|"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
|Liz made Cameron stop her by the launder-o-mat to pick up her clothes before
insisting he take her home. By the time they arrived all Liz's tears were
dried up. All she felt was numbness. She drifted into the apartment like a
zombie while Cam followed behind her with the laundry. Liz floated over to a
recliner and sat down in a daze, pulling her knees up to her chest. Cam
propped himself against the laundry hamper waiting for Liz to begin. She
didn't. She just kept staring off vacantly into space. He wanted to go to
her, but for the moment decided to keep his distance.
"What's going on, Liz?"
She answered his question with a question of her own. "What are you doing here in California, Cam?" Her voice was tired, disinterested, as if she were speaking merely to fill up space.
"I live here. With my dad."
"So that's where you went after we. . ." Broke up, she finished silently. But even though she hadn't voiced her thought aloud Cam knew exactly what she was getting at.
"You were just an excuse. My mom's boyfriend and me weren't getting along very well. You knew that. It was just time for me to bail."
Liz bit into her knuckles. "I missed you when you left."
Cam came to kneel before her, kissing her hands, holding them tightly. "Did you?" Liz nodded slowly. Cam brushed a concerned hand across her cheek. "I saw them together, Liz, at the café." Her head dropped forward, her cheeks blazing with humiliation and anger. "You must think I'm the stupidest woman alive. But I guess it's no less than I deserve for the way I treated you."
"We weren't that serious, Liz," Cam said, trying to reassure her.
His attempt to make her laugh only made her cry. Her tears leaked from her eyes, collecting in the corners of her mouth. She licked them away. "I can't believe how much it hurts. . . ."
"I know," Cam said, leaning forward to kiss her forehead, her wet cheeks, and lastly her lips. He pulled back, as if waiting for her response. When she didn't push him away he kissed her again, longer this time. At first Liz didn't respond. She just felt dead inside. But then she began to think about Max, about how they had made love that morning, about how happy she had been and she began to return Cam's kiss.
She didn't resist him when he pulled her to the floor. She didn't protest at all when he pulled her T-shirt over her head and threw it aside. Her bra quickly followed. His mouth ravished her neck, her breasts. Liz lay back without a word. She closed her eyes, pretending. He was Max, kissing her, loving her, wanting only her. It was as if Liz were outside her own body, watching as Cameron removed her clothing, tongued her most secret places. She allowed him to do whatever he wanted. At that moment she didn't care. She didn't care about anything at all.
Liz took a certain satisfaction in feeling Cameron thrust inside her. Until that moment her body had belonged exclusively to Max. Look how easily I can give it away, Max, she thought bitterly; see you're not so important. Not so important at all. Liz bit her lip as Cam drove steadily inside her, her fingers digging into the carpet beneath her. Yes, she thought, come, Cam, take what belongs to Max. He doesn't care anyway. He doesn't care at all.
Cam pushed against her one last time, the force of his orgasm causing him to collapse on top of her. In that instant Liz felt nauseated. She knew she had just made the biggest mistake of her entire life. Her body began to shake uncontrollably. She swallowed past the lump forming in her throat and pushed a sweaty, panting Cam off her. She rolled into a sitting position, grabbing her T-shirt and slipping it back over her head.
Cam laid a questioning hand on her shoulder but she shrugged it away. "Liz?"
"I think maybe you should leave now."
She had enough to deal with. The last thing she wanted was this new attachment with Cam. Liz felt dirty, disgusted. She didn't think she could even look at him without becoming physically ill. Why had she thought for a moment that sleeping with Cam would solve anything? All she had done was make things worse.
"Liz?" he said again. But this time his voice was surprised and confused.
Liz stabbed him with glacial eyes. "I want you to leave now."
"But what about what just happened here?"
"Nothing hap-? Liz, we just made love." "No, Cam, we had sex. That's all." Making love, that's what she and Max shared. What Liz had just committed with Cam could not begin to be described in such terms. She stood and began pulling on her sweatpants. "You should get dressed now," she told him woodenly.
Cam had just zipped up his jeans and was reaching for his shirt when the doorknob to the front door began to turn. Liz's gaze zigzagged between the door and Cam.
"Hey, babe, I brought you a bagel," Max said as he stepped inside the apartment, "You know the kind. . . ." He trailed off in shock to find his girlfriend and her half-naked ex standing in the middle of his living room. It took Max about two seconds to assimilate the situation, especially when Liz's discarded underwear was balled up beside the recliner. His fingers reflexively clenched around the package he held in his hand.
"Get the fuck out of my house," he ordered quietly. His murderous stare was trained directly on Cam.
Liz felt her heart beating like a frightened bird's. Her chests rose and fell in shallow pants. She had never seen Max so angry. His lips had barely moved when he told Cam to get out. There was no doubt in Liz's mind that Max knew exactly what they had done.
Cam looked at Liz. "Come with me, Liz."
His words snapped Max's slender hold on control. He threw down the cappuccino and bag he held and charged at Cam, drawing back his fist. His punch landed against Cam's face with a bone-cracking thud, hard enough to knock Cam to the floor. "I SAID GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY HOUSE!"
When it looked as if Cam were going to try and fight Max, Liz jumped into action. "Just leave, Cam!" Cam licked at his bleeding mouth. "What if he hurts you, Liz?" He was clearly spoiling for a fight but Liz knew that Max would crush him in a millisecond, especially now, when he was angrier than Liz had ever seen him.
Liz looked uncertainly at Max's angry face then back at Cam's concerned one. "He won't hurt me. Just leave. Please," she added when he still seemed to hesitate.
After he was gone Liz found herself wishing that he wasn't. She was suddenly very afraid of being alone with Max. A Max that she had never seen before. He looked at her in obvious anger, confusion, and hurt. "What are doing, Liz?" His question was a bare whisper.
"I-I. . ." Liz couldn't find the words to tell him, not when he was looking at her with such a betrayed expression.
"You slept with him?" he cried, "And in our house? In our bed?"
"Why?" he sobbed, "Why would you do that?"
Liz could feel her own tears start again at the sight of his agonized face. The enormity of what she had done was beginning to sink in. Liz's knees felt shaky. "I saw you today, Max, . . .with Tess."
"Tess?" he repeated blankly. And then he laughed. A sort of bitter, pained laugh that broke off into a sob. "I saw her while I was buying your damned cappuccino, Liz! I was telling her good-bye and that's all. I haven't spoken to her since we left Roswell."
"B-But you hugged her, you. . . ." Liz trailed off, unable to argue. It was futile to continue. One look at his crumpled expression and Liz knew he was telling her the truth. She had made a mistake, a terrible mistake.
"I hugged her good-bye, Liz. That's all."
"Oh god!" Liz cried, burying her face in her hands. What had she done? Oh god, oh god, oh god, she thought, and I can't take it back. I can't ever take it back. She dropped her hands and took a pleading step towards Max. "Max, please. . ." She lifted a supplicating hand towards him.
"DON'T FUCKING TOUCH ME!" he exploded, jerking away from her. He shook his head at her, clearly near breaking down. His shoulders began to shake with the force of the sobs he was fighting to hold back. "I can't even stand to look at you right now," he said. He looked at her one last time, his eyes filled with disgusted loathing, before heading for the door. He didn't even close it behind him.
"Oh, Max," Liz sobbed, running a shaky hand through her hair, "oh god, I'm sorry." She sank to her knees on the carpet, her chest aching with the pain that filled it. But she couldn't cry. She just rocked back and forth, her mind numb. She blankly reached for the phone, dialing the New York number she had learned by heart months ago. She finally got an answer on the fourth ring.
"Oh, Maria, thank god! I need you."
TBC. . .
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