FanFic - Max/Liz
"Taking a Step Back"
Part 2
by Mary N.
Disclaimer: I don't own these characters, I just wanted to barrow them and the situation that they are in.
Summary: What happens after Max tells Liz that they need to "Take a step back for a while." in the balance.
Category: Max/Liz
Rating: PG
Max and Isabel are on their way to pick-up Michael at the Crashdown Cafe. They are going to try to get some more answers about Nasedo. Max pulls the Jeep to the side of the road. Isabel, I know your not really serious about Valenti.

Fine Max, I would never turn you in. Just try to help me understand what you are thinking. None of this makes any since to me.

Isabel it's not that easy to explain. I'm not even sure that I understand it myself.

Max than talk to me, use me as a sounding board. Let me try to help. Isn't that what families are for.

Well it's like this ... I still want to be with Liz. There is no where in this world I would rather be. It seems like she is all that I think about, 24 hours a day. I think about her when I'm awake, and I dream about her when I sleep. And that's only part of the problem. My life feels like it has been evolving around Liz Parker. I don't want to loose myself in "us". There are other problems as well, I worry that if our relationship continues as it has been, that we could end up doing things that we shouldn't before we are really ready.

You mean Sex?

Nodding his head he says "yea, and that brings up another point, are we truly compatible with humans, or would we be taking a risk with our lives. I have been able to control my emotions this far, but what if I lose control? She effects me in a way that I just really can't explain. She effects me in away that makes me want to loose control.

So you're scared?

Of course I'm scared. I'm scared of everything I am thinking and feeling.

Max ... are you saying that you think you might be in love with Liz?

I'm not sure, but maybe I am. Isabel, if we had to leave tomorrow; I don't know that I could leave her behind. And at the same time I know that, that would destroy any chances she has of following her dreams. If she came with us; I'm afraid that she would end up hating me for it. I couldn't bare that.

Max, I can't say that I haven't seen it coming. The truth of the matter is ... that I have. I have even envied you, because you have found someone to love, and the best part is ...she knows our secret, and she still wants to be with you. Now, I can't say that I am crazy about the risks that you are thinking about taking,... but I understand them.

Max you're right, we may have to move on one day, but you can't always worry about the what ifs. You have to stop hiding yourself away from anything that might or might not hurt you in the future. That's not living Max. That is existing. Liz has been so good for you. I have never seen you as happy as you have been lately. I truly believe that Liz has been a big part of that. Look Max, it's okay to be happy. Don't deny yourself happiness, because of your fears. Just don't do anything that either of you will regret later.

Max pulled the Jeep away from the curb and continued the trip to the Crashdown Cafe. Both sat in silence thinking about their conversation. Isabel began wondering if she would ever find the kind of love that Max and Liz now shared. She found herself thinking about Alex. I wonder if he could ever love me like that. What am I thinking? Why am I thinking about Alex. He is kind of sweet, but Alex? No not Alex... but then again ... maybe.

They reach the cafe and Michael is waiting outside for them. He jumps into the back of the jeep and comments on how busy they look inside the cafe.

Max looks inside the window and sees that Liz is waiting on a table as Marie rushes past her. Yea, it looks real busy. Shall we get going?

So have you two put together a list of questions for River Dog? Asks Michael

"Right here." Max hands back a folded piece of paper to Michael, "Do you want to read them out loud?" Sure, and maybe we can come up with some more before we get to the reservation. Michael starts reading the list Max handed him.


The Crashdown Cafe is really swarming with people. Maria is busy delivering nine Hot Fudge Blast-offs to two tables filled with guys. Who unfortunately are giving her a hard time. While Liz is busy taking an order for the Thomas family of seven. The bell on the door rings, both Liz and Maria look to see how many more people are entering. Two people walk-in. They both recognize them from the day that Liz was shot. Their the guy and girl that were looking for the bullet. Liz and Maria give each other a look of worry. Liz heads back behind the counter and turns in her order. She starts to get the drink when Maria comes up behind her.

Are those two who I think they are?

If you mean the day of the shooting, than yea that's them.

Well they are staring over here.

Calm down Maria, they don't know what happened that day, and if we don't tell them they never will. They are probably just waiting for one of us to take their order. Help me get these drink and I take care of them.

Liz delivers the Thomas's drink orders and tells them that their order will be done soon. She walks to the table of (shall we call them Larry and Jennifer.) "How can I can help you today?" Larry orders a Will Smith and a Galactic Smoothie, and Jennifer orders a Buck Rogers also with a Galactic Smoothie. Lizzy reads back the order and say that sounds good we'll have it for you in just a little while. She spins around on her heels and heads for the counter to turn in the order. Maria is up front at the register with a long line of people waiting to pay their bills.

Liz has to make two trips to carry out the large families order. She then takes their glasses for a refill. While returning them her next order comes up in the window. Liz is so glad this night is almost over, and that the cafe is finally emptying out. She walks back behind the counter, picks up that couples order, and delivers it. They ask her how she is feeling? Oh, I'm fine. It was no big deal, but thank goodness we don't get guys like those two in here very often. I think that I would have to quit. If you need anything just let me know. We have to start cleaning up. We'll be closing soon.


Max, Isabel, and Michael arrive at the reservation and almost as soon as they got out of the Jeep Eddie walks up to them. Staring right at Isabel, Eddie says, " You three again, what can I do for you?"

We came to talk to River Dog. We are hoping that he could answer a few questions for us.

Well that's not possible, you see, he has gone on a retreat into the desert. He said that he wouldn't return until the new moon. When he returns I'll be sure to let him know that you were here. Eddie walks away.

There is something about that guy, I just don't like. Comments Michael.

He seems alright to me. Isabel says smiling and watching him walk away.

Well this was a wasted trip, shall we head back into town? Max asks. They all agree. Once back in the jeep Isabel suggests, that they stop in at the Crashdown and get something to drink, "I'm really not ready to head home yet, and my mouth is getting really dry from driving down these dirt roads." To herself she is thinking that Max needs a reason to see Liz, and maybe while they're there, he will start talking to Liz. Michael needs a push in the Maria direction as well.

Max and Michael give each other a shrug and agree that, that would be fine.


Liz is talking with the Thomas family. Mr. and Mrs. Thomas come in once a month with there five kids. They always try to sit in Liz's section. The kids say that she is there favorite waitress, because she always gets them drink refills even though she's not supposed to. Liz hands the receipt to Mr. Thomas.

Larry and Jennifer are still watching Liz very intensely as she walks back behind the counter. Are those two strange or what. They look as if they expect you to start floating or something and their afraid that they will miss it.

The bell on the door ring and Max, Michael , and Isabel walk-in. Oh great, they are the last people that we needed in here tonight. You know with our two unwanted guessed over there.

Maria glances over at the twosome, "Do you think they recognize Max and Michael?"

"Definitely!" I had better get over there and worn them.

Maria makes eye contact with Michael and they both give a small smile and Maria starts to blush. Her thoughts return to their last trip to the janitors closet. Unconsciously she tilts her head slightly to the right and starts to bite her lower lip. "Maria we have to start cleaning up for the night." No problem Lizzy, I'm on it. Maria starts gathering the condiment from the table, all the while still sneaking glances at Michael. Liz walks over to Max's table.

Hello Max, Michael, ..Isabel. I'm afraid we may have a problem. What do you mean, asks Isabel. Well over at the booth on your right. There are two people , but not just any two people. It's the two that were here the day the gun went off.

Do you think they know anything?, asks Michael

The only thing I am sure about is that they know the bullet was never found, and they told the sheriff that Max did something to me.

They could just be here to get a bite to eat. Max offers.

If that were true then why haven't they taken their eyes off me all night, until you walk-in and now they haven't taken their eyes off of this table.

Isabel glances over. I see what you mean.

Max, we should get out of here.

Michael we can't, it would look like we have something to hide if we don't order something first. How about Cherry Cokes all around, Max asks. Isabel and Michael both agree.

Liz walk to the soda machine and gets their drinks.

Isabel , Michael I think that it would be a good idea if you two left before I do. The chances are that they will want to follow me. Is., why don't you take the jeep, drop Michael off, then head home. I'll stick around here for a while then catch up with you there. Liz returns with the drinks.

Liz, is it okay for me to hang around here for a while after you close-up. We figure that if we split up they won't be able to follow all of us.

That's fine, Max. She turns away and walks over to Maria. Maria, Max thinks that those two might try to follow them when they leave, so their going to split-up.

Sounds smart to me Lizzy. Maria says sounding is if what she wanted to say was "Dah"

Liz takes Larry and Jennifer their check, and tells them, "We'll be closing in just a few minutes." Then she walks over to Max, now is probably going to be the best time, I just gave them their bill. Liz walks away.

Ready Is., here we go, see you later Max.

See you at home Max. Remember what we talked about earlier. She gave him a wink.

Jennifer gets up from the table and heads for the door behind them. Maria steps into her path, "Did you enjoy your Galactic Smoothie?"

Jennifer answered as she tries to walk around Maria, "Yea, it was fine."

Our boss wants us to ask all of our customers if they could taste the change, and if so, which way do they like it better.

I really couldn't taste the change. I got to go. Jennifer goes out the door just in time to see Isabel and Michael drive off.

Maria, not wanting to let the two strangers know she was lying about any changes to the smoothie, asks Larry the same question. Followed by telling him that they need to ring up his check so that they could close out the register for the night. Liz walks over "Let me ring it up Maria, and that why I can close the register right after." As Larry and Liz walk over to the register, she asks, "How was everything tonight? I heard you tell Maria that you couldn't taste any difference in the smoothie, that's really good. My father will be very pleased.

Larry inquired, " What was the change."

Oh I could never tell you that. In fact my father would probably deny that there even was a change. He is that protective of his recipes.

He pays his bill, then sees Jennifer sitting out in their car. Larry goes out and joins her. Liz locks the door behind him. She can tell that Larry is not to happy with Jennifer. He is yelling at her.

Liz then announces to Max and Maria that it looks like Michael and Isabel lost their tail.

Max moves over to the counter and sits down. Seeing that both Liz and Maria still have quite a bit to get done, he asks them if there is anything that he can do to help.

How about sweeping, Maria says with a smile on her face. She hates to sweep this floor, so if she can get Max to do it, that would just make her day. Liz gives her friend a look that could have stopped traffic. Well Lizzy, what can I say I love to see a cute guy at work. We see a blush spread over Max's face. Maria finishes filling all the condiments, puts them back on the tables after wiping the tables off. Liz cashes out the register, then she starts wiping off the counter.

Max is finishing sweeping the floor when Maria announces, " Hey kids, I'd love to just hang around here with you , but my mom made it clear to me that she wanted me home right after work tonight. She said something about wanting to talk to me, and Liz you know my mom and her talks.

See you at school tomorrow Maria.

Bye Max!

Yeah, take it easy Maria. Max walks over to the front door, to check on our two unwanted friends. He figures that if he acts like he is getting ready to leave that they will leave Maria alone. He waits for Maria's car to turn at the end of the street, then goes to put the broom and dust pan away.

Max, if you would like to wait here for awhile longer, we would probably be more comfortable upstairs. Away from the windows I mean. Upstairs Max sits down on the couch in the Living Room. "Where are your parents tonight?"

Oh, they said something about having an early morning tomorrow, so they've more than likely already went to bed. Max, I'll be right back. I just want to get out of this uniform. Liz goes in to her room and closes the door behind her. She leans her back against the door and closes her eyes.

This is so awkward. I just what to feel safe with his arms around me, to feel his soft lips pressing against mine. If only he would just hold me, I know that everything would be alright again between us someday. That would give me the strength to make it through. She walks over to her bed where she had laid her cloths from earlier that day. Taking her uniform off and throwing it in to the dirties. Picked up her jeans and slide her legs into them. Then taking them off again. She wanted to wear something less binding. She gets up and walks over to her closet, looks through her cloths and finally decides to wear a loose fitting summer dress. Walks over to the mirror and lets her hair down out of the ponytail that it was in. She brushes it out. Then decides that she'll take her math book out with her. That way she wouldn't have to talk or look at Max. She could just pretend to be working on her assignment.

While Max is sitting in the Living Room. He keeps thinking about the conversation he had, had with Isabel earlier that night. About not letting fear of what might or what might not happen stop you from living and loving. He realized that he does love Liz, that he has always loved her. Was he trying to keep her safe, or was he protecting himself with fear of the unknown. Isabel had been right, when she said that he has been the happiest these last few months than he had ever been in his life, and it was being with Liz that had made him feel that way. If only he knew how this was all going to end. Would he end up hurt, or even worse. Would he end up hurting Liz. The only one he ever wanted to be with.

Liz opening her door brought him out of his thoughts. As she entered the room she told him that she still had math homework and that she really needed to finish it up. She was trying not to make eye contact with Max, because she knew that she would get lost in his big, dark, mysterious eyes.

When Max saw her enter the room, his mouth fell open, and his heart skipped a beat. She is so lovely, her hair was down like he like it and it looked so soft. He remembered how soft it had felt when he ran his fingers through it the night that he had kissed her. Liz could feel his eyes staring at her, she couldn't stop herself from meeting her eyes with his. As their eyes met she felt a wave of senses come alive inside her. Max could no longer resist the urge to wrap her in his arms. He walked up to her, removed the book from her hands and dropping it to the ground. Took hold of her hands and guided her to the couch. Then lowered her onto the couch never losing eye contact. Max than sat down beside her and slowly started to stroking her soft hair, wanting to enjoy and remember everything about Liz and this moment in time. His hand slowly moved from her hair to the soft skin of her face, and then he tracing the curves of her lips. When the desire to kiss her lips grew to strong for him to resist, he gently pressed his lips to hers, as he wrapped both arms around her. One arm around her waist and with the other he began to stoke her from the back of her neck to middle of her back. As he did this he could feel her body moving closer to his.

Suddenly they both felt a wave of energy pass through their bodies. Max had made a connection between them. They were both seeing each others memories. The memories were of the times that they had spent together. Liz now knew what Max had been thinking at the top of the hill the night of the Crashdown festival. How he had almost kissed her in the jeep on their way to Averton's. The night that he had told her that they had to take a step back for a while, and how much he was hurting as he saw the tear in her eyes as he said it.

Max could see that Liz had liked him long before he had healed her. She noticed his kindness, his gentle ways, and his strength. He now knew that she had spent many sleepless nights thinking of him, and her longing for their relationship to grow into something more than friendship. He knew how awkward she had felt tonight, having him so close to her, wanting him to hold her, and yet believing that he only wanted to be friends.

All of these memories passed from one to the other, and they knew the truth. The truth about how each had been feeling at those shared moments in their lives. Some how they both knew that what they had just shared was far more satisfying than anything that could have possibly have imagined. They shared their most intimate thoughts and feelings with each other. They shared their souls.

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