Disclaimer: I do not own the storyline of Roswell or it's characters.
Neither do I own the lyrics to "Stranded" by Plumb. I'm just having fun with
Summary: When Max learns the truth about what happened between Kyle and Liz, he decides to reunite with Liz and take their relationship to the next level.
|Max was in a reflective mood as he drove his jeep through town, heading for the sheriff’s
house. It had been a week since he had said goodbye to Liz, and Max was trying to view the
situation objectively. All he’d been thinking about lately was how much he wished the shooting
had never happened, how much he wished he had never started something with Liz Parker. Maybe the
FBI would not have hunted him, Michael, and Isabel. Perhaps he would not have been captured and
taken to the White Room. Maybe he and Liz would still be lab partners, and he would be able to
talk to her without feeling this pain in his heart. Max did not know what else might have
turned out differently. He just knew that he wouldn’t be hurting like this. But then Max thought
about everything that fateful event had brought into his life. He had fallen in love with Liz
all over again, and had discovered what it was to love a woman who loved him in return. Max
could not regret the moments they’d shared. In truth, he cherished every memory he had with
Liz. He had become friends with Maria and Alex, and allowed them to share in his life. He had
learned what it was to be human. Max wanted to regret healing Liz, but he couldn’t. It was the
smartest decision he had ever made. |
Another bonus that had risen unexpectedly from the shooting was the help and protection of Sheriff Valenti. Max smiled to himself. If someone had told him six months ago that Sheriff Valenti would turn out to be his greatest ally, Max would have thought they were crazy. But sometimes help comes from the most unexpected places. Once the sheriff had gotten to know them, and realized that they meant no harm to anyone, he had come around. Now he was actually allowing Tess to live with him and Kyle, Max thought as he swung the jeep into the Valentis’ driveway. Kyle, Max remembered suddenly, his eyes darkening. That was one person he did not want to see right now. Max walked up the front steps, praying that anyone besides Kyle would answer the door. He didn’t think he could take Kyle’s smug face and sarcastic comments, not in the state he had been in lately. Max raised his hand and quickly knocked three times.
The door swung open and Kyle stood there, wearing his basketball shorts and nothing else. Max clenched his teeth. As if he hadn't already suffered enough at the hands of Kyle Valenti, now Max had to endure Kyle strutting around his house like a freaking peacock. Liz had probably enjoyed the sight of Kyle’s bare chest, he thought angrily. And there were the hands that had held her, touched her, pressed her close to his body. The mere idea raised Max's blood to a boil. He felt his hand involuntarily curl up into a fist by his side. Max tried to calm down, but he couldn’t help himself. He felt like kicking Kyle Valenti’s ass.
“Evans,” Kyle said casually. “What brings you to our humble abode?”
“I’m looking for your father,” Max replied, trying to restrain his contempt. “Is he around?”
“He’s not here. He had to get something at the office.” Kyle studied Max for a moment, observing him. His expression was dark, and he looked quietly ominous. There was some subtext here that Kyle was missing.
“Why?” Kyle continued. “What’s going on?”
“I can’t say,” Max said quietly, glaring at him.
“You can’t say or you won’t say,” Kyle returned.
“Does it matter?” Max replied.
“It matters to me,” Kyle said angrily. “Ever since you healed me, my dad has put his ass on the line to help guys you out. He doesn’t have to do that, but he does. He even let Tess move in with us, for Christ’s sake! Now, if something is going on with my father, I need to know about it.”
Max merely stood there, watching Kyle stubbornly.
“This has nothing to do with my father, does it?” Kyle said suddenly.
Max raised his chin and looked at Kyle, but said nothing. A tense moment passed between them.
“You know, Evans,” Kyle began, “for a pretty intelligent guy, you can be really stupid sometimes.”
“What?” Max asked fiercely.
“This whole thing is just pointless,” Kyle said, “and it’s been going on for far too long. It’s time to end this, once and for all. Do you want to know what really happened between me and Liz?”
“No,” Max replied quickly. “I really don’t want the gory details, Kyle.”
“Well, that’s just too damn bad,” Kyle said, “cause you’re gonna hear what I have to say. Nothing happened, Max.”
Max stopped and stood deadly still. He looked Kyle in the eye.
“That’s right,” Kyle said. “I didn’t touch her, I didn’t kiss her, nothing. So you know that little fantasy world you’ve been living in, Max? It’s still intact. She loves you.”
“But, I saw you in bed with her, Kyle,” Max said slowly.
