L-J-L 76 - Thank you for your feedback. Samantha is definitely going to have a hard time being the "supportive girlfriend" as the story goes on.
RoswellFan68 - Thank you so much! I'm glad you like this story and I hope you enjoy this new part.
Max let out an anxious breath as he stepped off the plane in Roswell, New Mexico—a town he thought he’d never step foot in again. He wasn’t nervous about seeing Lexie. In fact, he was excited for the chance to be a real part of her life. But being back in Roswell brought back a lot of memories he would’ve preferred to leave in the past. Memories of him and Liz. He didn’t know why because it wasn’t like he was still in love with her, but the closer he got to Roswell, the harder it was to shake the waves of nostalgia as he remembered how happy he used to be in this town. And Liz had been a big part of that happiness. Immediately, he pushed those thoughts to the back of his mind. He and Liz were a fantasy that was never meant to be. As he stepped onto the terminal and spotted Liz and Lexie waiting at the gate, he smiled. Focus on Lexie
, he reminded himself. She was the reason he was here.
Seeing Max heading their way, Lexie couldn’t contain the excited grin that formed on her face as she rushed up to him and pulled him into a big hug. “I’m so happy that you’re here.”
“Me too,” he replied, hugging her back. Once they released each other, Liz walked over to them.
“Hey, Max,” she greeted with an awkward smile.
“Hey,” he greeted back, looking equally as uncomfortable in her presence. And he did his best to convince himself that it had nothing to do with the thoughts he’d been having about her earlier.
“So, was the flight okay?”
Max shrugged. “It was decent.”
The two fell silent, struggling to figure out something else to say to each other. This is going to be torture
, Liz thought to herself as the two of them stood there staring at each other. It had been fifteen years, but she could still remember the love they used to share. And at one point, she’d been so certain that they’d be married by now. But now look at them? Complete strangers who wanted nothing to do with each other. Her fifteen-year old self had been lovesick idiot. She quickly shook those thoughts from her mind, along with the lingering pain that accompanied them. This was about Lexie. Not her.
“So, fair warning, my mom set up a big dinner at our house for you,” she said. “But if you’re too tired from flight, we can always do it another time.”
Max shook his head. “No, not all. I’d love to see your mother again.”
“All right, then. Let’s go,” Lexie said, happily leading the way as the three of them left the airport together.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
After getting his rental car, Liz gave Max the directions to her mother’s house before her and Lexie went to their jeep. Driving through Roswell felt like going through a time machine. There were some small changes here and there, but overall, the town looked the same as it did when he was a teenager. And somewhere along the way, Max realized he hadn’t needed to use Liz’s directions once. His body just seemed to instinctively remember where to go. He decided not to dwell on the reason for that, though.
He pulled up outside of Nancy Parker’s home and parked his car right behind Liz’s jeep. As she and Lexie got out of their vehicle, Max spotted two other cars parked along the street by Mrs. Parker’s house.
“Who else is here?” Max asked as he stepped out of his rental car.
Liz and Lexie shared a smile before turning back to Max. “You’ll see,” Lexie replied.
Max followed behind Liz and Lexie as they entered Mrs. Parker’s two story-home and as they made their way through the small foyer and into the living room, he smiled. Memories flooded his mind as he studied the room he had once spent so much time in when he was dating Liz. He always envied the warm relationship Liz had had with her parents and found himself looking at this place more like home than his own house. All the times he’d eat dinner here, do homework with Liz, watch television with Liz…kiss Liz. What the hell, Max?
He immediately snapped his mind back to the present. The last thing he wanted to be thinking about was kissing Liz.
“I thought I heard the front door open,” came the familiar voice of Liz’s mother as she came into the living room from the kitchen. Before he even got a word out, Nancy walked over to Max and pulled him into a warm hug. “It’s so nice to see you again,” she said, and Max could tell that she was sincere. She stepped away from him and cupped his face in her hands, studying him with a kind smile. “You’ve grown into such a handsome man.”
Max’s cheeks reddened. “It’s good to see you again, Mrs. Parker.”
Nancy chuckled as she released his face. “Oh, please, you’re not fifteen anymore. Call me Nancy.”
A moment later, more footsteps headed into the living room and Max grinned as Maria Deluca came up to him, wearing an amused look on her face. “Mr. Superstar,” she greeted, wrapping her arms around his neck. “It’s been a long time.”
Once they pulled away, a man with dirty blonde hair stepped forward and Maria draped her arm over the man’s shoulder. “Max, this is my husband, Michael. Or as I like to call him, Spaceboy.”
Michael sighed in exasperation, but there was no mistaking the look he gave Maria as anything other than adoration. “Thanks, Maria.” He turned his attention to Max and held out his hand. “It’s nice to meet you, Max.”
With a friendly smile, Max clasped Michael’s hand and gave it a firm shake. “It’s nice to meet you too.” He glanced at Maria. “I can’t believe you’re married.”
