Disclaimer: Roswell, its characters and situations, are owned by the WB. No
Summary: Max tries to comfort his daughter.
Authors Note: This story is the part of an evolving future storyline that currently includes (in order): "Decisions," "Looking In," "Christmas Envy," "From Another Place," "Husbands and Fathers," "Claudia and Nicole," "Stars," "Going Home," "The Ethics Lesson," "Redefining Terms," "Beginnings," "First Date," "A Quality Heart," "In Every Ending," "Birth," "Rose Petals," "The Littlest Czechoslovakian," "Joshua and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day," "Guysí Night Out," and "Girlsí Night In." More stories may be forthcoming.
|ROSE PETALS |
Liz had been hunting through the attic for most of the afternoon. She knew what she was looking for was in the attic somewhere, probably still in the boxes they hadnít unpacked from their move over five years ago.
By the middle of the afternoon, she almost wanted to give up. But something made her press on, some sense that she couldnít stop now, that she had been hunting too long to just abandon the search. She had always liked a challenge.
Finally she found it in the last box behind the door. There it was, carefully wrapped in faded pink tissue paper that was beginning to crackle and fall apart.
Kneeling beside the box, she laid the flat, tissue-wrapped parcel on the floor in front of her. For a couple of minutes, she just stared at it and remembered....
She had found it the day after her disastrous Valentineís Day blind date, the one Maria had forced her to go on her sophomore year in high school. She had found it, therefore, the day after Kyle had gotten Max drunk, and Max had told her he wanted to run away with her, that he would throw everything else away just to be with her, his dream girl. The day after their passionate kiss in front of most of their high school. The day after the stricken look in his eyes when his drunkenness had worn off, and he had come to his senses and realized how un-Max-like he had been all night.
She remembered running after him after that glorious kiss and pleading, "Max, did you really mean everything that you said when we were alone tonight?"
And then the lost, terrified look in his eyes when he understood that he must have completely lost control, the control that was his defense mechanism, his lifeline in his crazy world. "I donít ... remember. What did I say?"
Looking into his eyes, she hadnít been able to tell him. Partly because of the look in his eyes. Partly because she had been too crushed by the fact that she had been right, that he had forgotten his fantasies about happily ever after so quickly.
"I didnít mean to ruin your night," heíd said before he disappeared through the back door of the club. And her eyes had been drawn involuntarily to the red exit sign glowing in the darkness above the door, glowing the way heíd made their heart-shaped initials glow against the dark brick wall outside her bedroom window.
"You didnít," sheíd whispered to his retreating back.
And he hadnít.
Because he had told her the truth. Finally. Unequivocally.
The strange effect of alcohol on his alien system had removed his inhibitions and with them his ability to keep secrets, including the secret in his heart. That he loved her. He always had. And he always would.
He just hadnít remembered that heíd admitted it.
And then the next day, she had found his note. A note of apology that had offered more than an apology....
She unwrapped it carefully, not wanting to damage it in anyway. As soon as she pulled the leaves of old tissue apart, a sweet smell of roses filled the air. One dusty-pink rose petal fluttered to the floor beside her knee. She picked it up, rubbing its fragrant, velvet softness between her thumb and index finger, remembering....
She had found the note on top of a heart-shaped pile of pink rose petals on the chaise lounge on her balcony ... a piece of heavy cream vellum folded in half, its crease very precise. Maxís handwriting, familiar from countless joint lab reports, jumped out at her.
Iím sorry I said last night that I didnít remember. For a minute, I honestly didnít. I was still disoriented and confused (a little sick to my stomach, to tell you the truth).
But as soon as I stepped into the cool night air outside the club, I remembered. I remembered everything. But I felt like an idiot for having just left you there. For how Iíd behaved all night. Getting drunk is definitely not what itís cracked up to be.
And I was scared. You have always scared the living daylights out of me, Liz.
But I couldnít let you think that I didnít care. I couldnít keep lying to you.
So even though I donít know where this leaves us, I have to tell you the truth.
Liz, it is all just magic what I think about you.
I do remember what I said when we were alone together. And I did mean it. All of it.
She refolded the note and smiled to herself, remembering the overwhelming feeling of joy and peace that had filled her when she had read it that morning. It had been like balm to her soul.
And that was why it was exactly the right gift for this particular Valentineís Day.
The past sixteen months had been hard on them. First, her hormone-induced relationship anxiety. Then, her mostly fine but sometimes problematic pregnancy. Then, Joshuaís difficult birth. Max still hadnít recovered from how close he came to losing her, she knew. She could see the shadow of it in his eyes sometimes. Neither of them had gotten over how close they had come to losing each other.
So this Valentineís Day was going to be special. She had decreed it. She was going to remind him of how they found each other. Of the soul-deep romance that was the foundation of their relationship.
She slipped his old note into a new envelope, in between the folds of a note she had written earlier in the day. She left the envelope on his side of their bed for him to find after both of their children were asleep.
Later that afternoon, he came home with their baby Joshua and a lavish bouquet of pink roses. She took the baby into her arms first, laughing up at him when he tried not to look hurt that she seemed to be ignoring his gift. A teasing kiss later, a quiet dinner later, after they had put their baby to bed, after they had kissed their daughter goodnight, after he had read and reread the two notes, she thanked him properly for the bouquet of her favorite flowers.
And a long time after that, when they were tangled up together in the amber glow of the bedside lamp, she felt something soft and velvety settle on her bare back. Then another whisper touch that slid off her back and nestled into the indentation of her waist. Then another touch and another.
Lifting herself up on an elbow, she opened her eyes to see what they were Ö and saw hundreds of dusty-pink rose petals tumbling from the ceiling, fluttering this way and that in the breeze from the open window, enveloping them both in the sweet fragrance of their love for each other. She held out a hand to catch some of the petals, surprised at their delicacy, smiling in wonder at their heavenly perfume. The petals tumbled from the ceiling the way dust motes tumble and dance in a beam of sunlight. And she knew then what they were. She gazed at Max, her heart overflowing with love and a kind of enraptured awe.
And he gave her his little half-smile and ducked his head shyly, something he still did after all these years together, after being each otherís forever for so long.
And he said softly, "All I feel for you is magic. As long as weíre together, nothing else matters. Happy Valentineís Day, Liz."
And their lips met in a magical kiss in a shower of rose petals.
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