The Book of Love (M/L,AU,Adult) (Complete)

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Behrsgirl77
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The Book of Love (M/L,AU,Adult) (Complete)

Post by Behrsgirl77 » Fri Jul 13, 2007 6:02 pm

Winner Round 12

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Title: The Book of Love

Author: Tanya

Rating: Adult (I may change this to Mature, but for now I'll leave this)

Category: Dreamer (Max's POV)

Disclaimer: I do not own a thing, except for my thoughts and ideas and a couple of the characters I made up for the story. I will state that this is based on a challenge by La'Shon (FSU/MSW-94). The full abbreviated challenge is posted on my WBA page, you can feel free to read it, it won't spoil the story since she gave me just a place to jump off from.

Summary: Max and Liz meet in the most extraordinary way and their lives and their futures will never be the same because of it. This is a story about learning to appreciate the gifts we’re given, no matter how they come to be.

A/N - This was originally posted in the Sneak Peeks section on RC. I have since removed it, and have found the courage to post it on here. I do have several chapters written and I waited to post this until I have enough written ahead that I could give you weekly (Friday) updates.

Special Thanks - Lala, this is for you as promised! Thank you for the brainstorming. Bixie, thanks for the help with the support & pics. Tiffany for those awesome timing sessions we have and lastly to Stacie for keeping me sane! Love you! *MUAH*


I've been away for a while...let's see if I remember how to do this...

The book of love, is long and boring
No one can lift the damn thing
It’s full of chance and facts and figures
And instructions for dancing
But I, I love it when you read to me
And you, you can read me anything
The book of love, has music in it
In fact that’s where music comes from
Some of it's transcendental some of it's really dumb
But I, I love it when you sing to me
And you, you can sing me anything
The book of love is long and boring
And written very long ago
It’s full of flowers and heart shaped boxes
And things we’re all to young to know
But I, I love it when you give me things
And you, you ought to give me wedding rings
And I, I love it when you give me things
And you, you ought to give me wedding rings
You ought to give me wedding rings
-The Book of Love by Peter Gabriel-



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banner by me (which may change several times before the end *lol*)

Prologue



Did you know that my nipples are even more sensitive now that I’m even further along,” says the woman I’m sitting across from. Of course she’s not talking to me, but to someone on her cell phone. Why do women feel the need to share such private things in an open room, full of people? It’s not that I don’t like women’s nipples but…that’s not important right now.

It’s bad enough that I was called out of my meeting by my ex-wife’s obstetrician, for an emergency. I can’t imagine what the emergency is, since I’ve been divorced for almost a year and a half now.

Nevertheless, here I am, reading through a parenting magazine, and reflecting back on a time when I was thrilled to be thinking about being a father. Unfortunately, my wife and I weren’t one of the lucky ones. If I’m honest, our relationship for the most part was composed of me being away on business and her sitting home waiting for me. It wasn’t much of a relationship, now that I look back but I loved her…as much as I could.

That was my problem, not hers. She loved me too much, and I didn’t know how to love her enough. We thought creating a baby would solve our problems. She miscarried three times, and by the last one, she’d told me she didn’t think my heart was in it anymore.

I couldn’t lie to her, she deserved better, and that was the end of that. I honestly wish I could have given her more.

I peer down at my watch; I’ve been waiting a damn near half hour. I throw down the magazine I was just leafing through; I have every intention of not sitting around here much longer. A moment later though the door of the office opens and a petite brunette walks in and makes a beeline for the receptionist. I guess I can wait another minute.

I’m trying not to eavesdrop, but it’s kind of hard in this small waiting room. Apparently the brunette was called here and is demanding to know what’s going on (that makes two of us).

“I don’t understand, is there a problem with my baby?”

“No, nothing like that.”

“Well then, what the hell is the problem?” I can hear not only the agitation in the brunettes voice but also fear. I can hardly tell she’s pregnant, but when she turns to the side and brushes her hair away from her face, I get a better, unobstructed view of her.

She’s cute, really cute, and I’ll be damned if she doesn’t have a baby bump under her blue and white striped top. For some reason, seeing her makes me smile.

“If you would just let me get the doctor we will call you in,” says the nurse in the maroon scrubs and red hair. The brunette doesn’t look happy but accepts defeat. She turns and walks to the nearest seat; which happens to be right next to me.

I don’t dare look at her, she seems pretty upset and I don’t want her jumping down my throat. I’ve learned my lesson with women; when they are upset you walk away and don’t say anything. It’s a lot safer.

“Ms. Parker, Mr. Evans, the doctor will see you now.” I look to my right in surprise, because the brunette is standing but what I can’t figure out is why the doctor is seeing us together. Without another word I follow the brunette into the back, and through another doorway and finally into a small conference-type looking room.

What the hell is going on?

“Why is he here?” she asks the nurse, who looks uneasy.

“Ms. Parker, I would just ask that you wait until the doctor arrives to explain.”

“Explain what?” I finally find my voice and ask. The nurse looks at me and begins twisting her hands, she’s making me nervous now.

“Look, I don’t know who he is and to be honest, no offense,” she pauses and looks at me and I shake my head in understanding.

“I really don’t care. The doctor called me, and I want to know what’s going on so I can get back to work.” Well she sure told them, too bad I don’t think that’s going to solve our waiting problem, but once again I just take a seat and mind my business.

Which is what? I ask myself. I don’t know this woman and I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing here with her.

Thankfully, for the brunette’s sanity and mine, the doctor enters shortly thereafter.

“Ms. Parker—”

“Liz. Just call me, Liz.”

“Very well, Liz and Mr. Evans.”

“Max.” I add and the brunette whose name I now know gives me a small smile, which I return.

“Okay, Susan you can leave us now,” the doctor calls out and the nurse who was with us before strides out of the room, quickly and closes the door behind her.

I let out a breath I didn’t know I was even holding. Perhaps I’m just a little apprehensive to even hear what he has to say. Just a little. I mean, again I don’t know this woman, maybe it’s an oversight of billing or something stupid like that.

“I’m not sure where to start but,” he pauses and chances a look at the both of us before continuing.

“We have discovered a mix-up at one of our main labs, an assistant misread charts belonging to two other couples in addition to the both of yours.” He continues to drone on and on about specimens and in vitro, artificial insemination, testing…Honestly I haven’t a clue what he’s even getting at. I’m about to ask, and it looks as though Liz is as well but then the doctor says something that causes us both to freeze.

“—pregnant with your baby, Max.”

“Your wife—”

“In vitro—her husband’s sperm.”

I stand up and rest my palms against the table. I couldn’t have heard him right. I couldn’t have! I hear a sharp gasp and turn to see Liz’s shocked face. She doesn’t look so good. I quickly get around the table to her before she passes out in her chair.

“What the fuck is going on!” I growl out as I lean down to support Liz’s body.

“Damn it! Get her some water!” I bark out to the doctor who practically trips over the chair and out the office. Is everyone working for this office a complete moron?

I look down at the now pale woman in my arms and I try and coax her awake. “Liz, wake up.” I run my hand down her cheek and try and sit her up a little straighter. Finally she opens her eyes and blinks a few times.

“Are you okay?” I ask and she nods a little. I can feel her entire body shaking.

“You need to calm down,” I say as I hand her a cup of cold water the doctor finally brought in.

“I’m okay,” she says and places the cup on the table in front of her, after taking a huge gulp. I realize now that I’m still holding onto her and I quickly let go and stand.

“You need to repeat yourself. Cause it sure as hell sounded like you said Liz is pregnant with my baby.”

The doctor nods.

“No, my ex-wife was here almost two years ago, and she miscarried; that was my baby.” I try and reason with the doctor. Obviously he’s lost his mind.

“Max, I tried to explain the mishap at the lab. The charts were not read correctly and your sperm was frozen, which Liz, two and a half months ago…”

“Okay! We don’t need to share how I got pregnant. How do you know your lab didn’t mess up again? How do we even know if it’s his baby I’m even carrying?” She stands up unsteadily and takes a deep breath, I can tell she’s fighting back tears. I know the feeling.

She’s pregnant, this stranger is pregnant with my child, or so I think. I run a hand through my hair and lean back against the wall. I can’t accept this. I mean they could have made another mistake; obviously they don’t know what the fuck they are doing to begin with.

“Liz, we are almost a hundred percent sure. We have spoken to all the other couples and we have reviewed the charts several times and done the necessary testing. Max’s sperm was the only one set up to be frozen.”

“No! My husband came in here…we…he…this baby is all I have left of him and you’re telling me, it’s not even his?” she asks through clenched teeth and tears; utterly and completely devastated.

While I still think they’ve made a mistake, and she’s not carrying my baby, I think it’s even worse for her because she thought it was her dead husband’s child.

“Wait. You just said mine was the only one. But the paperwork I filled out was not for that, so how could it have gotten mixed up?” I ask, knowing that we will soon be talking in circles from the confusion of it all.

“As I explained earlier,” he takes a tone that I’m none too happy about, like I was supposed to be paying better attention.

“The lab tech was new, she was assisting since they were pretty backed up. She read the wrong column and mislabeled the specimens.”

“Yes, but if she mislabeled them, then my sperm would still be there if my name was on it right?” The doctor looks down at the paperwork in his hands, then back at the both of us.

“Unfortunately, to protect our patients' privacy, we do not label the specimens with your name, you are given a number and…” And he doesn’t need to say anything else. I got it; they fucked up in a big way.

“I want a paternity test done, how soon can we have it done?”

“I agree! I want to know for sure before we go any further,” Liz says standing beside me now.

Because whether we like it or not, we are in this one together…for now.

“Max, Liz, you can have a paternity test, but there are some risks to having one done prior to the child’s birth.”

I narrow my eyes, “What risks?”

“Liz, you will have to get an amniocentesis and then we will…”

“No. I’m not doing it.” I swing my head around towards Liz pinning her down with a glare. What is she talking about? We were just in this together as a team and she’s already backing down?

“You’re not serious are you?” I ask and she nods her head and places her hands on her hips.

“Of course I am! Do you know the risks involved with having that done?” she asks and I shake my head.

“Tell him doctor, tell him that I could miscarry because of it,” she says and takes a seat. I swing my head back to regard the doctor.

“This is true, it’s a small percentage and…” I have to stop him right there. I look down at Liz and I know I couldn’t ask her for that. I know what my ex-wife went through and I wouldn’t wish that upon anyone else.

I wipe the sweat from my forehead and walk around the room trying to piece this all together. The doctor said they are almost one hundred percent certain she is pregnant with my baby.

“You said before, that you’re almost positive she’s carrying my child. How do you know?”

“Max, unfortunately or fortunately depending on how you look at it for this particular situation, the other couples did not have successful pregnancies and we were able to test the paternity and they all matched.”

“So they weren’t mixed up?”

“Yes, they were but they belonged to the other couples. If you like we can do DNA testing for you with their samples, just to ease your mind.” Well, isn’t he just a helpful doctor?

“Yeah, it would ease my mind. And in case you didn’t know this already, your office will be hearing from my team of attorney’s on this one.” I punctuate my statement by walking out of the office and slamming the door shut.

A few minutes later I’m standing outside in the waiting room, which is thankfully empty, pacing.

I’m going to have a baby with Liz. Liz, whose last name I know is Parker and that’s all I know about her. Besides the fact that she was married and her husband died. This must be one of those twisted nightmares that I’m stuck in. I try and pinch myself.

“I tried that already, it didn’t work.” I look up and see Liz standing in front of me. I can tell she was still crying, but trying really hard not too. I offer her a reassuring smile in return.

“What should we do now?” she asks me, her voice suddenly just above a whisper.

I look into her deep brown eyes and realize; I have no idea where the hell we go from here. Instead of discussing it further, I change the subject.

“Do you need a ride home?”

“No, I can call my brother. I don’t live far from here. Needless to say I will not be going back to work.” She lets out a small laugh, which was probably more for my benefit than her own.

“Liz, let me take you home.” She looks up at me, uncertainty written across her face as if there were a stamp there, but then she agrees.

When we finally step out onto the sidewalk, with the sun beating down on us, I come to the full realization that I’m going to have a baby with a woman I not only just met…but also never even slept with.


TBC…
Last edited by Behrsgirl77 on Wed Jul 09, 2008 9:02 pm, edited 47 times in total.

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Post by Behrsgirl77 » Tue Jul 17, 2007 10:13 am

A/N - I know I'm back early, however looking at my week ahead I realized today is the only day I'm going to be available to post, and rather than miss my Friday posting day, I'm doing it early :)

Secondly, I wanted to thank you all for the great welcome back *lol* I know you all have questions as to who is who, and what is going on, but rest assured all your questions will be answered in due time. There are several characters that will be introduced as we go along...so sit tight.

Thank you so much for the feedback you guys are awesome!


Queenie_Zan7
FSU/MSW-94
Dreamsatnight
pandas2001
clueless
Aurorabee
Hazz
Tanya7496
omwf
polar vixen
Bixie
LairaBehr4
begonia9508
confusedfool
aussietrueblue
83 AlienAngel
Skittles1983
Flyawayraven
L-J-L 76
behrluv32
dreamerbabylioness
Lurkers




Chapter One


<center>Brothers
Girls best friend…or man's?
</center>


I used to think I was an intelligent man. That was until I suggested driving Liz home, to her brother.

Obviously, the news that she’s having my baby has shocked my system enough for me not to think through the implications of my actions thoroughly enough.

Otherwise, I would have never offered. I would have called her a taxi or something, anything but driven her myself. Because despite what my reputation might be, I am a gentleman and I will walk her to the door.

She’s been silent for the duration of our ride, aside of offering up a few directions. I can only imagine what’s going through her mind, and despite the fact that I should ask her I don’t feel like it’s my place.

I don’t know her.

How does a man wrap his mind around all of the things involved in having a child with a woman he just met? Friends of mine have, they’ve muddled their way through it, but at least they knew if their girlfriend had a middle name. Not the case in my current situation.

Turning to my right, I drink in her sight. She looks younger than myself, she doesn’t wear very much make up and she’s not very tall. All and all not my type…Well that’s not really true.

Liz’s hair is long and silky looking, the sun seems to bounce off of it, reflecting it if you will. Her smile, seldom as I’ve seen it, lights up her whole face, whether she knows it or not. Her skin, soft looking like a fresh plucked peach, I wondered the first time I saw her if it felt as soft as I’d imagined.

Her lips, well those were a work of art if I do say so. They’re perfectly plump in shape and rosy in color. Physical appearances mean a lot to a guy, despite what he might tell a girl to their face.

Isn’t it always; first impressions are what matter the most?

I wonder what kind of impression I’ve made on Liz.

The girls I date, or rather have dated in the past were tall, and could easily grace the cover of any swimsuit magazine on their worst day.
Shaking those thoughts from my head, I still try and figure out why she seems to draw me in.

“It’s right up ahead, the apartment on the left,” she says so softly, I nearly miss it but luckily she lifts her hand and points in the general direction of her place.

I look around, trying not to seem too curious, but I am. It’s a decent enough looking complex, maybe about fifteen apartments in the entire place. Red brick and white shutters seem to be a staple amongst apartment developers it seems. But still, they were nice.

As soon as I pull to a stop, Liz practically jumps from the car; I quickly reach out and grab her hand, “Liz, wait.” She turns, her eyes drop to where I’m holding her and I let her go, not wanting to make this any more uncomfortable than it already is.

“Max, just…”

I shake my head, “Let me say this, okay?” She nods and takes a seat back in the car. Honestly, I’m not quite sure what I want to say, I think I know what I need to say but still words fail me.

Funny, words, which are my specialty especially in the business I’m in, fail me now of all the times. I’ve got mere minutes to convince a panel of people to give me their money and I never fail…Never.

But with her, looking completely distraught and a lot fragile, I really don’t know what to say to make her feel better. In fact, I find myself wondering why I want to make her feel better. Not that I’m some vicious evil villain, but because I have no connection to this woman at all. None.

Except for the fact that she’s carrying my baby, I remind myself.

Aside of that there is no connection at all.

“Max, I really need to go.” Hell, I’m stalling, badly.

“Let me walk you to the door, and give you this.” I reach into the breast pocket of my black suit (I always wear a black suit, never blue or gray, only black), and hand her my business card.

“It has all my contact information, you know, in case you need to reach me, for anything.” I fumble through that, spectacularly…awful.

She smiles and plucks the card from my hands. “Thanks.” I nod my head and can’t help but take pleasure in making her smile.

Before I tumble through another disastrous attempt to keep things light, I step out of the car and to her side before she has a chance to think about opening the door herself.

“So you’re a gentleman?” she queries with a smirk on her lips.

“I’ll only answer that if you promise to keep it a secret,” I say, offering her a wink and my hand.

“I promise,” she says, and hell, I believe her.

“Yes, I am. I have a sister and a mother to answer to.” I joke back lightly and find myself offering up more personal information without a seconds thought.

“Isabel, my younger sister, can be a royal pain in my ass and my mother…well she’s a bit eccentric and I don’t use that term lightly.” Liz seems taken aback by my bluntness.

“Sorry, I haven’t learned how to sensor myself very well,” I add meekly, rubbing the back of my neck as we make our way up the sidewalk to her steps.

Liz shakes her head, and I don’t know why I didn’t notice this before, but she’s actually a few inches shorter than me. She’s a tiny thing, much smaller than I’d originally thought. I can’t help the smile that tugs on the corner of my lips; this tiny thing is carrying an Evans child.

Boy does she have her work cut out for her, I think with a laugh.

“What’s so funny? The fact that you don’t know when the filter should be put on, or the fact that I live here,” she snaps out sarcastically.

Whoa! Where did all this hostility come from?

“Okay, did I miss something?”

“No, Max. Look,” she turns at the top step, in front of what I can only assume is her apartment door, and runs a hand through her hair while pulling the strap of her purse higher on her shoulder.

“I can’t deal with this right now. I know we need to talk but I don’t know you. Two hours ago I thought I was carrying Danny’s baby, now I find out I’m not. And he’s gone and any piece of him that I thought I had left is also gone. I never even had it,” she lets out a frustrated sigh, and clenches her jaw, a tactic she’s used before to stop herself from crying.

I take a tentative step towards her and she backs up. I don’t want to scare her off, but like it or not, she and I are stuck together.

I straighten my shoulders, prepared to duel this one out, when the front door swings open and a tall, lean, dark haired guy, whom I can only assume is Liz’s brother steps out.

“Liz, is everything okay?”

“Yes, Alex. Everything is fine,” she says and turns to enter the door, leaving me with her brother, who looks…surprised?

“No way! No, flipping way!” he says, wide eyed and proceeds to look past my shoulder at my black Range Rover sitting at the curb, then looks back at me and smiles. Not your average smile either; this is a one thousand watt smile.

“Max Evans,” I say, reaching out my hand to him. He quickly returns the gesture, “Alex Whitman.”

I narrow my eyes in confusion, how is his name Whitman and Liz’s is Parker? Maybe that’s her married name. I assess this Alex guy a bit better, maybe he’s not Liz’s brother. He’s got blue eyes instead of Liz’s brown, but a pretty close comparison of complexion as Liz’s. Maybe it’s her boyfriend?

No, that wouldn’t make much sense. She’s obviously not over her husband. I shake all thoughts from my head and try and get Alex to wipe the drool currently forming on the side of his mouth.

I’m used to this reaction, especially by a hard-core gamer, that is.

“Do you think I could talk to Liz for another minute?” I ask and he pins me down with a glare, well as good a glare as he can conjure up, I would imagine.

Alex crosses his arms in front of his chest, trying to figure out just what the hell I’m doing here. I can understand his confusion.

“Look, I just want to talk to her before I leave,” I say, trying to persuade him to let me through.

“How do you know my sister?” he asks, not moving. At least I know for sure he’s her brother.

I swallow thickly, I don’t think telling him that his sister is carrying my baby would go over well right now. While Alex does not intimidate me, the fact that he is Liz’s brother means that I do have to show him respect and to be honest; I value his concern for her.

“I actually just met her today and…”

He raises an eyebrow, “You like her?” I try hard not to smile, because in all honesty I don’t know what I think of Liz at the moment.

“To be honest, Alex, I don’t really know her, but I do need to talk to her.” I offer sincerely and hope that he lets me through.

He looks at me for a minute, before stepping aside.

“Thank you,” I say and step through the open door. Liz is nowhere in sight, but I do manage to take a look around. It’s small but very cozy, a red couch, wood furniture, and just as I suspected there is a very extensive game collection in one corner of the living room, along with a big screen TV.

“Liz!” he calls out to her, and I’ll be damned if I don’t suck in a deep breath when she walks back into the room, changed.

Instead of the dress pants and striped shirt, she’s now wearing a short, yellow cotton dress. I can’t stop my eyes from roaming over her perfectly shaped legs and then up to her...pissed off looking face.

Well damn, this isn’t going to go the way I planned.

That’s okay; I’m good under pressure as well. And being in the room with anyone’s brother, except my own, is very stressful.

“What is he still doing here? And Alex, why did you let him in?” she practically spits out and stomps over to the couch, where she plops down on it and crosses her arms. She’s nothing but determined and adorable.

Adorable?

No, never mind. I need to focus and just because she’s pretty doesn’t change what she said, or rather insinuated outside a few minutes ago.

“You wouldn’t talk to me, and I think it’s important that we make some kind of plan to sit and talk.” I say evenly as I step closer to her.

“Alex, will you tell him, I will call him if I need him.” I clench my jaw and ball my fists, damn if she doesn’t piss me off.

I take a deep breath and realize I’m going about this wrong. Obviously, the only way to her is through her brother. I smile; this is going to be easier than I thought.

“So Alex,” I turn to him and he nods, still not understanding why I’m here for his sister. The thing is, Liz has no idea who I am, fortunately for me Alex does.

“I see you’ve got quite an extensive collection.” I nod my head in the general direction of his wall-to-wall games, and he beams at my words. He’s impressed that I’m impressed.

This is almost too easy. Like taking candy from a baby, as they say.

“Yeah, it’s okay.” He’s trying to act nonchalant about it, but I can see it in his eyes. And even if I didn’t, him walking over and just randomly throwing out names of our top selling games at me, does the trick.

“No, really. This has got to be the most impressive collection; besides my own, that I’ve seen.” I beam brightly, walking over to stand next to him. I actually do mean it. It’s really impressive, and almost beats my and my brothers, almost.

“Yeah?” he offers me a full-blown smile and I pat him on the back. I think I could get to like Alex a lot.

“You’ve got all the classics—” I begin but he cuts me off.

“Are you working on a sequel to Invasion? Cause that game seriously kicks ass!” Alex punctuates his statement with by slamming his fist into his palm. I laugh out loud at his enthusiasm; some of my employees need a lesson from him.

“We are in talks about it, and the development is going slow right now. Mainly because we are trying to decide how many alternate ending sequences we should have, and we’re incorporating characters from, Sigma Sphere and Eternal Wings. You know we like to keep things fresh, and unexpected. But that’s top-secret information, Alex. I trust you not to share it,” I whisper co-conspiratorially and I hear Liz sigh dramatically behind us.

“What the hell are you guys talking about?” Alex places a hand on my shoulder and shakes his head in warning, to not say anything.

“Liz, dear sister, do you have any idea who this man standing in our living room is?”

“Yes, he’s the man whose baby I’m carrying,” she retorts dryly and I roll my eyes heavenward. Did she really need to say that?

“What!” Alex shouts, his jaw practically on the floor, looking between Liz and I for confirmation.

I sigh; this is not the way I saw it happening. What happened to a nice dinner, and polite conversation that we ease into? Obviously Liz’s plans don’t have any rhyme or reason. I don’t know if I like that…at least right now I sure as hell don’t.

“Tell him, so my brother can stop worshipping you for whatever reason,” she drawls on with a flip of her wrist. I growl and narrow my eyes at her, why did I want to talk to her again?

“You’re pregnant,” he turns to me, “with his baby? Max Evans’ baby?”

“Alex, is there a reason why you keep referring to him; like he’s a God?” Liz asks finally standing and placing her hands on her hips.

Alex is a little taller than me, so she really has to look up at him. I might be pissed at her, but she’s still…never mind.

I’m impressed when Alex finds his voice and responds. “That’s because he’s Max Evans of EGames, only the biggest video game creator and distributor since…well since Nintendo and Sony. Liz, do you see all these games?” he pauses and points to the wall, and she nods, still not quite understanding, or maybe she’s in shock. I roll my eyes; I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing here. I really don’t. I’ve stepped into this alternate universe and I don’t know how to react.

“Yes, Alex. I see the games.” She says sardonically, but I gauge her reaction closely, she’s starting to see the picture.

“He is the one, well he and his brother, are the masters behind them. Liz’s he’s like a millionaire and he’s only thirty,” he pauses and turns to me.

“One. I’m thirty one.”

“Holy shit!” Alex says, dropping to the couch.

“He’s Max Evans and he got my sister pregnant. Holy…” Alex continues to mutter to himself and I finally come to stand in front of Liz.

“Look, I can’t imagine what you must be feeling like, but whether you like me or not, we are in this together.”

“I don’t feel like talking right now, Max. Can we just do this later?” I sag my shoulders in defeat.

“Yeah, we can. I’ll be back tomorrow.”

“Wait, why?”

I try to resist, but I can’t, I take her hand. “We need to call a truce, obviously you’ve jumped to conclusions about me and I’d like to right them. So, how about I bring dinner here tomorrow and if we talk, we talk, if not, we’ll just have dinner.”

She seems to ponder it for a moment before looking to Alex, who is nodding his head excitedly, and she rolls her eyes.

“Brothers, I thought they were supposed to be on their sister’s side,” she jokes, and I exhale the breath I was holding. I smile down at her, “Yeah, well if it’s any consolation, I think video games, beer and other girls who are not your sister, rank a lot higher sometimes.”

With my unyielding gratefulness, she laughs, a really deep down, hearty laugh.

“Dinner tomorrow would be great. Oh, would you mind if someone else joined us?” I raise an eyebrow in question but shake my head anyway.

“Now that’s all settled, how about I give you a place to order from and I’ll pick it up on my way here?” I ask, as I causally stroll over to the computer, which is already logged on the Internet. I punch in a few letters, and pull up one of my favorite places to eat, Mario’s.

“Just order anything, and everything you want and I’ll be over tomorrow about seven-thirty, if that’s okay?” I ask Liz, because she’s the only one paying attention to me; she simply nods her head, giving up on any fight she might have had in her. I think Alex is in awe of me using his computer.

“Nice piece of equipment you have there,” I say over her shoulder.

“Yeah? I programmed her myself.”

“Really? Is that what you do?”

“Nah, I wish. I actually fix computers,” he offers mildly and then busies himself by flipping on the television. I’m sure he has plenty of questions for Liz, and I can only hope she answers them for him tonight, instead of at dinner tomorrow.

“Alright then, I’ll see you both tomorrow,” I say as Liz walks me to the door. I can’t help but lean in as I step out on her front step.

“Just so you know I love the red couch.” I wink and turn away, but she calls out to me.

“How did you know, I picked it out?” she looks…vulnerable. That’s something new.

“Alex would never pick a red couch out.”

“Yeah, and what color would he have chosen?” she challenges me and I smile, before I pull out my keys.

“Green. Alex would have a green couch.”

“Wait! How do you—” She doesn’t get to finish her question, cause I hop in the car and drive away with a thousand watt smile on my face.

If I have learned one good thing from this experience today, it’s that brothers can be a man's best friend after all.

TBC…

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Behrsgirl77
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Post by Behrsgirl77 » Wed Jul 25, 2007 10:44 am

A/N – Okay I’m posting this next part early again, but this time I can say to you the next one will be next week around the same time IF I get my computer fixed. I have some chapters posted on RC which is the only way I’m able to update right now (by copying it over from there). The video card went on my computer so I’m waiting for the replacement to come.

To all of you reading, thank you and I’m happy you’re enjoying it so far. There are a lot of twists and turns and characters that will be included, so I hope you stick around for it.

Tanya


clueless
begonia9508
hazz
Evelynn - I honestly think this is the first time ever I’ve seen you reading a story of mine. I am however happy that you gave this story a chance and are so excited about it. I’m glad, because I’m excited about it as well. Thank you.
behrluv32
FSU/MSW-94
IluvMaxEvans
Alien_Friend
L-J-L 76
ShatteredDreamer – Lawsuit…I should say so! Thanks!



Chapter Two

<center>Parents
Just Don’t Understand
</center>



Every Thursday is dinner with the family. It’s practically a tradition, a family legacy…a crock of shit, if you ask me.

It’s not that I don’t love my family, because I do. That’s not the problem; the problem is the fact that it’s completely predicable.

This is how this evening will play out. I will be greeted by, Esteban, the butler. He will take my jacket and see me into the sitting room.

First of all, it’s my parent’s house; do I really need to be shown the sitting room? I’m guessing no, but he will follow my mother’s instructions to the tee.

Then, my mother will make her grand entrance, followed by my father, who will advise me of how well our stocks are doing, as if I didn’t read the paper myself. But he’s my dad so I oblige him nevertheless.

My sister, Isabel, who’s five years younger than me, will prance into the room and fill my head with the nonsense of the world. For instance, she will make sure I know that her birthday is in four months (as if I’d forget, since she reminds me everyday when I see her at work). She will also point out that she really wants to go to Hawaii, but knows damn well never to ask our parents for such a gift because they would turn her down immediately.

I know exactly why they would say no, it’s because of her current boyfriend. Isabel would want to bring him along, and my parents object to the man in every way.

Honestly, I don’t know him that well. Michael does though, and Michael is an excellent judge of character. Michael would be my younger brother (younger by only a year, he’ll remind everyone of that fact). I trust his judgment more so than my own at times, especially in business (a business he and I started when we were still in our teens).

In any event, Michael thinks the guy is a moron. So I go with that.

Then we’ll sit to dinner, in almost complete silence and bid our goodnights after dessert.

Nice and painless and boring.

“Honey, so good of you to join us,” says my mother as she flounces into the room, decked out in full ballroom attire. I wonder if she realizes that I’m wearing blue jeans and a T-shirt. I stand, and give her a hug and kiss on the cheek. How can I not love her?

“Why wouldn’t he join us, Diane? We have dinner every week together,” my father’s voice bellows as he enters the room, still wearing his suit since he probably just arrived home a few minutes ago. I turn and give him a quick hug and he pats me on the back, my father does not hug anyone, except maybe my mother; but I’ve never witnessed it, so for the record we all say he doesn’t.

“Oh, Phillip, you know what I mean.” She turns and her deep navy blue dress makes a whooshing sound, and that’s when I notice there’s a train behind it. I just laugh and shake my head, I’m used to my mother’s flamboyance, but I wonder what Liz would think.

I retract that last statement. I don’t wonder anything about Liz.

“No, I don’t.”

She huffs and places one hand on her hip, and one finger against my father’s chest, poking him. “Phillip, why must you always contradict me? I was simply saying that our children have lives of their own, and it’s very special that they find the time to come to dinner with their parents once a week.” My mother raises her eyebrows and waits for my father’s retort.

Instead of answering he turns to me and offers me the latest stock figures for EGames. My father is a smart man; he knows what battles to pick and which ones to walk far, far away from. He’s a good man, but sometimes I have to wonder what my parents had in common to even get married to begin with.

However, they have survived being together for the last three and a half decades. So I guess their love is strong enough to survive my mother’s outlandishness and my father’s sternness.

“Is Michael here yet?” I ask cause my brother is MIA as usual. Michael is the last one in and the first one out. He can’t help it, his mind is always working, and well that and his latest girlfriend is pulling double time on the ‘spending time with her’ front.

I’ve met the girl a few times, nothing to write home about. Michael can do much better, but at least she’s not in it for his money.

“Hey brother,” says my sister, stepping into the room and offering me up a hug. She’s dressed up, but not outrageously, like our mother. She’s wearing a simple knee length black dress. This is dressed down for Isabel; I wonder what’s going on.

“Hey Iz.” I only get another minute before Michael strolls through the door, leather jacket and jeans.

“Hey Max, do you know how to reply to a text?” I quickly pull out my Blackberry and notice I have four messages waiting.

“Damn, sorry. What’s up?” I ask and he waves me off. We talk business alone, that’s the way it is.

“Later. Let’s eat. Mom, Dad, Izzy.” He waves them off as he makes a beeline for the dining room, which I’m sure, is already set up.

I wish I had time to talk to Michael about Liz and this entire situation before dinner, but there was no time. And while I know I could keep it a secret for a little longer I don’t think that would be right either.

I would only be delaying the inevitable.

We’re sitting down for a few minutes; when Isabel’s cell phone rings; which pisses off my father to no extent.

“Isabel, turn that damn thing off. How many times do I have to say it? We are having a family dinner and your mother takes hours slaving over the kitchen trying to make it perfect, the least you could do is show her…”

“Mom doesn’t cook. Rosita does,” Isabel, offers coolly, which is a mistake, and I think I finally know what she’s up to.

I eye Michael across the table and he shrugs his shoulders, which would be the norm for him, except he’s not looking me in the eye. I narrow my gaze and watch Isabel a little closer.

They exchange a few more words and we continue in silence with dinner, then her phone rings again.

“Damn it Isabel! Give me the phone!” My father roars out and my mother takes a swig of her wine, Michael continues to eat as if nothing is happening in front of him.

“Sweetheart you don’t have to yell, Isabel is right there. Honey, give your father the phone,” says my mother who calls Rosita over and whispers something to her, she nods and leaves the room.

“I don’t care! I will not have her disrespect me in my own house! She doesn’t like the answer she got from me last night, and that’s just too damn bad. That boy is not coming over here, ever!” he slams his fist down at the table, just as Rosita returns with a martini glass and a small bowl of green olives; my mom’s favorite.

“He’s not a boy honey.” My mom takes a deep sip of her martini and pops an olive in her mouth. I shake my head, what the fuck is going on?

Obviously, Isabel was trying to warm our parents into getting her boyfriend to have dinner but no one is invited to family dinner that my parents don’t consider family.

Isabel is rebelling; actually she’s been rebelling since she was twelve, but that’s beside the point.

“Look, what’s the big deal,” Michael puts in, but he’s ignored, as he usually is. My parents love Michael, but he’s the middle child and if that’s not enough explanation, I don’t know what is.

I drop my fork, two seconds before saying something but Isabel beats me too it.

“I don’t understand what your problem is with Chris,” she says in a small voice, one that would normally have my father doing back flips to make her happy again.

“Isabel, you have to know he’s no good for you,” my mother chimes in, finishing her martini and motioning for another one.

My sister looks hurt, really hurt. “Why is he no good? Because he’s not rich?”

“That’s absurd. We might be rich but we are not snobs!” My mother says with indignation. And Michael does the worst possible thing, he laughs.

“Mike, not a good time,” I mumble under my breath and he shoves another potato in his mouth.

Too late, my father heard it.

“Max, do you have something to add? It seems your brother and sister have their opinions, I’d like to hear yours.” He places his elbows on the table and folds his hands up under his chin, and I shift nervously in my seat throwing Michael and Isabel death glares before answering.

I hate the hot seat.

I should be used to it, but I’m not.

“Well,” my voice cracks, hell, my father is the only man that can unnerve me. I shift again and remove the napkin on my lap and place it on the table, trying to stall.

“I just think that, both Isabel and Michael make a valid point. While you’re very generous, and open…sometimes you can be…ah…you know…” I look up hopeful that they will figure out what the hell I’m trying to say, but based on both their looks, they don’t.

I groan, knowing that Isabel will never be going to Hawaii if I have anything to say about it, and Mike…well I’ll get him back, I always do.

“Please, continue.” My father waves me on and I wish that someone, anyone would call me right now. I’m not that lucky.

“Look, I guess what I’m trying to say is that, I’ve witnessed times when you and mom are dismissive in your attitudes towards certain people.”

“See! That’s what I’m talking about. Chris is a nice guy, not a boy,” Isabel retorts sarcastically which is not helping anyone, least of all me.

“Actually, I don’t like Chris, Isabel,” I add for good measure, throwing her a smirk and she returns it with a death glare. Gotta love being the older brother, it’s a nice place to be.

“That’s the first intelligent thing you’ve said.”

“Dad, just because I don’t like Chris and I think he’s only after Isabel’s money, which we all know he’ll never get, she likes him. He’s a moron but that’s her choice.”

“He is not a moron!” Isabel stands, completely flustered and I blow her a kiss.

“You’re an ass, Max.”

“Sit down, young lady,” my mother reprimands her and I realize things just haven’t gone the way I needed them to, to share the information about Liz and I.

I don’t think I’m going to get a chance, since my father and Isabel are currently dueling it out at the table. Michael is done and is leaning back in his chair, Blackberry in hand and I realize, now is as good a time as any.

With any luck, they will ignore me and I can run the hell out of here without looking back.

“Mom, Dad, I’m going to be a father.”

Suddenly the room grows silent and I swallow thickly. Maybe I should have waited. Michael drops his Blackberry, Isabel sinks into her chair, and my mother chokes on an olive and my father, stands up looking very, very confused.

“Excuse me? What did you just say?”

“I said. I’m going to be a father.”

“Of course, dear, when you find the right girl.” My mother sobers up and removes the imaginary lint from the napkin on the table.

I shake my head, “No, you don’t understand. I just found out today.”

“Is it—,” Isabel asks and I shake my head. I know where she was going with that question, and it would not be my ex-wife’s.

“No, it’s not. It’s really a funny story, I just met her today.”

“What? Max, did you hit your head or something?” My father asks me, still not sitting and I’m a little worried here.

I chance a look at Mike, who’s giving me the ‘what the fuck is going on’ look and I shrug, and then mouth a ‘sorry’ to him. I wanted to tell him, but there was no time and then Isabel and her shit…oh hell, who am I kidding? I was trying to delay it but I knew no time would be good for it.

“No dad. Apparently, there was a mix-up at the lab and, this woman, Liz, is pregnant with my baby.”

My father pulls away from the table, slaps his napkin on the table and takes a deep breath.

“We’re suing them. They are not going to know what the hell hit them, when I’m through with them. Max are you sure…”

“Yeah, dad. I am getting tests done, but we can’t do a paternity test until the baby is born, but I have to say with the information they’ve provided; I don’t think there’s a shot in hell that she’s carrying anyone’s baby but mine.”

My mother stands up, and paces the room, her martini long forgotten.

“This is just not logical. We are in the twentieth century…”

“Twenty-first, mom,” I correct her.

“Right, that’s what I said. Now, how can they make a mistake like this? I don’t understand.” I lean back in my chair, and seeing as I have the floor I proceed to explain exactly what the doctor told Liz and I.

When I’m through, my mother is pale and my father is calling his colleagues getting them to start working on the paper work.

“I’m going to be a grandmother. I’m not ready for that. You’re not married,” she continues to rattle off things and then stops and comes to stand beside me, resting a hand on my shoulder.

“Max, is she a nice girl?” I look up at my mother, I wish I could say what Liz is or isn’t, but truth is; I don’t know.

“Yeah, mom. She’s really nice.” It’s a small lie. Liz seems really nice.

“Diane, who cares if she’s nice! I want her full name, where she lives. Maxwell this is serious, you have a lot to lose here. Are you sure you never slept with her?”

“Dad!”

“Phillip!”

“Ugh, I so didn’t need to hear that!”

“Max, would know better than to have a kid with someone he didn’t know. If he says, he doesn’t know her, then he doesn’t.” Michael pipes in as he stands up and comes to my side.

“You should have called me,” he says and I nod my head, knowing he was right.

“I wanted to, but damn if I didn’t have to deal with her and her brother, I’m just tired,” I reply wearily.

“You don’t have to tell me. Look, Dad, you’re going to do what you’re going to do, but why don’t you give Max a few days to think things over?”

“Think about what? We’re wasting time chitchatting over this. This girl is probably after your money, and she won’t get a damn dime of it. In fact, you need to get full custody of that baby as soon as a paternity test is done, Max. This is not something we can afford to wait for…” I cut my father off by standing and pinning him with a steady glare.

“Liz is not after my money. Did you hear me? Her husband died and she thought she was carrying his child; not mine. Hell she didn’t even know who I was,” I say almost hysterical with how absurd this all sounds aloud. I then excuse myself from the table.

“We’re not done with this!” he yells out and I ignore him making my way to the front door.

“Max! Wait up!” Michael calls behind me.

“You want to get a drink?” he asks and I can’t help but smile but I don’t feel like talking at all. I just want my bed and some kind of sleep.

“Thanks, Mike. We can do it tomorrow after I’m done having dinner with Liz.” He doesn’t need further explanation, and walks out with me.


<center>****</center>


Home at last, I thought the time would never come today. I just want a quick shower and my bed.

I have avoided truly thinking about Liz and this entire baby situation. I feel better not thinking about it, because whenever I try, I just can’t wrap my mind around it. How will it all work? Will she have to move in here? Will we even get along? Will she just end up resenting me? The baby?

I stand under the shower, on as hot as I can take it, but it doesn’t make me feel any better. In fact I feel worse, because I have no idea how to even talk to Liz. We have to get to know each other, this I know, but how?

It’s not like I met her in a bar and we start talking and I have plenty of time to get to know her. If she’s two and a half months pregnant then I’m on a very tight time frame, because this baby is very real.

I always imagined having a child with a woman I loved, but after my first marriage I don’t know if I’m capable of the kind of love it takes to be married, or in a long-term relationship. I want kids, I’ve always wanted them and despite the fact that I don’t know Liz and the fact that I’ve never even kissed her, doesn’t change my mind.

It doesn’t change how happy I am that I’m going to be a father, regardless of the circumstances.

I turn off the shower, and step out, towel dry and drag my tired ass to bed. I toss the towel to the floor and pray for sleep to come.

It doesn’t, not for the last hour it hasn’t. I’m tired but so many questions and uncertainties keep popping in my head, I feel like I might go crazy. I need a distraction, but I can’t call Michael.

We have work tomorrow and a staff meeting, which is never fun.

I hear something in the distance, what the hell is that? I turn and see my Blackberry vibrating on my dresser where I dropped it before my shower. I quickly cross the room and peer down at a text message from a number I don’t know.

I quickly read it as I walk back over to the bed, and stop.

It’s from Liz.

Max are you sleeping? Liz

I quickly type back.

No. You can call me…if you want

I put the ball in her court, and the pressure off myself, I realize. I lean back in bed, pull the covers up to my waist and wait.

I don’t have to wait long, cause my phone rings a minute later.

“Hello?”

“Hi. Are you sure this is okay?” she sounds very low, and very unsure. I can understand that.

“Liz, it’s fine. Are you okay?” I ask as I settle to my side, cradling my phone between my shoulder and cheek.

“Yeah, I just can’t sleep. I keep thinking and thinking, and I don’t have any answers. This is just a lot for me to handle.”

I nod and I’m about to tell her I feel the same way, but instead she says, “Talk to me.”

“About what?” I ask, knowing she’s scared, and hurt and probably more stressed out than I am. We can keep this conversation light, because it is the middle of the night and the last thing we both need is a really serious discussion.

“I don’t know…everything because I might go crazy.”

“I know the feeling,” I say and hear her laugh a little into the phone. She takes a deep breath and I realize this is really hard for her.

“Is there anything you want to ask me?”

“Are you dating anyone?”

“You don’t hold back do you?”

“I do, I’m just nervous so I’ll say things before I think.” That helps me understand her a little, something I’m thankful for.

“What I really meant to say is, will this be an even bigger problem for you?” I lean up on my elbow and choose my words carefully.

“Liz, regardless of how this came to be; having a child is not a problem for me. And to answer your first question, no I’m not with anyone right now.” I can hear the relief in her voice. I want to ask her the same, but to be honest; I don’t want to know the answer. Knowing the answer will only bring up more questions I’m not ready for.

“Now, how did your brother take it?” She laughs again and I can’t help but mirror her, something about her laugh is very infectious, but I try not to think too much about that.

“As you know, he’s a great fan of yours and after he explained your entire biography, I explained how I’m pregnant with your child. He actually took it pretty well, considering he doesn’t really have a choice.”

“No, he doesn’t. At least your night wasn’t as bad as mine. I told my parents tonight at dinner.”

“Not good?” she asks, sounding very concerned. She’s sympathetic too, another thing to add to the list of things I’ve learned about Liz Parker.

“It went worse than I thought, but there is always tomorrow and the day after for them to get over it,” I try and joke but she sounds worried.

“Max, I can only imagine what they must think of me.”

“No, Liz. They don’t think anything of you, really.” I lie again. Funny how the lies are just rolling off my tongue today

I am, however, sparing Liz’s feelings. She doesn’t need to know my parents think she’s after my fortune.

“Liar.” I pull the phone away and look at it. How the hell…

“I’m not…”

“You are. You hesitated. It’s okay Max.”

“Liz, it’s not okay.” She sighs heavily into the phone and I fight for something to distract her.

“You remember the Fresh Prince?” I ask.

“Of course. I love Will Smith.” I smile at her enthusiasm, as if I’d accuse her of anything less.

“Well, I believe he coined the phrase best in saying, parents just don’t understand.” And with that she let out one of those laughs from before, one that for some reason affects me in a way I’m not yet able to explain in words.


TBC…


****
Tiny Disclaimer: The title of this chapter was totally borrowed from the album by Will Smith...which is why I included his name in the storyline. It's not mine...I don't claim it.

Tanya

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Behrsgirl77
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Post by Behrsgirl77 » Fri Aug 03, 2007 6:50 am

A/N – Sorry took me a little to post this. While I have successfully installed my video card, my windows profile ended up being corrupted from the error. I haven’t a clue as how to fix it, sooo all my old e-mails are lost somewhere on my computer *eye roll* Anyways…enough about my computer issues… here is the next part. I happy to see some new faces and some old ones…thank you.

FSU/MSW-94 - Thank you sweetie.

Queenie_Zan7 – Thank you!!

behrluv32- Personally I agree with you…it would make some kind of story how they got together…maybe you’ll get to see that in this story. Thanks!

Kittens – While it will be happy…eventually…we have a while to get there. Thanks!

Hazz – Glad it was expected and unexpected…maybe there will be more calls? Thanks!

Dreamsatnight – Thanks. Yeah well all I can say…is I hope there are still some funny parts left.

Alien_Friend – Thanks sweetie! Really, for all your kind words.

begonia9508 – That is true, some men wouldn’t stick around…but we know my Max don’t we?! Thanks!

L-J-L 76 – Well lots and lots of questions…which I’m sure you know I can’t answer. But just know I will answer them eventually. Thank you!

Sternbetrachter – Thank you. I know you like A/I…so you’ll enjoy the coming chapters.

83 AlienAngel – Thank you…here’s more!

SarahWhitman – Hi there… I’m happy to hear you are enjoying the dynamics of the group thus far…from here things just get deeper, how can it not? Oh the Whitman/Parker…well I want to tell you…but you just have to wait until the very next part for the answer to that. Thanks!

BehrObsession – Max’s family…they have issues… but well, you’ll get to see more of them in the near future. And if they didn’t complicate things, well they wouldn’t be family right? LOL thanks!


Chapter Three


<center>Best Friends
Are a pain in the ass
</center>

I have often wondered how a man goes through life, starting as a boy and then turning into a full grown adult, learns to deal with his younger sister.

Currently, Isabel is sitting in my office, or rather pacing and giving me the third degree about dinner last night.

Isn’t she over it already?

Women.

No matter how old I get, I will never understand their need to dwell on things.

“Max, are you even listening to me?” she asks and slumps down into the chair in front of my desk.

Leaning back in my chair, I realize how important today is for me. Today I’m going to try and find out more about Liz, and maybe together we can figure out just what in the hell we are going to do.

My father, I love him, but he called me at five this morning which, normally would be fine, except for the fact that I had only just fallen asleep two hours before. He wanted to discuss the situation and how I was going to address it with the lawyers. I could hear his concern but also to be honest, anxiety. Phillip Evans is a strong man, but he does have weaknesses, and they are his children and wife. I wasn’t sure what to tell him, but I asked him to give me one more day, give me a chance to speak to Liz and then give him my answer.

One part of me wants to know only about my child, period. The other one is curious as hell to know Liz Parker, and her life. After all, she is, or rather will be my first child’s mother.

This is a life altering experience, having a child. However in my instance, I’m going to have this bond to a woman I barely even know.

Which is why I had suggested we have dinner today. I originally wanted it to just be she and I but then I realized; I am a stranger. Common ground always helps intense situations.

Liz and my situation is anything less than intense if I do say so.

I look up to find my sister pinning me with a serious glare.

“Isabel, I don’t know what you want me to say. I understand you’re pissed, but you’re going to have to get over it. I have a lot of things I’m dealing with right now, this can wait.” I stand, a sure sign that the conversation is over, but Isabel loves to push buttons.

“Did you really mean it when you said, you didn’t know her?”

“Yes.” And I have to wonder, when did she move to the topic of Liz?

Of course, had I been paying attention to her, I would know the answer to that question.

“Max?” she asks in a soft whisper, her face diffused of all anger, and I’m faced with full on seriousness.

“Yeah?”

“If you, you know…need any help with her, let me know.” And to my total shock, Isabel stands, offers me a soft smile and leaves my office.

I shake my head, what the hell happened to her?

“Hey bro,” Michael promptly walks instep beside me as I walk out of my office. I need to check on a few things before I head home for a quick shower and over to Mario’s to pick up dinner.

“Hey Mike.”

“Dad told me he was holding off a day, what’d you say to him?” he asks, and I can’t help but let out a little laugh. I lift my hand, placing a slap on his shoulder, “Mike, believe it or not, Dad is not the enemy. You just have to speak in his terms.” I tell him and drop off some files at my secretary’s desk.

“In other words, you appeased him for twenty four hours by promising he could sue any and everyone he wanted?” he eyes me knowingly and since a comment to that is not necessary I walk away.

“Bastard why does that always work for you?” He catches up with me with little effort.

“Cause I’m older and more experienced and because…Dad was damn happy I took his side with regards to Isabel’s boyfriend.”

“You mean ex.”

“What?” I whip my head around in confusion. Obviously, I need to pay more attention; too bad my head is someplace else since yesterday’s news.

“Yeah, he broke up with her last night.”

“Seriously?” Michael nods and then lowers his voice.

“Apparently, he asked Isabel to borrow some money for a down payment on a car, she turned him down and, well you get the picture.”

“Bastard, I’ll kill him.”

“No, need. I already sent someone to handle that.”

I laugh, because I know exactly whom he sent. Lieutenant Kyle Valenti.

“Michael, you know you can’t use the LAPD for your own agenda.”

“Yes, but Kyle owes me one for getting him a date with Tess Harding.”

“The senator’s daughter?”

“The very same one. Apparently they hit it off pretty damn well,” he says with a wink and then his phone rings, ending our conversation.

Speaking of conversations, last night with Liz was very unusual. We should have been discussing facts and the situation at hand, but we never even touched on it. Funny, we spoke for about an hour about nothing at all. Sometimes we would just listen to each other breathe, and then she’d ask me what my favorite movie was and I’d counter with a question of my own.

Liz is actually quite a playful person, over the phone at least. In person…well that’s another story, she seems a bit…uptight. Not sure if that’s the right word but after tonight, I’ll hopefully have a better adjective to describe her. I’m sure she is under intense pressure and stress, which according to my mother, who also called me this morning, isn’t good for the baby.

So, while trying to figure Liz out, I can’t stress her out.

That’s going to be a challenge.



<center>****</center>



Nervous is an understatement for the way I’m feeling right now. I haven’t even picked up dinner and I feel sick to my stomach.

I am never nervous. Ever.

But damn it all to hell, I am.

Maybe having dinner with Liz and her brother, and the mystery guest, was a bad idea. I should have dragged Michael’s ass with me.

Actually, I need to figure out how I will react if the mystery guest is Liz’s boyfriend. Then again, I’m sure it’s highly probable she doesn’t have a boyfriend, seeing as she thought she was having her ex’s baby.

Then again, I don’t know how long ago that was. And I also don’t know how old she is for that matter.

I run a frustrated hand through my hair as I pull up to the curb in front of Mario’s. The best damn Italian restaurant in LA. Really, it’s a hole in the wall but aren’t those always the best places?

They are, trust me.

“Max, how are you?” says Mario, a short, balding man, whose love of food is evident. His wife, Sofia waves to me from behind the counter.

“I’m doing good. How are the kids?” He and his wife have six children, ranging from ten to nineteen.

I can barely wrap my mind around having one, let alone six, but they are a really close and loving family and that’s all that matters.

“They are kids, what more can I say,” he smiles as he hands me my order, which I look at in confusion.

“What’s this?”

He shrugs his shoulders and waves his hand over the small box, filled with white take-out bags, in front of me, “Your order.”

“That’s it?”

He looks at me again, and then walks around the counter and I peer down at him. “Max, someone called it in, but they said it was for you. Is that not right?”

“Yeah, no. I mean yes, it’s right. But there can’t be enough food in there for four people.” I nod towards the box again, and can’t figure out what the hell they ordered for dinner, which consists of three small trays of food, not including what I added to the order before I got here.

“We can give you more. You want more, we give you more!” he says with a smile and turns to his wife and calls out a few words in Italian, which I don’t understand and then tells me to take a seat and wait.

I do as he says, but I still don’t understand why they would order such a small…

I get it. I finally get it. I wonder if it was Liz that was behind it. And I plan on giving her a piece of my mind if she was. She’s supposed to be eating for two and she orders...well not enough food that’s for damn sure!

Aggravation replaces any nervousness I had. I’m on my way to Liz’s and I’m still seething. I know I have money and while I’m not throwing it at her, I think I was pretty specific in saying that they could order anything they wanted. It wasn’t flaunting it was being courteous.

I pull up to her place, shift into park and place my hands on the steering wheel and take a deep breath.

Several deep breaths, in fact.

I finally reach her door, my arms full and attempt to ring the doorbell. I only get one shot at it before I practically drop the food to the ground.

A minute later I hear Liz’s voice and someone else’s, not Alex’s though. I move back as I hear the door being unlocked and a tall guy, with short curly brown hair answers, wearing a cowboy hat.

I won’t even try and figure out why in the middle of LA this guys wearing one; but I can assume he’s the guest for the evening.

“What do you want?” he asks, crossing his arms across his chest. I try not to laugh. This guy can’t be serious.

“I’m actually here to see Liz. Is she home?” I ask, knowing damn well she’s there, considering I can see her fingers trying to pry the door open.

This guy stares me down, and eyes me warily. It must appear that I feel like standing outside holding hot food all night.

“So you’re the infamous Max Evans.” Naturally I should be flattered by his comment, however I’m not an idiot, considering he waves his hand in the air dismissively and then has the nerve to bow.

And then he proceeds to slam the door in my face.

What an arrogant bastard! I’m about to tell him as much, as soon as I get the fucking door open, but Liz’s head pops out the door a second later and she smiles at me. The guy is standing behind her looking pretty ticked off, serves the ass right.

