FanFic - Crashdown After Hours
"Growing Up, Growing Apart, and Falling in Love"
Part 3
by Dee
Disclaimer: Roswell, the characters, and situations are owned by the WB. No infringement intended.
Category: After Hours
Rating: NC-17
Three years later Berkeley, California

"Hey, babe, I'm on my way to class."

"What?" Liz mumbled, coming out of her sleep-induced stupor when she felt Max brushing a kiss good-bye across her forehead. She sat straight up, frowning at him in confusion when she realized he was dressed and had his backpack slung over his shoulder. Pushing her hair out of her eyes, she yawned, "Wait, where are you going? I thought your class had been canceled this morning. We're supposed to spend the day together."

"I'm working on a case study with my Psych group," he explained to her as he laced up his Nikes, "I completely forgot about it until this morning."

Liz pouted her disappointment. Today was her free day from work and school and she had been looking forward to spending it with Max. They spent such limited time together as it was with the both of them having full-time class schedules and working a minimum of 30 hours a week. Despite the fact they had worked their class schedules around each other it was still difficult for them to map out time together during their busy days. And Max had to bartend tonight, so depending on how late his group meeting ran, she wouldn't have any time to spend with him at all.

"Can't you blow it off?" Liz demanded petulantly. They had lived together for a little over six months. The suggestion had been Max's and Liz had been flattered and deeply moved that he had wanted to. Because he needed to be close to her, that's what he had told her. Consequently, Liz moved all her belongings out of her dorm and she and Max found a little apartment a few miles from campus. To describe it as modest would have been an understatement but to Liz it was Mecca. She had everything she could possibly want. Both she and Max had received full scholarships to Berkeley University and were pursuing their dreams. Liz worked as a part-time lab assistant for one of the more prestigious professors on campus so not only was she receiving a stellar education but she was gaining field experience as well. Her long awaited goal of becoming a molecular biologist was having its groundwork laid. But best of all, she was with Max and away from Roswell.

It was as if moving away had transformed him into a completely different person. Liz knew for the first time in his life he wasn't in fear on discovery. He was simply another ambitious young man pursuing an education. No one looked twice at him. In California their lives were normal, sunny, and predictable, which provided Liz with a contented sense of comfort. There were no alien hunters in California, no FBI, no meddling Isabel and Michael. . .the list could go on for centuries. But most importantly there was no Tess. She was in Roswell, far from Max. Knowing that allowed for Liz to relax a bit. She no longer felt as if she had a rival for Max's attention or that she was in danger of losing him at any given moment. They were together and happy. Without Tess around Liz didn't have room for doubts. She felt more confident about loving Max without heartbreaking consequences. In Liz's mind, leaving Roswell had been the best decision either of them had ever made.

Max looked at Liz in regret. "I wish I could stay, baby, but I've canceled with my group three times already. If I do it again they're liable to lynch me."

Liz made a sad face. "Oh no, don't do that! Not the puppy face," he pouted, dropping his bag to the floor and sliding into bed beside her. Her naked body was warm and inviting. "You know I can't resist when you do the puppy face."

"Then don't leave." Liz smiled as he covered her face with soft, sweet kisses.

Max groaned in hesitation. "I don't want to," he said, obviously torn between meeting his classmates and staying with Liz.

"Stay, Max," Liz pleaded as she ran her tongue along the edge of his ear, "Stay home. Stay in bed." It was inevitable that Max would crumble. What man could resist a gloriously naked goddess begging for sexual favors? Besides that Max didn't really want leave anyway.

An hour later Max was hastily buttoning his jeans while cramming his feet back into his Nikes. While he raced from corner to corner of their bedroom collecting his discarded clothing, Liz calmly crept from the bed and gathered together his books and his jacket. When he finished getting dressed she held them out for him. Max took a deep breath and kissed her on the cheek. "Thanks babe," he said as he scurried for the door, "I'll see you this afternoon. Love ya!" And then he was gone.

Liz stared at the closed door and sighed heavily. The apartment was eerily silent with him gone. She supposed she could clean up, she thought resolutely, looking around the apartment. Dirty dishes were stacked in the kitchen sink and littered all about the living room. Well, she decided, if Max wasn't going to be there she might as well do something constructive with her day. After showering and throwing on an old pair of sweats and one of Max's T-shirts she set to cleaning. In an hour the apartment was spotless. It was just fifteen after ten. So then she decided to do laundry. That would keep her busy for at least an hour and then she would only have to wait a little while longer before Max came home.

She packed the hamper full of their clothes and the detergent. At the last minute she decided to pack her heavy biology book as well. She didn't relish the idea of lugging the big and bulky load down the street, her book adding to the weight, but she could at least get some studying in while she waited for the clothes to wash. She had been at the launder-o-mat all of forty-minutes before her stomach began rumbling. With all her determination to stay busy until Max returned home she had completely forgotten food. Her clothes wouldn't be dry for another twenty minutes so Liz decided to walk to a coffee house two blocks away.

It was a bright and shining day, but in California it was always sunny. But it mirrored her mood perfectly. Liz didn't think she could possibly be any happier than she was at that moment. She had the man of her dreams, she was two semesters away from graduation, and Tess Harding was out of her life, but more importantly Max's life, for good. Liz smiled to herself. Yes, she was insecure when it came to Tess Harding and that was something she freely admitted to herself now. But who wouldn't be? Tess was, after all, her alien boyfriend's intended mate. That was enough to make any girl nervous! But Tess wasn't an issue anymore. The thought widened Liz's smile as she rounded the corner for the coffee house.

After purchasing her usual of Vanilla Cappuccino and a chocolate chip bagel Liz headed for the exit, deciding to eat her lunch at the launder-o-mat, but she never made it that far. Her attention was caught by a man sitting outside the café at one of the tables. He sat with his back to the door but there was something extremely familiar about him. It was Max. And he was with Tess. The breath wheezed from Liz's chest as she pushed through the door in shock.

They sat close together, their heads lowered as they spoke. Max was idly stroking Tess' hand with his finger. Liz swallowed, unable to believe she was actually seeing what she was seeing. Abruptly they came to their feet and Max enveloped Tess in tender hug. Liz thought he might have leaned in to kiss her, but she looked away, unable to bear watching them anymore. Suddenly, she was catapulted back three years to when she was standing inside the Crashdown watching as Max and Tess kiss outside across the street. She could still remember how the lightening had flashed, illuminating them for the briefest of seconds. Liz didn't ever think she would forget the hollow feeling that had come to her chest watching Max kiss someone else. She felt that same exact feeling now.

Liz felt as if her heart were too big for her chest. She couldn't get enough air into her lungs to breathe. It was because her sobs were choking her. Hot tears spilled forth and she spun around, because she couldn't stand there another moment, and collided with a solid chest. Her cappuccino went spilling over the both of them. Liz's control broke at that moment. She began sobbing uncontrollably while automatically reaching for napkins to mop up the mess she'd made.

"I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry," she apologized over and over, sobbing and laughing at the same time. Laughing because she had been such a stupid, stupid fool! Visions of Max and Tess kept playing over and over in her head. Her tears blinded her.

"Liz? Liz?"

She lifted her head at the sound of her name and found herself staring into familiar green eyes. "Cam?"

He knelt down before her, taking her hands. "What's the matter? Are you ok?"

Liz started sobbing anew. She was only seconds away from losing it. "No," she gasped, "No, I'm not. Please, please take me out of here."

TBC. . .

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