Before It's Too Late (AUWOA,M/L,ADLT)COMPLETED~12/30/07

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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RebeccaBehrEvans
Addicted Roswellian
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Joined: Mon Dec 30, 2002 3:17 pm
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Before It's Too Late (AUWOA,M/L,ADLT)COMPLETED~12/30/07

Post by RebeccaBehrEvans » Wed Mar 17, 2004 4:24 pm

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Author: RebeccaBehrEvans

Title: Before it's too late.

Category: Max and Liz. AU. No aliens.

Rating: ADULT

Disclaimer: Roswell is mine. Jason Behr is mine. Roswell is mine. Jason Behr is mine. :twisted: Nope, even auto-persuasion doesn't seem to work, so I guess we all know what that means. :sad: (next time I'll try hypnosis and maybe then I'll succeed in convincing at least myself, lol. )

Summary: Max and Liz met when they both were children but only really talked once they were in High School (sounds familiar, doesn't it?), they fell in love (that too? … oh boy, you already know everything then :lol: ), got married and so on and so forth, but something got definitely wrong because now they're living apart and their marriage is only hanging by a thread. (blame it on Max, he's the man… j/k :lol: … I guess no one is really more responsible than the other. Lack of communication is! :roll: ) … if you want to know what happened and why… I'm afraid you'll have to read now :wink:

However before you seriously start thinking about strangling Max… just know that there is a reason behind his behavior :wink: … and of course, the same goes for Liz :lol:

And before you start throwing things at your screen too with the hope that one of them could hit me square in the face for starting another story, just know that 2 parts out of the 4 left are already almost finished (that's why I decided to post) and that I really have the intention to finish this fic before let's say… the release of Roswell in France which is planned for April the 28th :lol: (obsessed much I know :wink: )… if nothing comes my way in the meantime, I should update every week… probably on Thursday. Of course, feedbacks would only help keeping that schedule more easily :wink: … so don't hesitate.

A big thank U to Tiphaine, Angie and Deborah for being my 'guinea pigs' and testing the waters so to say with this story… your comments have been greatly appreciated, and really helped me a lot… got to have different perspectives, right? You rock girls, LOVE YOU!
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Best Portrayal of a child, for Janelle.
Best Alternate Universe Without Aliens
Prologue

She moaned his name in her sleep as she felt his hot breath on her neck, caressing her and sending shivers down her spine.

His lips brushed against her skin, burning her everywhere they grazed it until they finally touched her own.

His tongue darted out, quickly swallowed into the recesses of her mouth where it mated with hers and enjoyed its sweet taste.

A set of amber eyes bore directly through her when they came up for air, touching her soul with the intensity they radiated, warming her heart with the way they shone love.

"I love you so much, Liz!" he whispered huskily and she moaned again as he kept thrusting in and out of her, his rhythm slow and torturous, just like he knew it drove her crazy.

God, she had missed this so much. Missed the contact of his fevered skin against hers, the touch of his hands all over her, the feel of him inside of her. How she had survived so long without it she didn't know, but now that she had him back she didn't want to let go. Ever.

Her nails scratched his back, when in reality her hands fisted the sheets at her sides, and she slightly arched up, trying to meet his every move.

"I love you… I love you… you and only you!" he repeated reverently and she felt tears welling up in her eyes.

She tried to show him, tell him how much she loved him, too, but the words got stuck in her throat and all she could do was look back at him.

Why wouldn't her vocal chords work when she needed them?

He needed to know, and she needed to tell him, even if somehow she knew he understood, she could feel it in his gaze, in the way he touched her, in the way he was loving her.

She brought a hand over his shoulder, slowly making her way to the nape of his neck and she smiled as she felt his fingers briefly intertwining with hers, before he let go of them and tenderly stroked the length of her arm, all the way down to her own bare shoulder.

Strangely she felt his weight seemingly pressing more firmly against her, but she didn't give it second thoughts, too busy relishing in the soft caress of his fingers, until she finally felt his hand on her shoulder, shaking her. And shaking her. And shaking her.

" Mommy… I'm hungry!"

She stirred and blinked a few times at the sound of the voice, wondering why Max was calling her mommy suddenly, only to finally come face to face with the amber eyes that haunted her every night, looking down at her. Those sparkling amber eyes she loved so much… and yet they weren't exactly the same… they weren't really his.

She felt disoriented at first, searching around her, hoping to find him near her yet, but he wasn't anywhere to be seen. He wasn't here anymore, period, she had to remind herself. He hadn't been for a long time now, and yet she still couldn't get used to waking up alone in what used to be their bed, even if she well knew now it was only hers, and their daughter's occasionally when she couldn't sleep and she couldn't help but come and join her mother.

"Mommy… mooommy… I'm hungry… I. AM. HUNGRY!" Janelle, her five-year-old daughter repeated even more forcefully as she resumed her shaking and her little bouncing movements on Liz's stomach, not understanding why it was taking so long to her mother to react or why she wasn't already downstairs, preparing her her breakfast.

You would think that after having been shaken left and right for several minutes and called a countless number of times her mommy would be up and ready, but nooo. Couldn't she see that she was very hungry, and too exited to wait?

Her daddy was coming and he would be the one to take her to school this morning and so she wanted to be ready for when he would arrive, and now her mother was making them both late, and of course they couldn't have that. What would her daddy say or think if he saw she wasn't there to greet him when she hadn't seen him in three long days? Of course she had talked to him on the phone every morning and every night before going to sleep during his absence, like they always did when he had to go away, but that was just not the same as seeing him in the flesh. No, not the same at all, her mother should know that!

"Okay, okay, sunshine… I think I got the message!" Liz said as she recovered and tried to stifle a laugh at her daughter's obvious excitation, then stop her from writhing even more on her lap. It wasn't the first time she had woken up with Janelle straddling her hips like this and shaking her for all she was worth, but she swore that one of these days she would just jump too much on her and kill her in the process, before she could even open an eye. "But what about a morning kiss first, huh?" she then added as she hugged her little girl against her chest and kissed her head.

At least if she couldn't revel in her husband's embrace first thing in the morning, she could still feel loved in her daughter's, and no one loved her more than her baby.

"Good mo'ning, mommy!" Janelle whispered as she hugged Liz back, or as best as she could in their still lying position, and she affectionately kissed her cheek.

"Did you sleep well, honey?" Liz asked, caressing her daughter's hair, loving the feel of it through her fingers.

It was the same texture as hers, and yet it seemed completely different to her, she couldn't help thinking once more. She had always found that strange, since if she had to describe her daughter, she would say she was the spitting image of herself, her mother from head to toes: same hair color, same little button nose, same chin, same tiny frame… only with Max's incredible eyes. That was the only physical trait she had inherited from her father in fact, but together with all the rest that was all Liz, it made a terrific combination Max often liked to say, already sure that his little girl would turn more than a few heads in the future. Not that he was ready to reach that step of course. Liz knew all too well how Max would preserve Janelle from the external world and keep her in a safety bubble the rest of her life if he could, just to be sure she wouldn't grow up at all or at least not too fast and he wouldn't have to lose her to anyone else, but he had eyes, too, and like anyone else who saw her, he couldn't deny what a beauty his girl would be. She already was.

"Yeah… very!" Janelle answered as she momentarily rested her head against her mother's chest but all too quickly for Liz's liking, pulled away again. "Can we go now?… daddy is coming and I've to be ready!" she almost right away asked with her best pleading voice.

Oh, god. This girl and her daddy. If there were ever a living stereotype of a true 'daddy's girl' Janelle Evans was it, no doubt about that. She simply couldn't live without the man, which made the situation all the more complicated for Liz, considering she and Max weren't together any longer -though so far nothing was definitive- or were even barely speaking most of the time lately, and she knew firsthand how hard it could be for her to not see her father every day.

"I know he is!"… 'don't remind me' Liz thought at the mention of him, already dreading the moment when she would see him this morning. "What about you go down first… you know where your favorite cookies are… you can take some and then if you just give me a few minutes to get showered and dressed, I'll follow and make you some pancakes." Liz negotiated, knowing that she would need a few minutes to cool down some more before being able to go anywhere or do anything else.

Her body was still humming from her dream and called for a very cold shower, and considering her daughter's impatience had made her wake up with the lark, she realized as she chanced a quick look at her alarm clock which had yet to go off, she could fortunately still take her time.

Following her mother's instructions Janelle quickly got down from the bed and padded to the door after a brief 'okay', but she had only taken a few steps into the hallway when she came backwards to ask her mother if she could watch some cartoons on the television while she waited.

"Sure, sweetie… I won't be long!" Liz authorized with a smile before falling back on her bed again.

No, Max wasn't here anymore, Liz sighed as she saw her baby girl exiting the room, remembering how had he been here, he would have followed suit at the mention of cartoons. When Max had nowhere to go in the morning, it had been like a tradition for the two of them to have their breakfast together, usually Cocoa Pebbles for him and whatever she was in the mood for, for Janelle, both cuddled close in front of the television. But now Janelle was all alone, and though she never talked or complained about it, Liz knew how much she missed those mornings.

It had only been a dream again. Only another dream. That was the only thing she had now anyway. That and a lot of memories, along with daydreaming fantasies that one day everything would be back to normal again. If only. She wished so much they could go back, but lately even just hoping was becoming too hard to her.

She often wondered where everything had gone wrong for them. Where their perfect life had changed so much and turned into this and why she had not seen it coming beforehand, maybe then she could have stopped it from happening, but she hadn't seen a thing, or not soon enough in fact and slowly she and Max had drifted apart until it was too late for her to do anything.

A couple of years ago they had everything and she was envied by most of her friends, and now that period seemed so far away that she wondered if that, too, hadn't been only a dream.

She had practically known Max Evans her whole life, ever since he had moved to Roswell, New Mexico in fact and he had stepped out of a yellow school bus his first day of class when they were just 2nd graders, but it wasn't until that fateful day of September eight years later, when he had risked his life to save hers, that she had really talked to him. She was still only sixteen, he was barely seventeen but both had immediately known that that day would seal their fate and that nothing would ever be the same between them after that.

Of course she had noticed him long before that, who wouldn't have noticed brooding, mysterious and elusive Max Evans with the looks he had. He was every girl's fantasy and yet he never seemed to care, never seemed to date which probably was what made him be even more coveted, but she had never really dared address him before, no more than he had in fact. But after that day though, and after his recovery, they had been nearly attached to the hip to quote what many commented back then. First as friends, and later as way more when they had finally been ready to admit that 'being only friends' just wasn't enough to any of them anymore, and during numerous years nothing could come between them. They were constantly together and shared all that could possibly be shared by two people. Max had been her best friend, her boyfriend, her confidant and later, the night of their Junior Prom, he had become her lover. Her everything finally.

That night he had eventually confessed having been in love with her ever since the first day he had laid eyes on her, and while he was waiting for her to laugh at him for how cheesy that sounded, she had kissed him and told him that it only made her love him more knowing that she had always been the only one to him. That was also the night she had known with even more clarity if there wasn't enough before, that there would never be anyone else for her but Max Evans either. Or so she had truly believed.

A year later, on the night of their Senior Prom and before bringing her back home, Max had made his proposal. Unexpectedly. Out of the blue. So totally Max.

She had been shocked at first of course, thinking that they were still so young, too young to get married in fact, but he had immediately eased her fears by telling her that he just couldn't wait any longer to ask her to be his wife, but that didn't mean that they had to tie the knot right that instant. They would wait as long as she would want, but he just needed to know that one day she would be completely his, and of course she had granted his wish. However none of them had known then how soon that day would come. Sooner than they had planned it at least, that was for sure.

They were barely starting their third year of college in Los Angeles, Liz studying to be a molecular biologist and Max to be a lawyer, when they had discovered she was pregnant. They had been both pretty scared and even shocked at first - okay, she had completely freaked out on Max at that moment and he had had to calm her down- but after talking it out, they had realized that it didn't matter or change anything since though they hadn't thought about starting a family so soon, both wanting to finish college before doing so, it didn't change the fact that that baby would be very much loved and wanted now that they knew of its existence.

Their parents, though their reactions to the news had been quite mixed to say the least, had insisted on the fact that they should get married and that no grandchild of theirs should be born out of wedlock, and Max and Liz had been more than happy to comply. They had thought it would be a little complicated at first to conciliate everything and make ends meet, but the surprise had come when Claudia Parker, Liz's grandmother, had offered them the house she was still currently living in as a wedding present. She couldn't very well let her granddaughter and great-grandchild live in a tiny two bedrooms apartment when she had the money, the possibility and the will to help or downright take care of that, Claudia had said, and though Max had been a little reluctant to accept such a gift at first, in the end, they both knew they had taken the right decision. It had surely helped and they would have had to struggle so much more if they hadn't.

So for a few months everything had been pretty normal, Max continuing school though Liz had to drop off the last semester due to her condition, and both were of course waiting impatiently for their daughter's arrival, but in the end Liz had fallen so totally in love with her little girl that she hadn't had the heart to pursue her studies, at least not to achieve what had always been her dream and become a famous molecular biologist. It would have taken too much of her time and she wasn't willing to leave her baby more than it was necessary if she could do otherwise. Eventually so she had become a biology teacher and it suited her just fine and with Max supporting her, she had never had to regret her decision.

Yes, everything had been perfect between Max and her and the birth of their daughter had brought them so much joy that sometimes they thought that any day soon they would just burst out with happiness.

If Liz had to point out the moment things had started to change then, she would certainly say it was around the time the rest of the Evanses, Max's parents and even Isabel, his sister, had moved to Los Angeles, too.

Philip Evans, a lawyer himself, had been offered a partnership in a Law Office there and decided to seize that great opportunity, seeing only advantages to the situation. He would make great money, he would do something he really liked in a town he liked, too, moreover, he would have a more important position, and he and his wife would be closer to his son and his family. And like it was predictable, Diane Evans who always complained she couldn't see her only granddaughter often enough had been ecstatic of course and everyone had thought that this new turn in their lives was for the best.

Not long after his coming, Philip had talked to his partners and Max had been offered a job, too, which was really great since he was just fresh out of Law School and it had spared him the trouble of going hunting for a position anywhere else, or finding himself somewhere he didn't know anybody, and again everyone had been happy with the situation. How could they not?

Liz hadn't really noticed anything being different at first, too busy she was with juggling between her own job and taking care of her daughter, but slowly Max had had less and less time for her, and soon she was barely seeing him at all.

All that seemed to matter to him was his job and trying to satisfy everyone, though mostly his father of course. Liz hadn't thought he really realized what he was doing to her or to their couple so she had more or less let it flow at first. At least as much as she could. And then when she couldn't, every time she really tried to enter the topic with him, Max always managed to reassure her, swearing that it was only a matter of time, of a few months, nothing more, just until he proved himself, and that then he would have more time for her and for Janelle, so what was she supposed to say? He told her everything she wanted to hear and she believed him.

But it hadn't been just a matter of a few months. Unfortunately.

After a little more than two years working for his father's Law Office, Max had gotten into a big argument with one of the main partners, completely disagreeing with his point of view on a case and consequently things had been a little more strained between him and everyone else after that. And that was more or less when Alex Whitman, one of Max's Law School buddies had come into the picture.

He and Max had kept in touch even after finishing school and when Alex had come to him, telling him that his own father's Law Firm, which was originally based in San Francisco, was looking for someone who could help opening up a branch here in Los Angeles with him, and that he had immediately thought of him for the job, Max hadn't thought about it twice. He had seized the opportunity, and left his previous job and father behind without hesitation. Philip Evans hadn't been particularly thrilled of course, understatement of the day here actually, but fortunately their relationship hadn't really been affected by Max's 'desertion'. To some point Liz guessed he understood Max's decision, since he would have probably done the same if he had had the opportunity to have his own Law Firm at such a young age.

Unfortunately for Liz, Max's new job, and most of all new responsibilities hadn't helped their situation at all. If anything it had only made matters worse, because if she thought that she didn't see Max enough before, now with him having to work practically 24/7 she didn't see him at all, what with him being always working or even on business trips between Los Angeles and San Francisco, or all over the West Coast depending on what he was dealing with. Of course they still had the weekends and the little time Max managed to save for their daughter, but Liz was seriously starting to resent him for not being there for her more often. Telling herself that it was just a matter of time, that everything would be back to normal once he would have everything settled and going in his office, was not enough any longer, not when it was costing her her husband. She needed more.

And then she had had that crazy idea that maybe having another baby would help them getting close again and that was when Max had snapped. He hadn't wanted to hear about it at all, stating that they weren't ready, that with them both working and with already Janelle to take care of, they wouldn't have time for another baby, or even worse that no child of his would come to this world with him not having time to see it growing up, that they should better wait, and Liz had really lost it.

Angrily she had reminded him that that was exactly what he was already doing with Janelle, but if she had thought that that would help her case, she had been really wrong. Max had argued then that it was all the more reason to not bring another baby into this and not make it go through this, too, if that was really what she thought already. And Liz had known the discussion was over. Of course she had tried to bring the topic up several times again afterwards, but Max was inflexible on that point, much to her dismay, and it had only caused the rift between them to widen even more.

In the end, Liz had learned that fate had a way of working that didn't always go with your wishes, but Max had never known about that. Because when she had been ready to tell him about it, she had discovered the real reason behind his refusal. She had discovered that while she was there, struggling and trying to save their marriage, Max was making other plans that were obviously more important to him. Plans that didn't include her anymore, and she had let him go. Or more like asked him to leave.


He was probably with her right now, making up for the time they hadn't been together these three last days, she thought bitterly, still not able to get over the fact that he could be with someone else.

Was he making love to her now? Was he holding her afterwards? she couldn't help wondering then against her better judgment -remembering how Max loved making love to her first thing in the morning and just cuddle close to her until it was finally time to get up and he had no other choice but to let her go- and not surprisingly she had to resist the urge to vomit just at the thought.

God, why was she torturing herself like that? Why did she even care what he did or not, huh? It wasn't as if it still mattered in any way now, right?

Pulled out of her not all pleasant memories, and even less pleasant visions by one of Janelle's fit of giggles, Liz turned and looking again at her clock, she realized that she had managed to space out for a good fifteen minutes and she couldn't help sighing. Would there ever be a time when she wouldn't get completely lost when thinking about him or what used to be their life? She doubted so.

Giving herself a short pep talk, she finally managed to extricate herself from the bed and padded to her bathroom to finally get that shower she needed so much before. Not that there was still anything humming inside her after having pictured what Max could be doing with that… someone else -she wouldn't even stoop to insult her anymore, she had been there, done that too many times already and it hadn't helped any- but she guessed that the water would do her some good nonetheless.

Pausing before her mirror she had to smile at the picture she made, dressed with that odd old top she simply couldn't get rid of because it was one of those Max had offered her a long time ago, back when he still thought about her enough to want to please her with the most little, insignificant or strange gifts that almost always left her smiling -though probably questioning his sanity, too- and a pair of his boxers rolled up at the waist since they were definitely too big for her but she obstinately refused to sleep in anything else, come winter or summer.

She didn't know why she couldn't be comfortable in anything else that was not his now, but she clearly remembered when it had started. Almost immediately after they had moved together in their first apartment in Los Angeles and she had discovered how great it felt to sleep with Max so close… and in Max's clothes, whether it was just a shirt, one of his tee-shirts or his boxers. Max had thought she was crazy, but it had also made him smile nonetheless, maybe because he liked seeing her in his things, and so he had yielded to her obsession.

Now it was a chance that most of his things were still here even after all this time, she thought, otherwise she didn't know how she could have made it. It was a stupid thing really if you thought about it, because a pair of boxers, a shirt or what else would never replace Max's presence by her side, or the feel of him holding her all through the night, but that was as close as she could come to feel anything that was him now, so she had to take whatever she could, right? It was even weirder if you considered that she had washed everything she wore that was his at least a hundred of times already since he had left, but strangely she still managed to find everything smelling just like him. And god, she loved that smell.

Groaning when she realized that she was doing it again - let her mind go and wander where it shouldn't - she quickly discarded her clothes and hopped under the shower, instantly reveling in the feel of the water pounding her now calmer body.

She heard a noise above the sound of the running shower and for a brief moment, merely a second maybe but that was enough to affect her deeply, she almost expected Max to come and open the shower glass-door and ask her with that cocky smile of his if she needed some help, like he had so many times before, when making love in the shower was almost the only way to not have Janelle walking up on them doing it once she was awake, but fortunately - or unfortunately, she didn't know anymore - it was only her daughter entering the bathroom.

God, how she hated this. How could she still be so obsessed with him even after all this time? Even after all she knew. It was insane. She was completely insane. She just had to stop otherwise she was really going to lose it and it wouldn't be a pretty sight, believe it.

Berating herself, she tried to chase away and out of her mind, the image of a naked Max entering the shower cubicle, ready for action, but it would probably be easier to learn to fly than managing to do that once the idea was implanted, and so she decided to concentrate on the only thing that could occupy her enough to get her mind out of the gutter. Her daughter.

"Sweetie?… did you want something?" she asked her loud enough to be sure she could hear her.

"Um-huh… there's no more cookies… are you coming?" she heard her whining slightly and immediately felt guilty for having taken so long.

"Yes, sweetheart… just give me another minute to wash my hair and I'll make those pancakes I promised!"

" 'kay… can you make for daddy, too?… he's going to be here soon!" Janelle demanded after a brief hesitation, sure that her father would appreciate, too. Her mother made the best pancakes ever anyway, and she knew just how much he liked them, too. That would make a good 'welcome back' little present. Maybe she could even help her mother make them and he would be proud of her.

"Of course!" was all that Liz could reply since she couldn't deny her daughter anything. But no one said it had to be easy, right? Yeah, thank you, that was what she thought, too.

Washing her hair and body in record time so that Janelle wouldn't be kept waiting any longer, she finally turned off the water and quickly tried to grab a towel to dry herself, only to smile when she saw that Janelle was already handing one to her.

"Thank you, Jay!" she whispered and kissed her daughter's head when she finally had the towel securely wrapped around her body. "Go ahead, I'm coming!" she then added as she reached for another towel to dry her hair.

Once that done she entered her walk-in wardrobe and searched for some clean clothes, hesitating briefly on what to wear before she remembered that since she didn't have any class until the last but one morning period, she would be able to go for a longer run than her usual twenty minutes, and so she chose something she knew she would be comfortable in.

When she finally was dressed and went downstairs, she wasn't surprised to find Janelle already in the kitchen and patiently, or at least as much as she could, waiting for her, and without wasting any more time, she prepared her girl's breakfast, trying not to cringe every time she reminded her that she had to make enough so that her father could have his fill, too. Like she could forget about him, huh? She wished, but she had understood long ago that her wishes were rarely granted.


It was a pretty stuffed Janelle who left the kitchen a little more than half an hour later, but nothing could have stopped her from running up the stairs, so happy she was when her mother had told her that she could go and choose herself the dress she would wear, since obviously it was important to her to look pretty for her daddy, like she had said.

Liz followed not far behind, though she herself didn't feel any need to run, and after helping her shower and get dressed, she settled to do her daughter's hair. Of course by then considering that her father was due to arrive a mere ten minutes later, she was a bundle of nerves, and it took all of Liz's patience to make her stay still, but she managed nonetheless.

"Do you think daddy got me a gift?" Janelle asked her mother as she combed her silky tresses.

That was the only thing she liked about the fact that her father always went on 'bizniss' trips, he always brought her back the coolest gifts. Usually they were stuffed animals and she already had a pretty big collection of them, but sometimes they were just dolls, or new accessories for them, or even just new DVDs. She wondered what it would be this time.

"I'm sure he did!" Liz answered, knowing that Max would certainly not forget about that. There was a time when he always brought something for her, too, but that had stopped once he had left of course. She guessed he didn't feel obligated any longer after that. "Braided or loose today, honey?!" she then demanded absentmindedly, though she was already starting to braid it considering that Janelle had asked her to do her hair that way almost all the week.

No need to say then that her answer surprised her, even if in some way she could have expected it.

"Loose… daddy like it loose… he say I look like you!" Janelle replied simply and smiled proudly at Liz through the mirror, not aware that her answer had caused her mother's heart to ache in remembrance.

Yes, Max had always liked when she wore her hair loose, too. At least a long time ago. He probably didn't care one way or another now though.

End of the prologue
TBC? ... you decide :?
Last edited by RebeccaBehrEvans on Fri Jan 04, 2008 5:33 am, edited 58 times in total.
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RebeccaBehrEvans
Addicted Roswellian
Posts: 223
Joined: Mon Dec 30, 2002 3:17 pm
Location: Like Heidi... in the green, but freaking cold mountain!!

Post by RebeccaBehrEvans » Wed Mar 31, 2004 3:47 pm

Author: RebeccaBehr

Title: Before it's too late.

Rating: ADULT

Disclaimer: Roswell is mine. Jason Behr is mine. Roswell is mine. Jason Behr is mine. :twisted: Nope, even auto-persuasion doesn't seem to work, so I guess we all know what that means. :sad: (next time I'll try hypnosis and maybe then I'll succeed in convincing at least myself, lol. )

AN: Okay guys, here it is.
Just one thing I need to say… From your feedbacks I gathered that the first part was pretty hard to read… well this new one was pretty hard to write so I guess that sums it all :? … The truth is that I've been told by my dear and willing guinea pigs that it was even harder to read than the first one, so I'm giving fair warning here… I admit it myself, it's not a happy part… at least the first half of it… I've tried to lighten the rest a little because really I'm not here to depress anyone, so I hope it works… at least a little bit :?
Let me know, okay :wink:

I also wanted to ask you to let me know if there is any point that you would like to see being more developed. In fact I know exactly where I'm going with this fic, and I already have all the parts planned, but since it's supposed to be a short one, maybe I'm skipping some details you would want to know about (just an ex. Where Michael or Isabel work or what they could do for a living, with their free time etc, is of no particular interest for me in this story so even if I mention it, I don't really develop that part. ). As far as I'm concerned I'm trying to go directly to the point but of course I could forget some things that you could consider being relevant, so don't hesitate if you think about anything okay.

Oh one last thing before we start…
here is a little something that should help you have a better visual :mrgreen:

Frenchkiss, Lovalien, Marteloise, just saw your posts... girls, god, please stop... this is soooo embarrassing :smilecolros: ... people are going to start thinking I'm paying you :rofl: :lol: ...(or that we're all one and only single person. ME :twisted: ME :twisted: ME :twisted: :mrgreen: )... God, I couldn't love you more :wink: :lol:

And a special thank U to
Angie for helping me with this part :wink: ... too bad they're not giving awards for the betas :rofl: :wink:
Enjoy :P


Posted in two parts, due to length.
Chapter one
Unable to tear his eyes away from her, he lay still on his side, facing her and almost mirroring her exact posture, one hand tucked under his head, the other one resting on his thigh. It seemed like only minutes to him since he had woken up and started to study her as she slept, but judging by the light that was slowly starting to enter the room, he was pretty sure that it was already hours. Yet even knowing by experience that the longer he would stay near her like this, the harder it would become for him to resist her, he couldn't leave.

He literally ached to touch her, his fingers itched with the need to caress and feel her skin again and to a certain point, the realization made him angry. He was so weak. He shouldn't feel that way, he shouldn't need anything from her, shouldn't need
her, and yet he couldn't help it.

Unable to stop himself any longer, he pulled the covers down to have a better view of her enticing, perfect body, and he felt his groin tightening even more just at the sight of her.

God, she was just so beautiful.
His wife. His Liz. How was he supposed to hate her, hate such a breathtaking creature, hate the love of his life, the mother of his child? More importantly, how was he supposed to ever let go of her?

