Chapter 3: The Awakening
Liz’s POV (Dream Sequnce: The past)
“Your highness! Inside at once!” I looked around at the chaos unfolding around us, as the royal guards where forming a human shield against the children and myself as we were rushed into the palace.
Our youngest daughter, Zoe, clings to me as we practically run to the safe room, which is about three levels below the palace grounds.
To not alarm the kids I asked the guard in a hushed tone.
“Zangdra.” was all he said, before turning his head back to the protective mode. I remember Zan said something about that small country a while back, but he spoke no harm to it—why would they attack? Why now?
I knew it was going to be some time before I would be able to see Zan again—but I had to be strong for our children.
Once we are safely inside the room, and locked and secured I knew the drill, even our oldest Xander only in his 14th year, already knew what to expect even in his early stages of manhood, he knew what pressure his father goes through to keep us safe. I watch as he gives a protective hug to his two little sisters, Maxine and Madyison twins, in their 12th year they are more mature in some ways more than their older brother. It amazes me how grown up they are all getting.
I looked to my left where sits our eight year old son, Jazson is too smart for his own good—he may look young on the outside but has the mind of a young man starting college. I laugh as time-to-time Zan asks his opinions on operations, before passing them onto the higher authority.
And, still in my arms in our youngest little Zoe, which is handful in it’s self. Already independent and bossy, likes things done her way—and her way only, well that is until either Zan or myself gets into the picture. But even this three year old has her way around her fathers strict rules, he’s putty in her hands—that she gets from me.
Looking around at all five of them they all have my nose and mouth and the rest is there father, and how devilishly handsome my husband is.
Everything is going to be alright...it has to be...Damn it Zan, where the hell are you?’ I shout in my head but my thoughts get interrupted.
“Mama...Whatz wrong? Wap happen?” I put on a brave smile as I try to explain to a three yr. old, what’s happening—but how do I put it so she will understand...it takes a few moments but then I start to reply.
“Well, some bad people are mad at Daddy. So, he has to make sure that they are punished.” I smiled when her face lit up like a thought just ran into her mind, like magic.
“So, Daddy’s gonna put them in the corner?” I stifled my giggle by simply nodding and smiled.
“Yep. Something like that.” She started clapping her hands, happy that she got something right.
I gave her a small hug before wrapping my other arm around Jazon, he’s falling into my side—hence me being in my overprotective mother mode right now, I looked at all my children trying to be brave for me—but even with this situation I can’t help but think back to the day I first met Zan and this whole crazy roller coaster started.
*flashback [ within the dream ] *
I remember that I didn’t want to go, to yet another ball in his honor, I was sick of him and his stupid formal receptions and fancy dinners. Hence the fact that I’ve never seen him before—but hey I still had to go.
Every time I would try and catch a glimpse of the handsome prince that had every princess raving and fainting—but after the fourth ball and still no prince in sight I pretty much gave up and continued to go to the balls, but only to please my parents.
Standing in a grand ballroom yet again the third time this year, I knew that there would be plenty more to come. I rolled my eyes as a crowd of screaming girls—my ranking swarming the prince the future king of Antar.
When my parents weren’t looking I made my way upstairs, and stared at everything and seeing that they had the same crap that my parents had.
“You’re not suppose to be up here...and especially in the princes room.” I didn’t turn to address the man behind me, but I did say something back. “So, what are you going to do? Arrest me?” I asked in a slightly annoyed voice, what’s his problem—I’m just looking. Anything is better than that stupid social circus downstairs.
“I don’t see why not...you are trespassing.” Is he for real? He asks like I’m a thief caught in the act.
“Fine, go ahead...I’m sure my parents would be thrilled. It sure will perk my day up.” Maybe that would get him to back off, and leave me alone—go find your own room to raid.
He didn’t leave, but instead steps closer to where I’m currently standing, as I go further into the room.
“How did you get up here?” He’s not too bright is he? What kind of question is that...
“The stairs.” I smirked as I still didn’t look at him.
“I know that...but how did you get past the guards?” Guards? What guards...but instead of replying to that normally, I decided to mess with him a bit—play the field as they call it.
“Oh, him...I promised I would meet him out back after the ball, to give him what he wanted in order for me to come up here.” I stifle my laugh as he gasps and that’s when I turn to see the look on his face—it’s priceless, but at the same time my legs grow weak and my own breath catches. I almost have to remind myself to breath.
I couldn’t help but start laughing, as his face twists and turns.
“I was kidding.” I shook my head as I made my way out towards the balcony, which over looked the city that I’ve loved all my life and only wished that my life didn’t have to surrounded in a cage all the time.
“Right. I should really be getting back, my father is suppose to announce whom I’m betrothed to tonight. Would you mind accompanying me down stairs?” I shrugged and accepted, he was handsome and kind—we would share a dance and then he’d bid me fair well, and I’d never see him again. That’s how all these functions worked.
He took my hand and I griped it for dear life for I thought my legs turned to liquid and could no longer stand on my own two feet.
“I’m sorry, it looks like that champagne is catching up to me.” He smiles down at me, I could feel my cheeks flushing a crimson red as he continues to smirk at me.
At the bottom of the stairs, he bids me fair well with a gentlemanly kiss on the hand that I courtly extended, as my parents found my standing in that exact position as he walked off.
“Lizzy, the King is going to make an announcement. C’mon we must not keep him waiting.” I rolled my eyes, grabbed another drink while my mother was dragging me along the way.
The ranting woman quickly hushed as the King started to speak, because they knew where this speech was ending—with the proposal of the century. Where was I? I was trapped in the middle. I so want out of here, but my parents were holding me on both arms, it’s as if they knew I was going to bolt.
“My Son Zander Phillip Jazon Xzon is betrothed to the daughter of the neighboring city Zandrankra. Ava Eliza Justine Louse, daughter of Nancy and Jeffory Louse. “
I looked at my father and mother and you could see their grins from a hundred miles away, they signed off my life to a man I’ve never even met. Not only did I see all the girls faces drop at the news that they didn’t get picked. Now, I was suppose to go up there to the arrogant prince, and kiss him in front of everyone...it’s a way to seal the deal. ‘I HATE TRADITIONS!!’ I couldn’t help but scream in my head.
My loving mother grabbed my drink from me as she pushed me towards the King and Queen as they gratefully hugged me after I bowed, as they now saw me as there new daughter.
The prince finally managed his way out of the cascading crowd of female admirers, and was heading towards me probably to seal the deal.
As I turned to see my husband I was a little shocked and surprised to see the man who questioned me upstairs, with his hazel eyes stairing back at me as he gave me a warm gentle kiss on my lips as the eruption of applause exploded around us, but instead of breaking away, I kissed him back with everything I felt rushing out of me...and right at that moment I fell, and I fell hard and I thought, ‘hey, maybe this wont be so bad after all.’
“Hey.” Was all I could say after we broke off for the lack of air, I was beaming after just one kiss and a little giddy.
“Hey yourself”, he told me with a smile and brushed a piece of hair behind my ear and kissed me once more.
“Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!” I looked up as Zoe ran running from my arms, and followed by all the rest of the children in one sudden movement. I stood and watched them all almost knock their father to the ground; he was rather overwhelmed. I stifled my laughter.
“Daddy, did you put the bad guys in the corner?” His face looked confused almost, I hid my giggles from my husband as his loving glance made it my way, and I could feel my heart flutter and my knees grow weak all over again.
“Hello my loves”, He smiled warmly at each and every one of them. “Zoe, Jazon, Xander, Maxine, and Madyison—I’m so glad you are all alright.” He smiled warmly and kissed everyone individually as he embraced them all in one quick motion.
As he stood to make his way towards me, little Zoe realized that she didn’t get her question answered. She tugged on his pants until she got her fathers attention. He squatted down at her level.
“Daddy, you didn’t answer my question.” She crossed her arms and demanded an answer from her father, it didn’t matter that he was the King of an entire nation. He was still her father, and that’s how she ruled the palace.
“I’m sorry Zoe, what was that question again?” He asked as he picked her up and walked towards me.
“Did you put the bad guys in the corner? For being bad...” I laughed as she looked towards me--and back at her father awaiting his reply, and quite eagerly I might add.
"How did you know that? That's top secret information." It's so cute as he took it as seriously as possible so that Zoe could have her moment.
"What are you trying to do...blow are cover?" He whispered in a hushed tone so only they could hear and no one else, not even me.
Whispering in her ear and setting her back to the ground, "Okay, so now that you know the top secret of all secrets...you can't tell them to anyone." She nods but then asks as quietly as possible but I can still hear her.
"Can I tell Mama?" He looked at me with those amazing amberish eyes of his, and looked back at his daughter and shook his head no. I could see that her bottom lip started to pout, and he instantly chanced his mind...he's such a sucker for her.
"Yeah, I can tell Mama." She excitedly clapped her hands and started to jump up and down.
"But first you must wash your hands and wash up for dinner okay...then you can tell Mama the top secret stuff. Okay." She nodded still excited as she ran to give me a hug, and then her father. With Jazon running behind her to make sure she did as she was told, leaving Zan and I alone in the safe room.
