Fanfic - Crashdown After Hours
"Never Let You Down"
Part 1
by K8rMcGees
Disclaimer: I don't own anything. Sigh. This is set in the summer of 2002, so anything that actually occurs on the show at this point is completely unrelated. Anything in the past is fair game, if I feel like acknowledging it!
Summary: What starts as a summer road trip changes multiple lives...for better, for worse, forever.
Category: Crashdown After Hours
Rating: NC-17
Max Evans quickly scanned the late afternoon crowd at the Crashdown Café, his gaze finally settling on what he was looking for.

Liz Parker's eyes lit up from where she stood, wiping down the counter across the café. She sent Max a bright grin as he weaved his way through the tables followed by his friend, Michael Guerin.

"Hey." Liz accepted Max's quick peck on the cheek as he slid onto a stool at the counter across from her. "Tomorrow," she said excitedly, leaning closer toward the boys.

"Road trip, baby!" Michael crowed, drumming his hands on the edge of the counter.

Maria DeLuca emerged from the kitchen with a hot pot of coffee and a look directed at Michael. "You better have a menu figured out, Spaceboy, because I'm not eating pork and beans for a week and a half."

Michael made a face at his on-again, off-again girlfriend as she swooped out to her tables. "Good to see you, too, Blondie," he muttered.

Liz smiled at her best friend's dramatics. "She makes a good point, Michael. I mean, we're looking at ten days in a camper with six people. The air will be a little stuffy as it is."

"It's taken care of," Max assured. "We just finished at the grocery store, and we found lots of good stuff."

Liz's eyes narrowed. "How many?"

Max looked at her innocently, but then sighed. "Twenty six," he admitted.

"Twenty six bottles of Tabasco sauce," Liz repeated, shaking her head. "Sounds like Maria just lost more luggage space."

Michael shrugged. "Eh. That's Jesse's problem to deal with."

Liz supposed that was true. After all, they'd divided different essentials for the trip amongst themselves. Liz had arranged to borrow the camper from her uncle, Max had kept track of the finances, Maria had mapped out the route, and Michael was responsible for food. Jesse Ramirez was to ensure all necessary supplies made their way into into the camper, and Isabel Evans-Ramirez had appointed herself the official tour guide. From landmarks along the way to the Grand Canyon itself, Isabel knew Roswell, New Mexico, Flagstaff, Arizona, and everywhere in between.

Max couldn't help but smile at his sister's enthusiasm, remembering when they were kids and took a family trip to Disney World. Mr. Toad's Wild Ride was closed for repairs, and Isabel's entire theme-park-plan-of-attack was destroyed. This road trip with their friends was giving her another chance to play tour guide.

As if on cue, Isabel swept into the Crashdown with an armful of brochures and a flustered Jesse trailing behind her and hopped onto a stool at the counter.

"Did you know there are some amazing volcano craters just north of Flagstaff with real lava formations," she announced to whoever was closest to her.

That person happened to be Michael, who had suddenly taken up a keen interest in the metal napkin holder in front of him and merely grunted.

Liz, however, perked at Isabel's announcement. "Really? I think we learned about that in our geology unit. Remember, Max, in Bio junior year."

Max arched an eyebrow at her. "Okay," he shrugged.

She couldn't help but grin. Being lab partners certainly hadn't hindered their growing relationship, but it didn't do much for their grade. Luckily for them, Liz was a born scientist and Max was more than willing to be tutored.

"We just happened to run across an article in a travel magazine at the library," Isabel was continuing, smoothing a glossy paper on the counter.

"Isn't it, like, illegal to remove stuff from the library's magazines?" Maria mused, joining them at the counter.

"Pish posh," Isabel dismissed primly. "Duplicated with a simple wave of the hand. Anyway, I also found a-"

"So 8 o'clock AM out back, right guys?" Jesse spoke up, cutting off an indignant Isabel and gently shuffling the papers out of her hands.

"8 o'clock sharp," Michael emphasized, looking directly at Maria.

"Oh, cool it, Spaceboy," Maria shot back. "Me and my bags will be on my front porch at 7:50. Don't keep me waiting."

Max and Liz shared an amused smile as she leaned over the counter and placed a lingering kiss on his lips. "I have to get back to work," she whispered, her nose wrinkling.

"I'll see you tonight," Max said quietly, his dark eyes gleaming as they followed Liz around the counter. Suddenly a blush crept onto her cheeks and she sent Max a mock glare over her shoulder, firmly tugging on the back of her uniform's short skirt. Sometimes Max enjoyed their open connection a little too much.


"Hey gorgeous."

Startled, Liz whirled around from her closet to face Max as he climbed in through the open window. "Max, hi!"

Max tugged the handful of t-shirts from Liz and tossed them into the open duffel bag on the floor before grabbing her around the waist and fusing his lips to hers.

She moaned against his urgent exploration of her mouth and ran her hands along his muscular forearms until he finally pulled away, leaving them both breathless. "I've been thinking about that all day," he explained simply.

Liz grinned. "Mmm…and just think, after tonight we've got ten days straight of being together. Lying in each other's arms all night," she added, shivering at the delicious thought.

Max smiled back, rubbing his hands along the goosebumps on her upper arms. "When we set up the tent, anyway."

Giggling, Liz sat Max down on her bed and draped herself into his lap. "Right. Privacy." She absently began tracing her fingers on his thigh, just above his knee. "Just you and me, under the stars." She glanced up at him through the fringe of her eyelashes. "It will be perfect."

Max responded with a long, deep kiss before lying back on the bed with Liz. "As long as my neurotic tour guide of a sister gives us some free time," he said wryly.

"And Michael and Maria don't fight each other over the edge of the canyon," Liz added with a laugh as she snuggled up against Max.

"I think Jesse gets to act as keeper for all of them," Max decided, placing a kiss just below Liz's ear and working his way down her jaw to her neck.

Liz shivered with pleasure as Max's tongue explored the hollow of her throat. The quiet moan she elicited vibrated against Max's mouth, and he eagerly pulled her closer to him.

"Max…" she sighed reluctantly. "We can't…my dad is right down the hall…and I have to finish packing…" Liz's words were broken by Max's insistent lips against hers. "And you're driving first in the morning…"

Max rolled over onto his back, pulling Liz across his chest. "I think maybe I should just stay up all night then," he reasoned, tucking a strand of hair that had strayed from Liz's ponytail behind her ear.

"Nice try." Liz pecked the tip of his nose, wriggling off of him and to her feet.

Max sighed grudgingly, his eyes following her as she returned to her bag. Her little blue tank top hugged her curves in all the right places, and the gray shorts she wore showed off her shapely, tanned legs in a way that made Max absolutely crazy. Max loved her legs. Well, he loved every part of Liz, from the dimple in her left cheek to the tiny mole on her lower back to…

Calm down, Max. He shook his head, trying to clear his mind of all the places he wanted to touch her right at that moment. He turned his gaze to her cluttered bedside table and caught sight of a small, round container.

"Liz?" he ventured, picking up the case and turning it over in his hands. "You haven't mentioned any headaches lately. Has it gotten better since you switched?"

Liz glanced up and saw that Max was studying her new birth control prescription. "Completely," she assured. "The pharmacist said it's normal for different people to have different hormonal reactions."

"Okay," he said, sounding considerably brighter. She could tell he had been concerned; concerned that it was his fault she had side effects from the first brand, that their making love was hurting her because he wasn't, well, quite like other guys.

"Max." Liz made her way back to the bed, sitting down beside him and taking the case from his hands. She linked her fingers with his and looked deep into his serious eyes. "I love when we make love." And it was true. In the six months since they first took their love and commitment to the most intimate of levels, Liz had never felt more complete. Their souls had belonged to one another since the day he healed her at the Crashdown, but there was no doubt that their bodies had been made for each other as well. Together, they were complete.

Liz's feelings flowed through their open connection, and a pleased glow settled throughout Max. He kissed her deeply and then got to his feet. "I'll see you in the morning, love."


"Baby, what are you still doing up?" Jesse came up behind Isabel at the kitchen table, sliding his arms around her.

Isabel smiled, but didn't look up from the maps spread out before her. She chewed thoughtfully on her pen cap and said, "I can't decide if we should make the jog north into Colorado or not."


"Because the more I look into it the more I really think we should see Mesa Verde National Park. The ruins sound absolutely amazing, with these palaces built into cliffs, and an ancient tribal sundial…"

Jesse stifled a yawn. "It sounds great, sweetheart. Why don't you come to bed now."

"But the problem," Isabel continued, "Is that we'd have to change our route, and we wouldn't have as much time to check out the historical park near the Continental Divide…"

Resting his chin on her shoulder, Jesse squinted at the large map Isabel had unfolded. "I don't think anyone will mind," he said honestly. "Besides, this way we can go to the Four Corners."

Isabel looked up at her husband, her tired eyes brightening. "You sound excited about that."

Jesse shrugged. "Well, I guess so. I mean, it's been a long time since I've been there. My mom took me there a couple times when I was a kid, and it was always a big deal." He smiled at the memory. "I thought it was so cool that part of me could be in four different states at one time."

"Then it's settled." Isabel kissed his cheek. "We'll change it around. I just have to-"

"Come to be with me," Jesse finished for her, grabbing the pen from her fingertips.

"Go on ahead without me, honey, I'll be in in a little bit."

"That's what you said three hours ago," Jesse sighed, his breath tickling her ear. "I was lonely without you."

"I promise, it'll be just a few minutes." Isabel's wide brown eyes did nothing to curb Jesse's desire to lift his wife into his arms and take her to bed, but he resisted, seeing her determination.

"Izzy, relax. We're going to have lots of fun on this trip."

Isabel bit her lip, turning all the way around in her chair and facing her husband. "I want you to have fun," she said emphatically.

"What makes you think I wouldn't?"

"I just want to make it worth your while to take all this time off from the firm-"

"I had vacation time coming," Jesse reminded her.

"- And to take a road trip with a bunch of college kids," she finished quietly.

Jesse smiled gently. "One of whom is my wife. Besides, Iz, they're my friends, too. The age difference doesn't matter much. I always wanted to take a road trip when I was in college, I just never had the time."

"Really?" Isabel draped her arms around Jesse's neck.

"Absolutely," he assured. "And I can't think of a better group of people to go with. Between the six of us, there won't be a dull moment."

Isabel grinned. "Oh, I've made sure of that." She gestured to her clutter of research and quickly organized it with a wave of her hand. "Let's go, Mr. Ramirez, take your over-worked wife to bed."

"Gladly." Jesse swooped her off her feet, laughing at her squeal of surprise, and carried her back to their bedroom.

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