Same Old Life (AU,CC,MATURE) *PART 23* - 5/25/09 (WIP)

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Same Old Life (AU,CC,MATURE) *PART 23* - 5/25/09 (WIP)

Post by kippy » Mon Sep 13, 2004 3:35 pm

Title: Same Old Life

Author: Me :D Kippy

Disclaimer: Not mine. Just borrowing them. Small bits of dialouge from the show might be present throughout this fic for effect. The title is taken from the song "Same Old Life" by the now-defunct band Pound. The lyrics of which are in the wonderful banner below made for me by the incredible bordersinsanity

Rating: Will stick a possible MATURE on this just to be safe for language and a bit of sexual content.

Pairings/Couples/Category: AU, CC

Summary: Without giving away too much, life has turned out a lot different for the Pod Squad. And for everybody. Max, Michael and Isabelle were found, though they didn't end up in Roswell. But destiny has a funny way of turning up when you least expect it. All I'm gonna say... 8)

Author's Note: That's a pretty weak summary, I know, but when I started writing this fic I wasn't entirely sure where it was going (which is part of what has made it my favorite story to write). Now that I do know in what direction it is headed, I've decided half the fun is keeping everyone guessing. And yes, I'm back. I started this story in high school, tried to continue it through college, then again as a jobless college grad, and now again, still jobless but now with a master's degree. Even when I wasn't writing, I was always thinking about this fic as it is likely the one I am most proud of. Thanks to my faithful readers who haven't forgotten about it! You guys are the best.


She didn’t expect anyone to stop. Not here at least. Back in Roswell, the backcountry New Mexico bumpkins would always pull over to give her a ride out of town. This was where she had thought she wanted to be though. She had gone across the country. And here she was, on the side of I-95 in the middle of Massachusetts, actually expecting someone to stop for her.

To stop for sweet, little Liz Parker who had twice been asked to leave New York University and recently been kicked out. Liz who had seven piercings in her ears alone. Not to mention the tiny silver hoop above her eye, the barbell that went through her tongue and the bar in her belly button. The belly ring was just barely visible right now. The tiny hoop through her navel just a shimmer beneath the frayed edge of the tight black shirt. She laughed to herself. If her parents could see her now. God, if Alex and Maria could see her now.

Two giant semis rolled by and Liz held out her thumb halfheartedly. Not like she really thought they would stop. Hitchhiking was so frowned upon up here, so dangerous everyone said. So far she had been lucky. In her two years here on the East Coast she had actually hitchhiked a good deal. In the past six months alone she had made it from New York to Atlantic City, back up and now she was somewhere in the middle of Massachusetts. Two days had gone by though. Two days and no one had opened their door to her. Two days she had drifted along and spent the night in $45 a night hotels. She didn't know where she was going and truth be told, she wasn't entirely sure as to why.

But she was going.

The truck didn't look any different from the others on the road. It was a typical eighteen-wheeler, there was nothing stenciled on the side, no name or address like some had. There was a California license plate but that was all. Liz again stuck out her thumb to the oncoming semi, wondering how long it would take before she got out of Massachusetts. And the truck pulled over, the door popped open and she climbed in.

Liz had been in her fair share of trucks. She had met her fair share of greasy, overweight men and brash young women not much older than herself. But nothing could have prepared her for the young man that sat across from her.

Inky black hair peaked out from the sides of a dark cap that rested on his head and the hat along with a dark goatee clipped close to his chin shrouded the driver from Liz's view at first. He hardly gave her a second notice when she climbed into the cab, but the brief look he did give her made Liz's heart flutter for a moment like it hadn't since junior high school. A tingling sensation swept through her body and a feeling overcame her that made her palms sweat the tiniest bit as she looked the young man up and down. And then they began to sweat for an entirely different reason. His eyes made her, for the first time in her life, a bit nervous to be hitchhiking, to be sitting in the cab of a truck with a stranger. They were too dark to be a shade of hazel, but too light to match the jet-black hair on his head. They were nervous and shifty. He didn't talk to Liz, and he barely looked at her except for several glances out of the corner of his eye. Everything about him screamed to Liz to get out of the truck. It's the quiet ones you have to worry about. Liz remembered Maria's words to her the first time Liz had ever gone hitchhiking back in Roswell. The words echoed in her head now.

"You want anything?" his words suddenly snapped Liz out of the daze she had been in.


"I'm going in to get something, you want anything?" Liz hadn't even realized that he had pulled over at a truck stop. She hadn't even realized that it was already beginning to get dark. He waited patiently outside the cab for an answer from her and she gave a barely visible shake of the head as she peered over at him. He had removed the hat from his head and his raven hair now fell haphazardly across his forehead. The shiftiness and nervousness in his eyes was still there, but there was more. His eyes were also intriguing. His eyes were the reason she remained in the truck.
At her response the young trucker turned from the cab and headed into the truck stop. It's the quiet ones you have to worry about. As his mysterious figure disappeared from view Liz exhaled loudly. She hadn't realized that she had been holding her breath as he stood outside the cab. She hadn't realized that she had goose bumps on her arms and that the hair on the back of her neck had been standing on end.

Liz turned her head out the window. How long had she been in the truck with him? How long had she zoned out? This was a first for her. Staying in the truck during a pit stop. Usually she bailed when the driver took a break. Something kept her rooted in the seat though. Her eyes searched frantically around the cab for some clues about the mysterious young man. The only thing she could see was that the black hat that had been resting atop his head was an Oregon State Beavers hat. Nothing hung from the rearview mirror, nothing rested on the floor, no papers, no pictures. Nothing. He hadn't even had the radio on.

Why was she still in this truck? her mind screamed. People at school had called her lots of things. Wild, crazy, rowdy, rambunctious. Stupid was never one of them. Was she stupid? Remaining here in the cab with this trucker no older than herself? Before her mind had a chance to answer, he returned to the truck. She looked down to see what he had purchased. She grinned at the bag of M&Ms and the box of Hot Tamales in his hand and she wasn’t sure whether he had seen it or not,
but as he settled into the seat he held out the bag to her in offering.

"No," she immediately shook her head. "No, thank you," she quickly added, looking the driver up and down once again as the engine roared to life. He was wearing a plain white cotton t-shirt and a well-worn pair of blue jeans and she thought she had seen a sturdy pair of boots resting on his feet. His wardrobe really didn't differ much from the average guy. In fact nothing about his physical appearance indicated anything Liz had to be afraid of, except for the faint scar she detected above his right elbow.

As he skillfully maneuvered the eighteen-wheeler back onto I-95 Liz watched his face intently. He held the wheel loosely in his hands now and his demeanor had changed slightly from when she had first entered the cab. He seemed more relaxed. Maybe he was more of a night person. Her mind began working. Maybe he did most of his driving at night, she had heard that about truckers before. Maybe he liked to sleep during the day. Maybe he had just woken up when he had picked her up off the side of the road. Maybe he had just rolled out of bed. They drove on in silence as her head filled with questions about the young man behind the wheel. He really could be no more than her age, twenty-two at most. How did he live like this? How did he drive for hours and hours with no company? With no music? How did he live with nothing?

Liz immediately stopped her train of thought as she turned the tables back on herself. What did he think of her? Of a petite, dark-haired pierced girl hitchhiking on the side of the road. What had he thought about that? Why had he picked her up?

"Is that a tongue ring?" His low, surprisingly soft voice, suddenly broke the silence of the cab.

"Yeah," Liz answered warily. She turned her head to face the driver, whose eyes were now darting back and forth between her and the road. "Why were you looking at my tongue?" she suddenly demanded and the hostility of her own voice surprised her. Still, she wasn't entirely confident about her decision to remain in this truck, with this unusual trucker. She had to keep her guard up. She couldn't let him peep over at her. Who knew what else he was looking at?

"I wasn't," the volume of his voice didn't change at all and neither did the expression on his face as he returned his gaze to the road. Liz wrapped her jacket a little tighter around her body and she was about to slump lower into the seat when she did just the opposite. Straightening up, she reached forward for the radio dial. For anything to occupy her mind other than the thoughts currently racing through it. Unsurprisingly music did not immediately fill the cab, and Liz quickly switched from the static of the AM to the melodies of the FM, not looking for a particular song just for something. She stopped on the first song she came to, a song she would have skipped over in any other situation. Why was she still here?

The radio blared the familiar opening guitar notes of the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Californication loudly and Liz wondered just how bothered he was at the fact that she had turned on music. Would he lash out at her? Suddenly snap? Lose the calm, collected demeanor he had had so far? Liz pretended to occupy herself with the music, with this song that she despised. His expression never changed and his eyes never returned to her. One bad song drifted into another and another. She was stuck on a horrible radio station and was too paralyzed to fix it. Paralyzed with what though? Fear? Why was she scared of him? He hadn't done anything to her except glance her way once or twice, take note of her tongue ring and offer her some M&Ms. What was it then that had her so paralyzed in her seat? What was it that had made her snap at him earlier?

Barely ten seconds into the latest Backstreet Boys song, the otherwise motionless driver dropped his hand from the wheel and flicked off the gratingly infectious music.

"What's the matter not a Backstreet Boys fan?" she asked, her voice more sardonic than she would have liked. Why was she attacking him? She didn’t exactly disapprove of the action, she would rather listen to the silence than to that. And why was she suddenly second-guessing her own behavior? This was the way she was back at NYU. Sarcastic, wry and the slightest bit cynical of just about everyone and everything. She listened to her music loud, she didn't really care what others thought about her, and she did just about whatever she wanted. Why was she suddenly worried about playing music a lonely trucker might not want to hear? She fidgeted with the barbell that went through her tongue, like she often did when she was tense. Maybe because the lonely trucker had turned his attention back to her again. "What?" she glared at him.

"How do you eat with a tongue ring?" he inquired softly, the steady manner the inquisitive words rolled off his tongue was just the opposite of her tensed muscles. Why did she feel her body temperature slowly rising?

"I eat with a knife and a fork," Liz replied slowly, hardly believing she’d responded with such an immature retort. The young driver again turned his attention back to the road.

"You can get out anytime you want to," he shrugged his shoulders, beginning to take his foot off the gas. He knew that his words had surprised her and indeed she stiffened up at the remark and licked her lips. He watched her tongue delicately trace over her bottom lip out of the corner of his eye.

"Please, I know that's the last thing you probably want," she suddenly rolled her eyes. He stepped back down on the gas, but didn't turn his head away from her.

"Excuse me?"

"I know exactly what you want." Liz felt her body temperature rise a little more at the lie coming from her mouth. She had no idea what he wanted. "You're my transportation, buddy. That's all...don't even think about it." The reddening Liz expected to develop in his cheeks didn't occur though. In fact he hardly flinched at her words.

"Did I say something?" he asked. He sounded worried; concerned that he had done something to fluster her. He didn't know that his last four words had flustered her more than any other comment would have.

"You didn't have to," she fired back. "Your stupid little comments about my tongue ring are not going to make me sleep with you."

"Who said anything about sleeping with anyone?" he raised his eyebrows suddenly in bafflement. "I know I didn't."

"So you don't want to have sex with me?" Liz cocked her head to the side and stared at him, the suggesting look on her face trying to get some kind of reaction out of him. She knew she was being forward with him, but she had to stop his ideas before they started. There was a slight pause and his eyes focused back on the road.

"I'm just your transportation." And the silence continued.

Seven hours Liz had spent in the truck with him, the past six hours of almost complete silence. Of her eyes wide open. She couldn't shut her eyes. Couldn't sleep. Not here. Not with him. He hadn't directed anything else her way and neither had she since their exchange back when they had still been in the United States. Now here they were driving through the Quebec countryside, no further along than they had been in Massachusetts. She didn't make anymore moves for the radio and he didn't direct anymore questions to her about her tongue ring. When they came to a filling station he didn't ask if she wanted anything. He just came back with a Pay Day in his hands. He settled into the seat, started up the truck and handed the candy bar to her.

What she wouldn't give to be able to read minds right now. They were going on eight straight hours of silence since she had put him on the spot back in Vermont. The candy bar remained untouched. The only movement from him had been when he had popped a few Hot Tamales in his mouth, and then quickly after a handful of M&Ms.

"Do you ever sleep?" Liz suddenly inquired. They would soon be approaching twelve hours of almost non-stop driving, eight of those hours in the dark.

"Not really," he dismissed and the absence of sarcasm from his voice unnerved Liz more than she would have liked. Silence resumed. Then two hours later, deep into the province of Quebec, Liz threw another question his way.

"Where are you going? The Polar Ice Cap?"

"Why, where are you going?" he quickly shot back at her. And more silence. Where was she going? How long could she say with him, she wondered? How long before he kicked her out? How long before he would stop to rest, to stop to eat something other than Hot Tamales and M&Ms. Her eyes drifted hungrily down to the candy bar that he had bought for her, the one that had been resting there for the past three hours.

"You can eat it, I didn’t poison it," he suddenly spoke, the sound of his voice alarming her.

"How did you know I like Pay Days?"

"Everybody loves a Pay Day." She thought she saw the faintest makings of a smile on his face, but her face revealed to him a lack of amusement at his comment. "I saw a wrapper in your bag," he sighed. And more silence.

Liz had pulled many the all-nighter before, but never in a car. Never like this. She could tell that dawn was approaching, and as her heavy eyelids began to close, she reached for the radio. His hand dropped from the wheel to halt the action though.

"Could you not turn it back on?"

"What do you just drive in silence?" she thundered, frustrated by his silence. "I need something to keep me awake!"

"You can go to sleep." His eyes didn't look so shifty anymore and part of her wanted to believe him.
"I'm almost there though..."

"You actually have a destination?" Liz asked in surprise and his eyes shifted to her than up to the road sign that read Sept-Iles, 70 kilometres.

"Of course."

Liz hadn't been too far off when she had guessed that he had been going to the Polar Ice Cap. That's where they might as well be. Everything seemed dead up here, the sky was grey and overcast, the water was so dark it seemed almost black and the people all seemed to be from a different time period. At least to Liz they did. But her mind was spinning, and this wretched little town was the last thing she was worried about as she watched the silent young driver step out of the truck and go through the business he had here. He had reached his destination. What was he going to do now? What was she going to do? What if he wanted to stay up here? She couldn't stay here. She wasn't even sure of his name.

"You want to sit and look at your Pay Day, or you want to get breakfast?" he suddenly shouted to her from down below her window. Liz froze. This wasn't normal. A trucker asking her to have breakfast with him. She popped open the door and made her way down though and was surprised at how tempted he almost seemed to help her to the ground. A twenty-one year old trucker wasn't exactly normal either. And Liz just followed him as he walked towards the tiny shack of a restaurant across the parking lot.

She felt incredibly out of place. She wondered if he did too. He had his black Oregon State hat back on and it only made him look more youthful. All the men around the parking lot, stepping out of their rigs were over thirty, most had dirty, creased hats over their heads and full facial hair. An older man with a weathered face and a Toronto Argonauts hat waved from the filling station.

"You can come get paid up after you eat, Lucas," he shouted and Liz sharpened her ears as the stranger's name was finally revealed.

"Lucas, huh?" she heaved, as she struggled to keep up with his brisk walk. She could see that the man in the Argonauts hat was looking at her curiously. In fact everyone was.

"Thanks, Earl," he seemed to ignore the stares and her as he headed over to the man with Liz trailing closely behind him.

"Who's this?" the man inquired, looking to her with a smile.

"This uh…" he glanced over to his traveling companion for the past fourteen hours. "This is Allison."

"Allison?" Earl questioned.

"Allison?" Liz crossed her arms and looked at him in question.

"Yeah, this is Allison," he repeated, appearing pleased with himself and content to leave the introduction at that.

"Well, glad you finally got someone to keep you company, Lucas!" the man laughed, patting the young man on the back. Liz looked none too amused.

"Well, we're gonna go have some breakfast," he began to back away from Earl and the man just nodded his head and walked back into the building. Once the man was out of earshot Liz turned to the young trucker. To Lucas.

"Allison?" she glared at him as she struggled to keep in stride with him. "Where did you get Allison from?"

"You look like an Allison," he dismissed with a shrug of his shoulders.

"Well that's funny...being that my name is Liz," she told him rather indignantly.

"I'll make a note of that," he again dismissed her as he continued walking. He sure did walk quickly. Liz finally lifted her eyes to the restaurant that they were walking toward and she immediately stopped in her tracks.

"Mom's Fish and Pancake have to be kidding me."

"It's good," he nodded his head.

"Fish and Pancakes," she repeated the obscure title.

"Not together obviously...I'm telling you, it's good," he insisted.

"I'm not going in there," she crossed her arms over her chest and planted her feet.

"Fine," he shrugged his shoulders and began walking away, leaving Liz standing alone in the parking lot.

"Wait, wait, Lucas. Where are you going?" Liz looked around at the foreign faces roaming around. The eyes all focused on her.

"I'm going to catch up with a friend," he called, not breaking his stride at all or stopping to turn around. Liz looked again to Mom's Fish and Pancake House.

"Lucas," she called suddenly, beginning to chase after him. "Lucas, wait up, Lucas!" she ran after him through the parking lot as the eyes remained fixed on her. The stares continued inside the tiny truck stop as well. She realized though it was more because of her appearance and her clothing, the tiny silver ring above her eye, than anything else.

"Here, go get a table...order anything you want," he motioned to the dining area and Liz looked at him quizzically. She had thought they were going to eat together.

"Where are you going?" she asked as he started walking away.

"I told you, I'm looking up a friend," he called to her without even turning around. Liz muttered obscenities under her breath as she looked around at the tiny restaurant. She wasn't too keen on the idea of being left alone here. Not with all these unfriendly eyes on her. She slumped into the seat and wrapped the jacket a little tighter around her shoulders.

The board said the ferry from Anticosti Island had gotten in a half hour ago and he had said he was taking the 9:30 ferry. The parking lot remained devoid of any familiar faces however. Drawing the Oregon St. Beavers hat lower on his head the young trucker looked in at where Liz was sitting. She had ordered a coffee for him and as she sat there stirring her cup and staring across at his he couldn’t help but wonder what was she thinking about? God, who was she? And what was she doing with him? Liz. She had said that her name was Liz. Liz. Liz. Liz. The name rang in his head as he looked over to her. She had finally taken off the jacket and now sat there in a tight black t-shirt. There was something written across the breast of it, but he couldn't make it out. She had a barrage of silver and multi-colored necklaces and bracelets on, more than he could even count. It was the first time he was able to really look at her, safely behind the glass without her yelling at him. She definitely was a character, he grinned looking in at her. Her dark brown hair was pulled back behind her head with several strands hanging loosely around her face.

"Who you looking at?" a voice suddenly asked from behind and he jerked back quickly and turned around to face the very person he was waiting for.

"Relax, man - it's just me," the voice greeted with a laugh, and upon seeing who the voice belonged to, the young trucker jerked his head away from Liz and instead embraced the solid young man before him.

"Hey!" He threw his arms around him and from her view inside, Liz's attention was definitely piqued by the reunion going on outside the window.

"So, who you looking at?" the guest inquired again, peering through the window towards Liz.

"No one," he dismissed immediately. "I mean uh..."

"Oh. . ." the boy in the bulky sweater and dark pants murmured, raising his eyebrows as he looked in at Liz. "She's hot," he paused and then laughed, “wonder what the hell she’s doing here, you know?"


"So what's going on? How are you? Let's go get a cup of coffee," the young man in the sweater greeted jovially, walking into the restaurant.

"Oh - uh – no..." he glanced in to Liz sitting there in the restaurant. It was better if his friend didn't know about her, the mysterious female hitchhiker he had just picked up on the side of the road.

"Let's take a walk or something," he suggested and his new partner just shrugged his shoulders in agreement. It had been over six months since they had last seen each other. He wasn't even entirely sure that they would see each other again. He would be up for anything. And Liz nearly dropped the coffee cup in her hand when she saw her transportation and the young trucker she had spent fourteen hours with turn around and walk away.

Ready to resort to asking strangers if they knew where Lucas was, Liz was needless to say surprised, when she saw him and the new stranger arrive back at Mom's Fish and Pancake House almost an hour later. Her eyes fixed on him as he walked in, and especially to the stranger joined at his side. That must be the friend he was looking up. The same person he had embraced outside. Definitely a local, she decided. The black wool hat pulled down over his ears, the drab colored clothing. He was probably a twenty-one year old trucker too. Maybe he was a fisherman. She chuckled to herself. Probably an ice fisherman.

She tried to make out what they were talking about she picked at the food in front of her. Both young men turned to look at her for a moment and that along with the other pairs of eyes unnerved her.

"I have no Canadian money, you know!" she yelled to him across the room and the ice fisherman's face dropped.

"You know her?" he laughed, pulling down at the wool hat.

"Yeah uh...wouldn't say know exactly," the young trucker laughed.

"Who is she?"

"She's uh...I uh...I don't know," he scratched his head with a small smile.

"How did you...I mean - "

"I found her," he blurted out. "She was on the side of the road outside of Boston."

"Man, you make her sound like a dog..." the ice fisherman squinted his eyes and fixed them on Liz.

"So are you - are you and know?” he asked curiously.

“No!" he quickly dismissed and he lifted the Oregon State hat off his head and matted down his hair, embarrassed by the question.

" 'Cos I was gonna say - I still don't know what could happen..."

"I'm not, I don't...I'm just driving her," he put the hat back on.

"Where's she going?"

"I don't know, she won't say," he shrugged.

"Food is not paying for itself!" Liz suddenly bellowed again, this time between a mouthful of food. Both young men laughed again and rolled their eyes at her words, walking over to the booth.

"You have fun, Max," Liz heard the ice fisherman chuckle and she dismissed what she thought she heard him say. The name she had thought she heard. “Be careful.”

"I will. Tell Isabelle I say hi when she comes back from Quebec, I can't believe I missed her."

"You know how she is with her shopping...I'm surprised she can survive up here at all..." the friend laughed. "I'll tell her you’re doing good though-"

"Would you, would you really?" Liz interjected rudely, clearly irritated by her lack of involvement in the conversation.

"Would you shut up I see him like twice a year!" the driver who had been so quiet and polite to her thus far suddenly snapped. She flinched back in surprise.

"Your pancakes are getting cold," she motioned to the griddlecakes growing colder by the minute.

"It's cool, I'll see you again soon."

"Never know, Michael," he glared at Liz. She was a handful for sure. She stuck her tongue out at him and Michael just shook his head with a laugh.

"Is that a tongue ring?"

"Ask your friend," she sat back in the booth and crossed her arms, almost seeming to pout. The ice fisherman laughed again. She couldn’t have been more of a polar opposite to his friend if she had tried.

"Take care of yourself, Max," he murmured softly as he embraced his friend and they continued to exchange good-byes, but Liz heard no more. Max. He had said Max. Again. Liz froze in the seat and her palms began to sweat. She had nothing to go on before. Nothing to really make her suspicious of him except for his eerie silence and peculiar age. Now he had two names. One for his employer, one for his close friend.

"They're not that cold," LucasMax suddenly laughed playfully as he took the seat across from her. He was in a surprisingly upbeat mood that he hadn't been in the past sixteen hours.

"He just called you Max," Liz fired immediately, quickly bringing his friendly mood to an end.

"What?" he seemed caught off guard by her.

"He called you Max. Twice," she stated.

"What? No – no, he didn't," he stuttered.

"Yes, he did," Liz told him confidently. "He did twice, I am not hearing things."

"I didn't say that you did - "

"Well, why are you denying-"

"Max is my middle name," he blurted out suddenly.

"Yeah, right - I'm really believing that," she laughed and as she motioned to get up from the table
he reached out for her.

"No, Liz!" he grabbed her arm and as she spun around to face him he saw her shirt go up ever so
slightly. He saw the tiny bar that went through her navel. He could see her trying to read his face and he was embarrassed by how desperate he had sounded. "Is that another piercing?"

"Yes, don't try to change the subject," she lifted her shirt up higher so he could see it. He tried not to stare too hard.

"Liz," he mumbled her name again; knowing that calling her by her name had done something to her. He hadn't even meant to the first time. He had done it unconsciously. He wasn't sure why he wanted her to stay so badly. All he knew was that he did. And despite all that told her not to, so did she. All she knew was that - whatever his name was - when he had touched her arm, something had happened. Her skin had grown hot, had flushed, practically burned, but at the same time she had felt a chill travel through her body. Goosebumps appeared along the back of her neck and along her arms despite the fact that they were covered in cotton sleeves. She quickly sat down in the booth and broke her arm away from him. Something had happened here. There was a reason she was still here with him, eating breakfast with him in a greasy spoon truck stop she wouldn't have set foot in otherwise.

"So what do you think of the Fish and Pancake House?" he asked in an attempt for light heartedness.

"Coffee sucks," she shrugged, putting down her cup. Why was she still here with him? Why wasn't she bolting for the door?

"Well, it's not called the Fish, Pancake and Coffee House."

"Where you going next?" Liz quickly changed the subject before things got too cordial. He was her transportation. That was all. She couldn't let herself forget that.

"Well, Earl just told me there's another job I could take going back down to the States. Down to the Southwest. He can get the rig hitched up in an hour or so, but I'd have to leave pretty quickly. I'd like to be across the border by tonight."

"You're going to do it?"

"Sure, it's good money."

"But you'd leave when? This afternoon?" Liz struggled with the fact that he would be moving on. She couldn't go with him, couldn't go back down with him the exact way they had come up. Then he would grow suspicious. Then he would think that she was just tagging along with him. "You're not going to sleep?" she creaked. God, she was letting him see how bothered she was by it.

"I'd sleep tonight."

"Where's the job to?"

"Las Cruces." At his words Liz almost dropped her glass of orange juice.

"Las Cruces, New Mexico?"

"Yeah...we'd be heading out in a couple of hours."

"We?" Liz suddenly lifted up her eyes to him.

"Well, yeah," he shrugged in an effort to be casual. "I mean...if you didn't - if you don't find another ride..."

"No, I uh..." she reached across and speared a piece of his pancake with a tiny smile. "I didn't.”

"Question," Liz looked across the seat as the two drove along in a no longer so awkward silence. She couldn't believe they were driving again. She couldn't believe he could even drive. Her legs still felt like jelly. They had taken at most a two hour pit stop. Now they were tracing back over roads they had just been on. Retracing over 700 miles.

"Huh?" he turned to face her.

"Can I ask you one question?"

"One question, yeah."

"Why Oregon State?" she was referring to the hat atop his head. He paused, pondering whether or not to tell her the truth.

"Because I used to play there," he admitted and then quickly continued. "My turn."

"To what?" He knew she wanted to ask more, but he was curious about her too.

"My turn to ask a question. Are you in college?"

"Yeah, I used to go to NYU. My turn-" she spoke before he could. "What did you play?"

"I was on the football team, my question. Why don't you go to NYU anymore?" She too seemed to be considering whether or not to reveal the truth to him. She opted to be truthful.

"I was kicked out, why don't you play anymore?"

"Knee injury - why'd you get kicked out?" This was like rapid fire.

"Lots of reasons, where'd you grow up?"

"Midland, Texas. Name one." But Liz was quiet and didn't answer him immediately. Midland, Texas. That was a little close to home. Midland was less than two hours from Roswell.

"I didn't go to class...” she murmured and her voice drifted. "You played for the Midland Lee - " Liz stumbled as she suddenly connected the pieces. She was no dummy to Texas High School Football, growing up in neighboring New Mexico she knew enough. It was like a religion down there. Midland Lee and Odessa, they were football factories. He had to be a good athlete to play there. What was he doing in a truck then?

"Yes, I played for the Midland Lee Rebels. What else?" he asked in reference to her reasons for leaving NYU.

"I broke a lot of rules. How come you don't go to college anymore? I mean what do your parents – “

"More than one question," he reminded her playfully. "And I don't have parents -"

"How -"

"I grew up in a group home," he answered her question before she could ask it.

"I'm sorry," Liz apologized after a long pause. Suddenly she didn't feel like playing their little game

"Not your fault." he didn't seem all that bothered. "What about you. Where'd you grow up?"

"Roswell," she replied, but she didn't ask a question in return.

"What do I get a freebie 'cos I have no parents?" he laughed. "Okay, I'll take it. How many piercings do you actually have?" he asked lightheartedly and seeing his playful manner she continued on with their game.

"Ten that you can see." She saw his eyes widen. "Kidding," she teased, twirling a strand of hair around her finger. "So how come you don't listen to the radio?"

"I do sometimes. I just don’t like most of what’s on the radio and the stations up here just aren't very good, but uh...try 98.3," he looked to the dial. And so went the better part of an hour, rattling off questions to each other, learning more and more - for the most part - useless facts about the other. Favorite color, favorite number, favorite sport, favorite food. The radio eventually took over the conversation and the useless prattle and a silence resumed in the air of the cab; and growing bored, Liz picked up his wallet and began leafing through it.

"Lucas Duchaigne," she mumbled, not even noticing the middle initial of his name. "Lucas R Duchaigne," she suddenly realized, looking through all his I.D cards and his driver's license. Her comment didn't even register with him at first. "This says your middle initial is R, not M." Her head spun. Max couldn't be his middle name.

The feeling that had washed over her at the truck stop when she had heard him called a different name again overcame her. It wasn't fear as much as the nausea she felt at being lied to.

"What, no – that’s - " he stammered.

"Listen, Lucas, Max, whatever your name is, stop the truck."

"No, look -"

"Stop the truck and let me out," Liz ordered and he slowly began pulling over to the shoulder of the

"Come on, Liz - where're you - where're you gonna go?" she unbuckled her seat belt and grabbed her bag.

"I'll get a ride with someone who doesn't lie to me." The truck finally slowed to a stop and she fumbled with the door and began marching defiantly along the side of the road. He unbuckled his seat belt and jumped out of the truck after her.

"Liz, I can explain - " he began to jog after her.

"I don't want to hear you explain," she tried to ignore the fact that he was running after her.

"Liz - don't go, come on. What're you gonna do -"

"Be with someone who tells the truth," she fired.

"My name is Max Evans alright!" he shouted to her, the crack in his voice and the desperation causing her to stop suddenly. "Look, don't go,” he was pleading for her to stay with him for a second time that day. Liz stopped in her tracks, she stopped what she was doing, she stopped doing everything. She practically stopped breathing. Max took a small step towards her. "Lucas Duchaigne is someone I made up," he confessed, knowing how weird it must all sound to her. "He exists in the B-Right Trucking Company and in the province of Ontario and..." Max's voice drifted, this was a horrible explanation. He knew she would need more. He knew this wasn't making her trust him anymore. "Max doesn't exist in Canada." Liz looked at him intently, at his dark eyes that were fixed so firmly on her. She looked to the rig he had jerked over to the side of the road carelessly. To the door he had left open when he had gone after her. And she knew that this was the truth.

"Does he exist in the U.S?" she asked boldly and Max paused and licked his lips.


A little over twenty-four hours had passed since Liz had climbed into the truck with the enigmatic young driver, into the truck with the California license plate. And she had finally fallen asleep. She had finally allowed herself to. She wasn't so troubled by the idea of falling asleep in the seat next to him anymore. Next to Max. And she slept soundly. She didn't know how often he glanced over at her. How tempted he was to push the strand of hair out of her face, or to wrap the jacket around her a little more. She didn't know how he swerved dangerously to miss potholes, so as not to disturb her, or how he lowered the radio so she could sleep. And she slept so soundly that for the second day in a row she missed nightfall.

She opened up her eyes and it was dark and Max had keys to a motel room in his hand. What exactly was she doing? She wondered to herself as she climbed down from the truck and grabbed her bag. She was no longer just hitchhiking that was for sure.

"One - zero - seven," Max popped open the door to room 107 and Liz peered in at the dingy room. Two twin beds and a twelve-inch television set were pretty much the only objects of value in the tiny room. She plopped down the tiny bag in her hand and marched towards what the bathroom door.

"I am showering," she announced, but she didn't even wait to get to the door before she stripped the shirt over her head. Max's eyes followed her as she strutted over to the tiny bathroom in a lacey black bra. What was he doing? Getting them a motel room? This girl whose last name he didn't even know. He should have just gone to sleep in the truck. She went to close the door, but let out a shriek and flew out to the bed only moments later. "Forget it, I am not showering in there!" she denounced and Max wondered to himself how dirty the bathroom could be as he dropped his bag onto the bed Liz hadn't. So it wasn't exactly five star, or four star, or even three star. It would do.

"Do you want to order in a pizza or something?" he asked her innocently, knowing that her breakfast that morning and the Pay Day she had finally eaten were hardly a meal.

"Sure," she shrugged, taking down her pony tail and flipping her hair over her head. Her shirt was back on; Max's pulse rate back to normal. The clock radio read 10:30, but it felt so much later.

"You know on second thought, I might just wanna crash," he sat down on the bed, leaning his back against the wall that served as the headboard, he switched on the television with the remote. Liz sat down on the other bed and static suddenly filled the twelve-inch box. She laughed as she moved about the bed, but the static and snowy picture remained. She moved onto Max's bed. Max who was trying so hard to be a gentleman to her. The picture returned.

"You want to watch TV, then I guess you're stuck with me," she laughed, leaning back against the bed. Leaning back up against him. Did she even realize what she was doing? It didn't seem that she did. He wondered if she could feel how hard his heart was beating right now. And they laid there peacefully for a moment and Max was amazed at how right if felt. Static suddenly returned to the television and Liz laughed and lifted her head from his chest.

"So it's not me," she chuckled, looking up at him.

"'s not you," he laughed as well, and the awkwardness that had enveloped the truck those first few hours returned. Even he could tell it had from the tone of his own voice.

"So how far we going tomorrow?" she questioned, turning towards him.

"How far you want to?" he asked in return. She shifted her eyes from the TV to him for a moment. Maybe it was the last statement, the way he had said you, the way he was including her in the days plans, the excitement she thought she detected in his eyes when she had said ‘we’. Maybe that was what made Liz touch her fingers to his lips and kiss him. He could have guessed it was coming. Thirty plus hours in a truck together, and now cramped in a hotel room. He knew it was coming, it was just a matter of when. And he had been a gentleman to her thus far.

She moved a hand behind his head and pressed his mouth harder against hers and Max didn't stop her. With years of near ‘hero’ status as a football player at Midland Lee, not to mention his year of collegiate football he had kissed girls before, but never anyone with a tongue ring and the feeling took some getting used to. Her taste combined with the metallic one.

There was nothing wrong with this, Liz told herself. Nothing wrong with a meaningless fling. She jerked the cotton t-shirt over his head hurriedly and continued kissing him. She knew this wasn't meaningless though. She knew by the way he was kissing her that this was far from meaningless. She was going to see him tomorrow. She was going to be spending the entire day with him. And the next day, and the next. And who knows how much longer?

His hands traveled down her body to her stomach and he pulled the shirt over her head in an aggressive maneuver that he usually lacked when it came to girls. So much for being the gentleman.

"Max," she gasped the name she had learned only hours ago as his mouth traveled down her body, down across the sensitive skin of her neck, down the tiny valley between her breasts, to her stomach. She had no idea what it felt like to him to hear someone call him Max again. To hear someone call him Max other than Michael and Isabelle. "Max," she murmured his name again as he positioned both his hands on her stomach. And she knew where his hands were moving. They were hovering above the fly of her jeans.

He waited for her permission though as his hands traveled up and down her body, trying to feel as much of her as he could. He kissed her stomach and her neck, he cupped her breasts through the bra she was wearing and kissed her and kissed her and waited for her to make the next move. He waited for her to move her hands on top of his and for her to move them down to the button of her jeans. He waited for her to unzip his.

She wasn't there when he woke up and his heart stopped for a moment with the notion that she had left. They had both fallen asleep with his arms around her, he remembered it vividly. He hadn't dreamt that. His heart leapt into his throat when he thought about her leaving. She couldn't have. Not after last night. His mind reminded him that she was probably the type of person to do that though. If he knew anything about her at this point, he should know that. That she probably did this all the time. One night hook-ups. God, and he was too embarrassed to tell her that this had been his first time. Or times he should say. He had felt so inadequate that first time. And she had been up for more. And it was better. And she had belonged to him completely. But now she was gone, absent from his arms, and he just felt stupid for thinking everything that he had thought.

That she would stay with him. After his sketchy story, after he had lied to her about his name. Why would she stay? To sit in a tractor-trailer with him for another day to learn his favorite color and listen to bad radio. That was what his life was. How could he invite her to be a part of that? But how could she just ignore last night? How could she leave him? Last night had been…had been mind-blowing. He now knew the true meaning of the word ecstasy. He knew it hadn't just been him. He knew that the same went for her. That he might be a novice at this, but last night had been good.

Had been dangerous. A voice in the back of his head suddenly reminded him. For you and for her. His head spun at the danger he had put her in. This was uncharted water here. What they had done. Two different species. His mind spun at the possibility.

She wouldn't even know. And every second that he didn't tell her, he would be lying. His eyes closed
in agony as he looked over to the empty bed next to him. Then to the empty motel room. God, what had he done. He turned over to his side, like he had done last night before he had draped an arm around her bare body. She had liked that, he was confident of it. She had liked falling asleep in his embrace, she had snuggled closer to him. When he had placed a soft kiss on her shoulder she had pulled his arm further around her. That wasn't his imagination.

He could see the faintest makings of light outside and he knew he should probably get on the road soon. Right now all he wanted to do was sleep though. Maybe it had all been a dream. Not just last night. But the past thirty-six hours. Picking her up on the side of the road, talking to her, actually thinking that we, the two of them, meant something. That there was an attraction there and affection. One that was mutual. One that wouldn't leave him right after the most amazing night of his life. God, how could she have done that? He shut his eyes. It hadn't all been a dream. It had been a lie. She had been a lie.

Liz hadn't taken the time to note the countryside when she had stumbled out of the truck last night. It looked like they were in the middle of a Normal Rockwell picture or a country landscape painting. To the left of the parking lot was a pasture full of dairy cows, to the right was a picturesque silo and barn and across the highway rolling fields and round bales of hay. He really couldn't have picked a quainter, or more out of the way, place to stop. She had seen a total of five cars pass in the past hour. She wouldn't have been able to hitchhike out of here anyway though. She couldn't even make her way down the motel steps to the parking lot. She had tried. Things had gotten too intense last night. When she had woken up with Max's arms still in a firm embrace around her she had panicked. She had wriggled away from him, thrown some clothes on and bolted.

But she hadn't gotten very far, and frankly she wasn't sure what was stopping her. It was something. Something deep in her gut that told her to stay with him. With Max Evans from Midland Lee High School, one time Oregon State Beaver. She thought about everything she knew about Max as she sat outside the door watching cars pass. She tried to put the pieces together. Midland, Texas and Sept-Iles, Quebec. The California license plate. Lucas R. Duchaigne and Max Evans. The ice fisherman named Michael, the girl named Isabelle they had mentioned. The group home he had grown up in, his fondness for Hot Tamales and M&Ms. Not to mention Big Gulps, Cajun food, Boston Creme donuts, and pad thai as he had confessed to her yesterday. She actually knew more about him than she had known about some other guys she had been with. She had known Max for a little over thirty-six hours. He had done absolutely nothing to discomfort her in any way.

Nothing besides lie to her that is.

She got up and peaked through the window to the bed. He was asleep, turned over on his side with his back to the window. He had this facade of the trucker up, of a hardened and rugged young man who lived on his own. The goatee was deceiving though as was the black hat. That was Lucas Duchaigne. Max Evans was really anything but the facade he put up. He was innocent and vulnerable and she had seen that all to clearly yesterday. Yesterday when he had begged her not to leave him.
Liz sat there with her back against the door to room 107, recalling how it felt to wake up in the middle of the night and find that Max's arms hadn't changed their position around her body. She had wanted to stay there with him at the same time that she wanted to slip away and out the door. Just like right now. She could stay, she could leave. And Liz just sighed loudly and leaned her head back up against the door to room 107.

He eventually got out of bed. Eventually, Max threw his legs over the side and staggered to the bathroom and attempted to go on with the all too familiar routine. There really was nothing familiar about this though. About waking up alone when he had a vivid memory of falling asleep with Liz's body crushed against his the night before.

He had to forget that though. He had to forget her. Her clothes were gone, her bag was gone. She was gone. She was just a hitchhiker, a girl who was just passing through, a girl who had just passed in and out of his life in a matter of days. He heard stories about it all the time. He had to accept that. And just as he began to, just as he began packing up his clothes and preparing for his drive to Las Cruces, she walked through the door.

No words were exchanged between them, barely even a look. She could have lied and said she was watching the sunrise, she could have told him that she had gone to get coffee. But she didn't say anything. Her eyes shifted in nervously from him to the bag he was packing and without a word she walked by him to the bathroom.

Whatever departure time he had been aiming for was sufficiently delayed as he crawled through his morning routine, but he hardly seemed to realize. Last night when she had been sleeping in his arms he had imagined today's drive in his head. How close they would be and how they would stop every few hours to relive last night all over again. He knew that wouldn't happen now though. He wasn't even sure what was going to happen next between them. He glanced over to the bathroom where she was as he shoved the clothes that had been strewn about the floor last night into the tiny duffel bag. She was in the bathroom, using his toothbrush to brush her teeth.

"Is that my toothbrush?" he inquired and she looked to him and nodded her head carelessly, then leaned over to spit into the sink. "I don't...I don't remember telling you that you could use-"

"Max, we had sex last night," she cut him off and he looked to her in confusion. She didn't have to remind him of that. He hadn't forgotten. "We were a lot closer than sharing a toothbrush."

"Don't use it again," he replied sharply, dismissing her comment no matter if it was true or not. Liz wiped her face with a washcloth and set down the toothbrush on the counter.

"I won't." Her words were equally as cold, yet she couldn't help but think that maybe his last comment hadn't just been about the toothbrush. She didn't expect this. Max to be this cold to her. Then again she didn't really know what she had expected. She barely knew him.

Before another comment could be exchanged between the two, Liz jerked back abruptly, as if an invisibly hand was pulling her backwards. Her hand moved over her stomach and she grabbed the counter to steady herself. Her eyes were squeezed shut and Max had trouble figuring out if it was out of frustration or actual discomfort. She didn't even seem like she realized he was still there.

"You okay?" he asked, his voice losing the sharp tone it had had, his concern painfully evident.

"What do you care?" Liz winced, the pain in her abdomen unlike any she had known. "You won't even let me use your tooth-"

"Liz, are you okay?" he ignored her and the worry in his eyes and voice just confused her more.

"I'm fine," she lied. Fine. She would hardly say that she was fine right now. Forget the bizarre pain shooting through her lower abdomen. Max could hardly look at her, and she could hardly look at him without wanting do what? she wondered. Kiss him, slap him, yell at him, confess to him just how incredible last night had been, or all of the above. "I'm fine," she repeated. I'm fine, standing here arguing about a toothbrush. Just fine.

Then as quickly as the pain had come, it quickly subsided. Her hand dropped from her stomach, the look of anguish vanished from her face and she remembered what they were arguing about before.

"We have to stop someplace where I can get my own toothbrush."

"Are you alright?" he asked, hardly concerned with their prior argument.

"I'm fine," she sighed as she suddenly began wiggling out of her jeans.

"What are you doing?" He took a bumbling step back towards the door as the jeans slipped off her legs and she stood before him in her t-shirt and panties.

"I'm shaving my legs," she told him carelessly as she rummaged through his bag of toiletries.

"With my razor," he shook his head in annoyance and she just laughed quietly to herself and reached out to him with her hand.

"What's the matter? Do you not like to share?" she taunted as her fingers brushed across his goatee and he immediately jerked away from her touch.

"You didn't bring your own toothbrush or your own razor?" he looked to her in a look that Liz could only discern as one of disgust. This hostile version of Max definitely took some getting used to.

"Nope," she ignored him as best she could and walked over to her tiny bag. "I brought condoms though." He closed his eyes as if to make sure that he had heard her correctly. She definitely knew how to turn the conversation. "Condoms -" she pulled out the box of Trojans and waved them at Max. "-which you didn't wear last night." He was amazed at how nonchalant she seemed about it. Part of him knew he should have expected this though. He shouldn't have expected her to actually take it seriously. To take him seriously. Maybe all he really was was her transportation. Maybe he had just been taken advantage of in the worst way possible. Her last remark was only the second one she had even made in reference to last night. How was she able to do that? To just push it away like that? They were going to be in the truck together all day, how could she not even bring it up?

"I want to head out within the next half hour," he suddenly told her, ignoring her last comment as he continued to shove items into his bag. How did she now have him acting like nothing had happened either?

"Fine, I'm ready," she shrugged. "Whenever you are."

"Then go have breakfast now, 'cos I don't want to stop during the day," he said it more like an order as he placed a ten dollar bill on the table next to her.

"You're not going to eat?" He thought he detected the slightest sense of disappointment in her voice, but chalked it up to his imagination.

"No, I don't have to eat." It's not that he didn't have to as much as he didn't have the appetite.

"That's not healthy," she chided, but he hardly paid her notice.

"Be back by nine." He stated matter-of-factly and then she was gone.

Max was the one who turned the radio on now as they drove along in silence. He flicked the dial on before he even drove out of the parking lot and Liz had been caught off guard by the action, as well as by his loud selection of music. Fuel's song "Hemorrhage" was playing and the lyrics echoed throughout the cab. It was so loud that a normal conversation couldn't even be carried out.

He had done that on purpose of course. He couldn't talk to her civilly right now. He could hardly talk period. Part of him wanted to just drop her off on the side of the road like he had found her. Leave her alone there to find another person to buy her meals for her, another person to use for the night. Then part of him knew that he would turn around to pick her up again before he got a mile down the road.

Liz glanced over to him, to his pursed lips and his hands gripping the steering wheel. He was like a different person today from the quiet young man in the white t-shirt she had met Sunday afternoon. He had a maroon Midland Lee Football shirt on, along with the black Beavers hat drawn down low on his head.

"You're such a football jock," she bellowed loudly over the radio, eyeing his wardrobe in amusement.

"Were you a football jock in high school?" she quipped, but he didn't answer her. Without even looking her way the words tumbled out of his mouth. Words he wasn't even thinking, but words he said nevertheless.

"I don't know, were you a slut in high school?" Never in his life had he even used that word before - not even in the locker room at Midland Lee, or up at Oregon State - but for some reason it flew from his mouth. *Don't fall away, and leave me to myself. * She sat there for a moment, almost in shock before responding.

"Go to hell, Max," she snapped back quietly, but of all things a crooked smile appeared on his face.

"I bet you were," Liz looked to him in disbelief as he continued. "I bet you slept with the entire football team."

"You're an asshole," she replied and he hardly flinched at her words.

"I'm an asshole?"

"Yeah, you're not who I thought you were," she shook her head, but again her words yielded no visible response from him.

"Neither are you," he murmured as he looked out the window to make a left hand turn.

"God, what am I doing here?" Liz suddenly mumbled to herself, holding her head in her hands. What was she doing here? Sitting in a truck, driving back towards home, getting verbally attacked by the man she had spent last night with.

"I'm not stopping you from leaving," he slowed down the truck, although he wasn't exactly sure why.

"Right, you just begged me not to go yesterday," Liz rolled her eyes and Max shrugged his shoulders.

"I thought you were someone else." Was all he said as the truck came to a stop on the side of the road. *Am I the only place you've left to go? * Liz sat there, looking to the door Max had just unlocked for her, Max who had just insulted her, Max whose arms she had fallen asleep in last night. *She cries that life is like some movies black and white. Dead actors faking lines. * Her eyes remained fixed on Max. What would she be returning to if she left him? If he left her here on the side of the road. She would be returning to the dull, monotonous life at NYU, or the boring routine of any other university in the U.S. To the dull monotonous life that she had attempted to escape from at Roswell. She looked over to Max who she wasn't quite sure what to think of right now. Could she really blame him for turning on her? His dark eyes, the eyes that had held her in the car that first day, revealed nothing to her right now. And she sat there. *Over and over and over again she cries don't fall away! And leave me to myself.*

Max tried hard not to look at her. He tried his best to make it seem like he didn't care what she did. He knew that if he let her walk out of the truck right now that he would end up regretting it. *And I wanted. But you turned away.* He had a difficult time sitting next to her though. Even for the short distance they had traveled so far. *You don't remember, but I do. * He had a difficult time grasping with the fact that last night had meant nothing to her. Certainly nowhere near what it had meant to him. *You never even tried. *

The seconds ticked by slowly as Max waited for her to step out of the truck. He couldn't really blame her after what he had said to her. The worst part was he didn't even know why he had said the things he had.

He waited and waited for the door to open. At one point he even closed his eyes and attempted to block out the sound of her footsteps walking away. But they never came. She remained in the seat next to him.

"You're not throwing me out in the middle of a cow field," she told him as she defiantly crossed her arms across her chest. He didn't respond to the comment, he didn't say a thing. He just pressed his foot down on the gas and drove on. And the lyrics echoed through the cab of the truck and they called out to both of them. * Don't fall away and leave me to myself! *
Last edited by kippy on Mon May 25, 2009 8:47 pm, edited 36 times in total.

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Post by kippy » Mon Sep 13, 2004 3:38 pm

Max had said that the drive was thirty-six hours. Liz wasn't exactly sure how many days of driving that meant in Max Time, right now she could hardly imagine another day in the truck, nevertheless another night, together. They weren't even out of Canada yet and it seemed like it had been days. Max had said yesterday that he would at least like to be around Cleveland by midnight. Liz didn't know whether that meant they would be driving all night or not. She hoped it did. Then she could just fall asleep in the truck.

She wished she could fall asleep now. The radio had been blaring for the past four hours and with at least six to go until nightfall she just wanted to sleep now. She didn't want to sit across from Max like this, to listen to the music together like they were - whether they would admit it or not. They passed through Montreal going on nine hours of silence that neither of them had seemed too upset about, when Max suddenly lowered the radio. It was Californication again. A song they had heard five times in the past two days. When will the radio ever tire of this song? Liz wondered to herself just as Max finally opened up his mouth.

"Haven't heard this enough," he mumbled to her and she wasn't quite sure what to make of his attempt at congeniality and she remained silent. "I was sorta a jock in high school," he suddenly admitted. He was going back to the conversation they had had way back in Quebec at the start of the trip. Liz remained quiet. "You know, I didn't...didn't walk around in a letter jacket or anything, but..." Max lifted his hat off and scratched his head awkwardly. She could tell he was trying to make conversation and be civil after his attack on her earlier. "- but those were the guys I really hung out with all the time...I mean..." He paused for a moment, wondering if she would ever talk. "I don't know what Roswell's like, but in Midland football's one of the only things the city has." Liz couldn't help but perk up her head up a bit. "So for me, you know, no family, no friends when I first came - that was, that was really an outlet for me and it was all through high school." Liz could hardly believe that he was opening up to her, and she knew her attempt to look disinterested was failing.

"I think that...if I hadn't played football I probably wouldn't have fit in anywhere," he confessed, scratching his head with his index finger thoughtfully. "I don't think I would have gotten out of the town really," he let out a nervous laugh and his words rung all too true in Liz's ears. Wanting to get out of town, wanting to move on. She was tempted to say something to him, to add on to what he had to say, but she remained quiet. "I mean, there's not much to love about's.." He paused and Liz got the feeling that this was a conversation and a discussion he would have had with himself anyway. "The whole area - it's just..." He was hardly even talking to her at this point. He was just talking.

"This one weekend, my first year on varsity," he stroked his goatee with his thumb and forefinger as he recalled the memory. "We were just driving around - it was was Mike, Oscar, JB, Sid, and me, I think," Max rattled off the names that meant absolutely nothing to Liz. "So we were just driving around after we had beat Odessa Permian - you know Permian - Mojo, all that stuff?" he turned to her and she nodded her head, familiar with the football powerhouse. So much for not communicating with him. She couldn't help it, he seemed so caught up in this memory. At remembering high school. "We had just beaten them that Friday and it was Saturday - or it might actually have been after the game Friday night - " he corrected. "Anyway, we're just driving around and - I forgot how, but we run into these guys from Permian - " Liz could see Max getting a little more animated as he progressed into the story. "And they were pissed," he laughed. " 'cos they thought that it was their year, and they were undefeated going into the game and we just annihilated them," there was a sparkle in his eye as he talked about it, a liveliness about him. One Liz hadn't seen before. "-and that year we went on to win states - but these Permian kids were…they were beyond pissed!" Max's left hand flew off the steering wheel as he looked to Liz. "And we're talking guys that are like 6'5, 275 and all they know is football." He had Liz's attention piqued and she wasn't about to deny it either.

"What happened?" she asked inquisitively.

"They just started waling on us.” Of all things Max actually laughed. Liz just looked at him in confusion.

"They just attacked you?" she couldn't believe that this was the story Max had been building up, a story about him getting beaten up.

"No, they didn't just attack us," he laughed. "They had like a two by four and a lead pipe and stuff...that was a planned attack," Max shook his head, although there was still a smile on his face for some reason. "That's where I got that," he motioned down to the scar above his right elbow, the one that had made Liz wary of him at first.

"Did you guys fight back at all?" she asked in disbelief.

"Sure, we tried. But it was like twelve against five..." his voice trailed off, and if it was possible he seemed to be looking back on the memory of the thrashing with fondness. "We played them the next year and shut 'em out like 49-0 and we won state that year too," he shrugged.

"Did you report them?" Liz asked in shock. If something like that had happened in Roswell it would be all over the news.

"I think Oscar might have 'cos he had some bones in his hand broken, but...stuff like that would happen all the time...still does. It's a rough area, people think it's cute little cornfields and quarterbacks, but it's not, it's stuff like that and guys like Oscar and Mike..." his voice drifted off and although Liz had no idea at the moment who either of the boys were, she had a feeling that at the end of the drive she would. And she turned to Max, the sparkle still there in his eye, and smiled.

"Who's Oscar?"

By the time they reached Ohio, Liz knew more about the Midland Lee Rebels than she wanted to. She knew who had been going out with who, who slept with who, she knew the inner workings of the team and the school, she knew where all Max's teammates were now attending college. And in response she had told him about the West Roswell Comets, about Kyle Valenti - her boyfriend for two years in the ninth and tenth grade - who was now a wrestling star at Texas Tech. For four hours they had talked about football, and then for the other two they had talked about Max and his high school. But not about Liz, the conversation never turned to Liz unless she initiated it. He never even directed a question her way.

It was well past midnight and Max had already passed the goal he had set at Cleveland. She thought maybe he planned on driving all night. Truthfully, she wasn't even sure if she would have minded. She liked chatting about the Midland Lee Rebels and the West Roswell Comets, about Max's life back in Midland. Innocent conversation.

She wasn't the one who suggested they pull over for the night. That had been all Max. He had booked the room at the Comfort Inn, and as rain had begun to fall, he was the one who carried her bag to the room. Liz saw only one bed when she walked into the room and she looked to him quizzically. What exactly did he intend by this? Max didn’t seem forward enough to suggest shacking up in a king sized bed for the night. She though maybe it was a mistake on the part of the management.

But Max dropped the bag on the bed and promptly turned towards the door. "I'll be in the truck," he told her, but she called to him before he could walk out.

"You're not sleeping in the truck," Liz looked at him like he had three heads.

"I'm fine."

"Max, that's ridiculous."

"Look, I do it all the time when I'm low on money, it's alright."

"There's no reason for you to though. Look," Liz pulled the comforter off the bed and laid it on the ground. "I'll sleep on the floor, you take the bed."

"I'm not making you sleep on the floor," he laughed.

"I'm not making you sleep in the truck," she shot back. "You've been driving all day you should sleep in the bed, Max, not in a truck," she reasoned.

"I -" Max opened up his mouth to protest again, but couldn't come up with another reason not to sleep in the room. None other than the obvious. It wasn't that he didn't want to sleep here, it was that he didn't think he could. The awkwardness would be too much. He could hardly believe that he had survived the car ride. His dark usually so unreadable eyes rested again on the bed, but Liz could tell exactly why he was being so hesitant to stay in the room. The nervousness in his eyes alone was all too clear, not to mention his body language. He wiped his hands on his pants nervously and averted his eyes away from the tiny bed and away from her.

"We can both take the bed," Liz suggested and Max's head shot up wildly at her wild suggestion. "I'll stay under the covers, you stay on top."

"Look, I'm just. . . I'm just gonna go - I'm going out in truck," Max stumbled over both his words and his feet as he clumsily tried to make his way out the door.

"You are not going anywhere," Liz jumped in front of his path and stood in front of the door with her arms spread out, a wide smile on her face.

"I'm not staying in here, let me go!" Max's voice cracked like a child. He had no idea what she was trying to pull, but he wasn't in the mood for it. He didn't know what he was in the mood for.

"You're not going to sleep in the cab of a truck!" she protested vehemently.

"I don't want to stay in this room with you!" Max shouted finally. Thousands of emotions flew through his head, but right now the only one being expressed was anger. "I don't want to spend one minute more with you in a confined space than I have to, alright?" His eyes were dark and unreadable again, but they flicked nervously around the room. They still refused to focus on Liz.

"Why are you making this a federal case?" Liz lifted her arms in surrender, not at all offended by the words flying out of his mouth. "You really need a good night's sleep you have been up for too long," she whistled with a shake of her head.

"God, would you leave me alone!" Max fired.

"Would you quit being so defensive!" she shot back, finally raising her voice as well.

"What do you want from me??" Max suddenly exploded, not just in reference to the here and now, but to everything. To why she had stayed in the truck with him for the past two days. "What do you want from me?" The seconds slowly ticked by as his words echoed around the room and he just stood there, his chest heaving awaiting an answer.

And then her mouth was on his.

He stood there motionless for a moment, his lips receiving hers, but his body absolutely still. It wasn't until she moved a hand behind his head that he raised his own arms. It wasn't until she made a move for his shirt that he made a move for hers. It wasn't until she took a step back from the door that he hoisted her up and laid her down on the bed.

Max was sleeping soundly on his left side and facing her when Liz's eyes fluttered open. Her first instinct was to smile at how peaceful he looked, how content. His lips were parted ever so slightly and his hair was a mess. She reached across the bed and gently combed the hair back onto his forehead and then lightly ran her fingers down his face and touched her fingers to his goatee. The goatee that she thought looked so out of place on him. She closed her eyes and tried to imagine the face behind it, what he would look like without the facial hair. She could get used to this. Maybe in some twisted way she could get used to waking up next to Max, the young man she really knew next to nothing about. Sure, quiz her on his high school life and his football record and she was golden, but any details about the double life he apparently seemed to live and she was clueless. Still she couldn't help but feel right about this. About Max. Would it be alright? She couldn't think clearly lying next to him, listening to his breathing, so carefully, very carefully she left the bed.

She paced back and forth across the room as the anxiety quickly set in. Stay with Max, stay with a stranger? She didn't do that sort of thing; she didn't stay for the morning after. Ever. This was two straight nights with Max though, two straight nights unlike any other she had experienced. But to stay with him, that was something else entirely. Something else she could not make herself do.

There was no hesitation this time, the feelings were coming all too quickly and overwhelming her. Too many feelings, too many mixed feelings. She grabbed her bag, looked back at Max's sleeping form once and hurried out the door. Her feet traveled quickly down the steps and she ran, faster than she ever had before to the nearest road. To a car to take her out of here and away from him.

What it took for Liz to walk back into room 14 was more than Max would ever know. This was unheard of, her returning to someone. He didn't seem to care much though. When the door creaked open and she walked through at 7:39 he greeted her with only a cold stare.

"Hey," she offered meekly only to be met by his silent and angry glare from the bathroom. He was up. She hadn't anticipated that at all. She had thought maybe she could crawl back into the bed next to him. But him being up and awake...Now she wasn't sure how to go about this. This reconciliation. She could tell much more than his pride was hurt by her absence. "I..." she opened up her mouth only to find that her throat was dry and incapable of speech. I what? I tried to leave you? "I just..."

"Forgot something?" he offered sharply.

"No, I - " Anything she said in protest would be some sort of a lie.

"Go ahead,” he held out his hand with a shrug of his shoulders. "I'm not stopping you."

"Max," she took a step towards him, but he backed away.

"You were on your way out, weren't you?"

"Max, I tried to leave," she confessed to him. God, she had had more serious conversations, and more biting exchanges with him in the past twenty-four hours than she had with anyone in her entire life. She could tell those were words he didn't want to hear though and he just turned his back on her and continued into the bathroom. "I tried, Max, I couldn't do it."

"Why not? Couldn't find a ride?" He called out, refusing to look at her.

"No, I mean I couldn't," she stressed the last word. "I couldn't do it. I couldn't leave..." She wanted to say ‘you’, but she wasn't able to. That sounded too heavy. Too intense for someone she had known for only three days. There was no response from Max in the bathroom and she walked towards the doorway. "Max, look at me." It was her turn to plead now. She didn't return to this room and to him only to have him shun her. "I started to leave, but I realized that I don't want to!" There was something easier for her to say. And she smiled and gave an innocent shrug of her shoulders. "I want to stay with you."

Max wasn't so forgiving of her as she had thought he would be - or at least how she hoped he would be. She walked over to him when he had remained silent in the bathroom, his back still facing her. She slowly ran her hands up the well defined back she had run her hands up and down last night to his shoulders, then down across his chest where she pulled him towards her and pressed her face up against his back. "I'm sorry," she mumbled, her words muffled against him. Still there was no response.

He just stood there. He felt everything she was doing, but he just stood there. Partly because he knew that her intimacy, her hands running up and down his arm, didn’t belong to just him. Who knows how many other men she had done this to? That's what his mind had been working over as he had laid in bed without her. Who was she? How much did he really know about her? The thoughts all flew through his mind as she murmured his name again and the feel of her fingertips across his skin sent a shiver up his spine. God, he couldn't deny this, no matter how hard he tried. He couldn't deny her.

And he moved only slightly, but that was all it took for her. She turned him around the rest of the way and moved in to kiss him, but he flinched.

"Max," she ducked her head in an attempt to meet his downcast eyes. "Max, I want to stay with you," she repeated the words she thought he wanted to hear. "Please," her voice trailed off as she lifted her fingers to his mouth like she had two nights ago before they had first kissed. She touched the fuzzy goatee that grew on his chin, the goatee that seemed so out of place on him. Like a child dressed up in adult's clothing. Like a child thrust into an adult's world too soon. "Please." She needed to kiss him again, and not just in a carnal way. And not just for his forgiveness either. She needed it. The past two nights had been something she needed. She needed to have that feeling of being needed again. That feeling that he had given her.

Max could hear all her words she was saying, the way she was practically begging him. He wasn't immune to the tantalizing touch of her skin either, the temptation to just throw her onto the bed and ravage her right then and there. That was there, but it wasn't overwhelming him. Because he remembered the way that had gone the night before last. And more importantly the way it had ended. He looked up at her finally, at the seven piercings in her ears and the tiny hoop in her eyebrow, the face devoid of makeup, the hair pulled back in an evident haphazard and rushed manner. That was all he saw. He didn't see the things he had seen last night, he didn't see a beautiful seductress, or a vampy young woman. He saw instead all the things that he had seen when he had first spotted her on the side of the road. He saw a scared little girl.

"Why do you have so many piercings?" he finally muttered.

"What?" Liz looked at him in frustration. "Max, forget about the frickin' piercings for once-"

"No - why do you have them?" he raised his voice in anger.

"I don't know, I - I like them," she answered as her hand moved up to the stud way up on her left ear in an almost self-conscious manner. She was beyond confused by his question.

"No, I think you like the fact that other people like them," he challenged, but his voice was shaky and not as confident as he wanted it to be. "I think you just like to draw attention to yourself!" Liz shook her head, but he continued with his shaky tirade. "I think that you - you are terrified – terrified! - of blending into the background...of being normal -"

"Well, what's so great about normal?" she raised her hands in irritation.

"What's so bad about it?" he argued.

"I don't know, you tell me Max," she shrugged. "You're twenty-one years old and you drive around in a truck all day by yourself - you tell me...what - what the hell is normal about that?" Her words struck at Max. They didn't just nick the surface; they cut deep.

"You know nothing about me," he growled. "You sit in a truck with me for three days and you think you do -"

"I know a lot more than you think, Max," she shook her head as a tiny bead of sweat dripped down her face. She couldn't remember ever having this heated an argument with anyone. "I know that you are... so scared of being alone," her jaw was trembling with each word that came out of her mouth. She didn't want to attack him like this, but the words just came.

"Being alone? I've been alone my entire life!!" he cried and at the same time that Liz wanted to retaliate, something inside her also caved in at his words. Something broke.

"And that's it - you don't want to be alone anymore," Liz inhaled a giant breath. She had known Max for barely three days. That thought triggered in her mind for a moment, but something else in her mind suppressed it as she said the next four words. "Max, I'm right here!" she pressed her hands against her chest. His stormy eyes flicked nervously about the room, focusing everywhere but on her. "I'm right here!" she repeated. "But if you're too much of a coward to face that..." she closed her eyes. "If you're just going to - to run, to just keep on -"

"Look who's talking about running!" he shot at her before she could finish.

"I'm not going to leave!" she shouted, stepping towards him, but again he backed up. God, why wouldn't he let her near him? "I made a mistake and I realize that I did, but I didn't leave, okay, I'm here." She attempted to move her hands to his face, and as he twisted his face away in protest she just persisted. "I sat outside the door, I didn't go anywhere," she lied, skipping over the part where she had gotten into a car and traveled four miles down the road before asking the driver to stop. "I was scared and I panicked, okay - I can admit that." His jaw was clinched shut and she knew his mind was working.

"There's things you don't know..." he murmured. More than she could ever imagine.

"Then tell me. Let me in, Max," she pleaded.

"I can't," he whispered, but he finally allowed her hand to caress his cheek gently. Not yet at least.

The first hour was slow, and it was evident that the two were trying to decide how exactly to go about this. Liz was sitting awkwardly in the passenger seat and Max's eyes hardly left the road. The exchange in the hotel room was still vivid in his mind, especially her words to him. Max, I'm right here! They kept sounding over and over and he tried to make sense of them. Was she doing what he thought she was? Was she agreeing what? He racked his mind trying to figure out what she had meant. She hardly knew a thing about him, yet she was agreeing to come with him to be his - to be his what? His partner, his girlfriend? Either one would be something new to him. And did this mean that he had to introduce her to Michael and Isabelle? Did this mean that they were going to spend every night together? God, that thought alone made him dizzy.

"When are we stopping for lunch?" Liz's voice suddenly broke the silence in the truck and Max's train of thought.

"What?" he lifted his eyes from the road for the first time in over an hour to look at her.

"Well, I mean - last night you said you were way ahead of schedule. Do you think, maybe we could stop for lunch somewhere?" Liz asked with a shrug of her shoulders. "I haven't had a meal since...well, since Canada," she laughed and Max was quick to nod his head.

"Yeah, yeah, of course we can stop," his voice cracked as he nodded his head vigorously. He looked to the side of the road where there was a sign for Wendy’s, McDonald's, and a Bob's Big Boy, none of which he could see seemed to appeal to Liz anymore than they did to him. "Whenever you find someplace you want to stop."

"I'll pay this time," she grinned and he could see the tiny metallic glimmer of her tongue ring.

"I don't mind paying," he shrugged his shoulders. He didn't mind paying at all as long as it meant her company.

"Two hotel rooms and breakfast - I'm paying, Max." Her no-nonsense voice quieted him and he relented. He actually still had yet to get used to her calling him his name and a chill went down his spine just hearing it sound from her lips. Not that he didn't like it; he loved hearing it. He could get used to hearing her voice every morning, seeing her as soon as he woke up. "What're you thinking about?" she asked before his daydreams could go any further.

"I'm thinking about..." his voice drifted off as he fought against what he wanted to say. That he was thinking about her. "I'm thinking about..." again his voice drifted off as he struggled to come up with some excuse. "Friendly's," he sputtered.


"I think there's a Friendly's coming up," he knew it was a lame excuse and he was looking at her from the corner of his eye to see if she had bought the fact that his mind was actually on food.

"That sound good for lunch?"

Max had been right, and there had indeed been a Friendly's twenty miles down the road. It was twenty miles of silence, just as lunch was nearly forty minutes of silence and he wondered to himself when this awkwardness would lift from them. From him really. She tried to make conversation, but something prevented him from furthering it. From talking to her, from turning this into something real. And deep down he knew he was afraid. More than he had ever been in the past three days, he was afraid of letting this become something real. Because now there was nothing stopping it except himself.

"I don't think there's anything in this world I love more than a Friendly's sundae," Liz suddenly professed as she dove her spoon into the mountain of whipped cream. "I remember the day Roswell got a Friendly's it was like the happiest day on earth," she laughed, biting the cherry off of its stem and looking to him.

"Yeah," was all he could utter. She stared at him long and hard then and leaned across the table.

"Come here," she mumbled softly as she motioned with her hand for him to inch across the table as well. He obediently did as she asked and as he stayed there and waited for her to whisper something to him, she gently pressed her lips up against his. The action caught him off-guard and he was slow to respond and as soon as he did she pulled away and scratched at his goatee playfully with her finger, continuing with her story about the Friendly's in Roswell. And for the rest of the meal he just sat there in wonder, contemplating how his life had come to this point: to sharing a sundae with a tongue-pierced hitchhiker from New Mexico whom he knew little about except for the fact that she liked to kiss him.

Even with the forty minute stop for lunch Max was still ahead of schedule and he had the option to push for Las Cruces before tomorrow morning or get some rest and finish the trip tomorrow. He told Liz the choice and all she did was shrug her shoulders.

"Do you want to see Midland?" he suddenly asked and the question caught him off-guard as much as it had surprised Liz. He wasn't sure why he had asked her, there was a sign a couple miles back for Midland and the thought had just struck him to show her his hometown. "And then we could just..." Max swallowed loudly and worked up the confidence to say his next remark, "you know spend the night there."

"Spend the night?" Liz raised her eyebrows and looked to Max, making more out of his suggestions than he intended.

"Well not like...unless you wanted - I just meant-" Max stumbled and Liz laughed at his behavior. The past few days he had been so calm and cool. When she had so freshly asked him if he had thought about sleeping with her he had shrugged it off and been so cavalier about it. Now all she had to do was say one word to make him hot under the collar.

"I'll see Midland," she shrugged her shoulders, changing the subject for poor Max. "But don't expect me to show you Roswell," she added and as tempted as Max was to ask her why, he was quiet, still recovering from his embarrassing blunder.

"Okay," was all he could say to her and it almost looked like she was expecting him to ask her further about it, but he didn't.

"I just - my parents don't know I was asked to leave NYU yet so..." she continued and he just nodded his head.

"Okay," he dismissed with a shrug of his shoulders.

"And, you know, I just don't want anyone to see me driving through town with some...sketchy trucker," she kept going and while he snapped his head up at the latter part of the comment, he just nodded his head and gave another quiet 'okay'. “Why are you being so weird?" she finally fired after more minutes of quiet followed.

"What? asking you if you want to see Midland?" he asked in perplexity.

"No, that's like the only thing you've said all day," she addressed what had been
bothering her all day. Max's face tightened at the remark. "You've been so weird since we left the hotel, what's going-"

“Nothing,” Max replied shortly, but she saw right through his weak reply.

“Seriously, what’s up with – ”

"You tell me," Max finished before she could. "I have no idea." And the mixture of anger and confusion in his voice made her silence any comments she was about to say in response. "You run out the door the past two nights -" she opened up her mouth to protest, but he continued before she could say anything. "-then you come back, pretend like nothing's happened and say you want to stay with me?!" He was struggling to keep control of the truck at this point as his hands flew off the wheel. "What the hell does that mean?" he turned to face her for the first time. "You don't even know me."

"But I want to know you, Max." Liz could hardly believe what she was saying. "Why do you think I've stayed here the past four days, why do you think I - I came back."

"Why did you?" he finally asked meekly, his voice calmer than it had been before. Weaker. "This is my life...I mean you said so yourself, I'm just a sketchy trucker, I -"

"Look I just said that to piss you off," Liz confessed, but he shook his head.

"You're right. I mean, I do - I..." he paused for a moment. "I don't have a place to go home to after this - after Las Cruces," he admitted with a defeated look. "I just...keep driving."

"You have to go somewhere - I mean the California license plate - you - "

"The company's based in northern California and there's this place...but it's not mine, I keep my car there sometimes, but-"

"Let's go there," she stated simply with a shrug of her shoulders.

"Go there," Max analyzed what she was saying.

"Yeah, until your next job we can just..." she looked over at him and curled her lips in a devilish smile just enough so he could see her tongue ring, "spend the night."

Liz's comment stayed with Max until they reached Midland. But once they passed the sign that put a smile on Max's face, he was at ease.

WELCOME TO MIDLAND - the tall city
Home of the State Champion AAAAA Rebels '98, '99, '00...

"Let's find a place to park," he said with a grin, and there was a giddiness about him that led Liz to believe it was his first trip back since graduating. He couldn't park the truck, couldn't help Liz to the ground quickly enough and he fumbled with the door locks and parking brake. "Want to see my high school?"

"Ummm...sure," Liz shrugged as they began down the road. Liz had heard mixed stories about Midland and she was never sure which story to believe considering she had never been there. Stories like Max told about what a working class town it was, then stories about how prosperous it was and what a great place to live. She was a little taken aback at the conditions she was walking by now. Max was right, it wasn't cornfields and star quarterbacks, it was a city and the section they were in now was a poor, very nondescript area. She actually felt the slightest bit uneasy as Max led her down a side street. "Where uh - where are we going - the sign said the high school's that way," she poked at Max, who actually seemed to fit in here with his dark baseball cap and goattee.

"Taking a detour," he dismissed nonchalantly and no sooner had he said it then he stopped in his tracks. "That's where I grew up," he sighed as he looked to a rundown three-story building across the street. Liz was silent, and glad now more than ever that she wasn't showing him where she had grown up. She'd feel like the spoiled little rich girl compared to this. "It's not really as bad as it looks, I just..." he scratched his head and looked down to the cracked sidewalk, "- wanted to show you." He shoved his hands into his pockets. "We can go, I just - you know, I..."

"Yeah," Liz just nodded her head in understanding. And both were quiet. Was it possible that for the first time since he had picked her up in Massachusetts that they weren't exchanging insults or biting comments? They weren’t interrogating each other or giving the third degree?

"It's not as bad as it looks," Max repeated and Liz just laughed.

"Yeah, it has to be pretty good if it put up with you for eighteen years," she elbowed him in the chest.

"Ye-ah," he stretched out the word and laughed dryly then continued walking towards the high school. He stopped along the way to show her where he had once played Little League and the bus stop where he had used to take the bus to work every afternoon. By the time they arrived at Midland Lee High School Liz's head was full of more stories about Max's childhood and teenage years than she cared to know - including the spot of his very first French kiss and the place where his nose had bled for an hour after being smashed in the nose with a line drive.

Midland Lee was an enormous school compared to West Roswell and the football spirit was everywhere despite the fact that it was basketball season. Everything proclaimed the Rebels and all their athletic - mainly football - achievements and the schools past glories hung where no one could miss them.

"Those are my two championship teams," Max motioned to two team pictures behind the glass showcase.

"Where are you?" Liz strained her eyes to find Max's visage among the maroon and white uniforms.

"Oh, you probably can't see me - I was kinda small then," he dismissed.

"Like you aren't now," she laughed, looking at Max's 6'0 stature.

"I'm not that small," he mumbled indignantly.

"You couldn't have been that small then either," Liz looked harder at the display case. "You didn't say you were an All American," she eyed his name on an All-America plaque.

"Yeah, I had a lot of picks that year," he seemed to be going someplace else as he looked over all the pictures and names. Liz just kept quiet as his eyes scanned over them all and he mumbled to himself about where all the former teammates were now playing.

"What do they think about you...not playing?" she asked boldly. He heard what she had asked loud and clear, Liz knew he had, but he didn't respond. "What do they think about-" she started to repeat herself, but Max turned his back on the glass and on her.

"Nothin'," he murmured.

"What? Max - "

"Nothin', just drop it!" he snapped.

"What is with you?" Liz laughed at how quickly he had changed moods.

"What's with you?" he fired back. "You're one to talk, at least I showed you my high school!"

"Max, I told you why I'm not taking you to Roswell," Liz rolled her eyes. "If people see me with some random -"

"Right, you think I want people to see me with you?" he spit right back at her and the comment stung no matter how much Liz wanted to pretend it didn't. What was happening to her? Days ago that comment wouldn't have bothered her. "I thought maybe if I..." he began to say something but dismissed the thought and just shook his head.

"What?" Liz prodded at him.

"Nothing, forget about it," Max just laughed and started walking for the exit.

"No, you were going to say something - say it. You thought what?" she demanded.

"I thought to myself..." Max turned to face her and she saw his eyes darken. "What on earth am I doing with you?"

"That's not what you were going to say," Liz just laughed it off and followed after him. She bothered him the entire way back to his truck, trying to get him to reveal what he had begun to say but he refused to tell her. He refused to tell her because it was a stupid thing to say. It was stupid to even think about prying into her life when he had so many secrets he had yet to tell her. So many secrets that she wasn't even bothering him about. "So we're just going straight to Las Cruces?" Liz asked looking at the clock that read 8:08 PM.

"Nah, I think I'll make a detour through Roswell," Max stated coolly and he saw her face go ashen at the comment.

"No, you're not," she just laughed at the idea.

"Yeah, I am. I've never been to Roswell. I'd like to see it," he said calmly as he made his way onto interstate 20.

"No, you're not," she stated again, worried as he switched into the right lane. "You're not going to Roswell," she gave a worried look to a road sign that gave mileage to Roswell. They were less than four hours away.

"Make me."

"Oh, I'll make you," she laughed though she managed not to crack a smile. "Max, I don't know if you're kidding, but I'm serious - don't go to Roswell," she warned.

"What'll you do if I go?"

"Let's just say you'll be sleeping in the truck a lot of nights," she laughed and finally they both smiled and the heaviness that had been present between them since the high school finally cleared away. He paused a moment before asking his next question. Careful to put it in as non-threatening and friendly a manner as he could so she wouldn't snap at him. Taking a deep breath he turned his head to look at Liz and the seven piercings in her ears and the tiny hoop above her eye, at the faded old jean jacket she was curled up in over in the passenger seat. The jacket that belonged to him. And he asked her the question he had wanted to ask for days.

"What's so bad about Roswell?"

"Some other time, Max," she murmured sleepily, closing her eyes as she leaned back against the window. "Some other time."

"Yeah," Max sighed with one hand on the steering wheel and the other hanging out the window as the warm desert air whipped against his face. Like he actually expected her to answer. Like he actually expected her to tell him anything about her life. Recognizing her desire to sleep as she wadded up his jacket and rested her head against the window, Max flicked off the radio and focused back on the road. Who was he to press her for details when he still had so many skeletons in his closet?

She was out like a light in no time at all and the three-hour drive to Las Cruces passed in complete silence. He kept looking over at her during the drive, no matter how hard he tried not to. She looked so peaceful all curled up in the passenger seat; he felt bad at what she was getting herself into. Her words from the hotel room echoed in his head. I want to know you, let me in. He couldn't. It wouldn't be fair to her to let her in, to let her into his life. Even though things had been pretty calm recently, Max knew it was only a matter of time. He hadn't had to run for quite some time, though he knew that was probably because he had hardly stopped moving the past two months. He knew from experience that it was only a matter of time before they caught up.

Max took extra special care not to disturb her as they arrived at Las Cruces and a Roadside Motel. With all the thoughts dancing around in his head, he tried his hardest not to disturb her as he carried her to the bed and tucked her in. Only when he had tried to remove his jean jacket from around her did she stir. Letting it remain there he took a seat in the armchair next to the window and planned out the next few days like he always had to do. Except since he picked up Liz he seemed to forget that, seemed to forget that he wasn't at all who Liz thought he was. Just some sketchy former football star, a college dropout who took to life on the road. Was that really what she thought of him? He looked over at her peaceful form beneath the sheets. God, he hadn't realized just how tiny she was. She looked so small and fragile when she was asleep.

Shaking his head, Max brought himself back to the task at hand. He would finalize the delivery tomorrow, but then what was he supposed to do? The sheets rustled and Liz shifted slightly in the bed. What were they supposed to do?

"What are you thinking about?" her voice suddenly filled the room, jerking Max's head up.

"Shhh - go back to sleep," he murmured, looking back out the window.

"What're you doing over there?" she sat up, sleepily looking around the hotel room she didn't even remember entering. The last thing she remembered they had been pulling out of Midland. Putting the pieces together she looked to Max. "We're in Las Cruces?" He just nodded his head. "Thanks for…" she rubbed her eyes, but Max just shook his head.

"No problem. Just get some sleep," he insisted.

"Where are we going tomorrow?" she asked curiously.

"I don't know," Max sighed.

"Well, aren't we going to that place," she yawned, stretching out across the bed, "-in California or Oregon or whatever - "

"Yeah, yeah, we can do that," Max mumbled again, remaining in the chair.

"What are you doing over there?" Liz asked again, a smile creeping up on her face.

"Nothing," he insisted.

"Get some sleep," Liz patted the empty mattress next to her.

"Yeah, in a bit...I'm just...thinking."

"Don't think so much, Max," she yawned before dropping back down onto the pillow and drifting back off to sleep. If only it were that easy, Max thought. He always had to be thinking, always had to be a step ahead. More than a step ahead, that's what he had spent the past year and a half doing. That's what Lucas Duchaigne was about. Being a few steps ahead. That's why Michael and Isabelle were living on a remote fishing island off the coast of Canada. Being a few steps ahead. She could never know that, but as long as he stayed a few steps ahead, they would be okay.

He slept soundly, well past when Liz woke up, proving all too well how much he had needed that sleep. Liz was perfectly content just to watch him sleep and when his eyes finally fluttered open, she was staring right at him with a peaceful smile.

"Morning, sleepy," she gently brushed the hair off his forehead. "I got you some coffee, but it's probably cold by now."

"Thanks," Max replied groggily. "What time is it?"

"Little past eleven."

"What?" he exclaimed, suddenly springing to life. "I need to get the delivery in by twelve!" he jumped out of bed. "Why didn't you wake me up?"

"I didn't know!" Liz sat up defensively. Max just shook his head and tried to get his things together as quickly as possible. "You know," She bit her lip and hugged her knees to her chest. "That was the first time I've ever...just slept with a guy," she confessed, but Max couldn't care less.

"Congratulations," he huffed, jerking on his pants. Liz remained in bed, trying to pretend she wasn't hurt by his abruptness. "Let's go," he grabbed his keys and headed for the door. Liz was still sitting up in the bed with her knees hugged to her chest.

"I haven't even showered," she could hardly understand why he was being so short.

"You'll have to shower later, hurry up."

"What's the matter with you?"

"Nothing – I just have to get this delivery in, let's go."

"You have plenty of time," Liz glanced at her watch, "what is your deal-"

"We have to go," Max insisted again and Liz slowly made her way out of the bed. The slightest bit hurt by his reaction to her personal confession, she wasn't exactly speedy as she gathered up her things and changed clothes. "You better brush your teeth," she told him as she took her sweet time doing just that.

"Liz - "

"I cannot deal with morning breath," she informed him and before she could even dry her face, Max grabbed her bags and her hand and pulled her out the door.

It had been a test. The twelve o'clock delivery had been real, but the urgency at leaving the motel and getting on the road had been a test. A test to see how quickly she could gather her things and leave, no questions asked. Because leaving at the slightest sense of something askew was Max's life. And whether she was willing to or not, she had already gotten herself involved in that. But right now she was just confused and staring lifelessly out the window as they blazed through Nevada.

"Look, I'm sorry about this morning," he broke the stale silence in the cab. "I just don't like to be late, but I'm -I'm sorry." She slowly turned her head to him.

"You're such a schizo," was all she said, glaring at him. "One minute you're tucking me in bed, the next you're yelling at me, then you look like a - lost puppy, then you're a complete prick - and the whole Lucas Duchaigne/Max Evans thing is just -"

"Yeah, I guess I owe you an explanation about that, huh?"

"Yeah, I'd say," she crossed her arms, but Max just sighed.

"Some other time," he murmured, echoing her response the other day when he had worked up the nerve to ask her about Roswell, proving that things were hardly normal as long as so many secrets still existed between them.

It was a slower drive than it should have been through to the California/Oregon border. Or at least it felt longer. Max was hardly relieved to pull down the familiar gravel driveway, but at least when he was driving she slept. Curled up in the corner, always with his jean jacket around her. Just looking at her peacefully resting he knew he couldn't tell her. Telling her would put her in a world of risk. When he'd picked her up off I-95 she had been a seemingly carefree, independent girl. He could see she was changing from that though every day she spent with him. Comments that he made hurt her more than they would have days ago and she was hardly so quick to insult him.

"This is it," Max parked the rig in a large gravel pit next to the enormous garage. Liz looked around at the peculiar setup nestled in the woods. The gravel pit where another rig was also parked was behind a quaint little two-story cottage and the garage looked more like it belonged in downtown New York than it did nestled in the woods.

"What is this place?" Liz asked as Max helped her down from the truck. The days of no sleep were finally beginning to catch up to her and although the sun was beaming down through the trees and it was about four o'clock in the afternoon she rubbed her eyes.

"It's a company place," Max shrugged. "Guys leave their rigs, take their cars between jobs and the house is for - "

"So someone's here now?" Liz looked at the other rig.

"No," Max laughed. "Most guys just take their cars and go, they blow their money or go to their family, I just -"

"I want to see your car!" Liz latched onto his arm in excitement, seeming to forget how tired she was and the hours of awkwardness in the truck.

"Alright, the cabin probably needs food anyway," Max walked to the dusty keypad on the side of the garage, punching numbers in as the door slowly opened. There were about four cars inside, some covered with tarps, some not and Liz looked around eagerly trying to figure out which one was Max's.

"Ooooh, is that it?" Liz looked at a beat up red Chevy pickup and Max just shook his head. "What about this?" she pulled the cover off a pale blue Caprice Classic.

"No way," Max laughed while Liz ran to an aging army green jeep.

"This is it, isn't it? I figured you for a jeep guy - "

"That's not it," Max walked to the corner and jerked off a tarp to reveal a sleek red Suzuki Katana 750.

"That's a motorcycle," Liz looked at him strangely.

"Yeah, I know," Max nodded his head, wiping off the seat.

"You said you had a car," she scrunched her face up at him.

"Car, bike, same thing," he shrugged. "You don't like it, I'll go to town myself," Max started to wheel it out of the garage, grabbing a helmet and dusting it off. Liz watched as he straddled the bike and pulled on the helmet. Things just got more and more fascinating with Max it seemed. A motorcycle definitely made him more interesting.

"Wait!" she grabbed his arm before he could start the bike. "I’ve never been on a bike before," a tiny smile came across her face and Max actually laughed.

"You've never been on a motorcycle?" he flipped up his visor. "I find that hard to believe."

"I swear I never have," Liz fidgeted nervously as she eyed the bike carefully. There was room for two. Max smiled and handed her a helmet from the shelf behind them. "Hold on."

What began as a simple trip to pick up groceries turned into much more. Liz didn't really know what
to expect. She had been on a snowmobile once back in a ski trip in the tenth grade, but that didn't even compare. And all the people she'd ever seen on the back of a bike seemed to be relaxed as they comfortably held onto the driver's waist. With Max's streamlined bike he was leaning forward so much that she had far from a loose grip around his waist. She was pressed tightly against him and firmly gripping his whole body. Though she vowed to never admit it to Max, in the beginning she had been the slightest bit scared just plopped onto the back there holding onto him. So she held Max so closely, but the tighter she held him the faster he would go.

He sped through the forest, past horse pastures and gurgling brooks, right through the tiny town of New Pine Creek, right past the grocery store and back into the countryside. It was the most exhilarating experience of her life and after an hour of cruising with no stop at the store yet, he finally slowed to a halt and they collapsed into a field. Liz's chest was heaving as she all but tumbled off the back of Max's bike.

" so don't have a car," she heaved, looking over at him from her spot in the grass.

"You like it?" Max laughed, climbing off the bike and laying down next to her and Liz could only nod her head.

"Except when you were trying to scare me in the beginning," she turned her head to him and pushed him with her foot.

"I wasn't trying to scare you," he tried to pretend, but he had never been much of a liar.

"Right, you just wanted to take those turns as low as you possibly could for the fun of it," she poked him again with her foot.

"I don't know what you're talking about," he lowered his back down into the grass and Liz wiggled over to him and placed her mouth over his. Her head still spun when she thought about it. If someone had told her a week ago that she would be lying in a field somewhere in Oregon with a tall, dark and handsome young man she had an uncanny attraction towards she would never have believed it. Max’s mouth came alive against hers in the way that made her head spin and as he moved his arms around her she moved for his pants. He withdrew sharply.

"What?" Liz asked her voice full of confusion, moving for him again.

"No, we can't," he told her breathlessly.

"Why, Max, I - "

"I don't know what could happen," he confessed honestly another of the many things he had spent last night thinking about. What could happen to her as a result of their union a third time.

"What do you mean, I'm... I have something - " she reached into her purse.

"No, it's - I just don't know what - "

"Why, do you keep saying that? what, Max, do you have a... is something - are you sick?" Liz's face turned ashen at the thought.

"No, it's just," he faltered, trying to figure how to get out of this. Beads of sweat formed on his brow. "I just - I don't know. I mean…I want to, but I don't - "

"What's the matter?" she sat up and crossed her legs beneath her, as if to tell him she was ready to be serious. She was ready to talk to him about whatever was wrong. Max remained down in the grass, looking about as miserable as Liz imagined a person could look.

"I just can't," he mumbled and Liz fought off the urge to ask him further.

"Well, I mean I kind of just liked sleeping with you the other night," she picked at the grass in front of her and though she was telling the truth, she hardly seemed pleased about the prospect that lay in front of them.

"Yeah," Max mumbled sounding none too pleased either.

"Does this mean like…ever?" she asked, not all that willing to be chaste the rest of her life. Not all that willing considering the memories still vivid in her mind of the two nights with Max.

"I don't know," Max looked to her and finally laughed. "I hope not."

And then Max found they were living together in the little cottage supplied by the B-Right Trucking Company. They spent ever day and night together. She prepared breakfast and dinner and went about cleaning the cottage, draped in one of his t-shirts, cuddling up to him comfortably, but the next moment interrogating him about his second identity. It was the most peculiar three days of his life and thinking about how it all started, it was the strangest and most peculiar week of his life. More often than not her actions and words just confused him. Like informing him how she used to be a waitress and the next moment saying how she had never actually held a job of her own before; telling him how she hardly knew him and had yet to tell him anything truly private, but revealing mere moments before the time, place and person to whom she'd lost her virginity; telling him she preferred brunettes over blondes, then telling him he wasn't her type at all. But as strange as her manner was around the cottage, as much as they could fight and argue about the secrets both of them kept, every afternoon they spent together on his bike. Eventually he even let her drive it for a bit. Things were going about as well as they could, although Max's confession in the field made for some frustrating nights between them.

And then Max overheard the news that he was no longer a step ahead and that men claiming to be FBI were in town.

He had all but choked on his burger as he overheard the talk at the counter. He had gulped down the rest of his food then and impatiently waited for Liz to finish hers, then he had put the Oregon State hat back low on his, pulled it far down over his eyes and taken her hand.

"We have to go."

"What's the rush? We haven't even p-" but Max slapped down a twenty before she could finish.

"That's a big tip for a ten dollar meal," she commented, but Max just sighed and looked around warily.

"They deserve it."

The entire ride back to the cottage Max was thinking. Thinking about how they had found him out, but more importantly how Liz would react when he told her they had to leave. It's what his test had been for before, but the test hadn't gone so well and he'd even had something to go on then. He didn't even stop the bike, he told Liz to gather her things together and to grab his always-packed duffel because they had to go.

"What like an overnight?" she laughed in confusion.

"No, we're leaving."

"What are you talking about? I'm not going anywhere, I like it here," she laughed. She liked playing house here with Max. She liked pretending they were both normal.

"Look, we need to go, okay? Just get your stuff and -" Liz had never seen Max look so panicked before but that didn't stop her from arguing.

"What do you just say when and where I go? You have to do everything, I can't think for myself? You decide - "

"No, it's not like that! we just have to go -" Max looked behind, down the driveway worriedly.

"No, not until you tell me what's going -"

"Dammit, Liz!" Max turned off the bike and ran into the cottage to grab everything himself. "Why do you always have to talk about something - you can never just do it!"

"No, not if you don't tell me why!"

"We just have to leave, it's not safe to stay here," Max grabbed her last articles of clothing littered around the floor and threw them into her bag.

"Stop, Max, I'm not going anywhere, you're acting crazy."

"I'm not crazy, just trust me," his panicked eyes finally settled on her. "Just trust me, let's go," taking her hand Max raced back to the bike and climbed on then cussed loudly and got back up, running to the truck and grabbing a handful of papers from the glove compartment and a pocket knife then racing back to Liz and the bike. "Say goodbye, 'cos we're not coming back," he told her as he put down the visor of his helmet and the bike roared to life.

Zipping away down back roads before reaching the interstate, it felt oddly like Liz to a getaway. As they stopped at a traffic light Max lifted up his visor and motioned for her to do the same.

"Where do you want to go?"


"Where's the one place you've always wanted to go?" he asked as the light turned green.

"I don't know, the moon, what are you talking about?"

"Fine," Max shrugged, slapping down his visor and continuing on. And Liz had hours to figure out what Max was talking about, but for the time being all she could do was hold him.
Last edited by kippy on Mon May 25, 2009 4:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by kippy » Mon Sep 13, 2004 3:45 pm

Where were they going? More importantly why were they going? She clung to Max as he drove faster than he ever had before. He definitely seemed to have a destination in mind. He was driving somewhere she could tell, he seemed to be on a mission. But this was an ungodly amount of time to spend on a bike, to spend holding onto Max, not that she didn't love having her arms around him. But it was too much and she squeezed him somewhere in the woods of whatever state they were in to let him know.

"What's the matter?" he flipped up his visor pulling over to the side of the stretch of highway.

"I'm tired, Max," she sighed.

"You want to drive for a while?" he proposed innocently.

"No, Max. I want to take a break," she told him honestly.

"We can't take a break, not for a couple of hours," he looked behind at the open stretch of highway nervously.

"Why not? We can just - just rest over here for a bit," Liz looked off into the woods. "No one will see us, I promise."

"Liz, no. Trust me, we have to keep going for a bit more - here, you drive," he suggested.

"I don't know where I'm going,' she moaned as Max stood up and Liz slid forward in the seat.

"It's okay, we can just go straight for a while on this road."

"Like, there's any other direction to go," she rolled her eyes at the stretch of highway that seemed endless. It felt like they'd been driving on it forever. "Max, where are we??"

"Montana," he assured her as he threaded his arms around her body and she tried to pretend like she wasn't affected by his touch. What the hell were they doing in Montana? "Max -" she started to protest, and he propped his head on her shoulder.

"Can you hold up for a couple more hours?" he asked and with both their visors up she could feel his breath hot on her cheek. Max didn't know why he was asking her. Whether she could or not they would keep going.

"Yeah," she sighed, turning her head around to face him. "Are you going to tell me what this is all about?" Max lifted his feet off the ground and tightened his grip around her waist, signaling her to get moving.


Darkness fell and Max made her keep going. No signs of civilization not even another car passed by on the bleak stretch of highway. Eventually Liz got off and made Max drive some more.

"I thought you said we were almost there," she whimpered as she stepped off to let him slide to the front.

"We are," he assured, reaching around to rub her thigh. He knew she had to be cold. It was chillier than he expected and a black cloud had been following them the entire time, threatening rain. And just when Liz was beginning to think Max really had no destination in mind, just when she was considering making him stop for a real interrogation about what all this was about she detected a building on the horizon and he started to slow down. And peering over his right shoulder she saw a sign that just made her laugh.


For a town with a population of one hundred and one, Moon had a nice little downtown. There was a rundown little gas station, a general store, a barbershop and a little diner a big neon sign designated as The Moon. There weren't many people in 'town' as it was close to eight thirty, but a man filling up his pickup truck could only look strangely as the two on the motorcycle pulled up to The Moon. He made no effort to stop staring and neither did anyone inside the little diner.
The entire town of Moon must have been inside because there wasn't a seat open for Max and Liz, but they hardly seemed to mind.

"You are unbelievable," she laughed, tugging on his arm as they waited for a booth to open for them, doing her best to ignore the stares. "How did you even know this place existed?" She found it unbelievable that from her errant comment back in Oregon about going to the moon he had been able to get her here.

"I've passed through a couple times making deliveries to Helena," he shrugged and she just shook her head in disbelief.

"You are all over the place, huh?" she turned to face him, tugging him towards her by his belt loop. "Canada, New Mexico, Texas, Montana..." her voice drifted as she captured his lips briefly. It was exactly what she had always wanted. In the past week she had gone from Massachusetts to Canada to Texas, California, Oregon and now Montana.

"Yeah," Max hardly sounded thrilled about it. If only she knew why he was so all over the place. She kissed him again just as a waitress stepped over to the two of them.

"Is it just the two of y'all?" the women asked, chomping on gum as she looked at the two of them; at the boy with the black hat and motorcycle and the girl with the eyebrow ring, apparent tongue ring and ears full of hoops. People like them didn't pass through Moon too often.

"Yeah," Liz pulled Max forward and the two of them followed the waitress to a little booth conveniently located where customers in the diner could gape at them some more. "Is it me or do you get the feeling we're being looked at?"

"Well, you don't exactly blend," Max laughed as Liz's hand went up to the stud way up on her ear with a smile. Max could see through the front window a group of teenagers eyeing his motorcycle curiously. "They better not touch it," he murmured and no sooner had he said it then a small kid no more than eight jumped on the back of it. Max rolled his eyes and got to his feet, but knowing perfectly well what it was like to grow up in a small town and be enamored by every single unique stranger that passed through, Liz grabbed his arm.

"Let them go, Max, they're not going to do anything," she assured him, but his eyes looked uncertain.

"It costs a helluva lot to fix, they better not," he sipped his water and Liz looked at the sleek, red motorcycle curiously.

"How long have you had it?"

"Little over a year." He seemed to be going over the time in his head. Had it really only been that long? It seemed so much longer.

"What did you have before?" she inquired and Max told her a black Ford Bronco that had been totaled in a crash up at Oregon State. And then she asked what it had been like at the university, what his roommate had been like, what classes he had taken. He quickly turned the tables on her and much to his surprise, she answered them. Dinner at The Moon was over before they both knew and the kids scattered as they made their way back to the bike. The conversation didn't stop though. Liz learned quickly his motorcycle could go off road too and once they reached the farms on the outskirts of town, Max turned down one of the dusty dirt roads. Plopping the motorcycle against a giant haystack, they continued to talk as they walked down the road and through the pastureland of a Moon resident.

"So what's the deal with the running from the law?" Liz asked suddenly, straying away from the relatively innocent conversation and climbing up on top of an old rickety stagecoach. "Or whatever it is you're running from? What are you like a felon?" Max couldn't help but notice that Liz didn't sound all that turned off by the prospect.

"No, no. I didn't - I'm not a criminal," he mumbled, tilting back his head and looking up at the stars overhead. "I never broke the law."

"So what? Why?"

Max just sighed and looked over at Liz. At Liz who, for some reason, was still here with him. Here goes nothing. What did he have to lose? Where was she going to go? The town of Moon didn't even have a police station.

"I'm uh - I'm not really from Midland, Liz - I'm ...The reason I don't have parents is because...."

"What?" Liz edged closer to him, desperate for the confession she had been seeking the past week.

"I'm an alien," Max shrugged his shoulders and awaited her response. He expected a scream, maybe some serious denial, or for her to run. But when he looked over at Liz, all he saw was her doubled over in laughter.

"Funny, Max," she looked at him with a broad smile, still clutching her sides with laughter. "That's funny...I thought you were really going to tell me."

"Yeah," Max just joined in the laughter, laughing at himself for actually thinking she'd believe him.

"Pretty funny," she leaned against his shoulder and joined him in looking up at the stars. "Aliens..." Liz chuckled, lying down on her back. "I've had enough of aliens to last the rest of my life."

"Yeah, Roswell," he sighed, joining her on his back, and Liz just laughed some more.


Eight-year-old Chester McMillan wasn’t sure what to make of the two people asleep in his backyard. He had spotted the motorcycle first, the same one that he had climbed onto last night after dinner, there in the field behind his house, partially hidden beneath the hay. It was just calling to him, saying 'Chester, get on me', just like it had last night. So, taking care not to disturb the strangers fast asleep in each other’s arms, Chester cleared the hay off the motorcycle and struggled to stand it upright.

"Dammit, Chester, what the hell are you doing?" a voice suddenly bellowed from behind the barn.

"Shhh!!" Chester quieted down his older brother, Robbie, as he struggled with the motorcycle some more. "Look, I'm going to ride in the Indy 500!!" the boy exclaimed as he managed to plop on top of the bike again.

"Indy 500's for cars, dufus," the elder boy yelled at his brother. "Now get down off that, where'd you get it?"

"It's the two people from The Moon," the boy motioned from his perch on top of the motorcycle to the guy and girl asleep right around the haystack.

"What the hell you talking about Chester? What people?"

"The girl with the…" the eight-year-old motioned with his grubby little hands to his eyebrow. The older boy just grabbed the boy, six years his junior, by the collar.

"You idiot, Chester! They're squatters, get back in the house…" He attempted to haul the curious little boy back to the farmhouse, the slightest bit wary of the two young people everyone in the town already had labeled as heavy drug users, criminals and renegades.

A bundle of fur suddenly came flying at the two brothers and Robbie relinquished his grip on his little brother to quiet down the black and white Border collie. The dog ignored the two boys and headed straight for the haystack.

"Otto, no! Otto, come back!" Robbie whispered to get the dog back, trying desperately not to awake the two shady characters who had just happened to choose his family's backyard as a place to stay for the night.

"What the - " the girl awoke first and Robbie froze, clamping his hand over his little brother's mouth. It appeared to Robbie like the girl needed to take a moment to realize her surroundings – figure out where she was, why she was here, whom she was with. Then something seemed to click in her mind. Not the dog barking furiously right in front of her, but the absence of something else. "Max," she started shaking her companion in an attempt to rouse him from sleep. "Max, wake up! Wake up, the bike's gone!" The dark-haired boy with the goatee slowly opened up his eyes.

"What?" he grunted as he propped himself up on his elbows.

"Your bike! didn't you leave it right there?" the girl with the eyebrow ring grabbed at her partner. "It's gone, how the hell are we gonna get out of here?" No sooner were the words out of her mouth then whispers and a loud crash suddenly sounded and Max sprang to his feet.

"What the hell's going on?" Any signs of sleep suddenly seemed to fade away.

"I told you, your bike - " Liz started to inform him again and Max just motioned for her to be silent.

"Stay here." He ordered protectively, slowly making his way to where his bike was collapsed out in the open, far from where he had hid it last night. He took a few steps towards it and stopped in his tracks, listening carefully then peering to the large building to his right, where the two boys were huddled in fear, eyes clinched shut in anticipation of what was to come. Slowly and silently, Max crept around to the shed.

"What are you doing?" he finally demanded and both boys screamed loudly as he jerked them to their feet.

"We didn't mean to I swear, he just liked it and – we weren't trying to take it, I swear!" the older one cried out and if Max didn't know any better he would have thought the boy was about to cry.
"We were just going in for breakfast, please don't hurt us!" Max had never seen anyone so terrified before. God, it looked like the kid was about to piss himself.

"Relax," Max released them both and turned around to Liz, who had crept out from behind the haystack to investigate the situation. With the tiniest motion of his head, she was at his side with helmet, bag and jacket. "You live here?" he turned back to the two boys who were still watching in wonder as Liz took her seat on the bike behind him. Both boys just gave minute nods of the head and the bike roared to life. "Thanks for the haystack." And they were gone.

The town of Moon would talk about Max and Liz for years to come. Chester and Robbie would tell time and time again of their run-in that May morning with the Bonnie and Clyde duo. They still remembered vividly everything about them, the hard lines of the guy's face, the color of his eyes, how tall he was. And for Max that was the last thing he needed.

"Way to be all badass back there," Liz laughed as she and Max finally settled to a stop, well outside the town of Moon. "Thanks for the haystack," she imitated, but Max was too angry to respond to her comment.

"We never should have spent the night there," he jerked the helmet off and ran his hands through his hair.

"What's the big deal? You're the one who picked the damn haystack," Liz shrugged.

"I wouldn't have if I had known the house was right there," Max rubbed his eyes and Liz just laughed some more.

"What are you afraid they got a good look at you?" she teased, but the look on Max's face made the smile quickly drop from Liz's. There was a moment's quiet between them before she spoke again.

"You're really running from something, aren't you?" she was serious now, but he didn't nod his head; he didn't do anything. She pressed her body against his then, resting her chin on his shoulder and Max waited for the inevitable question to come. What are you running from or why are you running? But neither question came. Much like he had accepted her hesitancy to talk to him about Roswell, she seemed to have accepted that she would never learn his mystery. "Okay." Was all she said, her voice muffled into his shirt and he just started the bike up again. "Where we going?" she asked curiously.

"Corvallis," he seemed deep in thought, but Liz ignored it.

"Corvallis, isn't that in…isn't that in Oregon? Why do we want to go back to Oregon, we just came from there?" Liz asked in confusion. Oregon was the place they had fled from in such a hurry. Why on earth would they want to go back? Max just sighed loudly as he turned the bike back around. No more secrets. He couldn't do this anymore; there was no way he could.

"I have to show you something."

As much as Liz liked Max's motorcycle, she hated it for one very large reason. They couldn't talk. Not like they could in his truck before, and they couldn't listen to music. There was nothing occupying her mind except the thoughts swirling around about Max. About whatever he was doing, whatever he could possible be running from. All she could do was think about him as they rode on and on through miserable little town after miserable little town. Sometimes a McDonald's would pop up, maybe if they were lucky a Friendly's. For the most part though they all looked like replicas of Moon until they finally reached a stretch of outlet stores, mini malls and fast food.

By that point it was well into the day and the sun had already reached its high point in the sky and was on its descent. There were traffic lights and intersections; this was all out for Montana. Hell, it was the most civilization she'd seen in days. She wondered if they were in Oregon yet and looked around anxiously for any indications as to where they were as they puttered along between stoplights. She eyed a billboard up ahead with a big picture of what appeared to be a hawk and a baseball. What kind of bizarre state am I in? She wondered to herself and before she could read the writing on the billboard Max read it aloud.

"Missoula Osprey Baseball…cool," he nodded his head and Liz had to smile at the remark. He reminded her of her dad on road trips, thinking everything they passed from a cactus farm to a homegrown vegetable stand was incredible. "You want to see if they're playing a game?" he was surprisingly upbeat, his mood vastly different from his mood at the Friendly's they’d stopped at four counties back.

"I've never been to a baseball game," Liz shrugged her shoulders, not sounding all that enthused. "It's so…stupid and boring."

"Well, how do you know that if you've never gone?" Max turned around to face her just as the light turned.

"I don't want to go to a baseball game," she protested, but she knew it was a lost cause.

"We're going."

Liz wondered where Max kept pulling money out of his pocket – for hotels, for meals, now for a baseball game. She was honestly beginning to think he had his life savings with him wherever he went. Max seemed to be genuinely excited about the baseball game as they took their seats behind third base.

"This is kind of cool, huh?" he looked around at the rowdy Osprey fans, many decked out head to toe in support of the minor league baseball team.

"Yeah, I didn't think this many people lived in Montana," Liz replied deadpan and Max cocked his head.

"You don't think this is fun?" he inquired as if any negative answer would be unfathomable.

"I'm trying to contain my excitement," Liz responded and Max frowned.

"Do you want anything to eat?" he shrugged his shoulders as he looked at the vendors going up and down the aisles. "A hot dog or a Coke or something?"

"What is this your sad attempt at a date?"

"What?" Max was genuinely taken aback by her spiteful comment.

"Like some pathetic effort to make this normal between us…'cos it's just – it's so not -"

"I thought you didn't like normal?" he brought back her words from the hotel outside St. Louis and he could tell he'd caught her off guard with the comment. She didn't have her usual venom behind her response, not the same confidence or poise.

"I don't," she stated plainly, not entirely sure why she had just attacked Max. Max was pretty sure he knew why though. She was losing her edge. That bitterness and hostility that she seemed to have when she'd first gotten into his truck, it was fading fast. He had still seen hints and tiny glimpses of it back at the cabin in Oregon, but the façade that she seemed to have built up around her was peeling away and was practically gone. He knew he was so close to seeing the real Liz Parker, and he knew that for some reason that scared her. That's why she was biting back, with whatever weak attempt she could. Looking at her out of the corner of his eye, Max flagged down a hot dog vendor and shelled out the money for two.

"Here," he just handed it to her; ready for any comment she might throw at him, but she was silent. She didn't take it from him. She just slumped back against the plastic seat and focused her eyes ahead. On the first baseman, on anything but Max. It was like she couldn't make herself look at him. Was it anger or was it something else? Max couldn't help but wonder. He knew better than to ask what was wrong so he just set the hot dog down on her lap.

"I don't want it!" she shoved it off her lap and onto the ground. Max just folded his hands in his lap and gave up, focusing his eyes on the game. She'd talk when she wanted to; she'd clue him in whenever she wanted to.


He wondered how long the silence could last. Through nine innings of baseball and the thirty-minute trek to a hotel where they both could have a much-needed shower. He was ready for the quips and the jabs about his selection of hotel, maybe some wisecrack about how much fun she hadn't had at the baseball game, maybe an angry inquiry about what they were doing going back in Oregon. He wasn't ready for the silence though. And truth be told, he didn't know if he could deal with it.

"You can shower first, if you want," he offered, motioning towards the bathroom. Liz just remained on the bed. "If you're not going to I will," he got to his feet, but Liz remained silent.

It was the first real shower he'd had in days and he stayed in until his skin wrinkled and the bathroom resembled a sauna. When he returned back to the hotel room Liz was still sitting on the bed. Her legs were tucked into her chest now though and the TV was on. Drying his hair, Max peered around to see what she had on. It was some wildlife show that she had on mute. Max just continued on with his routine, pulling out a map and looking over what tomorrow held. "It should take like four hours to get to Corvallis, no more," he traced the route with his finger, not sure why he was telling her, knowing full well she wouldn't respond. She, of course didn't, and letting out a loud sigh, Max just folded up the map and prepared for a much-desired night of sleep in the twin bed Liz wasn't resting on. Something told him they certainly wouldn't be sharing a bed tonight.

"There's nothing bad about Roswell," she suddenly broke the silence, but now it was Max's turn to be silent. He just stood there, not turning around to face her, not doing anything. "There's nothing in Roswell," she shrugged and of all things let out a tiny laugh. "That's my secret." Max finally turned around to face her to see that she was backed up against the headboard now, still hugging her knees to her chest. She knew that didn't explain anything though and so she just laughed again.

"I've been acting like I've got some big conspiracy down there with the aliens or something, but…" her eyes were focused downward so she didn't see the brief flash in Max's eyes at her joke. "It's nothing like that…It's more that nothing happens in Roswell, no one changes, and no one tries to change. Everyone just seems content with…with nothing. There's these words…to this song that I listened to in the tenth grade and it just – it made me think. Why be happy just with…living, you know?" Max wasn't sure he did, this was hardly the confession he expected, and he remained silent.

"Why just follow out the path that's obvious? Why wait for something better instead of going out and trying to find it? I don't know how, but I know I want out…those are the words," Liz laughed, thinking back to when she'd made the decision that she wanted out. Not just of Roswell, but of her life.

"What's the name of the song?" Max finally asked.

"Clarity," she said the word like it was holy or something. "By Jimmy Eat World...and that's what it gave me, you know – it just made things so clear. The life I wanted and the life I didn't, the life I wanted to stay away from."

"That's why you don't want to go back to Roswell," he said the words slowly, trying to make sense of this enigma of a girl.

"I don't want to remember what I was there," she shrugged.

"What's that? Smart, valedictorian-type, dating the football quarterback, always listens to her parents, never hitchhikes?" he raised his eyebrows.

"No, it's not just what I was, Max!" she threw back her head. "It's like I was settling for something that I realized I didn't really want – you know, I wanted more."

"So you went to New York." The pieces started to come together for him and she just nodded her head furiously. "But New York wasn't what I thought…I mean the people were, they were – some of them were kind of out there, did what they wanted, but they still seemed to just…" she lolled back her head and collapsed on the bed, apparently emotionally drained from revealing so much. "And then you came along."

"Me?" Max sounded like that was the most absurd thing he'd ever heard.

"You're just…" Liz sat up suddenly on the bed. So much for being spent, she was practically glowing now; her eyes sparkled like Max hadn't ever seen them. "You make your own rules, you just…go anywhere," she waved her hand around enthusiastically.

"I go where my job takes me, I hate to disappoint you," he shrugged.

"You know that's a load of crap – you have that job for a reason, I know you do," she shook her head. "You put in to go to Canada to go see whoever that – Michael, whatever his name was." Max swallowed and looked around the room. "You're different, Max. You're different from anybody I've ever met before." Max's head spun as the words came from her mouth. "I don't know how or why, but you're…" she paused momentarily and just licked her lips. "You're what I've been looking for."

Liz waited in anticipation for Max to respond to her surprising confession, but minutes passed and he just sat there with a confused expression on his face. She wasn't sure why she had told Max everything, it was like once she started talking, and explaining herself to him she couldn’t stop and then that last part had popped out. Now she was wondering if she should have told him that last bit. That part about him. He just stood there. Liz tried to make sense of the expression on his face, wondering what was running through his mind. Wanting him to just say something.

"I think uh…" Max sat down on the bed and Liz listened alertly. "I think we just need to get to Corvallis," he mumbled. "Just get some sleep," he rubbed his face with his hand. She'd need sleep. What he showed her in Corvallis would change everything, but she had to know, keeping this from her was killing him. Last night in the stagecoach after his attempt at a confession, she had asked questions she hadn't asked Max before, questions like who Michael up in Canada was. When Max had responded "just a friend" and informed her that Michael used to play minor hockey up in Alberta she had laughed and inquired what stopped him.

"Wait, let me guess…knee injury," she answered her own question before Max could and Max didn't know what to say.

"Shoulder…actually," he had mumbled, though knee was what both he and Michael had agreed on. Liz knew something was amiss with Max. Max, who seemed in perfect shape and who seemed to have no trouble with his knee like he claimed he did from his football injury. Still she had just confessed that despite all his mysteriousness he was everything she had been searching for since she was sixteen. And Max just crawled into the empty bed in response and attempted to fall asleep.

"Please, just get some sleep," he told her. It would probably be the last peaceful night of sleep she would know. The last night she could sleep in a relative state of innocence. And when they woke up he just hurried on to Corvallis.

She had no idea what to expect there and had no idea what the town held until they passed a sign on the highway which read OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY next right.

"Max, why the heck are we going to your old school?" she asked as they pulled into visitor parking. He stuffed the Oregon State Beavers hat he'd had on back into his bag and pulled on the newly purchased Missoula Osprey hat. School was still in session, in fact it was probably finals week here and Liz had to wonder why Max was pulling her into the library.

"You'll see," he huffed as he dragged her up the stairs to the periodicals section.

"What are we looking up old friends of yours?" she queried.

"God, no," he actually laughed at the statement and Liz had to wonder why. Students were crammed into every single corner of the library and there were hardly any open tables. Max crouched down in the stacks and searched through old Corvallis Sentinels, back five months, six months, an entire year, back to November of what would have been Liz and Max’s sophomore years at college. She looked at him curiously, wondering what all this was about as he pulled out what he was looking for and carried it over to an empty desk nearby.

"What is all this??" she asked, but Max just pointed to the paper in front of him.


"What was that you?" Liz asked in confusion, but Max just pointed for her to read the article.

"Nicholas Denieri, a freshman defensive back and special teams player for the Oregon State Beavers collapsed at an- "

"Shhh!" a girl seated behind Max and Liz hushed as Liz read the article aloud.

"At an afternoon practice of reasons unknown. Coach Robert Lage said it was likely Denieri's collapse could be attributed to the strong heat wave that has passed through most of northern Oregon this fall," Liz paused to look up to Max, wondering what any of this had to do with him when she got her answer. "Fellow defensive back Max Evans, a sophomore out of Midland Lee High School (TX), helped revive Denieri though teammates were unable to explain how." Liz looked at Max in confusion. "So a player collapses from heat stroke and you help him out, what's the - "

"Keep reading," Max insisted as he plopped another newspaper down on the table in front of her.

This one was dated two days later. INVESTIGATION OF OSU PLAYER CONTINUES a small blurb in the corner read. This piqued Liz's interest a bit more.

"Authorities have continued their investigation of sophomore defensive back Max Evans and what his role in helping to revive teammate Nicholas Denieri at a practice Monday afternoon was. Players and coaches on the field at the time of Dinieri's collapse reported seeing Evans rush to his side, but no clear report follows from there," Liz paused for a moment and bit her lip, the words seemed to be haunting Max. He seemed to know the article word for word. Turning her attention back down to the article, she continued on. "Some maintain he performed CPR; still others seem to hold true to a celestial explanation claiming Evans merely placed his hand over the fallen freshman's chest and revitalized the boy. Local EMTs who rushed to the scene along with the trainer on duty have made an official statement saying Denieri's collapse was due only to fatigue, but players on the field insist Denieri went into some kind of pulmonary arrest. Evans, a two year member of the Beavers defensive unit, made dean's list twice in his first year at Corvallis and is expected to play in Saturday's Civil War game against in-state rival Oregon." Liz dropped the paper onto the table, not all that sure what to say in response to the article.

"He was just a kid," Max murmured. "Said he was the first one from his family to go to college, from this rinky-dink town and…" he looked up to and shrugged. " – and I knew that all too well. I just – I couldn't just let him die there…on the field. I - I had to - "

"Which report's true, Max?" Liz began to search frantically through the other papers Max had brought out, searching for another tiny blurb on the bottom to tell the next step in the story, but her face went white as she found it. She dropped the paper in her hands and just stared at the headline that covered the entire front page of the Corvallis Sentinel.


She couldn't read aloud, Liz found her breath was gone, as she looked at the picture that accompanied the headline. A picture of a black Ford Bronco, it's front end smashed and burned beyond recognition and next to it, a picture of Max. Smiling and happy, he looked so different from the Max sitting in front of Liz now. Not only was there no goatee, but he just seemed like a different person – carefree and upbeat in his shirt and tie. Students at Oregon State University, including members of the Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity (pictured above), mourn the loss of a loved member of their community. Another caption in the corner read, going along with a picture of shell-shocked college students laying flowers by a makeshift memorial in front of one of the campus buildings.

"I don't get it, Max…you're here…you're right here – what did you, you fake your own death?" Liz's voice came out a whisper and the thought alone made her grab onto the desk for support. She suddenly felt like she was going to pass out. This wasn't at all what she had expected. She thought, hell, she didn't know what she thought, but this…

"I had to," Max whispered, looking around carefully to make sure no one was eavesdropping. "I couldn't let – they'd already started coming after me," he could hardly get out the sentence and Liz just shook her head.

"What are you talking about – who is – why…"

"Hey you," Max suddenly called to a student in a backwards baseball cap walking by and he held up the newspaper article from last year. He knew that if Liz was struggling with everything in print, hearing it from a student's mouth would help her realize everything. "What do you know about this?" The boy seemed a bit caught off-guard, but he squinted his eyes to look at the article.

"Evans? That whole deal last year? What do you want to know?" the boy asked casually as if it were a casual and familiar topic of conversation.

"What uh – what happened?" Max asked, carefully keeping his hat pulled low over his eyes and his head down.

"What are you a first-year?" the boy asked with a laugh, as if it were inconceivable for Max not to know.

"I'm a transfer," Max shrugged and the boy just laughed and pulled up a chair.

"Her too?" he eyed Liz and Max just nodded his head

"Well, then I guess you gotta know about this, he’s become a campus legend," the boy chuckled.

"The deal with Max Evans was that uh – this one day…" the boy took a minute to fix his baseball cap and collect himself, trying to figure out where he should start. "He's on the football team, right? Practically like a straight A student." Liz's eyes flashed over to Max as the boy talked. "Or so I hear, you know – I was a freshman when all this shit went down. They're practicing one day and this kid, who actually lives in my building now, this kid like drops dead at practice one day, has a heart attack or something and Evans comes over and the kid's suddenly alright," the boy nods his head emphatically.

"Well, I heard he performed CPR," Max challenged the boy, who just shrugged his shoulders.

"Yeah, that's what some say…but a bunch of the kids still say he just leaned down over him, put his hand out and then there was, bam! Like, this flash of light or some shit like that and the kid's up," the boy's eyes were wide.

"So what he's like a…a healer or a saint or something?" Liz piped in suddenly and the boy’s smile suddenly vanished.

"Was," he looked down to the paper in front of them, the one with Max's smiling picture and the charred Ford Bronco. "Kids on the team said he always was kinda quiet," the boy shrugged his shoulders. "Pretty sad really, but it had this campus nuts for a while."


"FBI all over the place, man, they never found the body," the boy lowered his head.

"So…so what did the FBI do? I mean what did they finally conclude about the healing?" Liz asked, on the edge of her seat.

"Unexplained," the boy shrugged. "But let's just put it this way, you know what I’m saying – nine out of ten kids on this campus will tell you they believe in aliens."

"Aliens?" Liz said the words so loudly that everyone in a ten-foot radius turned around to look at her. "What makes them think he's an alien?" she asked, quieter this time.

"I don't know, that's just…hell, that's just what people think. I'll tell you though – some people say he's still alive, still out there," the boy widened his eyes and gazed up at the ceiling and Liz just laughed, beginning to think that this boy was pretty out there. He had seemed normal enough when Max had called him over. Max had his lead lowered now, reading over the article, avoiding any eye contact with the boy. "Every now and then we'll still get some FBI down here, asking questions about it…" the boy's voice drifted off and he got to his feet. "Anyway, that's the whole Evans deal," he extended his hand to Max and Liz then. "You know what, Phi Sigs are having a huge party tonight – Dead Man's Ball or something like that, you two should check it out if," he offered with a shrug and Max looked sick at the offer, though Liz's eyes lit up.

"Thanks," she shook his hand and inquired as to his name.

"Taylor," the boy fixed the cap on his head a third time.

"Lucas," Max extended his hand, but kept his head down, hoping Liz would follow his lead and not give her real name. She hesitated for a moment.

"Beth," she was slow to get out the word and Taylor, though a bit puzzled at the girl's hesitancy in giving her name, just nodded his head.

"Cool – hope I see you tonight, Beth," he flashed a smile to Liz, then looked to her companion, "and uh – Lucas." And Taylor went on his way. Max waited until he headed up the stairs before he turned to Liz and began putting away all the old newspapers.

"Gotta do better than Beth," he said curtly and Liz just stayed at the table and watched him file away the paper that chronicled his death.

"What was it like to fake your own death?" she whispered in amazement, still struggling with that concept.

"They'll put Elizabeth and Beth together in a second, you gotta make something completely different up," he ignored Liz flat out and continued putting the papers back. "I'll fix your ID tonight. Gotta make you from Wisconsin or something."

"Can I be twenty-one on my ID?" Liz suddenly perked up and Max just laughed for the first time in a while.

"Sure," he stood up from his crouched position in the stacks and looked back to her. “Don’t you turn twenty-one in like a month?” Liz just shrugged her shoulders in response and Max let out a short laugh again. "Come on, let's get outta here," he looked around at the library and Liz wondered what memories were haunting him here.

"You don't want to go to that party he just told us about?" Liz asked with a frown, "it'll be fun -"

"After what he just said? Are you kidding me?" Max honestly thought she was joking. "There's no way I'm going to the party; someone might recognize me." The statement actually made sense to Liz and she conceded, though not without some long faces to Max. It had been so long since she'd been to a college party. A fraternity party on a campus like this must be great. Max seemed all too eager to get off the campus as soon as possible though. Still, Liz gave him an imploring look one last time right before she took a seat behind him.

"Not even if you went in costume?"

Max's head was spinning that all that had just been revealed at the library seemed to bounce right off Liz. She was all set on going to this party, all too occupied with that to even ask Max another question past what it was like to fake his own death. She didn’t ask any further questions about the whole healing incident, nothing more about what had actually happened.

Max finally pulled off to the side of the road ten minutes outside Corvallis at a scenic overlook, unable to take it anymore.

"Don't you want to know?" he demanded, ripping off his helmet and climbing off the bike. "Aren't you going to say something?" he yelled and Liz just shrugged.

"Say what?” she climbed off the bike and looked out at the rolling farmland. "It all makes sense now…Lucas," she added, placing emphasis on the fake name, then turning her attention back to the farmland. How was she supposed to react to all that she had just learned?

"But you don't have any questions, you just..." Max sighed. "That's where it happened, where I did it," he turned his attention to the median across the way and Liz thought back to the picture of the totaled Ford Bronco, then looked to the shiny new median that stood out from it's old and weathered counterparts. "It was hard to do…to make it believable, like I'd been trapped inside," Max's eyes remained fixed on that shiny median. God, she didn't want to know all this. She wanted to know Max's secret, but did she really want to know about forming new identities and what it was like to fake your own death? She'd asked him at the library, but did she really want to know? Did she really want to get involved in all this?

"I'm going to go to that frat party tonight," Liz suddenly broke the silence and Max could hardly believe she was back on the damn party. She hadn't even taken a minute to ask Max about the alien thing. Hadn't even bothered to think about his confession back in the stagecoach in Moon. Hadn't bothered or hadn't wanted to? he wondered. Had he scared her off? Would he have been better off lying to her? After everything she had said last night, everything she had admitted to him, he'd gone and scared her off. The last thing he wanted to happen. "I really want you to come with me," she told him, sitting back down on the bike.

"I'll drive you there and I'll pick you back up whenever you want," Max sighed, seeming to be falling into the denial stage like Liz. Forget that he'd shown her anything. Forget that he'd told her anything. Forget that he was different from her. "Why do you want to go so bad?" he finally asked and Liz laughed.

"I just want to go to a party," she stated simply, but inside she was screaming. I just want to get drunk and forget about all this. I want to forget about your screwed up life and my screwed up life and how you've just made it even more bizarre. I want to forget about the aliens in Roswell. I want to forget that my parents don't know where I am, don't know that I've been kicked out of New York University for good, I want to forget about what it's like to fall asleep in your arms, I want to forget that as much as I want to leave sometimes the idea of being away from you terrifies me. Liz shrugged her shoulders. "I just want to go to a party."

Liz wasn't sure what Dead Man's Ball actually meant; she opted on going in all black, guessing that wearing black to anything with the word Dead was a good bet. Max remembered the Dead Man's Ball that the Phi Sigs had thrown his freshman year and was tempted to tell her that maybe going all alone wasn't a great idea as he dropped her off at the front of the frat house. He was tempted to see that if maybe he went in there with the hat over his eyes maybe people would be too drunk to look past his goatee and see who he really was. He was tempted more than Liz would ever know to trot up the steps after her and her backless black shirt and tight black pants. To be a normal twenty-one year old for once. He watched as two boys pulled Liz through the door in a drunken embrace. He watched through the window as they introduced her to person after person on their way to the keg. He was stupid to think that the Phi Sigs wouldn't take one look at her and all just try to maul her. They were a rowdy bunch, most of them. And just as Max got off the motorcycle and began to jog up the steps and follow after her, the president of the Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity appeared through the window and Max stopped dead in his tracks. Matt Keller, the one sane person in the Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity and Max's best friend.

Best friend was a strong term to use, but excluding Michael, Matt had been the closest friend he'd ever had. Max didn't really open up to anyone, he wasn't much of a partier, if not for his membership on the football team he probably would have just ended up being another of the thousands of faces at OSU. But for some reason, one Max could never figure out, Matt Keller liked him for that and he helped make Max Evans' name a fairly popular one on campus. Matt Keller was everything you thought of when you thought about the All-American kid. He hailed from an upscale community in Colorado, made good grades, would probably graduate with honors, he didn't smoke, didn't do drugs, liked to get good and drunk on the weekends, but that was about as bad as he got. He had had the same girlfriend all four years at OSU, assuming he was still with her now, and hadn't been known to cheat or even look at another girl much to all the undergraduate girls' dismay. He was everything Max was on the path to becoming. Max's hesitancy to hook up at parties led many people to believe that he was either gay or Mormon, but Matt Keller had just laughed. He had shrugged his shoulders. "It's cool that you're waiting for the right girl," Max distinctly remembered Matt telling him two weeks before Nicky Dinieri collapsed on the practice field and Max made the life-altering decision to help him.

Max felt his chest tighten as he stood there and looked in at Matt. He wished he could show Matt Liz. He'd certainly get a kick out of her. She's the girl you've been waiting for? Max could picture Matt laughing as he took one look at Liz and her tongue ring. His brief time as Matt's friend had been the only time in his life Max had ever felt normal. Comfortable with his life, secrets or no secrets. It had been the only time in his life he was relatively happy. Things were going well with Michael and Isabelle too. They were in Saskatoon, Alberta; Michael was having a moderately successful season playing junior hockey for the Saskatoon Blades. Isabelle was enrolled in a local school, as happy as she could be with the largest mall in America only a few hours away. But then Max had gone and changed everything for them all. Max looked back up to the window where Matt was still standing, to the house Liz was somewhere inside, then turned on his heel and headed off, a heavy feeling in his gut that Liz wasn't going to be calling him for a ride home.

Two hours later he was back in front of the fraternity house, standing where he had been before, looking in through a window, trying to catch a glimpse of Liz. Things were a little bizarre right now between them, but he couldn't just let her go. Let her go to this party, get drunk and let an equally drunken fraternity boy do whatever he pleased with her? This was Liz. The only person in the world right now other than Michael and Isabelle who knew that Max Evans was indeed alive and well.

"Hey, cutey, what are you doing just standing out here? Let's go inside!" a pack of girls suddenly charged up behind Max and before he knew what was happening he was being whisked into the fraternity house. He searched frantically for Matt or anyone else who knew who he was or would recognize his face. He thought he might have had a seminar or two with one of the girls who had ushered him through the door, the one dressed in a pair of hospital scrubs she'd obviously altered to make as provocative as possible and splattered with fake blood. Thankfully, she seemed to have done some pre-drinking and had no recollection of Max. His eyes scanned for Liz as he made his way through the kitchen and across the makeshift dance floor. He just nodded his head and told the boy who seemed to be under the impression that Max was in one of his economics class, that he didn't like the professor and was going to drop the class. He grabbed a beer when he passed the keg and tried to blend in as best he could. It had been a while since he'd done this.

And then he found Liz and Matt. Together. They were laughing and talking like they'd known each other for years and then bumping and grinding on the dance floor. Max could only stand there. If it had been anybody else, he would have put an end to it. He would have taken Liz away. But with Matt he couldn't. He just stood there and watched as Matt led her up the stairs to his room.
It's what she had wanted, right? To forget about everything, get drunk, hook up with someone, and forget about Max. But of all the people at the giant gathering, Liz had picked the wrong person. Because as she laid on the bed beneath the tall, strong, dark-haired man who had charmed her right up to his bedroom she spotted a picture on the dresser. Max. Non-goatee Max with a Rolling Rock in his hand and the stranger above her at his side.

"Who's that?" she asked suddenly, but there was no response. Scratch that, there was a response. There was his hand sliding her pants down to her ankles. "Wait – stop, who's that?" she faltered, "I – I know him."

The stranger lifted up his head to look at the picture and just sighed. "No, you don't."

"No I – I - "

"He's dead, you don't know him," his voice was angry, but not really angry with her. Liz just wriggled away from him and moved to the edge of the bed, looking at the photo. "You remember Max Evans and all that crap that happened last fall," he just followed suit, swinging his legs over the side of the bed, sounding so exhausted.

"Oh, yeah," Liz nodded her head. Max would be proud of her. She was doing a good job of pretending like she'd never seen Max before.

"He was a good friend of mine," Matt shrugged his shoulders and the comment literally knocked the wind out of Liz. "He was an awesome person," he looked hard at the picture. "Hardly ever pulled stuff like this, you know," he looked over at her, referring to their near hookup. "Got a raw deal," Matt looked at the picture with more sadness than Liz would have expected. Max had never talked about his friends up at school. Liz had just assumed he hadn't had many.

"Wasn't there all that stuff going around about how they never found the body?" she asked bluntly and Matt's eyes flashed with rage.

"Yeah, there was all that shit about him being an alien and stupid crap like that," he shook his head.

"They couldn't just let the kid be dead, you know? Had to drag up all that…bullshit." Liz just sat in silence as Matt just continued to stare intently at the picture taken only days before the crash. And the two just sat there on the edge of the bed in their underwear.

"I can't do this, you know," Liz turned to him and he just shook his head.

"Yeah, neither can I," he looked to the picture. Not after dragging up that memory. And his buzz was wearing off, now he'd have to go back downstairs and get another drink. "You want to head downstairs and get another beer?" he asked suddenly and Liz just nodded her head. Not so much to the offer about the beer, but to going downstairs. She had to get to a phone, she had to call Max and ask him about this good-looking young man who had apparently been a close friend. Both pulled their clothes back on, without so much as a hint of awkwardness and wandered out the door and back into the drunken orgy the party had probably already turned into by now.

Max saw her as she headed down the stairs behind the young man who used to be his best friend. He turned around before she could spot him and tried to make himself disappear in the crowd by the keg. She'd probably gotten exactly what she wanted. She had been going on almost an entire week without sex, which was probably some type of record for her.

Grabbing his beer, he gulped back half the cup before he could even make his way out of the mass of people. The party seemed to have migrated into this room and he spotted the girl in the slutty hospital scrubs and the group of girls who had dragged him into the frat house. Before he knew what was happening the one with the red hair walked up to him.

"Hey, cutey-who-was-standing-outside, come dance with me!" she slurred and for a moment Max was about to take her up on it. To go dance with her and hope Liz saw every second, but he wasn't like that no matter how much he tried to kid himself and he politely declined to the offer.

"What's the matter, not a fan of red heads?" a voice suddenly sounded.

"Nah, I just…I don't want to be a part of something I know she'll probably regret later on," Max responded without even looking beside him to see whom the voice belonged to.

"You remind me of a friend I used to have," the voice laughed and Max almost dropped his beer as he turned his head to look right at the face of the only person on this campus who truly missed his presence.

"Yeah?" his voice was shaky and he couldn't decide whether or not to excuse himself and leave now or stay here and talk. To the person he didn't expect to ever see again, nevertheless talk to.

"Yeah, I still remember the last night we hung out," Matt suddenly stated, scratching at his head thoughtfully and Max knew the memory he was going to focus on. It was a memory Max had often thought about too. "This, drunk-ass girl was practically begging him to go dance with her and he just – he wouldn't do it, ended up calling the girl a cab home and we just chilled the rest of the night…" Max pulled the hat down far on his head as he finally turned to really look at Matt. He looked the same as ever, but he looked more gaunt than Max remembered. He looked tired and worn-out. Like he hadn't had a good night's sleep in the longest time. "Yeah, that was the last night I saw him alive," Matt looked out at the crowd, almost like he was looking for his friend now. Then he turned to the stranger next to him. "You kinda look like him," he laughed.

"Yeah?" Max asked nervously.

"Yeah, except Max would never grow a goatee, he was about the most straight-laced kid in the world," Matt looked at the stranger beside him with a slight smile at the recollection.

"Max?" Max swallowed, not sure if he wanted to do this or not.

"Yeah, Max Evans, you know the kid who died in the car crash couple years ago, the kid the FBI seemed to think was an alien." Matt looked so angry as he took another sip from his beer and Max wondered why he was still standing here. Why was he torturing himself and his friend by being here? Why was he risking Matt shaking off the alcohol and recognizing him? "They kept asking me questions about him for weeks afterward. Never let me, you know, grieve. Let my friend be dead." Max swallowed loudly as he saw all that was still unresolved for Matt. That this was a conversation Matt probably would have had if he were here or not.

"They just had to keep telling me – 'he might still be alive, son; his body was not recovered'," he imitated the police officers who clearly had left a bad taste in his mouth. " ‘Body’ – I mean, who uses that word?" he laughed and Max tried his best to smile. He had never really thought about how Matt would react to his sudden death. He thought Matt of all people, the most level-headed, well-balanced kid he had ever met, would be able to accept it, to move on, but Max could see that that was far from the truth. "Max got a raw deal. The world sucks, he didn't deserve to die when he was nineteen years old," Matt looked up right at the person he was talking about. And Max wanted to tell him, he wanted to tell him so badly. It's me. I'm still here. "You do look a lot like him, it's kind of eerie," he commented again.

"I can go if you want," Max suddenly took a step away and Matt just shrugged carelessly as he lit up a cigarette.

"It's fine, you can stay." Max looked at the young man who used to be his best friend in disbelief. Was this really Matt? Matt didn't smoke; Matt didn't hook up with random girls he'd never even seen on campus before, Matt didn't have this much anger in him. "You know what pissed me off most is like they didn’t even stop to think about how I'd feel…they asked me to recount every last detail of every time I saw him the week before he died. They were like inhuman - I mean…that was my best friend." Matt took a slow drag off his cigarette and leaned his head back against the wall. Then he seemed to suddenly realize what a drain he was and laughed. "Sorry, this girl upstairs just started bringing this shit up." Max's head shot up at the comment. God, he'd forgotten all about Liz

"I never knew Max Evans was your best friend," his voice creaked. In the year and a half he had known Matt, Max had always just thought he was another of his many friends. To hear Matt refer to him now as his best friend made Max feel sick for some reason.

"You know how you make friends your freshman year and you think like, God, these are gonna be my friends for life, but they're not really. Sophomore year, you really know what's going on and my first week of my sophomore year this kid showed up and…" Matt's voice drifted.

"Second floor of the library," Max murmured unconsciously, recalling the spot mere feet away from where he was with Liz this afternoon, the place where he had first bumped into Matt, and Matt's head shot up at the comment.

"What was that?"

"Nothing," Max tried to dismiss and Matt went on with his story. A story Max had never heard.

"He was a year below me and at that point in my life I was just, fed up, with the whole frat scene, with all my friends back home and my friends here, my girlfriend. I was about to give up, you know? Everyone just seemed…fake, or – or something, I don't know. And then I met Max," Matt shook his head. "He kind of like restored my faith in this campus, in the world," he grinned and took another large sip of his beer. The buzz was definitely starting to kick in now. "So when he died, it's like part of who I was died."

"You ever think maybe…maybe he's in a better place now?" Max asked, his voice still unsteady as he looked at his shaken friend. "Maybe he - "

"What like heaven?" Matt laughed. "Nah, I don't really believe in that," the boy who used to go to church every Sunday shrugged. "Bottom line is Max didn't deserve what happened to him. He had no family, some cousins up in Canada or something, but no one ever came down on a Parent's Weekend, he put himself through college and was having a pretty good football season and…and he dies. I mean, that's what you get for being a good person." Max was silent as he listened to it all. He didn't know how much longer he could stand here and listen to this. “Poor guy, he never even got laid before he died," Matt laughed, finishing off his beer. "How sad is that? He would have made some girl real happy."

"If you could say one thing to him, right now, if he were still alive, what do you think you'd say to him?” Max suddenly asked. "Maybe Max can hear you," his voice caught in his throat and Matt just looked at him strangely. Max wondered if he would even remember any of this tomorrow. He didn't seem to think any of this was strange at all. Was probably too drunk to realize how odd it all was that he was spilling his guts to a stranger who looked oddly similar to his old friend.

"I would tell him…that that Fresno State game was not his fault – 'cos he died thinking he blew that game for us," Matt rolled his head back. "Which he didn't."

"That pass interference call," Max actually laughed and so did Matt.

"Yeah, you remember that?" he walked over to refill his beer. "He was so down on himself after that even though I tried to convince him, you know if you wanted to blame the game on someone, blame it on the guy who fumbled." Max grinned at the memory, recalling how hard Matt had tried to get him to believe the game wasn't his fault. Trying everything from a night at the bar, to a marathon of Adam Sandler movies, to a group of freshman girls who would follow Max around like a dog if he so much as asked. Max shook his head, trying to shake the memories.

"How's your season going?" he instead focused his attention up to the picture on the wall of the fraternity's intramural football team, wondering if Matt even played on it any more.

"Oh, it's going well. These guys are crazy," he looked at his fraternity brothers in the picture with a bit of a smile and Max noted that Matt was wearing his number forty-nine.

"You're wearing Evans' number," Max noted and Matt raised his eyebrows in surprise at the stranger's intuition.

"Yeah, I always used to make fun of him for having that number, it's like a linebacker's number, you know? So weird for a safety – I always said he had a secret desire to be a linebacker." Matt managed to laugh and Max chuckled too.

"It's a unique number for a D-back," he agreed and his head spun at the fact that he was here having a conversation with Matt. What was he doing dredging up these memories? Matt seemed to be thinking the same thing and he just shook his head.

"Yeah, the world sucks, took away one of the best friends I ever had," he returned to the thoughts he was unable to shake. The thoughts he had been unable to shake for the past seventeen months. But it didn't take me away, I'm right here! Max wanted to shout to his friend. "It's a year and a half later and I still miss him like hell," Matt looked around at the party, at all the smiling, happy, drunk college students, wishing he could be a part of it. He found every time he tried to though something would pop up that would remind him of Max or of how unfair this world was. Tonight he had tried and had been moderately successful until that girl had asked about the picture. Hell, he didn't know why he still had the picture; every time he looked at it he just got depressed.

"Don't you think Max would want you to be happy?" It killed Max to see his friend like this and his hands shook as he said the words. "He wouldn't want you to give up just 'cos he was gone." Matt just shrugged his shoulders and drank his beer. That was his solution now whenever things got bad.

"I mean you're president of this frat, you got a lot of friends – the world doesn't suck that bad," Max shrugged. "Maybe Max is happy now, you know…maybe he's with his family, maybe he is making some girl real happy." Liz came into view behind Max and she wasn't sure what to make of the look in Max's face. His eyes had focused on her. "Don't give up, 'cos every now and then…" Liz started to make her way over to Max. "People surprise you."

Matt just laughed and looked over to the stranger in the Missoula Osprey hat. The stranger who bore an uncanny resemblance to his dead friend.

"You're a cool kid, man," he extended his hand to him. "Good listener," he nodded his head. "Sorry I brought all this crap up. It just kind of came out."

"It's okay," Max's voice came out a whisper.

"Stop by the house tomorrow," he proposed with a nod of his head and for a moment Max thought that he really could. It felt like old times. Maybe after they'd go lift weights or have a football catch, maybe grab some pizza and fries at McNary Central. Max just nodded his head as Liz joined his side. Matt hardly seemed to notice her though. As Liz began to back towards the door Max wondered how exactly he went about saying goodbye. He couldn't just shake his hand, yet he found that's what he was doing.

"Goodbye, Matt," he murmured and a loud song began to fill the room and people began crowding into it. He looked back at Liz, getting lost in the crowd and then back to his friend, before disappearing himself.

Liz didn't say anything when they arrived at the hotel; she didn't say a word when Max threw his jacket onto the bed and walked straight into the bathroom. She'd seen him talking with Matt for quite a while in that room, he probably had his own issues to deal with. She collapsed onto the bed and tried to make sense of everything that had happened today, everything she'd learned.

Last November, Max had miraculously brought some kid back from the dead, after which chaos had ensued and he'd been forced into leading everyone, including his best friend, into believing that he was dead. His best friend, whom she'd randomly almost hooked up with tonight. God, could her life get any weirder? She lifted her head off the bed and let her mind go, trying to work out how she’d gotten to this place. Max had some sort of otherworldly healing power. He'd been able to save a boy whose heart had stopped merely by outstretching his hand. She thought back to the confession in Moon that she hadn't taken seriously and just shook her head. No. She'd grown up and spent seventeen years of her life in a town that thrived off of the business of losers who thought aliens actually landed on earth. She wouldn't be one of those losers. She'd spent a good chunk of her life working in her parent's restaurant serving food with names like Blood-of-Alien-Smoothies and Men in Blackberry Pie. She'd grown up in a culture that said an alien had to be three feet tall and green and slimy. Aliens weren't Max, Max not alien. Liz kept trying to ingrain into her head. Aliens didn't go to baseball games and play football. Aliens didn't drive a motorcycle or grow up four hours outside of Roswell. Aliens weren't capable of friendships, aliens didn't have feelings, aliens didn't…oh God, she had had sex with an alien.
Last edited by kippy on Mon May 25, 2009 4:59 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Post by kippy » Mon Sep 13, 2004 3:46 pm

"Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God," Liz suddenly jumped to her feet and started pacing around the room frantically. She could be carrying, like an alien baby or something. No wonder he'd stopped her that day out in the field. Forgetting that Max was still in the bathroom, Liz rushed through to splash cold water onto her face. She looked up into the mirror, covered with steam and then looked to her watch, realizing Max had been in the shower for almost an hour. And then she saw him. Max, the alien, standing in the shower, resting his head against the wall beneath the showerhead, letting the water splash down on him and sobbing like a child. "Max?" she creaked in disbelief.

Max looked over to her through bloodshot eyes and didn't even try to hold back. Tonight had been, in so many ways, the best and worst day of his life. He'd gotten his best friend back, only to lose him all over again. He'd been so close to just whispering into Matt's ear that it was him. It was Max. He was alive and well, the world wasn't as unfair as he thought it was. But all he had done was stand there and listen to how miserable Matt's life had gotten. And Liz forgot everything.

All she saw was Max. He very well could be an alien for all she knew. But he was also a person. A person who clearly didn't deserve all the pain he was in. Ignoring the fear that moments ago had just had her in a panic she slid back the shower door and extended her hand to Max. He was sniffling, trying desperately to stifle back the sobs in the back of his throat, but wasn't at all hesitant to accept her hand and step out of the shower. Liz reached behind her and grabbed a towel, quickly enveloping him in it.

"It's okay," she murmured, having a pretty good idea as to why he was so upset. She couldn't imagine what it would be like to see a friend you thought you'd never see again, to stand there and talk with someone who thought you'd been dead for years. "It's okay," she tried to stop the tremors shaking his body, rubbing the towel down his shoulders and arms in an effort to dry him off. Threading the towel around his back, she pulled him out the bathroom door to sit him down on the bed. "You're okay," she tried to tell him, running a hand through his wet hair and drawing him to her in a hug.

"I couldn't tell him," Max's arms wrapped around her tightly and his voice was muffled into her shoulder. Aliens didn't hug, a nagging voice in the back of her head sounded and Liz pushed it away. Aliens didn't cry either.

"I know," she rubbed his back, and his arms just tightened around her, holding her so tight like if he let go of her his world would come crumbling down. It had been a long time since she'd been in the situation to comfort a friend, not since Maria's dad took off and her Dalmatian dog ran away. But if anything came second nature to her it was consoling Max right now. Here was someone who, except for a few choice instances, had done nothing but be kind to her. Had begged her on more than one occasion to stay with him. Max buried his face into her hair, still clutching her as tightly as ever, and Liz knew he didn't have to beg her anymore. Not even after all that had just come out today.

Not after all she had just learned about him. Not after learning that she would have to change her name, her whole identity to be with him. Not even after learning that she would never really know what it would be like to live in peace again. Because she needed to hold him right now as much as he did. Hell, after all she had just discovered? After learning that the man she had spent two nights with wasn't even the same species as her. Suddenly, that seemed to be the last thing on her mind and the last thing on Max's though. Because when Max kissed her she didn't feel any sort of fear. She felt like she was home.

Waking up in Liz's arms for the first time, Max wasn't sure what to feel. After waking up twice only to see her missing from the bed next to him, he'd begun to expect the worst. But she was indeed there when he opened his eyes. They had both been fast asleep on their stomachs with Liz’s arm thrown across his back and her face turned towards him. She had been there when he had needed her, when he least expected her to be. She knew the risks, she knew what he was, but she had hardly hesitated. He gazed at her as he lay there on his stomach, their faces mere inches apart.

This was what he had wanted his entire life. To have someone know. To know about him and accept him all the same. It was what he had wanted from Matt, but was something he knew he could never do. That was unfair to do to someone who already had plans for the future, for their life. But Liz…Liz was different. He thought back to her confession the other night as he gazed at her sleeping peacefully.

She was what he had been looking for and he didn't even know he was looking for anything. Two lost souls who had just found each other on a stretch of interstate in the middle of Massachusetts. That's what they were. One had spent their entire life trying to be normal and the other had sought the complete opposite. Maybe that's what was running through Max's mind when he had kissed her. It was the first time he had ever really kissed her. She was always the bold one, the one who had to initiate everything. That's why the maneuver had surprised even her. Sitting there on the bed, a towel wrapped loosely around his waist, her arms holding him in a firm embrace and his head buried in her shoulder, he'd just done it. He had lifted his head up and kissed her, his face still wet with tears. And it had taken her a moment to react, but she had kissed all the tears away. There had been no hesitation on Max's part. There had been no waiting for her permission like anytime before. She had liked it, he knew. He could tell. She had liked having him recklessly strip off every article of clothing on her body. But that's not what last night had been about. And it hadn't been all about his grief either. Last night had been about each of them finding acceptance in each other. It had been raw, no-holds barred need. Max just stared at Liz's sleeping form and smiled. And it had been great.

But the grief was still there. If he stopped just for a moment to think about all that had happened last night at the party, he felt his chest tighten. He wasn't sure what compelled him to start writing; maybe it was the knowledge that with his disappearance from campus a year and a half ago the world had essentially lost Matt Keller too. And knowing that, Max knew he could never sleep at night again. He couldn't shake the sight of his friend's tired and angry face. He couldn't live with the fact that that was because of him. He couldn't live knowing all the things Matt had told him last night, that his friend had given up. And when Liz woke up she found Max huddled at the desk, clutching the hotel pen in his hand and scribbling furiously onto Holiday Inn stationary.

And at 3:32 PM, after completing the very last exam of his college career, Matt Keller strolled through the student center at Oregon State University and pulled out a folded piece of Holiday Inn stationary.

Old friend, I hear you, I know just how you feel. I’ve been in your shoes before. I’ve seen your worries and I can understand everything you’re going through. But I believe in you, your time is coming. Don’t give up tonight. There’s a life ahead; your time is coming. Don’t let it go tonight. My friend, I miss you, but things can only improve, you have all the time in the world. So keep on fighting and never let them say there’s anything you can’t do. I watched as you sat with a cigarette in your hand, holding a drink in the other trying to drown all your pain. Old friend, you’ll realize that things are worth the wait. Enjoy the time that you have. You’ll see a new day when darkness fades again and the sun can rise to shine. – “Piano Song”, the Juliana Theory

Heard this song on campus radio last night and thought I’d send it your way. Thanks for letting me know the Fresno States game wasn’t my fault, but I still think it was. Probably always will. I’ve found that girl though, the on you always said I was waiting for. She’s after me to get going, so I guess it’s goodbye. For now at least. Don’t give up on the world yet, Matt, I’m still in it.

- Max (alien, healer, saint or freak – say what you want, even I don’t know)

PS – sorry the FBI made your life Hell. They’ve been a pain in the ass for me too.

Matt collapsed down on the nearest chair as his eyes scanned over the letter. He vaguely remembered the random stranger he'd spilled his guts too last night. He remembered the uncanny resemblance to Max that he'd just pushed aside and blamed on the alcohol. He remembered talking about Max and the Fresno State game with the stranger and he had to reread the letter a few times before the shock finally passed and everything clicked. The stranger had been Max. Behind the hat, behind the goatee had been his best friend. A brief smile appeared on his face as he reread the closing line, realizing what it all meant, that the FBI investigations had been real and what Max had been forced to do. He laughed quietly at the phrasing of the last line and the drastic understatement it must be – the FBI being a pain in his ass, apologizing for something he could hardly prevent. That was Max alright.

"Matt Keller, smiling?" a boy suddenly stepped out of the mailroom. "Something's up," he grinned, glancing at the tiny piece of paper in Matt's hand. "Who'd you hear from?"

And Matt just folded up the paper and tucked it into his pocket. Max was alive.

"An old friend."

The continental breakfast buffet was like a feast for Max and Liz who hadn't had a real breakfast, a real meal, for quite some time. They gorged themselves on breakfast pastries and croissants, hot cereal, cold cereal, sausages, bacon, eggs, and pancakes. They went up for seconds and thirds and ate with such a ravenous flurry that they drew the curious eyes of many around them. They hardly even spoke to each other for the first few minutes; in fact they'd hardly even spoken about the happenings of last night. They'd hardly spoken at all, but for some reason Max wasn't bothered by that small fact. It was a comfortable silence, like Liz was going over everything that she hadn't last night now. She didn't look frightened or confused and her hand wasn't shaking as she calmly buttered her toast.

"So do you think he'll try to find you?" Liz suddenly asked in reference to the letter he had penned to Matt earlier.

"I don't think so," Max dismissed casually, biting into a cheese Danish, then adding. "I hope not." Then more silence followed as they continued their eight-course breakfast.

"Why didn't you tell me about him?" Liz asked as she began wrapping up breakfast rolls and croissants into napkins, then stuffing them into her bag. The corners of Max's mouth lifted slightly at her actions, at the familiarity of it all to her. Saving money, taking the hotel food. He did this all the time, he realized now that she did too.

" 'Cos I couldn't," Max dismissed quietly. "I mean…" he began copying Liz, cramming apples and pears into the side compartment of his bag, preparing for the days that were to come out on the road. "I didn't think I'd ever see him again, so why bring up a memory I was trying to leave behind," he shrugged his shoulders, trying to be nonchalant about the matter, but with the admittance Liz knew just how difficult last night had been for him. "Not like you ever mentioned your friends at all," he added and Liz's head snapped up. She was tempted to remind him that she had in fact talked for a good half-hour last week about her one-time boyfriend, Kyle Valenti, but kept quiet and just got to her feet and returned to the long table of breakfast food. Max blew out a deep breath as she left their little table momentarily. Things were unusually comfortable between them. Unusual being the key word. After such a monumental night he didn't anticipate this.

"Look, travel Nuttella!" Liz suddenly cried exuberantly, running back over to Max and stuffing dozens of the little containers into her coat pockets. Max just laughed quietly to himself at her behavior. "So," she suddenly turned her attention back up to Max. "When you going to fix my ID?" she sounded excited about it and Max looked around the room to make sure no one had heard, then dropped his head in an effort to tell her to lower her voice. "I was thinking maybe I could be from North Carolina," she whispered.

"You don't have an accent," he reminded her.

"Neither do you, Mr. Willowdale, Ontario," she shot back in reference to the place of birth on Lucas Duchaigne's ID.

"Fine, you can be from North Carolina…just remember to add in a y'all every now and then."

"And you remember to say eh!" she laughed, but Max's face was solemn.

"If it said I was from…Flin Flon, Manitoba I'd remember to say 'eh', I'm serious…you don't know how much they'll pick up on something little like you not having an accent," he set down his glass of orange juice.

"So are they…I mean ‘they’ means FBI?" Liz finally asked the matter Max was waiting for.

"I don't know," he admitted with a long sigh. "That's what they say they are when they ask questions and stuff, but…the things they do," his voice drifted. "It's like they're above the law."

"What do they do?" Liz had to ask. "Do they like…I mean they don't – "

"Kill people?" Max knew what she was going to ask. "Yeah. They have. I wouldn't put it past them again.”

"So what – what do we do?" Liz stammered, "I mean…"

"We do what we have been," Max shrugged.

"Which is?"


Liz was still putting all the pieces together in her mind even after they'd been on the road for two hours. Max recognized that though, he knew that a lot had been dumped on her in the past twenty-four hours. He knew she was trying to make sense of it all so he didn't mind the fact that she'd give him a good squeeze every half hour or so to tell him to pull over, only to have her bombard him with more questions she had come up with while traveling. She asked him questions she already knew the answers to and often times questions she wasn't really sure she wanted to know the answers to.

She knew now the reasoning behind the motorcycle. Besides the fact that it was cheaper than a car, she knew already from experience that it could go places cars couldn't. It could weave between cars in traffic, go off road and she knew now why he'd gotten the racing model. They'd been running this entire time. That had been a getaway from the cabin back in Oregon. When he'd picked her up on the side of the interstate, he'd taken a risk. Picking up a strange girl on the side of the road when he knew people who didn't quite play by the rules were after him. He'd taken a huge risk.

"Why?" Liz had asked him earlier. "Why did you pick me up?"

"I uh…I don't know, you looked…" Max struggled to find a reason. He didn't even know why he'd done it. Something about Liz, something about the way she had been standing there with her thumb out. Something. And he just shrugged his shoulders. "It was you."

Thirty minutes later she'd given him another squeeze and he had willingly pulled over.

"Why do you think you're an a…" Liz still struggled saying the word. "I mean what makes you think that you're…" again her voice drifted at actually saying what he was. "How do you know you don't just have like…healing powers?"

" 'Cos we can do other things," he shrugged.

"We?" Liz's eyes widened. "There are more of you?"

"Michael, the guy, up in Quebec?" Max said it more like a question, asking if Liz remembered him.
"The ice fisherman," she murmured.

"What? How did you know he likes to ice fish?" Max asked with a chuckle, shocked that she knew.

"Lucky guess," Liz could only laugh. "And that girl…who was down in Quebec City…Isabelle - her too?" she recalled and the look of disbelief on Max's face remained.

"How do you…" he looked at her in wonder and a tiny smile appeared on her lips at his remark.

"I'm a good eavesdropper," she shrugged.

"I guess," Max just shook his head.

"One of my many talents," she teased.

"Many?" he raised his eyebrows suggestively, but Liz just dismissed it with a laugh as she returned to her inquisition.

"So why are they up there and you…you're always running?" she murmured, more sadness in her voice at the latter half of the question than Max would have expected. He suddenly shut off the bike and got to his feet.

"Max, where're you – " she started to ask, but before she could finish he sat back down on the seat, this time so his body was facing her. So he could look at her. This would take a little longer to explain. He took in a deep breath, trying to figure out where to start.

"Michael and Isabelle," he began, “we were all together at first - when we were found…they were with me - in the beginning." Liz slid a little closer towards him on the seat as the words came out slowly, fragmented like he was digging up something he had planned to keep buried for quite some time. "We just thought of each other as brother and sister, everyone did, even the people who ran the orphanage." Assuming he was referring to the same place, Liz noticed he called it an orphanage now, not a group home like he had before. "But these people, who weren't even from the southwest, were from British Columbia," he shook his head, " – apparently Michael and Isabelle were exactly what they'd been looking for." There was an anger in Max's eyes as much as he tried not to let it show, more anger Liz thought than he directed towards the people who were chasing him right now. "We always thought that whoever came to take us, wherever we went, we'd all go together. But they didn't want a kid with dark hair, said it wouldn't look good in their family picture," his eyes turned their focus down on the road.

"So you stayed behind," Liz suddenly spoke and the words came out slowly as she realized what Max was telling her. No one had come for him. He didn't nod his head at her comment, he just continued on, but the pained expression on his face indicated just how much that simple truth stung. No one had come for him.

"They were loaded, I mean…really rich, had been looking all over the country for an eight year old boy and girl with matching hair, kids who looked like they were theirs. They sent Michael and Isabelle to private school, probably had closets bigger than any room I ever had…. we kept in touch," he suddenly changed the subject. "We'd been together for two years when they left; I mean we knew we were different and that – you know there was a reason there were three of us, that we'd been found together, so we kept in touch." Liz knew that phrase all too well. After graduation that's what you always said to everyone, that you'd keep in touch. Rarely did it ever actually happen. Like with Alex and Maria, the childhood friends she had slowly drifted away from the older she got. "Then I went to college, Michael went to play junior hockey and Isabelle went with him, 'cos she said we couldn't split up anymore than we already had. Then I went and…did what I did," he murmured and Liz had to wonder if he regretted it. If he had to choose to do it over again would he have just let that boy die?

"I called Michael and Isabelle the minute they showed," Liz knew who he was referring to when he said they. "Now I know that's the last thing I should have done," he bit his lip with a shake of his head.

"Why?" she asked though she somehow knew that she didn't want to hear the answer.

"They'd already bugged my phones at that point, they'd already traced back my files, knew everything about me…about us," he added. "Michael and Isabelle were gone when it happened. We don't know if they," again Liz knew exactly who he was referring to when he said they. "If they thought their parents were them, or if they just…didn't care that Mr. and Mrs. Guerin were there. I think they really just wanted to scare us." Liz knew she didn't want to hear the end of the story now. She didn't. She didn't, but she knew she was going to. "The house burned to the ground," Max shrugged his shoulders, “the reports say the whole family died in the blaze, I mean, that's what everyone said."

"But you warned them, so they…" Now the answer was beginning to take shape.

"They hauled ass to the most remote place they could think of," Max managed to laugh, but Liz was unable to. They had killed Michael and Isabelle's parents. She thought back to Max's comment at breakfast that morning, when she'd asked if they killed people. "Michael says it's really a pretty place in the summer, lots of tours go up there… mostly for hunting and stuff. Not many people live there year round. He says he loves it though, can play hockey ten months out of the year and there's lots of deer hunting and fishing and – "

"You've never been?" Liz suddenly interrupted his description of Anticosti Island. Max just shook his head.

"Sept-Iles is the farthest I go, I make Michael take a ferry to the mainland. I don't want to lead them to him and Isabelle…don't want to have both of them start going on the run too for something that was my fault." Now the anger in his eyes turned to anger at himself.

"Max, they would have found you anyway," Liz shook her head. "Sooner or later something would have happened, I mean…they would have realized you were…." Liz was still unable to say the word.

"An alien?" Max actually laughed at her hesitancy to say the word.

" - different," she said instead.

"An alien," Max maintained.

"No -"

"Say it, Liz," he looked at her. "I mean you – you - you," Max's eyes suddenly got panicky. Was he just jumping to conclusions when he thought that she had accepted him? Had last night not been everything he thought it had. "Last night! That wasn't…that wasn't 'cos you felt bad for me, right?" he asked and his voice shook with fear for her answer. "I mean you –you knew that was dangerous – that things could happen, you said you didn't care," he cried. "You told me! You told me last night." His jaw shook as he recalled the things she had said to him last night in bed. He hadn't imagined that. It had been real. It had to be.

"Max, relax," Liz only smiled and moved her hands to his distraught face. She leaned forward and moved her hands behind his head, drawing him to her. "I meant everything that I said last night," she murmured into his ear just like she had last night in the Holiday Inn.

"But," he started to protest, but she kissed the side of his face and shut him up.

"I did," she insisted. "I did. I'm just…I still don't see how – I mean why you think - "

"Roswell," he suddenly spit out.

"What?" she pulled away from him suddenly.

"That's how I know," he murmured, almost like he was ashamed.

"What about Roswell?" she asked, keeping a hand on his cheek.

"We were found outside of Roswell," he finally admitted what he had wanted to tell her since he first learned where she was from.

"But you stayed…you stayed at the…in Midland," she stammered, unable to even get out what she wanted to. Unable to let her mind believe what Max was telling her.

"We weren't born here, we – we weren't even born, Liz, we came out of pods," he tried to tell her and Liz's eyes widened at the revelation. "But everything about us is human," Max broke the silence she had suddenly fallen into. "Except our blood."

"What is it green?" she asked and Max laughed, thinking she was cracking a joke. "Is it?" she asked again, raising her voice and Max realized she was serious.

"No, it looks normal. Just not under a microscope," he shrugged, trying to make her realize that he
wasn't about to ooze green blood or sprout antennas. That, for the most part, he was just like her.

"Our saliva too and-"

"Your fluids," Liz's voice started to waver at the realization she thought she had already accepted last night. But last night there had been no details.

"We were safe last night," he tried to calm her nerves a bit, assuage the fears he knew she probably had. This was the reaction he had expected from her way back in the library in Corvallis. The reaction he had so far not gotten. The fear, the panic, the questions.

"Yeah, yeah, but – but," she stuttered, "but how do you know that alien sperm isn't like - " Max's head shot up and Liz's thought slowly came to an end as they both realized that she'd said it. The word she so far hadn't been able to. She grew silent again as the thoughts swirled around her head.

"What? Liz, tell me what you're thinking," he looked to her with pleading eyes. Those eyes that had first drawn her to him, way back when she'd first glanced over at him from the passenger seat of the truck. "Tell me what you're thinking," he asked again and she lifted her eyes up to meet his as her voice came out no louder than a whisper.

"I'm in love with an alien."

Max's body stiffened at her words. Everything in him seemed to lock up.

"I'm in love with an alien," she repeated again, louder this time, more confident.

"That's…that's what you're thinking," Max just nodded his head slowly, and it wasn't a question, it was like he was trying to rationalize her words. She nodded her head, looking at his frozen eyes and expression.

"What are you thinking?" she turned the tables back on him, though everything about his face right now suggested that he wasn't thinking, he was stuck on the words she'd just uttered. She moved her hands back up to his face, lifting his head up so she could look at his downcast eyes. "I…" she ran her right hand along his cheek, cupping his face gently with her hand. She was about to do something she'd never done before. "I love you, Max," she finally admitted to the feelings that had been stirring inside of her for days now. Even before she knew all the details. Maybe it was the fact that she knew the details now that was making it so hard for him to accept.

"That's what you’re thinking," he said again, referring to it as a passing thought and not the confession Liz was trying to tell him it was.

"No, Max," she managed to laugh. "It's not what I'm thinking it's…" The look of both skepticism and uncertainty on his face made Liz think it was something else entirely. It made something click in Liz's brain. "Has no one ever said that to you before?" her voice cracked as she asked the words, and one look at his face quickly answered her question. His eyes flicked nervously around, resting everywhere but on her. He looked panicked, frightened almost, like any minute now he was going to wake up or she was about to say April Fools or something. He had a wild look in his eye and he turned around suddenly to slide his leg around and start the bike up again. "Max," she tried to tug him back towards her, knowing they had to talk about this, but he pulled forward. Pulled away from her. "Max," she just moved closer to him, but he shook her off and she started to wonder if maybe she'd pushed things further than she should have. Maybe she'd gone too far, too quickly. "I want to take you to Roswell," she suddenly said, changing the subject completely. "I want to take you home." She was referring to her home, though she suddenly realized that Roswell was home for both of them now. He didn't register her last words though. He remained stiff and rigid in the seat in front of her, his hands on the bars like he was ready to go.

She moved her hands on top of his and guided them down to his lap like she would to a child. And she hugged him. She wrapped her arms around his arms, and his body, squeezing him tightly. A different type of hug than last night when he'd collapsed into her arms though. This was a wake-up hug. This was because she had no idea what he was feeling. Was he scared? Angry?

"I love you, Max," she said yet again, hugging him tightly, resting her head on his shoulder, but he shrugged her off violently.

"You're lying," he finally spoke, his words so angry he refused to turn around, just focused his eyes straight ahead on the open road.

"No, Max I'm not - " she started to protest, wondering just how damaging it was to have never heard those words before, to have him be in denial.

"You're lying," he insisted. "I saw you with Matt," he suddenly spat out the feelings inside of him that had been pushed back when he'd started speaking to his old friend last night. Seeing Matt and talking to him, he'd almost forgotten about Liz completely and about what she'd done. The anguish that came with seeing Matt had overtaken him and the memory of Liz and Matt together had been pushed back, but now he remembered watching the two of them come down the stairs and how he'd been filled with such a sense of betrayal he had almost taken up that redhead on her offer to dance. He had known their first few nights together the type of girl Liz was. He had convinced himself of it, that he meant nothing more to her than the next guy she got a ride with. Then so much had happened that he'd forgotten about that and seeing her with someone else, and Matt nonetheless, had brought all his fears backs. He could tell by the look on her face that she hardly expected his comment.

"I saw you with him," he murmured again, the emotions that he'd felt the moment he saw them together, the pain, suddenly coursing through him.

"I – we just danced," Liz lied, praying that's what Max meant when he said he saw them, hoping a simple apology could get her out of this. Because she could hardly explain to herself why she'd agreed to go upstairs with Matt. She'd had a few beers, but not to the point that she was completely incoherent. She had known exactly what she was doing. She had wanted to forget about Max. Momentarily, she just wanted to go back and remember what her life had once been. Parties, drinking games, frat boys and random drunken hook-ups: that's what her life at NYU had been reduced to the past two years. Now she knew far too much for her life to ever be that simple and in a mere matter of days she'd gotten to caring so much about Max that it frightened her. She'd never felt this way about anyone before, never given herself to someone completely like she had to Max last night. This was something entirely new. Guys for her were just…convenient. Something fun.

"You're lying," Max mumbled, finally turning around. "If what you said to me was true," he was referring to her prior confession. "Then you wouldn't be lying to me right now," his jaw trembled as he said the words, shaking his head emphatically.

"Max, I - "

"Stop lying." He clinched his jaw shut, looking as angry as Liz had ever seen him. "Just stop lying to me."

"I didn't know he was your best friend, Max – I swear I didn't - " she started to say as she frantically thought about how to explain her actions.

"It doesn't matter who it was," Max shook his head. "It doesn't change what you did."

"I…" Liz's voice drifted, knowing full well that she couldn't explain herself. Nothing she said to Max could justify what she'd done without the simple truth that for a moment, as fleeting as it might have been, she wanted to forget about him and his messed-up life. And now that she'd heard all the details about that life in an orphanage back in Midland, Texas, dealing every day with the simple fact that no one had ever come for him, she couldn't tell him that for a moment she had wanted out. Not after discovering he had never heard the words 'I love you' before. She knew now that for Max her temporary infidelity was reason for him to believe that he never would hear them. Not really.

"You what?" he turned his back on her again, but she grabbed at him, spinning him back around.

"No, Max – look at me, I…we didn't sleep together," she looked into his eyes desperately. "And that's the truth." He hardly looked convinced so she did the only thing she knew to. She moved in to try to kiss him. Max would have none of it though and he jerked his head away from her, looking disgusted almost.

"Don't," he warned. "Just don't."

"Do you want me to beg, Max?" Liz cried, throwing her hands up. "I'm sorry, what else do you want to hear?"

"The truth," he offered simply.

"And I'm telling you the truth!" she yelled and she hesitated before telling him the whole truth, the truth she thought might break him. "For a second…when I was at the party…I wanted to leave," her voice was practically inaudible and he slowly turned back around to face her.

"The party?"

"You," she murmured softly, like she was ashamed. He turned around completely in the seat, so their bodies were once again facing each other "I wanted to leave you, so I went with Matt and…" she ran her hands through her hair in frustration, wondering what it would take to convince Max that she was sorry. That she had stopped before she did something she knew she might spend the rest of her life wishing she could take back. "I couldn't go through with it, which is…" she paused again before confessing to him more than she ever thought she would. "which is really unlike me." His head snapped up like she thought it would. "You asked if I was a…" she paused and took in a quick breath, " - a slut in high school and I – I never really answered you." The enmity slowly seemed to leave his eyes as he realized what she was telling him. "I wasn't in high school, but I sort of was in college." Max was quiet for a moment, not really sure what she was trying to tell him. "The fact that I, " she took in a large breath. "That I regressed to what I was before I met you," she phrased delicately. "It doesn't change how I…"

"Doesn't change anything?" Max laughed. "It changes every- "

"Put yourself in my shoes, Max?" Liz cut him off. "What –after all that you told me, all I learned about you - what would you have done? I panicked, okay? That's what it was, it was – a – reflex."

"Sleeping with the first guy who shows interest is reflex for you? That's pretty - "

"That's not…it's just," Liz squeezed her eyes shut, knowing now she was forced to deal with the ugly truth of the matter. Of who she was. "It's just familiar to me," her shoulders sagged.

"You're the only person that I’ve ever been with," Max suddenly admitted to her what he had been afraid to at first. "Was I…" his voice grew quiet. "Was that first time, was that just reflex for you too? Was it just familiar to- "

"No," Liz shook her head ardently as she looked at the vulnerable young man before her. Funny how he could seem so focused and angry one minute and the next minute just look like a scared and nervous little boy. "No, it wasn't reflex, it was…attraction and heat and - " Max blushed slightly at her words. "Desire." Her eyes were earnest as she looked to him, but she bowed her head as she uttered the next few words. "And I know that doesn't change - what you saw, what I did, but, " she moved her hands up to the lapels of his worn corduroy jacket. "Know that you do things to me that no one…the way I feel it's…" she stumbled over her words. "I'm not the type of person who," she shook her head and actually laughed. "I don’t just say things that I don't mean. I might do things I don't mean, but not…" He lowered his head, knowing what she was about to say. "I love you, Max," she said the words slowly, enunciating every syllable to make sure he heard and tilting his head up to her so he couldn't look away. "And that's the truth." His eyes didn't flick around nervously, but he just stared blankly ahead. She didn't expect an immediate response, but any reaction would have been nice. Not the silence again, the turning into a statue. This was really the one thing he couldn't accept from her, the one thing he couldn't believe.

"You really want to go to Roswell next?" he finally spoke and at his words Liz resigned herself to the awful truth about Max. That maybe he didn't know what love was. She reached her hands out to meet his.

"We'd get free meals and a place to sleep," she shrugged her shoulders and delicately stroked the back of his hand with her fingertips. She'd just have to show him.

Was it possible, she wondered? To be twenty-one years old and never really know what it was like to be loved just because no one had ever said it to you? From all that Matt had said to her he certainly seemed to care an awful lot about Max, and she imagined that Michael and Isabelle had to also. And yet they'd never told him. They ended their conversations with take care or see you soon, but never I love you. She couldn't even imagine what that must be like. The past two years she'd been pretty independent and had spent as little time as possible back in Roswell, but she still had her parents.

She still had Alex and Maria, who despite how awful she'd treated them the past few years, still refused to give up on her as the friend they'd once known and loved. She actually smiled at the thought of seeing her friends soon, of introducing Max to them; and she hugged her body a little closer to his as they made their way to Roswell.

It seemed a strange request after close to two hours of relative silence. Liz had never asked for a bathroom break before, so when she shouted into Max's ear to pull over at the next rest stop, although slightly confused, he had done it. When she grabbed his little duffel and asked him to come into the bathroom with her he grew even more confused. Several thoughts raced through his head and having her reach into his back pocket did nothing to distract him or his thoughts from turning X-rated. Thinking that's what she wanted, he moved his hands to her hips awkwardly and lowered his lips to hers. After their heated conversation not so long ago, he wasn't quite sure how to go about…well, everything, but if this was what she thought would resolve their issues, then he wasn't about to disagree. The duffel confused him though and when he moved to kiss her she just backed away in amusement.

"Not in a public bathroom, you little horndog," she laughed and Max just looked at her equal parts embarrassed and equal parts confused. What did she want? Her hand dug a little deeper into his back pocket before she finally pulled out what she was after, his Gerber multitool. She pulled out little gizmo after little gizmo before finally finding the scissors. Then she touched her fingers to his goatee and looked up at him mischievously. "Do you trust me?”

To anyone who happened to be stopped at the Amoco station, Lucas Duchaigne of Thunder Bay, Ontario and Victoria Sewell of Greensboro, North Carolina emerged from the bathroom with a ratty black Reebok duffel bag, climbed on a sleek, red Suzuki Katana 750 and sped off in the direction of Roswell, New Mexico. Liz had spent a few moments taking in her new identity: Victoria Sewell, age twenty-one from Greensboro, North Carolina. Max spent a few moments in front of the mirror examining the job she’d done shaving his goatee and quizzing her on her new date-of-birth and social security number. She impressed him with a whole fabricated family history to go along with her new identity before he was convinced and they finally climbed on the bike.

She laughed when she thought about it. She’d spent almost three years of her life trying to get as far away from home as possible. Now all she wanted was to go back. She wanted to show Max to her parents and to tell them all about him. That he had been a Deans List student athlete, a member of the football team, who he had put himself through college. That she’d found a nice boy, even if he did happen to be an alien.

But she couldn’t hide the fact that she was nervous to return to Roswell. It had been almost six months since she’d last been home. She hadn’t come home for Thanksgiving or Christmas or any other holiday and she’d hardly had what could be qualified as meaningful conversations with her parents or old friends in all that time. The family and friends that she had ignored and run away from for stupid and selfish reasons she couldn’t even explain. She tightened her hold on Max as they passed scenery that grew more and more familiar, signs for Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

Then there was Max who had wanted nothing more than to stay with his friends and the people he thought of as family, but had been forced to run away. She almost got sick juxtaposing their situations. How could Max even put up with her knowing that she’d even tried to run away from him? She sighed loudly and leaned into him, wishing she could take off her helmet, rest her head on his shoulder and make him forgive her. Forgive what he’d seen her do with Matt, forget those mornings in the motel when she’d tried to leave him. She wanted him to forget it all and as much as it scared her to think it, to know that she did love him and care about him in a way she never had for anything or anyone. And she wanted everyone to know.

He stirred up emotions in her that she never knew she had. She’d gone out with the sheriff’s son for two years back in high school and she’d spent the night with more men than she cared to admit to back in New York, but until now she’d never known what it meant to belong to someone. She smiled, hugging Max to her, but mistaking the hug for a ‘pull over’ squeeze he immediately slowed down and steered the bike over to the dusty side of the road.

“What’s the matter?” Max jerked off the helmet, and turned around to face her, a worried look on his face. Liz just laughed and patted down his disheveled hair. She had expected it would take a while for her to get used to him without a goatee, but maybe the pictures she had seen of him up in Corvallis, in Matt’s room and in the paper had prepared her because it all just looked right and felt right. This was finally Max Evans. He had nothing left to hide.

“Just wanted to see if you were missing your facial hair,” Liz joked, but her words were muffled behind the helmet even with the visor up.

“Huh?” Max gently pulled the helmet off so he could hear her, but she just shook her head and laughed some more at the fact that he thought she had something urgent to tell her.

“I said I wanted to see if you were missing your facial hair,” she repeated, touching her fingers to his bare chin with a smile. Max just gave a half-hearted shrug of his shoulders.

“It’s kind of weird…I mean I had it for so long - ”

“Do you feel naked?” Liz interrupted and Max looked a little confused at the question. “I remember my junior year when I cut my hair really short, I felt naked,” she related to him, but clearly even mention of the word naked somehow made Max uncomfortable and he shifted in his seat.

“You had short hair?” he changed the subject and Liz could only smile at his embarrassed behavior. She tried to remind herself that last night had only been Max’s third time getting naked with her, or with anyone for that matter. Liz just nodded her head.

“I didn’t like it – grew it out,” she replied and then opted to tell him more while they were stopped here, “I even tried being a red head once.”

“A red head?” Max wrinkled his nose and Liz just shrugged.

“I just wanted to be different,” she replied honestly.

“There’s a shock,” he grinned, his hand moving up to the barbell above her right eye and she didn’t take offense at the comment for once. She gave a tiny laugh and moved her hands up to the eyebrow ring as well. It took Max a moment to realize what she was doing as her hands worked to unscrew and then pull out the piercing. He looked to her strangely and she just dropped it into his open palm. “Is it gonna close up?” he asked, his voice a mixture of curiosity and concern. Liz just nodded her head slowly and closed his fingers around the piece of metal, pushing it back towards him. He sat there for a beat and just nodded his head, wrapping the barbell in a napkin and stuffing it into his jacket pocket just in case she had a change of heart. “How close are we to Roswell?” he asked and she picked up her helmet.

“About an hour and a half.”

It was three thirty in the afternoon when Liz Parker returned to Roswell on the back of the red Suzuki. She could feel the palpitations of her heart growing louder and louder as they drew nearer, she could practically hear them and she was confident Max could. Things she hadn’t thought about suddenly crept into her mind, like the boxes she had sent home to her parents after she’d been kicked out of NYU without so much as a note. Like just how they would react to Max. Maybe the free room and board she had promised Max wasn’t such a sure thing. She tightened her hold on him as they zoomed down the main road; pedestrians and passersbys jerked their heads up to look at the couple on the motorcycle. No one recognized it as Liz Parker. Not until the motorcycle halted at a stoplight and Maria Deluca spotted the bright red Pumas on the passenger’s feet, the dark hair peeking out from the helmet and the familiar black messenger bag that was tied on the back. The messenger bag she had bought for herself back in the tenth grade, but given to her best friend.

“Oh my God, Alex!” Maria squeezed her companion’s arm just as the light changed and the bike continued down the street. “It’s Liz!”

Liz directed Max where to go with tugs on the left or right arm and a firm squeeze when they neared the bright lights and flying saucer of her father’s restaurant. Max looked amused at the exterior as he slowed to a stop and parked right in front. Liz was slow to smile though and even slower to remove her helmet. She knew these were the peak hours of operation for the Café, school had just ended, through the window she could see kids she remembered being in middle school sitting at the booths where she had once sat with her friends, car keys in their hands, staring at the newest tourists to arrive in Roswell.

“If you don’t want to do this,” Max took a step in front of the window, shielding her from the inquisitive eyes inside. “Just say the word,” he looked to her honestly, but he knew she wouldn’t say it. This was something she had to do.

Jeff Parker hadn’t quite been staring at the couple standing outside the door, but his attention was piqued by the possibility of two new customers who might be in town a few days. He turned his attention back to the fountain drink he had been filling up for a customer at the counter, and when he lifted his head back up he dropped the plastic cup, spilling Dr. Pepper all over the floor. He made no move to clean it up, just stood there, hands at his sides, staring at the doorway.

“Liz?” his voice creaked in disbelief as his daughter just bit her lip and raised the corners of her mouth, giving the faintest makings of a smile.

“Hi, dad.”

“Oh my God, Lizzie,” Mr. Parker raced around the counter and out to the dining room, not caring about the spilled soda or the room full of customers staring and beginning to murmur about the reunion going on. “Lizzie,” he murmured again, drawing his daughter to him in a tight hug. Liz wanted to draw away for a second and introduce him to Max, who just stood there and watched her hug her father, but once she heard the creak in her father’s voice again she couldn’t break away. Her father wasn’t a man to wear his emotions out on his sleeve. Liz had never seen him cry, not even back sophomore year when his mother had unexpectedly passed away in the middle of a weeklong visit. “Lizzie,” Mr. Parker just said again, hugging her, much the way Liz had hugged Max last night. He wanted to tell Liz just how worried he and her mother had been when they’d received the boxes last week: how they had thought that maybe this was permanent, that there was a good reality they would never see their daughter again, that whatever was haunting her about Roswell had driven her away for good. He couldn’t say any of those things though. Maybe he would later, but all he could do right now was hug her.

His wife ran out soon after and while she didn’t immediately embrace Liz, even Max could see the tremendous look of relief on her face upon seeing Liz alive and well. Even when Liz took a step back from her parents and took his hand in hers.

“Mom, dad, I want you to meet someone,” she suddenly said and both Mr. and Mrs. Parker, were silent, not knowing really what to say. They had hardly paid any attention to the young man at Liz’s side, the young man who she had ridden into town with. “This is Ma…” her voice drifted off suddenly as Max looked to her worriedly out of the corner of his eye. And Liz was hit with the sudden realization that she couldn’t tell her parents all the wonderful things she wanted to about Max. She couldn’t even introduce him.

“This is…” Liz tried to get the words out again, but she found she couldn’t and she fought furiously against the moistness in her eyes. She didn’t cry. And she wouldn’t cry over this. She cleared her throat and blinked slowly as Max rubbed his thumb up against the back of her hand. “This is my - ” she tried to correct her earlier blunder, but then she found she didn’t know what to say. What was Max? Calling him her friend wouldn’t be the whole truth, calling him her boyfriend sounded far too trivial. So what was he, her lover? her companion, her significant other?

“This is Lucas,” she just spit out and with that one word she knew she’d crossed some sort of line. She wasn’t sure what type of line, but it was an important one, a life changing one, much like the decisions she had made last night. Her life wasn’t her life anymore. The only person from now on who would know the real Liz Parker would be Max. Whatever she told her parents about him and about them would be a lie. She might try to tell the truth as much as she could, but at a certain point she would have to stop. Her parents would never really know Max, and because of that simple truth she knew that from now on her parents would never really know her either.

“Lucas,” Mr. Parker nodded his head and extended his hand to Max, who seemed innocent looking enough, not at all the ruffian he usually feared Liz might end up with. He was so thrilled to have Liz home that he didn’t even stop to consider the peculiarity of the situation, his daughter just showing up with a young man whom she had immediately introduced to her parents. Nancy Parker considered it though and she looked to Liz curiously.

“You said he was your…” she tilted her head and looked calmly at her daughter. “Liz, did you get married?”

“What?” Liz laughed, looking up at Max and then back at her mother’s serious face. Since Liz had come home with her tongue piercing back in the eleventh grade, Nancy had begun to prepare herself for the worst when it came to her daughter. There were certainly a lot of worse things Liz could do than run off and get married, and there were certainly worse guys than the quiet dark-haired young man who had not yet released her daughters hand.

“Did you and Lucas,” Mrs. Parker looked Max’s way, “did you get married? is that

“What? No!” Liz sputtered, “we’re just…no, we didn’t! Do you think I’d get married and not tell any of you?” she laughed at the thought, but the look on her parent’s reminded her that no more than two weeks ago that’s exactly the type of thing she would have done.

“Oh, okay,” Nancy nodded her head, hardly seeming embarrassed, but hardly seeming relieved either. She still seemed a bit uneasy about the circumstances that surrounded Liz’s return.

“Sorry,” she apologized and looked back up to the nervous eyes of her daughter’s companion. “So Lucas, where you from?”

“You know what, do you think we could have lunch first?” Liz proposed suddenly, “and then maybe catch up?”

“Sure,” Mr. Parker slowly backed his way to the counter, hardly able to take his eyes off the sight in front of him. His daughter had, under her own free will, returned back home. “Sure, just go ahead and slide into a booth!” Mr. Parker motioned to the only empty booth in the restaurant as he ran back into the kitchen. “You want a couple galaxy subs or uh burgers or what?” he shouted and Liz just smiled as she and Max slid into one side of the booth and her mother into the other. She looked back up to her dad then and told him two galaxy subs and two cherry cokes would be fine. She leaned back into the booth comfortably and closed her eyes. It was good to be home.

The subs were much appreciated despite the big hotel breakfast Max and Liz had both eaten that morning and for a few minutes Mr. and Mrs. Parker just watched curiously as their daughter and her guest ate and ate without even saying a word. It was as if they hadn’t eaten in days.

“This is very good,” Max broke the silence, putting down the sandwich and looking to Liz’s two amused parents.

“What, they don’t make subs like that where you’re from?” Mr. Parker inquired with a smile as Max took another bite.

“No, sir,” he said behind a mouthful, then taking a moment to chew his food, he continued. “We make a couple things pretty good up in Canada, but nothing like this.”

“Oh, wow – you’re from Canada?” Mr. Parker’s eyes widened in interest. “That’s neat. Whereabouts?”

“Uh, Willowdale, sir, it’s a suburb of Toronto,” Max informed politely and Liz just looked and listened as fascinated as her mom and dad as Max continued to tell them about his ‘hometown’.

“So how’d you meet Liz?” Nancy asked, wondering if she even wanted to know how Liz had somehow ended up in Canada.

“Oh, I go to school in Boston,” Max informed as if that explained everything.

“Whereabouts?” Mr. Parker suddenly asked again before his wife could inquire further about how they had met.

“Uh, B.C,” Max said it so matter-of-factly Liz almost believed him. “I thought I could walk-on to the hockey team there, but I uh…I wasn’t good enough,” he admitted with a smile and Liz poked him in the arm.

“You’re pretty good,” she teased, surprised at her ability to go along with Max’s story. She knew he was a pretty good athlete, football, hockey it didn’t matter, she had never had trouble lying before. This was different though, on so many levels. This was different because she didn’t want to lie.

“You’ve seen him play, Liz?” Jeff inquired and Liz just nodded her head, but something about the question seemed to get to her. Something about the fact that she had never and would never see Max play. “So what? were you up in Boston?”

“No, he was down in New York,” Liz murmured and Max just nodded his head in agreement.

“I was down in the city for the weekend,” he glanced over to Liz, but when his eyes met hers she stood up suddenly.

“I have to….go to the bathroom,” she excused and Max looked to her uncertainly, wondering what he had said to make her leave. She just blinked her eyes rapidly and rushed to the bathroom. Max just bit his lip as he listened to her footsteps behind him, hardly believing she had just left him here with her parents.

“So you were in the city for the weekend?” Mrs. Parker smiled, anxious to hear the rest of the story. She didn’t seem at all troubled by her daughter’s hasty exit.

“Yeah, uh,” Max cleared his throat and looked up to the two questioning faces. “I didn’t know my way at all and…I was trying to get to Madison Square Garden and um, I couldn’t get a cab, but Liz,” he licked his lips and tried to think of where he wanted to take this story, “was right behind me and she got one and we uh…we shared the cab ride.”

“How romantic!” Mrs. Parker cried in delight, clasping her hands together in front of her face and her husband grinned as well.

“So you two, what – you hit it off? Or did you have to ask for her number?” he inquired, a friendly twinkle in his eye.

“No, there was just uh…there was just this…spark,” Max murmured and his mind drifted back to that moment he’d seen her standing on the side of the interstate with her thumb out. “This spark - connection really – right when I saw her…I just…I knew…” his voice drifted and Mrs. Parker sighed

“Love at first sight.”

“Well, not quite,” Max bowed his head. “She’s very uh…outspoken…very candid and I don’t know, I just…” he paused momentarily and before he could continue, Liz returned back to the booth.

“We were just talking about you,” Mr. Parker grinned as she slid in beside Max. “Talking about how you first met.”

“Right, on the uh – the subway,” Liz glanced over to Max and she saw the muscles in his face tighten at her remark.

“Lucas said you two shared a cab?” Mr. Parker’s eyebrows furrowed and his wife looked a little confused.

“I was telling them about the cab ride first,” Max explained, hoping she’d catch on.

“Well, of course, can’t leave that out,” Liz laughed; wondering what on earth Max was telling her parents.

“But the subway’s where I asked for her number,” Max clarified and Liz’s mouth fell open.

“You did not ask for my number!” she slapped him on the arm, deciding that if they were making up the facts and history of their courtship here and now, it would not involve Max being the one who asked for her number.

“I did too,” Max maintained.

“Did not,” Liz shook her head and looked to her parents. “He was too shy to ask,” she clarified for her clearly befuddled parents. “I knew he wanted to, kept on ogling me and he completely missed his stop,” she smiled, suddenly realizing the fun in all of this.

“Well, you were supposed to show it to me,” Max grinned, clearly enjoying creating the story as well. It was like the Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books like he used to read when he was a kid.

“Sorry, I was busy trying to show you where your hotel was,” she scoffed. “Next time I’ll just leave you on the subway.” Mr. and Mrs. Parker could only laugh at the two who continued to exchange banter back and forth.

“So Lucas, did you just come down every weekend or what? That must have gotten expensive?”

“Well, I went up to see him a few times,” Liz shrugged and Nancy and Jeff nodded their heads.

“So how long have you two been uh…together?”


“Thanksgiving,” they both said at the same time and then looked at each other.

“Thanksgiving was when we first met, Christmas was uh…was our first kiss,” Liz recovered and Max nodded his head.


“It was uh…it was freezing out and for some reason we decided to take one of those carriage rides in Central Park and um…” Liz closed her eyes, creating the most romantic scene she could think of in her mind. “And Ma – Lucas,” she caught herself, “Lucas gave me his jacket and then in the middle of the ride it uh -”

“It started to snow,” Max turned his eyes to her and she moved her hand over his with a smile.
How had he known that’s what she had been about to say?

“Yeah,” she whispered. “Yeah, it started to snow.”

“Oh, how romantic…that sounds just like a movie!” Nancy sighed and then suddenly seemed to realize something. “Honey, is that why you didn’t come home for Christmas this year?” Liz bit her lip nervously. She hadn’t come home for Christmas because at the time she hadn’t really wanted to come home. Her mom’s theory sounded much more appealing though.

“Lucas, couldn’t uh – couldn’t afford to fly back to Ontario, so…” Even this romanticized explanation was hardly a good enough reason for explaining why she hadn’t been with her family on Christmas. “I stayed to spend Christmas with him.”

“Liz, you should have told us!” her mother scolded, but she hardly sounded angry. “You know we
would have been happy to fly him out to spend Christmas with us had we known.” Max bowed his head at Mrs. Parker’s remark, like Liz, feeling a twinge of guilt at the lies they were feeding her parents. The feeling quickly passed over though. As fun as this all was, sitting here with Liz, inventing a history about their relationship, he reminded himself just why they had to invent it all in the first place.

They remained in the booth for another hour. Alex and Maria had stormed through the doors, out of breath and covered in a shimmer of sweat, after running all the way from the stop light on the outskirts of town all the way to the Crashdown after Liz. They’d both taken a moment to look at the strange young man sitting beside Liz and had taken two steps towards the booth before realizing Liz’s parents were in the booth as well. As close as Alex and Maria both were to the Parkers, they opted to return to the Crashdown later to attempt to talk to Liz. The last time she’d been home, she had given them the not so subtle brush off. They were both determined not to let her slip through town without talking to them again though, especially not with her new companion. And knowing it had been almost as long for the Parkers since they had sat down and spoken to their daughter, Alex and Maria quietly exited the Café. Not without carefully examining the motorcycle parked out front however.

Neither Max nor Liz noticed them. Max especially got caught up in creating his and Liz’s five month romance. Their relationship, Liz found took place, mostly in New York, with backdrops like Rockefeller Center and the Met, it included walks through Central Park and dates at the theatre. Max created such gorgeous scenarios that Liz found herself closing her eyes in between his sentences to imagine her and Max really doing the things he was telling her parents. And she found her eyelids grew heavier and heavier as Max described to her parents the time he’d taken her ice-skating and how she’d fallen time and time again only to be lifted back up each time until she’d finally gotten it; or the time they couldn’t get a cab after an afternoon of shopping and he had carried her piggy-back the fifteen blocks to her apartment. Her parents, still in a state of disbelief that their daughter had returned home, nevertheless with a young man whom she appeared to be in love with, could only listen and smile and nod, asking a question here and there, but mostly just enjoying having their daughter back in a way she hadn’t been for years.

After fighting to keep her eyelids open, she had finally given in to sleep, sinking lower in the booth and leaning into Max, her fingers instinctively grasping at the folds of his denim jacket in a lustful manner that, in front of her parents, made him blush. She rubbed her hand up against his chest, clearly half-asleep and not even conscious of what she was doing. Even the tips of Max’s ears turned red, but if either parent was bothered by their daughter’s unconscious display of affection, neither showed it. Both just smiled as they got to her feet.

“She’s pretty beat, huh? Should probably get up to her room,” Mr. Parker remarked and Max just gave a tiny nod of the head, more than embarrassed by the manner in which Liz was now clinging to him as her mother tried to wake her.

“No,” she moaned, like a child begging for five more minutes of sleep before going to school as she buried her head into him. “No, Max,” she murmured and at the word Max’s eyes flashed up at her parents, who thankfully didn’t seem to hear.

“I’ll just…” he slid to the edge of the booth and then moved one arm beneath her legs and the other around her, anxious for her not to say anything more in her half-conscious state of sleep. “I’ll carry her up,” he hoisted her up and the effortless manner in which he did it was not lost on either Mr. or Mrs. Parker, nor was how natural it seemed, despite how embarrassed he had been moments ago.

“Her room’s up this way,” Mrs. Parker motioned for Max to follow him through the back door and Max just followed with Liz in his arms. Mr. and Mrs. Parker both just smiled at the sight, still pinching themselves every few seconds to make sure this was all real. They had their daughter back; Liz was home in a way that made it seem like the past few years had all been some sort of dream. They watched as Max carefully laid Liz down on the top of her bed where Mrs. Parker showed him. And Liz was in love.

Her husband motioned again for Max to follow him, smiling as the young man obediently followed.

“Come on, I’ll show you where you can sleep.”
Last edited by kippy on Mon May 25, 2009 5:09 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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Post by kippy » Mon Sep 13, 2004 3:48 pm

Maybe it was Max’s tale of abandonment that did it, that had Liz so excited to be home, safe in her own bed. And maybe it was the ill-fated story of the Guerin family that prompted her to crawl out of the bed in the middle of the night to see that her parents were indeed asleep in their bed. She wandered further down the hallway then to the guest bedroom she assumed her parents had moved Max into. Sure enough there he was, asleep in the little double bed that her grandmother always stayed in whenever she came over. She wondered if her parents thought of him as just company, or if they knew just what he was to her.

A smile crept across Liz’s face as she looked at Max’s sleeping form and then without a moment’s hesitation she crawled into the bed and curled up beside him. She was amazed that he could sleep so comfortably knowing who very well might be on their heels. Knowing what the people in pursuit of him probably wanted with him, that they didn’t really want to kill him. They wanted to study him.

She still couldn’t believe the irony of it all. That she, Liz Parker, of Roswell, New Mexico who in her lifetime had met more crazy UFO experts than she wanted, would end up randomly catching a ride with a self-described extra-terrestrial. She continued to gaze at Max’s sleeping form. Max the alien. Those so-called experts could be face to face with Max and not even know it. And now, after her nights of intimacy with Max she could be different, part alien too maybe. What weird places her life had taken her.

She just collapsed her head against the pillow Max’s head was resting on so their foreheads touched slightly. He murmured something incoherent and shifted slightly, but didn’t open his eyes.

“Max,” she whispered, reaching out to stroke his face gently and then he awoke suddenly with a start.

“What the - ” he looked around wild-eyed and Liz rubbed her had up and down his arm.

“It’s just me,” she whispered, a small smile on her face, but he hardly looked relaxed at the fact that she had crawled into his bed.

“What are you – your parents are right next door!” he whispered, frightened at the prospect of waking her parents and ruining the wonderful welcome they had extended to him, letting him stay here.

”They’re fine,” Liz assured with a devilish grin, cozying up to Max and kissing him softly. “I couldn’t sleep,” she informed him and he cast her a telling glance.

“You were sleeping pretty soundly this afternoon,” he noted and she just laughed and moved an arm around his body.

“Well you were busy being the storyteller,” she reminded him playfully.

“Seriously, go back to your room,” Max gave her a light shove, but she just nudged closer to him.

“I want to stay with you,” she protested, entangling her legs around his.

“There’s a reason your parents put us in separate rooms,” he argued, but Liz just shook her head.

“My parents don’t care,” she insisted, biting her lip, “they’re just happy I’m home.”

“Well, I don’t want to make them angry,” he maintained.

“They’re not going to get - ”

“Just go back to your room,” he repeated and the look in his eye told Liz not to argue the point any further.

“Fine,” she sulked, dragging her body out of the bed, but not before kissing him softly once more.

“Goodnight,” she pouted, sliding out the door and back down the hallway to her room.

“Night,” Max whispered as he watched her trudge down the hall, wondering how she could be so carefree climbing into his bed with her parents on the other side of the wall. He looked down the dark hallway, now very much awake. So this was where Liz had grown up. This Martha Stewart home and Brady Bunch mom and pop, who had without the slightest bit of uncertainty invited Max into their home. Why would Liz run from this? Why would anyone want to run from this? He buried his head into the pillow and sighed loudly. Would he be able to run from his?

Max woke up early to the scent of coffee invading his nostrils and the sound of food sizzling on a skillet. It had been a long time since he had awoken to the scents and sounds of breakfast, for a brief moment when he woke up he thought he was back in the orphanage in Midland. He wondered to himself if Liz was up as he pulled on a pair of pants and a t-shirt. Realizing he was wearing the Midland Lee Rebels shirt he knew would likely raise questions, Max quickly changed into a plain white t-shirt and pulled the Oregon State hat onto his head. A hat was just a hat after all. Would it be okay to just walk downstairs into the restaurant? He paused at the top of the stairs, peeking around into Liz’s room to see if she was up. The lights were off and the door closed, Liz probably asleep inside and Max suddenly found his feet glued to the floor. He couldn’t go down if Liz wasn’t there, he didn’t know how much more storytelling he could actually do.

“Hey there, Lucas, I was just coming to see if you were up,” Jeff Parker waved from the landing. “Come get some breakfast,” he invited, motioning to the dining room.

“Y – yes, sir,” Max stammered, “let me just get my wallet,” he excused, but Mr. Parker just laughed at the statement.

“Please, you’re our guest.”

“I’d really like to - ” Max insisted, but Mr. Parker just shook his head.

“I will not take your money, you are our guest,” he maintained, just as stubborn as his daughter and Max relented and slowly walked down the steps. “I figured you for an early riser,” Jeff remarked with a smile as they passed through the kitchen doors and he poured Max a cup of coffee.


“Please,” Max nodded his head, and while Mr. Parker’s back was turned obtaining the sugar he shook some Tabasco sauce into the coffee cup.

“So what else can I get you?” Mr. Parker handed the sugar to Max and smiled. “Eggs? Pancakes? Breakfast sandwich?”

“I’m – I’m actually alright for now,” Max nodded his head, amazed at this man’s hospitality. He stood in the kitchen awkwardly, where several employees were going about their morning routine, unsure of where he should go or what he should do. A blonde-haired waitress folding napkins in the corner eyed him suspiciously as he stood in the middle of the kitchen with his coffee cup, waiting for Mr. Parker to direct him where to go.

“Join me outside, Lucas,” Liz’s father waved to him suddenly, as if answering his prayer and Max obediently followed him out to the counter where only one other man, who appeared to be the town sheriff, was seated. The sight of the man in uniform made Max uneasy and he slid into a booth and tried to avoid eye contact with him. “Breakfast rush doesn’t usually start ‘til about eight or nine,” Mr. Parker informed as he noticed Max looking around the empty restaurant.

“So you’re open for breakfast, lunch and dinner?” Max inquired innocently, hoping to steer the conversation away from him and Liz at least until she woke up.

“Pretty much,” Mr. Parker shrugged, “summer is our busiest season. Lots of tourists.”

“Right,” Max just nodded his head.

“You ever been to this part of the country?” Mr. Parker asked and Max was slow to shake his head no. “Didn’t think so. You should ask Lizzie to take you on a drive. There’s some real pretty country, it’s not just desert, you know,” he continued on and Max just nodded his head.

“That sounds nice,” he murmured, wishing Liz would wake up and come downstairs before Mr. Parker asked a question Max wouldn’t know how to answer.

“How long you gonna be in town?” Mr. Parker asked just as the blonde haired waitress who had been staring at him in the kitchen walked out with a pot of coffee. Max’s mind raced for the right thing to say. They couldn’t stay here for more than a couple of days and he wasn’t quite sure how to tell Mr. Parker that whenever he left he would be taking Liz too, if she still wanted to go.

“More coffee?” the waitress asked, being none too discreet as she looked Max up and down some more.

“Sure,” Mr. Parker held out his mug and looked to the girl. “Maria, this is Lizzie’s boyfriend, Lucas,” he introduced and Max just stuck out his hand nervously. The girl named Maria slowly accepted it, looking no friendlier than she had in the kitchen. Max wanted to say ‘nice to meet you’ or some sort of friendly greeting to try to lift the uneasiness, but Maria’s steely gaze remained. “He’s uh – he’s from up north,” Mr. Parker tried to alleviate the tension. “Canada actually, and he’s all the way down here in New Mexico. First time.”

“And you go to NYU?” Maria asked skeptically, glaring at Max, who remained silent, completely floored by the girl’s hostility. If everyone else in Roswell was as pleasant as she was, Max could now see why Liz had left.

“No, he goes to Boston College,” Mr. Parker answered for Max.

“So how’d you meet Liz?” she continued the interrogation and this time Max answered for himself.

“I was down in New York, we shared a cab,” he informed and the girl just laughed.

“Liz doesn’t take cabs,” she scoffed.

“Well, she did with me,” he retorted and before Maria could shoot something back Mr. Parker suddenly got to his feet and grabbed Maria by the arm.

“Excuse me for a moment,” Mr. Parker apologized as he led Maria through the back door, leaving Max sitting there at the counter with the sheriff.

“You’re from Canada, huh?” he spoke out and Max just nodded his head and stirred his coffee uncomfortably, trying to listen to what Mr. Parker was saying to Maria from behind the closed door.

“Why are you being so rude to him?” Max heard Mr. Parker demand and the girl shot back something about him being weird. “He’s just quiet is all,” was Mr. Parker’s reply and something about the fact that the man was defending him made Max feel even more uncomfortable.

“So Liz suddenly goes for the quiet guys now?” Maria cried. “He’s the reason she didn’t call or write or even let us know if she was okay - ”

“Maria, he is not the reason Liz went away,” Mr. Parker continued to defend and Max could sense by the tone in his voice that he and the blonde haired waitress had had many a conversation about Liz before. “I think he’s the reason she came back,” his voice cracked ever so slightly and Max’s stomach churned for some reason at the comment. “I think she cares a lot for him, so please just - ”

“Fine, fine – I’ll go make nice.” He could hear Maria dismiss and Mr. Parker laugh and call out after her as she passed through the doors and appear behind the counter.

“He’s very, very nice.”

Max looked down at his coffee suddenly, trying to make it seem like he hadn’t been listening. He glanced back to the sheriff whom he had ignored, but who hardly seemed to mind. Unlike most officers Max had ever encountered, this one had a kindly, almost fatherly look to him. It suddenly struck Max that Liz had dated the sheriff’s son and he looked again to the sheriff who was getting to his feet.

“Enjoy your stay in Roswell,” he nodded to Max and Max wondered if he had heard Mr. Parker introduce him as Liz’s boyfriend as he headed out the front door.

“So you shared a cab?” Maria’s voice suddenly sounded from behind the counter as she wiped down the area where the sheriff had been sitting. Max jerked his head up at her words and saw that the hostility had seemed to leave her.

“Yeah, I uh – I didn’t know my way around the city,” Max replied softly as he continued to stir his coffee and Maria finally cracked a smile.

“That’s romantic,” she sighed and by the look in her eye Max wondered if she had a boyfriend herself. “I uh - ” she cleared her throat. “Liz and I – we um – in high school…” she fumbled for words and then just let out a weak laugh. “We used to be best friends,” she finally admitted and it all suddenly made sense to Max.

He wanted to tell Maria that he had heard a lot about her, that Liz had told him stories about their high school years, but he was unable to tell any more lies than he already was.

“Did she ever mention me or…or Alex?” Maria asked, seeming to read Max’s mind and he just shook his head sadly.

“But she – she never really talks about Roswell or anything,” he shrugged his shoulders, seeing the hurt on her face at the comment.

“Yeah,” Maria just laughed weakly, “she hates Roswell.” She sat down on a stool on the other side of the booth then, looking at Max. “I don’t know why.”

“She said…” Max started to speak, but his voice drifted off, wondering if Liz would be angry with him for saying what he was about to. “She said something like nobody ever tries to change here,” he lifted his eyes to look up at Maria. “That for some reason it bothered her that – that everyone just…I don’t know – that no one changes.” Maria just laughed at the comment.

“Yeah, that’s probably true, but that’s no reason to just drop people,” she shook her head and looked up at Max from across the counter. “I mean, I love Liz – I still consider her my best friend, but I don’t get her sometimes.”

“Yeah,” Max laughed also, “that makes two of us.” Maria’s head shot up at the comment, and seeing she wanted a further explanation Max just rolled his head back. “She just…” he stared down at his coffee, “says stuff and does stuff that just…completely contradict each other, I don’t know,” he sighed loudly.

“Like what?” Maria inquired further, seeming excited at the fact that she might have the opportunity to get a glimpse into the life Liz had kept so private the past two years.

“It’s uh – it’s kind of private,” Max dismissed and Maria tried to hide her disappointment.

“Right. Sorry,” she apologized, then just raised her head, deciding to give the rather dejected looking Lucas a piece of advice. “Well, I don’t know if it’s what you want to hear or not,” she shrugged her shoulders, “but all I can say is…believe what she says.” Max’s head shot up at the comment, remembering Liz’s words to him on the bike earlier. “‘Cos – I mean she went off to college and… did things – completely ignored me and Alex…and we’d call her and even when she came back for Thanksgiving she avoided us,” Maria recalled the painful memory of her freshman year. “I didn’t even see her until like Spring Break,” she continued, “but when I did and I talked to her I knew she was still my friend, even though she had done such awful things,” Maria shrugged her shoulders honestly, but she could detect no response from Max. He was staring intently at the coffee he had hardly drunk that was just swirling around in his mug. Maria stared just as hard at Max, wanting to know what thoughts were swirling around his head. He was peculiar. Mr. Parker had said quiet, but Maria thought peculiar described him better.

“Did something happen?” he finally asked though he didn’t pick up his head. “I mean, what she says – it just – it doesn’t make sense at all,” Max murmured.

“What do you mean?” Maria was slightly confused by his question.

“Here in Roswell, did something happen?” he asked the question so urgently it took Maria by surprise. Max knew he would likely never have such an opportunity to learn about Liz’s past without asking her directly.

“What do you mean? There was uh – there was a four-car pileup on Main Street back in junior year,” she wasn’t quite sure what he meant. “Um, we uh – we got snow here two Christmases in a row,” Maria shrugged. “I don’t know what you mean. Not a lot happens in Roswell.”

“To Liz,” Max inquired further. “I mean, she used to go out with the sheriff’s son, right? Why’d she stop?”

“Well, she was shot,” Maria shrugged her shoulders, assuming the story from sophomore year was one Liz had probably already shared with her boyfriend.

“She was what?”

“Shot,” Maria dismissed the matter again as if it were nothing. “Back during sophomore year, there were two customers, I – I thought that -”

“How did she get shot?” Max could hardly believe that Liz had failed to tell him such an important story.

“Two customers were in here and they had…an argument, one of them pulled out a gun. I can’t believe she didn’t - ”

“Well, how bad was it?” Max demanded further.

“She was in the hospital for a while, I’m – I’m sure she still has the scar,” Maria hinted, indicating
that Max could ask her about it if he wanted and no sooner were the words out of her mouth than Liz, still clad in her pajamas, stepped through the back doors.

Neither Max nor Maria could tell if she had heard what they were discussing, but there was a heavy cloud of awkwardness as Liz looked to Maria. Max almost thought he detected a bit of embarrassment.

“Hi, Maria,” Liz murmured, “I guess you uh,” she looked at Max, “you met…Lucas.” Maria just nodded her head and Liz slowly made her way around the booth to Max. “Morning,” she looked at him, his head down and his dark eyes fixed on the coffee cup.

“Lucas said you guys met in New York – you shared a cab ride or something,” Maria tried to lift the heaviness from the kitchen and Liz just nodded her head.

“Yeah, he was um – he was pretty clueless,” Liz moved her hand behind his head and rumpled his hair playfully, but Max flinched at the words.

“Why don’t you guys catch up,” he suggested, suddenly getting to his feet. “I need to go get gas.” And without so much as a sideward glance to Liz, Max disappeared out the front door.

“He uh – he’s really quiet,” Liz apologized for Max’s abrupt exit and Maria just nodded her head.

“Yeah, that’s what your dad said.” Maria still thought she would go with peculiar over quiet, something about the young man struck her as strange.

“Yeah,” Liz murmured, not sure what she was supposed to say to Maria. She hadn’t expected to see her this early, but she should have assumed that she would be working. “He’s uh – he’s from Canada,” Liz sputtered awkwardly.

“Yeah, your dad mentioned that too,” Maria nodded. “How long you guys been together?”

“Not long,” Liz replied honestly, slipping into the seat that Max had been sitting in as she looked to her friend uncomfortably. Like her parents, she hadn’t spoken to Maria in months and didn’t know just how she was supposed to go about reconciling that. “How’ve you been?” Liz attempted innocent conversation, “are you seeing anyone?”

“If you count Alex,” Maria shrugged.

“Is he coming by?” Liz asked nervously and Maria just shrugged again. “Right,” Liz hugged her arms to her chest, “maybe I should call him.”

“I wouldn’t suggest it,” Maria glanced at the clock, and at the words Liz just grew more uneasy.

“Why?” she stammered and Maria laughed.

“Alex sleeps ‘til like noon.”

“Oh, right,” Liz just nodded, remembering how their weekends in high school always seemed to involve waiting for Alex to wake up. “Can uh,” Liz got up from the stool, “can I help you out at all with work. I’d be glad to - ”

“I’m alright,” Maria shrugged, “if you want you can, but - ” Liz interrupted her before she could finish, taking the dishrag from her hand and joining Maria behind the counter like she once had.

“I’d like to.”
Last edited by kippy on Mon May 25, 2009 5:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by kippy » Mon Sep 13, 2004 3:57 pm

Maria broke the awkward silence that filled the space between them as she watched Max hop out onto the red motorcycle parked out front and speed away. “He’s cute.”

“Yeah,” Liz smiled to herself.

“He seems nice,” Maria continued, trying to elicit a further response from her friend. Something. Anything. Liz just smiled awkwardly again.

“He is.”

“Good,” Maria nodded her head. “I mean I’m happy for you.”

“Thanks,” Liz fidgeted nervously. “That means a lot coming from you.”

“Well I am.” Maria began refilling the sugar shakers suddenly and Liz could only sit and watch her uncomfortably, unable to form any words that wouldn’t seem too trivial. She didn’t want to talk anymore about Max, didn’t want to make up anymore cute courtship stories that were so far from the truth. She only wanted to say one thing to Maria, but the two words would not form on her lips.

“Did I do something?” Maria suddenly asked, driving at the core of what they both wanted to say and deciding to skip the small talk. “Alex and I – was there something -”

“It wasn’t you,” Liz cut off Maria. “It wasn’t ever anything that someone did. It’s – it was me…” But Liz couldn’t even explain herself if she tried. “It’s like I was incomplete. I was looking for something and I don’t even know what it was. It wasn’t you, Maria, I swear. It was just. Ever since…you know, I just tried to – I wanted to be something else than what I saw myself as. And it was just something about Roswell, but I couldn’t find it here.”

“Find what, Liz? Him?” Maria tried to fight back the tears that were suddenly clouding her vision. Liz’s feeble explanation continued to leave Maria with a rather empty feeling. A feeling that said somehow her friendship hadn’t been enough for Liz. Liz’s silence was enough for Maria, who just nodded her head. “So what you’re saying is this was all about a guy? The past how many years for some stupid Canuck?” Maria threw up her arms

“He makes me feel like I’ve never felt before!” Liz suddenly spluttered, not even caring how cliché it sounded.

“How’s that?” Maria crossed her arms, finding it hard to believe one person could do more than lifelong friends and family.

“He makes me feel beautiful!” Liz cried and the words silenced Maria despite the anger she felt. She wasn’t used to such outbursts of emotion from Liz. “And he challenges me and he keeps me grounded and he reminds me of why home is so important,” Liz continued. “He makes me feel complete like I haven’t since…I can’t even remember,” her voice fell away with her last statement.

Maria crossed her arms, still trying to be angry, but having difficulty as she looked at her friend’s face. Somehow the young man Liz was speaking about had also made her once defiant and rebellious friend vulnerable. He’d brought her back to the Liz that had sat out and gazed at the stars for hours once, murmuring about star-crossed lovers and one person for everybody. And as if she were reading Maria’s mind, Liz blurted out the words she hadn’t spoken since she was fifteen.
“He’s my soul mate, Maria. I know you don’t believe in all that, but…he just is.” Liz looked straight at her and she wasn’t laughing or making a joke. Maria saw that her friend was serious.

“And I…” she blinked back a tear, embarrassed that she’d reduced to tears to convey just how sorry she was. Maria’s face remained stolid as she braced a hand against the marble countertop and waited for Liz to continue. “I’m sorry, Maria,” of all things Liz gave a tiny laugh as she spoke the words she knew Maria had been waiting to hear. She laughed at how easy it had been and how she had built up the apology in her mind like some tremendous burden. The words had just rolled off her tongue, just like when she’d told Max she loved him. She could see Maria’s expressionless face begin to crack as Liz continued to laugh to herself to keep from crying. “I’m sorry that I’ve been a bitch,” she stated succinctly and gave a shrug of the shoulders, the words now tumbling somewhat effortlessly from her lips. “I was messed up,” Liz confessed, “and I’m sorry that it took so long for me to realize that….that it took me so long to…to find…” her voice drifted off, but Maria finished her sentence like she always used to.

“Him,” she stated simply and their was no anger in her eyes or resentment any longer. She understood. She understood from the tears running down her friends face and the glow in her eyes when Maria had even briefly mentioned her boyfriend that he was what Liz had been looking for. The boy she and Liz had sat out and dreamed up in middle school, the knight in shining armor who would sweep her off her feet. The love of her life. Liz just nodded her head in affirmation and then she and Maria both let out a giggle amongst the tears as they moved in for a hug. “I missed you, Liz,” she clung to her best friend tightly. “And I thought about you every day,” she confessed. “When the boxes came I just kept hoping you were safe wherever you were.”

“I am,” Liz assured her although the words sounded somewhat hollow considering she and Max were technically on the run. “With him, I’m safe.”

“He is really cute,” Maria broke up their hug suddenly, a wide grin on her face. “And that bike? So sexy,” Maria added, raising her eyebrows and sitting down on the barstool.

“He’s pretty incredible,” Liz bowed her head, reluctant to talk about Max as much as she wanted to. She wasn’t as good at maintaining the lie as Max was. That would come in time, she knew, but at the moment she just wanted to sit and talk with her friend. She didn’t want to lie anymore. Sliding into the booth, Maria began jabbering about a boy at Arizona State she dated last semester and how she’d hooked up with Kyle Valenti over Christmas Break.

“What?!” Liz hardly believed the statement and Maria just shrugged and laughed it off.

“It involved a lot of hard alcohol and a little bit of sympathy about his whole knee injury this season,” Maria rolled her eyes.


“Yeah, he blew out his knee – tore his ACL and his miniscus in practice – he was on crutches forever,” Maria explained and Liz just nodded her head, amazed at how naturally she and Maria had slid back into their easy friendship. “He was all bummed and he – for some reason – started talking about you and I was talking about you and…it was a bad situation with a bottle of Jose Cuervo…a mistake I vow never to repeat,” Maria affirmed.

“Wow,” Liz had trouble registering the information. Maria and Kyle couldn’t be more opposite if either tried. Still, her friend was different than she remembered her being when she’d left Roswell for New York. She wasn’t as crazy as she’d once been, more down to earth with a sensible haircut and earrings that actually matched her outfit.

“I know,” Maria just laughed and shook her head. “Me and Kyle,” she scratched her head and then looked back up to Liz, who still appeared to be processing the information. “I mean it only happened that one time…he’s nice, he’s a lot different from who he was in high school. Majoring in business, even made the dean’s list.”

“Whatever, you know, if he made you happy,” Liz shrugged, trying not to judge as she looked back up at Maria whose cheeks were suddenly reddening at a rapid rate.

“Good, ‘cos it happened more than once!” Maria squealed suddenly, her ears even taking on a crimson shade and Liz couldn’t even form words at the second confession. “We hooked up over Spring Break too,” Maria fidgeted nervously, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear.

“What does Alex think of all this?” Liz laughed, trying to register the information.

“He thinks it just happened once and he – I don’t know, he’s got some girl up in Canada he met online in some music discussion forum. IcePrincess12 or something – I don’t even know her real name,” Maria rolled her eyes. “He wasn’t too judging, just warned me to be careful and not to get hurt and I told him that, you know, Kyle’s changed and he’s sooooo different. It is a little weird ‘cos his dad and my mom have sorta been seeing each other – I don’t know what’s going on there, but he’s really nice and so funny and he makes me smile,” Maria blathered on and Liz just stared ahead at the milkshake machine.

“You and Kyle Valenti,” Liz repeated and Maria just danced around in her chair, more excited than Liz would ever anticipate. “I have been gone a long time.”

“You’re not mad, are you?” Maria inquired suddenly.

“Mad? Why would I -”

“I don’t know,” Maria shrugged, “ ‘cos you and Kyle…”

“Oh, please. That was a long time ago. I’m happy if you’re…happy,” Liz stuttered, “with Kyle,” she added with a laugh.

“Hey!” Maria slapped her friend playfully on the shoulder. “Don’t make fun,” she laughed, “Alex is the one with the cyber girlfriend.”

“You think he’d be up if I called him now?” Liz looked at her watch and Maria shrugged.

“He was probably up all night talking to his Canadian girlfriend, there’s a time difference involved – he always looks like a zombie – hey, that’s so funny that you both are dating Canucks, you’ll have a lot to talk about,” Maria continued to talk without taking a breath as always and Liz just smiled and looked up to her best friend of twenty years.

“I missed you, Maria.”
Last edited by kippy on Mon May 25, 2009 5:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.
"And we that have lived in the story shall be borne again and again..."

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Post by kippy » Thu Sep 16, 2004 11:16 pm

Author's Note: Wow, what a tremendous reply! I didn't know if anyone even remembered the story it had been so long since an update. Thanks so much for all your amazing words. I'm honored that you think I am inspirational and dedicated (my schoolwork begs to differ with the latter). No, Tess will not be making an appearance in this particular story. Sorry to those who might like her, but I genuinely believe the show went downhill with her appearance and I am keeping this fic (like my others) Tess-free. Speaking of the other fics, I am choosing to continue and hopefully complete this one before resolving Gone 'til November (what a big mess that is) and Stranger In This Town (an even bigger mess). I have plans for all of them, I've had them for quite some time RL just gets in the way. Thanks for all your encouragement. Its really you guys that keep me writing. All that said. Here's the next part...

In his hurry to leave Max hadn’t even bothered to inquire as to where the public library was and he wandered aimlessly for the better part of an hour around the town. Part of him was hoping some part of Roswell would be familiar to him. He’d been here once he knew, he vaguely remembered driving through the streets, wrapped in a blanket, clad in oversized clothes as he, Michael and Isabelle sat in the back of the old station wagon. He could recall some details – the smell of the pine freshener that hung from the mirror, the feel of the cold leather seats beneath him, the staticy radio and the song that was playing as they passed through town. He remembered nothing about the sights of Roswell though and try as he might, he still couldn’t. So he fixed his mind on the present and the mystery he sought to uncover about Liz.

He’s pretty clueless. Her words echoed in Max’s head. It had been a joke, a playful comment to go along with their fictional courtship, but the words suddenly had a deeper meaning. Liz had been shot. Liz had been shot and she’d failed to tell him this important piece of her life story. A sign for West Roswell High came into view and figuring that the school library was as good as any, he steered the Suzuki into an empty lot marked for visitors. School had just started and several students still lingered in the hallway as he walked through the doors. It was much smaller than Midland in every way possible. The hallways seemed narrower, the ceilings lower, even the students looked tiny.

“How do I get to the library?” he asked a petite girl who stood by the payphone. She adjusted the straps of her enormous backpack and turned five shades of red with the realization that he was speaking to her. He could hear what sounded like an attempt to speak in her throat, but no actual words came out and she just pointed down the stairs. “Thank you,” Max nodded his head and the girl just curled her lips back in a nervous smile, revealing a mouthful of braces. The adolescent girls surrounding her just stared at Max as he jogged down the stairs, then they turned back to look at the bike he had ridden up on before bursting into a fit of giggles.

The peculiarity of a stranger walking through the doors and demanding to know where the library was didn’t occur to them. They were too enamored with his motorcycle and the delicate features of his face to consider anything about him or his request out of the ordinary.

The school librarian was more savvy and was hesitant to direct him to the periodicals when he asked. Even with Max’s soft-spoken “pleases” added to every other sentence she was slow to show him their chronicle of West Roswell Dailies.

“What is it you’re looking for?” she inquired, “you know, the library’s technically closed during the school day to visitors.”

“Well maybe you could help me,” Max requested, glancing up to the librarian with eyes that suddenly seemed desperate.

“We have an electronic database for most of the local papers. There’s a search function there that might help you narrow down what you’re looking for,” she looked to him strangely. The young man had an honest look about him despite his bizarre request, but she couldn’t help but wonder why he was visiting the school library. Still she directed him to the computers and watched as he sat down in front of the desktop computer and immediately began entering search words. “What exactly are you trying to find?” she asked again, her curiosity piqued.

“What’s that?” Max asked absentmindedly as he typed the words LIZ PARKER and CRASHDOWN CAFÉ into the Boolean search.

“If you’re looking for information about Roswell,” the librarian suddenly volunteered, “I’ve lived here my whole life, I could probably help,” she gave a kindly shrug of the shoulders as Max waited for the search results to be displayed.

“How old is the town?” he made up an innocent question, tapping his foot impatiently as he waited for the computer to load the web page.

“I actually don’t know that for sure. Could probably look it up for you though!” she replied cheerfully, scooting around back behind her desk, no longer standing directly over Max’s shoulder.

“That’d be terrific,” he licked his lips, casting a sideward glance her way as the search results slowly began to appear one by one. The first few were listings in the chamber of commerce, an old article about Liz in the 8th grade science fair, articles he would have liked to read under other circumstances.

“1874!” the librarian suddenly shouted triumphantly. “I should have known – we did have a centennial back when I was in college. Was quite nice actually, none of this alien mumbo jumbo – just a celebration of the town and its real history,” she muttered to herself, but if the words meant anything to Max they fell on empty ears. Right in front of him in black and white was the story he’d been searching for. CAUGHT IN THE CROSSFIRE read the headline accompanied by a picture of the restaurant that belonged to Liz’s parents. The article was written with a dramatic flare and Max could tell news like the fight that had apparently broken out in the restaurant didn’t occur often in Roswell. Max scanned the article quickly, hurrying before the librarian rejoined him and began asking questions. Engaged in an argument - 16 year old Parker - only casualty.

“Oh, that was just awful,” the librarian’s matronly voice sounded behind him as she eyed the screen and Max jumped back in surprise. “That poor Parker girl,” she made a clicking sound with her mouth and Max turned around in his chair to look at her. “She was never quite the same after.”

“A person’s gotta be shaken up after something like that,” Max looked back to the article again, trying to figure out why Liz had left him in the dark about the incident.

“But she was…such a sensible girl,” the librarian sighed as she looked at the picture of Liz. “She always used to be in here, and then after that….I hardly ever saw her anymore.”

“In the library?” Max hadn’t even considered asking the librarian anything about Liz. He had been worried she would delve too deep into why he was asking, but she was volunteering all the information so he sat and listened.

“She was all set on going to Harvard, being a biologist…Quiet girl. Would sit in here back when she was a freshman and tell me all about her plans for the future.” She just looked to the computer screen where the article was displayed. “And she was just…different after all that. Wasn’t the same girl at all.” the woman’s voice drifted and Max just nodded his head solemnly.

“That’s sad,” he murmured softly.

“Sure is,” the librarian nodded her head in agreement. “To see such potential, you know? We get kids like her once ever few years. Really motivated kids, you just know will end up successful in life,” she turned from the computer then and walked back to the circulation desk. Max was suddenly hit with a pang of guilt, of all things, at the librarian’s words.

“Well what do you consider successful?” he suddenly asked, forgetting his feigned detachment from the story. “Just ‘cos she didn’t end up at Harvard doesn’t mean…” he checked himself before he could continue. He wanted to ask her what was success anyway but something you measured against someone else. A diploma? A steady job and income? All things he would deny to Liz were she to stay with him. “I mean where’d she end up going to school?” He played dumb.

“Went all the way out to New York, I think,” she plopped a placard onto the desk then that read “CLOSED TO VISITORS” and Max understood it was time for him to leave. He hoped she wouldn’t inquire as to his name as he shut off the computer and headed for the exit. The librarian turned around to write down the address of the Roswell Public Library if he wanted to continue researching, but by the time she turned around the mysterious young man was already gone.

“We were just talking about you, stud!” a voice shouted as Max reentered the Crashdown, his eyes searching urgently for Liz. It wasn’t Liz’s voice that called to him though and he looked around in confusion, wondering if someone else had entered the restaurant when he had. His eyes finally rested on Liz, seated in a booth along with the waitress who had identified herself this morning as Liz’s best friend, and a tall, somewhat lanky young man with short dark hair clipped close to his head. “You and your intoxicating kisses,” a still-in-uniform Maria laughed and Max looked around awkwardly, wondering again if she could possibly be talking to him. Liz, who Max suddenly noted was also dressed in a waitress uniform, just laughed and reached across the table to smack the blonde.

“Shut up, Maria! You are so embarrassing!” she looked to poor Max, whose face was as red as the shirt the boy next to Liz was wearing. “That is the last time I confess anything to you!”

“What?” Maria pressed her hands to her chest. “I want intoxicating kisses,” she declared

“What’s the matter, Kyle not doing it for you?” the boy teased and Maria turned to him.

“LOL, Alex,” she replied deadpan and Alex took the hint and was silent.

“Sorry, um, Lucas. you know Maria, this is Alex,” Liz introduced the boy beside her to a still thoroughly embarrassed Max.

“Nice to meet you, Lucas,” Alex extended his hand across the table and at his words Liz was suddenly grateful that she hadn’t had to introduce him. She didn’t want to introduce Lucas to her friends. She wanted to introduce Max.

“You too,” Max nodded his head, guessing that this boy must also have been another of the high school friends Liz had never mentioned to him. He wondered for a moment as he watched the comfortable interaction between the two if perhaps they had ever dated.

“Liz was telling us some stories about-” he began, but Maria burst into laughter before he could finish.

“Intoxicating!” she snorted with laughter, unable for some reason to get over Liz’s prior confession.

“You know what,” Liz slid out of the booth suddenly and moved to stand behind Max. Maria had demanded a ‘girl talk’ session about Liz’s new boyfriend and when they’d gotten to kiss-and-tell, Liz had made the mistake of telling the truth to Maria. That kissing Max was intoxicating. That she could think of no other phrase to describe being with him that so succinctly summed it up. Maria clearly was not going to let her live down the love struck confession and Liz made a note not to mention what making love was like. A large party of high school kids made their way into the café from the street and the restaurant suddenly began to come alive again, reminding Maria that she was still working. Liz removed the apron she had volunteered to put on that afternoon and instead snaked an arm around Max’s body and moved her other hand onto his chest, “speaking of intoxicating,” she shot a look to Maria.

“Ouch, we take the hint,” Maria scoffed, shaking her head in feigned disgust. “With mom and dad in the house? You rebel.”

“Dad’s working the counter, mom’s running errands, we’ve got the whole upstairs to ourselves,” Liz smirked and Max could now actually feel the hotness spread through his entire face. He didn’t think he’d ever been more embarrassed in his life in such a short time. Was Liz actually talking about this in front of her friends?

“We really take the hint,” Maria picked her order pad and pen off the table and slid out to continue working. The afternoon rush would start soon and she knew if she wanted to see Liz at all tonight she’d have to hustle.

“I’ll come back after dinner,” Alex waved as he headed for the exit and Liz just nodded her head and smiled. It all felt so comfortable. Like the years she’d spent apart from them had never happened. Almost like Max had been here all along.

“Good luck with the rush,” Liz called to Maria as she and Max made their way for the back exit behind the counter. Maria laughed as she watched them slide through the door and unable to leave out one last quip for the lovebirds she called out to both before they could disappear upstairs.

“Don’t get too drunk.”

Max had thought she was bluffing at first, that her blatant show of affection in front of her friends had been just that. A show. They wouldn’t really do anything with her father right downstairs working the counter. They were hardly up the stairs however when she reached for his shirt.

“Your dad is right downstairs,” Max whispered, but Liz dismissed him much like she had last night.

“He won’t leave the counter during the afternoon rush,” she tugged him towards her bedroom by his belt loops. “Come on, Max,” she urged, her voice now teasing him as much as her friends just had to her, “live a little.”

Max’s mind wasn’t in Liz’s bedroom however. It was downstairs in the café four and a half years ago on September the 17th. It was on Lewis Lawrence and John Ray Wilkens and why they’d chosen to settle their argument with a gun. Why they’d chosen the Crashdown Café. Why Roswell. Why Liz. And as he pulled her shirt up over her head he saw it. The scar he’d always seen, but chosen to never pay much attention to. Whenever her shirt had been off before asking her about scars on her abdomen was the last thing on his mind. Now Max’s head spun at how everything was reversed, now he could think of little else.

It was almost two inches long and the shiny pink keloid tissue was raised slightly off the otherwise smooth and perfect skin of her stomach. Max placed his hand beside the scar, expecting Liz to flinch, but she didn’t. He’d done it how many times before after all and never made a remark about it.

“What’s that from?” he asked innocently enough.

“Just from a surgery,” Liz moved his hands away from the scar, hoping he would leave it at that.

“What kind of surgery?” Her hopes were immediately dashed as his hand returned to the scar.

“My…appendix,” she moved them away again, unsure as to why she’d just lied to him. Just knowing that she didn’t want to dredge up this past. Not now. Not here.

“I took anatomy in high school,” Max frowned, “that’s not where your appendix is.”

“Well, that’s what it is,” she stated shortly and at her words Max lowered his head and rested it on her stomach. He didn’t want to attack her, didn’t want to turn this into an argument. He just wanted to know, and his next words were muffled against her body so that she wondered if she’d even heard him right.

“Why didn’t you tell me you were shot?” She ignored him at first so Max started to ask a second time, but she cut him off.

“Heard you the first time.”

“Well then why didn’t you answer?” he raised his eyes to her eyes, but they wouldn’t meet his.

“Why did you lie?” She could hear how hurt he was by the crack in his voice, but still she couldn’t muster an answer.

“It’s not important,” she murmured finally, “I mean…it happened.”

“It is important,” Max insisted, picking his head up off her stomach and looking at her with wide and earnest eyes. “If it happened to you then it’s important. ”

“But it happened, it’s over. No need to dredge it back up.”

“I’ve told you everything you could possibly want to know about me,” Max looked at her. “You know me like no one ever has,” he confessed. “I’ve told you things and – and done things I’ve never done with anybody,” he looked down to the discarded articles of clothing on the floor. “And you – I find out from Maria you’re still keeping secrets.”

“Not like you never lied to me,” she shrugged halfheartedly.

“But I thought we were past lying to each other,” he sighed.

“I didn’t lie, I just…never told you,” she avoided looking at him and chose instead to stare up at the ceiling.

“You just lied to me,” Max reminded her, “just now when I asked you about it!”

“I’m sorry, what’s the big deal? I was shot when I was sixteen. It’s over.”

“Because we can’t keep secrets now, Liz! Don’t you get it? We’re gonna be living a lie as it is, we’re lying to everybody else, we can’t afford to…lie to each other.”

“I’m sorry. I am,” she insisted and Max could see she was being genuine. Still her eyes were holding something back. “But…it’s just not something I like to talk about.”

“You can tell me,” Max placed both hands on top of the scar, but she immediately pushed them away.

“Don’t touch it,” she looked disgusted.

“You can tell me,” Max was practically pleading now and right then something in Liz snapped and it all poured out.

“What do you want to know? That I went into shock and…threw up when Maria tried to give me CPR?
That they had to take out my spleen?” she blurted out finally and when Max opened up his mouth to speak she just continued. “You want to know that I had such bad internal bleeding I had to be airlifted to Santa Fe? That I spent a whole week in the hospital?” When he said nothing she just laughed and threw back her head. “I didn’t think so.”

“What happened?” his voice was practically inaudible as he traced the length of the pink scar with his thumb.

“They shot me,” she creaked and she started to push Max’s hand away, but stopped and let it remain over the scar. “And I had…penetrating abdominal wounds,” she enunciated every syllable carefully. “Or, the uh – the doctors referred to it as severe abdominal vascular injuries…where my inferior vena cava and superior mesenteric artery were ruptured.” Max raised his eyebrows at the technicality of her explanation. Then he remembered the girl that the librarian had described to him. The motivated young biologist who had wanted to go to Harvard. She’d probably wanted to know every detail of the damage one stray bullet had wreaked on her body. “Which along with the damage to my spleen,” a crooked smile appeared on her face then, “ – that I no longer have – caused ‘life threatening hemorrhage’.”

A glassy look came over her eyes then and Max moved both his hands off the scar then and he moved them to her face. He’d never done such a tender action with her before and he was amazed at how perfectly her cheek fit against his palm. It was like when he’d do puzzles when he was younger and try piece after piece until finally he got the right piece. And it just fit and he wondered why he didn’t do it earlier. “And I almost died,” her voice trembled as she stated the words she’d never said aloud before. “Because of one…stupid bullet and two stupid men,” she spluttered, “and I was in the wrong place at the wrong time!” Max’s hands remained on either side of her face as she got out what he knew she needed to say. He just lay there on the bed, his arms outstretched to cup her face, his own face still hovering above the scar.

“Take a deep breath.” It wasn’t quite a suggestion and it wasn’t an order, but she did exactly as he said. “You didn’t die,” he stated calmly, remembering not too many nights ago when he’d been the emotional wreck and she’d been the one there to calm him. He pulled his face up then so it was even with hers and he moved his mouth on top of hers in a slow, sweet kiss that let her know that the words he was about to say were the truth. “You’re here with me,” he assured her, “and I’ll never let anything like that happen to you.” She made a small attempt to smile at his protective words, but saw something more behind them than what she’d heard. That it wasn’t just an attempt at chivalry to let her know he’d protect her from overweight middle aged men with guns. “I can…fix abdominal vascular damage, I can – I can fix your scar if you want,” he offered and she looked down at it and just laughed.

“It’s so ugly,” she rolled her eyes.

“It’s a scar,” Max shrugged, looking down to the own scar on his forearm from the fight with Odessa Permian he’d described to her in the truck. “Scar stories are cool.”

“Well I’ve gotta good one,” she managed to laugh.

“You’re still beautiful,” he combed the hair out of her face. “If anything…you’re more beautiful because of it,” he murmured and there was a beat between them before she gave another attempt at laughter.

“When did you become such the sweet talker?” she had trouble remembering anytime in the few weeks she’d known Max that he’d said so much. For a boy who’d never known love and who’d gone catatonic when she’d even said the words to him, he was certainly laying it on thick now. He just shrugged, ignoring her attempt at changing the subject. From all that he’d gathered from the librarian, from Maria, from Liz’s own confession, it was the shooting that was at the root of everything. Of her.

“I’m serious,” he assured her and she just nodded her head in understanding. “Having a scar doesn’t make you any less beautiful, but I can get rid of it that’s what you want.”

“It’s just the keloid…I had a procedure to reduce it, but it didn’t really work and I-”

“I’ll do it if you want,” he shrugged carelessly as if they were talking about tying her shoe.

“Do it… you mean like use your - your healing powers-” she stammered. His otherworldly healing abilities weren’t exactly something they had talked about and she was still unsure about how it all worked. All she knew was that he didn’t do it often. He’d used it once to heal himself so he could play in the division championship his senior year and once to save Nicky Denieri from dying on a practice field. He nodded his head, but she shook hers in vigorous protest. “I don’t want to make you do that.”

“I’ll do it for you,” he insisted, “I don’t care, we just have to do it now while your parents aren’t around,” he glanced behind him at the door.

“Why? Does it hurt or something?” she looked nervous. Nicky Denieri hadn’t exactly been in the position to protest if it had.

“No, I just – I don’t want to have to worry about them…walking in or something.”

“The door’s locked, they’ll just think we’re having sex,” Liz dismissed carelessly and he chose at her words to focus his attention on the scar, but she saw his ears redden for the second time that day. “So what do I do?” she asked in an effort to be helpful as she repositioned herself on the bed. Lacing her own hand in one of Max’s she readied herself like someone waiting to get a shot. Knowing something was going to happen, but unsure exactly what it would be like.

“Just lie back,” he mumbled softly, moving his hand out over the two inch scar. “Look at me, and try to let your mind clear.”
Last edited by kippy on Mon May 25, 2009 5:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"And we that have lived in the story shall be borne again and again..."

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Joined: Wed Apr 03, 2002 5:06 pm

Post by kippy » Fri Sep 24, 2004 9:53 am

Author's Note: You all are much to much too kind! I'm slightly busy (as usual) at the moment, but will try to get a new part out every week or so. I've got two senior scholars project that require me to do two forty page research papers, which along with four classes is slightly overwhelming not to mention the added stress of GRE prep and life after college....I'm rambling, enough about RL - who wants to hear about that - I appreciate all your incredible feedback. I have loved telling this story and it means so much to me that you guys have really enjoyed reading it as well. I hope, despite how different they are from the Max and Liz most people know, you can still see the basic element of the characters we love. So much is different and so much has remained the same, thus the title. By the way - if anyone wants to hear the song "Same Old Life" shoot me a personal message I should be able to dig out that Pound CD somewhere. On to the new part....

She felt a warmth spread throughout her abdomen, radiating from Max’s hand and at first all she could think about was that warmth. It wasn’t just the warm touch of a hand, it was genuine heat spreading from Max’s flesh to hers. He could create heat. She wanted to look down and see how it worked, but then the images came.

A rush of pictures in her mind, but not just pictures. Memories. She was in the backseat of an old station wagon seated with a little blonde haired girl and boy wrapped in an old Navajo blanket. Then the dark interior of the backseat changed suddenly and there were children everywhere. Several had Midland Lee Rebels attire on as they ran around her and as she let her mind clear out like Max had told her she found she wasn’t just seeing the memories. She was living them. Seven years passed by her in a blur as she experienced the rejection only an orphan can know, four more unremarkable years marked by football practices and Friday night games followed that. She found herself in the middle of a fight with twelve angry Odessa Permian players and before she could realize it was the fight Max had told her about she was up at the library in Corvallis. The very library and the very spot where she had been with Max only days before. And there was Matt Keller and there was Nicky Denieri and then there was her.

A gasp sounded from her lips as Max’s hand over her scar relaxed, but the connection remained. She could feel it now from their joined hands, a heat raging palm-to-palm, from one finger laced between another. His hand remained intertwined with hers as her life continued to play out before him as well.

Carefree memories in Roswell, county fairs and sleepovers, turned dark and empty as he felt what it was like to wake up in a foreign hospital bed and be alone with neither friend nor family around. The emptiness continued as high school passed him by and even college. Smoky New York nightclubs and overcrowded apartments and he felt nothing until he climbed into the cab of a familiar eighteen wheeler and saw himself.

Beads of sweat began to form on Liz’s forehead as she gripped Max’s hand desperately, like if she relaxed her hand even a bit she might fall away from him. And she forgot she was lying on her own bed, in her own room, in her house in Roswell. She was in a hotel room outside of Trois Rivieres, then Columbus, then Las Cruces. She retraced all the miles she and Max had traveled and she saw them all from Max’s point of view. And the paralyzing fear of abandonment she had gotten a glimpse of in the orphanage in Midland rushed back through her as every day and every thought and every urge Max had ever felt embedded itself in her own memory.

She was at the West Roswell library, talking with Mrs. Keegan, the old librarian who had been so fond of her, she was driving through the streets of Roswell trying desperately to remember something and then she was downstairs in the restaurant where she had just been, then walking through the door to her room where she was looking down at herself. The images and thoughts began to be mixed with her own then and new memories began to play in her head, memories she and Max were creating together at that very moment.

She felt a throbbing in her temples. It was too much. She felt like she was in a fun house mirror maze and she wasn’t quite sure which way to look. She began to open up her eyes, but it only made it worse.

“Stop,” she wrenched her hand free from his and the connection came to an abrupt stop. Her breaths came in short staggered breaths.

“What? Are you in pain at all?” Max asked, his voice thick with concern though his own breathing was ragged and uneven.

