Unforgivable Memory (AU M/L Mature) Part 14 10-09-05 [WIP]

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Unforgivable Memory (AU M/L Mature) Part 14 10-09-05 [WIP]

Postby Hopeless Romantic » Fri Jul 22, 2005 3:02 pm

Unforgivable Memory
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Disclaimer: I own Nothing!
Rating: Mature
Summary: Liz has been moving from place to place since before she can even remember. Her father, a cold and distant man, with his "no questions" policy won't even tell Liz about the things she can't remember herself. It's as if the first years of her life have been completely erased. They go to a town, where she meets Max Evans, along with other people, and this time things are different. There is something about this town, and the people in it, that Liz finds familiar. She just doesn't know why because as far as she remembers she's never been there before. But what happens when things start coming back to her?
Author's Note: REPOSTING....i'm TRYING to at least. FB is greatly appreciated.
Mod Note: from AU without Aliens board

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Prologue

Have you ever blocked something out? Was there ever a memory from your past that you just wanted to forget?

Sometimes in life, bad things happen. Whether to good or bad people, inevitably, something is going to go wrong. It’s how people deal with the bad things that show the type of people they are; that shows their character.

Some people cry, some beg. Others find it easiest to argue or deny things, to point blame. The way they react doesn’t mean they are a bad person, it just means that they have a harder or easier time dealing with things. When you look at someone, in the middle of a crisis, you can tell a little bit about them. You can tell if bad things had happened to them before, if they had already been through something even more traumatic, something that made the current situation seem unimportant.

Watching a bank robbery, there is always that teller who freaks out and gets nervous. When the robber asks her to put the money in the bag, she’s the one who spills it all over the floor and causes the gunman to lose his temper. There’s also the calm man behind the counter who quickly hands over the money and waits for the robbers to leave. They’re two different people, each in the same situation, yet each acting in a completely different way. Maybe the man had worked at a bank where another robbery took place, maybe the woman had never experienced anything more traumatizing than a broken nail. Maybe she just had a bad day.

When you think about it, you never really know. Everyone has they’re own story. Everyone has the little tales that make up the person they are. The things they experienced throughout life have molded them into the people they are today.

The one thing you can’t know by looking at them, is everything.

Every moment isn’t written on their faces. Every scar shows, but the reasons aren’t written around them. Their list of failures isn’t tattooed on their foreheads, and neither are their successes. But when you see them in a situation like a bank robbery, where they’re tested and pushed to their limits of fear or shock, happiness or sadness, you can almost tell whether they were given a good or bad hand in the game of life.

But then there are the wild cards. The ones who are good at masking what has happened in their lives, whether it be by speaking only a few words at a time, loading everything with sarcasm , or crying every night but smiling the next morning. They are the people who have learned through the hard experiences and dealt with it so much that it doesn’t even make a difference anymore, or they just don’t want to think about it anymore.

Some people ask why I can’t remember everything. They look at me like I’m crazy when I tell them that the first part of my life doesn’t even exist, but even I don’t know the whole truth. My guess has always been that I don’t want to remember, that I’ve blocked it out for a reason.

I don’t know what the reason is, but sometimes pieces of the puzzle that is my life fall into place. It’s like a movie inside my head, that’s probably the best way to describe it, and I just got to the theater late so I don’t know the beginning of the story. Or like a filmstrip and the frames were just cut out. As I talk to people they tell me what I missed, and that’s like the memories coming back. I’ll see things; things that are so familiar and yet so unrecognizable at the same time and it will come back to me slowly. But as it does, as the movie becomes completed, I realize something else.

I realize that I'm right about why my past is faded in my mind, and that it would be better if it stayed that way.

Because sometimes memories are unforgivable.

~~~~~~~~~~
TBC...
Last edited by Hopeless Romantic on Sun Oct 09, 2005 10:44 pm, edited 12 times in total.
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Postby Hopeless Romantic » Fri Jul 22, 2005 3:03 pm

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Part One

“Wake up.”

My eyes opened but my vision was still blurred. I looked up at the voice that had just pulled me from my nap.

“Are we there?” I asked groggily, rubbing my eyes.

“Yes, now hurry up and get out of the car.”

“I’m coming.”

“I’ll be waiting by the front door.”

He didn’t say anything else, but I heard his door close and his footsteps retreated from the car and to where I'm guessing the front door was. I grabbed my bags and climbed out of the car to join him, waiting patiently as he unlocked the way to our new “home”.

As soon as my dad opened the door, I dropped my bags and walked inside. We were going to be living here for a while, and I wanted to see what the house was like. It was my routine, and I did it every time we moved into another house, even though we would be leaving it eventually. I walked in, and checked each room; then I decided which one I wanted and unpacked. It was the same thing every time. I’ve gotten so used to moving that when my dad says “Pack up” I don’t even question it; I just do it.

I don’t know why we move so much, but I know I’m not allowed to ask. That was the first thing he said to me when we started moving from place to place. I woke up in the car, my neck aching from the position I had been sleeping in. I had no idea how long I had even been sleeping like that because I couldn’t remember getting into the car in the first place. I remember looking around and finding him sitting in the seat next to me. He was unfamiliar, but I was sure that I knew him. So I watched him until he became aware that I was staring and he looked at me, saying three words before turning back to the road. “Don’t ask questions.”

I live my life by that simple rule.

Things about my life are different from most people. See, while this house may be my “home” for a short time, I know that I will never really have a home. I’ve moved so many times I’ve lost count, making it a little hard to develop long-lasting relationships, and my distant relationship with my “father” makes it a little bit difficult to really feel like I belong.

Ever since before I can remember, I’ve made a habit of putting things in quotations. I think of it as a way to show sarcasm, or maybe to point out when things are what they should be like. That’s why “father” has them. My dad isn’t lined up for Father of the Year in this lifetime. I think it depends on what people consider being a real father. I’m not saying I want one of those fathers from shows you see on TV, like Give it to Beaver or whatever, I’m just saying that I would like to feel like my presence isn’t an absolute rain on his parade.

Between the endless hours on the road and the countless stops at diners and motels, I would’ve thought my dad would’ve made a little time to show some interest, but he doesn’t. Sometimes I start to feel like he keeps me around because he has too, though I wouldn’t know why.
The thing you need to know about me is I don’t really remember much. I can’t tell you where I grew up, what the name of the street was, the color of the wallpaper in my room, the familiar smells of the kitchen as I walked down to breakfast before school each morning. I can’t describe to you what my mother looked like; how she smelled each time I hugged her. If it ever did happen, I sure can’t remember it. The worst part is I can’t even ask.

I knew it was something. There had to be a reason why we moved from place to place, why we were constantly looking over our shoulders, why my dad didn’t have so much as a parking ticket and why I didn’t have a mother. He was hiding it all from me, and even though it felt important, I couldn’t remember. So, I kept quiet and I moved, and when I heard “Pack Up” I did it, even if I didn’t know why.

We were in a new place. It was one I was sure I had never seen before but this time it was different. For once this one seemed familiar, unlike the others. I didn’t know what it was. The way my father and I had been traveling, if you could call it that, our whole lives, I was sure that it was impossible, but there was something about the city. It was something about how the leaves fell, about how they scattered across the streets, only to end up in piles so kids could jump in them. It was the feeling that I had been there, that I had jumped, and that I had been the one to jump in right away, head first and eyes closed, guaranteeing the best, if not the most unsafe plunge of them all. The surroundings all looked familiar to me, like I had seen them before, like I had been here before. I wanted to picture myself walking down the streets holding hands with two people, linking arms with a girl in pigtails as we skipped down the street. I wanted to see myself on the porch swing in front of the house, curled up in a blanket watching the stars. I wanted to, but I couldn’t. As much as I wanted it to be the truth I knew that it wasn't.

One thing I knew, without even asking was that we never went to the same place twice.

I can’t blame myself for being curious though. I want answers. I want to know where I belong. I sit in my room thinking of crazy scenarios that my father could be involved with. I’ve started to suspect that my father is running from something. He’s always looking behind him when he thinks no one is looking. So, maybe he’s a criminal running from the law, or maybe someone is chasing him and he’s trying to keep us safe. Maybe he’s an Italian drug lord running from some people who need drugs. The possibilities are endless because I don’t even have the slightest clue. He could be prince or an assassin or something. I’d love to know. I’d love to solve the mystery my dad surrounds himself with, but I don’t ask. I never ask.

As I walk around, I decide that I like this house. The smell of it reminds me of something I can’t quite remember. It all feels familiar, like I should recognize it. I don’t think I’ll ever understand this part of myself. I’ll never know why I can study for a test two minutes before we have to take it and remember everything I looked at, but why up to a certain point in my life everything is a little hazy.

The rooms of the house are nice. They’re bigger than the ones in the old houses. There are three of them, which means I have my pick out of two of them. My dad gets the master bedroom, and I’m pretty sure that without thinking about it, I’ll pick the one farthest away from him. See, my relationship with my dad is really hard to explain. The truth is that most of the time I don’t feel like my dad cares about me at all. I know that’s really sad, but it’s true. I think he puts up with me because he has to, like he owes it to someone to take care of me.

As predicted my new bedroom is in the back corner of the house. It has a nice window without a screen so I can get out of it whenever I want to. Yeah, I’ve been here two seconds and that’s one of the things I checked. That says something, doesn’t it?

My life has always been about that though, running away. My dad does it. Maybe it’s a trait that he passed down through his genes, and who am I to mess with genetics? Sometimes life with him just gets to be too much and I need a little escape. He’s not exactly the easiest person to live with. It makes me wonder if he was always like this. Surely at some point he must have been a nice guy. I mean my mom had to have fallen for him in order to have a kid with him. It makes me wonder if there might be some hope for him. For the two of us.

I don’t keep my hopes up though.

There’s a bed against the farthest wall in my new room. My escape is located at the foot of it. It doesn’t have any sheets, and the mattress has a dark spot on it that I’m not even going to ask about. I decide to wait and put my sheets on it before I lay down though.

When I walk back to the front of the house, it’s almost impossible to find the two bags I had brought with me when I first came in. My dad is already bringing in the boxes from the truck and they’re placed intermittently throughout the living room. I guess that my bags are in the middle of the boxes so I try to find an alternate way around them, which leads me through the kitchen. I hadn’t seen this part of the house yet, and I like it. Whoever lived here before obviously left in as much of a hurry as we did because there are still utensils in the drawers and towels and placemats on the counters and tables. I finally find my way through the mounds of boxes and grab my two bags. Deciding to kill two birds with one stone, I place the bags on top of a box marked “Elizabeth’s Room” and start dragging it back through the way I came. My dad walks in as I’m pulling the box into the hallway where my room is and he looks at me with a weird look on his face. I try to smile before I continue to pull the box towards my room.

“Elizabeth?”

I wonder what he could possibly want right now, but I still go back to the living room to talk to him, which wasn't too easy considering I had to squeeze around the huge box that took up most of the hallway. I didn’t even want to know how I was going to get it through the door to my room without losing a couple fingers.

“Yeah?”

He’s opening one of the boxes and has started putting all of his stuff away into the desk that’s sitting on the far side of the room in a more secluded area. He does every thing like he’s been here before. He knows exactly where to put it all. I don’t think twice about that though. I just want to know what he wants.

“Did you find a room?” I nod, and I wait. I know there’s more. “Well, hurry up and get unpacked. We have to get you over to the school so you can start tomorrow.”

I nod again and turn back to the hallway and back to my box. I try to speak as little as possible when talking to him. Every thing I say usually makes him mad and I try to avoid that. No need to use my window earlier than I have to.

I get the box into my room with only a small amount of trouble, but when it’s finally through I leave it in front of my door. I refuse to move it anymore. I decide that the first thing I need is my sheets. I want to lie down for a little while before I have to unpack tonight. I don’t even regard what my dad said to me out in the hall.

Luckily, they’re in the box that I dragged over. I remembered packing them into this box a week ago because it’s the one with the small hole in the side. I open it and pull out the clean white sheets. It takes me a while to make the bed, only because I hate doing it and go slow as an act of protest. When they’re on I jump onto the bed and close my eyes. I’ve really missed sleeping on a comfortable mattress. The ones from the motels were disgusting and the seats in the car don’t work well with my neck and back. Just as I’m about to drift off, I hear my dad’s voice.

“Thirty minutes before we leave! I expect that room to be organized.”

I groan and roll off the bed. Pulling the box over to me I begin to sort through it. There are some picture frames, some books, and a couple of little boxes filled with bracelets and hair ties. I start to put them on the small table that’s beside my bed and the dresser that’s across from it.

It takes me about fifteen minutes to finish with the box, and then I move on to the bags I brought in with me. They have mostly clothes, so when I’m done with them my closet and dresser drawers are somewhat filled. I still have five minutes, so I decide to change before going to my new school. I want to make a good first impression, not that it matters. If the kids hate me I’ll be gone in a couple of weeks with a new chance with some more kids.

I throw on a pair of low-rise jeans and a black tank top with a white sweatshirt. I leave the zipper open because it isn’t too cold in the house, but the air in Palo Alto is kind of chilly this time of the year so I might have to zip it up when I go outside. My brown hair is pulled out of my ponytail and brush through it with my fingers to make it straight. One thing I like about myself is my hair. Only because it falls where I want it to and I don’t have to deal with it much. I’ve never once owned a brush. My dad, who’s hair is thinning and receding, is not the person responsible for my locks, and it’s nice to think that my mom is the person I got my thick hair from.

Getting lost in my thoughts, I hear my dad shuffling around the front door and decide to go out there before he gets on my case. I put on a little bit of lip-gloss and some mascara before walking out the door.

As expected, he’s waiting for me at the front door, and sure enough when he opens it a breeze blows in a forces me to zip my jacket up half way. I walk out in front of him and get into the car. When he joins me, we turn on the radio and spend the ten-minute drive to school in silence. I’m used to it though, and actually kind of appreciate it. It’s not that I don’t have plenty of time to think to myself normally, it’s just that the more silence there is, the less I have to hear him yell at me or tell me how much I disappoint him.

I look out the window as we drive and I definitely like what I see. The houses are all beautiful and old looking. The trees are big and the leaves are starting to change color and fall off. Kids are playing in the streets and parents are checking the mail before walking inside to their families. That is what the town seems to be made for: Families. What the hell are we doing here, then? I wonder if there was a time where we would’ve fit in here, if there ever was someone who pulled this huge gap between my father and I together. I can’t help but hope, because with each house we pass and each family we see, I wish even more that we could belong.

And as we continue to drive, the ache inside me grows just a little bit more.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
TBC...
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Postby Hopeless Romantic » Fri Jul 22, 2005 3:03 pm

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Part Two

The drive didn’t take too long, and after maybe fifteen minutes of silence, we pulled into the school. It looked nice enough, for what it is. I think my dad does things because he knows they piss me off, and the thing I hate the most is private schools. I have a thing about uniforms, not that I don’t like to conform or anything, but I like expressing myself through my outfits. I think it’s fun. But my father wouldn’t want me to have any of that, now would he?

The name engraved into a marble sign at the front of the school reads McCabe Private, and my mind is occupied with thoughts of whom it might stand for, maybe a dead principal, or the person who paid for the entire school to be built. To think that I could’ve avoided this by going to Roswell High. The public school was obviously named for the town.

The pick up and drop off road curves around and the middle is at the front of the school. There are two doors and the whole building seems to be made out of brick. It’s old looking and just the look of it makes me start to like it. I see some students sitting on the front steps, most likely cutting class, and I can’t help but notice their uniforms. If I’m going to have to live in it, I should at least check it out to see if I like it.

There’s a blond girl wearing a white button down shirt with short sleeves and a tie, and the other girl has on a black sweater with a yellow M on the front. I’m guessing that those are the school colors, which is great. We get to look like friggin’ bumblebees all day. Along with the sweater, the girl is wearing a black, white, and yellow plaid skirt with black shoes and knee-high socks. Her shirt isn’t tucked in, and from where I’m sitting her skirt looks pretty short, which is good. At least I’ll get to push the limits as far as the uniform is concerned. The last school I went to that was private, there were teachers patrolling the halls to look for students with even a hair out of place. We even had ID cards. What the hell kind of school has ID cards. They made us wear them on lanyards around our necks. Cute, huh?

I realize I’m staring again. I do that a lot, but I can’t help it. I’m just a curious person. Someone once told me I was a “people watcher”, whatever that means. My cure for it is staring at something else, namely my shoes, which are up on the dashboard. My dad hates that, which is why I’m doing it. Ten points for teenage rebellion.

Dad parks, and I climb out of the car, pulling my jeans up as they fall low on my hips. He leads the way into the school and I follow behind him shuffling my feet on the sidewalk. It’s one of my more annoying habits, but my dad doesn’t even acknowledge it. We pass the steps, but the students I had seen just seconds ago are gone. My dad pulls the door open and lets me walk in first before getting in front of me again and leading the way to the front office. I start to think that my dad had come to this town before moving us here, because he definitely seemed to know his way around.

“Don’t say anything unless you’re spoken to, understand?” he growled out softly, smiling at the teacher walking by us as he said it.

“Yeah.”

“And I expect you to be on your best behavior. We don’t need a repeat of the last school you were at.”

I nod, but I’m not making any promises. Whether I behave or not depends on what happens in this office.

A woman with big yellow hair greets us as we walk inside the office. She has a really big smile on her face and says my name with way too much enthusiasm. I immediately don’t like her, which means I’ll be staying out of trouble at school so I don’t have to come down to the office. At my last school, the secretaries were so nice I tried to come down as much as possible. I left that school with twenty-nine detentions and three referrals. Dad definitely wasn’t happy about that. When I put on a nice smile and sat down like a good little girl he sent me an appreciative glance. Well, it was more of a you’re-making-a-smart-choice-for-your-own-good look. Maybe my window would stay closed for a little while longer than I thought. Maybe there was something about this town that would make my dad and I get along. Weirder things had happened so far.

“Can I help you?” the woman asked sweetly. She looked young enough, maybe in her forties, and I could tell she was flirting with my dad, which was definitely weird. A strand of her big blond hair was wrapped around her little finger and she was twirling it while looking at my dad. Gag me.

“I’m Jeffrey Parker and this is my daughter Elizabeth. We’re here to register her for the semester.”

“Well, it’s nice to meet you both,” she replied, shooting my dad a look. I really did not need to see that.

“Thank you.” This came from both my dad at first, but when he turned to look at me I repeated his words.

“Let me get you some of the forms you need to fill out, and then the principal will be with you when you’re done.”

She came back with a small stack of papers and two blue pens, but my dad only took one. He wouldn’t let me help with something like this. He’d think I was going to mess up or something. Which is not true! Most of the time. I do admit that I have a tendency to be a little klutzy. Last year, in art, I had been walking with a container of red paint to my seat when I accidentally tripped over my own feet and ended up stumbling, which caused the paint to fly out of my hands and land all over our teacher. That was referral number one, for being a disturbance.

My dad went to work on the forms and I sat there trying not to look bored. The secretary was doing her own work but kept looking up to give me what I suppose were supposed to be encouraging glances, when she wasn't smiling at my dad. I was glad he was paying attention to the forms instead of her looks. I returned the smiles only because I felt I had to. She kept doing it, so I stopped smiling and I think she got the hint because she stopped too. I proceeded to stare at my shoes, which were one of my favorite possessions, a pair of white Adidas Superstars with the black stripes on the sides and back. I clicked my heels together three times thinking to myself “there’s no place like anywhere but here” but on the third tap I opened my eyes and found myself in the same place I had been so that got boring. My eyes started to close and I could feel myself falling asleep. I knew my dad should’ve let me take a nap before coming.

Suddenly, my eyes snapped open as I heard someone walk through the front door. I looked up, immediately glad that I did when I saw the cutest boy I had ever seen. I know everyone says that when they first see someone cute, but I was serious. This guy wasn’t anything like the boys I had met at my other schools, and trust me I had met a few. He had dark brown hair that fell into his forehead a little, which was really adorable, but the thing I noticed the most were his eyes. He had the most amazing eyes, and that’s my biggest thing. I love guys with pretty eyes, especially because I hate my own dark brown ones. I had only seen them for a second when he fleetingly glanced in my direction before turning back to the secretary. Wow, why weren’t there guys like this in the other cities we had gone too?
“Margie,” he said with a smile.

“And how are we today, Mr. Evans? Getting in to trouble already? Why, it’s only second period.”

I sat in my seat watching the exchange between them, and I couldn’t help but smile. He obviously was like me, and got into trouble a lot because he was friends with the secretaries.

“Mr. Hopkins was being totally out of line during our discussion in History class so I called him a lying scumbag communist bastard,” he smiled sheepishly, his hand coming up to scratch behind his ear. That was the point where I turned into mush over this guy. It was the most adorable thing I had ever seen. “He didn’t take that too well.”

“I’d think not,” she scolded playfully, obviously used to the banter between them.

“How long am I in for?”

“Well, Mr. McCabe has a meeting with the two behind you, and then I guess he’ll be giving you your sentence.”

“Well, I’ll sit here and hope for another week of lunch in here with you.” He flashed her a smile, and from what I could see it looked like he raised his eyebrows at her.

“Oh, so will I,” she replied sarcastically, smiling as she turned back to her work.

I watched them and couldn’t stop myself from letting out a small giggle earning me two looks. A disapproving one from my father, and what I hope was an interested look from “Mr. Evans.” He settled himself in the chair on the opposite wall, which gave me a perfect view of him.

He was wearing dark jeans, and a one of those gray t-shirts. I looked at his feet at smiled. I didn’t think anyone wore Converse sneakers anymore. My eyes traveled over his body, noticing his lean but built look. If I would’ve had to guess, I’d put my money on him being someone the ladies’ chased after, but I’d also say he shied away from the attention. There was something about the way he sat, and something about his shoes, that said he wasn’t into attention.

I told you I was a people watcher.

I’d been doing this for years now, and I could guess pretty well about the nature of some people. People are really obvious about it. If you pay enough attention, that is. And seeing as how I live inside my head instead of out in the real world, I spend a lot of time paying attention. It’s good for starting a new school, because you can pick out the kids who are nice to new kids, and the ones that are mean for the sake of being mean.

The door to the office opens again, and this time a girl walks in. Her hair is pulled back into two braided pigtails, and her uniform seems to be in place. I could imagine her sitting outside the office and straightening her shirt while pulling down her skirt before she came in here.

She walked to Margie’s desk, a file in her hands, and glanced at Max on her way there. Margie saw the look and smiled at the girl.

“Can you believe it? It’s only second period!”
The girl laughed. “What are you in for now, Max?”

Max. His name was Max. I liked that name. It fit him, or the personality I assumed he had. I was glad this girl came in, because Margie had only called him “Mr. Evans” until this point and it might’ve been weird calling him that, even in my own mind.

“It wasn’t my fault,” he grumbled, crossing his arms over his chest.

The girl came to sit next to him. “It’s never your fault.” When she sat down, I got a look at her face. She had really pretty green eyes, but Max’s definitely put her to shame. His, from what I could see from where I was sitting, were light brown, or a warm amber color, but the thing that made them stand out the most, was that they looked like they were flecked with gold. It made his eyes look bright, and inviting. I had to remind myself to stop staring, and went back to looking at the girl.

There was something weird about her, not in a bad weird way, but in a different way. She almost seemed familiar, but I knew that was impossible. I figured she just reminded me of someone from one of my old schools. I had met a lot of blond haired, green eyed girls in all of my travels.

Calling them my travels makes it seem like I’m this great adventurer who’s traveled the world documenting his success and his failures. It makes it seem like there’s something about my life that needs to be recorded. Maybe there is. Maybe all this stuff with my dad, and the moving, and why I can’t seem to remember anything is something I should look at a little more closely, not that I can ask questions about it. Well, “my travels” are incomplete as of yet, but I have a feeling about Roswell.

“Are you new?” I didn’t even realize the girl was talking to me until she came over and sat next to me. I didn’t even glance at my dad, knowing what I would see there.

I nodded, and she looked at Max, shooting him a proud look. “I hope you bet money on it.”

She looked at me and laughed. “I should’ve. Max always bets these outrageous things, and I always win, of course. To think I’d be a rich lady by now…where were you before when you could’ve been giving me this advice?”

I liked this girl. She was definitely one of the girls who was nice to the new kids. “Boston,” I told her simply. I didn’t want to say too much, especially with my dad next to me shooting daggers at my back.

She nodded in what was supposed to be her approval of the place. “I’ve always wanted to travel to the northeast,” she told me. “I’m Maria, by the way. And that kid over there is Max. He’s not much for conversation, but he’s nice enough. What’s your name?”

I looked at Max, who was watching us curiously, and then turned back to Maria, whose name made something stir inside me, like I had heard it before. “Liz.”

“Her name is Liz, Max,” she told him happily, even though I’m sure he heard me when I said it. Was she trying to make it obvious that he had wanted to know my name? I looked back at him, and he was doing that cute thing where his hand went behind his ear.

Smiling to myself, I had a feeling my decision to behave in this school was changing. If it meant I’d be able to come in here and stare at Max all day, then I just might choose to cause a little trouble here at McCabe Private, just to spend time with him in the office.
I could find a way to put up with Margie.

~~~~~~~~~~
TBC....
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Postby Hopeless Romantic » Sun Jul 24, 2005 3:14 pm

A/N: Thanks for the feedback, guys. I'm going to post this as frequently as possible so I can get to the new stuff.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Part Three

It’s been almost twenty minutes and my dad is still filling out the forms. I think he’s on the last one, which is good because I want to go home and sleep, but then if I leave I might not see Max again. Once again, my ambivalence shines through. I have a tendency not to be able to make up my mind about anything.

Maria left a little while ago. She had to go back to class, but told me to stop by some restaurant in town if I wanted, because she worked there. She told Max to stay out of trouble before leaving the room, smiling at me as she did.

I really liked her. I actually hadn’t liked anyone I’d met that quickly, but like I had said before, things seemed to be a little different in this town. Most of the places we had gone before were big cities, places to get lost in. We had never really been to a small town before, and Roswell was definitely a small town. Maria seemed like the typical small town girl, the one who grew up knowing everyone around her and being friendly enough to get along with all of them.

Max is totally different. He’s actually kind of confusing. As far as Maria said, he’s not much for conversation, which supports my theory that he is shy, but then he’s always getting into trouble, and that’s usually a cry for attention. Strange kid. Yet, strange as he is I can’t help but slyly try to sneak glances at him. At least I’m not openly staring this time. He’s sitting with he legs apart, his elbows resting on his knees supporting his chin that’s in his hands. I love it when guys sit like that. I also have no idea where that came from, because I’ve never thought that before, but now that I’ve seen Max do it I’ve decided that I like it.

I sound like a typical little girl, I know, getting all excited over a boy. I’ve never been really interested in boys. That’s not to say I haven’t had boyfriends, but it’s never been anything serious, or anything I initiated. It was probably because I always figured if I started a relationship it would just be cut short when we moved again and that would hurt too much. So, why was I suddenly really interested in this kid?

To my left, my dad puts down the pen and stands up with the stack of forms. He moves over to Margie’s desk and places them there.

“Thank you,” she replies with a smile, taking the papers and moving to the principal’s office. She goes inside and shuts the door. My dad comes and sits next to me.

“Remember what I said, Elizabeth.” He warns.

His voice sounds threatening. It’s really obvious too and I hope that Max didn’t hear it. After I nod to my dad I look over at the boy and see him staring at me. His eyes look sympathetic. A part of me doesn’t like that. Who is he to pity me? But then on the other hand, it’s kind of sweet that he feels bad. I can’t help but smile at him and roll my eyes as if to say, ‘Parents, what can you do?’ He seems to understand.

He smiles back, and continues to look at me. I’m just a little uncomfortable so I find my shoes and stare at them. You know that game where you stare at people and whoever blinks or looks away first is the loser? Well I’m bad at it. I always seem to win when I play with my shoes though, which is probably why I do it so much.

The door that Margie just went into opens again and she walks out. She has that smile on her face and she’s looking at me funny. I’m kind of wondering what her deal is. First she’s flirting with my dad, who granted, isn’t that bad looking for an older guy, but still he’s my dad and we’re at my new school so could she please keep it in her pants? And then she was giving me those looks. I’m not so sure I want to come back in this office again, and no Max Evans will change my mind about that.

“The principal will see you now,” Margie tells us, walking over to where we were sitting instead of going back behind the desk.

My dad and I stand up, ready to follow her into the office. I wanted to take a last look at Max, even though I was pretty sure he’d be out there when I got back, but my dad was guiding me into the office, his hand applying pressure at the small of my back.

“Hey…” I hear, coming from behind me.

Moving away from my dad’s hand, I turn to look and there’s Max standing up and walking towards me. From up close I can tell that he’s tall. He’s about a head taller than me so when he stands I can’t do anything but look up at him. I also get another look at those eyes.

“Yeah?”

“Don’t worry about that guy in there. He may try to come off as intimidating but he’s really a cool guy,” he tells me. He’s got this smile on his face, a small one, and I can’t help but smile right back.

“Thanks I’ll keep that in mind.” Was I saying that I wouldn’t put up with Margie? Because I’m thinking I might want to change my mind on that again.

My dad is shooting me looks, and even though I want to stay and talk to this kid, I obediently follow like a good girl and take my seat in the office. The principal smiles briefly before his face turns serious, but he’s lost it. If I was going to be intimidated at all it was ruined with that smile. What Evans said is true; he was like a big teddy bear. I liked him already.

“Welcome to McCabe Private.” His voice is serious, but like I said, it has no effect. “I’m Mr. Wilson.”

My dad shakes his hand, acting all formal, and I don’t move to stand up. I guess this is wrong because my dad clears his throat and I’m forced to get up and do the same.

“You must be Elizabeth,” he says as he shakes my hand. I bite back the sarcastic comment just because I like him. Nodding politely, I force a smile. When we sit back down I try to pay attention but it’s hard.

Looking around the office I notice a lot of cool things. The first being those diplomas that you see on everyone’s walls. He’s got a bunch of them. They’re lined up along the wall along with pictures. Straining my neck I try to look at all of them. I’m leaning back in my chair, catching a glimpse of one picture hanging. The principal is at some big fundraiser thing and there are a bunch of kids around him. I don’t recognize any of them, and I keep looking when I hear my dad clear his throat.

“That was last year at the book drive,” Mr. Wilson points out.

I turn to find them both looking at me. My dad has an aggravated look on his face, but the principal is looking at me with that smile of his.

“How’d it turn out?” I ask curiously, looking back at the picture and ignoring my dad’s looks.
“We reached our goal, but there’s always room for improvement.”

My dad sends him an apologetic look, like I’m some five-year-old he can’t control. I try to wipe the smug look off my face when the principal tells him it’s fine.

“I’m glad she’s interested in what goes on here,” he tells my dad as he looks at me. I didn’t say that…I’m just interested in reading.

“I actually have a box of books I can give to you. When’s the book drive this year?” I’ve stopped looking at the pictures at this point and I’m facing his desk.

“It’s coming up in October, actually. You can help if you’d like,” he offers, and I shrug noncommittally. It sounds like fun, but I’m not getting roped into anything just yet. I have to see if he’ll even want my help after I’ve been here for a while. “Well, why don’t we get back to our talk about the school?”

I send him a sheepish smile, because he obviously means I’ve gotten us off track. “Sorry,” I say with a blush, trying my best to look focused.

“You can start tomorrow, as long as you have your uniforms by then. Girls are required to wear either the school skirt, or the school pants. There’s a choice between a white button down shirt or a collared black shirt. You also need to have black shoes, but they can’t be sneakers,” he explains to both of us.

He left out the part about un-tucking shirts and rolling up skirts but I can add that in on my own. As long as he doesn’t say anything about ID badges then we’ll get along fine. I nod to let him know I understand and he goes on.

“Your dad filled out all of your paperwork and we received your transcripts from your previous school, quite impressive I might add.”

“Thanks,” I reply. Even if I was a troublemaker I still found time to do my work. I’m going to need those good grades to get into college far away from my father, like in Boston, a place he’s already been so I know he won’t go back. Besides, schoolwork was always a breeze to me.

“What about transportation?” my dad asks. He had been pretty quite up until that point, even throughout my conversation with him on the book drive.

“We offer buses, but most of the kids carpool.”

“I’ll carpool!” I throw in, but my dad ignores me.

“How do I arrange for the bus?”

“I could always walk? Fresh air would do me good!”

“I can get Margie to give you a form, you just fill that out and pay the fee, and she’s got a seat.”

“Roller-blading sound good to anyone else but me?”

Mr. Wilson laughs, “the buses aren’t that bad.”
I frown and drop it, deciding to ask my own question. “What about sports?”

He shoots me an interested look. We’ve obviously got a sports fan here. “What are you in to?”

“Soccer,” I say quickly. Ever since I can remember I’ve been playing soccer. I obviously played it before I could remember because the first town we moved to had a pretty good soccer team and I made it. It had always been my favorite sport, just because it wasn’t too rough like football, and was more physical than softball and basketball.

“We’ve actually got a pretty good girls team. Tryouts are coming up soon actually, you might want to check it out.”

I think what I like most about Principal Wilson is that he talks to me at my level. He doesn’t make me talk to him like an adult, all formal and proper, but rather he talks to me like he’s a teenager himself. I’m not really used to that. But I could get used to it.

We sit there and talk for a little while longer. My dad asks questions and Principal Wilson answers all of them. He tells me about the class system, which I don’t understand at all, and he tells me about the lunches. He mumbles something about getting someone to show me around on my first few days, but I don’t pay any attention to that.

Every school seems to think that the new kids are retarded and can’t figure out where classes are. Most of the time, they’re numbered and that makes it pretty easy, but for some reason they think we can’t figure it out. I’m about to tell him that I can handle it; I have, after all, been the new student more times that he can possibly imagine, more times than I can even remember, and I’ve got the whole thing down to a science.

“Well, if you don’t have anymore questions, let me walk you to your car.” He stands up, and for the first time I really notice how tall he is. Not only is he a big guy, but he practically brushes the ceiling…ok that’s an exaggeration, but you get what I mean.

“I have one more question,” both of them look at me expectantly so I continue. “What does ‘It’s turtles all the way down’ mean?”

Those words had been flashing on his computer screen since we had gotten into the room, and I had been wondering ever since but I wasn’t going to ask about it. Curiosity obviously won out.

He just smiled at me though, and didn’t give me an answer. “It’s turtles all the way down,” he said finally, a smile on his face. “That’s all I can tell you.”

Leaving me extremely confused, he walked out of the office and my father and I followed him. Max was the first thing I noticed, because he was sleeping on the chairs. I suppressed a laugh. He looked so cute, his head leaning against the wall, eyes shut as he slept. Principal Wilson was obviously used to this because he slapped a hand down on Margie’s desk, and Max shot awake.

“Wha-I was up. I’m awake.”

He shot out of the seat, rubbing his eyes. I looked at the clock on the wall, noticing we had been in there for a while and didn’t blame him for falling asleep.
“Ah, Mr. Evans. Such a pleasure to see you this morning,” Principal Wilson said, picking up some forms off Margie’s desk and handing them to my father.

“You know I just couldn’t stay away,” he replied happily coming over to where the three of us were standing. He looked at me, smiling again and nodded in the principal’s direction. I nodded back, understanding what he was asking.

“Well, I think your time would be better served away from the office this time, Mr. Evans, seeing as how all you do is sleep when you’re here.” Max winked at Margie, shooting her a disappointed look.

“What do you have in mind?” he asked, a suspicious look on his face, arms crossed in front of his chest as he stared at the principal.

“This is Elizabeth Parker, and you’re going to be showing her around for the next few days,” he told all of us, looking at Max and myself.

Remember what I said about not liking those little tour guides they give new students? I definitely just changed my mind.

~~~~~~~~~~
TBC...
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Postby Hopeless Romantic » Mon Jul 25, 2005 7:46 pm

Part Four

To say I was excited for my first day was pushing it. To be fair, I wasn’t dreading it. There had been some schools where the last thing I wanted to do was go and I had to be dragged kicking and screaming. There were some that I didn’t mind, and this was definitely one of those schools. The only difference was that this school had Max Evans, none of the others had.

My dad wasn’t too pleased with the fact that Max was showing me around. He made that pretty clear actually when we left the school.

“You better have that guy show you around for one day and then that’s it. He’s a troublemaker, Elizabeth and I don’t want you around him.”

Yeah right. I planned on milking Max’s “punishment” for all it was worth. I could definitely play the part of the retarded schoolgirl if they wanted me to. I was looking forward to spending time with him actually, which was a first for me. Most of the boys I had been with before had been solely about making out in the back of their cars. It’s not what you’re probably thinking, because I’m definitely not a slut. I’m actually quite the prude, and yes I say that with a smile on my face.

Fact is, I’m a hot-blooded woman and I had my needs. It was nothing more than second base though, I promise. Point is, I had never wanted to know things about them. Sure, I knew their names. I always made sure to get their full name before we kissed, but I never wanted to know their favorite sport, or their favorite color.

I doubted Max wanted to get to know me in the same way I wanted to know him, but that was besides the point. This was a monumental occasion for me. I, Liz Parker, actually liked a guy, or sort of liked a guy. I didn’t even know him yet. Maria had said he wasn’t much for conversation and I didn’t know if that was because he didn’t like to talk or if it was because he wasn’t smart enough to hold a conversation. With the other boys it hadn’t mattered…but this time it did.

I woke up extra early just so I could get ready for the big day, if that’s any hint to how I felt.

My hair had been straightened the night before, and my new uniforms had been hemmed and picked out. They were lying on my bed as I ran around my room in my bra and underwear trying to pull my socks on as I brushed my teeth. Things are pretty hectic for me in the mornings. I have a tendency to try and do a million different things at once. Most of the time I end up falling or hitting my head on something, but things were going good so far, and I hoped that was a sign for how the rest of the day would go.

When I finally got my uniform on I looked at my clock, realizing it was fifteen past seven and that I was going to have to start walking soon if I wanted to make it to school on time.

Here’s another ten points for teenage rebellion. My dad paid for the bus yesterday, and I’m walking on my first day of school.

Make-up is on and I’m out the door, leaving without a word to my father. He shouts something as I leave but I ignore it.

Walking down the street, I can’t help the feeling of nostalgia that creeps inside of me. It’s like I’m subconsciously trying to block it out because my mind knows its not supposed to be there, but the other part of me, maybe the part that’s locked away, is pushing it out.
Just like when we were driving, I see the families all around me. The dads coming out to get the morning paper, while the mom tries to wrestle the screaming kids into the tub so they can get ready for school. Eventually they’ll all come out, dressed in their matching winter clothes, the dad wearing the red collared shirt that the little boys wear, while the mother and daughter have on matching dresses. Pretty soon that little girl will become a teenager and her mom will dream of moments like these. They know it though, so they’re taking advantage of her innocence while they can.

I wonder if my mom ever dressed like me. If when I was really young we both had on matching dresses one day as we went out to go shopping or something. I wonder if she knew that she should take advantage of those times not only because one day I wouldn’t want to dress like her, but also because she wasn’t going to be around to dream of it.

Tears come to my eyes and I brush them away. I hardly ever cry about my mother, only because I can’t really remember her. I’d like to think that we had moments like that though, where I held onto her hand and I was so sure she would always be right next to me.

I guess life doesn’t turn out the way you think it should. If it did, I would have a mother. I would have a real family…

I would belong.

The school comes into view and I push the thoughts of my mother out of my mind. The last thing I need is to be over emotional on my first day of school. The last thing I want is to be emotional when I see Max again. I don’t worry about it though, because the second I look at the front of the school a smile comes to my face. Max is waiting there, hands shoved into his pockets as he looks around.

There’s one thing I notice that’s different about him. He’s not smiling, not like he was yesterday. It was like a secret smile that he let out but now its hidden. It continues to prove my theory about him. But I wonder if he can be as predictable as I assume he is. I’m wondering if there is more to Max Evans than meets the eye.

I wouldn’t mind finding out.

Pushing those thoughts from my mind I walk up the steps to stand in front of him. He sees me at the last minute, and I stand there offering an awkward wave hello as he realizes I’m next to him.

“Hi, Max,” I say tentatively, brushing my hair away from my face and tucking it behind my ears. Nervous habit, I can’t help it.

“Liz!” he greets cheerfully, that smile coming out for just a second before he pushes it away. “I was waiting for you,” he states obviously.

I smile at the look on his face, and his hand goes behind his ear as he looks at the ground. Looking up from beneath his lashes, he offers me that smile again, and I swear I melt right there. What the hell is wrong with me?

“Ready for your first day?”

“Well, as long as I got a good tour guide.”
“Oh, I’m the best,” he replies smugly, holding out his arm for me to take.

The gesture is done in pure fun, but I can’t help but smile at it. It reminds me of one of those old movies where the men are real gentlemen and they open doors and everything. Women are real ladies, wearing those big dresses that they can hardly breathe in so they fan themselves delicately as they watch their men play polo or something. I really don’t know where this stuff comes from. It usually just pops into my mind and I can’t keep it out.

I take hold of his arm, and he pulls open the front doors to the school and we walk in. Once we’re inside our hands separate from each other, but we remain close as we walk through the halls. Max takes time to explain everything to me, and makes sure to put in his own funny stories of things that have happened over the years.

“See that water fountain there,” he asks, pointing to the fountain in question. I nod. “Right there is where Michael slipped and fell during one of his and Maria’s famous fights. There was water all over the floor and he slipped and fell backwards.”

“I can imagine what Maria did,” I said with a laugh, picturing the scene in front of me.

“Bet you’d guess wrong,” Max challenged.

“She bent down and immediately started kissing him and asking if he was okay.”

Max stared at me, obviously expecting me to say Maria started laughing. When he recovered from his shock he shook it off. “Lucky guess.”

“Whatever you say, Max.”

This whole time I was completely oblivious to what was happening around Max and I. If Max wasn’t so darn distracting, I might’ve noticed all the looks we were getting. But I didn’t. I didn’t hear the whispers either. If I had, I would’ve expected the confrontation that came next.

“So, can you explain this class schedule thing to me?”

He laughs, and I can’t help but notice what a nice sound it is, but it sounds like it has been trapped for a while. I immediately want to hear it again, and plan on doing what I can to make him laugh again.

“It’s really not that hard, Liz. Honestly, you might not want to let people know you’re confused. It’ll drag down the whole “valedictorian” look.”

“Valedictorian? That’s a nice one.”

“Well, you are taking all honors and AP classes. So, maybe you won’t be the valedictorian, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t trying.”

I shoot him a look. “How do you know what classes I’m taking?”

He pulls a sheet of paper from his back pocket. “Your class schedule,” he tells me with a proud grin on his face.

“Were you sneaking around in my files? I could have you arrested for that,” I threaten playfully.

His expression turns guilty and his hands go up in mock surrender. “I admit it. I did do a little snooping when Margie wasn’t looking. Heck if I have to show you around I might as well know where I’m taking you.”

I glare at him, not mad that he went through my file, but stung by that last comment. “Well, if I’m such a burden to you I’m sure I can manage on my own.”

I walk a couple steps ahead of him, wanting to get away and feeling stupid for the thoughts that had been going through my mind. Of course he wouldn’t be interested in someone like me. He only saw this as a punishment.

I’m thinking I’ve put some distance between us when I feel someone grab my arm. I stop moving, but I don’t turn around. He comes to stand in front of me and I look at him. He’s got that smile on his face.

“You’re not a burden, Parker. You’re actually kind of fun,” he says with a shrug. I cross my arms in front of my chest, and wait. “If I had to get stuck with anyone I’m glad it was you?”

I shake my head. “Try again.”

He thinks for a second, “You’re my favorite new girl ever!” he exclaims after a second.

“Oh, so you’ve had other “new girls”, have you?” I ask seriously, though inside I’m laughing at the joke between us. He frowns, obviously not meaning that and I smile, continuing to walk away.

“You’re tough to please,” he says after a few seconds, walking quickly to catch up with me.

“Don’t worry,” I say without stopping, while shooting him a look out of the corner of my eye. “You have plenty of time to learn how to please me.”

He looks blown away by my comment and I can’t help but laugh at the look on his face. Finally he joins me in laughing and I enjoy the sound of it. We’re both so caught up in it we almost don’t realize the four girls who’ve come to stand in front of us.

Seeing the human barrier, we both look up, and the smile drops from Max’s face almost immediately. He looks around, like he’s trying to find out who say him smiling, having a good time, like he forgot himself for a moment and was doing something he shouldn’t have been doing.

“Max!” the short blond cries, her shrill voice grating on my ears. She’s the typical high school cheerleader. The popular girl who gets everything she wants and gets it by giving people, or rather the male population, anything they want in return. She’s got blond curls and blue eyes, her skirt is way too short and the unbuttoned blouse is just a little over the top. I want to say all of this but I hold my tongue and turn to look at Max.

He gives me a look, walks up to the blond and gives her a quick kiss. “Hey Tess.”

“Are you going to introduce us to your friend?” she asks sweetly, shooting me death looks from behind Max’s back when he turns to look at me.
The three other girls are looking me up and down too, and I feel like one of those slides I’m constantly studying underneath a microscope. I do notice that one girl is looking at me differently than the others. She has long blond hair and brown eyes, like mine, and one of those bodies that people would die for. She’s looking at me with a smile, while the other three are staring at me like some bug they just stepped in. I immediately assume there’s something more to her than the part of “high school cheerleader”.

“Girls, this is Liz Parker, she’s new here. Liz, this is Isabel, Pam, Courtney, and Tess,” he swallows, “my girlfriend.”

It’s with those two words the fantasy world that I had created around myself shatters. Tess is smiling at me like she won something and the other girls are shooting me looks that say back off. Max is farther away from me now and closer to Tess, and I’m left wondering what I ever thought a guy like Max Evans would see in a girl like me.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~
TBC
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Postby Hopeless Romantic » Wed Jul 27, 2005 12:30 pm

Thanks for all the feedback!! I love u guys!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Part Five

There was one thing I could tell about Tess just by looking at her. And while my girlish fantasy of Max liking me had all but disappeared in the last few minutes, the look in the other girl’s eyes brought me some kind of satisfaction.

You’d be threatened too if the guy you were dating happened to be flirting and laughing with another girl. Especially if he never did those things around you. That was the one thing I noticed about this exchange. Max’s smile never returned to his face, but it had been there when the two of us had been alone. It had been there when he was with Maria. It was the smile he let out in front of his friends, the people he was comfortable with.

Deep down, knowing that Max felt even slightly comfortable with me, when that obviously wasn’t the case with Tess, filled me with at least a tiny shred of hope, though I was trying hard not to hold on to it, because I didn’t want to be disappointed when that wasn’t the case. Max could’ve been being nice to me, smiling with me, because he felt like he had to be. He was after all assigned to show me around school.

Tess obviously knew this much, and made a point to bring it up. She put a pout on her face the next time she regarded Max. It was an interesting transition from the look of venom I received.

“It sucks that you’re stuck showing this girl around. I wanted you to walk me to class.” Eyelashes batting, licking of the lips, the whole nine yards. This girl new how to play it.

“I’m sorry, Tess,” Max said, seeing somewhat genuine.

“Make it up to me later?” she asked flirtatiously, moving in for another kiss. I didn’t want to watch so I looked to the other girls she was with.

The girl on Tess’s left, who had been introduced as Pam, seemed almost exactly like Tess. She was another one of the dim-witted, big-breasted cheerleaders who got what she wanted by being a slut. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying all cheerleaders are sluts and bitches. I have proof of that in front of me as well. The blond who I had been unsure about at first, reinforced my original thoughts of her with the sympathetic looks she was giving me. She was the one introduced as Isabel, and I could tell she wasn’t the normal cheerleader. She actually seemed kind of withdrawn. She obviously didn’t like Tess too much, and was only friends with her because she craved popularity. I had a feeling she would realize how superficial it all was eventually.

“Of course.” I heard coming from Max. It was followed by the sounds of me puking. Well, I didn’t really do it, but I probably should’ve. This was a side of Max I didn’t like. It seemed so fake, and it changed everything I thought about him. Why would he be with the most popular girl in school if he didn’t like attention?

“Ok, well I’ll see you later,” Tess told Max, then turned to her friends. “Let’s go girls.” She shot me another look. “Nice meeting you, Lynn.”

I rolled my eyes. “Same here Tease,” I replied, coughing and covering it up with, “I mean, Tess.”

Max covered a laugh, and I shot him a look, as did Tess and her friends, except Isabel. She was busy covering her own laugh. Max looked at Tess and shrugged, so the girls turned and walked away.
“Bye Max,” the girl Isabel said.

“Later, Iz.”

Ok, so I wanted to know what was going on there too. When the girls were gone I immediately turned to Max. He had a lot of explaining to do, not that he owed me an explanation, but I had a feeling he would give me one.

He shoved his hands in his pockets. He was waiting for it. He knew I was going to ask him what that was all about, but I had a feeling he wasn’t comfortable talking about it. I decided not to bring it up, knowing what he would do in a matter of minutes.

We walked in silence for a couple of minutes, and then I felt his eyes on me. I turned to him, and he was looking at me expectantly. “Don’t you want to know what that was about?” he asked finally.

I shrugged. “It’s your business, Max,” I replied casually. “After all, I’m just the girl you’re stuck showing around.” I smiled, letting him know Tess’s words hadn’t really gotten to me.

He looked like he was going to tell me about it, but decided not to at the last minute. “So, what about you? Any boyfriends?”

“Well, moving around a lot doesn’t really give you the opportunity to have a very active social life.”

“Yeah, I guess you’re right.”

“Don’t get me wrong, I did date, but it was nothing serious.”

He looked genuinely interested. “So, you move a lot?”

“As far as I can remember, I’ve been to about twelve schools in the past ten years.” We’d been doing this moving thing since I was seven. Normally, I’d stay at the school for the whole year, but there were some cases where we would leave in the middle. I don’t even know what made us move so much, or why my dad would decide it was time to leave.

“Wow, so you’re an army brat?” he asked with that smile on his face.

I shoved him jokingly. “No. I don’t really know why we move so much.”

When I noticed the looks, I started to want to change the subject. He was looking at me like he didn’t understand, which obviously he didn’t. But there was the “Wow, that’s weird” look underneath it and that’s what I didn’t like. So, my dad moved a lot…that didn’t make ME weird. Him, maybe, but not me.

“You don’t know why you move?”

This was it. I could tell him that I couldn’t remember the first seven years of my life, or I could lie. Past experiences made me want to lie, but there was something about Max. It was like he had a secret too. I wanted to be honest with him, but I wanted to be friends with him more, and some people react weirdly to the fact that I have no memory and move around a lot. Don’t ask me why, but they do.
“I just haven’t ever asked. My dad isn’t the nicest person,” I said finally. It wasn’t the whole truth, but it also wasn’t a lie. I hadn’t asked because I’m not allowed, and my dad definitely isn’t the nicest person.

He nodded, like he accepted that answer, and it made me wonder about his family life. Was there something about his dad that made it okay for my dad to be a jerk?

“So, what about you?” I asked finally.

“What about me?”

“What’s your story? Why is a guy who doesn’t like attention dating the head cheerleader?”

“Who says I don’t like attention?” he challenged.

“Are you saying you do?”

He was quiet for a second. “No, I’m definitely a “behind the tree” kind of guy.”

I didn’t even have to ask what that meant, and when I didn’t ask he seemed to like that. He seemed to like being understood.

“So, that doesn’t answer my question,” I pried gently. I didn’t want to push him to talk about something he didn’t want to talk about. If he didn’t answer me after this I would just leave it alone.

“Let’s just say things aren’t always how they look.”

I nodded, deciding to drop it for now. My fantasy was creeping back into my head a little though. If things were all sunshine and roses for Max and Tess, maybe there was a possibility for Max and Liz…that did have a nice ring to it.

We walked out to a patio area, where there were a bunch of picnic tables set up. Students were sitting on them, some finishing last minute homework assignments and others just talking before the bell rang. Max led me to a table where a guy was currently sitting, his head in a book.

“The DaVinci Code?” Max asked when we got to the table.

The boy looked up, a smile coming across his face. He had dark brown hair and really nice green eyes, and from the looks of him, I could tell that he was really tall. His long legs practically reached the opposite bench. Max sat across from him and I sat down next to Max.

“It’s pretty good so far,” the boy replied to Max’s question, and then turned to me, sticking out his hand for me to take. “Forgive Max, he must’ve misplaced his manners, I’m Alex Whitman.”

I looked at Max and smiled, and then turned back to Alex, putting my hand in his own to shake. He surprised us both by giving mea quick kiss on the back of my hand. “I’m Liz,” I said with a laugh, “Parker. Liz Parker.”
“Ok Romeo, you can let go of her hand now. We don’t know where your mouth has been.” Max said jokingly, but his face remained serious.

“Max, I thought we agreed not to talk about that in public,” Alex remarked seriously, putting his hand to his chest in fake shock.

Max rolled his eyes and I couldn’t help but laugh. “Do you want me to leave you two alone?” I asked Max, trying to keep a straight face.

Max smiled at me, “No, but Alex could always leave.”

I felt a blush creep over my cheeks at the implication of his friend leaving Max and I alone. I wanted to tell Alex to get lost, but I liked the boy way too much already. I looked at him, noticing his eyes were looking somewhere else, and followed his gaze to find Isabel. Max, wanting to know what we were looking at, noticed her as well.

“Oh, there’s Isabel. I’ll be right back, I have to talk to her about something,” Max said hurriedly, excusing himself from the table and walking over to the girl who was by herself.

I watched them for a second, when I heard Alex’s voice behind me. “He likes you.”

“What?”

“Max. He likes you.”

There was that blush again. I looked up at Alex. “You think so?”

He nodded. “The only people he smiles like that around are me, Maria, Michael, Kyle, and Isabel,” he pointed out.

“So, him and Isabel aren’t…”

Alex laughed. “No way. They’ve been best friends since they were in diapers. Their families actually moved here from….wherever they moved here from. Their dads worked together or something like that, but that’s a whole nother story.”

I looked at him curiously, desperate to find out the truth about Max. Then I thought about what he had said. Did Max really like me? Was Alex telling the truth? I liked the fact that he smiled at me the way that he did. Sure, other people has smiled at me before, Alex was actually looking at me with this goofy grin on his face right at that moment, but there was something about when it came from Max. This feeling I got in my stomach that just wouldn’t go away.

I turned to look at Max and Isabel again, and this time they were looking in our direction. I smiled at Max, and to my delight, he returned the gesture. He gave Isabel a quick hug before coming back to our table. She went off in a different direction, probably to find the mindless cheerleaders.

“Sorry about that,” Max said when he slid into his seat again.

“Not a problem,” Alex replied before I had a chance to say anything. “I was just telling Liz here all your dirty secrets.”
“Yeah, I can’t believe some of the stuff you left out.” I said looking at him seriously, my arms crossed in front of my chest.

Before Max had a chance to say anything, the bell sounded. Alex got up from the table and grabbed his back pack, saying goodbye to each of us before heading off in the direction of his class. Max pulled his own book bag back on to his shoulders and then grabbed mine from the floor.

“Off to biology.”

We walked towards the class, Max still holding my back pack and refusing to let me have it. When we got to the classroom, Max and I took a seat at a lab station in the front of the class. I was glad we had this class together, because science was my favorite. While we sat there, Max took out a piece of paper, scribbled something on it really quickly, and then slid it towards my side of the table.

I reached out for it, our fingers touching as the paper went from his hand to my own. Trying to ignore the feeling, I looked at the slip of paper and smiled.

Want to hang out tonight?
I can show you the town.
And correct whatever lies
Alex said about me…M.


I looked at him and nodded, the feeling coming back to my stomach as he sent me a smile and then turned to pay attention. And just like that, the fantasy was back.
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Postby Hopeless Romantic » Fri Jul 29, 2005 2:46 pm

Thank you for the feedback! i love you guys :)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Part Six

I was really excited to see where Max was going to take me tonight, just because I was actually interested in seeing this town. There was something about it that made me want to know it, made me want to get comfortable in it. It was like I wanted to stay here forever and would have to know about the town in order to do so. Maybe it had to do with the people, but a small part of me was wondering if it had to do with the fact that this was the first place in ten years that had actually felt familiar.

I wasn’t exaggerating when I said I couldn’t remember anything from my past. I woke up one day on the road with a man that deep down I knew that I should know, and that’s where my life began. It was like I was born that day. But I knew that wasn’t true, because I knew how to read, write, play soccer, and do anything a regular seven year old would’ve been able to do.

I wanted to know what was in my past. I wanted to know where I came from, what my mother was like, but I couldn’t even ask.

It’s a pretty rotten feeling, feeling like you don’t belong anywhere.

I don’t really have a home, or a place that I feel safe. I’ve never once, when with my father felt content or happy. Maybe that was part of the things I just knew the second that I woke up in the car, that I couldn’t be safe around him.

I was glad when it was time for me to leave, because I needed to get my mind off of this. I’d been thinking about it a lot more than usual lately and I didn’t like it. Who wants to be reminded that they don’t have a home? Who wants that thrown in their face more than it has to be?

When Max had heard that I wasn’t driving, and intended to walk to the Crashdown to meet up with him, he immediately insisted that he give me a ride. We exchanged phone numbers, because I didn’t have a cell phone, and when I saw his number flashing on my caller id I couldn’t help but get excited.

