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 Post subject: Life in a Box - Roswell, UC - Mi/Liz Teen - Part 5 *2/23/06*
PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2005 2:46 pm 
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Title:Life in a Box
Author:Roswellkitkat
Rating:Teen
Summary/Author’s note: This story is not complete, BUT I do plan on finishing. I apologize for those that read and are left hanging.

The group left Roswell in May of 2002. This story started out being CC and somehow ended up in UC land. Events follow those that happened in the show for the most part. Enjoy!

Credit to banner goes to the awesome Majiklmoon!

Life in a Box

I didn’t think I’d be the one to want to leave the group. Everyone was always reminding me about how I was the glue that held us all together. And at first, I believed them and that was ok. But slowly it began to change and I saw myself yearning for something else, anything else.

When I thought about it, I wanted to think that Maria would save me. That one day she would wake up and be tired of the running and the inconsistency of a normal life. But surprisingly she enjoyed it, the constant moving, referring to it as her ‘U.S. tour’. I have to laugh when I think about it, because her tour consisted mostly of singing in dive bars and karaoke nights. But she never gave up; she seemed to grow stronger, while I grew weaker. Her and Michael were still on and off again, but mostly off. He loved her and she loved him but they had the hardest time admitting it. So there they were Michael and Maria happy for the time being with each other and the life they were living. And it was at that moment, seeing Michael watch Maria from a corner of a bar, beaming with pride…that I knew only I could save myself. But I’m getting ahead of myself; let us go back…back to when everything started to unravel and change.

May 2004

I was up early, and actually enjoyed the solitude. Max lay in the bed, a blanket strategically placed across his body. I tiptoed out of the room and into the bathroom we all shared. It was a mess as usual. I picked up a random pair of boxers and chucked them into the laundry basket, a few feet away. As I readied my toothbrush, I stared at myself in the mirror. I was 21, but sometimes when I looked in the mirror I felt older. Maria says I worry too much and need to just relax. Maybe she was right. I sighed and finished brushing and running a comb through my hair, putting it up in ponytail.

I walked into the kitchen and set the coffee maker and then slipped into the hall closet for my sneakers. As I turned down towards the living room Rhona, our house cat, greeted me. She watched me from her perch on the windowsill and then hopped off to rub up against me a few times. I scratched behind her ears with one hand and managed to get my sneakers on with the other. She gave a small mew and wove her way in between my legs as I made my way to the door. I grabbed my keys and opened the door.
“You’re in charge,” I said with a laugh.
Rhona mewed back in response and began cleaning herself.

I quickly jogged down the 2 flights of stairs and onto the street. It was still dark. Yet, the city was just beginning to wake up. I did some light stretching and then took off down the sidewalk. I used the slapping of my feet against the pavement as music, going faster and then slower. Before long the sun was greeting me and I slowed down to catch my breath. Sweat was dripping down my body and I used my arm to wipe my face. I picked up the pace and finally realized I had gone farther than normal. I evened out my breathing and began to walk back to the apartment. As I walked I saw a mother and her daughter coming out of a building. The girl was crying and the mother was trying to get her to stop.
“I don’t wanna go,” the girl moaned.
“I know you don’t Beth, but you have to. You know that,”
“Why can’t I go to work with you? I can help. Miss Hailey says I’m a great helper,” she continued.
“I don’t think Mr. Jacks would like that very much, sweetie.”

The girl continued to pout and pulled her hand from her mother’s. The mother shook her head and caught me staring. I smiled and shrugged. It reminded me of the first time my father had let me help him grill in the Crashdown. I had felt like such a superstar. My father had adored me and thinking about him caused my chest to tighten. Things had happened too quickly and there had been no time to explain and say proper goodbyes. I had sent him the journal…hoping it would give he and my mother peace. But I still missed them. I quickened my pace and hurried back to the apartment.

Kyle opened one eye and peered at me from his lotus position on the floor. I mouthed ‘hello’ and headed for the kitchen. He had taken up yoga to go along with his Buddhism. It suited him. Especially since his powers had finally began to show. It was his way of dealing and keeping it all under control. Kyle kept Michael and Max on their toes and was a great source of reminiscing. I smiled as I thought about the end of our freshman year when he had finally asked me out. I had never thought a jock would be my type, but my Dad actually liked it. But I think he had liked the fact that Kyle’s dad was sheriff even more.

The kitchen was fragrant with the aroma of coffee and I took out several mugs and laid them on the counter. For myself I grabbed a bottle of water and chugged it down, staring at the calendar on the fridge. We had been in San Francisco for a year. It was the longest we had ever been in one city. I knew that soon Max would begin his research and calls and emails. And something would set him off and we would be on the move again. The first year we moved every 3 months. But after a year had passed we all had agreed that if they were going to find us, we would know. In the 12 months here in San Fran, we never had anything weird or out of the ordinary happen. And that suited me just fine.

“Penny for your thoughts,” Kyle said.
“Only a penny, huh?”

He shrugged and reached for a mug and a tea bag. I watched as he carefully prepared his mug and then set it aside to cool.

“You ok?” Kyle asked.
“Of course, just sweaty,” I said, chucking my empty water bottle into the recycle bin.
“Yoga is less sweat,” he said taking his mug and heading for the dining room.

I nodded and headed for my bedroom. When I opened the door Max was still asleep. I carefully shed my clothing and slipped in beside him. He moved slightly and I settled into the crook of his arm, closing my eyes and listening to him breathe. This was the life I had picked for myself. Could I see myself with anyone but Max? At one time, maybe. But now? He was my life, my husband. An alien king from space who had somehow captured my heart. I stifled a laugh. What would the special unit think of that? An alien king who didn’t want to take over the planet, he just wanted to make his wife happy?

“Morning Mrs. Evans,” he suddenly whispered.

Anytime he said it I could not help but smile. I, was Mrs. Evans. Elizabeth Parker Evans.

“Good morning Mr. Evans.” I replied.

“Did you have a good run?”

“I did. It’s going to be pretty warm today.”

“Any plans?”

“Isabel wanted to go shopping.”

“How about we meet up for lunch?”

“That sounds like a plan Mr. Evans.” I said and carefully rolled to face him.

He reached out and brushed a stray piece of hair out of my eyes.

“Have I told you lately how much I love you?” he whispered.

I shook my head and he smiled.

“But I don’t get tired of hearing it.” I said

“I love you Liz,” he said.

“I love you too Max,” I replied, closing my eyes as he tenderly kissed me.

At that moment I couldn’t dream of being any place else with anyone else. His kiss turned more passionate and any misgivings I had about my life quickly evaporated from my mind.

Two Weeks Later

It was almost 12 noon and Max and the guys had gone sailing. It was something they had picked up living here in San Fran. Maria had gotten up early and gone to breakfast with Isabel. I sat on the pull out couch and stared at the box in my hands. Rhona watched me from her spot by the window. I opened the box and stared inside. Staring back at me was my own face. I picked up the picture and thought about when it had been taken.

“Lizzie, smile for the camera,” my dad coaxed.
I looked up at him and then back at the dress I had on. It was covered with little cakes. My mom had made it and I hated it. But to make her happy I had gladly put it on. I swayed back and forth and finally looked at my father and smiled. *Click*


And so it there it was a moment frozen in time. I put the picture back and picked up another, this time it was in 3rd grade and I was holding a ribbon. I had won a science award. I began to hurriedly go through the box, picking up picture after picture, and remembering how simple my life had been back then. My mom had put these pictures away, hoping to create a scrapbook. I had found the box before we left and taken it. It was my way to hold onto my family and the person I use to be. I closed my eyes and could not help as a tear slowly made it was from my eyes. Before I could think anymore about it, the apartment door was opening and I could hear Maria chattering excitedly about something.

“There you are,” Maria said happily. “It’s official…I am a star,” she squealed.

I wiped my eyes and quickly put the cover back on the box, smiling at Maria.

“I take it the review was fantastic?” I said getting up from the couch.

Isabel gave me a funny look and raised an eyebrow. I ignored her and reached for the paper she was holding.

“This stellar performance proves that Hollywood isn’t the only place with stars,” Maria said with a bow.

“If we thought she had a big head before…just wait,” Isabel said with a laugh.

I scanned the article and smiled at Maria. She was glowing and looked truly happy. This was better than NY, because she was doing it on her own terms. She twirled around the living room, picking up Rhona and singing to her. The cat struggled to get out of her arms and finally did, landing on her feet with a soft thump. She hurried away from Maria, giving her a nasty look before taking off down the hall.

“Some people just don’t appreciate a good thing,” Maria said with a shrug.

She plopped herself down on the couch and glanced at the box. I gulped, not wanting to share any of the pictures with her, even though she had been a large part of that life before the aliens. I prayed she wouldn’t pick it up or look in it or even ask me about it.

“I say tonight we celebrate, BIG,” Isabel said her heels clicking on the hardwood floor as she walked to the kitchen.

“BIG?” Maria said, sitting up straight, her eyes wide.

“Uh-oh, Iz, you are about to have a monster on your hands,” I said laughing.

“Nothing I can’t handle.” She replied.

“How BIG, do you think she means?” Maria asked, forgetting all about my little box and getting up to follow Isabel to the kitchen.

I grabbed my box and quickly put it in the closet and joined the other two in the kitchen. Isabel was flipping through the phone book and put her finger on an ad and quickly picked up the phone. Maria peered over her shoulder, looking to see who or what Isabel was calling.

“Oh, that is big,” Maria, said.

“Yes, I need reservations for this evening. This is Lindsay Becker’s calling from Sony Music, we have a meeting with a possible up and coming star and would love to have the meeting at your restaurant…Yes, actually I believe there was a write up of this performer in today’s paper…I agree it is an excellent review…great…8:30 is perfect…no thank you.” And with that she hung up the phone, a huge grin on her face.

“You are unbelievable Isabel,” I said, shaking my head in amazement.

“Why thank you.”
“Are we really eating at Solstice tonight?” Maria asked, her eyes brimming with tears of happiness.

“We are, but you will be going as Sony’s next big star,” Isabel said, shutting the phone book and smiling.

“Do you think they will be upset when no one from Sony show’s up?” Maria asked.
“Who says no one from Sony will be there?” Isabel said, her eyes getting a mischievous air about them.

“What exactly did you have in mind?” I asked sure that whatever Isabel had planned, Max would hate.

“Just a little bird flitting to and fro,” Isabel said. “You know, put in a call to Sony and then to the newspaper, and the next thing you know…we have a big night!” she continued.

“Oh Isabel…this might be too much. It was only one small review,” Maria said quickly.

“But it was a great one…one that could get you what you deserve Maria,” Isabel said, looking to me for backup.

“She’s thinking about Max,” I said quietly.

“What has Max got to do….” She started and then the realization hit her. Max would hate the attention. He never said it, but having Maria sing night after night small venue or not was not something he would have chosen for her.

“I know he hates that I sing.” she said simply.

“Has he said something? I can’t believe him,” Isabel began, her voice loud and angry.

“He doesn’t have to say it, Isabel. You see know how Max is. He really has tried to let us all be normal, but I think if he could…he would lock us all somewhere to never see the light of day,” I said.

“But we’ve been here so long and everything has been fine. Has he told you anything?” she asked, raising her eyes in suspicion.

“No nothing. I’m surprised we’ve been here so long. But I kind of like it. I figure if I don’t ask, I won’t be the one to rock the boat.”

“Oh great, leave that for me.” Maria said, just on the edge of hysterics.

I put an arm around Maria.

“We would never let that happen, ‘Ria. Look, I’ll keep Max under control. We are going to make a big deal about this. Tonight is going to be your night and no one is going to stop that.” I said grinning and looking to Isabel.

“Liz is right, Maria. No one deserves this more than you. I’ll back you up with Max, if you need me too.” Isabel said.

“No worries.” I said with a shrug. “So, if tonight is a big night, then we need big clothes, don’t we?”

“Oh shit, I have nothing to wear!!” Maria squealed, running to her bedroom.

Isabel and I stared after her laughing as she began to ransack her closet.

“Are you sure you’re ok handling Max?” Isabel said, looking at me suspiciously.

“Of course I am. But I know who to come to if I need backup.”

“You know Liz, I’m glad you’re with Max. I know I was really rough on your relationship at first. But when I think about how things could have ended up or where we could have ended up…I’m glad Max healed you that day. I never believed things happened for a reason, and then I see how happy Max and you are and how happy Michael and Maria are and I know that love is reason enough.”

“Thanks Isabel.” I said, embarrassed by her emotional outburst. Isabel had become more like a sister in the last few years, but sometimes it just seemed so out of character for her.

“The only person that could make any of this better…is Alex,” she said, her eyes taking on a sad far away look.

I watched as she went to someplace where Alex was there with her. It was the same place I found myself looking for him and talking when he appeared. It was a place where none of this alien madness how found its way. It was a place I found myself drifting to more and more lately.

“Some days I just really miss him, ya know?” she said, smiling sadly.

“I know. He would be so happy for Maria. I could see him working with her to put a song together, with him as her guitar man.”

She nodded and we just stared at each other for a few seconds, before I finally pushed myself from the counter and to the bedroom to help Maria with her clothing challenge.

Max and the others got back at little after 3, tanned, tipsy and talkative. I hoped the mood he seemed to be in would carry over when we broke the news about dinner and Maria’s review. Our bedroom had a small balcony that looked over the courtyard and this is where he found me.

“Hey babe,” he said, standing with his arms crossed staring down at my journal and me. I carefully slid the page marker into the center of the page and shut the book, smiling up at him.

“Hey stranger,” I said smiling. “Looks like you got some sun today.”

“You should have come, it was great today. There was just enough wind and waves out there. The fish were jumping too. Kyle caught a whopper.”

“Did he throw it back?”

“Of course. He was tempted to bring it home for dinner…or at least for a second it looked that way. But Buddha saw to it that a picture was enough and back into the ocean it went.”

I laughed and shook my head. Kyle was always trying to get us to see things as Buddha saw them, but somehow it never clicked for any of us like it had clicked for him.

“Well, we have our own good news,” I said, stepping past him into the bedroom.

“Really? What’s going on?” he asked, going to his dresser and pulling out boxers.

“Remember how we were all commenting about Maria’s performance last night?”

“Yeah, she sounded really good last night. Why?”

“Apparently the music critic from the paper did too. She has an awesome review in today’s paper.” I said.

“A review? Like with her name and background?” Max asked quickly, his eyes growing small.

“Well, we both know that Maria uses a stage name Max, so there really is no background. This is a really nice thing to happen to her.”

“I’m not saying it isn’t, Liz. But we really don’t need her to be out there exposing herself.”

“Right, because one review in one paper is putting us all at risk. Come on Max, we deserve to live normal lives and for Maria, her music is normal. Maria has wanted to be a singer for as long as I can remember. Don’t spoil this for her.”

“I’m not trying to spoil anything for her Liz. I’m trying to keep everyone safe.”

“Max, we are 21 years old. I think we all know the drill. If for one moment Maria though her singing were putting any of us at risk, she would stop. I don’t want to get into a fight over this…it’s going to be a nice evening.”

I stared at him defiantly and waited for him to either go ballistic or to give in. I didn’t have to wait long as his shoulders slumped from their defensive stature.

“I trust you Liz,” he said, shortening the distance between us. “I couldn’t bear if anything ever happened to you, to any of you.”

He reached out and fingered my hair for a second and it was like I was 16 again. I could feel the electricity between us. I could feel his love for me and for a moment I wanted to scream. I felt like I was about to choke and couldn’t even explain why. I looked away from him, hoping to break the spell, to feel my body return to normal.

“I know Max, we all know. But nothing is going to happen we don’t want to happen. Not tonight, not ever.”

“You don’t know that, Liz. None of us do.”

And at that moment I wanted to tell him the truth; the truth that had been coming to me for the last 6 months. Every night I dreamed the same dream, a dream where we all lived and were normal and happy. Normal…I remember a time when I had asked myself what was so great about normal. Now here I was dreaming about it on a daily basis. But the weird thing about my dream was that in it, we were all meeting for Christmas and I remember someone saying how I had stayed away to long. Not WE had stayed away, but ME. But before it went any further I woke up.

“You’re right Max, which is why we have to live each day like it could be our last.”

“So what’s the plan for tonight?” he said, beaten.

“Dinner at Solstice with a little bit of paparazzi and glamour.” I said, my eyes opening wide for emphasis.

“Solstice? The seen and be seen place?”

“Yes that very one. Isabel made us reservations.”

And at that moment we knew Michael has heard the same news.

“I am not wearing a damn tie,” he exclaimed, slamming his bedroom door shut and storming into the bathroom.

“Michael you let me into this bathroom right now,” Maria came screaming after him, pounding on the door.

I began to laugh and fell back onto our bed. Max snorted and stared down at me. He smiled and his eyes got that look that I knew so well. Before I could say a word he was locking the door and pouncing on me with urgency.

Later that evening…

With a little alien voodoo, Maria was able to look like a true rock star. She had found something that gave her an edgy look, but at the same time pulled together. She never convinced Michael to wear a tie, so instead he to got into the rock ‘n roll look. It was a look we were use to, black tight tee with black jeans and boots. The rest of us downplayed our attire just so Maria stood out even more. She was beaming as we all made our way downstairs and to a limousine.

“Leave it to Isabel to pull something like this together at the last minute.” Max said shaking his head in amazement.

“She’s talented Max. Even though it seems shopping is her truest talent, Isabel can plan a party like one of the best. She could probably open a party planning business and do great at it.” I said, taking his hand in my own.

Max looked at his sister and began to see her in a different light. I think for the longest time Max never allowed himself to see Isabel as anything but a princess. Even during her Christmas Nazi antics. Even during her brief marriage to Jesse. But seeing how she had put this all together for Maria in a short amount of time, he was beginning to see her differently. He realized she was an adult. Even though we were all 21 or on the verge of 21, Max still wanted to be the father figure. He wanted us all to follow his lead and do as he did. We got close to no one, taking mediocre jobs at places we could leave at a moments notice. If you walked into any place we were working, you would have seen no one. If someone was asked to describe us, they would not be able to; as we all made sure we never stood out. The only person that did? Maria. But even though she did, she was careful about it. Her stage name was Dee Luca and she never gave any information about her background, telling those that asked it was a time she hoped to forget. And at times I wondered about it…did she think about how our lives use to be? Did she miss seeing her eccentric mother as much as I missed seeing my straight-laced ones?

“This is freaking unbelievable Isabel.” Maria cooed, hurrying into the limo and giggling as she slid down the leather seat.

“You know, if you keep up these good reviews, it might get to the point where this is the only way you travel.” Isabel replied.

“Yeah right,” Maria said, rolling her eyes.

“This is kind of alright.” Michael said sliding in beside Isabel. “I could definitely get use to this ride.”

“Down boy, down.” Maria laughed.

Kyle followed Michael in and Max and I brought up the rear. Everyone was chatting excitedly about the limo and I zoned out just watching as my family talked animatedly before me. No one took notice, but Max, who reached over and grabbed my hand.

“You ok?” he asked.

I nodded and smiled, afraid if I said a word, it might start the tears that threatened to fall. I quickly looked away from his deep amber eyes and instead laughed at something Maria was saying. Max gave my hand another squeeze but did not push me further.

Upon arriving at Solstice, Michael got out and helped Maria and Isabel out. Kyle, Max and I let the limo park around the corner and walked to the restaurant. When we reached the entrance Maria was laughing and signing a napkin for a patron that had been leaving. Isabel was off to one side talking to the maitre d. After a few minutes a gentleman in a suit came to talk to her and a few seconds after that we were all escorted to a table front and center. At the table were two others, who got up and gushed at “Dee.” They introduced themselves and we all sat. Michael brooded ever so perfectly and the rest of us were just happy to see Maria being recognized for what we already knew…she was a star in her own right.
The night could not have gone any better, as we all ate and laughed and ate some more. By the time dessert was served I swore I would bust. The Sony executives ate up “Dee’s” stories and “Dee” languished at the attention, acting like a true music diva. Even Isabel, who was usually the center of attention because of her gorgeous looks, was ignored. And it suited her just fine. The night belonged to Maria and we were all but happy to let her have it. And then the question came…
“So Dee why so secretive about you childhood? No one can find out a thing about you before 2 years ago. It’s almost like you didn’t exist before then.”

This put Max at attention and he slowly lowered his fork and focused on Maria. Maria played it off so well, never once looking at Max. Instead she just smiled and got a far away look in her eyes.

“Everyone is so interested in where I came from…would it matter what I said? Would it make me less of a singer if I came from an abusive home or was the product of a one night stand with a rock superstar?’ she challenged looking at each executive. They squirmed under her gaze, finally looking at their plates and each other. “My background is this, I was born 21 years ago to a mother and father. I’m an adult now with no interest in reliving my life before I was 20. I want to live for today, for the moment because we don’t know what tomorrow may bring.”
Everyone was silent and finally the woman of the group clapped ever so gently as to not attract even more attention to the table.

“That was fabulous Dee. You are absolutely right; your past is your business. As long as you have nothing in your past that would prevent you from forging on in your career I admire you for wanting to live for today.”

“Well, we appreciate your time Miss Luca, but for us old fogy’s it is way past our bedtime. We would love to have you come to the offices in NY and sing for Mr. Mottola and talk about a contract.”

The look on Maria’s face was priceless. The look on Max’s face was expressionless. I reached under the table and squeezed his hand. He didn’t squeeze back.

“NY? Really?” Maria managed, her hands shaking in excitement.

“Yes, we are confident Mr. Mottola will like what he hears. Please call us to set up a time and we will have our company jet fly you from here to New York.”

Maria was speechless, Max got ready to interject his own thoughts and I leaned into him and hissed in his ear. He gave me a look and I gave him one of my own.

“Please enjoy the rest of your evening on us and we can’t wait to see you in NY.” said the other gentleman. All of us got up and we all shook hands, the Sony people planting kisses on Maria’s cheeks as they left.

“Someone pinch me.” Maria squealed.

“Congratulations Dee.” Kyle said with a smirk. “Dee Luca, your next pop princess.”

“Pop princess?” Isabel challenged. “Buddha boy open your eyes, Mari - Dee is so much more than a pop singer.”

“Thank you Isabel.”

Everyone chatted about how big the contract would be and what song Maria would sing for her meeting and how she knew better than to fall for the gimmicks they tried to sell her last time.

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

“I think I’m going to bust at the seams,” I said falling onto our bed with a groan.

Max said nothing as he stood in front of the dresser mirror unbuttoning his shirt. I could see how tense his shoulders were and knew what was coming.

“Maria can’t go to NY.” He said finally, his eyes dark as he turned to me.

I pushed myself up and looked at him.

“Max, you can’t be serious? This is Maria’s dream and it’s actually with a reputable company. Not like last time with Dominique whatever-her-last name was.” I reply.

“That is exact reason why she can’t go. Do you think Sony’s going to back down on finding out her past? They will have the resources to keep digging until they are satisfied.”

“They can’t find anything out about a person that does not exist. Dee Luca isn’t a real person. Like the exec said, they weren’t able to find anything before 2 years ago.”

“Liz, please don’t fight me on this. I need your support when I tell her she can’t go. It won’t be safe.”
“I’m sorry Max…I can’t support you. I think you’re wrong. I think having Maria away from us is an even safer move than having her here.”

I stared at him defiantly. Lately it seemed I was always seeing things differently than he did and I could feel how much it hurt him. But I didn’t care because deep inside I knew I was right.

Two days later Maria was on a private plane headed for New York. I watched in envy as she blew kisses at me and Michael. He had wanted to go with her but she had decided to go alone.

“Are you going to be ok?” Michael said hands shoved into his front jean pockets, eyebrow raised.

“Huh? Yeah. Of course. She’ll only be gone for 3 days.” I said a bit more gruffly than intended.

“You sure you aren’t jealous?” he said with a smirk and I looked at him quickly, blinking my eyes rapidly, too rapidly.

“Me? Jealous? What would give you that idea Guerin? You’ve heard me on karaoke nights…no one bothers asking for an encore.”

“Right.” He said with a shrug.

“What’s that suppose to mean?” I ask following him down the tarmac back to the gateway.

“All I said was right, Parker. You really need to loosen up.”

The way he said “loosen up” got my blood boiling. It seemed Michael was the only one able to really push my buttons. I said nothing as we walked back to the car. Michael was busy whistling a Metallica tune and ignored me as I slid into the hot car and rolled down the window. He did the same and started the engine, letting it rev several times before peeling out of the airport parking lot.

“I’m not jealous.” I finally blurted out.

“You said that already.” He replied, a small grin on his lips.

“Yeah, well, I just wanted to reiterate the fact.”

“It’s ok Parker. If you were jealous…it would be ok.” He said, looking at me, grin gone.

I stared back at him and could feel tears making their way to the corner of my eyes and I brushed them away with the back of my hand. I didn’t need Michael to see my crying, he’d never let me live it down. I turned away from him and instead looked out the window at the passing scenery.