Despite himself he smiled as he saw her clad in his blue Calvin Klein boxers, certainly twice too large for her tiny frame but her favorite nonetheless, but the smile died on his lips when his eyes wandered higher, past her flat tanned stomach, and caught the movements of her expanding and contracting chest. Up and down with each intake of air.

For a second he held his breath when she unexpectedly changed position, afraid to see her stir, but then he nearly groaned when he realized it gave him an even clearer view of her breasts, already barely concealed by the thin and nearly transparent material of her top. Better concentrate on something else, he immediately thought.

Carefully, making sure to not wake her up, he tucked back the few strands of hair that had fallen over her face when she had moved, and his eyes trailed on her perfect features once more. He didn't think he would ever tire of looking at her, but now every time he did, he couldn't help the pain that washed over him, knowing that she didn't really belong to him any longer. Not completely at least.

She sighed slightly at the feathery contact and a tiny smile appeared on her rosy lips, making him wonder what could have caused it. Was it the brief brush of his fingers over her skin, or was it something else only
she was seeing behind her closed eyelids?

What could she be thinking anyway? Could she be dreaming of him? he couldn't help wondering, though he knew he would probably never have the answer. Could she still love him
there, wherever it was her mind was right now?

Fighting the urge to touch her for as long as he could, he finally relented when it became too much to bear, and he brought his hand to her knee before slowly moving it up her smooth thigh.

God, he loved her skin.

"Max!" Liz softly moaned, unaware of the audience, and he felt his heart skipping a beat at the beautiful sound that reached his ears. He didn't think that anything would ever sound more wonderful to him than his name on her lips in fact.

Maybe she was indeed dreaming of him after all, he rejoiced, forgetting for a brief moment why he shouldn't even hope or think about that.

Becoming bolder, his fingers caressed her skin more insistently and he stopped only when she stirred and when her eyes fluttered open and bore directly into his, catching him in the act.

"Max?" she breathed out and blinked, apparently still not completely awake but clearly surprised to see him so close to her, or maybe even more, to feel him touching her. And how could she not, it had been more than a month since he had last touched her. Since he had last been here when she went to bed or when she woke up in the morning even in fact. More than a month since he had last made love to her.

He didn't say anything at first, still fighting for some control, for some way to find the strength to get out of there and not do what he so wanted to do, but it was a hopeless situation. He just couldn't stay away from her any longer. He knew about her deception, knew about what she had done to him, to
them, and yet he couldn't stay away. How pathetic of him, huh?

Liz looked up at him questioningly, seeing so many emotions passing in his so expressive eyes that she wasn't sure she could even name them all. Love, pain, desire, indecision swirled in their depths, but mostly there was…
anger she realized with a frown, not understanding why he would be angry, and then, just when she was sure he was going to bolt out of the bed and tell her that he needed to go to work or to wherever it was he went so early in the morning lately, she saw him grimacing slightly just before his eyes locked with hers again, and her breath caught in her throat, making her forget about anything else. What she clearly saw in them then couldn’t be mistaken. She knew that look all too well. And she also knew what it meant.

Before he could reason any longer with himself, Max brought her closer, until their chests touched and their lower bodies met, until he had her practically pinned with his weight against the mattress and she had no other choice but to surrender to him.

Her breathing changed almost immediately, not really being used to having him so close anymore, and her eyes closed in delight when she felt his breath a mere inch from her skin.

"I need you too much, Liz!" his lips against her neck, eyes tightly shut, Max whispered achingly like he needed to justify himself, justify his actions even if it was only for his own sake.

Stop, stop now, before it's too late!, a voice kept ordering him in his head but Max was unable to listen to it now. He was too far gone to understand anything but the passion that coursed through his veins and the craving that blinded his senses.

Swiftly, he moved aside the spaghetti strap of her top and tugged the material down, revealing a perfect breast to his hungry eyes, and almost immediately he dove on the now exposed and tempting flesh, drawing her hardened nipple into his awaiting mouth and pleased beyond belief when it elicited a low whimper of pleasure from Liz.

The hand that had fondled her breast not a second ago moved down the side of her now heated body, until it could stroke its way up under the leg of the boxers and bracket her hip, and then with the pad of his thumb he caressed her nether lips. Closing his eyes briefly again when he felt her responding to his touch, he couldn’t help marveling at how she arched up against him, how she struggled to breathe after just that simple act, how she moaned his name with that edge in her voice that betrayed her need and usually let him know she wanted more.

"God, how I want you!" he croaked breathlessly, and the little voice inside his head attacked once more.
You shouldn't want her! You shouldn't touch her! You shouldn’t!

"Me, too… M-Max!" Liz whispered back, still not sure that this was really happening.

She was afraid she was going to wake up any time soon now and realize that this was only a dream, but when Max talked to her again, his eyes never leaving her face and looking at her with so much passion shining in them it made her head spin, she knew she was not imagining this.

He was here, he was touching her, and he wanted her. And she wasn't going to question it any longer, she promised herself. She had missed him too much for that.

Her hands, idle until then, grew a mind of their own and before she could stop them they were pulling his boxers down, freeing him from the confines of the material and revealing to her, if she had had any doubts before, just how much he indeed meant the words.

"Do you?" Max asked just above a whisper like he was dreading the answer, and to some point he certainly did, but he was unable to not look at her at the same time for all that. He needed to see the truth in her eyes, even if what he could find in them could hurt him, destroy him even, he needed to know.

"Yes… god, yes!" she cried out as she felt one of his fingers entering her, obviously seeking on its own for the answer to his question.

"Say it, Liz… please, say it!" he murmured, his voice hoarse with need, yet hating himself for begging her to give him just that.

"I-I… I want you… god, I want you, Max!" Liz panted desperately when he withdrew his finger, aching for more of his touch, and Max could honestly have cried right then just at the thought that she could still want him despite everything.

In a flash her boxers were sliding along her shapely legs and the next instant he was hovering above her, ready to complete her again after so long.

"Keep your eyes open!" he commanded when the tip of his shaft touched her throbbing core and he saw her closing her eyes at the sensation.

He wanted her to see him, see that it was him and no one else who was making love to her. No, he wouldn't be able to just bear the thought that she could close her eyes and imagine herself being loved by anyone but him at that instant.

She complied without hesitation of course, and the next second he was in to the hilt, his whole body trembling at being reunited with hers, at being one with her again.

Oh, god, she was still so tight, and she felt so good!
Too good.

She shouldn't feel that good to him anymore.


Not so surprisingly, there was no more foreplay after that and no gentleness in his lovemaking either, only great urgency, desperation, a fierce desire,
need to possess her in the most primal way. Just to show, if only to himself, that she was still his, that no matter what, he was still the only one who had the right to claim her because she was still his wife and no one else's. And claim her he did at that moment, over and over, until all Liz could do was moan his name continuously and beg him to never stop.

He tried to tune out the sound of her sweet voice calling him repeatedly. He tried to ignore how much it warmed his heart to hear her passion-filled cries again or how much knowing he was the one causing them affected him. He even tried to convince himself that this was just sex now -sex like he could have it with any other woman he could meet and not care about in the least- but deep down he knew it wasn't.

He was making love to her because he just loved her too much to not to. He was making love to her because he needed to lose himself in her and forget about anything else but the feel of her, even if only for a few minutes, and hoped it would be enough to make him feel alive again. But mostly he was making love to her because he just wanted, needed to take back what he considered was rightfully
his and that was the only way he knew how. And the realization hurt all the more because he never, ever thought that this would be the way he would feel about Liz, his Liz, of all people, or that he would ever see the day when he would love, and hate so much at the same time, making love to her. Love and hate so much the fact that he needed her and that he just couldn't live without her.

His eyes, which until then had been solely focused on her parted lips, involuntarily drifted up and locked with hers, and Max nearly lost it there and then. The emotion he recognized there, so blatantly evident, naked, unmistakable, was just too much for him to bear. The love so pure, unadulterated, that shimmered in her eyes, left there openly for him to see, just couldn't be real. And as much as he wanted to believe his vision wasn't deceiving him, he just couldn't make himself accept it, because that would go against all he knew now and he refused to even consider that she could still love him so much but have been able to betray him, to betray their love like she had nonetheless.

Liar. His mind called her. Liar!

If she was able to deceive him so much and act like nothing at all, she was certainly able to fake her emotions as well, wasn't she?

Of course she was, that was why he hadn't seen a thing before and for so long.

Ultimately and despite what he had asked of her,
he was the one who closed his eyes, too coward he was to face the evidence and therefore preferring to choose the easy way out. If he didn't look at her, he wouldn't question everything all over again, only to find himself hurting even more in the end. No, he just couldn't afford to do that, because he knew he wouldn't survive if he had to hope and lose everything eventually again.

Burying his face in her neck instead, as he repetitively buried himself into her core, he bit and nipped her skin as hard as he could, unconsciously marking her as his own for everyone to see, as at the same time paradoxically he tried to forget what he had just seen, what he was doing, who she was.

However his eyes could be closed all they wanted, but his mind eye felt her, saw her, knew her nonetheless, painfully reminding him that he couldn't escape her, that whatever he did, or how much he tried to deny it, she was a part of him, she lived in him just like he knew he had lived in her for so long, and there wasn't a thing he could do about that. She would always be there, and the recognition of that fact was enough to make him lose the little bit of control he still had until then. That was the moment everything changed in fact and all he needed to finally snap.

A tortured groan that in the heat of the moment could have been mistaken for one of intense pleasure escaped his lips, and he thrust in and out of her like that was the last thing he was going to do in this life. Roughly, desperately, almost savagely and gripping her hip, her shoulder so tightly in his hands that he was sure to leave her delicate skin bruised. Any harder or faster in fact he would have probably hurt her, but he couldn't stop himself.

He gave her everything he had inside at that moment, promising himself of course that this would be the last time, yet only refused her one thing. He never kissed her. He just couldn't even if he didn't really understand why, but kissing her seemed just too personal to him at that moment, too affectionate, even more
intimate to him than what he was doing right now as he sheathed himself inside her depths and shared his body with her, and he didn't want it to be that way. This wasn't about that anymore. If he didn't kiss her, it would be just sex finally, and that was what he needed it to be now. It was just sex, yeah, it had to be. Sex and only sex. She didn't deserve anything else. She didn't deserve his love.

At some point, when he was sure she was nearing the edge, he felt her nails scratch his back and in his perturbed state he even gladly welcomed the pain. Reveled in it. Anything to forget the sheer pleasure that feeling her surrounding him could bring him. A pleasure he shouldn't allow himself to feel. At least not in her arms anymore.

All the while, unaware of the agony Max was going through, Liz writhed and moaned, squirmed and panted under him, feeling herself coming to life again with each one of his powerful thrusts. God, it had really been too long since he had loved her like this and even if she was a little surprised with the forcefulness he kept pounding inside her body, it felt definitively too good for her to even think about complaining.

Her moans of pleasure grew louder eventually and she knew she wouldn't last long, but she wanted Max to be there with her, and so she tightly cradled his hips between her thighs and arched up even more, forcing him to thrust even deeper as she hungrily nibbled and sucked the skin of his neck, and after a last effort she felt him emptying himself into her tight walls, his orgasm finally triggering her own, their cries of ecstasy mingling and echoing everywhere around them.

A blissful smile grazed her lips as she finally came down from her high and she sighed almost dreamingly, still somewhat wrapped in the sensation. God, after this she could die just right this instant and leave this world happy and feeling utterly fulfilled, she thought.

But if she was more than pleased with the turn of events, Max was far from sharing her feelings and if his body found the satisfaction it craved, his mind, his heart didn't feel any. In fact the instant it was over, he felt a tremendous urge to just bolt out of there and run as far away from her as he could. Run and never turn back. But she didn't let him.

"No, don't… stay, please!" she whispered and closed her thighs around him once more when she felt him trying to pull away, thus preventing him from leaving her heat too soon for her liking, and as crazy as it seemed Max was unable to deny her.

Halting his movement, he leant over her a brief moment as he tried to catch his breath, before eventually rolling on his back and taking her with him, still deeply embedded into her core.

He later felt her contract and relax her vaginal muscles around his softening shaft like she often did afterwards, and though before he had always loved it when she did that, today he just couldn't take it. Maybe because he knew where it usually led them, and he was really not ready to reiterate the experience right now. He wasn't even sure he would ever be again. Not after realizing that instead of making him feel better, sharing this with her only made him feel worse, dead inside, and so before she could take this any further he firmly grabbed her hips to stop any movement she could make, and prayed that she would take the hint.

Much to his relief Liz seemed to be as tired as he felt and not long after she went almost completely still above him, the gentle, and in other circumstances soothing caress of her fingers along his torso the only sign that she was still awake in fact, and Max couldn't help but thank God for the small favor and moment of reprieve, even if it was unfortunately short-lived.

Making herself comfortable on top of him and resting her head on his chest almost immediately afterwards, Liz never saw the tears that pooled in his eyes when she tenderly and repeatedly kissed his skin, just above his heart, and whispered a heartfelt 'I love you' that sliced right through his entire being, and she was asleep before she could even question why he was unable to whisper back the words, even if he wished more than anything that he could tell her that he still loved her, too. Because he did, and that was probably what made all of this even harder.

She never saw the disgust on his face either or the self-hatred that marred his usually so handsome features when, not able to stand being near her any longer, he eventually pulled out of her and pushed her body as far away from his as he could. No, she didn't even stir, so satisfied and sated he had left her. Finally utterly content for the first time in more than a month.

She didn't hear him getting up and exiting the room, his body trembling more uncontrollably with each new step he took, or even less the sound of him retching in the bathroom.

She didn't hear the shower running interminably, as he scrubbed his skin, nearly peeling it off with the rage, but most of all the irrational need, he suddenly felt to wash away the feel of her skin against his and the scent of her that permeated his body. Anything to forget what had happened, what
he had just done.

This was the first, but the last time, too, he swore inwardly as he collapsed on the shower floor and eventually broke down in tears.

The last time.

~ * ~
Flat on his stomach, he buried his head into the pillow and growled low in his throat.

'Go away!' he groaned as snippets of his last intimate moment with her flashed through his mind, the memory taunting him, reminding him of what he still had at that moment and how he had tarnished and ruined it.

God, he had been so stupid. He still was in fact.

Yes, hear this out folks, Max Evans was a stupid fool.

Of course he hadn't always been aware of his own stupidity, which probably explained why he was finding himself in this situation, and it had taken him quite some time to reach that 'brilliant' conclusion, but it didn't make it any less true for all that.

But if anyone still needed any proof, the best one probably was how he had acted at that instant. He had behaved like a demented and irrational psycho who could barely control himself, when he should have cherished that moment he could have with her, because despite everything else she was still his wife, and so if he wasn't able to stay away from her, then he should have at least been able to respect her and love her like a wife should be. Which he had realized later he had clearly not, that realization finally making him understand just how wrong he had been. It had been wrong to treat her like she was just there to satisfy a need he couldn't repress, and it had been wrong to use their lovemaking just to prove a point, he knew that now even if it was too late and even if knowing didn't make it any more right for all that.

But he guessed that he had already paid for that, hadn't he? After all he had only reaped what he himself had sowed.

It was really ironic in fact, because though he had convinced himself back then that that was really what he wanted, if he had known that sometimes wishes could be granted and prayers be heard, he would have probably kept his mouth shut or at least he would have thought better before even formulating the thought in his mind. Now all he could do was to regret his words, and he certainly regretted them more than anything else in the world, there was no doubt about that, because if he had been so sure at that moment considering what he had learnt and what he had felt while making love to her, that he wouldn't be able to go through that for much longer or keep doing like there was nothing wrong between them, he hadn't been anywhere near prepared to lose her completely or lose what they still had for all that.

It certainly was another irony of the situation he guessed but if at that time he could barely stand being anywhere too close to her, now he realized that he craved her presence more than anything else. He missed waking up before her and being able to just look at her while she slept. He missed knowing that even if they didn't always talk, she would be there when he would come home. He missed the silliest little things that kept him going even after he had realized that their relationship was probably doomed or that it was only a matter of time before the shit hit the fan, and that nothing would ever be the same after that. He simply missed her. But couldn't do a thing to change that, even if there was no saying just how much he wished he could go back in time and mend everything.

Whenever he thought about that morning, it still surprised him just how clearly he remembered everything, every little detail, every sensation, or how he felt when he had actually promised himself that it would be the last time he would touch her, the last time he would make love to her. He remembered how he had been so convinced he was doing the right thing, or how he had kept repeating to himself that his reaction was totally normal, that that was actually the only way he could be with her now, and in the end he had been true to his word and to his feelings, he had not touched her again after that. The only problem was that it hadn't been by choice, at least not 'his', and that made all the difference in the world because no matter what he had claimed that day, deep down he had also known that he would have never left her for all that, he wouldn't have taken that final step, and as long as he didn't, that assured him that he wouldn't lose her either, at least not until he decided that that was how he wanted their relationship to end.

That was probably the only thing that could as well explain why he had never confronted her, even if once again it also proved just how coward he could be. But the fact was, he was simply not ready to let her go, therefore as long as they didn't talk about the situation he knew he could still hope for a better ending, hope that things could be worked out somehow, that they could somehow find a way to come back to each other. But then if they broached the topic, he seriously doubted that their conversation would end with an 'it's okay, we just forget about it and act as if nothing happened'.

No, if he did confront her, the most reasonable thing that could happen was that she would have to make a choice, and he was just too afraid he wouldn't be the one she would choose to even think about taking that risk. It had been true then and it still was, even if in the end it hadn't done him much good. The turn the events had taken had proved him that.

Not long after that morning, 'Liz' had finally dropped the bomb and asked him to leave with barely more than a 'you perfectly know why' and an 'I don't think there is much to explain' and the idiot he was had left without another word, without a fight which was certainly and from far the stupidest thing he could have done, anyone would agree on that.

However even if it didn't excuse anything, at that moment all he could remember was how angry he still was or how disappointed and disgusted he felt, so what was he supposed to say anyway, huh? Nothing, since he indeed knew 'why' and he didn't need her to go into 'a detailed explanation' to understand her reasons, just like there wasn't a damn thing he could do to change her mind. At least those had been his thoughts then.

It's funny though how your perception of things could change with time. He had often heard people saying that to heal from a broken heart all you needed was time, but if he could maybe have agreed once, now he really didn't think so because even several interminable months later, it still hurt like it had the very first day, or maybe even more if that were possible. What time allowed you to do however, was to 'think', to see things differently, but unfortunately it wasn't always for the better.

He knew, he had done that a lot. In fact he couldn't even remember how many times he had stayed up, or woken up in the middle of the night after having had another bad dream and not being able to go back to sleep then, he had just started to think everything over again and tried to find a better explanation to the failure of his marriage than 'she doesn't love me anymore, that's all, it happens' or worse 'she never really loved me, that's why it happened', because those were the only ones that made any sense at that time. Yet for long he hadn't found any other answer to his questions unfortunately. No matter how he turned the problem, the conclusion was always the same, it was always 'her' fault, one way or another, and therefore she was also the only one who could fix everything. And since as far as he knew she wouldn't because that wasn't what she wanted, in the end he couldn't find any solution that would be satisfying enough or would make him feel any better.

Sometimes then, he thought that it would be so much easier if he could just hate her, but he had long understood that he just didn’t have it in him to feel any real hatred when she was concerned. He had had no problem hating himself though once he had realized just how stupid he had been, was, whatever. He had hated himself even to the point where he just wished he could crawl out of his own skin sometimes, anything to escape his own mind, but he had quickly realized that that wasn't an option. If she was the one to take the ultimate decision, he wasn't all that innocent either and so the only thing that was left to do was just to live with his own mistakes and hope that he would learn from them, because if time had shown him anything, it was that he was just as responsible as Liz was, if not more.

Granted what he had done himself had all been done involuntarily because clearly he had never meant for this to happen, but it didn't change the fact that he was also to blame. It had been hard to admit it at first of course, it would have been so much easier to keep thinking that he had no part in all of this, no reasons to feel guilty at all, but when the truth hit you square in the face, you couldn't very well ignore it, right? Not indefinitely at least, and so he could keep trying to minimize his role in their separation all he wanted, but the fact was that he was probably the one who had started it all.

In fact, he had tried to deny it for so long that a little more and maybe he would have managed to convince himself, but the truth remained that he hadn't been the best husband for Liz to say the least, unless the new definition of a good husband was one that was never home and she barely saw of course, and so her deception shouldn't have hurt him so much, or rather, it shouldn't have 'surprised' him so much. It had taken for him to understand that to finally see that all his anger or hatred feelings had been directed at the wrong person. Of course in his eyes it didn't excuse what she had done for all that, but at least it made the thought that she could have felt the need to turn to someone else more understandable if not bearable.

coming back in a second :wink:
Last edited by RebeccaBehrEvans on Fri Jan 04, 2008 5:52 am, edited 6 times in total.

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Post by RebeccaBehrEvans » Wed Mar 31, 2004 3:48 pm

Even if he wasn't trying to find himself any excuses either, the only thing he could say was that, as crazy or foolish as it seemed, he had always had the best intentions at heart, though Liz had obviously not understood or seen it his way, but he guessed he couldn't very well blame her for that either.

Now the way he had acted sounded stupid, maybe somewhat farfetched even some would think, but whatever he had done he could honestly say that it was only because he sincerely thought that this was the best for all of them. All he had ever wanted to do was to give Liz everything she wanted, everything she could need before she could even think about it or about asking for it, and that was probably why he had worked so hard… and neglected her in the process unfortunately.

Contrary to what he had thought at that time, it wasn't only to prove himself before his father that he went through that, or because he was a just another one of those 'power-hungry bastard' that only lived for their job like he had heard it on occasion, but because he had always needed to prove himself before Liz, too, and probably even more than he had wanted to see it back then.

He had wanted to make sure that she wouldn't have to worry about a thing, he had needed to show her that he would always be there to take care of her, of them and he had been so obsessed with that that he hadn't realized that what Liz probably just wanted was the man she had married, her husband. And not a husband who practically worked himself into the grave, but one who would be there whenever she would need him and not only when he saw fit and could find some time for her. She had needed a husband who could be entirely devoted to her and for whom she would be a first priority, and he hadn't been any of them, because if she had definitely been the most important person to him and his number one priority in his mind and in his heart, it hadn't been reflected in his acts and that was certainly what had cost him her love.

It was surely clear enough to him now just how stupid that was, but back then he had still hung on to the idea that he needed to do that for her -work so hard so she would never lack for anything or fear that she couldn't count on him- maybe because he had so often felt like so far he hadn't done a thing for her… expect maybe getting her pregnant. So granted somehow he knew that it was a stupid reaction but he had always felt responsible for that, too, and even if he could never feel sorry for having his baby girl, it hadn't stopped him from feeling guilty for all that because after all, he should have been more careful.

Then like it wasn't enough, the fact that their parents had paid for the marriage when he should have been the one to take care of that, or that her grandmother had paid for the house later, too, hadn't helped either. Nor had the fact that after having had Janelle Liz had renounced to another one of her dreams… because of him. Or at least that was how he had perceived it.

He knew it was her own decision and he had right away supported her when she had decided to change her career plans so that she could spend more time with their baby and take care of her, but it hadn't stopped him, at least to some extent, from thinking that this was his doing once more for all that. In fact since then he had wondered so many times where she would be or what she would be doing now if it weren't because of him, that he could have already written a whole novel with all the possibilities, the most plausible being of course that she would have gone to Harvard -which was where she had wanted to go before getting involved with him- instead of following him and moving to Los Angeles, and that she would have probably not ended up pregnant and married at 21 either.

Yeah, knowing her she would certainly already be the most famous molecular biologist of Harvard by now if she had never met him. But anyway, the point was that most of what she had given up for him, whether it was directly his fault or not, were things that she would never get back, things he would never be able to give her back, so he had tried to compensate as best as he could, but unfortunately on his way he had gotten a little sidetracked and had ended up losing sight of what was really important not only to him, but mostly to her.

In the end he had worked so much in fact that all he had managed to do was to ruin everything he had. His marriage, their relationship, the perfect life they had. Yes, everything.

So why hadn't he stopped when he still could, huh? Precisely because he hadn't even realized where he was leading them then, not before it was too late at least. And no matter how many times Liz had tried to make him understand that there was something wrong about that and that they were irremediably drifting apart, he hadn't seen a thing, or maybe just refused to see, that seemed more like it.

The real wonder then was that she hadn't left him sooner in fact, considering what kind of unworthy husband he had been to her at that time. Or even more surprising that she had still been so intent on finding a solution to their problems and so often, when on the other hand it hadn't looked like he was willing to make any efforts.

But since to him there was no real problem, why would he have bothered, huh?

Why trying to 'fix' something that as far as he knew wasn't 'broken'?

So of course he was barely home, but that was because he had to work to assure them the best future possible and in his mind, like he had told her so many times when she had tried to talk him into slowing down a bit or spending more time with her and Janelle, he had been sure that it was only a matter of time. Until he got things settled and running. Yeah, sure. He had proved her that, hadn't he?

But since then he had understood something that could probably explain why he had been so blind to what was coming his way: he had simply been so used to having her around, to always having her supporting him no matter what he decided or what he wanted to do -whether it was with his first job or later when he had abruptly decided to give up everything he had worked for until then and taken a chance with Alex's firm without even knowing if it would work out or not- that it had never actually occurred to him that one day she could have enough of that life and just not want to go on like that anymore. How wrong he had been in the end and how much he had deluded himself, huh?

But that was his fault so he only had himself to blame for it, because after all he was the one who shouldn't have assumed such a thing, or at least if that was really what he expected of her, he should have been able to listen to her own needs, too, which he could admit now, he hadn't always.

So see, he had really thought about it a lot, sometimes to hours on end even but that didn't mean that he had found all the answers, or that he knew more now than back then what he could do to make things right, because ultimately he was still not sure that it was in his power to do so. Liz was the one calling the shots now, she had proved that more than once, and considering how she reacted whenever she saw him lately, he wasn't sure that it was a good thing.

It was surely stupid to think about that now, but if there was one thing he missed from that time, it was having the 'control'. He loved control. He craved control. He needed control. And right now? he didn't control a damned thing.

Sometimes he wasn't even able to rein over his own thoughts, so his life? It had been too long since he had felt he still had any control over it.

Nope, he was just going through it as best as he could, while waiting for what would happen next. And of course he perfectly knew what that was supposed to be, because clearly he and Liz couldn't go on like this indefinitely, even if sometimes he surely hoped that it could be so, just to not have to face the reality of the situation, but that didn't mean that he was willing to think about it too often. Imagining how he would react if she was to say they had reached the end of the road and she wanted to make their separation official, was just too scary sometimes for that.


Oh, boy, instead of merely hours it seemed like years to him already since he had woken up, and just thinking about the interminable hours he would have to pull at work today was enough to make him want to knock himself out for the rest of the day if he only could.

And like that wasn't sufficient yet, his body hurt everywhere. Probably even more than if he had had the good idea of sleeping directly on the floor or on the front seat of his jeep.

That was what he got for deciding to sleep at his best friend's instead of finding himself a nice and cozy hotel for the night. Which would have been a piece of cake since this was LA after all, but honestly the idea of spending the night in another impersonal room hadn't looked so appealing to him after the three he had already spent in Santa Barbara. The only problem was that everything hadn't happened exactly like he had planned it.

If Michael was okay with him crashing at his place for two or three days, the best thing he had to offer him had been his couch since Mr. Guerin 'The Great Architect' had recently had an epiphany of his own, and suddenly deciding that he didn't like it like it was, had started to renovate the whole apartment and of course had thought that beginning with the guest rooms would be the less inconvenient for him, thus his night on the couch. Not that he could blame him, after all Michael couldn't very well foresee that Max would ask him for such a favor just at that moment, but sleeping on the sofa wasn't really the most restful way to spend the night if you asked him.

