FanFic - Crashdown After Hours
"Growing Up, Growing Apart, and Falling in Love"
Part 26
by Dee
Disclaimer: Roswell, the characters, and situations are owned by the WB. No infringement intended.
Category: After Hours
Rating: NC-17
Liz's eyes popped open suddenly. She registered two things at once. Only an hour and a half had passed since she'd fallen asleep and Max was curled up beside her in the bed. Sometime during their nap they had shifted positions. Liz was now sprawled on her stomach with Max lying across her back. When she first opened her eyes she saw the bright, orange numbers of her digital clock. However, with wakefulness also came realization. Liz remembered the night's earlier events with startling clarity. She struggled to sit up, waking Max in the process.

"Liz?" He said her name hesitantly, timidly. Liz moved to sit on the edge of the bed, her head hung low. Without asking her permission Max moved to sit beside her.

"I was hoping it was all a bad dream," Liz said in a sad, muffled little voice, "But it's all true, isn't it?" She looked at Max with sorrowful brown eyes. He nodded sadly.

"This doesn't have to destroy us, Liz," he told her desperately, grabbing her hand.

"It changes everything."

"It changes nothing. I love you. You love me. We have a daughter. We're married. That's not going to ever change."

Liz looked down at their clasped hands despondently, trying not to cry. "And what about Tess and her. . . .baby?" Liz had to choke the last of that out.

"I don't love her, Liz, but I want to do the right thing about the baby."

She was touched and saddened all at once and her emotions were transmitted through her gaze. A myriad of expressions flittered across her grief-stricken face. "I knew you would say something like that."

"Does it. . . .?" Max swallowed and forced himself to continue. "Does it ruin our marriage, you know? Does it ruin us?"

Liz didn't even have to think about his question. She stroked the back of his hand with her finger. "At one time it would have, Max. I was so insecure about Tess that I felt like I was going to lose you to her every second. But I've grown a whole lot in the past ten months, Max. I know you love me. You could have never forgiven me if you didn't."

Max collapsed against her with a sob, bringing her head against his shoulder. "Oh god! I thought I was going to lose you."

Liz shook her head. "Never. It'll be hard though," she bit her lip in sadness and regret, "I felt kind of special being the mother of your child."

"You are special, Liz," Max insisted, caressing her cheek. He nuzzled his mouth against her temple. "No one is like you, Liz. No one. Claudia didn't make you special. You were special to me long before that."

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"We need to go upstairs and tell Max and Liz the truth," Michael said dully after Tess had left. He felt devastated. He couldn't believe how easily she had fooled him. He had actually sided with her against the people who truly cared about him. Michael felt overwhelmed with guilt and sorrow.

Maria stroked his back lovingly, trying to comfort him as best she could. She was aching because she knew that Michael felt betrayed, but she was also happy. Things had finally gone back to the way they were before Tess Harding. Alex and Isabel stood a few feet away from them, wrapped in each other's arms while she and Michael held hands. Maria reached up to stroke Michael's hair.

"Maybe we should wait until morning, Michael," Maria suggested, "The two of them have had a helluva night. I'd really hate to disturb them."

"This is a truth I don't think can wait," Alex advised wisely, "If it were me I'd want to know right away."

"I have to agree with Maria," Isabel said softly, leaning her head against Alex's shoulder, "It can keep until morning. Just let them sleep for now."

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Max and Liz sat with one another, rocking against each other in silence. "What do you want to do now?" Max asked after a long time of quiet. He would have been content to sit there and listen to her breathe for the rest of his life, but reality had to be dealt with sooner or later. Max unenthusiastically opted for sooner.

"I could really use a shower," Liz sighed tiredly. "I just feel really gritty after today." She stood up, running her hands over her face. Her features were slightly puffy from crying. She looked as if she'd just survived Gettysburg. Max felt his heart ache to see her looking so exhausted and despaired.

He nodded in understanding. It was understandable that Liz would need some time to herself, Max reasoned to himself. Look at the major changes she'd endured with a twelve-hour period. She had only been married a few hours and now they were faced with a crisis that would prove to be a major strain. "You go ahead and shower then. I'll go and check up on Claudia."

Liz bit her lip and looked away. She suddenly felt awkward, embarrassed. "I was thinking. . .," she began, wringing her hands nervously, ". . .that maybe you could join me?"

Max looked at her with startled eyes. "You mean you want me to. . .?"

She grabbed hold of his hand and brought him to his feet. "Come with me, Max."

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"We tell them tonight," Michael declared with finality, "It's only fair."

"What do we do?" Isabel demanded in exasperation, "Go up there and shake them awake and say, 'Hey, Tess isn't preggers now go back to sleep?'"

Alex looked at her thoughtfully. "Why not?"

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Under the steamy spray of the shower Max soaped a bath scrunchie and began to lovingly wash Liz's back. She closed her eyes, delighting in the feel of his gentle hands sliding over her aching body. Max stepped close behind her so that she could feel the tip of his arousal graze her backside. He trailed kisses along her shoulder and across the back of her neck. "Are you sure you want this, Liz?"

Liz thought a moment. She remembered back to when they were in high school, when she had given Max her virginity. She hadn't been ready that night. There had been so many unanswered questions for Liz and a mountain of doubts. She didn't have any doubts now. Liz was completely confident that Max loved her. She was completely sure that he was hers alone. And so with absolute contentment and conviction she turned in Max's arms and nodded.

Max groaned and hugged her close to him. Together they backed against the shower wall. Max lifted Liz off her feet so that she wrapped her legs around his waist. They looked at each other for a long moment of untold love.

Max framed Liz's face in his hands, pressing fervent kisses across her lips, her nose, her eyes. "I'll never hurt you again, Liz. I promise."

Liz laughed a little at that statement. "Of course you will, Max. You always hurt people when you love them, even when you don't mean to." She caressed his face tenderly. "That's where forgiveness comes in."

Her softly spoken words broke the control Max had been holding onto all night. "God, I love you!" he exclaimed softly.

"And I love you."

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"I'm going up there right now," Michael said suddenly, hoping from the booth and heading for the stairs. He paused to whirl around and face Maria, Alex, and Isabel. "If I were Max I would want to know immediately. The guy has got to be in hell right now. Not to mention Liz."

"Ok, you have a point, Michael," Maria sighed in agreement, "but if they're asleep can't we just leave it until the morning?"

"Deal." They all nodded in accord.

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Max stroked steadily inside Liz, gripping her buttocks to bring her closer against him. He buried his face in the crook of her neck, needing to be as close as possible. He wanted to absorb her into his body, to be absorbed inside hers. The shower water was cold now but they were hardly aware of it. Liz wrapped her legs around Max tighter and rode him hard. They came together with quiet whimpers. Liz hugged Max closer against her. She was becoming gradually aware that the shower had grown tepid. "We should get out before we freeze," she told him softly when he didn't seem inclined to move away from her.

Nodding in agreement, Max lowered her to her feet then turned around to shut off the taps. After they had dried off Max swept Liz into his arms and carried her back into her bedroom, laying her against the bed. "I'm not finished yet," he told her quietly, stroking his hand up her body.

"Me neither," Liz whispered hotly. She reached down between them to stroke his hardening penis. Their kiss was full of love and sweet passion. It went on and on while Max caressed Liz all over. He rolled over onto his back, bringing Liz with him so that she straddled his body. Liz smiled, thinking of their impromptu honeymoon earlier that night. However, before she could ease herself down onto his rigid arousal her bedroom door abruptly opened.

Max reflexively grabbed the sheet to cover their nakedness as Michael, Maria, Isabel, and Alex filled the open doorway. Their faces registered emotions veering from amusement to horror. Max and Liz looked at them in shock and embarrassment.

"So I'm assuming you guys have made up," Maria quipped in her usual manner.

Liz clutched the sheet to her bare breasts. "We're working things out," she stammered, easing off Max and rolling onto his side, "What are you guys doing up here?"

"I'll say," Isabel muttered under her breath. She was the most uncomfortable, being present in a room with her naked brother and his equally naked wife. Alex didn't feel such discomfort. In fact, he was in the mood to tease. Isabel was back in his life and everything was right with the world once again.

He leaned his arm against the doorjamb and leveled Max and Liz with a ribald smile. "What are we doing here?" he repeated, "Apparently interrupting."

Max smiled back, in spite of his discomfiture. "Besides that, what are you doing here?"

"We came to tell you that Tess lied," Michael said simply, "She's not pregnant." He didn't see any point in skirting around the issue.

Max felt Liz slump beside him in relief. The moment seemed suddenly surreal. "But I saw. . ." Max started to protest.

"Mind game," Maria provided.

"She was lying the whole time," Isabel added quietly.

"Thank God," Liz breathed, obviously comforted, despite the earlier reassurances she and Max had made to one another. Relief and happiness glowed on all six of their faces and they took a moment to share in profound, silent bonding. It was brief, but intensely deep.

"Well," Maria said, "Now that that is finally over, we'll let you continue what. . . you were. . .uh. . .yeah." All four of them turned and left Max and Liz in privacy again.

Max turned to Liz, his heart filled with so many emotions that he couldn't name them all. "I can't believe it's over. Just like that," he told Liz softly, bringing her back against him, "I can't believe she lied to me that way."

"I'd expect something low like that from her, Max. I never trusted her."

"But I did. So what does that say about me?"

Liz kissed his chin. "That you have a forgiving heart and I, for one, am thankful that you do."

"And we're really ok?" Max asked sweetly. His eyes searched her face earnestly, as if he couldn't believe she actually still loved him, still wanted him. His insecurity touched Liz in a way that no declaration of love ever could have.

She tenderly kissed his eyes and cheeks. "Always. Tess Harding will never come between us again," Liz promised gently. She meant the words utterly.

No one would ever come between them again.

The End

Part 25 | Index
Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours
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