“That was…intense,” she exhaled loudly, rolling her head back and trying to process everything that had just passed through her mind in – she glanced to the clock on her wall – less than two minutes.

“Did you see them too? I – I -” Max stammered.

“I didn’t just see them, Max,” Liz propped herself up on her elbows. “I was there. I was you.”

“What did you see?” he inquired curiously as Liz fixed her eyes on him like she was seeing him for the first time.

“Everything.” A moment’s silence passed between them and one look at Max told her that he had seen everything too. Everything of her own life.

“Sorry,” he apologized suddenly. “If towards the end there it got…I – I didn’t know…” Max seemed unable to form any words for what had just passed between them.

“Have you ever connected with anyone like that before?” Liz probed, but Max just shook his head and Liz refrained from asking him any more questions she knew he was likely unable to answer. She instead turned her attention down to the scar that was now just a faint whitish line on her abdomen. He hadn’t removed it completely and Liz knew why. She couldn’t just erase the past, he wouldn’t just erase the scar. “Thanks,” she whispered, running her own hand across her stomach like she hadn’t done in years.

“Whatever,” Max murmured after a long pause and Liz laughed at the seemingly dismissive comment. “Not – no, I didn’t mean,” Max bowed his head, embarrassed that the words hadn’t come out like he intended. “I meant…whatever it takes.”

“Oh.” It was Liz’s own turn to grow embarrassed at his words. After all she’d just seen, all she’d just felt, she didn’t deserve such adoration from Max. After trying to leave him twice, betraying him hours after he’d gone so far as to put his own life in her hands. God, she felt sick at the memory. She sat upright on the bed then. She wanted to apologize to him and thank him and cry and laugh and do so many things. She wanted to make up for the fifteen years that had passed by in a blur. She wanted to tell him she didn’t deserve all the space she took up in his mind. It had been overwhelming – seeing how twelve years of living could take up so little time and how a few weeks with her could take up so much.

She just moved her hand over his and she smiled at the loneliness neither of them would ever have to face again and spoke the words that she doubted she’d ever get tired of saying to him. “I love you.”

Max wasn’t as comatose as he’d been the first time she had said it, but he still couldn’t hold his gaze on her when she said the words. He looked away, down to the bed, then to the door.

“We should go back downstairs,” he began to get to his feet, but Liz reached out for his shirt, a playful grin on her face. She understood now. She understood why hearing the words freaked him out. Why it was so difficult to truly believe them.

“Not so fast,” she tugged his body down on top of hers. “You’ve got a reputation to uphold.”

“What exactly did you say to Maria?” Max raised his eyebrows and Liz detected the faintest makings of a smile. And she could feel see the muscles of his face slowly loosen up. She knew it would take time. She knew Max was something of a work-in-progress, but then again so was she.
“Nothing that wasn’t the absolute truth,” she kissed the side of his face softly. “Nothing,” she kissed the other side, “that I knew you couldn’t live up to.”

“That’s a lot of pressure,” he murmured and she just gave him a sultry grin, yanking the shirt up over his head.

“I’ll give you pressure,” she teased and Max just chuckled softly. She didn’t want him to chuckle though, she wanted him to take her like he had that night in Corvallis. She could feel his entire body relax a bit more. Just let go. She wanted to tell him. Why was it so hard for him to just let go? The memories that had flooded her own memory, the memories that had now taken hold inside of her suddenly reminded her. Because letting go was antithetical to Max’s character in ever way. Letting go involved everything that Max had spent his life guarding against.

A knock sounded and Liz could hear Maria’s voice sounding from the other side of the door. She sighed loudly and relented for now, tossing Max his shirt.

“What?” Liz’s voice sounded and it didn’t take a mind reader for Maria to know that Liz was annoyed.

“Look, I know you two are probably…” her voice drifted off suggestively, “your dad wanted to know if you wanted dinner here or if you were planning on going out?”

“See, my dad doesn’t care,” Liz wasn’t sure why she was whispering as Maria could likely hear her through the door.

“I’ve never been a guest in somebody’s house before,” Max explained, straightening the wrinkles in his clothes as he walked towards the door. Liz latched her arm around his as they opened the door. Maria gave an awkward smile.

“Hope I wasn’t interrupting anything.”

“No, nothing was going on,” Liz sighed, running a hand through her hair.

“How’s the dinner rush?” Max inquired in an effort to change the subject but before Maria could answer him Liz tugged on his arm.

“My mom thought we went off and got married and she didn’t even care!” Liz was still fixated on Max’s hesitancy to get intimate. “If we’re a little late for dinner I don’t think either of my parents are going to mind - ”

“I’m still a guest in their house,” Max insisted. “I just want to be respectful.”

“Is it respectful or is it…” she threw back her head and just laughed before she could finish. She couldn’t yell at Max for this. “I’m just saying they honestly do not care -”

“You got that right,” Maria suddenly sounded as the three made their way down the stairs. “Her parents love you,” she volunteered. “I honestly thought I heard them talking about grandchildren.” Liz said nothing at the words, she just held onto Max’s arm a bit tighter. “I think you guys could probably go at it right in front of them on table five and they wouldn’t even care,” Maria gave them what Liz could tell was her honest opinion as she entered the kitchen. Liz laughed at the words that she knew had likely made Max uncomfortable. Some things just made some people nervous. Talking about the world of intimacy Max had only recently entered so casually was one of those things. She paused in the backroom before entering the restaurant.

“I’m not saying,” she laughed and shook her head at her friend’s words, “what Maria said, I’m just saying,” she shrugged her shoulders and offered the truth to him. The truth behind what was really bothering her. “You seem kind of tense.” Max was silent at the words and Liz continued. “Since we got here, you’ve just…I want you to relax. This is my home,” Liz smiled, looking around at the familiar walls that she realized she had missed. Max remained silent, he waited instead for her to catch on and register her own words. “I mean obviously…obviously I know,” she cleared her throat. “That we have to go.” Despite the attempt to speak clearly, her voice still remained a low whisper.

“Soon,” Max corrected. “We have to leave soon.”

“How…what’s soon?” Liz creaked. “I mean we – we stayed at that place – New Pine Creek – we stayed there for a while,” she protested without even realizing it.

“And look what happened,” Max shrugged his shoulders. “They found me.”

“Who are they?” Liz suddenly cried. “How can they do that? I don’t understand how they can find one person when you keep moving, I don’t - ” Max could see her getting upset and he moved her hands up to his face like he had done up on her bed to quiet her down.

“They just can,” Max shrugged. “I’ve never questioned it.” His touch had a calming effect on her and she took in a few cleansing breaths. “But Liz it’s not safe to stay here.” His words echoed in her head and she knew he didn’t just mean for her. He meant for her family too. She remembered all too well the story he had told about the Guerin family.

“How long?” her voice sounded so defeated Max knew she didn’t want to hear the answer.

“Maybe one more night,” Her head began to shake at his words, “after tonight.”

“No, no Max. This is my family…Maria, Alex – I – I - ” her protesting words sounded clearly in his head, reminders of all that he had been worried about the first time she’d said she wanted to stay with him. Then he hadn’t been able to tell her. For the same reason he couldn’t tell Matt Keller. Staying with him meant giving up everything else. And he couldn’t say anything, he couldn’t promise her that they would return or say it would all be okay. “I want to be with you,” she murmured. “I just – I’m not ready to leave them.”

“I know,” he sighed. “I wish we could stay.” The earnest look in his eyes told her it was the truth.

“Your parents are amazing people and Alex and Maria,” Max managed a smile at Maria’s name, “they’re….” His voice drifted off. They were the friends he’d never had. “They’re why we have to leave,” Max maintained his resolution. No matter how tempting it was to stay here they would have to leave.
Last edited by kippy on Mon May 25, 2009 5:28 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Post by kippy » Thu Oct 07, 2004 6:29 pm

The dinner rush was still in full force as Max and Liz walked through the swinging door to the Crashdown. Max shifted his weight nervously from one foot to the other as he and Liz waited by the counter for a booth to open up, all eyes in the diner upon them. Upon him, the new man who had suddenly swept into town with Elizabeth Parker. Max almost felt like they expected him to stand up and give a speech.

“That booth the Delgados are in should be clearing out soon,” Maria informed suddenly from behind the counter as she grabbed a tray stand and hoisted a tray loaded with burgers up onto her shoulder.

“You need any help?” Liz offered.

“You can bring the Tulls their check,” Maria motioned to the family crowded around the six top and Max just stepped aside as Liz assumed a position behind the counter.

Fidgeting uncomfortably with a salt shaker, he tried as best as possible to stay out of everyone’s way as they carried milkshakes and dinner platters back and forth. He wanted to offer to help, but wasn’t sure how to get a word in. Everyone seemed so busy.

“Can I -” he would stammer and before he could finish Maria would be off with another basket of fries. Liz too was now off and running, taking checks to hurry the customers out the door.

“Liz, sit down,” Maria motioned to the booth that had just opened up as Liz opened up the cash register to break a fifty.

“No, let me help you finish up,” Liz protested.

“Sit down,” Maria maintained, pushing Liz out from behind the counter. “Your dad pays me for this,” she laughed and Mr. Parker sauntered behind her at the words, clapping his hands on her shoulders.

“I sure don’t pay you to stand around and talk.”

“You would be lost without me,” she proclaimed matter-of-factly. “You have a restaurant full of customers who are asking about your new son-in-law.”

“Well, I hope you’re dispelling that rumor,” he replied with a chuckle, well aware that word about his daughter’s mysterious return to Roswell had the residents of Roswell, many of them friends of the Parkers, talking.

“This mouth keeps you in business,” Maria shook her head. “You’d be lost without me, I tell ya.” As Liz listened to the playful banter of her father and her best friend she felt a twinge in her at the familiarity between them. It was a relaxed and comfortable vibe she had difficulty remembering ever having with her father. Life had gone on here in Roswell without her. Maria and her father had gotten along as best they could.

“You’re the hot topic, huh?” Max smiled to Liz as they wound their way through the tables to an empty booth. All eyes in the diner continued to follow them.

“How it’s always been,” she sighed, choosing to slide in on the same side as Max so that she might be shielded somewhat from view. When he just looked at her curiously she elaborated further.

“Well, my parents own this place…so everyone in town always knew who I was,” she explained. “If I so much as got a haircut, everyone seemed to notice…that’s why…” Her voice drifted off as she fidgeted with the barbell through her tongue. “That’ sort of how it all started,” she confessed and Max knew she wasn’t just referring to the piercings. “It – it kind of made life claustrophobic.

“Claustrophobic?” Max looked at her curiously, not quite sure if he understood the analogy.

“It’s like, you know, how am I ever supposed to become whoever it is that I’m gonna become while everyone is looking?” Liz explained herself further and she dropped her head so her hair fell in front of her face. “Sometimes I wished I could just be invisible,” she murmured, her eyes focused on the blob of ketchup on the tabletop. Even now all the eyes in the restaurant still remained on her – everyone from neighbors and former teachers, to storeowners and parents she used to baby-sit for.

“Sometimes I wished I didn’t have to be so invisible,” Max spoke softly in reply and Liz gave a small smile at the simple statement and how much it summed up everything between them. She continued to fidget with her tongue ring and Max could hear it clanging around inside her mouth.

“It isn’t that hard to eat with,” she spoke suddenly, her voice no longer the low mumble it had been.

“What?” he laughed at the apparent randomness of her comment.

“Back…way back,” she laughed at how little time had actually passed from the moment she was referring to. It felt so long ago that she’d first climbed into a truck with him on an empty stretch of I-95, but in reality it hadn't even been two weeks. “You asked me how I ate with a tongue ring.”

“I did,” Max nodded his head, well aware of the moment she was referring to. They were some of the first words he’d ever spoken to her. He remembered how much courage it had taken for him to say something to her.

“A lot’s happened since then,” Liz nodded her head and looked across her body to Max, knowing how much of an understatement it was. She could see Alex crossing the street to join them, Maria was pulling off her apron as the last tables got to their feet.

“A lot has,” Max nodded his head as well and he knew what she was turning over in her head. How she’d ended up here. How they both had.

“What’s our next move?” she whispered, taking his hand beneath the table and as Maria and Alex slid into the booth on the other side of them all Max could do was shrug and squeeze her hand back.

“Lucas, so where uh – where exactly is Willowdale?” Alex asked almost before he sat down.

“Willowdale? It’s a suburb of Toronto.”

“So it’s not a…a part of the maritimes then?” Alex looked crestfallen at Max’s reply.

“No, why?” Max laughed in confusion.

“Alex’s cyber-girl is from the maritimes,” Maria proclaimed.

“She is not a cyber…girlfriend,” Alex replied defensively, his voice drifting off at the last word.

“She’s just a friend.”

“A friend who you have late night chats with,” Maria raised her eyes suggestively. “What’s her name?”

“Like I’m telling you,” Alex shoved Maria towards the edge of the booth.

“I think it’s cute, Alex,” Liz smiled. Alex had never exactly been good with the ladies in high school. He was the type of guy who would be every girl’s best guy friend, but never any more. She wondered if things had changed in college, or if he still remained the sweet, steadfast, loyal friend who got taken advantage of.

“She’s not a girlfriend,” he continued to protest.

“Did you guys meet in a chat?” Liz inquired further, but Alex abruptly changed the subject.

“I want to hear about how you met,” he motioned to Max. “Since you two are actually dating.” The word ‘dating’ sounded strange in Liz’s ears. It sounded so trivial. Dating was something you did in high school or college. She and Max had never been on anything resembling a date outside sharing a Friendly’s sundae and attending a baseball game in Missoula.

“We shared a cab ride,” Liz replied absentmindedly, wondering when this bit would become routine. When lying to her friends would feel normal.

“You don’t take cabs,” Alex objected almost instantaneously and Maria slapped the table emphatically.

“That’s exactly what I said!” she proclaimed.

“Well, it was raining,” Max clarified. “It was really cold and rainy.” Maria looked unconvinced.

“And then we ended up taking the subway together,” Liz recited in the same manner she might if she were giving an oral presentation for class.

“So who asked who out? Or did you both just…”

“I – we…” Liz tried to remember the details of the conversation she and Max had had with her parents yesterday. She really should have written it down. Her mind went blank. She couldn’t remember which way they’d played it out. How had they done it? Had Max asked or had she given him her number? Suddenly Liz couldn’t recall anything so she got up from the table. “I’m gonna go check on our food.”

“I was so worried about how to ask if I could call her that I missed my stop,” Max covered in an attempt to distract Maria and Alex’s attention away from Liz’s abrupt exit. “It was my first time in New York.”

“I want to go to New York,” Maria sighed, her chin collapsing against her palm. “Six years of experience waiting tables. I’m sure there’s one restaurant in New York that could use me.” She looked down at her clothes. “I don’t mind wearing stupid uniforms.”

“Where do you go to school?” Max inquired innocently.

“Arizona State,” she shrugged her shoulders and Max’s head shot up at the name. He was tempted to ask her if she had ever gone to the football games. If she remembered a game two Septembers ago against Oregon State when number forty-nine had picked a pass off in the end zone and returned it thirty-nine yards downfield. He couldn’t ask, he didn’t ask and Maria continued talking. “I mean Tempe’s nice and all…it’s just-”

“ - not New York,” Alex completed her thought. “Tell me about it. The people at Tech - it’s like open up your ears a little!” he shook his head. “If I took my music to New York…”

"Alex is a musician,” Maria explained. “He’s very into…openness with respect to music.”

"What kind of music do you like?” Alex asked, but one look at Alex’s passionate face told Max that somehow his reply of ‘everything’ would disappoint him.

“I plead the fifth,” he replied with a tiny grin.

“Just as long as you don’t say Dave Matthews, I’m okay,” Alex looked irked just at the mention of the name. Maria made a crazy motion with her hands in response to Alex. “Maria, you have no idea – it’s all anyone listens to and they won’t step outside the box and try anything new!” he argued.

“Just ‘cos no one came to your show last month doesn’t mean –”

“That’s not what…I don’t care, no one came to my shows at Roswell, but they weren’t all….brainwashed.” The talk quickly turned to music and Max was midway through telling Alex about the new Metallica tattoo his friend had just gotten when Maria finally asked what was on all their minds.

“Where did Liz go to?” she looked to the counter. Unless she was actually making the food herself it couldn’t possibly have taken this long to check on a couple orders of space fries.

“Maybe she had to go to the bathroom,” Max shrugged, trying to hide his nervousness. In actuality, her abrupt departure was on his mind. It had been quite similar to her exit from the booth with her parents yesterday. Everything about her new life with him was only now hitting her and she was showing more and more how much it was hurting her.

And it was ripping him up inside.

“I’m just gonna…” Maria excused herself from the table and headed to the backroom. Alex rolled his eyes and mumbled something about girls not being able to go to the bathroom alone, then making sure Maria was out of earshot he turned to Max.

“So what do you know about the Maritimes?”

Liz hadn’t gone far and it didn’t take Maria very long to see her body standing in the doorway to the alley, half-outside and half-inside, breathing in the air in calm, cleansing breaths.

“What are you doing, Liz?” Maria laughed, but as Liz jumped back in surprise Maria could see her face streaked with tears and her laughter immediately stopped. “Oh my God, what’s wrong?

“Nothing,” Liz laughed, thoroughly embarrassed at how many times she’d cried today. “Really, I’m fine.” She wiped her eyes with the back of her sleeve carelessly.

“You don’t cry, Liz,” Maria stated simply, crossing her arms over her chest. Outside of this morning, Liz hadn’t cried in years.

“I’m not – I just…I just there’s a lot of stuff that comes back, being home,” Liz confessed and she didn’t feel so guilty saying it because it wasn’t a complete lie.

“Is it…” Maria stepped outside and shut the door, “is it about the whole leaving thing?” At the words Liz’s face turned ashen.

“What are you talking about?”

“I heard you and Lucas talking before,” Maria confessed, “when I was in the kitchen.” She hadn’t had any intention to eavesdrop, but couldn’t help but perch by the door as she heard both voices appeal passionately to each other. It hadn’t quite been a lover’s quarrel, but it hadn’t sounded like just a little spat about being embarrassed around her parents either. The only word Maria had been able to continuously make out was the word ‘leave’.

“Were you listening?” Liz’s voice revealed a slight sense of betrayal and Maria shook her head emphatically.

“No, Liz I just heard bits and pieces and I got worried,” she maintained honestly. “Is he making you do anything?”

“Maria, no. You’re -”

“Is he making you leave?” she finally blurted out what had been nagging at her since she overheard the heated conversation.

“No, he’s not making me do anything - ”

“Because you just got here,” Maria maintained. “And I don’t care if he’s the frickin’ love of your life-”

“Maria,” Liz looked to her friend, who was very quickly flying off the handle. “He’s not making me do anything.” There was a beat between them and Maria knew.

“But you’re leaving.”

“I have to.

“How long? Where? Why?” Maria asked all the questions Liz had been hoping she wouldn’t. The questions she couldn’t answer, because even she didn’t know herself.

“I don’t know,” she tried to shrug casually.

“You’re leaving? After you just…” Maria snorted. “Why do you hate Roswell so much?”
Maria’s question hung in the air. How could she explain any of this to Maria? That it wasn’t Roswell. That she’d love to stay, but there were circumstances here that were out of her control.

“I don’t,” Liz replied. “It’s not Roswell, I just have to leave.”

“You’re making no sense, Liz,” Maria shook her head.

“I know it doesn’t,” Liz combed her fingers through her hair and took in a deep breath. “But it makes sense to me…and to him.”


Maria turned the word over and over in her head as the resentment she had first felt this morning began to bubble back up. Resentment at this person who suddenly had so much influence over Liz’s life. She wasn’t usually an angry person, but deep down Maria couldn’t help but be bitter. Something was off. Liz was different even than she had been this morning, different than she had been this afternoon. As they walked back inside to the dining room and slid back into the booth, Maria watched carefully to observe the interaction between the two. He reached out and moved his hand over hers, causing a tiny smile to appear on Liz’s face and Maria felt a pang deep inside her. She shouldn’t be bitter towards anyone who could make Liz smile so easily with such a tiny action. She couldn’t resent him, but there was a nagging deep inside her that something was off, not with Liz, but with him. She wouldn’t resent him, but she didn’t have to like him either.
Last edited by kippy on Mon May 25, 2009 5:31 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Post by kippy » Sat Nov 06, 2004 10:38 pm

Once the high school kids that always stayed until closing departed, the four were left alone in the restaurant. Liz flipped the OPEN sign to CLOSED and when her dad hit the lights the booth they were wedged in was illuminated only by the tiny lamp on the wall. Over the course of the night they’d gone through three orders of space fries, two baskets of Saturn rings and on top of it all Max had downed an entire Sigourney Weaver himself.

“The shakes are really the best thing here,” Alex stated matter-of-factly as he finished slurping the remains of a Mercury Milkshake.

“And Alex would know,” Maria snorted, “he has one about every day.”

“I don’t think I could manage dessert right now,” Max patted his full stomach with a wide grin. “But maybe tomorrow.” He looked down at all the things on the menu he had yet to have. All the things he still wanted to try and to do in Roswell.

He looked up on the wall where a sign designated the drawings on the wall as the work of Mrs. Fitzgerald’s second-grade class. Each second grader had apparently dreamt up their own alien and drawn a picture to decorate the Crashdown walls. Some had three heads, others had four arms and x-ray eyes. Liz caught Max’s eyes drifting over the drawings.

“My dad let’s a new class put them up every month,” Liz explained as Max’s eyes scanned over the
Crayola drawings, “the kids really get a kick out of it.”

“They’re so cute,” Maria looked up at the paragraphs the second-graders had scrawled out to accompany each drawing. “My alien has five arms so he can catch footballs good,” she read the work of Rory W, age 7. “Apparently aliens play football.” Maria let out a snort. “Cute.”

“Yeah, they’re really…cute,” Max’s voice trailed off and he could feel Liz’s eyes on him at Maria’s last comment. Cute wouldn’t be quite the word he would select to describe the drawings. One alien had sharp pointy teeth that dripped with a substance Max could only guess the second grader meant to be blood, still another had lightning bolts shooting from it’s five hands. He’d like just for kicks to go up to the teacher of these kids and whisper to her that he was an alien. That he didn’t drive a spaceship or have x-ray eyes. He wanted to go up to Maria and tell her that in fact he did play football. Sensing his discomfort, Liz snaked an arm around Max’s body and leaned into him.

“You want to go for a drive tomorrow?” she changed the subject, “I could show you some more of Roswell.”

“Sure,” Max nodded his head, knowing that tomorrow would likely be their last day in town. “I’d like that.

“It’s not just desert, you know,” she added and Max just chuckled.

“Your dad said the same exact thing,” he chuckled as he recalled Mr. Parker’s words to him earlier that morning.

“It should be like our town motto,” Alex laughed, holding out his hands. “Roswell: it’s not just aliens and desert.”

“Oh, but it is,” Maria sighed, dropping her head into her hands.

“Well I was gonna take him to Bottomless Lakes,” Liz shrugged her shoulders. “It’s this great state park that’s really underrated,” Liz informed Max, who just nodded his head.

“Yeah, that sounds cool.”

“Take him to Area 51,” Maria murmured, “it’s all anyone wants to see when they come to Roswell.”

“I’ll go anywhere,” Max shrugged carelessly trying to again veer the subject away from aliens in Roswell.

“There’s a lot of museums here -” when Maria opened up her mouth to interrupt, Liz continued in anticipation of what she was going to say, “outside of the UFO museum.”

“What kind of museums?” Max asked and Liz smiled. She remembered Max telling her his favorite classes at Oregon State had been history.

“There’s um – there’s a military museum, an art museum and the historic district is becoming pretty popular.” Maria snorted at Liz’s attempt to make Roswell seem larger than it was.

“Roswell is aliens and desert.”

“And dessert,” Alex sucked down the last of his milkshake causing Maria finally to laugh, but she turned her attention to Liz.

“When did you become the defender of Roswell?” she asked Liz and it sounded more like an attack than a question. “You’re always so anxious to leave.”

“Maria,” Alex scolded, unsure why Maria all of a sudden sounded so angry.

“You tell Alex you’re already planning your escape?” A worried look crossed Max’s face as he glanced to Liz, wondering what had she told Maria.

“I’m not escaping, we’re just…” Beneath the tabletop Liz rubbed her foot against Max’s ankle, hoping he could help her out somehow.

“What are you talking about? Liz, are you leaving already?” The straw fell from Alex’s mouth in shock.

“I’m not – I just - ” Liz continued to stammer out syllables and Maria eyed Max curiously, unable to ignore the fact that he was remaining silent while Liz struggled to get out a sentence.

“Where are you guys going anyway?” Maria’s eyes were fixed on Max, but it was Liz who answered.

“We’re going to visit Lucas’ family,” she blurted out and at her words Max’s head snapped up. He didn’t say anything in protest, but he hardly looked pleased at her choice of a destination.

“You’re going up to Canada?” Maria looked skeptical. Alex looked delighted.

“Yeah, we’re gonna go up to Canada,” Liz affirmed, still sensing Max’s displeasure at her comment, but all of a sudden enthused at the notion of meeting Max’s family. Meeting the ice fisherman she’d caught a glimpse of and the girl named Isabelle she’d only heard about. And she didn’t want to lie anymore. Not to Maria, not to Alex. Not to herself.

“Fun,” Alex smiled, but the frown on Maria’s face remained. And Alex couldn’t help himself as he asked the only thing he thought of now when he heard the word Canada. “You going to the Maritimes?”

Despite her valiant attempts all night and even the assurance of Maria and Alex, Liz couldn’t convince Max to spend the night in her bedroom.

“We’ll be quiet. They won’t even know,” she whispered, pulling him into her room and falling backwards onto the bed.

“They’ll know,” he laughed, “parents always know.”

“Ma-ax,” she whined and at the level of her voice he shot her a warning look to the door. “Please,” she whispered.

“Good night,” he leaned down to kiss her atop the head, but she reached out for him and brought him down to the mattress.

“Liz, we can’t, ” he warned as he lay on the bed beside her, both their heads resting on her pillow.

“Why?” she whispered, running her hand up and down his arm and inching closer to him.

“Because I still don’t know…you know,” he shrugged his shoulders, “biologically.”

“Biologically, the worst thing that could happen is that…I am unable to have your children or our children end up sterile,” she laughed and dropped a playful kiss on his lips. “That’s all.”

“But what,” he sat up on the bed. “What about that time…that first morning after-” Max remembered the look of anguish that had temporarily crossed Liz’s face that morning after in the motel bathroom, how she’d clutched her stomach in pain. They hadn’t spoken about it, but the memory had crossed Max’s mind more than once. “I don’t want to do anything that might hurt you in any way,” he finally confessed.

“Well, you didn’t have any problems the other night,” she reminded him of their reckless night in Corvallis, lacing a finger at his belt loops and jerking at his pants. “or any night before.”

“It was always there,” Max confessed, “other…things,” he stammered awkwardly, “just got in the way.

“Other things?” she laughed, sitting up and wrapping her hands around his waist, “other things like your penis?”

“Other things like finding out the truth,” he moved away, “about me.”

“And now I know,” she shrugged and collapsed back onto the bed. “So we can - ”

“ - say goodnight for now,” he withdrew.

“Can you just stay with me?” she asked suddenly, and Max stopped mid-motion from getting up from the bed. Her tone had changed. She wasn’t smiling or laughing anymore, wasn’t toying with the fly of his jeans or trying to seduce him. “Just hold me maybe…until I go to sleep,” she bit her lip and Max remained motionless in his awkward position, half on the bed and half off of it. “I couldn’t really sleep last night,” she confessed, dropping her eyes from his for a moment. “I kept having these dreams about people after you,” she sighed, running a hand through her tangled hair. “After me.” Max remained silent, but the forlorn look on his face said enough. That they weren’t just dreams. This was her reality now. “So maybe you could just…” she looked to the empty space beside her and with a tiny nod of his head in understanding, he lowered his body beside her.

“That I can do,” he murmured, wrapping an arm around her protectively as she snuggled against his warm body. He always seemed so warm. She thought about that afternoon when she’d made the discovery that Max could generate heat. Not just sweaty palm heat, but the heat of a powerful fever. That he could do it just by outstretching his hand. She looked at his hand now as it rested on his lap. She took it in hers, tracing the lines of his palm and the creases that formed at his knuckles. He said nothing, just watched as she continued the examination of his fingernails and cuticles, bending each finger at every joint. He was human. Everything about him was.

“Do you ever want to know?” she broke the silence, her eyes transfixed on his hand.

”Know what?”

“About you. Who you are,” she laughed as if it were obvious. “What you are,” she spoke the last words softer.

“I’m Max Evans,” he shrugged, moving his hand over hers and when he could see his answer was not what she had been hoping for he continued. “No, I’ve never wanted to know.”

“How? How can you not want to know why you’re here and where you’re from?” His otherworldly existence had thus far been nothing more than an idea that hung over him. Max was an alien. But there were truths that went along with his statement, facts and truths she wondered if he even knew.

“I’ve just never wanted to. I mean, why would I?”

“To give you, I don’t know, some answers about why you’re here.”

“Do you know why you’re here?” he realized he was raising his voice and changed his tone suddenly. “Being…who I am, it’s only brought me trouble,” he sighed. “Everything about it, I just want to leave it behind.”

“But you don’t. I mean this afternoon you - ”

“That was for you, I don’t do that a lot. I just want to leave it behind,” he repeated. “I just want to be me,” he confessed. “And this is who I am.”

“Do you know anything?” she inquired softly and he just shook his head.

“Outside of the pods we came out of, no,” he shrugged.

”Well, do you want to know? I mean we could go. We could try to find the place,” Liz suggested and the enthusiasm in her voice was unmet in Max’s.

“I don’t want to find it, Liz. I don’t want to know,” he maintained, his voice shaking with emotion. “I want to live my life and…knowing anything can only end up hurting me,” he sounded so positive of that fact that Liz remained quiet. “Or you.”

“What about the people who are after you?” she inquired, “do you know anything about them. How they’re always able to find you?” Max shifted uncomfortably on the bed at the question, moving his body so Liz had to move with him to keep his arms around her.

“They’re good. They’re just very very good,” he sighed, closing his eyes.

“There has to be more Max, I mean they can’t just - ”

“Think about the FBI – I mean, what’s their job? They’re all about investigating threats to the country, right?” Liz nodded her head and after a sharp intake of breath Max continued. “Well they deal with all types of stuff…but the people after me, they’re after one thing.” Max didn’t have to say anything else, but he continued. “It’s a whole…it’s not a unit or a branch, I think it’s an entire organization.”

”And it’s after you,” Liz creaked, a glassy sheen overtaking her eyes.

“I don’t know how they do what they do, but they must have an agent in every county, must have access to every surveillance camera in the country ‘cos I keep running and they keep coming,” his voice broke. “I just – nobody can know.” Liz knew where the conversation was headed at his words, but she allowed him to continue. “No one can know where we’re headed or where we’ve been,” he hesitated only slightly at the next words. “We have to be invisible.”

“I’m sorry about saying we were going to Canada, I just needed to say something that wouldn’t make Maria that suspicious - ”

“I understand,” Max assured, “and I want you to meet them, Michael and Isabelle, I just…”

“Well, they think we’re going to Ontario,” Liz suggested hopefully and she realized only after she’d spoken the words that she was already getting into Max’s frame of mind. Trying to predict how their actions would play out, trying to guess the actions of people they could only guess about. “So maybe they’ll…Max, you don’t think they’ll come here, right? I mean, they won’t come to Roswell?” A panic grew inside her at the notion

“I don’t know.” Of all things he actually managed a laugh at the futility of trying to predict their actions. “The sooner we leave, the less likely it is, but the longer we stay the more dangerous it becomes for everyone.”

”This is like a nightmare,” Liz closed her eyes and rolled onto her side, as if to bury her head into the covers. The comment jarred Max and for a moment he didn’t say anything.

“We can make it better,” he rolled to his side as well, his face so close to hers she could feel his breath hot against her face. Always creating heat.

Liz looked to him curiously, wondering what he could possibly mean by the hopeful words. “We can go see Michael and Isabelle, I mean only for a little bit, but we can see them and then, well, if we cover our tracks well for a while, if we really move,” Max licked his lips, unsure about the truth behind what he was about to suggest. All he knew was that he had to make this better for Liz. Had to give her something outside of the nightmare he had so far painted. “Maybe we could…go someplace and settle down, work on, I don’t know, a ranch in Idaho or a surf shop in Hawaii.” She could detect the uncertainty in his voice. “Just for a couple of months, I don’t know, maybe that could work. Maybe our life could be normal for a while.”

The word echoed through the room. Normal. The word that was so tied to both of them. She knew the unlikelihood that what Max was suggesting was an actual reality. She could see the desperate look in his eyes. They had the same look they had that morning in the Comfort Inn, the second time she’d tried to leave him. And it clicked. Why he looked so desperate, why he seemed to be grasping at straws.

“You’re not a nightmare,” she moved a hand to stroke the side of his face. His skin was prickly and in need of a shave. Funny, she had trouble even remembering what he looked like with the goatee now. “I’m not thinking about leaving.”

“I should never have - ”

”Don’t say it.” An edge developed in her voice at the mere thought of what he was suggesting.

“Your life would be normal if I’d never told you.” He let out a long heavy sigh and at the sound she moved her other hand up to his face, combing the tousled raven hair off his forehead gingerly.

“What’s so great about normal?” she echoed his words from that same morning in the Comfort Inn.

“You’d be safe,” Max maintained, grinding his jaw together. “You could be with your family.”

“Don’t you get it, Max? I wouldn’t be either if I hadn’t met you!” she laughed at the notion of where she could be right now had Max never picked her up off that empty stretch of interstate. “I could be dead tomorrow even if I didn’t know you. If my life has taught me anything it’s taught me that.”

“But my life is a nightmare, you’re right.”

“Stop,” she spoke sharply, “just stop.” She silenced him by pressing her lips firmly against his.

“Or you’re gonna make me angry.” He opened up his mouth to speak, but she again covered it with hers. “Stop it,” she murmured as he continued to attempt to speak, “stop it, stop it.” Capturing his top lip softly, Liz proceeded to drop a kiss on his nose, his forehead, then his temple, tracing a path of kisses down his jawline. “Is this a nightmare?” she whispered into his ear.

“I didn’t mean you were a - ”

“Stop,” Liz maintained firmly and Max relented. He knew Liz was right. Her life was enough of an example that they both could be dead tomorrow, alien or not. But he knew all too well what it was like to see a long-lost friend only to have to leave them. He was apologizing for more than just taking her away from her friends however, and Liz knew it as much as he did. So when she told him to stop a final time and kissed him he relented. His life might be a nightmare, but Liz was a dream. And as the cold metal of the barbell through her tongue came in contact with his own tongue, a smile crossed his face as he murmured a reply to her.

Last edited by kippy on Mon May 25, 2009 5:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.
"And we that have lived in the story shall be borne again and again..."