But then on the other hand, he couldn't really complain either because it was definitely better than going 'home' -or more specifically to his sister's apartment where he had been staying since Liz had asked him to leave the house, while Isabel herself was in Europe for her job- and having to go through another night with Tess there. It wasn't the bravest reaction of course that was for sure, but after three days talking business almost non-stop and negotiating contracts left and right or simply trying to make a good impression on potential new clients, added to what had happened on Monday night just before he left, he was really not ready to deal with her yet, even if he was also well aware that this small reprieve wouldn't last long unfortunately.

All in all, all he had done was to delay the inevitable since he perfectly knew he would see her in a few hours -he couldn't really do otherwise considering she was his secretary- and so they would probably have to talk about it then. Now what he was going to tell her he didn't know yet, but it wasn't as if he could let it go indefinitely either and even if he didn't want to hurt her, he needed to make things clear once and for all. He knew that, but that didn't mean that it would be easy for him to have that conversation. Boy, how much complicated could his life get, huh? Anyone would think that was the way he liked it.

Well, he would cross that bridge when he came to it, right now his only preoccupation should be to decide between either going back to sleep -though he doubted that that was still a possibility- or finally getting up, even if his alarm clock had yet to go off.

There was no need to say that of course he wished more than anything that he could stay in bed all day and forget about the rest of the world for a while, but he knew all too well that that wasn't a option. Unfortunately.

The only thing that comforted him though, was knowing that before having to face another hard and stressful day of work, he would see his daughter and that was probably the best way to start any day, even if spending forty-five minutes with her before taking her to school was definitely not enough to compensate for all the time he couldn't spend with her anymore because of the situation. But he wouldn't complain about this too much either because despite the fact that he hated not being able to be with her more often like he wished he could, he knew he was privileged nonetheless.

As a lawyer he saw firsthand how many couples who were getting divorced ended fighting over everything and mostly about the kids, and therefore how more often than not one of the parents was inevitably being prejudiced somewhat and refused the right to see their child or children, but fortunately he and Liz didn't have that kind of problem.

Though they weren't on the best terms lately, there was one point they always agreed upon, Janelle was their first priority no matter what. Nothing was more important than her well-being, and therefore even if she lived with Liz, he saw her whenever he wanted, without any conditions or restrictions. Of course he had to work around his crazy schedule to do so, but there was one thing that he never failed to do no matter what: except when he wasn't in town and couldn't do otherwise, he always made sure he could see her at least once a day. So either he was the one to take her to school or he found a way to be there when she finished or to come by the house before she went to bed.

He also spent one day of the weekend with her, and always at home so she wouldn't feel like he had really left her, or left their house. More importantly, somehow he didn't think that having her coming to see him at Isabel's was really the best thing to do if he didn't want her to worry more than she probably already did. He would rather make sure that she kept thinking that there was nothing wrong between Liz and him. And as far as he was concerned, as long as there was no definitive decision made concerning their situation, he didn’t see any need to let her know what was really happening between her parents, and so in the meantime he would continue to do anything he could to reassure her and spare her this kind of hurt.

But now if it worked all right so far, it didn't mean that it was always the easiest thing to do, because seeing Janelle every day also meant seeing Liz every time, too. Not that he didn't want to see her, quite the opposite in fact, but there were times when having to face her daily and knowing where they stood now, was really more than he could take. Add to that that she drove him crazy most of the time when he saw her and that he had to restrain himself to not do something he might regret afterwards, and it was a real wonder he hadn't lost his mind already and was still able to control himself so much. Well, he guessed he had found one thing he still managed to control after all. Maybe there was still hope so.

Indeed, their relationship might have changed a lot, but one thing hadn't, and he honestly doubted that it would ever. To Max, Liz Parker Evans was still the most beautiful woman he had ever met, so it wasn't surprising at all that she could still have the same effect on him even after all these years. And of course the fact that with the summer just around the corner, she seemed to be wearing less and less clothes on whenever he saw her didn't help at all that was for sure. If she kept on that way he wouldn't even be surprised if one of these days he found her behind the front door sporting nothing more than one of her dark red teeny weeny thongs -god, how he loved her in red- and a pretty smile.

Nah, who was he trying to kid here, huh? Not surprised, yeah, sure! That was clearly another one of his many and favorite fantasies, but he would probably have a heart attack before even being able to utter a single word or any appreciative comment if she had to pull that off. Not the best way to die in his opinion of course, but that didn't mean that he couldn't keep fantasizing, right?

The only real inconvenient about that was that he often ended frustrated and very much unsatisfied, but what could he say? He was weak and most of the times he couldn't help himself no matter how hard he tried. He was proving it right now with all the crazy thoughts that were currently running through his little head and that he was unable to stop. And just thinking about Liz now, or wondering what she would be wearing to greet him later was of course enough to bring back to life again a certain part of his anatomy that as far as he knew had probably been alert, up and ready before he had even awoken and opened an eye himself.

Which was not necessarily the best sensation he could experience right now, he thought as he tried to change position to get a little more at ease. Of course, lying on his stomach couldn't very well help the matter, he reflected when it became painfully obvious to him that once the process had started, it would take more of him than just 'wish for it to disappear' to solve his problem. Boy, he would probably be walking around with an all too visible hard on all day now. Unless he took care of it of course, he concluded shamelessly and tried to flip on his back to better 'help' himself.

So what if he was a 28 years old guy and still needed to resort to that, huh? He was only human after all. How could he…?

HOLY SHIT! he suddenly yelped when the only thing he felt under himself when he finally rolled completely over, was air.

Sure it didn't take him more than a second to understand what was going to happen, and not more than two before he connected with the floor, hard, but that didn't mean that he was anywhere prepared for the impact. The instant the pain registered in his brain though, he couldn't help chanting all the possible colorful curses he knew, and then some more just for good measure when he tried to sit up and realized just how much such a simple and stupid fall could hurt.

Yep, he was definitely human and made of flesh and bones if the ache he felt was any indication, he deduced like he had still had any doubts before. Man, that would certainly bruised, he growled then as he rubbed his sore ass and back.

Well, he sighed, obviously fate had decided for him once more and now he had no real other choice than getting up finally, right?

So it looked like all he had to do then was choosing between heading to the bathroom and taking a very much needed cold shower, or going directly to the kitchen and see what Michael had to offer for breakfast, he pondered as he switched off his alarm clock before it could go off.

If the latter sounded quite appealing since there was no questioning how hungry he could be, going for that shower seemed clearly the most logical thing to do since he didn't really feel like walking around in his state much longer. And to add to that there was also of course the possibility that he could come across Michael, though admittedly he knew the chances it could happen were probably pretty slim because he was definitely not the morning type, but he was not willing to take the risk or to give him a free show for all that, so if he could do otherwise, all the better.

Yet as if on cue, he heard a sound coming from down the hallway and as quick as he was to react, he barely had time to grab the pants he had thrown haphazardly at the feet of the couch the previous night before he saw Michael emerging from his bedroom, hair tousled and spiking on end and eyes still partially shut, like keeping them open was requiring a superhuman effort of him. But then the instant he took in his friend's presence he seemed to finally wake up completely, much to Max's dismay. Like he needed him to be fully alert now, huh?

"Morning!" he mumbled, suppressing a yawn and scratching the side of his head.

"Yeah… good morning!" Max replied and tried to turn around so that he could pull his pants over his boxers before Michael could see anything, but oh, surprise, that was just the moment he chose to enter the living-room fully and plant himself just in front of him, making it impossible for Max to avoid him. Or miss the way he smirked and raised a brow.

"Hard night, huh?" Michael asked him, though the words sounded more like a statement than a question.

It was evident to him that the night had been 'hard' in more ways than one, even if Max was, unsuccessfully, trying to conceal the 'evidence' as best as he could into his pants. Now he didn't even need to ask why or who he had been thinking about to end in such state, but if you asked him it would probably be easier to try to fit the Piz Tower in a box of Krispy Kreme Donuts than to try and hide the obvious hard on the poor guy was sporting.

Wait, Max was trying to hide his Liz Tower into his pants, didn't that sound even better? he chuckled inwardly like what he had just found was the funniest thing in the world.

Well boy, whatever he wanted to call it, someone really needed to go back home, and make that soon if he didn't want to implode.

"What?" Max all but grunted at first, still struggling with his zipper and so not getting the drift, but then he took one look down where Michael was still looking and he didn't need more to understand.

And here he was hoping that he wouldn't notice, huh? Sure.

Great, that was just great, wasn't it? Of all the times he had to get up with a mammoth erection, it had to be when he was sleeping at Michael's. Couldn’t have happened when he was alone in Santa Barbara, huh? Okay, it had happened there, too, but dammit, he was alone then, and he had had no problem taking care of that.

Not that it was really that embarrassing to him now or anything since it was quite a natural reaction for most men, Michael included probably even if that man was far from being normal if he said so himself, but knowing him he would be all too happy to make fun of him or downright humiliate him as much as he could now that such great opportunity had presented itself.

"Man… really, that's impressive!" he praised and wiggled his eyebrows teasingly, the evident amusement in his voice only confirming Max's suspicions.

Even greater, now the shower would have to wait because there was no way he would let Michael have even more fun at his expense, and he knew all too well that he would probably completely crack up if he saw him running to the bathroom to alleviate his 'discomfort'.

"Shut up!" Max groaned, walking past him and taking the direction of the kitchen instead, but the other man followed and caught up with him right away, proving that he was apparently not the least fazed by his attitude. Yet Max didn't even care anymore at that moment because suddenly he had only one thing in mind. Coffee.

He needed his dose of coffee. Caffeine was good. Caffeine was his drug and just was he needed to start this day, which evidently was going to be even worse than what he had first thought.

"What? Tessie isn't giving you any lately?" Michael continued like he hadn't heard a thing and even laughed openly at his own taunt.

"Very funny, Michael… forget about me, will you!" Max shot him an annoyed look, not finding the comment amusing at all, and pushed him out of the way when he blocked his path to the counter.

You would think that he would be used by now considering that ever since he had told Michael about Tess he had been teasing him almost non-stop, but really he just couldn't take it right now.

Grabbing a mug, he couldn't help grimacing when he noticed that Michael had an almost full pot of coffee already made and that that meant he would have to do with it. Old coffee was definitely not his favorite, but he couldn't very well waste it, right?

"What are you even doing up so soon anyway, huh?" he inquired next as he placed the cup in the microwave and heated up the cold liquid he had just poured.

"You're asking?… I'm sure you woke up the whole neighborhood with the way you cursed not five minutes ago!… what, did you fall or something?" Michael admonished playfully and then asked, though he was pretty much sure that that was what had happened.

He knew all too well how much sleeping on that 'thing' he called a couch could be uncomfortable or how the slightest wrong move could send you to kiss the floor. It was definitely 'in' but not practical at all, that was for sure. Which was probably why he should really think about changing it after all, he reflected suddenly. What was one more thing anyway considering all he had already planned to change in the apartment, or all he had invested in the renovation?

"What do you think, huh?… your couch isn't exactly a king size bed!" Max replied sardonically but Michael chose to ignore the sarcasm in his tone.

Whoa, beside being horny, someone was obviously very grumpy, too, this morning.

"On your back I hope!" he said instead with a knowing smirk even if Max didn't seem to get his meaning at first.

"What?"

"Your fall… I hope it was on your back… I wouldn't want you to cause yourself any irreversible damages!" he elucidated, finding it very difficult now to not just burst out into laughter. But what could he say? Just picturing Max falling on his front in the state he was in was definitely too much to hold. The poor man would have probably broken his precious tower in two the instant he would have come into contact with the floor.

"Go back to sleep, Mike… you know being up so early doesn't agree with you… and it's definitely too soon for you!" Max advised with a roll of his eyes.

God, he really didn't need Michael and all his craziness and weird sense of humor first thing in the morning. Not before he could have his coffee at least, he was definitely not that courageous, he thought as at the same time he retrieved his mug and made sure the liquid wasn't too hot.

"Not that much… what are you still doing here anyway?… shouldn't you have left at least ten minutes ago?" Michael questioned more seriously this time when he remembered what Max had told him the day before.

"What are you talking about?… I still have practically an hour!" Max asked, looking at his friend like he had finally lost his mind. Obviously the man hadn't slept enough because he clearly didn't know what he was saying anymore.

"Not if you're supposed to be at Liz's around eight!" Michael just said, and Max had to literally refrain himself from just punching him square in the face when he heard his 'at Liz's'. It was not at Liz's, moron. Granted he hadn't paid for the house, but it didn't change the fact that it was still his house, their house. They weren't divorced yet.

"Michael, it's what? 6:50... Why the hell would I need to leave so soon?" Max sighed and replied, clearly getting impatient by now.

He was sure that Michael supposedly wanted to go somewhere with that, but for the life of him he just couldn't see where yet. So preparing himself for whatever Michael's deranged mind had come up with, he continued to sip his coffee and waited for the worst.

"Uh… actually it's 7:50 already!" Michael informed him and showed him his watch to prove his point, just before he took a prudent step back, afraid to see Max jump and beat him as soon as he would realize he was late.

"Dammit, how is that possible?… your clock in the lounge says it's not even seven!" Max cried out and the next second dropped his cup into the sink, practically breaking it into pieces while coffee splashed everywhere.

This had to be some fucking joke, he thought as he practically made a mad dash to the living room where his suitcase and all his things still were. He just couldn't be late. Not today. Not once more.

"Well, I guess I could have an explanation, but I'm not sure you're going to like it!" Michael told him as he followed into the room. No, he was not going to like it at all.

"No kidding?… what the hell could be wrong with that clock, huh?" Max deadpanned and glared at Michael from over his shoulder, before he proceeded to search for his clothes.

"Well, see… the thing is… we kind of had this 'Good Luck with the new job' party planned for Joe at the office yesterday afternoon and well… I was supposed to keep him from coming back before everything was set up… and so, uh… since I knew we would come here for lunch before… I just put back that clock here… just to be sure, you know!… I didn't want him to try to leave too soon!" Michael answered, already bracing himself for what he knew was coming.

It had seemed like a good idea at that moment, and it had worked pretty well since he and Joe Barton, one of his colleagues who was being transferred, had left just when they had to and he hadn't needed to bother with any other excuses or lies to keep him there a little longer than necessary thanks to his little trick, the only problem was that he had totally forgotten to put the clock forward again, and now Max was obviously going to pay the consequences. Or he would probably if Max could put his hands on him, and knowing the guy he was certainly already thinking about it.

So what if technically it was his entire fault, he couldn't always think about everything after all, right?

"Michael, you're an idiot!" Max hissed as he continued to rummage through his suitcase, trying to find his dark pants.

God, where were they? Like he had any more time to waste.

Oh, the hell with them, he wasn't supposed to have any important meeting today anyway, he would just go in jeans then, he decided as he grabbed the first ones he found amidst his nearly one week worth of clothes.

The shirt now. He needed a shirt. Oh, and clean boxers, too. Socks? God, he sounded like a 5 years old child trying to dress himself. Even his daughter could probably do better right now. This was definitely not his day.

"Hey, I couldn't very well anticipate that you would use precisely that one to set your alarm clock on or whatever it is you did, now could I?" Michael defended himself as best as he could when he read the same hour on the two clocks and understood where the problem had come from, but Max didn't seem to really be listening to him anymore or even care.

"I'm dead… I promised her I wouldn't be late and… I'm so dead!" Max mumbled to himself, knowing full well that with the way Liz had insisted on the phone the day before over the fact that he had to be on time if he wanted to see his daughter more than just a few minutes, she would definitely not appreciate him doing exactly the opposite. Besides, somehow he didn't think that she would care either if it was his fault or Michael's. She would probably think that he was just making this up to get away with it in fact, since he wasn't even supposed to sleep at Michael's to begin with.

"C'mon, it can't be that bad!" his friend chuckled, having some difficulties picturing 'Little Liz' threatening Max's life in any way, not even only verbally, no matter what he could do.

She just didn't seem like the type anyway. At least not the Liz he knew, she was just too sweet for that. But then again, maybe he didn't know her that well, even if technically he had known her for as long as he had known Max, since back when he had met him you couldn't have one without having the other. If he really did, he would probably understand what had happened between Max and her.

So far all he knew was what Max himself had told him, which wasn't really much. They weren't on the same page anymore, he had said, and therefore had decided to take a step back, see where they could go from there apparently. But Michael suspected that there was way more to it than what Max had wanted to admit. And something big, otherwise he was sure that Max would have never accepted to leave so easily and it wouldn't be so hard for him to talk about it either, no matter how many times he tried to make him open up to him. Most of all, he would have certainly never left his daughter, no matter how strained his relationship with Liz could be, if there weren't something else.

"It surely can, believe me… it's not like Liz and I were getting along so well lately… and this won't help!" Max contradicted and finally entered the bathroom once he had everything he needed. 'Not getting along' was a clear understatement in fact and he really didn't need to add more to their already complicated and tense situation.

No, that was the last thing he actually needed.

"Max… you can still be not too late… what's half an hour anyway?" Michael stated, not really understanding what was the problem or why Max was making a big deal out of this considering that if he left soon he could still save the day and not be later than that. Besides, it wasn't as if it would be the first time anyway and Liz had to be used to that side of Max by now, after all she had lived or at least been with the man for more than a decade now.

"Half an hour less with my daughter, that's what it is!" Max threw back from behind the now closed door, before quickly taking off the little clothes he had on and jumping under the shower.

Oh, man, this was probably going to be the shortest shower he would ever take in his whole life, but hopefully it would be still enough to take care of his still quite present problem. Like he had said, it usually took more than that to get rid of it, but he really didn't have time for that this morning finally.

That would do just fine, wouldn't it? ' Hey, Liz, sorry I'm late but I woke up with a monstrous hard on and I just had to beat off in the shower before coming! Hope you don't mind though!'. No doubt she would appreciate the excuse.

"Okay… hurry then… what do you want me to say?… beside I'm sorry I mean!" Michael just shrugged even if Max couldn't see him, and then marched back to his bedroom thanking God once more for not being in Max's situation.

There was one point the had all right though, it was definitively too early for him yet, moreover considering he didn't have any appointment before ten in the morning and he didn't have any daughter or even wife to go and see or bother with either. He wasn't crazy enough to tie the knot, he didn't even want to think about it. What's more, the woman who could put up or live with him was probably not even born yet, or if she was, she was hiding herself pretty damn well the little witch, and he seriously doubted that he would ever meet her.


When Max finally exited the bathroom, showered, dressed and feeling a little better, he wasn't surprised to see that Michael had gotten back to sleep. All the better if you asked him, otherwise he would have probably made him even more late with some other stupid comments or stories he had the secret and was the only one to understand or find interesting, and as far as he was concerned he had done more than enough already.

Going back to the living room as soon as he got out, he checked his files quickly, making sure to not forget any of them, and once he had taken his cell phone, his jacket, his sunglasses and his keys, he made his way out.

Less than a minute later however, he was passing the door again, scolding himself for being so distracted. How could he have forgotten about that?

Ah, here it was, he said triumphantly when he spotted the blue bag that contained his daughter's gift. What would he look like, showing up there late and without it, huh?

Once he had it though, he couldn't help but pause briefly and consider taking the second one, too, but eventually he decided against it. Once more. He never gave those presents to the one they were meant for anyway, he didn't know why he kept buying them then, but he couldn't help himself. Maybe one day she would know and see them though.

After having made sure one last time that he really had everything, he left, hoping that everything would he alright and that his tardiness wouldn't cause any kind of conflict between Liz and him.

Better late than never, they say, right?

Yet if he had known at that instant what would be waiting for him there, he would have probably thought otherwise and not shown up at all. Not that day at least.
End of Chapter one
TBC???
Tiphaine, I'm pretty sure that considering some little things you know, I most certainly confused you again, so feel free to PM me if you have any questions :wink: :rofl: … I know, I know :twisted:
Last edited by RebeccaBehrEvans on Fri Jan 04, 2008 5:58 am, edited 4 times in total.
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RebeccaBehrEvans
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Post by RebeccaBehrEvans » Sat Apr 03, 2004 1:17 pm

Author: RebeccaBehr

Title: Before it's too late.

Disclaimer: Roswell is mine. Jason Behr is mine. Roswell is mine. Jason Behr is mine. :twisted: Nope, even auto-persuasion doesn't seem to work, so I guess we all know what that means. :sad: (next time I'll try hypnosis and maybe then I'll succeed in convincing at least myself, lol. )

AN: Hey guys :P ... yes tomorrow is here and so am I :lol:

Before posting the new part I just want to answer to this:

Gigo wrote:Is there some... some truth to their understanding of the situation? How does that work? I mean, we've seen both of their points of view, and neither said anything that indicated that they had cheated either. I just... hmm. Are there aliens in this fic? I mean, I didn't think that there were, but maybe that could explain some of this. Wiped/selective memories? Illusions? Something else?

*ponders for a while*
:lol: Don't ponder too much though :wink:
To answer your question, no there isn't anything alien in this fic, so no mindwarp or illusions or whatsoever... I guess I confused you didn't I? :lol: ... The only thing I said was, is it really only a huge misundertanding?... It was a simple question, and you don't have to worry more than that about it, because all will be clear out in time... I was not telling you that it was not just that, just like I wasn't telling you either that it was :lol: ... just letting an opening to the possibility... because clearly I'm hoping that none of them cheated on the other (like I don't already know the answer :roll: :lol: ... but what if they did? ... You don't have to forget that the Tess issue is not solved yet... after all, we clearly understood that she's living, whether it's a temporary situation or not, with Max at Isabel's right now and that something whatever that is happened with her... so what about that? ... that's all I'm saying for now :wink: ... have a nice trip and see you very soon, okay? :P


SweetyTeeny, Strawberry_Dreamer... thank U a lot for your feedbacks :wink:
Lovalien wrote:I have a secret for you... The next story I'm thinking of... You inspired me because I had already read angsty but yours touched me more deeply, maybe because we know each other...
Really :oops: (inwardly doing a happy dance too :onfire: ) ... I inspired something to someone?? That's a first, never thought it could happen :lol: ... But I'm glad and very impatient to read about it, though you told me you wouldn't start right now :wink: (even if I try to convince you... you're sure, coz I'm not very patient, you know that :lol: ... and now that I know that you've some idea for a new story... what am I supposed to do, huh? :roll: :lol: )
Happy dance... I discovered something , I discovered something... I'm not so bad at riddles...
LOL... you definitely did... partly... but don't go and tell everyone, huh? :wink: ... might kill the suspense :lol:
If the next part made you cry, please post quickly the next one after that one... Don't let our heart be broken too long... And please get rid of Tess...
I will do my best hun'... but only the dialogues are written so it might take a little while :wink: ... now concerning Tess... don't worry, she will get everything she deserves, and maybe some more! :wink:

In the meantime, here is the next part! (... don't freak when you read the note at the end... it all depends on you... I'm only here to please you :lol: )

Oh yeah, I nearly forgot... I don't know if there are any other French Roswellians that I don't know about around here, but for those who like me have never seen Winnie The Pooh in English, Eeyore is Bourriquet in the French version.

And a last warning too... I guess we're pretty much only girls around here, so chances are that I made you hate Max in the first part... but maybe some of you loved him again in the 2nd... and in that case... I guess you should prepare yourselves to hate him again then... but please keep in mind that he's hurting too :wink:


Posting in two parts due to length

Chapter two
Twenty three minutes. He was already twenty three minutes late, Liz told herself as she looked for the umpteenth time at her watch.

Why wasn't she even surprised, huh?

What? Did she really think that just because he hadn't seen his daughter in three days it would be any different this time and he would make an effort to be here on time?

Yeah, sure… he had obviously things more important to do this morning than that, she thought once more, remembering the possibilities that not surprisingly all included his bleached siliconed bimbo.

Like always she had tried to be more reasonable and not let the anger consume her. She had tried to find him every kind of excuses that wouldn't make him look like a 'bastard' who didn't seem to care about what he was doing to his daughter, but when she had seen her child, her face nearly glued to the window so that she wouldn't miss his arrival and her smile gradually fading because she didn't see him yet, it had definitely been more than she could take.

The little girl had been ready for what seemed like hours to her, and so she couldn't understand why her father wasn't there yet, and that was the instant Liz had felt like really killing him. Janelle didn’t deserve to be kept waiting like this. Just like she didn't deserve to have to reconsider her position in her father's life and wonder if he hadn't forgotten about her, like Liz had heard her ask.

In all objectivity Liz knew that Max could never forget about his daughter, he definitely loved her too much for that, but god, couldn't he see that his behavior was hurting her. She was too young to have to go through this and too young to understand it.

She hadn't stopped thinking about that ever since she had heard the question, and though she knew that Janelle wouldn't even remember having asked it once she would actually see her father, and even less resent him or anything, she couldn't be so forgiving herself, not when she had to witness her daughter's confused feelings firsthand.

And of course that didn't bode well for their imminent meeting. She wouldn't be surprised if they fought once more. That seemed to be the only thing they were able to do lately anyway, she reminded herself and already braced herself for what she knew was coming. And yet that didn't mean she liked it.

It had taken her some convincing but once she had promised her that she would call her as soon as Max would be here, she had finally managed to make Janelle move from her spot behind the window, and she could only smile now as she saw her playing and talking with her dolls like nothing at all had happened. It still impressed her though, to see that capacity she had to forget so easily about everything that could have upset her a minute ago when she should be used to it by now since after all, as far as she remembered, Janelle had always been that way. She wished she could be like that, too, sometimes, it would definitely make her life easier, she mused as she quietly closed the door to her daughter's bedroom and made her way downstairs, wondering what she could do with her time herself for now.

It didn't take her long to find the answer to that question though, when she reached the end of the stairs and saw what was waiting for her just in front of her.

The hallway opened directly over the living room, the two spaces being only separated by an arcade-type wall, and so it was kind of difficult to not see the mess that was that room. There were toys everywhere and knowing her daughter, it would require too much patience out of her to convince her to collect them up and bring them back upstairs, so there was no discussing who would have to do it if she didn't.

Well, at least it would occupy her mind until her dear husband finally decided to make an appearance, wouldn't it? she thought as she grabbed the large plastic box that served to keep the different playthings and started to fill it.

In the end, she actually occupied herself so well and she was so absorbed in her thoughts, that she didn't even hear the car parking in the driveway when Max finally arrived, nor did she hear him entering noiselessly.
*
Reaching the door, Max didn't even bother to knock or ring. He never did, he and Liz having decided from the beginning that it would be better that way so Janelle wouldn't really realize that her father wasn't living there any longer, and so he directly entered the house, ready to call out to Liz or his daughter, when he was stopped dead on his tracks as soon as he closed the door behind him and chanced a look in the lounge on his right.

'Holy cow' he exclaimed to himself, though the words didn't actually escape his mouth. 'What was she doing? Trying to kill him?'

There, her back turned to him and wearing nothing more than one of her very tight leggings and a red top he didn't recognize yet, stood Liz bent at the waist and consequently giving him a very clear view of her perfect rear, as she was apparently busy picking up Janelle's toys that were scattered everywhere on the floor.

Guess he would have to thank his daughter for being so messy later for once, huh? he found himself thinking briefly as his eyes trained on her rounded bottom and he involuntarily licked his now very dry lips.

Yet all thoughts of her or of anything else left his mind the instant Liz moved a little closer and he caught the particular whiff that floated in the air. Vanilla and strawberry, oh, dear Lord.

Memories hitting him full force the second it reached his nostrils, an image of Liz pressed against the shower tile wall with him behind her thrusting into her tight body, with the mixed scent of strawberry and sex surrounding them everywhere, all of a sudden popped inside his head and he had to nearly bite his lip to the blood to stop himself from charging forward or just groaning out loud.

Oh, god, how he wished he could just grab her hips in his hands and bring her to him and just…


"Uh… Hi!" abruptly pulled out of his reverie, Max coughed and awkwardly said when Liz unexpectedly turned around and he realized that she had caught him staring at her. Or more precisely at her behind.

Not that the sight of her front was any less perturbing. Jeez, where had she gotten that top from?

Must be Janelle's, he concluded when he eyed the material that barely concealed her full breasts, because there was simply no way that teeny tight thing could be meant for an adult. No, simply no frigging way. And please, she didn't really think that she could go out for her run with only that on, right? For heaven's sake, if he concentrated enough he was sure that he could even see her nipples through that thing and her bra, and clearly distinguish the light brown color of their areolas.

But maybe he shouldn't concentrate so much, should he? Yeah, right, now go tell that to his eyes!

Oh, boy, couldn't he be more obvious?? he suddenly thought as he heard Liz clear her throat and he finally brought his gaze up to her face.

She only stared at him during a few seconds, an eyebrow raised and without saying a word, but Max was sure that his face wouldn't have been redder if his own daughter had caught him doing something he definitely shouldn't have. Not the best way to start this visit, wasn't it?

"You're late!" Liz eventually said for all greeting, wondering briefly if she was imagining things or if he had really been checking her out.

Yeah, sure, like that could happen now.

However that was quickly forgotten when she paid a little more attention to him and not to what he had been doing, her heart giving a not so unexpected start at the sight.

Good lord, why did he always have to look so hot and gorgeous? she thought as she took in his dark jeans, his white shirt, that did nothing to hide the well-defined chest that she knew lied beneath, and his leather jacket. Why was he even wearing that jacket when they were in May if it weren't to torture her, huh? She so knew that he was doing it on purpose just to remind her of what she had lost, it couldn't be any other way. She didn't even think he had looked that good when they were together. Well, obviously the separation suited him just fine, didn't it?

Unaware of her current thoughts, Max looked at her wearily and sighed, all the excitation he had felt a minute ago draining from his body the instant he realized that this would definitely be one of those days where everything he did or said would only irritate her and lead to the same: another fight.

God, he was so tired of those, so tired of fighting with her and regretting it afterwards. Why couldn't they just have a normal conversation for once in a while, without cries, shouts or inevitably creating another scene. Was it too much to ask of them to be able to do so each time they saw each other, and not only when they were in Janelle's presence and they only behaved and stopped being at each other's throats for her sake?

Sometimes he thought it would be better if they didn't see each other at all or if he didn't come for a while, but then he thought about Janelle and he knew he couldn't survive without seeing her or if he had to be apart from her for too long. Truth be told, he wasn't sure he could survive without seeing Liz either, but at least with Janelle he still had a choice in the matter. She was his daughter and he knew full well that no matter how much they could disagree on all the rest, Liz would never take that from him and she would never forbid him from seeing his child. Just like he knew she would always be more than happy to see him.

Some other times he also couldn't help but wonder where they would be now, he and Liz, if they hadn't had Janelle. At times it seemed to him that the only thing that still tied them together now was their daughter, so he thought it was legitimate to wonder if Liz would not completely refuse to see him if she weren't there. Would she still speak to him? Would they still be married despite the circumstances? Or would she just have already started over with her life, with someone else, if it weren't for their child? To be honest, even after all this time he wasn’t sure yet about the answer to that question, but just thinking that she could have cast him away without a second thought if they had been the only ones involved was definitely too painful for him to consider it too frequently. That, and the fact that he didn't even know where he would be right now himself if it weren't for the love and comfort that having his daughter in his life brought him daily. He would have lost it a long time ago, certainly the minute he had lost Liz in fact, if it weren't for her. But he guessed that now was definitely not the time to dwell on that, not with the way Liz was looking at him right now.

"Don't start… I just got caught up in a… " Max tried to pacify and tell her that he had been caught in a traffic jam in the way, to top everything else of course, but he quickly understood that Liz wouldn't have any of it this morning. So fight it would be. Yippee, just what he needed.

"Look, I don’t care… save it, okay!" she stopped him and mumbled probably more harshly than she intended it to be, but she was really finding it too hard to deal with him considering the way he still made her feel each and every time she saw him, even after all this years and moreover so soon after her dream.

The more she avoided looking at him or talking to him then, the sooner she would forget about it or how good he had felt in her arms again even if it wasn't real, but she knew that to be able to do so she needed to put as much distance as possible between the two of them. Not that there wasn't enough already, but being on the defensive and appearing emotionally detached was the only way she knew right now.

"Janelle… come down, honey… your father is here!" she then called out, loud enough to be sure to be heard.

Almost right away they heard a childish squeal and the sound of footfalls rushing down the stairs, and Liz couldn't help feeling a little jealous when she saw Max's face literally lighting up at the sight of their running daughter.

How long had it been since he had looked at her that way, with such love and exaltation in his eyes, with such a brilliant and sincere smile on his lips? She couldn't even remember, all she knew was that it had been an awfully long time since she had seen his eyes hungrily roam her face like she was the most beautiful or precious thing in the world to him. And if she hadn't realized how much she missed it before, she definitely did now.

"Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!" Janelle shrieked as soon as she saw her father and without thinking about it twice, hurled herself into his arms.

"Hey, sweetie!… oh, god, I missed you!" Max picked her up right away and holding her tightly to him, he twirled around with her in his arms, so happy to finally see his baby girl again. Above all, the feel of her in his embrace made him momentarily forget about Liz's reaction a minute ago and how it had stung to hear her say she didn't care, and he could only thank God for the short reprieve. " I missed you soooo much!" he then repeated and involuntarily locked eyes with his wife as he voiced the words again, only to close them instinctively when she looked away the instant they made contact. You would think that after all this time he would be used to having her rejecting him in any way, but no, it still hurt like hell.

She certainly didn't care about that either, but sometimes he really wished she could only know how much he missed her, too. Each time he had to go away it was pure torture to not see them both, even if it was only for a few days.

He loved his job really, he loved the thrill it gave him, and he loved being able to visit so many different cities, too. He didn't even mind that much the long hours of work most of the time, or the ones he spent in planes or in his car, but if there was one thing that he definitely hated about it, it was this: the fact that he always had to leave them both behind. He had hated it when he was still with them, he hated it all the more now since it cut even more his time with them.

"Miss'd you too!" his daughter wrapped her arms around his neck as tight as she could and kissed his cheek.

"Not more than I did, I'm sure!" he insisted playfully as he showered her face with little kisses that had her writhing in his arms.

No, she could certainly not miss him more than he missed her. She was all he had now. All that was left of Liz and him, of their once great love, and he cherished her all the more for that.

"Daddy, stop… you're all bristly!" Janelle complained as she pushed his face away, but she couldn't help giggling nonetheless at the same time.

"I know… didn't have time to shave this morning!… I'm sorry, but I promise I'll do better next time!" he admitted and then tenderly ruffled her hair.

He knew how his daughter didn't like it when he was 'all bristly' as she said, but it had been that or being even more late and with the way Liz had greeted him as it was, he didn't even want to imagine what she would have done then. Maybe she would have tried to kill him on the spot as soon as he would have crossed the threshold, it wouldn't even have surprised him.

"Is that for me?" Janelle demanded next as she tried to turn around in his arms and get a glimpse of the bag she had seen in his hands before greeting him, but that he was now involuntarily hiding behind her back.

"Of course… who else would it be for otherwise, huh?" Max said, and holding her up against his hip with one arm now, he brought the bag in front of her and let her look inside, pleased when he saw her eyes blink first and then open up as wide as saucers.

"NEMOOOO! YES!" she screamed as she saw the big plush orange and white fish, and then immediately encircled her arms around her father's neck again, shrieking happily for all she was worth.

The bag had looked huge before, but now that she could see what was inside she understood why. She was sure that her father had to have picked the biggest stuffed animal of the whole shop, there was no doubt in her mind.

"Do you like it?" Max asked, though with the way she was practically cutting his air supply he pretty much knew the answer.

"Yes… thank you sooooooooo much… you're the best of the best of the bestest, daddy!" she beamed in thanks and kissed his cheek repeatedly and soundly.

Like it? She loved it. She loved it all the more actually since she didn't have it before and had been asking for it ever since the movie had been released. And now she could join him to all the other animals that adorned her room. Simba, Nala, Pumba, Winnie the Pooh, Tiger, Eeyore, and all the others. In fact she had so many already that she would certainly not be able to draw a list without seeing them all again first.

"You're welcome… I'm glad you like it!… but you'll have to wait until tonight to play with it."

"Why? Are we going now?" she questioned as she saw her mother take the bag from her father when he handed it to her and place it on the couch in the living room for now.

Tonight wouldn't come soon enough. She wanted to put him with the others and introduce him to her friends. She was sure they would get along just fine. Too bad it was a school day and she had to leave. But mommy would take care of him in the meantime, she knew that.

"Not yet, sweetie… I think we have a little problem to solve first!" Max told her, looking at her with a little smile.

"What?"

"Your shoes… you're wearing two different shoes, sweetheart!" he informed, wondering if she had really not realized that fact, or if she knew and she just didn't care.

As far as he was concerned that was probably one of the first things he had noticed when he had seen her. Which wasn't really surprising considering that the shoes were not only different in color but clearly in shape, too. However one look at her face now and the way she instinctively nibbled her bottom lip and he had all the answer he needed. She definitely knew.

Janelle had really hoped that her parents wouldn't notice the difference but obviously it hadn't been enough. She had tried but she couldn't find the two blue ones, the ones she wanted to wear with her blue sundress and therefore she had thought it would be okay to put one of her black tennis with one of the blue. Dark blue and black, that was almost the same color, wasn't it? At least it was for her but her father didn't seem to think so.

"I don't find the other blue one!" she eventually told him with a cute little pout that had his heart melting.

"Have you looked under your bed, honey… or under mine?" Liz provided before Max could speak again, sure that that was where the other one had to be.

Knowing her daughter, she certainly had looked once in her closet and then left it at that when she couldn't find the shoe. She wasn't really one to like to complicate things, so she would even less when all she could think about was seeing her father again.

Of course almost right away she saw the little girl shake her head confirming she had been right, but she missed how Max perceptibly winced when she said 'mine', talking about what he still considered as their bed no matter what.

Go on, why don't you twist the knife in the wound some more, will you? I didn't get enough the first time around!

"No!" Janelle admitted as Max lowered her to the floor again.

"Well, go and look then… but hurry back before I start missing you again!" Max gently ordered with a smile as he pushed her in the direction of the stairs.

He couldn't help biting his lip to stop himself from saying something in front of his daughter though, when he heard Liz all but snort audibly next to him. "What?" he turned to her and asked in a sigh as soon as Janelle was out of sight.

"You missed her so much that you weren't even able to arrive sooner so that you could spend some more time with her." she accused unruffled, knowing how much Janelle had wanted those few precious moments she could have with her father before going to school but how now with him being so late, all she would have was the short car journey. Definitely not enough in her book considering that their girl hadn't seen him in more than three days with him being away for another of his business trips. If that was the truth of course.

"Will you just stop, dammit, Liz!… I was just late… do we have to go through this every time it happens?!" Max retorted, understanding where she was coming from but refusing to make a big scene out of it.

He knew that he could certainly not spend as much time with his daughter right now as he had first planned but he had every intention to make up for it, and no later than tonight after school. Yet, listening to her it sounded like he had done it on purpose, or worse didn't even care. Didn't she know by now that if he could he would spend all his days with his baby girl and not mind about anything else? Besides, if she was going to make a scene each and every time he was late, she had something else coming because Max perfectly knew it was not the first time he was and it would certainly not be the last.

"We wouldn't have to, if you were able to read your watch and be here on time!" she countered sternly, refusing to admit, even to herself why she was so upset right at that moment. Why she was always kind of upset with him every time she saw him in fact.

But of course, her being in this state didn't help Max to stay calm either.

"Well… I would be here on time every frigging morning if you hadn't thrown me out of the house to begin with!" he bit out, losing a little bit more of his composure with each passing second.

Why couldn't she just leave it alone? Oh, yeah, he knew why, that would be too easy for 'Miss I always do everything perfectly'.

Oh, but maybe he should tell her, too, that his fucking watch was still somewhere in the house. Probably under her damn bed as well, he snorted inwardly. But she wouldn't like that, would she?

"Oh, now it's gonna be my fault!" Liz stated incredulously, not believing he was using that to justify his actions. God only knew what he had been doing to make himself late, but now he was going to take it out on her? No frigging way!

"Who else's then?" he scoffed, like that was the most normal or logical thing in the world. And to him it was, because they certainly wouldn't have to go through all those arrangements and trouble to be able to both spend as much time as possible with Janelle without disrupting her equilibrium, or at least the least possible, if she hadn't decided she wanted some space first. Yeah, some space, sure, what she wanted was to be free to do what pleased her again, that was what this was all about. Who did she think she was kidding?

"First of all… I didn't throw you out of the house… I-I thought it would be best for… b-both of us to have some time to decide what we really wanted to do… and… it was supposed to be a temporary situation, you know that!" she contradicted, even if the words sounded stupid now voiced out loud.

If she was really honest she could admit that she had only hoped it would be enough to arrange their problems, because she couldn't see anything else to do. So she had stupidly deluded herself into believing that some time away from each other would have made him realize what he could lose and that she and Janelle were the most important people in his life and all that mattered to him in the end, and then that it would have maybe been enough to make him reconsider his relationship with his dear secretary. And if he had, she would have certainly forgiven him, just like she knew that despite everything, she still probably would now if he asked her to take him back and forget about the past - how weak could someone be, huh? Yeah, she knew.- but obviously she had been all wrong, because Max didn't seem to want to make things right any more now than he had back then.

Janelle might be more important than anyone else to him, there was no doubt as far as she was concerned, but she wasn't, not anymore, she had learned that the hard way.

"Yeah, sure… seven months, Liz… are seven months not enough for you to know what you want?!" he replied, his tone quite more brittle than he wanted it, but if there was one topic they should better not enter right now, it was definitely this one.

A temporary situation to Max was a few days, maybe a week, but definitely not seven months. Not seven months waiting for the other shoe to drop and the moment when she would stop playing with him and decide that it was finally definitive, while praying at the same time that it would never happen.

What she wanted? What a fucking joke! Liz thought. What she wanted was certainly not to share her husband with some blonde bimbo who thought she was the center of the universe and who walked the world like she owned it, while destroying families on her way without the slightest shame or remorse. No, what she wanted hadn't mattered in a long time, so why would that change now?

"I can't believe you… how can you look at me straight in the eye and act like I am the problem here?!… you know why I did what I did, Max!" she charged back angrily, forgetting for a moment that her daughter would be here any minute now and that she could walk in on them fighting.

"Nope, I must have forgotten about that part, because I have absolutely no idea anymore why you do the things you do!… you know I never asked for this, it was your idea not mine… so don’t try to put the blame on me now, because I'm sure as hell we could have worked it out differently!"

"Of course we could have… wouldn't that have been just convenient for you?… that way you could have your cake and eat it… now it's such a shame Bad Liz didn't see it your way, huh? Do you want me to flagellate myself for having been so mean?" she intoned, sarcasm dripping from every word and only serving to unnerve Max even more.

"God, when did you become such a bitch, Liz?" he hissed, running out of patience and looking at her like he couldn't quite believe that this woman in front of him was the same he had loved almost all his life.

When had she become so bitter and why? Where was the woman who couldn't stand it when they just as much as started raising their voices at each other, and always did her best to avoid any conflict with anyone, and particularly with him? This was definitively not the woman he had married.

"Maybe when I realized you have to be one to catch your own husband's interest!" she threw back, her eyes glazing furiously and daring him to find anything to respond to that.

If someone in his close acquaintances deserved the bitch title it was definitely not her. But maybe he was too blinded by love already to see that.

"What the hell are you talking about now?" Max gritted out as he ran a frustrated hand through his hair, feeling like it wouldn't be long before he would just tear it out completely.

She really drove him crazy sometimes, always speaking in riddles or talking about things she was obviously the only one to understand. All he got out of that was painful headaches when he tried to figure out what she was meaning.

"Like you don't know, Max!" Liz challenged acidly and held her ground.

"I don't… y-you're not making any sense… you've not made any sense to me for the last year anyway, why am I still wasting my time trying to understand you or your motives?!" Max was downright looking at her like she had grown a second head now, feeling more and more lost with the conversation.

See, what was he saying, huh? Boy, today the headache was going to come even more quickly.

He was so going to kick Michael's ass for making him late. If he hadn't, he was sure they wouldn't be arguing like they were right now.

Coming back with more in a second :wink:
Last edited by RebeccaBehrEvans on Fri Jan 04, 2008 6:07 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Post by RebeccaBehrEvans » Sat Apr 03, 2004 1:17 pm

"Me and my motives? Me and my… " Liz all but cried out, finally having reached her limit. Anger blinding her, she finally lost the last shred of control she had on her emotions and let everything go, making months of pent-up feelings finally explode. Why did she keep doing this, anyway? It was obviously so not worth it. "You know what, you're right!… why do we even bother anymore, Max?… this is not working… so why don't we stop pretending, huh?" she returned, matching his tone, only maybe a little more angrily even.

"What is that supposed to mean?" Max's head snapped back to her and he asked harshly, dreading the answer and yet at the same time, almost sure of what was coming. This was it, wasn't it?

Dammit, why hadn't he just kept his mouth shut and just let her talk all she wanted without answering? Why had he even come at all?

"I want a divorce!" she blurted out, the words leaving her mouth before she could stop them or even really realize their impact herself.

There, she had said it. She had said it out loud, hadn't she?

Oh, god, was it normal that it hurt so much?

Staring back at Max, she had all the confirmation she needed. He had obviously heard her. Yet this wasn't exactly how she thought he would react. He really looked… surprised? Shocked maybe even.

But what did he expect? That she would just stay aside and let him ruin her life and her daughter's any longer. She deserved better than that and so did their child.

However shocked was still a mild way to put what Max was really going through. In fact he felt like she had just stuck him a blow in the stomach and like all the air had suddenly left his body, and for a few seconds he just blinked and looked at her incredulously, like he was still trying to process what she had just said, or wasn't even quite sure he had really heard her right.

"Is… is that really what you want?" he asked, cringing inwardly right away when he realized how croaked his voice sounded even to his own ears.

Way to go, Evans, why don’t you beg her to take your sorry ass back when you're at it, he scolded himself, hating to feel so desperate and hopeless in front of her at that moment. It wasn't as if he hadn't seen it coming, right? The strange thing was that he hadn't heard about that sooner actually. So why did it hurt so much nonetheless? Why did it feel like she had just ripped his heart right out of his chest and stomped mercilessly on it?

'No, god, no!' Liz kept repeating to herself. 'NO!'

That was actually the last thing she wanted, but what could she do when he was obviously not willing to cooperate, when he had obviously given up on them a long time ago?

"I think it-it would be best! We're not g-going anywhere like this!" she finally conceded, her voice trembling slightly and not daring to look at him since she knew she would just take everything back and plead with him to not listen to her if she just as much as met his eyes. But she wasn't going to demean herself before him again. If that wasn't what he wanted ultimately, he would have to prove her so.

"Best for whom?" he demanded to know, because this was certainly not best for him or for their daughter.

"Best for everyone… even you can admit we can't go on like that, Max! It's just not…"

"You mean you can't!" he accused hotly, on the verge of losing it any second now, and then continued even more forcefully. "What is it? Am I tying you down, Elizabeth? … is there somewhere else you'd like to be… someone else you would like to be married to instead and I am spoiling your plans!" he spat out, unable to stop himself, feeling anger boiling in his veins now.

He had often wondered how he would react once she would finally say it, huh? Well, here went the answer and it was definitely not a pretty sight.

Sure it could be childish and purely jealousy talking but she could keep dreaming if she thought he was going to make things easy for her. If she wanted a divorce so badly, if she so wanted to get rid of him, she would have to fight him for it. And he was the lawyer so she could just start and get prepared for the battle of her life.

"Don't you dare try and turn the tables on me now, Max… " Liz retorted, outraged that he could insinuate she had been the one to lead them down this path.

The nerve of him, when he was the one who had destroyed their marriage and all the faith and trust she could have in him.

And yet strangely, what really hurt her the most wasn't even that, but the fact that he had used her full name to address her. Never in the near eleven years they had been together, had he called her anything but Liz. Until now, and really it stung. More than she could have imagined.

But if she thought he couldn't hurt her more, she was wrong. She had not even recovered from that one, that he dealt her another blow. This one a million times more painful if that was possible.

"Well, I'm not the one who's eager to spread them to every asshole who just as much as looks my way!" Max finally exploded before what he took as misplaced indignation.

One look at her. That was all he needed, one look and he instantly regretted the words, knowing that that was probably the last thing he should have said, but it was already too late to take them back.

A suffocating silence fell upon them the second they were out, and for what seemed like eternity neither said another word, instead both just staying there their gaze locked with the other's.

Liz gaped at him, feeling the air leave her in a whoosh and her heart jumping in her chest, so high in fact that for a second she expected it to end lodged in her throat, which maybe could have explained why she suddenly seemed unable to breathe.

She could honestly say that she had suffered a lot since she had discovered his infidelity, there was no saying so, yet she was sure at that instant that if he had slapped her across the face or kicked her repeatedly and mercilessly, he would have probably not succeeded in hurting her more right then, and even with the best will in the world, she couldn't have masked her emotions any longer even if she wanted.

The hurt and pain Max saw reflected in her eyes at that moment almost knocked him back, and he knew he had definitely gone too far. No matter what she did or not, no matter how much he should hate her for all she was putting him through, he just couldn't bear the thought of hurting her in any way. He never could, and probably never would, and knowing that he was the one to put it there right now just tore his heart apart.

He was ready to apologize to her when he heard another voice interrupting them and if it hadn't been enough before, it made him regret having lost control like this even more when he realized that his daughter had been standing a few feet away.

Hopefully though, she wouldn't have understood his words and she wouldn't realize just what a bastard her father could be sometimes, he thought disgustedly.

"Hey, we don’t yell in this house!" Janelle unexpectedly broke the silence and their staring contest and Liz turned just in time to see her on the last step of the stairs, her tiny fists on her hips and frowning at her parents.

How many times had her mommy and her daddy told her that that was one of the things they didn’t want her to do in the house, and look at them now!

Besides, her father usually never yelled and so when he did, it really scared her and she didn't like it at all.

Swallowing hard, Liz cursed herself for having imposed this on her daughter and then immediately tried to compose herself and bring her heart rate back to normal to be able to answer to her.

"We're not yelling, sweetie… we were just… talking a little too loudly!" she lied, swearing inwardly that this was the last time she would let Max get the best out of her and she would lose control like this in front of her. "Come here, honey!" she then called to her, seeing that one of her shoe lace, the one from the shoe she had obviously finally found, wasn't tied correctly.

"Mommy, why you crying?" Janelle immediately noticed when she joined her, and instinctively she reached out to wipe away with her little thumb the silent tear that had managed to escape Liz's eye.

"I'm not… I-I just… got something into my eye and it stings a little but don’t worry! Go with Daddy now… you're going to be even more late!" Liz lied once more as she arranged the lace, not having realized herself that her efforts to keep the tears at bay hadn't been all that successful, or at least not as much as she would have wanted them to.

"Maybe daddy can make it all better?" Janelle answered in all her innocence, her gaze not leaving her mother, scared that something could be wrong with her mommy and liking even less to think that she could just be hurt in any way.

The statement was laced with so much concern and yet made so naturally that it would have brought Liz down to her knees if she hadn't been already kneeling in front of her, and her throat worked spasmodically as she tried to conceal a sob. Oh, dear Lord, what was she supposed to answer to that?

Janelle eventually tore her eyes away from her mommy just long enough to look hopefully at her father, remembering that when she had a booboo herself her daddy always knew what to do to make it right, but she frowned again as she took in his rigid stance and saw that his eyes were closed now, his hands were tightly fisted at his side and that he seemed to be in pain himself. A pain she didn't understand down from her five years old. A pain she didn't realize she had involuntarily caused.

Hearing his daughter saying that he could make it better for Liz with so much hope and trust in her voice, when he perfectly knew he was the cause of her pain to begin with, was just the last straw for Max and he felt how his legs wobbled under him and threatened to make him go down at his daughter's feet himself. Hating himself so much at that moment, he had to resist the urge to just flee out of the house and never come back again, provided that he would never inflict any kind of hurt to any of his girls ever again. But selfishly, the tremendous fear of losing them both for good that gripped at his heart and the knowledge that he just couldn't survive without them ran deeper and stronger at that instant than any other feeling and was fortunately enough to keep him in place.

Until he had to hear Liz's answer at least.

"No… no one can now, honey… it's gonna have to pass on its own!" she just whispered, doing her best to keep smiling and not alarm her daughter even more, yet sure that the little girl could perfectly pick up on her distress.

For someone so young Janelle had a sense of things that went way beyond her age, and there was no doubt in Liz's mind that she understood that something was wrong with her, even if Liz was telling her exactly the opposite. Just like she had understood almost right away that her father didn't have to leave them because, with his work and all his business trips, it would be better for him if he went to live at her aunt's place for a little while since it was closer to his office and to the airport, though of course he would soon come back home again and she didn’t need to worry, like they had told her to justify their separation.

No, Liz hadn't even been surprised when Janelle had asked her a few weeks later if she was going to have two houses now and a second mommy and second daddy like Lisa Chase after her parents had gotten a 'dimorce' like she had called it.

She remembered clearly having promised herself that day that she wouldn't let her daughter go through this if she could work it out differently, and look where they were now. A few words thrown in anger, a few cries, a lot of loss of control, and her fate was sealed.

"Liz… I'm so-…" Max, silent spectator to their exchange until now, finally took a tentative step to her, wishing more than anything that he could swallow the words back or at least make her understand how sorry he was for what he had just said, but she didn't let him go any further.

"Don’t even try!" she glared at him and warned before dropping her gaze back to their daughter. "I will be there waiting for you when you finish school this afternoon. And grandma will pick you up at lunch time, okay!" she said sweetly, needing to concentrate on anything but him.

If she only looked at him for a little too long right now, she knew she wouldn't be able to control herself any longer and would just let the pain consume her and therefore cry her eyes out, and there was simply no way she would let him see more than she already knew she had, how much he had hurt her.

"Yeah… and Daddy is gonna buy me a new movie this afte'noon and he’s gonna come and see it with us later! Right, mommy? It's today, huh?" Janelle questioned hopefully, remembering how her father had promised her that as soon as he would be back, he would buy her whatever it was she wanted and how when she had told her mother that what she actually wanted was a new DVD, she had assured her that they would all watch it together when he would return.

"Sure, sunshine… tonight daddy's gonna see that new movie with you!" Liz answered, smoothing her daughter's hair back affectionately, like what she was asking of her was no big deal and she could actually envision herself being in Max's presence so soon after what had just happened without any problem, but Max didn't miss the fact that she hadn't included herself in their plans like Janelle had, and his heart constricted painfully once more, knowing it was his fault. "Go now… I love you, Jay!" Liz added as she pecked her daughter's lips like she did every morning or every other time she had to leave her, and then hugged her briefly.

"Love you, too, mommy!" the little girl answered with a bright smile, though she kept looking her mother directly in the eye, like she was still trying to make sure everything was really alright.

A second later, apparently satisfied with what she found there, she stepped closer to her father, ready to leave, but then stopped when she saw that he had yet to move or even look at her. Her gaze went back and forth between her two parents then and she grimaced slightly, not understanding what was happening now. Hadn't her mother said they were late? Then why was her father not moving and why was he looking at her mother like time had suddenly frozen around him?

