Second Life (M/L CC Mature/Adult) *part 18* 7/22/07 [WIP]

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Lulù
Enthusiastic Roswellian
Posts: 36
Joined: Wed Aug 30, 2006 7:41 am
Location: Southern Italy

Second Life (M/L CC Mature/Adult) *part 18* 7/22/07 [WIP]

Post by Lulù » Mon Jan 15, 2007 2:03 am

Title: Second Life

Couples: M/L main but also M/M and … well, I can’t already lay my cards on the table!

Rating: Mature/Adult. Let’s make myself clear. There will be some sexual situations here and there but I’m not into smut or anything. I like sex only when it’s necessary to the storyline ;)

Category: CC


Disclaimer: The characters of "Roswell" belong to Jason Katims, Melinda Metz, WB, and UPN. I don't own anything remotely related to Roswell except my passion. Any additional characters not mentioned in the show are the creation of my own fantasy.


Summary: after-Graduation stuff, actually set in San Francisco two years later. Our six guys interact with a few brand-new characters. But are they really safe in California? Did their enemies threw the sponge in? Who are their enemies, in the first place? That’s enough. If you wanna know more, you’ve only to read this fic!


FEEDBACK: yes, thank you. I need it! And please, be kind to me … English is not my mother tongue :oops:


Author’s note: I’m going to update weekly, on Mondays or Tuesdays, barring accidents. Now I have to thank my wonderful beta Skittles1983 aka Amy. Without her I don’t know if I ever would make it!



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Thanks to Duccia for this amazing banner!!! :shock:





Prologue


*Will we ever go back? I don’t know. Even I can’t see everything in the future. All I know is that I’m Liz Parker and I’m happy.*


A Fed Ex package had sent those words away from her, along with her teenaged past life. But they bounced incessantly inside her though and she couldn’t stop it. They were repeated in her mind more and more loudly, these words were much too important to her. They implied too many meanings. The end of something she should never have back. The conclusion of the life she had reluctantly said goodbye to, the existence that she knew she had lost. She went away forever. It was an end, but a hopeful beginning too. The beginning of a trip to the unknown, the start of a new adventure. A rebirth … a second life entirely to discover.

*~*~*

San Francisco, September 2004

It was early in the morning. The sunlight was idly trying, with its bashful rays, to reawaken the big bay, teeming with fishing boats and cargos coming from every corner of the world. Over the port, the activity had started several hours ago, although most of the city was still asleep.

San Francisco was especially attractive, but became even splendid when it dozed. As a giant on the ocean shore, it bent down into its large limbs, waiting for a new day, in a dark that wasn’t truly dark. Hundreds of electric blazes enlightened the night shadows. The city was still colossal at night, wonderfully wide, but less impressive than when it went at full gallop during the day. It showed another face at night, that one more fragile, more authentic. Even a metropolis could look like a little town at night.

“I’ll sure never get used to all that …” she said to herself. A bad-mannered crowd kept her pressed against the window. “Just never.” She moved a little to balance her feet and ended up losing her stability even more. At the first stop, someone on the right elbowed her, another one on the left shoved her in search of space. And, as she expected no apologizes. Some more minutes and she would go straight to a psychiatric clinic, at best.

The first thing by which she was impressed was the perpetual mote of people in the city. The sense of omnipotence that made believe you can have everything, every time of the day. The conviction that nothing was inaccessible or impossible. Unlimited freedom and possibilities, that was everyone’s belief. Such a reality would be utopian if she still lived where she had been living for the first 18 years of her life. Roswell. The provincial Roswell. Her little beloved Roswell.

Elizabeth Parker Evans, the one who had been Elizabeth Parker Evans a lifetime ago, caught at the last possible moment a Cable Car, the characteristic tram of San Francisco, and now was travelling alongside the coast. The view was charming outside, looking up a little: on a side there was Golden Gate, with its sturdy lined up piers and the reddening tonalities; on the other one was Bay Bridge, the silver-plated bridge, which shimmered if you looked at it under a special kind of light. Neither to this wonder she’d definitely ever get used. That would enchant her for ever, even after seeing it over and over.

Liz thought back often over Roswell, more often than she wanted to do. For her, like for the other five fugitives, it hadn’t been painless passing from the desert New Mexico to the second most populous city in West Coast. The first days in San Francisco they all felt disoriented and sometimes were under the impression that they arrived to a totally unfamiliar universe. All six of them suffered from the transfer, everybody their own way. Michael, for example, adjusted himself to the change better than the others initially. But in the long run, his sadness turned evident to everyone. Maria started seriously to worry about her Spaceboy’s unusual melancholy. He went as far as to refuse his worshipped Snapples! Nevertheless, when she had to scold him for eating all her coconut biscuits, playing at PS2 all night long, she understood he would be okay.

Also Maria started gradually to feel at ease, almost at home, and in the beginning she would never say that. She began to live again, to be constructive, even a long way off from her mother’s extravagances and her queer creations. Even without the heterogeneous chaos of her room, of her whole life. Even without herself, the real Maria, the eccentric nutty girl who probably no longer existed.

The saddest one of the entire group was obviously Isabel, who had left in Roswell a piece of her heart, beside her past life. Liz and Maria tried to raise her morale by interminable shopping sessions, hoping so to alleviate her sorrow. But forgetting your husband wasn’t a simple or quick process at all and their attempts failed. However, Izzy appreciated the efforts, since were the clear proof of their affection for her. Those two were loyal, honest and sometimes crazy friends. She had never had friends like this, she hadn’t actually had real friends, and they taught her what it meant.

During all that time, as a cautious helmsman, Max never left the boat control. He had always to make the most difficult decisions. In spite of everything, his leadership was solid, even though he had given up his royal throne. He felt still responsible for everyone else and tried to do always his best. His sense of guilt towards Liz didn’t ever diminish. He blamed himself for tearing her away from her comfortable life and from a promising future. Although Liz repeated adamantly that she was happier than ever, Max carried inside him this heavy burden and not even their love had been able to lighten it. He was firmly certain that Liz deserved much more than he could give her. A regular life, a regular relationship, regular projects, and standing with him she couldn’t have anything of that. But she was by his side, as usual, and she would stay forever.

Unlike the others, Kyle felt nearly relieved by the sudden change of life. Leaving home had ever been his dream. He wanted it for so long and perhaps he would never dare to do it, if aliens didn’t have a hand in this. He missed his father so much, too much at times, but he felt him closer now, when they had numerous miles between them, even two different states, than when they had lived together. Besides, in San Francisco there was Isabel too and that made everything more appealing to him.

*~*~*

Once the group escaped the FBI’s snipers, they wandered for a long time through Arizona, Nevada and California before deciding what they had to do. The blue van endured only 48 hours. Michael reduced it to ashes in the heart of desert, 50 miles north of Tucson. That was inevitable, it would be too dangerous left around so an obvious trace of their passing. Since then they moved in most cases separately, on hired cars, that they replaced every three days. They tried to appear as mere free-spirit travellers and not as hunted fugitives but they knew that FBI’s manhunt hadn’t yet finished. They had to falsify their identities to reduce the risk of being tracked down. The three aliens took care to create false documents to everyone. They built up out of nothing six brand new persons: Maxwell and Isabel Carson, Elizabeth Ridley, Michael Paint, Maria Covino and Kyle Bonetti. These were their current names.

On the way, and also during the breaks for rest, they agreed on their versions, so that coincided perfectly. They would say they came from the North - Milwaukee specifically - going West to seek their fortune. Everybody had to study their own part by heart, even the most irrelevant details since they couldn’t risk making a mistake. To delete the New Mexico accent and to adopt, instead of it, a more northern inflection like real Wisconsin people, required much time and effort. They practised demandingly for a long time and eventually they managed. Roswell disappeared even from their language.

In the meanwhile all they also changed their looks, not since they had decided it on a theoretical level as part of their tactic but rather for natural evolution. Among the girls, Isabel chose a shoulder-length haircut, keeping the same hazel colour she used to have in the last year. Maria was again blonde and her hair fell down around her face with soft tufts. Liz let her long hair grow on further and gave it a more wavy set.

Among the boys, Max and Michael exchanged practically their haircuts: Max decided to have got long hair, losing his good boy air that had characterized his adolescence; Michael on the contrary sacrificed his rebellious mane in favour of a very short and slightly crew-cut hairstyle. Eventually Kyle didn’t change a lot but he modified completely his style, inspired by more urban tendencies.

*~*~*

After about ten months of non-stop movements, wandering and cautious, deviations and night watches, the six friends convinced themselves that they had shaken off the pursers, at least for now. They had just stopped over in San Francisco and decided unanimously to stay there. They all thought that it was the most suitable city for their necessities: big enough to not attract attention as new citizens but not exceedingly frantic and confused, like the phantasmagorical Los Angeles. Since then they didn’t move anymore.

“Here we can keep a low profile,” Max said the first time they travelled along Bay Street, one of the accessing roads to the tourist port. “Maybe we’ll also be able to live our lives again.” Looking down, beyond the breakwater, he could see the ocean with its gloomy depths. There weren’t waves, the water surface was flat at the moment. Max wanted to find in that an encouragement, a prophetic symbol, and he was right. San Francisco became shortly their comfortable nest. A nest full of promises.

They were all living together, sharing a big apartment on the first floor of an ancient Victorian palace, one of the many which were in the city, among ultramodern skyscrapers and varied buildings. Because the rent was in proportion to the flat considerable dimensions, the most urgent mission was the same to everyone: to find a job and contribute to the expenses.

Liz achieved her aim in record time, thanks to an incredible stroke of luck. Paul Winslow, young and healthy owner of the Book and Co. chain, including five bookstores spread along the whole West Coast, noticed by chance her hanging around the main branch in San Francisco, personally managed by him. The bookstore was welcoming; it had just one big floor, where the various sections were well-related to each other. The furniture was of cobalt blue, light green and white tones. Il was the ideal environment to acquire a good book and Liz went there almost every evening in order to relax, after spending a day in search of a job. One time Winslow approached her kindly, asking her if she wanted to work for him, considering that she was so keen on books. Liz thought instantly it was a joke and didn’t take the offer into consideration. But Winslow wasn’t joking and at his second, more tenacious offer she knew that too. She started to work two mornings after, assigned to the ‘Science & Nature’ section. The job was pleasant, interesting and well-paid. Her co-workers were friendly and kind. Could she ask for anything else?

Two weeks after that, it was Maria’s turn to be fortunate. Taking advantage of the prodigious references written on her very false resume, she was taken on as clerk in a very exclusive boutique, one of those destined only to a certain kind of snob and wealthy people. It was a real temple of luxury and lavishness where she felt like in the Earthly Paradise or, according to cases, like an elephant walking about a crystal factory. Monica, the owner of the boutique, was forty years old, scatter-brained and ever smiling. You could even define her a lovable woman, if she wasn’t hypocritical and excessively servile with the richest customers. Maria despised slave-to-money people like Monica, but in order to maintain her job she made the best of a bad bargain.

Since leaving Roswell, Isabel felt like she was trapped in limbo and didn’t know how to escape from it. She needed to find a job for her psychological health, beyond economically. Idling her time away was getting her totally paranoid. Given that she had ever managed very well in the bureaucratic-administrative sphere, she interviewed as assistant for a big medical laboratory. Her efficient perfectionism impressed so much the interviewer that she routed every rival. The job was hers. It wasn’t her supreme aspiration or her dream profession, but her dream age had passed off.

Kyle just looked for a job in the motoring sector, where he knew he was competent. Within the space of a month he applied for a job to every garage in San Francisco and its outskirts, advertising his own virtues as a mechanic but receiving always the identical answer: their organization was complete. Then, one day, he ran into a leaflet for the San Francisco Taxi Service, one of the biggest taxi agencies in the city, and he had a brainwave. In less than three weeks he took the taxi-driver license and was acquainted with his yellow taxi, code name Old Lion 27. Definitely cars were linked to his destiny, somehow or another.

The only ones who remained unemployed, two months after the transfer and in spite of many attempts to get themselves a decent employment, were Max and Michael. Therefore, taking the risk, they decided to open up their own business, as 50 % partners. After a month of intense searching, they identified their target: a bar in the middle of the port area, swarming with tourists and workers. They were broke and had to give to the bank false guarantees, by using their powers, in order to stipulate the contract of renting. It was one of the few advantages they had ever gotten from being alien. Under the previous management the place was unsuccessful but in their hands everything changed. They named it Butterfly and like a butterfly it soon took off. It remained mainly a café but in addition became pub and snack bar, with live music two times at week and several theme parties. Naturally, Maria performed there, accompanied by a three elements band. People appreciated the change and the Butterfly met with success. The formula of this sudden popularity was an amalgam of some elements: good food, hospitable and youthful atmosphere, discipline and accessible prices.

*~*~*

San Francisco, June 2003

Maria and Liz rested their elbows against a short red-bricked wall, the enormous embarcadero extending around them. They were chattering for over half an hour, taking small sips of their fresh sodas, bought at the kiosk soaring behind their backs. The air was full of saltiness, the ocean smell evaporating as fog from the water. A pleasant breeze rose upon the hydrodynamic prows of the moored boats, dispersing over the waves the reflection of the street-lamps.

It was becoming a pleasurable tradition that the two girls went out alone one night at week, without their respective mates. It didn’t matter where they went or what they did, by keeping a privileged nook for their friendship they had allowed it to mature and change along with them. That night they were talking about Paul Winslow. Maria had seen him the first time in the last afternoon and she was dazzled by him.

“You’re so lucky, Liz. That’s why you love your job so much!” Maria grumbled. “I understand though. I’d work more happily as well if that he-man was my chief!”

“He could even be Quasimodo to me!” Liz said sipping her soft drink. “That you believe it or not, his look doesn’t matter to me at all!”

Maria started to gesticulate animatedly in her usual manner. “The fact is that you have fixed your eyes on only one person, so you don’t even look at anyone else!”

“Of course, that ‘only one person’ is my soul mate! I don’t give a damn about everyone else!” Liz just smiled genuinely.

“You’re hopeless, my Lizzie, just hopeless!” Maria shrugged dramatically. “There ‘s no solution!”

“If I’m hopeless, what are you, uh? You, my dear, go totally into a trance when Michael shows even a single inch of his bare skin!”

“So what? I’m madly in love with Spaceboy, you know, and you’re madly in love with Mr. Wonderful. But it wouldn’t be a bad idea if we looked around every so often, particularly when it worth’s doing. And with that Paul Winslow it’s surely worth it!!!”

“That’s true, it wouldn’t be a bad idea … but you’re just drooling!” Liz cupped her hands beneath her friend’s chin. “Take care not to choke!”

“I won’t choke!” Maria replied. “You must know that beauty’s a big gift to the human race. Up there,” she pointed her finger at the sky, “they created that on purpose to be admired by us. So we honour Mother Nature’s work by admiring beauty. You got it?”

“Do you wanna hear the truth? I don’t even need to look for beauty around me. I’ve already got Max to admire, everyday and unlimitedly. When I look at him I thank Mother Nature for creating him so gorgeous and congratulate myself on marrying him. How does it sound to you?”

Maria pretended to faint down as a dying woman. “Help me, I’m dying … killed by my sloppy best friend’s sloppy words!”

Liz patted innocuously the nape of her neck, pulling her up on her feet. The funny scene ended with both of them putting their tongues out at each other.



*~*~*

The memory of that one-year-old chat made Liz almost forget that she was hung on an horizontal bar, pressed like a tinned sardine in an overheated metallic parallelepiped and that she couldn’t feel her right foot, which a bearded hefty man had just stepped on. She stared at the limpid September sky, noting that there wasn’t even a cloud. It’ was warm, different, less suffocating heat than the sultriness in Roswell. The ocean’s influence was reflected above all on the climate, making it more tampered and tolerable. The hefty man next to her begged for some refrigerating rain and Liz curled her lips in a vague smile. Of course that guy hadn’t ever spent a summer in New Mexico!

In that same second, a triple honking of the tram announced her stop. In front of her there was the signboard of the Book & Co. How the hell would she get off before the tram left again, with the swarm of people hampering the exit? Probably elbowing and not apologizing, like the others, like the city people.

She was one of them now.


TBC
Last edited by Lulù on Sun Jul 22, 2007 2:42 am, edited 23 times in total.
WIP

Second Life


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Lulù
Enthusiastic Roswellian
Posts: 36
Joined: Wed Aug 30, 2006 7:41 am
Location: Southern Italy

Post by Lulù » Fri Jan 19, 2007 4:43 am

Part 1

The Book & Co. opened at 8:30 a. m. and Liz, like the other employees, must present herself in place at least fifteen minutes before opening time. Which meant to her leaving home by the 7:43 tram. Usually, she arrived early in order to open the store, dress the window and tidy up, if it needed to, since Paul had given her the bookstore keys, two months after employing her. The staff was completed by three other women, Sara, Celina and Kate, and Luke, a very likeable guy with whom Liz had quickly made friends. Being extroverted and helpful, Luke reminded her of poor Alex, unforgettable friend always alive in her memory. She got on well with Sara too, a nice 26-year-old, brown-haired girl. They often spent their lunch break, chattering and confiding in each other. Liz’s confidences weren’t ever really sincere though. She couldn’t be really sincere. It was the price she had to pay to defend her own secrets.

Also in this sunny morning the little equip met at the dressing room, with wisecracks and feigned grumbles. But an unwelcome appearance bothered their joyous temper.

“You see, my brother isn’t yet back from San Diego. So I’ve to sort you out today too! Can you believe that?”

Annie Winslow, younger sister and collaborator of Paul, crossed impolitely in the front entrance. She invaded the dresser room without greeting anyone, wiggling her slender hips, accentuated by her short dress, the air impregnating with her aggressive scent.

She was exceptionally beautiful: tall, slim, with a perfect face, a set of light blue eyes, perfectly combed golden hair, a fierce and self-confident glance. When she entered somewhere she was obviously aware to make a hit on everybody and it made her to grow an overconfident personality.

Liz disliked her because of that. Unlike her bigger brother, very kind and affable, Annie was extremely rude, always and to everyone. She was too busy satisfying her tantrums, which didn’t ever last more than a bit, and delegated nearly completely the business management to Paul, much less capricious than her. Currently, Paul’s absence was forcing her to wake up early in the morning. So her mood, even normally inclined to grey, had turned into black. Coal-black mood.

Liz and her co-workers shot each other dejected glances as soon as Annie turned around. Her presence there hadn’t thrown them into raptures.

“Try to not make a mess and not disturb me, unless it is an extreme urgency thing. You got it?” Annie said in arrogance. All of them nodded silently. Once she glared trough the expanse of the books, according to her always out of place or creased or just dusty, she finally shut herself up in the office.

A few minutes later, they heard two voices murmuring at the front entrance. The first customers were arrived. Luke was already wearing his dark blue uniform and came out of the dresser room at a run. The four girls ran after him a few seconds later.

Everyone thought that starting to work was a wonderful thing, this morning.

*~*~*

At the other edge of the city, in the meantime, Michael turned and tossed restlessly in his sleep. Pillow pressing down on his ears, he had been trying to ignore the joined ringing of the cordless and his mobile for a few minutes. Previously, he had already ignored the alarm clock. However, when the bell insisting trill reached him he felt himself trapped, realizing it came time to leave his comfortable bed. He went and opened the front door, only to find a furious Max standing in front of him.

“What the hell are you doing still in pyjamas?” Max asked at the landing.

“Ah, it’s you. I’ll bet you forgot the keys!” Michael mumbled, his eyes still closed. “Didn’t you use your powers? You know, this weird thing that make us quite different from human race and so appealing to the FBI?”

Without caring about his words, Max entered the hall and repeated his question, grumbling in a thunderous voice: “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING STILL IN PYJAMAS????”

Michael opened his eyes when he was going to come in the kitchen. “You usually sleep in a morning suit, do you?”

At this sardonic reply, Max was tempted to kick his ass out. But his cautious character prevailed and he managed to restrain himself, venting his anger only verbally. “Did you ever have anything in your empty head?” he asked in rage. “Well, I think not! You were supposed to be at Butterfly at 8:30 and now it’s 9:15. Did you even look at the clock? The suppliers rang me half an hour ago cuz they didn’t find anybody there. Do you realize how irresponsible you are? Yesterday I reminded you a lot of times that this morning I’d go to the bank and you had to meet the suppliers. Did you really stay in bed like an asshole???”

Michael raided the refrigerator and tried to make effective his own awakening. “Okay, I forgot it. I side with you on this point,” he muttered, his head bent over the fridge. When he straightened up, he had a few sips of milk by the carton. “But you’ve also to consider that last night I stayed up very late to tidy up and NOT sleeping doesn’t help to keep yourself lucid!”

Max preferred to skip over his unhygienic behaviour, which was one of Michael’s peculiarity. There was enough disagreement between the two of them and he didn’t mean to add some more. “That’ s not a justification at all. You mustn’t act this way! I can’t do all by myself, do you know it? We are behind with the rent and the bank gives us no peace. We do have to work hard, both of us. Michael, just listen to me!”

“Yeah, yeah. I’m listening here.” He put the milk back in the fridge, rubbing his sleepy eyes. “Give me five minutes and I’ll be right there.”

“You don’t need to, I already took care of it. Go on sleeping, Mr. Selfish Man!”

Michael headed scruffily for the bathroom, yawning again and again. “Don’t make such a fuss for some late. I didn’t kill anybody!”

“Some late?” Max blinked in dismay, then he left the kitchen. “Let’s skip it. You’re incorrigible!” He shot through the front door and came out disconsolately. As he went down the stairs two steps at time, led more by disappoint than urgency, he wondered if and when his best friend would turn over a new leaf.

*~*~*

Isabel went to the market on Friday. It was her who dealt with their shopping and carried the house on, but it didn’t cost her. In fact she liked taking care of that, she had just a way for it. This morning, she left home with the usual shopping list, compiled by each flatmate at equal parts, in the purest democracy. Anyway, she had often to delete some absurd requests of theirs and none dared to object to her, being afraid that she could cruelly punish the dissidents. For that Michael called her ‘the shopping list nazi’ !

She was out at the market, loaded with crowded satchels, when a man drew her whole attention. He looked tall, dark-haired, muscular, and above all, he looked totally like Jesse. She was sure of that. The man got in a black Jaguar S Type and maneuvered it back onto the street, getting into the uninterrupted flow of cars that occupied the roadway. Only then she stopped staring at him and started to run, throwing away the satchels, in the silly illusion that she could stop him and maybe speak to him. Because of the hurry, she forgot even where she had parked the red Beatle that she, Liz and Maria drove in turn to move through the city.

As she ran on, a male voice reached her moving shape. “Iz, what’s going on?” Kyle called her from his taxi, caught in tailback at the traffic lights. “Where are you running?”

Seeing her friend, she supposed that he was still working. “Oh Kyle, thank goodness! Are you on duty?”

“I’ve just knocked off. Why?”

“Good.” She opened the door and jumped on the seat next to him. “Drive after that black car.”

Kyle’s face turned slightly pale. “What??!? What do you mean by ‘drive after’ ? I don’t have Supercar!”

“Drive on and shut up! I’ll explain you later.” Her resolute tone got him to instantly be silent.

The Jaguar slowed down after 20 minutes of pursuing, drawing up beside a pretty nice house in Pacific Heights, in the residential area. The driver found a short-haired brunette waiting for him out of the front door. She welcomed him by kissing keenly his lips.

Isabel got out of the taxi and came near them, so that she could observe them from the opposite sidewalk. She went on watching them in a reverent silence, until they entered their home embraced each other. Then she had no choice but to give up.

“It’s not him!” she said in despair, jumping back into the taxi. She wasn’t able to hold back anymore her distressed tears. “Please, Kyle, take me home…”

The slight wind shaking the branches filtered through her hair, slapping it on her face. She didn’t notice or even see it. She didn’t feel anything but her own tears.

