|"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.
|Isabel stood at the back door, arms around Alex's neck, enjoying the soft, loving kisses only Alex could give her. She marveled once again at how slowly and quietly Alex had chipped away at the wall she had built, and no one had been more surprised than she was when it came tumbling down.
"Goodnight, Isabel," he murmured into her hair. He gave her forehead one last kiss.|
"'Night, Alex," she smiled, relishing the warm, relaxed feeling that had settled over her during the evening. Things felt right, balanced, and she hummed softly as she passed through the kitchen. When she walked by the living room, though, her alarms went off. There on the sofa were her parents, holding each other, looking . . . well, stunned.
"What's wrong? Where's Max?" Isabel asked, shedding her feeling of well-being in an instant.
Both heads turned in unison. Her mother smiled weakly. "Max is upstairs, asleep by now, I'm sure. He was exhausted."
Philip Evans rose from the sofa and approached his daughter. She couldn't read what was on his face. He came to stand directly in front of her, searching her eyes. "How could you think I would love you any less?" He pulled her into his arms and held her tightly. Isabel gave her mother a wary, questioning look over his shoulder.
"It's okay, Isabel. When Max and Liz came home today, we were already at the Parkers. We all had a very long talk. Your dad and Nancy Parker know the whole story now."
Isabel had to let this sink in a minute. Then it hit her--how could you think I would love you any less? This was her father's reaction! He was hugging her, loving her anyway! Isabel tightened her grip on her father and started to cry. Finally, they could be a family without secrets. Bless you, Max!
They pulled away and laughed at each other's tears. "Dad," Isabel whispered. Philip pulled his handkerchief from his pocket and offered it to her.
"That's exactly what I am," he told her, and they hugged again.
"I need to talk to Max," Isabel sniffed, starting for the stairs.
"Please, Isabel," urged her mother, "let him sleep. It's been a grueling weekend for him, and we're planning to have everyone over tomorrow to talk and get used to this new . . . reality."
"Who's everyone?" Isabel asked, not sure how "whole" the "whole story" had been.
"Well, the four of you--I mean, you, Max, Michael, and Tess--plus the Parkers, the Valentis, and Maria and Alex, of course. Oh, and Paul Hernandez. He was a friend of Liz's grandmother's, and helped Liz and Max in Colorado. Even brought them home."
"Home? From the Astronomy Club trip?" Isabel asked cautiously.
Diane chuckled. "Give it up, Isabel. There was no trip, and you know it. You'll hear the whole story tomorrow. Meanwhile, I think we all need some sleep."
They turned out the lights and headed upstairs. At the top, Isabel turned toward her room and stopped, looking back at her parents. "Mom, Dad, I love you."
This time Diane got the hug. "We love you, too, honey. Goodnight."
Liz's phone rang. She had just been waking from a Max-filled sleep and noticed it was already 11:00.
"Liz." Max's voice brought an immediate smile to her face.
"Hey, how'd you sleep?"
"Like a rock. But it would have been better if you'd been with me."
"My folks are expecting everyone at 2:00, okay?"
"Yeah, I'll tell my folks."
"And Liz? Maybe we can get some time alone tonight? There's something I want to talk to you about."
"Is everything okay? I mean, with your folks and all?"
"Yeah, fine. I just want to talk about where we go from here . . . you and me."
Liz smiled to herself. "As long as it's together, I don't care."
She heard Max's grin in his voice. "Well, that's a good start. We'll see you in a couple of hours."
"I love you."
"You'd better," he teased, and was gone.
Max hung up the phone, grinning from ear to ear.
"Oh, brother." Isabel rolled her eyes but couldn't help smiling herself. It was good to see him safe and happy and home.
"You can't get to me today, Izzie," Max smiled happily, giving her a hug. "Life is good!"
"You must have had quite a trip. When I came home last night, Dad gave me a hug, Mom told me he and Mrs. Parker know everything now, and they both looked a little overwhelmed. Want to fill me in?"
Max inhaled deeply as if he were about to embark on a long story, but let his breath out with a sigh. "It's a really long story, Iz. I don't want to tell it twice, so let's save the details for this afternoon. What I can tell you, though, is we found the Criston--that's the artifact we were looking for--and . . . I talked to our mother."
"What?!! Max! You have to tell me! What was she like? What did she say? Please, Max, don't make me wait!"
Max knew he couldn't make Isabel wait for the rest of the group for this news. It was too close to her, too emotional to take in with a crowd of people watching. Besides, he was afraid their mother--their Earth mother--would be a little hurt to see Isabel's joy, even though he knew she would understand.
"Let's go for a walk," he suggested. "Meet you downstairs in 15 minutes."
They walked for an hour as Max detailed his experience with their Voyan family. The story was greeted with joy and tears and laughter and astonishment as he related the different stories and introductions of his night in the desert. When he got to the part where he'd been assured that he and Liz were compatible, Isabel threw her arms around him.
"Max, I'm so happy for you." She eyed him slyly. "I'm sure you are ecstatic." Max couldn't help but grin.
"Still, Max," Isabel said thoughtfully, "you and Liz will have to live as normal high school kids, won't you? I mean, Mom and Dad and Liz's parents aren't going to understand what's between you two."
"Well, we're working that out, Iz," Max replied. "We talked yesterday. All of us. I think they're accepting the . . . uniqueness of our relationship. They agreed to give us some space."
"Space? What does that mean . . . in their world, that is?" Isabel asked skeptically.
Max shrugged. "I guess we'll find out as we go along."
"What were they doing at the Parkers, anyway?"
Max opened his mouth to speak and shut it quickly. Isabel could see him trying to form a response, but he was struggling.
"They were straightening out a simple misunderstanding." Max hoped that would take care of it, but Isabel's expectant expression made it clear he wasn't done yet.
"Mom and Jeff . . . Mr. Parker . . . had been talking all week, just giving each other moral support. I guess both Dad and Mrs. Parker had seen or heard things that made them . . . suspect . . . ."
"Max! You can't be serious. They thought something was going on between them?"
Max nodded. To his surprise, Isabel started to laugh. "Oh, Max, please! Mom having an affair?"
It wasn't something Max even wanted to imagine, so he changed the subject.
"How's Michael doing?"
"He's been pretty upset, Max. First you go off on this crusade without him, then he sees Mrs. Evans look like she's about to crack. Frankly, I think he's been wondering about how he fits in to all this. Suddenly, you're the leader. Where does that leave him? What does a second in command do? It's not easy for Michael to do nothing, Max."
Max understood how Michael felt. He had to make things right with him, and he would begin this afternoon.
|Part 35 | Index | Part 37|
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