Traveling Soldier (M/L AU TEEN) (Complete)

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Hopeless Romantic
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Traveling Soldier (M/L AU TEEN) (Complete)

Postby Hopeless Romantic » Thu Sep 15, 2005 12:41 am

Winner - Round 8

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Thanks to RaychelxLuscious for this lovely banner!! Max in his BDUs!;)
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Thanks to MrsJBehr for this awesome banner as well!

Summary: A Short Story Based on the song by The Dixie Chicks. Liz is working in her family's small cafe when a soldier who is about to leave for war walks in and changes her life forever.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything pertaining to Roswell, and I do not own the song. Or the lyrics used within the dialogue.
Rating: Teen!
Author's Note: This is dedicated to Ms. SarahMarie!! Who I just love so much and can't wait to see on Friday!! Eee! It's gonna be amazing. Had to finish this for you before I head up there ;) Also, this story is Complete, so it'll be posted rather quickly, maybe every other day? :D
PS: Thanks to Kara (Eccentric One) for her help with the TS Timeline!

This part isn't too long but the rest of them are longer.

ENJOY!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
<center>Traveling Solder: Part One

Two days past eighteen
He was waitin' for the bus in his army greens
Sat down in a booth, at a café there
Gave his order to a girl with a bow in her hair
He's a little shy, so she gave him a smile
And he said, would you mind sittin' down for awhile
And talkin' to me, I'm feelin' a little low
She said, I'm off in an hour and I know where we can go

So they went down and they sat on the pier
He said, I bet you got a boyfriend, but I don't care
I've got no one to send a letter to
Would you mind if I sent one back here to you

I cried
Never gonna hold the hand of another guy
Too young for him they told her
Waitin' for the love of a travelin' soldier
Our love will never end
Waitin' for the soldier to come back again
Never more to be alone
When the letter says, a soldier's coming home

So the letters came
From an army camp
In California, then Vietnam
And he told her of his heart
It might be love
And all of the things he was so scared of
He said ,when it's gettin' kinda rough over here
I think of that day, sittin' down at the pier
And I close my eyes and see your pretty smile
Don't worry, but I won't be able to write for awhile

I cried
Never gonna hold the hand of another guy
Too young for him they told her
Waitin' for the love of a travelin' soldier
Our love will never end
Waitin' for the soldier to come back again
Never more to be alone
When the letter says a soldier's coming home

One Friday night at a football game
The Lord's Prayer said and the anthem sang
A man said, folks would you bow your heads
For a list of local, Vietnam dead
Cryin' all alone under the stands
Was a piccolo player in the marching band
And one name read, but nobody really cared
But a pretty little girl with a bow in her hair

I cried
Never gonna hold the hand of another guy
Too young for him they told her
Waitin' for the love of a travelin' soldier
Our love will never end
Waitin' for the soldier to come back again
Never more to be alone
When the letter says a soldier's coming...

I cried
Never gonna hold the hand of another guy
Too young for him they told her
Waitin' for the love of a travelin' soldier
Our love will never end
Waitin' for the soldier to come back again
Never more to be alone
When the letter says a soldier's coming home</center>

mid 1960s to the mid 1970s - During the Time of the Vietnam War

She had been working at her parents café in the small town of Roswell since the day after her fourteenth birthday. The second she was old enough to join the working world, Liz Parker had rushed right into it. Her father hadn’t really approved of her working in the bustling café, but he had needed the help. With a lot of the young men in the town being shipped off to the war and all, everyone in town had to use whatever they could to get by. She wasn’t worried about her family’s café though; it was probably the most popular place in town. Her family had owned it for at least four generations.

She knew her life was basically mapped out in her father’s eyes. She would finish school, and she would marry, most likely someone from the town that her parents picked out. They’d have babies, and eventually take over the family business. That would be it—no excitement, nothing. In his eyes she would grow old and rot in this town.

But that wasn’t how she wanted to live her life. She wanted to see the world. She wanted to get out of this town faster than humanly possibly. That was why she had spent that last two years of her life working in this café, because she was saving up enough money so that one day she could leave.

She just had to break this to her dad, who was pretty much stuck in his ways. Proving her point, he waved her over. Smiling at the customers she had been chatting with, Liz walked to where he stood behind the counter.

“Yes, daddy?”

Jeff Parker was a business-man, through and through, but he also valued family more than anything. When he wanted something, he got it, and Liz knew he wanted what was, in his opinion, best for her. He was bustling around behind the counter, getting together some drink order. When he was done he placed the filled glass in front of her.

“There’s a young gentleman in the corner booth, Lizzie. Take this to him for me? He’s interested in meeting you.”

Though being set up by her father was the last thing she wanted, Liz knew better than to argue. Taking the glass, she headed towards the booth, hoping to get this over with as soon as possible.

Liz walked towards the booth, hardly paying attention to where she was going. She looked down at the pad she had in her apron and slipped it from the small pocket. Eyes downward, she didn’t realize she was running into anything until it was too late and strong arms were wrapped around her body, holding her up.

Liz looked up, and the entire world around her seemed to fade. Warm eyes were searching her own, looking for any hint of discomfort after their collision, and for some reason she couldn’t look away. Her dark eyes took in his features as they continued to stare at each other. His dark hair fell softly over his forehead, warm amber eyes continued to stare into hers, and his lips…she wondered what they would feel like and Liz found herself licking her own.

“Lizzie!” her dad called from the back. “Are you okay, sweetie?”

Reluctantly, she broke her stare from this captivating stranger, and looked towards her father. Though he sounded concerned to everyone else, Liz knew the truth. He wanted her to stop making a scene with some man she didn’t know and go to the table he wanted her to be at.

It was like a glass of cold water had been poured over her, and she snapped back to reality. What had she been thinking? Fantasizing about some random person’s lips, she knew she must be going crazy from being in the café for so long.

She felt her body stiffen slightly as she realized where she was. She was still in his arms, and while that fact seemed to stir something inside of her, she knew it was inappropriate. He must’ve sensed the change, because his hold on her loosened, and after making sure she had her balance, she felt him back away.

Liz got her first good look at him then, and noticed he wasn’t wearing normal clothes. Something inside of her broke as she realized this stranger was headed off to war, another person being sent to get lost in the dark abyss of battle, never to be seen again. He had his ID tags, his green army pants and shirt, with his name stitched on the left breast. Evans.

She’d heard of their family before. A quiet family, the father had died a long time ago and the mother remained in bed for the last ten years of her life, with only her son to care for her. The school kids had always wondered about “the Evans boy”, the one they all had known existed but had never really known.

And here he was in front of her, coming out of the shadows only to be cast right back into them.

Her heart broke for him, and she didn’t even know him. What she felt was so strong she felt her eyes start to fill. His innocence had been taken from childhood, stripped away as he suffered through the loss of his father only to be forced at such a young age to parent his own mother when she became restricted to her bed. And now this…

“Are you okay?” he asked softly, his hand coming up to graze her arm. She felt goosebumps prick her flesh at the feel of his warm hands on her skin.

She met his eyes again, allowing herself to become wrapped in the compassion and mystery. She knew nothing about him, but something made her want to know everything. “Yes,” she replied finally, her voice coming out soft and quiet, almost as if she couldn’t break this moment they were sharing.

“I-I have to go,” she said, stepping to the side and walking away from him, her mind whirling at the feelings such a simple touch from him had provoked.

She had no clue how she even managed not to spill the drink she had been carrying, but as she looked down at the glass in her hand, she remembered what she was supposed to be doing. With one last glance behind her, she watched him sit down in a booth that was in her section, before walking over to deliver the drink.

The boy in front of her was handsome, there was no doubt about that. His light brown hair fell into his face, and his eyes were a beautiful shade of blue. But as she looked at him, Liz couldn’t help but wish the eyes she was staring into were an inviting shade of amber.

She recognized him as well. His father James Valenti was the town mayor, and Liz could immediately tell why her own father had been so anxious for her to deliver the drink and meet Kyle, surely he was hoping for them to hit it off.

But Liz already found her mind wandering, and her gaze drifted back towards the other booth...

Shaking the thoughts away and turning her attention back to where it was supposed to be, she put the drink down in front of Kyle with a smile. “Can I get you anything else?”

Kyle smiled, gesturing towards the seat across from him. “How about some company?”

Liz slid across from him, trying her best to smile but wanting to get back to work. She hated neglecting her customers, and even though Kyle was a nice guy, one she had gotten to know at the school, she knew that he wasn’t her type, so her father’s attempt at match-making was useless.

Liz had no intention of finding a nice guy to settle down with, she didn’t want to be just some man’s wife. And that was what Kyle was looking for. Son of the mayor, he was probably planning on making someone his wife, settling down, having a few kids, following in his dad’s footsteps. As much as Liz didn’t want to just become someone’s wife, she especially had no intention of becoming a politician’s wife.

Liz did her part, making small talk for a couple of minutes before moving to get out of the booth. “I’m sorry, Kyle. I really should get back to my tables.”

Granted, the restaurant wasn’t too busy, the lunch rush having ended just before he had come in, but Liz needed to check on her table, and take her newest customer’s order. “Well, hopefully I’ll see you around sometime, Liz.”

She smiled politely before walking away from the table. After checking on her first table, and giving them their check, Liz made her way to her other booth.

“Hi,” she said almost shyly, waiting as he looked up from the menu and met her eyes. “What can I get you?”

She could immediately tell he was shy, but the way he had been holding her before, suggested that his shyness was bred from something else. Her heart reached out for him, as he made his request.

“Would you mind sitting down for a while?”

Liz felt shivers run up her spine at the sound of his voice. She could hear the sadness, the fear and loneliness etched in every single word. It was pouring off him in waves and something inside of her wanting desperately to take it all away.

“I’m feeling a little low,” he explained with a sad smile, and Liz realized she must’ve looked slightly shocked at his request.

Liz knew that her father would not take to her sitting in his booth, having only allowed her to sit with Kyle due to his own agenda, but Liz could not say no to his request. She wanted to talk to him just as much as he seemed to need it.

“I’m off in an hour,” she told him, continuing to smile at him. “I know a place we could go.”

She watched as his features relaxed and he nodded, “I’ll wait here until your done, then?”

Liz smiled in reply. “Sure, just let me bring you something while you wait.”

Walking back to the counter, she filled a glass with cherry soda, having no clue if he would even like it, but most of the teenagers who came in did. After setting it down in front of him, Liz returned to work, taking the money from her table and bringing Kyle his food.

She had two more tables over the hour, and was attentive and nice to each of them, but her mind kept straying to the boy who was waiting for her. She found herself glancing over to him, feeling shy and girly and wondering where her actions were coming from.

He continued to sit there, watching her as she worked, making her blush under his intense gaze. She did not know what it was about him, but she knew that the end of her shift would not come soon enough.

He was a stranger, a soldier, and one that, sadly, she might never see again, but something about him called to her in a way that nothing else had ever been able to do. She was curious because of it, intrigued by these feelings and unable to place them.

The truth of the matter was, he needed someone. Without really even knowing her, without any reason, he had come into her world and chosen her. A fact that made her feel oddly special in an unfamiliar way. To be needed by someone, not simply wanted or cared about, but truly needed, was something she never assumed someone would want from her.

And she watched as the clock ticked to the end of her shift, before pulling off her apron and walking over to his table. She reached for his hand and he gave it to her willingly, allowing himself to be pulled from the booth. Liz guided them out into the setting sun, and for the first time, her mind was not filled with dreams of being far away from Roswell, or plans for her future...

All she wanted in that moment was to be what he needed, and for now, that would be enough.

“Let’s go.”

<center>To Be Continued...</center>
Last edited by Hopeless Romantic on Wed Nov 02, 2005 5:03 am, edited 9 times in total.

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Postby Hopeless Romantic » Sun Sep 18, 2005 12:34 am

A/N: So, I know I was supposed to post this on the 17th, but I'm in Georgia right now with Sarah!! (LittleHottie510) and we've been busy girls!

Thanks so much for all of the feedback, and I promise I'll post the next part in 2 days when I'm back in Gainesville :D I know most of you are worried about the way the song ends...and as much as I'd like to put your fears to rest, i can't. Hopefully you guys will stick with me though. I promise it will be quick and painless! Only 3 more parts to go!

ENJOY!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

<center>Traveling Soldier: Part Two</center>

“Are you scared?”

They had been sitting at the pier for over an hour. The sun setting beautifully before them as they watched in awe and talked about everything and anything that came to their minds. Gone was the shy boy she had seen in the café, and now Liz found herself with the sweet and interesting mystery she had sensed lurking beneath.

They had talked about his family, about his dreams, and all the things he had given up once his father died.

“When my dad died, I don’t think I was old enough to really understand what it was going to mean for the rest of my life. I understood that I was sad, that I was going to miss him. I just didn’t really understand what he was going to miss.”

Liz thought about her own father back at the diner, with all his rules and hopes for her, and she thought of how desperate she was to get away from it, only to realize how lucky she really was to have it.

“I would watch you all at school, scared to let myself get to close, and see you with your families. I would wonder why mine was the way it was. Why my dad had to be the one that was taken away.”

“Oh, Max...I’m so sorry.”

“For a while I was mad at him, I actually blamed him, just because I needed someone to be angry at because I felt so out of control.”

Liz’s small hand moved to his shoulder, squeezing it lightly to offer him any kind of comfort she could.
“You have to know that it’s not what he would’ve wanted. He would’ve wanted to be there for you, to be there everyday and watch as you grew up.”

“I know that now, and it makes me feel so guilty for ever thinking the way I did.”

“You were just a kid, Max. You were asked to deal with something like that all by yourself, and it’s okay that you felt the way you did, that you felt anger at all was a good thing because it means you never stopped feeling, never stopped living.”

He had been so young, and yet he had continued to live and grow into the wonderful person she was finding inside of him, even as he had watched his mother suffer everyday from the loss of the man she loved.

“She stayed in bed for the first week, and I thought it was just something she would eventually stop doing. I thought that one day she would realize she was still my mother and I needed her. But she never got out of bed, and it turned out that she needed me a lot more than I needed her.”

“But how could she do that to you?”

Max just smiled that small sort of sad smile that he had. “She was in love. She really, truly, loved my father with every bit of her body and soul, and she couldn’t bear being without him. They were soul mates.”

He didn’t blame her for burdening him the way she did at such a young age, and it was that fact that made Liz so surprised. Instead, he had confessed that he was in awe of her, amazed by just how deeply she had been able to love.

“I could never blame her for being in love with him, because if she hadn’t been, I wouldn’t even exist. Their love gave me life...and I was there for her because of that.”

“Do you think you’ll find your soul mate?”

He paused for a minute, but it wasn’t in consideration of his answer. She knew that none of them could ever really know where life was going to take them. They could only know what they wanted. And for him it was that simple.

“That’s all I want in life,” he told her. “To find someone I love, and just let myself be loved back by them.”

In all her years of planning and scheming to get away from the ordinary future her father had mapped out in front of her, she had never once doubted herself. But hearing Max speak about it, hearing him explain love in a way that made her heart yearn for the feeling...she wondered if that was why her father pushed her to it so much, simply because he knew what it felt like, and wanted her to feel it too.

She had never even considered it, had always viewed marriage in a completely different way. Hearing Max talk about his parents, about his father and how much they loved not only each other, but also him, made Liz wonder if that was a kind of fulfillment that you didn’t need anything else for. If it was something worth giving up all her dreams for after all.

She had grown quiet, a fact that he had immediately noticed, and had asked her what she was thinking about. Without much warning, everything she had been feeling came out. How she felt pressured to live a certain kind of life and didn’t really have a choice, how she had spent years saving with the hopes of getting away and finding herself and her own path, it all came spilling from her in waves of emotion that she could barely control.

“It’s just that, all my life I’ve been told that I need to live a certain way, that I’m going to end up a certain way and living their life, and I’ve always wanted more than that. I want to figure out who I’m supposed to be, figure out where I’m meant to be on my own. How can someone else decide that for you?”

He understood her confusion at the way he spoke of love, and how she now wondered different things about her life and her family’s guidance. He listened to her patiently, never judging, and offering advice and opinions whenever she asked for them.

“All my life I’ve had this plan, to get out of Roswell and see the world. But now, I talk to you and while it all still seems wonderful, I’m wondering if there really is something worth giving all that up for. I mean, how do I know?”

“No one can decide that for you, Liz. It’s something that you’ll just feel. You’ll know when you’ve found where you’re supposed to be and I believe you’ll do it on your own.”

He believed in her, and it was enough to make Liz believe in herself, however uncertain her future still was, she knew she would get things right. Hearing him say it had made it possible.

It was the first time that any male figure in her life had ever treated her as an equal, treated her as if everything she felt and thought was important and mattered just as much as a male’s. It was the first time in her life she felt free.

And just like that she found her answer. There, staring at the setting sun and drawing the very last feelings of warmth and lightness from it, her arm brushing lightly against the skin of this stranger, she found clarity.

It was all worth it, if you found the person who could make it so.

And as she watched him, as he looked at her and listened to her, as he made her feel needed, she knew that it had happened. She wasn’t sure how or why it had, but she wasn’t going to question it.

She wondered if he could feel the same way about her, knowing deep down it was all pretty much pointless with him going off to war. Who knew when he would come back, who knew if he would, a thought that clenched her heart with fear.

And that was why she asked him, because she was scared. She was scared for him, going off into a world he knew nothing about, fighting against a terrible enemy...she was scared for herself, scared that if something happened to him she knew she might never feel this way again. But his answer showed her there was even more to be scared of.

“I’m not scared to die...” he told her honestly, his eyes forward and unable to look at her. “I’m scared not to have moments like these ever again, I’m scared to miss out on all the things I want to experience in my life, and I’m scared that I’m never going to be here, just like this, ever again...”

His hand trailed up softly over her cheek, as he pushed a stray strand of hair behind her eyes, smiling at her as she leaned in to his touch. She look at him, and realized she was scared of the same thing. Scared that she would never feel this safe and free ever again. Scared to be alone.

“I bet you have a boyfriend...” he trailed softly, finally turning to look at her. “But I don’t care.” Liz opened her mouth to tell him she didn’t but he just continued. “I don’t have anyone to send a letter to...and I was wondering if you would mind if I sent one back here to you?”

Liz nodded, a smile breaking out over her face as she realized he might be feeling exactly the same way about her that she was feeling about him, wondering if maybe they had found that person...

They had spent their entire lives within a mile of each other, had gone to the same school for years, but still they had remained a complete mystery to each other. And now, just an hour before he was to be sent off to war, they had found each other. Liz couldn’t help but feel that the entire thing was unbelievably cruel.

Would God let them find each other, only to never allow them the chance to be together? It was a question that ran over and over in her mind, as they sat together, just enjoying what could be their last few moments together.

Finally, it was time for him to go to the bus station, and Liz agreed to walk with him. He climbed to his feet, offering her a hand to get to her own, but even once she was standing, his fingers simply entwined with her own, instead of dropping her small hand as they walked.

“Do you think if there hadn’t been a draft, you would’ve still gone to the war?”

He seemed to consider this for a moment. “I’m not sure...some days I’m convinced I’m doing the right thing, that I’m helping my country and doing my civic duty to America. But there are other days...days when I feel those are simply words they feed to the dying soldiers so they can feel good about themselves, and I wonder what I’m really fighting for.”

“It doesn’t seem fair...”

For the first time, Liz felt tears in her eyes at what was really happening. The reality of where he was being sent was finally hitting her, and it wasn’t until he stopped them in the middle of the street that she forced herself to stop her tears.

He ran his thumbs across her cheeks, drying her eyes and leaning down to kiss her forehead. “Please don’t cry, Liz. I don’t think I could get on that bus if I saw you crying...”

She gave him a teary wry smile, “would that be such a bad thing?”

He smiled back at her, this time leaning in to drop a kiss on the tip of her nose. He pulled back, resting their foreheads against each others, and closing his eyes. Liz squeezed her own shut to push back more tears.

“I know that you’re scared. I’m scared too. And I know there isn’t much I can even say right now to make you feel any better, but I can promise you one thing, Liz...”

“What?” she sniffed sadly, tilting her head up and breathing him in as his cheek brushed across her own. They pulled back, but only slightly, before Max’s hands came up to frame her face. His thumbs brushed across her cheeks once more, before he leaned in slightly, and she could tell his eyes were searching her own for permission.

She nudged her face against his slightly, giving him all the answer he needed, before his lips came down and met her own.

It was soft, and tentative, everything a first kiss should be. It was two parts finding each other, taking the time to acquaint themselves, before they met again, this time slightly more firm, the hesitance replaced with a need to feel complete. A need that could only be filled by each other.

Everything she was feeling, she poured into their kiss. Every emotion she held: fear, wonder, curiosity, and even what she knew could only be love, went from her soul to his own in that soft and loving kiss. And she felt it all come back to her as well.

Reluctantly, they drew apart, but Max’s forehead remained pressed against her own, and his eyes never left hers.

“I’ll come back to you,” he promised fiercely, and she nodded with tears in her eyes.

She didn’t know how it had happened. And she knew that it had happened almost too quickly. But what she felt for him went beyond anything she had felt in her life. In the last few hours they had spent on the pier, she had been let into his life and his heart, and unknowingly she had let him into her own. She knew now there was no turning back.

“And I’ll be here waiting for you,” she vowed passionately. “I promise.”

He hugged her to him once again, before they finally pulled away, their hands once again meeting at their sides as they made their way through the streets of Roswell.

She smiled up at him, walking along the streets where she had lived her entire life, and looked at everything in a completely different way. Now, she didn’t feel trapped by the overwhelming closeness of everything. She no longer felt annoyed by the simple townsmen who lived their simple lives the same way every day.

Roswell was a whole new world, a place she was ready to discover, with her hand securely in Max’s and him by her side.

<center>To Be Continued...</center>
<center>
"The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will..." - Vince Lombardi

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</center>

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Postby RoswellRulz » Mon Sep 19, 2005 1:47 am

Wow!! That was really good and really romantic!! They fell for each other so fast, and you can tell that already they are in love with each other. Can't wait for the next part!
~Nikki 8)
LIZ: So when you healed me you risked all of this getting out didn't you?
MAX: Yea.
LIZ: Why?
MAX: It was you.
<3 <3 <3 <3

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Postby Hopeless Romantic » Tue Sep 20, 2005 2:24 pm

Hey Guys! I'm back with Part Three! I'm so happy all of you are liking this :D. I'm back from my fun weekend with SarahMarie (LittleHottie510 go read her fics!!) and we had an Awesome time. But as promised I said when I got back you would have a new part so here it is! Only 2 more to go after this one.

For those of you reading Spread 'Em...I SWEAR I'm going to update soon. I just haven't been able to focus, but i'm going to sit down and force myself to finish it soon. As soon as I can I swear!

Also, I know that these parts are kinda short, but hopefully that doesn't bother you all too much because I'm posting so fast. Next one should be longer.

ENJOY!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

<center>Traveling Soldier: Part Three</center>

Dear Liz,
It’s been only a week since that day on the pier, but it’s still the only thing I can think of. You are the only thing I can think of. But I don’t mind. You’re a welcomed and wonderful thought in the face of all that is going on around me. Every day, I’m surrounded by California sunsets and sunrises, but none are as beautiful as the one I watched with you. The reminder of our day together is nice, especially as we live the lives of soldiers and I remember what I am truly here to do. I find myself becoming friends with boys my own age, and I have to remind myself not to get to close, because in weeks, when I find myself in Vietnam, I don’t want to have to watch my friends die beside me. I’m scared to die here, when the promise of what I could have at home still remains in my hopes. I want you to know this, before we go to Vietnam, that the thoughts and hopes of you keep me going through the day. And you may not feel the same, but I know that this might be what I’ve always wanted...love. I hope to hear from you, and know you are always on my mind.
Max


Liz immediately took out a sheet of paper to write him a response, completely oblivious to the fact that she was in the middle of her family’s bustling café. Her father on the other hand, seemed to notice.

“Lizzie!” he said loudly from behind her, seeing the sheet of paper on the table in front of her.

Liz jumped, snatching her papers together, along with Max’s letter, which she carefully placed between two blank sheets before spinning around to face her father. “Yes, daddy?”

She didn’t like the way he was looking at her, didn’t like the suspicion in his eyes. She knew that he had seen Max’s letter, but how much of it he had seen was the question. The thought of her father reading Max’s private words to her and private fears was unbearable.

“What are you doing?”

“Nothing, daddy. I was just writing something,” she told him honestly, leaving out everything of any importance.

She wasn’t ready to have this conversation with her father, wasn’t ready to tell him about Max, only because she knew what everyone would say. Scoldings of “you’re too young” ran through her head. All she had right now was the hope, hope that he would come back, hope that he would love her and that they would be together. She didn’t think she could bear it to hear anyone tell her it was impossible.

But her father knew something was up, and he wanted answers. So, whether she was ready to give them to him or not, everything was about to be out in the open.

“Who wrote that letter, Lizzie?”

Liz swallowed, thinking of Max and smiling to herself before answering confidently. “Maxwell Evans, daddy. He’s writing to me while he’s away at war.”

Something seemed to cross her father’s face, and Liz couldn’t really make it out. He opened his mouth to respond, but a customer called for his attention at the exact same moment and Liz knew she was saved, at least for the time being.

“We’ll talk about this later.”

Liz nodded, outwardly still the same obedient daughter she had always been, before taking her things and retreating to the safety of her own room. When she was sure her father hadn’t somehow managed to follow her up the stairs, she took out Max’s letter, rereading it and feeling her heart speed up at his words.

She immediately began to write him back, telling him everything she could about what was going on with her. She told him about her father, about telling her dad that she was writing to him and not even worrying about what he would say or think. She hoped that her admission to her parents would show him how much she cared about him.

Because she was certain now of one thing. She had fallen for him, and all the things she had been afraid of before, were now welcomed with the thought of him in her mind. There was no one else, no one that she would even consider, though that Kyle Valenti had been poking around, she would just have to tell him that she wasn’t interested.

She imagined that would be received by her father almost as wonderfully as the news of her love for Max would be. But for the first time she didn’t care. Loving Max gave her the strength to finally tell her father what she wanted. And while their dreams for her future were becoming more and more similar by the day, it didn’t mean he had control over them.

She wrote to Max of the way she felt, of the way that feeling seemed to fill her and give her the ability to do anything. She didn’t know exactly what it was, but Liz had a feeling it had to do with the fact that she now knew as soon as he came home, she would never have to be alone again. It was empowering and wonderful thought, especially knowing that he felt the same way.

