Yellow (M/L ADULT): Ch. 20 10/4/20

Fics using the characters from Roswell, but where the plot does not have anything to do with aliens, nor are any of the characters "not of this Earth."

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keepsmiling7
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Re: Yellow (M/L ADULT): Ch. 11 7/8/20

Post by keepsmiling7 » Wed Jul 08, 2020 8:21 pm

Sounds like you have had your hands full. But we're very happy to see you back with this story.

LOL......Liz trying to get into her pants. Yes, at 26 weeks it's time for some maternity wear.
Can't believe Max went shopping with her
Once again Tess pops up........and trouble follows.

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ChemChic
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Re: Yellow (M/L ADULT): Ch. 12 7/13/20

Post by ChemChic » Sun Jul 12, 2020 8:52 pm

Hi all! Thank you as always for taking the time to read and provide feedback! It is the highlight of my week :D Initially, Tess's appearance was going to be a one-off, but a poster on another board gave me some food for thought so we might be seeing her again down the road (never fear, Max will still be completely repulsed by her and she won't get in the way of anything important!).

This next chapter is a whole lot of smutty cuteness that was a bunch of fun to write, though it does drive the plot forward. Hopefully you enjoy!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Several weeks later, Max and I found ourselves curled up on the couch watching Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon for the hundredth time. Or rather, Max was watching Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and I was half paying attention while trying to read “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”. Admittedly, I was trying to convince myself of the importance of reading the section on childbirth, but to say that it was more than a little panic-inducing was an understatement.

I was laying with my head in Max’s lap and he had a hand resting on my belly, absentmindedly tracing his fingers over the swell. Every so often, Gabriel would kick in response to Max’s touch and we would both laugh softly.

Everyone else was getting ready to start school in a few days, but Max and I had just officially finished our senior year. Since we didn’t attend a graduation, the whole process felt a bit anticlimactic, but it was pretty incredible to be 16 and a high school graduate.

“Hey kids, do you have a minute?” Phillip asked, coming in from the kitchen.

“Sure Dad, what’s up?” Max replied, hitting pause on the remote.

I sat up and placed my book on the coffee table as Diane joined us.

“Well, your mother and I have been talking and we’ve been so impressed with how hard you’ve worked to finish school and keep up with your jobs. And we’ve been particularly impressed with the work you’ve been doing for the firm, Liz,” Phillip began. I blushed and ducked my head at the compliment.

“We know your lives are going to be very different here shortly, so we thought that you should have one last opportunity to just be kids. As you know, we still have Nana and Papa’s beach house in Florida. So as a graduation present, we thought we’d send you for a week. I know that the weather in Florida in August isn’t exactly ideal, but I’d be worried if you guys went any later,” Diane said gently, gesturing towards my burgeoning belly. “Your flight leaves tomorrow afternoon.”

Max and I looked at each other with wide eyed excitement.

“Are you guys serious?!” He exclaimed, taking the two tickets from Diane’s outstretched hand. “Wait, what about work? I’m on the schedule for 20 hours next week,” he said, disappointed.

“No you’re not, son. I talked to Milton a few weeks ago and just asked him not to say anything. You’re both off for the whole week,” Phillip replied with a wide smile.

“This is incredible, I don’t even know what to say!” I was so touched by their thoughtfulness that I could feel tears welling…but then again, that could’ve just been the hormones!

“You don’t have to say anything, you two deserve this,” Phillip said, squeezing my knee.

Diane clapped her hands together with a grin. “Now go on, I think you guys have some packing to do!”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

The house was a midcentury modern bungalow nestled between multimillion dollar beachfront mansions, a last bastion of Old Florida on Casey Key. Diane’s parents had purchased the house in the late ‘70s after Diane and Phillip married, looking for a change of scenery from the arid New Mexico landscape in their retirement. After they passed away in the mid ‘90s, the Evanses decided to hang on to the house as a rental property and for the occasional family vacation.

It was early evening when we arrived and while it was as hot and humid as we’d expected, there was a light breeze drifting in from the Gulf that suggested a more comfortable night was ahead.

I took a deep breath of the salt air and felt tension I didn’t even realize I was carrying melt off of my body. The slider shushed opened and then closed behind me and two strong arms slid around me, one cupping my bump and the other encircling my shoulders. I leaned back against Max’s solid chest and sighed; I was pretty sure I’d discovered heaven.

“I forgot how beautiful it is here,” I said contentedly, wrapping my fingers around his forearm.

“It’s pretty incredible,” Max agreed, resting his chin on my head and caressing my belly. It was at that moment that Gabriel decided to make his presence known with a sharp kick to my ribs.

“I think someone else is happy to be here, too,” Max said with a chuckle, his hand moving to massage the spot where his son just pummeled me.

“I think he’s just glad we’re no longer crammed into an airplane seat!” I laughed.

“What do you say we take a walk down to that great little tapas bar on the key and have some dinner? That way we can stretch our legs and maybe get this little guy to settle down,” Max suggested and I readily agreed.

I turned my face up to his and kissed his jaw. “Let me just go get changed.”

Back in our room, I picked out a flowy navy sundress with a short, fitted bodice. While my breasts were definitely larger than they’d been pre-pregnancy, I was still able to get away without wearing a bra in something semi-structured. I adjusted the spaghetti straps and pulled my hair back into a low bun and was studying myself in the mirror when a mischievous thought crossed my mind. I slipped my hands underneath my skirt and stepped out of my simple pink panties, feeling that familiar flush of desire in my core. It was going to be a very, very good night!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

It was a 5 minute walk to Del Sol. The sun had just begun to set and the sand was still hot between our toes. We talked about nothing in particular, mostly just enjoying the sound of the waves and each other’s company.

There was a short wait for a beachside table, so we took a seat by the hostess station. They called Max’s name after a few minutes, but just as he went to stand up I put my hand on his shoulder and my lips against his ear.

“I’m not wearing anything under this dress, Max,” I breathed.

His entire body went rigid and I giggled, kissing him on the cheek before saying in a normal tone, “Oh, that’s us!” and getting up to follow the hostess as though nothing had happened. I heard him groan quietly behind me and I grinned. This is going to be such fun!

We were brought to a table at the edge of the deck, relatively secluded from the other diners. She sat us cater-cornered from one another so that we both had a view of the water. I cleared my throat and opened my menu as casually as possible as though I hadn’t said a word about my lack of undergarments.

“What looks good, Max?”

“You,” he almost growled and I looked up, meeting his smoldering gaze. All the control I thought I’d had moments before vanished and I felt my pulse quicken as the heat rose in my chest.

I bit my lip and pressed my thighs together, operation Tease Max clearly beginning to backfire. I silently composed myself and reached over, grazing my fingers over his before moving slowly up his forearm. “I’m all yours,” I murmured, leaning closer to him. “You just have to make it through dinner first!” I withdrew my hand and sat back with a sly grin and picked up my menu again, trying to hide my giggle.

I snuck a quick glance at him and caught something flash in his eyes before he settled back and picked up his menu as well, studying it intently. I’d actually managed to read about few of the offerings when Max casually slipped his hand over my thigh, his fingers deftly drawing up the hem of my skirt so his palm was spread over my naked flesh. I inhaled sharply at the rush of arousal that flooded my body and Max chuckled quietly.

“I’m not the only one who has to make it through dinner, Lillabet.”

I saw the waiter approaching and thought that he would remove his hand, but instead he gently massaged my thigh while turning his attention to the man with no indication whatsoever of what was happening under the tablecloth.

I must’ve ordered something, or perhaps Max ordered for us, because 15 minutes later a parade of small plates began to arrive at our table, but I have no recollection of the matter. What I do remember is Max’s fingers tracing indecipherable patterns over my fevered skin, inching ever so slowly closer to my desperate core. I couldn’t tell you what we talked about or if we ordered dessert or how we paid the check or how we made it out of the restaurant without every patron knowing exactly what we were going home to do.

What I do remember is that the second we were beyond the ambient lighting of Del Sol, Max pulled me flush against him and kissed me so hard that I was sure I saw stars.

“Do you know how badly I want you?” He panted. And I did, I knew exactly how urgent his need was for me, the evidence pressing tantalizingly into my belly.

I raked my nails coquettishly over the sizable bulge in his well-fitted jeans and nipped at his lower lip. “I think I have a pretty good idea.”

His breath hitched and his hips bucked involuntarily against my hand and I kissed him again.

“House. Now.”

Those were the only instructions I needed.

While I’m fairly sure we made it fully inside with enough clothing on to be legally decent, I can’t say that anyone looking didn’t get a bit of a show on the way there! Hands and lips and fabric were everywhere and by the time the slider shut soundly, there wasn’t a stitch left between us. Though the house was small and the bedroom only a few dozen steps away, it may as well have been miles.

I pushed Max down on the couch and straddled him, sliding down onto his thick shaft in one smooth motion. We both gasped in utter bliss, and I rocked hard against him; there was a time for slow and sensuous…this was not it. I set an almost frenzied pace, nearly delirious from pleasure. I cupped my full breasts in my hands, teasing my nipples and massaging them wantonly; they’d become sensitive in a whole new way over the past few weeks and it was to the point where I genuinely wondered if I could orgasm just from stimulating them alone.

“Fuck, Liz!” Max growled, his fingers digging hard into my hip bones. His hips slammed up to meet mine and In could see every delicious muscle contracting as he fought to maintain control.

Oh, no. That wouldn’t do at all!

I reached behind myself and snaked a hand between his legs, palming his balls while simultaneously tightening my core around his cock. His whole body flushed and jolted underneath me, thrusting deep inside me as he did and driving me exponentially closer to that indescribable singularity.

“Touch me! Please touch me, please!” I begged as I rode him relentlessly. “So close…so fucking close!”

His fingers plunged into my cleft, racing over my clit so skillfully that I was momentarily convinced I was going to pass out.

“Max!” I screamed, and then I exploded. My orgasm wasn’t from my core, it was from my entire body. I slammed my hands down on Max’s chest for support and practically convulsed over him, every inch of me trembling with an orgasmic energy I’d never before experienced. It felt like every cell in my body was orgasming and I never wanted it to stop!

“Liz!” Max came hard and fast inside of me, the feeling of him pulsing against my inner walls only serving to heighten my pleasure to the point where I lost all control. I was laughing and sobbing and shaking in an indescribable haze of euphoria.

“…Lillabet?” Max hedged as my giggles died down, but tears continued to stream down my face.

“That was…I’m so…I can’t…Max…Fuck!” I panted, collapsing against him. He immediately rolled us onto our sides to take the pressure off my belly as aftershocks trembled through my body.

I couldn’t stop touching him, I couldn’t get close enough to him in that moment. I hooked a leg over his, pressing my bump to his hard abs and twined my fingers into his hair, our foreheads touching and our breath mingling as we came back down to earth.

“Liz, that was…wow. I don’t think I have words to describe that,” Max whispered once our heart rates had returned to some semblance of normal.

“I don’t even know what happened,” I replied, still in a blissful post-orgasmic stupor. “That was…”

“Incredible,” he finished for me with a sigh. “Yeah, I’d say that was pretty incredible!”

I giggled softly and then grimaced as my belly tightened involuntarily.

“Liz?” Max asked, alarmed. He placed his hand on my swell and felt it hardening.

I took a few deep breaths. “Braxton…Hicks…” I blew out, waiting for the contraction to pass. “They can be brought on by really good sex,” I explained, sighing as my belly softened again.

“Liz, maybe we shouldn’t…”

“Max Evans, if you finish that sentence, you are going to live to regret it!” I admonished, taking his chin in my hand and forcing him to look me directly in the eye. “Women get Braxton-Hicks contractions all the time from any number of thing. They are literally called practice contractions and they will help me to prepare for the real thing! There is absolutely no reason we cannot make love, and I’ll be damned if we don’t spend the better part of this vacation doing just that.”

“But Lillabet…” Max tried again, the concern in his voice evident.

“Don’t you ‘Lillabet’ me, Mister! It might be our baby, but he’s in my body and I know what my body can and cannot handle. I can handle a few practice contractions, I cannot handle not making love to you!”
I could see a protest welling up in his throat and I stopped him with a kiss.

“You got me all sweaty, Max. Why don’t you come help me get clean?”

Unsurprisingly, he was unable to say no.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

It was the small hours of the morning when I woke to Max’s soft caresses. After a bit of fun in the shower and making love again as soon as we got into bed, we’d collapsed boneless into each other’s arms and I’d immediately fallen into a deep, restful sleep.

“Mmm,” I moaned pleasantly. I was spooned tightly against him with just a sheet draped over our legs. I could feel his hardness pressed against my backside and I was immediately flooded with a rush of wetness and heat.

“Lillabet,” he whispered, kissing the hollow of my neck, his fingers brushing over my straining nipple before trailing over the swell of my belly.

“Please…Max, please be inside of me.”

And then he was. With an arm cradled protectively over my swell, I interlaced my fingers with his as he rocked gently, almost reverently inside of me. His lips found my shoulder and neck and ear so softly, so lovingly that my chest felt like it was about to burst open.

His pace was languid and unhurried, our energy light years away from our earlier phrenic coupling and yet just as deeply satisfying. There was no need to speak or even to moan out loud; it felt like to do so would mar the sacredness of the moment.

We could have been joined like that for minutes or hours. There was no time in that space. There was nothing except for us. Nothing existed outside of these bodies, this love.

When my first orgasm came, it was like a warm wave washing over me. Slow and rhythmic and lasting and it blended into the next…and the next. It was not an earth shattering singularity, but these rolling peaks that stole my breath, causing my body to tense and relax with the rushes. After an immeasurable amount of time, I felt Max tighten and then bury himself deep inside of me as he bathed my walls with his seed.

We both released our breath at the same time and I became soft and pliable in his arms. Without a word and still joined, he slipped his hand from mine only long enough to pull the sheet up over our cooling bodies before settling behind me and taking my hand again. I don’t have the words to describe the intimacy and the healing I felt in that moment. And to experience that profound of a connection at such a tender age was a gift I hardly felt worthy to receive.

As I drifted off again for a second time that night, part of me wished that we could stay exactly as we were, forever.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

The next time I woke it was to a full bladder and empty bed with bright sunshine radiating through the windows. I reached over to Max’s side and was surprised to find it cold. I sat up - which sounds a lot easier than it actually was! - and rubbed the sleep from my eyes, brushing my hair away from my face. I glanced at the bedside clock.

10:23? I thought, surprised at the late hour. I never slept in!

Gabriel kicked and stretched inside of me, reminding me of why I woke in the first place.

“Easy there, Bug, Momma’s bladder can only take so much!” I chastised him, rubbing a soothing hand over my bump while making my way to the bathroom.

After I was finished, I pulled my hair into a high ponytail and rinsed off quickly in the shower before donning a turquoise bikini and slipping a sheer white mid-thigh kaftan over top. Opening the door to the master bedroom, I was immediately greeted by the sweet and savory smell of pancakes and eggs wafting from the kitchen. Rounding the corner, I found Max at the stove, pouring batter into a skillet. The table was already set with glasses of orange juice and a bowl of strawberries between our plates next to a vase of fresh blanket flowers and beach sunflowers.

I padded up behind him and wrapped my arms around his waist, inhaling deeply.

“Smells divine,” I said.

He put down the spatula and turned in my arms with a wide grin.

“Me or the breakfast?” He asked coyly, lacing his hands together behind my back.

I stood on my tip toes so my face was inches from his.

“Both,” I whispered before kissing him.

“Good morning,” he said contentedly once we broke apart.

“Mmm, good morning!” I replied. He kissed me one more time and led me over to the table, pulling my chair out for me.

“Breakfast will be ready in 2 minutes,” he said, smiling, before turning back to the stove.

“You know,” I began, plucking a flower out of the vase and bringing it to my nose. “I was a bit disappointed to wake up all alone this morning. But I suppose if this is what I get for sleeping in, I can let it slide!”
Max grinned over his shoulder and started loading two plates with the pancakes and eggs.

“We had a busy night last night,” he quipped, setting the food in front of me before settling into his seat. “I figured you needed your rest. Besides,” he continued, serving me. “It gave me time to get a run in before going over to the market to pick up some groceries.”

“A run? Max, what time did you get up?” I asked, impressed.

“6:45. I was feeling rather motivated!” He waggled his eyebrows at me and I laughed heartily.

“Max Evans, you are something else!” I shook my head, tucking into my breakfast.

“Yes, but I’m your something else!” He teased, popping a strawberry into his mouth with a wink.

“That you are!” I agreed. “Max, this is incredible. Thank you.”

“You deserve it, Lillabet. I’m just so happy we get this time together.”

I reached across the table and squeezed his hand. “Me too.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“Sunscreen, m’lady?” Max presented the bottle with a flourish and I laughed.

“Why that would be just lovely!” I bantered back.

We’d set up on the sand outside the house - close enough for me to get to the bathroom, I reasoned! - and were surprised to find that the beach was bustling. In years past, Casey Key tended to be a bit of a hideaway from the more popular beaches of Sarasota and Venice, but it seemed the secret had gotten out! Not that I was complaining, it was actually nice to just sit back and watch families building sand castles and other teens playing beach volleyball as we let the world pass us by.

“Hold your top,” he instructed, tugging at the bow holding my swimsuit in place. “Wouldn’t want to get this all messy!”

“Mmmhmm, I’m sure that’s your only motivation,” I teased, clutching the fabric to my chest.

Max smoothed the lotion over my shoulders and over my neck before trailing down my spine and working his hands across my lower back before snaking around and massaging my belly.

“Max! I’m pretty sure I can reach my own stomach,” I chided playfully, making no move to stop him.

“Yes, but it’s way more enjoyable this way,” Max said, kissing my cheek.

He retied my bathing suit and handed me the tube. We switched positions and I slathered lotion over his back, dipping my hands into his swim trunks teasingly before pronouncing him well-protected from the sun.

I’d been settled into my lounge chair with Max beside me, cat napping for about an hour when I woke to the sound of a little voice saying “Hi!”

I opened my eyes to find a young boy, no more than 3 standing in front of us with a big grin on his face. His hair was a dirty blond and his tanned skin was dotted with clumps of sand.

“Hi buddy!” I replied, glancing around for his parents.

“Are you lost?” Max asked, concerned. I hadn’t realized he’d woken up. “Where are your mommy and daddy?”

Before the little boy could respond, a woman in her early 20s came running up to us, calling his name.

“Sammy! Sammy, what did we tell you about running off by yourself?” The woman scolded him, crouching down to look him over before taking his hand in hers.

She turned to us. “I’m so sorry he bothered you! You turn your back for two seconds at this age and poof!” She shook her head apologetically.

“He didn’t bother us,” I replied with a soft smile. “He’s beautiful! How old?”

“Sammy, can you tell the nice lady how old you are?” His mother coaxed.

Sammy stared at his hand for a moment before proudly holding out two fingers. His mother laughed and gently added one more from his fist. “Almost! You’re three now, remember?”

He looked at his fingers again and then nodded enthusiastically. “Three!” He shouted and we all laughed.

“Wow, you’re a very big boy!” Max said seriously. “And smart, too!”

Sammy giggled.

“Looks like you guys are expecting a little one soon,” the woman commented, noticing my very obvious bump.

“We are!” Max beamed proudly. “A son. Gabriel. He’s due on October 22nd.”

“That’s so exciting! Is this your first?” She asked.

“It is,” I confirmed. “We can’t wait for him to get here.”

“I bet! Being pregnant this time of year is not easy, especially not in this heat!” She commented and I heartily agreed with her.

“I’m Courtney, by the way. This is Sammy. My husband Brody is over there with our 6 month old, Sydney,” she gestured towards a man a few dozen yards away playing in the sand with a chubby, tow-headed infant.

“Hey Brody!” She called, motioning to her husband. “Come say hi!”

“I’m Liz,” I introduced myself, shaking her hand.

“Max.”

“Honey, this is Max and Liz. Max and Liz, this is Brody.”

We all said our hellos and offered for them to join us.

“So are you guys local or are you babymooning?” Courtney asked, adjusting her daughter’s hat so her face was fully shaded.

“We’re vacationing from New Mexico at my family’s place,” Max said, gesturing to the house behind us.

“Beachfront property? On Casey Key? Damn. Nice family!” Brody replied with a low whistle.

“It belonged to my grandparents for years and then my parents inherited it. It’s mostly rented out, but they gifted us a week here before the baby arrives,” Max explained.

“What brings you guys here?” I asked, knowing that talking more about the house would make Max feel like he was bragging.

“We live in Nokomis,” Courtney gestured down the beach. “We come out to the Key a few times a week so these two can play in the sand.”

“They’re lucky to get to grow up so close to the beach,” Max said. “I loved coming out here when I was a kid. I always wished we’d lived closer to the water.”

“Me too,” I agreed. “The desert has its charms, but there is definitely something to be said for being near the ocean.”

“So Max,” Brody said, turning towards him. “You a sports man?”

As the guys began discussing favorite teams, I looked over at Courtney and asked, “two under three? How do you do it? I don’t know how I’m going to manage with one!”

Courtney laughed, glancing at me but keeping the majority of her attention on Sammy who was diligently shoveling sand into a bucket.

“Some days I ask myself the same thing! I was only 20 when Sam was born, so there was a definite learning curve. We didn’t have a lot of support from either of our families, so that was probably the toughest part. But we muddled along the first year and by the time we thought we had the whole thing figured out, surprise! Sydney was on her way!” She shook her head and chuckled. “Needless to say, I had my tubes tied after she arrived and made Brody get a vasectomy. No more surprises!”

I laughed. “I hear you about the surprise,” I agreed, rubbing my belly. “I’ll barely be 17 when Gabriel is born. We’re really fortunate though that our family is super supportive. I don’t think we’d survive this without them to be honest.”

“Wow, I thought you were at least my age,” Courtney commented, raising an eyebrow though not judgmentally. “I give you a lot of credit. Are you guys still in high school?”

“No, we both graduated early. We’re taking this upcoming semester off and then we’ll both start college in January. So at least we have that going for us!”

“I’m not going to lie to you, college with an infant is no easy feat, but I am living proof it can be done!” Courtney said.

“What did you major in?” I asked, genuinely curious to learn more about her experience. “How did you balance coursework with the baby?”

“I majored in psychology, I’m actually starting my PhD in developmental psych in September at the University of Florida. Sydney has had some issues with failure to thrive and it piqued my interest in the field. She’s already in occupational therapy and play therapy and making strides everyday, but I want to be able to better understand kids like her. We are hoping that she will progress to meeting milestones, but if she doesn’t I figure I can be as educated as possible so that I can best help her.” She looked down at her daughter lovingly and smoothed her hand over the baby’s back.

“Wow, that’s incredible!” I exclaimed, impressed.

“The actual courses weren’t the difficult part, it was finding the time and a quiet spot to study and do my homework. Brody is a few years older than me and had already graduated, but he was working a million hours so that I could just focus on school which meant spending a lot of time trying to absorb big concepts and write complex papers while placating a fussy baby. I quickly learned how to maximize my study time and live on the least amount of sleep possible! The good news is that my PhD program will provide a stipend and we’re going to be able to live in graduate housing which means that Brody can cut back at work significantly. So hopefully having him home more to watch the kids will make this program go much more smoothly.”

“I hope so for you, too! Did you guys meet at school?”

An impish grin spread over Courtney’s face. “We did. Brody was the TA in my sophomore biopsych course. It was love at first tutoring session! What about you guys? Was it love at first sight?”

“We joke that it was, but it’s hard to say. We met when I was about 2 hours old and Max was a little over 4 months.”

Courtney’s eyes widened in complete surprise. Because we grew up in such a small town, most people already knew our story so it was easy to forget how unusual it sounded to an outsider.

“Our parents were best friends,” I explained. “So we spent a ton of time together as babies and developed a really strong bond over the years. The first time we got married we were six.”

Max had overheard our conversation and added, “but it won’t be the last time!” with a cheesy grin.

“That’s…wow, that’s something else!” Courtney said. “Don’t you guys get sick of each other? Too many days cooped up in the house with this one and we’re about ready to kill each other!” Brody nodded in enthusiastic agreement, his eyes comically wide.

“You guys sound like my brother and his girlfriend and they’ve known each other almost as long as Liz and I have! Just a different dynamic, I guess. I’m just a better human when she’s around,” Max shrugged and I smiled at him, my heart swelling at his words.

“That’s a really rare, special thing,” Courtney said sincerely.

We chatted for awhile longer and both Max and I took the opportunity to play with the kids. Watching him with those little people, being so attentive and genuinely interested in making them happy was such a beautiful experience. Neither Max nor I had much occasion to be around children, but watching him that day you would’ve guessed he’d grown up with a whole gaggle of younger siblings. I knew right then and there that fatherhood was going to come to him so naturally and that made me fall even more madly in love with him if that was possible.

There was something really nice about getting to talk to another young parent who was a few steps ahead of us in life. I had a lot to learn.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~


“They were pretty awesome,” I commented as we made our way back into the house.

“Yeah, I’m really glad we met them!” Max agreed, setting the cooler down on the counter and unpacking the unopened drinks and snacks.

“Me too. You were a natural with the kids. I don’t think I’ve ever even seen you hold a baby before today!”

“They were adorable. Playing with Sammy got me really excited for when Gabe is that age. I mean, he’s a little person…it was pretty cool.”

“It was,” I agreed, putting the last of the drinks back in the fridge. “I think I’m going to go lay down for a bit. Join me?”

“I’d love to.”

I tossed my kaftan in the hamper and pulled at the strings of my bikini, dropping it in as well before sliding naked into the cool bedsheets. Max stepped out of his trunks and threw them in as well and I silently giggled at his tan lines. Even with all of the sun screen, his exposed skin was golden, but he had a shorts-shaped area that was pasty white. I peeked down at my breasts, groaning quietly when I realized I hadn’t faired much better!

Max crawled in beside me and I rested my head on his chest, my fingers slowly bumping over the ridges of his abdomen.

“You know, until today, when I’ve pictured Gabriel I’ve pictured this helpless swaddled infant who will be fully reliant on us for everything. I know logically and objectively he will grow into a child and then an adolescent and then an adult, but my concept of him has been very static. But playing with Sammy today and seeing the things that Gabe will be capable of in a few short years has added so many dimensions for me and it’s incredible. I keep picturing the first time he throws a ball or says ‘dada’ or ‘mama’ or runs up to a couple of strangers and says hello,” he chuckled quietly, rubbing my back.

“And it made me realize that we didn’t just make a baby, we created a person. Someone who is going to grow up to have his own thoughts and opinions and likes and dislikes and personality traits. And that we get the opportunity to shape those things and help him to be the best human be can possibly be.” Max’s voice was so earnest and I couldn’t help but tear up at his wonder.

“It’s like the song says, ‘it’s the one thing that we both did perfectly’,” I murmured, quoting Closer by Better Than Ezra.

“Max?” We’d been quiet for a few minutes, both lost in thought.

“Hmm?”

“Do you realize how remarkable you are?”

“What makes you say that? You’re the one doing something remarkable, I’m just on the sidelines cheering you on,” Max replied humbly, spreading his fingers over the side of my belly.

“Exactly that. Max, not only are you fully supportive of me and my needs, but you are 100% invested in our son and our future as a family. Given the circumstances, can you really tell me that the majority of guys your age would still be involved at all?” I shifted up onto my elbow so I could look at him.

“Maybe it’s because they don’t get to do it all with you, Lillabet,” he whispered lovingly, tucking a stray wisp of hair behind my ear. “You make this all worth it.”

He pressed a chaste kiss against my lips and I settled back down, curling into his embrace and tucking my head underneath his chin.

“I love you, Lillabet.”

“I love you.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~
"It's like...chemical" ~ Liz Parker

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Re: Yellow (M/L ADULT): Ch. 12 7/13/20

Post by keepsmiling7 » Mon Jul 13, 2020 8:05 pm

Max and Liz did deserve the wonderful week at the beach house in Florida.
She was such a tease.......but I think Max got even.
It's always nice to meet other young people with children.
They are going to hate to have to go home!

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Re: Yellow (M/L ADULT): Ch. 12 7/13/20

Post by Stefuh » Fri Jul 17, 2020 8:29 pm

Wow, Max sure is lucky to have Diane and Philip as parents! But a week at the beach is really good for them, especially for Liz, since she didn't really had a break since her parents died.
That chapter was lovely (and hot!), I loved that Max got to play with Sammy, it was so cute!
And I'm sure that it calmed Liz to know that other people went through a similar situation to them and got through it. :)

Can't wait for chapter 13!
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Re: Yellow (M/L ADULT): Ch. 13 7/20/20

Post by ChemChic » Mon Jul 20, 2020 10:08 am

Hi guys! Thank you, as always, for the wonderful feedback! Hope you enjoy this next chapter!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

When I opened my eyes again, the light streaming in was golden and I could see the sun creeping towards the horizon. Max was still asleep, his breathing even and his arm still wrapped around me. What I also felt, much to my delight, was his stiff cock pressed adamantly against my leg that I’d slung over his hip.

I gently disentangled myself from him and slid down the bed, settling back on my knees. I wrapped my hand around the base and I took the tip into my mouth, swirling my tongue around his straining head and lapping at the pre-cum that began leaking from my ministrations.

I felt him stir and shift beneath me as I began a rhythm, taking as much of him into my mouth as I could while working the rest of the shaft over with my hands, being sure to tease that hypersensitive spot right beneath the head.

“Liz,” he groaned groggily, and then a little more adamantly: “Fuck! Liz!”

I released him from my mouth with a pop, but continued to stroke his straining cock as I looked up at him through my lashes.

“You just looked so delicious, Max. I couldn’t help but get a taste!” I teased, my tongue darting out to lick the fluid leaking from his tip.

“God Liz, if you keep this up, I’m going to come!” He moaned, his jaw clenching and a flush rising from his chest.

“That’s kind of the point,” I teased sultrily before swallowing him hungrily and setting a pace that I knew would cause him to lose all control.

“Liz…Liz…Oh god, Liz…Fuck!” He growled, exploding deep in my throat as I greedily swallowed every last drop.

I took a few moments to clean his spent cock with my tongue before flopping back down next to him, feeling much like the cat that ate the canary.

“Well there’s one way to wake up!” Max quipped, rolling onto his side to face me.

“I do what I can!”

“And what about you, Lillabet? Did that turn you on?” His voice was low and seductive as he slipped two fingers into my damp folds and teased my clitoris.

“You have no idea,” I replied breathlessly, small jolts of electricity emanating from my core.

“Oh, I think I have a pretty good idea,” Max countered. He withdrew his fingers and turned onto his back and I felt a torrent of arousal when I realized what he wanted to do.

“Come up here,” he said, holding his hands out for my thighs. I got up onto my knees and grabbed the metal bed frame behind his head, straddling his face. He tucked his hands into the crease between my leg and my bump and pulled me closer to him until I could feel his hot breath on my center.

He licked me slowly…So. Fucking. Slowly. Teasing apart my labia and tracing my opening before finally closing his lips around my engorged bud and flicking his tongue furiously over the exposed bundle of nerves.

“Oh my god!” I cried, my knuckles whitening around the headboard as I did everything I could to keep from smothering him. “Fuck, Max! Right there…Please…Oh god!”

He pressed his mouth harder against me and moaned, the vibrations of his voice only adding to my pleasure.

“So close Max…so close…” I whimpered desperately, my body quivering.

And then he slipped two fingers inside of me and I cried out with release as I came fast and hard, rasping his name.

“Fuck,” I breathed as he helped me off of him. I sat propped up against the headboard, catching my breath.

“That was some wakeup call, Lillabet,” he quipped, nipping at my thigh before rolling out of bed and padding to the bathroom. I heard the toilet flush and the water running, but the sounds barely registered, my mind still wonderfully muddled.

I let my eyes flutter open when the bed dipped once more as Max sat down next to me, still deliciously naked.

“Hi there,” he smiled, tucking a strand of hair behind my ear.

“Mmm…hi,” I mumbled, my voice gravelly.

“Happy?” He asked, chuckling at me.

“Ecstatic,” I said, a languid and deeply satisfied smile crossing my face. And then my stomach growled noisily.

“And hungry, apparently!” Max laughed.

I stretched and nodded in agreement. “Apparently!”

“Well, why don’t we see what we can whip up and then maybe we can watch a movie after,” he suggested.

I nodded impishly and held my hands out to him in the universal symbol of ‘help the pregnant lady off the bed’. He obliged, pulling me towards him for a quick kiss before getting me to my feet.

Before he could step away from me to get dressed, I wrapped my arms around his waist and rested my head on his chest, holding him as tightly as my belly would allow. His arms encircled me and he rested his chin on top of my head.

“What’s this about?” Max chuckled, stroking my back.

“I just really, really love you, Maxwell Ethan Evans.”

“Well, Elizabeth Ann Parker, I really, really, really love you too.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

We fixed a quick dinner from the supplies Max picked up earlier that morning and settled down on the couch with a bowl of popcorn to watch an old movie from his grandparents’ collection.

“Oh god!” I groaned as as Jennifer Warren’s character walked into Gene Hackman’s character’s room.

“What?” Max glanced down at me quizzically from my spot on his lap.

I rolled onto my back and looked up at him. “I don’t think I ever told you this, but the first time I saw this movie was with my parents. It was during that really awful road trip we took in 1997, the one where we got stuck in Arizona for three days because the Volvo practically caught on fire? We stayed in this super questionable motel because it was the only place around and it got literally two channels. One was The Home Shopping Network and the other was HBO. So even though I was 13 and they still didn’t like me watching anything inappropriate, it was either Night Moves or infomercials for cheap jewelry, so they let me watch it. So there I am, sandwiched between my mom and dad watching this movie when this scene comes on,” I gestured towards the two characters tangled in a passionate embrace on the screen.

“And all I could think about was how badly I wanted the earth to open up and swallow me whole in that moment! Max, you should’ve seen us! We were all stock still, everyone was staring straight ahead and no one said a word. It was the most embarrassing moment of my life up until that point!” I shudder at the memory.

“I cannot even begin to imagine what was going through your parents’ heads at that moment!” Max said, laughing. “Knowing your dad, it took every ounce of strength in him not to leap up and rip the cord out of the wall!”

“And I’m pretty sure my mother was just horrified! All I can remember is that when it was over we all went to bed quickly and quietly and it was a damned long time before we watched anything more scandalous than a documentary together after that!” I smiled at the memory. Just because they were pragmatic people who recognized that teenagers were going to be intimate with or without parental permission and they’d rather have us be safe doesn’t mean they liked associating their only child with anything sexual. Particularly when that child was their 13 year old daughter.

“The worst part was that was like two weeks after that make out session we had when I realized that the hard lump pressing into my thigh was your erection and not your wallet in your pockets. So all I could think about was whether or not Gene Hackman had an erection and if Jennifer Warren could feel it and I was a million percent sure my parents knew exactly what was going through my head. It was horrible!” I covered my face with my hands and shuddered, laughing.

