|"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.
|Liz returned Max's wide-eyed stare. "Why? What just happened to you?" she asked cautiously.|
"Liz, weren't you just with me and your grandmother? We were sitting on a blanket near a stream and a mountain. You saw that . . . didn't you?" Liz nodded and lay down next to Max. "Max. We both had the same dream. What does it mean?"
"Maybe it wasn't a dream," Max reasoned. "Maybe your grandmother was telling the truth. We were really there with her and she wants us to take some journey."
"But Max, a journey alone? And how did she know about you? That had to be our subconscious surfacing. And the sleeping together thing. Not that I'd mind, of course, but really. How are we supposed to manage that?"
"Okay, how about this? We'll figure out a way to try this one more time. If she comes, we'll know it's for real. If she doesn't, then we'll just have to figure this for one more unexplained experience. But Liz . . . ." Max propped himself up on one elbow and looked at her. "We keep this to ourselves for now, okay?"
Liz nodded. She didn't need any encouragement to do that.
Later that morning, the campers began to wake up and prepare for the day. The sun was bright, the breeze was soft. The perfect summer day. Everyone cleaned up around the site while Maria and Michael started breakfast--sausages and English muffins over the fire. The smells made them all realize how hungry they were. After all, last night's dessert had turned into the evening's entertainment! Now they were ravenous.
"What do you want to do today?" Alex asked, his words garbled through a full mouth. "They've got paddle boats and hydro bikes and rafts. Or we could go hiking."
"I vote for rafting," answered Kyle. "It's gonna get hot and the water will feel great."
"Rafting and swimming," chimed in Tess, getting into the mood. "Sounds perfect."
Everyone joined in enthusiastically except Max and Liz. They had been quiet all morning, and Isabel's mental warning light started flashing.
"What's up with you two?" she asked. "Didn't you sleep well?"
Michael started to laugh, realizing too late that Isabel hadn't been making a joke.
Liz shrugged. "We're fine. Right, Max?"
"Yeah, fine," Max mumbled.
Isabel frowned and cast a quick glance at Michael. He was frowning now, too.
"Come on, everybody!" shouted Kyle, and they began their short trek to the lake.
The sun and fun and camaraderie soon had everyone in a great mood. They swam and harassed each other in the water, dunking and racing and chicken fighting. Once, when Michael was floating on his raft, almost asleep, Maria and Max swam silently up under him, tossing his warm, sun-drenched body into the cool water. He sputtered and fumed and came after them with a vengeance, barely concealing his laughter. It was relaxing and real. They seemed to be getting the hang of these normal outings. And for some of them, these close friendships and good times were a first. They could almost believe . . . .
By late afternoon, they were tired and ready to head home. As they packed up their gear, Max took a long look around. They hadn't even talked about the strange nature of their lives this time, as if they had an unspoken agreement to keep the alien side of things at bay for a while. He knew he hadn't succeeded, though. And this time, Liz was the one who'd been sucked in with him. "Into the alien abyss," Maria had once called it. He hoped that was a poor analogy.
With eight of them and their gear, they had brought two cars, Max's Jeep and Tess's Explorer. Michael and Maria had hopped into Tess's car with Kyle, while Iz and Alex took the back seat of the Jeep. Conversation lagged as Max and Liz were lost in thought. Once again, Isabel tried to probe for the reason.
"Is something wrong, Max?" Isabel asked. "You're awfully quiet."
There was no answer for a moment. "Iz, I'm not sure what's going on. I'm only telling you this because I might need your help covering for me in the next day or two. Liz and I shared a dream last night. I mean we had the exact same dream. We talked to each other in it, and to her grandmother, who told us some strange things."
"Max, are you saying Liz's grandmother dreamwalked you?"
"It wasn't like that," Liz explained. "I mean, we knew right away that she had brought us to her. She was trying to explain something about a journey, but it didn't make much sense."
"So what are you supposed to do?" Alex wondered.
"Look, she said something about how we have to be sleeping together to see her, so . . . ."
"What?" Alex and Isabel gasped together.
"No, no," blurted Max. "Not like that. Just be together, sleeping. Something about our combined force . . . I don't know. We want to try it one more time to see if this was for real or not. That's why I might need you, Iz."
Alex shot Isabel a skeptical look, but kept quiet. He'd been skeptical before. He'd been wrong every time.
Max dropped Alex off at his house and headed toward home.
"Why are we going home first, Max?" asked a puzzled Isabel. "Shouldn't we drop Liz off next?"
"Liz and I have a few things to talk about," Max said quietly.
Isabel opened her mouth to protest, but thought better of it. Whatever had happened to Max and Liz, it had shaken them up. Perhaps they really did need to talk.
When they pulled up in front of their home, Isabel hopped out and reached for her gear. Philip Evans stood in the doorway. "Max! Where are you going? I need to talk to you."
"Gotta take Liz home. Back soon." He waved and backed out of the driveway, leaving his frowning father watching after them. They drove in silence to the Crashdown and Max parked the car. They sat for a minute, neither one making a move to get out of the car.
"Max, what are you thinking?" asked Liz quietly.
Max thought for a moment and turned to her. "I don't know. I really don't. But I do know that two people don't have the exact same dream like that. It wasn't just a coincidence. Something did happen last night. We just have to find out if it's going to lead to something more."
Liz's eyes held his, offering reassurance. "Max, if there is anything to what my grandmother said last night, we need to be prepared. She said it would be difficult, and that everything depended on our commitment to each other." She hesitated as she planned her words carefully. "Nothing in this world is more important to me than you are. I could no more be without you now than I could separate from my own body. We are one, Max, and I will love you and support you always. If this turns out to be real, I'm ready. But if you have any doubts, I'll understand."
Max gazed at Liz, mesmerized by the depth of feeling he could read there, stunned once again that he had somehow inspired this devotion from the person he loved more than anything, more than himself. He reached up and let his fingers comb through her curtain of hair, bringing his hand to rest along her jaw line. "Liz, I have always wanted the truth. I have always wanted you. If this is a way I can have both, nothing can stop me."
He raised her face to his and kissed her, their lips and hearts melting together, a promise spoken as clearly as any words, and more binding, for words are often without substance, but the bond exchanged between the two at this moment was undeniable truth.
The two young lovers held each other for a long time, cherishing this peaceful time together. When they pulled apart at last, Max helped Liz with her gear and walked her to the door. "I'll do everything I can to get back over here later tonight. If I can't, we'll try again tomorrow night, okay?"
Liz nodded. "But either way, Max, let's spend some time at the library tomorrow. You know, researching."
Max gave Liz one more quick kiss, hating to leave her. He looked back at her from the car one last time and sped away. His mind was working out ways to get away from home tonight so he and Liz could find out if Grandma Claudia would contact them again. He was still working on the problem when he entered the kitchen.
"There you are! Where have you been all this time? I told you I wanted to talk to you." Max's father was obviously annoyed. Max felt annoyed, too, his train of thought suddenly disrupted.
"I told you. I took Liz home. What's so important?"
Philip Evans let that one pass. They both knew that Liz Parker lived fairly close by, but he didn't want to embarrass Max by pressing the point.
"I got a call today from Greg Austin over near Chaco Canyon. It turns out that Liz's grandmother, Claudia Parker, had a codicil to her will that was somehow overlooked at the original reading. Greg was her lawyer and is feeling pretty embarrassed about the mix-up."
Max stiffened. This was the second major encounter with the memory of Liz's grandmother in 24 hours. This, too, was not likely to be a coincidence. "Why would he call you about that?"
Philip Evans took a long look at his son. "Apparently, you're in it."
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