|"Get In the Game"|
Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with the writers, producers or cast of
Roswell. I only wish I did.|
Summary: Max's life begins to change more than Michael and Isabel would like as he becomes more and more frustrated with living in the background.
Authors Note: This is the follow up to my first story Not So Secret Admirer. You might want to read that one first although it's not absolutely necessary. Feedback Please!
| The Comets went on a seventeen point run after the time-out came to a
Twelve out of the seventeen points were from Max. He was in a state of amazement as he jogged off the court at the end of the quarter. As he looked to the cheerleaders yelling for him, people he'd never even spoken to shouting and cheering for him. He'd stare around at the entire gym, but his eyes always continued to drift up to Liz.
None of the players knew how to respond in the locker room. DJ Smith, the man whom Max had replaced was a bit resentful that the young upstart sophomore had filled in so well for him, though he couldn't be too upset at the fact that they were now leading the Cowboys. Mack now loved Max, he put him in a head lock and tousled his hair yelling at him for not joining the team earlier and he and Archie roughed him up playfully. It was the two Seniors who took to him the most. Kyle for the most part was quiet as he sat in front of his locker with a towel over his head watching the two Seniors laugh and joke around with Max. He'd heard Liz cheering for Max too loudly and too often that first quarter. He'd seen her staring at Max too frequently and he'd seen Max too many times staring up at Liz. He had no more excuses to fill his mind. He had no more recoveries or explanations as to why whatever was going on between Max and Liz was going on.
It drove him insane for all of the second half. Everytime Max scored he'd glance up to see Liz's face glowing as she watched him jog back up the court. The coach had nearly taken him out of the game as he was proving so ineffective. All he could keep thinking about was Max and Liz. How all this time he'd been so nice to Max and all the while Max had been seeing his girlfriend. He was fuming inside with each basket Max took. As more people stood up and cheered, and Mack and Archie slapped him five, he just got more angry. Liz and Max's sister had hardly sat down all of the second half and even Maria and Alex had begun to stand up as the more Max played, the more he amazed everyone in the gym and the more he annoyed Kyle. Max would hit two three-pointers in a row and as the student body would begin chants of "Max, Max, Max!" Kyle would just clinch his jaw shut. The game drew to a close, the score West Roswell 72 - Irving Heights 61 - and as the "Max Support Group" made their way down to the court, Kyle began to make his way over towards Max. Hot, sweaty and fatigued after registering thirty-six points in the game, Max just smiled as Isabel didn't say anything either, she just hugged him. Michael stood in the background, hardly flinching, simply staring at Max with a detached look. Max just looked past Michael to Liz. She was standing quietly behind Michael, waiting for her turn to congratulate him. Isabel not wanting to make a scene, yet so incredibly happy for her brother, pulled away from him. Besides, she knew who Max wanted to go to.
Liz just walked slowly towards him. Kyle was marching towards Max from behind, ready to confront him, but he stopped in his tracks as he saw Liz approaching him. She was smiling slightly, the corners of her mouth just barely turned up as she walked to the sweaty number fifteen. Knowing what was going on with Liz's grandmother and how upset she was over the matter, when he saw Liz smile his feet stopped moving. She stood in front of Max and for the longest time neither said anything. "Max, I had no idea..." was all she could utter, at a loss for words, as was Max, her voice hardly a whisper. "How come -"
"I didn't try out for the team before," Max finished her sentence, he'd been asked that question at least ten times already. Liz just nodded her head. "I think you know," he answered softly, his voice cracking a bit. Isabel's head shot up at the comment, suddenly worry that he had told Liz. How else would she have known? What could Max possibly be talking about? Liz just smiled.
"Yeah," she nodded her head shyly. "You didn't have to..." she shook her head, "I mean - what I said Friday...I meant it - you don't have to -"
"I know," Max smiled, nodding his head. "I wanted to." Liz let the statement sink in and she just nodded her head.
"I didn't know you were so good though," she suddenly said playfully shoving his shoulder.
"Neither did I," Max laughed, scratching his head and Isabel just smiled as she saw Max for the first time, truly happy. One would mistake him for the hometown high school hero. He'd singlehandedly won the most important game of the season for the Comets and now, talking with Liz, Isabel was almost saddened at the site. She knew how much Max wanted to be with her, what torture it was for him not to be.
And after spending the entire second half of the game with Liz, though she hadn't said it directly to her, Isabel knew how much Liz wanted to be with him. Michael slowly ambled as casually as possible over to Max, attempting not to seem too enthused or excited. Neither said a word, Max waited for Michael to speak first and Michael waited for Max.
"It's still not safe," Michael raised his eyebrows in a scolding fashion, "it's not smart." Max remained quiet and again Liz just listened with curiosity. Wondering why joining the basketball team could be viewed as an "unsafe" maneuever.
Michael's stone wall face began to crumble however. "It's pretty cool that you kicked their ass though," he added and Max just smiled.
"You should join," Max laughed and Michael shoved him jokingly.
"Don't push your luck." Suddenly Maria butted into the conversation.
"You know what we should all do?" she said enthusiastically looking around to the conglomerate group of people huddled around Max, "is go out tonight. You know, like a victory party." The six standing there looked awkwardly at each other. Alex was completely lost and in an oblivion. Maria had attempted to fill him in during the game about everything that was but wasn't going on with Liz and Max, but there were holes all over her story and he was thoroughly confused. No matter, he'd never turn down a night with Isabel Evans.
"I..I don't uh -" Michael stuttered, unused to the friendly invite. No one ever invited him anywhere. Maria looked towards him hopefully and though he opened up his mouth to decline, nothing came out.
"It'll be fun - the six of us," she urged, looking towards Max and Liz, then to Isabel and Alex. Liz knew her friend was trying to hook up her and Max more than anything, but Maria was trying to do the impossible here. Have the six of them all go out as a group. Hardly any knew each other. Isabel barely gave any of them the time of day, Michael barely knew Alex's name. The "Elle McPherson" of the Sophomore class gave a slight nod to her head however.
"Maybe," she said quietly, looking towards Liz, then Maria, and then finally to quiet unassuming Alex in the background. There were worse things she could do tonight than go out with Maria DeLuca and Alex Whitman. "I'm definitely up for a victory celebration." Max and Liz both agreed, and though no one else did Maria still looked pleased by her suggestion.
Max and Liz stood together, neither saying anything. Wanting to say so much, but keeping both their mouths shut. There was enough sexual tension in the air to cut it with a knife and Maria quickly grabbed Alex's arm and began to walk away, leaving the two alone as Alex began his bombardment of questions. Then, a bit reluctantly, Michael and Isabel walked towards the exit leaving Max and Liz alone. The two finally stood alone by the empty bleachers. They both opened up their mouths to say something at the same time. Liz laughed.
"You go first," she urged and Max shook his head.
"No, go ahead," but neither said anything, they both just looked at each other hiding smiles and hiding and holding back what they both wanted to say.
The last thing he wanted to happen, Max and Liz alone, Kyle began to storm towards Max again.
"I should go..I'm all.." Max lifted up his jersey, motioning towards the locker room. "Yeah," Liz just laughed, "I'll see you tonight though?" she questioned and Max just nodded his head.
"Yeah..tonight," he nodded as she headed out the door of the gym. Max just smiled as he watched her go and suddenly an incensed voice sounded behind him.
"That's not cool, Evans," Kyle suddenly interjected, stepping up towards Max.
Max spun around to face Kyle.
"What? What's up, Kyle?" Max aked, genuinely confused.
"What's goin' on with you and Liz -"
"Nothing's going on -" Max corrected innocently.
"-it's not cool. I mean - I could deal with you coming to the hospital. Right, whatever, your cousin got in a car accident or not, you came by to check on her - that's fine. You hang out at the Crashdown with her a little - that's cool," Kyle began to raise his voice and Max was unsure as to what Kyle was aiming at. "I could deal with you two being friends, but Liz is my girlfriend Max - and I like her...a lot. You know, I thought we were friends." Max seemed taken aback by the statement, he'd hardly qualify Kyle as his friend.
Kyle seemed genuinely bothered by the statement, "You takin' my girl like that -"
"Kyle, I didn't take her. Liz and I are just -"
"Aww you're just friends. That's sweet, Max, that's really sweet. Look - Archie's the one who told me about how you're all over her at the Crashdown. I mean I never figured you for the type of guy to lie, but-"
"Yeah, he said you two are all over each other."
"Well then you must have misinterpreted him, because -" Max began to stand up for himself and Kyle just laughed.
"Max, Max, Max - there's no use lying. I'm here just to tell you - to stop. Stop doing whatever it is you're doing. Fine, you're not together. Then what the hell are you?"
"We're friends," Max stated again, not sure if he wanted to get into this conversation with Kyle.
"There's something more than friendship there - and I want it to stop," Kyle suddenly commanded and Max just stared at Kyle, confused by his sudden supremacy.
"Whatever's going on - stop. Because now it's like...Liz doesn't even know I exist anymore." Max's prior feelings of anger towards Kyle's sudden authority now turned to pity, of all things. "I mean I finish the game tonight, and she doesn't even.." he didn't finish his sentence, seeming clearly bothered by the issue, "Now it's all about you."
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