, and full of life as Kylan was.

Then again, Max knew that if he had a girl, he’d want her to be as independent, smart, and funny as Liz was. And after seeing her tonight in that dress, he knew exactly what he wanted his girl to look like. Long dark brown hair, huge expressive eyes, and a petite figure that just made him want to take care of her for the rest of her life.

He groaned as the image of her in that dress flashed through his mind once more, instantly setting his body on fire. Who would have thought a woman could go from looking like a hard working, ambitious, single mom to a curvy, feminine, beautiful woman in seconds flat. After tonight, Max knew he’d never look at Liz the same again.

The sound of a key turning in the lock had Max snapping his eyes open and lifting his head from the couch. He scrambled to his feet as Liz walked into the apartment, blinking in the dim light.

She gave him a surprised look. “Max? What are you doing sitting here in the dark? Did Kylan have trouble going to sleep?”

Max shook his head. “I was just resting, that’s all. How was the date?” he asked as he steeled himself for the answer.

She gave him a genuine smile. “It was actually fun. I really enjoyed it.”

Max instantly felt his hopes begin to deflate. “Oh, that’s good,” he mumbled.

“Yeah. It was nice to be able to go out and have a good time. Michael and I have so much in common and it felt good to be able to relax and laugh with someone like him.”

Max nodded, “Right. Well, since you’re home, I’m going to head on out.”

Liz opened her purse and took out some money. Handing it to him she said, “Thanks again for doing this Max. You’re a really wonderful guy for giving up your Saturday night to do something like this.”

Max stuffed the money in his pocket with a nod. “Right. See you later, Liz.”

As he shrugged into his jacket she said, “Good night, Max. Be careful going home.”

Walking out of the door, Max waved without turning around to look at her. He heard the door close behind him, the sound seeming to echo within his chest. With a heavy heart, he made his way to his car to return to his lonely home.

TBC...
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Shadowlynxbehr
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Post by Shadowlynxbehr » Sun Feb 25, 2007 10:10 pm

Part 7

Liz chuckled as she watched Michael attempt to beat a twelve year old at air hockey. So far the kid was ahead by five points and Michael just couldn’t catch up. A few seconds later the puck slid into the hole that Michael was supposed to be defending and Liz glanced up to see a point added to the little boys score before the numbers started flashing to signal the end of the game.

She started laughing as Michael put on this pouty face which he hoped would move the boy to sympathize with him. “Okay, two out of three then?”

The boy smiled as he shook his head. “Uh uh mister, you said if I beat you fair and square you’d get me an ice cream cone.” He held out his hand, palm up as he said. “Pay up!”

Michael couldn’t help but laugh to as he saw the serious look on the boy’s face. Ruffling the kid’s hair, Michael nodded and with a sweep of his hand, indicated the refreshment stand nearby. “All right then, let’s go get that ice cream cone.”

Liz stayed in her seat watching as Michael went to the stand to buy the little boy his ice cream before shaking hands with him and returning to the table she sat at. As he sat down across from her, she chuckled.

“Guess you can’t win them all huh?”

Michael sighed. “I think he was lying to me. He’s played that game many times before. Or maybe he’s in a league and he’s been masquerading as a ten year old boy.”

Liz laughed. “Wow! Some imagination you got there! A league huh? You think he’s a pro?”

He grimaced as he rotated his shoulder. “He certainly played like one!”

Shaking her head at Michael’s antics, she pushed her half eaten cake towards him. “Here, you can finish it. I’m too full to eat another bite.”

Michael laughed. “And it’s no wonder! You ate all of that pizza!”

“And salad. Don’t forget the salad!” she added.

“Right. And salad and the ravioli appetizer and…”

Liz tossed a napkin at him. “Okay Michael I get the point.”

They both laughed again before she glanced towards the entrance where a clock hung high on the wall. She wore a serious look on her face as she turned back to look at Michael.

“Well, I think it’s time to call it a night. I should get back home to Kylan before he drives his babysitter crazy.”

Michael grinned. “Is that normal?”

“No, actually they get along great, it’s just that…”

As she hesitated, Michael understood. “Right, it’s just time to get home to your son.”

Liz gave him a grateful smile as they got up and walked out of the building. Over the last three months Liz and Michael had gone out on a few more dates. Most of them were extremely relaxing dates like going to the movies or just out to try a new restaurant one of them was interested in. Others had been fun just like the one they had been on that night.

Liz liked going out with Michael because he was easy to talk to about most things and they both loved to make each other laugh. Most of all, Liz enjoyed the fact that she got to act like a kid again since Michael was right there having as much fun as she was. For those few hours she was out with him, all she had to worry about was if he was going to pull a prank on her or not.

Michael understood her. He understood that she never really had fun to let loose once she’d graduated high school because she’d had too many responsibilities. All she’d had time for was school, studying, and taking care of her son. So, when they went out he tried to make it as fun and carefree as possible for her.

Despite the fun they had together, Michael knew Liz was still extremely focused on her job and her son. It didn’t bother him at all. In fact, he admired her for being able to go to college and jump start her career all while raising her son. Not many women could handle all that juggling, but Liz was doing just fine.

Liz had also told Michael about Jesse and the problems he was causing her. He couldn’t believe Jesse would follow Liz half way across the country even after she told him they would never have a relationship. However, Liz had made sure Michael understood that she wasn’t going out with him for the sole purpose of trying to get rid of Jesse.

Michael knew Liz wasn’t using him and over the last few months, he had come to care enough about Liz so much so that Jesse was beginning to bug even him. Every time Liz or his sister told him about another incident that Liz had with Jesse, he wanted to go find the guy and shake some sense into him.

It was enough to start making him worry. He cared about Liz and so did Tess. Every time he and Tess talked about it, they both wished they could come up with some way to protect Liz from a guy like Jesse. Michael knew he was nothing but persistent at this point, but he and Tess were worried it would get worse. He hoped for Liz’s sake that he was wrong.

************************************************************

“Max! We should ask mommy if we can go wit her next time!” announced Kylan as he splashed around in the tub.

Max was in Kylan’s room getting things ready so that he could put Kylan to bed as soon as he was done with his bath. “Why would you want to go with her, Kyl?”

“Well, she’s always sayin’ how much fun she has, so how come we can’ have fun too?”

Max chuckled. “We have fun.”

“Maaax! I don’ mean here! I mean we gotta go out like mom does!”

Max sighed as he finished pulling down the covers for Kylan. The kid had a point. Although Max was certain it wasn’t the same kind of fun he was thinking of, he also wished he could go and have fun with Liz. He wondered briefly if he should try bringing up the subject with Liz to see if she would go for something like that.

Kylan’s voice broke Max out of his musings. “Max! I’m done!”

Max chuckled as he walked into the bathroom and picked up a towel for Kylan. “Did you use a wash cloth?”

“Yep.”

“Wash behind your ears?”

