Tandem Felix (All CC, Teen) Epilogue 12/19

Finished Canon/Conventional Couple Fics. These stories pick up from events in the show. All complete stories from the main Canon/CC board will eventually be moved here.

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tequathisy
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Post by tequathisy » Wed Mar 02, 2005 9:23 am

begonia9508 Serena would be the obvious answer!!
Xmag Thank you.
rjsasko I’m afraid you’re not going to find any satisfaction with this fic. I happen to believe that Max wasn’t all bad. He didn’t act in a vacuum, he reacted to Liz and her decisions. He made some wrong choices, but he is a teenage boy, under enormous pressure and felt abandoned and betrayed by Liz.
Alana Thanks.
Ella1022 Thanks.
Venus_star2.com I think that Valenti would have recognised Tess, as for Serena?!? I’ll give you a little clue, she’s not an original character.
Applebylicious Thank you so much. I’m so not worthy.
Emz80m Thanks
kittens The granolith is still on earth. And Liz won’t be the only one.
DreamKeeper Thank you for your kind words. They’ll take it so slow you’ll be asking me to hurry it up.
YonkersMe Thanks.
Roswellluver Thanks for reading.

Chapter 10
Isabel flopped down on her bed. It felt like days had passed since she had got up that morning and she was exhausted. She knew that she needed to get her things ready for the following day, but all she wanted to do was curl under the covers and sleep.

So when she heard the soft, yet insistent knock on her door, she tried her best to ignore it.

“Isabel.”

With a groan, Isabel forced herself up and opened the door. “What?”

Max brushed passed her into the room and looked around.

“Is everything ok in here?” he asked.

“Everything’s fine.” Isabel said in an annoyed voice. “Why do you ask?”

“I think somebody tried to break into my room.” Max told her, speaking in a quiet voice so their parents, who were just down the hall wouldn’t hear them.

Isabel’s heart skipped a beat. “What?” She followed Max quietly down the stairs into his bedroom.

“Watch out for broken glass on the floor.” Max warned her. He closed the door gently. “The window’s been smashed, but nothing else has been touched as far as I can tell. It doesn’t look like anybody’s been in here.”

“Do you think it could have been the same person who broke into the Valenti’s.” Isabel asked. “You said she trashed Tess’s room, so why did she break the window here and not take anything?”

Max shrugged. “I don’t know, maybe something disturbed her.”

Isabel paled at his words. “God Max, Mom and Dad were here all evening. What if they had heard something and came in to investigate? They could have been hurt.”

Max put an arm around Isabel in an attempt to comfort her. She brushed him off angrily.

“We have to tell them.” She declared emphatically.

“Isabel, we’ve been through this a thousand times. No.” Max told her, gently but firmly. “We can’t tell them, it’s not safe.”

“Somebody broke in here tonight while Mom and Dad were here. Somebody is after us. What if they decide to use Mom and Dad as hostages or hurt them as a way of sending us a message? Is that safe?” Isabel hissed furiously. “At least if they know they’re in danger, they can be on their guard.”

“Isabel, I don’t want to get into this argument with you right now. If we tell them, they’ll want to be part of this and they’ll be in danger. If we keep them out of the secret, if they’re not involved, then they’re safe.”

“They are involved. They’re our parents. We live in their house.” Isabel reminded them, her voice rising. Anybody who comes after us is going to assume they know about us and that they’re fair game.”

“If we tell them, they’ll insist on coming with us when we have to deal with something. They’ll be worrying about us all the time. It would destroy their peace of mind.” Max told her in a calm and authoritative voice. “We said we wouldn’t bring anybody else into this secret, and that’s that.”

Isabel glared at him stubbornly for a minute, before relenting. “Whatever you say, your majesty.”

Max ignored the barb. “Thank you. Can you help me with the window?”

Grudgingly Isabel turned towards the window and raised her hand. Max took up his position beside her and focused. Within seconds the broken glass flew up and fitted together, forming an unmarked pane.”

Max examined the glass. “It’s as good as new.” He turned to thank Isabel but she had already left the room.

*

Jim Valenti opened his door early the next morning to find three very dusty, sombre, teenage aliens on his step. He ushered them in with a laugh. “Good morning.”

“Sorry to be dragging so much sand in with us.” Isabel apologised. “We were out practising our powers in the desert.”

“How did it go?” Jim asked,

“Not great.” Michael confessed. “We’ve been neglecting them a lot lately.”

Max was about to inform Valenti of the broken window in his bedroom the previous night when they heard a rumbling sound coming from the couch.

Snoring loudly on the couch lay Kyle, still wearing his clothes from the previous day. There was a vomit stain on his T-shirt and Jim had strategically placed a bucket on the floor near his head.

Jim gestured at him helplessly. “He stumbled in at 3am, drunk. He had been out driving. I knew he was upset about Tess, but…”

Max, Isabel and Michael looked at each other awkwardly, unsure of what to say. Jim shook his head and turned back to them. “Why don’t you clean up and then we’ll go look at Tess’s room.”

While they waited for Isabel to finish cleaning herself up, Max filled Valenti in on the events at the UFO museum the previous evening and his broken window.

“Sounds like the first thing we have to do is find this grl.” Jim mused. “Do you think she’s human or alien?”

“I have no idea.” Max admitted. “We’re hoping that if we touch some of the things in the room, we might be able to get a flash from them and that will tell us more about her.”

As he spoke, Isabel joined them. “Ready?” she asked.

Jim opened the door into the bedroom and drew gasps from the teens. Gingerly they made their way inside, climbing over upturned furniture and trying not to stand on items strewn haphazardly over the carpet.

“Wow, this place has been ransacked.” Isabel said.

Jim watched as they worked silently and diligently. They picked up each item one by one and held it in their hands. Anything that was broken was placed into one sack, anything fit for donation to a charity shop was placed in another. The books and notebooks, anything with writing on it were placed in a separate box. Gradually Tess’s possessions were cleared from the room and order was restored.

After an hour, Isabel rose to her feet and stretched her back. “Nothing.”

Max shook his head and threw the CD he was holding onto the desk in frustration. “There’s nothing here from the break-in and nothing from Tess. We’ll go through her papers later but I didn’t see anything that looked interesting in it, it’s mostly school work.”

“I’ll take these and donate them to the charity shop.” Isabel said picking up one of the bags.

“Well thanks for cleaning out the room.” Jim said as he helped them carry the bags out to the car. “I’ll take a drive around town and see if I can find anything about that .”

He watched them drive away and went back inside to wait for Kyle to wake up. Almost at once there was a knock at the door. He opened it to find a tall man, vaguely familiar standing on the doorstep.

“Jim Valenti? I’m Cole Brown, Lucas Brown’s son.” He extended his hand and Jim grasped it and shook it vigorously.

“It’s good to meet you.” Jim told him. “I was sorry to hear that your fathers passed away. He was the best cop I ever met.”

“Thank you. He always said the same thing about you.” Cole replied.

“Come in.” Jim ushered his visitor inside the house and into the kitchen, avoiding the living room where Kyle lay, passed out.

While Jim a fresh pot of coffee, the two men talked briefly about the Cole’s father. Eventually the talk turned to Cole himself.

“Albuquerque is a nice place and all but I’m more of a small-town kind of guy.” Cole explained. “So when I was offered the position of Sheriff here, I jumped at the chance.”

Jim almost choked on his coffee. “You were offered the position of sheriff?” He echoed. “I didn’t realise that the city council were looking for anybody new.”

“Well it’s still pretty hush hush. “ Cole told him conspiratorially. “Apparently there’s been some problems with the guy they got to replace you and they thought there was nobody else within the department that they felt capable of the job.”

“Hanson never mentioned anything to me.” Valenti said, almost to himself.

“Anyway, I accepted the offer.” Cole said, getting down to the reason he came to see Valenti. “I need to appoint a Deputy-Sheriff. I’ve talked to the guys they’ve suggested but none of them have the necessary experience. There’s a lot of youth in the department and they need somebody with experience to show them the way and I need somebody with local contacts and knowledge. How about it?”

Jim blinked in surprise. “You’re offering me a job.” He said incredulously.

“It’s less money than you were making before and more paperwork.” Cole continued. “It won’t be as interesting as being Sheriff but at least you’ll be back where you belong.”

Jim frowned. “Did nobody in the council fill you in on why I lost my job in the first place? They’re not going to allow me to come back.”

“Jim, you were exonerated of any wrongdoings. They invited you to rejoin the department.” Cole argued. “I can understand why you didn’t want to go back as a deputy, and that your pride is a hurt. But pride ain’t going to pay your bills or put food on the table. I don’t mean to be patronising but this is the best offer you’re going to get. Unless you want to join Hanson as a security guard at Metachem?”

Jim was silent. Cole sighed, afraid that he had offended him. He stood up. “Have a think about it for a while. Here’s my card, give me a call.”

He handed Jim a business card. “I won’t be starting for another few weeks so there’s plenty of time to make up your mind. Thanks for the coffee.”

He stood for a moment as though he wanted to say something else, but instead simply nodded and left. He was climbing into his car when he heard the door of the Valenti’s opening and Jim hurried out after him.

“I’ve had a think.” He said “And I’ll take the job. Thank you.”

*

“So, no luck?”

Max shook his head at Liz's question. “Unfortunately no, we probably waited too long and it had gone cold. But we might get something from Tess’s papers and notebooks that will help.”

Max, Isabel and Michael had driven to the diner to have breakfast with Liz and Maria and fill them in on the recent developments.

“Whoever did it, really trashed the room though. There was hardly anything left intact.” Isabel said. “Furniture, books, CDs, perfumes, everything was smashed.”

“It sounds like the person was more angry than looking for something.” Liz suggested.

Michael swallowed the last of his coffee. “None of this makes sense and it won’t until we find this intruder.” He noticed Jeff Parker approaching the table. “I better start work, see you guys later.” He stood, gave Maria a quick kiss and made his way into the kitchen.

“We better go too.” Max said as he and Isabel stood up. He smiled at Liz. “I’ll see you tonight.”

Jeff handed Maria a breakfast roll and coffee. “What’s tonight?” He asked Liz.

“Max and I are going to the movies.” Liz informed him.

Jeff shot a glare at Max’s retreating figure but said nothing.

“Your Dad doesn’t seem to like Max very much.” Maria pointed out. She rose from the table. “I’m going to go across the road and see how Brody’s doing this morning. Talk to you later.”


*

Maria found Brody sitting at his desk staring off into space. His clothes were dishevelled and his usually spiky hair was limp and greasy. He didn’t hear Maria’s knock at first, but jumped up when he finally noticed her standing in the doorway.

“Maria, come in. I was so sorry to hear about your house.” He said as he brought her into the office and pulled out a chair for her to sit on. “How are you?”

“I’m fine. My wrist is a little sore. I brought you some breakfast and some coffee.”

Brody took the proffered food from her and set them down on his desk. “I had intended to come and see you last night but… something came up. If there’s anything I can do, please let me know.”

“Thanks. Everyone’s been really kind to us.” Maria told him. “It’s just hard to believe that everything’s gone.”

“I know you don’t like when I offer money, but I mean it, if there’s anything I can do, please let me know.” Brody told Maria.

Maria reached across the desk and put her hand over Brody’s and squeezed it gently. “Thank you, that means a lot to me.”

Brody returned the pressure on Maria’s hand gently and held it his own.

Maria could plainly see that Brody was doing his best to act as though everything was fine. It was clear, however, that he hadn’t slept much the night before or eaten a lot in the last few days.

“Are you going to eat your breakfast?” Maria asked. Brody gave an embarrassed smile and pulled his hand away. He made no move to eat the food though.

“Brody, is everything alright? You don’t look so hot.” Maria prodded gently.

“I’m fine.” Brody said reassuringly. Maria gave him a dubious look so he picked up the coffee and took a sip. “This is good, thanks.”

Realising that he wasn’t going to talk to her voluntarily Maria decided to broach the subject herself. “I can see that you’re not fine. Something’s bothering you, talk to me Brody, is it something to do with Sydney?”

Brody shook his head. “No, Sydney’s fine. She’s coming to stay with me soon.” At that he burst into tears.

In alarm, Maria rushed to Brody’s side, wrapped her free arm around his shoulders and tried to soothe him. Brody held her tightly and cried.

After his tears had subsided he pulled away from Maria in embarrassment. “I’m sorry.”

“That’s ok, please tell me what’s wrong.” Maria implored.

Brody took a deep breath. “Lately, I’ve been getting that feeling, the one that tells me I’m about to be abducted again. And it’s different this time, like I’ll be gone for longer.”

Maria wanted to say something to comfort Brody but couldn’t think of the right thing.

“Last night, I lost two hours. I was sitting in front of my TV waiting for CSI to start and the next thing I knew it was over and the programme after that was over as well. Sydney is supposed to be staying with me for the summer. I can’t look after her if I’m going to be disappearing for days.”

“Brody…” Maria began helplessly, but she didn’t know how to continue.

“I can’t go through that again. The last time it happened, I lost my company and my marriage broke up. If I tell Minette that I’m about to be abducted by aliens again she’ll sue for custody and I’ll never see Sydney again.”

He wrung his hands in despair.

“I was forced to resign from my last job and give up the company I had created. None of my friends will have anything to do with me now, they all think I’m a half-brained loon. I don’t want to loose everything again. I like Roswell, I like running this museum.”

“You are not going to loose everything again. There are lots of people around here who’ve been abducted by aliens and nobody blinks an eye at them. I’m not going to stop being friends with you just because you have to go away for a few days. We’ll find somebody who can look after this place for you.” Maria said emphatically, glad to finally have something she could reassure him about.

The pair sat in companionable silence for a while as Brody regained his composure. Maria made him eat the breakfast she had brought over and to her relief Brody wolfed it down hungrily.

“I haven’t eaten a lot lately.” He admitted sheepishly.

Maria smiled brightly. “I’ve just had a great idea. Isabel Evans has just started working here, she’s really organised and efficient. You saw how well she organised everything at Christmas. Plus she knows all about your abductions, so she wouldn’t need any explanation if you suddenly disappear.”

Brody grinned at Maria. “Perfect.”

Within minutes, Maria had located Isabel amongst the other trainees and brought her back up to the office.

“I need somebody I can trust and somebody who understands that I’m not crazy, to run the museum on the days I can’t be here or the days I take off while Sydney’s visiting me.” Brody explained to Isabel. “It’s more responsibility, but the pay’s better and ‘assistant manager’ will look better on a resume than ‘tour guide’. What do you say?”

“You mean I get to be Max’s boss?” Isabel asked in delight. “I say, hell yes.”

*

Nancy Parker knocked gently on her daughter’s bedroom door and entered carrying a load of freshly laundered clothes.

“This should keep you going for a few days.” She laughed as she put them down on the bed.

Liz smiled appreciatively. “Thanks Mom.”

Nancy watched her for a few moments as she applied her make-up. “You look really nice dear, are you going somewhere special?”

“Thanks.” Liz cast a critical glance at herself in the mirror and was satisfied with her appearance. “I’m just going to the movies with Max.”

Nancy smiled. “That’s nice. It’s good that you can be friends again.” She waited to see if Liz would contradict her.

Liz stood up and pulled on her jacket. “I won’t be late.”

“Liz, wait.” Nancy fidgeted with her wedding ring nervously. Liz crossed her arms impatiently, waiting for her mother to speak. “I was talking to Amy earlier and she mentioned that Maria had told her that she was sleeping with Michael.”

“I’m not sleeping with anybody.” Liz told her.

“That’s good. But I want you to know that you can talk to me if you were or about anything and I’ll listen, even if you think I won’t approve.”

“I know.” Liz sighed.

“I’m not sure you do.” Nancy insisted. “You never talk to me or your father anymore. There have been several occasions this year where I know you were upset or bothered about something and you never said a word to us. Your father and I are here for you Liz. We can help.”

“I’m fine.” Liz insisted.

“You’ve just lost a very close friend, it’s natural to be upset. But bottling it up isn’t going to help anybody. You need to talk about it, maybe a counsellor would…”

“I don’t need to see a shrink.” Liz yelled, she bit her lip and continued in a calmer voice. “I’m fine, I talk to Maria about things. Now if that’s all, I have to go?”

Nancy stalked over to where Liz was standing. “One more thing. The other night you told us you were going to bed and then you sneaked out and went over to the Deluca’s.” Nancy said in an angry tone. “Do you have an idea what went through your fathers mind when he went to find you there and the house was on fire. He’s been having nightmares ever since. Now, we let it go because you were so upset, but I’m warning you Liz. One more stunt like that and you’ll be grounded.”

With that she brushed past Liz, a moment later the door of her parents bedroom slammed. Liz chewed her lip, suddenly feeling very ashamed of herself.

She met her father coming up the stairs.

“Hi Lizzie. You look nice.”

Liz threw her arms around him. “Thanks Dad. I’m really sorry about the other night, I didn’t mean to scare you like that.”

Jeff kissed her forehead tenderly. “Just don’t do it again.”

Liz smiled and continued down the stairs. At the bottom she turned and realised that her dad was still standing on the steps watching her. “I love you Dad.”

“Love you too Liz. Have a good night.”

She nodded and made her way out into the diner. Max and Isabel were at a table with Maria and Michael. They waved when they saw her coming in.”

“Hi Liz. You look amazing.” Max told her.

Liz blushed. “Thanks. Hi guys, how was your second day at the museum Isabel?”

Isabel smiled smugly. “It was great. I got a promotion.”

“Congratulations.” Liz said in surprise. “What are you now?”

“I’m the boss of Max.” Isabel told her

Max pulled Liz's arm. “Lets go before she starts another power trip. Good night guys”

“Have a good time.” Maria yelled after them as they exited the diner.

Out on the street, Max smiled shyly and handed Liz a napkin he had folded into the shape of a flower. “I didn’t have a chance to get you anything.”

“It’s great, thanks Max.”

Their hands brushed lightly against each other as Liz took the flower from Max. A tingle of electricity shot through them at the slight contact. Liz looked up and met Max’s eyes. He smiled back at her, wishing that they could stay like that all night.

Liz broke the spell. “We should go.”

“Sure.” Max put his hand on the small of her back, guiding her towards his mother’s car. He opened the door of the car and helped Liz in, then hurried around to the other side.

“What’s that?” Liz asked pointing to a piece of paper folded under the wiper and flapping gently in the breeze. Max shrugged and reached his arm out to get it.

It was a white envelope. Liz and Max exchanged worried glances.

With a deep breath Max slit the envelope open and pulled out a single folded piece of paper. He unfolded it.

Liz leaned over to read it. “Oh my God.”

In big black writing it said: “I KNOW WHAT YOU ARE.”

*
Last edited by tequathisy on Fri May 20, 2005 11:47 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Post by tequathisy » Wed Mar 09, 2005 12:26 pm

Xmag I totally agree that the Evan’s should be told but unfortunately Max thinks otherwise.

begonia9508 see chapter one for a clue to the stranger’s identity

LTL. You are so paranoid, just because a complete stranger coincidentally turns up in the middle of an alien crisis, you immediately think he can’t be trusted. Btw, I’m basing Cole Brown on the cop who showed up and warned Max he was keeping an eye on him in ‘Secrets and Lies’.

Alana. Liz reduced the Deluca’s house to embers and ash after viewing the tape and broke Maria’s wrist. How much more of a reaction do you want? If you really want to know who trashed Kyle’s room I left a very subtle hint in chapter one.

Venus_star2.com the way I see it, the parents always cared, but we just weren’t shown it.

Beautiful86 And all in the space of a couple of days!! Glad you like the story.

Arianneleigh I agree, it’s very inconsiderate.

YonkersMe I don’t think Nancy expected Liz to open up then and there, she just wanted to let her daughter know that if ever she needed her, Nancy would be there. The parents in my version really do care and worry. It’s just been behind the scenes until now. It’s hard for Nancy to form close relationship with Liz, when Liz won’t and can’t talk to her. I never saw her parents pushing Liz to go to Harvard, I thought that was Liz’s dream ever since she was 14 and read a paper by Doctor Laura Holts.

Enjoy.

*


Chapter 11

Max manoeuvred his way through the tables of the ‘Milky Way’ holding two milkshake glasses over the heads of the other customers. When he finally reached the table where Liz was waiting, he plopped down with an over-dramatic sigh.

“You always make it look so easy.” He said. “But waitressing is hard work.

Liz laughed and pulled her milkshake glass closer to her. “That’s why it’s such a high paying job.”

Max smiled and began to surreptitiously add Tabasco sauce to his shake and stirring it in. “It’s busy in here.”

Liz glanced around. The ice-cream parlour was full of young teenagers, mostly middle-schoolers. “It makes me feel old.”

“We can go somewhere else if you like.” Max said apologetically. “We could still catch that movie if we hurry.”

Liz shook her head. “No it’s fine. I couldn’t concentrate on a movie now, not after that letter. Besides it gives us a chance to talk.”

Max stiffened. “Is there something you want to talk about?”

“No, I mean just hang out and spend sometime together.” Liz told him. “I missed not being able to talk to you and hang out without being terrified that I’ll blurt out the big secret. Let’s just forget our troubles for one evening and just hang out. Please.”

Max laughed at Liz's exaggerated puppy-dog expression. “I missed talking to you too. I always felt that you were holding back from me.”

Liz reached out and held his hand. “No more holding back, no more lies. I promise.”

They sat in companionable silence for a minute, holding each other’s hand.

“I’ll be back in a minute, nature calls.” Max said after a while.

Liz watched him weave through the crowd with a smile on her face. As she waited for him to come back, she became suddenly conscious of being watched. She turned around. There was a young teenage boy staring hard in her direction. When he noticed her looking back at him, he blushed bright red and turned back to the pinball machine.

Although she would normally find being checked out by a thirteen-year-old amusing, Liz wrapped her arms around her body. A chill ran down her spine at the thought that there was somebody out there that knew Max’s secret. She glanced around the parlour, nobody seemed to be paying her any attention, nobody seemed out of the ordinary.

But then again, she reflected, anybody looking at her would think she was normal too. They’d never guess that she was one of a handful of people who knew the real truth of the crash of ’47, or that she had burned down her best friend’s house with her newly developed alien powers.

Liz's glance fell on Max’s drink, the vanilla shake had turned pink from the Tabasco sauce. She looked towards the restrooms, there was no sign of Max. Did new alien powers mean she had new alien tastes as well, she wondered?

Hesitantly, Liz reached out and pulled his drink to her. Liz took a deep breath, brought the straw to her mouth and took a sip.

Tears sprang to her eyes and Liz had to force herself not to spit the mouthful back out. She swallowed it down, then gulped several mouthfuls of her own to soothe her burning throat.

“Are you ok?”

Liz looked up to find Max watching her. She pointed to his glass, almost unable to refrain from gagging. “That is vile.”

Max laughed. “What did you expect?”

Liz wanted to tell Max the real reason she had tasted his milkshake was to see if she was developing alien taste buds as well as powers, the words were on the tip of her tongue, but instead she found herself doing what she had just promised she wouldn’t do. “I forgot that you had added Tabasco.” Liz lied. “I thought it was just strawberry. Ugh, that’s disgusting.”

“Serves you right for trying to steal my milkshake.” Max told her teasingly as he took a drink.

“Max.” Liz paused, she tried again, but the words just wouldn’t come to her. He looked at her expectantly. She didn’t want to spoil the cheerful mood they had managed to create between themselves after the shock of receiving the letter. “So what’s it like to have Isabel as you boss?


*

Isabel shivered and drew her jacket tightly around her, despite the fact that it was a balmy summer evening. Usually she liked being in the cemetery, even after dark. Ghosts and vampires had never scared her the way they did other kids. But this evening it was different, the knowledge that there was somebody, lurking somewhere in the shadows, who knew their secret was sending shivers of fear along her spine.

An owl hooted overhead and Isabel jumped, she could feel her heart racing in her chest. She took a deep breath to steady her nerves. Maybe coming to visit a graveyard after getting a horrible fright like the letter on Max’s car wasn’t the best idea, she thought.

Up ahead a shadow moved, stopping Isabel in her steps. She mentally scolded herself for being so silly, but then it moved again and Isabel realised that she wasn’t alone.

As quietly as she could, Isabel tiptoed off the gravel path and hid behind a large oak tree. Cautiously she peered around it. By the moonlight she could make out a figure crouched down in front of a grave – Alex’s grave. The figure rose to it’s feet and Isabel jumped back. Her face brushed against a low hanging branch and before she could stop herself, Isabel screamed.

The figure standing by the headstone whipped around in Isabel’s direction. For a microsecond they stared at each other. Isabel could make out a young woman, tall and slim, her long blonde hair pulled into a ponytail.

Then she was gone, sprinting through the headstones. Isabel gave chase for a minute but she soon lost sight of her quarry.

Suddenly the cemetery was full of creepy noises and whispering shadows. Feeling completely unnerved, Isabel jogged back to the car.

*


Maria propped herself up on her arms and regarded Michael. He gave her a small, tender smile and brushed a lock of hair from her face.

“Are you ok?” He asked. “Do you want me to get you anything/”

She shook her head. “I’m fine thanks. Are you ok?”

“I’m good.”

“You’re being awfully calm about this whole anonymous letter.” Maria told him. “That’s not like you.”

Michael shrugged his shoulders. “Max is right. There’s nothing we can do about it tonight.”

“Max is right.” Maria repeated incredulously. She sat up in the bed and wrapped the sheet around her torso. “Who the hell are you and where’s my boyfriend?”

Michael sat up beside her. “I’ve realised that rushing head long into things without thinking them out first isn’t always the wisest course of action. We need to talk things out and come up with a plan together to handle these types of situations.”

Maria arched an eyebrow at Michael. “So you aren’t worried about it?”

“Of course I’m worried about it. This is my nightmare coming true.” Michael admitted. “But there’s nothing we can do until we find this girl and we can’t do that right now. So I’ll wait until tomorrow, we’ll meet Valenti and we’ll come up with a plan then.”

“That sounds sensible. So now I definitely know that you’re not Michael. Nice try buddy but you’re not fooling me.” Maria teased.

“I’ve changed, or I’m trying to change.” Michael amended. “Things are too serious now for me to screw them up. I always thought that the consequences of what I did, didn’t matter because I wasn’t going to be around. I want to do things right from now on. And if that involves listening to Max and doing what he says, then I’ll do it.”

He kissed Maria gently and then smiled impishly. “ That’s how much I love you.”

Maria put her hand around his neck and peppered his face with kisses. Michael pulled her towards him and lowered her back down onto the mattress. He kissed her hungrily, his hands roaming over her body.

Maria moaned and pushed him away. “It’s late, I have to go. Mom will go nuts if I sneak in late again.”

“Half an hour more.” Michael pleaded against her neck.

Unable to resist, Maria gave into his kisses. “Just remember that it’s you my Mom will kill, not me.”

“I’m not afraid of your Mom.” Michael told her defiantly as he began to work his way down her body.

Maria laughed. “Liar.”


*

Liz inserted her key into the lock and opened the door. She turned back to Max. “I had a really lovely time tonight, thank you.”

“I hope we can do it again soon.” Max agreed. “Minus the threatening anonymous letter, of course.”

“Are you sure you’ll be ok getting home?” Liz asked.

Max nodded. “The bus stops right around the corner from my house. I’ll be fine.”

“Well, goodnight.” Liz said quietly, she leaned forward and kissed Max quickly on the cheek. Then she hurried inside.

As she took off her coat, Amy Deluca appeared in the hallway. “Maria? Oh Liz, hi. Did you have a good time?”

“It was lovely.” Liz replied.

“Good. It’s nice to see you smiling.” Amy told her fondly. She yawned. “Your parents have just gone to bed, I’m going now, when Maria sneaks in can you remind her we’re going looking at houses tomorrow morning. Hopefully we’ll be out of your hair soon.”

“Good night.” Liz called as Amy disappeared into the spare room. Liz knocked quietly on her parent’s bedroom door and stuck her head in to let them know she was home and say goodnight.

She made her way into the kitchen and poured herself a glass of water. As she drank it off, she thought over her evening with Max and smiled. It had been so nice to just hang out and talk to him. They had stuck to talking of school, work, music and TV shows and avoided any mention of anything remotely alien related. They had laughed and chatted easily and comfortably.

As she sat down at the table, Liz realised that for the first time in ages she felt light hearted and content, despite the letter and all the other problems.

Liz bit her lip. She had promised Max that she wouldn’t keep anything from him but hadn’t told him about her new powers. Tomorrow, she would meet him tomorrow and tell him, she promised herself. Perhaps Max could show her how to control them so they wouldn’t be as destructive. This could be a good thing she decided, if there was an enemy coming at least now she would be able to join in the fight and not just be in the way.

She set the empty glass down in front of her, took a deep breath and cleared her mind. Then she focused all her thoughts and energy on the glass. Nothing happened. She tried again and again, but nothing happened.

Frustrated, she stood up and reached for the glass. As her hand moved towards it, she felt a spark like static electricity jump from her hand. The glass tipped over a couple of millimetres, wobbled precariously and then settled back down again.

Liz sat back down on her chair, heart thumping wildly. She had done it, Liz thought triumphantly. By the power of her mind she had moved the glass, and it hadn’t shattered. She put her hand out, a couple of inches from the glass and tried again.

Liz was focusing so hard, she didn’t hear Maria come in until her friend was standing in the kitchen.

“What are you doing?” Maria asked.

“Just thinking.” Liz told her. She looked towards the clock and realised she had been trying to move the glass for over an hour. Standing up, she stretched her stiff muscles. “Your Mom said not to forget you’ve to go look at houses in the morning.”

Maria sank grumpily into one of the kitchen chairs. “Great.”

Liz gave her friend a comforting hug, “Maybe you’ll find somewhere really nice.”

“It doesn’t matter how nice it’ll be. It still won’t be home, we’ll still have nothing to put into it.” Maria said unhappily. She pounded the table with her fist. “I could kill Tess.”

A new wave of guilt washed over Liz. There was no way that she could tell Maria that it wasn’t Tess who had burned down her home, but Liz. Maria would never forgive her.

“We should go to bed, it’s late.” Liz suggested to Maria.

As they dressed and brushed their teeth, Maria grilled Liz about her evening with Max.

“We’re taking it slow.” Liz assured her. “But it’s so wonderful to be friends again, to be able to have a honest, open conversation with him for once. So tell me about your night.”

Maria hopped into bed and turned off the light. “It was lovely.” She said dreamily.

Liz waited for her to expand the details but Maria remained silent. They settled down into silence and just as Liz thought Maria was asleep, her friend spoke.

“Michael told me Kyle got drunk last night and drove home.” Maria informed Liz. “Maybe we should go over there tomorrow and talk to him.”

“You should go, he might listen to you but he’s too mad at me right now.”

Maria scoffed. “He’s not mad at you, he’s not mad at Max either for that matter. He’s mad at Tess but she’s not around so he’s taking it out on you guys. We should talk to him.”

“Ok.” Liz agreed reluctantly.

Soon Maria was fast asleep. But Liz lay awake for ages, consumed with the guilt of lying to Max and Maria, destroying the Deluca’s home and bringing Tess into Kyle’s life. Her mind drifted back to the time she had warned Kyle to stay away from Tess, and then followed them to their study date in the library.

Suddenly Liz sat bolt upright in the bed. She knew where Tess had hidden her secrets.


*


“Tall, blonde and able to run fast.”

Max ran his hands through his hair. As Isabel relayed her encounter with the mysterious girl in the cemetery a feeling of dread grew in his stomach. “Anything else? Anything at all.”

Isabel shook her head. “No. I’m sorry.”

“What was she doing at the grave?” Max asked.

“I don’t know.” Isabel said. She closed her eyes and tried to picture the scene. “Kneeling.”

“Maybe it was a relative of Alex and she was just as spooked as you and ran.” Max suggested.

“At 10pm at night, in dark clothes and a baseball cap?” Isabel reminded him. “No, there was something suspicious about her. She didn’t want to be seen there.”

Max pulled the car in front of the Valenti’s house. The Deluca’s red Jetta was parked across the street and Michael’s bike was parked on the small paved area leading up to the house.

The Evans’ climbed out of their car and made their way to the house. The door swung open before they could knock.

“Good Morning your majesty.” Kyle mocked as he let them in.

Isabel sneered back at him. “You’re looking a lot better this morning Kyle.”

Kyle glared at her but said nothing, instead he jerked his thumb in the direction of his former bedroom. Isabel and Max made their way down the hall and entered. Kyle followed them, but remained hovering around the door.

Max took in the strange sight before him. Michael, Maria, Valenti and Liz had their ears pressed against the walls and were knocking gently. “Hi guys, we got your message. What’s going on?”

“Max.” Liz greeted happily. She went to join them at the door. “Do you remember that time we followed Tess and Kyle to the library and she pulled the book from the wall? Well, I had a thought, if she had important information she needed to hide, she would want to have it close by. What better place to hide it than in the wall.”

Valenti indicated to the wall, somebody had drawn chalk lines on it to divide it up into equal segments. “We’re just knocking on it to see if we can hear anything unusual, if that doesn’t work we’ll try another way.”

“By the way, Isabel saw somebody at Alex’s grave last night who matched your description of the person who broke in here.” Max informed Valenti.

The others stopped working to listen. Isabel continued from where Max left off. “She ran off, I tried to follow her but she was too fast. All I could make out was that she was blonde and thin. And she really didn’t want to be seen at his grave”

“We think she’s probably the one who left the letter as well.” Max added. “Did you hear about the letter?”

Valenti nodded. “We have to find this girl soon, bur first lets finish up here and then we can think about her.”

Max and Isabel picked a section and soon everyone had resumed knocking and listening to the walls. After a few minutes, Maria spoke up. “I think this sounds different here.”

Michael pressed his ear to the area Maria pointed out and knocked on it gently. He nodded. “She’s right.” He waved his hand over the spot and a silver handprint appeared on the wall. “Now what?”

Max slowly brought his hand to the glowing print. He swallowed nervously and pushed his hand into the wall. There was a collective intake of breath in the room as his hand and arm disappeared. Max thought it felt like he had his hand in cold spaghetti, he fumbled around and his hand brushed against something, he grasped it and pulled it out of the wall.

Maria gave a relieved laugh. “That was freaky.”

Max nodded in agreement and let out the breath he was holding. He looked down to see what he had pulled out. It was a manila folder, stuffed full of papers.

Max glanced around at the others. They were all staring at the folder with expressions of dread. Even Kyle had ventured into the room and was looking apprehensive about the contents of the folder.

Valenti took the folder from Max and opened it up. He began setting the sheets of paper out onto the desk. “There’s newspaper cuttings about that super-computer over in Los Cruses, emails, property deeds, bank statements, letters, and other stuff here.”

Max picked up the emails. “These are from a ‘Ray McEwan,’ they look like copies of the translation.”

“Ray? That was the name Alex went by in Los Cruses.” Liz informed the group. She took the printouts from Max and examined them, most of them had markings and writing in pen on them. “I think these must be the early drafts, there’s a lot of words missing or just don’t make sense. Tess was trying to work out what they meant.”

The others picked up some of the papers and began to sift through them.

“It looks like Tess had to pay the university to take on the project of translating the book. It was expensive. All the billings are made out to a company called ‘Antar Educational Company.” Michael told the group.

“I think she sold the house and artefacts and used the money to pay for the use of the computer. These are the bank statements for ‘Antar’. According to this ‘Antar’ has been around for years. Maybe Nacedo used it as a cover.” Isabel suggested as she read through some other papers.

Liz glanced at Max and could see disappointment on his face. Although the documents they had retrieved were incriminating for Tess, there was no new information amongst them and nothing that could help save his son. She put her hand on his arm sympathetically, he gave her a small, sad smile.

Maria was leafing through another pile of papers. “These are notes and letters made by Jennifer Coleman. There’s one here that says she’s really worried about ‘Ray’, listen to this.”

Maria began to read from the letter. “ Ray has been experiencing mood swings, he is sometimes happy and cheerful and other times depressed and angry, particularly with a person named Tess. He sleeps for long portions of the day and works during the night. Early this morning I found him wandering around the campus during a thunderstorm, in a highly distressed state. He begged me to help him and told me his name was really Alex Whitman, a high school student from Roswell and that he had been brought to Los Cruses against his will by aliens. I managed to convince him to return to his dorm, where he fell asleep. When he woke up, I asked him about what he had said and he told me that he was sleepwalking. I cannot help but feel that he is under enormous pressure and perhaps should be removed from this project.”

Maria’s voice cracked as she completed reading the letter. Michael pulled her to him and wrapped his arms around her.

Kyle cleared his throat. “Who’s Jennifer Coleman?”

Liz brushed tears from her cheek. “She’s the girl Alex thought was Leanna. We found the translation and the granolith key in a building she was renting.”

“You mean she was working with Tess?” Valenti asked in surprise.

“Working for Tess, I don’t think she had any idea what she was really involved with but I guess Alex must have scared her because she ran when she saw us in Los Cruses.” Liz explained.

Valenti considered this information. “So she may have read the translation, seen the alien objects and heard a strange story about aliens from Alex, what if she came here to investigate? What does she look like?”

Liz's eyes widened in shock. “Tall and blonde.” She whispered. “But Isabel would have recognised her, you’ve seen the photos of Leanna, right?”

Isabel shook her head.

“There’s a photo of her here, somewhere.” Maria cried out. She pulled away from Michael and began leafing through the bundle of papers in her hand. Unable to hold the pile properly with her bandaged arm, the papers fell to the floor.

Everyone knelt down and began rifling through the papers, searching for the photo. Michael found it and handed it to Valenti, Isabel leaned over his shoulder to have a look.

They both spoke at once. “That’s her.”

*
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Post by tequathisy » Wed Mar 16, 2005 12:45 pm

begonia9508 I’m afraid there’s very little chance of quite lives for a while.
Ella1022 Usually in fics you see Liz liking the aliens foos after her powers come onboard so I wanted to do it a little differently.
Alana Liz is suffering from a little thing called denial. She thinks that if she says she’s fine then she IS fine. And also guilt, it’s not that she doesn’t trust Maria, Liz is just too afraid to admit to her that she burned down her house.
LTL It’s not so much another lie as an omission of the truth. I’ve a feeling she’ll tell him soon.
Michelle in Yonkers You’re welcome, glad you liked it. Just hope Michael can stick to his promise.
sylvia37 Thanks
BehrObsession Thanks

Thanks to everyone who nominated me for best newcomer. Happy St. Patricks Day to everybody with Irish blood in them. (ie. everyone.)
Enjoy.

Chapter 12


Jeff Parker looked out onto Main Street and smiled. There were already two empty tour buses parked across the street in front of the UFO museum and another was just pulling in. It was going to be a busy day. He bent down and picked up his mail, a couple of bills, a postcard from a customer visiting New York and two plain white envelopes.

He put the rest aside for a moment and examined the letters. There was no stamp or address on them, one was made out to ‘The parents of Liz Parker’ and the other to ‘The parents of Maria Deluca’ in black handwriting.

He made his way back upstairs to the apartment where Amy Deluca was making breakfast. She smiled warmly when he came in and handed him a cup of steaming coffee. He took it and handed her the letter. “Somebody dropped this off for you during the night.”

She thanked him, wiped her hands on her apron and opened the letter. Jeff did the same, he took a sip as he began to read and almost instantaneously spit it out. Amy sank slowly onto one of the kitchen chairs.

Amy looked up at Jeff. Wordlessly, they swapped letters.

Nancy breezed into the kitchen. “Mmm, Amy something smells wonderful…What’s wrong?”

Amy handed her the letter she had been reading. Jeff stood up and paced the small kitchen waiting for Nancy’s reaction.

“Somebody put it in the mailbox this morning.” Amy told her. “I got one too.”

“Is this supposed to be some kind of joke?” Nancy asked angrily, slamming the letter down on the table.

“I’m going to call the girls, see if they can explain it to us.” Jeff said. He left the kitchen but came hurrying back seconds later. “They’re not there.”

“Where could they be at this hour of the morning? They did come home last night, didn’t they, I remember Liz coming in to say goodnight?” Nancy asked fearfully.

“I was talking to Liz and Maria came in to say she was home.” Amy said in a calming voice. “They must have got up early. Maybe they’re downstairs in the Crashdown.”

Jeff shook his head. “I was just down there, they...” As he spoke, the front door opened. The three parents rushed into the hall.

“Where have you been?” Nancy yelled.

Maria and Liz exchanged glances.

“I couldn’t sleep because my wrist was hurting me so I woke Liz up and we went for a walk.” Maria told them.

Liz nodded in agreement. “We didn’t think we’d be gone so long. Sorry if we worried you.” She added with wide-eyed innocence.

Amy gave an embarrassed laugh. “It’s fine. I’m making breakfast, it’ll be ready in a couple of minutes.” She knocked loudly on the living room door. “Wake up sleepyhead, we’re going soon.” With that she turned and hurried into the kitchen, the Parkers hot on her heals.

Sean appeared at the door of the living room, still half asleep. He rubbed his eyes and yawned. “What’s going on?”

“That’s what I’d like to know.” Liz replied.


*


“What planet do the aliens come from?”

Max jumped as a voice boomed in his ear and swung around to find a large over weight man standing right beside him. He was wearing a T-shirt that said ‘Alien Abductee Volunteer.’

“Pardon?” Max asked.

“What planets do the aliens come from?” The man repeated slowly as though talking to somebody with no english. “It’s not marked on the map.” He gestured towards a large picture of the cosmos on the wall.

Max stopped himself from laughing. “I’m afraid we don’t know that sir.” He answered politely.

The man huffed in disappointment. “I thought this was supposed to be a museum, you guys don’t know anything.” He stalked off in the direction of the giftshop.

Max turned back to his task of re-hanging a poster that had fallen down.

“That’s crooked.” Isabel said as she came up behind him. “Little more to the right.”

Max sighed and readjusted it. “Any word from Michael?”

“He called me a couple of minutes ago, they’ve checked all the hotels and motels in town but she’s not in any of them and nobody recognises her photo. They’re heading out to that new one that’s just by the highway to see if she’s there.”

Max nodded and stood back from the poster to make sure it was hanging right.

“Have you thought about what we’re going to do about her if they find her?” Isabel asked.

“I don’t know.” Max admitted. “I guess we’ll have to talk to her, see how much she knows and what she’s going to do about it. Is that straight enough for you?”

Isabel tilted her head to look at the poster and smiled. “It’s great. One of the toilets in the men’s restroom is overflowing, can you mop it up?” She patted him on the back as she walked away. “Thanks.”

In the office she found Brody and the giftshop manager, Steve going over some papers.

“Oh Isabel, there you are.” Brody greeted her. “We’ve been looking at these figures and they don’t add up.”

“We think somebody is stealing stock from the giftshop stockroom.” Steve explained. “I’ve a suspicion I know who’s doing it but I don’t want to say before we have proof.”

Brody gestured to a pile of discs on the desk. “These are the copies of the video surveillance taped from the last eight days. We need you to go through them and see if you can spot anything unusual.”

Steve laughed at the expression on Isabel’s face. “Sorry.”

Brody picked up the pile of discs. “I’ll show you how to work these.”


Isabel followed him into another office and watched as Brody demonstrated how to work the sophisticated equipment.

“Let me know if you need help or see anything unusual.” Brody said. He patted her on her shoulder as he left the room.

Suddenly he stopped in his tracks and turned back to Isabel. “I have a message for you. All the heads of the federation have been contacted and they will be here to meet with Zan in three days time. Please be sure that I can contact you then.”

Isabel blinked in surprise but before she had the chance to ask any questions, Brody turned and began to walk away, he called over his shoulder. “Let me know if you need help or see anything unusual.”

*

Ding.

Liz waved to Michael and Valenti as they entered the Crashdown, she dropped off her latest delivery and hurried over to their table. “Did you find her?”

Valenti shook his head. “She’s not staying in any of the motels or Inns in town. Nobody recognised her photo.”

Liz sighed in disappointment. “So what now?”

“I guess we’ll have to wait for tonight so Isabel can dreamwalk her.” Michael shrugged. “Is Maria back yet?”

“No, but they should be here soon.” Liz answered. “Do you guys want to order now?”

Valenti picked up the menu, just as he was looking through it Jeff Parker approached the table. “Jim, I was wondering if I could talk to you for a minute.” He said apologetically.

Jim nodded and followed him through to the back.

“What’s that about?” Michael asked.

Liz shook her head. “Something’s going on, my parents and Amy Deluca were acting really weird this morning.”

“Great, just what we need more problems.” Michael sighed and ran his fingers through his hair. “Can I get a Will Smith burger with extra pickles and lemonade?”

“Say please.” Maria chided as she slid into the booth beside him. “Hi Liz.”

“Please.” Michael repeated obediently. He kissed Maria. “How did the house hunting go?”

“Awful, anything we like is too expensive and anything we can afford is horrible.” Maria looked like she was about to cry.

Unable to stand and watch Maria be so upset Liz excused herself under the pretence of ordering Michael’s food. She stood watching from behind the counter as Michael did his best to comfort Maria. Guiltily, Liz turned away and tried to make herself look busy.


*


“What’s going on Jeff?” Jim asked as he sat into one of the office chairs.

Jeff reached into a desk drawer and pulled out two letters. “We got these with the mail this morning. One for Nancy and I and one for Amy.”

Jim opened the first one and read.

Dear Mr and Mrs Parker

Your daughter is in grave danger. She is involved with dangerous people who will stop at nothing to prevent their secret from being told. Already Alex Whitman had been murdered, Tess Harding has ‘disappeared’ and Maria Deluca’s home was burned down in an attempt to kill her.

Your daughter is next.

Please, get her away from Roswell and from Max Evans, Isabel Evans and Michael Guerin before it’s too late.

Yours truly,

A concerned friend.


Jim cleared his throat and returned the letter to the desk with trembling hands and picked up the one that had been sent to Amy. It was pretty much the same as the first.

As he finished reading it, there was a gentle tap on the door and Amy Deluca came into the office.

“Hi guys, Liz told me to come back here.” She said. Her eyes were red and she had clearly been crying. Jim immediately jumped up and ushered her into his seat. “Oh, I see you’ve read the letters.”

Jim perched himself on the desk and nodded. “They’re awful.”

“We were wondering what we should do about them.” Jeff informed Valenti.

Jim hesitated torn between two instincts. In any other circumstances in he would be urging Jeff and Amy to call the police straight away but who knew what can of worms would be opened if Hansen and the new Sheriff were made aware of the contents of the letter.

“We should go to the police, shouldn’t we?” Amy prompted.

“Yes, that would be the best thing.” Jim agreed reluctantly.

“Jim, do you think that we should be concerned? I mean why would somebody warn us about Max Evans?” Jeff asked.

“It’s somebody’s idea of a sick joke, that’s all. I don’t know why they picked out you two to send them to or the Evan’s and Michael to slander but obviously this person is malicious.” Jim said vehemently. “Alex was killed in a car accident, the fire was started by an electrical fault and Tess has gone home to her family, she hasn’t ‘disappeared’. Somebody is taking advantage of a tough time for your daughters to have some twisted fun.”

“Max is a good kid and Isabel seems so nice and kind. Maria told me about all the things she does for charity” Amy added. “And I know Michael seems rough, but he’s a really sweet guy.”

Jim quirked his eyebrow at Amy’s description of Michael and even Jeff bit back a smile.

“Have either of the girls seen these letters?” Jim asked.

Amy shook her head. “We didn’t want to upset them, they have enough to be dealing with, without adding this to the pile.” Tears began to flow down her cheeks and her body heaved with sobs.

You’re so right, thought Jim. “My advice is to take them down to the police station. I’ll look into it too, can I get copies of them?” Jim said.

Jeff nodded and quickly copied them for Jim. “I’m going to head upstairs and tell Nancy.” He said as he left the office, tactfully giving Jim and Amy some privacy.

Amy blew her nose in a tissue Jim had handed her. “I’m sorry.” She cried. “I’m just such a mess right now.”

