|"Twists in the Road"
Disclaimer: Don’t own the characters or the concepts; just borrowing them!
Summary: What happens when the gang is ready to graduate from high school?
| March 28th
I’m Liz Parker and today should be one of the happiest days of my life. I’ve worked toward this day for most of my eighteen years, set my sights on it so long ago I can barely remember the moment. So, why do I feel as if the entire world is crashing down around me?
It started out like any other day, although I’ve learned that isn’t much of an indicator as to what lies ahead. School was pretty routine.
Michael showed up late, as always, strolling into second period history a full fifteen minutes into class and prompting Mr. Duffy’s “If you expect to graduate in June” lecture for the third time this week.
Maria looked concerned, but Max and I just rolled our eyes. Michael always manages to pull through somehow. So, classes continued, and the whole gang ate lunch on the quad together, the six of us – three couples – chatting and joking the way we do when things are relatively calm.
When no one is chasing us and nothing particularly peculiar is happening. We were the picture of normalcy – a group of high school seniors looking forward to the end of the year.
Except we don’t talk about the end of this year. As if by unspoken agreement, the subject of graduation and the great gaping void that lies beyond has been deemed taboo. We don’t discuss the future.
After school I rushed home instead of lingering to gossip with Maria or waiting for Max and Isabel to give me a ride. I’ve been pulling this disappearing act for more than a week now, in an effort to intercept the mail before my parents get off work and head upstairs.
The envelopes have been arriving pretty much one a day. Thick letters or large mailers with postmarks from either coast and return addresses that give away the contents. UCLA, Stanford, Columbia, Duke, Dartmouth. Each with a letter that begins in much the same way:
“Congratulations! We are pleased to welcome you to the class of 2006.”
Letters that I quietly fold back into the envelopes and tuck beneath my mattress before heading downstairs, my face composed, to wait tables at the CrashDown. So when I got home today, I knew what I was looking for. There was only one envelope left, one more before the stash in my room was complete. And, as I expected, it arrived today.A fat cream-colored envelope with a crimson seal.
A letter I’d dreamed about, but now couldn’t bring myself to open.Instead I slipped it into my book bag and went to change into my uniform. I knew what the letter said.I had been accepted to Harvard.I just didn’t know what to do about it.
Before that day in the café, before the gun was fired and the bullet ripped into me and Max Evans saved my life and somehow became a part of it. I had a plan. That was the type of person I was. I had a plan for everything, but most of all I had a plan for my life.
One that involved hard work and a straight path to success, a path that led to Harvard and then grad school and a career as a scientist.
Everyone knew me as Liz Parker, that serious-minded, college-bound, straight-A student, daughter of Jeff and Nancy.
A good girl who stayed out of trouble and helped her parents and had a brilliant future that would make the citizens of Roswell proud. And part of me is still that person. I still get straight As, though generally at the expense of a good night’s sleep, and I work hard and help my parents. But I am also this other person.
A person who keeps secrets, who sometimes doesn’t come home at night, who is constantly on her guard, yet frequently doesn’t notice when someone is speaking to her.
I feel people watching me and I wonder if they suspect, if they know, that I am really two people. That girl with the plan, and this other Liz, who doesn’t look forward and doesn’t look back – trying desparately to hold onto the moment.
I have inherited this reluctance to speak of the future from Max. It started out as a way of dealing with the fact that one day he might have to leave.
It was too hard for us to be together and also talk about the possibility of his going, of his needing to take Michael and Isabel and run from the FBI or Sheriff Valenti, Or ten times scarier, of dealing with the chance of his discovering a way to go home.
We tried staying just friends, tried staying apart, even tried to hate each other on occasion. Crazy attempts to protect ourselves from getting hurt.But it was just too difficult.
Inevitably, we found our way back to each other. And so we didn’t talk about it anymore. But it never occurred to me that I might be the one to leave, to be put in the position of having to choose between my future and my life. I don’t know if it’s a choice I can make.
It is late and in a few minutes I will look up and Max will come climbing onto the roof to take me in his arms and kiss me and whisper in my ear how much he loves me. We will sit here for an hour, talking about nothing in particular, or not talking at all.
Because he knows me so well, he will sense that something is wrong, but when I say I am fine he will not press me to tell him otherwise.He feels the future creeping up on us too.
I know in my heart that Max has as many dreams for his future as I have for mine, but I also know the bond he shares with Michael and Isabel is not something he takes likely. I cannot imagine him chosing his own path over theirs. In all of the years I have known them, he only did that once……for me. I could not ask him to do it again.
I can hear him now. He’s climbing up the fire escape, humming softly. I know I need to tell him…..need to talk to him about this. But it won’t be tonight.
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