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The Workings of Destiny - AU M/L ADULT [COMPLETE]
Posted: Mon Feb 24, 2003 7:46 am
This beautiful banner is made by bordersinsanity. Thank you so much, Jen!!
Title: The Workings of Destiny
Max and Liz believer, a.k.a. Josephin
I don’t own any of the Roswell characters. I’m just borrowing them for a short while.
With focus on M/L, but also C/C
TEEN to mild ADULT
This fic is based on a challenge by Dia (the girl with the many ideas). It basically is a love story with some complications (just to make it interesting!) Honestly, I don’t really know where this fic will end so I’ll guess you just have to follow me on this journey to find out.
Okay, I just want to warn you that I am a Swedish citizen so try to see beyond all spelling and grammar errors! Although, I will blame most of them on my dog (who has taken up the task of washing my face with her tongue while I’m typing) and my cat (who enjoys using the keyboard as a bed - effectively pressing ALL keys while doing so) who tends to distract me. Additionally, if there are expressions that I keep getting wrong or prepositions or whatever I would be more than happy to know so I don’t continue messing up. I LOVE feedback - so please keep it coming!
”I’m telling you Liz, he sooo got the hots for you!” Maria Deluca pointed out to her best friend.
”Wha..,” Liz Parker started to say only to be interrupted by complete darkness.
All right, the momentarily darkness had been caused by her oh-so-very-gorgeous boyfriend, putting his hands over her eyes. She did barely have time to register his strong and muscular body pressing up against her back, before she felt his warm and moist lips on her neck. The act took her completely by surprise and she gasped. He was dragging his lips along her neckline, giving suction to places which he by experience knew awoke her desire. He was stirring up feelings inside of her that only he could and then he stopped. Liz came crashing down on Earth again from her short but intense trip to Max-Evans-land. She could feel his playful grin behind her back and turned around to face him and to teach him a thing or two about the consequences of messing with Liz Parker.
”I warned you.” Maria’s comment was vaguely registered when amber eyes met doe-brown and a silent communication only understood by the two lovers was conveyed.
Max’s eyes went darker when Liz (like a true temptress out on a mission) darted out the tip of her tongue between her lips and seductively licked first her upper lip then her lower lip. She was truly enjoying seeing Max follow every movement of her tongue - being absolutely transfixed. Casually Liz stretched over the counter and put her index finger into a bowl of whipped cream. Max’s heartbeat was rapidly increasing and his breathing was becoming almost painfully labored as he watched Liz slowly putting her index finger into her mouth and slowly licking of the whipped cream. She was very careful to do it excruciating slowly, taking her time to lick every inch of her finger and then wetting her lips once again.
Maria watched the whole spectacle with an amused smile. Poor Max, he was really looking like he was going to collapse at any moment as a result of the sweet torture Liz was putting him through.
Liz couldn’t help but smile at Max (thinking of her wicked plans) as she reached for the bowl of whipped cream once again. However, the smile was not registered by Max, who was completely entranced with the workings of Liz’s tongue - God, did he know what she could do with that tongue!
Before Liz reached the bowl of whipped cream, her hand changed direction and took a detour to a shelf under the counter. In order to distract Max from the workings of her hand, she stepped closer to him - breathing in his scent. That scent...it was a sweet mixture of his After Shave, soap and the scent that was all Max. Leaning her face closer to his, she was for a moment distracted from her ‘mission’ - lost in the feeling of Max’s warm breath blowing softly against her cheek. But then she remembered...and started to nibble at his ear with her tongue, tempting him ever so slightly. She felt his body quiver under her assault.
”God, Liz,” he murmured softly only audible to her.
Her wandering hand found it’s destination, feeling the wet, hard and cold material against her hand. She smiled self-consciously against his cheek and then stepped away from him. Before Max knew what hit him Liz had in one swift hand movement completed her mission and quickly stepped out of his reach, leaving the ice cubicles sliding down the inside of his pants.
In the CrashDown Café, known for its alien-themed decoration and menus, heads were turned in surprise as a boy (about nineteen years old) with dark hair and a well-built body started to jump on his place making gasping sounds as if trying to get air into his lungs. The customers could also add to the piece of entertainment for the day the petite brown-haired girl who with a light-hearted laugh ran away from the boy, trying her best not to collapse on the floor from her fit of laughter. The next day the rumors told that about ten seconds later the boy had recuperated from whatever mischief he had got himself into and had started a wild chase after the laughing girl. The show had ended when the manager of the CrashDown - who just happened to be Mr. Parker, the father of the girl being chased - had demanded to know what the hell was going on. The ‘chase’ was terminated and subjects were sent to ‘calm down’ in separated home environments.
”Lizzie, girlfriend! So what’s this rumor I’ve been hearing all morning? Would you care to entertain me with this seemingly enticing event?”
Liz greeted Alex with a smile and shrugged.
”You know, Alex. I was just teaching Max a lesson.”
”Right! I should have known that,” Alex said hitting himself in the head pointing out to the world that he was a bit unintelligent...
”He was getting me all worked up, and I just thought he needed to cool down,” Liz said matter-of-factly.
Alex raised an eye-brow.
”Really?” he said. ”Well, just note this for, you know, future security - on my behalf that is..”
”Of course,” Liz dead-seriously agreed.
”Right...that inform me - please - when you think I’m getting you ‘all worked up’ and I will just make a run for it, okay!”
”Good idea,” Liz agreed calmly.
”Thanks,” Alex said and they both started to laugh.
”What’s so funny?” a voice with a touch of superiority demanded to know behind them.
”Oh, your highness (referring to the person’s ice-queen status) - we were just consulting over the best way to avoid Liz’s wrath and not end up as your dear brother,” Alex explained with a goofy smile on his face, which didn’t go unnoticed by neither Liz nor Isabel. The two girls were both highly aware of Alex’s infatuation (or you can also call it obsession if you like) with Isabel Evans.
”Yeah, you can’t miss hearing about it. Very imaginative, Liz.”
”Oh, thank you, Isabel,” Liz exclaimed in an over-dramatic voice.
”You welcome,” Isabel replied. ”So, Alex, would you care to join me to the opening of the new cinema on Saturday?”
It’s was an experience seeing Alex’s face shift between all those nuances in color. Going from white to blazing red, with all the colors there between.
”I-I-I-,” Alex started until Liz jabbed her elbow into his ribs and evidently pushed the on button. ”I would love to.” Alex got out quickly.
”Great, pick me up at seven. Bye Alex!” Isabel said, turning around and heading down the hallway of West Roswell High School, a small smile curving her lips.
”Yeah..bye Isabel!” Alex cried. ”That went well. Good work, Cupid,” he thought sarcastically. ”Oh, hay Maria!”
”Wha- yeah, whatever Alex,” a distracted Maria replied, her eyes never leaving Liz’s.
Liz immediately sensed that something was wrong. ”What’s up, Maria?”
”Uhm Liz, I need to talk to you,” Maria said and then fixed her eyes on Alex. ”Alex, would you mind?”
Alex, looking very suspiciously between the two friends, answered, (afraid to do otherwise with Maria’s glare fixed on him) ”No- of course not.”
Liz watched Maria watching Alex disappearing down the hallway and then Maria turned her head back towards Liz and met her friend’s now worried eyes.
”Liz honey, you know I love you, right? And I’ll be here for you whate-”
”Maria, what’s wrong? You’re freaking me out here!”
”Liz...I just saw Max being led away by the police.”
Liz felt like she had been punched in the stomach.
”What are you saying, Maria?” she whispered.
”Liz...Max has been arrested for abuse. He is said to have knocked someone unconscious.”
”I’m sorry, Lizzie. But that is my final word!”
Liz - sitting in tears on the coach of the Parkers’ living room - defiantly shook her head.
”No, Dad! Max hasn’t done anything! Charges were dropped!”
”It’s the fact that there were any charges from the beginning that worries me. It means that he must hang out with the wrong kind of people to be accused of something like that and I don’t want him anywhere near my baby girl.”
”He was framed, Dad-”
”Exactly my point!”
”Could you just listen to me?! I’m not a minor - I’m going to graduate a week from now and you cannot decide what I’m doing with my life anymore - I’m not your baby girl!!”
”As long as you’re living in this house - under my roof - you are!”
”Jeff, please...,” Nancy Parker said, in an effort to calm her husband down.
”I’m going to see him whether you like it or not! You cannot keep me away from him - I love him!”
”Ha,” Mr. Parker snorted. ”Love... you my lady are far too young to know what love means! This is just some high school crush and after some time apart you will realize that he was in fact not your whole life and you can go on with your life! I don’t want to see a boy ruining my daughter’s future. You’re going to Harvard, you have a bright fu-”
”I’m not listening to this!” Liz said and stood up.
”Sit down, Elizabeth, I am not finished yet!”
Mrs. Parker knew just how out of hand this argument was getting. Jeff never called his daughter by her full name if he wasn’t very angry.
”NO! I’m not gonna listen to you when you’re not listening to me. You don’t understand. This is my life and if it is a mistake to see Max - which it is not - I still need to make my own mistakes!”
”You have no experience of life - you are far to gullible-” Mr. Parker started but was interrupted by the loud bang of Liz slamming the bedroom door close behind her.
”Liz, are you okay?”
Liz, with tears streaming down her cheeks, turned towards the sound of his voice. In the shadows of her room stood the love of her life. The man whom she had given her heart.
A soft ”Max” left her lips before she threw herself into the arms of her lover, buried her face in his shirt and cried her heart out.
Max stood still and stroked the hair of the girl that was the most precious thing in his life, calming her down. Her heart-wrenching sobs tore at his heart strings. After a couple of minutes Liz’s crying eased into sobs to thereafter quiet down. She remained in Max’s arms, silently drawing strength from his body and strong arms holding her so tight to him.
”My parents are forbidding me to see you,” she whispered.
Max’s worst apprehensions came true as a result of that sentence. They were trying to take Liz from him.
”What are we going to do, Max?”
At her small voice he kissed the top of her head and hugged her closer to him, like she was going to be ripped apart from him at any second.
”We’ll find a way,” he said reassuringly. ”Nothing is going to keep us apart, Liz. Not as long as I have say in it.”
He could feel Liz nod her head against his chest. Even if they both knew that it was going to be difficult from now on, they both, even though it was only for that moment, tried to believe that everything was going to be all right.
However, destiny was not on their side - it was having other plans for the two lovers...
”Max, honey. I’d like you to meet Tess Harding,” Mrs. Evans said with a bright smile.
The girl behind his mother had short curly blonde hair and a smug smile was draped over her face. To any other guy she would perhaps seem as a great catch - she was not unpretty. But Tess couldn’t have found a less willing victim. Max spared the girl two seconds tops to glance her over and the only conclusion he came to was ‘fake’. Everything about that girl seemed fake and he got a sudden urge to get as far away from her as possible. His thoughts (like a million times before) wandered to the petite girl with the big brown eyes and the warming smile that sent shivers of pleasure down his spine every time.
Tess Harding had never liked being paired up with someone by her father. Since she had experienced some ‘minor’ problems with her previous boyfriends in her old town, her father had evidently decided to take on the job of being her personal date matcher - finding her a boyfriend himself. He just had been promoted and was being transferred to Albuquerque, New Mexico and the fact that the move meant his daughter got to meet ‘fresh blood’ and perhaps changing her socializing patterns for the better didn’t go him unnoticed.
When Tess’s father had informed her that they were invited to dinner to his new co-worker Diane Evans’s family Tess smelled a rat. Was this one of her father’s attempt to pair her up with some nerd? Even though Mr. Harding in fact had been more interested to accept Diane’s dinner invitation when Diane had told him of her son, Tess had never thought that the one she was obviously being paired up with was going to be such a hunk.
She licked her lips hungrily when her eyes scanned his body from top to toe. He sure was something. When Mrs. Evans introduced her, she had no doubts that he would soon be hers to play with. Although a minute later, when Max had glanced
at her (mysteriously unaffected by her charms) - effectively turning her down right there on the spot - her assurance had started to dwindle. Her smile - which used to turn the weak male species into mush in her hand - started to falter and her true spoiled brat nature was showing through for a second. Right then she decided that she would make it her mission to honor Max Evans with a property of Tess Harding label. She had never met such a reluctant guy but hey...she was always up for a challenge!
Mrs. Evans eyed her son across the dining table. He had not made any effort in the direction of communicating. He kept glancing at his watch and the clock on the wall (just to vary himself) as he wished to be somewhere else. Mrs. Evans could not understand why. By his side was a beautiful young lady who had chatted with him all evening. Well, to be honest - Tess had talked and Max had listened (if he even had done that!). Mrs. Evans was feeling ashamed of his son for treating that nice girl like that.
”...but that was nothing serious. Anyway, which sports do you like, Max?” Tess babbled.
”I’m not so interested in sports,” Max answered and silently wished she could put a plug in it. ”No, that’s not nice,” Max scolded himself. ”She is only trying to make conversation...yeah, and then she will try to maul you!”
He sure was tough to get through to, Tess thought.
”Are you trying to tell me that you don’t do any sports, ‘cause no one can be blessed with a body like yours without doing some sports of some kind!” Tess said, flirting tremendously.
Max involuntary blushed and looked down, missing Tess’s smile of triumph. She had finally achieved a response from Mr. Stone Wall. ”And Tess is back in the game,” she thought, extremely pleased with herself.
Max saw her standing by her locker. She had pushed some strands of her hair behind the ear, but it was already sliding back to its original position - shielding her face from him. She had a book in her hand, which she had all her attention directed at. The sounds of high school students making their way through the hallway to their classes disappeared as he was watching the beauty. The corners of his mouth began its travel upwards into a small smile. She was the most beautiful girl in the world and she was his.
”Hi, Max.” He came slamming down on Earth, the sounds of a high school in the morning came back to him in full stereo. He turned towards the voice to see who had disturbed him in his admiration of Liz Parker. In front of him, with a very sunny smile, stood none the less than Tess Harding.
Inwardly Max groaned. Don’t say she is going to our school now!
”Hi, Tess,” he said calmly. What did she want from him? ”Are you going to West Roswell High?”
Tess laughed. Well, that’s probably what it was intended to resemble.
”You’re so cute, Max,” Tess said. ”I told you yesterday that I would start today, you know...at dinner...”
”Oh, right,” Max said, not really remembering that being said. But on the other hand, he hadn’t really paid attention to what she had been saying.
Liz pushed some strands of her hair behind her ear and closed the biology book. She had been highly aware of his looks on her. She put the book in her backpack, closed the door to her locker and turned to greet her boyfriend and stopped dead in her tracks. Max was standing a few feet away, with a blonde girl that Liz hadn’t seen before practically glued to his side. Liz suspiciously frowned and made her way towards Max. But the closer she got, the more obvious Max’s discomfort became to her.
Max watched her coming closer and he couldn’t stop a smile from spreading on his face.
Tess turned her head to see what had distracted Max and her eyes narrowed. Walking towards them was a dark-eyed petite girl, with large dark-brown eyes. Tess realized that she had competition.
”Hi Max,” the girl said with a small smile and her eyes drifted to Tess.
”Hi Liz,” Max answered with a dreamy smile.
”Hi, I’m Liz Parker - Max’s girlfriend” Liz said to Tess, snapping Max back to reality. He had already forgotten that Tess was standing beside him. Max smiled at the possessiveness in Liz’s voice. Didn’t she know that she had nothing to worry about?
”Hi, I’m Tess,” Tess said cheerily but Liz noted the small hint of venom in her voice.
Liz took Max’s hand and he squeezed it reassuringly.
”So, you’re the new student?” Liz asked.
”Yeah, my Dad and I just moved here,” Tess said. ”It’s a long story - I told Max all about it yesterday.”
Liz eyed the girl suspiciously. There was something about that girl that sent warning bells going off in her head.
”Oh, you’ve already met Max,” Liz said casually.
”Yeah, we had dinner last night,” Tess answered.
”Really?” Liz said.
Max was standing beside Liz, his hand locked in her grip, looking anxiously between the two girls.
Liz could see what Tess was doing. Tess was trying to make her jealous. ”Well, guess again, Tessie! I’m not letting Max go,” Liz thought.
”My Mom works with Tess’s Dad, so Mom invited Tess and Mr. Harding over for dinner,” Max clarified.
”Well, that’s nice,” Liz said, shifting her backpack to her other shoulder. ”We should go, Max. We have class.”
”Oh, what subject?” Tess asked.
”Biology,” Max answered.
”Oh, me too!” Tess exclaimed happily. ”Can I tag along - I still can’t find my way around here.”
”Of course you can’t,” Liz thought unsympathetically.
Just then Maria decided to join the small group.
”Good morning, guys,” Maria said.
”Hi, Maria,” Liz and Max greeted in unison.
”What’s shaking...,” Maria voice trailed off when she detected the stranger standing beside Max. A little too close to Max.
”And who are you?” Maria asked. Neither Max nor Liz scolded Maria for her rude tone.
”I’m Tess,” Tess answered with a fake Barbie smile.
”Okay, I’m Maria,” Maria said and then turned all her attention back to her friends.
”Have you seen Michael? I’m trying to find him!”
”Well, showing up at school never was one of Michael’s strong side,” Max said.
”Who’s Michael,” Tess asked - craving for attention.
Maria turned around towards the girl with the perfect bouncing curls.
”He’s my boyfriend,” she answered. ”And you keep your hands off him,” she thought.
Maria didn’t know why she was so defensive towards this girl. Maria was usually friendly to new-comers. But this girl gave her the creeps.
”I would love to meet him later,” Tess said.
”Okay, it’s settled. I hate that girl,” Maria thought.
Posted: Mon Feb 24, 2003 7:48 am
Max and Liz were oblivious to their watcher. They were sitting in the front row of the biology classroom - they were lab partners. The only place that was not taken was in the last row, beside some nerd - which she now had to listen to during the lab hour. The nerd was going on and on beside her - but her whole attention was on the couple in the front row. No couple could really be as sweet as they were. ”It must be a facade,” Tess thought. ”There have to be something bad about that relationship. No relationship can be so good.” She watched as Liz’s hand slipped into Max’s under the table. ”God, they make me wanna puke!” Tess thought. ”I’ll find their weakness and then there will not be so much more left of their relationship!”
”Are you seeing Max again?” Maria’s voice asked in the other end of the line.
”Uh huh,” Liz answered, while putting lip gloss on her lips. She had the receiver tucked in between her shoulder and her ear.
”Aren’t you afraid that you’ll be caught,” Maria said.
”Maria, I’ve told you. We’re being really careful,” Liz said. ”That’s why I’m spending the evening at your place, remember? We were going to rent that movie, right.”
”Yeah, right,” Maria said and Liz could hear her smiling. ”So what are you and Max up to tonight?”
”I guess we’re going to go out in the desert...,” Liz said.
”Ah, the desert,” Maria said. ”The perfect solution to finding some quality time alone.”
”Exactly,” Liz agreed. ”What are you going to do tonight?”
”Well, I’m going to spend the night with my best friend in the whole world, and we’re gonna watch a movie, eat popcorn, gossip about which boys we would like to kiss...”
”Okay,” Liz giggled.
”No, since that is only happening in the imaginary life Liz Parker makes her parents believe, I think I’m gonna harass Michael into taking me to the movies.”
”That’s great, Maria! Are you guys getting back together?”
”Well, you never know, babe. Anyway, I don’t really think that the term ‘together’ exists in Michael’s vocabulary.”
”No, you’re probably right,” Liz agreed, thinking about all the times that Maria and Michael fought and even though it to the outside world seemed as if they were worst enemies they were actually just getting back ‘together’, or something like that.
”Okay, have a nice time tonight and watch your back,” Maria said, ”I don’t think any of us wants to experience the wrath of Jeff Parker up close and personal.”
”Certainly not,” Liz said. ”Thanks Maria, for covering for me.”
”Don’t mention it! Bye!”
Liz put the receiver down and looked at her reflection in the mirror. Satisfied with the result, she grabbed a sweater and headed out of her room.
”I’m leaving now,” she yelled when she walked past the living room where her parents were positioned on the coach in front of the TV.
”Where you going, honey?” Mr. Parker asked.
Liz stopped with a sigh and turned back.
”I’m going to Maria’s, I told you that,” Liz said.
”Okay, just asking,” Mr. Parker said.
”Right, Dad. Bye!” Liz opened the front door and run down the stairs towards Max’s waiting car over by the UFO center.
”So, what do you wanna do tonight?” Liz asked as they drove down the road in the black night.
Max looked at the beauty beside her. Her hair was blowing around her face, she looked so relaxed - so carefree.
”Well, one or two ideas come to mind,” Max said in a seductive tone.
Liz turned her head and looked at him with a shocked smile.
”Max Evans,” she scolded. ”What are you implying?”
”Oh, nothing...nothing you wouldn’t like,” Max said and took her hand in his resting their clasped hands on his thigh.
”Really?” Liz asked with one eyebrow raised.
”Really,” Max repeated.
”Well, I have an idea,” Liz said, her voice a little huskier than usual. Max turned his head to look at her, her mere sexy voice doing things to him.
”You have?” he asked, his throat suddenly feeling very dry.
”Yes,” Liz purred and unbuckled her seat belt.
”Liz, what are you doing?” Max asked, immediately concerned about her safety.
”Relax, Max. You just keep you eyes on the road and we’ll be fine.” Max didn’t know what to make of her tone of voice. He got the feeling that she was going to jump him - right here in the jeep, while he was still driving.
Liz’s face was dangerously close to his now and his breathing was coming quicker.
”Liz...?” he asked, actually a little afraid of what she was about to do.
Then he felt the tip of her tongue behind his ear, and for a fraction of a second he lost control over the jeep.
”Liz, please,” he murmured, not really sure if he begged her to continue or stop. ”You’re going to get us killed.”
”Uh huh,” Liz said, her tongue slipping down his neckline. Being a woman, Liz certainly knew how to do several things simultaneously, which she took advantage of at this moment. One of her hands was buried deep in his dark hair, while her other hand freed itself from Max’s. Max was too focused on the feel of her tongue on his neck and keeping the jeep on the road to notice that he was no longer holding her hand. However, as Liz hand traveled north along the inner side of his thigh, scraping lightly with her nails he certainly noticed.
”Liz,” he said again, but found that he couldn’t talk under Liz’s assault.
Liz was getting pretty worked up herself. God, he tasted good and he smelled so much...Max. As her tongue traveled along his throat, she could feel the vibrations of his groans against her tongue. Liz had already forgotten about the fact that they were in a car, driving. Unfortunately, Max was painfully aware of that they were out in traffic every time Liz moved her hand one centimeter closer to the bulge straining in his jeans and he was about to send them into the ditch several times. Gathering the iron control that Max Evans was known for, his hand took hold of Liz - stopping it from reaching its destination, to both Liz’s and his disappointment.
”Liz, we have to stop,” Max panted. ”We are soon there.”
”Pull over, Max,” Liz begged. She wanted him so bad. It took every bit of her self-control to stop herself from climbing into his lap and ravish him. She didn’t have to beg him twice. With one swift movement of his wrist, Max turned the steering wheel and steered the jeep of the road, out into the plain desert. Before the wheels of the jeep got the opportunity to stop turning, she was straddling his hips, fiercely kissing him. His hands dove into her hair and he pressed their lips closer together. She tasted so good. Liz pressed her body up against his - trying to get as close as possible as their tongues explored each other’s mouths.
The couple was oblivious to everything around them. They were alone in the universe and all that mattered were their feelings and the feeling of the other partner’s hands and lips. They didn’t notice the black car that stopped a couple of meters away. They wasn’t aware of the person in the car with a pair of binoculars held in front of her eyes to enhance her vision of the couple. ”So, Liz Parker. What would your parents think if they really knew where you were and what you were doing?” she said, a malicious smile spreading in her face as she picked up her cell phone and dialed the number to the Parkers’ resident.
Liz put the key in the lock, unable to stop smiling when she thought about the evening she had spent with Max. When she opened the door she found herself face to face with her father. ”Oh, no this does not bode good,” she thought as she saw the dogged expression of her father.
”Hi, Dad,” she said, making her tone light and casual.
”Where have you been?” Mr. Parker asked.
”What do you mean, Dad? I was at Maria’s, I told you that,” Liz said.
”I called Maria, or her mother more precisely, because Maria wasn’t home to take the call. She was evidently on a date with Michael. Strangely enough, you weren’t there.”
Liz was at loss of words.
”Well, what do you have to say for yourself?” Mr. Parker asked, his tone angry.
”Dad...,” Liz said tentatively and then realized that she would probably only make it worse to try to pursue this lie when she was obviously already busted. ”I was with Max.”
As soon as the sentence slipped over her lips, she wanted to take it back as she saw her Dad’s facial expression.
”Go to your room, Liz,” her Dad said, barely restraining his anger.
Liz knew that her father could snap at any second, if she didn’t comply. She was actually more than willing to get away.
”We’ll talk about this in the morning,” she heard her father say before she closed the door to her bedroom. With a designated sigh, she sank down onto her bed. As she went to bed that night, the morning could not come slow enough.
Liz made her way into the kitchen. She was really nervous about what punishment her father should give her. He would probably ground her.
Her parents were sitting at the table. Her father was hidden behind the newspaper and her mother was pouring up coffee in her and her husbands cups. She looked up when Liz walked in.
”Morning, honey,” her mother said.
”Hi,” Liz said, the small tremble on her voice giving her nervousness away.
Mr. Parker lowered the newspaper and met Liz’s eyes. Liz could see that her father had calmed down, and that there now rested more hurt in his eyes than anger.
”Sit down, Lizzie,” he said, his voice even.
Liz nodded and sat down like a woman arrested for a crime, awaiting her verdict.
”I’m just gonna cut to the chase here,” Mr. Parker said.
Liz sat silent and just nodded her head.
”Okay, you have always been a good girl, but lately...it feels like I don’t even know you,” Mr. Parker said.
”Dad...,” Liz started to say, knowing where her father was going with this, but her father silenced her with his hand.
”Let me say what I have to say first,” Mr. Parker said. ”You’ve changed... and frankly I’m not sure it is a change for the good,” Liz shifted in her seat and Mrs. Parker sat still as a statue, ”Your Mom and I have discussed this and we have both concluded that this... disturbing behavior started when you started dating Max Evans.”
”You have ‘concluded’?” Liz repeated, feeling her annoyance rise. Her parents were discussing her life like it was yet another point at the agenda in a business meeting.
”This opportunity sort of came up right out of the blue,” Mrs. Parker said, ignoring her daughter’s statement, ”and we have been discussing it for about a week now.”
”But when you liedto us yesterday, we decided together that this was the best thing to do,” Mr. Parker continued where his wife left off.
”What are you talking about?” Liz asked and felt the dread growing inside of her.
”Your father has been offered to open a restaurant in Washington,” Mrs. Parker said and Liz heart sank.
”What are you saying?” she whispered, afraid to hear the answer.
And then the answer came and Liz saw her whole future existence coming tumbling down in front of her eyes.
”Lizzie, we have decided to move to Washington.”
Max picked up the receiver.
”Hello,” he said, but there was no reply. ”Hello, is someone there?”
Then he heard the sobs and he said the name of the first person that came to mind.
”Liz?” he asked gently.
The sobs grew a bit louder - to more resemble crying.
”What’s wrong?” Max asked and sat up straighter in his bed.
”Max...” Liz got out.
”Liz, tell me. What has happened...?” Max asked, starting to get really worried and voiced one of his biggest fears, ”Are you hurt?”
”We’re....we’re...,” Liz tried to speak.
”Liz, calm down. You have to calm down so I can help you.”
”I’m moving, Max,” Liz sobbed and then broke down - crying and sobbing into the receiver. Max felt like someone had beaten him down and were now standing on his chest. He suddenly had trouble breathing.
”Wha-what?” he asked, some part of him hoping that Liz was only joking, but knowing that Liz’s crying wasn’t fake. This was real, this was as real as it gets. She was leaving him.
”I can’t leave you,” Liz whispered.
”This can’t be happening, this can’t be happening,” Max thought.
”Tell me this is a long terrible nightmare,” he said.
”You don’t know how much I’ve wished for that myself,” Liz said. ”I don’t know what I’m gonna do.”
Max took a deep breath and tried to clear his mind. Okay, this wasn’t the end of the world. It was a major set-back, but if anyone could handle it, it was he and Liz.
”Liz, we can work this out,” he said.
”How?!” Liz sobbed miserably. She couldn’t see clear any longer.
”I love you,” Max said.
”I’m sorry, Max...but that isn’t really helping,” Liz said.
”Listen, Liz. As long as we love each other, nothing can come between us, not even some miles.”
”Thousands of miles,” Liz wailed.
Outside Liz’s door, Mr. Parker was just about to enter his daughter’s bedroom when his wife put an arm on his shoulder stopping him.
”Jeff, what are you doing?” Nancy asked.
”What does it look like I’m doing? I’m saving my daughter from that Max Evans.”
”Don’t be ridiculous, Jeff Parker!” Nancy exclaimed. ”She’s only talking to him. She is probably saying goodbye. You know, we didn’t exactly give her much of a choice and not much time either as we are leaving the day after tomorrow.”