In a quick jump I ran into his arms...and in a solid embrace, I didn't want to let go of the man I almost lost today. For the children I didn't want to think about it, but during our sixteen years of marriage, I loved him more and more with each day that past.
"Whoa, somebody missed me." He tried to keep the spirits up as I didn't care as I sank into his arms and started to cry.
“It’s okay Ava, I’m safe. We’re safe.” But his words and warm kisses on my forehead only makes me cry harder.
After almost five minutes of him trying to calm me down, I pulled away.
"I-I thought I lost you back there...and I wouldn't get t-to tell you..." I paused to catch my breath and wipe away more tears from my cheeks.
"Tell me what baby?" He asked as he wiped my remaining tears away with the pads of his thumbs.
I took a deep breath, " That I love you, with all my heart and soul...I have since the first moment I saw you--and when we were attacked today I thought I lost my best friend, my lover, my soul mate and that I could never tell you in person that I'm...I'm pregnant--again."
Watching as a sly grin turned into a huge smile over his face as he picked me up and spun my around--yep we were going to have our sixth child.
"I love you too baby." He kissed my passionately, and pulled away and rested his forehead against mine.
"You've made me the greatest and luckiest man on Antar... Thank you." He told me as he kissed my stomach.
Jolting awake and jumping with the dream I just had—and feeling a warm body besides me to jump as well.
“Liz?” A husky voice asked as I tried to catch my breath from all that I’ve seen.
“M-Max?” I didn’t remember going to bed with him...I looked at the alarm clock and it read 2AM in bright red flashing numbers.
The last thing I remembered was talking to my mom in the back room, and coming up to my room. It was a draining evening--but I've never felt so tired before.
Struggling to get up from the bed...I love Max, don't get me wrong...But it felt like he was smothering me right now, because of everything that has happened.
“If you were different Liz, why didn’t you tell me?” Is he kidding me...Why does he have know this? I sighed in frustration.
“Probably, for the same reason you didn’t tell me about your specialties. I hate not being human—you know sometimes I wish that I didn’t have to keep this stupid secret and living life inside a deep whole that is constantly consumes me. And now, to suddenly be faced that my own parents knew this entire time, and you are the same as me—it’s just really hard to believe right now. So, please forgive me if I’m not jumping up and down right now, that I’ve found my Soul mate that I’ve been with since grade school and didn’t bother to tell me or let me in on the truth—I thought you loved me?” I felt hot tears streaming down my face as I felt my legs go out and crumbled to the ground.
“Liz!” Max whispered harshly. Afraid to wake anyone else up-- as he ran to me, and pulled me into his arms.
“I wanted to tell you Liz more than anything...but we swore on our lives never to let anyone know our secret, even if it killed us...but tonight when you were shot—you could’ve, you could've died. And I could have watched you die, but ignoring Michael, I knew that I had to safe you...and I didn't care who knew it. All I knew was that I loved you with every seam inside my heart and soul and nothing could chance that so I healed you."
I looked up at him and I knew all of what he was saying was true, and I could relate--so I didn't push the subject matter any further. We both accepted each other’s doings, and stayed there for a long while in each other’s arms.
Breaking the silence, I started to talk as I also broke out of the embrace.
"I'm staring to remember...things...about the past." I looked up and noticed that he wasn't staring down at me anymore.
"Do you remember? Max do you remember me?" He looked back at me and started to talk but didn't. I gently put my hand on his face and turned him back towards me.
"It's okay...tell me...what do you remember?" The glaze his is eyes looks painful, but I still wanted to know.
He nods, " I do remember you...in the beginning and in the end, how you were killed...but not the middle." I took his hand in mine, this was our second chance in order to fulfill the prophecy and set things right in the balance of Earths universe and ours.
"I remember the day we met...and the middle but not the end." He almost was relieved that I didn't remember the end of our lives, like it was too painful.
"We had 5 children...with one more on the way--can you believe it, us with six kids." I smiled and grabbed his hand. "You were a great father Max...the best that ever come." He smiled widely at the realization that I wasn't kidding and we really had six kids together.
"I guess, we really liked the practice in that ...huh?" I laughed and struggled against his warmth that for a moment I almost forgot what was happening between us.
"What now Max? What's supposed to happen?" I wanted fate to step in... all this time that's what I wanted...more than anything. And now that It finally did, I wanted only for it to take a hike and leave us all the hell alone.
"I dunno Liz, I don't know." He told me as I clung to him like my life depended on it.
'What does all this mean?' I thought to myself before, we both drifted back to sleep--it's just a thought we'd all think about more tomorrow.