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

Michael never brought up the episode in the car and for that I was grateful. But I did notice him watching me closely when I thought no one was paying attention. I pretended I didn’t notice or didn’t care. I wasn’t going to admit I was jealous and that was the end of it.

“I sang a cappella and Tommy loved it. He said I had this sound to my voice that begged people to listen.” Maria gushed, her smile about to knock the sun out of the sky it was so big.

“So when do you go to NY permanently?” Isabel asked. “Because we know he had to sign you.”

I looked at Max and saw how he had jumped into defensive mode. His jaw tense, his eyes has gone from their usual amber to a dark brown.

“Oh, well, how about in a week?” Maria squealed.

Max shot up from his chair and stomped out of the room. Maria looked at me and then at Isabel. I quickly got up.

“He’s happy for you Maria, he really is.” I sputtered and ran after Max.

He was standing at our balcony, staring out into the courtyard.

“Max?”

“How could she just leave? Without even asking if it would be ok?” Max mumbled.

“Max, can’t you just be happy for her? This is a big deal for her.”

“Damn right this is a big deal. We are a team, our lives are not normal Liz. You know that.”

“But they could be normal Max; they could be everything we wanted and more.”

I stood beside him and reached for his hand. Here was the man I loved, slowly being broken down. He had played leader for so long he had forgotten what it was just to be a family and a friend.

“She isn’t doing this to hurt you Max. Maria deserves a chance to be truly happy. This may be the only chance she gets.”

“What about last time? She had a chance then...”he started.

“No Max, she really didn’t. We were in the thick of things we didn’t understand. There was no room for happiness. Not back then. But now there is. Please don’t ruin it for her or Michael.”

“I-she’s really going isn’t she?” Max whispered.

I nodded and squeezed his hand.

“It’s ok to be angry Max.” I whispered back. This brought back Michael’s words if you were jealous it would be ok

He pulled me into his arms, inhaling my scent and holding me like he would never let go.

The next day Max was out of the apartment when I woke up. I looked at the clock and realize if I didn’t get up now I would be late for my shift at work. I cursed myself and grabbed my robe only to find the bathroom occupied.

“Hurry up in there; I’m going to be late.” I said rapping on the door.

“Don’t get your panties in a twist, I’ll be right out.”

I walked back to my room and leaned against the door jamb, willing Michael to get out of the bathroom. I looked over my shoulder at the clock and mumbled another curse under my breath. The bathroom door slowly opened and out stepped Michael. He grinned at me and bowed mockingly.

“All yours, your Highness.”

“You could have woken me up.” I spit back, slamming the door before getting a response.

I could hear him mumbling something as he headed towards the kitchen. A few minutes later I could smell the fragrant aroma of coffee and my stomach rumbled. I quickly hopped in the shower enjoying the pressure of the water against my body. Last night had been emotionally draining. Max had really taken Maria’s leaving to heart and I could only hold him and sympathize. After he had finally fallen asleep, I had sat on the balcony staring at the sky, unable to sleep. Not wanting to sleep, until finally I forced myself to get into bed. And of course the dream had been there, waiting for me. But this time I noticed more than I had in the previous six months. The house wasn’t any of our parent’s houses. The tree was gigantic and decorated extravagantly. And the music…it was Maria singing Christmas carols. I was watching from the doorway, staring at my friends in wonderment. Kyle had his arm around Isabel. Michael was sitting in a big chair away from the group, but watching. And then I realized there was no Max. But before I could look for him Maria has spotted me.

“You’ve stayed away too long this time, girlfriend. Too long.” she says, nodding her head and smiling.
I say nothing as she comes to me and pulls me into the house.
And before I can say another word, I am kicked out of the dream.

“Liz, we need to leave. Now!.” I hear and hurry to rinse my hair and get out the shower.

My uniform is hanging on the back of the bathroom door, where Isabel has placed it. I quickly change and hurry to the kitchen.
“For you,” Michael says handing me a thermos and a bagel. “Now let’s go before Tony has our asses.”

I can only nod and mumble “thank you” as we make our way to the van. Once in the van I look at him. He has a scowl on his face and can only think I have angered him.

“Sorry I overslept. Max was a bit of a mess last night.” I say, taking a careful sip from the thermos.

“Yeah, well I think he has a shitty way of reacting to some pretty decent news.”

“Don’t worry he’ll apologize to Maria.” I say.

“Damn straight he will. Maria deserves this.”

“I know. He’s just…has forgotten what it’s like to be a friend and not a leader.”

Michael looks at me and I feel the hair on my arms stand on end. His eyes are small and I feel myself shift in my seat to be farther away from him.

“He only forgets when it has to do with someone else. I wonder if he even realizes how sad YOU are.” Michael says, knuckles on his hands white.

“Wha-what are you talking about? If this is about what happened at the airport-“

“It’s about that and more Liz. You can be a rock for Max. But whose your rock? You don’t think I notice you always drifting away, daydreaming? You’re happy for Maria but at the same time…you want what she has.”

“I want what she has? And what exactly would that be Michael? Correct me if I’m wrong, but are we not all in this running gig together?”

“Yeah, but now Maria has the chance to be free. Free to live her dream. And that hurts, doesn’t it?”

I look away from him and vow myself not to cry. But he’s touched a nerve and knows it. How is it Michael knows me so well when my own husband doesn’t? When I can’t even tell my husband about how his love for me has me feeling like I’m choking? I manage to keep the tears at bay and let out a small sigh.

“Can we finish this later?” I say as he pulls into a parking lot at the Dolce Vita Italiano Ristorante.

Tony is at the side door smoking a cigarette and shakes his head menacingly. Even though he looks angry, they know it’s just an act. Tony can only be described as a big teddy bear, rough around the edges but a teddy bear just the same.

“I’m tryin to run a business heah.” He manages between cigarette puffs in his thick NY accent.

“Sorry Tony.” Liz whispers and hurries into the restaurant to begin her lunch shift.

“And you? You sorry too?” he asks, looking at Michael.

“Eh, not so much.” Michael says with a grin.

Tony gives Michael a small grin and then his face turns back into a menace.

“I’m payin you to work, so get to it.” He says waving Michael into the restaurant.

Michael heads for the kitchen, carefully pulling out his hairnet. I am standing by the time clock and take his and my card to punch. As I slide my card in I look in his direction and lick my lips.

“You know, that net really matches your eyes.” I say, hoping to lighten the mood between us.

Michael rolls his eyes and nods.

“That was so funny…I forgot to laugh. Har-har.” He replies and gives me a wink.

And just like that the mood between us has dissipated. I can see Michael has relaxed and it in turn relaxes me. Part of me can’t help but be glad he has pushed me, but another part is terrified.

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

Before Maria can move to New York Max decides we must also move. He asks no one and instead breaks the news to us at dinner two days later.

“We can’t have people poking into Maria’s background and find us.” He says, his voice raised enough for the rest of us to know it is the final say.

“Where are we headed, Capitan?” Kyle asks.

“Washington, DC.” Max replies, looking at each one of us.

“DC? That’s really expensive Maxwell.” Michael says, rocking his chair on its back legs and crossing his arms against his chest.

“We’ll make do. It’s expensive here as well. Besides, we’ve been here too long.”

“Max, you don’t have to do this. I don’t have to mention you guys-“

“I know you don’t. And even if you do, it will be better if they believe we are in California, when we aren’t.”

Isabel has said nothing and I notice Kyle put his hand on hers and nod ever so gently.

“Max, why wouldn’t you consult any of us?” I say, letting the group know that not even I had a say in the matter.

“It’s how we’re doing things now, isn’t it? Going for it, screw any repercussions.”

“Wait a fucking minute Max-“Michael says, jumping up from his seat, vain on his neck throbbing. “Where do you get off saying something like that? This is Maria’s dream and you’re trying to shit all over it. Get over yourself already. This pity me bull has gone on long enough. Maria didn’t ask for this. She’s talented, we all recognize it. It’s about time someone else did. You aren’t going to make her or any of us feel bad about it.”

“Apologize Max.” Isabel finally says.

Max turns his head to look in her direction; his eyes open wide in disbelief.

“Apologize? For what? I’m not the one leaving.”

I look at Maria and see unshed tears in her eyes. She catches me staring and her resolve weakens. I quickly look away and instead focus on Isabel. Kyle now has his hand on her back, as if he were giving her strength.

“For what? Let’s start with the fact that you’re being an ass. Every single one of us never question’s a thing you say or decide. But enough is enough. Michael is right, your pity me act is old. Maria has done nothing wrong. She doesn’t have talent to spite you. God, how insensitive can you be?” Isabel finishes, getting up and running to her bedroom. Kyle runs after her and I can’t help but remember my dream.

“Anyone else want to take a jab?” Max says, looking at Maria and me.

Maria puts her chin up and shoulders back, staring directly into Max’s eyes.

“I’m going Max whether you like it or not.”

She gets up from the table and walks to the bedroom she shares with Michael, not bothering to slam the door. Michael stares at Max and then turns to go after Maria. There is a pure look of disgust on his face and I can only sigh and play with a crumb on the table.

“I’m right about this.” Max says trying to believe what he knows is wrong.
“You really think so?” I ask cocking my head to look in his direction.

I can see him want to break down, to take everything back. But the part of him that is proud, the part that is king wins the battle and he looks at me fiercely.

“Yes I do.”

“Max-“I start.

“I’m really tired of you not backing me lately.” He says before I can continue.

My thought gets stuck in my mind and I close my mouth and nod. He’s right of course, as his wife I should be on his side. I should be able to get everyone else to see his side. But lately I’ve really opened my eyes and seen that Max’s way isn’t the only way or always the right way. Instead of voicing this I only nod and he leaves me at the table, slamming the apartment door on his way out.

Michael appears at my side a few seconds later and I can’t even look at him. I know what I will see there and at the moment I don’t want to deal with it. He stands beside me for a few seconds and I will him to just walk away and finally he does. I get up from the table and clear the dishes everyone has left behind. Kyle comes to help and he smiles at me.

“You ok?” he asks.

“I am. It’s just Max.” I say with a laugh that is forced.

“Yeah, right” he says, grabbing the washcloth from my hands and going to the table.

“Is Isabel ok?”

“She’s fine.”

I nod and say no more as I fill the dishwasher. Kyle wipes the table and continues on to the counters. Finally he is done and throws the rag into the sink and looks at me.

“I’ll talk to Max. But we will end up moving.” I say.

“You know that’s not the issue Liz. We knew eventually we would move, but for him to take it out on Maria that way? To act as if our way of life only affects him? It’s just getting old. Don’t get me wrong; when Max is having a good day, it’s great. But when he gets into these moods…it’s unbearable. And I know you take the brunt of it for all of us.”

“I should try harder to make sure there are less of these moods of his.” I say.

Kyle runs a hand through his hair and shakes his head gently.

“Don’t you see Liz? You aren’t supposed to be a mediator between Max and the rest of us. Yes, you are his wife, but you are your own person as well and lately, well lately I’ve seen less and less of that person.”

First Michael, now Kyle. Apparently my acting skills were lacking so instead of talking about me I decided to avoid the statement and turn it around on him.

“You and Isabel a couple?” I ask, watching as his mouths opens and closes several times. It reminds me of a fish and I can’t help but let out a chuckle.

“No.” he finally says and turns away from me.

“I think it’s great.” I say. “You and her, I mean.”

I don’t know if he is mumbling a Buddhist mantra or cursing me under his breath, but after a few seconds he finally turns back around.

“I realize you want to avoid talking about you Liz, don’t think I didn’t catch the unsubtle change in subject. As far as Isabel and me, we are testing the waters.”

“I’m happy for you both Kyle. I think it will be good and work out.”

“With Max’s current mood-“

“I will leave that to you and Isabel to deal with.” I say with a shrug, flipping the light switch in the kitchen.

“Thanks.” He says, putting a hand on my shoulder.

“Your welcome.” I say and walk towards my bedroom.

Kyle stares after me and shakes his head, finally going back to Isabel’s room. I don’t know why I didn’t notice the change in their relationship sooner. I knew they had become close; living together for three years forced us to really depend on one another. More than we ever had in Roswell. But somehow in between the Max tantrums, the shitty jobs and sharing a bathroom they had managed to get close and reach a certain comfort level with each other. Kyle was a good guy. The last three years had really shown me what a great person and friend he would always be.

Sometime in the middle of the night Max returns and slips into bed. I expect him to reach over to me. But tonight he doesn’t. I feel him roll to his side and that suits me just fine. I stare at the ceiling, watching the shadows that appear as random cars drive by. I don’t know how many hours pass before I finally fall asleep, but when sleep does come, so does my dream.

It’s the same house and the same decorations. Michael off to a corner, watching. When Maria spots me I look past her to Michael, who has sat up at my arrival. I can see Maria’s mouth moving, but I’m mesmerized by Michael. He’s smiling and my heart begins to beat faster. I look at Maria and she is laughing, tugging me into the house. I nod and see Kyle mouth ‘welcome’. The music, the lights, the decorations, everything is perfect. I know only one person that achieves that much Christmas perfection and look at Isabel. She turns to me and the only thing I can do is gasp. She is pregnant and Kyle is smiling now, a slight blush creeping up his neck. I smile and look around again, looking for Max. But he is no where to be found. And just as I get ready to ask…the alarm clock begins its buzz.

I sit up in bed, rubbing my eyes hastily and reaching for the offensive noise. After it stops I reach for my journal and begin to write everything I can remember about the dream. The colors, the sounds, the faces. I wonder what it all means. Could I actually be seeing the future? And where is Max if I am? Why has he been missing for each and every one of my dreams? I sigh and shut the journal, and fall back against my pillow. Max is still snoring beside me and I carefully get out of bed, heading for the bathroom. Michael and Maria’s door is ajar and I can hear them whispering.

“Look, I don’t need him to be happy for me. But I really hate the way he treats Liz.” Maria says.

“I do too. But she lets him get away with it. What can I do?”

“He’s your brother. Talk to him.”

“You know that never goes well, Maria. He’s too stubborn.”

“Right and so are you. Do it for Liz, Michael. Lately she’s been so…distant.”

Michael only grunts in response and I hear the creaking of springs and feet on the floor which is my cue to move. I quickly shut the bathroom door and stare at myself in the mirror. Had I become distant from my friends? The girl staring back at me only nods. She is tired and haggard looking. I put a smile on my face and see how forced it looks. My hair long and a very long way from the shiny tresses Max adored running his fingers in. God, what the hell is happening to me? Before I know it tears are streaming down my face and I crumple to the floor.

I don’t know how much time passes, but I sit on the floor a long time before Michael swings the door open and finds me. He says nothing as he stares at me. I look up at him and his eyes soften slightly. He takes a step toward me and then back.

“I’ll get Maria.” He whispers.

I reach out to him and shake my head no. I don’t want to bring Maria down or make her feel bad for leaving me, us. I make a motion to get up and he is by my side taking my hands and pulling me off the floor. I smile gratefully at him and he gives me a sad look. His eyes, I’ve never noticed how dark they can get and how they can see into your soul.
“Did something happen? With you and Max?” he finally asks.

“No. I’m just feeling sorry for myself. I’ll be ok. You can have the bathroom.” I say trying to make my way past him. Instead he holds me in place.

“Liz, you can talk to me, you know.”

I do know this. I nod, trying very hard to put a smile on my face. To pretend I was not just sitting on the bathroom floor crying and pitying myself. He lets me go and just nods curtly, leaving me alone again. I am careful not to look at myself in the mirror and hurry to shower and dress.

Fall 2005 (August ?)

Maria’s been gone for just over a year and we’ve since moved from San Francisco to Washington, DC and finally have settled in Boston. Maria has spent the better part of the year in the recording studio. I hardly talk to her because the happiness in her voice is enough to make me scream. I am finally ready to admit I am jealous. She is living her dream and I am in the city where mine was supposed to happen. I look out at the Charles River and see the Harvard crew team sliding across the river.

“You could apply and get in.” comes a voice from behind me.

“I don’t need a bodyguard Michael.” I say hastily, shutting the course catalog.

He shrugs and sits on the bench beside me. In the year since Maria’s been gone he and I have gotten even closer. He does the things Max would never do and not cause Max doesn’t want to…but because he doesn’t realize I need him to do them.

“I come bearing gifts.” He says, handing me a coffee.

“How did you know I’d be here?” I ask between sips.

“I don’t know. Something about the first morning light and the river seems like you.” He says with a smile.

I give him a smile of my own and look back out to the river. With the sun now brighter more people have come out to the park. A rollerblader whizzes by with a dog.

“Think Rhona would like a friend?” I say.

“I think Rhona would claw their eyes out.” He says with a chuckle.

This is how it’s been most mornings. Michael and I. Max too busy keeping track of “Dee Luca” and the FBI and anything else he deemed reasonable. We’ve drifted apart in the last year and he’s been too preoccupied to notice. And I’ve been too tired to care. So instead I’ve had Michael. And contrary to what I would have believed several years ago, I really enjoy Michael’s company. He keeps me on my toes about current events, about art, about life. I can be myself around him and he is ok with that.

“Yeah, she probably would.”

“You thinking of applying?” he says nodding to the course guide in my hands.

I sigh and run a hand through my hair, looking at Michael. He’s leaned back, hands intertwined holding his head.

“I wish I could. Max would hate it though. 4 years in one place…he’d never approve.”

“Who cares if he would approve. Harvard was your dream Liz. You deserve to fulfill it.”

“And leave you all? I chose this life, Michael.”

“This life? The one where we move at Max’s whim? The one where he ignores you for weeks at a time, unless it’s to pick your brain about strategy? Let me ask you something, when was the last time you two even had sex.”

“Michael!” I scream. “That’s none of your business.” I shake my head and roll my eyes.

“Oh please Liz. We all live together. The walls aren’t exactly sound proof. As a matter of fact Kyle and Isabel seem to get it on every night.”

“Michael Guerin, I so did not need to know that.”

He shrugs and picks his coffee up from the ground and takes a long sip. I cock my head and look at him.

“Are they really doing it that often?” I ask shyly.

Michael lets out a chuckle.

“Yep, that often. Do you think Max has even realized his sister is in a relationship?”

“He’s had his mind on the big picture Michael. You know that.”

“Oh that’s right…Dee Luca and her career, waiting for the day she slips and tells the world how her ex-boyfriend and his family are all aliens.”

“Ex? When? I didn’t know…”

“Yeah, we did it over the phone a few weeks after she left. I love her and I know she loves me. But we realized we are much better as friends. Besides, long distance relationships are for the birds.”

“I’m sorry Michael. You should have told me.”

“You have enough of your own problems.” He says with a shrug, aiming his empty cup at a nearby receptacle.

“I don’t have any problems.” I say with annoyance.

“Ok, if you want to live in the land of denial, that’s your choice.”

“Why do you do that?”

“Do what?” he asks, innocently.

“That…goad me and then act like you will just back-off? Fine, let’s list my problems one by one Dr. Guerin.”

“I don’t do this on purpose Liz.” He begins, his expression has softened. “The only outlet you have is that box and that’s not good.”

I freeze when he mentions the box. I didn’t think anyone knew about it. I should have known better than to think I could keep anything from Michael. He makes it his business to watch all of us. I take another sip from my coffee and look back out to the river. There are several more crew teams on the river now and I watch as the all row in sync.

“My box is personal.” I finally say.

“You can’t live life through pictures in a box.” He replies.

“You have some nerve looking through my things. I would think reading my journal would be enough, but now you have to rummage through my personal pictures as well? Afraid I might have a picture of you and Max labeled aliens or something?”

I say it and instantly regret it. Michael says nothing picking at a piece of paint that has chipped away from the bench.

“I didn’t rummage through your pictures Liz.” He finally says. “I’ve seen you when you think no one is watching or paying attention. You face becomes so alive, so full of emotion when you go through that box. If you want to live life in a box and forget about what’s going on around you…I can’t stop you. But as a friend I will try.”

I am ashamed and amazed at the same time. Here is a man that is taking notice of me and isn’t willing to let me just continue down my path of half a life. And part of me knows he is absolutely right, but the other half hates him for being right. Lately there has been a lot of that, a lot of Michael being right.

“I’m sorry.” I say, turning to look at him.

“It’s ok. What’s a little annoyance between friends?” he says with a chuckle.

“I shouldn’t take it out on you though. God, what has Max turned me into?”

“Have you tried talking to him?” Michael suggests.

I laugh crazily. Michael looks at me with a raised eyebrow until I get myself together and manage to stop laughing.
“Max only talks when it’s about our next move, about articles in the many newspapers he pours over, or Maria. He’s obsessed with her, ya know.”

“Does he really believe she would just give an interview and mention anything about us? He’s turned into a certifiable nut job.”

A nut job. That was exactly what Max had become. I wonder if he would notice if all of us moved out of the apartment and left him behind to rot? He barely acknowledges any of us. If we go out to eat, he will ask for take out. If we go to the movies, he goes to the library. He’s changed completely and I hate it. I look at the thin gold band on my hand and feel it burning my skin. Three years ago I was willing to do anything for Max…now I can’t stand to look at him. And I’m ready to admit it, finally.

“You know our marriage was never legal.” I state.

Michael takes a deep breath and runs a hand through his neck length hair.

“It wasn’t?’

“No, we forged those documents, remember? I was still 17 and my parents never agreed to a thing. They weren’t around to”

“Why are you telling me this?” he asks, sitting up.

“Remember when you asked if I was jealous of Maria?”

“Yeah…”

“Well, I am. I have been ever since she left. You want to know why I live in the box of pictures? Because it was the only time I felt like myself. And you know the only other time I feel that way?”

I can see the expression on his face change. It’s more guarded now and the hands he rested on his legs have clenched in anticipation.

“When?” he whispers.

“When I’m with you.” I whisper back, noticing for the first time that my heart is beating wildly and my hands have begun to sweat.

“I-we-what?” he manages, looking at me, his eyes catching mine.

“You are the only thing keeping me sane, Michael. I can be myself around you. You actually take a notice of the things I like and do. Fuck, Max never even noticed I changed my hair. He’s become this damn alien recluse. But with you, I feel alive. I feel like its ok to say what’s on my mind…mostly because you force me to, but I can still say it without wondering if it will throw you into a tantrum. You’re right Max and I haven’t had sex in - ”

“Why are you telling me this?” Michael interrupts loudly.

“I-I…because you are the only one I can tell.”

“Liz, what exactly are you saying?”

And the way he says it has my heart stop. What am I saying? I don’t even really know. But I do know I don’t love my husband and have been looking at his best friend and brother completely different. I have found myself fantasizing about what it would be to kiss him and have him kiss me in return. I stare at his hands when we talk and wonder what they would feel like against my skin. When he wakes up in the afternoons and stumbles out of his room in boxers I can’t help but think about what is hidden by the fabric. I look at him and realize he is waiting for a response.

“I…I don’t know.” I say lamely.

He expels a snort and falls back against the bench, looking up at the sky, through the trees that block it. He stays that way for a long time and I think about all the things I could be saying, should be saying, but instead stay frozen in place. Is he going to be mad? Should I apologize? What the hell is wrong with me? I’m sitting here having irrational thoughts about my husband’s brother. Not only my husband’s brother, but my best friends ex. Now I know there is something wrong with me, the Liz Parker from Roswell, NM would never have let this happen. Of course that Liz Parker no longer exist…only in the box.

“What do you want to do?” he finally says, looking at me and then away.

“Do?” I croak out.

He looks at me and I can see a small grin on his lips. He’s laughing at me. The bastard!

“You didn’t mean to say all that, did you?”

I shake my head and roll my eyes, leave it for Michael to gloat.

“No, I didn’t.”

“Anything else you want to say?”

“Not really. I think one outburst a day is enough for me.”

He shakes his head in agreement and I lean back against the bench, looking back out to the river. I see the Harvard team coming back down the river, their crimson jackets catching the sun.

“I’m glad I make you feel alive again Liz.” Michael says. “I still think you should talk to Max. Tell him how you feel. He has become this man that none of us knows…or even want to know. You can change that.”

“Me? I don’t think Max even realizes I’m his wife.” I spit out.

“If you were my wife I’d never forget about you.” He whispers.

The statement sends a shiver down my spine and I know if I look at my arms there will be goose bumps there. So instead I continue staring at the river.

“Thanks Michael.” I respond.

“I’m going to head back to the apartment, you coming?”

“I’m going to stay a while longer.”

“Ok, see you later, then?”
I nod and watch him as he walks away, hands deep in his jeans pocket.

_________________
The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four persons is suffering from some sort of mental illness. Think of your three best friends, if they're okay, then it's you.


And Baby Made 5


Last edited by roswellkitkat on Thu Feb 23, 2006 6:14 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2005 2:55 pm 
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Part 2 – Michael’s Point of View

I can feel her eyes on me as I make my way to the staircase. I want to turn around, to see the sun cast her in its bright halo. But I know if I do she will be able; even from the distance between us see exactly how I feel. And I can’t do that to her. We are friends, good friends. But the last three years have changed Liz. And not in an alien way. She has become a shadow of the spirited girl I remember. The girl I watched and made fun of when Max would moon over her. Because even then I knew someone like Liz would never fall for someone like me. But it didn’t stop the admiration I held for her. The way she her smile would light up a room. They way she could make a person comfortable by talking to them as if she knew them her whole life. Yep, if I turned around Liz would see just how much she meant to me.

I quickly walk to the train station and think about Maria. If she were here right now she would be able to pick up exactly how I was feeling. Would it make her mad? I have a feeling it wouldn’t. She too had noticed the change in Liz. And as her best friend Maria would just be glad that Liz was still able to feel something. Before Maria had left how many times had she told me to go talk to Max? But I had ignored her, blaming Max’s stubbornness. Telling her it was up to Liz to do what she needed to do, with no interference from us. And here I was still putting the pressure on Liz, telling her to talk to Max, to change him. When in all actuality, I knew Max didn’t want to change. He had become a recluse and I believe he enjoyed it. I had looked at the things on his desk. He had even joined several online conspiracy theory alien groups. I didn’t understand what he was becoming and didn’t really want to understand. But I knew the more he pulled away from the group, the more it affected Liz.

As I slide the pass card through the machine and made my way to platform my cell phone starts ringing. I pull it from my jacket pocket and see its Maria. I answer the phone and her infectious giddiness pulls me out of my funk and I listen to her go on and on about her cd and then she tells me she will be in Boston in about a week to do a show. Of course she still has not managed to let me get a word in and before I know it she has said good bye and hung up. I chuckle to myself and drop the phone back into my jacket pocket, settling myself in for the short T ride home.

Back at the apartment Kyle has already left for work and Isabel is sitting at the kitchen table reading the newspaper.

“Hey.” I say.

“Morning Michael.” She responds and smiles at me.

“Look not to burst your whole morning sex bubble, but I can hear you all. And while I’m not getting any, I really don’t get off hearing you to go at it.”

The look on her face is priceless and I turn away from her, biggest grin on my own face.

“We were not that loud.”

“Oh no? Let’s see if I can rephrase exactly what it was I heard?” I tap my index finger against my cheek. “Oh...oh...yes…right there…holy Buddha.”

“Stop, just stop it.” She hisses.

“No there wasn’t any of that said.”

“You’re just jealous.” She manages weakly, her face several shades of crimson.

“Maybe so,” I say with a shrug.

“You with Liz this morning?”

Everyone but Max would know that.

“Yeah.”

Isabel raises an eyebrow and then turns her attention back to the paper. I watch her for a few minutes and then head to my bedroom. I pass by Max and Liz’s room and see Max hunched over the computer. I shake my head and push my door open startling Rhona.

“Keep your fur balls out of my shoes.” I yell at her.

She gives me a nasty glare as her tail swishes wildly from side to side. She then hops off the bed and scurries out of the room. Stupid cat. Leave it to Liz and Isabel to find the damn thing abandoned at the dump and bring it home. She was scrawny and half starved and they acted like it was a freaking baby. And of course of all the people in the house the cat chose to like, it was me. No matter how mean to her I was, she still snuck into my bed every night. Sleeping by my head and purring first thing in the morning. It was the only type of action I was getting on a regular basis. I crashed onto the bed and lie there, thoughts whirling through my mind. Liz was not happy with Max, but she was happy with me. I made her feel alive. I thought about her box and wondered what pictures she kept in there that also made her feel that way. Pictures from before she even knew the pod squad? Pictures of people that were part of her life that we knew nothing about? I was curious, but not enough to go looking. I had done that once when it was a matter of our safety. This was not. I rolled over and stared at the white ceiling, counting the 52 cracks that had been there since the day we moved in.

“You working today?” came Max’s voice from the doorway.

I glance over at him and take in his appearance. He was looking rough. He had started growing a beard and his hair was long. Soon he would need a rubber band to pull it away from his face. His jeans hung low on his body and he was skinnier than I ever remember him being.

“Working on Landsdowne tonight, why?”

“No reason. Do you know if Liz is working today?” the look in his eyes was emotionless. I remembered a time when saying her name caused the hair on his skin to stand at attention.

“She’s your wife, how would I know?”

“Right.” He say and shuffles back to his room.

I see Isabel watching and shaking her head. I get up and go after Max, following him into his bedroom.

“What the hell is going on with you Maxwell? You’re fading away into skin and bones. You never join us in any activities we do. Shit, you’re lucky your job lets you work from home cause surely no one would want your ass there on a daily basis looking like death.”

Nothing in Max’s eyes reflect he has even heard me. It’s almost like he is staring right through me. It’s scary and I shiver involuntarily.

“I’m leaving.” He finally says.

“What are you talking about?” I respond. “Leaving? To go where?”

“I think you all should go back to Roswell.”

At this statement I hear the sound of a kitchen chair scraping the floor and Isabel runs into the room. He eyes are wild with worry and she gives me a nasty glare before kneeling in front of Max.

“Max, what are you saying? Are you feeling ok?”

He smiles at Isabel and then looks up at me.

“I’m fine. But this is all clear to me now. You all need to go and have the normal lives you deserve. I can watch for government movement on my own.”

“It’s those damn conspiracy groups he got involved in. Feeding him all sorts of bullshit and now he expects us to just let him be.” I yell.

“Michael!” Isabel yells back, glaring at me for the 3rd time this morning. “Max? I’m not sure what you’re saying. You’re scaring me.”

He sighs and leans back into his chair and for a faint second I see the Max I remember. The one that loves Liz so much it hurts. The one that wants to protect us, that willing to give up his life for ours. And just like that, that Max is gone.

“I don’t mean to scare you Isabel. It’s been 3 years and there hasn’t been a sign that anyone is looking for us. So I think you all should go back to Roswell. Mom and Dad will be so happy to see you and Michael. I know Kyle has to miss his father. And Liz…she deserves so much more than I’ve been giving her.”

“And what about you Max? Where are you going to go? We aren’t going to just leave you.”

“I will continue to track the government. Even though Michael doesn’t seem to think so, the conspiracy groups I have joined are actually pretty close to many truths. I can continue to monitor the groups and if anything comes up just call you.”

“Are you going to stay in Boston, Maxwell?” I ask.

“No. I’ve found a place in California.”

“Back to California? I don’t understand Max.” Isabel laments, getting up from her kneeling position and falling onto the bed.

“California, Maryland.”

“Does Liz know?” I ask. I know she doesn’t otherwise I would have been able to pry it from her this morning, along with everything else I pried from her.

“No…we…I haven’t mentioned it to her.”

“She’s your wife Max, you should have discussed this with her first. She’s not going to just go back to Roswell and leave you alone.” Isabel says, shaking her head in disbelief.

“I-I don’t want her to come with me. I need to do this on my own. Liz deserves to have a life…and this isn’t it.” He says, sighing. This is the most Max has spoken in weeks and I can’t help but think it’s tiring him out.

“You can’t tell her what she wants.” I say simply.

“I know she doesn’t want this.” He says looking around the room. It is full of old newspapers, books and a stack of Starbuck coffee cups.

“Oh Max! Where is all this coming from?” Isabel asks. “How can you ask us just to leave you?”

“It’s the right thing to do.” He states. “And both of you know that.”

Without bothering to respond I turn and leave the room, slamming my door shut for emphasis. I grab the remote for my stereo and turn it on, hoping to drown the thoughts from my head with the beats of the music instead.

Several hours later the house is quiet. My cd carousel has stopped and I didn’t realize I was listening to the hustle of the streets outside my window. I look at the time and realize I never had breakfast. My stomach agrees with a gurgle and I venture into the kitchen. Rhona is sitting by the window and gives me a look before falling back into her cat stupor. I rummage in the fridge for cold cuts and cheese to make a sandwich and wonder where Max has wandered off to. Before I can wonder for long the locks on the door began their clicking and Liz walks in, several bags of groceries in her hand. I rush over to help her and she smiles gratefully.

“Thanks.” She says, looking at me and then quickly away.

I don’t respond and instead begin unpacking a bag. She hangs her ratty messenger bag on a chair and stands beside me to help unload. We work in silence for several minutes and then she laughs.

“What?” I ask.

“Nothing, it was just too quiet.”

“I like quiet.” I say brusquely

“Sure.” She says giving me a big grin, which I return. “So, I began writing an essay for Harvard.”

“You did? Are you thinking of applying?”

She shrugs, but I can see the excitement in her eyes.

“I’ll have to discuss it with Max.”

At the mention of his name my eyes get dark and I curse myself because she notices. Have I mentioned we really have been spending a lot of time together?

“What’s wrong? Is Max ok?” she asks quickly.

“Max is fine, his normal recluse self.” I say.

“Something happened?” she prods.

“Nothing happened.”

She bites her lip and I know I didn’t fool her but she doesn’t press on. She goes to the fridge and puts several items away. After we are done I finish my sandwich and sit at the table. She makes herself some soup and sits with me. We eat in silence and I know this is her way at being mad at me for not telling her about Max. But I think he needs to be the one to tell her. I hope it makes her mad and she finally pushes him out of his funk.

“I’ve got to get to work. Tonight is the salon’s late night. Maybe I’ll get some decent tips.”

“Kyle mentioned something about stopping by the club tonight; you think you’ll be up for it?”

She nods and goes to her room to change into the mandatory black salon outfit. She’s a shampoo girl at Hair Chic on Newbury Street. From what I can tell she enjoys it, but I know she can be doing so much more. We all can. I look at her messenger bag and wonder what her Harvard essay will be about.

“See you later.” She says grabbing the bag and leaving.

I am tempted now more than ever to look through her box. To see what it is about her life that gets her excited and motivated. But I know as her friend, I can’t do it, won’t do it. So instead I make myself at home on the couch and flip through the TV channels. I finally leave it on Monster Garage, not really paying attention to what’s going on. Instead as I watch the show I begin to think about Liz and what she had said this morning. I made her feel alive. I wonder if it’s my knack at pushing her buttons. Or if she really is reacting to something more? I can’t help but feel a charge in the room the moment Liz is in it. And when she looks at me, I mean really looks at me…I know she sees me. I don’t knock the relationship Maria and I had, because we were close. Closer than I thought I would ever be with any human and I will always love her for not judging. But with Liz, it’s completely different. I look at her and want to fall into her deep chocolate eyes. I curse myself…cause while we are close as friends, I know what I want is so much more. She may be jealous of Maria, but I am still jealous of Max, who has a great woman and doesn’t even realize it.

I guess I fall asleep on the couch and awake to find Rhona on my chest. She feels me shift and opens an eye to stare at me. Kyle is standing behind the couch remote in hand looking down at Rhona and I.

“She really likes you.” He says and I can see there are several other thoughts about Rhona and I on his mind.

“Don’t even say it Valenti. Keep the crude humor in that whacked brain of yours.”

“You ruin all my fun.” He says, flipping the channel on the TV.

“You done for the day?”

“Yeah, today’s my early day at the shop. So…Isabel called me rather hysterically.”

“Yeah,”

“El presidente thinks he can handle an alien crisis on his own?”

“That’s the thing. He doesn’t think there will be one. Wants us all to head back to Roswell.”

Kyle runs a hand through his hair and walks to the recliner plopping down and staring out the apartment window.

“Would that be such a bad thing?” he finally says.

“You want to go back?” I ask incredulously.

“Did you get a chance to talk to Isabel?”

“Isabel? No, she lambasted me for being so hard on Max and then left for work. Wait, you guys have already discussed this haven’t you?”

“I may have mentioned once or twice. It’s been 3 years Michael. After the whole graduation fiasco, no one has come looking for us. Shit, the Feds have all but forgotten about Roswell, NM.”

“But we left Valenti. Graduation went down and we all freaking hightailed it out of there, like a guilty dog after shitting on the floor.

“Nice. But that’s beside the point. Our parents made up the excuse that we wanted to see the country, to have a life altering experience. As far as I know, no one has questioned that. We send postcards and letters like good little kids and no one is the wiser. You don’t think that after all those initial postcards the government would have made some sort of move?”

“So you want to go back?”

“I’m saying that if Max is giving us the option, we might want to take it.”

“And Isabel? She had a nice fit when Max said he wasn’t going.”

“If Max has his way, Isabel won’t be crying for him for long. You know how his majesty is. He’ll have Isabel thinking the whole thing was her idea.”

I can only nod in agreement, because he is right. Once Max gets an idea he somehow fools the rest of us into going along. Either that or we are all too tired to disagree and cause any friction.

“I didn’t think we would ever go back.”

“Did you tell Liz?” Kyle asks, eyeing me carefully.

I push Rhona off my chest and sit up, scratching at my eyebrow.

“I figured Max should be the one to break it to her.”

“How do you think she will take it?”

“Who knows? What do you think Maria will say?” I ask, wanting to stop thinking about Liz.

“I don’t know. She has this whole Dee persona going on. I mean the record label really has brought into her missing past and what not. It might not make a difference to her. She can go to Roswell and be Maria but everywhere else and to everyone else be Dee Luca.”

“She’s coming to Boston in about a week.”

“Really? To do a show or visit us scrubs?”

“To do a show. She sounded really excited. I’m glad things are finally working out for her.”

“You thinking you two will ever get really serious?” Kyle asks, kicking the recliner back.

“Really serious? What? As in marriage?”

“Sure, why not?”

“Maria and I broke up…a few weeks after she left for NY.” I say with a sigh.

“What? How come you didn’t tell us? Are you all right?”

“Yeah, I’m fine. It was mutual. I love her and I know she loves me. But we are better as friends.”

“So she was ok with it and you were as well?”

“Yep.”

“Who would have thought it would end this way.”

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?”

“Oh I don’t know spaceboy, you two were joined at the hip for a while there. It just seemed it would end happily ever after.”

“Maybe it will, just not with each other.”

“Oh? You got someone else in mind?” he says and I can see his eyes grow small as he gauges my reaction.

“Nah, no one.” I say as nonchalantly as possible, visions of Liz dancing in my head.

Kyle says nothing and just stares at me before flipping the channel again.

Later that evening

“No Liz and Max?” I ask Kyle as he pulls out several bills from his wallet.

“We left them home to discuss the situation. Max seemed more like his normal self than we’ve seen him in ages.”

“Guess that’s good. How did Liz look?”

“Tired…”he says not finishing the thought and shrugging.

I can only imagine the martyr role Max is playing for Liz. How much he has sacrificed so we could live undetected. If I was there it would take all my energy to not knock him around a few times.

“She’s always tired. Maybe leaving won’t be such a bad thing.” I respond, handing Kyle a beer.

He nods and raises his bottle before taking a chug. I nod in response and make my way down the bar to several drunken college students. One is wearing a BC hockey hat and I roll my eyes. BU has such a better team, but needing money will make you overlook small things like bad judgment in hockey teams.

Two-thirty in the morning can not come fast enough. I hand out cups of water to bumbling drunks, smile as several busty brunettes hand me their phone numbers and finally wipe my counter down for the thousandth time. Kyle and Isabel are sitting in a corner waiting for me so we can all catch a cab back to the apartment together. I see Isabel laugh at something Kyle says and then shyly look away. She’s happy and I can’t help but let her happiness warm me. I didn’t think Buddha jock would be the one to show Isabel how to love again, but I’m glad it’s someone I trust. As I see them together I know that even though Isabel may have believed it, she was not in love with Jesse. He was some sort of rebound guy, a distraction if you will. But I can see how around Kyle she is relaxed and yet at the same time excited.

“You plan on staying all night?” Rory yells from the other side of my bar. Rory is a large black man, who has from what I hear pretty much been a bouncer at every “it” club and bar in Boston. He should run one of these places, but enjoys cracking the skulls of idiots who want to fight or not leave the club in an orderly manner.

“Nah, I’m done. Just need Lance to empty this trash and spray down the floor.”

“Go head man, I’ll make sure he does it.”

“Thanks. See you Wednesday.” I say and stuff my lucky bottle opener in my back pocket. It’s a green alien bottle opener from Amy Deluca’s shop. Maria had given it to me our first Christmas on the road.

“You three be careful getting home.” He responds and turns away looking for Lance.

We walk down Landsdowne to Kenmore Square, hoping to catch a cab quickly. There are people headed up and down the street. It is a Saturday night after all. As I see the groups milling about I can’t help but think that Liz should be here, living a carefree existence.

“What do you think happened?” Kyle says as we cross the street and begin walking up Commonwealth Avenue. Our apartment is in Allston, not to far from the new BU hockey arena.

“I’m sure Max made sure she saw what a martyr he’s been for us all.” I spit out.

“Michael, he is our brother.”

“Yeah, which means I can talk extra bad about him.” I reply.

“We can’t just leave him alone.” Isabel says, shaking her long blonde hair at me in disgust.

“And we can’t force him to see our point either. But you know I will not just leave Max if I can help it, Is. If you and Kyle want to go home…I won’t be mad.”

Isabel quickly looks at me, her eyes wide and scared. I can see she is worried about me thinking she is abandoning me. Because of the three of us, I was the one that had it the worst. While she in Max had each other and a comfy life with the Evans’ I was living with the hell I call Hank. I reach for her and pull her close to me in a hug.

“Don’t look at me like that Isabel. I am fine. This may not be a perfect life, but I’ve come a long way. And the only thing that makes me happy is knowing that you are happy, first and foremost.”

“Oh Michael,” she cries.

Kyle is watching us and at the same time trying to hail a cab. I see him nod his head in approval and only hope that things with Liz will be easier.

When we get to the apartment Rhona quickly greets us. Liz is asleep on the couch and the three of us quietly enter the apartment, not wanting to wake her. Kyle and Isabel quickly head to their room, whispering good night. I lock the door and grab a blanket from the hall closet to place over Liz. As I do, she stirs and readjusts herself on the couch, several pieces of her hair loosening from her bun and falling across her cheek. My breath gets caught in my throat as I look at this angelic creature before me. I have to stop myself from reaching out to touch her and wonder how it is night after night Max is not looking for her. Doesn’t feel alone when he wakes up and she is not there. She’s beautiful and she’s his, I remind myself.

“Hey,” she says, waking me from my thoughts.

My eyes focus and I see her looking up at me, wiping sleep from her eyes and pushing herself into a sitting position.

“I didn’t mean to wake you.” I whisper.

She smiles a sleepy smile and yawns.

“I tried to stay up. Did you have a good night?”

“It was alright. You ok?” I ask, looking her over carefully.

She nods and slides her legs under her making room on the couch for me, patting the worn material with her small hand.

“Yeah. Max was…I can’t even explain it. He was the Max I remember Michael.”

“You managed to snap him from his cocoon? He’s not going to just leave us, is he?”

She laughs a throaty, sexy laugh and I quickly think about mud, willing my body to not react. What the hell has come over me? Mud, mud, mud.

“You guys really think I have some sort of magical control over Max, huh?”

“So he still wants us to go back to Roswell and let him live a lonely existence in California, Maryland?”

“He mentioned something like that. But we talked about other things. It was like old times Michael. I actually enjoyed myself.”

“That’s really good Liz.” I say, looking away afraid she will see the disappointment in my eyes. I was really beginning to lose my mind. This was Max’s wife, my brother.

“It was nice, almost like old times. But I don’t think we will ever be back to that place.”

“You don’t?” I ask, looking back at her.

“He’s different now…actually we both are. But it’s ok. It was such a relief to talk to him and have him finally…see me.”

“You aren’t mad?”

“Mad? No, why would I be mad?”

“He wants us to leave him and go back to Roswell. You’re his wife and it didn’t occur to him that it might make a difference to you.”

“That’s the thing Michael…our marriage…it was a sham. Max and I were in love with the thought of being soul mates and with each other forever. But it’s not meant to be. Maybe at one time it was, but not anymore.”

“So you’re going back to Roswell?”

At this she grows silent and she stares at her hands intently, almost forgetting I am there. Finally she smiles and nods her head.

“I’m enrolling in Harvard.”

I can’t say a word and she mistakes my silence as disapproval. I can see the way her eyes have lost their excitement and she is worried, biting her lower lip as she watches for my reaction. I quickly plaster a smile on my face and it causes her to let her lip go.

“That’s really awesome Liz.”

Really awesome? God, I’m really lame. But it’s enough to get her smiling at me again.

“Thanks. I’m never been so excited about anything. Harvard has been my dream…forever.”

“Your parents will be so proud.” I say. “And Maria, she’ll probably name a song after you.”

“Yeah right, who would be interested in a song about me?”

“You know Maria…she could make you hip.”

“Gee, thanks for the compliment.” She says will a roll of her eyes.

“What? You can ask her when she comes next week.”

“Next week? She’s finally coming for a visit?”

“She’s doing a show.”

Liz is smiling and for the first time she is genuinely happy about seeing Maria, because this time she will have her own good news to share.

“She’s finally doing it.” She says.

“Yeah, she is. And she’s going to be great.”

“She really will.” Liz says and the tone leads me to believe that Liz knows something I don’t. But I don’t press it.
“I should get to bed and so should you.” I say, getting up. “Is Max asleep?”

“I guess. He went for a run and I fell asleep.” She says, grabbing her book and following me down the hall.

There is a dim light coming from underneath their bedroom door and I assume Max came back and left her on the couch. She hesitates before reaching for the doorknob and I wait, holding my breath. But she says nothing and disappears into the room with barely a glance back.

The next day it seems everyone is up early and I try and ignore the sounds my roommates are making, grabbing a pillow and placing it over my head. But it’s too late and I’m up. I slip on a pair of sweatpants and make my way to the kitchen. Surprisingly Max was there pouring a cup of juice. In the living room Isabel was sitting with Kyle and Liz.
“How nice of you to join us,” Isabel says.

“I didn’t know we were having a meeting.” I grumble, reaching for the coffee pot.

“I figured in light of all the news, it would be a good idea.” Max says and goes into the living room, taking a seat beside Liz.

“Right.” I say, adding a couple of teaspoons of Tabasco to the coffee.

“Max, we can’t just let you go off on your own.” Isabel says and looks at me for support.

I say nothing and instead shrug. This earns me a nasty look from Isabel, but one I am quite use to.

“I’m not asking for permission.” He says. “It’s the right thing to do. You all don’t deserve this life. Look at Maria, she’s living life and doing fine.”

“You’re our family Max, why would you want to leave us.”

He takes a sip from his juice and does an around the room glance, finally settling on me. I’ve moved from the kitchen to a director’s chair by the window.

“I know lately I’ve been rather out of it,”

“That’s an understatement.” I huff.

Max shakes his head at me and I look away, wanting to stay angry at him, knowing that by the time everything is said and done…I won’t be. It’s always that way. But this time I am ok with it, because as I look at Liz sitting beside him I know that this will be her chance to live outside the box.
“I’m sorry. It’s just after Maria left, I started thinking and it consumed me.”

“Max, you totally shut us out. Turned into a recluse.”

“Michael, would you let him apologize before jumping down his throat.” Isabel hisses.

“It’s ok Isabel. I understand Michael’s frustration. I shut myself off from all of you. And it wasn’t right, but it did cause me to realize that if the special unit is alive and well, they will want me. Tess destroyed that base and everyone affiliated with it. At the time it horrified and disgusted me. But really, she could not have given us a better gift.”

“Gift? It was her fault they were after us to begin with. Remember she was the one that came back from Antar and alerted the Army to Roswell.”

“But we got past all that.”

“Are you kidding me, Maxwell? The Army sent sharpshooters to our graduation to kill us. Did you forget that? You don’t really think the special unit or whoever organized that little showdown really was just after you, do you? Someone out there knows there is more than one alien. And what better sign that for the guilty party to just skip town after it was said and done.”

“Michael’s right.” Liz says quietly. She is showing no emotion and instead looks at Max. “We can’t just go back and think our lives can return to normal because you are not around. We are marked, all of us.” She continues, looking at Isabel and Kyle and finally at me.

“That’s what I’m trying to tell you. These conspiracy groups…they know so much. The government wouldn’t dare attack you all in Roswell again. There are even steps in place to have a showdown with the government if something like graduation were to happen again.”

“That doesn’t mean they can’t innocently cause accidents to happen to get rid of us.” Kyle finally speaks up and says.

Max says nothing, his shoulders slumping in defeat. This time we have won and from the look on Liz’s face she isn’t very happy. Here was her chance to go to Harvard to, to live her life and I’ve just stomped on it. Why did I do it? Couldn’t I believe we would be alright without Max? When I think about it, all I can say is no. We are a unit, a family and we made a choice to stay together. And the only thing can make me think differently? The look on Liz’s face. My heart wrenches at the emptiness that has filled her eyes and I know I am the one that has caused it.

“Ok, fine. We will stay together, as a family.” Max says, almost in a whisper. “But I think we should move.”
“We haven’t even been here that long Max. This is a great city to get lost in. Lots of college kids and college grads. We fit right in.” I say quickly.

“We will see.” Is all he says and gets up from the couch, retreating to his bedroom.

“Nice one Guerin. Kyle says.

“You all really wanted to go back to Roswell?” I ask, I know Kyle and Isabel had talked about it, but I didn’t really believe they would go back and leave Max.

“Roswell is our home Michael. Of course we wanted to go back. Kyle and I discussed it last night…we’ve been on the run for 3 years. They aren’t coming for us. All the clues we’ve left about where we’ve been and the government hasn’t swept down on any. If they were coming for us, they would have found us by now.” Isabel says.

“Do you all feel this way?” I ask, looking at Kyle and Liz. Both nod in agreement.

I get up and head for Max’s room. When I get there and knock he is at his desk, looking over several newspapers.

“Max…I was wrong.” Just the word wrong burns my tongue. Michael Guerin is never wrong.

“Wrong?” he asks perplexed.

“We’re going back to Roswell.” I say. “With or without you.”

His eyes are on mine and before he can say a word, Liz is standing beside me.

“I’m staying here. I’m going to apply to Harvard.” She says.

“You can’t stay here in this city alone.” Max says, rubbing one side of his face.

“I’m a big girl Max, I can manage.”

“That’s not the deal Liz.” He responds and looks at me to help him out.

“Who left it up to you to make the deals? These are our lives you are trying to control, Max. You don’t get to make those choices anymore. You want to live your life holed up in some city with your conspiracy theory guru’s and who knows what else, that’s you. Kyle and Isabel and Michael want to go back to Roswell, that’s them. Me? I want to apply to college and start on the dreams I had before I met you.”

I can feel the emotions rolling off of her and I want to reach my hand out and put it on her shoulder for strength, but know it would be inappropriate and unnecessary, because while somewhere inside of her is fear, there is also anger. And in my book anger is always good.

“I’m sorry you had to give up on your dreams.” Max says.

I take that as my cue to leave and go back to the living room, where Kyle and Isabel are still sitting. We all listen as Max and Liz go back and forth. She thanks him for saving her life, for letting her live. But that she has already paid him back in more ways than she can count. And through it all Max hardly says a word, instead he agrees with everything Liz is saying. Isabel has a hand at her mouth and tears in the corner of her eyes.

“I can’t believe we’re going home.” She whispers.

Kyle puts a hand around her shoulders and she leans into him. I say nothing as the murmuring from Max and Liz’s room comes to a stop or a whisper, not sure which. And I don’t care. I have to get out of the apartment, away from everyone. I get up and grab my jean jacket.

“Where are you going?” Isabel asks, her voice cracking.

“Out.” I reply and leave both her and Kyle staring after me.

I walk out to the street and notice that it is mostly empty. It’s Sunday morning and people are either at church or still passed out from a Saturday night of heavy drinking. I turn left and beginning walking away from our building, thinking about everything that has transpired in just about 30 minutes. Max wants us to leave, I say no, I look at Liz, I say yes. Since when has Liz’s welfare become so important to me? Every since I realized I felt more for her than I care to admit. I know that I can’t just go back to Roswell and leave her alone. Max is right; she can’t be alone in this city. But I know my staying will easily be shot down. No matter how close we’ve become, Liz will not tolerate me being her babysitter. So what happens now? I go back to Roswell and do what? Sit around and bug the hell out of Kyle and Isabel? Get my job back at the Crashdown? At the moment none of those options are appealing and I feel rather lame. Everyone has something they want to do and I have nothing. No dreams, no goals, no aspirations. I feel like a fucking schmuck. The same way I felt when Liz asked me if I ever wanted anything. It was one morning back when we were living in DC. She asked and all I could do was look at her and shrug my shoulders. The only thing I could ever remember I wanted was to get back to Antar. That was before all the shit with Tess had gone down, of course. But I thought there, I would be somebody, have people look up to me. But the best part is that she understood. She didn’t look at me with those eyes that screamed “loser”. Instead she nodded and agreed that back on Antar I was someone that people admired. And then she admitted she admired my ability to speak my mind, even when it was not what people wanted to hear. Only Liz could make my less than stellar personality seem like a good thing. Even Maria, could not go a day without making some comment about being such a Neanderthal. But that was ok, because I didn’t expect Maria to understand me, even if she loved me.

After walking I bit more I finally turn around and walk back to the apartment. When I get to the entrance Kyle is sitting on the stoop and gives me a chin nod. I nod back and sit beside him. The street has only gotten a bit busier and as the T rolls by I notice it is barely full.
“She still in the room with Max?” I ask, not really wanting to know.

“No. She is sitting at the kitchen counter looking at some Harvard stuff. I can’t believe she’s going to stay.”

“Me either. But good for her.” I reply, stretching my legs out.

“Yeah. I don’t know what’s come over Max…but I think I honestly like him better this way.”

“I guess.”

“I was thinking of joining the force with my dad.”

“He’d like that.” I say. “What about Isabel? What’s she thinking of doing?”

“You know Isabel, what isn’t she planning?” Kyle says with a snicker. “What about you Guerin? What do you plan on doing?”

“Me? I don’t know. I guess something will come to me when we get back. I hadn’t given it much thought…I really never thought we’d ever see Roswell again.”

“That’s never really been home for you, has it?”

I shake my head and Kyle sighs. We sit like this for a while before heading back upstairs.

Several days later (End of August 2005)

I’m sitting at baggage claim waiting for the shrieks that will follow Maria spotting me and sure enough several minutes later I hear them. I turn and look in her direction and can’t help but smile. She’s wearing an outfit that can only be described as rocker chic and her hair…it’s long again. She runs to me and wraps her arms around my neck, still squealing.

“Way to be incognito.” I say, planting a kiss on her cheek.

“You know me. She laughs, handing me a large duffel bag. “The rest are being delivered to the hotel tomorrow.”

“Hotel? You aren’t staying with us?”

“Tonight I am. But the label, they insisted I be in a hotel. They say I’m going to be a star, so I should get use to acting like one.”

“Yeah, I imagine they had to twist your arm about that didn’t they?” I ask, rolling my eyes.

She gives me a punch on the arm and we head to the taxi stand. She begins talking about her place in NY and her upcoming album and the people she has sang for and how we will all have to come her release party in October. I am amazed by the change in her. She is not the Maria I remember from a year ago. This Maria is more confident than I imagined she would be. And she’s not the small town girl from Roswell. She’s a city girl and it suits her. I open the cab door for her and she slides in. I throw her duffel bag in the trunk and slide in after her, rattling off the address to the driver.

“So, what’s new with you?” she asks, searching her purse and pulling out a gold cigarette holder.

She flips open the case and pulls out several pieces of gum.

“It’s the same old, same old for us.”

“I tried smoking. Not good for the voice and really bad on the clothes.” She says popping a piece of gum in her mouth and offering me a piece.

I decline with a shake of my head and lean back into the seat. She throws the case back in her bag and gives me a once over.
“Well for it being the same old, you’re looking good. Been working out?”

“Not really. Kyle’s still trying to get me to do that yoga crap with him.”

“Oh yeah. You should try it. You’d be surprised by how relaxed it can make you.”

“So he says. But I don’t need to relax. I’m Michael, remember?” I say with a snort.

Maria says nothing and just nods, turning to look out the window for a few minutes. Finally she looks back at me and snaps her gum.

“How’s Liz doing?”

“She’s doing really good.”

“Are you sure? I mean the girl never calls me. And when I do get a hold of her she always gets off so quickly. Almost like it hurts to talk to me.”

“I think for a while it did, ‘Ria.”

“Wha-why?”

“You got out…she was jealous.”

“No, not Liz. Liz doesn’t do jealous.”

I shrug and stare at her and she stares back.

“Oh shit…she is jealous. What an awful friend I am. I just left her…she must hate me.”

“She doesn’t hate you. She just couldn’t be happy for you when she had nothing to be happy about.”

“And something’s changed? You just said it was same old, same old.”

I glance at the driver and then back at Maria.

“Yeah, there have been some changes. I’ll tell you about them when we get to the apartment.”

Before she can think about what I’ve said, her cell phone begins to ring and she grabs it. The rest of the drive has me listening to her on call after call. She rolls her eyes at me several times in mock exasperation, but I can tell she loves it.

We get to the apartment and I pay the driver as Maria steps onto the street, cell phone still attached to her ear. I grab her duffel bag and lead her to the apartment. Everyone is at work and we will have the place to ourselves so I can tell her about the upcoming changes.

I take her bag and throw it on my bed. I’ll be sleeping on the couch. And they say I’m a Neanderthal. As I walk back into the living room she is finally off the phone.

“Sorry about that, business calls.” She says with a grin.

“I put your bag in my room. I’ll sleep on the couch tonight.” I respond, pointing down the hall.

“We’re adults Michael, I’m sure we can share a bed without molesting each other.”
I put an eyebrow up.

“I know I could manage. But you know how hard it is to resist my animal magnetism.”

That gets me a pillow across the abdomen and a roll of the eyes.

“Whatever. So tell me about these changes.”

I sigh, running a hand through my hair. She sits and looks at me expectantly.

“Kyle, Isabel and I are moving back to Roswell.”

“WHAT?” Maria screams.

“We’re going back. And Max is moving to some place outside of DC…and Liz is enrolling at Harvard.”

Her eyes are wide and several times her mouth opens and then closes, only no sounds come out. I can see her still taking in everything I’ve just said.

“Whose idea was this? And why? What hells been going on since I left?”

“Max’s idea. He says we’ve been running too long and it’s safe. He’s been really…difference since you left. He’s joined all these conspiracy groups...”

“Is this because I left?”

“Who knows? He just seems to think since you are able to be out there, there is no need for us to be on the run. Besides Kyle and Isabel want to go back.”

“And you? What do you want to do?”

“Does it matter?”

“Of course it matters, Michael. If everyone is getting the chance to do their own thing, why can’t you?”

“I’ll probably just get my job back at the Crashdown.” I say with a shrug.

She stares at me and just nods.

“So Liz is finally going to do the Harvard thing? I can’t believe Max is going to leave her in this city alone.”

“Things between them haven’t been the same in quite awhile. They seem more like friends than husband and wife.”

“Did you talk to Liz? Is that why things have changed?”

“We’ve talked. But all I did was listen and annoy.”


“Yeah, you have the annoy part right, space boy.” She says with a laugh.

“It’s been a while since I’ve heard that.”

“Yeah, it has. This was for the best right? You and I breaking up?” she says, her voice quiet and somber.

“Yeah, it was. You know I love you, I always will but I think we work better as friends.”

“Yeah we do.” She says, reaching for my hand and giving it a squeeze. “One day you will find the person you are supposed to be with and it will be more than we ever had.”

“Don’t say that.”

“It’s alright Michael. What we had was great, but it was young love. You need someone that will give you more.”

“We can’t let anyone else know our secret.” I say.

“They won’t have to. Look, once you all start living a normal life. There will be no need for alien mojo or cover-ups or any of it. I’ve been gone a year and that life seems like it was 10 years ago.”

“You’ll be able to go back home too, ya know?”

“Oh, I forgot all about that. My mom has been getting all these cryptic messages from me. It will be good to see her in the flesh. So when’s everyone leaving?”

“We really haven’t discussed a timetable. I think maybe once Liz is enrolled and settled.”

“You don’t sound so happy for her.” Maria surmises, staring at me strangely.

“I’m happy for her. It’s just…I didn’t think this is how everything would play out. All of us spread out across the country, doing our own thing.”

“You kinda enjoy this whole on the run thing, don’t you?”

“Enjoy wouldn’t be the word. I just…I don’t even know.” I say letting out a sigh.

“Well, let’s not worry about it this weekend. Let’s just try and have fun, like the old days.”

I think back to when we were all in Roswell. It seems like a lifetime ago. I want to think I am older and wiser now. What did a bunch of high school kids know about anything? I’m surprised we didn’t get ourselves killed, now that I really think about it.

“Yeah, it should be fun. Where are you performing?”

“A place called the Paradise, you know it?”

“Hell yeah. It’s not to far from here. All sorts of artist perform there. I think you will really like it.”

Before I can go on the apartment door swings open and Liz and Isabel come running in, shrieking. I cover my ears as Maria hops up from the couch and they all hug and continue to shriek. I get out the way and shake my head. Before I can shut the door, Kyle comes in a six pack in hand. He looks at the females and rolls his eyes.

“I could hear them from downstairs.” He says, heading for the kitchen.

“Yeah, I think most of the dogs in the city heard them.”

“Not funny Michael.” Isabel says.

“Who says I was being funny?”

She dismisses him with a wave of her hand and the three of them begin talking feverishly about NYC, Maria’s CD, and her change in appearance. I chuckle to myself at them. They haven’t missed a beat. Even Liz looks genuinely happy for her best friend…finally.

“Did you tell her about us going home?”

“Yeah. She was a bit shocked. Any idea where Maxwell is?”

“Probably at the library doing research.”

“Right.”

That night we all went out to eat. Max finally showed up at the last minute and Liz managed to get him showered and dressed and involved in the conversation. He really tried for Liz’s sake and it was the first time in a long while that we were together and no one brought up the subject of aliens.

After dinner we ended up at some waspy lounge around the corner from Newbury Street. I watched Liz and she looked like the Liz I remembered. Several glasses of wine had put color on her cheeks and she was wearing some shirt of Maria’s that really worked for her. It hugged her petite frame in all the right places and the color against her skin looked perfect. I finally looked away and wandered over to where Max was sitting. He looked up at me and nodded for me to join him. The girls were sitting at the end of the bar, laughing and carrying on. Max had managed to snag a prime piece of couch in a dark corner…just his style.

“She seems happier, doesn’t she?” Max asks, staring at Liz before looking in my direction.

“She seems more like herself. But it could be because her partner in crime is here. You know those two were practically attached at the hip.”

“It’s more than that. But I’m glad. Liz deserves to be happy and I wasn’t making her happy.”

“You did at one time.” I reply.

He laughs and takes a sip from his glass.

“Right. Back when I was a horny teenager. She probably would have been better off never having met me.”

“Max, you saved her life. She wouldn’t even be here if it wasn’t for you.”

“And I broke her heart over and over. And then when we finally have a chance to be together, I can’t even do that right.”

“Maxwell, you can’t go blaming yourself. Look, Liz chose to live this way. It may be late, but she’s finally going to live her life. We all are. And it’s because of you.”

“What made you change your mind?” he asks, his eyes wandering back to Liz.

“About leaving you? I didn’t. But they did and that was important to me. Making sure they are happy.”

“And you Michael? When do you get to be happy?”

“I’m not worried about my happiness Maxwell. Just like you. You could make things between you and Liz work. But you don’t even want to try. Why is that? Why have you given up? There was a time that Liz was your world.”

He doesn’t respond and this is how we sit, watching the girls and Kyle laugh it up and have a good time.

The next morning no one is up early. I think about our schedules and realize both Liz and Isabel have taken the weekend off to hang out with Maria. Kyle had mentioned something about a half day of work, so I assume he has already left for work. That leaves Max…no one can ever be to sure what his schedule is. He could be passed out with Liz or at a coffee shop with his laptop. I swing my legs from the couch and am greeted by fur. Rhona rubs up against me and I can hear her motor. I scratch between her ears and she mews gently.

“You aren’t supposed to like me cat.”

“Actually I thought you didn’t like her?” Maria says from the hall.

My hand moves from Rhona’s head and I scowl.

“What are you doing up so early?” I grumble.

“Couldn’t sleep. I get all wired when I have a performance.”

“Then you won’t need any coffee?”

“Oh hell yes I will.” She says making her way to the kitchen and rummaging through the cabinets for a coffee mug.
I join her in the kitchen starting the coffee maker. She smiles at me and leans against the counter watching me.

“Did you have fun last night?” she asks, and from the smirk on her lips I can tell she is asking a loaded question. I have to proceed very carefully.

“Yeah, it was good being all together again.”

“It was. So…”

“So?”

“You have a thing for Liz, don’t you?”

I can feel the blood rushing to my face. I just have to stay calm and show Maria no emotion. She is watching me very carefully. Any sign of defensiveness will give her what she needs. I stare back at her and cock my head.

“Um, no,” I say with as much conviction as I can muster.

“Right.” She says, crossing her arms and putting and eyebrow up.

We stare at each other, me afraid to move, her watching for any sign that will prove her point. Finally she relaxes and I quietly exhale the breath I’ve been holding.

“It’s ok if you do.”

“Where is this coming from?” I ask, stifling a yawn.

She pours herself a cup of coffee, inhaling the scent before doctoring the liquid. I watch as she puts in 4 spoons of sugar and cream and stirs.

“Last night…you were watching her like Max use to watch her.”

I can’t deny it. Lately I find myself watching her every movement, almost as if I were memorizing her. And the look on Maria’s face tells me that no matter what I say or do, she knows she’s right. I give in, my rigid stance replaced by an embarrassed slump. My ex-girlfriend has figured out that I have a thing for her best friend. I feel like a heel. I remember hearing about how friends can’t date someone their friend has dated or something like that. I look at Maria and she’s grinning. Typical Maria loves to gloat when she’s got me in a corner.

“You got me.” I say with a shrug, the color in my face changing from its normal peaches and cream to tomato red.

“Does she know? Does Max know?”

“Whoa, slow down there Nellie. Look, I don’t even really know what I feel, ok? It’s just some silly crush. If Isabel wasn’t my sister, it could have been her.”

“Um, ew. Come on Michael…don’t talk it down because of me. I’m really ok with it.”

“Ok, can you and I not talk about this? It’s kind of weird and inappropriate.”

“Look, who else can you talk to? I think it’s kinda sweet. Michael and Liz.” She says with a sigh.

“You’re kidding right? Liz is married to Max, in case you forgot. Just because he’s given up on her does not give me the right to swoop on in.”

“Look, Liz loves Max. She’s just not IN love with him. Shit happens, you move on. Take that shocked look off you face, spaceboy. We’re 21, we’ve been living a life that’s abnormal my most standards. Feelings change, people change. It’s all good.”

“Who are you and what have you done with Maria?” I ask, shaking my head in disbelief.

“You learn to put things in a different perspective. Being on my own in NY, pretending to be Dee Luca…it really opens your eyes to what matters in life.” She says with a bright smile.

I smile back at her.

“You are something else, Maria.”

She winks and takes a sip from her mug, her eyes watching mine over the top of the mug.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2005 3:01 pm 
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Part 3 – Liz’s Point of View


Everyone was asleep when I left the apartment. Michael was on the couch even though I thought somehow he would end up in bed with Maria. You know friends with benefits type deal. A “been there, done that”, so it makes it ok night of passion. But like a gentleman he stood firm and gave Maria his bed and promptly fell asleep on the couch. I watched him for a few minutes before I slipped out to walk around the hustle and bustle of a Friday Boston morning. I saw college kids waiting at the T stop, perusing notes for an exam or bopping their heads to the music on their Ipods. Max had gotten me an Ipod last year. It was alien green and had M.E. + L.P. A reminder of days when our love had been simpler and the relationship was still fresh. Granted it had been painful, but there was a time it had been fresh and new. Now the newness was all but gone. I think the inscription had finally worn off as well.

I walk and begin thinking about something Maria had said last night. She has made a statement about the way Michael was watching us and then she changed it from us to me. The way Michael was watching me. This wouldn’t be so weird, except for the fact that she was grinning the whole time. Like if she knew something I didn’t. I brushed off her statement and she didn’t mention it again. But when I finally did get the nerve to look at Michael, what I saw scared me. While I had pretty much told him how he made me feel…the look in his eyes was one I had only seen on one other person. Max. And the more I thought about it, the more preposterous it sounded. No matter how I felt, there was no way Michael could feel the same. And how could I even think about that? How could I even entertain the thought of being with Michael? My husband’s brother, my best friend’s ex? Yeah, last night the fantasy was there, but it had to definitely be the alcohol talking. I think because Max has been so out of it and Maria had left, Michael had replaced them both. As I think about it I feel like a fool spouting off like I did yesterday morning. What the hell was I thinking?

I make my way back to the apartment and find Maria, Max and Michael all sitting in the living room. Max is actually laughing at some story Maria is telling. Michael is smirking and when his eyes fall upon mine the smirk turns into a scowl. I ignore him and hang my jacket up.

“What do you want to do today Maria?” I ask, heading into the kitchen to grab a cup of coffee.

“Isabel mentioned something about shopping.”

“Yeah, you can count me out of that.” Michael says. “Max? What say you and I sneak our way to the BU hockey rink?”

“Alright.” Max replies with a shrug.

I can’t help but look surprised. I can’t remember the last time Max and Michael actually did something together on their own. I nod in approval and give Michael a small smile, which he promptly ignores.

“Where is Isabel?” I ask. Isabel usually does not sleep late and for a moment I’m worried.

“I think she’s still sleeping.” Maria says with a chuckle.

“She normally never sleeps this late.” Max says and gets up.

“Well, she had a later night than most of us.” Maria continues, not able to contain her huge grin.

“What the hell are you talking about?” Max asks, looking from Maria to me, to Michael and then back to Maria.

“You know a little late night boom-boom…” Maria says, confused.

“Max hasn’t really kept up with Isabel’s…relationship.” Michael says.

“Wha-no..Max?” Maria stammers. “You do know your sister and Kyle are together, right?”

Max’s face begins to turn a deep shade of red and he sits back down,

“I do now.” He manages.

The three of us can’t help but start to laugh. We knew Max had been pretty out of it, but to be totally oblivious to the fact that Kyle and Isabel was a couple…it was sad really. I stop laughing once I see the look on his face and sit beside him.

“They’re happy Max, really happy.” I say, patting his knee.

He nods and gives me a sad smile. I know he is thinking about a time when he and I were happy; a time that seems like a lifetime ago.

“Kyle makes Isabel happy?” he questions.

“If what I head last night was any indication…yes, he makes her deliciously happy.”

“Um…yeah, too much information.” Max says with a grimace. “She’s still my sister.”

“Sorry.” Maria says with a shrug. “Let’s get the Princess up because I still have to move into my hotel room and do a soundcheck.”

“Hotel room? You aren’t staying here with us?” I ask.

“The label has this thing about me acting like a star. But it’s all free, so what do I care?”

“Right. Ok, so lets get Isabel and head out.” I say, pulling away from Max and heading down the hall.

Before I can knock the door swings open and Isabel is standing there with one of Kyle’s tees and her hair in just about every direction.

“Rough night?” Maria asks.

“Maria!” I admonish.

Isabel rolls her eyes and looks directly at Maria.

“I’m sure you heard.” She retorts, breezing by us and heading to the bathroom.

Maria squeals in delight and we hear a manly groan from the living room, which only encourages her more. It’s good to have Maria back.

The day is like a whirlwind of action. Isabel seems has been waiting for a day of shopping for months now and leaves no rack unturned on Newbury Street. As we run from store to store I am amazed by suddenly how much Maria and Isabel have in common. Isabel has always seemed like this big city girl and watching her and Maria talk about the latest trends or Hollywood couples. I’m happy because my family is happy. Both girls decide on several outfits for me, amidst my moans of protest and rolling eyes. By 2, we are beat and as Maria answers yet another call Isabel and I lounge on a bench, sipping our Starbuck frappes.

“I think that red top Maria picked out will look fabulous on you Liz. Red is a great color on you.”

“I don’t know…you didn’t think it plunged to deep?”

“Not at all. Liz, you have a nice body, even if Max doesn’t notice it.”

“Where am I supposed to wear something like that Is? You all are heading back to Roswell and Max is moving who knows where.”
“It doesn’t mean you’re dead Liz. We all know that the relationship between you and Max is all but over. Now, before you get angry, let me finish. I know you love Max, but I can tell that you aren’t in love with him. He doesn’t light that fire in your eyes like he use too, and that’s ok. My brother is a good guy and I know he is trying to do what’s best for us…for you. I think letting you go is the best thing he’s done in a while.”

“Letting me go? What?” I’m confused and she knows it.

“I thought…well, it just seems that you and Max have grown apart and so I just assumed you would break up.” She rambles and her eyes are apologetic.

“Oh.” I respond, but before I can say anymore Maria skips over to us.

“We don’t have to go far. They booked me right here.” She says pointing to the hotel in the Copley Plaza. “Let me get a bellhop and we can crash before my sound check.”

I watch as she makes her way through the crowd and to the front desk where she is quickly helped and a bellhop makes his way to us smiling. He grabs all the bags and asks us to follow him. Maria is flirting with the front desk manager and she coyly puts a hand on his chest. The poor guy can’t stop smiling and he nods when he sees us.

“If you ladies need anything, do not hesitate to call.” He gushes before we head onto the elevator and to a suite.

“You’re a singer, right?” the bellman finally asks.

Maria nods and smiles.

