When Your Heart Wants More (AU,ML,Mature) (Complete)

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Behrsgirl77
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When Your Heart Wants More (AU,ML,Mature) (Complete)

Post by Behrsgirl77 » Wed Nov 30, 2005 7:47 pm

Winner - Round 9

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Suzanne



Title: When Your Heart Wants More

Author: Tanya

Category: M/L AU w/out Aliens (There will however be slight A/I and M/M thrown in as well; it's been a long time since I've written them so forgive me)

Rating: Mature

Disclaimer: I do not own rights to Roswell or it’s characters. I will use them, abuse them and put them back happy.

Summary: Liz Parker left New Jersey months ago leaving behind the only man she ever loved. What happens when an unexpected phone call from her best friend forces her to return earlier than she planned? There are secrets that have yet to be discovered and lives that will be forever changed because of them.

A/N - I know...you're saying she has another fic going? Yes, I do. But I have actually written several parts of this ahead of time. In fact, I just sent another to the beta to review. So no worries on the other stories going, in fact Confessions is just about done so there :P *lol*

This will be sort of angsty...but you guys know I'm a hardcore dreamer so that's not going to last for long. And lastly I have to give a *HUGE* thank you to my beta; dreamer destiny seriously I think she read the first couple of chapters 3 times too many *lol* Thank you soo much!!

<center>Image
Pretty Banner by: lizard_queen
</center>


Prologue


Does a man deserve to suffer for all the wrong choices he’s made in his life? That was a question that Max Evans had been asking himself for the past several months, but if he was honest with himself it was a lot longer than that. However, it was a question he never wanted the answer to. For it seemed that the answer in every instance, for him, was yes.

Here he was, a twenty five year old man, whose wife was dying. In a matter of moments, his life took a complete turn for the worse. He wasn’t sure how he arrived at the exact time and place he’d found himself at that moment. But if he had to pinpoint the exact moment where everything went wrong, he would have said it was the day he asked his wife to marry him.

He closed his eyes and ran a shaky hand through his jet-black hair. His eyes sagged from the restless nights he and his wife had endured over the past few months. Was that all it was; months, he contemplated? It felt like years since she was first diagnosed with Leukemia.

They had been married a mere four months and two days to the day, to be exact. Now, she was dying and the doctor had delivered the bad news an hour ago. She wouldn’t make it; in fact they couldn’t give her another month to live. It seemed the disease had spread so quickly, and because they didn’t find it in its early stages, there was nothing anyone could do for her. The most they could offer was to make her as comfortable as possible.

Comfortable. Max had to wonder, how someone can become comfortable knowing they are simply waiting to die? Was it comforting to have that knowledge and know there was not a damn thing that could be done? Max knew for a fact he would not be handling it as well as his wife appeared to be. He couldn’t fathom how he would have dealt with that overwhelming information. Regardless of that fact, there he was holding his dying wife’s hand as he tried to find the words to make her feel better in her last days.

The reality hit him hard; he didn’t know her enough to soothe her fears. He couldn’t provide one comforting word. He was married to her, and didn’t know what she liked and disliked. How had his life spiraled so out of control? He had a good head on his shoulders; he was smart, good looking and a very caring individual, yet he couldn’t muster up the words to help his dying wife.

Max felt ashamed and completely helpless. He looked at her sleeping form, and wished he could take it all away. Because despite the last real conversation they’d had, he still cared about her. And yes, even a small part of him loved her. But he was not, nor was he ever in love with her. He swallowed past the lump of guilt that welled up in his throat.

That was the truth. Max knew he shouldn’t have gotten married that day, he knew he was making a huge mistake, but how could he not? She was so happy, he didn’t have the heart to break her heart. Despite the fact that the moment he said, ‘I do’ he knew he was betraying his heart, he married her anyway.

It wasn’t a big surprise to the family when Max announced, over two months ago, that they would be separated and soon divorced. They knew he was not in love with their daughter. Max was well aware that the Parkers knew that his heart belonged to someone else, someone he knew they also felt like they’d lost a long time ago.

Max grasped his wife’s hand a little tighter as he watched her features closely. She was beautiful, that he couldn’t deny. Her hair was dark, matted against her pale skin, made its appearance even darker. Max smiled slightly at the conversation they had over her cutting her hair a month after they were married. She had wanted to cut it short, just above her shoulders. Max had disagreed with her, since he’d always loved women with longer hair. Despite, their disagreement, she cut it short anyway. That was his first sign, as if he really needed it, that his marriage was doomed.

He learned from his parents, that compromise was what made a marriage work. Neither he nor she were willing to make any compromises, or sacrifices for that matter.

He watched as she shifted slightly and her eyes opened to small slits. “Hey, do you want anything?” he asked softly.

“No, thank you. Could you get my mom, please?” she asked, her voice raspy from the medication they had administered to her earlier. Max nodded before standing and leaning over to kiss her forehead softly.

“I’ll be right back with her.” He offered her a small smile, although as usual, it never seemed to reach his eyes, before leaving the room.

<center>****</center>

“Here take this.” Alex held out a thick paper cup filled with steaming coffee to his best friend. Max looked up with a half smile and graciously took the cup. He eyed the contents for a moment before taking a sip.

“Don’t worry, it’s black, no sugar. What did you think? I’ve been friends with you long enough to know how you like it.” Alex took a seat and tried to make light of the situation, despite the fact that it was his sister that was dying.

“I know. So how you holding up?” Max turned and eyed his friend sympathetically. He knew that Alex and his sister were close. It seemed to Max that Alex was the only one that truly knew her.

“Just trying to wrap my mind around it still. Not really sure anymore. I’m kind of taking it day by day.” Max nodded.

Max knew that Alex wasn’t trying to be brave for his parents, he knew him better than that. Alex wasn’t one to cry over his feelings; he simply learned to deal with them. Learned to find the meaning behind all the bad things that happened in life. Max suspected that Alex had already begun making his peace with God. Alex didn’t believe in grudges, he believed that everything happened for a reason. A concept Max was still trying to figure out whether was true or not.

He reflected in the moments of silence that followed, on his wedding day.

Max could remember the day so clearly. He’d love to say that she was the love of his life. That she was the air he breathed and the soul mate his heart had cried out to for as long as he could remember, but she wasn’t.

At that moment, Max remembered something he hadn’t up until that point. Right before he and his wife-to-be exchanged their vows, Alex had gone to him and suggested that he not go through with the wedding. Max wondered why he never asked Alex why he suggested it to begin with. Maybe he should have taken the suggestion and ran with it, but would it have really changed anything? He had already destroyed the one person he swore to never hurt.

Regret was an all too familiar feeling since that day. No, actually regret settled into his heart long before that, but that was neither here nor there. Yes, he regretted marrying her, and he regretted losing his best friend but more than anything, he regretted ever allowing her into his life.

While every bone in his body screamed out to him that this was wrong, that thinking like this was terrible at a time like this. He couldn’t stop himself. It was all true and everyone in the waiting room knew it, hell even his wife knew it. That was after all the reason why they were separated and had filed for a divorce. That knowledge did not bring him one ounce of comfort though. Regardless of everything that had transpired over the past few months, the reality was that she was too young to die. She didn’t deserve the fate that was handed to her.

“Max, she wants to see you and Alex.” Nancy Parker eyed the two young men sitting in front of her. She loved them both as her sons. Despite the fact that Max was not her own son, she loved him as if she’d given him life. He’d been in the family so long, it was hard for her not to think of him in such a way.

“Okay, we’ll be right in.” Alex answered for the both of them.

“Come on, after this you need to eat.” Alex patted his friend on the back as they both stood and proceeded down the hall.

<center>****</center>

“Are you sure?” Alex asked hesitantly. Max knew that Alex was thinking the exact same thing as him. Maybe she was just asking for this because of the medication.

“I’m sure. It’s time and I have bridges to mend.” She smiled despite her pain. Although she didn’t feel any physical pain, she felt the pain in her heart for the betrayal she had set in motion the moment she moved in with the Parkers.

Although, she was not their biological daughter, they treated her as if she were. She had used that to her advantage and because of that, she destroyed so many lives in the process. It was time, because she didn’t have much of that left, to begin to fix all the wrongs she’d committed.

Alex turned to Max knowing that it would be his call. He would leave it in his hands to decide how to move forward from this moment.

“I’ll do it.” Max smiled half-heartedly. He excused himself moments later to get his nerves under control for what he needed to do next.

<center>****</center>

Max took a long drag of his cigarette before flicking it to the ground, and stomping it out. He rubbed his hands together for warmth. It was the middle of October and it was a typical northern New Jersey evening. Although a drop of snow hadn’t fallen, the air was cold and bitter. It didn’t help that the wind had kicked up over the past few hours either. He found himself just outside the hospital entrance as he reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out his cell phone.

He flipped it open and scrolled through the phone book. He just stared back at the name lit up on his display screen, a name he hadn’t spoken since his wedding day. In fact, he may have had the number in his phone, but that didn’t mean he had ever called it. He took in a long ragged breath and closed his eyes for a moment. Secretly he had wished that his wife had asked for this, because regardless of her wishes, Max knew that it was only a matter of time before he made this call himself.

He ran a hand through his hair, causing it to rumple just a bit more, before hitting the button making the call. He waited impatiently as it rang, and a small part of him hoped no one answered, that way he could leave a message. It had been a long time, far too long and he wondered if what he said would even matter anymore.

That wasn’t what unsettled Max at that moment, however. What did was the fact that he never realized how much he ached to hear the familiar voice on the other end answer, until he did.

“Hello?” He closed his eyes and swayed unsteadily against the side of the building. It was still just as sweet, just as beautiful as he remembered.

“Hello, is anyone there?” came the voice once again. Max swallowed past the lump in his throat and pushed himself off the wall.

“Liz,” he breathed out softly, just above a whisper.

“Max?” she asked in confusion.

“She’s asking to see you.” He wanted to add that he himself wanted to see her as well, but she wouldn’t accept it, he knew that.

“I don’t think I can,” Liz answered in a shaky breath. Max closed his eyes and hoped that she would accept what he was about to say without getting upset. He knew he had no right to ask, but it was what was in his heart to tell her.

“Liz, I need you. I know I haven’t been there for you and you know that I wouldn’t ask if I didn’t mean it.” He waited with bated breath for her response, and when it came he had to ask her to repeat it, just to be sure he wasn’t imagining her answer.

“I’ll be there, Max.”

“Th—”

“Don’t thank me, Max.” He felt the coldness of her voice through the phone. He ended the call shortly thereafter and made a silent promise to himself.

For the first time in his life, he was going to follow his heart, wherever it led him.


TBC…

*I think we all know where the last line was borrowed from ;)*
Last edited by Behrsgirl77 on Sun Jun 25, 2006 5:18 pm, edited 24 times in total.

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Post by Behrsgirl77 » Wed Dec 07, 2005 9:39 pm

A/N - You guys are awesome! That's all I'm saying :wink:

Now for all you fellow New Jersians (is that a word? lol) just wanna give you a *wave* all you fellow New Yorkers (I know that's a word :wink: ) I'm gonna give you a wave well cause I was born there...nuff said!

The feedback response to this blew me away, mainly because this was a bit different than what I normally write. It's obviously told from both Max and Liz's perspectives...the chapters are fairly short. Basically I'm focusing on a few events that will bring everyone to one place. Some of you were close...but you just scratched the surface :?

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Thank you all so much! And a special thanks to dreamer destiny for all her help :wink:



Chapter 1


“Liz, are you sure this is a good idea?” Maria asked as she helped her friend pack her suitcase.

“No, I’m actually positive that this is a bad idea, but it won’t change the fact that I’m going.” Determination set in her features; she was going to head home in two weeks anyway. The timetable simply changed, and the circumstances had been altered, but nevertheless there were things that needed to be settled. She couldn’t hide any longer.

“He’s going to be angry with you.” Liz knew that Maria was simply looking out for her, and she loved her for it, but it was time to face the music.

“I guess that makes us even, because I’m still pissed at him. In fact, this is his fault.” Liz turned to face her friend who eyed her warningly.

“Liz, you know that an eye for an eye doesn’t make it right.”

“I know! Don’t you think I know that, Maria? But what was I supposed to do? He was getting married and he didn’t love me.” Liz finished with a long sigh as she settled at the edge of her bed. It was true, she was secretly trying to pay him back for the heartache, but the guilt was eating her alive. She turned and eyed the box she was set to mail to him next week, “I guess I won’t have to mail this,” she said lifting the box and running her fingers over his name in ink.

“Liz, I wish I could go with you. I don’t want you to go by yourself.” Maria crossed the room and kneeled before her friend. Liz smiled her gratefulness, although she and Maria had only known each other for a few months, Liz felt blessed to have met Maria in the first place.

When she moved to Germany four months ago, she knew no one, but she had needed to get away from Max and that entire situation. Her job had given her an offer she couldn’t refuse. Since she was a successful marketing advertiser, her company offered her the chance to transfer out of the country, if she wanted. She had always wanted to visit Germany, so why not live there for a few years? The moment she stepped off the plane, she fell in love with it. It was so different from the States, and it was several thousand miles from her sister and her best friend.

“Maria, it’s time. I have to face everyone, and everything I’ve been running from. I know it’s not going to be easy and I know that everyone will be angry with me, but I have to do it. I have prepared myself for it, as best as I could.” Liz was kidding herself. What she needed to do was impossible to prepare herself for. Nevertheless, it had to be done.

“Well then, we better get you all packed. Your flight leaves in four hours.” Maria smiled and gave her friend a hug.

Liz sat at watched as Maria packed up her bags, she wanted to help but she couldn’t. Her mind was reeling at the knowledge that Max had said that he needed her. She was angry and happy at the same time. How long had she waited for him to say that to her? Too long, that was for damn sure. When he went to thank her, however, the anger and betrayal surfaced and she realized that she was not over him.

Logically she should have been, she knew that. However, her heart told her otherwise. Besides the other glaring reason, her heart still held a special place for him. That upset her more than anything, for she knew he was a married man. Yes, despite the fact that her sister was dying, Max Evans would never be hers.

She chided herself for even thinking such thoughts on her sister’s deathbed, but how else should she have reacted? She and Max were different, they were supposed to be more, they should have been more, but because of Suzanne, they weren’t. Truth is, they never would be, and Liz had accepted it long ago. Actually, her head had accepted it, but not her heart. No, her heart would never accept it, not now…not ever.

Liz never wished her sister this fate. She didn’t deserve it regardless of the evil, underhanded, malicious and vindictive things she’d done in the past. Sad part was Liz still loved her, and that was what hurt her the most. Why was her heart so soft? She had hoped that it would have grown cold and unfeeling for the people that hurt her the most, but it didn’t. Maybe it was because of the current events that were taking place in her life, but she just couldn’t hate them, no matter how much she wished for it.

When Suzanne, her second cousin, came to live with her parents, Liz was excited. She had her older brother, Alex, but no sisters and Liz had hoped to form a bond with Suzanne. It turned out disastrous from the moment she stepped foot into Liz’s life.

Liz’s parents felt bad for Suzanne, whose parents died in a car accident when she was eighteen. Liz was three years younger than her, but figured the small age difference would not have made a difference. Maybe it wouldn’t have, if Suzanne weren’t born of the devil. Liz knew she was exaggerating, but sometimes she felt that was exactly where her sister had come from.

Sister. It was funny how Liz, as well as everyone else, referred to Suzanne as that. She had never tried to be a big sister to Liz, she used Liz and took away the one thing she loved more than anything else on this earth; Max Evans.

From the first moment she saw him she was in love. It was one of those instances, where your heart beats a thousand times a minute and when your eyes meet, you know without a doubt that that is the person you are going to spend the rest of your life with.

She was obviously delusional. He never truly loved her; he used her, just like Suzanne used her. She betrayed her in the worst way, and because of that Liz was ruined for any other man for the rest of her life.

Liz wasn’t one to hold a grudge, her brother Alex had taught her that. However, in this instance, from the first betrayal, Liz’s life had spiraled out of control. Just when she felt like everything she wanted was within her grasp, Suzanne was there to rip it right from underneath her.

Didn’t she deserve to be happy? Didn’t she deserve to be loved? And didn’t she deserve to be angry? Sometimes she believed that was all she could feel, but then other days, on the good days, which lately had been more often than not, she was happy. She glowed with the happiness that radiated from within her.

When she first left New Jersey, her heart felt broken. She felt lost and so confused. What had she done wrong in life to deserve such hurtfulness? That was all she could think of, what had she done wrong? Then one night, while she was lying in bed staring at the ceiling, it hit her. It was as if a door opened in her mind and she finally realized that she was feeling sorry for herself, when in reality she should’ve felt sorry for Suzanne.

She was sorry that Suzanne felt the only way to be happy was to destroy everyone around her. Max was another story all together. Yes, she loved him, but she hated him at the same time. He was supposed to be her best friend, he was supposed to be there for her, but the second her sister came to town, he dropped her. At least that was the way she felt. That hurt more than anything Suzanne could have ever done, because despite everything that transpired between her and Max, Liz believed Max would always be there for her.

That wasn’t the case then, and she knew it wouldn’t be the case now, no matter the circumstances. She guessed that was the reason why she truly didn’t want to hear Max thank her for anything. Since she was going home in two weeks with or without the phone call. The real reason why she didn’t return sooner was because she knew her heart couldn’t take seeing them happy and in love. A love she should have had, but never would.

Liz knew her limitations, and seeing Max and Suzanne together was more than her heart could handle. They hadn’t dated long and before she knew it, they were getting married. It shocked not only her, but also the entire family. At first Liz assumed it was happening so quickly because Suzanne was pregnant, but that was not the case. Max was in love with her and couldn’t wait to marry her. That was the harsh and simple truth. A truth Liz had to swallow during the entire ceremony.

Somehow though, Liz truly believed Max would not get married. Her mind screamed at her not to be a fool, he was simply using her, but her heart, her poor soft heart ached for it to be true. It wasn’t and she watched as the love of her life married her so-called sister.

“Liz, I’m all done. You ready? Michael will be here in fifteen minutes with the car.” Liz was sided tracked long enough for Maria to pack all of her belongs into her suitcases.

“Maria, you didn’t have to do all that.” Liz smiled at her friend. Maria simply pulled her into a hug as they waited anxiously for Michael to arrive.

<center>****</center>

“Thank you.”

“Anything for you, Liz. Now I want you to call me as soon as you land. And if you need me, I’ll be on the next flight out.” Maria offered.

“That’s right, we’ll both be there.” Michael pulled her into a tight embrace.

“You guys are too good to me.” Liz looked between the two of them with a tearful gaze. What would she have done without Maria and Michael?

“Don’t cry. If you cry then Maria will cry and then I’ll have to figure out a way to stop her from getting on that plane with you.” Michael joked and that earned him a slap on the arm from his girlfriend.

“Now who’s picking you up? Michael did you call for a car to pick her up? She can’t possibly start hailing a cab and…” Michael slapped a hand over her mouth, successfully muffling her rant.

“Max is going to pick me up.” Liz mumbled out quickly.

“Are you sure that’s a good idea?” Michael and Maria both asked cautiously.

“I think in this instance, it’s the only logical thing.” Liz smiled and kissed her friends goodbye before heading towards her gate.

She sat staring out onto the runway from her first class seat. It was going to be a long flight and she was already exhausted. She leaned back resting her head against the seat and closed her eyes seeking comfort. At that moment however, the only thing that brought her comfort was the fact that there were secrets in New Jersey. Secrets about her dear sister, secrets she and Max shared between each other, secrets that would soon be revealed.

