Confidential (M/L - Mature) a/n 5/11

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sprayadhesive
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Confidential (M/L - Mature) a/n 5/11

Post by sprayadhesive » Sun Jun 11, 2006 4:32 pm

Round 11
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RH - Round 1
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Hank

RH - Round 1
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The Healing Stones Award (Character Most In Need Of a Hug) - Max
The Universal Friendship League Award (Best Villain) - Hank

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Round 10
Best Villain - Hank
Round 11
Favorite Alternate Portrayal of a Canon Character - Max
Favorite Lead Portrayal of Max Evans
Best Villain - Hank



Confidential
Rating: Mature
Category: M/L
Summary: What would’ve happened if it was Michael whom the Evans’s found on the side of the road that night and Max and Isabel whom had been adopted by Hank? This is that story. ((This story is only With Aliens because I wanted Max to be able to heal himself. No alien madness going on here, guys, sorry!!))
Disclaimer: I don’t own anything. The characters, the music, the movies referenced, none of it is mine.
Author’s Note(s): Okay, so… this story assumes that Max still healed Liz, but doesn’t allow her to get close to him [at least for now ;)]. Also, for the sake of the plotline, Isabel is a year older than in the show (legally). So… instead of her being born October 24, 1982, she was born in ’81. That places her a year ahead in school than everyone else. Please note that Hank will be more abusive in this than in the show.
**This fic will include implied rape.**

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(Thanks to JustThisOnce for the amazing banner)

The prologue is merely to set up the background for the story. I promise the rest will get more interesting!

Prologue

Max was always the reserved one in the family. He only had two friends: his friend Michael and his sister Isabel. As much as he wanted to be normal and go to parties and live a normal life, he couldn’t. He even had his eye on a certain girl, but he hardly talked to her. He had to look out for his friends. Max was, simply, over-protective. And for good reasons.

Isabel was the polar opposite of him. She was constantly on the social prowl. She had dated many people, but nothing was very serious. She was also the prettiest girl in the class. All of the girls envied her. Only one person knew that beneath all of her exterior, she was hiding some large skeletons. That person was Max.

Neither Isabel nor Max had ever told Michael their biggest secrets. Even though he was their friend, one of them, they found it too shameful to speak of. They were each other’s support system.

Max was even keeping some things from Isabel.

But all three of them shared a secret, too. They weren’t exactly from around here. They weren’t really from this planet. They didn’t know where they were from. All they knew is that somehow they had been in the ’47 crash and remained in some form of incubation pods until they had grown to appear to be the age of six.

When they came out, Isabel and Max were drawn to each other. Michael was the first one out of the chamber; he opened it and stepped out into the Earth’s crisp air. Isabel and Max were hesitant. Max took Isabel’s hand and glanced behind him. There was a fourth pod, but it was black and shriveled. Whatever was in there had died. He turned back to his sister, silently.

They lacked the knowledge of any language, but it was almost as though they could sense each other’s emotions. Isabel was the most hesitant of the bunch; she’d already formed a thick wall around herself. A wall that only Max could see through. The followed Michael through the hole in the wall and found themselves on top of a cliff.

From there, most of it was a blur. Max, Isabel, and Michael lost all of the memories from that point until later in the night when a car pulled up. Michael froze in the road as Isabel and Max ran for shelter behind a rock.

That was the last time they saw Michael, until three years later, in third grade. From there, it was just a matter of time before they got flashes of each other the night of their “birth.” Even after that, it was a few months before they realized the powers they had.

Michael had been adopted by the two people who had found him on the road – Diane and Phillip Evans. They were loving parents who treated them like he was his own son. They gave him everything that he could ever dream of. They taught him what was right from wrong. They truly loved him. Michael, however, was still much of a rebel. He would slack off in school and he never really applied himself to anything. He always seemed to be waiting for something to come along. Something. Diane and Phillip could handle him. They were strong.

Max and Isabel hadn’t been so fortunate. They bounced around from foster home to foster home in their first three years. No matter what happened, Max wouldn’t allow the two of them to be separated. It was one of the reasons that they had ended up where they ended up. He always blamed himself for Isabel’s current position. Everyone seemed to want the cute, outgoing blonde child, but no one had wanted the more reserved brunette. He was gangly and pinched looking, while Isabel was full of life.

She received many offers for adoption, but Max always fought against them. Something in his mind told him that they had to stick together. Sticking together landed them with Hank. They lived in a trailer, which was one bedroom short, and resided in a trailer park. The living conditions weren’t so bad. Max gave Isabel the bed in their room, and he slept on the floor. He didn’t mind.

Hank didn’t always bring food to the trailer. Max sometimes had to go out at night and scavenge. He would get measly portions of hardly edible food, and despite Isabel’s protests, he would always give her the biggest pieces. He felt like it was his fault that she was here.

Worse still was Hank’s drinking problem. Every night when they returned ‘home’, it was like entering a war zone. They never knew if Hank was going to try to do anything that night. Max and Isabel forced that to the back of their mind, not even mentioning it to Michael.

Michael had heard of Hank, vaguely. They never offered to take him ‘home’ and Michael never asked to go there. It was a mutual, nonverbal agreement.

That fateful day in September when Liz Parker, Max’s object of adoration, was shot in the Crashdown, everything changed. Michael tried to stop him, but Max healed Liz. He had no option but to tell Liz what he, Michael, and Isabel really were. Surprisingly, she accepted him. He made a connection with her, but to this day, he didn’t know what images she received from him.

Eventually, Maria and Alex, Liz’s best friends, learned their secret as well.

Liz had made it clear to Max that she wanted to be more than friends. But no matter how much he wanted to be her boyfriend, he couldn’t. There was so much at stake. He still had too many secrets.

So the three stayed to themselves, mostly. Max pushed a persistent Liz away, and she pushed back. Michael secretly worshiped the waitress at the Crashdown, Liz’s best friend, Maria. Isabel flirted with guys, but she never really got serious with them. Everyone knew that Alex had a thing for her.

They were just trying to survive and remain anonymous to the world. They couldn’t be anything more than three average teenagers.
Last edited by sprayadhesive on Mon May 11, 2009 8:06 pm, edited 66 times in total.

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Post by sprayadhesive » Sun Jun 11, 2006 11:51 pm

Part 1

Max led Isabel into their trailer, cautiously opening the door so that Hank wouldn’t wake up. Isabel was stifling laughter, “Oh my gosh, Michael’s face… I thought he was going to blow something up when that guy talked to Maria...”

Max laughed with her. Truly, he’d been more distracted by the stunning brunette in her cute little green uniform, but he had seen Michael’s face… briefly.

It was Saturday night. Tomorrow, Michael was going for job interviews and Max was working until midnight, so they had to have their weekly ‘Mourn the End of the Weekend’ dinner tonight.

The rare smile was wiped from Max’s face as he heard a drunken grumble from the armchair. Hank was awake. Max motioned for Isabel to be quiet, but she accidentally tripped over a few beer bottles. They clanked and Hank jumped off of his chair, facing them.

“You…” He stared directly at Isabel, speaking lazily and slurring his words, “Come here, baby. Come to Hank.”

Max put his arm on Isabel’s shoulder and stared Hank down. Hank strode forward sloppily, reeking of alcohol. He ran his hand down Isabel’s arm, “Come on, baby. Let’s go have some fun.”

Max pushed Isabel down the short hallway, leading her to their room. He was doing his best to ignore Hank. What he didn’t know was that Hank was following. Just as they had reached their door, Hank grabbed Isabel’s wrist. He pulled her towards him, “Come on, it’ll be quick…”

Max saw red. He curled his hands into fists. He breathed deeply, trying to maintain his composure. He threw Hank’s hand off of Isabel and shoved her into their room. With his hand working behind his back, he fused the door to the doorway in a few places. If Isabel tried to get out, she would probably be looking at twenty minutes before she found all of the places the wood was fused together.

Hank advanced on Max, “You sonovabitch.” In a split second, Hank backhanded Max’s face, “Move outta my way, I’ve got my lady to attend to.”

He tried to get around Max, but Max shoved him back. Max spoke through gritted teeth, “She isn’t your lady. She’s my sister. Don’t you DARE talk about her like that.”

Hank laughed in Max’s face, “You must be stupid. Don’t you know why I adopted you?”

“Tax reasons.” Max managed to grit out through his tight jaw.

Hank laughed again, “That’s not the only reason. Your sister’s always been pretty. I wanted just her, to have some fun, but they told me that you two were a package deal. So I took you both.” He licked his lips, “She was irresistible.”

“YOU BASTARD!” It wasn’t the first time that Max was hearing this, but it always affected him the same. He had the same reaction every week when Hank would get to his worst. He couldn’t get used to someone speaking about his sister like that. Besides, Hank was really into it this time.

Max attempted to shove Hank away from the door, but a fist collided with his face. He doubled over in pain before another fist was sent into his gut. He flew against the door, slumped by it.

Max worked out when he wasn’t working, going to school, or looking after Isabel, and he was pretty buff. The peculiar thing was, however, that Hank always seemed to be stronger.

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Isabel had to fight her tears back as she heard Max’s body slam against the door. She had given up trying to unseal the door years ago. Max always found a way to hide one fusion so that she could never find it. Until he was ready for her to come out, she was trapped.

In no way was she a prisoner, she was being kept safe. Hank had been after her since they arrived, but he’d never gotten there. Max had always protected her.

She banged against the door, trying to distract Hank from Max. It was the only thing that she could do.

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Hank’s head whipped around at the sound. He moved from his place over Max to go to the door, trying to open it. It wouldn’t. He slammed his body into it, getting frustrated. He turned back to Max, livid, “OPEN THE DAMN DOOR!”

Max stared straight into Hank’s eyes, expressionless. He shook his head slowly.

Hank’s face contorted in rage, and he went after Max again.

Max scrambled to his feet quickly, getting back to his full height. He raised his hands protectively in fists. Hank latched his hand around one of Max’s wrists, and with his knee, hit Max in the gut.

Max gasped for air, unable to find any. He stared at Hank through black spots in his eyes.

Hank wound back his fist, slamming it into Max’s right eye. Max was thrown back to the floor and didn’t attempt to get up this time.

He knew from experience that fighting back only made the wounds worse. He was lifted off of the ground and thrown bodily at Isabel’s door, shaking his bones.

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Isabel sunk down on the other side of the door, fighting against the tears. She’d heard Max’s bones crunch that time. She even thought that the door had splintered in some places.

But she had to be strong, for him. After all, he was strong for her. He’d practically provided for her her whole life. If she started to cry and he knew it, he’d bend over backwards trying to make everything okay. He was doing enough for her already.

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Hank looked above him, spitting out words, “GET UP!”

Max looked up warily, shaking his head. Hank kicked Max fiercely, sending even more pain through his body. Some of his ribs cracked.

Max decided to do what Hank asked, at least for now. He got to his feet and planted them firmly on the ground, ignoring his body’s protests. He looked at Hank through the blood streaming down his face.

The drunken man roared again, “OPEN THE DOOR!”

Max had to be strong. He had never and would never open the door for Hank. He’d somehow managed, in all of these years, to prevent Hank from physically or sexually abusing Isabel. If the price he had to pay for this feat was himself, so be it. He stared into Hank’s eyes, “No.”

That did it. Hank was beyond angry. He grabbed Max around the neck before slamming his head into the doorway. Once, twice, three times. Max lost count as he fell into unconsciousness.

Hank didn’t stop there, though. Even if the boy was knocked out, he continued. He brutally kicked Max’s limp form in the gut. When he was satisfied with that, he threw some more fists into Max’s head for good measure.

He wiped at his mouth and stared down at the boy before turning and walking to the far side of the trailer, into his room.

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Isabel pressed her ear up to the door, fighting to hear breathing. She pursed her lips in concentration, squeezing her eyes closed. A raspy, shallow sound finally was heard. She breathed out in relief. This battle was over.

She kept her ear pressed up to the door, wanting to reassure herself for the rest of the night that Max was going to be alright. Sometimes his unconsciousness lasted until it was just about time to go to school.

Without realizing it, Isabel drifted into a shallow sleep.

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Max’s whole body ached as he raised himself to his feet. It hurt to blink or move or do anything. He couldn’t get to full height, because then the pain was unbearable.

After checking Hank’s slumber and making sure the man wasn’t awake, he ran his hand over the doorway, unfusing the door and the doorframe. He pressed on the door lightly, seeing if Isabel was sleeping against it. She usually did when an episode with Hank occurred.

He lowered his voice and fought through the pain to speak. “Iz?”

He could hear Isabel move around and heard the groaning of the springs in her mattress. He pushed open the door and stumbled inside, closing the door swiftly behind him. Once his feet found the few measly blankets that made up his bed, he sunk down on them.

He could feel Isabel hovering over him, trying to get a good look at his injuries. His hand found a ratty blanket that he wasn’t laying on and threw it over his body, blocking her vision. He grumbled out, “What time is it?”

Isabel frowned as Max stopped her from looking at him. She turned to the alarm clock and back to Max, “7:30”.

“Shit.” He mumbled. He was supposed to be at work at the UFO Center already. Milton hated it when he was late.

He raised his hand to start healing himself, but Isabel’s stopped him. He turned his face towards her and heard her gasp. It was the first time today that he’d really allowed her to see it. His nose looked like it was broken and he was sporting two black eyes and a fat lip. He had a huge bruise covering the left side of his face. “Oh Max…” She bit her lip, her heart breaking, “Let me see the rest. Please.”

He was reluctant at first, shaking his head. Isabel grabbed the pathetic rag from his body and brought his shirt gingerly over his head. She surveyed the damage. Some of his ribs were jutting out of his skin at odd angles. Most of his whole torso was a bruise.

Max groaned, a searing pain running through his body. He scrunched his face up, trying to fight it back. He hated when Isabel got the chance to see the extent of the damage. He turned away from her, “Can I heal it now? I’m already late and I…”

Her nod stopped him. He raised his right hand over his torso and he started to heal it. Isabel watched as the ribs went back into place and the bruises disappeared. His hand traveled up to his face. The bruises and cuts vanished and his nose seemed to mend itself. With another sweep of the hand, the blood disappeared from his body and his pants.

He got up, feeling no pain now, and went to his dresser to get some clothes to change into. He and Isabel had made their tiny closet into a makeshift changing room. He went into it now and started to get dressed. Isabel called out to him, “Why didn’t you do anything? Why don’t you use your powers to stop him?”

She could heard Max groan, “Because, Iz. We’ve already talked about this a thousand times. If I used my powers on him, he would know we’re aliens.” He knew what her next question would be, “And there’s always a chance that he could wake up the next morning and remember everything. What would we do then?”

“I hate that my little brother puts himself through this for me. It doesn’t seem fair, Max.”

He came out of the tight space, pulling a shirt over his heard and holding a yellowish orange vest, “Do you know what’s not fair, Iz? That I’m the reason you’re stuck here. I should’ve just let someone adopt you and then sat in the orphanage. But I didn’t. So now you’re stuck here. That’s what isn’t fair.”

She shook her head, speaking quietly, “That’s not your fault, Max.”

“Oh? Did you somehow forget the McKinney family of two young Newlyweds who were looking for a little girl to brighten up their lives? How about the Shearers? The couple who had already had a little son but wanted a daughter as well?”

She shook her head again. She didn’t remember anything in that much detail. All of the faces from the orphanage were a blur, save Max’s.

“Well I remember. And do you know what happened to all of them?” He added angrily.

She shook her head a third time, tears in her eyes.

“I turned them away, all of them. And the ones that wouldn’t leave voluntarily, I scared them away. You could’ve had an almost-normal life, but I ruined that. If this is what I have to do to try to keep it normal, oh well.”

He sat on the bed next to her, “Now, Hank shouldn’t be up for a few hours. Get out of here before then. I’ll be at the Crashdown later tonight, okay?”

Max hated leaving her here alone, but sometimes it was unavoidable. Isabel nodded and he got to his feet, giving her a quick kiss on the top of her head.

Isabel noticed how reluctant he was to leaving. She frowned at him, “Go, Max. You’ve got a thirty minute walk ahead of you. You’re late enough as it is.”

With such living conditions, both had their licenses and neither had a car.

He nodded and left the room, pulling the door shut behind him. He left the trailer with a hesitant look back.

Finally arriving at the UFO Center, Max took a deep breath before pulling his vest on and opening the door. Being the Sunday before school started, the place wasn’t that busy. Everyone was out with bigger, better things to do.

He searched for Milton and finally found him in the guy’s extensive UFO sightings and informational database. Milton looked pissed, “Evans! You were supposed to be here forty-five minutes ago!”

Max sighed, “I know, I’m sorry. It won’t happen again.”

Milton frowned at him, but his expressions were soft, “Just don’t let it happen again. I need you to straighten up some of the displays. We’ve got a birthday party later and those kids are expecting something fantastic. Let’s give it to them.”

Max nodded, taking the stairs and heading down to the displays. He walked around to various ones, straightening the items and sometimes stuffing fake organs back into aliens. It wasn’t exactly a glamorous job and he only got minimum wage, but it was something that he had to do.

The day went by in a haze. One of the kids threw up halfway through the slideshow of the ’47 crash, but other than that it was uneventful. At 5:30, his ten hour shift ended and he walked across the street.

The Crashdown looked warm and inviting. Max peeled off his UFO Center vest and walked into the restaurant, smiling briefly at Michael and Isabel sitting in a booth to the right. Time to start the second half of his day.
Last edited by sprayadhesive on Sun Feb 25, 2007 12:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by sprayadhesive » Wed Jun 14, 2006 10:56 am

Part 2

From an early age, Max knew that he couldn’t scavenge and be able to support Isabel and himself. He would have to get a job. So, at the age of twelve, he went to Mr. Parker for a job at the Crashdown. Mr. Parker was hesitant and refused at first; he said something about child labor laws. Max hit the books and researched child labor laws until he was an expert on the subject.

He described the law to Mr. Parker: On school days, a child less than 14 years of age may not work more than three hours per day or more than 18 hours per week, and may not work before 7:00am or after 7:00pm (9:00pm from June 1 – Labor Day). One non-school day, a child may not work more than eight hours per day or more than 40 hours per week.

Mr. Parker still refused, saying that he just didn’t need the help. In truth, he couldn’t see a young boy wasting his childhood away. He wondered why his father let him go around looking for a job. Didn’t the man care?

Max had sighed and mumbled something about going back to do some odd jobs at the junkyard. The job paid him less than minimum wage, but he had settled for it before then. Mr. Parker suddenly changed his mind. He wouldn’t allow a child to work in such a dangerous place.

Max was given a job as a busboy. He begged Jeff to give him as many hours as possible. When Jeff asked why, Max always found a way to avoid the question. They both settled for minimum wage. Max was an extra man that Jeff didn’t need, so Max didn’t complain. He took it happily.

The job at the UFO Center came later. He went there on his sixteenth birthday and persuaded Milton to give him work. Whenever he wasn’t working at the Crashdown, he scheduled his hours at the Center.

Michael and Isabel never liked that Max worked so much. He rarely had any time to sit back and be a teenager. He had little to no social life. Everyone knew him as a kid who would never attend a party. He hadn’t ever drank alcohol or done drugs.

His school work, unusually, didn’t suffer. He somehow managed to deal with all of the stressors of his life and still have straight A’s. No one really knew how he did it.

So now, Max had to start his shift at the Crashdown. As if ten hours at the center wasn’t enough, five and a half hours at the Crashdown were going to top it off. Max saw Isabel smile feebly at him as he walked past her and straight into the back of the restaurant.

Once there, he opened up his locker on the very bottom of the stack and placed his vest in it. He took out a white apron and tied it around his waist.

He walked into the main restaurant and noticed a few tables that needed to be cleaned off. Ignoring the pitying looks from Isabel, he grabbed a tray and headed over to them.

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Liz turned away from the counter with her order and noticed Max Guerin shuffling around the room, cleaning tables. A small smile escaped her lips. Unfortunately, Maria noticed.

“Oh, look who it is. The dreamy Czechoslovakian.” Maria rolled her eyes and allowed Liz to pass and give her table their food. Once Liz returned behind the counter, Maria continued, “You are like one sad, sick puppy, girl.”

Liz scoffed, “Oh please, Maria. I don’t like him and he doesn’t like me.” She sounded like she was trying to convince herself of this, “I mean he healed me like what? A month ago. After he explained to me that he was a Czechoslovakian, he has barely said anything more than ‘Hi’ to me in the hallways and before class.”

Maria gave her a skeptical look, “Yeah, keep telling yourself that, Liz. You two are hopeless.”

“Maria! He barely even looks at me! Besides, he’s the guy that everyone secretly wants and no one can get. You know it and I know it. Why would our class heartthrob want me?”

Maria chuckled, “Why would he blow his Czechoslovakian cover to heal you?” She added this sarcastically. She glanced up at the booth where Michael was sitting.

Liz smirked, “And what about Michael Evans? You two are always scowling at each other from across the room.”

“Don’t try to change the subject, Liz.” Maria frowned at her friend, but her heart fluttered. Michael was scowling back? “Wow, it was exactly a month ago that he healed you. September 18th.”

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“What was that about?” Michael frowned at Isabel from across the table.

Isabel feigned puzzlement, “What was what about?”

“Max barely looked at you as he went by.” Michael watched Max from across the room, “And he seems really tense.”

“We just had a little fight this morning, it wasn’t about anything important. I was taking too long in the shower or something and he had to get to work.” Isabel was doing her best to brush the whole thing off.

She looked at the counter opposite them and smirked, “Maria’s watching you, Michael.”

“Oh God.” He sighed, “That girl keeps following me around trying to talk to me.”

Isabel laughed, “So just go out with her! What could it hurt? You know you like her.” She added as an afterthought, “Deep, deep, deep down.”

Michael rolled his eyes, “I think mom and dad think I’m gay.”

“Oh? What would give them that impression? You’ve had loads of girlfriends before.” Isabel could barely fight against her laughter.

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Max smiled to himself as his sister’s laughter filled his ears. Despite everything, she found a way to be happy.

Once all of the tables were cleared, he headed to the kitchen where he loaded the dishes into a dishwasher. Now unoccupied, his mind strayed to Hank. He was getting worse this week. Last night was the second time in a row that week that he had been drunk. Usually it was an every-other-night or once every three night’s kind of thing.

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“He always looks so… tired.” Liz and Maria were still continuing their conversation about Max. Liz was thinking out loud about the mystery man, “He’s always so gaunt looking. And he always seems to be thinking about something else entirely. Maybe like he lives a double life.”

Maria laughed at this, “Well, obviously he does since he’s a Czechoslovakian.”

Liz shushed her, “I’m serious, Maria. Other than his Czechoslovakian secret.”

The two laughed and bustled around for the rest of the night, working until ten., and continuing their conversation about their alien friends. As soon as they were about to walk into the backroom, Alex walked into the nearly-empty café.

He strode up to them smiling, “What’re we talking about?”

Maria was giddy by this point and as she walked into the backroom, she yelled over her shoulder, “The mystery that is Max Guerin!”

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Max hit his head coming up from underneath one of the tables. Liz and Maria were talking about him? What about him?

A rather embarrassed Liz ran past him into the backroom, blushing.

He rubbed his head as he got to full height. He heard snickering coming from Michael and Isabel. He turned to them and saw them watching him, obviously very amused by the events.

He walked over to them, “Isabel, I’ve got an hour left. Do you mind just waiting at Michael’s for me?”

Her eyes were boring holes into his skull, “Fine. See you at eleven, then?”

“Well, a little bit after. I’ve got to walk over there and get you…” He shrugged at her.

Isabel nodded and grabbed her purse. Michael stood beside her and threw some money on the table. The two walked to the door and Max called out to them, “Hey! Flip the sign to Closed, will you?”

Michael didn’t respond, he just flipped the sign over and led Isabel from the restaurant.

Max had an uneasy feeling in his stomach, like something bad was going to happen soon. He finished cleaning all of the empty tables and walked to the door leading to the backroom. With a deep breath, he pushed open the door and walked in.

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Liz walked out of the door as soon as Max entered. He coming back here meant that the place was empty and she could get the tips and last-minute bills sorted out.

All of the waitresses, busboys, and chefs would pool their tips at the end of the day and split it amongst themselves. It didn’t matter what shift you worked, you always got an equal amount.

She crunched numbers at the counter as Max re-emerged with a bucket and mop in hand. On top of his busboy duties, he assumed the responsibility of cleaning and closing up the place.

He was still mopping when she finished calculating the tips. “Max? Are you going to take your tip tonight?”

He never ever accepted tips, “Give it to your dad.”

Every night he would tell Liz to give his portion to her father. On Max’s first night, she asked her father what to do with Max’s portion, and he handed her a jar. He told her to keep all of his tips in it, and eventually, they would find a way to give it to him. Liz and Maria had dubbed it 'The Max Jar.'

“You can leave whenever you’re done, Max. Don’t wait for your shift to end. We’re done here, and so are you.” Liz teased him.

He smiled and shrugged, continuing his meticulous mopping of the floor. Liz walked to the back and called out, “Goodnight, Max.”

He stopped and smiled up at her, “Goodnight, Liz.”

Liz grinned deviously over her shoulder, “And I’d better not come down here in an hour to see you still working.”

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Max and Isabel stood poised outside of the trailer. It was midnight, and they were finally getting back.

Hank was sound asleep in his room, so Max and Isabel got into their room without a hitch. Max showered while Isabel got dressed and went to bed. When he returned from the shower, she was sound asleep.

He pulled on some boxers and some flannel pants and went out into the main area of the trailer. It was time for him to do his homework and study for a major English quiz tomorrow.

Around two in the morning, he accidentally fell asleep.
Last edited by sprayadhesive on Sun Feb 25, 2007 12:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by sprayadhesive » Tue Jun 20, 2006 4:02 pm

Part 3

In Biology the next day, Max had to fight sleep from claiming him. The little sleep he had been getting in the past weeks was doing no good for him. To make things worse, Hank had awoken him this morning by putting out his cigarette butt on his forearm. He at least had to be thankful that Hank hadn’t done anything when he’d so carelessly fallen asleep.

In his gut, he knew it was the calm before the storm.

He could feel Liz’s gaze penetrating his senses. Every time she so much as looked his way, he couldn’t think about anything but her. Michael and Isabel tried to get his mind off her, but all of their attempts failed. When she was in the room, he was constantly distracted.

For a month now, Liz would try to talk to Max and he would shrug her off. It hadn’t taken her long to realize that she had to act on her feelings for Max. She broke up with Kyle and asked him if they could be friends, but Max still hadn’t gotten the message. She didn’t even know if Max knew that they had broken up. Kyle still hung out with her a lot, so it was a possibility.

Liz couldn’t help but notice how ripped Max looked in the blue short sleeved shirt he was wearing. She decided it would be for the better to get her mind off him.

Max raised his arm to rub at his tired eyes. Liz noticed a small circular burn on his forearm. She froze. Was that what she thought it was? No… it couldn’t be. But what else could it be? Nothing. That was the only explanation.

She caught his arm when it was lowering and he looked at her questioningly. She looked up to the teacher and saw that she had disappeared down the hallway to get a stack of copies. The rest of the classroom broke out in conversations around them.

Max gazed at her, a small smile playing across his lips, “Liz? Can I have my arm back?”

She shook her head, her mouth still open. Her eyes transferred back to the burn mark. He followed his gaze and blushed profusely. How could he have forgotten to heal that? He was in such a rush this morning with trying to catch the early shift at the Crashdown and get Isabel out of the house, he’d completely forgotten. He was slipping up too much lately.

He attempted to pull his arm away, but Liz held it tightly, “What is that, Max?” It was a cigarette burn. She could tell. There was no other thing it could be. She’d seen it on movies and television shows before. “Who… who put their cigarette out on you?”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about.” He hissed at her angrily, “I just burned myself on the stove last night.”

She was taken aback by his hostility, “Oh, and it just so happened that you burned it in a circular mark that shares the exact same diameter as a cigarette.”

He waved his hand over the burn fiercely, causing it to disappear at once, “Drop it, okay? It was nothing. It’s gone now. This discussion is over.”

“No, Max, this isn’t over.” She spoke quietly, her voice gaining a solemn edge, “Was it your foster dad? Hank?”

He glared at her, “Why can’t you just drop this?!”

“So it was Hank?” Liz pressed. He hadn’t denied her accusations, “Does it happen a lot? To You? To Isabel?”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about!” He hissed at her even harsher, “Stop putting your nose where it doesn’t belong. This…” He pointed angrily at his arm, “…was an accident.” He snarled at her, “And if it was Hank, he would never be able to get to Isabel.”

The bell rang and he rose quickly, storming out of the room. Liz sat in her seat, unable to go after him or say another word to his retreating form. She was almost certain that it was Hank’s cigarette, but that wasn’t what had her paralyzed. It was Max’s harsh tones and cold words. He’d never been like that to her before.

Maria’s head poked around the doorway and into the classroom. She saw her friend sitting alone with no one else around and furrowed her brow, “Liz?”

Liz snapped out of her trance. She was still numb. She smiled weakly at Maria, “Oh… hi.”

“What’s wrong, chica?” Maria knew her friend too well. Something was definitely wrong.

Liz stared into nothing as Maria sat on the stool that Max had been on earlier. Maria put her hand on Liz’s. “Liz, what’s wrong?”

“I uh… it’s Max.” She had no one else to turn to at this point. Plus, Maria was her best friend. She told her everything, “I saw a burn mark on his forearm… in the shape of a cigarette burn…”

Maria’s mouth opened and closed, “Did you… are you sure of what you saw?”

Liz nodded, “I’m positive.”

“And did you ask Max about it?” Maria’s voice was soft.

Liz nodded again, “Yeah. He… he told me that he burned himself on the stove and that it was nothing. And then he healed it and told me to forget about it.” Why wouldn’t the numb feeling go away?

She fidgeted, “Did you ask him anything else?”

The third nod, “I asked him if it was his foster dad… Hank. And I asked him if it happened a lot to him or Isabel.”

Maria had paled considerably since the beginning of their conversation, “What did he say?”

Liz shrugged, “Uh… that I didn’t know what I was talking about and that I should stop putting my nose where it doesn’t belong. And that Hank wouldn’t be able to get to Isabel, even if he wanted to.”

“Um… wow. That’s not like Max…” Maria had never known him to be so hostile towards anyone. “Do you think we should ask Michael about it? He and Max are best friends…”

Liz nodded and barely took note of being dragged out of the classroom and into the courtyard for break.

Maria spotted Michael across the way, sitting alone and staring at nothing while listening to a portable CD player. She dragged Liz behind her and removed the headphones from Michael’s ears, “Okay, Spaceboy, we’ve got to ask you something.”

Michael rolled his eyes, “How many times have I told you guys to get your noses out of the alien abyss and go back to being annoying teenage girls?”

“This isn’t about your trivial alien matters, Narcissus.” Maria scoffed. She sat in front of him and saw Liz sitting beside her, “This is about Max.”

“What about him?” His interest was peaked. He’d seen Max blow through the courtyard earlier and had attempted to talk to him, but had been blown off. Maybe they knew the reason why he was being so distant lately.

Maria looked to Liz, “Um… you tell him what you told me.”

Liz nodded and told her story of the events today in Biology and of her suspicions. When she was done, no one spoke.

Michael took some time to gather his thoughts, “Okay, so it was definitely a cigarette burn?”

“Yes!” Liz almost screamed. She was sick of being asked if she was sure of what she saw.

“I’ll talk to him about it.” He replied simply and replaced the headphones on his ears.

Maria jerked them off of his head, “That’s it? That’s it?! You’ll just talk to him?!”

Michael shrugged, scratching at his eyebrow, “What else do you want me to do?”

“I… fine!” She shouted in frustration.

Michael shook his head as they left and closed his eyes once more, placing the headphones back onto his head. Only seconds later, they were jerked off again. He stated angrily before opening his eyes, “Maria! What?!”

“What were they just talking to you about?” Max asked quietly and suspiciously.

Michael’s eyes opened. He hadn’t expected that to be Max, “Oh… it’s you.”

Max repeated the question, “What were they just talking to you about?”

“Liz says that in Biology she saw a cigarette burn on your forearm and when she asked you about it you got pissy with her and healed it. Care to tell me anything about this so that I don’t think what I’m thinking right now?” He studied Max’s face for a change.

“I’m going to tell you the same thing I told her: That was an accident. Stop putting your nose where it doesn’t belong.” He angrily sat down next to Michael, gazing straight ahead and hoping that the conversation was now over.

Michael sensed the conversation’s end, “Fine. But I’m not dropping this. Especially if I hear about something like this happening again.”

Max rose angrily to his feet and walked away from Michael. He wasn’t going to take this. Not now.

Later that night, as he and Isabel were walking home from the Crashdown, Isabel studied Max’s face. He looked so tired and worn-out. She stopped him with her hand on his arm, “You’re killing yourself, Max. You can’t keep working like this.”

“Yes, I can. I’m fine. We’re fine. And we need the money.” He replied shortly.

“Let me get a job.” She begged with him. This wasn’t the first time they’d had this conversation, “I can help with everything.”

He shook his head, “Isabel, normal teenage girls don’t have to get jobs if they don’t want them. And I want you to be normal.”

She shook her head back at him, “I want to get a job.”

“No!” He continued walking, turning only once to make sure that she was following him.

Isabel knew that it was a control thing for Max to be the one making the money and providing for them, but she couldn’t do anything about it. Going behind Max’s back and getting a job would be like, to her, disrespecting the years of abuse that he’d taken to try and give her a normal life.

Max shook his head. People were getting too suspicious. Isabel was questioning everything. This hadn’t been a very good two days. If only he knew that his week was just about to get worse.


TBC...[/b]
Last edited by sprayadhesive on Sat Jan 13, 2007 12:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by sprayadhesive » Thu Jun 22, 2006 10:53 am

Part 4

“MAX! MAAX! MAX, HELP ME! PLEASE!” Isabel’s rang in his ears and he was on his feet in seconds, “GET OFF OF ME! STOP IT! PLEASE!”

He tore blindly down the few steps to their room and silently cursed himself for falling asleep. How could he have been so stupid and irresponsible? Especially for the second night in a row!

Irresponsible. It echoed in his ears as he tore open the door.

Hank was hovering over Isabel, pinning her to the bed. She was still fully clothed, but it looked like he was trying uselessly to get her pants off.

Max was livid with himself and his ‘supposed’ father. He threw himself onto Hank’s back, dragging the man off Isabel.

He could already tell that Hank was going to win the fight. As they rolled around on the floor, Max called out to Isabel, “Take… your… bag…” The pauses were filled with grunts when Max would be hit by Hank, “…Get... to… Michael’s!”

Hank was now pinning Max down by wrapping his hands around his neck, and Max was finding it hard to breathe. He felt Hank’s grip around his neck loosen and realized that Isabel’s worried form was still in the doorway.

Hank started to move towards her, but Max caught him around the ankles and brought him back to the ground again. He screamed at her, frustrated, “NOW!”

Isabel wanted to run, but she couldn’t. Knowing that Max was still here. “I c-can’t leave you!!”

A sickening crack from Max’s arm caused him to scream out in pain. He fought through it in an attempt to focus and find the words, “GO!! There’s nothing you can do!”

Isabel watched as Hank buried a fist in Max’s gut, “What… Can… Michael can help!” Their friend had never been told of Hank’s escapades, but Isabel thought that if he did know, he’d be able to help.

“No! Don’t… tell… anyone! Just… Go!” He roared, clenching his teeth against the pain.

If not for the mischievous glint in Hank’s eye as he turned to face her, she probably would’ve stayed. But she couldn’t. Max’s hadn’t gone through all of this just to have Hank get to her in the end. She had to run.

Max sighed as she ran from the room. When he heard the slam of the door closing behind her, he visibly relaxed. A fist flew into his face and Hank’s drunken shape loomed over him.

The alcohol-stench in Hank’s breath made Max want to vomit. He’d thought that a little sleep would calm Hank, but it had only fired him up more. Hank breathed heavily in Max’s face, merely inches from him, “If I can’t get what I want from her, I’m going to get it from you, bitch.”

Max struggled to use his powers to free himself from Hank’s grasp, but the man was somehow managing to pin both of Max’s hands with one hand while the other worked to take down his pants.

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Isabel ran down the street, her bare feet scampering almost silently. She didn’t want to look back. This was bad. It was the first time that Hank had been that close to… No. She shook the thought from her head. It never happened and it never would. She wasn’t going to go there in her thoughts.

She reached Michael’s house and ran to the back of the house, knocking feverishly on his window.

Michael’s hushed voice could be heard from behind the closed pane. “Maxwell? Is that you… I didn’t know that Isabel was going out tonight…” He opened the curtains and the window, rubbing at his still closed eyes, “May I remind you that it’s really…” He had finally opened his eyes, “Isabel?”

Isabel nodded, biting at her trembling lip, “I uh… I… Max…” What was she supposed to tell him? Max was back at the trailer getting beaten by Hank? She remembered the story that they’d fabricated for this situation, “Max and I got into this huge fight and I just… I can’t be around him right now.”

Michael fully took in Isabel’s appearance. Her hair was ruffled and she was sweating profusely. She looked distraught. He stepped aside and let her through the window, helping her climb inside. Once she was fully in, he closed the window and the curtains behind him and looked at her delicately, “Do you want to talk about it?”

“Not really.” She shook her head, hugging herself. Her bag was hanging off of her shoulder limply.

Michael couldn’t stand to see her like this. He took her into his arms and hugged her tightly, reassuring her. “Everything’s going to be okay, Isabel. You and Max have never really gotten into a fight. You’ll get over this one fast, I promise.” In his head, he was cursing Max. How could he have worked Isabel up this much and then allowed her to roam the streets at three in the morning? “You can just stay here tonight, okay? I mean… we’ll probably have to get you out of here before my parents wake up, but don’t worry about that right now. I’ll set up the sleeping bag…”

Isabel looked at him questioningly, “Done this before?”

He shrugged, “Max comes here when you’re gone to a friend’s for the night. He says he gets lonely.”

Isabel’s heart broke a little more at Michael’s statement, but at the same time, the words comforted her. At least Max wasn’t alone with Hank when she was gone. She replied lamely, “Oh.”

Michael shifted uncomfortably, “Feel free to use my bathroom or shower or anything. It’s really no big deal, Max shows up here in the middle of the night a lot. My parents are used to the water running at all hours of the morning. You can take my bed, I’ll use the sleeping bag.”

Isabel nodded, “Thanks.” She could use a shower. She wanted to forget the way Hank’s hands had caressed her or even pinned her hands down to her sides so that she couldn’t fight back against him. She shivered immensely and walked into the bathroom.

Michael only had one thought running through his head: Max had better have a good explanation.

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A loud knock roused Michael and Isabel in the morning. Isabel rushed into the bathroom for cover and Michael sleepily walked to the door, opening it groggily.

“Good morning, Michael!” Diane stated brightly as she looked around the room. She realized the sleeping bag was out on the floor, “Oh, was Max the one taking that shower last night?”

Michael nodded sleepily and rubbed at his eye, “Yeah.”

Diane looked around the room as if searching for him, “Did he leave already?”

“Yeah, he had to get to work.” Michael replied almost automatically. Max usually stuck around to at least say hello to his parents, so he could understand his mother’s confused look.

Diane sat on his bed with a worried expression, “That boy works too much. Doesn’t he ever go out to have some fun?”

“That’s not really Max’s style, Mom.” Michael replied while rolling up the suitcase.

“Doesn’t his father want Max to have a normal childhood?” Diane’s eyes looked like she was zoning out and deep in thought, “You know… I don’t think I’ve ever met his father. What’s his name? Herb? Have you met him?”

“Hank.” He threw the sleeping bag into its place, “And I’ve never met him.” Michael had always found that peculiar. He made a mental note to ask Max or Isabel about it, especially after the supposed cigarette burn from yesterday. He scratched at his eyebrow. Shit! Isabel was still in the bathroom, probably waiting for Diane to leave so that she could get going.

He cleared his throat and Diane got the hint that he needed some privacy, “Breakfast’s ready downstairs, okay? Don’t take too long getting ready for school.”

He smiled, “Alright.”

Diane left the room and Isabel came out of the bathroom, changed into the set of clothes she’d packed. She smiled weakly at Michael, “Thanks for letting me stay here tonight.”

He shifted uncomfortably, “What was the fight about?

“I really don’t want to talk about it; thanks again for letting me stay, see you at school.” Isabel rambled and hopped out of the window before he could ask her anything else.

Isabel tore down the road, and when she had finally gotten out of sight of Michael’s house, she slowed to a walk. With a quick glance in all directions, she made sure the coast was clear before waving her hand over herself and making herself more presentable.

She continued to walk and a car slowed next to her, matching her speed, “Hey, need a ride?”

Isabel gave him a faint smile of relief, “Thanks, Alex.”

He stopped the car completely and allowed her to enter, waiting for her to buckle her seat belt before driving again, “Where’s Max? Don’t you two normally walk to school together?”

She shrugged, “He had to leave early for work. Do you mind stopping by The Crashdown and picking him up?”

He nodded, “No problem, it’s on the way anyway. Isn’t your birthday coming up soon? The Big 18?”

“Yeah, thanks for remembering.” She smiled to herself. Somehow, Alex always made her feel special.

A few minutes later, Isabel climbed out of the car and walked briskly over to Max. He was busing a table and muttered, “Hold on a minute.”

Isabel took note of the way he kept his eyes trained to the floor at an angle so no one could really see his face. There was something else about his appearance that didn’t seem right.

As he reemerged from the back room, she realized what it was. He was wearing long sleeves, which wouldn’t have been so weird since it was October, but they were in the middle of one of their famous heat waves.

Isabel placed her hand on his shoulder as he approached, speaking softly, “What’s up?” Her words had a hidden meaning that Max picked up on.

“I can’t heal anything. I don’t know what’s wrong.” He looked up at her and Isabel sighed in relief. At least there wasn’t anything wrong with his face.

Max spoke in the same soft manner, shifting his gaze back to the ground, “It’s just my arms and some of my hands. It’s nothing big, really. I managed to heal my broken arm last night before I…” His words seemed to pain him, “passed out. And then I woke up and I couldn’t heal anything.”

Isabel bit her lip, tears swimming in her eyes, “Is it just the healing? Or everything?”

He shrugged, “Everything.”

She could feel Alex looking into the restaurant at them, “Alex is waiting outside, but this conversation’s not over. And I want to see your arms. We need to figure out why your powers have stopped working.”

Max nodded and took his school bag from behind the counter, walking with Isabel outside and getting into the back of Alex’s car. He retained his usual soft-spoken voice, “Thanks for the ride, Alex. Sorry we kept you waiting just now.”

Alex shrugged, “Don’t worry about it.” No one had told Alex or Isabel about the development with Max yesterday, so that conversation was thankfully left alone. Max was glad. He’d acted like an ass yesterday and he knew it. He’d be lucky if Liz ever spoke to him again.

He felt a guilty pain enter his heart. He’d practically yelled at her. She was just concerned… But he couldn’t have his world fall apart right now. As shitty as his world was, he needed something to hold onto. Isabel was all he had. What if the social workers separated them? Or if she was taken away from Roswell completely?

He shook the thoughts from his head, vaguely aware that a conversation was taking place around him. When Alex parked in the school’s parking lot, he inwardly sighed in relief. He needed to get out and walk around… something.

Muttering a thanks to Alex, he left Isabel staring blankly at his back. He needed to get away; to find an escape. His feet found the bathroom while his mind drifted. He didn’t even notice the person waiting for him, sitting on the sinks.
Last edited by sprayadhesive on Sat Jan 13, 2007 12:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by sprayadhesive » Thu Jun 29, 2006 9:56 pm

Part 5

Max felt himself being grabbed by the collar and shoved up against the side of a stall. He took a minute to process what was happening and stared into the eyes of his assailant, “What the hell, Michael?!”

He attempted to shrug Michael off of him, but he wouldn’t budge.

Michael spat angrily at Max, “How could you do that to her Max! How could you just let her wander the streets in the middle of the night?!”

“What are you talking about?!” Max shouted back, once more attempting to throw Michael off him.

Michael laughed and shook his head. “Isabel! Do you know that she showed up at my house around three this morning, practically in tears?! It looked like she ran all of the way there! She was upset! And she cried herself to sleep! She thought that I didn’t notice, but I did! How could you have upset her that much?! She’s your sister!!” He punched Max in the gut, his rage taking over, “What the hell did you say to her?!”

Max winced with Michael’s punch, doubling over, but Michael held him in place. “You don’t know what you’re talking about, Michael!”

Michael scoffed, “Don’t know what I’m talking about?! She rambled on and on about how you two had a fight, and when I asked her about it this morning, she took off running. What the hell is going on with you, Max? Are you hitting her?!”

That was too much for Max. How dare he… How dare Michael suggest that he could hurt Isabel. He curled his hands into fists and grunted, “I…” A punch sent into Michael’s gut, releasing Michael’s hands from him, “would…” A punch to Michael’s head, “never…” The two starting wrestling around on the floor, eager to get a piece of the other, “hurt…” the rolled into the swinging door and out into the hallway, “her!”

A loud jeer echoed around the halls above them, “FIGHT!” It was Kyle Valenti.

A crowd of students enthusiastically formed around them, screaming taunts and urging them forward. Some chanted, ‘Fight, Fight, Fight,’ While others screamed obscenities like, “Knee him!” “Punch him!” “Get him!”

Neither Max nor Michael noticed this. Michael, at the current point, had Max pinned and sent a punch into his face. Blood soared everywhere upon contact, but Max didn’t let up.

The crowd erupted in cheers.

He struggled upwards and tackled Michael, sinking his fists anywhere he could get. He thought that he felt his fist make contact with Michael’s lip, but he couldn’t be too sure.

A group of administrators and teachers were gathering now, unsure of what to do. Two of the wrestling coaches took the initiative and strode forward, attempting to pry the two apart. With a final punch to Max’s gut, Michael was pulled to his feet with his arms held behind his back. He looked seething at Max, who was in the same position.

Michael seemed to have gotten off better in the fight. His cut lip was nothing to match Max’s bruised cheek and cut forehead. True, they were a small bruise and cut, but Michael could tell they still hurt. And he was glad.

One of the administrators strode forward with a puzzled look on her face. “Evans and Guerin? Never in all of my wildest dreams would I have thought you two would get into a fight…”

Everyone else had been thinking it, but no one said it. If anything, Michael had always backed Max up in an argument and vice versa. News of the fight was going to spread through the halls like wildfire.

Isabel pushed her way to the front of the crowd, closely followed by Maria, Liz, and Alex. Her eyes bugged, “What happened?!”

One of the teachers responded, “These two got into an argument over something and decided the best way to work through it would be to fight each other.”

Max couldn’t bring himself to look up at his sister. He stared blankly at the floor as a school cop cuffed his hands behind his back. He heard Michael’s being cuffed as well. And that’s when he heard her voice, coming from not a few feet away, just by where Isabel’s had come from, “Max?”

It was soft, almost afraid. He gulped, squeezing his eyes shut. Was she afraid of him?

Liz could see his anguish, she wanted to help him, but how? She called out again, “Max?”

He still wouldn’t bring his eyes up to meet hers. He was so ashamed that she was seeing him like this… that Isabel was seeing him like this.

Liz’s heart felt like someone had stomped all over it. His long sleeved, black t-shirt and dark jeans were splattered with blood. His blood.

She wanted to know what had caused it.

Helplessly, the four watched, almost in slow motion, as Michael and Max were dragged away from them, through the crowd and out of sight. The teachers called out to the group, “Get to class!” They were forced to move on.

Max and Michael were both brought into the principal’s office. They refused to look at each other, much less speak in their defense. An officer had removed their handcuffs.

The principal was growing tired of their silence. “What started the fight?”

Michael rolled his eyes, “An argument.”

“Over?” The principal questioned, glad to finally have a response.

“Listen, can we just get the punishments and go?” Michael was being very impatient. He wanted to get out of the room, away from Max.

The principal frowned, “This is much more than a reprimand, Mr. Evans. Roswell has a no tolerance violence policy. I’ve talked it over with the sheriff and we’ve both agreed that a four day suspension policy will be put into affect. Assuming that you show remorse and because you are both first-time offenders, we will pardon you from being held in jail cells until your parents see fit. Mr Guerin, due to your apparent lack of remorse,” He looked at Max sternly, “You shall be serving your suspension for four days. Mr Evans, due to your understanding of the situation, you shall be given two days. It’s in-school for the both of you.”

Max cringed. How was that fair? Michael had thrown the first punch! And even if he could raise the money to go to a college, they’d frown upon his record now because of the suspension. Michael didn’t even want to go to college!

“However, until your parents come to claim you, you are to be contained in my office. If your parents fail to claim you before school’s let out, you’ll be sent home, but don’t expect me to not talk to your parents.”

Diane and Phillip were there within half an hour and the principal explained to them what had happened. They were about to walk out of the door when Diane turned around to Max, “Is your father coming?” She didn’t have any anger in her voice. It seemed like she was reserving judgment until she heard the story from them.

Max nodded, “I think so.”

Diane frowned, but nodded anyway. She left the room with a slight smile back at him.

Max sat there until the bell rang, and the principal looked up at him, “I’ll be calling your foster father. Good day, Mr Guerin.”

Max got up and left the office, only to find Alex, Liz, Maria, and Isabel waiting for him in the hallway. He wasn’t in the mood to talk about this right now.

“What happened this morning, Max?” Maria asked. In truth, she was more concerned about Michael, but she wouldn’t admit to it.

He shook his head, “I don’t want to talk about it.”

Alex was next, “What’d the principal say?”

“I’ve been suspended for four days.” He replied stoically, still looking at his feet. He couldn’t look at Isabel or Liz. It would be too much, “In-school.”

“Four days?!” Isabel was shocked, “Four days?! They only suspended the kids in the fight last week for two days! Did Michael get the same thing?!”

“No.” He shook his head, a slight annoyance in his voice, “He got two days. Because he showed remorse.” The word was spit out in loathing. He started to walk down the hall, but the others fell into step beside him.

Isabel was baffled, “You mean that you weren’t even sorry that you got into the fight?”

“No.” Max replied shortly.

Alex scratched his head, “Why?”

“He accused me of hitting Isabel! That bastard, who doesn’t know what he’s fucking talking about, accused me of hitting her!” He had turned to look at all of them and watched as their faces fell at the statement. They were equally surprised at the words coming out of his mouth. He’d never really cursed before. He spun angrily on his heel and walked briskly away, too fast for them to follow.

He needed to get out. He needed to just get to work and get back to his normal life.

He practically ran the entire way to The Crashdown. He stormed angrily into the back, throwing his stuff into his locker before getting his busboy things and heading out to clean the tables. There was a large crowd of high school kids, as always after school, but when he entered, most of them stopped talking to stare.

They had all been talking about the fight. He’d drawn so much attention to himself.

He did his best to ignore them. Isabel, Maria, Liz, and Alex all entered a few minutes later, and he did his best to ignore them too. They all sat in a booth together and were discussing something in low voices. Just like everyone else. Even his sister was alienating him right now.

The after-school crowd finally thinned out and was replaced by the dinner crowd. Max worked silently, still ignoring the booth of four sitting in the corner that was watching him intently. Like they expected him to explode something at any minute.

Towards ten, Michael walked in. Max looked up and stiffened, narrowing his eyes. He and Michael stared for a moment before Michael lowered his gaze to join the others in the booth.

Max knew that this fight wasn’t going to go away. He couldn’t easily forgive Michael for accusing him of striking Isabel.

Around eleven, Liz had gone into the back to grab something from her room and Mr. Parker poked his head into the front of the café. He looked sullen, “Max? Can I… Can I speak to you for a minute?”

Max nodded and walked into the back, highly aware of the stares following him.

Mr Parker gestured to the couch, “Have a seat.”

Max shook his head, “I’d rather stand, sir.”

“I’ve been rebudgeting lately.” Mr. Parker started. Max could see that he was stalling for time, trying to find the words, “And I’ve realized that we don’t have a need for your position anymore. The waitresses are going to be taking over your duties and… I’m going to have to lay you off Max, replace you with a fulltime cook.”

Max felt like he was going to be sick. He needed this job. But Mr Parker had done so much for him; he wasn’t going to beg to be kept on. “Could I… could I take the job as the cook?”

Mr Parker shook his head, “It’s fulltime, Max. You’ve got school and everything.”

“I need this, Mr Parker. I’ll drop out of school… I can…” He was raking his brain for something. Anything. He needed to keep this job.

“No, Max.” Mr Parker said sternly, “You’re not going to drop out of school. I’m sure that a little time to yourself would be good, anyway.”

Max nodded, his eyes looking to the floor. Where was he going to find another job? He extended his hand to Mr Parker, looking him firmly in the eye. “Thank you for the work Mr Parker. I’ve really appreciated this.”

Jeff nodded and took the boy into a quick embrace. “It was no problem.”

Max was about to push his way out of the door when Liz’s voice called out to him. “Wait!”

He paused, sighing. Apparently Liz had heard the entire conversation.

“Dad, do you think we could give him the jar now?”

Jeff smiled at his daughter. “Yeah.”

Liz rummaged through her locker and pulled out a good-sized jar, filled with bills. She held it out to Max, “This is yours.”

He looked at it incredulously, “No, it isn’t.”

“Yes it is. This is the 'Max Jar.' We’ve been keeping your tips in here ever since you started working.” She pushed it into his hands.

Max stared at her blankly and then shook his head, holding it back out to her, “I don’t want this, I told you to give them to your dad.”

“I don’t want it, Max.” Jeff replied, “It's yours, you earned it.”

Max shook his head, “But… Mr Parker… this is my way of thanking you. Please... take it.”

Jeff put his hands in the air, “You’ve got nothing to thank me for, Max. Now take the jar and leave before I have to kick you out.” The last sentence was more playful than threatening.

Max sighed. He could tell he wasn’t going to get anywhere in this argument. He took his bag and his leather jacket, which happened to be the only things in his locker, and left the back room with a final glance at Liz.

He shoved the jar hastily into the bag and looked up at the table. It was just Isabel and Michael left.

He walked over, not looking at Michael, “C’mon Iz, let’s go home.”

“You don’t get off for another half hour, Max…” She was puzzled. He never shirked his duties.

He shrugged, “I was fired.” He walked out of the building, knowing she would follow. He didn’t want to know Michael’s reaction to this news.

Isabel burst out of the café, “Fired?!”

He shrugged again, “Mr Parker needs a fulltime cook.”

Isabel put her arm on his shoulder, stopping him. Without warning, she pulled him into a tight embrace, “I’m so sorry, Max.” He felt a tear drip onto his shoulder.

He held her. “What for? You didn’t do anything.”

“Your fight with Michael was practically my fault, and then you get fired and suspended all in the same day.” She replied, more tears falling onto his shoulder.

“Hey,” He pulled her to arm’s length and wiped away her tears, “The fight wasn’t your fault, okay? It was just a bunch of stupid guys overreacting. And don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine.” He placed a kiss on top of her head and then put his arm around her shoulder. He gazed at her gently, “Why don’t you go back and ask Michael if you could stay at his house tonight, okay? I think I need to walk around a little bit.”

Isabel nodded and turned around with a backwards glance at her brother. She was really worried about him. She smiled faintly to a concerned Liz walking towards Max. Maybe she’d be able to talk to him.

TBC...
Last edited by sprayadhesive on Sat Jan 13, 2007 12:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by sprayadhesive » Wed Jul 05, 2006 8:21 pm

Part 6

Liz lost sight of Max almost immediately. She had to jog to try and keep up with him, and even still, his longer legs were traveling faster than hers. She turned some corners and found herself on a road she’d never been on before. Liz caught a brief glimpse of Max before he disappeared.

As she walked closer to the last place she’d seen him, she heard a faint noise that sounded like someone crying. Liz turned to her left and saw Max squatting against a wall in an alley, his head in his hands.

She stood next to him, “Max?”

He looked up at her with tears still in his eyes. He looked away from her quickly, obviously embarrassed to be seen crying. “Liz,” He sputtered, wiping at his face, “What’re you doing here?”

After a few more wipes of his sleeve, he rose to his feet and faced her. Liz’s heart twinged once more. His eyes were red and puffy. He looked like he was about to break again, “I came to see how you were… you looked really upset when you left.” She studied his face for a reaction and was disappointed when she didn’t get one, “And I don’t think it’s just because my dad laid you off.”

He looked to the alley’s entrance, his face void of any emotions, “I’ve gotta go… I’ll see you tomorrow. But I’m fine. Don’t worry about me.”

He walked hurriedly to the entrance. He stopped in his tracks, like he was unable to move. She moved forward to comfort him somehow, “Max…”

Max took a step out of her grasp. He responded in a colder voice, his face still maintaining its impassiveness, “I’m fine. Good night, Liz.” He walked away before Liz could stop him again. Why did he have to show her his weakness? Why wasn’t he just able to make it to wherever he was going without realizing that someone was following him? Why couldn’t he make it to his unknown destination without loosing it completely?

Liz was so taken aback by his actions. Max Guerin, whom had never really shown her an angry side or a sad side, had been in a fight and found crying in an alleyway all in the same day. Something was really wrong with him, and she was going to find out what.

She’d do anything to help him, not just because he saved her life, but because he was well… Max. Max, who she’d secretly admired for most of her life. Max, who despite his thick walls and many layers, had the biggest heart of anyone she knew. Even if he would never admit to it.

She turned dejectedly and backtracked to the Crashdown. Looking inside, Isabel and Michael were the only ones left. They seemed to be having a heated discussion over something.

Liz opened the door and immediately understood what they were talking about.

“Damn it, Michael, why would you just assume that he’s hitting me?! Have I ever had any bruises?! Anything?!” Isabel countered.

Michael shook his head, realizing his error, “He could have healed them right afterwards… Isabel, what was I supposed to think? You showed up at my house at three in the morning, practically in tears, and then you cry yourself to sleep. And when I ask you what’s wrong, you tell me that you and Max got into a fight!”

Isabel slammed her hand on the table, “And I said that I didn’t want to talk about it!! But you, of course, come to an asinine conclusion and attack him?!”

“HEY! All I did was a simple punch to the gut. After that, I asked him if he was hitting you… and then he attacked me.” Michael said angrily, obviously not seeing Isabel’s point.

“What would you have done if someone accused you of hitting me, Michael?! Would you have just sat there and taken it if Max had accused you of that?! Max, someone who you think of as a brother, attacking you and saying that you attacked your sister?!” Isabel raised her voice, looking highly frazzled.

Michael scratched at his eyebrow, “I uh… I didn’t see it like that…”

“Michael, you need to know that all Max has done his entire life is look after me. He gave up his childhood for me. And to top it all off, he feels like…” She trailed off, finally noticing that Liz was standing in the doorway, “Hey, Liz. I take it you couldn’t get through to him?”

She shook her head, “No… but what does he feel like, Isabel?”

Isabel was caught. She could tell them some things without revealing what Max didn’t want them to know, right? “He feels like we’re stuck with Hank because of him.”

“What do you mean stuck with Hank? And why does he think that? It’s not like he had anything to do with who adopted you guys...” Michael frowned. He was apprehensive to learn more about Hank. It seemed like Max and Isabel would change the subject every time someone brought him up.

“Well… yeah, he kind of did.” Isabel replied, uncertain of where to take this, “I don’t really know how to… I guess I’ll just say it? When we were in the orphanage, it was never Max that the families were interested in adopting. It was always me. And we both knew that we had to stay together, but I was too afraid to do anything. I actually liked some of the families, but I knew that I would never be happy without Max. I already cried myself to sleep every night because we lost you, Michael.”

She took a deep breath, “And Max told me the other day that he would scare the families away from me. And then Hank came and he adopted both of us. And Max thinks it’s his fault that we’re both living in a trailer,” What was a little bending of the truth? “As opposed to me living in a nice house and him still being in the orphanage.”

Michael let out a low whistle, “I never thought that… I never knew. Haven’t you tried to talk to him? And tell him that you didn’t want to be separated from him either?”

“Well, yeah, what do you think?” Isabel scowled, “But he won’t stop blaming himself.”

Liz sat heavily into the booth next to Michael, who scooted over to allow her room, “When I went out to go to talk to him…” She wasn’t sure if she should be talking about this, but it seemed fitting enough, “He was crouched in an alleyway, crying. But then he just took off after I asked him how he was.”

Isabel’s jaw dropped, “He was crying?”

“Yeah…”

“Holy shit, are you sure?” Michael repeated.

“Yes!” Liz practically shouted, “Why is that so hard to believe?”

Isabel shook her head back and forth in bewilderment, “I’ve never seen or heard Max cry in my life.”

“Yeah,” Michael continued, “He’s always been like… this wall. I was starting to believe that he didn’t have any tear ducts.”

Isabel was still awed, “You’re positive he was crying? Tears were running down his face and he was making sobbing noises?”

“I’m positive…” Liz repeated.

Isabel rose to her feet, “I’ve got to find him…”

“Iz, it’s like… eleven at night. You can’t just go wandering Roswell looking for Max.” Michael tried to persuade her.

“So come with me! We can’t just stay here! He’s obviously upset! ” Isabel scowled at him once more. Her cool, icy manner had disappeared almost immediately after she’d heard that Max had been seen crying and was replaced by a caring, concerned sister.

Michael placed his hand over hers, “Isabel, you need to listen to me. He just needs time to calm down. Okay? He’s got a lot of shit going on in his life…”

Isabel nodded, sitting down once more, “Okay. Okay. So, we just give him some time to cool off.”

“Liz and I need to ask you something, Isabel,” Michael was slowly putting two and two together. In this case, he’d connected the cigarette burn to Max’s long sleeved t-shirt. Liz looked at him questioningly, but he continued, “Yesterday in Biology, Liz saw a cigarette burn on Max’s arm…”

Isabel froze. A cigarette burn on his arm? But… he hadn’t told her about any of this. Actually, she didn’t really know what happened to Max when Hank beat him. Her insides squirmed. Why did this have to happen to Max? Because of her. Her eyes watered and she managed to squeak out, “He… he was helping Alex fix his car and then he burned himself on the engine.”

Liz scoffed, “Oh, that’s funny; Max told me that he burnt his arm on the stove.”

Isabel’s mouth opened and closed. Michael’s face hardened, “Isabel, what’s going on? Why is Max showing up to school with cigarette burns on his arm? Why did he come to school wearing a long sleeved shirt today? Why did you show up at my house last night at three in the morning?”

Isabel avoided meeting his gaze, so Michael pressed on, “Is it Hank? What’s Hank doing to Max?”

Hank. Max was going back to the trailer by himself with Hank. He couldn’t heal anything that Hank did to him. What if Hank managed to break another bone again? Her skin prickled in fear, her stomach contorting into even more knots. She had to tell Michael. If she didn’t, Max could… he could… she didn’t want to think about that. But she had to get him help. This had gone on for far too long. “Michael, can I talk to you? Privately?”

“Oh, so I guess this is just another alien thing that the human is too primitive to understand?” Liz scoffed, sliding from the booth and disappearing into the backroom.

Max meandered down the road to the trailer park. There was nowhere else to go, other than sleeping in a park. He kicked angrily at the dirt. He cried tonight in front of someone, no, not just someone – Liz Parker. He cried in front of Liz. And the worst part? He wanted to run in her arms and tell her everything.

He wasn’t even supposed to have feelings for her. But ever since he’d laid eyes on her, he knew that no other girl could compare.

He scoffed, kicking another clump of dirt that happened to get in his way. He needed a car. But his savings were currently reserved for Isabel’s birthday present. In three days, she would be free from their prison.

Max opened the door without a care for the dangers that were on the other side. He just didn’t care anymore.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Michael followed Isabel out of the Crashdown, standing impatiently just outside of the doors, “Well? Are you going to tell me what’s going on with Mr. Passive Aggressive?”

“Michael… Max is… Hank is… and Max…” She couldn’t find the words. A vision on Max being thrown against the trailer wall floated into her vision. A tear dripped down her cheek, “He made me promise not to tell anyone.”

“Promise you not to tell anyone what?” Michael put his hands on her forearms, giving her a slight shake, “Isabel, I need you to tell me if he’s in danger right now. Is Hank hurting Max?”

Isabel broke down in tears, sinking down onto the pavement, “He protects me from him. He wants to… but Max… locks me in our room… and Max… Hank…” Isabel’s voice seemed to be caught in her throat. Another vision of Max’s blood soaring onto the walls after being punched by Hank clouded her mind, “Oh Michael…” Her sobs increased, “H-he hurts Max. A-almost every n-night. H-he hurts him s-so b-bad. A-and M-Max can’t heal himself, anymore. His p-powers aren’t w-working.” Her eyes widened in fear, “We n-need to get to him! He c-can’t heal himself!”

“Why… why didn’t you guys ever tell me this was happening?! I’ve known you for so long… Oh God, we’ve got to go…” Michael ran his fingers through his hair nervously before leading Isabel down the road to his mother’s car. His bike was currently in the shop.

He led Isabel into the passenger’s seat and ran to the other side of the car, getting in and starting the car as fast as possible. He drove as fast as the speed limit, “How long has this been going on, Isabel?! Were you ever going to tell me?!” She didn’t seem to want to answer him, “Tell me!”

“Since he adopted us,” Isabel replied in shame. Her voice was a mere whisper, “Don’t be mad. Please don’t be mad.”

They pulled in front of the trailer and Michael turned to her with an unreadable expression on his face, “Have you ever seen what Hank does to him?”

“No… Max always locked me in our room.” Isabel responded, reaching to pull off her seatbelt.

Michael’s hand stopped her, “Stay here.”

“What?” Isabel’s voice faltered again.

“Max had a reason for keeping you from seeing this. Stay here, I’ll have him out in a minute or two.” Michael responded. Seeing she was going to protest, he scowled, “Do this for me. Do it because you should trust me, even though you don’t.”

“Michael…!” She called after him, but he was already gone. She slumped back in her chair, more tears coming to the surface.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hank’s hands were around Max’s neck, shoving him against the wall before Max could fully open the door. Hank’s vision swept past Max and to the doorway, “Where’s your pretty sister?”

Max’s hands came around Hank’s, attempting miserably to remove them from his neck, “Sh-she’s at a friend’s.”

“I don’t believe I gave my permission for her to go there.” He breathed heavily into Max’s face.

“I-I told her to.” Max coughed out, his windpipe burning. Hank’s hand came up, streaking violently across Max’s face.

Hank shoved a fist into Max’s gut, “I… am… the ONLY one… to tell HER… what to do.” He punched Max fiercely in the head, “Do you hear me?”

Max cringed, the world swimming around in front of his eyes, “No.” He attempted to walk away from Hank, but he should’ve known better. Hank’s hand seized his wrist. Max turned around, only seconds away from sending Hank flying. But he couldn’t. If he did, Hank would know. He’d put Isabel and Michael in danger.

Hank laughed at the boy, “You can’t get out of this one.” Max turned in the other direction, realizing that it was never a good idea to come back here in the first place. He was feet from the door when Hank tackled him to the ground, “Oh no you don’t. I’ve got a lesson to teach you. Especially after I got that call from the principal. I should’ve known that you’d get suspended one of these days, you good-for-nothing son of a bitch!”

Max’s hand landed painfully at an odd angle. He called out in agony as Hank rolled him over onto his back. Max raised his uninjured hand and attempted to cover his face with it. He tried with all of his might to roll over, but it was impossible. Hank’s weight was just too much for him. Hank’s fists easily breached Max’s feeble barrier.

Fist after fist collided painfully with Max’s head and upper-body until he was sure that he was inches from passing out. Hank got off of him abruptly and pulled him to his feet, throwing him bodily against the wall. He advanced on Max’s crumpled form like a tiger stalking his prey.

Max vaguely felt Hank’s hands grab hold of his shirt, lifting him off of his feet and into the air, leaving Max’s feet dangling helplessly in the air. Max’s head lolled sideways onto his shoulder as Hank shoved him up against the wall, pinning him there. Just as Hank drew back his fist to drive it into Max once more, the door was thrown open, “Get your fucking hands off of him!!”

TBC...
Last edited by sprayadhesive on Sat Jan 13, 2007 12:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by sprayadhesive » Sat Jul 08, 2006 2:35 am

Part 7

Hank turned to Michael, dropping Max to the ground. He let out a sinister chuckle. “What if I say no? Going to scowl at me until I drop dead?”

Max groaned. Isabel told. He coughed slightly, “Michael, just get out of here.” He attempted to stand up, but stumbled right back down to the ground.

Hank gave a bone-chilling cackle. “That’s right, you worthless piece of shit. Stay down on the ground.” He swiftly kicked Max in the side.

“Get away from him!” Michael advanced, a newfound urgency coming into his voice. It was taking all of his self-control to not puke. This was making him literally sick. How had Max lived like this? How could anyone live like this?

“If you don’t mind, he’s legally mine. And I’m trying to teach him a lesson. Now get going.” Hank pointed to the door. When Michael’s gaze followed his finger’s point, Hank turned back to Max.

Michael glared at the back of his head before striding to Max’s side. He took Max’s unhurt arm and slung it over his shoulder, providing Max with the support he needed to walk. Max stared at the ground, his features still stoic, “Leave this alone, Michael…”

Michael ignored him walked the two forward, but Hank stood in the way, “I said get going.”

Michael smirked, “Well, I’m trying to go, but you’re in my way.”

“That’s not going.” Hank pointed to Max in disgust.

“Yes, he is.” Michael repeated firmly, his temper out of control. The light bulb above them shattered. Hank ducked, throwing his arms over his head. Michael took the opportunity to bring himself and Max outside. Michael quickly deposited Max into the backseat before hopping into the driver’s seat and taking off. They could hear Hank yelling after them for a brief second, but then the noise was drowned out by the engine.

Isabel turned around in her seat, tears swimming in her eyes. Max was sitting diagonally from her, hunched over and staring intently at the floor. Isabel could see blood running down what little of his face that she could see. He refused to look up at her. She choked back her tears. “I’m sorry… I’m so sorry…”

Max shook his head back and forth. “Stop it, Isabel. Just stop. Nothing’s your fault. I’m sure you told Michael… for a reason.” The last three words came out extremely bitter, an emotion that he never meant to escape.

“Are you okay, Max?” Michael could feel the tension coming from them in waves. He still felt sick to his stomach. Hank didn’t even think of Max as a person. Hank referred to Max as an it. How could someone be so twisted that they didn’t even think of someone like a real person? And how did Max stand for it his entire life? Why did he stand for it his entire life?

Max nodded, speaking with hostility, “Why wouldn’t I be?”

Michael scoffed and continued to drive. He wasn’t going to deal with this right now. He was going to talk to Max later, when they were back at his place. He pulled the car over to the side of the road.

Isabel looked up in confusion, “Liz?! You want me to stay with Liz?!”

“Just… hold on a minute. I sent her a text message not long ago, she’ll be out.” Michael got out of the car, Isabel following him. Max remained seated in his crouched position.

Liz strode out to the front of the Crashdown, an exasperated look on her face. “What?! You take off on me, but then you send me a message about an emergency?”

Michael held up his hand, ceasing her rant. “Can Isabel stay with you tonight?”

“Why can’t she go home?” Liz didn’t sound bitter, just inquisitive.

Isabel cut in, effectively stopping Michael in his tracks, “Hank’s out of town and Max is staying with Michael, you know… male bonding. And well, all of my so-called friends are bitches, so…”

Liz looked into the car and spotted Max. Her heart clenched. Was that blood? “What’s going on? Why’s Max bleeding?”

“Liz, can I stay with you or not?” Isabel asked, a tad bit impatiently.

“Yeah… yeah.” She looked a little taken aback. She felt like she couldn’t take her eyes off of Max. Almost as if he somehow knew she was staring at him, he avoided her gaze completely. He looked really injured, but at the same time, his indifference was stumping her. Somehow Isabel had managed to walk ten feet past Liz without Liz noticing. Liz turned around, effectively snapped out of her trance. “Yeah, okay. I’ll see you later, Michael.”

Michael rolled his eyes and climbed back into the car. It was a silent drive, with Max refusing to even raise his head to look at Michael. Michael continually glanced up into the rear view mirror, only to find Max in the same hunched over position. Michael checked out the clock: 11:45. His parents weren’t going to be asleep yet. He pulled into the garage and turned off the car. The two sat in the darkness until Max finally spoke in nothing but a whisper, “You can’t tell anyone, Michael. Not your parents, not Maria, not Liz, not anybody.”

“How do you expect me to not tell anyone about this?!” Michael fumed, turning around in his seat to face Max. He noted with a twinge to his heart that Max was still stoic and staring at the ground.

“Do you understand what will happen if you tell someone?!” Max fired back, still staring intently at nothing.

Michael rolled his eyes, laying on the sarcasm, “You’ll stop living in a dump and getting beat by Hank?”

Max cringed, still speaking in his soft voice, “First of all, that ‘dump’ has been my home for the past ten years. Secondly, I don’t care about that right now. What I care about is being taken away from Isabel or you. I care about being taken away from the only town that I’ve ever known, the only family I’ve ever known, and being thrown back into the foster care system. I care about losing my world. So you can’t tell anyone.” Max’s voice rose a little with his last statement, but he didn’t make any angry gestures, or move at all for that matter.

Michael didn’t say anything, but got out of the car and stood, waiting for Max to follow him. Once Max did, they walked into the kitchen and awaited Diane and Phillip to come into the kitchen and reprimand them for staying out so late.

Diane walked into the room first, her hand immediately going to her mouth, “PHILLIP!” She walked over slowly to Max, her hand still over her mouth. Phillip came dashing into the room within seconds. His own jaw dropped as he walked to his wife’s side. Nancy collected herself first, “Good gracious, what happened to you?”

Max shrugged. He had to think of a good excuse… and fast. He knew that his injuries were probably the worst they’ve been in a long time. His hand still hung limply by his side and it was throbbing something terrible. How could he play this off? A fight? Getting mugged? Tripping? Every excuse has its ups and downs.

“Some guys were getting sleazy with Isabel,” He started, biting at his lip. At any moment, Michael could jump in and expose him, “So I told them to back off. But then there was four of them and one of me and they didn’t like me telling them to go away… so…” He gestured to his face, making the mistake of using his injured wrist. He winced in pain, grabbing at it with his hand. He finished lamely, offering a small, hardened smile, “four against one, ya know? And then Michael came around the corner as they were leaving and he picked me up and dropped Isabel off and now we’re here. I was too ashamed to go home after what happened…”

Diane and Phillip exchanged uneasy glances. Diane drew Max into a hug. Max was awkward like he didn’t know what to do. His arms were pinned down to his side and he shot Michael a few desperate glances. Michael didn’t do anything to bail him out of it. Diane withdrew after a few moments. “Let me look you over. Some of those cuts on your face look a little iffy...”

She dragged Max over to a kitchen chair, sitting him down. She tilted his face upwards towards the light and made a clicking noise with her tongue. She walked back and got a few medical supplies out of the cabinet over the sink. She hustled to Max, calling over her shoulder to Michael, “Dear, go get out Max’s sleeping bag. You both must be exhausted; it’s been a long day.”

Max laughed to himself. She had no idea.

Diane cleaned at the cuts on his faces, unrelenting even when he protested that he was fine. His nose was purple and bruised, but after a thorough examination, it was declared unbroken. She applied a bandage to his temple, some antiseptic to his cut lip, and checked over his quickly-blackening eye before declaring there was nothing more that she could do about it. She handed him a bottle of aspirin, “Hold this for a moment, honey.”

He grasped at the bottle for a second before it fell to the ground with a thud. He wrung at his hand with his other hand and cursed silently. It hurt like Hell to try and grip anything. Diane grabbed his forearm and looked over his hand, “What hurts?”

“It’ll be fine.” He grimaced, unaware of the way that Phillip and Diane were scrutinizing his every movement.

“Nonsense.” Diane frowned, “I think we should take you to the emergency room to get this checked. It looks like it could be broken.”

Max’s eyes widened, “I’ll be fine, really. I don’t want to go to the hospital. Can’t you just… bandage it up or something?”

Diane’s frown remained, but she was shaken by his adamancy, “Fine.” She gingerly wrapped an ace bandage around Max’s hand and wrist before pulling a sling out of the medical kit. She smiled at Max’s surprised look, “Phillip did some renovations a few years ago. Fell off of a ladder and sprained his wrist.” She reached around Max to place the sling on him, but he winced in pain once more.

She withdrew from him, her frown increasing, “Max, honey, take off your shirt.”

“Mrs. Evans, I promise I’m fine. I don’t need the sling… I’ll just go meet Michael in his room.” He made to rise from the chair to have Diane push him back into it. He looked up at her with his usual expressionless mask.

She pointed his finger at her menacingly, “Maxwell Guerin, don’t you try to shirk me. Are you or are you not wincing practically every time I touch you?”

“I’m not.” Max lied to her, hoping that she’d buy it.

“Diane, leave it be.” Phillip said sternly. When he saw her worried look, he gave her a small smile, “I want a few words with Max. Can you leave him with the ice and then leave us to talk, please?”

She nodded and placed the bag of ice in Max’s hand, “Use it on your eye, sweetie. Tell me if you need anything else.”

Max nodded and offered her a fake smile and half-hearted thanks. She took off to her own room, leaving Max alone with Phillip. Max shifted uncomfortably in his chair. Phillip’s gaze was penetrating and he didn’t like it.

Phillip stared intently at Max, “So, you’ve been getting into a lot of fights lately.”

Max shrugged. What was he supposed to say to that? Phillip’s gaze shifted for a moment to Max’s arm, the opposite of the one that was injured. Max noted with a groan that his sleeve was pushed up a little to reveal a bruise, “That’s older than when you and Michael got into your fight, Max.”

“I… fell. Last night. Playing basketball.” Max lied again, hoping that it would get him out of some grizzly explanations. He kept his face in the usual expressionless mask.

“I see.” Phillip nodded, an eyebrow quirked, “If there’s anything that you ever want to tell us or talk about, Max, Diane and I are here.” He left it at that.

Max rose hesitantly from his chair, waiting for Phillip to stop him. When he didn’t, he walked down the hallway quickly and into Michael’s room, bracing himself for the questions. Max closed the door behind him; he figured Michael’s yelling wouldn’t be the greatest thing to have echoing through the house. Michael was sitting on the edge of the bed, facing away from Max. He bobbed his head up and down as Max closed the door and he scrunched up his fingers, “I’m sorry. For this morning. I had no idea what was going on with you two and I was an ass and I’m never assuming again.” He paused for Max to say something, but wasn’t granted the pleasure, “And I’m a jackass and I’m just sorry. Okay? I’m sorry.”

Max nodded. As hard as it was going to be to forgive Michael, he had to try. He sat with his back to him, on the opposite edge of the bed, “How could you even think that I could hit her? She’s my sister… I would never let anything happen to her.”

“Max, listen to me, you scare the shit out of me. Because I can never tell what you’re thinking, no one can. You’ve got yourself closed off from the world, you rarely show any expression, you don’t even let anyone know the real you. And then tonight happens, and I recognize that I don’t even know you.” Michael’s tone grew serious, “And I realized that the two people that I thought I could be completely honest with and vice versa have been lying to me for as long as I’ve known them.”

“Don’t bring Isabel into this. I made her promise not to tell anyone, including you.” Max sighed, “Don’t take it out on her.”

Michael shook his head, “I don’t understand how you don’t want me to tell anyone about this!” He rose to his feet, pacing in front of Max, “Damn it, Max! You’re not living right now, do you understand that?! Do you know how hard it was for me to lie to my parents just then?! Do you know how hard it’s going to be to watch you come to school with more and more bruises and not be able to do anything about it?! Do you know how hard it’s going to be for me to get to sleep every night knowing that you could be lying dead in a trailer?!”

“It’s not going to get that far.” Max shook his head, his arm cradled in his lap.

“Oh, it’s not?! What about your powers?! What happened to them?!” Michael practically shouted, only keeping his voice in check by reminding himself what could happen if his parents overheard them.

Max hung his head, “I don’t know.”

Michael shook where he was standing, “He’s just hitting you. Tell me that he’s not doing anything worse.” His voice was a mere whisper now.

“He’s not.” Max replied, just as quietly. He knew that if Michael knew, he would tell someone.

“So help me, if this gets any worse than it already is, even though that’s practically not possible, I’m telling someone. I mean it, Max. I will tell someone.” Michael practically shook, “I won’t let you live this way.”

Max shook his head, “This is my life.”

Michael gave a bitter laugh, “You’re not living.”

A knock at the door interrupted the deafening silence that came over them. Diane’s voice floated through, “Michael, honey, can you come out and say goodnight to us?”

Michael rose to his feet and left the room, muttering something about how Max should take a shower and try to get to bed. Max sunk against the door to the hallway, placing his head on his knees. He almost cried out in pain as some of his bruises were brushed against. He could hear some voices floating from down the hallway and coming through the air vents:

“We’re worried about him, Michael.” Diane was heard, “He works so much. And then lately he’s had all of these bruises and getting into fights. Not just with you, but with some people that you guys don’t even know? Something’s not adding up.”

Phillip’s voice came next, “Have you even met his father? Hank? He goes out of town an awful lot…”

Max held his breath. Do or die.

“He just works a lot.” Short and simple. Okay, Max could live with that…

Phillip’s voice came once more, “Michael, I need you to tell us if something’s happening with Max. If there is and you’re not telling us, it could be dangerous. Now, is there anything?”

A long pause. Max found his heart racing. He was ready to spring to his feet and dash out of the window when Michael finally replied, “No. It’s just normal teenaged stuff.”

Max sighed in relief. He rose to his feet and went into Michael’s bathroom, turning on the shower.

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“Isabel?” Liz had been trying to get to sleep for an hour now, but she couldn’t do it. She had too many questions floating through her mind.

“Hmm?” Isabel hadn’t been able to sleep, either. She needed to call Michael and find out how Max was doing, but she couldn’t do that without rousing Liz’s suspicions. She was surprised to find how receptive Liz’s parents were towards her. They hardly questioned her when Liz asked if she could spend the night.

Liz clicked her tongue, “What’s going on with Max lately?”

Isabel rolled over, facing the wall. She sighed, “Nothing.”

“Don’t lie to me. I know that something’s going on. A cigarette burn yesterday, today he gets into a fight with Michael, tonight he had blood dripping down his face when you were dropped off.” Liz listed them all off, hoping to get a better response from Isabel.

Isabel closed her eyes, inwardly cringing, “It’s nothing. He’ll be fine. He’s a really independent person.”

Liz whispered to herself, aware of the conversation’s end, “That’s what scares me.”

TBC...
Last edited by sprayadhesive on Sat Jan 13, 2007 12:46 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Post by sprayadhesive » Sun Jul 16, 2006 8:08 pm

Part 8

Michael’s hand roamed up Maria’s back and into her hair as he drove his tongue deeper into her mouth. To his dismay, Maria withdrew, breathing hard. “Spaceboy, I know that we’ve talked about this before, well, no, I’ve talked and you’ve avoided, but that’s not the point. I want more. I want a relationship.”

She gave a pout for the full effect. Michael and she had been secretly meeting each other for a month now, but they’d yet to go public with their relationship. Every time she would bring up the topic, Michael would change the subject or simply leave. This time, though, trapped in her arms in the Eraser Room, he had no where to escape to.

He sighed, leaning his forehead against hers, “Okay.”

“Okay? Just like that? Okay? After you’ve been avoiding this for weeks?” Maria asked, impressed with her persuasion skills.