“I am.”

“Sing anything I’d know?”

Maria pauses and then breaks out into an a capella version of a song she wrote called Shadows. It’s very Amie Mann and the bellhop starts clapping when she finished.

“Know that one?”

“Nah, but that was great.” He says with a smirk and pushed the luggage cart out of the elevator and to her suite.

She tips him and we all fall onto the couch and chair in the sitting room of the suite. Maria quickly calls the front desk and makes a request for items she will need brought up to her room including lunch. After hanging up with them she gets back on the phone with her manager who is on the way to the hotel. Finally she puts her feet up and looks at us.

“Well ladies, I’m on my way. After this show, the album will be released and I will go on a real 40 city tour.”

“That’s really great, Maria.” I say.

“I know it. Can you believe it? I’m really going to be a star!” she squeals and we all start laughing.

“Just don’t forget about us little people.” Isabel says, digging through one of her shopping bags.

“Of course not. You all are my family. What about you Liz? You really going to do this thing at Harvard?”

“I’m going to give it a try. It’s been so long since I’ve had to study something that wasn’t a map or newspaper. Of course I still have to get in.”

“Harvard would be stupid to not let you in.” Maria says with a pout.

“And you’ll be able to come home to Roswell for holidays.” Isabel says, finally finding what she was searching in her bags for. “Just think, are lives will be headed in the direction they should have been headed 3 years ago.”

We all nod in agreement, but before we can say another word the room door is knocked on and Maria goes to answer it. We watch as her manager, hair and makeup person and photographer come barreling in. They all share hugs and compliments as they make their way further into the suite.

“Oh, you must be Dee’s friends! She said she had a bunch of people here she had to spend time with.”

Again the door is knocked on and in comes a tray with food and several items Maria has requested. Isabel and I make a beeline for the cart, feeling rather famished. Maria grabs a large turkey sandwich, which she barely gets in her mouth.

“Oh Dee, not white bread. And before a show too? I thought Antwone had given you the least of do and don’t eats.” Her manager wails.

“He did Mina, he did. But I really, what harm is whte bread?”

“It will go straight to your hips. You are cute as a size 4, you won’t be so cute as a size 10.”

Maria rolls her eyes and continues to eat the sandwich, much to the disgust of Mina. Isabel and I savor our sandwiches and chips and the variety of pastries Maria has ordered. The three of us eat under the watchful eye of Mina, who can only shake her head in disgust.

Maria gets a limo to pick up the boys from the apartment, as we watch help her pick out and outfit for tonight. She’s excited but the look in her face is priceless. As we watch her warm up her voice, she puts on her cd for us. It’s the first time we are listening to it in it’s completed entirety. This is no sugary pop princess music. It’s soulful and mind opening. She is watching us for a reaction and I smile at her. The cd is awesome. I lie across the bed and stare at the ceiling as a song called Fearless begins. The music is haunting and as I listen to the lyrics I know it is about me. It is the last song on the cd and I close my eyes letting the lyrics wash over me. Fearless. Maria has always seen me as this person that I no longer am. I turn to look at her and our eyes stay connected for a second and then she is interrupted by Lazlo, who has pulled out several color extensions. I look for Isabel and she is standing at the large window overlooking Huntington Avenue. I walk to her and she gives me a small smile.

“She put all our feelings to music. That cd is almost therapeutic.”

“Yeah,” I respond and reach for her hand.

I give it a squeeze and she squeezes it back. This small gesture is the only thing that passes between us. It is two sister’s that share a bond, letting the other know they will be ok. That they are not afraid and that no matter what the future brings, the past was worth it.


Maria’s soundcheck has come and gone and Isabel and I have staked a small booth that gives a great vantage point of the stage. We are waiting for the guys to get there and have to fight off several overly eager men. Finally Max and the rest join us about 15 minutes before the start of the show. Maria has been backstage with several music reporters for the local city paper as well as college papers. She is in her element.

“We miss anything good?” Kyle asks, as he exchanges a small kiss with Isabel.

“Not too much. She’s really gotten into the whole star persona.” I say with a laugh.

“Didn’t think it would be too hard for her.” Michael responds.

The lights on the stage begin to flicker and a crowd makes it way to the front of the stage. Mina comes out and gives Maria a grand introduction. And then she comes out. She has already started to sing and we are all mesmerized by the site of her. She’s added several purple streaks to her hair and her make-up is more dramatic. She begins to sing and we are hypnotized.

The night rolls on and finally Maria closes out with a cover of Collide by Howie Day. She asks the crowd to grab their significant other and dance while she sings. Kyle and Isabel go out to the dance floor and I watch as they dance to the lyrics: (not all the lyrics)
[center]The dawn is breaking
A light shining through
You're barely waking
And I'm tangled up in you
Yeah

I'm open, you're closed
Where I follow, you'll go
I worry I won't see your face
Light up again

Even the best fall down sometimes
Even the wrong words seem to rhyme
Out of the doubt that fills my mind
I somehow find
You and I collide

I'm quiet you know
You make a frist impression
I've found I'm scared to know I'm always on your mind
[/center]


I feel eyes on me and find Michael staring at me from the bar. When he sees that I have caught him, he scowls and looks away. I look over at Max who is watching his sister and Kyle dance and I can see his has accepted them as a couple. He looks my way and smiles.

“Maria did good.” He says and I nod. He smiles at me and looks back at the stage where Maria has finally stopped singing. The crowd has erupted into applause and yells for encore begin. She is beaming and takes several bows, her husky voice thanking the audience. Encore is repeated and she nods.

“Ok, just one more.” She says. “This song is for my best friend and biggest supporter.”

And with that she begins to sing Fearless. The hair on my arms stand on end as she sings, the song is so deep and meaningful part of me wants to cry.

“Are you ok?” Max asks, as he slides closer to me.

“I’m fine. The song…it’s just so beautiful.”

He wraps an arm around me and I fall deeper into his embrace. I look up at him and I can see our connection about to open and I welcome it, because I haven’t needed what Max can give me in so long. His hands are at the side of my face and I can feel my breath slow down and sync with his and then the flashes begin. Flashes of our life on the run, of him being a recluse. And the one thing that is constant throughout? His love for me, his want of me being happy and how he’s feels he has failed. I can only imagine what he sees and then remember Michael. I gently pull away and as he lets me go. The look on his face tells me he has seen something that he can’t quite understand. But before he can speak the crowd once again goes crazy for Maria. Max looks at me for a second before turning to look at the stage.

December 2005

Everyone is gone. Kyle and Isabel have been back in Roswell for several months. Max has moved to Maryland and Michael decided he wanted to take another road trip around the country. It hurt Isabel the most when he said he wasn’t heading back to Roswell. She felt like she was losing two brothers, instead of just one. But I know that Michael has always had his heart set on gong back to Antar. And with that option gone, he doesn’t call any place home. His goodbye to me was almost indifferent. I’m not sure what happened to our friendship

Maria’s cd has been out for several months as well and doing well. I think the first week it debuted at number 3, which is excellent for a new artist. She’s on her 40 city tour and occasionally calls to check in. She promised to visit when she gets down time, but I don’t think she will ever have down time. And that’s ok. I’m just happy that she is doing what she loves.

As for me, I was accepted into Harvard, late and all. It’s amazing what excellent grades and an SAT score will get you. My advisor was even surprised when she looked over my records. Of course she asked the obligatory question about what I had been doing for 3 years. To which I answered “finding myself.” That seemed to satisfy her. I can tell I am going to like her; she’s to the point and no nonsense. She also asked about why I was suddenly calling myself Beth, when all my high school records show I went by Liz. I smiled innocently and told her it was part of finding me. I haven’t felt like Liz in quite a while and I’m hoping with a new name and new roommates and a new lease on life, will remind me of the person I was. Confusing right? How can that be achieved by just changing my name? Well, it worked for Maria, so I’m hoping it will work for me too.

“Beth, you have to come with us. It’s Friday night and exams don’t start for another two weeks. Don’t you like to have fun?”

“Of course I do, it’s just…”

“You have no excuse and besides we aren’t taking no for an answer. Laila stumbled into this Irish pub on one of the side streets in Harvard Square and has been hitting on the hottie bartender there. He flirts but won’t let her show him she can be a bad, bad girl.”

“You two are awful, you know that?”

“Who us? Come on now, men want to be teased. How’s that one song go? About them wanting a lady in the street and a freak in the bed?”

I can only roll my eyes and laugh. Cinda and Laila. Two Harvard sophomores with an appetite for the men and the men are only too happy to oblige. No one really thinks of Harvard when they think party. I think the thought is more towards prudish women and uptight men. The truth is very, very far from that scenario. In the last few months I don’t know how many naked and half clothed men I’ve found in our kitchen. None have seemed embarrassed in the least. Living with them has been an experience. They still look at me funny with Kyle or Isabel call and ask for Liz and then Beth. They swear the person named Maria that calls sounds just like the newest singing sensation Dee Luca. And the never ask why I look so upset after talking to Max. Most of the time they just let me be, except tonight. And I know fighting will do no good. Not after weeks of putting them off. So I smile and tell her I will go. She goes running from the room in a tizzy and I can’ help but laugh. It will do good to go out. I’ve mostly spent my days in class and my nights studying. My parents who were ecstatic at my going back to school are paying for me to be here. I feel bad taking their money, knowing I could have gotten at least a partial scholarship. But they insisted and I knew I would never make enough on my own. So I accepted and now they bug me about coming to Roswell for Christmas.

Several hours later the three of us are dolled up and ready to go. Laila has brought home a bottle of rum and we each take several shots before heading out. The alcohol feels good as it courses through my body and I am reminded for a split second of my short time at Winneman Academy. I was running away from Max and the alien madness. It was the night he had died. I push the thoughts from my head and instead focus on whatever Cinda is rambling on about. I realize she is talking about Christmas break and waiting for an answer from me.

“You really don’t want to stay alone in the city, do you?” Laila says, giving me a look.

“I really haven’t thought about it.” I respond. “I know my parents would love for me to go home…but I don’t know if I want to.”

“Those textbooks are calling your name too loudly.” Cinda says with a smirk. “Tell them to shut up and you will see them in 2006.”

“I know I study a lot…but I like to study.” I reply.

“Shhh…shh...we don’t want people to know our roommates a class A Harvard nerd.” Laila says, eyes twinkling with mirth.

“Ha-ha.” I say, throwing a middle finger her way.

These girls have accepted my quirks from day one. They give me a hard time about studying, but not to hurt me. They want me to enjoy my college years, even if I am older than both of them and have seen things they could only imagine.

“Bad ass Beth.” Laila says, sticking her tongue out.

We don’t wait long to catch a cab and head into the square. Had the weather been warmer we would have walked, but the chill in the Boston air has everyone bundled and in a hurry to get indoors. The cab takes us to the Lizard Lounge and I follow the girls into the lounge. Both girls are greeted by several bouncers as they grab my hand and pull me to the bar.

“Laila, Cinda,” says a cute bartender from behind the bar. “I see you managed to bring a new friend.” He says smiling at me.

“This is our roommate Beth. Beth, that’s Joe. He makes the best long island ice tea’s you’ve ever had.” Cinda says,

“I keep trying to get them to try my sex on the beach, but they aren’t buying,” he says with a wink. “Can I get you ladies the usual?”

And that begins the night. I rarely remember the Lizard Lounge as they hop from place to place. It seems everywhere we go, they know someone. I finally remember that I should probably buy a round of drinks and am admonished by Cinda.

“We haven’t paid for drinks all night, Beth.”

“You haven’t?” I drawl, my eyes wide.

Laila laughs and wraps an arm around as we make our way into the square. The alcohol has masked the cold weather and I actually begin to feel warm.

“We don’t pay for drinks. Men pay for them for us.” She says, her eyes sparkling.

I nod in understanding and we continue. After passing the square we turn on a side street and then another and are finally at the Irish pub, Tommy Doyle’s. Once we get in Laila makes a beeline for the bathroom to freshen up. Cinda looks at the bar, but does not see the bartender that Laila is in love with this month. We head to the bar and Cinda pushes her way closer.

“He’s always here on Friday.” She says. “But I don’t see him.”

“Maybe he’s sick.” I say, making a face at the guy beside me.

“Laila’s going to be disappointed.”

“She’ll get over it.” I mumble.

When Laila returns Cinda informs her that her lover boy isn’t working the bar. Both girls get into a discussion about leaving, but then decide to stay. They manage to snag a booth, after teasing several guys and I plop down, exhausted and drunk. But the drinks don’t stop. Somehow I manage to put away several more shots, before I feel my stomach tell me to stop.

“I need some air.” I mumble to Cinda.

“Are you ok, Beth?” she asks.

“I just need to get outside for a minute.” I say with a smile. Suddenly my eyelids feel so heavy.

“I’ll take her outside.” One of the guys at the table says suddenly. I look over in his direction and can’t make out what he looks like only that he has on a red jacket. Everyone slides around to let us out of the booth, from which I stumble. Saved by Redcoat. I giggle as his arms catch my waist and his fingers tickle some exposed skin.

“Here’s your jacket Beth.” Laila says, handing it to Redcoat, who finally lets me go and helps me with my coat.

I manage after two tries to get my arms in the right place and he guides me towards the front door. As I push the door open, the cold air hits me like a wave and I stumble again. This time Redcoat is right on me and helps me out and we walk to the alley beside the bar. I take several deep breaths, hoping it will wake me up. I lean against the wall and close my eyes, hoping the nausea will subside.

“You have a boyfriend?” Redcoat asks and I open my eyes to find him standing directly in front of me.

“No,” I mumble.

“Really? A cute girl like you?” he replies, this time rubbing the side of my arm.

Suddenly I am too aware of how close he is standing and I don’t like it. He’s too close and it’s scaring me.

“Don’t really have time to date.” I say and try to move.

But he’s blocked me in, arms on either side of me. Bells and whistles are ringing in my head but my reaction is to slow.

”You should make time. A girl like you could get any guy he wanted.”

“No, not me,”

I close my eyes again, hoping the sight of me looking like I will pass out will knock some sense into him, but instead it must turn him on more. I feel him caressing my face and I cringe.

“I saw how you were looking at me back in booth.”

“I was?” I asked perplexed.

“Yeah. So tell me does someone that looks so innocent actually like it rough?” he asks, pushing my head into the wall with a crack.

All I can feel is pain and I scream lashing out at Redcoat. He quickly subdues my arms and now I’m crying.

“Stop…” I plead.

“You know you like it, bitch.” He spits vehemently.

“You’re hurting me.” I respond, his body against mine.

This only angers him and he forces his mouth against mine, to which I respond with a bite to his tongue. He screams and pulls away, slapping me in the process.

“You cock tease.” He yells. “I’m going to make you pay.”

My head is pounding and I will my eyes to open from their drunken stupor. He pushes me and my head once again cracks against the wall and this time I fall to the ground in a heap.

“What the hell is going on back here?” says a voice.

“Mind your business dude,” Redcoat hisses. “This is between me and the lady.”

“She’s hurt you stupid fucker.” Comes the reply and before I pass out all I can think is that I know the voice.

When I wake up its dark and I’m in a bed, my bed. I make a motion to move, but as a wave comes over me. I lie still instead and listen to the voices coming from the hall.

“We didn’t think you were working tonight.” Says Laila, but not in her normal flirty voice.

“I wasn’t. Sully went home early because he was sick, so they called me in.”

“We’re lucky you did come in. She could have been hurt. Are you sure we shouldn’t take her to the hospital?” Cinda asks.

“Yeah, she’ll be alright. She just needs rest and will probably have a major hangover in the morning.”

“Are you sure we can’t do anything for you? And knowing Beth, she will want to thank you herself.” Laila says

“It was nothing. I’ve got to get going.” He says.

“Ok. But she will track you down.” Cinda says, wringing her hands. “Beth is like that, very independent.”

“Look, just take care of each other. I’m sure I’ll see you ladies at the pub again.”

And with that he’s gone. And I swear the voice belongs to Michael. But before I can think more about it, sleep washes over me and I don’t fight it.

“Good morning,” says a too cheery voice from beside my bed.

“What time is it?” I ask, shielding my face from the sun that is pouring through the window.

“Almost noon.”

I groan and pull the blanket over my head.

“Laila went to get us chicken noodle soup and crackers from the Au Bon Pain.”

“Please. Do .Not. Mention. Food. ” I say, gagging.

“Beth…can you tell me what happened last night?” Cinda says and I pull the blanket away and find her watching me with tears in her eyes.

“I don’t really remember,” I say, lying.

“You don’t remember?” she replies, wiping several tears away.

“Not really. I know I went outside to get some air and…that guy he tried hitting on me and then it gets kind of shady after that.”

“Beth…he attacked you. If it wasn’t for the bartender…I don’t know what would have happened. We are such bad friends…to let you go outside with some freaking loser…”

“What bartender?” I ask, remembering the voice; the voice that sounded like Michael’s.

“The one Laila is into. He was walking by when that jerk off was…well you know.”

“Oh. What’s his name?”

“I believe it’s Alex. But Laila would know better.”

“Right,”

“I told him you would want to thank him yourself, but he didn’t want any part of that. He really saved your life Beth. If he hadn’t been there…I’m afraid to think what would have happened.”

“Cinda…it’s ok. This isn’t your fault and it’s not Laila’s. For Christ’s sake I’m older than both of you. I should know better.”

“But Beth-“

“No buts Cinda. I’m fine. We just learn from this and move on.”

Cinda can only stare at me in awe. I can tell what she is thinking. How I can just move on from something so real that could have ended badly. And inside I am shaking because Max would have been right…that I needed someone to protect me, to look after me. But I don’t want either of my roommates to blame themselves…because the blame lies with me. I let myself get drunk to the point where I could not take care of myself. I let this guy get too close.

“Soup for all.” Laila’s voice calls from the living room.

“In here.” Cinda calls.

When Laila walks in she gives Cinda a look and then sits on the end of my bed, looking up at me. I smile and she reaches out to take my hand.

“I’m sorry Beth.” She says and I see tears well up in her eyes.

“Like I already told Cinda, this was not your fault or hers. I don’t want you two to feel bad. We will learn from this and move on. Ok?”

“Beth, this could have all ended so differently. I can’t just forget about it.” Laila says, determinedly.

“I’m not saying to forget it. I want you both to just be more careful. Treat it like a wake up call for your lives. I’m not mad, I’m not hurt. But I am hung-over.”

“Oh Beth, how can you act so cavalier about this all?”

“There’s not point in thinking about it and all the shoulda-coulda-woulda scenarios. I don’t live my life that way and neither should either of you. Now if you both don’t mind, I’m going to attempt to take a shower.”

Both girls give me room to get up and when I do they attack me with a fierce hug. At first I am freeze and then hug back. As they make their way out of my room I can read the concern in their eyes, but make a vow to show them I am alright and they will be too.

Six months later

I never made it home for Christmas last year, even though my parents, Maria, Isabel and Kyle begged. I managed to get me part time job on campus with a science professor and used that as my excuse. I told them it would help me with classes the following year. No one could argue with that logic. But my parents did come up for a weekend in February. It was weird seeing them after all this time had passed. My father was graying slightly and my mother had more wrinkles around her eyes. My father actually asked about Max and I could honestly say I didn’t know how he was doing. Our contact with each other had tapered off soon after Christmas. Part of me was hurt but a big part of me didn’t care. I know it sounds awful. The man that use to be my world, now reduced to just a memory in my heart. I guess they what they say is true…out of sight, out of mind. I know I will always have a space in my heart for Max and maybe years from now we will see each other and be able to rekindle the flame from yesteryear, but lately when I think about him it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I feel like he has ruined me for anyone else because I’ve had a very hard time forming a relationship with anyone of the opposite sex. My roommates think it is some sort of effect from my trauma from last December, but it isn’t. I recently tried to get close to a classmate of mine. We share a lot of the same classes and like a lot of the same things, so naturally we hit it off as friends. He’s nerdy, but funny and sexy as hell, or at least that’s what Laila says. And I think I can trust her taste when it comes to sexiness. And so we’ve hung out…a lot. We study, are lab partners, but unlike Max, Samuel isn’t shy. And yet when he kisses me, there is no earth shattering connection. I don’t feel butterflies in my stomach and I don’t get hot and bothered thinking about him. Max’s fault? I like to think so.

Now I know you all are wondering what happened to my knight in shining armor. The one I was convinced sounded like Michael? I was ready to place all bets on the fact that it was him and the girls and I stalked Tommy Doyle’s. Finally they told us that he never showed up to work one day. Didn’t call or anything. I suppose I could have shown Laila and Cinda a picture of Michael to confirm, but then I would have to explain how I knew him and I really didn’t want to have to get into any of that with them. So I let it go. Could it have been Michael? Sure. Was it? Maybe.

Maria has gone on another tour. This time it’s on a larger scale. And she is working on a second album. She’s loving ever minute of it and bought a house just on the outskirts of Roswell. Kyle says it’s a major fixer upper and she is having it renovated under the watchful eye of Amy. When I pressed Kyle for details…they were eerily similar to the house in my dreams. A dream that rarely comes now. Out of the madness and out of my mind. But anyway, Maria has taken her Dee personality and really run with it. Someone finally did track down her past, thanks to the world wide web. For a while we were all on edge, waiting for the army or special unit to swoop in and make her disappear. But it hasn’t happened. And she’s able to afford security, which she has made sure understand what is expected of them. No one gets in to see her without pre-approval from her, not even me. She’s told me that Max does keep up with her and he sounds like he is doing well. She of course has urged me to move on with my personal life. I’ve told her about Samuel and it was like old times. She pumping me for details and giving me advice. But when I told her that kissing him didn’t leave me breathless, she told me to take a step back. I’ve asked about her love life and if anyone makes her feel like Michael did and she kind of glosses over the details. She cites her hectic schedule as reason enough for not having time to really settle with one guy. I give her that.
No one has heard from Michael in a few weeks and Isabel is on edge. I guess when she went back to Roswell it was with the understanding that Michael call at least twice a week. And from what Kyle tells me, he’s been really good about it. But in the last month he’s called once and Isabel is worried and mad. I know Maria said he was at one of her shows in Pennsylvania. She said he looked tired, but still had that brooding attitude. I passed the information along to Kyle and hoped it would get Isabel to calm down. Michael knows that not calling will flip Isabel out. I know she is thinking the worse and I wonder if maybe I should call Max.

I open my desk drawer and staring at me is my box. I actually scrapped the cardboard box in favor of a nice wooden memory box, placing a picture of Maria and I as kids in the frame on the top of the box. I smile down at the photo, the memories flooding my mind. It’s been a while since I’ve poured over my pictures. Michael was right the day he told me I was living my life in a box. Because I was, I had let myself go. I was only going through the motions of day to day in order for no one else to notice what I was becoming. But Michael had noticed. And he was the only one that had said a thing. Maria had noticed, but she could not set aside her happiness and dreams to pull me out of my funk. And I don’t blame her. Many would say she was a selfish friend, but you can’t blame her. We were on the run, living in a van the first year and then random apartments the second year. And while we always had each other, sometimes that wasn’t enough. That’s why I don’t blame Michael for not going back to Roswell. He needed to find himself before he could settle down and continue on with the simple life Roswell would bring.

Two months later – August 2006

I’m packing my bags to go to Roswell. Kyle and Isabel are finally getting married and I could not miss the event, even if the thought of going back to Roswell has my stomach in a knot. I can only laugh because 4 years ago I would have given anything to be back in Roswell, working with my parents, not on the run. And since then all these opportunities to go back have come up and I’ve not taken one. Except for this one; two of my best friends tying the knot. Kyle and Isabel Valenti. I can only chuckle at how weird that sounds. But from the way Kyle talks, he is smitten. And they are in love and most of all, they are happy.

“Are you happy to be going home?” Cinda asks as she plops herself across my bed.

“Yeah, it will be good to see everyone. And who doesn’t like a wedding? If you knew Isabel, you would know this thing is going to be the talk of the town for weeks.”

“Be sure to bring back plenty of pictures.” She says with a smile and is gone.

Laila and Cinda have taken things a lot easier since my incident last December. They no longer bring home random guys, hardly ever come home drunk and actually will join me at the library on many a night. Laila has even gotten herself a serious boyfriend…Samuel. Yep, my lab partner Samuel. He realized that while I enjoyed his company immensely it was never going to go any further. We were at Starbucks when he broke the news to me. He was so sweet and I could tell he was afraid of hurting me more than anything. But I took it like a champ and acknowledged how I really enjoyed being with him, but that he was right. So then I offered to set him up with Laila. At first he turned me down, but after a few weeks he agreed. And they’ve been together ever since. Laila always seemed like the type to end up with a much older guy, someone who had seen the world and wanted to see it again, only with her. I don’t know if Samuel could be that guy, but it didn’t matter, because they both were happy.

I was flying to NY to meet Maria and from there we would fly to Roswell together. She was singing in the wedding, though all the magazines said she was taking a break in Hawaii with an unknown male. Something planted by her manager to keep them from ruining Kyle and Isabel’s wedding.

“You look fantastic Liz!” Maria squealed and she grabbed me for a hug.

“Me? Look at you. Are these muscles on your arms?”

She laughed and flexed. I had missed Maria and didn’t even realize how much until I saw her there with her short hair and guitar strapped over her shoulder.

“I’ve got to be strong for these tours. They can really wear you out.”

“How’s this one going?”

“It’s great. Gavin is a really nice guy. And Michelle is super sweet. I couldn’t have put together a better set to tour with.”

“Ok, Miss Name Dropper.” I say and roll my eyes.

She gives me an innocent look and points me into a different direction.

“I got us a private plane.” She says and walks to the counter.

A few seconds later our bags are being taken and we are escorted to the plane. I can only stare in awe. The inside is huge and decorated unlike any plane I’ve seen before. I understand now why so many celebrities would rather travel this way. It’s even better than a commercial jets first’s class.

“How did you manage this?” I ask, running a hand down the leather seat.

“It’s the record labels plane. I said I needed it. Trust me, they will have me work off the price somehow.” She says with a laugh and sits, propping her feet up.

A few minutes later a flight attendant board and we are on our way. Maria and I talk most of the flight and before we know it we are getting ready to land. Maria takes my hand and gives it a squeeze.

“Who’s picking us up from the airport?” I ask.

“My mom. She insisted and would not take no for an answer.” She says with a grimace.

“It will be good to see your mom. I still can’t believe she married the Sheriff.”

“I know it, but they’re happy, so who am I to judge?”

I nod in agreement and squeeze my armrest as the plane makes its final descent into Roswell’s airport. I look out the window and can make out a few landmarks through the dusty desert. My parents know I’m coming and if they knew Amy has been picking us up they probably would have hitched a ride with her.

As we get off the plane the hot air hits me and I am reminded of the desert heat that I have been away from for so long. I throw my carry on over my shoulder and follow Maria down the stairs and to the gate. Amy is standing there, eyes hidden behind a pair of what I can only describe as “office” glasses. You know, the ones that look like mirrors and are really great for intimidating defenseless teenagers. She is in a pair of low rise jeans and cowboy boots. When she sees us she quickly takes the glasses of and forces us into a group hug. After suffocating us, she takes a step back and takes a look at me.

“My, you sure have grown.” Amy whistles and gives me another hug.

“Thanks…I think.” I respond.

She laughs and nods.

“You look really great Liz. I keep forgetting you all are adults now. I keep expecting to see my little girl and her best friend giggling behind an order form. And instead here you both are, two women.”

“Oh mom,” Maria says exasperated. “Staying in Roswell was not going to keep us kids forever.”

“I know, I know.” She says and we make our way out the airport.

The week passes in a blur. My parents hound me to stay in my old bedroom and I don’t flat out refuse, I just tell them I’m consumed with last minute wedding details and it is easier to stay at Maria’s house. It’s not really a lie, because there are still things Isabel is having us do, but the thought of sleeping in my childhood bed…scares me. But I finally give in, telling them I will stay once Kyle and Isabel have left for the honeymoon.

Saturday in August 2006, Day of the Wedding

The Crashdown is closed but I still head over to help my dad with his delivery. His face lights up when he sees me and we both work to put away the items. I finally have let some of the tension of being in Roswell go. This is home and my parents still love me.

“I understand why you don’t want to be here Liz.” My father says quietly.

I look to him and notice how thoughtful his eyes look. Like he has been waiting a while to be here with me and tell me everything that is on his mind. And I begin to feel bad. My parents never once when we left ever made me feel guilty…I did that myself.

“You do?” I reply.

“It’s hard too see this life and remember it was once yours isn’t it?”

I fidget and then nod.

“This seems like so long ago, Dad. All of this and then for us to just leave and let my journal be your explanation. It just wasn’t right.”

“But it was right at the time, sweetie. And we understood, even though it hurt us at first, we understood. At first we had so many questions and you weren’t here to answer them and the conversations we had were so short. It was hard for both your mother and I. But at least we knew why you had changed. You were protecting your friends and that’s not an easy feat, not with the reason for protecting them.”

“I could have come to you and mom,”

“I like to think that maybe you could have. But I know the reality is that it would have taken a lot of convincing to get us to believe you.”

“It wasn’t my secret to tell.”

“And we understand that now. Your mother and I just want what is best for you. We always have.”

I nod and can’t help but feel relieved. My dad isn’t giving me a lecture about my life or my friends. I reach over and hug him and get flooded by memories of all the times we’ve fought and it’s ended with me hugging him.

I’ve brought my things from Maria’s house and head up to my old room after helping my dad. When I reach the top of the stairs my mother is there with an ironing board and she is startled to see me.

“Liz? I didn’t know you were coming by this morning.”

“I figured I’d get ready here and we could all ride over to the ceremony together.”

Her face breaks into a big grin and she nods enthusiastically.

“That sounds good. Have you seen your father? He should have been downstairs…”

“I helped him with the delivery. And we talked.”

“Oh…well…that’s good.”

“Mom?”

“Yes?”

“Thank you.”

At first she has no idea what to say or do and fidgets with her hands for several minutes and then finally looks at me and I can see the tears threatening to fall.

“Oh Liz…there’s no need to thank me,” She manages, quickly wiping at her face.

“But there is, because through all these years you and Dad still managed to accept and love me.”

“You’re our daughter, Liz. After everything is said and done, you are the one thing that means the most to us. All we ever wanted was for you to be happy.”

“I know that now.” I say.

“Good. It really is so good to have you home. Even if it’s only for a short time.” She says, taking my hand and giving it a squeeze.

“It feels good to be home.” I say honestly, looking around the living room and seeing that not much has changed it several years.

“We thought about redecorating…but…well we didn’t want to change anything until you came home.” She says, embarrassed.

“I wouldn’t change a thing.”

“You room is still the same way…you left it.” She adds, her eyes darkening for just a moment.

A pang of guilt hits me and I clench my jaw, forgetting how we disappeared into the night with only the Sheriff around to tell our families we were ok.

“I’m going to put my things up,” I say, pointing to my bag and wedding outfit.

“Go ahead. Holler if you need anything.” She says with a smile and I can feel her eyes on me as I make my way down the hall and to my bedroom.

I hesitate at the door, trying to remember how exactly I left my room that night and realize most of that night is a blur. I do remember being giddy and in love with Max and thinking we were doing the right thing and not much else.

No time like the present, Parker. I slowly grab the handle and push the door open. It opens without hesitation and I stare into the room I grew up in. A smile creeps to my lips as I enter and look over everything. My mother was right, they didn’t change a thing. Or for that matter touch a thing. There are clothes in the laundry basket, several items strewn across the bed, books on the desk. I put my bag down and hang the dress for the wedding on the closet door hook. I stare into the closet and look at the clothes in wonderment. Was I really that drab? I laugh and then move from the closet to the desk, staring at the empty spaces where pictures use to be. I run my fingers against a Harvard pennant that hangs from my wall, remembering how excited my Dad was to give it to me. As much as I had wanted to study at Harvard, it seemed he wanted it even more.

As I turn away from my desk, I see him on my balcony. He doesn’t notice me, staring intently at the sky. I stifle a laugh as I think about the old lounge chair and wonder how it’s held up all these years. I slowly make my way to the window and look out at him, wondering how long he’s been sitting there and why he is out there. After a few minutes he senses me and turns to look my way. My breath catches in my throat and I can feel the sweat begin to form on my palms. His hair is still long, but neat and he has on his signature black jeans and t –shirt. I open the window and step out onto the balcony. He sits up and doesn’t say a word. We only stare at each other, not sure what to really say. Afraid we might say too much or even worse, the wrong thing.

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And Baby Made 5


Last edited by roswellkitkat on Tue Jan 17, 2006 4:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2005 10:21 pm 
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Melis,

This story is phenom, and I'm so appreciative of the sneak peak that I got, but now, I want more more more! Please don't make me wait too long!

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 1:53 am 
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Wow! That was interesting, Melisa! I’m glad they made it back to Roswell. I’m wondering what’s going to happen with Max now. He seems so distant and left out of the group. Michael seems to have taken his place… in more ways than one! ;)

Great story! :thumbsup

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 2:56 am 
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First i have to say I LOVE the banner :wink: second the story is amazing! I hope you keep writing it :)


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2006 10:10 pm 
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Woo hoo! As you may or may not know, I'm a die hard polar fan and am soooo looking forward to the next update of this story. I love finding new authors to read and you're doing a good job of letting us understand how Liz would gradually develop feelings for Michael and also find herself.

Can't wait for more!
Lisa


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2006 4:16 pm 
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You don't know how much that means coming from a diehard Polar fan. This is my first attempt at Polar, even if it didn't start out that way. Thank you so much!!

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And Baby Made 5


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 5:48 pm 
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Part 4 – Michael’s POV

As soon as she enters the room I sense her, but not wanting to frighten her I let her find me first. Ever since I got back to Roswell and she arrived I can feel her. I can admit it now, I have missed her. But while I can feel her, I know she is not that same person from a year ago. A lot has changed in her life and I only hopewe will still be the same.

I finally look at her and can only barely breathe. She is even more beautiful than I remember and more confident than I have seen her in a long while. She is the Liz I remember from the alley when Max, Isabel and I were leaving. Her jaw is set and she quietly makes her way onto the balcony with me.

The silence is unbearable but I am afraid to say a word. Actually I don’t know what to say and so we just stare at each other, waiting for the other to make a move. And as I take in the color that has come back to her skin and the way her pants hang below her waist, she speaks.

“Hey you,” she says and smiles.

It’s a smile that I’ve missed and seeing it again makes my heart race.

“Parker,” I reply, giving her a once over and then looking away.

“People are worried about you, ya know.” She says and sits besides me, ignoring the protest of the lounge chair.

“Oh? Worried you say? I think this wedding has certain people a little occupied.”

“I was worried.”

I turn to look at her and see her cheeks have taken on a slightly pinkish tint.

“Were you?”

“Of course I was Michael.”

“How’s college treating you?”

“It’s going really well. I am hoping to graduate early.”

“I’d expect nothing less from you Liz.”

“How about you? What have you been doing with yourself?”

“Mostly just traveling the open road.”

“Are you ready to settle down yet?”

“I don’t know.”

“Can I ask you something?” she says quickly and I look at her, noticing how her eyes have grown darker.

“Depends, if it’s about my love life? No. Sex life? Hell no.”

“What is it you’re looking for Michael?” She whispers.

“I’m not looking for anything.” I say defiantly.

“Right, because instead of coming back to Roswell, you took back to the traveling we all pretended to like but despised.”

“Why do you care?” I say angrily and regret it when I see the sad look on her face.

“Because I care about you Michael, the person in here,” she says, making a point of jabbing my chest with her finger.

“Everyone has got there thing, this is mine.” I say with a shrug.

“I see. So what made you come to my balcony?”

I don’t answer and instead expel a breath. She reaches for my hand and I notice her own is trembling. I engulf her hand in my own and give it a squeeze and finally really look at her.

“I came because I wanted to see you.” I whisper.

She opens her mouth to speak and then closes it quickly and looks away from me and then when she looks back she is smiling, shyly.

“I’m glad.” She says.

And I do the only thing I can. I pull her to me and quickly place my lips upon hers. At first she is stiff and then as I give myself to the kiss, I can feel her. I mean really feel her. I know if I look there will be a connection there as big as life, but I don’t want that. Later, maybe, but now, all I want is to feel her. After what seems like hours I pull away and open my eyes.

“I-well-Shit,” is all I manage as she laughs and coyly fixes her hair.

I get up and move away from her. When I look back she is watching me carefully.

“I guess you missed me?” she says with a smirk.

“Look, I know this is probably the wrong time for all of this but-“

“Wait, before you ruin the moment with your logic, let me say something.”

I scowl but nod for her to continue.

“I’ve imagined what that would feel like for quite a while…thanks for not letting me down.” She replies coolly.

I want to look at her with a scowl, but I can only grin like a fool. She’s had fantasies about me kissing her. My grin, if at all possible, gets bigger and she begins to laugh.

“I try not to let the ladies down,” I say with a drawl, curling my lip Elvis style.

“I’m sure.” She replies with a roll of her chocolate eyes. “It really is good to see you Michael. “

“You too Parker. “

“So…should we talk about this?” she says pointing to herself and then me.

“I guess so,” is all I can say because apparently everything I thought I would tell her has left my brain and all I can think about is kissing her again. She looks at me and then gently places her hand against my cheek. It’s cool and I am grateful that she is giving me time to get my thoughts together. Because for the past week she has been all I think about. Leaving her in Boston after her incident about broke my heart. But if I didn’t leave, things could not have been. I was furious at her for getting into such a predicament, but at the same I knew that I could only save her so much. The rest she has to figure out herself. Even if it meant more incidents because that is where Max had gone wrong. He had saved her, but instead of letting her be herself he had forced her to be the perfect Liz Parker he pictured in his mind’s eye for years. The one that took him back no matter what, the one that hung on his every word and turned his dreams into her dreams.

“You and Max?”

“You know that has been over for quite some time.” She says and stands looking to the brick wall behind her. She is staring intently and I hear her sigh gently.

“You two were supposed to be soul mates. If there is a chance that it can still be…I don’t want to come between that.”

“Sometimes I think that maybe there is a chance of us going back to the way we use to be. But I know we won’t. I’m not the girl he fell in love with. And he’s not the boy, not anymore. And that’s ok. Max will always be special to me, but I don’t think we would ever get back together.”

“Have you seen him?” I ask and I feel my jaw tighten as I wait for her to respond.

“Actually no, Isabel begged him to come early but he said he would be here this morning.”

“I’ve thought about you a lot Liz. I’ve thought about us and whether this would work.”

“And?”

“I don’t know if it will work, but I’m willing to try.”

“I see.”

“Maria already knows how I feel.” I spit out and she spins at me and I can see she is scared.

“What? You told Maria?”

“No, it’s not like that. She told me. That time she came to Boston…she could see it. I denied it, but she told me it was ok. That I deserved someone like you.”

“Maria? Our Maria said this was ok?”

“She’s changed, Liz. We all have. You know that.”

“Aren’t you scared?” she finally says, her eyes searching mine.

“Terrified,”

“Me too.” She whispers and closes the distance between us.

We are standing toe to toe and I can feel a connection flare up between us. I gently reach for her hair and finger several strands. She shivers and places a hand on my chest, where I am sure my heart is beating too fast and loud.

“Just say the word Liz and I will go and never look back.” I say and she questions me with her eyes. “I could not bear to hurt you and if you have any doubt at all about us…”

But I don’t finish because this time she kisses me and our connection bursts wide open. I can see so much, but that the same time I just want to savor her lips and body against mine. All of it is like what I’ve dreamed for months and I swear I will wake up any moment and Liz will be in Massachusetts and I will be lying on another dingy mattress in a seedy motel room.

“Liz, Kyle is-oh-I-oh,” says Mrs. Parker

Liz pulls away and she is flushed and mildly embarrassed. Her mother is staring at us from inside her bedroom and she’s confused. It’s written all over her face but she quickly masks it by smiling instead.

“Hey mom, you were saying something about Kyle?”

“He’s downstairs.”

“Hi Mrs. Parker,” I say.

“Michael.” She replies and then looks to Liz.

“I’ll be right down. Michael was just leaving.”

“Right, ok then.” She turns to leave and then turns back around. “You might want to use the front door Michael.” She adds and then leaves the room, smirk on her face.

Liz laughs and pulls me through her bedroom window. I see her bridesmaid outfit hanging there and whistle.

“Isabel sure knows how to pick them.” I say and Liz nods leading me out of the bedroom and down to the Crashdown.

When we get into the backroom it is like being 16 all over again. Everything is the same and for a moment I am taken back in time. I can see Maria and Liz standing by the lockers giggling. I can see myself at the grill with a scowl. I think about what would have happened had we all stayed. I don’t have time to reminisce for long as Liz runs through the swing doors and greets Kyle.

“Hey Kyle, what’s going on?” she says.

He gets ready to respond but stops as he sees me come through the door.

“Well if it isn’t Sasquatch return from the dead.” He says.

“Had to see my favorite munchkin get married.” I reply.

“You two, I swear.” Liz laments.

“Glad you made it to town,” Kyle says putting his hand out for a shake.

“I would not miss this for the world, man. You just better treat her right.”

“Of course. I suggest you get your ass over to the house and get the tux Izzie has for you. I know she will be glad to know you made it to town”

“Yeah, alright, I guess I should let her know I’m here.”

“See you at this afternoon Michael,” Liz says.

“Later.” I say and leave them.

“So Guerin gets to town and comes to see you first?” Kyle says looking at Liz, head cocked.

“I think he missed the Crashdown, but used me as an excuse.” She replies.

“You aren’t fooling me, Liz. You can cut the tension between you two like a knife.”

She looks at Kyle and then sits at a barstool. Kyle sits as well and waits for her to speak.

“Somewhere along our travels…I think I fell in love with him.” She says and cringes, waiting for Kyle to berate her.

“About damn time you admit it.” He replies instead.

“What?”

“Look, you and Max…well that’s the past and I think it needs to stay there. You and Michael just seem to fit in an odd beauty and the beast type of way.”

“Kyle!”

“Sorry…but really Liz, I think Michael and you can be a really good thing.”

“Really? You aren’t weirded out by it?”

“No, not really. We’re all adults now. Things are different.”

“Yeah. Apparently Maria is ok with the whole thing.”

“Perfect…wait…what about Max?”

“I…I don’t know. They are like brothers…how do I tell Max that I want to be with Michael?”

“You two are over…I am sure he has to know you would move on?”

“With Max nothing is ever certain.”

“I’m on airport duty. Want to come with me?”

“To get Max? Oh, I don’t know.”

“You can see if you get the butterflies and all that.”

And that seems like a good excuse as any and so she goes with Kyle to pick up Max.


I roll through town and to a cute little house off the main road. It has a white picket fence and all. The living room curtains are open and I can see Isabel talking on the phone. I roar the engine before turning into her driveway. She goes to the window and I can see her hurry her conversation and hang up. Before I can get to the door it is pulled open and she tackles me with a gigantic hug.

“You made it, you idiot!” she cries.

“Nice to see you too,” I reply hugging her back.

“Why haven’t you called? Do you even care that I was worried and on top of it all I had a wedding to plan?”

“I know Isabel, I’m sorry. But I am an adult and you know that calling you only made you worry more.”

“That’s the stupidest thing I’ve heard Michael.”

I shrug and she hugs me again, pulling me into the house.

“I’m sure I’ve said stupider,” I reply with a grin.

“Well I’m sure you have too. Now let me give you the grand tour.” She says, hands wiping a stray hair from her eyes.

I watch and listen as she begins the house tour and I can only smile and feel content. My sister is truly happy. I can’t remember her ever being this happy. Not even when she was pretending to be a normal child or teen to the Evans’. On the outside she acted and looked normal and happy, but inside she was terrified of someone knowing her secret, of outing her as a freak. Me? I didn’t care. I never felt normal and wasn’t going to fool myself into thinking otherwise. But lately that has all changed and not only for me, but for Isabel too.

I nod as she points out several pictures on the wall and continues on down the hall. I am impressed. The house is homey and decorated. There are touches that say a family lives here and all is welcome. We get to the master bedroom and hanging in front of the large mirror is Isabel’s wedding dress. Her eyes light up as she looks at it and then me.

“It’s beautiful Iz.” I say and she nods.

“I wanted it be totally different from the dress I wore with…Jesse,” she says.

“Right.”

“This is going to work this time.” She continues. “I can feel it. It’s the same way I felt with Alex. Content, whole, myself.”

“Kyle is a good guy Isabel.”

“Oh Michael, you don’t even know!”

“Look, as long as you’re happy, that’s all I need to know. I know all I need to know about the midget.”

“I swear Michael, sometimes you can be so…grr…” she snaps at me, but still with a smirk on her face.

“Kyle mentioned something about a tuxedo? Really Isabel, is it necessary?”

One look is all it takes for me to know there is not getting around the tux. She leads me to a guest room where it hangs along side the one Max is to wear.
“Isabel I have something I need to tell you.” I say as she unzips the tux.

“You have to wear it Michael. And if it doesn’t fit, we will make it fit.” She says pulling it out and handing it to me.

“Oh, no, it’s not about that. It’s about Liz.”

I head into the bathroom to try the tux on and she follows me.

“Liz? What about Liz? Is she ok?”

“A little privacy, please?” I say shooing her out of the bathroom and shutting the door.

“What are we kids?”

“No, this is why I can dress myself.”

“Fine. No go ahead about Liz.”

I open the door and she looks over the tux approvingly.

“I think we may start dating.”

Her hand stops midair and falls to her side. She opens her mouth and then closes it without say a word.

“Dating? You and Liz? Liz Parker?”

“Yes.”

“Wow…I mean…just...wow…when did this happen? How did this happen?”

“It just did.”

“No, that’s not true. I remember how you use to look at Liz when we were kids. IT wasn’t only Max, it was you too.”

“No,”

“Oh yes. You thought you were fooling me with your tough guy act, but I caught you watching her. And yet you never said a word to Max.”

“We were kids Isabel.”

“What about now? I mean you and Liz…it will devastate Max, Michael. He’s so different now.”

“You don’t think I’ve thought about that? Every night I dream about Liz, Max is there with his puppy dog eyes telling me how I could betray him this way. Hell I thought it was just a crush because we were all living together. But when we split up…she was all I could think about.”

“We just have to be careful…with Max.”

“The man abandons us and we still have to worry about his reaction.”

“He’s our brother Michael. What he and Liz had was so strong…”

“Maybe at one time but it hasn’t been that way in quite a while. You saw how he treated her Isabel. If he truly loved her, they would be together.”

“You love her?” she asks quickly.

“I…yes, I do.”

“Then that is all that matters. If you need to me help you break it to Max, I will.”

“I think I can manage, but thank you.”

She reaches over and hugs me and I hug her back. When she pulls away I can see that her eyes have watered up.

“I’ve been so emotional.” She says, wiping at her eyes. “You will have to excuse me.”

“It’s your wedding day. It’s your right. So this looks pretty good, huh?”

“Perfect.”

And like that she was back in wedding frame of mind. I left her when the hairdresser arrived along with Mrs. Evans who began crying when she saw me. I barely made it out alive, promising I’d be back in time to get into my tux and make it to the wedding site.

As I drove around I was tempted to head back to the Crashdown but decided against it, instead I headed out to the where the Granolith chamber had once stood. Looking at the rocks and knowing there was nothing left of our pod chamber and everything else saddened me. There was nothing left of our former lives. The healing stones had stopped working and Max had destroyed the orbs. There was the destiny book, but no one was interested in keeping that for memories just because of the trouble it had caused. This was our chance to lead normal lives. Would I be able to accomplish that with Liz? In my heart I felt we could. But always in the back of my mind was Max. Max had marked her as his, even if e let her fall by the wayside. What if he could not accept us? I tried not to think about that as I headed back to town.


Liz was nervous as Kyle drove to the airport. It had been over almost a year since she had seen Max and she could not even remember the last time she had talked to him. When he had left a part of her had left with him and it was a part she did not want back.

“You ok?” Kyle asked they pulled into the parking lot.

“Yeah. Just nervous I guess.”

“It’s just Max.”

“Exactly.” She replied.

Kyle shrugged and led the way into the tiny terminal that was the Roswell airport.

“How did you get wrangled into picking him up?”

“He asked for his parents NOT to. I don’t mind really. Gives me some time to relax and not think about the wedding.”

She nodded and they walked to baggage claim. And there he was. He smiled when he saw her and for a second her heart stuck in her throat. Here was the man she had spent to much time loving and ended up losing. But then a thought of Michael crossed her mind and her heart went back to its place and she smiled at Max.

“Hey Evans,” Kyle says grabbing Max’s bag.

“Kyle. Liz.” He replies looking Liz up and down.

“Hi Max. How’ve you’ve been?”

“I’ve been good. Sorry I haven’t called in a while.”

“Oh, yeah, that’s ok.”

“Well we better be on our way.” Kyle said shaking his head at the two of them.

“I appreciate you picking me up Kyle. I know my parents would have done it, but I wanted more time before I faced them.”

“Lucky for you they are preoccupied with wedding stuff to have made a big deal. I told them I needed the time to just prepare myself.”

“Well thanks.”

The ride back was uncomfortable for Liz. She kept staring at Max and he kept catching her, but not saying a word. Kyle forced conversation about sports, politics, and the wedding plans. Poor guy was never so happy to drop someone off as he was when he pulled in front of the Crashdown.

“See you both later.” Liz said, not looking at Max as she hurried into the Crashdown.

Kyle peeled away from the sidewalk and drove to his and Isabel’s home.

