By Chance (ML, Mature, AN 07/21 Pg. 18) [WIP]

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Beautiful86
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By Chance (ML, Mature, AN 07/21 Pg. 18) [WIP]

Post by Beautiful86 » Wed Mar 07, 2007 1:27 am

This is my first shot at AU No Aliens. Go easy on me.

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By Chance

Disclaimer: The last time I read the label they belonged to some guy named Jason Katims and some stupid network named UPN, or it might have been the WB…wait isn’t that called CB now? See, I don’t even know. I don’t want them. Too complicated…

Category: M/L, AU NO ALIENS

Rating: Mature

Summary: Max Evans just moved to San Antonio, Texas. What happens when one day someone from long ago runs into him, with someone who looks a hell of a lot like him?

Author’s Note: I had the whole thing planned differently. I started writing this and something completely different from my outline came out of my fingers. I hope you like it…

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PROLOGUE



“Could I just get a venti caramel frappacinno, without the cream? Thanks.” Liz Parker handed the twenty to the cashier as her eyes shot back to the front of the store. The first table was occupied by her son. At six-years-old, he was capable of sitting alone for a few minutes, in sight of her of course. She couldn’t help checking on him. Richard James Evans, or simply Jamie, was Liz Parker’s entire world wrapped up. Without her son, Liz knew she’d have curled into some hole somewhere and never gotten up. He gave her a reason to live, someone to live for. He loved her with all of his little heart.

While the cashier worked to make change, Liz let her mind wander a little at the sight of her son. Jamie looked too much like his dad. Funny, how life seems to have a sense of humor sometimes. The one man Liz would like nothing more than to forget completely, looked back at her everyday…in his own way. She knew better than to let her mind wander there. Thinking about Max was something she seldom allowed herself to do these days.

He was happy.

Yes, he was happy with <i>her</i>, but he was happy.

He didn’t want a family.

He’d said it himself.

There. End of story. Close the book, Liz coached herself. She’d never been given absolute closure on Max and that entire chapter in her life. But she figured if he wanted her, six years was long enough to find her. Almost seven, if you count the days she carried his unborn child in her body. No bitterness here, Liz laughed at herself. So she hated men? Who didn’t these days?

“…ma’am?”

Liz snapped back to attention and realized she’d let her mind wander to Max. That’s what happens with the one who left you to raise his child by yourself. You get distracted.

“Sorry,” she laughed softly. She took her change and dropped it in her purse. Gathering the drink and her napkins, she headed toward her son.

They sat outside while he ate his Happy Meal and she sipped her drink. Sinking into her surroundings, Liz looked around. They had moved to San Antonio a few weeks ago, and after getting moved in and used to the traffic in the city, she’d finally gotten a day off.

San Antonio was a lot to get used to.

More traffic that you would believe. Although, native swear it’s not “<i>nearly as bad as Houston…</i>” Liz had never been to Houston, Texas…and wasn’t planning on visiting anytime soon.

The apartment she chose for herself and her son was conveniently located next to Sea World, and she had every intention of taking her son there as often as possible. It was a nice city, fast paced but definitely calm in it’s own way. They sure did love their basketball in Texas. And college football? Forget about it. Liz wasn’t sure of the obsessions they all had with their sports, but Liz much preferred to spend a day with her son.

“What’s wrong, mommy?” Jamie’s mom had been quiet this whole time. That usually meant she was mad.

“Nothing, baby. I’m just thinking.”

“About going to Seal World huh?” Jamie’s eyes twinkled as he watched his mommy laugh. He liked it when she did that.

“It’s not Seal World, honey. It’s Sea World. As in we will <i>see </i>about going to <i>Sea</i> World.”

Liz threw their trash away on the way to her car. Just outside of the door, Jamie took off at a sprint. Liz never did know why he bolted that way, he never explained it to her.

“Jamie! Stop right now!” Liz could see the approaching car and began to run herself. I’ll never make it in time, kept repeating over and over in her head. Try as she might, Liz knew somewhere that she wouldn’t make it in time.

Just before the car reached her son, a man threw himself at the boy, knocking both out of the way of the unseeing driver, who still didn’t stop.

Liz raced to the two, tears forming in her eyes.

As she stumbled upon them, the man collected himself and began to rise. He was on his feet while a tiny brunette threw herself at the child. He could only assume it was his mother.

“I don’t even think the jerk knows what happened.” She froze at the sound of his voice and closed her eyes. Her son was in her arms, safe and alive. She imagined <i>his</i> voice. It was a trick of her mind. A mean and horribly evil trick, but a trick none the less.

“Is your son ok?” His voice again brought her back. Her eyes snapped open and she turned her head.

“Max?”

When the small woman moved around to see him, she not only revealed her identity, but he saw the child for the first time. Looking up at him with big brown eyes, he was looking into an almost replica of his childhood.

His eyes bounced back to hers in hopes of some understanding. What was he looking at?

“Liz?”

Tears formed in her eyes. “Thank you for saving my son. I wouldn’t have reached him in time. I don’t know what I would have done,” she said softly as she lowered her head onto her son’s.

Jamie was transfixed. The man seemed so familiar. Did he know him? He certainly didn’t remember him, but there was something he recognized about him. His mother seemed so upset, and his knee hurt a little bit, but he couldn’t take his eyes off the man.

“Who are you?” the little boy asked quietly.

Liz’s eyes went back and forth between the two, not knowing what to do. But seeing as how Max knew she’d been pregnant and left her anyway, she figured why not introduce him to the child he didn’t want.

Soft, motherly-loving eyes turned to young, confused amber ones. “Jamie, this is your dad. His name is Max Evans.”

“Just like my name,” he whispered, eyes growing wide gazing into his mother’s.

She kissed his nose and turned a set of cold eyes to the man she couldn’t forgive. “Max, this is your son, Richard James Evans…or my little Jamie, as I like to call him.

Max could do nothing but stare. He looked just like the boy. Or rather, the boy looked just like him. There was no denying him. That was his son. He guessed the boy was about six or seven, and that was about when he saw Liz Parker last. They’d had some weird argument one night, and then she vanished. He knew that she’d been suspicious of his relationship with Tess Harding, but she had to know better than that.

Max Evans had loved Liz Parker and would have bled for her. Ask anyone. And she’d disappeared.

Apparently, she wasn’t alone.

He couldn’t even begin to form words in his head before a small body crashed into his again. He looked down and saw Jamie, with his small arms wrapped tightly around his much larger body, begin to cry.

And although Max knew that he had just became a dad, he couldn’t stop the anger from forming at one Liz Parker. She’d kept a secret from him and robbed him of his son’s first years.

But…it didn’t seem like the girl he knew?

So then why?

Why would she never let him know he’d borne a child somewhere?

And why did Max think he’d just opened a new chapter on his life? One where anything could happen and surprises were frequent.

Hell, ten minutes ago he was twenty-seven and single…now he was a father. What happens now, he wondered in the back of his mind.

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What do you think?

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Last edited by Beautiful86 on Sat Jul 21, 2007 8:46 pm, edited 32 times in total.
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AU/No Aliens-Max and Liz...with realistic complications...</center>

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Post by Beautiful86 » Thu Mar 08, 2007 1:33 am

Ok ok, I came home late but read y'alls feedback and the words started coming again...

I'm really enjoying writing this story, it's really personal and theraputic! :lol:

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Chapter One- Crossed Circuits

Liz Parker’s Nissan Altima pulled easily into her private parking spot. Her son, knowing the routine, waited until the car was turned off before unbuckling his seat belt and climbing out of the door his mom opened for him. Jamie wanted nothing more than to run to his new found father, who followed closely in his Chevy Tahoe. But Jamie knew better than that. His mom was beautiful…until she got mad. Then, things weren’t so pretty. So, obligingly he reached for his mother’s palm. They waited hand in hand for the stranger they’d met only an hour ago to join them in their house.

Max followed in suit behind his ex-girlfriend…and apparently baby’s momma. He had to chuckle at that. Seemed to be a common phrase in good ol’ San Antone…or so he’d learned. They walked up two flights of stairs, to the top floor and once they reached the door, his son turned and reached for his hands. Although trying to hide it, Max was already falling in love with his son. Whether it made sense or not, he was.

Liz unlocked the door and swung it open, revealing a spacious room. Already decorated, Max took a few minutes to gaze around…standing still, of course. Brown suede couches created a living room inside while providing an almost barrier into the hallway. A decently sized panoramic television sat perfectly centered facing the couches, with matching coffee tables and table lamps that he’d seen at the Pottery Barn once, Christmas shopping. He’d thought they were classy and beautiful at the same time. Perhaps, Liz did too.

Clinking of keys onto the counter brought Max back to the uncomfortable state he was previously enjoying. Liz was mad. He didn’t know why. He should be mad.

And as God as his witness, he wasn’t leaving his son’s house that night without knowing why he’d missed as much as he did.

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“So when can I see you again, Daddy?”

Max fought the tears that fought valiantly to escape. “Tomorrow, chief.”

“Chief?”

“Yeah, you’re my chief.”

Jamie’s eyes welled up with tears. “Do I have a daddy now? I see my friends, like Tommy, who have their dad’s fix their bikes for them. My bike broke and Mommy doesn’t have time to fix it. I wanted a daddy. I love my mommy, she’s pretty, but I wanted a daddy.” Jamie looked down as a single tear escaped his eye.

“Do I have a daddy now?”

Max leaned forward and kissed his new son on the crown of his head. “You will always have a daddy now. I’ll never be gone again, ever. You deserve the best, and I will give you everything I have to give. I met you six hours ago and I love you more than I have ever loved anything else.”

Max crushed his six-year-old, three feet four inches tall, forty-nine pounds, son to his chest and let out a struggled sigh. After what seemed like only seconds, Jamie started giggling saying <i>I ca brff ddy, u haf d le ee go</i>. Max let go and laid his child back down, tucked the blankets around him and rose from the bed.

