|Disclaimer: Roswell, the characters, and the situations are owned by Regency Television and 20th Century Fox. No infringement intended.|
|He was sitting in the big stuffed chair next to the
TV. His arms were
limp at his sides and he was starring off into space,
trying his best to ignore
the rest of the room's occupants. Isabel was talking
with Maria and Alex
over by the sofa. Michael had gone into the kitchen
to dig up something to
eat, while Tess was looking at the family photos on
Apparently Kyle wasn't coming tonight, not that Max
Kyle's life would be in unmistakable danger if he set
foot within the Evans'
Dressed in a ripped t-shirt and an old pair of jeans, Max was eager to get back to his room. The granalith wasn't high on his list of priorities at the moment, but Tess and Isabel had insisted. Michael came shuffling back into the room holding a bowl of popcorn in one hand and a sandwich in the other. His sandwich was literally dripping with Tabasco sauce and he was trying to eat it without making a mess.
"Food on the table," Michael grunted as he dropped the metal bowl with a bang.
"Thanks," Alex said with his mouth full of popcorn. "I was starving."
Tess turned around and looked around the room, "What exactly are we waiting for?"
"We're waiting for Liz," Isabel answered. "She's coming, right Michael?"
Michael swallowed the last of his sandwich and grinned up at Isabel, "Yeah, she'll be here."
Max hadn't been listening to the conversation, so he didn't here Liz's name mentioned. Eventually, the doorbell rang a few minutes later and snapped him out of his daze. Isabel gracefully rose and went to open the door, Max could hear soft voices in the entry way. A horrible fear was growing in the bottom of his stomach; as his sister came back into the room, his fears were confirmed.
"All right everybody, Liz is here. We can get started."
Max closed his eyes and placed his head in his hands. Now that he that he was paying attention, he could feel her presence just beyond the doorway. How was he going to manage?
Maria glanced over at Max, noticing that his arm mussels were rigid and his fists were clenched. This wasn't going to be an easy meeting.
"Hi...sorry I'm late," Liz's quiet voice penetrated the heavy silence.
"Great," Michael said. "Now we can get started, we only have forty-five minutes before the hockey game starts."
Maria groaned loudly, she was about ready to strangle the messy haired thug. Isabel piped up and began to describe what they knew about the granalith. Max had been sitting in the same position for a least three minutes. Now that his breathing was under control, and he didn't feel like he had to puke, Max dared himself to raise his head. He could already detect her sweet smell from across the room. Stealing himself, he lifted his eyes and let them slowly drift up her body. She was wearing that short brown skirt, the one that fitted her curves perfectly. On top she wore a creamy white sweater. It was slightly on the big side, but she seemed to like to wrap it around herself. Max's hands were itching to touch the soft, fuzzy material of her sweater. When his eyes finally landed on her face, his heart stopped. Her silky hair was hung loose, gently framing her delicate expression. She looked more beautiful than he had ever seen her. He felt as if he'd been punched in the gut, all the color drained from his face. Why was this happening to him? He had been slowly dying without her during the last six months. Now, he could feel the life being sucked right out of him. However, his gaze stayed trained on her as she sat gingerly on the edge of the sofa.
Liz had been looking around the room, looking anywhere but at Max. She could hear voices talking in the background, but wasn't able to focus on the conversation. Liz could feel his eyes on her. They had slowly burned a path up her body and were now rested on her face. She could feel the strong emotions behind his gaze. Tears gathered in her chocolate brown eyes, no matter how hard she tried to stop them. Terrified to look at him, she sat paralyzed, holding her breath. Liz wasn't aware that the voices had ceased to talk. Tess'd asked Max's opinion on something and everyone was waiting for his answer. Max seemed as unaware of his surroundings as Liz was.
"Max?" Isabel asked hesitantly.
"Yo Max, buddy..." Michael didn't have any luck either. In the meantime, Liz's eyes were fixed on a picture of Max which hung on the wall; she looked extremely vulnerable and fragile.
