All I Want For Christmas (CC/ML/Teen) 12/24/05 {COMPLETE]

Finished Canon/Conventional Couple Fics. These stories pick up from events in the show. All complete stories from the main Canon/CC board will eventually be moved here.

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All I Want For Christmas (CC/ML/Teen) 12/24/05 {COMPLETE]

Post by Behrsgirl77 » Sat Dec 17, 2005 9:43 pm

Title: All I Want For Christmas

Author: Tanya

Category: CC M/L

Rating: Teen

Disclaimer: I do not own rights to Roswell or it’s characters. I will use them, abuse them and put them back happy. Portions of the dialouge also do not belong to me; they are from The Balance and Toy House episodes.

Summary: Takes place sometime after The Balance. This is my version of Season 1 Christmas in Roswell. I wanted to just explore it since we were never showed what actually took place. How certain 'traditions' came about that we saw over the course of the following two seasons. I hope you enjoy!

A/N - So I'm nervous about posting this, one cause it's on this section of the board, which I like to reserve for my reading pleasure. And also because this is the first CC story I've written and actually posted, but enough of that!

I wanted to just take a moment to say thank you to my beta Lindsay (Applebylicious) for taking the time out to review this for me. And just keep me focused enough to write this puppy! I appreciate it and even if she doesn't admit it all the time, she loves me and my sheep :lol:


<center>Image
Beautiful banner by Jo (max and liz believer)!</center>


Chapter One


December Twenty Third


“Mom, the tree isn’t straight,” Isabel sighed and rolled her eyes in exasperation. Christmas was in two days, and she had so much to get done. How could there be problems with the tree? She had specifically picked it out herself, measured it and had her father cut it down, it was perfect.

“Isabel, are you sure? You measured it at least five times before your father cut it down. And you did it once again before we put it into the stand,” Diane smirked at her Christmas obsessed daughter. Isabel looked down to see the tree stand; possibly that was the problem. Maybe something was obstructing the straightness, but there was nothing in sight.

“This cannot be happening!” Isabel screeched and Diane cringed.

“We need a new tree!” Isabel spun on her heels in search of her cell phone.

“Isabel, we can just have the base trimmed…” Diane started only to be cut off by her daughter's ranting.

“Mom, you can’t just keep trimming the bottom,” she explained flatly. Why was she the only one worried?

“Why is he not answering? This is a moment of crisis and he doesn’t answer, figures!” she expelled a wiry sigh.

“Calm down honey,” Diane stood behind her daughter, resting a hand on her shoulder. She could never understand Isabel's obsession with the holiday.

“I’m busy, mom. I can’t just lie around all day like some people in this house.” Isabel turned and eyed the full and plush tree before her. It was mocking her. Mocking her efforts to make everything pristine.

“Are you referring to your brother?” Diane asked, removing a box of ornaments from the coffee table.

“Whom else would I be referring to? He has been up in his room for weeks. I think it’s getting a little pathetic. How can he not enjoy Christmas? There is so much fun to be had. The lights are shining brightly. People are singing Christmas carols. It’s the best holiday of the year!” Isabel chimed in exasperation. She of course, knew why her brother was in a rut and had been for the past couple of weeks. There was, after all, only one person that could make her brother wallow in his self-pity…Liz Parker.

“Honey, you know your brother does not like Christmas. He never did,” Diane trailed off wondering why her son never seemed to enjoy the holiday like any other normal child. She then smiled to herself; Max was unlike everyone else. He was quiet and reserved, he was special and she knew it. Granted, she might be biased, she was his mother after all, but she knew her son was unique.

“Please, Max is just an odd ball sometimes. I have to finish this tree so that Max can drive me to the Crash Down later. The Parkers were nice enough to let me set up a meeting there. I have to get Santa’s workshop volunteers geared up and ready to go for the children this afternoon. Now, I have to go upstairs and wake him up to take me to get another tree.” She started down the hall before her mother had a chance to stop her.

<center>****</center>

“You made me forget that anything else existed, but that’s not real.” It was the truth. But what he didn’t tell her was that it was the most normal he’d felt in his entire life. When he was with her, it wasn’t that he forgot that anything else existed; it was that nothing else mattered. She was all he wanted to see.

“It is the only real thing that I’ve ever felt.” He heard her voice crack and her brown eyes filled with unshed tears. He bit back the growing desire to tell her, he didn’t mean it. He wanted to take her in his arms and tell her what exactly she meant to him. That he wanted to be with her for the rest of his life. But he couldn’t.

“Sometimes you have to take a step back to see what's really going on. Maybe that's what we both really need to do right now...find our balance again.” His voice was shaky, and his words foreign, even to his own ears.

“You know, Max, I thought that...I thought that we'd found it.” She stood quickly, and the moment she did his senses were heightened. He smelled her soft floral scent, watched her sad eyes as they pierced his own. He knew she was perfect for him, but glimpsing her vulnerability pulled at something deeper within him. If he didn’t leave, things would change once again. He faltered as her eyes pleaded with him, begging him to not do this. To not let it be true.

“You don't know how much I wish that could be true…” he trailed off and willed his heart to stop racing. When she spoke again, he knew a minute longer and he would give in. He couldn’t watch her heart break before his very eyes, knowing he was the one causing it.

“Max...how is it possible that I could be...I could be the happiest that I've ever been in my entire life...you know, and now the saddest all at...all at one time?” She was moving closer, or was it him?

“I think that's what being in love is.” He whispered softly and noticed how close she was.

“Yeah, I think so, too…”

“So we'll just take a step back...for a while.” He wanted to kiss her, he knew she wanted him to kiss her, but they couldn’t, so he stepped away quickly.


Max rolled over in bed and groaned as his cell phone rang. Whoever was calling him would have to take a number. He was having the worst dream...except it wasn’t a dream. He had actually said all of that to Liz and broke her heart, and his, in the process. He threw the covers back over his head and prayed that whoever it was would hang up and forget about him.

No such luck, he thought when he heard a knock on his door.

“I’m sleeping,” he called out and fought to get comfortable once again. He never wanted to leave his room. Christmas, Liz's favorite holiday, was in two days, and he didn’t want to think of how upset she might still be over his callous words.

“Max, if you were sleeping you wouldn’t be talking to me. Besides, we need to hurry up and get a new tree, then after that we need to get to the Crash Down,” Isabel sighed heavily.