“Goodnight, chief.”

“Goodnight, daddy.”

As Max reached for the door, Jamie stopped him.

“Daddy?”

“What’s up?”

“Tell my mommy she’s pretty,” Jamie yawned. “She’ll know what that means.”

At the very least, he had to give Liz Parker something. She’d raised a beautiful little boy so far, and that little boy loved his mother.

Liz Parker was a good mother.

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Max found Liz on the balcony a few minutes later. She was comfortably sitting, with a glass of wine in her hand. She motioned for him to relax in the other chair and pointed to the other glass that sat next to it, obviously waiting for him.

“He’s so big.”

Liz couldn’t help the bitterness in her voice. “He’s six-years-old. What did you expect?”

“I haven’t forgotten, Liz.”

They grew quiet for a few minutes while the cool breeze blew past them. The balcony overlooked the lights from various shopping centers and the Sea World flags. If circumstances were different, Max could imagine he was having a late night glass of wine with his wife, after putting their son to bed together.

But circumstances weren’t different.

“So what do you do for a living, Max? What brings you to San Antonio, Texas?” Small talk. She chickened out. She was man enough to admit it at least.

“I just moved to San Antonio because I was offered a position on the District Attorney’s Prosecution. It’s based out of Austin, but they let me move to San Antonio, saying I’d like it much more.” Max glanced at her from the corner of his eyes. Under the full moon, added to the ambient light, Liz was still the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. Her hair was shorter and lighter, but she seemed so confident in who she was. “What do you do?”

“I’m an RN at the Metropolitan Methodist Hospital downtown. It’s great work. I specialize in pediatrics. I get to work three nights a week, from 7 to 7. I still get paid for a 40 hour a week job. I’m able to support myself and my son, and that’s all that matters.”

Max knew she’d prepared that speech. She’d predicted his question, of course. “Who does he stay with while you’re at work?”

“His Aunt Maria.”

“You don’t have a sister named Maria.”

“No, but she’s the reason we moved to San Antonio too. She was my best friend while I busted my ass through nursing school while pregnant. She’s Jamie’s godmother.”

Max wondered again why Liz would never tell him she was pregnant with his child. Why would she endure all of that by herself? It just didn’t make any sense.

Had she changed that much?

Max poured himself a glass of wine and noticed how empty the bottle was. She’d had more than a few glasses already, he determined. The very next sentence out of her mouth nearly made the wine spurt out of his.

“So how’s Tess?” Liz hadn’t meant for the words to sound so bitter, but she couldn’t help it. It was the woman he chose over her, right? Shouldn’t she be bitter?

Max’s eyes grew wide at the venom in her voice. He’d never seen drunk, angry, bitter Liz before. “I haven’t spoken to Tess in…gosh…like…three years already.”

With the same tone of voice, “that’s a shame, considering all you had with her,” came the reply.

Max gulped the last of the second glass of wine he’d just poured. Who the hell did she think she was? <i>She</i> hid <i>his</i> son from him. And she was pissed?

Oh. Oh, hell no.

“Why the hell are you mad, Liz? You kept my son from me for years. Six years! Six mother-fucking years you couldn’t bother to pick up the phone and let me know that I had a child I knew nothing about. And <i>you’re</i> mad?”

Liz was on her feet by the last question, armed with the arguments she’d been waiting to use for those six mother-fucking years he was talking about.

“This is the way you wanted it you fucking asshole! Don’t you dare try to turn this on me! I came to you after I knew for certain, after the fucking piss-on-a-stick test. It rang positive and I flipped out. I raced to your house and let myself in to find what? What did I find that night?”

Max opened his mouth but was promptly cut off. “I found you and that blonde whore who had been trying to get at you for months! You, on top of her, legs wrapped around you and everything. Tell me how that shows me you would have been there for me? Tell me how, after four fucking years of it being just me and you, you could possibly have loved me and still did that shit to me! Explain that to me!”

Max vaguely remembered that night. Tess had come over to his house, drunk off of her ass. He’d brought her inside, she was his friend after all. He gave her coffee. He sat her down on the couch and…then what?

He remembered.

Tess kissed him and pulled him on top of her before he could react. Was it possible that at that very moment Liz was standing in the living room too? That she’d slipped in and out that quickly?

He heard Liz draw in a deep breath. “I even tried to confront you about that, and you wouldn’t even listen. You said that if I were to get pregnant, it would ruin everything. Well, guess what? I was fucking pregnant. I didn’t want to ruin everything for you, and I wouldn’t have my child be the product of something like that. Jamie is mine. I dare you to try to take him from me. That’s my baby in there. And he loves me, because I’ve never been anything but everything to him.”

She rose from her spot next to the glass table. “You need to leave now. I’m tired.”

Max rose from his spot and turned to go inside when Liz’s hand curled around his, stopped him dead in his tracks.

“Jamie needs a father. I’ve tried for so long to be both, but I can’t ever be. He needs a dad. If you want him, you can have him. He’s your son. I don’t want your money. I don’t want anything, except a father for my son.”

“Liz, if you would just listen…”

He was cut off by her palm in the air. “Just go. Call tomorrow. Maybe you could see Jamie. Show him the Riverwalk, that kind of stuff. Goodnight, Max.”

As the door closed behind him, Max leaned against it for a minute. His heart was beating so strongly.

Liz obviously made the wrong conclusions so many years ago. And she kept his son from him because she thought it was what he wanted. Six years, and he still fucking loved her. And he couldn’t hate her for what she did.

But could he make things better? Could he break through the wall she built to protect herself?

Could Max Evans, the man who thought he’d never find love again, once Liz Parker vanished…could he have a chance at a family?

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Eh?? Eh??
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AU/No Aliens-Max and Liz...with realistic complications...</center>

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Post by Beautiful86 » Fri Mar 09, 2007 4:38 pm

Just a short little spurt of inspiration...

Thanks so much for the feedback.....I love it all...

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Chapter Two A-Pants on Fire

The key to the ignition slid in without restraint. Max inhaled deeply, trying to reign in the events of the night.

He lied to Liz.

Rule number one: you never lie to begin with. It ruins everything.

He remembered that conversation. He remembered telling the girl he'd loved since high school that it would have ruined everything for him. And at the time, he thought it was true. He thought he was falling for Tess. The night Liz saw him last was an accident. He hadn't meant for that to happen.

That was when it started.

He'd never kissed another girl before. Liz was his first. Junior year of high school in a small town no one had ever heard of was when they found each other.

Tess kissed him that night, and she was so beautiful. He and Liz had been going through hard times, trying to stay together while working jobs and attempting to make it to their morning classes. They were only twenty at the time.

Max was only twenty.

He thought Liz had been just his high school sweetheart. He thought that there was more to life than Liz. When Tess kissed him that night, yes, he'll admit it. They ended up in bed and kept going until the dawn broke.

Liz came to him and he was ready to break up with her, but she argued weird things. Things he didn't expect. When she asked about pregnancy, he didn't mean to say it outloud...but apparently <i>it would ruin everything</i> slipped out. And Liz paid the price for it. Because, like she said, she was pregnant.

He and Tess had never become a couple. Although once Liz disappeared, Max realized how much he had loved her. How Liz had been his opposite. She was the one he could turn to, talk to, lean on, make love to.... Liz Parker was the goddess he let...no scratch that, pushed away. While he'd regetted it, honesty winning out, Tess had become his lover for the next three years.

He never loved her, but she was his friend...who happened to take her clothes off. He could never love anyone more than he loved Liz Parker. He could never love anyone else, period.

Tess finally fell in love and moved to New Orleans. Although, last he heard, she had a child without a father as well. Funny, how life turns out.

Max realized he was still sitting in the parking lot and put the car in reverse. The drive home that night was on autopilot, as his thoughts were on Liz and the pain he must have caused her.

Would she ever forgive him?

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This chapter was about Max. I'm trying to let you get to know my Max.

He's human. Humans get confused and make mistakes.

My Liz isn't so perfect either. But she certainly hasnt slept with anyone in SIX YEARS! Haha, she has class.

What do you think?
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AU/No Aliens-Max and Liz...with realistic complications...</center>

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Post by Beautiful86 » Mon Mar 12, 2007 3:42 pm

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Chapter Two B- Two for the Show

The shrill sound of a telephone ring reverberated throughout the house. Max Evans was already awake and leaned to his left to reach the receiver.

576-555-8926
<i>Parker Eliza</i>

“Hello?”

“Is this my daddy?”

Max smiled at the small voice on the other end. For the last week, Max had taken Jamie to the parks, the River Walk, the Tower of Americas, and they were planning to spend a day at the zoo today. Liz had to work tonight and Max was happy to watch their son. He wanted to get to know him.

Max knew that Jamie liked McDonald’s, Elmo, and Spiderman. His favorite color was blue and Kraft’s Macaroni and Cheese could lighten any of his moods. Tigers were incredibly interesting to him and nothing was more amusing that hippos.

Jamie was quite the kid.

“Yes, I believe you are my son.”

“Are you awake, daddy? Mommy’s been awake for a long time. I hadda sneak the phone. I’m ‘upposed to be cleaning, but I’m not. Mommy would be mad.”

Max laughed at his son. It seemed that Jamie, at six-years-old, was already testing the waters with his mother. Every time she turned around, he was creating more mischief for himself. “You don’t want to make Mommy mad, though.”

“No…” came the thoughtful reply. “She’s not so pretty then.”

“You think your mommy is pretty?”

A small giggle was heard from the other end of the line. “She’s booteeful.”

Max chuckled himself. Liz Parker was beautiful. She had medium length light brown hair that matched her eyes perfectly. She carried herself with the confidence of a woman who knows who she is.

“Ok, well I’m going to get ready and I will be at your house in a little while, ok?”

“Ok, daddy.”

As Max hung up the phone, he realized that he could never live without hearing that word from Jamie at least once a day. Getting to know his son was a blessing, and he was grateful for it.

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Liz Parker was staring in the mirror…again.

Although she’d lost her baby weight long ago, Liz’s body was definitely changed from pregnancy. Not that she regretted it. Being pregnant was the best experience of Liz’s life. She’d never known how deeply a mother’s love could run, as her own was never really around. But that first time Jamie kicked her, from inside of her, she knew that the small child held her in the palm of his hands.

But being pregnant held its consequences. Her body had filled out a little more below her waist, giving her a pear-shaped figure. She’d never been back down to her size two, she supposed she’d settle for the six she now was. Her hips were just wider for some reason.

Max was coming over again.

He’d been really good with her son so far. She had to work a four night week and Max didn’t even pretend to entertain the idea that Maria would watch him. Today they were going to the zoo. While she appreciated having Max around, it was something to get used to.

Liz was reluctant to say the least when her son’s father wanted to be around more. Max had hurt her once, would he hurt her again? And what if, by chance, he hurt Jamie? Liz would have to kick his ass all the way back to Small-town, USA… But he seemed sincere so far. And Liz had always dealt with a measure of guilt for keeping Max from Jamie.

Even though he’d wanted it himself.

Pulling her scrubs on and slipping into her Nike Shox, Liz grabbed a brush right as the doorbell rang. Once her hair was safely secured into a ponytail, she left the bathroom and headed towards the door.

Passing her son’s room on the way out, she saw he hadn’t began cleaning yet. “Richard James, you better be in your room cleaning!”

In the living room, she was met with a surprising scene. Max was already sitting on the couch, while Jamie was cuddling next to him. She stopped mid-step.

“Sorry, mommy. I tried to clean my room but I couldn’t.” Liz smiled briefly at her boy before morphing into maternal mode.

“Did you answer the door?”

Jamie’s eyes widened at his mother’s question and he looked down, knowing he had done wrong. “Yes, mommy.”

“Haven’t we talked about that?”

“Yes, mommy.”

“And what have we talked about?”

“Never answer the door by myself.” He repeated his mom’s words like a mantra, over and over drilled into his head.

“And why is that, Jamie?” She’d taught her son a long time ago that it was dangerous to answer the door alone.

“Because I’m too little.”

She walked to the couch and stretched her hand out. Jamie reached up and grabbed it, while sliding off the couch, towards his mother… She wasn’t mad anymore.

Liz slid her arms around her child. Holding her son was something she’d never trade for anything. There was no one as pure as him, as innocent. She pulled back and looked into a set of golden amber eyes. “If anything ever happened to you, I don’t know what I would do.”

Jamie’s eyes lit up at his mom. “We’re gonna go to the zoo today, mommy.”

Liz’s eyes left her son’s and looked into those of his father, exact same eyes by the way. You should try forgetting about someone who looked back at you everyday, in his own little prodigy-like way.

“I have to leave. My shift starts at four today, but I take my orders at about three. I won’t be off work until about five am, so you can either keep him at your apartment or sleep here. It doesn’t matter.” <i>Good job, Liz,</i>. She’d coached herself through those lines over and over.

Keep it cool with Max. Never let emotion show. Hold your own in check. Never get into disputes; they lead to arguments. Arguments might lead to the murder of one Max Evans. Hell hath no fury, after all.

“I guess we can stay here. We could watch movies or something, that cool?”

Liz shrugged, looking completely indifferent.

Inside, she was in complete turmoil. How different her life had become in such a short period of time. On a normal day, she would have had Jamie at Maria’s by noon that day. She would have stayed and chit-chatted with her until 2:45, when she heads to the medical center. On a normal day, her house would have been clean, being that it was a Saturday. Max Evans would not have had her son on a normal day.

Or perhaps, that’s the new definition of normal day. Max Evans, part of his son’s life. Her little boy, with a man to teach him all the things she couldn’t. At the spark of hope that fluttered in her chest, Liz Parker worked up a frenzy to squash it quickly. <i>Don’t trust him</i>.

Seasons change, people don’t.

That had become her motto. Max hadn’t changed, he was just simply overtaken with the idea of Jamie. She’d made her mind up. She wouldn’t ask him for a thing. He wouldn’t be put on child support, she wouldn’t ride him for never coming around (should he choose to not, anymore), and she would never keep Jamie from Max again. He could see him as often or not as he wanted, so long as Liz’s little boy didn’t get hurt. The first time Max hurt him, that would be one of the last things he would do; just before he signed all of his rights away and gave Liz her baby to raise and protect forever.

Liz hugged her son and grabbed her keys. Work was calling. Jamie, who had been watching his mom since she moved from the couch, knew she was leaving and flew off the couch at her. “You’re leaving, mommy?”

“I have to work, sweetie.”

“I’ll see you tomorrow though, right?”

“Of course, baby. Why wouldn’t you?”

Jamie simply hugged his mom and promised to be a good boy. “Don’t worry. I’ll take care of him,” she heard Max say behind her.

She stood and turned to face him. “He has counting homework that needs to be finished. Please leave it on the table for me so I know he did it. His room needs to be cleaned <i>before</i> you leave for the zoo. No sugar after eight o’clock, or he won’t sleep until I get home, I promise. Make sure he brushes his teeth and it’s lights out by ten, no later. I realize you might want to keep him up, but I’ve spent years getting him used to the routine.”

As Liz pulled out of the driveway that day, she contemplated whether or not Max would watch Jamie from now own, while she was at work. Could Max be around for good? It’s only been a week, after all. But wonders never cease.

Could Liz ever forgive Max for hurting her?

Only time would tell.

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<b>So what do you guys think? Ive got a few twists in mind, but let me know what yall would like to see. Help me out here, feedback please!!
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AU/No Aliens-Max and Liz...with realistic complications...</center>

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Post by Beautiful86 » Sun Apr 01, 2007 8:36 pm

I'm back! I'm back!

I'm so excited to see thirty-some odd votes for my poll.

You like me.

You really like me.

Ok, so after this chapter, you might not so much. But it's dreamer ensured, I swear! Don't worry. I'll get us there. As for the meantime, you've waited long enough.

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Chapter Three- Uphill Battles

Tired.

Have you ever been so tired that your feet won’t move anymore? Like they sent a message straight to your brain telling you that they quit. Well, if you haven’t, it sucks. And tired, in a nutshell, described Liz Parker. As she opened the door to her apartment, the sight that met her eyes made her growl. It was 7:45am and she’d just gotten off of work. The last she’d heard from Max was a call at about eleven, telling her that he’d put Jamie to bed and was falling asleep.

Apparently, they’d had a party and forgotten to invite the mother.

From the popcorn scattered by the television to the six visible soda cans lining her tables, she could tell her son would sleep until at least ten. Almost afraid to get closer to the mess, Liz hesitantly walked further into her home. Now in clear view of her living room and dining room, Liz’s breath caught. All anger and frustration flew from her mind as she took in the sight in front of her.

Max had fallen asleep on her sofa. Max had taken off his shirt, revealing every muscle he’d worked to sculpt over the years. Max had one arm thrown above his head with the other resting across his chest. It was in that moment she realized that she’d never stopped loving him. Did she hate him? Oh, of course. Haven’t you been paying attention? But he was the father of her child. She supposed that she’d never be able to not love him, in some way.

She thought briefly about waking him, but decided against it. He looked so peaceful…and well, beautiful. Turning her back to walk down the hallway, Liz’s mind was spinning.

So, all these years, and she definitely still had feelings for Max. And all sarcasm aside, what a shocker! Liz had to admit that she did just run away all those years ago. Instead of fighting for what she thought was hers, she just ran. But, come on. She was twenty and pregnant. And she’d witnessed her lover <i>on top</i> of someone else.

Shivering inside, Liz still felt her blood boil at the thought of Tess. She’d come to town their senior year of high school and instantly decided that Max was her next target. Even with Liz sitting right next to Max, Tess would throw out double-entendres left and right, making her intentions perfectly clear.

They’d even gotten into a fist fight that year.

Max had spent an hour pleading with Liz that he loved her and only her, that there was no one else. She’d found Tess’ number in his cell phone and asked why he would have it at all, if he knew her intentions. Liz couldn’t even remember the excuse he gave her all those years ago; she only knew it was bullshit. Just as she was beginning to calm down and let her wall fall, the doorbell rang. And who was at the door? None other than Tess Harding, dressed in a tank top, short shorts, and thong sandals. She smiled sweetly at Max, not knowing Liz was watching. They talked for a short while and then Tess leaned in to kiss Max…and that’s when Liz lost it.

The memory of Tess’ face as she charged into the room still made Liz laugh, almost eight years later. Classic moves, of course. She’d surprised them both by moving around Max and shoving Tess away…hard. The petite blonde stumbled back and fire sparked in her blue eyes. She’d rushed at Liz, trying to hold her own, obviously embarrassed. And while Liz was a tiny thing, Michael Parker was her older brother. Think she didn’t learn a thing or two about fighting? You’d be dead wrong. Liz delivered a firm right hook to the middle of Tess’ face and pushed her back again. This time, Tess was sent sailing into the ground, landing hard in a deep puddle by Max’s front door. <i>Stay the fuck away from him.</i>

And that’s when Tess and Liz became enemies.

Snapping back to the present, Liz realized she was in the bathroom with the shower running, naked. Thinking about the past had that effect on her, autopilot takes over and Lizzie goes bye-bye. As the hot water hit her body, Liz hardened her resolve.

Max hurt her. He hurt her badly. He’d been with a hot new girlfriend while she gained thirty-five pounds carrying his unborn child. He’d been comfortable on November 11 of 2003, probably cuddling with that gerbil, while she was in the hospital for fourteen hours, giving birth to his child. He’d been able to go to law school while Liz found a sister soul in Maria DeLuca who helped her through nursing school. She never got the dorm room experience, she never got to party or drink or just drop everything because someone said <i>lets go</i>. Don’t misunderstand, Liz loved her son more than anything in the world and would die for him without thinking.

His dad was another story.

As she felt the fatigue settle in, Liz promised herself that Max would have to prove it to her. If he had to crawl from here to China and back, then that’s what he had to do. But she would at least give him the chance.

Six years can do a lot to a person. Maybe he was different. Maybe Max Evans was sincere and just wanted to get to know his only child.

*****

<b>Virginia Beach, Virginia</b>

“Anton Noel stop right there!”

The blonde haired, brown eyed three-year-old child stopped dead in his tracks. A mother’s voice yelling your full name can do that to a kid. He turned to see his mom running at him, panic written all over his face.

“Buh I wan da doggie mamma.”

She smiled sweetly at her son. Lifting him into her arms, she brought him back to the swing on their porch. She cradled his chin in her hand and made him look at her. “You do not, <i>ever</i>, run into the street. Do you understand me? Ever.”

Anton looked down and nodded. She leaned in and kissed the crown of his head. Releasing her arms from around him, Anton went back to playing with his friends in the front yard.

Letting her mind wander a little, she reminisced about her years. She’d moved to Virginia when she’d been offered the Senior Financial Aid Officer at Norfolk State. That was a little over two years ago. Her son had grown so much in those two years and he was looking more and more like his father everyday.

Where was his father? She had no idea.

*****

<b>San Antonio, Texas</b>

Being that it was a Sunday morning, the house was quiet. After her shower, Liz had laid down for a much needed nap. As her eyes fluttered open, the clock read 10:45. She’d slept for about three hours, enough to get her through the day.

A slight knock on the door swept the last bits of slumber from her mind. “It’s open.”

Max Evans smiling face popped in from behind it and Liz felt her stomach do a flip. “Feeling a little better? We were wondering if you were dead.”

“You try doing what I do and then come home to raise a son who’s energy supply is miraculously as well as curiously <i>infinite</i>.” Liz smirked as she laid back down. “It takes a lot out of you.”

“Your son made you breakfast.”

Her eyes opened right back up. “What?” she asked, with a smile already forming on her face.

Jamie came bursting though the door, unable to wait anymore. “I made you pancakes!”

She welcomed her son with open arms, cuddling up next to his small body. “You made me pancakes? All by yourself? I don’t believe you.”

Jamie smiled, happy she was playing along. “No, really. Just ask my daddy, he’ll tell you. Right, daddy?”

Max’s smile widened. “I didn’t see anything. He told me he made them. I think he ordered them.”

“How would I order them, daddy? I’m not allowdda use the phone.” Jamie’s smile widened farther and farther as the minutes passed.

“I don’t know,” Max teased.

“Daddy!”

Letting out his laugh, he caved into his son. “All right, all right, he made them all by himself. Without any help from me at all, not one little bit, didn’t touch a thing, wouldn’t even let…”

Max was interrupted. “Mommy’s not dumb daddy.”

Max had made his way to the bed and sat at the foot of it while joining in on laughing with Liz and Jamie. After thinking about everything for so long, Max realized he was being given a second chance. Liz’s wall wasn’t made of concrete anymore; he liked to think of it as brick now. See, you can break down a brick wall, but have you ever tried to break concrete?

This was his family. And maybe, just maybe, this time, life would let them be.

*****

<b>Virginia Beach, Virginia</b>

<i> Ring Ring Ring</i>

The phone had not stopped ringing for an hour now. She was trying so hard to ignore it and stay outside with her son. No messages had been left, but at least five phone calls had been made. <i>Maybe they’ll just go away</i> had been her mantra.

When it rang again, she sighed and rose from her swing. She opened her screen door and reached for the cordless she knew was right there.

“Hello?”

“Good afternoon. Where have you been? I’ve been calling?” She immediately recognized her boss’ voice. It was the Senior Registrar Officer, just a step above her. Kathy was a nice person, but kept to herself mostly.

“Oh, really?” she smiled to herself. “I didn’t even hear it ring. Any messages?”

“No, I needed to speak to you directly.”

She rolled her eyes. What did they want now? “What can I do for you. It is Sunday, you know.”

“We need you to fly out to San Antonio for a week to open the new Garrison-Fernandez Student Success building at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Their president called asking specifically for you, saying their financial aid department in a mess. You think you can make it?”

“And my son?”

“You can take him with you. It’ll all be taken care of.”

While she was reluctant, she really had no choice. “Who will watch him while I’m at work?”

“We will reimburse you for day care.”

Unable to think of anything else, she agreed and hung up the phone. They would have to leave by five am to make it across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel without horrific traffic. Anton would have to sleep early tonight.

And with that, she rose, called her son, and headed inside to pack a weeks worth of clothes for everyone. Anton seemed excited, having heard that <i>everything is bigger in Texas</i>.

That night she had a funny feeling that kept her from sleep. Why was she so apprehensive about San Antonio, Texas?

It was three am before her eyes closed and when they opened again, she had the same feeling.

Tess and Anton Harding’s lives were about to change, she just didn’t know how.

<center>****</center>

So what do we think?
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AU/No Aliens-Max and Liz...with realistic complications...</center>

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Beautiful86
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Post by Beautiful86 » Thu Apr 05, 2007 11:21 am

Wow, thanks for all the great feedback.

There has been some comments made that you all don't really know my Max that well. So this is kind of a transition chapter, nothing really happens, it's just a more insightful look into Max.

Please let me know what you think! He's really not that bad!!

*****

Chapter Four- In Every Mistake



By mid-afternoon Monday morning, Max Evans had a bounce in his step. The weekend had passed by without a hitch, and he couldn’t be happier. While waiting in line in the cafeteria for his lunch, Max’s mind wandered a little.

He’d had a dream about Tess last night, the first one in years. That was the only damper on his seemingly perfect day. The memories of the last time he saw her resurfaced…

<I>You’re leaving?

I’m sorry, Max.

Where are you going?

Louisiana.

Why there?

I’ve found someone. Someone who actually loves me, who makes love to me and sees me. Not someone who lives with a memory, who compares the one in their arms to the one in their head. He loves me. He wants to marry me.
</i>

And with that, Tess Harding was gone. Three years of her being in his life and she was gone.

After Liz left, Max had become consumed with himself. It was all about what he wanted and when he wanted it. He’d written Liz off as crazy, told himself there was much more fish in the sea, and went about his life. Tess has been his friend, helping him through and giving herself when convenient for him.

Max wasn’t proud of who he used to be, but the least he can say is that he was a kid. He thought he knew what was best for him, only to realize he’d known absolutely nothing all along.

Max was able to stay in his bubble of narcissism while Tess was around. She’d tried for years to reach his heart, always stroking his ego…of course, the sex helped too. But Max had, unbeknownst to him, closed his heart off. And he stayed the insecure yet self-indulgent boy he was for years.

It wasn’t until Tess left that he was brought crashing down to earth. He hadn’t <i>loved</i> Tess, so it wasn’t that he was heartbroken when she left. His ego was damaged, because Tess had belonged to him. She was his to play with, and when she’d actually grown tired of his behavior and left him for someone else, needless to say his ego had been bruised significantly.

Once she was gone, there was no one. The world didn’t care that he was self centered and spoiled, and neither did the women he tried to date. He was left alone, literally. It wasn’t until a lonely December night in his dorm room, did he realize why he had no one.

It was in that moment he swore that if he ever laid eyes on Liz Parker again, he would do his very best to make things right. He knew he’d hurt her, only it wasn’t until then that he cared. From then on, Max did his best to help others. He knew he had years worth of repentance built up from how he’d treated people, but he had to start somewhere.

That’s when he changed his major.

He went from corporate law to criminal law, from defensive law to prosecution law. Thus, bringing him full circle into the DA of Austin.

Max knew he had years, six to be exact, worth of repentance towards Liz. He didn’t even complain about it, either. He welcomed it, because it meant that somewhere in the future, there might be a place for Max and Liz again.

As he cashed out his tray, Max’s smile grew wider at that thought.

*****

Jamie walked hand in hand with his teacher, Mrs. Promase, to the parking lot where either his mommy or daddy was waiting for him, he wasn’t sure.

Spotting his daddy’s car but seeing his mommy’s face first, Jamie bolted into a sprint, leaving the frantic teacher calling after him. Registering her sons actions, Liz jumped from the car as well, to meet him.

“Mommy!!!” came the squeal as Jamie leapt into her arms. Liz wrapped hers around him tightly and returned the hug.

“Hey there, tiger. What have you been up to? Besides running away from poor Mrs. Promase here.”

Jamie’s eyes grew wide as he turned to his teacher. “I’m sorry, Mrs. Promase.”

The fifty-five-year-old teacher laughed her response. “That’s quite alright, honey. Just be careful. There are lots of crazy drivers in this parking lot,” she said with a wave of her hand.

Jamie turned back to his mom as his teacher walked off. “Where’s daddy?”

“Waiting for you to notice him,” came the deep reply from behind Jamie’s mommy. When his eyes met his dad, Jamie squealed again, completely forgot Liz, and actually climbed <i>over</i> her to get to Max.

“Hey, chief. How was school?”

Jamie’s excited reply didn’t stop until they pulled into Max’s driveway. Liz already knew and had seen his surprise for Jamie.

When she opened the backseat door, he was still talking. “…but I don’t like Susie. She broke my crayon and then told on me when I broke hers. That’s not fair. If she broke mine, I’ma break hers…” Jamie trailed off as he realized they were not at his house.

“Where are we, mommy?” he asked, slipping right back into her nervous little boy.

“We are at daddy’s house.”

Liz blinked and looked down, to realize Jamie was gone. He’d taken off running again, towards the front door.

“Daddy’s house!” could be heard echoing throughout the street. Liz made a mental note to talk to him about taking off running. She’d meant to do it after McDonald’s but…she’d been sidetracked. This was the second time she’d seen him do it today.

Anytime he saw anything he wanted, he was gone. He’d run after it no matter what it was; a poodle, a frog, a worm, a butterfly…you name it, he’d run after it.

As Liz climbed the steps to Max’s house, the excited scream could be heard from outside, down the block, and probably the Tower of America’s if they were listening.

Jamie had seen his new room in his daddy’s house.

*****

Anton was playing in the balls again.

Tess always laughed at that phrase. <i>Playing in the balls</i>. Of course, she meant the playpen plastic balls, but it was still funny to hear.

Her eyes traveled out onto the road. San Antonio was a busy little city. They sat at a McDonald’s on Texas Hwy 151, and though the cashier said it was “dead”, people seemed to be hopping on by.

She fiddled with her Asian Chicken Salad before deciding that Mickey D’s should leave salads to the pros. Glancing at her watch, she knew that Anton had fifteen more minutes before his mom made him leave.

And the countdown began…

*****

Max put the car in park and killed the engine. Liz was already out the door, getting Jamie out.

He’d been quite a bundle of endless energy for a while now. Max had spent the latter part of his afternoon making his son’s room perfect for him. Equipped with an Xbox, posters of all kinds, action figures, a TV and DVD player, Jamie had fallen in love. Max had spent a small fortune on it, and explained it to Liz when she commented that he’d <i>never want to come home, now</i>.

He didn’t even know now that his next comment had been audible to Liz. <i>Maybe someday you won’t either</i>. Max didn’t know she’d heard it, so Liz kept it that way. But she couldn’t deny the butterflies in her stomach the entire ride to McDonald’s. After promising Jamie a happy meal, he’d done his homework and they’d set off to spend the day together.

Well, until six o’clock. Liz had be at work again tonight. Maria had called earlier and said she’d be by with some stuff for Jamie, so Max had given in to the idea of being at Liz’s apartment. Sure, he didn’t know Maria but he wanted that to change. If she was a big part of Liz’s life, he wanted her to be a big part of his.

Holding the door open, Max unconsciously moved his hand to the small of Liz’s back. It seemed the most natural thing in the entire world to him, while she was in a whirl of emotions.

She’d been trying to convince herself that Max was the scum of the earth for about two and a half weeks now. But it didn’t seem to be working. Every day, when he would leave, she was able to talk herself into hating him again. But when he came back, just how hard did she find it? It was like moving a mountain with a fork… You just can’t do it.

Glancing over the menu, she quickly decided she just wanted nuggets and looked behind her to tell Max. That’s when Liz Parker’s entire world was shifted again…

That’s when her brown eyes met a set of cold blue ones.

TBC~~~

Well? Well?

Don't worry.

I've got a plan.

Muhahaha
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Post by Beautiful86 » Fri Apr 06, 2007 12:12 am

Ok I know I just updated earlier, but I went a little crazy. It's not too long, but hopefully some questions will be answered.

By the way, if you like Tess...leave now.

*****

Chapter Five- The Road to Hell is paved with Good Intentions



Liz wasn’t blinking.

Why wasn’t Liz blinking? Jamie had been distracted by the Happy Meal toys and Liz had been deciding what she wanted. Suddenly, her entire demeanor changed and she now wasn’t blinking. “Liz?” came the question, as his eyes followed hers.

And then some asshole somewhere sucked all the air out of the room.

Max couldn’t breathe. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to, he just couldn’t. Could this all be real? Or was he in the midst of some horrible nightmare? Despite the fact he knew it was in vain, he hoped to God it was the latter.

And yet, life has a funny way of making its way into your little world. One minute you’re dancing on the clouds, getting to know your new son, making plans to take his mother out so you could actually have a conversation. Max and Liz hadn’t danced anywhere near the past since the first night they’d been reunited. Max could practically see any chance he had running away from him…while laughing at him.

Liz moved first, when Jamie reached for her hand. “Mommy?” came the soft inquiry. Her eyes moved down and met those of her son. In that moment, Liz could see her future with Max melt away and she knew that Jamie was all she had. She was grateful she at least had him. Jamie would never leave her, or hurt her. Jamie loved her unconditionally. For six years, Liz had been all Jamie ever knew. And a couple of weeks with his dad wouldn’t change that. She bent down to kiss the crown of his head and smiled sweetly at him. Motioning with her head, Jamie was given the green light to dead-sprint into the playground.

Liz stood up and straightened her shirt. Glancing at Tess once more, she found herself unable to keep the anger from shining brightly in her eyes. Turning a fast head on Max, Liz couldn’t keep the tart comment from leaving her mouth. “Why don’t you go say hi? I’m sure she’d just <i>love</i> to see you.”

Liz, filled with a quiet rage, walked past Max, purposefully bumping him in the arm. Once outside, the tears filled her eyes. She sat down at a picnic table under a tree across the parking lot and hung her head in her hands. Seeing that face brought it all back. Liz could remember, vividly, the pain she’d endured all those years ago. Wounds she’d thought were healed began to bleed and doors she’d thought she’d closed flew back open.

She’d been so young. She’d been so in love. When she first found out she was pregnant, it was like it was a bad dream. All her dreams of college, all her plans of an easy life scrambled for the door and left her sitting alone on the bathroom floor.

Then Max left her. She’d fled from Roswell, New Mexico, breaking speed records doing so. Certain that she’d never be able to forget the sight of the man she loved <i>under</i> someone else, Liz bonded with her child in ways most women don’t. He was all she had. She’d moved to her brother’s house in Houston, and found refuge in his guest bedroom for three years.

She’d met Maria DeLuca on the subway one day while struggling to carry her bag. At the time, she was eight months pregnant and thirty-five pounds heavier. From there, she became friends with Maria’s friend, Alex Whitman. They had both been so helping and caring, Liz almost found it unnerving. And yet, with her son turning seven in a few months, they were Auntie Maria and Uncle Alex. Although Uncle Michael would always reign as supreme favorite for Jamie, Liz was eternally grateful for the friends she’d found in Alex and Maria.

Losing Max was hard, having his child was even harder, but she’d done it all. Liz had conquered every challenge thrown her way. She somehow managed to pass the Texas State Boards and raise a beautiful little boy. This challenge, this <i>man</i> was just unfinished business. A chapter of her life she’d never fully closed, and this was her chance.

Was she wrong in assuming he would want her? Heh, she assumed <i>that</i> that first time and look where it got her. Knocked up and alone. She wouldn’t make that mistake again. Liz needed to be strong.

Rising with purpose, Liz trotted back inside to get her son and take him as far away from that…woman, if you could call her that, as she could.

*****

<i>Meanwhile, inside…</i>

Tess couldn’t believe her eyes. Max Evans was standing in front of her, and looking fine as ever. She’d seen them walk in and had actually spit out her Diet Coke. Was the world a small place after all, or what?

Was Max back with her? She was sure she’d squashed that bug years ago. Becoming more and more excited by the second, Tess felt her heart speed up. Anton’s father had left her almost as soon as she got to New Orleans. He’d shacked up with some local and called it quits on her.

Oh, but it wasn’t too soon to get her pregnant. At first, Tess had thought the child was Max’s, but the timing was off by a week or so. Tess hadn’t been sleeping with both of them, so when the doctor told her she was three weeks along, Tess knew it was Kyle’s baby. She hadn’t seen Max in almost a month. Did Kyle care? Tess would never know, as she never told him she was pregnant. She thought it better to not tell Kyle Valenti that he’d fathered a son. He’d hurt her, impregnated her, and left her. He didn’t deserve her son. Many people had said that it wasn’t for her to decide, but Tess had shrugged them all off, saying that her <i>child was her child, and she’d do whatever she wanted with it</i>.

Cold blue eyes landed on a six-year-old replica of his father. She’d known that Liz was pregnant all those years ago. A little secret kept only for Tess… Once the news spread that Liz cleared town with a trail of dust behind her, Tess climbed the fire escape to her parents old apartment and looked through Liz’s room. Pam, Tess’ friend at the time, had told her she was crazy, but Tess just laughed and kept climbing.

In the bathroom, Pam found the test in the trash. Tess knew from then on why Liz had disappeared but never dared share her knowledge with Max. He would go find her if he knew she was pregnant, and Tess couldn’t have that. With time, Max would assume Liz hated him and never bother to go after her. Pam swore she’d take the information to the grave, and Tess smiled widely to herself. They left the stick where they’d found it and silently climbed out her window.

Tess’ mind was already spinning when Max finally took a step towards her. She almost laughed aloud as she realized how easy this was going to be.

*****

Max took a tentative step towards the blonde curls and stopped again. A child appeared from the slide and was watching the exchange between them intently. Max had to admit that the kid looked a lot like Tess, but was blown away when he slowly walked over to take her hand.

Tess broke her gaze long enough to look down at her son. She’d never thought of anything like this before, and she was almost positive he’d never buy it but she had to try. Being a single mother was hard, and she was tired. Anton looked nothing like him…he actually looked a lot like Kyle. But, Max didn’t need to know that. Tess winked at her son and turned to face Max.

That was when Liz walked back through the door. <i>Perfect timing</i> and Tess’ smile grew even wider. Max, who heard Liz open the door, turned to face her. His heart sank when he met a pair of stone-cold eyes where warm amber ones usually wait. All the progress he’d made in the last two weeks flew right out the window. He could see it written all over her face. Max smiled weakly at her, hoping to get some kind of response.

