Broken Innocence (AU,M/L,Mature) AN 3/31 [WIP]

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sprayadhesive
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Broken Innocence (AU,M/L,Mature) AN 3/31 [WIP]

Post by sprayadhesive » Mon Nov 20, 2006 5:43 pm

Broken Innocence
Rating: Adult
Category: M/L
Summary: Liz asks her best friend to take her virginity in her time of "need." How will they react when everything goes horribly, horribly wrong?
Disclaimer: We don’t own anything. The characters, the music, the movies referenced, none of it is ours.
Authors' Note(s): dreamerfrvrp3 and I have decided to co-write this fic. We're both really looking forward to it (seeing as we haven't co-written a story with anyone before) and we're hoping that you guys'll like it, too. We'll try to get an update out once a week, but we've never been too good with holding to our deadlines.

Sprayadhesive will be doing the Max POV and Dreamerfrvrp3 will be doing the Liz POV.

We'd also like to thank our beta LairaBehr4 and Tanya7496 for the two lovely banners! Thank you guys so, so much!

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Prologue
Max's POV
"Save Yourself"

Turn out the light
Just say goodnight, to yourself
May I remind you
When you find you, you're all alone is when you've got to be strong
Cause that's when they call you, in the night
He's got your picture in his mind
He's got your number on a paper at his disposal anytime

Is it really true
Could you save yourself for someone who, loves you for you
So many times we just give it away, to someone who
Someone who you met in bar
The back of a car
And for a moment you felt important but not in your heart
My self esteem, it's been low, go ahead and count it's been lower than low
I know the feeling of it stealing life out from under me
I want to learn, how you save yourself for someone who, loves you for you
So many times we just give it away to someone who, couldn't even remember your name
Could you save yourself for someone who, loves you for you, loves me for me
Give it away to someone who someone who will cherish your name

Cause I want to learn, can you save yourself for
Someone who will love you for you so many times we
Just give it away, someone who, couldn't even remember your name
You save yourself for someone who, loves you for you,
Loves me for me
Give it away to someone who, someone who will
Cherish your name
Cherish your name


"M-Max?" Her lips tremble.

I feel like someone's ripped out my heart. I've never been able to stand it when she's hurt.

I wish I could have sheltered her from whatever pain she's just gone through.

Without hesitation, I pull her into my apartment. I close the door behind her and hold her, not letting her go.

I whisper softly into her ear, "What's wrong?"

For a few moments, she just shakes her head. She has always told me everything about her life. We've never kept secrets.

Liz and I, we've been friends since we met in our freshman year of high school. We've never kept secrets, not even when Maria made Liz promise not to tell me that Maria liked Michael. She told me anyways. I didn't tell anyone, so there wasn't any harm done. We've always told each other everything.

Okay, that's not true. I've kept a secret from her. A very big one, in fact. I'm in love with Liz Parker. I love her. Always have, always will.

By the time I got the courage to tell her, though, we were in college. And Kyle Valenti had already waltzed into the picture. I never got the chance.

But, that's all in the past. I'm nothing but a friend in her eyes, I've accepted that.

I need to figure out a way to make Liz tell me what's wrong. I need to comfort her. I hate seeing her cry.

"Liz, please…" I plead with her, picking her up into my arms and carrying her to the couch. I lay her down and take my place, kneeling next to her. I stroke her hair softly, "You need to tell me what's wrong so I can fix it."

She takes a shuddering breath, as if trying to prepare herself for speech. I wait patiently, holding her hand firmly. She closes her eyes and sits up on the couch, giving my hand a squeeze. "Kyle… he said… he wants to have a romantic evening with me next Friday."

My eyes widen in surprise. We've never talked about that before, well, because… there was nothing to say. "You mean like…"

"Sex. Yeah." Liz nodded, drying her eyes.

I gulp. I knew that it would come eventually; I was just living in denial. I put on a fake smile, "But why are you crying? You should be excited, nervous… anything but sad."

She shakes her head, tears once more trickling down her face, "I just… Kyle… he's going to laugh at me."

I shake my head feverishly, "He won't. You're beautiful, Liz. He's so lucky to have you. He'll do anything but laugh."

"M-Max, you don't understand. I'm…" She trails off and then buries her face in her hands, "I'm not going to compare to the other girls that Kyle's been with."

I shake my head again, "That's not possible. You far outdo any girl in the entire world."

"He's going to laugh because I'm a virgin." Liz stated simply, her eyes pleading with me to understand.

I sit up on the couch hurriedly, holding her to me, "He wouldn't dream of it. No one would laugh at you for that. It just shows how strong you are… how pure you are. It's different for a girl, Liz. If girls are virgins, guys respect it."

I wish I could make her understand, but before I can get in another word, she looks at me soberly, "Max, you're my best friend."

"You're my best friend too, Liz." I can't determine where she's going with this. Her mood changed too quickly for her to be okay.

She stares at me straight in the eye, "And you would do anything for me?"

I nod, lost in her gaze, "Of course."

"Sleep with me." She whispers. "Please."

I'm knocked out of my trance suddenly. I've waited five years to hear those words come out of Liz's mouth, but this isn't right. It wasn't supposed to happen in order for her to feel more comfortable sleeping with another man. It was supposed to be for… love.

"I can't." I state simply, my voice merely a whisper.

I can see the tears forming in her eyes again. Her voice cracks, "Max… I… please. I need this. I don't want my first time with Kyle to be awkward. I want to know what I'm doing; I don't want to be a virgin."

I hate those tears. I can't see them. I turn my face away from hers and speak calmly, "Don't you get it, Liz? Your first time… it should be with someone you love. It should be special, not a chore."

She's looking at me softly, "Max Evans, how did you get so sensitive?"

I blush and pull away from her. She immediately reacts and stands up as I stand up. She takes my hand into hers once more, "Hey, it's not a bad thing."

"I'm a guy." I stress, trying to make her understand.

She frowns, "I know. That's why I came to you and not Maria."

I groan, pulling my hand away from her once more. "You're not thinking clearly. I won't help you make the biggest mistake of your life."

“No, the biggest mistake of my life was thinking that I could come to you with any of my problems and, no matter what, you would make them better.” Liz tells me. I feel like she’s slapped me across the face.

She looks at me expectantly, but I can’t respond to that.

Liz grabs her purse and I latch onto her arm as she makes her way to the door. I'm worried. She's never walked out on me before. She's never been this cold to me. This girl in my apartment right now, whoever she is, she isn't Liz.

She looks back at me with a hardened expression, "I need a drink."

"Are you going up to your apartment?" I ask, knowing full well that it isn't her intention.

Liz, Maria and Isabel, my sister, live in an apartment on the floor above the one that Michael, Alex and I share. Usually, one of our apartments will be used as the hangout on a Friday night, but everyone's out doing something on their own tonight.

Liz shakes her head, "I think I'll go out."

"I don't think so." Before she can react, I block her from exiting the door.

She tries to push me away. She yells in my face, "Let me out!"

But I won't let her out. I can't. If I do, then she'll just run out to the nearest bar, get plastered, and her first time will be a one night stand with some sleaze ball. "No."

She knows that she won't win this. I'll admit that we've wrestled a few times. I've always beaten her. I don't go to the gym every morning for nothing.

"Fine. I'll just drink your booze, then." She turns away from me haughtily.

I shrug and chain the door, so I'll have time to react if she makes a break for it. I follow her into the kitchen. She's already got the vodka on the counter with two shot glasses filled to the brim sitting next to it.

She downs the first shot in seconds, making a face. She doesn't even like vodka. Why is she doing this?

Liz looks at me, pointing to the glass, "Care to join?"

I shake my head. She frowns, "You're not man enough to sleep with me, and you're not man enough to drink with me."

I look away angrily. Where has the Liz that I've known for five years gone? Who is this person next to me?

I take the shot just to humor it and have it finished faster than she had finished hers. I snatch the bottle out of her hand and refill the shot glasses. I finish mine before she has even picked hers up. "Can't keep up, Parker?"

I don't know what's come over me. Something's making me want to show her that I am a man. Something's taking me over, making me want to impress her.

My entire attitude has changed. It isn't even about sleeping with Liz anymore. It's about proving myself. I know all of this, but I don't stop it. Stupid male ego.

Five shots later, my head it swimming and my speech is slurring. For some strange reason, Liz doesn't even seem phased by the alcohol that she's consumed. She seems completely level-headed.

One second, I'm sitting on the couch, and the next thing I know, Liz is straddling me. She bends forward, peppering my face with kisses.

I can't control myself. I'm already aroused, and she's only sitting on me.

My head is spinning. Her perfume is overwhelming. I can't stop thinking about how much I want her.

I feel her place her hand in mine and lead me into my bedroom. Sirens are going off in my mind, telling me to stop, but I can't control myself.

I don't want any of this to happen, but it is.

If my head weren't spinning so much, I would probably remember when I got my erection. Instead, I only realize I have one as Liz grinds her hips into mine, slowly peeling off my shirt.

My body reacts immediately, and somehow I lift my torso off of the bed so that she can remove it fully.

She rips her own shirt off and then leans forward, peppering kisses down my chest. Once she reached my belt, she slowly undoes it.

I pull her mouth to mine, kissing her deeply. She returns the kiss just as passionately.

I remotely hear my pants fall to the ground next to the bed. What I'm focused on, though, is the way Liz has hoisted herself up to remove her own skirt. With shaking hands, I help her out of it.

"Liz…" I groan, taking in her appearance. Her cotton bra and thong only add to my attraction.

I feel her hand stroke me through the material of my boxers and moan even louder than before. My body needs this. I can't take much more, or I'll explode.

She slowly removes my boxers, tantalizing me with every one of her movements. My member springs free and she smiles, blushing lightly.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I realize that I'm the only man Liz has ever seen naked. She's never done this before.

I watch in awe as she removes her bra, quickly followed by her thong. She straddles my abdomen, her wet folds reminding me of how erect I am right now.

Without hesitation, she leans forward and kisses me with an intense passion that I've never felt before. A second later, she's positioning herself over my penis.

My hands reach for her hips and I look at her through the haze, "Are you…"

But it's too late. She's already lowered herself onto me, breaking her barrier. She muffles her cry with another kiss and I stroke her back softly.

Drunk or not, I can't stand it when she's in pain.

She's crying. "We should stop." I mutter.

I look into her eyes and I feel like the world's spinning around us. Liz doesn't seem like the girl who's been here the whole night. She seems like Liz. She muffles a sob with the back of her hand and then looks down at me as if she's never seen me before, "What have I done?"

I touch her face with the back of my hand, "What?" My heart's sinking. I can't remember how we got into this room. I can't remember how Liz ended up on top of me. I can't remember why Liz is at my apartment in the first place.

I've never been this drunk before.

She pulls herself off of me and the tears continue to fall. She grabs the blanket from next to the bed and wraps it around herself. "I'm so sorry, Max…. I'm so sorry… Oh God. What've I done?"

I sit up in my bed quickly, but I realize my mistake too late. I've already had too much to drink, adding this isn't helping. As she bends down for her clothes, I'm consumed by darkness.

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

My head is killing me. I shouldn't have had so much vodka last night.

Last night… I can't even remember what happened last night.

I think… Liz was involved somehow. Yes, that was it! Liz wanted me to sleep with her so she wouldn't be a virgin for Kyle on Friday.

But, I would never do that.

If I wouldn't, why do I keep having images of Liz, in nothing but her underwear, straddling me?

Suddenly, I feel sick. I run to the bathroom and hang over the toilet, releasing whatever alcohol is left in my stomach.

I slept with Liz.

Liz and I… had sex.

And it was nothing like any of my fantasies with her in them.

There was no foreplay. There was no romance.

She cried right after it had begun.

I throw up once more, not because of the alcohol, but because I'm disgusted with myself. Why did I drink so much last night? Why did I jeopardize my friendship with Liz?

I stand on shaky legs and make my way back to my bed. I don't think I'll be leaving this room today. I'm too disgusted with myself.

I don't know what's going to be left of my relationship with Liz. Will she even want to be my friend after she realizes that we've made such a huge mistake?

There's nothing good to show from it. It was a train wreck. I've failed myself. I've failed Liz.

The only thing left from last night is broken innocence.

TBC...


Song: Save Yourself by Sense Field
Last edited by sprayadhesive on Sun Feb 01, 2009 3:42 pm, edited 25 times in total.

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Post by sprayadhesive » Wed Nov 29, 2006 9:07 pm

Chapter One
Liz POV

I played the fool today
I just dream of vanishing into the crowd
Longing for home again
Home, is a feeling I buried in you

I'm alright, I'm alright
It only hurts when I breathe

And I can't ask for things to be still again
No I can't ask if I could walk through the world in your eyes
Longing for home again
Home, is a feeling I buried in you

I'm alright, I'm alright
It only hurts when I breathe
I'm alright, I'm alright
It only hurts when I breathe

My window through which nothing hides
And everything sees
I'm counting the signs and cursing the miles in between

Home

Home, is a feeling I buried in you, that I buried in you

I'm alright, I'm alright
It only hurts when I breathe
I'm alright, I'm alright
It only hurts when I breathe, when I breathe
Yeah, it only hurts when I breathe, when I breathe
Oh,it only hurts when I breathe



I’m a dirty whore; I used my best friend and cheated on my boyfriend.

Oh my God, what was I thinking? I freeze for a second and wonder if I should wake Max up or do something to help him. I didn’t drink more than one glass; I knew that I could win the argument if I got him liquored up.

I gather the rest of my clothes and put them on as fast as possible and take one last glance at Max. I feel awful for the way I treated him. I completely used him and it hurts so much to think that I could do this to someone that I care so much about. I reach for the door as my sobs take over the rest of my body. I hurry inside the elevator and push my back up against the wall. As the doors close, I huddle over into a fetal position. Too many emotions are rushing through my body. The look on Max’s face when he realized what I did to him… it’s too much to bear. Too much to even think about. But it’s permanently etched into my brain. The elevator chimes and I make no effort to wipe my tearstained face.

When I reach my apartment, I realize that I left my keys at Max’s. Oh shit, this means I’m going to have to ring the doorbell and Maria and Isabel are going to question my state.

I hesitantly knock on the door, not knowing what will happen when it opens.

I jump in surprise as I hear the sound of Maria yelling. She completely broke me out of my thoughts. “What the hell? It’s almost 2 a.m.! Who’s there?”

“It’s m-me, Liz. I lost my keys,” I respond in a shaky voice. Deep breaths. She swings open the door, takes in my appearance, and then pulls me inside.

“Lizzie, what’s wrong? Is it Max? It’s okay. I’m going to go kick his ass, all right?” she babbles on, on her way out of the apartment.

“No! It’s not him,” I shake my head. She squints at me, looking unconvinced; I look down, hiding my guilty face.

“Right, well, tell me what’s wrong. I’m sure there’s a tub of Phish Food in the freezer… we can have one of our girl talks…,” she persuades.

“I just want to go to bed. It’s been a long night,” I plead. Sure enough, the night wouldn’t have been complete until we wake up my other roommate

“What’s with all the noise? If I’m going to get any beauty sleep, it’s gotta be a little quieter,” Isabel states. I look up at her and her eyes widen in surprise. I look over her shoulder and fully take in my appearance. My clothing is all wrinkled and my face is bright red.

“Uh, Liz is there something you want to tell us?” Izzie asks, turning into the concerned mother.

“I just had a rough night. I need some sleep. If you guys let me have some sleep, I’ll talk to you about it in the morning,” I lie. I have no intention of talking about this in the morning. Maria and Izzie look at me suspiciously, probably wondering if they can believe me or not.

“I guess this can wait until then,” Maria compromises. She gives me a pointed look and turns to Izzie. Probably to talk to her about Michael. Or me. I can’t stand it anymore.

I bolt to my room without another thought. I sigh in relief as I collapse on my bed and I even drift off for a moment, but then I jerk awake. I feel bile rise in my throat as I begin to think about what happened earlier. I run to my bathroom and began to throw up the little alcohol that I did consume. I can’t help but think about taking a shower. I need to wash away all the dirty things that I’ve done tonight. All of the lies that I’ve made. All of the sins that I’ve done. In the shower, Kyle floats across my mind. I can’t believe I cheated on him. I mean, do I love Kyle enough to have sex with him? Do I love him enough to justify what I’ve just done?

I lie back in bed and stare at the ceiling as I remember what happened that drove me to go to Max’s place in tears.

FLASHBACK

“ Kyle, look it’s the Virgin Mary,” said Malamoot between laughs. I was going to meet Kyle for lunch in between classes, until I heard them began to make fun of one of the nicest girls in our year.

“Oh, wait, look. She’s wearing her famous slip-ons and one of her granny sweaters,” Kyle said, gasping in between laughs. I’m completely horrified, all I can do is listen to the way they are treating this girl.

“I bet you that she’s the only virgin left on the planet, who wants fresh meat, anyways? Chicks who are experienced are much more fun, yeah?”

“Definitely, I’m glad Liz has experience in that department. I’m going to finally have my way with her this weekend,” Kyle said with a cocky grin. I can’t believe he doesn’t like virgins! This is going to be a huge problem! I hurried away before my small sobs gave me away.

And why does he think that I’m experienced? I don’t think we’ve ever talked about it before… Who is he to call me a slut?

END OF FLASHBACK


I wake up the next morning to the sound of Maria and Izzie singing some one hit wonder from the 80s at the top of their lungs. I groan inwardly when I take a look in the mirror. I have bags the size of Texas under my eyes, and I still can’t shake the feelings that my nightmares left me with. I fall onto my bed, once more not wanting to get up to do anything. I turn on some Counting Crows. It’s the only music I listen to when I’m hurt or depressed.

“Lizzie! Rise and shine! It’s a lovely day out,” Izzie chirps while turning off my music. I sign as she tears off my covers and opens the curtains, letting the bright sun into my room.

“Go away,” I grumble into my pillow. “I’m in not in the mood for perkiness this early in the morning.”

“Oh c’mon, stop moaning and groaning. And since when do you stay in bed all day? Don’t you have to go to the library and study or something?”

“It’s Saturday Iz, and I didn’t get home until 2, remember? I need my stupid beauty sleep,” I grunt. Please, Iz, I chant in my head, cut me some slack for once.

“Okay, but I’ll be back in an hour to get you up for some shopping!” Finally, I get some peace and quiet. I get up to close my blinds and turn on my music, and for some odd reason I can hear the same music coming from somewhere below me. It actually sounds like it might be coming from the boys’ apartment

Apparently I’m not the only one who’s having a horrible day. I don’t even make the connection that that someone could be Max.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

I jolt awake; I can feel the sweat trickling down my body from my latest nightmare. I shake my head as if those nightmares were a punishment. I get up, knowing that I’m not going to be able to go back to bed unless I want to relive my nightmares over and over again. It’s already 7 o’clock, and I’m surprised that Maria or Izzie haven’t come looking for me yet. It didn’t take long for me to figure out why, though, the shriek from Izzie gave it away. They must be playing her favorite game ‘The Wedding Planner.’ The growl from my stomach matches the hunger that I’m feeling.

“Awwww Lizzie finally joined the land of the living, come sit down and playyyyyy,” Izzie slurs, on the path to getting drunk. I take the bottle of vodka out of her hands and pour it down the sink. It’s the same vodka I got Max drunk with.

Maria asks in a whiny voice, “Now what was the point of that?”

“It’s bad for you and when you drink it you make very, very bad decisions,” I whisper half to myself. They look at me with a curious stare. “Not like I’m talking from experience.”
“Um okay, so… what are we going to do now, since we are all out of beer and Liz has so kindly just rid us of all of our liquor,” Maria states pointedly.

“Well, I was thinking that we could go visit the boys. I know I want to see Alex and you could see Michael, Maria,” Izzie says with a wink. Oh no, I really can’t. I just made matters worse for me and my stupid problems.

“You know, I was thinking that maybe we could just sit around and talk.” The both nod excitedly, thinking that they might get something out of me.

“So, well, Alex and I finally did it,” Izzie exclaims. I try to look excited, but it fails as the conversation has just now took a turn that I didn’t see coming.

“Did what? Oh never mind, I gotcha. Sheesh! finally,” Maria comments. “Michael and I have been going at it like bunnies for weeks.”

“So, what about you, Liz? When are you and Kyle finally going to you know…?” Izzie asks. I stare down at my hands, not wanting to talk about my experiences.

“Soon, I think. We haven’t really talked about it,” I lie again. I don’t think that I will ever stop lying.

“Right. That’s probably the first thing on Kyle’s mind. Thinking about it,” Maria snorts out. “I’m pretty sure he thinks with his downstairs and not the upstairs, but, then again, I don’t know if he has an upstairs.” I think about Maria’s comments, and I’m starting to think that might be true, but then again, I love Kyle. At least, I think I do. And love conquers all doesn’t it?

TBC...

Song: Breathe by Melissa Etheridge
Last edited by sprayadhesive on Wed Aug 08, 2007 2:11 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Post by sprayadhesive » Wed Dec 13, 2006 10:14 pm

Part 2
Max POV
"They Can't Save Us Now"


So this is how it is to be alone
Your heart beats like it's cracked and made of stone
But whenever someone asks just say there's nothing wrong

They can't save us now
'Cause we're far away from home
And there's no where else to go
They can't save us now
'Cause we're lost and won't be found
We can scream so loud
But they can't save us now

So this is how it feels to be insane
The world looks like a movie always playing
But how can hearts so young feel so much pain?

They can't save us now
'Cause we're far away from home
And there's no where else to go
They can't ever save us now
Will they ever understand we don't want to be like them?


I haven’t been able to sleep since I woke up at ten this morning. I turned on a Counting Crows CD before I laid down, but that was it. And the CD ended a while ago. I wouldn’t be able to remember how a single song that I listened to went, if I hadn’t known the CD so well already. I was too lost in my thoughts to care. All that I’ve done is lay here. Because if I move… if I speak… then everything will be that much more real. I’ll have to face the fact that I ruined the best friendship that I had going for me. I hurt someone that I not only love, but am in love with.

What she must think of me now.

I almost wish that she told Kyle what happened last night. Maybe then he’ll come and yell at me… push me… hit me. Anything to make her feel like she’s gotten me back for what I’ve done to her. I wouldn’t be surprised if Kyle will want to murder me after he finds out what I did.

My phone’s ringing again. I don’t care. It’s rang a couple of times today. More than a couple, actually. And I know who’s been calling me, too. Maria decided it would be a good idea to set my phone up so that a different ring tone would play when all of “my girls” called me, as she put it.

Maria Maria by Santana has sounded off at least five times today. Isabel by John Denver’s sounded off two times more than that. Not once did I hear Brown Eyed Girl.

A part of me wishes that those notes would start playing, but a part of me dreads the time when I’ll next hear the song. What could I even say to Liz to apologize for what I’ve done?

Nothing.

If someone doesn’t yell at me… doesn’t scream at me… for what I’ve done, I’ll go crazy. This silence is killing me slowly. I can’t ignore this.

I want to know what’s wrong with Liz. I want to call her and apologize, ask her if she can ever forgive me. I want to make things right between us, get them back to normal. But I know that it’s too soon. I can’t call her the morning after. She’s bound to be a wreck. I ruined her first time. I made what should have been a romantic, loving evening a hellish one.

My phone beeps every two minutes, probably because I have around a thousand voicemails from Liz’s roommates. My regular ring tone – Black Tambourine by Beck – has only played once. And from the voices in the main rooms of the apartment, I’m pretty sure that it was Alex calling to see where I was.

I’m assuming that he heard my phone, because he knocked on my door seconds after it had begun ringing and called my name. When I didn’t answer, he cracked his head in the door. I pretended to be asleep and he shut the door a few seconds later.

But, that was three hours ago, according to the clock on my bedside. I’ve been staring at it for the past six hours, not moving a single muscle. I can’t move. I won’t.

My door opens for the second time today. It’s Michael. He tried to say something to me, but I don’t even look at him. I watch the clock instead. The five slowly turns to a six. 4:06.

He sounds like he’s talking to someone on their deathbed. I don’t even listen to what he’s saying. I’m trying as hard as I can to force time into a standstill. It’s easier when I make myself believe that time has stopped. Because, as long as it’s not moving, it’s easier to make myself imagine that none of this even happened.

He leaves after a few minutes, probably shaking his head. He’ll probably go and call Isabel and get her worried about me. She’ll ask me questions, but I’ll just keep staring at this clock right here. Try to force the numbers to roll back with my mind.

Surprisingly, Isabel never shows up. Minute after minute trickles by, and slowly the four turns to a five. My efforts to stop time don’t work. I keep trying, though.

At five thirty, Alex and Michael both come into my room. They say something, I don’t know what, and then they both start to get worried. I think they’ve raised their voices. It’s hard for me to tell from under the haze that I’m in. The continue talking for five whole minutes before they realize that I’m not even listening

Alex grabs my arms and Michael grabs my legs. They hoist me out of my bed. It’s a good thing that I’m wearing boxers. That’s the only thing that comes to mind as they move me. Other than that, well, I’ve tried to keep my mind blank. Because every conscious thought reminds me of Liz. My dear brown eyed girl.

They bring me into my bathroom and lay me down in the tub. Michael mercilessly turns on the freezing cold water. I don’t respond. I maintain my position, unmoving and unfeeling. After a few minutes, Alex says something in a worried tone.

Yes, worried, that’s it. That much was clear. Michael responds by turning off the water. My teeth are chattering. They won’t stop. I shiver uncontrollably and Michael turns the water back on, this time set to a hotter temperature. He waits until my chattering has subsided, and then he turns it off once more.

I still haven’t moved. I can’t move. Moving means accepting.

Alex takes pity on me. At least, that’s what I think he does. He raises my limp torso and wraps a towel around it. Alex seems upset that their plan didn’t work. Michael seems concerned. Apparently I’m very good at perceiving emotions, even if I can’t feel anything else. They’re the only thing I’m registering right now.

It’s ironic, almost.

I wonder if I can just stay like this forever. I don’t want to start moving unless Liz is by my side. And, since I don’t think that’s impossible, staying like this seems better than a life without her.

Acceptance seems too bleak.

They stand there for a few minutes, talking in low voices. They're genuinely worried; I can tell because the way that Alex has me against the back of the tub, I'm staring right at Michael. I realize my error and force my vision to go unfocused. I can't accept this reality. I can't.

It would be so much easier to pretend like this if Alex and Michael would go out tonight. Then I wouldn't be bothered. After another stretch of time, they move my now drying body, towel wrapped around it and all, back into my bed. I don't mind that I'll probably get it wet. It doesn't matter much to me. It'll just make it easier to know if time has stopped - whether or not the bed has dried.

They face me towards the alarm clock. I don't know if it is on purpose or not, but I'm thankful for it. Only twenty minutes have passed. It seemed like a lot longer, for some reason. I start to shiver. They haven't turned on the heat in the apartment. I should have known they would forget to. Alex pulls the blankets over my body, muttering something about catching pneumonia, and then he leaves. Probably to go turn on the heat.

Michael stands for a minute, not saying anything. It's better that way - for both of us. But then he has to go and ruin a good thing, talking in a low, concerned voice. I can't understand anything he's saying. Maybe God has punished my sin by taking away all knowledge of language. That could be why I haven't been processing what anyone's been saying today.

Michael leaves after a few minutes, realizing that I'm not going to say anything to him. I think he's a little hurt. Maybe he is.

My phone rings again. This time, though, I can't ignore it. I sit bolt upright in my bed, unable to control my actions. I reach towards the nightstand, taking the phone in hand, and stare at the display screen. Brown Eyed Girl continues to play. I answer it with a shaking hand, my voice a mere whisper after not using it for so long, "L-Liz?"

The voice on the other end is far from hers, "No, not Liz. I took her phone because I had hoped that since you weren't answering my phone calls, which, by the way, we will be discussing at a later point, you'd answer Liz’s." My heart sinks. They called Isabel, I knew they would. I just didn't want it to happen. Because now I've confirmed that life is moving on without me. Way to go, Max.

I take a deep breath and brace myself, "I can't really talk right now, Is."

"Don't you dare hang up the phone, Max Evans." She reprimands me in a tone rivaling our mother's. You've got to love twin sisters. She starts to rant, "Alex is worried sick about you. He said that you were practically catatonic. He was worried that you were dead until he felt a pulse." That's funny. I don't even remember him feeling for a pulse. Maybe he did it subtly. Her voice softens, "What's wrong?"

I wince. I could never disgrace Liz by spreading our mistake around our group of friends, "I really don't want to talk about it, Is."

"Are you sure?" Isabel pushes.

I nod to the phone, "I just need to work it out in my own time."

She sighs, "Okay." She keeps her serious voice on, "I need to ask you something, and I need you to be honest with me."

I don't agree to her terms. I wouldn't want to break a promise. She continues, "Liz has been weird all day. She's slept the entire day away and has barely left her room."

My heart seizes. Liz is hurting. She hasn't left her room for the entire day. I don't know what to tell her. I'm speechless.

"Oh, wait a minute, Maria just got back with the alcohol. I'll see if that will lure Liz out." I can't tell her that alcohol will probably just push her further away. If I do, it'll open up a can of worms. It's better if I just keep my mouth shut.

She says a quick goodbye and I throw my phone across the room, not caring for its safety. But my destructive attitude is wasted, because it lands on my pile of dirty clothes. It was worth a shot. The phone, after all, opened me up to the harsh reality of life. I can’t turn back time. I can’t will this to get better. I’m stuck with my sin.

I concede defeat and slowly bring myself out of bed, dragging my feet into the bathroom. I didn’t realize it before, probably because I was so numb, but I feel dirty. I should feel dirty. I did a terrible thing. I shower quickly, my desire to get back into the bed burning once the water touches my skin.

I turn off the water, wrap a towel around my waist, and walk over to the mirror. Staring deeply into it, I realize that the bags under my eyes are the only physical aspect that shows my distress. I choose not to linger and throw on a pair of sweat pants and a t-shirt. I collapse on my bed immediately.

Michael interrupts my sulking, however, enters my room once more. He smiles, “He lives.”

I shrug.

He shrugs back, “Get up. Hockey game starts in five. Alex just ordered some pizza and I picked up the beer earlier. The girls are having a girl’s night, we’re having a guy’s night. You don’t need to tell me and Alex what’s wrong; you know how much I hate that sappy shit, but you need to get your ass into the living room.”

I nod. Good old Michael. Nothing gets in his way of a hockey game. Isabel probably threatened to come down and unplug the television if he didn’t get me out of my room.

I crawl out of bed and slowly follow him into the living room. He takes his position on the couch, Alex resumes his normal position on an armchair, and I sit on the armchair opposite his. We surround the coffee table on three sides. Isabel gets all of the credit for our décor.

Alex looks at me with some concern showing, but I ignore him and turn my attention to the T.V.

I find my thoughts turning away from the pictures, withdrawing back into my shell. But, before the transformation has been completed, the doorbell rings. Alex gets some money to pay the pizza guy and returns a few seconds later. Alex made good use of no-girls and ordered two pizzas: one with jalapenos and one with the works. Maria, Isabel and Liz only like simple pizzas. How very unmanly of them.

Michael gets the beers and we eat and drink it in silence. I like it this way.

Michael’s team scores and he stands up, giving Alex and I celebratory high fives. He falls back onto the couch, only to jump back up a few seconds later, “What the hell?!”

He holds up a small pearl earring. One of the earrings Liz was wearing last night.

Michael smirks at me, “Whose is this?” He thinks he’s being funny. He’s not.

“Liz.” Saying her name hurts my heart.

“Oh.” Michael shrugs, put out. “And here I was thinking you got some last night. Guess not.”

Alex rolls his eyes, “Oh, shut up, Mr. God’s Gift to Women.”

They bicker for a few minutes, but the actual words are lost. I didn’t care enough to keep listening.

Michael raises an eyebrow at my once he has clearly won the argument. Alex, after all, is somewhat of a pushover. Even he says so. Michael clears his throat, making sure that he has my full attention, “Any girls in your life right now?”

He always bothers me about this. I can’t quite decide why. Maybe it’s because I’m such a private person, I don’t know. I think about his question for a few moments. If he had asked me two nights ago, I would have told him that I was trying for one. But tonight… “No. None at all.”

“C’mon, Max, live a little.” Michael groans, “You’ve been waiting around for something for a while now, and I can’t place what it is. You’ve got to realize that if you’ve been waiting this long, whatever it is isn’t going to come.”

There’s a knock at the door. My head snaps around, staring at it. I can feel her presence at the other side of the door. I know it’s Liz.

I get to my feet seconds after Alex and stand there, absolutely paralyzed. My heart is in my throat. I’ll judge the situation by what happens in the first few seconds. That’ll be the easiest thing to do.

The door opens and Maria and Isabel come in first. They’re both laughing at something someone just said. Isabel embraces Alex immediately after she sees him. Maria looks around and sees Michael sitting on the couch, staring at the television. She scoffs, “Typical.”

I haven’t moved from my position next to my chair. I can’t. It’s then that she comes through the door, slowly, like someone’s going to order her to get out at any minute. She scans the room with her eyes, but somehow they miss me.

She’s choosing not to even look at me. It’s worse than I thought.

I turn on my heel and don’t acknowledge Isabel or Maria. I can’t take this rejection. And if she doesn’t want to look at me, there’s no way that she’s going to want to be in my presence. Taking a deep breath, I walk into my room. I don’t even look back.

I close the door behind me, sinking against it. It’s hard to breathe. I feel like the air itself is suffocating me. I draw my knees up to my chest, leaning my head against the door. I’ve completely ruined my friendship with Liz. That’s all there is to it. It would be pointless to deny it.

I can practically feel my heart breaking. That must be why it’s so hard to breathe. The pieces of my heart are stopping my lungs from expanding.

Isabel knocks on my door, sounding concerned, “Max? Are you okay?

I have to choke back the tears that are threatening to fall before I answer her, “Yeah. I just don’t feel good.”

I hear her hesitation, “Okay. Come out when you feel better, though. Maria says that she feels like she hasn’t seen you in ages.

After I hear her walk away from the door, I break down completely, letting the tears flow down my cheeks. Nothing’s ever hurt me this much before.

The conversation from down the short hallway floats under my door.

I’m worried about him.” Alex says.

Isabel voices her concern as well, “Me too. Liz, why don’t you go check on him? I may be his sister, but you’re his best friend.”

My breath catches. I strain my ears, hoping that I don’t miss her response. “I think I should just leave him alone for a while. Let him get his thoughts sorted.”

Liz doesn’t want to talk to me. She doesn’t want to see me. She probably wants to avoid me for the rest of her life. Rejection has never hurt so much. But, still, I don’t blame her. I did this to myself.

She’s probably hurting more than I am right now. It’s a miracle that she even came to the apartment.

The night wears on. I wipe away any traces of tear stains. Isabel, Maria and Liz sound like they’re getting ready to leave. Just when I hear the front door close, someone knocks at my door. I brace myself. For some reason, my hands are shaky.

I open up the door and am faced with the face that has haunted me for the past twenty four hours, “Liz?” My voice is a hoarse whisper. I hope that she can’t tell that I’ve been crying.

She looks up at me, her emotions masked, “I was wondering if you’d seen my keys? I think I left them here…” Last night. She left them here last night.

“Um…” I look around my room. I hadn’t really noticed anything out of the ordinary. “Let’s look in the kitchen.”

She follows me through the short hallway into a room adjacent to the living room. My eyes scan the counter and my vision quickly falls on the lost keys. I cross the room and take the keys in my hand, holding them out to her awkwardly.

She nods and steps forward, taking them in her hand, “Thanks.”

I nod in response, staring at her. I can’t help it. I’m waiting for her next move. I can’t make a move. I don’t know what I can do to even begin apologizing.

“Are you… okay?” She asks tentatively.

I stare at her, awe struck. Why is she worried about my wellbeing? I don’t bother lying to her, she can always tell when I lie, “No.”

She looks put out, defeated, almost. I rock back and forth on my feet, “A-are you?”

“No.” She replies. She can’t lie to me, either. I can always tell. “Were you crying?”

I turn away from her, facing the cabinets, “No.”

She doesn’t buy it, but I don’t want her to feel bad for me. I messed this up. Me. Not her. I keep my head turned away from her as I speak, “You should probably head up. Isabel might get worried.”

She nods mutely and walks slowly out of the room. Once she gets out of sight, I have to brace myself against the pain. I hate hurting her.

I walk quickly into my bedroom and slam the door behind me.

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Sunday came and went without anything worth noting happening. I secluded myself from the world. I turned off my cell phone and didn’t step a foot outside of my apartment. It was a rather uneventful day. Except, I did get one of my papers written. I don’t think it’s any good.

Today, though, it’s Monday. And Mondays are like my Sundays. I know that Liz and the rest have classes today, so I walk down to the café on the corner. Best coffee in New York, or so I’ve been told.

I walk hurriedly into the doors, not really noticing where I’m going. Before I know it, I’ve walked straight into a young woman. Her coffee goes flying, but I’m able to catch her before she hits the ground.

“Shit!” She says under her breath. She looks up at me, “God, I’m so sorry! I’m such a klutz!”

I look her up and down, making sure none of the coffee got on her. When I realize that she’s really okay, I give her a light smile, “No, it was my fault. I wasn’t watching where I was going.”

She gives me a chuckle, “If you say so.” Her crystal blue eyes glint in the little sunlight that’s making its way through the windows and into the dark café.

It’s then that I notice her appearance. She’s a rather good looking girl, blonde curls hanging around her face. She’s almost the complete opposite of the girl I’m trying so desperately to forget about.

I laugh with her and speak in the lull, “Here, I’ll get you another cup. Are you in a hurry?”

Her eyes sparkle, “Not at all. I was just going to sit down and do a crossword in between classes.”

“Well, then, care to join me for a drink?” I don’t normally put myself on the line like this. I haven’t asked out a girl in I don’t know how long. But I need someone outside of the group right now. I won’t be able to take their questioning stares. But this girl… I don’t even know her name… she doesn’t know anything about me. And this makes her so much more appealing.

She smiles, “Sure.” Flicking a curl out of her face, she responds, “I’m Tess, by the way. Tess Harding.”

“Max Evans.” I reply, leading her back to the coffee counter. We place our orders and sit down with our drinks. “So, do you go to NYU?”

“Yeah.” She replies with another smile. “I’m in my second year.”

“Me too.” I take a sip of my coffee. “I haven’t’ seen you around here before.”

She laughs, “I just moved from a few blocks over. But, it’s worth it, because I’ve never had a cup of coffee that’s this good.”

“Moving for a cup of coffee.” I quip, “That is certainly something I’ve never heard before.”

We make easy conversation for the next thirty minutes, even past when our cups have run dry. She checks her watch and her eyes bulge, “Oh shit! I’ve got to get going or I’m going to be late. Thank you so much for the coffee.”

I hold out my hand and she shakes it. She hurriedly writes down her number on a napkin, giving it to me with yet another smile, “Call me if you ever want to do this again. It was nice to just talk to someone.”

I voice my concurrence and take the napkin, slipping it into my pocket. I think that Tess will be exactly what I need in order to survive my pain: an unbiased friend.

TBC...

Song: They Can't Save Us Now - Kill Hannah
Last edited by sprayadhesive on Wed Aug 08, 2007 2:12 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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Post by sprayadhesive » Mon Jan 01, 2007 6:18 pm

Part 3
Liz POV
"Miniature Disaster"


I don't want to be second best
Don't want to stand in line
Don't want to fall behind
Don't want to get caught out
Don't want to do without
And the lesson I must learn
Is that I've got to wait my turn

Looks like I got to be hot and cold
I got to be taught and told
Got to be good as gold
But perfectly honestly
I think it would be good for me
Coz it's a hindrance to my health
If I'm a stranger to myself

Miniature disasters and minor catastrophes
Bring me to my knees
Well I must be my own master
Or a miniature disaster will be
It will be the death of me

I don't have to raise my voice
Don't have to be underhand
Just got to understand
That it's gonna be up and down
It's gonna be lost and found
And I can't take to the sky
Before I like it on the ground

And I need to be patient
And I need to be brave
Need to discover
How I need to behave
And I'll find out the answers
When I know what to ask
But I speak a different language
And everybody's talking too fast

Miniature disasters and minor catastrophes
Bring me to my knees
Well I must be my own master
Or a miniature disaster will be
It will be
I've got to run a little faster
Or a miniature disaster will be
It will be
I need to know I'll last if a little
Miniature disaster hits me
It will be the death of me


It took Maria and Isabel four days to get me to leave our apartment building again. I started to skip classes and they were both beyond worried about me. I heard them whispering yesterday; actually, they weren’t whispering, more like whispering in a loud yelling manner.

Yesterday

I lean up against my shower wall sobbing to myself as I listen to Maria and Isabel having a not-so-quiet conversation about me.

“Maria, this isn’t normal! Liz never skips class,” Izzie whispers furiously. “She doesn’t seem like she cares about life at all, and she’s listening to the Counting Crows!”

“I know what you mean, who listens to the Counting Crows when they are depressed?” Maria adds to herself.

“I’m serious. I think she needs help … from professionals,” she lowers her voice. “I saw one of those commercials for depression and Liz has 6 out of 8 symptoms that they listed.”

“Wait a minute; you want our Lizzie to see a psycho nut job that analyzes wackos for a living?” I’m glad someone is sticking up for me. I don’t want to see a therapist. I just want to rewind my life to the night I went over to Max’s. That horrible night.

“Well, I just want what’s best for our best friend. What else are we to do? We’re running out of things to do and it’s not like Max is any help,” Izzie huffs. I tune them out and continue to listen to the sound of the water pouring out of the shower.


END OF FLASHBACK

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Maria and Isabel’s grand idea to get me out of the apartment is shopping. Maria said that shopping is the cure to everyone’s problems.

“Since we are here, Liz, how about we buy you a whole new wardrobe? Our treat,” Izzie asks, eyeing my clothing choice. I nod mutely and look down at my clothes. Apparently my forty-dollar tracksuit isn’t good enough.

“Definitely. I don’t think you’ve bought anything new in years,” Maria adds.

“Guys, we were just at the mall two weeks ago and we bought what I’m wearing now,” I say a bit defensively. I like my outfit a lot, it’s cute and comfortable. I decided that it might be a good idea to act semi-happy, just so they don’t freak out anymore.

“Well, Lizzie, we decided its time to make you over just a bit, you know?”

“Yeah, we are going to spice your life up give you a sexy new look and a spicy hairstyle,” Maria finishes with a sparkle in her eye.

“Yup, no more living in your pajamas in the darkness of your little room listening to that god-awful band,” Izzie explains gently. I nod. There really is no point in arguing. I know for a fact that I won’t win, no matter how much I beg. I don’t think I mentioned that Maria and Izzie enjoy ganging up on me. Together, they are one piece of work you don’t want to mess around with.

“I came up with a list of places to go. First we’re going to the salon to get your hair and nails done. After that, I’ve got a list of stores that we need to hit. And Victoria’s Secret is at the top of the list,” Maria says in a giddy voice. I’m in for one hell of a ride. I feel my phone buzz in my pocket as we head to the salon. It turns out it’s Kyle calling… again… for the billionth time.

“I hope that wasn’t Kyle, you know we love you, Liz, but we can’t keep telling the poor guy that you’re not home,” Izzie sympathizes. “He’s going to figure out that you can’t sleep in the library sooner or later.”

I know, I’m a horrible person, but I can’t bear looking at Kyle. I’m not sure if I can deal with him right now.

“I really appreciate you guys lying for me. I do. But don’t worry. I plan on talking to Kyle later.” I guess I will have to deal with him eventually.

“Okay babe, but you know you can talk to us. Anytime.” Maria states in a small voice. She’s yet another person I’m hurting. I nod, swallowing the lump in my throat; maybe I wouldn’t feel so terrible if I could tell them the truth.

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

I got my hair done in a very stylish way, nice long layers. Then Izzie and Maria took me to stores I never knew existed and insisted that I tried everything they could get their hands on. Our last stop is Victoria’s Secret, a store I definitely wasn’t looking forward to. The thought of buying remotely sexy lingerie is killing me, especially after everything that has happened. But, here I am, standing in the front of the store, flipping through a rack of material that I’m pretty sure its can’t be qualified as clothing. There simply isn’t enough cloth to cover everything up.

“Izzie and I have taken it upon ourselves to find you some hot lingerie that will make Kyle a very happy man,” says Maria. I turn away, getting the feeling that I might just throw up. That feeling persists when I see who I think is “Max’s New Lady Friend” Tess and Max himself.

Maria and Isabel have talked non-stop about Tess. But, the funny part is, they’ve never met her. The only people who have are Alex and Michael. They hate her. Only because the closer she and Max get, the further he pulls away from all of us.

I won’t deny that I hate her, either.

Tess is practically dragging Max into the store when she looks up and sees me.

“Uh-oh,” I whisper to myself. Max leans over to Tess, and it looks suspiciously like he’s kissing her on the cheek. The worse part is when Tess takes another look at me, and Max pulls her away from the store. I don’t think Max even saw me. I can’t take it anymore. I feel like I’m suffocating. I tell Maria that I will be back soon.

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

I find myself wandering aimlessly through the food court when I get a text from Alex, asking me to meet him and Michael for lunch. All three of us take a seat and give our orders with the waiter. For some reason, sitting here with Michael and Alex is very awkward. I guess it’s because they’re living with Max right now.

Alex asks breaking the silence, “So, Liz, how have you been?” Well, I think I’d rather have silence then sit around and talk about me.

“Yeah, we haven’t seen you around the apartment in a couple days,” Michael adds suspiciously. Okay, so maybe Max told them or something.

“I’m fine,” I say with a fake smile. “Just been busy with school and the like. How have you guys been?”

“Good, I guess, considering that we haven’t gotten to watch a hockey game in a while because of Max’s new friend,” Michael remarks in a snide manner. Good, this means I get some dirt on Max’s friend.

“Oh really? What’s she like?” I hope I don’t sound too interested.

“Her name is Tess; she’s a second year and she moved into the area very recently. And, she happens to be way out of Max’s league,” Alex explains. I roll my eyes at the last part; of course she is out Max’s league! She’s a blonde and a bimbo!

“Why are you so interested anyways?” Michael asked.

“I’m not, it’s just that I haven’t talked to Max in a while and I’m worried about him,” I answer. I switch topics quickly, “Ohhhh, by the way how do you guys like my hair?”

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

I collapse onto the couch of our apartment with my excessive amount of shopping bags. Today was hard; I never knew pretending to be happy would be so exhausting. Then seeing Max and Tess … the way he looked at her, like she was his lifeline, and the way she looked it me, like I was dirt… I stare sadly at the picture of the group, Max and I in the middle. I’ve torn the group apart…

FLASHBACK

I left the mall after my exciting lunch with Michael and Alex, who had made plans to meet up with their girlfriends. I could tell they knew something was going on with Max and me. I don’t think I could share what happened with two guys, though; at the moment I can’t even tell my two best girl friends.

I couldn’t take being in that mall any longer, so I caught a taxi and headed home.

I walked right toward my door then turned right back around. Maybe, just maybe, I should go talk to Max and apologize about this afternoon. If I’m lucky, he might dish about his bimbo.

The elevator ride to his apartment was short, but too many thoughts are going through my head. What if Max never wants to talk to me again? Or what if we both never get over this, will we be like zombies for the rest of our lives.

I slowly pace back and forth wonder if I really should knock. I took a chance and I knocked, but I wish that I wouldn’t have.

“We’re coming,” I heard her giggle. Tess is with Max. And they sound like they are having a good time. I run to the stairwell and sit behind the door when I hear his voice.

“Tess, who is it?” Max asked.

“I don’t know, I guess it was a prank,” she says shutting the door loudly. I sat there and sobbed silently for I don’t know how long.


END OF FLASHBACK

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

Somehow I managed to take the stairs back up to my apartment. As I walk down the hallway, I realize, I can’t do this alone. I need help. I’m not talking about professional help, but the kind you get from your best friends.

“Isabel! Maria!” I shout in a teary voice. They both run in as if there was a fire, looking wildly around. After they’re inside and looking at me expectantly, I begin. “I need to tell you something and I don’t think you’ll like me after I tell you.”

They share a look with each other before turning back to me in silent acquiescence.

Here goes nothing.

“About a week ago, I heard Kyle talking to his friend about virgins and he was making fun of one.” Maria opens her mouth to say something that, from her facial expressions, I can tell is not kind. I cut her off. “He didn’t know I was one at the time,” I began.

They’re confused, I can tell, but I think Isabel’s putting some of the pieces together in her head. Maria, on the other hand … “I’m so sorry Lizzie, but what do you mean you were at the time?”

“I had sex with someone a few days ago. And it was bad, really bad,” I say looking down at my feet. I realize what they could be thinking, “When I say bad… I just mean that everything was so, so messed up. It was this entire catastrophe.” I take a deep breath. “It was with Max.”

Angry pounds on the door stop any of us from saying more. “Liz, Open up! I know you’re in there,” Kyle screams through the door. I look between the two shocked faces staring at the door and me. Somehow, I don’t think telling them both was such a good idea…

TBC...

Song: Miniature Disaster - KT Tunstall
Last edited by sprayadhesive on Wed Aug 08, 2007 2:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by sprayadhesive » Sun Jan 14, 2007 5:16 pm

Part 4
Max POV
“I Need You Back”


Take me back when you think that it's good.
It feels worse than they said it would.
You're gone but not forever.
When I know I'm never wanted
I tuck away in my turtle shell.
I've standed on this hex forever.

I need you back, I need you have,
to take away all of my pain and then my fear.

Hey! I need you back.

Like a ghost on his darkest visit,
you got my soul, now baby why is it
gone gone gone? Take it from me.
You are free if you can sleep at night,
you really must be hard if you're feeling alright.
Hey hey hey, we're way uptown, we gotta turn around.

I need you back, I need you here,
to take away all of my pain and then my fear.

Hey! I need you back.

I need you back, I need you here,
to take away all of my pain and then my fear.

Hey! I need you back.
(I'm so lost without you.)



I've been hanging out with Tess a lot for the past couple of days. It's nothing serious, just an innocent friendship. We agreed that neither of us were ready to go into a relationship. While Tess told me that it was because she didn't think that she wanted a relationship right now, I told her that I was in love with someone else.

And then I told her that I would never get to be with this person, because I had betrayed them in the utmost respect.

She knew it was Liz, somehow. Maybe it's because Michael and Alex always talk about her being my best friend when Tess is around.

Tess asked me for details, but I need time before I can tell her.

She didn't believe me about my betrayal. She said that whatever it is, there're two sides to every story, and that she thought that I was probably the victim. She still encouraged me to go and talk to Liz. But I can't do it. Not yet. I'm not ready.

Tess has even noticed the way that I'm distancing myself from Liz, the way I flinch at every mention of her name. She's very perceptive. She knows, somehow, that where Liz is concerned, there's, well, a good amount of emotional damage.

Michael and Alex have just assumed that I'm dating Tess. Tess and I aren't in any hurry to correct them. It's not like it matters, anyways. They can think what they want.

We've been out a few times, to lunches or to her apartment. All we do is talk. Neither of us has made any sort of an advance on the other. I couldn't do that to Liz. It would be like betraying her.

There was one moment, though, that was… off. Tess and I had gone to the mall. She needed to get a present for one of her friends whose birthday was in a few days.

We'd already bought the present, and she wanted to go to Victoria's Secret. I reluctantly agreed.

We had reached the entrance and I scanned the store quickly. I didn't want to go in, it was way too crowded. I whispered my thoughts into Tess's ear and then dragged her away from the store. She seemed to be in a trance.

And now I'm here, putting Tess's shopping bags in the trunk, like any good man would do.

I climb into the driver's seat of her car and look at her. She seems troubled. "What's wrong? You've been acting weird. Let me guess, you found out Victoria's secret and it wasn't pretty? Damn it. I always hoped it was something kinky."

"What? Oh… it was… nothing." She replies, staring blankly at the cup holder. She realizes that I'm not taking that as an answer and then she lifts her gaze to mine, "Have you ever heard so much about a person, and then when you see them randomly, in person, it's just like this complete shock?"

"Liz?" I whisper.

Tess nods, "She was in there. With Maria and Isabel… at least, I think that's who those two girls were. Two blondes, one really tall."

"Yeah, that's them." I respond, feeling like my head is swimming with information. Liz was in the store. "Did… did she see us?'

"Yeah." Tess replies, her tone soft.

"How did she look?" I can't help but ask. Knowing that she was there and I didn't even see her, I feel robbed.

Tess sighs, "Honestly?"

I nod.

"Like crap. The way you looked that first day that I met you. Like your world was caving in and you had no idea how to set it right."

I lower my forehead onto the steering wheel in defeat, "I really screwed her over. And now I can't even be man enough to go and talk to her and try to make things right."

"What happened between you two?" Tess asks me. "You were best friends. What changes that?"

Were. The word stings my heart. I look around and notice that we're still parked. I start the car and take to the road. I stare straight ahead, but start to talk, "Liz has a boyfriend. Kyle. And Kyle and Liz… they're reached the point in their relationship where they were both ready to go… to the next level."

"Sex." Tess substitutes bluntly.

I nod, "Liz was a virgin. She didn't want to be one for Kyle. She came to me and somehow we both ended up drunk… and then I… we…"

"Had sex." Tess replies, her voice much quieter than before.

I have to put all of my concentration on the road to avoid crashing into anything. I feel like I'm on overload. Tess is the only person that I've told. I couldn't betray Liz and tell Michael or Alex. "She… it had just started and… I broke her hymen… but then she started crying and apologizing repeatedly and she ran out of the room. I tried to follow her, but I stood up too fast and passed out. I tried to follow her.

"The girls came over to the apartment the night after. All of them. Liz walked in… her eyes went right over me. She didn't even acknowledge me. She pretended… that I didn't exist."

Tess speaks quietly, slowly, "You need to talk to her, Max. If you ever want your best friend back, you need to talk to her."

"I can't." I reply, my voice brimming with emotion. I can't help it, it's all just coming up, "She didn't even look at me. I don't…. ever… want to have to feel that kind of pain again."

"She won't brush you off. Maybe she just thought… hell, I don't know, maybe she thought that you didn't want to see her. And she was just saving herself from the pain."

I hadn't thought about that. Still, it can't be right. Liz was completely innocent in the situation. It was my fault. I didn't stop her. She was vulnerable and I took advantage of that.

We park outside of my apartment building and Tess comes up. I rented a few movies last night, so I figure we can pass some time together.

We order Chinese and settle down with a movie.

Halfway though my pan fried noodles, the door bursts open and Alex and Michael come through it. They're laughing about some lame joke or another and Michael stops abruptly when he sees me and Tess on the couch. He gives me a look, "Getting cozy?"

I roll my eyes at him.

He points down the hall, "Maxwell, a word, please?"

"Fine." I stand up and follow him into his bedroom.

He closes the door behind me and then turns to me with a serious expression on his face, "What the hell is going on? Why is it that Maria, Isabel and, most of all, Liz are all coming to me for information on Tess? Why haven't you talked to any of them all week? You and Liz are supposed to be best friends. I mean, you are best friends. You're sickeningly close best friends. So why doesn't she know anything about Tess?"

"Liz was asking about me and Tess?" I ask, the rest of his rant lost on my ears. My expression falls. Now she's going to think that Tess is some rebound girl. I should go talk to her, after Tess leaves.

"Why the hell does it matter?" Michael asks, "Just answer my question. Is there something going on between you and Liz? Because if you haven't noticed, the six of us haven't hung out since like… last weekend. And you and Liz have been acting weird all week."

I consider telling him for a second. Michael's always been my best guy friend out of him and Alex. I mean, Alex is a cool guy and all, but Michael just… gets everything about me better. I can't explain it.

I shake my head, "No. We just haven't been able to see a lot of each other."

"Well maybe you should make some time. She looks like she's been on an emotional overload for the last few days." He opens the door and exits.

I stand there for a few seconds. I've hurt Liz so much. I need to go talk to her. But it's going to take me at least an hour to pluck up the courage.

As I leave, I realize that Michael's stopped and is looking at me again. I frown at him, "What?"

"We're all hanging out tomorrow night. Me, you, Alex, Maria, Isabel… and Liz. You'd better be there. No more hiding in your room while they're here."

"Okay. Fine. But I'll be a little late, ‘cause I already have plans with Tess." I speak through my gritted teeth. I don't know when I became a two year old and when Michael became my babysitter, but I'm probably going to snap at him if he does it again. I don't like to be controlled.

I head back into the living room, only to find that Alex has filled my spot on the couch.

I sit down on the armchair and listen in to the conversation Alex is having with Tess.

He's asking her about Isabel, "And we've done the same thing for almost all of our dates. I want to like… you know… surprise her or something. But I live with a bunch of womanly-retarded males and I have absolutely no ideas for what I can do."

Michael objects, "Watch it, Whitman. I'm a pro at women."

Tess rolls her eyes at Michael before turning back to Alex, "You could try just asking her if she wants to go out one night, but don't tell her why, and then take her on a picnic. You know that whole dining under the stars thing. Then you two could lay back and stargaze for a while afterwards. Bring a constellation book or something."

Alex is impressed. He nods his head appreciatively, "Excellent idea. I think I just might do that."

"You know, Tess, we need to get you hooked up with a man." Alex smirks at her and then at me.

I laugh and look at Tess, "As long as it's not Alex or Michael. Isabel and Maria could probably kick your ass."

"Uh… Maxwell. You usually don't want to go around setting your girlfriend up with people." Michael interrupts, looking at me like I'm some kind of a moron.

I'm not surprised. To be honest, I found it hard to believe that Alex had already caught on. But, then again, Alex always surprises me with stuff like that.

It's Alex's turn to rolls his eyes. He turns to Michael, "Boy plus girl does not always equal sex, Michael."

"Yes it does. They've done studies on it." Michael's never been one for reading scientific magazines. And, frankly, it's showing. Not that I can blame him. It's not like I walk around with one in my back pocket.

Tess laughs, "Quite frankly, Michael, I'm insulted that you think I'm such a tramp. I've known Max for what… a few days?"

"Yeah, but you've hung out with him every second of each one of those days." Michael defends himself. He's really not as big of a jackass as I'm portraying him to be. He's just a little rough around the edges – cleans up nicely, actually.

I give him a look, and he immediately shuts up.

Tess shakes her head, "And I'm not looking for a relationship right now, anyways."

"…says the girl who's spending all of her free time hanging out with guys." Michael mutters, but everyone hears it. He's not the king of subtlety.

"Michael, what the hell is wrong with you?" He's been acting weirder than normal, and I intend to find out why.

He looks at me distastefully, "If you must know, Maria's been on my back for days about you and Liz. We haven't had sex at all, and I'm feeling a little bit frustrated. So maybe you and Liz should just make the fuck up or whatever you two need to do, so that I can release some tension and Maria can stop whining about it."

"Are you always this selfish? Has it ever occurred to you that the world does not revolve around you and your sex life?" Tess snaps at him, shifting her gaze from his face to his crotch and back again, "Or do you just turn into a jackass when Little Mikey's not getting any action?"

Michael eyes her defensively, "I don't think I've known you long enough for me to be comfortable with you talking about my penis."

Tess fires one back at him, "I don't think that I've known you long enough for you to be talking about your penis's problems around me."

"Talk about being able to cut the tension with a knife." Alex whistles.

I shake my head and get a beer out of the fridge. Michael knows a guy who knows a guy, so the apartment's always stocked with some form of alcohol, even if we are slightly underage.

When the argument in the living room dies down, I head back and we all watch the rest of the movie in a comfortable silence. It ends and Tess leaves. She and Michael don't really hate each other. He just doesn't like change. And Tess is an added element to our lives, one that he didn't see coming.

As for Tess… she doesn't take no for an answer.

I wait for a few minutes and then head up to the girl's apartment. I told myself that I would go and talk to Liz tonight, I plan on upholding that promise.

I'm not one to break my own word. That is, I never have. Until the other night. When I told Liz that I wouldn't sleep with her. I did. I slept with her. I got myself into a huge mess that's seemingly unfixable.

My foot's on the landing for her floor when I hear pounding coming from the direction of their apartment. It doesn't take long before I realize that it's Kyle. He's shouting and demanding that Liz let him in. She's probably been ignoring him for the past few days.

The confidence that I've mustered to come up here is stifled completely when the door opens and Kyle steps inside. The door closes behind him. My face falls in defeat. She's taken him in.

I fight to keep my broken heart in my chest and stumble back down the stairs and into my own hallway. My mind is swimming by the time that I fall onto my bed. Tonight isn't going to be filled with sleep. I'm going to be too busy obsessing over Kyle and Liz's relationship. That… and waiting for Kyle to come busting down the door to my apartment and trying to kick my ass.

I'll probably let him, if it comes to that. I deserve it.

Kyle never comes. I stay up the whole night, listening for him, but I never heard a sound. I crawl out of bed at eight and shower quickly. After I get dressed, I give Tess a quick call and tell her that I'm coming over.

I need to remove myself from the environment if I'm going to get anything accomplished today. Maybe I'll be able to catch a few hours of sleep over there. I tend to do that to her – fall asleep, I mean. Whenever I go over to her apartment, I end up taking some form of a nap. She must think I'm some kind of a narcoleptic.

I get over to her apartment and she's still half asleep. She mumbles something incoherently and then points to the couch. I shrug and lay down on it while she retreats to her bedroom.

Two hours later, I wake up to the smell of sizzling bacon. Even if it was a measly two hours, I still feel slightly refreshed.

I follow the smell into the kitchen and find Tess standing there in her pajamas, putting in the last batch to be fried. She hands me a piece and I devour it. Who knew that heart break could work up such an appetite?

I sigh heavily and she raises an eyebrow, "I think there's more to this Kyle kid than what you're hearing about him."

"Drives virgins to give it up, bangs on doors late at night, all around nice guy." I mock.

She shoves me, "I'm serious. From what you said on the phone, I'm pretty sure that the last thing that he wanted was to drive Liz away. And the number one thing on any guy's list of How To Drive A Virginal Girl Away is to tell her that her being a virgin is unattractive. Plus, I don't think that he thinks that. I mean… he was with his friends. Guys'll say anything to impress their friends."

I roll my eyes. The mere subject is making my skin crawl. "Can we talk about something else?"

"What do we have on the agenda for today?" She clicks her nails against the counter.

I shrug.

She leans against the counter and scrunches up her nose. She does that when she's thinking. It's a little quirk of hers. We all have them. After a few seconds, her eyes light up, "We're in Greenwich Village. Are you telling me there's nothing to do on the whole island of Manhattan?"

I feel like shit. Liz has forgiven Kyle. She hasn't forgiven me. I am the worse out of the two of us. I screwed up. I can't even pretend to be okay in front of Tess. But she pushes me to get better, anyways. I don't think she understands.

She places the bacon and some eggs on the table and we both sit down and start to eat. About halfway through the meal, she decides on something, "Go home and shower, get a fresh change of clothes, whatever. We should go to Central Park and do something.. And there's bound to be something else going on."

I nod. I haven't been rollerblading in ages. Except, I think I just might have a pair hidden away in my closet somewhere.

Liz used to love rollerblading, when we were back in Roswell. But then we got here and she met Kyle and we haven't been hanging out as much as I'd like to. She goes rollerblading with him, sometimes. I miss hanging out with her like we used to.

Why couldn't high school have gone on forever?

I help clean up and then leave the apartment, promising to be back at Tess's in an hour.

No one's awake when I get back. It doesn't surprise me. We're all night owls. Alex claims that he's an early bird and a night owl. He always says, "I'm an early bird and I'm a night owl, so I'm wise and have worms."

Don't give him too much credit, though. He stole the quote from ‘The Office’. It's mine and Liz's favorite show. We used to sit down and watch it every Thursday together. Today's Thursday. I don't think we'll be watching it together tonight.

I shower quickly and get dressed, grabbing my skates from the bottom of my closet. Who brings a pair of roller blades with them to college? Me, that's who. I like to be prepared. For everything. Including emergencies when I would have to rollerblade to safety. Tess and I make it to Central Park in record time. Don't ask me how; it's a mystery, even to me. I wasn't really paying attention. Couldn't even tell you if we were riding in a cab or not.

We spend the morning skating around the various paths. Tess brought a book bag, so I offered to carry it around for her. She agreed.

I make fun of her for bringing a book bag. She makes fun of me for tripping on a pebble on the sidewalk. I didn't fall over. In fact, I recovered quite nicely. Gracefully, even.

We find a sunny patch of grass and sit down around noon, removing our skates. She takes the book bag and removes some sandwiches and a few drinks. I lay on my back and save the eating for later. I want to soak in the nature for right now.

Tess whistles, "Would you look at all of the girls checking you out?"

"What are you talking about?" I snap up to a seated position and look around. I can't see anyone.

Tess laughs at me, "God, you're so blind. I guess it's true about only having eyes for one person."

"What the hell are you talking about?!?!" I ask, still looking around for someone looking at me. I can't see anyone.

"There're all of these girls, fucking you with their eyes, and you don't even notice them. Because you've truly only got eyes for Liz. It's almost pathetic." She laughs again.

I frown and look around again, "I don't see anyone staring at me. Maybe you're the one with the mind tricks happening."

She scoffs and then talks without moving her lips, "Girl by the fountain with the brown shirt. Look up."

I do. We make eye contact. She blushes and then turns away.

"Blue hoodie, blonde hair, busty, leaning against the tree."

I look over there. She was staring at me, too. She doesn't look away. She winks at me seductively.

"With the Weimaraner dog. Brown, short hair. Blue jeans and a white shirt over there on the sidewalk."

I look again, briefly, and find someone staring at me. It's a guy. He winks at me and then runs his fingers through his hair. I turn beat red and look away.

Tess cracks up, "He's been eyeing you all day. I couldn't resist."

"Whatever. That doesn't mean anything. They were looking at me because I was looking at them." I can't believe she thinks that they're all interested in me.

Tess smirks, "Mhm, sure, Romeo." She looks over my shoulder and I turn my head.

The blonde from the tree is standing above me with a piece of paper in her hand. She crouches down, takes my hand, kisses the palm, and then presses the piece of paper into it. She whispers into my ear, "Call me."

She walks away without a response.

I turn back to Tess, who is now rolling around on the grass, laughing her ass off. I give her a disbelieving look, "She just came right up to me! You were with me! She didn't even know if we were going out or not!"

Tess sighs heavily, trying to catch her breath after laughing so much, "You're a hot piece of meat. Girls would be stupid to let that chance get away."

"I am NOT a 'hot piece of meat.'" I defend, exasperated. Why doesn't she take 'no' for an answer?

"That's another reason why you're such an attractive guy." Tess winks at me, "You don't know that you're hot. And that, my friend, is super hot."

"Super hot?" I tease her, "Where'd you pick up your lingo from?"

She feigns being offended, "Make fun of me. See if I help you win Liz over."

I stop short, "I don't want to win Liz over. I mean… yeah, it would be nice… but she's never going to go for it, not after what happened. I just want her to be happy."

"You would do anything for her, wouldn't you? Even if you had to push her towards Kyle? Even if it meant being miserable for the rest of your life? Because we both know that this isn't just a crush. You've been in love with her for a good portion of your life."

"I'd do anything for her." I answer honestly, my sad demeanor returning. "If Liz is happy, then I know that I'll be okay."

"No, you won't." Tess responds, "You won't be fully happy until this whole thing is resolved and you're with Liz."

I stare at her straight in the eyes. I want her to know how serious I am, "I would give my life for Liz's."

She whispers lowly, but I hear her, "You already are."

I shake my head, "Is that wrong of me?! Is it wrong for me to want her to be happy?!"

"No." Tess frowns, "But it's wrong for you to neglect yourself in the process. You need to live, Max. You can't keep thinking about what happened. Sure, you're putting up a good act, trying to pretend like everything's okay, but it's not getting you anywhere. You need to talk to Liz."

"I tried that!" I practically shout. A few heads turn in our direction. I lower my voice, but its harshness remains, "I went up to go talk to her last night! She took Kyle in! Not me! Kyle!"

"You didn't give her the option." She shrugs, "You ran back downstairs."

I fall back on the grass and close my eyes. Tess is right. I'm not trying hard enough to make things right. I'm letting Liz go without a fight. Platonically and otherwise.

We hang out and talk for the rest of the afternoon. It's six by the time we realize that I have to get back. Michael made it quite clear that he would pound me if I missed hangout night.

I drag my feet the entire way home – literally and figuratively. If I see Liz, I've promised myself that I would take her aside and talk to her. I need to get things sorted out with her.

I reach my apartment and put the key in the lock, opening it hesitantly. Words immediately float to my ear. It's Michael, "Liz, are you kidding me? Everyone knows that Max is a virgin. Why do you think he gets called Mary all of the time?"

I freeze. All eyes are on me. My face is draining of color – I can tell.

Liz didn't know that I was a virgin. Isabel didn't know. Maria didn't know. Michael and Alex were the only ones. I didn't want them to know. I was too ashamed to tell them. Michael must have forgotten that I told them that in confidentiality.

Liz's eyes meet mine and we both freeze. I can't move. My heart is in my throat. Someone ripped it out and stuck it there.

Michael waves his hands in the air and I snap out of it. I think I'm going to be sick. I mumble something about forgetting something at Tess's and rush out of the door, closing it behind me.

I don't go to Tess's.

I run to the nearest trashcan and puke.

I stumble into the stairwell and sit on the stairs that are going downwards. I bury my face in my hands.

Liz's perception of me has probably just drastically changed. While I was dirt on the bottom of her shoe, I'm now pond scum. She's bound to think that I'm pathetic.

After a few minutes, I stand up and head down the stairs. I couldn't be happier when my feet hit the road. I'm glad I have my fake ID on me. I could use a drink.

TBC...
Ben Kweller - I Need You Back
Last edited by sprayadhesive on Fri Oct 12, 2007 12:32 am, edited 5 times in total.

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sprayadhesive
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Post by sprayadhesive » Wed Jan 31, 2007 5:36 pm

Sorry this took so long, guys. It wasn't dreamerfrvrp3's fault at all... it was completely me. I've been crazy busy lately.

One little note is that in this part, Max's actions and dialogue are written by me (sprayadhesive), but the rest of it is written by dreamer.

But, we are having an author's chat at Roswell Heaven for this story tonight (January 31st) at 8:30pm. We'd greatly appreciate anyone stopping by. Here's the link.

Thank you to everyone for the feedback. Dreamerfrvrp3's responded to you below. Thank you for the bumps!

LairaBehr4- :D
Dreamerlaure – I know don’t you love Tess? I kind of wish she was my friend! Hey! Kyle’s in this part!
max and liz believer – Tess is a lovely person and very funny. I know I enjoyed reading the park scene and Spray is so very talented. I love One Tree Hill! It’s one of my guilty pleasures.
maya- ;)
jamy21- Your telling me they are so stubborn and the both of them think that they hate each other. It confusing just writing that!
begonia9508- Maybe…
clueless
Dreamer<3- Hahahahaha, yup Tess is pretty amazing. The whole park scene was just amazing, wasn’t it? All right I must say that I feel terrible for Liz. One because I write her and two she’s so emotionally screwed up its not even funny!
ShatteredDreamer
Alien_Friend – Liz always beats herself up! It’s sad really.
Emz80m – They make quite a couple, don’t they?
Orphyfets- Glad you like it! Communication I guess isn’t something they are very good at, lol.
guelbebek – Hmmm ;)
This FB response from sprayadhesive:
Michelle In Yonkers: I completely agree with you in your statement that Max is the one being manipulated and controlled. I've always found it interesting to see reactions to situations based upon genders and how they affect people's perceptions of situations. As for Tess... she's my favorite character in this. I love writing her. Thanks so much for all of the lovely compliments!




Chapter Five
Liz's POV
"Fall Away"

You swear you recall nothing at all
That could make you come back down
You made up your mind to leave it all behind
Now you're forced to fight it out

You fall away from your past
But it's following you

You left something undone, it's now your rerun
It's the one you can't erase
You should have made it right, so you wouldn't have to fight
To put a smile back on your face

You fall away from your past
But it's following you
You fall away

Something I've done that I can't outrun
Maybe you should wait maybe you should run
But there's something you've said that can't be undone

And you fall away from your past
But It's following you

You fall away
It's following you


Flashback

This is very bad. Maria’s shocked face and Isabel’s angry face are staring back at me. I desperately search the room for some sort of escape, but I find no way out. I turn towards the door. Now I know how it feels to you walk towards your death.

“Liz, this isn’t over,” Isabel warns. I swallow hard; the bile in my throat unrelenting as I greet my boyfriend.

“So, Kyle what brings you by?” I ask Kyle politely. Stay calm, I chide myself.

“Well, hmm… let’s see. For one, you never answer my call. Two, you seem to live at the library, even though I never see you there. And three, what the hell is wrong?” he spits out.

“I’m sorry,” I console, “my life has been a little hectic.”

“Too hectic to give your boyfriend a call,” he fires back. By now, Maria and Isabel have gone back to Maria’s room to talk about what I told them earlier.

“I truly am sorry about these past couple days, but, Kyle, you have to understand, I just haven’t been feeling too well,” I cry out. Why won’t he just accept it?!

“Liz, I could have helped you,” he says in a gentler voice.

“I don’t think anyone can help me anymore, except for him,” I mutter to myself.

“What’s that?” He asks.

“Oh, nothing. I’m just really tired,” I add. Oops, I really need to get out of this.

“Are you okay?” questions Kyle. I nod mutely as he stares at me with a funny expression. Now he thinks I’m insane! I miss Max; he always understood me. He knew all the right words to make me feel better. I daze for a moment, remembering the good times Max and I had before this mess. I wonder if he is having an even better time with Tess. Seconds have gone by, but if feels like I’ve been trapped in this room for hours. I’m so distracted that I don’t hear Maria fly in and begin to talk to me.

“Liz… don’t forget we have a manicure appointment in 15 minutes,” she advises us. Maria is a lifesaver.

“I’ll call you later,” I tell him. “And, please, don’t worry about me.”

“Should he worry about you?” Maria asks after Kyle leaves. I wish I knew the answer to that.

“Yeah, he seems genuinely concerned,” Izzie, adds as she joins us again. “What I can’t believe is that you have been lying to all us this entire time and avoiding your boyfriend, but that’s still what you get. Concern.”

“I understand that you’re upset with me but-” I try to explain.

“Upset! I’m furious! You used my brother and are not only hurting him, but yourself too,” Izzie screams.

“Okay, I get it! It was a horrible mistake, and I’m going to be paying for it for the rest of my life,” I shout.

“Lizzie, calm down, it will all work out,” Maria soothes.

“Right, it will all work out! Did I even mention that Max won’t look at me?! Now, tell me that it will work out,” I mention sarcastically. “And you two hate me and are disgusted with me. I’m just such a disgusting person.”

“We aren’t disgusted in you, don’t even think that. You’ve just always been such a great person. We just don’t get why you’re doing what you’re doing.” said Maria softly. I lower my eyes to the ground, and I know inside that I’m the most disappointed in myself.

“No, Maria! I’m disgusted and angry! I don’t understand what drove you to do this to your best friend,” Isabel cries out. Her eyes are blazing as they bear holes in my face.

“Izzie, I was scared and embarrassed. I was so afraid of what Kyle would think of me, and I guess I wasn’t thinking at all.”

“That’s right! You weren’t thinking at all. All you did was think about yourself, not how this would affect Max’s feelings!” The tears were falling so fast. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to stop crying.

“I’m so sorry,” I moan as I crumble to the ground.

“YOU USED-.”

“Enough!” Maria cuts her off. I sit on the ground, looking at Maria as though I was five and my dolly was being taken away. A minute more of Isabel screaming at me, and I think I would have died of depression. “I want the both of you to go to your rooms. Liz has enough stuff going on, and she doesn’t need us yelling at her.”

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

I can’t believe Max, is late again,” Michael grunts. “This is the third time this week that he has been late because of that Tess girl.”

“He’s out with Tess again?” Maria asks.

“Yeah, we have barely seen him all week and she’s always hanging out here. He doesn’t even stay to watch the hockey games,” he adds exasperatedly.

“So, have they being getting cozy?” I ask, curious as to what the answer might be.

"Liz, are you kidding me? Everyone knows that Max is a virgin. Why do you think he gets called Mary all of the time?” Everyone’s attention has shifted to the door. Max had picked that moment to enter the room. The look on Max’s face when Michael blurted out his secret was painful. He blames me for taking away both of our innocence and he hates me for it. I hold back the tears in my eyes as Maria and Isabel stare at me in shock for too long. The slam of the door echoes in my ear as Max exits. Part of me is wondering If I should go after him or not. I never knew he was a virgin.

“Oops, I don’t think I was supposed to say anything,” Michael says bluntly.

Michael’s words echo through my head as I sit and try to enjoy the movie. Isabel has been sending me evil looks the entire night and the guys just are so clueless. I try and focus on the TV screen but I find it harder and harder to do it as more tears well up in my eyes.

“I’m going to go back to our apartment. I’m not feeling so good,” I whisper to Maria. When I get back, I collapse onto my bed and silently cry, trying so hard not to think about the mess that I call my life.


End Flashback

There’s a loud banging on the door to the apartment, and I rush to it before Isabel wakes up. It’s not like I was able to sleep.

"Liizzziieee, open the door! Iwannaseeyou."

"Kyle, I told you I'd call you later, you don't need to check on me," I whisper through the door. After the talk, or should I say argument, that Isabel and I had this afternoon, there is no way I want to wake her up.

"I jusss wanna see you. We haven't talked in forever... I miss you."

“Kyle, we made plans already. For tomorrow night. I'll see you then,” I tell him.

"I'm not Kyle. I don't even LIKE Kyle."

I swing open the door, anxious to see who might be visiting me at this hour.
"Max!" I gasp. Now, this wasn't who I was expecting. Oh no, I moan to myself. I'm pretty sure he's totally wasted. It’s bringing back bad memories.

He sways in place and then steps through the door, closing it behind him. His eyes don't really seem to be focused, but he's looking at me, "You're so..." He pauses, switching gears. He reeks of scotch, "Michael is an idiot. Don’t listen to a word he tells you.”

"Ohm that… um, well, I wasn't really paying attention anyway," I say, avoiding his gaze. That's a complete lie; it's pretty much the only thing I've thought about all night. I've practically ruined everything for the both of us.

"Haven't I ever told you that you're a bad liar?” His giggling continues. "You heard every... single... little... word."

"I'm so sorry Max, for what I did," I admit. "It's entirely my fault and our friendship is ruined because of me.” I wipe away a stray tear, and we both stand there awkwardly. I can't tell what he's thinking. In one moment, our conversation went from okay to very serious.

After a few seconds, he recovers. "Shhhh.” He puts his index finger up to my lips with one hand. With the other, he wipes away a tear. "Don't. I can't talk about this right now.” He points over my shoulder, "I am much more concerned with what is in your fridge."

He stumbles his way over to one of the kitchen chairs, but as he's sitting down on it, the chair falls over. Max tumbles down with it.

I can’t help but laugh at the site of Max sitting on the ground, pouting.

"I can't believe you fell over the chair!” I burst out laughing again. By the time I finish laughing, I'm rolling around on ground. It’s then that we both hear a bedroom door slam. "Uh-oh this is definitely not good."

Before I can react, Max is Bond-rolling himself across the room, and over the back of the couch. He crouches on it and pokes his head over the back of it. I can see him making a fake gun out of his hands. He hisses, "Liz! Hostiles are coming! Get down!"

"Oh shit, it’s Isabel.” I'm already behind the couch when Isabel enters, turning on the light.

"It's 2 AM, Liz, you better have a good explanation," she screeches. I guess she doesn't see Max, lying down beside me.

Max looks both ways before poking his head over the couch. He aims his finger gun at Isabel and makes a few shooting noises before he falls back behind the safety of the couch. "Enemy's resistant to hand gun ammunition.” He puts both hands up to his mouth and makes a static noise, "I need back up, STAT!"

“Am I awake?" Izzie gasps, looking around wildly. I feel the laughter boiling up inside of me again and cover my mouth, not wanting to make any sudden movements in front of Izzie.

"Max, here, decided to come over and visit me," I explain. "He's just a little drunk."

"No shit," Izzie exclaims. Not a smart move pissing Iz off in the middle of the night.

"Iz, it's okay.” He almost falls over as he pushes himself off the couch. He puts a finger to his lips, "You are going to wake Deluca. Be quiet.” He's silent for a few seconds before he gives her a look, "And I am not that drunk."

"I think your blood alcohol level would disagree with that.” I hope this doesn't end up in an argument; I can't take anymore of those.

"How about we move this talk to the kitchen, Max is right. We don't want to wake Maria up," I advise. Izzie sends me an evil glare, but agrees. “I'll even put on a pot of coffee."

Max pouts and stomps his foot. The comment Isabel made about his BAC is completely forgotten, "I don't want coffee. I just want to sit here and talk to Liz.” He waves away Isabel, "You are dismissed."

"Dismissed," she waves it off. "Last time I checked, you and Lizzie here were in a bit of a bind.” I turn to stare at her, my eyes pleading for her to stop. I like having Max in my company. "I mean, I thought you two weren't talking with all that's happened these past couple of weeks. I don't want Liz to hurt you anymore than she already has. You're drunk, and she can take advantage of that."

He looks like he's been slapped in the face. Apparently the comment helped him sober up a little. He looks from Isabel to me, and then backs to Isabel. When he next speaks, he sounds completely broken. His voice cracks, "I need to go. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to..."

He staggers to the door and leaves completely.

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

I wake up to the sound of my cell ringing, and it’s already one in the afternoon. I almost forgot about my big night that I have tonight with Kyle.

“Hey,” I answer groggily.

“Liz, it’s me, Kyle. Is it possible to come by a little earlier tonight?” he asks.

“Um, sure. What do you have planned?” I pry. I hope it’s nothing drastic. Part of me doesn’t want to go out with Kyle today, and the other part kind of can’t wait.

“It’s a surprise, you’ll just have to wait and see,” he replies secretively before hanging up.

“I hate surprises,” I mutter to myself. By the time I finish getting ready, it’s just about time to leave. I realize that I’m the only one home. That’s when I notice the note on the fridge:

Liz,

Izzie and I went out shopping. We probably won’t be back until 6.
Have a nice night with Kyle.

Love,
Maria


On my way out, I think about my decision of staying with Kyle. I mean, is this right thing to do when I don’t know what’s going on in my life? What if this turns out to be another horrible mistake?

I press the down button on the elevator when someone else jumps in quickly, just before the doors shut.

I mumble a hello without looking up to see who has joined me. The elevator chimes and the door opens for me to get out when someone grabs my arm. I turn around quickly to yell at them, but that’s when I see who it is.

“Tess,” I squeak, facing the woman who has been getting steadily closer to my former best friend. “Can I have my arm back, please?”

“Don’t go through with this. You’re making a terrible mistake,” she warns softly and then disappears out of the doors before I can say anything back.

TBC...
The Fray - Fall Away

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Post by sprayadhesive » Mon Apr 02, 2007 11:29 am

Thank you guys for the EXTREME patience. :oops: I've been so busy lately, but hopefully things are going to go smoother on dreamerfrvrp3's end for the next part.

Thank you for all of the feedback and support! It means a lot!

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Part 6
Max’s POV
“Stitched Up”


Exactly how you hear it, is exactly how it all went down...
It was later in the evening
That the facts and the figures got turned around
True, there was a woman
Yes, she did advance my way
And I can't be sure exactly but I swear I saw her say my name

It was the right time
She was the real thing
I had to walk away

(See) Don't wanna be, stitched up out of my mind
Feeling strung out, laggin' behind
All trapped in, can't do a thing because I'm
Locked down
Stitched up, feeling the burn
All strung out, I finally learn that
Trapped in, can't do a thing because I'm
Locked down

I wonder where she came from
I wonder where she's gotta go
Who's to say she's single
And who's to say she's on her own
Girls like that don't sleep alone
(Alright here's the thing, here's the thing)

That girl is flawless, and I know I'm not the first one to think that
And since I'm not the first, I sure won't be the last
I'd spend my whole life looking behind my back
I just don't think I'm up to that

Stitched up, out of my mind
Feeling strung out, laggin' behind
All trapped in, can't do a thing because I'm
Locked down
Stitched up, feeling the burn
All strung out, I finally learn that
Trapped in you can't do a thing because you're
Locked down


I don’t know why I thought that Liz wouldn’t stereotype me and assume that I have sex with every girl I meet. She was the only one. She’s always been the only one. She always will be the only one.

But things are so messed up.

How am I supposed to recover from everything that’s been happening lately? She’s with Kyle. Kyle’s with her. They’re planning on consummating their relationship tonight. I need a drink.

I walk into the kitchen and open up the refrigerator. I don’t care that it’s ten in the morning. I know that I’m exhibiting almost all of the signs of becoming an alcoholic. I know that my family has a history of alcoholism. I don’t care.

Alcohol has already messed up my life to the point of no return. I don’t see why it shouldn’t help numb the pain.

Last night was horrible. What was even more horrible was finding my way back to the apartment and seeing Tess in the kitchen. The shame in her eyes was unbearable. She made me promise that I wouldn’t drink like this anymore. Because she somehow knew that I would turn to it if anything messed up.

But I broke that promise.

And now I’m afraid that my best friend is this bottle of vodka that I’m holding.

I take a swig of it, letting it burn all of the way down my throat. Alex and Michael are out somewhere, doing something. I’m slipping further away from them. I’m slipping further away from all of them. Tess is still here, but I can’t hold on to her forever. One of these days, some guy is going to realize what a great girl she is, and then she’s going to have her own problems.

I open up the morning paper and scan the columns. Every once in a while, I circle an ad. I decided that I am going to move out of the building last night, just before I drank myself into oblivion.

Last night. I don’t even want to think about it.

Flashback

I run as fast and as far as my legs will take me. By the time I stop, I’m panting and there’s sweat on my forehead. I wipe it off with my sleeve and look around. I managed to get quite a few blocks away from my building, closer to the dorms.

In a stroke of luck, one of the dorms seems to be having a party. I swipe my student ID and get into the building, immediately making my way towards the music.

The entire floor is involved and every room is open. I see girls eyeing me, but I ignore them and beeline for the hard liquor.

I tell someone to pour me a few shots and they do. I do five of them before I take a thirty second break and do three more.

The room is spinning.

I can’t believe Michael told everyone that I was a virgin. Alex, Maria and Isabel are going to tell our mutual friends, they’re going to tell their friends.

I’m going to be the laughing stock of NYU.

But I don’t even care about that. What I care about is the fact that he told Liz that I am such a fuck up that I manage to lose two people’s virginities in one judgment lacking night.

I need to break something… anything.

The room is spinning. I can’t see or think straight. I don’t realize it when a girl comes over to me and practically swallows my ear whole. I push her off, a little too roughly than I intended, and I leave the dorm.

I’ve always hated parties. Liz and I would skip them together, and we would hang out at one of our dorms or, more recently, our apartments. I think this fight is going to be the death of me.

If it is, then I want to see her. I need to see her.

I get held up when I hit the pavement and realize that I have no idea how to get home. I probably would if I was sober, but I’m not. I am toasted.

Some girls are eyeing me again, but I shake my head and walk in the opposite direction.

It’s a few hours before I find myself in front of my building.

I can’t help but wonder if anyone even went looking for me. Probably not, though. Liz probably told them all about our night together and now they all hate me. I need to move out. I can’t stay here any longer. I’m suffocating.

I take the stairs up, stumbling and falling on my face a few times. It’s slow progress, but I don’t care I get onto the landing for Liz’s floor and something draws me to her.

End Flashback


Tess was waiting for me when I got home. She realized that I was broken and she hugged me, trying to hold me all together. There wasn’t really anything she could do. Not then, and not now.

She never actually voiced how disappointed she was that I went and drank, but I know that she was. That she still is.

The lock turns and someone opens the door. I finish my third shot and put the shot glass down, heading into the bathroom. I don’t want to talk to Michael and I don’t want to face Alex’s taunting.

I stare in the mirror. My eyes are bloodshot. My hair is ruffled. There are heavy bags under my eyes.

But I laugh. Because I’m kind of tipsy after those shots.

Whoever’s in the apartment hears me, because their footsteps start again and they go through my room and stop outside of the door.

I groan, “Not now, guys.”

The door flings open and I jump back, for fear of my nose getting smacked by it. I shield my eyes against the light in my room. Whoever’s there took the liberty of opening up all of the blinds. I haven’t opened those in days.

“You’ve been drinking?” It’s a simple question, stated apathetically. I don’t think I’ve ever been this afraid of Tess Harding in my life.

I shake my head feverishly, “No, I uh…”

“You’ve been drinking.” She states, holding out the bottle and the shot glass for me to see.

I’m pissed, “I’ll drink if I want to!”

“You promised you wouldn’t do it anymore!” She shouts at me.

I flinch. She’s pissed. More pissed than I am. She continues to yell at me, “I’m not going to sit here and let my friend drink his days away! You’ve got scholarships you need to keep! You have an apartment you need to pay rent for! You have friends who care about you! I’ve never met your mother, Max, but I swear I’ll call her if I need to.”

“It was just a little vodka!” I protest feebly.

“And I suppose it was only a little vodka last night? And the night before that?”

I groan.

She stands in front of the sink and unscrews the top. She’s got half of the bottle poured down the sink before I can react. I try to reach around her, but she elbows me in the gut, causing me to take a step backwards. Only, I can’t step backwards, because the tub is in the way, so I end up falling on my ass, inside of the tub.

She throws the empty bottle away in the trash. I struggle to my feet, “That was mine!”

“Was.” She shrugs, “Not anymore.”

I get out of the tub and follow Tess out of the room like a dog being yelled at for getting into the garbage. She waits until I sit on the couch in the living room and then she gets to yelling at me again, “You need to talk to Liz! It’s Friday, Max! This has been going on far too long! I’m sick of you sitting here, wondering whether or not she hates you. She doesn’t hate you. There are two sides to every story! See what she remembers from the other night! Ask her what you can do to fix it!!”

“I’ve already screwed up her life enough. And now she knows that I was a virgin before all of this happened…”

“Oh, Max…” Tess is looking at me with softer eyes, now. She’s walking closer to me. “I didn’t know that you were a…”

Shit, I didn’t even realize that I had told her. The realization causes me to sober up slightly. I don’t know if I like that fact. “It doesn’t matter.”

“Obviously it matters to you.” She bites her lip. She speaks softer, with more emotion, “You need to talk to her.”

“It’s too late for that.” I brush the notion off. She doesn’t want to see me.

Tess shakes her head, “Sometimes I wonder if you really do love her.”

“What?!” I snap. How could she doubt that? Everything I do, I do for Liz Parker.

She bites her lip, “If I loved someone, I wouldn’t give up on them that easily.”

I speak quietly, “That’s the thing… I love her enough to let her go if she wants to go. I’m not going to hold her back from what she wants.”

We sit in silence as she debates my response. Something that she said earlier snaps into place, “It’s Friday?”

She looks worried again. My voice has gotten softer, more hesitant. She nods, “Yeah. Why?”

“Liz was supposed to… this is the day that Liz and Kyle are going to… this is why she came to the apartment that night…”

“Oh shit.” Tess paces, “You need to go talk to her.”

“I can’t.” I shake my head, “I’m not going to stop her if this is what she wants.”

“Stop being so damned self-sacrificing! Be selfish for once!” She snaps.

I contemplate it, but then I realize what she’s saying. She wants me to hurt Liz… again. I can’t do that. I won’t.

I’ve already done that enough.

I need a drink.

I pretend like I’m looking for something to eat in the refrigerator and find a small flask of whiskey stashed towards the back. I take a swig, with my head still in the fridge, and then come back to face Tess. She doesn’t suspect a thing.

I smirk, the tipsy sensation returning, and continue to rummage through the fridge. I pull out some leftovers from last night’s dinner.

Tess wrinkles her nose, and then points to a bag that I didn’t notice before, “I don’t eat leftovers. I brought some food over here. I’m making lunch.”

I nod and sit down, watching her cook. I suck at cooking. It’s impossible for me to do anything but grill. I’m very talented with a grill. Would you like your burger well done? Medium? Medium rare? Rare? Straight off the cow?

I trace the patterns in the grain of the wood that the table’s made out of with my finger. I talk out loud, but mostly to myself, “She wouldn’t want me anyways. We’ve been friends for years. She never expressed any interest.”

“She’s just subconsciously stifling the feeling because she doesn’t think that you will return her adoration. I’m sure it’s there. She doesn’t want to see it.” Tess replies matter-of-factly as she busies herself making lunch.

I shake my head, “Okay, Freud.”

“I’m serious.” Tess nods, “Like with the kid that lives in my building. He’s hot, and I’m seriously crushing on him. But I don’t go after him, because he mentioned that he has a girlfriend. So whenever I get in the elevator, I avoid looking around. Just in case he's in there. I pretend like it doesn’t exist. Because it hurts too much to know that he’s taken.”

continued on next post

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Post by sprayadhesive » Mon Apr 02, 2007 11:29 am

“Well, he’s an idiot for not seeing what’s in front of him.” I reply.

Tess nods, “Exactly.”

“Exactly what?”

“Liz is an idiot for not seeing what’s in front of her.” She holds my gaze, “You’re a great guy, Max. You’ve got to open her eyes and make her see it.”

I turn away, a slightly embarrassed twinge appearing on my cheeks.

Liz was happy before all of this happened. She would probably be happier if I just stayed out of her life entirely. I should have slept with one of those girls at the dorm, and pushed Liz away forever.

The thought makes me want to vomit. How could I even think that?

I don’t like having this conversation. I would so much rather be brooding in my room. But Tess won’t let me. She’s talking about her classes now, about a paper that’s due next week, trying to keep me interested in the conversation and talking to her. I participate slightly, but my mind keeps going to Liz and Kyle.

I wish I could make her happy with me, not with Kyle.

I don’t think I’ll ever stop loving her.

Tess shakes her head and places down some homemade waffles, “Eat. I’m going to clean up your room a little. It’s a pigsty and it kind of smells like corn chips.”

I nod blankly. I don’t think I’ve cleaned anything in a while. I usually hate it when people touch my stuff. But I don’t mind that Tess is. She’s such a good friend. I don’t know what I would do without her right now.

I groan and manage to swallow a few bites of the waffles. They’re delicious, but I just haven’t had the stomach for any kind of food lately. I put my head in my hands and then pull at my hair, completely frustrated. Why can’t I snap out of it? Why can’t I let Liz go?

Do I get to be happy? Or will I live the rest of my life pining after her, wondering what could have happened if I had revealed my feelings for her while we were in high school?

I don’t know how I’m going to make it through the night, knowing that her and Kyle are going to be going at it like rabbits.

Three hours later, Tess declares that I’m getting pale and she forces me to leave the apartment and go for a jog so she can finish cleaning the kitchen, the bathroom and the living room.

I get dressed in some basketball shorts and a t-shirt and slide on my sneakers. I tell her goodbye, kiss her on the cheek and then leave my apartment.

I love the city. Everyone minds their own business. I pound down the roads for at least an hour. By the time I get back to the apartment building, it’s the middle of the afternoon and I’m coated in sweat.

I enter the apartment and Tess is sitting at the kitchen table with Isabel. Tess jumps up and talks quickly, “I’ll come back later tonight, okay, Max? Please think about what I told you to do. You deserve it.”

I nod, physically tired from the jog. I thank her for coming over and kiss her on the cheek as she makes her way out.

Isabel’s staring at my back as I walk to the kitchen sink and pour myself a glass of water. I drink deeply and turn around to face her.

She looks at me somberly, apologetically.

I place the glass of water down on the counter behind me. I speak tiredly, “She told you.”

She nods, “Maria, too.”

I nod, my lips tight.

“I understand if you don’t want to talk about it.” She says, “That’s not why I’m here. I just wanted to apologize for last night. I wasn’t thinking. I was just angry.”

I nod. She’s mad at me. She has every right to be.

I point past her, “I really should go take a shower.”

“Okay.” She doesn’t want to push. “Give me a call if you need something tonight, okay?”

I nod. She walks towards the door, pausing to hug me briefly, even though I smell something terrible. I feel like she wants to say something else, but she isn’t, “Maria’s waiting. I love you. Bye.”

I tell her I love her and the door closes behind her.

I get into the shower, going as quickly as possible. I don’t want to linger. I tend to think in the shower. I don’t want to think today. I can’t. I’ll just think about Liz and Kyle.

I turn on the television to a game of soccer. I check my watch and see that it’s eleven at night.

Liz and Kyle will probably be getting back from a night out soon. I get a text message from Tess: Do it now before it’s too late.

And, of course, she’s right. I need to do it. I need to talk to Liz.

I make up my mind to go and scramble for my tennis shoes. My hair is still soaking wet and I’m wearing a simple pair of jeans and a white t-shirt.

I run out of the apartment, pushing my shoes onto my feet as I go. I don’t wait for the elevator. I run past it and take the stairs, two at a time. My heart race picks up.

I’m panicking, even though I don’t know if I should be or not. I need to get to Liz. I have to see her before she sleeps with Kyle.

I come out of the stairwell at a complete sprint, dodging around the people in the lobby. The streets are crowded, and people yell after my form after I push them aside. I don’t care. I need to get to Liz.

Kyle’s apartment building is a few blocks from here. He lives in the same building as Tess. I reach the building and buzz up to her apartment. Her voice comes over the speakers, “Hello?”

“Max. Need. Talk. Liz.” I pant. I can’t catch my breath. I need to get to Liz. My feet twitch in anticipation.

She presses a button and lets me in the door.

I stop two floors below Tess’s and literally sprint to apartment number 23.

I can hear some soft music playing from inside and voices talking quietly. I put my reservations aside and bang on the door with my fist.

The door opens slightly and Kyle looks surprised to see me, to say the least. He pulls back the door a little more, “Max?”

The door is thrown open wider and Liz’s shocked face comes into view. She speaks slowly, “What are you doing here?”

“I need to talk to you.” I say breathlessly. I feel like I just ran a marathon. I probably look like it, too.

Kyle frowns, “You had to come over to my apartment to talk to Liz? Don’t you live below her?”

I nod, “It’s important.”

“Okay.”

I didn’t think that she would agree that quickly. I’m thankful.

Kyle, however, doesn’t look so happy. He blocks her way out of the apartment, “What is it, Evans?”

“It’s private.” I say.

He shakes his head, “Fine.”

Liz walks out and closes the apartment door behind her. I wait until I hear Kyle’s footsteps recede from the door.

“Don’t sleep with him.” It’s a statement, hesitant but firm.

She looks amazed, “What?”

“Don’t sleep with him.” I repeat. “I… I know that I messed up, but I know that it would be a mistake for you to sleep with him tonight. We…” A long pause persists as I try to gather my thoughts, “We were drunk and stupid but our friendship is on the rocks over it and I don’t want to lose you. I can’t.”

“I don’t want to lose you over it, either, but…” She says.

I stop her. I don’t want to hear the ‘but’. “Let me finish. You can’t sleep with Kyle because even though I’ve torn your life apart, even though I avoided you all week, even though I am flawed, I love you, and not just as a friend. I really, truly love you. I am figuratively on my hands and knees, begging you to rethink what you’re planning for tonight, because I can’t imagine living my life with you at another guy’s side.”

There’s a long, pregnant pause. I notice for the first time that we’re standing five feet away from each other. Liz’s arms are folded across her chest. My mouth opens and then closes. I feel all of the feeling drain from my body. The longer the silence continues, the more I feel like an ass.

But then she speaks, “Max, I have to tell you something.”

I nod my head. Anything. She could tell me anything right now, so long as she’s talking.

“I wasn’t drunk that night.”

“What?” I take two steps back, my face flushing. I shake my head, “What do you… how is that…?”

Her eyes are watering. She looks up at me and the first of many tears comes down her cheek, “I knew you weren’t going to sleep with me when I asked you… and I was desperate. I felt so alone and angry. You were the person I could always count on to do anything for me. But you wouldn’t do this.”

I look at her blankly still. Things don’t make sense.

“I don’t know what came over me. I pretended to take shots and you… you just kept hammering them down, because I made you feel like you had to in order to prove yourself… but I was completely sober. And I came on to you, hoping that you would react like any other guy would, and you did.”

I take another step back. This can’t be happening.

She chokes back a sob, “I knew that you were drunk, but I did it anyways. I’m the reason we slept together that night. I’m the one to blame. I knew it was wrong, but I was so selfish…

“And then when Michael told me that you were a virgin… God, Max, I’m so sorry…”

The hallways are closing in on me. I can’t move. I can’t speak. I feel my heart crack into a thousand pieces. She slept with me on purpose. She got me drunk. She was completely sober.

“Please say something or look at me or…”

But I can’t. I can’t even bring myself to look at her. I shake my head slowly back and forth and then turn around, heading for the stairs. I don’t want to have to wait for the elevator.

She calls after me once, and as much as it hurts to hear her sobs and cries, as much as it’s tearing my already shattered heart to a fine powder, I can’t even bring myself to turn back.

I somehow drag my weary feet up two flights of stairs to Tess’s floor. I still feel like the walls are closing in. I can’t focus on anything. My world is spinning and I have no idea how to stop it.

I knock on Tess’s door and she opens it, looking worried.

Sober.

Selfish.

My entire body is tingling achingly.

And, in the fashion of the events that started this mess, I walk into the apartment and break down completely. I haven’t cried openly to anyone since I was thirteen and my dog died, and after that the first time I cried was the other night when Liz refused to make eye contact with me.

Tess doesn’t say anything, she just closes the door and then takes me into her arms. I cling to her and we sink down onto the ground together.

I am broken. Where my heart used to be is a black hole of nothingness.

I don’t know how long we sit there, but Tess continually holds me, reassuring me that reality is still existent. Because I feel like my world has fallen apart. And it has.

She doesn’t ask questions or demand answers, she just holds me. I’m glad. Because that’s all I can handle right now.

TBC...
Stitched Up - Herbie Hancock and John Mayer

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Post by sprayadhesive » Sat May 26, 2007 11:11 am

Thank you guys for the feedback, debates and bumps. We're going to try to keep the parts coming out at as fast a rate as possible. I really see the song in this part as a STRONG reflection as to what Max is feeling. Just FYI.

guelbebek
LairaBehr4
: Definitely could not have said all of that stuff better myself, my friend. If I ever had to pick someone to be on my side for a debate, you're definitely at the top of the list.
Addicted2AmberEyes
Flamehair
begonia9508
Alien_Friend
jamy21
: I agree with you to an extent, but to have the control (and that's the key word of this interlude) of the situation taken away with him when she had a slight idea (at least in the far recesses of her mind) about Max, and she took advantage of that. Still, I agree with you that they're both at fault in their own ways.
cassie: Tess can't always be there. ;)
maya
max and liz believer
clueless
DreamerMaxBehrian
: We'll miss you! :(
ShatteredDreamer
Natz
Erina
Emz80m
Sweet Liz
roswell4life
Dreamer<3
pinkslipper
Blink1lit
bigears
: Laira said it exactly as I would've explained it. Man, did she save me some time. ;)
Dream Weaver
Shadowlynxbehr
roswell3053
Dreamerlaure
elodie
: Twisted? Me?
Tamashii
dreamerbabylioness
thetvgeneral
Alien614



Interlude
Max's POV
"Lover I Don't Have To Love"

I picked you out
Of a crowd and talked to you
Said I liked your shoes
You said "Thanks, can I follow you?"
So it's up the stairs
And out the aim of prying eyes
I poured some wine
I asked your name
You asked the time

Now it's two o'clock
The club is closed, we're up the block
Your hands on me
Pressing hard against your jeans
Your tongue in my mouth
Trying to keep the words from coming out
You didn't care to know
Who else may have been you before

I want a lover I don't have to love
I want a girl who's too sad to give a fuck
Where's the kid with the chemicals?
I thought he said he'd meet me here but I'm not sure
I got the money if you got the time
He said, "It feels good"
I said, "I'll give it a try"

Then my mind went dark
We both forgot where your car was parked
Let's just take the train
I'll meet up with the band in the morning

Bad actors with bad habits
Some sad singers
They just play tragic
And the phone's ringing
And the band's leaving
Let's just keep touching
Let's just keep, keep, keep singing

I want a lover I don't have to love
I want a boy who's so drunk he doesn't talk
Where's the kid with the chemicals
I got a hunger and I can't seem to get full
I need some meaning I can memorize
The kind I have always seems to slip my mind

But you, but you
You write such pretty words
But life's no storybook
Love's an excuse to get hurt
And to hurt
Do you like to hurt?
I do, I do
Then hurt me

“I’m putting it all up on a pedestal, aren’t I?” The room is silent, only the kitchen light on overhead. Tess is sitting across from me, like she has been for the last hour. After I pulled myself together, we relocated here to talk and I told her the developments.

She shrugs, “Putting what on a pedestal?”

“Liz.” I take a sip of my water, “Sex.”

“Maybe.” She smiles lightly, “Or maybe you’ve just preserved the old fashioned versions of women and sex. It’s not a bad thing.”

“It’s not an easy thing.” I point out, taking another sip of my water. This is my third bottle in the last hour. I’m drinking purely out of habit. The taste seems somewhat empty without liquid burning down my throat.

Tess bites her lip, “It’s not a hard vision to shatter, either.”

My ears perk up, “What do you mean?”

“I think you need to try to get her out of your system, Max.” She sighs, “I know it seems really soon, but there are loads of other girls out there. I’m sure all of them would agree to go out with someone as hot as you. Why don’t we go clubbing tomorrow? We can bring Alex and Michael, too. It’ll be fun.”

“Not tomorrow.” I shake my head.

“Yes.” She’s adamant, “I don’t want you moping around.”

“Okay, fine.” I concede. Because I let the last few years slip right by me, all while pining after a girl - a girl that doesn’t even return my adoration.

She does a fist pump and then grins at me, “You won’t regret it. I promise. There are other fish out in the sea, and we’re going to try to catch you one.”

At my protesting look, she adds, “Nothing serious. Just some casual dating.”

I nod again in acceptance. This is it. I’m going to start to date, as of tomorrow night. I haven’t been on a formal date… ever. It is kind of pathetic.

Tess smirks, “Don’t seem too happy about it or anything.”

“I am happy.” I smile weakly.

She grins and then crosses to her apartment window, throwing it open, apparently unaware of the time of night. She pokes her head out and screams, “MAX EVANS IS OFFICIALLY ON THE MARKET!”

I throw one of my empty water bottles at the back of her head.

But, I know that Tess is right. I need to move on. I can’t be constantly thinking of what I could have had with Liz. Other girls exist. Why shouldn’t I start dating again?

The prospect gets more and more exciting as I think about it.

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

Tess and I make our way into a club with four other people that I just met. Tess knows them from classes. Their names are Sean, Courtney, Nick and Paul. Tess picked out my outfit: black pants and a blue shirt. She says that by the end of the night, I’m going to have at least one number.

The music is blaring and I follow Tess through a thick crowd of people. I’ve got my fake ID on hand, as does Tess. We’re the youngest people in the group – everyone else is above the legal drinking age.

We get drinks from the bar and I pay for Tess’s, a small thing I can do to thank her for all she’s done for me lately.

Sean immediately asks Tess to dance and they head off to the dance floor. Courtney and Paul follow them soon after. Nick sidles off to hit on a chick on the other side of the room, and I just stand awkwardly at the bar.

I look around, trying to see something in the dark room lit by the strobe lights. Anywhere not by the bar or on the dance floor is extremely dark.

A redhead comes up to me and we chat idly for a little while. Her eyes glint and she asks me to dance. I follow her and we dance for a few songs. One of her friends comes and whispers something into her ear. The redhead frowns slightly and then turns back to me, smiling. She pulls a pen and a piece of paper out of a pocket and writes something down on it. She slides it into my back pocket and then walks away. I don’t have to look at the paper to know that I just got her number.

I make my way back to the bar and order another drink.

Someone taps me on the shoulder and I turn around. She’s blonde, hazel eyed, and she’s pretty leggy. She’s definitely the opposite of ugly. She smiles at me, placing a hand on my upper arm. She’s wearing a white midriff halter top and a tight, black leather skirt with tall black heels that strap up to her mid-calf. She leans in, yelling over the music, “Are you here with anyone?”

I shake my head negatively.

She smiles broader. She takes my hand and leads me into the middle of the dance floor. It’s not long before we’re grinding. Somehow, I manage to see Tess through the crowd of people. She sees me dancing and she nods and winks at me. I blush.

Hot Blonde looks over her shoulder at me and yells over the music again, “I’m Pam.”

“Max.” I yell back. She mouths my name and I can’t help but think of how I don’t mind seeing it on her lips.

She’s the exact opposite of Liz. She’s perfect for what I need: someone to help me forget.

We dance for I don’t know how long. All that I know is that I’m hot and sweaty and I finally make the decision that if I don’t take a break now, I’m liable to pass out on the floor. I raise my voice, “Let’s go get some drinks.”

She nods and takes my hand, leading me to the bar.

We both get another drink. We make small talk pretty easily. It’s not long before she’s talked me into taking a shot with her. Some more time passes. I’m good and tipsy by the time we return to the dance floor.

She's grinding on me harder than before. Somehow, from her position, she snakes a hand to the back of my head and raises her chin up so she’s looking into my eyes. I know what she wants. I lean over and our lips fuse.

We part and she turns around, pressing the front of our bodies together. My hands take on a mind of their own and they grab her ass, pulling her closer. We continue to dance and our lips find our way together again. This time, I lick at her bottom lip with my tongue and she opens her mouth. I aggressively explore her mouth while her tongue caresses mine. Her hands wrap around my neck and my hands rest just at the small of her back.

We somehow manage to keep dancing and kissing at the same time. After a few more seconds, she pulls away from me slowly and takes my hand. She leads me into a dark corner of the club, into one of the booths that is miraculously unoccupied.

