Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with Roswell or any one associated with it.
Summary: This story begins where Destiny leaves off. Liz has seen the message in the cave, and believing that Max has a destiny that doesn't include her, she tells him goodbye and leaves. This story begins later that night . . .
Category: After Hours
Authors Note: In my fictional world, no one ever has bad breath (especially in the morning), and on one ever, I repeat ever, has to go to the bathroom!
|Liz pushed open the door to her bedroom with the tip of her foot. It was
late and she was tired. She had spent the evening with Maria as the two had
tried to console each, but nothing had seemed to help. Liz had left an hour
ago needing some time alone. So much had happened she decided to take the
long way home so she could think. The warm evening air had done nothing to
ease the pain that she was feeling. The house was quiet and empty when she
arrived home. Her parents had gone to spend a few days at her Aunt's home in
Arizona. In a way she was glad they weren't home. She knew her mother would
be able to sense something was wrong and Liz just wasn't ready to talk about
it. On the other hand, Liz felt so lonely here all by herself.
She tossed her backpack toward her desk with a deep sigh, striking the chair and nearly tipping it over. The light from the lamp on her desk left most of her room in shadows. She shrugged out of her jacket, letting it fall to the floor. Taking her shoes off, she tossed them into a dark corner of her room. She felt drained, not so much physically, but emotionally spent. As she walked around the end of her bed, she caught the image of her reflection in the mirror on the wall. The girl that peered back at her looked like a stranger. Her face appeared drawn and pale. Dark circles gave her normally expressive eyes a haunted look. Tears shimmered on the surface, once again threatening to spill down her cheeks.
Liz turned toward her bathroom, anxious to get away from her depressing visage in the mirror. She pulled her sweater over her head and dropped it on the chair as she passed by. Her right hand reached back and released her hair from the clip, letting it fall loosely around her shoulders. Liz stopped in mid stride, mesmerized by the sight of the hair clip in her hand. It was made of tortoiseshell in the shape of a heart. Max had given it to her only a few days ago. It now seemed like a lifetime ago. How could things have changed so much in such a short period of time?
Liz slipped out of her jeans and entered her bathroom. She crossed the short distance to the sink and turned on the faucet. She splashed cool water on her face, hoping the shock would make her feel something, anything besides this deep sense of despair and loneliness. Memories of the last few days came flooding back, overwhelming her. The tears that had been threatening all evening spilled down her cheeks, mingling with the water in the sink. A sob escaped her lips as she sank to the floor, her legs no longer strong enough to support her. Unable to fight it off any longer, Liz lay on the floor shaking as waves of hopeless despair washed over her.
* * * * *
Max leaned against the outside wall of Liz's room. He had climbed her balcony earlier in the evening, wanting to talk to her. She had left this afternoon without letting him explain. He wasn't even sure if he could explain what had happened, but he had to try.
The balcony was deserted. The light on her desk was on, casting its dim light into her bedroom. There was no sign that she had been in the room recently. He wondered where she might have gone. Perhaps to Maria's or to see Alex. Maybe all three of them were together.
Max sat in one of the rooftop chairs to wait for Liz to come home. He ran a shaky hand across his face as he tried to decide what to say to her. His thoughts in turmoil, all he could see was the hurt and pain in her eyes when she had walked away from him earlier.
Suddenly the door to her room opened. Max rose quickly to his feet. Through the window he caught a glimpse of Liz as she entered her bedroom. Her face looked strained and pale. Her eyes were so tired and sad looking. He watched her as she tossed her backpack carelessly across the room. His breath caught in his throat as she crossed the room toward him. In a panic at being seen, he carefully moved toward the wall. Max wondered what was wrong with him. He had come here to talk to her, and now he was hiding, afraid to let her see him. Peering around the edge of the window he could see that she was heading toward her bathroom. He nearly stepped out of the shadows as she passed by the window close to him. As he began to move he saw Liz pull her sweater over her head and toss it onto the chair. Frozen in place, he watched as she removed a clip from her hair. He could see it resting in her hand, could see her face as she stared at it. It was the clip he had given her. The one that she had worn almost everyday since then. Heat burned in his cheeks. He shouldn't be standing here watching her like this, he thought. She looked so vulnerable and fragile. Her small hand closed around the clip as she passed from view toward her bathroom. When she was no longer in sight he quietly moved back into the shadows. He could hear the sound of water running as he leaned his back against the wall. He closed his eyes, deep in thought trying to decide what to do next. His eyes flew open as the sound of her crying reached him. His hands clutched at his head as he slowly slid down the wall to a crouching position. The sound of her crying pierced him to the bone. His chest ached knowing her tears were because of him. As her sobs quieted, Max thought back to the events of the past week. A week in which his entire life had changed. A week that he wished he could erase. But he couldn't change what happened. He only knew that he needed Liz. Needed her with him while he tried to sort out what it all meant.
* * * * *
All cried out, Liz rose from the floor feeling cold and stiff. Her eyes felt gritty and swollen. She rose to her feet trying to shake off the feelings of despair that surrounded her. She turned to the shower, suddenly deciding a hot shower might just help make her feel semi-normal again. Liz striped off her panties and bra and stepped into the shower stall, feeling the hot water penetrate her numb muscles. As the water relaxed her body, her mind once again went over the events of the past week . . .
It had all begun when Tess had come to town. Liz could feel the way Max was drawn to her. Just when they had finally opened up to each other, Tess had come between them. And now, of course, Liz knew why.
Ever since the day that Max had healed Liz in the Crashdown, she had felt a special bond with him. But he had been afraid to let her get close to him. When he had finally kissed her for the first time she was the happiest person on the face of the Earth. But then he had withdrawn again. She understood his fears and gave him the space he needed. When he was ready to come back to her she was waiting for him. But then Tess had come to town and Liz could feel Max slipping away from her. At first she had just felt confused because she could sense that Max's feeling for her hadn't changed. The love in his eyes every time he looked at her and the feelings she got every time he touched her proved how much he cared for her. But there was no denying that Tess held some kind of power over him. The scientific side of Liz's brain could not reconcile with the emotional side. She knew it made no sense, but ever since the day that he had healed her, she had felt that she and Max were fated to be together. Today she had learned how wrong she really was. Tess and Max had a past they had shared, and a future waiting before them. A future that Liz had no part in.
Liz emerged from the bathroom with a towel wrapped around her body. Her hair had been swept off her shoulders, once again secured by the tortoiseshell clip. The chills she had felt earlier had dissipated in the warm shower. She made her way across the room to her closet. Max watched from the window as she reached for the silk robe hanging from a hook on the back of the door. As she slid her arms into the sleeves the towel fell to the floor. Max quickly averted his eyes but not before he saw a glimpse of her delicate back and the curve of her hips. Feeling like a voyeur, he stepped back from the window.
Liz pulled the robe around her, tying the belt in a loose knot. She stooped to pick the towel up off the floor and turned toward her desk. Max continued to watch her from the shadows, unable to turn away. He noticed that the shower had washed away some of the fatigue he had seen earlier on her face, but her eyes still held the same sad look he had seen before. She paused in front of her desk draping the towel over the back of the chair. Lost in thought, her fingers played with the edge of the towel. Max wondered what she was thinking. Was she thinking about him now? His mind kept repeating the last words she had said to him. She had left him because she believed Tess was his destiny. She was wrong, and he had to make her see that.
Max stepped of out the shadows. He appeared in front of the window closest to her. He raised his hand and rested his fingers lightly on the glass. Startled, Liz turned to see him. The movement caused a single tear to fall to her cheek. She quickly turned away brushing her hand across her cheek, but not before he had seen. She hesitated a moment and then turned back toward the window. Her hand reached out and turned the lock, then fell away. Raising the window, he soundlessly climbed into her room.
Liz looked up at him and then down at her hands. "What are you doing here, Max?" she said in a voice so low it was almost a whisper.
"I need to . . . talk to you, Liz." He said haltingly.