“It’s alright.” Jim reassured her. “You’re going through a difficult time and those letters are very upsetting.”

Amy nodded and continued to cry. Jim gently pulled her out of the chair and against his body, holding her gently but tightly. Amy threw her arms around his neck and cried. After a few minutes her sobs subsided and she pulled away, slightly embarrassed.

“You ok?” Jim asked with a smile as he handed her another tissue.

Amy smiled back and wiped her face. “Thanks Jim.” Then to his immense surprise she slipped her arms around his waist and leaned against his chest.

“I know our house was no palace. But it was home. I worked so hard for it, for everything in it. I got up at 4.30 every morning to make cakes and pies, I work all hours selling stupid alien knick-knacks to tourists, and now it’s all gone.” Amy sighed. “I thought it would get easier now, Maria’s nearly finished school, and the mortgage was nearly paid off. I was going to go night school, take some business classes, and do something with the rest of my life. Now I’ve to start all over again, it’s not fair.”

A fresh wave of tears sprung from her eyes and she began to sob again. Jim said nothing, but held her tightly and let her cry.


*


Richard Patterson glanced at his watch. He had only five minutes before he had to be back on the tour bus left Roswell for Carlsbad. He looked around the UFO museum trying to see if there was anything he had missed. Two teenagers passed by him, giggling as they examined some photos.

Richard turned his head in the direction they had come from. Standing in one of the corners was a photo booth that allowed you to have your photograph taken with aliens. Deciding it would be a fun memento he joined the queue behind a balding, heavy set, middle aged man.

Another teenager slipped from the booth and collected his photo, the man in front squeezed himself into the narrow confines of the booth and drew the curtain. Richard shifted his weight to his other foot and glanced at his watch impatiently. On the steps of the museum he could hear the tour guide calling his group back to the bus.

A light flashed in the booth, Richard debated whether he would have time to have his picture taken, just as he decided to go the curtains swished back and a woman slipped out of the booth. Richard blinked in confusion, he had been certain that the person in front of him had been a man.

The tour guide called for his group again, and Richard jumped hurriedly into the booth, giving no more thought to the man who had turned into a woman.


*


Philip Evans looked up as his secretary entered his office, shut the door firmly behind her and tiptoed to his desk. In the four years she had worked for him, he had never seen her act so peculiarly.

“What is it?” He asked in concern.

“Sheriff Hansen is outside, he needs to see you.” Jan informed him in a whisper.

Philip had to restrain himself from rolling his eyes. “Well, show him in.”

Jan nodded and scurried out of the office, seconds later David Hansen entered. He was holding his hat in his hands and looked uncomfortable and intimidated by the plush surroundings. Yet another reason, Philip felt he was completely unsuitable for his post.

“What can I do for you?” He asked in a polite and friendly manner, indicating to Hansen to take a seat.

Hansen scratched his head in a self-conscious manner and pulled a white envelope out of his pocket. “Charles Whitman came to see me this morning.” He began. “Somebody had left this letter in his mailbox this morning. I thought you should be made aware of it.” Hansen placed the envelope on the desk and slid it across to Philip.

Philip took the letter from the envelope marked ‘To the parents of Alex Whitman.’ He held it for a moment then took the letter from inside it and read.

Dear Mr and Mrs Whitman,

Your son did not commit suicide. He loved his life, his family and his friends too much to ever consider such an act. I hope it brings you some comfort to know this.

Nor was his death an accident.

Alex was murdered because he knew a secret. This secret belongs to Max and Isabel Evans and Michael Guerin. Alex loved Isabel very much and would have done anything to protect her, and they still killed him.

Yours truly,

A concerned friend.


“I hope you’re not taking these ridiculous allegations seriously.” Philip demanded in a clipped voice.

“No, of course not.” Hansen replied quickly. “I just thought you should be made aware of what people are saying about your children. We’ll do everything we can to find out who sent the letter.”

Philip returned the letter to him. “Thank you for showing this to me.” He walked Hansen to the elevators and shook hands with the sheriff.

“Jan, hold all my calls for now.” Philip ordered as he passed his secretary’s desk. She nodded in wide eyed alarm and Philip realised that within thirty seconds the firm would be buzzing with the gossip of the sheriff’s visit.

At his desk, he opened the bottom drawer and retrieved a small bottle of whiskey he kept hidden there for emergencies. It was only the third time in his career he had resorted to it. With shaking hands, he unscrewed the top and took a large swig.

Once he was feeling calmer, he returned the bottle to its hiding place and opened his briefcase. Tucked away in a back pocket was a white envelope addressed to ‘The parents of Max and Isabel Evans.’ Philip held it in his hand for a minute, then strode to his shredding machine and pushed the envelope and its contents through.


*

Isabel rose to her feet and took a small walk around the large office, stretching her arms high above her head and trying to work the kinks out of her neck. On the wall in front of her, eight monitors were showing the eight different shots of the interior of the UFO museum.

There was a tap on the door and Max came in. He handed her a paper bag with the Crashdown logo on it. “Here, I thought you might be hungry.”

Isabel took it gratefully. “Thanks. This has got to be the worst job ever.” She groaned.

“Aw, poor you.” Max said, his voice dripping with insincerity.

Isabel made a face at him and tucked into her lunch. “Were you talking to Michael?” She asked between bites.

“They had no luck.” Max informed her. “I guess you’ll have to try dreamwalking her tonight.” He glanced up at the screens. “Isabel, do remember that day we brought Pierce here to question him?”

Isabel bit back a sarcastic reply and nodded.

“You were able to get into his head even though he was awake, have you ever tried to do that since?”

Isabel shook her head. “It feels too weird, poking around in somebody’s memories and thoughts.”

“But it’s fine to go poking around in their dreams.” Max reminded her pointedly. “It would be a really useful skill if you could develop it.”

Isabel sighed. “I know, I’ll work on it.” She promised. “I’ll need a guinea pig, any volunteers?”

Max shook his head emphatically and Isabel laughed. “I didn’t think so.”

“Oh, I almost forgot.” Isabel said as she swallowed her mouthful down. “Mom called me a while ago, she wants us to have a family night tonight, so dinner in the Crashdown at 7 then we’re going to rent a movie. Can you make it?”

“Sure. Enjoy your lunch, I’ve to get back to work before my boss notices I’m slacking off.” Max said with a twinkle in his eye.


*


Jennifer Coleman took a final drag of her cigarette and dropped the butt on the floor, squashing it with the toe of her sneaker. She exhaled the smoke and closed her eyes, letting the nicotine work its way through her body, relaxing and calming her. If anybody had told her three months ago that she would take such pleasure from a cigarette she would have told them they were crazy. Now, cigarettes were the only things keeping her sane.

She unzipped the entrance to her tent and pulled out a black backpack. Form its front pocket she pulled a photograph and stroked the face of its subject gently.

“Tonight Ray.” She shook her head. “Alex, I keep forgetting that’s your real name. Tonight, I’ll get them for what they did to you. I promise.”

She returned the photograph to its pocket and fumbled inside the bag. Her hand found the cool metal barrel of her gun and she pulled it out of the bag. From her pocket she retrieved the bullets she had purchased earlier that day and loaded the weapon.

After ensuring that the gun was full loaded and the safety cap was on she returned it to her bag and took out the final object. Her hands shook under the weight of it, she bit her lip and returned it to the bag. Happy that she had everything she needed, she zipped up her tent and put on her backpack.

From her pocket, she pulled her packet of cigarettes and with shaking hands lit up. Above her, the sky was growing dark and already a few faint stars were twinkling. They hardened her resolve to complete her task.

Tonight, the aliens would pay.


*
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Post by tequathisy » Wed Mar 23, 2005 1:19 pm

LTL Well it was established in Departure that Jennifer Coleman was human, so she’s not the shapeshifter.
BehrObsession Jennifer is definitely not the only person they need to worry about
begonia9508 Relax, She’s not going to hand them into the police.. She just might be crazy though!!
Smac
Alana
Liz has a lot to work through. Glad you like Jennifer.
Sablaine Thank you, glad you like the story. But I was trying to show the parents were taking a more active role in their kids lives.
Venus_star2.com Thank you I keep trying to have more Max and Liz but all these other things keep happening that have to be dealt with first. I’ll try harder, but it might be a couple of more chapters before I can get them alone together. Bear with me.

*

Chapter 13

The bell above the Crashdown door rang cheerfully as Max entered. He nodded to Michael who was busy working in the kitchen and slid into a booth where Maria was sitting. "Hi."

"Hi Max." Maria replied morosely.

"What's up?" He asked in concern.

Maria sighed. "Nothing, I'm just a little fed up. My mom and Sean and I spent all morning looking at houses to rent and we couldn't find a single one that we liked. And my wrist is killing me."

"Well I can't do anything about your housing situation, but if you like I could take a look at your wrist." Max offered.

"No." Liz cried in alarm as she came up to the table. Max and Maria looked at her in surprise. "I mean, her wrist has been x-rayed and examined by doctors, it would look really strange if it just healed miraculously overnight."

"Thanks for the offer though." Maria told Max. "It's not so bad, I'm just avoiding taking my painkillers because I don't really believe in western medicine."

"Oh..." Max answered, unsure of how to react to Maria's last statement, so he turned to Liz. "How are things going with you?"

Liz glanced over her shoulder before leaning in conspiratorially. "There's something strange going on with our parents, they've been acting weird all morning. And this afternoon when Valenti was here, my dad and Ms. Deluca had a talk with him in the office."

"We didn't get a chance to ask him what it was about because Valenti and Mr. P left together after they had finished talking." Maria added. "And I'm not sure if this had anything to do with it, but my Mom was asking lots of questions about Tess this morning."

"Like what?"

"Where is she? Why did she leave? I gave her the story we agreed on." Maria shrugged. She slid out of the booth and stood up. "I'm going to go and see Brody, catch you guys later."

"Bye Maria." Liz called, she sat down in Maria's vacated seat. "So, do you want to try catch a movie tonight, or we could just go and take a walk together?"

"I'd love to but Isabel and I promised our parents we'd do something with them tonight." Max told her regretfully. "Maybe tomorrow night."

Liz nodded. "Definitely."

The bell above the door chimed again and Liz looked up to see Maria and Valenti come in. They approached the booth where Max and Liz were sitting, Maria beckoned at Michael to join them.

Valenti waited until Michael was at the booth before beginning. "Somebody dropped these letters into your parents mailbox this morning Liz." He placed two copies of the anonymous letters on the table. "We've just been to the Police station to report them. I was talking to Hansen after your father left and he told me that the Whitman's had received a very similar letter as well."

The four teenagers gasped as they read them.

"It has to be Jennifer Coleman." Max exclaimed. "We really need to find her soon."

"I agree." Valenti said. "Hansen seemed a little suspicious about the whole thing. He asked me why it seemed that you kids always appear to be in trouble?"

"Great." Michael exclaimed. "Like we don't have enough to be dealing with. Now we have the sheriff on our backs again."

"No offence." Maria added hastily as she saw Valenti flinch. "Maybe there's some way we can deflect attention away from us."

"How." Max asked, grateful that, for once, nobody was asking him what to do.

"We could make up a few letters of our own, make really outrageous claims in them and send them to the parents of a couple of people at school." Maria suggested.

"Nothing too malicious or upsetting." Liz interjected. "If lots of people got them it would draw attention away from us."

"Only if they’re not malicious and if possible, not too upsetting.” Valenti agreed after giving it some thought. “Don’t be seen delivering them and if you can, don’t leave any fingerprints on them.”

“It’ll have to be Maria, Michael and I.” Liz decided. “We can do them tonight.”

“And it only needs to be for a few weeks, Hansen is leaving for a new job and there's a new sheriff arriving." Valenti informed the group. "I'll be taking up a new post as deputy-sheriff then as well."

"That's great. Congratulations." Liz exclaimed. "Do you know who the new sheriff will be?"

"His name is Cole Brown, I knew his father years ago." Valenti answered. "If he's anything like his father, he'll make an excellent sheriff."

Max refolded the letters and returned them to Valenti. “What did the Whitman’s letters say?”

Valenti hesitated. “They said that Alex didn’t commit suicide, that he was murdered. The Whitman’s are understandably very upset by this. Hansen promised that he would find out who did it, so be very careful you don’t get seen delivering them.”


*


"Hey guys." Maria called cheerfully as she came down the stairs into the employee's lounge as Michael and Liz finished their shifts. "Finished?"

Liz threw her antennae into her locker with a flourish. "Yes, thank God. I'd forgotten how busy it gets during summer."

"And it's only the first week." Michael reminded her from where he was sprawled on the couch.

"I'm so bummed that I can't work." Maria said with a cheeky smile as she waved her broken wrist at them. She sat on the couch beside Michael and he put an arm around her shoulder, drawing her closer to him.

Liz was struck with how comfortable they were together and she wondered if she and Max could ever get that back in their own relationship. "So I'll just change and then we can go do that thing."

"Actually, slight change in plans." Maria stated apologetically. "I was talking to Brody and he's really down about this whole abduction thing so I'm going to go out to dinner with him, to try and cheer him up. You guys can manage without me, right?"

"But..." Michael started to argue. He glanced guiltily at Liz and remained silent.

"I'll just go and change." Liz said, she disappeared but seconds later called out. "Maria, can you come here for a second?"

Maria followed her into the ladies locker room. "What's up?"

"I'm not sure this is such a good idea." Liz began. "Michael and I don't really work well together. It would be better if we waited for you. It was your idea after all."

Maria rolled her eyes. "How do you know, you've never worked together before. This will be the perfect opportunity for you to spend some time together. Besides, it would mean a lot to me if my boyfriend and my best friend were friends. I'm sure Max feels the same way."

Liz had no counter argument. "I guess." She agreed reluctantly, as she began to undress Michael called “Maria."

"Trust me, you'll be fine." Again Maria rolled her eyes. "If you'll excuse me, I have to go have this exact same conversation with Michael." She left the room.

Liz finished dressing and followed her out. She smiled awkwardly at Michael, Maria stifled a laugh and made her way out into the restaurant.

"See you later Dad." Liz said to her father as they walked out.

"Don't be out too late." He called after her.

Outside, in front of the diner, they met the Evan's family.

"Hello Michael, girls." Diane Evans greeted them cheerfully. "We don't see a lot of you around at our house anymore Michael."

"I'm pretty busy with work and things." Michael mumbled.

Diane nodded and turned to Maria. "I was so sorry to hear about your house dear."

"Thanks."

"You should all come over for dinner some night. It would be nice to get to know Max and Isabel's friends. Wouldn't it Philip?" Diane continued. Standing behind their parents, Isabel and Max blushed in embarrassment.

Philip Evans nodded enthusiastically.

"That would be really nice." Liz accepted, "Enjoy your meal tonight."

"Thank you Liz." Diane smiled. She watched as the trio climbed into Maria's car. "They're such lovely girls."

"The loveliest." Max agreed. "Let's go get a table. I'm starved."

"Are you sure you want to eat here?" Isabel asked as they entered the restaurant. "We can go somewhere else if you prefer."

"No, you two spend so much time here it would be nice to see what the attraction is." Philip reassured her.

Isabel sat into an empty booth with a laugh. "We just met the attraction outside."

"So, are you and Liz an item again?" Diane asked her son curiously.

Max glared at Isabel. "Yes." He picked up the menu and pretended to examine it in the hope of deflecting more questions about his relationship with Liz.

Not to be put off, Diane ignored his obvious attempt to close the subject. "I'm glad. She was such a good influence on you, you really came out of your shell when you were dating her."

"I thought you were dating that Bess girl?" Philip interjected.

"That wasn't really serious." Max shrugged uncomfortably. "Anyway she's moved back east to live with her family."

"Oh, I see. I can never keep up with teenagers these days." Philip said as he picked up a menu. He glanced towards the kitchen. "What about Michael, is he managing to look after himself alright? Does he have to work a lot?"

"He seems to getting on just fine, beside it's not work that's keeping him busy, it's Maria." Max laughed, grateful that the conversation had moved on. "I guess he'll work as much as he can over the summer to save money."

"What about you two?" Diane asked. "Any ideas what you're going to do with all the money you earn?"

"Actually, we were talking about that earlier." Max informed his parents. He waited as a waitress took their drinks order. "I called the garage today and they said that there was no hope of the jeep being repaired so we're going to buy new car."

"Your Mother and I were talking about that too." Philip said. "We were planning on buying you a car. We feel that jeep is, was, too unreliable and dangerous. And we wanted to get Isabel a car for when she goes away to college."

Unwilling to take their parents money for the jeep they had deliberately wrecked Max shook his head. "It would be great if you could get Isabel a car, but I'd like to pay for mine myself."

"How about if we pay for half." Philip suggested, full of pride for his son.

"And, your father and I get final approval on both your cars. We want to make sure that you get something decent this time, not just something 'cool', deal?" Diane told them sternly.

Max and Isabel nodded their heads in agreement. The waitress returned with their drinks and Isabel waited until she had gone before revealing her news.

She cleared her throat. "I've decided to enrol in Santa Fé this fall. I'm not quite ready to go too far just yet."

"Are you sure honey?" Diane asked in surprise. "You were pretty adamant about it before."

"I've had more time to think about it now and I've realised that my decision to leave was in reaction to Alex's death." Isabel said quietly. "I can always transfer or reapply later on if I want to go somewhere else."

"If you're sure that's what you want, then I have to admit that I'm thrilled." Philip confessed. "I hated the thought of my little girl being so far away from home."

"Me too." Diane admitted tearfully. She picked up the menu again. "We should order. What's good here?"

"Everything." Max laughed.

Diane examined the menu for a minute. "After this, I vote we rent out 'Supersize Me'. You two eat here way too much."


*

"Don't just stand there, come in." Michael said gruffly to Liz as she stood awkwardly at the door to his apartment.

Liz entered cautiously. She took of her coat and folded it neatly, placing it on the arm of the couch. Michael approached from the kitchen, sipping juice from a bottle. They stared at each other for a moment, each willing the other to break the ice.

“So…” Michael prompted.

"So… we should start." Liz finally suggested. She opened the bag she was carrying and pulled out sheets of paper and envelopes, similar to the ones the letters had been written on. "Who should we send them to?"

Michael scratched his eyebrow. "I guess people at school. I'll get my yearbook and we can just pick a few names from it." He hurried into his room and came back moments later with the yearbook and handed it to Liz.

She fanned through the pages, nobody had signed it and Liz wondered why Michael had bought it. She would never have thought he would be the type to buy one. Liz opened the pages on the class pictures and randomly selected four names.

Michael held his hands out, palms upwards and concentrated. His fingertips glowed briefly. He held them closer to eyes and examined them and seemed satisfied.

"Can I see?" Liz asked nervously.

Michael shrugged and held out a hand to Liz, she took it in her own and ran her finger over his fingertips. They were completely smooth, no ridges or grooves.

"Wow. That's pretty impressive." She couldn't help but marvel. "Will they stay like that for long?"

Michael pulled his hand away from her, looking a little embarrassed. "A couple of hours." He picked up a pen and addressed the letter. "What should we say?"

"Let's see, this is to the parents of Stevie Benz right?" She considered it for a moment. "I know, tell them that instead of football practise, he's actually attending a satanic worshipping cult that has sex with cats. And that he's in grave danger. "

Michael smirked a little and wrote the letter. "Is that ok?"

Liz leaned over and read what he's written. "It's great, really nasty. Except the writing doesn't look the same as the ones we got."

Michael said nothing but waved his hand over the sheet, his large scrawl morphed into the anonymous, indistinctive writing of the letters.

"That's great." Liz said impressed. “Ok, the next one is to David Siplowski’s parents. How about saying, he has a milkshake addiction and has wracked up huge debts to the ‘Milky Way’ and other ice-cream parlours?”

Michael shook his head and began writing. Within an hour they had composed anonymous letters, more outrageous than malicious to the parents of eleven people at their school.

“That should do it.” Liz said as Michael folded the last one and stuffed it into an envelope. She pulled on a pair of woolly gloves and gathered up the stack of letters. “Let’s go deliver them.”

“Nice gloves, they don’t look in the least bit suspicious.” Michael commented as he put on his jacket. Behind his back, Liz stuck out her tongue at him.

They didn’t exchange a single word until they reached to their first destination. As they approached the house, Liz glanced around nervously.

“It’s very bright here, what if somebody sees us?” She asked.

“Got it covered.” Michael told her. He stopped walking and held up his hand. Within seconds all the street lamps had gone out and the street was in such darkness that Liz grasped his arm, before dropping it, feeling very foolish.

She waited until her eyes had adjusted to the dark, then made her way to the mailbox and placed the letter inside then walked back to Michael.

When they reached the end of the street, Michael held up his hand again and the lights blinked back on.

“You’ve really got your powers under control now.” Liz complimented Michael as they walked to the next house.

“I guess.” Michael shrugged.

“How do you do it?” Liz asked, hoping for some insight into how to control her own powers.

“Dunno.” Michael mumbled, increasing his pace so that Liz had to struggle to keep up with him.

“But you must have some idea.” Liz persevered. “I mean, it didn’t just happen. Did you learn a new trick?”

“No.”

“Is it because you’ve been practising? How do you practise your powers anyway?”

“We haven’t actually managed to have a practise session yet, so, no.”

“Do you think that – ”

“Why do you want to know this anyway?” Michael demanded as he focused on the lights overhead and the street became dark.

“Curiosity.”

“Well. It’s none of your business.” Michael told her bluntly.

Liz sighed and delivered the next letter. “If you are really serious about developing your powers to their full potential then you need to find out how you learned to control them so well. It’ll help you and it might help Max and Isabel develop theirs as well.” She said as they resumed their journey.

Michael remained silent for several blocks considering Liz's statement. In the darkened street after delivering the fifth letter he stopped and turned to Liz.

“It’s because I’m happy.” He said in a voice so low, Liz had to strain to hear him.

“So because you’re happy, you’re able to control your powers?”

Michael shook his head. “It’s because I’m not unhappy anymore. Or because I don’t feel so…worthless.”

Liz gasped in surprise at Michael’s unexpected candour. She waited in silence for him to continue. He didn’t say anything but he didn’t move away either so Liz decided to ask him a question.

“When did you first develop your powers? Were you able to control them then?”

Michael sighed and sat down on wall. “The first time I ever used them was by accident. I’d been out of the pod a couple of weeks and living with Hank and his wife. He was being a jerk one day and put my books up high where I couldn’t reach them so I just flew them into my hands. Hank went nuts, called me a freak and all kinds of things.”

“What happened?” Liz asked.

“He told his wife but she just told him he was drunk and I think he got so drunk later that night that he forgot about it. But it made me realise that I was different. In a not-good way.”

“So did you use them after that?”

“I would practise in my room a lot at first. I was pretty good at it actually but then Ruth left and it got pretty nasty at home and…”

“You began to believe that you really were a freak like Hank said.” Liz guessed.

“Yeah.” Michael agreed. “For the first few years, before I met Max and Isabel I thought it was because I was an alien, but after I saw what it was like for them I thought it was just me.”

In the moonlight, Liz could just make out Michael’s features. He looked so vulnerable that she wanted to reach out and hug him but intuitively understood that Michael wouldn’t like that, so she said nothing and waited for him to continue.

“I was so angery at Hank, and my social workers and the teachers at school. I was so jealous of Max and Isabel, so lonely for a family, for home...” Michael said. “I had all these emotions inside of me and I couldn’t tell anyone how I felt so they would just explode out of me and I couldn’t control them.”

“You mean, when you used your powers?”

“Or when I talked to people.” Michael laughed ruefully. “I behaved like a jerk."

Liz smiled in silent agreement. "But all those emotions, they didn’t just disappear did they? You must be feeling a lot of anger still, especially towards Tess?"

"I’m angry as hell at Tess, but the rest is gone, or I’ve let go of it, I don’t know. It's crazy, even with everything going on, I just feel calmer, stronger. Like I can deal with anything." Michael shrugged. "Tess taught me a few things about focusing, finding my center or some crap like that last summer, but it never made sense before and now it does."

"So you just have to let go of your negative emotions and find a calm center." Liz summarized. "That actually sounds like something Maria would say."

"I guess." Michael agreed. “Maria had a lot to do with it too.” He pushed himself away from the wall he was leaning on and turned the streetlights back on "We should move on."


*


By the light of a couple of candles, Liz lay on her bed, a cd was playing mellow music at a low volume. She was thinking over what Michael had said about negative emotions. It had made her realize that she was suppressing a lot of anger and hurt that she needed to get rid of before she could ever hope to control her powers.

The bedroom door open and Maria came quietly in. “Hi Maria.”

“So you survived.” Maria said in an exaggerated surprised tone. “How was your evening with the big bad alien.”

“It was fine. We wrote some really horrible letters and even had an interesting conversation.” Liz laughed, hoping Maria wouldn’t ask what it was about. “How was diner with Brody?”

Maria sighed as she struggled to undress. Liz climbed off the bed to help her. “It was ok. We talked about his abductions. He’s really worried about it. I want to tell him that it’ll be alright, but I can’t. I wish we could tell him the truth. I think he deserves to know what’s been done to his own body.”

“I can’t see Max or the others agreeing to it.” Liz said apologetically.

Maria nodded and went into the bathroom to wash her teeth. Liz blew out the candles and climbed into bed.

“So after dinner he took me to see this house over on Wisteria Lane.” Maria informed Liz as she climbed into the bed beside her. “He says he bought it when he first moved to Roswell and though there was a chance he and his wife could get back together. It’s never been lived in and it’s really beautiful. He says he’ll sell it to my Mom for a very reasonable price.”

“That’s great.” Liz exclaimed.

“No it’s not.” Maria countered. “If Brody and my Mom meet, it could trigger off a memory in her about the hostage thing and I’ve nothing else to distract her from that. Besides it would totally be taking advantage of Brody.”

“Roswell’s a small town, they’re going to meet sooner or later.” Liz argued. “You and your Mom have lost everything, Brody is just giving you something back. Besides he has over $300 million in his bank account. He can afford to sell a small house cheaply.”

“I guess.” Maria sighed. “I’d just feel guilty. It is a really great house though. There are four bedrooms and two of them have walk-in closets. And the kitchen is amazing, Mom would love it. There’s a great yard in the back, Mom has always wanted to be able to have a garden…”

As Maria talked about the house Liz felt her eyes growing heavier and heavier until she fell asleep. Suddenly she felt herself being shook and Maria was calling to her.


“Liz, Liz, wake up.”

“Wha… sorry I’m listening, it sounds great.” Liz squinted and saw that the clock by her bedside read 3am. “Maria, what’s going on?”

Maria said nothing but squeezed her hand tightly. Liz heard a rustling and something moving at the end of her bed.

“Don’t scream.” A female voice said. “Don’t be afraid.”

The figure moved closer, by the dim light of the moon, Liz recognized Jennifer Coleman. She was holding a gun, pointing it directly at the two girls. Liz covered her mouth with her hand and muffled a scream.”

“Don’t be afraid.” Jennifer repeated. “I’m not here to hurt you, I’m here to help. Alex sent me.”

*
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Post by tequathisy » Fri Apr 08, 2005 11:34 am

Thanks to everybody for all the feedback. Hopefully I'll have my RL sorted out soon and will be able to continue working on this story. I was just reading back over the lat part I posted and I've noticed a huge mistake I made. Max had already bought the Chevelle way back in chapter 2. Oops. :oops: It was a really disappointing chapter, it didn't turn out the way I wanted it to at all but I don't have time to re-edit it at the moment. Anyway here's chapter 14. I don't know when I'll get the chance to work on the next part but fingers crossed it won't be long.


begonia9508
BehrObsession
Smac
Arianneleigh
LTL
Roswellluver
sylvia37
uw51
Xmag


Thank you all for the support.

*

Chapter 14


Jennifer Coleman spoke in a soft but steely tone. “Here’s what’s going to happen. You’re going to get out of bed, get dressed and we’re going to go for a little drive. No sudden movements, no screaming, no stupid escape bids. Understood?”

Maria and Liz nodded dumbly.

“Well then, let’s go.” Jennifer urged as she waved the gun at them. “Chop chop.”

The two girls scrambled quickly from the bed and pulled on their clothes hastily. Jennifer pointed the gun at the window and silently the girls crawled through it and onto the balcony.

Jennifer grabbed Maria roughly by the hair and pointed the gun at Liz. “Climb down the ladder, don’t pull any tricks or your friend gets it. Go.”

Liz glanced at Maria, trying to reassure her that everything was all right. Then she turned and climbed down the ladder. Her legs were shaking like Jell-O and her hands were sweating. When she reached the bottom, Jennifer followed her.

“Ok Blondie, it’s your turn.” Jennifer called up to Maria as she grabbed Liz in a painful hold.

Maria appeared over the edge of the balcony and climbed slowly down the ladder. When she reached the bottom, Liz realised she was crying and rubbing her broken wrist.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t think about your wrist.” Jennifer said in a genuinely apologetic tone. Then she pushed Liz hard towards the entrance of the alleyway. “Move it, let’s go,” She ordered harshly.

Liz reached out and held onto Maria’s arm tightly in a comforting gesture. Jennifer immediately poked her in the back with the gun and shoved her. “Come on, let’s go.”

Parked at the entrance to the alley was a car. “Open the trunk.” Jennifer demanded.

“No, please.” Liz begged.

“I said, OPEN IT.” Jennifer repeated.

With trembling hands Liz opened the trunk, she could feel tears running down her cheeks.

“Get in.”

Liz looked at Jennifer imploringly. “Please don’t do this.” She begged.

For a moment, Liz thought she saw uncertainty and sympathy in the other girl’s face, but it vanished and Jennifer raised the gun at them pointing it directly in Liz's face. “Get in, now.”

“Ok, ok.” Maria cried out in alarm. She put her hand on Liz's shoulder for balance and climbed in. “Come on Liz.” She said in a calm voice.

Liz swallowed nervously, for a moment she was tempted to try using her powers on Jennifer but she knew that they were uncontrollable and weren’t guaranteed to work. She took a deep breath and climbed in. Maria wrapped her arm around Liz's waist and Liz held her hand.

“Don’t be frightened. I’m not going to hurt you.” Jennifer said a gentle voice. “It’s ok now.”

Then she slammed the trunk closed.


*


“I don’t think she’s completely sane.” Liz whispered to Maria as they felt the car move off.

Maria snorted. “What gives you that idea?”

“What do you think she meant by ‘Alex sent her’?” Liz asked.

“I don’t know.” Maria sighed. “Like you said she’s not thinking or acting rationally at the moment. Who knows why she’s doing this? Maybe it’s like when Brody got some of Lareks memories.”

Liz gasped. “Maybe Tess mindwarped her too and she’s somehow broke through it.”

“So what do we do?” Maria asked fearfully.

“We have to stay as calm as possible. We’ll talk to her, try get her to talk to us.” Liz suggested.

“Should we tell her the truth?”

Liz considered the question for a moment. “I think we should. She already knows most of it, if she hears our version of it instead of the one she’s put together by herself it might help.”

Suddenly the car made a sharp turn. It began to bump up and down and the two girls were tossed around.

“We must be off road now.” Liz said.

They continued on for a while longer and then the girls felt the car come to a stop. Liz grasped Maria’s hand tighter. A car door opened and footsteps approached.

Liz took a deep breath. “Ok, here goes.”

The trunk opened. The two girls squinted as torchlight shone in their eyes. “Get out.”


*


"Ow." Maria cried out as Jennifer tied her hands tightly behind her back.

"Oh my God, I'm sorry. I keep forgetting about your wrist." Jennifer said in alarm, but she made no move to untie Maria and ease her discomfort.

When she was satisfied that the two girls weren't going to be able to escape she sat back and looked at them. "I know that you're frightened but you don't need to be. I'm going to help you." Then she stood up and moved out of their line of vision.

"Are you alright?" Liz asked Maria in a low voice.

"My wrist is in agony but apart from that I'm fine." Maria said reassuringly. "I feel better now that she's not waving that gun at us anymore."

"Me too." Liz said in agreement. She looked around their location. Although it was night, there was a full moon and the sky was clear so millions of stars were twinkling brightly above them. It allowed them to see that they were in a camping site close to a lake, surrounded by trees, there was a small dirt road winding its way through the wood.

The snap of a twig alerted the girls to Jennifer's return. She was carrying a bulky package which she set down on a picnic bench and unwrapped. The object was a pyramid and after Jennifer had fiddled with it for a moment it rose form the table and hovered inches above it. Liz gasped in horror, recognizing it as a bomb, identical to the one that had almost the day they had found the translation of the destiny book.

Liz turned her head to Maria, her friend’s eyes were wide with fear and tears were running down her cheeks.

"It's safe now." Jennifer said happily as she turned back to her hostages. "They can't hurt you anymore. I'm going to protect you."

"You don't need to protect us." Liz told her. "They're not going to hurt us, they're our friends."

Jennifer walked over and knelt in front of Liz. "I know you think that Liz, but it's not true" She said gently. "They're dangerous, they killed Alex and Tess Harding and they tried to kill Maria."

Maria shook her head. "Tess Harding isn't dead. She's alive and she's the one who killed Alex."

"That's what they want you to think." Jennifer insisted, she tapped her head with her finger. "They can do things to you, they get inside your head and when they're finished you don't even know your own name. You believe everything they want you to believe. But I know the truth."

"Jennifer, listen to me." Liz implored. "Max, Isabel and Michael are good people. They would never do anything like that. Alex was their friend. They would never have hurt him. It's Tess Harding, she's the one who did this to you."

"You wrote a letter to the Antar Company." Maria said suddenly. "You told them that you had found Alex wandering around one night, and that he was really angry at somebody named Tess."

"I never wrote any letter." Jennifer argued.

"Yes you did. We read it yesterday." Maria persisted. "Tess was the one who sent Alex to Los Cruses and who hired you. We have all the proof you need in the Valenti's house. You can read the letter yourself."

Jennifer rose and began pacing up and down in front of the girls. She was shaking her head and mumbling incoherently to herself.

Sensing that they were getting through to her, Liz decided ask the question that had been burning on her mind since she had been woken an hour earlier.

"What did you mean when you said Alex sent you?"

Jennifer stopped walking and turned to look at the girls. “I found him wandering around the campus one night during a thunderstorm, he was told me the truth but I didn’t believe him. He begged me to help him, to help you but I thought he was just crazy. After he left Los Cruses I didn’t hear from him in ages. Then one day I got an email from Alex Whitman, he told me he was dying and that he needed someone he could trust to save the two of you from the aliens. Of course, I though it was just spam or a joke email. I should have believed him.”

Her voice trailed off and she wiped tears from her face. “Then one day I was sitting in my room, mending a button on my shirt and this girl bursts in and yells at me to get out. The Firefighters told me there was no way the fire could have started the way it did. It went against all the laws of physics. Then I got a letter about a property I had rented out of town, which I know I never did, but all the paperwork was in my name, with my signature. And I started remembering things, strange things, or I’d be doodling these really unusual hieroglyphics over and over again. So out of curiosity one day I googled Alex Whitman and found an article about his death. I recognized him as Ray, and I recognized the picture of you Liz at his funeral and then I knew, what he had told me was true. I could have saved him if only I had listened to him while he was alive. But I swear, I’m not going to let that happen to you. I owe him that much.”

Maria and Liz exchanged worried glances.

"You saved my life that day, when the fire started in my dorm. How did you know that I was in danger?" Jennifer asked curiously.

Liz swallowed nervously, she had no way of telling how Jennifer would react to what she was about to say. “After Alex died, I knew it was murder, not suicide. Maria and I investigated it and we found out about you and Los Cruses. Up until then we had believed that Alex was in Sweden on an exchange program and that you were a girl named Leanna.”

“Leanna.” Jennifer said quietly to herself.

Liz held her breath waiting to see if she would say more, instead she turned back to Liz. “Go on.”

“We went to Los Cruses and found out your real identity. We - Maria, Michael and I, got into your apartment and found out that you were renting a property outside town. When we went out there we found the translation and the key and we were almost killed by the bomb. We assumed that you were an alien.”

“Sorry about that.” Jennifer said, genuinely. “It only reacts to aliens, when it detects their DNA it goes off.”

Liz nodded in relief and continued. “When we got back to Roswell, we learned that Tess was pregnant and was claiming that her son was sick and they needed to leave immediately. Max didn’t want to leave before dealing with you in case you came after Maria and me. So we went to Los Cruses to kill you.”

“You were going to kill me?” Jennifer asked in disbelief.

“It was only when Max started the fire that I realised you were human and that we had missed a big clue somewhere.” Liz concluded.

“So how did you find out it was Tess?”

“Tess’s power is to mindwarp. She’s the one who makes you see things and believe things that aren’t true.” Liz explained. “She had used her powers on Amy Deluca once and the night they left, Amy began to break through. They way Ms. Deluca was acting made me realize that Alex and Kyle had also been mindwarped. We went to see Kyle, he had been there the night Alex confronted Tess and died. She had mindwarped him into forgetting it.”

Tears rolled down Jennifer’s cheeks. She wiped them away absently. “Oh my God, poor Alex. Why did Tess do that?”

“She had made a deal with their enemies to hand over Max and the others and Max’s son.” Maria supplied bitterly. “We managed to tell the others before they left but Max let Tess go because of the baby.”

There was silence after Maria finished speaking. Suddenly Jennifer rose to her feet and walked away wordlessly.

“Now what?” Maria asked in an annoyed tone. “If we’re not back before my Mom wakes up, I’m going to be grounded.”

“Me too.” Liz sighed.


*

After Jennifer had been gone for several minutes, the two girls began struggling with their bonds, trying to escape. Maria was whimpering with the pain caused to her broken wrist by the effort.

“Hold still for a second.” Liz commanded after a few minutes. “I’m going to try something.”

She closed her eyes and tried to push all thoughts from her mind. Breathing deeply and evenly Liz tried to imagine herself in a different place.

And suddenly she remembered driving along the old highway one day with Max. They had cut school for no other reason than they simply wanted to be together. He had taken her for a drive and as they cruised along the desert road, the wind playing in her hair, her favorite song on the radio, Max in the seat beside her and no other worries or cares in the world, Liz had been struck at how perfect that moment was. Liz felt herself transported there, she could almost feel the sun on her skin and the jeep moving beneath her.

Liz took another deep breath and pictured the rope binding her hands together. She concentrated for a moment, and imagined them straining and snapping. And then they did, and Liz was free.

“How did you do that?” Maria gasped when Liz brought her hand up and rubbed her wrists.

Liz said nothing, but silently untied Maria. “Are you ok? How’s your wrist.” She asked in concern.

“I’m fine. We have to get out of here.” Maria said urgently. She grabbed Liz's hand and the two girls began to make their way carefully towards the road.

Liz stopped abruptly. “We can’t go Maria. We have to find her.”

“What? Why?”

“She needs help. Tess did something to her and now she’s suffering because of it. She’s a victim in all of this.” Liz argued. “We couldn’t help Alex but we can help her.”

“Let’s get out of here first. We’ll tell Max and Valenti and then we can help her.” Maria countered.

Liz shook her head. “Who knows what she’ll do before then. She’s not thinking straight. Remember what Brody did when he got those memories from Larek.”

Maria sighed. “Fine.” She agreed grudgingly.

“Jennifer, Jennifer.” Liz called loudly. She nudged Maria who joined in. The two girls began shouting loudly to their captor.

BANG

A gunshot echoed loudly throughout the campsite. The bullet struck a rock two feet from them. Both girls screamed in terror and threw themselves onto the ground.

“She’s shooting at us.” Maria hissed in indignation. “I told you we should have left.”

“Shh. Maria, we have to help her. Something is causing her to act this way.” Liz whispered as she crawled on her stomach towards the outcropping of rock. “If we can get behind those rocks, we’ll have some cover.”

Huffing in annoyance and pain, Maria followed Liz behind the boulder. They crouched down low and tried to peer out to see if they could spot Jennifer anywhere.

“Now what?” Maria asked.

“I don’t know.” Liz admitted. She dropped her head into her hands. “I’m sorry Maria.”

“It’s not your fault Liz.” Maria said. “You weren’t the one holding a gun to my head.”

Suddenly they heard the sounds of footsteps creeping closer across the gravel to where they were hiding. The two girls clung to each other in fear.

“Come out, come out wherever you are.” Jennifer singsonged.

“Not until you put that gun down.” Maria shouted. “We want to have a conversation with you but we can’t until you stop acting like a crazy loon.”

“Maria.” Liz admonished in alarm. She grasped Maria’s wrist tightly.

Maria shook her off and rose to her feet. “It’s time to all this nonsense Jennifer. You want to help us, we want to help you. Put the gun down and we’ll talk like sane adults.” She said in her best impression of an authoritative figure.

To her immense surprise and relief, Jennifer obeyed and tossed the gun onto the ground.

“Thank you.” Maria continued, she swallowed nervously. “Now let’s sit down and talk.” She indicated towards the picnic table. Jennifer nodded meekly and made her way to the seat.

Maria raised an eyebrow in surprise to Liz then hurried over to where the gun lay on the ground. She lifted it gingerly between her fingertips and handed it to Liz. “Do you know anything about these things?”

Liz took it from her nervously. She tried to remember what she had seen Kyle doing when he had taken her out to a practice range two summers previously when they had been dating. Thankfully she was able to recall how to open the chamber, which she did and quickly emptied it of the remaining bullets.

She crossed over the clearing to where Maria was sitting beside Jennifer who was staring off into space. Maria raised her eyebrows, silently asking what they should do next. Liz shrugged in response and jerked her head to indicate that Maria should continue on.

Maria took a deep breath. “Jennifer, we think Tess did something to your brain. It’s called mindwarping and that’s why your memories are all confused. She did the same thing to Alex, that’s what killed him.”

Jennifer whipped her head around in alarm to face Maria. “What?”

“Max can help you. He has the power to heal.” Maria added hurriedly.

Liz knelt before Jennifer. “Almost two years ago, I was shot. Max risked everything to save me, he healed my wound and brought me back to life. Last Christmas he went to Phoenix and healed a ward full of children with cancer.”

“Why didn’t he save Alex?” Jennifer asked tearfully.

“He tried, but Alex had been dead too long by the time Max attempted it.” Liz explained gently. “But it’s not too late for you. He can help you. And he will help you.”

“I’m so scared.” Jennifer wailed. “I don’t know what’s happening to me. I’ve lost all this time and done all these things. It’s like somebody is controlling my body and my mind. I just want it to stop.”

“We can make it stop.” Maria said as she put an arm around their captor’s shoulders and drew her close. “We’ll go back to Roswell and call Max.”

“You said that you wanted to help us because you were too late to save Alex.” Liz said. “We want to help you because we were too late to Alex as well, He might have thought your name was Leanna, but he cared about you. We owe it to him to help you. Max will feel the same way.”

“Let us help you.” Maria urged.

Jennifer nodded sadly. “Thank you. I’m sorry for kidnapping you, I was just so confused.”

“It’s ok.” Maria assured her. “It’s not the first time either of us has been abducted.”

The three girls stood up and were making there way towards the van when Liz stopped. “What about the bomb. Can you deactivate it?”

Jennifer gasped in surprise. “I’d forgotten about that.” She made her way over to it and examined it. “I shouldn’t be able to but somehow I am.”
She leaned forwards and pressed a button. Suddenly the pyramid shaped device began to whirl around and around.

“Oh my God.” Jennifer screamed. “I didn’t do that. I don’t know what its doing.”

“It’s going to go off.” Liz realized in horror.

“How?” Jennifer asked in a panicked tone. “There are no aliens around.”

Even as she spoke the three girls heard the sound of a car roaring down the bumpy track and coming to a screaming halt beside Jennifer’s car.

“Liz.” They heard Max yell in panic. “Liz, Maria, are you here?”

Michael’s voice joined in. “Maria.”

The bomb began to whirl even faster, suddenly it flew from its position over the table and sped in the direction of the boys voices.

“No. Run.” Liz screamed in terror.

In the moonlight she could make out Max and Michael running towards the sound of her voice. They were too far away to make out what she was saying and unable to see the bomb swiftly making it’s way towards them.

“Run Michael. There’s a bomb.” Maria screamed.

Without thinking, acting purely on instinct Liz raised her right hand, palm outwards. She felt a wave of energy leave her body. She whipped her hand in the direction of the lake. The bomb was thrown of course and landed with a splash in the freezing cold water of the Bottomless Lake.

Sensing that something had happened the two boys stopped in their tracks and turned towards the water. For a moment there was silence, then suddenly a deep but muffled boom.

A wave rippled from the spot where the bomb had landed and crashed upon the shore. A shower of water fell on those assembled in the picnic area, drenching them.

There was a moment of silence and then Max and Michael rushed over to their girlfriends. They positioned them selves in front of the girls and faced Jennifer with their hands held out menacingly.

Maria pushed Michael aside and hurried to stand by Jennifer. “It’s ok.” She assured them. “Jennifer is not going to hurt us. She needs your help.”

Liz reached out and placed her hand on Max’s arm and forced him to lower it. “You’re scaring her.” She hissed.

Max regarded Jennifer. She was visibly trembling, her arms were wrapped around her body and she had an expression of pure fear on her face. Reluctantly Max also lowered his hand. “Are you alright?”

Liz nodded. “We’re fine. How did you know where we were?”

“I was dreamwalking Jennifer and saw that she was driving out here with you two in the trunk.” Isabel’s voice came from the darkness. She came to stand beside Max. “I knew she had a gun and a bomb, I though she was going to kill you.”

“She was trying to save us.” Liz explained. “Tess was mindwarping her as well, you need to heal her Max.”

Max nodded. “Let’s get out of here, you need to warm up and dry off.”
Liz nodded gratefully, she stepped forward to guide Jennifer towards the cars.

The taller girl shrunk back from her and stepped behind Maria. “Don’t touch me.”

Liz withdrew her hand as though she had been burned.

“What’s wrong?” Isabel asked.

Jennifer raised her hand and pointed it at Liz. “You’re one of them.”

“What’s she talking about?” Michael asked in irritation.

Liz gulped. Everybody was looking at her, waiting for her to explain herself. She turned to Jennifer and spoke calmly. “I’m not one of them. When Max healed me, he changed me.”

She turned back to Max. “I’m different now. I have powers.”


*
Last edited by tequathisy on Mon Jun 27, 2005 11:44 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by tequathisy » Fri Apr 29, 2005 11:43 am

I have good and bad news. :D :D The good news is I got my job back and I even got a pay rise. Not a big one but more is more!! I also have a new chapter written. :D :D The bad news is it sucks. But I want to get to the real action in my story soon, so it'll have to do.


Once again thanks to everyone who gave me feedback. And if there's any lurkers out there, please pop in and say hi. I don't bite. I'd love to hear from you.


Snowdove30 Welcome.
Smac The reactions to Liz’s powers are sort of on hold for now while everyone deals with more pressing matters but it will happen in the next chapter. But probably not in the way you expect. How long before Liz owns up? We’ll see.
LTL Thank you. Jennifer is a little messed up but she will be de-loused in this chapter.
Venus_star2.com
I am a dreamer It’ll go ok for now but wait for the delayed reaction.


A/N I don't know the name of Alex's mother and couldn't find it anywhere so I decided to cal her Rita. If anybody knows what her name really is please let me know so that I can change it.

*

Chapter 15

“You’re being very quiet.” Liz commented as she drove the Jetta through the streets of Roswell.

Maria glanced at her briefly then returned to gazing out the windows. “I guess.”

“Are you mad at me?” Liz asked anxiously. Maria had barely spoken since Max had dropped them home and they had crawled back up the fire escape ladder. Given the dramatic events of the night, Maria’s silence was extremely unusual.

Maria sighed. “Why would I be mad at you?”

“Because I didn’t tell you about my powers.” Liz suggested guiltily as the car came to a stop at a red light

Maria shook her head. “Of course not, I’m just really tired and my wrist is killing me and I’m just thinking about Jennifer Coleman and everything.”

“I’m sorry.” Liz blurted out.

“For what?” Maria asked.

“For not telling you.”

“Why didn’t you?”

“I wanted too, but I was ashamed and confused and…” Liz trailed off. “I was afraid of how you’d react.”

“Thanks Liz.” Maria huffed. “I’m not the same person I was two years ago, I wouldn’t have run screaming down the streets. I’ve matured a lot since then. And after everything we’re been through, you developing powers is not that big a deal.”

“It’s not that.” Liz tried to clarify. She turned to face Maria. “I have to tell you something. The night – “

Beep

The sounding of a horn being blown behind them made both girls jump in their seats. Liz realized that the light had changed to green. She quickly put the car into gear and pulled away. She turned into the street where Michael’s apartment was and parked the car.

Before Liz had a chance to finish her confession, Max appeared beside her car and opened her door for her.

“Hi guys. Did you have any trouble getting back in?” He asked.

“Do really think that if our parents thought we had slept anything but safely and soundly in our beds all night that we would be here now?” Maria asked crossly. She slammed the door of the car and stalked up the path to Michael’s door.

“She’s tired and I think she hurt her wrist last night.” Liz explained.

“How are you?” Max asked in concern.

“I’m fine.” Liz reassured him. “Just a bit tired too and worried about Jennifer.”

Max nodded. “I hope I can help her. We should go in.”

Liz caught his arm, forcing him to stop. “I’m really sorry that I didn’t tell you about having powers before. I wasn’t deliberately lying to you I just needed some time to come to terms with it on my own.”

“I understand.” Max told her but Liz could sense that he was disappointed. She sighed and followed him inside the apartment.

“She’s in the shower.” Michael said when Max and Liz looked around the apartment for Jennifer Coleman.

“How has she been acting?” Isabel asked him.

“Pretty nervous, she kept asking when you guys would be getting here, but she seems to be holding it together.” Michael responded. He glanced at Liz. “She keeps asking questions about you, how you got your powers and stuff.”

Liz pushed her hair behind her ear self-consciously.

“She’s not the only one who’s wondering that.” Isabel added, not unkindly. “When did you get them? Have you had them since that time you had to contact Max in New York?”

Liz noticed Max’s head shoot up at Isabel’s question. “No, it’s only been in the last few days.”

“So what can you do?” Michael asked.

“Not a lot. So far I’ve just blown up glasses and mirrors…and things. Until today, I had absolutely no control over any it and then I managed to snap the ropes that we were tied up with.” Liz told him, she glanced guiltily at Maria, but her friend was staring moodily into space and didn’t appear to even be listening to the conversation.

“So I guess that’s why you were asking me about how I learnt to control my powers.” Michael realized. “Did it help?”

Liz smiled gratefully. “It did actually, thanks.” She looked over at Max who looked very unhappy at Michael’s revelation. HE said nothing but folded his arms across his chest.

“We are supposed to get together every morning and work on our powers.” Isabel told Liz. “You should join us. It might help you to learn to control them and it would be interesting to see what you can do.”

“I will.” Liz agreed, she was relived to find that Maria had been right, they had been through so much over the last two years that the development of her powers was only mildly interesting.

Just then the bathroom door opened and Jennifer Coleman walked out. She stopped suddenly when she saw the crowd that had gathered in the living room. “Hi.”

“Hi Jennifer.” They chorused.

There was an awkward silence for a moment until Isabel approached Jennifer and led her into the room and towards the sofa. “Sit down.” She said gently.

Jennifer glanced towards the door uncertainly as though gauging her escape route then took the offered seat. “So what happens now?” She asked.

Liz took a step towards the couch, intending to sit beside the taller blonde but Jennifer flinched so Liz remained where she was. “Max is going to put his hands on you too see where the problem is and hopefully heal you.”

“Will I end up like you? With powers?” Jennifer asked fearfully.

Everyone turned to look at Liz.

Liz licked her dry lips. “No, I don’t think so. From what I understand you’ll only be changed if you’re brought back from the dead. But we really don’t know enough about it.”

Jennifer wrung her hands. “I don’t know, I don’t think I want this.”

Michael pushed himself away from the counter and took the seat beside Jennifer. “Look, we don’t know what happens after you’re healed except that you don’t die. What we do know is that if you’re not healed you’ll end up dead like Alex. It’s as simple as that.”

“I don’t want to die.” Jennifer whispered in a small voice.

Michael took her hand. “Then let Max heal you.”

Jennifer said nothing for a moment the she looked up and met Max’s eyes. “Ok.”

Michael moved away from the couch and Max took his place. “I’m going to put my hands on your head. Are you ready?”

Jennifer swallowed nervously and nodded her head once. Max took a deep steadying breath and gingerly placed his hands on her head. There was silence in the room as everyone watched. After a moment Max’s hands began to glow and small beads of sweat appeared on his forehead.

Suddenly Jennifer gasped and Max pulled his hands away. He was panting. “Are you alright?”

“It’s stopped.” Jennifer laughed as she shook her head.

“What’s stopped?” Isabel asked curiously.

“There’s been this noise in my ears for weeks now, like the sound you get when a radio isn’t tuned in properly. It was driving me crazy, but it’s gone. Thank you.”

Max nodded. ”Anything else?”

“I don’t think I could move anything with the power of my mind if that’s what you’re asking. But I feel right again. You know when you’ve been sick, or had a really bad headache and it goes. You feel like you can do anything, that’s what I feel like.”

“Do you remember anything more about Alex or Los Cruses?” Isabel asked.

“I remember Ray. I remember talking to him, but the rest is foggy, I don’t remember what I was doing at the time.”

“So what are you going to do now?” Isabel asked her.

“Go home I guess, see my parents. Catch up on schoolwork.” Jennifer shrugged. “I’d like to go and see Ray’s…Alex’s grave again before I leave.”

“Hey I’ve an idea.” Maria said brightly, startling everyone. “Why don’t you come back to the Crashdown with Liz and I. We’ll tell our parents that you were on the exchange program in Sweden with Alex. Then we can go see his parents. They’d love to meet you. We can all go to the grave together after that.”

“I’d love to.” Jennifer accepted happily.

“Then we should go now.” Liz said as she looked at her watch. “Our parents will be up, we can tell them we left so early this morning to collect you from the bus.”

“Call me when you’re going to see the Whitman’s and I’ll go with you.” Isabel said to the girls as they stood up to leave.

Liz suddenly stopped. “Kyle.”

“What about him?” Max asked.

“He needs to know what’s going on and about his powers.” Liz said.

“I’ll call Valenti, let him know what happened tonight. Do you want to apologize to him for wrecking his house?” Isabel asked Jennifer.

Jennifer looked at her strangely. “I didn’t wreck his house. It was like that when I got there, that’s why I thought you had done something to Tess.”

“Wait, if you didn’t wreck the room then who did?” Michael asked in alarm.

“Kyle.” Liz repeated though this time in a tone of understanding. “He’s so angry at everyone right now, especially Tess. He probably trashed the room.”

“But surely he would have said something when we were over there.” Isabel suggested.

“Why? He hates us right now. We cleaned up his mess and worried ourselves silly. He probably enjoyed it.” Max said grumpily.

“Or maybe he was just ashamed of what he did and was afraid to own up to it.” Liz said sympathetically, she turned to Jennifer. “Did you break the windows in Max’s room?”

“No.”

“I’ll ask Kyle about that too.” Isabel sighed. “You guys should go, your parents will be wondering where you are.”


*


Jim Valenti shook his head in disbelief as Isabel informed him of the night’s proceedings. He glanced over to his son, who was eating a bowl of frosties with a general air of disinterest and leafing through the sports section of the paper.

"Thanks Isabel, I'll see you soon." Jim said as they finished talking, he hung up the phone and took a deep breath. Since Tess had left, Jim had been worried about Kyle’s behavior and attitude. However he had said very little, waiting for his son to work through his issues himself, now it seemed Jim had no option but to confront Kyle and force a conversation.

"Kyle, we need to talk."

Kyle looked up briefly and raised his eyebrows, signaling for his father to speak.

With an irritated sigh, Jim swiped the newspaper and the bowl of soggy cereal away from the table and dropped them with a clatter on the sideboard.

"Hey I was reading that." Kyle said in a half-hearted attempt at annoyance.

"That was Isabel on the phone. Jennifer Coleman kidnapped Liz and Maria at gunpoint last night. Thankfully, they managed to talk her around and they're back home now."

Kyle said nothing but crossed his arms and waited for his father to continue. He still wore a bored expression n his face.

"The girls are fine, nobody was hurt." Jim snapped angrily.

"Good." Kyle shrugged. He made a move towards the door of the kitchen, but Jim was quicker and he blocked Kyle’s path.

"Sit down." Commanded Jim. "We are not through yet. Jennifer Coleman claims that the room here was already trashed when she broke in here. She says that's why she thought Max and the others had done something to Tess."

"So?" Kyle asked belligerently.

"So, I want to know if it was you." Jim shouted.

"It was me." Kyle admitted without any sign of remorse.

"Why didn't you say so before?"

Again Kyle said nothing.

Jim ran his hand over his face. "There are serious matters at stake here. We can't afford to make mistakes or hide things from each other. Or waste time looking for non-existent intruders."

"Alien matters are at stake." Kyle shouted in response. "I'm finished worrying about their matters. Tess no longer lives here, so we have nothing to do with them anymore."

"You heard what Liz said about the end of the world. Right now Kevlar could be sending an army to invade earth. These are human matters too. If we sit back and do nothing then who will?" Jim asked patiently. “I know that this has been very difficult for you Kyle and that you're angry. You have every right to be."

"You have no idea what this has been like for me." Kyle yelled. "I helped cover up Alex's murder. I trusted her, I loved her and she was lying to me all the time."

"And you think I don't understand that?" Jim asked in surprise. "I killed Hubble and covered up the reason why. I burned the body of an FBI agent and buried it in the desert. I shot my own son. And if it hadn't been for Max Evans, you would be dead. Think about that Kyle, think what it's like to carry around the knowledge that you killed your only child everyday."

Kyle hung his head in shame. "I'm sorry." He mumbled.

"I know Tess did a number on you. I loved her too." Jim said sadly. "I liked having her here. I thought that we mattered to her and I liked that. It was nice to have a woman around the place again."

"They're all the same." Kyle spat out bitterly. "Tess, Liz, Mom. Bitches."

"Kyle, you will not speak that way about anyone like that in this house. Whatever mistakes you think Liz has made, she does not deserve to be called names like that. Either does your mother." Jim shouted furiously.

"None of them can be trusted. Mom cheated on you, made you look like a fool. Tess completely betrayed us and Liz just forgave Max like he had done nothing. Tess murdered one of the best people that ever lived and he got her pregnant and let her go and Liz just forgave him." Kyle shouted. He stood up from the table and stalked angrily to the back door. "I want nothing more to do with Liz Parker or Max Evans or any of them."

"Kyle, wait." Jim called. "Isabel said that Liz used powers to escape from Jennifer Coleman. Seems it’s the byproduct of being brought back from the dead by an alien. You might have them too."

"Well that's just great." Kyle sneered. He turned and walked out, slamming the door behind him.


*

Steve the gift shop manager was waiting at the entrance of the museum for Isabel when she and Max arrived for work. “Good morning Isabel, any luck with those security tapes yet?”

Isabel swore under her breath, suddenly remembering the task she had yet to complete for Brody. “Not yet. But I’m going through them slowly just so I’m certain I don’t miss anything.”

“Good. Well I thought I should let you know that there seems to be more stock missing this morning, it’s only been stolen in the last few days so you’ll need to check the latest tapes as well.”

“Will do.” Isabel called as she walked down the steps. She found Max resting on the bottom step, his head in his hands. “Hey, if you’re not feeling well you should go home.” She said to him gently. “I’ll cover for you here.”

Max shook his head. “Mom is at home today, she’d only be fussing. I’m fine, just a bit tired.”

“Go back to Michael’s.” Isabel urged.

“I’d rather be here. If I’m doing something, I’ll be less inclined to brood.”

“Max you’re the king of brooding. You could be winning the lottery and brooding at the same time.” Isabel pointed out. She sighed and took a seat beside him. “I’m sure Liz was going to tell you about her powers. She probably just needed to get her head around it first. I’m mean just because powers are normal for us, it’s a big deal for her.”

“I know that.” Max snapped. “That’s not the issue, it’s just…never mind. It’s between Liz and I.”

Isabel put her had in her pocket and withdrew a few quarters. “Go and get something sugary and fattening to eat, you look like you need the energy boost.”

Max accepted the money gratefully. “I’m sorry. It’s just been a rough night.”


*


“Alex and I were emailing each other back and forth since we came back from Sweden. So when the emails just stopped I got worried and then about two weeks ago I googled him and found an article about his accident.” Jennifer explained Jeff Whitman as he served her breakfast. “I didn’t want to just call up his parents out of the blue. Alex had sent me a couple of group emails that had Maria and Liz's email address on them. I knew they were close because he talked about them all the time so I emailed Maria to tell her I was coming to Roswell.”

Maria picked up the story. “I hadn’t checked my emails in ages but I couldn’t sleep this morning because of my arm so I was decided to log on.”

“Fortunately, otherwise Jennifer would still be waiting at the bus stop.” Liz concluded. “We’re going to see Alex’s parents after breakfast. We were supposed to visit a couple of days ago but with the fire and everything we didn’t get the chance.”

“I’m sure they’ll really appreciate you coming all this way to see them.” Jeff told Jennifer. “Let me know if there’s anything else you need.”

The girls nodded and tucked into their breakfasts. Jeff made his way into the kitchen where he found Nancy compiling a shopping list. “Did you meet Jennifer?” He asked her.

“Yes. She seems like a lovely girl, it’s so thoughtful of her to come all this way to meet Alex’s parents.” Nancy replied.

“Hmm.”

Nancy tuned around and faced her husband. “What?”

“There’s just something I can’t put my finger on.” Jeff said as he walked to the serving window and watched the three girls eat.

Nancy rolled her eyes and returned to the list. “You’re so paranoid. I know Liz has been very distant lately but she’s a teenager going through a hard time. That doesn’t mean that everything she does is suspicious.”

“Just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean there’s not something very strange going on.” Jeff argued.


*

Charles Whitman handed out glasses of soda to the four girls assembled in his living room. “We can’t thank you enough for coming to see us. It means a lot to us to be able to talk to Alex’s friends.”

“Especially you Jennifer, it was really good of you to come all this way.” Rita Whitman added.

“Alex was a really great guy, I just wanted to say goodbye to him.” Jennifer mumbled, clearly embarrassed at being praised.

“We were planning to come a few days ago but then my house burned down and we sort of got sidetracked.” Maria explained, drawing the attention away from Jennifer who smiled gratefully.

“We were so sorry to hear about that dear.” Rita told her. “If there’s anything we can do please let us know.”

“Do you know what started it?” Charles asked.

Maria glanced at Liz for a moment. “Faulty wiring in the TV, according to the firefighters.”

“It’s such a shame. Did you manage to save anything from the house.” Rita asked sympathetically.

“Unfortunately not, but nobody was hurt and that’s the main thing.” Maria answered. She looked at the picture of Alex over the fireplace. “We have each other, it’s easy buy anything we need.”

“That’s true.” Rita agreed. “But at the same time, it’s not nice when you lose all your belongings.”

Maria squirmed in her seat, uncomfortable with being consoled by the Whitman’s.

“I’m glad you all came today. We were going through Alex’s belongings. There are a few things we’d like to give to you.” Rita informed her young visitors. She stood up and gestured for the girls to follow.

They made their way into Alex’s bedroom. For a moment they all stood in silence. Most of his belongings had been taken down from the shelves. The posters had been removed from the walls and the open closet door revealed that his clothes had been packed away. There were several packing boxes on the stripped bed.

“We thought it would be best to just pack things up. It hurt too much to see his room just sitting here, waiting for him to come back.” Rita said tearfully. “We’ll keep a lot of it ourselves, we’re sending the clothes to a Goodwill in another state.”

Charles picked up the acoustic guitar, which was lying against the wall, he touched it fondly then turned to Maria and held it out towards her. Tears were misting his eyes. “We want you to have this. Music meant a lot to Alex and he’s been raving about your voice since that concert you played in last year.”

Maria took a step backwards and shook her head vehemently. “I can’t take that, it’s too much. You should keep it.”

“Charles and I are completely tone deaf. I’ve no idea where Alex got his talent. If we keep it, it would just stay lying silently against the wall.” Rita said as she laid a comforting hand on Maria’s shoulders. “We want you to have it. Everytime you play, you’ll remember Alex and it’ll keep a little bit of him alive.”

Maria wiped away the tears that were rolling down her cheeks and with shaking hands accepted the precious gift. “Thank you.”

“There’s a box of CDs on the bed, we want you to take them too.” Charles added. “And before you protest, it’ll be doing us a favor, neither of us like the music he listened to. We know that you lost all of yours in the fire. Please Maria.”

Maria nodded tearfully.

“Liz, we thought you would like some of his books.” Rita said as she turned to Liz. She pointed out a box lying on the floor. “It’s an eclectic collection, there’s poetry, novels, music, computer books, science books, travel books, books on photography. A bit like Alex himself really.”

Liz laughed sadly and picked up the topmost book. It was a travel book, as she leafed through it she saw that Alex had marked and highlighted several different places and things around the world that he wanted to see. Liz was struck again with the reminder that Alex would never get to see or do any of the things he had planned and a sob erupted from her throat. “I’m sorry.” She apologized.

“No, don’t be sorry.” Rita told her gently. She wrapped an arm around Liz. “It’s good to cry. Alex deserves our tears.”

Liz nodded in agreement.

Charles removed his glasses, which were fogging up and cleaned them. He put them back on and picked up a large envelope from the desk. “Isabel, we weren’t really sure what to give you until we got this. It came in the mail a few days ago. I think he had intended to give it to you as a graduation present.”

Isabel took the envelope in her hands and nervously opened it. She pulled out two sheets of paper. “Oh my God. He bought me a star.” She said as she held up a certificate. “It’s from the international star registry, he named a star after me. Thank you. Thank you Alex.”

“I’m glad you like it. I know he developed an interest in astronomy from you so we want you to have his telescope.” Charles continued as he handed Isabel an oblong case. “You probably already have one but we want you to have this. And his books on astronomy.”

Isabel took the case and held it against her chest. She was crying silently but was smiling.

“Jennifer, I wish we had know you were coming, we would have picked out something for you.” Rita said apologetically.

“Oh no, it’s fine. I don’t want anything.” Jennifer assured her.

“You’ve come all this way, you should have something to remember him by.” Rita argued as she cast her eye around the room for something to give to Jennifer. She seized upon a small globe, the size of a baseball. “Alex wanted to see all the world and you got to share some of that with him, take this, please.”

Jennifer looked at Liz and Maria with a guilt stricken expression, unsure whether to take it or not. Liz nodded at her, silently urging her to accept.

“Thank you. This means a lot to me.” Jennifer said as she took the small globe in her hand.

Rita placed her hand over Jennifer’s, “It means a lot to us that you came here.”

Isabel cleared her throat to compose herself. “We really have to go now. Jennifer wants to visit Alex’s grave before she catches her bus. Thank you so much for these things.”

“Thank you for coming. Please come again, any time. It’s lovely to see you all.” Rita implored as she lead the girls out of the room. They collected the items they had been given and Jennifer picked up the box of CDs for Maria.

As Maria and Liz turned to leave, Charles Whitman held up his hand to signal for them to wait. He watched until Rita had ushered Isabel and Jennifer into the living room to collect their coats then closed the door.

“Girls, I’m not sure if you’d heard but the Police have ruled Alex’s death as suicide.” He told the girls in a whisper.

Liz and Maria exchanged glances. Liz spoke up. “Mr. Whitman, we had already heard that. But neither of us believes it. It was a terrible accident. Alex would never have done something like that. Never. He had so many plans for the future, he loved life, he loved you and Mrs. Whitman.”

Charles slumped against the door. “I want to believe that, but his teachers told the police report…. I’m so afraid that I failed him. What if he was suicidal and I never noticed. My own son, my only child.”

“You didn’t fail him. It was an accident.” Maria said tearfully. “None of the teachers noticed anything before his death, none of us did. Because there was nothing to notice. Alex did not commit suicide.”

Liz placed the box she was carrying down on the bed and picked out the travel book she had looked at earlier and opened it on a map of the world. “See all the places he highlighted? He wanted to visit all those places. He had plans for his life. He would never have killed himself.”

Charles nodded once. “I’m sorry, thanks for coming today.” He opened the door, waited for the girls to leave and closed it after them. As Maria and Liz made their way down the corridor they could hear the faint sounds of sobs coming from the room.


*
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Post by tequathisy » Tue May 10, 2005 11:27 am

Chapter 16


Max stared unhappily into his empty glass and stirred the dregs of his blood of alien smoothie with his straw. All around him people were laughing and enjoying the lovely summer evening, fellow classmates had invited him to join them but he refused. Preferring instead to sit at one of the Crashdown’s outside tables and wait for Liz to return.

A shadow loomed over him and he glanced up to find Michael watching him. “What’s up?” He asked as he took a seat.

Max shrugged and resumed playing with his straw and watching the street.

“Maria called, they’re taking Jennifer to collect her car. They should be back in about half an hour.” Michael informed Max. “It’s a relief to have that problem dealt with.”

Max made no answer.

As they sat in silence, Brody approached them. “Good evening boys. I’m looking for Maria, is she around?”

“No.” Michael stated bluntly. Then he sighed. “She’ll be back in a half hour.”

“I’ll wait for her inside.” Brody said awkwardly and entered the diner.

Michael glared after him. “I don’t like that guy.”

“What kind of things did Liz ask you?” Max asked suddenly.

“Huh?”

“This morning you mentioned that she had asked you about controlling your powers. What did she ask?” Max clarified impatiently.

Michael shrugged. “Nothing too specific, she just asked how am I able to control them now when I couldn’t before.”

“The other night she tasted my milkshake. She said it was an accident, but now I think she was testing herself to see if she likes the Tabasco in it.” Max said, almost to himself.

“And did she?”

“No.” Max stabbed the table angrily with the straw. “She had just promised me that she wouldn’t lie to me or keep things from me anymore. Two minutes later, she’s lying and keeping things from me.”

Michael shifted in his chair, unsure how to react. “I’m sure she was going to tell you soon, just with everything going on she didn’t get the chance.”

Max threw the straw on the table and leaned over so that he was only inches away form Michael’s face. “Do you trust her?”

“Trust Liz?” Michael asked in an amazed tone, not quite believing that Max was asking such a question. “Of course I do.”

“Why?” Max asked bluntly.

“Because…” Michael spluttered. “I think she’s proved by now that we can trust her Max. If there’s one thing I know about Liz Parker it’s that she’ll do anything to protect us, to protect you.”

Max sat back in his chair and ran his hands through his hair in frustration. “Right now I don’t think I can trust her. I thought she was one of the most honest, dependable people in the world but lately it just seems…she’s either lying, or sneaking around or hiding something.”

“Max, you’ve just described yourself.” Michael pointed out. “And Isabel and I, we all have to lie and sneak around and hide something.”

“But we’re honest with each other, we don’t lie to each other and keep each other in the dark about major things like developing powers or visitors from the future.” Max argued.

“I think Liz handled the whole future thing wrong.” Michael began. “She should never have kept us in the dark about that but she did it for the right reasons. She made a huge sacrifice and she did it to protect us. We’ve both tried to end our relationships with Liz and Maria in the past to keep them safe. We didn’t do a very good job of it. She did the same thing and stuck with it. I trust her with my life.”

Max smiled wryly. “I trust her with my life too and I trust her with yours and Isabel’s.”

Michael frowned in confusion. “Then what’s the problem?”

“I don’t believe what she says anymore. I’ve been sitting here for the last hour thinking of everything she’s said to me over the last few days and I don’t know what to believe.” Max admitted. “We’re supposed to be in a relationship but I’m waiting for her to up and leave again. I don’t trust her to stick around and fight for it.”

Michael scratched his eyebrow, clearly uncomfortable that the conversation had taken such a touchy-feely tone to it. He cleared his throat. “Maybe part of the problem is that she doesn’t trust you either. I mean you impregnated the girl who murdered her best friend. I’m no expert but I know that if there’s no trust you can’t have a real relationship.”

Max sighed. “I honestly think we’re a long way from that right now.” He said sadly.

“If Maria was here, she’d say talk to Liz. Generally she’s right about these things, so that’s my advice.” Michael told his friend. “You and Liz need to talk all this out. And here’s your chance now.”

Max looked towards the street and saw Isabel pull their mothers car into a spot in front of the Crashdown. She got out of the car and waved at them. “Hey, can you guys give us a hand?”

“How did things go with Jennifer and the Whitman’s?” Michael asked when he and Max reached the car.

Maria came to stand beside Michael. “It was fine. Sad, but it was good to see them and talk about Alex and cry together. We never did that before and I needed it.”

“Me too.” Liz confessed as she joined them on the sidewalk. “Mr and Mrs Whitman gave us some of Alex’s things to keep. I’m glad we went and I think it help Jennifer too. She seemed much happier when we said goodbye.”

“Did she remember anything more or have any other information?” Max asked.

“Maria shook her head. “Nothing, but if she remembers anything at all she promised to call or email us so – SHIT, my mom and Brody are talking.” She dashed inside the diner.

“Maria’s afraid that talking to Brody might trigger some kind of memory for her mom about that hostage situation.” Liz explained when Max and Isabel looked questioningly at her.

“It never ends.” Isabel muttered as she picked up one of the boxes and carried it inside. Michael followed her, carrying the guitar.

“I’ll carry that.” Max offered, taking the heavy box of books from Liz. She smiled gratefully at him. “Liz are you busy now?”
Liz shook her head. “I don’t think so.”

“Can we go someplace and talk?”

Liz nodded. “Sure, just let me take this stuff up to my room. And I want to make sure that Maria doesn’t have a crisis to handle.


*


"There you are." Amy exclaimed as Maria entered the diner and hurried up to her. She turned back to Brody. "I swear, when we were living at home she was never there because she was always here and now we're living here, she's always someplace else. If I didn't know better, I'd take it personally."

"Hi Mom." Maria chirped, in a higher pitch than normal. "Hi Brody. What's up?"

"What's up is Brody came over here to see what I thought about his generous offer." Amy chided Maria. "One I knew nothing about. How come you never told me about the house?"

Maria winced guiltily. "I'm sorry, just with all the excitement of Jennifer this morning, I completely forgot."

Amy put her arm around Maria's shoulders and drew her near. “That's ok. How did it go today?”

"It was good." Maria assured her. "I mean it was sad, but it was good that we did it, you know. They gave me his cds and his guitar to keep."

Amy smiled fondly at her daughter. "That was lovely of them. Sean is upstairs changing out of his work clothes, we're going to go look at the house now. Do you want to come?"

"Yes, of course." Maria answered. "I'll just run up and get a jacket, I'll be down in a minute."

Maria ran upstairs to Liz's bedroom where she found her friends assembled.

"Is everything alright?" Liz asked in concern.

"Yeah." Maria nodded. "Brody was just telling her about the house. We're going to go see it now. I need somebody to come with me so that I don't have a nervous breakdown."

"Why would you have a nervous breakdown?" Isabel laughed.

"Sean, Mom and Brody are going to be together for the next hour, I'm going to be stressing that Sean will say something to Brody or Mom will remember something. I don't have anything big enough to take her mind off that again." Maria explained as she struggled to put on a jacket.

"I can't go, I have to go back to the UFO museum and watch four days worth of security tapes." Isabel told her.

"I'll go." Liz offered. She turned to Max. "We can talk later."

Max looked imploringly at Michael who sighed. "No, you guys talk. I'll go with Maria."

Maria kissed Michael on the cheek. "Thanks."

"I just need to change and then I'll be ready." Liz informed Max. He took the hint and led Michael and Isabel down the stairs.

When they were gone Maria turned to Liz and scrutinised her. "Is everything alright with you and Max?"

Liz shrugged. "He wants to talk about something. Will you be ok with your Mom?"

Maria nodded. "We'll be fine. I'll see you later." She walked out the door but reappeared seconds later. "I'm glad we went to the Whitman’s today."

"Me too." Liz agreed. "It was therapeutic. I'm sorry that I didn't do it sooner."

"Don't even!" Maria scolded. "If you had sat down and cried like everyone else then Tess would have got away with it and God knows what would have happened to Michael and Max and Isabel."

"I guess."

"It really put things in perspective for me." Maria admitted. "I've been moping around, whining about losing all my things. But that's all they have left of Alex - things. At least I have Mom and you and Michael."

"And Sean." Liz reminded her. "Nobody expects you to be happy about losing your things. It's ok to be upset."

“And Sean.” Maria made a face. "What I mean is, I'm going to focus on the good stuff from now on."

She crossed the room and pulled Liz into a tight hug. "I love you Liz. You're the best friend I could ask for."

Liz returned the hug and replied tearfully. “I love you too."

"I love you, even if you sprout green skin and antenna." Maria laughed. She pulled away and held up her two hands, her fingers crossed. "But fingers crossed you don't."

Liz laughed and mirrored the gesture. "Fingers crossed."


*


Liz took in the desert scene in front of her. The sun was low in the sky, giving a warm glow to the sand and rocks all around. "I love it out here."

Max followed her gaze. "It's beautiful." He admitted.

Liz sat down on a large rock, facing the sunset. "So what do you want to talk about?"

Max sighed and took a seat beside Liz. "Your powers, I guess. How do you feel about them?"

Liz shrugged. "I don't know really. Everything has been happening so quickly that I haven't had the chance to sit down and work out how I feel yet. I guess in a way I'm glad I have them. I've a feeling that we'll soon need every bit of help we can get."

"That's one of the things I don't like about them." Max told her. "I don't want you getting involved in fighting, if there's danger I want you to run and hide not stand and fight and now I've no argument to use against you."

"Well you gave them to me." Liz teased, she realised that Max wasn't in the humour for teasing. "I'm really sorry that I didn't tell you about them. I swear I was going to, soon."

"Why didn't you tell me?" Max asked tentatively.

Liz hung her head. "I just needed some time to get my head around it first."

"Did you tell Maria?"

"No. I didn't tell anyone."

Max nodded his head and stared out at the setting sun. "Have you any other secrets I should know about?"

Liz turned to him angrily. "No. How can you ask me that?"

Max turned to look at Liz. "It just seems that lately you’ve keeping a lot from me."

Liz sighed sadly. "Max, I never set out to lie to you or keep things from you. I hate doing that. Every time I saw you after the Kyle thing I wanted to tell you, but I couldn't. I wanted to tell you about my powers, I just needed some time."

"I understand Liz." Max told her. “I really do. I know you did what you thought was best. I’m sorry.”

They sat in silence for a few minutes, watching the sun sink below the horizon. Several times, Liz got the impression that Max was about to speak but he stayed quiet.

Eventually, unable to take the silence any longer Liz spoke. "It's funny, I've lived in Roswell my whole life and I never came out here before I found out about you and now I love it out here."

"Me too." Max agreed. He picked up a pebble from the ground and began rolling it between his fingers. "Liz, do you trust me?"

"With my life!" Liz cried.

"Do you trust me with your heart?" Max asked sadly without looking at her.

"Of course I do." Liz responded, and then she hesitated. "Maybe I'm having a little trouble right now though. I'm still hurt that when I went to you for help you didn't believe me. I felt really let down by you then. I thought I could always depend on you.” She waited for a moment before asking “Do you trust me?"

Max looked at her. "With my life, absolutely. With my heart? I don't know." He held up his hand to prevent Liz from speaking. "Maybe trust is the wrong word. I do trust you but, I’m not sure of you.”

"Why not?" Liz asked. "Because I didn't tell you about my powers?"

"No. Yes." Max sighed. "Because of other things too. Because you left me last summer, because you kept something as big as time travel from me. I know that I can trust you with my life. I know I can trust you to always do what's right. But I'm afraid that you're always going to be willing to walk away from our relationship."

Liz laughed bitterly. “That’s what I’m afraid of too. I’m afraid that one day you’ll go back to Antar to save your son and your people. I know that’s being selfish, but I can’t help it. That’s why I left last summer, that’s why I agreed to help future Max. I’m afraid of your destiny.”

“My destiny is you.” Max stated vehemently. “You’re not selfish. Or we both are. I love you Liz. Always and only you. What I felt for Tess wasn’t love. It was a confusion of memories and hurt. It wasn’t real. The only real thing for me is the way I love you. You are more important to me than the people of Antar.”

“You still have to save them.” Liz said softly. “What about your son?”

Max shook his head mournfully. “I don’t think there’s anything I can do to save him. Tess is probably there by now. When Kivar realises that she’s failed to bring back the granolith and me, he’ll probably kill her. And my son. Even if Kivar waits until he’s born, there’s nothing I can do. I’ve no way to get to Antar and even if I did I have no army to fight Kivar with. My son is as good as dead. He was the moment I sent Tess away in the granolith by herself.”

“I’m sorry Max. I truly am.” Liz said gently as she laid her head on Max’s shoulder. “I love you Max and I want to be with you more than anything, but I’m like you. I’m not sure of you yet. That’s why I want to take things slow. But if we always tell each other how we feel, like now, we can make it work.”

Max laid his head on top of Liz’s. “I love you, that’s how I feel.”

They watched the final moments of the sunset in a comfortable silence. When the sun was completely gone and dark was settling around them Liz turned to Max. “I have to make a confession.”

“Ok.” Max said in a worried tone. He sat up straight and waited for Liz to compose herself.

Liz pressed her hands together as though praying. She took a deep breath and began. “The first time I used my powers, I was having an argument with my mom. I made a mirror fall of the wall. I didn’t realise it at the time though. Anyway it was the night I got the tape of you and Tess. So I went over to Maria’s. And we were watching it. Max it was so horrible.”

In the dusky light, Max could just make out a tear trickling down her cheek.

“I didn’t want to watch it, but I couldn’t not watch. I had to see it.” Liz continued. “But something happened, inside me. I didn’t mean to, it just happened.”

“What?”

“I blew up the TV.” Liz confessed. “The tape wasn’t booby trapped. There wasn’t faulty wiring. It was me. I blew up the TV. I burned down Maria’s house.”

She burst into tears. Max wrapped his arms around her and drew her flush against his body. He tried to soothe her, rubbing her back gently as her body wracked with sobs.

Eventually her tears subsided and she was still. “Are you ok?” Max asked in concern.

Liz nodded and pulled away form him. “It’s such a relief to finally get that off my chest.”

Max took her face between his hands and gently caressed her cheeks, wiping away all trace of the tears.

“I take it Maria doesn’t know.” He asked. When Liz shook her head Max continued. “I don’t know what to say Liz. It was an accident, nobody is going to blame you for it. Under the circumstances…. You should tell Maria.”

“I can’t. I can’t tell her.” Liz implored. “She lost everything in that fire Max. You should hear the way she talks about Tess since it happened. She’ll hate me if she ever finds out the truth.”

Max laughed. “Maria has always hated Tess. Always. You were friendlier to Tess than Maria was. Hell, Michael was friendlier to Tess than Maria was. If she could blame Brad and Jen’s split on Tess, she would. But Maria loves you, she won’t hold it against you. She’ll forgive you.”

Liz shook her head. “She’ll hate me. Please Max, I can’t tell her.”

“You should give Maria more credit. She won’t hate you.” Max argued. “She might be mad at first, but she’ll forgive you. You just said you feel better by telling me, you’ll feel much better when you tell Maria. You have to tell her.”

“I know I have to, but I can’t.” Liz sighed. “Not yet.”

Max sighed and ran his hand through his hair. “How about this, we wait a few weeks, until the loss isn’t as raw for Maria. When she’s moved into a new place and settled down, then we’ll tell her.”

Liz considered the suggestion for a moment, and then nodded reluctantly. “You’re right. I’ll wait a couple of weeks.”

“She’ll be ok, you’ll see.” Max said gently.

“Thanks Max.” Liz sniffed. “I’m glad I told you.”

“Me too.” Max said. “It’s silly but it’s nice to know that I have a secret with you that Maria doesn’t know.”

“I don’t tell Maria everything.”

Max laughed. “Oh yeah? Tell me one thing that you haven’t told Maria.”

“Ummm.”


*


“Holy Shit, hard wood floors.” Amy Deluca whooped as she skipped into the living room of the house on Wisteria Lane. “And did you see the size of the Kitchen?”

“Yes Mom.” Maria laughed. “Did you check out the laundry room?”

Amy whirled around and dashed out of the room. “There’s a laundry room?”

“I think she likes it.” Brody said as he trotted after her.

“Looks like you don’t have to be worried about her remembering anything.” Michael told Maria. “She’s way too excited about the house to think of anything else.”

Maria sighed and wrapped her arms around his waist, leaning her head against his broad chest. “Thank God. I’m just so scared she’ll remember and I’ve no idea how to handle it.”

Michael hugged her comfortingly. “I think we’re out of the woods for now and if it comes up in the future, we’ll deal with it then.”

“I hope so.” Maria said as she tried to stifle a yawn. “Sorry, I didn’t get much sleep last night.”

Just then Amy ran into the room. “I love this place. It’s straight out of my dreams. The yard is huge and the kitchen is amazing.”

“Do you want to see the upstairs now?” Brody offered as he followed Amy.

“Upstairs! I always wanted to live in a house with stairs.” Amy squealed as she ran out of the room and thundered up the stairs.

Maria took Michaels hand and they followed her mother to the second floor. Amy was running excitedly from room to room. She paused briefly when Maria and Michael appeared at the top of the stairs. “They all have walk-in closets and two of them are en-suite.” She exclaimed.

Maria walked into the closest room. ‘This is the one I want for my room.” She informed Michael. “Isn’t it great?”

Before Michael could respond they heard a loud thump on the stairs. They rushed out and found Brody crumbled up on the steps.

Maria ran to him and helped him up. “Brody are you alright? What happened?”

Brody looked at her, and then turned his gaze to Michael. “I’m not Brody. This is Larek. I need to talk to Max.”


*
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Post by tequathisy » Wed May 18, 2005 9:02 am

Chapter 17


Isabel sighed as she sat in front of the security monitors. Despite having the best intentions when she came into the museum to get through another day’s tapes, she found herself unable to concentrate on what was happening on the screens in front of her.

Her mind was full of Alex, being in his room, talking about him with his parents, Liz and Maria and visiting his grave had stirred up painful memories. Their encounter with Jennifer Coleman, seeing the difficult time she had gone through made her wonder about what Alex had been feeling in the days and weeks leading up to his death.

Had he known that something about himself wasn’t right? Had there been obvious signs that she and others had missed that could have saved his life? Had he tried to ask for help, but nobody had listened, too caught up in their own dramas?

“Oh Alex, I’m so sorry.” She whispered into the empty room.

Just then she heard the sound of a chair being knocked over downstairs. She quickly switched off the monitors and listened. At first she heard nothing, but then the faint sound of voices drifted through the door.

With a thumping heart, Isabel made her way out of the office. She stood at the top of the stairs and peered into the darkness below. “Hello.”

She was met with silence.

Isabel put her hand around the doorframe, felt the wall for the light switches and flipped them on. The museum was flooded in bright lights.

Down below she saw three people, a woman and two men. They looked in her direction. One of the men approached her.

“We are looking for Brody Davis.” He said unsurely.

“He’s not here right now. He’ll be back tomorrow morning.” Isabel replied, sounding more confident than she felt.

The man made no movement but continued to stare at Isabel. “I know your face. You were at the summit. You are Vilandra.”

Isabel shook her head in denial. “I don’t know who you are but you better leave. Brody will be back tomorrow. You can call back then.”

The woman hissed at Isabel. “Why should we believe anything you say? You are the whore of Kivar and the traitor of Zan.”

Isabel flinched as though she had been slapped and took a step back. “If you don’t leave now I’m going to call the police.”

“The time has come for you to face up to your wicked ways.” The woman cried angrily. “Because of your selfishness and your wickedness, we have had nothing but misery, suffering and war on our planets for decades. You are – ”

“That’s enough.” Max’s voice boomed. He appeared at the top of the steps to the entrance and strode down them, making his way to the woman. “You will not speak about my sister that way again.”

The woman glowered at him but made no reply. Instead the man who had remained silent until now spoke up. “It is good to see you again Zan. I hope that we are able to conduct these meetings in a better temperament that the last.”

Max turned to him. “You’re not making a good start.” He bit out.

The woman sighed. “I apologise Zan, to you and your sister. You must understand that we have only learnt the truth about events on your planet very recently. I will conduct myself with the proper level of respect towards your sister at all times.” She turned to Isabel. “I apologise.”

Max blinked in surprise. “Good.” He stammered. “Larek will be here soon and then we can begin. Why don’t you sit down while you wait for him?” He gestured towards some chairs and the three visitors complied.

Isabel hurried down the steps and over to Max. “Max what’s going on? Who are these people?”

“They’re Sero, Kathana and Hanar, the three representatives from the other planets.” Max explained. “Michael called me a few minutes ago and told me to get over here. Apparently we’re having a summit tonight. Are you alright? Don’t listen to what the woman was saying.”

“I’m fine.” Isabel said unconvincingly. “How did they know to look for Brody Davis?”

Max shrugged. “Larek must have told them when they were making arrangements for tonight.”

Just then Liz joined them. “Maria and Michael have pulled up outside the Crashdown, they should be here in a minute.”

The three teenagers turned to face the visitors. Kathana has stood up from her chair and was walking around reading the exhibits with an air of bemusement. Sero and Hanar were deep in conversation.

“Will you be ok?” Isabel asked her brother.

Max considered the question for a moment. “I’ll be fine, I have you guys to back me up. We just have to convince them that uniting with each other to fight Kivar is the only option they have.”

“It is the only option they have.” Isabel pointed out. “What’s the alternative? Sit back and wait for Kivar to invade?”

“We’re talking about sending their people into battle, to their deaths. It’s not an easy choice Iz.”

Within minutes Maria, Michael and Brody had joined the group. Larek greeted Max in a friendly manner and then began a conversation with his fellow visiting aliens.

"So are these the same people you met in New York?" Maria asked Max as she regarded them curiously. "Who are they? Where did they come from?"

"I guess they're people like Brody, from everywhere and anywhere." Max answered.

"So they've just been plucked from somewhere completely at random?" Maria said in disgust. “They vanish for a few days and when you're done with them they go home with no idea what's happened to them. They probably have families who are worried sick about them right now."

"I can't do anything about it." Max said guiltily. "I didn't pick them. I don't like it but unfortunately it's the only option we have."

Maria glared at him. "I think we should tell Brody what's happening to him. He deserves to know."

"If we tell Brody what we know, we'll have to tell him how we know." Michael pointed out. "We can't do that Maria."

"He thinks he's going mad. His wife wants to take his daughter away from him and Brody's going to let her because he doesn't trust himself." Maria argued. "We owe him the truth."

"I'm sorry Maria." Max told her

Larek approached the group. “Max, may I have a word with you privately?”

Max nodded and led the alien to a secluded corner of the museum.

“I wanted to tell you this in private.” Larek began nervously. “We have been monitoring activities on Antar as closely as possible. My sources tell me that Tess has reached Antar and is at the palace with Kivar. I cannot tell you if she is there voluntarily or against her will.”

“She intended to hand my son over to Kivar when she left so I doubt she’s changed her mind.” Max said sadly. “Do you know if she’s still alive?”

“Not only are you linked to your son but the foursquare are linked to each other. If she died you would all know.” Larek reminded Max. “The rebels on your planet have considered attempting to liberate her. However, they do not have the resources to mount such a dangerous mission. Perhaps we will be able to smuggle some weapons to them later when Kivar is occupied elsewhere.”

Max ran his hand over his face and leaned against a wall.

“So far Kivar has made no public announcement about her arrival or the fact that he will soon have the heir of Antar under his protection.” Larek continued. “The deadline he gave us to surrender will be up very shortly. He had expected the have the granolith in his possession by now. We had expected him to make a move against us. Clearly he will not. I believe that we have a great chance of defeating him. If…”

“If the others agree to go to war.” Max supplied.

Larek nodded. “I’m sorry about your son. I wish there was something I could do.” He patted Max on the shoulder and left.

Max closed his eyes and tried to bring his emotions under control. He heard the soft sound of footsteps approaching him and when he looked up, Liz was watching him with concern. “Are you alright?” She asked.

Max shrugged. “Tess has arrived on Antar and is currently residing Chez Kivar. The fate of my son’s life is in Kivar’s hands now.”

“Oh Max, I’m sorry.” Liz said helplessly. She looked around as she heard Isabel calling Max. “I think they’re ready to start now. Maria and I are going to show our faces at home and sneak back over here. We’ll just hang out in Brody’s office while you’re talking.”

Max nodded. “Thanks.”

Liz put out her hand as Max passed her and stopped him. “Don’t give up on your son Max. There might still be a way to save him.”


*


“It sounds wonderful.” Nancy agreed as she listened to Amy Deluca describe the house she had been visiting earlier that evening. “Are you going to take it?”

Amy bit her lip. “I’d love to and I’d be mad not to take it. The house is beautiful and the deal is incredible. With the insurance payout and the money I get from selling our site I’ll be able to pay for most of it outright. ”

“But?” Nancy prompted, realising that Amy was uncertain.

“I’d feel like I’m pimping out my daughter.” Amy admitted. “It’s obvious that Brody has feelings for Maria. You can see it every time he looks at her. Now he’s practically giving her a house.”

Jeff lowered the paper he was reading. “If I may butt in here, Brody has been a customer here for a while now. I know he’s very fond of Maria and that they have a close friendship but I think he knows that’s all it’ll ever be. From what I’ve overheard, Maria spends a lot of time talking to him about Michael. I don’t believe he has any ulterior motives. He’s a rich man who wants to help a good friend.”

“Maria’s a smart girl. If she thought there was anything sinister about the offer, she’d say something.” Nancy added.

“I think you should have a talk with the man. Let him know your concerns. Listen to what he has to say.” Jeff advised. “If you think you can trust him, then you should take the offer. But get a lawyer, make it legal.”

“Jeff’s right.” Nancy agreed. “Talk to him. But don’t use the word pimp.”

Amy laughed. “Thanks guys. You’re right, I’ll talk to him.”

“You’re so lucky. The only regret I have about opening the Crashdown is that we live in the apartment over it and not in a house.” Nancy sighed. “Is that the door, the girls must be home.”

Moments later Liz and Maria entered the living room. “Hi guys.”

“Hello girls.” Nancy greeted them. “Did you have a good evening?”

“It was fine.” Liz yawned. “Boy, I’m tired, I think I’m just going to go to bed. Good night.” She kissed her parents and departed.

“Have you made your mind up about the house?” Maria asked her mother.

“Not yet. I’ll talk to Brody tomorrow and then I’ll decide.”

“Ok. For what it’s worth I hope you take it.” Maria told her. She kissed her mother on the cheek. “I’m going to go to bed too. See you tomorrow. Goodnight Mr Parker, Mrs Parker.”

“Goodnight dear.”

Maria scurried down the hall and into Liz's bedroom. “If they catch us, we’re so dead.” She said as she entered.

Liz nodded. “How does it look?”

Maria examined the bed, which Liz had stuffed with pillows and cushions to resemble two people asleep. “Pretty convincing.”

“Great. Let’s go.” Liz said. She motioned Maria towards the window. “Will you be able to manage the ladder with your broken wrist?”

“I managed last night when I there was a gun pointing at me so I should be ok tonight.” Maria assured her.

The two girls scrambled down the ladder.

“Going somewhere?” A man’s voice asked close to Liz's ear.

Liz jumped and whirled around. Maria covered her mouth with her hand and suppressed a scream.

“God Sean. You scared the shit out of me.” Liz admonished in a whisper.

Sean laughed. “You shouldn’t be sneaking out in the middle of the night if you can’t handle a dark alleyway. Where are you two going anyway?”

“Nowhere.” The girls chorused.

“Can I come?” Sean asked mischievously.

“No and if you say something to Mom, I’ll kill you.” Maria snapped.

