Disclaimer: I don't own Roswell, I know it and you know it so why don't I save
Summary: This is a sequel to my story Growing Up...
Category: After Hours
Authors Note: Feedback: Is necessary for my existence.
|Max Evans now knew the true meaning of sexual frustration.
He watched in silence as Liz and Claudia played beach house Barbie in the middle of the living room floor. As their girlish giggles wafted over to him he couldn’t suppress his smile at seeing their dark heads bent so closely together. Liz was home again. The reality of it was just beginning to sink into Max’s head. Liz was really home, really whole. She was actually sitting in the middle of their living room floor playing with their daughter as if she’d never left. Max was overwhelmed by the joy Liz had brought with her return. He hadn’t seen Claudia beam like that in months. It was as if she had been saving the best of herself for her mother.
Max could understand why. Who wouldn’t want to save the best of themselves for Liz? She was beautiful, her eyes glowing with a delight that was impossible to miss. Max found himself listening to her laugh like a man hypnotized because there was a time when he thought that he would never hear it again. Hungry for the sight of her he took in every minute change. Not so much was different, save a few things. And the hair…well, it was starting to grow on him, sort of like Meg Ryan’s cut in that movie Addicted to Love. But still he missed the long, dark strands flowing over her shoulders, over him…while they made love. Max shook the image from his head. Nope, that’s definitely not the way to go, Evans, he thought sternly, just stick with the hair. Sometimes, while she slept, he’d been tempted to touch it, to feel it spring around his fingers. But he didn’t touch her hair. In fact, he didn’t touch her at all.
He hadn’t slept in bed with her since that first night, partly because he thought it had been a bad idea and partly because he couldn’t take the pressure of sleeping beside her and not touching her. The aggravating thing was that he had slept with Liz was to rile a reaction out of her, not rile a reaction out of himself. But ever since that night, being so close to her, he hadn’t been able to get her out of his mind. All she had to do was walk into the room and he was erect. It was a state he was reluctantly becoming well acquainted with.
But even as Max berated himself for being a pathetic piner he still couldn’t help but stare at her in helpless wonder. The longer he watched her the more intense his desire to touch her became. It took Max several moments to realize that Liz was no longer giggling with Claudia but was talking to him.
“…and she wanted to come out here, but I convinced her that you had everything under control.”
Max jerked his gaze from her mouth in dazed confusion. “What?”
“My mother,” Liz stressed, “She wants to come out for a visit.”
Max groaned. He hadn’t seen Liz’s mother since Liz was hospitalized…thankfully. After Liz had her breakdown Nancy Parker had really read Max the riot act, all but blaming him for Liz’s condition. Once she learned of Liz’s suicide attempt it had taken an act of congress for Max to get her to leave New York. She’d even suggested that she and Jeff take Claudia for a while because she didn’t know if her home life provided enough stability. Thank God, Maria had been there to deal with her bullying or Max just might have snapped. So no, under no condition did he want to see Nancy Parker again any time soon. “I hope you told her no,” Max said to Liz with a look of disgust.
“I told her we were handling things,” Liz replied petulantly and when Max looked relieved she frowned, “You know, I actually wouldn’t mind seeing my mother again. It might be nice to have a chat with her and not have a suicide watch over me while I did.”
“Well, that’s because the last time she was here she didn’t accuse you of being an unfit parent.”
“She didn’t,” Liz breathed in disbelief.
“Grandma Nancy wanted me to come live with her,” Claudia provided, including herself in the conversation without ever pausing in her play. Liz looked at Max in sorrow, for the first time fully comprehending how completely her breakdown had affected him. “Max, I didn’t know-,”
“Of course you didn’t,” Max cut in sharply. He knew he was being an ass to her but he couldn’t help it. Each time they broached the subject of Liz’s breakdown Max would feel all his anger come surging to the surface. “Look let’s just drop it. If you want your mom to come, it’s okay.”
Liz shook her head, looking at Max while rumpling Claudia’s silky hair. “I thought we should spend our time getting reacquainted as a family…no distractions.” The way she said that last part Max could tell she was waiting for a reaction from him. He didn’t give her one.
“Daddy, why don’t you play with us?”
Max smiled at his daughter and shook his head. “I don’t think so, Claudia…I’m not into Barbie.”
“You can be Mr. Toad, then,” Claudia improvised and then before Max could reply she jumped to her feet, “I’ll go get him!” And then she was gone, bounding up the stairs with childish exuberance so quickly that Max didn’t have the chance to stop her. The living room became eerily quiet with her gone.
“So why don’t you just say it already?” Liz finally sighed a moment later.
“How royally my irresponsibility and selfishness has screwed up our lives.”
“Why should I say anything? You seem more than well aware of that fact.” He’d meant the words to be sarcastic, but they had come out tender, regretful.
Liz crawled over towards him, resting her forearms against his knees. “I feel like I’m going to be apologizing to you for the rest of our lives.”
“Just forget about it,” Max advised dryly, “We can’t change the past, Liz. It’s done.”
“I’m sorry,” Liz persisted stubbornly.
Max reached forward and rubbed his knuckles against her cheek before he could stop himself. Her skin was soft to the touch, warm. “I know,” he whispered quietly.
Liz closed her eyes, shutting out everything around her but the feel of Max’s knuckles sliding along the side of her cheek. “Won’t you kiss me, Max?” she pleaded softly, “Just one time…”
“Just once,” Liz entreated again, her eyes still closed.
Max sighed heavily, knowing he’d lost the fight and not caring. He gently slid his fingers along the underside of her jaw so that he cupped her face, held her captive between his palms. As if in a dream he tilted her face up for his kiss…
“I found Mr. Toad, Daddy!” Claudia sang out, effectively breaking the moment. Max jumped away from Liz as if she’d burned him. He quickly composed himself and gave Claudia a big smile, thanking her for Mr. Toad. For Liz it took a little longer. When Max released her she’d actually felt tears come to her eyes. She took a few moments blink them back before plastering a smile on her face. She pulled Claudia against her, hugging her tightly. “Honey, did Mommy ever tell you that you have terrible timing?”
“Huh?” Claudia bleated in confusion, squirming to get free of her mother’s arms, “Come on, let’s play some more. Daddy, you have to get on the floor and you and Mommy can be married and I’ll be the daughter, ok?”
Max laughed at his daughter’s ramble. “I caught the sit on the floor part, but after that you lost me,” he teased. In that moment his eyes met with Liz’s and they shared an intense, silent moment.
Claudia gave her father and mother a long-suffering look. She waved her hand between their faces irreverently. When her parents finally broke their stare she demanded impatiently, “Can we play now, pleeeeease?”
|Part 16 | Index | Part 18
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