"We talked this afternoon, Max." She could not look at him. Her eyes remained transfixed on her fingers as she nervously toyed with the fringe on the edge of the towel on the back of the chair. "I thought we said all there was to say."
He cautiously stepped toward her. "No, Liz. We didn't talk. You talked to me, but you never gave me a chance." She stood with her head tilted down, her back turned toward him. He could see her reflection in the mirror. Her eyes were closed and he could see her cheeks were moist with new tears. He reached out and gently touched her shoulder. She bolted away from him like a frightened kitten. His hand lingered in the air where her shoulder had been a moment before, then fell heavily to his side.
"Liz, not long ago I told you something that I meant with all my heart." He watched her reflection in the mirror hoping for a sign that she still believed in the two of them. "I told you that you were the only one for me. That I've always known it was you. And last night, when you told me . . . when you told me that you love me, they were the sweetest words I've ever heard in my life."
Liz turned to face Max. She longed for him to hold her, but it wasn't meant to be. He had another life calling him now. One that didn't include her. "Max, a few months ago you said you were afraid to get too close to me because . . . because we weren't meant to be together. And you were right. You were meant to be with Tess." Max watched her eyes as first one tear and then another fell to her cheek. Her hand was shaking as she quickly brushed them away. Taking a deep breath she continued. "I can't stand in the way of who you are suppose to be with, or of what you're suppose to become. I won't even pretend that I understand everything that's happened, because I don't. All I know is there is no place for me in your life now." Liz fought the tears that threatened to overcome her. She couldn't let him see that she was dying inside.
Max took a step toward Liz. She looked away from him, not wanting to see the pain in his eyes. "Liz, I don't understand all of this either. The things Nasedo said, and the message that we heard in the cave, I'm not sure what they mean. But I am sure of this, Liz. That message was about someone who doesn't exist anymore. He led his life and then he died. I'm not him. I can't be him." Max stepped closer to Liz. "The decisions I make in my life have to be my own." He reached out and touched his fingers to her chin, turning her face to look at him. "I want you to be with me, to help me make the right choices. I need you Liz. Now more than ever before."
Liz looked into his eyes, wanting his words to be true. "But what about Tess? You must have loved her."
"I've only be in love once, Liz. With you. It's always been you."
The look in her eyes softened and a smile touched the corners of her lips. He kissed her, tentatively at first, and then deeply as she let down her defenses.
"I don't know what's going to happen tomorrow, or the next day or even ten years from now," Max said in a gentle voice as he held Liz is his arms. "All I know is that, whatever happens, I want you with me. I need you with me. You make me whole, Liz. Without you, I'm empty inside." He kissed her again, chasing away all the hurt and pain that had been between them. She clutched at the collar of his shirt, pulling him close to her. His arms encircled her in a tight embrace. His hand moved slowly over her back, massaging and caressing her. He would never let her go again.
Tears flowed from her eyes, soaking through his shirt. His words were ringing in her ears. The emptiness that she had felt this afternoon when she told him goodbye was now gone. Without each other they were lost. Together they were one.
He suddenly became acutely aware of her nakedness under the thin robe she was wearing. He took a deep breath, resting his forehead against hers. His hands were resting on the sides of her neck, his fingers inside the collar of her robe touching her bare shoulder. Her skin felt warm and inviting. He felt his body responding to her, wanting her.
Max took a step back from Liz. Strands of her hair had escaped from the clip and now hung loosely around her face. Her cheeks were flushed, the color rich and sensual. Her large eyes were drawing him in. She was more beautiful at this moment than he had ever seen her before.
Max took a deep breath and looked away from her. "I . . . I think I'd better go now." He moved away from her, stepping toward the window. If he didn't right leave now he knew he wouldn't be able to leave at all. Her hand trailed down his arm as he pulled away. Reluctant to let him go, she held on to his hand. He looked back into her eyes one last time then he let go of her.
Liz watched him move across the room. In a near whisper she called out to him. "Max."
|Index | Part 2
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