“It seems she had no problem with it,” Claudia murmured. We did not come back. “We never came back here, and Mom did even want too?”
“You do not know what happened back then, because even that book of yours does not have everything that went down,” she said because she knew how much her friend had elected to leave out after the journal went missing, and because the action in their lives had escalated, and the last thing they needed was a lasting record of it. We learned enough when we found out Topolsky was onto our scent she thought of the first agent that came their way, when we were too naïve to know better.
“Mom never talked about her old life,” Claudia muttered.
“I know she did not,” Maria sighed. “It was not an easy time for her Claudia. Therefore, you should give her some space.”
“I know I should,” Claudia muttered even though she was not feeling that urge to give her mother some space given she did not know a whole lot about her own history. “Is it not strange that she did not want to come back here and did not talk about it. I mean, she loved Grandpa and Grandma but come on, she never talked about back here. And we moved around so often, none of it made sense.”
“We all have our reasons for doing things,” Maria sighed. “It is never easy to get where we are, no matter who we are, because we had to travel down many roads to get them, and your mother had a rockier road than even I did.”
“I am not trying to suggest that you were not given a raw deal,” Maria sighed as she wished Claudia had a more conventional childhood and growing up period. Something that had been given to her own daughter more often than not even though she, Maria had been trying to make inroads in her music career, which meant she was on the road more than she was home. And early on Lucy was on the road with her, but there came a time when she had to be gone and Lucy had to have a home base which would be Nashville, and that led Michael to take on more of the brunt. So, her daughter had a different life than Claudia, who was always moving around until she had a more stable base when she and her mother, and new little brother settled in Boston. “You did. At least you were loved by your mother, and you were safe and sound.”
Claudia nodded but sighed, yeah, we were really safe there she thought of some of those scrapes on the road. “I wish I knew more,” the teenager muttered. “I know I was, and I am not saying Mom was a horrible mother because she was there, and she loved me. But my life has been unconventional.” to say the least.
“And I know the last year has not been easy on you,” Maria muttered with a deep sigh with memories of that dreaded pandemic, which had gone had impacted all of their lives, and given them all a ride.
Even if health wise, we have managed to skate by. She did not even know if her precious Space boy would have been immune if he had been stricken, if any of them, even with their good health but fortunately, we never needed to know.
“So, yeah, it has not been easy, but your mother is trying, and you should not be hard on her until you know more…” Maria said as she walked to the door and looked around and it was blast to be back in a place that had defined her childhood, and even her teenage years. So much had been different, and now she was back in the beginning as she hugged her goddaughter who was looking way too grown up these days and knew that Claudia was embarking on a very different life than her mother and godmother faced once upon a time.
Thankfully Maria sighed, because she wanted it to all be so much easier than it was for her and Liz back in those days. She did not want Claudia or her own daughter Lucy to have to deal with those nightmares.
Claudia knew her godmother was somewhere, so she brought her back to the land of reality by asking a simple question. “Did my parents really love each other?”
“Intensely,” Maria muttered automatically as she sighed because the love, she knew her best friend had for her ex-husband was huge, and life defining.
And still there, even if Liz would fight hard to admit it.
Claudia was wary of the confirmation. Even though she had wanted her godmother to say yes, it does not seem real to me. “Then why did she leave him?” Claudia muttered. “If she loved him that much, why leave?”
“You will have to ask your mother that because she is the only person who can tell you that,” Maria sighed because she did not want to be telling her goddaughter, the whole sordid mess. It is not my place to tell Claudia what she needed or did not need to know. “Just know that day at the Crashdown, or downstairs I guess it is, now, well, that day, it changed both of our lives, and we were never the same. That goes for both your mother and father and what your mother did feel for your father was very real, and truly important to her. Claudia, I was there sure, but your mother is the only one who can tell you why, she left.”
Claudia nodded and walked down the stairs with her godmother and walked her to the back door and both women looked at the oldness of the old Crashdown and knew there was so much different than what was in these walls back in the late 90’s, and early new millennium.
She wondered what would happen now as she walked back inside and watched as her mother was coming out of her bedroom where she had been tending to her little brother, and Claudia knew that a lot was different for her mother, and that this apartment was small. She did not know how they were going to manage it.
“Aunt Maria left,” Claudia muttered.
“JJ?” Claudia asked.
“Sleeping,” Liz said softly. “I will let him sleep until it’s time for us to go to bed,” she sighed as it had been a long day, and a long couple of weeks since they started the drive across the country from their old home. She had wanted to make it a trip, and not a race and really, she had no idea what she would find when she arrived in her hometown.
She knew she was getting everything she knew would eventually come, she just did not expect it on day number one.
“Do you want help, getting the couch ready?” Claudia asked.
“I can handle it,” Liz said with a softness that indicated the teen’s mother was tired. “You can turn in if you want?”
Claudia nodded as she knew they both were not discussing what was needed, the journal and the past she thought but she knew she did not want to get into it tonight with her mother for fear of a bigger battle that they were not ready for and was not appropriate for the beginning of this newest adventure. “Can I keep your diary?”
“Journal,” Liz said softly.
“Is there any difference?” Claudia asked, knowing there really was not.
“It felt more scientific for me,” Liz sighed. Knowing that at one time she had dreams of being a scientist, and the Liz she had been before the alien invasion of ’99 would not have rested until reached her goals, but so much changed downstairs on that September day. When Max saved my life.
“Why record any of it?” Claudia asked.
“I did not know enough not to until I was too far down the road and then I became more selective with what I put in there,” Liz murmured. “Still, it was a place to put down my thoughts of what I was experiencing. I needed to tell someone. And I could only talk to Maria about it, and no one else, so writing about it became a way to express it.”
“So, I guess that is your way of also telling me that I am not going to know what I really want to know, from reading your diary, excuse me, journal?” Claudia murmured.
“There is enough there,” Liz murmured. “Everything changed in an instant.”
“Because my dad saved your life?” Claudia asked.
“Yes,” Liz said softly. “I would have died that day,” she muttered with the knowledge of so much that would change because of that one event. “It is a long difficult path,” she sighed “We can get into it another time.”
A brush off Claudia thought, “Fine,” she said with a mutter and turned and walked through the door of her new bedroom.
Leaving Liz to sigh.
“It is all set up,” Max said as he stepped back after spending the past hour focusing on helping his best friend move into his new house. And putting aside his own concerns and worries and focused on something that did not make him think of the woman he loved or his now teenage daughter, someone who he did not even know but was now back in town. Entertaining them was a very loud sounds that was coming from Lucy’s bedroom because she had her music on much too loud and gave him memories of his own childhood when he would shut into his bedroom and listen to his music on loop because he was trying to escape from thinking of the brunette girl who was a vision for him, and who was not giving him the time of day.
Until that all changed.
Now he was focused on something that did not have anything to do with Liz or Claudia, and it was helping his brother in arms. My brother in every way but blood he thought as Michael was settling back in Roswell after being away from it for so long.
“A lot of stuff still needs to be unpacked,” Max muttered.
“At least we are starting,” Michael nodded. “Thank you for coming over and helping, as they were preparing to go upstairs, and work on the upstairs and especially on the master bedroom and Lucy’s bedroom. Which was only superficially set up. “You have to start somewhere first.”
“Yes, you do” Max said softly as they prepared to head upstairs when the door burst open, “Home sweet home, I could use some loving after the angst I have been living with all night,” came Maria until stopped and saw Max. “Oh. Max…”
Oh, right is right Maria muttered as she saw her husband’s best friend staring at her. Which was the last thing she needed after spending several hours dealing with the other side of the dysfunctions of their life was more…
“Maria,” Max said softly as he stared at the love of his best friend’s life. The only one for Michael Guerin, and the one who had surprised his friend. Maria had been someone his friend had not seen coming, and to be honest Max would not have seen her coming even though they had parked themselves, or I did Max thought of the day after day routine of sitting in the Crashdown and watching a certain brunette waitress ever so endlessly. While her blonde, free spirit of a best friend was also there, and there had been no indication of what would happen in the wake of that September day when everything changed.
Because everything changed.
And at the end of the journey, his best friend got what he never thought was possible.
A family, and a home.
While Max watched as everything walked away from him. “Michael said you were out,” Max said as Maria had already been gone when he arrived. So, he had figured she was visiting her mother or a friend for something in relation to the move. But now he figured out where she had been, of course, she would seek out Liz, he would now think.
Why would I think anything else?
“I was visiting a friend,” was all Maria was going to say because it was easier to leave it simple. But she knew Max knew and knew it would not be left alone.
“Liz?” Max asked.
It was foolish to lie, and so Maria did not. “Right,” and she left it at that.
“How is she?” Max said because of course he could not help himself. Which is often the case with my ex-wife, even when she was hundreds of miles away from here.
“You know as well as I do,” Maria said softly. “I know you saw her earlier?”
“But we did not talk,” Max said softly as he cursed the inability to have been able to talk to his ex-wife. “All I did was see my daughter, Claudia…” he muttered as if it was a reminder that he had more of a link to Liz than once upon a time-sharing vow, and that they would never truly be apart even when they were or the fact, he had not had a role in raising his daughter, at least I knew I had a daughter.
Maria nodded because she knew how complicated it was for her best friend.
And again, was thankfully she had not been fated to have that kind of life with her own Space boy, because she and Michael had been to raise their daughter together?
Which was something that Max and Liz had not been able to do.
Although Maria knew, if Max had any say, they would have…
But it was Liz’s decision to walk away, and Max had allowed her too…
Without pitching a fight.
“Which is why Claudia is all up in arms with what she does not know of her life,” Maria muttered ever so softly, and of course Max caught it, and perked up at that, and Maria knew trouble was on the horizon. “Leave them alone Max.”
“I have left them alone for almost eighteen years, and therefore I have not known the one child I have…” Max muttered ever so forcefully, which was a change and something that Maria had not heard from her husband’s best friend, and her former friend. Because they had been friends once upon a time. Ever so briefly, back in high school as they were mutually mourning the loss of some important relationships in their life.
When it was over, almost as soon as it began Maria thought of those early days with Michael. When they had everything on the cusp, but it did not work out and would not work out until it did, and Max was on the outs again because Liz had for the first time walked away from her, and he could not handle so he and Maria had formed some kind of bond. And while there was no breaking of that bond over time, it was obvious Maria knew more about his ex-wife, and he knew she had orders not to tell him, and therefore time would mean they were not that close anymore.
And it helped that Michael and Maria had settled elsewhere, until now, because they are back.
At the same time as Liz and our daughter.
Is that a coincidence? Max wondered now. He did not know, and Maria nodded because she knew the rough deal Max had been given, and how her best friend did not know everything Max did about the past. And eventually she knew it would come out, whether they wanted it too or not.
“I know you have not been able to know your daughter,” Maria muttered. “But both Claudia and Liz are newly back, and neither of them need the complications of the past mixing in with their attempts at trying to create a new life for themselves.”
“Why is she even back here?” Max asked. Was she not successful in moving on from me? he wondered. All these years she was gone, so I always assumed that she was able to do something that I have not been able to do.
“She needed a fresh start,” was all Maria was trying to say despite Max’s obvious attempts to ferret out more information about his ex-wife.
The only woman he would ever love.
Interesting Max muttered. “Why?”
“It does not matter,” Maria sighed and knew she was weakening and knew that Michael was sitting on the sidelines while his friend was dueling with his wife over information, “She is back in town, and she is trying to put together a new life.”
“Claudia returned to figure out the next part of her life, as she is facing graduation” Maria murmured, and she knew she was willing to give information about the man’s daughter. Because she did know Max had gotten a raw deal, and she never really understood Liz’s desire to walk away and keep Claudia away from Roswell, and from Max.
Liz always said, it is the way it has to be, I cannot stay in touch, she muttered and went off on her way, and on the road.
So, Claudia grew up not knowing her father, and she was facing her high school graduation after a challenging eighteen months.
Claudia Diane Evans Max muttered as he could not help but think of his only child. A child he had only seen today for the first time since she was a tiny baby. While he knew he might have learned to compartmentalize the loss over time, so that he did not destroy himself with mourning the loss of such a big part of his life.
But still, it did not mean he was accepting of it. And now he knew his daughter was back in town, and he did not know much about her, nothing at all he thought of how little he knew of his daughter. And the acknowledgement that his daughter was approaching graduation from high school, a time I have missed in its entirely. “She’s graduating?”
“Yes, after spending most of the last year on-line, and especially these last five months since she went to live with her grandparents in Arizona,” Maria said and stopped because she could see a dark frown had descended onto Max’s face and she wondered if she should have spilled that little tidbit. Because of how sensitive the whole situation was for them, and while Max had been good about it, still, it had to hurt, and after all, none of them knew how to traverse the new reality of their lives.
And Max did not know what to say, without saying something he knew he would regret, and Michael knew it was likely going to be trouble on the horizon because he rarely saw the expression on his best friend, even in the worst of times once he lost his wife and daughter.
“Well, is that not nice that she got to know her grandparents” Max muttered a little snidely, which was unusual for him because he usually was able to handle it with ease, mostly he thought, and Michael knew. That did not mean the dark thoughts did not come into play occasionally.
“Max,” Maria murmured.
“No,” Max muttered. “Because that is good that she got to know at least two of her grandparents when my parents do not even know their first-born grandchild,” Max muttered with the acknowledgement of the fact that Isabel now was a mother to her own children. “Because after all, my mother died not having met her granddaughter, her namesake.”