“Yep.”

“Between your toes?”

Kylan rolled his eyes. “And my fingers and knees and my hair! Yes Max! I know how to do it!”

Max grinned as he helped Kylan stand up in the tub. “Okay, sport. Just making sure you got everything. We wouldn’t want your mom to have to dunk you in again when she gets home would we?”

Kylan scrunched up his face. “Would she?”

Max gave him a serious look as he nodded solemnly. “Oh yeah, she would. Your mom is a stickler for cleanliness, so we have to make sure there’s not a speck of dirt on you. If there is, she’ll probably dunk you back in and scrub you until your skin turns red.”

Kylan’s eyes went wide. “Um, maybe I should check again. You know, make sure I got all a the spots.”

Max gave him a wink. “Don’t worry Kyl, you look mighty clean to me.”

“You sure?”

“Yep and if your mom doesn’t think so, then I’ll bribe her with some vanilla ice cream okay?”

Kylan laughed. “Okay! Mom can’t say no to that!”

Max agreed as he continued to dry Kylan off with the towel before he wrapped it around his body. “Come on sport, let’s get you into some PJs and put you to bed.”

“You gonna stay tonight, Max?”

“Sorry, not tonight.”

“But why?”

“Because my bed is at my house.”

“But…”

Max shook his head as he ushered Kylan into his bedroom. “No buts. Now let’s get some clothes on you okay?”

************************************************************

Max had just sat down to watch television when Liz walked in the door. She gave Max a smile as she dropped her purse and things on the table by the door before she walked over to the couch and plopped down next to him.

Max turned down the volume and gave her a smile. “So the date went well?”

She nodded. “Yeah, we had fun as usual.” She laughed before adding, “I swear I don’t think I’ve ever had this much fun even when I was a kid!”

Max’s smile faded just a bit as he said, “Speaking of kids. I think someone is a little envious.”

Liz frowned. “Kylan? What did he say?”

He shrugged. “Just that we should ask you to take us out the next time so we could have as much fun as you say you have.”

She grinned at that. “Oh is that what he says?”

Max nodded before daring to go on. “Liz, we should think about doing that for him sometime.”

She gave him a blank look, so he continued. “I mean, take him out someplace where he can have fun like you did tonight. You said you can’t remember having this much fun as a kid and your son is a kid. When was the last time you did something fun with him?”

That made her stop and think. Max was right. She couldn’t remember the last time she had taken her son out someplace to have fun. Granted, she took him to the playground for a quick spin on the merry go round occasionally and then he got to play in the back yard of her mother’s house, but even she knew that wasn’t enough for him.

Sighing, she agreed. “You’re right. It’s been a while. He’s really only been to playgrounds and back yards. I’ll bet he’ll love to go to some of the indoor parks I’ve been to.”

She turned to give him a smile. “Thanks for telling me that, Max. I’m glad you’re here to tell me when I’m doing things wrong with Kylan. I guess I have a lot to make up for huh?”

Max gave her hand a squeeze. “You’re not a bad mom, Liz. I know it’s just hard to divide your time between work and a six year old son. You’re actually a lot better than a lot of single moms your age.”

Liz chuckled. “Gee thanks.”

“Anytime,” he replied with a wink.

She pushed herself up from the couch, retrieved her purse, and fished out the money she owed Max for the night. Handing it to him she grinned.

“Should I be paying you for all of the advice you’ve been giving me lately?”

He laughed. “No that’s okay. I’ve always given advice for free.”

It was her turn to laugh at his joke. “Okay, thanks Max.”

He nodded. “No problem. Kylan’s asleep and I also have to tell you that after his bath, I told him if you found any dirt on him that you’d dunk him back in the tub and scrub him until his skin turned red.”

Liz’s eyes went wide even though she wore a smile. “Really? What did he say to that?”

He chuckled. “He asked if you would really do that and I said yes. Because we know how much of a stickler you are about cleanliness and all.”

Liz laughed. “Max! You’re trying to give my son nightmares!”

He shrugged. “I don’t think he’ll have that problem. Besides, I told him that if you tried to dunk him that I would just bribe you with vanilla ice cream.”

She rolled her eyes as she playfully shoved him towards the door.

“Oh get out! Go on home before you corrupt my son anymore Max!”

He laughed as she handed him his jacket and duffel bag. “Okay, okay. I’m going. I’ll see you Monday Liz.”

She nodded, “See you Monday.”

************************************************************

Michael glanced over at Liz for the tenth time that night and just like all the other times, she seemed a bit preoccupied. It was the following weekend and they had decided to go out to see a play in the outdoor theater of the park. So far, Liz hadn’t been watching the play at all.

When intermission came, he got up from the blanket to stretch his legs before holding his hand out to Liz. “Come on, let’s go get something to drink.”

Liz nodded as she put her hand in his so that he could help her up. As they walked towards the refreshment stand, Michael glanced at her again.

“Liz?” When she looked at him he said, “Something on your mind?”

“What? Oh, I’m sorry Michael, I’ve just been thinking.”

Michael nodded. “Yeah, I kind of figured that. Anything you want to talk about?”

She shrugged. “I was just wondering what kinds of things I could do with Kylan that he would enjoy, you know? I mean, Max and I were talking the other day and he told me that Kylan was a little envious that I was going out and having all this fun.”

Michael nodded. “Liz, don’t get me wrong, but I think what Max was really trying to say is that Kylan just wants to spend more time with you. I don’t think it’s going to really matter what you do so long as you do it with him.”

Liz quirked an eyebrow at him. “Don’t tell me you were a babysitter too!”

He laughed. “Nah, I don’t like handling babies that much. Now give me a kid who’s gone through puberty and I can handle them any day.”

“Really? Then how do you explain the way you handled the ten year old last weekend when you played air hockey?”

Michael shrugged. “It was just a game. I wasn’t babysitting him. His parents were right there, so that didn’t count.”

Liz rolled her eyes. “Sure, whatever you say Michael.”

He winked at her. “It’s the truth, Liz.”

She grinned as Michael wrapped his arm around her shoulder and led her to one of the lines for the refreshment stand. Once they had their drinks and a pretzel to share, they leisurely made their way back to their blanket and got comfortable once more to watch the rest of the play.

Over an hour later, the play was over and Michael was driving her back to her place. This time Michael walked her to her door despite the fact that she had always told him he didn’t have to do it.

As they came to a stop in front of her door, she turned to look at him with a smile. “Thanks for tonight, Michael. I had a wonderful time as usual.”

He smiled. “I had a good time too, Liz.”

She began to fish for her keys in her purse as Michael said, “You want to go out again tomorrow night?”

She looked up at him in surprise. “Tomorrow night?”

He nodded. “Yeah, I mean a couple of friends of mine are going bowling and they need a few more people on the team. I told them I’d ask you, but I’ll understand if you can’t go.”

“Well, let me see if I can get someone to take Kylan for the night before I can go.”

He smiled. “That’d be great! Okay, call me tomorrow and let me know if you can go. It’s at seven, so I’ll pick you up okay?”

She nodded, “Sure.”

He gave her another smile before leaning in and giving her a peck on the lips. As he pulled away, he noticed that her eyes were slightly closed. When she didn’t move, he leaned in again and kissed her fully this time.

Liz closed her eyes as the kiss deepened. The last time she’d been kissed like that had been with Jesse and there had been no sparks then. Still, as Michael wrapped an arm around her waist and pulled her closer, she was disappointed that there were no sparks between them either.

At least not the kind of sparks Kyle had given her. Michael’s kiss was soft and warm. There was a sort of sweetness to it, but it didn’t make her knees weak. As he pulled away from her, she could see her disappointment mirrored in his eyes. Still, he gave her a gentle smile.

“Call me tomorrow?” he whispered.

She nodded. “I will.”

He gave her another kiss on her cheek before letting her go so that she could let herself in. She said goodnight before closing the door and locking it.

Both Liz and Michael were completely oblivious to the fact that someone inside the apartment had heard their voices and peaked out of the window to see what was going on. Neither one of them saw the hurt look that passed over his features as he witnessed their kiss. And when Liz locked the door, she missed the shadow that scrambled away from the window and hurried to the couch were he made himself look as if he’d been sitting there waiting for her all along.

************************************************************

Kylan sat on the edge of the couch with his arms crossed over his little chest and a scowl on his face. Max thought he looked exactly like he felt. He wished he could join Kylan in pouting about Liz going out again.

Liz sighed. “I’m sorry Max, but he’s being difficult tonight. Maybe I should take him to my mother’s.”

Max shook his head, “It’s okay. I can handle him.” He walked over to the couch and sat down next to Kylan as he ruffled his hair. “Cheer up sport, we’re gonna make chocolate chip cookies tonight.”

Kylan perked up instantly. “Really? We’re goin’ to make them?”

Max nodded as he held up the bag he’d brought with him. “Yep, I have all the ingredients right here. And if we have time, we’ll decorate them too.”

Kylan squealed in happiness as Liz rolled her eyes. “You know, he never gets that excited when I tell him we’re going to make dinner together.”

Kylan huffed. “Mom! It’s dinner! Why do I wanna make dinner when I can make cookies!”

Max grinned at her as he said. “Yeah Liz! It’s cookies!”

She playfully stuck her tongue out at him as Kylan suddenly stood up. “I know! You should stay and make cookies with us mom! It’ll be fun! Won’ it Max? Tell her how much fun it will be.”

Max grinned. “It’ll be lots of fun, Liz.”

Liz sighed. “Sorry guys, not tonight. But Kylan, you can learn from Max and then you can teach me later, okay?”

Kylan pouted. “But I want Max to teach us both! We can be his stu…stud…”

“Students,” finished Max.

“Yeah that,” replied Kylan.

Liz laughed. “Well you’ll be his student tonight and I’ll be yours tomorrow okay?”

Kylan huffed and pushed off of the couch. “You’re no fun! Come on Max! Le’s go make the cookies an’ then we’ll eat them all ourselves!”

Max gave Liz a sympathetic look as he followed Kylan into the kitchen.

Liz sighed as she returned to her room to finish getting ready to go bowling with Michael. A few minutes later, Michael arrived and Liz opened the door to greet him with a smile.

He grinned at her. “Hey, you ready?”

Liz nodded, “Yeah, let me just say bye to my son.”

As she turned around a laughing Kylan ran out of the kitchen into the living room waving a spatula. Liz and Michael watched as Max ran after him mimicking evil laughter even with some cookie dough on his face. He chased Kylan around the couch before scooping him up into his arms and slinging him over his shoulder.

Kylan squealed as Max spoke in a mock villain’s voice. “I the cookie monster have captured a ripe young boy to add to my recipe for making a cookie dough boy!”

Kylan laughed as Max turned around and began striding back into the kitchen, but as soon as he caught sight of his mom he lifted a hand towards her.

“Mom! Help! The cookie monster is gonna eat me!”

Max turned around and was about to say something when he realized that Liz wasn’t alone. Both her and Michael were watching the two of them with amusement written all over their faces.

Max cleared his throat and quickly lowered Kylan to the ground. “Um, sorry about that.”

Michael chuckled as he glanced at Liz. “And you were worried about your son? Looks to me like he’s in good hands. I doubt there’s ever a day where he hasn’t been kept entertained.”

Max looked at Michael for a few moments before looking at Liz. It was obvious from what the guy just said that Liz talked to him about her son, so how come he hadn’t introduced himself to the boy yet?

Max looked down to where Kylan was now glued to the side of his leg and glaring at Michael. He ruffled the boy’s hair and gently nudged him towards the kitchen. “Come on Kyl, let’s get cleaned up so we can finish making the cookies, okay?”

Kylan nodded and walked sulkily into the kitchen without saying a word.

Max moved to follow until he heard Liz’s voice. “Max? You sure you’re going to be okay?”

He sighed as he turned to look at Liz, “We’ll both be fine, Liz. I have it covered. Don’t I always?”

Michael didn’t miss the edge in Max’s voice. As he glanced from Max to Liz and back again, something suddenly dawned on him. Still, he didn’t say a word as he watched the two of them.

“Right, okay. Well you have my number and we’ll be at Twin Pines bowling alley.”

“I know Liz. I have all the information tacked to the fridge.”

“Okay, well I’ll get my jacket and we’ll get going.”

Michael nodded and watched as Liz went to her room to retrieve her jacket. As she walked away, he glanced at Max out of the corner of his eye and wasn’t surprised to see him following her with his eyes. Oh yeah, the guy definitely had it bad.

When Liz had disappeared into her room, he cleared his throat and held out his hand. “Hi. I’m Michael. Liz has told me a lot about you and Kylan”

Max stiffened at his words, but shook Michael’s offered hand in greeting.

Michael continued. “She speaks highly of you, you know? She likes the way you take care of her son.”

Max gave a short nod. “Yeah, well I like taking care of Kylan too.”

Michael grinned. “Yeah, I think I got that.”

Max gave him a look and Michael could tell he was trying not to frown. “Really? Anything else you got?”

Michael gave him a knowing look. “Oh, I think I got a lot.”

Before Max had a chance to respond to that, Liz came out of her room. “Okay, I’m ready to bowl!”

Michael grinned. “Good! Let’s go kick their butts!”

Liz laughed as she turned to wave to Max. “I’ll see you in a few hours okay Max? And try not to let Kylan eat too many cookies, huh? I don’t want him getting sick.”

Michael chuckled. “Really Liz, how long has he been taking care of Kylan again? I think Max has got it covered.”

She gave Michael a smile before turning back to Max. “I know, he’s right. Okay, see you later Max.”

