Disclaimer: I don't own anything having to do with the WB network.|
Summary: Future fic. Max left Roswell and Liz, and she's had to deal with being alone.
|She was wiping the counter, her hand swirling around in an entrancing motion,
never wavering from the one spot it had revolved around for minutes now. Her
eyes were glassy, unseeing, staring out at some invisible object that sat
somewhere beyond the wall above the stove. Her words echoed in her head.|
"Bad! Bad! Don't you ever--EVER touch my shoes again! Do you hear me?"
Screamed words, angry and violent. She'd blown up. She'd yelled, and lost herself for a moment.
She'd been cleaning the kitchen, and her two dogs had come running into the kitchen, the larger one carrying her suede Birkenstock in its mouth. The shoe had been soaked with slober, and the flap was almost torn. Upon her first look at it, she'd lost her temper. Badly. She'd hit the large dog about 4 times, then stormed off and grabbed the other shoe, throwing both of them up the stairwell, heaving them with all of her strength. The dull thud as they hit the wall resonated back down to her, one at a time.
She didn't put the dogs out until a few minutes later. The largest one had run out on its own, but the little one had been hesitant. It had just made her angrier. She'd picked it up and thrown it out onto the porch. Now she was back to cleaning, wiping the counters. But she wasn't there, not in the kitchen or in her house or even in Roswell. She was thinking...about herself. She was hurting, hurting so badly that her head was spinning. Thinking about everything, made it hurt worse. Made her heart ache, sending little sharp pains through her whole body. She'd lost it again. Something she never allowed herself to do.
She hadn't even noticed that she was crying. But she was. Her cheeks were soaked, and yet the tears still rolled from her eyes, tracing paths from her eyes and down her face and around her mouth. They dripped from her chin and fell onto the counter, where they were drawn into the neverending circling of the dishrag. Her shoulders heaved slightly. The wiping stopped, and she leaned against the counter for support. Sometimes she didn't even know how she did it--managed to make it through each day, keeping on her happy face. Not letting anyone see that inside, she was a wreck. That her heart was broken, and she didn't even want to get out of bed each morning and face the world. At times she even managed to convince herself that she was fine, and those were the days that were good. But then that would all dissapate, and she would remember that she was lonely, and hurting. She tried to justify her intense depression. She would often think about the things she'd lost...her cousin, Josh. Her Grandmother. Or her parents. That had nearly killed her. But she knew, in her heart, that wasn't it. And she was finally admitting to herself, now, the truth. She was grieving. Not over a loved one who was gone now, but for someone she'd lost, a long time ago.
Herself. She wasn't sure when it was happened, and she couldn't explain what it felt like when it did--or what it even felt like to be herself, to know who she was. But she did know, tonight..that the person inside her, wasn't really her. It was someone she'd made up, so that everyone else would be happy. And she couldn't help but wonder how she would ever find herself again.
The tears were still falling from her eyes. She was sorry now, for yelling at her dogs. Of course, it was all her fault that she'd left the shoes in the floor. Because that's what her mom would have said. If she would have come home, and found one of the $100 shoes ruined, she would've told her that she should've known better to leave them in the floor, with the dogs in the house. And she would have told her that she hoped she'd learned her lesson, and that if she wanted another pair she'd have to buy them for herself. That she needed to learn how to take better care of expensive things.
There had to be more than this. More to life. All she hoped for now was the end of it. She'd even thought about killing herself before. She didn't have the guts, though. She tossed the washrag down the hall, watching as it landed perfectly into the hamper.
She walked slowly to the back door, then walked outside. Clearing out the patio chair, she sat down, closing her eyes as she leaned back. It was cold outside, but she didn't feel cold. Even in her short sleeves and bare feet. There was a wet sensation on her hand, and she knew it was Baby, the largest dog. Opening her eyes, she lovingly caressed her face.
"I'm sorry, Doll." she whispered.
More tears fell.
"I'm so sorry."
She only wished she could be like that dog. No matter what happened, no matter how much she'd hurt her, she could still come right back and offer forgiveness. And she still couldn't let go..of what had happened all those years ago. She still couldn't forgive him for leaving her.
Part 2 She was going to New Orleans.
She wasn't even exactly sure why...but she'd decided it last night, as she'd been lying in her bed awake. She'd been thinking about her life..about the places she'd been, and the people she'd met. And about anything that had ever been important to her.
New Orleans was what she had thought of. She'd gone there when she was 13, with Maria and her parents. They'd had so much fun. It had been midsummer, and very hot, but it was one of the best memories she'd had. There had just been this feeling about it...like it was where she was meant to be. Everything there had been so beautiful, and perfect..the old buildings with their wrought-iron gates and flowerpots, the old quaint streets and shops, the Cafe du Monde and the Marketplace. All of the old men sitting out on the side of the road in their huge, fancy buggies and asking the passerbys if they would like a ride. The old streetcar that rattled along its tracks, running between all of the passing cars.
And the more she'd thought of New Orleans, the more she had longed to go back there, and to sit in all the same places and see the things she hadn't been able to see before.
Finally, she'd made a decision. She would go back, and she would leave the next day. It had actually made her feel a little better, knowing that she actually had something important to do, and plan for. Something to look forward to. It hadn't been long until she'd fallen asleep...the first peaceful sleep she'd had in a long time.
This morning, she'd awaken early, with some hope in her heart. She'd showered, and packed, then locked up the building and left. As she'd walked away, torward the bus station, she'd looked back. Even though she'd sworn she wouldn't, something sort of forced her to.
The old cafe hadn't been open for 2 years now. The windows had been painted over, so that the passing people couldn't look inside and see how run down it was. The building itself was getting old too--a few pieces of the brick had even begun to fall off, and some windows were broken from vandals. But it was still beautiful to her. Looking at it brought back so many memories to her--good and bad. She could still picture it with the lights blinking and the windows clear and the doors open, people streaming in and out of the doors, the tables and bar packed with customers. The waitresses were walking around in their little aqua outfits, their alien antennas bobbing back and forth as they hurriedly walked from one table to the next. She smiled slightly. She'd had some good times in that place. With Maria, and Max...
A tear slipped down her cheek, and she turned away.
For a moment it was as if her feet were rooted to that ground. Something inside of her was screaming to stay, not to leave behind her past and everything that meant anything to her. But she knew she had to go. She had to get away from this place, and all of the pain. She had to say goodbye.
She picked up one foot, and placed it in front of the other. And then she began to walk away, her steps quickening as she moved furter from the spot..until she turned the corner, and it was all behind her. There was no looking back anymore...no turning back.
A sigh escaped her lips.
It had been almost a year since she'd said goodbye to her home that day in Roswell. And it had been one of the hardest things she'd ever done in her life. As well as the smartest.
She was living in New Orleans now, in a small apartment in the French Quarter. She was going to college on financial aid, and working 2 jobs at night. It was hard, but she was...happy. She could say that now, and really mean it.
Things were a lot like she remembered them--going to school and doing homework and working. But then, in a big way, things were a lot different. There was no one to depend on now, other than herself. And life was a lot harder than it had been in Roswell, with her parents. She had to be careful of where she went here, at nighttime and sometimes even during the day. But she truly loved it. And...she'd found herself. She was sure of it. She'd found herself here, in New Orleans. Just being by herself, and learning herself. She'd done a lot of thinking, while sitting in the cafes and drinking coffee and listening to the blues and jazz.
She hadn't really made any friends...a few acquaintances, from school and work, but nothing more than that. And that was alright. Because she'd come here for herself..and she was pretty much happy just to have her alone time. Content with her thoughts, and books, and her long walks by the river.
It was a Saturday night, and she was sitting in her dark living room, listening to the sounds of the city. You could see the faint glare of the red light from Bourbon Street from her window. There were the sounds of the cars and the streetcar, and occasionally the circus-like music from the riverboat. But above all of it, she could hear the music. A wonderful blending of all of it--the sad blues and lively jazz, all mingling together and floating through her open window. It was the sound she'd grown to love the most.
She pulled out her journal from the coffee table, and a pen from the drawer. And she began to write.
December 19, 1999 I know I haven't written in a long time. Not since I left Roswell. But I just feel like I have to let out some of my thoughts, get them on paper. I'm sitting in my living room, with the window open, and I'm listening to the music. It's the same music that I can always hear at night, the jazz and the blues all mixed up together. I love the sound of it. It's sad, but happy all at the same time. It's almost like...like I was meant to hear that music all of my life. Like I heard it in a dream, back in Roswell, and I always wanted to find it again. Because it was what made me happy. I know, it's weird..but it's hard to explain. I just know that everytime I hear it it's like deja vu, like I know it in my heart. It's almost Christmas, and it's pretty cold outside. But I like the winter here. It's cold, but warm at the same time. Like I don't feel the cold. Things move to quickly here to feel the cold. I'm going to college here, and it's wonderful, but it's hard work to pay off the loan. I'm working two jobs at night time, but tonight I'm off from both, which is like pure heaven. I've just been a perfect vegetable all night long. I have a nice little apartment, and the rent's not too expensive. I was kinda disappointed that I couldn't have one with one of those little wrought-iron balconies though. Maybe one day. Sometimes in the afternoons, between my jobs, I go out and drink coffee in the outdoor cafes, and listen to the jazz bands. Or I walk in the graveyards. Every morning I ride the streetcar out to the river and walk, and listen the the old man that comes out and sings for people. He has a worn, sad old voice, but it's really quite beautiful. It seems like he should be doing something better--like he could be making money for his songs. But maybe he's happy like that. Maybe seeing people smile when he sings for them is enough. I think about home a lot. I think about that last day, when I was leaving, and about looking back. That picture won't really leave my head--the picture of our building, of the cafe with the painted-up windows. Sometimes I even miss it a little. But not a lot. I love it here. I've found myself here. And I'm happy. Really happy, for the first time in a long time. For the first time since he left me. I haven't really ever talked to anyone about it, or even written about it before. I try not to even think about it. But I do. It's one of the few things that can still tear me up inside. Thinking of the day that Max left me. I know...I know he thought that he was doing the best thing, for me and for Izzy and Micheal, but for a long time I couldn't forgive him. For those years after he left, and after my parents died and left me all alone, I hated him. I hated him for leaving me, and for choosing them over me. I hated him for telling me he loved me, and making love to me, and for disappearing the next day. I hated him for the note, for being too coward to say goodbye in person. And the biggest thing, I hated him for leaving me a baby to take care of all by myself, my baby that I did love but that I was forced to give up because I couldn't take care of her. My baby. My sweet little Maria. I'd found out I was pregnant about a month after he'd left me. I hadn't known what to do..I was set against having an abortion, but I didn't know if I wanted to have it either. I couldn't afford a child, and I definately didn't know how to take care of one. But in the end, I'd decided to just have it. I told myself I'd figure something out. When she was born, I just loved her so much that I didn't know how to give her up, which I'd decided to do. But after awhile, I knew I coudln't provide her with what she needed. The only thing I could give her was love. But that wasn't enough for a baby. So I had to give her up for adoption. Her new parents had been wonderful--they'd told me they'd been trying for years to have a child, and they'd finally given up hope. They'd been so thankful, and so happy. The woman had cried when she held Maria in her arms for the first time. I'd just made her promise me that she'd never change her name. And they'd always tell her the truth--that her mother had loved her, so much that she'd given her up to give her a good life. I still miss her so much. But I know I did the best thing. And I also know that if Max would have known, he would have stayed. Of course, he would've been worried..that the baby might have turned out a little strange. I had been worried about that too, when she was born. But she'd appeared perfectly normal. And I figured then, that if she turned out with some weird powers or something, she'd figure something out. Just like Max did. So I let her go. I still miss Max, too. Everytime I think of him it's like something ripping at my heart. I have a picture of him, in my wallet...I look at it sometimes when I get lonely, and i daydream about what things would be like if he would have stayed. We would have our daughter, and probably be married and living in Roswell. Things would have been so perfect...and I would've never lost myself. Because I had left with Max that day...but miraculously, I found me..here. I know that Max probably knew he was leaving that night. The night that he came over, and the night we made love for the first and only time. I sensed that he was sad..but he wouldn't tell me what was wrong. We'd fallen asleep in each other's arms..and when I woke up the next morning, he was gone, and there was a note left on the pillow. It had read that he was sorry to leave this way, but he loved me too much to have to say goodbye. That he knew if he had to say goodbye, he would never have been able to leave. He'd written that he did love me, more than life, and that was why he was leaving. Micheal had found out something, something bad that put us all in danger, and he never wanted to put me in danger. He just wanted to have one last night with me, wanted to leave us both with happy memories of our love. I had hated him for that, for a long time, but now I was thankful. I know that if he would have said goodbye, it would have hurt just as much, if not more. And I would've insisted on going. Maybe in the end he would've taken me with him. God only knew. And things might be better then. Or maybe not. There's no way I can know.
She closed the journal, dropping the pen and massaging her hand. She'd ended up writing a lot more than she'd planned. But once she'd started, it had all just come out..all of the pain she'd felt when Max left, and when she'd given up her child. She felt a little better now, though, getting all of it out for the first time. Nobody else even knew about any of it. Her parents had never known about Maria, either. They'd died in a car accident the same day she'd taken the pregnancy test. And Maria, her best friend....she wasn't sure what had happened to them. After he left and her parents died, she'd sort of cut herself off from the world, even Maria. So they'd drifted apart. She wasn't even sure if Maria knew about her little namesake. But she did wish that she hadn't lost her best friend. Because a lot of the time, she could really use somebody to talk to.
Part 4 She stepped off of the streetcar, as she did every other morning, and walked towards the Riverwalk. It was a cold morning, especially cold for New Orleans, and her breath was coming out in little swirls of frosty air. She pulled her leather coat tighter around her. It was brown leather, Max's coat. He'd left it at her house...maybe on accident, but she felt like he'd left it for her. To give her something else to have of him.
She slowed her pace when she was on the little sidewalk. From far off she could hear his voice, the old man with the wrinkled face. He was singing some old carol, a slow and sad one, that floated down across the water to her.
She smiled sadly. Today was her first Christmas in New Orleans. This morning was the first time in a long time that she'd woken up depressed, the kind of depression that she'd felt all the time back in Roswell. It sort of scared her..but she knew it was only because of the day. She'd always loved Christmas. It had been such a fun time in her house, with the whole family there. And Christmas was the last day she'd been with Max. It was almost amazing how long ago that had been. 5 years. Christmas 2000. It had been kind of exciting, the first Christmas of the millenium. And now it was Christmas 2005. Her baby would be 4 years old now. Walking and talking, and maybe even going to preschool. And Max...she had absolutely no idea. He might be back at his home, wherever that was, with his family. Maybe he'd even found someone else to love, and marry and have a family with. Or maybe he was traveling the country. Or perhaps he was dead. It wasn't exactly a happy thought, but she knew it might be true. Someone had been out for them, after all. And she had to face that.
"Merry Chrismas Max," she said out loud.
"Merry Christmas Liz."
Her heart stopped. She thought that she must be going insane, because now she was hearing his voice. But it had sounded so real..and now she was sure that she could sense someone behind her. She could even hear their breathing, feel it on her hair. Her heart was pounding. Surely it was just someone else, and she was imagining it was his voice. She just wanted it to be his voice.
She was turning around now, slowly, closing her eyes so the disappointment didn't hit her full-force, suddenly.
Even when she was turned around completely, she couldn't bring herself to open them. She just knew that it was going to kill her when there was nobody there, or when it was just some guy from school. But she did. She opened them.
Her heart stopped. The world stopped. There was absolutely nothing, except for him. He was just the same as she remembered him, messy hair and adorable grin and those cute, big ears. That incredibly sexy body. Those eyes...those lips. She found herself smiling.
"Max? Is it really you? Are you really back?"
"Yes, Liz. It's me."
That perfect, soft voice. The music even more perfect than the jazz she listened to at night in her living room.
It hit her suddenly. He was here, alive, in New Orleans. Standing right in front of her. Her head was spinning, and she was so dizzy...
But she didn't pass out. She slapped him.
She was sorry immediately after she'd done it, but yet she felt good. She didn't need anything else...didnt' need to yell or hit him again, take out everything she'd felt for the past five years. She just needed to do that, that one time.
And now she was studying him, standing there and looking at her, holding his face where she'd hit him. He didn't seem to mind either, though. She was sure he knew why she'd done it.
She was smiling again, smiling at him and so happy she was sure her heart was burst.
"You're wearing my jacket," he said softly.
She laughed. That was just like him.
"I love you Max."
They were in each other's arms, before anything else passed between them...holding each other so tightly, neither ever wanting to let the other go again. It was a place they'd both wanted to be so desparately for all this time.
"I love you too, Liz. I'm so...God, I'm so sorry," he whispered into her hair.
"I know. It's okay..I'm just so happy you're back."
She heard the music then. She wasn't sure how long they'd been holding each other, just standing there in the cold, but the song brought her back.
"I'll be home for Christmas"
The old man was singing, walking along slowly, staring out at the water. She was crying again. It was just so perfect...because he was home for Christmas. Home to her, to the one that loved him. And they could be together again now, forever.
Part 5 They were sitting in her living room, drinking hot chocolate. She'd been telling him about everything, everything that had happened since he'd left. About her parents, about Maria, how depressed she'd been. Why she'd come to New Orleans. The only thing she'd left out was their child. She was saving that for last. Because she wans't exaclty sure about how to bring it up...or how he'd react.
He was smiling at her. He'd been doing that ever since the river. It was infectious. But not now. Now she was frowning, she was worried. He could sense that.
"What is it, Liz?"
"Well..this is kinda hard to tell you."
He wrapped his arm tighter around her, comforting her.
"Just tell me. Don't worry. You know I'll never..."
She cut him off.
"Max, we have a daughter."
She watched his face carefully. Right now she couldn't exaclty read his reaction....his smile was dropping by the second, though, and he looked a little confused.
His voice was a little louder than necessary. And his hot chocolate was teetering dangerously sideways.
"We have a daughter, Max."
She grabbed the cup, sitting it down on the table.
"That night...that Christmas, when we made love. We made a baby, Max."
Now he looked decidedly shocked.
She couldn't help but laugh.
"Well...it was a girl. I named her Maria. But...I couldn't take care of her, Max. I didn't have the money, or the experience..so I gave her up for adoption."
His expression softened.
"God, Liz. I'm...I'm so sorry. You know I never would've left.."
She placed a finger on his lips.
"Shhh. I know. And I don't blame you for that..anymore."
He smiled a little.
"I'm sure you felt like finding me and killing me for awhile."
She laughed again.
"Yeah...especially when I was in labor! God, talk about pain! I just knew I was gonna die."
He leaned down and kissed her softly.
"You are so wonderful."
They were silent for a minute, just looking at each other. Another worried expression suddenly crossed his face.
"Oh, Liz..please tell me..the baby wasn't..umm...different..was she?"
"No..as far as I could tell, perfectly normal. Just like any other wrinkley little red baby."
She laughed at the expression on his face.
"I promise, she was fine."
He was staring at her.
"I wish I could've seen her, Liz."
"I know, me too. You would've loved her, Max."
"I would have."
There was another long pause.
"I've missed you Max. I've missed you so much. I just want..."
They smiled at each other. They always had been able to 'read each other's minds'. He leaned over to her again, touching her lips with his. She felt that same electric current run through her, the most wonderful sensation she'd ever known.
He reached out and touched her gently. Her skin was still so soft, like silk beneath his fingertips. He'd longed for that every day. They were still kissing, more hurriedly now, passionately, both of them needing more than this. Max lowered his hands to her waistband, gingerly taking the ends of her shirt in his hands, pulling it upward and slipping his hands underneath.
His hands on her bare skin made her head spin. It was so absolutely glorious. She just wanted to be with him again, like she had so long ago, wanted to have all of him. She pulled away from his lips. Her breath was coming in short gasps. His touch was doing amazing things to her...
"Please Max....God, I love you."
"I know, Liz. I love you too."
The soft music floated in through the open window. She was finally with the man she loved, and she was truly home.
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