Liz shifted in her seat before the plane had taken off. She lifted the book bag she had placed on the empty seat beside her. She unzipped it quickly and placed her hand on the box inside. It held information on the biggest secret she had kept. She just hoped that by the time she landed, she would have figured out what to say, not only to her sister and family, but mostly to Max.

Preparing herself for liftoff, she closed her eyes and took a deep cleansing breath. It was time to return home and she hoped that she had the strength to do what she needed to do to return to her normal everyday life.

In the back of her mind, she knew better. After all, she had been avoiding this moment for months, and now that she was returning home, she was positive it would be the last time she saw Germany for some time.


TBC…Wednesday

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Post by Behrsgirl77 » Wed Dec 14, 2005 8:08 pm

A/N - Look I'm updating on time! Can't say much for my other fics...but you can't win them all *lol*

Okay I just wanted to say that you all have lots and lots of questions, and they will be answered. I have also decided that I need to go back a bit into the past, which I will do gradually within the next few chapters to give you guys the full picture.

Thank you as always for your feedback very interesting to see your theories on things!!

Hope you enjoy!


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Kittens – You raise an interesting question about Liz not knowing about the divorce, rest assured I’ll answer it.
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Chapter 2


Max Evans paced the length of his living room trying to calm his nerves. He was terrified to see Liz again. What would he say to her after all these months? If the coldness in her voice was any indication, he knew he had a lot to make up for. Max was a lot of things, but naïve wasn’t one of them.

He knew that he’d broken Liz with his careless actions, except he couldn’t figure out why he’d done it in the first place. He knew he was hurting her from the start, yet he continued. Why? He had asked himself that question a million times and the only answer that came of it was, he loved her.

The sad and sick truth was that Max loved Liz more than he loved anyone in his entire life. So why did he make it his mission to hurt her repeatedly? He figured if he knew the answer to that question, he wouldn’t be as miserable as he was. All the pain and misery of the past several years wouldn’t have existed. And then maybe, just maybe he and Liz would have been happy together.

Beyond all the love he felt for her, he knew deep down that he could never really make her happy. Not then, but maybe now, if she would give him a chance. Which he highly doubted. Max had many regrets and hurting her was on the top of that list, but putting all else aside, they did have many good times.

He reflected back on the day he first laid eyes on her, it was a warm summer morning and her family had just moved to New Jersey from Roswell, New Mexico. He could still see her long brown hair blowing in the slight breeze, the color of her sundress, a light pastel blue, and she had on these cute sandals that matched it perfectly. She was as cute as a button, and when he’d approached her, and she spoke for the first time, he truly believed that was the moment he fell in love with her.

Life was simple then, no responsibilities and not very many goals. He and Liz casually dated on and off in the beginning, but soon he realized that Liz felt more for him and he wasn’t prepared for it. So he did the only thing he could do, push her away. Now, they still remained friends, but he never let it escalate any further than that. Instead he began to date an endless number of girls when he reached high school. Maybe, he figured, it was the only way to keep his mind off of Liz.

She was smart and beautiful, any guy would be lucky to have her, but she didn’t date. Max knew why too, because of him. She was saving herself and her heart for him. He didn’t deserve it and he wanted her to realize sooner rather than later, that they could be nothing more than best friends. And it seemed for a while that Liz accepted it, but he was wrong. Dead wrong.

In fact, he knew the moment they crossed the line between friends, that he had made a mistake. Of course, that didn’t mean he regretted it, because he didn’t. He had not, nor would he ever regret one moment he spent with Liz.

It was the night of their Junior Cotillion; Max knew she didn’t have a date because she was secretly waiting for him to ask her. He couldn’t let her not go, and so he asked, and just as he knew she would, she accepted. They had an amazing night, not that he had any doubt that he would. After all, they hung out almost every other day, and on the weekends when he wasn’t out with another girl. He was practically part of the Parker family by the time he was 16, just as Liz was a part of the Evans family.

That night however, things between them changed and Max realized that just because he spent time with other girls, he knew he’d never be able to replace Liz. She meant more to him than anything, which is why he was still completely baffled by his actions following that night.

They made love, for the first time. It was special and perfect for the both of them. Liz had confessed her love to him, and because when he looked into her eyes and saw the sincerity of her words, he confessed his own love for her. He told her how long he’d loved her for, but that was his mistake.

Liz wanted more after that night, and he couldn’t give it. He had tried, his heart had screamed at him to give it to her, but he didn’t. Instead, he proceeded to hurt her by dating another girl. Liz was so angry that she confronted him a week later, in his parent’s living room. She was crying and banging her fists against his chest, he tried not to let it affect him, but it did. God did it. He swore from that day forward, that he would never give her mixed signals again, that he would somehow beg for her forgiveness, and pray that she didn’t hate him for the rest of her life.

Lucky for him, Liz Parker had an amazing heart. And after he explained that he couldn’t give her what she wanted, she was hurt and he knew it, but she came around. She had told him that she missed him, and that if he couldn’t give her more, then it was fine. She would get past it. And she did.

In fact, prior to that when Suzanne moved in with the Parkers, Max hadn’t taken an interest in her, nor did she for that matter. She was three years older than him when they first met. She was on her way to college and she didn’t have time to spend with Liz at all. Max knew that hurt her more than anything at first, because Liz always craved to have a sister.

In any event, Suzanne left for college and returned four years later, which was the worst timing ever. Max had actually spent a lot of time with Liz over those years and after that night, and they got to know one another so much better. They were honest and he was actually working his way up to telling her how he felt. Problem was, Suzanne came back and Max allowed her to suck him into her trap. He chickened out, and ended up going on a date with Suzanne.

Max had thought Liz was furious after his handling of their first time, but what ensued from that date was like nothing he ever imagined…

<center>*****</center>

“How could you?! With her!” Liz screamed at the top of her lungs. She knew damn well everyone in the house could hear her, but she didn’t care. Suzanne had been back for about three months by that time. She was barely home but when she was Liz would tell him all of the things she would say and do to her.

“I’m sorry. I never meant for it…”

“You never mean shit, Max! Never! You just string me along until the next worshipper comes along!”

“I wasn’t stringing you along, Liz. You’re my best friend and I don’t want to fuck that up.”

“You just did! You know the shit I’ve been getting from my parents since she arrived, and finally she leaves and I feel like I’m finally happy again, and the second she walks back into my life, you run to her!” She stabbed her finger into his chest roughly. Max knew she wouldn’t cry, not this time.

“That’s not how it happened. It didn’t mean anything, it was one date.”

“A date is a date, Max. I don’t give a shit, you chose to ask her, did you not?” she asked as her body shook from fury. Max wanted to hold her, to tell her how sorry he was, but he didn’t. Yet again, he hid his feelings.

“How can you call yourself my best friend, when all you do is fuck me over?” Her voice had evened out, and Max feared that this was the end. She was never that calm.

“Liz, please. I didn’t. I’ll never see her again, if that’s what you want.” He waited with bated breath for her response. He watched her shoulders begin to shake and because he couldn’t hold back any longer, he pulled her flush against his body and let her cry.

“I want you to love me,” she whispered out hoarsely. He stiffened.

“I do love you, Liz.”

“No,” she shook her head defiantly, “I want you to be in love with me.” She lifted her tearful gaze to his, pleading him silently to accept her.

“I…I can’t. Don’t you see Liz, I’m not…I can’t make you happy. Why can’t you accept that?”

“Why can’t you accept that you’re scared?”

“I’m not,” he swallowed thickly, she knew him too well at that point.

“You are! You’re not scared to love me the way I love you, because you already do. You’re scared because you know what it would mean.” Liz set her jaw in frustration.

“W-What would it mean?”

“That is something you are going to have to answer for yourself.” She turned on her heels and he reached out grabbing her gently, stopping her motions.

“Why can’t we go back to the way it was? Why can’t we just be friends, Liz?” He pleaded desperately with her. At first she wasn’t going to answer him, but decided that it would be the last thing she gave him, because from that moment on, their friendship would be forever changed.

“Because Max,” she began tiredly, “Sometimes your heart wants more.” She gave him a sad smile before pulling from his grasp and walking away.


<center>******</center>

After that, Liz left for school that fall, and they kept in contact but she was too hurt to return home. It was during that time, Max found himself dating casually. He didn’t want anything serious especially with Suzanne. It was years later that it happened by accident and he wished it never had. He wished Liz had returned home for his twenty forth birthday, but she didn’t and so he ended up with Suzanne instead. A girl he never loved with an ounce of what he felt for Liz. Yet, he was able to date her for a few short months and ask her to marry him. Even though he was in love with her sister.

And that was the problem, the big gaping hole between them. Loving her wasn’t enough; being with her wasn’t even enough, not anymore. What Liz needed then was something Max wasn’t prepared to give her at that time.

He finally sat and sank back into the couch, watching the minutes tick by at a snails pace and then it hit him. He knew the answer to his question and to Liz’s conclusion, the reason why he pushed her away each and every time, and why he was scared. It was as clear as day. In the end, Max Evans knew that he would give himself to Liz forever, but what if…one day she decided she didn’t want him?

See for him, while he knew Liz was still in love with him, he could push her away, he could hurt her before she hurt him. Because for him, he knew that one day Liz would realize he was nothing special and wouldn’t want him anymore. It was what he feared the most…being without her.

Yes, in actuality he was without her now, but it was of his own accord. He chose it, because up until his wedding day, Liz Parker still loved him, of that he had no doubt. And maybe after all, that was why he got married in the end.

Now, though, he was certain Liz no longer felt any love for him. And that was what made him so reluctant to call her, to even see or utter her name after that day. They had shared something so perfect, something people wished to share, if only just once in their lifetime, and what had he done? He pushed her away, for good.

So why in the hell was he trying to figure out a way to make things better? Why was he trying to think of the right words to explain to her why he’d done what he did? It was futile and he knew it.

In fact, he knew that the moment he saw her, he would hurt her. The irony of the situation didn’t escape him. She was right, just like she always was, he thought with a smile. Liz Parker knew him better than he knew himself, and that meant one thing - she would know the moment she saw him that he was still unequivocally in love with her.

<center>******</center>

“Could I please have a glass of water?” Liz asked after awaking from her short nap. She was set to land in less than an hour, and she had yet to figure out what to say to Max.

What could she say? Granted she was still hurt and angry with him, and yes a small part of her hated him. Wished that she never laid eyes on him, but a bigger part of her wished for more.

How silly was it of her to even think such a thing? She knew better, didn’t she? Had her heart not been broken enough over the years by him? Surely it was, and yet she found herself wishing for the impossible. Wishing that for just a moment, when she looked at him for the first time in months, that she could see the love in his eyes. The love he always had in them, for her.

Liz had racked her brain for a long time, trying to figure Max out. She knew him, and in doing so, she knew that he loved her. Then why, she questioned, had he pushed her away so many times? She suspected she already knew the answer, the question was, did Max?

Damn her heart! She was beyond frustrated with herself. This trip was for a purpose, and she needed to do what she had to, and then leave…quickly. If she stayed, if she allowed him into her heart, she wouldn’t survive it. Of course, she still loved him, and yes, deep down, she still wanted to be with him, but that was not a reality she would ever know.

Liz knew two things without a question, she would always love Max, and he would always love her, but they could never be together. Because in the end it came down to the fact that she would always want more from him. More, meaning all of him. And the Max Evans that she knew wasn’t willing to give up his entire heart, leave it open and susceptible to pain and hurt, even for her.

And that made her journey ahead that much easier. With that one thought, she began to release some of the tension that had been building within her. In addition to which, she had just decided on the best course of action for when she saw him again.

<center>******</center>

Max watched and waited, pacing once again. When had he developed that habit, he wondered. Her flight landed and he was awaiting her arrival at the gate. He had seriously considered picking up flowers for her, but knew she wouldn’t accept them. So he was left with thoughts of her, what she looked like. She couldn’t look that different, after all it had only been a few months. No one changed that significantly, he pondered.

Liz held the book bag in front of her as she exited the plane. The anticipation was growing to epic proportions, as well as the butterflies in her stomach. Finally she entered the airport terminal and began to search for him. At first she could see nothing but swarms of people, and families happily greeting one another, but then her eyes landed on the most beautiful man she’d ever laid eyes on…ever.

His heart jumped into his throat at the sight of her beauty. Her hair was just as long as before, her brown eyes, big and round and her skin just as flawless. Max felt something inside of him break; it took him a moment to realize that it was his own heart. He blinked back the tears of sorrow and regret as he moved closer to her. She still hadn’t come into full view with the masses of people surrounding them; simply her glowing face was all he could see.

If she didn’t know better, she would almost say that Max appeared to have missed her, but that was her imagination. Something she wished for, but knew better of it. She swallowed thickly and prepared herself for the greeting she was about to receive.

Max couldn’t take his eyes off of her, her full pink lips, and the soft wisps of hair that fell across her shoulders. He’d almost forgotten how petite she actually was, but he never once forgot her face. He’d dreamt about it for as long as he could remember.

“Hi Liz,” Max smiled softly, not wanting to upset her. His eyes never left hers, and if he didn’t know better she seemed to have missed him. Max pushed that thought away, that was impossible.

“Hi Max,” Liz bit her lip nervously as she looked up at him. She wanted to cry at the raw emotions she saw etched across his face. Could it be possible that he missed her as much as she did him? She didn’t have long to contemplate what to do with that thought, because a moment later she heard a harsh gasp of confusion.

“Liz, you’re…” he couldn’t say it aloud. It couldn’t be possible. And if it were, what did that mean for them?

“Max, I can explain,” she began gently, pushing a piece of hair behind her ear, a nervous habit she had.

“You can explain? You’re pregnant…I…” he was speechless. But before he completely shut down of all logical thought, he had to ask. He had to know.

“Who’s is it?” The question came out in nothing more than a painful sob. He wanted to scream at how stupid he could have been to let her go. She fell in love and it wasn’t with him. The next words from her mouth however broke him from his pity party.

“It’s yours Max. I’m pregnant with your baby.”

TBC…

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Behrsgirl77
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Post by Behrsgirl77 » Wed Dec 21, 2005 9:37 pm

A/N - I'm baack! Awesome feedback people! Loved reading each and every one! Yes the majority of you were correct! However, we all have to remember to keep open minds about things. Things aren’t always as they appear. That’s all I’m saying!

linliz68 – Of your questions, what I can answer are, was Max married when he got Liz pregnant? No. And is Liz pregnant, yes she is still pregnant. Thanks girlie!

Lizza – Next part is here…don’t die…That would not be good! Thank you!

FSUMSW94 – I’m happy I don’t have to respond to all of your questions, you know the deal! Thank you sweetie! *muah*

Akashaa – You are too sweet and funny!! New part is here ontime! I’m trying to do better with my other fics, but well sometimes they just don’t come to me as fast. Thank you!

Lazza – Max was jealous since he thought that she was pregnant with someone else’s baby because he does love her. And I wouldn’t have Liz lie because ultimately she does truly want to be with him. Thanks sweetie!

g7silvers
– As far as when they slept together, I think after this part you can figure it out. That does not mean that I won’t tell you later in the story, but this should tied you over ;)

Maxsgurl – Uhm…yup! I’m glad I kept some of you guessing! Thanks!

Behrsgirl1230 – Do you hate me yet?! I’m seriously gonna loose some points with you aren’t it? LOL! Seriously I have the part, I’ll get it for you tomorrow the latest! Now…I know your confused but you’ll get the picture soon!

Earth2Mama – Ellie girlie…how long have you known me? Too freakin long, I’m not that freaky! (Jason is excluded from that comment of course! *wink*) *muah*

Ellie – You get a gold star! Your feedback was excellent, you dug deeper into the situation. Oh and as far as it being significant that he questioned the paternity of the child, no it’s not. Don’t think too far into that one, there isn’t anything else there. *muah*

Vampyrax – I promise you I’ll make Max worthy. He is after all my most favorite character :wink: Thanks!

dreamer destiny – Girl do I need to update you on this one lol! Seriously…I’m going to type it out and send you an e-mail to review and you can let me know what you think!! Thanks so much!

Cherie – I’m so glad to see you, I hope you are feeling better!! And I have some much needed reading to catch up on, I’m slow obviously, but rest assured I’ll be over there shortly! You point out an interesting question, part of which is answered in this part, but is there something more? Hmm… *MUAH*

POM – I’m a tease aren’t I? Don’t worry you’ll get the answers eventually! Thanks sweetie!

Alien614 – A tangled web indeed!! Thanks!!

roswell3053 – You’ll get Max’s reaction, but I’ll warn you it will be in stages. Thanks!

Michelle17 – You also did not miss anything, I never mentioned the second time…hmm…soon though very soon! Thanks!

Jason's Lover – Crystal…have you updated? I’m missing you girlie!! Oh and Max’s reaction up next! *muah*

begonia9508 – Eve…I’m sorry you had to read it twice. Just remember if I didn’t answer it yet, it will be in the coming parts :wink: Thanks!

Martine – LOL! I’m sure you know ‘how’ the deed was completed, but what happened during that time that ended with Liz pregnant? You’ll find out eventually lol! Thanks!

Eccentric One – Do I have to answer all your questions? I’m not even done with Wings and it will take me forever…but I guess I’ll try cause I luv you!
1). They have been married 4 months
2). How far along is Liz, you’ll read in this part
3). Liz left right after the ceremony my dear
No more questions for you hee hee! MUAH

Heavenli24 – You are right on with the timeline except for one thing! Gold star for you too!

frenchkiss70 – Tiph…you know how I love to keep people guessing. I try really hard, sometimes I fail and sometimes I don’t. Very good question: If Max treated her so badly why did Liz want to sleep with him? Hmm…And the main question, why did Max get married. Sorry sweetie, I loved to tell you but I can’t :twisted: . You’ll get the answers soon.

ISLANDGIRL5 – I have to say I honestly think with the exception of a very few, that you are the only one that feels a little sympathy towards Max. I’m glad, because we’re only on Chapter 3 and there is more of the story to tell! Thanks!

Behrlyliz – YAY! Yet another that feels just a little compassion towards Max, but well I won’t say he’s a saint because we all know he wasn’t but it takes two. Thanks!

Roswell_Freak – Ya know when you said, what the fazoli is going on, it made me this of this place I eat at when I visit my mother. The best way I can describe it is, fast food Italian but it’s really good LOL! Anyway yup it’s his! Thanks!

Natz – Guess I threw you for a loop huh? Well that’s good, I kept you guessing! Thanks!

Anonymousarfan – Well I see you also think Max is an asshole, I won’t deny nor defend at this point. I’ll just say, you will get everyone’s reactions soon! Thanks!

Gater101 – LOL!! No sperm stealing, my mind doesn’t work that way hee hee! Thanks!

Guelbebek – well you’re half right, but he wasn’t with her to dump her now was he?

Eccentric…You again?!! What the hell…no more questions! Okay, let’s see all I’m saying is you get the primo gold star! Nuff said. I’m tired already hee hee! Love you!

KatnotKath – Hi Kat, well I have to say unfortunately you need to look forward to cliffhangers. I’ve made the parts shorter and left you waiting for answers, just something different I’m trying out. Thanks! Hope you enjoy!

Sweet Liz – Thanks! And here ya go!

dawnuk - Hi! Well I completely understand your opinion of Max. Without a doubt he was an ass at times and he could have done things differently. However, he does feel remorse for his actions, but does she? I guess when the rest of the story is told things will get clearer…or not! Either way, thank you!

Lurkers...if there are any...cause my hands hurt from typing all that stuff above this line...hope you enjoy!



Chapter 3


“What did you just say?” Max blinked back his tears. A confused look settled on his face, surely he had heard her wrong.

“It’s yours Max,” she placed a hand against the swell of her belly and smiled slightly, never breaking eye contact with him.

“No. It can’t be.” He stepped away. Logically he knew that it was possible, she only looked to be a few months along. But she wouldn’t have kept this a secret, would she?

“I should have told you sooner, but I was afraid.” When she saw his face fall, she knew she had made a mistake. She should have told him the second she found out. She should have never left New Jersey, pregnant with his baby and not tell him. How could she though? Someone else had their own plans after all.

“We should get your bags.” He reached for the bag in her hand and turned in the direction of the baggage claim area.

“Max, aren’t you going to say something?” Liz asked. She could tell he was beyond angry. He was hurt, more than she ever took into consideration of him being. She was a fool.

“Not here,” he said through clenched teeth. Here he was making all these plans for winning her back, and it all just blew up in his face. She stopped loving him enough to keep his own child a secret from him.

They made it out to the car and onto the highway a few minutes later. Max had not said one word to her and she was beginning to worry.

“Max…”

“Don’t, Liz. Just…don’t,” he finished flatly. Not only was he trying to wrap his mind around the fact that he was going to be a father, but also that Liz lied to him for months.

“Did you ever plan on telling me? If I didn’t call you, would you have even told me?” he clenched the steering wheel so tightly that his knuckles instantly became white.

“Yes. I was planning to come home in two weeks. I know it was wrong to keep it from you,” she began to explain but he cut her off abruptly.

“Wrong?! What gave you that idea?! God, Liz. I know I fucked up things between us, but did I deserve this?” he spat out venomously.

“No!” she shook her head, “I didn’t keep it from you to hurt you.”

“You didn’t? That’s bullshit and you know it! What did you expect me to feel when I saw you pregnant?” he asked trying to lower his voice since he could see her physically jump at his tone.

“I…I don’t know, Max. I know you think I did it to hurt you but I didn’t. I regretted not telling you before I left.” She had let it slip and now she couldn’t lie. He deserved the truth.

“Before you left,” he questioned, tearing his eyes from the road for just a moment.

“Yes,” she nodded regretfully. “I found out and I was going to tell you a few weeks before the wedding, but…” Small sobs had taken over her body and she couldn’t hold back her tears any longer.

Max watched her break down and hated that he made her cry. No matter the circumstance, the last thing he wanted was for her to shed another tear. He pulled off at the rest stop the next exit up. He killed the engine and turned in his seat. He couldn’t help the small smile that tugged at the corners of his lips; she was beautiful but knowing she was pregnant with his child, made her even more beautiful in his eyes.

“Tell me, Liz. Why?” he began gently, as he reached out his hands to hers. They were small and fit perfectly in his hands, he’d missed that.

“I was so sure you wouldn’t go through with it. So I waited and then when the wedding wasn’t called off, I still held onto the hope that you wouldn’t do it. You wouldn’t marry her, but you did. I saw you and you looked happy and so did she, how could I ruin that?” Max pulled her into his arms and allowed her to cry against his chest. He ran a soothing hand up and down her back, reveling in the feel of her soft, warm body against his.

“Liz,” he pulled her away slightly to regard her tear stained face, “I…” He never got to finish his thoughts because at that moment her cell phone rang.

“Sorry,” she mumbled out right before she answered it.

“Yes, Maria, I’m fine. Yes, he’s here. No I’m not crying.” Liz smiled slightly when she heard Max chuckle beside her.

“Okay. I love you too. I’ll call you later.” Liz hung up and saw the question in his eyes.

“That was Maria, I live with her and her boyfriend in Germany.” Max simply nodded, he hated that their moment was interrupted but thought it was for the better. He had so many questions and he wasn’t sure he wanted the answer to any of them.

“Max?” Liz asked as Max began to pull the car back out onto the highway.

“Yeah?”

“I know we have a lot to talk about. And I know my parents, as well as yours are going to h-hate me. I know this, but I needed to ask you one thing.” She knew she had no right asking, but what other choice did she have?

“What?”

“Could you be there when I tell them? I know I don’t deserve it, Max. I just don’t think I could do it right now without completely losing it.” She sounded so small and fragile, he couldn’t say no.

“Okay, Liz. When did you want to tell them?” Not that they had much of a choice, because as soon as they saw her they’d know her secret, well at least one part of it, he thought.

“Can they meet us at your place?” She honestly never wanted to set foot inside Max and his wife’s home, but it was the most logical place. She did not want to cause a scene in the hospital, not at a time like this.

“That’s fine. I’ll call them.” Liz nodded and then proceeded to stare out of her window. She closed her eyes and rested her hands on her protruding belly; it brought her peace to know her baby lay right beneath them.


<center>******</center>


They had finally arrived at his home, and Max gingerly helped Liz from the car. Once they settled inside, they sat in silence waiting for everyone to arrive.

“It’s nice in here,” Liz commented softly.

“Yeah, well you have my mom to thank for it.” Max smiled shyly. He saw the surprised look on her face; he already knew that she thought he lived with Suzanne. Truth of the matter was two months after they were married they separated and now lived in different homes.

“Oh,” was her only comment. She then watched as Max took a sideways glance at her, and she knew immediately what he wanted. She slowly reached out her hand to his. Their eyes locked and Max drew in a deep breath.

“It’s okay, Max. You can touch me.” She smiled reassuringly at him. Max swallowed thickly before turning slightly to regard her. He then reached a tentative hand out and placed it on the swell of her belly.

“Wow!” His statement marked with bright smile. He hadn’t smiled like that in a long time.

“Yeah, it’s pretty amazing.” Liz returned his smile. God, she still loved him and her heart was still so easily open to him.

“How far…I mean I have a pretty good guess,” Max blushed, but never removed his hands.

“Six months.” Max nodded, not that he really needed to know. After all he knew the exact day he and Liz’s child was conceived.

“Do you know what it is?” Max asked just above a whisper.

“No. I wanted to wait for you.” Liz offered.

“Why?” Max felt his anger begin to boil over once again.

“Max, I know what I did was wrong. To keep it from you this long, but I was scared you wouldn’t want it.” Or me, she added silently.

“Liz, I know I put you through a lot of shit in the past, but I would never…could never turn my back on you or this baby. I’m sorry you thought you had to keep it to yourself,” he finished self depreciatingly.

“No! Max, look at me.” She reached out and placed a hand on either side of his face, willing him to see her words to be the truth.

“What?”

“I kept it from you because I was scared.”

“Scared of what?” They had come full circle, the same question that hung over them years ago, now settled between them once again.

“I was scared of giving my heart to you again. I was scared that you would just walk away.” She began to cry once again. He quickly brushed away her tears with the pads of his thumbs.

“God, Liz. I’ve missed you so much. I was so scared you wouldn’t even want to look at me. And here you are having my baby, thank you.”

“For what?” she asked, confusion etched across her features.

“For loving me enough to not lie about it any longer,” he realized that she could have simply told him the child belonged to another, which was after all his first thought when he saw her.

“I could never have kept it a secret forever. I just didn’t know how to tell you, and I figured once you saw me you’d know and I could explain from there. But Max, there wasn’t a day that went by that I didn’t want to call you and tell you. In fact,” she rose from the couch, with a little assistance from Max and searched for her book bag.

“Here,” she thrust it into his lap.

“What is it?” He looked up and searched her face for an answer.

“It was what I was going to mail to you next week. And then I was coming on a plane to face you…to face everyone. I’m so sorry I kept it a secret.” A small smile played on his lips before it fell once again.

“Why now, Liz? Why tell me now?” It was a question that plagued him the moment he found out the baby was his.

Liz turned away from him, she wasn’t sure if now was the time or not.

“Tell me,” he surged to his feet. He wasn’t sure he could handle another lie. Liz tilted her head slightly and stared into his rich hazel eyes before answering him.

“Because I wanted to be the one that told you about the baby.”

“Who else knew?” He asked completely shocked. Someone he knew and trusted, knew Liz was pregnant? How was that possible? And who would it have been for that matter?

“Max,” Liz hesitated for a moment, now was not the time. As much as she would love to see her enemy suffer, it wasn’t right.

“Tell me, who!” He demanded fiercely.

A bitter taste formed in her mouth as she formed the words, “Your wife.”



TBC…


FYI: Confessions will be updated in a few minutes. All I Want For Christmas should be updated tomorrow :wink:

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Post by Behrsgirl77 » Wed Dec 28, 2005 8:15 pm

A/N – First of all gotta say the feedback on this has seriously taken me by surprise! When I first started writing this story I never thought I’d get much of a reaction and was extremely hesitant about posting it next, since I have several other things I’m working on. But you’ve all definitely convinced me that my decision was a good one LOL!

Secondly, I have to thank by beta team dreamer destiny and Eccentric One. Not only do they give me encouragement, but also point out things that I may be missing. It’s not always easy to sit and write such a complex story with several story lines alone. I may not always say it but I am very thankful for their help.

Kara, well you already know that I love you! But thank you for saving me from a “stove” that’s all I’m saying!! LOL

This part is dedicated to Rebecca…you are one crazy girl but I do love you! Your PM’s were INSANE!! LOL!!

I know you all have LOTS of questions, and rest assured the story will begin to unfold shortly. This isn’t going to be a very long fic, so just know you won’t have to wait 40 chapters for answers ;)


anonymousarfan
lazza
Natz
Earth2Mama

FSUMSW94 – I didn’t forget you, never could. I have to thank you for always listening to me when I get in my rambling phase and offering your thoughts and reassurance! Love you!
Michelle17
vampyrax
roswell3053
g7silvers
POM
Roswell_Freak

OmegaRam1 – Hey girl…nice to see you over here!
Ellie
pLANETv33n3ss – Hi, don’t think you’ve left FB before. But glad to see you poke your head in!
Jason's Lover
guelbebek
ISLANDGIRL5
martine
Behrsgirl1230
linliz68
Alien614
begonia9508

Behrsgurl*87 – Welcome! Glad you are enjoying it.
Bixie
Gater101

Poison Ivy – Hi! Welcome and Thanks!
cherie – Oh the can has yet to be fully opened LOL! *MUAH*
Lurkers – Hope you enjoy and thanks for reading!

One last note, for those of you making a comparison to Dari from STA…you haven’t seen anything yet :twisted:


Chapter 4


How many surprises would he get in one day? He couldn’t believe that his own wife betrayed him. He took back that notion the moment it left his mind. Max knew better than that. Suzanne had it out for Liz long ago. Of course she would keep it a secret. Placing the box Liz had handed him a moment ago on the coffee table he looked to Liz with angry eyes.

“She knew all this time and she didn’t say a fucking word to me? How could she, Liz?” Max slumped down into the couch with a weary sigh.

“And how did she know? How did she find out?” he fired off the questions blindly.

“I’m not really sure how she knew, but she knew. And one day about a month before the wedding I was over at my parents' house, you know helping with the arrangements,” she rolled her eyes heavenward while Max just groaned in frustration. How stupid could he be?

“I was having morning sickness and she found me in the bathroom. She never said anything to me that day about it. It wasn’t until a week later she confronted me. And to be honest I didn’t want to tell her but then I figured she would tell you. I knew I was stupid to believe that, but I did. I guess I was hoping she’d tell you but she obviously didn’t,” Liz explained as best as she could. She never wanted to think about that time again, but she owed it to Max to tell him the whole truth before his head could be filled with more lies.

“What did she say when you told her?” he asked looking up into her sad brown eyes. He watched as she took in a shuddering breath before she spoke.

“After I told her it was yours, not that it would have been hard to guess, she asked me what I was going to do. She wanted to know if I was going to keep the baby,” Liz whispered hoarsely, lowering herself slowly to her knees in front of him.

“I never thought of getting rid of it, Max. Ever. No matter what happened between us over the years, I never even considered it.”

“I know you wouldn’t, Liz,” he reassured her and urged her to continue. He needed to know everything that was said during their confrontation. He may not have been present but it had to do with him, and he felt he had the right to know. He had, after all been lied to more than he ever imagined. The web of deception grew by the moment. Max knew the only way he would be able to piece the past together was to obtain all of the details, no matter how incomplete they may have been.

“So then she told me that even with a baby you would just turn me away the way you always did. That I was kidding myself into thinking that I could win you back. And that you didn’t…that you wouldn’t want me anyway,” she finished, wrapping her arms around his waist and burying her head against his chest.

“Oh God!” he cried out wrapping his arms around her. Suzanne had used everything he had ever done to Liz against her. She had used that weakness to her benefit. He felt sick.

“Max, I was in the wrong here. I should have told you the second I even suspected it, but I didn’t. That was my fault. I can blame no one but myself.”

“But she knew, Liz!” Max jumped to his feet. The story began to unravel slowly with every passing moment.

“I know,” she agreed in a small voice.

“She had been planning everything for so long, hadn’t she?” he looked to her for confirmation.

“I only know what she did to me,” she explained angrily.

“And me Liz,” he corrected her statement.

“But you married her Max!” her frustration bubbled over at this words. Didn’t he understand how long Suzanne had been hurting her?

“You don’t even know the whole story,” he argued back.

“I don’t need to know it. You married her. She’s your wife. You chose her over me,” she ground out through clenched teeth.

“No. I didn’t,” he rebuked fiercely.

“How can you even say that? How can you pretend that you marrying her didn’t hurt me?” she cried out.

“I thought you hated me! You told me you hated me. That you wanted nothing to do with me. Do you remember that night Liz? I wasn’t going to marry her. I wasn’t. But…”

“But what? You wanted me to crawl back to you and ask for forgiveness?”

“It would have been better than what you did! You’re pregnant because of it,” he shouted pacing the carpet.

“So you regret it?” she whispered her question, hoping he didn’t say he did.

“No! I don’t. I never could but it doesn’t make it right,” he explained with a sigh of regret. How could she have kept the pregnancy from him? Especially after knowing that Suzanne knew and didn’t tell him.

“Liz, how could you not tell me?” his anger surfacing once again. Why did it always seem that the people he cared about the most, the people he opened his heart up to, always disappointed him?

“I told you I was sorry. I thought you forgave me,” she began weakly knowing that Max hadn’t forgiven her. It was wishful thinking on her part and she knew it. Max had been let down in life and she was yet another person to add to his ever growing list.

“That was before I found out the reason why you kept it from me. How could you leave to move to another country with my child and not tell me?” His voiced raised and his fists clenched by his side, made her aware of how angry he truly was with her.

“I just told you I didn’t know what to do,” she cried out in frustration. She didn’t understand why he was so upset.

“No,” he shook his head fiercely. “Why did you choose now? Why? You could have told me at any time, but why now?” he narrowed his eyes suspiciously at her.

“I told you, I don’t know…”

“Cut the bullshit, Liz. You wanted to hurt me didn’t you? You wanted me to know what I lost the day I married Suzanne. That’s why you were coming back. Am I right?”

“No. That’s not it Max,” she denied vehemently.

“It’s not?” he challenged coming to stand before her, arms crossed. He knew she wasn’t telling him the truth.

Liz shook her head once again, but couldn’t look him in the eyes. She would have to admit something aloud she promised herself she never would.

“Max, I knew that if you found out from Suzanne, you’d be upset with her. But you’d be even more so at me, for keeping it from you.” Liz knew she was running out of excuses and hoped that something that she said would suffice Max’s interest.

“So, if you knew I’d be upset, why did you keep it from me?” he demanded, closing the distance between them.

“Max, you don’t understand. I…”

“Just tell me why, Liz? Why is it so hard for you to tell me?” he was inches from her face. He saw her body tremble and thought of stepping away, but knew the only way to get to Liz was to push her until she broke. It was the only way he’d get the truth from her. He didn’t like it, but what other choice did he have?

“I told you. I don’t know.”

“Damn it, Liz! Damn it! Just tell me!” he roared out as he watched her evade his eyes once again.

“Just leave it alone. It’s over now, Max.” Liz took a step back. She needed to calm her nerves and with Max in such close proximity looking hurt and angry, was too much for her to handle.

“It will be over when I say it’s over. Now tell me why?!” he took two steps closer and watched as she closed her eyes and blurted out the words he’d never thought he’d hear from her mouth.

“You want the truth Max?!” she yelled out in frustration, her small body shook with anger, but most of all fear. Fear of how he would react. Fear of truly losing him, even though she never really had him.

“Yes! I deserve that much, don’t you think?!” His eyes were wild and his voice hoarse from yelling.

Her face a mere breath from his, she yelled, “Fine! I did it to hurt you as much as you hurt me!” She closed her eyes the moment the words rolled off her tongue. She heard his sharp gasp and knew how hurt he would be by her confession.

“You did it b-because you wanted to get me back? How could you? I never lied to you Liz. Never! And you only told me because you knew I’d find out anyway didn’t you?” he asked in disbelief. He was trying to figure out how his supposed best friend turned into the person standing before him. Was he that bad of a friend to her? Maybe that’s why, he concluded.

“I’m sorry,” she cried out softly and watched as the tears began to slip down the corners of his eyes.

“I trusted you to be honest. I was honest with you, Liz. I was honest from the beginning. I told you I couldn’t give you anything more, but it was never good enough. I…” he was at a loss for words. Rage had finally taken over and he wanted to settle things with her so he could pay his wife a visit.

“I’m so sorry,” she began to apologize once again but he cut her off.

“Are you really? I have a hard time believing that. After everything I went through with my parents…my father. I don’t know how you could have done that to me. I tried so hard to make you understand, but I guess you never did.”

“Max…”

With a self-depreciating laugh he continued, “How could you? You were too busy trying to make me into something I wasn’t. I loved you, Liz. I really did but I wasn’t ready and you could never understand that.” With that he gave her a sad smile, turned on his heels and made his way down the hall. He needed time to think.

Liz slumped down into the couch the moment she was alone. Maybe he was right. Maybe pushing him to do something he wasn’t ready for ended up backfiring on her. She knew Max’s past. She knew why he couldn’t commit to her. Yet she continued to push. Was she that blinded by her own need to be with him that she’d lost focus on what was important? The answer was now obvious.

She was blinded by her own love and need for Max that she never took the time to realize that he did love her and it should have been enough. He wanted to be friends with her and instead of accepting it she pushed him away. She made him feel guilty for his lack of ability to commit to her. It was unfair and cruel. Sad part was, it took a moment of complete honesty to bring that revelation to the surface for her. And in doing so, in blurting out the naked truth, she had hurt Max far worse than she ever thought she possibly could.

She groaned aloud and closed her eyes. It was all true. She had done such a great job of convincing herself that Max was in the wrong. That because he couldn’t give her what she wanted, that he deserved to suffer for it. Every time he denied her, she blamed him. Lashed out at him. That wasn’t to say that he hadn’t been wrong, but she played her part and she was finally beginning to see how big of a part she had played in ruining her own life with him.

<center>**** </center>

“You’re pregnant? How are you pregnant?” Liz rolled her eyes heavenward for the second time that day. Her mother had grilled her for the past ten minutes. No one else could get a word in edgewise.

“Mom, if you’d let me speak I will explain.”