“Tell Izzy I will see her later.” Kyle says as Max opens the door.

“Thanks for letting me stay here.”

“No problem Max. You can stay as long as you want.”

Max taps the top of the car and Kyle drives off. Before Max can make it to the front door his mother is on the front lawn grabbing him for a hug. She is crying and Max can barely make out what she saying but hugs back.

“I can’t believe you’re finally home Max.” she cries.

“I couldn’t miss my favorite sister’s wedding.” He replies.

“Oh Max.” Mrs. Evans says leading him into the house.

There he is greeted by Isabel and as well as the hairdresser and make-up artist, wedding planner and florist.

“Your tux is in the guest room on the right. Make sure it fits.” Isabel says to him after giving him a hug.

He laughs at how his sister has not changed a bit in the last year and goes to find his tux.


The morning passes like a whirlwind. In no time they are all at the ceremony site and in their places. As Max stands at in his place he looks around at the faces of his friends and family. Michael has been abrupt with him but that is expected from him. Everyone else looks happy and relaxed. This is how it was always supposed to be. He knows that now. The fight with the special agents and everyone else was his fight and his alone. He misses being part of the group, but he knows as long as he is alive, he can be a target and so will everyone else around him.



I watch Max and can’t help but be short with him. He is taking care of himself and looks bigger than I remember him. Being away has done him some good it appears. What was Liz’s reaction to the way Max looks? I would give anything to know but instead focus on the music and watch as Maria sashays down the aisle in a green dress that brings out her eyes. She winks at me as she takes her place across the aisle. Next is Liz and the sight of her in the coral dress Isabel has chosen for her is enough to make a man fall to his knees. I hear Max take a breath and I ball my fist up wanting to hit him but knowing I can’t. Liz catches my eye for a second as she takes her place and then looks at Max. Before I can gage a reaction between the two the entrance music for Isabel begins and we all turn to look at her as she walks down the aisle with her father on one side and her mother on the other.

The reception is being held at Maria’s new home and while the guest go on the wedding party is subjected to the horror that is wedding pictures. I remind Isabel that this is not her first wedding and get a nasty look from both bridesmaids and her mother.

“Still got that charm I see,” Max says.

“I’m ready to eat.” I reply.
“Best man and maid of honor, please.” is the call from the photographer’s assistant.

“Duty calls.” Max says

He walks over to wear Liz is sitting with Maria and offers her an arm. She takes it and as the walk to the altar I can hear her laugh. I clench my teeth and I see Maria watching me. She waves me over.

“She isn’t in to him anymore, so relax.” She says as soon as I sit down.

“What are you talking about?” I ask feigning innocence.

“Oh please spaceman, your cover is blown. Liz told me everything and I think it’s about God damn time.”

“Everything?”

“Enough. Liz was never good at hiding secrets from me.”

“She kept ours.”

“Only because she avoided me. But get me in a room with her and all bets are off.”

“I can see how she can be so intimidated.” I scoff and get a punch in the arm.

“Haven’t skipped a beat, have you?”

“Never, babe, never.”

They call for all of us and after an hour and a half of smiling and posing we are ready to go to the reception which is being held at Maria’s new home. The limo drives us all over along with the photographer, who insists on taking pictures as we get in the limo.


When we get to the house tables are set and after getting a first dance, father- daughter dance and a groom-mother dance out the way servers start bringing the food out. As the night goes on everyone loosens up and the party gets livelier. I slip out of the patio area where the dance floor has been erected and look around Maria’s house. It’s big but not in a garish way. The first floor is complete, and I decide to wander upstairs and take a look. I lose track of time and by the time I make it back down, Kyle and Isabel are on their last dance. I watch them and hope in my heart they will be this happy forever.

After they are gone Maria tells everyone to keep partying and most do, but I see Liz slip out and wait a few minutes before going after her. When I get outside she is sitting on a bench under a tree and smiles when she sees me. I walkover to her and she shifts so I can sit.

“It was a nice wedding, wasn’t it?” she whispers.

“Yes. I can’t believe Reepicheep found himself an actual girl.”

Liz laughs at my reference and shakes her head.

“There was a time when I enjoyed being with Kyle.” She says in a way that is supposed to admonish me.

“What do you see in him anyway?”

“Kyle is a great guy Michael.”

“He better be or otherwise he will hear it from me.”

“They are good together. I think after both being hurt and losing someone they loved…they understand each other.”

“Kyle wasn’t still mourning over you was he?”

“Me? No…Tess. He loved her and she betrayed him.”

“She betrayed all of us.”

“That’s the past. Everything isn’t so bleak anymore. I mean look at us.”

“Yeah?” I say, raising an eyebrow.

“You use to scare me.” She admits.

“I did. And now?” I say leaning closer to her ear.

“Now, not so much.” She says huskily.

“Good.” I reply gently blowing on her earlobe.

I see her shiver and it takes everything I have to not throw her against the bench and kiss her to death.

“I don’t want any of that in my front yard,” Maria says as she approaches.

I can tell that Liz is blushing and make a face at Maria.

“We were just talking.” I reply.

“Sure. Chica, your parents are getting ready to leave.”

“Oh, let me tell them I’ll slip in later. I promised I’d spend the night.”

Liz walks back to the house with Maria and as I watch her walk several different fantasies pop into my head and all I can do is let out a frustrated groan and follow them.

The receptions finally winds down at around 10 and Maria deems the event a success. She manages to get everyone who drank into taxis and plops down on a chair, kicking her heels off in the process.

“That was fun. But lets not do it again anytime soon.” she laughs. “Liz, you sure you want to stay in your old room? There is plenty of room here.”

“I’m sure. I promised my parents.” She says getting up and stretching. “I guess I’ll go now.”

She hugs Maria and nods at Max and I. I watch Max as he looks after her and I can tell he wants to say or do something but before he can I call after her.

“Let me make sure you get into a cab alright.” I say and follow Liz out.

“Wow…he did manage to get some manners.” Maria laughs.

I throw a middle finger her way and notice a scowl on Max’s face before I shut the front door.


“You didn’t have to see me out.”

“Sure I did. Can I come see you later?” I ask trying to keep my voice normal.

She nods and I swear she is batting her eyelashes at me seductively. I shut the door and watch as the vehicle drives away. As I turn back to the house I see Max staring out from one of the front windows. He lets the curtain fall slowly so as to let me see him.

“Come sit and talk with me Max,” Maria says as I walk in. “It has been a while.”

“From what I read your career is headed straight for the top.” He responds grabbing his tuxedo jacket and putting it on.

“You don’t sound surprised.” She replies.

“Of course not, I’ve always known you were talented. “

“Damn right,” she says with a laugh.

“If neither of you mind I’m going to call it a night and head out. I am sure my mother will be at the house at the crack of dawn wanting to catch up.”

“Party pooper. That just leaves you and me, Michael.”

“Actually I was thinking of going for a ride.”

“Sure, sure, everyone always leaves the diva. Just go, I should probably get some rest myself. My trainer does not skip a beat.”

“It was a great party Maria. I know Isabel appreciates you hosting it.” I say.

“What are friends for, right? Good night you two and be good.” She says and laughs as she ushers both Max and I out the front door.

“Good night Maria.” Max says reaching to hug her.

“Good night Max, Michael.”

She closes the door and the lights in the foyer dim leaving Max and I in the moonlight and some outdoor lighting along the driveway.

“Can you believe Kyle let me use his ‘Stang?” Max says.

“He’s a changed man. But Isabel will do that to you.”

“I’m happy for them. That’s all I want for all of us Michael. To be happy.”

“I think we’re slowly all getting there Maxwell.”

“Good, that’s real good.”

“You’ve been working out?”

“A little, it keeps my mind alert.”

“Right. Well I’m going to go.”

“OK, do you want to meet at the Crashdown tomorrow? Like old times?”

“Yeah, sure.”

“Alright then. See you tomorrow morning.”

“See ya Maxwell.”

I hop on my bike and rev it before peeling out the driveway. I head for the open road but then backtrack and head for the Crashdown.

The streets of Roswell are dark and the quiet, with only a few people still out and about. I ride by the park and see several people on benches. I get to the Crashdown and park my bike across the street and sit for a few minutes trying to imagine what Liz is doing. I wonder if she is still wearing the dress and her sandals or if she has already gotten into something much more comfortable. I take a gulp and make my way to the alley and up the fire escape ladder.

When I get reach the top there are a few candles lit on a small table and on her window ledge. I make my way to the window and peer in to her bedroom. I see the sandals she wore to the wedding sitting in a corner but see no signs of the dress. I am tempted to go in the room and sprawl out on her bed and give her a good scare. But then I think about the possibility of Mr. or Mrs. Parker finding me instead and quickly I abandon the idea. As I stare into the room I think about Max and all the times he used to come and visit Liz. I noticed him watching her all evening with a wistful look in his eyes. Thinking of times past? Wondering how the ended up like this? I didn’t know and didn’t care. He had given her up and I wanted my chance to make her happy. I know what you’re thinking, he’s my brother and I should care. Max had always looked out for me in one way or another. And that would all be true if he had not almost ruined the one thing in this world that didn’t deserve it. Liz. He has treated her like a punching bag and each time knocking more and more stuffing from her. Until she was nothing but a ghost of her former self, becoming alive only when she was alone with her box of pictures. I had watched her, when she thought we were all preoccupied with her box. Her face would light up and I could see the Liz that could conquer the world. She looked so hopeful, so alive, and so damn beautiful.

“Room for two out there?” she says and I break from my thoughts to see her standing there in her dress, her hair loose over her shoulders.

“Hey,” I reply and hold my handout to help her out.

“You were caught in a moment. Care to share?”

“Just thinking about how all our lives could be so different if Max had not saved you and trusted you.”

“Regrets?”

“Only that it wasn’t me.”

Did I really just say that? I am turning into a complete sap.

“I don’t believe that. Or at least I wouldn’t have back then. You hated me.”

“I didn’t hate you.”

“Yeah right, always looking at me with a scowl, I don’t think that is what they are talking about when the say the look of love.”

“It wasn’t love. Not back then. You were different than any girl I had eve encountered. You didn’t back down. I was intrigued by you.”

“And now?”

“You still intrigue me,” I whisper, running my hand through her hair and watching as it falls back into place.

“And that’s good right?” she whispers back.

“Yeah, it’s good.”

I lean in to kiss her and catch a whiff of vanilla in the air. As I get closer to her lips I wonder if they too will taste like vanilla. And when I reach them, they do. Soft, supple and vanilla flavoring, what a combination! I feel her move closer and I reach for her hair, tangling my hands in it. I can feel her moan into my mouth and my body responds. And then like a cold shower I hear the one voice I didn’t want to hear.

“Michael?”

Liz freezes and I see her eyes open, staring at mine with a mix of embarrassment and fear. I manage to get my fingers out of her hair and turn to face…Max.

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The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four persons is suffering from some sort of mental illness. Think of your three best friends, if they're okay, then it's you.


And Baby Made 5


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2006 12:10 am 
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Dorkus Maximus and Super Wuss
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oh wow...so good. I hated having to wait to read this, but I wanted to be semi coherent so I could enjoy it. and I did. Melis :smooch for writing this

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It all started with a boy, a girl, and a silver handprint.


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 Post subject: Part 5
PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2006 5:58 pm 
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Slightly Neurotic but Loveable
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Part 5 – Liz’s POV


His face is in shock as he looks from me to Michael and back at me. He is still at the top rung of the ladder and doesn’t move. And suddenly I feel so small and sick. His eyes are boring a hole into me and yet I can’t turn away. Michael takes a step towards him and he finally looks away from me.
“This was your night ride?” he hisses at Michael. “You’re my brother; I don’t understand how you of all people could do this.”

“Max, we didn’t plan this, it just…happened.” I say and his eyes are back on me. And all I can see is how hurt he is and how angry.

“Just happened? What, did you just happen to fall into each others lips?”

“Max, stop…”

“This is worse than seeing you with Kyle. Michael is my blood, Liz, my brother. You are my wife.’

“I have not been your wife for quite some time Max. We both know that. “

“So you fell for Michael?”

“Watch your tone Maxwell.” Michael spits.

“Or what? You’ll hit me? Well go ahead and try it Michael. I dare you.”

“I’m not trying to fight you Max. We can discuss this like adults.”

“Right cause I really want to hear all about how my wife fell for my brother and how happy they are together.”

“Stop it, both of you!” I yell. “We aren’t going to do this, not like this.”

“You want us to what? Sit all together with some coffee and discuss like rational adults, Liz? Is that what you want? I can’t do that. Just looking at you together is making me sick.”

He starts back down the ladder and both Michael and I run to the edge.

“I’m going to go after him.” I say and Michael gives me a dubious look.

I ignore him and hurry back into my bedroom and downstairs. My father is still up and stops me.

“I heard yelling? Are you ok?”

“I’m fine just some visitor’s that couldn’t sleep.”

He raises an eyebrow, which I ignore and hurry out to the street. At first I don’t see Max, but then I notice him walking up the street towards the park and I run after him.

“Max, please, stop.”

I can tell he hears me but continues to walk and when I finally catch up with him I am out of breathe. He looks surprised to see me, but says nothing. We walk and end up in the park and he finally stops and faces me.

“I don’t want to do this right now Liz.”

“Do what Max? Talk? You and I have not talked in a long time.”

“Is that where I went wrong? We stopped talking and so you went to Michael?”

“Michael came to me Max. Neither of us planned this to happen. It just did. You and I have been over for quite sometime, you know that.”

“But that didn’t mean you had to turn to Michael. God, Liz, he’s my family.”

“I know that. And I thought maybe I was just being crazy, you know, because after living together and seeing each other every damn day, it could happen. But it didn’t start out like that Max. Michael and I became good friends. He was there for me when you or Maria didn’t want to be. And it was nice. That is all it was nice…to be normal to have someone notice that I cut my hair or had new shoes.”

“I’m sorry…this is my entire fault.”

“There is no one to blame. I don’t blame you, I don’t blame Maria. This just is. I have feelings for Michael and he has feelings for me. I know it must sound awful to hear and really, when I stayed behind in Boston I thought it would change.”

“Do you love him?” Max asks in a whisper.

“He is like family…so yes, I love him.’

“No, that is not what I asked. I asked you if you loved him…like you loved me.”

And the way he is looking at me scares me. His eyes are so serious, as if my answer makes all the difference in the world to him. As I look into his eyes and know that no matter what I tell him…it will break his heart. I also know that I have to go with the truth. Too many times we have lied to ease the other and in the end it never works the way we want it to.

“Michael is not you, Max. I could never love someone the way I love you…ever. What we had was so special. You saw into my soul.”

His eyes flicker with recognition and hope.

“We could have that again Liz. I still love you.”

“No Max. I don’t want that anymore. I don’t love you in that way and to try and recapture something that was so young and innocent…would only break us.”

“How do you know that? You won’t even try?”

“Honestly Max, I don’twant to try. What we had was good and I’d like to remember it the way it was. Because if we were to try and it didn’t work…I don’t think I could handle that. Can you understand that?”

“You want to preserve your memory of us that way it stands?” he says in disbelief.

“What’s wrong with that? I was crazy about you Max.”

“And now you’re crazy about Michael.” He says dejectedly.

“I wouldn’t say that…we really have just started to explore the possibility of us having a relationship.”

“And what about Maria? Did you even think about her?”

“Maria gave Michael her blessings. In case you haven’t noticed Max, we are all adults now. I didn’t do this to hurt you or Maria. It just happened. I don’t know what else I can tell you to make you understand that-“

But I don’t finish because Max has pulled me to him and kissed me. And I am frozen because of everything I expect from him; this is not one of them. I can feel him give himself to the kiss, putting every ounce of energy into letting me know he will always love me. But I can’t kiss him back and suddenly our connection is wide open and I can see him and how much blame he puts on himself. But I don’t want to see because I don’t want to feel guilty for moving on and leaving him behind. Suddenly he pulls away, out of breath and his eyes are wild with anger.

“He was with you…in Boston…”he says angrily.

“Wha-what are you talking about?”

“I saw him. How can you stand there and tell me all this just happened when he was with you in Boston?”

“Michael wasn’t with me Max. I don’t know what you saw but-“

“Memories don’t lie, Liz. He was there.”

I can feel tears threatening to fall, but I force them back as I look at the man I once loved. He is so angry and looking at me with such hate that it chills me to my core and I back away from him.

“I swear Max, he wasn’t there. Today is the first day I have seen Michael since we all went our separate ways.”

“I don’t believe you.” He says grabbing my arms and shaking me.

“Max, stop it, you’re scaring me.”

“Just tell me the God damn truth Liz, I just want the truth.”

That does it. I break down and start crying because I don’t know what Max wants me to say; when I can only tell him what I know…which is Michael was not in Boston with me. I wretch my arms from him and can see they are red.

“I am telling you the truth. I wouldn’t lie to you. You know me Max.”

“NO! I use to know you. Now when I look at you…I have no idea where the person I love is…because you are not her.”

“You can’t believe that? I’m still here, I’ll always be here.”

“I can’t even stand to look at you Liz. When I think of all the things I’ve done for you, for all of you.”

“Go ahead Max lay it on nice and thick about how grateful we should all be.” I say in disgust.

“You should be grateful. But instead you decide to run off with my brother.”

My eyes get small and I can see Max more clearly now, clearer than I have ever seen him. And I don’t like what I see.

“You make me out to be some sort of tramp, Max. But it’s not like that at all because the truth is YOU bailed out of our relationship. Remember those vows we took about being together until death do us part? Well, somewhere along the way, you died. You stopped believing in me, in your family. And instead you did what you wanted to do and so did we. You freed us and I will not stand her and be held responsible for your shortcomings. I am grateful you saved my life, Max. I thank God everyday for you. But I don’t owe you my life. You want to talk about everything you’ve done for me? Let’s talk about everything I have done for you.”

“For me?” he asks, almost in a mocking tone.

“What? You don’t think I’ve done anything for you? Kept your secret, lost my best friend, missed going to college as an 18 year old, been arrested and thrown in jail, run away from my family. And why? Because I believed in us, Max. I thought that together we would be able to fight anything that came our way. But you didn’t believe, did you?”

“And you think Michael will be everything I wasn’t?” he laughs. “Michael is only interested in one thing and that is himself.”

“You don’t know Michael, Max. You have never known him.”

“I know he has always wanted my life and now he wants you.”

“You know that’s not true.”

“Do I? Michael is never happy until he has messed something up and this time it’s grand, don’t you think?”

I let out an exasperated sigh.

“You did this Max.”

“No Liz, I didn’t do this. You did this. You failed me and I can never forgive you for that.”

Hearing him say such a thing stops my heart and I feel like I can’t breath. He is watching me and I can do nothing but look into eyes of hate. Because he hates me so much right now. I am no longer Liz Evans, the love of his life. I am someone he can’t stand to look out, someone whose name burns his tongue. The pain he is masking behind the anger is more than I can handle, because while he hates me, I can suddenly feel him. His pain is consuming me and constricting me and before I know it I faint.


When I come to I am at the Crashdown. I manage to sit up and see Maria and Michael whispering in the corner.

“Can you get me some water?” I say, coughing.

Maria jumps in surprise and then rushes to get a glass and some water. I look at Michael and he is watching me.

“What the hell happened?” he finally asks reaching up with one hand and scratching his eyebrow.

“We were talking. He was so angry and hurt. It’s been a long time since I could feel Max without a connection, but suddenly I could.”

Maria hands me a glass and I take a sip.

“What did Max do to you?” Michael asks his hands in fist by his side.

“He didn’t do anything.” I reply.

Maria touches my arm and I look to see finger prints there. As I look closer I realize they are on both arms.

“Still say he didn’t do anything?” Michael asks with a grunt.

“He’s angry Michael.”

“It doesn’t matter Liz. He left a mark on your skin. I don’t give a shit how mad or hurt he feels he doesn’t have a right to hurt you.”

“Where is he now?”

“After calling Maria, he took off.”

“Did he say where he was going?” I ask looking to Maria.

She shrugs and pulls out a pack of cigarettes.

“I don’t do this often, but I need one. Either of you care?”

I shake my head and she pulls one out and lights up. I watch entranced as she takes a big drag and expels a cloud of smoke from her mouth.

“When he called me he was scared. At first I didn’t know it was him.” She continues. “He was babbling about you and Michael and then said you had fainted and how he could barely touch you.”

“He says I’m not the person he fell in love with.”

“I didn’t think anything of it, until I got to where you both were. Max was by your side, but he wasn’t touching you. He couldn’t.”

“What do you mean he couldn’t?” Michael pipes in, walking closer to where we are sitting.

“The only way I can explain it, it to use The Wizard of Oz as a reference. When he put his hands out to touch you, he reacted as if shocked. Remember when the Witch of the West tries to take the slippers from Dorothy and they shock her? That is how it was with Max. He physically could no touch you. Hell I think he tried to connect with you but that didn’t work either.”

I am quiet as she talks and I can feel Michael watching and waiting for my reaction. But I don’t give him one because as Maria explains, I already know. For as long as the alien madness has been quiet, tonight it ws stirred up. For years we have laid low, never using our powers unless absolutely necessary. But tonight being here and having all these emotions at the surface…it caused a reaction. I know I am making no sense but I will. See, there were things that happened years ago that no one knows…only Max and I.

The first thing that happened took place in New York. It was before any Max, Isabel, Tess and Michael knew they had doubles. You all know that Zan was killed. The day he was killed Max received some sort of flash where he saw all of Zan’s life. From the time he emerged from his pod to the day he was killed. But being naïve he though nothing of it. Assumed it was a nightmare. So he never told anyone about it.

Then was the time he died. By that time Max and I were connected. But we didn’t know the depth of our connection. That is why when he died I knew it. I could feel it in every fiber of my being and also received flashes. Only these flashes were from Max and Zan. Of course I didn’t say a word because I felt like I was going crazy already at the time. But Max dying has an effect on me. I realized than that no matter what, I wanted to be with him; even after all he had done to me. And it was because of that I was able to save us when we both almost fell to our deaths.

And finally there was the first time we had sex. Max didn’t notice the difference in our relationship, but I did. I could feel myself bound to him. No matter what Max wanted, I felt obligated to agree. I became a sort of lap dog. This is when my true self slowly began to die. The only thing that brought me comfort? Looking at pictures from my time before Max because they caused me to feel more like myself. Another side effect of being bound to Max was that his emotions could consume me, just like that had tonight. It was as if he muted my feelings and thoughts and forced his upon me.

And the final thing is what happened tonight. Somehow Max with his anger and pain managed to sever our connection. I am no longer bound to Max; I am no longer his queen.

“You don’t seem too surprised my any of this Parker.” Michael says, his eyes still watching me.

I cringe at the way “Parker” comes out of his mouth. I can only shrug.

“You need to find him.” I say.

I can tell he isn’t too excited about this but he says nothing and instead grabs his cell phone and walk to the side kitchen door.

“Did Max say anything else before taking off Maria?”

She takes another long drag of her cigarette and shakes her head.

“He was just acting crazy, mumbling about you and Michael and how you were not the person he thought you were. When I managed to get a hold of Michael he took off.”

I nod and take another sip of my water.

“Do you mind getting me two aspirin from the First Aid kit?” I ask.

She nods and walks over to the broom closet. I look at Michael and he is talking hurriedly to someone. I hope it is Max.

“Here Chica,” Maria says handing me two generic white pills.

I quickly swallow them as Maria watches me.

“You want me to stay with you tonight?” she continues.

“You don’t have to.”

“I know I don’t have to, I want to. Just to keep on eye on you.”

I nod and she smiles.

“He’s not answering his cell phone. I called Jim and asked if he could keep an eye out for him.”

“You have to find him Michael. He’s not himself.” I implore.

“Why is it so important, Parker? He is the one who left.”

I only look at him and sigh. He softens and takes a step towards Maria and me.

“Fine, you two stay put. And call me if he shows up again.” Michael manages.

He takes a few more steps towards us and then thinks better of it.

“We won’t go anywhere.” I say and get up.

He nods and slips out the side door, leaving Maria and I to stare after him. I am silent; staring at the place Michael was just standing. Maria watches me for a moment and then goes to lock the door and turn off the lights and I slowly follow her up to the apartment.

When we get there my father is sitting in his armchair, waiting for us. He nods at Maria and then looks me over carefully.

“You ok Lizzie?” he asks. His tone tells me he has heard bits and pieces of what went on downstairs. I quickly cross my arms, hoping to hide marks.

“I’m fine Dad.”

He looks at Maria and then me again and just nods, dismissing us.

“Good night Mr. Parker.” Maria says and we head down the hall to my bedroom.

Maria is shocked as she looks around. I forget that she has not been in this room since we left.

“They didn’t change a thing.” She whispers, looking over at the wall where she had thrown a book and it had left a mark.

“I don’t blame them. They didn’t know anything…it was so unfair to just leave them with just the journal.”

“But they’re ok now, right? I mean they aren’t giving you a hard time?”

“Not at all. They are more understanding then I could hope for. I guess I forget that so much time has passed and I’m not 17 still.”

“Be glad. My mother is still trying to treat me like a child.”

“Why am I not surprised?” I say and we both laugh.

I slip out of my dress and pull on my robe.

“Liz? What exactly happened between you and Max?” Maria asks her eyes serious and inquiring.

“I don’t really know.” I lie.

“Is that what happened…before you left to Winnerman?””

I think back to the only other time it had happened…back when I was so overloaded with alien madness. Alex was dead, Tess was pregnant and Max kept looking for his son. Reminding me of all the sacrificed I had made and all for nothing.

“Something like that.”

“Oh Liz, I’m so sorry.” She says.

“Thanks Maria. Now if you don’t mind I’m going to hop in the shower.”

She nods and gets comfy on the bed, grabbing an old magazine from the pile under my nightstand.


I turn the shower on and get in, letting the water wash over me. I turn it as hot as I can take it and that’s when the tears begin to fall. I don’t try and stop them because it won’t do any good. I rather cry in the solitude of the shower than to have to explain to Maria that part of my heart has been ripped from my chest. The place that had branded me as Max’ queen is gone and all I can feel is emptiness. As the water continues to beat on my body I realize what I must do and the thought rocks me to my core.


We don’t hear from Max or Michael that night and finally fall asleep around 2 in the morning. When I awake I see Maria is already gone. In her place is a note that says “Working out. Meet you for breakfast at 9”. I look at that time and realize it is already 8:45. I don’t feel rested and wonder how Maria even managed to get up and work out. I throw on some jeans and a t-shirt and head downstairs.

The Crashdown is bustling as usual. I take a seat at the counter and am greeted by my mother.

“You sleep ok?” she asks.

“Yeah, pretty good.”

“What can I get you?”

“I’m going to wait for Maria to get here. She’s supposed to meet me at 9.”

“Ok sweetie.” She says and I see her give a look to my father who is working the register.

I put a smile on my face and wave to my father who nods and smiles back. My mother walks away to help a customer and I turn when the bells on the front door jingle. It’s Jim. He exchanges pleasantries with my father and then makes a beeline for me.

“Morning Liz.” He says.

“Morning Sheriff…Jim…” I reply.

“Have you heard from Max or Michael this morning?”

“I haven’t. I was hoping you had some news about them.”

“Well from what we can tell Max is not around. We found Kyle’s Mustang at the house with the keys in it and not sign of Max.”

“No sign of him?”

“His bags were gone and the house was locked up tight.”

“And Michael?”

“He spent all night looking for him. I finally told him to take a break and head to the house and rest. Amy will let him sleep as long as he needs it. What happened last night Liz?” Jim asks and I can tell what he really wants to know is if his family is safe.

“Michael and I…we want to…start dating and Max caught us…kissing. He pretty much blew up from there and I just want to be sure he does not hurt himself…or anyone else.”

“What do you mean hurt anyone else? I think you get what I’m asking, Liz…” Jim falters, taking a deep breath.
“Everyone is safe, Jim. I just don’t want Max to do something rash.”

“You both share a connection…can’t you use that to find him.”

I cringe as he says it, because before tonight I could have done just that.

“I can’t…not anymore.”

“But Liz, you just said that you wanted to find him. I understand moving on, but do this-“

“It’s not that I don’t want to Sheriff, it’s that I physically can’t. Max has broken our connection.”

Jim runs a hand through his hair and gives me a sympathetic look.

“Everything ok over here?” asks my Dad, looking from myself to Jim.

“Yeah, he was just telling me that Michael crashed at his and Amy’s place last night.”

A small scowl appears on my father’s face for just a second and then it is gone and he just nods.

“I’ll take a #2 to go Jeff, if you don’t mind.” Jim says, taking a seat next to me.

“Sure thing Jim,” Jeff nods and walks off, still giving me a look.

“You didn’t tell your parents?”

“They know everything except what happened last night. I wanted things between us to remain as normal as possible. Besides, last night was my fault.”

“I don’t think it was, but that’s just my opinion.”

“Morning, morning,” says a chipper Maria, plopping her body down on the other side of Jim.

“Hey Maria,” Jim says, smiling at his step-daughter.

“Hey Jim,”

“Amy’s at the shop this morning,”

“Yeah, I stopped in before heading over here. I can’t believe you let her keep that place, after everything,” Maria says, rolling her eyes and reaching for a menu.

“She enjoys it. Who am I to stop my wife from doing what she enjoys?” Jim says with laugh.

“Sure,” Maria says, laughing.

“Morning Maria, Jim,” my mother says sidling over to us.

“Good Morning Mrs. Parker,”

“Morning Nancy,”

“You ladies ready to eat?” she asks.

“I am. I’ll have my usual,” Maria says putting the menu back.

“Egg whites with salsa, cottage cheese with strawberries on the side and a cup of tea?” Nancy rattles off.

“Yes.”

“I’ll just have a glass of juice and an omelet with cheese,” I reply.

My dad comes over with Jim’s order in a bag and ready to go.

“One number 2 to go,” he says, handing the bag to Jim.

Jim pulls out a few bucks and hands them to my father.

“See you all later.” Jim says and walks off.

I am grateful that he makes no further references about our conversation, Michael or Max. I can feel my father’s eyes on me and I slowly take a breath and meet them.

“So Michael and I may start dating,” I start.

Maria looks at me weirdly but says nothing.

“That’s what last night was about. Max didn’t take it too well and I’m worried about him.”

“Enough to get Jim involved?” Jeff asks.

“Max is a lot more different than you remember him. He hasn’t been the same since we left.”

“I don’t know Liz…if he’s dangerous, maybe you shouldn’t-“

“He would never harm me Dad. Or any of us, I just want to be sure he doesn’t do something to himself.”

Jeff nods and taps his fingers on the counters.

“I always thought you were too good for him anyway.”

Maria hides her laugh behind a cough and I smile at my father, shaking my head. My mother interrupts with breakfast and they both leave us alone as we begin to eat.

“So, no signs of Max?”

“None…I just want to know he is ok.”

“That was a lot for him to grasp, Liz. But I’m sure he is fine.”

“I hope so.”

And with that all talk of Max is done and instead she begins going on about Kyle and Isabel’s wedding. I only half-heartedly listen to her and add my own comments. Instead I am still thinking about Max. While everyone seems so sure about his well being, I can only think the worse. Max always thought I’d be here for him, no matter what was going on in our lives. He felt I was some sort of constant and in the back of my mind, I felt I was too.

“There’s Michael.” Maria says and I look to see him making his way to us.

“Hey,” he says sitting down beside me.

“Tell your mom I said to put this on my tab. I’m going to head home and take care of some things.” Maria says, nodding at Michael.

“Maria, you know they aren’t going to charge you.”

“I’m a big star now, I can afford it.” She says with a laugh. “Call me later.”

“Ok and thanks Maria…for staying last night.”

She brushes off the thanks and leaves me with Michael. He plays with a sweet and low packet and I play with the remaining food on my plate.

“I don’t know where he went, Liz. I looked everywhere for him.”

“I know. “

“Will you tell me what happened last night?”
“Let’s get out of here.” I say, sweeping my eyes towards my parents who are watching us from the grill window.

He waves at them and they both wave back slowly, caught.

“To them you will always be 16, won’t you?” he says, grabbing my plate and heading behind the counter to put it in a dirty dish bucket

“I think so.”

We leave the Crashdown and turn the same way Max had gone last night. I don’t say anything as we walk and Michael is kind enough not pressure me. We reach the park and I stop in the same spot I had stopped with Max. There is a bench a few yards away and I walk towards it and sit. Michael follows and sits beside me.

“Max and I are no longer connected. And last night…our bond was severed. What Max and I had was different. He branded me as his and when he did, I could feel it, in here.” I say, pointing to my chest.

“So when we joked about it…it wasn’t a joke to you?” Michael replies.

“No. I assume this happened because Max is the King. So whoever he would choose as his Queen would be known by all. Its part of the reason I became less like the Liz you remember. Max consumed me and I didn’t know how to fight it.”

“And last night…”

“He broke that bond and it hurts Michael. I may have decided I did not want to be with him anymore…but to have him decide…I feel like a part of me has been ripped out.”

“Is that why you needed me to find him>? So he could…fix it?”

“No, God, no. I just needed to be sure he was ok…because for me it felt like I would die, and for him it is probably even worse,”

“I’m sorry, Liz.”

“Sorry? What for? This isn’t your fault.”

“It partly is. I should have waited for you to be back in Boston. I just…I didn’t want to wait another moment, I felt like I couldn’t wait another moment,”

“I understand Michael. I do…it seems like we’ve spent most of our lives on hold. I don’t blame you.”

“But you’re in pain…that’s the last thing I wanted to cause.”

“It beats the alternative. Max may have pushed me, us, away, but the moment he wanted me back…I would not be able to say no. No pain, no gain, right?” I say, chuckling lightly.

“What does this mean for us?” he asks quietly.

I don’t say anything for a few minutes and I can feel how suddenly tense he is and the pain in my chest grows.

“I don’t know.” I finally say.

“You don’t know or you don’t want to say?” he says in return.

“A little bit of both, I guess. I need time. The pain…if I let it, it consumes me.”

“Then let me help you Liz,” he says gently, reaching for my hand.

I let him take my hand and look at both of them together, my small hand in his larger one. I know if I let him he will take care of me and I know it is what I need, but I can’t help but think about Max. Freaking Max! Somehow it always ends up being about him.
“I want this, Michael. But I don’t think I can right now.” I saw, pulling my hand from his.

His eyes look deep into mine and I can see that this was his worst fear and now it has come true.

“I will wait then.” He says pulling his eyes away from mine.

“Wait? No, don’t do that. Live your life Michael. The one you deserve.”

“I deserve you in it, damn it.” He manages, getting up and turning away from me.

I know now that he will cry if he lets himself and there is nothing worse for Michael than having anyone see him cry. At the sight of him standing there looking into the park, I am amazed. Amazed that someone who I have always seen as so strong and sure of himself, could fall in love with someone as weak as I had become. It was why we all thought he and Maria would make it last forever. But maybe it was true, about opposites attracting. He was strong, where I was weak. I was smart, where he was stubborn. So what did that make Max and I? If we were soul mates, should we not have balanced each other? Instead I felt like Max consumed all of me, taking over completely and leaving nothing behind.

“You don’t deserve me, you deserve more.” I say.

He spins towards me and gives a stern look.

“Is that what you think? That no one deserves to love you, Liz? What the hell did Max do to you? He didn’t deserve someone as beautiful, smart and strong as you. Where is that girl?”

“I’ve changed Michael. I can’t be that person you remember.”

“You can’t or you won’t?” he challenges. “You stayed behind in Boston so you could live the life you wanted, do the things you wanted and yet here you are still only living half a life.”

“That’s not true!”

“Prove it.” He says with a smirk.

“You want me to just toss this pain I feel aside and do what Michael? Jump into bed with you? Hop on the back of your bike and tour all the ins and outs of the good ole US of A? Is that what you want? Because I may be a lot of things, but I am not that freaking insensitive.” I scream.

When I realize how loud I’ve gotten I quickly cover my mouth with my hands and look around. Several people are staring and Michael is smiling.

“I will wait.” He says for the second time, staring defiantly at me.

He’s mad me angry and he knows it. I realize that in my anger, I can not feel the pain and I am thankful. I get up and begin to head back to the Crashdown. He falls in step with me and says nothing.

“I need some time…to be alone.” I manage.

“I need to get my bike,” he pointing it out in the distance.

I nod and as we approach the front of the Crashdown I leave him standing there staring after me. I spend the rest of the day looking for Max, and come to the realization that he has left town. I feel bad for his family, especially Diane, but can do nothing to comfort her. We never had the chance to bond as a family and now any chance of that is gone. I avoid Michael for the rest of my stay in Roswell, spending time with Maria as she gets ready to head back to Los Angeles to begin work on a new video.

We head to the airport together and I am glad she has not mentioned anything about Michael in the last few days. I am not sure if he told her what has gone on, but she has thankfully let me keep everything to myself for the time being. My parents make a big deal about my leaving and mention something about Thanksgiving. I tell them I will try to make it, but they know I am only saying the words. Maria manages to get the private jet for our return and heads from NY to LA, and I head to Maryland. Even though everyone is positive Max is ok, I need to know for myself. And so without telling anyone, I set out to find him.
I get to Maryland and quickly call my roommates, telling them I made a pit stop before coming back to Boston. I tell them to tell no one and if anyone calls to tell them to try my cell. They agree on the condition that I promise them I am not doing something illegal and that I will be back at Harvard before the fall semester begins. I agree and they wish me well.

At the airport I rent a car and take my directions from Google telling me how to get to Max’s last known address. It hurts me to think that we have all changed so much and he has pushed away his family that they care not for his well-being. But I know it is exactly what Max wanted. I drive in silence for several hours and finally reach a quiet, little neighborhood in California, Maryland.

The house is small and quaint with a front porch and a small front yard. I circle the block and find a parking just at the corner. There is a small pub nearby and I go over to get a bite to eat as I wait for Max. The pub is empty when I get there and the man behind the bar pays me no mind when I take a seat at the end of the bar closest to the window. After a few minutes the he brings over a greasy menu.

“Thank you,” I say and he nods in response.

I order a plate of crab cakes and a beer and stare out the window.

“You waiting for someone?” he asks as he pops the top of my beer and sets it in front of me.

“Sort of,”

“Well you either are or aren’t?”

“I’m not sure they still live around here.”

“Who you looking for? I pretty much know everyone in these parts.”

“I’m looking for the guy who lives at 56 Anderson Street.”

“56? Good looking fellow with dark hair?”

“Yes.”

“I haven’t seen him for a week or so. You could try going down to Elite Realty and asking Serena. She and he have been out a few times.”

I about choke on the beer and he quickly hands me a napkin. He realizes he may have said too much and is quiet for a few moments.

“It’s ok; I knew he’d eventually move on.” I say in the most sincere voice I can muster.

“I shouldn’t have said anything,” he admonishes and quickly goes to the kitchen.

I look back out the window again and notice the realty place is up the street. The bartender returns with my plate of cakes and sets them down with a container of sauce.

I quickly eat and leave the pub. The bartender looks happy to see me go and I don’t blame him. I quickly walk up the street to Elite Realty and peer inside the window. There are several people standing around a desk talking. As I watch another person comes out from an office and I know this is Serena. She is slender and fit, with auburn hair and the greenest eyes I have ever seen. And when she looks up at me, she immediately knows who I am too. She says something to the group and quickly walks toward the entrance, towards me.

“I didn’t ever think I’d see you in person.” She says.

I look to her and she is wearing an expression of amazement and intrigue.

“You know me.”

“But you don’t know me.” She says with a sigh.

“No. Should I?” I ask.

“I suppose not. Shall we walk?”

“Sure.”

We begin up the street and I can see her looking at me as we walk, taking me in, and sizing me up. I gather from the looks that the bartender didn’t really know how close Max and Serena were.

“You’re Liz, the person that Max can’t get out of his mind.”

“Did he tell you that?”

“Not in so many words. Max never says much, but I can tell.”

“You two have a relationship?”

“You could say that. I can see into his soul. But every time I look…I can only see you.”

When she says it the pain in my chest throbs and I have to squeeze my hand into a fist to keep from yelling out in pain.

“I’m sorry.” I reply.

“Why are you here?”

“I needed to make sure he was ok. What he and I had…is over and I just want to make sure he is ok.”

“Over? I find that hard to believe. From what I can tell…you are embedded into his mind. He and I may have a casual thing going on but I don’t think Max will ever love any one but you.”

“That’s not true.” I say, the pain coming in ebb and flows.

“You sound so sure of that. Why?”

“I just do. Have you heard from him?”

“From Max? He called me this morning.”

“Did he sound…normal?”

Serena gives me a strange look.

“What are you not telling me?”

“You are right. What Max and I had was very strong, very consuming. But we don’t have that anymore and I just want to be sure he is…surviving.”

“Surviving? You make it sound as if you ripped his heart from his chest. I assure you he sounded just fine. As a matter of fact I am headed to the bus station to pick him up. You can come see for yourself if you’d like.”

“You aren’t afraid what we had will be reignited?” I say mockingly.

“You seem so sure it will not and I feel like I can trust you, so here we are.”

We stare at each other and as we do I am hit with a memory from the past…a past that never happened. Serena. She is watching me and I realize that I know her. Serena. Future Max mentioned I would be friends with a Serena.

“I’m going to give you my number. If anything happens that is weird…will you call me?” I say grabbing a piece of paper from my purse and scribbling my cell phone number on it.

“I guess I should tell you that Max and I met because we believe in the same conspiracy theories about space and aliens.”

“You do?”

“Yes. So how do you define weird? Because I could be calling you every day.”

“I think you will know.”

And as I hand her the paper the pain in my chest begins to subside. She looks at the paper and then back at me.

“Should I tell Max you were here?”

“No, there is no need. I found out everything I need to know.”

“You realize that this whole meeting could be classified as weird?”

I laugh and nod in agreement.

“I guess it could.” I reply. “Take care of yourself and Max.”

“Thank you. Will I ever see you again?”

“Maybe,”

I leave Serena standing there and by the time I reach the car, the pain in my chest is gone.


And so the time passes. I jump into my school work and eventually move out of the apartment with the girl’s into a studio alone. I don’t hear from Michael. But I do think about him every day. He is still in Roswell and has actually taken to painting and drawing again. I am happy for him and while I miss him…I don’t think now is the right time for us.

Christmas comes and I stay at school. A package come for me on Christmas Eve. I am sitting at the window; wine in hand, music in the background wondering if this is what Future Max had in mind when he said we needed to change the future. The buzzer rings and I stare out to see a Fed Ex man holding a large package.

“Hi Joe,” I say, opening the door.

“Hey Beth. Looks like someone sent you an early Christmas present,” he says, handing me the clipboard to sign.

“I guess so.”

“All the way from Roswell, New Mexico.”

“Probably the parents.” I say handing him the clipboard and taking the package.

“Have a Merry Christmas.”

“You too Joe!”

I drag the package up the stairs and into the apartment. Rhona saunters over and sniffs the package and then rubs up against it. I undo the string and begin to pull apart the paper. I realize it is a picture frame and when I get all the tissue paper off I suck my breath in sharply. It is a drawing of me sitting on top of the world. I pull the note attached.

You have the whole world at your finger tips. And when you are ready, I would like to help you explore that world. Merry Christmas.
~ Michael


The drawing is done in black and grays and is beautiful. Rhona is still rubbing against the package and I laugh. Michael was her favorite person to annoy and as much as he yelled at her, we knew that he enjoyed her company as much as the rest of us did. I send him a thank you note, but never receive a response or other acknowledgement. There is a big part of me that misses my morning chats with Michael. Daily I think back about the very first kiss we shared and it manages to give me butterflies. Maria says I need to just invite him to stay with me for a weekend and our relationship will just fall into place. But I am afraid, not sure if I’m ready for everything that is required in a relationship. So I put my energy instead into graduating early.

All my work pays off and in December of 2008 I receive my undergrad degree in Chemistry. There is no fanfare and after the small ceremony, only a celebratory dinner in Chinatown with my ex-roommates and Sam. Laila and Cinda both graduated the year before and have spent a year in the corporate world trying to decide if they want to try a hand at Grad school. Sam is graduating in the spring and he and Laila are still dating. Cinda is constantly humming the wedding song and Laila will admonish her, but I can tell she likes it.

Night of Maria’s Christmas Party 2008

Maria’s house is finally complete. It is decorated and ready to be broken in with a party. At least that is what the invitation read. From what Kyle told me there are actually two parties...one for us young people and one for all the families together. I didn’t ask if it meant Max would be there or not. Isabel has kept up with him, but he has not returned to Roswell since the night our connection was broken.

I pull up to the Crashdown and notice it looks different, more modern. I pull into a spot and grab the cat carrier out of the back seat. Rhona gives an angry howl and I look into the carrier.

“It hasn’t been that bad, Rhona. Just wait until you meet dad...he will spoil you rotten.”

She lets out another howl and turns her back to me.

“Lizzie!” says my dad as I make my way into the restaurant.

Hanging from the ceiling is a large sign that says “Congrats to the Harvard Grad”. I can only shake my head as my Dad comes over to hug me.

“That was so unnecessary,”

“No it wasn’t. I’m proud, what can I say?”

Rhona meows a reply and we both laugh, heading into the kitchen. I put the carrier down on the couch and slowly open the door. Rhona slinks out and gives me a petulant stare before taking a look around.

“Dad, this is Rhona. Rhona, this is Dad.”

My father squats down and puts a hand out for Rhona to sniff. She does so hesitantly and then rubs up against his hand in acceptance.

“Well that settles that, she likes you.”

“She’s a beautiful cat, Liz.”

“What cat? Oh…that cat.” says my mother wiping her hands on her apron.

“Hey mom,” I say as she reaches over to hug me.

“Who do we have here?” she asks bending over to stroke Rhona.

“This is Rhona. She’s been the housecat and then became my cat and now…well I’ve brought her here.”

“Well, welcome to Roswell, Rhona.” My mother replies, reaching under Rhona’s chin and rubbing.

“You guys don’t mind, do you?”

“She seems tame enough.” My mother says and Rhona starts to purr.

“She’s a great cat. And very smart.”

“As a matter of fact I think we may have some old cat items in storage.”
“Great. See Rhona? I told you they would love you.”

She meows and stretches out on the floor, showing all of us her belly and making us laugh.

I spend several hours catching up with my parents and showing them my Harvard degree. My father starts to cry upon seeing it and it makes me beam with pride to know it has made quite an impression on him.

“This makes me so proud Liz.” He says.

“I know Dad, I know.”

I eat a piece of key lime pie to celebrate and then go up to my room to get ready for Maria’s party. Upon entering I expect to see Michael on the balcony, but he isn’t there. Instead there is drawing on my desk. It is of him looking out into a sunset with the words ‘still waiting’ on it. I gently trace the words. Could he really still be waiting for me? Even after all this time? Part of me doubts he is, but the other part is giddy by the thought.

After carefully getting ready, I realize I am actually late and hurry to get to Maria’s. I am sure to never hear the end of it, as I am one that is never late.

“Don’t wait up.” I say as I kiss my parents good night and leave for Maria’s.

The evening has brought on cooler temperatures and I wrap my pashmina tighter around my torso as I run for the car. Before I can get in a truck pulls up beside me and I look to see Jim smiling at me.

“Welcome home Liz,” he says.

“Thanks Sheriff.”

“You kids give me a call if things get to out of control.” He says, giving a wink and driving off.

I finally manage to get into the car and make my way to Maria’s. There are a lot of traffic and people on the streets and I can only surmise that each is going to their own Christmas celebration. I carefully make my way through the streets and arrive at Maria’s house. Which would have been hard to miss as it is lit up…well, like a Christmas tree. I laugh as I pull in and wonder if Isabel has been busy spreading her Christmas cheer.

I as approach the door, I can hear Christmas music and someone laughing. I take a deep breath and open the door

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2006 12:14 am 
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gah...I missed this...

I've been working my :butt off on the challenge stuff and award stuff. I didn't even realized you'd updated.

okay...first thing in the morning cause it's like 11:15 now, I'm reading!

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2006 5:16 am 
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Well, the Dreamer in me is sad that Liz and Max had so much and couldn't make it work, but you do a great job of writing it, and Michael is so perfect, in a Michael sort of way. :lol

Quote:
I want to look at her with a scowl, but I can only grin like a fool. She’s had fantasies about me kissing her. My grin, if at all possible, gets bigger and she begins to laugh.

That was so cute! :heart

Quote:
I know now that he will cry if he lets himself and there is nothing worse for Michael than having anyone see him cry. At the sight of him standing there looking into the park, I am amazed. Amazed that someone who I have always seen as so strong and sure of himself, could fall in love with someone as weak as I had become. It was why we all thought he and Maria would make it last forever. But maybe it was true, about opposites attracting. He was strong, where I was weak. I was smart, where he was stubborn. So what did that make Max and I? If we were soul mates, should we not have balanced each other? Instead I felt like Max consumed all of me, taking over completely and leaving nothing behind


Well said! But their all-consuming love was once what their passion was all about. So for it to now be a negative, something else has to be wrong. And as we see, it is. But Max and Liz still have something, it seems, even if the connection has been broken. Interesting. It's sad to see Max acting like that. But Michael is great. :D

And Serena is there! Yay!

:thumbsup :D

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2006 4:28 pm 
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WOW

Poor Liz, Poor Max, Poor Liz, Poor Michael.

That was a really powerful part. Talk about ripping out your heart. You really manage to make us see right inside the characters and feel what they're feeling.


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