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).
|Michael Guerin decided to stop by school around lunchtime to see his friends. Ever since the day he had gotten sick, Max made the decision to stop finding out about their past, at least for a while. He said that they all needed to find their balance, or something like that. He wanted them to be fully aware before they did everything. Isabel agreed, and surprisingly, so did Michael. They agreed with Max, even though it seemed he had stopped everything when he stopped his relationship with Liz. |
Michael wasn’t sure what to think about Liz. She seemed nice enough, was smart and, as Michael reluctantly admitted, had proven to be trustworthy. He was still amazed at what she had written in her journal about Max. It was nothing scandalous, because, of course, this was Liz Parker. It was on a different level. Liz completely and totally adored Max. She respected everything about him, and understood him. The worst part was, at least to Michael, that Max felt the exact same way. The troubling part was that Liz also had the ability to make Max forget about everything. Michael couldn’t help but feel a little envious of Max. Max always got everything. A sibling who was just like him, an affectionate family, excellent grades, and now, someone outside of their tight trio that lovingly accepted him for who he was.
Michael thought about Maria. He didn’t know what he was thinking during their passionate make out sessions. Sure, she was a good kisser, but he didn’t really know too much more about her. He knew that she made him feel different. It was like the floor gave out from under him. She threw him off-guard. And Michael hated that feeling. He hated feeling like he could open up to someone. He always tried to act tough. But Maria seemed to see through his fake exterior. Even Max and Isabel rarely saw that. Michael had to silently thank Max for his break with Liz. It allowed him to avoid Maria, and to stop feeling what he was feeling. But deep within Michael’s craving for power, lay a lonely person, who wanted more than anything, to have a connection like Max and Liz did. But he would never admit that. It might make Max change his mind. And no one would know what to do at that point.
Michael passed by Maria and Alex on his way to Max and Isabel’s table. Maria stopped her conversation and looked up at him. He figured it would be rude to completely ignore her, so he gave her a nod of recognition. She tossed a half-smile back at him. She is kinda cute, Michael thought. He made his way to their usual table.
“Hey Michael. Joining us for lunch, are you? Funny, I haven’t seen you at school all day.” Isabel said jokingly.
“Yeah. Whatever. Just dropping by. Wanted to see what’s going on.” Michael took a seat next to Isabel, so both of them faced Max.
“There’s nothing much going on, Michael. I mean, it’s school.” She laughed. “What do you expect? Right Max? Max?”
Max was staring off into an oblivion. An oblivion that centered on Liz Parker.
Max snapped his head. “I’m sorry. What?”
Michael shook his head and Isabel clicked her tongue. “Are you still fixated on her? I thought you said you moved on.” Michael asked.
“Who?” Max responded, trying to sound innocent. He darted his eyes away from the amused, and slightly concerned, faces of his comrades.
Michael chuckled and Isabel cracked a smile.
Max looked down, and said quietly, “I talked to her today. About…about us. She seemed really upset.”
Michael and Isabel were quiet. Finally, Michael spoke up. “Come on, Maxwell. You said it was for the better. You’re right. We don’t want to get involved. It’ll just complicate things. As if they aren’t complicated enough already.”
“Michael’s right, Max. You were right too. Don’t be unsure of yourself. Everyone knows that what you’re doing is for the better.” Isabel said gently. “Liz included.”
“I think she does understand. But she’s getting sick of this.” Max was silent. “And I am too,” he added quietly.
“What exactly are you saying, Max?” Michael asked worriedly.
“I’m saying…” Max looked into Michael and Isabel’s eager faces, expectant of a reply. He couldn’t tell them what he really felt. For the first time in his life, he could not confide in the people who knew him better than almost anybody. Anybody other than Liz. “I don’t know what I’m saying. I guess I just need some sleep.”
His friends sighed with relief. “Have you not been getting enough sleep Max? You shouldn’t stay up so late,” Isabel chided, glad to change the subject.
“I guess,” Max muttered. Michael and Isabel began discussing Michael’s late night visits to the Evans’ house, and Isabel scolded Michael for keeping her brother up. Max stopped paying attention and let his gaze wander over to where it usually did during lunch, and any chance he ever got during the day -- Liz Parker.
Even though she wasn’t looking at him, Liz could feel Max’s smoldering eyes burning holes into her back. They hadn’t even spoken during the lab. She knew she was rude during biology, and that she had hurt Max. But he had hurt her first. It was only fair. She couldn’t help but feel bad about being so mad at him. She realized that things were tough for her, but numerous times worse for Max. She felt guilty and selfish for caring about her happiness, and then ended up feeling ten times worse than before.
Stop thinking about him, she reprimanded herself. He’ll just ruin your day.
Liz could hear Maria and Alex laughing something, and she came back to reality.
“So, what movie are we renting tonight, you guys?” Liz asked brightly.
“Well, you seem certainly seem to like this movie idea. What gives?” Maria asked.
“Nothing. Midterms are so draining, that’s all. So, what movie?”
“Hmm….how about Never Been Kissed? The guy in it is really cute!” Maria suggested.
“Um, no. No way are we renting a chick flick. How about Saving Private Ryan? I hear Tom Hanks is good in it.”
“No depressing movies tonight!! We need something light-hearted. It’s been a tiring week.” Maria protested.
“How about…Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? I haven’t seen that movie in ages.” Alex said.
“I’ve never seen it.” Liz replied.
“Ok. Then, we’ll get that.” Maria said.
“Good, at least it doesn’t have all that lovey-dovey stuff.” Alex laughed.
“Yeah, like how Max is staring at Liz right now,” Maria said, immediately regretting her words. “Sorry, hon. I didn’t mean that--“
“No, it’s ok Maria. And, no, he’s not staring because of what you think. We, uh…we talked today…in lab.”
“What did he say?” asked a concerned Maria. “Has the jerk come back to his senses yet?”
“No,” Liz said, smiling sadly. “He says that it’s for our own good. For everyone’s benefit. I mean, he really is right. I just wish he didn’t have to articulate it.”
Maria and Alex didn’t know what to say next.
“Besides, I came …I came off really mad. He must think I hate him.” Liz felt the wave of sadness wash over her body again. Why did she let Max make her feel this way?
“No, he doesn’t think that. You guys are just frustrated. You’re just not sure what to do next. I say, you just wait it out a little. Things will work out. They always do.” Liz smiled at Maria’s optimism.
“Yeah, Liz. Don’t worry about it. I’m sure he feels just as sad and angry as you do. It’s just the situation. It’s not either of you. Just give it time. Then you’ll both know whatever you need to know. In the meantime, we can watch Ferris Bueller run amok in Chicago, and try to get your mind off a certain Czechoslovakian and have some good old fun. What do you say?” Alex smiled at her, and held up his trademark ‘two thumbs up’ sign. Liz had to smile. She was really lucky to have Maria and Alex as her best friends. She didn’t know what she would do without such good people at her side.
|Part 5 | Index | Part 7|
|Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours|