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.
|“…..it’s my strong recommendation that Mrs. Evans receive a full psychiatric
evaluation as it is clear that she has suffered a severe breakdown.”
Max regarded the physician through hollow eyes. He felt as if his world were spinning out of control once again and he was caught, unaware, in the middle, twisting and turning. As Max looked at the doctor he felt as if everything he had put his trust in, his love in, had crumbled. When Maria had first told him over the phone he had been dumbfounded. The words didn’t really compute. The full impact of what had happened didn’t really hit him until he had seen Liz, pale and near death in that hospital bed. And Maria….her clothes soaked through with Liz’s blood. And then he had gotten sick. He ran straight for the bathroom and emptied the contents of his stomach into the toilet. He had been barely aware of Maria above him, stroking his hair.
When he had composed himself Maria had gone to seek out the doctor so Max could know what was going on. Liz had lost a great deal of blood. If Maria hadn’t acted so quickly Liz would be dead. Max had flashed her a grateful, teary smile, which she shakily returned. He was silently grateful for her presence. The doctor then went on to explain the hospital’s policy in treating suicide attempts. They would keep Liz for observation for three days and then she would be referred to the mental facility where she must spend a mandatory week. Beyond that it was Max’s decision what treatment she received. But the doctor made it clear that he felt Liz should be hospitalized.
After he left to give Max time to think over his options Max drifted over to a chair in the corner of the room and slowly sat down. His dazed expression alarmed Maria and so she tentatively approached him, asking, “Are you okay?”
“Isabel told me that I should get her help,” he muttered self-deprecatingly, “but I didn’t listen.”
Maria slid to her knees before him, taking his hands in her own. “You didn’t know she was so bad off. Neither did I. Don’t blame yourself.”
“I can heal her,” Max said in a sob, looking towards Liz’s still figure in the bed.
“That would only take care of the outside,” Maria told him softly, “You can’t fix what’s wrong in her head, Max.”
Max knew that she was right. There was nothing he could do for Liz that modern medicine wasn’t instituting. And besides fixing her body would only be a temporary solution. Whatever had driven Liz to attempt suicide was something that was far beyond Max’s control. It was something he couldn’t change for her, no matter how desperately he wanted to. “Did you call Alex and Isabel?” he asked Maria in a hollow voice.
“Isabel’s going to stay with the kids, but Alex should be here shortly.”
Max chafed Maria’s hands between his own. They were cold and trembling and stained with Liz’s blood. “What happened?” he inquired hoarsely.
“I had just fixed the girls lunch,” Maria began unsteadily, “I thought Liz might be hungry so I took a sandwich upstairs. She wasn’t in the bed when I got there but I heard water running in the bathroom so I figured she must be there,” she paused, taking a deep breath before she continued, “I knocked on the door and told her that I had brought her some lunch and I was about to turn away when I noticed something leaking from underneath the door,” her voice began to crack, tears making it rough and hoarse, “I had to pick the lock on the door because I couldn’t get in at first…. and when I got in…. she was lying on the floor….in a pool of blood….” Max could tell from the expression on her face that she was no longer in that hospital room but back in the bathroom with Liz. “I gagged…you know…because it was so much….and then it was like instinct took over….I wrapped her wrists really tight to staunch the bleeding as much as possible and then I ran to call 911. The operator asked me if she was conscious and I said no….at that point I don’t think I was really even sure she was alive….but the operator told me to elevate her wrists to slow the bleeding….that’s what I did….until the paramedics came.”
Max brushed away the tears on Maria’s cheeks with the pads of his thumbs. “You saved her life,” he acknowledged quietly, “Thank you.”
And that’s how Alex found them, Maria kneeling at Max’s feet, crying while he gently brushed away her tears. “Is she all right?” he asked, immediately striding towards the hospital bed. She looked pale and still, but she was breathing, shallow and faint, but breathing none-the-less.
Max came to his feet and went to stand on the other side of the bed, opposite Alex. “The doctor thinks that Liz needs psychiatric help…you know…an institution.”
“Maybe it’s for the best, Max,” Alex said sadly, “This has just gotten so very out of hand.” Alex Whitman looked down into the ashen face of one of his oldest and best friends and felt as if his heart were breaking in half. However, his massive feelings of grief were compounded by guilt. For months they had all known that Liz was not well and yet they had let it go on. And look what had happened….
Alex tentatively brushed at the hair that fell across Liz’s forehead. “She’s lost a lot of weight,” he noted hoarsely. Max could only stare. His throat ached with tears he couldn’t seem to shed. He and Alex regarded each other in agonized silence.
Maria struggled to her feet, dragging a shaky hand down her pale face. “I’m gonna go outside….get some air.”
At her words, which seemed so loud in the quiet of the hospital room, Max jerked up his head. “I’ll come with you.” He looked at Alex whose eyes were still glued on Liz.
“I’ll sit with her,” he said when he finally looked up. He looked from Maria whose clothes were stiff with dried blood to Max who looked as if he were about to be ill. “You both look as if you could use some air.”
Max and Maria walked out to the waiting room of the hospital in silence. Only when they were finally inside did Maria lose control of her emotions, collapsing against Max’s chest, sobbing harshly. “God…Max! I’m sorry…. I’m so…so sorry!”
“It’s not your fault, Maria,” Max croaked as he guided them towards an empty green sofa. He didn’t know how long he sat there, holding Maria against him, stroking her hair while she cried. “I should have watched her better,” Maria hiccupped into his chest, “if I’d have watched her better this wouldn’t have happened.”
Max lifted her chin so that their eyes met. “I don’t blame you, Maria,” he told her intensely, “if anyone should be apologizing it should be me.” Maria choked out a teary, scoffing laugh. “No,” Max said, placing his hand against her mouth, “hear me out. Michael walked out on you. You’re single mother who’s five months pregnant and as if that’s not enough you’ve got the press hounding your every move. You did not need me dumping all my crap on you.”
“You didn’t dump anything.”
“Yes, I did. Ever since Liz lost the baby everything in our lives has been out of control.” He shook his head in grieved fatigue. “I mean, my God, she tried to kill herself, Maria! And you know what? All I can feel right now is anger, just pure rage that she could be so damned selfish!”
“Max, she’s hurting,” Maria reminded him softly.
“So am I, Maria,” he sighed, “so am I.”
***************************** Max smoothed his tie for the fourth time in ten minutes. His palms were sweating. Max drummed his fingers unconsciously against the Formica top table. He had to fight hard against jiggling his knee. However, as he sat in the visiting room of Cedar Ridge Sanitarium he couldn’t help but feel nervous as he anxiously waited from Liz to pass through the door that led back to the patient’s quarters. He hadn’t seen her in a week, not since she had voluntarily committed herself. Max didn’t know quite how to act around her. What would they talk about? Should he just pretend as if nothing had happened? Would she be glad to see him? The questions pounded through his brain as he stared at the closed door for what seemed like an eternity. And then, when he was just about to look away, it opened and Liz, accompanied by a nurse, shuffled through the door.
“You can’t stay long, Mr. Evans,” the nurse told him as she helped Liz to sit down across from him, “She needs her rest.”
When the nurse left Max took time to study his wife. Alex was right. Liz had lost a great deal of weight. In fact, he barely recognized her. He felt as if his wife had vanished only to be replaced by a complete stranger. It was a lonely feeling. Max cleared his throat. “How are you feeling?” he asked.
“Tired,” she said, not meeting his eyes, “They give me a lot of medication. I’m out of it most of the time.”
Max couldn’t help but feel a small bit of elation. It was the most she’d said to him in three months. Still, it wasn’t enough to deaden the anger he felt building against her. “Are your scars healing?” he inquired somewhat callously.
Liz jerked up her head at his tone, narrowing her eyes. With a scornful smirk she flipped up her wrists to reveal the still fresh stitches that were sewn into her bruised flesh. “Almost brand new,” she quipped.
Max flinched to see the results of her handiwork. He covered the lower half of his face with his hand. “God, Liz…” he muttered.
His reaction seemed to humble Liz because she asked in a shaky whisper, “How is Claude?”
Max glared at her with intense eyes. “She misses her mother.”
The guilt his words evoked reflected on Liz’s face. She felt tears start in her eyes. Liz had to swallow several times before she could stammer, “I miss her, too…”
“….You can come home, Liz,” Max interjected quickly.
“….but I can’t be anyone’s mother right now, Max. I can’t.”
She looked at him squarely then, her eyes shining with tears. “I don’t think you should come here again.”
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