“Just ignore Dean. He hasn’t learned manners yet.” I try not to laugh at the guy, I really do, but damn I can’t help it.

I walk right passed him and give him a look of triumph, as I follow Liz into the kitchen.

“Hey Max!” Alex calls out from the couch.

“Alex, good to see you again,” I say, looking over my shoulder at Dean, who throws a pillow at Alex.

My eyes can’t help but follow Liz as she crosses the tight confines of the kitchen and motions me to place the box of food on the counter.

“What is all of this?” she asks, scrunching her nose up in confusion. I lose focus for a second watching her. Damn that has got to be the cutest (for the record I never use the word ‘cute’, with the exception of this moment) thing a girl has ever done with her nose.

“It’s dinner. And thankfully I picked it up or we’d all be starving with what you ordered.”

“What makes you think I placed the order?” She eyes me carefully when asking her question (in other words, she doesn’t look at me).

“I didn’t, not until now. That’s not important though,” I say, moving closer to her, around the counter.

“No? Then what is?”

“Why you didn’t order what you wanted?”

“I did.”

“No, you didn’t.” I shake my head and follow her as she turns to retrieve dishes from the cabinet above.

“Max, you don’t know me, so why—” I can’t help it, I cut her off, placing a finger against her lips, her very soft lips.

I take in her appearance; her eyes are somewhat puffy, her cheeks flushed and I can smell the freshness of her pear-scented shampoo. She’s wearing a white and blue floral sundress, I wonder if she just loves wearing dresses or if they are more a comfort factor for her.

“You don’t always have to have the last word, you know.” That’s my job.

“I don’t,” she says, pushing my finger away. I watch as she bends over to retrieve something from a bottom cabinet. I can’t see around her, but when she pulls it out I notice it’s a long tray. She meticulously begins removing the food from the bags and places them onto the tray.

“Liz, is there something wrong?” I ask, because except for our front door meeting, she has yet to look at me.

“No,” she answers quickly, too quickly. I eye her suspiciously, if I’m right then there is more to this Dean character than meets the eye. I just don’t know what though.

Sure, she seemed distracted and stressed yesterday, but not last night. Last night, she was playful, funny even, now she’s tightlipped and won’t dare look at me.

Maybe, Dean is her boyfriend and has a serious problem with her being pregnant with my child.

While I can understand, a part of me can’t because it’s not her fault anymore than it is mine. Dean will just have to deal with it.

I square my shoulders, prepared to go head to head with him.

“Can you carry this?” she asks, offering up a lopsided grin before walking past me with silverware and glasses.

“Sure. Liz?” I call out to her before she crosses the threshold of the doorway into what I would assume is the dining room.

“Yeah?” She turns and finally looks at me. I was right, something more than our situation is bothering her and I don’t intend on leaving today without knowing what.

“Do you think we’ll have a chance to talk later, alone?” I stress the latter.

“Yes, we can Max.” It sounds convincing enough, but why don’t I believe her?


<center>****</center>


I thought my family dinner was bad, that was nothing compared to this. For some reason or another, Dean is giving me death glares, and Alex hasn’t spoken once and Liz…well she’s another story. She’s pushing her food from one side to the other. I’ve had about enough of this shit for one evening.

“So Alex, tell me a little bit about the company you work for.” Alex almost jumps out of his skin, but quickly begins explaining how long he’s been working, and what his job entails.

To be honest, I’m very interested in Alex and his abilities. I have knack for finding people that end up being a complete asset to our company. Of course, it’s not the only reason why I like Alex. In fact, it’s not even the major reason why I like him. That of course is because he worries and cares about Liz but gives her the space she needs to make decisions. Plus, he’s got a great personality. A people person, if you will.

Dean on the other hand seems to have this control over her. I ignore him.

“This food is great, by the way Max.” Liz pipes into the conversation and I look at her as if she’s grown another head.

“Really?”

“Yeah,” she adds a little more enthusiasm in this response.

“Funny, cause you’ve barely eaten. Do you not feel well?”

“Not really, but I’m still hungry.”

“Why don’t I put some of this Italian bread in the oven for you,” says Dean, in a comforting, yet irritating (to me) tone. What gives?

“Thanks, that would be great,” she says offering him a smile and then turns to me, “Max, I feel awful. The food really is good, but I’ve had morning sickness all day.” She looks so sincere, so apologetic, that I wave her off.

“Don’t worry about it. There’s always next time, besides I’m sure Mario would love to cook you anything you like.”

“You know the owner?” asks Alex.

“Yeah, for years. It’s a dive, but a great one, you know?”

“Exactly! That’s what I try and tell Liz all the time. The places that are basically holes in the wall, are the best,” he says before stuffing a forkful of chicken in his mouth. Proving my point on why I like him so much. He’s really down to earth, my kind of person.

“You don’t trust your brother’s judgment?” I ask Liz, lifting my glass to my lips.

She shifts in her seat and blushes. “I trust him, but you know some of those places don’t even look clean.” I laugh as she visibly shudders.

“That’s cause you’re a clean freak,” Alex retorts with a click of his tongue.

“I am not!” she defends back.

“Please,” he says, and then turns to me. “Max, let me ask you a question.”

“Shoot.”

“Do you measure your pillows after placing them on the bed?”

“I only did that once! Max, don’t listen to him, he likes to embarrass the hell out of me, cause he’s older,” Liz waves her hands in front of her dismissively towards Alex, just as Dean walks back in.

“What’s going on? Alex, teasing you again babe?” Babe? Why is he calling her that? I don’t think that I like that.

I’m not quite sure why I don’t, but I don’t.

“Yes, Dean. Tell him to stop, cause he knows I have way more on him than that.” I watch the interaction between the three of them for the next few minutes; they seem very close; very comfortable.

“Alex’s just jealous cause you kicked his ass in Cross Gear.” I smile, Liz plays video games; more like a video game I developed.

“Bullshit, she paused the game right before I reached the finish line! I want a rematch; I don’t care what anyone says. Max, don’t let them make you think I didn’t divide and conquer on that baby,” Alex says, eyeing me seriously. I nod my head.

“Please, you got whipped by your little sister. Deal with it. Besides, it’s the only game Liz even plays; she’s a master at it. She could probably beat anyone.” Dean says, leaning back and taking off his hat, placing it on Liz’s head.

I can’t help but smile, she looks pretty damn sexy with it on.

Not sexy.

Cute.

Not cute…she’s…oh whatever, she’s sexy. There I said it and now I’m moving on.

“Ha! I bet she can’t beat Max.” I don’t like the direction this discussion is taking.

“No?” Dean challenges.

“No,” Alex counters.

“He created the game, I’d like to see her try and beat him. Go on Max. Show’em what you got.” Alex stands, practically dragging me from the table.

“Look guys, as much as I’d like to settle your little disagreement, Liz doesn’t feel well and…”

“He’s scared to lose to a girl. I get it,” fires in Dean, who I feel like kicking no matter how adolescent it might seem.

He actually thinks I’m beyond taking a challenge laid out on the table, just because it means I’d go against a woman. Obviously he doesn’t know me at all.

“I take the challenge, but only if Liz feels up to it.” I turn to her, and she still has on that damn hat, making me smile at her.

“I can play.” I see the twinkle in her eye; she’s actually enjoying this. I don’t know why, but she is.

I can’t wait to find out all I can about her.

I think.

Anyway, back to the subject at hand. I’m thrust onto the couch, a controller placed in my hands and I wait for Alex to pop in the disc.

Turning to Liz, I see her nibble her lip and get herself comfortable. Before I even have a chance, Dean comes up behind us and places a pillow behind her back. I resist the urge to growl.

Maybe the lack of sleep is getting to me, because I shudder at the thought that I’m showing clear signs of jealousy and I never get jealous.

“You ready?” Alex says as he cops a squat on the rug beside the television; Dean on the other hand feels the need to stand directly behind Liz.

“Promise, you won’t just let me win,” Liz says, leaning over my arm and whispers so that only I can hear her. I look down at her, hat still placed on her head, and just because I feel like I can; I remove it.

“I can’t take you seriously with that on,” I whisper back, just as quietly and she laughs softly.

Within two minutes of playing, I realize Liz is really good at this game. Racing games are probably my most favorite games, but Liz takes the cake for the passion.

“Do you drive as well in real life?” I ask, as my car flies past hers, she immediately races up beside me.

“No, I can’t drive.” I fight the urge to turn my head, knowing we are nearing the final lap.

“What do you mean?”

“Liz never learned to drive,” Alex offers helpfully.

“Never?” I glance to my side, watching her concentrate.

“No. I never owned a car before, so I took the bus.” Interesting, why didn’t her husband teach her how to drive? Yet another of the many questions building my ever growing mental dossier of Liz Parker.

“Oh Liz, looks like you’ve met your match!” Alex slams his hand against the floor, he’s right; I’m going to beat her. In a moment of weakness I think I should let her win, what kind of guy would I be if I didn’t, but then I remember the promise she asked me.

“Yes!” says Alex.

“Aw hell!” says, the other guy in the room I choose to ignore at the moment. I put my controller down and turn to Liz.

“Thank you,” is all she says before dropping the controller and walking away.

I quickly stand to follow her, but he who shall remain nameless is blocking my way.

“Excuse me.”

“I don’t think so.”

“Dean, let him through.” Alex comes to stand beside me. I wonder why Alex is on my side, so quick, no questions. It can’t be just because of who I am.

“He upset Liz, he needs to go.”

“The hell I do!” I raise my voice, I’m not usually so confrontational but something about this guy just grates on my damn nerves.

“Look, just because she’s carrying your child doesn’t mean anything to me. I don’t know you, she doesn’t know you, and…”

“And honestly, I respect the fact that you care about Liz. I do. But whether you like it or not, that’s my baby and regardless of what you think of me; Liz is important to me.”

“Because of the baby,” he surmises, stepping closer to me. We are a few inches apart and Alex places a hand on Dean’s shoulder and speaks calmly.

“Dean, I know how you feel but—”

“You don’t know how I’m feeling Alex, you don’t have a clue.” Dean holds a lot of pent up anger, and it all seems geared towards me. He must really love Liz. I know if I was in love with a girl who was pregnant from a guy she didn’t know, I don’t think I’d take it lightly either.

“Yeah I do. This is bigger than you, and it’s bigger than me. You gotta let them get through it. Dean, she’s my sister, I’m not gonna let another guy hurt her. I know you’re looking for someone to blame, but it’s not Max.” My gaze travels from Dean to Alex, I don’t know what he’s talking about, but I’m grateful nevertheless. Alex seems to be the only person that understands the sensitivity of the situation.

“Whatever, I’m going to see Liz first.” I let him go and wait for Alex to say something.

“Thank you,” I say, as he slumps down in the couch.

“You know Max. I like you. I really do. I think you mean well, and being Liz’s older brother, I should have slammed the door on you myself.” I walk around the couch, taking a seat on the arm of the chair.

“Why didn’t you?” He lets out a little laugh, then turns and looks up at me.

“I shouldn’t tell you this, but it might help you. And even though I love my sister, she’s stubborn as hell and she’s hurting, and confused as all hell. I don’t know how to help her, but maybe you can. Maybe, things happen for a reason. So I’ll tell you this, and I’ll trust that you’ll never hurt her,” he pauses and eyes me warily. I swallow thickly and nod.

Alex was never intimidating to me before, but now, today showing me this vulnerability to his sister; I find him particularly intimidating.

“Good, now that we have an understanding, I’ll tell you. Liz doesn’t trust very easily.”

“You said she’d been hurt before, is that why?”

“That’s part of it. Max, there’s a whole side of Liz that I don’t even know about, things I don’t understand about her. I don’t question, I just listen and offer her a shoulder to cry on. Being as you guys are stuck together for life, I think you should know that it’s going to take some kind of man to get through to her. Many have tried and failed.”

“Like Dean,” I ask because I want to know who he is. Alex smiles brightly and shakes his head, “No, Dean’s her best friend.”

“So, you’re telling me all this to warn me off?” I ask because I’m not sure I’m following him.

He stands, walks over to me and places a hand on my shoulder in passing, then grabs his jacket off a nearby coat rack and stops.

“I’m telling you, because you might just be the one that can save her.”

“From who?” I ask, as he opens the front door.

“Herself.”

With that he closes the door and I’m left alone, but only for a minute because Dean walks back in. I resist the urge to pull an Isabel (that would be rolling my eyes heavenward).

“You’re still here,” he grumbles out, picking up his hat and making his way to the door.

Thank God, he’s leaving.

“Yeah, I am. And just so you know,” I say, as he swings the door open, and pauses to regard me.

I stand up, offer him the smuggest smile I can muster, which towards him doesn’t take much effort on my part, and say, “I won’t be going anywhere for a really long time.”

He looks taken aback, but shakes his head, offers me a shrug of his shoulder before slamming the front door closed.

I never realized, until this very moment, how much of a pain in the ass best friends can really be.

TBC…
Last edited by Behrsgirl77 on Sat Aug 04, 2007 11:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Behrsgirl77 » Sat Aug 11, 2007 7:20 am

Sorry...didn't think anyone was still interested :wink: Here is the next part, hope you enjoy!



Chapter Four


<center>
Moments
Can steal your breath away
</center>


I am faced with the overwhelming feeling to runaway. I never run. Ever. But from Liz, from the secrets she has, from the future we will inevitably share, I’m actually terrified. Down to my fingertips, which I clinch roughly into my palm, forming a sweaty fist.

I’m not sure how to even talk to her, without her getting defensive, or hurt. What words can I use to coax her to trust me into talking? Not, that I’m all that convinced I truly want to hear what she has to say. How can I? I don’t know what I feel about her, and that has got to be the most confusing thing of all.

I should be able to talk to her, like I talk to any other woman. Except for the glaring fact that this particular woman is pregnant with my child. I guess wrapping my mind around being a father isn’t as hard as trying to figure out how I can be a part of Liz’s life. From Alex’s last statement, there is something about Liz’s past; possibly with her husband, that wasn’t all it should have been. Maybe being married didn’t live up to her expectations, and the thought of that, slowly causes the fear and dread to sink deep into my bones.

I failed at marriage once, and while I have no intention of marrying Liz, what if she saw getting pregnant with her husband’s child a way to fix what was broken in their marriage? I can’t exactly walk into that room and ask her the questions I want to ask her, I have to give her time, but how much? How long should I wait to hear everything? How long do I wait to discuss how we are going to handle the pregnancy? For that matter, where she will live after it, surely this one bedroom apartment is not large enough for that.

Again, I feel at a total loss; something I am wholeheartedly not used to. I’m not quite certain I welcome the feeling of not being in control. But I do not, despite what people might say of me, have any control issues.

None.

I just like to know what’s going on. I like to be well informed. That’s all.

With a heavy heart, I slowly make my way down the narrow hallway, which leads to an open door. Liz’s room, that’s my best guess from this distance. I notice on my way, the pictures that adorn the small hall. They are all pictures of Alex and Liz, Liz and Dean, or just of Alex and Liz younger, none of her husband, which seems odd. What about parents? Again I’m left with growing questions, which for some nagging reason I want answers to.

I stop just short of the threshold; I have an unobstructed view of her small but homey room. There is a light beige area rug spreading from beneath the bed, the walls are off-white with light yellow curtains hanging from the one window across the room. The bed is covered in a white and sunflower yellow plaid comforter, with matching pillows, and a tiny yellow bunny with big floppy ears, which looks worse for wear and sits beside her completely forgotten.

A small smile touches my lips, as I continue to scan the room. There’s one long white dresser a few feet from the foot of the bed, a small silver lamp on the edge, but no television or stereo system. Her room in fact is void of anything on the walls or the dresser, except two pictures, sitting on a small round table near the bed, which I can’t see clearly from my position.

I finally allow my eyes to scan over Liz. Her back is facing me, I wonder if she knows I’m here, although I’ve yet to make a sound. She looks, again, tiny and fragile. I’m sure she wouldn’t appreciate those adjectives describing her at all. She’s a tough one, tougher than she has to be, from what I can tell.

Maybe she doesn’t have a lot of family; maybe Alex and Dean are it, but the important thing is they do really care for her. And as much as Dean pissed me off, I know it was only because he is worried about Liz.

I don’t have to like it, but I can understand it.

She’s so still for a moment I think to turn and leave her be, but then I hear a long sigh, followed by her leaning forward and her shoulders shaking gently.

She’s crying.

Now I can’t walk away.

I knock lightly, and she turns her head in surprise. I’m sure I’m the last person she wants to see. She wipes the tears from her eyes and stands up to face me.

“What are you still doing here?” I shrug and press my hands into my back pockets, struggling to find something to say to her, something that won’t make her angry and push me right out the front door.

I have no doubt, that even being the height and weight she is, that she’d have any problem doing so. Sadly, I wouldn’t stop her either.

“Are you angry with me beating you?” I ask softly, and step into the room fully.

“No. I told you not to let me win.” She doesn’t add anything more, just turns and walks to the window, pushing the curtains open and resting her face against the glass.

I decide it’s best to stay away, so I move over to her dresser and rest against it. I need some kind of support since she is offering up nothing easily.

“Liz,” I start, and then pause. I realize that jumping into asking her questions isn’t the best approach. She’s closed up for whatever reason, as Alex said. I have to take a different approach to this, far different then I ever would with any woman.

“You know I started my business with my brother Michael in our parents garage. It was top secret; we didn’t want anyone knowing what we were doing, not even our parents. We spent hours talking about it, and then Michael, my younger brother, sat down and drew these designs, he really brought our idea alive on paper. We could have easily gone to our father and he would have just given us the money to start the business, but we were determined to do it on our own. It was important that, just because we were Phillip Evans’ sons, we didn’t build our dream on his dime. It was hard, really hard in the beginning. We were teenagers, who the hell was going to listen to us? Who was going to loan out money to us? No one is what we found out.”

“What did you do then?” she asks, still not looking at me, instead drawing imaginary circles against the glass. I push off the dresser and approach her slowly, silently.

“We bit the bullet and went to our father; but we wouldn’t take his money. Instead, we had him draw up a loan agreement, and we borrowed it from him with every intention of paying it back.”

“Did you?”

“Yeah, we did as soon as we could.” I smile remembering when we gave a check to our father at dinner one night, a long time ago. He wasn’t surprised though; proud in fact is what he’d told us he was, of the both of us.

“Max?”

“Yeah?” I say, coming stand right behind her. She turns, not surprised to see me here, and looks up at me. Then slowly as if without any warning on her feelings’ part, tears begin to cascade down her cheeks, and I can’t help but react by opening my arms to her in invitation.

With a sigh of relief I didn’t know I was capable of feeling at this moment, she steps into my arms, and allows me to hold her as the fight she had in her, stops.

<center>****</center>


I watch her silently; we somehow ended up lying on our sides, facing one another on her bed. It started to rain a few minutes ago, and the rain is pounding against the window, but we don’t comment on it.

It seems talking about the weather outside, is too mundane for what’s really going on between us.

I never knew how true the phrase, silence is golden, truly was until this moment. She places the floppy eared bunny between us, and waits until I look down at it.

“My mother gave that to me, before she left,” she begins, without looking at me for the first time since we’ve laid here.

“My father, whoever he was left long before I got here, but then so did Alex’s father. Our mother obviously had a knack for finding men who had no interest in having kids, but no trouble making them. My mother told me on my twelfth birthday, that I was a big girl and that Alex would take care of me. Alex was eighteen. I remember walking into that living room,” she nods her head towards the room at the front of the apartment, where we all gathered earlier for dinner, then says, “And seeing Alex sitting there, on the couch, I think he knew it was coming, but I didn’t. He gave me this bunny, and told me that everything would okay, that he would never leave me. No matter what, I would always have him. He’s kept that promise, I’m just not so sure I’ve ever made it, or will ever be able to make it up to him.” I watch her take a deep breath, staving off anymore tears, she doesn’t like to show weakness but for some reason around me it seems she has a really hard time doing so.

“I can’t imagine what that feels like, my parents as unconventional as they may act, they’ve always been there for us. My father is controlling, but he does it because he cares and my mother, well she’s my mom, I really don’t know how else to explain her. Isabel, the youngest of us at twenty-six, she’s just a handful right now, I can’t really relate to her on too many levels. She’s in her own world, Michael understands her better.” I smile, as does Liz.

“Is Michael like you?” she asks, seemingly very interested.

“Michael, is a pain in the ass and can get under your skin, but he will stick his neck out for anyone he truly cares about. He’s so smart, and he’s an amazing artist. I sometimes wish I had half the talent he possesses.” I admit, to my own disbelieve, because I’ve never uttered that confession to anyone before.

“I’m sure you’re pretty talented, you do run half of a company too,” she offers sincerely, encouragingly even.

I’m not sure what to make of that, and I don’t question it.

“Thanks. My mind works well with numbers and facts and figures. Michael and I do develop all the games and accessories. He has the daunting task of drawing up the sketches, but I did manage to talk him into hiring a team of artists to help him. He was pretty reluctant to let his babygo. I would have helped, but I draw a pretty sad stick figure,” I say laughingly, and with great appreciation, I smile when Liz starts to laugh and agree that she can’t draw worth a damn either.

“So there is one thing we have in common.”

“Yeah, we do, Max. I think we have a little more in common now though, huh?” she asks, reaching down and pressing a hand to her stomach. I run my eyes down her body, and focus to where her hand lays. I swallow thickly, that’s my child she’s carrying. An excited thrill washes over me.

“That’s pretty damn amazing to me,” I say, not even making an attempt to touch her. I’m almost afraid to know what I’ll feel when I do, if I feel anything at all. The prospect of connecting with her there would seem to me, to be more intimate than kissing her.

“Max, you know Alex really likes you, but Dean doesn’t,” she admits candidly, but I still haven’t moved my eyes from their position.

“I figured as much, I’m not sure why, but to be honest Liz, I’m not here to be friends with Dean. You and I need time together; we need to figure out how things are going to work. I’ve been divorced a year and a half now, and I haven’t been in a relationship since then,” I begin to explain how I feel about her being pregnant, but she cuts me off and reaches her hand out to me, slipping hers in mine.

“I know what you mean. I thought this was Danny’s baby; it was all I had left of him. He was a firefighter. He died a year ago, and I just felt like it was time to move on.” She explains, but maybe it’s just me, but I don’t understand why she would want to have his baby. I ask her as much.

“I know it sounds strange, but I guess I missed him so much and I thought if I had a little piece of him, then I’d stop.” If she really believes that, I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to get through to her. I lean up, resting on my elbow to look down at her. I can see the sadness in her eyes, and a part of me wishes I could take it all away. I’m not so sure I should, but I do.

I prepare myself for her wrath for my next words aren’t going to be full of sunshine and happiness. As delicately as possible, I begin to tell her something that I found out the hard way.

“Liz, you must have really loved Danny, and finding love, true love is really rare. When I asked my wife to marry me, I thought I loved her, that true love type of love; turns out I didn’t. In fact, sometimes love can be so one sided, that you can miss a person because you’ve created this world around them. And you can love them so much that you think your love is enough for the both of you. Now I’m not saying that because I know anything about your relationship with your husband, but I’m just speaking from my personal experience.” I glance around the room, and finally take in one of the pictures on her dresser; that must be Danny, funny that I don’t see any wedding pictures.

“Danny loved me, he did…in his own way,” she offers up softly, so softly I almost miss it. I don’t comment on it, simply nod and continue to explain to her my life lesson.

“My wife told me that she lost herself in me. That, out of everything, hurt me the most. I failed her, I asked her to spend the rest of her life with me, yet I wasn’t ready to do the same for her.” I find myself revealing yet another aspect of my life, another part of my privacy, up to Liz without a second thought.

“How long were you married?”

“Eight years.”

“Wow, and you didn’t love her?” I shake my head.

“I loved her, I just wasn’t in love with her but I was so busy building my business that I never stopped to find out how she felt.”

“Did she resent you?”

I chuckle softly, thinking of my ex-wife. “No, she didn’t. We were young, too young, and our lives were going in two different directions, maybe they always were. However, I am thankful that I had her in my life, because despite the fact that I wasn’t a very good husband to her, she forgave me and she taught me so much. More than I probably give her credit for.” I explain, watching Liz closely, I can tell something I’ve said has gotten to her. Her eyes have yet to connect with mine, and I wish I knew why.

“Was it hard, getting divorced?” she asks, and I rest my head back on the bed, facing her once again. Her eyes connect with mine, and I feel like she’s searching for an answer to an unasked question and I hope to hell I can help her.

“It was hard, but it was the right thing to do. We didn’t end yelling and screaming, we didn’t have any children, so it wasn’t all that difficult. Emotionally, it was, it was closing a huge chapter of our lives. I was used to her, seeing her, talking to her on the phone, maybe not as often as I should have, but that’s neither here nor there, she forgave me and with that I walked away and learned a lesson I could never forget.”

“What’s that? What was your lesson?”

A smile tugs at the corner of my mouth, and she watches me intently. “I learned that, sometimes the love we receive is more than we know what to do with. And that if you’re in love with someone, you should show them every single day, and never take them or their offering of love for granted.” She offers me a soft smile, and nods her head in understanding.

“Liz, from what you’ve told me, it seems like you don’t love easily, or trust easily. Especially since your parents left, but I think maybe you having my baby is a sign.”

Where that came from, I’m truly not certain but it feels right.

“What kind of sign?”

“That you are a stronger person than you give yourself credit for. You. Not, the you that everyone else outside this room gets to see. You say you wanted this baby to help ease the pain of Danny’s loss, but I think if you really think about it; that’s not the reason why you wanted this baby. And true, while I wasn’t expecting to be a father right now, I have wanted it, and did want it for a long time. Some men do, some men don’t, you got lucky with me.” I smile as she once again fights back the tears, maybe I’ve struck a chord in her, and maybe some of what I said rang true. I can only hope it did.

“Max, I am so confused. I hate admitting that, especially to someone I don’t even know, but for some reason it’s easier to tell you.”

“Good, because you need to be honest with yourself, and me, if we hope to make this work. You don’t have to do it alone, Liz.” She smiles as she blinks back her tears and takes in a ragged breath. Reaching out, once again, she takes my hand as she lays flat on her back.

My entire body tenses, and I hold my breath in anticipation. In that moment, I realize she understands me, she can read me, like no one I’ve ever met. She knew exactly what I wanted without me saying it. Liz places my hand against the place our child lays, covers my warm hand with hers, and whispers, “I think our life is made up of moments. Some of them are good, some are bad, and some leave a part of themselves with you. And some, like right now, can steal your breath away,” she says, as my eyes connect with hers.

We share a profound moment, and an understanding settles between us; I know she’s with me in this, and she knows I’m with her.

And this moment we’re sharing, is ours to keep, forever.

TBC…
Last edited by Behrsgirl77 on Sat Aug 11, 2007 7:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Behrsgirl77
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Post by Behrsgirl77 » Fri Aug 17, 2007 7:55 pm

A/N - Some feedback...to your feedback --

pookie76 – Thanks so much!! Glad to know you’re enjoying it.

Raychelxluscious – Girlie! Rest assured, Alex has not made the last of his appearances. As you know I’m trying to balance out the characters since there are many in this story (it’s been a while since I’ve included them all) and their story is being told through Max…so it’s in small degrees! *MUAH* Love you!

LairaBehr4 – Wow! That’s an awesome compliment and I thank you for it! I have a long way to go…Thank you!

begonia9508 – Max and Liz will find their way…eventually…Thanks!

Natalie36 – Thank you! Glad you liked!!

Alien614 - Thanks, enjoy!

Drogyn – First of all, thank you for the kind words. I’m happy to read that you think the characters are coming to life, because this is quite a challenge getting the characters to come across through one person’s view. As far as questions on who is Dean, what is Liz’s story…as well as Michael/Maria and Isabel…all will be revealed in due time, promise! P.S. I honestly don’t like making my own banners for my stories, I NEVER like them…

aussietrueblue – Thank you and no worries I’ve written ahead on this story by 10 chapters, and I try to write at least 1 chapter a week so I don’t run out of parts…cause this is going to be a long one! Enjoy!

ultimatepickupline – I appreciate that, yeah I think the first thought when reading what this story is about is “oh this is a typical girl gets pregnant they fall in love etc…” However, you’ll see that while the elements are there, my goal is to create something different and fresh (for myself) So I hope you continue to enjoy!

Ellie – Hey girl! The parents do play a background role in this story, that’s my intention…so they will continue to come up, this part included! Dean, well you’ll get to know him real soon, just as Max will, and Danny well I hate to say it but this part will leave you with more questions about him…Thanks!

clueless – Thanks & Enjoy!

BehrObsession - Thank you, and yes they are getting more comfortable with each other…but this isn’t all sunshine and roses, there are things that need to be resolved…enjoy!

Michelle in Yonkers – hahaha!! I love it!! Well you you’ll get to know how she knows Dean in a few parts, that doesn’t mean he’s going to get easier to deal with. Max and Liz do bond…but this part will start to show in how many ways they don’t know each other, no matter how much Max might want (even if he denies it!)

Lurkers - Hope you are enjoying…

Here we go…


Chapter Five

<center>As simple...as a kiss</center>


I stare, without blinking, hell without breathing. It’s a simple object, a file, creamy in color and light in weight. Nothing too earth shattering there, if the folder didn’t contain information on Liz and her life.

When my father walked into his study twenty minutes ago, I’d turned to Michael and explained I didn’t want to know anything. If I want to know about Liz, I will just ask her.

My eyes glaze over, and I have to blink. I take in a deep breath and sink back into the plush brown leather chair. When I was seven, I can remember asking my father when I could sit in the big boy chairs, like he did. He smiled, lifted me up to his knee and said, “Max, you can sit here when you become a man.”

Thinking back now, I’m still not quite sure when I became a man, what moment defined me changing from a boy to that man, to this man. I still haven’t gotten an answer to that question.

Now, though, I have the very real possibility of finding out more about Liz Parker then maybe she would ever tell me.

But I’m torn.

The easy way, and I hardly ever take that in business, would be to just look. Maybe even peek inside, but it would be wrong.

I would be violating her privacy and after what we shared two weeks ago, I’m not so sure I can do that to her.

To myself.

I know if she ran a background check on me; I would be livid.

And knowing what I do know of Liz, she’d be too if she knew what was taking place at this very moment.

The other part of me, the bad Max—as I like to call him, wants inside that file.

I want to know things about her, her life, her family…everything.

Damn it all to hell, I shouldn’t. Even as I begin to bite down on my fingernail, I know I shouldn’t. It shouldn’t really matter.

Then I stop myself and think; it does matter because she will be the mother of my child, so I should know.

I deserve to know!

Then I cower back in my chair and try and focus on what Michael and our father are saying.

“Dad, maybe you need to just let Max figure things out.”

“There is nothing to figure out. He should see what’s inside that file; there is no reason he shouldn’t.”

“Dad, I don’t want to know,” I finally find my voice. I sit up and straighten my back, under my father’s scrutiny.

“Max, you’re telling me you don’t want to know what she’s not telling you about herself and her family?” he asks, and I can’t help the part of me that now wants to know what the hell he’s talking about. I glance at the file, sitting just a few inches from me on the corner of the cherry wood table between my father and I, and I almost wish for a gust of wind to blow it open.

Just a glance is all I need.

I feel Michael’s hand on my arm, “Don’t do it. She’ll never trust you if you do.” Turning my head to face my brother, I realize he’s right.

“I can’t dad.”

“That is ridiculous! Damn it Max, enough with your pride, just look at it. You should know some of…”

I stand, balling my hands into fists at my side. “No, dad. I won’t look. That’s the end of it. I don’t care what’s inside that file. I’ll find out who she is in my own way.”

“And what if she lies to you? What if…”

“Then, that will be my cross to bear. I won’t do it to her. She’ll expect me to, expect you to, but I need to respect her. And I need to trust her to tell me, when she feels it’s right.”

By the time my mother enters the study, my father’s voice has raised a few decibels.

“What on earth is going on?” comes my mother’s worried voice, as she enters the room. We must have interrupted her brunch party downstairs.

“Diane, tell your son he’s being thick headed.”

“Phillip, why would you say that?”

“Mom, don’t ask,” comes Michael’s bland reply. I sink back down into my chair, wishing it were already time to see Liz. I haven’t seen her in almost a week; and oddly enough, I really do miss her.

I’m not quite sure why at this particular moment; but I do nevertheless.

My mom comes up beside me, takes a seat on the arm of my chair, and ruffles my hair as if I were still five. I would never admit it aloud, but I love it. She says, “Max, what’s going on?”

“Dad, has his file on Liz and now wants me to read it, but I don’t feel like it’s right at all. I feel like I’m invading her privacy.” I look up into her eyes, and I see her understanding. She says nothing, only offers me up a smile before turning to my father.

“Phillip, can I see the file?” she asks, and I’m about to protest, but her hand on my shoulder holds me still.

My father hands it to her with a smug look. My mother takes the file in her hand, stands and promptly walks over to the fireplace—and tosses it in.

“Diane, are you insane!” My father roars out. My mother doesn’t flinch. She’s impervious to Phillip Evans; has always been. My father might make grown men cry, but my mother shrugs her shoulders and walks away, letting him know his place.

“I would expect better of you,” she says, turning back to face my father.

“Better? Our son is having a child with this…this girl he doesn’t even know. I think he deserves to know whom he is getting involved with. What the hell is wrong with that?” he bellows.

“Wrong? Do you think Max is intelligent?” she asks, softly.

“Of course!” My father frowns and is slowly realizing his fight is over. I smile, lean back and throw Michael a smile of satisfaction, which he returns. Then whispers, “Go mom.”

“Well, then don’t you think he’s smart enough to find out who Liz Parker is without your interference?”

“Yes, but…”

“And don’t you feel that he’s more than capable of asking this girl what he wants to know about her, without getting a background check on her,” she asks, moving across the room to stand beside him. My father is a good foot taller than my mother, but she doesn’t look impressed.

“Yes,” he says, and then turns to face me. “Max, I trust your judgment, but I only ask that you tread cautiously.”

“Why, is Liz a criminal?” I ask jokingly.

“No, of course not. I would have told you, but just…”

“Max, we trust you. Now when do we get to meet her?” asks my mother, with a smile on her face.

I adjust uncomfortably in my seat. I know that eventually Liz needs to meet my parents, I’m just not so sure I’m ready for her to meet them.

“Mom, I’m not sure. We’re still trying to get to know each other.” I hope that answer will suffice.

“Max Evans, she will come to dinner this Thursday and I won’t hear another word.” I nod my head, my mother is right, but that doesn’t make it any easier to accept it though.

I also try not to focus on the fact that Liz is the only girl my mother has ever invited to family dinner night, with the exception of my ex-wife.


<center>****</center>


I’ve been standing outside of Liz’s door like an idiot for the past fifteen minutes. Since no one appears to be home, even though Liz assured me she’d be, I take a seat on her front steps and wait.

And wait.

Eventually, someone has to come. I wish Liz had a damn cell phone; in fact, I need to get her one. I can’t just drive here whenever I want and expect her to be here. That’s absurd.

Oddly enough to say, I am a little more than anxious to see her. I wonder if she’s changed at all; according to my mother, a pregnant woman’s appearance changes daily. Granted Liz and I have spoken on the phone daily, sometimes twice a day. If we miss each other during the day, we always talk before bed. There’s something soothing about her voice, and whether I’ve had a shitty day at work or not, she seems to know it and immediately responds to it.

Resting my elbows on my knees, I think about that fact. Liz is very in tune with my emotions, which unsettles me somewhat. I’m not used to a woman knowing me that intimately.

Not even my ex-wife. Maybe that’s what’s bothering me the most; I have more of a need for Liz’s conversation at the end of my day, then I did with my wife when I was married.

It would probably be wise of me to add confusion to the anxiousness I’m feeling. First of all I had called Liz yesterday after that terrible conversation with my father, inviting her to dinner, but I thought better of it and decided to invite her to lunch today. It’s a Saturday; there is no reason why we couldn’t just spend the day together.

That was my first mistake, because now I’m not sure if Liz thinks this is a date or not. I’m not sure what it is for that matter; therefore I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do and not do.

Secondly, she was extremely hesitant about meeting me today. Which now leads me to believe it’s not a date. It’s just an afternoon together.

I resist the urge to call Michael and have him make up an excuse for me to leave when she gets here. But he’s out of town, and I don’t want to bother him. I could call Isabel, but I’m not sure she’d be of great help…except; well maybe she could give me some advice.

I scoff at the thought, Isabel an advice giver? What the hell am I thinking? Still it can’t hurt to try, and she is a woman.

