|"Epiphanies 2: The Anasazi Road"|
Disclaimer: I would be the happiest woman on Earth if I owned any of these people, but sadly, only Josh, the Holbrooks, and Paul Hernandez are mine.|
Summary: This is the sequel to EPIPHANIES 1: The Ties That Bind. It picks up the evening of the Evans barbeque that ended the first story. Here, Max and Liz must come to terms with a shocking revelation about Liz and her Grandma Claudia. They search the past among Native American ruins and history to find the truth and each other.
Authors Note: I have done extensive research on the Anasazi for this fic. Most of what you will read is either factual or widely accepted speculation. I have, on occasion, filled in a gap or made an assumption that suits my purposes. The alien connection, of course, is my own Roswell-loving imagination.
|"Diane, this is Jeff. I need to talk to you. I've heard from Paul Hernandez."|
"Are they okay?"
"They're okay, but there was some trouble. He seems to think they're close to something. Can we meet?"
"Name the place."
"How about in the park over by the courthouse. We should be able to talk there. In an hour?"
Diane was already sitting on a bench near the fountain when Jeff arrived.
"I thought the noise of the water would make it hard to be overheard," she explained. "I feel like a character in a spy novel. What did Paul say?"
"They aren't in Mesa Verde anymore. They're back at Chaco Canyon. He was very tight with the specifics, but he said there was some sort of trouble at the Cliff Palace and that he and Max and Liz decided not to stick around."
Diane put her hand on his arm, alarmed. "Jeff, you're sure they're okay? Everything they've been through that we never knew about! I don't trust them to tell us everything."
"I know. I'm sure we don't have nearly the whole story, but he assured me they were fine. They spent the night at the inn, and they want to do some investigating in Chaco Canyon today. He said he'd get them home tomorrow, and promised to call if plans changed."
"I wonder what happened. Now I'm just nervous all the time because I'm beginning to realize all the different things that could happen. No wonder you turned away from all this."
"If Max had turned away from it, Liz would be dead." Jeff's voice broke, trying not to let the magnitude of that statement overwhelm him. "Your son saved my daughter's life. Thank heaven he didn't turn away from it."
Tears spilled onto Diane's cheeks. She reached for Jeff and they held each other, each thinking of all that had brought them to this place and all they could be facing now, taking comfort in the sharing of their mutual fear. When they pulled away, Jeff offered Diane his handkerchief. "Why is it men always carry these things, but it's the women who always need them?" she laughed through her tears.
He finished drying her face and replaced his handkerchief. "Always happy to serve," he smiled. "Paul also said that they were very special young people, and we should be proud. I guess when he got them up this morning, they were rested and eager to keep going."
Diane looked at Jeff sharply, and it struck him what he'd just said. When he got them up this morning? "Jeff, what are you saying? Max and Liz spent the night together?"
Jeff groped for an answer. "I . . . I don't know. It never even occurred me when he said it. Surely, he wouldn't have let them . . . I mean, he's a responsible adult. He couldn't . . . maybe they were in separate rooms."
Diane had recovered somewhat, recalling her own feelings that night she had watched them sleeping. "You know, Jeff, there is something different about their relationship. They are much closer than boyfriend/girlfriend. There is something electric between them, an almost visible bond. They have something special, something I don't know if you or I will ever understand." She took his hand, forcing him to look at her. "Jeff, we are going to have to talk more about this. We may have to be more . . . flexible . . . in dealing with them. And we're going to have to tell Philip and Nancy at some point."
Jeff nodded. "I know." Jeff dreaded that conversation with Nancy. What kind of reaction should he expect when his wife of 20 years finds out that she's been married to an alien all that time. He shook it off. One crisis at a time.
"I had those same feelings watching Max and Liz on the campout. When Liz told me Max was her family, that he was "the one," I confronted him with it. I was so nervous about his finding out about the alien ancestry . . . how's that for irony? . . . that I told him what Liz said. I expected him to run like a rabbit in the other direction. He never batted an eye, Diane. He just told me everything she'd said was true. That they were forever. After that, I tried to keep to the usual rules, but they just didn't seem to apply. They're just . . . different."
"If their parents feel that way, think how Paul Hernandez must feel. I guess that's one more thing we'll have to talk about with them when they get home."
"Well, I'd better get back to the Crashdown. I'm a little shorthanded this weekend," Jeff joked.
Diane stood. "I understand. Thank you, Jeff. It really does help to be able to talk this through with someone."
He gave her a quick hug and turned toward the center of town. Across the park, Philip Evans stood rooted by the courthouse steps. He had finished some paperwork inside and had come out to see his wife greeting Jeff Parker. As he watched, he saw them speaking earnestly, embracing, he could even swear Jeff Parker was wiping away his wife's tears.
What the hell was going on!
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