“Do you want me to say no?” Michael laughed; pulling her back into his arms and teasing her mouth open with his tongue.

After a few moments, Maria pulled back once more, “What changed your mind?”

Michael shrugged. The whole thing with Max was really making him rethink some of his decisions in life – the main one being his relationship with Maria. He wanted to give her what she deserved. Screw the fact that he was an alien. If she didn’t care, he wouldn’t. He couldn’t tell her any of this, though, of course. Max would murder him in his sleep. He smiled at her, “You.”

She gave a noise that sounded remotely like an ‘aw’ before pulling Michael back into their interrupted kiss, but the first period bell chose that moment to ring. She sighed, rolling her eyes, “Perfect timing. See you at lunch?”

“ISS, remember?” Michael groaned, opening the door and slinging his arm around her as they walked out together. He welcomed the stares being sent their way. He didn’t care anymore. Maria was his and now everyone knew it.

He walked her to the doorway of her classroom before pushing her up against the wall in the hallway, placing his hand on either side of her and teasing his tongue into her mouth. He withdrew from her teasingly, “Get to class.”

She pouted again, but saw she wasn’t going to crack him. She hit him playfully on the head, “Tease.”

“You know it.” He slapped her on the butt as she turned away from him and laughed when she looked at him with a surprised expression on her face. He walked away, shaking his head before she could say another word.

He walked down the hallway to the ISS room and opened the door to find it completely empty except for a rather tired looking Max sitting in the desk in the far corner. Michael took the seat next to him, “Hey.”

Max grunted in response, staring straight ahead at the blackboard. Most of the desks in the room were chipped away at; others had profanity scratched into them. Above the blackboard, a series of brightly-colored signs hung, expressing things such as “Five Ways to Respect Your Peers” or little positive mantras.

The ISS teacher, Mr. Embly, a rather fat old man came in the room. He looked around briefly, “Right. So, I’ll be in the teacher’s lounge. Come get me if the place is up in smoke or someone’s dying. No roughhousing, no fighting, and no leaving the room. Get your assigned work done.” He didn’t wait for a response and closed the door behind him.

Michael laughed, “If I knew that ISS was this easy, I’d get it more often.” He soon realized that it was a sore subject for Max. Come to think of it, Max hadn’t been very responsive this morning. He didn’t say a word at breakfast and briefly muttered thanks to Phillip and Diane before he left for the car. After they’d gotten to school, he completely ditched Michael and went who-knows-where. Michael decided that attempting to talk was better than nothing, “How’re you feeling?”

“Fine.” Max replied shortly.

“No, I mean… your... bruises and stuff.” Michael didn’t want to pry, but he couldn’t help it.

Max turned fiercely to Michael, “Listen, I didn’t choose to tell you what was going on in my life. If it had been my decision, you still wouldn’t know what the hell was happening. So why don’t you just stop asking about it. Actually, forget about it altogether. And if you don’t mind, I’d like to get my work done.”

Michael was a little shell-shocked. Max rarely snapped at him. But despite the snapping, his face still didn’t show any emotion. Michael raised his hands in surrender, “Okay, calm down Mr. P.A.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Max asked. He wasn’t in the mood for little nicknames right now. He slammed his books on the desk and opened one.

“Nothing, calm down.” Michael rolled his eyes and threw his worksheets haphazardly on the desk. He scratched at his eyebrow before getting started on the first one.

For the rest of the day, Michael was having an inner-battle. Part of him wanted to honor his promise to Max, but most of him wanted to tell someone and get him help. What was Max so afraid of? Unwanted attention that could somehow expose them? Getting a better family? Isabel? No, it couldn’t be Isabel. She was going to be eighteen in four days… Maybe he should wait until then to see what he should do. But four days was forever where this was concerned. He didn’t want to have to go home every night wondering if Max was going to be alive in the morning. He groaned. He really needed to talk to someone.

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Liz sat down between Maria and Alex at their usual lunch table. She smirked as she looked to Alex. “Guess what I heard in the hallways?” She knew that Maria was a sucker for gossip and sure enough, Maria’s head had snapped in their direction.

Alex had to stifle a laugh. He knew what Liz was probably getting at, “What?”

“Someone said that they saw Michael Evans coming out of the Eraser Room with a girl this morning. And then he walked her to class.” She nodded with a smile at Alex, her eyes twinkling, “I wonder who it was… Maria, do you know anything about it?”

Maria shrugged, “Oh, no more than you do.” She knew that Liz knew she was the girl. She and Liz had always teased each other about the men in their lives, not that there were very many of them.

“Whoever it was obviously has a thing for his spiky hair. I don’t see why though.” Alex wrinkled his nose in disgust, “Weird.”

“HEY!” Maria slapped him playfully across the head, “Watch it. Don’t make fun of my boyfriend’s hair.” Nice, she applauded herself. Subtle and easy. The perfect way to let slip that her and Michael’s relationship had progressed.

Liz practically gagged on her yogurt. She recovered quickly, “Your boyfriend, hmm? And you’re not worried that he’s coming out of the Eraser Room with other girls?”

Maria giggled, “Shut up.”

“You have to tell me everything, Maria.” Liz whined. Maria made her tell her everything when she was going out with Kyle, and now she was going to return the favor.

Alex covered his ear, “Later. Tell her everything later.”

Isabel joined them at the table, taking a seat next to Alex. Although neither had decided to do anything about their attraction to the other, Isabel was taking the opportunity to sit with him since Max and Michael were currently detained, “Tell her what later?”

“All of the grizzly details of her and Michael and the Eraser Room.” Liz wrinkled her nose and took another bite of her yogurt.

“WHAT?!” Isabel practically jumped to her feet before calming down, “You and Michael? The Eraser Room?” Her eyes bugged and then she simply looked disgusted, “Oh God, please spare me the details. Forget I even asked.” Her brow furrowed, “Since when are you two together?”

Maria laughed, “Officially? Since this morning.”

“So, you’ve been together before that?” Isabel’s brow furrowed even more, “Michael never mentioned it.

“He didn’t feel like we should go public until this morning.” She frowned, “What I don’t get is his sudden change of mind. What was that about?”

Isabel sunk down in her chair, lowering her gaze. She had a sneaking suspicion that it had to do with Max somehow. Michael always found life lessons in the weirdest situations. She decided to change the subject, somewhat, “No idea. But, Liz thanks for letting me stay at your house last night.” She immediately cringed as she said it.

Liz perked up. Was this an invitation to ask some questions that had been nagging her all night? “Anytime, Isabel, you know that. It’s the least I can do for you three. But… what was that about? And why was Max bleeding?”

“Max was bleeding?” Maria’s eyebrows shot up, “Like bleeding, ‘Ow, I cut myself with a razor’ bleeding or ‘Ow, I got my ass kicked’ bleeding?”

“It was nothing, don’t even worry about it.” Isabel shrugged. Maria’s last statement made ice flood through her veins. She had to remind herself repeatedly that Maria didn’t know, and therefore couldn’t be held accountable for her.

Maria and Liz exchanged looks that didn’t go unnoticed by Alex, “Am I missing something here?” Between band rehearsals and other obligations, he’d missed out on all of the speculation flying around the group.

Before anyone could answer, Kyle slid in beside Maria, “Hey guys.”

Everyone muttered a hey. He chuckled to himself, “So, Max and Michael fighting, huh? That was weird.”

Maria elbowed him. “Shut up, Kyle.”

“Right. Sore subject. Sorry.” He grabbed his chocolate cookie and took a pensive bite, “Tomorrow’s what? The 22nd? Whatever, all that matters is that tomorrow is a Friday. Any big plans for the weekend?”

Everyone shrugged. No one had really thought about the fact that today was a Thursday. Maria frowned, “Michael told me that he might not be able to do too many things this weekend. I asked him about it, but he wouldn’t tell me what he was doing.”

“Come to think of it, Max said that he and Michael were having a guy’s weekend.” Isabel was perplexed, “He said that he’d be home each night, but he’d be gone most of the days. I wonder what those two are up to.”

Kyle grinned, “Looks like it’s the four of us this weekend.”

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Max frowned. The lighting in his room was really killing his eyes. With another thought, the lights dimmed. He smiled to himself and went back to work.

Michael looked around, shocked, “Maxwell?”

“What?” Max snapped. Hadn’t he asked Michael to leave the topic alone?

“Do you not find anything odd about the lights in this room dimming?” Michael rolled his eyes. “Are your powers back?”

Max looked up at the lights, his jaw dropping, “I… let me see.” He raised his uninjured hand to the opposite one and hovered it there for a moment. A faint gold light emanated from it and he moved around experimentally, “Looks like it.”

Michael grinned, “Good news.”

Max raised his hand to his body and healed the bruises that he could tell had formed. No one had seen them, so there was no harm in healing them. He raised his hand to his face and ignored Michael’s worried gaze. He healed his injuries slightly, making them less painful, but keeping them prominent. He knew that if Diane saw him with a fully healed face, she’d get freaked out. He turned to Michael, “Are we still on for this weekend?”

“Yeah, I told Maria that we couldn’t do anything, so…” He shrugged.

“Maria?” Max quirked his eyebrow, “You two are official now?” Being Michael’s best friend, Max naturally knew all about the Michael/Maria developments.

Michael grinned, “Yeah.” He changed the subject quickly, “So, where’s this place again?”

“Not far from the Crashdown, just a few streets over.” Max shrugged, “I figured it would be better to be closer to there, since that’s the central meeting place, you know?”

Michael nodded. For a second, it was easy to think that everything with Max was okay. He had to keep reminding himself that it wasn’t. Max was doing a very good job of pretending and it scared Michael shitless. What else was Max lying to him about?

“God, we have three more days of this?” Max sighed, exasperated. This was like torture. At least the teacher hid out all day in the teacher’s lounge so that they could talk or do whatever they wanted as long as they got the work done.

Michael shifted uncomfortably. He only had to sit through it for one more day, but he wasn’t about to go and shove that into Max’s face. He still felt really bad about this, and he felt like the whole thing was his fault. Granted, it was his entire fault. He was going to go talk to the principal as soon as school was over. It wasn’t fair that Max had to suffer for his pigheadedness.

When the bell finally rang signaling the end of the day, Michael beelined for the Principal’s office. He knocked politely and was told to come inside. The principal glanced up from his pile of papers, “Mr. Evans, take a seat.”

Michael nodded and sat down, shifting slightly, “Sir, I was wondering if you could rethink Max’s punishment. The fight was entirely my fault, I punched him first, and I did it because I assumed something stupid. It’s really not fair for him to have a longer suspension than me.”

The principal looked to Michael over his glasses, pondering for a moment. He sighed, “I figured that it was something like that. I’m very pleased that you came to me and confessed rather than allowed the punishments to go unfairly. I think you’ve both learned your lesson. Tell Max to see me in the morning, both of your suspensions have been lifted.”

“Just like that? We’re off the hook?” Michael couldn’t help but hanging his mouth open.

He chuckled, “Yes, Mr. Evans, just like that. But don’t think that if you two decide to get into anymore fights it’ll be this easy.”

Michael rose and shook the principal’s hand, “Thank you so much.” He turned on his heel and dashed out of the door before anyone could change their mind. This still seemed too easy. But, then again, maybe Max was finally getting a break.


TBC...
Last edited by sprayadhesive on Sat Jan 13, 2007 12:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by sprayadhesive » Sat Jul 22, 2006 4:01 pm

Part 9

Isabel walked out of school with a wide smile. Today, finally, after a long weekend of skirting subjects and stress, it was her birthday. She was carrying an assortment of gifts and a few cards, but she felt empty. Her brother hadn’t been seen all day.

She spent the night over at Liz’s last night, so she didn’t have any contact with Max and it was breaking her heart. Didn’t he want to even see her on her birthday?

Her thoughts were thrown partially from her mind when Max pulled up in Phillip’s light blue Chevelle, the top pulled down. Max smiled broadly at her and got out of the car to open the door for her. She slid in, completely impressed. “How’d you manage this?”

Phillip’s Chevelle was his prize and joy. He rarely took it out much less let someone else drive it. Max smiled at her some more, something that he’d rarely done in years, “I wanted the best for my sister on her eighteenth birthday. Let’s just say… it’s a toast to freedom.”

“Freedom?” A small smile played across her lips. A memory came to her.

“Isabel?” Max’s small voice came from beside her bed. They’d been hearing Hank’s increasingly drunken stumbles coming for about an hour now. Max knew it was only a matter of minutes before he came into the room.

Isabel was clutching the covers over her bed, trying to fight the knots that were forming. “Yeah?”

“When we grow up, I promise I’ll get you away from Hank. You’ll be free.” He whispered, the drunken slurs growing louder and coming closer.

“Free?” Isabel huddled closer under her covers, Hank’s steps getting closer and closer.

Max nodded, “You’ll get to… what is it? Oh yeah… taste freedom.”

“Freedom.” Isabel smiled to herself, “It sounds nice. But…you’re only ten, Max.”

He shrugged, getting to his feet and bringing himself to the doorway of their room. He raised his hand to it, sealing it off from the inside. “One day, Isabel. I promise.”


It looked like Max hadn’t forgotten. He nodded, still smiling, “Later. Care for a snack?”

Isabel nodded, wondering what else Max could possibly have in store for her. They pulled up to Isabel’s favorite ice cream parlor before taking a seat outside with their identical strawberry cones.

As Isabel licked away, she glanced sideways at Max. She’d barely seen him over the weekend. She wanted to know what he’d been doing, but knew there was no way to get it out of him. He never told secrets. She settled for a safer topic. “How was school?”

Max shifted uncomfortably, “I uh… It was fine. How was your day?”

“Pretty good. Danielle and Traci brought me a cupcake at lunch and got practically the entire courtyard to break out in a round of ‘Happy Birthday’, which was pretty embarrassing, and a couple of my other friends stopped by my locker between classes to give me some cards and stuff.” She shrugged, “Michael, Liz, Alex, and Maria all pitched in and brought a bunch of Galaxy Subs for lunch too."

“You and Michael have been hanging out with them a lot lately.” Max commented, referring to the fact that they were the ones to warn him against Liz in the first place. He’d heard from Michael yesterday about Michael’s little adventures with Maria, so he had figured they’d been hanging out more. But he’d never expected Isabel to join in, what with her elite group of friends and all.

Isabel gave Max a side glance. He had become stoic again. His smile, she noted, had actually disappeared seconds after they’d left the school parking lot. Apparently not even that smile had been genuine. “Why haven’t you been? Where’ve you been lately, Max?”

He shrugged, a mischievous look in his eyes, “I’ve been tampering with freedom.”

“You won’t be able to use my birthday present as an excuse for much longer.” She’d seen right through that one. “You’ll have to come up with something new. And don’t expect Michael or Liz to back off and accept your anti-social tendencies.”

Max’s blood boiled. He wasn’t going to get into this now. Not on her birthday. He swallowed the last bit of his cone and saw Isabel do the same and rose to his feet. “Ready to head out?”

“Where’re we going?” Isabel smiled with a twinkle in her eyes.

Max put his arm around her shoulders, his current content-state soaring, “Well, I was thinking we could do a little shopping. I know how you like that so much.”

Isabel’s head snapped in his direction. “Shopping?! You hate shopping!” She had to stifle a giggle at his pained expression.

“I’m making an exception.” He was willing to make… sacrifices… in order to make sure that Isabel was happy. Nothing was going to ruin today.

They carefully examined their fingers for any strawberry remains before taking their seats, Max opening the door for Isabel once more. He shook his head at her hopeful expression and took off towards the direction of the upscale shopping area of Roswell.
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Four hours, a pedicure and manicure, and a splurge on a Coach purse later, Isabel and a very worn out Max flopped into the car. Max checked his watch, “It’s about dinner time, you hungry?”

Isabel, however, didn’t notice how exhausted Max looked. She was too busy thanking him and ogling her purse and her nails. It wasn’t often that she got to go and get a professional, spa treatment after all. She’d always just used her powers. It was good to be pampered, “Starving.”

“Good. I figure a stop to the Crashdown will do us some good, then?” He shot her a worried expression. He prayed that she wouldn’t want to go somewhere else.

“Perfect.” Isabel smiled, leaning over and kissing Max on the cheek. She chose to ignore the way he tensed up the second she did so. “Thanks again, Max. I know how much this all probably cost…” Max hadn’t let her see any of the price tags or how much anything had cost that day, “…and just… thanks. Love you.”

“Back at you.” He responded casually, pulling up in front of the Crashdown.

Isabel looked inside, a frown forming, “Closed?! How can they just be closed?!” All of the lights were off inside and shades had been pulled over the front windows.

Max shrugged, pointing to the door casually, “Why don’t you see if Liz’s in there or something? I’m sure Mr. Parker would make an exception since it’s your birthday…”

Isabel got out of the car and tried the door handle. She turned back to Max, who was still seated in the driver’s seat, “It’s unlocked!”

“So see if anyone’s inside!” Max urged her forwards.

Isabel pushed open the door and the light switch was thrown on. A roar of people shouting surprise hit Isabel and she broke out into a wide smile. Several hands grabbed at her and threw her further into the room. Choruses of happy birthdays greeted her ears and she was drawn into several hugs. She finally managed to detangle herself from the masses and was able to take in the surroundings. The place had been decorated in a variety of balloons, streamers, and confetti was littered everywhere. Someone had definately put a lot of thought into this surprise and she had a sneaking suspicion of who it was.

She glanced behind her to find Max and found him standing off to the side in a corner. She was about to go talk to him, but five people came up behind her.

“Happy Birthday, Iz.” Michael nodded, a small smile playing across his lips. “Surprised?”

Isabel nodded feverishly, “I had absolutely no idea! I can’t believe you guys were actually able to keep this from me! How’d you put all of this together?”

“We just decorated. Max has been organizing the whole thing. That’s one of the reasons he wasn’t around this weekend. He was getting the catering together with Mr. Parker, working with the bakery on your cake, getting the decorations, making sure that guests were coming, everything.” Michael responded, looking around the room.

Liz, Maria, Kyle, and Alex all said their birthday wishes to Isabel before they returned to a normal conversation. Isabel shook her head in disbelief, “I still can’t believe Max put all of this together.”

“Where is Max, anyway?” Liz craned her neck to look around the room. She knew that Isabel had arrived with him, but she didn’t see him by Isabel when Isabel had first walked into the room.

Kyle pointed over to the same corner that Isabel had spotted Max in earlier. He was leaning against the two walls, his hands in his front pockets. He stared intently at his shoes like they were the most interesting thing in the room.

Liz looked to the others, “I’ll go get him. Isabel, go enjoy your guests.” She smiled at her before heading off to the corner.

Liz moved her way through the crowd, getting to Max’s side much quicker than she thought possible. She realized that he didn’t notice her presence so she placed her hand on his arm, “Max?”

Max flinched away from her touch, his eyes darting up to her in panic. When he saw who it was, he relaxed slightly. His vision clouded, living another memory as he so often did.

He huddled in a corner, his knees drawn up to his chest. He’d ordered Isabel to go to her room and lock the door, so he was on his own. For now, he was hidden safely in the shadows, but Hank would find him soon.

“C’mere you little shit.” Hank stumbled around the rooms, throwing items everywhere and searching for Max.

Max whimpered and buried his head in his arms. Unfortunately, unnoticed by him, Hank had heard him. He felt an icy tight grip on his arm before he was pulled roughly into the air and slung over Hank’s shoulder.


“Are you okay?” Liz’s voice brought him from the recollection, grounding him once more.

He nodded. His face was still stoic and unexpressive. “I’m fine.”

Liz looked over her shoulder to the booth that everyone had now taken a seat in and were all sitting around, laughing and chatting about everything, “Do you want to come over with us? You can’t stand in the corner all night.”

“What? Oh… actually… I’ve got to go get the cake ready.” He gave her one last glance before disappearing through the crowd and heading into the back room.

Liz sighed and headed over to the booth where the gang was sitting. Isabel wasn’t present because she was still mingling with party guests. Liz’s father had kept two waitresses to stay on for the night and keep the many trays of food filled. As it was, many people had now taken their food and were either standing around the room, eating and talking, or sitting at a table, eating and talking.

Maria slapped Michael’s hand away from her plate, “If you’re so hungry, go get your own food.”

“I don’t want to get up. Just give me some chicken or something…” He reached once more for the plate, but his hand paused as Maria’s raised a glinting fork.

Her eyes narrowed, “One more inch and this is going in your hand.”

Michael thought about it for a moment. He could either be hungry or get Max to heal his hand later. He decided he’d take his chances with Maria. With his non-raised hand, he started tickling her mercilessly.

“S-stop! Michael! Stop!” Maria giggled, furiously trying to throw him off. With Michael’s other hand, he grabbed a piece of bread and a piece of Maria’s sandwich. He shoved the sandwich into his mouth and smiled at her before stopping his tickling. Maria pouted, “No fair.”

“Get over it.” He responded, now taking a bite out of his bread.

Kyle shook his head and looked to Alex, “Why are we still sitting with them?”

Alex swung his arm around Liz’s shoulders, “Because without us, poor Liz would have to endure this alone.” He motioned to her, “And she won’t let us out of the booth.”

Kyle rolled his eyes, “You’re telling me that you can’t move Liz Parker out of the way? Are we talking about the same hundred pound girl?” Kyle pushed against Alex’s body, moving the two people down the booth. Liz, who hadn’t noticed what was going on and was distracted by other people, fell to the floor.

“Sorry Liz, it was my sanity or your ass, and I chose my sanity.” Kyle slid out of the booth and extended his hand down to hers. He helped her get to her feet right as Max walked out of the backroom with a large sheet cake.

The butter cream frosting was decorated in multi-colored polka dots and had ‘Happy Birthday Isabel’ written out in her favorite color – red. Max’s face was illuminated by eighteen candles. He continued to hold it as the restaurant broke into a chorus of ‘Happy Birthday.’

Isabel closed her eyes and made a wish, hoping that it could come true soon. She took a deep breath and blew out the candles, positively beaming. Max set the cake on the counter and Isabel cut out the first piece. Her smile grew when she saw what kind it was – white cake with a strawberry filling. It was her favorite. “Oh Max, thank you so much.”

“It’s your eighteenth birthday, you deserve something special.” He replied, sticking his hands in his pockets.

“Special? This is… it’s… amazing. I mean a shopping trip and a surprise party? It’s more than I could’ve ever imagined. It’s more than enough, actually.” She gained a stern look, “You keep spending everything on me…”

“I’m not discussing this right now, okay?” He replied, grabbing a few plates that were now filled with slices of cake and passing them out to the eager people in the room, “We’re celebrating.”

Isabel shook her head and reached for her own piece of cake. When everyone had eaten their fill and less than a quarter of the cake remained, the masses started to demand that she open presents. She walked to the table where the presents lay and picked up the first one.

After twenty minutes of tearing open wrapping paper, Isabel had received quite a few gifts from her friends. Liz and Maria had each gotten her a gift card to her favorite store, Alex gave her a leather-bound notebook embossed with her name, because he knew how much she liked to write. The gift also included a very nice pen. Michael gave her a very pretty bracelet. Kyle took the easy way out and gave her money. Her other presents lay on the table too, but the most important ones were the ones from Michael and her four new friends, even Kyle’s cash.

The party was slowly dwindling and the group made their way back to their familiar booth. Isabel finished saying her final thank you’s and goodbyes and joined the group at the table. “Thank you guys so much. Today’s been amazing… one of the best days of my life.”

“It’s not over yet, I’ve got something else to give you.” Max’s hand rested on her shoulder. She hadn’t even noticed him approach the group. She wondered where he’d been hiding for the past hour. She rose to her feet and waved goodbye to the group, waving at their final calls of ‘Happy Birthday’ and Kyle’s ‘I like older women!’ He’d been joking for a week or so now that Isabel needed to get a man into her life.

Isabel followed Max out of the Crashdown and down a side street to a street with a rather refined looking apartment building. Apparently Phillip would be driving the Chevelle home. To her shock, Max led her up some stairs and down a hallway until he reached a door. He went into his pocket and pulled out a small, wrapped package. She took it with trembling hands and opened the wrapping, pulling out a silver key. She gasped, “Oh God. Are you serious?”

He nodded and took the key from her, unlocking the door and swinging it open. Tears came to Isabel’s eyes as she looked around the main area. It was fairly simple, but decorated nicely. The room seemed to serve as a sitting area and a kitchen, with a little nook to sit in and eat. Isabel didn’t recognize most of the furniture and a lot of it looked expensive. Max, however, continued to walk straight ahead and opened the door to the right of the wall.

More tears leaked down Isabel’s face as she looked around. It was perfect, what she’d always dreamed of.

“You know what’s dumb, Max?” Isabel looked down at him from her perch on her bed, “Sometimes I dream about my perfect room… what it would be like. I’d probably have a black and white motif… with a black comforter and various black and white throw pillows… and then three black walls and one white wall where the top of my bed would be. And I’d have a black desk where I could sit and write and a bookcase where I could keep all of my books and then a little reading area.”

And it was exactly like she’d described to him just months before. She threw her arms around him, “I don’t even know what to say… I’m… I’m speechless.” She noted that the room had its own bathroom, which seemingly carried on the same motif as the bedroom.

Max gave a hollow smile, “I told you I would do it.” He mocked shock, “You didn’t believe your own brother?”

Isabel laughed, but she was still in disbelief, “How is this even possible?”

“Well… I was apartment hunting for a while now, but none of them were… in the price range.” He stiffened, “So when I came to look at this one, another girl showed up at the same time. She offered to share the apartment and split the rent, and I agreed. She’ll be moving in tomorrow, I think. She’s your age. Apparently she had some trouble with her parents and so she’s living alone, but they’re paying for everything. I think you’re going to like her a lot.”

Isabel was still numb with shock. They’d never have to deal with Hank again. They were free. “What’s her name?”

“Tess Harding.” He pointed to her dresser, “Listen, I brought over everything you need…” He pointed to her bed, “And I brought your friend.”

Isabel glanced at the bed; atop it was a small, light brown, floppy eared stuffed bunny that Max had gotten her when they were young. He gave it to her and had told her that the bunny would make everything better. That when she took out the bunny and held him close, she would be happy. And he had been right. When she was younger, just holding the bunny made her warm and fuzzy. It made her feel safe. She’d named it Brownie. She cracked a smile. “Thank you! I love you so much Max. This means so much to me.”

A shadow crossed his face, “I know. But I’ve got to be getting back… Hank might get worried.” His feeble attempt at a joke was not appreciated by Isabel.

“You’re going back?!” She shrieked, “But I… I thought you were going to live here with me! You can’t go back!”

“Isabel, I’m not eighteen yet. Hank still has custody over me. And I didn’t tell him that you were moving out. He’s bound to figure it out sometime, so I guess I’ll go and break the news.” He shrugged, moving towards the exit to Isabel’s room.

She stopped him, “Can’t you just stay here for the night? I don’t want to be all alone the first time I’ve ever been here…”

He nodded, but she still looked concerned. “What?”

“Max… this is all of your money. I mean… you’ve spent so much of it on me in the past few hours. An apartment… a Coach bag… all of the furnishings for the apartment…”

He interrupted her, “Actually, most of the stuff in the main room is Tess’s. She brought it over this weekend.”

“Well… still… it’s too much. You have to take something back. I can’t accept all of this.” She protested, a bit of a whine to her.

Max shook his head, “After eleven years, you’re finally getting what you deserve, okay? And if you ask me about the price or anything again, I’ll stop speaking to you.”

Isabel noted that he looked dead serious, so she decided to agree. As an after thought she added, “Alright, but I’m going to get a job and start helping you pay for the rent. You’re not going to use up your savings, or what’s left of them, on me. I’m eighteen now and you can’t make the decisions anymore.”

Max looked like he was going to protest, but Isabel stopped him, “And you’re going to let me do this or I’ll stop speaking to you.”

He nodded hesitantly, kissing her lightly on the top of her head, “I’ll be on the couch. Happy birthday.”


TBC....
Last edited by sprayadhesive on Sat Jan 13, 2007 12:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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