Kyle let it pass about 30 seconds inactively, knowing neither what to do nor to say. In order to create a diversion, something that could break the motionless moment, he settled the rear-view mirror and adjusted the inclination of his seat. But it didn’t help. He felt awfully unnecessary and out of place too. She had been suffering too much and for too long. It wasn’t fair.

“I’m here, Izzy. I’ll listen to everything you wanna say,” he whispered at her. As he restarted the engine, she rested her right temple to the window. Crying softly, safe from the outside muddle, she regained strength enough to tell him everything.

That she thought she was recovered but she was worse than ever.

*~*~*

At lunchtime, Maria was walking to and fro in front of the boutique entrance, like a sentinel. Michael would have to collect her by his Harley Davidson and then they would lunch together. She was dying to tell him the latest news of the day. Throughout an informal conversation whit her boss, she was able to persuade Monica to sponsor her musical exhibitions at Butterfly. The boutique would provide her the clothes in exchange for advertising on the promotional poster of her shows. A simple but brilliant idea which flashed through her mind out of the blue.

When Michael appeared, wearing a pair of faded blue denim and his favourite Metallica’s shirt, he was 20 minutes late.

“Where the heck have you been?” Maria shouted on the sidewalk, putting her palms ominously on her hips.

“Oh please, give me a break! Max already read me a lecture this morning, so spare me yours at least. I’m fed up!” Without getting off from the bike, he removed his helmet and reached for touching her.

Maria just sidestepped and avoided him. “Surely you deserved it! Goodness knows what a trouble you made!” She jumped on the bike and put the helmet on her head. “Hurry up! It’s terribly late and I’m starving, you know!”

“Okay, we’re coming,” Michael replied confusedly. He was never able to understand when Maria’s fury passed off. Neither this time he was able to do, at least until she crouched down on his shoulder, drawing close to him as they zigzagged across the traffic. Yes, it had passed off, fortunately.

Ten minutes later, once he had parked his bike just opposite the Butterfly’s front door, Michael passed through the near empty hall, where Max was talking to a huge tall man, and entered the kitchen to stock up on food.

Maria followed him, trotting all excited around him. “You don’t even suppose what a wonderful thing I did this morning!” she chuckled.

“Do you mind if we’ll talk of this later? Thank you!” Michael dampened her genuine excitement. He came out of the kitchen holding a tray where he carried a hotdog for Maria and a double hamburger for him. “I’d like to eat without you making me have a headache! I ask the impossible, do I?” he said and took a seat at the bench, not even raising his eyes from the hamburger.

“You’re a fucking moron! You know it???” She sat a bit far away from him, picking furiously up the hotdog from the tray. “I just hope you’ll have the worst headache on the face of the earth! And the worst stomach ache too!!!” She hit him on the shoulder with a menu but he didn’t look up at her.

Nevertheless, Maria was incapable of curbing her tongue, particularly when something made her curious. Her annoyed silence had a short life. “Is he that ‘party guy’?” she whispered in Michael’s ear, making reference to the man next to Max.

“Uhm… yeah, it’s him,” Michael answered in a undertone. “He planned a sort of surprise party for his girlfriend’s birthday. What a –“

“What a sweet thought!” she continued, biting into her still steamy hotdog. “It’s such a rarity these days!”

Realizing that her cutting remark was referring to him, Michael fought back, “Perhaps he did something for which must be forgiven. Something VERY serious. I don’t know…he could have cheated her on!”

“Perhaps he simply loves her so much and makes every effort to show it to her!” Maria remarked frantically. Leaving her hotdog half eaten, she jump up on her feet and went towards the ‘party guy’, who was alone at the moment ‘cause Max had left for a while.

Michael, stunned by her initiative, watched curiously her walking towards the man.

“Hello, my name’s Maria. I’m singing at your party tonight.” She reached out for him and shook his hand.

He shook her hand back, smiling at her shyly. “Nice to meet you. I’m Eric.”

“What kind of songs could your girlfriend like?”

“Oh, I’m not so expert on music!” Eric stated honestly. “Maybe Lindsay could like something joyful, light, not exceedingly demandingly. A nice accompaniment, so to say.”

“Okay, I got it. Let me do it! My various repertory will satisfy you!” Maria maintained lively. She was about to walked away but stopped dead, unsatisfied yet. “Listen Eric, can I tell you something very, very dispassionately?”

“Of course you can.”

“I greatly respect you!” she admitted, scanning him in awe like he was a simulacrum in a shrine.

Eric frowned and slightly staggered. “Respect me for what?”

“The party. It’s such a great idea!” she exclaimed, an eye fixed on Michael. “This thing should throw into raptures every woman on this planet! Congratulations!”

Eric actually was big like a titan but coy, so he turned crimson red at her unexpected compliment. “Well, thank you. I didn’t do anything so special!”

Maria spoke in a loud voice to be sure that Michael could hear her. “Believe me when I say: that’s very special!!!” Then she greeted him smiling widely. “Well, see ya tonight!”

She walked away and sat back next to Michael, who arched up an eyebrow at her in annoy. “I could have introduced him to you, if you cared so much for it,” he grumbled irritated.

“But I needed to talk to him in private! I ask the impossible, do I?” she paraphrased, sarcastically and ingenuously at the same time, his previous words. “Wow, I think it will be an amazing night!” Giggling to herself, she poured down some lemonade into her glass and started drinking it by a butterfly-shaped straw reproducing the Butterfly’s symbol.

One stool away, Michael bent over his double hamburger and sprinkled it with sauce. “A surprise party! What a fucking stupid thing to do!”

*~*~*

Laying down on his bed, Kyle had been staring at the ceiling for over an hour. He ran his eyes over every visible line and vein and continued to brood the entire time over what Isabel had told him earlier Her supposed Jesse’s sighting wasn’t at all a good sign. It meant that she was regressing, that her emotional condition was worsening and even being two years far away from Roswell didn’t help her to forget. It had just been a needless and fruitless cruelty to her.

Max came back from Butterfly at that precise moment and went straight looking for Kyle, to whom he had to propose something.

“Do you have a minute?” Max asked knocking at the half-closed door. Then he cautiously entered the room, where the walls were covered with Buddha’s pictures.

“Yes, come in,” Kyle answered promptly. He stood up in a jump and waited for what his friend was gonna tell him.

Max leant his own elbow against the wooden cupboard. “Would you like coming at Butterfly tonight? There will be a party and all of us will be present.”

“Will Izzy be present too?”

“I think so. Why?”

“She’s just unhappy, Max. She’s so much unhappy.” The apprehensive tone in his voice revealed the seriousness of what he was about to add. “Today she thought she saw Jesse.”

“Again?” Max puffed worriedly. “I thought she had a bit recovered…” He reached slowly for the window and leant out, as if he wanted to look outside for a solution. “In spite of the fact that she paid dearly for this situation, Isabel never complained. We would stay closer to her, I’d be the first to do it. I ought to find more time for my sister.”

Kyle nodded appreciatively and moved to the window too. Checking closely Max’s concerned expression, he felt in himself the same worry. He loved Isabel, he just loved her so much that he could barely believe it. She was the most significant person of his whole life and her welfare was very important to him.

“I agree,” Kyle said quietly. “We must help her to come out from this pain. It was only us who can do it. We are the only ones who can help her.”

They shared a knowing look, before Max leaving silently the room. Their thoughts converged on the same point: to do the best for Isabel.

*~*~*

At the Book & Co. it was near closing time. Everyone’s mood was euphoric, like every evening. The working day was ending and, being Friday, the week was ending too.

Luke whistled happily, moving around like he was dancing. “Some more patience, women. Your Luke is coming for you!!!” he spoke in a loud voice to an imaginary female audience.

Tall but too much thin and loose-limbed, he had a mass of fairish curls on his head, several freckles spread all over his cheeks, two black like the night eyes and a contagious smile. Although he wasn’t actually handsome, Luke had always swarms of girls around him, perhaps for he conveyed an irresistible sympathy or, more simply, for nobody could be as friendly as him.

Liz was arranging the latest books arrived on the shelves. “Also tonight a lot of broken hearts?” she asked laughingly to him.

“Sure babe! How could my cute girls take it any more without me?” he said dramatically. “I just can’t bear they have to suffer, it’s stronger than me. I’m a philanthropist!”

Both Liz and Sara burst into jovial laughs, imitated by Kate and Celina, all of them overwhelmed by their co-worker’s brilliant humour.

It was Annie who ceased their amusement, coming unexpectedly behind them. “You’re very good to clown, don’t you?” she cried in anger. “Unfortunately it’s the only one thing where you’re not a complete fiasco!”

They all let fall their eyes down and blushed shamefully, not finding braveness enough to speak one single word. So Annie continued. “Can you explain to me what this email means that I just received a minute ago?” She lifted up a printed sheet.

Luke moved a step forward. “What is it about?” he asked.

“Mr. Dan Brown’s reps sent it to me,” Annie said conceitedly. “They sounded indignant and demanded to know why we cancelled the meeting with the readers of the next week. Well, do you know anything about it?”

Luke bit his lower lip until it almost bled. “Yes, Miss Winslow. I cancelled the meeting, like you ordered me to do yesterday evening…”

Annie tugged her red-varnished nails into her own smooth flesh. “WHAAAAAAT?” she yelled out irately. “You must have misunderstood! You SURELY misunderstood! Why should I have ordered you to do such a stupid thing?”

He tried to absolve himself, keeping a composed conduct though. “I don’t know,” he tentatively answered. “I asked you confirmation about what you ordered me. Then you repeated that you couldn’t take any more nuisances, that I had to leave you alone and to cancel everything. So this morning I sent the email to Mr. Brown’s press office, notifying them of your decision…”

In a deathly hush, Annie let out a deafening cry. “OH MY GOD!!!! Do you have the slightest idea of what you diid? We’ve been trying to convince Dan Brown* to come here for several months and now it’s everything lost because of you!!!” she growled. “Do you realize thiiiiis?”

Sara, Kate and Celina stared at each other in fright. Liz stepped next to Luke and took him by the arm, giving him her sincere support.

“With all due respect Miss,” Luke said politely. “It was you who asked me to--”

“Do you even dare to contradict me?” Annie attacked him. Her furious hands ruffled her hair, shining with bright golden colours. “Have the decency to shut up, at least!!!”

At this point Liz couldn’t bear any more: Annie Winslow had just gone too far. Who does she think she was to may treat the others like crap?? Hardened and fearless, Liz glanced up at Luke for a moment, then breathed deeply and stepped forward. “Luke just executed your orders, Miss,” she stated calmly.

Sara, Kate and Celina looked at her with their eyes wide open as if she was out oh her wits. Luke put an arm in front of her, suggesting her stopping. But Liz didn’t desist from her purpose.

Annie turned quickly to scrutinize her. “What do you want? Who’s consulted you?”

Liz recommended herself to ponder on every single word before opening her mouth. She didn’t want to lose her self-control or it would only make the things worse, for herself and for Luke. “I was there when this happened, so I think I can express my point of view.”

Annie started to eye her aggressively but she wouldn’t be intimidated by it. “At the moment you were speaking on the phone and maybe you hadn’t heard very well what he said to you. Luke went to ask you information on the meeting, like your brother required before leaving for San Diego. But you started screaming and sent him away, crying that you wanted to have nothing to do with it. Although Luke insisted that he couldn’t cancel such an event, you repeated that he had to do it and finally he left the office. I’m sorry but Luke isn’t responsible for it.”

Annie sneered, her adamantine eyes dueling with Liz’s dark ones. “Are you insinuating that’s my fault? In your opinion I’d be a sort of forgetful psychotic?”

“No, I didn’t say that, but… probably you were beside yourself when you talked with Luke.”

“I’m NEVER beside myself!” Annie exclaimed categorically.

Liz’s face bent to one side, as if she was trying to restrain her own reaction. She couldn’t do it, utterly. “I’ve my grave doubts about it…” she muttered. Luke instantly leaned over her and Liz reassured him, looking out of the corner of her eye. “It’s okay, Luke.”

Annie approached her threateningly. She seemed to be on the point of beating Liz, then she bent down on her, almost touching her face. “How do you dare? At proletariat schools didn’t you learn to be well-mannered?”

Liz didn’t move herself. She kept still, steady on her legs, her fury cautiously repressed inside her. “At ‘proletariat schools’,” she strengthened fiercely her tone, “I learnt to be well-mannered with whom they are well-mannered too!”

A fuming Annie issued her an ultimatum. “One more word and I’ll throw you out!”

Liz wasn’t able to control herself anymore. Her dignity just couldn’t stand submitting to it. Without any hesitation, she set out for the door and said, “I’d rather resign!”

At this, a vigorous male voice followed hers. “You won’t resign, Liz. I won’t let you do it.”

Paul Winslow was back from San Diego.

He was a little taller than Annie, with broad shoulders, an elegant bearing, brown short hair, a large forehead, a straight nose, well-drawn lips and a strong jaw. A deep coat of loneliness dwelled in his green eyes and it didn’t seem to be a passing condition but an existential, longstanding one. His displeasure was sorta endemic, with no solution. A miserable companion of his life.

“Oh Paul! What a disaster! You don’t even suppose what they got to me!” Annie clung hysterically to his arm, grasping it with both her hands. “I didn’t expect they were five geniuses but--”

“Stop it, your show is over!” he interrupted her, shaking his sister off in a single movement. “Now I’ll take care of it.”

Annie was astonished. “These two peasants insulted me!” She pointed to Luke and Liz, who looked at each other frightened, their three co-workers surrounding them.

Paul clenched his lips tightly. “Really? As far as I know you insulted them.” He stared gravely at her. “What about it?”

“It’s just incredible!” Annie protested, shaking her head and her blond mane in the process. “You’ll never take my part, right?”

“That’s enough!” Paul replied vexed. “The role of a martyr hardly befits for you!”

Out of spite, Annie tried to get her revenge on the employees. “Do you know that your ‘favourites’ upset the next-week meeting?”

“No! You upset that and then off-loaded your responsibilities onto them!” Paul Winslow always had good manners. He didn’t like making a fuss and tried to avoid it, as much as he could. He was authoritative and not authoritarian, he managed without abusing his power, he appeared to be influential and not autocratic. This was the way he behaved towards everyone and because of that people so well liked him. But Annie was an exception. She was a thorn in his side, his weak spot. Towards her, he became a different man at all.

“When you order someone to do something, obviously he does it!” he continued, after a brief pause. “You’re in the chief, it’s up to you deciding. You can’t get upset with our employers if you don’t use any logic!”

Annie didn’t take the blow well. Like it seldom had happened before, she seemed to be in difficulties, almost hurt, even a bit regretful. “Paul, let me explain to you…”

Paul pulled away his hand that she was about to touch. He turned all of a sudden and looked at her harshly, looking like he had exhausted every ounce of his patience. “Ah, it doesn’t matter. Don’t waste your breath on useless chats! I’ll phone Mr. Brown* trying to remedy the misunderstanding. How could I think that you were able to replace me? You’re not up to doing it, you’ll never be.”

Every clue of weakness just disappeared from Annie’s face. She rolled her eyes, walking frantically to and fro. “You’ll be sorry for that, Paul! Just remember it: someday you’ll regret opposing me !!!” And then she left the room in her echoing threat.

Paul did not bat an eyelid, relaxing his stiff nerves in a deep breath. “Annie didn’t do nor surely will do it afterwards, so I apologize to you in her place.” He was looking at those five faces, one at a time, lingering deliberately over Liz’s. “Be patient, please. She forgets too often that people are persons and not puppets. Forgive her, if you can. Now you may go to change, it’s getting late. See you on Monday.”

The five guys headed silently for the dressing room, walking one after the other in a measured rhythm.

Kate, who was eighteen, blond and very pretty, even if too thin, spoke first after the shocking incident. “This is what I mean by ‘to be a true man’ !”

“Did you see how punctually he fixed that bitch?” echoed Celina, a quite shapely Hispanic girl. “I’d marry him only because of that!”

Also Luke chimed in. “No, I definitely wouldn’t marry him. I’d build him a monument on my own, though!”

“And what a gentleman! He even apologized to us!!!” Sara added, even if she wasn’t easy to impress.

Liz was the only one to not express her opinion. She walked as normal to her locker, where she automatically took her clothes. Before she began undressing, Luke got near her and took her aside, his fingers roaming about his own messy curls.

“Thank you very much, Lizzie,” he whispered.

“For what?” she asked.

“For what? Being my defender was about to cost you dearly!” Since he seemed to be in a fix, Liz minimized what happened by patting him on the shoulder.

“Oh, forget it! I can’t just bear prevarications!” She winked at him, like she usually did, and Luke winked back at her.

*~*~*

Liz and Sara were chattering on the sidewalk cramming with people, next to the tram stop. It had passed 15 minutes since Annie’s scene and following Paul’s arrival.

“Do you have anything planned for this evening?” Sara asked.

“At Butterfly’s it will be a party. I think everyone shall be there. What about you?”

“Susan begged me to go to the movies and I think I’ll take her there.” Susan was Sara’s 6-years-old daughter. She was the fruit of a wrong relationship, begun in Sara’s last year of the high school and finished shortly after in the worst way, with Susan’s father’s escape at the confirmation of the pregnancy. The little girl was so delightful that whoever saw her had to fall in love with her. Also Liz fell in love with her as soon as she saw her coffee-coloured pigtails and her light blue eyes, stolen from her mother. She truly looked like Sara in miniature.

“Going to the movies sounds like a good idea,” Liz said and loosened her hair, putting the hair clasp into her purse. “You really need distraction!”

“All of us need distraction, after spending all the day with that hyena--” Sara stopped speaking abruptly, attracted by a grey Rav4 that someone had just pulled next to them. “Look who’s here!”

When Liz turned around, her chocolate eyes burned with a dazzling light. “Max!”

She flew immediately to him, who got out of the SUV to meet her halfway. He was wearing dark blue jeans, emphasizing his brawny legs, and a white button down shirt. His hair was still a little dampened on the tips, his gaze looking impatient. She flung her arms round his neck and now, he seemed as attractive as a heavenly vision to her.

They shared a soft kiss, a passionate hug joining them. Then Liz moved her smiling lips a little away from his. “Hi beautiful,” she said in a whisper.

“Hi beautiful yourself,” Max replied. He took a lock of her hair between his fingertips and brought it rapidly up to his nostrils to smell its fragrance: wild rose shampoo, walnut oil and vanilla hair conditioner. An unmistakable mixture.

She rose her face up at him in a sweet movement. “Won’t you be late at Butterfly, will you?”

“Michael is there to arrange the latest things and our big star was warming up. Sometimes people had to deal with nuisances. Don’t you agree?” he smiled and she smiled back, approving his words. “Anyway, it had passed too much since I saw you the last time. I couldn’t stand anymore…”

Max caught her face between his hands, his fingers laying adoringly on her cheeks. He let down his eyelids before their noses brushed each other, at the distance where every infinitesimal particle of him, whether it was alien or human, wished only to bond to her. He felt nearly addicted to the scent of her skin and kissed her for a long time, intensely, both of them oblivious of being in the middle of the crowd. There was only them at this place, at this moment, and nothing could disturb them.

Liz was fully aware of the irresistible feeling that was trapping her. She dug her fingers into Max’s well-built back, her mind full of bliss and love, her cheeks already flaming, as he devoured her mouth to savour her every cleft. Every kiss of them upset her as a cataclysm, it’s had always felt like this. Even after marrying him, when he took her in his arms and kissed her in his own way she felt again the same inexperienced thrilled girl whom he had given his first kiss, in December 1999. Besides, that one it hadn’t been a simple kiss but the acceptance of a new world. The entrance to a new reality. The reuniting of two half-souls. Their two half-souls.

Although their relationship had been blossoming for a few months, just that night they both had recognized its extraordinary entity. At that moment they had realized that they were meant to be together. At that moment they had also realized that they could, they wanted to be the key-stones of each other’s teen-aged life. Five years ago, staring at each other’s eyes at the end of the kiss, they had known that they belonged together. And at the present, it felt exactly the same to them.

Because of the traffic row, the couple had to release their embrace and the kiss ended there.

Being accustomed to their fervent face-sucking, Sara wasn’t anymore amazed like the first times, when she often was taken aback. She saw them getting into their Rav4 and waving to her, as she got on the overcrowded tram, yearning for that she hadn’t and they clearly did.

Meanwhile, in the half-lighted Book. & Co., two limpid green eyes were intently watching everything Max and Liz did. After the SUV moved into the oncoming traffic and turned into nothing more than a blue shape, a hand quickly readjusted the curtains. Twenty seconds later, the same hand violently slammed the bookshop front door closed.



TBC
WIP

Second Life


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Lulù
Enthusiastic Roswellian
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Joined: Wed Aug 30, 2006 7:41 am
Location: Southern Italy

Post by Lulù » Mon Jan 22, 2007 10:22 am

Thanks to everyone, whether you are a feedbacker or a lurker :wink:

Author's appeal: please please please just leave your feedback, no matter if good or bad I’m doing a hell of a job to translate this in English for you :( I so need your comments to know what are you thinking about it :oops:

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Part 2


In the evening everyone met at the Butterfly, spick and span like the best times, waiting for the party to start. Kyle had had a hard time convincing Isabel to join them, but she had finally given in and joined the rest of the group.

About 9 P.m. the place livened up, like it usually did when it was crowded. Lindsay, the birthday-girl, arrived at 9:30 and appreciated the surprise a lot, so the party started off well. The two managers made sure that everything was okay, Max more meticulously than Michael.

After having pondered it over a lot, Maria wore a black silver-adorned dress, which had a deeply low cut back and an astonishing slit. The dress left nothing to the imagination and Michael was not very keen on it.

At a certain point, after snorting two or three times, he started mumbling loudly as he walked in the kitchen, “What is that guy looking at? Hasn’t he ever seen an ass before now?” He referred to a customer who was warmly admiring Maria’s show and even more her wiggling bottom, which was drawing several admirers and loud appreciative whistles.

“Michael, she’s a singer and what’s more is that she’s beautiful. Did you ever realize that?” Max asked him, carrying a load of empty bottles to the back, “It’s a given that people, especially men, will look at her!”

While the customers screamed out at Maria every sort of appreciation, Michael’s blood boiled more and more. Liz, Kyle, and Isabel were seated at the bench in front of a plate of savories and another one of green olives. Liz and Kyle were deriding Michael’s extreme jealousy.

“I feel like some fists are gonna fly all over down there.” Kyle pointed at Michael maliciously.

“That wouldn’t be the worst thing,” Liz replied beside him, “let’s hope he doesn’t explode anything! How would we explain to these people that he isn’t capable of containing himself?”

Isabel was only pretending to listen to them. In fact, she was looking around absently as if she even wasn’t there, her mind wandering elsewhere.

“Refill, please.” she said to the bartender, handing him her empty glass.

“Don’t you think you’ve had enough?” Kyle asked her in a censored tone, “You’ve already drained two mojitos. At this rate you’ll end up drunk and you know that…”

“Don’t bother me!” Izzy cut him off sharply. “You’re the one who insisted that I had to go out to enjoy myself and so on, stop nursing me now!”

Kyle didn’t find anything to say back. He saw her first leaving the bench, holding the half full glass in her hand and then chattering brilliantly with some strangers who were seated at an adjacent table. She looked beautiful as usual, wrapped in a stretched red-fire dress which he had never seen on her, As her frame stood up supremely in the hall, under the faint lights, he thought she was stunning and forbidden just like a dream. But she didn’t’ know it and she never would.

Kyle headed for the buffet dejectedly and steered himself toward the canapés oval plate. He wanted to verify whether some food could straighten out his night, but when he ate five canapés one right after the other and his spirits had not lifted he knew that his night was ruined.

Liz ran up to help Michael, who was shakily holding a tray loaded with glasses. “Hand it to me,” she said to him, taking it hurriedly out of his hands before it overturned. “It seems like you’re too nervous tonight!”

Michael handed it willingly to her and glanced possessively up at Maria who had just started to sing.

Hey sister, go sister, soul sister
go sister, hey sister, go sister
soul sister, go sister, hey sister…


Liz always got intensely excited when she could hear Maria singing. She could be defined her first and most tenacious fan. Maria’s talent amazed her every time, as if she didn’t ever hear her singing before. Such a great artist could aspire to the media attention, to the popular fame, to a real success. But she had to be happy with this little slice of popularity that her situation had permitted her to build up. Not very much in comparison with her capacities.

Pushing that bitter thought away, Liz turned her attention back to Maria’s performance. She rested the tray on top of the bench and started to dance, letting herself be carried away with music. The hem of her miniskirt went up and down seconding the rhythmical movements of her legs.

“Oh, I love this song!” she screeched at an astonished Michael. “And listen how it harmonizes to her voice!!!”

He was hearing Maria’s high notes with pricked-up ears, his light brown eyes fixed on the stage in disconcert.

Do you fancy him enough hit him with a set?
That’s my kitty cat, it’s so bad.
D’ya know something?
You are the one, gotta represent, gotta go on the run.
We could play it like gotta do it right,
Snuggle up, huddle up, nice and tight.
Life is a cool gotta be rule
Don’t really matter once you get to the door.


“Michael, don’t you think she’s just fantastic?” Liz was overexcited and had been vehemently patting him for some seconds. He was clearly lost in thought and didn’t react at all, too focused on Maria’s provocative look. “Hey Michael, did you just hear me? I’m talking to you here!!!”

He started to stroll around the crowded bench, his hands pressed in fists until his knuckles whitened. “It must have been a Crazy Horse girl who sold her that sort of …dress!!”

Liz followed him, trying in vain to calm him down. “What are you saying? It fits her perfectly!”

“Yeah … and everyone did notice that!” His whirling eyes rambled over the hot-headed customers, they all suddenly turned into his potential rivals.

Gitchi, gitchi, ya, ya, da, da
Gitchi, gitchi, ya, ya, here
Mocca chocolata ya, ya
Where you think you're sleeping tonight?
Voulez vous couchez avec moi, ce soir?
Voulez vous couchez avec moi ?
Voulez vous couchez avec moi ?
Voulez vous couchez avec moi ?


Maria felt like she was on top of the world. She was singing magnificently, she herself was aware of it. She was all one and the same with the music and the feelings she managed to let out. She felt like the queen of the stage, of the whole audience too. Her charisma made her shine with her own light under the round floodlight, that touched her with its long glowing beams. As a professional singer, she accompanied her vocal virtuosity with winking glances and exciting movements, in harmony with the lyrics.

At the present nothing could bother, trouble or annoy her. Her heart was free and happy, her soul content. When she could throw her voice and every hidden energy of hers out into the mike, she felt indescribably complete. Anyway, was it really the highest satisfaction to which she could aspire? It was the peak of her teen-aged dreams? No, it wasn’t. Definitely it had to be something more, somewhere…

Michael’s hands itched, his brain sizzling, as he began to stamp his feet. “What the hell is she saying?!? She’s inciting them to jump her bones! No, she just can’t do it. I’ve got to stop her …now!” He flung himself bellicosely towards the stage.

“Michael!” Liz yelled, running after him. She could hardly restrain him and move his considerable weight down on the only one free stool. She knew she had to convince him to reason, to soothe him somehow. But she also knew that it wouldn’t be so unproblematic. “It’s not her fault, the lyrics say those things. Have you never hear this song before now? It belongs to Mouline Rouge soundtrack.”

“I never saw this film…” he grunted, shifting his head in a rush to look at her. “Well, she simply shouldn’t sing it. It’s … it’s kinda obscene!!!”

“C’mon, it’s just music!” Liz handed him an olive as a token of peace. When he bit into it she went ahead with her explanation. “The real life is quite another thing, even children are aware of it!”

Michael still gazed at her, his eyes wild and large, then he gazed up at Maria. Eventually he scratched his eyebrow.

Liz thought that was a good sign and felt relieved that he had laid down arms so quickly. But it was just then when someone in the audience exclaimed, overcoming the other voices:

“HEY SWEETIE, COME HERE. I’M READY TO SATISFY YOU!!!”

Michael leaped up on his feet, wearing on his face a killer-look. He scanned over the audience for the man who had just spoken and rapidly found him. It was a dark-haired guy of medium height, the same who had made comments about Maria’s bottom a few hours ago.

“I beg your pardon?” Michael banged the chair where the stranger seated. “Just repeat what you said, if you have any guts!”

The guy, thrown off balance, fell down to the ground. “What do you want?” he asked in fear. “I didn’t do anything!!!”

Michael lifted him off the pavement pulling up his collar. “What do I want, hmm?” He pointed up to Maria. “That’s my girlfriend. MINE, do you understand? It’s I who attend to satisfy her. So muzzle yourself and lie down, unless you wanna be castrated right now!”

“I’m sorry, buddy. I didn’t know she was dating someone!” the man excused himself.

“Well, you do know it now!” Michael retorted rudely.

The guy took a step back. “Okay. Don’t get worked up, buddy. I’m not looking for trouble here!”

“Keep away from her!” Michael made a sign to him to go away.

“As you wish…” he obeyed and lowered his head. “But let me say it, buddy … you lucky chap!”

“Away, I said!” Michael frowned. “And I’m not your ‘buddy’!”

When Maria’s admirer mingled with the crowd, Michael returned to the kitchen, where he didn’t find anything better to do than blather in front of the boiling grill, grasping a big fork, “This is the right night to create a massacre … a film-horror worthy one!”

*~*~*

It was past 1 o’clock and the party seemed not to end. Maria was sitting in a stool at the bench, drinking a soda during a break, surrounded by her fans. Among them she saw springing Liz’s pleasant face.

“My favourite star must be a little tired!” Liz went and placed herself behind Maria, starting to massage her tense shoulders.

“I guess so, but above all I’m thirsty you know!” Maria smiled gently, putting her half-empty glass on the bench.

Liz stopped abruptly her massage. “Oh ‘Ria, you were just great … wonderful, babe! I’m so proud of you!” she hugged warmly her long-time friend from behind.

“Thanks sweetheart, I did my best. Let me know it, does Spaceboy agree with you?”

Liz hesitated, remembering Michael’s recent row. “You see, he’s working … um…I mean, he can’t hear you all the while…”

Maria mischievously arched her eyebrows, an elbow propping on the bench. “If only he had heard a certain song containing a certain sexual-centred message!” she sighed desolately.

“Ah, surely he heard that one!” Liz stated firmly. “Jealousy has just liquefied his brain!”

“What…? Oh my! He didn’t become jealous, did he?? Maria inquired, torn between doubt and excitement.

Liz burst out laughing. “Hmm, yeah. Just a little!” she said in a giggle. “ Will you satisfy my curiosity? You don’t need a song to ask him to … Well, you know… to actually do it, do you?”

“Uhm, usually I don’t. But the past few days he was so exhausted that he didn’t even look at me,” Maria whined sulkily. “When he came to bed he fell asleep like a rock and didn’t wake up until the sun was already high in the sky! I’ve got to beg Max to not rack him too much and let me have something too…”

Liz pursed her lips playfully. “Don’t get angry with him! Such a stressful job doesn’t suit everyone. Well, variety is the spice of live!” she remarked. “For instance, Max isn’t whacked at all. He’s always so … how can I say it properly? He’s always so … dynamic!”

Maria went her way back for the stage where she’d perform some other songs. “You really enjoy tormenting me, don’t you?”

“Tremendously!” Liz admitted, blowing out a kiss to her.

Michael caught a glimpse of Maria through the revolving door, as the waiters came and went to serve the latest snacks. She had just started to sing again after a short break.

Without losing sight of her, he slipped very inaudibly beside Max, who was instructing the cook. “Now I know what I’ve got to do. When she’ll next perform here, I’ll have the night off!”

Max stared at him, his eyes opened wide in shock. “You kidding? When Maria performs here our costumers double up. You can’t leave me in the lurch just because of your jealousy! If you dare to do it, I’ll have to kill you!”

Once Michael went back to the revolving door and his big hands writhed with ire, longing to slap into something. “You make it too easy, Maxwell. What about Liz flirting with those pigs? Oh, I’d really like seeing you in that case! Pray I’ll never get hold of one of them, otherwise I … No, Max. It’s easy to play wiseacre in your place!” His fury was rising frantically, it was like a thunderstorm ready to break all over the Butterfly from one moment to the next.

Max tried still to calm him down. “You distorted the facts, Michael,” he said quietly but in quite annoyance. “Maria isn’t flirting with them. She’s only working and she’s doing it very well.”

Max’s words were unheard, since Michael went on shouting, stepping recklessly across the kitchen. “No, she isn’t working! She’s got a job, a serious job. This is a stupid whim that you supported just to irritate me!” he spat.

The situation was getting unbearable: the Butterfly was choke-full, the birthday party was going to end and the kitchen looked like a sort of babel. It drastically needed help.

Max scratched his forehead worriedly, then he passed from thinking to acting. Not giving Michael the way to rebel, he led him to the back and pressed him against the wall, keeping his wrists stuck. “Now I’m REALLY fed up with you! When will you stop being so childish? Number one, I didn’t support Maria’s performances to irritate you, but to increase our business. And I was right about that. Number two, singing isn’t a whim to her. It’s the dream of her whole life! If you weren’t so blind and selfish, you would be glad for her too. Did you ever hear her singing? I mean, truly hear her?” Max asked resolutely and Michael just blinked in a pensive look. “She’s great, she’s kinda magic, and you can NOT hinder her. So put aside your jealousy and behave like a true man!”

After this good telling off - the second one of the day - Michael just stared down at a box of empty bottles rested in the far corner, and exploded it with his destructive gaze. Thousands and thousands pieces of glass flew up about the air, until they reached the ceiling and then fell down messily.

“Exactly!” Max said ironically, before rushing out of the back. “This is what it means to be a true man!”

*~*~*

It was 1:30 a.m. when Kyle burst into the Butterfly’s kitchen. “Hurry up, Max. There’s an emergency in the hall!”

“What emergency?” After crossing the revolving door, Max was literally dumbfounded: his sister was ridiculously singing, the mike clasped in her right hand, as Maria and the band were looking at each other in a corner of the stage, not knowing what to do with her. Isabel kept staggering right and left, as she kept on singing, causing the audience to laugh impolitely.

“That’s impossible! She didn’t ever sing in public before now, not even at karaoke!” Max made his way through the people reaching the stage and stopping Izzy’s performance. “What’s the matter with her?” he asked to Kyle who was following him.

Her alien powers, made uncontrollable by alcohol, had put out of use one or two of the floodlights, where it was raining green sparkles all over the people. The whole wiring had gone crazy, the entire place flashing abnormally with sinister lights.

Kyle shouted himself hoarse so that Max could hear him in that bustle. “We mustn’t have let her drink. See, now she’s making a fool of herself! You’re the one who can stop her. She didn’t listen to me!”

Max reached the stage and wrapped his arm around Isabel’s shoulder, walking her down the steps in great haste. “You need to go home, Iz,” he murmured softly. “You can barely stand on your feet. C’mon, lean on me.”

She struggled to get rid of his grasp, failing anyway. “You’re mean, Max! You ruined my performance. As always you don’t care about hurting me. Bad … bad!” she croaked against his chest, bitter tears piercing her eyes. “You only think about yourself and don’t care about me…”

“It’s not true!” Max said in distress, as he led her to the little office next to the hall. “You know I love you, Iz.”

When they arrived and she sat down on the leather couch, he could study her appearance more closely. He just grimaced realizing that she was unrecognizable. The mascara circled her eyes with a thick blackness, now looking like clown’s ones; the red lipstick had worn off down her chin and some blusher was still left here and there on her cheeks.

“You’re lying!” Isabel stood up again, keeping him to clean her face. “I lost the love of my life … TWO times, and you didn’t give a damn about it! You don’t care about me, nobody cares!” she leant forward, her face rested on her knees as tears fell madly down.

Upset by this heart-breaking sight, which even his powers couldn’t heal, Max stroked her hair before kissing the top of her head and stepping away. When he was in front of the electric panel, opened its little door to settle the wiring back, waving his hand over the generator.

When he was done, Max quickly glanced at his sister, cleaning her face with a waving motion of his hand. Then he focused on Kyle, who was still standing in the doorway. “Would you mind taking her home?” he asked him in patent regret. “There’s still a lot of people out there and I just can’t …”

Kyle had watched silently the whole scene, wishing he could do something for them, and now he knew what it was. “Oh, don’t worry! I was just leaving,” he said embarrassedly. “My duties actually don’t allow me to stay up till the early hours of the morning!”

They both pulled Isabel up on her feet, Max on the right side, Kyle on the left one. When Max stopped near the door, Kyle put an arm around her waist and walked through the back door.

Max’s eyes advanced along with them, counting every step of theirs as they slowly went away. He had failed once more. He didn’t do enough to help his sister and she cast it up to him, in spite of the after effects of drink. Could he really have done something more for her? After all he couldn’t work miracles, could he?

Liz was looking for Max everywhere, feeling his sudden sadness echoing inside her as an atrocious whimper. She felt like she had to find him, to stay by his side now. She went looking for him first in the kitchen and then in the hall, but nobody had seen him in over 15 minutes, since he had left with Isabel. It still stayed the possibility that he got out through the back door, crossing the office. Therefore, without delay, she hopefully rushed to the back and glanced across the room. Max was out there, just past the door, thoughtfully alone. It hit her completely, then. Arriving behind him, she mutely placed her hand onto his, waiting for him to turn around. He did at once, showing her more openly his dejected face.

“I know you’re so devastated because of that whole Isabel thing, but also you’d try to understand her,” Liz said in a murmur. At these words she rolled her palm to enlace together their fingers. He slightly shuddered beneath her. “It takes some more time before she starts feeling better,” she added even more softly.

He looked down at her, straight in her eyes, plunging into those shimmering deep orbs. “If I were her I’d never feel better…” his voice was a feeble whisper, his irises shining like honey-coloured drops.

Liz rested her cheek on Max’s shoulder, her hands rubbing the nape of his neck, pushing him closer to her little by little. “Neither would I,” she whispered back into his ear. Then she rose on tiptoe to kiss his lips feverishly, just as if her keeping alive depended on it.

He tilted his head, opening his mouth to welcome her and sink himself into her heat. Both of them moaning in concert, their lips parted and merged, running and catching like underwater streams, every time more passionately. Their tongues turned into scorching blades, teasing each other, climbing over the white cages of the teeth, drawing the outlines, as far as they reached the tight, wonderfully sensitive corners bordering their cheeks.

Liz was saturated with the warmth radiating from her bones, stunning her senses and each fibres of hers. When she spoke again, her voice sounded weirdly hoarse. “We should come back in, they’re probably looking for us.”

“Let’s stay out here some more time.” Max’s mouth lingered against hers, his passionate hands smoothing her soft hair. “Please, Liz. I need it. I … do need you…”

A wave of pure love overwhelmed Liz, making her vaguely dizzy. Her heart was in command now, a supreme command. She felt just Max, his sweet touch, this urgency of holding him that she couldn’t restrain anymore. She felt like she couldn’t even breath unless she touched him at this precise moment.

“Okay, we’ll stay here all the time you need.”

It was only both of them, in the middle of the wide rectangular parking-lot. From inside it was heard notes of the ritual Happy-birthday song that Maria was singing, but they kept embracing tightly, wordlessly, no muscles moving.

A few seconds later Max was showering Liz’s face with frenzy kisses, his arms encircling her body. His lips brushed her cheekbones, tracing a damp line up to her hair. “Nothing .. nothing will separate us … ever,” he promised fondly.

“Can you swear ?” She paused to look up at his bright, sunset-glowing eyes. “Can you swear it’s gonna be like you just told?”

“Yeah, honey. I can.”

Then they couldn’t say anything else.

A solitary cloud shaded the crescent moon floating through the sky, throwing a conical shadow over their joining shapes.

*~*~*

Because of the nearly non-existent traffic in the middle of the night, Kyle took only 20 minutes to drive him and Isabel to their destination. Once he entered home, he switched on the light and walked Izzy to her bed, where he made her lay down. He slipped off her stiletto heel sandals and put them on the floor, leaning them one against the other.

As soon as he sat down beside her on the bed, he started to speak as if she could hear and even interact with him. “Well, I just took your shoes off, Miss Golden Voice!” he joked quietly. “Now you can sleep more comfortably. Trust me: at this moment you feel like crap but tomorrow it’ll be much better, except for a deadly headache that’ll prevent you to think. Which sincerely wouldn’t be so bad to you, you know.”

Glancing down to the floor, Kyle instinctively compared the stiletto heel sandals with Isabel’s very long legs, that her red dress left partially revealed. The question came out from him in a flash. “Why on the earth do you persist in wearing those stilts?” he asked confusedly. “You surely do it on purpose to remind me that you’re a beanpole, don’t you? Well, let me tell you I notice that every single time I look at you!” he smiled to himself.

Since Isabel seemed to be asleep he stood up to let her alone, giving more privacy to her rest. “Goodnight wonderful space-creature,” he murmured, looking down at her sleeping face. He slowly walked out of the room and gently closed the door behind him so that it didn’t squeak. No way he couldn’t risk waking her, not now that she was finally peaceful

The faint click of the lock proved to Isabel that he had gone away and she was alone. She quickly opened her eyes, sat up and grabbed out of the nightstand drawer a picture of Jesse that she had taken of him at La Jolla, actually the only one that she had brought with her in San Francisco. Her dulled head resting against the wall, because it just couldn’t stand by itself, she concentrated on the picture to dreamwalk her husband’s mind.

Since she left Roswell, Isabel did it as much as possible. This was her only way to not shake completely off the fetters, to keep somehow in touch with Jesse’s existence. She felt like she owed that to him, especially after she had lied to him so many times. Beside that, she felt hugely relieved if she could check that he was alright in Boston, that everything was going with a swing to him, even if she wasn’t by his side. This supervision from a distance was her final gift of love to him.

Tonight, although, her dreamwalking missed the mark. She tried on again and again, for over two hours, until she was totally worn out. Her mind registered anything but a distressing darkness. Nothing else.

A sense of anguish was thickening in the pit of her stomach, a sort of confusing alarm-bell. But she felt too tired and too drunk to think straight. So the sleep won her, despite her growing angst, almost at day-break.

*~*~*

The next morning Liz woke up early, when it was about 9 o’clock a.m. and the others were still all sleeping soundly in their rooms. Entering the kitchen she had the idea of making a cake and didn’t waste time to put it into practice. She quickly gathered in a bowl all the ingredients, mixed them together for a couple of minutes and poured the mixture into a baking tin. After that, she put it into the oven and regulated the timer, then started to make some coffee and turned on the TV, tuning by chance into CNN. The regular programming had been interrupted to make room for an extraordinary edition, just like a big superimposed notice was highlighting.

Liz listened absent-mindedly to the monotonous reporters’ voices, since she was still sleepy and a bit light-headed. She didn’t ever watch CNN, the news usually bored her. She occasionally watched them to keep up to update with what was happening but she preferred newspapers for it.

Suddenly, a shrill sound announced to her that the coffee was ready and she poured the dark liquid in her cup decorated with pink little hearts. Subsequently, lifting the cup up to her mouth, she looked up at the screen and saw something that simply startled her. As her whole body shuddered, the warm brown fluid spilt at first over herself and then over the ground too, falling down along with the cup that contained it.

The thunderous noise made Max wake up and he hastily rushed into the kitchen. As soon as he entered, his hair ruffled around his drowsy face, his hands placed before his eyes to protect them from the dazzling neon, he found Liz standing motionless in front of the TV. She couldn’t move a step, her knees hardened like iron.

“What’s up here?” Max asked huskily. Pieces of the broken cup were spread all over the floor, around her tiny feet. "Liz, you okay?” A note of panic touched his voice.

“Max … Max … Max…” Liz invoked his name over and over while he moved carefully towards her. “God … how are we going to do it? How are we going to tell Isabel that … Oh my God!” she continued in a desperate tone.

He just didn’t know what to do. His wife looked traumatized by something that he couldn’t explain himself. So he tried to comfort her in the most natural way to him, wrapping his arms around her and gently kissing the top of her head. “Baby, what are you talking about?”

Liz sighed sorrowfully against his large chest, then answered, “I’m talking about … Jesse. He’s … he died the last night, Max.”



TBC


A/N: the song used is “Lady Marmalade” by Labelle
Last edited by Lulù on Mon Jan 22, 2007 11:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Lulù
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Post by Lulù » Thu Feb 08, 2007 1:58 am

Hey guys!

It looks like finally I've made it! My beta's just sent me back the new translated part. I hope you'll enjoy it :)

Thank you for being so patient and also for leaving your feedback. I really appreciated that!

And now on with the show :wink:


°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°

Part 3

“What are you talking about?” Max gulped as his eyes widened, his mind darkening with fear. After his eyes explored Liz’s face, just as upset as his, he turned towards the TV, his limbs getting oddly numb. Was it just his imagination or was he really trembling with shock?

On the TV a good-looking reporter was cynically divulging every detail of a typical modern-day disaster. In the background, beyond her pretty shape, the wreckage of twisted metal and rescuer teams working desperately could be seen. Ambulances red flashing lights were not accompanied by any sound because according the reporter, “there was simply no longer any need to save lives. Everybody on board the plane was dead. Officials were investigating the cause, searching the territory for some more evidence, and were following the standard procedure on tragic occasions like this.” Max felt as if he were watching the makings of a thriller movie, where no one was obeying a script. Everything was true, tragically true.

“Yes, he’s dead. Listen!” Liz urged him to look up at the TV.

The reporter’s voice echoed over the kitchen as they listened to her.

“I’m repeating the news for whoever might have tuned in just now. Early this morning, 6:07 a.m. local time, a private jet crashed not long after it took off from Logan Airport in Boston. It appears that it had a sudden break down. The six passengers aboard all died during the crash, but just four of them have been identified so far. The men have been identified as lawyer Jonathan Langtree, his young partners Chris Hobson and Jesse Ramirez, and the pilot Carl May. That’s all we know at this present time. We’ll be keeping you constantly updated with more information as it becomes available. This is Emily Dane reporting live for CNN.”

While she was speaking to the camera, several images of the victims relentlessly followed each other over the screen. The last image took away the last hope for Max and Liz. A dark-haired man, with tan skin, truthful dark brown eyes, snow white teeth, and a direct smile. It wasn’t a case of homogeny. It was him without a doubt. Definitely, the same Jesse Ramirez who had married Isabel almost three years ago. And he was deceased.

Liz and Max were both petrified with the deadly halo that had soaked the room, spreading out of the TV like a lethal poison. The moment his shocked eyes met hers, her shaky hands touching his, their bodies drew lovingly close to each other. They felt lucky for merely being alive and together, lucky despite everything.

“I love you so much.” Max whispered desperately above her hair.

“I love you too.” Liz whispered back into the crook of his neck.

It was all that needed to be said.

* ~* ~*

A few moments later, reality got the better of shock and time started to pass again, although more heavily than it used to before.

When Max turned off the TV, he slumped down in a seat, his head heavy with thoughts. He should be saying something, it didn’t matter what it was, but nothing seemed to sound right.

Liz quietly walked behind him and wrapped her arms around his chest, holding his trembling body tightly against hers. She could feel his warmth through his nightshirt, as he arched back into her breast. Inhaling his natural scent, more fresh and intense so early in the morning, sent shivers all the way down her spine and lower.

She swiftly roused herself from her thoughts and said softly against his hair, “We can talk to her together. Maybe it’ll be a little less hard.”

“It’s better she doesn’t know, for now.” Max said in a painful sigh.

Liz jumped at his assertion, “What?!”

“We must pretend to not know anything about this.” he stated anxiously despite himself.

He had had to reason very quickly these past few seconds, his ideas spiraling out of control. *And now? Oh crap! What am I supposed to do this time? How can I deal with such a tragedy? How can I know if I’m right or wrong?* His confusion was just overwhelming, it was too much for him, who could always dominate his own impulses.