**He must be only about seven in that picture. I wonder what he was thinking...his face seems so serious. But then, Max is usually serious. God, he's so beautiful. My poor Max.**
Alex, Maria, Tess, Michael, and Isabel were all looking back and forth between Max and Liz. Everybody noticed the single tear which slid down Liz's cheek. She was still staring at the photograph on the wall.
"Enough is enough," Maria said with determination. Getting up off the floor, she sank down next to Liz pulling her into an embrace. Liz closed her eyes and leaned into Maria. Raising a gloved hand, Liz swept the teardrops off her face. Max rubbed his hands over his eyes and shook his head. A sigh escaped from his lips.
"What did you guys want to know?" His voice was thick and rough.
"Well, we haven't heard anything from the Skins yet. From what Whitaker said, the granalith is really important to them. So, we thought that since we don't know what else to do, we could try an' figure out what the granalith does. What it is."
"Yeah, but we also should deal with Whitaker. I mean, won't the skins come looking for her? Plus, the public is going to think she just POOF, disappeared..." Alex paused to take a breath. Everyone in the room looked towards Liz, unfortunately, she was still wrapped up in Maria's arms and made no move to participate in the conversation. Maria glared warningly at those who were staring at the small form she protected.
"We'll deal with that later," Maria said in a voice that dared anyone to argue.
"Ok, um, how do we go about testing the granalith?" Isabel looked confused and frustrated. "Do we just try and use our powers on it, because it didn't react to us before, why would it now?"
"You guys might want to try a scientific approach...doing experiments, bring everything you all have learned about your planet into consideration. I wouldn't exclude any theory until it's been proven otherwise."
Alex and everyone else glanced at Liz, who was now lying down with her head resting in Maria's lap. Liz was, without a doubt, the most knowledgeable in the science department. Even when it came to other-worldly experiments. However, at the moment, Liz seemed to be out of commission. Max was the only one who didn't have a look of confusion and defeat written across his face. He was back to starring at the toes of his shoes.
Meanwhile, Michael and Isabel were at a loss, Max had always be their leader and usually made most of the decisions. Even if they challenged his decision, both Isabel and Michael had to admit it was usually the right one. With both Max and Liz unavailable, so to speak, someone else would have to step up and fill their shoes.
"All right, tomorrow after school, everyone meet out at the pod chamber and we'll start from there."
No one was surprised when Michael appointed himself temporally in charge.
"Should we bring anything, Michael?" Tess asked quietly.
"I don't know, if you think of anything useful. Anybody got some suggestions?"
Alex leaned over to say something to Isabel, but apparently no one else had any other proposals. Tess's cell phone rang and she reached into her purse to answer it. Max seemed to agree with Michael's plan because he didn't suggest a different course of action.
"Maria," Michael said. "Since you've been to the granalith and know how to get there, you take Liz and Alex and we'll meet you there."
Maria rolled her eyes, "Whatever, Spaceboy."
However unaware she appeared, Liz had been listening closely to the other's discussion. Her hair was spread casually over Maria's knees, a few tips almost touched the floor. With her eye's still closed, she opened her mouth to say something for the first time.
"You have to be careful," she said in a surprisingly strong voice. "We don't know what'll happen...it's so powerful. If you don't know what you're doing, it could be dangerous."
All dialogue came to a sudden halt, the living room in the Evans' house was completely silent. Maria cringed and held her friend tighter. Max, Isabel, Tess, Michael, and Alex each had their eyes fixed on the slim girl lying on the sofa. They could hear the wind brush through the trees outside. The hands on the grandfather clock, which stood next to the kitchen entrance, slowly ticked the seconds away. Michael was the first person to respond, his voice dangerously quiet, "How the fuck do you know that?" Isabel sat opening and closing her mouth, but no sound emerged. Her big brown eyes were round as saucers.
Minutes passed before Liz realized what it was she had said. By voicing her opinions, she in turn revealed hidden pieces of her secret. Questions would surface, questions she was not free to answer. The moment this knowledge was processed within her brain, Liz sat bolt upright next to Maria. Her small hands started shaking.
"Oh, shit." Liz whispered.
Tess had never seen someone look more frightened in her whole life. It stopped her from voicing the rude comment on the tip of her tongue. Maria also saw the look of terror on her best friend's face and tried to think of something distracting to say.
"So, guys...sounds like we got a plan. Does anyone want pizza? I could order up some real quick," she looked around the room, "...or not. Well then, since it looks like we've concluded our business for tonight, I'm just gonna take Liz and drive on home. Nice seeing y'all."
Michael held his gaze on Liz, but he pointed a finger at Maria and said in a harsh voice, "Not gonna work this time DeLuca. Sit your ass down, and don't move."
Liz was mentally banging her head against a wall. What had possessed her to say something so stupid? There was no way she gonna get out of this one. Liz was now swimming in bloody, shark infested water. And these sharks were very hungry.
"Um, no...well, you see...I just meant that you should be careful when you're testing new equipment, especially if you don't know what it's capable of doing. That's just normal procedure...nothing out of the ordinary."
"Yeah, well I think you meant something completely different. How do you know that it's powerful? You sound like you know what the granalith is. You even sound like you know how it works!" Michael snapped. "Christ, just spit it out!"
Maria groaned aloud, having realized that unfortunately, no one in the room believed her friend's stuttering explanation. Liz was one of the smartest people Maria knew, but she was a terrible liar.
"Liz please," Max begged. "Why won't you tell me what you know? We NEVER kept secrets from each other," his voice was filled with conviction, but it became strained as the last few words were forced out. He was looking Liz directly in the face, his eyes pleading. While instead, Liz seemed find the light brown carpet on the Evans' floor extremely interesting. "Liz, please..."
Max raised his head to look at the ceiling in order to prevent the moisture in his eyes from rolling down his cheeks. Not one person in the living room had ever heard Max use that tone of voice before. It was as if he was begging for mercy, praying for salvation. Liz stood up and lifted her chin high; her eyes revealed a desperate, but determined look.
"I have said all you need to know. I have done what you asked me to do. You don't need m-me anymore."
Her voice faltered as she finished, but she retrieved her keys and walked out of the room and out the front door. Closing is loudly behind her. No one could've stopped her from walking out of that house. Well, there was one person who could've stopped her. But he didn't seem inclined to do so...
Her hands shook as she tried three times to open the door handle before she succeeded. Climbing into the car and dragging its heavy door shut, she rested her head against the steering wheel. It was cold inside, just as cold as it was outside of the car. Maybe even colder. The night was quiet and a few of the streetlights had burned out. The absence of light, allowed eerie shadows to spread along the road.
Her life was a complete mess, and there didn't seem to be anything Liz could do about it. She felt dejected, tainted, and most of all, lonely. Correcting herself, Liz remembered that there was one person, who held the power to heal her...he was the same person who could've stopped her from running out the door, just seconds beforehand. But he had no way of knowing she was wounded, dying on the inside. Not to mention, the fact that he didn't care anymore...
To make matters worse, Liz was thoroughly confused and quickly becoming distraught. She knew Max meant the world to her, but she was amazed to discover how crucial he was to her livelihood. Once again, she realized Future Max had underestimated his importance to her. He was her sole reason for existing. She was created to be with him. He was her purpose. And now her life was devoid of Max. Simply the thought of this, was beyond comprehension.
Nevertheless, it appeared that this was her cross to bear. Life without Max. At the moment, it seemed so unbelievably impossible, that she wasn't able to move. Her body simply would not function. It was as if someone had sucked the life-force right out of her. All that was left was a brittle, empty shell. A shell that happened to look like Liz Parker.
Struggling, and having to use both hands, she shoved the keys into the ignition . She winced and held her aching head as her mom's car roared to life. Turning onto the dark street, Liz wondered if she was stable enough to be driving. Objects blurred slightly on the road ahead, what little light remained seemed to disappear.
**Oh well, there isn't much I can do about it anyway. I don't see my presence of mind altering any time soon. I'll still be just as devastated and unsteady tomorrow...**
|Part 11 | Index | Part 13|
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