”She does not have the right to choose,” Jeff said. ”She lied to us!”
”Listen to yourself! I’m agreeing with you that we should move, so that Liz gets the opportunity to widen her perspective, to experience new things, to meet new people and hopefully concentrate more on her studies. But I do not agree with the manner in which you are ordering her around. She’s your daughter - not your soldier! She is almost grown-up, and she has her own life now.”
Jeff looked a little guilty.
”It’s just... I’m just worried about her,” he said.
”I know you are,” Nancy said, ”but if you continue like this you are going to push her further and further away from you. It’s probably going to take a while for her to forget about Max, but as with most of the high school crushes she eventually will and then she will realize that we were only looking out for her - protecting her.”
Jeff nodded, somewhat comforted by what his wife said and let himself by led away by his wife, leaving Liz to talk privately with her boyfriend.
Maria Deluca hurried down the street. Liz had called her two minutes ago and she had sounded completely devastated. Maria was not able to get her talking through all the crying, so she had told Liz to stay put - she was coming over. Maria stormed into the CrashDown. Nancy Parker looked up at the girl in astonishment and she wasn’t the only one looking. Maria’s agitated behavior could alone make some turn their heads but it was the fact that she was dressed in a pink and white striped flannel pajamas under a light blue robe that awoke most sensation.
”Maria, how are y-”
”Sorry, Mrs. Parker. I don’t really have time to talk,” Maria said and brushed past the surprised Mrs. Parker. Liz was crying - Liz was never crying. Liz was a freaking stone wall. If Liz was crying something was wrong. Like, really wrong!
Maria stormed into Liz’s room, without even bothering to knock. When she saw Liz she stopped dead in her tracks - for a second anyway. Liz was lying on her bed - curled up in fetus position, her back turned against her. Maria made her way over to the other side of Liz’s bed so she was able to see Liz in the face. Liz had stopped crying. Her cheeks were still moist from the tears and her eyes were swollen and red.
”Ohh, Lizzie,” Maria said, her heart going out to her best friend.
Liz stared out into the air, her eyes unseeing.
”What happened?” Maria asked.
”We’re moving,” Liz said in a monotonous voice.
”You’re what?!” Maria exclaimed. ”You must be kidding me!!”
”I wish,” Liz said, feeling new tears pool in her eyes.
”Oh no,” Maria said hugging Liz to her, ”Are you leaving me, chica?”
”They didn’t really gave me a choice,” Liz sobbed.
”Your parents?” Maria asked.
”Well, more exactly dad,” Liz corrected herself.
”Why?!” Maria asked, getting pissed at Liz’s dad.
”He thinks I need to spread my wings...well, more exactly he doesn’t want me anywhere Max,” Liz said, her voice hollow.
”He can’t do that!” Maria practically yelled.
”Well yeah, he can. His my father and I’m a minor,” Liz said.
”Don’t give me that legal mumbo,” Maria said, ”his your father, he’s suppose to look out for you...see to it that your happy.”
”He doesn’t think Max is good for me,” Liz said.
”Hasn’t he been watching? I’ve never seen you as happy as you are with Max,” Maria said.
Liz smiled sadly, her thoughts diverted to Max.
”We have to do something,” Maria exclaimed, feeling up to protest.
”Maria...,” Liz sighed, ”we can’t do anything. Believe me, I’ve tried - the whole day, until I called you. It’s useless.”
”You can’t let him win,” Maria said.
”I won’t, we won’t. Promise me that we will keep in touch, Maria!” Liz said.
”Of course, babe....,” Maria said. ”But what about Max. Can you really live without each other? You are so much in love, why is this happening to you?”
”We’re gonna get through this. ‘Cause you know, Maria. If our relationship is worth anything at all - if this is true love, then we will handle this. This is just one small obstacle in our way. I’ll have to see this as something that tests our love, and we will make it.”
House after house. Tree after tree. It all floated together to a mud of colors, as the car swished by. Liz’s forehead rested against the cool surface of the windshield of the car, watching the strange and unfamiliar surroundings go by. This was going to be her new home. Home. That word had found a whole new meaning since she left Max the other day. Home was not in Washington DC, home was not even with her parents - home was with Max Evans. She knew that her feelings and her thoughts probably would sound all sappy when spoken out loud, but she knew that her feelings were real. Max was the one for her - the only one - and she didn’t know why she hadn’t realized that sooner. Perhaps they could’ve run off together. No, she knew that she would never do that. Even if she knew that she would be happy wherever she was, as long as she was with Max, she couldn’t stand living on the run. Knowing that her parents were worried sick about her, searching after her. Even though she wasn’t liking her father too much at the moment, he was her father and she wanted her parents blessing. She wanted them to accept her choices, to trust her enough to make the right choices - so that she could live the life she wanted, in peace with her parents.
It was not for the first time that her thoughts wandered to her imaginary wedding day. She had pictured her wedding dress, which flowers there would be...even how the invitation cards should look like. And the man who was standing beside her - vowing his love to her was of course Max. It had always been Max. Like most small girls she had dreamt of her wedding when she was little, and even then - as she was six years old - it had always been Max Evans who had become her husband. Since she had gotten together with Max, her dreamworld had expanded. She had imagined their kids, their house... and now her dad had put a stop to it. Well, he thought he had done that - but she would prove him wrong. She would not let Max go.
”Honey, we’re here,” her mother said from the front seat. Liz didn’t answer, just sighed.
”And stop sulking,” her dad said. Liz hadn’t said a word since they had left Roswell behind them. Nancy was somewhat worried. She did not recognize her daughter anymore. Her daughter had never been so rude, so cold and disrespectful against her parents. Nancy hoped that leaving Roswell wouldn’t have long-term effects on her, that she would get over it soon. ”When she starts school, and meets new people it will be easier,” she tried to convince herself as her husband steered the car into the driveway of there new home. Liz slowly stepped out of the car and looked at the house, what was suppose to be her new home. She had to admit that it was a beautiful house. It was not too big, but small and...cute. Liz wrinkled her nose. It was tooo cute. There was even a touch of pink in the whitish color the house was painted in.
”Oh, isn’t it wonderful, honey?!” her mother exclaimed, obviously delighted about their new ‘home’.
Liz sighed and rolled her eyes. She missed the stern and annoyed look that her father gave her, as she walked around the car and opened the trunk to start unpacking.
”Let’s get this over with,” Liz mumbled. She had to call Max. She needed to talk to him - desperately.
”DAD!! Where’s the phones?!” Liz shouted from ‘her room’ for the second time. She had unpacked the most necessary things from her boxes. She would unpack the rest later, when the moving van came with their furniture. She was sitting, her legs in Indian style, on her sleeping bag on the floor and she feared that she soon was going to go out of her mind. She had not kept a normal conversation with anyone in the last forty-eight hours. Her mother was being all super-nice, which was bugging the hell out of Liz. Her dad was being angry and irritated with her - and not afraid to show it - probably because she wasn’t living up to his expectations. She was not as happy as he expected her to be. Liz never thought she would think this, but she really thought she hated her father at this moment. He took away all her friends, her school, her home and the love of her life. He took away everything that was familiar to her and still he expected her to be all: ”Oh, are we moving. Oh Yay!! How great! I’m gonna love my new life soooo much.” He probably expected her to thank him from saving her from that criminal Max Evans. And now they hadn’t even unpacked the phones!! On top of everything else, she couldn’t find her own phone. For about the thousand time since she had arrived in this strange state, she became angry with herself for never buying herself a cell phone. That could have come in handy now.
”DAD!!” she yelled again. Where was everyone?
Her mom showed up in the doorway.
”What is it, honey?” Liz couldn’t help to roll her eyes. She was in a really bad mood and if her mother didn’t stop calling her ‘honey’ and give her a damn phone she wasn’t sure she could control herself any longer.
”Where are the phones, mom? I need to make a phone call,” her voice was so even and calm that it even surprised herself.
”Uhm, honey,” Nancy said, missing Liz wince at the use of that word again. ”we’re only going to have one phone in the house from now on.”
”What?” Liz asked, confused. ”Why?”
”Well, your father has decided that it’s better that way, so that the phone bills will not be too large - the phone calls to Roswell shouldn’t be too many..,” Nancy explained.
”Oh, you mean. My father doesn’t want me to call too much to Max,” Liz said, hurt in her voice. Why didn’t they trust her? They had already stolen so much from her. Where they going to stopped her from using the phone too?
”Your father only wants the best for you,” Nancy said, trying to defend her husband’s action - although she didn’t quite agree with them herself.
”Well, he has a very weird way of showing it,” Liz said.
”Our father and I both agreed that it would be best if you weren’t allowed to call any of your friends in a month-,”
”What?!” Liz exploded. ”Why are you doing this to me? Have I done something wrong? No! I have always been your good girl. I’ve always done as I’ve been told. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t do drugs, I don’t sleep around....I don’t commit to any disturbing behavior at all and still I get punished!!”
”We only want to help you-”
”How does this help me?” Liz asked, feeling her control slipping away.
”We thought it might be easier for you if you tried to keep away from everything in Roswell for a month so that you can focus on getting new friends here in Washington,” Nancy said.
”I don’t want any new friends!” Liz cried. ”I was happy with the ones I had!” She knew that she sounded immature, even childish - but that was what she felt. She could have accepted it if her parents were saving her from bullying, saving her from harassment - but she was fine in Roswell. Just fine. She had everything she could wish for there.
”We’ll talk about this later, honey,” Nancy said, seeing that Liz was getting too upset to keep a normal conversation.
”Yeah, let’s talk about this later,” Liz said and threw herself down on her back, staring into the ceiling.
Nancy quietly closed the door, hearing Liz’s heartbreaking sobs echoing in the empty room.
”Mr. Evans?”, Jeff asked into the receiver.
”Yes, this is he,” Philip Evans answered.
”This is Jeff Parker,” Jeff said.
”Well, hello Jeff. How was the trip? Everything went okay?” Philip asked.
”Yeah, yeah. Just fine, thanks,” Jeff answered, ”Listen, Philip...you know my daughter dated your son, right?”
”Yes, of course. Your daughter is just adorable-” Philip began, thinking about his son. Max had been so happy the last couple of months - actually ever since he had got together with Liz. But since she had left he had withdrawn into himself, closing himself down. He was becoming increasingly broody and difficult to contact.
”Well, she’s having some difficulties to adjust to her new environment,” Jeff interrupted.
”Right, I can understand that,” Philip said.
”Nancy and I thought that it would be best if Liz didn’t talk to Max for a while,” Jeff said.
”Is that really necessary?” Philip asked.
”Uhm, Liz needs to put some distance between her old life to be able to create a new life,” Jeff said. Philip contemplated his words. They made some sense, but he was worried about how Max would feel.
”I want to ask you something, Philip - father to father - if Liz calls your home, you will not let Max talk to her,” Jeff said.
”Isn’t that a little harsh?” Philip asked.
”I’m just looking out for my baby girl here,” Jeff said, ”what if it was Isabel?”
Philip thought about it, but he wasn’t completely convinced.
”It will not be for long, just so the feelings can calm down,” Jeff said. ”I’m afraid Liz is hanging on to the past too much. She will be miserable. She needs to have as little contact as possible with her old life.”
”Okay,” Philip said, slightly hesitant.
”If there are some letters from Liz, can you put them away as well. You can give them to Max later, just not right now...” Jeff said.
Philip didn’t like the feel of this. But he didn’t want Liz to feel bad either. He knew that it would be best for her to let go of Roswell and everything and everyone there. She would be leading a new life now, in a new town - a new state.
”Okay,” Philip said.
”We have a deal?” Jeff asked.
”We have a deal,” Philip agreed.
The lines of contact between Max and Liz were slowly being cut off by the hands of outside forces.
Posted: Mon Feb 24, 2003 7:49 am
Los Angeles, 2008
”Honey!! I’m hooooome!!” She didn’t have to scream. Her high-pitched voice was easily carried through the large sterile rooms of the apartment. The heels of her black pumps clattered against the tile floor as she made her way into the luxurious kitchen.
”Maaaaxxx!! Where are you?!” With an annoyed wrinkle in her forehead, she directed her steps towards the living room. ”I know you’re in here somewhere!!! This isn’t funny, Max! Is this one of your childish attempts to ‘lighten up the atmosphere’ or something?” Her voice was etched with disgust that he was even trying to smooth it over. ”I’m not forgiving you that easily!”
That’s when the front door opened and a sweaty man clothed in sweat pants, T-shirt and jogging shoes stepped in.
”Oh hi!” he said, his breathing heavy from the run and a small smile grazing his features.
”Hi?!” she said with a twitch of her neck. ”All you have to say for yourself is ‘hi’?!”
”Yeah,” he said calmly and stepped up to her, intending to kiss her on the cheek.
”Max! Please! You’re all sweaty,” she wrinkled her nose in disgust as she pulled away from him.
Max rolled his eyes and headed for the kitchen.
”Wait! You don’t have anything to say to me?” she asked, the anger evident in her voice.
”What?” Max asked casually, opening the refrigerator door, his head disappearing in from her sight as he rummaged through its content.
”Ohhhh!!” she exclaimed and turned on her heels, making a big show of leaving the kitchen and walking into the living room.
”What is it, honey?” Max asked, a bit confused by his wife’s outbreak - but not all that surprised.
”How do you dare not know what I’m talking about?!!” she said as she started pacing the room, her movements emphasizing her annoyance and anger.
Max sighed, and sank down on the black leather coach. He had felt refreshed by the run, but now she was fast emptying him of his energy.
”Honestly, honey. I don’t have a clue,” Max said.
”I don’t know why I even bother,” she said, as if Max was a helpless alcoholic that had once again failed in staying away from the liquor.
”Why don’t you enlight me?” Max said, trying his best not to get angry. He had tried that, it often only made it worst.
”Promotion party? At the White’s? Tonight at seven!” The time was now eleven p.m.
Max got an ‘oops-expression’ on his face.
”Oh, I’m so sorry. I forgot! I worked over, and-” Max apologized.
”Oh, you’re sorry? You are sorry?!!” she said, stopping to pull off one of her shoes. ”I had to go there myself, I had to find an excuse to why you weren’t with me, I was there alone. ALONE! Do you know how that made me feel?!”
”Tess. It can’t be that bad. I’m sorry, okay. It was just one party - there will be others. There are always others!”
”‘Just one party, just ONE party’!!” Tess yelled at him and slammed the shoe into the wall.
Max just sighed and tiredly leaned back in the sofa. ”And here we go again,” he thought, rubbing his hand over his forehead. ”Tell me again, Max, why did you marry her?!”
As Tess went on and on about how she had missed one of the most important parties of the year, where she was going to meet a lot of important people, but which she hadn’t done because she had to leave early since she couldn’t stay there alone - Max’s thoughts once again drifted to the girl he had once known. The only girl he would ever truly love. The girl he had tried so hard but never succeeded in forgetting. The girl who he was certain had forgotten about him a long time ago.
Washington DC, 2008
”Baby, are you listening to me?” Matt asked.
Liz head jerked up, looking up from the plate in front of her, which to the outside world she had seemed very interested in.
”Uhm..yeah, yeah,” Liz mumbled as she met her boyfriend’s eyes, tucking a loose strand of hair behind her ear.
Matt smiled at her.
”Oh yeah? What was the last thing I said?” he asked.
He watched as she started biting on her lower lip, while playing with the fork on the table.
”Uhm.. you were talking about..uhm.. that patient with the..uhm..skull fracture?” Liz suggested.
Matt shook his head in amusement.
”Well, I did talk about that...for about ten minutes ago.”
”Oh, honey. I’m so sorry,” Liz said regretfully.
Matt reached over the dining table and took her hand in his.
”It’s okay, baby. I guess my boring job isn’t as entertaining as I thought, huh?” he said.
Liz gave him a weak smile.
”I truly am sorry, Matt,” she said.
”Why don’t you tell me what’s bothering you,” Matt suggested.
Liz couldn’t help but feel guilty.
”It’s nothing. I’m just feeling a bit tired,” Liz said evasively.
She couldn’t really tell him what she was really thinking about. The same thing that she had been thinking about for the last six years. The same man she had been thinking about for the last six years. The man she had spent countless of hours crying over, the same man she had spent several sleepless nights waiting for him to call her. To tell her that everything was just a misunderstanding - that he never meant not to contact her. That he never meant not to answer her letters or return her phone calls. That everything was just a big mistake.
”Liz?” Her boyfriend’s voice drifted through her thoughts, forcing her to remember where she were. She was in a restaurant, having dinner with her boyfriend. A man she loved very much... even though she couldn’t even begin to compare it to the love she had felt for him...Max.
”Sorry. I guess I spaced out on you again! I’m like the worst girlfriend in the universe!”
Matt smiled at her. God, how could she sit here and think about someone else, when she had this amazing guy taking the best possible care of her. She was so lucky, and still she wasn’t satisfied.
”Liz, I’m the most lucky man in the world to have you as my girlfriend and I love you. You will not get rid of me that easily,” he joked.
”Come here.” Liz motioned for him to get closer. Matt leaned across the table and Liz met him halfway with a soft kiss. ”Thank you.”
”For what?” Matt asked, leaning back in his chair again.
”For being so good to me. I don’t think I appreciate you enough,” Liz said.
”Oh,” Matt said, putting on a brooding face and thoughtfully and slowly moved his thumb over his chin. ”When you put it that way, I do feel like I don’t really get as much appreciation as I deserve.”
”Oh really?” Liz said incredulously, lifting one eye brow.
”Uh huh,” Matt nodded.
”Well, I guess I have to make it up to you then,” Liz said, seductively.
Matt nodded in agreement.
”Too bad we have to sit here and wait for the check, ‘cau-”
”Check please!!” Matt practically screamed, his hand in the air to get the waiter’s attention.
Liz smiled at him smugly. He was so easy!
”Max,” Tess said tiredly. ”It’s Michael on the phone.”
Without a word Max took the receiver from his wife. She was still mad at him - even though he didn’t think it was such a big deal. But he must admit, this silence treatment she had given him had actually been quite relaxing. To have too much of Tess’s voice could do serious damage to your mental health, Michael had once informed him.
”Michael, whaz up?” Max said in the receiver.
”Max,” Michael said. ”Haven’t you got rid of that woman yet?”
”Not since we talked a week ago, no,” Max said.
”I’m telling you, she is getting increasingly bitchy, which I didn’t thought possible,” Michael said, not really a man of sugar-coating the truth.
”Michael, that’s my wife you’re talking about,” Max said, more out of duty as a husband to defend his wife, than not agreeing with Michael. Tess looked at him suspiciously as she heard that she was being discussed. Max quickly made his way out of the bedroom, out of Tess’s ear-shot.
”Jeez, Michael. You’re going to get me into trouble here,” Max said.
”She sounded pretty happy today,” Michael said sarcastically.
”Why are calling?” Max said, trying to put a stop to this before it was getting out of hand.
”Why? Can I don’t just call to check up on my friend?” Michael said innocently.
”Spending too much time with Maria lately, have we?” Max asked, smiling.
”I’m telling you, Maxwell. That woman drives me nuts...but you know what they say. Can’t live with them - can’t live without them. Well, I guess in you case, that’s not really true,” Michael said.
”How come we always have this conversation when you call?” Max asked.
”Perhaps ‘cause you’re married to her every time I call,” Michael said. ”You know, this is the twenty-first century - you can divorce her, you know!”
”Have I ever said that I’m not happy in this marriage?” Max asked.
”Well, no,” Michael said. ”But everyone can see it - it’s obvious even to a blind. You are sooo wrong for each other, it stinks with wrongness-”
”What?” Max asked.
”Okay, I never passed English - but I did do my Maria homework,” Michael said.
”Which are?” Max prompted.
”As Maria would have said - and she has told me this..repeatedly - something is very much wrong in your marriage. You belong with someone else, Maxwell,” Michael said.
”Michael, you’re scaring me - now you’re sounding just like Maria,” Max said, not sure if he should be mad, offended, or laugh.
”Seriously Max. Do you love her?” Michael asked.
”Of course I do, I married her!” Max answered.
”Why do I not believe you?” Michael asked.
Max rolled his eyes.
”So, how’s the hockey going?” Max asked.
”Oh, you know - it’s the best,” Michael said - immediately forgetting everything Maria had instructed him to talk to Max about. ”If I could only get Maria out of the house during the games, it would be heavenly bliss!”
Fifteen minutes later, Max put the receiver down and walked into the bedroom. Tess was sitting in bed, reading. She looked up from her book as he walked in.
”Why do he keep insisting on calling here?” Tess asked.
”What do you mean?” Max asked as he stepped into the adjoining bathroom to brush his teeth.
”He’s of no use to you,” Tess said.
Max wrinkled his forehead and stared at her.
”He’s my friend,” he said. Sometimes he just couldn’t understand her. Sometimes she just seemed...stupid.
”He’s a part of your past,” Tess said, like that explained everything.
”So?” Max said, feeling himself getting angry with her.
”You have to focus on the future,” Tess said. ”You’re letting your past rule you.”
Max looked at her in disbelief.
”What the hell are you talking about?” Max said.
”You’re letting your past rule you, just like you’re letting her rule you,” Tess said.
”Just shut up Tess, okay?!” Max said and turned to apply toothpaste on his toothbrush.
”Don’t tell me to shut up!” Tess screamed. ”I don’t like you lying to me!”
Max put the toothbrush down and stepped out of the bathroom, staring at his wife.
”When have I ever lied to you?!” Max demanded.
”You lie to me everyday,” Tess said. ”You lie to me when you greet me good morning, you lie to me every time you kiss me, you lie to me every time we make love!!! Don’t you think I know that you are still thinking of her every second of the day. Every day you have been married to me, you have been unfaithful - in your thoughts!!”
”I’m sleeping on the coach!” Max said and ripped his pillow from the bed.
”Oh yeah. Just run away! That’s what you do best! Don’t deal with the problems...nooooo! That could be dangerous!!!”
Max slammed the pillow down on the coach in the living room and lunged himself on his back on the coach. He was so angry with her, he just had to leave - or he didn’t know what he could have done to her. How did he end up here, in this cold, sterile large apartment? They had plenty of money - both of them were well established in their work. But there was one thing they couldn’t buy for money - love. How did he ever get himself into this mess? For about the millionth time he wondered why he never had searched for her.
Why he had never been more persistent in finding her. Maybe it had been his hurt manliness that had kept him from going after her. It had hurt him that she hadn’t contacted him. He remembered how he used to sit by the phone every night - waiting for her to call him. He never got a chance to contact her. He never got a phone number, or a mailing address. It was not until a month after she had left that Maria came to him, giving him Liz’s address and phone number. Maria had told him that Liz had asked for him - asked how he was doing. But Max was too hurt at the time to pay any significance to Liz asking for him. He wrote her a letter two months later, but he never got an answer, and so he stopped trying - thinking that Liz had found someone else, that she had gone on with her life and it’s was time for him to do the same. Tess had been in the right place at the right time. It had been...convenient to marry her. Well, it had mostly been his father that had pushed him towards it. Tess had always been there for him, supporting him when he was dwelling in self-pity and hurt and was feeling generally depressed about his life and his whole existence. It had been the right thing to do...then. He had made many mistakes in his life, starting the day Liz left - but marrying Tess must have been the worst. He closed his eyes and with his thoughts on a certain brown-haired girl with big brown doe eyes and the most beautiful smile he’d ever seen, he drifted off to sleep.
”I’m sorry, honey. Everything’s just so much right now,” Matt said at the other end of the line.
”That’s okay, Matt,” Liz said.
”You’re the best,” Matt said. ”I promise I’ll make it up to you.”
”You better do that,” Liz said.
”Love you,” Matt said.
”Love you too,” Liz said and put down the receiver. She turned on the TV and started flipping through the channels - her mind not really on anything that was aired on the TV. That was the third time this week that Matt had slept at the office, and it was only Thursday. She was worried about him. She didn’t want him to push himself too hard. Absent-mindedly she picked up a magazine and started flipping through the pages. As she came to the middle she stopped - staring at the page in front of her. It was advertisement for ‘the home of the aliens’, namely Roswell. She wondered what he was doing now. Maria had told her that he was living in Los Angeles, working at the pediatric compartment of the hospital. It was a little ironic that the only two men she had ever loved in her life (not counting her father) was practicing medicine. Matt was an AT in the emergency compartment of the hospital in Washington. Liz had been somewhat surprised to hear that Max was already a doctor, but he had always been smart and if he hadn’t changed since she last saw him he had probably worked hard to get where he was. Liz thoughts were unwillingly drawn to the day Maria had called her, almost in tears, and told her that Max was getting married. Liz had felt as if someone had ripped the heart out of her and stomped on it. It was the worst thing she had ever felt, but then Maria told her that Max had married Tess and Liz had sat down and started to cry.
Maria had tried to console her, but it had been useless. That had been three years after Liz had moved from Roswell, and Liz had lived alone the whole time - since she had moved out of her parents’ home as soon as she turned eighteen. With that phone call, Liz realized that she had never completely given up hope on getting Max back. She should have tried harder, she should have run away - run to Roswell and to Max. Make him believe that she still loved him...but she was too scared. Insecure. She hadn’t heard a word from him. She had called, but every time she had called, Mr. Evans had answered and Max was either not at home or in the shower, or out on a run and so on. She wasn’t sure how many times she had called him after her father had allowed her to call to Roswell. She had been heartbroken. Certain at the time that she had not been allowed to contact him - he had forgotten about her. But she had been so conflicted in her emotions. Everything she felt with her heart told her that Max loved her - that he had truly loved her all the days they had been together, and probably long before that. However, the more time that passed, the more her mind and her logical reasoning took over. He didn’t love her. He had realized that she was just a fling, and that there were so many more interesting and more beautiful women out in the world. That he had suffered momentarily insanity as he had believed that he was in love with a corny science nerd.
And when Maria had told her that Max had married Tess, the girl Liz never really got to know before she moved - but who was the type truly opposite to Liz - blond, curly hair, large breast - everything a man could possibly asked for, Liz suspicions that Max had never been interested in her were somewhat confirmed. Even though she knew that she had no right feeling that way - she had felt betrayed. Betrayed by his marriage. She had been angry with him, she had felt cheated on. She had seen the whole dream world she had made up with Max crumple to dust in front of her eyes. All her hopes had been crushed. Her heart had been broken in so many pieces, it would be the most difficult puzzle to put together, and up to this day no one had been able to mend it - not even Matt. In the middle of all that misery Max’s marriage had brought her, she had met Matt. Matt had been there for her, he had comforted her as a friend. They had been friends about a year. Then one night Liz had came home to find her apartment semi-dark, illuminated with the soft and warm glow of burning candles that were placed all over her apartment. In the middle of the floor there had been a blanket. Beside the blanket was a basket filled with cheese, grapes, crackers, and a bottle of wine. Matt sat in the middle of the blanket. She’d had a tough day - she needed comfort, and she needed more than just a friend. It all fit. Matt was so romantic and good to her, and she had let him take care of her. Although, she could never quite shake the feeling that she was using him. That he was merely something she needed not to fall apart. Without him, she would disappear into darkness - thinking about Max day and night, blaming herself for everything that had gone wrong. Max was married. He lived in Los Angeles with Tess. He was probably very happy. He was working with what had been his passion for as long as she had known him - children. She was here. In Washington D.C. Going to the University to become a molecular biologist - her dream job. Matt was here, Max wasn’t. She should be with Matt. Then why did everything feel so wrong?
”Good morning, honey,” Tess said to Max as she walked into the kitchen.
She was in a good mood. The bad mood from yesterday night had vanished into thin air.
”Good morning,” Max said, his tone short.
”You’re not mad at me, are you?” Tess asked, coming up from behind him and putting her arms around his waist. Max gracefully slipped away from her, and opened the refrigerator door to take out some milk to his coffee.
”Are you even going to answer me?” Tess asked. She was not letting him destroy her good mood.
”I’m gonna be late tonight, I have a meeting,” Max said, avoiding her question.
”Okay, should I have dinner ready when you get home?” Tess asked, her voice soft.
Max was tired of her. She always did like that. She provoke him into having a fight, whining about this and that - and then the next day she was the sweetest wife on the whole planet (or she tried), making him feel guilty for being angry with her. He was not letting her do that today. He was definitely not in the mood to be played around with.
”No, I’ll grab something to eat there,” Max said, and walked out of the kitchen, the cup of coffee in one hand and a bun in the other.
Tess followed him with her eyes as he positioned himself in the sofa, turning on the TV. Max knew how much she hated it when he ate in there, but Tess was not letting him have the best of her. She tried very hard to conjure up a friendly smile, chanting ‘I’m in a good mood, I’m in a good mood” over and over again in her mind.
”When will you be home?” Tess asked, her voice obnoxiously sugary.
”I don’t know,” Max murmured around a mouthful of bread. Tess hated when he spoke with food in his mouth as well. He was really in for getting her pissed today, wasn’t he.
”Okay, well I’ll just wait up for you then,” Tess said.
”No need,” Max said.
”Oh, you’re a real conversationalist today, aren’t you,” Tess said, her patience starting to dwindle.
Max didn’t answer, he pretended to be very interest in looking at the life of an ant on the discovery channel.
