FanFic - Other
Part 1
by Heidi
Disclaimer: Roswell and its characters are the property of Melinda Metz and Jason Katims. No infringement on their creative genius is intended.
Summary: While volunteering at the local teen hotline, Liz is faced with a difficult situation. Her resulting actions leaves her friends feeling confused and alarmed.
Category: Other
Rating: PG
Authors Note: The events in this fic occur over a period of several weeks, during the time between Balance and the next new episode. Any feedback is much appreciated.
Liz turned to Mrs. Brown, her curiosity aroused by this request from her former Health teacher. “Liz, let’s walk over to my office and talk there.” Mrs. Brown said as she began to walk down the hallway with Liz at her side.

While they walked, Liz saw Max, Isabel and Michael coming from the opposite direction. Her heart skipped a beat and her hands closed a little tighter on the books she was holding to her chest. Despite the fact that there was nothing going on between them now, Liz always reacted the same way when she saw Max. She couldn’t help it. No matter how hard she tried to resist the inclinations of her heart, the shy guy with the dark soulful eyes always seemed to draw her like a magnet. More now than ever, the conflict between the necessity of staying away and her urgent desire to remain close left her feeling helpless and confused. But Max had already resolved that problem. He decided to walk away from her, and all that was left for her was pain and regret. Averting her eyes, Liz quickly looked down at her feet. She wanted to avoid any possible eye contact with him before they passed each other. The pain was still too new, too raw.

A few steps later, Liz and Mrs. Brown had made their way to a familiar door and walked in.

As she looked around at Mrs. Brown’s office, Liz thought of how it hadn’t changed much from last year. It was still as warm and inviting as she remembered, a perfect reflection of the short, red headed woman who worked here. Liz saw how the gifts received from various students over the years were still proudly displayed as if they had been prestigious awards for teaching. In a way, those gifts were awards, she thought. They were given to a teacher who consistently reached out to her students, and who in turn was rewarded with their trust and respect.

“Have a seat, Liz.” Mrs. Brown motioned to one of the chairs in front of her desk. As Liz sat down she smiled at the fact that Mrs. Brown sat in the chair next to hers and not behind the desk. This was just one more of the many reasons why Mrs. Brown was such a rare and special teacher. She never looked down on the students, but rather, treated them as equals. A fleeting thought crossed Liz’s mind: I wish she taught more than just health so I could be in her class again.

“So how are things going for you, Liz? Are you enjoying your classes?” Mrs. Brown asked.

“Things are going well.” Liz replied. “My classes are fine. Beyond that, I’m just working for my dad at the Crashdown after school.”

“No boyfriend in the picture? I thought I heard that you and Kyle Valenti were going out.”

Liz shook her head. “Kyle and I did go out for a little while, but it didn’t work out. So, no boyfriend right now.”

“But you’ve got your eyes on someone, don’t you?” A mischievous twinkle shown in Mrs. Brown’s eyes. She may not be able to keep up with everything in her students’ lives, but she was positive there were more than a few guys who would like to date Liz Parker.

“Not really.” Liz looked down, pain clouding her usually bright eyes.

“Okay, Liz,” Mrs. Brown said softly. She could see the troubled reaction her question evoked and decided to move on to the reason why she approached Liz. “What I wanted to discuss with you was the TeenLine Center we have here at West Roswell High. I know you’ve probably seen the flyers about it up around the school.”

Liz nodded and waited for Mrs. Brown to continue.

“Well, as it is, we are quite understaffed at the Center and I am trying recruit some more students to volunteer a night or two and help man the phones. I was hoping you might be willing to be one of those volunteers Liz.

“Now, I realize the idea of spending your evenings listening to someone else’s problems may not sound appealing, but you’d be surprised how much good you can accomplish. Especially since most of the callers are more apt to listen to someone their own age rather than a teacher or a parent. And while many teens call about problems with their boyfriends or girlfriends, we also receive calls from teens who are extremely distraught and need sound guidance. From what I have come to know about you through our talks and having you as a student in my class, I have seen that you have a maturity beyond your age, and a unique sensitivity to what is going on with your peers. I think you would be perfect for this challenge.”

Mrs. Brown stopped speaking and looked at Liz expectantly.

