|"The Way You Love Me"
Disclaimer: I own nothing Roswell...
Summary: This is the third story in a trilogy that I didn’t intend to write! It started with The Experiment and Finding Our Normal. For the most part, this story is about Max and Liz and how wonderful their relationship is!
Category: After Hours
Authors Note: It is advisable to read The Experiment and FON first, otherwise you're going to be a little lost. Also, if you like Tess, don't read this fic!
|Drifting between slumber and wakefulness, Liz heard someone say: "He’s coming," in a voice that sounded more like "Thank god, he’s coming."
A sudden soft fluttering in her womb made her jerk upright and put her hand on her stomach.
"Lizzie?" Maria and Grace rushed over again.
"He moved…" she whispered. This made her cry again, because she realized how selfish her thoughts were. She was carrying Max’s baby and she owed it to him and their son to get herself under some sort of control. Max so loved this baby… She swiped at her eyes with one hand, keeping the other over her son. A sudden bout of extreme nausea had her running for the bathroom where she threw up violently.
Shilla watched all this and wanted to cry. SHE had been the one to take Liz to the old woman and SHE was the one responsible for all this. Turning away blindly she ran straight into James, who caught her in his arms. This turned her tears into outright bawling and he took her away from Liz’s room to sit her down in the dining room.
"It’s my fault!" she burst out as soon as she was seated. "What did that horrible woman tell her?"
James rubbed her hand, absently wondering why the girl’s tears made his heart ache. "We didn’t know what she would tell Liz. We still don’t know what it was. Stop blaming yourself." Shilla turned wide, wet eyes on him and James was jolted by a sudden desire to kiss her. He blinked.
"I need to go find out!" Shilla announced abruptly, jumping up from the table. "There must be some horrible mistake. Max wouldn’t have done anything to make her feel this way…"
"I’ll go with you," James heard himself say. What was happening to him? He watched Shilla hurry out in front of him and felt an urge to protect her. No, he was doing this for Liz and Max. Yeah, that was it…
People scattered in front of Max as he strode into their suite. His shoulder was still hurting like hell because Nick had only been able to heal him partially. Nothing hurt as much as his heart, though. He wanted to see Liz desperately, but he was also afraid of what he would find. On the way over, the guard that had gotten the message had only told him that Liz had spoken to some lady that claimed to know him in his previous life and that she had completely broken down afterwards. He relayed James’ exact words as well: "Tell Max we are extremely concerned and he needs to come home right away." Again, it struck Max that everyone referred to wherever Liz was as his home. And how right that sounded…
He ignored Alex’s "its about time," and entered their bedroom in a dead panic. Maria and Grace got to their feet hastily, staring at him fearfully, but Max only had eyes for Liz who was sitting on the side of the bed. A stabbing pain ripped through his heart when he saw how forlorn she looked.
"Hi Max." But she wouldn’t look at him. More pain sliced through him.
Everyone else rushed from the room as he sat down next to her. "Don’t I get a kiss?" He had meant it to sound light-hearted, instead it sounded desperate and scared. What could I have done that was so awful she wouldn’t even look at me?
He inhaled sharply. "Of me?"
"No!" She was shaking her head sharply. "No…"
"Then what? Liz—"
"Of what you’ll see," she interrupted him.
That shut him up. His mind struggled to cope with the change in direction. He had been sure the old woman had told her about his past life and what he’d done… "I… Love, I don’t understand?"
"Max?" She turned agony-filled eyes on him. "You know that I love you more than life itself, don’t you? That I would never do anything…" Her voice trailed off as she saw the blood on his shoulder. "What happened to you?!" She cried, jumping up.
"Nevermind that right now!" he said harshly and grabbed her hand as she was pulling the edges of his clothes out of the way so she could inspect the damage. "Tell me what the hell you are talking about!" He jerked her forward until she stumbled onto his lap.
Taking hold of her chin firmly, he urged her: "Tell me."
It came out haltingly. "She told me that you knew me. That you were… That I had…" But her eyes kept straying to his hurt shoulder. "Max! I’m so sorry for what I did then. I would never do that to you this time, please believe me! I love you so much. Please…"
This was even more confusing. SHE had done something bad when he knew her before? He had trouble marrying the sweet girl with the wide emotion-filled eyes from his memories with someone that might have hurt him in some way. He pulled her against him with his good arm and pressed his lips against her temple. "I know you love me, Liz," he assured her. "How could I not after all you’ve sacrificed for me?"
She made a small hiccuping sound and turned her head so that his lips rested against her forehead. He took advantage of the little sign, sliding his hand into her hair and tugging her face back so he could kiss her. He kissed away her tears slowly, carefully taking note of all her reactions and any sign she might want to pull away. He needed to know what the woman had told her about their past, but even more than that, he needed to kiss her and make her feel secure in his love again. So he kept on brushing his lips over her cheeks, eyes, nose and forehead, feeling her relax slightly in his arms. She was starting to cling to him now and he took it as a good sign.
Moving his mouth over hers, he whispered against it: "I will never stop loving you. You’re my Shani, in this life and any other one."
She yanked her head back so suddenly that Max was stunned for a few seconds. "What!"
"That’s just it, Max. I think our… our love in your previous life might have been a-a lie." Her head was bent again.
A giant fist was squeezing his chest. "Why-why do you say that?"
"Oh Max! I was a horrible person in that life!"
"No, you were not," he sounded so sure of himself that Liz felt a momentary flicker of uncertainty. But then the images of her in that other man’s embrace appeared in her mind’s eye.
"I was…" She said in a defeated tone. She had to have been to take this beautiful man’s unconditional love and trample all over it like that.
He pulled her closer again, pressing his face in the hollow between her neck and shoulder and gently moving his hand over her womb. He barely had a chance to register the faint ache in his shoulder before the flashes hit him.
Hearing the older woman’s cold words to Liz. Telling Liz how she betrayed him. Touching Liz, touching his baby. He growled in anger when he saw that and pressed his hand over her belly harder. Faint, blurry images of Liz with another faceless man, his hands all over her. Seeing the way Liz had teased him, used him.
"Oh my god!"
"Max, I’m sorry! I don’t remember! I love you—" She was weeping again, trying to pry his hand away from her stomach.
"How the hell could she do that to you!" he cried, furious at the weird old woman for putting Liz through such torment. "And why did James allow her to put her hands on you!"
It took her a few seconds to fully comprehend that he wasn’t angry with her. She looked up at him in stunned surprise. He looked absolutely frightening. "M-Max?"
Hearing his name in her wonderful voice brought him back from the brink. There would be enough time for retribution later. Right now, he held one very fragile and precious woman in his arms. "I don’t believe any of it, Liz." He touched her wet cheek. "That isn’t you. That is not the you I fell in love with when I didn’t even know what love meant. And that isn’t the you my heart found again when I got a second chance at life." He tilted her face so he could look into her eyes. "Please. You shouldn’t believe that either."
She bit her lip, wanting so desperately to have as much faith as he did. "But-but I remembered things on my own. Those things… How…"
"I don’t know." His mouth thinned in anger. "But I sure as hell am going to find out!" He stroked her hair. "My memories of you are so clear, love. And not at all similar to what you saw."
"Maybe you just remember stuff the way you wanted them to happen…"
"I don’t think so. I never wanted you to leave me, and you did. And it hurt like crazy." He kissed her nose again and rested his forehead against hers. "Let me show you?"
Fear raced through her. What if what he showed her confirmed her memories? Then a little voice inside her said, ‘but what if it didn’t?’ Knowing she was doing this for them both, she finally nodded tremulously.
Putting his hands on the sides of her face, he unexpectedly brushed his lips over hers first. "I love you, okay? Remember that."
"Yes," she breathed, staring up into his warm amber eyes. She faintly remembered her first time seeing inside his soul, his intense words: ‘just let your mind blank out…’
The flashes were vivid and she caught her breath at the way she looked at Max during them. Her past self was just as smitten with her alien king. The flashes showed her herself in places her own memories didn’t. She was wearing different clothes and she talked and laughed and told him ‘I love you’. She heard him call her ‘Shani’. And finally, she saw a quick flash of herself when she was 8 years old wearing her cupcake dress.
Max was watching her anxiously. "Now do you believe me?" It sounded like a plea.
"I don’t remember any of those things, Max. Why do I remember other things?"
"Because we still haven’t figured out what really happened in my past life. How can you be completely human now?" He pressed his face into her hair. "Just-just know that none of that matters to me now. In this life, you have been all my dreams come true."
"You have been mine too. I can’t imagine my life without you. And… I don’t want to," she assured him softly.
"We’ll find out what all this means, Liz. I promise."
They kissed again, a slight edge of desperation still lingering in the kiss. Raw need raced through their bodies in response to the contact.
His mouth traced heated paths over her cheeks and jaw line until he reached her throat and groaned: "I really want to make love to you right now, but my shoulder is killing me."
Her shocked gasp made him smile. "Don’t worry, I forgot about it too. Let’s just go find Nick and see if he can finish what he started." He helped her to her feet and curved her tightly to his body before opening the door to their room.
A host of anxious faces looked at them, only to clear up as they saw the possessive way in which Max and Liz held each other. A clapping started that grew to a crescendo as everyone felt the need to get rid of the negative feelings of the last few hours.
That was when Shilla and James appeared, assisting an ancient woman with unseeing eyes between them. Max felt such a rush of familiarity that he had to blink away the tears.
"Zan?" Her voice was old and raspy, but it echoed in his mind, reminding him of days long past. ‘Zan get down from there!’ ‘Zan, your father is coming, you better get cleaned up.’
"Rula?" The name tumbled from his lips unbidden.
Her brilliant smile confirmed it all. "You sound just the same."
Shilla and James brought her closer since Max seemed to be rooted to the floor. Everyone else was staring at each other in bewilderment.
"Max? Who is this?" Liz asked softly and watched as the old woman’s head swiveled towards her. Her next words caused a silence to ripple across the room.
"Have you really finally found her?"
|Part 52 | Index | Part 54
|Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours