Love By Any Other Name (AU,M/L,MATURE) (Complete)

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max and liz believer
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Post by max and liz believer » Tue Oct 03, 2006 6:55 pm

First of all, THANK YOU!!

Jason's Lover (Crystal)
Earth2Mama (Ellie)
begonia9508 (Eve)

VenusStar wrote:Come on, now, people. My bet is that it's Michael upstairs fixing up the house for Max and Liz. Michael doesn't know how to express himself in words, so he expresses himself with actions. This action is his way of saying that Max doesn't need to worry about anything but his wife and child. He's probably up there fixing up Miranda's room since the new family were not expecting her so soon (meaning her room is not ready).

Hence, no burglar. All is fine.
Whoa...You're good!

Gigo - Thank you, my dear.

Secondly, some shameless plugging. I got this idea of a fanfic in my head at 2 a.m. and I couldn't sleep. So I spent a day writing (fortunately I only had one class that day) and I managed to produce a new story, first short story I've ever written (it's only six chapters). I will post it after I've - and Elizabeth - have edited it. Just thought I would let you know... :roll: (It is still without a title, so I can't tell you what it's called... :oops:)

On with this story...

Chapter 58

Maria frowned as she saw Max’s immobile form in front of the door, keys inserted into the lock.
“You okay?”
He turned around so quickly that Maria gasped.
“Maria,” he breathed.
Maria stared at his hand that had grabbed a hold of hers. “Yes?”
“Go back to the car, okay?”
Maria looked at him, confused and concerned. “What’s going on?”
“I think someone’s in the house,” Max whispered, already pulling on her arm to get her moving towards the car.
“What?!” Maria hissed. “Like a burglar?”
“I don’t know.”
Max was looking over his shoulder, afraid that the person inside had heard him turning the key in the lock or something. He had to get Maria to safety. He pulled the car keys from Maria’s unresponsive hands and unlocked the car. Within seconds Max had opened the door and pushed Maria in. With a ‘wait here’ he closed the door, leaving Maria too look after him in fear. She opened her purse and pulled out her cell phone. Her fingers were shaking so badly that she had to dial the number twice. How could a three-digit number be so difficult to master?

Max carefully pushed the door open. He listened intently for more sounds, but the rhythmic sound of his heart thudding in his ears was making it very difficult to hear anything. He tried to decide what to do in a situation like this, compiling information from the numerous criminal shows he had watched over the years in his head. The person in the shows being in Max’s position would usually decide to yell out ‘Who’s there?’, ‘Hello?’ or something similar, something that had always struck Max as slightly careless. He had no intention of revealing that he was there. As his feet moved slowly across the wooden floor he realized that it might’ve just been better if he had called the police. What was he doing walking into the house on his own? The intruders could be armed. There could be several of them. He wouldn’t stand a chance. He heard a sound behind him and he quickly spun on his heels, his heart lurching up into his throat. Fighting the desire to call out ‘Who’s there?’, he fearfully watched the shadow from the intruder spread across the floor.
“Oh my God,” he breathed. Out of the shadows walked a little girl, the familiar voice rapidly followed by a face.
“Uncle Max?”

He fell to his knees, his mind quickly figuring the rest out. For some reason, Isabel was in the house with Michelle. There was no other explanation to why Michelle would be here. He opened his arms in invitation and Michelle happily ran into them. She hadn’t seen her uncle in a couple of days and she missed him.
“Sweetie, what are you doing here?” Max asked into her golden curls.
Before Michelle could answer, an “Oh shit!” came from upstairs. Max looked up and saw Michael standing at the top of the stairs.
“Michael?” He rose, bringing Michelle with him, who naturally put her legs around his waist and tightened her arms around his neck. “What are you doing here?”
Michael coughed and plastered a surprised smile on his face. “Max? Fancy meeting you here.”
“It’s my house,” Max said. “Is Isabel here too?”
Michael nodded, starting a descent down the stairs. “Uhm, yeah. Isabel is here.”
“What are you guys doing here?”
Michael came to stand in front of Max and offered his hands. “Here, I can take her.”
Michelle’s hold on her uncle grew firmer and she whispered into Max’s ear, “I’s want to be wid Uncle Max.”
“It’s okay, I’ve got her,” Max said to Michael. “How did you get in here? I’m pretty sure I locked the door.”
Michael looked guilty and absent-mindedly scratched his head. “I was given an extra key and I keep forgetting to give it to you.”
Max reminded himself that the previous owner of the house had been Michael’s work colleague so the explanation was highly plausible. “So what are you doing here?”
“We bwuilding house for the baby,” Michelle answered.

Michael looked at Michelle with an expression of being caught in the act, and he laughed nervously. “He he, she’s funny that one.” He ruffled Michelle’s hair, which only resulted in Michelle burying her head further into Max’s neck. She hated when people messed up her hair. Like mother like daughter. “Where do they get everything from these days?”
Max narrowed his eyes and looked past Michael up the stairs. Raising his voice, he directed his question to the second floor. “Isabel?”
“Come, Uncle Max. I’s show the way.”
“Thank you, Michelle,” Max said, giving Michael a long look. Michael was staring at Michelle, his eyes spelling out Traitor.
As the first floor had been immersed in darkness, the second floor was bathing in light. He could hear voices from the round tower room.
“Over dere,” Michelle announced, pointing towards the room.
“Thanks spunk,” Max murmured.
He pushed the half-open door fully open and to his surprise found Isabel standing in front of one of the walls with a paint brush in hand. Having heard her daughter’s voice, Isabel turned and met Max’s eyes.

“Oh Max,” she burst out, looking down at the paint brush in her hand and the green paint buckets on the plastic covered floor. She made a futile attempt at moving in front of the buckets so that she would be hiding them, something that in retrospect would strike her as a ridiculous thing to do. “What are you doing here?”
“What are you doing?” Max countered.
Isabelle looked between her daughter and her brother, and sighed. “It was supposed to be a surprise. With you spending so much time at the hospital, we wanted to prepare Miranda’s room so that you wouldn’t have to worry about that when you got home.”
“Suppise!” Michelle exclaimed, throwing her hands up in the air with a smile stretching from one ear to the next.
Both Max and Isabel burst out laughing and Max kissed the top of Michelle’s head. “Thank you.” Looking over at this big sister, he repeated with emphasis. “Thank you.”
Isabelle shied away from Max’s gratitude and looked at the half-painted wall. “Do you like the color?”
Max looked up at the wall and the dark cyan color. He had in a predictable fashion imagined Miranda’s room to be pink but he had to admit this color was fantastic in its uniqueness. “It’s great, Isabel.”
Isabel shone up. “Really? Guess who picked it.”
Before Max had a chance to guess, Michelle slid down his leg while broadcasting, “I did! I did! I pick color!”
“You did?” Max asked, smiling broadly.
She looked up at him expectantly. “You like?”
“I love it, Shelly. Thank you.”
Michelle began to jump up and down with joy. “Yaaay!!”

Max stepped up to Isabel and pulled her into a hug, placing a kiss on her cheek in the process.
“Max,” Isabel half-complained. “I’m covered in paint.”
Ignoring her statement, Max hugged her harder. “It’s really great, Isabel. I don’t know what to say.”
“You don’t have to say anything,” Isabel answered.
She looked at him closely when he stepped back. “Max, god, you look exhausted.”
“I’m fine,” Max answered with a soft smile, appreciating her concern but still being positive that he was not as tired as everyone kept claiming him to be. Her statement had Max thinking about why he was here and by association on Maria.
Grimacing he put his hand to his forehead. “Oh no, Maria.”
“What about Maria?”
“She’s out in the car, probably talking to the police right now.”
Isabel looked at him in bewilderment. “The police?”
Just then the ear piercing sound of sirens could be heard in the distance. Chuckling slightly at the absurdity of the situation, Max helplessly shook his head. “I heard you inside and thought that I was being robbed.”
As the sound of the sirens grew in intensity, Michelle placed her hands over her ears and said loudly. “Wad’s dat noise?”
Isabelle pried one of Michelle’s hands off her ear and grabbed it. “Come pumpkin, let’s go downstairs.”
This was shaping up to be an interesting night.


Next day

His body was aligned with hers, his head resting on her shoulder, his left leg covering her right and his arm positioned securely across her waist. He felt her fingers tighten around his as she gradually left the state of sleep behind her.
“Hey,” she whispered, looking down into his eyes. He smiled at her and stretched up to give her a morning kiss.
“Good morning. How are you feeling?”
“Much better now,” Liz answered, her fingers unconsciously brushing the hair away from his forehead. He looked much better today and she reminded herself that she had to thank Maria later. “How are you doing?”
“I miss you,” Max answered.
She nodded. “I miss you too.”
Looking up into her eyes, he said, “I have something to tell you.”
She smiled. “What’s that?”
“If you’re feeling up to it, the doctor has given you permission to see Miranda today.”

For a few seconds, she was at loss of words and then she nodded, fresh tears of hope shining in her eyes.
“Would you like that?” Max wondered, tightening his grip around her hand.
She nodded again. “Yes…Yes.”
She looked over at the door and then back at Max. “Can we go now?”
Max laughed softly at her impatience. “I think that could be arranged.”
He could feel her trembling underneath his body, but he knew it was a good tremble. The type of trembles that stem from barely contained restlessness and excitement. He remained still next to her for another couple of seconds, reveling in being close to her again, before he rose. “I’ll be right back.”
She nodded. He held onto her hand until the last possible second, when their fingertips finally brushed against each other before being separated by air.
“Be right back,” he repeated.

Five minutes later, he was back with a nurse and a wheelchair.
“Ready for a walk?”
He pulled the sheet away from her body and gathered her frail body in his arms.
“Yes,” she answered and let herself be lowered into the wheelchair. She reached her hand over her shoulder and Max grabbed it, kissing the back of it.
“Don’t worry, Liz, she’s beautiful.”
Liz smiled. She knew that. She already loved Miranda deeply. Now she was ready to meet her.

Unbreakable (M/L, AU)
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max and liz believer
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Post by max and liz believer » Mon Oct 30, 2006 7:35 pm

I'm back :D

I survived my practical exam in parasitology yesterday and this morning I found the edited chapter in my inbox (thanks, Elizabeth!), and here we go.

First off, thank you from the bottom of my heart for your sweet words

Jason's Lover (Crystal)
Earth2Mama (Ellie)
orphyfets (Stefanie)
begonia9508 (Eve)
- Thank you so much for all your bumps!!
Just Visiting - Hi! A new 'face'. Welcome to this rollercoaster :roll:
out of this world
- Carol! I haven't 'seen' you in a while. So glad to hear from you again :D
- *waves* Hi! I'm sorry I made you cry, but I'm so happy that you decided to read this story. Welcome!
Gigo (Elizabeth) - I definitely sympathize with being busy in school, even though I'm trying my best to ignore uni it's still there. Thank you for taking the time to edit!


Without further babble from me...

Chapter 59

“Would you like to hold her?” nurse Anna asked.

“Could I?” Liz asked worriedly, looking at the extremely small baby on the other side of the hard plastic box.

She glanced at Max and he gave her an encouraging smile. He hadn’t been given the opportunity to hold Miranda yet so Liz being offered to hold her daughter must be a good sign. It had to mean that Miranda was getting stronger. Yesterday they had removed the tubes in her nose that were supplying her with extra oxygen, which meant that she was healthy enough to breathe on her own.

“Of course,” Anna answered.

“But doesn’t she have to be in the incubator?” What if she hurt her daughter in any way?

Anna shook her head. “The purpose of the incubator is to keep Miranda warm because she doesn’t have enough body fat to do it on her own. But if you take her out of there, we will put a cap on her head and put her under your gown so that she can get direct body warmth from you.”

“Oh…” was all Liz could say.

“Do you want to hold her?” Anna repeated, smiling warmly.

Liz stared at Miranda, a myriad of feelings bubbling inside of her. She was so close to hold her. Her baby. Her answer was barely audible. “Yes.”

Max had already instructed Liz to wash her hands, so all they had to do was to lift Miranda out of the incubator. The small body shivered as the cool air of the outside environment hit her and she stirred in her sleep. Staring at Miranda without blinking, Liz started pulling on the hospital gown. Max saw what she was trying to do and quickly helped to loosen the bow which was holding her gown together at the back. Liz smiled ‘thank you’ as he helped to pull the gown down her shoulder.

Liz’s breath got caught in her throat as Anna placed Miranda against her breast, guiding the small legs into the gown, aligning Miranda’s body diagonally across Liz’s stomach. As Liz stared down at Miranda, Anna fetched a blanket and put it around Liz and the baby. She gave Max a small white cap with blue ducks on it and Max awkwardly put it on Miranda’s head. Miranda moved slightly and Liz expelled the breath she hadn’t been aware she had been holding.

“She’s beautiful,” she whispered and looked up at Max.

Max smiled at her, tears forming in his eyes. Liz didn’t grant Max many seconds as she quickly returned her gaze to their daughter. She gently ran her finger over the small nose, over one cheek and watched how Miranda would reflexively turn towards her mother’s finger, making sucking movements with her pink lips. A plastic tube was tracing Miranda’s cheek and the end was taped to the side of her head. At her confused expression, Max explained to her that it was a nasogastric tube used for food. Miranda’s right hand was fisted up against Liz’s breast and Liz carefully traced the thin arm, encircled the wrist with her index finger and gently pried the fingers apart so that she could look at each individual finger.

“Look at her nails,” Liz said quietly, mostly to herself. The nails were the size of a third of a sunflower seed and her own nail looked gigantic next to Miranda’s.

Miranda’s lack of body fat became obvious as Liz looked further down Miranda’s body and saw the motion of her heart beating against the fragile ribcage, producing a rapid rhythmic rise and fall of the skin. Max watched the interaction between Liz and Miranda, occasionally pulling the blanket closer around his two girls as he imagined the air growing increasingly chillier around them.

They stayed like that for another half an hour, Max kneeling next to Liz’s wheelchair and Liz hugging Miranda protectively against her skin. But even though Liz was trying to fight it, and hide it, Max could see that she was growing increasingly tired.

“Are you okay?” he asked her gently and she met his eyes, her gaze tired but happy.

“Yes,” she answered.

Anna, seeing how Liz was fighting to keep her eyes open and understanding how difficult it was for Liz to leave Miranda, decided to intervene and take the decision out of the couple’s hands so that they didn’t have to feel guilty about leaving.

“I think Miranda is a little hungry,” Anna said. “Would you like to feed her?”

If she let Liz do something, Liz was more likely to stay awake and she would have more peace of mind when she had to leave.


Liz knew how babies were fed, but this wasn’t a normal baby. She also knew that the nurses had been instructing her on how to mechanically pump milk out of her breast that would be used to feed her child. She wasn’t sure how it worked from there though.

Reading her hesitation and confusion, Anna explained, “A syringe with your breast milk will be attached to this tube,” she pointed at the tube that was taped to the side of Miranda’s head, “and then we will just push the milk into the tube. The tube goes through her esophagus, down to her stomach.”

Liz grimaced. It sounded horrible. It must be so uncomfortable for Miranda to have that tube down her nose. But she didn’t say anything, merely nodded her interest in trying to help feed Miranda.

Anna prepared the syringe and attached it to the tube. Liz looked up at Max worriedly.

“Do you want me to do it?” Max asked.

Suddenly Liz felt ridiculous. This was her child. Of course she could press down on a simple syringe. “No, I‘ll do it.”

As she was about to press down, Miranda opened her eyes and looked up at Liz. Liz sucked in her breath as she met the blue-grey eyes.

“Hello,” she whispered. “Max…”

Max wordlessly squeezed Liz’s hand and kissed the side of her head.

“It’s true,” Liz said wistfully.

“What is?” Max asked.

“That all babies have blue eyes,” Liz answered.

“It appears so,” Max said.

Her eyes not leaving Miranda’s, who was staring intently at Liz as if she wanted to tell her mother something important, Liz pressed on the syringe and pushed milk into Miranda’s stomach.

Feeding didn’t take very long. Miranda was soon fast asleep again and, as Max was soon to realize, Liz was almost asleep as well.


“Mhmm,” she murmured, blinking heavily.

“Let’s get some sleep,” Max said.

Liz reluctantly looked down at Miranda’s slumbering countenance. She wasn’t really that tired. She could stay. Wouldn’t it be better if Miranda just continued sleeping here, in her arms?

“You can come back later,” Anna said.

Liz looked between Anna’s friendly face and her sleeping daughter.

“Okay,” she said, disappointment clinging to her voice.

Anna leaned down and with united efforts Liz, Max and Anna got Miranda out of the warm cocoon Liz had created. During the air flight from her mother to the incubator, Miranda woke up. What was first small disapproving sobs quickly turned into full out crying. Liz felt the sudden urge to grab Miranda from Anna’s hands as she put the screaming Miranda into the incubator, but Max’s hand on her shoulder stopped her.

“What’s wrong?” Liz wondered worriedly.

“She just woke up,” Max answered.

Fierce protectiveness over his daughter had put its claws into Max as well as his daughter’s screams had filled the air, but having had experience with babies before he could more easily control that instinctive need to rescue Miranda than what Liz, who hadn’t had any experience with newborns, could.

“She’s okay?” Liz asked, frightened for her daughter’s well-being.

“She’s fine,” Anna answered and as if Miranda wanted to confirm this, she settled down as the warmth of the interior quickly lulled her back to sleep.

“I’m not really that tired,” Liz said and yawned. “I could stay for a little while longer.”

“Liz,” Max said, “Anna will take good care of Miranda and she will be here when you have gotten some sleep.”

“You can come and visit any time,” Anna said.


“Yes,” Anna answered. “If I’m not here, someone else will be.”

“Thank you,” Liz said.

“Let’s get you in bed,” Max said, helping to tie Liz’s gown back together. Liz was asleep before Max had taken off the breaks of the wheelchair.


It was a week later before Liz was considered well enough to go home. She had spent most of that week sleeping and spending time with Miranda. It was with great sadness that she was wheeled out of her room, feeling like she was leaving her heart behind.

Max, seeing her lost expression, said reassuringly, “We’ll visit her everyday.”

“I know,” Liz said, trying to offer him a smile. “It just won’t be the same.”

Max kissed her temple and she smiled despite her grey feelings. At least she was going home with Max. She had missed him.

Max wasn’t able to get anymore days off work and had to go to work the next morning, but Liz would most certainly be spending most of her days at the hospital anyway. It was an unspoken agreement. Liz would look after Miranda when Max couldn’t and Max would join her after work.

Forty minutes later, Max carried Liz across the threshold to their house. She had fallen asleep during the car trip and Max didn’t have the heart to wake her up. She still needed as much sleep as possible. The doctors had ruled her physically well, but anyone could see that she was emotionally drained. As he pushed the door open further with his foot, his eyes opened wide at the sight of Maria with her mouth open wide, just about to say – make that yell – something.

“Maria,” Max whispered in warning which fortunately put a stop to Maria’s outcry.

However, it wasn’t enough to stop Michelle, who exclaimed; “SUPPISE!!”

Max sighed and rolled his eyes as Maria turned around and hushed the little girl. “Michelle, Liz is asleep; you have to be a bit quiet now.”

“She’s awake now,” Liz murmured against Max’s chest and Max looked down at her, mouthing ‘sorry’. He lowered her feet to the floor and slightly wobbly with sleep, Liz stepped up to Maria and pulled her into a hug.

“Sorry, Liz,” Maria said, “Maybe I should’ve told Max about this so that he could’ve warned us that you had fallen asleep.”

“That’s okay,” Liz reassured.

She smiled as small arms wrapped around her knees and looked down at Michelle. The blonde girl was looking up at her with an insecure expression, silently wondering if Liz was mad at her for having been woken up.

Liz kneeled down, wincing slightly at the pain that lingered from the surgery, and looked at Michelle seriously. “Don’t I get a hug?”

Michelle brightened and flung her arms around Liz’s neck with such force that Liz fell slightly backwards.

“Michelle,” Max warned, “Be careful.”

“It’s okay, Max,” Liz said, hugging the small body close. “Now, tell me Michelle, what is the surprise?”

Michelle pulled away, her eyes and mouth round as she gestured excitedly with her arms in the air, about to spill it all.

“Shelley, remember what we decided?”

Liz looked up at Michael to witness a silent communication between the three-year-old and the twenty-six year old, which resulted in Michelle biting her lower lip and shaking her head at Liz. “I’s can’t tell Liz.” Distracted by Liz’s flattened stomach, Michelle curiously changed the topic of conversation. “Baby is not in Liz’s tummy any longer. Where did it go?”

Isabel emerged from the shadows and sat down next to her daughter. Giving Liz a quick apology, she turned to her daughter. “Michelle, remember that I told you that the baby came out from Liz’s tummy?”

Michelle nodded seriously. “But where is it?”

Max put a consoling hand on Liz’s shoulder, sensing the inner turmoil, as he stepped up behind her and answered Michelle, “The baby is still in the hospital.”

Michelle’s forehead folded in three creases. “Why?”

“The doctors are looking after her, honey,” Isabel answers.

“Does the baby has a tummy ache?”

Last time Michelle had been sick with a stomachache, her worried mother had taken her to the doctor.

“Something like that,” Max answered.

Michelle’s face contorted in concern. “But…but…she’s dere all alone.”

Alex picked this moment to interfere, seeing the obvious guilt cross over Liz’s face, and scooped his daughter into his arms.

“Come on, Shell-bell, let’s show Liz the surprise.”

The baby temporarily forgotten, Michelle animatedly clapped her hands together. “Yay!!”

Max put an arm around Liz and helped her to her feet. “You okay?”

Shaking the feelings off her, she nodded and mustered up a smile. “Yeah… I’m fine.”

He was still looking at her worriedly. “There’s nothing we can do. She is best off at the hospital.”

“I know that,” Liz swallowed.

Max pulled her into a hug, “Come here.” Liz sighed against his chest, letting him hold her and comfort her while their friends patiently waited at the base of the stairs. Well, almost all of them were waiting patiently.

“Uuuncle Maaax!”

“I think she wants our attention,” Liz mumbled with a smile in her voice.

Max gently kissed her forehead and sighed, “Becoming more and more like her mother every day.”

Max grabbed Liz’s hand and together they walked towards the stairs. While passing Isabel, his sister said to him, “I heard that.”

Max just smiled, which made Isabel breathe easier. For not the first time, and most definitely not the last, she had to admit to herself that Liz had done wonders in her brother’s life. The upcoming surprise was just a miniscule sign of her gratitude to Liz for bringing Max back from his dance on the edge of death.


All she could do was to sigh as the melancholy, which had been hovering on the outskirts of her consciousness since she came home, took a firmer grip on her. She wanted to go back to the hospital, wanted to go back and visit her daughter. With sadness, and numerous other emotions she didn’t even dare to name, she watched the water turn slightly white as it ran in rivulets over her swollen breasts. She bit her lower lip, harder than she was aware of, as she tried to muffle the sorrow. She closed her eyes and hung her head, leaning her body forward while her weight was supported by her hands on the tiled wall, letting the water cascade around her heavily.

She couldn’t imagine having to live like this for at least a month, awaiting the homecoming of her daughter. She didn’t want to be separated from Miranda, but everyone in the medical staff had assured her that it would be better if she went home and got some rest in her own bed. They had assured her that she could visit Miranda during the days.

She directed her face into the stream of water and let her tears be washed away. It wasn’t enough. Seeing Miranda once or twice during the day wasn’t enough. It didn’t matter that she could stay there for as long as she wanted to. It wasn’t the same.

Her hands brushed over her full breasts and she wondered what it would feel like to breast-feed her daughter. It was a normal part of being a mother that she had always taken for granted. Even though they had been prepared for a difficult pregnancy, she had never thought that she would have to watch her milk flow down a tube that disappeared into the nose of her baby. There was nothing natural about it.

She gave a start as she felt arms slide around her waist. She swallowed the tears, trying to regain composure.

“Max, you have to stop scaring me like that.”

She cursed her voice for trembling, suspecting that Max had picked up on it when his arms tightened around her, flushing her back against his front. Her body gasped in response to having him so close, feeling every inch of his front against her back, and her eyes unconsciously drifted closed. Thanks to their proximity, she was certain he could feel her quiver as he pressed his lips against the side of her neck, softly and ever so gently trailing down the tense muscles.

“How are you feeling?”

Her breathing was becoming shallower and she struggled to answer him evenly. “I’m okay.”

His hands shimmed over her stomach, fuller now as a result of the pregnancy. “Do you miss her?”

She dropped her eyes, looking down at where his hands were lovingly positioned on the place where Miranda had been residing just ten days ago. At her silence, he rested his chin on her shoulder and wrapped his arms around her upper arms, his underarms slightly pressing against the swell of her breasts. Detached, Liz noticed the stark contrast of Max’s dark tanned bronze skin against her fair, almost white, skin. The sight caused a shiver to tickle down her spine and her head leaned backwards, coming to rest against his chest.

“I didn’t know it would be this hard,” she said softly.

He replied by kissing her temple. She closed her eyes and continued, “I thought the pregnancy was going to be the worst part. But this is worse. She might still…what if she…and I’m not going to be there.”

Max’s arms loosened around her just enough to turn her around in the circle of his arms. The sobs got caught in her throat as golden eyes met chocolate brown.

“Stop that right now,” he said quietly, but with such intensity that she hiccupped on the restrained sobs. “She’s going to be fine. Nothing’s going to happen to her.”

She wasn’t convinced. She wanted to believe him, so desperately. But she didn’t dare to. So she averted her eyes, staring at the blue tile to the right of his broad chest.

“Liz,” he said and some of the firmness had regressed to give room to tenderness. His hand gripped the base of her chin and he forced her to look at him. “You were bleeding so much in the beginning that I was constantly prepared to hear that she had died.” He winced at the sounds of her sobs as they stumbled over her lips. “I was living in terror - every day - that she would be taken away from us.”

“I know,” she sobbed quietly. She had felt the same way, and she had been next to him during those endless nights when nightmares had prevented him from getting any sleep at all.

He bent down somewhat to catch her eyes, which she kept conveniently directed away from him. “I don’t know how she did it, but she hung on. Baby, she’s a fighter. Just like you.”

She gave a humorless laugh, raising her head to look at him. Max smiled at her softly, his fingers caressing the side of her face, her neck, her arm. “She’s going to get through this. I’ve never been so sure of anything in my life.”

She smiled tentatively. “You really think that?”

Unable to resist the temptation any longer, he captured her wet, trembling lips with his, mumbling into her mouth. “Yes.”

The kiss was deepened when Liz responded and with a groan Max steadied her head, pushing his fingers through her wet hair. Liz whimpered; a sound that was almost Max’s undoing. He could never resist her. Would never be able to resist her. But now he had to. They couldn’t take it further, not yet. Reluctantly, and earning a moan of disappointment from Liz, he pulled away, resting his forehead against hers as he willed his heart, and other parts of his body, to calm down.

“I love you,” she whispered and Max looked down at her, momentarily fascinated by how the water drops would cling to her dark eye-lashes before the weight would dislodge them and have them tumbling down her flushed cheeks.

“I love you more,” he answered with a smirk that elicited a laugh from her.

She shook her head stubbornly, “No, I love you more.”

She gasped in surprise as his lips entrapped her earlobe. His murmured reply caused tickling vibrations to scurry over her ear, down the skin of the side of her face and neck. “No, I-”

“Prove it,” she whispered heatedly.

He pulled back to look at her. “Is that a challenge?”

She bit her bottom lip, blushing under the raw desire in his gaze and, as her voice failed her, she simply nodded. His look alone was turning her into a quivering mass of jelly and she struggled for her next breath. He moved closer, his body inching her body backwards until she was pressed up against the wall. She gulped as the coldness of the tiles made contact with the heat of her skin.

“Liz, we have to stop.” His words contradicted his actions as his hands brushed over her skin. She arched into his hand as he reverently touched her breast.

“Don’t…” she gasped.

“I don’t want to hurt you,” he mumbled, his lips leaving hers and traveling down the arch of her neck. His hands enveloped hers and their fingers interlaced as he pushed her arms over her head, pressing them against the wall, needing to be as close to her as possible.


“We should stop,” he repeated, returning his mouth to hers, increasing the intensity of the kiss.

“No…” she moaned. He took a deep breath and then he pulled away, regretfully stroking her wet cheek. The loss of the warmth from his body chilled her even with the hot water raining down on them.

“Max, please…”

Unable to meet her pleading eyes, he pulled her into his arms, fitting her head under his chin. “We can’t, baby. We can’t. The doctor-“

“I don’t care about what the doctor said,” she interrupted quietly. Before, they could’ve hurt Miranda, but there was no risk of doing that now. She was willing to take the risk. She needed him. Had longed for him for months. Not only her body was aching for him, but her mind.

His stillness and silence spoke volumes of his hesitation. She decided to make the decision easier for him and pressed her mouth against his shoulder, feeling the hardness of his shoulder blade against her lips, a sensation she found highly erotic. His body was so hard, his muscles taut. Her eyes traveled down his bicep and her breathing picked up. Having his large arms holding onto her so tightly caused her to tremble in anticipation, image after image of where this strong body was more than capable of taking her filling her head.

“I want you,” she said. “I want you so desperately.”

His body tensed against her and the cessation of movement from his chest told her that he too had forgotten the simple mechanism of breathing.

“Let me love you,” she continued, kissing a trail of open-mouthed kisses down his chest, smiling as his muscles rippled under her touch. She knew that he was looking out for her, worried that she would still be in pain from her ordeal, but sometimes he just didn’t know the right thing to do. She just needed to give him a push in the right direction.

But as she slid down further down his body, pain engulfed her, distracting her from her ministrations. The wince crossed her features before she could even consciously plan to stop it and when he moved down and gently grabbed her by the arms, she knew that he had seen it.

“Come here.”

Her abdomen ached as Max slowly straightened her body, holding her close to his body so she could support her weight on him.

“I’m okay,” she said weakly, trying to remove the traitorous visible signs of pain from her face.

“Sure you are,” Max mumbled and reached behind her to retrieve a shampoo bottle.

She watched him as he squeezed the liquid into his hand. She studied his face as he brought the shampoo-drenched hands to her head and began to slowly massage it into her hair, his fingertips massaging her scalp in the process.

“Max, seriously, I’m fine,” Liz reiterated.

“You need to get some sleep,” Max answered, still not looking at her.

She looked at him closely, resisting the urge to close her eyes at the way his fingers were deliciously sliding through her hair, rubbing against her head. That’s when she realized.

“Max, it wasn’t your fault.”

When Max’s hands momentarily stilled in her hair, she knew that she had been dead on.

“I need you so much, Max. I really thought that we could do this. It’s been so long…too long.”

“I should’ve stopped it.”

Liz laughed softly at this, tempting Max to look at her.

“I’m not a child, honey. I’m responsible for my own actions. The only reason why I’m hurting right now is because I brought it upon myself.”

He looked away from her and said gently, “Turn around.”

She did as she was told and Max led her head into the streaming water, tilting her head back and keeping his hand pressed across her hairline to prevent the foam from running into her eyes.

“I should’ve stopped it.”

His solemn voice drifted through the water running past her ears and she mentally shook her head in hopelessness. Max Evans was the king of self-blame.

Very carefully, he covered her body in shower gel, making sure that every inch of her was covered, his hands lingering first on the stitches from the caesarean and then the scar between her breasts from the heart transplant.

“I’m scarred,” she said then, but he only shook his head.

“You’re stunning.” And the awe in his voice left no room for objections.

He turned off the tap and wrapped her in a large towel, his heart clenching at how small and fragile she looked as the dark blue material practically consumed her.

“Let’s go to bed,” he said as he rubbed the material over her skin.

She nodded and then leaned in to give him a long, languid kiss. “Thank you.”

Last edited by max and liz believer on Tue Oct 31, 2006 1:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
Unbreakable (M/L, AU)
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Post by Emz80m » Tue Oct 31, 2006 4:54 am

beautiful part :D

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Post by max and liz believer » Tue Nov 14, 2006 6:43 am

Hello my lovlies!

We don't have that long way to go of this story. If I've calculated it correctly, there are two chapters left after this one and an epilogue. I have most of it mapped out, I just need to write it.

Thank you so much for letting me hear your thoughts...

83 AlienAngel

Chapter 60

A couple of days later

His body jerked abruptly as the nightmare frightened him awake. He blinked in the darkness as the dream world began to disintegrate around him. Slowly becoming increasingly awake, he forced his breathing to calm down by taking deep breaths. Squeezing his eyes tightly closed, he grabbed the hand to the arm that was positioned across his waist, the palm pressed up against his naked chest. He practically jumped when he felt her lips press just below the hairline at the back of his neck.

Feeling guilty about waking her up, he turned around to face her. She was looking up at him, her eyes misted with sleep but nevertheless acutely aware of her surroundings – and him.

“Did I wake you?” he whispered.

Scooting closer to him, so that her silk-covered breasts pressed up against his damp chest, the sweat a testament to the horrors of his nightmare, she ignored his question by saying, “I’m worried about you.”

He considered what to answer her and decided to act as nothing was wrong and his tone was light when he said, “That’s my line.”

The seriousness in her eyes as she brought her hand to trace his eyebrow thwarted his attempt at a light mood. “I can see it in your eyes.”

Even though he knew that she was referring to the terror he was unable to mask, he feigned ignorance. “See what?”

She frowned, observing him as if he was this great puzzle that needed to be solved. “Do you want to talk about it?”

He let himself fall into the depths of her eyes, felt the pull – the desperate need – to talk to her, but was just as quickly reminded that she wasn’t getting a lot of sleep herself. Not wanting to weigh her down with his problems as well, he nuzzled his head in the crook of her neck, breathing in the combination of the lotion lingering on her skin and the mango shampoo in her hair.

“Let’s go back to sleep,” he mumbled against her skin, feeling her fingers making soothing circling motions against his back. “You need your sleep.”

“Maybe it will help if you talk about it?” she suggested.

Small legs, cold and blue, flashed through his mind and he pulled away from the warmth of her neck. His eyes were closed, as if that would help to force the image away.


Her voice was one of concern, but instead of soothing him it caused the image of her crying over the dead baby in her arms to spur to life. He loosened his arms around her and pulled away, pushing the covers off him in the process.


He looked at her and shook his head. “I can’t. I can’t…” talk about it, he silently added.

He swallowed against the concern in her eyes and clumsily got his trembling legs out of bed. He stopped at the edge, his feet pressed against the cold surface of the wooden floor, prepared to spring into action, and his head fell heavily into his hands. He heard the whispers of the sheets as she rose in bed and his body trembled when she placed her hands on his shoulders. He moaned in anguish when she softly kissed his shoulder blade.

But she didn’t say a word, compelling him to stay with her touches but still letting him take the first step if he wanted to talk.

“I need her here,” he whispered after several minutes of silence. He felt her still behind him, and cursed himself for giving in. He should’ve gone with his initial impulse to not share his troubles with her. Even though she wanted to be there for him, she wasn’t emotionally strong to shoulder both her own and his worries.

“Me too,” she whispered. “Is she…are you… is she the one you’re dreaming of?”

He swallowed and tried to decide if he should stop this right now, before he upset her. But he had already breached the subject. To walk away now would be more inconsiderate than to have this conversation with her.

“I dream of her every night,” he answered truthfully.

Her hands slid off his back and with the absence he became aware of how cold the room was.

“Good dreams?”

Her voice was weak and not quite as hopeful as it should’ve been, because it had been evident that Max had been having nightmares. He turned around to face her. Her eyes were downcast, focusing on her hands in her lap, her hair shielding most of her face from his scrutiny.


She nodded slowly, biting her bottom lip.

“Baby,” he said quietly, touching her chin to get her to look at him. She was on the verge of tears, his fears having awakened her own. “It’s just nightmares. I can deal with it.”

She looked at him for the longest time, but even under the weight of her teary eyes, he refused to look away. “I’m sorry.”

He sighed in frustration, already knowing where the conversation was heading from here. “Liz, you have nothing to be sorry about.”

“I…I… if you had met a normal woman, you would’ve had a normal child and you wouldn’t have to worry about me or your child dying,” she stuttered in guilty sadness. “You would’ve been able to get over your grief about Tess and Josh, and your nightmares would’ve stopped.”

Irritated, Max left the bed and stood to stare at her. “Liz, I swear to God-“

“You would’ve been able to heal. I’m just stopping you. I’m making your life horr-“

“Liz,” Max almost yelled and watched her jump with a twinge of regret. “Don’t you ever dare to say that again.” He crawled back on the bed, cradling her face almost forcefully between his hands. “Without you I wouldn’t have a life. Don’t you get it? After all we’ve been through? How can you for a second think that I would be better off without you? You’re the only reason I’m alive right now. I would have died if you hadn’t come into my life.”

She was staring at him with an expression of fear and shock, her mouth hanging open and her eyes blinking slowly.

He looked down, taking a deep breath before looking up at her again, his voice softer, “Liz, with the risk of sounding cheesy, you saved me. You brought me back to the living. I don’t regret a single second with you. It’s the only thing that keeps me going. You,” he stroke her cheek lovingly with his thumb, “and Miranda.”

Speechless, she kept staring at him. He smiled softly at her. “I don’t know how your previous boyfriend treated you, but I’m not him. I don’t see you as a burden. I admit, I worry about you every second of the day – and night – but that’s what I do. That’s what you do when you love someone.”

Tears slid down her cheeks at him touching one of her largest insecurities, implanted in her by Kevin. How Kevin had never wanted to look at her naked body in the revealing glow of the lamp, always wanting the lights off because he didn’t want to see her scar. How Kevin would sigh and scold her for not calling him and telling him where she was, accusing her of making his life difficult because he had to unnecessary worry about her just because she couldn’t pick up the phone.

“If you haven’t noticed already, I’m your typical mother hen,” Max said and smiled self-consciously. “I worried before the accident and I will always worry. It’s what I do. Even when we have Miranda safe at home – which will happen – I will worry about her. I will worry about her when she falls and scrubs her knees. I will worry when she is learning to ride a bike. I will worry when she goes on her first date-“

Liz gave a teary laugh at this and Max momentarily stopped talking as he smiled. “I will worry if she’s marrying the right guy, if he’s going to treat her right. And about the nightmares…” He inhaled deeply, shuddering. “I don’t know why I still have them. I want them to disappear, but I think that as long as Miranda is not here and I won’t be able to get up and look at her and ascertain myself that she is alright, I will continue to have the nightmares. It’s just a matter of time, Liz. I’m healing a little bit more with every day, and it’s all thanks to you,” he kissed her lips softly. “And that gorgeous daughter of ours.”

Silence embraced them as Liz looked into his eyes, searching them, trying to mop up every precious emotion shifting through the golden irises. Next she smiled in relief and put her arms around him, pulling him close against her in a tight hug.


Two weeks later

“You’re getting a bath,” Liz said softly, smiling as the large eyes looked up at her, “Yes, you are.”

Miranda made a gurgling sound which was a typical sound for a baby to make, but a sound of divinity to Liz.

“Just hold her like this,” Anna instructed, showing Liz how to support Miranda’s head while they lowered the small body into the water.

“This is your first bath since you left mommy’s tummy,” Liz said, ignorant to everything going around her, everything except Miranda’s face.

Anna smiled at the image they made and gently repositioned Liz’s hands when Miranda gave sounds of discomfort. Liz laughed as Miranda’s small legs repeatedly impacted with the water surface, causing water to splatter everywhere.

“You like that, don’t you? You like the water, huh?”

“Here,” Anna said taking a hold of Miranda, causing Liz to break free of the spell her daughter had placed over her. “Put your hand here instead.” She directed Liz’s hand to the side of Miranda’s head, covering her right ear. “And the other one here.” Liz put her hand where instructed under Miranda’s belly and with Anna’s help they turned Miranda around. She was now floating on her stomach instead, her head resting in Liz’s palm. Miranda quieted down and the content smile on the baby’s face made Liz grin widely.

“They usually like to be on their stomach,” Anna said.

“Look at her,” Liz said, a soft laugh escaping the barely contained happiness building inside of her. “She’s in heaven.”

Miranda was smacking her lips together, her eyes drifting close as she appeared very satisfied with her current position.

“I wish Max could have seen this,” Liz murmured regretfully.

“There will be more opportunities,” Anna assured.

Liz nodded. There would definitely be more opportunities. Miranda was doing really well. The nasogastric tube had been removed and Liz had, on some occasions, already been able to breastfeed Miranda. All Miranda’s organs were fine and she was gaining weight. She was looking a little bit more like a baby now, healthy pink skin and rounded cheeks. According to the doctors, if Miranda kept progressing in the same manner as the last two weeks, she would be dismissed from the hospital earlier than they had thought in the beginning. Liz couldn’t have been happier.


Five days later

“Seriously, what’s wrong with that cat?!”

Maria looked up from searching her purse for her car keys and looked at Liz’s cat that had been living with Maria since the start of Liz’s pregnancy to decrease the risk of Liz miscarrying. The cat in question was, with her claws firmly attached to the fabric of the foot stool, running around the edges of the stool, her body almost completely horizontal to the ground.

Maria couldn’t help but laugh at the sight. The cat seemed incapable of fatigue and the speed it was running round and round this stool with was enough to make someone dizzy if they looked at it for too long.

Maria shrugged. “She’s a cat.”

“She’s possessed,” Michael said. He put the car magazine to the side, deciding that there was no way he would be able to concentrate on reading when the risk of being attacked by a psychotic cat was increasing by the second. While still keeping one eye on the cat, Michael looked over at his girlfriend.

“Where are you going?”

Maria rolled her eyes. “I’ve told you.”

“So tell me again.”

She sighed. Keeping track of dates had never been one of Michael’s strong sides. “Liz is bringing Miranda home from the hospital.”

Michael’s eyes widened with interest and Maria smiled inwardly. Even though Michael would probably never admit it, he had grown quite attached to the small baby. It was very possible that Michael had visited Miranda more times than Maria.

“That’s today?”

Maria nodded. “Uh-huh. I wanted to be there.”

Michael stood up, ruffling a hand through his hair. “I’ll come with.”

Maria concealed a knowing grin and instead gave him an incredulous look. “Why?”

Michael hitched his thumb over his shoulder towards the cat that was still running around the stool. “You really think I’m gonna be here alone, with that one?”

“Alright,” Maria said and grabbed her jacket. “Let’s go.”

As Michael rushed up to the door, Maria laughed.

Michael turned to her and looked at her as if she was the one to just have behaved uncharacteristically. Before he could ask the question, Maria’s lips pressing against his stopped the movement of his lips.

She pulled back and looked up at him, barely stopping herself in time from pinching his cheek. “Ah, you are just…”

“What?” Michael asked, somewhat dazed when she didn’t finish the sentence. Kissing Maria always seemed to have an immobilizing effect on him.

“You are so cute!”

Michael scrunched his nose. He really didn’t like to be called cute.

“Come on, we’re going to be late,” Maria said and took a hold of his hand to drag him out of the apartment.

Michael, however, turned out to be the one doing the pulling and after asking for the car keys with the lame excuse that he needed to warm up the car, he rushed down the stairs leaving an amused Maria behind. Who warmed up the car in the middle of summer in New Mexico?


The last rays from the descending sun were stubbornly squeezing themselves through the half-open blinds, chasing each other over the carpeted floor. Some of the rays reached further than others, some victorious in tickling the feet – and even legs – of the people standing in the middle of the room. The rays entering the room from the opposite window intersected the other rays and stretched high up on the painted walls, adoring and circling around the figures that had been painted on the walls.

To a human, the figures would mean Disney – Snow White, Cinderella, various animated mice, Nemo, Simba, Belle – but to the rays they meant nothing but contrasting colors that would highlight under their touch. As a soft voice whisked through the silence, the attention was drawn to the people; the man and the woman.

“She’s so beautiful.”