“Later,” replied Max as they both walked out of the door. However, only Michael was aware of the look he wore as he gazed at the back of Liz as she walked away.

************************************************************

Liz frowned as she made her way into the apartment. Bowling had been fun, but things had seemed different between her and Michael than they had before. It wasn’t until he brought her home that found out what it was. Just as she was about to get out of his car, he reached out to stop her.

“Liz. Thanks for tonight. I had a great time.”

She smiled. “I had fun too Michael.”

He nodded. “Yeah, I’m glad.” He hesitated for a moment before he spoke again. “Listen, I was thinking that since we always have a good time when we go out together that maybe that’s all it is, you know. We have a good time because we laugh and have fun and joke around. Like friends. I think that’s all it is for us.”

Liz looked at him for a few moments before she nodded. “So, what you’re saying…”

“Yeah, I think you and I are better off as good friends, Liz. I think if we tried to make it more than that it wouldn’t work out. So, I would rather be your friend than us not talk to each other at all.”

Liz turned away to look out of the window. “I understand.”

“Liz…”

She gave him a smile. “It’s okay Michael, I think you’re right. We’re better off as friends. I don’t want to lose your friendship either.”

He gave her another smile before leaning over and giving her a hug.

Sighing as the last of that conversation flitted through her mind, she set her purse down on the table and looked around. Her frown deepened when she realized Max wasn’t in the living room waiting like he usually was. She slid her shoes off before she made her way down the hall.

Glancing into the kitchen, she noticed that everything looked clean and there was a plastic container on the table which looked full of cookies. She smiled at that as she continued down the hall towards Kylan’s room. Pushing the door open, she froze at the sight in front of her.

Her son was fast asleep in his bed and sprawled over Max’s chest. Max had obviously been reading to him since he still held an open book in his hand that now rested against the bed. His other arm was wrapped around Kylan’s shoulders as if he were hugging him close in his sleep.

That’s what had really made her stop. Max was on his back slightly leaning against the headboard, fully clothed and fast asleep. His sock covered feet hung off the bed since he was too tall to fit. With one arm slung over Kylan’s shoulders and the other still holding that book, his chin rested lightly on her son’s head. Even from where she was standing she could see the way his even breathing stirred the hair of her son’s head.

Liz wasn’t aware of how long she simply stood in the doorway and took in the sight of both Max and Kylan asleep. However, when she finally snapped out of it, she made her way to Max’s side and shook him gently awake.

“Max?” she whispered. “Max wake up.”

“Hm?” he mumbled as his eyelids fluttered open.

She smiled as she saw that sleep still held him in it’s grip. “Max? It’s Liz. I’m home.”

He gave her a sleepy smile. “Hi. Sorry, we kind of got carried away tonight.”

She grinned at the sound of his sleepy voice. “It’s okay. Um if you get up, I can tuck Kylan in while you go wake yourself up.”

He nodded before he lowered his head to the top of Kylan’s. Liz couldn’t help the way she felt when Max pressed a gentle kiss to the top of Kylan’s head before tenderly lowering him to the bed before he got up. As Max left the room to freshen up, Liz tucked her son in and kissed his cheek goodnight.

When she walked into the living room, Max was shrugging into his jacket. She got the money and handed it to him with a smile. “Thank you Max. I’m sorry Kylan wore you out.”

He shook his head. “It wasn’t him, but you’re welcome.”

He ran his hand through his hair before opening the door. “I’ll see you Monday, Liz.”

She smiled. “Yes, Monday. Goodnight Max.”

“Night.”

She stood there watching him make his way to his car for a few more moments before she closed the door and made her way to her room.

************************************************************

A few minutes later, Kylan heard her getting into the shower. Opening his eyes, he rolled over onto his back and glanced at the foot of his bed. He could see the faint outline of his friend.

“Do you think it worked?” he asked.

Kyle turned to look at him with a smile. “I think it worked this time. I think she finally noticed him tonight.”

Kylan sighed and closed his eyes. “I hope so. Maybe now the three of us can go out and have fun together.”

“Yeah, maybe.”

Kylan nodded as he broke into a yawn.

Kyle chuckled. “Get some sleep. We’ll find out soon if it worked.”

“M’kay. Night Kyle.”

“Good night Kylan.”

TBC...
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Shadowlynxbehr
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Post by Shadowlynxbehr » Mon Mar 05, 2007 4:18 am

FEEDBACK RESPONSES ON PREVIOUS PAGE :D :wink:

Part 8

Max resisted the urge to punch his lights out, but it just seemed to be getting harder and harder. This was the third time this month alone that Jesse had come to Liz’s place. And just like all those other times he’d been there in the last two months, he was still an asshole.

The man always walked into the apartment like he owned the place and made himself comfortable regardless of who was there before him. He looked down his nose at Max as if he were dirt under his shoe. He’d already made it clear that he thought Max was nothing more than the hired help. A nobody who had never amounted to anything.

Jesse knew that Max had never gone to college like he and Liz had. He knew that Max had never really had a career, so in his eyes Max was a deadbeat. Jesse believed that Max would never be able to hold an intelligent conversation with someone like him or Liz. And every time he came over to the apartment when Max was there, he made sure Max understood that he was so far beneath him.

The way Jesse treated Max had never bothered him. Max was used to people looking down at him because of his life choices. However, what had him so angry that he wanted to hurt Jesse was the way he treated Kylan. The bastard acted like Kylan wasn’t even in the room. Not once, in all the times he’d been there had he acknowledged the boy. At least not in the way one would have expected a potential father figure to.

Instead, he just came in and sat on the sofa, picking up the remote and changing the channel even when Kylan was already watching something else. He only addressed Kylan when he wanted him to go to his room or to fetch something for him. And when he did address him, it was with a “Hey, you” or he just gave the command. Never once in all the times Max had been around them had he ever heard Jesse call the boy by his given name.

Max knew Kylan had been cordial to Jesse the first couple of times they had met, but after being treated like that, Kylan began to sulk and glare at him when he walked in. After those first times, Kylan began to voice his dislike of the man to Max when they were alone. Of course there was nothing either of them could do about it since it was Liz’s place.

Then again, Liz wasn’t exactly having any luck convincing Jesse to take a hike either. Max knew Liz didn’t have any feelings for Jesse. She’d already complained about him a few times and he’d overheard some of her phone conversations she’d had with her mom or her friend, Tess. Still, the man couldn’t take a hint and stay away and Liz was just too nice to tell him to get lost.

Max knew she tried to keep Jesse away from her place. She never invited him over, but he came anyway. When they were going out, he’d just come in and make himself at home when Liz was running late. Max could see how she would try to hurry to get ready so she could get him out of the place before Kylan could get too upset. And he saw how frustrated she was every time she came home from a date with him.