Max sat up in his bed abruptly. What was his sister thinking? He couldn’t go into the Crash. He couldn’t even go near the windows to watch her. To see her in her cute little light teal and silver uniform, and Santa hat, he was sure she’d be wearing. He loved watching her move around the diner, with a big smile and twinkling eyes. No, he couldn’t take Isabel anywhere near the vicinity of the Crash.

“Max, are you dressed? This is serious!” Isabel rapped against the door with more force.

“Come in already,” he sighed heavily and sank back into the bed. Maybe if he pretended to be sick she would leave him alone. He coughed a little and watched as his sister slammed his bedroom door closed.

“Oh please, you know we don’t get sick. You’ll have to try harder, not that it will work.” Isabel crossed the room and sat at the edge of her brother’s bed. She surveyed the room and wondered for just a moment, if he knew that the laundry basket was in the bathroom and not on the floor. She shook her head, knowing there were more pressing matters at hand.

“Get up, Max!” she shook him violently.

“No,” he grumbled out miserably. If he got out of bed, then he would have to get dressed, and then he would have to take Isabel to the Crash, and he was not doing that under any circumstances.

“Max, you know you can’t stay in your room all year?”

“Actually, I can. We don’t have school and I don’t have to work either, not until Tuesday, so see Isabel, I can.” Max bit out sarcastically. He knew his sister meant well, but he was tired of everyone telling him what to do. He was especially tired of hearing how making the decision to step back from Liz was good. How was it good? He was miserable without her. Of course, he could just go back and sit in his booth and watch her like he used to do for years, but how could he? Now that he knew what it was like to hold her, to kiss her, to touch her soft skin and her silky hair. He couldn’t back to stealing furtive glances from afar, knowing that his presence alone would hurt her.

“Max, get over it already. It’s Christmas, you should be happy. It’s a time of giving and miracles,” Isabel explained softly. She wasn’t naïve. She knew her brother would never get over Liz Parker. Hell, if Michael weren’t around so much, she knew she would have been the one that would have been roped into sitting in that diner with him for years. Watching him, watch her. It was enough to make her stomach roll.

Did she dislike Liz Parker? Her gut reaction was yes. She despised all that she stood for. She had a perfect life, she was smart and funny and people just seemed to change when they were around her. She exuded goodness. It made Isabel want to hurl. She was jealous, if she was honest with herself. Liz was a normal human girl, she knew where she came from, she had family and friends that would do anything for her, more importantly though, Liz knew what it was like to be in love.

Isabel settled uncomfortably in her position, and then decided it would be better to stand. Suddenly she felt constricted. Maybe it was her outfit, but it never seemed to bother her before.

“Isabel, how could you say that to me? I am over it. You, Michael and I already talked about this. I’m over her.” Liar! That’s what he was. He was nowhere near being over Liz. He never would be, how could he? He loved her for his entire life.

“Whatever, look. I need you to help me get another tree.” She turned towards him and noticed he’d made no attempt to move.

“I’ll buy you breakfast,” Isabel thought that might drag her sullen brother out of bed. No such luck!

“Just leave me alone, Isabel. Have Michael help you.”

“Michael? You’re not serious, are you?” Isabel perched her hands on her hips. “Michael does not believe in Christmas.”

“Neither do I,” Max grumbled out as he rolled onto his side.

“Max, would you please just help me here? I’d do it myself but I can’t carry a seven foot tree by myself without using my powers.” Isabel resigned herself to beg her brother for help. She knew he would cave; it was only a matter of time.

“Fine!” he bit out and pulled the covers off his body. The cool air hitting him and making him want to curl into a ball for warmth.

Isabel watched him move mechanically around his room searching for clothing. She knew he would give in, not because he was afraid of her wrath, no it was because of his heart. That was one thing Isabel could never truly fault her brother for, his kind and amazing heart. Yes, it always seemed to get him into trouble, but knowing he would do anything in his power to avoid anyone getting hurt, that she could not fault him for.

Isabel guessed that was what Liz Parker had tasted for a few weeks with her brother, and then it was ripped away.

“You want to give me a few minutes in private? I’ll be right out, I just need a quick shower.” Max turned and eyed his sister quizzically. A moment ago she appeared to be deep in thought. His curiosity piqued.

“Sure,” she nodded and left his room. Once she made it back down the hall, she noticed the pictures her mother had framed on a small table off of the kitchen. Isabel ran her hands over the picture of her and Max from a few years ago, they were both smiling and happy. A small smile touched her lips; she loved to see her brother smile. He didn’t do it nearly enough.

Maybe, she thought, there was something she could do to help put a smile back on her brother’s face.

<center>**** </center>

“I'm definitely okay with it. In fact...I'm great with it. You know? 'Cause we always knew that it couldn't be, that it was this total impossibility, so I'm glad that we were both able to finally just, you know, get it out there.” Liz busied herself with drying off a freshly washed glass as she explained to her best friend the sheer understanding she had for the way things had ended with Max.

So what if she was kidding herself? So what if he invaded every single thought she had, whether sleeping or awake? That made her pathetic and she knew it, but how could she not think about him? He was right within her grasps, she had had him, hadn't she? But now she didn’t her mind screamed at her.

“Liz, the glass is clean.” Maria said as she shook her head. She knew damn well that her friend was not ‘okay’ with the breakup with Max. Maria knew how Liz felt about Max for years, and now when her wildest dream had come true, it had been ripped right out from under her. No, Maria knew Liz was far from being okay about it. Case in point, her friend was still ranting over it.

“Right. Look. I mean...sure, you get caught up in the excitement of it all, but...I'm over it.” Liz explained dutifully. She was stronger than this. She would not break down as she had done the night Max walked out of her life. She would be strong and show no weakness.

So what if she felt like she was dying inside. Hadn’t she experienced it all before she had him? Of course she had, he was the elusive Max Evans. He was quiet and shy and so many girls had tried to get him to open up, but none ever succeeded.

And then, one-day months ago, he'd decided to step out from behind the tree and save her life. It had to be for something. After all no one knew of his secret, and now he risked it all for her. There had to be more there for him as well before the shooting. That was what Liz had held onto because even if Max was different, it truly didn’t matter to her. The day he saved her life, she saw the type of person he was deep down. More importantly though, she saw the kind of heart he possessed. And it was amazing.

“Are you sure? 'Cause it seems like you kind of got over it pretty quickly.” Maria offered her an opportunity to let her anger out, but just as she knew, Liz would not give in. Not yet at least.

Liz turned away from refilling the coffee into the coffee maker to eye her best friend curiously, “Well, there's just no reason to let it fester, you know? You gotta just move on and--and not look back.” She nodded and continued with her task.