“Mrs. Brown,” Liz started, “Most nights I am working at the Crashdown for my dad, and the nights I’m not working I am usually studying. I would certainly like to help, but I don’t know if I could fit it in my schedule.”

Although Mrs. Brown quickly hid the disappointment that showed on her face, Liz saw it, and it pained her. She quickly tried to think of a way she could move things around in her schedule to open up some evenings.

Mrs. Brown stood up from her chair and smiled at Liz. She walked behind her desk and started to write out a pass for Liz to return to class. “Liz, I don’t want to keep you from your classes any longer, but I want to thank you for at least listening to my proposal.”

Liz stood up as well, but now she had a solid plan brewing in her mind and a hopeful smile on her face. “Mrs. Brown? I’m sure I can talk with my dad and make some schedule changes. I can always switch one week night to a weekend. That would leave me with Tuesday and Friday nights open. Would that work?”

The smile that appeared on Mrs. Brown’s face was practically beaming. “That would be wonderful, Liz.”

“Um,” Liz hesitantly asked, “Do you know if I’ll have any time to study while I am there?”

“Yes, I think you’d have time to study there. The Center isn’t meant to be a social setting for those who answer the phones, so many of them bring their school books or other materials to read when things are quiet. Another bonus to volunteering that I know you will like, is that it looks good on a college application.”

Liz just laughed, her mood improving considerably from just moments before. “You are right about that one, Mrs. Brown. I should be able to clear the schedule changes with my dad tonight. That way, I can probably be there tomorrow.”

“Thank you, Liz. I will look forward to seeing you there. And, Liz,” Mrs. Brown added an afterthought “Something important for you to be aware of—while you can tell your friends that you are going to help out at the TeenLine Center, we don’t allow you to discuss the actual calls outside of the Center. We have to maintain the confidence of those who call us. Therefore, it is critical that the contents of any discussion you may have at the Center does not become school gossip. In fact, because most of those who call don’t want to be recognized,you’ll find out that many won’t give you their real name, even though they may realize who you are. Okay?”

“Got it, Mrs. Brown.”

Liz took the hall pass Mrs. Brown handed to her and walked out of the office. Well, she thought, this is going to be an interesting experience. It will take some well orchestrated juggling of my time, but I know I can handle it. I might even get a new perspective on things in my own life. Well, at least I won’t be answering calls from those who are 'not of this earth.' She smiled wryly at the thought. Maybe this is just what I need. I can completely absorb myself in this and not have to think about Max. The Center will give me the one place where I won’t have any memories of him, and where his presence won’t make it so hard for me to forget.

Liz sighed deeply and shook her head to clear her thoughts. She walked to class.


That evening at the Crashdown, Liz was putting an order in to the kitchen when she saw Maria walk out from the back room. Her friend’s hands were behind her back, tying on her alien apron. Walking over to the drink machine, Liz began setting out four glasses when she heard a voice behind her.

“So?” Maria asked, “What did Mrs. Brown want?”

Liz glanced over at her friend between filling drinks. “She asked me to help out at the TeenLine Center.”

“What? You gotta be kidding, right? I mean, the whole student body thought that thing was a joke when they first announced it, remember? How could it even still be open?”

Liz just smiled at her friend’s disbelief. “I suppose that there are those who don’t think it is such a joke. Otherwise, Mrs. Brown wouldn’t have asked me to volunteer.”

“Well, are you going to?”

“Going to do what?” Liz and Maria both turned to see their friend Alex at the table closest to them. He was standing on his knees, facing the back of the booth, with his elbows propped on the back. He smiled broadly at them. “Good afternoon ladies. So, what were you two talking about? What are you going to do, Liz?”

“Hi, Alex.” Liz greeted him. She was starting to get used to his surprise appearances. “I was just telling Maria how Mrs. Brown asked me to be a volunteer at the TeenLine Center.”

“Whoa,” Alex’s jovial demeanor was infused with a little astonishment. “Isn’t the TeenLine like a big joke at the school?”

“That is exactly what I said,” Maria chimed in. “Anyway, how can you possibly fit that in when you work here after school?”

