FanFic - Max/Liz
"Looking In"
Part 1
by Danilise
Disclaimer: Roswell, the characters, and situations are owned by the WB. No infringement intended.
Category: Max/Liz
Rating: PG
Authors Note:
Surprised, Kyle Valenti stopped dead in his tracks in front of the Crashdown Cafe. It was late evening on a school night, and the popular teen hangout was nearly empty. But that wasn't what had surprised him.

What had surprised Kyle was seeing Liz Parker sitting at a booth towards the back of the restaurant. She hadn't changed that much since high school: her sleek dark hair, her delicate brow, her doe-brown eyes, her petite frame. Seeing her brought back the flood of feelings -- anger, frustration, hurt -- caused by her rejection. She was, in every sense, the "girl who got away."

Kyle turned away from the window abruptly, intent on getting where he had been going. Then a movement inside the Cafe caught his eye, and he glanced back.

Max Evans had entered the restaurant and was leaning over Liz. Liz was looking up at Max, her eyes soft, her face glowing in the way that used to infuriate Kyle in high school, even when he and Liz weren't boyfriend-girlfriend. Then, as now obviously, it was as if her entire being were lit up in Max Evans' presence, as if she were shimmering with pure, unadulterated love.

Kyle watched Max bend closer to Liz, smile at something she said, and gently kiss her on the lips. When their lips touched, Kyle dropped his eyes and unconsciously clenched his hands into fists.

When he looked up again, Kyle saw that Max had gone, leaving Liz alone in the restaurant. Kyle sucked in a breath and walked in. Working to keep his voice matter-of-fact, he said: "Liz? Liz Parker. Who would've expected to find you back in Roswell, New Mexico. I thought you were at school back east."

Liz looked up and smiled warmly. "Kyle. How are you?"

Kyle blinked and squashed the feeling in his chest evoked by her smile. "I'm good," he said. "You?"

Liz smiled again, but whatever she was going to say was interrupted by her parents' entering the Cafe through the "employees only" door at the back. They were followed closely by Max. All three of them were laughing at the antics of the cooing, dark-haired infant cradled in Max's arms.

Kyle stared at the baby. He glanced at Liz, then at Max, then back at the baby.

Liz noticed his triple-take and said gently: "Actually, it's Liz Evans these days. Max and I were married last December." She gestured to the baby. "That's our daughter, Claudia. She's the reason I'm sitting here taking it easy. Max tends to be over-protective." Her voice trailed off, and she smiled wryly. As her expression turned inwards, Kyle guessed that she was remembering other times when Max has been over-protective. Kyle could remember more than a few of those himself.

When Max joined them, Kyle bristled the way he'd always done whenever their paths had crossed since high school. There was something about Max, something Kyle could never quite put his finger on, something about Max's aloof control, his unshakeable reserve. Secrets clung to Max Evans, and Kyle had never figured them out. And -- of course -- Max had Liz. They had connected with an intensity obvious to everyone around them after the day of the shooting in the Crashdown. Their mutual attraction, their shared longing for each other, had humiliated and frustrated Kyle by turns. And it was clear nothing had changed for them ... or for him.

Realizing that Max was watching him, Kyle shrugged off his bad feelings and stuck out his hand. "Hey, Max," he said. "Congratulations. Liz was just telling me your good news."

Max shifted the baby so he could shake Kyle's outstretched hand. His eyes were still watchful, still wary, and his voice was flat as he thanked him.

"It looks like you folks are having a family get-together here," Kyle observed, noticing Liz's parents hesitating to join them. "I'll just be going." He started to back out of the restaurant.

"Thanks for stopping to say hello, Kyle." Liz's voice sounded sincere, but Kyle could tell that Liz was already thinking about something -- someone -- else. Just as it had always been with Liz whenever Max Evans was around.

As he stepped outside the Crashdown Cafe, Kyle looked back once more at the family he had left behind. Max and Liz were sitting side-by-side in the booth, their eyes locked intimately over their baby's waving arms and kicking legs.

Kyle shook his head to clear the memories and regrets and stalked off, intent once again on getting where he had been going.

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