He put his arms around her middle, fitting her head under his chin and she sighed, embracing his arms with her own. Their eyes were fixed on the small baby resting on its back in the wooden crib, her arms and legs occasionally twitching from whatever a one-month old baby would be dreaming of. Around the edges of the crib were all types of stuffed animals, having been supplied by the people that had already fallen in love with the little girl.

Max kissed Liz’s temple, whispering in her ear, “Are you happy?”

He felt her head move in a nod against his cheek and he smiled.

“Yes…” she breathed wondrous, as if she couldn’t quite fathom that idea.

Their daughter was finally home.

Unbreakable (M/L, AU)
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Post by max and liz believer » Fri Dec 15, 2006 1:23 am

I'm back in Sweden (so nice to be home and have someone cook for you :wink:) and my lovely beta has now finished editing the last two chapters of this story.

Thank you heaps and heaps for the feedback;

frenchkiss70 - You make me blush :oops: Thank you so much for those pretty words!
Angel Kisses 70
- thank you for sharing that detail about your personal experience with this. It really means a lot to hear from someone who has seen someone go through this in real life that I've managed to capture the feelings correctly.
- Cats are hilarious, aren't they? I love cats.
begonia9508 - I'm relieved that I, for once, am on your good side :roll:. And if I've played my future cards correctly you won't be too upset with me in the last two chapters to come either.
83 AlienAngel
Dreamer 4 Ever
- Thank you, Elizabeth!

Lyrics in the chapter are from Peter Gabriel's "The Book of Love"

Chapter 61

The cry cut through the silence of the night and slowly, but securely, made its way over to the adjacent bedroom, crept up the bed and gnawed its way through the cotton of sleep surrounding Max.

He mumbled and turned onto his side. But the sound wouldn’t go away and as the knowledge of who was responsible for that sound reached his consciousness, he forced his eyes to open and blinked in the darkness as Miranda’s cry for her parents continued to envelope him.

He rolled over to Liz, who was slowly waking up and kissed her temple.
“I’ll go.”

Liz barely registered his words as sleep was still hanging down on her heavily.

Max made his way out of the bedroom and into the tower room where his princess slept. His heart constricted as his eyes fell upon her flustered, twisting body in the crib. She was so small and he loved her so much it hurt. He slid his hands between the mattress and her body and she stilled some, looking up at him at the realization of his presence.

“Hello, you,” Max said softly.

She sobbed and hiccupped in reply and he gently cupped her against his chest, her small body feeling warm and alive against his bare chest. Gently rocking her, he tried to will her back to sleep, but Miranda wanted nothing of that. She wanted something else. Her crying, although not as powerful as before in the safety of her father’s arms, was still present.

“Let’s go downstairs, Mira. Let your mommy get some sleep.”

Her crying followed them downstairs, like a trail of sound, and by the time he had reached the kitchen he had started to worry, as he does.

“Shhh,” he hushed softly. “Daddy’s here. You want something to eat?”

He placed her in the crook of his arm, the length of her body easily fitting against his arm, and opened the door to the refrigerator.

“You want some of mommy’s delicious milk?” he asked, picking out the bottle with breast milk that Liz had pumped before going to bed that same evening.

As if knowing that she had gotten her message through, Miranda quieted down and looked up at him through glistering eyes. She had her mother’s eyes alright, with the power to make him want to jump off a cliff if he couldn’t make her happy. He removed the rubber at the top of the bottle and inserted the bottle into the microwave.

“Soon,” he promised Miranda, gently rocking her so that she wouldn’t start crying again.

But Miranda was hungry and hadn’t counted on having to wait any longer for her 3 a.m. snack. Her face scrunched up, the numerous folds forming having fascinated Max to no end in the beginning, but now caused him to panic because he knew what followed.

“Princess, food is coming,” he said gently, rocking her, but her small lungs managed to produce a loud cry before he had a chance to finish the sentence. She was crying like someone had just stolen her best friend, large tears running down her cheeks.

“No no no,” Max whispered. “It’s okay. It’s okay. Food is almost done.”

He glanced up at the microwave and saw that it still had ten seconds to go. Thirty seconds had never felt that long before. At the sound of the microwave bell, he ripped the door open and pulled out the bottle, put the nipple on, shook it and put a drop on the back of his hand to check the temperature.

He had to use some persuasion to get the bottle into her mouth because she was convinced he still didn’t have any food for her. Satisfied sucking sounds filled the kitchen when Max won the battle. Her eyes met his and he sighed in happiness as he sank down in the couch in the living room. He could sit here with her forever.

Soon the milk had filled her stomach, but air had followed the ingestion and she wasn’t completely satisfied. Knowing this, Max put her head against his shoulder and repeatedly hit her diaper-clad bottom to force the air out of her stomach. At the burp, he walked over to the stereo, not prepared to let her go yet, and pressed play. Strings filled the air, soon followed by Peter Gabriel’s low soft voice.

The book of love is long and boring
No one can lift the damn thing
It's full of charts and facts and figures
and instructions for dancing

He gently began to move to the music, looking down at the bundle in his arms. Her eyes were wide open as she quietly took in her surroundings.

But I
I love it when you read to me
And you
You can read me anything

He kissed the top of her head, loving the smell of her dark hair.

The book of love has music in it
In fact that's where music comes from
Some of it is just transcendental
Some of it is just really dumb

He looked up when he heard her in the stairs. She smiled sleepily at him, her eyes radiating with love.

But I
I love it when you sing to me
And you
You can sing me anything

“I wanted to teach her some moves,” Max whispered as Liz stepped up the dancing couple.

Liz smiled at him and then looked down into Miranda’s face who was looking very content to be dancing with her daddy. Max put his free arm around Liz’s waist and pulled her to his side, inviting her to the dance.

The book of love is long and boring
And written very long ago
It's full of flowers and heart-shaped boxes
And things we're all too young to know

Together, the small family danced to the music and, as Max kissed Liz, Miranda’s eyes slowly closed, giving in to sleep.


Five weeks later

Michael swung the door open and grimaced at the sight that greeted him.
“Whoa, man. Have you slept at all?”

Max had some pretty impressive bags under his eyes and his stance screamed fatigue. But there was a shine in his eyes which Michael probably wouldn’t have picked up on unless it had been reflecting in the small smile on his old friend’s face.

“Hi Mike,” Max answered, promptly ignoring his question and walked past Michael into the apartment.

“So, how’s fatherhood treating you?” Michael said, closing the door behind Max.

He looked over at Max when Max didn’t respond and had to shake his head at the foolish dreamy grin that now adored Max’s lips.

“I take that it’s going well, except for your obvious insomnia, that is,” Michael filled in.

Max nodded, rubbing his forehead absent-mindedly, but the smile remained. “Yeah, I don’t remember Josh being up so many times during the night.”

”But you don’t care, do you?” Michael asked with a grin of his own.

Max smiled impishly and shrugged. “Who needs sleep anyway?”

“Yeah…No,” Michael said slowly, “I’m not gonna agree with you on that one… Sleep is extremely undervalued.”

“Uhm… I’m in a hurry, so…”

Michael nodded. “Right. Hang on and I’ll get it.”

When Michael disappeared, Max sank down on one of the wooden chairs by the kitchen table and let out a shaken breath. How could he already be nervous?

Michael was back in no time, unceremoniously placing a heavy, moderate sized cardboard box on Max’s lap. Max held in a groan and granted Michael a glare for his decision of where to dispose the box. Michael just gave him a casual, typical Michael look in return. Max took a firm grip of the box and stood up.

“Thanks, Michael. I owe you one.”

Michael shrugged. “Don’t sweat it.” He walked over to the front door and opened it for Max. “Just bring that offspring of yours over sometime. Maria is blabbering my ear off about how little she sees of Miranda.”

”Right. Maria,” Max smiled.

Michael shrugged again. “Women. Maternal instinct. Beats me.”

“Yeah, I’ll bring her over,” Max answered, but after glancing past Michael into the not so tidy apartment, Max added, “But clean the apartment some first, okay? I don’t want her to catch anything.”

Michael almost rolled his eyes. “No problemo.”


Two days later

He froze, his whole body tensing in an acute combination of fear and nervousness, as he heard the key in the lock. His hands were shaking as he moved the lit match to the last candle. With his back towards the front door, he heard the door open, but when he didn’t hear the familiar jingle of keys being put down or a jacket being removed, he turned around.

The candles cast a soft warm yellow light that reached into the hallway. It barely touched her figure, making her remain semi-masked in the shadows while speckles of light moved over her surprised face.

Max swallowed. God, she was beautiful.


His mouth felt very dry, suddenly having decided to stop producing saliva, and his palms were sweaty where his body had decided to exaggerate the production.

He forced a smile on his face and hoped that she wouldn’t notice how tense he was. But the candlelit room, the aromas from the dinner he had spent half the day preparing and the soft music playing in the background must have been enough to make her suspicious because she wouldn’t move from her spot. Her keys dangled forgotten in her hands and she repeated, her eyes fixed on the dining table.


He got his legs working and moved up to her. As he came closer, she looked up at him, his face hidden in darkness while the sparse light from the background illuminated the contours of his body.

Just like an angel, she thought.

“Come on. It’s not like this is the first time I have thrown you a surprise romantic dinner.”

The surprised suspicion remained draped across her countenance for a few seconds more, before she smiled guiltily. “Sorry.”

He softly touched his lips to hers and she felt the tingles spread throughout her body. Was it possible to still be so head over heels in love with him and still falling deeper every day?

“Where’s Miranda?”

She knew that she probably shouldn’t have asked, because knowing Max’s surprise romantic events by now she knew that everything was very much planned and taken care of. Just so that she wouldn’t have to worry about anything except enjoying herself to the fullest.

He smiled at her, having anticipated the question. “She’s with my parents.”

He had foreseen the expression of halting worry on her face as well, but pretended he hadn’t seen it as she quickly tried to hide it. He understood why she would react that way, because that same worry was constantly coursing through his own veins.

God, they must be the most paranoid parents alive. However, one couldn’t really blame them for being a bit on their toes after everything that had happened to them lately.

“And…and they are okay with that?” Liz stuttered, trying to stop herself from saying what she really wanted to say.

Miranda doesn’t know her grandparents yet and What if she starts crying and they can’t comfort her and What if she gets a stomach pain or fever. But she didn’t want it to seem like her life nowadays revolved only around her daughter – which of course, it did.

“They can take care of a baby,” Max said softly, a smile fluttering at the corners of his mouth. “They raised me and Isabel, remember? And we turned out pretty okay. Besides, she’s only going to be there for one night. How much harm can they do in one night?”

The worry re-entered Liz’s eyes and she bit her lower lip. “She’s going to spend the night there?”

Max soothingly stroked Liz’s cheek, bending closer so that his face was a mere inch from hers. Her reaction to his proximity was direct, natural. Her heart rate picked up and her breathing started to sound shallow in her ears.

“I needed you to myself.”

The seductive tone to his voice, combined with the warmth of his body so close to hers, caused her to blush and she dropped her eyes, unconsciously licking her lips.

“And why is that?” she asked coyly, not daring to meet his eyes out of fear that the look in those golden orbs would cause her to jump him right there and then.

Her eyes drifted closed as his hands contacted with the bare skin at the top of the semi-closed coat. She licked her dry lips again as he slowly began to unbuttoned the large buttons on her coat.

“First, we need to get you out of this coat,” he said huskily.

How could he make something as simple as removing her coat for her feel like something similar to running his tongue over her naked skin?

She laughed softly as he pushed the coat off her shoulders, his palms flat against her shoulders, making her whole body tremble in longing for a closer touch.

“What?” he asked and she heard the smile in his voice before she saw it.

Looking up, she shook her head. “I’m just… I feel like a teenager.”

“Why’s that?” he asked and removed the keys from her hand and placed them on the small table next to the full-body mirror.

“Lack of self-restraint,” she said, laughing again at her own ridiculousness.

He looked at her curiously, waiting for her to elaborate.

She pushed an errant strand of hair behind her ear, a blush spreading across her smiling face. “God, I so want you right now, Max Evans.”

She looked up at him, feeling shy all of the sudden and bit her lower lip when she saw the darkness spread in his eyes. The seriousness and surprise on his face told her that he hadn’t been expecting her to say that. As she waited for his response, any response, she felt increasingly foolish for saying that.

But then she was moving across the floor, his strong arms around her waist and his lips devouring her. With a surprised yelp she was pressed up against the wall.

“Max,” she moaned and wrapped her legs around his waist while he pushed her firmer against the wall.

She could feel his strength between her thighs and his desire in his hands as they moved over her body in a febrile search to still his longing for her.

And just as soon as it had started, it ended and he pulled back. She looked at him, her lips sore but tingling and her breasts moving quickly up and down where they were visible in the cleavage that Max had made more obvious by tearing two buttons of her violet shirt.

“Sorry,” he murmured, but she couldn’t see a trace of excuse in his eyes, only a raw, primal blackness.

Casting caution to the wind, she took a hold of the back of his head, threading her fingers through the dark masses and with a strength and passion that was unknown even to her, pushed his lips down on hers again. She gently bit his lip and his tongue tickled hers in a way that made shivers run down her spine.

“Jesus,” he groaned against her mouth and she giggled.

She felt giddy, like there were no worries in the world. Like they have been made to stand here in the hallway of their house of many years to come, tearing at each other’s clothes; tasting, touching, trembling, loving. Her giggles drowned in a whimper as he ripped her shirt open, the clattering of plastic buttons hitting the floor deaf to their ears, and pressed his moist warm lips against the swell of her pale breast. Her head hit the wooden wall behind when her chest arched into his awaiting mouth, but the pain only added to the pleasure.

His open-mouthed kisses followed the angle of her chin, his tongue warm and arousing wet against her skin, while his hands buried themselves inside the cups of her bra, taking over the role of cupping her breasts. She could feel herself sliding, her body feeling weak and energized at the same time.

He felt the slide and with a disapproving moan from Liz, his hands left her breasts and grabbed her bottom firmly, pushing her upwards, against him with such a force that they both gasped at the contact.

“Oh God,” she sighed, her breaths coming so quickly she could barely keep up. This man was going to be the death of her.

“Bedroom,” he huffed and she nodded, pulling at his sweater as he moved.

Clothes were discarded on the way and she laughed in a drunken daze of desire when he almost dropped her in the stairs. They fell in a heap on the bed and wasted no time to complete the unclothing process. Max scrambled out of his pants and only wearing his boxers, he paused and looked at her as if the reality of what they were doing just had sunk in. They were both on their knees on the bed, facing each other with chests heaving in a type of unison that was almost uncanny, he, only in his boxers, and she, in panties, a bra and half-opened shirt.

His eyes moved over her flushed face, the messy dark hair, the large brown eyes which had taken on a very dark quality, and her red and bruised lips. He sighed. Goddess. She was a goddess and she was in front of him, half-naked and waiting for him. Wanting him. He cradled her hot damp cheek in his palm and watched as she turned her head in his hand, placing an open-mouthed kiss against the soft skin of his palm. In silence, he let his hand skim down her neck, barely grazing her skin with his fingertips, skim over her collarbone and registering how her breathing would pick up the closer he got to her breasts.

His index finger brushed over her hardened nipple and she whimpered. His heart skipped a beat. His fingers traveled down her stomach, touching the edge of the laced underwear. His eyes traveled back to her face when she moved her arms, but were soon propelled to her chest as she reached behind her back and unclasped the bra, freeing her breasts from the confinement.

It was amazing to him that every time he saw her naked his body reacted as if it was the first time. He felt the heat of arousal course through him and then he was lowering her down on the mattress, caressing, sucking, biting, fondling. Her fingernails dug into his back; with moans of pleasure and impatience trying to urge him on. He responded by slowing down, resting his forehead against hers, his breath shallow and warm against her face.

“We have to slow down, baby,” he murmured.

She shook her head in the negative and answered with conviction. “No.”

As if to emphasize this fact, she arched up into him, flushing almost her whole skin surface with his.

He groaned and took a hold of her hips to still her movements. “Jesus… Liz, it’s going to be over for me very quickly here if…”

She looked up at him, realizing the strain he was under and couldn’t help but giggle. “Okay.”

He smiled back at her, a somewhat disconnected smile as his main concentration was on not letting go too early. But just as soon as he has made taking slow an important factor, he broke his own statement by pushing into her. She gasped in a blend of surprise and pleasure.

“Max…” she breathed as he stopped, fully enveloped in her.

“I couldn’t wait, so sue me,” he answered.

She smiled ruefully at him. “Yeah, I might have to punish you for that one.”

This only resulted in a groan and Liz laughed again. She felt drunk. The happiness was almost too much, the sensations causing her whole body to tingle and fireworks were going off all over her skin. And they hadn’t even really started yet.

“Let me know if it hurts anywhere, okay?” he told her and responding to the concern in his eyes she turned serious and nodded.

Her body trembled as he started moving within her. She had almost forgotten what it felt like. Even though she’d had her share of erotic dreams during the forced celibacy of her pregnancy, her memory and imagination couldn’t quite make up this type of sensation. Nothing in her wildest dreams could compare to reality.

She arched up into his chest, her lips pressing against his, lingering. “So… would you call this… a success?” she pants.

“What?” he murmured, suckling on her neck.

“Your romantic surprise… We never really…really…” she moaned, biting her lower lip hard, “really made it to dinner…”

“I can live with that,” he answered and instead handing him a comeback for that comment, she nodded silently, throwing her head back, her eyes closed.

“Max… faster…”

She was close and he gladly obeyed with her wishes.

The heat was excruciating as the friction increased, her walls clamping down around him. He moved faster, seeing the trembles wracking her body, knowing that any second now, any second now…

“Maaaax!” she cried out, her nails digging hard into his back. The pain from her nails caused the control to snap in him and he joined her in the intense sensations.

“Maybe I should blow out the candles,” Max whispered in her ear as he kept his body on top of her, the heat from their bodies flowing back and forth.

“Later,” she answered breathlessly and kissed him.

“Yes, later,” he agreed, his fingers already exploring what his fingers thought needed to be explored.


One hour later, Liz forced Max out of the bed and downstairs, saying that she was starving and she couldn’t live with the knowledge of him having slaved away in the kitchen all day without the result being eaten.

Max hadn’t really been that enthusiastic about leaving the bedroom and putting an end to their activities. The place might’ve burned down before he would decide to go downstairs and blow out the hundreds of candles all over the living room if it weren’t for the fact that the main factor that he needed to resume his activities was right now walking in front of him, clad merely in one of his T-shirts (he was fully aware of that she was only wearing that shirt), intent on eating.

“We just have to heat it up,” Max said behind her, as she experimentally moved the vegetables around the frying pan with the spatula.

He stepped up close behind her, barely leaving an inch between them, and put his hands on her hips, seductively moving them upwards over her naked skin, pulling the shirt upwards in the process.

“Max…” Liz half scolded, half moaned. “I’m hungry.”

”Me too,” he answered and she had a feeling he wasn’t talking about the roast.

Liz turned in his arms, smiling at him. He was looking down at her like she was his last meal and her breath caught in her throat. He was gorgeous. Did he know how gorgeous he was? She brushed the dark hair away from his damp forehead, feeling like she wanted to cry.

Picking up on the change in her mood, he asked gently, “Hey, are you okay?”

She sniffled back the threatening sobs and nodded. “Yes.”

“You sure?”

How was she supposed to not cry when he was looking at her like that?

“I’m just so happy.”

He relaxed, leaned in and kissed her deeply. “I love you.”

She nodded, swallowing her sobs and announced, “Let’s eat. Or… at least heat up the food.”


Max put down his fork on the plate. “There was actually a reason behind this whole spectacle.”

Liz looked at him in dramatic shock. “You mean, besides the mind-blowing sex?”

He grinned and said pointedly, as if he was disgusted with the notion that she thought he would do something like this to get her to have sex with him. “Yes.”

“Wow, this most be my lucky day,” she answered and took a sip from her water.

“Besides, if I wanted to get into your pants, I don’t think I would have to go to these measures,” Max said calmly.

Liz’s eyebrows rose. “Max Evans, are you calling me easy?”

He shrugged, uncommitted. “I wasn’t the one calling you a teenager, saying that you wanted me.”

He was overflowing with self-confidence to such a degree that Liz couldn’t do anything but laugh.

“So, what is the reason then?” she asked, curiosity getting the best out of her.

“This,” he answered simply and pulled out a book from underneath the table.

Her hand stilled on her glass and she stared at the book. “Is that…?” she whispered.

“This, Ms. Elizabeth Parker, is your book,” Max said and turned the cover facing her, pointing at the title and the author name. “See, it says right here; Heartbeat by Elizabeth Parker.”

“Oh God,” Liz more or less squealed and almost knocked over the pitcher of water when she reached over to snag the book out of Max’s hands.

Sitting back with the book in her hands, she reverently traced the cover with her finger.

“Max, you should be ashamed of yourself,” she whispered, her voice oddly dripping with awe.

He couldn’t keep the grin off his face and asked, “Why’s that?”

“You tricked me into having mind-blowing sex before giving me this. That is just… well…”

His grin grew wider. “Believe me, Ms. Horny, sex wasn’t in my plans until maybe after the revelation of the book.”

Putting on a face of deep understanding she said, “Aha.”

“Open it,” Max said, unable to contain himself any longer.

She opened to the first page, reading the dedication with teary eyes. She could feel Max’s eyes on her the whole time.

She turned to the second page and her movements came to a screeching halt. Her breathing temporarily stopped and she was filled with wonder and anticipation, but mostly nervousness.

“Max,” she breathed. “There’s something wrong with the book. It doesn’t look like a normal book.”

Max, putting his best acting abilities to the test, widened his eyes in surprise. “Really? What’s wrong with it?”

Liz stared at the square hole inside her book. Where the words were supposed to be, there was a black small velvet box.

“I’m not sure,” she said slowly, carefully picking up the little box, knowing exactly what a box of that size meant. “It seems like someone has carved a hole in the book in order to hide something inside.”

Max gasped, “You’re kidding”, and stood up.

“I’m certainly not,” Liz answered and opened the black box with shaking hands.

Max stepped up next to her, his heart pounding loudly in his ears.