“We have to wait till she feels a little better.” he added stiffly, “I can’t imagine how she might react right now.”

Liz just looked down at his inert head for a while, then went around to face him, “Wait until she feels better?” she repeated, clearly in disbelief. “Max, her husband just died. He’s truly dead and for death, there is no remedy. So what would we wait for?” she asked, her shoulders straightening, “When she learns the truth, whether it’s one week or one year from now, she’ll still suffer! Don’t you realize that?”

Max reached out for Liz’s hand, his eyes exploring her unusually hostile face, her gaze charging him. He didn’t want to fight with her, he just couldn’t stand it. He needed her to be on his side, so badly, just as she always was. She was his support, strength, own life.

“Indeed I do, I realize everything, Liz.” He paused to look away for a moment, his features tensing more and more. “But Iz was so devastated yesterday. I haven't seen her so shattered since … actually since we left Roswell. This would completely destroy her, I haven't the heart to tell her. She has to regain her stability before taking such a great blow.”

“No, Max! It'd be a terrible mistake.” Liz pulled her hand away, the other one ticking nervously on top of the table. She didn't hide her disappoint from Max, not this time. She couldn't. “The sooner she figures out the truth, the sooner she can begin to accept it and try to regain her stability. Postponing it would only extend her agony.” He stared back at her so intensely she stuttered a bit. “Max, she has to know. Now.”

“She's gonna know, just not right this moment though. After a few days maybe …” Max hesitated. Then he almost broke down, he couldn't help it. “I have to find the most gentlest way ... the most appropriate way to … to break her heart once more.” His voice sounded throaty, his eyes full with unwanted moistness. “You see, this isn't a job I'm exactly craving to do …” When he sighed involuntarily, his head bent down in despair and his long fingers ran hastily through his dark hair, tracing weird routes over his scalp. There was nothing he wouldn't do to spare his sister so much sorrow. Just nothing …

Liz saw him inescapably tumbling under a burden and even she couldn't ease it, as an imperious sense of impotence was keeping her trapped in a vicelike grip. “I know … I know it's gonna be heartbreaking for the both of you. I'm so sorry, honey, there's no other way …” She leaned over him, her hands soothingly cupping either side of his face, caressing his temples and gradually working their way up to his forehead. His skin felt so soft under her palms, his breath was deep and fitful in the silent air. Then she took a step back to observe his reaction to her. He was still unmoving in the seat, shielding himself with an air of coldness. “Even if I would go along with you … well, how could we keep her in the dark about that?” she continued. “She's not stupid. You know, she could just turn on the TV or read a newspaper. You can't think that you could shut her up in the house, can you?”


“We won‘t leave her alone. We‘ll stay with her and keep her busy. If you'll help me I'm sure we can do this, me and you together. I … know it, Liz,” Max said with his huge eyes burning into hers, in a tearing beg that moved her in the bottom of her heart.

Liz's eyes went deeply into his, where she saw much more than Max would have wanted to show. Why couldn't he simply admit that Jesse's death had him distraught? Because he used to be more inclined to comfort than to be comforted, she answered to herself. Like an ancient knight, he mounted on his steed and set to work, trying to do good to people. He never relented to heal his own wounds, there was always someone else to help.

Max had always been like this, ever since he was a little boy. She forced herself to recall some memory disagreeing with that but she couldn't. He was understanding and helpful to everyone, he didn't say no when somebody asked his aid, even those who didn't deserve it.

Once, back when he was only eight years old, Max tumbled down the staircase at school, during recess. An insolent 10-year-old child named Mark Conrad, who continuously annoyed him, deliberately tripped him at the top of the stairs. Because of the fall, Max grazed his knees and his right elbow started to bleed. Everyone supposed he would just burst into tears and accuse Mark of the fall, so that the principal could punish him.

But Max, surprisingly, didn't do any of this. At the moment, Liz was playing in the courtyard with some schoolmates of hers and saw him getting up all by himself, sore and covered with dust, cleaning his bleeding grazes with a handkerchief as he offered a breathtaking smile at the people who were rushed to help him. He told the principal that he had stumbled and apologized politely for having worried her so much. That was all.

A few moments later, when Mark Conrad smirked in pleasure up his sleeve, Max walked towards him and looked fearlessly into his gaze. “I'm sure you didn't do it on purpose, did you?” he said in his ear. “And also I'm sure you'll never do it again. You're not really bad, Mark, you just pretend to be.” Then he walked away leaving Mark staring at him, just speechless.

From that moment on Mark didn't annoy him any more. Max had gained his full respect.

He was like that. Her generous, altruistic, loyal Max.

*~*~*

Liz reluctantly came out of her memories, the present was demanding her complete attention. “Your sister is too smart to not realize when something's wrong,” she muttered in a swish, her voice sounding unrecognizable.

Although her observation was quite true, Max didn't want surrender to it. Swallowing hard, he took a strand of his thick hair off his brow, trying to make any sense of this conversation. “We'll have to be very cautious but I think that in the end--”

“I can't, Max!” she argued abruptly, soon regretting having spoken in a loud voice. She felt like she was just about to break into a million pieces. “I just … can't do it to her!”

Max looked back at his wife as if it was the first time he saw her . His frown softened a bit. “Please, it won't last forever,” his voice was only a pant through the serene morning silent. “Within a few days we'll tell her the truth, but until then nobody must suspect anything.”

She had to make an effort to realize that she hadn't hallucinated. No, it was Max who had told her that. “You don't intend to inform the others …” Liz hissed, hoping to be wrong. But when she looked up at him again, seeing an evident confirmation all over his face, she was just shocked. “Oh my God, did you lose your mind or anything?”

“This has nothing to do with my mind,” he replied calmly. “It's just more prudent that they don't know. The less people aware of this, the more the secret will be safe.”

“Great … that’s just great!” Liz blurted out sarcastically, as she uneasily rambled around Max.
“Lying to our best friends … what a wonderful thing!”

When she stopped in front of him, he reached out and kept her still, his hand pressing her shoulder. “You see it won't be this big deal, all considered. We have to pretend not to know and …”

Liz caught his wrist and brought his hand down, letting it fall into the air. Then she fell down in the seat. “It's easier said than done. According to your plan, we should walk over a myriad of things, come to so many terms with ourselves. You're just supposed to lie to people who love us, people with whom we live together everyday, people with whom we shared incredible experiences. Do you really think you can just ignore this?” She turned around to look intently up at him for a few slow, significant seconds. “Well, I can't. And there's one more thing to consider. Izzy usually uses her powers to dreamwalk Jesse's mind. When she realizes she can't do it any longer, she'll become suspicious and start to investigate. You know even better than me how she can be obstinate, and this time she'd have good reasons to be!”

“We'll invent something. Please Liz, it's only a matter of days before she figures out the truth,” he prayed in a murmur, still staring at her through his lids. It was only then that Liz became aware of the shadows under his eyes, both of tiredness and concern. He looked so … awfully forlorn.

“I don't … I don't think I can do this. What you're asking me is overly against my principles …” She leant her head slightly to one side, shaking her long expanse of dark hair. He was still staring at her. She felt his eyes on her skin, trailing all the way up and down, causing a fuzzy trembling under her flesh. She raised her feet on the seat and drew her knees up, hugging her body to herself like a little girl afraid of darkness, who was undecided whether to deal with her fear or merely to flee from it. Then she remembered that there was no way to flee or escape. She was just trapped, they all were.

“If it wasn't inevitable I wouldn't even ask you to do it, Liz. I …” Max let his voice fade out into his profound emotions. Could he say anything else? Maybe it wasn't time to speak anymore. Every barrier which he had barricaded himself behind, believing they were indestructible, just crumbled and he found himself helpless. Fragile like he never had appeared before.

Letting himself be guided by the aching lack in the middle of his stomach, and also more below, in his groin area, he dragged Liz up on her feet, drawing her against him in a furious manner that didn't belong to him. As soon as he hugged her, his hands roamed uncontrollably over the curve of her back. Then he crashed down on Liz, who threw her arms round his neck in reaction, arching under his palms, as he sprinkled her face with starving open-mouth kisses. His fingers delighted her face with adoring caresses, his sensitive pads touching Liz's skin as he kissed her inch by inch, brushing her in a way that was blatantly agonizing. Starting from her half-closed eyes, his hands swept down her silky cheekbones and jaws, lingering on her lips to urge them to open. When she let him in, his tongue crept into her moist warmth and tracked frenetic lines along the roof of her mouth, dipping into its soft surface.

He nuzzled against her forehead with a profound yearning for the contact. As her face pressed into his throat, her tempting hands teasing him beneath the hem of his shirt, dangerously near to his sensitive spot, he ran his fingers through her sleek hair, loose all over her back, up from the nape of her neck down to their tips. Once he kissed some of her scented strands, he let them eventually fall back on her little breasts. As passion grew uncontrollable between them, his burning arousal was about to drive him crazy. It was too much. He took her in his arms to level her up and kissed her again, even more breathlessly. But this fire they already set made him realize that a kiss wouldn't be enough. They craved for something more, he craved for something more. He wanted her so much. But …

*Riiing* *Riiing* *Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing*

The oven timer sounded out loudly across the kitchen, causing both of them to sigh with frustration as their sexual daze was broken. They needed a moment to dispel the illusory fog of perfection, throwing a bucket of frozen water on the flames that had just blazed. In a flash it felt like they were transported back to the past, when they hadn't gotten married and life just seemed to plot against their love, every time they crossed a certain threshold of 'intimacy'. They couldn't ever predict that someday a timer would be their enemy too!
Through the confusing rings, Liz hardly remembered that she had put food in the oven about 35 minutes ago. Something which seriously was at risk to burn unless she hastened to take it out.

“A p-plum-cake,” she stammered, her lips still pressed against his.

Putting her down, Max had already glanced at her interrogatively, wondering what just happened. “I made a plum-cake. I … I was about to forget it …”

Thinking straight was pretty much impossible, in their entangled position, so she lifted her head from his chest, panting as she tried to let the oxygen fill her lungs. After collecting her thoughts, she realized that she had to walk away, very unwillingly, from Max's hold, in order to regain her self-control.

Liz slipped away with a moan from Max's arms, shuffled to the oven and pulled the baking tin out, grasping it with a pot holder. Subsequently she put the cake onto the window sill to cool it down. The air quickly filled with a delicious, sweet smell. One unsteady step after the other, her feet led her to the closet, where she knew there would be a broom and dust bin. Then she walked back to the kitchen to pick up the broken cup pieces.

His breath quite short and fast, his heart still pounding, Max went to Liz to place his hand on top of hers.

“Let me do it,” he offered, leaning over the floor. Crouching down with his palm outstretched, he created a light silver glow and turned the fragments back into the cup. A minute later, when he straightened up, he handed it to her intact again and ready for use. “Here it is.”

“Thank you, I'd be sorry to throw it away,” Liz said in a low voice, as she put the cup where it belonged. “I don't know why I'm so fond to this stupid cup!”

“It's not stupid, it's yours,” he corrected her, widening his lips in a little smile that couldn't remove the grief from his face. “That is why it's kind of special …” He stretched hesitantly for her hand and she took his gently, proving that she would support him this time as well, even though she didn't approve of his plan at all.

Before they left the kitchen, their two pairs of eyes converged magnetically on the sideboard shelf, where Isabel showed off her best smile in a framed picture. They stopped for a few seconds to look at it and then continued on their way, their fingers intertwined together.

“That's so unfair, Max …” Liz whispered, her head bent in distress. “She can't even go to her husband’s funeral. She won't even be able to mourn over his grave or bring him flowers, like it should be for a wife …”

Max preferred not to reply. He just turned his face to look down at Liz, tightening his hold on her hand. He wouldn't have anything to be afraid of, as long as they stayed together. On the same side of the fence.

TBC
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Lulù
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Post by Lulù » Sat Feb 17, 2007 2:20 am

Hey guys! Update time, finally!

I’m sorry I’m getting back so late. :( My beta had some issue in her internet setting … now it seems to be everything okay.

Please, let me know your feedback.

Thank you for reading this! :wink:


°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°

Part 4

Early in the afternoon, Liz and Maria were lazily seated in two comfortable chairs in the kitchen, the first girl manicuring the second one's hands. Beyond the 6-seater table, which was adorned with a colored glass centrepiece, there was a practical cooking area where a small pan boiled on the cooker, gurgling under the lid. It looked like an ordinary Saturday afternoon but in fact it wasn't. It couldn't be.

Isabel appeared suddenly in the doorway, wearing her blue satin robe over her indigo pyjamas.

“Hi girls,” she mumbled in between yawns.

Her voice didn't sound enthusiastic at all, despite her good intensions. How could it be, with a pneumatic drill hammering into her head? With a hellish buzzing piercing her ears?

On the other hand, her facade itself gave a complete picture of her physical state: crumpled hair framing her face, pale lips turned down in annoyance, two purple lines circling her swollen eyes. Plus, she yawned uninterruptedly and her mouth still tasted of mojitos. Her arms were dangling along her body, her legs almost unable to keep her up. She was a total mess, to sum up.

Slightly turning her head, she looked up at the clock: it was past 3:00 p.m. In spite of the fact she had slept more or less about ten hours, she felt just shattered. Every single muscle of hers ached, her bones felt like they were all broken, as if an eighteen wheeler had run over her body, dragging her away miles and miles. Obviously hybrid aliens weren't meant to get drunk in nightclubs!

“Hey Izzy!” Maria called out as she took her eyes off her own painted nails to look up at Isabel.

Liz didn’t feel ready to meet her sister-in-law but pretended to. Putting away the tiny beauty-case, she removed the pan from the cooker and poured the greenish boiling liquid down into a big cup.

“Down that in one gulp,” she smiled, handing the cup to Isabel. “We prepared it just for you.”

Isabel's face grimaced in repulsion as she rejected the offer. “Thank you so much, but … I think I can't swallow anything just now. My stomach is protesting the bad things I put in it last night!” She covered her mouth with her hand in order to repress retching. “God, what a shame! I won't dare go out till the end of my life!” she whined emphatically.

Maria tried to raise her friend's moral in her own way, explicitly making a fun of herself. “Don't blame yourself like that! People do a lot of dumb things when they are drunk. You know, I'm prone to act worse than you did. Aren’t I, Liz?”

“Of course, you are darling!” Liz agreed. “You're the one who'd have to be ashamed of her acts, even when you're not drunk!”

“Oh, how kind of you!” Maria joked and pinched Liz’s hip lightly, putting on a false sulk. Then she handed the cup again to Isabel. “So, let's focus on VERY important things, here. This is the most extraordinary post-hangover infusion ever. It's simply deplorable that you let it molder here like disgusting dishwater!” She was now gazing wide-eyed at Izzy. “Trust me, Iz, even if this concoction doesn't look appealing it's gonna work miracles to your intoxicated E.T. organism. I can assure you!”

Isabel just sighed and gave up to the insistent appeal. “Okay, I'll have a taste,” she conceded reluctantly. “After all, things couldn't be worse than they already are, so …”

She crawled towards the couch where she started to sip the infusion quite skeptically. instead, every skepticism just disappeared with the first taste of it. The infusion didn't taste as bad as she expected and she went on sipping until she emptied the cup.

Maria went and sat down next to her, resting on the couch arm. “Well, was I right?” she asked, pleased with herself.

Isabel glanced at both her friends, pleasantly surprised. “I didn't know you were two …”

“Two what?” the smaller brunette asked, sitting down on the opposite arm.

“Two plastered-people wizards!” Izzy quickly responded.

“No wonder about it,” Liz told her, eyeing knowingly at Maria. “We graduated from the witchcraft high school of Amy Deluca!”

Initially, Maria laughed at the witty remark and didn't think over it, not even worrying about where it would bring her.

“Yep, right. My mum trained us perfectly during the apprenticeship. She said we had to be ready for anything through the stormy sea of life. Yeah, that's just what she said. She could face up with any kind of problem. She never lost her heart. She was … she's just … so special …”

At this point she stopped and couldn't go on anymore, her head bowing in despair. Why did it still hurt so much, so badly? As usual, whenever she deceived herself into thinking the worst was over, a single sentence, a comment or a simple feeling just sprang up and made vain every previous effort of hers.

Luckily there was Liz by her side, comforting her, soothing her, because she just couldn't stand it by herself.

Liz jumped swiftly up on her feet and reached for Maria's trembling hands, knowing that she made her best friend sad with those memories. She regretted her comment about Amy too late.

She hadn't taken into consideration that her words could hurt Maria's feelings. To calm her down, she gave her a tight hug and shared her sudden sorrow, until it became her own too. Then the two girls looked into each other eyes, passing on the same thought: no matter where they were or what terrible storm tried to tear them apart. The two of them would forever be friends.

Isabel opened her brown eyes wide. She hadn’t completely done that yet, since she had gotten up. The broad daylight filtering through the large window looking onto the road almost dazzled her. She took several moments to get used to the bright glow, then she could see Liz and Maria in front of her, hanging on to each other. Seeing them so sad sharpened even more her own disquiet, if possible. She felt just powerless towards them.

Those girls had often been her strongest support, throughout the past two years. Max, Michael and Kyle had been too but in a more 'male' implicit way. Liz and Maria, being women, had been able to comprehend her feelings more deeply, going straight to her scratched soul. Which is why she couldn't tolerate them having to suffer so much. She had to help them and the only way she knew was by means her alien powers.

“What about me dreamwalking your folks, tonight?” she offered tentatively, trying to help. “It's been a good while since you asked me to. I know you miss them. I miss my family too, all of them … so much.”

“Uh, what a great idea!” Maria cheered up, ravenously munching a coconut biscuit she had just taken out of the sideboard. “I miss my spunky mummy. I wanna see how she's doing!”

The lively tone in her voice proved she already overcame the earlier melancholy, a smile spreading over her face from one ear to the other.

That wasn't a mystery, Maria being incapable of feeling sad for more than five minutes. She could find somehow, in each circumstance of her life, even the most miserable ones, a starting point, a hook to hold on to and then begin to go upstream.

Even if she could become terribly demoralized and panicky about the little things, she also could quickly, surprisingly quickly, regain her good mood. Which is why she was such wonderful company every time you needed to just lighten up things, a very irreplaceable friend to count on.

In the meantime, Liz was being consumed with her personal dilemma. Why did Max ask her that thing? Why didn't she contest more strongly? And why, in the first place, was fate always so harsh towards all of them?

She was in such torment since she had heard the terrible news, and now she couldn’t even find solace in her friends. Not Maria. Not Isabel. Not anyone else.

Also she was perfectly conscious that she had to rapidly change course, diverting their conversation from this too delicate dreamwalking-family subject. She had to do it at any cost, the invisible knot around her throat was tightening more and more, nearly suffocating her.

“Lets talk about it later, okay?” Liz digressed, sounding a bit too embarrassed, before uncertainly addressing Isabel. “Why don't you just take that infamous shower, um?” she almost shoved the taller girl into bathroom. “You're going to be pretty busy today!”

“Seriously? How am I going to be busy?” Isabel questioned with suspicious eyes.

Liz gulped hard and looked away, appealing again to her own strong willpower to not fall apart in front of her. “Hanging out with me and Maria, basically. Ah, you better wear your sneakers.”

“Where are we exactly going?” Isabel insisted curiously, after entering the bathroom and turning on the hot water faucet. A thick fog of steam quickly filled the room.

Maria pricked up her ears too to hear Liz's reply.

“Enjoying ourselves!” Liz enigmatically grinned.

Then Izzy and Maria, who were evidently satisfied with that, went ahead and readied themselves, whereas Liz was left alone with her worries.

The first act of her show was over. The curtain had fallen down, the next scene needed to be prepared. Now the big question was: how would she get herself to do that? She felt like she was already on the verge of the ravine.

Maybe distracting herself for a while was just all she needed.

Maybe …

*~*~*

Twenty minutes later, Maria came back in the kitchen, fashionably combed and dressed, an accurate make-up adorning her features.

“Cool! We're going to have such a good time this afternoon!” she squealed enthusiastically. She couldn't wait for going out with both her friends, since Liz had talked about 'enjoying themselves'.

Enjoying oneself, according to Maria's point of view, meant definitely only one thing: a wild-shopping marathon! Her favorite entertain ever.

So she was searching her wallet for her unique so precious credit-card, afraid that she could have lost it somewhere, when Liz silently materialized next to her.

Maria had heard her speaking indistinctly over the phone in the far edge of the room, the last few minutes.

“You're going to love playing tennis, 'Ria. I'm quite sure!” Liz announced point-blank once she had hung up. “I've just reserved our playground at St. Patrick Club. I think it's time to quit idling and get some exercise here. You agree, don't you?”

Maria let her wallet drop onto the floor, slamming rudely against the light grey tiles. “Tennis??? Do you mean that totally stupid game with that ridiculous shaggy ball fluttering all the while across the net?” Liz just nodded her head and Maria started to softly whine with complaint. “What's so funny about it? Do you find it funny when you are purposely straining your muscles and have sweat pouring out of you because you are under the California sun?”

“Oh … well … yes, it positively can be funny!” Laughing to herself over Maria's dramatic attitude, Liz wrapped one arm around her shoulders. “C'mon, blondie! I just gave Kyle a ring and he said he's coming too. So it'll be me and you versus him and Isabel. It'll be terrific, I bet!”

Maria's usually radiant face was covered with disillusion. “Oh, I think you failed to focus on the main problem, woman!” she pouted and leant in to utter into Liz's ear: “I'm-a-duffer-at-this-game-generally-known-as-tennis!”

Senseless! Could her best friend have just forgotten that she was no way into sport? That the notion of sport itself was as nebulous as smoke to her ? Light years far away from her reality?

Liz kneeled down on the floor to pick up Maria's wallet, while her friend looked like she was still frozen in her tracks. “Don't worry about this, I'll teach you. Primary rules are rather simple and you happen to be a quick learner!”

“No! Liz, you must have gone off your head!” Maria shouted in protest, her hands gesticulating through the air with frantic circles. “I mean, do you realize that you demand us compete with two bulldozers? You and me, we are so skinny. Kyle and Isabel, oh, they are so … SO gigantic! In total they're something like 50 pounds heavier than us! Plus, one of them is not even from this planet. It figures!” As she spoke, she accentuated her light frown. “They'll have a lavish boxed lunch of us! I can already see phosphorescent balls beating down on us uninterruptedly!”

As Maria let out her melodramatic omen, Liz was hardly trying to not freak out. “Listen, I know we aren't exactly these war-machines but we still are nimble and smart,” she told her as persuasively as she could. “Believe me, we may give them a run for their money!”

Once she handed Maria back her wallet, Liz slowly turned around to begin looking outside, far away into distance, and then she lost it. Her eyes caught the rosy sparkles creating from Golden Gate, only partially visible through the window. It seemed like even the indistinct reflection of her own face, vaguely appearing across the glass, was blaming her. She felt her own firmness staggering again.

This sham, this whole horrible show she was carrying on, it was all just disgusting to her. How did she suppose she could keep lying to Maria? How could she deceive her dearest friend?

Not to mention Isabel. What she was doing behind her sister-in-law's back was even worse. She was betraying her faith.

“Are you interested in my point, at least?” Maria asked suddenly, standing behind her. “Today is gonna end up being our personal Waterloo!!!”

Liz rolled her eyes as she took in a deep breath. Maria's antics made her mood lighten a little. “Well, we're gonna see that. Now go and polish your armour, Miss Bonaparte!” She winked at her.

“Are you sure there's no way we can go shopping? It's not too late for second thoughts, you know,” Maria begged, her hands joining together in a theatrical plead. “Last week I had a glimpse of this amazing purse in--”

“No way, 'Ria!” Liz cut her off, sounding a bit exasperated. “Just go, okay?” Then she offered to Maria's leaving shape a faint smile that didn't really touched her eyes.

*~*~*

At Butterfly, Max couldn't take his eyes off an insignificant spot in the wall, where he had been staring pointlessly over the past ten minutes. He tediously drummed his fingers on top of the marble slab which he was leaning on.

Although the place wasn't open yet, everyone was working hard in order to prepare it for the imminent night. Everyone but him, the always flawless Max. Since the day was dawning, he had mysteriously been sticking to this kinda unbreakable isolation.

Michael, who did notice and wanted to get it clear, strode cautiously up to Max, stopping beside the counter. Then he grabbed a stool that was on top of the counter, pulled it down and just straddled it, his arms braced over the small backside.

“What the hell is wrong with you?” he spat out of the blue.

Max nearly startled at his loud voice making its way up into his own brain.

“Nothing, I'm fine,” he lied quietly, looking around in confusion.

Deep inside him, Max felt like his entire life was gradually slipping out from his grasp and he just couldn't hold it anymore. His feelings, his thoughts, he himself. Whatever he had linked to was actually unreal. Only a damned fake.

Everything except the ten years he had spent in Roswell.

“All right, nothing,” Michael blandly repeated and shrugged, only to tease him. “Then why did you look so strange to me?” he urged more soundly. “You haven't said a word since this morning. Not that you've ever been that talkative guy but today … whoa! I mean, you were staring at this fucking wall as if it were your guiding light or something!” he giggled mordantly. “Spill Maxwell, what's the matter here?”

“Don't call me that, please.! You know it bothers me.” Max stood up and smoothed down the creased hem of his shirt. The first step in an attempt to clear his mind.

Michael turned up his nose, before starting all over again. “Okay, let me reformulate the question. What's the matter with you, My Sire?” He jumped up on his feet to bow low jokingly.

Max just frowned. “I'm dead tired, Mike I didn't sleep a wink last night,” he sighed. “Sometimes it happens to me too. I mean, feeling worn-out …”

Michael reached out to pull away Max's dark locks from his forehead and stroked him. “Then these tiny wrinkles are here only because you're tired?”

“Of course,” Max answered, forcing himself to step away.

Michael didn't swallow the bait. He knew Max too well to not recognize when he was lying. Just like now.

“Are you sure?” Michael asked under his breath, arching an eyebrow inquiringly. “Anything else?”

And Max eventually gave up, the words just surged out of his mouth. He surely would have gone totally crazy if he hadn't said that.

“Do you ever think about … Roswell?”

Roswell. Seven letters pronounced one after the other thundering across Butterfly, rumbling off the walls.

“Yeah, sometimes I do,” Michael murmured and suddenly realized that Max didn't look at him. “Not like the first few months though. You know, when we wandered aimlessly in the middle of the desert, with no place for us …” he hesitated, scratching his right ear, pensively, as he scanned the adjacent area to check that no one was listening to them. “So this is your torment, huh? Roswell. I suppose this is quite normal, to be homesick.”

“Well, I was thinking especially about people we left behind, back there.” Max's eyes glided down till they met the floor, where he kept them glued. He had to ponder carefully over everything he was about to say. He couldn't afford to go too far and let Jesse's name escape his lips.

Michael had to deal once more with his own differences. He didn’t have homesickness in common with his friends. He felt like he was 'off ' everything, a permanent exception. Just like a fish out of the water.

“I can only imagine what you are feeling, what you guys are all feeling . You left your families back there. Your homes, your memories. Well, I had only that hovel where I lived in and tons of unpaid bills!” he flashed an acid grin to not sound too soppy. He didn't intend to make Max pity him. “It was much more simple for me, packing and leaving. I mean, nobody mourned for me and that surely helped.”

Max couldn't object to Michael's words. His friend had had to go through a lot of loneliness and nobody could change that. It was like a sour mark engraved on his skin.

“I'm just wondering how people who used to love us are doing. If they are okay or …” Max didn't complete the sentence, letting it fade out into a laborious breath.

“The Evans will always love you and Isabel, Max,” Michael replied too harshly. “Don't worry, bro!”

“Actually that's not what I meant,” Max explained as he finally looked up at him. “We are all dead to them after graduation. They probably are still hurt since our running away.”

“I still think they can only be fine without us screwing up their lives,” Michael asserted, walking towards the counter. Then he bent down and took two Snapples out of the fridge, handing one bottle to Max. “Just drink it, it's going to clear out your mind. At least it works for mine!”

Max ripped the tap off with one snap movement. “What if they're not … fine?” he conjectured, stumbling with words against his will. “What if something happens to one of them and …”

Michael climbed up across the counter in a flash. “You must know something I don't know!” he snapped as he was frantically clutching to Max's arm, his crew-cut hair standing on end.

Max looked into Michael's upset eyes and knew instantly that he had crossed the lines, sowing doubt in his overreacting mind.

“No, no. I was just … theorizing, Michael. It was just one speculation of mine!” he snapped back, trying to put things right again.

“Well, if it was just one speculation of yours I suggest you not speculate at all,” Michael breathed out, looking a little relieved that he had heard Max wrong. “We can't get distressed over speculations. As selfish as it can sound, we should try to look forward and keep Roswell where it belongs. In our past.”

“I guess you're right. We should try to keep Roswell in our past …” Max whispered, his eyes half-closed to find some relief himself.

Everything was getting harder and harder …

*~*~*

The apartment door was wide open and Liz stood in the threshold with two bags, one on each of her shoulders. Her annoyed look lingered over Maria who was eagerly rummaging through the dresser in the hallway.

Both of them wore a pink-striped suit, their hair put up into two cute ponytails. Above their heads they had two white peak-caps. They looked like two teenagers who were going to P. E. class at high school.

“Kyle and Isabel came out over five minutes ago …” Liz snorted impatiently, her right foot tapping on the floor. “Why is it taking you so long?”

“Crap, crap, crap!” Maria just cursed, fuming with inexplicable rage. “I can't find my bracelet. I looked for it like everywhere!”

“Which one?”

“That onyx one I let you borrow the day before yesterday, remember?” She stopped all of sudden. Her green eyes ravenously ran all around the hallway when something just hit her. “You didn't give it back to me, Liz!” she yelled. “You still have got it!”

“Yeah, you're right,” Liz agreed, her lips lightly curling with concentration. “I must have left it in my locker at the bookshop. I'll give it back to you on Monday.”

“NOOO!!! We have to go and get it right now!”

“Are you crazy or something? We can't drive to the 'Book & Co.' just because of a bracelet!” Maria was surely going to hyperventilate, Liz thought to herself as she tried to bring her to her sense.

“Yes, we can!” Maria retorted. “That's not a bracelet, that's my bracelet to begin with!” she said as if it were a reason to make you rush down even in Antarctica . “In addition it was you who led me into this bullshit. So it's up to you to give me back that propitious bracelet. Unless you want to have me on your conscience …”

“Oh, please!” Liz shook her head as she walked back in towards her. “It makes no difference whether you get it right now or not!”

“You're wrong here!” Maria objected, starting to panic again. “I have to get it, otherwise Kyle and Isabel are gonna make mincemeat of us. I HAVE to, okay? That happens to be my amulet!”

Liz just threw her arms up in exhaustion and frustration. “Okay, stop it. You won!” she conceded. “We're going by the bookshop and picking your bracelet up.”

Maria beamed at Liz and kissed her on the check. “You're the best, Lizzie!” she cheered up, snatching her own bag out of Liz's hand.

Liz saw Maria hurrying through the door and down the stairs, and she knew it would be a long afternoon.

TBC
WIP

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Lulù
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Post by Lulù » Mon Feb 26, 2007 1:54 am

Hey guys! :)

Update time, finallly!

uw51: yes, they sure have :(

Timelord31: thank you :)

begonia9508: well, I can say they did not lead Izzy to dreamwalk their families. Actually Maria just did, but she didn't know about Jesse. As for Liz, she just tried to distract Isabel's attention from the entire dreamalking thing by taking her to play tennis.

Thank you for reading my fic! :wink:


°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°

Part 5

The red-cherry Beatle came to a sharp halt across from the ‘Book & Co.’, occupying one of the many empty spaces in the vacant parking lot.

The Beatle formally belonged to Maria – all the car documents were registered under her name – but it also belonged to Liz and Isabel in some unofficial way. All three of them could in turn use the car according to their needs .

Now it was Maria’s turn to be behind the wheel, just like the good old times when she used to drive the gang about in her Jetta, back in Roswell. Liz was sitting next to her, in the passenger seat. Kyle and Isabel had taken a seat in the back.

“Is anyone coming in with me?” Liz asked as she opened the door.

“No. We’ll wait for you here,” Maria answered nonchalantly, before leaning out of the rolled-down window. “And try to not take too long in there, okay?” she added in a cheery voice.

“Don’t worry. I’ll go and raid the locker, then I’ll be back with the loot!” Liz waved a hand toward the car, as she rapidly reached the main door.

She was about to insert her key in the lock when she noticed that the door wasn’t correctly locked. It was only left ajar. Then she looked around to also notice that Paul’s silver-grey Porsche Boxter and Annie’s black Mercedes SLK were both parked by the back door.

Liz cautiously stepped in, wanting to not pay attention to the light sounds coming up from the inside. She didn’t feel like bumping into the Winslow brother and sister, especially not after the unpleasant argument she had had with Annie yesterday.

So she went straight to the dressing room, turned on the light and quietly opened her locker, seeing Maria’s onyx bracelet shining in the far corner of the shelf.

In the meanwhile, an interesting conversation burst out in the next room and she couldn’t help but listen to it as it oozed in through the thin wall.

*~* ~*

Bending over the large mahogany desk furnishing his office, Paul Winslow jumped in his leather armchair when his sister first peered in the doorway, then sauntered into the room.

“Annie! What are you doing here?”

“What about you? It’s Saturday and you still bury yourself in this kind of morgue!” she said as insolently as usual.

A line of purest pearls gleamed around her slim neck, two matched earnings dangling from her pink earlobes. She walked forward confidently, her blond tresses fluttering in the air making it scented with flowers, a red silk dress molding her perfect curves.

An astonishing beauty with a devilish soul.

“I had to deal with those files,” Paul asserted flatly as he stood up to be on the defensive. He took a few steps towards his sister, stopping about two feet away from her. “We’re going to trace out our quarterly accounts on Monday morning. I guess you’re not interested, are you?”

“Obviously I’m not,” Annie sat down in the leather couch, crossing her long legs. Then she began to put on her make-up. “Truth to tell I don’t give a damn about it!”

“So what did you come for?” he asked, staring down at her unreadable look.

“I wanted to see how was doing my beloved brother!” she answered in a defiant tone, looking at her own face in the pocket mirror as she powdered her nose.

*~*~*

Once Liz got Maria’s fortunate bracelet, she tiptoed out of the dresser room. She went and hid behind the office door, her ear resting on the smooth wood.

It wasn’t like her, eavesdropping like a spy, she herself was aware of that. Nevertheless she couldn’t help herself. She had the weird feeling that it could lead her somewhere.

And she listened to it.

She just listened to it …

*~* ~*

When Paul stepped back to his desk, he started to glance through a file filled with figures. “I’m okay Annie, but actually I have tons of work to attend to. I’d like to be left alone, if you don’t mind …”

Annie clicked the mirror closed and threw it irately back into her expensive purse. “In fact I mind, Paul,” she challenged him. “I do know why you got so angry with me yesterday,” she stated ambiguously. “I’m positive of it !”

“Ah-ha, because of that awful mess you made with Mr. Brown!” he accused her, his green eyes darkening with blame. “Lucky us he’s not a prickly guy and accepted our apologies for that.”

After she stood up to face him she put a few files in a pile and moved a silver paperweight to make some room over the desk and sit down on top of it.

“I think that the Mr. Brown thing was just an excuse to punish me, isn’t it?” she arched her eyebrows up sneeringly. “The plain truth is that I dared to touch the untouchable one yesterday!”

“Shut up! I’m not having this conversation with you!” he turned around in a rush, openly hurt by what she had just said.

“Oh, my poor brother! You’re getting angry again,” Annie continued, her voice growing more and more exasperating. “Jeez, it’s so pathetic! I mean, you looking like this clumsy teenager boy with his first crush!”

“Annie, I’m warming you!” Paul grunted ominously as he grasped her arm. “Stop it now before I …”

“Before you what? ” she interrupted his half threat. “We both know I’m hitting the bull’s eye here. And to think that you could have all the women you want … What a waste! ” she slightly shook her head, her cold eyes running all the way down on his handsome masculine shape. “You’re longing for someone who didn’t even lay her eyes on you! Don’t you realize that you’re just invisible to her? Transparent? Absolutely insignificant? Well, maybe you’re satisfied with hanging about her like a horny dog …”

“SHUT THE FUCK UP!!!” he cried out, tightening his hold on her arm, his other hand hovering up like he was just about to slap her.

Annie couldn’t help but gasp.

Then Paul could barely take a step back to keep himself from going too far, his hands sinking down deep in his pockets.

“How can you do that ?” he sighed, still breathless with anger. “Tell me, please. How can you always make me lose my self-control like that? I bet you do it on purpose.”

“Sure I do,” she replied, seeing him fighting against himself, her lips parting in a mischievous grin. “The fact is, I know how to strike the right tones. You’ve always got a weakness for lost causes. So you found yourself involved into this triangle thing with no way out of it!”

The words his sister had just uttered someway made Paul startle. A hint of hesitation flashed in his look.

“There’s no triangle thing, we’ve talked about it plenty of times. I’m okay. Actually I couldn’t ask for anything else!” ‘Cause I couldn’t have anything else,’ he thought too. But he kept it for himself.

“Yeah, good. You’re happiness personified!” Annie commented sardonically. Then she took her brother’s hand and led him in front of the golden-framed mirror set above the bureau. “Look at this, Paul. Is this a happy man to you? You can’t fool yourself!”

His face reflected in the mirror, telling everything. He looked gorgeous, well-proportioned. Nothing was out of place in him. His full lips curved downwards though, his big eyes colored with dull nuances. As if he had been deprived of some precious thing along the way. Or better, as if he could never have it.

“Go ahead like that, if you think it can help you. I won’t stand it anymore!” Annie threatened, taking advantage of his puzzled state. “We should act one way or another but you’re such a fucking idiot I have to do the job in your place!”

“No, Annie, listen to me. You’re not doing anything. We haven’t been doing anything so far and we’re not starting now!” he ordered, glaring down at her. “We are only supposed to watch over them. That’s that!”

Annie kept her livid eyes locked on his. “You can’t just boss me around, I’m not your slave or anything!” she protested. “You do know what my aim is and I’m going to achieve it, with or without your permission!” Then she walked away.

Paul’s cheeks dyed pale as he scowled at her retreating back. “What are you thinking of?” he asked in concern. “Wait, Annie! Just wait and answer to me!”

But she left the room without second thoughts.

He stepped slowly back behind his desk and fell into the armchair, his face grimacing in a vexed expression.

*~* ~*

Liz snuck out the bookshop and got back into the car, throwing panicked glances over her oblivious friends.

What if it was her the one Annie had just talked about? What if it was her the one Paul longed for? That sounded totally illogical to her. She hadn’t ever encouraged him. Never. He did know she was a married woman and loved her husband heart and soul. She was only a friend, one employee of his to him … wasn’t she?

“Did you get it?”

Maria’s shrill voice brought back Liz’s attention down on the Earth. “Here you go,” Liz said, waving the bracelet back and forth under her friend’s nose.

“Wow!” Maria grabbed it excitedly, fastening it closed around her own left wrist. “We’re safe now.” Moments later she restarted the engine and made a U-turn to drive them back across the city.

The ‘Book & Co.’ outlines rapidly disappeared behind forests of cars and several skyscrapers, as they drove on headed for their next destination. Soon the ocean was again in sight, so vast and reassuring.

That was when Liz couldn’t contain herself any longer. “I need you guys be extremely honest with me,” she spoke and took all of them aback, her eyes fixed on the clean windshield.

Kyle slipped his head in-between the two front seats. “Was that the softest way to inform us that we usually are three utter liars?” he joked, causing Liz looking back at him.

“No, no!” Liz answered very seriously. “This time I need you guys to be more honest than ever. Pitilessly honest.”

“Don’t worry. We’ll be just heartless!” Isabel exclaimed to reassure her.

Liz took in a deep breath and let her doubts out.

“Do you guys … think I am a … slut?” she stuttered, feeling silly for doing that all of a sudden. “I mean, do you think I’m too … friendly with … men? Not with anyone in particular. I mean with men … as of a category?”

That wasn’t completely true. There was someone in particular to refer to, but she definitively couldn’t involve him in this unless she had more specific proofs.

“You WHAT?” Maria’s eyes were popping out of her head as she swallowed down a scream. Was her best friend just out of her mind?

Liz cleared her throat and then began to tell them the whole thing - well, all that she could tell to them - without drawing breath. “I would know if the way I act around men can seem sorta … ambiguous. Maybe I tend to be caring with people a bit too easily, but I have no ulterior motive. I’m this kind of person for … it’s my nature. Flirting with men is so far from me, it’s not like me at all! You see I’m so madly in love with Max, I do love him more than live itself. I’ve never wanted anyone but him. Oh my god! You guys know that, don’t you?”

Kyle and Isabel were been chuckling up their sleeves since Liz had started her rambling speech, neither of them capable to form a word except for occasional suffocated giggles.

Maria maneuvered to turn left and unintentionally bumped against the horn with her hand. Although the sudden loud noise almost scared the three passengers to death, she was so upset she didn’t notice.

“What the hell happened to you back there at the ‘Books & Co.’?” Maria yelled, eyeing her friend worriedly. “Queen Amidala just materialized from nowhere and cast her spell on you, did she?”

Liz rubbed her feet against the mat, causing an awkward friction being heard. It told to everyone she was on her way to being shattered. They all still ignored why.

“Please, can you just give me one mere answer?” Liz begged, croaking with unease. “Can you just do this for me, Mariaaaa?”

Somehow moved to compassion, Maria did what she had been told. “Okay, as you wish. Did you ask me one mere answer? Well, you’ll have that one!” she started, giving in to her own explosive verbosity. “You’re like the less ambiguous person ever, Liz. You shouldn’t ever look at any man who isn’t Max in that ‘soul-mates’ way. Everybody is aware of the massive sign with the inscription ‘I belong to Max’ planted just above your head!” She paused only to catch her breath. “Good, I think it’s enough.”

Liz stroked her own chin as she pondered over Maria’s words. Then she turned back to continue questioning the others. “How about you, Kyle? You are a man, just express yourself!”

“Maria said it all,” he managed, finding it difficult to keep a serious face. “I also can say that after Max came in your life the male gender could even have been extinguished as far as it matters to you! And let me remind that I’m speaking from experience here, not that I’m so proud of that prehistoric time of mine !”

“Fine, fine,” Liz nodded her head, as if she wanted to get it through her mind. “How about you Iz?” she added as she concentrated on Isabel. “Try to forgot that you’re my sister-in-law, if you can.”

“My brother is such a lucky dog for having married to you!” that was all it took for Isabel to say and elicit a soft smile across Liz’s lips, from the bottom of her heart. “You love him so much that it can be read in your eyes every time you look at him. God, it’s so blatantly obvious you do!”

Liz breathed out, feeling her own features relaxing a little as she looked back through the windshield. “Thank you guys. You just took a load off my mind.” She needed so badly to believe that she was wrong and her friends were right about her fears. She had to. There was already too much to worry about.

When the traffic lights towering over Columbus Avenue and California Street’s intersection commanded Maria to stop the car she reached out to stroke Liz’s forehead. “Mmh, you’re not burning up …” she remarked almost to herself, feeling Liz’s fresh skin under her palm. “Must be something in the water then!”

After that Kyle and Isabel started to giggle again while Liz just smiled.

*~*~*

Three hours later

The sun had already gone down as a pallid half-moon floated far above, in the dark blue sky. It was warm, even too warm for a middle- September night.

The match was over and it had been very enthralling, contrary to every forecast. Initially Kyle and Isabel seemed to be irresistible, each and every shot of theirs incrementing the score to their own advantage. It took almost the entire first set for Liz to teach Maria how to hold the racquet and return the ball back on the other side of the net.

In the second set, Maria began to become familiar with the match but it wasn’t enough to change the score. Kyle and Isabel won that set too. Only during the third set the two girls manage to get the better of their rivals and it happened again in the fourth set. So the match ended in a draw till the final tie-break, when it was Maria who surprisingly scored the victory shot!

While Kyle and Isabel went and gave back the four racquets they had rented, Liz and Maria got undressed in the changing room. After taking a quick shower they both were wearing more appealing outfits. The blond girl put on a white halter top and a fluffy green skirt, the brunette one a turquoise very low-necked shirt and black low-waistband trousers.

Once they reached the St. Patrick parking lot arm-in-arm, a rejoicing Maria started to hop all around Liz, who was loading their bags into the trunk.

“It was just incredible, so incredible!” Maria cried out as she tugged at Liz’s naked arm. “We won, Lizzie, we actually kicked their asses! It was thanks to my magic bracelet that I suddenly got this invincible champion! Wimbledon, I’m just comiiiiiiing!”

Liz closed the trunk and turned around to flash Maria a playful gaze. “Hmm, I thought I heard you saying it would end up being our personal Waterloo!” she reminded her through a smile, her hands standing on her own hips.

“Well, I don’t know …” Maria shrugged, pretending to be absolutely guiltless. “We probably just changed history!”

Minutes later the two unpredicted losers were going to meet Liz and Maria in the parking lot. As they moved together across the spruce lawn, Kyle couldn’t help staring at Isabel in allure, letting her walk past him to look at her without her realizing that. She looked so beautiful, so breathtaking in her lavender dress he could even pass over the shameful defeat they had just run into. If only she could feel how she was important to him, how she always had been …

Kyle was totally lost in his thoughts when his mobile started ringing in the back pocket of his jeans. He got the call and his face just lighted up.

In the meantime Isabel saw from the distance Maria and Liz gesturing her to join them. She sped up her pace and they met her halfway, they all starting to chatter and waiting for Kyle. He joined them as well in a while, his blue eyes now sparkling with thrill.

“Are we all going to Tony’s Pizza?” Maria suggested, expecting for only affirmative nods. “So we can celebrate the wonderful victory … oops, match.”

Izzy just looked down at her own feet. “I better go home. I still feel a bit lightheaded from yesterday,” she sighed, her mind rushing back to the failed dreamwalking. “You guys can go out, I’ll be fine.”

“You kidding?” Maria replied in astonishment. “It’s Saturday and on Saturdays you can’t just stay at home all alone! There’s no question!” She elbowed Kyle and urged him with a fiery look. “C’mon man, tell to her she has to go out with us!”

“Well … actually … I can’t go out with you …” he confessed in a weak voice. “Devon and Martin … well, they’re on their way to pick me up here. I’m going with them to the Stadium.”

Maria glared at him, her eyes narrowing in disapproval.

“Please, don’t look at me like this!” he whined, feeling like if he had to excuse himself for what he was about to say. “I just got their call … what was I supposed to do?” His question was just rhetorical. “There’s no way I could say no to the 49rs!”

As Liz and Isabel shared an amused look, Maria just folded her arms over her chest. “Do you really prefer spending your Saturday evening with those geeks,” she spun around and pointed at the parking lot entrance where Kyle’s friends were whistling at him from a red cabriolet, “to having the best pizza of your life with us, the most charming girls you’ve ever known?”

Kyle didn’t need to think about that. “No offense … yeah, I do!” he stated before making his way towards his friends. “Bye girls, see you tomorrow!”

“Oh my God!” Maria’s mouth fell open. “No wonder the world’s falling apart!”

Seeing Maria’s sulk Liz approached her and took her by the arm. “What about those pizzas, uh?” she proposed, her other arm outstretched as she waited for Isabel to grab it.

Maria smiled and Isabel smiled back, taking Liz’s arm in hers, the three of them walking together across the large parking lot.

TBC … ???