“Good. So you're not hurt?” Maria moved closer. She saw the amount of coffee Liz had placed inside of the coffee filter was more than full; it was overflowing.

“Hurt?” Liz asked, feigning innocence. Of course she was hurt! She wanted to scream out in frustration, but she needed to keep up her façade otherwise she would crumble to the ground in heart wrenching sobs.

“Well, by the way it happened. I mean, it kind of seems like it was more his decision than yours.” Maria argued evenly. She didn’t want to upset Liz, but she also didn’t like to see her friend in so much pain. And it was clearly evident in her eyes, Liz could never lie that well.

“No, not at all. Ok? I mean...yes, technically, he is the one who ended it, but...no. It was mutual, you know? It was, like...it was, like, ninety percent mutual.” Liz reasoned as she finally noticed the mount of coffee she had scooped out. Instead of filling the machine, she dumped the coffee out and decided to start anew.

“Liz, you know I’m here for you, whenever you’re ready.” Maria reached out and gave her a quick hug before tending to her customers.

“Right. But I’m fine.” Liz said more for her own benefit than Maria’s. As she stood staring out into the full dining area, she could honestly say this was going to be the worst Christmas ever.

<center>****</center>

“Isabel, come on. Pick one already,” Max grumbled out in frustration. What did he do to deserve this type of torture, he thought.

“Max, I can’t just pick a Christmas tree. Besides, it’s not like there is a plethora of choices here for me.” Isabel waved her hands in the air tiredly. This was crazy! Was it too much to ask for her to want to have a tree that would rival all the neighbors?

“Well, I don’t see why we need another tree, when we have a perfectly good one at home. One, that I might add, you meticulously picked out yourself and said was perfect.” Max rolled his eyes as he cupped his hands over his mouth for warmth.

“So I was wrong. I’m allowed to be wrong, aren't I? I’m not perfect,” Isabel turned to her brother and wondered what she'd been thinking, asking him to take her.

“Just hurry okay? I do have things to do,” Max explained softly. He didn’t want to upset his sister, who loved Christmas more than anything.

“Yeah? Like what?” Isabel called him out on his bluff but surprisingly enough Max had a come back.

“Like wrapping Christmas presents. You know just because I think this holiday sucks, doesn’t mean I want to bring everyone down with me.” Max answered with a smirk. He knew he'd thrown her off.

“I know. You always get us presents, Max.” Isabel nodded and then decided to ask her brother a question that had plagued her for years.

“Why don’t you like Christmas, Max?”

“Why?” He took a moment to contemplate his response. Had he never taken a moment to really think about it? No, that was the most truthful answer. He just disliked it since he was a child. But this Christmas was supposed to be different. This Christmas he was supposed to spend it with Liz. Instead, he would be alone in his room when his parents went to midnight mass as they had every year. His shoulders sagged in defeat, no matter what this Christmas would turn out to be the worst he’d experienced by far.

“Isabel, I just don’t understand the need for it. One day a year families go to visit each other, have dinner, open insignificant presents and then retreat back to their lives. Maybe it’s just me, but what about the other three hundred and sixty four days of the year? Seems kind of superficial to me, but that’s just me.”

Isabel was taken aback by his words. Surely he didn’t see Christmas as shallow? No, she shook her head. He was just hurt and completely irrational. She would need to figure out how to show Max how special Christmas really was.

“Now, could you stop being a Christmas Nazi and…what?” Max asked when he received a sharp look from his sister.

“What did you just call me?” Isabel gritted out through clenched teeth.

“Oh good one Maxwell,” Michael stepped up from behind them and patted Max on the back.

“What are you trying to say?” Isabel asked again, ignoring Michael’s comment.

“Nothing. Just saying that everything has to be perfect, not okay, but perfect. If the tree doesn’t have enough pine needles, it doesn’t fit your standards. If the tree doesn’t have exactly five hundred lights, not the twinkling kind of course, it must be fixed immediately,” Max shook his head and Michael agreed by crossing his arms over his chest and nodding.

“Oh, and let’s not forget the fact that you actually sit and count the number of ornaments before they are put on the tree to make sure there are an even number of them.” Max rolled his eyes and Michael simply snickered behind his hand.

“You know, is it so bad that I want Christmas to be perfect for everyone to enjoy?” Isabel wasn’t hurt by Max’s comments, since after all they were the truth. In fact, it made her even more determined to change her brother’s mind about the entire holiday season. She wasn’t looking for a miracle, but what harm could be done if she simply spread a little Christmas cheer?

“I’m out of here. I’m going home. Michael here are the keys, I’ll walk home.”

“Max! You can’t go home.” Isabel called out.

“Why not?” He questioned in confusion.

“You have to stop by the Crash Down and pick up those pies for mom.” Isabel finished with a smirk and then returned to her dutiful task of finding the Evans family tree. It would be sight to be reckoned with when she was through with it.

Max groaned in annoyance. It would figure he would be subjected to even more torture before the day was finally over, which he was counting the hours until that happened.

“Fine, but I will not be going in to get them.” Max warned her.

Michael just watched Max closely; he was having a bad day. Michael knew what that felt like, everyday for that matter.

“Come on, Max. Let’s get your Dad’s truck ready for the tree that will rival all the trees in the neighborhood,” Michael joked lightly and was glad when he saw his friend chuckle a bit.

<center>****</center>

“What are you doing?” Isabel peered around her brother’s shoulder. Her and Michael went across the street to pick up more wrapping paper, leaving Max the job of picking up the pies, which it seemed he had yet to do.

“Damn, Isabel! Are you trying to scare the life out of me?” Max must have jumped a few feet in the air. He had been outside watching Liz move around inside. She looked just as he knew she would…perfect. Her Santa hat in place and she even had on cute Christmas earrings. He had been staring long enough to see them as well. He sighed dejectedly.

“I see you don’t have any pies? Does that mean they didn’t have them ready? Or were you just too chicken to go inside?” Max narrowed his eyes malevolently at both Isabel and Michael.

“Maxwell, just go in and get them. Besides I thought you were over it?” Michael asked shrugging his shoulders and tilting his head to the side, ever so slightly to catch a glimpse of that Maria girl.

“I am over it. How many times do I have to say, I’m over the whole Liz thing. Not that there was a thing between us, just…I’m going to go get the pies now.” Max mumbled out as he reached for the door.

“Wait! I’ll get them,” Isabel offered with a small smile. She knew it would be torture for her brother to see Liz up close.

“You sure?” Max asked letting out a sigh of relief he didn’t know he was holding in.

“Yes. Just wait here with Michael.” Isabel brushed passed them and into the diner.

“Why do you suppose Isabel is being so nice to me?”

“Nice?” Michael raised his eyebrow in confusion.

“Yes, this morning she’s telling me to get over it and now instead of pushing me, she went in to get the pies.” Max asked and watched as small smile formed on his friend’s lips.

“I say chalk up anything Isabel does during the Christmas holiday to her being a Christmas Nazi and wanting everyone to be happy, cheerful and all that other crap.” Michael shrugged his shoulders and Max let out a small laugh.

“You like that name don’t you?”

“Hell yeah, man. I’m proud of you.” Michael slapped him on back. Max nodded as they both made their way over to the car to wait for Isabel.

<center>****</center>

“Liz, calm down.” Maria rocked her best friend in her arms gently. A few minutes ago Liz burst through the back door, tears brimming her brown eyes. Maria quickly turned to see, Max, Michael and Isabel outside talking.

“I can’t see him Maria. He can’t come in here,” Liz cried brokenly. She was fine so long as she didn’t see him, and then she turned around from delivering an order and there he was. He looked amazing today, she thought. He really did look good. He had on his denim blue jacket, and a dark navy blue sweater. He was joking with Isabel and Michael, she wondered what they were talking about. No, she chided herself. She didn’t care, she really and truly didn’t.

“He won’t. I’ll make sure of it.” Maria reassured her softly.

Out in the main dining area, Isabel waited a few minutes, but when neither Liz nor Maria arrived, she took it upon herself to check the back room. As soon as she reached the door and began to open it, she could hear someone crying.

“I…I miss him Maria. I don’t want to, but I do. And…this Christmas was supposed to be different, we were finally going to be together,” Liz cried out gripping her best friend tighter.

“I know, Lizzie. He’ll realize what a mistake he made and if he doesn’t, I’ll kill him. Alien powers or not.” Maria tried to lighten the mood but her heart ached for Liz. She knew the strong feelings she had for Max.

Isabel however stepped back into the main dining area. Her heart was thumping wildly in her chest and her hands trembling. What was wrong with her? Liz was crying, she could easily mask the fact that she cared, if she hadn’t been witness to the sheer pain the girl seemed to be in over her brother.

Making a quick decision, she rushed out through the main doors and onto the sidewalk for air. It shouldn’t matter. Max and Liz couldn’t be together, they couldn’t. It wasn’t right and they were too different.

But Liz seemed to care so deeply for him and he for her. How could it be wrong? Her mind screamed but she quickly shook off the thought. She turned and took a few steps to reach both Michael and Max’s side.

“Where are the pies?”

“The what…oh they weren’t ready. I’ll bring them home later after the meeting,” Isabel answered absently.

“Are you okay, Isabel?” Max asked reaching a hand out to her; he could tell she was shaken up.

When Isabel’s eyes met Max’s she had to ask, she had to know and more importantly she had to be sure that what she planned on doing was the right thing. Even if she knew there’d be hell to pay.

“Max, what do you want for Christmas?”

“What? Isabel are you all right?” Max asked worriedly turning his gaze to Michael who looked just as concerned, even if he was trying to hide it.

“I’m fine! Answer the question, what do you want for Christmas?” she asked again a bit more demanding and when she saw the softness of her brother’s honey brown eyes, she knew what needed to be done. It was the right thing to do.

It was time that her brother learned what Christmas was all about, and why she herself loved the holiday so much. And this year she would give her brother what he wanted most for Christmas. That was if Michael didn’t kill her first.

TBC…
Last edited by Behrsgirl77 on Sat Dec 24, 2005 7:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Behrsgirl77
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Post by Behrsgirl77 » Fri Dec 23, 2005 4:42 pm

A/N - Thanks for your patience, your warm welcome and your amazing feedback! The final chapter will be posted tomorrow night!

Special thanks to Kara aka Eccentric One for betaing this part for me. Sorry I made you run to the dictonary :lol:



Chapter Two


“Isabel, have you lost your mind?” Michael paced the sidewalk in frustration. What was she thinking? Didn’t she understand the danger going forward with her plan held?

“Michael, you’re not even listening to me. Max needs this.” Isabel had been trying to rationalize her motives to him for over and hour. She didn’t have that kind of time to waste trying to explain in great detail what she wanted to do for her brother.

“Isabel, no. I can’t believe you of all people want to allow this. You know that he’ll never be able to walk away, right? You know that if we make him choose he’ll pick her over us.” Michael was not prepared to lose Max to Liz. He had no family except for Max and Isabel. He couldn’t lose him. He was, however, too proud to admit that that was the real reason why he didn’t like Isabel’s plan.

“It’s not about sides, Michael. Look, maybe you don’t understand it the way I do. I know how dangerous it is for Liz and Maria to know but so far nothing has happened.” Isabel knew that they had fought Max to the wall over his being with Liz, but her brother was miserable and it was Christmas, he deserved more.

“That’s the thing you’re not understanding. Nothing has happened yet. Max healed Liz in a crowded restaurant. Did you forget that? He brought her back to life and put our lives in danger,” Michael hissed out, did he really need to explain the implications of that fateful day in September to her? Maybe she didn’t understand the magnitude of the situation, since she wasn’t there. Either way, he didn’t understand Isabel’s change of heart.

“What do you think that means?” Isabel challenged. She would get her way no matter what, but that didn’t mean that Michael had to know that.

“What the hell are you talking about? I seriously think you’ve been sniffing one too many Christmas trees Isabel,” he retorted dryly. And to think he was missing a hockey game for this.

“There is no need to be sarcastic. Answer the question. Why do you think Max risked it all to save her? There had to be a reason.” She waited patiently for him to figure it out on his own.

“I don’t know.” Michael feigned ignorance, but Isabel knew better.

“Yes you do.”

“Fine,” he huffed out in frustration. He watched the smirk form on Isabel’s lips and rolled his eyes in return.

“Because he believes that he loves her even though he knows he doesn’t belong with her and that it would ruin our lives,” he rushed out as he zipped up his jacket completely. How long did she want him to stand outside and freeze, he wondered.

“I have to agree. I think if someone else finds out, things could go really wrong for us, but have you seen how Max has been over these past few weeks?”

“No, he doesn’t seem any different at all. In fact, aside from the diner incident he seemed the same as usual.” Michael shrugged his shoulders indifferently.

“Come on, Michael you aren’t that blind. You know he’s hurting and I really don’t see what the big deal is of giving them this one day.” Isabel knew she was simplifying the complexity of the situation but what else should she have done? Sit around and watch as her brother wilted away to nothing right before her very eyes? That was unacceptable and she would not stand by and watch that happen to him.

“One day? Isabel we give them one day and they’ll run with it. I’m sorry, but I just don’t think it’s right. They don’t belong together.” With finality evident in his voice, he turned and began to walk away.

“Oh so why was it okay for you to make out with Maria in public?” Isabel called out.

“We didn’t do it in public. Besides, I’m not with her anymore. I mean not that we were together.” Michael turned to regard her trying not to think of the feelings Maria evoked within him. They didn’t belong together. Just as Max and Liz didn’t. It was a simple concept. Humans with humans and aliens with aliens. Why did he seem to be the only one to understand that?

“Right so you always swallow the tonsils of girls you hate?” Came Isabel’s sarcastic retort.

“That was different. I wasn’t attached to that girl.” Michael was taken aback by Isabel’s blatant accusation. Of course that didn’t mean it wasn’t true, but she didn’t need to know that.

“That girl? Michael, please you know damn well you like her. That's why you took a sneak look at her this morning at the Crash.” Isabel smiled in satisfaction. She had reeled him in and now she was going to sink her hook into him.

“I didn’t,” he began lifting his hands in the air in defense.

“Please, I know it’s true.” Isabel pinned him with an incredulous glare.

“Whatever. Look you do what you want. I still stay it’s a big mistake.”

“Noted.”

“And I’m not going to help you.”

“Right.”

“I’m serious, Isabel. This is your crusade. And when the ship sinks don’t come crying to me.”

“I got it.”

“Are you mocking me?” he questioned narrowing his eyes in suspicion.

“Never.” Isabel hid her smile behind her gloved hand.

“Whatever. You know where to find me when this all blows up in your face.”

“I thought you weren’t going to let me come crying to you?” Isabel questioned with a gleam in her eye. She knew no matter what Michael said, beyond his tough exterior and all; he would help her if she needed him.

“I’m not. I’ll just be there to remind you how badly you messed up.” he winked and walked away.

Isabel stood watching his retreating form, and a smile began to form on the corners of her mouth. Things were working out just as she’d planned.


<center>**** </center>


“Lizzie, how many times do we have to discuss this?” Jeffrey Parker asked his teenage daughter as he hauled their Christmas tree up the back stairs of the Crash Down. They usually had the tree already and here it was two days before Christmas and he had finally had the opportunity to buy one.

“I know, dad.” Liz rolled her eyes in exasperation. Was it too much to ask for her own Christmas tree? She didn’t think so and for years she had asked and every year she was denied. Oh well, she already knew this Christmas was going to be a disaster. Nothing was working out to her benefit, so why should the tree, she thought wildly.

“Liz, you know how dangerous it is when you leave those candles burning while you sleep?” Liz mumbled under her breath in response as she stomped up the stairs.

“Imagine what you would do with a tree? You’d probably leave the lights on during the rain or something.”

“Right. Can I go to my room now?” Jeff nodded and watched as his daughter ran up the rest of the stairs past him to her room. He knew something more was bothering her, but didn’t want to pry into her personal life.

Liz slammed her bedroom door and threw herself atop her bed. Things were going down hill and it was still two days until Christmas. How much worse could her life get? Max didn’t want to be with her, and she had to get ready for her second shift of the day.

She rolled over in bed and glanced a look at her nightstand. She wanted to cry all over again as she eyed the small gold box. It was mocking her like everything else today. First seeing Max, and the perfect way the corners of his mouth formed his adorable smile. A smile she was getting used to seeing every time he saw her, but now she was no longer on the receiving end of any of his smiles or touches. Then the fact that for the third year in a row her father would not allow her to put a Christmas tree up on her balcony. She sighed heavily as she lifted herself up and swung her feet over the side of the bed.

Lifting the box gingerly she ran her fingers over the top of the box and then lifted the top and began to cry once again. She had it engraved for him, ‘Max and Liz 4ever’. That was a myth she convinced herself was the truth. No matter how much she wished for it, she knew now it would never be true. She and Max would never be together. All those times in Biology class she was sure that was the closest she’d ever get to Max, now she knew better. She had a chance to experience him bringing her from the edge of death, with just a touch of his hand. In those few short moments she was able to see inside his soul, it wrapped around her like a warm blanket. If she hadn’t already known she was in love with him, in that instant she would have fallen.

Now it would never be. He believed they didn’t belong together, even though in her heart she knew that wasn’t true. How could they not belong together? When he allowed her those few precious moments to see him, the real him, she could feel the depth of his love for her. Why was it wrong then? She didn’t understand and never would.

Liz eyed the box once more, and decided with a small laugh, that she should wrap the present. Even if she never gave it him she would keep it as a reminder of what could have been.


<center>****</center>


In the Crash Down, Isabel crept back behind the backdoor as soon as she’d eyed Liz and her father walking up the back stairs.

“Dad, please can I put a tree up on the balcony?” Liz asked with a sadness evident in her voice, that Isabel had never heard the girl use before.

“Lizzie, how many times do we have to discuss this?” Isabel watched as Liz’s face fell further before she backed out of the room.

Her plan was coming together without very much intervention on her part. Before she left though, she decided to help the plan along just a bit further. She waited until both Jeff and Liz were out of sight before she stepped fully into the back room. Quickly she crossed the room into the kitchen and waved her hand over the stove.

“I wonder how they will manage without it?” With a bright smile she quickly left the room undiscovered.


<center>**** </center>


Max was sulking once again. His parents were tired of it and to be honest so was he. But what else was he to do? He missed seeing Liz. Talking to her, but most of all laughing with her.

He was still questioning his decision later that same day. The pull he felt towards her was insane and becoming increasingly difficult to assuage.

“Max, did you hear me honey?” He turned to face his mother. What was she saying?

“I’m sorry, mom. I didn’t hear you.”

“I asked you if you changed your mind about coming with us to your aunt's house tomorrow.” Diane wished she could do something to put a smile on her sons face, but she was beginning to think that wasn’t possible.

“No. I’m not really in the mood and I don’t want to bring everyone down.” He smiled, but it never reached his eyes.

“Have a cookie,” she offered with a bright smile.

“Thanks mom.”

“I’m home!” Isabel walked into the kitchen a moment later, dragging several bags with her.

“Isabel, did you finish shopping?” Diane asked.

“No. Can you believe it? It’s insane out there, mom.” She smiled and kissed her mother before passing Max and taking a seat at the table next to him.

“So, Max nice to see you out and about.” Max rolled his eyes tiredly before excusing himself from the kitchen.

After his departure, Diane turned to her daughter and asked, “Honey do you have any idea on how to cheer up your brother?”

“Actually mom after today, I don’t think you’re going to have to worry about that.”


<center>**** </center>


Once he reached his bedroom he closed the door and made his way over to his dresser. With a heavy heart he opened the drawer and pulled out the long white box inside. He threw himself onto his bed a moment later with a heavy sigh.

He was kidding himself. He had actually contemplated wrapping her present and giving it to her. She wouldn’t want it. Not now. Not ever. Max ran a weary hand over his face and laid back on his bed staring at the ceiling.

He missed her. Everything about her in fact. Her deep brown eyes, the way they seemed to stare at him filled with so much emotion. It warmed his heart that she was able to look at him in such a way that sent shivers down his spine. And when they kissed it was magic. It was the only word he could use to describe the feelings it invoked within him. Yet it failed in comparison to what it actually meant to him. Being with her felt like perfection to him. He wondered if he’d ever feel that again.

Michael watched from his spot outside of Max’s closed bedroom window. He watched his friend…brother closely from the moment he entered his room. He looked like he hadn’t eaten in days. Why had he not noticed that this morning, he wondered. Michael saw as he pulled a long white box from his top drawer and made his way over to the bed. Max wasn’t crying, but he looked pretty close to tears from what he could see.

Michael couldn’t deny the facts. He knew how Max felt about Liz. He wasn’t naive, but what good would come from it? One day they would leave and it would hurt much more. Why was he the only one that saw that? Moreover, why was Isabel, who hated the idea of Max being with anyone especially Liz, suddenly more than happy to go out of her way and help?

He peered into the window once again. Now he watched as Max stared at the ceiling above clutching the box in his hands tightly. It was at that moment, something he had read in Liz’s journal came to him. Liz had mentioned the day Max came to her, offering her the opportunity to see him, who he truly was inside. He recalled her exact words. She felt the way he felt about her, and surprisingly enough it was the same as she did for him. Michael wondered what it would be like to have someone feel that way about him. To truly love him unconditionally. He was positive it didn’t exist. That was until he read her journal. After all he wasn’t lying when he told Liz that he envied Max, because he did more than he wanted to admit.

Right now though, watching how sad Max truly was, he knew exactly what Isabel was thinking. Max felt like he finally belonged and that was a feeling Michael had longed to feel if even just once in his life.

It was with a lighter heart that he turned and made his way to the other side of the house, to Isabel’s room.

Isabel laid on her stomach across her bed, trying to figure out how to insure that the Parkers would leave for Christmas Eve, but was coming up short. A moment later she heard a sharp rasp against her window. Rolling over she pulled back her curtains and instantaneously a smile of satisfaction appeared.

“What took you so long?” she asked with a sly grin.

“I still don’t like it. But I’ll help,” he shrugged indifferently.

“So Isabel what’s your great plan?”


TBC…
Last edited by Behrsgirl77 on Fri Dec 23, 2005 5:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Behrsgirl77 » Sat Dec 24, 2005 7:13 pm

A/N - Here is the final installment. I wanted to thank all of you for reading and commenting. You definetly took the pressure off. I hope you enjoy the conclusion :D

I have to give a HUGE thank you to dreamer destiny for stepping up and reviewing this last part for me! *muah*

Rebecca...sweetie...you're sleeping right now but I hope it was worth the wait! You know I love you!



Chapter Three


December Twenty Fourth


“Liz!” She heard her father through her bedroom door. It couldn’t be time to get up just yet. It felt as if her head had just touched the pillows. Life kept becoming more unfair with every passing hour, she thought.

“Come in!” she called out, her voice hoarse from sleep.

“Liz, your mother and I have to take a drive to Dexter this morning for new stove.” She sat up and rested her back against the headboard.

“What’s wrong with the stove? It worked perfectly fine yesterday,” she asked, still not understanding what was going on.

“It did. Then this morning, I was getting ready for the breakfast rush, and it wouldn’t turn on.” Liz knew how important today was for the diner and the people in the neighborhood. It was one of their busiest days. In addition to which, it was a time when her parents opened the Crash during dinner hours for those who could not afford a decent meal.

“That’s really weird.” He nodded his agreement.

“I’m going to need you to say here and keep an eye on things. It shouldn’t take us that long.”

“Dad how do you plan on lugging a stove back here? Why can’t you call someone to take a look at it?” She asked as she swung her legs over the side of the bed. She felt far worse than she’d first thought.

“We tried that this morning. The repairman was here since six this morning, he couldn’t figure out what happened to it. It’s broken and we need a new one. So I got on the phone and called my supplier, he’s only open until four. Which means we need to leave shortly. Then I’ll have to install it, but that should still give me enough time to open for the dinner rush.” Liz knew her father was worried out all of the people that may miss out on dinner because of the setback.

“I understand, let me take a quick shower and get dressed. Is Maria here yet?” she asked, already making her way into her closet for her uniform.

“Yes, she’s downstairs serving coffee and juice and what pastries and pie we have.”

“Okay dad. I’ll see you later.” Jeff existed her room a moment later. Liz knew today was going to be a long day.


<center>****</center>


“Max, we’re leaving in fifteen minutes - are you sure you won’t change your mind?” Diane asked as she entered the kitchen to find her son sipping on a glass of juice.

“No, mom. Thanks. I’ll see you guys later.” Max offered her a small smile. He was somewhat thankful for the reprieve of his mother’s constant hovering. He knew she was worried, but how could he explain that what was bothering him was something he had caused?

He should have never let Isabel and Michael convince him that letting Liz go was for the best. How could he even think that himself? Max knew that he always felt better with Liz around. And since the day he saved her life, he had felt as though a piece of her was permanently a part of him.

Standing up he turned to place his glass into the sink when he eyed his sister across the room with her arms crossed.

“Morning Iz.”

“Morning Max. How are you feeling this morning?” she asked. Her voice laced with concern, which did not go unnoticed by Max.

“Isabel, can I ask you something?”

“Sure.” She stepped further into the room.

“What’s going on with you?”

“What are you talking about?”

“You…I don’t know how to explain it,” he thought better of asking her his question. What could he say anyway? ‘Isabel why are you suddenly being so nice and suddenly so openly concerned about my well-being?’ He didn’t want to ruin her mood, so he decided to change the subject.

“Never mind.”

Isabel eyed her brother suspiciously. She wondered if all her Christmas cheer was causing him to believe he’d lost his mind. She shrugged her shoulders and proceeded to set the plan into effect.

“Mom, dad and I are leaving but I was wondering if you could do me a favor?”

“Sure, what?”

“Could you stop by the Crash and let Mr. Parker know that we will have four families from the neighborhood joining us for dinner?”

“Why didn’t you tell him yesterday?” Max questioned suspiciously. He had thought he made it clear to his sister that he didn’t want to step foot into the Crash.

“I forgot. Besides, you look like you could use some fresh air. It’s Christmas Eve Max, a day of endless possibilities.” Isabel smiled brightly before turning to leave the room. She suddenly stopped and looked over her shoulder at her very confused brother.

“Hey Max, in case you’re wondering where I put that other tree; it’s outside.”

“And why would I need to know this?”

“Just in case.” She winked and left him standing there speechless.

“What the hell would I need a Christmas tree for?” he muttered to himself. Deciding it was inevitable, he turned and headed upstairs to his room to take a shower before heading to the Crash.


<center>****</center>


Liz had been at it for close to an hour and she truly wanted to just lock the doors and go back to bed. Her parents had left Maria and her in charge. Of what, is what she was trying to figure out.

A moment later the last person she expected to see walked in.

“Hey Liz.” Michael was nervous. He had no idea why because all he had to do was confirm that Liz’s parents had left. No big deal. He was thankful that Isabel didn’t have a difficult plan, which would have involved even more powers.

“Hi Michael. What brings you by?” Liz asked with confusion evident in her eyes. Michael had to smile a little at her expression. It was very out of place for him to be there without either Max or Isabel.

“Just wondered uhm…” Damn! He and Isabel didn’t figure out exactly what he was supposed to say once he got there. He just needed to find out if Liz was alone or not.

“Yes?”

“Is your dad here?” There he asked and as soon as she answered he could leave. Was it hot in there or was it just him?

“No, he and my mom had to drive into Dexter this morning for a new stove. Why?” Liz questioned suspiciously. What on earth would Michael want with her father?

“I was looking for a job, but I can come back next week.” Michael quickly turned and fled the scene before he made a monstrous mistake.

“Liz, what was Quasimodo doing here?” Maria crept up behind her friend.

“He was looking for my dad.” Liz answered distractedly. Her eyes were now transfixed out the front doors and across the street.

“For what?”

“Liz? Did you hear me? Are you sure it was for your father, and not me?”

“No. It was for my dad. Look, I have to go to the bathroom. I’ll be back in a minute.” Maria watched her friend scurry around and straight through the back room.

Maria turned back to her task of refilling coffee cups around the diner. She was thankful most of the customers understood about the stove not working.

The sound of the bells above the door turned her attention to the next customer she would have to explain the long drawn out story to. Placing the coffee pot back on the burner she turned towards the doors and stood frozen in place.

She saw his slight smile and, at that moment, felt for him. He looked just as bad as Liz did. Deciding that if she couldn’t be happy at Christmas, Liz could, she decided to meet him halfway up the aisle.

“Hey Max. What brings you by?”

“Hey Maria. I just needed to let Liz’s dad know about the four families that will be joining us for dinner tonight.” He finished quickly trying not to make it obvious that he was searching for Liz.

“She’s in the back room in case you’re wondering,” Maria smiled knowingly and enjoyed seeing him blush in embarrassment.

“But as far as Liz’s dad, he’s not here.”

“Oh, why?” he asked wondering where he would be on Christmas Eve.

“He and Mrs. Parker left this morning. I guess when they got up this morning and the stove wasn’t working. Kind of freaky but whatever, they’re headed to Dexter to pick up a new one. They have to get back in time to have it for dinner. It’s one of our biggest nights.” Maria explained and then excused herself when she saw yet another customer enter. Did no one read signs anymore; she shook her head in disbelief.

Liz eyed him through the back doors. What was he doing here? She couldn’t face him and then thought better of it. She would face him. She wouldn’t let him know how much he hurt her. Pushing through the back doors she was in front of him a moment later.

“Oh, hi Liz. How…how are you?”

“I’m doing great! And you, Max?” Liz smiled past the lump of sadness in her throat.

“Good. I’m doing good.” He couldn’t look her in the eyes, she looked sad. He had to give her credit for trying to hide it, but he knew her long enough to know better than that.

“Right. So I was here to see your father, but Maria said he left.”

“Yeah, he and my mom went to Dexter for a new stove. That one back there just stopped working and they couldn’t get it fixed.” Liz offered him a lopsided grin before realizing that she was staring at him. She needed to get a grip.

“They’ll be back today though right?” Max asked because he couldn’t imagine Liz having to spend Christmas alone.

“They should be. Then my dad has to install the new stove in time for dinner.”

“Yeah I know it’s a big tradition. Mind if I take a look?” Max offered. If he couldn’t fix her broken heart then maybe he could at least help her and her family.

“Are you sure?” she asked hesitantly and watched as he nodded.

She led him into the kitchen and watched as he waved his hands over the stove and a moment later he turned to her with a triumphant smile, “It’s all fixed!”

“What? Really,” she trailed off and tried it out. It worked not that she was that surprised. She had faith in Max and his abilities.

“Oh my God! Thank you Max!” Liz quickly lunged forward into his arms. Max reacted quickly, wrapping his arms around her. She felt perfect in his arms and he never wanted to let go.

Liz hadn’t realized what she did until she felt his warm arms around her. She never wanted him to remove them. She wanted to bask in his masculine scent and kiss him breathless. Unfortunately a moment later, he did let her go.

“Uhm sorry. I’ll just go call my parents.” Liz excused herself and ran upstairs to her room.

Max watched her retreating form a moment longer before stepping back into the main dinning area. That was when he was hit square in the face with a dishrag.

“Idiot!” Maria screeched.

“What are you talking about?” he asked.

“You had her there, in your arms and you didn’t kiss her? You didn’t even say you were sorry for being a moron and telling her that you couldn’t be together,” Maria placed her hands on her hips and shook her head disapprovingly at him.

“I…I…”

“You what, Max?”

“She probably hates me and doesn’t want me in her life anymore.” Max shrugged and pushed past her gently to sit on one of the nearby stools.

“Oh please! You know Max for a guy who is so smart, you sure are dumb.”

“Okay.” He wasn’t sure what type of response that required.

“Max, you look like hell and so does she. I think it’s time you figure out how to fix your mistake.” Maria winked and with a bright smile placed a glass in front of him.

“What’s what for?” he nodded towards it.

“That is for the vanilla milk shake I’m going to make, and that you are going to bring to Liz.”

“Maria…I don’t think…”

“Shh…stop thinking. Please do us both a favor and be quiet for a moment.” Max wasn’t sure what to say so he kept his mouth shut and waited patiently for Maria to finish.

“Here you go.” Maria filled the glass to the rim with the milkshake.

“Thanks.” Max smiled weakly but accepted the glass in any event.

“Oh and Max?” Maria called out to him just as he was pushing through the back room doors.

“Yeah?”

“She wants a Christmas tree.”

“What?” he asked in confusion.

“Liz. She’s always wanted a Christmas tree on her balcony, but her parents wouldn’t allow it.” Maria offered him one last smile before returning to her customers.

Liz wanted a tree. Suddenly he realized the perfect opportunity that presented itself to him. He rushed up the stairs, being careful not to spill any of the shake and made it to Liz’s room a moment later.

She had just finished talking to her parents and was about to make her way back downstairs. However, she decided to make a quick stop at her nightstand before heading out.

Max had just reached her door the moment it swung open.

“Liz!” he said startled by her sudden appearance.

“Max, what are you doing here?”

“I brought you a milkshake. Here.” He thrust it at her and she smiled her thanks.

“I got you this.” She passed him a square package and began sipping her shake. Max eyed the wrapped present with an undefined look. He wanted to tell her at that moment that he was wrong and that he loved her and wanted to be with her no matter what. But he didn’t.

Liz was worried that he didn’t want a gift from her, or that maybe he thought it meant more than she had intended. “I figured we’re still friends, so…” she offered meekly.

“Yeah, we are friends. Thank you, Liz.” He tore the wrapping to reveal a new Counting Crows CD, one that he had yet to buy for himself. His eyes immediately snapped up to meet hers.

“Liz. I’m sorry.”

She swallowed thickly; he wasn’t going to accept the present. She quickly reached out to take it back but his hand on hers halted her movements.

“No. I love it. Thank you. I wanted to say that I’m…” he trailed off when her bedroom phone began to ring.

“Sorry,” she mumbled out an apology.

He listened as he overheard her speaking to what sounded like her parents. They were giving her instructs and she sounded less than happy about it. She hung up the phone a moment later and returned to him.

“I’m sorry. My parents are on their way back and asked that I close the diner for a few hours and get things ready. I have to go.” She rushed out regretful that Max was going to leave before he told her what he’d wanted to say a minute ago. Then again, it was probably bad news and she wasn’t in the mood for anymore of that.

“It’s okay, Liz. I’ll just see you tonight or whatever. Have a Merry Christmas.” Max leaned in and kissed her cheek softly before retreating down the hall.

It was now or never. He knew exactly how he would make things up to Liz. The question was, would Michael be eager to help him or not.


<center>****</center>


December Twenty Fifth


It was with a sore body that Liz Parker finally extracted herself from the comfort of her warm bed. Slowly she sat up and wiped the sleep from her eyes. She stretched her back and neck before finally opening her eyes to the first rays of sun filtering through her room.

Her eyes went wide immediately and she jumped from her bed to her window in an instant.

“Oh my God!” she screamed as she grabbed a blanket from a nearby chair and proceeded to climb out onto her balcony.

It was the tallest, brightest Christmas tree she’d ever seen. The colored lights were twinkling brightly and the ornaments were situated perfectly. Did her parents finally relent and give her want she’d always wanted for Christmas, she wondered.

“Merry Christmas, Liz.” Came his sweet velvety voice. She whipped her head around and saw Max standing at her ladder with a wrapped Christmas present in hand.

“You did this?” she asked still completely shocked that he was there.

“I wanted to give you the one thing you wanted most of all for Christmas,” he smiled softly as he took a step towards her.

“Max, thank you!” Without preamble she jumped into his arms, the blanket falling haphazardly to the ground. Once she felt his arms around her waist she began to cry softly.

“Don’t cry, Liz. I hate to see you cry. It breaks my heart,” he whispered into her hair as he set her back on her bare feet.

“Why did you do it? And how did you know?” She wiped the tears from her eyes and watched as a devilish smile formed on his lips.

“Let’s just say that my sister and Maria, as much as they dislike and misunderstand each other, ended up helping one other out unknowingly.”

Liz nodded and turned back to face the tree. “It’s beautiful. But why did you do it?” She realized he still hadn’t answered her question.

He swallowed thickly before explaining. “Liz, I know that I said we needed to take a step back, but ever since then I haven’t felt better. I’ve felt worse. I know I was wrong, and I’m so sorry I hurt you,” he shook his head fighting to find the right words to make it all better.

“Max,” came her soft voice.

“Yeah?”

A smiled played on her lips, “I forgive you.” He let out a harsh breath he hadn’t known he was holding in and smiled.

“I got you something,” he handed her a long box wrapped in shiny silver and red paper. Liz eyed the box for a moment before tearing at the paper to reveal a long white box. She glanced at Max briefly before lifting off the top.

Max waited anxiously to see her face; he hoped she’d like it. A moment later he was rewarded with her beautiful smile and tears that were finally from happiness that he’d caused, in lieu of sadness.

Liz removed the necklace from the box and lifted it in the air for a better look. It was a white gold chain with a tiny silver diamond heart hanging from the center.

Max pulled her back into his arms but this time, he didn’t just hold her. No, this time he sealed his lips to hers and kissed her softly. When the finally pulled away, their lips were puffy and their breathing was labored. They were finally going to be together, Liz knew it in her heart.

“Wait!” she pulled back a little but Max’s arms stopped her.

“Where are you going?” he teased.

“I got you a present,” she tried to wiggle out of his arms to no avail.

“You did already. The CD, remember?”

“No, that wasn’t your real present,” she added quickly.

“Liz, the only present…the only thing I wanted for Christmas, was you.” He leaned in and kissed her cheek relishing in the feel of her soft skin against his.

“What does this mean now, Max?” Liz questioned softly not looking him in the eyes.

He tilted her chin up, “It means you and I Liz are going to be together,” he whispered softly to her, giving her a reassuring smile.

“What about Isabel and Michael…” she trailed off when he placed a finger against her lips.

“Liz, let’s stop worrying about the things we can’t control.” He smiled before capturing her lips in a sweet kiss.


<center>THE END</center>

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

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