“Explain? You left home months ago, months! And you come back pregnant, and you feel all you need to do is explain?” Nancy Parker was furious. What the hell happened to her once perfect daughter? The girl standing before could not be her daughter. She had raised her better than that. Had she not?

“Nancy, if you could just let her speak,” Max interrupted to Liz’s never ending gratitude. It had taken him close to an hour to calm down enough to talk to her again. For which she was thankful for, and now it seemed as though even after everything he was willing to help her. She felt sick to her stomach, and not because of the pregnancy.

“Go ahead, Liz.” Her mother stood, arms crossed and a scowl etched across her face.

“When I left home after the wedding and moved to Germany, I knew I was pregnant…with Max’s baby,” she admitted softly.

“What?!”

“Is that true?!”

“It can’t be?!”

“Did you know?” Max bit out angrily turning towards Alex. Max knew Alex better than that, but after Liz had confessed her reasoning for keeping it a secret, nothing would surprise him. After all Alex was Liz’s older brother. Maybe he felt the need to help protect her.

“Hell no, man. If I did, I would have told you.” Alex didn’t take offense, in fact he could only imagine how Max was feeling. Betrayed. Even though Max may have not been in love with Suzanne, he trusted her. And she used that trust against him…against everyone. Suddenly he was seeing the picture a bit clearer. He had removed his proverbial big brother glasses. He wondered what other tales of betrayal Suzanne held.

“Max, what do you have to say about this?” Diane Evans spoke to her son directly, because although he was the one that had said the least thus far, he was the one that deserved to say the most.

“What can I say, mom? I knew that when Liz and I were together there was a chance that she could’ve gotten pregnant. I just never thought she’d keep it from me,” he whispered and wanted to take the words back the second they left his mouth. What happened between he and Liz was exactly that, between them. He didn’t want everyone involved in his personal business.

“Liz, I can’t believe you would do this to him? I thought you cared about my son?” Diane turned confused eyes towards the petite brunette, whom she had grown to love as a daughter throughout the years.

“I did…I still do but…”

“But you betray him? You used him and then what? When you felt guilty you come back and throw this in his lap on top of everything else he’s dealing with?” Diane hissed out harshly.

“Enough! Liz is not the one you should be angry with. I understand why she did what she did,” Max explained to everyone’s shock, including himself. He still wasn’t sure if he’d wrapped his mind around the fact that Liz kept her pregnancy from him for months, but that was not the biggest issue for him at that moment.

“Max, there is no excuse for her behavior. I’m sorry.” Nancy spoke up and addressed the situation her daughter had created.

“Liz didn’t do anything wrong. Suzanne did,” he offered. He gave Liz a nod of his head, letting her know he was still hurt but that he wouldn’t have everyone jumping on her about things they knew nothing about.

“Suzanne? What does she have to do with Liz being pregnant?” Max turned and faced his family.

“She knew it.”

“What are you saying, Max?” His stepfather spoke for the first time.

“Suzanne knew that Liz was pregnant. She found Liz sick a month before we got married. And when Liz finally confessed to her, she…” Max did not want to voice aloud the details of the confrontation between his wife and Liz.

“She what?” his mother questioned impatiently.

“She decided to keep it to herself, knowing that Liz was afraid to tell me,” he offered looking Liz directly in the eyes.

“I don’t understand. She never told you, but why?” Nancy questioned, still not understanding Suzanne’s reasoning behind keeping such a secret. A secret that had and would continue to have repercussions associated with it.

“She wanted to hurt me as much as she could. And so she took away the only thing I wanted in this world,” Liz offered with a choked sob. Tears that she had been fighting to hold back finally fell across her flawless cheeks.

“What?” Diane was confused as was everyone else, that is, with the exception of Alex and Max.

“Me. Suzanne took me from Liz. And I went willingly like a fool.” With that Max turned on his heels and stormed out the front door, one destination in mind.

<center>**** </center>

He needed to think. He needed to get his thoughts together. More importantly he needed to speak with Suzanne as soon as possible. He knew he shouldn’t have left Liz alone with everyone. She was on the verge of a breakdown and he knew it. But he couldn’t do anything about that now because he needed answers.

Stepping inside her room he saw that she was awake watching television. “Hi, Max.” she smiled but it died on her lips the moment she saw the expression on his face.

“How could you?” he hissed out. She had deduced quickly that Liz had arrived and he had taken in her condition. Now it was time for the questions to begin.

“Max, I know it was wrong,” she began but he cut her off.

“Wrong? You knew it was wrong to what? Lie to me? To destroy your sister? To destroy me!” Max fired off the accusations and watched as Suzanne sank further into her pillows. She didn’t have a damn thing to say for herself because it was the truth.

“There isn’t anything I can say right now that will make you understand why I did it.” Max stormed over to her side the moment she began to speak.

“That’s where you’re wrong, Suz, I know why you did it. You hated Liz that much. I get that now. What I don’t understand is why you hated her in the first place? She wanted to be your sister more than anything when you moved here, and you just brushed her off like she was nothing. Still, she wanted to be a part of your life and you used that against her. You used me against her!” He was having a hard time keeping his voice down. His anger bubbled beneath the surface and the longer he looked at her the angrier he became.

“It wasn’t that hard, Max,” she revealed looking him in the eyes. He couldn’t be that blind could he?

“What is that supposed to mean?” His eyes narrowed in fury.

“You know what it means. You pushed her away every chance you got.” Max’s eyes grew wide. How did he not know she was this monster?

“That didn’t give you the right to play with her emotions, or mine for that matter.” He finally eased down into the chair in the far corner of the room.

“I know that. But once I started I didn’t know how to stop.”

“That’s classic, Suzanne. Really, my heart bleeds for you. I can’t believe even now, knowing that you’re dying you still have no heart.” He looked at her, not with anger, but with pity. She was a miserable person and he was glad he never fell in love with her.

“What do you want me to say?” she pleaded softly with him. It was true. She was cruel to have kept such things from him and from her family, but she couldn’t change what already happened.

“I want you to apologize to Liz when she gets here. And I want you to take everything she throws at you. I might be hurt that she kept the baby a secret from me. I won’t pretend that it didn’t hurt, but that’s between Liz and I. You however, everything you did was calculated to hurt people. It was all premeditated. You will not make her feel guilty. Do you understand me?!” Max demanded in a harsh tone causing her to jump slightly.

“I understand.”

“Good, because if you hurt her once more, this will be the last time I ever come to see you. I’m not asking as your husband or as a friend. And seeing as I had no idea of the type of manipulative bitch you are, I'm embarrassed to call you either of those.” Max stood and shut the door behind him.

Suzanne sat for a few minutes taking in his harsh words. She knew Max loved Liz, and that without a doubt Liz loved Max. She wondered however, if she had ruined them so much that they’d never truly get to experience it together.

TBC…

FYI: Confessions will be posted in a few minutes :)

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Behrsgirl77
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Post by Behrsgirl77 » Sat Jan 07, 2006 1:22 am

A/N - Again guys, thanks for your patience. Besides some personal things going on in my life, it's near impossible to find a quiet place to write anymore. Anyway...thanks for your great and heated feedback...let's me know I'm doing something right :wink:

Ellie – You’re right. Max and Liz share a responsibility in what happened to their lives. And as far as Suzanne, you want to know more? Read on. Thanks!

begonia9508 – I know you can’t believe it, but just wait and see what else Suzanne has up her sleeves. Ah, the Max married Suzanne thing…yeah well see you’ll have to read on to see what that’s all about. Thanks!

Lazza – You are right, they all share a hand in the blame. However, did someone have all the cards? And if so, what did they do with them? Thanks!

Behrsgirl1230 – Well I can tell you there is no Tess in this fic, and if she was she’d look like a saint next to Suzanne. Thanks!

Alien614 – And you shall have more! Thanks!

Earth2Mama – You liked Max blasting her, yeah me too. Now just how will Liz handle it? Hmm… Thanks!

FSUMSW94 – First of all thanks for the bump…I know how frustrated you get, and then I start getting PM’s asking for answers J You are 100% correct. Max was honest and told her from the beginning that he couldn’t give her more, but I guess when it comes to your heart and who you love, people tend to become blinded by what they want. Thanks!

POM – You are too kind and sweet to me. Thank you, very much appreciated. And I’m glad you aren’t jumping on Max’s back, he needs some friends doesn’t he? LOL! Thanks!!

Michelle17 – Ah yes, you are waiting for Liz and Suzanne’s confrontation, I hope I don’t disappoint. Thanks!

anonymousarfan – As far as the road, it will be long but it doesn’t have to be that hard now does it? And the parents, good question we’ll see how they handle things. Thanks!

roswell3053 – I’m happy to see your optimistic outlook on the Max and Liz situation. Although I’ve left you guessing for most of it, you seem to understand that they CAN move passed it, it won’t be the easiest thing, but it is possible. Thanks!

Jason's Lover – Crystal I give you the gold star. Max is hurting, Liz is hurting, but Max is the one that didn’t see any of it coming. Thanks!

sylvia37 – So good to see you over here. I know I left you with confusion and questions, but they will begin to be answered soon enough. Thanks!

Sweet Liz – You think Suzanne is a bitch? Then I have accomplished my goal! Thanks!

Poison Ivy – I’m not sure if Suzanne is going to realize what she did, maybe she will maybe she won’t, that remains to be seen. Thanks for the bumps!

Behrsgurl*87 – Thank you!

Bixie – You are right, the family doesn’t know the whole story, but we’ll see what happens when the secrets come out. Thanks sweetie!!

Martine – Don’t worry about your English, it’s just fine and I understand what you are trying to say ;) I see you have grasped the concept that Suzanne is a major factor in why everyone is where they are in their lives, she wasn’t the only reason but she definitely didn’t help the situation. Thanks!

ISLANDGIRL5 – You have said it well, Max and Liz are both victims. But it’s time they stop being a victim and stand up for themselves, no? Thanks!

g7silvers – You bring up a point that Liz didn’t tell Max about the pregnancy before he got married to Suzanne, out of fear that he would reject her. Why would that be any different than any other time? He had openly rejected her, telling her he could only give her friendship, so why would she have gone to him with the hopes of something more? Not, to say of course, that he would have rejected her, but just wanted you to see where I’m coming from. And yes, the marriage angers you as much as everyone else, maybe this part will help shed some light…if not future parts will. Thanks!

MsBlueIce – LOL! You’re hung up on that marriage thing too huh? That’s good though, it’s why I had it be that way after all. Thanks!

Eccentric One – Good question, his father is obviously not around. The reasons why? Are yet to be told. P.S. I love you! You totally stick with me through my patches of insanity and give me such a push to get things done. Not to mention your time and patience! As well as giving such insight into the story that I don't sometimes see *MUAH*

KatnotKath – I thought cliffhangers would be interesting. And besides that, this story has many twists and turns why not have the endings of some of the chapters follow suit. Makes it more interesting for me to write lol!

Itzstacie – Ah, Stacie you’re gonna hang out before you pull out the insults…cool! Can’t wait lol! Thanks!

RebeccaBehrEvans – You have so many questions…of course I can’t answer them, but in time I will. And I’m sorry you were disappointed by the no update, what can I say? Life just doesn’t go my way sometimes! MWAH

linliz68 – Info on Max’s father soon. But not now. Thanks!

Lizza – Thank you!

frenchkiss70 – Tiph, so nice to see you back. I know you hate being confused, but well I can’t say that the confusion will be over in this part, cause that would be a lie :twisted: Thanks!

desdimona – I waited so long to respond to your feedback. First of all, thank you secondly, I see you have a strong hatred for Max, which on some level I can understand. I’m not sure my stance would be to completely blame him for everything, but again that’s your opinion. I do, however, think you are making assumptions based on half information instead of the factual information on how Liz ended up pregnant. Max did tell his side after the first time they slept together, but how is it that if he had such strong feelings after the first time that he managed YEARS later to sleep with Liz again? I think there is a question in there you are ignoring. But that’s good and that’s okay. Maybe I can change your mind about Max…maybe I can’t. I will warn you though, if you aren’t a fan of Max, this probably isn’t the right story for you, I just wanted to warn you in case LOL That’s not to say he’s a saint, but neither is Liz :wink: Thanks!

Lurkers - Hope you enjoy and thank you for reading!


Chapter 5

“Damn it Alex! How the hell did I not know all this shit about her?” Max paced the length of the hospital corridor, trying to figure out what was happening to his life. Liz had shown up a few minutes before and was in Suzanne’s room. It took all of his willpower not to join them. He wanted to make sure that Suzanne didn’t twist things around and hurt Liz again. But Liz had insisted that she speak to her alone.

“I don’t know,” Alex shook his head dejectedly. How could he not know that his one sister was pregnant and the other was well aware of it? Not only that but how did he not know all of the awful things that Suzanne did to Liz? Of course he was in college and working but was he truly that blind? And why didn’t Liz come to him? He felt hurt by that thought. Liz was after all his biological sister. Why didn’t she feel that she could trust him enough with the truth?

“I just don’t understand. And what is all this stuff Liz is talking about? I know Suzanne was rude to her and wouldn’t include her at times, but what else? I feel helpless and I don’t seem to be getting the answers I need quick enough. She just comes off a plane and bam! She’s pregnant with my kid and I had no fucking idea? Was I that bad to her Alex?” Max turned, trembling with anger and frustration. He hoped that Alex could help him understand things better. He was the most logical of everyone, after all.

“Max, you know that I would have told you if you were doing something wrong. I know I wasn’t that involved in your and Liz’s personal lives, but I saw nothing wrong. In fact, you are the one that told me that you didn’t want to get involved with her,” Alex offered with a sigh of defeat. There was a big picture here that they were obviously missing. It was a gigantic puzzle and the pieces weren’t falling into place quick enough to form the answer.

“I know. But, I hurt her so many times…” Max trailed off, running his hands through his hair in frustration. Finally he stopped pacing and leaned back against one of the walls and slumped down to the floor. He didn’t know what to do to make the situation better for Liz or himself.

Alex quickly took a seat next to his friend and placed a hand on his shoulder. “Max, you may have hurt Liz, but I think that door swung both ways and you know that. She had an opportunity to tell you about Suzanne, but she didn’t. She kept that to herself. Yet she lashed out at you for being around Suzanne when you had no idea of what was going on, right?” Max simply nodded and continued listening to Alex. Max had divulged everything that had transpired between Liz and him months ago. That is with the exception of how Liz ended up pregnant with his child.

“Everyone knew that Liz and Suzanne didn’t get along, but we still don’t know why. How could you know? Did she want you to guess? Or was it that you didn’t ask?” Alex had to wonder if maybe Max ignored some sign that Liz gave him that she had wanted to talk about Suzanne.

“I asked Alex. I asked her repeatedly but she always told me it was nothing important. That it was stupid and not worth repeating. I tried. I swear I did.” Max turned to face Alex with sincerity evident in his brown eyes. He would never ignore Liz. If she wanted to talk he would always be willing to listen. And if he thought something was wrong, he wouldn’t hesitate to ask. But Liz wasn’t always the easiest person to talk to. She kept a lot of things bottled up. Just like he did, he thought remorsefully.

“I know you did, man. I don’t know what happened between the two of them. Only they know and maybe after they’re done in there, we’ll be let in on the secret.” Alex lifted the corners of his mouth in a half smile and watched as Max nodded his head in agreement. They both leaned their heads back and knew that it could very well be a long while before Liz emerged from Suzanne’s room.

<center>****</center>

She stepped into the room as quietly as possible. The nurse had advised her that Suzanne was asleep and so she decided to have a seat and wait a few minutes to gather her thoughts. She wasn’t sure what she was going to say to her. However, she knew that something needed to be said and today was the day she would finally get everything off her chest.

Or so she convinced herself she would.

She looked around the room as she made herself as comfortable as she could in the white plastic chair in the corner of the room. The couch looked more comfortable, but she thought better of it. Since, of course she had not planned on staying very long. Therefore there was no need to get comfortable.

The sounds of the heart monitor and ventilator echoed off the pale yellow walls of her sister’s hospital room. She turned to look out the large window overlooking the city, sheer white curtains with yellow daisies hung from a golden rod above. A small smile touched the corners of her lips, knowing her mother had placed them there to liven up the room. It was just like her mother to try and make the room her sister would eventually die in as homey as possible.

Adorning the windowsill were pictures of the family, herself included. She turned her head to where her sister lay. It was the first time she had seen her since that fateful day the love of her life married her. It still stung like alcohol being poured over an open wound.

She tried to focus her attention elsewhere, anywhere else besides the day Max exchanged vows with the monster lying in the bed just a few feet from her. She closed her eyes and bit back the tears that stung the back of her eyelids.

The IV drip seemed like the most interesting object in the room to her at that moment. She couldn’t look at her directly, only a few side-glances at a time. How could she have convinced herself that Suzanne wanted to be her sister? Why had she let her push her around for so long? And why on earth had she allowed everyone to believe the best about her, rather than telling them the truth?

Liz rested her eyes for a moment and concentrated on calming her nerves. She had a child to worry about after all. Resting her hands on the swell of her belly she reflected on the good times she and Max had spent together. However, the minute she did, her thoughts were once again poisoned by Suzanne and her hatefulness.

Liz still couldn’t figure out why Suzanne had treated her so cruelly. Or why, of all the people on the planet she could have been with, why she had to pick Max. Liz’s heart still ached with the knowledge that Max married, slept with and cared for Suzanne. She was a monster and Liz knew it. The problem was, it seemed that Liz had made it easy for Suzanne to do all of the hateful things she did and said to her, by keeping it a secret. Unknowingly she had given Suzanne all the ammunition she needed to destroy her and Max.

Why, she wondered, did it seem that the reality of the truth settled thickly around you in the face of death. Liz knew that had it not been for Suzanne’s sudden illness, she would have never faced her for the things she’d done in the past. She would have never had the courage to tell Max how evil and malicious her sister was. Nor would she have had the courage to stand up to her parents and tell them that she wasn’t perfect. That she made mistakes and her biggest one was to let Suzanne walk all over her.

She sighed heavily and tried to divert her thoughts but to no avail. In that moment she was thrust into the past. To a time when she had convinced herself that there wasn’t anything Suzanne could say or do that would hurt her. Looking back, she knew how wrong she had been.

<center>~~~~~~~~~~~</center>


“So Liz, what are you and Max doing tonight?” Liz was still trying to decide what to wear to the movies with Max. Suzanne had just arrived home that morning from school; she had a couple of weeks off for summer break. And as much as Liz wished that Suzanne would have stayed at school and drowned in the swimming pool during swim practice, she had shown up anyway. With a heavy sigh, Liz turned to face her.

“We’re going to the movies.”

“Oh, what are you going to watch?” Liz rolled her eyes as she turned her back to her sister. Why did she have to bother her? Why couldn’t she hang out with her own friends, she wondered. However, in that same breath, Liz realized Suzanne didn’t have any friends. ‘I wonder why,’ she thought to herself.

“I’m not sure.” Liz didn’t want to give Suzanne a reason to tag along. Her and Max were going so good and it would be just like Suzanne to step in and mess things up, she thought ruefully.

“When is Max getting here?” The hairs on the back of Liz’s neck stood at attention. She hated when Suzanne said Max’s name in a singsong voice. It made her want to vomit. Liz ignored her question and continued to peruse her closet for a shirt to wear with her denim skirt.

“You’re not wearing that are you?”

“What is wrong with this?” Liz asked, her anger evident in her voice and clenched teeth. She watched as Suzanne shrugged her shoulders indifferently, but then moved closer to pick the blue shirt she held in her hands and threw it to the ground.

“Because, that color looks terrible on you. Liz, you know you’re not that,” eyeing her up and down with disgust, “pretty. You really should work with what you have, which really isn’t much. You should just stick to basic colors, like black.” Suzanne threw a shirt from Liz’s closet at her. Liz however, bit back the anger tearing at her insides as well as the tears that began to form in the back of her eyes. Why did she have to be so mean?

“Max likes blue,” Liz mumbled out as she placed the black shirt over her head. She really did like the shirt.

“Blue does nothing for you. In fact, it accentuates your boyish figure.” Suzanne turned to her and placed a hand on her shoulder as she shook her head from side to side.

“Liz, guys don’t like girls that look like them. You have to try harder. How do you expect Max to want you, looking flat chested? Did you not get the aqua bra I sent to you for your birthday? Of course, not even the bra could give you all the help you truly need, but it would be a start.” Liz brushed past a laughing Suzanne with a huff and stormed out of her own bedroom. Seeking solstice in the bathroom down the hall.

Liz stood and watched herself in the mirror. Was she really that flat chested? Did Max really see her as a boy? She sighed dejectedly. It was true. That was why Max didn’t want to date her after all, wasn’t it? That’s why he never wanted to kiss other than on her cheek, or give her a friendly hug here and there.

A few minutes later her mother had called upstairs for her, announcing that Max had arrived. Liz didn’t leave the bathroom, not for another twenty minutes. Instead she fell to the floor on her knees in tears. Would Max ever love her the way she loved him?



<center>~~~~~~~~~~~</center>

The constant beeping of the heart monitor drew Liz’s attention back to the present. She quickly swiped the tears from the corners of her eyes and sat up a little straighter. She would not let Suzanne affect her any longer. It had been too long.

A soft rustle from across the room made her aware that Suzanne was waking up from her nap. Her mother had told her that she didn’t sleep anymore, just took naps here and there when the fatigue was overwhelming.

Despite everything, Liz still felt sad that these days or weeks were her sister’s final. It wasn’t that she had led the best life, but she was young and maybe…no, Liz shook her head in disgust. She would not allow herself to believe that Suzanne would have changed, had this not happened to her. Liz would never wish anything as terrible as what was happening to Suzanne on anyone, but she wouldn’t excuse her behavior either. Or wipe the slate clean for her, so that she could die in good conscience.

“Hi Liz.”

“Don’t say that to me,” Liz bit out sternly.

“Say what?” Suzanne smiled groggily as she tried to shift herself higher up on the bed.

“Don’t pretend like you’re happy to see me. Or, maybe you are. Maybe you have a plan for me.” Liz narrowed her eyes and gathered her strength for what she knew would be a difficult conversation.

“I am, Liz.” Suzanne’s expression failed her. She wasn’t as good at pretending to be sincere any longer. Maybe it was the medication, she wondered.

“Bullshit! You knew I would be here, if for nothing else, for Max. How could you?!” she hissed out angrily.

“Liz, you really should calm down. In such a delicate condition you wouldn’t want anything to happen to your child.” Suzanne batted her eyelashes innocently. She loved getting under Liz’s skin.

“You know I don’t know why I never told you this to your face, but you are a bitch! I seriously have contemplated the fact that you were born of Satan himself.”

“Well then that would make me the devil’s daughter then, right?” she continued on smugly.

“Look, I’m not here to talk about your demonic parentage. I want answers Suz.”

“Answers to what?”

“You know what I’m talking about.” Liz was losing her patience with Suzanne’s evasiveness.

“Oh that’s right. The love of your perfect little life.” Sarcasm laced thickly in her voice.

“Why couldn’t you just leave him alone? Why Max? Why did you have to get involved? And why did you marry him?!” Liz was enraged. Now that she had an opportunity to look down at Suzanne she wanted to milk it for all it was worth. This would probably be her only opportunity to confront her, and she didn’t want to hold anything back.

Suzanne laughed softly before answering. “That’s easy Liz. You let me.”

“What?!” she shrieked, her fists balled up and tight to her side. “I did no such thing…”

“Yes. You did. I don’t understand why you couldn’t give the guy a break. His life was in shambles and you were just so damn selfish.” She eyed Liz from head to toe shaking her head as she went. What a pity that Max wasted so much of his time and energy on her. She was not worth it.

“I was selfish? Me?”

“Yes, you. Deal with it Liz. You could never figure things out for yourself. That’s why I’m glad that I was there to help you along.”

“You didn’t help me. You took every opportunity to insult me and make me feel like I was worth nothing. I wanted to be your sister but you…you never wanted that did you?” Liz asked trying to calm herself down. She was so worked up that her heart thumped rapidly in her chest.

“Why would I want to be your sister, Liz? I had everything I wanted. Why would I want to associate myself with you?” Suzanne didn’t give her the satisfaction of even looking at her.

“What is that supposed to mean?” Liz narrowed her eyes in confusion.

“Come on Liz! You graduated at the top of your class surely you can figure this out. Or do you need my help again?” Suzanne looked at Liz, and although she was tired, she was happy to see that she could still affect Liz so profoundly.

“I never required your help, as you call it Suz. I never wanted shit from you, except to be accepted but you never did. I don’t know what I did to deserve the hell you put me through.”

“You existed Liz. That was enough.”

“What the fuck is that supposed to mean?”

“Maybe I’m not the person you should be asking. Maybe you should ask your parents what that means.”

“What do my parents have to do with the way you treated me? That is completely irrelevant,” Liz argued back but couldn’t help the cloud of doubt that settled heavy in the air.

“Is it Liz? Are you sure? I mean I could be wrong. You are their perfect daughter.” Suzanne waved her hand in the air nonchalantly.

“That’s right I am! And you were just jealous of that weren’t you? That’s why you are the way you are.” Liz faltered her words a bit. There was something about the sureness in Suzanne’s voice that caused a deep fear to settle in her heart and mind.

Suzanne pinned her with a malicious glare. “I’ll give you that one Liz. I was jealous of you. Because you had the life I was supposed to have.” Liz’s eyes narrowed in confusion.

“Stop avoiding my questions. Why did you marry Max?” Liz had other things on her mind now, but she wanted at least one solid answer to a question.

“Why did I marry, Max?” Suzanne raised an eyebrow smugly towards her. Liz simply nodded and braced herself for the worst.

“Because I knew something about Max that you didn’t. And if you were the friend that you say that you were, then you would have already figured it out,” she answered vaguely.

“Stop talking in circles! Just tell me why!” Liz growled out in fury. She was tired of Suzanne’s bullshit. She wanted a straight answer for once.

Suzanne whipped her head up angrily, nostrils flaring and eyes narrowed in disgust. “You want to know? Are you sure, Liz? Because once you know you can’t go back. You can’t change what already happened.”

“Just tell me, so I can get the hell out of here.” Liz sighed miserably. She was beyond exhausted and frustrated that she’d ended up with even more questions than before. Why did everything in her life have to be so complicated?

“Sorry, Liz. If I tell you then it would spoil your surprise. I’m getting tired anyway. Could you see yourself out?” Suzanne then turned her back on Liz and closed her eyes. She knew that Liz didn’t have the nerve to tell Max what went on in the room. She never did. She smiled arrogantly to herself.

“I hate you.” Liz muttered out hoarsely, fighting back her tears. She did not want to cry in front of Suzanne.

“Ditto,” came Suzanne’s lazy response. Liz quickly turned and exited the room, knowing that she would break down completely if she didn’t leave.

Once she reached the hallway, she rested her head against the cool cement wall. Her heart was still thundering wildly in her chest. Suzanne had managed to work her up to near frenzy, but in doing so she left Liz with a lot of questions. And what was Suzanne referring to when she mentioned Liz’s parents? With a sigh of defeat she made her way down the hall to the cafeteria for a drink of water. Her parents were arriving shortly and she wanted to be as far away from them as possible. She was not in the mood for yet another confrontation.

Today was not a day for any type of revelations, she concluded sadly.


<center>****</center>


They didn’t know how long they had sat in silence but nevertheless; Liz still had not emerged from her meeting with Suzanne.

“Why on the day of my wedding did you suggest that I not to go through with it?” Max asked after their long bout of silence. Ever since the question had surfaced days ago, he knew he had to find out the answer.

“Maybe you didn’t know Max, but I did.” came Alex’s reply.

“What?” he questioned confusingly.

“That you loved Liz. That you couldn’t possibly ever love Suzanne the way you love Liz. That you never even looked at Suzanne with an ounce of the feeling you look at Liz with. And that despite what you may think of yourself, you are good enough for her. You always were. You just never gave yourself credit. I know that asshole…I mean your father messed with your head. And I can’t say that I understand, because I don’t and I won’t pretend that I do. I just thought, maybe you’d see it.” Alex shrugged his shoulders slowly. Max was smart, which is why Alex didn’t understand why he couldn’t figure things out.

“See what?” Max’s interests were piqued. Alex’s wisdom would continue to leave him in awe time and time again.

“That you were settling for someone who you knew couldn’t hurt you. She was safe…Suzanne I mean. Liz wasn’t safe.” Max allowed a tear to slip unbeknownst to Alex but nodded his head in agreement nevertheless. He was a fool. He had convinced himself that he was doing the right thing for Liz.

“I…”

“I understand Max. I really do. And I know you didn’t want to marry her did you? If you did, you wouldn’t have been separated and getting divorced in the few short months you’ve been married.”

“I didn’t. But I was so sure that Liz was done with me and I thought finally she figured it out. She figured out I’m not worth anything. And just to insure she didn’t get that idea in her head again that she could save me, I married Suzanne. I knew that if I married Suzanne, Liz would never think of me that way again.” Max confessed quietly.

“I guess you were wrong, huh?”

“I’m not so sure.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Look at her. She’s pregnant, and glowing and I can tell she loves Germany. It has been good for her…being away from me. I was the cause of her stress, Alex. I can say all I want, but I know I broke some of the spirit she used to have.”

“Yeah, because you couldn’t tell her how you really felt. She only wanted you to love her.”

“I did…I do. I’ll always love her. But she’s happy and I can’t take that from her.”

“What are you saying?” he couldn’t honestly mean what he thought he meant.

“When she’s done. I’m going to put her on a plane back to Germany.”

“Are you crazy?! She’s pregnant with your baby, Max. How can you just walk away?”

“Alex, look at me.” He began just above a whisper.

“I am!”

“No! Look at me! I’m a wreck. I’m still in therapy. I barely sleep or eat for that matter. How the fuck do you expect me to take care of a child when I can barely keep myself going? It’s not fair to her to give up her life for me…again. I’ve kept her waiting too long, Alex. She may love me, but she’s better off without me.” With that he let out a deep sigh of regret. As he walked down the hall from his friend, he could do nothing to hide his sadness. His shoulders slumped, his head hung low, as if he wished he could simply disappear. He was broken inside and he didn’t think there was anyway to put himself back together.

Alex stood there a few minutes longer staring at Max’s retreating figure. He wished that Max could see how great of a person he was. Alex hated that Max blamed himself for his father’s mistakes. And hoped that one day, Max would be able to look into a mirror and like the reflection staring back at him.


In the shadows, pain filled eyes let loose tears. How was it possible that he had kept this concealed for so long?

TBC…

And just a little reminder of my chat on Sunday at 7PM EST :) Hope to see some of you there!

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Behrsgirl77
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Post by Behrsgirl77 » Mon Jan 16, 2006 9:38 pm

A/N - Sorry took me a bit. I got sidetracked! Like Kara says, I can't help that I am easily distracted :roll:

Anyway, I wanted to thank each of you and comment but I'll have to do that next time. Gotta get some sleep!

Thank you so much! I know you want answers, and you will start to get them in the very next part. This story is not going to be very long, it was never my intention. So, with that said, I hope you enjoy!



Chapter 6


Liz walked into the waiting room and found Max sitting in one of the only empty available chairs in the center of the room.

She took a tentative step towards him and drew in a deep breath the moment their eyes locked. It was almost as if he sensed her. There was a stirring in the air around him and he just knew she was near. He didn’t know why, but every time she was around he felt infinitely better. He felt a choking sensation grab hold of his heart when he looked down at the roundness of her belly. His baby was growing inside of her. A part of him…the good parts of him and the very best of her grew within her. Growing by the day and thriving because of the beautiful petite woman now standing before him.

No matter what, he thought at that moment, he would love her for the rest of his life. There wasn’t anything in the world he wouldn’t do for her. And that’s why he knew that the best thing for her was to be as far away from him as possible.

“Hi Max.”

“How are you?” he jumped from his seat and offered her the chair. Liz kindly accepted it and watched as he avoided her eyes. She was still hurt and still had several questions, but there was something a bit more pressing at the moment that she needed to discuss with him.

“I’m fine.” She was still trying to remember her conversation with Suzanne but had other things on her mind.

“Max, can we go somewhere to talk?” she asked softly and watched as he bent down to her level.

“Sure. Are you tired? I’m sure you are.” He placed a hand on her knee in concern. She was pregnant after all and it had been a very stressful day.

“I am tired, but I’m more hungry,” she offered with a sheepish smile.

“Right. God, how…I’m sorry Liz.” Liz shook off his apology. She was a grown woman. She had the capability to get herself something to eat when she was hungry.

“Max, don’t worry about it. So what do you say?” she began to stand and he offered her his assistance.

“Sounds good. What do you feel like eating?” he asked as he ushered her out of the waiting room and into the hallway.

“How about a nice cheeseburger and fries? I could go for a nice thick Fuddruckers burger,” she smiled brightly and rubbed her stomach for emphasis.

“Oh it’s been a while since you’ve had one of those huh?” he asked with a knowing smile playing on his lips.

“It has. So what do you say?” she asked as they reached the hospital exit. Max had helped her with her coat and as soon as she was bundled up, they stepped outside into the bitter cold.

“Anything you want, Liz,” Max offered with an indescribable look on his face. A look that made Liz’s knees go weak. He still had the ability to do that to her, she thought with a soft smile.

<center>****</center>


“So tell me what you’ve been up to,” Liz asked as they waited for their food to be cooked. She was so excited to be there again. It was one of her favorite places to eat. She and Max had shared a lot of memories there. Which normally would only serve to hurt her but now with her newest revelation, it made her nostalgic.

“Nothing much really. Still trying to get the business to grow and coaching basketball three nights a week. Just trying to keep myself busy.” Max shrugged and prayed that their order was up soon. Sitting that close to Liz again, there of all places, was almost too much for him to handle. He remembered the first time he brought her there. Her eyes went wide when she’d heard that they made one pound hamburgers.

“I know the feeling…what are you laughing about?” Liz’s eyes narrowed in question. Max was completely serious one moment and the next he had a let out a light chuckle.

“I was just thinking about the first time I brought you here,” he laughed a little more that time. Thinking about how adorable she looked that day. He missed moments like that with her.

“Oh God!” she gasped in remembrance.

“I ordered that one pound burger! I didn’t even know what to do with it,” she giggled behind her hands.

“Yes,” he nodded and couldn’t help the laugh that bubbled forth a second later.

“Your eyes went wide but I will admit, you gave it one hell of a shot to finish it.”

“I did, didn’t I?” Liz sat up a little straighter remembering that day. She was sick to her stomach afterwards, but as always Max took care of her and stayed with her until the morning.

The moment grew uncomfortably quiet but luckily their buzzer lit up making them aware that their order was ready to be picked up. Max told Liz to stay put and that he’d get their food.

“Thank you,” Liz smiled as she watched Max nod his head and avoid her eyes. She wasn’t sure where to start. She had learned so much in such a short amount of time and knew that Max was not in a good place at the moment.

Once Max returned to the table, they began eating in silence. That was until Liz asked her next question.

“How is therapy going? I’m assuming you’re still going,” Liz peered at him over her bacon cheeseburger. She watched his features closely, and just as she thought, he stiffened a bit before meeting her eyes. Liz hated the fact that she had to hear what was on Max’s mind by eavesdropping. But now that she knew the truth, at least some of it, there was no way she could pretend that she didn’t.

“It’s going. Sometimes I feel like I’ll never be free from it,” he began quietly. He was ashamed that he was a twenty five year old man, who had been in therapy longer than he could remember. Why hadn’t it worked yet? He had concluded that there was just something wrong with him.

Liz nodded her understanding, but there was something just under the surface that was eating away at her. Max’s confession to Alex not more than an hour ago flooded her mind. She knew in her heart it was all true. Everything that Max had said, and felt was true. More importantly though, the latest news that Max and Suzanne were actually separated, left her completed baffled. Why had no one told her of this? There were yet again more questions than answers. However, Liz was determined to get to the bottom of things and quick.

“I think you will, Max. If you let yourself be free from it.” Liz added softly, placing a hand on top of his across the table. She squeezed it reassuringly, and offered him a small smile.

“How do you do that?” he asked in awe.

“Do what?” she questioned confusingly.

“You can manage to make me feel better with just a few words.”

“It’s my secret power,” she offered coyly.

“Secret power?” he chuckled a little in question.

“Yes. I have many of them, and I’ve been taking this time away from you to hone in on them,” she explained with a look of sheer seriousness, before letting out a small giggle at Max’s confused expression.

“You’re too much sometimes.” He shook his head and went back to his meal.

While finishing their meals, Max asked Liz about Germany and about the friends she made there. He wanted to know everything he had missed. Liz was so happy to be sharing that part of her life with Max…finally. She was of course still hurt, but obviously there were things even she didn’t know about. And she had decided when she heard Alex and Max talking earlier that she owed it to her and Max’s child to fix them once and for all.

Liz had decided that if she and Max were only going to be friends, then that was enough for her. Because the most important person was their unborn child. She was hell bent on making sure that Max realized that he was important to his child and more importantly to her. There was so much pain in their past, and she had learned pretty quickly that most of it could have been avoided if they’d simply spoke honestly to one another.

Max watched Liz as she devoured the rest of her cheeseburger, barely coming up for air. He knew, however that she was also deep in thought. Which was fine for him at the moment, because that was exactly where he was. He knew that he had let her down in the past. He knew he should have made himself better aware of what was going on between them. If he had then there wouldn’t have been so many unspoken words between them.

That was their biggest downfall. It had taken several therapy sessions for him to come to that conclusion. He and Liz talked but there was so much that was unsaid. There was so much pain caused from both sides and him being with Suzanne was the biggest one.

Alex was right. Suzanne was safe. However, in the process of trying to be self-sacrificing he hurt Liz. Unbelievably so. Something he’d always tried to avoid. Ever since the first time they had made love, he had tried so hard to shield her from pain. He failed yet again at something else in his life. It only reinforced his feelings about having Liz go back to her home in Germany. Maybe they could start again as friends, he thought. Maybe this time they would end up some place different. Max wanted to roll his eyes in exasperation.

He didn’t know if he was coming or going half the time. He was optimistic one minute and completely pessimistic the next. Therapy had done nothing to cure of him of that curse. Regardless of it all though, he knew he had to tell Liz the truth about him and Suzanne. He wanted Liz to know everything and if afterwards she decided she could still be friends with him then he would be the happiest man alive.

If she didn’t, then he would accept it with understanding. Because for Max, regardless of the things Liz had done to him, the malicious words she threw so callously at him, he knew a part of it was a result of him pushing her away. Max knew that Liz didn’t want to hear what he had to say when he told her he couldn’t give her more. It hurt her. It tore at her spirit and he knew it. However, at the time it seemed like the best thing to do for her. Not for him, because God knew he couldn’t…didn’t want to live without her. It was, however, for the best.

Regrets, however, were what he was now left with. So many regrets and he knew that there wasn’t a way to erase them. They were set in stone as far as he was concerned. He would never forget the wrong moves and decisions he made, when hiding behind his self-pitying mask. Yet, another thing he learned in therapy. He wondered if there would ever be a time when he wouldn’t need a therapist to figure out what was running through his mind. It had been years, and yet he still wasn’t cured of whatever it was the drove him to not accept the ups and downs of life like any normal human being.

“Are you ready to go?” Liz asked when they had both finished eating.

“Yeah. Do you need anything before we head back?” Max asked opening the car door for Liz. Her parents had driven her to the hospital earlier and as far as he knew were still there. He knew Alex would inform them that Liz had left with him.

“Actually, do you have any ice cream at home?” she asked once they were situated in the car.

“No, but we can stop and get some.” Max smiled at her once again, before starting the car. He glanced at her quickly before turning his head away. She was exquisite, and she wasn’t his. He sighed heavily before turning onto the main street.

<center>****</center>

“This is so damn good!” Liz said enthusiastically as Max took a seat beside her on the couch. They had been back at his place for about a half hour, after stopping at the store for five gallons of ice cream. Liz couldn’t decide on a flavor so Max bought all of her favorites and told her she wouldn’t have to choose.

“I’m glad,” he peered into her bowl and screwed up his face in disgust.

“What is that?!”

“Oh, it’s strawberry, rocky road, mint chocolate chip, and peanut butter, mixed together.” Liz offered with a shrug. Okay, it did look disgusting, but tasted great.

“Right. Okay, I’m going to take a shower. I’ll be out in a few minutes.” Max started to lift off the couch but Liz’s hand on his forearm stopped him.

“Where does she live?” she asked, her voice sounding tiny and fragile.

Max’s eyes went wide. He knew it wouldn’t take long for Liz to figure out that Suzanne didn’t live with him, but not that quick.

“Was it that easy to tell?” he asked not looking at her. Liz placed the bowl down on the table beside her and turned to face Max.

“Max, there isn’t one picture of her, or even of the two of you together. Why is that?” She had decided that she didn’t want to tell Max that she overheard him, because that may not have been the entire conversation. What if she only heard part of it, and was jumping to conclusions? She thought better of it and decided to just ask him.

“Liz, it’s complicated,” he offered, this time looking into her deep brown eyes. He could get lost in them, if only he’d allow himself.

“It doesn’t have to be, Max. Just tell me the truth. Whatever it is, I’ll understand.”

“You’ve said that before. Do you mean it this time?” he asked unsure of himself. He knew that whatever he said might end up hurting her further, which was the last thing he wanted.

“I promise.” Sincerity was written clearly on her face.

Max drew in a deep breath and rested his back against the couch. His eyes focused on the wall above the television across the room. Knowing that Liz deserved to know the truth about how he ended up married to her sister, but at the same time he was quite ashamed to speak of it aloud. Not even Alex knew everything that transpired and led to him being married in the first place.

Liz drew her legs up onto the couch, making herself as comfortable as possible. She knew whatever Max had to say was going to be long. And she braced herself for it, because despite everything she ever believed, this would be the truth from his mouth to her ears. It was the first of what she hoped would be many truths in their lives.

<center>****</center>

“How could you?”

“Alex, you don’t even know the whole story.” She was tired and drained. And knew that her parents were itching to speak with her. Luckily, she thought Alex would be there to help her. Obviously, she thought wrong.

“Suz, there shouldn’t be a story. Now, you can either tell me the truth, all of it. Or I will get it from Max and Liz together. Your choice.” His voice filled with anger and sorrow. This was his sister, in every sense of the word. But so was Liz, and he knew now the mistake he made was in trusting Suzanne to look out for Liz. Alex knew now that there were secrets that he knew nothing about. Secrets that managed to stay hidden until today. That, for him, was completely unacceptable. And he would get to the bottom of it and soon.

“What do you want to know?” she sighed heavily and sunk further into the bed. It was getting late and she was feeling worse by the hour. She honestly didn’t understand why everyone was upset with her. Had she not had them call Liz to come back home? Wasn’t that enough? She knew that if given the opportunity Max and Liz would work things out. So what was wrong with making Liz suffer for a little while? Didn’t she deserve it? Yes. Suzanne contemplated it for a moment. Liz did deserve to feel insignificant, if even for just a little while when she tormented her.

“Cut the shit, just tell me what happened. How did you end up married to Max?” Alex knew there were many questions he should’ve been asking. But he didn’t know everything that happened in the past. He tried instead to ask the questions that he was certain would give him a definitive answer.

“What do you care?” she spat out. Then realized to whom she was speaking. The drugs were making it harder for her to control her temper around everyone. Normally, she could put on her best sugary sweet voice for Alex and the Parkers, even Max. But not Liz. Never Liz.

“Because my sister and best friend are hurting. And no matter whom I ask, your name seems to be involved somewhere in there. And since you are technically still married to Max, I want to know how it happened.” His voice demanding and his frustration etched across his face.

He was not leaving until he had answers.

“Maybe you need to have a seat. This could take a while,” she offered in an uneasy tone. She knew that whatever she said would have to be precise. There was no room for error on her part. The truth could never be found out.

“It was the night of his twenty fourth birthday. You remember, Liz was supposed to come home from school, but decided against it?” Alex nodded, remembering the mask of total devastation Max wore the night of his party.

“Alex, that was the first time Max and I were together,” she edged on in a hushed whisper. She knew she had to make Alex believe her without a doubt. And she also knew she couldn’t give him too much information. Just enough to make him believe what she was saying.

“When you say together, you mean…” he trailed off swallowing thickly. He wasn’t sure he wanted to hear any more.

“Yes. We slept together. Granted Max was drunk, and so was I but it happened nevertheless. We didn’t tell anyone and I’m sure he didn’t tell Liz.” She eyed him carefully, making sure he believed her.

“Okay, so you slept together. How did you end up married?” Alex pushed past the knowledge that before Max married Suzanne they had slept together. He knew for sure that Liz did not know of this, and was glad she was spared that bit of information.

“The proposal didn’t come for a few more months. We weren’t dating or anything, as you know, but we did hang out when Liz wasn’t around. Which was more often than not.” Suzanne knew why too. By that point, after his birthday, Max couldn’t even stand the sight of himself. He didn’t want Liz to find out the truth and so in his efforts to lie to her, he avoided her all the time. It didn’t hurt Suzanne’s goal to tell Liz that Max had slept with someone the night of his party. But to tell Liz that she was the one that slept with Max? She wasn’t that cruel. She explained that Max was pretty drunk and probably wouldn’t remember so it was best she kept that to herself. It seemed as though Liz did exactly that, because not a word of it had ever leaked out.

“Suzanne, you want to tell me how it is that Max was in love with Liz, yet he proposed to you? Because that’s the thing I can’t understand.” Alex’s frustration boiled. He still didn’t understand a damn thing about what was going on.

“Look, Alex. I want to tell you, but it’s private. I’m not sure if Max wants anyone to know. So, if you…”

“You’re not getting off that easy. Tell me!” he ground out, pushing to his feet and crossing the short distance of the room to her bed.

“Relax,” she spoke quickly. She never saw her brother this upset before…well she did but that was for a different reason. Yet another thing he didn’t ever need to know about.

“Liz wasn’t there for him. She was so busy trying to get Max to give her more. Be there for her more. Love her more. She wanted to take and take from him. And one night he was so fed up with it that he told me that it would be so much easier if she would just leave him alone. That he loved her but he wasn’t enough for her. And then somewhere in that conversation, he asked me to marry him. I thought I was doing him a favor.” She rushed out quickly, trying to pour every ounce of sincerity she could muster into her voice.

“Wait,” Alex raised his hand, successfully silencing her.

“You thought you were doing Max a favor by accepting his proposal when he was in that kind of state?” He shook his head in disbelief when she nodded.

“I thought it was the right thing. Their relationship, if that’s what you want to call it, was destructive. Max is a great guy. I didn’t like seeing him like that,” she offered softly.

“So you accepted his pity proposal? And in doing so, you destroyed your sister’s heart? Am I getting it right?” His voice no longer tinged with anger, but simply with remorse. Remorse that he hadn’t seen it sooner.

“No. You have it all wrong. Liz doesn’t deserve him. She never did. She had him and she just used him all up until he had nothing left to give.”

“Bullshit, Suz. That has got to be the worst excuse I’ve ever heard.” Alex bit out dryly.

Why was Alex being unreasonable? She couldn’t figure out how the tables turned on her so quickly. She was certain he would see that she was simply trying to be a good friend to Max.

“Let’s be honest here, Suzanne. I know you take me for the fool. And I don’t know why I didn’t see it sooner, but you did it to hurt Liz. Right?”

“No. I did it to protect Max.”

“What did you owe him?”

“Nothing. I was being a friend.”

“A friend?” he raised his eyebrow in question.

“Yes!” she yelled out in frustration.

“Did your loyalty not lie with your sister first? I love Max like a brother, but Liz is my sister first and foremost…what?” he questioned when he saw Suzanne roll her eyes and huff out in exasperation.

“Nothing.”

“No, tell me. What was that look for?” he questioned again, but this time there was a sick feeling that spread over his body when he looked down at her.

“Maybe, just maybe, Alex. I’m just finishing off what someone else started.” She pinned him with a hard glare.

“What the hell does that mean?” he questioned and hated that his voice gave away his nervousness.

“Why don’t you ask your loving parents who I am?” She had successfully rendered Alex speechless. However, in doing so she had laid a card on the table sooner than expected. Nevertheless, she had been able to deflect Alex’s raising suspicions and turn the tables back. Just the way she liked them.

TBC…

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Post by Behrsgirl77 » Sun Jan 29, 2006 7:07 pm

A/N – You all have lots and lots of questions. And I just want to reiterate, they will come starting from this chapter on. That is not to say you may not have other questions, but their will be questions answered in each part going forward. So no worries. But please continue to feel free posting your questions, I enjoy seeing what’s going on in your heads.

Thank you for the amazing feedback. Thank you for sticking with me, much appreciated. I know it’s angsty at times, but big dreamer part here so let’s all be happy, k? *lol*


Eccentric One – All I’m sayin is you’re my *Tigger*. Thank you so much for everything!
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BehrObsession – Thanks for giving is a try. Hope it’s worth it ;)
Lurkers…if you’re reading…hope you get your answers


Chapter 7

Alex leaned heavily against Suzanne’s closed hospital room door. He couldn’t believe it. Suzanne married Max out of pity, but more importantly, to hurt Liz. In addition to which, what the hell was she referring to about him asking their parents? He sighed heavily and made his way down the hall, to the waiting room. He needed to find his parents. Maybe they had the answers he needed, but if that were the case, did that mean they had been keeping secrets as well? And just how bad were those secrets? Most of all, would Liz end up getting hurt as a result of them?

His mind was still trying to process the fact that Suzanne had said that she and Max slept together the night of his party. When was it? He was around Max most of the night, unless it happened much later. It was pointless. He could twist and turn the information around in his head over and over, but the solution would remain the same. Nothing added up.

Above all else, the nagging question was how if Max was engaged to Suzanne, did Liz end up pregnant? He knew Max better than to use his sister. Yet, the facts were, he was engaged to Suzanne and at one point, not long before he was married, slept with Liz. He shook his head and tried to focus on his task at hand. Finding his parents.

He honestly didn’t know what was going on, but knew that for the sake of Max and Liz he needed to figure it out quickly.


<center>*****</center>

Max still had yet to speak. He was searching for the right words. He had suppressed it all for so long, he wasn’t sure if he’d be able to recall of the events so that Liz would understand. A second later, he felt her palm against his arm, followed by a gentle squeeze.

“Max, I don’t know what happened and I know it must be so hard for you to talk about it. But I want you to know that I’m not leaving. That no matter what you say, I’m not going anywhere…” she spoke in an even tone, then added, “For what it’s worth.”

He turned to her, offering her a lopsided grin and a nod of his head. He reached out and squeezed her hand back, as he dragged in a deep breath.

“I guess I should start the day everything changed. Liz, I know I went out with Suzanne, but after that fight we had, I never went anywhere with her,” his voice was shaky, but he continued.

“Anyway, the day of my party. I was so busy being pissed off at you,” he started but Liz stopped him.

“Why were you mad at me Max? I wanted to come, but I told you I had a project for work that I had to get done that night. My boss was counting on it, Max. I was going to leave, that’s why I called you back. But when Alex gave you the phone, you were so cold and angry with me. I wanted to be there, Max. I really did,” she tried to explain how sorry she was for not going. Regardless of everything, she knew why Max was upset with her.

“I should have given you a chance, but I was so pissed off by that point. I already had the worst day of my life, and now I wasn’t going to see you.”

“Max, it doesn’t matter. Just finish.” Liz swallowed thickly, she was afraid of what was coming. And she knew it was, after all hadn’t Suzanne already told her that Max slept with someone? It was enough for her to feel her heart break, but she promised she would be there for him, no matter what.

Max began to relay the night in his head all the while explaining the events of the night to Liz…

<center>~~~~~</center>

“She’s with him Max.”

“Who?” Max stopped pacing the length of the kitchen when he heard Suzanne come up behind him. He had just hung up with Liz. She had told him she had to work and couldn’t make it to his party. He was hurt beyond words and had no desire to speak with anyone.

“Liz. She’s with Eddie tonight. I talked to her earlier. She said that you didn’t want her here anyway. She said she was going to finish up the project and go out to dinner with him.” Max was furious. He wondered if it would be okay for him to leave his own birthday party. He couldn’t believe it. How could she do that to him?

“Why is she with him?” he wondered if maybe they were just working. Yes, that could be it.

“I thought you knew, they’re dating.” Max felt the tears spring to his eyes, but he fought them back. He would not cry. This was a good thing. Liz was finally moving on. She finally found someone that could make her happy. Someone that deserved her and her love. It sure as hell wasn’t him, so why did it piss him off thinking about it?

“Did she tell you this?” he ground out through clenched teeth.

“Yes.”


<center>~~~~~</center>


“She told you I was dating someone?” Liz spoke up the first chance she had.

“Yes. God, I look back now and I was so pissed off. Here I was pushing you away and you find someone and I get upset.”

“No, Max I wasn’t dating anyone. I’ve only ever dated you.”

“What?!” He turned to face her, was it really true?

“She lied to you, Max. Just like she lies to everyone,” she explained to him, knowing that his emotions are all over the place.

“Just finish Max, get it all out. I want to know what else she lied to you about.” Liz sympathized with Max, more so than ever before. He was but a pawn in her game. A game Liz had yet to figure out the purpose for.

“After you called back, I was so angry. I didn’t even listen to you. I’m sorry,” he apologized and Liz waved him on. It wasn’t important, and he knew that Liz didn’t hold it against him. With that knowledge, he pressed on.

“I proceeded to drink an unbelievable amount of beers. One after another, I lost track after the sixth one. I ended up sneaking out of the party and headed for my bedroom. Beer bottle in hand. I think I passed out for a little while, but when I woke up Suzanne was standing beside me.”

“W-what was she doing there?” Liz asked her voice laced with concern and fear.

“Liz…” he began to evade her question. Knowing that the answer would undoubtedly hurt her.

“Tell me Max.” Liz bit back the bile the rose to her throat. She didn’t like the direction the story was going.

Max only nodded and was thrust back into the past…

<center>~~~~~</center>

“You okay?” For a moment, he thought it was Liz. He knew he was just wishing, because when his eyes finally focused he saw it was her sister.

“I’m fine,” he mumbled out with a heavy slur. A minute later he felt her settle beside him. Wordlessly, she began rubbing his arm softly.

“I think I’m unlovable sometimes. You think I’m right?” he rolled onto his side to face her.

“No, Max. You’re not unlovable. It’s just Liz wants too much from you.”

He shook his head in protest. “I love her so much, you know? But what do I do? I push her away. That’s all I do, I tell her I love her and push her away, but she stays. Why?” he looked to the love of his life’s sister for answers. Not truly sure if that was the place for his requests, but who else did he have?

“I’m not really sure, Max. But she’s moved on this time. She’s with Eddie, and she told me he makes her really happy.” He nodded again. What else could he do? Cry? It was looking like a very good alternative, but he would do that alone. He always did it alone.

“She wants me to marry her. Did you know that?” he slurred out rolling over onto his back once again.

“I know.”

“Why would she want to marry me? I have nothing to offer her.”

“That’s not true! Max you are smart, and you have your own business…” she began to give him reasons. They were all empty. If Liz told him though, maybe they wouldn’t feel so empty, he thought to himself.

“Yeah, but so what? I’ll never be rich. Liz deserves a man that can afford to buy her anything in the world. She grew up with money, I didn’t.” He was wallowing in self pity and he knew it, but at that moment, it felt better than knowing that Liz was out with someone. Falling in love with someone, that wasn’t him.

“Do you think she loves him?” he asked, as the room grew quiet.

“I don’t know, Max. Maybe…never mind.” Suzanne trailed off, but at that moment he had wanted to know what she was thinking. Would she say he was pathetic? That he was a fool and that Liz only thought she was in love with him because she knew no better? Those were his fears. But he would never voice them aloud.

“Tell me what you think,” he pleaded softly.

“I think maybe you need to let her go.” His eyes went wide, filling with tears. He quickly snapped them closed and buried his head in the crook of his arm. He felt the moment Suzanne moved closer. The moment she removed his hand from his face and yes, even the moment she placed her lips against his.

<center>
~~~~~</center>

A sharp gasp broke Max from his thoughts. He turned to face Liz, tears brimming in her eyes, but he wanted her to know the truth. He didn’t want any more lies between them.

“Liz, I’m so sorry but I…Suzanne and I…” He chanced another look at her and inhaled deeply.

“We slept together, Liz.”

“No. It wasn’t her Max!” she cried out. Max quickly pulled her into his arms, as best as possible. He finally let his tears fall as he stroked her back gently.

“Liz, I…”

“That’s not what she told me,” Liz mumbled out a moment later. It was Suzanne? She wouldn’t allow herself to believe it.

“What are you talking about?” he asked, confused by her words. What did Liz know about the situation, he wondered.

“Suzanne, she told me you slept with someone the night of your party. But she said you were really drunk. But she never told me it was her.”

“I was drunk, Liz. Really drunk. But it was her. Maybe she didn’t want to hurt you,” he offered softly. Maybe Suzanne wasn’t as bad as they all thought.

“I have a hard time believing that. She could have kept the fact that you slept with anyone a secret if she wanted to protect my feelings,” Liz bit out sarcastically, brushing her tears from her face.

“How did it happen?” The question burst from her lips a second later.

“Are you serious? You don’t want to know.” Max opened and closed his mouth in protest. There was no way he was going to share what little details he remembered with Liz.

“Yes, I do.” She stiffened her back, knowing that Suzanne was behind the entire thing. And in knowing that fact, she knew that she had to take everything Max said and take it with a grain of salt.

“I don’t really remember,” he began trying to recall that night, as best as he could.

It gave Liz a small bit of satisfaction that Max could not remember being with Suzanne. At least when they had slept together, she was positive Max remembered, she thought smugly.

“Well what do you remember? Take me back to that day Max,” Liz spoke up giving Max a nod of reassurance. She knew it couldn’t be easy, and after all he had confided in her thus far, she knew he regretted it more than anything. Liz now knew Max may have truly loved her, but never felt worthy of being loved back. He never believed he was good enough. She ached to know if he still loved her the way she did him. Despite their arguments, and their time apart throughout the years, Liz yearned to be with Max and only Max.

During his recollection of the past, Liz realized with stark clarity, her role in Max’s pain. She knew he was in therapy for what his father had done, and how he did it. She knew how close they were at one point, and now they weren’t. Yet, she still pushed him for more of himself, when she knew damn well there was nothing of him to give. He gave her all he could, but what she needed Max to understand was that he had so much more to offer, not just her, but everyone.

Liz realized she had been one of Max’s major emotional challenges. She was just like his father, different approach, but same outcome. His father pushed him away, she pushed him for more, he pulled away and pushed her away, she pushed for more until he broke. She eyed him closely. That’s what he was she thought, broken. Her Max was broken and it was her fault. She left him like that. How could he ever forgive her? How could she ever forgive herself?

She sighed heavily. Liz knew she needed to take an active role in her life, for the sake of her and Max’s child. Their child would need a father, and she was determined to have Max understand that it was possible for him to be the best father in the world to their child.

Therapy, she laughed to herself. It would never help Max. That was impossible and she understood why now. Why hadn’t she seen it before? You did, Liz. You just chose to ignore it, her mind screamed at her.

No, the only thing that would help Max was her unconditional, unwavering love for Max. And now that she knew it, and accepted it, she was determined to make sure he knew how special he truly was. It was time she gave Max her full and complete attention, without expecting something in return for it. He needed her and she had every intention of being there…this time.

“It’s all really hazy, Liz. After she kissed me, I pulled away. It was like a bucket of cold water. I never thought she’d do that, ever. She apologized and after a few minutes, I went back to thinking of you. Except I still had my beer bottle, and proceeded to finish that one off. I fell back on the bed, and realized Suzanne hadn’t left,” Max tried to grasp onto what he could remember, which was becoming less and less as he thought about it.

“I broke down, and told her what happened that day. And I told her how much I missed you and how much I loved you. Mostly though, I told her how angry I was that you found someone else. Not because I didn’t realize that I had pushed you away, but because I was that terrified that I’d lost you.” Max sank back further into the couch, just remembering the sheer loneliness he felt that night.

“Suzanne told me that I was being too hard on myself, and I deserved one night away from you.” Max finished and turned to Liz slowly. He was terrified of what he’d see when she looked at him.

“Then you s-slept together?” Liz questioned, once again feeling the hatred she had for Suzanne boil over. Liz knew that Suzanne had taken advantage of Max’s vulnerability.

Max nodded then shrugged his shoulders. “That was the last thing I remember, Liz. The next morning, I woke up and Suzanne was lying next to me.” Max felt ashamed. He felt as if he’d cheapened his and Liz’s first time by sleeping with Suzanne. He wanted Liz to know how special and important she was to him, but he knew he was kidding himself. Hell, he was lucky if Liz ever spoke to him again after this.

Max chanced a look at her, but was surprised by the look on her face. What was wrong? She didn’t look hurt. Instead, Max thought she looked livid.

Liz’s eyes were wide with shock. Honestly though she didn’t know why any of Suzanne’s antics would be surprising to her anymore. Suzanne had done it again, so Liz believed. Another lie had been told to destroy her and Max.

The truth was sitting right in front of Liz, all this time. And because of her inability to accept Max the way he was, she allowed Suzanne to weasel her way into their lives completely.

“How do you know you slept together?” She finally let the question that was causing the thundering in her chest, out. Liz knew she was hanging on by what she believed to be true.

“I was naked, Liz. And so was she. And when she woke up she confirmed it.” Max honestly didn’t want to talk about that night, especially with Liz. Why was she asking all these questions? It would only serve to hurt her, and strain their friendship even further.

“Did you use protection, Max?” Liz was hell bent on finding out the truth. If Max had slept with Suzanne, then she would accept it for what it was. Sex, nothing more or less.

“Liz…I don’t remember. She told me she was on the pill when I asked her.” Max stood and began pacing. He felt sick to his stomach. He did not want to talk to Liz about having sex with her sister. That was just…he shuddered visibly at the thought.

“That’s a lie!” Liz gasped audibly causing Max to still his movements.

“What are you talking about?” he turned to her with a questioning gaze.

“Max, Suzanne couldn’t take birth control” Liz began to tremble with disgust. Had Suzanne made Max think that they slept together? She wasn’t sure what was the truth anymore.

“Why not?”

“She’d gone to the doctor when she was first put on them, and I remember my mother explaining to me that for some reason she had an adverse reaction to them. The doctors advised that she not take them.” Liz tried to remember what the exact reason was. Was it a family history? Or was it something to do with something in her blood? Damn it! Liz couldn’t remember. Honestly at the time she could have cared less about the information, but now that she needed to draw upon it for the truth, the answer wasn’t there.

“So she was like what? Allergic?” Max began feeling his legs grow weak. He shook the thoughts running through his head off and took a seat back beside Liz.

“Liz, aren’t there like, I don’t know hundreds of different ones?” he reasoned.

“Yes, but that’s not the point. I know she wasn’t taking birth control, Max.” At least she had paid a little attention when Suzanne spoke.

“How do you know?” His heart was thrumming in his chest. He wasn’t sure of where Liz was going with her questioning, but he’d wish she’d get there already.

“Max, women take birth control for two reasons. One to avoid becoming pregnant and two to stay regular. Suzanne wasn’t.” Liz explained calmly, too calmly for Max.

“I don’t understand. So you think she was trying to get me to get her pregnant?” Max shuddered at the thought.

“No, Max. I think she wanted you to think you slept together. So that when she told me that you slept with someone and if I asked you, you would have told me it was Suzanne. But I never did, she was counting on that.” It all made sense now. Liz knew that Suzanne took the trouble to tell Liz that he slept with someone that night, but she was very specific in not telling who it was. And she had made sure that she’d told Liz that Max was really drunk, making it so that she would be less likely to ask him about it. Liz walked right into Suzanne’s trap.

“How do I know if I did or not?” Max questioned not truly sure he understood what was going on. Had Suzanne lied about them sleeping together? And if so, why wouldn’t she just tell Liz?

“You have to ask her,” Liz rushed out.

“No,” he shook his head profusely. He did not want to talk to Suzanne about that night, ever.

“Max…” Liz hedged on softly.

“No. I’m not going to, Liz. Besides why would she lie to me, and then lie to you? Wouldn’t it have made sense if she just told you she was the one that slept with me?”

“Why would she Max? She did enough damage by telling me you slept with someone else. She knew she hurt me by telling me, it didn’t really matter who it was. I already hated her, so it wouldn’t have made any difference. This way, she would know something I didn’t and she liked holding all the cards.” Liz explained to Max, hoping he understood the underhanded schemes Suzanne came up with to destroy them.

“But if I didn’t have sex with Suzanne that night, that means I never…” he trailed off. If Liz was right then he knew he had to talk to Suzanne now more than ever.

“Tomorrow morning, Liz. You and me are going to pay your sister a visit.” Max squared his shoulders. He was tired of the lies and the deceit. He wanted the truth, and if it were the last thing Suzanne did, she would give it to him.

TBC…

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Post by Behrsgirl77 » Thu Feb 09, 2006 4:28 pm

A/N - Look I updated Wings and this today...that's good right? *sigh* I'm working on the update for Magic so that should be out shortly as well ;)

Thanks for your incredible feedback! I know this is not an easy story to read with having to deal with Suzanne, but again this story doesn't have many parts left, which means I will be making headway with each passing part.

Hope you enjoy!!




Chapter 8


It wasn’t until the next morning that Alex caught up with his parents. They were huddled inside of Suzanne’s room. He entered fully into the room and waited until his parents acknowledged his presence.

“Alex, honey what are you doing here so early?” Nancy asked, trying to contain her emotions. They were given very grave news this morning on Suzanne’s condition.

He looked at both of his parents and tried to keep the anger out of his voice when he asked his question. “Exactly who is Suzanne to us?” Both Jeffery and Nancy turned pale white, but quickly tried to recover.

“Honey, I don’t know what you mean.”

Alex narrowed his eyes. “You can either tell me, or I’ll find out for myself.”

“Alex, you need to just calm down. We shouldn’t be talking about this right now.”

“No? Then when dad? When all the secrets of this family destroy us? When Suzanne’s tales finally once and for all destroy Max and Liz? When would be a good time?” he retorted sarcastically. He now knew that his parents were keeping secrets. The problem was what had they been? And for how long?

“Alex, we’ll talk about this later,” Jeff Parker stood his ground. Now was not the time for the secrets of the past to interfere. His daughter was dying and there was nothing he could do to stop it.

“Fine. You get one week. One. And after that, all bets are off and I won’t stop until I find out the truth.” Alex sighed heavily. He was not giving up, but apparently there was something more pressing on his parents’ minds.

“It’s spreading Alex. The cancer is in her lungs…they say that at this rate, she won’t make it the month.” Alex nodded his head and took in the information. He knew that Suzanne was dying; he could see it every time he looked at her. Now, though it was more of a reality than ever. Which made him that much more determined to get the answers before they died with her.

<center>****</center>

“Morning sleepyhead,” Liz said as she stepped into Max’s bedroom. It was the first time she had seen it. The first thing she noticed besides his bare chest was the picture that sat on his nightstand. It was a picture of her and him taken a few years back. A smile touched her lips.

The moment he heard her voice, a smile formed on his lips. It was something he’d always longed for. To wake up with Liz beside him. He felt the bed dip slightly and he peeked open his eyes to look at her.

God, would she always be more beautiful than the previous day to him, he wondered.

“Morning. How are you feeling?” he asked as he lifted himself to rest on his bent elbows.

“We are feeling great this morning,” Liz offered with a rub of her belly. Max looked at her for approval, and when she nodded her head he sat up completely. He slowly reached out his hand and placed it where their baby lay.

“You know, I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of touching you,” he realized what he’d just said and quickly tried to correct it.

“I mean, tired of touching our baby,” he grinned when he heard her giggle slightly.

“I know exactly what you mean and I couldn’t agree more.” Max nodded and scooted over giving Liz room to lie beside him.

“Are you cold?” he asked.

“A little,” she shrugged and waited until he lifted his sheets, allowing her to slip beneath them with him.

“Better?”

“Much.” They lay in silence, Max’s hand still rubbing tiny circles against her protruding belly. Both taking in the moment, soaking it up and cherishing it.

“Max?”

“Hmm?”

“I’ve missed you.” Liz offered candidly and felt Max stiffen beside her, but a moment later, felt him shift so that he lay on his side to face her.

“Me too, Liz. God, I never realized how much I missed you until I saw you again. I never thought you’d talk to me. And then to see you pregnant. When you told me it was mine, I actually wanted to get on my knees in front of you and cry,” Max whispered out honestly.

“When I found out I was…Max I want you to know how happy I was. I was so happy that it was yours. Of course it could have only been yours, but you know what I mean,” Liz blushed and watched as Max lifted his hand to her cheek, brushing away her stray tears.

“I never stopped thinking about you,” he promised.

“Me either. I was wrong, Max.”

“Liz…” he began to dispute but she silenced him with a finger against his lips.

“I was wrong to leave you. Max, I knew you were hurting. I know what him leaving did to you. I knew it, yet I still pushed you for more. You told me Max. I want you to know that you made it very clear about what you could give me. But I just wouldn’t accept it. I didn’t accept it because I know you are so much more than you give yourself credit for. I know that it affected you more than Isabel. She wasn’t daddy’s little girl. But you, Max, you were your father’s son. You looked up to him and he just….” She trailed off and pulled him into her arms. He rested his head against her bosom. There he lay crying in her arms. For the first time, he allowed himself to cry over his father. For the first time, she was there for him, telling him that it was okay to be angry and hurt. That it was okay to feel it and not push it away because she would be there. That she would always be there for him.

When his tears finally subsided, Max pulled away and swiped the tears from his eyes. He settled back beside Liz, pulling her into his embrace. It felt perfect, more perfect than anything in his entire life.

“I never got to tell you, but the reason why Suzanne doesn’t live here is because she never did. I lived at her place, but after we separated I moved out and got this place, on my own,” he knew he was rambling, but he wasn’t sure if telling Liz the truth about his and Suzanne’s situation would make things better or worse.

Liz’s heart was pounding wildly in her chest. She now knew that what she’d overheard in the hospital between him and Alex was the truth. Max was going to confirm it for her once and for all.

“Liz, we’re getting divorced,” he croaked out, bracing himself for her reaction. Instead all he received was her tears on his chest.

“Liz?”

“I knew you didn’t love her,” she sobbed out. Finally allowing herself to believe that Max never stopped loving her.

“There’s something else, Liz.” He felt her stiffen in his arms, but he quickly reached down and tilted her head up to face him.

“I promise, it’s good.” He smiled sensitively.

“What?” she sniffled.

“After that night…after the party, I never slept with her Liz. That is if I slept with her.” He tried to explain without confusing her further. But he wanted her to know that after the night of his party, he never betrayed her again. He’d rather die than to have knowingly done so.

“What?! But…you’re married. And surely on your wedding night you slept with her,” Liz bit out angrily. Why was he going to lie to her now?

Max felt Liz pull away and he quickly sat up with her, not allowing her to leave his side. He rested his head against her back. He could tell she was crying, but he wanted her to know everything. They had wasted so much time already. There were so many lies and misconceptions that had torn them apart, he hated it and was sick of it.

“No. I got wasted and passed out. She wanted to, but I just couldn’t. And the reason why you don’t see any pictures is because I didn’t keep any of them. I burned them all the night I got married to her,” he explained with disgust in his voice.

“Why not Max? Why couldn’t you?” She turned to face him, tears brimming both of their eyes.

“Because I knew I had made the biggest mistake of my life by marrying her. And that if I had just told you the truth you would have understood. That you would have forgiven me and taken me back.”

“Then why didn’t you?”

“I wanted to so bad, Liz. I did. But then I knew I couldn’t just give you all the things you wanted. I couldn’t marry you, Liz. Not then,” he explained not wanting to hurt her.

“Why not? Why was she good enough, but not me?”

“Don’t you understand, Liz? I didn’t love her. I could marry her because it meant nothing. And I don’t want to make it seem like marriage means nothing to me, but she didn’t mean anything. Liz, I knew that if I had asked you, you would have said yes. But then what? What could I give you?” he shook his head in defeat. It was coming out all wrong.

“All I wanted was you,” she whispered out. His eyes locked with hers a second later.

“Why me, Liz? I just… I don’t understand.”

“Max, I love you. You can’t help who you fall in love with. But I was lucky that it was with you.” She cupped his face between her tiny hands, willing him to understand. She needed to do something that was long overdue.

“The only problem was that I didn’t love you enough, Max.”

“Liz don’t…”

“Let me finish,” she protested. “All that time I wanted you to prove how much you loved me, and the sad part was, you already did. I didn’t see it then, Max. I wanted you to date me, love me, marry me, and be with me for the rest of your life. Funny, thing was, I never gave you the chance. I was so busy pushing you for all of those things, and if I had just waited and been there for you, I would have gotten my wish.” She watched as he shook his head in objection.

“Don’t say that,” he protested meekly.

“Why not? It’s the truth. Max, you were always enough, but I made you feel like you weren’t. It was me, pushing you for more. Making you feel like you weren’t enough for me. When you were, Max. You’ll never know how sorry I am for that,” she choked out through her sobs. She was a fool. She wasted all that time they could have been together.

Max drew in a deep breath. He knew part of what Liz was saying was right, but he didn’t blame her. His actions spoke louder than his nonexistent words. He understood how she saw things then.

“I’m so tired, Liz.”

“Of what, Max?’

“I’m tired of the blame game. Liz, we both made mistakes. We both could have done things differently, but I just…” he searched for his words.

“You what?”

“I feel like I can’t do anything right when it comes to you.”

“You’re kidding right?” she asked and watched as he shook his head self-deprecatingly.

“Max, look at me,” she demanded gently.

“Do you love me?”

“Yes,” he responded without hesitation.

“Then why can’t you let me love you? Why can’t I be enough for you?”

“You are enough for me, Liz. But…” She cut him off quickly.

“No buts Max. I am in love with you. You are enough. Just you Max. I wish you could see how wonderful of a person you are.”

“Liz…”

“Max you were always enough. You just never thought you were. Your father made you think that you weren’t worth his time. But he’s the fool, Max. He wasn’t worth your time. You loved him…you still do but he doesn’t love you. You can’t change his mind, baby. No matter how much you wish it, you can’t. But me, Max I love you,” Liz whispered out, brushing her lips against his. Hoping that he didn’t push her away.

Max was speechless. Liz loved him despite it all. Above all else, she understood him like no other. He leaned in closer, capturing her lips with his. Taking his time, he reacquainted himself with her taste. The feel of her lips was just as he remembered, soft, warm…perfect in every way. Max caressed her back gently, all the while exploring her mouth with his tongue, gently at first but it grew more demanding. How he had missed this woman, his mind raced.

They pulled away moments later, panting for air. Heads resting against one another, and the words rolled off of his tongue the second their eyes locked.

“I love you, Liz.”

“And I love you, Max.” she smiled and kissed his lips once again.

“I know that I hurt you, but I thought if I told you that I couldn’t give you more upfront, then you wouldn’t invest your time in me,” he revealed.

“But I did, and you are completely worth it Max. I will never regret it, ever. And despite it all, I’m still here Max. I may have left for a little while, but it wouldn’t have been forever.”

“Because of the baby?” he concluded sadly. If she weren’t pregnant, she would have never returned to him.

Liz smiled through her tears. “No, Max. Because of you. I never gave up on you. I was hurt and angry and confused, but I didn’t know the whole story. I still don’t but I’m willing to give us another chance.”

“I don’t know, Liz. I mean I know I love you, but it’s just too soon…too much at once.”

“I understand. I won’t ask more than you can give. But I do have to ask you this one thing.”

“What?” If she asked him to die for her in her next breath, he would. That’s how much he loved her.

“I need you to start forgiving yourself for the things you cannot control. You need to start realizing that just because you try and remove yourself from the equation doesn’t mean everyone else has written you off. And more importantly, I think it’s time you faced Phillip.”

“I can’t. He has a family now and…”

“What are you talking about?”