She never seemed upset when she was out with Michael. She’d come home with a smile and full of stories to tell about Michael and his sister. Max knew they were just friends. He’d talked to Michael a few times as he waited for Liz to get ready for their date. Michael said he thought of Liz as a friend and he cared a great deal about her and Kylan.

Max was glad that at least Michael was making the effort to get to know Kylan. He even came over sometimes with something for Kylan. Things like coloring books or matchbox cars or inexpensive, yet thoughtful gifts. And Kylan begrudgingly warmed up to Michael. It didn’t take long for the two of them to be able to sit and talk about cars and cartoons.

And Max found himself liking it when Michael came over. It turned out they had a lot in common. Both of them were into sports and Michael was also a bit of a jack of all trades like he was. But Michael admitted that Max was still better at fixing things than he was since he often asked Max lots of questions about how to do something when he came over.

With his friendly smile and easy laughter, Michael was always a more welcome visitor to the apartment than the asshole who was currently taking up space on the sofa. Even Michael had mentioned his worry and suspicions about Jesse to Max. It said a lot that Michael and his sister where suspicious when they hadn’t even met the guy yet, unlike Max.

He narrowed his eyes as he watched Jesse flip the channel once more before flicking his wrist to look at his watch. When he began to turn his head to look at Kylan who was sitting at the table drawing, Max interfered.

“Kylan,” he said loudly, making sure Jesse heard the boy’s name, “why don’t we go watch that new video your mom got you?”

Kylan glanced up at him. “Now? I thought we were gonna wait ‘til mom left.”

Max grinned, “Sorry sport, I just can’t wait that long.”

Kylan laughed as he scrambled off the chair and went to take Max’s hand. As Kylan began to drag him down the hallway, Max couldn’t resist turning back and smirking at a displeased Jesse. He knew Jesse had just been about to order Kylan to go tell Liz to hurry up. There was no way Max was going to stand there and let the guy order Liz’s son around like a servant.

Jesse simply sneered at Max before turning back around to watch television and wait impatiently for Liz to finish getting ready.

************************************************************

Liz laughed as Kylan continued to bounce excitedly in his seat.

“Are we there yet?” he asked for the fourth time in the last ten minutes.

“Almost baby,” she replied as she turned the car onto the street that led to Michael’s house.

Michael had invited both her and Kylan to spend the Fourth of July with him and Tess at his house. He was going to grill hamburgers in his back yard and when the sun began to set, he and Kylan would be popping fireworks there. Liz knew Kylan was excited because this would be the first time he’d ever gotten to actually do that. He’d seen plenty of fireworks displays with his grandparents and Liz, but he’d never actually got to do them himself.

As soon as she pulled into Michael’s driveway and shut off the engine, Kylan began to hastily unbuckle himself from his seat.

“Kylan honey, slow down. We have all day to enjoy ourselves here.”

“I know, but I wanna see the firecrackers! Mike said they were huge!”

She laughed as he scrambled to the door and tried to open it. A frown began to spread until he looked up and squealed in glee.

“Mike! Mom look! It’s Mike!”

Liz turned to see Michael walking down the sidewalk smiling and waving to Kylan. She pressed the button to unlock the door, allowing Michael to open it and catch an excited Kylan who launched himself into his arms.

“Hi Kylan! You ready to pop some fireworks tonight?”

“Yes! Can I see ‘em? I wanna see how big they are!”

Michael chuckled, “Sure, but we can’t pop them until it gets dark, okay?”

“M’kay.”

He set Kylan on his feet before turning to give Liz a hug. “Thanks for coming Liz.”

She grinned, “Oh, well thanks for inviting us.”

He nodded just as Tess came out of the house. “Liz! Kylan! Oh I’m so glad you guys could come.”

Kylan grinned at his mother’s friend as she walked over to him and got on her knees. “Wait until you see the fireworks Michael got! You two are going to have so much fun!”

“You’re not going to pop them with us?” he asked.

Tess shook her head and widened her eyes. “Oh no! I’m too scared to get to close to them. Your mom and I will just sit and watch you two brave men, okay?”

Kylan puffed out his chest. “Okay, Tess. I’ll make sure they don’ get close!”

She smiled and kissed his cheek. “Thanks, Kyl.”

As Kylan and Michael walked to the house, Tess gave Liz a hug and helped her unload the bags of food she had brought with her.

“Really Liz! We told you not to bring anything!”

Liz shrugged, “I know, but you two were nice enough to do this for Kylan and I. I couldn’t just show up here empty handed.”

Tess chuckled. “Yeah, I knew you wouldn’t. Which is why I made sure Michael didn’t go overboard in buying groceries for today.”

The two friends shared a laugh before walking into the house with the bags of food. As they worked Michael’s kitchen, Michael and Kylan worked the grill outside. Liz would look out of the window from time to time to see that Michael had Kylan at his side as he showed the boy how to grill hamburgers and hot dogs.

She was glad that Kylan had taken to Michael so easily. She had been worried at first because their initial contact hadn’t gone so well. However, Michael had gone out of his way to talk to Kylan and get to know him. Slowly her son had began to warm up to him and she knew some of that had to do with Max.

Kylan was always wary of strangers when he would first meet them. However, when Max had started babysitting him, it seemed that Kylan trusted Max’s judgment. So, every time Max didn’t seem to like someone, Kylan didn’t either. Of course, Liz only saw that Max didn’t like Jesse, but had become friends with Michael. They were the only ones who’d been by the apartment so far besides her mother.

“So, you ready for Kylan to begin school this year?”

Liz sighed, “I hope so! I’m not sure if Kylan realizes that he’s going to be spending the day in a classroom with other kids his age, but I’m hoping it works out. I’m just worried about how it’s going to affect him.”

Tess nodded. “That’s understandable. He’s only really been around adults mostly.”

“Yeah. The only time he’s around kids is when we go to the park and the playground. Or when we go someplace where there are a lot of kids for him to play with. He doesn’t seem to have a problem playing with them, but this is going to be different.”

“Yes it is. He’s going to learn things and that means he’ll have to be serious and know that it’s not play time anymore.”

Liz nodded. “Max thinks he’ll be able to handle it. He’s been teaching Kylan the alphabet and they read to each other all the time, so Max thinks that Kylan understands that there are times where he can’t play around.”

Tess chuckled. “Max has been spending all his time with Kylan while you work. And he’s teaching him things that will help him when he goes to school! What is he going to do with himself when he no longer has Kylan to take care of all day long?”

“I know!” Liz grinned. “I asked him the same thing. He said he’d just use that time to run his errands and fix things he’s been neglecting for a while. Of course, he also said he’d be catching up on the sleep he’s been missing.”

“Well, at least he’s taking the loss of a job better than I thought.”

“What do you mean?”

“Kylan’s going to be in school. So Max is out of a job.”