I picked up the phone, and tried to stop myself from sounding too excited. “Hi, Max.”

“Hey, I’ll be there to pick you up in like five minutes,” he said quickly. There was something different about him. His voice seemed agitated and he definitely wasn’t smiling.

“Ok, do you want me to wait outside?”

“If you don’t mind. I’ll see you in a few. Bye.”

I said goodbye, but I doubt he even heard it. He was off the phone by then. I immediately wanted to know what was wrong. Had Tess put him in a bad mood? Because that wouldn’t be too surprising.

I decided to be waiting, not wanting to make him wait and become impatient and even more upset. I walked to where my dad was working, and cleared my throat to get his attention.

“Where are you going?” he demanded gruffly.

“Out. I’m going to see the town.”
“Be home early.”

I had to stop myself from talking back. “Fine,” I replied, picking up my bag from the floor and swinging it over my shoulder.

I walked outside, feeling the cold air brush over me. I hadn’t worn anything really warm today, just a pair of jeans and a nice red shirt that fell off the shoulders. I really liked the shirt and hadn’t wanted a jacket to cover it. Now I would have to deal with the cold.

Max pulled up, his jeep covered in dirt and I couldn’t help but smile at him. “I like your car.”

He still had the agitated look on his face, but his features softened at my comment and he smiled back. “Thanks.”

“I especially like the dirt all over it.” I commented walking around and getting in the passenger seat.

He gestured to my seatbelt before throwing the car roughly into first gear. “What can I say, I ride hard.”

I shot him a look. “Don’t worry, so do I.”

He laughed. God, I loved that laugh. I looked ahead, taking in the scenery for the first few minutes of the drive, but my gaze drifted over to Max. He looked really good. His hair was wet, like he had just jumped out of the shower, and was falling into his face adorably. He was wearing dark jeans and a regular t-shirt. He even had a leather jacket on.

When I looked at his face I noticed that he was looking me over as well. “You look nice,” he said, still looking at me.

“Thank you. You don’t look so bad yourself.”

We pulled up to a red light and he took off his seatbelt. I had no idea what he was doing so I just continued to watch him. Finally he pulled off his jacket and handed it to me.

“Don’t even lie and say you’re not freezing your ass off right now.”

I took the jacket from his graciously. I definitely wasn’t going to complain. The jeep didn’t have a top on it so the wind as he drove had been blowing pretty hard. I had been freezing up until this point. Not only was the gesture extremely sweet, but also now I didn’t have to catch my death. What more could a girl ask for?

“You should get a nice leather jacket,” he suggested thoughtfully, staring at the road. “Girls look good in leather.”

I gave him a wry smile. “Oh, you would say that.”

He laughed again. “I didn’t mean that kind of leather. Though I wouldn’t complain, if that’s what you’re in to.”

I just smiled and turned back to the scenery. The trees and wide spaces that had been heavily populating the area around my house were slowly dissipating, and buildings were starting to come into view. The town seemed to be the typical small town. Everything of importance was in walking distance of everything else.

I started looking for the Crashdown, and when I finally spotted it, I was surprised I hadn’t seen it for a second there. There was a huge spaceship above the front doors, complete with flashing lights and little alien men. I could only imagine what it would be like inside.

I heard Max laugh to my left, and turned to look at him. “You should’ve seen your face just then,” he explained.

“Are we going in there?”

“Yes, we’re going in there. Maria works in there, and she wants to see you. You can meet Michael too.”

He pulled into a parking spot right in front of the restaurant and I continued to stare at the restaurant. I could see the servers inside wearing teal green uniforms, but I couldn’t see them completely.

“Wait, Micheal works here, too?” From what Max had told me about the boy I didn’t really picture him working in a place like this. Max had described him as a “stonewall” whatever that means.

“Yeah, Maria’s family owns this place, and Maria owns Michael, so…” Max trailed off with a smile. “Don’t tell him I said that.”

We climbed out of the car. “Ooh, you’re in trouble! I’m gonna tell him.”

“You wouldn’t dare.”

“You think? I mean, we’ve only known each other for two days, you don’t really know what I’m capable of,” I told him seriously.

I actually couldn’t believe that I had only known him for two days. We had talked almost all day today, during school when he had taken me around. We had joked with everyone at lunch when I had sat with his friends and him. And I already felt like I knew him. I don’t know how it’s possible but for the first time I actually felt comfortable with someone. I felt like there was something there.

I had never been into all that fate stuff, but a part of me felt like I was meant to be in this town, meant to be with these people, like this was where I should’ve been all along.

“Come on, Liz! I’ll do anything!”

He looked like such a little kid, and when he grabbed my arm to stop me from going into the restaurant, I turned to look at him and he looked so adorable. His eyes were pleading, and with those bangs falling into his face, I just couldn’t help but relent to him, but I was going to get something out of it.

“I’ll have to think about what I want, but I’ll keep it between us.” He smiled, and let go of my arm, pulling the door open so we could walk inside.

Maria was the first person I saw, and I had to stop myself from laughing at her. The teal green uniform was even dorkier than I had originally thought. It was a little green dress, complete with a silver alien face apron and silver antennae. Maria’s blond hair was braided into two long braids, and she came over to us with a huge smile on her face.

“Liz, I’m so glad you came! Come on, you have to meet Michael, and you have to try the “Blood of Alien Smoothie”. I’ll make you one! Are you hungry?”

I was pulled away from Max, completely stunned by her. She talked so fast and just kept rambling on about anything. I didn’t even get to answer any of her questions because she didn’t stop talking until we were at the back of the restaurant and in front of the window where the cooks were.

“And this is my boyfriend, Michael,” she said happily, pointing to a guy who’s back was to us. His uniform looked a lot better than Maria’s. He was wearing a shirt that had a picture of a spaceship on it and the words “The Crashdown” written. “Michael!” Maria called again when he didn’t turn around.

“Maria, I’m working here!” he replied, but turned around to say hello. The front of his uniform had just a small picture of an alien on his shirt, and he wore a big cooking apron. He had brown hair, that was actually pretty long, but it was combed. He seemed nice, but he was like Max had said, the kind of person who put on an act. He tried to come off all hard and mean, but I could tell he was a nice person.

“Michael, I’m trying to introduce you to my new friend! This is Liz Parker. Liz, this is my rude but adorable boyfriend.” Maria told me happily, looking at Michael expectantly.

He wiped his hand on his apron and held it through the window so I could shake it. At least I knew he wasn’t going to kiss my hand the way Alex had done. He gave me a short hello, and then looked at Maria, who gave him a smile and pulled me away so Michael could get back to work.

I knew what Max said about Maria owning Michael was probably true if you looked at it a certain way, but I could tell that Michael was just a smart guy. If he was to try to boss Maria around, she would just fight with him, and then he’d end up with a headache every time they spoke to each other. I could tell that Michael gave her the control, just because he was man enough to not feel bad about it, and was willing to give it up to make the relationship work. I had known the guy for about two minutes, but I already had respect for him.

“How long have you and Michael been together?” I asked Maria as she led me to the table where Max had decided to sit down.

“He’s sitting in “his” booth, of course,” Maria commented randomly, looking at Max and then turning to me. “We met in the beginning of sophomore year. We were assigned to do a project together. We actually didn’t like each other much…but that kind of turned into this weird passion we have for each other.” She had a dreamy smile on her face, and I couldn’t help but feel a little envious. Sure, I had known “passion” but there had never been any feeling behind it. “We finally got together during the heat wave that year.”

We got to Max’s booth and I slid in the seat across from him. “Hello, ladies.”

“Max, why do you insist on sitting in this section? You know this isn’t one of my tables.”

Max smiled at her. “That is exactly why I sit here, Maria.”

She shot him a glare and then turned back to me. “I’m going to go get you that smoothie.”
“I want one too!” Max said as she turned to walk away, but Maria just kept walking.

“Why do you sit here, Max?”

He looked at me, and then took a sip of his water. “I don’t know actually,” he said with a shrug. “I’ve always just liked this booth. I don’t do it to piss Maria off, though. I’m not that mean.”

“I bet you tell that to all the girls.”

Maria returned with my smoothie, setting it in front of me with a pointed look at Max. “Hey! Where’s mine? I wanted one too.”

Maria smiled at Max. “That is exactly why I didn’t bring you one, Max.”

She walked away and Max sat there looking disappointed before I opened my straw and took a sip. I pushed the second straw she had left across the table at him, and he opened it. Waiting until I was done with my sip, he stuck his own straw in and took one too. We sat there for a minute in silence, just drinking the drink, both of us looking at each other with smiles in our eyes.

It was like we were sharing a private joke, and I once again marveled at the fact that I felt so at home with him. At one point, we both put our straws in at the same time and laughed as we both took a sip.

“Well, isn’t this the cutest thing ever?”

I pulled away from the drink quickly, but Max didn’t move. My first guess was that Tess was standing there, but when I looked I saw Isabel and Alex.

“Don’t look so guilty, you were only drinking your drink,” Isabel said with a smirk, sliding into the seat next to me as Alex sat across from her as Max got out of the seat. “We haven’t really met officially. I’m Isabel.”

“Liz Parker,” I introduced. Max excused himself and went to the back of the restaurant, most likely to use the restrooms.

When I looked back at Isabel she was sharing a smile with Alex, and kept looking back at me. “He likes you,” she said finally.

I didn’t say anything, just kept drinking my smoothie, but inside I was excited over the fact that just maybe what they were saying was true.

tbc...
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Postby Hopeless Romantic » Sun Jul 31, 2005 7:29 pm

:D I love you guys!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Part Seven

It had been a few minutes but Max still hadn’t come back to the table. I saw him disappear into the door that led to the back and figured he was going to talk to Michael or something. Isabel had been keeping me occupied though, because she was like Maria, once she started talking she didn’t stop. She wasn’t as bad as the other girl, but still.

“So, where’d you move here from Liz?”

I drained the last of my smoothie and licked the rest from my lips before answering. “Boston.”

“How’d you like it there? My friend went to Boston to look at colleges a little while ago, and she says its really nice.”

“Yeah, it’s different from Roswell, that’s for sure,” I said, looking around the restaurant and taking in the alien décor. My eyes saw Max talking to Michael in the back and I smiled. “I like it though.”

Isabel followed my gaze and smiled at me. “So, you like him too then?” she asked.

I didn’t really know what to say. Max had a girlfriend. He was with her for a reason, wasn’t he? Did it really matter if I liked him or not? I looked at him again. He was standing in that little window where Maria had taken me to see Michael, and he was looking at me. When our eyes met, he smiled. It was that small smile, the one you get when you’re trying not to smile and you just can’t help it. It was that smile that gave Isabel my answer.

“I do like him,” I told her honestly. “But he’s with Tess.”

Isabel frowned at the mention of Tess’s name. “That’s something else I wanted to talk to you about.”

Yeah, I was confused at this point. Isabel was supposed to be Tess’s friend. “What about her?”

“Be careful, just because she can get pretty vicious.”

Isabel’s warning made me wonder about Max and Tess again. What did she mean by vicious? Had Tess done something before? There was so much I wanted to know about these people, but I had no idea how to find out everything. I could ask Isabel, but I didn’t want to seem too interested, and I was sure she probably didn’t know everything about Max and his relationships and stuff.

We sat there for a few minutes in silence when the door chimed behind us. I turned around to look and see who was coming in and couldn’t stop the groan coming from my mouth. Tess, flanked by her two mindless drones, was coming into the Crashdown, and heading right for my table.

I looked at Isabel, and she was looking at Tess, too. The blonde didn’t seem nervous; she just seemed annoyed. It was exactly like I thought, she put up with Tess for a reason, but that didn’t mean that she liked it.

“Hi, Tess,” she greeted when the girls came up to our table.
Tess was wearing a really low cut baby blue top and probably the smallest mini-skirt in history. She looked like a slut, as did her friends. I looked at Isabel, who was wearing jeans and a v-neck top, and decided I was glad she didn’t follow everything to other girl did.

“Isabel,” Tess replied, her blue eyes trained on me. “Lynn.”

“Tease,” I replied.

The other girls were shooting those immature dirty looks, and I’ve never really understood their purpose. What do these girls think? By sitting there and staring at me in a mean way I’m just going to poof and disappear? No, actually it just makes them look stupid.

“What are you doing in this booth?” Tess asked finally.

“Sitting, and eating,” I replied obviously.

“This is Max’s booth.”

I looked at Isabel, who shot me a look of warning, but I wasn’t going to back down from this girl just because she thought she was something special. She was mistaken, and if she wanted to be vicious, I could be vicious right back.

“I guess that’s why I’m sitting here, Tess. Because I came here with Max.”

She shot me that death glare and then composed herself. “You managed to rope him into taking you here? He’s only doing it because he pities you. Max is nice like that, he can’t help but feel bad for people who are as pathetic as you are.”

“That’s funny, Tess.”

“Why?”

“Because he invited ME here.” Liz Parker: 1 Tess Harding: 0

She looked flustered for a second, and looked at Isabel to confirm this. Isabel nodded and Tess got angry. Her face turned a slight shade of red and her arms, which were crossed in front of her, dropped to her side in fists. She came closer to the table, putting her hands on the surface and leaning in so she was close to me.

“You better stay away from him. You have no idea who you’re dealing with,” she threatened, but I was unfazed by it.

“And what are you going to do if I don’t?” I challenged in return.

Tess obviously wasn’t used to being questioned, because she stayed silent for a second. When her friends came to my side, in an attempt to be even more frightening, I didn’t move.

“I’ll make your life a living hell.”

I looked up, and Max was looking at us from the back, an annoyed look on his face. He raised his eyebrows in question and I just shrugged and rolled my eyes. Tess, noticing my stare, looked back and saw Max.

“We’re out of here. You coming, Isabel?”

Now, I’m sure she didn’t want to go, but she shot me an apologetic look and followed Tess. “Tell Max I said bye when he comes back.”

She stood up and left with them. Alex, who had gone to the bathroom after Max, slid into the seat across from me, a goofy smile on his face.

“What’s with you?” I asked him.

He smiled. “Isabel.”

“You like her?”

I hadn’t really expected that. Isabel seemed like a really nice person, and Alex was a great guy, from what I knew so far, I just didn’t see her going out with someone like him. She was a cheerleader and friends with Tess. It seemed like there were more important things to her.

Alex just looked at me. “We’re involved,” he whispered. “But you can’t tell anyone.”

I shot him a look. Isabel and him were dating in secret? I wondered whose idea that was. Alex seemed like he wanted to shout it from the rooftops. I had a feeling Isabel had asked him to keep it quiet, and that wasn’t something I liked, but it wasn’t my business and I didn’t really know the whole story.

Max was finally coming back to the table, and he smiled when he slid in next to Alex. “Sorry about that. I had to talk to Michael about something. I feel bad for leaving you though.”

“It’s okay.”

“Well, how about the meal’s on me?” he offered.

I could feel Alex staring at us, but my eyes never left Max’s. “Sure.”

Score, free food and Max felt bad for leaving me. I wasn’t going to order much, because I wasn’t hungry, and I didn’t want to make him pay too much. Maybe just some French fries.

Maria came up to our table with a big smile on her face. “Agnes said I could take your table! Aren’t you excited, Max?”

“Thrilled.”

“Oh, don’t be angry, or I might put a little something extra in your food.”

“See, this is why I don’t eat here,” Alex said quickly.

“Alex, you ate here yesterday,” Maria pointed out.

“Oh yeah…”
Maria rolled her eyes and turned back to me. “What can I get for you, Liz?”

I looked over the menu, and as I was going to order my fries I saw something better. “Can I have an order of Saturn Rings?”

“Sure,” she replied, taking the menu from me.

“Onion rings, Liz?” Max asked. “Ew…”

“What does it matter? It’s not like I’m kissing anyone, anytime soon.”

“Not anymore you’re not.”

That was definitely flirting. And I was never one to pass up the opportunity for flirtation. “And just who might I have been kissing?”

Max shrugged. “A Cherry Coke, please,” he said to Maria, handing her the menu. “Well, if you had played your cards right, Liz…”

I laughed. “Damn. I missed my chance.”

He nodded mournfully. “Yes, you did.”

“I think she’ll survive, Max,” Maria said, writing down Alex’s order and leaving the table.

We got our food, and ate laughing the entire time at comments made by Alex, or stories Max would tell. I was proud to say I even contributed to some of the jokes. It was weird, but I felt something that I had never felt before. Sitting with them, part of their jokes, getting those secret smiles from Max…

I felt like I belonged.
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Postby Hopeless Romantic » Sat Aug 06, 2005 1:54 am

Sorry! I've been really sick, so here's two parts for you because of the wait.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Part Eight

By the time we finished eating and left the restaurant it was getting late and the town was getting dark. We paid for our bill, well, Max and Alex paid and I had to try to slip my money in Max’s pocket but he kept giving it back. It felt weird, having someone pay for me. It almost felt like a date.

Actually the more time I spent with Max the more comfortable I felt. Alex was the same way. It felt like I had been pulled into their tight-knit group without question, and that they all had accepted me because Max had. Alex and I had a lot of fun at dinner making fun of Max; I even found the cutest thing to tease him about: his ears. Maria, I could tell had been dying for a girl pal and she had already insisted that she take me shopping and that I get a job at the Crashdown. I didn’t know about that one though.

I had never really had a job before because I didn’t stay in the towns long enough to actually work there in a steady way. I also felt bad because there was a chance that I would have to pick up and leave one day and then I’d leave the job without any notice. But Maria told me that I’d have a great time working with her and that the money was good.

Max insisted I take the job so he could see me in the little uniform.

I hadn’t even brought up the thing with Tess to him, and didn’t know if I should. It wasn’t really a big deal, and I didn’t know if he would want to talk about her. So I decided to keep what she had said to me between us until he brought the subject up.

“Liz, don’t forget about the mall this week. I’ll call you, ok?” Maria said as we walked to the front of the Crashdown.

“Ok,” I smiled.

There was something about Maria that made me instantly want to be friends with her. Almost like being friends with her was right in a way. It was weird, but I felt like I had been friends with her my whole life.

Alex walked out of the Crashdown with us, and we stood outside trying to decide what to do next.

“You’re really short, Liz.”

I shot Alex a look. “Gee, thanks.”

“No, I mean compared to me, you’re like a midge.” To prove his point, he walked over to me and put his arm on my head and leaned, like I was his own personal arm rest.

“Maybe you’re just freakishly tall,” I shot back.

Max, who had been watching the whole exchange, decided to side with Alex. “Now, Liz, the boy does have a point. I’m normal height and you’re a lot shorter than me.”

He walked over to me and rested his arm on my shoulders. “I hate you both,” I said grumpily, shaking out of their grasps and moving to stand in front of them. “And Max, you are not tall. The only thing big on you are your ears.”
“She does have a point, man.”

I smiled triumphantly. “So, what’s next? You promised to show me the town and all I’ve seen so far is the Crashdown.”

“I’m afraid there isn’t much else, Liz.”

I shot Alex a disbelieving look. “The highlight of this town can not be a restaurant.”

“Well, it’s one of the main attractions.”

I groaned. The small town life definitely wasn’t for me after moving here from Boston. That city had always been alive and fun, here I could see the tumbleweeds rolling across the streets.

“So, what do you guys do here for fun?”

Alex and Max exchanged a look. “We’ll have to show you on Friday,” Max said finally. “But don’t expect too much.”

I rolled my eyes. The only thing fun about this town so far was the people I had met. If Max and Alex weren’t with me right now I’d probably be jumping off the nearest sand dune out of boredom.

We stood there for a few more minutes when Alex spoke up. “I think I’m gonna head home. I’ll talk to you all tomorrow.”

He walked up to me and gave me a hug and did some hand-shaking thing with Max. The hug was interesting because no one had ever done that before. We waited as he got into his car and pulled away, and then Max turned to me.

“Come on, there’s somewhere I want to take you.”

I followed him to the car and we drove off, down some of the streets. Roswell was actually a lot bigger than I had originally thought, because the residential parts of town spread out pretty far. The houses were all different. There were smaller house, apartments, and condominiums. I even saw a trailer park. We finally pulled down one road where the houses were enormous.

Max drove down the long road, until we got to the end of it. There weren’t really any lights on, and the streetlights didn’t come this far down the street so it was pretty dark. Now, I’m not easily frightened, but when I looked at the house in front of me, that’s when I got a little scared.

It was dark and kind of creepy looking. I could tell that no one had lived in it for a really long time, but when someone had been there it had probably been a really nice place. It was huge, probably the biggest on the entire street, with balconies and columns, the whole nine yards.

I stared at it in awe. “This is amazing.”

Max eyes were on me instead of the house, and I shifted under his gaze. “You’re not scared,” he asked.
I nodded, feeling the cold around me and the Goosebumps prickle my skin. Max saw me shudder and immediately took off his jacket, putting it around my shoulders.

“Thanks,” I said, pushing my hair behind my ears and sliding my arms into the big sleeves of his jacket.

“Some people say this place is haunted,” he told me, taking a few steps closer. I didn’t move though and he looked back at me. “Don’t be scared, Liz. I’ll protect you,” he told me with a smile, taking my hand and pulling me closer to the house.

I didn’t really want to go any nearer but the feel of my hand in his was too good to pull away from. I let him lead me closer, the pavement cracked beneath our feet as we walked to the front door.

“Why do people think it’s haunted?”

He stared up at the house, as if he was thinking about it. “Well, two people died in this house, but I think it’s more than a ghost story.”

I watched him as he led me around the side of the house. It was dark and I couldn’t see where I was going. I had no idea what I could be stepping on, but with Max leading me it didn’t matter. I actually trusted him. For the first time I trusted someone.

We walked to the back of the house, and there was an old porch swing there, facing the lake that I hadn’t seen before. Max walked closer to the swing, and stood there watching it. I watched it with him, bundled up in his jacket as the wind blew and the porch swing started to move.

“You don’t think this place is haunted?” I asked, staring at the eerie surroundings and feeling a chill run down my spine.

“I just think the thing people miss is the love story behind this whole thing.” I looked at him curiously, and he smiled. “Want to hear the story?”

I nodded, wondering about the love story myself. I was a big sucker for things like that. I loved things like the stories of Romeo and Juliet and books where couples overcome huge obstacles to be together, or where their love lasts forever.

“They say that a long time ago, around the time of World War II, there was a really rich Spanish family that lived here. The mother and father had moved here all the way from Cuba, and they came with their only daughter, Sofia.”

“I love that name,” I said with a smile.

“Me too. And the girl was supposedly very beautiful. She dreamt of falling in love one day and starting a family, and the summer after she moved here she met someone. It’s the classical rich girl falling for the poor boy. He worked with the construction building the new houses on her block and they saw each other for the first time at the town’s carnival. I like to think it was love at first sight, but no one really knows for sure.”

“So, what happened?” I asked when he went quiet for a second.

“They were seeing each other for the entire summer and fell in love. She knew her parents wouldn’t approve of him though, especially because when she turned seventeen, her parents announced that they were going to be arranging a marriage between her and the son of one of the other wealthy families in the town. She was furious and refused, revealing her relationship with Matias and telling them she wanted to be with him.”

Completely intrigued I asked, “What did her parents do?”

He smiled at the entranced look on my face before continuing. “They got into a huge argument, and Sofia left the house and went to find Matias, only to find out that he had been drafted into the war and was leaving in a matter of days. Swearing her love for him, she promised she’d wait for his return, and that he’d find her on the porch swing in the back of her house when he came home. She spent every day on that swing, reading letters from him and writing him back, but eventually the letters stopped, and she found out a year later that he had been killed in battle.”

