Sometimes Life... COMPLETE (AU M/L +UC, ADULT)

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indiana266
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Sometimes Life... COMPLETE (AU M/L +UC, ADULT)

Post by indiana266 » Sun Jan 21, 2007 8:38 pm

Title: Sometimes Life Ain't Fair

Author: Valerie Y.

Disclaimer: I do not own Roswell. It belongs to Jason Katims, Melinda Metz, the WB, UPN, Regency Television, Fox and probably more people, but definitely not to me. No infringement is intended and no money was made from this work of fiction.

Pairing / Couples / Category: M/L + some UC - AU with aliens

Rating: Adult - for some language and sexual situations

Summary: Max and Liz are in love with each other. But sometimes life ain't fair.

This fic starts around the same time as the pilot, but Liz was never shot so Max never had to heal her. Without this kick-start to their relationship, will they still become friends?

Author's Note: This is in the alien abyss for a reason. No guarantee of a happy ending, no dreamer insurance. You have been warned. I do however promise some lighter moments :D

The title is a line from the song "One Night Love Affair", written by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance. No infringement intended. This song is also the main inspiration for the fic, which is why I named the story after it ;) There's another line in the song, "All my senses say I'm in this much too deep, now you're out of reach" which influenced the feel of the story, for me and my muse, anyway ;)

This is my first time posting in the Alien Abyss, feedback, comments and questions are always welcome, and very appreciated! Enjoy :)



Part 1

It was a day he would remember all his life. The huge yellow school bus. The dozens of children on the playground. The one little girl who met his eyes.

These were the eyes that would haunt him for the rest of his life. This was the smile that would follow him until the day he died.

This was the day Max Evans fell in love. Never would there be another for him.

***

He took a deep breath before walking into the science lab. Please, he thought. Please.

He was early and only a few students were already there. It was the first day of high school and his last class of the day. She hadn't been in a single one of his classes so far and he was starting to get worried. He had watched her from afar everyday in school since that day when he had first seen her on the playground. He didn't want it to be over now that they were in high school.

He opened his binder and pulled a pencil out of his case. He felt a presence next to him and his stomach rumbled even before his eyes could confirm who it was.

"Is this place taken?"

Max raised his head to meet her gaze. Liz Parker was looking at him, nervously twirling a strand of her long hair around her finger. He shook his head quickly.

"You can take it if you want."

Her smile was as bright as ever and Max couldn't help returning it. "Thanks," she said. She climbed onto the high stool and her arm brushed against his. He felt the shiver all the way to his toes.

***

They worked together in silence, quick and efficient. It was their second year as lab partners and working as a team was almost second nature to them.

"Can you hand me that solution?" Liz asked. Before the question was completely out of her mouth, the beaker of yellow liquid was in her hand. She smiled her thanks and mixed it with the other beaker, as Max watched, ready to intervene should anything explode.

The experiment went like it was supposed to and the only thing in any danger of exploding was Max's heart. It always seemed to go twice as fast when he was with her.

He watched as she quickly wrote down notes in her book and was startled when she turned to him.

"So, did you hear about that thing at the old soap factory on Friday?"

Max's eyebrows raised in surprise. In all the time that they had worked together, they had never talked about anything other than school or science. Realizing that she had asked him a question, Max shook his head. His social circle was rather limited and he usually heard about these kinds of things after his sister had attended them.

"Well, supposedly there will be this huge party this Friday. Everyone will be there."

Max smiled ruefully. Not everyone.

"Are you going?" he asked before he thought better of it.

Liz's eyes were shining with something Max had never seen in them, and he wasn't quite sure what it was. "I don't know yet. Maybe."

Max nodded and turned to his own book to write down the experiment results.

Liz spoke from his side, her voice hesitant. "Are you maybe thinking about going?"

Max shook his head as he finished writing. "No. I don't usually--" He raised his head and met her eyes. "-- go to this sort of... Liz?"

Whatever had been in her eyes before was gone and she looked a little chagrined.

"Yeah?"

"Are you okay?"

"Sure. Why?"

"I don't know, you look..." beautiful and sad.

"I'm fine," she insisted, her smile firmly back in place.

"Okay," Max said slowly. "If you're sure."

"I am," she said, but for the first time ever, Max didn't believe her.

***

She left quickly when the bell rang and only hours later, as he was trying to get to sleep, did Max realize something. Liz hadn't been sad, not exactly. She had been disappointed. Disappointed that he wouldn't be going to the party.

Like maybe she would have liked to see him there.

Max sat up in his bed. Or like maybe she would have liked to go there with him, impossible as that sounded.

Max closed his eyes and replayed the conversation in his head. Even more crazy, Liz had looked like she wouldn't even go to that party if he didn't go.

Was Liz Parker trying to ask him out? Why hadn't he realized that when she was still in the same room and he could ask her if she would like to go with him? Max banged his head against his pillow. All those powers he had, why the hell were they useless when it came to Liz Parker?

It was still early in the week. He resolved to bring the subject of the party up next time he had to make conversation. If she looked interested again, perhaps he would find the courage to ask her to maybe save him a dance or two.

***

"I'm telling you, that chick is weird, Maxwell."

Max was only half-listening to his best friend Michael, keeping most of his attention on Liz who was sitting a few tables away, and sending death glares to any boy who walked by her, not that any of them saw him. If Liz got a date for the party before he could ask her...

"Are you listening to me?"

Max turned to Michael and frowned. Now that he was paying attention, he realized that he should have wondered before why Michael was talking about a girl. Michael had never shown any interest in the opposite sex, or most of the human race for that matter.

"I am. You're talking about some weird chick."

"Yeah. She walked into the classroom and stared straight at me. Then she tossed all that blonde hair over her shoulder and sat down right in front of me. But it was weird, I'm telling you. It was like I could feel her."

Isabel looked up from her manicure and tilted her head to the side. "What do you mean, feel her?"

The three aliens shivered as though a brisk breeze blew through the otherwise still quad.

Max's eyes widened. "Did you do that?"

The others exchanged panicked glances and shook their heads.

"That's what I meant. Feel her."

Max and Isabel turned to see Michael jerking his chin toward a short blonde girl. When she saw that they had noticed her, she squared her shoulders and walked up to their table.

"May I join you?"

Without knowing exactly why, Max's eyes darted to Liz and he saw that she had turned in her seat and was looking at him. They stared at each other for a moment before the trance was broken by Isabel's words.

"Of course. I'm Isabel, this is my brother Max and our friend Michael. You're new to the school, aren't you?"

The blonde girl sat across from Max. She smiled at him. "I'm Tess. It's my first day."

"Welcome to West Roswell High," Max said politely. Tess was looking at him with her big blue eyes and Max found it more than a little unnerving. It was almost as if she could see right through him. As if, with that unearthly blue gaze, she could decipher all of his deepest, darkest secrets.

Max suddenly felt like he was falling from a great height, fast, very fast. He desperately needed something to hold on to. Something solid. Something unwavering. He glanced toward Liz's table once more and his stomach dropped when he only caught a flash of her dark hair as she left the quad to go back into the school. He needed to anchor himself in Liz's deep brown eyes. In some way he couldn't explain, he just knew that his life was about to shift inexorably. That there was no way to stop it, no way to control it. And it terrified him.

Only Liz could make it safe. But Liz was gone.

When Max tuned back in to the conversation, Isabel was comparing her schedule with Tess'. But Tess wasn't looking at Isabel. She was still looking straight at Max.

Max understood what Michael had meant. He could feel Tess. And it was weird.

In his mind, unbidden but crystal clear, he saw a memory of the day he was born. He saw himself claw his way out of his cocoon-like pod. It was a dream he used to have a lot when he was younger but not anymore. Not since his dreams were filled with Liz Parker. He saw Michael and Isabel, covered in slime, waiting for him to go out in the desert where they would eventually be found. And he saw a little girl with blonde, curly hair, still floating in the pod that would give her life. A girl he hadn't remembered until this very moment.

But it didn't matter that he had forgotten her for almost ten years. He remembered her now. He recognized her now. She was sitting in front of him.

In a moment of perfect clarity, he understood. They could feel her because Tess was like them.

What he had feared just seconds ago was already here. Max knew without a doubt that his life had just taken a different course. There would be no taking Liz Parker to the dance, or on any of the thousands of dates he had imagined. There would be no more pretending to be a normal teenager in high school.

There would never be safety in the arms of his dream girl.

His alien side had finally caught up with him.

***

The next few weeks were a whirlwind for Max. Tess invited her new friends to her house a few days after their first meeting and the truth came out. The man who pretended to be her human dad was not her father, nor was he human. The shapeshifter called himself Nasedo and he was a different kind of alien, but he held all the answers to the questions that had plagued Max, Michael and Isabel for so long. At first, trying to pry information out of him was like pulling teeth but Max quickly realized that if he asked a direct question, the alien usually answered it in a pretty straightforward manner. Max was uneasy when he discovered that the reason for that was because he was a king the other alien was programmed to obey. After that, Nasedo spent a lot of time telling them of their past lives on a world far away. Michael in particular ate it all up. He had waited so long to know anything about himself, about his past and his purpose. But the more Max found out, the more he wished he could go back to being just regular Max Evans, in love with Liz Parker and too afraid to do anything about it. He didn't want to be a king. He didn't want to go back to his home world. Michael's bags were already packed but Nasedo had said that they were not ready. When they had insisted to know when, the shapeshifter had only said that it was up to Max. No matter how carefully worded his questions, Max could not find out how he was supposed to be the determining factor. So he waited. If he never chose to leave, maybe they would just stay on Earth. Michael might resent him in a few years, but Max was apprehensive to leave the planet for a destiny he had not chosen.