Liz shook her head. “No he’s not.” At Tess’ puzzled look she continued. “Max is going to be taking care of Kylan until I get home from work. I’m going to give him a key to my apartment so he can pick Kylan up from school and take him home until I get off. So, he’ll still be babysitting Kylan in the afternoons and evenings.”

“Are you sure that’s wise?”

Liz nodded. “I trust Max. I know he cares about Kylan and he’s more than proved his worth. Besides, Kylan is comfortable with Max and I know Max will be able to help Kylan with any school work until I get home and take over.”

“I see. You do have a point. Max already knows Kylan’s habits and since Kylan is used to him, it’s that much easier for Max to get Kylan to focus on his schoolwork.”

“Exactly. It makes me feel better knowing my son is in Max’s care. I know Max will be able to handle whatever school problems Kylan will have and if not, Max knows how to get a hold of me or my mother.”

Tess grinned. “You are really lucky you found someone who is great with your son.”

Liz smiled. “I know and I’m glad I didn’t listen to my original doubts about hiring him in the first place.”

Giggling, Tess wiggled her eyebrows. “Now if only you were that lucky in finding a man who would make great father for Kylan and a great husband for you!”

Liz rolled her eyes. “Tess! Let’s not start that again.”

Laughing, Tess teased Liz a little more about finding a man that would please both her and her son before they finally took the food they’d prepared outside.

Kylan and Michael joined them at the table beneath the portable gazebo Michael had set up earlier and the four of them enjoyed a meal of standard Fourth of July fare. They had their choice of hot dogs or hamburgers with mustard, mayo, relish, pickles, lettuce, tomatoes, or onions. They also had their choice of chips, mashed potatoes, French fries, and potato salad. Drinks were lemonade, kool-aid, water, and sodas. For dessert there was apple pie, ice cream, or brownies.

Needless to say, they kept going back to the food throughout the day as they enjoyed themselves playing horseshoes, baseball, or any other games Michael and Kylan made up.

Later on they all went inside to watch a couple of Pixar videos that were Kylan’s favorites. When it finally began to get dark, they made their way back outside where Tess and Liz made themselves comfortable in a couple of lounge chairs. The two of them sat and watched as Michael and Kylan began to shoot the fireworks.

The women oohed and ahhed at the firework display that Michael and Kylan set off for them. Kylan of course was having a blast. Michael was always besides him making sure he didn’t get hurt, showing him the proper way to handle the items. And when Kylan succeeded in setting something off, he couldn’t help but laugh and beam with pride at being able to handle the fireworks himself instead of just watching them.

Soon, all of the fireworks were gone and Michael and Kylan set about cleaning up their mess while the women went back inside to clean up the left over food. Tess and Liz were still finishing up in the kitchen when Michael and Kylan came in.

Kylan immediately bounded up to his mother wearing a huge grin on his face.

“Mom! Did you see that? It last one was so big!”

Liz laughed. “Yes it was! And it was so pretty and colorful too! You did a great job baby!”

“I did, didn’ I?”

Tess ruffled his hair, “Yes you did, Kyl. And you made sure I didn’t get scared!”

Kylan beamed. “I tol’ you I would! I made sure they didn’ get to close to you!”

“Yes you did, sweetie. I’m glad I could enjoy it since you were so brave.”

Kylan laughed. “I can’ wait until I do it again! It was so much fun mom! You gotta do it with us next time! And Max has to come do it too!”

“Baby I think it’s best left to you and Michael.”

“But Mike said Max can come next time! I know Max would like it too!”

Liz grinned up at Michael. “Oh is that so? Well, we’ll see okay?”

Kylan nodded. “M’kay.” He grabbed Michael’s hand and tugged him to the living room. “C’mon Mike, let’s go watch some cartoons!”

Michael chuckled as he let Kylan drag him away.

************************************************************

Liz frowned at her reflection in the mirror. She could hear voices coming from her living room. Loud voices that sounded like they were in a heated argument. Quickly gathering up her sweater and purse, she made her way into the living room in time to see Max and Jesse standing nose to nose with each other.

“I said apologize!” growled Max as he curled his hands into fists at his sides.

Jesse growled right back. “I don’t have to do anything. He’s just a kid. What does he care?”

“He’s got feelings too! You can’t just come in here and tell him off like that!”

Liz frowned. “What is going on?”

Jesse immediately backed up and flashed her a smile. “Hey Liz, ready to go?”

Liz didn’t miss the way Max glared at Jesse’s back and clenched his jaw, tightening his fists a little more. Since Jesse seemed to be avoiding the issue. She looked directly at Max.

“What happened?”

Through clenched teeth Max hissed, “He told Kylan to go see if you were ready. When Kylan said you weren’t since you were still in your room, he yelled at him.”

Liz looked around the living room for her son.

“He ran to his room in tears,” said Max, obviously knowing that she wanted to know where he was.

Liz turned to look at Jesse. “I was still in my room getting ready. You know I would have come out as soon as I was. There was no reason for you to yell at my son!”

“He was being smart with me!” muttered Jesse.

“Smart with you? How so?”

“I asked him to go see if you were ready and he rolled his eyes and said since you were still in your room, you weren’t ready. He rolled his eyes at me and said it in a condescending tone!”

Liz laughed, “He’s six years old Jesse! He doesn’t know what condescending is!”

“Maybe not, but he was being rude!”

“No! You were being rude!” snapped Max. “He just comes in here, sits down, takes the remote and changes the channel. He does this when Kylan was already watching television before him! He doesn’t ask! And he didn’t ask Kylan to go see if you were ready! He ordered him!”

Jesse turned around and glared at Max. “Why don’t you mind your own business Mr. Babysitter! Who are you to tell me how to handle the kid?”

Max took a step towards him. “For your information, asshole, he is my business! And another thing, his name is Kylan!”

Liz quickly stepped in between Max and Jesse before things got any worse. Placing her hand on Max’s arm, she looked up at him. “Max? Could you go see how Kylan is doing?”

Max didn’t move. He and Jesse continued to glare at each other. Liz sighed and added a little more pressure to his arm.

“Max please! Go see how my son is doing!” When Max finally looked down at her, she nodded. “Please? I’ll be there as soon as I can, okay?”

He nodded slowly before he made his way towards Kylan’s room, giving Jesse one more angry glare as he left the room.

Liz waited until Max had left before turning to Jesse with a frown. “Is it true? What Max said?”

Jesse shrugged. “He was always playing with toys every time I came in here. How was I supposed to know he as watching TV?”

Liz glared at him. “He’s a kid Jesse. Don’t you know all kids don’t just sit and watch TV. They have to be doing something else at the same time. Their attention span is nothing like ours!”

“Well, he didn’t say anything about it, so I didn’t think he cared. Besides, I don’t think it’s the kid that has a problem with me. You really need to think about finding a better babysitter for him.”

Liz arched an eyebrow. “You don’t think who has a problem with you?”

“The kid.”

