by Emma Whitfield
Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with the WB, Melinda Metz or anyone else involved in the production of the show or the book series. I am merely borrowing the characters, and promise to return them as good as new. :) |
Authors Note: As I have said, this story takes place directly after The Balance. If you can remember that far back, LOL, this is the episode where Michael gets sick, and Max asks to take a step back from Liz. None of the alien mumbo-jumbo occurred. There is no Tess, and Nasedo is just a name. Anyway, try to read this story in that mind set. I wrote this way back in January, and any similarities are PURELY coincidental. (That, or I'm just a mindreader, lol).
|Liz woke up, feeling much more refreshed than she had in days. For the first time, the sun smiled at her. She hadn’t had this feeling for a long time. It was as if there was another force at work. Another force that could temporarily help her from the hole that occupied her heart. |
She had worked hard all weekend -- not doing schoolwork, but doing anything to keep her mind off Max Evans. And it was working. After a bit of arguing with herself, and a huge nudge from Maria, Liz gathered up enough confidence to call Dave Lynch. She still felt like she was betraying Max. But she told herself that she was just calling him. She actually did have a reason to call -- they needed to fix a date for the science club’s next meeting. After discussing the trivial details of the meeting, she found herself involved in a conversation with Dave. While he did nothing for her, she was glad to finally be able to talk to someone who was so much like her.
She had talked to Maria about it, and Maria was convinced that Liz should go out with Dave. Liz shook her head, thinking about it now. Maria would never understand that Max was the only being for her. And she didn’t want to waste time on people who would ultimately be hurt by Liz. But Liz was glad that Maria cared for her well being.
After taking a shower, Liz perused her closet. She found a black wool tea dress with satin embroidery just at the sides of the waist. Maria had told her it made her look great, and Liz realized she was in a mood to feel good about herself. She put on the dress, and found matching shoes to it. She giggled at herself. She almost felt like Isabel, worrying so much about clothes and appearance. Thinking about Isabel automatically made Liz wistfully think of Max. But today, Liz was determined not to let him add stress to her day.
Suddenly, Liz heard a beep outside the window. It sounded like Max’s Jeep. She ran to the window, then reprimanded herself silently for being so enthusiastic, and slowly moved to the window. She cautiously peered outside, half-expecting to see Max. She was glad that no one else saw her, because her disappointment was evident. The Jeep outside was not the dark, dirty one Max drove. It was a bright red Wrangler, with the top down. And its driver wasn’t himself a tall, dark and mysterious man.
Dave Lynch gave Liz an eager wave, and Liz had to smile at him. He really is a decent guy, she thought to herself.
Dave called out to her from below. “I just thought you might like a ride to school today.”
“Really?” Liz said, cocking one eyebrow up.
“Yeah, really. So, are you coming or not? I could be picking up a lot of other beautiful girls right now, you know.”
“Oh, really?” Liz laughed, and suddenly caught herself. Was she really going to pursue this? An aching formed deep within Liz. She wanted to be with Max so badly, that she forgot she was talking to Dave, and not Max.
“Liz?” A voice beckoned to her, bringing her back to her unsatisfying reality.
Liz gave Dave a half-hearted smile and replied, “I’ll be right down,” telling herself that it was just a ride to school, and nothing more.
Liz climbed into the Jeep, and smiled at Dave. “You didn’t have to do this, you know.”
“No, I didn’t. But I figured, I live near you. I may as well swing by.”
“Dave, you don’t live near me. Don’t you live up in the really rich part of town?”
“I guess, if you want to call it that.”
“It is a far drive. You really didn’t have to come,” she insisted.
“I really don’t mind, Liz. And besides,” he said, looking away sheepishly, “I enjoy your company.”
Liz felt bad that she was leading him on, but there was nothing she could do about it. “Well, thanks anyway,” she said cautiously.
“It’s no problem,” Dave said, and flashed her the charming smile that appealed to all girls but Liz Parker.
Dave revved the engine and pulled away from the café. Soon, they were engaged in a discussion about AP Biology, as Liz was interested in taking it senior year. What they didn’t notice was a grimy Jeep pull up in front of the Crashdown. And they also didn’t notice how crestfallen the driver was when he saw his soulmate being whisked away right before his eyes.
Maria DeLuca walked down the halls of West Roswell High, silently shaking her head at the cheerleaders as they made their way past her. One shoved her as she ran up to meet her thick-headed boyfriend. Maria laughed to herself at their moronic actions, and turned to go to her homeroom. Something caught her eye. Or rather, someone. It was Michael. He was leaning against a doorway, obviously looking at her, but he suddenly turned away. As the first bell rang, he pushed himself off the wall and walked in the opposite direction.
Maria was in shock. What was Michael doing? Did something happen this weekend to him? Why was he watching her? Not that she didn’t mind. It just bothered her that he was staring at her. She had thought that the break ups had been mandatory, and that nothing would change. I guess you never know with these things, Maria said to herself.
Maria was about to walk into her classroom when she saw Liz walking down the hallway with Dave Lynch. Dave seemed extremely happy to be with her. Maria smiled at him. He’s such a great guy, she thought. Hoping the best for Liz, Maria finally walked into class as the late bell rang over her head.
“So, I guess I’d better get to class Liz.”
“Oh, yeah. Me too. Thanks so much, Dave. You know, I’m serious. You didn’t have to give me a ride. I can always catch one with Maria.”
“Oh, right, right. Well, it’s not a problem.”
There was a silence between them.
“Look, Dave,” Liz started, knowing she had to tell him that she didn't feel as he did.
“Yeah?” Dave looked down at her with his friendly brown eyes. They were warm, but didn’t even have a fraction of the depth of Max’s eyes. Dave’s eyes couldn’t convey the feelings Max could when he looked at her.
“Dave, I just wanted to say…”
“Is everything ok, Liz?” Concern clouded Dave’s eyes.
“Well, I just needed to tell you--”
“Shouldn’t you two be in class?” a booming voice interrupted. The teens looked up, startled at Mr. Walsh, one of the history teachers, who was glaring at them.
“Um, yeah. We were just going,” Dave said to the teacher. Turning his full attention back to Liz he said, “Liz, I’ll talk to you later, ok?” Dave gave her a smile, and hurried off.
Liz stood, helpless, in the abandoned rows of lockers and endless doors. Taking a deep breath, she turned around, and headed down the long corridor.
Max Evans watched Liz Parker’s slumped shoulders from his seat as she made her way down the hall to her classroom. At that instant, the only thing he wanted to do was jump out and help her. He remembered Dave Lynch had driven her to school. He hated to feel jealous, but he was. He need to talk to Liz now, and he realized that sitting in a class with supervision wouldn’t allow him to see her, much less talk to her, so he quickly asked if he could go to the bathroom. Quietly, he slipped into the hallway, and listened for her clicking shoes on the cold stone floor beneath her feet.
He hadn’t seen her yet all day, and grinned when he saw how she had gotten all dressed up. He had to smile, because the idea of the most beautiful girl in the universe trying to look even more beautiful seemed cute to Max, if not to anyone else.
As the classroom door shut with a bang, Liz whipped her head around and saw Max standing about twenty feet away from her. Their eyes locked. Her heart was pounding. He seemed to be trying to tell her something, but Liz didn’t want to know what it was. The more she thought of how reluctant Max was of them made her more sure that she should not interfere with his life. At least, until he was positive he knew what he wanted.
Still, she was feeling horrible about their encounter during the lab the previous week, and Liz needed to get it off her shoulders.
“Hi Liz.” The way he managed to roll her simple name off his tongue sent a thrill down Liz’s spine. There was no way anyone could ever do that to her, try as hard as they might.
“How are you?” she asked nervously.
“I’m good. You?”
“Look, Max, I’m really sorry about how I was on Friday. I didn’t…I didn’t mean to sound like that.”
“I know you didn’t.” His voice was warm, and understanding.
“I just wanted you to know that. So we have closure.”
“Closure…” Max repeated, his face flinching in pain at the word.
“Are you ok, Max?”
“I’m…fine, Liz. I’m fine.”
“Ok.” Liz breathed out a sigh of relief. “I just really needed to tell you that.”
Max looked at her in silence. Liz looked back at him, realizing that things could get out of hand if they kept this up. “So, I better go. How late am I?”
“I don’t know. Not too late, I guess.”
“What are you doing out here, anyway?” Liz asked, searching his face for some clue of why he was really out there in the hall.
“Oh, I just…had to do…something.”
“Yeah.” He paused again, studying Liz’s face carefully. “I better go too, I guess. I’ll see ya, Liz.”
“Good.” Liz was flustered, at yet another loss of words. How had they moved so close to each other? It was like a force brought them together, and it was unexplainable how it happened every time they were near each other.
“Bye Liz,” Max said in a barely audible voice.
“Bye,” she said softly.
As Max walked by her, his bare arm brushed against hers, and it was like an electric current had been passed through their bodies. Neither of them could move forward.
Max’s face was tilted towards Liz’s, merely inches from her own. She could feel his breath on her face, and was warmed by its contact with her face. His eyes steadily held onto her own. She felt light-headed, and the entire world disappeared into a misty haze. All she could sense was Max, so close to her, and yet so far away.
It was taking all of Max’s self-restraint not to take Liz into his arms, and hold her there, forever. He needed to stop having these encounters with her. It was making him feel incredibly guilty, to have them longing for each other, but making it impossible for anything to happen.
He felt wrong to be putting Liz’s life at a standstill, but he was slowly realizing that he couldn’t let her go.
They held each other with their eyes, until they both realized they could no longer look at each other without serious repercussions. They reluctantly broke the gaze that spellbound them, and dejectedly headed off in their separate directions, knowing what lay ahead could never amount to what they had already found in each other.
|Part 9 | Index | Part 11|
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