Deliver Me -[AU M/L] ~{COMPLETE}~

Finished stories that feature the characters from the show, but there are no aliens. All fics completed on the main AU without Aliens board will eventually be moved here.

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Hopeless Romantic
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Post by Hopeless Romantic » Sat May 08, 2004 11:03 am

A/N: Thanks for all the feeback!!

Part Twenty - Max POV

“Max, honey, wake up!”

I opened my eyes slowly at the distant sound of my mother’s voice. I moved to get out of bed to tell my mom that I was awake but a small figure lying curled up next to me stopped me in my tracks and caught my breath in my throat. As I looked at her, the night before came rushing back to me and I couldn’t help but smile. Her hair was pushed in front of her face and her hands were against her chest. She looked so innocent, free from all the pain and hate in the world. I wanted to keep her sleeping forever; wanted to protect her from all the bad things that could hurt her.

The first thing I wanted to do was keep her away from her mother. How I could feel a hate for someone that I had never even met was beyond me, but it was there. When I thought of her and the things she put Liz through, I had to grit my teeth and clench my fists to keep from running over to her house and making her pay for the things she had done. Other than the incident with Todd, I didn’t usually resort to violence, but the thought of someone deliberately trying to hurt Liz filled me with a rage I had never known.

Last night Liz had told me everything. She hadn’t wanted to talk about it in the beginning but eventually, as I was holding her in my bed, the whole thing came pouring out. The accident, her father and sister, the change in her mom, had all been revealed to me and I saw a side of Liz that I had never imagined to exist.

She moved in her sleep, and I remained still so she wouldn’t wake up. Right as she settled down, I watched in horror as my door flung open and my mom appeared right before me, staring at Liz in shock. I had been so enraptured by the sight of Liz that I had forgotten the way my mom woke me up in the morning. She had called my name, but I hadn’t answered her back, so she had been on her way to torture me until I woke up.

I looked at her now, and she looked like she was about to freak out. Her eyes got wide and she stared from me to Liz and back again. Her face was accusing when she finally left her gaze on me. I scrambled from the bed, careful not to move too much to wake up Liz and went to the door with my mom.

We walked out of my room, and I closed the door behind us. The door hardly clicked into place before my mom rounded on me. “What is going on in there, Maxwell?”

Ok, I knew it was bad when she used my full name. I had to explain to her what happened. My mom would understand; she was a very rational person, but she looked like she was going to explode if I didn’t explain quickly.

“Mom, I can explain.”

“Well, you better start explaining fast!”

“Mom, please, don’t yell. She went through hell last night and I want her to sleep.”

“What happened?” she asked, her expression changing from anger to concern right before my eyes. That was why I loved my mother. She was such a good person.

“She showed up here last night, after her mom and her got into a really big fight. Her dad and sister died last year in a car accident and for some reason, Liz’s mom takes it out on her,” I told her. I could feel the anger rising in my body at the thought of Liz’s mom, but I continued. “She came here because she couldn’t stay at home and we just slept in my bed. Mom, I had to let her stay. I couldn’t force her to go back there. I think her mom hurts her but I don’t even know for sure because Liz won’t tell me.”

I didn’t even realize at first that there were tears in my eyes at the thought of Liz being hurt. It was also because she wouldn’t tell me what happened that made me upset. I just wanted to be there for her and I hoped she knew that. My mom was staring at me with a weird look in her eyes, and I thought for a second that maybe she didn’t believe me but then she smiled.

“I’m so proud of you, Max,” she said, pulling me into a hug. I didn’t know what she was proud of me for, because I was just doing what I thought was right.

“Thanks, mom,” I said anyway.

“You tell her that if she ever needs anything she can come here. Tell her not to hesitate to leave and come here, ok?” I nodded and hugged my mom again. “Who is she by the way?”

“Liz Parker. She’s from the East Side.”

My mom looked at me differently then. It was a mix of things, like she remembered in third grade when I had constantly talked about her and how nice she had been to me on my first day, like she was worried that things were going to be hard for us, and like she didn’t know what to tell me at all.

“Just be careful, Max,” she said finally.

“We will be, mom. Thanks. Just don’t say anything about this to anyone and it’ll be fine.” I smiled and turned back to my room. “I’m going to go wake her up and make her something to eat.”

“I’ll get breakfast started,” my mom said excitedly. I couldn’t help but laugh at her. My mom had always wanted another child, but all she had been able to have was Isabel and I. Liz was her chance to have another person to take care of. The best thing about my mom was that she made us her whole life. She lived to love us and take care of us, and we were really lucky, and I loved the thought that Liz would be able to experience it too.

My mom rushed downstairs and I walked into my room, only to find Liz sitting up on my bed, and looking around my room. Her head turned towards me as I walked in, and we both smiled.

“Is everything ok?” she asked sleepily, rubbing her tired eyes as I went to sit down next to her.

“Everything’s fine.” I leaned over and kissed her on the top of her head, loving that I was able to do that whenever I wanted to. “Do you want some breakfast?”

She started to shake her head no, but her stomach gave her away when it growled. She blushed and nodded. “Breakfast sounds great.”

I got up from the bed and pulled her up to join me. As she stood in front of me I couldn’t help but run my fingers through her hair. She leaned up on her tiptoes to give me a light kiss, but the second her lips touched mine we both wanted more. I kissed her for a few more seconds, loving even more that I could do that anytime I wanted. Hand in hand we walked downstairs, and Liz was taken by surprise at the sight of my mother making breakfast for us.

“Good morning, sweetie!” my mom said happily, coming over to Liz and pulling her into a hug. Liz looked shocked at first but leaned into the hug gratefully. “Are you hungry?” my mom asked her the second they were out of the hug. “I bet you’re starving. How do eggs sound?” my mom asked anxiously.

I couldn’t help but stare at both of them. My mom was so eager to make her feel welcomed, and Liz had no idea how to respond to it. It was like she hadn’t experienced this in so long that she hadn’t remembered what it would be like.

“Thank you,” she responded quietly. “Eggs sound great.”

I sat down at the table and Liz joined me. We waited only a few minutes before my mom put two heaping plates of eggs, sausage, and bacon in front of us. Liz’s stomach growled again and her face got red. My mom just smiled.

“You better eat up, then!” she said happily, as she walked over to us. She gave me a quick kiss on the head and even gave one to Liz before she walked out of the room.

There were tears in Liz’s eyes when I looked at her again, but they were different from the ones that she had been crying last night. This time she was happy. My heart swelled with love for my mom and the girl sitting in front of me. I was so happy that my mom had been able to make her feel the way that she had, and I was glad that Liz finally got to experience what it was like to have a loving mother.

“I’m sorry,” she said sheepishly, wiping at her eyes. “It’s just that, I’ve never seen anything like this. I’ve never known that mother’s could love their children so much and be so giving and wonderful. Your mom hugged me and accepted me and she doesn’t even know me. My own mother never did that.”

I reached across the table and took her hand. I wanted to wipe away everything bad that had ever happened to her. I wanted her to know that I was going to make her feel loved everyday for the rest of her life. And when we’re out of this town, I’ll finally show her what it’s liked to be loved every minute, and I’m going to show everyone else too.

“Don’t worry, Liz. I’m going to make sure you always feel loved. Everything that happened with your mom is in the past. You’re with me now and I’m going to take care of you.”

She smiled and nodded as she began to eat her extremely large breakfast. I watched her as she did almost ignoring my own food in order to see her eat. She was trying to make it look like she wasn’t about to jump into the plate of eggs. I could tell that this was the best breakfast that she had had in a while, and I couldn’t help but think that everything was perfect.

Liz looked up at me at that moment and reached for my hand this time. “Thank you, Max.” I leaned across the table and gave her a kiss, and everything felt right in the world.



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Post by Hopeless Romantic » Sat May 15, 2004 12:09 pm

A/N: Thanks for being so patient with me!! Hope you enjoy this next part!!

Part Twenty-One - Liz POV

Ever since the night I spent at Max’s house, things between us had been perfect. I felt like I was in one of those old movies, where the two characters have a steamy love affair that they have to hide from everyone else. We were complete with our close calls, and the suspicions of everyone around us.

Serena and Kyle knew what was going on, so it was good having them on our side. They let us hang out at Kyle’s house with them because we couldn’t really go places together in public. It was fun, hanging out with them and seeing Max become friends with them. I had a feeling from the way he talked so little about his friends that he wasn’t extremely close with any of them except for Michael, and I felt bad for him, because I knew how important my friends were to me.

But he laughed with them and joked around with Kyle just like they had been friends for ages, and the smile that he had on his face every time we were there was enough to make me lock him inside to never let him leave. It was the same way that I had felt when I was at his house.

The way his mom had treated me, when she didn’t even know me, was amazing. She had hugged me just because her son loved me, and had accepted me simply because he had. When she had pulled me into her arms it had been the first real hug I had ever felt in my life, and it’s something that I’m always going to remember. We were allowed there too, when Isabel, Max’s younger sister, wasn’t at home. She slept out a lot on weekends so it worked out for us too, but there had been some close calls.

Once when we had been sitting in the living room watching T.V., the front door had opened and Isabel had walked in. From the living room, the front door was only about two seconds away, which gave us that much time to get out of there. All I remember is being shoved in a bathroom while Isabel called out for everyone.

“As nervous as this makes me, it’s actually kind of exciting,” Max had breathed into my ear.

I looked up at him, eyes almost heavy from the close proximity of our bodies and nodded slowly. “I know what you mean.”

His hands came up, cupping my cheeks and tangling in my hair and I could almost feel my body go weak, but I had his arms to hold me up, and I held onto them as if my life depended on it. My arms snaked up to wrap around his neck and I pulled our bodies even closer together, holding back the urge to moan.

There was something about the way he kissed me then and all the time that I can’t even begin to describe. It’s the way his eyes get hooded when he looks down at me, or the way they turn almost the shade of black. It’s the way he kisses so softly and tenderly that I have to hold onto him with all my might for fear I might not be able to stand up. He’s put this force on me, and I never want to leave his arms afterwards.

Isabel left, but Max and I had yet to move. His arms were wrapped around my waist, as his hands wandered up and down my back. My fingers were playing with the hair at the nape of his neck, feeling it curl between my fingers. We pulled away for a second to breath, but I couldn’t stay away and lifted my head up to meet his again. Finally, though, we needed to part for air.

“I think she’s gone,” he whispered softly. I could hear how out of breath he had become and I loved the sound of it. Knowing that I had done that to him was just amazing to me, because he had the exact same affect on me.

“I know,” I replied, but still neither of us made an effort to move.

“You’re going to be the death of me, Liz Parker.”

I smiled, feeling my body respond to his own as he pushed it against me. “I know,” I replied as sexily as I could, “but what a way to go.”

He laughed and nodded in agreement, catching my lips for another kiss. We stood there for another minute or two kissing softly as we held each other, and I felt wonderful. It was like I was in another world, where I was finally happy—and loved. I never wanted the feeling to go away, and I felt my arms grip Max a little harder, subconsciously trying to hold on to him.

“I’m not going anywhere,” he had assured me and I smiled at the fact that he knew what I had been thinking. I smiled, and lay my head against his shoulder, his arms wrapped around me, and for the first time in my life, I felt not only happy and loved, but also safe.

That was what our time together had been like. It was sweet and romantic, with him and me trying to be together as much as possible. We did have to separate at some points, because Max still had appearances to keep up on his side of things, and I had to figure out a way to tell Alex what was going on. I had always been like a little sister to Alex, and I knew that his first instinct would be to protect me, but I had to make him see that Max was a good guy, and that he didn’t need to worry.

There was one part of this that I didn’t like, and her name was Tess. She was the girl who was still going after Max, even though he had basically embarrassed her in front of everyone at that Soap Factory party. He had turned her down and hadn’t wanted anything to do with her, and people knew it. She had been frantically trying to win him over ever since in order to save her reputation.

So, basically Max had been honest with me about what was going on with her so that I wouldn’t have anything to worry about, which meant I had to hear about the slutty things she had been doing in her desperate attempts. Everything from flaunting all of her “goods” to basically catching him and pulling him into the eraser room where she had been completely naked and waiting to fuck him. It made me sick to my stomach that this girl was doing these things. It was kind of sad.

But the thing was, I had bigger things to worry about. I still had a best friend who wasn’t talking to me because he knew something was going on that I hadn’t told him about yet. Serena and Kyle hadn’t told him anything either because they knew it was my secret to tell. I finally realized that if I didn’t tell him, then I would lose him, and I knew my best friend. There was nothing to worry about as far as him telling other people, I just didn’t want him to hate Max.

I walked to Alex’s house on Thursday, just four days after Max and I had been officially together. School had gotten out only an hour ago and I knew that Alex would be there because band practice didn’t start until five. He was exactly where I knew he would be, because he always lounged on the couch before practice in his garage. His bass was sitting on his lap and he was plucking the strings aimlessly.

“Hi Alex,” I said as I walked up.

He looked a little shocked to see me. “Hi Liz.”

“I just wanted to come over and talk to you for a little bit,” I told him nervously. He was doing the thing where he didn’t really pay attention to me, even though I knew he was listening.


I sat down opposite him on the couch and turned towards him, sitting Indian-style. He didn’t move, and I tried to take deep breaths to deal with his attitude towards me. “Something’s been going on lately,” I said quickly.

“No shit,” he interrupted. “Sorry, continue.”

“Alex, I’m in love.” That got him to look at me. “I’m sorry that I haven’t told you what’s been going on but I was scared that you would be mad or hate him and try to keep me away from him, but I know that I was stupid and I hope you can forgive me,” I rushed out.

He stared at me in shock. “Explain…”

I told him the whole long story then and he listened attentively. I told him about Max and how he had saved my life at the fight. I told him about the Soap Factory Party, and about how Max and I hadn’t wanted to be together because we didn’t think it was safe. I told him about why he had really showed up at the hospital—everything. And when I was done I felt like this huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders.

“Well, I’m mad that you didn’t tell me sooner,” he began, and I frowned feeling defeated, “but I’m happy for you Parker. If anyone deserves to be in love it’s you.”

There was something about the way he said that that made me extremely sad. I knew that Alex was still thinking about Ava, we all were, but I didn’t know what to do about it any more than anyone else did. I just pulled him into the biggest hug I could muster, and we sat there for an hour just talking before I had to leave because band practice was starting.

I felt like I could fly I was so happy. All of my friends knew the truth, and they all supported me. I had the best friends in the world, and I had known that before but they had the best ways of reminding me. I ran back towards my house, when I saw Max. I couldn’t help myself, and I started running towards him, the hugest smile on my face. When I got to him, I jumped into his arms and he picked me up and spun me around before putting me back on my feet.

I looked at him and something seemed different, but I had no idea what it was. “Are you okay? Did something happen?”

He didn’t answer, and placed a kiss on my lips. “Will you meet me on Saturday? I need to see you, alone,” he asked somewhat distantly. Something had happened, but he didn’t want to tell and I didn’t want to push him. He would tell me when he was ready. So I agreed to meet him.

“Meet me at the movies,” he said before giving me another kiss and walking away. I didn’t really understand but I knew I could wait until Saturday. There was something funny about the way I felt afterwards though. It was like, as perfect as things had been the whole week before, I had a strange feeling that they wouldn’t be that perfect for long.



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Post by Hopeless Romantic » Mon May 17, 2004 3:42 pm

A/N: Here you go!! Back on Schedule!

Part Twenty-Two - Max POV

“I have a bad feeling about this.”

I looked over at Michael, whose hands were gripping the steering wheel so hard I thought he was going to snap it in half. I could understand why he would be nervous. I was sweating buckets at the moment as well. I was putting everything on the line in order to be with Liz and we were both worried that something really bad was going to happen. It was just that after the night I had had before, I really needed to see her, and I was willing to risk it.

“Everything’s going to be okay, Michael,” I replied unconvincingly. I hoped he wouldn’t be able to tell that I was trying to convince myself of that while I was assuring him.

We were sitting in the car when I saw Liz walk up to the movies. She looked beautiful, and for a second, I couldn’t help but stare. I was still amazing to me that she was mine. Not in that possessive “I own her” type of way, but in the “I get to hold her hand and kiss her whenever I want” kind of way. It was the most wonderful thing in the whole world. She was wearing a red sweater that dipped low in the front and clung to her body in all the right places, and a white skirt that swished when she walked. She was breathtaking, and I couldn’t wait another second to go meet her.

“I’m going inside,” I told Michael finally as I pulled open my door and got out of the car.

“She knows the plan, right?”

“She buys a ticket, which I plan on paying her back for, and goes into the theater. I’m going to sit in the last row, behind hers, and when the movie starts I’ll move up to join her. If anyone we know is in the theater she moves to my row, but stays two seats away. Got it?”

“Got it.”

“I’ll call you if I need you,” I said, coming over to his side of the car. “Thanks, Michael.”

“No problem.”

I walked into the theater. Liz was already inside, so I bought my ticket quickly, wanting to join her as fast as possible. It had been two days since I had last seen her, three since I had last been able to hold her and kiss her the way I wanted to. Thursday had been such a weird day for me, and I had been kind of distant towards her, but I planned on explaining all of that and making it right.

The theater wasn’t too packed for a Saturday night. Most people didn’t come to the movies anymore because they were too busy partying and getting drunk, but so far I hadn’t seen anyone that I had known which made me feel a little better. I walked into the movie, and made my way into the back row. It was dark and I couldn’t really see, but I could just make out the outline of Liz’s head. She looked over her shoulder at me, trying to be as discreet as possible and smiled. I could feel my heart melt as I looked at her.

I sat down, and we waited as the movie started and people continued to get settled in their seats. Almost twenty minutes into the movie, Liz stood up in front of me, her white skirt swaying as she shuffled from the aisle. She left the theater, and didn’t return for a few minutes. I wondered what she was doing, but then realized how smart she was. When she came in and sat down next to me, I gave her a kiss on the cheek before she could even turn to me.

“Hi,” she whispered, her eyes lit up in the dark room as I stared at her.

“Hi. You look beautiful,” I told her, and watched as she blushed.

“Thank you,” she replied graciously as she turned back to the movie.

I practiced the oldest and most corny trick in the book, pulling my arms above my head in a fake yawn, bringing the right one down around her shoulders. I got another smile, making the cheesy trick completely worth it. We spent the rest of the movie with our hands clasped together under the seat, until about half way through when she leaned over to whisper in my ear again. There was something about when she did that. It drove me insane.

“What was wrong Thursday, Max?”

It was the moment of truth. I wanted to tell her, but I was afraid of what it was going to mean. She deserved to know the truth though. “Maria is getting suspicious, really suspicious. I had to do something to get her off of my back so she wouldn’t find out anything.”

I waited for her reaction, and it came like I expected. “What happened?”