“You saw what she wanted you to see, Max,” Kyle continued. “Liz came to me and told me that she needed my help. And well, I’ve never been very good at saying no to her, so…I came over, we took off our clothes, and we got into bed.”
Max looked at him, a pained expression marring his features. Kyle realized that Max was hung up on the possibility that he and Liz had lain naked together. Kyle scratched his head.
“No, look—I had my boxers on the whole time,” he replied, frustrated. “And Liz was wearing…I don’t know, whatever it is that girls wear when they go to bed. She had a towel wrapped around her. I didn’t see anything.”
Max felt as though the weight of the world had been lifted from his shoulders. He sighed loudly, and was silent for a moment. Kyle watched Max carefully. He was visibly shaken.
“Jesus,” Kyle said, disbelieving. “You’ve really got it bad for her, don’t you?” He felt a sudden twinge of sympathy for Max, and tried to shake it off. The poor slop. Parker had really done a number on him.
Max ignored Kyle for the moment. He was busy trying to understand what exactly it was that Liz had done. It was too much to comprehend.
"Why?" Max said softly, his voice breaking. "Why would she do that to me?"
Kyle sighed. "I don't know. She wouldn't tell me anything."
"We've had some rough times before," Max said, "but at least we could be honest with each other. I feel like I don't even know her anymore."
"Hey, don't look at me," Kyle said lightly. "I stopped trying to understand her a long time ago." Kyle had made a half-hearted attempt at humor, but it failed miserably. Max was crest-fallen, and stood there in the doorway looking like he didn’t know whether he was coming or going. Damn it, Kyle thought. He hated being put in this position. Why should he be the one to console Max Evans? Wasn’t there a sister, or someone? Kyle gritted his teeth. He couldn’t handle the miserable look on Evans’ face. It was so…well, pathetic.
“Listen, Evans,” Kyle began. “I don’t know Liz as well as…as well as you do, but I know her well enough to know that she wouldn’t do something like this for no reason. Liz is a lot of things, but cruel is not one of them. She’s not careless with people’s feelings. She must have had a good reason to do what she did.”
Max considered this for a moment. Kyle kicked the door jam, waiting for Max to say something. Finally, Kyle sighed.
“And…anyone with eyes can see that she’s crazy in love with you,” Kyle said grudgingly. “So, you know…go to her, or whatever.”
“Why are you doing this?” Max asked, examining Kyle warily. Kyle stalled, not wanting to answer.
“It’s just…it’s a circle, Max,” Kyle said sheepishly. “You saved my life, so now I’m helping you out with yours. It’s like karma. You know, what’s goes around comes around…good things come to those who wait…”
“Kyle, that was a ketchup commercial,” Max replied, confused.
“Whatever. You get my drift,” Kyle continued. “Now go on, get out of here.” Kyle shifted, slightly uncomfortable from his semi-bonding session with Evans. Max watched Kyle, a small smile on his face.
“You better be careful, Kyle,” Max said. “You’re in danger of becoming a good man.”
“Yeah,” Kyle returned. “Don’t make me regret it.”
Max hurried to the jeep and climbed inside. There was one more place he had to go before he could face Liz, one other person who might be able to answer the questions that were plaguing him. Max turned the jeep around and sped off, heading downtown. He loved Liz more than life itself, and he was not about to let her blow him off so easily. He was going to get to the bottom of this if it killed him. And Max knew for a fact that the person he was going to see was horrible at keeping secrets. If she knew anything, she was going to spill.
* * * * * * * * *
Maria brushed her hand across her forehead, and put the last pile of dishes in the sink. Liz had looked so miserable towards the end of their shift that Maria had volunteered to close up by herself. Liz had not been acting like herself for months and, truth be told, Maria was starting to get really worried about her. It wasn’t healthy for Liz to stay here in Roswell, always confronted with the sight of Max. If they were out of high school, she and Liz could get away for awhile, maybe move somewhere where they could get jobs and start going to college. Michael was being a jerk, anyway, so there was no love lost there. It would be good for them to leave Roswell, and strike out on their own for awhile. They couldn’t be with Max and Michael, and pushing the issue was just hurting everyone involved. It was becoming self-destructive for them to stay.
Maria heard knocking coming from the front room, and she leaned sideways to look around the corner. Max was standing at the front doors, motioning for her to come let him in. Maria wrapped her jacket more tightly around her and walked to the front. She unlocked the bolt and pushed the door open.
“Max,” Maria said, nodding to him.