She signed the letter and sealed it, placing it under her pillow until she could take it to the post the following day. She knew there was no way her father would let her out now, not when he wanted to talk to her, because he knew she would disappear for a while to avoid it.

So, she lay back on her bed, imagining the day on the pier, and thinking of Max, wondering where he was and praying that he was safe.

Dear Liz,
We’re in Vietnam now, a place I know I never want to visit again, but I fear it will haunt me in my dreams forever. Everything about this place is dark, it lacks every bit of light and hope I can remember from my short time with you. War is like nothing I could’ve ever imagined. Each day, I go to bed with men that are sometimes not there the following evening and I never know when they might be thinking the same thing about me. We’re no longer people. Our identities have been taken away and I feel like all I’ve become is a number on a dog tag. I’m fighting someone else’s war, I could die for someone else’s war...but now, for the first time since I found out I was being sent here, I know what I’m fighting for. It’s you. Whenever it gets rough over here, I just think of you. I think of that day, and us sitting by the pier and I can picture your face, picture your pretty smile. I’m fighting to get back to you, to keep my promise. And no matter how hard it gets over here, that’s always enough to keep me fighting, to get me through another day.
Max


Liz read the letter from Max the second it had come in the post. It had been weeks since she had heard from him, and though she knew that was to be expected, since it would take time for her letter to reach him and then his own response to come back to her, it didn’t make it any easier of a wait.

They had been writing to each other as often as possible over the few months that he had been gone. The longest wait had taken place when they had gone from California to Vietnam, and along with being the longest, it was also the hardest to get through. Training camp in California was nothing compared to the real situation in Vietnam, and Liz prayed every day that he would remain safe and as out of harm’s way as possible.

We’re leaving to Vietnam now, his letter had read. Hopefully your letter will reach me, but I will send word out that I am safe as soon as I get there anyway. Don’t worry, my love. I know what I have to come back to, and nothing is going to keep me away.

She continued to hope and pray everyday, not only for him but for the strength she needed to make it through this. She wanted to be brave for him, be strong for him. And she did her best, standing up to her father as he made what she hoped would be his last attempt to control her life.

He had finally come to her room the night he had found out about Max’s letter, trying his best to casually bring it up and figure out my intentions.

“I love him,” I had told him plainly, not willing to be ashamed of the fact.

He was silent for a long time, just looking at her. She had no idea what he was seeing, what he was thinking about the girl she was and the person she planned to be. Before, she had been willing to let him think she would do only what he wanted. She had played the part of the obedient daughter for as long as she could remember, and she was done. She would no longer hide who she was and how she felt.

Her dad’s reaction had shocked her. Instead of the words she had feared to hear, he had simply asked her a question. “Does he love you?”

Confidently, Liz replied. “Yes, he does. And when he comes home from the war I’m going to be with him, daddy.”

Her father sank to the bed, sitting next to her and appearing to have a lot on his mind. She didn’t know what his reaction to that would be. Her father had always had high hopes as far as her marriage options were concerned. Liz knew this simply because he had continued to push the issue of Kyle.

“You’ve always tried to hide it, Lizzie, but I always knew you had bigger dreams than this small town,” he said finally. Liz found herself shocked that he had known that, and mostly because he didn’t appear angered. “Don’t look so shocked, sweetie. I’ve been waiting for the day you planned to come to me and tell me you wanted to leave this town. I think it’s why I pushed so hard to keep you here.”

Liz nodded in understanding, seeing his actions in a different light. “You were scared that you were going to lose me?” she asked finally.

Her father nodded, turning and taking her hands. “I’m glad that you’re finally seeing that Roswell does have something to offer, that you could make a home here, and be happy.”

Liz smiled. “I want that now. I have that with Max.”

However, instead of the supportive smile she had hoped to see from her father, his expression turned grim. “Sweetheart, I know that you have feelings for this boy...”

Liz shot him an incredulous look, but he was barely paying attention, something Liz had gathered without looking at him. He must’ve missed it when she told her father that she loved Max, that she planned to wait for him and be with him when he came home.

“But I don’t think it’s a smart idea for you to wait for him,” her father finished. But then he proceeded to drive his point home. “Especially since, you don’t know if he’s even coming back.”

Liz stared at him, the hurt and shock evident on her face. She had no intentions of hiding it. “Max is coming back, daddy. He made me a promise and he’s coming back.”

It was a passionate cry, and she hoped her father would listen. “Lizzie, war...it can change a man. You don’t know who he is going to be when he comes home. In the time it takes for that to happen, you don’t know who you are going to become.”

Liz scoffed, but her father continued. “Kyle expressed his interest in you to me. He’s a fine young man, Lizzie. And he wants to make you his wife someday. Maybe you should think about this. Kyle is here. He is whole. If you give him a chance, I think you’ll find there are many men you can be happy with, sweetie.”

“That may be true,” she remarked rather coldly, refusing to believe her father was disregarding her feelings and everything she had told him. “But I only love one of them. And he is the one I am waiting for.”

The finality in her tone was not lost on either of them. With a sad, slightly unconvinced smile, Liz’s father patted her head and walked out of her room.

Liz whirled into her chair, whipping out a sheet of paper and writing to Max. Her confessions of love and hope that she had so openly voiced to her father were transmitted into her heartfelt letter. She wanted him to know what she was feeling, wanted him to feel the hope that she was feeling.

He was going to come home, he was going to keep his promise, and whether he came back a broken man or not meant nothing, because they would spend the rest of their lives making each other whole.

It was close to two months before she received a reply, but every confession of love and hope that she had expressed came back to her full force.

Liz,
I can’t even begin to explain what your letter meant to me. I think I’ve memorized your words due to the fact that I could barely put it down. When I fight, when I’m surrounded by the darkness I’ve come to know, your words circle in my head. You guide me, keep me safe. I love you, and I plan on keeping my promise to you. I will come home. I will come back to you.


Liz had not known how badly she had needed to hear those words until he said them. She found herself mimicking his actions, reading the letter over and over again, her eyes unable to take in his beautiful words fast enough.

She focused on the feelings of joy, of love, trying to ignore the small nagging feeling in the back of her mind as she read his last line.

Don’t worry but I won’t be able to write for a while...

<center>To Be Continued...</center>
<center>

"The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will..." - Vince Lombardi



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Postby Hopeless Romantic » Thu Sep 22, 2005 11:01 am

A/N: Thank you SO much everyone for all the amazing feedback. This story is finally at an end...but don't lose hope just yet. There's a small epilogue to follow.

J - Your feedback meant the world to me! That's a pretty amazing feat... :oops: Even though that's supposed to be the oops face I'm making it the blushing face.

