|"Growing Up, Growing Apart, and Falling in Love"
Disclaimer: Roswell, the characters, and situations are owned by the WB. No infringement intended.
Category: After Hours
|"Mom, I'm pregnant, I don't have a debilitating disease!" Liz said, ignoring
her mother's angry protests and tying the silver Crashdown apron over her
rounded abdomen. "You're totally swamped right now, so let me help."
In the month and a half since Liz had returned from New York she and her mother had shared in some unexpected bonding. Liz discovered that her mother, who had always seemed rather distant before, actually was extremely protective of Liz. Unlike Jeff Parker, who spent every single moment hovering over Liz worriedly, (and though Liz appreciated his concern he was driving her friggin' nuts), Nancy Parker rode her daughter like a drill sergeant. Was Liz eating right? Did she drink enough water? Had she taken her prenatal vitamins? Her mother was constantly firing questions at her, suggesting, albeit forcefully, what Liz should eat, how many hours she should sleep, etc. However, Liz had grown enough to realize her mother's tyranny was born out of love.
"No, Liz," Nancy continued to protest, following her stubborn daughter out of the kitchen, "You're almost six months pregnant! You do not need to be waiting tables! Besides that, don't you have a date with Kyle tonight?" Liz rolled her eyes in exasperation and turned to face her mother. "Mom, Kyle and I are not dating. We are just hanging out. That's all!"
"I always thought he was a fine young man, Lizzie," Nancy continued as if Liz hadn't said a word, "And he's a deputy now, following in his father's footsteps."
Fighting the urge to stamp her foot, Liz took several calming breaths. Her mother had been after her about dating Kyle since he'd begun to pop up at the Crashdown after Liz had returned from New York. Liz had expected him to snide about her situation. She had expected him to be gleeful that she'd been dumped, left pregnant and alone by Max Evans. What other reason could he have possibly had for showing up, Liz had thought. But Kyle had surprised her.
He had come into the Crashdown, hat in his hands, and offered her his sincerest sympathy. He'd said that if she needed anything just to call him. Liz had been too stunned to do anything other than nod. In the weeks that followed his unprecedented visit Kyle came to the Crashdown several more times, bearing a gift for the baby each time he came. However, when he went so far as to buy a crib Liz knew she had to set some things straight.
"Kyle, what are you doing?" she'd asked him that day as the movers had lugged the crib through the Crashdown towards the stairs.
"It's a crib," he'd smiled, his blue eyes twinkling devilishly, "Some assembly required."
"Kyle, I can't accept it."
Kyle's smile faded. "Why not?"
"It's just too much! It's-it's just. . ." Liz stammered to find the right words.
"What's wrong with a friend buying a friend a gift?"
Liz narrowed her eyes. "Is that all it is, Kyle? A 'friend buying a friend a gift'?"
"What are you getting at, Liz?"
"I'm saying if you're buying the baby gifts to get to me it isn't going to work!"
At her outburst Kyle got angry. "What the hell? You think I'm buying things for the baby just to manipulate you? For the record, Ms. Parker," he clarified in righteous indignation, stabbing his index finger inches from her nose, "I was only trying to help out! If it's one thing I can't stand it is to see a woman pregnant and alone! Especially one I happen to care about!" He had started to stomp off but Liz stopped him.
"Kyle, wait! I'm sorry. I was a real jerk to you just now."
"Yeah, you were," Kyle said in total agreement.
"I-I just don't know what to make of you," she admitted.
"I'm your friend, Liz," he told her fervently, "I always have been even when you didn't think so."
"I'm still in love with Max, Kyle," Liz said because she felt the point needed to be clarified.
"God only knows why," he said, holding up his hand to silence her when she would have explained, "I know. I know. It's complicated."
"It really is, Kyle," Liz stressed.
Kyle sighed heavily and pulled Liz into his arms, hugging her tightly. "When were things between you and Max Evans ever not complicated?"
Which was one of the main reasons Liz knew her mother was pushing for a relationship between her and Kyle. Things were uncomplicated when it came to Kyle Valenti. He and Liz went to the movies and to ball games. They hung out together on the weekend and watched rented movies. They were good pals. After all, how much appeal could a six-month pregnant woman hold? However when Liz was with Kyle she laughed and smiled openly and her mother saw those things. When Liz had been with Max she'd always seemed reserved, cautious. Afraid. Liz knew her mother only wanted her to be happy and from Nancy Parker's vantage Kyle Valenti did that in spades.
It was because of that knowledge that Liz strove to have patience with her mother's matchmaking. She looked at her mother now, her expression soft. "Mom, with Phyllis out sick you're terribly short-staffed. Let me help you out or you'll never clear this place."
"What about Kyle?"
Kyle did understand, but he was disappointed because Liz was breaking their date. "You're sure your mom couldn't possibly handle it on her own?" Kyle asked hopefully, "I've got two tickets to the baseball game."
"Just look at her."
Kyle looked over to where Nancy Parker had just dropped a customer's dinner into his lap. She made matters worse by attempting to help the surprised customer and knocking his drink over in the process. Kyle winced at the mess she was making. He turned back to Liz. "I see your point. Tell ya what, just give me a call tomorrow and let me know how your ultrasound went, ok."
"Ok," Liz agreed, smiling. She gave him an affectionate kiss on the cheek before sending him on his way.
Two hours later the Crashdown was finally empty except for one tenacious customer. He sat alone in one of the booths buried behind his menu. Liz couldn't see his face. Great, she thought, I would have to get a weirdo at the end of the night! She made her way over to him, rubbing her aching back. She'd suggest something quick, Liz decided, to get him on his way as soon as possible. The sooner he left the sooner she could close the café.
"Good evening," Liz began formally, "My name is Liz, and I will be your server tonight. May I suggest our Saturn tuna salad or Plutonian potato soup?"
"Actually," he said, his voice soft and amused, "I had something else in mind."
He slowly lowered the menu to the table. Liz's mouth fell open in disbelief. "Max?" she breathed in disbelief. A slow, beautiful smile spread across his face. "Hello, Liz."
TBC. . .
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