I took a breath. “I went out with Tess last night.” She got kind of quiet, after I said that but I didn’t want her to think it was something more. Tess has been bitching about me embarrassing her in front of everyone, and Maria seemed to agree with her. I needed to make sure Liz understood this. “I didn’t want to go out with her Liz, and NOTHING happened. We didn’t even kiss. Maria made me or she said she wasn’t going to leave me alone until she found out what I was hiding,” I got out quickly, still trying to keep my voice down. “It’s not going to happen again; it was just that one time, I swear.”

She took a deep breath and looked at me. I didn’t know what she was going to do, but I feared the worst, especially since I hadn’t been honest with her. The truth was I had been trying to get out of it until that night, so I didn’t want to tell her in case I didn’t have to go. Finally, she moved some kind of movement, and it wasn’t the one I expected. She flung her arms around my neck and kissed me.

“Thank you for doing that for us. I know it was probably the last thing you wanted to do, and I know how much you were probably worried about how I would react.”

I kissed her, amazed at her ability to be so understanding. We stayed close together until the movie ended, and she pulled away from me and walked out of the theater before the lights went up. I walked out a few minutes after her, and waited by the bathrooms where I knew she would be when two people came up behind me.

“Max!” they exclaimed simultaneously. I turned and found myself face to face with Hannah and Jane, the resident twin sluts of West Roswell High. They were known to offer “Every Guy’s Dream” to a select few of the male population of the school. I seemed to be their next victim and looked around for an escape. I didn’t see one, so I returned the greeting. They smiled at me, and came closer, their bright blue eyes flashing as they each grabbed an arm and pressed up against me.

I was worried that Liz would walk out of the bathroom and see them, and get the wrong idea, so I looked around but I didn’t see her. The twins continued giggling and smiling at me, but I didn’t really pay attention at first.

“So, Max, we should hang out some time,” they purred sexily, flipping their dark hair. I knew what they were offering, but I wasn’t interested. I wanted to find Liz. I couldn’t see her anywhere though. I looked around the theater, finally spotting her form as it fled from the theater.

“I’ll talk to you girls later,” I replied quickly, pulling out of their grasps to head outside. Liz was walking away from the theater with her head down, and I wondered what had happened. She had believed me about Tess, so why would she think that something was going on with these two girls.

“Liz!” I called after her. “Liz, wait!”

She stopped walking, and turned around to look at me. The wall behind her seemed to offer great support as she leaned against it and took deep breaths.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “I just saw them with you and I freaked.”


“I know who they are Max, and I know what they offer to guys like you.”

“What do you mean?” I asked. I knew what she was talking about but I didn’t want to bring it up. Maybe she didn’t think what I thought she did. Maybe she was thinking something completely crazy. I didn’t want that, so I reached out for her arms, and pulled her closer to me. “Liz?”

She looked up from where her arms had been crossed and released her grip on herself. I pulled her hands into my own, and didn’t even think for a second of how bad this position might look to the wrong person.

“You should go back to them, Max. Come on, I mean, that’s every guy’s dream.” There was a sarcastic tone in her voice that came out loud and clear and I knew why she would act that way. Girls like Hannah and Jane gave bad names to girls, and made genuine and nice girls like Liz look bad in a different way. It made it hard for a girl to get a guy’s respect when they were all thinking they could get what Hannah and Jane offered from every other girl. Seeing them come after me probably made her think that I would think she was a prude or something and go for them.

“Liz, look at me.” She pulled her eyes up to meet my own, and I hated how sad and frustrated they looked. “ I could never want anyone but you, ever. Those two girls may be every other guys dream, but not me.”

She looked up at me and smiled, but I wasn’t finished. I wanted her to know how I really felt about her, how I had spent most of my life wishing for her and only her, and how no one else would ever even come close to matching up. I took a deep breath and leaned down to kiss her.

“You’re my Dream girl, Liz.” With that I captured her lips in my own, and all doubt faded away from both of us. To me, it felt like nothing could come between us again, but what I couldn’t see was a certain person watching from an alleyway—a person who had every intention of making sure that didn’t stay true.



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Post by Hopeless Romantic » Wed May 19, 2004 6:22 pm

A/N: I'm glad you all will be surprised at who actually saw them. Thanks for all the feedback! I really appreciate it. Enjoy....

Part Twenty-Three - Max POV

I knew something was wrong the second I walked into school on Monday. Alex was walking next to me, and he was about the only person looking at me without an expression of hate in his eyes. I didn’t understand what was going on, but I kept walking through the halls. I had just had the most incredible weekend of my life and I wasn’t going to let these people’s problems mess it up. Sure, people were still pissed about me breaking up with Sean, but that had been a week ago. I figured they would be over it by now, especially after what they had done.

I think the worst part was people saying I was caught cheating on him, because the ironic thing was that I could’ve but didn’t. I put up with a lot of stares and stuff but on Friday everyone had been pretty much over it. That’s why I didn’t know what had happened now. I saw Sean as Alex and I walked in their direction, and his expression wasn’t even hatred. It was more like disgust.

“Do I have something in my teeth?” Alex whispered to me, but I couldn’t even manage a laugh. I just wanted to know what was going on.

Sean and the group around him hadn’t said anything, so I figured they weren’t going to. It was funny to see Pam Troy hanging onto Sean’s arm like she was claiming him in front of me. I was glad that she had gotten what she wanted, and glad that I didn’t look as desperate and pathetic as she did. I hoped that I never looked like that when we were going out, but then realized that I had never really liked Sean, and that was a key difference between Pam and I.

We kept walking by them, and still no one said anything. It was like the entire school had stopped what they were doing to wait for someone to say something. I could feel everyone’s eyes on my back, and people openly staring right in front of me. I shot some people a look, but no one moved, so Alex and I kept walking.


It came from behind me, covered behind a fake cough, and I listened as Pam’s annoying giggle filled the room, followed by the laughs of everyone else that was standing with them. I turned around and stared at her, but she continued to laugh. Everyone beyond their group that were still standing in the hall still seemed to not know what they should do.

I wanted to just turn around and keep walking. I felt Alex’s hand on my arm, but the last thing I was going to do was back down from the likes of Pam.

“What was that?” I asked sharply. Pam stopped laughing, but had to wipe her eyes, and at first it didn’t seem like anyone was going to say anything, but then Sean stepped forward.

“So, the rumors were actually true then, huh, Liz?”

“What are you talking about, Sean?” I wasn’t in the mood to play games. I wanted to know what they were talking about.

“It turns out you actually were cheating on him!” Pam informed me with a laugh. “I had only made that up for fun!” She continued to smile, and I could feel the hatred in my eyes as I stared at her.

“You must be mistaken, Sean. The only person who cheated when we were together was you,” I threw back coolly. I saw his jaw clench, but he didn’t say anything. “Tell me what you’re talking about!”

“Liz, let’s go.” I heard Alex saw from beside me, but I refused to move.

“I saw you last night, you little slut!” Pam exclaimed, walking closer to me, a menacing look in her eyes. “Did you enjoy the movie? Or maybe I should ask if MAX enjoyed the movie?”

I felt my entire world collapse around me when she said those words. She knew. Pam knew about Max and I. And from the looks of it, everyone else knew too. I didn’t know what I was going to do. If the people on Max’s side found out then it would be really bad for him and I couldn’t let that happen.

“Don’t worry,” Pam continued snidely. “I’ve already informed your little boyfriend’s side, too.”

I could tell by the look of triumph on her face exactly what I looked like at that moment. I wanted to die. I wanted to crawl into a hole and die. Everything was ruined. I felt this fear in my body that I had never felt before. Not even when Todd was holding a knife to my stomach did I feel so afraid and I knew why.


I was worried about Max, and it was a fear that I had never felt before, because I had never felt for anyone in my life what I felt for Max. I knew that I would never feel it again either. I was worried that something bad was going to happen to him, and that it would be all my fault.

“What’s the matter, Liz?” Pam jeered at me. “Are you gonna cry?”

I looked at her, feeling tears well in my eyes but I refused to let them fall. I wanted to get out of there, and I could feel Alex’s hand, which was still on my arm for support, continuing to tug at me. I wanted to say something smart, something to put that bitch in her place, but for the first time I couldn’t say anything. She had won.

I let Alex pull me through the halls, and I could hear people yelling at us as I passed. Not even yelling at us, all their hateful comments were directed right at me. But Alex was strong, and he kept moving. Finally we came up to Serena and Kyle and I couldn’t do anything except let her pull me into a hug. I didn’t know what to do. Everything was ruined and all I wanted was to see Max.

“Liz, it’s going to be okay. We’ll figure this out,” Kyle said consolingly, his hand rubbing my back.

“We’ll take you to see Max right after school. I’m sure the two of you can work this out,” Serena added hopefully.

There was another part of my worry. What if Max was so mad that he didn’t even want to see me anymore? What if he pushed me away completely? I didn’t know if I would be able to handle that with what was going on now.

“I don’t know, guys,” I sighed regretfully. “What if he doesn’t want to see me?”

Serena pulled away from the hug to look me straight in the eyes. It was her no bullshit look. I hated when she looked at me that way. I had become really familiar with it when she hadn’t known about Max and I. I thought back to that time. This Wednesday would be four weeks from the day that Max saved my life. It was weird that such a short time had passed when it felt like I had lived a whole lifetime.

“Max loves you, Liz. And he knows that none of this is your fault. If anything the blame is on both of you, but neither of you did anything wrong, so there’s nothing to really blame anyone for,” she began to ramble, but controlled herself when Alex cleared his throat. “Max would never turn away from you, Liz,” she said seriously.

There was something about when she did that. I just couldn’t help but believe in anything she was saying. She could convince me that murder was a great idea with that voice and stare. It was actually a pretty frightening quality that she had. All I could do was nod, and she pulled me back into the hug.