This time Liz clenched her teeth. “The kid.”

“Yeah, him.”

Her eyes narrowed. “You mean Kyle?”

“Yes.”

This time Liz’s voice rose. “You weren’t listening were you? To me or to Max! What is my son’s name Jesse?”

“What?”

She growled, “His name! What is my son’s name!”

“You just said it!”

“I don’t believe this! I don’t believe you can’t even say his name! I didn’t get what Max was saying but I do now! You’ve never called him by his name have you? All he is to you is ‘the kid’!”

“Liz…”

“Don’t even! I can’t believe you have the audacity to come to my home and treat my son that way! And then you go and disrespect my son’s caretaker! Have you no sense? What is the matter with you!”

“I didn’t do anything wrong! Your son clearly needs discipline and that man isn’t doing a good job!”

“Not doing a…” she paused before throwing her hands in the air. “That does it. The date is off!”

“What? Liz!”

Liz stomped over to the door and yanked it open. “Good bye Jesse!”

He stared at her in disbelief for a few moments. “Liz…”

She glared at him. “Either you leave right now or I’m calling security!”

Dejectedly he walked out of the door, turning around at the last minute to say, “Liz, just give me a chance to…”

She slammed the door shut in his face.

************************************************************

Max sat on his couch nursing a beer and wearing a frown. Alex sat across from him in one of the rickety chairs watching as Max picked at the label of his beer.

He sighed, “What’s bothering you man?”

Max shrugged. “Nothing.”

“No, it’s definitely something. And my guess is that it has to do with this woman whose name starts with an ‘L’ and her son, whose name starts with a ‘K’.”

Max gave Alex a sarcastic look, “Ha ha!”

Alex grinned, “Well, I guess I’ll take that laugh as a genuine one. So, out with it. What happened?”

Max groaned and dropped his head back against the couch. “The asshole happened.”

His friend frowned. “Jesse?”

Max growled, giving Alex all the answer he needed.

“What did he do this time?”

“What doesn’t he do?” grumbled Max. “He came in, took the remote, got impatient and ordered Kylan to go see if Liz was ready.”

“And that has you upset because?”

“Kylan told him that since his mom was still in her room then she wasn’t ready. At which point Jesse yelled at him and told him not to get smart with him and he’d better do what he said or he’d teach him some manners.”

Alex raised an eyebrow. “Ouch!”

Max nodded, “Yeah, so Kylan got upset and ran to his room in tears.”

“And that’s when you and Jesse got into it, huh?” When Max looked at him with raised eyebrows, Alex rolled his eyes. “Oh please Max! I know you. You always have to defend the ones you care about. I know you’d defend them. So, did you manage to do some damage?”

“Oh you have no idea how much I wanted to beat him to a pulp. But it was in Liz’s place and Kylan was in the other room, I couldn’t do it. I just had a few words with him until Liz came out.”

“And then you backed off and she went out with the asshole.”

Max gave him a smirk. “Nope. She came in because she heard us arguing. I told her what he’d done and then she sent me to see to Kylan. I don’t know what she said to Jesse, but a few minutes later she came into Kylan’s room and put her arms around him and apologized for allowing the guy to do that. She said she sent him away and was going to spend the night with Kylan. I left a few minutes later because I could see that she needed some time alone with her son.”

Alex sighed. “And yet here you are, in a bad mood.”

“Well wouldn’t you want to put an asshole like that in his place?”

Alex chuckled. “I don’t think it’s really the asshole you are thinking of right now.”

Max didn’t say anything. He just sat there staring down at his lukewarm beer.

Alex sighed. “You know, you were very forthcoming with the information about how Jesse treated Kylan. Why aren’t you the same way about your feelings for Liz?”

Max scowled.

“Max. Just tell her how you feel.”

Max shook his head. “I can’t.”

“Why not?”

“I’m her son’s babysitter, Alex. If I tell her how I really feel about her, about Kylan. Don’t you think there’s the chance she’ll fire me? Where would that leave Kylan then? I can’t risk ruining what I already have with them just to tell her how I really feel about her. I won’t do that to Kylan.”

“No, but you’ll continue to watch as she goes out with other guys while you sit at home with her son. Max, if you would come clean with her, maybe she’ll see what she has with you. You are already so great with Kylan. Maybe she will see that.”

Max shook his head. “I won’t risk it, Alex. I care about them too much to ruin it all with my feelings. I’d rather keep things the way they are then not have the chance to be a part of their lives at all.”

Alex sighed in defeat. “Okay, if that’s how you want to play it. But let the record show that I don’t agree with your decision.”

Max nodded. “I know.”

Neither one of them said another word as Max went back to peeling the label off of his beer.

TBC...
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"You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams." -Dr. Seuss

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Shadowlynxbehr
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Post by Shadowlynxbehr » Sun Mar 18, 2007 7:44 pm

RESPONSE TO FEEDBACK ON PREVIOUS PAGE

Part 9

Max opened the door to Liz’s apartment to see a petite blonde smiling at him. He quirked an eyebrow in question as he asked, “Can I help you?”

Her smile widened as she stuck out her hand in greeting. “Max? I’m Tess, Liz’s friend and co-worker.”

“Oh right!” Max replied as he shook her hand. “Liz said you would be by to pick up the file she forgot this morning. But I thought you were going to call before you came. She said you were going to need directions.”

Tess waved her hand dismissively as she chuckled. “She gave me her addy right before she went into the meeting, so I was able to google it.”

Max gave her an amused look, so Tess added. “I mean I…”

“Got the directions off the internet,” Max finished.

“Right,” grinned Tess.

Max held the door open wider so that Tess could walk in. Closing the door behind them, he walked to the hall table, picked up the file, and handed it to her. “Here you go. You didn’t have trouble finding the place even with the directions did you?”

Tess shook her head. “Not really, no. I did almost miss the exit, but thankfully there’s not much traffic on the road right now since everyone is either at work or at school.”

Max nodded. “That’s true.”

“Thanks. So, do you really like babysitting? Liz says you’re really good at it.”

Max shrugged. “Yeah, I’ve always liked it.”

“Really? I’m told your sister was the one who was Kylan’s babysitter before you. Does it run in the family?”

He laughed. “Not really. I was actually the one that got my sister into babysitting, but she only did it while in high school for the extra money. Since she’s in college now, she won’t need this kind of job anymore.”

“I see, so you don’t baby-sit for the money then?”

“No, I like it because I love being around kids.”

Tess nodded. “Have you ever thought of working for a day care?”

Max chuckled. “I did, but they usually require you to have some college education. It’s okay, I think I’m more of the one on one type anyway.”

Tess quirked her own eyebrow. “You are, huh? Well, like I said Liz has mentioned how great you are with Kylan.”

Max shrugged. “What can I say? Kylan is a great kid.”

Tess giggled. “Oh and modest too! Tell me, are you also as handy around the house as Liz claims you are?”