Nope.

Liz was in the past right now, reliving everything he’d done to her. A soft hand on his arm drew his attention from Liz. Max looked down and into blue eyes.

“Gosh, Max. How long has it been?”

Max was going to hurl. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, he was going to throw up on Tess’ shoes.

“Max, um…I know this is kind of out of left field but there is someone I want you to meet. Anton, sweetie, come here.” Tess held out her hand, performing the mother hen role perfectly.

“Max, I’d like you to meet my son, Anton Noel Harding. Anton, say hi to my friend Max.”

“Hewwo.”

Max smiled at the child. “Hi there. Listen, Anton, my son is a little older than you but he’s playing on the playground right now. Why don’t you go find him?”

Anton’s face lit up and he looked to his mom for permission. After smiling and nodding her head, the child raced towards the brightly colored play area.

“He’s beautiful, Tess.”

She closed her eyes, and took a deep breath. It was now or never.

“Thank you. He’s yours, Max.”

Max’s eyes widened. Remember that asshole that sucked the air out of the room the first time? Yeah, he was back. “Mine?” Max could feel the future he daydreamed about, in his car, at his desk, on his bed, in the shower…just about everywhere, slipping from his grasp. He had another child?

Suddenly, behind him a loud noise startled him from his thoughts. Liz began laughing, hard. She laughed while Tess and Max looked on. She laughed until tears streamed down her face. She laughed until she clutched at her side, gasping for air.

“You really need to stay away from this McDonald’s, huh?” As soon as she finished saying it, Liz blew past both of them. This time she elbowed Tess, harder than the first time. She knew it was immature and juvenile, but you know what? Who gives a shit? This bitch ruined, and continues to ruin, everything for her. For all Liz cared, she could go play in the middle of IH Loop 410.

Max stood helpless as Liz gathered their son, ignoring his cries that he didn’t want to leave, and flipped open her cell phone. Max didn’t hear much of her conversation, only that whoever she was calling was coming to get her and his son.

Have you ever seen a grown man pass out? No, well, you’re about to. As Liz walked out the playground door with Jamie in tow, Max felt his stomach weaken.

Why did he feel like he’d never see her again?
*****

TBC~~?



So now we know Anton isn't Max's kid. The problem is that *we* are the only ones who know...
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AU/No Aliens-Max and Liz...with realistic complications...</center>

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Post by Beautiful86 » Sun Apr 08, 2007 12:38 pm

Here's another update guys. Thank you SOOOOOOOOO much for the support. I'm so glad so many people like my story.

Haha, wanna know something funny? I'm taking a defensive driving course online AND writing at the same time. Multitasking or what? hahaha


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

Chapter Six – Chasing After You

“Max?” Tess was unsure of what was happening. Liz stormed out after bumping her in the shoulder and Max was just staring after them.

“Max?” she asked again.

That’s when he blinked. Max looked at Tess and shook his head. Pulling out his wallet, he handed her his card. With a dark look and a deep <i>we need to talk about this</i>, he was gone.

She sank into the nearest booth, completely confused. If Max was so accepting of that child as his, why wouldn’t he accept hers? Besides the obvious, of course. Liz's son looked like Max. Scratch that, Liz’s son looked <i>a lot</i> like Max. Kyle was blonde with blue eyes while <i>that</i> child had deep brown hair and even deeper eyes.

Tess sighed and dropped her head into her hands. This might not be so easy after all.

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

Left?

No.

Right?

No.

Where the hell did she go? Max had let Liz walk out of his life once and missed what should have been the best time of his life. He’d be damned if it happened again.

He caught a glimpse of a Chevy truck pulling out of the exit and felt his heart drop when he saw Liz holding her head. Was she crying? Who was he kidding? Of course she was crying. After leaving her for six years to raise the child that wouldn’t exist without him, he’d finally been given a chance to show her the man he’d become. And then this happens.

Shaking his head, Max realized he had no idea who her friends were. She’d mentioned something about Maria and maybe an Alex, but what else did he know about her?

Nothing.

He knew that she was the mother of his child that he’d abandoned. With tears welling in his eyes, Max turned towards his car. He would wait for her at her apartment. She had to work. She had to show up.

She just had to.

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

Silence can be deafening.

Alex looked over at his friend, who was staring out the window. He didn’t know what happened at the McDonald’s, she hadn’t said a word. She just kept staring.

“You aren’t listening, Uncle Alex,” Jamie whined from the back.

“Sure I am, tiger. You were talking about your new room at your dad’s house.” He glanced in the mirror to see a satisfied look on his face. Just then, Liz made a sniffling noise. She tried to disguise it, but it was lost on neither Alex nor Jamie.

“Mommy, you aren’t crying, are you?” Jamie hated to see his mommy sad. It made him sad.

“No sweetheart, mommy’s not crying. I have to sneeze, and it won’t come out. That’s all, honey,” Liz replied. She was surprised she’d kept her voice steady.

Liz looked over at Alex, who was still staring with worry. “I’m fine, Alex.”

He smirked at her. “So that’s why you made me leave my warm house? Because you were fine at McDonald’s?”

She sighed deeply. “Jamie’s dad, Max, he’s been putting on this act for almost two weeks now; trying to be around more, getting to know my son. Well, remember why I told you he never knew about him? Because of that blonde bimbo all those years ago? Well, she’s back.” She spared a glance in his direction, and chuckled.

Alex’s jaw was in his lap. “She’s back as in he’s back together with her?”

“Not yet,” Liz snorted. “He left me for her once, why not again?”

He didn’t know what to say to that. He’d never met the guy. “It’s not possible he’s different?”

“Alex, Max and Tess have a son together,” she whispered, a single tear falling down her cheek.

Alex made a sharp left and killed the engine. He turned around to the boy he considered his nephew. “Jamie, go play on those swings right there. We will be right behind you.”

“Can I mommy?”

Liz couldn’t look at her little boy. He’d see her crying and it would scare him. She faked a coughing fit and simply shook her head yes. And with that, Jamie was gone.

“<i>They have a son together</i>?!”

Liz let go now that her son was out of earshot. Tears burst from her eyes and she buried her face in her hands. Alex, who had known Liz for almost seven years, knew she would talk when she was ready. Right now, Liz needed to cry.

After about five minutes, and fifteen deep breaths, Liz regained her composure. She turned to face Alex.

“Again I repeat, <i>they have a child together</i>?”

Fighting the tears back, she nodded. “Tess was at McDonald’s. I know, small world huh?” she asked at Alex’s wide eyes. “Everything was fine. I was happy. I was considering asking Max if he wanted to go to dinner, just to talk. I wanted to get to know him again. Maybe he had changed. And then that…that…that <i>fucking bitch</i> shows up. All blonde and beautiful with her even more beautiful son and tells Max right there that it’s his kid. Right in front of me, of course.

“They have a son? He has another kid? I was fooling myself with delusions of a family. Don’t get me wrong. I have raised my child alone this far and I will continue to do so, even if it’s without him. I don’t need someone to help me. I love motherhood, I love everything about being my son’s mother. The idea of the father of my son by my side, helping me…it was so overwhelming.” She let out a heavy sigh. “He’ll probably want her, anyways. He did the first time.”

Alex was at a loss for words. He simply reached for his friend and held her. <i>You’ll always have me. You’ll never be alone.</i> Liz hugged him back tightly.

“Thank you, Alex. Thank you.”

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

It had been three hours.

Liz either called into work or made it there some other way. She never came back to her apartment. Max hadn’t moved from the stairs leading to her door for an entire three hours now.

That’s a long time to think.

He’d gone through just about two-thirds of a pack of cigarettes. He’d concluded that his son was probably at Maria’s house, although he had no number to reach her.

Life sure did suck.

Max had only gotten one look at Tess’ son…Anton was his name? He looked nothing like the boy. In Jamie, Max knew as soon as he looked at him that he <i>had</i> to be his. Jamie looked just like him; black and shaggy hair, deep brown eyes, even the curved jaw. At six-years-old, Jamie looked just like Max at that age.

Could it be possible that Tess was lying? Certainly the time frame fit, but could he really be that irresponsible? He fathered two children and he knew neither of them. What didn’t make sense was that Tess didn’t come find him.

He’d left Liz. He’d convinced himself that Elizabeth Parker hated his guts and was better off without him. He deserved for Liz to never come find him with a baby. But Tess? She’d left him. She’d left him right where he was.

Why would she endure three years of motherhood alone? Tess wasn't exactly independent. She was the kind of person who would manipulate and conspire to get what she wanted. Was Anton really his? The more he thought about it, the more he doubted it.

Tess left him for another man. Not because she wasn’t happy, not because she wanted a new environment; she left him for a man who <i>loved and wanted to marry her</i>. Anton was probably his, whoever he was.

The vibration of his cell phone in his pocket jerked him from his thoughts. Hurriedly, he flipped it open and answered without looking at the ID.

“Liz?”

A snort was heard from the other end. “No, sunshine. It’s Tess.”

Max closed his eyes and massaged the bridge of his nose with his index and thumb fingers. “Yeah?”

“Are you busy? I was thinking we should get together. You should really get to know Anton. He’s such a great kid. He just turned three but man, the doctors say he acts like a four-year-old going on five…”

Max interrupted her. “Look, Tess, I’ve got a lot of my mind right now. We’ll talk later. I don’t know where you’ve been or why you show up saying you have my son, when he doesn’t look a thing like me, but whatever. We’ll deal with that when I’m ready.”

Huffing, Tess replied “aren’t you going to help me? I mean, at all? He’s your son, Max! I would put it on…”

Max interrupted her again. “Don’t swear that he’s mine on anything of precious value to you. Listen, Tess, you left years ago saying that you were getting married. I want a test, and if Anton is mine, then we will deal with it. Until then, I have a son, whom I know for a fact is mine, with his mother somewhere that I need to find.”