“Sometimes I still can’t believe it.” She looked up at her husband, a smile plastered on her face. “But, yeah, we’ve been married for almost three years now.”
“All right, everyone,” Nancy announced loudly, grabbing everyone’s attention. “I’ll have dinner ready in about ten minutes.”
Just as she returned to the kitchen, Kyle Valenti walked up to Max with one of the most forced smiles Max had ever seen. Time certainly hadn’t mellowed him out. “Evans, good to see you.”
Bull, Max thought but kept it to himself. He wasn’t going to waste his time on Kyle’s petty jealousies. If he wanted to hold grudges, that was his problem. Giving Kyle an equally fake smile, Max quickly shook Kyle’s hand. “Yeah.”
Kyle was doing his best to be supportive for Liz’s and Lexie’s benefit, but on the inside, he was seething. He couldn’t believe how easily everyone seemed to accept Max after everything. But he still couldn’t understand why Liz ever dated him to begin with. Kyle had never trusted Max and that mistrust had only deepened after seeing the way he treated Liz after she got pregnant. As far as he was concerned, Max Evans was an entitled pretty boy who got handed things way too easily. And from the looks of his life now, that was clearly still the case.
And if Kyle was completely honest with himself, he was jealous. He’d been in love with Liz since Junior High and he still hoped that one day she would wake up and see that he was the best man for her. But even now, he could see that Max still had a hold over her. She did her best to pretend otherwise, but he could see it in her eyes.
Jealousy aside, though, Max didn’t deserve to be forgiven. But apparently no one seemed to realize this. Unable to take it anymore, Kyle turned to Liz and did his best not to look as angry as he was. “Hey, Liz, I’m going to head out. Could you tell your mom I said goodbye?”
A frown appeared on Liz’s face. “But I thought you were staying for dinner?”
“I wish I could, but the station called a few minutes before you got here,” he replied, trying to appear apologetic. “They need me to come in.”
Maria, who was listening to their conversation, rolled her eyes in annoyance. She knew damn well that the Sheriff’s station hadn’t called him, and that the real reason for leaving was because of Max. Maria liked Kyle, but his immaturity always grated her. And his infatuation with her best friend was beyond ridiculous at this point. She was just about to open her mouth to say something when a gentle nudge from her husband stopped her.
“Okay,” Liz said, giving Kyle a small smile. “Well, I’ll save you some leftovers.”
He nodded before pulling Lexie into a warm hug and his smile became genuine. “I’ll see you later, kiddo.”
“Pizza and air hockey on Friday?” She asked happily.
“Have I ever missed out tradition? Just don’t invite Josh. He cheats.”
Lexie smirked “Hey, don’t blame him ‘cause you suck at the game.”
Kyle chuckled and gave Lexie another quick hug before heading towards the door, shooting Max a cocky smirk as he left. He could tell that he had succeeded in making Max uncomfortable and he was glad. Kyle wanted to make it clear to Max that his sudden presence her didn’t erase the years of history Kyle had with both Liz and Lexie, and that he wasn’t going anywhere.
The desire to ram his fist into Kyle’s face was strong as Max watched him leave. He knew that Kyle was trying to make him jealous of the bond Lexie and Kyle seemed to share. And it was working. It was another reminder of how much he had missed out on. Lexie had friends, bonds, traditions that he hadn’t known about or gotten to be apart of, and he was still having trouble making peace with that. But as Nancy came back into the living room and announced that dinner was ready, he decided not to let it get him down. He would make up for the time that he had missed. That’s what mattered.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
As the night wore on, Max managed to forget all about Kyle. Nancy’s cooking was as amazing as he remembered, and the conversation flowed as Lexie eagerly told him everything about her life in Roswell. Seeing her so animated and happy was a sight to behold. Liz and Nancy also chimed in with some embarrassing stories of Lexie growing up, though Lexie didn’t find those stories as amusing as they did.
Once dinner was over, Nancy ushered everyone out of the dining room, so she could start clearing the table. Liz helped her while everyone else made themselves comfortable in the in the living room. Max found himself in a spirit discussion with Michael about hockey and knew they were going to get along great. It surprised him how easy it was to fit back in with Liz’s family and it was almost like he’d never left. Was this what life would’ve been like had he been there to raise Lexie? Though he tried to block it out, the thought continued to nag at him for the rest of the evening. After enjoying some of Nancy’s apple pie for dessert, Michael and Maria decided to call it a night. Mrs. Parker headed upstairs to bed shortly after, leaving Max, Liz and Lexie sitting together in the living room.
“I forgot how good your mom’s cooking was,” Max said with a smile as he accepted the cup of coffee Liz handed him.
Lexie laughed as she laid back on the couch. “Yeah, if it wasn’t for grandma, there’d be nothing but takeout in this house.”
“Hey, I cook,” Liz said, looking offended, but Max could see the amused glint in her eyes.
Lexie continued to laugh as she watched her mom. “Frozen mac n’ cheese doesn’t count as cooking, mom.”
“I guess some things don’t change,” Max said with a playful smirk.