She answers on the third ring, “Hey Max.”

“Hey Iz, you got a minute?” I decide to stand and pace, it makes me feel better.

“Sure, what’s up?”

“I asked Liz to have lunch today, to spend the day with me. Do you think I should consider this a date? Or is it more just a friend thing? But are we friends? I mean we’re having a baby together so I guess we should be friends…” I ramble on and Isabel interrupts me.

“First of all big brother, you need to calm down. You’re never nervous, so what gives?” she asks, and she really does sound concerned.

I switch the phone from one ear to the other, and take a look around just to be sure Liz hasn’t showed up and I was too busy rambling to notice. I see the coast is clear, thankfully.

“Damn, I really don’t know. I think it has a lot to do with me not knowing how she’s feeling, or how she feels about me. I don’t know how to get her to tell me,” I confess.

“Max, did you ask her?” Although that seems logical, I didn’t think that was something I was entitled to ask—yet.

“No.”

“And do you want her to feelsomething for you?” Again I’m at a loss, so I say, “No.”

Isabel sighs heavily into the phone, and I just hope the next words out of her mouth won’t make me regret telling her anything.

“Personally, I think you are used to women having feelings for you right away. It unsettles you that Liz isn’t jumping at your feet, wanting to do this and that for you. And I hate to break this to you, but if you ask a girl to spend the day with you, pregnant or not, it’s a date. But that’s not your problem though,” she pauses and I realize I have yet to take a breath, I’m actually curious to know what Isabel thinks my problem is.

“Well,” I say when she doesn’t continue.

“The problem is that you need to ask yourself a question, and answer it honestly, when you do big brother, you will realize how much trouble you’re truly in.” With that she hangs up the phone.

What the fuck was that all about? Am I stuck in some freaky sci-fi movie where I need to ask the ‘right question’ in order to move along? I think Isabel is still suffering from her breakup because I don’t know what question I’m supposed to be asking.

That was a complete waste of time.

“I’m so sorry I’m late!” comes Liz voice before I can even see her. She hits the steps at a run almost plowing me down in the process.

“It’s okay, Liz. Is everything all right?” She looks upset, like she was crying. I steady her, place my hands on her shoulders for a minute and wait until she looks up at me.

“Yeah, it’s just Dean,” she mumbles out and I resist the urge to growl at her spending any time with him. It’s not my place. A fact I’m none to happy about right now.

“What happened? Do you want to talk about it?” I ask, truly pissed off that he’s upsetting her.

“Let’s go inside. I just want to change and we can leave,” she says, stepping from me. I follow her wordlessly and close the door behind me. She flings her purse onto the couch beside me and yells out that she’ll only be a minute.

I settle in, taking a seat and notice her purse has toppled over, some things have fallen from it and I take a moment to put them back.

Something sticks out at me though, it’s a letter addressed to Liz—from Danny. Now either this man mailed a letter from the grave, or she had it and took it to Dean to read.

That stings, just a little. I know Liz and I have only known each other for a couple of weeks, but I’d like to think she could trust me a little. Unless of course she wanted to discuss it with me, but Dean showed up first or, maybe she was already with Dean and she was upset.

Oh hell, I have no idea. And trying to formulate the right scenario could take me hours. So I’ll let it be, if she wants to tell me, which I hope she does, she will.

Liz walks back into the room a few minutes later, wearing a pale blue sundress. I smile, at how she looks. She’s…like a breath of fresh air when she walks into the room. And she’s pretty, really pretty, more so than I first noticed.

In fact, maybe my mother was right about pregnant women changing on daily basis. Liz looks more mature, but there’s something I can’t quite describe that I feel when I look at her.

“You ready?” she smiles up at me, completely transformed from her demeanor minutes ago. She bounces back pretty quickly, something I don’t like, at all.

I wonder if she does that a lot; pushing her feelings away, ignoring them, and hoping they’ll just fade away.

I look down into her big brown eyes, and a feeling returns, one I first felt when she smiled at me.

I only wish I knew what it was.

We’re in the car for ten minutes, in complete silence, comfortable, but still silence. I’m trying to think of something to say.

“Do you want a girl or a boy?” she asks, out of nowhere and to be honest, I hadn’t thought about it.

“I’m not sure.”

She nods and says; “You said before that you’ve wanted to have children, had you thought about it then?”

“I did, but that was a while ago.”

“Did you have a preference, then?” she questions, and I can’t help but smile because my answer is completely typical of a guy.

“A boy. I guess you expected that answer right?” She smiles, and moves her hair away from her face, giving me a look at her neck. Her creamy, soft looking, neck. I adjust myself in my seat, what the hell was she talking about? And since when do necks cause my body to tighten in places they shouldn’t?

I shake my head of my torrid thoughts.

“How long ago was this?”

I answer honestly, “Up until I found you were having my baby.” She smiles again, turns in her seat a little, she waits until I stop at a red light and turn to face her before speaking.

“Funny isn’t it, how a live baby can change your way of thinking?” she says, with a slight hitch to her voice and in that moment I realize she’s right.

To me it doesn’t matter if we have a boy, or a girl, so long as our baby is healthy. I guess I know exactly when I became a man worthy of being someone’s father. Now I just have to live up to all the other expectations.

“What about you?” I ask.

“I always wanted a little girl, but when I really think about it; it doesn’t matter. I just want our baby to be healthy, and happy, and really feel loved,” she says softly, fighting back what I know can only be tears of resentment towards her own parents. I quickly reach out my hand to hers; she squeezes it and brushes a stray tear from her cheek.

“I hope, one day Liz, you realize how amazing you really are,” I say, knowing that despite all that I don’t know about her, that one thing is true.

Liz Parker, is an amazing woman, she just needs someone to show her how good life can really be.

I hear her intake of breath, right before she leans over and places a kiss against my cheek, and a thank you whispered into my ear.

Who knew how something so simple as a kiss on the cheek, could once again make my body react in a way it hasn’t to anyone else, in a really long time?

TBC…

-Next Week-

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Behrsgirl77
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Post by Behrsgirl77 » Fri Aug 24, 2007 3:44 pm

:D

LairaBehr4 – Thanks sweetie!

Clueless – Thanks!

FSU/MSW-94 – Of course, thanks to you for letting me write this one just the way I want!

Raychelxluscious – Hey you, did I miss another update? Hmm…I’ll have to go check. If you don’t update often I will hunt you down! Oh you want to know about the ex-wife, well she is “mentioned” sort of in this part. You’ll also get to see into Michael’s past, for a minute. As I said before, this story is not going to be short and sweet, we are looking at several chapters until I get everyone where they need to be. Love ya!

Natalie36 – Thank you!

Tanya7496 – Glad you were able to catch up and I’m so happy to hear you like the way I portray Max in this. Thanks!

Drogyn – Max dense? No! Never! I was so excited to see you said you can “imagine” the scene with Diane & Phillip, that’s awesome! And I know you’re wondering…wondering and there are always more questions, don’t worry answers will come…Thanks!

begonia9508 – Happy to hear you like Max/Liz together in this. Even though they aren’t together…yet!! Enjoy!! Thank you!

Ellie – As far as Liz’s comment, I think in that part her speaking of a live baby, was just that. Thinking of having one, isn’t the same as carrying one… Hope that helps! Phillip Evans, isn’t a monster…he’s just protective…I’ll of course let you be the judge of that later on. Dean, Dean, Dean…again more questions. They will be answered in a few short chapters! Thank you!

Ultimatepickupline – Dinner with family will have to wait… Michael and Max need to have a chat. Thank you!

83 AlienAngel – Thank you and enjoy!

Mariael311 – THUD! Is that really you? Girl I have missed you!! It has been long, but I am back, I just don’t know for how long so enjoy me while I last haha!! Thanks!

Michelle in Yonkers – Glad you like how its coming together. You are right, Max has shared a lot of himself and Liz, and well she’s pretty damn tight lipped, except for a few instances. There is of course several reasons for this, and Max with Alex’s help, Max can move this thing along. The ex-wife has not been revealed, yet. Thank you!

pookie76 – If I were Max I WOULD have read that file! There would have been no stopping me…but oh don’t you want to know what was inside of it?? There were answers in it…but oh well it’s gone, guess you’ll have to read the rest of the story of it! Thank you!

roswell3053 – Welcome and thank you! I hope you enjoy the rest!!

Now, a wave to the lurkers…and let’s get down to business…




Chapter Six


<center>Falling In Love…
Is the easy part
</center>


Liz agreed to meet my parents for dinner, but only after I told her Alex was invited as well. I’m not sure how Liz is going to react to them, but I think she’s tough enough to handle the situation. I just hope my mom nixes the formal attire (I doubt it, but a man can hope).

I dropped Liz off at home about an hour ago, promising to call her tonight, for our nightly conversation. We actually had a great time at lunch, and since I was still not sure how she took it, I decided not to kiss her.

Not that I was going to kiss her on the lips, just on the cheek. But then I was damn terrified of how my body would react to that. In fact, just the thought of her soft lips against my skin sends shivers up my spine.

I thought my pubescent tendencies died off when I lost my virginity at sixteen, to Ana Murphy. It was in my childhood bedroom, one day after school. I fumbled my way through that, and thankfully she was as inexperienced as I was, not to notice or even really care. My relationship with her lasted through the summer, and then I moved on with an apology that started with, “I’m sorry, I just don’t feel the same…”

She cried and I felt bad, but what else could I do?

Seems as though I had a pattern back then, a string of short-term girlfriends. That is until I met my wife.

My ex-wife was a breath of fresh air. My parents didn’t take to her at first, typical for them. Eventually she grew on them, I think my parents took my divorce harder than we did. I, on the other hand, fell in love with her the moment I saw her. There was so much about her that I loved, it was hard for me to even express, then.

Her friendship, however, was the best I ever had. She was smart, honest and utterly and faithfully, there for me. More than I ever was.

I never cheated, never would. Starting my business out early on was difficult, because I was away on business for weeks at a time. She never questioned me, always trusted me, and at least I can say, her trust was not misguided.

Thinking back to what Liz asked me during lunch, brought up some feelings that I thought I was done with, but apparently I’m not.

She asked me if I had a chance to do it all over again, knowing what I know now, then, would I want to go through it. And my first inclination was to say, “No, I wouldn’t go through it again.” She of course was referring to my relationship, and marriage. I guess I thought I had closed that part of myself, to the regrets, but I haven’t.

There’s only one person that can help me through that, and since I haven’t spoken to her in weeks, I’m not so sure I’ll be received well. Better to wait for another day, maybe.


<center>****</center>


“What did Liz say, about dinner?” Michael says, as he steps through my front door in front of me, he pulled up the driveway right behind me.

“She agreed, but only after I told her Alex was included.” He nods, makes his way into my living room, and plops himself on the couch, in true Michael fashion. He props his feet up on the coffee table, getting himself comfortable. Honestly, I think my brother has perfected the art of lounging on a couch, lord knows he does it enough.

I throw my keys on the table in the hall, pull my jacket off and fling it against the wooden coat hanger in the corner. I miss, it hits the floor and I stare at it for a half a second before I walk away.

“Max, let me ask you something,” he starts and leans forward, crossing his arms over his chest, as I walk across the room and take a seat across him.

I raise an eyebrow in question, and he jumps into it. I know what’s on his mind, and I know damn well he’s pissed off. Michael is pretty subtle about his anger, until he has a chance to let it out, then it’s no holds bar for him.

“Why the fuck didn’t you come to me with all this shit? Why has it been over a week, hell two that we’re sitting down talking?” I lean back, knowing this could take all night.

“I wanted to but…” I start, he rebukes, removing his feet and eyeing me sternly.

“No bullshit. Did you think I wouldn’t understand? Or was it because of the baby situation?” He treads cautiously on that subject, just because of everything I went through with my ex. Michael was there with me every step of the way, but he knew how damn hard I took it. How we took it.

I let out a shaky breath and settle in for a very serious conversation, one I could only have with him.

“Mike, I was stunned. Here I am sitting in a doctors office with this woman I never met, didn’t even know her name, and then the doctor spews out all this medical shit. Before I even get to process what it means, he’s saying, this woman, Liz, is carrying my baby. How the fuck was I supposed to react?” I pause, and run a hand through my hair before continuing.

“She passed out, I mean literally collapsed with the news. I could only imagine how she was feeling, she’s pregnant, and I’m just the father. But damn if I wasn’t happy. Cause I am, Mike. I’m so damn happy about the baby, that everything else just seems like details.”

“Big details,” he mumbles, and I agree with a nod of my head.

“Maybe I should be more worried, but I can’t help but see Liz and just feel really happy and lucky. I thought for a long while there, it wouldn’t happen. Here I was in my twenties and divorced. I had to start all over again. All. Over. Again. I didn’t want to think about dating, you know how that goes.” I look up at him, and he offers me a knowing smirk.

“It’s some weird shit, in this day and age that this still happens. But I’m happy that you’re happy. But holding out on me, not cool.”

“I know.”

“No, you don’t. I’m your brother, and damn if we didn’t go through everything together. I don’t think I would have survived Maria, without you. You know I’m not all about the sappy shit, but this is serious. Really serious, cause you’re going to be stuck to Liz forever.”

“Not really stuck…” I trail off thinking of this afternoon and Liz’s laugh, and her smile and how her nose crunches up when she dislikes something. And how delicate her fingers are, how tiny they are…

“Earth to Max. Damn, she’s really gotten to you. Already.” I shake my head. He couldn’t be more wrong. Liz has not gotten to me.

“Mike, I still don’t know her and…”

“And you talk to her every night. Obviously you’ve gotten to know her Max. I’ve seen that look before.”

“What look?” I ask, because I have no idea what the hell he’s talking about.

“Rather than answer your question let me ask a few of my own.” I don’t see any harm in that. “Shoot,” I say.

Michael settles back into the couch, I can almost see the wheels in his head spinning. I can’t say I’m not interested in knowing what’s going through his mind, but a part of me is terrified to really know what he thinks of my situation.

“I know you’re happy about the baby, can’t say I’m not, myself. But, you’re just thrown together with Liz, she has her life, and you have yours. This baby will change all of that. That doesn’t seem to bother you, or does it?” he pauses and eyes me casually, probably already knowing my answer, but wants to hear it anyway.

“It doesn’t bother me. I know I’ll have to change my entire life around, but I want this.”

“Only because of the baby?”

“Of course.” I answer quickly, because ignoring the nagging inclination to say, because of Liz as well, is too strong.

“Hmm. So you’re not attracted to Liz?” comes his blunt question. I feel the need to avert my eyes anywhere but on him.

“I didn’t say I wasn’t attracted, but I don’t—”

“Know her. Yeah bro, you already said that about a ten times already. I thought I said no bullshit. You’re attracted to her.” It’s not a question, and I feel like I’m fifteen again and my father is having the sex talk with me. I feel my face burn in embarrassment and for the life of me I don’t know why.

“Since I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting her,” he sneers, “I’m taking it from your constant denial that she’s not your usual type.”

“No, she’s not. She’s so…so…” I stand. Thinking about Liz and sitting in one place agitates me for some reason.

“Adjectives sometimes help,” he jokes and I feel the urge to stick out my tongue at him.

I pace, pacing helps when I think about Liz. I don’t know why, and I don’t want to know why.

“She’s got long brown hair, brown eyes, creamy skin, and she’s petite, in every way. I feel like if I touch her I’ll break her or something.” I pause, push my hair away from my face and look to Michael for some kind of explanation for what I’m feeling.

“And you care about her?”

“No. I mean, yes, but I don’t know in what capacity. Is it just because she’s going to be my child’s mother? Or is it something else? I don’t know what the hell is going on with me.”

Michael stands and walks over to my patio doors, looks outside and then grows completely still.

“You remember how I was when I met Maria?” he asks, but doesn’t wish for an answer. I just take a seat and let him talk. His relationship with Maria was intense, and it lasted a good four years, but Michael couldn’t give her more. I’m not sure why, but I think he was scared to accept the fact that he’d found the one person he was meant to spend the rest of his life with, at twenty-four.

“God, she drove me insane. I wanted to strangle her most days. But, man, did I love her from the first time I saw her. From her green eyes, full lips and curly blonde hair that she used to wear in the craziest ways. Everything about her drove me insane. I’m not sure when I realized that what I felt for her was love, but eventually I figured it out. I wasn’t ready for Maria, but there she was.” He lets out a small laugh, before turning back to me.

“I hate to say this, but you owe it to yourself and her to find out if what you’re feeling for Liz is just because of the pregnancy.”

“What if it is?” I ask, almost terrified to think of that prospect.

Michael pins me with a smirk. “Big brother, for someone so smart, you sure are dumb when it comes to women. Look, all I can say is, spend more time with her, you’ll know.”

“What if I don’t? Mike, you saw how my eight-year marriage ended. I haven’t been in a relationship since, how the fuck am I supposed to know if what I’m feeling is real or if it’s just…” I shake my head searching for the words, but they evade me. I hate that thinking of Liz works me up this much.

“Max, your marriage came from being young, in love and foolish. You’re not the same person you were before the divorce; you’ll never be the same because of it. That, big brother, doesn’t mean you can’t let yourself fall in love.”

I can’t keep myself from asking, “What about you?”

“I’m finding out that once you find the one you should be with, and you let them go, sometimes you can’t ever get back to that place. My time has come and gone, Max. It’s not too late for you.” He offers me a sad smile, and I don’t comment…for a moment.


“Maybe—

“Don’t, Max. Just let it be. Now enough of this emotional shit, you got any beer?” He comes to my side, slapping me on the back and makes his way towards the kitchen.

I lean my head back against the couch and think about what Michael just said.

If I do have feelings, other than friendship for Liz, then I’ll know soon enough. That is the part that worries me the most. What if the feelings are fleeting? What if I end up hurting her? What if she doesn’t return the sentiments? What if we just remain friends, and we meet other people, how in the hell will that work with a baby? Those questions rush through my mind like a freight train, but the one question that brings me to a screeching halt is: How can I stop myself from making the same mistakes again in a relationship and ruining something so perfect: My child.

The problem isn’t me being open to the possibility of falling back in love with someone. Falling in love is easy, staying that way; well that’s an issue I’m not prepared to think about.

TBC…

Next Week

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Post by Behrsgirl77 » Fri Aug 31, 2007 1:19 pm


A/N – Thanks guys! I’m actually doing a fly-by post. So I thank you for the feedback, welcome to the new readers/lurkers and I hope you enjoy! I would almost love to say this story is only going to be 15 chapters (since I have up to chapter 14 written LOL), but as luck for “you” would have it, this is going to take a while, so I hope to see you all here in the end, cause we’ve got a ways to go!