“We’ll meet here after sixth hour and we’ll go straight to the Crashdown, ok?”

“Ok,” I replied. I couldn’t help but smile a little for her, even though I wasn’t really feeling it. I didn’t know how I was going to make it through a whole day with all the stares and hatred directed at me, especially since before the only person who I actually knew had a problem with me was Pam. Now it was like a bunch of Pam clones wherever I looked just shooting death glares at me and making mean comments.

Serena stepped from the hug and Alex’s arm swung around my shoulders. “Let me walk you to class.”

I gave Serena and Kyle one more quick hug each and then turned to walk away with Alex. He left me at the door for my US Government AP class and I had never felt so alone in my life. I waited patiently throughout each class for the bell to ring, doing my best to ignore everyone’s comments at the beginning and end of class.

Finally the day was over, and Alex was at my side the second I walked from my last class. I smiled up at him and gave him a hug, my arms circling him low on his chest because of our difference in heights. It was funny because Alex and I looked almost like brother and sister. We had the same dark hair, the same big smiles and brown eyes, but we were on opposite sides of the field when it came to height.

We walked together to find Serena and Kyle, who were waiting exactly where they said they would be. I smiled at them and we left the school. It was weird, but a part of me felt like I could feel myself getting closer to Max, like I was coming home and ever part of me just knew it.

When we pulled up to the Crashdown, the last thing I was feeling was relief. We all stared in horror at the sight before us. There was glass everywhere. The windows of the restaurant had been shattered. The tables were strewn about in the diner area and everything just looked destroyed. I felt the fear flare up in me, as I looked around for Max and didn’t see him.

“Max,” I breathed softly, as I stared at the sight, but the second that fear was in my body I could feel myself screaming as I ran from the car. “Max! Where are you, Max?” I ran over broken glass but didn’t care. The only thing on my mind was him. I needed to find Max.



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Post by Hopeless Romantic » Sun May 23, 2004 6:37 pm

A/N: Sorry it's LATE!!! See you tomorrow with another one!!

Part Twenty-Four - Max POV

“Max! Honey, wake up!”

My mom called me to come down just like she normally did, but there was something different about the way she did it. I could hear a panic in her voice that made me jump from my bed almost immediately. I didn’t know what it was, but I knew that something had to be wrong. When you spend every morning being woken up in the exact same way, you just know these things.

I was throwing on my pajama pants and a t-shirt when I heard the shatter. It sounded like glass, and a lot of it. I was running downstairs before my mom made it to my room. We met on the stairs and her eyes were frantic.

“What happened?” I asked her quickly, turning her around so we could run downstairs.

“Someone just threw two bricks at the Crashdown windows! They’re tearing this place apart!” she told me as we ran into the restaurant. Just like she said, three people in black masks were throwing the chairs, knocking over the tables, right before my mom’s and my eyes.

“Where are dad and Isabel?” I hadn’t seen my dad yet, and there was no way that he would sit by and let this happen. Thinking of that made me realize that I couldn’t either. Before my mom even had a chance to answer my question, I was running at one of the three guys, and knocking him to the floor.

I felt my fist connect with his face the second we landed and I found myself on top of him. He was bucking his hips trying to get me off of him but I refused to move. Another hard punch to the face, and I knew the guy would be lying there for a while. I heard my mom scream behind me and turned to find the guy’s two friends coming towards me.

One of them grabbed me, but I tried to pull myself away from him, while the other threw his first punch, which I thankfully avoided. I knew that wasn’t going to be happening every time, so when a fist connected with my face I expected it. There was the guy who held my arms behind my back while the other one threw a punch into my stomach. It hurt, but it really just made me mad. I looked around at the restaurant and felt anger flow through me.

These people were coming into my home and tearing it apart and I didn’t even know why. With a blinding fury behind me, I pulled free of the boy holding my arms and pushed him to the floor. I threw a punch at the other guy who had hit me in the stomach and he hit me in the face again, but when my fist connected with his jaw, I could feel it knock out of place, and the three of them looked like they were ready to leave.

They made their way to the broken door, and I rubbed my knuckles from the impact of the last punch. My mom came up next to me and wrapped her arms around me. She had been screaming through out the whole thing, and I hugged her back to let her know I was ok.

“Next time you date an east-ie, I suggest you think about it,” one of the boys called as they left.

Confusion filled my brain as I wondered how they could’ve possibly known. Liz and I had been careful, except for maybe that night at the movies when I practically confessed my love for her. Other than that we had always been very secretive and discreet. We had Alex, Kyle, Serena, and Michael helping us, and unless one of them told, I had no idea how anyone could’ve found out.

A million questions ran through my mind. Did someone see us at the movies? Who was it? But then there was fear, and worry, for the person who I had dragged into this mess. If Liz’s side knew, something really bad could happen. The people on my side had basically tried to destroy my home. I didn’t even want to think about what could happen to Liz. The fact that if something did happen it would be my fault was more than I could bear, and I forced myself to sit down for a second.

My mom was looking at me, and she seemed really worried about me. The boys had gotten my face pretty good and I could taste the blood on my lip. Right above my eye was stinging too. I didn’t want my mom to worry anymore than she had to so I got up and acted like I was fine, but inside my stomach was all out of place. I needed to see Liz. I needed to hold her in my arms and make sure she wasn’t hurt in anyway.

“Where are dad and Isabel, mom?” I asked again. The fight had stopped her from answering me before, but I wanted to make sure they were okay too.

“Isabel’s at school, and your dad is at work. I have to go call him,” she replied nervously. I could tell that this had really shaken her up.

“Why didn’t you wake me up for school?” I asked as she left the room.

“You looked really tired last night at dinner and I thought I’d let you sleep in. Thank god you were here, Max,” she said as she leaned down to place a kiss on my forehead. She pulled back to look at the cut on my eye. “Then again, maybe I wish you had been at school…”

“You have no idea what those guys might’ve done if I hadn’t stopped them, mom. This cut is nothing. I’ll be fine,” I assured her. I got up to get the broom and dustpan from the closet in the back room. “I’m going to start cleaning this up. You call dad.”

She left the room and I started to sweep. There seemed to be glass everywhere, and I wanted to get rid of as much of it as possible. My mom finally came back a few minutes later, looking a little more relaxed, but not much. Hopefully my dad had said something that would calm her nerves.

She started to help me clean up, but she kept looking at me. I would look over and catch her staring at me so she would look away. Finally, I had to laugh at how obvious she was being.

“What, mom?”

She looked at me thoughtfully and I could tell my dad had brought up something that she wanted to know about now. “Why did this happen, Max?” she asked finally.

I looked at her, and wondered if I should tell her. I felt bad about what had happened to the Crashdown. I didn’t want her to hate Liz for this, and even though I didn’t think she was like that, I was just scared. It made me think of Liz again, which brought the butterflies back to my stomach. It also made me remember how great she had been when Liz had slept over that one night, and I knew she wouldn’t judge or blame either of us harshly.

“I’m guessing that people found out about Liz and I,” I told her truthfully. “I’m guessing they weren’t too happy.”

She nodded and continued to look at me in that funny way of hers, like she was studying me. I didn’t know what else to say and was waiting for her to say something, but she kept staring so I went back to cleaning. We walked towards the back of the restaurant, and I went into the back room to dump out the dustpan. She followed me, and after a few minutes she asked me another question.

“Do you love this girl?”

I didn’t even have to think about it. “Yes,” I replied honestly. “I do.”

“I’ve got to be the one to tell you this, because I don’t think anyone else is going to. Things aren’t going to be the easiest for you and Liz now. Both of you are going to have to make sacrifices and deal with a lot of stuff to be together.”

I thought about that, and tried to think about all the things we might have to face. “Do you think it’s worth it?” I wanted to know.

She stopped staring and looked out through the window of the back room’s door, thinking about my question. “You’re going to go through so much in your life. You’re going to meet people, and get hurt, you’re going to make mistakes and do things that I wish I could protect you from but I can’t. I knew that one day you were going to fall in love and I always thought about what I would tell you when it happened. It’s a hard thing for a mother, to lose her baby boy to another woman. But that’s what happens. You fall in love. You grow up.”

This looked like it was hard for her, and I wanted to hug her, or do something to comfort her, but I wanted to know what she had to say. She was wringing her hands together, and I knew that what she was saying probably was hard for her to say, because she could probably realize how much I did care for Liz.

“The things in your life that you have to work the hardest for, are always the things that are worth it in the end. And when you love someone, you do anything you can to make it work. No matter how hard it is, because the girl you love is always worth it,” she finished quietly, and I wrapped my arms around her.

“Thanks, mom.”

She hugged me back tightly, and I knew this was one of those defining moments people always talk about. My mom and I had reached a point, and I knew she was ready to let me go. “Your welcome, Max. Just know that whatever happens, I’m always here for you and behind you one-hundred percent.”

“I know.” I thought again about Liz. The need to be with her was overwhelming. I was focused on what my mom was saying, but I couldn’t stop thinking about Liz. I heard footsteps inside the restaurant, and stood up. I told my mom to wait where she was so I could go check the restaurant but before I could even get out there the back door was swinging open.

In that moment the fear in my stomach went away as Liz threw herself into my arms. I wrapped them tightly around her and felt relief flow through both of us. I looked down at her, thinking about what my mom had said and knowing without a doubt that anything we would go through would all be worth it, just as long as I had Liz in my arms.