“But Max,” he heard just before he flipped the phone shut. She thought she was smart. She thought she could pull a fast one and give him a child that wasn’t his. If Anton was, in fact, his then he would deal.

Liz was more important right now. And she had to come back to her apartment sooner or later.

And when she did, Max Evans would be sitting on her front door step, waiting for her.

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

Hopefully this clears some stuff up.


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Beautiful86
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Post by Beautiful86 » Sun Apr 22, 2007 8:20 pm

Hey!!! I'm back!!! I had some writing inspiration today. This is kind of the transition chapter into the HUGE fight Max and Liz are going to get into. All of the things Liz has wanted to say to him will finally be out.

I just need to wait for some anger to arise here, and it'll be out in no time. I hope you enjoy.

Let the Tess bashing begin!! hahahaha

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


<i>From Chapter Six....</i>


The vibration of his cell phone in his pocket jerked him from his thoughts. Hurriedly, he flipped it open and answered without looking at the ID.

“Liz?”

A snort was heard from the other end. “No, sunshine. It’s Tess.”

Max closed his eyes and massaged the bridge of his nose with his index and thumb fingers. “Yeah?”

“Are you busy? I was thinking we should get together. You should really get to know Anton. He’s such a great kid. He just turned three but man, the doctors say he acts like a four-year-old going on five…”

Max interrupted her. “Look, Tess, I’ve got a lot of my mind right now. We’ll talk later. I don’t know where you’ve been or why you show up saying you have my son, when he doesn’t look a thing like me, but whatever. We’ll deal with that when I’m ready.”

Huffing, Tess replied “aren’t you going to help me? I mean, at all? He’s your son, Max! I would put it on…”

Max interrupted her again. “Don’t swear that he’s mine on anything of precious value to you. Listen, Tess, you left years ago saying that you were getting married. I want a test, and if Anton is mine, then we will deal with it. Until then, I have a son, whom I know for a fact is mine, with his mother somewhere that I need to find.”

“But Max,” he heard just before he flipped the phone shut. She thought she was smart. She thought she could pull a fast one and give him a child that wasn’t his. If Anton was, in fact, his then he would deal.

Liz was more important right now. And she had to come back to her apartment sooner or later.

And when she did, Max Evans would be sitting on her front door step, waiting for her.


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



Chapter Seven – Don’t Hold onto the Past


Red.

The color of her vision was blood red. Tess stared at her cell phone for a few minutes while her anger grew inside of her. Why wasn’t it working? Everything fit perfectly. Anton was the same age, and if she really stretched her imagination, she could imagine that he had Max’s jaw. That was all she could muster, though. Just Anton’s jaw.

Angrily, Tess threw the phone from her spot on the bed. Why wasn’t he going to help her? She heard Anton call her from the other room and inhaled deeply.

If there was ever a woman who wasn’t meant to bare children, that woman was Tess Harding. She had no patience and even less compassion for others. It was hard for Tess to learn to care for someone else. Ever since she could remember she’d had to think of only herself, there was never anyone else around for her.

When she’d met Max, it was like a dream come true. He was just the type of person to want to take care of someone else. He was the man who would provide for her, and all she would have to do was put out. Simple enough, right? The problem was that no matter how hard she’d tried, Max was in love. But did that stop Tess? All those years ago, she knew only one thing. She wanted Max Evans. The fact that someone else claimed him made him even better. She would not only conquer him, but that mousy little girl he loved. Tess played the damsel in distress act to the tee, surprising even herself that first night they were together.

She’d made up some story she couldn’t even remember about her mother and ran straight to Max. For about three months previously, she’d been planting ideas in his head about Liz. She’d told him she had seen her with someone else. She didn’t know who, and wasn’t even sure if it was her, but that she felt he should know. The whole thing was a lie, of course. Little Lizzie Parker would never cheat on her Max. Tess rolled her eyes at the thought of how lovesick she used to be. The only thing Tess ever respected about the girl was that she’d had the nerve to pop her in the face. Liz stood her ground and left Tess a black eye for it.

That’s when Tess’ plan went into effect. Liz became paranoid and suspicious, while Max became resentful and distant. Tess swooped in, beautiful blonde curls complete with crystal blue eyes, and swept Max away. When Liz left, Tess’ dream became reality.

And she got bored.

Max was no longer a conquest. He was a boy, a lost little boy, who became completely self-involved. As the years went by, Tess found herself more and more bored with him. He was, of course, gorgeous with one of the greatest bodies she’d ever had the pleasure of. But, he was still in love.

He used to whisper <i>her</i> name in his sleep, when he thought she couldn’t hear. He kept a small 3.5x5 of his prom picture with Liz in his drawer. Tess still didn’t know if Max was aware that she knew where it was. So many times, Tess wanted to throw it away or tear it up, or even better, burn it. She never did though. Max would have noticed that.

Then she met Kyle .

He was also involved, and <i>in love</i>. She still didn’t know why men thought they were in love. Didn’t they know they were only here to provide? The woman’s job was to put out, the man’s is to take care…well…everything else.

Tess heard Anton call her again, just a little more whiney this time. Rolling her eyes, she got up off of the bed to see what her son wanted. As she turned the corner into his room, her mind wandered to her mother. She knew she wasn’t shaping out to be any better than that woman was, and yet Tess couldn’t find it in her to care.

“What?” she asked impatiently.

“Will…will…will you pay hot wells wit me mamma?”

She rolled her eyes again. “No, Anton. Mommy’s busy.” Assessing that Anton needed nothing else, she turned to go back to her room.

Her mother had been a wildly promiscuous woman, bringing home a different man every weekend. Needless to say, Tess had a lot of uncles growing up. Where was her father? If her mom was telling the truth, dead. If she wasn’t, then the answer to that question might never be found. While Tess didn’t have much to thank Hillary Harding for, she did have one thing.

Her mother taught her how to use men for all they were worth. Men were liars, who cheated and eventually left you. But, with the right skills and <i>attributes</i>, they were quite useful. Tess Harding was a doppelganger to her mother. About 5’2”, blonde curly hair, crystal blue eyes, plump pink lips, a C cup, and a size 6. Looking in the mirror, Tess remembered her mother with flair.

She wouldn’t forget what she taught her.

And Max was crazy if he thought this was over.

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

Max rose from his spot on Liz’s doorstep. He felt his resolve fading away. It had been almost five hours now. As much as he wanted to stay there, he was hungry; his ass was tingling; and he did have to work in the morning. Granted, he wouldn’t be in a good mood or very rested, but he at least had to try.

He glanced at the clock and sighed. It was midnight. He slowly walked over to his car, fumbling around his pockets for his keys.

<i>Grown men do not cry.</i>

He could hear his father’s voice resounding in his head, berating him for being so emotional. <i>Grown men do not cry.</i>

More than ever Max wished he could turn back the hands of time. Everyone wishes for that at least a thousand times in their life, for Max though, it seemed a feeling that would never leave him. He’d made so many mistakes.

As he climbed into the front seat, like a robot, he turned the ignition. When he reached for the gear shift, his eyes welled up with tears once more.

<i>Grown men do not cry.</i>

He’d made such a mess of his life. Laughing inside, he realized he made a mess of a few people’s lives. Liz Parker had been the only true person he’d ever known, and he’d broken her heart into tiny little pieces and watched while she choked on them. She had been pregnant. She had been twenty-years-old, pregnant.

He couldn’t even begin to imagine how frightened she must have been. She’d only ever had her older brother, as her parents died when they were young. She was alone, with a life growing inside of her. For six years, she’d raised his son by herself.

And what a beautiful son he had.

The image of tiny Liz, big and round with his child, made a lump rise in his throat. She must have been beautiful. And he’d missed everything.

Max tried Liz’s cell phone one more time, topping off the evening’s calls at about 30. The same bright voice picked up as the messaging center sounded. <i>You’ve reached Elizabeth Parker, RN. I apologize for missing your phone call. Please leave a detailed message…</i>

Max flipped the phone shut and put the car in gear. She obviously needed more time.

And he would give it to her.

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

Ever wonder where the butterflies in your stomach come from? Because every time Liz opened her phone and saw <b>Max</b> calling, they went berserk. She wanted to talk to him. Really, she did. But it seemed too hard at the moment, considering all that had happened.

Jamie was asleep at his Aunt Maria’s, while his mother was driving around aimlessly, lost in her own world.

Max had called about thirty times, no embellishing. She’d ignored it each time, of course, but she’d come close a few times. About five of them, she flipped it open, ready to fight. How dare he do this to her again? About ten of them, seeing his name made her start crying again. The other times, she wasn’t brave enough to even look at her phone.

She’d been driving for about an hour now, and had reached a few conclusions.

Max Evans was the father of her son, and he would be forever a part of her life. Like it or not, that’s what happens when you get pregnant. You’re tied to him for the rest of your life. Jamie had lived for six years without his father, and she loved him too much to take him away from him, now that he was back. Whether or not Liz could stand him, was yet to be decided but she’d never take Jamie from Max again.

She also needed to decide if she still loved Max. Should she give him the chance to redeem himself, if he wanted it? If Anton was Max’s son, it would be significantly harder. But if Max was genuine about her and her son, didn’t he deserve a second chance?

She’d been living in the past for so long. Going on seven years, now. Should she let Max’s decisions from years ago effect her?

Then again, Anton was three. Which meant that while Liz was off getting fat, giving birth, and waking up at three am for a year and a half for her son, Max was living it up with that bimbo. Liz couldn’t deny the anger that flared when she thought of Max with her.

So many questions, so many different avenues. Where was she to go?

That question, at least, was answered.

Liz surprised herself when she realized where she was. She’d driven, subconsciously, to Max Evans’ driveway.

