She was hoping time away would do both her son, and her some good. So, she did not need to be standing here and looking at Max like she should be giving it all up, and jumping into bed with him, and willing away the complications in their lives.
When she knew there would be no willing it all away…
With Maria melting away, where is she? Liz was asking herself as she came back to reality as she had not even registered her daughter coming downstairs or her best friend moving away from them, but here she was staring at Max. “Why did you come?” she asked common sense came back to her brain.
“I needed to see you,” was all Max could say.
“Why?” Liz murmured. Why does a simple smile make me melt like this?
She did not know why and yet she was here and wanting to drool like the fifteen-year-old she was, and not the almost thirty-five-year-old. The 35-year-old who had two teenage children, and she should be better than this.
But here she was.
So, yeah why? she was asking herself and watching Max’s eye look at her in joy. So much time gone in a flash, and so much history she thought. “I would have probably come and said good-bye before I left.”
“Would you have?” Max asked You did not in the past he thought of how she just most of the time vanished without much of a warning. Or a goodbye.
But I cannot say that to her, but he would think it. And it was almost like Liz knew what he was thinking. “I would have seen you before,” she said softly. “Only because to make sure you would keep an eye on Mariah for me.”
“Of course, I will look after her…” Max said softly. “If she wanted me too?
“She is not going to want you too, that is the point” Liz said with a smile. “She is going to be staying with my parents which means she is going to feel like she has a lot more independence than she does under this roof,” she said with a sigh. “While I do trust Mariah, but she is coming off a time of a turbulence.”
“She will be fine,” Max assured Liz.
“I hope so,” Liz sighed.
“But I will keep an eye on her for you,” Max murmured.
“Thank you,” Liz smiled which is why she was confident that leaving now would be the best thing for her daughter, because Mariah would be fine, and she could go off and help her son and then hopefully come home and life would be different.
“Are you sure you want to do this?” Max could not help but ask.
“Yes, I am” Liz said softly. “I have to do this for my son. Because I do not want him to think I am picking his sister over him.”
“He would never think that?” Max asked.
“Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow but if I force to deal with all this while still in this town, then he will” Liz murmured. “After spending the last few months grieving his father and the temporary loss of his independence while I was forced to deal with his sister’s teenage crisis. So, I was not able to concentrate on what he needed. I let the hospital do that. But he is home now, and with everything coming to a head. I figure that we will go on this road trip and hopefully he will start to adjust, and we can come home, and he will be doing a lot better.”
Understanding her need to do this. Ever the good and considerate mother. Although it was still painful to know she was going to be gone for unknown period of time. “And I will be here when you get back,” Max said softly, and it was more of a blurting out statement than anything more meaningful.
“Max, I wish you would not say something like that,” Liz said softly.
“Why not?” Max asked. It is the truth. “It’s true”
“Because I am leaving to get away from all the complications.” Liz said softly. “And it is the last thing I need.”
“But still, you are coming back, right?” Max asked.
“Max,” Liz said.
Smiling and knowing they could get in an endless of loop of this, and it probably is not what she needs he was forced to realize. “Okay, I will go” Max said softly as he turned and was going towards the door and saw his daughter.
So, lifelike, and so much like her mother.
“Hello,” Max murmured.
“Hello,” Mariah said with a smile as Maria was watching from behind, and Liz walked towards her best friend. And they all knew that Liz could leave, to try to get some normalcy back for her son but too much had gone down, and there was no changing what had happened. And how it might be useless to ignore it.
A lot had changed, and Isabel knew it back at her home as she parked her car in the driveway of the home she shared with Kyle and their girls. She almost wished for that life they were leading back in December. Life changes she thought. But still things were going pretty well. Both of their daughters were growing up and leading normal lives. Jessica was dating Alan. And while Isabel might have qualms for the relationship still her daughter seemed happy with her life. And her relationship, which was normal.
And didn’t dare go into any dangerous areas that they did not want to see, and the accident everything, and secrets were revealed, and every part of their family, and its branches were affected. Still Isabel knew that she had it easier than her brother, Max she thought, I have it easier than him for sure she thought as she got out of the car, and locked the door to the car, and looked around and saw her daughter coming home. “Hello, honey.”
“Hello, Mom” Jessica murmured. “I was coming back to get a change of clothes.”
“She’s gone you know?” Isabel asked.
“Are you sure?” Jessica asked, weary and unsure.
“Sometimes you have to accept that there are people who need help, and that is what I was trying to do with Roxy, but yes, I know she is gone. And she has not come back because Jim is on the hunt for her…”
“She can stay gone for all I care,” Jessica muttered.
Sighing, Isabel did not say anything more. Knowing her daughter was going to feel what she was going to feel, and there was nothing going to change it until Jessica came to some realizations herself. “Are you okay?”
“Sure, why would I not be?” Jessica asked as she watched as her mother unlocked the door of the house. “Is no one home?”
“No, Jaime is visiting Lex, and Kyle is out with buddies,” she said softly as she opened the door and they walked in as she remembered what her brother had told her. “Honey, is everything alright with you and Alan?”
“Why, what did you hear?” Jessica asked.
“I was talking to your uncle and he method he heard some things,” Isabel said as she put down her bags on the floor and put her jacket in the closet. “Do you want to talk about it?”
“What did you hear?” Jessica asked, ever cagey.
When did my daughter become a moody teenager, Isabel thought? She had always known she and Kyle had gotten lucky with the children they had, because given their situation it could have been so different, and until now their children were model children. Growing up in the shadow of her generation but taking it all in stride.
And now it was clear there were parts of her daughter that were coming to the forefront. “If you want to talk, you can talk to me?”
“I am fine,” Jessica muttered.
“You might well be, but if you and Alan are having problems?” Isabel asked. “You can ask me for advice if you want.”
“I do not know what is going on with Alan,” Jessica admitted. “I thought things were fine, going good until last night, and now everything is different, and I do not know what to do or what to accept.”
“What do you mean?” Isabel asked.
“I caught Alan kissing someone else. One of Roxy’s friends. Although Roxy was not around so I cannot blame her for that one, but it was still one of her friends and therefore she is partly responsible.”
“Oh, honey” Isabel sighed.
“We have talked, and maybe that should be a sign,” Jessica muttered. “The fact that he wanted someone else because I was not putting out,” she sighed. “I thought he was better than that, I really did, and just because I might have been distracted as he said I was does not mean he has the green light to be with someone else,” she sighed.
“Were you distracted?” Isabel wondered.
“Yes,” Isabel sighed. “But it does not mean he go with someone else because I thought we were exclusive.”
“I am over guys,” Jessica said. “It is all too much. So, I am thinking of taking a break because I do not have any energy to deal with their issues,” she sighed. “And what girls that might want, or do not want.”
Love sucks Isabel thought. I love Kyle. I got lucky she thought. But it was definitely not easy she thought. “Relationships are never easy,” she sighed. “Even the happiest ones have issues. So, you should not take it out on someone else who might not deserve it.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Just a gut feeling I have, call it a mother’s gift” Isabel said softly.
“Or were you rooting around in my dreams again?” Jessica accused.
As one of the clear disadvantages of being who she was, was having a mother who was exactly like her, and had abilities to go into someone’s mind and scout any landmines and while she and Jaime knew that it was hard to keep secrets in this family because of Isabel in their lives, and what it meant. Although Isabel was trusting and did not going in looking for anything unless she truly was worried, and until recent days, she never really had a reason too once the children were growing up, and in command of their own lives.
She and Kyle trusted their kids.
“Of course not,” Isabel smiled. I did not even think of that she told herself Honest. “It is just the feeling that something is going on…”
“What do you know?” Jessica asked suspiciously of her mother?”
“What do you want me to know?” Isabel asked as they moved into the living room, and she sat down but her daughter was pacing.
“Jeez,” Jessica muttered.
“Honey, I know you cared a lot about Alan. You invested a lot in that relationship even though you had not gone as deep in a relationship before, and Alan was different. I know something about that,” Isabel murmured. “We always think the relationship we are in is the right one for us…”
“You?” Jessica asked. “And Dad?” she asked even though she did not know why she called Jesse Ramirez, dad because he was not a father to me. Kyle has been more than one than my other father she thought. Still, he is on my birth certificate and in my name.
“I was single for a long time before I met your father. I dated sure, but they came went while your uncle and Michael were different. They seemed to find the right one for them on the first try. Although with your uncle in particular. It was complicated, still, and Michael against all odds found something with Maria, and they were able to work it out even when it did not look like they would. Anyway, I was different. I did date, and there were those who might have been possibilities if life had gone a different way than it did, but then your father came into the picture. And I was in love. And I wanted it to work. We tried, we probably rushed too much but we ended up with you, and unfortunately, he was taken from us before he could meet you.”
“But were you not basically separated?” Jessica asked. “Obviously it was not working?”
“Only because of other issues that were bigger. We loved each other. But we did not love each other enough to make it through those days. Fortunately, for me, and for you, Kyle was there, and he knew loved me, and while he was not like any of us, still, he knew what it meant to be who we were, and he made it safe to be together. So, you should not force yourself to be with someone because it might be easy.”
“Are you referring to something?” Jessica asked.
“I might be,” Isabel conceded. “When Roxy vanished. She returned your sweatshirt, it’s in the clothes hamper if you care,” she said softly. “I do not know why you did because you have not worn that thing in ages.”
“It’s the principal,” Jessica muttered.
“More like jealousy,” Isabel asked. “Because there was a note she left,” she said picking the note off the table, and showing to her daughter.
“You read it?” Jessica asked.
“Why would I not?” Isabel asked of her daughter. “I had no idea what it said until I did,” she said as she saw her daughter frowning when she read the note. “Do you have something to say to me?” Isabel asked
Mac was now at the basketball courts shooting hoops. My game has improved he was thinking as he saw River approach him on the court. As he did not want to stay home and once his mother was gone, and his father still was not home. Mac went his merry little way, and found himself at the courts, trying to give some aggression into shooting the ball, even if he was not actually playing the games. Because all of his friends were busy. “I would have thought you would be spending time with Sierra,” he asked as he threw the ball up and through the hoop. “You have been spending all your time with her lately?”