Should I continue this? I can't figure out whether you guys are interested or not in it. Please, let me know what you're thinking about the new part! Pleaseeee!!! :roll:
Last edited by Lulù on Mon Feb 26, 2007 7:10 am, edited 2 times in total.
WIP

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Lulù
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Post by Lulù » Tue Feb 27, 2007 2:26 pm

hey everyone! :)

I'm back early! :D

just don't you guys get used to it, okay? :lol:

as usual feedback are more than appreciated :wink:

now on with the show ....


°°°°°°°°°°°°°

Part 6

It was 11:00 pm and Isabel was seated on her soft bed, a pile of pillows coming up behind her back. Liz and Maria sat right in front of her, on the other edge of the bed. They all just came back from Tony’s Pizza and Maria couldn’t wait for dreamwalking her mum, just like Isabel had promised her early in the afternoon.

“Firstly I’ll start the connection and then I’ll extend it to you,” Isabel informed Maria, her hand resting on a portrait of Amy DeLuca. That was when her hazel eyes opened wide abruptly.

“She’s gonna get married.”

Shaken by the news, Maria suddenly lost her own balance and rolled down from the mattress onto the floor, falling down on her knees. “W-what? W-what did y-you just s-say?” she staggered in half-shock, her checks dyeing red crimson, her mouth getting dry.

“Your mum is going to marry Jim Valenti in a week,” Isabel grinned at Maria’s stunned expression, her eyes blinking closed again. “I just saw her wedding dress. Kind of unconventional, if I should have my say.”

“Wow!” Maria was speechless as she stumbled back on her feet. “Is she dreaming about her wedding dress at present?”

Isabel held the picture tight in her hand, keeping the connection on. “Not exactly. At present she’s dreaming about …” she couldn’t find the word. “Well, it’s something a bit more private than a wedding dress!”

“Let me in, please!” Maria begged, clutching Isabel’s arm. “I just need to see my mum!”

“I think it’s better you don’t see her this very moment!” Isabel replied. “You could be … like shocked.” She sucked her lips in between her teeth to keep from laughing.

“I don’t care.“ Maria sounded just inflexible. “I do want to see her!”

“As you wish,” Isabel complied with a sigh, reaching out for Maria’s hand.

When the two palms touched each other, Maria was instantly swallowed up by the dream.

Her mother’s lovable face came fast into view, her big blue eyes glinting with a naughty light . The moment Maria could look down at her entire form she took in a harsh breath.

Amy was dreaming about herself being a tamer, specifically a very sexy tamer in very sexy underwear. She also wore a tight black waistcoat and above that a white bow tie with red dots, her hand grabbing a long whip. Before her a large cage stretched away in the empty circus; inside there was only one beast to tame: Jim Valenti as a captive, iron chains around his fists and ankles, mocking a roar out to incite Amy to join him in there.

Maria leaped back out from the dream, coughing huskily a couple times. “Eww, that was sooo revolting!!!!” she whimpered, a tragicomic grimace displayed all over her face. “I’m going to gag!!!”

“What?” Liz asked in concern while Isabel just grinned silently to herself.

Maria rolled her eyes significantly as she moved her arms up and down. “My mother has such a sick mind! I can only hope it’s nothing genetic …” she grimaced again. “O God, I so need to go out for a breath of air!”

With that she left the room hurriedly in a really groggy pace.

Once Maria fled off somewhere in the hallway Isabel turned towards Liz, who was still seated on the edge of her bed.

“It’s your turn now,” Isabel said, taking Liz’s hand and the picture of her parents she was grasping in the process.

Liz could hear herself breathing heavily, like she had something lying on her stomach, which was mainly true. “Iz, you don’t have to, you know …”

“I know,” Isabel whispered as she planted her hand on the picture, readying herself for the next go. “I want to,” she added in a feeble voice, seconds before the connection swept rapidly away both her and Liz.

Liz unconsciously shut her eyes and let herself go. She was soon aware of the familiar place. The light yellow walls, the simple wooden furniture, the good scent in the air. She wouldn’t ever forget that. Her place. The Parkers’ home.

As she moved across what looked like a bedroom she could see somebody emerging in the half-darkness, a soft voice brushing her ears. Another one step forward and she caught the most heartbreaking view: her mother cradling and humming a lullaby to her favourite childhood doll, Nancy’s eyes filled with hidden tears.

Liz was about to call her mum out when she found herself somewhere else. A blink later she looked around and her heart skipped a beat. A dark-haired man seated in a worn chair, in the far corner of the narrow room, his head leant over a table, his hand running frantically on a white sheet.

As she approached him with hesitant feet, her footsteps echoing in her own brain, she could distinctly see what he was doing, who he was in the first place. He was her father and he was writing.

His tender verses began to float up rotating up more and more weightlessly until they were just before her eyes …

Come back to me, Sweet Princess. Back here to me.
Let me adore you one more time, just one more time .
That’s all I need, that’s all I’m yearning for. A glimpse of you, one more time. Just one more time.
The sun died, the stone crumbled, my tongue is getting mute.
I can’t cry your name anymore.


“Dad …” Liz mouthed, her lips twitching with stifled sobs, her hands quivering. But Jeff just couldn’t hear her. The dream was over.

Liz slipped back her hand from Isabel’s, her eyes narrowing in the effort to hold back her tears. ‘Sweet Princess’ was the way her dad used to nickname her when she was just a little girl, his beloved little girl.

“Are you okay?” Isabel asked as she softly stroked her shoulder.

“I’m fine,” Liz answered, looking down at the floor, since she just couldn’t look her in the eye. “Thank you for doing that.”

“You’re welcome,” Isabel said as she searched for her top drawer where she pulled out two pictures, the first one with Jesse and the other one with both Diane and Philip Evans. “If you don’t mind …”

Liz’s blood ran cold. Isabel was about to dreamwalk Jesse, unaware that she couldn’t ever do it anymore. “Oh … it’s okay. I’m leaving.” Liz pot up and headed off the door with a petrified face.

“You can stay, Liz!” Isabel’s voice reached her, provoking her to stop by the doorway.

“I don’t think so,” Liz’s head dropped to her side, a tempting idea crossing her mind for a moment. “Ah … Izzy?” Could she tell her and get it over? Could she really do?

“Yeah?” Isabel replied with a cocked eyebrow.

Then Liz just realized that she couldn’t. “Nothing. Goodnight.”

She simply let the door slam shut behind her back.

*~*~*

An hour and a half later, Liz was still fully awake.

Max hadn’t gotten home from work yet and she was waiting for him on the balcony, lying with her back on the floor, her hands behind her head, only a blanket between her soft body and the tough ground.

It seemed like she had been that way forever, just gazing blankly into space. During the indefinite amount of time she had done nothing but look up at the sky, seeing it gradually clouding over and heralding a very cloudy Sunday morning.

Max opened the door of their bedroom almost holding in his breath, afraid that he could waken Liz up with some squeaking noise. The night at Butterfly’s had been quite hectic, however he had never stopped thinking a single instant of it. About Liz, about what they had found out in the morning, about the way they could handle with it and Isabel. Just about everything.

Liz jumped up in her seat on the blanket as she heard him nearing her, her hands clenching, her legs bent at the knees.

As soon as he set foot on the balcony his eyes were drawn to her, noticing her back half-covered with her long velvety locks. He couldn’t wait to see her beautiful face. He had missed her so much. So much.

“Hey, what are you doing out here?” Max’s deep voice sent shivers flooding through Liz’s spine in spite of the fact that she was already conscious of his closeness.

“I couldn’t sleep so …” She could feel his eyes burning holes into her flesh, begging her to turn around. He was standing just one foot away, behind her.

“So you just got out and stared at the sky,” Max finished for her, lowering himself beside her, a tentative look etched over his features. “Does it still remind you of me?” he murmured so quietly she almost couldn’t heard, his hand seeking hers.

“I don’t need anything to remind me of you, Max" Liz murmured back suddenly looking up at him, their fingers lacing together. "You're always on my mind."

Max just melted at her intense words and look, leaning in to kiss her warm mouth. The moment their lips met he felt an unfamiliar frosty wave spreading from her and striking his senses violently.

“What was that?” he asked, his lips inches from hers.

Liz shifted down her eyes with a heavy sigh. “I did what you told me,” she started to explain. “I played tennis with Isabel Maria and Kyle in the afternoon and then we girls had a pizza all together.”

“Thank you for doing that,” he replied without letting go of her hand.

“Don’t thank me. I haven’t done anything yet.” Her hostile tone nearly froze him. “When we came back home Isabel insisted to dreamwalk our families. She’s probably wondering right now why she couldn’t dreamwalk Jesse.” She paused and underlined in a louder voice: “Her husband.”

Max raised her chin up with his thumb to sink into her reluctant gaze. “Liz I know how hard it’s been for you. I totally understand --”

“No, you don’t !” she snapped. Max’s hand fell down on the blanket, he inwardly knew what she was referring to. “You didn’t talked to her, you didn’t behave as if nothing had happened and you definitely didn’t keep lying to her all day!” she tore herself from him till she thought it was far enough. “It’s even beyond hard, it’s … hurtful.”

“Liz …” Max watched stock-still her as she stood up and waddling towards the railing. “I’m so sorry …”

“Isabel has faith in me,” she mumbled with a pang of grief. “She trusts me and how am I rewarding her? Just betraying her! It feels so wrong.”

Max was on his feet in a flash and then rushed next to her. “I’m sorry I shouldn’t have weighed you down with all this.” He cupped fondly her cheek relishing the feel of her skin. But she quickly slithered away from his touch.

“I’m just trying to protect her like I’ve always supposed to do …” he continued hesitantly, crushed by the patent hostility oozing from inside her.

Liz felt a sudden lump in her throat her eyebrows furrowing. “You can’t just keep things from people in order to protect them. It’s not supposed to be like that. All you can do is give them your love and comprehension. Nothing else.”

“I swear you it won’t last long,“ he promised with glazed eyes as he scratched his right ear nervously. Why had he promised anyway? He had no idea when or how he would do it. It was sort of killing him. He was trying to understand Liz’s point though. Was it a mutual attempt? He just hated it when the turn of the events led them to different ways.

“Yes, it won’t last long,” Liz agreed, sounding like imperious, her arms tensing and tightening around her own bosom like a fragile shield. “Tomorrow Max, you gotta tell her tomorrow,” she saw him stretching out his hand in a desolated request but all she said in reaction was a pungent warning. “If not I’ll feel forced to do it for you!”

Max pulled back his lonely hand, his mouth gaping as she turned around and walked away towards the bedroom.

Although Liz knew he was going through hell as much as she was she just wouldn’t go along with his plan any longer.

She was turning her back on him, which meant they were sucked in a big black hole and everything was going to go very badly.

*~* ~*

The next day, mid-afternoon

Maria was laying with her back on a quite secluded bench, in the bottom of the landing stage, her knees bent and joined up. Her blonde-haired head heavenly rested on Michael’s lap who was caressing her scalp in even, circular brushes, as she enjoyed this treatment with her eyes closed, delighted by his cuddling mood.

The Harley was parked just near the bench, magnificent in its dazzling chromium-plating, two helmets hanging down from either side of the handlebars. A mist of dispersing clouds partly enveloped the setting sun, along the horizon line. The water lapping against the keels sounded as if it were a soft murmur, only buzzing voices far away in the background.

“Did you notice how strange Romeo and Juliet acted this morning?” Maria broke off out of the blue the enchanting moment.

“What?” Michael parted his legs a little, causing her head to stagger before he cupped it and glanced down at her in surprise. “Romeo and Juliet?” he repeated.

“Yep. Max and Liz, Romeo and Juliet, the embodiment of Romantic Love,” Maria sat up and glanced back at him, her hair all dishevelled on the nape of her neck. “You got the subtle analogy?”

“Kind of,” he blinked as he stroked his forefinger under his nose, one of the most distinctive gestures of his. “What about them?”

She reached down and picked up a pebble from the pavement, then she threw it vigorously beyond the balustrade, seeing it splashing down into the ocean depths.

“Maybe it’s just me, but I smell a rat. I mean, those two are always so like lovebirds and suddenly they hardly speak to each other. It seems kind of uncharacteristic, doesn’t it?”

Looks of disquiet dashed on Michael’s face making it darken as the sky above his head. “I just think you should keep your nose out off this and mind your own business!” he suggested rudely as he picked up a pebble as well and hurled it into the murky water.

“This is my business!” Maria remarked, her eyes narrowing on him as she pushed herself to her feet. “Jeez, those two are my best friends ever, I do care for them!” When she spun around the gentle ocean breeze scattered her feathery hair in messy locks. “Yesterday Liz came out with this senseless freaking speech that scared the hell out of me! Oh you would have heard her. She sounded so like crazy … so like … me!”

Michael sighed burying his hands in the large front pockets of his slack pants. “Max did more or less the same thing just yesterday …” he trailed off.

“Hmm the plot thickens more and more!” Maria commented without delay. Her typical curiosity was apparently kicking in.

“They all feel the same as you,” he said in such a gloomy tone that it stifled the weak smile forming on her lips.

“What are you talking about?” she demanded on the spot. Just then she realized that something was bugging him. Something both close and out of her reach.

“Your mother getting married,” Michael answered under his breath. “You wish you were by her side instead of being nailed here and this is hurting you hard. Did you think I hadn’t notice that?” He halted briefly to look at her, a trace of ache traversing his eyes. “You guys feel all the same about your families, it’s me the strange one here. I’m just this fucking dry tree unable to put down roots anywhere.”

“Please, don’t. Don’t say that …” she almost pleaded with him. It all always began like that. He started bashing himself, digging up his sad past of no-family boy till it took possession again of him, and when he was just about to broke down he shut her out. “You’re not like this. Not at all!” she assured, her arms outstretched towards him.

“I wrecked your life, Maria,” Michael gave her a blank glare pretending to sound indifferent, his hands wringing together on his lap. In fact he was on the verge of an endless abyss, trying so hard to not fall over. “I totally screwed up your life. Your plans for the future, your ambitions. I messed up everything, it was all my fault.”

She watched him as he shrugged with a dumbfounded expression. “Your fault? How might it be your fault? It was me --”

“What the hell are you doing here?” he stormed, staring intently at her. “You would have found an agent, whoever could try and initiate you in the jet-set. You’re so amazing, so … brilliant, even if I haven’t told you very often …” he added in a grave tone of guilt. “But just because of me you’re working as a clerk in that sort of snob-chicks place!”

“My job is not as bad as you’d depict it …” she tilted her head to the reverse side, where he couldn’t see her disconsolate appearance. “Actually things are going pretty fine here in San Francisco. I love it, seriously.” It was a half-lie.

“You weren’t supposed to be here in the first place.” After Michael stood up he walked past her and went straight to the Harley, placing one hand on it. “You were supposed to be everywhere but here. I’m the one who is stopping you.”

Maria strode towards him, her eyes focusing on his. “I chose to be here because you’re here. Because I love you, Michael,” she moved closer to him and took his hand in hers.

“That’s not good.” His gaze bowed down, his voice croaking. “I mean, love can’t be enough for you. I have to set you free.”

“Are you … dumping me?” she managed, her lips trembling as she waiting for him to respond.

He slowly shook his head no, and she drew in a relieving sigh. “I’m just facing facts,” he continued to her most puzzlement.

When she didn’t reply, he just jumped on the bike, putted on his helmet and started the engine with a switching movement. “Let’s go,” he urged Maria who was still thunderstruck beside him.

She blinked once, twice. “What … w-where?” she babbled then.

“At Butterfly,” he responded as he handed her over the other helmet. She grabbed it in a doubtful hold. “I have to help Max out with the weekly inventory.”

“We were talking!” she huffed, her previous incredulity turning into slight annoyance.

“Indeed we were but nothing’s left to be said,” Michael spoke through the helmet opening.

As soon as he felt her getting into the saddle and settling herself behind him he roared off on the way to Butterfly.

His behavior would never cease to stump her in the truest sense of the word.

TBC …
WIP

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Lulù
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Post by Lulù » Sat Mar 03, 2007 12:19 pm

Hey guys, I'm back with the new part! :D

please let me know if you like it :roll:


begonia9508: I have to totally agree with you here :(

Timelord31: I hope so too :)

katydid: well I think sometimes Michael is still the same we used to know in the show ...

Natalie36: you're welcome! :wink:

thank to everyone else too!


°°°°°°°°°°°°°°

Part 7

It was pouring, drop after drop soaking the misty urban landscape, deeper and deeper. As Isabel watched from her room the rain teeming down into several puddles and drawing concentric circles which immediately dissolved, she felt like it was liberating, somehow cathartic for her. As if it could make her blank out her mind and exorcise every fear of hers. Every worry of hers.

She just had to try and see how it would turn out.

So she bent over the window and breathed out lightly against it, her warm breath forming a large halo across the cold glass. Then she made it glowing just waving her hand up and down.

“What are you doing?” Max’s calm voice surprised her from the doorway as she exhaled again against the glass.

She thought for a while before turning around and moved in front of him. “Trying my powers actually,” she uttered sincerely.

“Trying how?” Max mustered up his nerve. Was she doing what he thought she was doing?

“Just how you can try something defective.” Silence enveloped the room for a few seconds. “Max, I need to talk to you.” She pulled at his sleeve, pushing him inside.

“Sure,” he swallowed hard, in order to fortify himself. “What’s up?”

Isabel was going to give him the answer he had asked for when a quiet stamping caused both of them to look back.

Liz was standing in the doorway, holding a black short dress which she intended to wear in the evening. Although, by the time she looked up from her dress she went ghostly pale. She didn’t expect Max to still be at home.

“I thought you could fix this for me,” she showed Isabel the little rip in the black material, just below the neckline. “But it’s quite obvious that this isn’t a good moment.” Maybe he …. maybe he was just about to tell … “I’ll come back later.” She had to sneak off as soon as possible.

“No, Liz. Wait!” Isabel yelled as she strode towards the petite brunette. Max simply fell silent.

“No problem, I’m leaving,” Liz shrugged giving Max a questioning look over Isabel’s tall shape. “You two were sort of having a private conversation here … ”

Isabel replied in the most meaningful way. “That’s why you definitively can stay.”

“There’s no need for me to stay.” Liz waited in vain for some signal from Max, no matter what.

“Liz, I want you to stay,” Isabel reaffirmed warmly. “You’re my sister-in-law, you’re one of us. What I was telling Max I can tell you too.” Her affectionate words could only increase Liz’s discomfort. “Plus I’m quite interested in your opinion.”

“What’s it about?” Max suddenly demanded as he took a seat on his sister bed.

Liz took a step forward and closely gazed at him, her shoulder resting against the closet. She couldn’t back out anymore.

Isabel opened her mouth and let all it out. “Did it ever happen that your powers didn’t work with a particular person while they worked out very well with everyone else?” She was eager for her brother’s reply.

Max’s palms pressed on the mattress, his head tilting to a side in a brooding look. He had to gain time. “Well I’m kind of taken aback, Iz …” he lied, enunciating every syllable. “What do you mean exactly?”

The taller girl slumped on the bed beside him. “I knew you wouldn’t approve … you wanted me to break off any relation with Jesse … but I couldn’t Max … I just couldn’t …” Pain and despair reflected in Isabel’s voice, hitched by heartrending sobs. “I continued dreamwalking him … I felt like I had to do, for him and for me too. Just to get by …” she whispered so forlornly he felt his heart twitching. “I never failed so far. Friday night though … I wasn’t able to contact him. At first I supposed it was because of me being drunk. So I tried again yesterday and I failed … again. How is it possible? I mean, I could dreamwalk everyone else but Jesse. I’m scared Max … I’m having this bad feeling that something could have happened to him …”

Max’s mind was running a thousand miles a minute as he tried keeping a straight face. “Don’t you think you’re exaggerating? Perhaps you just jumped to the wrong conclusion.”

Liz felt like she was watching a ping-pong match, her eyes swinging between Isabel’s face and Max’s expression. She was dying to scream out at the top of her voice all that she knew. Maybe it wasn’t too late for …

Isabel looked down at her own feet wondering where this talk would get her, her brown hair forming a silky curtain around her face. “I know it’s sort of senseless. Probably they’ re only assumptions of mine, even though I’m not relieved at all. I have to know, I HAVE to know! If something had happened to Jesse I … I couldn’t live with that!” She motioned disconsolately at her brother. “I broke up with him just to not put him in danger …”

“Maybe he was called away and that’s why you can’t contact him,” Max suggested, closing his eyes and then opening them to look directly into Isabel’s. He wished with all his soul he didn’t have to do this to her. But in point of fact he had to. He had one lone yet huge hurdle left on his way. Liz. Would she comprehend him? Would she eventually forgive him? The voice of his conscience was crying a thunderous no.

“I used to contact him even when he was in Canada the last year!” Isabel smartly countered back as she stood up.

“What if he was called even farther this time? Like Europe or Asia?” he persisted in the setup, putting on a fake confidence while he could barely contain himself from blowing up. “As far as we know he might even be on vacation in the middle of the Pacific Ocean!”

“I’d like to think you’re right …” Isabel paced slowly back and forth across the room. With each step she took she felt herself fidgeting more and more. “I’d like it so much …”

‘Me too,’ Max thought to himself just for one second, before reality stroke him again through the stare of his wife, who was glaring at him sideways.

After that Isabel crossed the room and planted herself just in front of Liz, involving her in it as well. “Do you think I should worry?”

Liz was having a hard as hell time as she tried to come up with something to say. “Hum … hmm … I …” she caught a glimpse of Max’s suppliant eyes and just shut hers, her throat drying up. “Well … I’m thirsty, terribly thirsty. I’m sure I’m going to pass out if I don’t drink anything right now. I’m sorry Izzy …” and she meant that in the hidden meaning too.

Then she stormed out of the room only to rush to the bathroom, where she locked the door in a hurry and silently started to cry.

Max felt conflicting emotions playing across his torn soul. A part of his mind urged him to desperately run after Liz, hold her tightly in his arms, kiss the top of her head and tell her how he was sorry for what he was putting her through. But the other part did know he couldn’t go right now.

His sister was staring at him, her eyes widened, anticipation coming over her tensed features.

“Max, I need your help,” she half-begged.

“How … how can I help you?” he asked lamely, trying to shake out of his secret turmoil.

She tossed him a dubious glance. “Maybe it’s just that I’m not strong enough. I mean, to reach him …” her tone had just taken on a frenzied edge. “If we join our powers we can make it, can’t we?”

“Iz, I can’t dreamwalk people like you do,” Max raised his eyebrows, sighs spilling out of his mouth even before he realized it.

“ But you’re stronger, so much stronger than me,” Isabel became imploring as she clung to what was going to be proved nothing but an illusion, unbeknown to her. “Please, can we try together to dreamwalk him?” she added in a blur. “Can you do this for me … later tonight?”

The question lingered in the suddenly silent air. “Well …” Max was at a loss of words. “I …”

Isabel leaned in close, her arm around his shoulders, and whispered: “Deal, bro?”

“Deal,” that was the only thing he managed to say before his voice faded away.

“Oh, thank you!” Isabel squeaked, satisfied by his short answer. “You’re the best brother I could ask for!” She hugged him fiercely.

Max just hugged her back, exhausted over all the disturbing thoughts darting through his head.

His heart ached.

*~*~*

Liz was facing the oval mirror in the bathroom, staring absent-mindedly into her own reflection. Her hand bracing the basin, she turned on the faucet and threw some fresh running water against her skin stained with tears, her body still shivering in disdain. She needed to talk to Max in private as soon as possible, before she went totally crazy.

Once she stomped out of the bathroom and then through the front door, she hurried down the stairwell only to take refuge in the Rav4 parked next to the sidewalk. She collapsed forceless on the passenger seat, turned on the radio and mutely started to listen to the melancholy melody playing over, mixing with the rain that was pelting down.