“It’s from working different kinds of jobs, I guess. I’ve picked up skills at every job I’ve had. So I’ve done construction, electrical, Laundromats, and janitorial jobs as well as some other odd jobs.”

“Wow! You really are too good to be true, aren’t you?” She smiled as Max blushed under her praise. She gave a soft laugh before she spoke under her breath. “Makes me wonder what other things you’d be good at.”

“Beg pardon?”

She gave Max a megawatt smile. “Oh nothing really. Well, I have to run and get this file to Liz before it’s too late.”

“Right,” said Max as he held open the door for Tess to leave.

When she’d gotten outside, she turned around and motioned to the carved pumpkin near the door. “I’m guessing that’s your talents too?” She chuckled before holding her hand out to him. “It was nice meeting you Max.”

“Likewise,” he replied.

Tess continued to hold his hand as she looked into his eyes. “I hope I’ll see you again sometime.”

Max nodded. “Um, sure see you around.”

Tess let go of his hand and turned around to head down the stairs. As she reached the ground she turned slightly and waved to Max before walking to her car.

************************************************************

“Kylan, finish eating your dinner okay? You know your mom wants you to finish it before she gets home or you won’t be able to go to the movies with her and Michael.” Max said as he sat down next to the boy at the kitchen table.

Kylan pouted. “Why can’ you come wit us?”

“Because I wasn’t invited.”

“Well I invite you.”

“Sorry Kyl, but I already have plans.”

“What you have to do?”

“I’m meeting some of my friends.”

“Ask them to come wit us.”

Max chuckled. “I don’t think my friends want to see the movie.”

“But why not?”

“I think they already saw it.”

“Maaax!”

Max sighed, “Kylan. I’m sorry but I promised them I’d get together with them tonight. I’ll go to the movies with you some other time okay?”

Kylan shrugged. “M’kay.”

Max reached over and ruffled his hair. “Cheer up, sport. You’re going to love the movie. Besides that, Mike’s going to be there with you too and you know what he’ll get you before going to see the movie right?”

Kylan grinned. “A pretzel!”

Max laughed. “Yep. Your favorite movie snack.”

Kylan began to laugh with Max. “Yeah, my fave! And I’ll get a big coke and some goobers and…”

Max shook his head and grinned, “Whoa there little man! I think you have to finish your dinner first before you can go. And then you’ll have to see if there’s any room left in your tummy for anything more than a pretzel.”

“M’kay! You’ll see I will have room still.”

Max didn’t get a chance to reply because there was a knock at the door. “Okay, keep eating while I go answer the door.”

“M’kay.”

Max made his way to the front door and opened it to see Michael standing on the other side.

Max grinned and held out his hand. “Hey Mike, how’s it going?”

Michael returned his grin and shook his hand. “It’s cool. How about you?”

“Great. Come on in. Liz is running late and I’m still trying to get Kylan to finish his dinner before she gets here.”

Michael chuckled. “Did you make him something he doesn’t like?” he asked as he followed Max into the apartment.

“Nah, he’s just a little excited about going to the movies I think. You know how he loves their pretzels.”

“Oh right. So, does he want a coke and goobers too?”

Max laughed. “You know it!”

Michael shook his head as he laughed with Max. “So, what are you going to do on your night off?”

“Hanging out with Alex and some other friends.”

“You sure? You could always come with us.”

“Nah, I’m not going to intrude.”

“You wouldn’t be intruding. And I think Kylan would love having you there too.”

Max shrugged. “I already told my friends I’d get together with them tonight.”

“Okay man, maybe some other time then.”

Max nodded, “Yeah maybe.”

The two men walked into the kitchen where Kylan was still trying to finish his dinner. As soon as they sat down Kylan started telling Michael all about the things he was going to get before they went into the theater. Soon their conversation turned to what Kylan was learning in school and what he was still trying to decide to be for Halloween which was only two weeks away.

************************************************************

Kylan had started Kindergarten in August and this time it had been easier for him than it had been when Liz had tried to put him in daycare the year before. Of course, most of it probably had to do with the fact that Max had helped to ease him into going to school with other kids.

For the last few weeks before school started, Max had taken Kylan out to the park and other playgrounds where there were other kids for Kylan to socialize with. Then at home, he had begun to teach Kylan some things he would need to know before he went to school.

When the school year had started, Liz was the one who took Kylan to school in the mornings and Max was the one who picked him up and took him back to the apartment. Max would then get Kylan started on his homework and make dinner until Liz got home and took over. Liz had also listed Max’s number as an emergency contact after her and her mother’s name just in case neither one of them could be reached.

Liz didn’t have any more reservations about Max at that point since he’d been working with Kylan for almost a year now. She knew Max was good for her son and she trusted Max with his welfare. She also knew that Max was good at being able to keep her informed about anything that might be a potential problem with Kylan. He could see things that she didn’t always see.

She had also arranged to pay Max extra money for gas, repairs around the apartment, or for any other thing he did that was above and beyond the normal babysitting duties. Now, in mid-October, things seemed to be working out very well for all of them. Max was making a little more money, Kylan had someone to always watch over him, and Liz had peace of mind when it came to her son’s care.

Michael was also part of the little circle since he and Kylan seemed to get along great. Plus, Michael and Max had struck up a friendship since he was often at the apartment waiting to take Liz and Kylan out to do something. It didn’t take the two men long to hang out on their own, going to a sports bar or someplace else to grab a beer or two.

Part of the reason Max and Michael’s friendship seemed to be growing was because Michael had let Max know that he considered Liz and Kylan to be close friends of his and he was concerned about the role Jesse seemed to be playing in Liz’s life. It was then that they both realized just what kind of problem Jesse could become.

Even Michael agreed with Max when he told him how Jesse had treated Kylan that one time before Liz had thrown him out. Neither one of them could understand how Liz could consider having a man like Jesse be a part of her life especially since her life included a nearly seven year old son. They knew whoever Liz would choose to spend her life with would have to be completely accepting of her son too.

Despite what they knew, Jesse was still a part of Liz’s life. Granted, she seemed to only talk to him sparingly and she never allowed him to her apartment anymore. She had told Jesse that they could get together for a lunch or something, but it was strictly as friends. She was no longer interested in going out on real dates with him after the stunt he had pulled with her son. Liz told him that she wasn’t interested in dating anyone who wasn’t going to accept her son openly too.

So, while Liz and Kylan had plenty of people around them who genuinely cared about them, Liz still was hesitant to date other men. She was still worried that any potential man out there might be right for her, but wouldn’t be right for Kylan or vice versa. Plus, she was still hanging on to the memory of Kyle. She still believed he would have made the best husband for her and the best father for Kylan.

Everyone else would always be second best.
Last edited by Shadowlynxbehr on Sun Mar 18, 2007 7:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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"You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams." -Dr. Seuss

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