“I rarely work Friday nights anyway, and then I’ve traded shifts with Trish.” Liz started to fill her last glass with soda. “She’ll take my Tuesday nights and I’ll work Sunday morning. That way, I can volunteer and she can spend a weekend morning with her kids.” Putting the four filled glasses on a tray, Liz picked it up and walked from her friends to a table of customers. She didn’t want her friends questioning her about this. On the surface, she knew Mrs. Brown’s request gave her the perfect reason to volunteer. But since she realized she could use this work as a distraction, to escape from anything related to Max and all the feelings that came with that, her motivation to volunteer had completely changed.

“She’s giving up all possibility of Friday night partying to answer phones at the Teen Center?” Alex mused aloud. “Mental note to self, If Mrs. Brown suddenly needs to talk to me, walk, no, run away.”

“Whatever.” Maria was exasperated with her friend. But she couldn’t quite figure out why. Maybe it was because Liz’s volunteering would mean she would have to put up with Trish on Tuesday nights now. Or maybe it was because that meant she would have less time with her friend. But why should that matter? It wasn’t as if she didn’t see Liz every day, or at least talk to her on the phone all of the time. And it certainly wasn’t like it was out of character for Liz to decide to help out with the TeenLine. Liz was always willing to give of herself to help others. That was what made her such a wonderful friend, although they often considered each other more like sisters.

Maria shook herself out of her little reverie and noticed two customers walk through the doors. “Oh great.” She said, her voice thick with sarcasm. Reaching into the pocket of her apron, she pulled out a small vial of cedar oil. This should help calm me, she thought as she inhaled deeply of its fragrance.

Alex turned to see what Maria was looking at. Max Evans and Michael Guerin had just walked in and sat at a booth near the front window. “What?” He asked, “Not too excited to see some of your favorite 'Czechoslovakians'?”

Alex could never keep up with what was going on with his two friends. At least now that he was in on the big secret, it was a little easier. He realized the complexity of all of their situations. Especially when he saw Michael get sick and almost die. Part of him still couldn’t believe his part in the whole ordeal. But this constant pendulum of emotions from Liz and Maria—this on and off again stuff was getting to him. He could never predict what mood he’d find them in. And lately, he still found himself shut out in the cold. At least, he resolved to himself, he’d make sure things were definitely different for Isabel and him. Well, a guy can dream, right?

“Yeah, right. Like one of them doesn’t have the personality of a cockroach and the other does nothing but sit and moon over Liz.” Maria answered Alex as she returned the vial to her apron. “God, they just had to sit in my section. I really don’t want to have to deal with him today,” adding just under her breath, “The ungrateful jerk.” She looked over at Alex while she got out two glasses and began to fill them with Cherry Coke. “I gotta go. Talk to you later.” With that, she grabbed the two sodas and irritably walked toward the two customers in the front booth.

Alex looked around him and threw his hands up in the air. He exclaimed, “What, am I not a paying customer here?”, but no one was around to hear him. He turned around in the booth and slid down to sit at the table with a scowl on his face. Women, he thought surly.


As she approached the door to the TeenLine Center, Liz found herself wondering what it was going to be like inside. How many other volunteers would there be? Would the phones be ringing nonstop or only occasionally? Would she be able to help those who called? Or, would this end up being a big joke like Maria and Alex said, and an even bigger waste of her time? She reached her hand out and grasped the door handle. “Well, here goes nothing,” she whispered. Liz opened the door and walked in.

It was actually quieter than she expected inside. She heard a phone ring, and the soft whisper of muted voices, but Liz couldn’t place where the noises were coming from. She noticed why. Each desk had a wooden partition around it like the study desks she had seen at the University Library. They must use these to provide some privacy between the volunteers and the calls they answered, Liz thought.

It was then she saw the familiar bob of flame-red hair. Mrs. Brown was leaning over a desk discussing something with one of the volunteers, smiling and nodding. She stood up to move toward another desk when she caught sight of Liz standing just inside the front door.

“Liz, you’re here!” Mrs. Brown approached Liz with a wide smile on her face. “I’m glad you made it.” The warm woman made a wide gesture with her arm as she looked about the room they stood in, “Was it what you expected, or not at all?”

Liz smiled. “I’m not quite sure what I expected, Mrs. Brown.” She paused and looked about her again. Against the wall opposite of her was a drink machine along side a vending machine. There were posters all over the walls. Some were photos with inspirational quotes, others gave guidelines to recognizing the danger signs of drug addiction, or suicide. Mixed in, here and there, were magazine clippings and ads. Overall, the Center had an inviting air to it. It was evident this was a place for teenagers to help other teens.

“Well, before we start you on answering the phones, there are a few things to go over, Liz. We’ll start with how things are set up here.” Mrs. Brown said. She motioned Liz to follow her, but they were interrupted by a phone ringing on the desk closest to the door. It wasn’t a small study desk like the others, but a larger one, an office desk. Liz watched as the teacher moved away from her side to answer the phone there. As she picked up the phone and began to speak into the receiver, Mrs. Brown held out a finger to Liz, asking her to hold on a minute.

As Liz waited for her teacher’s conversation to end, she heard a step behind her, and then a voice.

“Hi, Liz.”

Liz turned, shock visible on her face as she stood facing Kyle Valenti. He was the last person on earth she expected to see here.

“Um, Hi, Kyle. What are you doing here?” Liz asked hesitantly.

“Don’t look so surprised, Liz.” Kyle answered coldly. “Is it really so inconceivable that I would volunteer to help with the TeenLine?”

“Well, actually, yeah.” she replied, looking up at him, her eyes questioning, wondering. She was suddenly afraid that volunteering at the Center wasn’t such a good idea after all.

“You’re probably right.” Kyle admitted reluctantly, looking down at his feet for a moment. “It was my dad’s idea. He thought I could help out since Mrs. Brown was running short of volunteers.”

Liz looked sharply at Kyle. “Your dad? The sheriff is involved with the TeenLine?”

“Yeah. He checks in with Mrs. Brown every so often to see how things are going here.”

“Oh.” Liz didn’t know what else to say. An awkward silence ensued.

Suddenly, their attention was drawn to the sound of someone calling Kyle’s name. It was Mrs. Brown. One of her hands was covering the phone while the other held out a packet of papers. “Kyle,” Mrs. Brown whispered urgently, “Kyle, please take Liz to a desk and go over the introduction packet with her, okay? I’m going to be stuck on this call for awhile.”

Kyle took the papers from Mrs. Brown’s outstretched hand. With a quick “Follow me,” uttered over his shoulder, Kyle walked past Liz and into the clusters of desks. Liz followed him, taking in everything around her. She thought she recognized some of the volunteers as classmates, and occasionally she could discern a portion of a conversation. As she turned her head back to focus on where Kyle was going, she saw that he had stopped at a desk in the far corner of the room. He dropped the packet on the desk and grabbed an extra chair from nearby. Motioning Liz to sit down at the chair already facing the desk, Kyle sat down in the one he had grabbed, where he had positioned it, a little off to the side.

“So, anyway,” Kyle said in his usual gruff manner, “in this packet you’ll find a bunch of stuff that's supposed to be useful to you while you answer phones here. You know, articles on depression, peer pressure, stuff like that. There’s also a practice script in here. It’s supposed to show you what you can expect from a typical call and how you can respond. I don’t even know why they give this crap to us though. None of it sounds like anything I, or anyone I know, would say.”

Liz picked up the packet and began to read the practice script. She shook her head in disbelief. “They think we would actually say something like this?” She chuckled at the idea and then cleared her throat. Speaking in a fake voice, she began to read, “While it may seem implausible now, I’m positive the situation between you and your parents can be reconciled.” Liz stopped reading and put the script back down on the desk in front of her. “Who wrote this anyway? It’s ridiculous.”

Kyle’s demeanor seemed to thaw some. No matter how many bad feelings they had between them, he knew he’d always have a soft spot in his heart for Liz. His voice lost it’s harsh tone when he answered her. “Who knows? But if you answer someone’s question like that you can be sure they’ll hang up on you. The teens who call here are usually calling because they have nowhere else to turn to. The last thing they want to hear is someone patronizing them.”

Liz shook her head, her eyes wide. She didn’t know what to say. She felt like she was seeing a completely new side to Kyle. Something beyond the tough jock attitude he normally strutted around the school campus.

“But on the other hand, beware of crank callers,” Kyle warned her. “We get our fair share of them here.”

“You’re kidding, right?”

“Not even. You’ll see. Before you’ve answered phones here a week, you’ll get some dweeb calling asking if this is phone sex hotline. But I’ll give you a little tip on how to deal with those calls.” He smiled mischievously, his eyebrows raised. “Just tell them they got the number off by one. And then tell them they just need to dial 1 as the last digit instead.”

“And if they do? Where do they end up calling?” Liz’s curiosity was killing her.

“Let’s just say it is some place more appropriate for what they were calling for.” Kyle just chuckled. He’d let Liz call and find out for herself if she dared. “Anyway, you should go over that packet before you decide to answer any calls. When Mrs. Brown gets back here she may quiz you on it. I’m over here in the desk to your left” he motioned to a desk, “so if you need any help you can just poke your head over.”

Liz looked up at Kyle, and smiled at him with gratitude in her eyes. He was actually acting decent to her. She knew it had to be hard for him. So much had changed between them in so little time. They barely had five cordial words between them since she had broken up with Kyle. Especially since Kyle thought she broke up with him to go out with Max. In some respects, he was right.

Kyle hesitated before going to his desk. His mind was wandering in the same direction hers was. He was looking at her smile, the same smile that always melted his insides when she directed it his way. And some of the bitterness seeped back in as he remembered why it had been so long since he’d seen that smile.

“So, anyway, how come you’re giving up a Friday night to be here? Max too busy to go out tonight?” Kyle’s voice had turned bitter once more.

Liz winced at the mention of Max’s name. Maybe she’d been too quick to think Kyle had actually gotten over the pain of their break up. It was still too early, even if he had started to date again. Male egos could be so fragile. Liz reminded herself to be careful around Kyle. There was too much at stake. Too many lives involved.

Kyle noticed Liz wince. So, he thought, it was over already between them. Serves her right, after she dumped him for that Evans loser. But then something inside of him changed. He knew how hard it hit him when she said she didn’t want to be with him anymore—and while he was still angry about it, he still cared about her. And so he regretted saying something that caused her pain, even if she was with Evans.

“Hey, listen, I didn’t mean that, okay?” Kyle apologized. “Let’s just try and act normal here. Like we were before.”

Liz just looked down. “Kyle, I don’t know if that’s such a good idea.”

“Why not?” he asked. “You know, there used to be a time when we were actually comfortable around each other. When it wasn’t so hard for us to talk.”

“I know, Kyle, but a lot has changed since then.”

“What? Me? You? Can’t we at least try to be friends again? Or would it just be easier to not have anything to do with me anymore?”

Kyle was becoming defensive again. Liz could sense it in the tone of his voice. “It’s not that, Kyle,” she said. “Like I said before, everything is just really complicated right now.”

“Yeah, right. You’ve said that before.” Kyle started to turn away from her but stopped short. It would be so easy for him to walk away from her, like she had done to him. But then that would just take him farther away from what he wanted—and he wanted Liz back. Damn, he thought, just what was it that this girl had that got him so confused inside, got all his emotions all twisted up?

Kyle turned back to her and spoke again, his voice soft, almost pleading. “But what is so complicated about right here, right now? We were doing okay just a minute ago.”

He was right, Liz thought. At least while they were here at the Center he was right. There were no aliens, no F.B.I., no Sheriff Valenti looking for answers in this room. No Max, Isabel or Michael. There was just the two of them, and a bunch of students trying to help others. Maybe this was a good a place as any to rebuild some bridges. And maybe that would help things elsewhere. Maybe Kyle wouldn’t be so suspicious of Max and the others this way. But, Liz reminded herself again, she would never be able to let her guard down with Kyle. So for now, she’d just take it one step at a time.

Liz exhaled, and with it, Kyle saw some of the tension in her shoulders disappear. Then he saw her direct that same incredible smile at him again. He could see the sincerity of it reflected in her eyes and he recognized it for what it was. They had reached a truce. At least for now. And so Kyle Valenti just let himself bask in the thought that Liz Parker had graced him with that gorgeous smile twice in such a short period of time.


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