Furthermore, she must not have gotten there long after him, because he was just getting out of the car himself.

Before she knew it, that anger being discussed came back with a vengeance. Had he been with her? Had Max gone to see that tramp and her bastard of a child? Liz knew she was being irrational, but did that stop her?

Nope.

She opened the car door furiously, with words armed with six years of emotions. Hardly remembering to kill the engine, Liz stomped towards Max, ready to throw it all down right there.

Max’s eyes widened with surprise at the sight of her. That surprise quickly gave way to fear as he saw the look on her face. He braced himself for the oncoming confrontation, and just prayed it was over soon.

Red.

She was seeing red.

And it was about damn time.
Last edited by Beautiful86 on Mon Apr 23, 2007 4:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by Beautiful86 » Mon Apr 23, 2007 7:01 pm

Hey guys! You all left me such great feedback I couldn't wait to drill out the next chapter.

I think some of the major Max/Liz issues are addressed. I love my Liz in this. Everything she feels is so real, you know?

Give Maxie a break. ;) He really isn't all THAT bad. hehe

You might have a few questions about Jamie. The reason I opened with what I did was because I am going to test a theory with Jamie and Liz and their connection. Who knows, maybe there's more to Max's son than meets the eyes.

And finally, a new character is introduced. I have a devious little plan for him, haha.

Just wait and see...

Ok well, enough chit chat...

On with the show!!!!


<b>Disclaimer-A few lines (tweaked lines, but lines still) were taken from Departure. OK? Ok.</b>


<center>*****</center>
Chapter Eight – Walk Away and I Choke



<i>Running.

Faster. Faster.

Not running fast enough.

His little legs were carrying him just as fast as he could go, but it didn’t seem fast enough. They had his mommy. They had his beautiful mommy. Would they give her back? Maybe he could just ask nicely, say please like his mommy always taught him. A branch hit him square in the face while he rolled his ankle on a nearby rock.

He went tumbling furiously into the hard ground, landing with a loud cry. Too exhausted to go any further, he began to weep. His mommy, who had always taken care of him, was gone. Would she come back? So many questions whirled around in his head while the image of his mommy’s smiling face mocked his pain.

“Tiger, what’s wrong?” He froze at the masculine voice.

Daddy.

Slowly, a sobbing young child turned his head towards his father. “Daddy, they took her.”

“Took who, tiger?”

“They took my mommy!” he screamed with such agony in his voice, it cracked.

“Who took your mommy?”

Jamie fell back onto his knees. “I don’t know, daddy. I don’t know,” he whispered as he lowered his face into his hands. He felt his daddy grab him by the arms and pull him up.

“Then let’s go get her.”

For the first time, Jamie felt a spark of hope. Was it possible? Could they get his mommy back? He was almost afraid to believe it.</i>

Richard James Evans shot up from the couch, still crying. Maria DeLuca was at his side in an instant, alert and ready to help him.

Jamie had always suffered from nightmares. They slowly went away as he got older. He still had a few every now and then, usually when Liz was stressed out for some reason. Maria wrapped her arms around Jamie, while the six-year-old boy wept openly.

<i>Ding Dong</i>
The doorbell rang.

Glancing at the clock, she saw that it was a little past midnight. Who the hell would be here? “Jamie, I’m going to answer the door. I will be right back, ok?”

A hiccupping boy nodded slowly, but didn’t release his grip on her. She kissed his forehead gently before easing his arms from around her. Rising to walk to the door, she felt her anticipation grow.

Who the hell would be here?

Michael Parker’s tired face smiled faintly down at her when she swung the door open. She rolled her eyes and moved aside to let him in. Once inside, Michael wrapped his arms around Maria and kissed her softly.

“You’re back early.”

“I missed you.”

Maria heard rustling from the other room and chastised herself for forgetting her fiancé’s nephew. “Jamie is in the other room.”

Michael’s face lit up at his name. “Really?” he asked, already pulling away from her.

“Unkie Mike!” Jamie squealed as he launched himself at his uncle, nightmares forgotten. Michael caught the boy mid-air, laughing with his baby sister’s son.

Maria smiled at the two, knowing Michael would have Jamie asleep again soon. And man, oh man, did he need some catching up.

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

Now it was Max’s turn to have butterflies.

Liz flew towards him, anger fueling her every move. “So you’ve had quite the week huh?”

Max opened his mouth to speak but was promptly cut off. “Shut up and listen, dammit.”

Max did as he was told. Liz paced around the driveway for a few minutes before turning burning eyes onto him. “So while I was off being big, fat, and pregnant, you were shacked up with the wannabe Dolly Parton? Do you have any idea what it was like for me? Any at all?

“No! How could you? All you have ever thought about is yourself. When we were ten, you stole my crayons because yours were broken. When we were sixteen, we always went to where you wanted to eat. When I was twenty, and pregnant with your child, you left me for someone else.

“I saw you that night! I saw you fucking her! I was devastated and heartbroken, and I still went crawling to you. Being with you, even if you were cheating on me, was better than being alone with your child. But you were so damn selfish, you couldn’t even see that I was trying to tell you something. Why would I ask you about kids, Max? Why?

“Do you think I wanted children?! Don’t get me wrong, my son is the most beautiful thing in my life, but his father is probably the worst thing I’ve ever known! You hurt me! You have always hurt me! It’s always been about you! Max, Max, Max! And then, to think I was going to let you back in! You seemed so sincere and happy with our son, I felt blown away. But did it last? No, of course not!”

Liz drew in a ragged breath as tears dropped freely from her eyes. “You have another child, Max! You have two children from two different women, neither of which you were there for! What kind of man are you? What kind of…” Liz trailed off, unable to keep going. She could keep screaming at him for hours, Lord knows she had enough material to do so. But it wouldn’t help. Max would still be a selfish asshole with a child from a whore. She turned to go, but was stopped instantly.

“That’s it? You’re just going to go?! Don’t I get to say anything? Don’t I get to defend myself at all?”

Liz turned quickly. “Go ahead. Let’s hear what the pimp himself has to say!”

Max bit his tongue at the tart remark that threatened to come out. Liz had every right to be upset. If he lost his control, it would only make matters worse.

With a deep breath, he began. “I don’t think Anton is my son. Yes, Tess and I were together for a few years after you left. Yes, it is possible that he is my son. No, I didn’t love her. And yes, I’m just that stupid.

“Anton looks nothing like me, not the way Jamie does. Jamie is this perfect mix of the two of us, Anton looks like Tess and someone else. The timeline, if tweaked a little, could fit but you weren’t around when Tess split. The circumstances were strange and it makes sense that he belongs to someone else.

“I hurt you, Liz. I was so selfish and so stupid and I had to lose everything to find all that out. I’ve spent years trying to forgive myself for hurting the one true person I’ve ever known. And then all of a sudden you show up, with a child that looks just like me. I was overwhelmed. It was like I was being given this second chance, that I certainly don’t deserve.

“I’ve already told Tess that I want a test to prove he’s mine. If he is, you can make your decisions from that. But please, I’m begging you to just give me the chance to prove that she’s lying. I wish I could take back the last seven years, I really do. I can’t, though. All I can offer you is repentance.

“I swear, Liz, if you let me, I will spend the rest of my life proving to you that I love you. I’ve always loved you. I think about you, and I can see more children running around. I can picture a daughter that looks just like you calling me daddy, Liz…” Max’s eyes filled with tears. Liz looked lost, a blank expression playing across her face. Max drew a deep breath and took a chance. He walked over to Liz and cradled her face in his hands. “I’ve been really wrong about a lot in my life. The only thing I know is that I was right about one thing; to get you into my life, to be around you, to love you.”

Liz closed her eyes, trying to fight back the tears. She didn’t want to believe him. She wanted to hate him. It was easier to believe he was the scum of the Earth, than to believe he might actually be sorry. She pushed him back and shook her head. “It’s not that easy. You can’t just come in here after so many years and try to make it right with a few words.” Even as she was saying it, she knew her heart didn’t agree.

This was Max, after all.

Max, the man she’d loved since she was thirteen. Max, the man with the strongest yet softest hands that had ever touched her. Max, the father of her child. Max, the only one there would ever be.

“I have to go,” she whispered, more to herself than to him. If she stayed, her resolve might crumble. And she wasn’t ready for that. As she began to pull away, Max tightened his hold on her.

“I won’t let you go without a fight, Liz Parker,” he whispered into her hair as he crushed her against him. “I won’t let you go ever again.”

Sniffling, Liz pulled back from Max. She didn’t meet his eyes again, but she didn’t have to. She knew he was watching her. She had so many questions that had no answers. Her mind was spinning, the only thing clear was the image of her son. Liz wanted more than anything to just hold her baby in her arms and fall asleep surrounded with his innocence.

As she climbed into the car, she dared a look back at the man who meant the world to her. He was still standing there, watching her. If Max truly did love her, then he would still be waiting for her when she made her decision. She shook her head, as if trying to clear the confusion. She didn’t know anything.

Right now, she just wanted Jamie.

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

<i>San Antonio -- 56mi</i>

The green signs seemed to mock his journey. Why he had to go to San Antonio, he didn’t know. His boss had called early yesterday morning asking him to leave his home in Fort Worth and travel into the city he hated more than anything.

Siemens’ Automation needed his help with their latest assignment. Something was wrong with the master headboard that no one could seem to figure out. Sometimes, being the best at what you do isn’t all it’s cracked out to be.

Taking a quick swig of his sweet iced tea from Bill Miller’s Bar-B-Q, he realized his road trip was coming to an end soon. Changing to a different playlist on his I-Pod, he pressed a little harder on the gas petal. If anyone hated to be in cars, it was him.

A little more than an hour later, Kyle Valenti passed the San Antonio City Limit. Little did he know the chaos that lay in wait for him there.


TBC~
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