I could feel tears pricking my eyes. “That’s so sad.”

“Yeah, people still say they can hear the porch swing creaking in the middle of the night, even when there isn’t any wind. It moves like a person is sitting there in it. And sometimes at night, if you look in that window,” he said, pointing at the window he was talking about, “people say a candle flickers, just like the one that was found next to her body, when her parents came in and discovered she had killed herself.”

He took a deep breath as he finished, his eyes leaving my own to stare up at the house. We both watched it silently, the porch swing creaking as the wind moved it.

“God, I can’t even imagine being in love like that.”

He smiled again, “I used to feel the same way…but now I’m not so sure.”

I wondered what that meant, and though I had promised myself I wasn’t going to ask, I couldn’t help it. “Because you met Tess?”

This time he didn’t smile. “No, I don’t even know why I'm with her anymore. The reasons I went out with her to begin with disappeared about a week after I had been with her.”

“So, why are you still with her?”

He sighed, kicking a rock on the ground before looking back at the house. “I feel like I’m waiting for something, sometimes, and it was never there, so it was just easier to stay with her than to go through the hassle of breaking up with her. She’s not exactly the easiest person to get away from.”

“Yeah, I’ve noticed.” He shot me a questioning look. “Just something that happened today in the Crashdown, when you were in the back with Michael.”

“Oh yeah, sorry about that again. We’re planning a surprise party for Maria’s eighteenth birthday. I would’ve told you at the Crash but Alex was there and he’s not allowed to know because he’ll blab. But what happened with Tess?”

The fact that Michael and Max were planning Maria a surprise party was the cutest thing I had ever heard of, but I didn’t have time to think about it, because Max was waiting for my answer.
“She kind of warned me to stay away from you,” I told him.

He groaned. “She shouldn’t even have gone there. She flipped out when I told her I was going to show you the town. We got in a huge fight before I came to pick you up, that’s why I was in such a weird mood.”

“Sorry,” I said sincerely. “You shouldn’t have to put up with that if you don’t want to.”

Even as I said that though, I felt like there had to be more to the story than that. I didn’t ask though. Max just didn’t seem like the kind of person who would be in that type of situation. First of all I didn’t even see him with someone like Tess, and secondly being with her when he didn’t like her. There had to be a reason he had gone out with her in the first place.

“I don’t think I’m going to put up with it much longer,” he told me honestly. I was secretly happy about that but didn’t say anything.

We stood there for a little, looking at the house, the wind blowing around us. I felt all warm and cuddly in his jacket and there was something about standing there with him that I really liked.

“Thank you for bringing me here, Max.”

He shrugged, taking my hand to lead me around the house again so we could leave. “It just seemed like something you’d like.”

“It was,” I told him. We climbed into his jeep, and drove away from the house. As I sat there in his jeep, wrapped in his jacket, which still smelt like him, with the wind whipping through my hair, I couldn’t stop thinking about how much I had liked everything about this night. And how much I hoped there would be more nights just like it.
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Hopeless Romantic
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Postby Hopeless Romantic » Sat Aug 06, 2005 1:55 am

Part Nine

“Mommy!”

She was running toward me, but I couldn’t see her. Her figure blurred by the haze surrounding my memory. I wanted to reach out to her. I wanted to see what she looked like, who she was, but I couldn’t.

“Sweetie, I'm so glad you’re home! Mommy missed you, baby!”

The surroundings seemed familiar. I felt like I had walked through the door before but I couldn’t quite place it. My mind wanted so badly to remember, to see things clearly, but it was like a wall was stopping me from getting near it.

I was reaching out for the memory, just like I was reaching for my mom, but I couldn’t quite reach. My hands reached out, short little baby fingers grasping for anything they could hold on to, but when I looked again everything changed.

My hands grew longer, to the hands I had now. The figure in front of me faded slowly just as my fingers reached her own, and everything around me disappeared.

The only thing I can remember feeling from the memory…was love.


I stepped back suddenly, the shock of what I had just seen rendering me almost unmovable. I wanted to walk through the door again, I wanted to get closer to her, I wanted to see my mom.

But she was gone, and all I could see was my new house. All I could hear was Max’s car as he drove away, dropping me off after one of the best nights I had ever had.

“What the hell was that?”

Was it a memory? Had I really just seen my mom in that moment? Or was my mind so desperate for a picture of her that it was creating what I wanted to see?

The thing was, it had felt real. I knew without question that I had been in that position before. I had been a child, reaching out for my mother, knowing that she was going to scoop me into her arms after a day of being apart.

But why now? Why was my mind clearing now? Not that anything was really clear. Why was I seeing the things I had wanted to see for so long at this moment? I had been so unhappy before, moving from place to place. All I wanted at that time was a memory, something to show that at least one point of my life I had belonged somewhere.

Why now when I was finally starting to feel like I had a place were the memories coming back. I wanted it to happen again, but then I didn’t at the same time.

I wanted to know my mother desperately, but I had to accept that she was gone. She was gone and never coming back, and having these memories of her wasn’t going to change that. Was I seeing these things because I wasn’t supposed to forget her? Because I was supposed to find out the truth?

Did I even want to do that? Obviously whatever happened was bad. My dad and I have been running for as long as I can remember, my mom isn’t around anymore. Did I want to know the truth? Couldn’t I just live my life without knowing, and be here safe with Max and my new friends?

It amazes me that I can spend my entire life wanting a single memory from my mother and the second that I finally get what I was waiting for I would not want it because of some guy.

That was another thing that was confusing…Max. I had no idea where he stood as far as if he liked me or if he was just being nice and being a friend. Sure, everyone kept telling me that he had a thing for me, but he was dating Tess. He believed in love, most likely because of Tess.

I wasn’t just going to show up one day and sweep him off his feet while we ride off into the sunset leaving Tess and everything behind. My life was definitely not some cheesy soap opera.

I figured there was no point in dwelling on it. What ever was meant to happen would happen, and I just had to wait it out and see. If Max wanted to be with Tess then he should be with her, and if he didn’t, well I couldn’t do anything about that until the time came.

I walked past my dad, into my house, realizing I had been standing there for at least five minutes, the effects of the flashback finally wearing off. He was sitting at his desk, his glasses on his face. He only wore those when he was drunk, so I decided to get past him as quick as I could, not wanting there to be any drama between us.

I was too late. He heard me walk in and immediately looked up.

“Elizabeth? Is that you?”

“Yes.”

“What are you doing home so late?” he demanded gruffly, the words coming out slurred.

“I just went out with some friends. I wanted to see the town.”

He got up from the desk, walking closer to me, and I didn’t move. “Don’t do what I think you’re going to do.”

I stared back at him. “Do what?”

“Get attached. There’s no point, Elizabeth. These people don’t know you, and they’re going to forget you the second we’re gone.”

“You’re wrong.”

He let out a pitying laugh, and I looked away from him. “You don’t belong here.”

I walked away from him, heading towards my room to shut out the sound of his words. Sure he was drunk, but that didn’t mean that what he was saying wasn’t the truth. Maybe I really didn’t belong. Maybe I had been fooling myself.

Slamming the door shut, I heard his voice on the other side, telling me the things I didn’t want to hear, but I tried to ignore him. I pulled a box up to where I was sitting on the floor, so I could unpack a little more. All of our stuff was here, and though it wasn’t much, I wanted to hurry and get it out of the way. Most of the box was clothes, but there at the bottom of the box was something I had put away a long time ago.

I held it in my hands, the edges wearing after years of being used. It was blue, my favorite color, and as I untied the string I wondered if I really wanted to do this.

It was a photo album, of all the pictures I had taken over the years, in all my different schools, with all my different friends. The first one was the most special. It was the only picture I had of me before I lost my memory.

I was sitting on a little swing, with a little girl next to me. Her blond hair braided in two little braids and her green eyes smiling at the camera, freckles across her little nose. We were holding hands as we swung, ready to jump off and see who would go the farthest.

I didn’t know who she was, I don’t remember her name or anything, but she’s special. She’s the only thing I have from before, plus the flashback, but I didn’t even know how I felt about that one.

I flipped through the rest of the pictures, wondering if the friends I had made really had forgotten about me. Was I just some girl they knew for a little while who had never really belonged.

Would things be different with Max? What about Maria and Alex, who I felt so close to already?

My dad’s voice was still unrelenting outside my door and I had to get away from it. I guess my window was coming in handy a little earlier than I had thought.

Sliding it up, I swung my leg out and climbed out landing on the ground with a soft jump. I didn’t want to make any noise, because I didn’t want my dad to come outside and see me gone.

I had no idea where I was going to go, but I needed to get out of the house. I decided that I was going back to where I had been all night. There was something about the haunted house, about the story Max had told that made me want to go there.

It actually wasn’t that far from my house, just a couple of blocks, and the walk gave me time to think about things.

The thing I didn’t expect was to see Max’s jeep there when I walked up. He was sitting in it, staring at the house. For a second I wanted to turn around and not let him know I was here, just because I felt a little weird, but when I turned to walk away he turned and looked at me.

“Liz?”

Stumbling forward and feeling really awkward, “Hi, Max.”

“Are you stalking me?” he asked, his tone light. “Because that would be super.”

I laughed. “Actually yes, but I’m a little disappointed.”

“Why’s that?”

“I was hoping you’d go home and shower or something, not come back to this house. That’s what us stalkers really go for.”

I winked at him and he laughed. “I’ll think about that next time.” There was a pause. “What are you really doing here?”

I let out a sigh, coming to the passenger seat of the jeep and climbing in. “I just needed to get out of my house,” I told him.

“Parents giving you trouble?”

I nodded. “My dad,” I explained. “He can be a pretty big jerk when he wants to be.”

He nodded like he understood. “What about your mom?”

Awkward silence. “I don’t know her,” I said finally.

I didn’t really want to get into the details of my life, but there was something about Max that made me want to tell him everything, like if I did he would take everything bad about my life and just make it better again. I knew there was a lot he couldn’t fix, but that didn’t mean I didn’t want him to try.

“She died, a long time ago…before I can remember actually.”

“I'm sorry.”

Ever wonder why people say that, even when it’s not their fault. There’s something about hearing that someone died that makes you feel so bad that you just need to apologize for it, because you feel bad that someone has to go through something like that.

“Thanks,” I told him finally. “I guess it makes it kind of easier, not remembering her, you know?”

Another nod. “Yeah, but you don’t have any of those memories,” he replied, somehow knowing exactly how I felt about it without even asking. It was like he went through it too.

We sat in silence for a little bit longer. Both of us lost in our own thoughts, my mind on my mother. I didn’t know what he was thinking about.

“Thank you again, Max, for doing what you did for me today.”

He smiled at me. “Anytime, Liz.”

We sat there for I don’t know how long, just talking about everything. I told him stuff about my dad that I had never told anyone in my entire life. It was weird, but it made me feel like a weight had been lifted from my shoulder.

I told him about why we moved so much, how I felt like we were running from something. He agreed with me, thinking that was weird too.

“Have you ever asked him about it?”

I shook my head. “That was the first thing I remember…Don’t ask questions.” I let out a yawn and Max looked at his watch. “It’s getting late, huh?”

He nodded. “Want me to take you home?”

“I can walk.”

“Yeah, but I’ll feel extra special if I get to take you home twice in one night.”

I laughed at him and agreed, so he took me home again, and by the time I climbed through my window, everything my dad had said was completely erased from my mind.
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