|"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 and Max stared at each other, shocked at Jeff Parker's reaction. In Liz's whole life, she had never heard her father come close to swearing, even once. Max was just confused. He didn't even understand what had been in the box.|
"Liz, what happened? It just looked like some books. Why is your father so upset?"
"Those were journals, Max. My grandmother's journals. But what could be in them that Dad not only knows about, but doesn't want us to know?"
They replaced the box with the guard, who gave them a strange look. Obviously, he had seen someone running from the vault. When they stepped from the vestibule and onto the sidewalk, they looked toward the car. They could see a figure bent over the steering wheel, gripping it tightly, head bent.
Liz ran to the car. "Dad! Dad! What's wrong? Are you okay?" Max stood back, ready to jump in, if needed.
Jeff was shaking and wouldn't release the steering wheel. Liz was beginning to get scared. "Max, help me." She gave him a desperate look.
"I want to help, Liz, but I'm not sure what's wrong. What can I do?"
Liz was frantic for an answer to that question, but she didn't have one. "Dad! Can you hear me?"
Jeff looked up from the steering wheel, his face full of pain. "Lizzie. Oh, Lizzie. Why did she do this?"
"Do what, Dad? What's in the books?"
"The end of our lives as we know them."
"Mr. Parker, please. Let me drive. You sit with Liz."
Like a child following a parent's instructions, Jeff meekly moved from the driver's seat and climbed in the back. Liz followed, reaching for his hand as soon as she sat down. The books lay on the front seat. Max looked at them curiously, but didn't dare open one. He headed the car in the direction of the campgrounds, more puzzled than ever about what lay ahead.
Mr. Parker roused himself enough at the entrance to the park to pay for a site. Max took the map from the attendant and nosed the car toward their assigned spot. By the time they reached their site, Jeff was coming out of his shock. "I'm sorry, Lizzie. I didn't mean to scare you. We have some talking to do."
Liz looked at him worriedly, but let it go. They still had to set up the tent, and she figured that probably shouldn't wait until after the talk. From the looks of things, it would be a long one.
An hour later, the Parker's large tent was erected, and they were unpacking the car. Liz had gone to the bathrooms down the path. Max set his gear near the fire pit. Jeff watched him for a moment and walked over.
"Max, I have to ask you something straight out, and I'm afraid I can't be subtle."
Max braced himself. He had no idea what was coming, but returned Mr. Parker's gaze steadily.
"I'll be honest. I told Liz that I thought this was family business. That perhaps you wouldn't be comfortable being a part of it. Frankly, I told her I wasn't comfortable with you being a part of it. You know what she told me? She said you were her family. That you shared a bond. That you were the one."
Max hadn't flinched. He had to give him credit for that.
"I would never approach a boyfriend of Liz's with a speech like this unless it were absolutely necessary, but it is. I need to know, Max, up front, is that how you see it? Because after tonight, I'm afraid your feelings for Liz could change, and I'd like to spare her that, if I could."
Max looked at Mr. Parker. This must be bad. But there was nothing in the universe that could change what Liz and he had. He knew her better than anyone in the world and there were no secrets in her soul, except the ones he'd put there. "Mr. Parker, I'm in love with Liz. I have loved her my whole life. I thank God that she has chosen to return that love. She's right. We do have a bond, so strong that we don't even understand it. Nothing I could learn about Liz now would ever change that. She was telling you the truth. We are forever."
Jeff looked at Max's sincere face. He knew it had cost the boy to be that open. That was probably more words than he'd ever known Max Evans to string together at one time. There was something else, too, for although the words were those of any lovesick boy, there was an intensity, a confidence in the words that made Jeff believe him.
"In that case, Max, get ready for one of the strangest nights of your life. And since we'll be talking most of it, you might as well bring your gear into the tent. I don't suppose I need to worry since I'm sleeping in there with you." He smiled at Max, who, after his brave speech, was feeling suddenly shy and looked down at the ground.
"Max, just call me Jeff. It'll be easier on all of us."
When Liz returned, she watched wide-eyed as her father and Max carried his gear into the tent. When Max emerged, he walked straight for her, took her in his arms and kissed her. "Max! My dad is right inside!"
"I think he'd be alright with it, Liz. We had a talk."
"Oh really? About you and me? Like what?"
"No need to repeat it. Let's just say, I think he's starting to believe we're for real." With that, he kissed her again, tenderly, longingly. A forever kiss.
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