“How did you never tell me about this? You must’ve been mortified!”

“Beyond!” I agreed.

“It’s really good to hear you talk about them, Lillabet,” Max said after a beat.

“What do you mean? I talk about them!” I replied, my words coming out more defensively than I intended.

“In passing, yes. But it’s been a long time since I’ve heard you tell a story about them or really discuss anything about them that isn’t somehow attached to that day or to the fact that they’re no longer here,” he said gently, running his fingers through my hair.

I was silent for a moment as I digested what he said, slowly realizing that he was right. It wasn’t that I was actively avoiding their memory, more that it was just easier to leave the past in the past with everything that we were facing.

“I don’t want it to be like that,” I said quietly. “I want to talk about them and to remember them. It’s just hard. It’s still so raw,” I admitted and I could feel the tears pooling in the corners of my eyes.

“Oh, Lillabet,” Max murmured, noticing the slight tremble in my lower lip. “I didn’t say that to make you cry! I said something because I think it shows that you’re healing. Little by little, day by day. And I’m so damned proud of you for that because I know just how hard you’ve had to fight to get here.” He ran his thumb beneath each eye before caressing my cheek.

“I wonder what they would think about where we are now,” I said quietly, smoothing a hand over my belly. “If they were here, I mean. If they hadn’t died and I’d gotten pregnant anyways and we’d decided to keep the baby. I wonder how they would’ve handled it. My dad, especially.”

“Honestly?” Max asked and I looked up to meet his eyes, nodding. “Your dad would’ve had a really difficult time with it at first, I think. As understanding as our parents always have been about our relationship and our arrangement, I think it always made your dad the most uncomfortable. You were his little girl and what father wants to think about his daughter in a physical relationship, particularly as a teenager? And you were his only child. It was a little different for my dad with Isabel. If he was overly protective of her but less concerned about me and Michael, he would look like a hypocrite. But all your dad had was you. So I think if we’d gone to him and told him you were pregnant, he would’ve had some very choice words for me and I would’ve been persona non grata at the Crash Down for awhile. He would’ve come around eventually, though. Once Gabriel was born, it would’ve been a fight to get him to let anyone else hold him.

“And he would’ve been so incredibly proud of you, Lillabet. After the shock and the disappointment subsided and he saw your dedication and drive to be the best possible mother you can be, he would’ve been proud beyond measure. And I’d like to think that he would’ve forgiven me by the time Gabe came, but I think that’s open for debate,” he quipped and I chuckled softly in agreement.

“I’ve thought about it, you know,” I said, staring at our hands as I twisted and untwisted my fingers with his. “That conversation. As scared as I was to tell your parents, I’d just survived something infinitely worse than being a pregnant teenager. And as much as I was terrified of their reaction, nothing they could’ve done or said would have hurt worse than what I’d already endured.

“But had none of that happened and it was a pro forma ‘your 16 year old daughter is pregnant’, I think I would’ve been an absolute wreck. And quite frankly, if we’d chosen to terminate under those circumstances,” my voice hitched and I took a stuttering breath. “I don’t know if I would’ve been able to tell them at all.

“I look at where we are now, Max,” I press our hands against my stomach for emphasis. “Now that I know what it feels like to have our son moving inside of me, to have heard his heartbeat and given him a name…it destroys me to think that there could be some version of us that might have never experienced this. And maybe that’s just the hormones talking and my maternal instinct taking over, but it’s how I feel.”

“I get it. It’s how I felt from the day we found out."

“The thing is, Max, I don’t know if we would have this baby without having lost my parents. And that has been so incredibly hard to reconcile.” I could feel the tears starting all over again.

“Max…I love our son. I love him beyond measure and I haven’t even held him yet. There is nothing I want more than to be his mother. But I have him because I don’t have them. And part of me feels like being so in love with him makes my feelings for them worth less. Because if I loved them as much as I think I do, how could I be so grateful for something that only happened because of their death? Does wanting them to be here mean that I somehow don’t want our son? How can I be a good mother if I spend everyday wishing that the impetus for his existence never happened?”

I curled into him as an unexpected torrent of sobs wracked my body, the guilt I hadn’t even realized I was carrying bowled me over and left me breathless.

“Shh, Lillabet. Shh. It’s okay, Lillabet. C’mere. Sit up for me,” he soothed me, helping me shift so he could pull me onto his lap and envelop me in his arms.

“I can’t pretend to know how you’re feeling and I would never trivialize your experience by telling you otherwise. But what I do know is that wanting our son and wanting your parents to be here are not mutually exclusive. It is impossible to predict what might have happened under different circumstances. Maybe Gabriel wouldn’t be here, but maybe he would be. It’s also impossible not to consider the ‘what if’ situations, I get that. I’ve considered where we would be if we’d gone to the reception after the funeral instead of going home, I’ve considered where we would be if we’d had a condom that day. Because enduring what you have endured has been incredibly hard on you and I harbor a lot of guilt for that. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t love this child we’ve created with every last fiber of my being. It just means that I simultaneously want the absolute best for the person I love most in this world as much as I want our son who is this incredible gift in the wake of an incredible tragedy. It’s okay to want both, it’s normal to want both.” Max’s voice was low and ardent, his tone imploring me to consider what he had to say.

I took a staccato breath. “So much for being strong,” I mumbled with a sniffle. “I’m so sorry I keep burdening you, Max.”

“Look at me, Lillabet,” Max insisted softly. I pulled back from his shoulder and he dropped his forehead to mine, his eyes shimmering.

“Vulnerability takes the most primal kind of strength. That I am the person you trust to be with this honestly and openly means more to me than you will ever know. It means that I have loved you well enough that you see me as your safe place. Just as I see you as mine. I just wish I could’ve protected you from all of it.”

“You have protected me. I never would’ve survived this without you, Max. Never,” I whisper, tears falling anew. “You mean everything to me.”

“I would walk through anything in this life, Liz, if it means having you by my side.” Max’s voice was husky as tear slipped down his cheek.

We held each other for a long while, movie forgotten, wrapped up in our own thoughts.

Looking back, it astounds me to think about how young we truly were. I regularly have 16 and 17 year old patients and they are children…and then I realize that so were we. Yet when faced with life experiences that would be almost insurmountable for most adults, we not only stood in defiance of the odds, we remained together. Even after all that was to come, the events that would make these early traumas pale in comparison, we survived together. And we only made it because of an extraordinary love that I do not think even we can explain. Not even now, almost 37 years on.

“Why don’t we take a shower and get into bed. I think some rest would be good,” Max suggested gently.

I nodded in agreement and disentangled myself from him so he could stand. He took me by the hand and led me to the bathroom, shutting the door behind us so it would trap the steam. He adjusted the water temperature and collected the towels as I watched him passively, surprised by how drained I suddenly felt.

“Arms up,” he commanded, his hands on the hem of tank top. I did as I was told and he slipped the garment off, depositing it on the ground before hooking his fingers into the waistband of my panties and sliding them down my legs. I held onto his shoulders as I stepped one foot out and then the other. He quickly discarded his t-shirt and boxers before reaching up to free my hair from its ponytail. Reaching around me, he pulled open the glass door and checked the water temperature before ushering me into the cubical.

I stood under the hot spray, water sluicing down my body as I closed my eyes. I felt Max’s hands in my hair, helping the water to penetrate the layers before adding a generous dollop of shampoo and working it into my scalp. I leaned into his touch, focusing only on the feel of his fingers and the proximity of his body and the delicious heat that enveloped us.

“Head back,” he instructed, tipping me under the spray as he carefully rinsed my hair. He added the conditioner next, and then I heard the cap of the body wash pop open and his soapy hands were on my neck.

There was an incredible tenderness in his touch and the care that he took with my body was exquisite. He traveled from my neck, down my shoulders, and over one arm and then the other, adding extra body wash as he went. He slid over my clavicles and over my breasts, cupping each one before moving down to my belly. He knelt, kissing my navel before washing the taut skin that held our son. He massaged my hips before taking my right leg into his hands and working the lather from the top of my thigh down to my foot and then switching to my left leg and moving upwards towards my center.

His hand slipped between my folds and he caressed my sensitive flesh, but there was nothing overtly sexual about his touch. He kissed my belly one more time before standing and gently turning me around so that my back was to him. He washed my back and my bottom before turning me once more so he could rinse the conditioner from my hair.

I reached for the body wash, wanting to return the favor, but he stopped me, shaking his head.
“This is about you, Lillabet,” he murmured. His need to care for me was so evident that I let my hand drop away and I watched as he quickly washed himself before stepping close to me once more to rinse himself off.

He turned off the shower and pulled a towel from over the door, wrapping me in it like a parent would a child. He grabbed the second one and dried himself hastily before wrapping it around his waist so he could attend to me.

He rung the excess water from my hair and then dried my body much the same as he’d washed it. When he was done, he tucked the towel around me and opened the door, standing aside so I could step out.

I stood in front of the still foggy mirror while he rubbed a bit of my hair oil between his palms before working it into my damp locks. Once he was satisfied, he gently brushed out my hair until it was tangle-free and slicked back from my face.

“Up or down?” He asked.

“Down.”

He took my hand and opened the bathroom door, leading me into the bedroom, stopping briefly at the hamper to remove our towels. He pulled back the sheets and I crawled in, facing away from his side of the bed and curling my arms around the extra pillow. Max turned out the lights before slipping in behind me, my body molding to his. As soon as I was back in his embrace, I felt myself drifting.

“Sleep, Lillabet,” he murmured.

And sleep I did.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

I woke the next day to the sound of rain drumming on the roof and Max having a quiet conversation with Gabriel.

I stirred under his hand and he looked up at me with a broad smile.

“See Bug, I told you if you didn’t settle down you’d wake up mommy!” He said admonishingly and we both laughed when a limb jutted out in response.

“Good morning,” I said, running my fingers through his damp hair. “Have you already showered?”

“I did. I saw that it was supposed to pour today so I got up early to run and took a quick shower so I could get back into bed with you. I didn’t want you waking up alone two mornings in a row,” he replied with a lopsided grin.

“You spoil me, Max Evans!”

“Anything for my best girl!” He quipped and I rolled my eyes.

Max pressed one last kiss to my bare stomach and crawled back up the bed, leaning on one elbow so he could look at me.

“How are you feeling?” He asked, lacing his fingers with mine.

“Good. Better,” I clarified. “Sleeping helped. Talking last night helped.”

“I’m glad,” he said. “You can always talk to me, Liz. About anything.”

“I know. You have no idea how much that means to me, Max. How much you mean to me.”

He kissed me gently, his lips lingering on mine.

“If it’s even half as much as you mean to me, then I am the luckiest man alive.”

I kissed him. And kissed him again. And again.

“What on earth did I do to deserve you?” I asked breathlessly.

“I guess we’re just the lucky ones, Lillabet.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

The rain stayed with us throughout the day, punctuated by deep rumbles of thunder and an angry sea.

I spent an hour writing in my journal, something Jane had encouraged me to start doing more regularly before Max talked me into a game of checkers.

“Ha! King me! In your face!” I squealed, slamming my piece down on his end of the board.

“I have been playing board games with you for literally my entire life and somehow, every single time, I manage to forget just how annoyingly competitive you get!” Max grumbled, topping off my checker with one he’d captured earlier.

“I hate to break it to you, Evans, but you’ve signed yourself up for a lifetime of having your butt kicked at family game night!” I gloated, grinning. “And besides, you only forget because you’re completely distracted by my unparalleled beauty and incomparable wit!”

“That must be it!” He laughed. “I’m blinded by love!”

I watched him make his next move and then gleefully jump four pieces, winning the game. “Apparently! Because I win again!” I pumped my fists in the air victoriously and took a bow for the imaginary crowd before grimacing as my belly tightened.

“Okay, no more board games for you!”

“Hey!” I protested once the pain passed, scowling.

“Liz. You literally just got yourself so worked up that you had a contraction. That should tell you something,” he admonished kindly and I huffed, crossing my arms over my chest. Then I winced.

“What?” Max asked, mildly alarmed.

“My boobs are sore,” I groused, refusing to look at him like a petulant child.

Max sighed dramatically. “Oh, Lillabet. What am I going to do with you?”

“Love me anyways?” I suggested with an impish grin.

He tapped his chin, pretending to think for a second before shrugging. “I suppose that’s my best option!”

“He supposes!” I teased, rolling my eyes.

We’d turned the radio on for some background noise and I’d mostly tuned it out until I caught the opening notes of one of my favorite songs of all time.

“Max…” I said, noticing that he’d heard it too.

A slow smile spread across his face and he got up from his seat and walked around to my side of the table, holding out his hand.

“May I have the pleasure of this dance?”

“I suppose!” I joked, letting him pull me to my feet.

“Now she supposes!” He quipped, holding my closely.

I rested my head against his shoulder and sighed contentedly as we swayed to the music.

Come to me now
And lay your hands over me
Even if it’s a lie
Say it will be alright
And I shall believe

I’m broken in two
And I know you’re on to me
That I only come home
When I’m so all alone
But I do believe

That not everything is gonna be the way you think it ought to be
It seems like every time I try to make it right it all comes down on me
Please say honestly you won’t give up on me
And I shall believe


“I think Gabriel likes the song, too,” I said as he moved and stretched inside of me.

“I noticed!” I could feel Max smile against my forehead. “I guess he wanted to dance with us.”

Max stepped back and spun me around before pulling me close again, resting his chin on my head.

“I think this is our first dance as the three of us,” I commented. “Since we didn’t go to prom.”

“I think you’re right,” Max agreed, spinning me once more. “It’ll be the first of many.”

Open the door
And show me your face tonight
I know it’s true
No one heals me like you
And you hold the key

Never again
Would I turn away from you
I’m so heavy tonight
But your love is alright
And I do believe


The song playing against the backdrop of the rain was incredibly soothing and I felt myself melting into the moment. There was no yesterday and no tomorrow or even two minutes from exactly then. It was just me and Max and our son in this perfect little sliver of time where nothing bad could ever happen and we would be happy forever.

That not everything is gonna be the way you think it ought to be
It seems like every time I try to make it right it all comes down on me
Please say honestly you won’t give up on me
And I shall believe

That not everything is gonna be the way you think it ought to be
It seems like every time I try to make it right it all comes down on me
Please say honestly you won’t give up on me

I shall believe
I shall believe
I shall believe
I shall believe
I shall believe
I shall believe


“I could spend the rest of my life just like this,” Max murmured, his thoughts echoing mine.

I didn’t say anything. I didn’t need to. I just held on to him more tightly and closed my eyes.

Please say honestly you won’t give up on me
And I shall believe

~*~*~*~*~*~*~
"It's like...chemical" ~ Liz Parker

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Re: Yellow (M/L ADULT): Ch. 12 7/20/20

Post by Stefuh » Tue Jul 21, 2020 9:18 am

It's good that Liz can talk about her parents again, and I'm glad Max told her, even if it made her cry, because healing is good, it's progress.
My heart broke reading the line "Even after all that was to come, the events that would make these early traumas pale in comparison, we survived together.", I'll say it again, this story will wreck me.
I'm a softie about a person taking care or the other in the couple, so that shower scene was perfect! :)
And that dance with I Shall Believe... <3 It made me want to cry, it was amazingly done.

Post more soon, please! :)
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Re: Yellow (M/L ADULT): Ch. 12 7/20/20

Post by keepsmiling7 » Tue Jul 21, 2020 10:53 am

Love the "I Shall Believer" reference.

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Re: Yellow (M/L ADULT): Ch. 14 7/31/20

Post by ChemChic » Fri Jul 31, 2020 3:29 pm

Sorry this update is so late! My life is upside down right now; I have one house that is completely gutted that I need to move into no later than September 15th, a condo that needs to be put on the market, a 30 acre horse farm that requires almost daily mowing (and even with full-time staff plus weekend help, I'm still behind on all of the chores!) and we're facing a possible tropical storm barreling over us on Monday, and a rental property 1500 miles away that has some very high maintenance guests at the moment, and a stable full of horses in two different states. I'm being spread a bit thin presently, so you'll have to forgive me if I'm not on time over these next few weeks! Oh, and I'm still a full-time PhD student to top it all off. Wee!

This next chapter is just a bunch of adorable mush. Hope you enjoy!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~


The rest of the week progressed languidly with lazy days on the beach, an arts festival in Venice, home cooked breakfasts, quiet dinners at little hideaways along the Key, and long, intimate nights…and afternoons…and mornings…

Max remained diligent about his early morning exercise, always returning before I awoke fresh and ready for the day.

Saturday morning began no differently.

The first thing I felt were lips on my forehead. And then my nose. And then my lips. And then a puff of air against my ear as he whispered, “I have a surprise for you!”

I scrunched my eyes shut and stretched, finding that I could only move so far because of a large Max-shaped lump pinning me to the bed.

“Morning,” I mumbled sleepily, rubbing my eyes before opening them to find Max less than 6 inches from my face with a puppy-level expression of exuberance.

“What are you doing?” I laughed groggily, cupping his face in my hands.

“I have a surprise for you!” He repeated, more excitedly.

“A surprise?” I echoed, confused. “What time is it?”

“Yes! It’s almost 10! If you don’t get up now, you won’t get to eat before the first part of it gets here!” He was practically jumping up and down, kneeling over me.

I blinked a few times and shook my head, highly amused. “What is even happening right now?” I mumbled, trying to sit up. Max realized that he was in my way and scooted backwards, offering me his hands.

“Here!” He said, handing me one of his button down shirts.

“…Thanks?” I looked at the garment quizzically, not sure what he wanted me to do with it.

It dawned on him that he was getting ahead of himself and he said, “put this on with some comfortable bottoms. Shorts or yoga pants or something you don’t mind sitting in for a bit. And a comfortable bikini!”

To say that I was befuddled at this point would be a colossal understatement! “So you want me to wear this particular shirt with some stretchy pants and a bathing suit. Sure, why not?”

Whatever Max had planned was making the man practically giddy, so I figured my best bet was to go along with whatever he wanted and hope for the best.

“Quickly!” He encouraged as I gathered my clothing and headed for the bathroom.

Who is this man and what has he done with Max?

I emerged into the kitchen 5 minutes later to find a bowl of yogurt topped with berries and granola at my place setting and I raised an eyebrow. “We’re on such a time table that I couldn’t even choose my own breakfast?” I quipped, not unhappy about Max’s selection, just mildly surprised by his presumption.

“I can make you something else! I just know that you love vanilla yogurt and strawberries and blackberries and granola. And that it was very quick to make!” He replied, setting his own bowl down across from me.

“It’s perfect. Thank you,” I said reassuringly. “So what is this surprise, Max?”

He grinned at me around the spoon in his mouth and shook his head. “You’re just going to have to wait and see!” He said when his mouth was no longer full.

“Maaax,” I whined. “Please tell me? Please?”

“Nope, not gonna happen! You’re just going to have to wait…” he glanced at the clock on the wall. “Three more minutes! So finish your breakfast!”

I tucked in, anticipation building, trying to figure out what on earth he was so worked up over.

About 4 minutes later, the door bell rang.

“I’ll get it!” Max sprang up from his seat and darted down the hallway for the front door. I heard him greet someone and the sound of several sets of footsteps carrying awkward objects follow him back into the kitchen. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it was not two middle aged women in white polo shirts and khakis carrying massage tables!

He’s this worked up about a couple’s massage? I thought, watching as he ushered them out of the slider and onto the portico facing the water.

“This is only part one,” Max said slyly as I followed him outside.

The women introduced themselves as Laurie and Kathleen and they asked us to get comfortable while they finished setting up. I was pleasantly surprised to find that one of the tables had a cut out for both my belly and my breasts; considering how sensitive they’d been, I wasn’t looking forward to the prospect of laying with my weight on my chest for an hour!

I shrugged out of my clothes and got situated on the table, pleased by how comfortable it was. While I was still about a month away from struggling to find even moderately acceptable sleeping positions, I was starting to understand why pregnant women complained about being pregnant!

Kathleen asked me a few questions about areas were I was experiencing soreness or discomfort while Max discussed the same with Laurie before one of them turned on some ambient music and I was treated to one of the most relaxing hours of my entire pregnancy.

“How do you feel, Lillabet?” Max asked. The masseuses had just left and we were sitting in a gelatinous heap on the patio loungers.

“Mmmm,” I moaned happily, too relaxed to form words.

Max chuckled. “I thought you’d like that. We’ve got about 20 minutes before part 2 arrives. Do you want a snack?”

My head lolled to the side and I cracked open one eye to look at him. I’d honestly forgot there was more to come!

“Surprise me,” I deadpanned with a wry grin.

Max rolled his eyes and bent down to kiss me before disappearing into the house.

He returned with a bottle of water and a turnover from the pastry shop we’d stopped at after the arts festival the day before.

“I don’t know who thought to make a guava passion fruit turnover, but I’m pretty sure they deserve to be canonized!” I commented, savoring the tropical flavors. “The only thing that would make this better would be a liberal sprinkling of Tabasco!”

Max looked from me to the pastry and back to me again, grimacing. “I know they say pregnant women have some really…interesting cravings, but that’s di…”

“Don’t you dare finish that sentence, Max,” I warned him, arching an eyebrow.

“Different! I was going to say different!” He defended himself, eyes wide.

“Uh huh, sure you were,” I teased, taking another bite and dreaming of the spicy condiment.

“Hey, if you want Tabasco, you can have Tabasco! I’m just thrilled to see you enjoying food again,” he commented gently and I smiled. I was pretty pleased, myself.

We finished our snack and Max suggested we get dressed and head back inside. A few minutes later, the doorbell rang for the second time that day.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

By the time the afternoon began to drift into evening, I’d had my hair, nails, and makeup done and Max had a trim and even let them soak his hands and clean up his fingernails as well.

At first, I’d just suspected that this was an at-home spa day, but when the makeup artist showed up, I started to get suspicious. Though it finally explained why I was wearing one of Max’s old button down shirts!

“Max, how can we afford all of this?” I asked him for what was certainly not the first time that day.

“I promise you, Liz, it’s all taken care of. Please don’t worry about it!”

All I could do was trust the man and hope to god he hadn’t blow his savings on such sweet but frivolous things!

It was 6:00 when the final technician left.

“You look gorgeous, Lillabet,” Max said, walking back into the kitchen from the front hallway.

“I’m…half dressed up with nowhere to go!” I joked, a million possibilities of what he had planned next running through my mind.

“There’s something on the bed for you. Meet me back out here when you’re ready,” he said cryptically.

What greeted me was a gauzy white peasant crop top with a floor length matching skirt and a crown of white roses. There was a delicate pair of white lace panties and a matching strapless bra.

Max Evans, just what do you have up your sleeve?

I stripped out of my clothes and bathing suit and shimmied into the panties and bra, followed by the top and skirt, surprised how well everything fit. The outfit accentuated my baby bump and while I was quite pleased by the ensemble, I hoped that we weren’t going anywhere too public because I did feel too exposed to be anywhere but the beach. The stylist had done my hair in soft waves and the handwoven headpiece added a beautiful touch.

I emerged from the bedroom quietly, feeling suddenly and inexplicably shy. Whatever Max had planned, he’d picked this very specific outfit for a reason and I could only hope that the reality met his expectations.

I found him standing on the portico facing the water in white linen pants and a matching button down shirt left completely open. He turned when he heard me approaching and his eyes went wide as his jaw slackened.

“Wow, Liz…you look…Wow. Just wow,” he said admiringly. I blushed and ducked my head.

“You look pretty wow yourself,” I replied, resting my hands on the sides of his bare waist and looking up at him. “What is all this, Max?” I asked, a hint of awe in my voice.

“You’ll see,” he murmured, tilting his head down to press his forehead to mine. “Come with me.”

I slipped my hand into his and followed him down the short boardwalk that traversed the dune where it met the stairs that led to the beach. As we reached the end, we were met by a pretty blonde women in her mid-20s holding a very professional looking camera.

“Leanna, this is Liz. Liz, this is Leanna. She’s here to do a maternity photoshoot for us,” Max explained, smiling.

“Are you serious?” I asked excitedly, my eyes lighting up. “Max, this is incredible! I’ve wanted to do one of these so badly but I figured it would be too expensive and so I didn’t say anything!”

“Liz Parker, I have known you since literally the day you were born, do you really think I didn’t know you’d like to do this?” Max admonished playfully.
“How did you even pull all of this off? I mean, I literally had no idea any of this was going on!”

“So you know all of those early mornings this past week? I really did go running, but only for about 30 minutes. I spent the rest of the time making arrangements. I even roped Isabel into my plans. She was the one that picked out these outfits and overnighted them from Roswell. Though she wasn’t too happy to get a phone call from me at 5:15 am their time! Needless to say, I owe her a major favor when I get home!” Max lamented and I giggled, know Isabel would definitely hold him to his end of the bargain!

“Max, this is amazing. Truly. Thank you,” I said earnestly and I stood on my tiptoes to kiss him, the camera clicking away in the background.

“I guess we’re starting!” I laughed, looking at the photographer.

“Sorry, that was too good a moment to pass up!” She replied. “Let’s talk a bit about what you guys want and how I’m envisioning some shots and we’ll get going.”

She went through a few standard poses with us, positioning us based on the light and the water. Max standing behind me, Max kissing my belly, standing facing one another looking down at my bump…the usual fare. Then she asked us to pretend she wasn’t there for a bit; splash in the surf, talk, laugh, kiss, whatever we felt comfortable doing.

“I can’t believe we’re doing this, Max,” I laughed as I kicked water at him, holding up my skirt so it wouldn’t get wet. Max suddenly scooped me up and I squealed as I unexpectedly flew off my feet.

“We deserve these memories, Lillabet,” he said, kissing me hard before spinning us around. He stepped back onto the sand and set me down.

“I think I got a few really good ones, guys! I have one other idea if you’re up for it,” Leanna offered and we both nodded eagerly in agreement.

“We’re going to do some sand writing. A few with your baby’s name, maybe your initials. And then I’ll have you guys do some different poses with your artwork. What do you think?”

Max glanced down at me and I smiled, loving the idea.

“Sounds good!” He said and we sat down and got to work.

She took pictures of the process as well as a few artsy shots with closeups on our hands or on Gabriel’s name with us blurred in the background.
“Okay, for this last one I need you Liz to go back towards the stairs and just wait for a second while I set something up. Stand facing the dune until I tell you to turn around,” she instructed and I looked at Max curiously for a moment before complying, wondering just what she had in mind.

By this point, the sun had begun to set in earnest and the sky was awash in incredible colors. The thick, cumulus clouds burned orange accented by streaks of deep pink and rich yellow. I mused about what they could possibly be planning until I heard Leanna tell me to turn around.
I will remember every detail about that moment for the rest of my life.

The first thing that registered was the heart Max drew in the sand complete with an “M+L” in the middle. Then I read the question written below those initials that stole my voice.

Forever?

And somehow I was standing in front of Max who kissed me sweetly before dropping to one knee.

And suddenly I couldn’t breathe.

Then I registered something small and sparkling in his right hand and he took my left hand in his.

And to this day, I still do not have the words to describe the emotions that crashed over me in that moment.

“When someone asks me what my earliest memory is of, my answer is you. We couldn’t have been any older than 3 and I distinctly remember my mother telling me you were coming over for a visit and I was so excited to see you I insisted on sitting on the front step to wait for you. I remember your parents’ car pulling into the driveway and you saw me there through the window and started waving at me. And as soon as they let you out, you ran up to me and gave me the biggest hug. And I remember being so happy that you were as excited to see me as I was you. We were so little and it was such a small thing, but it has remained with me all these years.

“The thing is, Liz, I still feel that way when I see you every single day. Even if you’ve just gone into the other room to get something, I still get butterflies when you return. And these feelings grow stronger every single day. Just when I think I couldn’t possibly love you more, you say something or do something that makes me fall for you all over again.

“Lillabet, I know that we are incredibly young and I know that there have been a lot of unexpected changes in our life, but the one thing that I know will never change is that you are the single most important person in the world to me and that I want to spend the rest of my life with you.

“Liz Parker, will you marry me?”

I didn’t have a second’s hesitation.

“Yes,” I breathed, not trusting my voice.

The tears shimmering in Max’s eyes mirrored my own and I watched in awe as he slipped the ring onto my finger. I recognized it immediately.

“…Max? Is this…Is this m…my mother’s?” I would know that worn platinum band anywhere, but I realized the setting was different.

Max stood, still holding my hand, bringing it close to my face.

“The band and the center stone are your mother’s. One of the side stones belonged to your Grandma Claudia. The other one belonged to my mother’s grandmother. It just happened to work out that they were the same size,” he explained quietly as I stared at the ring in shock.

I cupped his face in my hands, my tears falling freely now, punctuated by astonished laughter. There were not words strong enough or sincere enough to express the depth and breadth of my love and gratitude for this incredible man standing before me. Instead, I kissed him. Long, and deep, and with the infinite love that was emanating from every inch of my body, I kissed him.

“You have made me the happiest man alive,” Max whispered when we finally broke apart, chests heaving and cheeks still damp.

“Congratulations, you two!” Laurie called, startling both of us. We’d completely forgotten she was there!

Max held me close and beamed at her. “Thank you. Thank you for capturing all of this for us.”

“I’m glad I had the privilege! I’ll get these together in the next week and send you a CD in the mail with some instructions about ordering prints. I’ll leave you two to celebrate!” She waved to us and we watched her retreat up the dune.

“Is this even real, Max? Is this really happening?” I asked, still in shock.

“You’d better believe it’s real, Liz Parker soon-to-be-Evans,” Max said, dropping his forehead to mine.

“Liz Evans,” I murmured. “I can definitely get used to that!”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

We sat on the beach for another 30 minutes until the sky was a deep purple punctuated by a smattering of stars.

“Max, how did you pull this off? You had no idea we were going on this trip!” I asked. “I mean, unless you did. Because this ring alone had to take some serious planning!”

“I didn’t know, actually. This was as much a surprise to me as it was to you. The ring, however, is something I’ve had in the works for awhile now. I knew how much you loved your mother’s engagement ring and when you came out of the apartment that day wearing your dad’s wedding band but only your mom’s necklace, I knew she must’ve been wearing them when…” He let the sentence trail off.

“So I asked my mom what was going to happen to any jewelry that your mom was wearing and I told her how much it would mean for you to have her rings. So she made arrangements to get them for me. I remembered that your parents also had your Grandma Claudia’s engagement ring and I’d figured that it was in the safe in the Crash Down, so I had Jim get that for me as well. The band was broken and the setting was cracked, but the diamond was still in great shape. I showed it to my parents and explained that I wanted to do something to incorporate the two rings together so that when the time came, I would have an engagement ring for you. I knew that it would mean so much more for you to have a piece like this than something I bought from a store. That’s when my mother offered me her grandmother’s ring. She’d been saving it to give to the first one of us to get engaged if we’d want it and it just so happened that your grandmother’s ring and my great grandmother’s ring were the same carat size and cut. I took everything to Mr. Escobar’s in town and he used your grandmother’s band to make the settings for the two smaller diamonds and then he sized the ring based on the one I got you for your birthday last year.” Max explained, holding my palm against his as he examined my hand.

I raised my eyebrows, impressed. I hadn’t even realized that ring was missing and I wore it almost every day!

“I didn’t have a solid plan as to when I was going to propose, but I knew that there would come a point in the near future when I would need that ring to be ready. I was trying to figure out how to work extra hours to pay for the baby’s things as well as the ring while still spending time with you, but when my parents agreed to do the nursery and cover the necessities for my birthday, it gave me the money to have the ring made.

“And then when my parents gave us the trip, I knew that this was going to be my opportunity. I called them early Monday morning and told them my plan and they offered to help with the photographer and that’s when Isabel got involved as well. So I spent the next few mornings arranging for today’s spa treatments and I picked the outfits up from the UPS Store yesterday. I’m just thrilled that everything managed to fall into place.”

“You might just be the most intrepid 17 year old on the planet!” I proclaimed, leaning up to kiss his cheek.

“I don’t know about that. I was just highly motivated!” He chuckled, turning to look at me. “We’ve been through so much in these last eight months and our lives are so far from anything we’d imagined for ourselves…I just wanted to make your dreams come true.”

I cupped his face in my hands and kissed him gently. “My dreams came true the day I was born, Max, because it was the day I met you. Most little girls spend hours imagining what their Prince Charming looks like and when he will come and whisk them off their feet; I never had to imagine because I always knew. There are so many things in my life that are an unknown quantity, but the one thing that I’ve been unequivocally sure of is that my future is with you. And not only have you given me the most incredible day, but we’ve made the sweetest memories. This is a story we will tell our grandchildren.”

“As long as he doesn’t make us grandparents until we’re at least 50, I’m all for it!” Max quipped, rubbing my bump.

“Tell me about it!” I laughed, rolling my eyes.

“But seriously, Max,” I sobered, staring at my hand again. “I cannot believe you did this. I really thought this ring was gone forever,” my voice broke and I took a shaky breath. “It’s amazing. You’re amazing.” I kissed him then, full and long, moaning softly as wispy tendrils of desire unfurled low in my belly.

“Max…” I murmured, my lips only millimeters from his. “I think we have some celebrating to do…”

“I think you might be right.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~
"It's like...chemical" ~ Liz Parker

keepsmiling7
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Re: Yellow (M/L ADULT): Ch. 14 7/31/20

Post by keepsmiling7 » Fri Jul 31, 2020 7:14 pm

I am amazed you even have time to turn on your computer to Roswell FF with that schedule of yours.
WOW is all I can say.

Now to this fun episode........suggestions for wardrobe......
Part 1 was a great start.
The makeup artist is such a treat.
Then the photo shoot, how can you top that?
But Max did it with the special ring.

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ChemChic
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Re: Yellow (M/L ADULT): Ch. 15 8/4/20

Post by ChemChic » Tue Aug 04, 2020 1:53 pm

Hi guys! Thanks for the feedback! I had 5 minutes, so I thought I'd throw this up quickly! Enjoy!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“I cannot believe my best friend is an engaged woman!” Maria exclaimed dramatically, enveloping me in a bear hug. “It feels like your first wedding was just yesterday, Petunia!” She teased and then hugged me again.

“Oof, Maria! Baby on board!” I scolded her as she squished Gabriel between us.

“Right, right! Sorry little guy!” She patted my belly. “So when’s the wedding?” She was practically vibrating with excitement.

“Maria! We just got engaged on Saturday and I’m about to have a baby in two months; we’re not in any rush!” I replied, sitting down on the couch.

It was the Monday after our vacation and Maria had insisted that she, Isabel, and I have a girl’s night. Not that I was complaining; I knew that these opportunities were going to be far fewer once Gabriel arrived.

“So you liked the outfits?” Isabel asked, walking in from the kitchen with a bowl of popcorn and three cans of orange soda. Maria made a face as she handed her one.

“Alex has been spending too much time here if this is our beverage selection!” She groused but popped the tab and took a sip anyways.