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Post by Hopeless Romantic » Wed May 26, 2004 11:13 am

A/N: We got PRUNED!! :? We're so small now...Hopefully we get alot of great feedback to build it back up?? Lol, Wishful Thinking! Thanks for all your Feedback before the Pruning!!

Part Twenty-Five - Liz POV

The second I was in Max’s arms all the bad feelings and fears in my stomach drifted away. There was something about being with him that just made everything right in the world. I looked to his mother, wanting to say something to her, but I didn’t know how. Serena, Alex, and Kyle were behind me, and they were looking around the Crashdown in shock. None of us could believe that something like this had happened.

I looked around the restaurant and guilt for what had happened hit me so hard I couldn’t breathe. This was my fault. This woman, who had taken me in and been nothing but nice to me, had to deal with all of this stuff because of me.

“I’m so sorry,” I said finally, looking down at the ground. I couldn’t even meet her eyes because of how I felt inside.

She walked over to me and pulled me away from Max and into a hug. I immediately hugged her back, and could feel four pairs of eyes on my back as the exchange happened. Serena was probably smiling and thinking about how cute this whole thing was, and I’m sure Alex and Kyle had no idea what was going on.

“This is not your fault, Liz,” she said seriously as she pulled out of the hug to look me in the eye. “I don’t want you to think for a second that this is your fault.”

I didn’t believe her, but I didn’t want to disagree, so I just smiled. Max came up next to me and put his arm around my shoulders. I sighed and leaned into him, a smile on my face.

“Liz and I need to talk, mom,” he said simply.

She nodded, and I, assuming we were just going to go to his room, started to move towards the stairs.

“I think we should go someplace else, Liz.”

I looked back at him, and he was smiling secretly at me. I didn’t know what he was talking about, but I smiled back at him and walked two short steps to be back at his side. Serena, Alex, and Kyle were all standing against the swinging door, not really knowing what to do.

“We’ll stay and help you clean up, if you want Mrs. Evans,” Serena finally suggested.

Mrs. Evans smiled and accepted their offer. “I’d really appreciate that. Do you guys want anything before we start?”

None of them had ever eaten at the Crashdown before, but we had always wanted to. I knew that they wouldn’t pass up their chance. They started to talk about what they could get when the chime for the front door of the restaurant rang. We all looked up as the door opened and Michael walked in.

“I just heard what happened. I came right away. Are you okay?” he asked all of us. Everyone nodded. “Isabel and Maria are coming. I thought I’d head them off and let you know.”

I looked at Max, knowing we would all have to leave now. Serena, Alex, and Kyle all looked disappointed that they wouldn’t get to eat their first Crashdown meal.

“What about cleaning up?” Alex asked.

“I’ll stay here and help her. You guys need to leave,” Michael said forcefully. He wasn’t trying to be demanding but he knew what was at stake right now and was more willing to accept it then any of us. I saw Maria’s red jetta pull up and knew we needed to get out of there before they came in.

Max hurried everyone to the back of the restaurant and we all went out through the back door. Serena apologized to Max’s mom about not being able to help, and I gave her one last hug before Max pulled us away. Michael stayed behind, heading back into the restaurant after throwing Max his keys so he could distract the girls.

Max and I said goodbye to my friends and jumped into Michael’s jeep. I didn’t know where we were going, but my hand held onto his tightly as he drove us away. We finally pulled up at the football stadium and I knew exactly where we were going.

When he pulled the car in to park, I didn’t move from my seat. Max looked over and me and finally got out of the car. I took off my seatbelt and moved to open my door but Max beat me to it. The second I was out of the car I was back in his arms.

Our lips met, and we kissed for the first time in what seemed like forever, even though it hadn’t been that long ago. I leaned back against the car as he buried his hands in my hair and pulled me closer to him, his lips never losing contact with my own. We stayed like that for a while, before he pulled away, resting his forehead against my own as we caught our breath.

“Come with me,” he said simply. He grabbed my hand and I followed him silently. We were walking to the place where all of this had started, where we had fallen in love.

I found our picnic table, the one he had pulled me behind on that day, and sat down on the bench. He stood in front of me, a smile on his face but I could tell that he was still worried. It reminded me of why we were here in the first place.

I didn’t really know what he was thinking. I didn’t know what he wanted and that scared me. What if he wanted to stop what we were doing? What if those kisses by the car had been our last one, our goodbye? I needed to know what he was thinking.

“Tell me what you’re thinking, Max?” I asked quietly, taking his hand in my own. He finally sat next to me and I waited for his reply.

He took a deep breath and turned to me. “It’s going to be hard, Liz,” he told me finally. I looked at him, wondering if he thought it would be worth it.

“Maybe we should just stop this now,” I said regretfully. I wanted to get it out there in the open, because I didn’t know if both of us wanted to say it but just couldn’t. He turned to me when I said it and looked at me strangely.

“Is that what you want?”

I sighed, tightening my grasp on his hand. “I don’t know.”

I didn’t want that. I wanted to be with him. I wanted that more than anything, but I didn’t want to say that I wanted that when he was thinking something completely different.

“I don’t know what to do.” His voice was broken, like this whole situation was killing him. Everything had been so perfect before. Our friends had supported us, and we were together, but now things were different. People didn’t care about what we wanted. They didn’t care that we were in love. They just wanted things to stay the same and they were used to the east hating the west and vice versa. Could we compete with that?

“There are going to be people who will do anything they can to tear us apart, Max.”

It hurt saying it. It was like I was saying we should end everything. Why couldn’t I just tell him that I loved him? I knew that I did, so why was I so scared to admit it?

“But we have people who support us,” he countered realistically. He was right. We did, but would they be enough to help us through this. That was the question.

“It’s going to be hard,” I said, repeating what he had initially told me.

We sat there in silence, neither of us knowing what to do. My hand was still wrapped tightly in his own, but the warmth that I had always gotten from his touch seemed diminished somehow.

Max stood up, and my hand left his. The warmth was gone all together.

“What are we going to do, Max?” I asked sadly, a feeling of what was going to happen settling in my stomach and making it turn.

He didn’t say anything. He just paced around the spot where he had saved me. Finally, he knelt down, touching the spot where we had laid that night. There was something about watching him do that, which made me feel like maybe this wasn’t over.

“That night, we were brought together by an accident. I used to think of it like that, like I was just in the right place at the right time. But that’s different now.”

I didn’t really understand what he was saying, but I felt he had a point. I felt like this was leading up to our decision. So, I sat there and listened as he told me what he was thinking.

“I don’t think that way anymore, because I know this wasn’t just an accident, Liz. I was meant to be there that night. I was meant to save you,” he paused for a second and came back to sit next to me. He turned to face me, taking my hands again, and this time, the warmth was back. “I was meant to be with you, Liz. And no stupid conflict between a town is going to change that. I know that you and I are stronger than that. What we have will always be stronger than them.”

I tightened my grasp on his hands, desperate to feel the warmth again. I felt complete in that second as he told me those things, and I couldn’t even say anything. He pulled me into his arms again and I just held on, never wanting to let him go.

Even though I was scared. Even though I was worried for the both of us. I had to believe what he said. Deep down, I knew we were meant to be together, and I knew we were stronger than the people who would try to pull us apart. I knew that we could overcome anything they tried. And I knew that we would do it together.



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Post by Hopeless Romantic » Sat May 29, 2004 10:22 am

A/N: I was worried I wasnt going to get this out!! lol, my computer wouldn't turn on! But Here it Is.....ENJOY!

Part Twenty-Six - Max POV

“Max, we need to talk right now!”

I heard Isabel yell at me from my bedroom, but I had no intention of moving. I knew what she was going to say already, and I really didn’t want to hear it. She was going to try to convince me that I should end things with Liz. She would try to pretend like it would be better for Liz and I but I knew that was just bullshit. Isabel was concerned for herself and no one else.

I hoped that she wouldn’t pursue talking to me if I didn’t answer, but there was no such luck. I could hear her angry footsteps charge across the hall as she made her way for my room. I could hear three sets of footsteps and knew immediately that I would have to deal with Maria as well, but maybe Michael would be able to head off some of her comments.

“Guys, just leave the poor guy alone.” I heard Michael say from outside my room. I had a feeling he was blocking their entrance to the room, but some rustling around followed his comment and then I heard him groan and fall to the floor.

My door swung open to reveal one extremely pissed off Isabel, and a surprisingly calmer Maria. My guess was that the paralyzing blow had come from my sister and not Michael’s normally violent girlfriend.

“What do you guys want?” I asked in an annoyed voice. I was lying on my bed and they both came to stand at the foot of it, both of them looking down at me. Isabel had her hands crossed in front of her chest, with that I’m not going to take any of your shit look that she played with most people. I knew what she was doing and wasn’t going to fall for it. Maria was standing there, a sympathetic look on her face, which made me kind of uneasy.

“You know what this is about, Max! Don’t play dumb. I’m NOT in the mood!” Isabel cried furiously.

“Don’t come in here thinking you can order me around, Isabel. If that’s what you think you can do to get what you want you might as well leave right now,” I replied calmly. I knew I would piss her off the most by staying calm and acting like this whole situation didn’t faze me at all.

“Fine! We need to talk about this “East-ie” situation.”

“That “East-ie” has a name, Isabel.”

“We need to talk about this Liz situation then,” she conceded, her jaw clenched.

“What is there to talk about? I love her and I’m going to be with her. If anyone has a problem with that then I suggest they get over it, because Liz and I have talked and we’re both refusing to let this pull us apart,” I told them. It had been almost three days since he and Liz had talked. It was Thursday and they had gone to the field on Monday when everyone had found out about the two of them.

The worst part was dealing with the people who used to be friends with them. Liz was taking a pretty bad assault from it all, basically having to deal with threats and people talking shit about her. She had Serena, Alex, and Kyle to help through it and I was grateful for that. I, on the other hand, had been alone. While Michael supported me, the two of us had decided it was better to pretend like Michael had no idea about what had been going on with Liz and myself.

The last thing I wanted was for Michael to have to deal with the problems that I had to face. So, in the eyes of the public, Michael was just as ashamed at me as everyone else, but behind closed doors he had been very supportive. He was probably more convinced that everything would work out than I was, and I was pretty convinced. The only thing that worried me was how quiet Liz had been on Monday.

Both of us wanted to be together, but it had seemed to me like Liz was a little more doubtful. I didn’t think her doubt was in us, but more of what might happen to me that made her scared. I didn’t even know what to say to comfort her because I was worried about the same thing.

I turned my attention back to Isabel, who was screaming indignantly at my admonition. I wasn’t going to lie to her, even if what I had to say wasn’t what she wanted to hear. I did love Liz, even though I hadn’t even told her that yet, and I was going to be with her.

“Do we have anything else to talk about?” I smiled, knowing full well I was pissing her off.

“Yes, Max! Do you realize what you’re doing? You’re messing everything up! Everything you worked for during the past three years, you’re throwing away for a girl! A girl you meet once at some party I’m sure and she gives it up and you think its love!”

I could take Isabel yelling at me and telling me I was wrong, but I wouldn’t take her talking about Liz like that, like she was some kind of a slut or something. I refused to let her take things that far, and I got up from my recumbent position on the bed to stand and face her.

“Don’t talk about her like that, Isabel, like she’s some piece of trash I picked up and like because she’s a guaranteed good time. You have no idea about anything as far as Liz is concerned and you are obviously not going to win this argument if this is the way you’re going to try to do it,” I said fiercely.

Isabel huffed angrily and threw her hands up in defeat. “You’re going to regret this, Max. One day that girl is going to move on to the next best thing that rolls around and you’re going to be left with nothing, and you know who you’re going to come to? Me. But I’m not going to be there for you, Max, because you obviously don’t care about me, so why would I waste my time caring about that. Just think about that the next time you’re not thinking about this girl you’re SO in love with.”

She left my room in a fit and didn’t say another word. Maria and Michael stared after her in shock. My sister never acted like that in public. I knew she could be a bitch, but she liked other people to think of her as this sweet and innocent little thing that just happened to get her way by being so nice.

“See what I have to live with?” I asked with a laugh.

Maria and Michael turned to look at me, and I took a seat on my bed again. I offered for them to join, but Michael remained standing. Maria slowly made her way over to me and sat down next to me. It looked like she wanted to say something but didn’t know how too.

“What is it, Maria? Do you have to tell me how much you disapprove of Liz and I, too?” I wondered in a slightly annoyed voice. I was sick of hearing it to tell you the truth and the thought of listening to it again kind of pissed me off. Maria surprised me, though.

“I know I’m really demanding, Max.” I snorted at that. “I know I can be a bitch, but that doesn’t mean I don’t care about you. I always pressured you to go out with girls because I cared about you. I didn’t realize that the reason you wouldn’t do it was because you were in love with someone else.”

I sat there, stunned as she spoke, unable to take my eyes off of her. There was no way that this was the Maria I had been friends with for the last three years. There was no way that the Maria I knew would stand in front of me and tell me this was okay.

But there she was, right in front of me. She wasn’t a hallucination. She was real and I had no idea what to think.

“Max, maybe I don’t agree with the way you’re doing this. The two towns can be brutal when it comes to this competition and you know that.” I nodded because deep down I knew she was right. “I’m not surprised that they went crazy when they found out,” she continued quietly, like she was still thinking about everything even as she was saying it to me.

“Maria, I know I’m making the right decision,” was all I could say.

She nodded, and looked away from me. “I’m your friend, Max. You understand that right?”

I nodded, but I didn’t really know where the question was leading. “I’m not expecting you to publicly side with me or something like that, Maria.” If she was really my friend she would’ve offered, but I knew it wasn’t going to happen. Michael had been pretty hard to convince that he shouldn’t be public about supporting me, but I had a feeling Maria would take it pretty well.

“I would if I could, Max,” she said, sounding somewhat regretful. “I just want you to know that even though I can’t support you out loud. I do hope everything works out for you and Liz.” She pulled me into a hug as we both stood up from the bed. “I just hope she’s as willing as you seem to be. If I was in her position I don’t know if I’d be able to handle it.”

There was something about the way she said that, which made me truly think about Liz. Maria sounded so sincere, for the first time that I had ever talked to her. She didn’t seem to be acting like the fake, manipulative Maria I had always known. She walked towards my door and looked back at me, an encouraging smile on her face.

“I'm going to go try to talk some sense into Isabel,” she said before leaving my room and pulling the door closed behind her.

When she left I looked over at Michael, who was staring at the place she had just been standing in with a look of confusion on his face. We were both thinking the same thing.

“Was that Maria who just walked out of here?” I asked with a laugh. Michael joined me with a smile and the two of us sat down to talk about everything that was going on. I tried to keep my mind off what people had been saying. I tried to forget about the nagging doubt I had in the back of my mind. I knew in my heart that Liz loved me like I loved her, but my mind couldn’t help but wonder if it would all be worth it to her.



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Post by Hopeless Romantic » Mon May 31, 2004 11:21 am

A/N: Enjoy........Thanks for all the feedback!

Part Twenty-Seven - Liz POV

The past week had been anything but easy, but we had gotten through it. Five days of threats, five days of name-calling and hatred, but I had moved past it all by remembering why I was doing it. The thought of Max made it all worth it.

We only had the rest of this year to finish off before we would leave this place. I didn’t know if Max wanted to stay together for sure, but I knew that I wanted that. I could picture it all in my head and every time I thought about it I couldn’t help but smile. As soon as the football season was over things might even die down a little, and then we just had to worry about the second half of the year.

I was walking home with Serena on Saturday night after we had been hanging out at her house just having a girls’ night, when I got this weird feeling in my stomach. I stopped walking the second I felt it.

“What’s wrong?” Serena asked nervously from beside me.

I looked around, but I didn’t see anything, so I shook myself out of it. “Nothing,” I told her. “It’s nothing.”

She looked at me suspiciously but when I started walking she just followed without another word. We were going to sleep at my house tonight because we had slept at her house the night before and my mom has recently made up a new rule that I’m not allowed to sleep out two nights in a row. I think it’s ridiculous and she thinks it’s great to have another way to “punish” me.

My house was really dark when we walked up to it. Serena made an eerie noise to try to scare me but I just smacked her arm and we kept walking, both of us laughing and forgetting about my freak out a few seconds before.

Walking inside, I turned on a few lights and called out to see if my mom was home or if she was still out drinking at the local bar. There was no answer and Serena and I looked at each other with smirks on our faces.

“She’ll pour in around four in the morning—,”

“Drunk off her ass—,”

“And in another one of her moods. Great!” I exclaimed sarcastically.

We were both so used to my mom’s drinking antics that this speech was practically routine. We made our way to my room, when I heard something again and couldn’t help but stop in my tracks again. I didn’t know where it was coming from, but Serena had heard it to.

“What is that?” she asked nervously, even more scared than before.

“I don’t know. It sounded like it was coming from upstairs.”

I grabbed an umbrella out of the holder by my front door and we walked upstairs, both of us holding on to each other so tightly I thought we would cut of the circulation in our arms. The umbrella was in front of us, ready to strike, not that it would do much good when I heard a noise I immediately recognized.

“Someone’s in my room,” I told her quietly.

“Is it Max?” Serena asked quickly, trying to think of something to make us less scared.

Max was supposed to come over tonight, but we had made plans for him to come over later. Kyle was going to sneak out too and the four of us were going to hang out until my mom rolled in. Maybe one of them had gotten here early. Max knew where my window was so it was probable that he would just go in through there.

Feeling relief at the fact that there wasn’t a burglar in my house, I dropped the umbrella and made my way to my room. Serena was right behind me, but I was more excited to get there. I hadn’t seen Max for a few days and I was missing him terribly.

I opened the door to my room, coming face to face with my wanted intruder, but the face wasn’t the one I had been hoping for. I didn’t know what to do, but the first thing on my mind was that this wasn’t good, especially from the looks on the eyes of the five people in my room.

“Serena, run,” I said frantically, turning around to leave the room. I knew this couldn’t be good. I knew they weren’t here to talk and I had to get Serena out of there at least, then I would worry about myself.

Serena looked confused but she did what I said and I moved to leave my room too, when I felt someone tearing after both of us. In a matter of seconds, familiar hands gripped tightly at my stomach and pulled me flush against the body of someone I had hoped to never be near again.

“Sean! Let me go!” I screamed. I watched as the boy, Todd, grabbed Serena and pulled her effortlessly into his arms. Serena was a fighter and kicked and screamed the whole way to my room.

I wanted her to be away from him. He was the reason I had been so scared when I had seen them in my room. I knew he was capable of anything, and wouldn’t be scared to take drastic measures. He had almost stabbed me that one night. I didn’t know what he had in mind for tonight, but I knew it wasn’t going to be good.

We were pulled into my room and thrown onto my bed. Serena continued to kick until I heard Todd groan and move away from her to guard the door.

“You better get her under control, Todd.”

I looked up at the face of someone I had definitely seen before but almost couldn’t remember from where. Her green eyes were commanding, like she was the boss and everyone knew it. Her blond hair done up perfectly, a smile on her bright pink lips, I knew I should be scared of her too. She seemed almost as ruthless as Todd.