She gasped as she found herself looking at a ring made out of white gold, a small diamond perched on top. The design was clean and simple, but gorgeous. It was just what a girl who rarely wore jewelry would dream of.

“Max, someone put a ring inside my book.”

“A ring?” Max asked. “That’s odd.”

“Very odd,” Liz whispered and looked up at him, tears building in her eyes.

Max swallowed, finding her more beautiful than ever in that exact moment. “Maybe you have a secret admirer.”

“It appears so,” Liz answered, keeping her eyes locked with his and as she watched, he fell to his knees and her heart rate increased.

“Liz,” he said softly. “I know it took me forever and a day to do this. I had my reasons-“

“Needing to carve out a hole in my book and all,” Liz filled in, her voice cracking.

“Exactly,” Max said. “Do you remember that evening when you came to my house, after breaking up with Kevin?”

Liz smiled warmly, not being able to stop herself from touching his cheek gently. “Of course I do. I didn’t have anywhere to go and you took me in.”

Max nodded. “I was in a very bad place then.”

Liz remembered. She had stayed over in the guestroom but his anguished screams, his mind tortured with nightmares of his dead family, had woken her up in the middle of the night.

He took her hand between both his palms, his voice trembling as he continued, “I tried to push you away. I tried to hide, because I was afraid of what you would see. That you would see me as a monster-“

“I could never see you as a monster,” Liz said softly.

He nodded. “I know that now. I didn’t then. It hit me the other day, that it was when you stayed over that things changed. I couldn’t pretend that you didn’t care anymore, because you-“ he laughed, still not quite believing that she actually stayed with him, “you kept being there for me. Even when I was at my ugliest, you were there; holding me. That day in the mall, when I lost Michelle, I was a complete stranger to you, but you still helped me. Because that’s what you do. You are incredible, Liz Parker. Your strength impresses me every day. Your strength gives me strength. I never thought I would be free of the nightmares, but being with you… They are gone, Liz. There’s no doubt in my mind that you made them go away. I consider myself the luckiest man on earth because I got to get to know you, love you and be loved by you. I can’t imagine a life without you.”

She smiled, keeping her eyes steady on his face even though her view was blurred by tears. She sniffled as he took the box from her hand and took out the ring.

He gentle took her hand, positioning the ring at the tip of her ring finger, awaiting her reply, and then looked up at her.

“Liz Parker, would you be my wife?”

Liz stared at him for what seemed like an eternity. He was so nervous his stomach was starting to hurt.

She leaned down and kissed him lovingly. “I thought you would never ask.”

“Is that a ‘yes’?” he breathed.

She smiled brightly, her face glowing with happiness. “Yes, doofus, yes!”

He smiled in awe and bliss, and slid the ring onto her finger. “You know, that would make you Mrs. Doofus.”

She laughed. “If you’re Mr. Doofus, I’m Mrs. Doofus.”



I'll be posting the very last chapter in the close future...
- Jo
Unbreakable (M/L, AU)
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max and liz believer
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Post by max and liz believer » Wed Dec 20, 2006 3:28 pm

Challenge by Deejonaise

This challenge is based loosely on the movie Return to Me with Minnie Driver and David Duchovny. I won't give a detailed synopsis of this challenge because it's important to me that the author make the story his/her own.

The gist is this: Max and Tess have a wonderful relationship, strong marriage and delightful two-year old son. All their happiness is destroyed in an instant by a drunk driver. Max's wife and son are killed.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth Parker is on her deathbed and desperately in need of a heart transplant. She has a rare blood type which has made selection difficult. However, Liz is given a second chance at life when a perfect donor match is found. (The heart is Tess', of course.)

Now fast forward 2 years into the future. Max and Liz meet by coincidence and are instantly attracted. They try to fight their feelings. Max is still grieving for his wife and Liz is afraid of getting close because she doesn't want to explain her heart condition. It's inevitable that the two fall in love.

However, how will Max react when he discovers that his new love is the recipient of his dead wife's heart?

This is an AU fic with no aliens. Toss in the other characters at your own discretion. Any rating is accepted but the ending must be happy.

Final Words

I can’t believe I finally reached the end of this story. It’s sad to see it go, but at the same time I have this great feeling of contentment. I’m glad that I was able to tell this story and hopefully everyone that has read this story (or some of it) thought that I was doing the characters justice. To you, all my beautiful readers, I want to thank you for your support, your words and your encouragement. But most of all, for your patience. Some of you have been with me from the beginning and stuck with me through all the infrequent updates. It became a long story and it stretched over a longer time span than I had intended, but I loved every second of it.

I wish there was something else that I could say to show my appreciation for your comments, but all I can say is THANK YOU!

Itzstacie, Ash_maxliz, frenchkiss70, LeighAnn, Lana, Angelic, Gaby7tvm, marteloise, Dreamn Girl, *Zans-gurl*, believer_evans, nickimlow, sweetygurl, Deejonaise, begonia9508, Chipsflickan, Jasonluver47, RebeccaBehr, Antarian Pixie, roswelluver, flohmac, LPorter, Liz Parker Evans, scoobydoo4000, mareli, Nettygirl, Elc, qt4167013, Blond_Shiri, Sarah Whitman, Alien614, lily, limegreenli, It Was Me, Jasonluver47, Lindsey, Parker Evans, FloridaGirl, I love Orli, Jeni, ceg, Ripley Rip Tide, jbswhirlwindgalaxygirl1, gal, pookie76, Mica, AznGurl87, AlienDreamer101, Asianbehr, NorafanofMaxandLiz, Max4Liz4ever, Angelic, roswellian137, moonlight, Kaela, dream on, chinablueeyes, Kendra, Maia, Pegleg, cherie – You are missed Clari, soppysophs, Nana, Aprilise, extingman, brilliantsmiles, Lolita Behrbuns, roswells_hope_lily, Nan, Triss, LysCat, Ellie, emma1126, Ellie Adair, AngelOhana, Tea, LttleMrmade, Scottie, snoopie13, AnnMore, Elle, Behrsgirl77, Strawberry88, LTL, out of this world, 561270, polar vixen, TrueDestiny, mezz, Harper, Luvya, Emz80m, SweetieTeeny, Ms Yu, Eccentric One, Smac, liz_maria, PhoenixFlamez, funquejunque, Sali103, daniz10, con angel, strawberry_dreamer, BehrLuver04, IloveRoswell, PSW2001, MilesToGo99, I am a dreamer, QBon, g7silvers, AppleJacks, Jason’s Lover, stargrl678, WomanofMystery, sunrise102, rigel, Mariel311, Purpleant, Bixie, kay_b, sox, WildSphinx, 83 AlienAngel, su-lyn, DreamerHeart, froufrou, flyawayraven, taressa05, sylvia37, Michelle, vampyrax, ana julia, BehrObsession, Monkeycgm, dreamerbabylioness, katilyz, SmileeUk, linliz68, lazza, Shadowlynxbehr, POM, Jason’s Princess, Gater101, kittens, Erina258, maya, LoveIsForever, Poison Ivy, Roswell_Freak, ladylou, Sweet Liz, Erina, martine, Earth2Mama, orphyfets, paper, Behrsgirl1230, aussietrueblue, Morning Dreamgirl, guelbelek, hazz, hunnibehr505, Dreamer 4 Ever, midnightstar29, DreamerMaxBehrian, ruthandnina, L-J-L 76, HBGO, bballchick_121, Ms_BuffyAnneSummers, Isabelle!, VenusStar, JustVisiting, Buffsteraddict, roswell3053

Elizabeth, thank you so much for your editing throughout this whole story. You rock, girl!

Chapter 62

“Oh Liz,” Maria sighed with a dreamy expression. “It’s beautiful. Absolutely gorgeous.”

Liz smiled, looking at her own reflection in the full-body mirror. The upper part of the white dress was hugging her subtle curves intimately, letting it billow out just below her waist.

“Do you think he will like it?” Liz asked, biting her lip.

Liz saw Maria’s nod in the mirror. “Uh-huh. If he doesn’t – if every single guy out there doesn’t take a second look at you – something is seriously wrong with the male population.”

Liz’s smile grew wider.

“Now, let’s fix that make up of yours,” Maria announced.

Liz frowned. “Shouldn’t we have done that before I put on the dress?”

Maria shrugged. “Before. After. Does it matter?”

Liz looked at her strangely, but then shrugged as well. “I guess not.”

Liz looked towards the door as a loud banging filled the air. “What’s that?”

“Oh, the construction workers,” Maria answered simply.

“In a church? On my wedding day?” Liz asked.

“Don’t worry, Lizzie. They’ll take a break soon.”


“Sit down so I can put make up on you.”

Liz took a seat in front of Maria and Maria bent down, red lipstick in her hand. Liz scrunched her nose in disapproval.

“Uhm… I never wear lipstick, Maria. I look weird in lipstick, remember?”

“You need some color,” Maria stated.

Liz looked up at her and then weakly agreed.

But as Maria put the wine red lipstick against Liz lips, she pressed the material very hard into Liz’s soft flesh and the stick broke, falling onto Liz’s white dress. In horror, Liz watched the stick roll across the white material, leaving a dark red trail.

“Oh no!” Maria gasped and whipped around to grab tissues. “I’m soo sorry!” She started to move the tissues over the red color, only serving to further smoother it into the material, increasing the affected area.

“Maria, no!” Liz cried out, but Maria wasn’t stopping.

Maria merely took a new tissue, spat on it – as if saliva would magically be able to remove the make up – and pressed it hard against Liz’s dress. All the time the banging continued around them, wearing on Liz’s rapidly deteriorating good mood.

“Maria, you’re making it worse,” Liz tried and then Maria started to cry.

Liz stared at her in confusion. Why did Maria sound like a baby?

“It’s okay,” Liz tried, desperately wanting Maria to stop wailing. “I’ll just…uhm…wear something else.”

But Maria didn’t stop. Her cries grew louder, more insistent.

Liz felt something touch her stomach and looked down, jumping in surprise as she saw a tanned, muscled arm around her waist.

Her eyes sprung open and she stared into the darkness.

Just a dream, she thought tiredly.

She looked to her side as she heard Max moan with fatigue. The crying was still there, and in the darkness of the night Liz realized that Miranda was once again awake. Hadn’t she just put her to bed?

Liz snaked out from underneath Max’s arm, which proved to be more difficult than she had anticipated because he kept tightening his hold on her every time she moved. Using some of that last ounce of willpower, she pulled away and stumbled to her feet. Grabbing the robe on the chair next to the wardrobe to shield her naked body, she walked towards the nursery, breaking out into a large yawn. Automatically, she turned on a small bedside lamp, creating a soft light in the bedroom.

Liz smiled down at Miranda in the crib as she grew quiet at the sight of her mother’s face. “You are enjoying this, aren’t you?”

Miranda suckled happily on her fist in reply and Liz shook her head in amusement. It didn’t matter how many times her daughter woke her up. She would always be just as tired, but she loved these moments in the middle of the night when she would have her quiet times with her daughter.