Nasedo had also insisted that Max and Tess were meant to be together. Michael and Isabel were also promised to one another in a previous life, but when they were reluctant to go down that particular path, Nasedo didn't seem to care too much. But no matter how Max pleaded, the shapeshifter would not relent; Max and Tess belonged together. The king needed a bride if there was to be an heir, and Tess was the only one for Max.

Max could see the logic in that, even though his heart screamed that it was wrong. Where else would he find an alien bride? It's not like he could marry his own sister.

Over the years, when he had thought that maybe no one would ever come for them, Max had indulged in fantasies of one day marrying Liz Parker. That dream, like so many others, was dead now. No normal human girl would ever want to be tied to a guy who might have to leave the planet to go rule on another world. So when Tess asked him out for the third time, most probably at Nasedo's insistence, Max saw no reason to refuse her. After all, she was in the same boat he was. Who knows if maybe Tess wouldn't have preferred to date a jock, or a blond-haired, blue-eyed movie star. They were stuck together. It wasn't her fault any more than it was his. They might as well try to make the most of it.

They went on casual dates, often with Michael and Isabel tagging along. It would seem that the other couple had also come to the conclusion that, given their new set of rules, Earth relationships would only end in disaster. Isabel had even stopped dating entirely, but that didn't mean that Michael and Isabel were an item. Just like Max and Tess, they were not quite there yet but everyone had settled into a comfortable companionship.

***

Max hadn't particularly wanted to see this movie but Tess had insisted. It was one of those long, drawn-out, Oscar-contender chick flicks about a love that wasn't meant to be and Max had enough of that in his own life. He watched the movie half-heartedly but as the camera zoomed in for another longing glance, Max decided he had seen enough and excused himself. Tess hardly noticed.

He paced the hall for a moment before finally lining up at the concession stand. More popcorn might help the movie go by faster.

He felt someone behind him and turned to see who it was. He swallowed hard when he recognized Liz, looking more beautiful every day.

"Max!" she said, clearly as surprised to see him as he was. "What movie are you here to see?"

Max nodded his head in the direction of room #6 but was interrupted before he could actually speak.

"Me too! Strange, I didn't see you there. Isn't this the saddest movie you've ever seen? I needed to get out of there, if only for a little while."

Max raised his eyebrows. "You're enjoying it?"

"I don't know if 'enjoy' is quite the right word," Liz said. "It's tearing me up inside." She looked at him. "I mean, he's loved her all his life but they can't be together. And she's totally oblivious to it, even though if she knew, she would so fall for him too. You can tell he's the one she waited for her whole life. Can you think of anything more tragic?"

Max shook his head. He couldn't have this conversation with Liz right now. Or ever.

"So, are you here with Tess?" she asked, as they moved forward in the line. He nodded.

"You two are getting pretty serious, aren't you? How long have you been going out together?"

Max shrugged. "About two years I guess. We started hanging out sophomore year."

"She's a lucky girl," Liz said, and Max could see that while she was sincere, she didn't seem to be jealous. Max had always harbored the secret hope that maybe Liz had had feelings for him at one point. If she ever did, she was definitely over them now. He tried to ignore the way his heart broke just a little more and hoped that Liz couldn't read it in his eyes. Not that it would matter; while she was so perceptive about the movie protagonists, she couldn't seem to see what was right in front of her face.

"And you're here with Tom?" he asked, trying his best to sound casual.

Her face brightened up at the mention of her boyfriend and Max died a little more inside.

"Yes. Our first anniversary is coming up. And he got accepted into Harvard as well, so we'll be going together in the fall."

That hit Max like a ton of bricks. He didn't know why he hadn't realized she would be attending an Ivy League school. Somehow he had always thought that when he went to college in the fall, she would be there too. That he could continue watching her from afar. That he could still pretend that it was her he was kissing and not Tess.

"Oh. Um, congratulations," he mumbled.

She tilted her head to the side. "Where will you be going to school?" she asked.

"Las Cruces," he replied.

"That's a good one. You wanted to stay close to home, right?" She sounded like she thought that if he had wanted to go to an Ivy League school he could have and was staying here by choice.

Max nodded. It's not so much that he wanted to stay close to home; Nasedo had all but ordered it. They needed to stay close to the podchamber in case they had to leave the planet.

He made it to the front of the line and bought popcorn. He waited for Liz to get her own snacks and they walked back toward the darkened room.

"Enjoy the rest of the movie," he said, just before they entered the room.

She met his eyes. "Do you think they will get their happy ending?" She was talking about the movie, Max knew that. But he wasn't.

He shook his head. "I doubt it. There's too much against them."

Liz looked sad. "But they are so perfect for each other."

Before he was fully aware of what he was doing, Max had taken a strand of her long hair between his fingers and was hooking it behind her ear. "That's not always enough."

He drank her in for a moment and before the tears he could feel prickling the back of his eyes could fall, he walked into the dark room, leaving Liz behind.

***

Summer came and went. In an instant, it was gone, and so was Liz. Max was unprepared for the empty feeling that now lived in his heart. He thought he had given up on Liz years ago but he realized now that it was far from being the case; he had never really let go. He hadn't expected that not seeing her everyday would be so damn hard. There were times when he had to remind himself just to breathe. He still ate dinner at the Crashdown every week, hoping to hear news about her from her parents or her friend Maria but they were few and far between.

After three years of spending most of his free time with Tess, Max had started to feel a certain affection for her. She was nice, very supportive of him and extremely patient. Max sometimes wondered if it was because he was pretty much her only option that she had stuck with him this long, or if she truly, deeply loved him as she claimed. He had no reason to doubt her feelings for him. But he wasn't in love with her. They had yet to sleep together. Max had a feeling that it would please Nasedo to no end and he was not in the business of making the shapeshifter happy. It was easier to keep his hands off Tess than one would think. Max still caught himself fantasizing that her hair was longer and her eyes were darker every time they made out. No, he definitely was not over Liz, and felt it would be unfair to Tess to sleep with her when she loved him so much and he was in love with someone else.

***

Months passed and there were still no signs of Liz. She hadn't been home that Max knew ever since leaving Roswell almost three years ago. He had heard through the grapevine that she was staying in Boston during the school breaks to earn some extra credits and complete various summer internship programs. Her parents usually visited her there. Max despaired to ever see her again.

Yet, he was faithful to his habit of eating at the Crashdown whenever he was in town. He didn't want to miss it if she ever did choose to visit her folks. He walked in the restaurant and sat at his usual booth. He picked up a menu, not quite sure what he was in the mood for. A guffaw caught his attention and he raised his head to see Jeff Parker, owner of the Crashdown and Liz's dad, deep in conversation with a man Max had never seen.

"Welcome to the Crashdown, may I take your order?"

Max looked at his waitress. Her nametag said Melissa. He had seen her around a lot ever since coming back for summer break.

He gave the menu a last cursory glance before handing it to her. "I would like a piece of Men in Blackberry pie and an alien blast, please," he said. Her response was drowned by another laugh coming from Mr. Parker.

Max smiled. "Mr. Parker sure seems to be in a good mood," he said. Melissa laughed.

"He sure is! He's been on cloud 9 since spring. Great to work with, I tell you! I almost wish he had more daughters to marry off."

Max's smile froze on his face. "Liz is getting married?"

"Oh, you know her?" Her smile was wide. "Yeah, she and Carter are getting married at the end of the summer, in Boston. I heard them talk about it a bit, it will be a beautiful wedding."

Max could barely hear the girl over the thunder of his heart. He turned back to Mr. Parker and the man he was talking to. Was that Carter? He seemed way too old for Liz.

"What happened to Tom?" he said. Only when he caught Melissa's confused expression did he realize he had spoken out loud.

"I don't know any Tom. From what I hear, she's been dating Carter for a couple of years now. They met in school, his family is from Boston."

Max shook his head slightly. He was on information overload. Even Maria De Luca had never gossiped this much. "Is that him?" he couldn't help but ask, indicating the man Jeff Parker was talking to with a nod of his head.

"Oh no, Carter and Liz are still in Boston. That's Carter's dad. He came out here to meet Liz's parents before the wedding. I'll be back with your food in a minute."

Max looked after her uncomprehendingly for a moment. Food? He should tell her not to bother. He had lost his appetite.

Liz was getting married.

He should be happy for her. Liz deserved all the happiness in the world and she would never get it with him, an alien who was biding his time on Earth waiting for God knew what before he could go back home. He was over the fantasy of ever marrying Liz Parker.

Then why did this hurt so fucking much?

***

To say that Tess had been startled when Max had walked into the living room and started to kiss her would be an understatement. There were more than a few seconds of mild shock before she pulled away from him and asked what was going on.

"You've always been there for me. You've been so patient. I know you've been waiting for this and if my indecision hasn't blown my chances, I'm yours if you want me." His breath was uneven and Max wasn't sure if it was because of the kiss they had just shared or because he was trying his best not to break down and sob like a little girl at the news of Liz's upcoming nuptials.

Tess looked at him with wide blue eyes for a moment, her surprise evident. Max berated himself when he automatically wished that her eyes were brown. This wasn't about Liz. It could never be about Liz. Finally, Max's meaning registered and Tess wrapped her arms around his neck.

"Oh Max!"

She started raining kisses over his face and Max returned every one of them. He picked her up and moved toward her bedroom. Even though they had been sharing an apartment since graduation, both here in Roswell and on campus in Las Cruces, they had separate bedrooms. He lay her on her bed and started to undress her. As she started to remove his shirt, Max closed his eyes and willed away years of fantasies of being with Liz like this. It would never happen. It was time to move on.

***

His climax shattered everything he had ever experienced. So this was what everyone was talking about. He could see why. After a somewhat awkward start, Max and Tess had gotten into a rhythm and more than once during it, the thought had crossed Max's mind that nothing had ever felt this good.

He collapsed on top of Tess and tried to get his erratic breathing under control. Finally, he managed to gather enough strength to roll off her. His legs were so weak, he didn't know how he would be able to stand.

"You okay?" he asked Tess, turning his head to look at her. She shot him a beaming smile and nodded.

"I've never been better," she said.

Max nodded and offered a small smile. He closed his eyes for a moment, trying to come up with the will to get up and go to his own room. He felt a small arm around his waist, immediately followed by Tess's head on his shoulder, and Max felt a wave of guilt crash over him. How could he have not considered that she might want to cuddle with him after? She had just given him her virginity and she was in love with him. He put his arm around her, doing his best to squash the thought that if it had been Liz, he would have wanted to stay in this bed forever.

"How are you feeling?" Tess asked, her tone curious.

Max thought fast for something he could tell her without lying. "I've never been this physically satisfied in my life," he said and tensed as the words left his mouth. Was that a totally insensitive thing to say? He was relieved when Tess giggled.

"I know! I feel like my whole body is Jell-O and I couldn't move from this bed if my life depended on it."

"Yeah, that's what I meant," Max said, dropping a small kiss on her head.

"I'll never forget today," Tess vowed.

"Me neither," Max said. He felt just like he had the day he first met Tess; like his life had taken another irreversible turn. This is the way things were going to be from now on. Whether he wanted them to be or not.

Tess raised her head to kiss him and when their lips met, Max was overwhelmed by a feeling of well-being so intense, it made his head swim. He couldn't recall ever feeling this at peace in his whole life. When Tess pulled away and put her head back on his shoulder the feeling vanished and Max realized it hadn't been his own. This was how she felt. Max could only hope that she didn't receive any flashes of how he was feeling.

As he drifted off to sleep, he couldn't help but wonder if he would have also known such peace if the woman in his arms had been the dark-haired beauty who had stolen his heart so many years ago.

***

You would have thought that the shapeshifter had been the one to get laid, seeing as Max had never seen Nasedo so happy ever since first meeting the other alien. Nasedo's good mood lasted for a few days before he returned to his usual taciturn self. After a few weeks of being intimate with Tess, Max started to notice that the shapeshifter's mood seemed directly linked to whether or not Max had gotten lucky.

After their first night together, Max had bought some protection and despite the fact that it was right there in his nightstand just ready to be used, somehow he always seemed to forget when the time came. Tess didn't seem to mind. In fact, when they had talked about it, she had insisted that they did not need it. After more discussion, she had vaguely alluded to other forms of birth control and the subject had been dropped so quickly that Max didn't even remember the end of the conversation.

It took a few more times for Max to validate that Nasedo's mood indeed hinged on his king's sex life. The day following an intimate encounter with Tess, Nasedo would be thrilled. Then a couple of days later he would be glum and Tess would pressure Max into sleeping with her again. Most of the time, Max was happy to comply. Being with Tess was more satisfying than any solo action had ever been, and though it wasn't the emotional connection she seemed to be getting from it, Max had been trying to convince himself that it would have to suffice. But as he became more and more certain that what Nasedo was after was that heir he kept mentioning, Max grew more uncomfortable. A few years ago, Nasedo had said that Max would be the determining factor in when they left Earth for good. Was an heir the only thing he was waiting for?

Max tried to slow down his physical relationship with Tess without hurting her feelings. She was totally opened to him now when they were together and this was her life-long dream come true. Max thought he had been successful in shielding his true feelings from Tess; she would surely have confronted him about it if he hadn't been. But no matter how he tried, he was still with Tess a few times a week. Some mornings, Max would wake up in her bed with no clear memories of how he had gotten there in the first place. And despite the many discussions he had had with Tess about how they should use the condoms on top of whatever she was using, just to be safe, the box remained unopened.

***

Max's luck lasted for almost two years. He had taken Tess away for a weekend to celebrate her birthday. He had wanted to do something special for her. Max could now say 'I love you' to her and mean it. His parents were pressuring him to make an honest woman out of her and Max was starting to agree. But he would never have the wedding his mother was already planning in her head; the day after Max and Tess returned from their romantic getaway, a very pleased Nasedo announced that they were leaving for Antar.

Michael and Tess couldn't have been more thrilled at the news that they would finally see their home planet. Isabel had asked to know what was different now that made it possible to leave. Nasedo wouldn't say, but Max didn't need him to. He could feel the connection every time he kissed Tess.

She was pregnant with his son.

TBC

Thanks for reading!
Last edited by indiana266 on Tue Feb 20, 2007 8:52 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Part 2

Post by indiana266 » Wed Jan 24, 2007 8:13 pm

Part 2


Nasedo had everything ready within a few days and declared that the departure would take place the following morning, Thursday. Max and Isabel begged and pleaded for just a few more days. While they wouldn't be allowed to tell their parents where they were going and why they would never come back, Isabel wanted to be able to say goodbye, even if her family wouldn't know that she was. Nasedo argued with her that a clean break was the way to go. It took a direct order from Max for Nasedo to grudgingly agree to a new departure time. They would leave on Monday, just before sunrise.

How should he spend his last few days on Earth? There were so many things he could do, so many things he hadn't had the chance to experience. But if he was truly honest with himself, Max knew there was only one thing he wanted to do. He wondered if four days was enough time to find out exactly where Liz lived. He could travel to Massachusetts to see her. He was suddenly panicked at the idea of leaving the planet without seeing her one last time. He hadn't seen her at all since high school. His fantasies of her had faded over the years and he had made a good life with Tess. He had learned to ignore the ache in his heart every time he was reminded of Liz but he had never truly forgotten her, and now all those repressed feelings were coming back to the surface with a vengeance.

He loved Tess, he was pretty certain of that. But not like he had loved Liz. Not like he still loved her. He waited for the familiar guilt to overcome him at the idea of wanting to see another woman when his long-time girlfriend was pregnant with his child but it didn't come.

He had to see Liz again. She might not remember him but he had to see her again. Even if he didn't talk to her, he needed to just look at her one last time and remember all that could have been.

***

Max walked into the Crashdown Café for the first time in years. When he had finally decided that his future was with Tess, Max had cut every tie he could think of that linked him to Liz Parker in any way, short of moving out of Roswell. It had become too difficult to be there and be reminded of everything that he would never have. As the door closed behind him and the familiar smell of fried food assaulted his nostrils, Max was instantly taken back to his high school days, when he would come here after class and pray to be seated in Liz's section just so he could watch her for an hour or so.

He had spent the last few days doing research on the internet and everywhere else he could think of, trying to locate Liz without any success. He was here in a last-ditch effort to find out where she was. He had resisted coming to ask for the Parkers' help before; he didn't want Liz's parents to be worried that he might be some kind of stalker. But now, his time on Earth was quickly running out; he had nothing left to lose.

"Welcome to the Crashdown, booth or table?"

Max opened his eyes to see a short blonde with a wide smile holding out a menu to him. Her nametag said Alicia. Before Max could answer, someone spoke up from behind the girl.

"Mr. Evans always preferred the booth."

His heart skipped a beat when he recognized the sultry voice. His eyes met hers and the feelings he had buried so deep for so long rose to the surface.

How could he even think that he was in love with Tess?

"And I think your favorite one is free, too," Liz said, indicating the booth where Max had spent so many hours as a teenager. Max stood frozen in place as Liz took the menu from Alicia's hand and walked to the empty booth. Could she really be here? After the disheartening search of the last few days, could seeing Liz again really be that easy? He finally started to move when she turned back to him. The few steps it took to reach her side seemed to take forever and it was all Max could do to resist the urge to touch her when he finally stood by her side.

They looked at each other for a moment before Max finally found his voice. "Hi, Liz," was all he could manage to say.

"Hey, Max," Liz said. "Long time no see."

"Yeah," Max nodded as he slipped in the booth.

"Do you mind if I join you for a moment?" Liz asked.

Max shook his head quickly. Of course he didn't mind. She sat down and they looked at each other for a moment, both of them suddenly shy and unsure what to say.

"I can't believe you remember me," Max said. "Let alone that you know I liked this booth."

Liz laughed, a light, crystalline laugh and Max felt 16 again, in the bio lab, on the rare but always joyful occasions when he had managed to come up with something witty to say to her.

"You spent a lot of time here in high school, of course I remember you."

"And you remember all your customers that well?" Max couldn't help but ask. He was stunned when a pretty blush rose in Liz's cheeks.

"Just those I had a crush on," she admitted.

Max bit his lip. "And how long is that list?"

It wasn't like him to be so bold. He had spent a lifetime trying to be invisible, and saying things like that wouldn't have allowed him to remain in the shadows for very long. But he was leaving the freaking planet in less than 48 hours; there would never be another chance like this.

"It's pretty short," she admitted.

Alicia chose that moment to come up to the booth.

"Are you ready to order?" she asked Max.

Max shook himself back to reality. He blinked and almost expected Liz to have vanished when he opened his eyes again. But she was still there, looking at him with a small smile. Finally, he looked at the expectant waitress. "I would like a cheeseburger and Saturn rings, or whatever you have these days that is similar."

"We still have Saturn rings," the girl said, taking the menu back. "Mrs. Richards? Will you be eating as well?"

Liz glanced at Max and seemed to make a decision. "Why not. Just bring me a side order of fries and 2 cherry cola," she said. "Mr. Evans' order is on the house."

"Of course! I'll be right back."

Max watched Liz who was toying with her place mat, straightening the fork and the knife with her finger.

"So, no more Parker?"

She shook her head with a smile. "Carter's family is very old-fashioned. One has to choose her battles carefully. I don't really mind. I still feel like Liz Parker most of the time."

"So how long have you been married?" Max asked, mostly to fill space. He knew exactly how long Liz had been married. It had been a long day, that Saturday not so long ago, when he had gotten up early and rode Michael's bike to the quarry where Tess wouldn't think to look for him. He had stared at the water for hours, trying to convince himself that he didn't care despite how tight his heart had been in his chest and how hard it was to breathe. He had gone home hours after the moon had risen.

"Almost two years," Liz smiled and Max could tell that she was happy. "How about you?" She looked at his hands. "I don't see a ring. Are you still with Tess?"

Max nodded. Before he realized what he was doing, he blurted out, "She's pregnant." He had no idea why he had just told Liz that. He and Tess hadn't even discussed it yet. He wasn't sure she even knew. The only reason Max knew at all was because of the connection with the baby.

Liz's face brightened. "Congratulations! Parenthood is great, you'll love it. Will the wedding be before or after the baby?"

"We haven't really discussed it yet." He wanted to get off the topic of them married to other people. "How come you know so much about parenthood?"

Liz was beaming. She reached for her necklace and opened the locket, leaning across the table so that Max could see it.

"This is my daughter, Caroline Maria. She's ten months old."

Max took the gold pendant between his fingers and stared at the photo of the smiling little girl. "She's beautiful," he said. He met Liz's eyes. "She looks like you."

"Thanks," she said, still smiling. Max looked at the photo a moment longer. The baby girl's hair was dark and she had her mom's doe eyes. Max felt a pang knowing that his own child would never look like that.

"Is she here with you?" he asked, letting go of the necklace. Liz shook her head.

"She's home with her dad. I'm on my own this weekend."

"Why are you in town? If you don't mind me asking?" She hadn't been here in so long, though Max supposed that maybe she had come to visit since her wedding. He was the one who hadn't been in this part of town much since then. How strange that she would be here just when he needed to see her. Whatever her reasons for being here, Max was beyond grateful for the coincidence.

Alicia returned with a couple of tall glasses, Max's lunch and Liz's fries. She placed the plates on the table and left. Liz started to munch on her fries and Max thought that she wouldn't answer him.

"I don't know, to be honest," Liz replied finally. At Max's surprised look, she elaborated. "I just had this very strong feeling that I should be in Roswell this weekend. That if I didn't come, I would miss my last chance to do whatever it is I am supposed to do. I thought maybe it was something to do with my parents but they are both fine, so I don't know. I'm only here until Monday morning. It was a really crazy thing to do, fly all the way out here for two days based on just a feeling, but it was strong. Just the thought of not coming... it was like I couldn't breathe." She shook her head. "I don't know how to explain it. Have you ever had a feeling like that?"

"Sometimes," Max said, swallowing hard. Was it just a coincidence? He didn't dare hope that maybe she had felt his need for her. But what else could explain her presence here?

"I wish I could say it was like a sixth sense, but it really isn't. I just get them once in a while, and usually I ignore them but this one was too strong to ignore. It's like I had to be here."

"Well, I, for one, am glad you listened," Max said. She would never know how glad he truly was. He was rewarded with a smile.

"I promised my mom I would go shopping with her this afternoon," Liz said a little regretfully. "But I liked catching up with you. Maybe we could hang out again next time I'm in town?"

Max debated whether or not to tell her he wouldn't be around next time she was in town. His impending departure was becoming more real with every passing moment and Max was filled with dread every time the thought crossed his mind. Out of nowhere, he said, "Are you free for dinner?"

Liz looked surprised but pleased. "My parents expect me to have dinner with them I guess, but we didn't make any formal plans."

"Let me take you somewhere."

Liz thought about it for a moment. "Won't Tess mind?"

Max didn't want to think about Tess right now. This was his last chance to ever spend some time with Liz. He shook his head. "We could catch up some more, reminisce about old times."

"I would like that."

"Can I pick you up at 6:30?"

"I'll wait for you outside."

***

Max was in front of the Crashdown at 6:30 sharp. He parked and walked around to the passenger side before Liz could climb into his vehicle. He opened the door for her.

"Thank you," she said. When he was back behind the wheel, she said, "I can't believe this Jeep is still running! You must be taking really good care of it."

"You know my Jeep?" Max was clearly surprised.

Liz nodded. "It's the same one you had in high school, right?" At Max's nod, she continued. "I used to have fantasies of you and me driving down the highway with the top down, the wind in our hair and not a care in the world."

"You did?" Max's mouth was suddenly dry. He had dreamed of the same thing a thousand times.

Liz's face was flushed. "Uh-uh. I had a crush on you, remember?"

Max smiled at her and couldn't help but wonder what would have happened if Tess had not shown up when she did. Where would they be today if he had had the chance to ask Liz to that dance? It wasn't the first time he ever wondered about that, but though he had wished it, he hadn't really believed that Liz had had feelings for him before now. To know that she had made the whole thing all the more bittersweet.

He parked in front of a restaurant and turned to Liz, slightly embarrassed.

"Is Senor Chow okay?"

Liz laughed and put a hand on his arm. He wondered if she could also feel the heat that radiated from the contact.

"It's fine, Max."

He scratched behind his ear. "I know it's not high cuisine or anything, but it's pretty nice and..." His voice trailed off. He wasn't sure if he should say what he had been about to say.

"And?"

He was leaving the planet in 36 hours. If he couldn't be honest with Liz Parker now, he never would.

"And, you weren't the only one with fantasies in high school," he admitted. "I had our first date planned down to the smallest details, and this was the best restaurant I could afford at the time."

"That's sweet," Liz said. She looked a bit uncomfortable though, and Max wasn't sure why. Hoping to diffuse the tension, he added, "Besides, I couldn't get us into Chez Pierre or any of the other better restaurants on a Saturday night on such short notice."

She laughed. "Senor Chow is fine," she assured him. "I'm always in the mood for Chinese Mexican food." She looked at him seriously. "Besides, we don't need fancy. We're just two old friends catching up, right?"

"Right," Max replied. He realized what had made her uncomfortable before; the mention that maybe he thought of this as a date. It wasn't a date. Not when she was married and he was expecting a child with another woman.

"Shall we?"

***

They were seated in a private booth near the back. After the waitress took their orders, they found themselves sharing an awkward silence.

"So," Liz finally said. "What else did you have planned for that first date of ours?"

Max blushed a little. "Well, there used to be a pool table here back in the day. And, well, that dance floor was there then too."

"So you would have kicked my butt in pool?" Liz asked.

Max snorted. "Hardly. I never played pool in my life. I was hoping you would teach me."

She raised an eyebrow. "How did you know I could play?" she asked.

"I overheard you and Alex once in school," he admitted.

She smiled. "So I would have had to show you how to line up shots and things like that?" Max nodded. "And, of course, I would have had to put my hand over yours to guide it and maybe lean in very close to make sure you were getting it right?"

A corner of Max's mouth lifted. "I was hoping it wasn't too obvious," he said.

"It wouldn't have been," she said. "But I'm not 16 anymore." She winked at him.

"I can see that," Max couldn't help but say. "And to think I thought you were gorgeous then..." He quickly looked away. Liz was a married woman.

"Thank you," she said. When he met her eyes again, she said, "You're more handsome than I remember. I didn't think that was possible."

Max felt the tip of his ear redden at her comment. No one had ever said he was good looking. Well, Tess did, but she was an alien too. No human had ever found him attractive.

"What would have happened after the pool lesson?"

"Hopefully dancing," Max replied. "And before you ask, no, I didn't know how to dance either. But that wasn't the point."

"The point was having your arms around me," Liz said.

Max nodded.

"I also had that particular fantasy," Liz said, a little wistful.

Max closed his eyes not wanting to think of everything they had missed.

***

"This has got to be the only restaurant on earth with the Won-Ton - Quesedilla combo," Liz laughed, looking at her plate.

"What, you mean that they don't mix egg rolls and enchiladas in Boston?"

Liz shook her head. "Only in Roswell. I miss this town sometimes." She took a spoonful of the Won-Ton. "So tell me, Max. How come we never had that first date?"

Max swallowed his mouthful and looked at her, regret in his eyes. "Because I was a painfully shy 16-year-old kid afraid of rejection, who knew that there wasn't a snowball chance in hell that someone as beautiful as Liz Parker would ever look my way."

"But you did go out with Tess, so you must have gotten over that shyness somehow." There was no reproach in her tone. She was merely stating a fact.

Max shook his head. "Tess pursued me forever before I agreed to go out with her. It took me almost a year to kiss her," he said. He didn't know why he was sharing those details with Liz. It's not like she would be interested in his relationship with Tess.

"You had more than a snowball's chance," Liz said after a moment. "As a matter of fact, your odds were pretty good." Liz smiled, remembering. "It would take me hours to fall asleep at night trying to find a way to casually bring up the subject of a date with you. Then I would see you in class and my nerves would take over. I would spend half the class wondering if you would ask me out, and then the second half trying to come up with the courage to ask you, or at least remember some of my brilliant planning and witty dialogue from the night before. But then, class would end and we'd be no closer to each other and I would leave and go home and tell myself that I would do better next time."

Max shook his head, a small smile on his lips. "That's how my bio labs would go, too," he said. "Except for one thing. I never waited for you to bring up the subject of a date because I never expected in a million years that you would want to ask me out, ever. If I had, I probably would have asked you myself."

"I almost did, you know. You probably don't remember."

Max met her eyes. "The party at the old soap factory. I remember. It only occurred to me later that maybe you wanted me to ask you to go with me. And by then, it was too late."

She frowned, not understanding. "You could have asked me to another party, I still would have said yes."

Max nodded, acknowledging her point. "But by then Tess had come to town and she had set her sights on me," he said. It wasn't exactly a lie but he couldn't exactly tell Liz that Tess had been his bride in another lifetime. "She was more aggressive than you were and I guess you moved on."

"I had never seen you show any interest in a girl before, so when you started hanging out with Tess I figured I had missed my chance."

"I would have picked you," Max said. I still would pick you, he thought. But he couldn't tell her that.

"And I would have picked you over Tom." She hesitated. "I think I might even have picked you over Carter," she confessed. She put her hands over her face. "Oh my, what a terrible thing to say! You won't tell him, right? I love my husband."

"My lips are sealed," Max assured her. "I know you love him. It's just a case of the grass being greener, I suppose."

"I guess," Liz said. She didn't look convinced.

Max reached over the table and took her hand in his. "Are you happy, Liz?"

Her eyes met his. "Yes. Carter and I have our ups and downs, like any relationship I guess, but I love my husband and I adore my daughter. I have a good job that I enjoy and still find challenging. I can't complain."

"Sounds like a charmed life," Max agreed.

"It is," Liz said. "I really shouldn't complain..."

"But...?"

Liz shook her head. "Unrealistic expectations," she said. "The bane of my existence."

"Such as?"

Liz considered her answer for a moment. "Have you ever felt like you might die and go to heaven if someone just touched your hand? Just looked your way and smiled at you?" When Max didn't reply, she went on. "You know that feeling, the butterflies in your stomach, the certainty that if that certain someone would only kiss you, you could die happy because you would have known true happiness?"

"I think I know what you mean," he replied cautiously.

"I've wanted to feel that way all my life," she said. "I had such high expectations for my first kiss with Tom, and my first kiss with Carter, that they both were disappointing in the end. They were nice but not quite the fireworks I had dreamed of. I know it's only because I've watched too many Hollywood movies and read too many romance novels, but..." she bit her lip and looked away. "I always thought that I would have felt that with you."

Max was stunned into silence. She had just described his most cherished dream.

"I know what it feels like to be overwhelmed with love for someone every time I look at my daughter. I know what it feels like to know that you would give your life for someone, without hesitation or regret. I guess in my adolescent fantasies, I assumed that I would also feel that way about the father of my child."

"But you don't."

Liz shook her head. "Do you feel that way about Tess? Like she is where your life begins and ends?"

Max shook his head. "No." It was a terrible thing to admit but he couldn't - wouldn't - lie to Liz about this.

Liz opened her mouth to ask him something, then closed it and looked away. Max squeezed the hand he was still holding across the table.

"But I always thought I would feel that way about you if we ever got together."

Liz turned wide eyes to him and he knew that it was the question she hadn't dared ask.

They looked at each other for a long moment before Liz broke the silence with a nervous giggle.

"I guess it's like what you said, the grass being greener. The only thing we have is the perfect fantasies of our high school days. Our reality probably wouldn't have been that amazing."

"I guess you're right," Max said, even though he didn't believe that for a second. To be with Liz would have been as glorious as his dreams, he knew that deep down in his bones.

Liz removed her hand from Max's grasp and wiped her eyes. "I love Carter," she said again. "You and I, it never happened. Maybe it was for the best. I mean, there had to be a reason for that."

Max hung his head. He knew the reason.

"There's no point in wallowing in regrets, is there?" She put on a smile. "We can always be friends. Would you like that, Max? To rekindle our friendship?"

Max wondered if it would have been possible to be just friends with Liz Parker. He knew that since she was married and he was with Tess, things would never have progressed between them, at least not physically. But how long before their respective significant others realized how important the other was to them? How long before getting to know Liz but never being able to have her destroyed him and he did something drastic?

"There's nothing I would love more, Liz," Max said honestly. "But I'm afraid it might be a little complicated."

Liz raised her chin, her eyes stubborn. "Why? Because of Carter and Tess?"

Max shook his head. "No. Tess has no say in who I'm friends with. I just meant, I won't be in Roswell much longer so we won't be able to visit when you come to town."

Liz smiled. "That's what email is for, Max."

Max returned her smile, his rueful. "I might be out of reach for quite a while."

Liz was confused. "You sound so... definite. You're not going to jail are you?"

A corner of Max's mouth lifted despite himself. Antar might as well be a jail. He wasn't going there of his own free will. His smile died and he shook his head.

"In this day and age, where on Earth are you going that you can't be reached by email?" she wondered aloud.

Suddenly she blanched and grabbed his hand over the table.

"You're not... you're not thinking about killing yourself, are you?" she asked in a whisper.

Max's eyes widened. "No! Where did you get an idea like that?"

"I don't know. You just sound so serious, so adamant that you won't be reached. And you do look sad, Max."

"I guess I am a little sad," Max agreed. "But I won't kill myself." He debated what to tell her to make her understand that he wasn't avoiding her. He didn't want to lie to her but he didn't think she would accept the truth right now. Not when it was so unbelievable.

"It's more like going to war," he said after a moment. "I'm leaving Monday morning and I don't quite know the circumstances of where I'll end up. I just know there is a very real chance I might not come back." His voice broke on the last word. It had finally sunk in that the moment he had dreaded all his life was inescapably here. He would leave Earth and everything he had ever known for a most uncertain future in another galaxy.

Liz squeezed his hand. "Where are they sending you? Is it the military?"

Max shook his head. "I can't tell you, Liz."

She nodded, understanding. "Some kind of special ops or something I suppose. Don't tell me, I don't want you to have to kill me," she tried to joke, but it fell flat. "Oh Max, I'm so sorry! Will you even be there for the birth of your child?"

Max shrugged. He supposed he would see the birth of his son. But if Liz thought he was in the military, it was probably better that she kept on believing that. Telling her that Tess was also coming would just confuse her.

She rubbed her hand up and down his arm. Max closed his eyes and tried to ignore the flashes that filled his mind, of her doing that to him in his bed, their naked bodies covered in sweat.

"So tonight is all we have," she said softly.

Max opened his eyes and looked at her, a promise burning in his amber gaze. "If I ever come back I swear I will find you again."

"I'll hold on to that," Liz said.

***

The waitress broke the moment when she came to clear their plates. Liz looked at Max for a moment, before she got up and reached out her hand to him.

"Would you dance with me?" she asked.

Max took her hand in his. "I would love to," he said, following her to the dance floor. When they reached the middle of the room, he put his arms around her and she rested her head on his chest as though they had done it a million times before. He tightened his arms around her waist and rested his cheek against her hair, breathing her in. Oh, how he had dreamt of that moment!

They danced lost inside each other for a long time. The songs seamlessly flowed into one another but they hardly noticed. Other couples danced around them but they didn't see them. Max and Liz were lost inside their own little world. Nothing had ever felt this right.

***

Finally, the music stopped and they had to return to their table. Liz looked at him, her big brown eyes filled with something he couldn't quite read.

"How is it possible," she asked in a quiet tone, "that this moment with you exceeded even my most unrealistic expectations?"

Max met her eyes. He took a strand of her long brown hair and put it back behind her ear. He couldn't lie to her, to himself; not anymore. "Because I think we were meant to be," he said softly. "Something went wrong somewhere, but soul mates know nothing of unrealistic expectations."

She nodded, her eyes filling with tears. "And this moment is all we are ever going to get? You are what I looked for all my life. This isn't fair."

He rested his forehead against hers. "Life ain't fair, sweet Liz."

She closed the distance between them but Max knew that if he kissed her now there was no turning back. If he kissed her, he would have to love her, make her his like she was meant to be, despite Tess, despite Carter, despite a whole planet that was waiting for him to return it to its past glory. Despite a little baby girl who would live in a broken home.

So he pulled back slowly, closing his eyes against the hurt he could see in hers.

"I better get going before we do something we would both regret."

She held on to him, her hands around his shoulders. "I could never regret it, Max." Against his better judgment, he opened his eyes and looked into hers. He could tell that she was telling the truth. He also knew that he could never regret this either. It was what was meant to be, what he had longed for his whole life.

"I will cherish this dance until the day I die," he vowed. His fingers lightly grazed her cheek. "I'm so sorry, but this is the way it'll have to be."

He turned away from her abruptly. He was both glad and disappointed when she didn't come after him. He hurried to the door, leaving enough money to cover the meal and a cab for Liz with the cashier at the front desk. He stepped into the cool night air.

He didn't look back.


***

Max knew that Isabel was expecting him at home with their parents. He knew that Tess would wonder where he was. But as he sped down the highway toward the desert, he didn't care about any of that. The tears running down his cheeks blurred his vision and made driving downright dangerous but he didn't care about that either. Maybe Liz had had the right idea. Maybe suicide was the way to go. What did he have to live for anyway? His life was not his own. He was expected to leave the only world he had ever known to rule another he had never cared about. He was supposed to raise a child with a woman he had thought he loved but now realized he never could. There had been more passion in his short dance with Liz then in years of making love to Tess. Would he go as far as resent his son because he wasn't Liz's, because he wouldn't look like the little baby girl who had stolen his heart almost as quickly as her mother had?

He slammed on the brakes and the Jeep slid onto the desert sand. He beat the steering wheels with his fists until they bled.

Max Evans sat in his Jeep on the side of the road and let the tears come. He cried for his shattered dream of ever being with Liz. He cried for how his life was ripped from his control as a teenager, how he had never chosen who he wanted to become, what he wanted to do, who he wanted to be with. He cried for how this unfair destiny was thrust upon him with little regard for his heart's desires.

When there were no more tears, he cried again. He sobbed until his eyes ached, until the dull throbbing in his head made his heart leap in his throat. He stared at the cold, harsh stars that would never truly be his home and cursed them. He cursed them for sending him here. He cursed fate for bringing Liz to him without letting them be together.

He got out of the Jeep and stood on the desert floor. Years of frustration, of destroyed hopes built up in his throat and he let it all out in a blood curling scream. Anger built inside him and he welcomed it. He screamed until his voice broke. He fell to his knees on the hard desert ground, breathing hard.

Didn't he deserve something to make up for all he had given up? Didn't fate owe him that much? This was all but his last night on Earth. For the first time in his life, Max Evans would do what he wanted to do.

TBC

Thanks for reading!

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indiana266
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Part 3

Post by indiana266 » Sun Jan 28, 2007 9:23 pm

Part 3

All his life Max Evans had done the right thing. The responsible thing. The thing that was expected of him. Now as he stood at the bottom of the ladder leading up to Liz Parker Richards' balcony, Max wondered if for once in his life he could damn the consequences and do what he wanted to do. He briefly thought about Tess who would be heartbroken, of Michael and Isabel who would be disappointed in him. And then he thought of living the rest of his life knowing that he had come this close to realizing his most treasured dream and he made a decision. He was up the ladder before he had time to change his mind.

Liz was sitting on a lounge chair, talking quietly into the phone. She raised her head when she heard him and the last of Max's doubts dissipated with what he could read in her eyes. She knew why he was here and she welcomed him. She indicated for him not to leave and turned her attention back to her phone conversation.

"Did you have any trouble putting her to sleep?" A short silence, then she spoke again. "That's good. You should get a good night's sleep, too. You know she'll be up before dawn."

Max climbed over the short half wall and stood awkwardly on the balcony. As a teenager he had dreamed of being here more times than he could remember. He looked around and noticed the open window leading into Liz's childhood bedroom. He had dreamed of being in there as well.

"I love you, too," Liz said before she hung up the phone. Max bit his lip. Perhaps he shouldn't be here.

Liz got up and stood in front of Max.

"I'm glad you came back."

"I'm sorry I left you stranded at the restaurant," he said.

"You didn't have to pay for a cab."

"I'm sorry I ran out," he repeated. "I..." He gently ran his fingers through Liz's hair. "Oh God. I shouldn't be here," he said.

Liz put her hands on his shoulders. "I want you here."

He met her serious eyes. "Are you sure? I mean, think of what you could be throwing away."

"No one ever needs to know," Liz whispered, running her hands over his shoulders and down his arms. He caught them in his.

"But you'll know, Liz. I don't want to do this if you think you might regret it one day."

She looked at him. "Max, I know I will regret it if I don't. Don't you feel this thing between us? This... connection?"

Max nodded.

"Then stop thinking and just follow your heart."

She leaned in closer to him and it was an immense effort for Max to pull away from her.

"Not here," he said, his breathing uneven. "Your parents are here."

"You're right," Liz said. Yet she didn't pull away from him.

"Liz, if I kiss you now..." Max shook his head. She seemed to understand, for she finally took a step back from him. He pulled her toward the ladder. "Let's get out of here."

***

They sat in the Jeep in silence, staring at the Tumbleweed Inn in front of them.

"You can still change your mind," Max spoke quietly from behind the wheel. They had made the short drive in silence. Max had long since stopped listening to the little voice inside his head that was telling him this was wrong. He was going to go through with this, come what may. But he would understand if Liz had second thoughts. She was putting a lot more at risk than he was.

"I choose to be here, Max."

***

Less than 10 minutes later, they were both standing in the little room, facing each other. Liz had just come out of the bathroom. Max thought that he should be nervous, but for the first time in years, he felt at peace. He was where he was supposed to be.

He lifted his arm slowly, deliberately, and undid the first button of her shirt. He smiled when Liz shivered and closed her eyes. His fingers lingered on her skin before he undid the second button. He would take his time tonight.

The garment fell away from her and he stared in awe. He had never really taken the time to look at Tess that way when they had first become intimate. He was too busy trying to ignore the fact that she wasn't Liz.

But Liz was everything he had ever dreamed of and more. He ran his fingers lightly down her arms, watching her face, taking his cues from her expression. He caressed her silken skin, growing bolder at every little sigh that escaped her lips. This was the moment he had waited for his whole life. And it was finally happening.

That thought snapped his control and he pulled her hard against him. His lips found hers a second later. His arms went around her, crushing her against his chest. She responded eagerly to his assault and Max was lost in the kiss. His mind filled with fireworks. He had never known anything like this.

He whimpered when Liz pulled away from him, and then gasped when her skin brushed against his naked chest. His shirt lay discarded on the floor and Max didn't have time to wonder how it had gotten there; his attention was immediately back on Liz's tongue in his mouth.

His large hands ran up and down her back and he was frustrated to find that she was still wearing some of her clothes. He moved his hands between them and quickly undid her pants. He pushed them down her legs before attacking his own belt. They parted only long enough to remove the last of their clothing. Their mouths met again in a searing kiss. Liz's taste was intoxicating; Max knew that he would crave it to his dying day.

He moved his head to sample her neck and felt her go weak in his arms. His own knees nearly buckled at the realization that this was as intense for her as it was for him. He removed his lips from her only long enough to orient himself in the room. He pushed her toward the bed and when she took his earlobe in her mouth, they collapsed onto the hard mattress.

She rolled them over so she was on top of him, grinding her hips against his. Max hissed in pleasure as her wet center met his arousal, her tongue still tracing his outer ear. Pleasure was building fast inside of Max and he knew that he wouldn't last long. In one swift motion, he sat up and pushed her down so she was on her back, and he entered her. He could only thrust a few times before the world behind his eyes dissolved in a blinding glow of silver light.

***

He pulled out of her only long enough to turn her around. He kissed his way down her spine before taking her again from behind. Liz arched against him. She took his hands in hers and placed them on her breasts. They moved together slowly as Max rained kisses all over her back.

***

He didn't think he would ever get enough of her. Years of loving Tess were just a distant memory as Liz straddled him and they were joined for the third time. He pushed himself up to a sitting position and Liz took advantage of his closeness to tangle her fingers in his short hair. He took a fistful of her silky hair and moved it to the side, revealing her neck. He attached his lips to her shoulder, mere centimeters away from where he had already left his mark. He loved the salty taste of her damp skin.

Every time Liz lifted herself up and slammed herself back down on him, Max was a little closer to ecstasy. Never had he felt more complete. Liz was the missing piece he had looked for all his life. He had never truly belonged with his family, or with Tess, or even on this planet.

But he belonged with Liz.

***

Max closed his eyes, his arms going around Liz automatically when she put her head on his chest. He needed a moment to catch his breath. This had been quite the marathon.

"Don't fall asleep," Liz's sleepy voice begged.

He kissed her hair and cuddled closer. "I just need a minute. This was... my God!"

"I know," Liz agreed.

Despite his best intentions, Max could feel himself dozing off. The stress of the last few days; knowing he might have to leave without seeing Liz again; the rush of feelings seeing her had brought back: all that combined with the most intense lovemaking session of his life was taking its toll on his body and he knew he desperately needed the rest. But he didn't want to waste a single moment with Liz by sleeping.

With an effort he opened his eyes and looked at the woman of his dreams lying next to him. Her face was still flushed from the exertion of their activities and her hair was mussed. She was beautiful.

Max felt a rush of feelings swell in his heart. His question from years ago, about whether or not he would have felt the kind of body-numbing peace Tess had felt after their first time if she had been whom he really wanted, was finally answered. In a snapshot of intense clarity, Max realized one thing; this was the single supreme moment of happiness in his life. Nothing would ever top this. Nothing would ever even come close.

He had tasted ultimate bliss and he committed the moment to memory. It would have to be enough to last a lifetime.

Max wasn't so tired anymore. He only had a few hours left to be with Liz. He wanted to make each second count. He disentangled himself from her and when she opened her eyes and started to protest, he silenced her with a kiss. He covered her body with his and made it his mission to kiss every inch of her skin. He didn't think he was up for a repeat of the passionate interlude from a moment ago just yet, but this was just as satisfying. Just as profound. Just as meaningful.

When he was done tasting Liz from head to toe, she returned the favor. And Max could have sworn she wasn't just kissing his body.

She was kissing his soul.

***

The sun peeked through the curtains but Max and Liz were too lost in each other's eyes to pay it much mind. As their bodies insisted that they rested, they had spent the time talking, never breaking contact between them. Max's hands were at home on her body; his fingers belonged in her hair. They poured their hearts out to each other. They saw into each other's souls. They shared the deepest, darkest secrets they had never shared with anyone. Except one. Despite knowing who he really was better than anyone else, Liz would never know what Max truly was. It was the only way to keep her safe.

But still; they connected on a level deeper than they could have ever imagined connecting with another being.

"I will leave him. I can never go back to him after tonight."

Soft kisses on her cheeks, trailing down to her neck.

"I can't stay. You know that."

Small hands on his chest, touching, stroking, caressing.

"Why can't you tell me where you're going? Why you might never come back?"

A dark head resting on her breast. Golden brown eyes closing in agony.

"I want to tell you. I want that so much. But it won't be safe for you if you know. And I will never put you at risk like that."

Arms coming around him, pulling him closer.

"Stay. Please."

***

The day had turned into night again and Max had only left the bed long enough to find food for his lover. He was feeding her fruit at the moment, licking the sweet juices that dripped over her chin with his tongue.

"Run away with me."

Max looked at her with surprise. They had not mentioned a future together since the morning. He thought she understood that it could never be.

"If I ever make it back, I will come for you. That's a promise."

She shook her head. "That's not enough. Don't go. If they're sending you to war or wherever, run away. Desert them."

The idea was beyond tempting and Max was shocked to realize that he was actually considering it. He never would have, just a few hours ago. Leaving was his fate and he thought he had been resigned to it. He had seen no alternative. But things between them were different now. They had made love so many times he had lost count. They had bared their souls to each other. A few hours ago, he had thought he could come here, make sweet memories with her and walk away, heartbroken but knowing that he had realized a dream. He had thought he knew what he was getting into. He had thought he knew that giving her up would hurt. He had never figured that it would be impossible.

A few hours ago, he hadn't known what he was getting himself into. How could he have? This was unlike anything he had ever experienced. The sheer depth of his love for Liz was dizzying. The utter strength of their connection was mind-blowing. It was as though they had been two parts of a whole looking for one another. Their reunion had not only connected them; it had cemented them.

And yet Max knew it wasn't enough to fight destiny. Whether he wanted to or not, he had to leave. Even if it meant losing his soul in the process.

"If I run away, they'll come after me," he said. He wasn't sure who or how, but he knew with certainty that Nasedo wouldn't let him go this easily.

"Then we'll hide. We'll go somewhere they will never find us."

He cupped her face in his hand. "Coming with me means giving up baby Caroline," he said gently. "I know you could never do that."

Liz's eyes filled with tears. "We'll take her with us. I know you'll love her."

Max placed a tender kiss on her forehead. "I know I would. But that's not a life for a child."

Liz raised her chin in defiance. "We'll love her. She'll never want for anything. And neither will our other children."

Max closed his eyes. As much as he wanted to believe her words, he knew it was an impossible dream.

***

Liz was crying softly against him. Max looked at the time. It was already 2 a.m. He had to leave for the podchamber shortly if he wanted to make the trip home.

He thought back to Liz's plea that they just run away. God knew that he wanted to stay with her more than he wanted his next breath. Now that the seed of rebellion had been planted in his head, he couldn't shake the idea. There was nothing for him on Antar. What if he simply didn't show? The Granilith was a one-way rocket. Once it was activated, they couldn't stop it. It would leave whether he was on it or not. And since it was their only way home, Max knew that Nasedo would make sure that at least some of them were on it. The device had a 24-hour activation period. The countdown had already started. Would Nasedo risk everyone missing the ride home just to ensure Max would make it?

The others would be mad. Tess and Isabel would feel betrayed. Michael and Nasedo would be furious. But Max might never see them again so why should he care if they were upset with him? All he had ever wanted was in his arms right now. If he stayed with Liz, maybe it could work.

"What time is your flight?" Liz asked. Her voice was dead, like the light in her eyes. She, who had been so vibrant in the last 24 hours, was now broken, defeated. Max could have killed himself for taking the sparkle from her eyes.

"5 a.m.," he replied.

She wiped her eyes. "Shouldn't you make your way to the airport? Or the airfield, or wherever you're leaving from?"

Max nodded. "Probably."

She bit her lip and looked at him with her wide eyes. "Will you love me one last time?"

One last time. The words hit Max hard. This couldn't be the last time he would feel her skin under his fingers. This couldn't be the last time he would feel her lips against his. His resolve was broken.

"I can't leave you," he whispered. "Let them leave without me." They could hunt him down later; he didn't care. He crushed her against him, relieved to see the spark return to her eyes.

***

Her climax was approaching, he could feel it. As his own also crept up on him, he threw caution to the wind and opened the connection with her wider than he had dared so far. They had been so caught up in each other all day that Max knew she wouldn't have time to question the strange link between them until he was long gone. But now that he wasn't leaving anymore he wanted to share this last part of him. His alien heritage. He let go of the little control he had managed to hold on to and the result was instantaneous. Liz and he were no longer deeply connected like they had been all day.

They were one.

***

He took deep breaths to even his irregular breathing. He looked down into Liz's face. She was still trembling, the last waves of her climax spreading through her in little spasms. She opened her eyes and looked at him in wonder. Before she was able to speak, the door to their little haven blew open and a gust of wind moved the curtains. Liz was torn away from his arms and sent sprawling against the wall.

***

Max was by her side in a flash. She was unconscious, her head bent at an awkward angle. Max quickly looked her over for injuries.

"Leave the human slut. It's time to go."

Max didn't even bother turning toward Nasedo. He picked Liz up in his arms, being careful not to move her head too much and laid her on the bed.

"We'll miss our departure time," Nasedo insisted.

"I'm not going," Max said, his attention still on Liz. Her neck wasn't broken, thank God, but she needed immediate medical attention.

Before he could fully comprehend what was happening, Max found himself against the wall, much in the position Liz had been a moment ago. Nasedo took a few steps inside the room until his glowing hand hovered over Liz's heart.

"You will come if you have no reason to stay."

With a roar that sprung from his very core, Max leapt onto the bed and knocked Nasedo away from Liz. Her skin was already red and peeling.

"If you killed her, I swear to God..." Max didn't finish his threat. Liz's breathing was shallow and he immediately connected with her to relieve the pressure on her lungs.

Nasedo shrugged, unconcerned about the fate of the human woman.

"We're leaving now. Either you come with me willingly and I give you a minute to make sure the whore is okay, or you fight me. I can assure you, I will win. You will come with me and she'll be left here to die."

"Don't you dare call her that," Max said through clenched teeth. He had no doubt that Nasedo could do what he threatened to do. If Max resisted him, Liz would die. Even giving a direct order to leave her alone wouldn't do any good at this point. She was already in bad shape.

He caressed her hair softly and bent to kiss her mouth. His mind was filled with a series of flashes; if he left her like this, she wouldn't make it. Even if he called an ambulance, she would be gone before they could find her.

Ignoring Nasedo, Max connected with Liz and healed everything he could. He only left her with a small concussion. She would wake up on her own in a few minutes. By then, he would be gone.

A single tear dripped on Liz's cheek and Max had a moment to hope that maybe she was waking up before he realized that the tear was his own. He opened a last connection with her. He brushed against her soul.

They found me. I love you. I'm sorry.

I love you.


Her response filled him and he broke the connection. One last kiss, one last longing imprinted on her mind and he was gone.

***

"I can't believe how close you're cutting this, Max!"

Max stared out the window. He wasn't in the mood for a chewing by Michael.

"What if we had not found you in time? We've been all over Roswell twice, Maxwell! Good thing I spotted your Jeep!"

Michael glanced at Nasedo. "He didn't think we should check the motels. He said you would never cheat on Tess, but I thought you might want to get a little human action before leaving the playground for good. Hell, I know I did. I wasn't going to leave this planet a virgin," Michael said. Max looked at him sullenly. How did Michael figure his one-night-stand compared with Max's night?

"You know how important this is!" Michael was still ranting. "I hope she was worth it. Was she any good?"

Max looked at Michael, his eyes dark and burning with something Michael had never seen. Michael swallowed hard, suddenly uncomfortable.

"Who was she, Max?"

Max closed his eyes and didn't answer him. When he opened them again, he could see Michael looking at him with something akin to sympathy in his eyes. While his best friend had never been the biggest fan of his obsession with Liz, he had always indulged Max by hanging out with him at the Crashdown. He knew Michael had figured it out.

Michael opened his mouth to say something but closed it and shook his head.

There was nothing he could say.

***

The last few stars were fading fast in the brightening morning sky. Max stood outside the podchamber and looked around him. He wasn't sure he would miss the desert, or the blue of the sky, and he figured stars would be visible from Antar, but it didn't make leaving here any easier. He had never even left the country, hardly ever been outside of New Mexico; this was all he had ever known. There had been times when he had been excited at the idea of travelling thousands of millions of miles away, across the stars where no one born on this planet had ever been. But now was not one of those times. The only journey he wanted to take right now was back to the Tumbleweed Inn and the love waiting for him in that bed.

He took one last deep breath of the clean desert air, filling his lungs and exhaling deeply. Without another look around, he stepped inside the podchamber and closed the door behind him.

"Max! I was so worried!" Tess wrapped her arms around him but he couldn't bring himself to kiss her back. She took a step away from him and looked at him curiously. He knew she could smell Liz on him. He watched the emotions play over her face until she smiled, indulgence in her eyes. They were leaving the planet together, he would be hers forever. She could let one indiscretion go. He didn't think he had ever hated her more than in this moment.

Isabel came next, her eyes blazing, ready to rip him a new one for missing their last night with their parents. Michael stopped her with a hand on her arm and Isabel really looked at Max for the first time since he had entered the chamber. She must have been able to read the pain on his face, or feel the sorrow radiating from him for her eyes softened and finally she only said, "We missed you Saturday night."

"Did you give Mom and Dad my love?" Max said. He was sorry he had missed the chance to see his parents one last time but not enough to regret spending that time with Liz. He had seen them on Friday, briefly, but it would have to be enough. He had hugged his mother and shook his father's hand and told both of them he loved them. Some people didn't even get that much.

Isabel nodded in answer to his question. "I told them they would see you next time they saw me," she said and her voice cracked a little. Max closed the distance between them and put his arm around her shoulders.

"Do you think they found the tape yet?" he asked in a quiet voice.

Isabel shook her head. "I put it in Mom's cake dish. She usually bakes on Monday nights, you know that."

"So they'll know from that before they can worry about us being missing. Good idea." Max managed a smile for his sister that disappeared when he saw the question in her eyes. "Don't," he warned her. He wouldn't talk about where he had been.

Max wasn't sure if it was his tone or something in his face but he knew the exact instant that Isabel understood where he had spent his last night on Earth. There was something in her eyes similar to what had been in Michael's and again, Max had to look away from it. More than anyone, Isabel understood his desire to be normal, to be human, and to have normal human relationships. She squeezed his shoulder before moving toward the Granilith.

Max took his place in the circle around the cone-shaped spaceship. He smiled sadly at Tess when she took his hand. He turned his eyes toward the purple light that was shining inside the translucent cone. He listened with only half an ear to Nasedo's instructions.

A few miles away, Liz was waking up. He could feel it as clearly as if he had been lying next to her. Max had to clamp down on the urge to turn around and run out of the podchamber. He took a deep breath, trying to deny his impulse.

Following Nasedo's lead, he put his hand again the cool surface of the ship. A brief sensation of dizziness, of weightlessness, and he found himself inside the ship, Tess by his side. The others joined them moments later. It was too late now. There was no going back.

Liz was becoming aware of her surroundings again and Max was hit by her feelings. She was confused. She was worried, though more for him than for herself. She was still in pain over the concussion she had suffered but that was nothing compared to the anguish in her heart at the knowledge that Max was truly gone.

Max was instantly filled with regrets. How many times had he told her that he loved her? Why hadn't he told her more? Had he told her how beautiful she was to him? He knew those words had been spoken between them. He knew she had felt them in his every touch. Still Max couldn't help but feel that he hadn't told her enough. How can some thirty hours replace a lifetime?

He closed his eyes as the Granilith started to spin around him. He thought of Liz, remembering how she looked in bed next to him. It was the one image of his life on Earth he wanted to take with him to his new life.


TBC

Thank you for reading! I hope it wasn't too painful ;)

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indiana266
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Epilogue

Post by indiana266 » Wed Jan 31, 2007 7:30 pm

Thanks again to everyone who took the time to read this and / or leave feedback!

**************

Epilogue

Liz had driven Max's Jeep back to the airport only to realize that she had missed her flight back home. She quickly left a voicemail to Carter and took a cab back to the Crashdown. Her parents had been worried as to her whereabouts but Liz didn't want to discuss her weekend. She assured them that she was fine, packed her overnight bag and made it to the airport on time for the next flight to Boston.

She didn't remember Max leaving. The last thing she remembered was making love to him and feeling him like she had never felt anyone before, not even her own child. She had been about to ask him about this new level to their connection when everything went black. She had woken up alone.

She knew he hadn't wanted to go. She couldn't explain how, but she had felt it when he had made the decision to stay.

They found me. I love you. I'm sorry.

She also couldn't explain how she remembered him saying that when she couldn't remember anything else, but it didn't make it any less real. He hadn't gone of his own free will. She could only hope that he would be able to make it back. She had meant what she had said. She would leave Carter to be with him.

She hadn't been exactly sure why she had travelled to Roswell that weekend until she had seen Max. Then everything had become crystal clear. Things she had buried deep inside of her came back to the surface. For the first time ever she had admitted to herself that Max was the one she had wanted all her life, above anyone else, even Carter. For the first time ever she had acknowledged the moment of doubt she had had before marrying Carter. The one that she had blamed on pre-wedding jitters at the time. But now she knew. In the back of her mind, she had always known that she was connected to Max. That he was the one she should be with. How else could she explain that she had felt his soul calling out to hers that weekend, how else could she justify getting on a plane and travelling thousands of miles based on a just a feeling? It was as though a part of her had known that it would be the last time she would see Max.

As soon as the thought formed in her mind, Liz pushed it away. It would be the last time she would see Max for a while. He had to come back. She didn't think she could go on if she didn't believe he would come back.

***

Somehow Max had known that she would have given up everything just to wait for him, and he had made her promise not to leave her life based on the promise of a maybe. So Liz went back to what she knew in Boston. Love with Carter was what it had always been; nice, familiar, comforting. Every day, Liz could see why she had fallen for him. He was a good father, a great husband. A good man.

Sensing that something was troubling her upon her return from Roswell, he had given her space, never invading but always letting her know that he was there for her should she ever choose to open up to him about the events of that weekend. She never did.

The nicer Carter was to her, the more Liz thought she should feel guilty for cheating on him but she never did. She refused to admit it even to herself, but sometimes she felt like she was cheating on Max by going back to Carter. She knew it was completely ridiculous but it didn't change her feelings. Carter was just as perfect for her as he had been the day she had married him. He was what she thought she had wanted forever. But he wasn't Max. And now that she had had Max, she knew that no one else would ever be enough.

Often, she would look out the window and think about him, wondering where he was and what he was doing. For some reason, she always preferred to do this at night. There was something about the stars that made her feel closer to Max. Sometimes she thought that she could feel him. Some nights she thought she could feel his stress, his anxiety, as if he was preparing to go into battle. Some nights she could feel his loneliness and she just knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that he was thinking about her. She would close her eyes and relive some of their moments together, but the odd thing was that she would sometimes see herself as he saw her rather than her own memories of him that filled her.

***

Liz felt her hopes come crashing around her when she saw the spot of blood on her underwear. She had only been a couple of days late but that had been enough to send her imagination into a frenzy. Never mind how she would have explained it to Carter but she wanted Max's baby. She had never wanted anything so much in her life, except maybe to be with Max again. She thought about how she had made a point that night not to use any birth control. She didn't think Max had realized it; his mind had been in the moment, never on the possible consequences. He wouldn't have gone through with it if he had let himself think of the consequences, Liz knew that. But she had, and she couldn't help but feel like fate had cheated her once again by not giving her Max's child.

Liz put her face in her hands and cried.

***

One night, maybe a month after she had last seen him, she felt a burst of pride and she just knew that his child had been born. She hadn't realized that Tess was that far along. She hoped that wherever he was, and whatever they had him do, he had been able to be with Tess for the birth of their child.

***

About a week later, Liz woke up from a disturbing dream in the middle of the night. She couldn't go back to sleep after that so she quietly walked into her daughter's room and watched her baby sleep. It was the only thing that never failed to calm her down.

As she sat in the rocking chair by the crib, she tried to put together the fragments of the dream she remembered. Max had been there, as well as a couple of others Liz had recognized to be Tess and Max's sister, Isabel. They looked different than she remembered them from high school.

Max looked different than when she had last seen him, too. His hair was a bit longer, he had dark circles around his eyes, like whatever he was doing was taking a toll on him.

Tess was holding something, and Liz realized it was their baby. A beautiful boy who had Max's dark hair and long eyelashes.

They were in some kind of room. The place they were in was immense, with high ceilings. They were brought in front of someone she couldn't see but Liz had the distinct impression that it was someone important. And that whatever they were saying to Max and the others, it wasn't good. That's when she had woken up.

She put the rocking chair in motion. She closed her eyes and pushed the images of the dream away. She didn't like the unsettling feeling of dread that came with them. Instead, her mind filled with a familiar image that haunted her. It would pop up in her head often, and at the most unusual times. She had little control over it but she always welcomed it. It wasn't quite a fantasy; it was more like a memory flash of something that had really happened. Except she knew it wasn't.

She knew it wasn't because she and Max had never been married. They hadn't lived in a little blue house with a yard, and a dog, and four beautiful dark-haired children. And yet it felt real. She could feel the sun shining down on her skin. She could feel the breeze blowing through her hair. She could feel the water droplets as the children ran through the sprinklers.

She remembered it as well as she remembered Max's parting words to her when she had been unconscious, even though she had never heard them. Do you have to have lived something to remember it?

She opened her eyes and the fantasy was no longer only in her mind. She could see the children in the room with her. She could hear their laughter as they chased one another. She could see Max looking at her from across the room. Her welcoming smile froze on her lips because rather than the love she always associated with him, she could now feel his despair.

And then she knew. When her heart stopped and her blood turned to ice, she knew. She realized that the fantasy had taken life in front of her at this precise moment because that's also what Max was thinking about. She was seeing her and Max's most cherished dream with perfect clarity at this precise moment because it was what Max wanted to remember from this life. As his own was taken away, Max was thinking about her and the family they never had a chance to have.

Then she heard him, as clearly as if he had really been standing next to her.

I love you. I've always loved you.

She loved him too. So much. She hoped he could feel that. She would give anything in that moment just to make sure he could feel that.

She felt the ghost of his touch on her skin. The feel of his hair under her fingers.

Suddenly her daughter woke up and started crying.

Liz could feel her own tears staining her cheeks.

Max was dead.


The End.

Thanks for sticking with this until the end!

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