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).
|Max didn’t leave his house the entire weekend. All he did was his homework. Now that things were at a standstill, he could catch up in school again. He was one of the top students in his class, and recently, his grades had been slipping, amidst the search for his past and his desire for his future. |
After working hard all weekend, Max was ready for some quality shut-eye on Sunday night.
However, he found himself restless. He tossed and turned in his bed. Max sat up in frustration. Looking at the clock, he saw that it was 4:23 in the morning. He sighed. This was the seventh time he had woken up. All he could do was think about Liz, and her pain. He had many nightmares about her, all in the same night. In each dream, Liz was in trouble, or feared something. He desperately wanted to help her, but every time Liz was in need of assistance, the figure that materialized beside her was not him, but Dave Lynch. Max watched from the sidelines in his dream, as Dave offered Liz everything Max wanted to give her so badly, but could not. Every single time, Dave tipped Liz’s face to his, and as their faces inched closer, Max would wake up. He couldn’t bear the thought of someone else being so close to her. He felt as if someone was ripping his heart and soul to shreds before his very eyes.
Max rolled over to turn on his light. As he let his eyes adjust to the stark brightness of the light, his bloodshot eyes landed their mystified gaze on his old yearbook. He remembered that before he had gone to sleep, he had looked through it to get some information about Dave Lynch, at least what school activities he had been involved in. The list disgusted him. He was captain of the soccer, hockey and lacrosse teams at school. He was the senior class president, as well as president of the National Honors Society at school. He tutored at one of the middle schools, was involved in SADD and in the school’s diversity group. He had been involved with the debate and math teams, and was currently president of the science club. As Max thought of the science club, he grimaced. He had forgotten that the object of his affection was treasurer of the club. Dave is so much like her, Max thought to himself. They would be so perfect together…
Max’s eyes landed to Dave’s junior year picture. He was the typical, wholesome, boy-next-door American teenager, something Max could never be. Flipping quickly to the freshmen photos he caught sight of fifteen letters, that when put together in the right way, could make his heart skip not one, but two beats. Elizabeth Parker. He let his finger graze over her picture. He suddenly stopped himself. What was he doing? Was he going to go into her dream? Step into the mind of Liz Parker? Max’s immediate reaction was to completely let the issue drop. He could not and would not ever invade her privacy.
He had never dreamwalked before, though Isabel assured him it was simple and no one would ever know. He would give anything to see what Liz was thinking, although he was pretty sure he knew what she felt. He knew she felt just like he did. But it would be nice to have proof…
Isabel had said that if it was done right, they could interact with people in the dreams. Theoretically, Isabel had speculated, it was possible for them to become part of the dreams, but only if the timing was perfect, and the person whose dreams were being invaded accepted it.
Max wanted nothing more than to find Liz in her dream and wrap his arms around her tiny body and tell her that he would never leave her side. He wanted to bury his face in the strands of beautiful hair that framed her lovely face, and whisper how much he loved her into her delicate ear. To tell her that they were truly meant to be, and he was wrong for ever thinking otherwise.
He wanted to stare into the eyes of this girl he loved so much, to see into the starry depths of her soul. He could do it for hours on end. Liz was the only person Max could communicate with only using his eyes. She understood everything about him just by looking deep into his eyes.
He wanted to run his fingers through her glossy hair that shimmered like chocolate satin. He wanted to hold her perfectly formed face in his hands. He wanted to lift her chin to his face and erase all the space between them. He longed for Liz’s lips on his own, to be able to taste her soft lips. He knew now that if that ever happened in reality, he would lose control. That was a major part in his decision to break things off with Liz. She made him forget the real differences between them. She made him feel human, and it scared him. He was scared of what would happen if he let his heart overtake his mind. But in a dream, there would be no consequences. He could show Liz how he truly felt about her. He wanted nothing more.
Max violently blinked his eyes and shook his head. He couldn’t believe that he was contemplating invading Liz’s personal thoughts. His restlessness was getting to him. He took another glance at Liz’s picture. She looked so innocent and pure, radiating her simple and elegant beauty.
Max was suddenly alarmed at what he was thinking. Before, he had been preoccupied with how he was hurting her. Now, more than ever, he wanted to be with her. His desire for her was greater than it ever was, and he thought a feat like that was an impossibility. He needed to see her. He needed to talk to her. He needed her.
Max quickly glanced at the clock again. It read 4:47. He couldn’t wake her up and expect her to listen to what he needed to say. He needed time to explain his revelation. He finally decided to drop by her house before school to see if he could give her a ride, hopefully seen in her eyes as a peace offering.
Max got dressed and was ready by 6:00. He was pacing in the kitchen when a sleepy Isabel trudged down the stairs.
“Max?” Isabel asked, rubbing her eyes.
“Max? Why are you up so early? Are you crazy? Or did I oversleep?”
Max smiled at his sister’s confusion.
“Wow. Max, you’re smiling. This is amazing. I haven't seen a smile out of you in weeks. What gives?” Isabel asked suspiciously.
“Nothing.” Max answered, in his typical, nonchalant manner.
“No, really. What’s up? Why are you so chipper?” Realization dawned on Isabel’s pretty face. “This is Liz-related, isn’t it?”
Max didn’t answer.
“Aha. I knew it. God, what are you plotting now, Max? I thought we had all agreed what you had decided was a good idea.”
“No, Is, you and Michael thought it was a good idea. I’m not so sure anymore.”
“Max, I know you think that this is something substantial, and that you need to preserve it. But it isn't worth it. You’re risking SO much, Max. You’re risking us. We can’t lose each other. Don’t you understand? We are nothing without each other. You can’t leave us for her. She isn’t worth it. No one is.” Isabel started to talk faster, her anxiety growing.
“Is, you can’t tell me that Liz isn’t worth it. You don’t know her.”
“Max, why don’t you stop it? This is getting ridiculous. It’s like you’re obsessed. What are you doing, planning a tryst with her at 6 in the morning?”
“Is- calm down. I’m just going over Liz’s early to ask her to be friends, and maybe give her a ride to school. Nothing is going to happen, okay? I’d like to be able to talk to her. I don’t have to be with her to talk to her. We can be friends. Besides, I don’t think this avoiding thing is working.”
“Max. I’m begging you -- don’t do this. You’re going to get hurt. If you get attached by “friendship,” or whatever it is your trying to pass it off as, that whole thing between you guys will start again. The two of you can’t be friends. It’s the truth. We all know it. If this were under any other circumstance…well, obviously, a lot of our problems wouldn’t exist. But we are in THIS situation. And you have to understand that you can’t do this to yourself, or to us.” Isabel argued.
“Isabel, you can’t tell me who to be friends with. That’s not fair. You think I like any of your stupid, ditzy friends?” Max felt anger. Why was it that his sister and best friend were able to determine his life? What gave them the right? Why was it fair?
“Just stop, Max. This is getting ridiculous. You can’t compare my friends to your thing with Liz. It’s just different.” Isabel was clearly angry, and her voice was raised.
“Why is it different?”
“It just is, Max! Why can’t you accept it?” Isabel snapped.
“There has to be a reason. What is it, Isabel?” Max was practically shouting.
“Because what!?!” said Max, frustrated with his sister.
“Because…you and Liz are in love with each other.” She sputtered, throwing her hands up in the air. Max’s expression changed to one of bewilderment, taken aback by his sister’s outburst. “Are you happy? I said it. You won. Are you satisfied, Max? Do you think my recognition of whatever it is you have with that girl is going to change anything? Well, think again.” Isabel stormed out of the kitchen, brushing past her concerned parents, who seemed to have appeared from nowhere.
“Max? Isabel?” Mr. Evans asked. Isabel slowly backtracked into the kitchen. “What is going on here?”
Neither of them answered.
“Well? What happened? I wouldn’t be amazed if you woke up the entire neighborhood. What’s going on?” Mr. Evans asked, his arms folded across his chest. Mrs. Evans eyes’ darted from her son to her daughter and back. Isabel wouldn’t say anything, so Max spoke up.
“It was a stupid argument.”
“Well, it didn’t sound stupid. You guys were really loud.” Mrs. Evans commented.
“Well, it was. I’m sorry Mom and Dad. I’m sorry Is. It was dumb. Right, Isabel?”
Isabel narrowed her eyes at her brother, and choked out an apology. “Sorry, Max.”
There was an awkward silence.
“Well, I’m gonna get ready. Excuse me.” Isabel gave her brother another glare, and went upstairs.
Max watched his parents leave the kitchen. He sighed in frustration. He was finding himself at odds with Isabel more frequently these days. Up until now, their arguments were shallow, only faintly related to what they had fought about today. Max was finally beginning to see that his sister could no longer be a source of consolation. She didn’t understand what he felt whenever he just thought about Liz. Isabel refused to let anyone know who she really was. But now, she was refusing to let anyone know who Max was...
|Part 8 | Index | Part 10|
|Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours|