Disclaimer: None of it is mine.
Summary: Max commits a crime, he and Michael go into hiding, the others plot to clear Max.
Authors Note: Feedback is appreciated, just don't flame me for letting Tess do a good deed - she's still creepy and not to be trusted.
|Isabel sat nervously in the car. She looked around anxiously, trying to see
if they'd been followed. She looked back to the door of the police station,
waiting for Tess to reappear.|
Isabel drew in a shaky breath and wiped her palms on her jeans. God, this had to work. If it didn't, Max would never be able to come home. Their parents would be devastated. Liz would be devastated. She would be devastated.
The car door flung open and Isabel jumped. Tess slid into the passenger seat, smiling.
"Geeze, Tess," Isabel breathed. "I didn't see you coming."
"Exactly." Tess pulled the photos from her jacket and tossed them on the dashboard. "How about a little bon fire?"
Isabel smiled, then stopped. "Where's the rest of it? The gun, the tape?"
"I changed my mind."
Isabel had a sudden flash of fear. Was Tess trying to manipulate them? She had all of the power in this situation - she was the only one who could manipulate people into not seeing her. Was this another tactic to get back at Max for rejecting her?
Tess must've read the fear on her face. "Relax, Is. I think it would be a little mysterious for all of the evidence to disappear. So, I just decided to alter the tape a little."
"Alter the tape?"
"Yeah. I changed the tape so that Max never touches the man. All you see is the guy keel over - for all anyone could tell, he had a heart attack. The tape clearly shows Max struggling with him for the gun - so why wouldn't his prints be on it? Then Max obviously passes out, the guy keels over, end of story. The handprint already faded from the corpse, so the only damning evidence is the pictures." She smiled, a creepy little smile that didn't always mean she was being devious - Isabel had discovered that Tess was a little creepy, and her smile showed it. "And we have those pictures, Isabel. All Max has to do is turn himself in, say he doesn't remember what happened - which is the truth, I understand - and they will probably question him as to why he ran and let him go."
Isabel's mouth was hanging open as she stared at Tess. She was speechless.
"So, kick this thing into gear, girlie," Tess joked. "We've got a barbeque to attend." ____________________________________________________________________
Michael, Max, Tess, Isabel and Alex stood in the cave. They were watching the pictures curl and disappear into the flames of the fire. None of them spoke as they saw the evidence of Max's guilt go up in smoke.
Max heaved a sigh, felt some guilt over what they were doing. He should be held accountable for what happened. Tess appeared at his side.
"Let yourself off the hook," she said quietly to him. "I know I'm the last person you want advice from, Max, but you were only defending yourself. And Liz. It happened. I know you have to live with it, but give yourself a break, okay?"
Max eyed her, then nodded. "Thank you, Tess. For everything you did to help out."
She shrugged. "Whether any of us end up together or not, we're all still family. I think you'd do the same for me." With that, she touched his arm so briefly he wasn't sure it had happened and left the cave.
Max watched her go, then turned back to the others.
"Are you ready?" Alex asked him.
Max nodded slowly.
"I'll go with you," Isabel said. "I don't want you to have to do this by yourself."
Michael put a reassuring hand on Max's shoulder and they left the cave so Max could turn himself in. _____________________________________________________________________
Max stood on the steps of the police station, gazing up into the bright sky. It had been over a week since he'd been out in the daylight and it felt like he'd discovered a long lost friend. He smiled as he watched a lone cloud drift by. He was reminded of the day this whole odyssey had begun - a day with no clouds, a day full of promise, a day with love by the roadside.
He'd been in police custody for a few days while they'd questioned him and reviewed the evidence. Everyone was baffled by the disappearance of the autopsy photos, and why the handprint had disappeared from the body. But no one was too suspicious about the changes in the tape - people misinterpreted those things all the time. Max had answered their questions calmly, honestly telling them he remembered struggling, blacking out, and then nothing. He'd fled out of fear. He'd left Liz behind because she was afraid to ride with him in his state of mind. Which, painfully enough, was sort of the truth. She was afraid to leave with him, but not because she was afraid of his reckless driving.
Max was brought out of his reflection by the familiar whine of his jeep. Liz pulled it to a stop in front of him.
"Hey, there, sexy," she called, peering over the top of her sunglasses. "Need a ride?"
Max grinned as he hopped into the passenger seat.
"Where ya headed, Mister?" she asked.
He shrugged. "I don't know, ma'am. You're driving. What did you have in mind?"
"Thinking about Carlsbad," she answered. She saw the surprise cross his face - she was willing to spend the weekend alone with him.
"Carlsbad it is, then," he agreed. "Think I could stop home and see my parents first, though? I think they may have missed me...."
"Of course." She threw the jeep into gear and started down the road. Max was shocked when she started singing loudly to a song on the radio. She glanced at him and playfully raised her eyebrows.
Max laughed, then figured, "What the hell?" and started singing with her.
|Part 5 | Index|
|Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours|