FanFic - Max/Liz
"Learning to Live Again"
Part 3
by Kippy
Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with the show, actors, writers, producers, network, or characters in Roswell. I only wish I did. The songs used in Part Eight are "Without Letting Go" by Laurie Sargent and "What Do I Have To Do?" by Stabbing Westward. The song used in the end is "You're Gone" by matchbox twenty.
Summary: Max struggles to put the pieces of his life back together.
Category: Max/Liz
Rating: PG-13
Authors Note: Sixth installment of my series ("Not So Secret Admirer", "Get in the Game", "The Walls Come Crumbling Down", "Walking Away", "No Rhyme or Reason")
No, I would not sleep in this bed of lies
So toss me out and turn in
And there'll be no rest for these tired eyes
I'm marking it down to learning
I am

He wondered how exactly it had happened that Isabelle and Michael's lives had sprung forward so quickly and his had so violently gone back. He didn't appear to have. He and Liz were closer than they had ever been during school, sitting at bio, at the lunch table, but the conflicted way that he felt inside was worse than he had ever been. The lying that he did to Liz and that he did to himself was worse than before Liz had known anything. And every night he went to sleep with the same thoughts in his head. That tomorrow he would talk to Liz, he would tell her the truth. And of course he never did. Don't think that I can take another empty moment
Don't think that I can fake another hollow smile
It's not enough just to be lonely.
Don't think that I could take another talk about it

The time he spent with Liz now was fake and empty. It was just going through the motions. Max glanced down at his watch Friday night, unable to shake the memory of the last time he had done this. Gotten ready to go out with Liz. Just like that night, one month ago he had thoughts plaguing him now. He shook his head in an attempt to dismiss them and grabbed the keys off the dresser. He walked out the door and walked towards the jeep, all the while feeling that he wasn't ready to go out with Liz. Not alone. He could take going out as a group, but even then it would be difficult. He had to confront these feelings and he had to talk about them. And so far the closest he had come was Archie in the locker room after gym class. And he needed more. He needed to get out of this...this trap. He was trapped in his own lies and his own attempt to pretend like he was okay. And every night and every minute he had to himself, he layed on his bed in anguish.

Just like me you got needs
And they're only a whisper away
And we softly surrender
To these lives that we've
tendered away

He knew when he was with Liz, that she seemed to know that it was all a lie. But she seemed to need that lie. All she needed to do was to whisper to him what she really needed. All she needed to do was whisper to him that she wanted to stop lying. But she didn't and so she thrived off of the lie. Kissing him and being with him, as fake as it was, was something that she needed. She needed that false assurance that being with him, everything was back to normal. And so day by day, Max fell into it.

Two weeks Max lived with the lies. They consumed his life. He and Liz together created this fictional world between them where everything was okay and life was normal. The accident had never occurred and he had never walked away from her. Yet his night's remained sleepless, and his dreams were always haunted.

No, I would not sleep in this bed of lies
So toss me out and turn in
And there'll be no rest for these tired eyes
I'm marking it down to learning

Max made the familiar drive to the Crashdown Friday night, the thought entering his mind that he and Liz really had no idea where they were going tonight or what they were doing. They had no idea what they were doing. Period. You can't just erase one month of your life and pretend it didn't happen, yet she tried and he pretended to. His mother had seemed hesitant to let him go out and that bothered him too. He knew the Parkers still were anything but thrilled about him and Liz and so when he pulled up to the Crashdown he felt a pit in the bottom of his stomach. When he walked into the Crashdown and his eyes met those of Jeff Parker he quickly looked to the ground. That wasn't like him. He didn't avoid things, avoid looks. He looked people head on when he had a problem. But now. All this. He knew what Mr. Parker wanted and, as conflicted as he was, that was something he wasn't prepared to give up again. Jeff Parker watched as his daughter, smiling widely, walked over and greeted Max with a kiss. He and his wife had wanted to talk to Liz about that. About her and Max. But with her barely two weeks out of the hospital, they were hesitant. And how did they go about saying what they wanted?

"Lizzie," Mr. Parker called from across the cafe, and it felt awkward to call her that. To pretend like their relationship was close when it really wasn't. It had progressed over these past few months into anything but. It wasn't even close, it was a strained and awkward relationship and if he so much as directed a comment about Max she would become defensive. "Come back before twelve." Was all he said.

"I'll bring her back before then," Max assured, but Mr. Parker seemed no more assured by the statement. "We'll be back before then," Max repeated and the way Liz looked at him then made him feel guilty. A look that said she wanted to stay out later than that. Don't wanna be the one who turns the whole thing over
Don't wanna be somewhere where I just don't belong
Where it's not enough just to be sorry

Max had suggested going to a movie, but Liz had declined to it. She insisted that the movie had gotten bad reviews and so they found themselves at Buckley Point. A place they hadn't even been to when they had been together before. Liz seemed insistant upon it however and at this point Max was almost like a whipped dog to whatever she said. He didn't want to say anything about how fake the past two weeks had been, because he was afraid of the fact that maybe she didn't feel that way at all. Maybe it was just him. Something wrong with him. She appeared to be so much stronger than him and he *wanted* to be like that. He wished he could erase the past month from his memory like she had. He wished that the smile that appeared on his face was genuine but it wasn't even close. And he didn't want the time he spent with Liz to be empty anymore. He didn't want another talk with Isabelle about how it wasn't his fault. Because it was and being in the jeep only reminded him of that. That's where Max's mind was. Liz held his face in her hands and kissed him and all he could think about was rolling down the hill. About how it had been his fault. I'm Sorry. The words were on the tip of his tongue and he wanted to say them. But it wasn't enough to be sorry. What he'd done to her. It was beyond sorry.

Don't you know I feel the darkness closing in
Tried to be more than me
And I gave 'til it all went away
And we've only surrendered
To the worst part of
these winters we've made

She pulled away from him for a moment. Max hadn't even realized that the way she had been kissing him was different from any way she had before. This was like she wanted something. Something more. And so she pulled away from him for a moment and her hands rested on the buttons of his shirt.

"Can you take your shirt off?" she suddenly asked and the tone of her voice was so calm that it surprised Max. It didn't go with the request that she had just made.

"What?" he asked, his mind being drifted away from the image of Liz's unconcious body in the jeep and to Liz's body right now leaning over him.

"Max what would happen if we.." Max was pretty sure of what she was going to say and he closed his eyes slowly, as if attempting to wake himself up. This wasn't Liz at all. It was her, she was sitting next to him and her voice sounded the same, but everything about the words coming out of her mouth wasn't right. Asking him to take his shirt off? The fact that they were even at Buckley Point. All he wanted to do was talk to Liz, and now she was bringing up a matter that - by all means he had thought about before - but only complicated everything, a matter that he wasn't ready to deal with and he knew neither was she.

"Liz," he stated her name softly and moving his hands to hers, gently moved them to her side and away from the buttons of his shirt.

"The fact that you're like...I mean do you even know what could happen?" she questioned and he was quick to respond.

"No!" he said it with some frustration in his voice and she seemed surprised by his tone. "I don't know anything about myself, I don't even know who I am!" his voice wavered and though she heard the words, she seemed to ignore them.

"Would a condom even work?" she questioned boldly and at the remark Max actually edged away.

"I have no idea. Liz, what's going on?" he asked worriedly, knowing full well that this wasn't Liz and that something was causing her to do this.

"Nothing, Max," she dismissed innocently and leaned over the seat towards him. "Let's just," she took his face in her hands again and he edged away. At the action Liz seemed hurt. "Why can't you just -"

"Because I have no idea what could happen!" Max thundered back truthfully. Right now the last thing he wanted to do was put Liz in any sort of danger again. And he had no idea what could happen.

"I'm not talking about.." Liz held her face in her hands and seemed embarrassed. "God I'm talking about..." she hesitated and looked up at him with a much different face. The look in her face now was one Max had seen before. It had been the look on her that Friday night he had come to her doorstep. "Kiss me, Max," she said desperately, looking up to him.

"What? I - I've kissed" he began to protest, utterly confused by the statement and she shook her head.

"I'm kissing you...and you haven't kissed me back," she finally said softly. "The past *two weeks*," she said the words with some disbelief. Like she knew that the past two weeks had been a lie. "Even at the hospital..and I tried to push it away, but -" her voice was shaky and Max felt beyond guilty. He had kissed her. He had kissed her plenty of times. But he should have known that Liz would have sensed something. That the way that he kissed her was like the way that he lived his life now.

But I would not sleep in this bed of lies
So toss me out and turn in
And there'll be no rest for these tired eyes
I'm marking it down to learning

"I can't keep lying," he whispered and he wasn't even looking at her when he said the words, he was staring straight ahead.


"I can't keep lying," he said louder this time. "I can't pretend none of it happened, Liz because it did. And it's my fault -"

"Max, I thought we agreed to -"

"I can't..." he faltered and was unable to say anything more. He looked down at his watch. It was 12:56. So much for getting her home before twelve. Liz wanted to say something, Max wanted to say something. But he grabbed the keys and started the jeep. Neither said anything on the ride to the Crashdown. Too much had just been said in that last minute. Liz, over the first feeling of humiliation, now was just hurt by Max's rejection and his failure to respond or at least say something to her.

I am all that I'll ever be
When you - lay your hands
Over me
And don't go weak
on me now
I know that it's weak
But God help me I need this

He parked the jeep outside of the Crashdown, and as she moved her hand to the doorhandle, he knew he couldn't let her go like this. He couldn't let her go again. He couldn't let these feeling beneath the surface stay there. He couldn't kiss her, and all the while pretend to be someone else. He knew exactly what Liz meant when she had said that he hadn't kissed her the past two weeks. He hadn't. But he did now. Max clasped his hand around her arm and spun her around, pressing her mouth against his. He held onto her arm with one hand and moved the other hand behind her head. And he kissed her the way he had before. Before everything. He cupped her face in his hands and he kissed her like he had wanted to for so long. Like he had in his dreams. He said everything that he couldn't say in the kiss, he apologized in the kiss and every emotion he had felt since he had walked away from her over a month ago was in the kiss. And she began kissing him almost like she needed him to live, like kissing him would make all the pain of the past two weeks, of the past month go away. He could sense that this was something she needed, that this was what she had wanted when she had insisted they go to Buckley Point and somewhere along the line tears began to run down her face and Max just kissed them away. Neither said anything, they didn't exchange a word. And he wasn't lying anymore. This was his reconciliation with Liz.

Right now he wasnt lying. Right now he didn't have to talk. Right now everything was okay between them and the tears ran down her face as the vulnerability that he knew existed in her began to emerge. She had been so strong for so long. Too long. Even in the hospital she hadn't seemed too disturbed by anything. Not as long as Max was there. But now he was there, he was kissing her and she seemed unable to hold anything back. She kissed him and kissed him and kissed him and found herself unable to break away. Right now there were no more lies. Right now everything was okay. But then Jeff Parker walked through the back door of the Crashdown.

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