|Disclaimer: Wish I owned stock in UPN; glad I don't own stock in WB; don't own any of these characters either.
Summary: Isabel and Max part on bad terms, which can only lead to bad things.
Category: Other Roswell Stories
Author's Note: Feedback always appreciated! Enjoy!
|Liz Parker raised her small hand to knock on Max Evans' bedroom window, but stopped short when she noticed Max lying on his bed, apparently asleep with the lights on. Liz tried the window, found it surprisingly unlocked, and pulled it open. She slid her small body through the opening, then stopped at the foot of Max's bed.
Facing the wall, Max was lying on his side, his back turned to the light on his nightstand. His legs were drawn up in a half-fetal position and one hand cradled his cheek while the other was sandwiched between his knees. Even in sleep, his eyebrows were furrowed as if in deep concentration. The only evidence that he was truly asleep was the occasional flutter of his eyelids and the steady, light snoring from his lips. Liz looked down at him sympathetically, noted that he was still dressed and was still wearing his shoes.
Liz reached down and carefully slid off one of his shoes, then the other. Then she tiptoed to his chair, picked up a blanket and lovingly pulled it over him. She turned to reach for the light and just as she flipped it off, she heard a change in the rhythm of Max's breathing, a sudden intake of breath. She glanced over her shoulder and saw Max's body shifting under the blanket. Holding her breath, she remained perfectly still, hoping he was just adjusting his position in his sleep and that she hadn't disturbed him. But he rolled all of the way to his other side so that he was facing her.
Max's long fingers scratched his face, then his hair as he blinked the sleep from his eyes. His dark eyes were glazed and squinted half-shut, but they opened a little wider when they settled on Liz. He attempted a drowsy smile and absently reached for her hand.
Liz gave him a full smile and intercepted his hand before he could knock anything over. His fingers squeezed hers and Liz felt the jolt of their closeness all of the way to her toes. Max gently pulled her down so she was sitting on the edge of the bed beside him. He coiled his body around hers, his legs against one of her hips, his chest against the other. Liz placed a hand in his dark hair.
"Hi," he mumbled sleepily.
"Hi," Liz repeated quietly.
He sighed heavily, squeezed her hand again as his eyes drifted shut even as he was vainly attempting to keep them open.
"I can leave," Liz said in the darkness. "You need sleep."
Max shook his head against the smooth fabric of his sheets. "No, stay with me a while." He rolled onto his back, disengaged himself from her. Liz shifted her position so that she was facing him. He was lying flat on his back, his arms stretched straight out at his sides and his feet were crossed at the ankles. Liz drew in a little breath as she realized what he resembled - a man on a crucifix.
Disturbed by the similarities, Liz touched one of his arms tentatively, prompting him to distort the image by altering his position so he could rest his hand on her thigh. Max fully opened his eyes and looked at her, almost as though he realized for the first time that she was there. Max was not an easy-riser. Liz had seen him struggle in his waking moments to regain coherence more than once. She knew if she waited patiently that he would eventually rejoin reality. Truth be told, she enjoyed those foggy moments of his when he reached for her hand as gentle reassurance as he emerged from his slumber.
"Hi," he said to her.
"Hi," she repeated, pretending they hadn't already had this exchange.
He touched her hair and yawned, then glanced at his clock. His eyes widened and he sat up on his elbows. "Oh, God, Liz, I am so sorry!" he started. "I came home and just - "
Liz hushed him. "It's okay. You look like you need the rest."
He lay back down, gave a sigh and yawned again. His free forearm went to his forehead as he stared at the ceiling.
Liz watched him closely. "How did it go?" she inquired.
He shook his head and glanced at her. "Awful. Just awful."
Liz's expression displayed her hurt for him. She stretched out on the bed beside him and slipped under his welcoming arm. Sliding a hand across his body, she tucked her head beneath his chin and lay her ear against his chest. They fit so well together - like hand in glove. Max's arm slid around her waist and squeezed her tightly.
"Wanna tell me about it?" Liz asked against his body.
Max let out another sigh. "I don't know, Liz…watching her walk away, wondering if I would ever see her again…" His voice trailed off as he thought about Isabel, wondered what she was doing at that very moment.
"She'll come back," Liz tried to reassure.
"I'm not so sure," Max said gloomily. "She's determined about this. She didn't even say goodbye to me."
Liz lifted her head so she could see Max's face. He looked defeated. She knew that Max and Isabel had fought before she left, but she had expected them to come to a compromise before the day of her departure had arrived. Apparently that hadn't happened. Looking into his face, Liz realized there was nothing she could say, nothing she could do, to make him feel better. The experience had been draining enough that he'd come home completely exhausted and had fallen asleep fully clothed. What was she possibly going to do to make him feel better?
She kissed him. Max seemed surprised at first, but then gave in to her affections. When her hand reached for his zipper, however, he let out a groan and broke their kiss. Liz looked at him questioningly.
"I'm just too tired," he apologized.
But Liz smiled gently and kissed the end of his nose. "Then we'll just sleep," she offered. "We can talk tomorrow." Then she unceremoniously dropped his zipper in spite of her words. Max's eyes widened and Liz gave him a wide grin. "You're going to have to take them off anyway, Max," she teased. "So you'll sleep better."
Max stripped to his boxers and they kissed a while longer, until the exhaustion overcame his body once again and he fell asleep in her arms. ____________________________________________________________________
Isabel dropped her bags by the door and let out a weary sigh. She flipped on the light and surveyed the apartment - it was sparsely furnished, but clean, tidy and inviting. She could still hear Tess's voice as it came over the phone line, "Sure, you're welcome here any time. Please make yourself at home."
Isabel took a quick tour of the place - 2 bedrooms, a small bathroom with a wonderful old-fashioned claw-foot tub (definitely a relaxing bath for her later), a kitchen-dinette combination, a tiny living room. Not the Hilton Suites, but it would do. She parted the drapes and looked out at the cityscape before her. Boston at night. So bright, so unlike tiny Roswell with its gas streetlights and quaint sidewalks. She felt a million miles from home.
Sinking onto the worn couch, she kicked off her shoes and just sat in silence for a while. In her mind, the farewell at the airport played over and over like a sticking record. Her dad, the skilled lawyer, showed little sadness although Isabel knew it was hurting him to see his daughter leave. Her mother had wept like a baby. And Max kept looking at her expectantly, like she was just going to suddenly throw her arms around him and let bygones be bygones - even though Isabel hadn't even made direct eye contact with him, she'd been able to determine as much from his body language. Isabel's lips turned downward in a full frown at the memory. Fuck Max.
Why was she thinking about Max? She hadn't thought about him all the way across the country. But, then again, she'd been busy chatting up the handsome businessman who was sitting beside her on the plane. He'd been extremely nice, cordially talkative without being overbearing and hadn't hit on her once. His name was Chris, if she remembered correctly. He'd shown her pictures of his wife, his kids, had let her play with his Palm Pilot during the long flight. In turn, Isabel had shown him pictures of her family - breezing past the smiling face of Max - and Alex, had let him play with the Game Boy Michael had bought her as a going-away present. They had been wonderful distractions. But now, sitting alone in Tess's small apartment on the other side of the country, Isabel had no distractions.
When was Tess going to be home? She'd mentioned she had plans, she might be out late, but for Isabel just to make herself at home. God, if Tess were there, Isabel could think about something else, she'd have someone to talk to. And there would be no talking about Max since Tess didn't really even want to hear his name.
Isabel dispelled a disgusted groan and pushed herself to her feet. She grabbed her bags and headed back to the spare bedroom. Tess had put clean linens on the bed and a vase of fresh flowers on the nightstand. Isabel smiled at that - Tess wasn't half the monster the others made her out to be. She could be caring and understanding and giving. Her introduction as "the other woman" had been her Achilles Heal. None of the others had accepted her. Certainly not Max and most definitely not Liz.
Placing the suitcase on the small twin bed, Isabel popped open the bag and retrieved her toiletries and a robe. She went to the bathroom and started the water in the deep tub. Old tubs were the best - they were deep enough that you could easily submerse your whole body, but short enough that you could recline without your head sliding under the water. She stripped off her clothes, glad to be free of them after her long journey, pulled her hair into a knot atop her head, and slid into the welcoming water.
Isabel closed her eyes as she slowly waved her hand back and forth under the water, making waves. She gave a mental shrug and used a bit of her power to create a gentle whirlpool. Just as her thoughts were clearing, she thought of Max, of his puppy dog, wounded eyes pleading with her to just say, "Don't worry - all is forgiven." And she hadn't done it. With a flip of her hair, she'd turned her back on him and had walked away, leaving him feeling guilty and hurt and upset. Isabel was a class A bitch.
Using her toes to pull the plug, Isabel climbed out of the tub, dried off carelessly and pulled on the robe. Well, so much for the relaxing bath idea.
In the kitchen, she ran some water into the teakettle and put it on the stove to heat. She smiled to herself - she could have heated the water with a wave of her hand, but there was something domestic about using the kettle, like she was making something in her own kitchen for the first time. Of course, it wasn't her kitchen, it was Tess's, but still - this was Isabel's first taste of independence. She walked over to the still-parted drapes and looked out on the city. It had started to rain. She glanced at the clock - it was after 2:00 am. Only 11:00 Roswell time and her body hadn't adjusted to the fact that it was very early in the morning.
The teakettle whistled and Isabel moved to pour the water into a cup. Her fingers slipped on the handle, however, and the steaming water splashed on the back of her hand. She gasped, and without thinking she turned to ask Max to fix it for her. There was no Max. Max was thousands of miles away, possibly hating her. Isabel felt a tear come to her eye and she glanced toward the phone.
Before she could talk herself out of it, she wrapped a wet dish towel over her burnt hand, hastily dialed the number and waited as it rang, her heart thumping a little quicker in her chest. You should have said it at the airport, she chided herself.
The phone suddenly picked up on the other end and a young female voice said, "Hello?"
Isabel withdrew. That was Liz's voice. She hung up. ______________________________________________________________________
Once again Max was awake, looking at Liz. Liz had the phone in her hand and she looked perplexed.
"Liz?" he said, shielding his eyes from the light.
Liz placed the receiver back on the cradle and rolled toward him, her long hair mussed from her sleep. "They hung up," she said groggily.
"Did they say anything?" Max asked, sitting up on one elbow.
Liz shook her head and kissed his cheek. "No, go back to sleep, babe."
Max shook his head. He was awake now. "I'm up," he sighed. He swung his legs out of the bed and went into the bathroom, closing the door discretely behind him.
Liz lay back on the bed, her heart still pounding in her chest from the sudden ringing of the phone. She had a strange feeling that it had been Isabel on the other end. She didn't know why she felt that way; it was just a very strong intuition. Scratching his head, Max emerged from the bathroom and slid back onto the bed with her.
"Max," Liz started.
"Yeah," he responded, looking with wide-awake eyes at the ceiling.
"Do you have Tess's number?"
Max turned his head so he could see her. His eyes were wary. "Why?"
"Because I think that was Isabel."
Max let out a sigh and a long silence ensued. Then he got up from the bed again and held out his hand to her. "Let's get some ice-cream."
Max held her hand as they went to the kitchen. They both tiptoed so they wouldn't alert his parents. Liz had to walk behind Max as they passed a decorative table in the hallway and she couldn't help appreciating his wide, bare shoulders; she smiled at his boxer shorts. What would his parents say if they came downstairs and saw their son eating ice cream in his underwear with his girlfriend? Liz giggled. Max looked over his shoulder with a questioning glance. She bit her bottom lip and resorted to tweaking his butt with her free hand. Max laughed lightly.
Liz slid onto one of the kitchen stools while Max rummaged in the hallway closet for a shirt. In his room, cuddled up with the love of his life, he'd been warm, but the rest of the house had an odd chill to it. Max's lips curved into a frown as he realized the life, the warmth of the house was gone. He pulled a hockey jersey Michael had left one day over his head and it reached way below the bottom of his shorts. Liz giggled again. Max looked down and smiled.
"Nice skirt," Liz said, containing herself.
"Shut up," Max laughed affectionately as he opened the freezer to get the ice cream. He scooped some vanilla into a bowl and set it before her. Then he rummaged around until he found what he wanted - Ben and Jerry's Chunky Monkey…and some nice Tabasco from the refrigerator. He slid onto a stood beside Liz and shook the Tabasco into the container.
Liz wrinkled her nose. "What if someone else wanted some of that?" she asked. "Shouldn't you have used a bowl?"
Max grinned. "No, I'm the only one who likes Chunky Monkey. Except for Isabel and she…" His voice trailed off but his mind completed the thought - and she's not here to eat any of it anyway. As Max's expression fell, Liz put down her spoon and reached across the counter to touch his hand. He turned sad eyes to her and heaved a sigh. "She didn't even kiss me goodbye," he said softly.
Liz brought his hand to her lips and kissed the back of it. She looked over her shoulder at the phone, then back to Max. Max followed her gaze, then sadly shook his head.
"Why not?" Liz asked softly.
Max stared at the counter top. "I tried," he said. "I couldn't make her talk to me. I tried everything in my power to get her to look at me at the airport, but she acted like I wasn't even there." He looked up to meet Liz's eyes again. "If she could ignore me when I was right in front of her, what is to stop her from hanging up on me? It's all up to her now, Liz."
"But I think she called you," Liz said gently.
"We don't know that."
Liz looked toward the phone again, then grimaced. "Why don't you people have caller id?"
Max laughed lightly at that and squeezed her hand. "Look, I appreciate what you're trying to do. I appreciate your being here. But, this thing just needs to play itself out, okay? I know you want to help, but it's between me and Iz now."
Liz nodded her understanding and slid off her stool. She slipped her body between Max's legs and wrapped her arms around his shoulders. Seated on the stool, he was dropped to the same height as her and she lovingly rubbed her cheek against his. Max inhaled deeply, closed his eyes and buried his face in her sweet-smelling hair.
The sound of shuffling footsteps separated them and they turned to see Phillip Evans opening the refrigerator door. He poured himself a glass of milk, drank half of it, then glanced at Max. "Are you wearing pants, son?" he asked quizzically.
"Okay, then," Phillip said and shuffled back toward his bedroom.
Liz and Max exchanged an amused glance, then burst out laughing.
|Index | Part 2
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