“Maria,” I whispered in realization.

She smirked at me. “Good job,” she said flippantly, turning her attention back to Todd and the fighting girl I was proud to call my best friend. I was too shocked to move.

“You’re supposed to be his best friend,” I said quietly, and then turned to one of the other girls in the room. “You’re his sister! How can all of you be doing this?”

I didn’t understand it. I was standing in a room with a person who I already knew hated Max, but then two people who were supposed to love him. His sister should be helping him, not trying to hurt him. And Maria was supposed to be his best friend. When I had talked to Max on the phone he had been so excited because Maria had supported him, but it was all a lie. She was getting him to trust her because of what they had planned.

“We’re going to make you pay for what you’ve done, Liz,” said a voice from my right. I turned to look at Pam Troy, who was clutching at Sean’s arm like a little puppy.

“What I’ve done?” I asked incredulously. “What exactly have I done?”

Todd had finally gotten Serena to be quiet, and Maria turned back to me, a look of venom on her face. “You’ve messed everything up!” she yelled at me. “Look at you, you stupid little east-ie. You want something and you just take it. Well you took the wrong thing this time. Max wasn’t yours to take, and you’ve messed up everything on our side because now the leader of our group has deserted us. Do you know how that makes us look?”

I nodded. I could understand what she was saying. Max had basically disgraced them and made them look bad by being in love with me, but I didn’t understand what she wanted us to do. We were in love.

“I don’t know how this is my fault. If that jerk over there hadn’t tried to kill me then Max would never have even met me. It’s your side’s fault things are like this!” I shot back at her, my anger from the situation starting to come out. People who I didn’t trust, people who were desperate, were holding me in my room, and that scared me. They would go to any means necessary to make things right again on their side.

“Max was born to be the leader of that side. The kind of person he is makes him the perfect man to bring that side out from the shadows of the East side. We weren’t born rich like you people and because of that we’ve been forced to live like you’re all better than us, but you’re not!” Isabel shrieked furiously. “You’ve ruined more than you know and now we have to fix it.”

I looked at her and didn’t understand what she meant. How were they going to fix things? Serena was looking at me with a fear in her eyes that I had never seen before. Todd had said something to her that had obviously gotten her pretty scared and I wanted to do whatever they wanted just to get her out of this situation.

“How are you guys planning on fixing things?” I asked skeptically.

Maria and Isabel exchanged a look before I felt a hand on my back. I turned to find Sean, looking down at me with a victorious smirk on his face and I felt sick.

“All we have to do is get you out of the picture,” Maria began proudly.

“Once we do that, Max will be ours to control. All we have to do is get people to accept him again and everything will be the way it’s supposed to be,” Isabel finished for her.

I looked at both of them, not really wanting to ask my next question, but I couldn’t help it. “How do you plan on getting me out of the picture?”

They all looked at each other, and smiled. That was when I was sure things were about to get really bad.



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Post by Hopeless Romantic » Wed Jun 02, 2004 4:00 pm

A/N: Thanks to all the feedback on the last part! I was so happy to see the response!! Hope you guys enjoy it.

Part Twenty-Eight - Max POV

“Where are you off to in such a hurry?”

I felt my feet screech to a halt as I made my way towards the front door so I could turn and look at my mother. I was on my way to see Liz, so I was in a hurry. I wanted to get over there as fast as I could. It had been days since I had last seen her.

“I'm going to see Liz,” I told her honestly.

She smiled. “Ok. When will you be back?”

I was really lucky to have a mother like mine. She was really accepting of my relationship with Liz, and she knew that we couldn’t spend a lot of time together during the day so she didn’t have a problem letting me out at night. I didn’t want to push it though.

“When do you want me home?” I asked sweetly, trying to work some of that baby boy charm that most mothers fell for. I grinned when I saw that it worked and she pushed me out of the door and just told me not to be home too late.

“Where’s Isabel?” I called as I made my way down the steps that led from the front door to the alley below our house. Since we lived right above the restaurant we didn’t have a front door to the apartment on the bottom floor and we had to climb the stairs to get to the door.

I reached the bottom and looked up at my mom, who tossed me a jacket. “She’s staying at Maria’s tonight.”

I just turned and started walking away, calling goodbye to her before I heard the front door shut. I made my way from the alley out into the streets of West Roswell. It was dark, and the streetlights were lit to show the way along the sidewalks. I looked around the town I had lived in for the past few years of my life. It had started to look different lately. Before it had been so confining, so closed in. I felt trapped within its narrow streets. Ever since I had met Liz and truly fallen for her, the streets had opened up; they stopped holding me back. I felt freer now than I ever had.

I couldn’t wait for tonight. Liz and Serena were probably already at Liz’s house, and I didn’t know if Kyle was going to be there or not, but I couldn’t wait another second to see her. I watched, as the streets grew wider, as they became more paved and clean. I was entering East Roswell, and I could tell not just by the signs that herald it, but also by the atmosphere. There was possibility in East Roswell. Something that West Roswell could use a little of.

I felt something vibrate in my pocket, and reached in to grab the cell phone that my mom had put in my jacket before she had tossed it at me. I hardly ever brought it out, but I guess she wanted me to have it now, in case I needed to reach her or Liz. I looked at the number immediately recognizing it as Michael’s. I hit the talk button and put the phone to my ear.

“Hey, what’s up?” I hadn’t talked to Michael in a while. The last time was actually when Maria and him had been in my room, the day Isabel had freaked out. I was still hoping we could get past that. She was my sister, and I wanted her to accept Liz and be happy for me. I had gotten Maria on my side, and I hoped I could do the same with Isabel.

“Not much. What are you doing?” I heard into my ear.

“On my way to Liz’s,” I told him with a smile on my face. He could tell it was there because he gave a quick laugh.

“Have fun. Listen, have you seen Maria?” he asked.

I shook my head, then realizing what I was doing spoke into the phone. “No, but my mom said Isabel was over at Maria’s. Why? They aren’t there?”

“No, I just left. Maria’s mom just told me they left with some people a little while ago.”

“I don’t know what to tell you, man. Maybe they just went out for dinner or something?”

“At eleven o’clock at night?” Michael asked me skeptically. He was never like this with Maria and I wanted to know what was up, but I was at Liz’s.

“Call me when you find her, but I gotta go. I’m at Liz’s. Sorry I couldn’t help,” I told him sympathetically. Maria had been really nice lately. At first I had thought it was just a game, but she had proved herself to be a pretty good friend over the past few days. She had been there for me to talk to about Liz and what was going on, even though she couldn’t be there for me in public. She had also stopped pushing the Tess issue, which I was grateful for.

Michael and I said goodbye, and I hung up the phone, slipping it back into my pocket and zipping it in. I walked around Liz’s house, to where her window was, and I stood at the foot of the ladder, calming myself down. I didn’t want to seem like a little kid when I went up there. I had a feeling I would anyway, though.

The thought of Liz spurred me as I climbed the steps of the ladder. I was a little early, but I had a feeling Liz was here. I reached the last step and swung myself over the balcony ledge. Looking down, I wiped off my shirt and straightened my appearance, even though I knew Liz would care what I looked like.

I was still a little clueless as to what she was thinking, but I was hoping that we would get to talk about everything tonight. I wanted to make sure that all of this stuff was worth it to her. I didn’t want her to feel like she had to be with me, and if she told me that she really couldn’t take all the things she was having to deal with in school then I would walk away from her and let her live her life in peace. I didn’t want her to have a hard time, and I knew that what she was going through at school wasn’t easy. Liz would never tell me, but I could tell, just by looking at her. Serena had kind of said something too, but forget that.

Everything would be decided tonight, and deep down I felt sure of what Liz’s decision would be. Looking up, I stared into her bedroom, not seeing anything at first because it was kind of dark, but then two figures came into view. Figuring it was just Serena and Liz I took a step forward. That was when I felt my heart stop in my chest and fall to the floor in a million pieces.

It couldn’t be. I had to be seeing things. Liz would never do something like that, but there she was wrapped up in Sean’s arms, her eyes closed as her head rested on his shoulder. I could see his bare back, but thankfully he still had boxers on. I watched in horror as he pulled Liz’s head from his shoulder and their lips met. I felt something die inside of me.

They turned around, and Liz’s back was to me, her dark hair cascading down in soft curls. The thing I noticed though was that past the curls, her back was bare, and she was left only in a small pair of boy short underwear. I couldn’t watch anymore and turned just as I saw Sean climbing onto the bed, and Liz walking towards him, topless and then on top of him.

It’s hard to explain what it feels like to have your heart ripped out by someone you love. I couldn’t even explain it and I had just experienced it. Maybe this is what she had wanted all along. Maybe she had been with Sean all along and I had just been a ruse, a way for the East side to show they were superior. Sure, get the leader’s girl to hook the leader of the other side and then ruin him, only to be screwing her old boyfriend at the same time.

I felt betrayed. I thought I had known Liz, I thought she had loved me. Climbing blindly over the balcony ledge I made my way down the ladder until I felt the grass beneath me. I couldn’t see; my vision blinded by my tears. I fell to the ground, unable to move. My legs were like lead. I don’t know how long I stayed there for, but when I heard sounds above me, I realized they were probably done and she was going to be ushering him out so he wouldn’t be there for the time I was supposed to have showed up.

I felt stupid for being so excited to see her, for rushing over to her house like a fool. It had been a game all along. I had just been an object to her, something she had to win. She had done it, and that hurt too.

I got up, and just started running. I don’t know how I did it, but my legs carried me, determination to get away from her and all the lies pushing them onward. I stopped not realizing where I was until I was collapsing on a bench, out of breath, tears still filling my eyes.

I sat there for a while, alone and feeling dead inside. I had given up everything for her, everything just to be with her, and I had always thought it was worth it. I guess it wasn’t for her. Maybe it hadn’t all been a game; maybe she had just realized that she wanted something else. She didn’t want me; instead, she wanted what she had left behind. It hadn’t been worth it to love me, and it was easier to give herself to Sean.

I couldn’t even figure out which hurt more, the thought that she had been using me for this stupid rivalry, or the fact that it had all been the truth, but she just didn’t think it was worth what she had to go through.

I was pulled from my thoughts when I heard footsteps coming toward me. I looked up, not knowing who to expect and found someone I certainly hadn’t thought would be there.

“Are you okay?” her soft voice asked from across the sidewalk. I looked around finding myself at Roswell Central Park, then looked back at her and shook my head.

“Do you want to talk about it?” she asked, coming to sit down next to me. I didn’t say anything about her being there. She hadn’t hurt me yet; she didn’t deserve for me to treat her coldly. I shook my head “no” again. I couldn’t even begin to say what had happened. Admitting it out loud meant it really happened, and denial was nice. I could pretend there was some logical explanation for what I had seen.

“Do you want me to leave?” I looked at Tess more closely now, seeing how vulnerable she was, preparing to get shot down and embarrassed again, but I couldn’t do it.

“No,” I said hoarsely. She looked at me, and I looked back before staring ahead again. We didn’t talk, but she sat with me in silence while I thought about everything, knowing that I needed to see Liz. I couldn’t believe this; I knew Liz better than this, and I had to find out what really happened.

TBC....See you Saturday!


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Post by Hopeless Romantic » Sat Jun 05, 2004 12:04 pm

A/N: There was a big reaction to the last part, and i had actually been worried about how you guys would react to reliving that, but I need you to understand. When I think of Max and Liz I don't think of only the good times, but all the things they overcame. This is a big part of their relationship because it shows how far Liz was willing to go for him, and just how much Max cared for her by the devastation it caused him. Look at it that way. And don't worry. I am FULLY against Max/Tess and SPOT, if that helps, but I can't say any more.

Part Twenty-Nine - Liz POV

When Isabel, Maria, Todd, Sean, and Pam finally left, I locked myself in the bathroom for over an hour, crying my eyes out and refusing to come out. Serena sat on the other side of the door, trying to talk to me and console me, but nothing would work. I could feel nothing.

“Liz, it’s going to be okay!” Serena called from the other side of the door. I could hear her banging her hand softly against the door, but I just wrapped my arms around my knees and curled myself into a ball.

The only thing I did feel was dirty. Touching Sean, having to kiss him, was horrible. Maria and Isabel’s sick minds thought it would be more believable if I didn’t have my top on throughout the whole thing, and so I was forced to endure that torture too. The reason I had allowed all of this to happen was sitting in my room trying desperately to get to me, but I didn’t want to let her in.

While Sean and I had been in the room, Isabel and Maria had hid with Pam in my bathroom, but Todd and Serena had stayed in my room. They were right where I could see them, but where someone looking through my window wouldn’t have been able to notice them. The worst part was watching Todd stand there and wave the knife he almost stabbed me with in Serena’s face.

I felt sick, and reached for the toilet, making it there just in time to empty the contents of my stomach into the bowl. Serena must’ve heard it because she started knocking again.

“Liz, just let me in!” she yelled. “You’re being really unfair! I had to go through that too, you know?” she threw at me.

Wiping my mouth I walked to the door and opened it. It wasn’t two seconds after the door was opened that Serena was flinging herself at me and pulling me into the biggest hug. The tears came again, and she just held me.

“I hate them!” I screamed angrily, the sound of my voice muffled by Serena’s shirt.

“Shh, it’s going to be okay, Liz. We can just tell Max the truth!”

She rubbed my back as she held me and it felt comforting, but the next words out of my mouth were anything but that. “We can’t ever tell him, Serena!”

“Why not?” she exclaimed, not understanding.

“Maria and Isabel told me that if we said anything to Max, that all the people I love the most are going to pay for it. They can do whatever they want to me but I refuse to let them hurt you, or Kyle, or Alex. I wouldn’t be surprised if they went after Max themselves.”

They were sick, and we both knew it. They’re desperation caused by this rivalry had driven them all to lengths they never would’ve gone to under normal circumstances. I refused to let them win, and let them hurt the people that I loved. They were mad at me for messing things up, and they wouldn’t hesitate to make me pay for it. I needed to make Serena understand that.

She argued with me a little more, but finally consented. “Fine, my lips are sealed. I won’t even tell Kyle,” she promised.

I felt bad making her lie to Kyle, but it was for his own good in the end. No one had to get hurt. The effects of the day hit me so hard I got a little dizzy when I stood up from the bathroom floor. She followed me to her feet and pulled me into a hug again.

“Thank you,” I whispered against her shoulder. I could feel her nod against my own head, and I smiled slightly, grateful to have a friend like her.

“Let’s get some rest, ok?” Together we climbed under my covers after Serena called Kyle and told him that my mom had gotten home early and they couldn’t come over. He understood and wished us both a good night. I could feel my eyes drifting shut even before she was off the phone with him.

I woke up the next morning almost forgetting the events of the night before for a split second, but when I looked to my left and found Serena I remembered everything. I could feel the tears well up in my eyes. I hoped that Max would be smart enough to stay away. I had a feeling that he wouldn’t believe what he saw and might come ask me about it, but I hoped that he wouldn’t. If he did Maria and Isabel might assume that I had said something.

Resolving to keep him away from me, for his own good, I decided that if he did come I would lie to him, and really make him believe that I had done what he thought. It hurt to even think about hurting him more, but I couldn’t think of anything else to do. I climbed out of my bed quietly, because I didn’t want to wake Serena, and headed downstairs to get something to eat, though I wasn’t sure if my stomach would even hold it.

I was walking down the stairs when I heard a knock at the door. Grateful that they didn’t ring the doorbell, I made my way to the double doors and looked through the eyehole. My heart stopped. Max was standing on my front porch, his hands shoved deep into his pockets. I wanted to cry at how lost he looked. I wanted to hold him in my arms and show him that I loved only him, that I would never have sex with Sean and that he is the only person I ever want to be with, but I couldn’t.

With a sigh of regret I opened the door, ready to break both of our hearts for the second time. He looked up at me as the door swung open and I didn’t know what to say. He looked like I felt—destroyed.

“Max, what are you doing here?” I said finally, trying to stop my voice from breaking.

“Sorry I used the front door. I would’ve come up the balcony way but I didn’t—I just came to ask you something,” he got out. I cringed when he said the thing about the balcony, knowing exactly why he didn’t use it. He was probably afraid he’d see something again, like Sean and I having another round in the morning. I felt a foul taste in the back of my throat at the thought and had to stop myself from reaching out to Max.

“What’d you want to ask me?” I straightened my back, trying to remain strong.

His eyes were probably the worst part of all of this. They were searching my own, trying to find a reason for what I had done, trying to find the truth. I couldn’t let him see it though.

“Well, it’s more, I need to tell you that I saw you last night.” A fake look of shock and guilt on my face, and he continued. “I saw you with Sean,” he forced out.

“Oh, I’m…I’m sorry you had to see that, Max.”

Inside I was screaming at him that it was all a lie, that it wasn’t true and that I loved him, but they were cries heard on deaf ears. I could never say what I wanted to say to him, and he could never know the truth.

“It’s true? I mean, I thought maybe it was some mistake, like something happened, but it’s true?”

“Well, I mean, you saw it.” Way to lie, Liz. Look his heart is breaking right in front of you, good job!

“Why?” There was something about the way he said it, that made me falter for a second. There was an aching in his voice that I almost couldn’t explain, but deep down I knew what it was.

I was killing him. Just like I was killing myself, he was feeling everything he had ever thought to be true being ripped away from him with the simple words I was saying. I prayed that he would see right through me but he couldn’t.

“I don’t know…I just felt like it, I guess,” I shrugged carelessly.

He looked at me like I was crazy. Then something changed in his facial expressions. His jaw set and he looked at me in determination, crossing his arms over his chest. “I don’t believe you.”

I laughed, and it surprised me that I could make it sound so real when inside the last thing I was doing was laughing. I was yelling at myself to tell him the truth so that we could figure out what to do about Maria and Isabel together, but the thought of Serena lying upstairs in my bed, completely safe, and the thought of that safety being taken away, was just too much to bear, and so the lies continued.

“Max, don’t you get it!” I said furiously, angry at this game Maria and Isabel were playing; mad at them for doing this to me, and for making me do this to him. “I don’t want to be with you!”

He flinched, but straightened again and continued to stare me down. “You expect me to believe that? To just believe that everything we went through was all a lie?”

“I don’t care what you believe.”

He looked at me, tried to stare through me again, but I closed myself off. “Why, Liz?”

This was it. This is when I would seal the deal and push him away from me for good. This is how I would break his heart. Because I knew what Max’s greatest fear was, at least where I was concerned. I knew the words he was dreading to hear. Taking a deep breath, I prepared to hear them come out of my mouth and push him away forever.

“I guess it was just too hard being with you, Max. All of this stuff that I’ve had to go through, it just wasn’t worth it.” I said the last words slowly for effect, and died inside as his expression changed and his hands dropped from his chest to his sides, where they dangled helplessly. Without another word, he walked away from me, alone, but safe, and that was all that mattered to me.