Everyone's FB meant the world to me! I'm so glad you were willing to stick through the pain to read this. I love you all!!!

ENJOY! (Get your Kleenex ready...)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

<center>Traveling Soldier: Part Four</center>
<center>***</center>

Things between Liz and her parents continued to be uneasy as the months passed. With no word from Max, her parents latched on to the fears and doubts that were slowly beginning to form in her head.

She continued to hold onto her faith, believing that he would return home, that he was safe and simply unable to send word due to fighting. She kept her hope alive by writing to him, whenever she could she found herself locked away in her room, her thoughts focused on a warm day at the pier.

The sounds of fighting drifted up to her ears, and Liz was forced to put down her pen to see what was going on. She crept out of her room, the frustrated voices of her mother and father filling her ears.

“She’s only a child, Jeffrey! She can’t possibly know what she wants!”

Liz watched her father rub his face in frustration, as Liz forced back a reply to her mother’s outrageous comment. She was no child, far from it.

“She’s not a child, Nancy. As much as you and I want to deny, Liz is not our little girl anymore.” Liz appreciated her father’s support, but it didn’t stop her from feeling sad for him at his words.

“I refuse to let my daughter turn herself into a war widow at the age of sixteen. I refuse it! She’s living under our roof and she will do as we say and that’s final.”

“Sweetheart, you know that isn’t going to work. What happens when we tell her that and she decides to take off? I don’t want to lose her anymore than we already are,” he tried to reason. “Look, I’ll talk to her, but the truth is, we’re going to have to be willing to accept the fact that Liz is as stubborn as we both are.”

“You can talk to her all you want, Jeff, but the truth of the matter is, we are her parents and she has to do as we say.”

Refusing to hear anymore, Liz stormed off to her bedroom, making sure her door slammed loud enough to be heard downstairs.

She collapsed in tears on her bed, the frustration of her situation finally getting the best of her. She loved her parents, hated being at odds with them. But her decision had been made. Months ago she had made a promise to Max, and in the time he had been gone her desire to fulfill it had not lessened at all.

She would be waiting when he came home, and she knew he would come home.

It took a little longer than expected for a soft knocking to be at her door. But since she expected it, she knew exactly what to say. She would appease her parents; it was the only thing she could do, and when Max came home she would be with him.

She hated it, but one time out with Kyle and it would keep her parents off her back. So, when her father settled onto the bed, she told him what she was thinking.

“I’ll go with Kyle to the football game, dad.”

She knew that the icy tone in her voice was coming off loud and clear, but she knew her father wouldn’t say anything about it. She believed that he did want her to be happy, but right now he was stuck between trying to appease her mother, and make Liz happy. Liz was giving him the easy way out.

Planting a kiss on the top of her head, and promising that things would be okay, Liz’s dad left the room. The second the door closed, Liz’s tears started. The ache inside of her grew a little more and she could do nothing to stop how much she desperately missed Max. Being without him was like being without air to breathe. She was dying inside every day they were apart. She could only hope that it wouldn’t be much longer before he was home.

She closed her eyes, feeling herself slip off to sleep, all her dreams centered around her traveling soldier.

<center>***</center>

Of all the words Max could use to describe war, the only one that seemed to fit best was “dark”. Everything about this place came back to that one simple word, a word that contrasted so much with the way he viewed his home.

Night had fallen, casting shadows around them as they all tried to make their way through the dense foliage of the forest in front of them. He knew it was night from the way people whispered. It seemed that everything became quiet, hidden, in the evening hours. But that was the only way he could distinguish it.

Because even the brightest morning hour, could not be described as “light”. Nothing here could.

They were trapped in darkness in so many ways, sent out into the darkness, fighting to avoid a fate that would lead them where there was no light at all. Some of the men went happily towards that light at the end of the tunnel. It called to them, in it’s warm and welcoming way, making them believe they were being pulled from the cold, rather than taken to it.

Max had watched, horrified, in his first days in Vietnam as soldiers he befriended were never seen again. They trudged on to battle together, and he came back to empty beds in the end of it. Beds that would stay empty for only so long, before another condemned soul was sent to rest in it.

He learned early not to make friends, unable to bear the loss that followed, the fear that he might be next, when they never returned.

War stripped you of your identity. On the battle field there was no rank, there were no names; it was not the place for feelings. These things were taken away to be replaced with a single number, your only means of identification, until you died and your families suffered the loss of who you really were.

It had been that reason in itself, which had made Max reluctant to come to war. The knowledge that there was no one left to mourn him, no one to care if he lived or died, to make him a real person instead of another nameless face, that made him wonder who he was fighting for. How could he fight to survive, when no one would notice if he lived or died?

He had only met one person like him, a person with the same fears and doubts about the war they were currently fighting. A boy by the name of Jonny, shipped off to war the day after he turned eighteen. It was his first night at battle, and it showed by the way he stood just a few feet behind Max, as they pushed through the trees in search of the Vietkong.
As much as he had warned himself not to, Max found himself getting close to the other soldier. They had stayed up the night at camp, talking about home, sharing stories and finding comfort in their memories.

There was a new urge in him, along with surviving, to protect Jonny. He was only a few months younger than Max was himself, but he couldn’t help but feel that the age difference spanned much longer than that.

Max had been denied a childhood, denied his innocence when he was young, a fact that he had always slightly resented until now. He did not hold anything against his parents, but had always wondered what it would be like to spend time with other children. When they died, Max had been allowed that chance, and it had been the greatest gift he could’ve been given.

This brought his thoughts to Liz, and though no one could see it, he found himself smiling in the midst of terror. She was the light in the center of the darkness that now shrouded his soul. She was the light leading him home, the strength that kept him going. She was what he fought for. He was fighting to come back to her, to keep his promise, to keep her from mourning.

He would do anything to keep her from sadness, had killed to prove that very fact. And he could almost feel her getting closer, could almost see their future together on the horizon. That hope was all he needed to push him on, to get him through every day, no matter how dark and desolate it seemed.

She was all he needed. All he would ever need.

He could think about her all day, could look to the future forever, but the reality of his present demanded his attention. The darkness pulled him in.

The sound of bullets whizzing by caught his attention, and the men around him threw themselves to the ground. Max followed, chest heaving as he supported his body on his forearms, and waited for their chance to get up and fire back. His gun lay beneath him, digging into his stomach, waiting to be fired.

Craning his neck to look behind him, Max could just make out the top of Jonny’s head, but was unable to tell if he was alright. He wanted to call out to him, but training kept his mouth shut. He would find out soon enough.

Someone called softly in the darkness, giving them directions, and Max stood on heavy legs. Fear coursed through him, just as it always did on these nights, identical to the tremor he had felt rush through them all as they crouched in silence.

Turning around, he noticed that Jonny had yet to move. Taking a step backwards to check on him, Max prayed that he remained on the floor due to his fear, and not because he had been shot. But the way his arm lay positioned oddly at his side, increased his fear.

He turned the boy over, noticing immediately the blood soaking through a hole in his shirt. Touching the corner of Jonny’s mouth, Max found blood on his fingertips.

“No,” he said to no one in particular, knowing that his troop had already continued to advance.

“Am I gonna die?” he whispered, hands clutching Max’s shirt, but the touch was so light he could barely feel it.

“No.” Max didn’t know who he was trying to convince, but he could see the tears in Jonny’s eyes, mirroring the ones in his own. “You’re gonna be fine.”

Jonny smiled, and Max watched as another light dimmed before him, until it went out completely. The darkness tearing his heart.

He knew he should get back to his troop, but he could not leave Jonny, so with all the strength he could find, he lifted the boys’ body. It was stupid, some would say, a waste of effort and strength, but Max couldn’t bear to leave him alone, couldn’t stand the thought of him being swallowed up completely by the dark.

His heavy legs struggled under the new burden, but Max made his way towards his troop, gun banging against his leg as it lay dormant and unused. Guns had been shot, several Vietkong. already killed by the other men, and Max could see it in the eyes of the men that they were ready to go back.

A cry tore through the night, and everything changed.

“GRENADE!”

The world exploded around them. Max could feel his body flying through the air, pain coursing through him. The darkness filled with colors and screams, blazing streaks of light surrounding them all...

He thought of Liz, of their day on the pier, the warmth so different from the one he felt now. He thought of their future that they would someday have together. He remembered his promise, remembered her own loving vow.

And then, the entire world went black.

<center>***</center>

Liz woke from her nap, her heart racing, covered in sweat. She had dreamed of Max, felt him as if he had been right there with her. But the reality was that he was a million miles away, most likely living the hellish nightmare her mind had forced her to experience.

Her heart went out to him, praying that he was safe, praying that her fears were unwarranted. But as she dressed for the football game she would be attending with Kyle, her mind could focus on little else.

It wasn’t abnormal, her thoughts usually centered on him, but this time it felt different. Liz could not shake the nagging fear in the back of her mind, the small sense of dread that was slowly becoming larger by the second.

But she forced herself to relax. If anything had happened to Max, she would know about it. It was her worst fear, to come to the door and find a telegram saying that he had been killed, but the fact that it had yet to happen filled her with a tiny sense of comfort. At least for the time being.

Kyle seemed to notice that Liz’s mind was somewhere else as they went out. He tried to make conversation, and Liz did her best to seem interested and responsive, but the task was proving to be impossible.

Kyle was a great guy. He was sweet, funny, and practically everything his parents wanted for her. But being with him only made her think about what she truly wanted, what she had. Asking her to pretend there was some romantic interest in her towards Kyle was like asking her to deny a part of her soul. It was impossible.

He was a gracious date, even though he knew of her disinterest. At the football field, he offered to buy her popcorn or a pop but Liz politely declined. She felt bad enough that he was forced to spend the night with a distracted date, and didn’t want to increase her guilt by having him buy her things.

“So, Liz, have you come to a lot of football games?” Kyle asked, trying to do anything to get her to open up even a little.

She shook her head. “I’ve never really been interested in it. I’ve been working at my parent’s restaurant every Friday for as long as I can remember.”

“Well, I’m glad they gave you a break.”

Liz smiled at him, but it faded as they settled into their seats. The feeling was back, and Liz couldn’t shake it. She listened vaguely as the Lord’s Prayer was read, barely registering it enough to say “Amen” at the end of it.

They all stood, right hands over their chest, as the Anthem played. Liz stared around, watching them stand together in unity to support their country. Everything about this moment reminded her of Max, and with every second the prickling sensation on the back of her neck, like something was coming and it wasn’t going to be good, increased.

“...with Liberty and Justice, for all.”

Quiet fell over the stadium, as the announcer’s voice came back on the PA system instead of a buzzer signaling the start of the game. The words drifted over her as she struggled to understand what he was saying, but it was difficult to hear it as her entire world crashed around her.

“Would you bow your heads for a listed local, Vietnam dead?”

She stared up at the screen, her head lifting as everyone else bowed their heads in respect. Even before he said it, Liz knew. And with two words, something inside of her died.

“Max Evans...”

He was saying something about his family, about his life in Roswell, but all Liz could hear was the blood pounding in her ears. It wasn’t possible. He was safe. Sure, he was fighting in Vietnam, but he couldn’t be dead. He said he was coming back. He had promised it.

He had promised her.

Liz sank to her seat, her grief and agony surrounding her, suffocating as it swarmed her. She was not prepared for the emotions, could not allow herself to believe them. He wasn’t...he couldn’t be...

She found herself unable to say the words. She didn’t want to. It would make this too real, it would mean something that Liz did not think she could really believe. That he truly was...gone. But the question bubbled forth, spilling from her lips as the desperation tore at her soul.

“Dead?” she whispered, her voice hoarse and unrecognizable. It seemed appropriate, for her to lose any sense of herself. She did not want to sound like Liz Parker, could not handle being Liz Parker. Liz Parker was dead now too...her soul torn apart. Crushing pain filled her heart, and the feeling threatened to choke her. Is this what happens when your heart breaks, she wondered, her eyes filling with tears that coursed silently down her ashen cheeks.

Around her, a buzzer sounded, cheering ensued and the moment of silence was broken. But not to Liz. To Liz, the entire world was silent, cold and distant and unrecognizable without the hope and faith that had guided her over the past months.

Without another thought to the game, to Kyle, to the world, Liz dashed from her seat, sight blinded by the tears in her eyes. She didn’t know where to go, had no place to run, but it was all she could think to do. She had to get away from this pain.

A sob tore from her lips and she brought her hand to her mouth, doing her best to stifle the harsh sounds. She knew people were looking at her, but she did not want their sympathy. She did not want this to be real.

Shoulders heaving slightly from the force of her stifled cries, tears still pouring openly down her cheeks, Liz sat beneath the bleachers as the world went on around her and her entire existence shattered.

They had told her, warned her, feared that this had happened. But Liz had refused to believe it. She had never felt more alone, stripped of her faith and hope, bereft of the only love she would ever know. She did the only thing she could do.

She simply cried.

He had been unable to keep his promise. But Liz knew with certainty that she would keep hers for the rest of her life.

<center>The End</center>
Last edited by Hopeless Romantic on Thu Sep 22, 2005 12:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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"The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will..." - Vince Lombardi



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Postby Hopeless Romantic » Sat Sep 24, 2005 2:10 am

A/N: All I can say is that I'm honored by your feedback, and I truly hope you all enjoy this. Thank you for sticking with me, and reading this. I love you all. A certain paragraph in here written with the help of J!