As she picked Miranda up from the crib, she realized that Miranda’s sleeping habits hadn’t been the reason to Miranda waking up this time, because she realized that the construction workers from her dream were back. She protectively pressed Miranda close to her body and walked out into the hallway, looking up at the clock when she passed it. Who was knocking at their door at 3.20 a.m.?

Deciding that it wasn’t really safe to open the door in the middle of the night, with a baby in her arms nonetheless, she went into the master bedroom and leaned over Max.

“Max? Max, wake up.”

He muttered something and turned his head in the other direction. Liz grabbed a hold of the sheet and pulled it off him.

“Max!” she said in a loud whisper, the knocks on the front door sounding once again. “Someone’s at the door.”

“What?” Max murmured, his eyes beginning to blink towards wakefulness.

“There’s someone at the door.”

Max opened his eyes and looked up at Liz, seeing how she was pressing Miranda closely to her breast and her words sunk in.

He sat up, suddenly wide awake and rubbed his eyes. “What time is it?”

“After three,” Liz answered.

He rose from the bed, grabbing his robe and looked her straight in the eye. “Stay here.”

She nodded, watching him disappear. Gently rocking Miranda in her arms she walked out into the hallway, positioning herself at the top of the stairs, where she could see the front door. She watched Max walk up to the door and look through the peeking hole and then quickly remove the safety chain and unlock the door.

“Max, thank God. You sleep like the dead! I’ve been standing out here for almost five minutes-“

“Alex, what…?”

Max eyes skimmed over the slumbering blonde girl in Alex’s arms.


Max felt the fear pierce his heart. “What’s wrong? Did something happen to Isabel? Is the baby okay?”

Alex nodded profusely. “Yes, yes. She’s in labor. She’s out in the car – probably ready to bite my head off for the delay. Could you watch Michelle? I know that you are probably busy with Miranda and all, but Isabel insisted that she didn’t want anyone else to watch Michelle. Just you.”

Max nodded, already having taken a hold of Michelle. “Of course.”

Alex helped Max in the transfer of the child and smiled at Max gratefully. “Thanks Max.”

“Don’t mention it,” Max answered. “Tell Isabel I love her.”

“I will,” Alex said, the trembling in his voice revealing his nervousness.

“You’ll be alright,” Max smiled at him.

Alex nodded distractedly, looking over his shoulder at the car with the engine still running behind him. “Yeah, yeah, of course.”

And then, without a single word of departure, Alex turned around and ran towards the car.

“Uncle Max?” Michelle murmured against Max’s ear and Max quietly shut the door.

“Yes, baby. It’s me. Go back to sleep.”

He felt it the second she gave into sleep, as her body slumped in his arms, her arms and legs dangling along his sides as he supported body with his arms and hands.

He walked up the stairs, leaned in and kissed Liz gently on the lips when he reached the top stairs.

“Isabel?” Liz asked, although she had more or less already figured out why they had suddenly gotten a second child to look after.

“She’s having her baby,” Max smiled.


The early morning sun had barely managed to search its way through the windows, the majority of the birds still slumbering, as Liz opened her eyes. She frowned wearily and rolled over. Why was she awake? Her hand moved to the side, where she expected to find Max, but the spot where her fiancé normally slept was empty and cold. Max hadn’t been in bed for a long time. She strained her hearing, searching for sounds and heard some noise that seemed to be coming from downstairs.

Refusing the impulse to close her eyes and go back to sleep, she rolled out of bed and pulled a thick sweater over her nightgown to fight off the chill of the early morning air.

She had a perfect view of the living room as she descended the stairs. Max was sitting on the couch, one arm around Michelle who was curled up against his side and wrapped in a blue and green wool blanket. Miranda was sleeping in the crook of the other arm. As Liz reached the bottom of the stairs, she saw that they were watching ‘The Lion King’.

Max looked up at her and silently met her eyes as she walked closer to the couch. She sat down next Miranda, pulling her legs underneath her, and kissed the top of Miranda’s head. Max smiled at his future wife and leaned over to kiss her on the forehead. Liz snuggled closer to Max, needing his warmth and love. Needing to be enveloped in the scent that was just him.

“Miranda woke Michelle up,” Max whispered and Liz nodded.

Michelle giggled, pointing at the TV screen, unaware of Liz’s arrival. “Look at his hair! It’s standing all out!”

They all looked at the screen, where a grown-up Simba shook his body fervently to get rid of the water after his swim in the lagoon, spreading water everywhere and making him look like a hedgehog.

“Silly,” Michelle added, curling closer to Max.

Liz gently grabbed Miranda’s small hand, straightening the miniscule fingers to look at them individually. Max looked down at what Liz was doing, observing the expression of awe and love on Liz’s face. She lightly moved her finger up the length of Miranda’s arm, reveling in the feel of her baby-soft skin, while Max continued to watch her.

“I love you,” he whispered when her finger reached Miranda’s rosy cheek.

Liz looked up at him in surprise, a smile spreading over her face. “I love you.”

As Simba was reunited with Nala and the soft tunes of ‘Can you feel the love tonight’ filled the living room, Liz’s eyes drifted closed, her hand enclosing Miranda’s and her head resting heavily against Max’s bare bicep. Careful not to jostle her, Max reached over Liz and pulled at the blanket that was folded at the end of the couch and pulled it up over Liz’s curled up body. His eyes were on his family as the voices from the movie circled around him.

”Simba, wait up. It’s awful, isn’t it?”

“I didn’t want to believe you.”

“What made you come back?”

“I finally got some sense knocked into me. And I’ve got the bump to prove it. Besides, this is my kingdom. If I don’t fight for it, who will?”

“I will.”


“Come here,” Alex said, lifting Michelle up into the hospital bed in the empty space next to her mother. “This is your little brother.”

Michelle’s eyes were wide as she looked at the bundle in Isabel’s arms. After a moment of silence, she said, matter-of-factly. “He look exacky the same as Mianda.”

Isabel looked up at her husband and laughed softly before lovingly pushing back the blonde curls from her daughter’s face. “Yeah, most babies look the same.”

Michelle looked at the baby, slightly disappointed that he was so small.

She knew from having been around Miranda that her brother wouldn’t be that much fun right now. He would just be sleeping, crying, eating and pooping. Still, she had hope that maybe her brother would be different. Maybe he would be big, ready with white sneakers and a ball to play with her.

“When can he play?” she wondered.

Isabel and Alex looked at each other in amusement. Alex put his arms around his daughter and pressed a kiss against her temple. “He has to get a little bit bigger first, honey. But you know what? As his cool older sister, you will be able to teach him all the cool games.”

Michelle’s face brightened. “I’s can learn him how to put make up on my make up doll!!”

Alex held back a snicker. “Yes, you can teach him all the neat tricks.”

Max and Liz visited thirty minutes later, exclaiming with oohs and aahs over the handsome newbie in this world. Liz hugged Isabel warmly and kissed her on the cheek.

“He’s beautiful, Isabel.”

Isabel smiled, glowing. “Thank you, Liz.”

The two women had come a long way since they were fighting about what was best for Max. It seemed like such a long time ago already. Looking over at Max, looking so natural standing next to Liz, Isabel was glad that she had pushed her pride to the side and accepted Liz as a constant in her brother’s life.

“I’ll wait outside,” Liz told Max softly. Isabel’s smile grew wider as she watched how Max’s gaze would follow Liz until she was completely out of his sight.

“What?” he smiled as he saw the big grin on his sister’s face.

She shook her head. “You. All happy. In love.”

A blush spread up his neck, sidestepped his cheeks and instead aimed straight for reddening his ears.

“Yeah, about that… I wanted to talk to you about something.”

Isabel patted the free space next to her on the bed. “What’s up?”

“Uhm… I asked Liz to marry me,” Max said.

Isabel’s smile widened until it barely fit on her face, her eyes glowing. “And…?”

Max’s eyes returned her glow, nodding. “She said ‘yes’.”

Isabel laughed, pulling him into a hug. “Of course she did. It was about time you asked.”

“You’re okay with this?” he asked haltingly against her ear.

She let go off him so that she could look him straight in the eyes. “Why wouldn’t I be, Max? You’re happy. And I’m pretty sure Liz is what is making you happy. All I ever wanted was for you to be happy.”

He couldn’t help but hug her again. “Thanks, sis.”

She wiped some tears off her cheeks and hitched her chin into the direction of the book lying next to Max.

“What’s that?”

Max picked up the book and handed it over. “Liz wanted you to have it.”

Isabel looked down at the cover and asked in surprise, “Is this…?”

Max nodded. “It’s her book.”

“Wow,” Isabel breathed. “She did it. She really did it.”

Max beamed proudly. “Yes, she did.”

Isabel looked up from the book at her brother. “Tell her ‘thank you’.”

“I will,” Max promised and leaned in to place a kiss on her cheek. “You look tired. You should get some rest. I’ll be back later.”

She nodded. “Okay.”

“Do you want me to help you put him back in the crib?”


Max felt his chest swell with warm fuzzy feelings as he picked up the small baby. It struck him then how quickly babies grow. Miranda was already big in comparison with his nephew. His nephew. Max smiled and gently placed the baby in the crib, pulling it up to the bed so that Isabel would have close access.

“Catch you later, sis,” he said softly.

“Love you,” Isabel answered.

“Love you too,” Max responded.

When Max had left the room, Isabel looked down at the cover of the book and absent-mindedly stroked the indented letters of the title.


Elizabeth Parker

Her son graced the silence with a gurgle and she smiled, looking over at the baby. The one-day old was happily suckling the side of his fist and Isabel stared at him in wonder a long time before turning her eyes back to the book in her hands and opened it to the first page.

In Memory of Tess Evans, the woman who gave me life in more ways than one.

Isabel’s hands were trembling, tears running down her cheeks at the act of Liz dedicating her book to her best friend and with a sobbing smile she turned to the first page and started to read.

I must have been six years old. The memory is as clear as the morning dew sliding off a green leaf in the early morning sun, but there is fog blurring the edges.

I remember sitting in a corner of the small kitchen. I remember the full smell of chocolate muffins heavily surrounding me. A smell that normally would have left me itching with anticipation but which that afternoon only left me with the suffocating longing for air.

I remember his large hands, the skin that was worn by thousands of small lines of age and sun, reaching down and lifting me up. I remember having difficulties to breathe but the calm I felt to be held close against his shirt. His familiar grandpa smell enveloped me and while my heart was barely keeping up, I could feel – and hear – his heart beat against my ear. Calm and steady.

“Have I ever told you about my talent?” he asked me as he sat me down on the majestic wooden kitchen table. I think he stroked my hair back from my face, but my memory of that detail remains hazy. At the shake of my head he tells me.

He tells me of his talent of being able to see wings on people. How some people are so beautiful on the inside that they have wings. I can still to this day remember the confusion and hunger I felt to understand what he meant.

“Sometimes I have to squint my eyes to see them, but some people…some people are glowing.”

My childish imagination produced an amazing radiant white angel and I laughed with the same type of giddiness you feel when your father comes home from a long trip and brings you a present.

He smiled and said, “I see them on you, Lizzie. I see them on you.”

I didn’t understand it then and not for many years to follow. But I do now.

Because I see them now.

I see them now.

<center>THE END</center>
Unbreakable (M/L, AU)
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My Imagination

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