Liz rolled her eyes, but she couldn’t stop herself from smiling. It was nice to finally have a moment with Max that wasn’t awkward or filled with unspoken resentment.
With a yawn, Lexie stood from the couch and stretched. “Well, I’m going to bed.”
Max and Liz both said their goodnights as Lexie hugged them and headed upstairs to her bedroom. Now that they were alone, the atmosphere changed. It was easy for them to know how to behave when they had other people around to distract them, but now that it was just the two of them, they were back to being strangers, unsure of how to deal with each other. The two of them continue to sit across from each other in the living room, the wall clock ticking in the background, before Max set his coffee down and stood up, grabbing his jacket from the arm of the couch.
“I should probably check in to the hotel,” he said. “Samantha’s expecting my call.”
“Right.” Liz stood up as well and walked Max to the front door. “Well, I hope everyone wasn’t too overwhelming tonight.”
Max smiled. “No, it was great seeing Nancy and Maria again. And Michael seems like a great guy,” They both stopped in the foyer and Max could see that Liz was uncomfortable as he was. “And it’s been nice catching up with you,” he said honestly.
Liz gave Max a skeptical look. “You don’t have to say that, Max. I know we’re not in a good place right now.”
It was true. While he’d enjoyed his evening with Liz and Lexie, it also served as a reminder of all the things he’d missed out on. All the things Liz had chosen to exclude him from. Of course, Max knew he couldn’t blame Liz entirely. He had a played a part in the way things went down between them, but it didn’t make the situation any easier.
“No, we’re not,” he said with a nod. “But I’d like to change that.”
With a sigh, Max leaned against the front door, his jacket folded over his arm. He could understand her uncertainty. They were good at playing nice when others were around, but there was still a lot of hurt an anger between them and he hated it. He wanted Lexie’s parents to get along and, for reasons he still didn’t understand, he hated the distance between them. Sure, she’d been nice and conversational the few times they interacted, but he could tell that she was forcing herself to be comfortable with him. She wasn’t the carefree, open girl that she was when she was with her family and friends. And Brian
, he thought to himself but immediately dismissed the thought.
“Because you’re the mother of my child,” he said finally. “We’re going to be in each other’s lives and I’d like it if it wasn’t awkward. I want us to be friends.”
Liz studied Max, contemplating his offer. This day had been exhausting for her, trying to keep some emotional space between the two of them, but it was hard. Having him in her home, interacting with her family, it was almost like he had never left. But that only made her warier. As happy as Liz was for Lexie, she was still unsure about having Max back in her life.
But the hopeful look in his hazel eyes made her heart flutter in a way it hadn’t in a long time. She tried her best to ignore the feeling, though, as she gave him a small smile and nodded. “I’d like that.”
“Great,” he replied, feeling optimistic that he and Liz might be able to work through this. “Well, I’ll see you tomorrow.”
As he opened the door to leave, Liz’s fingers grasped his arm to stop him. They both felt a familiar tingle rush through their bodies at the physical contact and Liz quickly snatched her hand back as Max turned to look at her. Her eyes darted away, not wanting him to see that he had any effect on her. “Um, I just wanted to say that I think it’s really great that you’re here.”
She finally allowed herself to meet his eyes and the stunned expression on his face made her want to clarify herself. “For Lexie. She’s so happy.”
“I’m happy I’m here too.” He smiled. “Night, Liz.”
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
Samantha could barely control herself when her cell phone finally rang at midnight and she saw Max’s name on her caller ID. She was furious. He had promised to call her hours ago and all she wanted to do at that moment was yell at him. Still, when she pressed the connect button, she did her best to keep the anger out of her voice. “Hey, Max.”
“Hey, babe. Did I wake you?”
She shook her head against the phone. “No, you didn’t. I was waiting up for you,” she said, hoping it would illicit some guilt from him. From the tone in his response, she could tell that she had succeeded.
“I’m sorry, baby,” he said with a sigh, collapsing down on the sofa in his hotel room. “I didn’t mean to call so late. Dinner just went on longer than I was expecting.”
“Yeah, Liz and Lexie set up this big dinner with their families and friends,” He said. A warm smile spread on his lips then. “It was actually a lot of fun.”
“I’m sure,” Samantha muttered, trying to ignore the lump that had begun forming in her throat. The happiness in his voice broke her heart.
After she silent for a few moments, Max got a little worried. “Samantha? Are you okay?”
Furiously, she wiped a tear that slid down her cheek and did her best to sound happier. “Yeah, I’m fine. It’s just been a long day. Tell me more about this dinner.”
As Max went on about his evening with the Parkers, Samantha wanted to scream. Of course, she wasn’t okay with this situation. How could he think she would be? He had a child with another woman and his obsession with this girl was ruining everything. She wanted to say all of this to him, but she held her tongue. She knew that telling him this would only push him away from her, so for now, she forced herself to be supportive and sound interested while he blathered on about his amazing daughter and the perfect Liz Parker. But only for now.