If blood will flow, when flesh and steel are one
Drying in the colour of the evening sun
Tomorrow’s rain will wash the stains away
But something in our minds will always stay


Max walked down into the street a few moments later and brought his hands up above his head, trying fruitlessly to find some sort of shelter from the stormy rain. With his back soaking wet and his dampened hair sticking to his forehead he jumped in his car and inserted the key into the ignition. He wasn’t surprised to find out that Liz was waiting for him, as if the two of them had wordlessly agreed about meeting in there.

Turning to her, he reached out to run his fingers through her long hair, drying with his warming rays the wetness he found there till it vanished off. Then he did the same with his own dark locks, equally dampened.

Liz didn’t look over at him even when she felt her scalp tingle with the magic warmth coming from his palm. “You’re getting pretty good at lies. I would never say you were shamelessly lying, back upstairs …”

Max moved his hand up to touch her again but he stopped halfway instead. “I made a virtue of necessity,” he gravely intoned.

“Great,” she sneered with a bitter taste in her mouth, shaking slightly her head. “I can see you’re getting good at using clichés too!”

Max’s eyes met hers in the rear-view mirror and her sharp gaze sent a chill through his spine. “I … had no option, Liz. You were there and heard her. She said she couldn’t live if something had happened to Jesse.”

“Yeah, I did hear her. But something actually happened to him, Max. We can’t deny that.” Liz began unconsciously toying with her wedding ring, making it rotate around her tiny finger. “She’s going to start investigating, questioning, searching for clues,” she continued, a note of sadness in her low voice. “Sooner or later the truth will turn up and you won’t be able to stop it.”

Max gulped and readied himself to give out the harder part, the one he was frightened she wouldn’t comprehend. “I’ll be able to make up all the clues she needs, though. I only have to pick the right place where Jesse happened to be on … vacation,” he huffed distinctly after uttering the last word.

Liz forgot how to breathe as she gaped at him, her eyes almost popping out of her head. “You can’t be serious, can you?” she shouted out outraged. All that she got in response was his soundless nod. “Oh God, this is so far beyond hiding things. This is cheating! You’re going to make up fake clues and then pass them off as true. It’s just horrific!” she hissed screwing her face up. “Shit, how could you think of doing that to your own sister?”

Perhaps this final act was meant
To clinch a lifetime’s argument
That nothing comes from violence
And nothing ever could
For all those born beneath an angry star
Lest we forget how fragile we are


“It’s for the best,” he jadedly turned away from the awful sight of her dismayed look.

She leveled a scowl at her husband. “And then what about the day Izzy realizes his ‘vacation’ must have been over, huh?”

He was scared to look back at her since he could entirely anticipate the appalled reaction he was going to get from her. “Well, I guess Jesse would move out to the far side of the Globe, where even our alien abilities can’t reach him …” he finally dared to mumble.

Liz felt sickness overwhelming her for the second time in less than two minutes. “Oh my God, you don’t want to tell her ever!” Realization crept up on her like an outbreak. “Max, what’s going on? Yesterday you promised it wouldn’t last long … why did you change your mind?”

Max threw his head back against the headrest, his breathing short and shallow. “Something made me realize that this is for the best …” he didn’t know how to explain it better than that. It just had hit him while speaking to Isabel a few moments ago.

“No!!!” Liz blurted out, her astonishment turning into anger and swiftly boiling to the surface. “You had your chance with her and you opted to waste it! Now I’ll do it my own way.”

She shifted to open the door on her side when Max blocked her, his large hand closing securely around her forearm. “No, you don’t!” he bawled in a dread tone. “I’m her brother and its’ up to me to determinate whether to tell her or not. Then again I want her not to know. That’s enough!”

Liz stopped dead in the seat, the air coming out of her lungs in little spasms. She looked down at where he was grasping her, then slowly back up at his clenched jaws.

His fuming tone … his hurting words … his burning grip. All those things reminded her of another Max, like in another lifetime, when they all still lived in Roswell and he didn’t trust her enough to let her investigate about Alex’s death. When he didn’t believe in her anymore.

“I … I … must have heard you wrong …” she blinked in rapid succession to collect herself. “Did you just order me to not tell her?”

Max’s face fell as he felt Liz stiffening underneath him, her soul sliding further and further away from his. “Don’t do that, please …” he pleaded with her not even knowing for what.

“Just answer to me, Max!!!” Liz pounced on him, her eyes red with fury.

And Max just nodded. “Yes, I am,” he confessed even though unwillingly, freeing her forearm from his grasp.

On and on the rain will fall
Like tears from a star, like tears from a star
On and on the rain will say
How fragile we are, how fragile we are…


As soon as he released her Liz dropped again in the seat, limp and out of breath. There was no way she could succeed in articulating any kind of sound.

Sighing, Max leant tenderly over her, a line of sorrow across his face. “Liz, I love that you’re so truthful as much as I love everything you are,” he stated heartfelt. “Even so I think that truthfully would only hurt Isabel this time. She’s still in love with Jesse, it’s better if she believe he moved out somewhere far away instead of dead at 28 in a plane crash. Just consider this for a while and you’ll find that you agree with me.”

He took her hand and raised it up to his mouth, his lips brushing against every inch of it. He kissed his way up to her wrist before looking up at her and tucking her locks behind her ear, revealing her pallid cheek. “Honey, I love you so much. I hate it when we argue, I just can’t bear it,” he murmured, his needy mouth mere centimetres from hers. “You’re my life, my only joy, my heart itself.” He pressed his lips against hers but Liz didn’t returned his kiss. She just pulled away from him.

Max grimaced in self-agony, conscious that she was keeping him out. A quick glance at his watch and he suddenly switched on the ignition, starting the engine.
“I really gotta go now. See you later, love?” he glanced at her one last time.

Liz gave him an imperceptible nod, as she got out of the car and looked around, the rain showering her once again.
Once she saw him turning left and little by little disappearing into distance she started to stroll in the rain, thoughts wreaking havoc in her head.

I’m so sorry … I wouldn’t do it this way. It was him who forced me to. Back in the past where did it get me lying? Nowhere. My lies turned all against me, against everyone. Probably Alex wouldn’t have died if I hadn’t lied in the first place. I can’t make the same mistake twice, even if it means … going where I wouldn’t go. Going against him. I can’t betray my principles even if it is for his sake. Hopefully his good heart will be able to understand mine, someday …

As the downpour gradually decreased Liz looked up at the cloudy sky, towards the north where it was brightening up, behind the green hills in Tiburon.

Just then she knew what she was going to do.

TBC …

°°°°°°°°°°°

AN: the song I borrowed in this chapter is “Fragile” by Sting.
WIP

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Lulù
Enthusiastic Roswellian
Posts: 36
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Post by Lulù » Thu Mar 08, 2007 4:49 am

Hey guys! I’m back with the new part :D

Thanks a lot to:

Natalie36: you’ll see that! ;)

Timelord31: yeah, Isabel really needs to know the truth. She doesn’t deserve all the shit Max is giving her, even if he thinks it’s for good :(

kittens: well, I think she eventually chose to keep her own 'new' surname :roll: that’s not so weird you know

begonia9508: thank you! I’m having exactly the same feeling about Isabel :(

Dreamerlaure: thank you! You’re right, Isabel’s gone through too much :(

mareli: I guess everyone’s hoping the same as you :wink:

Coccy: I got your point :roll: sometimes Max seems so focused on protecting his beloved ones it makes him blind to everything else …

And also thanks to all the lurkers out there!

Please, let me know if you keep loving this :!:



°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°




Part 8

Walking past the doorway, Liz let her gaze wander far and wide on every inch in Isabel’s bedroom, as if it had been centuries since she entered it the last time, due to the stressful decision she had just come to. Her dark eyes feverishly surveyed the Art Nouveau lamp on the nightstand, the floral blanket covering the bed, the bright white walls, the impeccably tidy desk. Lastly she spotted Isabel in front of the closet, her back to the door as she adjusted her jacket on its hanger.

“Iz, I have to … um, talk to you.”

Liz’s long hair dripped with rain down both her face and neck, her dampened clothes attached to her body like a second glacial skin. She took a few steps forward, without bothering to track a soaking trail behind her. All that she could sense was this incredible tumult escalating within her, this compelling need to let the truth come out.

Isabel startled slightly at the unexpected voice. “What have you done to yourself?” she asked after whirling around and having a look at her sister-in-law’s messy appearance. “You must have taken a shower with your clothes still on!” she exclaimed, her eyes drawn downwards to the little pool collecting around Liz’s feet.

“What …?” Liz mumbled, automatically glancing down at her own drenched figure, from her shaky legs up to her heaving trunk. Just then she realized she looked pretty much like a plucked chick. Not that she gave a damn about it, right that moment. “Oh, no! I just … forget it,” she shrugged in denial, moving forward a little bit. Her heartbeat growing faster and faster. “Look, I just have something to tell you. Something very important, actually.”

“I think you should go to change into some clean clothes, first of all,” Isabel flashed her a sympathetic half-smile while cutting the distance between them. “You know how Max would get pissed if you catch a cold! Oh my, he’d become such a jerk!”

Isabel mentioning Max caused shivers to flow through all Liz’s body, the air suddenly leaving her lungs. “Speaking of Max …” she paused as a consequence of the abrupt lack of oxygen. “Um, I wanted to talk to you about him …”

“Okay, let me do this,” Isabel asserted as she reached around, waving her hand up and down to remove the wetness from Liz’s hair with her alien powers. “You’re okay now.” Once satisfied with that, she walked to her bed and sat down on it. “So, what were you telling me about Max?” she questioned, motioning Liz to take a seat next to her.

“Max’s always had this damn thing about control!” Liz breathed out, searching for the last ounce of sanity she had left as the new sensation of being warm and dry enveloped her. “Controlling people, controlling problems, controlling whatever seems to come out on the wrong side. This sort of Atlas’ complex, so to speak.”

Isabel smiled again. “Right, it’s just him. Mr. Control all the way!” She rolled her eyes significantly. “He’s always been that way, you know.”

Liz felt herself stiffen more and more with every blink of hers. “And also he’s stubborn, so damn stubborn! Sometimes that makes him behave badly towards those whom he cares the most for. Even if he thinks it’s for the best.”

“Okay, now I’m scared to death,” Isabel’s smile froze, fear starting to flood up through her blood. “What the hell did he do?”

“He didn’t do anything, I guess that’s the point …” Liz sighed as she looked up into Isabel’s narrowed orbs. “He’s been keeping something from you just because he wants to protect you. He really wants to but … I still think you have to know.”

That being said, there was mournful brewing all around them.

“It’s Jesse, isn’t it?” Isabel murmured. “Max knows something about Jesse, doesn’t he? And so do you …” she mused in understanding. “Tell me, please!”

Liz gulped past the lump in her throat. “It … happened that …” she gritted out between too prolonged gaps. “There isn't any way for me to say this, but to just...”

“JUST SAY THAT!!!” the alien girl screeched, as panic spread all over her features.

Having no choice but do it, Liz regained her strength and just let the words spill out of her mouth. She didn’t need to fight them any longer. “The private jet where Jesse was aboard crashed not far away from Logan Airport in Boston, Friday night. All of the six passengers died during the crash,” she told without drawing her breath. “I’m so sorry … I really am …” she was almost in tears.

“Jet … crashed … died …” that was all Isabel’s half-dizzy brain could absorb in the shock of the moment, her voice echoing like a glum chant. It felt like she was under a thick cloud and her senses were so overwhelmed that they couldn’t respond anymore.

Liz slowly sat down on the bed, her hand gently covering Isabel’s icy one. “You can check if you feel like doing it.” She had to be as cold as possible, despite of her own moist eyes. “CNN broadcasted an extraordinary edition yesterday morning, and today … it’s just on the newspapers …” Her head plunged down, her chin nearly touching her neck. “God, the past two days have been like total torture lying to you!”

When Isabel turned to face her Liz could see all but raw anger in her gaze. “NO! You’re just making this up!” Isabel pounced on, shoving her away as far as the edge of the bed. “I don’t believe any of this bullshit you’re throwing on me!”

To say Liz was thunderstruck would have been redundant. It was like she couldn’t move from the bed if her life depended on it. “What valid reason would I have for doing that?” she wondered mostly to herself. “That was why you couldn’t dreamwalk him, yesterday. Because he’s de--”

Liz couldn’t finish her sentence since Isabel didn’t’ allowed her to. “It’s not like that! If it had been for real Max would have told me … I’m totally sure he would …” her voice died off as angst took place, tears streaming copiously down on her cheeks.

“Don’t blame him, please!” Liz begged under her breath, stretching out to wipe the tears away from Isabel’s face with the back of her hand. “He wanted merely to spare you another heartache,” she kept explaining, ready to support the love of her life, no matter what happened between the two of them. “Last Friday you were reduced to a pitiful state and Max just … he didn’t want things to get any worse than they already were. He’d do anything for you. Just anything.”

Isabel wasn’t listening to her anymore. “I have to know … he has to tell me why!” she sniffled frantically, pulling on her feet and maneuvering herself at a fast pace out of the room.

“Where are you going?” Liz cried as she jumped up, stalking Isabel’s direction only to see her picking up the car keys from the dresser and heading to the front door. “There’s no way I can let you drive in this condition!!!”

“I’m going to the Butterfly, I’m talking to my brother!” Isabel replied in a frightful tone, rushing down the staircase with Liz at her heels. “I can’t wait any longer for this.”

It took Liz a few seconds to draw her own conclusions. She figured that it was useless to argue with Isabel. She was going to do what she had just said and nobody could stop her from doing that. Which meant, making an impulsive decision, she had to go with her alien sister-in-law and ensure she reached her destination safe and sound.

“Okay, I’ll drive you there,” Liz announced, instants before wrenching the keys out of Isabel’s weak hold.

Then she strode directly to the red Beatle.

*~*~*

The Butterfly’s parking lot was pretty much occupied with cars at 08:25 pm, when Maria’s performance was near to come. The theme chosen for the show was ’70s. Music, food, clothes, everything would refer to this special decade of the recent human history.

Once Liz parked just in between two enormous station wagons and switched the engine off, Isabel hopped out of the Beatle, blindly hastening for the back door. She knew very well where she had to look for Max.

“Come with me, bro.” Her stabbing voice sounded crystal clear through the hectic kitchen.

His back to her, Max was bringing the spoon to his mouth, having a taste of a new spicy sauce, which the cook had successfully experimented for the first time; whereas Michael helped the barman with the drinks behind the counter, in the diner.

“Hey Iz!” Max called out, oblivious of her urging request. “I’m kind of busy right now … maybe in 10 minutes?”

“No, you have to come right now!” Isabel retorted so callously that Max stopped dead and shifted his eyes to study her, his mouth dropping open.

She looked completely distraught. Injured. Desperate.

Frowning, he crossed the kitchen like a ghost and pulled his sister into the adjacent office where they’d benefit from some more privacy. He could inwardly anticipate what was about to come out, though.

“What’s wrong?”

“I know, Max,” she drawled as she watched him closing the door behind his back.

“What?” he blinked, pretending to not get it.

“About … Jesse. You lied to me …YOU of all people!” Unshed tears swelled her brown eyes, her voice croaking. “Why did YOU lie to me, Max???”

Just then Liz stamped in the office, to the most of Max’s confusion. “I told her,” she said boldly, staring into his wide open eyes, her love for him written all over her face despite everything.

“You told her?” Max repeated in dismay, stepping towards the young woman who had stolen his heart to never let it go.

At her nod, he just dropped in the sofa, his blank eyes lowered. She had … his wife had … he didn’t even know how to definite this. Betrayed. Perhaps that was the right word for it.

And betrayed was how Isabel felt as well, beyond the overpowering mourning she was going through. As she walked around the room like a caged beast, her fierce pain began spiraling out of control, swallowing her up in the process. “How could you not tell me, Max? How could you deceive me like that?” she thundered, grabbing her brother by the collar of his shirt and pulling him back on his feet. “Fuck! What did you think you were doing? Did you think I was stupid or something?”

The two aliens stared into each other gaze so intensely, pure desperation dealing with pure regret.

“No! No … I didn’t. I was only trying to …”

“Trick me? Make up for me this fucking perfect fake world?” Then Isabel burst into tears, her nose turning up with sobs, her vocal cords wildly vibrating.

“ … I was only trying to protect you …” Max continued, bringing his hands gently on her shaking shoulders. “Jesse lived in Boston, so far away from here. You weren’t even supposed to meet him ever again.” His heart just sank into his stomach at her quite sobbing. “You have to move on, Isabel. I’m sure he’d like that for you.”

Meanwhile Liz was standing quite apart, just flattening herself against the wall. Seeing Max and Isabel disputing so rudely wasn’t at all a pretty sight to her, when she had someway caused that with her own revelation.

“I was still his wife,” Isabel replied after a while, little by little sliding into her brother arms. “You were duty bound to tell me. You were!” With that, she put an end to her own outburst, her brutal indignation turning inevitably into dull desolation.

“And for what?” He just embraced her tightly and tried to soothe her pain with his comforting voice, her head burying in the crook of his neck. “I mean, your path and Jesse’s would be parted in any case. It wasn’t me who decided that.”

“Yeah. Actually it was me who decided that,” she whispered in pang of guilt, her arms engulfing him into her miserable hug. “If only I had known it would end this way …”

Max pulled slightly away from her and cupped fondly her tear-stained face. “You couldn’t prevent what fate had in store for him! Nobody could.”

“It’s so unfair,” Isabel whined once more, holding on to him for her dear life. “It’s so damn unfair!”

“I know it is,” he agreed as she just kept crying indistinctly on his shoulder. “Shh, shh. It’s gonna be okay, sweetie.” He started to rub her hair in calming recurrent caresses.

“Please, don’t leave me!” she implored and drew even closer to him. “Don’t ever leave me. You’re the only one I have left …”

“I’m staying with you, I’m staying with you,” Max’s watery eyes blinked closed as he felt her cuddling vulnerably up to him. “I promise.”

Several moments later, they both headed for the door without loosening their tight embrace. Nevertheless, Max looked back one more time before leaving the office, his angry glance falling on Liz, who was still petrified.

“Congratulations, you did such a wonderful job!” he hissed disdainfully at her, his voice distorted enough to sound even cruel. “I guess you’re happy now, aren’t you?”

“I’m … anything but happy, Max …” Liz spluttered and looked away, unable to hold his angry stare, “I can assure you.”

But he just walked past her and didn’t so much as look at her again.

Glumness, loneliness, sorrow. Those feelings washed over Liz at the same time and she was swept away under their serrated assault. When she was able to look over again she noticed her husband going in the diner and whispering a few words into Michael’s ear.

Michael stood seemingly dumbfounded at what he had just heard, his eyes widening with patent shock. Then Max made his way back towards the back door, his arm wrapped caringly around Isabel’s waist.

Maria suddenly appeared next to Liz, tossing her a puzzled look. She was dressed in the original hippy style: floral bell-bottom trousers, a matched purple blouse with its long thin collar, a coloured strip fastened around her blond-haired head.

“What’s going on here, huh?” Maria grumbled, her hands questioningly placed on her own hips as she peered at Liz. “Just spit it out, chica!”

The question prompted Liz to get out of her half-trance, a thought rapidly dawning on her. “I’m in a hurry, ‘Ria,” she panted, pleading with herself to not fall apart. At least not yet. “Go ask Michael.” She headed fast for the back door. She had to hurry up.

Maria shadowed her friend step for step, her eyebrows raising in perplexity. “Well, we kind of argued in the afternoon. So you know …”

Liz spun around to glance seriously in Maria’s green eyes. “I’m sorry, I’m really leaving now,” the shattered look exploding on her face showed her real feelings.

“Where?” Maria questioned, as Liz leant in to peck her on the cheek. “Where the hell are you going?”

It was too late for her to hear the answer. Liz spoke only when she got back in the Beatle, her hand leading the key into the ignition.

“Shedding light on this thing.”

The engine quickly came to life and Liz squeezed the wheel with her tremulous fingers.

*~* ~*

After driving about half an hour, Liz pulled up into the driveway, in front of a little enclosed yard, a high oak overlooking the nice one-floor house. Once she got out of the car, she pushed open the wrought-iron gate and went to the front door, knocking twice.

“Hey!” she greeted as soon as the door flicked open before her.

A mass of blond short curls and a couple of black friendly eyes welcomed her. “Lizzie?” Luke blinked in surprise.

“Yes, it’s me in the flesh,” she said and noticed his stunned expression. “Bad moment?” she asked tentatively, feeling a little embarrassed because of her unanticipated pop in.

At her words, he shook his head and waved her in. “No, absolutely not!” he hastened to draw aside and let her in. “Come on in!”

Liz gave him a faint smile the moment he closed the door, following him into the cozy lounge, until Luke started to study her.

“Are you all right?” he put on a preoccupied face. “I mean, it looks like you just came out of some terrible nightmare,” he added in a low voice.

“Sort of …” Liz’s doe eyes fell suddenly to the immaculate floor, her lips pressed in a tight line.

Somehow, Luke immediately changed the subject. “Would you like a tea? A coffee? A fruit juice? Whatever you want I’ll get it!”

“No, thank you. I’m okay,” she answered, nervously eyeing him as she bit on her lower lip. “Um, actually I have to ask you this big, big favor …”

“Which kind of favor?”

Liz looked quickly around for uninvited listeners. “Can we talk about this somewhere more private?” she whispered when she heard some voices coming from the kitchen.

“Okay,” he shrugged in agreement and led her through the corridor to the last room on the right side. “So which kind of favor is it?”

Once they were in his bedroom and Luke silently locked the door, Liz pointed at the desk where his pc was set. “Let me have access to one protected website,” she eventually muttered.

Luke whistled ironically, his skinny arms fondling over his chest. “Oh, yeah, that'll be sooo easy!”

“C’mon, don’t be modest! I know you’re a genius at this computer stuff, aren’t you?” Liz cajoled him and lightly tapped his shoulder.

“That’s not the point.” He gave her a slight frown. “What you’re asking me to do isn’t even supposed to be legal!”

“Listen, it wouldn’t be hacking or anything,” she tried to say her piece, her voice modulating to the most persuasive intonation. “I only need to have a quick look at a few secret files in the Boston Police Department website.”

“Why?” he demanded, his eyes narrowing in musing.

“To find out why a plane crashed near Boston, last Friday night. I mean, why it truly crashed.” She paused and waited for him to take in the information. “I don’t trust the load of crap they want us to drink in on the newspapers.”

Luke shook his head no, while rotating an empty CD-case on his palm. “ We can’t Liz,” he took a deep sigh and repeated, “We can’t.”

Liz walked closer to him and grasped his arm wildly. “A friend of mine was on that plane,” she looked away for a moment to repress her overflowing emotions. “He was only 28 and he died, Luke …” she stared up again into his truthful eyes, feeling him tensing beneath her hand. “I suspect it wasn’t accidental.”

Her last statement utterly shocked him, and he just stared back at her, wordlessly.

“Please, just let me have access to that website and then I’ll do it all by myself.” She kept her persuading attempt as he freed himself from her grasp and made his way to the desk. “If it wasn’t important, I’d never ask this of you!”

Seconds later, Luke just sat down in his desk chair without looking back at her, and Liz rushed to him hopeful.

When she finally met his look, he had a big grin on his face. “You said the Boston Police Department, didn’t you?”

“Thank you,” Liz wasn’t able to add anything else as she moved to his side with moist eyes.

The more she associated with Luke, the more she thought he looked like Alex. Not quite like him. Almost like him.

Alex had been unique.

TBC
Last edited by Lulù on Thu Mar 08, 2007 6:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Lulù
Enthusiastic Roswellian
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Joined: Wed Aug 30, 2006 7:41 am
Location: Southern Italy

Post by Lulù » Wed Mar 14, 2007 2:27 am

Hey guys!

I'm back with the new part :D

let me know if you keep loving my fic :roll:

thank you to everyone for reading this! :wink:


°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°

Part 9

Kyle was on duty with his cab, and since then he had had less customers than usual for a Sunday evening. Although they wanted to be driven around to the most out-of-way places in the city, making him drive the entire time in the beating rain and maneuver his taxi onto the congested roads, which he hated at the very most. On his way back from the last ride, down the highway leading to the airport, he listened quite distractedly to the radio, which now was broadcasting the next week horoscope.

“And now on with the Taurus,” the speaker intoned over from the radio, and Kyle reached out right away for the volume switch and turned it up. “This upcoming week you’re going to be supported by Planets in every sense. Jupiter and Venus’s assistance will make you feel invincible! Just prepare yourself to get a big fortune and several stimulating news in your sentimental life.”

“Yeah, imagine that!” he sarcastically grumbled as he turned off the wiper system. It had just stopped raining, apparently. “I’m just about to meet my ideal woman, am I not?” he sceptically shook his head.

When he looked straight on the right, to his wonder he noticed a stationary blue Corvette just past the edge of the street. From the open hood, you could see white smoke moving up in the damp air as a clue that the car had broken down.

Kyle pulled up beside the Corvette without delay to help the unlucky driver, who was bent over the hood and still out of his sight. “Need any help?” he asked, after getting out of the cab.

“I’m afraid so,” a feminine sultry voice answered, getting closer and closer to Kyle’s ears as he walked to the broken car. “It must have been the carburetor!”

The driver was a woman! Actually, a hottie woman. Short black hair framing a pretty face; full, fleshy lips; dark oriental-shaped eyes; a black leather miniskirt fitting snugly to a round butt; long well-shaped legs. “I’m going to call Triple A, what a way to ruin your Sunday evening!” she huffed, stepping away from a large puddle.

Kyle would have thought it was all just a dream if the unpleasant smell of smoke hadn’t already invaded his own nostrils and reached his brain. It was real. She was real, unbelievably.

He discovered the damage as soon as he bent forward and peered down inside the hood. “It’s the carburetor,” he said, causing her to roll her eyes in annoyance. “Can you see that garage over there, about a mile away?” he pointed at the street before them. She just nodded. “Maybe they can go and get your car by tomorrow.” When she looked at him with an eyebrow quirked and he rose higher to look back at her, he suggested tentatively: “As for now I might take you to your place, if you want to …”

“Thank you but… uh, I don’t want to …” she paused and glanced over him, having a look at the taxi. “… disturb you while you’re working.”

“No trouble at all, I was just about to knock off,” Kyle replied with a sheepish grin. “Oh, the ride is gonna be on the house, of course!” he winked at her. She was still staring at him, her eyes widened.

After she thought over it a few seconds, a big smile flashed across her beautiful face. “Ok, that’s fine!” she quickly closed the hood, pulled the key out of the ignition and stuffed it into her purse. Then she smiled again.

“My name’s Tracey,” she held her hand out waiting for him to shake it.

He rapidly did that. “Kyle,” he said before walking around his taxi and gallantly opening the passenger door for her.

They spent the entire ride to her place just talking about this and that. So Kyle got to know that she lived by teaching aerobics in a local gym, which certainly made sense since she had such a well-built body. He also found out that she loved sports on the whole. Another point in her favour.

“Thank you Kyle, so much. You really saved me back there!!!” she squealed with joy once he pulled up before the apartment complex where she lived, in Alamo Square. “Now, I don’t know how to repay you for being so kind to me!”

He shrugged. “Don’t worry. You’re dealing with an authentic old-fashioned gentleman! I guess saving young women in trouble is supposed to be my mission!” he teased, someway expecting she was about to say him goodbye.

Instead, Tracey tilted her head to a side and said the most surprising thing. “I might ask you out, for instance …” she gazed at him intently, making him blush like a child.

“Well, I’ve … prior engagements for tonight …” Kyle babbled in spite of himself. Was he actually making excuses to not have to go out with this goddess seating next to him? “With some friends of mine, you know.”

“Listen, it needn’t be tonight. Whenever you want, just let me know, ok?” Then something suddenly caused her to frown, her thin eyebrows arching up in a worried line. “You don’t have a girlfriend, do you?”

“No, I don’t,” he spoke all but in a sad tone. In the spot, the gorgeous shape of Isabel had hastily crossed his mind at Tracey’s question. What a silly! She wasn’t his girlfriend. She never had been, she never will be. What was wrong with him?

“Good!” Tracey blurred out a little bit too cheerfully.

He started to consider how to reply to her when she swiftly leant over the dashboard and noted down on a piece of paper. “Here you are. That’s my cell number,” she handed him the note. “Just ring me and tell me whenever you are free. Hey, I count on it! ”

She waved at him and he shyly waved back at her. His jaw dropped as he watched her getting out of the car and wiggling her way to the front door, leaving him a bit awed.

She was the most amazing woman he had laid eyes on within months, years, perhaps. And she had actually asked him out for a date, no less! So why the hell did he still feel so unsatisfied?

‘Masochism’ was the only word popping up in his head.

*~*~*

Liz walked in the front door at 1:35 a.m., exhausted and yet comforted by finally coming home. The research she had started at Luke’s went on longer than she had thought, taking her all evening and even the first hours of the night. All things considered, it had been worth doing.

Fortunately, after a lot of attempts, she had been able to find out what she was looking for and print a copy of it; now, as she tiredly headed to the kitchen, she held in her hand the fruits of her labor.

Her eyes drifted over the clean table in the middle of the room, she immediately spotted Max having a cup of chocolate where he had also poured in a good sprinkling of Tabasco, needless to say. He looked just the same as she had seen him last, frowning when he had left the Butterly.

“Where is she?” Liz asked once she had put a few files down on the end of the table. Then she pulled a chair out and took a seat across from him.

“She fell asleep twenty minutes ago,” Max breathed out, his eyes dark with irritation and glued on the hot cup below his chin.

“I’m sorry Max,” Liz whispered . “I’m so sorry I presented you with a fait accompli …” Her hands were outstretched across the table for his but Max pulled away and got up with a jerk.

“It’s too late for being sorry!” he snapped as he swung around and put the half-emptied cup into the sink.

Liz sighed, it was going to be so hard. She had to try it, though. “We need to talk .”

“I think everything was already said between us,” Max spit out, not so inclined to have a dialogue with her.

At this, Liz started to lose her temper. Getting up on her feet, she strode to the fridge where she picked up the orange juice carton and emptied it out in a glass. “Tonight I searched on the Internet to ensure that the failure on the plane where Jesse was aboard wasn’t planned. I mean, sort of a malicious thing. I hardly believe it didn’t occur to you too …”

“It didn’t.”

“Well, it did to me. So I found out that--”

“I don’t want to hear any of this!” Max burst out, his face tensing in a mask of ice. “Are you at least aware of what you did? I asked you to not tell her!”

“What? Asked? No! You actually ordered me! Remember?” Liz’s pink cheeks dyed with every nuance of red as she gaped at him. “You did know I couldn’t stand it any longer and yet you didn’t give a damn!”

She took a deep breath, before she brought the orange juice glass to her mouth and had several angry sips of it.

Max was openly staring at her now, her harsh outburst forcing its way into his soul. His expression suddenly softened. “It wasn’t like that. I just thought we could make this smallest sacrifice and spare my sister from going through hell.”

“Yeah, a smallest sacrifice! Just tell me Max … while you were so obsessed with this protecting-Isabel-at-all-costs thing, did you ever think about me? How I would feel about it? Nope, you took it for granted!” she bawled as she slammed her hand on top of the table, making it slightly wobble. “After all, I’m the one who can always control herself. The one who shoulders everything and never complains, am I not? Well, this time it didn’t go that way!”

“I can see that,” Max responded in a provocative tone as all his senses sank in how beautiful she looked right now. He knew he was definitively furious and she was quite irate. In spite of this, she looked so … enchanting. As enchanting as only Liz could look to him.

“I can’t bear this hostility between us. Don’t you realize we should be together through this crisis?” Liz huffed.

The ardor she had put in her own words and the frantic motion of her arms made the top of her shirt come undone, from her neckline down to her ribs, revealing just a black lace frill and all around large expanses of her snowy skin.

Max almost came apart as he saw the two edges of her shirt coming apart on her breast. He felt like he had to moisten his suddenly dry lips with the tip of his tongue.

Her bra, he couldn’t be mistaken on it. It was the same he had nearly ripped off of her the last time they had made love to each other. It started getting warmer and warmer inside of him, an overwhelming, exciting heat enveloping his body, like he was on fire from top to toe. He was craving to touch her skin. Everything he has inside of him wanted to bury himself into her and just erase the last 48 hours which had completely messed up everything.

But a fierce wave of pride made its way to the surface and he wouldn’t budge. “You chose to do that and now just suffer the consequences!” His words sounded falsely aggressive, as if he was trying most of all to convince himself with them. His eyes still roamed greedily over her on their own volition.

Liz followed the path of his gaze, seeing where it was lingering. Her lips slightly pursed as she brought her hands to her bosom and proceeded to button up her shirt, a satisfied sparkle in her eyes. “I think quite differently …” she hissed through gritted teeth. “You’re not so pissed off just because of Isabel. Nope, you got so mad because I dared to stand up to you. I didn’t bow to your will, and now you’re licking your wounds like a hurt king. Oh, what a blow for your regal ego!”

She peered at him, as he was swallowing hard as she finished unbuttoning her shirt. He looked so damn sexy with his jaw clinched, a masculine look all over his face, his soft locks covering most of his forehead, his pectorals stretched under his own shirt - she would tell with both anger and excitement - the taut muscles in his thighs, his firm hips, the swelling bulge in front of his pants. Was he really … aroused? She felt so drawn to him it almost hurt.

Even so, pride took her over as well. “Well, you better try to respect people a little more and not always be so arrogant!”

“Think as you like!” he replied sharply, looking away from her to elude something which would be undeniable, before long.

“Max …” Liz just murmured, eliciting him to watch her again, the glass still in her hand.

“Liz …” a murmur escaped his lips too. Their eyes met for a spun-out moment before he sighed and turned around, crossing the room.

“I’m going to bed,” Max said, his back already to her, “it has been a long day.”

He was about to walk through the door when she'd caught up with him. Catching hold of his arm, she briskly turned him to face her. “Okay, just listen to me now. I’m sooo fed up with running after you! Although I tried to have a word with you, to meet you halfway, you’re rejecting every effort of mine. So if you ever want to talk to me again, it’ll up to you to come forward!” she stated resolutely.

“Fine!” was the answer coming from Max.

“Fine!” was the way she answered back as she saw him walking down the corridor and stopping by their bedroom door.

They glanced at each other once more, then Max finally entered the room. Liz could hear his footsteps fading away into distance and just stepped back to the table, gulping down the rest of the juice.

*~*~*

The next morning, when the rain was just a remote memory accumulated into the many manholes and penetrated the deepest soil, no coffee aroma wafted through the kitchen as usual. The apartment sounded so silent and spectral like it was uninhabited.

Liz had had a sleepless night, falling asleep just before dawn and getting out of her bed just in time for going to work. She didn’t even comb her hair with meticulous brushes, just fastening a strip around it without caring of how it looked. After she took a quick shower and got dressed, she walked directly to Isabel’s bedroom and caringly knocked against the door left ajar.

“Hey, are you awake?” she asked under her breath as she hesitantly peeked in. Since she got no answer, she walked through the door. The room was still in the dark due to the lack of light coming from outside.

Isabel stood near the window, behind the rolled down shutter, dressed in the same outfit she wore yesterday, her feet wrapped in a pair of comfortable slippers.

“I’m not asking you how you are doing. It would sound just stupid to me ,” Liz said before reaching out to turn on the lamp on the nightstand. A rather dim light began to spread across the room. “I know it would be stupid trying to comfort you too. But I also know reading this might relieve part of your pain.” She slowly approached her sister-in-law, waiting for her to say anything.

When Isabel turned around and managed to look at her, Liz was practically horrified by the devastated look written on her pale and spent face. She was hardly able to hand her over the files in her hand.

A question lingered on Isabel’s features as she looked down at the files Liz had just given her.

“Even though it’ll take two or three days for them to complete the black box examination, from the first check it turned out there was a breakdown in the propeller,” Liz explained quietly, summing up what she had found out in the official technical report. “I’m not into aeronautics, but the engineers consulted about it all agree that this type of motor can currently suffer from breakdown.” She hesitated a few seconds to let Isabel take in the news. “Iz, it was really a fatality. I mean, it could have happened to anyone else.”

Isabel took a few steps away to put down the unread files onto her desk, turning back the lamp off. Hopefully the dark would ease the high-pitched ache in her own chest, she supposed. “Actually it happened to him …” she rasped out.

“And to other five persons as well,” Liz continued for her. Then she went straight to the window and rolled up all the shutter, letting the shimmering sunlight in. “Firstly I suspected the crash could be somehow linked to your … extraterrestrial nature. But now I’m positive I was wrong.” Isabel shut her puffy eyes and kept them tightly closed for a while as she listened at Liz’s words. “I’m telling that, nobody was trying to strike you by murdering him. The crash wasn’t malicious and you’re nothing to do with it, okay?”

Isabel let out a sigh much more similar to a whimper as she moved to her bed and sat down on it, one hand running through her dishevelled hair, the other one resting on her empty stomach, aching for food.

Liz followed her direction and quickly took a seat next to her. After she stilled a few minutes, her tiny fingers started to tenderly brush Isabel’s tresses behind her ears.

“I must admit I don’t know how are you feeling. I can’t even figure that …” Liz’s voice cracked for a moment at the thought of it, her interiors clamping. “Perhaps you’d like to go to his funeral ,” she went on then.

Isabel’s head snapped up to look at her. “I can’t go, it would be too dangerous for you guys. If anyone recognizes me over there in Boston and they chase me till I get back here, I’d put in risk all of you. I can’t go, Liz. I just … can’t go …” Tears regained at the corners of her eyes.

“I’m so sorry…” Liz whispered, even though she didn’t know what she was apologizing for.

Because she couldn’t tell Isabel it was gonna be okay? Because she couldn’t change things for better? Because she couldn’t make life less unfair? Maybe, for all of it. “If you need someone to confide in, I’ll be always here for you.”

“I don’t want to,” Isabel retorted, fighting hard to hold back her own tears.

“I kind of expected that,” Liz batted her eyelashes as she exhaled deeply, before fishing a piece of paper from the pocket of her brown jacket. “Sometimes it can be easier opening your heart to someone you didn’t know before.”

Isabel’s eyebrows cocked in diffidence. “What is that?” she enquired when Liz showed her the leaflet with ‘Step by Step’ printed in bold type across the front and a row of hands holding each other inches below it.

“ ‘Step By Step’ is a fellowship of men and women funded by voluntary contributions. They all lost someone they loved in tragic circumstances and yet are committed to helping others recover from their own mourning,” Liz informed, her voice a bit insecure as she spoke. “The members met twice a week and listened to people telling them their own experiences. There’s no obligation to talk. You can just listen to the others, if you don’t feel like talking yourself. The main chapter is in L.A., but SBS is present in dozen of cities around the State, even here in San Francisco. I thought it could help you or …” She couldn’t come up to anything else to finish her sentence.

That was when Isabel suddenly pulled up and throw the leaflet up in the air, making Liz startle in surprise. “Really? Did you really think it could help me? I don’t think so, Liz! Are you wondering why? Well, I’m telling you: because nothing, just NOTHING will bring back my husband to life. Neither your pathetic researches nor those fucking guys who demand to psychoanalyze people!” she yelled, before pointing bluntly at the door behind her back. “Now just get out of here and leave me alone!”

Liz was left speechless. Albeit she knew Isabel’s spurt was mostly angst inspired and she didn’t mean what she had said to her, it did hurt her badly. “I … was just doing my best to help you …” she mouthed. She wasn’t so sure any sound had come out, though.

“Did I ask you to?” the alien girl snarled in a hoarse sob.

Isabel didn’t wait for Liz, who found herself even more astounded now, to leave the room and lied down with her torso on the bed, her face digging into the pillows as she finally cried her heart out.

All Liz could do at this point was do as she was told, backing to the door and disappearing in the corridor, her blood running cold through her shaking body.

Once she went into the kitchen, Maria was already there, dressed up and seated at the table, devouring a plentiful plate of scrambled eggs.

“Hi,” Maria muttered in between gulps of food. “Do you want any of this?” she offered, gesturing at her best friend.

Liz just shook her head in denial. “What are you doing up?” she asked after taking a quick look at the watch. It was too early for Maria to get out of her bed.

Maria stopped eating and looked up from her own breakfast, a sad expression touching her green eyes. “I couldn’t sleep a wink last night,” she pouted. “You know, this whole Jesse thing just shook me up … it was horrible!”

“Yeah, so horrible,” Liz agreed as she paced the kitchen restlessly.

Maria gazed at Liz through narrowed eyes. “Ok girlfriend, sit down here and talk to your ‘Ria, will you?” she gave a pat on the nearby chair as invitation. When Liz accepted it and fell down, she hissed: “Why on earth didn’t you tell me, uh?”

“Please, give me a break!” Liz threw her arms up in exasperation. “It was Max who didn’t want to tell you guys, alright? I just seconded him as long as I could and now … he’s so mad with me he’s not even talking to me!” she exclaimed. Then, as if she had predicted what Maria was about to say, she added: “And as for Isabel, she just kicked my ass out of her bedroom, basically. What else may I ask for?”

“Fuck, life just sucks!” Maria swore in a sympathetic tone, before leaning in and hugging her friend with one arm. “Don’t give up, Liz. I’m positive Izzy is gonna thank you for being so truthful towards her, when she gets a little better. And don’t worry about Max. I mean, he’s Max! It’s not so possible he can be mad at you for too long!”

“I can only hope so ,” Liz replied as she hugged Maria back. “I’m going to work.” She loosened their embrace and slipped away.

“You missed your tram five minutes ago!” Maria pointed out.

“I know,” Liz was heading to the corridor to retrieve her own purse. “I’m getting the next one.”

Maria followed her quickly and grabbed her shoulder. “What? No, you can take the Beatle. I don’t need it today,” a little smile stretched her naturally sensual lips. “Spaceboy promised to take me to the store on his Harley. Can you believe that?”

Liz tossed her a confused look. “I thought you two had a quarrel yesterday.”

“Yep, that was yesterday,” the blond girl nodded. “But after a lot of sexual knowledge … everything fell back into place!” Maria was giving her a big grin now.

“Good for you. I’ll see you tonight,” Liz said, waving her goodbye once she took the car keys from the dresser. When she ran down the staircase, she can’t help thinking over Maria’s words. Sexual knowledge.

As soon as she hopped in the car, her brain was bombarded with several flashes of her and Max while making love, her cheeks immediately burning. Bodies fusing into one another, mutual moans of pleasure, breath growing faster and faster, mouth latched onto mouth, fingers entangled together in bliss as the world around them exploded.

Was that all she and Max needed? Could sex be enough to fix their problems? Could their awe-inspiring lovemaking achieve the meant aim?

If only it would be that easy …

Time would tell.

*~*~*

On every Monday, the two Butterfly co-owners took advantage of their day off to spent some time with their significant others and friends, since work kept both of them pretty busy during the week. That particular Monday, however, Max and Michael had to see a day they would never have wanted to.

The day after.

It was late in the afternoon and the sun began its descending trail, heading for the imminent sunset, when Max stepped out of his sister’s bedroom with a disheartened look, balancing a tray on his right hand. Isabel had just sent him away with an untouched portion of potatoes au gratin and roast beef.

“She didn’t eat anything, did she?” Michael wondered in concern. He had undertaken to cook for Isabel’s sake, but she didn’t appreciate that.

“Just one bite,” Max replied softly. A split second later, the taller alien retrieved the tray from his hand and set out for Isabel’s bedroom.

“Let me try again!”

“Not now,” Max suggested as he grasped Michael’s arm and kept him from going. “She’s getting some sleep.”

Michael nodded and wore a frown as the two of them silently made their way towards the kitchen, his mind rushing back to the very days following Alex’s death. Anyone wouldn’t ever forget those crushing feelings, even three years later.

“It must have been like a déjà vu to her. I mean, someone she loved who died … the rage … the impotence … everything …”

“With the difference that she felt responsible for what happened to Alex, back then. We all did.” A coat of grief covered Max’s face as he slowly scratched his own chin.

After they entered the kitchen, Michael turned to him. “We were responsible, Max. But this time …” he started to say when something just hit him. “I took a look at the stuff Liz gleaned yesterday. How did she succeed in breaking into the Boston Police Department archive records?”

The other alien, at the mention of his wife, couldn’t contain the wave of erotic languor washing over him. He felt faint thinking about last night. It had been as hard as hell for him to sleep beside her and not reach out for her, not touch her, cherish her, sense her peachy skin under his fingers as they flew together to the highest peaks of passion.

“I have no idea,” it slipped his mouth in a strangled whisper.

“What? You weren’t with her?” Michael questioned obliviously.

“No,” Max just responded. As he watched Michael grimacing in confusion, his broad shoulders, his nervous gaze, all he could see was Liz. Her delicate facial features, her delicious hands, her attractive anatomy. It was becoming even past an obsession.

It had passed just one day since they had broken apart and it seemed like an eternity to him. Michael was touching a sore point, unknown to himself.

“If it wasn’t you, who helped her then? Somebody we know or … she did it all by herself?”

“I said I had NO idea!” Max shrieked frustrated.

All at once, Michael gave him a perceptive glance. “Mmm, I got it!” he stated solemnly even as it sounded with a teasing note. “Let me guess … you didn’t enjoy your wife’s mutiny, did you? Well, I understand. You used to be a king in our previous lifetime. It must have been such an affront to you!”

“Just stop it, okay?” Max hurriedly guided himself out of the kitchen, in the vain hope that Michael would leave him alone.

It wasn’t like that. He pursued Max until they were into Max and Liz’s bedroom.

“You know, in different circumstances I’d have to be pretty mad at you for not telling me about Jesse’s death as it came. But I simply don’t think that’s the moment to behave like a little boy…” Michael trailed off allusively. “And the same can be said for you!” he added, his finger pointing at Max.

Max’s eyes went wide, before he raised them to look at the ceiling. Who would've thought he'd get a good lecture from Michael, the no-lecturing-guy ever!

“Have you done?”

“Not yet,” Michael answered instantly. “Take my advice, buddy. All you and Liz need at present is …” he paused to put more strength into his tone. “Less brooding, more action! And by action I mean sexual knowledge. After that, everything’s gonna be okay between the two of you. Trust me!” he concluded, patting Max on the back.

Then, Michael decided it was enough, in the end, and marched past him with a wink.

Max released a thoughtful sigh as Michael’s words resonated inside of him. Sexual knowledge.

As soon as he proceeded to pace the confines of the tidy room, his brain was showered with blurring flashes of him and Liz while making love, the same ones that previously had assaulted her too. Bodies fusing into one another, mutual moans of pleasure, their breathes growing faster and faster, mouth latched onto mouth, fingers entangled together in bliss as the world around them exploded.

Max’s searing eyes moved slowly to the king-sized bed on the right wall, their bed, and the flashes were coming again to him. Lips, arms, legs, feet, breasts, hands. Everything melting in one. Everything feeling as one. In reaction, his loins stiffened, his swollen groin throbbed under his fly, his chest heaved with pants.

It was too much. He had to reclaim control of himself and push these thoughts away from his mind.
Stumbling across the corridor, he tried to be focused on some of the worst things he had ever experienced: the feel of being beaten everywhere with a hammer as his first and only one hangover; the sickening turkey Maria had cooked for the gang their first Thanksgiving Day away from Roswell, when she had unconsciously exchanged salt with sugar; the shocking view of Michael wandering about the apartment in his birthday suit …

No way. It was all useless. His yearning for Liz was beyond everything else. Even beyond him.

“Shit!” he cursed to himself. Who dared to say that focusing on revolting things could help to dispose of any other thoughts?

Someone who wasn’t so crazily in love with his kindred soul, the answer echoed too soon through his mind.

TBC
WIP

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