“Liz, that’s why I wanted you on my birthday. I went to see him. He had a son…that he was so proud of and it wasn’t me.” Max broke down into tears. He hadn’t remembered crying so much in his entire life.

“Oh Max…I didn’t know.” Liz wanted to kick herself for her selfishness. That’s why Max was so upset with her that night.

“It’s okay. I never told you.” He shrugged it off as if it didn’t matter, but it did. Liz held his hands within hers.

“Well then I now know and I’m going with you.” She nodded determinately.

“What? Liz it’s too much.” He began to pull away.

“Max, you’re stronger than this. I am so proud of what you’ve done with your life. You finished college, you have a great home, and even better friends. You own your own business, which is growing by the day. Those are things to be damn proud of. But your greatest achievement has yet to be fulfilled.” She smiled through her tears of happiness.

“What do you mean?” he questioned hesitantly.

“This,” she placed his hands against her protruding belly.

“Our baby, the one you and I created, and the father you will become. That Max, will be your greatest achievement.” She watched the smile form on his beautiful face, and fall just as quickly.

“How do you know I’ll be any good at it?” he asked, his voice laced with doubt.

“Because you already love our child. I know you do. Don’t you?”

“Yes,” the words bubbled forth as a whispered cry.

“I love it so much. I know I haven’t known long, but I do,” he vowed with sincerity. He wondered how it was possible to love someone so much that you hadn’t even met.

“I know you do, Max. I never had any doubt about that.” Liz smiled and wrapped her arm around his neck, nipping at his lips softly. She was rewarded a moment later with the feel of his soft, warm lips against her. What she hadn’t expected though, were the words of love he whispered in her ear as he held her tightly afterwards.

Today was a new day, a day where there would be more answers. The only difference was that good or bad they would face them together.


<center>****</center>


“What the hell were you thinking?”

“Nothing. I just figured the truth needed to be told. I think it’s long overdue, dad,” her voice was laced with bitter hatred and anger.

“Look, Liz does not need this right now. What did you tell Alex?”

“I didn’t tell him anything he could use. All I told him is that if he really wanted to know the truth, then he’d have to ask you.” She narrowed her eyes at him once again.

“Suzanne, honey why are you being like this?” Nancy spoke up for the first time.

“Why? Well let’s see maybe because she got to live the life I should have had. Maybe because I was denied who I was for my entire life, because of a lie that everyone fought so hard to keep a secret,” she bit out angrily.

“I was expendable right dad?”

“It wasn’t like that. We didn’t want to tell you because,” he tried to find the words, what little they meant.

“Because you cheated and didn’t want anyone to know I was your dirty little secret!” she barked out nastily.

“Suzanne, it would have killed your father if he knew what happened between me and your mother.”

“Don’t you mean, your wife’s sister? What I can’t understand is why you could deny me as your daughter, but Liz who isn’t even your flesh and blood, you could deny nothing?” she bit out venomously.

Outside the hospital doors, stood Alex whose breath was caught in his throat. It wasn’t true! It couldn’t be true! He bit back the bile that rose to his throat, turned and ran straight into the love of his life.

The world was truly cruel, and he was witnessing it first hand.

“Isabel.”


TBC…

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Behrsgirl77
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Post by Behrsgirl77 » Sun Mar 05, 2006 12:39 pm

A/N - No your eyes are no playing tricks on you. I am back! I want to say you guys are awesome and so patient with me, for which I am truly greatful. Now, you have questions...you were shocked by the last part...Good! That's the point :)

I love your feedback and *gasps* of confusion *lol* Hope you enjoy this part!

Also, I am going to be updating Wings of an Angel today as well...just taking me a little time. I haven't written in weeks I feel so out of practice :roll:


anonymousarfan
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Poison Ivy
janesdilemma
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martine
Dreamer06
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cherie
RebeccaBehrEvans

And a very special thanks to Kara (Eccentric One) for making this part readable (haha)...your suggestions rock as do you my *tigger* Love you!


Chapter 9


“Hi Alex,” she said softly. It had been two very long years since she’d seen him. He still looked just as handsome, but a little worn, which was completely understandable.

She had taken the first flight back from her photo shoot in Italy. Isabel Evans was a successful fashion photographer. Her job took her all around the world, but also far from home.

“W-what are you doing here?” Alex asked somewhat surprised. While he knew that Isabel would be there for her brother, she had nothing but disgust for his sister, Suzanne.

“I got a call from my mom, telling me that big things were happening and that I needed to get home as soon as possible,” she explained while brushing the tendrils of hair that escaped her messy bun.

He thought she was beautiful, always did. That was one thing no one could take away from Isabel, her beauty. The only problem was, she was a liar and could never be trusted, or so he believed.

“Are you okay, Alex?” she asked when she caught him staring for a few moments.

“I’m as good as can be expected, Isabel. My sister is dying. My parents are lying to me and my other sister is pregnant,” he answered bitterly.

“Pregnant? Liz is pregnant?” her mouth was agape. It couldn’t be possible. Her heart broke for her brother. He would surely be devastated by that news. Damn that Liz Parker, she fumed silently. Why was it that her brother never seemed to find the right girl? The girl that deserved him, she wondered critically.

“You seem surprised. I guess your mother didn’t tell you.”

“Tell me what?”

“Isabel?!” Max called out to his sister the moment he spotted her and Alex outside of Suzanne’s room.

“Max,” Isabel turned to her brother with a bright smile. The smile however died on her lips the moment she saw him holding hands with the infamous Liz Parker. Her eyes narrowed in hatred for the pregnant brunette.

Max disentangled his hand from Liz’s to embrace his sister. Liz stood in the background, trying with all her might to avoid Isabel’s cold glare. She and Isabel had a history. One that revolved around the men in their lives. Isabel and Liz had actually gotten along quite well in the beginning, but then things changed. After Max and Isabel’s father left, Isabel became very over protective of her younger brother. Liz reflected back and realized how Isabel saw her and Max’s friendship. It was very destructive and very dysfunctional, and only now did Liz truly understand how much that hurt not only Max but herself as well. She shook those thoughts from her head and rested her hand on her belly. Her and Max’s child was the reason why she could no longer look to the past for answers or an absolution that would never come. It was the future and their child from which she needed to gain her strength. Their child signified that something wonderful and special existed between her and Max. Regardless of everything that transpired throughout the years, Liz knew deep in her heart that she and Max loved one another.

Love was funny sometimes, she thought. It made you do crazy things, things you would never even imagine yourself doing. It had power. A great power to possess you and control you as none other. It had the ability to draw you closer to another human being than ever before. More importantly though, it had the power to destroy. It was a very fragile thing, and if one wasn’t careful it would break a person a million times over again. Liz now knew that that was what happened to her and Max. They didn’t allow their love to flow freely. They tried to control it. Love has no borders. She knew that from first hand experience now.

“I missed you, sis. Glad you’re here.” Max smile genuinely at his sister, then he turned and reached out for Liz. She quickly placed her hand in his and moved forward to stand beside him.

“Hi Isabel,” she offered with an unsteady smile.

“Liz.” Isabel looked down at her pointedly, giving a once over at the short girl’s protruding stomach. Despite how Isabel felt towards Liz, she couldn’t help but think that the girl glowed from the inside out. It seemed that Liz was truly happy. Isabel also, however, couldn’t help but wonder why her brother appeared to be glowing almost as much, if not more than Liz at the moment.

Max followed his sister’s path down Liz’s petite form, and noticed how her eyes lingered over her stomach longer than normal. Obviously his mother had not filled her in. Clearing his throat he finally spoke up.

“It’s mine, Iz.” Liz squeezed his hand for reassurance. Max took a moment to regard his sister before looking down into Liz’s smiling face. Their eyes locked and almost danced with a glowing happiness.

Alex immediately noticed the confusion in Isabel’s eyes and cleared his throat, hoping that it would grab Max’s attention. Luckily it did.

“Are you going to say something?” he asked suddenly so unsure of himself. What his sister thought of him meant a lot.

“H-how is she pregnant with your baby?” Isabel’s eyes zigzagged from Liz’s belly to her brother’s eyes. He was glowing she concluded.

Max let out a soft chuckle, as did Alex, before speaking. “I think you know how,” he smiled sheepishly.

“I…didn’t mean that. I meant how, since you are married to Suzanne, is Liz pregnant with your child?” Isabel asked again still not able to put it all together.

“It was before I got married, Isabel.”

“Oh…right.” She nodded her acceptance of this new information, but tried to keep her expression indifferent.

They stood for a few moments in awkward silence before Alex decided he needed to excuse himself. He knew he needed to talk to Max and Liz, but he needed time to process it all. In addition to which, he needed to get away from Isabel.

“I’m going to grab a coffee. I’ll be back in a few,” Alex began and excused himself, only to be stopped by the sound of Isabel’s voice.

“Mind if I join you?” she asked hesitantly. Alex didn’t turn around, he simply nodded and waited until her heard the sound of her high heels clicking along the linoleum tiles towards him.

“Well that was awkward,” Liz said as she and Max watched them walk away.

“Yeah. I hope they can resolve whatever it is that happened to them before she leaves again,” Max offered before pulling Liz into a hug.

“What was that for?” she asked with a smile.

“I just felt like it.” He shrugged but smiled just the same.

“You ready?” Liz asked a second later.

“No,” he shook his head.

“I’m here, Max. We need this. Okay?”

“Okay, Liz.” Together they entered Suzanne’s room.


<center>**** </center>


“Liz, Max!” Nancy was somewhat startled to see them so early. She prayed that they had not overheard any of the conversation, which took place a moment ago.

“Mom, Dad, would you mind excusing us for a little while?” Liz asked moving further into the room with Max trailing behind her.

“Honey, why don’t you and Max grab some breakfast,” Jeff Parker spoke up nervously. The sweat on his brow had begun to trickle down over his eyebrow. Now was not a good time for his pregnant daughter to be there. He needed to make sure Suzanne didn’t tell her the truth…not yet.

“Dad, I have to talk to Suzanne now,” Liz explained sternly. Her shoulders squared let her parents know she was not taking no for an answer.

“Liz…” he tried once again, knowing his daughter wouldn’t back down.

“No. I want my chance to talk to her.” Liz turned her back letting them know she was done. It was time they started listening to her for a change.

“Okay, honey. We’re going to head home for a little while.” Nancy walked over to her daughter, giving her a kiss on the cheek before turning to Max apologetically. While she didn’t know the whole story, things were becoming clearer by the second. Suzanne had used all the information she had, against Liz. And because of that, because of the lies, Max and Liz suffered. If only she had spoken up, if only she didn’t let her husband dictate their lives. So many what ifs, and a lifetime wasted, she thought as she exited the room with her husband in tow.

The room grew silent, Max was a nervous wreck and wanted to demand answers from Suzanne, but he knew Liz needed to get answers just as much. He would give her the floor, trusting her to know what was best.

“Are you here because you heard the news?” she coughed slightly before turning her head away from her hospital door.

“What news?” Max asked as Liz crossed the room to take a seat.

“I’m dying,” she offered as if it were a big surprise to everyone in the room.

“Suzanne…”

“I know I’m dying. I just thought I had more time, you know? I thought…so many things.”

“So what are you going to confess your sins to us?” Liz questioned with loathing and disgust dripping from her voice.

“No. I don’t have that many really. Besides, I don’t think it would help.”

“Oh please! You act like all of a sudden you give a shit about things. You had years, Suzanne. Years! And you didn’t care about anyone’s feelings but your own,” Liz rasped out shakily.

“Relax Liz,” Max coaxed softly. He didn’t want her completely riled up. He knew that stress wasn’t good for her or their baby.

Liz turned away, knowing that she was already so completely wound up with anger and that she needed to calm down.

“Suzanne, what are you talking about? Without the bullshit.” Max crossed his arms and stood at the foot of her bed.

“I mean the cancer has spread. They don’t even give me the month to live. Crazy right? It’s like you wait your whole life for something profound to happen to you, but you never think of death as being it,” she said just above a whisper.

“I’m sorry to hear that,” Max offered. But knew that despite everything that was going on, he and Liz needed answers.

“Right,” she scoffed. “You’re not sorry. You both can’t wait until I die.” Max shook his head and was about to respond but instead he felt Liz come up to him from behind and place a hand on his shoulder. He stepped aside, giving her room to stand beside him.

“That’s where you’re wrong. Before you came to live with us, I couldn’t wait to have a big sister. Before your parents died, we were sort of close. Hell I even think I loved you, for a little while that is. But then you came to live with us and you just became this monster. You weren’t at all like I thought you’d be. You were mean and vicious and spiteful towards me and I never did anything to you. Then, you turn around and go after Max. Why? What did I do to you that was so bad, that you had to do that to me?” Liz had begun her speech with a steady voice, but by the end it was shaky and clogged with unshed tears.

Suzanne had enough of Liz and of the entire situation. She was dying. What did she care anymore? She turned her weak eyes towards Liz and answered her questions.

“I blamed you Liz. Before my parents died, I had nothing. Everyone adored you, even then. I was the bad seed. I was the person that was always being blamed for everything bad that happened. My father was an alcoholic and my mother sat by and watched him beat me over and over again. Funny thing was, he wasn’t even my father,” her voice was hoarse from not only medication but from her tears. Tears she would rather die at that moment than shed.

“What are you talking about? Of course he was your father.” Liz looked at Suzanne in confusion, and then turned to Max who carried the same confused look.

“No, Liz he wasn’t my father.” Suzanne pinned her with a knowing glare. Such a shame, she thought in mock pity. Liz hadn’t figured it out yet. Liz was always considered the smart one too. But Suzanne would show everyone how smart she was.

“Sometimes, I used to watch your father with you and Alex and thought how lucky you were. And I used to wish that I had a father like you did, instead of the one I got stuck with,” she laughed self-deprecatingly.

“I didn’t know,” Liz began softly. “But you had a choice. When you came to live with us, you had the choice. Yet you took out all your anger on me. Why? I didn’t do anything to you,” Liz argued back once again.

“You’re right. But tell me Liz, did you ever wonder why your father never did a damn thing about me? Why did he never tell me to stop hassling you? And why, when you went to him and told him all the things I did to you, did he brush it off?”

Liz was stunned silent. How did she know about that? Max however, narrowed his eyes in suspicion. He looked to Liz and then to Suzanne, and that’s when it hit him for the very first time. He noticed how the blue of Suzanne’s eyes were identical to that of Jeffrey Parker’s. And how Liz’s, his beautiful Liz’s, eyes were brown. He took in a sharp breath that went unnoticed by everyone in the room.

How could he stop what was happening? How could he protect Liz? Those were his thoughts, but it was too late.

Suzanne, pinned Liz with a venomous gaze before speaking once again. “Did you ever wonder why the color of my eyes, and Alex’s eyes were the same shade of blue?” Maybe that would help Liz along, she thought cruelly.

“What? Of course you both have similar eyes, your mother and my mother are sisters,” Liz reasoned rationally. What was Suzanne trying to say? She wasn’t making any sense at all. In fact, it was as if she were trying to purposely confuse the hell out of Liz.

“Oh, that’s right. You know what else is funny, Liz?”

“What?” Liz crossed her arms and watched as Max’s face fell. Why was he not actively involved all of a sudden it seemed as if he’d lost his voice. She narrowed her eyes in suspicion, but focused all her attention on Suzanne.

“Did you know that my father couldn’t have kids?” Suzanne locked eyes with Liz, waiting until the poor girl got a clue and figured things out. Would she have to tell her everything?

Liz stood shocked for a moment. What did that mean? Suzanne’s father, Jim couldn’t have kids? Well, if that were the case, then how did Suzanne come to be? Was she adopted? Was she…no! No! Her mind screamed. She was being irrational. Suzanne was just playing yet another trick. When her eyes locked with Suzanne, she sucked in a ragged breath, and took a few steps back. That look, it was familiar. It reminded her of her father when he was angry that she hadn’t cleaned her room after reprimanding her on several occasions to do so.

“Liz, maybe we should come back later.” Max finally found his voice, what little help it provided. He watched Liz’s alarmed eyes and knew it was too late. At that moment, he wished for some kind of interruption, something so that Liz wouldn’t have to hear what he had concluded only moments ago.

Liz shook off Max’s words and found her voice once again.

“What are you saying?” Liz questioned in a steady voice. Her mind was reeling over the information. Why had she never noticed the color of her eyes? Or how they are just like Alex’s and her father’s? It wasn’t true! It couldn’t be true.

“I think you know, Liz.”

“No! You’re lying again!” Liz screamed out as Max pulled her into his arms. He tried to usher her out of the room but Liz refused.

“I want the rest. I want to know how you know this information. And how long? How long did you know?” Liz fired off the questions.

“I found out that daddy dearest wasn’t my biological father. I was ruffling through some paperwork while I was packing up some of their things. I was told a few years back that the reason why my parents didn’t have any more kids was because of a problem my mother had, which was total bullshit. I don’t know for sure, but my guess is my father couldn’t have kids. Anyway, I found my adoption papers. They weren’t in plain sight. They were in my father’s safe. Everything was there, all of it. All the secrets.”

“What did you find?” came Liz’s whispered question. Her heart was thrumming in her chest. It was almost too much.

“My adoption papers. It appears that Jeffrey Parker signed over all parental rights to me over to the asshole that became my father. So you see, you got to live the life I should have. And so, I made it my job to make your life the living hell that mine was.”

“But I never did anything to you. You took your anger out on me when it’s not my fault we have the same father!” Liz snapped sternly.

“That’s where you’re wrong,” Suzanne let out a little laugh. “You, Liz were adopted.” A self-satisfied smile settled on her lips. Now Liz Parker would know what it felt like to find out her life was a lie.

“No, I wasn’t. You’re just saying that!”

“No. I’m not. It’s the truth.”

“So all of a sudden you have a conscience?” Max roared out. He saw the pain etched across Liz’s face and wished he could have shielded her from that information. At least if she were told in a different way, it would have been better.

Suzanne shook her head.

“Bullshit! You’re just jealous! You always were. You always wanted what I had. That’s why you lie. You lie because you’re scared.”

“Liz, I don’t have to lie. I know the truth.”

“Right! So let me ask you this then. Why did you lie about sleeping with Max?” Suzanne was not expecting that question but quickly recovered from her startled expression.

“I did.”

“Liar! You wish you could have slept with him. It probably kills you that I’m pregnant with his child. That we slept together before you were married. And that he never slept with you while you were married!” Liz bit out angrily, all the while squeezing Max’s hand for reassurance, to which he responded quickly with a return squeeze.

“Not true. Max and I may not have slept together while we were married. But we did sleep together the night of his party.”

Pain and fear crept up his spine. He didn’t want to hear it. He didn’t want it to be the truth.

“So why lie about the birth control? Because I know damn well you weren’t on it,” Liz replied smugly.

“It wasn’t a lie. It was only an omission.” Liz rolled her eyes and Max sighed and slumped his shoulders in defeat.

“Just tell me Suzanne. Did we sleep together?” he asked wearily. He was drained but most importantly knew that Liz needed him to keep his head clear.

“Yes.” Her reply was quick and she did not look him in the eye. Deep down Liz knew that Suzanne was lying. She only wished for Max’s sake that Suzanne could for once have told the truth, but that was beyond wishful thinking.

“Fine,” came his resigned response. He wished to hell he could remember what happened that night more fully.


“No wait! How do you know I was adopted?” Liz asked as Max pulled her towards the door.

“Ah, now that’s a good question. Surely your parents wouldn’t leave such paperwork lying around, now would they? So that actually took some investigative work on my part. Let’s just say I pretended to be Nancy Parker for a few hours while I easily obtained a copy of my daughter’s birth certificate, which she needed to study abroad,” Suzanne offered with closed eyes and a weary sigh. Her energy was completely drained and she needed to rest.

Max and Liz stood stunned at the web of deception Suzanne was capable of. How is it he hid all of that for so long? They looked at each other, and silently comforted one another, knowing they had all the answers they were going to get. It was time that the rest of the story be told.

Max reached for Liz’s hand and turned towards Suzanne.

“Suzanne?” he called out but she didn’t move. They called out to her once more, and realized she had fallen asleep. It was just as well; their work there was done. Max and Liz left her room, holding onto each other tightly. Despite all the turmoil and emotional upheaval, they knew their lives were just beginning…while Suzanne’s was ending.

TBC…

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