Not even realizing when his daughter slipped her tiny hand in his, Max stood still in front of Liz, just dying to reach out to her and comfort her, or just beg her to forgive him, but he refrained himself, sure that Liz would just reject him if he even tried. And how could she not after what he had just done?

They would have to talk about this later though, he promised himself, because there was simply no way he could let things take an even uglier turn than what they had just done, and that was what was bound to happen if they didn't talk. But enough was enough, this had to stop.

God, how could he even have let this happen? How could he have let things go this far? They had fought a lot these past months but never to the point of downright insulting each other. Somehow they had always managed to be civil to the other but this was really different. He knew he had crossed a line and she had no reason to forgive him for being so mean to her, but god, just the thought that she could hate him now was just too much for him to bear.

If really they had to make their separation official, he didn't want it to happen this way and quite ironically, he realized that what he was thinking just now, after having witnessed firsthand how much they could hurt each other, was in total contradiction with what he had been so sure he wanted, or had wanted to do not ten minutes ago. When at that moment he had almost sworn he would make her life a living hell before letting her getting away with this easily, now he would say yes to everything she wanted, to everything she asked for as long as he wouldn't have to see the same pain in her eyes again, and just as long as she would still let him see their daughter. He would learn to live without her if he had to, if really there weren't any other solution, but he would not let her hate him. Yet that didn't mean he would have to like it, because god, how it hurt to finally have to let her go.

Liz looked up briefly when she saw that Max wasn't leaving and during a fraction of second she could have almost sworn that she could see tears shimmering in his eyes, but she dismissed the thought almost right away, thinking that it was only her own that were blurring her vision and making her see things that weren't there.

Why would he cry anyway? Wasn't this what he wanted? At least now he was free to start over with the one he really loved, she was setting him free finally since he was too coward to do it himself, breaking her heart in the process, but she was doing him, them a favor. Shouldn't he be happy then that his loveless and meaningless marriage was finally over?

"Goodbye, Liz!" Max whispered in the end and followed his daughter's lead when he realized he had no choice but to leave. However, the words were uttered so softly and yet so brokenly that Liz wasn't even sure he had really spoken to her.

"Yeah, bye!" she answered back nonetheless but obstinately refused to look up at him now. Instead she smiled down at Janelle who with her free hand had opened the door and was now waving goodbye at her.

She stepped out behind them and waved back until Max had Janelle securely settled on her seat in the back of his jeep and he finally pulled off of the driveway, and though her eyes remained constantly on her daughter's face, she didn't miss how Max's seemed to strain on her as he left her alone on the porch. She bravely smiled all the time, more for Janelle's sake than because she really felt like it, but her smile faltered progressively with each passing second and she thanked God when they were finally out of sight, probably feeling happy for the first time in her life to see her daughter leave.

As she entered back, the oppressing silence filled the room once more and she felt like her house was slowly but surely closing in on her, making it almost impossible for her to breathe.

"I'm not the one who's eager to spread them to every asshole who just as much as looks my way!", his voice resonated over and over, the words playing around in her head, mocking her mercilessly, and not sure she would be able to stand up on her two feet for much longer, she leant against the door for support.

God, was that really how he saw her now? Like one of those girls who whored around, looking for any opportunity to get some?

Was this really where their relationship stood after eleven years, what was left of it? Had he really completely forgotten who she was after only being apart from her for seven months, and was that the only opinion of her he had now? If that was really the case all the time she had spent with him was really not worth it, and he was definitely not the man she had always thought he was. No, he was so not worth it. But then, why did she care so much about what he could think of her, and what did it hurt so much?

In a last attempt to control herself, she pressed her fist into her mouth and bit into it with all the strength she could muster, hoping it would be enough to quell the painful cry that threatened to escape her lips, but unfortunately it only made the tears come faster.

No, god, no! She wouldn't cry over him again, she wouldn't shed anymore tears, she swore as she took long and deep breaths in a desperate attempt to calm herself down, but even that didn't seem to help any.

God, what would she do now? And what would she say to Janelle? What did you tell your five years old little girl who thought the world of her father in a situation like that? 'Honey, your father loves you, but I'm not enough for him… that and he hates me so much that he thinks I could betray our love just because he did so'?

She was not going to be able to do this. She just couldn't.

Unexpectedly her gloomy thoughts were interrupted by the ringing of the phone and though she was glad for the momentary reprieve, she hesitated before going to pick it up. Maybe she should just let the answering machine take it, she considered briefly before hearing her mother's voice resonating into her living room.

Great, just what she needed, she almost cursed as she made her way to the phone, knowing full well that her mother knew she didn't work until much later this morning and therefore wouldn't stop calling until she would have her on line. Ever since their last serious conversation, she hadn't stopped bugging her one way or another anyway. Well, she would be satisfied and proud for once, she had finally done exactly what she wanted.

"Mom?… hello!" she said, trying to keep a normal voice as she finally answered.

"Liz?… god, what took you so long?… I thought you weren't home!" Nancy Parker almost instantly complained into the phone when she finally heard her daughter.

"I am… I was just going to go for a run when you called!" Liz lied to justify herself, even if she knew that after her argument with Max she wouldn't have the heart to go anywhere, not even for a run, the only thing that usually helped her sorting out her thoughts. But her mother certainly didn't need to know that, right?

"Oh… okay!" her mother just replied, knowing that that was her daughter's way to deal with all the tension and stress she was feeling lately. "How are you, honey?" she then added when she realized that Liz was obviously not going to be very cooperative and she would have to do all the talking once more, or at least enough to pull the words out of her.

"I'm fine, Mom… I talked to you not two days ago! Nothing new!" Liz answered indifferently, not liking more today than any other day how her mother always seemed to be on her back.

She should certainly thank God once more for being here in Los Angeles while her mother was still in Roswell, because she didn't know if she would have been able to see her on a daily occurrence and not snap at her regularly. She loved her mother dearly but she was really not helping her lately. Not with the way she kept pushing her in some direction and smothering her.

"And how is my granddaughter? … is she still home?" she asked, hoping she would be, so she could maybe actually converse with someone who would be willing and happy to talk to her.

She knew Liz didn't like when she stuck her nose in her life, but she was her only daughter and she really didn't like the turn her life had taken, and god, she was so tired of seeing her taking the blows without protesting, or letting Max treat her like a simple doormat. When would she stand up for herself and say enough? If Jeff, her husband had done to her what Max had done to Liz she would have kicked him down the curb and gotten rid of him a long time ago, but her Liz was a romantic at heart who believed in soul mates and eternal love and therefore letting go of the one she had always thought was her everything, was like letting go of a part of herself and something she just couldn't envision. Not as long as there was still even just the slightest glimmer of hope in her heart, however insignificant it could be.

"She's fine, too… and no, she's not here… she just left with… she left to school!" Liz started before stopping mid-sentence and changing her phrasing, knowing full well where this conversation was going to end otherwise. They always ended pretty much the same way anyway every time his name was mentioned now.

"With Max!" Nancy finished for her, the disgust not at all concealed from her voice.

"Yes, with Max, Mom… he's still her father, no matter what… and he loves Janelle more than anything in the world… just as much as she does!" Liz replied, immediately on the defensive.

Whatever the problems they had were, there was absolutely no doubt in her mind about that. Max loved their daughter wholeheartedly and he would give his life for her without the slightest hesitation, whether her mother was ready to believe or admit it or not. What happened between them was their problem and it didn't affect at all his relationship with her or the way he felt about her, so why would she do anything to change or compromise that? Granted he was late or away on business trips just too often to her liking and she knew that in some way it bothered Janelle because it often reduced her time with him and she didn't understand why, but beside that he was the best father she could have wished for her child. He was just not the perfect husband she had thought he was.

"He loves her so much that he ruined your marriage and her family without any regret or remorse… " Nancy all but snorted, but was almost immediately interrupted by Liz who really couldn't go through this with her right now. Not after her altercation with Max. That was actually the last thing in the world she needed.

"Mom, stop, please… don’t start, I don’t have the strength to go through this with you again! Not now!" she expelled a long suffering sigh and said wearily. Would she ever stop with Max and all her grievances against him, and leave her alone?

And to say that her mother was still one of Max's most fervent supporters not even two years ago, singing his praises right and left and claiming to whoever was willing to hear it that he was the best son-in-law she could have wished for. Liz couldn't even remember herself how many times she had heard her say how perfect he was, or how good he was for her and so on and so forth, and now each time she just as much as uttered his name it was as if she was having her teeth pulled out all at once or she was resisting the urge to throw up. Boy, how quickly she could change her mind.

"I'm only stating the truth, Liz… when are you going to open your eyes, sweetie?… Max Evans doesn't deserve you, and he certainly doesn't deserve the way you keep defending him every time we talk about him!… You and Max, honey… you were just not meant to be, regardless of everything we thought!"

"I'm not defending him… and…" Liz started, before realizing herself that that was certainly what she was doing nonetheless, even when she had no reason to keep doing it anymore. More importantly, how could she even be thinking about defending him with the way he had just treated her? Was she really that pathetic? "Look, forget it… it doesn't matter anymore anyway! It's all over!"

"What do you mean?… Liz? What are you not telling me?" Nancy inquired, sure by the tone of Liz's voice that she was missing something.

"There is no more Max and I! It-It's… it's over!" Liz announced defeated, her voice cracking some more this time as she whispered the words into the receiver.

"Liz?"

"I told him… I-I asked… I asked him for a divorce!" she elaborated, trying to ignore the burning sensation in her chest and what she was sure could only be the bleeding of her heart, as she heard herself utter that word once more.

"Oh… god… I-I'm so sorry, honey!" Nancy said after a brief hesitation, still somewhat clearly caught off guard by the statement.

She had really not thought that Liz would be able to take that last step one day, she knew all too well just how much Liz still loved Max and hoped for a reconciliation, and therefore she could only imagine how much it must have cost her to finally admit, mainly to herself, that this was her only alternative and that it was time to put an end to her situation. Was she not thinking not even five minutes ago that Liz would never let go of her soul mate? How wrong she had been.

However she didn't really have time to dwell on that point before she heard Liz's now somewhat angry voice again.

"Are you?… Really? " Liz attacked skeptically, perfectly aware of what her mother really thought. Like she hadn't made that clear on many occasions ever since she had told her what had happened with Max. " Isn't this what you've wanted all along?… you've certainly not tried to hide the fact that you wanted me to do just that… well, be glad, mom, I did it… but you know what… it doesn't make me feel better for all that."

"Liz, sweetie, you know that's not true… I've never wanted you to go through this or to suffer this way… I really wish it could have ended differently!" Nancy told her sincerely this time, even if she also knew that Liz had certainly taken the right decision.

No matter how badly it hurt right now, she would definitely be better off without a cheating husband in the long run, though at the same time she couldn't help thinking that this was not fair. Liz really didn't deserve that, not when the only thing she had ever done was to love and support her husband in every way possible and in every situation.

"I-I wish that, too, mommy… I wish that so much!" Liz croaked, finally realizing that this was really it. That this was the end and that nothing would ever be the same after that. Max Evans and Liz Parker were over. End of the love story.

"Shh… honey, it's gonna be alright! I promise, it's gonna be alright." Nancy closed her eyes in pain as she heard her daughter calling her 'mommy' probably without even realizing it, the use of that word she hadn't pronounced in years showing her even more just how lost and helpless she had to be feeling.

"M-Mom… I lost him… oh, god, I-I really l-lost him this time!" Liz broke down achingly, her voice trembling with each word she said as she finally lost the fight and let go of the tears she had so valiantly managed to hold back until then.

Reality and all its implications came crashing down on her with such force at that moment that she felt like she would never be able to recover and feel whole again, and as she eventually collapsed on the floor under the weight of her agonizing grief, heart wrenching sobs and cries carried over the line, tearing apart her mother's heart.

'You lost him a long time ago, sweetie', Nancy thought, her own eyes welling up with hot, angry tears as she witnessed her daughter's incommensurable distress. But she knew that was the last thing Liz needed to hear right now, and so instead she held her tongue and whispered soothing and comforting words to her daughter.

A daughter who was miles away, while she was here wishing more than anything that she could cross the distance and just take her into her arms to comfort her and take her pain away like she used to do when Liz was still her little baby girl and something was wrong, and when all she needed back then was to be in her motherly embrace to feel better.

Yet she couldn't, and Nancy Parker sobbed herself, never having felt so powerless in her whole life before, as she cursed the day they let Max Evans enter their lives so easily and regretted more than anything not having been able to see the true nature of the man behind the Prince Charming's face.
End of chapter two

Well… :? I guess I could just end it there if you didn't like it and make it a three-parter… or I could come back and make it all better if you did… let me know which one it will be :wink:

The end???

And now excuse me but I have two hours to leave and find myself a new place before someone I know borrows her bf's Alfa Romeo 'Super Turbo Jet' and comes after me :lol:*Rebecca yelling into the living room*… honey, where are my car keys, I need them NOOOW!!
Last edited by RebeccaBehrEvans on Fri Jan 04, 2008 6:14 am, edited 4 times in total.
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RebeccaBehrEvans
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Post by RebeccaBehrEvans » Sat Apr 24, 2004 12:06 pm

Author: RebeccaBehrEvans

Title: Before it's too late.

Disclaimer: Roswell is mine. Jason Behr is mine. Roswell is mine. Jason Behr is mine. :twisted: Nope, even auto-persuasion doesn't seem to work, so I guess we all know what that means. :sad: (next time I'll try hypnosis and maybe then I'll succeed in convincing at least myself, lol. )
Chapter three
Unaware of the drama that was unfolding at his house, Max drove as best as he could in his own state, which was definitely not the top either, that was for sure. In fact it was a wonder they were able to arrive to the school in one piece, considering that he wasn't even really concentrating on the road, and it was certainly only because he knew it by heart and could have gone there eyes closed that they made it.

A million thoughts surged and ran through his mind at lightning speed, one more confusing and hurtful than the previous one, but they all revolved around the same person. Liz.

He knew he shouldn't think about her right now, not if he wanted to make it through the day, but he couldn't help himself.

Her face, her hurt look haunted him and he honestly didn't know if he would ever be able to forget about the pain he had inflected her.

He had been so unfair to her, he knew that, but hearing her basically telling him that they were over had been just too much to take and he had done the only thing he could do at that point: he had lashed out at her, his own pain carried in each spiteful words he had thrown at her, and though he hadn't set to intentionally hurt her, he knew that he had done so nonetheless. And in the worst possible way. In all honesty he could say that he would have probably hurt her less if he had gone and directly kicked her in the stomach.

Yet, now that he was calmer, he could admit that she didn't deserve to be treated this way, not when all she had done at that moment was to finally voice out loud what they both knew was coming anyway.

Not that she wasn't at fault as far as he was concerned, but what he had insinuated had gone way beyond that. It was totally uncalled. He might have lost her to someone else and for that he resented her but though he could think all he wanted that he had valid reasons to feel that way, she was far from 'spreading them to every asshole who just as much as looked her way', and he couldn't help but cringe inwardly as he remembered he had said so. Liz was nothing like that, he knew that himself and probably better than anyone else, so he couldn't even comprehend himself that he could have told her such a stupid thing.

Even if he would certainly cut his own arm first before admitting that aloud or to anyone else, he knew that if Liz had turned to someone else in the first place it was because he hadn't measured up and hadn't lived up to her expectations, and then ultimately because she had to have fallen in love with that… er… guy, otherwise she would have never considered starting any kind of relationship with him. Then could he really hate her for being true to herself and only following her heart?

Liz wasn't the type to have random sex or an extramarital affair with the first guy that crossed her path, no. She had never been and the fact that he could have dared insinuating so was enough to make him groan out loud. And now looking at that with retrospect, he didn't think that he deserved to have her forgiving him for his crude words.

Yet admitting that to himself and taking responsibility for his own part in the turn of their conversation this morning, didn't lessen in any way the blow that knowing she was finally ready to divorce had caused him. It hurt him more than anything else before. More than he had ever thought it would, no matter how many times he had tried to prepare himself for that.

He felt so damn lost and helpless right now, it was a wonder he was still able to function or remember his own name, where he was, where he was going. It was like being caught in the midst of a thick fog, and he really didn't know if he would ever be able to get out of there. Would he ever feel normal, whole again?

Beside that, another thing that was really bothering him right now was that reflection Liz had made about apparently 'needing to be a bitch to catch your own husband's interest'. It didn't make any sense to him but he couldn't go past or forget about the fact that she had sounded really angry while saying so. But why? It didn't add up with anything else, unless…

No, that couldn't be it. But he had to admit that she had sounded almost… jealous even if he didn't understand why she would feel that way. But no, she couldn't possibly know about what had happened with Tess. There were only three people who knew, Tess of course, Michael, and then himself and none of the two others would have said a thing to Liz or to anyone else. So logically there was no way she could have learned about that. But then what did her sentence mean? Something told him that if he was able to catch her meaning he would probably understand a lot of other things too, but for the life of him, right this instant his brain seemed to have turn to mush and he couldn't grab anything.

After having reflected upon that long enough to give himself another headache, Max was momentarily pulled out of his more than confused thoughts when at a traffic light, someone honked when he wasn't quick enough to pull away.

That was also when he remembered that he wasn't alone in the car and that he hadn't been paying much attention to his daughter. And now that he thought of it, it was really strange he hadn't heard her yet or at all.

"What's happening, munchkin?… you've been very quiet all the way!" Max questioned gently as he threw a quick glance into his rearview mirror to see what his daughter was doing.

Not that she was doing much actually beside looking out the window and nibbling absentmindedly at her bottom lip, a habit she had inherited from her mother, but that was precisely what had him a little preoccupied now.

Usually Janelle was way more excited when he was the one to take her to school, and moreover when he was just coming back from one of his trips. Generally she couldn't stop asking him all kind of questions, from where he had gone exactly to what that city looked like, or if he would take her there sometime. But today, nothing. In fact ever since they had left the house she hadn't uttered a single word, but he had yet to determine if it was just because she was just not in the mood today, or if she had sensed that there was something wrong between him and Liz and it had her worried.

"N'thing!" Janelle replied so softly herself that Max would have probably not known she had spoken to him if he hadn't seen her lips forming the word.

Well, if he had had any doubts before, now he knew for sure that something was wrong with her.

"Are you sure?… you know you can tell me anything, right?" he told her reassuringly as they finally arrived and he parked the car in front of the school.

As he cut the injection he briefly looked around and noticed that a few other parents were still arriving, too, assuring him that at least Janelle wouldn't be the only one to be late and that he still had some time to find out what was bothering her.

"Um-huh!" Janelle just mumbled as she struggled with her seatbelt and tried to unfasten it herself, and as he turned to look at her again Max saw her grimacing slightly when she failed.

It wouldn't have been the first time she tried, she certainly did so every time he drove her to school but so far all her attempts had been unsuccessful. Not that it could stop her from keeping trying. His daughter was a stubborn one. But right now he would really want her to be a little less and tell him what was wrong because it was clearly written all over her face that there was 'something', whether she was ready to admit it to him or not.

Passing his hand between the two front seats, Max helped her with it and couldn't help but smile at her when she looked back at him and whispered a soft 'thank you'.

However the smile instantly left his lips when just as quickly she lowered her gaze again and proceeded to chew at her lip once more, only more insistently this time.

"Sweetie?" he called her, getting really worried now.

This was definitely not the Janelle he was used to or the one he had expected to find after not having seen her for three days. He had thought she would be happy to see him, and she had seemed to be at least until his fight with Liz, but now here she looked almost like she didn't even care he was back.

Maybe she was angry because he had been late, he pondered. Or maybe she had understood more than he had first thought about what had happened between him and Liz after all.

Of course even if most of the time he tried to not even consider that fact, deep down he knew that he was probably only deluding himself when he kept trying to convince himself that Janelle was totally unaware of the reality of their situation, but now something told him that this was going to be the moment when he would have to face the truth and stop running from it.

He was already conjuring up all kind of possible scenarios regarding what could be bothering her now when Janelle seemed to make up her mind and put a stop to all of them the second she spoke again.

"Daddy, why is mommy a'ways sad?" she eventually demanded, lifting troubled eyes up to her father and nearly breaking his heart at the mixed emotions he could see there.

"Uh… she is?" Max swallowed hard and stuttered lamely, not knowing what else to say since her question had taken him by surprise to say the least.

Of course he had noticed himself that Liz didn't seem to be especially joyful whenever he saw her, but he had only assumed that it was because they weren't on the best terms lately and she wasn't particularly thrilled to see him, yet he couldn't very well say that to his daughter now, could he? So how was he supposed to answer her question?

"Huh-uh… she cry at night!" Janelle informed him with a natural that gave Max chills all over, even if it was already quite a hot morning and so he couldn't blame it on the weather.

To say that he wasn't anywhere prepared to deal with that information would have been an understatement because that was definitely not something -probably the last thing even in fact- he had expected her to reveal, and yet he clearly and instantly felt himself wincing inwardly just at the thought of Liz crying for any reasons.

"How do you know that, honey?" he asked, needing to know and then, realizing that he had been there just sitting and looking at her, he finally exited the car and immediately opened her door, offering her his hand to get out herself.

"I hear her s'mtimes!… is it because of…" Janelle started, but then seeing her father looking down at her expectantly, she hesitated briefly " Because of you?… because you haft to leave!" she finished, her voice just above a whisper.

She was too young to understand everything of course but she knew that her mother had been happier when her father still lived with them. And at least then she didn't hear her cry at night, she was sure of that. Now even knowing that he had no choice, at least from what her parents had told her, she didn't like it anymore, she didn't like what it could imply, and obviously her mother didn't like it either. Sometimes she really wished he could come back and then everything would be like before. Everything would be back to normal.

"I-I don't know, sweetie… m-maybe!" Max stammered completely at a loss for words.

He was still mulling over the fact that Liz could cry at night and that his daughter could hear it and be affected by that, and honestly he didn't know what to say or just what to think of it. He didn't even know why Liz would cry. At least he couldn't find any reasons that could explain that and that could be in any way related to him.

Why would she cry because of him? Or because he had left?

He thought that was what she wanted, after all she had been the one to ask him to leave, right?

But if he was indeed the reason why she cried at night, what did that mean? Of course there could be a very simple explanation but right now, he was in no emotional state to contemplate it too seriously. Not if he wanted to keep it together.

However if he thought that it couldn't get worse for him, he was deluding himself once more, and even in his wildest imagination he couldn't have fathomed what Janelle was going to ask him next, or just how much it was going to hurt.

"Why you left then?" she wondered out loud, but before Max could formulate or even just think about a plausible reply, her next sentence nearly brought him to his knees, making him wish he had never left his seat. "Y-You don't love us no more?" Janelle whispered, her sweet voice trembling as she voiced one of her fears.

She didn't like to think about that of course, but one of the boys in her class had told her that usually when the daddys left the house it was because they weren't happy and generally didn't love their family anymore. At least that was what his older brother had told him, and even if she didn't want to believe that it was what was happening with her own daddy, moreover since he told her he loved her almost every time he saw her, when she saw him looking all upset and angry with her mommy she couldn't help wondering nonetheless.

"Oh, god, Janelle… no, no, that's not it… come here, love!" Max said and immediately picked her up, doing his best to stay calm and not bawl like a baby in front of his child. Yet the mere thought that she could question his love for her was enough to slice his heart in two and make him lose the last of his control.

He hugged her fiercely a few precious seconds and then after having made sure first that the surface was clean and that it wouldn't soil her dress, he lowered her down on the hood of the car. Once that done though, he found himself momentarily tongue-tied and the only thing he could do was look at her, while he struggled inwardly to find the right words.

Truth was, he didn't know how to explain things to her. Sometimes he wasn't even sure of what was happening himself. So what was he supposed to tell her, he wondered as he tenderly smoothed her shiny hair back. It was so evident to him now by the questions that seemed to plague her mind that she knew, or at least felt, more than what he thought she did and that she was apparently… no, make that definitely, not as oblivious to the situation as he had first assumed. He was pretty sure that she didn't understand all the implications but there was no more doubt in his mind that she hadn't believed all the lies they had kept telling her for all that. And god, he was so tired of lying. Moreover when he realized that in the end all he would manage to do was to hurt her even more in the long run.

Yet if Liz was as serious about the divorce as she seemed to be this morning, sooner or later they would have to tell her the truth, therefore he shouldn't keep lying like he was and should rather start to prepare her for the worst.

"Honey… sometimes things between adults get a little complicated and sometimes even when we want we can't make them right but…" he started carefully, praying that he could find the words that would reassure her and at the same time that he would find the easiest way to make her understand what he was trying to tell her.

However before he could go any further, she cut him off and if it weren't because this was clearly not the moment, he would have certainly laughed out loud at her words.

God, was there ever any doubt that she was Liz's daughter?

"But mommy a'ways say you can do whatever you want if you really, really want it!" she interrupted, like she didn't understand why her father was telling her this when her mother had told her basically just the contrary.

If mommy said you could do everything you wanted, why was her father telling her that sometimes you couldn't? Mommy was always right, she knew that, even her father used to say so.

"I know… and usually it's true, but sometimes wanting is not all!" Max continued sincerely and was once more surprised by his daughter's reply.

"Maybe you don't want hard enough!" she accused softly, though there was no real anger or animosity in her tone since for now she still didn't see where her father was going with his explanation.

"I do, baby, believe me…" Max said and tenderly tucked a few strands of his child's hair back behind her ears and caressed her cheeks, doing it reflexively and only realizing afterwards just as similar the gesture was to what he used to do with her mother when she was nervous herself and he was trying to calm her down or at least bring her some comfort. "…but that's not the point… now what's really important is that I want you to always remember that no matter what happens I do love you, honey… so very much, don't ever doubt that, please… and though with your mother it's a little more complic-… " he continued, unaware of the impact those last few words were having on his daughter.

"You don’t love mommy?" Janelle immediately stopped him and asked tremulously, and as he saw her bottom lip trembling as she said the words, Max felt his heart breaking a little more if that were possible.

God, he sucked so much at this. He had barely time to talk to her since she was supposed to be inside already, school having started at least ten minutes ago, and now instead of making things better for her and comforting her, here he was only making them worse. Way to go, huh?

No wonder he wasn't able to have a normal conversation with Liz and make her understand what he thought, what he felt, he wasn't even able to do so with a five-year-old.

"I love you both, sweetie, you and mommy, that's not the problem… " he told her, insisting on the 'both' and hoping it would be enough to ease her fears, but he didn't want to lie to her for all that. Even if it was definitely not the best moment to have this conversation with her, he knew that after what had happened with Liz and moreover since he was almost sure now that she had to have heard more than what Liz and he had realized before, he needed to tell her something more than 'I love you both'. "… it's just… s-sometimes it's… it's not enough… but just know that your mother and I, we… we're working on it… and that whatever happens between she and I, it won’t ever change what we feel for you, Janelle… you mean everything to us both, and always will! And… and we love you so, so much, sweetie… Don't ever forget that!" he finished, not surprised to hear his own voice quavering by the end.

While he spoke though, Max kept his eyes constantly focused on her face to be able to judge her reaction and as he saw her torturing her lip for the umpteenth time already, he wondered what she could be thinking now.

In fact it seemed to him that she was like pondering his words and he couldn't help wondering if it was a good thing or not. But that thought quickly left his mind when Janelle looked up at him hopefully, and when he met her big doe eyes again, he was struck once more with how much she could look like her mother even in that. Their color might be his, but the particular shape was definitely Liz's. Everything about her reminded him of Liz in fact, which right this second wasn't particularly a good thing.

"I know what you can do to make mommy not so sad anymore!" she said, coming back to what had been her main concern and what had started all this talk.

"And what is that?" Max urged her to continue, clearly curious to know what she could have come up with.

It would be kind of ironic that his own daughter could give him the solution to what was still a headache to him, wouldn't it? But since everything he did or said lately seemed to be the wrong thing anyway, any advice was worth hearing, even if it was coming from a five years old little girl.

At least that was what Max thought until he actually heard it.

"Maybe you can give her another baby!" Janelle told him sweetly, not realizing how her innocent words made her father suck in a breath.

For a few seconds Max felt like she had knocked him over, punched him in the gut, and he was sure that his eyes had to have bugged out of their sockets when what she had just said had registered in his brain.

She wasn't serious, right? And even if she were anyway, where had she gotten that idea from to begin with? There could only be one answer, and though he was scared shitless at the prospect that she could confirm his suspicions, he couldn’t not ask.

"Janelle?" he called to her when he noticed that his lack of immediate answer had made her lower her eyes like she had done something wrong and she was afraid he would tell her off. "Uh... D-Did your mother tell you she wanted another baby?" he demanded when she looked back at him, though he did his best to keep a neutral tone and the smile on his face to not show her what havoc her suggestion had caused him.

A baby.

He had thought about that a million times since leaving Liz, wondering if that could have been the solution to all of their problems. Or if things would have been different if he hadn't been so stubborn and had at least heard Liz out when she had tried to talk him into trying to have another baby.

Maybe then they wouldn't find themselves in this situation. Probably not in fact, because then Liz would have had what she obviously wanted so much and she would have even less felt the need to turn to someone else. She would have certainly not asked him to leave then either, and they would certainly be still together.

But would that have been right for all that?

He couldn't say so because the fact was that they would have brought that baby into this world for the wrong reasons, and he honestly doubted that it would have been enough to save their marriage anyway. If a baby would have definitely brought them closer for a time, in the end he knew that it wouldn't have helped them because the main thing having a baby would have done was to make them avoid their problems for a while -even if then he hadn't realized just how many they could have- and act like everything was perfect between them again, when eventually he was sure those problems would have come back to bite them in the ass, and things would have been probably even worse afterwards.

Besides, like he had told her, back then he hadn't been ready for another baby. Not when he perfectly knew that he wouldn't have been there often enough to see it grow up like a father should. With the crazy hours he was working at that time, he was pretty much sure that Liz would have only ended resenting him even more for leaving her alone to raise their children and he knew that was what she would have thought. That he was abandoning her, abandoning them. And though now he was conscious of the fact that that was pretty much what he had done anyway, it had been the last thing he had wanted nonetheless. It hadn't been intentional.

No, a baby wouldn't have been the solution then, not any more than it would be now.

In the end Max was already mentally preparing himself for Janelle's answer and for what he would have to tell her, when without any warning another thought crossed his mind and he suddenly felt like he was going to keel over with the nausea feeling that unexpectedly invaded him.

OH. GOD.

What if Liz had indeed talked with her about the fact that she wanted to have another baby… but recently?

What if she was actually really considering it, maybe even already planning it, working on it, and the main reason she had broached the subject with Janelle was because she wanted to prepare her to the eventuality.

That would only mean one thing considering the situation they currently were in. If she indeed had, that would mean that she was contemplating making a baby with someone that was definitely not him, no matter what Janelle was thinking or wanting herself. And Max needed nothing more to feel his heart hammering in his chest and his blood pounding in his ears while blinding rage coursed through his veins.

No, no, she wouldn't do that, she wouldn't fucking dare. She couldn't do that or even think about it, not until they were divorced, he reasoned. But then he was hit square in the face with another dose of reality when he remembered that she had precisely told him she wanted a divorce not an hour ago.

This was why, he thought crazily. She wanted a baby but she wouldn't go so far as making one with someone else while she was still married to him. That was why she seemed to want that divorce so badly. Of course she had said it was better for everyone when in reality she only saw what was better for her. She had almost fooled him, the little lying…

Damn, what was he doing? He so couldn't think like that or he was really going to blow a fuse and go and kill someone.

He had to calm down. He just had to before he did something stupid, like going and finding the fucking bastard she was with now and cut his balls so that he wouldn't be able to use them with anyone and more particularly with his Liz. His wife, even if it was only for a matter of time yet. Though of course he also had to admit he liked the idea of finally making that idiot pay, whatever the way, it would definitely not be the wisest thing to do, he knew that.

But mostly he reminded himself, he had to calm down if he didn't want to scare his daughter, which was bound to happen if he wasn't able to control himself right now.

Oh, dear Lord, why, oh, why hadn't he stayed in bed, huh? He so knew that this was going to be a horrible day and so far everything was confirming it and proving him right.

The few seconds it took Janelle to reply were probably the longest of his whole life and therefore it wasn't surprising if he couldn't help but expel a loud sigh of relief when she finally did.

"No… but Jenna Stevenson daddy gave her mommy another baby and Jenna say her mommy is a'ways very very happy now!" Janelle informed him, unaware of what had been going on in her father's head, and that was almost enough to bring his heart rate back to normal. Almost, because now that the thought of Liz making a baby with anyone else was implanted in his brain, it would be hard to think about anything else for a while.

"Well… uh… babies usually make the parents very happy… but in our case, I'm not sure it would help!" Max answered honestly when he was calm enough again, even if he wasn't sure that that was what his daughter wanted to hear.

Besides, it was not like it was a possibility right now anyway, not for them together at least. After what he had told her not even half an hour before, he wasn't even sure she would talk to him ever again, so they were very far from thinking about making a baby then, and he really didn't want to dwell any longer on the fact that someone else's baby could make her happy. Not if he didn't want to lose his head.

However the little he told Janelle seemed to be enough to deviate her thoughts from the topic, much to his relief. And at least her next question was an easy one to answer.

"Was you and mommy happy when you gave me to her?" she questioned, having already more or less forgotten about her mommy and her daddy having another baby together.

"Okay… first of all, I didn't give you to mommy!" Max couldn’t help correcting but then had to smile at the puzzled look Janelle gave him. "Oh, boy… I'll explain you that some day but you're too young right now!" he caressed her chin affectionately and chuckled, thinking of the day they would have to explain to her everything about that topic. Well, he would let Liz take care of that because there was simply no way he could have that talk with her. "Your mommy and I, we made you, together, because we loved each other so very much it was the best proof of love we could give each other… you were a blessing, honey… and yes, we were really very happy to have you… in fact the day you were born was certainly the best day of my life!"

"Mommy say that, too… but can you have many many 'best day' of your life?… coz mommy have already three!… but I only have one yet!" she said pouting slightly, and Max smiled once more when he saw the little frown that accompanied her pout and marred her forehead as she obviously waited for an answer or was trying to find one herself.

"And which one is it?" Max asked instead, yet almost already suspecting what would be her reply.

"The day we went to Disneyland for my birthday!" she revealed, a huge smile adorning her lips as she remembered how much fun that had been.

Now she couldn't wait for her next birthday because her mother had told her that they would go again if she wanted to. Like she needed to think it over, huh?

"I could have bet!" Max said grinning himself, before hesitating slightly. Could he really ask her about what he wanted to know, now that she had made him think about that point?

Well, it wasn't as if he had anything to lose, right? He just hoped that his question wouldn't bring him even more pain.

"And… uh… about mommy… do you know what are the three best days of her life?" he finally continued, unable to stop himself but trying to ask it as casually as possible nonetheless.

"Um-huh… the day you save her… the day you marry… and the day I was born!" she enumerated counting on her little fingers, even if she didn't quite remember if that was the right order.

"She told you so?" he asked instinctively and then berated himself when he felt the slightest joy and hope flaring inside him again.

God, how could he still be stupid enough to hope when she had made it clear they were over, or at least that she wanted them to be over? And besides, she could have said so but so long ago that she probably didn't think it anymore.

Yet as he saw his daughter nodding in answer, he couldn't help pushing for more information.

"When?… I mean, when did she tell you so, Jay?" he demanded tentatively and held his breath as Janelle seemed to think it over.

"I don't 'member!" she just shrugged eventually, not understanding how Max had been hanging on her every word and how important it could have been for him to know.

Max felt a pang in his heart and a little disappointed, but almost immediately tried to ignore the feeling. After all it wasn't her fault if she couldn't remember.

"Are you okay now, sweetie?" he asked tenderly after a moment when he realized that her well-being was more important right now anyway than finding out about something that Liz could have told her months ago and that was probably not even true any longer.

"Yah!" she answered and smiled brightly at him at last.

"Great… then, now before I forget… about the movie… which one do you want this time? You didn't tell me yet! " he inquired then, preferring to ask her and have an answer for sure, rather than choosing a movie she wouldn't like. Not that it was that hard to please her of course, but she already had a pretty huge collection, including all the Disney Classics, and she would certainly know better than he would what little choice he still had.

"Can we already have Finding Nemo?" she demanded hopefully. Now that she had the stuffed animal it would be so great to have the movie, too, even if she had already seen it since her daddy had taken her to the theatre when it had gotten out.

"I don’t know, but if we can, that's the one you're going to have!" he told her and smiled, not at all surprised that that was the one she had chosen.

They had had a blast watching the movie together, that was why he had thought she would love her gift the second he had seen it in the shop. Then, he himself had a blast every time he watched a cartoon, even if his favorites would be more the Thundercats ones than Nemo, so that wasn't saying much he guessed. But if he had to watch it with her, it better be something that he would enjoy as well.

"You promise?"

"I do!" he told her seriously, but then couldn't help but laugh throatily when Janelle rolled her eyes and looked at him like he had spurted another head.

"Nooo, silly!… you have to say I promise, promise, promise!" she whined exaggeratedly and said as she encircled his neck with her arms and rested her forehead against his.

"Fiiiine! I promise, promise, promise!" Max laughed and repeated, mimicking her earlier roll of eyes. "Now come on, your mother is going to skin me alive if I don't get you to school already." he finished as he scooped her up in his arms and eventually marched inside the school.

On his way he was surprised to learn that apparently Liz had made pancakes for him and he even laughed, at least a little, when finally Janelle scolded him for having been late -going so far as to smack his head by the way, no less- but not because she hadn't seen much of him due to his tardiness like he had first thought, but more because he had missed the pancakes Liz had so lovingly made and the occasion for them to have breakfast all together, like they used to.

Not surprisingly, almost the instant he heard her, he of course couldn't help cursing Michael once more, but mostly he was unable to not wonder how it would have gone if he had been able to make it and arrive on time. Maybe they could have had a good time the three together and he wouldn't have to face yet what was so coming to him now.

Then at last, as he kissed her goodbye, Janelle had told him she wished they could be like a normal family again, and the way she had looked at him while saying so had been his undoing. And though the latest events definitely didn't bode well for that, at that instant Max realized that for his daughter he was ready to keep hoping nonetheless. Even if it was certainly not the hardest thing he would have to do, since he definitely wished they could go back, too.

End of chapter three
TBC???

Hey, Kaela, could you give me the link to your sis's fic, I can't seem to find it anywhere? :roll: and I remember starting it and liking it. Would be cool to keep reading so. Thanks :wink:
Last edited by RebeccaBehrEvans on Fri Jan 04, 2008 6:15 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Post by RebeccaBehrEvans » Fri Apr 30, 2004 8:06 am

Author: RebeccaBehrEvans

Title: Before it's too late.

Disclaimer: Roswell is mine. Jason Behr is mine. Roswell is mine. Jason Behr is mine. :twisted: Nope, even auto-persuasion doesn't seem to work, so I guess we all know what that means. :sad: (next time I'll try hypnosis and maybe then I'll succeed in convincing at least myself, lol. )

AN: I guess even after this part you won't have all the answers some of you are obviously still searching for, but if you can read between the lines, you could find more than you first thought :wink: ... that's all I'm gonna say for now. :mrgreen:
This part is pretty much angst free... enjoy it... because it's only the calm before the storm :sad:

Frenchkiss, just saw your post... was this fast enough :lol: ... thank U :wink: :lol: (I'm sure no one understand why I'm LMAO right now :roll: but I'm sure you do :lol: :wink: )

Posted in two parts due to length.

Chapter four
As he stared at the now closed doors of the elevator that was going to take him to the 17th floor of the Grand Tower building he worked in, Max sighed loudly, drawing a few stares from his co-riders.

God, it was barely nine in the morning and he felt already more tired than if he had spent the whole week awake. This was going to be one hell of a day, he just could feel it.

Mentally he tried to remember his schedule and how many appointments he was going to have to go through, but just remembering who the first one was supposed to be resulted to take such an excruciating effort on his part that he almost immediately gave up.

He wished he could skip the day altogether, go back to bed, go back to Michael's uncomfortable couch even, or go and do anything else instead of having to come to work, but he knew it was definitely not an option. He didn't even know why he went though, since he perfectly knew he wouldn't be able to concentrate on anything either.

Not until he could talk with Liz. She was all he could think about right now and though he didn't have the slightest idea of what he would tell her to make things right or at least to make her forgive him for what he had told her, he knew he had to at least try.

If he hadn't been motivated enough before, seeing his daughter so confused and obviously so affected by the situation, was definitely motivation enough in his book.

He felt so stupid right now and with good reason. How could he have been foolish enough to think that Janelle hadn't noticed anything, hadn't perceived the changes between him and Liz? A blind man would have seen them, so was it really that unconceivable that his daughter, who was probably brighter and smarter than any other girl her age, could have seen them, too?

Oh, of course, they usually played the part in front of her and did their best to act as normally as possible, but it had apparently not been enough. Far from it. She knew there was something wrong with Liz, if only because she could see or sense her sadness, and she knew that something was off with him, too. She also thought he was responsible for her mother's state, or had a part in it, and whether it was true or not wasn't even the issue. She shouldn't have to worry about that or about anything else to begin with. She shouldn't have to question anything in her life, just like she shouldn't be the one trying to find solutions to what was happening around her because nothing was her fault, nor her responsibility. She was only five for heaven's sake.

Now try as he might, he still couldn't believe that she could have asked him if he didn't love her anymore, and just the thought that his baby girl could have doubted his love for her, even if only for a mere insignificant second, was enough to make him want to break something in rage.

That she could question his love for Liz, even despite the fact that they weren't even living together, was bad enough because that would mean that they weren't even able to hide their problems from her the few times they were together and even when they were behaving and pretending that everything was alright between them in front of her. But that she could fear he might not love her anymore, or even just think it, tended to prove that even with her he hadn't been good enough.

This was driving him nuts. He knew he hadn't always been there for Liz when she had needed him and that that had been, at least to some extent, what had brought them to this point, but he had always prided himself on being a good father, if not a good husband, yet Janelle had just shattered that certitude with five simple words.

Of course he knew that he had reassured her and that she had believed him, but really, ultimately, what did it say about him, huh?

The fact that she had had to ask to begin with was already painful to accept or even just admit and didn't do anything for his self-esteem, that was for sure, but what scared him the most was to have to wonder how long she had had those doubts? How long she had been thinking about that without daring ask him? How long he had been blind to her distress?

Strangely and as crazy as it seemed, now he was starting to think that his fight with Liz hadn't been such a bad thing in the end after all. Sure they had hurt each other tremendously, or rather, he had hurt her more than he was willing to remember at this point and there was no saying that he would give his own two arms if he could to be able to go back in time and take those words back, or anything he could have said or done that could have hurt her at one point or another for that matter, but somehow it had helped him, too. It had opened his eyes on a lot of things. The main one being that he absolutely didn't want things to end this way and even less to have to lose any of them, Liz not more than Janelle. He wasn't ready to. And yet that was what was going to happen if he didn't do something and fast.

Not that he hadn't already known that before this moment of course, but it had never hit so close to home in his mind that it really could happen. Now he was put up against the wall.

Liz asking for a divorce coupled with Janelle doubting his love for her had been like a slap in the face and it was time he got his head out of the sand. They wouldn't go anywhere if he kept pretending that by ignoring his problems they would somehow miraculously disappear. That was so not going to happen, and keeping quiet on the off-chance that they could make it somehow nonetheless if he didn't talk was just plain stupid and what was more, hadn't helped any till now. Quite the contrary in fact, judging by all that had transpired this morning. Before that, all his reasons for acting like he had, had still somehow seemed valid to him, but now that he thought of them again in the new light of the latest events, he couldn't find a single good one.

Janelle was right, till now he hadn't tried hard enough to save what there was still to save of his marriage -if there were still anything to save of course. But this would change now because he simply didn't want to wake up in a few years, alone, embittered and hating himself when he would remember he could have done something more but hadn't because he had only lacked enough courage to do so. He wouldn't live with regrets for the rest of his life. He would make sure of that.

That was why he needed to talk to Liz. Really talk to her. He owned that to the three of them, if only to see if there was really nothing they could do before it was too late.

It would take time, he was well aware of that, considering all he had to tell her, all he had kept for himself all these last months, but there was no other way now. She would know what he felt, she would know what he wanted, for all of them, no more hiding anything whether it was easy to say or hear or not. And then, if despite that she still wanted to leave him definitively, she still wanted to divorce him and make a life with someone else, it would be her decision but at least she would take it with all the elements in hands, and there would be no regrets for any of them. No more at least, because he had already a bunch of them to last him a lifetime.

God, it sounded crazy but just then, the fact of having finally taken that decision was enough to make him feel like a huge weight had been lifted from his shoulders. Even if at the same time he was scared out of his mind just at the thought that his future was at stake and solely depended on what would happen tonight.
*
All too soon for his liking, Max found himself in front of the massive door of A. Whitman & M. Evans Associates, ready to face the music. Or at least he thought he was, but just as quickly, he felt all the little hope he had that he could make it through the day without too much difficulties, plummeting to his shoes when the first person he saw as he entered the impressive hall of his and Alex's offices, was Tess Harding. And of course it was just his luck that she was alone and that Serena Farraday, Alex's personal secretary was nowhere in sight at the moment.

With all that had happened and all that had been going on in his head he had almost forgotten about her, but of course Tess took upon herself to come back vividly to his mind.

Looking up from where she had been sitting behind her large mahogany desk, Tess couldn't help but smile sweetly at Max when she saw that he had finally arrived.

God, no matter how many times she saw him, he still took her breath away. She literally lived for those moments, reveled in them, knowing that soon that hunk of a man would be all hers. She just had to be patient, she knew that, at least until he would be finally tired of that masquerade he still called marriage and put an end to it. If his dear idiot of a wife didn't do it herself first of course.

Honestly she still didn't understand why this was taking so long, she had thought that by now everything would have been settled and taken care of, but no, they had to make it last, for whatever reasons they still had. But ultimately, it didn't matter, because sooner or later this would have to end and she would be there for the final act. And then she knew that she would be rewarded for all her efforts and she would have what she had worked so hard to have, what she had coveted for the last two years, all to herself. Max Evans.

And even if right now he didn't realize yet that she was really all he needed, soon he would know, too, and acknowledge what she had known all along. They were made for each other, and she would make sure he understood that, and then he would forget everything about his so-called wife. He would even forget he had ever been married at all, at least until she would manage to have her ways and made him tie the knot again. Only this time it would be for ever. So yes, it could take her long to reach her goal but since she had no doubt she would succeed, she had all the time in the world. He would see the truth sooner or later.

"Hi, Max!" she greeted warmly, her sugary smile unfortunately not having the effect she hoped it would and nearly making Max roll his eyes instead.

"Hi, Tess!" he replied and just at the thought of what had happened a few days ago, he had to literally force a smile on his own lips to match hers.

"You're late… Mr. Seligman was here already… he just got back to his car… he forgot something apparently." she continued all business-like at first but wondered nonetheless if there was something wrong with him because she could be clueless sometimes, but he surely seemed ill-at-ease there standing in front of her.

"Uh… thank you… okay… just let me know when he comes back then!" Max just answered, suddenly feeling a tremendous need to get as far away from her as possible, and he was ready to do just that and enter his own office when she abruptly stopped him.

"Max? … er… are you alright?" she inquired softly before asking what had her really preoccupied. "You didn't come home yesterday night!" she finished with what was supposed to be a sexy pout.

Still not the desired effect though. In fact, Max cringed inwardly the second he heard her say 'home' and he had to resist the urge to just push away the hand she had placed on his forearm and that he could swear was burning his skin even through the material of his jacket.

Home? It wasn't even home for him and he had lived there for months, so why she felt the need to call it home herself was beyond him. But why was he surprised? She always had to complicate or exaggerate everything, even the easiest things, so what was one more?

God, could that woman really not take a hint or what? He thought after Monday everything was pretty clear between them, so what did he need to tell her to make her understand things?

"Look, Tess… I just… I stayed with Michael… I think it's better this way… I'm not sure… " he started hesitantly, not needing her to create a scene here when they were at work, but she interrupted him before he could tell her more.

"Max… if this is about Monday… I'm sorry … I… " she tried to defend herself, knowing that she had messed up big time that day and that it was probably because of that that he had preferred staying with his friend for the night, but she hadn't thought he would hold it against her. She thought they were okay and that he had forgiven her.

"Tess… I don't want to talk about it… not now at least… " Max cut her off this time. If he had still thought -hoped- he would be able to do it before his altercation with Liz, after that he knew he was really not ready to have this conversation with her right now. He would rather go and bury himself in his work directly and right this second, than having to go through that with her.

"Okay… maybe tonight then… I mean I want to make things right between us, Max… I don't want it to be awkward now every time we see each other!" she said, doing her best to look really sorry since apparently that was what he wanted.

"I know… but today… today's just not the best of days for me!" he replied and without waiting for any kind of answer on her part, he finally took the direction of his office, closing the door behind him the second he walked through it, hence assuring that she understood that that discussion was over for now.

In fact, if he could he would postpone that talk until she would be back from her three weeks of vacation that started tomorrow, but he wasn't sure it wouldn't only make matters worse in the end. Yet if he had to have that talk with her before that, it would have to be sometime during this day, because there was simply no way he would go back to the apartment tonight knowing that she would still be there.

Deciding to forget about her and all the problems he could have with her for the moment being, he sat down and immediately searched his briefcase for Mr. Seligman's file. This meeting would take long since the case wasn't easy but at least he would be able to concentrate, at least partially and for a short period, on something else. Or so he hoped.

As he caught sight of the two pictures that adorned his desk, one of Liz and Janelle together and one of Liz alone, his mind went back once more to the morning events and a sudden thought crossed his mind. He was just going to place a call when Tess's voice resonated inside the room announcing Mr. Seligman's arrival and he cursed at the bad timing.

Quickly writing down a few sentences on a paper, he made his way to the door to greet the man and opened it to find Tess standing with him, just behind it.

Shaking hands with him, he then showed him inside before turning to Tess again.

"Uh, Tess… could you take care of this for me, please?" he asked, extending the note he had scribbled down.

"Sure!" she replied smiling, before actually reading what it was about. "A d-dozen of white roses… okay… but… wait, it's your address… I mean it's for your… wife?" she nearly squeaked out afterwards when she understood what he was doing and what that would or could mean.

"So?" Max just said, raising an eyebrow at her reaction. What was so surprising, he had made no secret of the fact that if he could he would like to go back to Liz and patch things with her, so what was her problem now?

Yet as he saw the obvious shock on her face, it took him all of two seconds to decide that asking Tess to deal with that had been a mistake, but before he could take the paper back and take care of that himself, even if it meant making Mr. Seligman wait a little longer, Tess seemed to regain her composure and smiled again.

If he had paid a little more attention though, he would have probably noticed just how phony and forced that smile could be, but he had already enough in his head and more important to do to take notice of Tess's emotional state, or even look at her too closely.

"Umm, no nothing… it's alright… no problem… I'll call!" she assured and immediately went to sit again.

Suddenly she wasn't feeling very well and her legs looked like they soon wouldn't be able to carry her.

God, what was he thinking? This could ruin everything, didn't he realize that? But she wouldn't let him do that. No way. She wouldn't let him ruin their future just because he was suddenly feeling guilty for whatever reason it was. So sure, she would have the roses sent, because there wasn't any other way that wouldn't make her look suspicious, but there was no way she would transmit the message. They could get lost sometimes, or could even contain mistakes anyway. Well, then this one would simply not arrive at all, and Max would have to blame it on the incompetence of the florist. She would make sure of that.

"She should start working soon, so they might not find her at home for a few hours… but make sure she got them by lunchtime then." he instructed, not wanting the roses to be delivered when Liz wouldn't be there and see the deliverer miss her then, but knowing she always came back to eat at home, even if she had barely an hour for that.

It was a real gamble he knew that, she could like them and appreciate the gesture and it would help him, or she could not care at all or simply hate him even more for even considering this would make any difference or would be enough for her to want to forgive him, but he wouldn't dwell on that right now. He would take any chance in fact if that meant that something good could come out of it. He just hoped that she would understand that he was really being sincere and he really wanted to work things out.

"Sure, I'll just tell them that!" Tess answered and kept the fakest smile on her face, until he finally turned around and marched back to his office where Mr. Seligman was still patiently waiting.

"Thank you, Tess!" she heard him say just before he closed the door and she had to resist the urge to throw something at him for being so stupid, but most of all for being such an ass and caring so little about her feelings. God, didn't he care at all that he was hurting her right now? That he was breaking her heart?

Obviously not, she almost snorted inwardly as she re-read his note.

"Liz,

I don't think at this point any word could be enough to tell you just how much I'm sorry, but really I am.

I hope we can talk later. There is so much I need to tell you.

Love,

Max.


Well, that was so sweet, but Liz Evans would have to dream the words if she wanted to know about them, because she would kill herself first before passing that note and contributing to their reconciliation in any way.

"What's that?" she heard a voice near her and nearly jumped out of her skin when she saw Serena just a few feet on her left.

God, what was she doing here? she wondered irritably. Wasn't she supposed to be making photocopies for Alex? But more importantly how much had she seen?

She almost insulted her for being such an idiot and creeping on her like that and scaring her, but then decided against it and swallowed back her retort since she didn't want to draw unwanted attention on her or on what she had been doing.

"Oh, nothing… nothing important I mean!" she lied and smiled as she leant aside and quickly threw the paper in the trash can near her desk.

Nope, nothing important at all.
~ * ~
Coming back in a second :wink:
Last edited by RebeccaBehrEvans on Fri Jan 04, 2008 6:19 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Post by RebeccaBehrEvans » Fri Apr 30, 2004 8:06 am

~ * ~
Janelle opened and closed the bathroom door quite loudly, hoping that it would be enough for her grandmother to think that she was really going there, and that she wouldn't suspect what she was really up to. At least not until she would have finished.

Hugging the walls like she had seen people doing it in the movies, she walked on tiptoes and as quietly as she could, stopping and freezing in her spot almost every time she heard her grandma moving around the kitchen. If she was caught, she knew everything would be over, just like she knew just what fate would await her then.

Only a few more steps, she thought as she reached the living room door and pushed it open. Only a few more steps and her daddy would come to her rescue.

Of course she had thought about calling her mother at first, but this type of situation required extreme measures and her daddy was the only one who would be able to help her now. She knew he would. It was his mother she was dealing with after all, and she would listen better to her son than to anyone else. Too bad her grandpa wasn't home yet because he would have known how to handle her and what to do with Grandma Diane, too, and she knew he would have sided with her against the enemy. But since he wasn't, she had no other choice than to resort to plan B.

Reaching the phone, she grabbed it with both hands and as she hit the speed dial button for her father's office, she threw cautious glances over her shoulder just to be sure she wasn't discovered yet. She was so close, now wouldn't be the moment to fail.
As she heard someone picking up at the other end of the line she rushed to ask for her father, not wanting to waste any time or even bothering to greet the person. She didn't like that woman anyway. It was always the same who took the phone and she was just… too weird for her liking.

"M-Max Evans, p-please!" she nearly hissed into the phone, the not so loud whisper barely audible for her father's secretary.

"Hold on a second!" Tess just answered, and quite coldly at that, as she immediately recognized the childish voice of Max's daughter.

"Max… Janelle, line two!" she informed him through the intercom, her tone instantly warmer and a huge smile adorning her pouty lips, even if Max could clearly not see her.

As she saw things there was no doubt in her mind that if it weren't for his daughter Max would have given up on his marriage a long time ago, so it was no wonder she hated that brat. Yet she couldn't afford to be anything but friendly with the little girl, at least in appearance and in front of him. There was really no need to let him know just how much she despised his child, not if she wanted things to really work between them.


"Hey, sweetie! How are you?" Max picked up the phone and immediately greeted, too glad for the short interruption.

Even if it lasted only a few minutes, which was only what he could afford to spend on the phone right now, talking with Janelle would certainly help him feeling a little better. She would be like a breath of fresh air and that was exactly what he needed at that second, after the morning he had had. However the good feeling only lasted until he actually heard her talk.

"Daddy, help!" Janelle all but cried into the phone the instant she herself heard her father.

"Janelle? What? What's happening? Are you alright?" Max blurted out in a single breath, straightening up in his chair as he noted his daughter's almost frightened voice.

Immediately thinking that something had happened to her or to his mother since she was supposed to be with her at his parents’ house at this time, he felt his heart hammering in his chest just at the thought.

"Daddy, you have to help me, please… grandma made me some… yuck… spinach and she want me to eat them aaaaaaall and I can't, daddyyy, please!"

"Oh, god, Jay… is that why you're calling me?… I mean, there's nothing wrong with you, right?" Max had to ask since he had quite a hard time believing that was all it was and that the desperate tone she had used not a minute ago had only been because she didn't want to eat some spinach and not because something serious as a matter of life or death had happened. God, his daughter was such a tragedian sometimes.

If it hadn't been because she had just given him the scare of his life, he would have probably laughed at the situation, but like it was, the only thing he could do was sighing in relief. He didn't know yet who deserved the most to pay for that though, Janelle for reacting so exaggeratingly and scaring him half to death, or his mother for being the main cause of her misplaced panic, when they could have all avoided that if she wasn't so damn stubborn.

"Nooo… but daddy, please… grandma say I have to eat them… I don't wanna to!" Janelle insisted whining, and then started when she heard another noise coming from the kitchen. She stopped talking a moment and held her breath, only to start again even more theatrically once she was sure it was safe. "Daddy, I don’t like spinach… I. DON'T. LIKE. SPINACH…Why is grandma doing dis to me?!WHYYY?"

"C'mon, Janelle, don't you think you're overreacting?… it's not that bad… and besides… I'm sure she only makes you eat them because she wants you to become a big girl!" Max answered, barely stifling his laughter now that he was 100% sure there wasn't any immediate danger or nothing threatening his daughter's life. It surely had looked like that at first though.

"I'm already a big girl!" Janelle contradicted with a pout. Of course she was already a big girl, she was already five, or did her daddy not remember?

"Bigger!" Max just replied and couldn't help but smile at his own daughter's stubbornness.

"Like Tommy Wilkins?" she inquired, a little frown marring her forehead and her eyebrows raising in question. If eating spinach and being bigger meant becoming like that boy, she definitely didn't want either of that. She would rather stay a little small girl for the rest of her life, than looking like him.

"Uh… I don't know… who is Tommy Wilkins?" Max demanded since he had no idea who she was talking about. Of course he assumed he had to be one of her friends or someone she knew from school but he didn't know them all.

"A boy in my class… he's big… no, he's faaaaat… and he's very very bad… and he a'ways say he can do what he want coz he's biggest than aaall of us together!" she elucidated, drawing another smile from Max with her description.

"No, okay not that big!" he chuckled at Janelle's indignation and at the mental picture that entered his mind at the thought of that child. " Just bigger than you are right now." he finished quite lamely since he didn't know what to tell her to convince her.

"Daddy, pwwwease… I don't want to be bigger then… and… and I can't eat them, there is too many! Pleeeease! You have to tell grandma!" Janelle continued to whimper and complain desperately and that was enough to make the tough 28 years old man he thought he was, cave and do anything she wanted.

"Okay, sweetie… call your grandmother and tell her to come to the phone!… I'll talk to you again in a minute, okay?" he finally relented, thinking that it was worth trying at least, though he highly doubted that this wouldn't backfire in his face and that his mother would listen to him anyway.

She hadn't so far, why would this time be any different? But at least Janelle would see that he was willing to try and that was probably the most important to her right now. Probably more than to have to eat those spinach or not, which he was almost sure she would have to do anyway, one way or another.

"Yeah… GRAAAAANNDDMAAAAAA!" the second he agreed to help her out, Janelle screamed at the top of her lungs, much to her father's discomfort who didn't have the reflex to pull the receiver away fast enough.

"Janelle!" Max called her, hoping it would be enough to catch her attention and make her stop before she split anyone else's eardrums.

"Uh?" was the only thing she said as she heard her father's voice again.

"Don't yell!" Max said firmly yet not really angrily. There was no need to upset her more than she already seemed to be and if he yelled at her at this point he could only imagine how she would react.

"Sorry, daddy!" Janelle apologized in a small voice and though Max couldn't see her, he could perfectly picture her nibbling at her bottom lip once more. She always did when she was being scolded and she knew she was at fault.

"Grandma, someone wanna talk to you!" he then heard her say and assumed that his mother had joined her in the living room.

"Who is it?" Diane Evans asked, advancing to her, but she didn't get any answer from Janelle. Instead she stared quite dumbfounded after her granddaughter as she saw her practically make a mad dash to the door as soon as she took the phone from her hands.

"Mom, hi!" Max said into the phone, thinking his mother was talking to him.

"Max? Uh… Hi!" Diane stuttered, surprised to hear her son's voice and all the more since she didn't understand why Janelle hadn't simply told her that her father was on the phone instead of telling her that 'someone' wanted to talk to her.

"Yeah… mom, how are you?" Max asked her understanding almost right away by the way she answered that she had no idea Janelle had called him.

"Fine, you? Did you call, I didn't hear the phone!" she wondered out loud, confirming Max's suspicions. Not that it really mattered, after all his numbers were memorized into the phone and Janelle could use then whenever she wanted, but he just wondered why she hadn't told her grandmother that she wanted to call him.

"I'm fine and no… look… uh, mom what have I already told you about Janelle and the vegetables?" Max said, deciding to go directly to the point. Unfortunately as much as he wanted to talk with his mother and his daughter, today wasn't really the day and he couldn't take his time, even less with all the one he had already lost.

"How did you…?" Diane stammered, not understanding at first what he was talking about or even why he would want to talk about that now, but when suddenly realization dawned on her, her voice raised a notch. "OH!… I can't believe her… Janelle!" she called her granddaughter and turned around just in time to see her escaping from where she had been spying on her from the doorframe.

"Janelle Carla Eliza Evans, come right here this second or… " she continued even louder, nearly piercing Max's eardrum for the second time in a day in the process.

Now at least he remembered where that habit to yell into the phone Janelle had was coming from.

"Mom, don't call her by her full name… it scares her… she's gonna think she did something really wrong, hide and then you won't find her in ages!" he interrupted her mini-rant and advised, knowing by experience that this was definitely not the best way to have Janelle come freely.

Quite the contrary in fact. The last time he had called his daughter by her full name himself, she had run and hidden under the guestroom bed and he had searched for her everywhere unsuccessfully until nearly an hour later, when he was ready to pull out his own hair, Liz had finally come home and Janelle had agreed on getting out from her hidden place, even if she had not come anywhere near him until he had promised her that it was alright and that he was not really upset with her.

"Sorry, but she did something wrong… I can't believe she called you for that!" Diane huffed, still quite dumbfounded to hear that her granddaughter had tricked her and that she could have gone behind her back like this.

She had said that she needed to use the bathroom the instant she had put the plate on the table when in reality she had everything planned. She should have known better. And to say that she was only five. She could only imagine then what she would be able to come up with later when she would be older and she would want to sneak out or whatever. They would have to keep an eye on her, that was for sure.

"Mom, it's no big deal really… but you know she doesn't particularly like eating vegetables! Why do you persist on making her eat them then?" Max demanded as at the same time he read through his next client's file, and briefly wondered why they had to go through this again or why it wasn't already settled when they had discussed the topic at least a thousand times already. His daughter didn't especially like vegetables, was that that hard to get?

"It's good for her, Max, that girl doesn't eat enough, I'm telling you… you and Liz, you should take better care of that and…" Diane started with her usual tirade on the matter, but she was stopped almost right away by Max's pleading voice.

"Please, not again… I already told you, I'm not gonna force anything down her throat if she doesn't want to eat it willingly!… and it's not as if you can't cook anything else for her!" Max complained, barely resisting the urge to bang his head against his desk.

He was really grateful to his parents for taking care of Janelle almost everyday at lunch time, moreover when he knew firsthand what a handful she could be sometimes, at least with them, but god, if he had to hear about that once more he was sure that his head was going to explode.

"But have you seen how little she is… how skinny!" his mother nearly whined into the phone, knowing that her son was probably right but still sure herself that it was worth trying.

"She's not… she's healthy and that's all that matters!… now she eats everything else, so why don't do with that?" Max countered, rubbing his forehead tiredly, even if he still wondered himself why he still bothered explaining the same thing over and over to his more than stubborn mother.

As far as he was concerned there was no reason to worry about Janelle's petite frame because there was nothing wrong with it. She had obviously taken after her mother and from the pictures he remembered having seen of Liz at the same age, there was nothing abnormal with her size or weight, he only had to look at Liz's figure now to have all the confirmation and reassurance he needed.

Oh-kay, he should better not start thinking about that too much though. Right now was definitely not the moment to get lost in memories of her.

But beside that he was right, Janelle was perfectly healthy and ate about everything. The best proof was that she was able to endure his mother's cooking everyday and not complain about anything else beside the vegetables, even when she definitely wasn't the best cook ever if he said so himself. But he guessed he couldn't very well tell her so and take his daughter's side when she was obviously competing to become the next Martha Stewart now, could he?

"Because she needs to have a balanced diet and if you and Liz just told her so instead of letting her do whatever pleases her, we wouldn't be having this conversation, Max… why don't you just tell her to eat them, I'm sure she would do it!… but no, of course you have to tell her it's alright… no wonder she's so picky!" Diane continued like she hadn't heard a word of what Max had been telling her, whether it was a second ago or all the other times they had broached the subject.

"She's not picky, mom!" Max groaned out loud, just as Tess entered his office and made him sign some papers. Smiling awkwardly at her, he dismissed her almost immediately and concentrated again on the phone. "She just doesn't like spinach, green beans and anything that looks alike… what do you want me to do, choke her with them?… besides, there's a lot of thing I don't like either or have ever liked for that matter, and I'm perfectly fine nonetheless! "

"Ask her to eat them…" Diane provided like that was the most natural thing in the world. Something he should have already thought about. "Tell her it's good for her, whatever… you're her father, I'm sure she would listen to you… and… and she's not you, Max, she's just a little girl and she needs to eat a little of everything!" she finished in such a disapproving tone that Max felt he had no other choice but to agree if he wanted this to end.

Pinching the bridge of his nose, he then ran his fingers through his hair, making it stand on end, and finally sighed in defeat.

"Okay, fine, put her on the phone… I'll talk to her again… but if she doesn't want after that, just leave her alone, mom, okay?" he told her and his own tone didn’t brook any argument after that.

Those two were really going to drive him nuts, but in a way he thought that it was better trying to argue with Janelle than with his mother. At least with her there was a chance he could win.

"Sure, but I want you to really try, Max… don't cave at the first pout!" she felt compelled to insist nonetheless. She knew her son all too well and there was no doubt that his daughter had him completely wrapped around her little finger. She always had in fact but it had gotten only worse after her parents' separation. Diane could only guess that Max felt guilty for not being with her more often and therefore he needed to compensate somehow and that was why he let her get away with everything she wanted, did, or said, but as far as she was concerned, it was certainly not the solution. Max needed to be firmer with her otherwise in no time there would be no way to control that child. "Goodbye, Max!"

"Bye, Mom." Max replied, waiting for his daughter to come and take the phone again, but not even sure yet about what he was going to tell her to convince her to eat anything if she had already set her mind and she didn't want to. Besides she had never gone as far as calling him at work for such a thing, so the fact that she had now didn’t really bode well for him, that was for sure.

Ask her to eat them, his mother had said. That didn't seem so hard at first sight, did it?

"Janelle… come here, sweetheart, your father wants to talk to you again!" he heard his mother call his daughter.

Too bad he couldn't see her though, he would have probably laughed at Diane's surprised expression when she saw Janelle's head poking into the living room from where she had obviously been lying on the floor of the hallway and listening to her side of the conversation, a sheepish smile on her face. Propping herself on her elbows and then on her knees she finally sat up and quite reluctantly made her way to the phone.

If Diane had known what was going through her head while she advanced, she would have probably laughed, too. Janelle was already thinking how she would just yell so that her father would hear her if she scolded her, when her grandmother reassure her.

"Come on, honey, it's okay… I'm not angry!" Diane told her gently and even ruffled her hair tenderly once she was near her, before passing her the receiver. But Janelle wasn't stupid, she perfectly knew that she would probably hear something about what she had done later.

"Daddy?"

"Yes… sweetie, look…" Max started softly. "If I asked you something, could you do it for me?"

"What?" Janelle just said almost sure of what her father was going to ask anyway. She had heard almost everything her grandma had said and she knew what it meant.

"Could you just eat, let's say… ten little mouthfuls of those spinach to make me happy and proud of you?" Max demanded tentatively, knowing that if it had to work he needed to tread carefully. The most plausible thing was that if he ordered her to eat them like his mother obviously wanted him to, Janelle would set her face against it and downright refuse to do so.

"Aww, do I have to?" Janelle almost right away protested dramatically and though she obviously already knew that she would have little choice now and it was done weakly, Max could distinctively hear her foot stomping on the floor.

"For me, honey?" Max insisted and he was sure that if anyone had entered his office the moment he had said the words, they would have laughed themselves silly at seeing this old grown man nearly pouting because of his daughter.

"Humph… Five?!" Janelle whined and asked quite hopefully, knowing that now one way or another she would have to comply. Her father had already decided so obviously, but that didn't mean she couldn't at least try to compromise.

"Eight?" Max tried himself, rolling his eyes afterwards when he realized the stupidity of the situation. He couldn't even believe himself that he was here negotiating over what she had to eat or not, with his own daughter. His five years old daughter for heaven's sake. Could you just say all the more pathetic since he was a lawyer!

"Janelle?" he called when after what seemed like a long time to him, she had yet to answer to him.

"Pfff…'kay eight, but only fo' you!" she finally but reluctantly agreed. She was not happy of course, but eight was always better than having to eat the whole plate, wasn't it?

"That's my girl!" Max beamed proudly and happy, knowing that she was only doing so because he had asked her. " Are you going to be okay with Grandma now?" he asked then, just to be sure that there wasn’t anything else.

"I guess!" her heavy and exaggerated sigh carried over the line and Max couldn't help but smile as he perfectly imagined her lifting her eyes heavenwards at the same time.

He was going to talk to her again when she yelled a "Noooo, grandma… daddy say only eight moonful!" to his mother who was obviously in the kitchen again, and this time he couldn't suppress a laugh when he heard her say moonful instead of mouthful. His mother had probably told her to come already and eat them all or something like that, he thought but obviously Janelle wasn't going to eat anything more than what they had agreed on.

"I'm gonna hang up and I see you later then, sweetheart!" he informed her then as he chanced a quick look at his clock and realized how long they had already been on the phone. He should really better hang up if he wanted to finish all he still had to do before his next appointment.

"You already have my movie?" Janelle questioned out of the blue as she suddenly remembered about it. She was sure that the day would pass faster if she knew that she would be able to see 'Finding Nemo' later. She just hoped that her father would find it or had it already.

"Not yet, honey… but I'll go and get it as soon as I can leave here, okay?" Max promised and wrote it in red on the opened agenda he had in front of him, just in case he would forget. With all that was going on in his mind right now, it wouldn't even surprise him.

"Okay… later, daddy!" his daughter just said, ready to hang up and go and eat those 'deliiicious' spinach. She should be careful though, one of these days her eyes would probably freeze in the back of their sockets if she kept rolling them like she did. At least that was what her grandpa told her every time she did it.

"Later, baby!" Max answered back and smiled, even if Janelle couldn't see him.

Just as he was going to replace the receiver back on its cradle though, he heard her calling him again.

"Daddy?"

"Yes, Jay?"

"Love you!" Janelle told him simply and Max felt his heart skipping a beat at the tender words.

"I love you, too, honey!" he breathed emotionally into the phone and was still smiling when he finally heard the tonality at the other end of the line.

At least someone still loved him, he thought. He just hoped that her feelings wouldn't ever change if the situation with her mother degenerated even more instead of getting better.
End of chapter four
TBC… … and the angst comes back :sad:
Last edited by RebeccaBehrEvans on Fri Jan 04, 2008 6:19 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Joined: Mon Dec 30, 2002 3:17 pm
Location: Like Heidi... in the green, but freaking cold mountain!!

Post by RebeccaBehrEvans » Sat Jun 12, 2004 7:58 am

Author: RebeccaBehrEvans

Title: Before it's too late.

Disclaimer: Roswell is mine. Jason Behr is mine. Roswell is mine. Jason Behr is mine. :twisted: Nope, even auto-persuasion doesn't seem to work, so I guess we all know what that means. :sad: (next time I'll try hypnosis and maybe then I'll succeed in convincing at least myself, lol. )

AN: Hey, everyone :P
Hope you're all okay… I'm sorry I postponed this for so long but I couldn't finish this chapter… it's actually still not completely done :roll: but since it was getting too long anyway and I don't know when I'll be able to post again otherwise (my computer hates me and is really trying to drive me crazy, I'm sure of that now :roll: ) I decided to go ahead and give you a little something nonetheless, hoping it would help you being a little more patient still, until the rest is out :? ... Sorry if it's short though :sad:

I can't thank you all individually and comment on your fb like I usually do, coz I'm not sure I'll be able to post otherwise :roll: … but nonetheless, Strawberry88, begonia9508, lovalien, Frenchkiss70, flohmac (so totally love your new avy :wink: ), Milla, Lyscat, Gigo, stargrl678, roswellluver, Smac, Behrsgirl77, SweetyTeeny, Sali103, I am a Dreamer, Dreamer_Dreaming, Pookie76, MLover25, Cocopucks (:wink: ), Gaby7tvm, Alana, Kay_b, thank U so very much for your feedbacks, bumps, Pm and everything… you guys keep me going :P
Marteloise, I just want everyone to know just what a fantastic and special person you are… yep guys, this girl has spent her last two Friday nights trying to help me fix my damn computer, without complaining once, even when trying to do so prevents her from going to sleep even when she has to wake up early and go to work the morning after… I can't thank you enough for all that, and those long hours of talk when you try to stop me from throwing my comp. to the nearest trash can, and everything away :lol: or simply going crazy… I think if you guys like this story, you owe her big time because without her I would have not only lost all the rest of this story, but the patience to continue as well… so a big, big thank U to you, even if that still doesn't cover just how much I owe you… Love you girl… and I talk to you tonight :lol: … well, if you don't hate me already :lol: :lol:
And to all the French Roswellians, I miss you girls, I just can't post like I'd want to :roll: ... but I see you lol, and you don't have to worry, I'm alright (I'm telling this for you Tiph, :lol: Love you girl :wink: )

Well, here goes :wink:
Chapter five.a
After having spent probably a good hour crying her eyes out into her mother's attentive ear, Liz had had no other choice but to pull herself together if she didn't want to drown completely in her own sorrow.

She had always known that it would hurt her tremendously the day she would have to face reality and let go of Max finally, but she had still hoped, naively probably, that it would hurt less if she was the one to take the decision and didn’t have to hear the words coming out of his mouth. Only now did she realize just how much she had been deluding herself all of this time.

It certainly didn't change a thing or else if it did, she didn't even want to start imagining what she would have felt if it had been the other way around. If now she was barely able to breathe and still feel anything, then the pain would have probably consumed her and killed her on the spot the instant Max would have spoken the words.

There were simply no words to describe what she was feeling right that instant, but honestly she didn't think it was possible to hurt so much and still be alive. Yet she apparently was the living proof that you could have had your heart ripped out of your chest, felt it stop beating altogether and still be standing nonetheless.

What didn't kill you made you stronger, they said. In that case, she had to be the strongest woman walking the world because she surely felt dead inside.

After having hung up with her mother, she had tried to motivate herself enough to find some strength inside of her and prepare herself for the day that awaited her. However after a few minutes just struggling to get up from that spot on the floor she had found herself for the last hour, and one look at her tear-streaked face and bloodshot eyes in the mirror once she had managed to pull herself up, had been enough for her to understand that not even a miracle would do anything for her at that point.

Reluctantly she had made her way back to the phone and almost on autopilot she had called Jim Valence, the principal of the school she worked in and what she could call a good friend, too, to inform him that she had woken up feeling really sick this morning and that she wouldn't be able to make it today. Of course since it had happened only maybe once or twice in the few years she had been working for him, he hadn't really minded and had just made her promise to take good care of her, before asking she made sure to get back to him if she wasn't feeling better by next week so he would have time to plan something for her students.

She had dutifully promised him anything he wanted of course, but she had perfectly known that it was all a lie and that it would certainly be easier said than done since there was no miracle cure or medicine for what she was suffering from. But she had done so nonetheless, if only to be able to hang up the fastest possible.

After that she had spent part of the rest of the morning cleaning, scrubbing, scouring everything she could in the house like a freaking maniac, before she realized herself what she was doing, how she was acting, and she couldn't bolt out of there fast enough.

She had changed quickly then from her leggings and tight top to more conventional clothes -not that Max had noticed she had been purposely wearing his favorite colors, or even that she had let her hair loose like she knew he liked it anyway- and in no time she was in her car wandering aimlessly around Los Angeles, before eventually ending at Venice Beach.

She couldn't even tell herself how long she had been walking by the shore, shoes in hands, only enjoying the feel of the water lapping at her toes while a million thoughts ran through her mind, but there was no saying just how much the fresh air of the sea had helped her calm her nerves some down. There weren't too many people, which wasn't that surprising considering it was a work day and so mostly there were only tourists or students who were already on break for the weekend and were obviously there to enjoy the sun and maybe a nice swim, but she couldn't say that she wasn't grateful for that fact either. She didn't think she would have borne to feel crowded right at that moment.

It was kind of funny though to think that of all the places she could have gone to, she had to choose this beach. Yet she guessed that to some extent it wasn't that surprising considering what it represented to her. This place held so many special memories, it was probably normal that her subconscious had led her there then.

She clearly remembered all the times she had come here with Max. How many times they had walked, sometimes for hours on end, just the two of them, hands in hands and without a care in the world. Contented just because they were together.

She remembered when she was pregnant with Janelle and wanting to learn about the sex of their baby. Max had had an important exam that day and hadn't been able to come to the already planned appointment with her, but since he had known how much she wanted to know herself and doubted she would be able to wait another month, he had told her to go ahead and ask but on the condition she let him know as soon as he would get out of school. They had decided to meet here afterwards so, and here was where she had told him that they would be having a baby girl.

Max had been over the moon with the news and after kissing her senseless, hugging her and telling her just how much he loved her, he had started running all over the beach, shouting at the top of his lungs and to anyone who wanted to hear it, that he was going to be the daddy of the most beautiful girl of the whole universe, and that just before he took a dive into the ocean, clothes, shoes and all on. In the end the sea salt had ruined one of his favorite shirts, but that day nothing could have wiped the smile off his face. Nor hers.

She also remembered like it was yesterday how they had made love once over there, by the cove on a hot night of summer when they were still so young and thought they had a lifetime together ahead of them. They had nearly gotten caught that night but they had been too much in love and too happy to care. She had been really happy then. But now she didn't even know what being happy meant, or if she would ever feel that way again.

Yeah, she had a lot of good memories here, so it seemed only fitting that when her life finally fell completely apart, she would find herself here, desperately clinging to them, even if ultimately it probably only hurt her more to remember what they had and what she had lost since then.

It seemed hard to believe just how much one's life could change in just a matter of months, but hers had definitely taken a final drastic turn today. Nothing would ever be the same after this day, she was well aware of that. But if she had known this morning that this was where she would find herself, heartbroken and with all her hopes shattered, she would have certainly refused to wake up and found a way instead to remain in the dream world where she could feel Max's warmth and protective arms enveloping her.

At least in her dreams Max was loving, caring and everything was perfect between them. Perfect like it had been before everything started to fall to pieces, or before they started hiding things and lying to each other.

She knew she had done her share of that, too, but knowing she could be partially responsible didn't help to forget or lessen the blow of his betrayal. It was too hard for her to tell herself that this was the end. That she would be alone now, while he would be living the perfect life with his new love.

It was even harder to look back in time and try to cling to her last memory of them together and realize once more that it had been a lie, too, another one of her delusions. That night she had been awoken by his tender caresses, she had really thought it would be a new beginning for them. That that was the sign she had been so desperately waiting for. She had believed that everything would be all right again, that everything could be all right, if they were both willing to work on it. She had wanted that more than anything else in the world. And that night she had started to hope again, hope that their love would be stronger than anything else and that somehow they would find their way back to each other.

She had hoped that together they could heal each other, and for a short moment, while she was in his arms, while he was inside her, he had filled that void she had felt for the last month and she had truly believed they would make it. She had thought that they would not only overcome their problems but that once he would know, once she would have told him what she had been hiding herself for the last month and what had made her change so much herself, she would finally be able to really let go of the pain and be the wife he needed her to be again. With his help. Just like she would help him in return when he would finally realize himself just how much he had already lost. She would no longer be the only one to grieve for what was not anymore, he would share her loss and together they would surmount it, surmount anything that life threw their way. Surmount what she couldn't alone. Yes, together. Because when they were together, they were invincible. And as long as they loved each other, she believed they could do anything.

But Max hadn't loved her then. Not emotionally and certainly not physically. He had fucked her, that was all it had been.

His dear Tess wasn't there, maybe they had had a fight or maybe she was having her period or whatever the hell her problem had been, and so he had turned to her instead to satisfy his needs. She had been the rebound choice, second best and so he had fucked her, taking her forcefully like he would have taken any girl for whom he wouldn't have felt a thing.

God, everything had been so much clearer after that, at least once she had known about his mistress, because though Max could be pretty wild in their lovemaking, even if she hadn't realized it at that precise moment, that day it had been something completely different and she should have really known better.

She hadn't understood his fierceness then or why he had seemed to be angry, and she had honestly quickly dismissed the thought at the moment, thinking that she was just imagining it, but with time she had finally figured out the reasons behind his behavior. She had understood why he seemed to be unable to look at her. Why he hadn't kissed her. Or why he had not been able to tell her he loved her. All those little things that had seemed insignificant on the spur of the moment, but that had made so much sense once she had taken the time to think about them.

She wasn't the one anymore. Plain and simple, that was why. She wasn't who he really wanted either and he was probably disgusted with himself for being so weak and betraying the one he really loved now. The gentleness of his touch, the tenderness of his words, the looks of love were now saved for another woman, and the realization hurt more than anything else could have ever hurt. And had she known that then, she could honestly say that she would have never let him touch her, because she would have preferred not having him at all, not feeling him this close to her again, not hoping so much again, rather than succumbing to him, letting herself feel again and understanding afterwards just how little that night had meant to him, when it had meant the world to her.

Yet once more it was too late to change anything about that or wish she could have done things differently. She would never be able to go back in time for that and that was why she needed to stop living in the past. What was done, was done and all she could do now was to try to forget about it altogether. Surely easier said than done of course, but it was that or simply going crazy and letting herself fall completely apart, and she really couldn't afford that.


The sudden happy cries of children playfully chasing each other and passing her by, pulled her out of her thoughts and as she finally checked the time, she realized that she had been there for so long already that it was almost time for her to go and get Janelle. It really was hours already, but it had definitely not felt like it.

As she thought about it, she also realized that with all that she hadn't even eaten, but it wasn't as if she had much of an appetite lately or if she truly believed she would have been able to keep anything in her churning stomach anyway. She rarely did most of the time now, and even if it wasn't very apparent yet, she knew she had already lost some weight, which of course couldn't be good for her either. But what was she supposed to do against that, huh? Even her body seemed to rebel against the situation.

Eventually deciding that if she didn't want to be late or be caught into the traffic she should better go, she put her shoes on again and made her way back to her car.

Almost as soon as she was in and she started to pull off her parking place, she switched the radio on like she always did. However this time she cursed the second music drifted inside the car and she wished she hadn't, even if she couldn't bring herself to turn it off now.

Wasn't it kind of funny, or ironic in a weird kind of way that every time you were really depressed and didn't think you could take much more, there was always this song on the radio that made you feel even worse if that were possible. That song that seemed to talk to you, to reflect so perfectly your state of mind, almost like the person who had written it knew perfectly what you were going through or what you were feeling. Like maybe they had been there, too, and could share your feelings and your pain. Yet even knowing that someone else could have been where she was now and could understand her, right now it didn't help any. Quite the contrary in fact, because she couldn't help but think, if they needed a song to exorcize their grief, what would she need?

Love was always supposed to be
Something wonderful to me
To watch it grow inside yourself
To feel your heart beside itself


Love.

She would have laughed, if she didn't feel so much like crying first at that moment. If asked later, she would probably say that this was the exact moment when she realized that that word didn't mean a thing for her anymore.

Today Liz Evans had finally given up on love. She had stopped believing true love could not only exist, but last. Because if what she thought she and Max had had couldn't survive the years and could be so easily destroyed and cast away, then it couldn't be real. Not when she had given herself to him completely, heart, mind, body and soul and yet in the end it had all been for nothing. It hadn't been enough. Nothing had, no matter how much she had tried or how much she had wished it could.

Sometimes it hurts to love so bad
When you know you’ve given all you can
Sometimes it hurts to even laugh
You do your best but still it’s much too sad
Sometimes the pain is just too much, oh, oh
And it hurts like hell’ that’s the way it feels


She had learnt the hard way just how much it could hurt to love so unconditionally, so wholeheartedly, moreover when the feeling was not returned. She had felt the pain so deep in her heart sometimes, she could have sworn she could feel it, hear it being shred to pieces. But it didn't even compare with what she was feeling right now and she really didn't know how she would be able to go on after this.

God, how did you even go back once you had gotten so far? It seemed impossible to her to go back to normal. Not if being, feeling normal meant being without Max. Living without him. Without his love.

True love’ it has no hiding place
It’s not something you just put away
It’s always there inside of you
Oh’ and it shows in everything you do


Sometimes when it was too much, she almost wished she could just forget she had ever loved Max Evans, even known him, but god, how was she supposed to do that when he was such a part of her? He owned her heart, her very soul. From as far as she remembered, it had always been him. There hadn't been anyone else for her. No one serious at least. And she just knew that no matter how much time would pass, she would never, ever be able to love any other man the way she had loved him either. Not even after this. Not even knowing he hadn't had any problem doing so himself, or forgetting about all they had shared, all the promises they had made to each other.

Sometimes it hurts to love so bad
When you know you’ve given it your best
Sometimes it hurts to even laugh
You feel a thousand miles from happiness
Sometimes the pain is just too much, oh, oh, oh,
And it hurts like hell’ that’s the way it feels


She knew she shouldn't think like that because a lot of good things had come out from loving Max. Janelle for one. And if only for her she would never regret having loved Max, but really like hell was still a mild way to say just how much she was hurting now that she knew she had to let go.

Yet, the fairy tale she had thought she would be living in for the rest of her life had apparently simply come to an end, and she would have to do with that and accept that the only thing that would be left of it, was the beautiful little princess they had made together.

Oh, oh’ oh, oh
Here we are’ the two of us
So full of love’ so little trust
But dying for some tenderness
Ohh’ but too afraid to take the step


Trust.

Such a simple notion. So easy to give sometimes. But just as easy to shatter, too.

Maybe if they had trusted each other more, this wouldn't have happened. Maybe if she had told him the truth from the beginning instead of distancing herself from him because she was too afraid to talk to him, afraid of his reaction, they wouldn't be where they were now. She didn't know exactly when he had started his affair with Tess, but maybe if he had known then, it would have been enough for him to put an end to it and come back to her while it was still time. She guessed she would never have the answer now and it was already too late to undo what had been done then, but sometimes she really wished she had been stronger and acted differently.

Sometimes it hurts to love so bad
When you know what it can put you through
Sometimes it hurts to even laugh
There’s nothing funny if it’s killing you
Sometimes the pain is just too much
And it hurts like hell’ that’s the way it feels

I know if there is any chance
For us to find our happiness
We’ve got to learn to let it go
Ohh’ forget all the pain we knew


Now at this point unless some miracle happened, she didn't think it would ever be possible for them to go back and find again what they had once had, even if there was no saying just how much she hoped they could. And that meant that one way or another, she would have to start learning to live without Max, no matter how much it hurt to even think about it, because so far that was clearly not what she had been doing.

As crazy as it seemed or clearly was, she had still hoped too much for a better ending to be able to. But now even if it killed her to do so, she didn't have any choice left, not if she wanted to survive.

She couldn't help but wonder though if one day she would stop feeling the pain every time she would think of him, of them, or if she would just stop feeling so empty inside.

Sometimes it hurts to love so bad
Sometimes it hurts so bad’ baby
Sometimes it hurts to even laugh
Sometimes it hurts to even laugh oh’
And it hurts like hell’ that’s the way
Oh, baby’ that’s the way it feels
Yeah’ yeah’ oh’ yeah


[It hurts Like Hell© Aretha Franklin.]

End of chapter 5.a
TBC… hopefully before the end of this weekend… if I can finish the second part of this chapter and my comp. lets me post :roll:
Last edited by RebeccaBehrEvans on Fri Jan 04, 2008 6:25 am, edited 4 times in total.
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RebeccaBehrEvans
Addicted Roswellian
Posts: 223
Joined: Mon Dec 30, 2002 3:17 pm
Location: Like Heidi... in the green, but freaking cold mountain!!

Post by RebeccaBehrEvans » Wed Jun 16, 2004 7:49 pm

Author: RebeccaBehrEvans

Title: Before it's too late.

Disclaimer: Roswell is mine. Jason Behr is mine. Roswell is mine. Jason Behr is mine. :twisted: Nope, even auto-persuasion doesn't seem to work, so I guess we all know what that means. :sad: (next time I'll try hypnosis and maybe then I'll succeed in convincing at least myself, lol. )

AN: Okay so I thought that I wouldn't manage to check the part one last time before going to bed, but I somehow did it nonetheless, so here it is already already... hope you don't mind :wink:

Posted in two due to length.

Chapter five.b

She parked the car as close to the school as she could, which wasn't an easy task due to the fact that despite all her efforts, she had arrived way after other parents, and almost immediately looked at her reflection in the rearview mirror. Nearly groaning when she saw her tear-streaked face again, she quickly wiped away the remnants of her tears and sighed heavily. No matter how much she hadn't wanted to break down or how much she hated herself for being so weak, she hadn't been able to stop them from coming, but now she couldn't and wouldn't let anyone else see her this way.

Most of all she didn't want Janelle to see her in such a state, knowing that she would probably worry if she did. It was bad enough that she had seen her cry this morning, even if Liz believed she had somehow managed to keep up appearances, she couldn't let her question her once more though, she thought, and so only once she was completely satisfied with the way she looked, did she exit the car.

She walked along with a few other parents who apparently had had the same problem she had, greeting those she knew and smiling politely at those she didn't, but when they arrived in front of the school and she saw that some of her daughter's classmates were already out, she quickened her pace, not wanting her to think she had forgotten about her or she wasn't already there, waiting for her.

She spotted Janelle almost as soon as she passed the school doors and smiled as best as she could for her sake, but the smile progressively turned into a frown the closer she got.

"Hey… what happened to you, sweetie?" Liz inquired the second Janelle joined her and she squatted down to her level to greet her with a kiss.

Janelle immediately shrugged like it was no big deal but Liz hadn't missed how she seemed to limp even if slightly as she was approaching her and she was determined to know why. And so it was no wonder that only one look from her was enough for Janelle to know her mother wouldn't let it pass, even if she hadn't wanted to talk about it at first.

"Tommy Wilkins pushed me and I falled!" Janelle sighed at last and replied before lifting her dress a few inches so her mother could see the little band-aid she had on her left knee now after her visit to the school nurse.

"What? What happened? Why did that… why did he push you, Jay?" Liz demanded, barely catching herself before she could insult the child.

She knew it was not an uncommon thing for children to play and get a little carried away but it wouldn't be the first time she heard about that little boy's reputation or how he all but terrorized almost all the other kids, and now hearing that he had set about her own daughter instantly made her see red.

" 'Cause I told him he must stop eat so many spinach 'cause that's why he was so fat!" Janelle revealed like it was the most natural or logical thing in the world. And to her it was, only Big Tommy hadn't seemed to share her view, even if she was only trying to help him out.

"Umm… uh, okay… but why would you tell him such a thing, honey?" Liz questioned a little puzzled but some of her anger deflating as she heard her daughter's answer.

Though it absolutely didn't justify his action in her eyes, if Janelle had told him he was fat, it was little wonder the kid had not appreciated.

" 'Cause daddy say spinach can make me get bigger… and Tommy is really too big so I thought he could know and maybe then he wouldn't get so big no more." Janelle shrugged once more as Liz straightened up and after having taken her hand in hers, they started to make their way to the car.

"Your daddy said that?" Liz inquired, quite surprised by what Janelle was telling her or by the fact that Max, even involuntarily, had had a part in this, and as she saw her nod her head, she couldn't help but ask her when.

She guessed that it had been today, otherwise Janelle would have probably told Tommy already and this would have happened sooner, but she didn't quite know how she should feel knowing that Max might have been able to carry casual conversation with his daughter when she had been crying her heart out almost all day and was still barely able to hold it together right now.

She knew it was unfair to think that way, after all she pretended to be alright in front of Janelle, too, if only for her sake, so she shouldn't feel hurt or angry to know that Max could do so as well, if that was what it was, but there was still a small part of her that thought that if he managed that, it was only because he just didn't care. About what had happened, or about her.

"At lunch." Janelle answered casually, not understanding why it seemed to matter so much to her mother. She had thought she would be more concerned about the fact that she had soiled and slightly torn her dress than by what her daddy had told her or when.

"You saw daddy at lunch today?" Liz continued with her questioning, wondering if Max had gone to have lunch at his parents', too, and that was when they had had that conversation. But knowing him it seemed very unlikely since he spent most of his lunch time in his office, barely eating anything in fact. Unless of course what she had told him this morning had affected him and he had wanted to make up for the time he hadn't spent with Janelle before school.

"Uh-huh… I haft to call him because grandma wanted me to eat too many spinach and I didn't want to… but daddy helped me and say it was okay to eat only eight moonful and grandma couldn't say nothing then!" Janelle related her story to Liz who, just like Max had a few hours ago, couldn't help but smile, too, when she heard her say 'moonful'.

"I think you wanted to say mouthful, didn't you?" Liz corrected and almost laughed when she saw Janelle scrunch up her nose before answering.

"That's what I said!" she stated stubbornly, rolling her eyes and looking at her mother like she had lost her mind or she thought she had some hearing problems.

"Okay… so is that the only reason why Tommy pushed you?" Liz asked, thinking that sometimes her daughter was just too smart for her own good.

"Not really!" Janelle answered vaguely, only succeeding in piquing Liz's interest even more.

"What do you mean by not really, honey?" Liz inquired and as they finally reached the car, she scooped Janelle up into her arms and lowered her to the hood much like Max had done in the morning. "Let me take a look!" she then asked as she proceeded to lift up her dress a little and carefully take off the band-aid to check her injury.

As far as she could see, it was nothing bad, the cut she had now was pretty small, but the area around it seemed to have already started to bruise slightly.

"It's 'kay, mommy… it don't hurt no more now!" Janelle was quick to dismiss her mother's concern, even if that wasn't the complete truth, and then she tried to explain what had happened. "Tommy said I was a stupid girl and I have cooties… and I said he was more stupid cause he don't even know that daddys don’t give mommys the babies… and he got really mad!"

"And how would you know that?" Liz demanded, clearly shocked that her daughter could have said that with such assurance, and therefore suddenly more interested by what Janelle had to say than by her knee or why Tommy had indeed really pushed her.

" I know 'cause daddy said he haven't give me to you!" she retorted confidently before asking nonetheless. "He haven't, right?"

"Uh… what exactly did your father tell you, sweetheart?" Liz preferred to answer her with a question of her own, and a good one if you asked her.

She was not sure of what she could tell her anyway, and she couldn't quite believe that Max could have had 'the' talk with Janelle already, but obviously he had to have said something. Yet whatever that could be, wasn't she a little too young for that? she thought as she tried to imagine what could have prompted that conversation.

"That he haven't give me to you… but that you maked me together 'cause you love 'ch other so, so, so muuuch… " Janelle repeated in substance what her father had told her, only adding gesture to the words and opening her arms as wide as she could to represent her parents' love. Then with a very proud smile and a nod that seemed to say 'and now get this', she added: "… and I'm a blessing!"

"You are, huh?" was all Liz could manage to get out past the huge lump of emotion that clogged her throat the instant she heard Janelle.

It wasn't so much the words she said that affected her so greatly, because there was no denying that when they had conceived her, they had been very much in love, but more the fact that Max could have admitted it, or the way she was saying it herself, too. Like it was something very special, even still now, even when Liz well knew that that was only in the past.

"That's what daddy call me!" Janelle answered, not departing herself of her smile. "Am I a blessing, mommy?" she asked afterwards nevertheless as she started playing with a few strands of her mother's hair.

She wasn't sure what being a blessing meant, but considering the way her father had said it, she was pretty sure it was something good. Besides that, she really liked that word so it could only be cool to be a blessing, right?

"Sure you are, sweetie… you're the most beautiful thing that could have happened to me!" Liz whispered emotionally, doing her best to not cry in front of Janelle, which was really not easy at that moment.

She was sure that she wouldn't need much more before she wouldn't be able to hold back her tears any longer. And so she did the only thing she could do. She tried to concentrate on something else than Janelle telling her that Max had once really loved her.

"Are you sure it doesn't hurt anymore?" she couldn't help but ask as she finally replaced the band-aid on her daughter's knee and saw her slightly wince despite her earlier assurance that it was okay.

"Yeah!" Janelle whispered, making a face nonetheless. "It's gonna be better when daddy kiss the pain away!" she then added so her mother wouldn't worry about her.

"Oh… because I can't do that, huh?" Liz teased, raising an eyebrow in amusement.

It was through times like this that she found herself wondering if she shouldn't feel jealous of Janelle and Max's closeness, of the extents of Janelle's so obvious affection and love for him, which were clearly and just as much reciprocated, or even just of their so evident complicity, but deep down she knew she was just being ridiculous. Janelle probably loved them both just as much. She was just more open with her feelings for Max, that was all, or at least she was in front of her. Maybe then on the other hand when she was with Max, she couldn't help but talk about her, or ask for her, she reasoned.

"Janelle?" Liz called out after a second when she saw her lowering her head instead of answering her. Not that her question really called for an answer, but she hadn't expected her to react that way. And of course her concern only grew when the next second she noticed her biting her bottom lip, the sure evidence of how nervous she had suddenly grown.

"It's not that…" Janelle started hesitantly, before finally admitting the reason why she would rather have her father take care of that. "I just don't want you to be in pain no more."

Her father had explained her once that if he could kiss her booboos away it was because he was stronger, and therefore he could take the pain for her so that she wouldn't have to feel it herself. She also knew that her mother could do that, too, like all mothers could according to what her father had also said, but she didn't want to impose more on her. Not when she knew that she wasn't alright. Her mother didn't need to have another booboo because of her, because even if she couldn't see hers, she knew that to cry so much like she knew she did, she had to have a lot of them already.

Besides, her father had made her promise once that she would only ask her mother to take her pain away if he wasn't there to do so himself. Now even if he wasn't there right now, she knew she would see him soon, and so there was no real reason to break that promise this time. Therefore, though it still hurt a little and her knee felt sore, she would endure the pain until her father would get rid of it for her. And since she was a big girl now, she could even do that without complaining, couldn't she?

"Uh… Janelle? … why… why do think I'm in pain?" Liz stumbled over her words, clearly not having seen this one coming.

Actually that was probably the last thing she expected Janelle to tell her. She had thought it was just a matter of Max having proclaimed himself the expert in kissing her booboos away, but now she clearly realized that it was more than that. Which tended to prove just how bad she was at masking her feelings in front of her daughter after all.

" 'Cause you cry a lot… and you're a'ways sad!" Janelle provided much to Liz's surprise, and then, before she could even deny the truthfulness of her words, she did something that nearly broke her heart.

Liz felt her cupping her face tenderly and as best as she could with her tiny hands, like she had seen Max do to her on so numerous times when he wanted to tell Janelle something important, and she gulped when she looked at her seriously and whispered fiercely.

"But you don't have to be sad, mommy, coz I love you… and daddy love you, too."

"He does?" Liz breathed out achingly, barely able to contain the tears that brimmed her eyes at this point.

She knew that breaking down and crying once more was certainly the last thing she should do, moreover considering what Janelle had told her not a minute ago, but her daughter's innocent words were just too much for her to take. Of course Janelle certainly didn't understand what she was doing or what those few words could mean to her, and she was probably only assuming things or telling her what she believed was still true since in her mind Max had to love her, but she couldn't not be affected by them for all that, even if she only realized afterwards the ridiculousness of her question. Like Janelle could really answer to that, or could understand why that had been the first thing she could think about or say upon hearing her words.

But obviously she could answer, despite everything Liz thought.

"Yah… very, very much… he love us both… and we mean everything to him!" Janelle was quick to reassure her, even if she didn't realize that by including herself this time, she only made Liz want to know even more suddenly.

Clearly her 'we mean everything to him ' couldn't be something she had made up alone or the conclusion she had come to on her own, which could only mean that Max had told her something. And Liz was determined to know what it was.

"He told you so?" she asked before she could stop herself or wonder if she really wanted to know. Or even how she would react if she told her no.

But Janelle quickly put a stop to that thought when her nod confirmed that those had apparently been Max's words.

"When? … I mean… when did he tell you so, Jay?" she went on, needing to know now if it had been recently or a long time ago.

Had Janelle been older, she would have probably wondered what could her parents' problem be, or why they seemed to ask her the same questions and want to know exactly the same things, since even if she didn't know it, Liz had used the exact same words Max had when they had been almost exactly in the same place in the morning, but since she didn't really understand those adults' things, she gave Liz the answer she wanted without a second thought.

"This morning!" she just told her, which was more than what Max had received since when he had questioned her, she couldn't remember when her conversation with her mother had taken place.

"Really?… what did he exactly say, honey?… do you remember?" Liz continued carefully, even if she felt bad for pumping information like this from her own daughter, but knowing Max had talked to her, and that only maybe a few minutes after their fight, she couldn't help herself. Knowing that, even after what had transpired between them, made her feel things she wasn't able to control.

Against her better judgment hope flared in her heart a brief moment, but she all too soon tempered the feeling as the rational part of her brain made her acknowledge the fact that even in the case Max didn't feel an ounce of love toward her anymore, he would certainly never say so in front of his daughter. Therefore she shouldn't let herself see too much in the fact that he could have said that he loved them both.

In a way, if she let herself look at the situation objectively, she guessed that it wasn't so surprising. Since she was the mother of his only child -for now at least- she would certainly always hold a special place in his heart and mean something to him, no matter what their relationship could become. And he would probably always love her, too, then, but not in the way she wanted, needed him to. Not like a husband loved his wife. Nor a man his supposed soul mate.

"Hmm… that he love me so, so much, no matter what happen… and I have to never forget that… and that he love you, too… and that's not a problem… and he's working on it!" she replied, trying to remember as much details as she could, or at least what she thought had been important, but she mixed things up a little nonetheless.

Liz tried to process what she was hearing but what Janelle was saying wasn't very clear to her. So okay, apparently Max had clearly told her that he loved her, but she couldn't even relish the knowledge because she just couldn't understand what she meant by 'it was not a problem'. It was not a problem for what? Or for whom? For him? It didn't make any sense to her.

Yet even if that was clearly confusing, what marked her the most at that moment wasn't so much that, but more the last piece of her sentence.

Words spoken a long time ago came back to her mind almost as soon as she heard it and she cringed inwardly when she was forced to remember them. Last time she had been told Max was working on anything, it had certainly not been on her, on her feelings or on a way to save their marriage. That was actually the day she had realized how little it really meant to him.

"Mommy?" Janelle pulled her out of her thoughts as she called her, which was certainly a very good thing considering where they were taking her, and Liz looked down to see her staring right back at her, the question evident in her eyes.

"Yes, sweetheart?"

"Would a baby make you more happy?" Janelle asked innocently, not realizing that that was certainly the last thing in the world Liz needed to hear or think about at that moment. Not with how emotionally weak she was feeling already.

Liz sucked in a breath and the next second her heart tightened so painfully in her chest, she thought she would expel her last breath anytime soon, but somehow she still managed to stutter.

"Why… why would you ask me that, Janelle?" her voice cracked as she forced the words out, and she prayed with all her might that Janelle wouldn't notice.

A baby. Thinking about it was bad, but hearing the sweet word tore her heart to pieces.

Dear God, was she being punished for something? Hadn't she suffered enough already? Would she only be able to live through this day? she couldn't help but wonder, the questions rushing through her mind as her nightmare continued.

"I don't know… 'cause daddy say babies make the parents very happy, and I want you to be happy again!"

"Did you talk about this with your father?" Liz blurted the question out and held her breath afterwards as she waited for the answer.

"I told daddy that he could give you another baby to make you happy…" Janelle chewed on her lip and answered hesitantly, her mother's expression making her wonder if she had maybe done something wrong. Daddy hadn't seemed to be very pleased with her suggestion either, so maybe that wasn't something a little girl should ask her parents, even if she couldn't understand what the problem could be.

"And what did he say?" Liz inquired, her voice trembling anew no matter how hard she tried to be strong. At this point, whatever got out of her daughter's lips could perfectly destroy her, but nothing could have stopped her from asking.

"Uh… I don't really 'member!" Janelle lied, thinking that maybe she shouldn't talk about this anymore. The last thing she had wanted to do was to upset her mother, and yet it seemed that she had done just that.

"Did… did he say he wanted another baby?" Liz insisted, not realizing that Janelle was simply reluctant to reveal more because she feared her reaction.

And she had all the reasons to, even if she didn't know it.

For months Liz had been waiting to hear about that probably as much as she had waited to hear him say that he wanted them to divorce, yet it had never come. However now, hearing Janelle speaking about what Max could have told her, she couldn't help but wonder if this was it. What if Max, after finally having made her ask for that official separation, was already preparing Janelle for what would come?

What if it was even already too late and Tess was already pregnant?

Oh, dear Lord.

Closing her eyes a brief moment, she wished the pain that sliced her heart at the thought to go away, but her prayers went on deaf ears. Even after having tried to prepare herself to this possibility for months, it hurt so much she couldn't breathe. She felt her throat work spasmodically and her lungs suddenly burned with the imposed lack of air.

God, she would just die if Tess Harding took from her the only thing that she hadn't managed to take, yet. Yes, she would just collapse and die, if she was deprived, too, of the last thing that until now made her still be somehow different, special in Max's eyes.

What would she have left if Tess was able to give Max that, too?

Nothing.

No, nothing but her eyes to cry.

"No… only that I maked him very happy when I born… and you, too!" Janelle replied, knowing instinctively that it would be okay to admit that. After all it was only the truth, she already knew that, so it couldn't hurt.

Even in her state, for a split second Liz believed that Janelle was telling her that she made Max happy, but reason took over once more and as she tried to really concentrate on what she was saying and not what she wanted to hear, she realized that she meant that Janelle made her happy, too.

God, her brain was surely screwed and big time if she could still manage to think that she could have made Max really happy. If he had been, he wouldn't have turned to anyone else. He wouldn't have destroyed their love for the love of another woman.

How stupid could she really be?

"You did, sweetie!" Liz tried to pull herself together and after an immense effort, she managed to smile down at her daughter.

And as Janelle smiled back at her, she realized that Tess Harding had already destroyed almost everything in her life so far, everything that was really important to her, but she would never be able to take this from her, no matter how hard she could try.

Janelle was her and Max's daughter, the living proof of how pure their love had once been, his first born, and no one would ever be able to replace her in his heart, even if he could forget he had loved her, her mother.

Most importantly Janelle would always be with her, would always love her, and she would be what would keep her alive and going, no matter what ordeal or tragedy she would have to face.

As she looked up to her mother and felt her caressing her cheeks affectionately, Janelle intuitively sensed that she was not far from crying again, even if she didn't really understand why that was, and so she decided to change the subject, hoping that if she talked about something else than babies, her mother would be alright.

The only problem was that the only thing that came to her mind at that moment was talking about one of her favorite subjects instead, and of course that didn't help Liz feel any better. But Janelle had no way to know that.

"Will daddy stay home tomorrow mo'ning?… 'cause I want to watch the cartoons with him!" she asked hopefully, thinking that it was way too long since they had enjoyed their Saturdays morning ritual together.

"I-I don't know if he will be able to stay, honey, but if he doesn't have to work, I'm sure he will watch them with you." Liz stated, even though she knew that what she was saying was another one of the many lies she had already told Janelle.

Max had only stayed the night on Fridays a very few times in the beginning, in the guestroom, and only for Janelle's sake, even if she didn't know where he was sleeping. It had actually been his idea, to make sure Janelle didn't realize what was happening between them, but after a while he had just stopped asking her if he could stay and she had assumed that the situation wasn't to his liking anymore, or most likely not to Tess'.

Now most of the times when Janelle asked for him in the mornings she didn't have to go to school, she was told that he had to leave early but would be back later, and she was none the wiser about whether he had spent the night or not.

"Good… but there's no more cookies, mommy… and no more Cocoa Beebles … and daddy don't like my Cocoa Puffs!" she reminded her mother worriedly, thinking that if her father couldn't have his favorite cereal maybe he would leave sooner and she wouldn't be able to have her breakfast with him or simply see him.

"I know… so what about we stop by the supermarket before going home and we take care of that, huh?" Liz suggested as at the same time she lowered Janelle to the ground.

"Yes… and can we buy skittles, too?… there's no more skittles at home, mommy!" she asked since she had eaten the last the day before.

"Sure, sweetie!" Liz of course accepted, knowing how Janelle loved that stuff, and after having tenderly tousled her hair, she opened the door for her.

As she helped her daughter hopping in the car and she saw her beam at what she was sure was the thought of seeing her father and so unaware of the turmoil that ragged inside of her at the same time, Liz swore that she wouldn't let herself think about Tess, about her relationship with Max or about the possibility that the two of them could conceive a child together any longer.

It wouldn't do her any good to torture herself with those thoughts. Besides, whether it were already too late or not, there was nothing she could do to stop the course of things. She had unfortunately lost the opportunity a long time ago.
*
Coming back in a second.
Last edited by RebeccaBehrEvans on Fri Jan 04, 2008 6:27 am, edited 5 times in total.

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