“Not all my time,” River muttered. “Stopped by your house and found no one home.”
“Mom is at Mariah’s house, because they are planning on going on their little trip.”
“What are you talking about?” River asked.
“You have not heard?” Mac asked. A lot is going on in our little world. “Yeah, Mariah’s mother is taking her little brother off to Chicago for god knows how long. Mariah is still going to be back here, and staying with her grandparents, on the Parker side I mean,” he said with a quick clarification.
“I assumed that would be what you meant,” River murmured. Given Mariah would not be at that point with Grandma and Grandpa Evans he thought. “That is a turn in a development,” River admitted, and now wondered how his father had to be reacting. This cannot be a good thing he thought as he immediately worried that he might see a reversal of his father’s mental health. Although if Mariah was sticking around.
But her mother was not River sighed.
“Anyways, Mom wanted to make sure everything was alright on that front and Dad is off doing whatever he does when he’s not at home.”
River nodded, the benefits of a two-parent household he thought. “Want a partner and make it a game?”
“Maybe I do,” River said throwing the ball to his best friend and he immediately threw the ball and made a basket, “I am surprised you are not home, because you did not have to work today, right, and you have been working all week.”
“I needed some fresh air,” Mac admitted. “Thank you for putting your house out for me last night,” he asked. “I did not want to be at home, and it was a nice opportunity to go to your place.”
“I know,” River said. “Often it is me needing a place to crash,” he asked as they found themselves in a game, or more like seeing who could shoot the most balls. Both were quite even on that score, even if they did not use their abilities to give the ball more amplitude, which they were not, “So, I appreciate being able to offer you a place of refuge. Are you any closer to knowing what you are going to do?”
“Hell no,” Mac muttered “Going there would be upsetting the whole arc of our families.”
“It is not the easiest of basis I grant you, but neither of you share any blood. So, why not go and try to see if you can make it work?”
“It would go against my whole mantra you know,” Mac murmured. “You know the whole causal relationship bit and everything, and only going for girls who know that I am not looking for a commitment,” he said with a laugh. “Although it is quite easy given, I am only fifteen. So, there are plenty of girls out there…”
Oh, I know River thought. There were those girls when I was myself fifteen, but I was not looking for anything at that time “But if they do not interest you?” River asked.
“But there are those girls who are into relationships, and Jessica is one of those…” Mac muttered. “I am really not looking for something right now.”
“I was not looking for Sierra either,” River smiled with a tender smile as he remembered how he was in the beginning. And it was a look that made Mac want to vomit. “Sometimes they find us,” he said softly. “Sure, so, not everyone needs a romance, or a woman to make their life whole. You once told me, and it rings true for today. We are not our parents. You are not your parents. They were always going to be different. Same with my parents, assuming you want to hold my parents up to be a model of anything,” he said with a sigh. “Still my father found his one at your age, but it did not work out, and he has…”
“Been a shadow of himself, all because of love” Mac muttered. And the opposite of all that, is of my course my parents. So, yeah, I am not my parents.
“Look at your parents, who actually have made it work. So, why not try, I am not saying it has to be Jessica, but if she interests you?”
“And we are back to how we begun the conversation,” Mac muttered. Jessica. “It is way too complicated for either of us to go there,” he said softly. “Given how close our families are, because if it goes bad?”
“It might, or it might go right too,” River thought. “You are only trying to cause trouble for yourself if you go in looking at end. You know each other, and you do not share blood. Sure, it is confusing and probably not the most ideal relationship for you to be looking for, but you can love who we love,” River murmured.
“Hey, who says anything about love?” Mac muttered as he bristled at the idea of love as they were finishing up the game, which ended as a draw.
“Okay, I should clarify it as, we care about those we care about?” River said in his response as he could not laugh as how on edge his friend was, over a girl, what the thought, who saw this coming? “Given how unique our families are, this probably will be dealt with a degree of acceptance. After all, if the gods had their way, before…”
“Yeah, I know” Mac said with snarl. “My dad and Jessica’s mother, which is another way of telling me that it is bad to mess up friends, and chemistry of family. And how do I know I or she would want it, or whether it is being forced on us?” he asked. “Because of whom we are and because it did not happen the first time around?”
“I guess you do not,” River sighed. I did not think of it like that “You can only figure that out for yourself.”
“Then I am out,” Mac muttered because he did not know how to deal with it, because of all the complications. “I am heading home; do you want to come with me?”
“No, I am meeting up with Sierra,” River admitted even knowing it would not sit well with his buddy.
“Naturally,” Mac muttered but kept silent.
“Get over your resistance to it because Sierra is not going anywhere. And maybe if you were not so resistant than you might figure out whether you do want to go there with Jessica.”
“Whatever,” Mac sighed as he watched his best friend walk off. The last thing we need is for me and Jessica to try anything.