Tanya


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Chapter Seven


<center>Artificial Sweeteners…
Who needs them?
</center>


Liar, she calls me as she laughs on the other end of the phone.

I roll over to my side and watch the rainfall beat against my bedroom window. We’ve been on the phone for close to two hours, and a part of me wishes she was lying beside me. I’d love to see her face, watch her laugh, that’s something I’ve found that I can do for hours at a time and be truly entertained.

Feeling her body beside mine, warming her, and feeling her snuggle against me, those are all thoughts I try and push from my mind. I enjoy talking to Liz, but there’s something I’m looking for when I’m with her. Ever since that talk with Michael a few days ago, I feel like I’m searching for something in her eyes, in her smile, in everything she does, that speaks to me, to that one single fiber of my male being that tells me she feels something for me.

I’m not quite sure why it’s important for me to know that Liz feels something more for me than just being her baby’s father, but it is. Maybe it’s my male ego, maybe it’s something deeper than that, and something I’m not yet able to put into words. I feel like I’m fighting a losing battle, because Liz reveals nothing of her feelings.

Sure, she’s had a breakdown a time or two before, but ever since that day I found that letter; she’s not talked about her husband or about anything really. I think that’s what’s bothering me the most about our situation. I feel compelled to tell her things about myself, about my life, and my family; yet she shares nothing.

“Tell me about Danny,” I murmur over her staccato of giggles.

“Why are you bringing this up? It doesn’t matter,” she defends herself, even though I’m not attacking her in any way. My voice is soft, just above a whisper, but her discomfort can be felt all the way through the phone line to me.

“It matters because I feel like I don’t know you and I can’t get to know you.”

“So ask me anything you want to know about me. Danny has nothing to do with us,” she bites out acidly.

“Liz, I’m not arguing with you. I want to know about him because maybe then I can better understand you.”

“I’m not having this conversation with you, Max. You have no right to ask. None.”

“No?” I ask, my voice growing agitated, right along with hers.

“No.”

“You’re wrong, Liz. It matters because how are we supposed to be able to communicate, when you keep all your feelings to yourself?”

“Dammit, Max. Just leave it alone,” she grinds out harshly.

“I can’t.”

“Why? Danny was my husband, for two months, and then he died.” I had no idea they were only married for two months, but it’s better than nothing. It’s just not enough.

“What was he before, Liz? He had to be more than that, if you loved him,” I coax softly.

“What did Alex tell you?” she asks suspiciously, but I’m not sure why. Alex may have told me things about her, but nothing specific that I can say.

“Sweetheart, Alex didn’t tell me anything, except that maybe you haven’t been appreciated over the years, by any man.”

She sighs heavily into the phone, then says, “Danny was twenty-five years older than me,” she pauses for my reaction. Being the man I am, I’m fucking confused as to why she would marry a man so much older than herself, but it’s not my life.

“Where did you meet him?” I ask, she seems to not expect it, and takes a moment to answer.

“At work. There was a small fire that started in our cafeteria, and we were all standing outside waiting for the firemen to put it out. Danny was one of them. I was just entering back into the building and wasn’t watching where I was going, and ran right into him.”

“Did you date soon after?”

“Yeah. He asked me out, but later told me he was married. Actually he was in the middle of a nasty divorce. I refused to go out with him until he was divorced though. Alex didn’t like that I was dating him, but he stopped telling me what to do a long time ago.” I smile at that, and even though I can’t see her, I think she did too.

“How long did you date?”

She sighs again. “Eight months.”

“Then he asked you to marry him?” I nearly choke out. Danny knew after eight months he wanted to spend forever with Liz? I feel like an extreme failure, considering it took me years to ask my ex-wife to marry me.

“Max, do we have to talk about this? It’s very…upsetting.” I narrow my eyes, she’s stalling and badly. I wonder why?

“How about you answer the question,” I tease, hoping she’ll come around.

“How about I ask you, about your ex-wife?” She counters, and I realize based on the tone of her voice, my question and answer session is over.

“What do you want to know?”

“When did you know you loved her enough to marry her?” I turn over, laying flat on my back, letting out a harsh breath. I hate thinking about that relationship, and only because in the last few weeks I’ve had to examine, and re-examine it.

“I knew I loved her enough to marry her…honestly, I don’t know. My relationship with Serena started when we were too young and it was almost as if I was more comfortable with her than anyone else. But I did love her, as much as I could.”

“What do you mean, as much as you could?”

“Liz, I told you before about loving someone so much it consumes you, right?”

“Yeah.”

“That’s how it was for her, not for me. So I loved my ex-wife, but not the way I should have, but I realized that after the divorce, I couldn’t love her anymore because she and I just weren’t meant to last.”

“Did that make you sad? That you couldn’t make that work?” I’m not sure what she means, but I begin to answer, when she cuts me off.

“I guess what I mean is that, you’re so successful in your career, and it seems like you have a strong family life, but your own marriage fell apart and you couldn’t do anything about it. Does that—”

“Yes,” I confess with naked honesty.

“I try not to think about my marriage, Liz. But lately, that’s all I’ve been thinking about.”

“Why? Because of me,” she asks, hesitantly.

I admit that it is because of her, because of our situation. Then she says something that causes me to pause and take a deep, purifying breath.

“Me too. Since I met you, I can’t seem to do much else but analyze my relationship with Danny, and I realize how much of an artificial sweetener it was.” I laugh at her analogy, but ask her exactly where she came up with that phrase.

“You know, it’s like, you’ve got this great drink in front of you, it’s all pretty outside, but then you take a sip. Artificial sweetener leaves that bitter taste in your mouth, you know? It’s too late though, you’ve already tasted it, and no matter what you have after it, it all tastes the same. My relationship with Danny was a lot like that. Pretty on the outside; artificial sweetener inside.”

I smile. She has got to be the most adorable and unique woman I’ve ever met. I tell her as much and she tells me to stop flattering her.

“I’m not. Trust me Liz, you are.”

“You just have such a sweet mouth.” I nearly choke at her words.

“W-what do you mean?”

“I mean you are such a sweet talker. Sorry, Alex makes fun of me. I use these weird phrases, and…”

“And like I said adorable. Just like I know you’re going to be a really cute pregnant woman.”

“Yeah right! I’ll be as fat as a cow. You’ll have to roll me everywhere we go,” she jokes and then we both share in the imagery of her statement.

“Did I ever tell you cows were my favorite?”

“Yeah right! There goes that sweet mouth again,” she giggles into the phone.

“Are you scared about tomorrow?” I ask seriously. Tomorrow is our first meeting with a new doctor. Liz already consulted several of the ones my mother offered to her, on good recommendation, and she finally chose one. I couldn’t contain my eagerness when Liz asked me to come along with her.

“Not really. I mean, I’m more anxious to make sure everything is still okay.”

“Do you still have morning sickness?”

“Yeah. It’s awful, but I’m hoping it will go away soon enough. I don’t think I could take another seven months of this.”

“You’re a champ. I have faith in you,” I tell her half joking – half serious, and she grows quiet.

“Liz?”

“That wasn’t sweet mouth, was it?” she asks softly.

“No sweetheart that was the truth.”

“Thank you, Max.”

“You’re welcome. Now, as much as I hate ending our conversation, I need to get up early for work. I’ll swing by your job around two and we’ll head over to the doctors.”

“Sounds good. If anything comes up, and you can’t make it…”

“Liz, I won’t say this again, so listen good, okay?” She doesn’t answer, but I can almost sense that she nods her head.

“You, me and this baby, aren’t artificial sweeteners. Have a good night, Liz. And I’ll see you tomorrow.” I smile when she bids me goodnight, and I have the eerie sensation to throw out every single artificial sweetener-containing beverage in this house. After all, who really needs them? Not me, that’s for damn sure. I’ve had enough artificial sweeteners (relationships) to last my lifetime.

It’s time for me to move onto bigger and better things; like fatherhood.

TBC…

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Post by Behrsgirl77 » Fri Sep 07, 2007 9:26 pm

A/N - It's Friday, which means update right? So I would have been here sooner but my baby (my car) has been having some problems and finally I find out its the transmission (GRR!) anyways...it's been a really long day and tomorrow I'll find out if I need a new one *sigh* and *tears* Here's to hoping this part makes your day even if my last few weeks haven't been so great :?

As far as feedback...what can I say except that: You have the ex-wife's name, you have some info on Danny, but that's not enough right? Oh and to those of you who think its the calm before the storm, all I can say is that "Did I mention its going to be a long story?" Seriously though, not too much angst, I'm not good at it so try not to worry but again...this isn't sunshine and roses :wink:

Last thing! Pay attention closely something in this chapter will come up again in a later chapter (15 that is :wink: )Thank you guys so much!!


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Chapter Eight

<center>Finding Purpose…
In a kiss
</center>

A mazing, doesn’t even begin to describe the sound that reverberates around the room.

Heartbeats.

Strong and healthy.

A part of Liz, and I.

I turn away from Liz’s teary gaze to take in this moment for what it is. A miracle. I’ve always heard it referred to as the miracle of birth. I have to wonder if maybe they are only referring to the actual delivery, because the miracle of it all to me is the fact that our baby grows inside of her.

It thrives, because of Liz.

It grows, because of Liz.

It lives, because of her body.

A part of me feels left out in the cold with all that knowledge. What purpose do I serve? Do I even have one?

I’m just the father.

I can’t carry a baby.

I can’t nourish a baby.

I can’t do much of anything but create a baby.

And in this instance, I didn’t really do anything. Liz and I never even slept together.

We didn’t create our baby out of love.

Not to say our baby isn’t loved, because there won’t be a more loved child.

That’s not it though. It’s the simple fact that without me, physically, Liz could still go through this.

Alone.

Without me.

I realize, for the first time in my life, I have no purpose. Sure I have a great company, and career, a great family, but what else?

I have no relationship.

I have no one to love.

No one that loves me back to that same earth-shattering degree that only two people who love each other can (or so I’ve heard that’s how it works).

So what is my purpose in all of this?

The feel of Liz’s hand sliding into mine breaks me from my self-loathing reverie.

“Max, do you hear it?” The excitement stamped across her face and in her voice, causes me to lean over and kiss her forehead gently.

“Yeah, it’s amazing. You’re absolutely amazing.” I smile down at her, and search her face, something in this moment changed for her. I’m not sure what, but when our eyes connect, Liz regards me with an awe like expression, but I lose sight of it when she blinks.

“Max, Liz, you will be happy to know the baby is doing excellent. I want you back here next month.”

“Is that normal?” I ask, because honestly I have no idea.

“In Liz’s situation, yes, we just want to be cautious.” I narrow my gaze at the doctor. What is she talking about? I peer down at Liz, who looks just as confused as myself.

“Forgive me. I had thought your previous doctor, would have told you.”

“Told us what?” Liz reaches out her shaky hand to me, and I grab it reassuringly, squeezing tightly, matching her own insecurity.

“Liz, as I’m sure you’re already aware from your primary doctor, it seems that your organs are smaller than normal, not by much but still enough to cause us some concern. That being said, your uterus may not be able to accommodate a full term baby. That’s not to say, you can’t, but we don’t like to take the risk. We will monitor you carefully, and if we feel there is a risk to either you or the baby, we can deliver the baby by C-Section.” The doctor smiles at us, easing some of Liz’s anxiety but not mine.

“Wait…hold on. Are you saying the baby will be premature?” I ask, reeling at this new information. I lean down and kiss Liz’s cheek softly, draping my arm around her neck reassuringly.

“No. We have every belief she will deliver a full term baby, however, the baby may be small, depending on what Liz’s body does during the duration of the pregnancy,” she pauses and offers me a supportive smile. “Mr. Evans, I can understand your concern, but please know that we know the past situation you’ve had to deal with. We have the best team of doctors you’re going to find in LA, our first concern is the health of Liz and the baby.” I thank the doctor and a few minutes later she slips out of the room after telling Liz to be sure to make the next appointment before we leave.

“Do you want me to leave?” I ask turning while Liz sits up.

“No,” she says and then looks to me skeptically, “Do you believe her?” She looks timid and nearly pale white now. I find the strength to smile reassuringly at her.

“I believe her. Liz, she’s a great doctor. I think her telling us that, is just like she said, a precaution. So we know what we’re up against.” Liz nods, and scoots down on the table, I help her stand, turn and grab her clothes on the nearby chair.

“I’m sorry,” she mumbles.

I turn back to her in confusion. “For what?”

“For being so, small.” She lets out a short self-depreciating laugh and I move to stand in front of her. Wearing just the pale-blue robe that opens in the front, she clutches it, as I stare down at her.

I reach out my hands; slide them up her arms, up and over her shoulders. I cradle her face between my hands, and lick my suddenly dry lips. Finally her eyes meet mine, and she blinks back her tears. I brush the escaped wet saltiness from her cheeks with the pads of my thumbs.

“Liz, never apologize to me for who you are. Inside and out.”

“But—”

“But nothing. You are perfect, petite and a damn beautiful sight to me, Liz. I wouldn’t change a thing,” I confess gruffly. Suddenly realizing for the first time, that to me, Liz is beautiful, more than just physically. More than I ever allowed myself to realize up until this moment.

“You’re only saying that, to make me feel better,” she begins to shrug out of my hold, but I pull her closer.

“I never lie, Liz. I’ll never lie to you, to make you feel better. I don’t know how.”

“What if I can’t carry the baby until the end?” she asks, insecurely.

“Then I’ll be right here with you, and we’ll get through it together.” Our eyes meet once again. I can feel the thick emotion and even something akin to passion flow between us for a second, and then it’s gone. She licks her lips and I follow the pink tip of her tongue as it slips back inside her warm mouth. I fight the urge to groan. How tempting she is.

“Liz,” I growl out as I lean in, and fight every temptation to kiss her. Instead I pull her into an embrace, and pray she can’t feel the effect she’s just had on my body. Not for the first time, I might add.

Control is something I slowly feel slipping away, the longer I’m around her.

I can only imagine what dinner at my parents place will be like. I will have to watch her pretty little mouth, as she chews and drinks, and laughs, and talks.

I break out in a cold sweat.

I’m not sure I’ll survive it.


<center>****</center>


“Liz, dear. Tell me how old are you?” My mother asks, from across the dining room table. We arrived about a half hour ago, and after briefly meeting Isabel and Michael, Liz was introduced to my parents.

My mother, how I love her, decided not to skip the ball room attire. Tonight, she’s wearing a gold, off the shoulder, full-skirted gown. Her hair is pinned up, and she’s got on more jewelry than I care to think about. Liz didn’t seem to really notice, she was too nervous, and while I thought for sure she would stay close to Alex, she stood beside me during all the introductions.

A brick of dynamite couldn’t knock the smile off my face. After that day in the doctor’s office, Liz and I have come to an unspoken agreement. We would support each other. I never knew how much I needed her support, but I do. Especially since I’ve yet to figure out my place in all of this.

“I’m twenty-four.” She mumbles out then reaches for her glass. I can’t hide my amusement; I do like to rob the cradle (just a little).

“And you, Mr. Whitman?”

“You can call me Alex. And I’m twenty nine.”

Michael watches Liz with a careful eye, and then elbows me to get my attention. I turn my head and he gives me the thumbs up, when no one is looking of course. I shake my head at him and turn my attention to Alex. Who can’t seem to keep his eyes off of my sister. While it should bother me, I like Alex, and that helps. A little.

“Liz, where do you work?”

“Mom, would you like her resume,” Isabel jokes and everyone, except my parents laugh.

“I’m trying to find out more about the mother of my first grandchild, is that a crime?” she asks indignantly.

Liz speaks up, “Isabel, it’s okay. I work as a receptionist at Nichols, Lehman and Wyatt.”

My mother tilts her head to side in thought, “Is that a law firm, it sounds familiar?” This time, my father, Michael and I chuckle.

“No honey, they are an insurance agency. You do remember Dex, right?”

“Of course I do!” We of course know she isn’t forgetful enough to remember a good friend, but still this is my mother. “There was no need for the snickering. I can’t keep track of all these businesses out there.” My mother’s proverbial feathers have been ruffled. She motions to Rosita to bring her a martini.

I groan and lean my head back in my chair; I did not plan for it to turn out like this. Now my mother will be moody for the rest of dinner.

Liz’s voice startles everyone a minute later. “I know what you mean, Mrs. Evans. I answer the phones all day and type letters to all these faceless people. I don’t even think my boss really knows my name, unless I’m sitting behind my desk. Things in business seem to have gotten so impersonal.” My father is about to intercede with a rebuttal to her last statement (I know this, cause I can see the blatant shock on his face). Oh no…

“Ms. Parker…”

“Oh, excuse me Mr. Evans. I didn’t mean to make it seem like I was attacking businesses. I have it on good authority that your son is excellent with his employees and knows all of their names, in and outside of work. I think that says a lot about the kind of business ethics your sons have. I have no doubt that, you and Mrs. Evans instilled that type of empathy long ago…to all your children.” Liz smiles sweetly, and my parents exchange a look of what I can only describe as shock, across the table.

Isabel elbows me next, it’s any wonder she can function with the looks she was throwing Alex moments ago. She probably figured no one noticed, too bad I’m used to being in a room with things going on around me, and still being able to know what everyone is doing.

“I like her, Max. A lot!” she whispers in my ear, and then goes back to the task of throwing heated looks at Alex.

Dinner continues, with my mother only taking sips from her martini, every now and again. And once we’re done, we move on to dessert.

I however don’t think I can take much more of watching Liz.


<center>****</center>


I will be forced to climb over the table if she licks the whip cream from her lips one more time. I settle uncomfortably in my chair with the hardest erection of my adult life. If I grow any stiffer I’d…well that’s not the point, really. The point is, Liz has managed to win my parents over. Of course my father is still wary, but I can tell he enjoys not only Liz’s candor, but also that of her brother’s.

Alex and Michael are currently having a heavy debate on the demo of our latest release set to launch in two months; I gave Alex the sample the other night to get his opinion. Alex seems to think it needs work, where Michael wholeheartedly rebukes his sentiment.

I watch Liz watch them in delight. She’s thankfully eaten her entire meal and shows no sign of morning sickness. She finished her piece of apple pie, and a tiny piece of lemon cake (she said she couldn’t resist, it’s her favorite next to apple), and she takes a few sips of tea, which my mother insisted if she had, should be decaffeinated.

My heartbeat speeds up, and my palms grow sweaty. If only I could focus on my own dessert, instead of the appetizing display Liz is giving me from across the table. Maybe she didn’t realize it when she got dressed today, but the neckline of her dress gives me an enticing view of the creamy tops of her breasts.

I don’t want to think of Liz’s breasts, not while I’m at the table with my family! But the display of flesh damn near makes me drool. I reach for a glass of water and gulp it down, quick, too quickly because I begin to choke.

“Oh God! Slap him on the back,” my mother says to Michael. But I shake my hands, and my head. I just need to get some air, but I can’t seem to stop coughing.

Liz is by my side in the next instant. How did she get here so quick? I don’t have time to really think, because she’s turning me in my chair, cradling my face between her hands and urging me to do something.

But what?

“Max, look at me,” she coaxes. “Deep breaths, through your nose. Try it, slowly. There. Like that.” She smiles down at me when I finally start to take deep, even breaths.

“Liz is good for that. She doesn’t panic,” I hear Alex say.

“Excellent honey,” says my mom, to Liz.

“You okay?” she asks me, and I realize that I’m practically eye level with the very flesh that started this whole choking nonsense.

“Yeah. I just need some air.” I say standing, Liz moves to the side, and at the last minute, I pull her with me.

“Excuse us for a minute,” I mumble out as we cross the threshold of the dining room.

“Where are you taking me?” she asks, stumbling behind me and I slow my pace.

“Outside for a minute,” I say over my shoulder. I can’t look at her, not yet.

She hurries along behind me and finally we make our way out on the terrace. I take in a lungful of air and wait until my heart stops beating rapidly. I realize with Liz in this close proximity, the scent of her pear shampoo, and clean skin engulfing my every intake of breath, it isn’t going to slow down anytime soon.

“Max,” she says my name, whispered and breathy and I feel something inside me snap. I turn to her; take her shoulders urging her to face me. My breath fans her face, my chest brushes against hers with every intake of breath I take. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted anything more.

I don’t know precisely when the obsession with Liz happened, it is almost sudden, too sudden but I can’t think about that now.

Not when she’s looking up at me, her expression so open, so honest, so damn sweet. Just one taste. That’s all I need, or so I tell myself. I close the distance between us, watch as she freezes, then licks her lips and I growl in anticipation. Using one arm to wrap around her slim waist, pulling her closer, I use my other to cradle the back of her head, tilting her neck.

My lips touch hers, hesitantly, as my heart roars thunderously in my chest. I grip her waist tighter, and slant my lips over hers, softly at first, then rougher. My tongue traces the delicious curve of her lower lip, before she opens and allows me the intense pleasure of tasting her. The warmth and sweetness of her washes over me in excruciating waves, a groan of appreciation rips from my throat.

A little moan escapes past her lips and I feel myself delving deeper, licking, tasting, kissing harder, until I have no breath left in me. I tear my lips away and let out a jagged breath and wait for her reaction.

She swallows convulsively, her breath ragged, her voice raw, and thick with emotion, she says, “W-what was that for?”

A smile tilts the corners of my lips; I reach up and push her hair away from her face, still holding her tightly. I kiss the tip of her nose and make a confession, I was wholeheartedly not expecting.

“That, was to say thank you for helping me realize something I was wondering about myself.”

She offers me up a crooked smile, as she plays with the collar of my shirt. “Yeah, what’s that?”

“You’ve helped me find my purpose.” She looks to me in confusion. I understand, I really do since I know that if I walk down the path I’m about to, there is no turning back. And for the first time I’ll be accepting the unknown, much as I never do.

“Purpose for what?” I let out a little laugh, lean down and capture her lips once again. Seizing all speech, all thought, except for the feel of her in my arms and against my lips; I wonder if anything ever felt this good to me before.

Who knew, I’d find my purpose, in a kiss?

But I did.

She’s about five-one, with the silkiest brown hair I’ve ever felt, big round brown eyes that always seem to smile at me, and a pair of lips I don’t intend on ever not kissing again.


TBC…

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Behrsgirl77
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Post by Behrsgirl77 » Thu Sep 13, 2007 6:42 pm

A/N – A day early…but I’m sure you don’t mind.

And I was not kidding about the angst, maybe its just me but there are people that write on this board that can make me tear up with a single part, so until I start balling like a baby when re-reading my parts…I’ll leave judgment open *lol*

Tanya



Evelynn – Lot’s of guesses for you, but hmm…you want more of Max’s background and Liz’s…there’s some here but not all. Thanks!

Alien_Friend – Thanks sweetie! Yeah these are all new parts to those of you who began reading on RC. These parts have also been completed for weeks…Glad you enjoyed it and here goes to the new one!

L-J-L 76 – I know you want answers, they’ll come soon enough! Thanks

carolina_moon – Thanks! I know you need more, but my fingers and my time say otherwise. Enjoy!

Michelle in Yonkers
if Max hadn't grabbed her, I think I'd have exploded
–Now that I look back and re-read it, I have to agree. Imagine if I stopped it there? And as far as Isabel, she’s not what people normally expect her to be, but I hope you’ll find the Alex/Isabel dynamic interesting as we progress. Thanks!

kay_b – Kay girl…you know you do angst well, so shuddup! Has Max found his answer or is he a guy trying to figure things out as he goes along? Hmm, guess we’ll find out. And OMG You’re updating again…I must catch up this weekend! Thanks!

Cocogurl – Glad to hear it, and thank you!

begonia9508 – I personally wouldn’t worry about Liz’s pregnancy…or should you? Thank you!

xmag - *waves* Thank you!

IheartMax – Glad you’re all warm and fluffy…hold on it’s a bumpy ride…maybe! Thanks!

FSU/MSW-94 - I see you noticed what I added, it was tiny…just a few words but its there and it can not be erased ha!! Love ya!

Raychelxluscious – Raych, what can I say, remember the story we discussed the other night, the one that inspired you to write, well its still sitting on my hard drive collecting dust, its been almost a year since I’ve written…I blame you! However, I’m glad to see you’re enjoying the fluffy feel of them, enjoy it…personally I think Liz can be a bit stubborn ;) Love ya!

Ellie – I know you were worried about the parents…maybe you shouldn’t be that relieved? Thanks!

Mariael311 – haha! You are so funny! If you don’t remember that last part by chapter 15, just skim back I guarantee you’ll find it! Thanks.

Synera - *waves* Thank you! Hope you like this part!

roswell3053 – I agree with you, Max is a sex crazed…adult! Enjoy!

83 AlienAngel
– Was that kiss hot? Really? I guess if you’re into that kind of thing LOL! Thanks!

Bixie – Sweetie, welcome back…er…I miss you. I’m barely online anymore, it’s sad. You better have some sweet pictures for me though wink – wink* Love ya!

Clueless – Thank you, enjoy!

Drogyn
– Andre…stop sweet talking me! And things will continue to get clearer as we proceed, that doesn’t mean I won’t leave you with questions, but that’s all in a days work. Isabel/Alex…I know, well you’ll get more of them pretty soon too! Thanks!

Tamashii – *waves* Thank you! Yeah we’ll see how Liz handles this.

L.U.R.K.E.R.S. – Hope you enjoy!

P.S. And so we get introduced to a character you’ll know and another…that’s left to be determined…


Chapter Nine

<center>
Confusion wrapped in beauty…
Is still confusion
</center>


A cool breeze fans across my face as I stand staring down at Liz. She hasn’t said anything since our last kiss. I wonder if I’ve scared her, hell I’m a little scared myself.

Now that a few minutes have past and I’ve had time to really think about what I just did— I’m realizing it might have been a mistake.

Not kissing her, that could never be a mistake, but my timing sadly enough for me to have to admit, was wrong.

Especially since while I do feel Liz is going to help me figure my life out, because of the baby, I think I’m reflecting my feelings for becoming a father in the wrong manner.

Do I think Liz is beautiful? Yes.

Do I like spending time with her? Yes, of course.

Do I want to spend all my time with her? No. I don’t.

Maybe I’m an asshole for kissing her because of my hormones, which I normally have so well in check, but these last few weeks have my head all fucked up.

I can’t seem to figure out what I want, what I need. So on one hand, kissing Liz felt amazing, hot and sweet all rolled into one; that doesn’t mean I truly know what I’m thinking half the time when I’m with her.

There is something about her that pulls at me in a way I don’t know how to form into words as much as I’d like to. And as much as it irritates the hell out of me, I don’t know what to do about it.

I don’t like not being in control of my feelings.

I am always in control of my damn feelings—that is until Liz stepped into the picture.

“Max? What purpose?” she asks softly, as she steps from my grasp. I didn’t realize I was still holding her until she moved just now.

I shake my head and look up to the sky, why is this so damn hard for me? I can’t understand what’s going on, and I don’t know how to explain it to her.

“I’m sorry. I just lost my head for a minute. I shouldn’t have kissed you, it was…”

“Really nice,” she offers with a sly smile and a twinkle in her eyes. “But…you’re right. It shouldn’t have happened. Not that it was a mistake. But…” she trails off and turns her head to the gardens below us.

“They’re beautiful,” she breathes and pushes a lock of hair away from her face. She is beautiful, I wish I had better words and once again I’m left with this utterly helpless feeling of confusion.

What am I feeling for her?

Is it just because I haven’t slept with anyone in a solid four months?

Is it because of the doctor’s visit? A bond of sorts did form between us then, of that neither of us I’m sure could deny that. But it’s ridiculous for me to even think any further into than that.

While I love kissing…like kissing Liz, it doesn’t have to mean anything more than that. I’ve kissed a lot of girls in my life—but still the draw to her is stronger than anything else I’ve ever felt. Ever.

I fight to focus back on what she had just said. “Yes, my mother loves to walk through them. I remember being a little kid and her taking us for long walks to talk. I think that’s why Michael and I fight so hard not to be mama’s boys.” She laughs and turns back to me, resting her elbows against the railing behind her.

“Is there something wrong with being mama’s boys?”

“No,” I say blushing in the darkness. I step closer beside her and lean on the railing. I again realize I enjoy talking to Liz, immensely.

“I should hope not. What if we have a son? I would want him to love me as much as he loves you.”

“No doubt about that. But he needs to be tough too. No son of mine will be pushover,” I add casually.

“What if we have a girl?” she asks softly, turning and letting our elbows meet against the railing.

I take in a deep breath. A girl. A sweet girl, who looks a lot like Liz, yeah I could go for that as well.

“A girl would be great. She’ll be spoiled rotten though.”

“More than a son would?”

“Yes,” I answer quickly.

“Why?”

“Liz, besides my mother, Isabel is the only girl. She’s spoiled even she’ll tell you that. That’s because my father couldn’t resist her. And I’m telling you, if we have a daughter that looks like you, with your eyes and smile…” I trail off shaking my head, realizing I’ve said too much.

I sense the awkwardness between us again, but Liz seems to strive to keep things light. “I would want our daughter to have your eyes and your jet black hair.”

“Oh, but she can have your smile?” I rib her lightly.

“Yes! I have a pretty smile,” she says immediately.

“Who the hell told you that lie, Parker?” Liz turns to me abruptly, with my use of a nickname for her, funny I don’t remember that reaction when I called her sweetheart…and I sadly remember that I did, more than once.

“Did I say something wrong?”

She shakes her head. “No.”

“Liz, tell me.”

“Danny used to call me that. He’d always say, ‘Parker, your socks are taking up more space than you are in the living room’.” I can see her mind trail away to another time and place, but I’m determined to not let her live in that past. Today was a good day.

“You were great at dinner. I thought my father was going to choke when you started talking about businesses.”

“Oh I know! Really, Max. Your father is so serious. He was throwing me these looks all through dinner, well at least up until that point.” She grows silent and then thoughtfully says just above a whisper, “He thinks I planned this somehow right?”

I try and hide the shock from my face, but it’s too late. Either she’s really perceptive or…

“How did you know?” Liz shrugs and pushes off the railing, walks to the other side of the terrace and slides her arms around herself.

“You’re rich and good-looking and really…nice, Max. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that any woman would throw herself at you, to be with you, to have their child with,” she pauses and turns to me, pinning me with a stern gaze.

“I want you to know right now, Max. I don’t want or need your money. We will raise this baby together, but that doesn’t have to mean anything more than that. I don’t want you thinking you have to buy things because I can’t afford them or that…”

“Liz—,”

“And furthermore, I don’t want your parents thinking I want any of your fortune, as Alex puts it. But…”

“Liz—”

“More than anything, I don’t want anyone and I do mean anyone to think that I’m with you…well not with you, but you know what I mean…I just…” I step closer, place a finger against her lips.

“Shh. Liz, I know you didn’t know who I was before Alex said anything. But aside of that, you’re better than any of those other women you just described. In fact, you weren’t too off from the truth, especially after my divorce. I know what it’s like to be used, and I can honestly tell you right now Liz, I know that’s not what you’re about. So don’t worry, and my father’s growl is bigger than his bite. He worries about me and sometimes he doesn’t know how to react to things that are different. And this situation, you have to admit is…”

“Very different,” she says with a bright smile. “Thank you, Max.”

“For what? I gotta tell you Liz, you keep thanking me and I’m going to feel like I’ll have to keep impressing you or something.” That causes the tension in her arms to deflate and she lets out a laugh, as she pushes me away gently.

“You are just really considerate of my feelings. You don’t treat me or talk to me like I’m a child. I have to tell you, ever since things with Danny, I feel like people just keep telling me what I should do. Friends, who really aren’t my friends, not in the way that really counts and…”

“Alex?”

“God no! Alex is…I can’t even describe to you in words what Alex is. He’s more than just my brother, he’s been my mother and father, and he’s my entire family. He could have walked away, he could have and no one would have thought badly of him. But he stayed, for me. I was important enough to him. So no, Alex might tell me when he thinks I’m wrong, he might grill things into my head, but he’ll only ever support my decisions.”

“Even with Danny being that much older than you?” Damn my mouth, I shouldn’t ask, but damn if I don’t want to know what Alex thought. If she even knows what he really thought.

“Alex was enraged when I told him about Danny! I remember him; it was the first and only time he lost his patience with me. He locked me in my room with him and he wanted me to explain how in the hell I could date a man that old, as he put it.” I hold back my retort of agreement with Alex. I want to hear it from her, what her reasoning was. So far all I know is she knows for sure, now, that Danny wasn’t the love of her life.

That what they had wasn’t the real thing, whatever the real thing is.

“Honestly, then I could say, I loved him. But, I really don’t know what love is. When I found out I was pregnant, I realized I loved my baby more than anything, but if the love I have for my baby was stronger than the man I claimed to love, was it really love at all? That’s what had me thinking. Danny used to make me laugh; we would go places and do things together. I had a great time with him. And I did love him, as much as I knew how. I barely dated in high school. I was so busy trying to pull good grades down and work my part-time job.”

“Did you go to college?” I decide to steer the conversation from Danny, it brings Liz down and as much as I want to ask, I don’t. Honestly I think it has a lot more to do with his death. I have a good sense of perception to people, when they are holding back. And with Liz it seems to get more refined the longer I spend with her.

“I did for two years. And then Alex got into a car accident, and I just…I had to work fulltime and take care of him.”

“Was it bad?” I ask only because Alex seems perfectly fine now.

“Yeah. He broke his knee; shoulder and he had internal bleeding. It was rough for a couple of hours in the hospital. I thought if I lose Alex, I wouldn’t be able to go on. Danny tried to comfort me, but I didn’t want it. All I wanted was for someone to tell me that Alex would be okay. That he would go back to picking on me, and…just be there when I got up in the morning and before I went to bed at night.” She lets out a shaky breath, and I come up to her, she turns her back to me, she doesn’t want to let me see her cry. I can’t resist lifting my hands and placing them on her shoulders, pulling her against my chest and kissing her temple gently.

“I can only imagine what that must have felt like. Liz, you’ve had to suffer so much pain and loss in your life, and you’re still so young. I won’t pretend to know what it’s like, because I’ve been lucky but…I hate you feeling like you’re going to be alone. I know we only just met, but regardless of what happens, Liz, I want you to know that I’m here for you. I’ll always be here. However you want me to be.” I confess, noticing that my voice is gruff and thick with heavy emotion (which I choose to ignore right now).

Liz turns around and tilts her head back to regard me, I can see the tears shimmering in her eyes. I swallow thickly, reaching my arms up, slowly, to embrace her.

“I won’t say thank you Max, but I will say, how happy I am to have met you.” With that, she leans in and rests her head against my chest. I hold her tightly, trying to offer her support and comfort, even if at this moment, I try and remember all the reasons why I shouldn’t kiss her again.


<center>****</center>


I’ve been standing here for ten minutes, outside her door, trying to think of something clever to say.

I know she’s going to be pissed off that I haven’t come by in weeks, but it just didn’t feel right. Seeing her doesn’t bother me, but having to talk to her about the things that have been going on, is going to be harder than anything I’ve had to do so far.

I lift my hand to ring the bell, but hesitate and end up resting my head against the door.

“Are you trying to use your psychic abilities to open the door? Cause if you are, Max, I have to be honest, I don’t think you possess the right amount of brain power to do so.” I can’t keep the smile from forming on my lips at her obnoxious, but affectionate voice. I turn to see the owner of that voice.

“Hi Maria,” I say, leaning in to give her a hug. She pushes me away quickly and flips her brown sunglasses to the top of her head and narrows her gaze at me. “Do I look like I am the type of girl to get fondled in the middle of the hallway? Really, now Max, is that anyway to treat your…”

“Actually, I do recall you getting more than fondled in another hallway,” I retort dryly and that earns me a slap in the chest. I rub it feigning hurt.

She sobers quickly and gives me a hug, then fishes inside her purse for her keys. I quickly pull them from her fingers.

“What are you doing?” she eyes me suspiciously.

“I just need some time.” I offer meekly. Maria turns; places her hand on her hip and taps her red high heel against the tiled floor.

“I knew she was lying to me about talking to you. It’s been how many weeks, Max?”

“Two or three,” I mumble out.

“Oh she’s going to be pissed to see you then.” She offers me a wicked smile. “Well stop being a pussy and get inside.” She plucks the keys from my hand and proceeds to unlock the door, much to my protest.

“Maria, finally!” I hear her voice, and unfortunately as soon as Maria swings the door open, I’m face to face with the one person I stand to hurt the most when this day is over.


TBC…

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