I’m not so tipsy anymore, but I don’t want it to stop. I like this kissing thing. I’ve done it before, but I never realized how addictive it can be. We sit down and we simultaneously move to kiss one another. After a few minutes of kissing, I finally get the courage to slide my hand tentatively up her shirt. She doesn’t stop me, so I begin to tease her nipple. She’s not wearing a bra. She moans and moves one of her hands to my thigh.

I’m in control. I haven’t been in control of anything for a while now. I love the feeling.

Her hand travels further north and my eyes widen in a good surprise. I close my eyes in pleasure as she rubs me over my jeans.

I stop her. She looks at me confused until I ask, “Do you want to come to my apartment with me?”

She smiles, “I’d love that.”

I take her hand and lead her through the crowd. Sean is at the bar, but Tess is nowhere to be found. I tap him on the shoulder, “Can you tell Tess that I’m going back to my place?”

Sean nods. He looks Pam up and down and then gives me an impressed nod.

I can’t help but give him a cocky grin in return.

We leave the apartment and she tells me that her building is right down the road, but we can’t go there because her ex-boyfriend is there. I don’t ask her any questions about that. I don’t care to know. I point her in the direction of the subway. Tess had insisted on paying for the cab both ways, her way of sending me off to the dating world in style, so I didn’t bring enough cash to make it back to the apartment.

We sit in a comfortable silence until our stop. I lead her up the road and into my apartment building. I unlock my apartment, aware that Michael and Alex are probably asleep in their rooms. I explain to her that I have roommates, but she doesn’t seem to care. Her heels click as she makes her way behind me, and I open the door to my room slowly.

The door opens and she spins me to face her. I open my mouth to say something, because I feel like something needs to be said, but she silences that thought when her tongue finds its way into my mouth.

Suddenly, I can’t keep my hands off of her. I only know one thing, and that is that I want Pam right now. I can’t get enough of her.

I pull her into my bedroom and press her against the wall next to my door. I close the door with my foot and lock it when I can spare a hand. Then, I’m back to having one of my hands make their way up her shirt. I quickly raise it over her head.

She’s bare-chested in front of me and her hand starts working on my belt. Before I know it, I’m standing shirtless with only my pair of boxers clothing me. I kneel down and undo her shoes, tossing them into the corner. I pick her up, wrapping her legs around my waist and then rub her heat over my cock. She moans louder than ever before, “Max, please.”

I kiss her with all of my fire and then let her back onto her feet, allowing her to remove her skirt. She’s not wearing anything underneath but a black, translucent thong. My breathing quickens.

I’m in control this time. I’m making the conscious decision. I’m not drunk. And I’m finding that I’m not too strongly opposed to it, either.

She slides my boxers down my legs and kisses her way from my ankle up.

I pull her upwards and we start to kiss again. I can’t get her naked image out of her mind. I don’t want to. I push her towards the bed and she falls backwards. I fall on top of her, and before I know it, our passion consumes us.


TBC...

Song - Love I Don't Have To Love by Bright Eyes
Last edited by sprayadhesive on Sat May 26, 2007 11:27 am, edited 3 times in total.

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sprayadhesive
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Post by sprayadhesive » Wed Jul 18, 2007 2:41 am

For the author's note...
Dreamerfrvrp3 in regular font
Sprayadhesive in italics.

Thanks for the lovely feedback and bumps; I enjoy reading them a lot! I’m sorry I haven’t had time to write, RL hasn’t been the nicest to me lately and my writing was affected because of that. If anyone has any questions that you absolutely need to be answered just PM one of us, but it will most likely be answered in this chapter, I hope.
Thanks to everyone for the feedback! I absolutely love reading the controversy surrounding this fic. You guys are the best!

LairaBehr4
Natz
thetvgeneral
: Yes, Pam! Who else do we love to hate? ;)
behralicious87
behrluv32
Sweet Liz
ShatteredDreamer
: You pegged it right on the head.
roswell4life
Natalie36
max and liz believer
roswell3053
clueless
Addicted2AmberEyes
Alien_Friend
begonia9508
Shadowlynxbehr
Emz80m
sylvia37
: Ah! I'm so flattered you're reading this. I've been seeing everything exactly from your point of view, if that helps any. I kicked dreamer's butt until this part was out. :P
Nz_Roswell
Tamashii
Dreamer<3
maya
Alien614


Oh, and I (sprayadhesive) am going to be gone until the 2nd of August, but I've already started on the next part of this, so it won't be too long before another update!
This part is unbeta'd until I return from vacation, because it was just completed, and I'm leaving in about... an hour. I'll post the edits in two weeks' time.


Part 7
Liz's POV
Portions for Foxes

There's blood in my mouth 'cause I’ve been biting my tongue all week.
I keep on talking trash, but I never say anything.
And the talking leads to touching,
And the touching leads to sex,
And then there is no mystery left.

And it's bad news, baby I’m bad news
I'm just bad news, bad news, bad news

I know I’m alone if I’m with or without you,
But just being around you offers me another form of relief
When the loneliness leads to bad dreams,
And the bad dreams lead me to calling you,
And I call you and say "c'mere!"

And it's bad news, baby I’m bad news
I'm just bad news, bad news, bad news

And it's bad news, baby it's bad news
It's just bad news, bad news, bad news
'Cause you're just damage control
For a walking corpse like me,
Like you,
'Cause we'll all be portions for foxes.
Yeah, we'll all be portions for foxes.

There's a pretty young thing in front of you
And she's real pretty, and she's real into you
And then she's sleepin' inside of you.

And the talking leads to touching, then the touching leads to sex
And then there is no mystery left.

And it's bad news. I don't blame you,
I do the same thing. I get lonely too.
And you're bad news; my friends tell me to leave you,
That you're bad news, bad news, bad news

You're bad news, baby you're bad news
And you're bad news, baby you're bad news
And you're bad news
I don't care I like you
And you're bad news
I don't care I like you
I like you


Hopeless.

The bitter silence is shocking. I can feel Kyle’s eyes on me, but I can’t bring myself to look at him. I know that he heard every single word of our conversation.

“You slept with Max while we were dating.” It’s more of a statement than a question. His voice is laced with disappointment and anger. I should have known that he would have found out, either from me or from someone else.

“I c-can explain,” I tell him. I honestly don’t know if my explanation is good enough.

“Well, for your sake, I hope it’s a pretty damn good explanation,” he yells. After he says that, my explanation only sounds like a pathetic excuse.

“Last week when we made plans to meet in the quad, I was running late from the library,” I try to explain. ‘This isn’t so hard,’ I tell myself.

“I don’t know why this is relevant. I just want to know why you cheated on me!” he shouts. He doesn’t remember that day; he doesn’t remember telling his friend that he doesn’t want virgins. How can I make him understand that I slept with Max for our relationship?

“I didn’t show up for lunch because I was so upset. I had overheard you talking to Malamoot,” I whimper. I can hear their voices in my head mocking that girl. “You were talking about how you weren’t a fan of virgins, and then you made fun of one of the girls in the quad.”

"That doesn't explain how you ended up fucking Max." My entire body cringes at his harsh words. I’ve never seen him so angry and upset with me.

“I didn’t want you to know that I’d overheard you, so I went to Max and I figured with him being my best friend… that he’d help me… he was reluctant and I was so selfish,” I cry. Why didn’t I see then that I should have talked to Kyle about this? If I had, maybe none of this would have happened. Maybe then I wouldn’t have messed up my life. “I wasn’t even thinking about how you or Max would feel; I just wanted to feel like I was good enough for you.”

“I always felt like I was never good enough for you. I felt as though I was always competing for your heart,” he confessed. “I never meant those things that I said about virgins. I loved you for the way you were.”

“I don’t know what to say besides… I wasn’t thinking,” I tell him truthfully.

“You want to know something, Liz?” he asks me. “I was always second best, you know. It was like Evans was your number one priority, and somehow I knew that deep down you had feelings for him.”

I am taken back by his statement. He thinks that I have feelings for my best friend? That’s crazy talk. “That’s not true.”

“Maybe you don’t realize it now, but you do,” he says. “Denial isn’t just a river in Egypt.”

“I want to apologize for overacting and for not coming to you when I overheard your conversation,” I apologize softly. “I really messed up our relationship, didn’t I?”

“It wasn’t entirely your fault. I may not be able to ever forgive you, but I can try.”

“I knew that was coming,” I sigh. I really did like Kyle, but honestly I don’t think I really loved him – not like he deserves. “Thanks, Kyle, for all of the memories.” I give him a hug and vow to myself that I won’t hurt another guy.

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

I feel like shit. I never thought that there could be anything that looked so heartbreaking, but then Max proved me wrong. The way that he looked at me when I was explaining myself… the way that he didn’t look at me when I was done explaining myself… it was the worst I’ve ever felt in my life.

I need to talk to Max and at least try and mend things with him. I take the elevator to his floor and stand in front of his door for a couple minutes before I softly knock at the door. I wait for around ten minutes. I figure that everyone is probably out partying or something. I walk to my apartment defeated and hurt.

I miss my best friend.

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

A week goes by, and I still haven’t seen or heard from Max at all.

“Come on you haven’t been out all week, I understand that you’re upset but it’s getting kind of old,” Maria explains exasperatedly. Ouch, that hurt.

“I know I haven’t been myself lately but with everything that’s going on, I can’t help it. I’m sorry our friendship is suffering because of it.”

“It’s okay sweetie, but I think going out and getting some fresh air will help you,” she adds soothingly. “Pretty please. I’ll make sure you’ll have a great time, and maybe it will help you forget all about Max.”

“Fine, I guess it won’t hurt to go out for a couple hours.”

“I can already tell that we are going to have a blast tonight!” she exclaims. What am I getting myself into this time?

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

An awkward silence fills the car the entire way to the party, probably because of me. I can tell that Maria and Isabel have told their boyfriends about what happened between Max and I. Part of me feels terrible because I split up our close-knit group. We always did everything together, and now I can’t remember the last time we were all together like that.

We finally arrive at the party (fashionably late). I’ve never been to a party with so many people. “Wow, I didn’t think this party would be so packed,” Alex tells us.

I can only wonder where Max is tonight.

“If anyone needs me, I’ll be over at the bar,” I yell over the music. As I begin to head to the bar, I can swear I hear a gasp coming from one of my friends.

“Wait! Liz, how about you dance with us first? You know, we haven’t had time to party in a while and all. It’ll be fun to get back into the groove,” Maria rushes out.

The great thing about Maria is that she’s so transparent.

“What’s wrong, Maria?” I turn around and search the crowd for some indication, and that’s when my eyes land on a gross couple sucking face, but it’s not just any regular couple.

It’s Max and a redhead.

It’s like someone is stabbing me in the heart over and over again. Seeing him like that with another woman …

“I-I can’t be here,” I wheeze. I can feel the walls were closing in on me as I watch them publicly make out for anyone to see… for me to see. It’s official – he’s not mine anymore. But then again he never was mine. I don’t know where that thought even came from. He’s my best friend. He always used to tell me when he met a new girl. I feel Maria’s arms wrap around me as a way of comfort, but I’m empty there are no tears left. “Can we please leave? I just can’t…”

“It’s okay, just take some deep breaths and Michael will get the car,” she soothes.

A few minutes later, we get in the car and are on our way back to the apartment.

“I’m sorry for ruining everyone’s night before it even started,” I apologize.

“Don’t worry, I didn’t really want to go out anyways,” Izzie tells me. I doubt that though. It probably wouldn’t have taken them as long as it did to get ready if they hadn’t wanted to go.

“We should have known that Max would be here tonight,” Alex shares awkwardly. “I mean, a couple nights ago, uh… he came home with a girl and she left the next morning.”

“Who?” I demand. They have to be talking about some other guy; Max wouldn’t take a girl home.

“Pam Troy,” Alex shudders. No way, I know he would never … especially not with her. We would always make fun of fake boobs and bleach blonde hair. I know what it is… I’m having a nightmare and soon I’ll wake up, and Max will still be my best friend. I don’t know how much time goes by, but we finally reach the apartment.

“I need some time alone to think,” I tell Izzie and Maria before slamming shut my bedroom door. After a while, I realize that I got all dressed up for nothing. I can’t do this anymore. Getting all upset and never feeling better is draining and exhausting. I just need to accept the fact that Max may be out of my life forever. Everything’s going to be okay.

I lay in my bed for hours. My mind won’t get off of Max and the redhead. First Pam, now this. It seems like he’s doing fine on his own. I wish I could talk to him… No, I burned that bridge weeks ago. He would never try to reestablish a relationship with me. If Max can move past this without me, I can move past this without him. I’m going to try my hardest to make my life work. I’m going to start all over, and it will be great. And, if in the process I manage to make myself redeemable in Max’s eyes, so be it.

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

I wake up early the next morning, ready to begin my brand new life. I’m practically glowing as I make breakfast for Izzie and Maria.

“Mmm, something smells delicious and it’s not me,” Maria jokes as she makes her way into the kitchen. I think she’s trying to hold in her shock at me being up and about.

“That’s one of the reasons why I like you so much, your sense of humor,” I share brightly. “I’m making our favorite breakfast: chocolate chip pancakes!”

“Hello, in there? Who are you and what have you done with Liz,” she says knocking on my head.

“Maria, I’m right here, silly,” I exclaim. I can feel her staring at me suspiciously while I continue to make our breakfast and hum a happy tune.

“I just wanted to let you know that you aren’t fooling anyone, and I can see right through your fake smile,” she tells me after a couple of minutes. I figured it would take a lot to convince everyone that I really was trying to be better.

“I’m starting over. I decided that I’m not going to let anything get to me anymore, and that I actually deserve a shot at being happy,” I explain. I place the pancakes on the table and dig in.

“What’s going on in here? Nobody said anything about chocolate chip pancakes,” Izzie mumbles as she stuffs her mouth. I’m really trying my hardest to be happy, but they just can’t accept that.

“Liz has done a total 180 on us and has taken it upon herself to become a new person,” Maria explains.

“You said it yourself, Maria. I need to stop moping around. I’m trying my hardest to be happy again,” I bite out. Why can’t they just support me? Well, I’m not going to let them get in the way. I’m going to be happy whether they like it or not.

“I think if Liz wants to try and be happy, we should let her try. Even if she has ruined Max’s life,” Izzie adds. I throw her a grateful smile, ignoring her last sentence, and head to my room. I dig my Liz Phair music out of my closet and begin to totally redo my room to recreate happy energy.

I enter the living room to find Maria and Izzie curled up on the couch watching reruns of one of our favorite shows, ‘Ghost Whisperer’. I really love my friends. “Well, I’m going to head out and go do some shopping. Anything you two need?”

“Hold on, I know we need something, I just can’t remember for the life of me,” Maria says slightly frustrated. “Oh! We need Phish Food. I ate the entire carton last night.” I raise my eyebrow at her, and she gives me a sheepish grin.

I wander aimlessly through the aisles of the store searching for a new hobby. Finally, a light bulb goes off in my head, and I head to the craft section of the store and buy all the supplies I need.

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

I spread my brightly colored paper on the coffee table and slowly read the instruction book. Maria and Isabel have both gone out – I don’t know where to. Hours pass as I continue to make more and more of my little paper figures. It keeps my mind busy. I could really get used to this. If I have time between this and classes, I may just pick up a feng shui book.

“The living room! It’s covered in…” Maria gasps from behind me. Apparently she and Isabel are home. From the silence, I can already tell this isn’t going to be good.

“Liz, there is origami all over, and when I mean all over, it is literally everywhere,” Izzie giggles, but she stops short when she sees me in the middle of the pool of paper. I imagine she thought that the paper just got there of its own accord. “Ohmygod, our apartment is filled with dragons and birds. This is SO not doing anything for the décor.”

I roll my eyes.

TBC...

Song - Portions for Foxes by Rilo Kiley

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