“You get used to it eventually,” Isabel said. “I mean, it’s pretty much what it tastes like to kiss Alex, so I’m pretty partial!” She waggled her eyebrows.

Maria grimaced and set the offending drink on the coffee table. “Delightful.”

I giggled and shook my head at my two best friends. I’d missed them. “Anyways! To answer your question, Isabel, the outfits couldn’t have been more perfect. Truly. You have such an eye. I cannot wait to see how the pictures turned out!”

“Me either,” Isabel agreed. “So without going into gory detail about my brother’s sex life, how was your trip?”

Being best friends with your boyfriend’s twin sister certainly made for an interesting dynamic! Like any normal teenaged girls, we talked about boys and sex, but there was definitely a bit of a gray area when it came to me or Maria talking about Max or Michael with Isabel.

“It was absolutely incredible!” I gushed. “Except for Saturday, we really didn’t do anything extraordinary, it was just so special to have that time together. It was incredibly hot, but the beach was beautiful and the house was wonderful as always. We’re both really looking forward to brining Gabriel there one day.”

I told them about the day of our engagement and the photoshoot and Max’s proposal, but I left out the bit about my breakdown. For one, it would be a depressing point in an otherwise fun evening, but secondarily I was still having an incredibly difficult time talking about my emotions surrounding the loss of my parents. Even with Max or in therapy, it took a trigger to initiate the conversation and afterwards I was left feeling exposed and vulnerable. And no matter how genuine or well-intentioned, the sympathy offered by others was deeply uncomfortable to receive. It was the tilt of a head or the softening of their eyes, the knitting of a brow. It was the knowledge that there was a tiny voice in the back of their heads saying ‘thank god that didn’t happen to me.’ It was the knowledge that my life had somehow become a tragic story.

It had nothing to do with a lack of trust when it came to Isabel or Maria or anyone in our strange little family unit and I had no question that they would listen to me without judgement or unnecessary platitudes. It was more the notion that my experience somehow made me other. An irrational concept, perhaps, especially considering I was the only pregnant 16 year old we knew, but even then pregnancy and parenthood were something that I knew they would experience eventually; the double homicide of their parents? Not so much. How can you expect someone to relate to you regarding something you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy?

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“Welcome back, Liz,” Jane said, following me into her office.

“Thank you,” I replied, easing into the chair across from her. “I’m sorry for the voicemail cancelation last week, I wasn’t expecting to be in Florida!”

“It’s perfectly okay, I think it’s wonderful that the two of you got the opportunity to go away for a few days. How was your trip?” She asked, settling herself and placing her notepad in her lap.

“It was absolutely incredible. Max proposed,” I said, holding out my hand to show her the ring. “We’re not in any rush to get married,” I added quickly. “But I couldn’t think of a better way for him to have asked.”

“You know, Liz, if you were most any other one of my adolescent clients, I would perhaps be less than thrilled and spend the session trying to dissuade you from making such an enormous decision so young. Even if those clients were pregnant. But knowing your relationship with Max and particularly having the advantage of Jesse’s notes, all I can say is congratulations,” Jane said, smiling.

“Thank you,” I blushed, glancing down at my ring for a moment before looking back to her.

“Something else happened on the trip, though. And I think I need to talk about it,” I began. I explained the discussion Max and I had the night we were watching Night Moves and admitted that it was something I’d been grappling with for months but was reluctant to bring up with her.

“It’s just that I’ve judged myself so harshly for these feelings that it only seemed rational that everyone else would as well. That it all reflects so poorly on my ability to mother my child. And talking with Max made me realize that my perception of this situation is likely not reality, but I still can’t help the way I feel. My baby is coming into this world under such complicated circumstances and I don’t want any of that to be his responsibility. I want him to be loved and cherished and appreciated for who he is and not tied to the tragedy that came before him,” I explained, choosing my words carefully.

“Do you know what I’m hearing from you right now, Liz?” Jane asked, putting her pen down and folding her hands.

I shook my head.

“I am hearing that you want the absolute best for your child and that his happiness and his needs take precedence over your own. That it is more important to you that he lives a life unencumbered from your experiences than it is that you do. Do you know what that makes you?”

I shook my head again.

“That makes you a mother. That makes you an excellent mother,” Jane said softly. “There is no question that the circumstances around your pregnancy are difficult, but you have an incredible support system of people who love you and your son unconditionally. Missing your parents and wanting them back does not make Gabriel any less loved or wanted. In fact, I would argue that he’s even more precious to them and to you because of the circumstances. You and he are your parents’ legacies. They live on because of the two of you. And the best way to honor that legacy is to be the best possible mother to your child and there is no question you are already doing exactly that.

“In terms of your capabilities as a parent or your desire to love and nurture your child, I have absolutely no reservations. What I do worry about, Liz, is your lack of affinity towards self-care. Trauma during pregnancy is one of risk factors for Postpartum Depression and being a teenaged parent is another. While there is no way to predict whether or not you will suffer from this, the best thing that we can do is to prepare you as much as possible and make sure that you are utilizing the support system available to you. You’ve been forced to make some unprecedented adjustments in this past year and that’s only going to accelerate with a newborn. Of course, you’re already in therapy and in couple’s counseling, so that’s an excellent start, but I think it would be prudent to consider a parenting class and a birthing class.”

“That makes sense,” I agreed. I hadn’t even considered the possibility that I could face further emotional complications after Gabriel’s birth.

“I also think that we need to take some steps towards getting you to be more open with people who are not Max. The saying that it takes a village to raise a child is not an empty sentiment; even the most prepared new parents can use all of the help they can get. You need to feel like you can rely on the people that surround you and that you can trust them to be there for you because they love you, not because of obligation. And that’s going to take some effort on your part. It starts with being honest about how you’re feeling because that is the first step to being able to accept support. So if you’re having a bad day and Diane asks you how you’re doing, take that opportunity to open with her. If you’re having a rough day, tell her; if you need help, ask.”

“I think what I’m struggling with most is why connecting with these people I have known and loved my whole life has become so incredibly difficult. I mean, I understand that my parents’ death was the catalyst, but this was never me. Not before. I told Maria and Isabel everything. I never had trouble expressing my feelings or being open about what was on my mind. It’s different with Max, but then again it’s always been different,” I admitted.

“It’s going to take some time. You’ve essentially been in survival mode for the past 8 months. Finding a new normal after a trauma is a complex process and you need to give yourself permission to heal at your own pace. You have phenomenal self-awareness; now it is just a matter of working through these issues in a way that will not overwhelm you or add to your burden. That’s why I’m here.”

“I don’t know what I would do without you, Jane. Truly.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

The next few weeks passed by quickly, punctuated with doctor’s appointments, our new birthing class, and a parenting class. We were the youngest couple by at least 4 or 5 years, but everyone was supportive and kind which was a huge relief. We even had the opportunity to take a tour of the maternity ward at Eastern New Mexico Regional Hospital and to discuss our birth plan with Dr. Greenberg and her staff. Overall, I was feeling about as prepared as an almost 17 year old could for such a life-changing event, but there was still one issue to address.

The nursery.

A few weekends after we’d returned home from Florida, the guys were assigned to clearing out the guest room adjacent to mine and Max’s bedroom. Diane and Amy took the opportunity to pack Isabel, Maria, and I into the car and drive north to Albuquerque for a baby shopping spree as our options in Roswell were relatively limited. Diane reasoned that it would give the boys time enough to paint the room and lay the new floors and hang the curtain rods so that it would be ready to be decorated. They’d even rented a small U-Haul trailer to cart all of our purchases home!

“I booked us a suite at the Hotel Parq Central,” Diane said excitedly that Friday evening, taking the exit off of 85 into downtown Albuquerque. “And we have reservations at this little bistro Phillip used to take me to when we were in law school. I thought we could use a real girls’ weekend!”

“Diane, you didn’t have to do all of this, JCPenny would’ve been just fine!” I insisted, uncomfortable with the amount of money the weekend would cost.

“Nonsense! This is my first grand baby and I wanted to do something fun and memorable. Besides, the men are going to be a grumpy, sweaty bunch trying to get that room cleared out and painted this weekend so what better time to get as far away from Roswell as we can!” Diane replied, her eyes twinkling in the rearview mirror.

“I for one am thrilled to not have to deal with Jim complaining about his back every night!” Amy interjected. “I left a tube of arnica on the nightstand and a fridge full of beer. He should be able to figure it out from there!”

We all laughed and I felt simultaneously grateful to have these incredible, supportive women in my life as well as a deep, pervasive ache that my mother was no longer here to enjoy this with us. I knew that weekend was not going to be easy.

Once we were checked in, we had a few hours until our dinner reservation, so Maria and Isabel decided to check out the pool while Diane and Amy went downstairs for a glass of wine. I was exhausted and sore from the drive, so I decided to stay back and take a nap.

I was just starting to drift off, wondering how Max and the guys were making out when I heard my phone ring. I smiled when I saw his name on the screen.
“I was just thinking about you,” I said, grinning.

“Did I wake you? I can call back later,” Max asked, immediately concerned.

“I was just about to take a nap, but I’d much rather talk to you,” I replied. “I’d wanted to call before I laid down, but I didn’t want to interrupt you guys.”

“You are never an interruption, Lillabet. We just stopped to have dinner and I wanted to make sure you’d gotten in safely and you were feeling okay,” Max said.

“We did. Our reservation isn’t until 8, so Maria and Iz went down to the pool and your mom and Amy are down at the wine bar. Your son has been playing Mortal Kombat with my kidneys and ribcage so I figured I’d rest for a bit!”

“I wish I was there to rub your back. It feels really strange to not have you here. It’s been a really long time since we’ve been apart.”

“I know. It’s going to be really bizarre sleeping alone tonight. But I think you would’ve been miserable on this trip! Way too much shopping and estrogen!” I quipped and Max chuckled.

“For you, Lillabet, I would’ve grinned and bore it! But we’re having a pretty good time here. Kyle is off tomorrow, so we’ll have all hands on deck. Michael apparently has something in mind for one of the walls, so we’re under strict instructions to have everything else done by Sunday morning so he can have the room to himself.”

“On the one hand, I love Michael’s art so I’m sure whatever he has planned will be beautiful, but on the other hand I’m really hoping he at least talked to your mom so that we don’t end up with clashing themes.” We’d thrown around some ideas for the nursery, but hadn’t settled on anything specific.

“Well, he asked me how we felt about a space theme and I told him I’d ask you, which is the other reason for my call.”

“Actually, I’m not opposed to that at all,” I replied. It seemed more than fitting for a Roswellian baby to have an outer space themed room and considering how much we both loved astronomy, it felt rather appropriate. “So long as it’s space and not aliens!” I amended quickly. I grew up in an alien themed tourist trap, I didn’t need my son to be surrounded by the same little green men from my childhood!

“I already made that perfectly clear!” Max assured me. “He promised that it would be very tasteful.”

“I’m sure it will be wonderful. I’m excited to see it!”

“So am I,” Max agreed. “I don’t want to keep you from your nap, Lillabet. Why don’t you get some rest and give me a call before you guys go to bed tonight.”

“I will. I love you.”

“I love you, too.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“Good evening, ladies, and welcome to L’Orange. My name is Eddy and I will be your waiter this evening. Are you celebrating anything special with us tonight?” A lanky young man in a crisp white shirt and pinstripe pants greeted us after we were seated.

“Well, I’d certainly say that we are! One last girls’ weekend before the birth of my first grand baby,” Diane beamed and I blushed as the waiter took in my burgeoning belly, half hidden by the tabletop.

“Ah, how exciting! Congratulations are in order, then! Do you ladies know what you would like to drink?”

Dinner was absolutely delicious and Diane spent the better part of it telling stories from her college years with Phillip and my parents.

“And the best part was that there really was a live chicken in the trunk!” Diane was almost in tears and we were all laughing along with her.

“Makes me wish I’d been at college with you guys,” Amy said, dabbing at her eyes with a napkin. “Sounds like it was a whole lot more fun than 8th grade homeroom!” She teased.

“We had some really great times,” Diane agreed and then she looked around the table. “And now it’s about to be your turn, girls!”

Maria and Isabel agreed enthusiastically, but I just smiled. Somehow, I think my college experience is going to be very different from theirs.

“It’s going to be a wonderful experience for you too, Liz,” Diane said, noting my reservation. “Just because you’ll have the baby doesn’t mean you won’t have the opportunity to join clubs and meet new friends and make lasting memories you can one day share with Gabriel.”

“I certainly hope so!” I agreed. “To be honest though, I think my ideas on what I hope to get out of college have changed quite a bit.”

For as long as I can remember, I was so sure I’d end up at Harvard or Boston University and I had this really specific vision of what that would look like. I anticipated that Max and I would be in the same city if not at the same school, sure, but I imagined living on campus and getting really involved with school activities and taking on extracurriculars and TAing opportunities. I’d dreamt about Max and I studying abroad in Europe during our junior year and maybe even getting engaged while there. I’d imagined visiting Maria in New York or Alex at Cal Poly Tech or even having him in Cambridge at MIT if we were really lucky. I pictured long weekends leaf peeping in the fall and skiing in the winter in the mountains of Vermont and all of us meeting for one last spring break in Florida during our senior year.

But after Gabriel, my thoughts were occupied with building a class schedule that allowed either Max or I to be home with him as much as possible. Doing well enough during our first year at community college to secure in state scholarships to UNM so that we wouldn’t have to worry about tuition. Finding an apartment close enough to campus that would also be in a safe neighborhood, maybe even near a park where we could take our son to play. Instead of long weekends in the Green Mountains, it was getting the opportunity for Gabe to visit with his grandparents for 3 days. And that spring break senior year had morphed into a family trip to Disney Land because by then Gabe would be old enough to appreciate it.

“That certainly makes sense,” Diane said. “And I think that little one is going to keep you and Max very busy!”

If only we knew.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

We spent the better part of the next day blazing through several major shopping malls as well as some smaller boutiques and consignment shops. Diane and Isabel were in hyperdrive while Maria, Amy, and I just tried to keep up. As soon as I announced that we were going with a space theme, Diane and Isabel launched into a heated discussion about the merits of a whimsical, cartoonish approach (Diane’s choice) or a more astronomy-inspired stellar approach (Isabel’s choice). They went on for about 10 minutes while I looked on in amusement before it dawned on either of them to ask me.

“Why don’t we just see what we can find and we’ll build from there?” I suggested. And here I thought the pregnant woman was supposed to be the irrational one!
We’d gotten through the non-themed essentials - stroller, high chair, car seat, bottles, diapers, wipes, bath products and the like - and we were browsing around a smaller store when something caught my eye. It was a little brown and white stuffed dog with a silver and red space suit embroidered with the name “Cosmo”. Some kids have a favorite blanket or pacifier, but I knew right then and there that Cosmo was going to be Gabriel’s sidekick.

“That’s adorable!” Maria said, taking it from me and looking it over. “He certainly fits the theme!”

“I know, I think he’s perfect,” I agreed.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

By the end of the day, it felt as though we’d picked every baby store in the entire city clean. At one point, I’d thought we were going to have to find a place to rent an entire U-Haul box truck, never mind the trailer we’d brought with us!

We’d reached a happy medium with the nursery aesthetic and besides Cosmo, the thing I was most excited about was a beautiful and entirely too-expensive glider with matching foot rest. It was from the same collection as the mahogany crib and changing table and Diane had even arranged for it to be reupholstered in a gorgeous navy blue fabric dotted with tiny white stars. It would be delivered to Roswell in two weeks.

When we’d finished shopping for all things baby, we took the opportunity to do some back-to-school shopping for Maria and Isabel. Up until that point, I’d been so caught up in the whirlwind experience that I’d hardly had a second to breathe let alone think, but watching my two best girlfriends and their mothers as they excitedly tried on outfits for the new school year planted the seeds for that same profound ache from the day before that settled into my stomach and over my chest. I did my best to stay engaged and to offer input or help pick out items as we browsed the racks, but by degrees it seemed like almost everyone that walked by us were a mother and a daughter out for a shopping trip and I felt suddenly and completely alone.

Like many only children, I enjoyed a wonderfully close relationship with both of my parents, but my mother was truly one of my very best friends. I genuinely enjoyed spending time with her and looked forward to going out to eat or to the movies or even just hanging out around the house together. While I don’t feel that I ever took our relationship for granted, I absolutely did assume that she would always be there. When I was little, I’d insisted that she and my father were going to live to be 129 so that I could live to be 100 and they’d still be around.

While I’d never given the logistics of impending motherhood much consideration prior to becoming pregnant, a subconscious part of my brain simply presumed that she would be very much involved in all of the shopping and setting up the nursery and I would get to hear about her experiences when she was pregnant and gain all of this incredible insight from the woman who raised me so well.

Now, that fantasy was shattered.

I grew more reticent as the evening wore on and by the time we’d returned from dinner, I was on the verge of miserable internally, though externally I was fighting with every ounce in me not to let it show. I was beyond grateful for Diane and Amy and everything they did to make the weekend special and I was incredibly thankful for Diane’s generosity so I didn’t want to diminish what they had done to make any of this happen by sulking.

I just wanted my mom.

While everyone was in the living area of the suite sorting their purchases, I excused myself to the girls’ bedroom saying that I wanted to check in with Max. I closed the door quietly behind me and I really did have every intention of calling him, but as I sat down on the edge of the bed, that ache which had begun in my stomach and my chest enveloped my whole body, somatizing my grief until I began to sob under the agony of its weight. I curled onto my side and brought the pillow to my face to drown out my wailing, but the cries that wracked my body were violent and aggressive and entirely beyond my control.

I was in the room for less than a minute before the door came flying open and a panic-stricken Diane was at my side.

“Liz! Are you okay? Is it the baby?” Her voice was thick with anxiety.

I shook my head, sobbing so violently that I barely made a sound, but I managed to weakly choke out, “I want my mom!”

“Oh, Liz!” Diane cried, sitting down beside me on the bed and leaning over to envelop me in a hug. “Oh, honey. I am so sorry. I know how much you miss her. I wish more than anything she was here with us, here with you. I cannot imagine how hard this has been for you. She loved you more than anything in this entire universe and she would be so incredibly proud of you. Proud beyond measure, Liz. I am so, so sorry.”

She held me and cried with me until my sobs finally began to subside into staccato hiccups. I shifted and she pulled back, smoothing my hair away from my face the exact same way my mother would when I was little. It took all I had left in me not to start bawling all over again.

Diane reached over to the bedside table and handed me a few tissues, waiting quietly while I dried my tears and composed myself.

“I’m sorry, Diane,” I said quietly, still sniffling. “You’ve done so much for me and you’ve been so supportive and you organized this amazing weekend and I don’t want you to think that I’m not grateful.”

“Liz, that is the last thing I would ever think, I promise you. You lost your mom, Liz and you have every right to want and miss her! I have always loved you like a daughter and that will never change, but that does not mean that I can ever be her. You are about to become a mother yourself, it is only natural to want your own mother there to guide and support you. I’m 46 years old and I miss my own mother every single day. I cannot imagine what it would’ve been like to not have her at your age.”
“It’s hard. It’s really damned hard,” I mumbled cradling my belly. “I fight every single day to be strong for him, to move forward for him so I can be the best mother possible. And I’m so lucky to have you and Amy to look to as examples of how to be an excellent mother, but it’s just…different,” I finished lamely, not wanting to hurt her feelings in any way.

“The grace and the resilience you’ve shown during these past 8 months has been astounding, but sweetheart, you’re human. These feelings are human and normal and it is healthy to express them. I know that I could never replace your mom, but I will be here every step of the way to help and support you in any way I can. You’re not going to do this alone, you’ve got an entire village behind you. And this precious gift,” she pressed her hand to the side of my bump. “He is going to be so loved that he won’t even know what to do with himself. He already is. And we’re going to tell him all about his amazing grandparents and let him know how much they love him and that they are watching him and always with him. They are always with you, too, Liz. I firmly believe that.”

I took a deep breath and nodded my head. “Thank you Diane. For being here. For everything. I don’t know where I would be without your support.”

“Anything for you, Liz. I love you very much.”

“I love you, too.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Max was waiting on the front stoop when we pulled into the driveway Sunday afternoon. He all but rushed to my door and flung it open with a huge grin.

“Couldn’t wait for me to get into the house, huh?” I teased as he helped me out of the car.

“I missed you too much!” He said, kissing me soundly before enveloping me against his broad chest.

I sunk into his arms and a deep, warm sense of contentedness settled into my bones. I was home.

“I missed you too,” I replied, planting my chin on his chest and looking up at him.

“I could stand here all day,” he said, smiling down at me.

“I could too, but guess what?”

“Hm?”

“You have a lot of unpacking to do, Daddy! And this mama needs a serious nap!”

“Well, before we get to that, there’s something we have to show you,” he said and I could see the twinkle of excitement in his eyes.

“Is Michael done?” I asked, my anticipation building.

“Why don’t we go find out?”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

I was standing in front of the closed door to Gabriel’s new nursery with the rest of our friends and family eagerly crowded behind me. Max slid his hands over my eyes and someone opened the door.

“Walk forward three steps and then turn to your left,” he instructed, guiding me into the room.

“Are you ready?”

I nodded eagerly, practically bouncing on the balls of my feet.

“Okay, open your eyes,” he whispered into my ear and slipped his hands from my face.

It took me a minute to process what I was seeing, but when it struck me all I could do was gasp.

“Do you know what you’re looking at?” The question came from Michael who was somewhere behind me.

“It’s…it’s the sky the night of my parents’ funeral. The night Gabriel was conceived,” I murmured, unable to take my eyes off the wall.

“A-plus yet again, Liz Parker,” Michael quipped, pleased.

The wall was painted blue-black with the constellations outlined and named in white. It was centered on Auriga, Taurus, and Perseus, with Pisces and Andromeda to the right, Orion below, Cassiopeia and Ursa Minor above, and Ursa Major, Leo, and Cancer to the left among a collection of others. He also labeled Saturn, Jupiter, Eris, and Makemake. I spent enough time studying astronomy to be able to identify the positions of the constellations based on the time of year and knowing that this configuration would only take place in late January, I only had to follow the logic to understand the meaning.

And at the top of the wall in a beautiful script was the phrase ‘Ex Cor Nostrum, Ad Astra’ - from our heart, to the stars.

“Wow,” I breathed, stunned. Never did I expect something so profoundly meaningful. “It’s perfect. It’s beyond perfect. I just…wow.” I tore myself away from the wall and turned to Max.

“How did you guys come up with this?”

“This was all Michael,” Max said, gesturing to his brother.

“I just wanted to do something special for the little guy, but I wanted it to be something he could grow up with a bit, too. Alex is the one that suggested the phrase,” Michael explained and Alex gave us a salute and a lopsided grin from the doorway. “I’d wanted to use the typical per aspera ad astra, but Alex thought that ex cor nostrum ad astra was more fitting. And considering the fact that he’s taking 7 years of Latin, I figured I’d take his advice.”

“It’s just incredible, Michael. I don’t even know how to thank you,” I said, wrapping my arms around him.

“No need to thank me, kid. I’d do anything for my Godson,” he said, hugging me back.

“And just what makes you think you’re the Godfather?” I joked, letting him go.

“If Maria is the Godmother, I damned well be the Godfather. Alex and Isabel can have the next one!”

“The next one better not show up for years and years from now!” Phillip interjected from the hallway and we all burst into laughter.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~
"It's like...chemical" ~ Liz Parker

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