”Fine!” Tess said and went back into the kitchen.
She put the laundry-basket on top of the washing machine and started sorting it out by color and temperature. Her thoughts were far away. She had just received another call from her boyfriend, telling her that he was going to spend the night at the office - again. A little too violently she measured up the right amount of detergent. She was angry...well, more pissed. She had planned this evening for about a week. She had looked forward to spending a quiet evening with Matt. It was Friday, after all. When you had to go to classes every day, and then do homework and cram for exams you longed- no, craved for something else to do. Now she had no excuse to not study tonight. She couldn’t just sit in front of the TV, that never worked. If she ended up in front of the TV, her mind started to go places she wasn’t taking it. Often she ended up to her armpits in self-pity, about her life. In those situations she could always comfort herself with the fact that she at least had a caring boyfriend. However, today that wouldn’t work. She was so angry with him for destroying her plans, and leaving her alone. He should have learned by now that she hated being alone! Okay, homework it was. One of Matt’s white shirts slipped out of her hand and with a frustrated sigh she bent down to pick it up. Something red caught her eye and she turned the shirt to look at the collar. It looked like lipstick. She felt her heart pound in her chest. She didn’t wear lipstick, she never wore lipstick.
”Maria!” Michael yelled, as the phone kept on ringing in the background.
”What?!” she yelled back, annoyance in her voice.
”Could you answer the damn phone?!” Michael yelled, covered up to his elbows with dough. He was making pie.
”Yeah, yeah,” Maria said, coming into the kitchen, taking the receiver. ”Hi, welcome to the nut house.”
”Yeah, it’s me,” Maria said.
”It’s me, Liz,” Liz said.
”Oh, hi girlfriend,” Maria said and mouthed ‘Liz’ to Michael. He just shrugged and started pressing out the dough in a baking-tin. ”What’s up?”
”Maria, I really need to talk to you about something...but I’m not really certain about it, but I just need to get it off my chest befo-”
”Okay, okay, Liz,” Maria said. ”Calm down, I’m listening.” This didn’t sound good.
”I think Matt’s cheating on me,” Liz said.
”What?!!” Maria practically screamed and Michael almost hit the baking-tin to the floor.
”Maria, do you mind being a bit quiet!” he hissed, but Maria wasn’t taking any notice to him. She moved to the living room and positioned herself on one of the big couches.
”He’s been spending the night at his work a lot, and I just figured that that’s how it’s like working in the emergency room, you know. You’re working long shifts, sometimes as long as twenty-four hou-”
”Liz, you’re babbling,” Maria interrupted.
”Right,” Liz said and took a deep breath. ”I just thought he was working hard, you know. But today I found lipstick on the collar of one of his shirts.”
”And you don’t wear lipstick,” Maria said slowly.
”Exactly,” Liz said.
”God, Liz. I really thought he was one of the good guys. He seemed to be so caring, always thinking about you and taking the best care of you.”
”That’s really not helping, Ria,” Liz said frustrated. ”Do you really think he’s cheating on me?”
”Well, that’s pretty hard evidence you’ve got there,” Maria said.
”Not really,” Liz said. ”Perhaps he is working very hard, and the lipstick was just...I don’t know...some crazy woman attacking him on work or something.”
”Do you realize how bizarre that sounds, Liz?” Maria said.
”Well, have you never seen the ER, bizarre things like that always happens there.”
”It’s TV, Liz,” Maria said. ”Liz, you’re usually the logical one here. I think you should confront him.”
”I was afraid you would say that,” Liz said.
”That’s the only reasonable option. You could of course run off without a trace, but we both know that you would spend ninety percent of your time wondering if you were right or if he was faithful to you all along. Or you could stay with him and pretend that nothing is wrong - but that really isn’t an option either, is it. You could never live a lie, Liz. That’s not you.”
Silence met her from the other end of the line, but Maria could picture how Liz was nodding her head - contemplating Maria’s words.
”Oh, Maria,” Liz sighed miserably. ”Why did he do this to me?”
”He’s a man,” Maria said. ”All men are dogs.”
”Dog or not, I can’t help but fall in love with them,” Liz said.
”I guess it’s the curse we girls have to live with,” Maria said, looking into the direction of her own ‘dog’. When Maria first had met Michael she got the impression that he was the biggest dog of them all - but he proved her wrong. Well, he had terrible table manners, and he easily lost his temper (but so did she). And he cooked for her almost every day. He was loving and caring, taking care of her in every way possible. Maria knew how lucky she was.
”Listen, honey. We’ll work this out,” Maria said. ”Talk to him, and know that you can call me at any time, okay?”
”Thanks Maria. You’re a real life-savior.”
”Well, I try,” Maria said with a smirk.
After saying goodbye, Maria put down the receiver and carried the phone back into the kitchen. Michael was putting the pie into the oven. As he straightened up, Maria walked up behind him and wrapped her arms around him.
”I love you,” she said, breathing in his scent.
Michael turned around and searched her face, confusion in his eyes.
”I love you too,” he said and lightly brushed his lips over hers. ”What did Liz want?”
”She thinks Matt’s cheating on her,” Maria said bluntly.
Michael pulled away from her so that he could see her face and stared at her.
”Did you just say what I think you did?” he asked.
”Believe it or not - the wonderful Matt Anderson is sleeping with someone else behind Liz’s back.”
”Is she okay?” Michael asked.
Maria looked him into the eyes, a small smile grazing her features. Who said that Michael Guerin didn’t care for others?
”She’s upset, but she’s gonna confront him,” Maria answered.
Michael nodded and pulled Maria closer to him - both happy that they had each other.
”Evans! Evans!” Max turned around towards the voice, and saw Dr. Philips running towards him.
”Dr. Philips,” he greeted with a nod.
”I want to talk to you about something,” Dr. Philips said.
”Shoot,” Max said.
”We’re all really impressed by the research you’ve done on child leukemia,” Dr. Philips complimented.
”Thank you,” Max said, his ears turning slightly red. He always was a bit modest, and didn’t quite know what to do when someone gave him a compliment.
”There’s a conference about the latest discoveries on leukemia in Washington D.C. next weekend. Are you interested in going?”
Max mind was reeling. Washington D.C. The capital of the United States, but also the home of Liz Parker.
”Evans? Dr. Evans, what do you think?” Dr. Philips asked as Max seemed to have spaced out completely.
”I’d be honored,” Max answered.
”That’s great,” Dr. Philips said and shook his hand. Max hand followed the movement, but his mind and his body were not working together anymore. Max was thinking about Washington D.C. and the girl he had lost a long time ago.
The first words Tess uttered as Max opened the door around midnight were, ”Why didn’t you tell me?”
”Tell you what?” Max asked, thinking that she somehow knew about the conference in Washington. However, she didn’t know that Liz lived there, so it wouldn’t be such a big deal to her...right?
”That Maria and Michael have invited us to Roswell,” Tess clarified.
”Oh, that,” Max said, and avoided to mention that Maria had only invited him, not Tess.
”Well, it’s good that Alex happened to tell me when he called for you earlier - or I wouldn’t have known. Would you ever going to tell me?”
”Well, no,” Max thought, but answered, ”I just forgot to tell you.”
Tess huffed. ”Well, don’t do it again,” she said offended.
”Sorry,” Max said and brushed past Tess into the living room.
”Now I have to go shopping for new clothes, and I only have tomorrow morning,” Tess complained.
Max put up a hand in front of her.
”Tess, please. Could you just shut up for once? There are far worse things than you having to find a dress in five hours, and I’m too tired to have to listen to your constant nagging.”
With that he headed for the bathroom, to take a much needed shower, leaving a stunned Tess behind him.
Posted: Mon Feb 24, 2003 7:50 am
Roswell, New Mexico
”Oh no, the bitch is here,” Maria mumbled as Max’s black car parked in front of the house. Max had called Maria when Tess was out shopping for a dress and warned her about that Tess was coming as well. He knew that Maria wasn’t really fond of Tess, and he also knew that the feelings were mutual from Tess’s side.
”This should be interesting,” Michael said as he wrapped his arms around her from behind.
The door bell ringed and Maria sighed.
”Just relax,” Michael said and gave Maria’s shoulder a quick rub before he let Maria go and open the door. Maria opened the door and found herself looking right into the chest of Tess Evans. It was a bit difficult to not notice that cleavage. Maria was afraid that something would escape from the dress.
”Hi, Maria,” the soft familiar voice greeted her and she turned her eyes up to meet his.
”Hi Max. I’m so happy you could make it,” Maria said with a large smile directed at Max. Then she turned to Tess - her smile just as radiant. Maria sure was a good actress. ”Tess,” she said coolly.
”Hi Maria. It’s so fun to be here,” Tess chirped.
”Come on in,” Maria said and stepped to the side to let the couple inside.
Michael came up behind Maria.
”Hey Maxwell,” he said. ”Long time, no see.”
Michael extended his hand towards Max, and Max took it only to pull him into a brotherly hug.
”Oh, isn’t that sweet?” a voice said behind them. The two manly men broke apart and Max grinned at his sister, before she pulled him into a hug.
”I’ve missed you, Max,” she whispered. Max hugged her close to him.
”I’ve missed you too, Izzy,” he whispered back.
”Tess, welcome,” Michael said and shook hands with Tess.
”Well, thank you,” Tess said and pulled down the dress a bit - revealing even more of her cleavage. Maria couldn’t help but stare. Who did she think she was? No, where did she think she was? This wasn’t a street corner!
”Where’s that adorable niece of mine?” Max asked.
”She’s in the living room with her daddy,” Isabel answered with a proud smile.
Max walked past his sister into the living room, where Alex was sitting on the couch holding a little bundle in his arms.
”Hey Alex,” Max greeted and Alex pulled his gaze away from his daughter.
”Oh, hi Max,” Alex said, a proud I’m-a-daddy-smile on his face.
”And this must be Dana,” Max said as he sat down beside Alex. Alex removed some of the blanket that Dana was wrapped in and nodded.
”This is little Dana,” he said proudly.
Even though Dana was only one month old, Max could already see what a beauty she would grow up into. A copy of her mother. She had soft skin and blonde hair, curling a bit at the tops.
”Isn’t she cute?” Maria said as she walked into the living room.
”She’s wonderful,” Max said and softly stroke her chubby cheek, with a sad smile. Maria noticed his smile and took his hand.
”C’mere Max. Why don’t you help me in the kitchen,” Maria said.
”Sure,” Max said and rose from the couch, trotting after Maria to the kitchen. Tess had now made her way into the living room, and she frowned as she saw Maria drag Max into the kitchen. The crease in her forehead deepened even more as she saw the infant laying in Alex’s arms. Ohh, how she hated babies! They cried the whole time, and were sticky, and whiny. And they smelled! ”No, never getting anyone of those,” Tess thought as she positioned herself in the arm-chair that was farthest away from the baby.
”How’re you doing?” Maria asked casually as she cut the vegetables into pieces after instructing Max to cut the lettuce.
”I’m fine,” Max said.
”Right,” Maria said, and the hint of sarcasm in her voice made him turn his head towards her.
”What?” he asked.
”Max, you’re miserable,” Maria stated, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.
Max turned his eyes back to the lettuce, and continued to absent-mindedly cut the lettuce into shreds.
”Have you tried talking to her?” Maria asked.
”Why would that help?” Max asked.
”Well, believe it or not, Max. But communication is one of the corner-stones in a marriage.”
”Yeah, I know that,” Max said. ”But the persons who claim that haven’t been married to Tess.”
”I have to agree with you there,” Maria said, crouching in front of one of the lower cabinets and retrieved a bowl to put the salad in.
”We’re fighting the whole time,” Max said tiredly.
”I’m sorry, Max,” Maria said - unwillingly thinking about Liz and how her life also was a big mess.
”I don’t know what to do, Maria,” Max said. ”In some ways I don’t want to deal with it. I just ignore it, and go about my business as if nothing’s wrong.”
”Humph, denial,” Maria snorted, recognizing the classical signs from her best friend in Washington D.C.
”But on the other hand, it’s breaking me down,” Max continued. ”This is not how I imagined my life to be. Tess doesn’t want children. I always pictured myself having a family with...”
”With Liz,” Maria filled in softly as Max grew quiet. He nodded sadly.
”It’s not too late yet,” Maria said. ”You can still divorce her.”
”But then I’ll prove to the world that I’ve made yet another failure. I become yet another number in the divorce statistics. I don’t want that.”
”You’re kidding me right,” Maria said. ”This has nothing to do with statistics. This is your life we’re talking about here. Sure, Tess would probably be angry with you if you decide to divorce her. But honestly, do you really care?!”
Max remained silent.
”She’ll get over it. She’ll find someone else to terrorize! Now, let’s get this out on the dining table.”
”So, what is it now you do?” Maria asked, faking interest. They were all seated around the large dining table in the dining room.
”I’m a lawyer,” Tess asked, with a sweet smile.
”Yes, I heard something about a certain promotion party,” Maria said casually. ”I just thought that it was yours, since you were so upset.”
Tess fake smile fell off her face for a second, before she regained her composure.
”No, but I had a chance to meet some very important people, so that’s why I was a little disappointed,” Tess answered. Why did Max have to go tell his friends everything?!
”‘Disappointed’, huh?” Maria repeated. ”What an understatement,” she thought.
”Honey, please,” Michael pleaded her, fearing that a fight was on the way.
”No, it’s okay, Michael,” Tess said with a smile and fluttered her eye-lashes in his direction. Michael had to stifle a laugh as he looked at Maria. She looked like she was growling at Tess.
”So, Max. How’s it going with your leukemia research?” Isabel asked Max, in order to break the tension that was building up around the table - especially between Maria and Tess.
”Actually, I’m going to a conference next weekend about it,” Max said and took a bite of his bread.
Tess jerked her head in his direction, and with a forced smile that look more like a grimace she spoke,
”You haven’t told me that, honey.”
”Whoops,” Isabel thought. ”Shouldn’t have gone there.” Max looked totally indifferent. It was as if he wanted to press Tess buttons. ”It’s probably more fun in an environment where Tess can’t get her ordinary outburst and has to act like a normal human being,” Isabel thought.
”No, I got the offer yesterday. I haven’t gotten the chance to tell you,” Max said, taking a sip from his water glass.
Maria chuckled for herself. This was good. Max was acting all casual, and Tess looked like a pissed off hyena with a fake smile.
”You could have told me in the car,” Tess said, her voice somewhat strained. ”We had plenty of time then. Or what about on the flight. You could have told me then.”
Max looked at her for the first time since she had started confronting him.
”I guess I could’ve, but I didn’t think about it,” Max said.
”So, Tess,” Maria said and Tess turned to her - and Maria could have sworn that she saw steam coming out of her ears.
”Yes?” Tess said venomously.
”Have you gain some weight, ‘cause your breast seem a little bigger.”
”So, what’s up?” Michael asked as he and Max were left alone in the kitchen, putting dishes away in the dish washer.
”Well, except for this catastrophic dinner, I would say that it’s pretty..well, it’s a mess.”
”I think it went better than expected,” Michael said, referring to the dinner.
”It did...until Maria decided to comment Tess’s breasts,” Max said.
”Well, she did get her boops done right?” Michael asked.
”Michael,” Max said tiredly.
”She didn’t have such big breasts the last time I saw her,” Michael pointed out.
”She had an operation, okay,” Max said. ”Not that I approved of it.”
”Hah, like you don’t enjoy it,” Michael said.
”I couldn’t care less,” Max said, a small hint of disgust in his voice. ”She could operate her whole face for all that I care. It wouldn’t help our situation.”
”It’s that bad, huh?” Michael asked.
”It’s that bad,” Max confirmed. Michael looked at the guy he had known for most of his life, who had been his best friend for as long as he could remember, and thought that Max looked older. He was only twenty-four years old. He should not look old yet. He was in the best years of his life - he should have the time of his life right now. Instead he was married, trapped in a situation he thought he couldn’t get out of.
”Hi honey,” Matt greeted, as he stepped into the kitchen. She turned towards him and he planted a kiss on her lips. He opened his eyes in confusion as he felt that she was totally unresponsive to his kiss.
”Is something wrong?” he asked.
”No...no, everything’s fine,” Liz answered. ”Chicken! Chicken!” she thought to herself.
”Mmm, smells good. What’s for dinner?” Matt said.
”Fillets of beef, rice...” Liz said.
”Sound’s great,” Matt said. ”I’m just gonna wash up, and then I’ll help you out.”
Liz felt nauseous, disgusted with herself because she didn’t have enough backbone to put him against the wall. She turned to the chopping-board and started cutting the tomatoes into small die-formed pieces. She knew that she had to talk to him. She had already waited two days, and it was slowly killing her. She had always hated not having everything out in the open. Her thoughts momentarily traveled to her father...and their present relationship. It had never been really good between them after her father had made her move from her home, her friends...and Max. Liz was not someone holding grudges against others for too long. She was a pretty forgiving person, who always tried to see the positive sides of a person. And she had tried...boy, had she tried to forgive her father. But there was so much hurt, and it didn’t make things better that her father continued to disrespect her and the choices she made. Liz had never perceived her father to be so controlling before. But something happened somewhere, and he changed. Liz had often wondered if it was the accusations against Max that had brought about those changes, or if it had been something more. As Liz’s anger and hurt about her father moving her had started to dissipate, she had tried to see his side of things. She could understand why he had done it. He was only trying to protect her. But then he had continued to control her life. When it was time to plan for collage, he had been there to decide for her - which collage, where, and what she should study. Liz had always had a good chance among the boys (even if she didn’t realize it herself), and a lot of guys had called her house. However, it was often her father that answered and he somehow ‘negotiated’ them into leaving Liz alone. Liz had no clue of that part, though. But not too long after the move to Washington D.C., Liz had turned eighteen and she had according to the law the right to do whatever she wanted with her life. She was legally an adult. And guess what... her father didn’t accept it. He kept pushing her around. So Liz left. She was barely on speaking terms with her father. She only kept in touch with her mother. And Liz certainly didn’t want to have the relationship she had with her father with anyone else.
She gave a startle as she felt Matt’s arms go around her waist.
”Hey, you okay?” he asked and kissed the side of her neck.
”Uhm..yeah, I was just thinking,” Liz said, and graciously moved out of his arms. She didn’t meet his eyes, she couldn’t even look him in the face as she turned around with the lettuce bowl in her hands, but she could picture how he was now frowning at her.
”What were you thinking about, darling?” he asked.
Liz put the bowl of lettuce on the table. She went to search after some candle lights, and she could feel his eyes on her. She knew that she wasn’t difficult to read, and that Matt probably sensed that something was wrong.
”Did something happen in school?” Matt asked.
”No, no. Nothing happened,” Liz answered and came back into the kitchen from the living room with two candles in her hands.
”It looks really nice,” Matt said, and Liz could picture him nodding towards the table - even though she had her back towards him. She knew him pretty well too.
”Uh huh,” Liz said and brushed past him, her eyes fixed on her feet, to find the matches.
She was stopped by his hand or her arm.
”Liz, what’s going on?” he asked. Liz could feel her heart beating. She was nervous, and she really wished that she wasn’t in this situation at all. She felt his grip on her lessen, as she remained silent. She realized that this was probably her last good opportunity to confront him, or she could just go on pretending that nothing was wrong. She wished that she wasn’t feeling like she wanted to retch, that she was not feeling like there was a knife in her heart - twisting a little at every second that passed by, that she wasn’t feeling betrayed by the person that she had put all her trust and support into since everyone else had abandoned her. But she did. Actually, he was the one who should feel bad. Why was she feeling bad? He was the one who had messed up. He should have his conscience devouring him. But he was just standing there, wondering what was wrong with her. Okay, now she was beginning to get angry, and she realized that feeling angry was better than feeling hurt and destroyed as she was to confront him.
”I need to talk to you about something,” Liz told him and turned towards him, meeting his eyes.
She could see that he flinched a little under her scrutiny. She was angry now.
”What is it?” he asked, trying to smile but failing miserably.
”Is there not something you feel you have to tell me?” Liz prompted.
Matt searched her face, probably trying to figure out what she wanted to know. He couldn’t say the wrong things now could he.
”I-I don’t think so,” Matt said.
Liz was so angry now, she didn’t even notice that she had managed to make him nervous.
”Yes, I think there is!” she demanded, her voice a little higher than normally.
”No, I have..have nothing to tell you,” Matt said. ”What’s this about, Liz? Has something happened in school? Have you had some test..or?”
”Don’t you dare turning this around on me, Matt,” Liz said. ”I’m giving you a chance here - to ease your conscience. I don’t like being lied to. You should know that.”
”Liz, what are you talking about?”
”So, tell me. Everything!”
Matt nervously raked his fingers through his hair and backed away from her a little. She was actually quite intimidating when she was angry. And he had actually never seen her angry before.
”I don’t know what you mean, honey,” Matt said.
”Don’t you ‘honey’ me!!” Liz said. ”I found lipstick on your shirt, Matt!”
Matt stared at her dumbfounded. Did she know?
”Uhm...that must have been yours,” he said. ”Whose else could it have been.”
It was not a question, but a statement. He could see her chest lifting up and down from her quick breathing. She was really getting worked up, and he really didn’t feel like being in the same room as her when she exploded. Especially not as her anger was directed at him.
”I don’t wear lipstick,” she said, and her voice was so calm and cold that he found himself wishing that she could go back to the high voice. The calm voice made her so much more frightening. Since he had never seen her angry before, he didn’t know how to react. What to say in order to not push her buttons. He knew he was out on thin ice. Very thin ice!!
”But what about that day-”
Liz couldn’t believe him. He was actually trying to wiggle himself out of this. She interrupted him before he had a chance to come with another lie.
”What about all the nights you’ve spent at the office?” she interrupted, her voice still calm.
”I have a lot to do,” Matt said. ”It’s been extremely hecti-”
Her hand went across his face, the slap stinging his cheek - marking his actions with shame.
”How could you do this to me, Matt?” Liz said, her voice filled with hurt. Her voice hurt him more than her slap could ever do and the ramifications of his decisions started to dig in on him.
His cheek was turning red under the hand that he had brought up to cover the shame.
”I thought you loved me,” Liz said, her voice hollow.
”I do. I do love you,” Matt said.
Liz shook her head.
”No, Matt. You don’t do that if you love someone. That’s not love. I would not wish your kind of love on even my worst enemy,” Liz said. Liz was amazed how calm she sounded. Her inside was slowly falling apart. The little that was left of her already trashed heart was slowly crumbling into nothingness. Maybe it had felt better if he had stood up for what he had done...but he was still denying it.
”There was nothing else I could do,” Matt said, his voice a little stronger.
Liz stared at him. What the hell was he saying?
”What are you talking about?!!”
”You were never hundred percent with me. You were always somewhere else, and you still are. I couldn’t stand knowing that I was only a substitute. A substitute for him!”
”You have no right bringing him into this!” Liz said, her voice threatening. ”This has nothing to do with Max. This is between you and me!! Don’t try for a second to hide behind him - to use him as an excuse!”
”But it’s the truth, and you know it!!” Matt almost shouted, and took a step closer to Liz. But she didn’t move. He didn’t scare her.
”Communication!” Liz pointed out. ”You could have talked to me, Matt! Told me that you felt that something was wrong. How could I know that something was wrong, if I didn’t feel it?! I’m not a mind-reader!!”
”It’s no use talking to you. You only hear what you want to hear. Just like with your father-”
”Stop it,” Liz said menacingly and backed away from him. She was not going to listen to this.
”He tries to help you and you just push him away because you’re a...you’re a spoiled brat!!”
Liz just stared at him. She had been called a lot. But never that. That was so preposterous that she didn’t even know what to say.
”You always got what you wanted. You have parents that love you and the only thing your father was ever guilty of was to love you. He decided you should move because he wanted to protect you-”
Okay, Matt had a shitty childhood, and he had always wanted parents who loved him and took care of him...but how the hell did the conversation go from him cheating on her to that?
”Matt, that has nothing to do with you cheating on me!!”
”That has everything to do with me cheating on you. They’re my motives for cheating on you.”
Had she heard wrong?
”Excuse me?! Your motives?!! There are no motives to justify sleeping with another behind my back!! Especially not my problems with my father, which by the way is none of your business!!”
”See! You’re not listening to me! You only hear what you want to hear, and everything else you discharge as ridicule and expect me to accept it!”
”What?! You must be kidding me!”
”I’m getting out of here,” Matt said and started moving towards the front door. ”I can’t talk to you!!”
”Yeah, run away!! You can always sleep at the office!”
Then there was a loud bang as the door slammed shut behind Matt.
Liz stared at the door, shocked at what just had happened. The anger, hatred and annoyance she had felt just a couple of seconds ago was quickly simmering down. The barrier broke and the tears started to run down her cheeks. With a sob, she sank to her knees, burying her face in her hands - slipping deeper and deeper down into the darkness of misery, abandonment and loneliness.
”Guerin,” Michael said in the receiver.
”Can I....can I please speak...to...to Maria,” the sobbing voice in the other end of the line just barely got out.
Michael turned his back to Max, who was still with him in the kitchen, and lowered his voice a little before he spoke again.
”Liz? What’s wrong?”
And then she was crying, and Michael realized that it was probably for the best if Maria took this call.
”Hang on a sec. I’ll get her,” Michael said softly. He put the receiver down on the kitchen counter and walked into the living room. He found Maria on the coach, talking sensible to the one month old Dana.
”...so just so you know Dana. Don’t ever let anyone put you down. Take it from somebody who knows-”
”Honey,” Michael interrupted.
Maria looked up from her student and looked at Michael. She was just about to tell him that she was busy, but stopped herself when she saw the look on his face. The something-has-happened look.
”It’s someone on the phone for you,” he said with a meaningful look. And Maria knew. It was Liz.
”Maybe you should take it in the bedroom,” Michael continued with a discreet nod towards the kitchen where Max was. ”That’s probably more private.”
Tess looked at them from her position in one of the arm-chairs, and tried to figure out why they all of the sudden were so secretive.
”You’re right,” Maria said and disappeared into the bedroom.
Michael sighed, before he walked back into the kitchen. He could feel Max’s eyes burning on him as he lifted the receiver, to hear when Maria picked up.
”Liz honey, what happened?” he heard Maria say, and he hung up.
”Is something wrong?” Max asked behind his back, and he turned around to face him.
Michael shrugged his shoulders.
”No, that was just one of Maria’s friends. Why do you ask?”
”Ahh, it’s nothing,” Max said and shrugged his shoulders as well, and with that the discussion ended.
Maria picked up the receiver, fearing the worst.
”Liz honey, what happened?” she asked.
If it wasn’t for Liz’s heartbreaking sobs in the other end of the line, Maria wouldn’t know that she was there.
”Did you confront him?” Maria asked.
With that question Liz’s sobs increased in intensity. Maria took that as a yes.
”Liz, babe. Try to calm down,” Maria said and waited a while for Liz to calm herself down.
”Liz, you’re worth more than that scum. Don’t waste your tears on him.”
”Maria,” Liz sniffed. ”He said...that..that...he..had done it ‘cause I’m...I’m still thinking about Max.”
”Are you?” Maria asked.
”...the point. He was hiding behind it, as some sort of lame excuse.”
”Are you saying that he tried to blame his inability to control his urges on you?” Maria asked angry.
”Yes...that’s it,” Liz said.
”Ohhh,” Maria said frustrated. ”I say this, Liz. That dog is lucky he wasn’t dealing with me.”
”The thing is, Maria,” Liz said, her voice much calmer and clearer. Maria feared that she was slipping into her denial state again, shutting off her feelings. ”He was right.”
”That you were to blame...uh, I don’t think so!!” Maria objected.
”No, no,” Liz said. ”That I’m still...hanging on to Max. I haven’t realized it until Matt threw it in my face, but when he did I can’t but agree with him.”
”Liz, that still doesn’t justify what he did,” Maria said. ”God, I can’t believe that scum!! Oh, if I get my hands on him!! Liz, please tell me you’re not going to forgive him...like you do with everyone else.”
”Oh no, Liz,” Maria sighed. ”You can’t be serious.”
”I’m hurting, Maria. But he was foremost my friend...that never changed. And I’m not sure I can lose him as a friend,” Liz said.
”Liz, you don’t need him. You’re worth something better. Besides, you have me,” Maria said.
”Yes, I do Maria. But you’re on the other side of the country,” Liz said.
”I wish it wasn’t this way, girlfriend. I wish that I could just go over to you right now, get some ice-cream and we could wallow in self-pity and come up with lists of how to strengthen our girl power.”
”I’m so afraid, Maria,” Liz whispered, and Maria’s heart fell to her stomach.
”I know, Liz. I know,” Maria said.
”No, Maria. I don’t think you do. I’m so afraid that I’m going to get lost. I have nothing left-”
”Stop it, Liz. You have me. Don’t give up on me now. You’ve not lived through this just to quit and throw in the towel. Oh no, that’s just...that’s just...well, that’s selfish, Liz.”
”I don’t know if I can do it anymore,” Liz whispers. Maria knew that Liz would never even consider to commit suicide - she was to strong to give up like that. Nevertheless, the alternative Liz choose was perhaps just as bad. She would either shut down all her emotions, or she would drown in all the emotions and have a nervous breakdown of some kind. Either way she would end up being a living dead. Maria was not going to let that happen.
”Okay, Liz. This is what we’re gonna do. I’m gonna go to Washington tomorrow.”
”Maria, you don’t hav-”
”Stop it right there, lady. My best friend in the whole world, who’s always there to stand up for me and help me whenever I need it, needs me and then I’m there.”
There was a brief pause, and Maria could almost hear Liz smile.
”Thank you, Maria. You don’t know what that means to me.”
Michael kept glancing at the bedroom door, something that wasn’t unnoticed by Max. What was going on? The apprehensive tone in Michael’s voice earlier, when he had told Maria to take the phone, had set alarm clocks to go off in his head. He wasn’t really sure why. It was only some friend of Maria, who wanted to talk. But Max couldn’t shake the feeling that something big was going on. The constant drifting of Michael’s eyes towards the door where Maria was still talking even after twenty minutes had elapsed, confirmed Max’s suspicions. Would Maria, being the hostess of her party, leave her guests for twenty minutes if the call wasn’t really important?
Max, Michael and Alex were now sitting quietly, having discussed hockey and football earlier. Now only Isabel and Tess were talking. Their conversation was quite interesting, Max thought. Isabel was explaining how it felt going through a pregnancy and to give birth. Not exactly something Max wanted to hear his sister talk about in excruciating detail, and from the look of his wife she wasn’t that intrigued either. Max had always wanted to start a family. He loved children. But Tess hated them. She didn’t want any family. It didn’t matter how much Max had tried to get her considering it. Max would have given her space if she had said that she wasn’t ready to have children yet. However, that was not the issue. Tess didn’t want children - period. And it hurt Max to the core. As a consequence, Max buried himself in his work, where he was surrounded by children.
Michael and Max gave a start as the bedroom door opened and Maria came out. Michael quickly stood up and enveloped Maria in his arms and she buried her face in his chest. But not before Max could see that she had been crying.
”Is she okay?” Michael whispered to Maria.
He could feel her shake her head against his chest.
”She’s so lost, Michael,” she answered. ”And I feel so bad for not being able to be there for her - in the flesh.”
”You’re doing the best with the situation you’re in,” Michael said.
”Yes,” Maria said and lifted her head to look up into his face. ”And that’s why I’m going to Washington tomorrow to visit her.”
”You’re going to Washington?” Max asked, and Maria realized that she had said that last thing a little too loud. She moved away from Michael’s arms and eyed Max warily. Why was she cursed with such a big mouth? The whole room had grown quiet, everyone looking at Max, Maria and Michael - wondering what was going on, and very interested in finding out.
”Uhm...yeah,” Maria answered.
”Why are you going there? I haven’t heard you mention it before,” Max said, trying to sound casual, but everyone could easily read the suspicious tone to his voice.
Maria cleared her throat, and nervously pulled her hair back from her face with her hands.
Michael took one look at her and knew that she was going to say too much if she spoke.
”Maria is just visiting a friend,” Michael said quickly.
”Really?” Max asked, trying to sound moderately curious but once again failing. ”I didn’t know you had friends in Washington.”
”Isn’t that where Liz lives?” Isabel said, and Max slowly turned towards his sister. That was the name had run through his head, like a label glued to a travelator going round and round, ever since Michael had picked up the phone.
”Uhm..no, no, it’s not Liz,” Maria said, and she thought that her voice sounded a little bit too squeaky.
”Maria, can I talk to you for a second?” Max asked, rising from his arm-chair. He could feel his wife’s eyes on him, burning holes in his back.
”I think the apple pie is ready about now,” Michael said, trying to hinder Max from talking to Maria. He knew that Maria couldn’t keep quiet. ”Maybe we should eat.”
”I just wanna talk to Maria for a little while,” Max said, looking Michael straight in the eyes. Michael looked into those deep, expressive eyes of his best friend and he knew that Max knew and that there was no use stopping him.
”Why don’t you go and talk to Max, Maria. And I’ll get the dessert ready,” Michael said.
Maria’s eyes flickered from Max to Michael. Was Michael aware of the fact that she probably couldn’t stop herself from not telling Max everything that had happened to Liz the last couple of days? Did Michael know what he was doing....that they were probably playing with fire? They had no clue what they would put into motion if Maria told Max...everything.
”Okay,” Maria whispered.
Max took a deep breath, and followed Maria into the bedroom. Was she telling him?
Maria sat down on the big double bed, nervously twisting her hands in her lap.
”So, what do you wanna talk about, Max?” she asked, not meeting his eyes.
Max looked at her. Something was definitely going on here. He couldn’t remember the last time he had seen her this nervous. Well, that would have been the day when she had come to his house to give him Liz’s address and telephone number almost six years ago.
”Who was that on the phone?” Max asked, still standing. His emotions were churning inside of him, and he couldn’t sit. His body was in defensive mode - expecting something to happen.
”You know...just a fri-” Maria looked up into his eyes, and stopped talking. This was one of her best friends. One of the person she would trust her life with. And he was hurting - just as much as Liz. Maybe Maria held the information that could make some of that hurt in his eyes go away. The hurt that had been built during so many years of loneliness, and detachment. The hurt that had receded a bit during the first couple of weeks in his marriage with Tess, but which had soon after that returned - mixed with something Maria never wanted to see in those beautiful eyes of his. Hopelessness.
”It was Liz,” she answered, her voice hollow.
Max took a shaky breath. He had known it, but still the impact of it made his legs feel oddly weak. It was the first sign he had gotten in six years that Liz was still living and breathing. Of course, Maria had mentioned Liz and talked about how Max and Liz should get together again. But this was something else. He had been one room away from Maria as she talked to Liz. To Liz.
”What’s wrong with her?” he asked, his voice cracking at the end of the sentence. What if she was hurt? What if she had been in an accident? What if-
”She’s upset...really upset,” Maria whispered, interrupting his ‘what ifs’.
”Maria, what happened?” Max asked.
Maria met his eyes again, and held his gaze as she said her next words.
”Her boyfriend cheated on her,” she said.
Max nodded slowly, trying to get his mind to work sensibly. The first feeling that had hit him was anger. Anger directed at the person who had done that to her, but most of all anger towards himself for being one of the factors that had led her to having a relationship with anyone else but him in the first place.
”How...how can anyone do that to her?” he said mostly to himself.
”Liz needs me... I’m afraid she’s gonna slip away from me,” Maria said.
Max eyes shimmered with fear, a cold hand gripping his heart.
”What do you mean?” he said, fearing the answer with his whole being.
”She took everything so hard, Max,” Maria said. ”The move...and losing her friends, everything she has ever known. But most of all - even if she doesn’t quite confess it - I think she’s missing you.”
Max covered his face with his hands, sinking down in the arm-chair standing beside him in the corner of the room.
”Max...” Maria said, tentatively - afraid that she had really done something wrong by telling him that.
She heard Max inhaling and exhaling deeply - as if to calm himself down. He rubbed his hands over his face, before he removed them and looked up into Maria’s eyes. Maria felt her big heart sting as she looked into his eyes. She stood up from the bed and kneeled in front of Max, taking his hands in both of hers.
”Maria, why did she never call me?” Max said. A chill run down Maria’s spine. She didn’t recognize his voice. It was not even a voice anymore. It was more a low cry of emotions. Maria felt tears starting to slide down her cheeks again.
”Max,” she whispered, her voice not functioning properly any longer. ”She did...she did call you. But you never called her.”
Max looked at her confused.
”No Maria. She never called me,” he said.
Maria nodded calmly.
”Yes, she did. But you were never there. You were always somewhere else, not able to take her phone call. I guess...I guess you missed each other the whole time.”
Maria’s voice still echoing in his mind, Max closed his eyes and leaned back in the arm-chair. She had tried calling him. She hadn’t forgotten him. He probably should be somewhat happy that she never forgot about him. But he wasn’t happy - not at all. With his mind on everything he and Liz could’ve had together if they would have been able to reach each other, he bitterly cursed the workings of destiny.
- Washington airport
Maria looked around, searching after her petite dark-haired friend.
She heard her name and spun around, only to be met by the sight of Liz Parker running towards her. Maria put down her suitcases and opened her arms up for Liz. Liz crashed into her arms, and Maria hugged her tightly - not being able to stop the tears from falling from her eyes.
”I’ve missed you so much, girlfriend,” Maria whispered.
”Not as much as I’ve missed you,” Liz said and separated from the embrace. She wiped the tears off her face with the back of her hand. She had a large smile on her face, but Maria could see that something was lacking in her friend. There was something different about her eyes. They reminded Maria of Liz’s eyes as Maria and Liz had had a reunion for the first time since their separation when Mr. Parker had moved his family to the other side of the country. During the consecutive visits, Liz had seemed better - she had met Matt.
”Let me help you with that,” Liz said and took one of Maria’s suitcases. ”Maria, you’re only going to stay here for five days, right?”
”Don’t worry, chica. I will not take too much of your space,” Maria retorted back in a teasing manner, as they started to walk out of the airport. ”But a girl needs her clothes, you know.”
”This is going to be so much fun!” Liz said. As she had seen Maria a large sense of relief had settled itself over her. She felt that her anchor had arrived. The one who was going to save her. Who was going to pull her away from the misery that was slowly devouring her.
Five days later
The five days elapsed far too quickly, and the young women soon found themselves back in the airport. They had done a lot of things during the week. Liz still had classes to go to during some parts of the day, but then Maria had been able to entertain herself. She had visit all possible attractions in Washington, and had checked out all the cafés - even graded them and everything. She had been busy. Together they had gone shopping, eaten at restaurants, gone to the cinema, and had endless hours of girl talk. The consumption of ice-cream had been bountiful to say the least.
”Now Liz, no sulking while I’m gone!” Maria said as she pulled Liz into a hug.
”I’ll try,” Liz said with a smile that never quite reached her eyes.
”You’ll be all right, Lizzie,” Maria whispered in her ear. ”If you need anything...anything at all, just call me okay!”
”Thank you, Maria,” Liz said. ”How many times are you gonna save my sanity?”
”As many times as it takes,” Maria said and let go of Liz,”to make you continue to be the wonderful Liz Parker that I love.”
”I’m gonna miss you,” Liz said.
”Ditto,” Maria said. She picked up her suitcase and smiled warmly at Liz.
”I love you, hon,” she said.
”Love you too,” Liz said, not being able to smile properly any longer. She was afraid what was going to happen to her when Maria left. Would she be able to go back to that lonely apartment?
”Ladies and Gentlemen, we are now in Washington D.C. Hope you’ve had a nice flight, and we wish you a wonderful stay in our capital,” the voice of one of the air-hostess in the speakers said.
Max stood up and took down the hand luggage from the shelf above the seats. People were moving around him - most of them urgent to get off the planet. Some of them were to go to their work, some were to meet someone dear to them in a sweet reunion, some of them were coming home, and some of them were going on vacation. Max wasn’t in a hurry. He was only to go to a hotel room, maybe watch some TV and read up a little in his papers. The next day he was to go to the conference on leukemia. But until then he was free to do whatever he wanted, without the urge to do anything.
He followed the hoard of people off the plane and into the assembly hall of the airport. All kind of different people were cramming the assembly hall. He went to retrieve his luggage. As he walked through the assembly hall, towards the exits he could have sworn he heard Maria’s voice. He turned around, and scanned the people. He saw the back of a woman with Maria’s height and body figure and her fair hair head towards one of the gates. But she quickly vanished from his field of vision in the crowd. His eyes fell on the back of the woman who seemed to be watching the disappearing woman, just as he had. She had long dark hair that reached her waist. She was fairly short, and petite. However, there was something oddly familiar about her. His mind didn’t even dare to put into reality what he knew instinctually. That it was not that something was so familiar about her whole stance, her whole essence that was the thing. He actually knew her - had known her. Time froze, as did his body as he watched the back of that wonderful creature. But as soon as he had seen her, a thirty meters distance keeping him from not only watching but being able to touch her, someone from the outside slammed into his side, and he the bag he had lunged over his shoulder fell to the ground. He quickly looked down and picked up his bag, positioning it back on his shoulder. Those few moments were enough to change the course of the future, because as he looked up again she had vanished.
Posted: Mon Feb 24, 2003 7:51 am
Max absent-mindedly checked his reflection in the mirror - his hands mechanically tying his tie. He couldn’t stop thinking about her. It must have been her that he had seen. His logical mind objected to it - but his heart was convinced. He had not gotten much sleep during the night. He had tossed and turned - trying to decide if he should look for her or not. He could hire a private detective. But he wasn’t so sure that she even wanted him to find her. According to Maria, she was devastated. He wanted nothing more than to comfort her - he didn’t care that it wasn’t really clear what had happened between them all of those years ago. All he wanted was to make her feel better. He hated knowing that she was out there somewhere - hurt - and with no one to take care of her. But could he really just break right back into her life like nothing had happened? He sighed and tightened the tie. He had to stop thinking about her. He had a meeting to concentrate on. A meeting that meant a lot to him. It was about his only passion in life - to help children. But as he pushed the hotel door close behind him, his thoughts were once again on her.
Liz put down the toothbrush, and looked at her reflection in the bathroom mirror. She looked terrible. She turned to one of the cabinets and took out her brush, and pulled it through her hair. As that didn’t help her appearance much, she opened the cabinet behind the mirror and took out her mascara. It had not been used in a long time. She rarely used make-up. Her long eye-lashes became darker as she rolled the brush against them. She put the mascara back and retrieved some foundation. She had to cover the bruises under her eyes somehow.
Max opened the door to the hospital, and the noise hit him. The emergency room was crammed with people. People waiting, people crying, people yelling, people worriedly pacing the floor... He made his way over to the reception.
”Excuse me,” he said, trying to make contact with the woman behind the desk. She was hurriedly moving about, her movements betraying the stress she was experiencing.
”Excuse me, miss,” Max repeated, a little louder this time.
The woman gave him a quick glance, before she started to type on the computer.
”Take a sit, mister,” she said. ”And we will soon help you.”
”Uhm.. I’m here for the conference on child leukemia. I’m Dr. Evans.”
The woman looked up and her whole countenance changed.
”Oh, I’m sorry Dr. Evans. It’s in the third floor - the elevators are over there.”
Max followed her pointing finger and then turned his head back to her.
”Thank you,” he said, before he headed off to the elevators.
Liz was rummaging through her clothes. She was looking for one of her biology textbook. It had been there yesterday. She had read in it yesterday!
”Damn,” she mumbled as she went into the kitchen to see if she in some state of delusion had put it there. She was gonna be late. She hated being late. Everybody would turn their heads and look at her as she stumbled into the lecture hall and the class would’ve already started. And today she absolutely didn’t want to draw anymore attention to herself than necessary. She went back into the bedroom and searched through her bed covers. She had been sitting in her bed - studying half the night. She found studying to be very effective when you wanted to escape certain thoughts concerning her miserable existence. She had studied until she had fallen asleep over the books. She bent down and looked under the bed. Nope, it wasn’t there either. She fought to ignore the pain in her heart as she saw one of Matt’s shirt laying there under her bed. The apartment was still filled with his stuff, and she knew that she had to meet him sooner or later as he was coming back to get his things. But even if all those things hadn’t been there to act as a constant reminder of what had happened - what she had lost - the whole apartment was still filled with him. Every wall whispered of memories - of times they have spent together. She couldn’t escape it. She was glad that she was able to go back to class. It was simple to just sit and listen to a lecturer, and then study in the cafeteria afterwards - without having to be reminded. She was pretty good at blocking out thoughts she didn’t want to think. She’d had years of practice. How would she otherwise have been able to move on without her childhood friends around her - alone in a new city - a new state. Now she just needed to find that damn book!!
”Hi, I’m Dr. Max Evans,” Max introduced himself, and shook the man’s hand.
”Welcome, Dr. Evans. I’m glad you were able to join us,” the man said. ”Now, I think everyone’s here. So let’s start this, shall we?”
Liz flung her backpack over her shoulder and opened the front door. She had to forget about that book. It was either that book or arriving too late to school. And she really didn’t feel like doing the second alternative. She stepped out into the well and hurried down the stairs. With her thoughts carefully focused on where she could have put the book, she hurried down the street. Her thoughts were soon ripped out of their reveries as she became aware of a thudding sound. She looked up and saw a little girl walking in front of her. She was bouncing a ball up and down, her feet bouncing along with the ball. She had long blonde hair that was swirling around her in the morning breeze. She looked so carefree, and happiness came off her in waves. Liz couldn’t help but smile. Something was still right in the world, after all. But it didn’t take many seconds before the girl tripped on her own feet and stumbled to the ground - the ball bouncing out of her small hands.
Liz quickly moved up to her and kneeled beside her. She was crying, her sobs pulling at Liz’s heart strings.
”Did you hurt yourself, honey?” Liz asked softly. The little girl looked up at her - tears shimmering in her emerald-green eyes - and nodded. Liz could see that she was struggling to remain strong, to not cry. Liz recognized herself in that little girl.
”Where did you hurt yourself?” Liz asked.
”My knees burn,” the girl answered.
”Did you scrape your knees?” Liz asked.
The girl nodded, and pulled up her dress to show Liz her red knees.
All thoughts about coming to late to her class forgotten, Liz smiled softly at the girl. ”Why don’t you follow me home? I have some Band Aids at home.”
The girl looked the young woman in the eyes. She wasn’t suppose to follow strangers anywhere - her mom had made her promise that. But this woman seemed nice.
”What’s your name?” Liz asked.
”Meg,” the little girl answered.
”Hi Meg, I’m Liz.”
Meg smiled. Liz took her hand and started to help her up. But with a small cry of pain Meg sank down again.
”What is it, Meg?” Liz asked, her voice betraying her fear.
”My foot...it hurts,” Meg answered, wincing.
”Sit down again and let me take a look at it,” Liz instructed gently. Meg did as she was told and Liz carefully touched the stocking that covered Meg’s ankle. She looked up and saw that Meg had her eyes shut tight - an expression of pain evident on her face - but she didn’t say anything. She truly was a brave girl.
”Meg, I want you to tell me if it hurts, okay?” Liz said.
”It hurts all the time,” Meg answered.
”Okay, Meg. I just need to pull down your stocking and look at your ankle. Is that okay?”
”Yes,” Meg whispered, her voice strained.
Liz pulled down the stocking and inhaled sharply as she saw the little girl’s ankle. It was all swollen up and discolored in blue and red.
”Meg, I think we need to take you to the hospital,” Liz said and pulled the socking back up.
”The hospital? Why?” Meg asked, fear in her voice.
”They will make you better,” Liz said.
”I don’t like hospitals,” Meg said. ”Can’t we go home to your place instead and I can call my mom.”
”Meg, your ankle is in a really bad shape. You need to have a professional take a look at it. I will go with you and stay with you, and we can call your mom from the hospital, okay.”
Meg hesitated for a moment or two. Then she nodded.
”Okay,” she said.
Liz gave her a warm and reassuring smile. ”Do you think you can walk?”
Meg shook her head.
”Okay,” Liz said. The girl was a bit too large for her to lift...but she could give her a piggy-ride. ”Can you ride on my back?”
”Okay, that’s what we’ll do,” Liz said.
Fortunately, the hospital wasn’t many meters away.
Max put the documents into his briefcase. It had been an interesting conference to say the least - and he was eager to get back to work at home. He shook hands with the men and headed for the elevator. He pressed the button which was going to take him to ground level. He was going to get back to the hotel and take a long shower, and then he would probably go out and grab something to eat. The elevator gave a small plong, announcing that it had reached its destination. The doors opened and he stepped out.
Liz opened the door to the emergency room. God, there were many people there. Perhaps she should have taken Meg to the student health building, located in the university area, instead. Meg had probably only sprained her ankle. It wouldn’t take long to look at it. She lowered Meg down on one empty chair in the waiting area.
”Wait here, Meg. I’m just gonna go and see if there’s a doctor that can take a look at you.”
Meg nodded her understanding and Liz moved to the reception. She looked at the busy receptionist and tried to get her attention.
”Excuse me,” Liz said.
”Yes,” the woman said tiredly.
”I have a little girl here, and I think she has sprained her ankle,” Liz said.
”Well, take a seat and a doctor will take a look at her later.”
”How long will it approximately be before we get any help?” Liz asked. She needed to know if she had to call in sick at the university.
”Miss, there are people here who have cut themselves. There are people here in labor. There are several people here who need more urgent help than a sprained ankle. So I think that it will take some time before she gets any help. We are doing the best we can, but as you can see we are swamped.” The woman glared harshly at Liz.
”But it will not take too long time,” Liz said.
”Miss, why don’t you just sit down and wait,” the woman said.
Liz thought it was best to do just that. The receptionist looked like she was about to explode any second.
The elevator doors opened, and Max started to walk towards the reception. He was just about to step into the waiting area as a voice stopped his movements.
He turned around and found one of the men from the conference walking towards him - Max’s briefcase in his hand.
”You forgot this,” the man said.
”Oh, thank you,” Max said.
Liz head jerked up into the direction of the voice. That name. It didn’t matter how many times she heard either Max or Evans, every time she stopped breathing. She could never stop herself from wondering if it was him.
”Liz, can we call my mom?” Meg asked.
Liz took a deep breath, and shook herself out of her thoughts.
”Of course,” Liz said, and hauled up her cell phone from her bag.
Max raked his hand through his hand and walked towards the exit. That’s when he felt a pull that pull. A pull that urged him to turn around. Before he had a chance to do anything about it, he heard her voice.
”Hi, Mrs. McGowern? My name is Liz Parker and I am at the hospital with your daughter.”
”Oh my God!” The woman cried in the other end of the line. ”Is she all right? What happened?”
”She’s fine,” Liz said soothingly. ”I think she just sprained her ankle. Would you like to talk to her?”
”Hi, Mrs. McGowern? My name is Liz Parker and I am at the hospital with your daughter.”
Max felt like he was about to faint. He couldn’t get enough air into his lungs and his heart was slamming against his ribs. He would never forget that voice. He never could - even though he had certainly tried. He slowly turned around and his eyes instinctively zoomed her in.
Liz turned to Meg and handed her the cell phone.
”Mom? No...I’m fine,” Meg said. Liz smiled at her, and by an unknown force - that she didn’t contemplate about much at the moment - she turned her head slightly towards the exit and she saw him.
The noise of the emergency room was no longer heard. The surroundings turned into a blur of colors. The objects lost their distinctiveness and their contours. People running around - screaming, crying, talking loudly - disappeared. Vanished from their line of vision. The only thing they could see was each other.
She was incapable of forming one coherent thought. She was drowning in his eyes – her eyes devouring him. The only thing her mind was capable of doing was to form his name – Max. It was running through her head like a mantra – chanted over and over again. The little girl with the scratches on her knees and her sprained ankle, talking on Liz’s cell phone with her worried mom, was forgotten.
“Liz...Liz!” It felt like someone hit her in the stomach. The air flowed into her lungs again with such force that she gasped, as she plummeted back to reality. Without leaving him with her eyes, she spoke to the little girl who had tried to get her attention.
“What is it, Meg?” Her voice barely a whisper.
“My mom wants to talk to you,” Meg said.
She was really there. It was like the sky had opened above her, illuminating her in a bright glow. She was exquisitely beautiful. But it was her. He had never been more certain of anything else in his life. Her eyes were so large and glowing. He could never forget her eyes. That’s when her gaze left his, and he immediately felt the lonliness and emptiness fill him again. The noise around him returned full-force, almost deafening, and he realized where he was. He was in Washington D.C. In a hospital – in the emergency room. People were suffering around him, they were in pain. But he was feeling as if he had been reborn. He watched her look down at the girl beside her, taking a cell phone from her. A thought hit him. Was that her daughter? Maria hadn’t told him that.
He didn’t know what he should do. Should he go up to her? Of course he should. He had finally found her, and he hadn’t even searched after her. The same destiny that had worked against him so many times before had brought her to him. He wasn’t going to let her go. He had no clue to how he got his legs working, but soon he was standing beside the two chairs that were occupied by her and the little girl. The little girl was looking at him curiously. He could feel Liz’s eyes on him the whole time, but she was at the moment talking in the cell phone.
“I will be there as soon as I can,” Meg’s mother said. “Will you stay with Meg?”
Liz had great concentration difficulties. He was moving towards her. He was coming towards her. It really was him. It was him. She was barely breathing – the vital functions of her body were paralyzed. He stopped in front of her. He was so close that she if she reached out with her hand she would be able to touch him. She was so close that she could feel his scent surround her. Envelope her like a warm and comforting blanket.
“Huh? Oh, excuse me,” Liz said to the bewildred person on the other end of the line. She gathered all her strength to focus on the conversation on the phone. She tried her best to block him out – but it was difficult... Difficult? It was inhuman. But the faster she would concentrate on the phone call, the quicker she could get off the phone...and...
“Can you stay with Meg?” Mrs. McGowern asked.
“Sure I will,” Liz answered. “It’s no problem, Mrs. McGowern.”
“Oh, thank you. Thanks a million. I will be there in no time. I’ll just have to talk to my boss. Thank you!! Bye!”
“Bye,” Liz said and slowly pulled the cell phone off her ear – her eyes now locked with his. Her concentration broke, and her heart took over. She didn’t even devote the disconnection button on her cell phone any greater attention, as it was forgotten to be pressed.
“Max...” she breathed, barely audible. “Is it really you?”
His eyes told her everything she needed to know.
“What are you doing here?” she continued. She didn’t know how her mind could still function, how she was able to even form a coherent question.
“I’m here for a conference,” he answered, his voice just as thin as hers. Their conversation was almost mechanical. Mouths were used without a conscious thought – words were automatically chosen. Their eyes transferred the true conversation.
“Oh my God, Max,” Liz said.
“How are you?” Max asked, moving his eyes from hers to look her over. She looked good. Really good.
“I’m fine, I’m fine,” she mumbled, still trying to gasp the unbelievable.
Silence draped over them. They couldn’t tear their eyes away from each other.
“Uhm...Maria didn’t tell me you had a daughter,” Max said, scratching his eyebrow. Liz looked at him in confusion – trying to figure out what he was referring to. Then she looked at Meg and had to laugh.
“No. Max – this is Meg. She fell and I helped her to the hospital. She has probably sprained her ankle.”
“Oh,” Max said. “Has someone taken a look at it?”
“No,” Liz answered. “They seem pretty busy here.”
Max smiled, the memory of the busy receptionist still fresh in his mind.
“Yeah,” he said. He tore his eyes away from Liz and looked at the girl. Of course she wasn’t Liz’s daughter. She was the opposite of Liz. Liz had dark hair and brown eyes. This little girl had blonde hair and green eyes.
”Hi, I’m Max,” Max said and put out his hand for Meg to shake. Meg smiled shyly and took his hand. ”Which one of your feet is hurting?”
”That one,” Meg answered and pointed at her left foot.
”Is it okay if I take a look at it?” Max asked.
”Are you a doctor?” Meg asked.
”You don’t look like a doctor,” Meg said matter-of-factly.
”Why’s that?” Max asked, while he with gentle and trained hands took off Meg’s shoe and pulled off her stocking. It was good if Meg concentrated on talking - that would keep her mind off the pain in her ankle.
”Doctors are old,” Meg said, and wrinkled her nose.
”They are?” Max asked incredously and looked up at Liz with one eye-brow arched. Liz was looking at them in amazement, trying to understand that the same man she had missed for so many years was kneeling less than fourty centimeters from her.
”Yeah,” Meg said. Max was gently looking her ankle over, but Meg didn’t say a word about the pain. She was in the middle of describing how doctors usually looked like and how they were in general.
”Do you want to meet a real doctor then - one of those old ones?” Max asked.
”No, I like you!” Meg declared.
That was the voice of the distressed woman that rushed through the doors, into the waiting area.
”Mommy!!” Meg cried happily and held her arms out for her mother.
Max stood up and moved to the side. In no time, the woman was crouching in front of Meg, cradling the little girl to her chest.
Max was watching Liz out of the corner of his eye. She was looking at him too - but he could see that she was trying not to. The woman released her daughter and looked up at the two strangers beside her daughter.
”Are you Liz?” she asked Liz.
”Yes,” Liz said with a warm smile and reached out her hand to the woman. The woman grabbed it firmly, putting her other hand on top of it.
”Thank you so much,” she said - putting emphasis on each word.
”It was no problem at all,” Liz said.
The woman turned her head slightly and eyed Max - an expression of curiosity on her face.
”Oh,” Liz said. ”Excuse me. This is Max Evans, a...uhm...old friend of mine.”
”Nice to meet you,” the woman said and shook Max’s hand.
”Likewise,” Max said.
”Max is a doctor and he just did a quick examination of Meg’s ankle.”
”Oh, you’re a doctor?” the woman asked - surprised. He looked too young to be a doctor.
”You’re daughter’s ankle is going to be fine,” Max said. ”I would still suggest that you did an X-ray to make sure that there isn’t any fractures in any of the bones. But I think it’s only a sprain.”
Meg’s mother smiled warmly.
”Thank you, Mr. Evans,” she said.
”It was my pleasure,” Max said.
”Thank you both,” the woman said gratefully. ”I’m so happy that there are still good people in the world.”
Liz and Max exchanged a look.
”We will not keep you any longer,” the woman said. ”I’m sure you have other things to do. Is there anything I can do to repay you? Anything at all?”
”Oh, that’s not necessary,” Liz said while shaking her head.
”Please, Mrs. McGowern. It was no problem. Meg is a wonderful little girl. I was happy to help.”
Mrs. McGowern smiled.
”Well, thank you again.” Liz nodded and kneeled in front of Meg.
”It was nice meeting you, Meg.”
”It was nice meeting you too, Liz,” Meg said, smiling broadly. She surprised Liz as her small arms went around Liz’s back and she was pulled into a hug.
”Bye Liz,” Meg said as she released Liz.
”Bye Meg,” Liz said warmly. ”Bye Mrs. McGowern.”
”Good-bye Liz,” Mrs McGowern said. ”And good-bye Mr. Evans.”
”Bye,” Max said.
Liz looked up at Max - feeling nervous all of the sudden.
”Well, I guess I should go,” Max said.
”Yeah, me too,” Liz said and they started to walk towards the exit side by side - neither knowing what to do next. As they came outside they stopped.
”Liz..can we go some place and talk?” Max asked her.
She looked up into his eyes.
”Sure,” she said. ”We can go to my place.”
She had completely forgotten about the fact that she had classes to attend. She had in fact forgotten everything that didn’t have to do with Max Evans.
Liz put the key in the lock. Her hands were shaking. She tried to take deep breaths, but it didn’t make the situation any better that he was standing behind her. Close...so close. The keys rattle as they hit the ground.
”Damn,” she mumered and bent down to pick up the keys. He had the same thought and they simultaneously reached for the keys, and their hands brushed against each other. Liz pulled her hand away, her breath caught in her throat at the electricity that surged through her body at the touch of his hand.
”Let me do that,” Max said softly as they rose.
Liz nodded and handed the keys to Max - careful not to touch him. The feelings were too strong. They were too familiar. It was inconceivable to her that after all these years, it still felt the same. The feelings were if possible even stronger than before their separation - and their hands had only lightly brushed against each other.
Max put the key in the lock, turned it and unlocked the door. He pushed the door open, and Liz stepped in.
”So, this is where I live,” she said. She held the door open for Max. He stepped in and looked around the place. The closest room was the kitchen, but he could see into a living room behind it as well. If someone had put him in this apartment and asked him whom it belonged to, he would have been convinced that it was Liz Parker. The apartment was filled with her. He could smell her all around him, and it awoke feelings deep inside of him that he had struggled hard to push away and bury.
”Sorry for the mess,” Liz said, closed the door and brushed past him. “What mess?” he thought absent-mindedly. He could tell that she was nervous. He wasn’t too calm himself. But he had always been able to hide his feelings. He didn’t let much show on the outside. If he had not been able to do that, he had probably been going around just like Liz was now - putting glasses in the sink and cleaning up ‘the mess’. If it was his house that is...
”It’s really nice,” he said.
”Thanks,” Liz said, making a paus in her cleaning up. She didn’t know what to do with her hands. Should she put them in her pockets - no, she didn’t have any pockets. Why hadn’t she chosen the jeans today? She reached the decision to fold her arms over her chest instead, and looked up to find Max looking at her - a small smile twitching at the corners of his mouth.
”What?” she asked, not being able to prevent herself from smiling as well.
”This is really weird, isn’t it?” Max said.
She felt relief flow through her. She had been afraid that she was the only one to feel like this. Max seemed so calm.
”Yeah,” she answered. ”Do you want something to drink...something to eat?”
”No thanks, I’m fine,” Max said with a reassuring smile. Liz felt herself relax more and more in his company. He always had the ability to calm her down, and he was still able to do that.
”We can sit in the living room,” Liz suggested.
”Sure,” Max said with a shrug of his shoulders and followed Liz into the living room. She sank down on the couch and he took a seat in one of the arm-chairs across from her.
”So, what have you been up to the last couple of years?” Liz asked lightly.
Max smiled weakly.
”Well, that’s six years,” he said. ”You want me to recap everything...in exclusiating detail?”
”No, just the basics,” she said.
”Well, I live in Los Angeles now,” Max said.
”Yeah...how’s that? Living in the city of fame and fortune?” Liz asked teasingly.
Max sighed. He couldn’t do this. He couldn’t sit here and pretend that everything was okay between them. Pretend that they were just old friends that met after six years. They had been in love - deeply in love. Max had planned to marry her, and then she had moved. And he hadn’t heard a word from her since.
”Liz, I can’t do this,” Max said.
”What do you mean?” Liz asked. But she knew exactly what he meant.
”I need to know, Liz. What really happened six years ago?”
Posted: Mon Feb 24, 2003 7:51 am
Liz closed her eyes and sank back in the couch.
”You know what happened, Max,” she whispered. ”I moved...and then you didn’t contact me.”
”Liz, I couldn’t contact you,” Max said. ”I didn’t have an adress. I didn’t even have a phone number.”
”I tried to contact you, Max. But you were never there. So I gave my adress and phone number to Maria. I know that she gave it to you. Why didn’t you call me?”
”The first month I barely left the house,” Max said. Liz was now telling him the same thing as Maria had told him earlier. That Liz had tried to contact him, but that he wasn’t there. ”I couldn’t have missed your calls.”
”It was always your dad who answered,” Liz said, ”and either you were not at home or you were in the shower.”
Max shook his head. What had really been going on?
”Why didn’t you call me, Max? Or write?” Liz asked again.
Max looked down at his hands, which he had folded in his lap.
”I thought you had forgotten about me...that you had moved on,” he said, avoiding to look her in the eyes by keeping his eyes locked on his hands.
Liz looked at him in confusion. He was afraid that she had forgotten abouthim?
”Max... I never forgot you. I thought you had forgotten about me.”
Max looked up and met her eyes. His confusion matched hers.
”How could it go so wrong?” Max asked her.
She shook her head.
”I don’t know. Some part of me always hoped that you would sooner or later contact me...but the more time that elapsed, the more I became to doubt what we had...our love. And then Maria told me that...that you had gotten married.”
She could see the guilt flash through his eyes, and that puzzled her.
”Liz...I’m sorry...” he began.
”Wait, Max,” Liz said, confusion written all over her face. ”Why are you apologizing? You thought that I had moved on. So you moved on too. It was only natural.”
”No it wasn’t,” Max said.
”What do you mean?” Liz asked.
”It was never natural to marry someone else...but you.”
She stared at him.
”I made a mistake, Liz,” Max said. ”The biggest mistake of my life was to marry Tess.”
Liz was speechless. All these years she had thought that Max was happy with Tess. Sure, Maria always told her that Max was miserable in that marriage. However, Liz had always thought that Maria exaggerated to make her feel better. Max had stayed in the marriage, right? If he was so miserable - why didn’t he divorce Tess?
”I thought you were happy,” Liz whispered.
”No,” Max said, his voice thin.
”Do you love her?”
He hesitated a moment before he answered. He didn’t want to say anything that could hurt her feelings. But he had always been honest with her, and he wasn’t going to start lying now.
”I don’t know,” he said truthfully.
She nodded slowly, letting his words sink in. She slowly covered her face with her hands. This was hard. This was really hard. Had she just lost six years of her life - six years that she could’ve spent with Max?
”Liz...?” His voice was gentle, but apprehensive.
”I can’t do this,” she said, her voice muffled by her hands.
Max looked at her. She was hurt. He had hurt her. What had kept them separated for six years, and keeping them miserable in the process, could have just been a big misunderstanding. And they were both destroyed by it. Their hearts were shattered and he wasn’t sure if they could ever be mended. Maybe it was too late.
”Liz..,” he said again.
He heard her sob, and she shook her head.
”No, Max,” she said. ”Can you please leave. This is too much.”
”Maria told me that you aren’t feeling too good. I don’t want to leave you alone.”
Liz removed her hands from her face and looked up at him, the moisture of her tears shining on her cheeks in the light.
”What?! What did she tell you?” She couldn’t help but feeling betrayed. Whatever Maria had told Max, she had no right to do that. Liz realized that Maria was in an awful situation, since she was a friend of both her and Max. But still. Liz told Maria things in confidence. She expected Maria to keep quiet.
”That..uhm...that your boyfriend cheated on you,” Max said.
”God,” Liz sighed and covered her face again. She felt embarrassed. She didn’t quite know why, but she did. She didn’t like the fact that she was sitting in her apartment alone with the love of her life - talking about how her boyfriend cheated on her. The whole thing made her feel like a failure. Like she couldn’t lead a normal life. That she had messed up. She had always worked hard to be the perfect daughter, and the perfect student. She had studied a lot, she had never smoked, and she hadn’t taken any drugs. She had high standards to live up to. The highest standards were created by herself, she knew that. Nevertheless, she wanted people to be proud of her. She hated to fail. She was still doing excellent in school. But her social life sucked. It sucked big times. Her family was shattered - she barely had any contact with her father. Her best friend lived in another state, and the one person that she had thought that she could always count on had cheated on her. Yes, it was official. Her life was a mess. And it just made it worst that Max knew. She didn’t want him to have that picture of her.
”Liz, it wasn’t your fault,” Max said as he could literally see her retreat into herself before his eyes.
”Please Max. I really don’t want to talk about this. Not with you.”
”Liz. You need to talk about it,” Max prompted.
”Maria and I have already talked about it,” Liz said.
She couldn’t look at him. She knew exactly what expression he had on his face. And his voice was just so soft. No one had ever been able to say her name like he did. No one would never probably do it either. It sent chills down her spine – chills of pleasure - but at the same time it struck a cord buried deep inside of her. The place where she pushed away everything that she wanted to forget – everything that was too difficult to deal with. Everything that had to do with Max. It had hurt too much. She had not succeeded in completely shutting him out. He had always been there – at the back of her head. In every step that she took in her life.
His voice was like velvet, and she just wanted to bury herself in it. Hide herself from the world and everything that was hard. But most of all, she wanted to cry. But she couldn’t let him see her cry. That would be another failure. Then she would once again announce that she was a failure. She was weak.
Max understood that Liz probably didn’t feel comfortable to talk about her boyfriend with her former boyfriend. He wasn’t even so certain that he felt comfortable talking about her and her boyfriend. But this wasn’t about him. It was about Liz, and she was hurting. He couldn’t bare seeing her hurt. Maybe they should really be talking about them . Maybe they shouldn’t be talking at all. Maybe he should just leave her alone. Maybe he should go back to his hotel and pack to leave for Roswell. And Tess. But his instinctivelly knew that this was where he should be. He was even more sure about being here right this minute – comforting Liz the best he could – than he had been about marrying Tess. Maybe that didn’t make any sense, but feelings rarely do.
“If you want me to leave, I will,” Max said. He didn’t want to pressure her, but he wasn’t going to give up so easily. “But I want to meet you again.”
Liz’s breath caught in her throat. No! He couldn’t leave. Her world would crash down all around her, covering her in the debris of her distraught life. She would be devoured by her own misery.
“No,” she whispered.
“You don’t want me to leave?” he asked softly, and moved to sit down beside her on the couch.
“Please stay...just for a little while,” Liz said, her voice cracking with the emotions she was struggling to keep in check.
“Do you want to talk?” Max asked.
There was a short pause.
“Can you just....hold my hand?” Liz asked.
A crack opened in that compact bundle where Max had repressed everything he felt for Liz, and the love he once felt for this girl started to flow over him. The emotions were so strong that he felt tears welling up in his eyes. He looked at her. She wasn’t looking at him. She was looking down on her hands in her lap, which were slightly shaking. He realised how much it had took for her to ask him that question.
“Sure,” he said, his voice unstable.
He moved his hand to her lap, and gently took one of her small hands in his. His heart was doing flip flops – fluttering like crazy – as their skins contacted. Her hand was so small. Her palm so soft. Her skin like silk. He laced his fingers with hers, and rested their connected hands on her thigh. It didn’t take him long to notice that she was crying. Her crying was soundless, but big tears were rolling down her cheeks. He didn’t say anything, he just squeezed her hand – trying his best to give her comfort by that simple act. He had known Liz since they were just children. He had been her best friend before they had moved on to a romantic relationship. He knew Liz Parker. Even if they had been separated for six years and a lot of things had happened, he was positive that she deep down was still the same girl he had adored and fallen in love with. That girl was proud. She considered tears as a weakness. She did not cry often, but when she did it was just a temporary release because the emotions had been too overwhelming. After that she repressed the feelings – she floated into denial. He had always tried to help her with that. To help her go through her feelings. They were much alike in that way. Max also had a tendency to forget to express his feelings. They knew each other from themselves. They had always understood each other, and been able to support each other. Without the other missing in their life they had loaded a lot of things up deep inside of them. Things that needed to be released, dealt with and healed. He was going to be there for her on her conditions. He wasn’t going to force her to talk – she would talk when she felt ready.
So they sat there. In silence – both trying to deal with their conflicting emotions and thoughts. Both holding on to that hand that was their link to the other person, their lifeline. So...Tess decided to declare her existence. “Damn,” Max thought as his cell phone started to ring. Why hadn’t he turned that off? He shot Liz an apologetic look, but she had turned her head away from him – staring into the wall. He was just about to ask her if she was okay, when the phone rang again. He cursed whoever it was that decided to call him right now. He entangled his fingers from Liz to be able to haul up his cell phone from his pants, and pressed the connect button.
“Yes,” he answered, his tone revealing his annoyance.
“Where are you?”
Max sighed. Anyone but her. Anyone but her could’ve called. Why did it have to be her?
“I’m at the hotel,” Max said. “I was just about to go down and get something to eat.”
“When are you coming home?” Tess said slightly accusing. “I miss you!” Only Tess could sound accusing one second and wailing the next.
“I don’t know,” Max said, and glanced at Liz. She had moved away from him now, as if she felt that she was intruding on his personal life. A life that she wasn’t part of any longer. “It looks like the conference is dragging out.”
“What? It was only going to be for a weekend,” Tess whined.
“Please, can we talk about this later?” Max begged. He really didn’t feel comfortable talking to his wife – lying to her – as Liz was in the same room.
Tess sighed frustrated.
“Okay. Call me later! I love you,” Tess said.
“Yeah, me too,” Max answered absent-mindedly – his attention once again focused on Liz. He pressed the disconnect button.
“When are you going home?” Liz asked, standing up.
“Uhm...I don’t know,” Max answered.
Liz didn’t want him to go home. She felt that she needed him. He was the one who could offer her the support she needed. But she knew that it had been Tess on the phone, even though Max had obviously been very careful not to mention his wife’s name in the conversation. It hurt her. That he had a wife, and a life she didn’t know anything about. That she wasn’t a part of. Even though they weren’t together or anything it felt just as when she had found out that Matt had cheated on her. It probably felt even worse with Max. Her emotions were so conflicting inside of her. She had no control. She felt powerless. So she reacted with the only thing her mind could still do – to protect herself from getting more hurt – she got angry.
“Why did you lie to her?” Liz asked Max.
Max was looking at her in confusion. She could see that her outburst puzzled him.
“I-I didn’t- Liz, what’s this about?”
“Even if you’re marriage is on the rocks for the time being, Max, you can’t just treat her like that,” Liz said.
“Like what?” Max asked, his body stepping into defensive mode. He had learnt that from being married to Tess.
“Why can’t you just tell her that you’ve met me and that we were talking?” Liz asked.
Max laughed. The laugh dry and sarcastic.
“You don’t know Tess like I do,” he said. “She would freak. She would get on the next flight here, after she had accused me of cheating on her – just by looking at you. She doesn’t really approve of you, Liz.”
“She doesn’t even know me. How can she form an opinion about me based on one meeting?” Liz asked – referring to that one occasion when they had met in the hallway of the school at Tess first day.
“It’s because of who you are,” Max said.
“Because of what you mean to me,” Max said.
“How- What – How does that have anything to do with what Tess thinks about me? I’ve been gone from your life for the last six years!”
“She still considers you as a threat,” Max said.
Liz was so annoyed at this point that she couldn’t even understand what she was irritated about. She couldn’t see straight, and she couldn’t follow Max’s hints.
“Tess is your wife, Max. She has you. Why can’t she be satisfied with that? We aren’t in high school anymore!”
“She knows, Liz. She might be a lot of things – but she’s not stupid.”
“She knows what?”
“That I never stopped loving you.”
The thoughts were swirling around in Liz’s head.
“You can’t just say that, Max,” she whispered brokenly.
Max had to admit that he hadn’t planned on telling her that, but now he had. He couldn’t take it back. It had left the secret parts of his mind and floated over his lips, now slowly building a wall between them. Under other circumstances that would have brought two people together, but the feelings were too high strung – too blinding. Liz moved away from him - and it wasn’t only her body that moved away. She was shutting down - hiding her feelings from him. Under his gaze, her face closed and she became unreadable. Max had never seen that before. Tess never did that. Tess was emotional and impulsive. She reacted on every emotion without thinking. She never shut down her emotions. Max had never seen Liz do that either - not so completely. And he knew that he had lost.
”Max, can you please leave,” Liz said. Her voice was hard and formal - emotionless.
Max searched her face, but he didn’t recognize her any longer. He couldn’t figure out what to say to make things better. So he stood up and moved towards the door. As he reached the door, he stopped and turned towards her.
”Liz. Don’t think that this is over. Now that I’ve finally found you again - I’m not going to give you up.” With that he walked out of her life – for now. A heart-wrenching sob ripped through her chest and she sank to her knees, her whole body trembling with the violent sobs cursing through her body.
Max closed the door behind him and walked over to the hotel bed. He sank down on the edge of the bed. He felt empty, and so lonely. His mind was a turmoil of confusing emotions. During the course of only a few hours his heart had been ripped out of his chest and repeatedly trashed about. It was so severely damaged by now that he doubted it would ever completely heal again. It all felt like a surreal dream. It had been a weird experience to say the least. For six years he had unconsciously longed after hearing her voice, touch her skin, look into her eyes. After awhile it became an unattainable thing concept. A dream. Something that didn’t have any foresight of being fulfilled. He had stopped believing that he was actually going to see her again. And then the next thing he knew she had been there. Thrown into his life, and he had been caught off guard. He didn’t have a transcript ready - he didn’t have a key to what to say or how to act. However, the greatest problem was probably that he wasn’t able to really get his mind to grasp the concept that she was really there. That he could actually hear her voice. That he could actually feel her skin. And that he could disappear in her eyes again. But that’s the thing about dreams. They carry a certain quality that make them inconceivable...and sometimes they should just stay a dream. In dreams everything is simple, and you can make out everything the way you would like it to be. It gets wrong when the long-time dream suddenly turns into the harsh reality. Dreams and reality don’t mix. They don’t blend. They are like water and oil. They are more on opposite sides of each other. And that’s when everything goes to hell. That’s when the wrong decisions are made, and the wrong things are said. That’s what happened today. He messed up, and now he wasn’t so sure he could ever fix it again.
With a sigh he laid down on his back on the bed. And at the same time that he was saying those things that should not have been said, he couldn’t shake the feeling that was almost over-powering him. The feeling that he should be holding her in his arms....kissing her. He groaned frustrately and pulled a pillow over his face. Why did everything have to be so complicated? Once again..why hadn’t he tried harder to contact Liz? Why hadn’t he tried to get messages through Maria? Well, he had a good explanation to all of those questions. He had been insecure and immature. But most of all - he had been afraid. Afraid to get hurt. The human brain is a funny construction. It’s built up by all these control centers and neural pathways that are to control the body - make our body move according to our will. However, somewhere in that brain is also the emotional areas. The areas that maps our emotions. Many of these emotions have biological roots, and are govern by our instincts. The instincts are a response to stimuli - they don’t have to be learnt. We are born with them, and they are almost impossible to ignore and even more impossible to get rid off. Humans have an instinct - a survival instinct - to protect itself from harm. That includes all harm - even the psychological harm. When a person feels threatened and she feels that she might get hurt she acts defensively. The options on how to do that are countless - and individual.
Max decided that it was better that he stayed away from Liz. If he pushed her as far away from himself as he possibly could, he could not get hurt. If she had found another guy as soon as she came to Washington D.C. he didn’t want to know about it. If she had gotten over him, he didn’t want to know about it. His heart was safer with the ignorance. His heart was safer if he just waited for her to call him. For her to take that step. Because you wouldn’t want to embarrass yourself by calling her and have your suspicions confirmed. That she had never really loved you and that a couple of miles had made her realize that. Max closed his eyes and his mind started to drift to the event and the decision that had played a decisive part in his life.
”Max, come in here a sec.”
He turned around and found his father poking his head out through the door frame. He didn’t really feel up to talking to his father. He was really tired, and besides - five months had passed and still no word from Liz. With a sigh, he sank down in one of the arm-chairs in his father’s den.
”Gosh, Max. You can at least act enthusiastic about talking to your old man,” his father teased.
Max rubbed his forehead.
”Sorry, dad. I’m just tired.”
”Yeah. Well, this ain’t gonna take long,” Mr. Evans said. ”Max... I’ve been thinking. Ever since Liz left...”
Max head shot up, and he looked at his father - interest flaring in his eyes.
Mr. Evans cleared his throat and shifted in his seat. Max eyed him suspiciously. Why was he nervous?
”Ever since Liz left,” Mr. Evans repeated, ”you’ve not been yourself, Max. I’m worried about you. Maybe...maybe you should start dating again.”
”What?” Max asked in disbelief. Since when was his father sticking his nose in his social life? ”Are you like my personal date matcher now or something?”
”No, Max. No,” Mr. Evans said. ”I’m just concerned about you. You should have some fun...She was only a girl, Max.”
”Oh yeah, here it comes,” Max thought. The never-ending chat about that there were other fishes in the sea - and that he shouldn’t let one girl stand in his way of having fun during his teens.
”I understand that you cared much about her. But you will find another, Max.”
Max just stared at him - speechless. This was ridiculous.
”You have to start living again, Max. She...she has moved on, Max.”
Max felt like his father had just hit him in the stomach.
”And you need to move on too. She isn’t coming back.”
Max kept his gaze fixed on the floor. He wasn’t going to even open his mouth. Everything he said would either come out wrong, or it would be brushed off by his father as some teenage thinking. His father couldn’t just understand that teenagers were capable of falling in love - deeply in love. Parents always seemed to think that the majority of your feelings during adolescence concerned temporary crushes.
”What about Tess, Max?”
”Tess Harding?” Max asked in disbelief and looked up at his father.
”Yes, she’s a nice girl. And she’s been here on several occasions - she’s a close friend to the family already. She’s always had a good eye for you, Max. You’ve just been to distant to notice.”
And the thought was implanted in Max’s head. It nourished and grew. His mind turned the thought around to its advantage. So that it could be used somehow. Unconsciously, Max started to lean onto Tess. It was good to be able to close off your real feelings and focus on something else. He was probably using Tess for his own selfish reasons in the beginning. To be able to subdue his hurt and his own insecurities. To feel appreciated...and wanted. The problem was that Tess was more than willing to let herself be used. So the original reasons of Max showing any sort of interest to Tess, rapidly turned into other reasons. He grew fond of her as a friend...and then things progressed. He still wasn’t 100 percent clear on how he ended up marrying her. But it felt like the right thing to do. They had been dating for about two years, and it was a good idea to be able to hide his hurt and focus on his marriage. However, what we hide under the carpet is sooner or later bound to be discovered and revealed. It can be kept hidden for too long. Soon the carpet wont be able to hide everything any longer, and things are to seep out.
He closed his eyes, and his troubled mind found its refuge as it drifted further and further into the forgetting mists of sleep. He was brought back to the reality he tried to hide from by his cell phone. Damn! Hadn’t he turned that off yet?
“Hello?” he said in the speaker.
“You were supposed to call me,” Tess’s voice said on the other end of the line.
“Hi Tess,” Max said, while he absent-mindedly wondered when they had started to skip the normal greeting phrases.
“Where are you?” Why was she so interested in knowing where he were the whole time. It was like he was on probation and she was his damn keeper. He felt himself getting worked up again. There were just too many emotions seething under the surface of his skin. And they needed to get out.
“Still at the hotel,” Max answered. “Look, Tess. I’m going to call and check the flights okay.”
“Good,” Tess said, and then her voice softened. “It’s just that I miss you, Max. You’ve never been gone for this long since we’ve been married.”
Max felt a pang of guilt at her admission. He was lying to her, and hearing her say that she missed him made his lie so much worse.
“I know, honey. I miss you too,” Max said. But he couldn’t fully silence that small voice in his head that was drowning him in doubts.
“Will you call me and tell me when your flight will arrive?”
Her voice was warm now, and Max almost recognized the girl he had married. The fighting and bickering had grown an almost integrated part of their marriage, and had worn them both down. Maybe it had only been good for them to spend some time apart. Maybe they could fix their marriage.
“Sure,” Max said, the conflicting emotions inside his chest threatening to tear him apart.
“I love you,” Tess said.
“Love you too,” Max said, and felt his chest tightening. Somehow he came to think about Liz. In some twitched way it felt as if he betrayed her right in that second.
Liz tried really hard to focus on the letters on the page in front of her. Why were they floating together like that? She began to question if she really had learnt to read yet. The letters didn’t make any sense at all. They didn’t form any comprehensive words. She had been staring at the same page for about twenty minutes now, but she realized that she would probably not become more literate if she kept staring at the letters. A knock on the door ripped her out of her reveries and she turned her head towards the door. Was it him? She couldn’t help but hope. Even though she had wanted him to leave earlier – she had bitterly regretted that ever since. She hadn’t even gotten his cell number. She stumbled up from the couch and walked towards the door – the nervousness returning to permeate her whole being. She removed the latch and unlocked the lock. Slowly she opened the door – not daring to look in the peep-hole in the door out of fear that it wouldn’t be him. As she opened the door she was met by a face she hadn’t wanted to see in a long time.
“And here we go again,” Max thought as his cell phone once again rang. He had always considered cell phones to be good. You could reach almost anyone no matter where you were, and you could always be reached. But right now he cursed their existence. It was probably only Tess again.
“Hello,” he said in the speaker, his voice etched with boredom and irritation.
He bolted up from the bed at the sound of her voice. His chest tightened at how broken it was.
“Liz? Is that you?” Of course it was her! He would be able to recognize her voice anywhere. But she wasn’t answering him. He could faintly hear her sobbing, but it sounded distant. “What’s wrong?”
She still didn’t answer him, and his worries accumulated. Something was terrible wrong. He could feel it in his bones.
“Liz, please talk to me,” Max pleaded. He needed to know that she was okay. He felt his already broken heart shatter into even smaller parts as he heard her voice.
“I’m so-so-sorry Max. I shou-shouldn’t have called,” she stuttered – her soft and warm voice only a memory to the raptured voice he heard now.
“Liz, I’m glad you called. Please tell me what’s happened,” he prompted – his voice warm and gentle. He tried his best to shovel all his feelings to the side and focus completely on comforting her. On soothing her.
“I’m sorry,” she said again and then a click echoed through the line. To say that he was shocked would be an understatement, as his brain grasped the concept that she had hung up on him.
She was sitting in one of the four corners of her living room. The lights were off – all but one lonely small lamp standing on the table beside the couch. It’s efforts to light the apartment were failing. It was too small – and the apartment was too big and too dark. But she liked the darkness. Then she could hide in her own self guilt and her self blame. She was so embarrassed – she had failed...again. Then she heard a knock on the door.
“No...please,” she murmured and huddled up even more. She brought up her hands to cover her ears as a second knocking was heard – this one even louder.
Okay, he was going to have to kick in the door. He knew that she was in there, that she hadn’t gone anywhere. Don’t ask how he knew – he just had this feeling. He couldn’t understand why she wasn’t opening. That’s when that damn cell phone rang again. This was getting really preposterous. He hauled up the cell phone and turned it off. Then he knocked again.
“LIZ? Please open!” he half-yelled through the door. It was eating on his nerves that the only thing that stood between him and Liz was a wooden door. He waited a few seconds – a few very long seconds – before he stepped back a few steps and then flung his muscular body against the door. It cracked a little in its frames. Fortunately for Max the door wasn’t made of solid oakwood. It only took him one more plunge and the door flew open. He found himself standing in a dark apartment, his breathing strained from his antics. He eyed the apartment, trying to locate her. Without stopping in his frantic search after her, he stretched out his hand behind him and felt after the switch. His hand found its destination and a fraction of a second later the apartment was basking in the soft light from the ceiling lamp. It didn’t take him long to localize her hunched up figure in a corner partly covered by the couch. As he made his way over to her, he partly registered how the earlier orderliness of her apartment was not any longer. Furniture had been moved, things had been spread out. What had happened here? He came to kneel in front of her. Her legs were pulled up to her chest. Her head was hidden behind her knees, her hair fanning out - blocking her face completely from his worried eyes. He reached out his hand to remove her hair, but quickly drew it back again as she shrank back from his touch.
“Liz?” he said slowly, his voice marked with insecurity.
Liz felt her heart stop. It was him! It was him! Her first instinct was to throw her arms around him and bury herself in his chest, but then she stopped herself. She couldn’t let him see her like this. No, she had to do this by herself.
“Max...what are you doing here?” she asked, her voice cracking.
“You called me,” she heard his voice say. And it was so gentle. She wanted to get lost in his voice... No! He couldn’t be here. He shouldn’t be here.
“I don’t know why I did that,” Liz said, and cursed herself because she couldn’t keep the emotions in her voice from revealing the emotional chaos inside of her. “You can go back to your hotel again. You...you...need to fix a flight.. so that you can get home to Tess.”
Max stared at her in disbelief. Did she really think that she could get rid of him so easily? She was sitting curled up in a corner - her apartment completely dark – obviously crying. And she tried to convince him that he should go..and book flights?!
“Liz..,” he said gently and reached out his hand to remove her hair once again. She still shrank away somewhat from his hand, but this time he didn’t pull back. He slowly and carefully put his fingers in her soft hair – still as soft as he remembered it to be – and gently brushed it back from her face. As her tear streaked face became visible to him, he sharply inhaled.
Posted: Mon Feb 24, 2003 7:52 am
She hid her face against her knees, as the concealment her hair had provided was removed. She winced as she heard him gasp. It was that bad, huh? But his hands were soon prompting her face up again, and she found herself looking into his eyes. Max’s expressive eyes couldn’t hide the hurt his soul experienced as he saw her face.
“Who did this to you?” he croaked, and Liz could see that he was struggling to keep his anger in check. As long as she could remember he had always had an iron control. He had been able to control most of his feelings. She didn’t know how he had changed during their separation, or if it was just seeing her in this condition that made him that way – but he seemed to have problems even getting some of that control back.
“Max...” she said and slowly shook her head. “It’s nothing. It was just-“
“Who did this to you?” he repeated. His voice was still gentle, but very determined and she could hint a streak of anger in it as well.
She swallowed, and without breaking the eye contact her whispered voice provided him with the answer: “Matt.”
Hatred flashed in his eyes, before it was repressed. Maybe he still did have that iron control...
“Your boyfriend?” His voice was strained as he stared at her.
She nodded slowly, starting to get a little afraid what he would do.
“His not my boyfriend any longer, and he didn’t mean to-“
“Don’t say that, Liz! He hit you! There’s nothing to justify that!” His voice was forceful.
Liz looked down, and could feel new tears springing up in her eyes.
“He-he was drunk,” she whispered.
“That’s no excuse,” Max said again, his voice softer as he saw that she had started crying again. “What happened, Liz?”
“I made him do it,” Liz whispered – her whisper breaking with the guilt that had infested itself in her heart as a big swollen lump.
“What?” Max said, not being able to stop his voice from rising. He was going to kill that guy!
“I threw him out of his home. He lived here, and now he didn’t have a home and he came back and he wanted his things and he said that I had made him cheat on me and he’s probably right ‘cause I could never completely focus on hi-“
“Shh, shh,” Max hushed. The words were pouring out of her, making no sense at all, blending with the tears that were streaming down her face. He cradled his face between his hands and lightly forced her to look at him. “Listen to me, Liz. Neither of this is your fault. Matt is a damn...son-of-a-bitch. He had no clue of what he had. No one... no one should treat you like that. You are the purest and most beautiful person I’ve ever known. You always try to see the good in people. You have a trust in people that never ceased to amaze me – and I’m positive that you still have it. Don’t even for a second think that any of this is your fault. Whatever happened between you two doesn’t give him a reason to sleep with someone else...and it certainly” Max took a deep breath to force down the feelings of rage that were on the verge of erupting in his chest “it certainly doesn’t give him the right to hit you. There’s no defense for that. You Liz, did nothing wrong! Nothing!”
She snuffled and nodded.
“Thank you,” she whispered.
Max looked at her and he felt the rage simmer down. He suddenly wanted to cry along with her. Without any shadow of a doubt he closed his arms around her and pulled her towards him. She unconsciously moved her legs to be able to feel as much of him as possible. Whatever control she had been able to hold on her tears until now, was completely washed away as she felt his safe arms envelope her.
God, I love him. The thought exploded in her mind. She realized with such intense clarity that almost scared her, that she had never stopped loving him. She pulled him closer to her – clinging to him. Max held her tightly – feeling the scent of her shampoo surround him, and feeling her soft body mold against his. He could feel the sobs still raking through her body. He was confused – more now then ever. All he wanted was to comfort her... He couldn’t lie to himself. He wanted to feel her lips against his. But that would make him just as much of a scum as Matt. He couldn’t sit there and preach that what Liz’s boyfriend had done was wrong when at the same time he himself was strongly considering to kiss Liz – and hence cheat on his wife. Because even if there were many that didn’t consider a kiss to be cheating – he wasn’t one of them. A kiss meant too much. A kiss was too personal. His thoughts still reeling, he held on to her for dear life – afraid that this was the closest he would ever get to her.
Max cringed at the sound of the cell phone, and he was quickly awake. He reached for his cell phone and shut it off – but not before he could see her number on the display. Tess’s. He had not been quick enough to turn off the sound. He could feel Liz awakening beside him. He turned onto his side, so that he was now facing her. They were in her bedroom – but fully clothed. Nothing had happened. Liz had cried herself to the brink of exhaustion – probably crying for much more than just Matt. Max had gently led her to her bed before sleep had finally claimed her. Max had sat on the edge of the bed, watching her sleep. Well, he thought that she had been asleep, but as he rose to leave and go to the hotel – her hand reached out and stopped him. She had startled him and he had jumped a little. With her eyes only half-open she begged him to stay, and he could feel her fear. Fear that he would return. The bastard that did that to her. Max looked at her, as she slowly awoke. His hand gently traced the traces of Matt’s punishment over Liz’s eye. The area of her eye and the upper part of her cheek was covered with a large bruise. Its colors were going from sickly yellow to brown and black. He had thought about putting some ice on it, but he hadn’t wanted to wake her.
She opened her eyes and found herself face to face with him. It wasn’t a dream. He was really here. After everything that had happened, he was still here to comfort her. He smiled softly, and she could feel his fingers lingering at the side of her cheek.
“How are you feeling?” he asked softly.
“Much better,” she answered. “Though it still stings a little.”
“Do you want me to put some ice on it?” he asked, and she found herself fall into the warm safety of his eyes. She nodded absent-mindedly. His eyes – or more precisely, the feelings he expressed through those eyes – were making her all weak. In a good way. Like they always had.
“Okay,” he said, and rose into sitting position. Liz followed him with her eyes. She was afraid that if she would let him out of her sight for too long he would disappear. Max swung his legs over the edge of the bed, and with one lingering glance over his shoulder at her, he walked out of the room and into the kitchen.
Liz closed her eyes and listened to the sounds of him moving around outside in the kitchen. She mentally tied a picture to every sound, trying to follow his movements with her eyes too and not only her ears. But mostly it was probably just her fear that he would leave that kept her senses sharp. Even though she knew that he wouldn’t just leave, the fear of it was so strong that it suffocated everything else. As she heard the sound of his steps coming closer she opened her eyes so she wouldn’t miss him. There eyes met, and she couldn’t help but gasp at the feelings that cursed through her body. She couldn’t quite explain those feelings, but they were strong and undeniable.
Max swallowed and forced down the emotions that he felt when he saw her. Her hair was tousled by sleep, and she looked more beautiful than ever. Even with the ugly bruise on her cheek.
“Here,” he said and walked up to her. She closed her eyes, and he could hear her sharp intake of air as he put the cold bag with the ice against her eye and cheek.
“Cold?” he asked, smiling.
She opened her healthy eye and smiled back at him.
“Yeah,” she said.
“Did he hurt you in any other way?” Max asked. He didn’t really want to ask, since he feared the answer. But simultaneously he needed to know.
She shook her head in negative and he relaxed.
“When are you going home?” she asked, and he felt the distress returning to him.
She wished that he could say ‘never’, but she knew that wasn’t so. Maybe in another world – another reality.
“My flight leaves at noon,” he answered.
She swallowed, and nodded slightly.
“But I don’t want to leave you here,” he said.
“Max,” she said and mustered up a weak smile. “You have to go home. Tess is waiting for you.”
“Yeah, I know. But that wasn’t what I meant. I don’t want to scare you, Liz, but...what if he comes back?”
Liz felt her chest constrict. Yeah, what if he came back?
“You can’t defend yourself against him,” Max continued, hating to throw it in her face like that.
“I will report him to the police,” Liz said.
“Yeah, you should,” Max said. “And I will go with you.”
“Max...that’s not necessary,” Liz said.
“This is what I’ve been thinking,” Max said, deliberately ignoring her protest. This was for her own security. He would be damned if he let her get hurt again. “We call the airlines and book a flight for you to Roswell, and then we go down to the police station and report Matt. Then we go back here and pack.”
“Max...,” Liz said slowly.
“Liz...,” Max retorted.
Liz rolled her eyes, but quickly stopped that since it hurt.
“And where am I going to live in Roswell?”
“With Maria, of course,” Max answered.
“Why are you doing this?” Liz asked.
“What do you mean? Liz, you can’t stay here. He might come after you again.”
“What about my classes, Max? I have lectures to attend, you know. I have a lot going on here, actually. I can’t just leave.”
She wasn’t quite sure why she was fighting him. It wasn’t like she wanted to stay here, and have Matt come after her.
“Come on, Liz,” Max said. “A couple of days will not do much difference. And if I know you right, you’ll have no problem to catch up on what you’ve missed when you come back.”
“So you mean I’m going to live with Maria....and Michael?”
Max couldn’t help but smile at that.
“Yeah, the plan was that you should live with the all-American-sweethearts of Roswell.”
“Right,” Liz said, smiling as well. “And how do you know that Maria will let me live there.”
“Because I know Maria,” Max said simply. “We’ll call her later...I guess we are forced to warn her in some way.”
Liz nodded, a no-kidding smile plastered on her face. So she was going to Roswell...and the only thing that didn’t sound good with that was that Max wouldn’t be there with her.
The door flung open and Liz found herself looking into a pair of warm green eyes.
“Hi Maria,” Liz said softly. Maria wrapped her arms around Liz and gave her a tight hug.
“Liz, I’m so glad you came,” Maria whispered to her. Max had called two hours ago, telling Maria that Liz was coming. He had shortly briefed her on what had happened. As Max had called her, Maria had been on the verge of hysterics. The night before she had received a phone call from a very upset Liz Parker, who had begged her to give her Max’s cell phone number. Maria hadn’t been able to get much more out of Liz than that she had met Max and she needed to talk to him. After that weird phone call, Maria had paced the floor in her house – almost wearing down the carpet – until Michael had made her call Liz again. However, even though Maria tried to reach Liz the entire evening – she had only been greeted by a busy tone. She found out from Max later – which she had to scold him about a little – that he had put off the receiver, preventing any phone calls from disturbing Liz when she was sleeping.
Liz smiled weakly as Maria let go off her. Liz was wearing sunglasses – the black glasses partly hiding the ugly bruise. However, some of it was visibly under the edge of the sunglasses.
“What did that bastard do to you?” Maria asked, and before Liz had a chance to react she found herself without the sunglasses. Maria gasped, and her arms went around Liz again in a second hug.
“Oh my God Liz. I’m so sorry! What kind of creep does that?!”
Liz was desperately trying to get her attention.
“You’re killing me...I can’t breathe,” Liz joked, although there was some truth in it.
“Oh...sorry,” Maria said and let go off her. “Here, let me take that,” Maria reached down and picked up one of Liz’s suitcases, and turned her head in the direction of the house, “Michael!!”, and turned to look at Liz with an apologetic smile, “Oh gosh Liz! Come on in! I’m standing here ranting, and you are probably freezing!”
Liz giggled. It was good to be back.
“Maria. We’re in the desert! It’s not cold!”
“Well, anyway. Welcome to our humble home!” She made exaggerated movements with her arms, to show off the apartment.
“Well, thank you!” Liz said, British accent and all, and stepped past Maria into the house.
“Michael!!” Maria yelled again, and Liz couldn’t help but jump at the sound of her voice. She certainly had forgotten how it was to be around those two. Pretty loud...
“Yeah, yeah! I’m coming!!”
Michael’s voice seeped into them from some far away place in the house.
“He’s in the back – doing something to his motorcycle,” Maria said, and waved it off as nonsense with her hand.
“Really? Does he still have that one?”
“Well, I have to let him have some fun, right?” Maria said.
Liz giggled. It certainly was good to be back in Roswell.
Liz looked behind Maria and saw Michael walking towards her. Even though six years had passed since she saw him last time – he had barely changed. The most drastic change about him that she could make out would be his hairstyle. When they had been in high school he’d had pretty short hair – but it was longer on the top of his head, to be able to be manipulated into spikes. Now the spikes were gone. But the clothes were the same – loose-fitting – and that half-crooked smile was also very much Michael.
“Hi Michael,” Liz said. To her surprise, Michael pulled her into a hug. Now, that certainly was something that was different about him. He had always abhorred showing affection openly.
“We’ve missed you here,” he said as he pulled back, and Liz could see in his eyes that he really meant it.
“I’ve missed you too – all of you,” Liz said – her mind helplessly drifting to one specific person with dark hair and gentle eyes.
“Have you filed a report against him?” Michael asked, nodding towards Liz’s bruise.
“Yeah, Max helped me.”
“That’s nice of him,” Maria said, giving her husband a pointed look that didn’t go Liz unnoticed.
“Yeah, Max always was the nice guy,” Michael said, starting to move further into the house.
“Do you want something to eat, Liz?” he asked.
“Thank you, but I’m exhausted,” Liz said.
“How does a warm shower and a soft bed sound?” Maria offered.
Add a Max Evans and it sounds like heaven, Liz thought, but answered, “That sounds great.”
Max inserted the key in the lock, and with a small sigh (that he wasn’t even conscious of himself) he pushed the door open.
“Tess! I’m home!”
It didn’t take her long until she was in his arms.
“Hi,” she said, pressing her body up against his.
“Hi,” Max said, not being able to stop the feelings of complete faultiness about the whole situation.
“I’m so glad you’re back,” Tess whispered. “I’ve really missed you.”
“Yeah, I’ve missed you too,” Max said gently and stepped out of her embrace. He picked up his suitcase and made his way towards the bedroom.
“What do you want to eat tonight?” Tess’s voice seeped into him as he entered the bedroom. He stopped dead in his tracks – staring at the bed. Their bed. As in his wife’s and his bed. As in Tess’s and his bed. He felt a small sense of nausea float up in his throat. And for not the first time he cursed the decisions he had made in his life after Liz had exited it. Her smell was all around him – Tess’s smell, and he closed his eyes and tried to push back all the feelings that tried to overtake him. He had been able to bury his feelings deep down for so long, but being with Liz had started a slow but gradual detonation of the lid he had put on those feelings. His marriage was a facade. Hell, his whole life was facade. But he had got himself into this mess...and it was about time he cleaned it up.
“Honey?” Tess said, suddenly standing in the doorway, eyeing him worriedly.
“Tess, I need to talk to you,” Max said, making his decision right then. This was it. He wasn’t going to lead this pretend life any longer. He realized that it was probably hurting Tess more to lie to her – to pretend that he was in love with her – than to tell her the truth. She was not a bad person. She deserved the truth. It wasn’t that he didn’t love her – it just wasn’t the right kind of love. And even if Liz had never stepped into his life again, he had for long known that this marriage was doomed. It had been creaking at the joints even at their honeymoon. Liz was just the person that had snapped him out of it – made him face the naked truth and now it was just about time he did something about it. For both his own and Tess’s sanity’s sake.
“What is it?” Tess asked, frowning slightly at her husband’s nervous twitching.
“Let’s go into the living room,” Max suggested.
“Why?” Tess asked suspiciously.
“Tess...please,” Max sighed. Oh yeah, that was going well already...
“Fine,” she muttered. She didn’t like where this was going. She didn’t like the sound of his voice when he said that. To be brutally honest, she actually never liked when somebody told her that they needed to talk. It always ended badly – for her. She sagged down in one of the arm-chairs and looked expectantly at Max – one eyebrow arched.
Max looked around the room as if he was seeing it for the first time. The floor was in dark tile, the walls were white, the furniture was white, the curtains were white, the carpet was white. Everything so bleak – bland. There was no color – no life. He had heard somewhere that different parts of someone’s house represented different parts of that person’s life. Well, then he wasn’t so sure he wanted to hear what the living room represented. He was surprised that he hadn’t realized it before. But this wasn’t a home. It was more like an office.
“Are you going to stand there all day, or are you actually going to say anything?” Tess asked.
Max sighed and sat down in the couch. His eyes were fixed at a point in the wall in front of him, unable to look at Tess. She was eyeing his profile – getting increasingly tensed up by his behavior. Max took a deep breath and turned to look at his wife.
“Ah, he speaks,” Tess said sarcastically.
Max took another deep breath. He wasn’t going to let her provoke him into a fight. He was going to tell her this calmly and easy – because he had a feeling she would explode later anyway.
“I met Liz.”
”What?!” Tess practically screamed and rose from the arm-chair.
Max grimaced at her reaction. Yes, this was going to be like a walk in the park!
“I kind of bumped into her in Washington,” Max continued.
“What?” Tess repeated, anger in her eyes. “You slept with her, didn’t you?!”
Max looked at her, his eyes unreadable to her.
“No, Tess,” he said tiredly. He couldn’t say he was surprised at her accusation. He knew her far too well.
“I don’t believe you,” Tess said. “That bitch ha-“
“Don’t you ever call her that![/b]” Max said fiercely, anger burning in his eyes, as he rose from his position.
“Oh, so now you’re defending that tramp,” Tess said bitterly.
Max advanced on her, the muscular body that she had found so sexy now towering over her menacingly.
“Stop that, Tess,” he said lowly, his voice warning.
“Or what...you gonna hit me?” Tess mocked, glaring at him. She wasn’t going to let him intimidate her. She was somewhat taken aback when she saw the flash of hurt in Max’s eyes.
“I would never do that,” he said, hurt that she would even say that, “and you know that, Tess.”
Tess stared at him, and she could feel her anger simmering down.
“What happened?” she asked.
Max took a deep breath, some sense of relief flowing into him as he took a step back from her. It seemed as she was going to let him talk.
“We just talked. She’s been having some problems with her boyfriend.”
”Oh, how convenient,” Tess said sarcastically.
Max glared at her.
“I don’t understand you,” he said, shaking his head in disbelief.
“What?” Tess bit out defensively. “Can’t you see that she’s manipulating you, Max? She’s always been able to turn you into mush by simply snapping her fingers. You do anything for her like a love sick puppy.”
“Why are you doing this?” Max asked hurt.
“[i]I’m not doing this, Max. It’s you. I’m your wife, Max. You should listen to me –not her!!”
“Why can’t we just have one normal conversation?! Is that just too much to ask for?!”
“It’s always been her. If you loved her so much then why didn’t you marry her instead?!” She saw the flash of hurt in Max’s eyes and continued. “Oh right. You were too afraid. You were afraid to get hurt!” The disgust was evident in her voice. Max was just sitting there. On some level she was right, and he couldn’t help but feel that he deserved it. “You’re just a little boy, Max. You always was a little boy. You believe in fairy-tales. Well, let me tell you one thing, Max. There’s no such thing as unconditional love.” Max looked up at her – hardly believing his ears. Did she really believe that herself?
“There is no such thing as soulmates! Wake up, Max!! This is real life, and you just have to start dealing with real life and real problems, and stop pretending!!”
“Yes, Tess, you’re right,” Max said slowly, his voice low and even.
Tess stared at him, the anger seething under her skin, as a hint of surprise was settling over her features. He was admitting that she was right?
“I have been living a pretend life, and now it’s time I stop,” Max continued.
“It’s about time!” Tess said, but the force and fever of her words had dissipated. She was staring at the man sitting in her couch in her home. The man she had in fact married. Now he was a stranger. She vaguely remember this stranger from a time six years ago. This man had determination in his eyes. The hopelessness and tiredness in his eyes were replace by something else.
“I want a divorce,” Max said.
For once, Tess was speechless. Her mouth dropped, her eyes grew wide.
“What do you mean?” she asked, her voice sounding distant to her.
”Tess... I think it’s time we stop pretending. This isn’t working-“
“It’s because of her, isn’t it?” Tess asked, her voice growing a little in intensity with every word.
“Tess, this is about us,” Max said. “How many days in a row pass that we don’t fight?”
“Several,” Tess said.
“None,” Max corrected. “How many times do you give me a morning kiss?”
“What? I do that every morning,” Tess said defensively, but her voice trailed off as she started to think about it. What if he was right?
“Maybe once a month,” Max said. “How many times do we hold hands when we go someplace?”
Tess kept silent, swallowing hard – feeling tears stinging her eyes.
“Never,” Max voiced, and watched Tess numbly sit down in the arm-chair staring at him.
“Tess, I want you to be honest with me...do you love me?”
Tess stared at him, as if she never had seen him before. And in a way she hadn’t. She didn’t recognize him. The man sitting in front of her now was the man she had set out to conquer six years ago. That was the man who believed in happiness, and eternal love. That was the man who loved Liz Parker. That was not the same man she had begun dating. The man sitting in front of her now had disappeared along with Liz Parker. In a way Liz had never truly lost him. She had always had him – the real him. Max Evans was only Max Evans if he had Liz Parker by his side. Tess felt tears brimming at the edges of her eyes, as she tried to answer his question. Did she love him – or had he only been an easy victory?
“Yes, I do,” she answered.
Max nodded. “But do you really love me?”
Tess looked into his eyes. Those beautiful amber eyes, and she realized that she had to let him go. She had to let him be free so that she could be free. She wasn’t happy. She had never been truly happy. Something else was waiting for her out there – in the real world. It just wasn’t Max Evans.
She shook her head slowly, feeling a numbness spread in her body. However, it was the strangest feeling, because even as she felt her previous secure existence slipping through her fingers, some small hint of hope was forming in her heart – hope of endless opportunities in the future.
Max nodded at her acknowledgment to his question and closed his eyes, leaning back in the couch. He had said it. He had finally done it. He felt the deepest sense of relief flow through him. He opened his eyes again and looked at the woman sitting in the arm-chair across from her, silent tears running down her cheeks. For the first time in ages he felt compassion for her. He rose, and pulled her into his arms.
“Tess, we are both worth something better,” he whispered to her. He felt her nod against his chest, her tears wetting his shirt. He knew deep in his heart that it was going to be okay. Tess was going to be okay. They both knew that this marriage was destroying them, and they both knew that they needed to get out of it. The lock had been unlocked – now it was only to open the door...
Posted: Mon Feb 24, 2003 7:53 am
He was slowly becoming aware of his surroundings as he left the dreamland behind him and reality made its pull on him. Urging him to wake up. And for once he actually didn’t object to it too much. It only took him a fraction of a second to realize what had happened the other day, and what that meant. As he opened his eyes, and tried to accustom himself to his surroundings the relief he never thought he would experience was tickling his mind – making him delirious with happiness. He started to stretch his legs, only to have their movements hindered by the arm-rest of the couch that had served as his bed the night that had passed. Tess had been pretty upset yesterday, after the first waves of shock had simmered down, and her crying and yelling had finally ended with her locking herself up in the bedroom and he hadn’t seen her since.
Max yawned as he rose to a sitting position, swinging his legs over the edge of the couch. He lazily scratched himself on his stomach and yawned once again. He decided that he needed to go for a run. Running had always been his resort to clear his minds – to find a system to those confusing thoughts. It brought a sense of peace – where he could wish that he was somewhere else. That his life was not what it was.... Now he didn’t have to pretend any longer. Even though there was still papers to sign, he realized that he had been out of this marriage for a long time – if he ever had been in it to begin with. He couldn’t deny that he had feelings for Tess, but they hadn’t made it easy for themselves. They couldn’t see eye to eye. They couldn’t talk without yelling. They couldn’t show love without hurting. It had been a sick marriage when he came to think of it. He walked into the small room adjacent to the kitchen, where the washer and drier were located, and retrieved a pair of jogging shoes from a small closet. He took a T-shirt and a pair of shorts from the drier, the washing detergent swirling around him as he made his way back to the living room to change.
“Liz!! It’s for you!” Maria’s voice rang through the house.
“Dammit Maria!” Michael yelled back. “Haven’t you ever heard of legs?! Why don’t you go and get her instead of yell?!”
“I could say the same thing to you,” Maria said, smiling as she brushed past her husband and gave him a peck on the cheek.
Liz smiled at the couple as she passed them on her way towards the telephone. Sure, they had one of the most unique relationships – but somehow they manage to make it work.
“What’s up?” Michael asked Maria suspiciously. It wasn’t really a regularity that she didn’t fight back.
“Max is on the phone,” Maria stated.
Michael arched his eye brows.
“Yeah,” Maria said as they both focused their eyes on Liz and saw her pick up the phone. They couldn’t hear what she was saying, but they didn’t miss the large sappy smile that remained glued to her face during the two minutes she was on the phone.
Maria frowned as Liz put down the receiver. That was a short phone call. She had expected Liz and Max to talk for hours and hours. Maybe Tess had interrupted the whole thing. But was Max really so dense that he called her from his house, when Tess was there as well?
“What happened?” Maria asked Liz as she stepped into the living room. The big smile on Liz’s face puzzled her.
“Max is coming here,” she said.
“What?” Michael said.
Maria stared at her best friend. Was she being serious?
“He called from his cell phone, he’s about ten minutes away,” Liz continued, her eyes sparkling.
“Why is he doing that?” Michael grunted.
Maria was too stunned herself from lecturing him.
“What about Tess?” she asked.
“He didn’t say,” Liz said, her smile faltering a bit at the thought of Tess. “He was being all secretive.”
“Well, that’s Max,” Michael said, shrugging his shoulder and rose from his position beside Maria on the couch.
“Yeah, I guess so,” Liz said absent-mindedly.
“Liz...” Maria said slowly, eyeing her friend suspiciously. “Are you keeping something from us?”
Liz shook her head.
“No,” she said.
“Liz...” Maria said again, her tone warning Liz of keeping something from her. “I’m your best friend, Liz. It’s not legal to keep secrets from me!”
Michael huffed, and walked off into the kitchen. Liz giggled.
“Not legal?” she asked as she sank down beside Maria.
“According to the best friend regulations, that is strictly prohibited;” Maria stated, as if it was the best-known fact in the world.
“Right, I forgot about that,” Liz said, in mock seriousness.
Maria couldn’t help but drop her all serious facade and they both started to giggle. It was good seeing Liz so carefree – actually laughing for once. And during all those years that had elapsed, she could’ve paid a lot of money to see the sparkle that Liz had in her eyes right now. The sparkle that Max Evans certainly had put there.
“So, what did he say?” Maria said, excitement oozing off her body.
Liz looked innocent, and with a big smile she shook her head. “Nothing.”
“Ahh, come on Liz,” Maria wailed. “Please, tell me. Pretty pretty please!!”
“Nothing, Maria,” Liz said again, smiling. “That’s the whole problem.”
“Huh?” Maria said, watching Liz’s smile slide off her face.
“I’m so afraid that it’s bad news,” Liz confessed.
“Did it seem as if it would be bad news?” Maria asked.
Liz started to chew on her bottom lip. “Not really.”
“Then what are you worrying about?” Maria asked.
“You know Max, Maria. He’s good at hiding his emotions. What if he is coming to tell me that Tess is pregnant or something.”
Maria couldn’t help but scrunch her noise.
“Ewww, Liz! That would mean that they had to-“
Liz put her hands over her ears. “No, please Maria. Don’t finish that sentence.”
“Okay, Liz. Why would he come all the way here just to tell you that he knocked Tess up?”
Liz removed her hands – the nervousness starting to take its tool on her.
She sighed. “I guess you’re right.”
“And he’s coming here in ten minutes – wait” Maria glanced at her watch “- in seven minutes.” She gave an excited squeal – and Liz couldn’t help but get infected with her excitement. Max was coming here.
“Oh my God, Maria,” Liz exclaimed.
“What?” Maria asked worriedly.
“Max is coming here!”
Maria looked at her as if she was crazy. “Yeah...duh...”
“He can’t see me in these clothes,” Liz continued.
Maria giggled. “Oh, nothing worse. Well, girlfriend. I believe we have to see just what you’ve got in that big suitcase of yours – otherwise we always have my wardrobe!”
Max pulled up on the driveway to Maria and Michael’s house, and killed the engine. His hands remained on the steering-wheel, as he tried to draw oxygen into his body as an effort to cool his nerves by taking deep breaths. In some ways it was good that he and Liz just had bumped into each other that first time in the hospital, then they hadn’t been forced to go through all these numbing feelings. His heart was pounding, his palms were sweaty. He had probably never been this nervous in his whole life. His thoughts momentarily went to his house in LA, where Tess was. He wondered if she had left the bedroom yet. The door was still locked as he came back from his run. It was still locked when he came out from taking his shower, and it remained locked as he ate breakfast. He went up to the door some times to try to hear something. But he was only met with silence. It was as if there wasn’t anyone on the other side of the door. He had reached the decision that he should go and visit Liz when he had been out running. He missed her so much. He just couldn’t stay away any longer, and still it had only been about twenty-four hours since he last saw her. Before he left the house, he had knocked softly on the bedroom door. Still nothing. So he had left her a note, saying that he was out but was going to come back later that evening and that she shouldn’t wait up for him if he was late.
He could’ve written that he was going to go and see Liz, but somehow he didn’t found that fair. The ignorance was better in this case. He didn’t think that Tess would be too happy to know that he had gone away to see Liz – only the morning after he had asked her for a divorce. Tess and he still had a lot to discuss, but Max felt that Tess wasn’t ready yet – especially not since she wouldn’t even unlock the door. And Max needed to see Liz. If only just for a minute. He was like an addict, and Liz was his fix.
“Liz!” Maria yelled in a sing-sang voice. “Max is here!”
Liz came out from Maria and Michael’s bedroom, her hands nervously straightening out the black shirt Maria had put on her. Her heart was pounding in her chest, and her legs felt weak.
“He is?” she asked, and had to clear her throat due to the hoarse quality of her shaky voice.
“He’s just sitting out there, though,” Maria said, pointing out the window – her eyes never leaving the sight of Max in his rental car outside.
“He is?” Liz asked again, unconscious of the fact that she had only used two words during their whole ‘conversation’.
Maria turned around and her face shine up as she took in Liz’s appearance.
“You look beautiful, Liz,” she said. “If Max doesn’t drool on the carpet, I’ll seriously think there’s something wrong with him!”
Liz giggled, feeling some of the nervousness float off her. “Thank you, Maria. I really needed that confidence boost.”
“Hey, that’s what I’m here for,” Maria said, while eyeing Liz’s nervous twitching of her hands. She kept lacing her fingers together only to disentangle them again and then repeat the whole ordeal once again. Maria put her hands over Liz’s – stopping her movements.
“It will be fine. Okay? Remember Liz. I’m suppose to be the nervous one. You, on the other hand, is the freaking goddess of calmness. If anyone can do this it’s you.”
Liz inhaled deeply, trying to find that calmness Maria seemed so convinced she was in possession of.
“It’s only Max,” Maria said, and suddenly Liz couldn’t find her calmness any longer. God, it was Max! The man she had loved her whole life. The man she had tried so hard to forget. God, had she tried! But she could never stop loving him. He was the love of her life, and he always would be. She was afraid of the future – not because it was a dangerous future, but because there was a slight possibility that Max would be a part of her future. And that scared her. It was the first real thing that her life had contained since she had left Max that day six years ago. She really didn’t want to mess this up. She didn’t want to lose Max again. She had been with him, and then she had been without him. And she really didn’t want to be without him ever again.
“Hey! Are you in there?” Maria asked, knocking lightly with her knuckles against Liz’s forehead.
“Yeah,” inhale “Yeah,” exhale, ”I’m fine.”
That’s when the sound of the doorbell ripped through the house.
“Well, I guess that’s loverboy,” Maria said, moving her eyebrow up in a flirtatious manner. Liz didn’t notice. Her feelings had frozen when she had heard the doorbell. It might had comforted her to know that Max was just as nervous standing on the other side of the door.
The waiting seemed like an eternity. Were they even home? Yeah, Max. You called – remember? They answered. They’re home. They’re home. Those words were running through his head as the door opened and Maria became visible to him.
“Hi Max,” she said cheerfully. A little bit too cheerfully, Max thought while eyeing Maria suspiciously. She was acting like a mother wanting to get her daughter married. Well...
“Is Liz here?” Max asked bluntly.
“Hi Max,” Maria said again and handed him her manicured hand. “I’m Maria. You might know me as your close friend.”
Max couldn’t help but smile lightly. “Sorry Maria. Hi!” He pulled her into a hug, but froze as he saw her over Maria’s shoulder. She was beautiful. Light was coming in from the window behind her, making the contours of her body glow. She truly looked like an angel. An angel sent from heaven.
Maria instantly knew that she had lost Max to Liz-world and she released her grip on him.
“Go get your woman,” she whispered in his ear before she let go off him completely. Max felt blood rush to his head, the blush a result of Maria’s comment.
“Hi Liz,” he said softly, walking towards her.
“Hi Max,” Liz said.
Maria looked at them. They seemed frozen in time – just staring at each other.
“And here we go again,” she mumbled as Max and Liz once again fell back in their old habits of just spending hours and hours eating each other up with their eyes. “I leave you alone, kids. But play nicely now, okay?”
With that Maria walked out the front door to join Michael who had positioned himself in the garden, and was for some bizarre reason laying in the sun. Michael wasn’t really known for enjoying sun-bathing, but hey – anything to escape Maria’s escapades of dressing Liz up like she was one of her dolls.
“I was a little surprised that you called,” Liz said slowly, her nervousness having been washed away by the calmness and security she found in his eyes.
“I missed you,” Max said, and almost tentatively brought up his hand to lightly caress her cheek. Liz leaned her cheek in the palm of his hand – letting his soft touch and warmth flow into her. Strengthening her in a way that no other touch ever could’ve done.
“I missed you too,” Liz said, closing her eyes.
Max couldn’t keep his eyes off her. His eyes followed and traced her every feature – feeling that he had more freedom to do so when she had closed her eyes. He didn’t want to embarrass her by having him staring at her. He didn’t know that Liz was highly aware of his scrutiny. She could feel his warm and intense looks caressing her face – making her feel loved in a way that she had never felt before. It was even different from the way she had felt when they had first been going out. All those years ago, when they had actually been together. She was different now, and so was he. They were both more mature, and by their experiences they had learnt to appreciate life in another way. Taking something for granted was not a possibility any longer. They had lost far too much to let any time go to waste. They could probably stand there forever. At least until the hunger and thirst reminded them to see to their bodily cravings. But for now nothing else mattered. They had each other. Something they had been cheated on for so long. Too long.
Liz swallowed as the reality was trying to break through the dreamy moment. She had to bring it up. Otherwise it would continue to bug her.
“Max,” she said, and opened her eyes. She almost lost what she was about to say as the intense love in his eyes captured her. He moved his hand to her hair, threading his fingers through it – feeling its softness that he had longed for so much. How could someone long for someone’s hair? Well, that was just a tiny fraction of what Max felt for Liz. He loved her. Everything about her. And he could finally let himself feel that. The feelings he had buried so deep were gradually crawling forward, a little more every time he met her. By the simple act of moving his fingers through her hair he prompted her to speak further. They had always had a silent communication – and not even time had been able to wreck that.
“What about Tess?”
Max hand was still threading through her hair, his thumb softly stroking her cheek, but she could feel the change in him immediately as his wife was mentioned. The only way she could explain it was that he grew colder. It was as if his warmth cooled off. But it wasn’t as strong reaction as last time she had brought Tess up. Something made her think that something had changed since they last time they saw each other.
“We are getting a divorce.”
Tess opened her eyes to the bright world, and grumbled. The light was hurting her eyes, and was far too optimistic to suit her mood. She had the worst headache, and her eyes were sore from all tears. Her body was exhausted. Emotionally depleted from all the emotions that had coursed through her body since Max had announced that he wanted a divorce. It was so many emotions that she couldn’t even begin to name them. They were all messed up – she was messed up. She couldn’t think straight. On one hand she was furious at Max for doing this to her – to their marriage. She was angry with him for trying to dictate her life. Telling her what to do with her life. Because that was practically what he had done. On the other hand she knew that Max had done the right decision. When he had told her that he wanted a divorce, she had felt the first real emotions since...well, she couldn’t even begin to think how long it had been since she had felt a feeling that truly had affected her. But these feelings scared her. She was afraid of what they meant. And she didn’t like to be afraid. Fear was a weakness. If she was afraid then she lost her sense of control. She couldn’t let that happen. She could feel the fury well up inside of her – the only emotion that felt familiar and that she welcomed with open arms. It was easy to get angry – then you didn’t have to be hurt. She avoided looking in the mirror as she walked up to the bedroom door to unlock it – she didn’t want to be faced with her appearance right now. She was probably looking as horrible as she felt.
But it wasn’t until she found the note with Max’s handwriting that she reacted in blind fury. Did he really think that he could just leave her here alone the day after he had said that he wanted a divorce. Did he really think that it would be that easy?! Well, then he thought wrong!! She wanted him to feel the same hurt that she was feeling right now!! She rushed into the den to retrieve her telephone book – tears of fury running down her cheeks. She picked up the phone and had to re-dial the number three times before she could press in the buttons without hitting the wrong ones in her frustration.
“Mr. Evans? Hi, it’s Tess.”
”Tess? Are you okay?”
“No,” she inhaled deeply to compose herself – careful only to let her anger be heard in her voice, and nothing else. “Your son just took out a divorce on me.”
“What?!” Mr. Evans cried in disbelief. “Are you serious?”
“Your son,” Tess continued, her words dripping with disgust, ”has been cheating on me.”
“What?!” Mr. Evans said again. He couldn’t believe it. His son wasn’t perfect, and he knew that he and Tess had suffered some marital problems the last couple of years, but he would never believe that his son would resort to relieving his physical urges with someone else.
“That’s right,” Tess continued. Now it was time to put on the real show, and she let her tears break loose. They were real tears – she had just forced them down. “It’s that...” sob “bitch Liz Parker.”
“Liz Parker?” Mr. Evans asked again, wondering if he had heard that correctly. “The Liz Parker who used to live her in Roswell? The Liz Parker who used to date Max?”
“Yes,” Tess sobbed. “She and Max are probably screwing each other as we speak!”
“Tess, calm down,” Mr. Evans said. “I’ll talk to Max, okay? We’ll work this out.”
Tess sobbed miserably. “Okay,” she said, making her voice thin and victimized.
“I’ll call you later,” Mr. Evans said.
“And then what happened?” Max asked, curiosity marking his features.
“I thought that I should retaliate,” Liz said, smiling wickedly. They were sitting across from each other at the dinner table. They had just finished eating dinner – and Michael and Maria had gone bowling. As both Max and Liz had protested and said that they didn’t need to leave on their behalf Maria had firmly told them that Michael absolutely loved bowling, even though Michael had grunted and muttered under his breath the whole way out of the apartment. Max and Liz was slowly catching up on each others’ lives, and Liz was at the moment telling Max about her encounters with some of her professors. There had been this one professor who had been a slightly rude and ignorant to other people’s opinions. When he was lecturing he used to take sips of water from the student’s water bottles that they had on their desks – without asking. Of course students stopped bringing water into the lecture hall – but Liz wasn’t really going to accept that, so as the lecturer had taken a sip from her bottle she had come up with a plan for revenge.
Max laughed lightly at the mischievous look in Liz’s eyes and leaned back in his chair. Crossing his arms over his chest, he said: “I have a feeling he was about to regret he ever messed with Liz Parker.”
“Aha,” Liz said, nodding. “So, my water bottle – I filled it with vodka instead.”
“What?” Max said in disbelief – trying to picture the innocent Liz doing that. Liz smiled, almost proudly.
“And like all other days – in the middle of the lecture he felt in the need of some water. Since I was the only one with a water bottle, he took mine.” Liz started laughing. “You should’ve seen his face! He actually spurted the vodka out.”
Max laughed along with Liz. “Yeah, if his mind thought that it was water I guess it must have tasted really awful.”
Liz laughed even harder at the memory, nodding her head at Max’s statement.
“I’m guessing he went ballistic,” Max said, enjoying to see Liz light up from the inside from her heartfelt laughter.
“No,” Liz said, gasping for air between her fits of laughter, now drying her eyes with her hands, “he actually started to laugh about it too. He was just so shocked...but we all had a really great time – everybody was cracking up.”
“Did he learn a lesson?” Max asked, arching his eyebrow.
“Oh yeah,” Liz said. “He never drank from any other student’s bottle ever again.”
Max chuckled – shaking his head in disbelief to what this woman had been up to.
The sound of the signal of Max’s cell phone broke through the dining room – its presence not welcomed in the comfortable mood.
“Excuse me for one sec, Liz,” Max said apologetically.
Liz nodded, and Max rose to go out in the living room and take the call.
“Max Evans,” he answered.
Max and his father didn’t have the greatest contact, but Max would never fail to recognize his father’s deep voice.
“Hi dad. What have I done to earn this phone call?” he asked lightly, already fearing what this was about. His father wasn’t exactly big on making social calls, and Max was guessing that this certainly wasn’t one of those.
“I just talked to Tess,” his father said.
‘Great’, Max thought.
“Really?” he asked, feigning ignorance.
“She was really upset. Talking about you and her getting a divorce.” Mr. Evans’s voice was calm and even, but Max could easily read the disappointment. He wasn’t angry – his father rarely got angry. But he was disappointed. Max thought that it had been better if he had screamed at him instead. That would have been easier to deal with than feeling that you had let your father down. That was one of the reasons why he had stayed in the marriage. He had wanted it to work. To prove to the world that at least he could do that correctly.
“Yes, we are getting a divorce,” Max said, his voice low.
“Why, Max?” his father asked.
“Why?” Max repeated. “We were miserable, dad. Haven’t you noticed – it seems as everyone else has.”
“That doesn’t give you the right to cheat on her,” his father said and the disappointment was so evident now that Max felt as if his father has just kicked him in the stomach.
“I haven’t cheated on her,” Max said, the anger that was so close in reach nowadays easily floating up into a reachable distance. “Did Tess tell you that?”
“I can’t believe you did that, Max.”
“I didn’t-“ Max could feel his voice growing louder – and it didn’t help that his father was cutting him off like he was a little child that was to be lectured for his wrong doings.
“I never thought that about you, Max. I thought you were an honorable man. I thought the commitments you made to Tess meant a little bit more than to just through away immediately as you encountered an obstacle.”
“The commitments we made meant a lot to me! I’ve been trying to get our marriage to work, but it doesn’t!!”
“How could you leave her there at home, alone? She needs you. You can’t just abandon her like she’s worth nothing to you. She’s still your wife!”
“Don’t you think I know that!” Max retorted, almost yelling now as the frustration to try to make his father understand was taking its tool on him. At the same time he was trying to handle his own feelings of guilt. The feelings that his father seemed to zoom in at – attacking the weak spots of his decisions.
“Are you at Liz Parker’s house?”
“No, I’m at Maria and Michael’s house,” Max answered, suddenly feeling very protective of Liz. He was not going to let his father drag Liz into this. But he had a feeling he was about to.
“Is Liz with you?”
“Dad, what do you want?!” Max demanded.
There was a pause – the silence tense between them.
“I thought I raised a good man. A man that respects women. I’m disappointed in you Max. Go back to your wife and fix this mess!!”
Max didn’t know what to do, the least what to say. His father infuriated him so – but at the same time he was right. He shouldn’t have left Tess. He should’ve fixed everything with her before he went to Roswell to visit Liz.
“Don’t you have anything to say for yourself?” his father asked.
“There’s more to this than you’ll ever know,” Max said – his voice hoarse with emotions. “You never understood me, dad. You never understood my life. If you had then you would’ve understood that I could never truly love Tess. Not the way you wanted me to!”
“Don’t you dare blame this on me, Max! You made your own decisions! I never forced you to marry Tess! That was your decision!”
“How come Liz never reached me on the phone?!” Max said. He didn’t really know where that had come from. The thought had just popped up in his head and before he had a chance to take it back it had been out of his mouth. The silence he was met by from the other end of the line confirmed his suspicions that it wasn’t only due to coincidence that Liz’s and Max’s contact with each other had been cut off so effectively.
“Liz never called.”
“Yes, she did,” Max said – his words forceful. He could feel he was onto something here. Something that could’ve been one of the causes that had started to build that stone wall between him and his father.
“You are married to Tess, Max. She is your wife, not Liz. You have to forget about Liz. She was just a teenage crush. You have to let go off your past. You never managed to let go off that part of your past. Dammit – you’ve never truly lived in the present anyway!!”
That’s when Max disconnected the call. He couldn’t listen to that bullshit anymore. His father wasn’t even trying to listen to him. Let alone understanding him.
He closed his eyes and tried to force down all the feelings that were threatening to overtake him. Then he felt her hand on his back.
“Hey, are you okay?” she asked, concern in her voice.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” Max croaked, the feelings very hard to cover as he heard her soft voice.
“Max...look at me,” Liz begged.
“It was just my dad,” Max said without turning around. Liz walked around him then. He was almost standing in the middle of the room – his agitated unconscious movements during the phone call bringing him to that place – so it wasn’t difficult to move around to face him. He was stubbornly staring at his feet.
“Hey,” Liz said softly, putting her hand under his chin and with both movements and voice prompting him to look at her. Her heart broke as she saw that his eyes were shimmering with unshed tears.
“Max...” she breathed, and without thinking she put her arms around him, and pulled him towards her. His barrier broke at her warm and caring touch and as he leaned his chin on her shoulder and pulled her closer to him, warm tears started to slide down his cheeks. She didn’t say anything. She just lent him her support and mentally assured him that she was there and that he could let everything out. They stood like that for almost ten minutes – neither of them aware of the time that had passed – Max holding Liz close to his body, drawing strength from her.
“Who was it on the phone?” Liz asked carefully as she could felt Max’s sobs subside. She didn’t want to upset him again – but she really thought they should talk about it. Max had been keeping up this brave facade, but inside he was obviously falling apart.
“My dad,” Max answered, his voice still emotional from the tears. And Liz could feel his grip tighten on her again.
“Tell me,” she begged softly.
“It’s nothing,” Max said, slowly releasing his grip on her. As he pulled out of her embrace, she looked at him. His eyes were swollen from the tears, and he just looked so sad. Devastated. She brought up her hand to brush away some of the tears that had lingered on his cheek.
“It’s not nothing,” she objected softly but firmly. “You gotta trust me, Max.”
“I do,” Max said slowly, looking her straight in her eyes.
“Then tell me,” Liz said. “Let me help you.”
Max focused his eyes on Liz’s chest – his eyes not really registering anything as he began to speak.
“He feel like I’ve disappointed him,” Max said, and choked on another sob that seemed to come out of nowhere.
“Does he know...about the divorce?”
Max nodded. “Tess called him.”
Liz guided his eyes up to hers by once again putting her fingers under his chin.
“Max, he’s in shock. As is Tess. You have not disappointed your father. You are all upset, and you say things you don’t mean.”
“All my life I’ve been so afraid of disappointing him,” Max said. “And now I’ve finally succeeded.”
“Max, stop it,” Liz said. “Stop beating yourself up. He wants you to be happy, he just thinks that being with Tess is what makes you happy.”
“He doesn’t want me to be happy,” Max said, meeting her eyes without flinching. “He deliberately made us lose contact.”
“What do you mean?” Liz asked, confused about the sudden partial change of subject.
“Don’t you think it’s a little weird that we were able to miss each other all those times?”
“Of course,” Liz said.
“When I asked dad about it today he didn’t say anything. He must have done something, otherwise he wouldn’t act so guilty.”
Liz searched his face. Could Max’s dad really do that? She had always respected Mr. Evans. Thought that he was a good man. Could he really have gone that far to keep them apart?
“I think you should call your dad, Liz. I think he had something to do with this,” Max said, and watched as Liz eyes darkened.
She shook her head slowly, a determined look on her face.
“No, no. I don’t want to call him. I don’t talk to him anymore,” she said.
“We have to sort this out, Liz,” Max said. “Our fathers might have ruined our lives, and they should know what they’ve done!”
Liz looked into his eyes and recognize that determined fire that defined the Max she once knew. Wanting to put the past behind her, eager to start her new life, she nodded slowly.
“Okay,” she said.
Posted: Mon Feb 24, 2003 7:54 am
“Hi Mom, it’s me...Liz,” Liz said, her voice sounding distant to her own ears.
“Liz?” Her mother couldn’t hide the surprise in her voice.
“Yeah. How are you, mom?” Liz asked. It was such a rare occasion that she called her mother. It was usually the other way around, because Liz didn’t want to risk her father picking up the phone. And lately, her mother had called less and less frequently.
“I’m just fine. I’m so happy you called Liz,” Mrs. Parker said. “I’ve missed you.”
“I’ve missed you too,” Liz said, a faint smile on her lips. “Listen, mom. Can I speak to dad?”
And it grew quiet.
“Dad?” Mrs. Parker repeated, disbelief in her voice.
“Yeah, I need to talk to him about something. Is he home?”
“Yes honey. He’s home. Hold on a moment and I’ll get him for you,” Mrs. Parker stuttered.
“Thanks, mom,” Liz said and felt her apprehension grow as she waited.
There were some moments of silence, before she heard the faint rustling of somebody picking up the receiver.
It was the first time in nearly two years that she had heard her father’s voice, and it stirred so many old feelings inside of her.
“Yeah, it’s me,” she answered, her voice barely above whisper. But her father heard her.
“Nice that you called, Liz,” he said, and Liz didn’t miss the underlying meaning of the somewhat sarcastic tone in his voice.
“I met Max,” Liz said – going straight to the point.
“Max? As in Max Evans?”
“Yes, dad. Max Evans,” Liz said, feeling anger that she rarely displayed, fighting its way through her strictly held control. She felt Max’s hand then, taking her hand. She turned her head and met his eyes. Their was so much assurance in them – assurance that she could do this. She squeezed his hand, and closed her eyes in an effort to summon the power that would prevent her from hanging up on her father. After all these years she realized that she never really had forgiven him. Even though his reasons for moving them to Washington D.C. were noble, she had never really been able to let it go. He had destroyed her sense of home. He had barely been at home - focusing a lot of his time to get his new business up and running. His new restaurant had been a success, but his family life had been a failure. As he watched the money roll in, his wife watch her family disintegrate in front of her eyes without her having any power to stop the inevitable from happening. Liz had pulled away. The first chance she had gotten on escaping, she had grasped in relief.
Relief to be out of that house, relief of never having to experience her father’s mood swings when he actually came home after a long and hard day at his work. Her mother had tried to explain to her that he was stressed out. That he wasn’t himself. But that didn’t make the pain in Liz go away. The few words they had uttered to each other in the evenings were either about homework - if she was doing well or not - or about her friends. If it was something that her father had taken the time to investigate, it was Liz’s friends. Even though Liz during countless fights with her father had tried to make him understand that Max never actually committed a felony, her father was adamant in his opinions that she was too naïve and gullible to chose friends correctly. That she was too trustworthy of people, and couldn’t see them for what they really were. It had hurt her so much that her own father couldn’t trust her to make her own decisions. He didn’t trust her judgment at all. When she had finally packed her bags and left, her father had still believed that he had only tried to protect her and that she was foolish not to understand that.
And he didn’t make it easier for her to repress her feelings of anger now...
”Didn’t I tell you to stay away from that man?!”
”Yes, you did. You told me that a thousand times, but you have no right to dictate my life any longer!”
”Can’t you see that he’s only going to hurt you? Wasn’t he married, by the way?”
His tone was dripping with accusation - the underlying meaning of his question strong.
”He’s getting a divorce,” Liz answered.
”Ah,” came the sarcastic reply. ”And he’s already found himself a new woman even before the divorce is filed?”
”I’m not gonna talk to you about Max’s personal life. He made his own choices, and he is trying to straighten out his life!”
”Tell me, Lizzie. What happened to Matt?”
Liz was fuming. How could he be so condescending towards his own daughter?
”Yeah, you always liked Matt didn’t you! Well, let me tell you what a nice man Matt was. He cheated on me, only to beat me up just because I was the reason he cheated on me - according to him. You know what, dad, you were always on my back for being a bad judge of character...look how well you did!”
For once, her father was actually speechless. He never wanted his daughter to get hurt. Even though he was tough towards her it was only because he tried to teach her, so that she wouldn’t get hurt! He loved her so much, didn’t she know that? All he ever wanted was to protect her.
”I’m gonna call that son-of-a-bitch right now!” Mr. Parker said firmly.
Liz snorted. ”Now it’s like that, huh? A second ago you were probably ready to tell me that I should marry him!”
”He can’t hurt you and get away with it!”
”No?” Liz asked incredulously, tears starting to slide down her cheeks. ”Should you be able to hurt me and get away with it?!”
”Hurt you?” her father asked, and Liz could hear the confusion in his voice. She felt Max squeeze her hand, giving her emotional strength only through that simple caress.
”Every time I got something less than an A on a test you were telling me how I wasn’t going to succeed in life if I didn’t do better than that. Every time I got a new friend you would tell that person all these things about me, so they soon after that mysteriously vanished from my life!” She was sobbing now, but her voice was firm. ”Every time I met a new guy who was interested in me you made me believe that he was only interested in me for my body!”
”But that’s the truth!” Mr. Parker said, but his voice wasn’t accusing - it held a tinge of bewilderment.
”How can you say that?!” Liz cried. ”Do you know how it feels like to practically every day get to hear how worthless you are, how stupid you are, how unwanted you are?!”
”I was only trying to protect you! Reality sucks and you have to be on top all the time to succeed in the real world. You have to be strong-”
”How do you think that hearing that I was stupid made me strong?!”
”It’s better that you heard it from me than from your employer.”
”GOD!!” Liz cried out. ”You’re my father!!! You’re suppose to love me-”
”I do love y-”
”You’re suppose to tell me that I’m the most beautiful daughter in the world. You’re suppose to say that I’m intelligent, and attractive!!” Liz’s voice caught in her throat and she broke down in heart-wrenching sobs. The receiver fell to the floor as Max wrapped his arms around her - silently giving her the strength and support she desperately needed. She clung to him, her deep crying bringing forth all deeply buried emotions - all surging through her body at once. The receiver was left on the floor, the person on the other line momentarily forgotten, but far away from being forgiven.
Maria giggled as Michael’s lips nuzzled her ear.
”Michael,” she scolded lightly. ”Liz and Max are in there!”
”I don’t care,” Michael said against her neck, his voice vibrating against her skin. God! She was soon going to lose it. If Michael didn’t stop right now, she would lung herself at him and force him into the bedroom! But all her feelings of desire and elevated emotions were quickly drained out of her system as she opened the door and saw Liz and Max standing by the couch, arms around each other. If it wasn’t for the fact that the whole room was vibrating with anguish and soft sobs echoed through the house, Maria could’ve mistaken the embrace for something much better.
”Oh my God,” she said, stepping out of Michael’s arms. ”What happened?”
”Liz called her dad,” Max answered softly, his eyes momentarily drifting to Maria. Maria couldn’t see Liz’s face, as it was buried in Max’s shoulder - but she knew that something really bad had happened for her best friend to get so upset.
”Why did she do that?” Maria asked, and almost immediately regretted the way that sounded. ”I mean, she hasn’t talked to him in years - why now?”
”Maria, can we please not talk about this now?” Max asked. ”Liz needs some time alone.”
”Sure, Maxwell,” Michael said, taking a firm grip around Maria’s waist as she seemed incapable of making a move on her own accord, and took her into the bedroom.
A few minutes later, Liz’s sobs subsided and she moved away from Max slightly. But she couldn’t step away from him entirely. She needed his arms around her. She needed the love she felt from him wrapping her up like a warm blanket.
”Feel better?” Max asked as he looked at her with concern in his warm amber eyes. She nodded her head slowly, still too emotional to use her voice.
”I’m sorry to have to ask this, Liz. But I think we should talk to our fathers some more. There are many things that we don’t know about yet... But if you can’t, then we won’t do it.”
”No, I think we should do it,” Liz said, her voice cracking as her thoughts still lingered on all the bad memories the talk with her father had brought forward. ”We need to straight everything out. I can’t live with this anymore. I’ve tried to repress it, but it’s tearing me apart.”
”You’re an incredible and strong woman,” Max said, admiration shining in his eyes. The sincerity to his statement made new tears pool in Liz’s eyes and she covered her face in his shirt again, which was wet from her earlier tears.
”Thank you,” she whispered against his warm and safe chest. ”You don’t know how much that means to me.”
”I think I’m starting to understand,” Max said, hugging her closer. He could feel the familiar sense of guilt building in him when he thought about everything she had to endure, and what she probably had experienced during the time they dated. His bad conscience was already screaming at him for not seeing that Liz needed him then too, even though she never showed it outwardly.
”Are you sure you’re gonna be all right?” Max asked, voicing his concern as he softly caressed her cheek with his hand.
”Yeah,” Liz answered with a brave smile.
”Max, I’ll be fine,” Liz said firmly - the sobbing woman reduced to only a memory.
Max didn’t look convinced, but he removed his hand from her cheek with a small sigh. He knew that he needed to go home before Tess caused an even bigger mess than she already had tried to cause by calling his father.
”Call me if you need me,” Max said.
”Do you think that’s such a good idea?” Liz asked. ”I don’t really want to talk to Tess.”
”Call me on my cell,” Max said.
”I’ll be fine, Max,” Liz said. ”As long as you don’t stay away too long.”
He couldn’t help but smile.
”Nothing’s gonna stop me,” he said, and then couldn’t resist to lean towards her and plant a soft kiss on her forehead. A shudder of pleasure went through Liz as she felt his warm and moist lips on her skin. Max reluctantly pulled away from her. Their eyes locked, and they fell into each other’s souls.
”Hey, Max! Maybe you should get going....it’s getting late,” Michael said behind Liz.
Max sighed as his thoughts involuntary drifted to Tess. He would’ve give anything to stay here with Liz, and wrap himself up in everything that was her. But he had to talk to Tess. Things were far away from resolved between them...
Chapter 19 (R-rated due to some of the words used – all of them by Tess...)
It was in the middle of the night as Max arrived at his and Tess’s house in Los Angeles. Max slowly opened the door, trying to be as quiet as possible in case Tess was asleep. He put his small bag beside the front door, before he made his way through the darkness towards the kitchen. The darkness was momentarily penetrated with the bright light from the lamp in the refrigerator as he opened the door to retrieve some juice. He moved to get a glass from one of the cabinets. He was just about to pour some juice in the glass when he heard a noise behind him, stopping him in his movements.
”You’re back,” she stated, her voice lifeless.
He put down the juice on the counter and turned around to face her. She was wearing a robe, her feet bare and her blonde curls disorganized.
”I didn’t mean to wake you,” Max said, trying to read her eyes - but the darkness in the house prevented him from doing that.
”I wasn’t asleep,” she said - although her disheveled appearance told another truth. ”Where have you been?”
The accusatory tone that was so much Tess started to seep into her voice once again as she grew more and more awake.
”I was at Maria’s and Michael’s,” Max answered evasively. He didn’t really want to discuss this in the middle of the night. She was difficult to talk to when she was thoroughly awake - she was almost impossible to talk to if she had just waken up.
”Was Liz there?” she asked.
”Yes,” Max answered.
”Was it good?” she asked.
”What?” Max asked, confused.
”Fucking her,” Tess said calmly.
”Is that what you told my father?” Max asked heatedly.
”It’s not my problem that you think with your cock,” she said coldly.
Max forced back his anger. Now was not the time.
”I understand that you are upset-”
”Upset?! Upset?! You’re damn right I’m upset! You just blurted out that you wanted a divorce without even having mentioned before that you were considering it - and then you run away like some coward with you tail between your legs.”
”Oh come on, Tess! You don’t actually believe that our marriage was just a dance on roses, do you?!”
”I wasn’t the one destroying it! I tried to fix our marriage - but it was a little difficult when you were thinking about her all the time!!”
”Oh, so this is about Liz?”
”It has always been about Liz!!!”
”I married you remember?!”
”That didn’t stop you from constantly thinking about her!”
”We never belonged together anyway!”
”What?! Then why - as you have always tried to be so noble in your actions - did you marry me?!”
”I don’t know!” Max cried, losing his temper.
”You don’t know?!” Tess asked - her voice rising to match Max’s.
”I was immature - I was hurt! I know that is absolutely no reasons for marrying anyone, and I’m not trying to make excuses to why I made the choices I did - but I did, and now I’m trying to do the best thing I can think of to make us both happy again.” His voice had calmed down somewhat as he was overwhelmed with his feelings of guilt. Guilt for having asked Tess to marry him and gotten her into the marriage and then just leaving her.
Tess looking at him with hurt in her eyes didn’t make him feel any better about himself. His eyes had now grown accustomed to the darkness, and he could see her face. He could see her bottom lip trembling slightly, and he felt awkward. It was the most weird experience he had every encountered. Here he was - with a woman who he had been married to for almost four years - and he didn’t know what to do to comfort her. Did he really know the woman in front of her at all? He hesitantly took a step closer to her, raising his hand towards her in an offer of support and comfort. But she stepped away from him, increasing the distance between them.
”Don’t touch me,” she said, the menace evident in her voice. He lowered his hand, feeling her words stabbing him. He didn’t want to hurt her - he had never wanted to hurt her. But he had. He had probably hurt her more than he would ever know during all their years of marriage. If what she said was true - that he had unconsciously been having Liz in his mind - he had betrayed his wife in his every action, his every caress, his every kiss.
”I’m gonna call our lawyer tomorrow and fix with the divorce papers,” Max said slowly, his voice softer. ”I think I’m gonna go and stay at a hotel.”
”This is really happening, isn’t it?” Tess said, and Max shrunk away from the smallness of her voice. Her mood swings could still surprise him. She could be accusatory at one second, and the next second she was crying, only to switch to being in a state of quiet shock.
”This is the right thing to do. It’s the first thing I’ve been really certain about in a long time,” Max said, knowing that it might sound harsh, but also knowing that Tess needed to know hard on what he felt.
”How can you do this to me?!” Tess said after some moments of uncomfortable silence, her voice increasing in intensity once again.
Max sighed, and sat down on one of the stools at the counter. He closed his eyes and his hand absent-mindedly rubbed his forehead in an effort to remove the internal tension.
”Tess, would you just try to understand what I’m saying?” he asked, his voice penetrated by the emotional exhaustion.
”What am I gonna do, Max?” Tess asked, sniffling. ”Where am I gonna live?”
”You can have the house,” Max said. ‘I doesn’t mean anything to me anyway,’ he thought.
”I’m gonna be all alone,” Tess said. ”I’ve wasted four years on this marriage!!”
”I never said this was going to be easy,” Max sighed. ”I would never want to put you through this-”
”Then why are you?” Tess cut him off.
”-not unless we were both dying,” Max continued. ”Which we are, Tess!!”
”So, you’re just gonna live with that tramp now?!”
”Isn’t it better that I’m with her, than thinking about her when I’m with you?” Max asked her, looking her straight in the eyes.
”I can’t believe this,” Tess murmured. ”I thought we were going to have a happy life together. I was so happy when you proposed to me. I’ve never been that happy!”
”Tess...” Max said gently. ”Believe it or not, I was happy then too...this just isn’t gonna work.”
”Who are you to decide if this marriage is over or not?!” Tess demanded to know. Max sighed again. He knew that she was smarter than this. He knew that she was right now trying to find anything, anything at all, to make him feel guilty. She knew him, and she knew that he easily blamed himself. That was what she was trying to put up against him now.
”Tess. This marriage isn’t working!” Max said adamantly.
”I love you so much,” Tess sobbed, tears starting to trickle down her cheeks.
Max shook his head slowly. ”No, you don’t Tess.”
”Don’t tell me how I feel!!”
”You only think you love me, like I thought I loved you. We don’t belong together. It isn’t the right love, Tess. We both deserve that special love that we have missed.”
Tess was staring at him, emotions flickering in her eyes so quickly Max had difficulties to decipher them.
”Get out of my house!” she said coldly.
”Tess,” Max said slowly.
”Get out of my house!!”
”I don’t want to fight you,” Max said.
”I don’t care what you want or don’t want. Just get the hell out of here!!”
Max held her gaze for a moment before he walked past her into the bedroom and started to pack a suitcase.
”Yeah, yeah...,” Liz murmured as her cell phone continued to ring. She cursed under her breath as she almost fell over the things scattered over the floor. She followed the sound of the cell phone - having no clue to where she had actually put it.
”Where is it?” she murmured, as her hands rummaged through the piles of clothes. Why had Maria been so keen on taking out almost all of her clothes from the wardrobe as they were to come up with the perfect outfit for Liz to have on as she met him the other day? And typical Maria, the things had just stayed out, and now Liz could barely manage walk through the room that she for the moment called hers. Her hand finally stumbled across the hard plastic surface of her black cell phone. She fished it up from a red sweater. Shaking her head once again in disbelief at the state of this room, she pressed the connect button.
”Hello?” she said, slightly out of breath.
”Who am I talking to?” a formal voice asked.
”Uhm...Liz Parker,” Liz answered, somewhat caught off guard by the rudeness of the female voice.
”Stay away from Max,” the voice said coldly, and it didn’t take long for Liz to put the pieces together.
”Tess?” she asked.
”I don’t know what you’ve told him to get him this messed up, but you are not going to take him away from me!”
”How did you get this number?” Liz demanded to know. Getting over the surprise, her anger for this woman was seeping through.
”What have you been whispering in his ear as you were screwing him?!”
”How the hell did you get this number?!” Liz repeated, her voice emphasizing each syllabus.
”Did you like the excitement of knowing that you were fucking a married man? A man that was married to another woman?!!”
Liz could feel the anger pushing up in her. Anger she had never experienced before - and she fought hard to control it. Losing her temper was exactly was Tess was trying to provoke her into doing, and she was not going to give Tess that satisfaction.
”That is something between you and Max,” Liz said.
”Oh, is that so?! Well, then it might interest you that he told me that you were merely a good distraction. That you were a good excuse to get out of our marriage!”
‘I’m not going to listen to her, I’m not going to listen to her,’ Liz silently repeated to herself. But still, Tess’s words sunk into the deepest parts of her insecurities - to her innermost fears. She had known Max before - when they were teenagers. They had known each other since they were kids, and then they had been best friends before they became boyfriend and girlfriend. But how much Liz wanted to believe it - how much she wanted to trust her heart - she could still not really push away the fact that she really didn’t know the Max that he was now. She had missed several years of his life. She didn’t kow what he had experienced - she hadn’t been a part of his life for so long. The core of her insecurities was of course if he still loved her.... What if he didn’t love her anymore? What if she was what Tess was insinuating - a good, safe distraction to get away from a messed up marriage.
”I’m not going to talk to you about this, Tess,” Liz said. But her voice had lost its self-confidence and strength. As soon as she heard her voice leave her lips she chastised herself for letting the trembles that were ripping through her body be heard on her voice.
”Why can’t you find yourself a man on your own? Do you have to go around and take the men that are already taken?!” Tess cried.
”We haven’t done anything,” Liz said. Liz realized with a deep regret that her thoughts had somehow managed to be transmitted over the line by her traitorous lips and vocal cords.
”You ‘haven’t done anything’?” Tess snorted. ”Like I would believe that you were just holding hands... Do you really think I’m that stupid?! Everyone screws everyone - what would stop you from doing it?! Do you think you’re some damn saints?!”
”Max was a great friend to me...he helped me when I was feeling bad.” God Liz! What are you doing?! Why are you telling Tess this?!
Tess snorted again.
”Hah! Yeah, I heard about your boyfriend cheating on you! I guess you’re really dry in bed, if you couldn’t keep his interest up!”
Liz tried to swallow her anger, she really did. She fought all her reeling emotions, trying to take deep breaths. But Tess was stepping over the line, and she shouldn’t be able to get away with it.
”I should say the same thing about you,” Liz gritted through her teeth. She vaguely thought that she had now almost lowered herself to Tess’s level of thinking.
”Max and I have great sex,” Tess said, almost bragging like she was talking about winning a trophy instead of her sex-life.
‘I really don’t want to talk about this,’ Liz thought.
”This is all a game to you, isn’t it?!” Liz asked, animosity and disgust melting together with her voice. She was surprised when Tess wasn’t able give retort on that immediately.
”I love Max,” Tess said, her voice having lost some of its cocky tone.
”You sure has a funny way of showing it,” Liz snapped.
”Everything was fine between us before you showed up!!!”
”Oh please!!” Liz said in disbelief. ”Don’t try to blame your fucked up marriage on me!!”
”You are going to call Max and tell him that you never cared about him and that he will be best off if he went back to his wife!”
Liz almost laughed out loud. Was this woman for real?
”Why don’t you just give up, Tess?”
”You don’t love him-”
”Okay, let’s put this into terms that you perhaps can understand, Tess. Max was never yours! That’s where you made your first mistake. You can’t own a person. You can’t control a person. Your biggest mistake was that you thought conquering him was evidence of how much you loved him. That is not love, Tess. That is selfishness and immaturity. You lost the game, Tess. And now it’s time for you to play by the rules - for once! I feel sorry for you, Tess. You are so messed up that you can’t even see that you are mostly hurting yourself! Wake up, and try to see what you’re doing!! You’re playing with human lives! You’re destroying human lives! Max’s life, my life...your life! It all ends here!”
Liz was only met with silence, and then the click from Tess disconnecting the call echoed through the line.
Posted: Mon Feb 24, 2003 7:55 am
Six weeks later
Roswell, New Mexico
Max lightly knocked on the door, trying to force down the excitement that was building inside of him. He could hear the soft thudding sound of her feet as she approached the door.
”Who is it?” her soft voice seeped through the door, making shivers of pleasure run down his spine. He hadn’t seen her in one week, and that was seven days too many to be away from her.
”It’s me,” he answered softly.
”One sec,” her voice answered him, and he could hear the smile in her voice. He heard the rustles of her unlocking the locks on the door. The door swung open and there she was. Her hair was pulled back in a pony tail, the hair-style highlighting her cheek-bones and making her beautiful chocolate eyes appearing even bigger and even more beautiful. His eyes slowly took all of her in - basking in her beauty. Her eyes held a sparkle that hadn’t been there before and it made her seem more alive. A soft shy smile played at the corners of her mouth. His eyes diverted to her lustrously red lips, and the sudden urge to feel those lips against his almost completely took him over.
”Hey,” she said softly.
”Hey,” he said moving his eyes up to hers, and found himself being pulled in by her soul.
”I’m so happy you’re here,” she said.
”I’ve missed you,” he said, moving his hand to cup her cheek. They both felt the surge of electricity go through their bodies at the contact.
”I’ve missed you too,” Liz said, her eyes closed as she relished in the feeling of skin against hers.
”I have a surprise for you,” Max said. Liz opened her eyes, a curious smile grazing her features.
”Yes,” Max answered, his thumb slowly brushing against her cheek in a circular motion.
”What?” Liz asked.
”Can I come in first?” Max asked.
Liz giggled, and moved backwards - feeling the coldness slam into her as his hand moved away from the loving caress of her cheek.
”Sorry,” she said. ”Welcome to my humble apartment.”
Max smiled warmly at her and stepped into her apartment. This was the first time he had been in her apartment. She had moved in five weeks ago, feeling that she wanted to live in Roswell for a while...or maybe even forever. She had arranged with her university so that she could now continue her studies at the University of New Mexico. Max tore his eyes away from Liz momentarily to scan the apartment. He felt a lot of things as he stood there in the middle of the small living room, her scent surrounding him. But the most resounding emotion he felt was that this was home. This was how his home should feel like. His eyes moved to her face again.
”I’ve never seen anything as beautiful,” he said.
”Well....I wouldn’t quite describe it like that,” she said, smiling at the fact that he had barely taken two seconds to look at the apartment before his eyes had found their way back to her face again.
”Who said I was talking about the apartment?” Max said huskily and took one step closer to her.
Liz felt heat spreading in her face, and she ducked her head shyly. That act made Max love her even more. The last couple of weeks they had met at least three times a week. They had gone out on dates, and had gotten to know each other again. But they had still many levels left to take. They hadn’t kissed yet, and it was getting increasingly difficult for Max to stay away from her. He didn’t want to pressure her into something she wasn’t ready for yet. They had both been enjoying to get to know each others as friends. They had both agreed upon that they wanted to know each other first before they moved their relationship any further. It might only be a kiss - but it meant a lot to them, because they knew that if their mere touches were causing such elated emotions in them, they knew that kissing would open up a completely new world for them.
”What’s the surprise?” she asked him.
”You’re curious, huh?” Max asked teasingly. That’s when Liz noticed that his left hand was hidden behind his back.
”What do you have there?” she asked innocently.
”Nothing,” Max said just as innocently.
”Aha,” Liz said nodding slowly. ”Right. Uhm..you want something to drink?”
”Sure,” Max answered. Liz started to move towards the kitchen, but Max wasn’t quick enough as she brushed past him and quickly turned to take whatever he held behind his back away from him. Her hand missed its target with a couple of millimeters, as Max narrowly turned.
Liz giggled. ”No, give me that!” she laughed.
”Liz, it’s a surprise,” Max said, trying to sound stern but her laughter affected him. He failed to maintain a straight face as he moved backwards.
”Oh come on!” Liz said, moving towards him as he backed away. She pouted with her lips, and fluttered with her eye-lashes.
”Na-huh. That won’t get you anywhere,” Max said, although his eyes had difficulties diverting themselves away from her red and moist lips. The look of surprise on his face was priceless as he tumble on his back as he unknowingly stumbled into the couch and fell over the arm-rest. Before he even had the chance to come over his surprise Liz was leaning over him - her upper body brushing against his - as she between heartfelt giggles tried to reach behind his back and get a hold on whatever he tried to hide from her, which was now crushed between Max’s body and the couch. Liz was so focused on the mission of getting the thing from Max that she wasn’t even conscious of the fact that she by then had almost climbed on top of Max. Although, that small detail hadn’t went Max unnoticed. The room suddenly seemed to grow smaller, and hotter - so much hotter - as he felt her breasts brush against his chest. That’s when her movements stopped, and he opened his eyes to find himself looking into hers. Time seemed to stand still as they drank each other up with their eyes, their bodies very conscious of the close proximity.
Liz slowly moved her hands from behind his back, and slowly trailed her fingers over the fabric of his shirt - over his chest. She could feel the heat spreading in her face as she traced the well-defined contours of his chest with her finger tips. She could feel his eyes on hers as she continued her exploration of him as her fingers moved up over his collar-bone. Her eyes followed the movements of her fingers, until her fingers reached his cheeks. She raised her eyes to look into his, and found his otherwise golden amber eyes to be of a darker nuance. Keeping her eyes locked with his, she moved her fingers to his mouth. As her fingers hovered over his slightly parted lips, she could feel the warm puffs of his breath, confirming that his breathing was just as shallow and rapid as hers. Her heart was pounding in her chest and her tongue unconsciously darted out to moisten her own lips as her fingers traced the soft and moist contours of his lips.
She was straddling his waist, and the warmth of her body was seeping through his clothes, into his body. A strong desire hidden deep inside of him was making itself known as he looked up at into her beautiful eyes as she hovered over him. Those beautiful eyes that were dark with desire. Desire for him. He could feel the hot blood pumping through his veins as he felt her soft and small fingers touch his lips. He wanted to capture her finger with his lips and taste her, but with a control he didn’t know how he was able to muster up to, he restrain the strong urge. This was on her conditions. His heart started to beat irregularly, missing several beats, as her face came closer - the distance between their lips decreasing. He could feel her warm breath on his lips, and he closed his eyes, anticipating the feel of her lips on his. But he could never quite prepare himself for the feelings that surged though him as Liz closed the distance and her soft lips brushed against his. The kiss was light, barely touching - but every receptor in the skin of his lips felt the touch. Every nerve ending was electrified. Senses he didn’t even know he possessed flared to life. As she pulled back slightly - staying millimeters from his lips - he opened his eyes and looked into hers a fraction of a second before he quickly brought up his hand, buried it in her pony-tail and pulled her lips back to his. The passion flared between them as they devoured each other. Feeling. Tasting. Exploring.
Max’s hand found the ribbon that held her hair together and pulled it away - her dark tresses coming free - cascading down her back. As their tongue mimicked the act of love making, his hands buried themselves in the silky tresses of her hair, pulling her head as close as he could, his finger tips gently brushing against her cheeks as he cradled her face to hold her close. As they broke apart due to lack of oxygen, Max started to rain heated kisses down Liz’s neck - suckling her skin between his teeth. Liz tilted her head backwards, moans erupting in her throat under his pleasurable assaults to her skin.
“Max...” she moaned. His lips moved up again, his bottom lip dragging along her skin remembering her of a time so long time ago when they had been dating. She had thought his touches and kisses were intense then, but this was something entirely different. She felt lightheaded as the strong emotions coursed through her, and then his lips crushed down on hers again and she was completely lost in the scent, taste and feeling of Max Evans’s lips. They moaned in each other’s mouths as they explored and rediscovered the deepest recesses of the other’s mouth. Max’s hands moved down through Liz’s dark hair, over her sweater, to find its way under the article of clothing. Liz gasped in his mouth as she felt his hands on the bare skin of her back. The touch of his hands was heating her skin as he restlessly moved his hands over her back. She felt as if her body was on fire. Her own hands started working on unbuttoning his shirt. The need to touch him was almost numbing. She needed to feel his skin under her hands. As her fingers experienced problems with unbuttoning the shirt that stood between her and Max’s bronze skin, she put her hands under his shirt with a frustrated moan. Her moan of frustration melted with Max’s moan of pure pleasure as he felt her small hands move over the naked skin of his chest.
His hands moved down her back, caressing her skin making her want for him even greater. She whimpered as she felt his hands leave him - the loss of his warm touch monumental. But he wasn’t to leave her wanting for too long. His hands tugged on the hem of her sweater, tugging it upwards. The contact of their mouths momentarily broke as the sweater was pulled over Liz’s head to end up on the floor beside the couch. Max pressed his lips back on hers as his hands agonizingly slowly moved down her arms, leaving a trail of fire in its wake. As his big and protective hands stopped to rest on her hips, he moved his mouth from hers down her throat. Kissing, sucking and loving his way downwards. Shudders of pleasure raked through Liz as his lips brushed over the valley between her breasts. His mouth moved over the lacy material of her bra to move down to her navel. Liz’s fingers dug deep in Max’s hair as his tongue darted out to explore Liz’s navel. The touch made sensations of warm and cold to flow through her body, making her even more aroused. She could feel his arousal pressing into her thigh and she moved to feel him were she ached the most for him. They moaned in unison as she positioned herself over his hardness. Max closed his eyes and tried to take deep breaths as they sensations of having her moving against him assaulted him.
”Liz,” he moaned, gathering up the small sense of control that was left in him to still the movements of her hips.
”Max,” she moaned, her voice hoarse with emotions.
He brought up his mouth to hers again, and ravished her mouth. They couldn’t do this here...not on a couch. It was far more special than that. She deserved better.
”Liz,” he panted, as he broke away from the sweet taste of her soft lips. He leaned his forehead against hers in an attempt to regain some sense of control.
”Max....I want you,” Liz whimpered, her hands moving over the warm skin of his chest, her lips already taking his control away with its movements of tasting every millimeter of his face. Her kisses were soft, light, but yet passionate and wanting. At her words, Max took a firm grip around her waist and without separating from her, he swung his legs over the edge of the couch. Now sitting up on the couch, Liz still straddling his lap, he gave her a passionate kiss before starting to rise from the couch. Liz wrapped her legs around Max’s waist, and they continued their feverish kisses as they made their way towards the bedroom. Left on the couch laid a creased paper, its presence forgotten in the passion, but its letters would later bring great joy. It was the papers that, legally, announced that Max and Tess’s marriage had finally come to an end.
”Oh my God, Lizzie. You look beautiful!” Maria exclaimed, awe marking her voice.
”I’m so nervous, Maria,” Liz said, her hands trembling as they moved over the white silky dress.
”I know, chica,” Maria said, turning Liz around to face her instead of the full-size mirror. ”But you have nothing to worry about! In less than one hour you are going to be married to your soulmate.”
”That isn’t helping,” Liz said, looking nauseous.
Maria gave her a warm and reassuring smile.
”You’re going to be fine, Liz,” Maria said, tucking one of the free dark tresses behind Liz’s ear. ”All you need to think about right now is the wonderful life you and Max are going to have. Don’t worry about anything else. This is only one day of your life, it is what comes after this day that matters.”
”You’re right, you’re right,” Liz mumbled, taking a deep breath to collect her thoughts. ”This is going to be just fine.”
”That’s my girl,” Maria said. Liz jumped as a knock was heard on the door.
”Ladies? Are you decent?!”
”Come on in, Alex,” Maria said.
The door opened, and Alex’s head poked in between the door and the door-frame. When he saw that they were indeed decent, he opened the door to walk in.
”Wow, Liz. You’re sure you’re not going to rethink that carrier in modeling?” Alex asked with a goofy smile, looking Liz over.
Liz felt some of her nervousness disappear. Alex could always do that.
”Modeling in a wedding dress?” she asked him in disbelief. ”Eh... somehow I don’t think that would be such a hit.”
”There are catwalks that show off wedding dresses, you know,” Maria prompted out.
”Yeah, but I’m guessing they have translucent upper parts, and an skirt similar to an umbrella,” Alex hypothesized.
”Why are we discussing this?” Liz asked.
”I don’t know,” Alex said, playing stupid. ”Do you, Maria?”
”It’s a good distraction, huh?” Maria pointed out, waving her hand into Liz’s direction. ”We’ve already managed to get Liz’s mind off the wedding for a while.”
”Mission accomplished,” Alex grinned.
Liz just shook her head, smiling. ”What would I do without you guys?”
”You would probably go under,” Maria said, deadly serious. ”And don’t you forget it!”
Liz giggled. ”I won’t.”
She turned around to face her own reflection in the mirror again, and took another deep breath.
”This is it, isn’t it?”
”Yeah,” Maria answered.
”This is the moment I’ve dreamed about for so long, and almost given up hope on ever having,” Liz continued, lost in thought.
”It’s finally your turn, Liz, to live your life the way you were suppose to,” Alex said, admiring the reflection of one of his best friends over Liz’s bare shoulder.
The sun was shining, its rays new and pure - glorifying the new day. The day that was going to be the start of the rest of their lives. Their lives together. The church was small with big windows to let the light of life and hope float in and swirl around the benches - filling every soul in the church with its essence. In the benches were people with hopeful faces seated, some of them with cheeks glistering from tears. The day was the beginning of so many things. An attempt to restore old lives and old relationships. An attempt to rid their lives of negative feelings and thoughts. An attempt to create a new life.
In the front row, on the left side, was the parents of the bride positioned. Their hands were clasped together as they watched their only daughter - their only child - commit herself to the love of her life. The father was grateful for being invited to the wedding. He had been given another chance - an opportunity to restore what he could with his daughter - and he wasn’t going to let it pass him by. He wanted to get to know his daughter all over again. After much talk with his daughter, and his wife, he had realized that he had never really known his own daughter. They had been strangers to each other. He regretted deeply that he had treated his child the way he had. If he could he would had undone his actions of trying to separate his daughter from the man who was obviously the one to bring her to life. His daughter had taught him more than he had ever imagined. She had taught him the value of second chances, of forgiveness, and of unconditional love. He would do everything in his power to support his daughter in the future. He met his wife’s joyous eyes, and smiled at her while giving her hand a light squeeze.
On the right side of the church were the parents and the sister of the groom seated. The sister was rocking her fourteen months old daughter in her arms. Draped over her shoulder was the arm of her own husband - one of the best friends of the bride. He leaned in and placed a gentle kiss on the baby’s forehead before lovingly kissing his wife’s cheek. Beside the young couple was the mother of the groom radiating with unspoken happiness. Her only son was getting married. Even though it was for the second time, she knew that this time it was for real. She could sense the changes in the air. She could see the emotions - the care, devotion and love between the young couple in front of her. She knew that this was a marriage written in the stars - a love bound to survive any obstacle. She dried her eyes with a Kleenex as she leaned into the comfortable warmth of her own husband.
The father of the groom pulled his wife closer to him, his eyes never leaving his son and the beautiful woman that he was to spend the rest of his life with. And the father knew that his son was indeed to spend the rest of his life with that woman - in every sense of the words. He owed the petite dark-haired woman that was to become his daughter-in-law immensely. She was the one who had started the process of healing between the father and the son. She was the one who had reunited their family again. She was the one who had not only won his son’s heart - over and over again - but also everyone else’s around her. He was proud of his son, and he was learning to express it.
Maria looked over at Michael standing behind Max, her hands resting on her protruding belly under her light green silk dress. Her face was radiating with love. Not only was she starting a little family of her own with the only man she could ever truly love, she was also witnessing how two of her best friends were united in holy matrimony. Max and Liz were truly the main characters of the day, and it wasn’t just due to the fact that they were the ones getting married. They were sparkling - charged molecules flying around them as they were fixed in their own world. Their souls communicating feelings through their eyes, which neither the language or mouth had the ability to describe. Their human bodies had taken many detours - several obstacles had been reached but conquered. But their souls had stayed connected to each other. Their love had remained strong, despite traitorous minds and words. Their physical bodies had finally found their way back to each other, and nothing was to separate them again.
He lazily stretched his long legs, before tucking them under him to rise from the horizontal position. He stopped in a sitting position, feeling that itching feeling in his ear that he just had to remove. His paw almost automatically moved to the side of his head, the claws on the paw causing a wonderful friction against his skin as they delightfully scratched against the skin behind his ear. A large jawn escaped him as he looked around the room. His ears rose a little as he searched for any noise out of the ordinary. Finding nothing weird, he rose to his four legs and stretched them languidly before making his way over to the soft bed. His tail sank a little as he realized that his favorite place on the bed was already occupied. With a small sigh he sank down on his stomach, tucking his legs under him, his head resting on his front paws as he looked up at the bed towering in front of him.
Sun rays from the afternoon sun penetrated through the window panes, illuminating the faces of the persons sleeping on the bed. The dog’s master was laying on his back, an expression of utter peace on his face. One of his arms was resting lightly, yet protectively, on the back of his beautiful wife, the other one tucked under her head - its fingers embedded in her silky dark tresses. She was resting on his arm, his scent filling her with every breath - filling her with contentment, safety and peace. Her hand was resting on the small belly of the little bundle tucked between them. The little baby girl was sleeping soundly, wrapped up in her parents love. Her hair was dark, and under those thin eyelids were dark eyes with flickers of gold hidden.
The workings of destiny work in mysterious ways. But that is just the beauty of it. The paths destiny chooses for us are inexplicable and something we are unable to control. We just have to put our faith in it, and let our hearts lead the way.