“Please Sean.” Liz said in a silky tone. “We just have something to do and then we’ll be right back. Please don’t say anything.”

“Fine. But you owe me.” Sean agreed.

“Thanks.” Liz called as the two girls quickly made their way out of the alley. “I’ll make it up to you.”

“I wish you wouldn’t do that.” Maria told Liz as they crossed the street. “It’s not fair.”

“Do what?”

“Lead him on.” Maria told Liz. “You know he likes you, you shouldn’t use that against him.”

“You’re right, I’m sorry.” Liz admitted.


*


“Now that we all know each other, let’s begin.” Larek suggested. By unspoken agreement he had assumed the role as chairperson of the meeting. “Firstly, I’d like to lay some ground rules. Max, Isabel and Michael have no memories of what happened in their previous lives. I’d like everyone to remember that. They are not the same people that we knew so therefore cannot be held responsible for the actions of Zan, Vilandra and Rath.” At this, he looked pointedly at Kathana.

“If he’s not Zan, then why do we have to talk to him about anything?” Sero demanded.

“He has Zan’s DNA, he has the royal seal. He is one of the foursquare. The people of Antar decided that he would be the one who would speak for them.” Larek said, sounding as though he was repeating an old argument. “It is not for us to interfere in the decisions of another planet. That is why we have ignored the situation on Antar for so long.”

Hanar turned to Max “Though we knew that Kivar was not a good person, nor a desirable leader, we chose not to intervene with his rule on Antar. We cited several reasons, mainly that what happened within the political system on one planet was of no concern to the other planets. In truth, we hoped that by allying ourselves with Kivar we would benefit from trade with Antar.”

“We now see the error of our ways.” Larek continued. “Of late, we have received intelligence that proves that Kivar has perpetrated many evils since he has come to power. The people of Antar have long been friends of all our planets. They do not deserve to suffer any further under this despot. We will not allow him to continue his regime of terror any longer.”

“And it’s just completely coincidental that he’s now threatening to invade your planets and do the same to all of you.” Michael said sarcastically.

Kathana glared angrily at Michael. “The council of planets decided long ago that we would not interfere with the internal affairs of any of our members. You agreed with that rule Zan.”

“What’s in the past can’t be changed now. Whatever your reasons for allowing Kivar to control Antar, whether they were right or wrong is irrelevant now.” Max spoke up. “What we are here to decide what we’ll do now. And it’s Max.”

“WE?” Kathana repeated. “What we’ll do now? You are here on earth, light years away. We are the ones about to enter into war against the most evil being in the known universe. We’re the ones that face the prospect of sending hundreds of thousands of our soldiers to their deaths. What will you be doing? Going to the mall, watching movies, working on your tan?”

“If you all join together the only hope Kivar has of defeating you is if he gains control of the granolith.” Max told her is an even tone. “We have the granolith. We control it. He’s going to come looking for it. We’re not going to let him have it.”

“What about your son?” Larek asked gently. “What if Kivar seeks the return of the granolith in exchange for your son’s life?”

There was silence as everybody turned to Max and waited for his answer.

“If there was anything I could do to save my son’s life, I would do it.” Max said after a deep breath. “But there’s not, as Kathana pointed out I’m light years away. Kivar has my son. It’s up to him now whether he lives or dies. I have no way to save him except by defeating Kivar. The only way I can help defeat him is by not allowing him to get the granolith.”

“So you would let your son die?” Hanar asked.

Max hung his head. “If Kivar has the granolith, then millions of people will die. On your planets, on Antar, maybe even on Earth. Giving Kivar the granolith is not an option, not even if it means saving my son’s life. Because it wouldn’t save his life, once Kivar has the granolith, he wouldn’t need him anymore.”

There was a further silence after Max finished speaking. Isabel reached under the table and gently squeezed Max’s hand in silent sympathy.

Hanar broke the silence. “Kivar played his hand before he was sure of his cards. Now he has three options – Retreat back to Antar and keeps things as they are. But he is too power hungry to do that. Try to bluff us into surrendering. We know the truth, therefore we will not buy his bluff. So his other option is to face us and fight. To do so he will need the granolith. I believe that he will try to get his hands on it again. ”

“And he will use all means at his disposal to do so.” Sero added. “Are you certain that you will be strong enough to sacrifice your son to save planets you don’t even know the names of?”

“I’m prepared to do it.” Max assured him. “Michael and Isabel and our friends will help me.” He turned to Michael and Isabel. “I’ll need you to be there to stop me if I look like I’ll give in. I’ll need you to be cruel if necessary.”

Isabel swallowed. “We’re in this together. Kivar is not getting his hands on the granolith.”

“If you are willing to make such a sacrifice to save us, then I am willing to go to war for you.” Hanar informed Max.

Larek nodded. “As am I.”

“I will join you.” Sero told them. “I will not be called a coward nor turn my back on evil any longer. No matter what he does now, I’m prepared to bring Kivar down.”

Everyone turned to look at Kathana.

“I will admit that I am finding it difficult to trust you Max.” Kathana began. “I had great faith and belief in Zan. He was a wonderful leader, one I daily aspire to be. When I look at you I see a teenager, who does not remember Zan, clearly does not want to be Zan and has no desire to return to Antar. You would be happy if we all went away and you could go back to your simple life here on Earth. You are clearly heavily influenced by Earth and by your friends. You have no training or experience in dealing with interplanetary matters. I’m not sure you really belong at this table. But I have listened to you. I see that there is some of the old Zan still in you. I see that you too have the potential to be as great as Zan. I will fight for him, in honor of his memory. I just hope you live up to my faith in him.”

“Thank you.” Max said. “So everybody’s in, what happens now?”


*


“What are they doing now?” Maria asked.

Liz glanced up from her nails and out the window. “Still talking.”

Maria sighed and spun her swivel chair around. “This is so boring.”

“We could always go home.” Liz suggested. “There’s no need for us to be here.”

“I want to make sure Brody gets home ok.” Maria said. She looked at Liz. “So what did Max want to talk to you about?”

“Trust.” Liz answered. “He told me that he doesn’t trust me anymore.”

“Max doesn’t trust you?” Maria spun her chair to face Liz and shrieked incredulously. “MAX doesn’t trust You? Max doesn’t trust you? No matter what way you say it that makes no sense. How can he not trust you?”

“Because I’m a liar, I keep things from him and I go behind his back.” Liz said sadly.

“And he sleeps with skanky ho’s.” Maria said angrily. “That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. Ever.”

Liz shook her head. “He was just being honest.”

“He honestly thinks you’re going to go to the FBI and turn him in?” Maria asked in disbelief.

“No, he trust’s me alien secret wise.” Liz clarified. “He knows he can depend on me if he needs help and support. He was talking about our relationship, he doesn’t trust me in that.”

“Oh.” Maria said in understanding.

Liz looked at Maria curiously. “Do you think he’s right?”

“No, of course not.” Maria said with a dismissive wave of her hand. “But I understand where he’s coming from.”

“Because I didn’t tell you about my powers?” Liz asked meekly.

“Liz, forget about your powers, they’re not the issue. You needed some time to work things out for yourself, that’s perfectly understandable.” Maria told her. She used her feet to steer the chair over to Liz and took her best friends hand’s gently I her own. “Last summer, after you left for Florida, he was devastated. He had just told you he loved you, he had gone through hell and he needed you but you left him. You really let him down. Being tortured by the Feebs was nothing compared to you leaving him.”

“And then I ‘slept’ with Kyle.” Liz concluded sadly. “He explained that. And even though he knows the truth now he still feels let down because I was willing to sacrifice our relationship.”

Maria nodded sagely. “It must have been very hard for him to admit that, even to himself. He really thinks you’re perfect. I’m a little mad a Max right now. He made some sucky mistakes, but he’s been through a hard time.”

“I know.” Liz said mournfully. “If I had just stuck by him, things would be different.”

“Yeah - the world would be ending in thirteen years time.” Maria reminded her cheerfully.

“I’m glad he was honest with me. At least it’s out in the open and we both admitted to feeling the same way. Now we can work on it.” Liz told Maria.

“Welcome to the real world.”

“Huh?”

“You and Max, when you were together last time, it was so easy for you. I know that you had problems but they were all external. When it was just the two of you, it was perfect.” Maria explained. “And now, you have to learn to work at a relationship like the rest of us mere mortals. It’s not easy Liz, but I know if anybody can make it work it’s you and Max. You just have to. You two are my ideal couple.”

“You and Michael are looking pretty ideal these days.” Liz pointed out.

Maria grinned smugly. “Yeah, we are.”

“I’m glad. You guys deserve it.” Liz said. She yawned. “Sorry, I’m so tired.”

Maria yawned back. “Me too. There had better not be any interplanetary summits or gun toting crazy’s tomorrow night. I need my beauty sleep.” She glanced at her watch and out the window. “They’re still talking. I’m going to make us some coffee and see if I can find where Brody hides the good cookies.”

As she waited for Maria to return, Liz glanced a round the room for something to keep herself awake. Her eyes fell on the TV monitors, which Isabel hadn’t turned off. She began watching them, looking for people she knew.

Suddenly she sat bolt upright in her chair. She had seen…something.

“Anything good on?” Maria asked as she returned with two cups of coffee and a plate of cookies balanced expertly in her hands. “Liz?”

Liz shushed her with a wave of her hand and examined the console, trying to figure out which buttons did what. Gingerly she pushed the button that most closely resembled rewind on her own dvd player.

“I though I saw something.” Liz explained to Maria. She stopped the tape. “There look at this.”

She pressed play and the two girls watched the screen closely.

“There, did you see that?” Liz asked excitedly.

Maria shook her head. “It’s a queue for a photo booth. What’s there to see?”

Liz rewound the tape again. “Watch that man closely. He goes into the booth…And a woman comes out.”

“Oh my God.” Maria gasped.

Liz rewound the tape again and played it in slow motion.

The two girls watched the drama unfold in horror.

Maria gulped and turned to Liz. “Either that’s the world’s smallest and fastest sex change operation masquerading as a photobooth or there’s a shapeshifter in Roswell.”


*
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Post by tequathisy » Wed May 25, 2005 3:47 am

sylvia37 Thank you.
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If there are any other lurkers out there, please drop me a line. feedback is always appreciated - good or bad.



Chapter 18


“I think we’re done now. We must return these bodies and you can get some sleep.” Larek announced.

Max’s muscles groaned in protest as he stood up from the table after what seemed like an eternity of sitting down. He glanced at his watch and was horrified to see that the time was approaching four in the morning. Beside him, Michael and Isabel stretched their own bodies. The four alien visitors also stood, but seemed unaware that their host bodies were probably stiff and sore.

He heard the sound of footsteps on the stairs and turned around to see Liz and Maria coming down the steps. He smiled at them, but they did not return his smile. Max could tell by their expressions that something had upset them. He wondered if Liz had told Maria about the fire and if perhaps Maria hadn’t taken the news as well as he thought she would.

Kathana approached Max with her hand out to shake his. “I wish I could stay and talk with you longer Max.” She said. “But we must return these bodies soon and I can see that you and all your friends are tired.”

She moved on and shook Michael and Isabels hands as well. “It has been a pleasure speaking to you all again.”

Hanar was next to shake Max’s hand. “It may be a while before we speak to each other again. When we do, I feel that it will be a time of victory and celebration.”

Sero was the last to shake Max’s hand. “Although I am confident of defeating Kivar, I am worried about what he will do first. He is not the type to lie down. He will fight to the bitter end, You and your friends must be on your guard at all times, I feel that he will make a last attempt to kill you and gain control of the granolith.”

Max nodded. “Good luck to you all, I hope we do get the chance to talk again.”

“Soon.” Isabel added with a smile.

The three visitors nodded politely at Max and left.

When they had gone Larek approached Max. “If there’s anything we can do to save your son, we’ll do our best. I will be in contact whenever I have something to report. If you need to contact me, you know where I’ll be. This host will be ready to communicate with me at all times.”

“What?” Maria demanded as she strove down the steps and made her way to Larek. “You mean Brody’s brain can just be taken over willy-nilly?”

“Willy-nilly?” Larek asked in confusion.

“Maria we have no option. We need to be able to communicate with Larek.” Michael sighed. “We’re at war now.”

"Can Kivar possess humans the same way you can?" Isabel asked in alarm. "I mean, what's to stop him taking over Max and just handing the granolith over to himself?"

Larek shook his head. "My planet developed the technology many years ago, it is only very recently that we have shared it with the other leaders and even now it is controlled from my planet. I can assure you that Kivar does not have this technology."

Maria glared at Larek. “So what are you going to do with him now?”

“I will take him away from here and leave his body to resume itself.” Larek explained.

“Where?” Maria demanded to know.

“Generally, I choose to leave him at a roadside, somewhere safe and well lit.” Larek assured her.

Maria shook her head. “I don’t think so buddy. I’m going to take you back to his house and we’re going to have a little talk about abduction etiquette.”


*


Isabel sunk into one of the chairs. Her face was full of fear. “Oh my God.” She whispered. Max and Michael exchanged worried glances.

Liz paused the tape. “Then he just walks straight out.”

“Can you run it back and watch what he does from the time he first enters until he gets in the queue?” Max asked Liz.

Isabel took over from Liz and expertly began winding the tapes backwards. Everyone kept their eyes glued to the screens until Isabel found the shot of him entering. She pressed play.

With bated breath they watched as the man entered the museum, paid his fee and began mulling a round the exhibitions. He didn’t stay in one place for very long but kept moving around the room in circles.

“It’s like he’s looking for something.” Liz mused.

“This should be interesting.” Michael said.

He pointed to one of the screens where Max had appeared. He was arranging a display and was oblivious of the man who came to stand behind him and watch him work. After a few minutes, Max finished his chore and disappeared into the staff area. The shapeshifter walked up to the spot where Max had been standing and ran his hands over the exhibits. He picked up a miniature of an army truck and held it tightly in his hand before secreting it in his pocket. Then he turned and joined the queue for the photo booth.

“This is not good.” Isabel said in a tone close to panic. “There’s a shapeshifter in Roswell and he’s already identified you Max.”

“Who do you think he is?” Liz asked. “I mean could he be one of the protectors sent with you?”

“Two of them died in the crash and the other two were captured. We know Nacedo escaped, but we don’t know what happened the other one.” Michael answered. “He might be one of the protectors or he might be one of Kivar’s agents. I guess we won’t know until he makes himself known.”

“Whatever side he says his on, I don’t trust him and I don’t want anybody else to either.” Max declared pointlessly. None of them was going to make the mistake of trusting a shapeshifter again.

Isabel suddenly paused the tape as the newly formed shapeshifter emerged from the photobooth. She pulled a chair over and took a seat. “I want to try something.” She told the others.

She took a deep breath, then placed her hand on the screen, over the image of the shapeshifter. The screen flickered and wavered.

Suddenly Isabel’s face contorted in pain and she moaned. At once Max, Michael and Liz grabbed Isabel and pulled her away from the screen. Each of them felt a powerful static shock that sent them flying backward across the room and crashing into the wall.

“I’m sorry.” Isabel apologised as she got to her feet and dusted herself off. “Is everybody alright?”

“I’m fine.” Liz assured Max as he helped her to her feet. “Did you see anything Isabel?”

Isabel shook her head. “No, as soon as I felt myself get in I was thrown out.” She pressed her hand against her forehead. “I’ve a killer headache now.”

“I’ll take you home.” Max offered. He turned to Liz. “We all have to be very careful now, not just because of the shapeshifter but because Kivar might try something as well. I want you to promise me that you won’t do anything that will put yourself in danger.”

“I promise.” Liz told him. “I should get back home.”

“If you wait a minute, I’ll take you after we’ve locked this place up.” Max told her.

Michael approached them. “I’ll walk her over, I want to make sure Maria got home alright.”

Max nodded. “Thanks Michael.”


*

Across town, in a cramped room the shapeshifter poured a glass of water and raised it to the spot where a vision of four teenagers had momentarily appeared.

“Here’s to interesting times.”


*

Michael was just dropping off to sleep when Maria pulled herself over the top of the ladder and dropped onto Liz's balcony.

“What are you doing here Spaceboy?” Maria asked in surprise.

“Waiting for you.” Michael told her as he checked his watch. “You’ve been gone for over an hour and a half. Where the hell have you been?”

Maria stifled a yawn. “I was having a little chat with Larek and then I had to put Brody to bed.”

“Excuse me ‘put Brody to bed’ what does that mean?” Michael asked in an annoyed tone.

“I didn’t want him waking him in the middle of nowhere and not having any idea of where he is or what happened.” Maria explained soothingly. “So I thought if I put him into bed he’d feel better in the morning. We can tell him that he went home after showing Mom the house and went to bed.”

“When you say ‘put Brody to bed’ what does that entail?”

Maria turned her back to Michael, picked up the blanket that had fallen to the ground when Michael had jumped up and began folding it. “I helped undress him and put him to bed.” She mumbled.

“You undressed him!” Michael repeated. “You couldn’t have left him asleep in front of the TV?”

Maria whipped around to face Michael. She planted her hands on her hips. “Brody’s mind and body are taken over by aliens whenever it suits them and he gets sent all over the country. As a result his marriage has broken up, he only gets to see his daughter on holidays, he lost his business and most of his friends, had to leave New York and come to Roswell and thinks he’s going crazy. I wanted to make sure he got a good night’s sleep and wakes up in the morning without thinking he’s lost his mind. Do you have a problem with that?”

“No.” Michael conceded grumpily.

Maria put her arms around his neck and pressed her body against his. “Relax Spaceboy, I put him to bed but you’re the only man I’ll ever take to bed.” She kissed him gently then pulled away to stifle another yawn.

“You should put yourself to bed, get some rest.” Michael told her. He gestured towards the lounger he had been resting on. “It’s after five. I’m just going to crash here, I have to work at seven.”

Maria glanced through the window to where Liz was lying stretched out on the bed, her mouth wide open as she slept. “Fancy some company?”

“Sure.” Michael said with a smile as he stretched out on the lounger.

Maria curled up against his chest and was soon fast asleep. Michael lay awake, running his fingers through her hair, wondering how long the fragile peace would last before it all came crashing down upon their heads.


*


“Here you go Ms Deluca, one blueberry muffin and one cappuccino.” Liz said with a forced smile.

“Thank you Liz.” Amy said. She looked at Liz and took in her pale face and the dark circles under her eyes. “Are you alright Liz, you look like you didn’t get much sleep last night.”

“I’m fine.” Liz told her but failed to suppress a yawn.

Amy looked at her sceptically. “Has Maria been keeping you awake? She used to come into my bed when she was younger and I was never able to sleep with her. She was either talking my ear off or kicking my shins off.”

Liz laughed. “Something like that.”

“And then you have to get up and do a days work while she takes the day off in bed.” Amy said sympathetically. “It can’t be easy for you having your home invaded by us like this. Thanks for putting up with us.”

“I love having you guys here.” Liz assured her.

Amy smiled. “Hopefully we’ll be moving out soon.”

“So you liked the house?” Liz asked.

“Oh it’s wonderful.” Amy gushed. “I have to talk over a few things with Brody and then hopefully we’ll be able to take it. Speak of the .”

As she finished speaking, Brody approached the booth where Amy was sitting. He nodded at Amy and Liz. “Is Maria here?” He asked nervously.

“She’s still in bed.” Amy told him, she gestured to the seat opposite. “Take a seat.”

Brody bit his lip and looked around the room uncertainly before sliding into the booth.

“Can I get a coffee please.”

Amy waited until Liz had served his coffee and left to wait on other tables. “I’ve been thinking about the house and your offer all last night and this morning.”

“Did you like the house?” Brody asked. He reached inside his jacket pocket and pulled out a packet to pills and swallowed a couple. “Sorry, I have a really bad headache.”

“Brody the house is absolutely beautiful. I love it. And your offer is so kind and generous.” Amy assured him. “I just can’t help wondering what the catch is.”

“There’s no catch.” Brody insisted. “The house is yours if you want it, under the terms I outlined yesterday.”

Amy nodded and took a deep breath, searching for the tactful way to express her concerns. “The thing is Brody, I can’t understand why you would want to sell such a beautiful house, in such a lovely neighborhood at a third of its market value.”

Brody sighed and rubbed his forehead. “Amy, I know what it’s like to lose everything. I’ve been a rock bottom more times than I care to remember. And at those times, my friends turned their backs on me. Nobody was there to help me out. After I made my millions I promised myself two things. One – that I would only be friends with people who had proved I could trust them. And two – if a friend of mine was in trouble I would do my utmost to assist them. I know you wouldn’t accept it if I offered the house to you for free, that’s why I’m selling it to you at such a low price.”

“What worries me about accepting your offer is Maria. I know you and she are close…”

Brody nodded in understanding. “Maria is a very special person. She’s been a good friend to me ever since I arrived here. I’m not going to do anything to jeopardise my friendship with her.”

“Good, because she’s only seventeen. And she has a boyfriend.”

“And I respect that.” Brody assured her. “All I want is to help a good friend. I’m aware that my feelings are inappropriate, but I’m never going to act on them. Right now I’m in a place where her friendship and support is worth more to me than the value of all the houses in the world.”

Amy considered this for a moment. “If you’re sure that you’re happy selling a t that price, you’ve got yourself a deal.”

Brody held out his hand for Amy to shake. “I’ll go talk to my lawyers now and have them draw up the papers. You can move in as soon as you like.”

“Thank you Brody.” Amy said earnestly. “You have no idea how much this means to me.”

Brody rose from the table. “I’m happy to help. I’ll drop over the keys to your new house this evening.”

As Brody left the diner he held the door open for Jim Valenti who was entering. He smiled happily when he spotted Amy sitting in the booth.

"May I join you?" He asked.

"Please do." Amy replied as she unconsciously ran her fingers through her hair and smoothed down her blouse. "How are you Jim?"

"I'm fine thank you Amy, and you?"

Amy beamed. "Wonderful, I've just agreed to buy a house on Wisteria Lane from Brody Davis. We went to see it last night and it's beautiful."

Jim whistled. "That must cost a pretty packet."

"Actually, Brody offered it to us at a very reasonable price." Amy informed him. She took a sip of her cappuccino. "Jim, can I trust him? He says that he's just being a good friend to Maria, and I almost believe him but..."

"I ran a background check on him when he first moved to Roswell. He came up clean." Jim assured her. "I think he's trustworthy. And for the record, I think he's being friendly because he needs friends."

Amy shook her head. "I think I was abducted by aliens."

Jim froze, shocked by the statement. Liz, who had just arrived at the table to take his order, stared at Amy in wide eyed alarm.

"What?" Jim finally managed to croak out.

"A perfectly charming, polite, well groomed millionaire is in love with my daughter and I let him down because I prefer her delinquent boyfriend." Amy explained. "What the hell is wrong with me? I'm a terrible mother."

Liz let out an audible sigh of relief. "Can I get you anything Mr Valenti?"

"A coffee and a muffin please."

When Liz had gone Jim turned his attention to Amy. "Michael's not a delinquent. He's a young kid who has overcome a very tough background. He has his own apartment and is putting himself through school. There's a lot to be said for that. I for one respect the heck out of him. You prefer him because he makes your daughter happy. Choosing that over the millionaire is what makes you a good parent."

Amy laughed. "Let's hope he lives up to our faith in him. How's Kyle these days, I haven't seen much of him lately?"

Jeff glanced up at Liz who was returning with his order and waited until she was gone. Once she was out of hearing range he leaned in. "Not good. He's going through some things right now and I don't know how to help him."

"Like what?"

"He has some issues with his mother, because she had an affair and left me for another man. I thought he was over them but I think certain events have brought it up again for him." Jim explained. "I think he felt very strongly for Tess, more than he admits, and he's angry at her for the way she left."

"You never really get over it if you feel betrayed by a parent." Amy said sadly. "I thought Tess was just moving back to be with her father."

"There were other issues, she had a relationship with Max Evans. It didn’t work out. He's not Kyle's favorite person and I think he feels a little betrayed by Tess for that. He's taken Alex's dying hard. And strangely enough he's mad at Liz too."

"Why?" Amy asked in surprise, unable to imagine such a scenario. "I know they dated once, but that was ages ago."

"There were some things that happened and I think Kyle feels that Liz shouldn't have forgiven Max so easily." Jim said cagily. "I don't think it's really Liz that he's mad at exactly. He's just been let down by every woman he cares about in the past and I think because Liz is the only one left in Roswell she's baring the brunt of it."

"Poor Liz. And poor Kyle." Amy said sympathetically. "Does he have much contact with his mother?"

Jim shook his head. "I forced him to call and write her when he was younger and to go see her on holidays but once he became a teenager he just refused and I couldn't make him. She calls every so often but he won't even talk to her."

"That's so sad."

Jim ran his fingers through his hair. "I just don't know what to do."

Amy patted his hand gently. "Why don't you take him out of town for a few days? Go fishing or hunting or some other depraved sport that you manly men types like so much? Maybe being away from Roswell and painful reminders will help him open up and talk to you."

Jim laughed and took Amy's hand in his own. "That's a good idea."

Amy blushed and squeezed his hand. "Maybe you and Kyle could come over to our new house once we're settled in. I'd love to cook dinner for you two."

Jim grinned happily. "There's nothing I'd like more." he admitted.


*

That evening after everybody had finished their days work, the group gathered together on the old bandstand in the park. The day was growing to a close and the park was pretty much deserted, giving them the perfect opportunity to discuss all the recent developments.

The conversation was quickly brought around to the topic of the shapeshifter.

“Are you sure there wasn’t something wrong with the tape?” Jim asked.

Isabel shook her head. “I checked it several times today. It’s not the tape, there’s definitely a shapeshifter.”

“Which means we all have to be extra careful of everybody we meet. He could be anyone.” Max told them. “Last year, Nacedo tricked Liz into driving away with him because she thought it was me. We can’t let that happen again.”

“The shapeshifters were your protectors’ right?” Jim asked. “Maybe this one’s on your side.”

“Then where has he been ‘til now, what’s he been doing while he was supposed to be protecting us?” Michael asked bitterly. “Why hasn’t he approached us?”

Max shook his head. “Michael’s right, he can’t be trusted.”

“Kivar knew that Tess was on her way home, with your son. That’s why he made his move against all the other planets. Somehow Tess was in contact with him.” Liz pointed out. “What if it was through this shapeshifter?”

“We went through all her things. She had no other way of contacting him.” Max added. “Until we find this guy and deal with him, everybody has to be careful.”

“You keep saying ‘he’ but it’s not a he.” Jim pointed out. “This shapeshifter has no gender. It has no height or weight, no race, no distinguishing features, marks or piercings, no hair color or eye color, nothing to help us identify it. It could be anyone, at any time.”

“Maybe we should have like a password or something.” Maria suggested. “If we’re not sure we could ask the other person a certain question and if they don’t have the right answer we make our excuses and run.”

“We could say ‘how’s your sore finger?’ Liz suggested “and the answer is ‘as good as new’.”

Max nodded. “Everyone ok with that?” Everyone nodded in agreement. “Good.”

“I’ve been thinking about it all day and I’ve just realised that there was something odd about his – its behaviour.” Liz told everybody. “Why did it change shape right after seeing Max, in a crowded public place? In a photo booth when there was a queue of people?”

“Because he wanted us to see him.” Isabel realised. “But how could he be sure that we’d see him? I hadn’t even been given the task of watching the tapes at that stage.”

“Why did you get the task?” Jim asked suspiciously.

“Somebody’s stealing merchandise from the giftshop storeroom.” Isabel explained. “Brody and Steve wanted me to watch the tapes to see if I could catch who’s doing it.”

“Steve…?” Jim asked.

Isabel shrugged. "I don't know his last name, it's just 'Steve-the-gift-shop-guy. I'll look into him. And I promise I'll be careful."

Valenti nodded. "I'll get somebody at the station to run a background check on him as well."

"We know that Tess was in contact with Kevlar somehow. We weren't able to find out how when we went through her things. It's possible this shapeshifter was working with her." Max pointed out. "If Kivar has to have any hope of defeating the allies, he needs to get control of the granolith. The shapeshifter may be working on that for him now."

"So what happened at the meeting last night?" Liz asked. “Did they decide to go to war against Kivar?"

"Larek and the other planets are going to align against Kivar, even if he offers to withdraw to Antar. They're prepared to attack Antar if he's doesn't surrender and allow the old order to be restored." Max told her.

"He won't be able to send troops to earth to invade us because he won't be able to get past the allies." Michael explained "So he has to try other means, like the shapeshifter."

"Or by holding your son hostage." Liz said softly to Max.

Max nodded once, the pain etched across his face. "Let's hope it doesn't come to that."

There was a moment of silence as everybody thought about the unborn child whose life was already in mortal danger.

Maria cleared her throat. "I think we should tell Brody what's going on. He deserves to know the truth. I had a chat with Larek last night and he promised to look after Brody better in the future but I still think Brody should know what's going on."

"No." Michael said at once. "We’re not telling anybody else."

"I'm sorry Maria." Max said firmly. "But we can't tell him."

"So you're ok with him thinking he's losing his mind?" Maria said accusatorily.

"Of course not." Max sighed. "But letting anybody else in on this is no longer on option."

Suddenly Liz gave a loud yawn. It set of a chain reaction.

Valenti grinned. "I think that's everything for now. I need to get home and try talk to Kyle. You should all go home and go to bed."

They nodded and made their way out of the park, making arrangements for the following day. None of them paid any attention to the pigeon sitting on the band stand roof.

None of them saw it fly away and land amongst a clump of trees.

Moments later a teenager emerged. She stretched her arms above her head and rolled her neck. The she raised her hands to her face and flexed her fingers.

"As good as new." She said, and then set off down the path giggling happily.


*
Last edited by tequathisy on Mon Jun 27, 2005 11:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by tequathisy » Wed Jun 01, 2005 11:51 am

begonia9508 welcome back, I hope you stick around. If Nacedo can turn into a rock wall, why not a bird?
sylvia37 I really hope ‘crap’ refers to the situation and not the story.
Emz80m not necessarily more powerful, just more imaginative. Friend or foe, guess you’ll have to keep reading to find out.
BehrObsession I actually considered a fly but I thought it was too small.
Arianneleigh not telling
taressa05 thanks
Grace52373 Liz has always been mature and sensible. Glad you liked the Michael and Maria scene.
girl afraid Thanks so much

*


Chapter 19


The first thing Kyle became aware of as he slowly woke from his alcohol-induced stupor was the pounding pain in his head. The next was that he was lying on the ground, in front of his house, beside what he could only surmise was his own vomit. The smell was strong and as he breathed in, his stomach churned violently.

Gingerly he moved his head away from the vomit, careful not to move too suddenly and bring on any further pain or nausea. A shadow moved in front of his face, a pair of familiar slippers, pale legs, a comfortable red dressing gown and then his father’s angry face swam into view.

“Hey Dad.” Kyle said weakly as he attempted to push himself from the ground. He winced as a wave of pain rinsed over his body and shot straight into his head. The ground beneath him started to spin. He closed his eyes.

Suddenly he felt himself being lifted bodily from his resting-place and half-carried half-flung into the house and onto the couch. He groaned and covered his mouth with his hand. “I’m going to hurl.”

A basin was thrust onto his lap and blindly Kyle lowered his head and spewed the contents of his stomach into it. After a few minutes, when he had nothing left to give, his father removed the basin and pressed a glass of water and two tablets into his hands.

Kyle swallowed them down gratefully. His head was thumping angrily and his stomach was still churning.

Jim returned and placed the washed basin at his feet and refilled his water glass.

Kyle drank half of it. Finally he looked up into Jim’s face. He glanced down again quickly and examined his feet, his new sneakers were stained with mud, vomit and other things he didn’t want to think about. “I’m sorry dad.” He whispered painfully.

“Is it so bad that you’d rather live like this than face up to it?” Jim asked.

Kyle nodded, he felt tears sting his eyes. Embarrassed, he tried to brush them away but they stubbornly kept falling and his body began to heave as he wept. Jim sat down beside him and held him gently.

Eventually Kyle cried himself to sleep. After waking and showering he returned to the living room to find his father packing a bag.

“How are you feeling now?” Jim asked.

Kyle gave an embarrassed shrug. “I’ll live. Are you going somewhere?”

Jim zipped up the bag. “I thought we’d take a trip together, just you and me. Do some fishing. What do you think?”

Kyle nodded. “I’d like that.”

Jim grabbed the bag and gestured with his head towards a cooler box on the draining board. “Can you grab that?”

Together they loaded up Jim’s jeep with their fishing and camping gear.

After Jim had locked the house up he turned to Kyle. “One more thing, I’d like your ID please.”

Kyle handed it over without argument. Jim examined it then tossed it into the trashcan. “You won’t need that again. Let’s go.”

Feeling lighter than he had in days, Kyle climbed into the jeep beside his father.

*


“Have a good trip.” Isabel flipped her phone closed and turned to her brother. “That was Valenti, something came up and he and Kyle are going out of town for a few days.”

Max poured himself a bowl of cereal. “Is there something wrong?”

Isabel shrugged. “Reading between the lines, I think something’s up with Kyle.”

“It would have been good to have him around.” Max sighed as he poured milk into his bowl. “But I guess if he’s going back to work it’s better that we aren’t seen spending too much time with him.”

“Besides, right now, Kyle is a loose cannon. It’s better that he’s not in Roswell.” Michael added. “And speaking of loose cannons, Maria’s on some sort of campaign to save Brody. She thinks we should tell him the truth.”

“We can’t.” Max said at once.

Michael held up his hands. “I know, but I promised her I’d speak to you about it and now I have.”

Isabel rolled her eyes. “I think Maria has a point, it’s not fair of us to just use him like that and keep him in the dark. He might be ok with it.”

“Or he might get a little pissed and come after us with a gun.” Michael reminded her.

“If we sit him down and – ”

“We’re not telling him.” Max said firmly.

Isabel glared at him angrily. “Fine. What about Mom and Dad? I want to tell them.”

“No.” Max and Michael said at once.

“Isabel, do we have to keep having this conversation. We’re not telling them.” Max added.

“Ho much longer do you think we can keep this from them? With everything that’s going on they’re going to figure something out. I just want to be honest with them,” Isabel said stubbornly. “Please Max.”

“Isabel, it’s not up for discussion. We’re not telling your parents.” Michael told her firmly.

“Not telling us what?”

The three aliens jumped as they heard Philip Evans voice. He appeared at the door of the kitchen.

Max looked at Isabel meaningfully.

“Nothing.” Isabel told her father.

“It didn’t sound like nothing.” Philip pointed out. “What is it that you can’t tell me?”

“Really Dad, it’s nothing.” Max assured his father. He stood up. “We’re late for work.”

Philip blocked his path. “It sounded like a serious conversation. I want to know what it is you can’t tell me.”

Behind his father, Max could see Isabel looking at him pleadingly. Max glanced at Michael.

To his surprise Michael stood up and removed an envelope from his pocket. “Max and Isabel wanted me to tell you about this.”

Philip took the envelope and removed the letter from inside it. He read it once then looked at Michael in alarm. “When did you get this?”

“Yesterday.”

Philip refolded the letter and returned it to the envelope. “What are you going to do?” He asked.

Michael shrugged. “Leave school, get a proper job I guess.”

“Is that what you want?”

Michael gave another embarrassed shrug. “Not really.”

Philip nodded. “I’ll look into this for you. You can go to work now.”

Max and Isabel gathered their things and made their way out the door. Once they were safely ensconced in the car, they turned to Michael.

“What was that letter about?” Isabel demanded to know.

Michael sighed. “It’s no big deal, legally I’ll be eighteen in a few weeks so the state is cutting off my benefits.”

“But you’re still at school.” Max cried out in surprise. “They can’t do that.”

“Apparently they can.” Michael informed them.

“So what are you going to do?” Isabel asked. “And don’t say leave school.”

“I might not have much option. If I can’t afford to make rent and bills from a part time job I can’t afford to go to school.” Michael said wearily. “Look it’s not a big deal, we’ve more important things to worry about. So can we just drop the subject?”

Isabel opened her mouth to protest but Max shook his head.

“Hopefully Dad can do something about it.” She said with forced cheerfulness.

Alone in the kitchen, Philip placed the letter in his briefcase and wondered what they had really been talking about.


*

Liz set a cup of coffee on the table in front of Maria and took the seat opposite her with a sigh of relief. “It’s so good to sit down.” She exclaimed. “I’m going to kill one of those new girls soon. I can’t wait ‘til you’re back at work.”

Maria smiled smugly. “I’d love to say I feel bad for you, but I had to cope all on my own last summer while you were sunning yourself on a beach in Florida.”

Liz stuck out her tongue at her friend.

“Very mature girls.” Sean Deluca said as he took a seat beside Maria and swiped a piece of bacon from her plate.

“Sean you wouldn’t know mature if it came up to you and smacked you across the head.” Maria said with a huff. “What do you want?”

“What? A guy can’t sit outside in the morning sunshine with his favorite cousin.” Sean asked.

Maria narrowed her eyes at him. “What did you do?”

Sean sighed. “I’ve been fired from my job. The guy who hired me said it was ok that I had a criminal record but his boss found out and made him sack me.”

“And what do you want from me?” Maria asked tersely.

“Well some sympathy would be nice for a start.” Sean replied in annoyance.

“I’m sorry Sean.” Liz said genuinely. “It’s not fair. What are you going to do now?”

“Maybe you should take it as a sign to leave Roswell.” Maria suggested cheerfully.

Sean glared at her. “I’m going to stick around for a while. I was wondering if you could help me find a new job.”

“I’m not hiring at the moment.” Maria told him glibly.

Sean rolled his eyes. “But your fancy man is. Can you ask him for a job for me?”

“He is not my fancy man.” Maria told him angrily. “And I’m pretty sure he has a policy against hiring criminals.”

“Not true, Stacey Beck works there and she has a record.” Sean countered. “Besides all you have to do is flutter your eyes and he’d hire the entire population of Roswell Penitentiary.”

“He’s already giving us way too much, I don’t want to ask for more from him.” Maria said with a scowl.

Sean pushed himself away from the table angrily, upsetting the coffee cups. “Thanks for your help, cousin. I’ll go ask him myself. I think he owes me since I didn’t tell the cops he stabbed me.” He stalked off across the street.

Maria jumped up from the table and hurried after him. “Sean wait, I’m sorry. Wait. I’ll ask him for you.”

“No, I don’t want to put you out.” Sean told her coldly.

“I’m sorry. Please Sean, I’m sorry.” Maria pleaded as she pulled Sean back towards the Crashdown, “My wrist is killing me today, that’s why I’m acting like a bitch. I’ll ask him for you.”

“Thanks M.” Sean said with a grin. He blew her a kiss and walked into the diner.

Maria groaned and took her seat at the table again. She grabbed a few napkins and began mopping up the spilled coffee. “Now what am I going to do?” She asked Liz. “I can’t let him work for Brody because he will bring up the stabbing thing and I can’t not get him a job.”

“Maybe we could get him a job somewhere else.” Liz suggested.

“Do you know anyone looking to hire an ex-con?” Maria said sarcastically. “Face it, his job prospects are nil.”

“Maybe there’s someway to convince him to stay quiet about being stabbed.” Liz said calmly.

Maria shook her head. “The more I try to convince him to stay quiet the more likely he’ll be to say something. Just to spite me. Or he could say something to Mom.” She regarded Liz for a moment. “Maybe you could have a little chat with him, use your feminine wiles.”

Liz groaned. “I remember a time when you guys were close.”

“And then he turned into a jerk.” Maria scowled darkly. “Please Liz.”

“Fine, I’ll try talk to him.” Liz conceded “But you have to be nicer to him. You wouldn’t want to piss him off, would you?”

“Thanks Liz you’re the bestest.” Maria told her. “And here’s your chance to do that other thing for me.”

Liz turned around and watched as Max parked his car across the street. The three aliens hopped out of the car and the two boys made their way over to the girls. Isabel waved before she rushed inside.

Liz looked at her watch pointedly. “You’re running a little late aren’t you Max?” She teased.

“It’s ok, I have an in with the boss.” Max said with a smug grin.

“So you have a few minutes to spare.” Maria piped up. “Great, sit.” She patted the chair beside her.

Max reluctantly took the seat. “Maria I know what you’re going to say. The answer is no. We can’t tell Brody.”

Maria crossed her arms furiously. “Since when are you the boss of all our decisions? I’m not the only one who thinks we should tell him. Liz and Michael agree with me.”

Michael held up his hands in protest. “I never said I agreed with you, I said I’d talk to Max. Which I did.” He glared at Max.

Max nodded. “We talked about it, all three of us and the answer is no.”

“Max, Maria has a point. Brody deserves to know.” Liz said quietly. “It’s not fair on him.”

“I know it’s not fair.” Max agreed then he turned to Maria. “But look what happened the last time he found out. We don’t know how he’d take it and there’s too much going on right now to risk it.”

Maria sat back in her chair with her arms folded and glared angrily at Michael.

“Michael gave her a small, forced smile. “I better start work.” He leaned over to kiss Maria’s cheek but she glared at him and turned her head. With a shrug he disappeared into the restaurant.

Liz raised her eyebrows at Maria, silently asking her for a few moments alone with Max. Maria stood up to follow Michael into the diner but Max caught her gently to stop her.

“Go easy on him.” Max pleaded with her. “He’s a bit upset about the letter he got yesterday.”

“What letter?” Maria asked, but didn’t wait for an answer.

Liz smiled at Max. “Sneaky.”

“How are you today?” Max asked. “Any developments on the power front?”

Liz shook her head. “I haven’t really had a chance. And I haven’t been angry either so nothings blown up on me.”

“Phew.” Max joked.

“Maria is really worked up about telling Brody. She says he’s going through hell at the moment.” Liz told Max. “I know you’re against it, but I really think you should consider it.”

Max shook his head. “It’s too risky. We need to be able to communicate with Larek. If we upset Brody too much we might not be able to. And besides if we tell Brody, then I’ll have to let Isabel tell our parents.”

“Would that be a bad thing?” Liz asked gently.

“Yes.” Max said emphatically. “I don’t want to get them involved. They’re safer in the dark.”

“Are they really Max?” Liz prodded.

“Please Liz not you too.” Max hung his head and ran his hand through his hair. “I just want to keep them safe.”

“If somebody decides to use them as a way of getting to you, then it won’t matter whether they know or not. In fact if they know, they might be able to defend themselves.” Liz argued. “I know you’re afraid but they love you Max. You’re their son.”

“And I want to keep it that way.” Max said.

Liz gasped in surprise. “That won’t change, they wouldn’t disown you because you’re an alien.”

Max sighed. “Probably not. But things would change between us. I’d be an alien. Right now I’m their son. When I go home we talk about what’s on TV, or tonight’s football game or the neighbors or our day at work. When I go home I’m not an alien – I’m normal”

“And if they know the truth, that’ll change.” Liz said in realisation.

“All my friends know the truth. It’s all we talk about. Aliens, alien business, alien abductions, alien crises.” Max said mournfully. “Maybe it’s selfish, but I don’t want to have those conversations with my parents as well.”

Liz sighed. “I’m sorry Max.”

Max shrugged. “It’s not easy being green.”

Liz smiled. “Tell you what, let’s go out tonight. We’ll do something fun. And no mention of aliens whatsoever.”

“I’d love to.” He looked at his watch. “Oops, Isabel will kill me. I’ll call over at lunchtime and we can make plans. Thanks for listening.”

“I’m glad you could talk to me.” Liz hugged him, becoming suddenly aware of how good he smelt. She pulled back and took a step away from him, putting the table between their bodies to prevent her self from launching herself at him. She nodded. “I have to work.”

“See you later.” Max said reluctantly. He turned slowly and made his way across the street, just before entering the museum he turned and waved.

Liz waved back and waited until he had gone inside. The she returned to work with a huge smile on her face.”


*

“Hello Isabel.” Steve the gift-shop-guy said with a sly smile when he met Isabel as she came down the stairs to the main area of the museum.. “See anything interesting on those tapes?”

“No not yet, I’ll keep looking though.” Isabel assured him.

“Let me know if you see something.” He said.

Isabel nodded and made her way over to where Max was working in a display and covertly watching their conversation.

“What did he want?” He asked.

“He was asking about the tapes.” Isabel told him. “Max, I don’t like him, there’s something creepy about him.”

Max looked over towards the gift shop entrance, Steve was still standing in the same spot watching them talk. He quickly looked away when he noticed Max was looking in his direction and made himself look busy.

“If you get a chance today, look into his personnel file, find out what you can about him.” Max told her. “I’ll keep an eye on him from here.

“But don’t look suspicious.” Isabel warned. “We can’t let him know we’re on to him.”


*


Maria threw open the door of her new home with a flourish and ushered the Parker family inside. She was practically bouncing as she brought Liz though the house and into the kitchen.

“Wow. This is so great.” Liz squealed. “When are you guys moving in?”

“Hopefully in a couple of days, once we’ve got furniture and the basics.” Maria said happily. “You know it was almost worth losing the old house for this one.”

Liz forced a smile as she was once again hit with a pang of guilt. She was relieved that Maria was so excited about the new house. As promised Maria had stopped moping about what she had lost and was instead happily focusing on what they had gained.

Amy and Nancy entered, laden down with home decorating magazines and talking a mile to a minute about what they could do.

Maria leaned over and whispered in Liz's ear. “Do they remind you of anybody?”

Liz giggled “Us.”

“Let’s go check out my room.” Maria suggested. She pulled Liz out of the kitchen, past Jeff who was examining the house for structural faults and up the stairs.

They entered one of the bedrooms and Maria whirled around with her arms outspread. “So what do you think?”

Liz gasped. “Wow. This is so great. You have a window seat.” She plopped down on the seat and looked out on the perfectly manicured lawns of the neighboring houses. “Maria, this is so amazing.”

“And that’s not all.” Maria said in her very best game-show-host-voice. “Through door number one, we have our very own en-suite bathroom and through door number two, it’s a walk-in closet.”

Liz clapped her hands and examined them. “Wow, there is a tonne of space in here.” She exclaimed.

Maria nodded. “And I’ve the perfect excuse to go shopping. I can’t wait until I can work again so I can really go shopping.”

“The girls at work were wondering if you’d be offended if they collected some money for you. A lot of the regulars have been asking about it and Suzy suggested that we could raise some money and buy you gift vouchers for all your favorite stores.” Liz informed Maria. “They asked me what I thought, would you be offended.”

“I don’t know.”

“It’s not charity or anything like that. People just feel bad for you and your mom and want to help.” Liz said hurriedly.

“It’s really thoughtful of them.” Maria said with a sigh. “I guess it would be ok. I’d hate to have to start wearing thrift-shop clothes again.”

“Great, I’ll tell them it’s ok so.” Liz exclaimed. “You deserve it Maria.”

Maria took a seat by the window and patted the space beside her for Liz to sit down. “So how are things with you and Max?”

Liz shrugged and lay her head on Maria’s shoulder. “Complicated. I know that we have a mountain if issues to work through before we can get back what we had, I know we have to work it out. I know it’s going to take time. But when I’m with him I just want to skip all that and go straight to making out.”

Maria smiled. “That’s a good thing.”

“It is?”

“Yes. Because you know that you’re doing it for the right reason.” Maria told her. “Imagine going through all this trouble to rebuild your relationship because you feel guilty or you think you owe him. But you’re not, you’re doing this because you love him and you want to jump his bones.”

“So why can’t I just skip through the other stuff?” Liz whined.

“Because he slept with Tess, because you broke up with him, because he’s finding it hard to trust you, because you’re finding it hard to trust him, because he let you down when you needed him, because you let him down, because he has a son.” Maria listed. “Like you said, there’s a mountain of issues to work through and if you ignore them, it’s always going to be there, looming over everything.”

“Oh yeah.” Liz sighed. “Why does it have to be so complicated?”

“We’re pioneers Liz. We’re boldly going where no woman has gone before. We’re literally dating men from another planet.” Maria said. “If it was easy, it would have been done before.”


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