ENJOY!

<center>Traveling Soldier: Epilogue</center>

To say life had continued as normal for Liz seemed to be the truth. She worked diligently in her parents café, still saving up all that she could. Her life was devoid of any love, and real joy. Without Max, there was nothing left to live for, and Liz knew that she had been condemned to a life in the small town the day that he had died.

A fate that for such a small time had brought such pleasure and happiness to her thoughts, now filled her with dread and pain. Each day she spent in this place, reminded her of what she had for such a brief period, before it had been so cruelly taken away.

Even her parents could find no joy in the fact that she had remained in Roswell, knowing the unhappiness she suffered through everyday.

For a while, they had questioned her health, wondering if she needed real help to deal with the tragedy of losing her first love. She had spent days, even nights alone on that pier, thinking about the day that they had spent there together.

Her mind poured over their conversation, and Liz recalled how they had talked about his mother. She had wondered then, how his mother had been able to do that to him, burden him the way that she had.

But Liz did not judge lightly anymore. Because her fate was now the same, and Liz knew with complete certainty the pain and agony that could cripple a person, could drive them to the lengths that it had driven his mother. It was what happened when your heart broke, when you lost the other half of your soul and realized that you could never find it again.

She could only imagine how much worse it would be, if her and Max had spent more than one day together, if they had been married, if they had...

Those thoughts tortured her at night, leaving her restless and unable to sleep. She knew that she was slowly killing herself, but she could hardly bring herself to care other than the pitiful attempts she made to appease her distraught parents.

It was amazing how things had changed upon Max’s death. Her mother’s attitude towards the entire thing had changed dramatically, and Liz couldn’t help but think that a part of her felt guilty, almost as if she had condemned him to death by even uttering that Liz would become his widow.

The new found closeness they had formed as her mother had held her while she cried, while it was a very good thing, could do nothing to fill her with happiness. The trade was not one she would have ever wished for.

Her father had remained as understanding as he’d always been, even more so now that he was no longer put between the warring sides of daughter and wife. He urged her to take care of herself, bringing her trays of food in the first weeks that she had remained in her room.

It had taken a while for Liz to realize that Max would not have wished for her to live life the way she had been. He would not have wished for his death to cause her own. So, Liz lived on, taking life slowly as she reacquainted herself with life both inside the Crashdown and out of it.

Which is why she found herself there now, bussing a table and staring off into space. The small café was pretty much empty and all of her tables had cleared away since the lunch rush. With the end of her shift in sight, Liz decided to take a small break.

She sat down at the counter, placing her head on her arm to get a second of rest, before she felt someone tapping her shoulder.

She turned around suddenly, shocking the hell out of her mother, who had come to see if she was alright.

“Jesus, Liz! Are you okay?” she asked, placing her hand on Liz’s shoulder. When Liz nodded, Nancy held out something to her.

Liz stared at the small envelope, wondering if this was yet another letter of Max’s that had taken a while to reach her. She had already received one, and didn’t know if she could handle getting another.

Thanking her mother, Liz took the envelope and carefully tore it open, her hands shaking the entire time. She didn’t know if it was relief or disappointment that flooded through her when she realized it wasn’t a letter, instead finding a small telegram.

Her eyes scanned the small paper quickly, reading it over and over again and trying to comprehend what the words were saying. Words jumped out at her. Missing. No Memory. She spun around in her chair, needing to find her mother, ready to call out for her when something stopped her dead in her tracks.

“I’m alive.”

The words came from his lips, but Liz didn’t know if she could believe it. She couldn’t be sure if she was hearing things, her imagination wanting to hear the words from the telegram actually come from the mouth that she ached to hear say it.

Because as soon as her world stopped spinning, Liz found herself face to face with a ghost, and she had no idea what to believe.

“Max?” she whispered, scared that if she spoke too loudly he would disappear as suddenly as he had come.

Was her mind playing a horrible trick on her? Was her desperation to see him finally driving her to the point of insanity where she was actually seeing him in front of her? She saw him clearly in her dreams every night, but this was so different, so real...

She took a step forward, wanting, needing to touch him, needing to know the truth. Her arm lifted, and she stared transfixed as it inched closer to his chest, her hand only inches from him. Her eyes darted to his face, swallowing when she realized he was watching her, his eyes boring into her own as they shone with tears.

Liz felt her own fall, and a sob of relief tore through her as her hand slid up the muscled contour of his chest, feeling the rapid beat of his heart beneath her trembling palm.

He was alive.

It took her less than a second to find herself buried in his arms, pressed against his chest tightly as they clung to each other, Max breathing out her name as if it were a prayer. Her tears soaked his shirt, sobs muffled by the fabric as his own were buried by the crook of her neck.

How long they held each other, Liz couldn’t tell. A part of her refused to let go, scared to find this all a dream, and he seemed content to hold her until she believed he was real, even if it took forever.

They were lost in each other, completely oblivious to everything around them. Liz’s mom stood at the swinging door, watching with tears in her eyes as her daughter melted into the arms of the man she would spend the rest of her life with. Hand covering her mouth, keeping her from making any sound that would break up this beautiful union, she stood transfixed. Only when she felt her own husband’s arms around her shoulders did she move, resting into his supportive embrace to watch the beautiful scene before them. It was enough to see them for a moment, to truly realize the love that practically shone from their embrace. Silently, they left, retreating through the swinging door so they could leave the two lovers to their reunion.

For the first time since that day on the pier, Liz felt whole. “You’re back,” she whispered tearfully, pulling back to stare at him, cupping his face in her hands as his own did the same. She felt him thread his fingers through her hair, as she rested her forehead against him, eyes closed in relief that they had finally found their way back to each other. “You came back.”

He leaned down, taking her lips in a sweet kiss. It was one filled with emotion, one that symbolized their pain, their struggle to find their way home, a place they knew for certain was in each other’s arms.

When he pulled back, Liz smiled as he continued to pepper her face with kisses. She did the same, simply unable to stop touching him. Overwhelmed with emotion, she found herself burying her head against his neck, breathing him in and continuing to reassure herself that he was actually here.

“You came home,” she breathed finally, content to believe he was truly in her arms.

She closed her eyes at the sound of his sweet reply, reminded of the hope she had held onto, the faith in him that had truly always remained. “I promised you I would,” he said softly, kissing the top of her head and closing his eyes, taking a deep steadying breath as he struggled to keep a hold on his emotions.

Liz continued to hold him, continued to let herself be held, as the reality crashed over her, bringing a set of fresh tears. Max had come home to her; she was finally where she belonged. Safe and loved, in the arms of her traveling soldier.

<center>The End</center>
<center>

"The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will..." - Vince Lombardi



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Kath7
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Postby Kath7 » Sat Dec 31, 2005 2:02 pm

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