“Maria,” Max replied, looking around hurriedly. Liz was nowhere in sight. He ran an unsteady hand through his hair, trying to collect his thoughts. Maria looked at him, surprised.
“Listen--,” Max began.
“Whoa,” Maria said, concerned. “What happened to you? You look awful.”
“Maria, I learned something today, and I’m gonna need your help here, because I really don’t know what to make of it,” Max said.
“Alright,” Maria replied, confused. “What is it?”
“Liz and Kyle never slept together,” Max said. Maria’s eyes widened, and an apprehensive expression crossed her face. Max hesitated, watching her closely. “The whole thing was a set-up. I didn’t just stumble upon the two of them accidentally. I was meant to see it,” he finished.
Maria pressed her lips together and lowered her eyes, avoiding Max’s gaze. She turned around and quietly walked behind the counter.
“Maria…” Max said, an accusing tone in his voice.
“What?” she replied innocently, trying to ignore him. Max came closer, standing across the counter from Maria.
“Maria, I know she told you, and I need to know why she did it,” Max continued. Maria tried to busy herself, wiping down the counter quickly.
“Max, you’re assuming too much,” she countered, glancing up at him. “Liz can be very stubborn when she sets her mind to something. You know, she’s a much more private person than I am. She’s also better at keeping secrets. How do you know that she told me anything?”
“Maria, stop,” Max said, putting his hand on her arm. “Stop for a second.” Maria sighed, and looked at Max.
“There are no secrets where you and Liz are concerned,” Max said.
Maria kicked the floor softly. “Shit,” she muttered under her breath.
“Plus, you’re a horrible liar,” Max continued. “Your face gives you away every time.”
“Look, Max,” Maria began, regarding him solemnly. “This isn’t a game, alright? This is dangerous.”
“Why?” He asked. Maria watched him, but was silent. He could see she was mentally weighing the pros and cons of revealing the truth, and it angered him.
“Maria, what’s going on?” he demanded, raising his voice. “If Liz is in some kind of danger, I need to know about it. How am I supposed to protect her if I don’t even know what the hell is going on?”
“This isn’t about Liz,” Maria returned quietly. “It’s about you…you and your people.”
Max stopped for a moment, stunned. “How does Liz pretending she slept with Kyle help me and my people?”
Maria sighed. “I want to tell you the truth, Max, I really do. That’s not the issue here. The issue is how what I say will affect…well, the future. If you had seen the way that Liz has struggled with this for the past few months, then you would know how seriously she takes it. God, that girl would do anything to keep you safe, to help you get home again.”
The thought of Liz suffering caused Max to pause for a moment. He had been so consumed with the notion that he had been wronged that he had never considered any other possibility. He had never thought that she might be suffering as much as he was. Suddenly, Max did not feel angry anymore.
“What has she done, Maria?” he asked softly.
“She’s been protecting you, Michael, and Isabel,” Maria replied gently. “She’s been putting your needs before her own. She’s been ranking your survival above her own personal happiness.”
Maria hesitated, allowing her words to sink in. Max looked at her. He was devastated.
“And she’s been crying a lot, Max,” Maria finished, watching him. “Because of the way you’ve been treating her. She feels like she lost her best friend and the love of her life all in one day. So, you know, things have been a little rough, lately. Of course, you wouldn’t know anything about that. You’ve been too busy licking your wounds to look around and see what’s really been going on.”
Max placed his hands on the countertop, attempting to steady himself. He had behaved badly, he admitted to himself now. He had acted not as a calm, rational, responsible leader, but as a jealous, selfish little boy. Max was amazed once again at the power that Liz held over him. He could not think straight without her near him. If he was ever to become the leader that he hoped he would be, he needed Liz by his side. It made no sense that a human woman held his destiny in her hands, but there it was. Without Liz, he was nothing.
“Maria, tell me what happened.”
Maria bit her lip and looked at Max. She was not supposed to tell him the truth. Liz would kill her. But then, maybe revealing the truth was the right thing to do. Maria was not quite sure why, but she felt that there was something cosmically wrong with Max and Liz being separated. Her words would allow Max and Liz to be together, to feel whole again. She couldn’t stand to see the two of them so miserable.
“Maria, please,” Max began again. “Whatever it takes to make this right, I’ll do it. Please, I just…I can’t live without her.” Sighing, Maria reached over, grabbed a saucer and a coffee cup, and set it down in front of Max. “Alright,” she agreed, patting the counter in front of him. “Sit down, Max. This could take awhile.”
|Part 3 | Index | Part 5|
|Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours|